We Hear Wedding Bells


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August 1, 1914

These beautiful summer days have already brought me two nieces. The second one was born today. Hanna got a little baby girl this morning, born at 5:30 a.m. Last night I was awakened by the telephone ring at 11:30 and I could not imagine what it was. Andrew answered and it was Falk that wanted Peter to get the nurse in the auto but as the auto was out of order they had to hire a taxi. I have not been down yet but I am going tomorrow.

Today I was thinking so hard about Mrs. Brandes. I phoned her up even though I thought she was down in Portland. But to my surprise she was home and I was very glad to hear it. This afternoon I went out there and had the most pleasant visit with her. Her uncle is there and Herman but they were out when I was up there. They are coming up some day to visit.

Aug. 6, 1914

I feel so sad, really heartsick when I think of that dreadful war in Europe. The whole Europe that is the great powers are all fighting. Russia, England, France, and Belgium are fighting against Germany. The losses of human life is enormous. The poor German people! My heart goes out to them in sympathy. They cannot help but they have to suffer hard death and destruction for the thoughtless folly of the head of the government. It is so easy for men sitting in a comfortable place to command their forces out to fight other human beings, guiltless and innocent. For many years people have been busy with preparing, their brains have found new and more destructive devices for their own destruction. They clash, thousands are mowed down, cities burned and destroyed, famous buildings known over the whole civilized world will be nothing but stones and ashes left. Oh, it seems as if there is no use in progress, in reasoning, in developing along different lines when all at once War shall come and lay all in ruin. Poor soldiers and their families have to suffer, leave everything and file in rank only to be shot down or to see thousands of others torn to the ground. Goodnight.

Aug. 24, 1914

I am just ready to go the bed. Had the dandiest time up to Nelson’s party. Only too bad Johanna could not be with us because Martha got sick and she had to stay down there. After we came home Andrew and I sat down and had a very sociable chat together. I like to sit down and talk to him very much. Johanna has stayed with me now for two weeks and has one week left. Will start to work when school starts. Only one week more of vacation but I am just as glad. Anxious to go back now. Carmen was up last week and we had a nice visit together. I helped her with a waist. Goodnight.

Aug. 29, 1914

Johanna and I are just back from a most enjoyable trip out to Vashon. We went down to the beach with the kids and had a dandy lunch consisting of fried chicken, apple pie, cucumber, waffle and cake. So that was quite elaborate. We went out rowing and wading a little bit but did not care much for the latter as the water was cold. J & I lay down on the sandy beach most of the time and enjoyed the few hours of perfect rest from work and worry. Today J & I took a walk and talked of many things, mostly reflections from our childhood & we were both very happy. Mrs. Lokke and the rest of them were so glad because we came out and we had the dandiest time those two days. The ride on the boat this evening was lovely, just as the sun was getting low down in the sky. Campers along the beaches were seen packing up their things and getting ready to leave for Monday, school starts. Monday I will go back to school for the last time after a summer vacation, seems sort of sad and yet I am old enough to say that now. Goodnight. Jo has to go back to work tomorrow night. She has had 3 weeks vacation.

Tacoma, Aug 30, 1914

Well, here I am all through with vacation. Tomorrow I go back to school after my summer vacation for the last time. That thought satisfies me entirely. I am getting so old now I ought to be prepared to go out and do something for myself and I hope that when I am through school in February that I will get a good position so that I can prove myself capable of having ability and energy. I have had a very good vacation, may be not as good time as I had last summer but I feel as if I have spent the summer pretty well. Have gotten quite a bit of sewing done for myself and some for Johanna and Anna. Johanna and I have also been the best of friends and have spent most of our spare time together like good chums and the trip out to Vashon was refreshing. I feel ready now to start back to school and work hard that I may get something and all I can out of this next half-year.

May God help me to be good and do my best and what is right!

Sept 6, 1914

Below is a postcard written on by Ella but not to be mailed. A memory of part of their trip to Seattle that day.

Seattle, Sept. 6, 1914

K & I are now in Seattle. Came on the 9 o’clock boat. We had some trouble in finding what car to take but we are now seated on Phinney Ave car. Are going to visit K’s cousin.

Lincoln High School

Lincoln Park High School

Friday Sept 10, 1914

This morning we had our first assembly and it was a very impressive and solemn affair. Many deep and serious thoughts crept into the minds of the speakers. One thought which seemed to predominate in the minds of the first speakers was the relation between this beautiful building and the development of worthy men and woman. The members of the school board superintendent Geiger, Mr. Hunt and Bishop Keator, all spoke on the occasion. The students received their former principal Mr. Hunt with enthusiasm and clapped long and loudly when he rose to speak. Bishop Keator made us a splendid address. His thoughts were high, his aims which he showed us were divine. We could not help but become better after hearing a wonderful talk like that. He brought us forward into our lives and showed us the higher and finer things that we should develop in our character. He spoke a long time on the meaning of four words that are over the entrances of this building. Justice, Simplicity, Goodwill and Reverence. I am very glad and thankful that I have had the opportunity to be present at this great and important occasion and I hope the words that I heard will have a lasting influence on my soul.

Sept 20, 1914

I have gone to the new Lincoln Park high school just a month and I like it fine up there. We have assemblies three times a week and all together we have a nice and enjoyable time up there. I take 12A English, 12A Oral, 12A Civics, 11A physiology and 12A Bkkg and really I enjoy every class immensely. It seems as if I get along so well too and I ought to get pretty good marks. I also practice typewriting after school and I hope that I can be able to get a position as soon as I am through. In one way it sort of gives me the heartache to think of quitting because I enjoy every day so thoroughly. In English and Civics I am almost authoritative on all the questions and in bookkeeping I am ahead of the rest and in physiology I get along pretty good. Carmen and I are real hearty friends, we are together all we can and have a nice time together. She is as contented as I am.

Last Sunday we had a very nice party here. The former Mrs. Brandes, now Mrs. Koch and her husband and Herman were up here for dinner. Also Mr. and Mrs. Falk, Arvid, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Brevick, Miss Nelson, Andrew, Peter and I. We had a dandy chicken dinner and all kinds of good things to eat. Then afterwards we went out driving. Peter in his car took out the children and Hanna, Martha, and Celia. Herman took us out, Johanna, Mrs. Koch, Miss Nelson, Falk and I all went out. We had a very enjoyable time. Strand came up afterwards in the evening and we played cards. It certainly does a person good to have a party and recreation like that.

October 1, 1914

This morning in school we had a very enjoyable assembly, a college professor spoke. He was an optimist. He declared and saw hope through the dark clouds of social injustice, moral evil, and drunkenness. He encouraged us to stand in the line of truth and righteousness and someday we would win the battle. It was all very inspiring. Yesterday in Oral Expression I did fine. I happened to find out I got 97 and I am so glad. We are now learning pieces from Julius Caesar and Hamlet, besides others that are very nice. I could not have words good enough to say how much I enjoyed this term in school. I hope that with God’s help I too may be able to do something in the world that is worthwhile. That I may ease the heavy burdens of others and make a few people as happy as I am myself. My God, I thank you very heartily for my splendid opportunity. Teach me to be good and pure and to do the right thing at the right time. Poor Johanna was over here tonight and she was sort of blue. Dear girl she has not had the splendid chance that I did have but has to go out and do heavy work when she could have been able to do better if she had the chance.

Sunday the 4th day of October 1914

Again I can say that today is my birthday. Twenty-one years of age, quite a dignified lady I have grown to be. This is the first time in America that I celebrate my birthday on Sunday. The last time was in Norway, the last time I celebrated my birthday and now the years have rolled, six long years. I am very fortunate in having my birthday today as it is a special occasion, President Wilson has given out a proclamation for peace that all people pray for peace in Europe.

From The Sacramento Union Newspaper

Peter and I went to church this morning we heard the most impressive and intense sermon and prayers that I have ever heard in my life. Reverend Ordal is a great minister, gifted with good speech mingled with earnestness and true Christian faith. Never before have I heard the Lord’s Prayer prayed with such intensity and fervor. I feel that it has added something to my life. It is something which will help to build up strength of character and Christian belief in good things. I thank you God for directing my steps toward the house of God this morning and I feel that it was a beautiful beginning of my twenty-second year.

How times change. I wonder where will be the next birthday and if I will feel as happy as I am today. I cannot hardly realize that I am twenty-one years already, it seems such a short time since I was just a little girl. Wonder how my dear aunt is today. I think I will write her a little letter, poor old darling. She is thinking of me today with tenderness and love. Today I am wearing my pretty new blue dress that I made this summer.

Strand took me to Tacoma Theater last night to give me a treat for my birthday. The play was very good and we enjoyed it very much. “The Whip” was the play.

Now I must quit, goodbye, Ella

Oct 26, 1914

Nu er klokken half elleve og jeg skal nu stukke lyset.

I have been in bed most of the day. Got sick last night. Just feel like fainting. I really think it is my heart that is defected because I have worked very hard lately. But I hope it is nothing serious. Johanna came up tonight and Olav Martin also came up. Poor fellow, he likes Johanna but she doesn’t care for him. Anna Anderson, a girl who walks to school with me called here this morning and I told her to get me a ticket for Camus, a masque that is played down to the Stadium High School tonight. She came this evening. I thought I would not go, so I told her I wouldn’t. But she coached me and I got ready, but just as I was going to put my coat on, I felt like fainting and threw my selves (sic) on the bed. The of course I couldn’t go. Well goodnight og Gud hjalp mig at lbive bedre Amen.

Nov 6, 1914

I am well again and am as busy as ever. Last week I was out to Vashon and enjoyed a nice vacation there. A half semester has passed now and I am worried about an English test we had today. Now I am going to the bazaar. Goodbye.

Nov 9, 1914

Friday and Saturday nights I went to the bazaar and just had a dandy time. There were all kinds of people there and I met many old and new friends. Yesterday I stayed at home. Johanna and Peterson came up. Strand did not come up before seven o’clock.

Today I got three test papers back. First I got my test paper in Civics and what did I see on it. To my pleasure and delight it was marked 100 just like that. Nobody else in the class had that.

My physiology paper was next, marked with 80. But lastly and to my great disgust, I got my English paper marked 75. I don’t remember that I ever had 75 in an English test. Really I felt very bad over it. Mildred had 82 and that was the other one that passed. Our class must be dull. If the questions had been stated differently I would have had a better mark.

We get our cards Thursday. I am awfully anxious to get mine so I will know what I get. I will write down for fun an estimate,

Eng 80

Oral 85

Phys 90

Civics 95

Bkkg 90

Wed. Nov 11, 1914

We got our cards today after school and what did I not get. Really more than I expected and some marks were just what I put down as guesswork.

English 86                        Civics 95

Oral 85                             Bkkg 90

Physiol 93                        Average 90

I hope I have as good next month & better.

I had the highest mark in my English class and I think in my Civics class also. In physiology I had the next to the highest. In oral Mildred Anderson had 95, Frankie Watton 93, Hazel Bigby 90. Mildred had 85 and Hazel 80 in English. We three girls had the highest marks in the class.

Well I haven’t had such a good card since I was 10B of course my average then was 92, but I am satisfied I have done my best and really I am a foreigner and am sort of handicapped in several ways with the language. Godnot. Tak kjare Gud fur alt godt.

Mon. Nov. 16, 1914 7 o’clock a.m.

Oh, I am really worried. I am on a debating team on the single tax question and I don’t have my speech very well prepared yet. The debate comes off this afternoon, the first thing. I don’t have such confidence I will win this time. I have had so much to do I haven’t had much time to prepare for it. I hope and pray that I will make a good showing.

Nov 16, 1914 8:20 p.m.

My side won 3 to 0. I thought at the time that the debate was very poor but afterwards I heard comments to the effect that our side did very well.

Nov. 20, 1914

Behind the Footlights. Tonight the dramatic club gave their first play. The Man from Brandon, that is the one I am in and the Burglars. Everybody thought I acted splendidly as the maid. My part was funny. All my folks were so happy and my friends congratulated me. Miss Ferguson, my oral teacher was well pleased.

Nov. 28 1914

Wednesday at 2:30. Peter woke me up with a cry “Ella, the house is a fire.” I was very excited and asked, “What shall we do?” He said, “Just get out, that’s all.” I hurried and put my heavy coat on, slipped on my shoes and ran out, grabbing some of my clothes along and the blanket. Then I thought of a lady who lives down a little ways who has a telephone. In the darkness of the night. I ran through the path in the bush, climbed over a fence and not seeing any door, I stood outside of a window and cried, “Hello, may I use your telephone, our house is afire. Hello, our house is afire, may I use your telephone.” Thus I tried to raise the pitch of my voice but in the darkness and stillness of the night my voice sounded terribly in my own ears and I was half afraid to call. Finally, the lady called from the other side of the house, “Come in,” and I went in and called the fire department. Meanwhile, Peter had sent in the alarm from next house and in fifteen minutes we heard this fire department approaching. We went to our stranger neighbors, whom we barely had seen and in the dreary night we watched the fire department putting out the fire. Great was my joy when I saw them conquer the high red flames licking up the sides of our house and home. Then about 4:30 they were through and we went down to Martha to sleep. The next day I was very nervous but after one night’s good sleep, I felt normally again. Thursday, the 26, we had our Thanksgivings dinner down here to Louis. All our guests came and all went fine.

December 15, 1914

We are still down to Louis and we have a very good time. Real companionship. I study hard and when I come home everything is so nice and cheerful. Martha is so kind and the little baby is real good. She is growing so fast and I enjoy to play with her and dance around the floor with her. They are working on our house but the smell is terrible and I just hate to go up there now.

Dec 27, 1914 In the middle of the night

I am lying down here and cannot sleep. My brain is so wearied and tired from sleeplessness that I cannot hardly stand it. The reason why I can’t sleep I think I know. One thing is I have not taken enough exercise and then I have been up too late at night. My brain is fatigued, really over-fatigued and I am nervous. Then before Xmas I studied too hard and without enough rest. But I am going to reform. This won’t do. It breaks down my health. Godnot.

Sunday Morning. I feel sort of bad today but I guess I must stand it. I am going to get up now and go out for a walk. Strand and I, Peterson and Johanna are invited for dinner today at 4 o’clock down to Hanna. This will be the first time that he and I go down there together. Yesterday I got a xmas present from Peterson, a lovely chocolate set, pink roses on it.

New Year’s Day 1915

This is the first day of a New Year and I hope and pray that I may make good use of my time, keep well and healthy and do some good. Yesterday I went to see Mrs. Reddish and she was very glad to see me. She used to be my Sunday school teacher for three years. After that I went to see Clara Johnson. Her cousins, Rose and Bell Swanson were there and we all had a dandy time. When I came home I was tired and went to bed but could not sleep. Johanna, Peter and I went to a surprise party on Marie Lawrence, Wednesday evening. There were about thirty people present. Mr. Storly played violin and his brother piano and we played games and had a real nice time.

Strand came up last night and saw the old year out and the New Year in with me, but we were not so happy together this New Year’s Eve as we were last. Among New Year’s resolutions we started to talk about the use of cigarets (sic) and the conversation was not a bit pleasant. For the longest time, he defended the use of them while I told him the danger and how I dispised (sic) the looks.

Finally he said that he really did not like them but the habit was too strong. Then I asked him, “Since this is the first day of 1915 and for your own health, prosperity and happiness, I want you to promise to at least try to quit the use of cigarets. He said, “I will try, but will you let me use pipe and cigars if it comes too hard?” “Yes, but don’t use neither in excess.”

He left right after that. If that will do any good I will be very thankful, very happy because that has been a black spot on him always.

January First 1915

My own Inventory of my Ability

As I sit here alone in the quiet cozy room I cannot help but let the thoughts wander to future days. What wonderful opportunities I have before me. I am young and in good health and have a fairly good education. In only three weeks I will graduate from High School with a pretty fair grade. My future depends upon what I do with my time the next few months. This is the time to look ahead and plan on this, the first day of the year. The last went and I really think that I learned and got a great deal of good out of the last year but this year, the fruit of my studying, of my learning must show itself. No longer am a school girl but a grown woman ready to go out into the world. That is the way it should be but is it? With God’s help and the blessings of health, I hope I can. My idea is to practice shorthand so that I can catch up in speed and accuracy and then try to get a position and do both shorthand and bookkeeping. Mr. Grass says he thinks I will make good and that encouraged me very much. But I also have another idea although I am not so sure of my success. I thought I would study geography and arithmetic and then take a teacher’s examination in June and perhaps I could get a position in a country school to teach. It would be a great thing and I would get away from the old surroundings and it really would to me a great deal of good, I am sure. Besides, I would earn more money per month and that would help a great deal. I must not neglect to write down my pet occupation: “writing stories and essays.” My imagination is so strong that I really feel certain that when I have had more human experience and learned more of people’s character from life and from books, I will be able to write. Of course I must read a great deal to learn the styles of authors, to learn new words, phrases and expressions so that my thoughts and emotions will find a ready form.

Oh, but I am so afraid that I am nothing but a dreamer. O God give me strength and wisdom to use this year to best advantage for others and for myself.

Jan. 6, 1915

I could not just describe my feelings today, sort of blue and grave, I think will hit the nearest. Today we made a step, sort of a final step. Those that were coming back next term were asked to sit in one side of the room and those that were not coming back in the other. Well I decided to come back for 10a stenography and typewriting and also 12a business practice. Of course I don’t know just how things will turn out. I never cared very much for stenography but rather like the bookkeeping and if I could get a position as a bookkeeper alone I would drop stenography altogether. Oh, there is just about a week and a half and then I will get through my regular High School work. Indeed, this term has been most pleasant of all terms and I think I have learned a great deal too, in all my subjects. I feel rather tired at times and I have had to study hard, some times too long and too much concentration but after a rest I think I will be all the better for it. Today Carmen and I filled out an application blank for a position, she as stenographer and I as a bookkeeper. But oh, I don’t know how I would feel if I got a position if I could keep it or how. But then I suppose everybody has that feeling when they are going out into the world. I received a letter from Chris the other day and he said, “what are you going to be, teacher I suppose.” Well I don’t hardly think I am capable of passing an examination, still by some hard study may be I could. I am really at a loss to know what to do. They all expect me to do something now after I am out of high school. But what? Is the question. I would like to speak with Mrs. Adams and confide in her. She is such a good old soul and she would help me to decide. She wants me to become a teacher I think though that I will take an examination and satisfy myself as to whether I pass or not but meantime I would love to get some work during the day and earn some money. But this is useless phylosophy (sic). There surely is some place in the world for me too. I can just picture myself in the future, in spare moments studying German, and reading good books of classical authors preparing myself for my ideal occupation, which may not bring money but which will indeed afford me delight and ennoble my soul and character. How far that time is off, I don’t know, but each step brings some help in that line, I hope.

Jan. 7, 1915

Peter and Louis went to Gig Harbor this morning to paper hang Andrew’s house out there. Louis took Martha and the baby with him so I am all alone here now. I feel sort of lonesome but then I have to stand it. Johanna came up this evening and she just went so I had good company. I think Andrew is going to get married pretty soon with Martha Prickett, a girl who used to live out in Gig Harbor. She is a real nice lady-like young girl. I have seen her lots of times. This evening I put quite a lot of time on my English so I ought to know it tomorrow. Goodnight. Knute phoned up, dear boy.

Jan. 9, 1915

Thursday I got a letter from my dear aunt Anne. Her daughter wrote and my poor old auntie has not been able to get down from the upstairs for many months. Poor soul, what a pity on her old days. I must write to her soon so she won’t have to wait long for a letter and then I got a card from Anna Koteng, another of my aunts. She is too a lovely lady.

Last night I went to Nordlandslaget and there they had an election of officers. Louis got elected President, Johanna vice president and I reelected corresponding secretary with only one vote against me. They must like me all right it seems like. Just think three out of one family all head officers of the body. Mr. Nilson said that of anything happened to this family, the lodge would be broken up and indeed that would be the fate.

Yesterday I started to read my Home Reading book the “Quoir Invisible.” The book is lovely, so much philosophy and such lovely descriptions in it. I enjoyed it immensely. Of course I have not finished it yet but I have only little more than a hundred pages left. How thoroughly I enjoy to read pretty stories and descriptions. I just read it over again and over again until the influence on my soul renders it soft and tender. Oh, what a step if I could begin to write like that! –

My thoughts have been constantly in the future these last days. Presumely (sic) because the next two weeks bring me to a turning point in life. I would just love to see Mrs. Adams and talk to her as I did last year. She is a fine lady and understands me and had great faith in me. Tonight I shall phone to Knut and tell him that I am going away tomorrow. He took me down last night from the lodges. To her I can open up my soul and talk and she understands and appreciates. She has a keen insight into characters and lives of people. Her interest in humanity is great and her interest in the Norwegian race has led her to investigations concerning their great men, authors, painters, composers and others.

Jan. 12, 1915

Andrew and Martha Prickett got married today. Peter and Johanna went to the wedding. Now it is just Peter left of the four boys and Johanna and me the two youngest. Well, hard to tell just when the rest will be married. Louis married in 1913, Chris in 1914 and Andrew in 1915. Pretty good record.

Oh, I am so worried again I have been troubled with my kidneys since before Christmas and I am getting awfully weak, have headaches and almost unable to study. I am very glad that we have only one and a half weeks left so I can rest up and maybe get well, I was pretty well for two weeks but complication set in again. Oh, I am so sorry because now I feel no ambition and it worries me so. I had to same trouble about four years ago but I got over it. Oh God help me to get well!

Sunday Jan. 17, 1914

I feel pretty good now and I think if I am careful I will be all right again. This morning I went to church and heard a good sermon preached on the words, “The Son of God is come to save,” or something like it. I don’t know the exact words. Mrs. Braidley, Christina’s friend, telephoned after I came home and asked for her address. She invited me to come to see her and I am going some day. Then afterwards Knute called up and we had quite a conversation. He is not coming up today as I am going out to see Mrs. Adams this afternoon. He took me to Empress last night and we saw “Freckles.” The play was not very good, not much to it.

Peter and I had quite a conversation last night about my future.

“Well, you will soon be through with your school, are you not glad?”

“Yes, sort of.”

“But there is always a struggle. You will no longer be a school girl but a grown woman. You have had your home here for many years and been protected but things will change.”

“I have had a good home and I would not have changed with any of the girls who have been out working even though they now have a bank account. My school has meant so much to me. Of course I don’t know what I am able to do. I have never been out in the world and I may fail or I may succeed.”

“But you have a hard battle to fight. This work that you have chosen, your stenography and bookkeeping will bring you into a world of hard competition and the wages are small. The ones that have risen to the top are all right but a friend of mine told me that they could get a girl for $6.00 a week to do all their work, and you know that you are not very good in shorthand.”

“Yes, I know. I wonder now that I got through with it, but it was a matter of strong will and hard work. Maybe I better take a teacher’s examination in June and try my luck at that.”

“That’s the only way for you. Study up and learn what you need to know and I am sure you can pass easily and get a gob too. You are now twenty-one and have done as well as any in school.”

“Tomorrow I am going to see Mrs. Adams and get her advice.”

“Well I would go down and see Mr. Koch the county school superintendent myself if that should be necessary.”

Thus our conversation proceeded, different things were brought up and Peter saw it very possible that I would get a position. But oh, I feel sort of depressed and worried to think about the future. At times it seems so easy.

Eleven O’clock

I went to see Mrs. Adams and had a long talk with her. She is such a lovely lady and she has such great confidence in me, what my possibilities are. She wants me to go to school longer though but I told her it was impossible. Then she told me to go to see Mr. Benbow, the county school superintendent and get my questions and ask him to advise me regarding my future. She says I am so ladylike and that would help a great deal in getting me a position. O God, direct my ways. Goodnight.

Jan. 19, 1915

This book is getting to be a regular record of misery of late. Last night or in the afternoon I had to go to the doctor and I am no better today so I’ll have to go again. Lord, if I only was well. I am worried almost to death that this should happen the last week of school.

Jan. 20, 1915

Of course I am far from well but to a certain extent I am better I think though that if I am extremely careful I will be better pretty soon. But I cannot go out much. Today I have been lying down pretty near all day. Tomorrow I will go to school.

Jan. 21, 1915

Just one more day of High School. As I now think it over I cannot realize that four years have gone and I am so glad and thankful that nothing interrupted me and hindered me from finishing. What a good time I have had all the way through the companionship of nice girls and boys. Today one girl, Olive Bouce, one of the girls that I started with and whom I have seen everyday almost since I started High School, bade me Goodbye. She kissed me as she left and promised to write to me. She is in my English and Oral Expression class. She got 95 in Oral & 81 in English.

I have had such a good time up to Lincoln Park High School and everybody has been so sociable. In my studies I have been among the best in the class and I feel that I have learned a great deal, not only from books but from life itself during this last half year. The assemblies have been fine, the simple prayer by Mr. Parker, the hymn, by all, all of this has had its influence. The spirit in which that school has started its work is commendable and I feel very happy to think I have been one of its first graduates. Today the 12th class had the pictures taken. I am so glad that I came this afternoon so that I could be on it. Mildred Anderson, and I are real good friends. We stood together.

There was some happy news for me when I came today. We had an English test last Friday and I got the highest mark in the class. Mr. Sperlin was up in the room today and I asked him if I passed in that test and he said, “Yes, you got 89, the highest in the class. That was the highest mark in the two schools on the same set of questions.” Well and good I am glad of that. I have worked rather hard on my English, not so much for the grade but because I was very much interested in it. Mildred got 85 this time. For fun I will put down my marks again as I guess they will be.

English             88

Oral                   90

Civics                90

Bkkg                  85

Physiol              90

I wish I could get 90 in everything but that will be impossible I suppose.

Jan. 22, 1915

Well, now I am through and my marks were not far off.


English            88

Oral                 90

Civics              90

Bkkg                90

Physiol            90

My average is 90 and my name will be on the honor roll.

Jan. 23, 1915

Last night I went to Nordlandslaget but I did not enjoy anything, so sick and nervous was I. Andrew and Martha came in and went to the meeting and they stayed all night with us. Martha slept with me and Andrew with Peter.

During the night I got so sick and just slept a few hours. This morning I was in such a gloomy spirit and I could not help but cry. They came in and said they would get a good doctor and told me not to worry. Peter tried to phone up Dr. Quivley but could not get him. So here I am an invalid God in heaven, it seems hard. I don’t know if I can be cured either. Really it just worries me awfully. Now I feel so tired. Guess I will go to sleep.

I am getting worse. The doctor has not come because we cannot find him. I am so weak now I cannot hardly do anything. My dearest brother Peter is calling up steadily. Oh, what a comfort. If I ever get well I don’t know how to repay him for his patience and goodness. While I was sleeping last night, my dreams were those of pain. I dreamt that when I put my hand over my chest I felt the head of a hat pin sticking out and with a great deal of pain I drew it out. But after I got it out the pain was not removed, resulting from the sting. This kidney and bladder sickness is very dangerous and I feel how I get worse all the time. I just wonder if it has turned to Bright’s Disease, that is incurable and results in death—Oh, —

As I lie here and think, the cause of it all is the fire. That night when I had to rush out half naked, I froze and since that time my kidneys have been very active and as I presume broke down from overwork.

Jan. 24, 1915

Today I feel much better. As soon as Peter went to Dr. Quivley and got some medicine, I started to improve. I am not well yet but don’t have any pains. Peter is cooking dinner, veal roast and potatoes and it smells good so I am sure it is going to taste fine. Louis was up this morning and wanted us to come down for dinner. I slept well last night and have a good appetite today. I feel much happier today and life has resumed a brighter aspect. Johanna is coming up this afternoon and so is Knute so I will have some company.

