"Emma's Life History"  taped for 90 minutes at Melvin and Helen Torkelson's home: 1982?

Questions by Terry Torkelson, Geraldine Torkelson Guerard, and Faye Torkelson Auchenpaugh.

 

 

 

Faye: "Ormseth - she's the wife of...

 

Emma: Norman Ormseth and Mike Ormseth was his dad; he was my dad's cousin.

 

Faye: Okay, and they live in Luverne, Minnesota.

 

Emma:  Uh, huh but he died, though; but she's still there.

 

Faye: Norman died, okay.

 

Emma:  Norman and the Ormseth boys already died, kids - you see they had nine kids, yeah I worked there at Mike Ormseth's, way back, don't know what years it was

 

Geri:  you mean, when you lived around here? or where

 

Emma:  Ya when I -  you see my Dad - after all thinking he was going to make a little dab of money - we was always poor anyway, you know - so he went to Mike Ormseth's to pick corn.

 

Faye: Where was that?

 

Emma: That was in Luverne, in the country -. when he came home again - then had me to go there, you know, I don't know what year it was, though.  That was when Norman... and she got to be eighty here in February now, where I got to be eighty in December.

 

Terry:  Do you remember how old you were? When you went there?

 

Emma:   No, that's it, I don't exactly know.

 

Faye: Were you about a teenager?  Was it before you left home?

 

Emma:  Ya, it was before I left home -  when I came back - but I don't remember how old I was.

 

Terry: But you were out of school?

 

Emma:  Ya

 

Faye: Did you go through 8th grade?

 

Emma:  Ya

 

Geri: What city?

 

Emma: ...Smiley Township

 

Faye:  To this Hazel schoolhouse over here...

 

Geri: Oh, for God's sake...

 

Emma:  You see, Ole Ormseth passed away, also long time, him and her.

 

Faye: Who was Ole Ormseth?

 

Emma:  Mike's brother.  Still my dad's cousin, you know.

 

Faye: Where did they live?

 

Emma:  They lived around there, too, in the country.   I thought it was kind of funny when they would, you know, see people do different things in different places, there they used corn cobs to cook with.  Sure they had lot of corn cobs, I mean, when they'd go through the mill, see that'll be just the cob without the corn on it.

 

Geri: you eat the corn up?  then, the cob itself...

 

Emma:  Well, I don't know that, but the corn cobs without any corn on them, you know, whole bunch of them.

 

Faye:  They cooked with them?

 

Emma:  Oh, yeah, they had a stove, it was used for fuel...

 

Faye:  Oh, dried cobs instead of wood?

 

Emma:  Ya, because they don't have any wood.. in that country... they probably go...

 

Terry:  But plenty of corn cobs.

 

Emma:  Ya, their specialty was corn.

 

Terry:  They used that to stuff their mattresses, too?

 

Faye:  The corn husks?

 

Terry:  Or cobs, also?

 

Faye:  They used cobs to stuff the mattresses, too?

 

Emma:  No, no, no, it would have to be just the husks... So they had about nine kids, but I can't exactly name them all

 

Faye:  [reading] I'll just talk about the parts that pertain here

 

"The relatives who visited here were Alfie and Arnie Strummond (sp?) and their daughter Ann Elizabeth 15 and Carl Eric 12.  Their address is 6260 Skoje, Norway.  In their Christmas letter they said Oscar Ormseth died last Easter, that's about it."

 

Emma:  Now that was one of the boys, I suppose.

 

Faye:  That still lived over in Norway.

 

Emma:  That might be one of Ole's boys.

 

Faye:  This was the family history of Ed Vigen, as told by Jim Vigen, that's Oscar Vigen's second son. 

