Norwegian Flag

 Marlene's Memories

Previous Generation
Harold's Memories
Walter's Memories
Esther's Memories
Martin's Memories
Marlene's Memories
Linda's Memories
Norma's Memories
Bergliot's Memories
Martin's Memories
Joyce's Memories
Carolyn's Memories
Helen's Memories
Robert's Memories
Marilyn's Memories


Swedish flag

My Memories of Grandmother Ingrid

By Marlene Dyer
April 1997

As I began to think of my memories and experiences with my Grandmother Ingrid, I want to emphasize that these are my remembrances and my impressions over the sixty plus years of my life. I know they will not always agree with the facts of those who were there and have much more vivid knowledge of what might have happened. Even my siblings will tell the same event in different ways and have very different experiences than I had. It is hard to bring events and happenings back to my memory now. How I wished I had done a journal to look back on.

I am Ingridís oldest granddaughter and lived next door to her from birth into my teens. I know that she was one who had a great influence on me and gave me love, attention, and feelings of self-worth that helped set the pattern for the person that Iíve become. These are things that I didnít realize until much later in my life. Of course, my parents were the greatest influence, but I know that my grandmother was always a source of learning, love, and refuge. Her example of strength, hard work, spirituality, love of family, and good times set the model for me. I suppose a bit of my stubbornness and determination may have been passed along from her as well.

I will begin this experience by recalling our home at 1389 Major Street. I think this home set the stage for the closeness and experiences we shared. It was a white frame duplex. I donít know if it was always a two-family home. Perhaps not, as we shared a common basement. I believe this home was purchased with insurance money that came when my grandfather Simon died. A long porch went across the front of the house where we sat, played, and visited on many occasions. Bridal wreath bushes were planted across the front. Box Elder trees grew in the parking area of the street. The back yard didnít have many flowers but had several bushes along the fence line to the south. An old garage was at the back of the house and was later torn down. A clothesline marked the back of the yard, and an alley ran through the back of all the homes on the street. Two large Tree of Heaven trees were in the back yard near the house. I donít think Grandma was big on gardening, but I remember a tree trunk outside her back door covered with blue morning glories, which Iíve always loved. One favorite memory of this house was the night we all scrubbed the white wood siding. As I remember, we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Aunt Signe and Uncle Marty driving in from California. There seemed to be nothing to do as we waited so someone (Grandma?) suggested we wash the house. We got buckets, soap, and the hose and had great fun in this activity.

Another spur of the moment project came about when Grandmaís living room and dining room were made into one large room. This is only a story Iíve heard about, as I must have been too young to really remember the details. This room was the gathering place for many parties, dinners, and Christmas celebrations. The family was smaller then and not too many young children, and we could all be together for Christmas Eve dinner of lutefisk, flat brÝd, and lefse. After the meal, the tension began to mount as Santa was soon to come and visit. He brought all gifts and toys to us on that night. The room was darkened with only the lights of the tree shining, and I watched anxiously out the front window for any sign of his coming. Finally, he peeked in and opened the door. (We had no chimney and never had to worry about this tradition). If anyone made a noise, Santa would quickly leave until things had quieted down. The tension I felt was so great, especially when I could see him bring out from his bag some toy I was hoping to get for Christmas. When he finished his work and left, we could happily open presents left for all the family. I donít know how long this tradition continued.

I can remember one Christmas we went to Aunt Signeís in California. She lived in a small trailer with a garage or small house that many of us slept in, but Santa came to the trailer right on schedule. I wish I knew just who played Santa on these occasions.

Finally, the family must have grown too large for these Christmas Eve dinners and parties. I next remembered all getting together for just a family Christmas party with one gift for each child or a family gift. Some of these parties were at Grandmaís when she moved to 626 Seventeenth South. Later they were at our home on 1940 East, at various auntsí and unclesí homes, or churches as the parties were planned and rotated between the family. Later, Christmas parties gave way to only a summer reunion each year. Grandma came to have a very large number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and now great, great-grandchildren.

