Grandma Ingrid was a terrific woman. I feel very fortunate to have known her. It was great to have her living close by. We could walk over to her house and visit whenever we felt like it. I loved sleeping over at her place as she made these times very exciting. She would tell us stories about her childhood in Norway. She had chores to do when she was a child, and one of these was herding the goats up and down the mountain behind her home. She told us how difficult it was to travel in the winter snows. She used cross-country skis to travel from one place to another visiting friends and relatives.
Some of my favorite memories are the many Christmas parties with Grandma and her family. We could always count on Grandma to bring lefse, fattitmanner, krumkake, and my favorite cookie pepperkake, plus lots of fun and laughter to the parties. We played a game where we put on work gloves and opened a stick of gum. Another favorite was a contest to see who could eat a cracker, blow up a balloon, then sit on it to make it pop the quickest.
She started many traditions which I still retain in my family, such as making Julekake at Christmastime. My mouth waters when I think about it, and I can smell the aroma of it being toasted. It tastes so yummy when you spread real butter on it. I will always remember her making Norwegian pancakes for us when we were kids. She would spread butter and sprinkle sugar on them, although my favorite was with raspberry jam instead of sugar.
I loved to watch her roll out the flat brød dough into thin eighteen-inch round sheets and stack them up prior to baking. She had a coal-burning stove in her garage where she would do the baking. It was magic how she used her wooden stick to place the sheets on the stove, baking each one to perfection. Grandma was always cooking fish to eat with the flat brød. I remember eating many such dinners, but I did not care as much for the fish as the great flat brød.
Grandma was a very talented knitter. I remember many occasions sitting by her side watching the knitting needles fly as she created a beautiful Norwegian sweater. When she started using circular knitting needles her creations became even more beautiful. We never had to worry about having a sweater to keep us warm. When I was attending high school, she made me a beautiful Norwegian sweater which was my all-time favorite.
Grandma loved to fish. I went fishing with her, Uncle Marty, Aunt Signe, and Carolyn to Yellowstone Lake. We stayed in the cabins at West Thumb, and when we were out fishing on the lake, Grandma was in her glory.
My favorite memory was Grandma’s great infectious laugh. She had a way of making you laugh without really knowing the reason why. I remember her talking to us one time about storing food. My sister Marilyn wanted to know why. She told her, “When the bombs come, the bums will be coming around looking for food. If we store up, then we will have something to feed them,” and then she’d laugh. We all had a good laugh that day.
My mom and Grandma cleaned the Christiansen Brothers’ office building. Marilyn and I thought it was great fun to go help them clean. We would empty trash cans and dust. Grandma always had a way of making us laugh as we worked, and I will always remember the good times we had working with her.
When we were small we loved to hear Grandma sing the Norwegian songs she learned when she was a child. I remember “Suete Rowa Barne,” “Rowa Ta Latea,” and “Clape Clape Kake.” It was best when she held us in her arms and rocked in the rocking chair as she sang to us.
When I was a teenager I was concerned about not having any boyfriends. I was not certain if anyone would ever like me, and I would never get married. She told me not to worry as she knew someone who liked me and would want to marry me. I tried to get her to tell me his name, but she said it was a secret. I know she was just trying to make me happy.
Grandma was a hardworking, kind, loving person committed to doing good. She had a great sense of humor, and she was a wonderful example for me. She loved life and her family.
It was very hard for me when she left on her missions. I really missed her. I remember singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” at her mission farewell meeting. Even now I get teary-eyed when I hear it sung.
Grandma died in January 1963 when I was twenty years old. She was staying with us in our home those last days before her death. It was a very difficult and sad time for me. The chapel was filled to capacity at her funeral. She had touched many lives during her life and was loved by all who knew her.
She was right about someone being out there who would love me. I met a wonderful person, my future husband, in February that year, and we were married in November.
It has been fun for me to recall what a great lady Grandma was. Life is wonderful, and she helped me make my life better. Her influence and example for good is still a very strong part of my life. I am thankful to have had such a terrific grandma and especially to have been able to have her be a part of my life.