 

"I got the results of tracing our ancestors back today, they have not been able to trace any direct ancestors living in the area at this time, but they gave me a complete rundown of the family that emigrated - three pages of stuff - it is fascinating, but unfortunately it raises as many questions as it answers.  Like, why did the whole family emigrate?  And what happened to all these other relatives when branches of the family of the brothers and sisters of  Grandpa Vigen (who's called FarFar, meaning Father's Father)

Of course, I can't reproduce the whole thing here.  Here are the important facts:

 

Our great grandfather was Ole Einersen.  He was born in 1828 in Tingvoll, a farmer.  Tingvoll is just up the ford from Sunndal, on the Sunndal fjord.  I hate to say it, but old grand-dad may have married for money, or rather land, or could it have been true love from "down in the boondocks" variety?  In this case, down in the "fjord docks".  The reason I say this was that Ole's dad was a mere tenant farmer, whereas Ingri's Olesdotter was the daughter of Ole Olson Wiken who owned the farm. He took the name Viken, because Ole took over the farm"

 

[some discussion about how to spell the name]

 

Emma:   On the side of that trunk was spelled "Wigen".  His name was pronounced "Ormsett"  Grandpa took her name in place of her taking his. 

 

Faye: " [reading]  " Perhaps he acquired the name Viken because Ole took over the Wiken farm and it was traditional to take the farm you owned as your last name, meaning "Ole from the Wiken Farm".  Otherwise, our last name would surely be Ormseth, which was Ole Einerson's father's name.   This is probable because they also list the family of Ole Einerson's brothers and they all go by that name.  In 1885 Grandma Ingri aged 44 emigrated to the USA, destination Ossian, Iowa.  She took the youngest children with her, leaving behind the three older boys.  She took Halvor O. Wiken, aged 7, he was born in 1876,  Ingebrigt was aged 3 3/4, born in 1878, and Gustav also aged 3, born in 1880." 

 

How did that happen?  See, that's not right!

 

"One year later, in 1886, the three older boys came over.  They were Ole Olson Vigen, aged 18, he was born in 1868; Jon O. aged 16, born in 1870, and FarFar (Edward Olson Vigen) aged 14, born in 1872."

 

Alright, so this is the Ed Vigen that becomes the father of Bert and Oscar and all of them.  See, Halvor is Emma's father.

 

Emma:  They didn't mention Iver, how come?  They had Iver, too, for a brother.  He come from Norway, it had to be.  I never heard of a Jon"

 

Faye:  What was your father's middle name?

 

Emma: No, I just always heard it was Halvor O. Wiken

 

Faye:  I bet Oleson has something to do with the family background, too. 

 

Geri: Maybe it's Halvor Oleson Wiken.

 

Faye: "How they all got from Ossian, Iowa to wherever they went.  Thief River Falls in the case of FarFar, I don't know.  I wonder if anyone does. 

 

Do you know how they came from Iowa to Thief River?

 

Emma:  No, I don't

 

Faye:  "Anyway, it's pretty interesting stuff, isn't it?  It is mostly the family of the brother of our great grandfather.  From this branch, though, comes probably the closest relatives we have in Norway and admittedly, that isn't very close.  There are no robbers or rapists or anything nasty listed so far in our family tree.  Everybody seems to be honest farmers.  but from the great great uncle's side. They were also tailors, bakers, watchmakers, and another - nothing exciting.  Rats!?

 

Geri: How did your dad meet your mother?

 

Emma:  I don't know, exactly, only that Mother was a cook in the University of North Dakota and he was a drayman in the town of Grand Forks - a delivery man, kind of, with horse and wagon.

 

Faye:  Maybe he delivered to the University there, where he worked.

 

Emma:  She was 12 years older than Dad.  She was born in 1864... in Norway, too.  She came from Norway, also.

 

Faye:  Her maiden name was Rosedahl, right?  Do you know where she came from?

 

Emma:  Toten.  She came from Toten, Norway.  And Dad came from Trondhjem.

 

Faye:  Okay, so did your mother have any sisters or brothers that came with her?

 

Emma:  That part I don't know, but there's a whole bunch of them.  The only thing is her brother's name was Peder Anton, then there was Amalia, and her name was Quickstad, that's what she married into.

 

Faye: The Quickstad brothers from South Dakota...

 

Emma:  The other was Anderson, that's the only names we know.  There had to be 5 or 6 sisters, there had to be.  Quite a few, anyway.  All of the names I used to know:  Petronella, and Amalia the Quickstad lady, and I don't remember the names of the other ones.  They lived over in the Toronto, South Dakota anyway, the bunch we used to visit.  They must have come from Norway.  Mother never told us too much, really.