Jan. 26, 1915

It is awfully monotonous to be sick. I have been in the house and have not been out of doors since Friday, and oh, I am getting so tired of it. When I get up after having lain down a while and start to do some work then I get to feel faint and blame myself for not staying in bed. Hanna came up to see me yesterday. She felt very sorry I was sick but thought I would soon get well again. Well I hope I do because this is awful. So much that I wanted to do too. Wash clothes, fix up the house, go visiting, some sewing, etc. Study some books, all of it got to for awhile anyway. I just wonder if it will hurt me to go out but the trouble is that it is awfully cold and if I freeze, I am apt to get worse.

Jan. 27, 1915

Today I got up and to my sorrow I got worse again. I cleaned the house, swept and dusted all over and was just thinking of mopping when Mrs. Hansen came up with the children. I fixed some lunch and then went down and bought meat and when I came home I could not help but cry because I felt so bad and disappointed. Marie Hansen, Knut’s little niece is staying here now over night but I guess she will have to go home as I have to stay in bed.

Jan. 28, 1915

I should not kick and complain but yesterday when I discovered I got worse from being up and going out I felt so blue, I could not help crying. My dearest Knut came up and he tried to cheer me up the best he knew how. Really I have not been sick so long for pretty near twelve years that time I had pneumonia and afterwards whooping cough, but I guess this is worse than both of those. I must send the little girl back with Johanna today. She wanted to stay till Sunday but I guess she cannot do that. I am so afraid she’ll get lost running around here. I am getting weaker all the time.

8 o’clock P.M.

Another long day gone, but oh, I dread the night, those awful long nights. If I sleep the dreams are horrible and don’t rest me at all. Johanna was up here today and Hilmar Hendriksen came soon after she came. I didn’t send the girl home. She is still with me. Goodnight.

Jan. 28, 1915

The night was far from pleasant. I could not sleep for a long time. Finally I got up and took one kind of medicine but that did not help much but I slept for a couple of hours. When I woke up about one o’clock, I got up and took another kind. That was just what I needed. The kidneys started to work the pains and agony left and I soon fell asleep. Today I never got dressed at all and Peter has brought me two meals already, breakfast and lunch. Knut is coming up this afternoon. The girl’s mother is coming to bring her home. Marie could not enjoy it here anyway when I am so sick.

Jan. 29, 1915

I feel much improved today and believe that in a few days I shall be all well again. Oh, I am so happy to think of that! Of course I must be very careful not to strain myself at all but I know the consequences so I will take precaution. Today the time has gone fast because I have been reading “The Three Beauties” a book I got five years ago for Xmas from Signe Olason.

Jan. 30, 1015

Well, today is Sunday but I feel so tired. Guess I will go to sleep.

At 6:30

Yes, I slept and now I feel pretty good again. I was up a little bit today and did a little housework and cooked the dinner although I was in bed most of the time. I just tended to it once in a while. This forenoon I read quite a bit but this afternoon I have been resting completely. Johanna called up and asked how I felt. She was going out this evening. Last night she was to a dance and had a dandy time she said. Oh dear how I wish I was able to be up and go out again – but then I should not complain when I am not any worse. My doctor is sick with pneumonia so I could not get him if I wanted to. Then Caroline Arntson phoned me up and inquired how I was. She says she is coming up this week and see me. How good it makes me feel when somebody comes to see me now. Knut is coming up this evening and it will be a comfort to see him. I am so glad Johanna is coming to stay tomorrow. It will be such company for me. I realize now what it is to be confined to a bed, almost helpless, weak and feeble. How long the days seem. Weeks before used to fly, now they really seem like months. In the afternoon just as the sun is sinking and the darkness gradually comes, I feel a blessed peace. Serene and happy thoughts come to my mind and I almost forget where I am. There is a poem that just came into my mind, From the Skylark by Shelley, “In the golden lightning of the Sunken Sun. O’er the clouds which brightening Thou doest float and run, Like an embodied joy whose Race is just begun.”

This book, this dear little book is a great comfort to me. Here I can write just what this heart dictates, sorrow or joy, despair or hope. I feel rather hopeful tonight. Feel that I soon will be better and able to enjoy this great wonderful, beautiful world.

Feb. 1, 1915

Johanna came today and is going to stay here for a while. I don’t feel very good today. Oh, this disease it seems as if it never will go away. I cannot help but get discouraged.

Feb. 3, 1915

I have been up quite a bit today, was sitting out in the kitchen in a rocking chair and read “History of American Literature” by Higginson and Boynton. I have covered over a hundred pages since yesterday afternoon so I feel quite satisfied. Also started to read “General History” so I am making good use of these days and weeks in bed. Johanna is so nice and kind, takes care of the house and cooks good relishes for us and visits, talks and jollies with me so time goes real fast. Strand and Hilmar Hendriksen, a boy from Hemnes, were up here last night. We had quite a jolly time almost too much disturbance, I laughed so hard pretty near went into hysterics from his amusing conduct, speech and singing. Johanna went a few minutes ago to get some of her clothes and then she will visit Hanna on her way back again.

Feb. 4, 1915

Today I have been up and for the first time for over a week fixed lunch. I have been in bed most of the time however. This afternoon I have read rather laboriously in the Ancient History. I read about the Egyptians and found it very interesting. The more I think about it, the more I realize my need of reading and learning. My health is of primary importance and I try not to exert myself in any way. It is queer what training does. When I read in this history or anything I follow the same rigid rules of concentration as I had to do when I studied a lesson for school I am very anxious of attaining some knowledge of Ancient and Medieval History, beside a lot of other things equally important.

Feb. 5, 1915

Oh, dear, I am not positive whether I am better or not, but I have been up quite a bit today. Johanna has company tonight. Mr. Hanson, a student from the U. W. who lives in Tacoma. Well, now it is nine and I think I better turn out the light and go to sleep. Goodnight.

Feb. 6, 1915

Saturday again. Last night Andrew and Martha came here and gave us their wedding pictures, we all got one each. They look fine, both look so sweet. She has a lovely white embroidered dress, a broad ribbon tied around the waist, a pretty bouquet of white flowers held in her arm. A long soft bridal veil adorns her and on her head are tiny roses fastened to the veil. Andrew has flowers in his buttonhole and his whole appearance carries the impression of a minister; that may be partly due to his glasses. I just love the picture and as soon as I get money, I shall have it framed in. They were going to Vashon Island to visit and Martha would probably get some chickens for their farm in Gig Harbor.

I have been studying very laboriously in Ancient History and have just read the very interesting accounts of the Ancient Greek and the Siege of Troy.

Sunday Feb. 7, 1915

Johanna and I are sitting here writing at the kitchen table. She writes to Aunt Johanna and I am going to write to Aunt Anne. Peter is working on his car which is his chief interest. The weather is beautiful today, mild and sunny. I have been walking out on the porch but I got tired and went and lay down for a while. Convalescing is rather a slow situation to be in, but then I cannot get discouraged as the mind and nerves have a whole lot to do with it. Peterson and Strand came up in the afternoon and we had pretty goo time, only I had to stay in bed so much of the time.

Feb. 8, 1915 Loose Page

O my God I implore thee ease my pain! It certainly is a fright, what people can do to injure themselves with Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday—all those days I was up a little bit each day, taking care to go to bed in right time. But yesterday I got up for breakfast and instead of returning to bed I helped with the dishes, polished my shoes and about 11 o’clock, Johanna and I walked down to 23 & K St. When I came home I sat up until 3 o’clock. Then I was unable to sit up any longer and went to bed. Mrs. and Mr. Koch came up to see me and were glad to see me up but now—my goodness—I am worse than I ever was, can scarcely walk and in bed. I cannot even rest my back by lying on any side but have to lie still all the time.

Feb. 10, 1915

Thank goodness I feel much better today after may relapse Monday. I have been in bed all day except I was out just a little while on the porch. Johanna is studying English now and is doing fine under my tutorship. Strand is coming up tonight to visit me. He was here yesterday afternoon but then I felt quite bad so he was so disappointed.

Feb. 12, 1915 Loose Page

Sick in bed today so I cannot hardly move but I thank God I don’t have such awful pains as I had last night. Yesterday morning we called the doctor and he came up here about noon. He was a short rather fat man and awfully kind and he examined me thoroughly and said it was the right kidney which was defected. He wanted me to come down to his office so that he could examine me still better and in a quite good spirits Johanna and I went down there. I felt sort of queer to go out and quite weak but enjoyed the trip out. We had to wait a while until the doctor got ready. But then he asked me in. I took off most of my clothes and the examination proceeded. In the beginning it felt bad but I stood it bravely, without much noise. He put a tube through my bladder and through the ureter, into the kidney. I didn’t feel it so hard until he took an x-ray picture, but then the thing in there started to ache. Thinking it was due to the x-ray, I thought the pain would soon cease but the awful pain continued from 4 to 8:30 and moans and groans all the time. He took us home in his car. I kept on moaning till 8:30. But then the pain eased up and I quieted down. The doctor called up and asked how I was about nine and I asked if it was necessary for him to come, but when I was improving he didn’t come. Knut phoned up and Peter told him I was awfully sick and then he came up. Today I have had just occasional pains and have ate some too.

Feb. 18, 1915

Oh, I am so sad and feel so blue, sad clear into the root of my heart. The improvement is very slow and I get so lonesome but I am too weak to talk much. Johanna is very kind and cheers me up and fixes so nice for me and so is Peter. Saturday morning the 13th, I was very, very sick, faced death, yes, really thought I would die – what a fearful feeling to die so young in life, but I prayed to God that he may spare me more years and a more restful feeling came over me and my heart quieted down. It was beating so dreadfully fast, it felt as if it would jump out of the chest. They called the doctor and he came up but when he came, my pulse was nearly normal. But the pains, the awful wracking pains were still in my back and side. They gave me two little pills to quieten (sic) me down and I did, only I could not sleep. Johanna sat up till six in the morning and the next day I was very nervous. Knut was up twice yesterday and may come down tonight again. I feel better now. This dear book of mine, this writing, has cheered me up. My God help me so that I may speedily recover from this sickness. Thy will be done.

Fri. Feb. 20, 1915

I am singing. I am so happy, happy clear into my heart. My mind rejoices in as I now think a quite healthy body. Thank God I am very much improved and I think I will soon be able to be up, just think of it and be able to go out again and be with the rest. It seems too good to be true. Thank Heaven. I hope it is.

Feb. 26, 1915

The sun is shining just beautifully this morning and I am singing I must say because I can hear no birds but I am sure every little bird is swelling his lungs with praise for the coming spring. Springtime is the time for love, love among birds, among other creatures, love also between human beings. Springtime with its beautiful flowers scenting everywhere, the trills of the birds in the woods is more than enough to kindle the love in any young heart for another. Everything is growing, everything is swelling under the strong warm influence of mother sun. The eastern sky is just aglow with a beautiful golden encircling the snow-white Mt. Tacoma. This is the end of February and just another month and Easter time will be here and then it will not be long before the summer is here.

Feb. 27, 1915

Another morning, just as pretty as yesterday and bringing with it more hopes and happiness for me. I slept well last night and I feel fine this morning although I don’t dare to get up yet but I am sitting up in bed propped up with pillows. Johanna just brought me my breakfast consisting of mush, milk, toast and one egg. So I surely have a nourishing breakfast. Today is Saturday. But not the Saturday for me with its work and industry, but a quick rest something which I am now thoroughly tired of. Next week on Monday or Tuesday, I am going to get up and sit up in a chair for a while, if I keep on improving at this rate. Tomorrow is Mrs. Koch’s (formerly Mrs. Brandes) birthday and I wish she would come to see me. Last year on her birthday, Strand and I walked over to her house and as she was out I opened the door with my old key and walked in, telephoned down to the restaurant and told her we were up to her house. We made a fire while we were waiting for her and when she came home I gave her a little box of homemade candy. Then we played cards, 500, I think and had a real nice time. This year things have changed, she has a nice home and a good husband and they are very happy. If they come up tomorrow, they come up in the Rio, a dandy car they bought last fall. Now I see what changes have come in a year’s time to her and it makes me happy for her sake. She always was so kind to me and we got along so well together.

I cannot help but wonder where I will be and what I will be doing next year by this time. It will now longer be school that will be keeping me but I am free now and as soon as I get strong, I will look around for work. There are so many things that I would like to have money for, I don’t have any clothes for spring so I will have to get a new supply altogether.

I have been talking a whole lot with Johanna, in some instances too much. People should keep some things to themselves and I will try to do better for the future. Why should other people be vexed with one’s troubles petty or big? Having been sick and in bed for weeks, it is only natural that I should have few subjects and few interests upon which I am centering all my thoughts. The mind has been dulled, the reasoning lessened and the senses tender and acute. So my feelings are easily buried and I cannot keep anything to myself. My imagination makes a mountain of a little hill and I consider myself most unhappy at times. But why should I write all this, it will all change when I get well and get out among people. What a treat it will be to be real alive not merely eating and sleeping as I have been doing for the last five or six weeks it is now since I had to stick in bed.

This life is queer after all, sometimes things look very misty and all of a sudden, the sun shines behind the clouds and peeps forth and then everything is bright and cheerful and we see that it all has been to our own good, to our advancement in life. After this I will know what it is to be sick and have to lie in bed, day after day, week after week. The patience is put to a test and a deeper sympathy and a clearer insight into other’s sufferings cannot help but come through my own. Before I never knew what it meant really to possess health but now I realize that unless we have good health there is little happiness. How precious a word of cheer and a thoughtful act to a sick one, and how hard to receive a rude word even if spoken thoughtlessly and unintentionally. This has been a lesson to me and I hope that I will be able to do for others as lovely as they have been to me in my illness.

Feb. 27, 1915

The light and sunny morning turned into a cloudy afternoon and now it is raining but not very hard, just drizzling a little. Peter was home for lunch and we started to talk about California and about a trip to San Francisco if the times are good. One night I dreamt Mr. & Mrs. Koch so real. I went up to their house and was received heartily. Then I told them I came to say goodbye, I was going to San Francisco. They told me to wait for them, they would be ready in a little while as they were also going and we would keep company. So we went down there on the boat. I was only a dream but it started us thinking that maybe there could be such a possibility as them asking me to go with them. Oh, it certainly would be grand to go. Such a lovely trip. Peter is figuring to go and take Johanna along with him and probably two others will go with them. They surely will have a good time. Of course it takes lots of money but if times are good the money would be well spent as the pleasure and memories of such a trip would be most pleasant to think of in after life.

Feb 28, 1915

Sunday morning and the day is dark and gray but my spirits are light and happy because today I am going to get up for awhile and sit in the front room. Johanna will make a fire now so it will be nice and warm in there. She went to show last night with a nice young man and when she came home she gave me a box of candy which he had bought for the “poor little sick Ella at home.” I thought it was awfully nice of him. I am now sitting up in bed writing this after I had my breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup. Peter expects to get his car ready today after many weeks of hard work on it and if he does, Johanna and Einar, Peter and his friend will go out riding. This afternoon I expect some visitors will come up here, maybe Hanna will come, and others. Strand of course will be up here.

Feb 28, 1915 Later in the day

I am not happy, my heart is like ice. Knute came up this afternoon and staid in the bedroom for awhile but I don’t know what came over me, I could hardly talk to him, just a few words here and there and I felt my heart getting excited and I told him to call Johanna. He went onto the kitchen and I told Johanna that his presence rather annoyed me and we didn’t know what to do about it, whether it is due to my illness or not I don’t know. When she went, he came back and he was very pleasant, asked how I was feeling. “You don’t look right to me, today, something seems to be on your mind.” Well I didn’t know just what to say and I said that I was just resting. When he asked if he should come back this evening, I told him that I was going to sleep. “All right,” he said in a sweet voice. He kissed me good-bye and went away.

I could not just state how I feel happy or sad, surely not happy, but that may be my own fault. He certainly tried to be kind today and I rejected all his kindness and was like ice.

Sunday night, 7:30 o’clock, Feb 28, 1915

Dearest Knute,

I know just how you feel now and I know it was all my fault. Still with the best of my intention I could not have acted differently but I don’t blame you, you were very kind today and I remember it well and will always remember it. Someway or other my heart just froze that night we had our last misunderstanding and your kindness and kisses could not melt it. Don’t take anything up in a wrong meaning what I may say here because I am lying down thinking all about it and I have no grudges, no harsh feelings for you and I am sure you have none for me. I am used to expressing my sincerest thoughts on paper and I put my heart, soul and feelings in to it. We never really talk much with one another, what we say don’t amount to much and maybe the only times when we have seen glimpses of one another’s true character has been in the moments when we have had what we both call a “quarrel” which strictly speaking we have never had a real quarrel but since we have such warm feeling for one another, maybe the slightest misunderstanding had been looked upon as real trouble and our feelings have been hurt. I am going to show you this letter and I feel sure you will understand my point of view even if you don’t agree with me. We all have different minds and different thoughts and it cannot be expected that our view of life should be the same. It may be that I am queer and expect too much but time and again I feel something lacking in our happiness even though to all appearance it seems to be perfect. Just now the phone rang and I thought maybe it was you that had come home and heard that I had phoned up, so I thought I would answer it and tell you not to feel so bad, but it was Mrs. Boyne and she told me to go right to bed again. Well back to my subject again. You know Knute, that in order to be happy ourselves, we must make others happy. We can never be happy, never be satisfied as long as we are selfish and only think too much of oneself. But we must overlook the faults of others and forgive. This life has many hard lessons in it to learn for us all and that is one of the main ones, as we always are in contact with somebody else. Again I must warn you this applies to everybody to me as well. It may be at times that I have not been enough overbearing with you but time and again, your talk and actions have disappointed me and jarred the foundation of love and admiration most severely. And it has set me thinking that maybe we were not the one for another, that we would not be happy together, that probably a union would be a fatal mistake to us both.

But thinking it all over and looking back over our courtship, I realize that some of your faults (excuse my frankness) are not faults you really can help but rather due to a difference in the training and a difference in the influence of people with whom you may have been cast in life. At times you may have been a little rough and tumble but I know in my heart that you have not meant it, but of course all words have meaning and the meanings may be various if so carefully weighed and sifted. This sickness, this long continued stay in bed may have made me very touchy and disagreeable at times. I know it because I have felt blue and lonesome in spite of all efforts and in my mind gone over everything and thought everything over ever since we started to go together and wherever a quarrel had appeared, I had stopped and made a mountain of a little hill. Summing it all up, I had concluded that I did not love you and would not be happy with you. Of course in such moments my own spirits have not been happy but sad and I have tried to reconcile myself that in time I would get over it—but then just at that moment I could not help but see you in a light which reflected your true nature, your manliness, your honesty, carrying with it your high respect, your deep, sincere and pure love for me. Then I cannot help but feel ashamed of myself and realize that I am myself the cause of my own unhappiness. Being in a mood of vexation and troubled thoughts like that for days, it was only natural that I should not be able to look at you or talk to you today.

Because I am not able to put on, I have to act the way I feel toward you, I cannot put my arms around your neck without my heart going with it. So although I made you feel bad, I don’t regret it now because I could not have acted differently. You were put to a hard test today and I say to your credit that you acted nobly, you did all you could to cheer me up and my brief statements you took calmly and answered sweetly. I am glad I told you not to come up tonight. It gave us time to think things over. Maybe a little more thoughtfulness and less selfishness on the part of both of us will again make us very happy for the future.

Now, sweetheart, I must quit, I have written a great deal but I hope I have not done any harm to myself, as that would be bad for us all. Now I hope you forgive me and don’t think I am hard hearted and cruel for acting as I do at times. I have my faults and we all have but we must daily forgive and forget.

So good night sweetheart and I wish I could kiss you and put your cheek to mine and say: “Don’t worry darling, I still love you.” Your own little sweetheart, Ella.

March First 1915

A new month has begun today. This is the beginning of the second new month that I have had to remain in bed. Today I feel happier I suppose it is because I have made Knute happy again. Poor boy, he was so sad when he left yesterday, he could hardly find words to express himself. He told Johanna he had done his best and still I lay there without looking at him. He phoned up this morning at 9:30 and I told Johanna to tell him to feel good today. Then he asked when I wanted him up and I said tonight or tomorrow night. I would be real glad to see him. His voice changed at once and he felt so happy again, J said. So does Ella, I guess his and mine must be dependent on each other.

March 1, 1915

Dear little Boy:

How is my sweetheart today? You don’t have to tell me. I know you are driving around just as happy again as a lark. It is pleasant to have sunshine after rain, is it not? You were very thoughtful to call up this morning and it paid to do so didn’t it? These girls are very changeable anyway. One day they seem like stones and the next day they are surprisingly soft again. Well, I suppose you ask now how the girl feels. Has she not also changed a little bit or does her face still look grave like Pompeii’s statue? If you could look in here you could see her smiling and her eyes sparkling and looking as happy as she did in the days of old. What is the reason has she got jolly company who are joking and jesting and keeping her in good humor? No, she is all alone, only the clock ticking in the house and the noise of the pencil on the paper to break the stillness of the house. Outside a little ways below the carpenters are hammering on a new noise, and the sound of children’s merry voices come through the open windows. Just now a rooster crowed and he is answered by another one and it sounds as if he wants to keep up the cheerful talking with his close neighbor. Now I think “Jon Blund” is coming and I shall receive him with a little afternoon nap. Goodbye Dearie.

March 2, 1915

How is my sweetheart today? Just fine and dandy, I am sure. Hurrying to get through so he can be early ready to see his best girl. Yes, and his best girl is lying here wishing the time was here when a certain young man would come up and stand smiling in the doorway and come over to the bed, bend down and kiss her good evening. Then she would put her arms around his neck and make him happy in turn. Well, So long for today.

Wed. Forenoon, March 3, 1915

Honey boy,

I suppose you are getting tired of reading my letters now but please don’t for I just love to write them. There are no words neither in English, Norwegian, German or Chinese that could express how happy I felt last night and how sappy I feel today. But what’s the use of telling you this, “Old Bachelor” as you are and who probably never have enjoyed a kiss or smile from a woman’s face. But all the same, maybe you have some tender feelings stored away far down deep in your big heart that would be roused up by this little scribbling of mine.

You know, I have been all over the Puget Sound nearly, travelling in rowboats and steamers, sitting comfortably in parks and on logs and benches. I have also had a most delightful trip up to the mountain, seen the waterfalls. There I had a narrow escape from being run over by a locomotive while I was most generously protecting a poor stray lonesome boy from getting soaking wet from the pouring rain by holding an umbrella over him, being all the time in the best of spirits in spite of the misery and dangers prevailing. But this is not all, I took the reigns and drove two wild fiery steeds, threatening to run away in mad gallop and endanger the life of two, myself and my humble servant who being scared stiff, hardly could move or say a word only uttered strange sounds. All this I have been through this forenoon and I feel just as happy as happy could be. Now if this description of my bravery and heroism, my clashing quickness in time of danger should not inspire you with admiration, I don’t know what way to gain it.

I hope you pardon my boldness, but I have to be frank and tell you that I still have the hope that you will come and take me out soon if you haven’t already found an old maid you care for. I have already planned for the spring and summer all kinds of trips around the world. As far as Gig Harbor, by steamer, (it would be too far to walk) and a thrilling buggy ride to Puyallup. Also we would go out fishing and see who could catch the fewest fishes. These we would fry on the beach and eat with a loaf of stale bread and cold potatoes. That would surely taste good, would it not?

Being that I am busy and have no more time to waste, I will soon close. Only I want to say that I hope you are feeling fine and do not drive the wind out of the mules in utter despair, as that would break your own heart.

Hoping that next to Prince and Queen, I could hold the second place in your heart, I remain your old time friend. EDB

Wednesday Afternoon

Dearest naughty Boy:

I think you are extremely selfish by claiming all my thoughts for today. I lie down to sleep, try to write, try to read, try to do almost anything, there you are in my way, either in the past with its sweet memories of happy times, or in the future with its bright prospects for the pleasure of going out with you to different places of recreation. To be out in the sunshine again, breathe the clear spring air, see the flowers sprout and hear the birds sing again – oh, what a thrill of pleasure only the thought of it gives me. It would seem as if I was starting a new life, to be myself once more, only perhaps with a little more patience, a little more tenderness and love learned in the many weeks of sickness, it would seem like a new beginning in life. Life – how much that short word includes, how much it means. We are brought into this world, nourished and fostered by kind, sweet mothers whose watchful eyes and tender feelings are always for her little boy, her little girl. All the times, the patient laboring father struggles to provide enough to make the way easier for their children than it has been for themselves. Time goes on, we go through school and learn the lessons prepared by good teachers. The best possible training and preparation is given us that they can afford. Then some day we say goodbye to the good old home, to mother and father and go out to try our luck in the world. New surroundings new people, new work, it all has its wonders to the young mind. The character is gradually developing and molding all through this and some day we find ourselves grown up, with our individual thoughts, our own view of life at a certain position in the world. We have our hopes and fears, sorrows and happiness. Through it all we cannot get away from our own self but have to face bravely whatever comes. Ever since the understanding and the mind is clear, we know that some day we shall meet a person different from the rest of our friends who shall share all our joys, all our sorrows in life. How that person is we never know, never could picture, we only have a certain vague idea how we should wish him to be. Upon the disposition, the character of such a person depends the happiness for the rest of our lives. What an exceeding joy it gives the heart when such a person is found, is loved. Your darling Ella.

Thursday A.M., March 4, 1915

What a beautiful sunny morning. Everything seems to be alive with joy for the coming spring. I hear the birds sing in the trees in the gulch below the house. They quiver so cheerfully and hop from bush to bush. They are making love and maybe that they are just now talking about building a cozy little nest for the next generation. The pussy willows are out in their full glory and Johanna is going to bring some in for me.

Yesterday afternoon, Carmen Curren and Arlie Coman called on me. I had not seen Arlie since last summer and I think she had changed quite a bit, looked very sweet and pretty.

Mystery page—no date—folded down the middle longwise, ends abruptly mid-sentence. Seems to go with Ella’s feelings evidenced here, but not sure:

The storm has passed. The wild enthusiasm has calmed down and I am again at peace with myself. I have searched my mind for an explanation of this sudden burst of happiness which threatened to absorb all my interests, all my energy, and I see clearly that it had to come. It was only a reaction after that many days of worry. My spirits had been pressed, my soul had been imprisoned by the dark grip of too much worldly philosophy and selfishness and when at last it rebelled, when the chains broke, my soul rejoiced as a bird suddenly set free from that trap. I could not control my feelings, it was like a mass of ice melting in the spring, then swelled into a large river and leaped over the edges and flooded the fields. The sun kept on shining, the whole mass of ice melted and the river again flowed in its usual way. So it is with me, now I feel satisfied, serenely happy. Just as the rushing overflowing river might do much damage, so might my exciting youthful feelings do some harm if let loose for any length of time. It is very often that the love which seems to be the warmest and to all appearance is the deepest, such love is easily cooled when the real test comes, when trials and disappointments knock on the door. But the true love which comes from the heart find other ways of revealing itself as well as in sudden bursts of raving feeling. The love which goes out to others tries to console, tries to help and comfort wherever it sees an opportunity. Not before a person has reached such a development could he ever truly love and be happy. So it is with the love between a man and woman, it may show itself in several different ways than the mere sexual feelings. The giving up of …… and so it begins and ends.

