Burton WA, Gunder Skjerseth, Lincoln Park High School, Nordlandslaget, Steamer Atalanta, Steamer Vashon, Vashon Island, White Rotary Treadle Sewing Machine, Woodland Park Zoo
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 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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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:
April 19, 1915
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.
This did not have a date.
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.
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.
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.
One, two more nights here and then goodbye Burton. Good night all.
Letter to Knute:
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,
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.
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.
September 4, 1915
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.
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 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.