 

Geri: Did your dad tell you much of the old country?

 

Emma: No

 

Geri: How did you happen to find out all of these little things?  Were you listening to them tell other people?

 

Emma:  I suppose so?

 

Faye:  Did they say why they came over from Norway?

 

Emma:  No, I don't remember.

 

Terry: Why did they pick Iowa? 

 

Emma:. I don't know.

 

Faye:  I had read one time that when they built the railroads through here, they advertised in the newspapers northern Europe and that's why a lot of them came from certain areas in northern Europe to certain areas in Iowa and Minnesota because they could find jobs here.

 

[discussion about climate being similar in upper Midwest to Norway]

 

Emma:  And another thing... [discussions about Wisconsin]  Mother lived in Fillmore County, in Minnesota and Dad lived in Rock County on the other end.  This is where they were from anyway.  But you see, that doesn't tell us too much anyway.  They had to be born in Norway. So, that way, I don't even know whether their parents come with them or they came by themselves.

 

Geri: Did they move over here on this farm?  Was it their first and only place?

 

Emma:  They must have got married in Grand Forks, though.  Dad had extra wedding pictures made.

 

Geri: You're the oldest one, right?  Where were you born?

 

Emma:  I expect I was born on the farm, evidently.  Because otherwise... I haven't got any birth certificate, the only ones that do are Helen and Gustav.  Hers in Red Lake Falls, but I haven't got any. 

 

Faye:  Mom's is in Red Lake Falls, because when she was born there was no Pennington County, only Red Lake County.  When Dad was born, there were only a Crookston... when he was born his mother had yellow jaundice so badly, when Daddy was born. 

 

Emma:  Thelma said it was Anton!  [tells the story of Ole jogging to Crookston for medicine in 24 hours]

 

Faye:  Dad also said it was when he was born.

 

Geri: Hearsay! 

 

[ discussion about Melvin's storytelling abilities!]

 

Faye:  My dad was really close to his mother.

 

Geri:  What is your birthdate?

 

Emma:  December 17, 1902.  I was 80 in December.

 

Geri: ...and still spry like that! Who was next in line?

 

Emma:  Martin.  Born in 1904, born November 4th.

 

Geri: What did he die from?

 

Emma:  I'll say, just from curvature of the spine.  Well, I know that he had that.  It came up into a point like this in the back, just like Ingebrigt - Halvor's brother - had that same thing...  I mean, I remember him...

 

Geri: Who do you remember as far as any of your side living around here?  Did you remember any of your cousins?

 

Emma:  No.  We went to Quickstads after 1918, was that when I finished school, I don't know...  Amanda Storvik was the teacher.

 

Geri: What grade did you finish up to?

 

Emma:  The 8th grade.  But you see, my dad was on the school board, don't you see.  He and Anfin Torkelson. 

 

Faye:  And you had teachers who lived with you when they taught school, right?

 

Emma:  Ya, well Amanda Storvik would be one of them - the last of them.

 

Faye:  Is she one who taught Mom how to play the piano?

 

Emma:  Ya.  She lived with us during the school term.  We only had her one term if I remember.

 

Faye:  She had such pretty handwriting, didn't she?  I remember seeing a card she'd written to Mom.  So, then, Martin was next and he lived until he was...

 

Emma:  Martin?  I think he died in 1931, see, Dad died in 1930.  But, he did have an operation in St. Paul or Minneapolis, but it didn't...  I won't say how long he was there, he was sent back to Thief River to Dr. Melby here, but he didn't recover.

 

Faye:  Then Gustav?

 

Emma:  I don't exactly remember, but he might have been born in 1907, probably [November 10, 1907].  Four years, 24 days when he died.  Four months, too, or something...[March 5, 1912]

 

Faye:  What did he die of?

 

Emma:  We don't know, exactly.  Because as I can remember his stomach supposedly rotted away.

 

Geri: Like a cancer?