Friday 10 a.m., March 5, 1915

Good Morning Sweetheart,

I don’t know what to write about this morning but just thought I had to write you a letter anyway. It has been such a long time since you were up here, not since Tuesday night, more than two whole days. Still I cannot expect to see you for seven long hours and I don’t know how the time will go. Last night I got up for a little while as they had fire in the front room stove and I tried to call you up but the line was busy all the time. It was nearly eight o’clock anyway so I thought it was useless, as I knew you would go to the lodge.

The weather is nice this morning and I am lying here all alone listening to the noise from without. I enjoy to hear the birds sing and trill in the treetops. Their voices sound so happy and cheerful that they make me happy too. So long. See you later. EDB.

Tacoma, March 8, 1915

Today is a beautiful day, bright and sunny and I am getting to feel worse and worse that I am not able to go out but have to lie quietly in bed. It seems as if this sickness drags out so long and my patience is surely getting tried. One week I have the hope that the next I will surely be able to be up and when that week comes, I am still in bed and if I try to get up, I soon have to return to bed as my back gets very sore. I don’t know exactly what is the condition of the kidneys as we haven’t seen the doctor for a week but time and again the urine contains small particles. I don’t know whether that is due to the peeling of the tracts, or the original sickness of the kidneys.

Yesterday was Sunday and in the afternoon Hanna came up with her babies. I enjoyed very much to have them here and I played with the baby girl. Arvid is such a dandy boy now, getting so big and nice. Hanna seemed to like it very much up here and she stayed till about 8 o’clock. Strand came up about six and they kept on talking out in the kitchen. I was very pleased to see Hanna get along so well with him and that they had a pleasant chat together. He has not always been in a very high esteem from their side. I think that was due to the fact that they never learned to know him. After this we can go and visit there on Sundays and feel at home. He was talking with Arvid and they told each other little stories.

I have never realized how good and sweet Strand is before the last week and a half. I suppose that is due to his constant kindness and thoughtfulness. He calls up every day and asks how I feel and if I feel out of sorts when he comes up to see me, he tries to cheer me up by singing for me and so forth. Sometimes I have felt and thought that I would not be happy with him and have rather shrunk from the thought of marrying him. But now I feel sure I would be happy with him even though we would not have such a nice home to being with. He tries to do his best. Last year when he was sick and had to have the two operations, he got heavily in debt and it is very hard to pay off so much beside the running expenses. But he has been saving and has paid off about half of the amount in a year and he will try to do still better. I have never written anything about our plans for the future but of course we cannot get married this year. As I am sick and would not be strong for some time, it probably is just as well that we cannot afford it now. Beside, I have never been out working for my living and it would be a very good experience for me to do so then in the summer of next year we could get married. Maybe by that time I could have a little money saved up so I could buy myself clothes and small things for the house.

March 11, 1915

I don’t know what is the matter, if I am better or worse but I feel rather depressed today. Johanna went down to the doctor and he said the urine was cloudy again. Last week it was quite clear and I had just excellent hopes for a speedy recovery, but now those hopes are shattered and never will get well as long as the kidneys are out of order. The doctor is coming up Thursday to see me himself and I am glad for then I can talk to him and find out exactly how matters are. He told Johanna I should be up a little bit at a time about four times a day. Whether that is better for me than to stay in bed remains to be seen. Today I was up a little bit but I soon felt that I had to lie down again. This kidney sickness certainly is hard to cure and so awfully slow in curing. The days are so beautiful now that I miss more and more that pleasure and the benefit of going out. But I sincerely hope that it is not so bad after all that perhaps in a short time I will be all right again. Even though I get so that I am able to be up and go out, if I am not cured, the disease is apt to come back in a worse form than ever and then maybe I would never get well from it. Oh, what a blessing health is, how good I would feel again to be able to say, “I feel fine and dandy.” There would be nothing that would weight on me like a stone. As long as I am improving and getting better, I feel good and have bright hopes but as soon as the sickness comes back in its old form, I become blue and feel miserable. I can make no plans outside of staying in bed that would come true. For weeks I have been looking forward to a new week to bring health and happiness but that time has not come yet and I do not know when, God alone does. Forgive me God, for complaining, your will be done. But I am young and want to live and living, be well and happy and do some good in this world. If it is thy will, Oh Lord, Help me to be patient and get well.

March 14, 1915

Again it is Sunday. This is the eighth Sunday that I have had to remain in bed and I am not sure that it is the last. The day is rather windy but still it is quite nice outside. Johanna went to church today and took Arvid with her. Today it is Going to Church Sunday and a lot of people go that do not go on other Sundays. I remember last year Andrew, Peter and I went down to Haugen Church on 10th and Tacoma Ave.

The doctor was up last Friday and he said I should get up a little bit during the day and now I am up several times a day although I don’t stay up so long at a time. He said that he was going to wait one week longer and then see how I would be. If not any better by that time, I had to come down to his office and have another injection by a long tube into the kidneys. The thought of it makes me shiver but if that cures me I will stand it bravely because the time is going and I am not much better. I sincerely hope that in a month from now I am cured.

I would like to take the teacher’s examination in June and if I don’t get well soon, I can’t study up for them. For my health’s sake, I don’t dare to read much or strain myself in anyway before I get well altogether.

Friday I was happily surprised by a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Koch and Herman. They brought me a pretty hyacinth with a pink flower and it smells so lovely, I was very happy to see them as I had been waiting for them to come up for the longest time. Hanna was up here with Arvid and the baby last Friday and she seemed to enjoy her visit very much. Strand is coming up this afternoon and Louis & Martha are coming up for dinner.

March 15, 1915

Today is a beautiful day, the sun shines so brightly and it looks like summer outside. I don’t feel very well today and I think that the only cure now is to have an operation and take the diseased kidney out. That doctor lets it go too long and I am afraid that the other one is getting bad too if something is not done soon. This morning the urine was thick with pus and matter and I have such a headache and feel bad. In one way I dread to have an operation but still nothing can be any worse than this lying for weeks without any sign of getting better. I am getting worse and now I have an awful headache and feel pains in my back. I wish Peter was home but I guess he will be home for supper. I don’t like to call the doctor before he comes so he can talk business with him.

Tomorrow is Joh’s birthday but if I don’t get better it won’t be very nice for her. She is going to have a party and I hope that I feel better tomorrow night so they can all have a good time without worrying about me. I got a real nice letter from Christina and I answered it today. Well, I am too tired to write any more, my back feels as if it is burning. Oh, God help me to stand whatever comes? Thy Will be done!

March 16, 1915

How queer it felt to be among so may people again. Today Johanna is twenty years old and we have a dandy party up here. When they were all here I got out of bed and knocked on the dining-room door and went in there. I could not express how I felt by seeing the crowd of people all looking at me and I could just laugh in a queer way and for a minute I thought I could not stand it but would burst out crying. Luckily I controlled myself and sat down in a chair after shaking hands with everybody. We are fifteen her tonight, one Clara Sorby could not come. Mr. Silberg Olsen, Kroksti, Norstad and Strand & Peter. The girls are Marie Lawrence, Miss Vik & Miss Nelson.

March 17, 1915

I am lying all alone now and feel rather tired but still I cannot sleep. How I wish more and more that I was well and out among people again. I am suffering bodily but I am suffering more in my mind. Spiritually I am thrusting for the same good influences which came in every day from higher levels of thought. My mind was taken away from the common every day subjects and carried into better fields of thought and ambition. Now I don’t see many people and the conversation grows stale, only talk about my sickness or about some thing or another. Then in this household we have gotten into the habit of always talking about the boys or girls and marriage. That subject has been discussed through and through. All things in that connection has been brought up again and again. Lying this way, sick in bed and uncertain just when I will be well again, I am naturally weak of will and don’t have much power of resistance. Thoughts come and they dwell longer with me whether they are good or bad. At times I really fear that my morals are getting lessened. But again I have to excuse myself and rely on that I will be the same girl as I always was when I get well again. A diseased condition of the body has a bad influence and causes a diseased condition of the mind. A sound mind in a sound body is a true proverb. As long as I was well and had ambitions, I felt more independent and happy but now the sickness has robbed me of that. I don’t know when I shall get strong again and the future looks rather dark. Then I have a bad fault and that is that I talk too much with J. but…No continuing page to be had.

March 20, 1915

How fine it feels to sit out on the porch in the sunshine. I have felt good today and I am sure I am getting better for I don’t feel much pain when I sit up. The weather is grand, so warm and lovely with little breezes to cool off. Everything smells so nice and fresh. At the distance is Mt. Tacoma capped in snow in the background and then I can see the trees stretching along at the foot. Then across the gulch from here is South Tacoma. The nearest and most prominent building is Lincoln Park High School and many happy memories come to my mind when I look at the stately building. The mailman brought me my Tahoma today and it was with much pleasure that I read the jokes and notes from the two schools. There are lots of stories in it but I will leave those for tomorrow.

8 o’clock. Peter and Johanna went out in the machine and I am sitting alone and in bed. Clara Johnson came over this afternoon. I seemed so nice to see her and she didn’t hear it before yesterday that I was sick or else she would have come to see me long time ago. My eyes feel rather tired now as I have read a great deal today so I better turn out the light and go to sleep. My, I hope that I am really getting better, it would seem so hard to get disappointed this time again. I would just love to go to church on Easter Sunday and if I keep on getting better, I will, but ok, I won’t say anymore. Hard to tell how this disease turns out. Now I feel very tired and sleepy and will lie right down. Goodnight. May God in Heaven be merciful and give me health and happiness. Amen.

March 21, 1915

Sunday morning again and such a beautiful day. I have read the morning paper now and have had my breakfast. This is the ninth Sunday of my illness but I feel better today than I have done any Sunday before and the prospects are brighter of a speedy recovery. I told Peter that he had to take me to church on Easter Sunday which is two weeks from today and I hope that I can go. It is always so nice in church on Easter Sunday that I would just love to go. So nice to hear the music and Easter Songs together with the preaching. Besides I would see lots of people again and get a fine trip out. I am so tickled that I can be out on the porch today instead of having to be in bed all day so when Strand comes up he can sit out on the porch with me. Oh, what a nice change. I got so tired of seeing him only at the bedside. Now I feel quite certain it will not be so very long before I can go out with him just as I used to do.

In the afternoon…

This afternoon I feel sort of heavy hearted again. I have been up several times today but the same old pains and weakness came back and I had to go to bed and rest up. The others just went out for an auto ride. Peter, Johanna, Einar and Louis with his wife and baby, It is now half past three and Knute has not come up yet. I wonder why he doesn’t come. He said he would be here right after dinner but something must have delayed him. Now I will lie down quietly and take a rest.

Monday Morning, March 22, 1915

Another day just as beautiful as yesterday and I feel fine this morning. If it only would keep up like this, I would soon be going out. How delightful it would feel! I can hardly control myself from bursting out in a scream of joy. Knut came about 4:30, he couldn’t have come before as he went out with J. Sather with a load of groceries. After he came we sat out on the porch, I sat in a rocking hair and he on another beside me and read the paper. Then I had to lie down for awhile and after I had rested up, we went and sat down in the front room. Oh, how nice to be in there again instead of lying in bed. We talked about all kinds of things and also about our future. The question of my health was of course the main thing. My God, I wish I was well again.

March 23, 1915

Today is Peter’s birthday and we are going to have a little family party here this evening. I am resting now so I can be up awhile tonight. This afternoon I ventured off the…ends mid-sentence and mid-page.

March 23, 1915

My darling Boy,

Don’t become disappointed over anything I may say in this letter. It is written after I have carefully thought and weighed the subject. I suppose you remember our conversation Sunday night and how we planned without much thought of consequence…here words are erased…. As I told you that night that I didn’t know what to say about it, that if I were well I knew I would think otherwise. Indeed it has never been my plan to let you stand all the expenses of building up a home. No, my dear, I love you too much to be so selfish.

March 27, 1915

Another Saturday but today finds me better than before. The day is beautiful and I am now going to get dressed and go out for my little morning walk. This week I have been out every day except Thursday. Wednesday afternoon I was up pretty near the whole time and we had lots of company. As they all told me how well I looked I overrated myself and sat up and talked with everybody. When they were all gone I was all in and my heart started to trouble me. I couldn’t get enough air and the struggle was just dreadful. For about two hours I gasped and struggled for air while Peter and Johanna were by my side all the time in turns. As Peter called up the doctor. Then I wanted J. to call up K. as I was really afraid of death, such dreadful pains going through my heart. Happily, I quieted down at last and go to sleep. The next day I was extremely weak and found it hard work to breathe and had nothing to eat before lunch when I ate a muffin and a glass of milk.

March 29, 1915

How happy and good I feel today. I have been out so much, even went down to Martha early this morning before 9 o’clock and then I went home about 10. Lay down to rest for awhile and about 11, I started out again and went to see Mrs. Hoagensen, a lady friend of the family. As I felt rather tired I walked home soon and lay down to rest and about 12 o’clock Johanna came home from town where she had been doing some shopping and she fixed my lunch. Now I am sitting in Robinson Crusoe’s Island so called by myself. The place is beautiful; so nice and green and woods all around. It has a splendid view of the mountain and particularly now it is so very clear and white; looks as if fresh snow has just fallen. Then the other stretch of mountains and ridges are very pretty too; a whole chain of peaks and ridges. From here I can see Center Street and all the houses on the other side, also factories and mills. Automobiles are steadily passing and from this lonely place, memories from last summer when we drove out on the same road in our machine come up by seeing these cars. Everything seems to be breathing health and happiness into me. The warm sun sends its rays and heats the atmosphere and also fills my soul with gladness. At my feet diamonds from the fresh rain this morning and all around me are the trees sprouting new leaves on branches and twigs. In the air sounds the little innocent singing of birds who are pouring their hearts out, rejoicing over the coming spring which brings new life to everything.

April 5, 1915

Today is just a beautiful day and Johanna and I are lying out here in the hillside sunning ourselves. She is reading St Elmo and I have been reading a while in the Ancient History but it is rather dry to read it on such a pretty day when the birds are singing all around and I would rather just listen to the different sounds. The train goes by and I enjoy to see and listen to the large engine whistle and the rattle of the coaches. Yesterday was Easter Sunday and for the first time in ten weeks was I able to attend church. Peter, Johanna and I started off in the auto. We met Hanna and Arvid on 23rd and J and took them on as Peter thought we were late.

April 6, 1915

I don’t know what to say now, don’t know whether I am better or worse. Last night I had pretty sharp pains going through my kidneys and afterward the discharge was rather bad. I slept pretty good though and I hope it was nothing serious. But I cannot get away from it that I don’t feel as very good today, rather depressed and dull. My eyelids are heavy and my head also feels heavy. Mr. and Mrs. Koch will be up here to get me and take me downtown as I phoned them up and asked them to come and take me down to the photographer so I can have my picture taken for the Tahoman. I think that I’ll go down and see the doctor while I am downtown and hear what he says about me now. Oh, my God, help me to get well. What an awful disappointment it would be if something was wrong again so I would be worse, now that I have tasted of the pleasure of feeling pretty well and being out again.

The photo below is the one taken for the Tahoman that day:

Ella in Middy Blouse

Tacoma, Wash.

April 19, 1915

Dear Knute,

How do I feel, you asked me. Well to tell the truth I feel far from happy. While I was sick I lay dreaming in my awake hours of the pleasure it would be when I again would be well so that I could go out with you. The mere thought made me happy, joyous beyond words. Every pleasant thought, all my hopes I centered on you—to dream of the future was a delight—to think of our future home and all connected with it – were pleasures I reserved they seemed so precious.

Finally the day came when I went out with you – was it the joy pictured? Was my sweetheart the man I had thought and loved to fasten all my interest on? No, at every stop waiting for the car, at every possible opportunity he drew out a little bag and some paper and like all the rest of the cigarette fiends, rolled, lighted, puffed and puffed on those yellow nasty things which draw the very life out of any young healthy youth. No, I was disappointed, disappointed deep in my heart. I always had the hope that you would quit some day—that you were the master of yourself and of your habits – but no, instead of it getting better, it is continually getting worse. And I see the future painted already in your disinterested behavior. You probably never stopped to think that cigarettes eat the very ambition out of people. When he is troubled, the cigarette smoker starts to puff and instead of sharpening his energy, it soothes the nerves and as the saying is, it all goes up in smoke. So instead of facing problems directly, all of it ends, the energy goes up and comes to an end and thus people become so characteristic at all. (End of page, but end of letter?)

April 27, 1915

It is a very long time since I have written anything. I have been too much occupied with other things to stop to write. This morning the weather is just beautiful and I am sitting out on Robinson Crusoe’s Island. Everything seems to have changed since the last time. The leaves are green and the place seems rather crowded now with trees. A cow is grazing nearby and she was rather surprised to see me. I have read “Der Sivriegersohn” in German now but I am studying it thoroughly now. I enjoy immensely to study German. I am feeling pretty good now a days but I rest up a little in the middle of the day and that gives me new strength.

April 29, 1915

Rain, rain today and cold so it is rather dreary. I am getting sort of lonesome and long for a change, something definite to do but I don’t know if I am really strong enough yet to do much. I really ought to be glad I can stay at home and do as I please. I have been studying German lately and that has occupied me some and I have also read other books. Then I have been down to Hanna a great deal and walked around quite a bit but now I think I will start to do something with my hands for a change—embroider something, maybe that will satisfy me more. If I only was real strong I would go back to school and practice up on the typewriter in the afternoon and take up bookkeeping too, but I don’t know that I could stand it because now I have to go to bed and rest up a couple of times in the middle of the day. Probably if I got a shorthand book I would study some shorthand and practice on that – oh, I don’t know what I really want. I am very thankful I am getting better in health then probably something will turn up. I would like to go out and work after awhile and earn some money so I think I better get a book and practice up. Maybe I could learn some and then hard to tell maybe in June or July, I could get some office work. Now Johanna has a dandy place but as long as Peter isn’t married I have to keep house for him. It would not be right to leave him and I would not do it either as long as I was single, so I would have to get something that I could come home in the evening. But the trouble is that it is such a lot of girls and little work. Well I will have to hope the best—if I only get a few dollars so I can have a few clothes—a coat and a dress which I need so badly, I will be satisfied.

May 12, 1915

It is such a long time since I have written anything for my diary. Really it seems as if when I am well and have plenty of opportunity to write, then I neglect it. Things have been going along pretty well lately, I have been feeling quite well and have been out some too. Last Sunday I was away from Tacoma for the first time in a long time. Peter, Louis, Strand and I went out there on the nine o’clock boat to visit Andrew. We had a dandy boat ride out there and I enjoyed it all immensely. Andrew had such a cozy home out there and nice furnitures (sic.) He also has chickens on the place so he has a beginning for a farm. We had not been at the house very long before it started to rain but about noon it was nice and sunny and Strand and I went out for a little stroll. We walked over to the other side of the road and walked on the decaying logs among the fresh sprouting trees. Sweet memories from the first summer we were out there together came back to our minds and we both felt very happy. Then we walked across the bridge over to the other side and finding a nice spot we sat down. What happy moments! My heart thrilled within me sitting there in his presence out in the beautiful nature. Everything seemed to suggest love and happiness and I smiled and laughed into his face from utter joy. How grand to be out again, to be well and to be in the presence of loved ones. In the meantime, they were preparing dinner for us, and we thought we better go home. Merrily we walked down the slope hand in hand like two happy youngsters. Oh I wonder if life always will seem so bright as it did on that Sunday. When we came up to the house again, the dinner was all ready and we sat down and feasted. Peter and I called on Martha Alvestad before going home. Her husband is now up in Prince Rupert fishing. She has a little baby three months old, a very sweet little thing with lots of nice hair.

When we came to town I went and got my pictures at the Ihrig Studio. (Editor’s note: Yes, it is that photo!) I think they are very good and I am going to send some away. Last night Strand took me to Colonial Theatre, the show was good, pictures from New York slums, called the “Escape.” I can’t help but thank providence for being placed in a fortunate surrounding in life when I see so much unhappiness. Tonight I called up Strand and had a nice chat with him. I am expecting Einar and Johanna up here tonight.

May 19, 1915

On Way to Gig Harbor

I am sitting on the deck of the steamer Atalanta, bound for Gig Harbor.


Photo from Wikimedia

The boat will leave in a few minutes and I am just sitting here watching the other boats coming and going. Here is a constant roar of engines both gasoline and steam. This forenoon, I went shopping downtown and I bought quite a few nice things for myself. I am going to see Andrew and Martha now and help Martha to sew a little bit. They were in town the day before yesterday for the 17th of May celebration and they went home yesterday. I had just a splendid time at the Moore Hall, Monday the 17th. The program was excellent and I enjoyed every moment of it. I really thought it didn’t last long enough even.


The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom in an attempt to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark–Norway‘s devastating defeat in the Napoleonic Wars.

May 30, 1915

Today is Memorial day and Sunday so it is kind of a double holiday. It is half past eight o’clock and I just woke up. I have been sleeping so much so I have a headache but that will go over when I get out. Peter has been out of town up to McKenna doing some painting on a school house both this week and last. Last week I went out to Gig Harbor to visit Andres and Martha. I also sewed on a dress for her, a pink silk dress trimmed with green silk. It looked quite pretty I thought. Andrew gave me nice pink dress goods which I will make up for a pretty party dress after I get my graduation dress done. The money stringency prevents me from getting it as soon as I would like but I hope to get it ready in time for the graduation which will be on June 10th.

Friday night Knute took me up to the Lincoln Park H.S. where they had the class play which was called “Mice and Men” a comedy by Reily. The play was very good and especially interesting to me as I knew the players. I heard Floyd Baker’s voice and Marguerite Hennesy’s – two members of my oral expression class and I could just picture several scenes from our classroom exercises. I think that if I had been going to school this year I would have had one part in it. Knute also enjoyed it. Carmen was up here Friday forenoon with the tickets. It seemed good to see her again, such a very long time since I saw her. She is still going to school practicing on the typewriter and writing some shorthand. At times I wish I was going back to school although it wouldn’t have done much good if I started so late but it would have broken the monotony of a daily routine around the house. I was afraid though that I wasn’t strong enough to both go to school and do the housework and sewing so I had to stay at home. Oh I have done some garden work, I have planted lots of potatoes and some radishes, pulled up weeds, etc. I should have planted more but I haven’t gotten to it. Still I could do it yet it would come up some times this summer.

Then I have been down to Hanna a good deal. Sometimes I have taken care of her baby while she had gone down town.

Two weeks ago, I went out to see Mrs. Adams. She is the same dear old lady. We talked of a number of things and she has great faith in me and she thinks I will be able to do something worthwhile some day. I told her about Strand and she was glad to hear about him and asked more. I had supper with her and then she told me just to hurry as Strand was waiting for me at home. She asked us both to come out sometime as she would like to meet Strand.

Last Sunday Nordlandslaget had their meeting here. We were fourteen altogether and we had a real nice time. Johanna and I served coffee, sandwiches and cakes to them. Next Sunday they are going to meet out in Gig Harbor over to Andrew’s place. Of course it will be more for a picnic and a good time. They figure on eating lots of strawberries out there.

Oh, I must quit now for this time.

Editors note: Purpose of Bygdelags: “To link the past with the present and future”

The “Nord-lands-laget” Bygdelag is one of many Norwegian organizations (Lags) comprised of descendants of emigrants from Norway to North America. Every “Lag”seeks to preserve and strengthen bonds with its home district or community-of-origin in Norway 

(Nord-lands-lag-et) Nordlaqndslaget Av America Og Kanada is an organization of the descendants of immigrants who came to North America from the northern counties of Norway, beginning around the middle of the 19th Century. The “Lag” formed as those immigrants developed a mutual support network for their kinfolk and for the Nordlendinger who would follow to the new world.

Today Nordlandslaget continues in that tradition — networking to sustain the spirit, maintain ties to the homeland and to find connections to those who came seeking opportunity in North America.

Genealogy is a major focus of many lags today. Perseving the culture of the regions thru annual get togethers (Stevnes) that bond the Lag members together now and into the future.

June 1, 1915

Oh, I am not really happy. I am afraid that I am rather degenerating in a moral sense rather than advancing. I have no real interests besides the everyday work and my mind is rather starving for something better and new ideas and thoughts. I am longing to get away for a while, I am longing for a change. But where can I go what could it be? I guess the hearthstone at home will be the most welcome place after all.

June 2, 1915

Oh, I am just sick, really I am so worried. I don’t know what to do. An old agent was around here with a sewing machine and was talking so nice about it and talked about the possibility of me getting a job as a demonstrator for the White Company. Well he talked long and I finally gave him two dollars and he left the machine in the house.

June 11, 1915

My diploma lies rolled up in the mahogany bookcase. My school days are over, even the exercises are over. How many a time during my four years have I looked forward to it and now I can look back upon as a very pleasant day. I thank you God for giving me the opportunity of attending high school to be under such good influences of men and women of high rank and I pray thee God give me opportunity and power to do kindness to others such as have been done towards me. My school days certainly have been pleasant, I have put my energy into my work and I feel that all considered, I have done my best. People have been very, very kind to me and I don’t now how I could thank them all. And especially has Peter, my dearest brother been good to help me through. His encouraging word as well as financial aid has been generously bestowed on me and I hope that when opportunity calls for me to do him favors, I will do them with a cheerful heart. I could not express how much it means to me to have had this chance of an education, but I hope time proves its worth in the development of my character and mental faculties. God spared me in my illness and made me well so I could attend the exercises which at one time I thought I would miss. May God grant that my next years will be spent in the best way.

That I may do good in the world and bring happiness to my associates and other who are lacking happiness. Thanks God for all. May he bless us all. Good night.


We think Ella is in the front row center in a white skirt among those with dark skirts.

Newspaper ClippingGraduates Announced

This did not have a date.

Ella, Bob and Sue Lincoln Graduation Article, 1965 1

Ella Brevick Strand, Robert Strand and Susan Strand Orkney at Susan’s graduation from Lincoln. Her father and grandmother graduated 25 years and 50 years earlier respectively. This clipping also did not have a date but it must have been around graduation time in June of 1965, from the Tacoma News Tribune.

June 25, 1915

I have been crying this morning. Oh, I know I should not do that but I just can’t help it. This kidney sickness is not altogether over yet and it has worried me for some time. I don’t feel much pain in the kidney but it is the bladder which really is the worst. I am afraid that the kidney is still sick and irritates the bladder. Oh, it is hard to have an ailment like that and when I think about all I went through last year, I don’t blame myself for getting out of humor.

Looking for Work            June 30, 1915

For the first time in my life have I been looking for work. I have been looking up the Want Ads in the paper and called up over the telephone in all cases where I could. One nurse girl place I went to see but I didn’t have luck with me I guess, for somebody else got that job. Then I saw a place in the paper last night and I went to see the lady but she wanted to see the other girls today but she got my phone number and she was to call me up in case that she wanted me. I am afraid that my size scares people and makes them think I can’t do anything. Of course, am not so very strong but if I were lucky enough to get a good and light job, I could keep it I think. I really hope I can get it because the lady seemed so sweet and I think I could get along just fine with her. Tomorrow I am going downtown and ask for work in stores or shops. I have a doctor bill to pay and I must earn money. My clothes are in pretty good condition now so if I only earned some money, I could get most of it paid off in a couple of months. The days are getting nice and warm.

That lady I called on yesterday got a girl already, so it’s no use calling her up any more. Then I saw a place in the paper and I called up and that lady was out in Burton. I think that I will go out there tomorrow morning. Well I don’t know if I really should go. At first I suppose that I would be very lonesome but that couldn’t matter so much.