The kitchen of Grandmaís home seemed large to me at my young age. There was a small back room that opened into the kitchen were I can remember Bestemor sleeping. Grandma took her turn in caring for her Mother. I donít know now if Grandma was considered to be a good cook. I think she helped to teach my mother to cook, especially the traditional Christmas dishes of northern Norway. One exciting time I remember was the demonstration of Silver Seal cookware. The salesman came and cooked an entire dinner in her home using all the various pots and pans of his set. Everyone must have been impressed as many bought them this night. Our family used these pans for most of my growing up years. The roaster pan is still highly prized by my sister Charlotte. I wonder who has Grandmaís pieces now?

Grandma was a good housekeeper. I can remember the spring and fall cleaning times when the wallpaper was cleaned by what now reminds me of play dough. The lace curtains were washed and then stretched on pins on special frames. These were large enough for an entire curtain and were great fun to play around. The night my brother Harold Wayne was born was one such time. Joan and I played the game of Hide the Thimble with Uncle Simon in and around these frames. I guess we were sent to stay with Grandma while the birth was in progress. I got very tired of this game and wanted to go home. Finally, we left and discovered this new baby. I donít think anyone ever talked about the coming arrival so it was a big surprise! On many occasions Grandmother took care of us while my parents were away on trips or weekends. With aunts and uncles next door we always had ready babysitters.

We had the telephone in our side of the house. When someone called for Grandma or one of the uncles or aunts, we would knock on the wall to let them know to come to the phone.

The basement was a fond memory because of the activities Grandma and my mother and all of us had there. It was also a scary, dark place, yet we all had fun playing down there. We shared the old Maytag wringer washer, the rinse tubs, and the drying lines strung from the joists in the ceiling. There is a certain smell I sometimes have in the file room in the library where I now work. It is the smell of my childhood of wash day in the basement and brings me pleasure in remembering this time of my life. There was a large coal (wood) burning stove in the basement. This is where lefse, flat brÝd, and all canning took place. It was always cool in the basement for such cooking, but must have gotten steaming at times. I can imagine the good sharing times spent there in the fall and just before Christmas. If you didnít have such a stove, how could you make the lefse? Well, a special electric griddle was designed just for this purpose when such stoves were no longer used. I have one of my own now. I carry on this tradition and suppose my children will also. I know my cousins make the lefse and flat brÝd also. This is a real legacy handed down to the generations now and those yet to come from Grandma Ingrid.

Being a young widow with seven children must have been a great struggle for Grandma. There were many hard times. Money was scarce especially during the Depression years. The older children all worked and helped out, even with families of their own coming along. Grandma was a hard worker, and I remember many jobs she had. One was cleaning the office building on South Temple at night. She often took me and my sister with her. We enjoyed this and felt very grown up when we could help. In fact, I remember her specifically teaching me how to efficiently dust a chair going up one leg, across the feet rungs and on to the next leg. I know she cleaned the Colonial Motel on Main Street near our neighborhood, but I donít remember going to help her there. She also sold various cleaning products at the I and M Carpet Co. on State Street near Third South. I remember visiting her there. Iím sure there were many other jobs of selling. Iíve heard of the project she did in the Depression of making paper flowers to sell. I wonder how successful that was? I know she was a good seamstress and could cut a pattern to use every scrap of material. In my high school years I even did a bit of sewing and remodeling for her. This made me feel really proud that sheíd have me sew for her.

With all the trials and hard work she experienced, she always seemed happy and full of fun and ready for some adventure. I remember going skiing with her at Alta. Of course, she was from the old Norwegian school of downhill skiing. First you hike up the hill, then you go straight down. If you went too fast, you only had to put your poles between your legs and drag them to slow you down. Up and down we went together all day long. It was always a wonderful experience. I wonder now if she also did more extensive trips climbing up the mountain from Park City and then skiing into Brighton. I know my parents and Taunte Borghild and others did this many times and would stay overnight in a lodge in Brighton. There were no roads plowed to keep the area open as well as we have today. I can imagine the fun and great exercise they had with these trips.