 

Emma:  Like they do with the kids going up and playing in the hay mow in the big barn.  He couldn't have been too old and he fell down from the upstairs and evidently fell on his stomach and he lived one or two years after that probably.  He couldn't have been up there until 2 years old or after he started walking.

 

Because Kari Braaten was there [neighborhood midwife].  Should remember his name, because he was born in the next day.  Cherva...

 

Faye:  He was born the day after Emma and Kari Braaten delivered the both of you.

 

Emma:  Ya.  And she had to hurry over there.

 

Faye:  Everybody said she was real nice and real good.

 

Emma:  But she was real dark, in her complexion.

 

Faye:  She was Norwegian, but there are some very dark Norwegians, too.

 

Emma:  I wonder if she was ever a married lady? 

 

Faye:  Then Mom was born in 1909.

 

Emma:  Ya.  Cause I got a plate at home with 1909. 

 

Faye:  Do you remember when she was born?

 

Emma:  Well, I do.  I mean, I won't say I really do.  Your mother said she thought she had Kari Braaten, but I thought she had an old lady, Peter Englestad's...  Dad came back with a horse and wagon and we held the baby up to the window.  He was outside, to show that she was already born.  See, he had to go to town that day.  How he got Mrs. Englestad there, I don't know.

 

You might want to talk to Paul [Englestad],  he might know something. 

 

Geri: When did you move out of Minnesota?  How did you meet your husband?

 

Emma:  I went to work for Esther Olsgaard (sp?) in Moorhead.  The thing is, when the season was done with, I have to say, all the people were putting up ice in those days.  Hans happened to be working there, but all the crews that were cutting ice, Mr. Lund, then they fed that bunch downstairs  in the basement - those were the cooks. 

 

Faye:  You worked then... 

 

Terry:  as a cook?

 

Emma:  Wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself. ...To take me to the train to go home, I have to say, this man was walking around so they knew each other see, so then they wanted to know what they were doing, and he said, I'm taking her home to go to the...  He said, well, we need a lady to help, and that's how I come to go to Lund's.

 

Faye:  Did you work in the kitchen cooking there?

 

Emma:  Ya, we had to do all that kind of stuff anyway.

 

Terry: How old were you then?

 

Emma:  If I got to be, I understand, if I worked there in 1925, then that would make me 22 or 23, whichever.  Because I was married to Hans December 11, 1925.

 

Faye:  Had he been married before?

 

Emma:  Maybe we were married in 1924?  Because otherwise Henning would have been born in March and that would have been too quick, see?!

 

Faye:  So, you must have been married in 1924 then.  Had Hans been married before?

 

Emma:  No.

 

Faye:  He was 20 years older than you.

 

Emma:  Ya.  Cause he used to say, he said once that if he had told how old he was then I wouldn't have married him!  I supposed I never even asked"

 

Faye:  Where was he from?  around Moorhead then, or had he lived somewhere else?

 

Emma:  I don't know whether he came from Norway, I don't know that" 

 

Geri: He was Norwegian too, then?

 

Emma:  Ya, he had two brothers that I know of, I mean, not that I met them, anyway,  one was named Martin Koken, the other was his last name was Sheredahl, and it turned out mine was named Hoidal with two dots above the "o"

 

Faye:  So, the American spelling got to be Haydal. And on your marriage license?

 

Emma:  I got Haydal.

 

Terry: Wonder why he changed it?

 

Emma:  My folks came out...

 

Geri: To visit, then?

 

Terry: To the wedding?

 

Emma:  No!  [laughter]

 

Faye:  They didn't have big weddings back then, did they?

 

Emma:  No. My folks came out in 1928, then moved back in 1930, you see, after Dad had that stroke.  So, they came out there to live with us.

 

Faye:  And that's when Marion was born, when they went  out there.   That was after you and Hans had moved out to Montana.  Then, your mother and dad and our mother came out there to Montana and that's where Marion was born... in 1928.

 

Terry: Where was Martin at this time?  Had he already died?

