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 Robert's Memories

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My Memories of Ingrid Lawrence

By Robert W. Naffziger
April 1997

I first met Ingrid in 1956 when I was hired by Christiansen Brothers as their “in house” accountant. In June of that year I set up shop in the brand new office building just completed at 209 West Thirteenth South in Salt Lake City. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to “Grandma” Lawrence and “Aunt” Esther who had agreed to clean and maintain the offices as our housekeepers. I really think it was the Christiansen brothers who agreed to this engagement as this narrative will bear out!

My first recollection is that when our new housekeepers began, they immediately discovered an over-abundance of wax applied to the linoleum floors by the final cleanup crew. Apparently, as the building was being cleaned and readied for occupancy, the floor wax was applied with a “rag” mop rather than a wax applicator. The result was a buildup of wax in the coves, corners, and on the linoleum base. However, after a short dissertation on applying wax, they set about to strip the excess wax and then apply new wax on the floors.

I think Mrs. Lawrence probably insisted that her sons hire her to clean the office. I presume Esther was recruited to help and to transport the two back and forth from the office. This is my conclusion because often they would arrive just a little before quitting time, and Ingrid would always come back to my office, sit on the corner of the desk, and then would pose the question, “Bob, what are the boys doing?” Her boys were “closed mouthed” about their business so she thought she could learn something through the back door. I do confess though that I respected the confidences of the business and passed on only things concerning her boys themselves. Still she didn’t give up the effort.

I was privileged later to be considered among Ingrid’s favored people. As all well know, she was a wonderful knitter, particularly of Norwegian sweaters. In 1962 I was fortunate to be able to buy a new Pontiac convertible. The interior colors were medium blue, white and silver. Ingrid’s first reaction to my purchase was that it would only attract “fast” women (I was single at the time). Either she softened in that opinion, or she felt that a matching sweater would provide the necessary protection for it wasn’t long before I received the most beautiful sweater one can imagine, hand knit and a perfect match to the car’s interior. The Pontiac was sold within a short time; there were not any “fast” women to capture my fancy; but the sweater lasted for many, many enjoyable years.

Though I was blessed to know this great lady for such a short time, I remember her fondly. Her family has shown me the grace and love she displayed and must have taught them. We are fortunate that memories and relationships survive sweaters.


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