Family Experiences with Karen Marie
Clara remembered that Grandma was a good cook and would make mincemeat pies and sprinkle sugar on top. She made these for parties. She would take them out of the pan and put one on top of the other and then unstack them when they get to the party. They wondered how she could handle the pies without breaking them. She made beautiful flaky crust. Her Danish dumplings were most delicious, so light and not soggy. They were made much like a cream puff; after they were dipped in boiling soup, they were allowed to simmer 30 minutes. She also made Danish pickles out of ripe cucumbers. In one or [sic] her letters to me while I was teaching she wrote “We have been out to Joseph’s today and we had plenty to eat."
Grandma had thick, black hair that came to her knees. Her braids were to her waist when she died. She was small in stature and weighed not much over 100 lbs. She was very fussy about home and clothes. The small hays were white shirts that had to be starched and spotless. The collar was round and came out over the shoulders. The boys dreaded its stiffness.
Grandma moved about at a little "dog trot" doing her work. When she stopped, she was always knitting. She helped with the family budget by making quilts and selling them. She would piece them and every seam had to be steam pressed, with the coal stove iron. She would dampen the seam and then press it.
Marie remembers that “Grandma always had a dish of hard tack candy for the Grandkids. One piece was always given when we came but rarely more than one piece. She was a good cook. She would not let us do the dishes for she was too fussy about how they should he done. The kids enjoyed this. She kept her house immaculate. She used a broom made out of straw tied together. When she scrubbed the floor, she always wiped each spot dry before wetting the next one.
“Uncle Pete liked to dance. He always dressed sporty. Uncle Chris enjoyed sports and, around the family, was quite a clown. Uncle Al had a sense of humor. Joseph was more reserved and quiet. When they were together for a social, they always talked Danish. They would talk and laugh and have lots of fun but those who didn't understand the Danish could only imagine what the fun was about and laugh with them. Then there were those Danish Birthday parties where they had such good eats. They always had two meals, one in the afternoon and the other at night. The men used to play croconole.
“One of the joys of going there in the summer was a large crab apple tree. These crab apples were twice the size of ordinary ones and very good to eat. Then, in the fall, pink grapes grew in a big poplar tree by the house. Fay was always the one who could get those in the highest part of the tree, and course they were the best flavored. The family also made Danish beer (made with browned barley and yeast) and heated it with bread for breakfast; barley “coffee” was also a favorite.”
Clara remembered “the winter Grandma had a dreadful cough the entire winter. They say she had asthma. She finally cured it by drinking hot milk with tallow in it. I never remember her coughing like that again. But I remember her in bed with a gown that was ruffled around the neck and a night cap with a ruffle around it much like the girls wear today except it was made of bleached muslin with embroidery on the ruffle.
“Grandma milked the cow as long as they had one. She always tied a blue bandanna on her head, put on a blue figured apron that had long sleeves and buttoned down the back. Then she stepped into a pair of wooden shoes that were kept just inside the barn door. Grandma was one of the most appreciative people. Her favorite expression, when any one did a favor for her was, “You are so good to me.”
Clara also remembers the old organ that was in the family house where she grew up in Mapleton. Joseoh had traded a horse for the organ. He bought it before he was married and white his father was on his first mission. Grandma Jensen said she spent many hours playing it as she was lonesome while her husband was away. When Joseph married, he took the organ to his new 2-room home. The organ meant a lot to Grandma Jensen and she missed it.
Fern remembered, “ Grandma being ill and lying in a bed that, to me, seemed like it was up on a raised platform; the headboard made of wood. I don't remember much design or carving on it, only along the top and edges. I can still remember thinking the top quilt on the bed always looked so "warm"--maybe made of flannel or warm soft wool—all dark colors.
“l was quite young when they lived in Spanish Fork, but I remember the home and going there and having to take off our shoes to go in the house. I remember the candy in that lovely soup tureen and how we looked forward to that piece she'd always give us. I remember the water bucket and getting to drink out of the dipper. We loved their wooden shoes and were allowed to put them on and clomp around outside. Muriel and I have always looked for and wanted a soup tureen like Grandma’s and some wooden shoes just to have them because of the memories.
"The family was so poor when they first lived in Spanish Fork that someone gave them the head of an ox and that was all of the meat they had for one winter. It cost 5 cents, which was very hard to find, to send a letter to Denmark.
“Grandma's sister, Auntie Caroline sewed for a living. She came to America after she was married. She had one boy named Elwood Christensen, also one girl. Auntie Caroline always joined the family in their family socials. "