I do know of my grandmotherís love of fishing. This naturally developed from her years in the northern fjords of Norway. I think everyone of the family also developed this love because I recall years and years of fishing trips with uncles, aunts, and cousins, my parents and siblings. I regret that my children have not had the opportunity to learn to fish. Only on a few visits to Utah did they experience this with my dad, their grandfather. Daddy loved to take Grandma on fishing trips to Island Park in Idaho or to Yellowstone. This often was given as a birthday present. Her brother Erling lived in Blackfoot and so a fishing trip meant a good visit to his farm, chicken dinner (or fish), and then continuing on to Island Park. One special trip I remember was staying in the big, fancy lodge at Island Park instead of the usual small cabin. That night I slept with Grandma when a skunk visited us under the building with the usual overpowering smell. That was my first experience with a skunk.

There were many other trips to remember. I know she visited us in Denver when my dad had a job there. I have pictures of all of us at the top of Pikeís Peak. There were trips to California to visit with Aunt Signe and Uncle Marty and also with Aunt Esther and Uncle Pete. I recall driving with Uncle Pete, Aunt Esther, and Grandma right through the night to California. I slept on the floor of the back seat of the car. I felt pretty special to be taken on such a trip with them. I think my grandmother would drop everything and set off for the day, weekend, or week if someone asked her to go. Grandma never learned to drive to my knowledge. In fact our family did not have a car, nor did Mother learn to drive in my early years. We either walked or took the bus. I remember on several occasions when Mr. Willard who lived across the street would sometimes drive us to church in his big Model T Ford. How grand we felt. When Grandmother moved from Major Street, we often walked to visit her when she lived on Seventeenth South and Sixth East. Later when we moved to a new home at 3200 South 1940 East, we would walk to her home on Connor Street or Twentieth East.

In 1957 or 1958 Grandma and Art came on a tour to the east while I lived in Washington, D.C. We met and did some sightseeing of the area near where I lived. It was fun to show her around this city.

My grandmother had a special and strong testimony of the Gospel and of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Gospel was brought to her by her bother Abel while they were in Norway. From his conversion other members of this family also heard about the church and joined. Unfortunately, Grandpa Simon never did join the church in his lifetime, but he must have supported her decision when they left Norway and their way of life for America. This brought a lot of hardships to their growing family. Uncle Rolf was born in Norway, but my father, the second child, was born in Utah just after their arrival. I have heard of their moving from Utah to Idaho several times in the search for work. For a fisherman to come to dry Utah and Idaho must have brought lots of trials. Grandfather was a good carpenter as well as working hard at farming so he could support the family. Luckily, there were lots of relatives to share both the good and bad times. I know that neither my sisters nor brother nor I would be members of the Church today were it not for my grandmother. Our father and mother were not church members. She took us to meetings and made us feel a part of the Church from a young age. I remember her great admiration for Bishop Stewart and then for Bishop Jorgensen in the Jefferson Ward, Wells Stake. We could walk to church meetings as the ward was about four blocks away on Jefferson Street between Main and West Temple. I donít remember reading the scriptures or discussing religion with her, but I observed her strong faith and service to the Lord through the long years of her life.

One special time of my admiration for her testimony was herís and Artís call to a full-time mission in the Southern States. It was most unusual then for older people to serve as missionaries. What an example this was to all the family. I was at the BYU at this time and lived with my cousin Barbara. We had been to her farewell but were not able to see them off at the train in Salt Lake. Barbara and I found out when the train would come through Provo. We then walked those long blocks to meet them on their brief stop at the train station. We felt we had Grandma all to our own for those few moments, and this is still a good memory for me. She and Art were later called to serve at the Nauvoo Visitorsí Center. They were very successful in these callings, and I feel so proud of this heritage of missionary work that she gave us all.

I was last with my grandmother during Christmas just before she died. Daddy had very unexpectedly arranged for my family to fly home so that we could be with her before she died. She got to see our two children, and I had a good visit with her then. I was not able to attend her funeral but can always cherish that last time with her, and of course, the 31 years of my life that I shared with her are never to be forgotten.


To submit family information or to be added to the Bergstedt, Christiansen, and Paulsen email list to receive occasional notices about changes to the site, contact Allen Leigh via the address given below. I respect your privacy and will use your address only for the list; it will not be given to anyone.

© Copyright Allen W. Leigh 2001, 2014
Permission is given to use pages copyrighted by Allen W. Leigh in non-commercial projects.