July 1, 1915

Got a Job. This morning I went out to see the lady, Mrs. Jones is her name and she met me at the dock. She appeared to be a real nice lady. She asked me if I could cook which of course I told her I cooked every day. She has a cottage at Burton, a little ways from the landing. It is a real nice beach, perhaps I will be lonesome at first but things like that a person got to put up with. I won’t get a very high salary, only $4.00 a week but that will all help to pay off my doctor’s bill. Then I figure to buy the machine which I have already paid $3 on and that all would require about 5 mo. but I will work three and I figure out that I would then have left about $35 on the machine. But I would have to be very saving all right. No luxury whatsoever.

white rotary sewing machine

This is probably similar to the one Ella paid down on. My mom had one and I learned how to sew on it. I performed the basic functions but you could not stitch in reverse.

Knute was here last night but I didn’t want to say anything about it till I was sure about the job. He phoned up a little while ago and I told him I was going out to Burton to stay 3 months. Well of course he didn’t like it at all. At first he didn’t believe me but thought that I was just joking but I told him it was the gospel truth. He said that I would have to change my plans but nothing doing. He can come out to see me on Sundays and every other Sunday I can go in to town. Of course it will be sort of a change in our own plans as we thought of getting married in August but he has got very little money and I could not expect that he could pay off my bills as well as his own and that would give him time to save up money so we would not have to buy everything on the installment plan. That is all very good but when a person can avoid it, it really is better. I have been packing up my things so in case Peter should go away from town I could get place for them down to Hanna. I think she would make room for them down there.

I really hope that Knut won’t get impossible because I have a good place out there and hard telling when I could get another one as good. It is only natural that it will seem hard to him at first but after we both get used to the absence, it will not seem so hard. Then I will write to him twice a week and that will all help I should think. Deep in my heart I am afraid that something will happen that will cause us to break up but I pray to God that we will both keep true to one another. Love should not, if it is genuine, fade because of absence. My God, direct me to the right path in life. Protect us both my God so we may go your way. Keep us good and pure and, may your blessing fall on us both. Let me keep my health as that is one of the main things in life.


Old postcard showing Burton circa 1910. Vashon College is visible on the top right.

July 3, 1915

Today Hanna and Falk have been married five years and if all goes as planned another one of the family will be married on the same date. Peter spoke last night of going over to Seattle today and get married to Gertrude Pennington, a real nice girl whom he has known only a short time. I was to go along and they were to phone me up but the time is going and they haven’t called up yet.

Peter expects to go back East to live this coming week as there is not work for him here. If Knut can probably buy his furniture so that would be a help for both parties. When I told I was going away he couldn’t hardly believe it. He begged and begged of me not to go that we would get married in August. At last he said that I could go and stay two months and hard telling perhaps when I have stayed there two months, I would be glad to go back to Tacoma and get married. I have pretty near all my things packed up. Yesterday I washed clothes, packed and cleaned up part of the house. This morning I got up a quarter to six and started to work. I scrubbed the rag rugs, ironed some clothes, cleaned Peter’s bedroom and did lot of other things. I feel sort of queer to think that Peter, my dearest brother, is going so far away, but still I feel better to think that he will have a nice sweet wife to take along. I always liked that girl from the first time I got acquainted with her and I feel sure they will be happy together. But what strikes me most right now is that Peter doesn’t phone. Perhaps he changed his mind or Gertrude couldn’t get ready today.

I know I will be happy to think of getting married right away but of course when people don’t have the means it alters the situation.

July 4, 1915

Well Peter called up a few minutes afterwards and told me to meet them down on 11th and Broadway. I left in a hurry but had to wait for them quite awhile. When they came Peter said that he was not going to Seattle as he would be too late, so the affair was going to be right in town. Gertrude and I then went and bought her things. She got a lovely wedding dress already made, a pair of slippers, and a new hat. She looked real sweet in her wedding costume. Then we went up to the courthouse and go the marriage license. From there we walked over to Rev. Hougen and the ceremony took place. As we had to have two witnesses, Esther Houghen, his daughter, was one of them. From there we went to the Brenden Café and had a real nice chicken dinner. After that we took the rounds and visited her sister, from there to Hanna, then to Louis. Knut came up in the evening and he was real dumfounded when I told him. He would scarcely believe it. Now I am going to Mrs. Hansen to dinner with Knut. Peter and his wife went on a picnic.

July 6, 1915

Burton. Dear Knut, I am just ready to go to bed now in a little bedroom. It seems to go nice so far and I am just learning my daily routine. Today there came a little girl who is going to take care of the children and help around a little so that makes it still nicer for me. I have the door and window of my bedroom open so it’s nearly like sleeping outdoors. As I asked Mrs. Jones if there was any danger she gave me the watchdog so I pity the one who will come bothering around here at night. I must go to bed now as I have to get up early. With love, Ella

July 15, 1915

Dockton. I have to write on an envelope I happened to have in my purse. I am now sitting down on the dock here waiting for the boat to go over to Burton. Oh I had such a good time today. I have spent the day with a girl I knew before she was married. Her name was Helene Larson, now it is Danielsen. I met her four years ago. She is a good friend of Marie Lawrence. She is so happy and has such a cozy home and has a little baby girl 11 months old. Dina Danielsen her sister-in-law is married. Her name is Amundsen. I went to see her also. The boat came and I am back at Burton. I went for a walk to the woods and I sat down and wrote a long letter to Knute and now I am going to mail it and to walk back.

July 18, 1915

Oh, I am so happy today. In an hour from now I will be in Tacoma and I don’t have to come back before Monday morning. I got my check for my week’s pay in my pocketbook and I feel pretty good over it. It won’t stay with me long as I have to pay the doctor off some money. I get along pretty good though out here. I can’t complain really. At times I get awfully tired of all the dish washing but it won’t last forever, that’s one relief, of course. Oh, I am so anxious to see Knute, I can’t hardly wait. I hope he is down to meet me or I will be awfully disappointed. Then I want a good dinner because I have a rousing appetite today. The day is just beautiful, couldn’t be more ideal for a day off. Sun is shining so bright, water is smooth and the sky is clear and blue. A sailboat is sailing on the water. If Knute saw that he would wish he was in it because he is very fond of sailboats. I hope I see Johanna today but maybe I don’t. I think they are going up to his sister. I would like to go there anyway.

July 19, 1915

In Hanna’s bed. I woke up this morning at quarter to six and I couldn’t go to sleep again. I feel so good, so thoroughly happy. Knut stayed here till twelve and then he took the 12:05 car home. We were both extremely happy yesterday. I was just wild to see him and be near him and I hardly let him go for a minute at the time but clung to him. He said that he thought in six he would have enough money for us to get married on as he is going to live with his…(missing page.)

To Mr. K. Strand, 904 E. 34th St, Tacoma, Wash. “Burton, July 19, ’15. Hello K. Arrived here at Burton safe and sound this beautiful morning. I am feeling just lovely and enjoyed the boatride this morning very much. Falk has vacation now so they slept till 7 this morning. I woke up at 5:30 but didn’t feel a bit tires. Best regards, EDB. Give me your new address.”

July 25, 1915

Burton. Sunday again and I am now sitting by the roadside resting. Knut is here today and I can be with him until 5:45 when the boat leaves. It is now about eleven o’clock.

August 1, 1915

I am just ready to leave for Tacoma. The boat is coming across from Dockton. This morning I took a swim before getting ready. Goodbye.

August 2, 1915

While I was waiting for the car, I went over to see Mrs. Arntson on 21st and K. She was very glad to see me and I talked with her till the car came. She asked me to come again when I come to town. Her son was home. I saw him eating breakfast in the kitchen with Mr. J. M. Arntson. Mrs. Arntson is a very nice sweet lady I think.

I wrote a little to my Aunt Anne but I haven’t finished it yet so can’t mail it. I don’t know I feel so queer about her, like something special was the matter. I hope that everything is all right.

Str. Verona. After a happy time in Tacoma, I am now going back to work. I don’t feel so blue about it either. Myrtle Anderson, our former nurse girl, is a young but sensible girl and I am always glad to see her. This morning I phoned up Johanna and she was feeling fine. She went out with Harry Hanson yesterday and has had a fine time. I am so glad for her sake because Einar could never make her happy. Next Thursday Dina or Mrs. Amundson from Dockton and I are going to Tacoma and visit Hanna. She was one of the first girls I met in Tacoma. Now she is married and has a little girl three years old. Last Thursday I was over in Dockton and saw her and had a real nice time. If Myrtle stays in Northilla a week from next Thursday I am going to see her and spend the day. It is just a half an hour’s walk to Dockton and I could walk over to Dockton and visit there too. I am so glad the time goes as fast as it does and I am getting strong and well so it does me a whole lot of good to be out in the country like this.

August 2, 1915

I came in to town yesterday and Knut was down to meet me. We went up to his sister for dinner and stayed there all afternoon and she wanted me to stay all night but of course I wanted to see Hanna. Knut and I then walked from Sixth and K over to Hanna because I wanted to as I haven’t had a good walk in the evening. I certainly was happy yesterday, almost wild. Mrs. Hanson made it cozy for us and I feel quite at home there If everything goes as planned, Knut and I will be married the first Sunday in September that will be on September the fifth of September. I am looking forward to it and it seems as if the time won’t go fast enough to suit me. Knut bought the bed, lange (sic) and heater from Peter so we have that and paid for. I think we will be able to get along on what he…(missing page.)

August 15, 1915

I feel very blue tonight. I phoned up Heurts and Johanna has had operation for appendicitis and had a very bad case too. Poor girl. I feel so sorry for her. She was very weak the nurse said, so I thought it better not to go up to see her before in the morning. Darling girl, I do hope she gets along well.

On the way to Burton

August 16, 1915

I have written much in Shorthand but I will now write in Longhand and tell you all about what happened. I really feel so bad that I can’t gather my thoughts so I better let it go till later.

Johanna is getting better though and I hope to God she recovers.

On way to Burton

August 16, 1915

Hello Sweet little Sister,

How are you feeling now? I hope you are getting better, dearie. I did not get time to see you anymore today. I wrote to Peter and told him about it.

Sunday night

August 22, 1915

I feel so happy tonight I just have to sit down and write. This is my last Sunday evening out here at Jones’ as I leave about twelve o’clock next Sunday for good.

Knut came out this morning about half past ten and we were both very happy to see each other. He provided an ice cram cone for both of us and we walked up the little town of Burton, enjoying the cones. Rover, the dog, followed us the whole forenoon, wherever we went. Talking and planning for our wedding, we walked up through the nice shady woods in the forest. Finally we came to a clear spot covered with grass and we sat down and rested. We chatted along about the wedding, what we were to have, about the guests, at what time of the day and a lot of other things. One thing we couldn’t agree on was the wedding cake. I told him that he must order it the very next day, tomorrow morning, so as to have it ready. No, he thought it would mould in this hot weather and thought a day or so in head of time would be plenty time. I don’t know what he will do about it. Hanna ordered hers a month ahead I am quite sure. Well I don’t care much.

About one o’clock we walked back and had our chicken dinner at the hotel. We wanted to get a boat after dinner and go out rowing but as they were all occupied, we had to give that up.

For a change we started to walk in the other direction but there were nothing but camps and tents, no place to sit down, so we walked back past the house where we stopped and had a drink. When we were ready to leave, who would come bopping along but Rover. They tried to call him back but in vain. He insisted on following. Knut threw a piece of bark in the bay and the dog waded for it. He was quite amusing running and panting along the road.

We walked up to the picnic ground and who should I see there but Lorraine Hasselo sitting up there with a gentleman friend. She started to High School the same year as I and is a great friend of Marie Krause. As we did not find any other nice place to sit down, we walked back to our “home” where we stayed till it was time for K to catch the boat. He didn’t start before in the last minute, however, and had to make a wild dash toward the end of the road. I walked on after him and got to the dock before the boat left. I waved to him and off he went to Tacoma. Now it will be a whole week till I see him again. It seems a long time now but the days will go fast enough.

When I came home, Mrs. Jones asked me very pleasantly if I were hungry and she had some good clam soup for me. I ate some of it, tasted pretty good but I don’t care much for clams in any way shape or form. I washed up the dishes, fixed them a dish of peaches and cut up some chocolate cake. When I was all through I called Mrs. Jones to come here for a minute. She came and I told her I was going to quit on the following Sunday. She asked why and I laughingly told her because I didn’t like her, but she was not far off with her question, “Are you going to get married?” I told her “yes.” “When,” next Sunday?” she asked. “No, a week from next Sunday.” “Well I hope you will be very happy.” “I think I will.” “I am sorry to have you go, but I wish you all happiness.” She certainly is very nice, sensible woman, makes it pleasant to work for her.

No, I must quit soon and go to sleep. Just think, two weeks from tonight I will be Knut’s wife if all goes well and I hope it will. I am certainly happy and thrilled with the fact and I hope I will not be disappointed when the time comes and I don’t see why I should. Such a pleasant time I have had with him today, happy as could be with both of us. God bless our lives. Amen.

Burton, August 26, 1915

Just hopped into bed this minute, feeling fine as can be. I was in town today and Johanna is getting along fine. She was sitting up in bed today. She has pains from gas and other pains but the cut is healing up. They took the stitches out today. She was very cheerful and today she finished up the story she started to tell me last Thursday. Saturday she is going home. I am so glad for her sake. It gets so lonesome staying in a hospital. We started to talk about Peter and were both wondering how he were, none had had any letters from him. Johanna said perhaps her sister had if anybody. Such a bright idea for I went right down there. Yes she has had a card from Gertrude last Saturday and then they were both well and both were working. I do hope I get a letter soon, looking for one everyday. Now I must go to sleep. Good night.

Friday Eve August 27, 1915

My efforts were not in vain; I was rewarded for my letter writing by getting two letters today, one from Knut and one from Gertrude. I was so pleased, so happy to see that they were both well. She is working in an ice cream parlor in the evening. She says the work is hard at times, Peter is working too. I suppose when they are settled, she won’t have to be out working. Some husky girl to start right ahead like that. I wrote her a long letter today and told her about Johanna and about myself and my future plans.

I have had a very pleasant day today. Mrs. Jones took my picture this afternoon, three poses, one in my bathing suit and two in my middy blouse. I hope they will be good. If they are, I am going to send some to Gertrude.

Photo of Ella (two) with dog and big stump

Ella in school middy blouse

One, two more nights here and then goodbye Burton. Good night all.

Letter to Knute:

Burton Wash.

August 27, 1915


This is probably the last letter I write to you before we are married. Received your letter today. I also got one from Gertrude which certainly pleased me as I have been expecting a letter for so long. They are both well and are working. She is working in an ice cream parlor and I suppose he is painting. She expects an answer to that card she wrote you.

I am feeling fine, had a nice time this afternoon, not much to do and Mrs. Jones took some pictures of me.

I must go to sleep now. Goodnight darling. I only have two more nights to sleep out here.

I remain as ever,

Your Own


Burton August 28, 1915

Ready for bed at last. I have been very busy today trying to straighten up things the best I could for Gertrude who will take my place tomorrow when I go. I scrubbed my room out well and scrubbed the kitchen so I think things look pretty clean. I got a lovely present today from Mrs. Tyler, she said it was from baby Ann, a set of Japanese table runners and six napkins. Very nice of her to give me that and she wished me lots of happiness. So it sounds as if I have deserved something or they would not have been so nice. Well tonight is my last night here. I am very glad I came out here for the work, the fresh air and the change has done me a lot of good. I feel more sure of myself and stronger. I have also learned a number of things which I otherwise never would. One thing I value most and that’s the system which I lacked almost entirely. That going by a certain routine is a good thing and leaves time in the afternoon. I got a letter from Christina today. She was very sorry to hear of Johanna’s illness. I shall write her a letter tomorrow.

Now I must go to sleep. Goodnight everybody. Goodnight sweetheart Knut. God bless us all.

August 29, 1915

Aboard Str. Vashon from Burton to Tacoma

Goodby Burton, goodby. I am sitting on the boat now with my suitcase and umbrella. I bid them all goodby and they wished me good luck. It tickled me to hear Junior say goodby, time and again the little tot said goodby, goodby and little Ann, 15 months old said goodby and smiled repeatedly. Isaac said “goodby Ella.” Mrs. Jones said to be sure and let her know where I was so she could come to see me. I asked for a recommendation for fun and she asked if I thought I would be fired by my husband. She said if I did I could come back to her at any time; to tell him I had a place open. Mrs. Tyler told me to tell Mr. Strand that she thought he was a lucky man and she wished me a happy married life.

There were a few minutes before the boat left and I started to write to Christina. I told her about my leaving and future prospects. The weather is just lovely today and I am enjoying my boat ride. I certainly could not have gotten a much better place and I am very happy I came out here. Of course I am happy to leave with the plans in view. So happy I can meet Knut today. We are going up to his sister for dinner. Then I want to go and see Johanna this afternoon. I think she is up to Hanna now. I also would like to go to Pt. Defiance as I have not been there for so long.

Steamer Vashon

The Steamer Vashon.   This little steamer was actually built on Vashon Island, at Dockton in 1905 for the Vashon Navigation Company.  This company was later swallowed up by the second biggest player in marine transportation on Puget Sound, the Kitsap County Transportation Company.
    This Vashon seems to have led a fairly dull life, as there was virtually nothing that I could find on it in the six books I looked in, other than “built in 1905.”  This steamer was dismantled in 1930. Per posting on “Vintage Pacific Northwest.” vintagenw.blogspot.com

Tacoma, September 2, 1915

Ready to go to bed in Mrs. Stromen’s bedroom. I have been on the go ever since I left Burton. Monday afternoon I left for Gig Harbor with Marie Hansen. The boys were fine out there and glad to get the invitation. Louis, Andrew and Martha Brevick were going to town Tuesday morning so I went with them to town. After I came in I went to see Johanna. She is getting much better. So much shopping to do that the time goes almost just for that. Well, I got my fruit cake baked last night. I got most of it done now so I hope I get a chance to prepare for the wedding now, although I still got to make another trip down town tomorrow.

Tacoma, Wash

September 4, 1915

9:35 p.m.

Ready to sleep after a hard day of work. So tomorrow is my wedding day. I feel so happy with the thought of it and so is Knut just as happy as he can be. I got up early this morning and worked all day so now I am good and tired. God bless us both and help that all goes well. I am sleeping over to Mrs. Stromens’ now. Took a bath—all clean. Knut and I took out the license today at 10:10 up to the courthouse and tomorrow the work will be done. The uniting. I think Rev. Hougen is coming. Knut’s cousin’s are coming over to the wedding. Now I must go to sleep. God bless us all. Amen.

September 5, 1915

Now I am ready to dress, put on my wedding dress. Knut is here now and I am going over to J. Strand to get ready. We are going to be about 30 or 40 guests. Knut starts to bother me now—he is reading what I am writing.

September 6, 1915

12:15 o’clock a.m.

Our wedding day is past now and it certainly has been a happy day for me. Such a lovely wedding as we had. All the nice people and they were all well satisfied. Hanna and Louis and Andrew came and they were very happy too. Knut is feeling fine, he enjoyed the day too. Now we are married, I don’t feel any different though. We got a lot of lovely presents almost enough to start housekeeping. Not quite but of course they help. Now I must go to bed. It’s about 12:30 now. Goodnight, sleep tight.

Seattle, Wash.

Sept 10, 1915

Knut and I are now on our “Honey Moon” that we have been looking forward to so long. We have been so busy the beginning of the week trying to clean the house and get things in order that we have not had time to go before. We took the 5:35 o’clock limited from Tacoma and got to Seattle about 7 o’clock. The ride was very enjoyable for us both. We’re just as happy as could be on our trip. I had the chance to introduce my husband to Mr. Hopkins who was sitting just across the aisle from us. Mr. Hopkins was the solicitor for the grocery store out in Burton.

We found the place of Gunder Skjerseth and now they went to bed and Knut is already in bed. I must quit for tonight as it is nearly 10 o’clock. Goodnight.

September 11, 1915

I am now sitting on the quarterdeck of the prison ship “Success” with my husband. We have just been through the whole ship seeing those horrible scenes of tortures that were made in the olden days. There are wax figures in the cells to represent the original prisoners and a guide lectures on the stories of the different convicts and the crimes committed. The usual term seemed to be seven years no matter what they did, whether they stole a dime, a loaf of bread or committed some other small offense. It is enough to make anybody shudder at the sight of the cells. Small and dark with hardly any air coming in. The dark hole was a place where they kept obstinate convicts for twenty-eight days chained in such a position that they could neither stand, sit or lie. By the end of the twenty-eight days, they were either dead or raving maniacs. About two hundred and sixty died and seven hundred were insane. I could mention various other methods of punishment but some were so horrible that I refrain from it.

This ship belonged to England and was sunk in Australia. Some wealthy Australian dragged it up and fixed it up for exhibit. It came across the ocean using sails. Here is an enormous crowd aboard all the time so the man must be making money. They charge 25¢.

This forenoon Knut and I walked up to Woodland Park which is just a little ways from Skjerseth’s home. We were very interested in watching the polar bears taking their baths in turn. One especially amused us greatly by playing with a big wooden ball. Two seals had their pond nearby and one was trying to walk up a sort of a ladder, but his slippery body prevented his success and he gave up and plunged in the water and swam around. From there we went to the big zoo and there we were greeted by a “hello.” Looking around we saw a parrot and Knut said “Hello Polly.” We also saw a monkey fight, the first one of its kind that I have seen. The group of monkeys were separated by a wire wall but they jumped against the wall and screamed. It was soon time for dinner and we went home and had a hearty meal. We left shortly afterwards for downtown and walked about the streets.

Seattle, September 12, 1915

Waiting for the interurban to take us back to Tacoma. I have been half sleeping, leaning my head on Knut’s shoulder. We have only fifteen minutes more to wait as the car leaves at 10:05 and it is 9:50 now.

I have had a lovely time today. Before dinner Knut and I took a walk up to Woodland Park. After a pleasant stroll through the boulevard we went home for our dinner. This afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Skjerseth took us out. We first walked over to the locks in Ballard. The canal is nearly completed and shows the fruit of three year’s work. After a close inspection, we left the locks and took the car downtown. The car ride was one of the nicest I have had as the scenery around was fine and for a long distance we went over a bridge with water on both sides. To complete our entertainment our hosts took us to Liberty Theatres. The photo plays were very good and the show lasted for nearly two hours.

Woodland Park Polar Bears

“Woodland Park Zoo animals 1914″ 

As we were figuring on taking the 8 o’clock car back to Tacoma, we hurried home to get our suitcase. By the time we had taken leave it was twenty minutes to 8. Running up the hill with the hope of catching a jitney, we pretty nearly stumbled all over ourselves. No car in sight as usual and I got impatient and blamed Knut for taking too much time eating. Poor fellow, he couldn’t help it more than I. In our distress we saw a jitney coming along. We hailed it and jumped aboard giving the driver instruction that we wanted to make the 8 o’clock interurban. He said he would try and he certainly did for he passed every car on the road. Even at this neck break speed, we didn’t make it but got down to Yesler Way two minutes too late. Those two minutes cost us another two hours in tiresome waiting for we were tired both of us. We tried to walk around but gave it up and sat down at the station.

Now we are happily on our way to Tacoma, the Rose of the West. The newly weds are returning from their “honeymoon.”

Quite an event in our life, but to our disappointment we have failed to see the moon, the smiling honey moon above us. I have been very happy this week, happier than I dreamed I would be. The looks of yesterday have not passed out of existence but are still alive and more so in the changed condition of wedded life. At times it seems too good to be true that we don’t have to leave each other and we silently rejoice in our hearts. Tomorrow morning Knut will have to start to work again after a week’s vacation. So goodby Honeymoon. Goodby.

October 13, 1915

I don’t know just what to say of my existence. I feel wretched, don’t know what to do with myself, tired of doing the housework and don’t feel like doing fancy work. How I wish I had something definite to do that would occupy most of the day and take me away from home. What a splendid opportunity I now have for reading and writing if I only would take it, so plenty of time but I suppose I don’t appreciate my good chance and I am just becoming stagnant from my solitude and inactivity. When I do housework, I hurry up and get my washing, baking, scrubbing all done in one day thinking that I’ll have the next for something else. The next day comes and I get absolutely nothing done. So it goes, day after day. Just the way I feared married life would be to me. Seems like I have no ambition to work unless I am stimulated by someone. This life grows so monotonous, same thing day after day. It must be a change somewhere. I must get busy with something. During my vacations, I used to be so glad when school started so I could have something to do all the time, something to keep me occupied, but now I cannot wish for that. There is the night school of course, but as Knut comes home so late, I don’t suppose we can ever get there, so here I am left in the mire of uselessness. How many people would sigh for just such life as this, with time in abundance to do whatever they pleased. Here I have it and waste the splendid opportunities of becoming a better woman and making myself useful to the world. When I stop to think of it I could do a lot, have regular scheduled hours for work and pleasure and get something done not waste time like I do, day after day. I have a diary to fix up, with patient work of writing. I could get it fixed up and have a diary that would be worth a good deal to me in later years but here I have the notes for the last year scribbled on all kinds of paper. I really must pull myself together and make up my mind to do something with my time or else I get so tired and sick of myself that I will be no good at all. With my fancied ability to write here I have my chance for education in the line of reading and writing. I could read books on travel, study literature and even German. Well I am going to get to work right away.


More of The Ella Papers


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Dear Readers,

The following diary entries were written by Ella between December 28, 1913 and July 29, 1914.

My heart goes out to Ella as she experiences the pain of her boyfriend not showing up! Of course we do not have Knute’s side of the story or what is in his heart, but her accounts of him not showing up and not calling is a recurring theme in their relationship. As you will see below, they work it out yet again, and again, and go on. (Really makes me glad we have evolved some in communication skills in the last one hundred years!)

Note that sometimes she uses K-n-u-t-e with an e at the end, the anglicized version, and sometimes K-n-u-t, the Norwegian version. Either way the K was always pronounced, ka-nute.

I have corrected some of the spelling (mostly bringing together compound words like, awhile, or racetrack, and adding some helpful commas) but her English was really good after only a few years in the US. Of course, you will see, she gets good marks in English in school.

Sunday Dec. 28, 1913

Knute and I parted last Sunday in the best of spirit. Tuesday he phoned up and said he would be up for sure Christmas Eve. No he did not come nor telephone. Christmas day just the same and I have not heard from him since. He did not even come to the Vikings Saturday night when he said for sure he would come. They are all wondering about it and his reputation is not increased to any better for doing this trick. Really I have been brave and have had just a fine time but oh, I would want to see him today. I think he is treating me most shamefully. Really, I never can understand it why he does not let me hear from him. The thoughts wander back and forth and I have many ideas and not all very good and favorable. If I only knew what was the matter, surely if he was sick and wanted me to come up his sister could have phoned me up and I would be glad to go up when he was not able. But not a word. It is now two o’clock. If he does not call or come up today he had another girl as sure as my name is Ella. If he has, that is well and good but why not say goodbye to me like a gentleman.. Oh, Knute, I really have the heartache!

Monday, Dec 29, 1913

I feel happy today and everything is all right between Knut and I.