 

Emma:  Oh, well, he was working at our place, too, or something.  He had stayed there.  It turned out that he died in 1931, I have to say.  Wait a minute... because they moved back in 1930 and Martin died in 1931.  Moved back to Minnesota here.  Dad had went back home again to look for a place and had to walk from each neighbor by himself and had wet clothes and sat in them so that made him worse.  Otherwise, after he did come back at our place he took medicine and all that and he could work, stacking hay, or... he was on the... placing it in the hayrack.

 

Faye:  So you think he would have lived if he hadn't gotten cold and maybe gotten pneumonia after he came back.

 

Emma:  Ya.

 

Terry:  Now this is your father?

 

Emma:   Ya

 

Faye:  And he died in what year?

 

Emma:  May 1930.  I was having Emery about that time - he was born May 3rd.

 

Terry: And Martin was still alive?

 

Emma:  Ya.

 

Terry: And he died, he got hit by a branch or something?

 

Faye:  No, he was the one that had the back problem.

 

Geri: No, you're talking about the one that fell...  that was Dad's brother [Bert]... Mom never did say too much...

 

Faye:  Had they sold this farm here before they moved out to Montana?

 

Emma:  They foreclosed on it.

 

Faye:  Oh, they lost it.

 

Terry: That was Depression time?

 

Faye:  Did they lose it because of bad crops?

 

Emma:  I'll call it that, ya.  They must have wrote to us to find out if they could move there, but at the time they had their auction sale, then just came to our place.

 

Terry: How did the Depression affect you?  You must have had work, or be able to sell?

 

Emma:  You mean us back in Montana?  Well, they had what they gave out, welfare stuff, maybe sugar, gas, and so forth, and...  Maybe that was all a person got, except you got clothing...

 

Geri: You didn't eat too well, then really?

 

Emma:  Like the kids said, all we ate would be corn from the field. But we had cows and milk and all that stuff.

 

Faye:  Did you have a farm out there then?

 

Emma:  Ya, he had that before I married him.  He had it beforehand, but he was working out, because he had it rented out to somebody, that's how come he was in the ice business.

 

Terry: Then after you got married?

 

Emma:  Ya, someone was living on the place,  so we had to [evict] them.

 

Geri: Was that Hans' parent's farm that you lived on?

 

Emma:  It was already his before I married him...  He evidently bought it himself.  His folks were probably still in Norway or wherever.  I never did ask him about that, either.  A person never asked questions then  like you do now.   How are you going to find out something if you never ask? I knew they had them three brothers, but I don't remember if there were sisters or not.

 

Geri: Which one is the oldest one?

 

Emma: Henning.  Born in 1926, March 1st. 

 

Faye:  Was he born in Montana?

 

Emma:  Ya, all born in Montana.  All of them was born at home except Harlan.  We had a lady by the name of Mrs. Gobel. We had to go and get her.  That was the one who was Marion's midwife, too.

 

Geri: Then, it was Henning, then came Emery.

 

Emma:  No, then Ardell.  Henning, Ardell, Emery, Alan.  Ya, because you had to go and get her, so went Art [Ardell] was born then Mrs. Gobel didn't want to do it by herself, so we had go to a half mile north, Hans had to do, and get Leland's mother, turned out to be, living there then, cause she didn't want to be by herself that time.  I don't know why she came the first time without any help"

 

By that time, by the time Leland got Mrs. Stroud, Art was practically already born.

 

Geri:  When did Hans die?  What did he die from?

 

Emma:  He died in 1946.  I don't know, in June, I suppose.  I've got the clipping at home... He died of pneumonia.  He was born in 1882.

 

Faye: So when Mom...

 

SIDE B

 

 

Faye: I know then after they got married,  that your mother lived in a shed on the same place with them for awhile, but not right away.

 

Emma: There was the time my dad had the stroke.  He was supposed to build a cellar... on the 40 [acres] that Wally got...

 

Faye: The one across the road from your farm?

 

Emma:  ...and he was down in the.. I suppose he had to use a spade or something to dig the dirt out with most likely... for the house

 

Faye: So they were going to build a house over there?

 

Emma:  Ya, it was at the time you guys was on the Braaten place, part of that one of them houses was moved over there afterwards... just took from there.   I don't know who built it.

 

Faye: So they may have lived in that house when they got back?

