Grandma’s Boys Carried Her


-By Orv Alveshere-


We often contemplate the life of Ida, a young Norwegian girl,
Who immigrated and literally became the ‘mother-of-Pearl’.
Early years were spent working in summer mountain pastures way up high.
They were called ‘seters’. It was an old Norse tradition, as the reason why.
Young girls stayed and milked by-hand, cows and goats in the AM and at night.
That lonely process began again as soon as it became daylight.
Such self-reliance training prepared her for later life, as it were.
Lots of time to think and hopes of going to America carried her.

The trip across the sea was long and troublesome, enduring the storm.
We hear of voyages lasting longer than food they packed, as the norm.
Relatives assisted to bring her here and she continued to work.
The benefits of room and board were definitely a welcome perk.
Working domestic jobs, long and hard, to pay back the costly voyage fare.
She was poor in Norway. Years passed and yet she had few dollars to spare.
Working in cities and towns, her past rural life is what she would prefer.
An opportunity to work in rural Dakota came to her.

Her employer, the family, had homesteaded on the James River bank.
Again she viewed the countryside with pleasure, watching as livestock drank.
One special benefit stood out, their young son was a single man.
Before long, they fell in love. Ida was pleased with their marriage plan.
He was an inventive blacksmith and built a house with running water.
Life involved Father-in-Law, Mother-in-Law, and then their last daughter
Departed, so there was more privacy. Better grain crops did occur.
So, before their children arrived, there was more time for him and her.

They had a fireplace-warmed house with a wrap-around porch. They planted rows of trees.
He built clever livestock feeding systems, everyone agrees.
By horse and wagon or sleigh, a trip to the big town took a whole day.
Again she milked the cows, canned fruit in jars and put garden produce away.
They were blessed with eight children who drove horses to attend their country school.
They chopped wood, but during the ‘Depression’ they burned cow chips for fuel.
Widowed, her loving spouse had passed on early, so they did inter
And the duties of both parents and all duties of the farm fell to her.

The dry, dusty thirties caused severe hardships of the distressing kind.
Literal survival of the homestead was uppermost in her mind.
Her clever Son bolted a Model T body on the winter bob-sled.
Inventive like his Dad, he had a full set of tools at the homestead.
The four youngest girls were lost in a white-out blizzard while coming home
Through a dangerous windy, wintry white-out as thick as shaving foam.
By instinct, teams of horses brought them safely home through a vertigo blur.
They were ever grateful to the Lord, as her girls were returned to her.

Three eldest Daughters married and her only Son was called off to war.
She drove a horse-drawn binder, then shocked grain bundles ‘til she was footsore.
Under the hottest sun the youngest Daughter dragged a grain bundle;
Twine-tied wheat stalks as large as little Pearl, but with effort she did trundle.
A blessing to have crops, as in the thirties, livestock nearly starved.
Their large family had been fed, as there were tame geese to bake and carve.
Four young girls left and worked as ‘Rosie the Riveter’. Lean times did recur.
So then Ida sold the farmstead and moved, as then it was only her.

Back to domestic work, remarried and moved to a western stock ranch
Where it was dry and there was only one tree with no leaves on it’s branch.
Widowed again, she lived alone in a mobile home for a while.
We remember her excitement and how she greeted us with her big smile.
“Oh my, oh my, oh my,” she’d gush. How she loved her many grandchildren.
We loved her and her stories and think of her passing now and again.
We were pallbearers. She rests between husbands under tall trees of fir.
Auntie succinctly said, “Grandma would be proud, her boys carried her.”

© Copyright 11-2009, all rights reserved. by Orv Alveshere,