Yesterday morning Peter took Martha, Chris, Andrew and me out for a long automobile ride, to Pt. Defiance, out to Narrows and coming to Sheridan and Seventh, I went into the house and I was then waiting for Knut to call up which he did not. After a while the rest came home from a ride over the Indian reservation and all over. We had dinner, Lutefisk, and then Johanna & her friend, the girl that stays there and goes to school, also came up. We were just getting ready to go, when the doorbell rang and Knut came up. The rest went out and he and I were all alone. I sat over in a chair by the window and did not say but a few remarks. It seemed like my tongue was tied. He came over and bent over and said: “What’s the matter, Ella.” I said ‘Oh nothing. There’s something on your mind. Now tell me.” “I tell you it is nothing.” And so the phone rang and interrupted. At last I told him that he had promised to come up and had not let hear from him for so long and I was waiting for it. He said he had not intended to hurt my feeling and had not thought over matters and asked me for forgiveness, but I did not say a word. Then he said, “Well if you want me to go I’ll go and if you want me to stay, I’ll stay.” I remained silent and he said goodbye with emphasis and took my hand. Then I could stand it no longer but drew him towards me and tears came to my relief and dropped down on his face and there we were both getting over our sullenness and became happy again. We sat until dark and then I lit the Christmas tree and everything was so cozy. I gave him his present, the handkerchief case with one “S” initialed handkerchief. He thought it was very pretty and asked if I had made it. Of course I had. He gave me the cutest sweetest little crocheted handbag, cream colored and a small pair of scissors, good and sharp.

I cooked some lutefisk for supper and afterwards for the first time he helped me dry the dishes. He wanted to go to the show but I suggested we go out for a walk and he go home early and I would come up on the Hill tonight.

Well this is all quite a long account but I felt as if I had to write it down, now I am going to wash clothes and hustle up.

New Year’s Eve 1913

This is the last day and last hours of 1913, the good year. Andrew and Chris went over to Valhalla and Peter and I are sitting here all by ourselves. Knut is coming up after a while to see the new year in and old year out with me.

Sunday, Jan 11, 1914

Recent photos of 1316 S. 7th St.




The house the Brevick’s lived in at 1316 S. 7th St is no longer there. These two pictures show what is currently at the spot.

This is my last Sunday at 1316 So 7th St because we are going to move Wednesday or Thursday. Peter took Mrs. Brandes, Herman and me out to see the new house this morning. It is a lovely house – five rooms but they are going to board in the sleeping porch for me so I’ll have a room too. The first private room I have ever had that will be lots better than sleeping in the front room. There is to be a door from the porch into my room so I don’t have to disturb anybody to get to bed. I am much pleased with the house and so is Peter. I am glad Martha and Louis are to move in too because it is a great deal of work to take care of a five room house and besides very lonesome to have to spend most of the evenings alone as Peter goes out a good deal and I could be all alone. Well I shall tell more about the house and arrangements later. I am not so anxious to move away but am not really sorry either. Of course here I have had the charge of everything and in a way I probably will miss it, but – after all what’s the difference. Some day I hope I’ll have a nice home of my own. Yesterday I had a post card from Sophie Lund my friend and playmate back in Narvik.

I have liked school and in 2 weeks I start the 4th and last year of High School. Now I am anxious to finish—do not feel like quitting at all but want my diploma. I feel just like being quite near through which I never did before. I must get to work now I have to study my lessons as Knute is coming up soon and we are going up to his sister’s new place.

Peter, Mrs. & Mr. & Master Falk are up to Louis for dinner. I went down to the restaurant with Mrs. Brandes and Herman and had a nice Turkey dinner.

Goodbye 1316 So 7th

Mrs. Christina Brandes, the Brevick’s landlady on S. 7th St.


Jan 12, 1914

My heart aches with the thought of moving away from here and staying so far away from school and everything. Oh my I know the conditions won’t be the same as they have been. Perhaps this is a foolish notion. But still I feel like crying with the thought of leaving here. I have had the best time that I ever could have. Well, I will make the best of it no matter what comes in the way so help me God.

Jan. 13, 1914

Oh my god, I am just so tired and nervous that as a relief I was able to shed a few tears. I have been taking shorthand and typewriting now for two years and I am still very slow in it and it seems awfully hard. Now Chris told me that if I finished high school and went six weeks, took up a teacher’s special course and passed the examination that in one and a half years from now I could be teaching school and drawing a salary of $75 a month and my commercial training would fit in fine and give me that much more. In order to do that I would have to change my program.

Jan. 14, 1914

Knute came up last night. Poor boy had to go to the hospital today for an operation on his other ear.

Sunday, Jan 18, 1914

First Sunday at my new home. This morning I got up before it got light and started to build the fire and stirred up some hotcake batter.

After breakfast we washed up all the dishes and placed things in order. Things are real cozy about here and I have a nice bedroom all for myself.

Then we had dinner and right after, Johanna came with corn and her sister. They had to go soon and I took the next car thereafter down to see Knut. But I came there about 6 o’clock and they would not let me come in before seven o’clock. I went up to 1316 So 7. Mrs. Brandes was out but I had my key and went in the house and upstairs. I could hardly bear the sound of the empty rooms just the clock ticking on the wall. I phoned up Bonnie and she was alone home with the little girl. She asked me to come out there next Sunday, but of course, I don’t know if I can. Then finally I went down to see Knut.

1708 So. 25th St., Tacoma, Wash., Jan 26, 1914

Dear Engvarda,

Received your letter long time ago, but I have been quite busy as we have moved. You see we live on South 25th St and Grant in a new bungalow. You ought to see it. It is real cute inside, five rooms. I have one room all to myself and then Peter has a bedroom, dining room, front room, kitchen and bathroom. It is two blocks from K St car line. Chris came from Idaho for Christmas and is still staying with us. I wish it wasn’t such horrid weather all the time or we would come out to see you folks but it is such horrid weather that we hate to venture out.

Hanna, Falk and Arvid are just all fine and dandy. Louis got married before Christmas and he and his wife now live in that little cottage behind them. They papered and painted – fixed it up real cute. Johanna is still working and feels as good as ever.

I start my fourth year in High School today, I am waiting for the bell to ring to pass to our new classes. I like to change classes because I get tired of the same studies all the time. I take English, United States History, Physiology, German and Shorthand.

The sun shines now brightly in the window. I wish it would keep up for a few days. Well, Engvarda, tell all your folks hello for me.

Best wishes, Ella Brevick.

This scrap of paper is written in Ella’s hand and has part of the family tree including her grandfather, Anders, his children, Anna, Jorgen, and Hanna. You will see Engvarda’s name at the bottom.


Here starts Ella’s diary covering the dates of January 26, 1914 and July 29, 1914. She began the diary very formally with pen and ink. I have also interspersed text from loose pages by date.

Ella Dorothea Brevick born fourth day of October and the year of our Lord 1893 in Hemnesbjerget, Norway.

1708 S. 25th

Jan 26, 1914

This has been a very happy day, my first day of the fourth year in High School and everything went fine. I went downtown afterwards and walked home, enjoying the healthy, brisk wind. A few moments after I came home, Knute surprised us very much and a second afterwards, Bonnie came. We had a light, real enjoyable afternoon together. They stayed for supper but Chris and I had to leave as we were going to see the “Merchant of Venice” at Tacoma Theatre. The play and the way in which it was acted was marvelously grand. I enjoyed, thoroughly enjoyed, every moment of it so grand in its way.

It is very stormy outside and it feels good to sit in a nice comfortable parlor with the heat from the stove radiating. Peter, Chris and Andrew are in bed and it is time for me to retire too. Goodnight.

Jan 26, 1914 (Written on a loose page)

I have not written a word for my diary for a very long time and I have had a great deal to tell about too that have been of importance. However, I will limit today’s writing to one subject – Country School Teacher. Chris made me believe that by a little effort and special study on some subjects, I could pass an examination and take up teaching in a country school. I don’t know whether I am able to do that or not. There are great many obstacles in the way and I am not so sure that I am able to overcome them. I would have to study music, geography, agriculture and a great many other things outside of my high school course.

Then there is another question: have I had enough training, have I laid a solid foundation to build up the knowledge that is required of a teacher? I have studied shorthand for two years and I am not capable and do not really care to be a stenographer. This year I study physiology, U. S. History, German and English, which includes oral expression. I am having some trouble with it. The teacher says the words seem strange in my mouth. Of course really it cannot be expected but I wonder if I am not heading for something which in my position is impossible to reach. It is rather hard for me to grasp and to explain what I have read in either physiology, U. S. History or English because I have not had enough training in using the words, and I am afraid of making blunders, that possibly makes me too cautious. Chris went down to see Mr. Benbow, country school superintendent and he told Chris that I was welcome to see him any Saturday afternoon. I shall take advantage of the opportunity and satisfy myself as to the matter. Why live in uncertainty about anything when information is within your reach?

Jan 28, 1914

Chris and I went to visit Mrs. Adams tonight. We had just a delightful time. It is something attached to the visiting of that dear soul that leaves something noble and lasting and your character – I feel very grateful then.

Here is the first page of Ella’s 1/29/14 letter to Knute, with the complete text following:


Tacoma, Wash.

Jan 29, 1914

Dear Knute?-

Indeed, a question, for I know not whether you are my friend, that I have any right to call you “dear.” You seem so cold tonight, thoughtful and queer and I wondered really what was the matter, and Knute, what is the matter? Have I offended you in any way or what is the trouble?

But why do I ask such foolish questions when it is and ought to be a plain thing to see that you have found another girl who have the most upper place in your heart and you were merely calling on your old girl.  Hah, ha, the last and the best, that is what they all say, and you did too!

I wonder if I am mistaken, really, I wonder if I am. But your attitude seemed queer, I cannot account for it. —

You always use to say Goodnight, but this time you said, Goodbye so plain that I got the meaning, did that mean Goodbye or not?

Well, after all Knute, if your love for me was no stronger and deeper than this, it is better with this “Goodbye” than any later, don’t you think so too. My friend, I don’t blame you, really I don’t I thought that sooner or later you would get tired of such a plain girl as I am.

There is an awful struggle within me, the feeling the love and the cool head fight but I must keep my pen steady and write common sense.

So this is really the end—well Knute, a thousand times I thank you and the heartiest of thanks for all the good times we have spent together. I have been happy and I hope that you have been and if I am not too much mistaken about your character I think you also were happy, but perhaps it should not be the way we planned, so there we are under the will of fate.

I say: Good Luck in whatever you may do.

Ella Brevick

Here is one little leaf of the first rose which I shall always keep!! My god, I can’t endure this.

Knute’s note, on the bit of paper folded around the rose petal, says: “Did you see that picture show with me, about the rose. Well, Sweatheart (sic) Goodnight”


Feb 28, 1914

Chris has gone back to Idaho now. Before he left, we had Mrs. Adams and Margaret up for supper one evening. They enjoyed it very much. They are such lovely people. Sluth’s were up here last Friday.

One Saturday night a great many of our friends surprised us. We had a fine time, danced, played cards and have a splendid time all around. Peter got a fine silver set, coffee pot with three other pieces.

I think our house is just dandy, have had lots of good times here already. Johanna has not been working for a month but today I went out with her to look for work out in So. Tacoma for Mr. Fatland and his daughter who teaches school. Seems to be an all right place. Hannah and her Arvid are just fine.

Knute Strand has been recovering after his last operation but now he is to start work again Monday. He has been up here quite steady this week, he wanted to make up for the last week when he was up here only one half hour Monday. I am to go out with him tonight. The interest is as high as ever.

School is all right, I study German, US History, shorthand review, English and physiology.

March 22, 1914

Gee whiz. I have been waiting for Strand ever since four o’clock and now it’s seven. I am so sore, sorry and angry. We went to church this morning and on the way home we were invited for dinner and went of course. I came home at 3:45 and I have been waiting for him ever since. We were going down to Tacoma theater and everything and now I have to go alone, makes me sore and I have been alone all afternoon. I have studied, but soon got tired of that, did not have very much to do anyway. If he had been here, he could have left a note or he could have called up later if he wanted to. Strand makes me sore if he is going to play tricks like that. I could have gone somewhere else if I had not depended upon him to come and take me out. But now I better get my wraps on and go to take the next car.

March 22, 1914

Today is Peter’s birthday. He is 29 years old today. Last Monday was Johanna’s birthday and we had a party up here for her. Silberg, Mrs. Brandes, Hannah, Arvid, Louis, Martha, Alea, Strand, Johanna, Andrew, Peter, and Gudrun Skarbo so we were a nice little crowd. Had a fine time, played cards. We had chocolate for refreshments. Johanna says she can’t remember when she did not have chocolate on her birthday. I gave her a book called the “Watcher of the Skies” and she got a collar from Gudrun.

Falk has been in the hospital for two weeks, sick with appendicitis. He recovered quite fast after the operation and yesterday forenoon when I was down there, he was sitting home in his rocking chair reading the paper. Hanna is well and so is Arvid.

Johanna works out in South Tacoma for a lady and her father, Mr. Fatland. She is a school teacher out there. J likes her place very much, not so much to do, so she has lots of spare time. Only the girl objects to J going out in the evening and of course a young girl doesn’t like to stay in the house all the time. I wrote to Christina last night and at 7:20 I left for Tacoma Theatre to see the great moving picture Seikes, the “Creations of the World,” given free by the London New York Bible Association. It is divided into four parts, giving the most important parts of the Bible. Last night was the Creation, really great.

I phoned up Strand tonight, he was sore because I was out. Said when he found nobody home he went down town and walked about doing nothing. I said, “then, why didn’t you phone up I was waiting for you all afternoon.” Well, he had once and again about Eight O’clock. I am glad I went out, guess he did not care so much and for my part the thing the day of loneliness is gone so no more to be said about it. Andrew says he thinks that nothing will come out of this affair and no one knows perhaps not and perhaps yes. Sometimes it occurs to me that it would not take very much to end it both from his and my side. Of course I feel lonesome. I miss him when I don’t see him.

March 24, 1914

Today is a frightful stormy and cold day. The sun shines amid clouds and rain.

Strand was here today as he came driving by. We talked about Sunday and the one blamed the other. I must ask myself this question: Do I love him or do I not? Really I don’t know what to answer. Certainly the love is not as great as it used to be, by for not as deep and strong. If I was to marry him tomorrow, I would back out, at least I would postpone the time. I feel as we are growing farther apart, not enough of admiration, I suppose. In some ways, I think he is fine but in other ways I don’t. For instance, his smoking cigarettes is something I never could overcome or get used to, for I hate the sight of them so. In my estimation it lowers a man to see him smoke those dirty things, so cheap and really harmful. Perhaps I ought not write this against the man that I have gone with for nearly a year but somehow I have a feeling that it will not be long before something turns up that breaks it up completely. It might be hard at first but still I will forget him in time just like I did that other one. I missed him at first but time remedied the wound. Who knows but perhaps someday I shall meet someone who captures my heart, my admiration and keeps it—and yet—who knows, I might die an old maid with only memories of sweethearts and love.

Still these thoughts should not dwell within my soul, let them go. It might be that my heart is small and has not even room for love. Shorthand. Somehow I am longing for a change, longing for something perhaps unreal, just found in dreams. Oh world, when shall I ever learn to know thy many ways? I sometimes read over what I have written before and such a difference, really now it does not seem genuine. I wonder if I ever will like him as much as I once did—a sort of sadness creeps into my heart. And so selfish, is that the cause of it all, answer not to be found. But what is the use of meditating about anything. Let come what will and face it bravely. Shorthand.

March 29, 1914

Knute came here today about 4 o’clock and we walked together up to McKinley Hill because he had to feed the horses. Of course I have said before what I am going to say now, that in my heart I did not care much whether he came or not and I just reluctantly went with him, not because I wanted to but as a matter of course. It was rather cold and we walked fast to keep warm. I waited in the drug store while he went and fed the horses. Then he was going home, he lives just two blocks from where he used to live and I went with him. At first he started to play on his Victrola and I sat still in a chair without saying a word. He came and sat besides me and I turned away. He said after awhile I guess we better go. It doesn’t look as if you care for this?” Oh please play another piece I said, and he did. We went downtown and had supper and after that we went to a moving picture show after my suggestion. Came out about 9 o’clock and then went home here, making a fire and sat down. Well, on the car he said: “I’ll take that other girl,” a tall girl on the seat across, “home.” I said, “you can.” “Well, I guess I won’t though.” “You are always trying to get rid of me,” I said. “Explain before I take another step.” “Well you saw that empty seat on the motorcycle and you said there was room for me.” “And you believed it?” “You are always bringing up talks about, I’ll do that and you won’t care”, I said. He said, “Well it doesn’t seem as if you do care so much either.”

Going in the house it was just an awful situation. At first he said, “Well if you don’t love me there is somebody somewhere who will, you aren’t the only pebble on the beach.”

I said nothing and then was a most awkward silence for the longest time.

He took me on his knee and we sat then and talked more freely about the situation I asked him: “Do you really love me?” He said “I certainly do and hope I always shall. Don’t you love me?” “I really don’t know, I don’t know myself,” I answered. He seemed to take it to heart and before he left he asked me to think of him and if possible for me to love him.

Thus we parted as friends and God knows whether we ever are going to come into the same relation again. I have been happy with him and thought I would be. Good night.

March 30, 1914, Forenoon

This morning was fine but now it rains again just fearful. I told Andrew about it this morning and he did not say much one way or the other. I sort of regret but then I suppose I have to endure the needles and stings just like he has to. I am going to see Johanna now and hear what she says about it.

March 30, 1914 11 o’clock

How things change. I told Johanna about it and she said I ought to make up with him again. Well, I didn’t know what to say, I felt pretty sure this was the end. About a quarter past seven, phone rang and that was Knute and he asked how would it be if I felt different today, “if it would be all right again. Queer how weak a person can be, now I had planned to say: “I think we better let it be as planned last night. But somehow I could not say that so I said: “Sure I feel different about it.” He wanted to come up if only to a little while, he would leave at 10. I let him do that. I phoned up Johanna and she came up here and we had a very nice time here. At 10 o’clock they were going to get the car but missed that one, so they got the 20 after. Of course, I could not resist his love. I know now that he is not merely going for habit but that he really cares for me.

March 31, 1914

This morning when I looked out the window, the ground was covered with snow and it was cold like winter. After a little the sun came up and now the snow is gone and the air feels warm. Andrew is out working, fixing up the lawn. I have been ironing and mending some cloth. Strand came up about dinner time and had lunch with us. He feels fine and looks happy. Tomorrow I think that I go out to Gig Harbor. We had a fine time too in Gig Harbor, Johanna Andrew and I. Martha is in today–her mother is at hospital for an operation.

Tacoma, April 6, 1914

Today I am back to school after one week’s vacation. The weather is fine today but last Monday the ground was covered with snow when I peaked out the window, but of course had to make the best of it. Joh, Andrew and I went out to Gig Harbor Wednesday afternoon and then the sun shone and the air was warm. Had an enjoyable boat ride and a good time over there. Visited all our friends and chased about the country. We came back Friday and went out to Peterson in the afternoon and visited Sluth in the evening. She is getting ready to leave for Europe the 8th of April.

Easterday, April 12, 1914

This morning the weather was beautiful, sun shining in through the windows. We got up, boiled our Easter eggs—Peter, Johanna and I walked down to the church on 17th St & J. Mr. Ordal is fine minister and such wonderful choir as they have down there. Beautiful music. I just enjoyed greatly. Hanna, Falk, Hildur, Arvid, Louis and lots of other people were there. The church was crowded. I have not seen such a crowd in a Norwegian church since I came. O. spoke in Norwegian and I certainly like to hear a good Norwegian sermon.

We came home and here was Andrew entertaining Martha and Mrs. Alvestad from Gig Harbor with her children and Charley. They were in to see Mrs. Nyhamoner. We got dinner ready as soon as possible and they went right after. Strand came up. We were going out but just then it started to pour down, so we thought we would entertain ourselves with singing. While we were sitting thus, Peter came home and for a long time we sang song after song or rather hymns in the Norwegian Hymn book. We had supper and Peter went out. Strand left 10:20 and now I am going to bed. J. is still out and I am all alone. So this is my fifth Easterday in Tacoma and it has been a happy one. I have felt the holiday spirit.

April 17, 1914

Another week of school has passed. I do not look upon this year’s vacation with the same ardour and delight as I have in all previous years, but with a kind of melancholy sadness. I know this will be my last vacation in my school life and with mixed hopes and fears I look forward to the future and wonder what it will bring. I cannot realize that my four years of High School work are drawing to a close; I who never expected to go but a year or two. The time has gone too fast and I do not feel as I have gotten enough out of it to satisfy my expectations in acquiring an education. One study after another comes and goes and with sorrow I confess that I do not get all that I might have gotten out of it. It might be due to lack of intellect, but it seems to me that the more I study, the more I get acquainted with men through hearing their lectures and in other ways come into contact with learned men, the less I know, the more insignificant and minute I am in this great and glorious universe, so full of beautiful things. The time is not long enough hardly for me to get my lessons prepared each day, even if I would study all the time it seems like. With additional duties, household and social I am kept busy day after day without accomplishing much of anything and it appears without gaining a great deal of knowledge either. There are so many things which I feel I lack, so many wonderful things and interesting things which I could learn by study and observation. For instance about authors and books I have read so few books in English and by English authors. Hardly any outside of my high school requirements. Whenever I read a good book I feel its wonderful help, its aid in supplying ideas, its teachings, the influence of a good author’s language upon writing and speech–and still I don’t hardly read two books outside of school books in a whole year. At present I am reading “the Rise of Silas Lapham,” by William D. Howells. The longing for writing books has always been within me and when I read a good book, the old desire is awakened again. But my lack of experience and knowledge of human character, of description and imagination –all these things stare me in the face and tell me “you are unfitted Ella as yet, but there is a ray of hope.” So there I am, the word hope is going to stimulate me to work and training – and perhaps some day I might be able to do something, I fully realize the help a person receives through reading. The style, words and expression is acquired. Description, well really all technical points are learned. I would like to study about foreign countries and their people; that would broaden my mind in many directions.

Thursday we had an assembly down to school and Bishop Kaetor lectured or rather spoke to us on the benefits derived from education, and he emphasized the point that it was not what you got into you but what education drew out of you what counted in real life; your future, your possibilities lay in that fact. Before him, a few weeks ago, a young college man spoke of our great opportunity and that we ought to take advantage of it and bend every effort to train our minds to do the right thing every day as it counted in after life. Our youthful habits would be ours and extremely hard to change whether bad or good.

Johanna got a place last Tuesday to work for Mrs. Long, who has a summer resort at Steilacoom Lake. She was up last night and night before. We went together to a picture show on K St. and we saw “Uncle Tom’s cabin” played. It was very good and to my mind much better than what I saw staged two years ago.

This afternoon Strand came by and of course came in to see his girl. He is fine, dear chap, I like him better than ever. I think he is a nice considerate boy. He is sitting home tonight as I told him I was going to read a book. Really it seems good to have sometime for myself to read and write just what I please. Well now I am very tired. Godnot. I have now written six and a half pages, pretty good I think.

Hanna, Arvid and Falk are all well. Falk got over his operation very well and he’s been working now for several weeks.

Hildur Theting had her vacation last week and spent it with Falks. She was up here occasionally and the boys took her out. Johanna and I gave a little party one afternoon for married woman with the exception of two, Hildur and Miss Meley. The ladies played cards and were served with coffee and cakes and oranges. All were satisfied, so our bachelor girl party turned out fine. Now I really insist on going to bed, it is twenty to eleven.

May 2, 1914

May day already. The time is flying on hybernian wings. I had the chance to hear a very remarkable man yesterday, Dan Crawford, a missionary from the interior of Africa. He spoke down to High School and in the evening K and I went to hear him at the Christian Church on 6 and K St. He also showed pictures—colored pictures—to illustrate his talk. It was very interesting and educational. This week in school has gone fine. Mrs. Wettleton told me that I was improving steadily in oral expression and I am glad of it. It really seems as it I am improving in everything. I can read and get the substance of my history lesson with comparative ease. Shorthand also seems to be getting easier. I hope that I continue going forward and getting better. Mrs. Aleott said to me after I had given my book report on the Rise of Silas Lapham: You did very well, Ella. That is a long and hard book to report on.” She had no criticism on my English and pretty near everybody else had some mistakes which she corrected. But I will not brag, because I wrote it out first and then practiced it. Of course I did not learn it by heart buy that helped me to collect my thoughts.

Sunday, May 3, 1914

We have had a beautiful day. Strand, Mr. Berg, a nice young man who Strand made an acquainted with today, and I went out to Steilacoom Lake to see Johanna. We got a boat and were out rowing. Camped on a nice level place and ate our picnic sanguages (sic). We picked violets and stars and amused ourselves fine. Jo and I rowed all the way back. I hope we can go again because it was so nice. When we came back the moon was shining so brightly. Johanna liked the boy; I thought too he was very nice.

Now it is ten minutes to eleven and I am leaning over my bed, writing this. This is my first picnic this year.

May 11, 1914

Saturday I received one letter from Olga Stigen a chum and playmate I had in Narvik, and one from Sophie Lund. I was so glad to receive them. Chris wrote us all cards last week saying that all preparations were made for his wedding the next day, May 6. He was so happy I wrote him today. Strand and I went to the ball game yesterday. Tacoma 3 to Spokane nothing. I went to church on 17 and J in morning and Strand and I went to St. Leo Catholic at night. Enjoyed it very much. He just phoned up and I was glad because Peter and Andrew did not come home and I was lonesome. They haven’t come yet but now I am ready for bed. Goodnight.

May 16, 1914

Last night Knute and I went to see that class play down to Stadium High School “As You Like It” by W. Shakespeare. It was acted very well. Strand said so too and he was a bit surprised to see what a nice auditorium we have down there. Today is Saturday and I did a big washing, cleaned the house and now I am so tired and ready for bed. Peter, Andrew and Johanna went to a dance and I would have gone too, I had the ticket from Strand, but I felt bad and tired and so here I am home. Strand was to come up to the hall and take me home but I guess he will be disappointed tonight. Peter got his car ready now. My, it is fine a brand new car body just the engine that’s old. It looks splendid.

Tomorrow is the 17th of May. Our National Holiday and the vi Normand skal ha tog, Hurrah for 17 Mai.

May 25, 1914

Everything seems to have been successful this week in school. I have had my lessons quite well and seemed to feel that I am making a progress and advancing in my studies. My mind seems to be made up now in regard to me being a stenographer and bookkeeper after I quit school next January. I am just as glad and hope that I will be well fitted for a good job as that I can earn some money next winter. We made up our programs for next term and although I only had to choose three subjects, I took five because I will need them after I am out of school. I selected, Commercial English, 12a, English and Oral Expression, Civics, Bookkeeping and Physiology. We have only three weeks of school left.

May 25, 1914

Last year on this same date Christina, Peter, Louis, Johanna and I were out on Fox Island visiting Scarbo’s. The day was grand, warm and the sun shone brightly. I remember we had an excellent time and the fun was increased and the spirit heightened by the arrival of a boat owned by one of the Vikings. The crowd of men were out for pleasure and landed on Fox Island in order to see Scarbo who had been sick for several weeks. We girls all went aboard, joked and jollied with the men. I remember my first impression of a young, rather nice looking man in navy blue suit and gray hat. He did not seem to care to take part in the dancing which we girls amused ourselves with out on the lawn, while Scarbo played on the violin, but was rather a silent spectator. The rest were all older men. Later we all went aboard the vessel and I was most of the time busy talking to a comical Dane, while Johanna was talking to this young man and his friend. Before leaving the Dane had given us three tickets for a concert to be given the following Wednesday by Miss Orner and Normandines Singing Society. I then went over to where Johanna was standing and talked a few words with the two men and her. The next Wednesday I met him at the concert and this boy is Knut Strand.

Just a year ago today and it seems as if I had known him for several years. I have never told much about him nor what I thought of him myself so therefore I shall write and tell what I think of him. My regard for him has grown higher and higher since one time we had a kind of misunderstanding. He is a good and industrious boy who does the best he can and is not afraid of work. He is also kind and sociable to other people as I can see from being with him on different occasions. Last Sunday I felt so proud of calling him my sweetheart, such admiration as I had hardly felt before.

His love for me is true and sincere and he treats me with courtesy and tenderness of nature which appeals to me. I feel sure that we shall be happy together and progress in every way.

Saturday night I attended the Nordlandslazel’s Bazaar and I was figuring on going home with Louis when I saw Strand out in the hall. My heart almost thrilled with joy over the unexpected occurrence and we had a fine time together for the rest of the evening. I asked him up for dinner Sunday and Johanna also came. Peter was down in Lacey but came home about six.

Well Strand came about half past two in a nice new brown suit, quite dark. He looked real handsome. We stayed in the house as it was raining and I read my long theme on “Oregon” to them. They all thought it was good and he said, “You are some writer, you are, Ella. You will become an author some day.” Well, I wish I could but judging from my slow progress, if any, I am afraid that I never will be able to.

We had a jolly time together. Joh and I danced together and tried to learn some new methods and steps. After a while Peter took us out for an automobile ride. Andrew and Strand went to see a sick “Viking” while I waited outside. Peter and Johanna went up to McKinley Hill. Strand and I walked up to the hospital where he paid some down on his bill. He has been making regular payments and I admire him for trying to get rid of his debts. It was pretty hard for him to have to pay for two operations but he is getting at it systematically and does not complain either. We walked through the pretty Wright’s Park down town; we listened a while to a very good blind musician who played on 11th St. on a kind of violin with a horn attached. It made quite an impression on me for I love to hear good music. Then we went to Pantages where they had a good show. He is not close with his money and not extravagant either but a happy medium. Buy maybe this is too much writing about all these trifles.

8:30—We have had supper now and I am just ready to retire. Now the telephone rings. I hear Andrew calling me now and I can almost guess who it is. The dear boy had to talk with his girl and I had been waiting for him too. He will be up here Wednesday night. Well now one year has passed and it has been a very happy year for me and I think for him also. I pray to God that we may have many happy years together in the future. Goodnight.

Wed. May 27, 1914

Oh how tired I was this evening from studying in the library but after walking home and having my supper, I felt refreshed. After supper I took a little walk out as I was expecting Knut to come up. This is his night in the middle of the week, and he did not see me yesterday afternoon, as he used to, while driving by here. Certainly he came on that car and we took a little walk up the street. When we came in again Peter had gone to bed and Andrew had gone out. We sat down and ate some cherries that he had brought. They tasted fine too, I have only had two cherries before this year. Knut finally said that “it is too bad to be so poor.” I agreed with him that some money would not hurt.

I saw him half way over to the car line and waited there until I saw him board the car and disappear. But now I must go to bed. Goodnight darling.

May 29, 1914

This morning we had an assembly and being the day before Memorial Day we had soldiers there speaking to us. One of them, Com. Wright, I think, gave us a very impressive speech on the battle of Gettysburg. It was simply wonderful to hear it from a man who had seen it himself and survived. He told about Hancock, Meade, Lee, Sickles and others. At last he said that whatever we do, agitate for peace, work for that. Do not let our desire for glory or honor lead us into bloody strife, because nothing can pay for the dead and wounded on the fields of slaughter. Dreadful, horrible sight the evenings when the stars were shining on the thousands of dead bodies, some still moaning. The battle occurred on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd day of July, 1863. The other soldier sang a war song and then we had some nice music from our own forces. The periods were short and we got out at 1:20 to go down to Stadium as it is Stadium Day today. The school children from all over the city were assembled and together with their parents and friends filled the whole Stadium. They had flag and waun (sic) drills. Gymnasium girls danced and the boys did some stunts. It really was very good. I asked Carmen and Arlie home with me as Peter and Andrew are down in Lacy. We met Mrs. Curren and she let Carmen go. Then we went to Arlie’s house and waited until she came home. We picked two lovely bouquets of flowers of red roses and Carmen and I got one each. The weather is just lovely today and we had a nice walk home. For supper we had fried halibut, potatoes, asparagus and strawberries. We had a very enjoyable evening and I saw the girls home, after which I had to take the car and go back to my own home all alone. But now I don’t care, I am not afraid. But now I am going to turn out the light Good night. 11 o’clock.

May 31, 1914

Such a beautiful day. So warm and nice. I am sitting by the window and the sun sends its beautiful rays through. Peter and Andrew are still away and I am alone this morning too, but I feel fine and happy. Yesterday was Memorial Day and the soldiers marched through the street at the bugle call. There were also exercises in the Stadium and speeches.

A dreadful accident happened Friday morning in the St Lawrence River. The Str. Storstad, a collier, hit the Empress of Ireland on the front side and ripped it open. In nineteen minutes, the Empress of Ireland sank with 964 of its passengers and crew. About 300 were saved. Storstad, a Danish* collier with a coal load from England, after the awful collision picked up and rescued nearly all of its victims that were saved. The sunk ship must either be taken up or dynamited or it will form a sand bar. Empress of Ireland was going to Quebec. That such awful accidents should happen is horrible. So many homes without fathers and mothers. Something like Titanic disaster, only this happened all at once instead of the drawn out harrowing tales that lasted for a week or more.

Strand was up yesterday and Louis came up just as we were having supper so he joined the party. Johanna and I are going to see Miss Bergem today. Johanna was coming up here last night but I think she did not get in the house or something for we went to a show and she was not here when I came back. I am going down to Hanna and see if she is there. EB.


*The Storstad (left) was a Norwegian collier. (A collier carries coal.) The Empress of Ireland (right) was a passenger liner. Per Wikipedia, 1,012 people were lost. Photos above from Wikipedia.

Friday, June 5, 1914

This week has been quite eventful and interesting. Johanna stayed with me until Wednesday when she had to go home. We had a nice time up to Selma Bergem. Monday Johanna and I decided to go up to see Mrs. Brandes and as luck would have it, Strand happened to come just before we left. We three went up to 726 So. 59th. Mrs. Brandes and Herman have the loveliest house. Four rooms downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs. Herman likes it so well out there, he says that the boys are more willing to play than up on Seventh St. 1316 S. 7th.

Tuesday I got my history theme back marked “Very Good,” and I had to read it. I like Mr. Rogers. One of the best teachers I have had. Wednesday Johanna left and a few minutes afterwards Clara Johnson came with four lovely big pink roses and a special request to come to the picnic Friday afternoon and evening. Then one of the neighbors, Mrs. Larson, brought a big bouquet of roses. Louis came and then they all went out, but me. I went over to the car and met Strand. We spent a very enjoyable evening together. Thursday I had to look up some history references down in the library. Today I was authoritative on “Initiative.” Strand came up for supper and he and Andrew went down to “Vikings.” I went with them and continued on my way to Library.

Friday, today, we had the Senior Assembly, which was very good. It was not sad or melancholy like last year but was quite humorous with recitals from several members of the Class of 1914. After school we got the largest issue of the Tahoma ever published. It contained pictures of all classes, organizations, and activities of the school, 174 pages.

We were to go on a picnic out in Pt. Defiance but it rains heavily and I don’t think there will be anything going on. Next Sunday we are all going on Vikings picnic out to Fox Island.

Only one more week of School.

June 10, 1914

Today marks the half-decade or five years that I have been in Tacoma or a few days more than five years since I arrived in the United States. The weather today is very much the same as it was then, sunshine and warmth is seen and felt.

Our school days are drawing to an end. Thursday and Friday we will go only a half day and Friday we get our cards. I have been working quite steadily and I expect a pretty good card this semester. Just for fun I will put down what I estimate my work is worth: U.S. History 90, Physiology 90, German 90, English 85, and Oral Expression 86. Now I like to see how near these come to the actual figures.

Andrew is making a sign for Nordlandslaget’s Grand Ball held June 13. Last night Louis and I were also making signs and Peter put them up this morning so that the affair will be advertised.

Strand is coming up this evening and I think we will go to a show.

Now I have to get supper.

June 12, 1914

Now I am home. School is out for this year. My card is pretty near what I thought it to be except I got 90 in English instead of U.S. History. English 90, German 90, U.S. History 85, Physiology 90, Oral Ex. 80, average for term 85½. That is 2¼ points higher than last year. I just figured up my average so far and it is 86.32 for the whole time I have been down there. I am pleased with this year’s mark especially in English because that is a high mark for 12B work and only a few get it. Carmen’s marks were very nearly the same as mine but Arlie got lots higher than us.

Here’s the report card to prove it! BTW, the next report card is from Lincoln Park High School for Sept. ’14 — Jan ’15.


I went to Hanna and with her, downtown. I bought pretty goods–light blue for a dress. Johanna is going to start a new place tomorrow.

June 18, 1914

Louis got a baby girl yesterday at 12:05 a.m. weighed eight pounds. Johanna and I were down there to see her today. Both mother and child are in good condition. Shorthand. I am not quite happy now and I have been sort of unhappy for the last two weeks. The world does not seem as beautiful to me as it did. But with God’s help I hope that I get over it and look on the people with the same ardor and admiration as I always did.

June 19, 1914

This morning I got through with my housework early and started to finish Johanna’s dress. I cannot do very much more before I go downtown and get some material for trimming. I practiced oral expression this morning and now I know Sandolphin by Longfellow quite well. I just love that piece.

June 23, 1914

Just back from a delightful visit out on Vashon. Andrew and I went out there Saturday night. He went home Sunday but I stayed till today and Anna came back with me. She is trying to get a job for a couple of months and earn some money so she can start in High School in the fall.

I for my part have plans about taking teachers exams and see if I can’t get a job next fall after I graduate. Well I will see how things turn out in that line. Goodnight.

July 3, 1914

Tonight is crazy night downtown. We just came home from a funny round up. Saw the fire works in Stadium. Montamaro fests great as ever. July 4 tomorrow going out to races with Strand. Johanna, Anna, Andrew, Peter, E. Gustafson boy and another girl were in the car tonight so it was heavily loaded. Goodnight.

July 4, 1914

Hurrah for the 4th of July. It is now half past eleven and I am just ready and dressed up in my pretty new blue dress and new black Mary Janes. Andrew and Anna went down to the dock to meet Abraham. I am waiting for Knut to come up and I guess he will soon be here. This afternoon he and I are going out to the racecourse and see the races. I am so excited about it. This morning it was cloudy but now the sun is beginning to shine and I hope it will be real nice today.

July 6, 1914

I am having a fine time now. This morning Hanna phoned up and asked me to go out to Pt. Defiance with Abe and Anna because she was so anxious to go. Of course I was willing and we three went out there and looked at the animals and flowers. Anna and Abe are going to take the 3:30 boat home and I am going to take the 4 o’clock boat for Gig Harbor. Oh, I am so anxious to get out there and see Martha, pick cherries up to Watson and also wild black berries.

The 4th we had a splendid time. Strand came up and we took the train out to the races and it was very enjoyable. Cooper in number 8 Stutz won first prize, $2,500. He won first prize last year too. Afterwards we went down to the Stadium and saw the fire works. Splendid sight.

Yesterday I went out to Pt. Defiance with Strand and had a real nice time.

Peter took the others out for an auto drive. I wrote four letters, Chris, Christina, Aunt Anne and Sophie Lund. But now I must go.

So long Tacoma.

July 10, 1914

Yesterday I came home from Gig Harbor after spending three days with Andrew. Most of the time I was out in the woods, either picking black berries or sitting in the shade of small alders. Andrew was slashing down alders and shrubbery close by. But the sun was very hot and he could not stand to work so hard and long. One day he got quite a severe headache from it and quit at 4 o’clock. I went up to Watson one day and I enjoyed very much to sit up in the tree and pick cherries. Ate all I could and then I picked a paper bag full. While I was up there a lady came by carrying a lard pail. She asked me the way to Mr. Watson and I went down and showed her through the gates. I thought surely that she was a German lady but afterwards when I came into the house I understood that she was English. She talked a good deal and she told me she had come from Gloucestershire. Her name was Mrs. Latham. Washdal is as well as ever. We were over one night and he and Andrew were discussing some subject. Pretty soon Mr. Anderson, a young man, came over and joined in.

I also went to visit Martha and Robert Alvestad as I was going down to the wharf. They were married on the 27 of May. Robert had found a picture of Strand and me. The one which we took last 4 of July, down on Pacific Ave. A little ways from Tivoly Bar. It seems so funny that anybody should pick up the picture and especially anyone who knew us. On the boat Mr. Anderson came and talked to me and we had quite a nice chat about races and tests until we came to Tacoma. When I came up to the house I found a post card from Mrs. Sluth in Norway. She was having a very enjoyable time there. Something unexpected, a letter from Aasta, my old chum. She told about lots of things from back there. I don’t know in one way I think I would like to go back and yet I love this country so much and have made it my home. I telephoned to Johanna and the dear girl was home and said she would be over here in the afternoon. She came about 4 o’clock and sat down and wrote some letters. We were wondering where we should go and finally decided to visit Marie Laurens. While we were getting ready Peter came home. So nice to see him back. He had his supper, fixed his auto and we three went up there and spent a most enjoyable evening. They certainly are jolly people. Olaf, Martin, Clara Serby, Hovland and Marie were home. We had refreshments consisting of ice cream and cake. Played a while on the phonograph and at last the old folks, Mr. and Mrs. Martin came home. We went at 11 o’clock.

Today I have been ironing and now I am sitting in the nice front room with door and window open. Andrew and Strand coming along the sidewalk. Andrew came toward the house but Strand went down the street. We were told of a big fire out in the south end and all people rushed out of their houses to look at it. It was a plaining mill and a lumber mill in Bismarck that burned down. The flames leaped up very high and the whole sky seemed to be ablaze. We had a very jolly time with the girls and I received an invitation to come to visit Miss Marlett in Seattle. Andrew took the girls home and I was again alone with Strand. We sat out on the porch for a long time and looked at the fire. I was thinking hard how I could approach the subject of departure and while I was planning tears came and rolled down my cheeks. I tried to keep them back. He said, “That’s a hard place to sit, do you want to sit in a chair?” When I said no, he said, “Do you want to sit in my lap?” No answer but after a little I did and tears started to fall again. “What are you sobbing for? Please tell me. Please tell me, that will relieve you.” “I am just unhappy.” “Well now I want to tell you, without giving you any hint as you usually think that I want to get rid of you because that is not the case, that if you are not happy with me you better find someone else whom you will be happy with.” That is just the trouble he is so good and reasonable that when it comes to the point I cannot stand to break with him. My heart just melts to tenderness again and all is the same as before.

Tacoma, July 13, 1914

Olga Stigen wrote me a letter. She is feeling fine and seemed content. This morning I fixed up in my closet and washed some clothes. I have also written two letters.

July 14, 1914

Yesterday I went down to visit Hanna and Martha. I had a very nice time there and when I came home Peter and Strand were sitting in the parlor. We had supper and Peter went out. Then Strand and I sprinkled the lawn which is growing very nicely in this fine weather.

July 14, 1914

And hour later. Thank God! For giving me power to overcome my selfishness and my craving for money and easy life.

To see Knute cry last night like a child when I told him we better part and go each our way has made me think and think hard. Why cannot I, with my good education, help him along so that he will be better fitted for a position that will bring us a good comfortable living. He is still young, he could learn to write better because he writes a very poor hand and he could learn to spell and write some English. In his life, he is handicapped. A man who can speak English and knows how to write can get good positions when they are bright and have business ability. But Knute never had a chance. He never had anyone to help him along like I have and then I should be so selfish and turn him away and not try to help him. My God, that would be wrong, a sin that I would never forgive myself. As soon as he comes up, I shall tell him my plans and then encourage him the best I can. Poor, unhappy boy, I feel so sorry for him.

11 o’clock

Johanna and I went down town and took in a moving picture show. We walked up Ninth Street and when I came on K the car came so I did not have to wait at all. Peter just came home now.

Must ‘phone Knut up tomorrow morning and hear if he is all right. I am so worried about him and feel so lonesome, awfully lonesome for him. Goodnight darling boy.

________ _________ ___________ _________ _________

July 15, 1914

Mr. Knut Strand,

McKinley Hill,

Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Sir:–

Are you interested in increasing your earning ability, or adding a few dollars more to your weekly pay check? If so, I have a plan which will take no money but will require a strong will and a few evenings of your spare time. I am particularly interested in you and believe that you have ability and business knowledge. But one thing you lack and that is education. Without the ability to write a good legible hand, you are handicapped. Writing is not an art which a person is born with, it is something which is acquired through practice. A few hours of good practice a week would soon improve your writing to such a degree that it would give you a great deal of pleasure.

The second factor in your development is a fair knowledge of English spelling and composition. This may seem hard to you at first and you probably think you cannot learn to write an English business letter. But nothing is impossible for the one who has intelligence, youth and enthusiasm. A man at your age should do all he possibly could to better his position. It is absolutely necessary for moral as well as financial reasons, for the one who does not improve, very easily goes back.

You may say it is too late, I should have had education while I was young. It is never too late at your age. Many a man has studied and improved his knowledge along different lines after he had reached the age of 25, yes, even 30 and 35. Therefore do not lose courage, make a start at the bottom and climb up the ladder of success.

Will it pay? That is another question, Yes indeed. Opportunity knocks on everybody’s door and it is only to be ready, for it does not wait for anybody. You must kindly excuse my lack of information regarding the duties of clerks and solicitors working for firms who pay good salaries, but I think that they have to do some writing to inform their employer of the various business transactions.

In our times when education can be acquired free and during the leisure hours of the workingman, there is hardly any excuse. I would therefore suggest that when night school opens in the fall, you would start right in and work hard and in earnest so that you could learn as much as possible. Once you have a start and get interested, you will find that it becomes easier.

Concerning penmanship and spelling, you could begin that this summer so that by the time school opened you would have an excellent start.

It would afford me a great pleasure and delight if you would look at the matter as I do, and I should be only too glad to assist you in every way possible. I am positive that if you put your sole effort and enthusiasm into this work, by the end of two years you will be capable of holding a good position.

Yours for Success,

                                                            E. D. Brevick

______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______

July 18, 1914

Thursday was Grocer’s picnic but Knut did not go as he really did not care and besides he worked half of the day. At 12 o’clock he came up here and we went out to Pt. Defiance Park. We were going to row but as it was rather rough on the water, I decided that we better not. Then we walked up through the Park and we sat down on a seat made of a log on a rather secluded road. Only a few people passed by and we had a real enjoyable time there. I had taken my work along, as little doilie and I finished it out there. Knut had to go down to the Vikings where he was to be initiated as Vice President or “Underhovding”, next highest position.

Today I received a letter from Olas and Christina. Both well.

Now I have to finally made up my mind what I want o do and what I think I am best fitted for. I am now going to work and specialize in bookkeeping. Nothing could prevent me from becoming a good bookkeeper when I study and learn the details.

I am getting along fine with Hanna’s wedding present. Can get it ready now in two days. Besides I have a few things started for myself. This is the last page of this book. I hope the other book will have things worthwhile writing in them.

July 26, 1914

I will finish high school, do my best as a bookkeeper and stenographer. Then —- but here comes something from the inner most part of my soul, my secret love for writing. Oh I can’t hardly dare to think of it, becoming an author. One who can write books, put into them good things which will do people good to read. The delight to sit up and write something worthwhile, production of my own soul — page after page – and finally have a book completed. Start anew and go on with the pleasant work. I pray you God give me power and strength, develop me to be useful in this world.


July 27, 1914

Today it is just a year since the day I was out in Gig Harbor. How happy I was then.

“In the morning I got up, dressed and got a boat ride down to the dock with Miss Goodman. Happy, really happy I expected my sweetheart, the first man I had ever loved out to see me. He came, with my two brothers and his sister and her three children also came. How proud I was as I walked beside the nice young man in the light gray suit, straw hat and a pair of tan shoes. We conversed busily, each telling one another of the little incidents that had occurred since we had seen each other. After a nice chicken dinner he went down to the creek to fish and after I had helped Mrs. B. to wipe dishes I went down after him. He came up to meet me half ways and happily we sat down on a log in the shade of the tall fir trees and talked. Sweet thoughts were coming into my mind and my heart had never felt such happiness. Then he proposed. I hesitated and thought for several minutes. He was only a grocery clerk earning very little, would that make us a comfortable nice home? I asked myself. Then hope came to me, he will work himself up I thought as he said: “I will do my very best for you, my dear.” Besides he said, as I did not want to answer. “If you ever should change your mind I will give you your freedom back.” Finally I consented and over-joyous he took me in his strong young arms and kissed me tenderly. And I gave him my childish love and loved him tenderly.”

I hoped that he would improve, quit smoking cigarettes and start to improve his knowledge so that he would become capable of holding a good position. I encouraged him, talked to him about the danger and bad results of smoking cigarettes, but in vain. Time went on, he became sick and in debt. Still I did not want to leave him for that. But instead of planning and working toward getting out of debt and increasing his wages, he is satisfied and does not care. One day he asked me if we could not get married after a while although he was partly in debt. The terror of poverty, of having to live in a poor district, wear shabby clothes, to see him come home disgusted with life and work, stared me in the face. We parted as usual that night. I saw him up to the corner and he kissed me goodnight. But the next morning I decided to write him a letter and I did write. In the letter I told him I did not love him anymore. That I never would be happy with him and that we better part. I did not want to mail the letter that day not before Saturday because Sunday I had intended to visit Clara Johnson, a friend of mine who is camping out at Fox Island. Friday night he called me up over the telephone and I asked him for his address. At first he joked about it. I am afraid he was suspicious of something wrong, but when I said that I probably would send him a card, he gave it to me right away. And then what did I do? I sat down and wrote him another letter more tender hearted than the other one but containing the same decision. The next day I mailed it. I felt I was doing my duty but it hurt me and oh my God, it hurts me yet. My eyes are red from crying. But my mind is firm. He received the letter today and if he calls me up over the telephone or calls at the house I am going to tell him that it is all off and that we better try to forget one another.

Yesterday morning I got ready to go to Fox Island but unfortunately I got too late for the automobile which should take me out to the Narrows and therefore could not go. Sore at heart, I stopped in to see Johanna and gradually told her all. She thought I had done right. Last night we went up to Norstad on McKinley Hill and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon and evening there. A sting went through my heart as they asked: “Where have you got your boy?” He wanted to take me out on a boat ride around the Sound yesterday but of course having made up my mind to do as I did, I could not.

Today when he comes home for his dinner he will get the letter and today when he knows that it is the anniversary of our engagement. One day he said that we should celebrate it–poor boy I feel so sorry for him. I wonder if I am doing right.—Still I feel a solid conviction that I am. Maybe if I could look into the future I would see that it was all for the best. But I feel so sad, such a love and devotion that has been between us and now—why do we both have to suffer: God in Heaven help us both. I have never felt so sad in my life.

At 3:30p.m. It seems as if I am mourning someone dead. Yet I thought of one thing. If he calls up and wants to talk with me I will let him come down and I will tell him the whole truth. We can stay apart for a certain length of time, both of us to have freedom to do as we please. In that time he could try to develop his character and will power. If his love is strong enough he would reform to every thing he could, work earnestly to improve his position, yes, even stop smoking those awful cigarettes. Then by working and constantly aiming higher he would be able to save money, pay off his debt and put some aside to start housekeeping on. I would also work, do everything in my power to help him along. But I guess this is useless philosophy. I suppose he will never amount to more than what he is anyway. May be some day I will overcome this dreadful feeling.

July 28, 1914

What a beautiful automobile ride I have had tonight. Peter took Johanna and me out to Steilacoom Lake where we talked a friend of Johanna, a girl who works where she used to work. As the work is hard and the people unreasonable, we encouraged her to quit. She is a sweet and sensible girl, something delicate and refined with her. She used good language and her line of thought was pure and cheerful. She said: “I am going to start all over again, I am going to go to high school and get an education.” Poor girl has had to work since she was fifteen years old.

The ride was grand. When we started it was just beginning to grow dark. The coolness of the evening air was refreshing after the hot summer day. We went through the lighted streets with a few passersby and automobiles came buzzing by. As we came further from town the lights became fewer and we say only the tall fir trees on both sides of the road and through the tops of the trees a little crescent moon was peeping, pale and faint on the blue evening sky. Faster and faster the auto went and we soon came to the famous racetrack. The scenes of the day of the races came back to my mind. Sitting on the top row of the grand stand I had an excellent view not only of the whole race course but I could turn my eyes to the other side and look on the solid mass of automobiles standing on the level stretch of ground. The drivers of different kinds of vehicles were busy getting people out and in of their cars and wagons and there was a confusion of voices all speaking at the same time and trying to get people to take their accommodation to the city. Then on the other side were the racers, car after car was going by at a speed that only a few can endure. Something went wrong and they came to the pit either with a flat tire or to get a new supply of gasoline. Some stopped only a minute, others more. Still others became injured in the hazardous speedy race and had to be tugged away incapable of taking further part.

Well now, I must go to bed.

Good night.

July 29, 1914

What shall I do? My heart is heavy like lead and my breath is deep. I have been feeling very queer in these last days I simply cannot get Strand out of my mind. I have not talked to him since Thursday before just now when he called me up. We did not say much. He asked what was the matter and I said I did not know. After a while he asked if he could not come down to see me tonight after he had not seen me for a week. I said I did not know what to say but finally I consented that he could come. “Well, darling, don’t feel so sad, I think I know what’s the matter and we can get things fixed up for the satisfaction of both of us.” “Well, I don’t think so,” I said and we said goodbye. And now he is coming up and my God what shall I do? I feel as if I ought to let him go since I sent the letter and besides Andrew, Peter and Johanna know all about it and they thought I did right when I had that feeling about him. One night I cried and still my mind was firm, but yet the old love comes to my heart and I can’t push it away.

I dread to see him tonight. I hate to think of awful sad scenes and I fear that I will do the wrong thing after all my thinking and planning. God direct my ways that I do what is right!

Stay tuned!!!

In the Diary

Ella Dorothea Brevick was one of seven children born to Ida Elisa Anker Larssen and Jorgen Christian Hansen from Breidvika, Norway near Hemnesberget. Her siblings were Christian, Andrew, Peter, Hanna, Louis and Johanna. Their surname in Norway was Hansen or Hanssen (I’ve seen it both ways.) As many immigrants did, they took the name of their home town when they came to the US, thus adopting the name Brevick in the US. Ella was born between Louis and Johanna. I am not sure when her older siblings arrived in the US but from her writings it seems that they were already in Tacoma when she arrived.

Top row: Hanna, Peter, Andrew, Chris Bottom row: Louis, Ella, Johanna

Top row: Hanna, Peter, Andrew, Chris
Bottom row: Louis, Ella, Johanna

She started school as soon as she arrived. Since she saved her report cards, we know that she attended Lowell for 7th grade, Bryant and then Central for 8th grade, Tacoma High School for 9th through part of 11th, Stadium High School at night for parts of 10th, 11th and 12th and Lincoln Park High School for parts of 11th and 12th grade. She graduated from Lincoln in 1915. She was 21 years old. It was the first graduating class in the new school. (BTW: her son, Robert, graduated from Lincoln 25 years later, and grand daughter, Susan, 25 years after that.)

The following is Ella’s writing from March 20, 1911 through December 8, 1913. She writes in English, Norwegian and Pitman Shorthand. Some of the Norwegian has been translated thanks to Silje. I am still researching the Pitman Shorthand trying to find someone to translate it. I have indicated where there are entries in Norwegian and in Shorthand so I can enter the translations as I get them. So far the translations of the Norwegian are pretty mundane. Not sure why she wrote those parts in Norwegian. I was hoping for something more spicy I guess. Of course, writing in Norwegian would not be very secure since all her relatives and friends spoke it. Maybe the Pitman Shorthand entries will offer some secrets!

Ella’s writing:

Diary writing – loose pages

T.H.S.            March 20, 1911

As I have not many lessons to do I’ll take the privelege (sic) to write a little for my diary. Everything seemed to go wrong this morning. First Mr. Hickcox wanted us to locate a piece of land about 3 acre in a section. Just a few succeeded so he was pretty cross and showed us the whole thing and wondered why we did not get it. I studied so long on the English, that I had just a quarter of an hour to study the Phy. Geog. I knew I would get a 0. First he asked the best girl in our class to define a system—she could not. 3 of 4 got a 0 on that question. Even a boy who always gets 10. The turn came for my question and I got 0. The first 0 I have got. Every one got 0 except 3 or 4 who came out of it easy. Well I have to study my English now or else I will have the same story over again.

Tacoma, Wash, Jan 25, 1912

Double click on image to see a larger view.

Letter from Ella to Cousin Christina, Jan 25, 1912 p1

Letter from Ella to Cousin Christina, Jan 25, 1912 p2

My dearest Cousin Christina,

If I don’t remember wrong I wrote to you one of the first days I started of this term. Well this is next to the last, and I have prepared my last lesson for penmanship.

Do you think I have improved in free-arm writing? My marks in that subject have gone like this: 80—85—90 and last month 95.

I am going to study, German, English, Typewriting & Bookkeeping, English and Geometry, for next term. I am rather glad to think that I have an opportunity to study German, because I like the language so well.

Hanna and her beloved husband and baby are all just as happy as they can be.

Peter is working on a bookcase, a real fine one of mahogany. Place in it for music box. He is going to put a graphophone in it. If he gets time he might make a sideboard. Doesn’t look like he is going to be married. Still it might be many years. He just wants to have every thing prepared.

Well how are you anyway. Hope you have a tip top time.

I must quit soon the bell is going to strike in a minute.

Best wishes from your,

Cousin Ella.

Write soon.

Tacoma High School, Dec 20, 1912

Oh, I am so joyous I really cannot control myself until I have written a few lines. My debate came off this morning. Norman Rostedt gave the first speech on the Negative, I the second and third. Norman also gave the rebuttal speech. Ruth Vigus, Leah Bamford and George Waterworth were the speakers on the Affirmative. The question for debate was resolved that the United States should maintain a larger navy. I have worked hard on this debate and dreaded it but I am glad I had it and when I first got up there, I was nervous but I cooled down, and Miss Alcott, the critic judge, said I gave a good speech. Well, to come to the conclusion, I was so anxious for the returns, the affirmative received two votes and negative received nine, so there was a complete victory. This month I received 89 in Stenography, 88 in English, 85 in bookkeeping. This is the last day of school before vacation, and we will have two weeks of rest. Goodbye.

Tacoma High, Jan 6, 1913

Today is our first day of school but honest I hate this day, it has really been a fright. My head has been so tired so I can hardly hold it up and I have been so dreadfully drowsy, awful hard time to keep from sleeping. If this goes on very long I would not be able to do any work at all. It is near 2:30 and I am mighty glad too so I can get out of here. I guess I will go down and do some typewriting. I ought to at least.

Snow and snow all day I hope we can go out coasting soon. Andrew I think came home today from the hospital. Louis went out to the wood last week to work in logging camps this winter.

I don’t know why I should be so dreadfully sleepy, I went to bed early last night too at 10 o’clock, so I can’t help this.

Herman came home last night, but Mrs. Brandes stayed down there because her father and mother were sick in bed.

That bell has not rung yet, oh what dreadful long hours, just a fright. I am sorry I don’t take such interest in bookkeeping as I did when I first started and of course I don’t learn as much either. The clocks are all wrong today so a person can’t tell what time it is. Well I must let go for this time.

1316 So 7St

Tacoma, Wash, Jan 16, 1913

If plans go as figured this will be the last night in this apartment of ours. Tomorrow we are going to move into our new home. It was the intention that Martha was to move too and Louis but she has changed her mind and does not want to move. They perhaps live in that little house back of Hanna for a  while. Well Goodnight Knutie and all.

Tacoma, Wash, Feb 12, 1913

I am going to write a few lines for my diary, something that I will always remember and that is: Social Life is empty, nothing to it.

Work and ambition is that only thing that gives satisfaction. Saturday Martha came to town and we then went over to Valhalla on an entertainment. That was very good. But Sunday yesterday, we were over there on the Vikings Annuel (sic) Celebration but that was simply poor and I regret that I went but I know one thing it will be sometime before I ever go up there again. Marie was along but left early with whom I don’t know. I would have done that same if I have had the chance. But I am now going to tend to my work. OOlason wanted to take Hanna and me to see Ben Hur at the Tacoma Theatre but I am afraid I won’t get any tickets.

Tacoma, Wash, Feb. 17 1913

I must write just a few lines to express my thoughts, I think this world is fine, filled with opportunities to do good and that is really what a person enjoys in the long run. But oh, I wish I could be able to write to express my thoughts in pretty language at this time. We had an assembly this morning, Reverend Warren from Chicago who spoke on the subject of Social Service. He was a very able speaker, and gave us beautiful ideas of how people in better circumstances might help those in lower. How those with an education might help to cheer those with none. Also for Social Help, the workers needed more than sympathy, they needed an education, broadness of thought to be able to solve the many problems that are met in the service of doing good.

I cannot help but think of the splendid opportunity I have here in life. School education, chance to hear lecturers, good plays and also other nice, clean amusements. Then my thoughts wander to those who have none of these enjoyments, who go to poor amusements, fall into temptation which ruins their whole life. Sometimes it would take very little to help them, a word perhaps or a suggestion. Other times more, but it would be worth it. Selfishness does not bring lasting happiness. It only brings misery, a craving for more pleasures which perhaps is at a great expense to some one. It brings dissatisfaction, brings a hollow feeling and really it is just natural. How can a person expect any profit without making an effort? A farmer has to work, sow his seed, tend to it before he expects or gets any result. It would be only natural it should be the same in life, in other ways.

On Str. Sentinel, April 9, 1913, From Tacoma to Vashon

Peter took me down in his automobile this morning. It is rather cold but I like this early morning air. The water is so quiet, not hardly a ripple to be seen and the reflection of the trees in the water makes a most beautiful scenery. Now the sun shines bright and everything is so pretty.

There are not very many people aboard but I judge about a dozen or more. A party of four young people are just playing cards next to me and it is amusing to watch them. There are 3 boys and one girl going to Seattle I surmise. Two girls are sitting by themselves looking out the window and then there are a few older people.

A boy was on the boat from Tacoma attracted my attention. He was young, dark hair, pretty light complection (sic), blue eyes, tall and stately. He was Irish I judge from my knowledge of nationalities. He went off in Olalla, a little place on the mainland.

This boat has been rearranged–new seats put in the cabin which is enlarged considerably. Now we are nearing Colves and I will soon see my cousin and her children. I have several things to carry and I hope they will be down to meet me and besides it is so nice to see them again. Dear little children. I have a little thing for each of them and I know it makes them so happy when they get a little present.

Here starts the diary in Black Composition notebook:

May 2, 1913

From the Norwegian:

Tonight we had a great time. Johanna, Hanna, Marie Lorens and Silberg were up here. So great to have my sister here.

May 4th 1913. At 10:30 pm.

This day is over. I made dinner for Falk’s family and Johanna was here first. Afterwards, Peter took us to American Lake for a ride in his car, and Johanna liked driving a lot. She is a great girl, so happy and nice. Yesterday, Saturday, I received a letter from Olav. Everything was OK with him, but he didn’t like being up there. No fun at all for him. He would have much rather wanted to stay here, in the city, so much nicer.

May 11, 1913

Rainy, rainy and dis-agreeable Sunday. It has been rainy now for a whole week. Certainly hopes it get better next week. Christina my dear cousin came Wednesday evening, May 7. My, it was nice to see her back, she is the same dear girl, no change at all in her. She stayed with me all the time until last night when she went over to Hanna’s house and spent the night. Yesterday we all three went down town and was in a good many stores on “L” St and Pacific avenue looking for hats as Hanna, Christina and I all wanted hats. Christina and Hanna got their hats both at the same store but I got mine at another. We all were well pleased with each others hat and pleased with our own. All hats are rather small and mine has a little rim which is turned up all around with nice blue ribbons on and a bunch of “forget me nots” with a few buds on, on one side. Mrs. Brandes is now making my new tailored suit which will look real pretty when finished.

I went to Sunday school today and had a very enjoyable lesson. Mrs. Reddish is such a splendid lady, one who reads the bible and interprets it in such a way that it is very beneficial to us in our every day life. Today the lesson was about Joseph interpreting the dreams for Pharao. It said that he washed, shaved, dressed himself before appearing before the king. She said that we should always try to be neat and clean in our appearance at all times, no matter what we did and where we were. Miram Jellar and I were the only ones present and we were both glad we were. I regret the day when I won’t have the opportunity of listening to her anymore. I saw her over to the Sixth Avenue car line.

Well I must quit now dinner is almost ready now and I must call the boys. Johanna is getting along very nicely and likes it here first rate. I am going over there this afternoon. Goodbye.

Tacoma         May 13, 1913

Today it is a lovely May day with Sunshine and warmth. I started home at 3 o’clock today as I wanted to get home early. I found one letter for me from Ol. He was just fine and dandy, coming down for 17 May Celebration if he can get off.

Tacoma Wash. May 16,’13

If I never wrote anything before I certainly will now. It’s a lesson it is about a lesson that I want to write, which perhaps and I am sure will do me more good than if everything had gone just right in the first place. It is a far and big step toward the ladder of success; it is a resolution that counts. I will not hesitate to tell the whole story starting with the very beginning.

In some branches of study, such as shorthand and bookkeeping we student have been inclined to compare work, one getting help from another. The result, undoubtedly, and I know it from myself has been poorer work. Especially in shorthand, sort of depending on getting a word and a little help from one or another individual. I have done very poor work this quarter and I was in hopes I would do splendidly in a test and then get a good mark at the end of the month. But—there I was disappointed. Yesterday, Thursday, Miss Finch told us to come and take our test and we did. When she said 11a I thought she said 11b and I thought now I just got to get this and I am going to. I got the outlines down, although she went very fast and I had it fresh on my mind. Then I was surprised to hear that it wan not our test at all, and then she dictated to Mamie and me. My hand trembled and I could get only scattered notes, so I did not try to get that out. The first one I got stuck in the middle with a few words and could get none. Oh, how bad I felt. Well, I thought, now I will make it up today and get it and a second trial proved worse than the other. I got every word down but when I came in to typewrite it on the machine, the notes did not mean a thing to me. I could not make them out, what so ever and I failed again. —- The next period in English, Miss Barrett read a short story to us and I sat there, quiet but my mind far away from her reading. It wandered from one thing to another and it stopped and formed a resolution—daily practice on letters and other material at home and entirely independent work entirely and I mean it. A new month begins for us Monday and it is going to be in that respect. No comparing of notes with Carmen or anyone else. Whenever I do it I never hope to, I shall mark it down in this book.

I went down to get my books from there after school and I stopped. Miss Finch, oh, the darling, I really love her, she said kind of sadly,” well Ella what am I going to do with you, failing in two tests?” I said, only thing is to flunk me, that’s all you can do. I certainly have made a poor showing. I would not pass anybody on mercy.” What would you do if you felt you did injustice to yourself then what would you do? “I don’t know” I said. And I did not. I know she likes me very much and she felt very bad over it.

Photo of Ella (two) with dog and big stump

May 18, 1913

From the Norwegian:

Yesterday we went to a May 17th party [Constitution Day in Norway] in Armory Hall. Gov. Lister, Mayor Seymour and Hon. Archtander gave speeches. Norwegian girls in national costumes had a show. And there were the unveiling of the Ibsen statue which will be placed down in Wright’s Park. Johanna, Hanna and Christina; Falk, Arvid, Peter and Louis were all there. O. Olav came to town with his young niece and both of them stayed the night with us. I went to the park with them today. Now they are visiting Hanna.

Here is text of an article from the Tacoma Times Newspaper I found on the internet, dated May 16, 1913 announcing the event that Ella attended on May 17th:

Unveiling Ceremony Saturday

The unveiling of the statue of Henrik Ibsen at the armory Saturday evening promises to mark an important epoch among local Norwegians.

And extensive program has been prepared to present some of the most prominent musical and oratorical talent of the nationality and the hall will probably be crowded.

Governor Lister, Mayor Seymour, J. M. Arntson and Hon. J. W. Arctander and J. A. Sorley will be the speakers. The Normandese Singing society, Johnson’s band and other musical features will enliven the program and one of the interesting features will be a drill in national costume by 28 girls.

Marie Langlow, Anna Langlow, Bessie Storey, Pauline Storey, Annie Christoffersen, Minnie Morton and Esther Peterson will unveil the statue of Ibsen following the address of J. A. Sorley.

For a more recent article on the Henrik Ibsen monument go to http://www.tacomaweekly.com/citylife/view/know_your_public_art_wright_parks_ibsen_monument/

Saturday, May 24, 1913

Last night Christina and I were down in THS and heard the Orpheus Club sing. One violinist played a Norwegian for encore he played Medes bjelder og lakhende bu. It was very pretty. One lady sang and then the whole body of men gave several beautiful pieces. It certainly is fine to hear good music and singing once in a while.

Today we finished our housework and we two girls went over to Hannah’s for a visit. Had a splendid time over there. Falk came home and we all sat out on the porch. Hanna is sewing for herself and Arvid, getting ready for the trip up to Dakota. Dandy for her to get out and so nice for them both Christina and her to travel together. I wish I could go along but no chance. I really hope to go up there in three years though. Johanna will then stay home and take care of Falk cooking and making it nice for him.

There lives a family of Germans in the little house in the rear. The boy came over 2½ years ago and then for about a year ago he sent for his mother and sister. They are very nice people. I talked a little German to the mother but I could not understand her reply so her son translated it and said, “A little bit is better than nothing.” In answer to her question if I could speak German I said a little bit and the above is what se said, so it shows I don’t understand much of the foreign tongue. The boy said I ought to come and see them and he would teach me. Shorthand.

Tomorrow we are going out to Scarbo’s, Trudy and Gudrun are both going.

Godnot. I am so tired.

May 25, 1913

Well, we had a very good time out there.

Wed. May 28

Saturday, May 31, 1913

Hanna became suddenly ill day before yesterday and is in bed. I don’t think it is very serious. Johanna and I were down to the Stadium yesterday, Memorial Day. There was a flag drill by school children. Drilling by soldiers, music, etc. Then Louis took us both to the Empress and we went home.

This morning when I woke up I was surprised to find Andrew here. Tonight we are going to have a party here. We’ll be quite a crowd, are to have a musician and have a few hop about down in Mrs. Brandes’s kitchen, which we will make quite roomy by taking away some furnitures. Well, I must get to work and get the house straightened up. But oh, I don’t feel well at all, so heavy and dizzy so I need a good diet and a great deal of outdoor life this summer.

June 1, 1913

Last night we had the party.

Mrs. Brandes was the Brevick family's landlady. She lived in the same building with her son, Herman.

On the ground, Christina, Peter, Ella and Louis. Standing: Mrs. Brandes. She was the Brevick family’s landlady. She lived in the same building with her son, Herman.

Back of photo is postcard sent by Andrew later in the month. It tells who is in the picture at the top in upside down writing.

Back of photo is postcard sent by Andrew later in the month. It tells who is in the picture at the top in upside down writing that may have been added later.

June 1, 1913

Today Sunday. Last night we had a party of some 23 in honor of Christina. Some of the names I might write down though all would be too many. Mr. Silberg, Brasherud, Krogsti Aardal, Magnuson, Strand, Nelson, Johnston, A. Brevick, P. & L. Miss H. Thiting, Scarbo, Elsett, Lawrence, Larson, Mr. & Mrs. Brandes, and  few others. We danced down on Mrs. Big kitchen which was fixed up with flowers and greenery, floor waxed, good musicians and we all enjoyed it immensely. Johanna had a fine time as well.

Today I went home in the machine with Peter to Gudrun Scarbo’s home later over to Hanna, saw Hilda down on the wharf and the last and saddest of all was to see the dear Christina go. She has been so much comfort and pleasure and we enjoyed her company immensely.

Down to the depot for awhile, we had the pleasure of seeing Silberg, Basherud and Crogsti, to see her off and now I am home again. Goodnight.

Friday, June 6, 1913

Oh, I am tired and utterly disgusted, but of course, I still must keep up courage, because next week will decide my fate for a whole term. Flunk in Shorthand or not. I am not very good in it, I frankly say that I have done my best, studied hard, all that I was able to at least and I am now in a very nervous, mentally tired condition. Never before have I felt such a strain of school life, the English periods have been dry and very uninteresting and likewise with geometry, which I happily hope to complete this term. Bookkeeping has not been hard, but I got behind during my absence and at other times and I have had to work until 4 o’clock or more several evenings, and then coming home, doing the housework, study some, get up 6 o’clock in morning and study, my strength is almost gone and the vacation is looked forward to as a great relief. Mercy, I don’t think I will like steady indoor work all my life. Well, I must get to work so things will be straightened up by night.

June 10, 1913

Four years ago on this day, I arrived in Tacoma and one and a half week from now will close my four years of school and m prospects are good. I won’t fail in anything now, I dare say, this term, although my marks won’t be high but I must take them as they come.

Sunday night I went to the Princess to see Rip Van Winckle with Mr. S. Dnarts (Strand spelled backward.)

June 13, 1913

Friday morning, of I am so disturbed, I must write about it. Wednesday I was over to Hanna and I asked her if she wanted me along as a nurse girl to Dakota and she said she did not know if Falk could get me a pass. But I know he can if he only would ask. Johanna is going to speak well for me anyway and try to influence them. I would love to go and tonight I am going over there to find out my fate. Shorthand.

Sunday June 15, 1913

I am all alone today Peter and Louis went to Gig Harbor and Mrs. and Herman are out to Lunzer’s. Mr. S. phoned up and said he would be up here soon but he is rather late and I am getting anxious waiting for him.

I was over to Hanna Friday night and stayed there all night. Falk said it was impossible for him to get me a ticket and I am sorry but still if he can’t he can’t and that’s all there is to it. Johanna and I will have a good time here together.

June 16, 1913

Oh what a splendid time I had yesterday. S came just after I had started to write. As it rained a little bit we played checkers, solitary, read Norwegian and English and he is a second tenor, so I got him to sing a few pieces for me. Later we went down on K St. and took in a picture show, did some shopping and walking home, who else did we see but Johanna. Glad to meet her and she went home with us and we three had a nice lunch, strawberries, cakes, bread etc. After the supper she had to go home and S and I continued down town and went to the Princess. The show was splendid and the company good so I enjoyed it immensely.

June 17, 1913

From the Norwegian:

Tonight I went to Hanna and Falk. Arvid came running to greet me, so happy and satisfied. Everything is OK. Johanna and I went to a show tonight. It was a great show. Today I got a letter from O and Christian. Now I have to go to bed. Goodnight.

L to R: Ella, Haakon, Arvid, Hanna

L to R: Ella, Haakon, Arvid, Hanna

June 20, 1913

Six o’clock in the morning. Today is the last day of school. I am very anxious to know whether I passed in everything or not.

June 21.1913

Yes, I did pass in everything. My average for this year is 83½%. Not very high, indeed, but as I have worked hard this winter and school life has been very taxing on me, I am satisfied that I did no worse.

After school was out, I went over to Hanna, they were very busy as both she and Johanna are going and are to take the baby along. Oh, my dream of going up to Dakota did not come true. I am very sorry but what’s the use. They are to leave at nine o’clock Sunday morning. Mr. Strand was up here Wednesday ad asked if I wanted to go with him on an excursion to the Nisqually Falls and I accepted, but of course if it rains, they will not go at all. It might be nice but it looks very bad to day though, rainy and rainy. But anyway, he is coming up tomorrow morning to see about it. So perhaps I shall have a good time too after all my disappointments. God teach me patience to bear disappointments and sorrow.

June 23, 1913

No more sisters in Tacoma. They are now on their way to North Dakota, leaving yesterday morning on the nine ’clock train. Peter and Louis took them down on the depot in the auto. Well I am sure they will have a good time.

Now to come to my own story. Yesterday morning as soon as I awoke, I looked out and to my disappointment I saw it rain and rain, just pouring down. Fine day for an excursion, all right. But at a quarter to eight, Mr. Strand came and we started off on our trip. There was quite a number of people, filling five big cars. The trip up there was beautiful, going thru canyons, woods and plains. It felt fine to sit on the train to feel it move away with good speed, nicest ride I ever had since I came to Tacoma. We went all around the grand works, saw how they produced electricity and it certainly is wonderful how many great things natures is composed of.

We had no lunch along but happily we got acquainted with a family who had all kinds of eats and we had a good meal. Dancing up there though was not very agreeable. Our shoes were sopping wet and the floor was very rough so we had quite a time of it. I saw a few Swedish boys up there that I knew but I did not see a single girl. Oh yes, I did. I saw a girl who just graduated from the High School that I knew. Mr. S is a very nice and polite young man, good manners and dresses well and is no tight wad, so it is rather a pleasure of going out with him. When we came to town we had dinner and then went up on McKinley Hill to see a good picture show and it was very nice too. The Last Son, a drama played, rather sad, but Strand likes drama very much and I enjoyed it too.

June 28, 1913

Last night Mr. Silberg and Brasherud came up for a visit, but as I was going out with S, they went in a few minutes. Silbers is going to So. Dak. To see his new farm. Tomorrow morning Peter & Louis and I are going to Seattle with Nordlandslaget. I am sure we will have the dandiest time. The sun is shining brightly now so even the weather is in our favor.

June 30, 1913

Yesterday, Sunday, Peter Louis & I were over to Seattle on Nordlandings picnic. A great many people were assembled and we were out rowing racing. Two boys played and we had a pretty good time. But I don’t know I guess I would have been just as happy if I had stayed in town. S. did not go and I missed him very much and poor chap he missed me too. He phoned up two times during the day and as soon as I came home, I left on the 5 o’clock boat with the two musicians. Well I rang him up as soon as I came home and I didn’t really expect to hear that he was home. So he came down and went to the Princess. The show was rather comical but we enjoyed it very much.

July 2, 1913

Andrew came last night and we are all preparing for the great 4 of July celebration.

July 4, 1913

Pretty nice weather today expect a great time.

July 6, 1913                                                               8:30 a.m.

Today is the last day of the carnival and the time for the big races. Peter, Andrew, Louis, Strand and I are going out there to see them at two o’clock.

Well, I think I must tell about all the fun I have had all the previous days. July 3 I sewed all day on my 4 July dress and got it ready. It is soft shade of old rose. A sort of silk material. The 4th I was awakened early by the shooting of fire crackers and Looked out and saw it was. Foster Hammond who was celebrating the 4th as well as his birthday. At eleven o’clock, Strand and I went down to see the parade and we had a good place on 9th St. just above Pacific Ave. The floats were very pretty and what a pleasure to see the Norwegians represented for the first time. The float was to represent the made up South Pole with Amundsen and a couple others on it. Skis and sledges dogs etc were lying about on the ice. Afterward S and I went up to Aaberg Studio and he expected some pictures to be ready that he took last Sunday. So when we were just about ready to leave, he said that we better take one and so we did. First picture I ever took with any boy and he said it was the first one he ever took with any girl. So afterwards we went up to McKinley Hill to visit his sister, a young married lady and I met them all. We had the best chicken dinner with all kinds of things—Strawberry short cake with good cream on etc. In the Stadium at night it must have been at least 60,000 people. Every seat was taken and people were sitting on the steep grass plane. S & I came late so we had to do it digging holes for our heels and hanging on. Cowboys, Indians, horses, cattle and others made it lively down there. Afterwards enormous firework was displayed. Best of all tho was the eruption of Mt. Tacoma. It certainly was good. Saturday morning O came to visit bringing his niece along. But at night we all had a fine time. It was the carnival night of merriment and revelry and Peter, Andrew, Strand & I were down in the auto. The streets were so jammed with automobiles and people that we could hardly move, everybody making noise and throwing paper roles at each other. All was just fun and life, laughing and talking. Sunday to our disappointment it rained, but we went out to the race track in hope that here would be a race, but we as well as thousands of other eager spectators had to go home without seeing the races. On account of the weather it was postponed until Monday at which time we saw it. Cooper in the Stutz car won. He had already won two first and one second prize so this was his third 1st prize. Certainly a lucky young man. Teddy Fitzlaff winner of last year broke his machine and was out of it in the beginning.

Well now the excitement is all over for this year. Andrew left right after the races and everything is back to its old place again.

Wed., July 9, 1913

Last night Marie and Nelson came up here and they left right away as they were going to a party.

July 14, 1913

From the Norwegian:

Peter and Louis were out in Gig Harbor yesterday and Saturday and prepared the house before Mrs. Brandes, Herman and I go out there to stay a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to it. It is so much fun to get out on the country side, out in the open for a change.
K.S. came by yesterday afternoon and visited me. We went for a walk afterwards. Louis came from Gig Harbor and the three of us had supper together. K. and I went for a walk all the way to the end of the Sixth Avenue line and back. The moon was shining so bright, the air was warm and it was a great walk. When I walked into the house, Peter and Martha were here. She came to town to go to her dentist, and she’s left already.

The pictures turned out fine. I never took such a good picture before. Sort of flatters me I presume.

July 17,1913

We are going to leave for Gig Harbor on the 5:15 o’clock boat tonight. I am busy so can’t write much. Strand was up here last night and we went out for a walk. He is coming out to GH one Sunday. Good bye Tacoma.

July 28, 1913

In Tacoma again after a very restful and peaceful vacation. Some days we were rowing others berry picking, embroidering, reading and so forth. Yesterday Peter, Louis and Knute came out. We had a dandy chicken dinner prepared for them and everybody enjoyed it. After a bit we went out fishing down by the creek — of course same old fish story, no fish. Afterwards we took the boat for Tacoma, went off in Pt. Defiance, looked around there a while and walked home. Waking up this morning heard the news that Hanna and Johanna and baby are back again, so this evening I went over there. They are all fine and dandy, have a great deal to tell about all so I must go over there again. Johanna is coming up here tomorrow afternoon.

July 30, 1913

I am going out to Vashon tomorrow with Johanna and Marie. L to visit Lokke.

Hanna and Johanna are feeling fine after their visit back East. They have had a splendid time and were extremely glad they went. All the folks back there were in the best of health and humor. Dances up there and buggy, automobile and horseback rides almost daily. So now they will have to get used to streetcar rides occasioned by an automobile once in a while. Arvid too is well and has grown some.

Aug. 2, 1913

Johanna and I are back again and we brought Engvarda along with us. She is to stay one week here. Marie went back to Tacoma the same night but J & I stayed Thursday. I was over in Seattle with Mrs. Lokke and Abe. Now I am getting to be sort of acquainted over there so I think another time over there would enable me to find my way. We went to some of the big stores and she bought clothes for the children.

The weather is lovely and we had a very enjoyable time out there. Coming home Peter took Engvarda & Johanna and Louis out for a ride. I waited for S to bring a chicken for next Sunday’s picnic.

Aug 4, 1913

Well we had a splendid time out to Longbranch. A beautiful place, surely. An hour and a half boat ride toward Olympia passing McNeil island. Johanna was along. Godnot.

Aug 18.

Certainly had a fine time. They played for us on the organ and we all sang Methodist hymns. Arthur is getting to be quite a big boy now.

Oh how lonesome I feel tonight, awfully lonesome for you my dearest friend.

Aug. 23, 1913

Thursday S and I were out to Spanaway Park on the Grocers picnic day. We had a delightful ride on the lake rowed about. The scenery is grand. A little island in the middle, narrow harbors leading into bigger and wider places, narrow outlets, and woods all about, make it a very picturesque lake.

Last night Peter took Hanna, Johanna and I up to McKinley Hill to a church social. They sang, played, spoke and entertained in a pleasant way. Afterwards they served ice cream, apple pie and cake. Marie was up there and Mrs. Martin. Peter has got a nice big seat in the back of his auto, so it is much better – takes off some of the hard bumps.

Tomorrow it is Hanna’s birthday and we are all invited there for dinner.

Well I must get to work now. I got a big ironing to do and I have been writing quite a bit today.

Just one more week and school starts again. I sort of hate to think about it, but it’s the best way after all. I have not studied at all this summer when really I ought to have done it. But I have had such a good time as never I expect to get and it is worth while for that because if a person does not get out when young, can not expect it afterwards. I hope to be working next summer. This won’t do any longer — too much of a good time.

August 24, 1913

Today it is Hanna’s birthday, filling 26 years. She has invited us over there for dinner and spend the evening. This morning Peter took us out to So. Tacoma to the Oakwood Cemetery. Mr. Brandes was cremated out there.

On our way home we had a blow out and Peter is having all kinds of trouble with the tire today, even has to put chains on it. I am so very anxious to learn how to drove and I feel sue he will teach me soon. Well now he is ready to go.

10 o’clock

How sweet Hanna looked today. She was dressed in her white wedding gown and white slippers and was so happy and content. We had a delicious dinner of fresh caught salmon that Hanna & Falk caught out by Pt Defiance Sat afternoon. After dinner Peter took us all out to the Marrows where we stayed a little while.

Back again, we had chocolate and cake, salad, cookies, etc. Spent the evening talking of almost everything and went home pretty near ten so I must say, I have had a very enjoyable day.

Good night.

Aug 27, 1913         8 o’clock

Fine Morning Sun shines bright, birds sing and all are happy and gay. Johanna came up last night. She is fine and I think is going to Pt Defiance. I am working on a brown woolen dress for myself. Going to be pretty.

Aug 28, 1913

Yesterday afternoon Mr. Sicker came out to take Mrs. For an auto ride and there was room for me and I was asked to come along. Of course I went and extremely glad I did for we went clear up to Roy, took two solid hours of steady drive up there. Alice Latshaw, now Mrs. Warren lives up there and to my delight, she was home so I could see and speak to her. My, it seemed so nice to see her back again. She has such a nice, cozy home – a cottage fixed up so cute, the prettiest furnitures and everything looks so comfortable. She appears to be very happy. I could stay only a few minutes as they wanted to go back to town.

Coming home who was here but good Andrew in from Gig Harbor, indeed we were all glad to see him back. So this morning I went around down town and over to Hanna with him. He had to go back on the two o’clock boat today. Last night he and Peter went to the Princess and they enjoyed it very much. I went up to KS as he asked me to see him for a change. He played on the phonograph for me and we read a little etc. Oh, I felt so funny yesterday as if I didn’t care whether I saw him or not and I think I showed it too, kind of. Now I won’t see him before Sunday and he has not got a phone any more, can’t even phone to me. I wish he was here tonight. Well I guess I’ll quit now for tonight.

Olga Swanson came up this afternoon and stayed all the time. Took her out for a drive out Six Ave. Fun Time.

Aug 29, 1913

Darling I am longing for you, oh if I could only see you or if you would phone like you used to before. I am so heart sick, I have felt as if leaving him, saying goodbye would be the easiest thing ever but now I feel so sad.

Aug 30, 1913

I feel happy and relieved; everything is all right. We spoke about having a dinner here for the boys and they each should have a girl and so I would be the odd one, but Peter suggested I phone up Strand and so I did. He wasn’t there but I left my number for him to call up as soon as he came in. I waited over half of the day and no call. So at nine o’clock I tried and sure enough he was there and glad was I so I could speak a few words to him. Now he is coming up tomorrow at 2 o’clock. I have worked hard today but I had a nice bath so I shall sleep good and get up rested. Good night.

Sept 1, 1913

11:35 p.m. Labor Day and last day of vacation. Just got home. Knute took me out to Puyallup with the team and buggy today. Certainly had a fine time and the best of it I drove almost all the way too, and back again. I went in and saw Cook’s out there but had to leave right away as it was late.

Good night and thank God for all good times.

Sept 8, 1913

School is fine and I like it very much this year. I will write more about it some other day.

We had a fine time yesterday Knut and I went to Princess Matinee, home here again. Andrew came home just in time for supper and we had a very enjoyable evening together.

Sept 23, 1913

Knute’s sister phoned up tonight and said that he was sick abed and wished to see me. Peter and Louis, who were going up on McKinley Hill took me along. Poor boy had a terrible ear ache as a result from getting water in his ears Sunday when Andrew, he and I were out in Neiderides Bath.

Knute Strand and his sister, Anna

Knute Strand and his sister, Anna

Sept 28, 1913

Hanna, Johanna, & Arvid were up here for dinner today. Falk went to Chicago to see his brother on his vacation.

We had a very enjoyable time here. We stayed in the house as it rained dreadfully outside. After they had gone, I could not resist the temptation to go up on McKinley Hill to see Knute who is still sick. He had been waiting for me all afternoon and was very much glad to see me.

7:45 p.m. This evening I am expecting Knute up here but I suppose I will have to be disappointed as usual. If he was to come up here he would be here now. I am going out tomorrow night so of course I can’t se him then. Well I hope that he does come tonight. I am now studying real hard and going to sue all time I can get to practice shorthand.

October 1, 1913

Today is Anna Lokke’s birthday. It seems as if I am doing pretty good. I have been practicing 2½ hours tonight and 3 hrs last night on Shorthand. It ought to help and I got 87 in my German test so I did not flunk.

This evening was very enjoyable spent up to Olga Swanson. I met Clara __ and Jennie Nordfors whose brother I know real well. He has been in my classes for several terms. Real nice girls.

Mrs. Hager is back from her trip up in Alaska.

Well Knute did not come up last night and has not ever phoned. I don’t know whether he is so sick or what is the matter but although I would like to see him, I won’t go up there. But the poor, dear boy, I am so sorry that he is sick but I should think he could phone anyway. Well I’ll wait and see. Good night.

Oct 2, 1913

Oh, I can’t this any longer, he has not let hear from him. I don’t know what to think guess he has sort of forgotten me now, all right. Young man, I can’t help it. But oh, it seems so hard to think that he does not come up any more. Of course, I realize he is sick but oh he ought to come anyway, when he is able to walk down town he can come up here.

11:35 p.m.

Well he did come, a little while after I wrote this above lines. Doorbell rang and Knute came walking in, smiling and looking fine as ever & I certainly was glad & happy too. He has not been up here for pretty near two weeks. Everything is fine and we had an enjoyable evening together. Good night.

Oct 3, 1913

Johanna came up tonight and to congratulate me with my birthday, but of course it is not before tomorrow. Tonight I am going to see Peter’s girl and going with them down to Princess. Wonder what she looks like.

Oct 5, 1913

Andrew came in this morning and Joh & Hand were this …. Shorthand

Oct 21, 1913

Knute still has trouble with his ears and today he came up to tell me that he was going to the hospital to have an operation. Poor boy. I feel so sorry for him. He seems to be happy and takes it cheerfully just the same. Saturday we were all over on Bahalla where Nordlandlaget gave a Social. Prof. Davis spoke and J. M. Artson. Louis is secretary of that club. Johanna, Hanna, Arvid and Falk are all just fine and dandy. I saw them all a couple of days ago. I have been working very hard on shorthand, taking dictations whenever anybody was home to give it to me and reviewing phrases and I dare say I have done my very best, so if I do not pass this month, I will be very disappointed. I got 87 in a German test. Oh German is fine, I just delight in studying that beautiful language. Well Goodnight everybody. Goodnight my sweet.

Oct 23, 1913

I feel awfully lonesome tonight and I don’t know why but it just looks so hopeless. Everything is disgusting. I do not progress the way I want. I did and it is dark and gloomy. I went to see Knute this afternoon. He has had his operation and is now lying with his head all bandaged up. Poor boy. I feel so sorry for him. He says it was so lonesome to lie there all day, seined such long everlasting hours. It is so hard, he does not hear very well and it seems hard to speak extra loud to any one. I do hope that he gets over it soon. He wanted me to come back this evening but I don’t think I better disturb him. Well I must study my lessons now.

Oct 26, 1913

Oh, tonight I have a feeling that some change is coming soon. Bonnie Peter’s girl was up here.

Knute is feeling better today. Andrew and Louis went down to see him.

Oct 29, 1913

Yesterday was Louis’ birthday, he was 24 years old, quite a man already.

I have been down to see Knute every day he has been down to the hospital and today it dawned upon me what a fool I have been. I understand that he first realized his mistake in selecting me for his chum and of course I don’t blame him either. There are lots nicer and dearer girls than I am and I have always tried to tell him so too that he should not be too rash but rather think carefully. Of course it might all be a joke but he does not care if he sees me or not, hardly asks how I am or nothing, just starts right in about if he only had enough money, he would stay there for many weeks more and see his “Cutie.” I tried to take it as a joke and I did outwardly. I said, “Well why don’t you get her along home as a private nurse?” and he said, “Well if I do that you don’t need to come anymore.”

I think that although he lets on as this is just a joke, he is really infatuated with her and of course I shall drop out right away. It might be sort of hard to do at first but time will soon remedy the emptiness, the hollowness of it all.

So Goodbye. I said goodbye to him and he to me, wait a minute he said and so I did. “Well, you can come back tomorrow and see me if you care to.” All right and without another word I left. If I do not receive any further request from him, I won’t go to see him any more, not I solemnly promise that, Oh I know I ain’t good enough and I don’t know by ______ if he is so much better!

Oct 30, 1913

Knute phoned up to night at 5:30 and I spoke with him. I was quite calm and said very few words, he asked why I did not come to see him today and I said “I went down town.” “What are you going to do tonight?” “I am going over to Falk’s.” “ So you have forgotten me entirely.” “No I haven’t.” “Oh haven’t you?” with a little laugh. “MY cutie has not been around with today.” “That’s too bad., terrible dreadful,” I said sarcasm of course. Well I am going to make him get good and lonesome for me before I go, I believe he is stuck on that nurse and I won’t stand in the way. But I say goodnight my sweetheart. Good night.

Oct 31, 1913

Sweetheart tonight I am longing for you. All my hard feeling has gone away and I wish you were here, well again, and nice and happy as you always were. How cruel I was to you yesterday, but perhaps that was good medicine, who knows. Tomorrow though I hope you telephone and ask me to see you. It is harder than I thought to give a person up and takes a long time to get over it. Well my dear, forgive me as I forgive you and all will be well again.

Halloween Night, and I did not think much about it before Johanna came up here and told that she had been out with some other girls having fun. She is getting along very well with her English. She can tell things and expresses herself quite plainly. Too bad. I think she had got to go out and work this winter to send money to Auntie.

Nov. 1, 1913

Peter told me today that Louis is going to get married soon, perhaps the later part of this month or first of next. He has been going with this girl for nine months, I think. Her name is Martha Elseth, a girl about 21 years and works as a milliner. We are going to move into Louis’ new house that they are building on 25th & Grant St. I hate to move away from here to be sure and the worse of it I don’t know how I will get along with the new Mrs. Brevick. I hope all right, I’ll do my best at any rate. Peter says she is real nice, of course. I have seen her only twice, once at a party here and the second time on the boat to Seattle.

Knute has not phoned up yet so I think that he has really forgotten me.

Nov. 2

At last he phoned and asked me to come up to see him and now I am going.

11 p.m.

Everything is explained and made up now. He said he was sick and had to joke a little bit, but did not mean it to hurt me and so on. And I believe him too poor boy, I did him injustice but I was badly hurt myself, indeed I never felt so bad. Goodnight.

Nov. 3. Today I went down town with Marjory Stanley and had quite a time.


Nov. 6, 1913

For first time in nearly 3 weeks, Knute came up here and visited.


Dec 1, 1913

Thanksgiving Day, Hanna, Falk, Arvid, Knute, Bonnie, Andrew, Louis, Peter and I had dinner here. Everybody were thoroughly satisfied with the dinner and all turned out nicely. Afterwards Johanna came up. We had a jolly isit together. Arvid is such a lively little boy and was disappointed because he could not stay longer. Knute and I saw Johanna home and on our ay down there we say and automobile accident, nobody hurt, however.

Friday Knute came up and took me up on McKinley Hill and I spent the afternoon and evening up there. Saturday I went up there again and K & I walked down town then we parted and I went into the Armory where they were having a show of Tacoma Made Products. From there I walked over to Hanna and had a very pleasant visit. Came home in time for supper and after doing the dishes, I walked down town where I met Knute and we went to Empress. It was a very good show I thought and enjoyed it very much. Jennie Gordon & Sydney Birks both members of my shorthand class were in there. We met Andrew Appleset, who would like to meet Johanna again. He was dressed up in a brand new suit 7 overcoat. But this is almost the limit, I spent Sunday afternoon and evening up to Knute’s sister. Was up there for dinner and supper. Louis was away too, so Peter got Bonnie to make dinner for him. As K & I was coming up Seventh Street, Peter and Bonnie were walking down and we stayed a while and talked. It is queer sometimes when I am with Knute we start to quarrel about hardly nothing. He sort of teases me and I get out of patience at last and just tell him that if he does not care so much for me get Cutie as he calls a nurse down to the hospital. I know that he is joking but still why could he not find somebody that he like better than me. I think that is very reasonable, and if he does why I shall never make any trouble for him I told him that. And so we talk until at last we sort of realize our unnecessary quarrel and everything is well again. But while I am writing about him, his hearing is almost perfect again. He has been under the doctor’s care and has not been working for six weeks in succession and before that it was two, so the poor boy has two months salary besides having to pay the doctor and hospital bills. He was going to Sather’s today and ask if they wanted him back but he was not sure. Pretty hard I think where a man is not really educated or has a good trade by which he can be sure of Steady work and a good salary. Driving or delivering groceries is very hard work and poorly paid. The worse of all no chance for raise unless he might get a clerk’s job and still there is not much in that.

He seems so undecided as to what he wants to do. Sometimes he says he will try and he has already filed an application for an agent for one wholesale dealer. If he could only get in there he would be all right, gradually work up to good position. Of course if a man has it in him he will always succeed not matter what obstacles are in the way, so I shall not lose confidence in him whether he will be able to make a fair living or not.

I have written a good deal about this but I think that a girl ought to take such things into consideration as a good home and a fair income is one of the essentials of making a happy future with the man she love. Without his ability to provide properly the love is killed through daily wants. Goodbye Sweetheart.

Dec 3, 1913

Tonight is Wednesday night and still Knute is not up here, I wonder why he did not come and still more why he did not phone and let me know how he was at any rate.

Last night Ed Aardal, Magnuson and Hans Sather & Johanna were up here. We had a very enjoyable time. Tonight Peter and Louis are both out to see their girls and I don’t understand why Knute doesn’t at least telephone. It is over 9 o’clock now so it is too late.

Saturday Ded.6, 1913

Now I will write a few lines for the fun of it. I think I have sure proof for that Louis is married today. He left last night at about 8 o’clock. Peter left this morning at 8:30 and did not say very much. I sort of hinted that I Louis went and got married but he answered nothing to that. Later in the day, I started to think about it more and I told Mrs. Brandes my suspicion. I noticed that his new grip was gone, he wore his new blue suit, his best necktie, and Derbie and comb and brush was gone from the bureau, something that never happened before. The towards 3 o’clock, I wondered what Peter was wearing today and went in the bedroom and say that he had on his new black suit, best overcoat and hat. So the whole thing put together is: Peter went down to the dock this morning to meet Louis and Martha. They went over to Seattle, bought the license and got married, Peter acting as witness. If this is not so, I will be very much surprised, but I would bet any amount if I had it. Now it is past seven and of course Peter is still away. I don’t suppose they will be here before late tonight or perhaps not before tomorrow.

Knute phoned Thursday as he was going to the Vikings. He said he was not going to phone before Sunday and surprise me, gut he said he could stand it no longer and had to phone. I think it would have been foolish because I was waiting for him to call everyday. He started to work Monday and said he liked to work now. Poor boy—he has to work a long time before he gets all straightened up again financially. Last night he came up here and Peter, Mrs. Brandes and Herman and I were talking and laughing and had quite a nice time together. He said he would call up tonight to tell me whether or not we were going to the show tomorrow after noon. Mrs. Brandes and I had most of the forenoon and afternoon together. She was up here while I washed the clothes and then we lunched together. We talked about one thing after another, oh dear, I hate to think of moving away from here. She said that she would like to see me go through High School, but I told her how things were and if anyone should have help it ought to be Johanna. She has had no education and I would like to get out working next summer and earning some money. Mrs. Brandes also said if I ever wanted to I would be welcome to come to stay with her and perhaps sometime I would be glad to do it. If I start to work next summer, it might be something that turns up and such an offer is worth a good deal. My how lovely she is and I have much to be grateful to her for.

Well Louis did not get very nice weather on his honeymoon because it is just pouring down. I am up here and then we are going down town.

Dec 7, 1913

Licenses were issued to Louis J. Brevick, 24, and Martha Elset, 21, both of Tacoma.

So there we were correct in our assumption just the same. I wrote all Christmas cards now ready to be sent to Norway.

Dec 8, 1913

Knut telephones up about 1:30 and asked me to meet him down town, and we went to the Princess. The play was the ‘Confession’ and very good too, a splendid play.

After that, upon my suggestion, we walked down to the wharf and stood on the Commercial Dock Bridge for a long time. We watched the lit boats coming and going in the dark evening, the waves roll against the land. I was a wonderful evening, the moon and the stars were shining brightly and standing there gazing at the water brought many memories of the past, of the times when as a little girl I traveled in Norway, and when I came across the Atlantic In a way I wished then that I could go to Norway again, but not to stay. Knute wants to eat super at a Restaurant but I suggested we go home and I think it is so much more cozy. He had never yet mentioned anything about his salary or whether we could get along on it, but yesterday as he was sitting in the front room waiting for me to get the supper ready, he was thinking about it. “Say, Ella, do you now what I was figuring on while I was sitting in there?” “No, I don’t. Please tell me,” I said. “I was wondering how much it would take a married couple to live, excluding clothes just merely, food, light, rent & fuel and I think groceries-$23, $1 light, rent $12.50 & fuel $3, making about $40.00.” “Well, of course I am not so sure just how much, but I think that I would not venture getting married on less than $75 a month, because there are so many things coming up that unless a man has the money it is very disagreeable.” He became rather quiet and sort of discouraged he could not see how a man in his class who was paid for the labor and not his brain power could ever have a chance to made much. He has had no higher education, cannot write English, and in the grocery line, there is little hope for him. The highest the clerks usually got was $60 per month. Knute said he thought I better give him up. I said: “No, I don’t want to give you up, you are still a young man of twenty four and many a man has made good in fact has become wealthy after they had past that age. The thing for you to do is to try to better your education, go to night school and grasp every opportunity for advancement. No, I believe in you, I am sure you are an ambitious boy and will succeed.” He seemed somewhat encouraged, “I believe myself, sweetheart that I shall be able to provide properly for you.” Really I don’t know myself, it is too bad that he has no better position but as I told him I would not give him up for that. I don’t measure a man’s worth by what he makes a day. He told me not to consider him if I saw a better chance. Poor unhappy boy.


A 114 year old letter….Among the Ella Papers

A 114 year old letter….Among the Ella Papers are hundreds of letters. Some in English and some in Norwegian. We are lucky to have a wonderful Norwegian translator, Silje (like Celia), who is a friend of my niece, Laura. They both live in Long Beach. I am scanning the Norwegian letters and emailing them to Silje. And she has finished two of them in short order! Tusen takk, Silje.

Here is the envelope of one from Narvik:


The letter is dated 6 July 1909.

They often used paper that was 8¾ “ by 11½ “. They folded it in half the long way and wrote with the fold on the left, then wrote on each side of the inside in columns and then on the remaining blank side.

Here’s the front of the letter. Isn’t her handwriting beautiful?



This was from a cousin named Edom or Edoni-–probably one of the family that Ella lived with in Narvik. The mother she refers to is probably Ella’s Aunt Anna, her father’s sister. And from the letter, we learn that Ella traveled to America via Liverpool, New York and Chicago.

Here is the English translation:

Narvik, July 6th, ’09.

Dear Ella,

Thanks for the letter from the 12th of last month. I am happy to hear that you now have happily arrived and that you are doing well and enjoy yourself, as well as that your siblings are healthy, all of them. I have also received the postcards from Liverpool and New York and Chicago, and I would have sent you postcards to those places, but I didn’t know an address where I could reach you. I did send a postcard to Liverpool, but I don’t know if you received it before you left England.

I received a letter from mother yesterday. She feels a little better, but it won’t help much if the arthritis doesn’t get better. Unfortunately, we haven’t had any summer until the last couple of days. Yesterday and today were very hot, 33 – 34 degrees Celsius (91 – 94 F), and now it looks like we will be getting some summer weather. Over there, where you are, I bet there is great summer weather.

My position just got permanent from July 1st, so the salary is a little better, and I don’t have to work nights all the time, neither holidays. Now I’ve only got every fourth night.

Now I have paid about half of what I owed when you left, so next month I will probably be debt free. I still have not found another apartment, but I am renting out the living room and kitchen to two sewing ladies from Hammerø, so now I’ve only got the bedroom to myself, and as soon as I find a comfortable apartment, I will rent it, because I am tired of living there.

The house you live in over there is beautiful. What kind of business is the man doing, that you live with? You also have to tell me what your brothers are up to when you write me back.

You asked about “Mons” (sp? Probably a cat). Unfortunately, I don’t know myself where he is, or whether he is dead or alive. He disappeared last month, and I have searched for him all over the city, but not seen any signs of him. I guess someone shot him.

Anna from Melsbø has not been here yet, so I haven’t gotten the box you know shipped yet. Neither have I seen anybody else from there, so I don’t know how they are doing there now, but as soon as someone arrives from there, I will ship the box.

Now I will write mom and send money and half a bag of German potatoes, since they’re out of potatoes in Maalø. Last month I sent a whole lot of groceries, so she shouldn’t be doing too bad where she is. I assume she will stay until at least August.

I don’t have any other news to tell this time, but I will soon write again, and then you’ll know what’s new.

I almost forgot! I have to thank you for the photograph you promised me. I hope I receive it soon. When I can afford a new uniform, I will get a photo of me and send it to both you and Hanna. I actually owe Hanna one already. Now I have to stop for now with a wish that both you and your siblings will be doing well always. Best regards, and tell all your siblings hello from your cousin. Write back soon.


Tacoma Theatre Building


 (Built 1889, burned down 1963 per Tacoma Public Library website)

I remember hearing that Ella and Johanna were maids to the manager of the theater.


There’s more to come….LIZ

The Ella Papers

In April of 2013 I brought home the contents of my grandmother, Ella Dorothea Brevick Strand’s trunk, which filled about 5 medium sized cardboard boxes. She was an almost daily diary writer. She wrote in notebooks and on separate sheets of paper, or on the insides of envelopes if she didn’t have writing paper available. She also saved every letter she ever got.

Thankfully a great deal of the papers were saved, she wrote very legibly and learned English very quickly. 

This is my dining room table in the early days of sorting:


Here is the living room work station where I sorted, by decades, the hundreds of letters she received over the years. And these are just the ones in English!



She wrote in English, Norwegian and in Pitman shorthand. Anybody know Pitman?

There were also many photographs in among the stuff. Even the children’s report cards!

She also saved newspaper clippings of friends and family weddings and funerals and 25th or 50th wedding anniversary parties. And she saved clippings of the Kennedy’s and the early space shots. (Copies of examples at a later date.) She was very interested in national and international events.

A brief biography: Ella Dorothea Brevick was born in Hemnesbjerget, Norway on October 4, 1893. Because her mother, Ida Elisa Anker Larsen, died when Ella was around 5 years old, she and her younger sister, Johanna Helena Brevick, were farmed out to other family members. Ella went to live with her father’s sister, Anna, in Narvik, Norway, above the Arctic Circle. In 1909, Ella immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Tacoma WA where she lived with all her brothers and sisters. She met her husband to be, Knute Martinus Strand, on Fox Island, near Tacoma. They married on September 5, 1915 and had six children, Karl (my father), Irene Marian who died at age 10 months of influenza, Robert, Dorothy, Norman and Marie. Ella died on June 3, 1991 after a long illness and a long life.

Here is an excerpt from her 1914 diary in which she reminisces about the day one year before when she had met my grandfather:

“May 25, 1914

Last year on this same date Christina, Peter, Louis, Johanna and I were out on Fox Island visiting Scarbo’s. The day was grand, warm and the sun shone brightly. I remember we had an excellent time and the fun was increased and the spirit heightened by the arrival of a boat owned by one of the Vikings. The crowd of men were out for pleasure and landed on Fox Island in order to see Scarbo who had been sick for several weeks. We girls all went aboard, joked and jollied with the men. I remember my first impression of a young, rather nice looking man in navy blue suit and gray hat. He did not seem to care to take part in the dancing which we girls amused ourselves with out on the lawn, while Scarbo played on the violin, but was rather a silent spectator. The rest were all older men. Later we all went aboard the vessel and I was most of the time busy talking to a comical Dane, while Johanna was talking to this young man and his friend. Before leaving the Dane had given us three tickets for a concert to be given the following Wednesday by Miss Orner and Normandines Singing Society. I then went over to where Johanna was standing and talked a few words with the two men and her. The next Wednesday I met him at the concert and this boy is Knut Strand. (Liz’s note: Knute with the E seems to be the anglicized version of the Norwegian Knut–both pronounced “ca–nute.”)

Just a year ago today and it seems as if I had known him for several years. I have never told much about him nor what I thought of him myself so therefore I shall write and tell what I think of him. My regard for him has grown higher and higher since one time we had a kind of misunderstanding. He is a good and industrious boy who does the best he can and is not afraid of work. He is also kind and sociable to other people as I can see from being with him on different occasion. Last Sunday I felt so proud of calling him my sweetheart, such admiration as I had hardly felt before.

His love for me is true and sincere and he treats me with courtesy and tenderness of nature which appeals to me. I feel sure that we shall be happy together and progress in every way.”

Left to right: Karl, Marie (below), Dorothy (above), Ella, Robert, Knute and Norman.


This is an amazing collection information about an amazing person who felt compelled to write it all down and we are so fortunate it has been preserved. I hope that someday it can become a book but in the meantime I am transcribing it into WORD documents and will get information out to interested family members and friends as I go via this blog. Please share your memories and photos too.

Lots of love, LIZ