 

Emma:  Ya, but you see by the time it was getting built, mighty goodness, he died... and it wasn't ready by that time.  That's part of the things I wouldn't know.  Looks to me like Helen should know some things...

 

Geri: I remember some things.  I remember when your mom died.  Because Grandma lived in a little shack by herself.  We had our house and your mom had her little house, because she didn't like to live with our family, so she lived by herself.  And Daddy kind of took care of her, put wood in the stove and all this and that...  How old was your mom when she died?

 

Emma:  She died in 1938, so she was...

 

Faye:  She was born in 1864.

 

Emma:  She was 74 years old. 

 

Geri: She died, I think, of a heart attack.  She died in her sleep overnight.  Because I can remember Daddy taking me in there.

 

Emma:  And they had bell she was supposed so he would hear it in the house...

 

Geri: But, she was in there and he says, "Oh, my gosh, it's cold in here."  So he went to put wood in the... you know, then he happened to feel her, because usually she was up before anybody,  and he says, "Oh, my God, she's cold, she's dead." So, that I remember seeing her and taking her then in the hearse.  And I couldn't have been old then.  I was, what, five years old.  That is one thing that I... death, my God... Grandma was dead.

 

Emma:  When he drove to the... at the same time, your mother turned around from the front seat and said, "You kids are going to have to sit still when you get to church."  I remember that.

 

Faye: You were all in the car, had to be, in one car.

 

Geri: You came down for your mom's funeral, then?

 

Emma:  Ya... and the Quickstad boys.  I don't think the mother came [Amalia]. 

 

Faye: Wasn't there an Aunt Dina?

 

Emma:  Ya.  Dina Loberg in Minneapolis.  She's my aunt [mother's sister]

 

Faye: Don't you remember that mink coat that Mom had?  That she got from Dina Loberg.  You remember that one she always wore. 

 

Geri: She wore that thing to death.

 

Emma:  But you see then, I don't know really what their names were.  I know it was Dina and Amalia and Petronella, but then I don't remember the other two people's names.  I think it was four or five beside Peder Anton.  His name was Peterson. 

 

Geri: That's your mother's brother and sisters.

 

Emma:  Ya.  Because see I was to Dina's place in Minneapolis at the time I came back from the Ormseth deal and stopped there.  Her daughter, there name's was Walgrens anyway.

 

Faye: What Ormseth deal?

 

Emma:  That's when I was at Mike's place?

 

Geri: What were you doing there then?

 

Emma:  They needed some help then on the farm. Their kids weren't too awfully old then.  Well, I mean I did the cooking.  The only thing is I was always bashful, turned out I never dared to go out with the dishwater to throw it out in the yard.  Sometimes" she took the dishpan herself and heaved it out.

 

Geri: You didn't like doing that at all, you were afraid of the guys and people.

 

Emma:  I was bashful enough that I didn't want... If it had been girls, it wouldn't have been different, but boys, you know.  Especially if it comes some neighbor boys over.

 

So, they must have had... I still think they had all boys except that one girl - I can't remember - they had a set of twins.

 

Geri: This is near Minneapolis?

 

Emma:  Ya, I had to stop in Minneapolis on the train.

 

Geri: Yet, how did you get money to travel back and forth?

 

Emma:  What little bit, I earned.  Most likely, maybe my folks paid my way going out there.  Then after that I had to pay for my own thing.

 

Geri: Do you know how much it cost you to go by train or how long did it take?

 

Emma:  No, I really don't remember that part.

 

Terry: How much were you paid?  Just for room and board?

 

Emma:  Evidently, I must have got something because it seems to me that she took out, when you had to go to July 4th deals, you know... and she made the dress and bought the goods and it was all white and kind of, made pretty, you know, or something.  We "purt near" had to finish that dress the day  of the thing when we went to that deal.

 

It took a long time to make that... Mrs. Mike Ormseth made that

 

Faye: So what did they have for a Fourth of July celebration?

 

Emma:  Well, I don't know... take a picnic or something most likely... with all kinds of people.  I thought she always made the best sugar cookies.

 

Faye: How long did you work there?

 

Emma:  I suppose from spring to the fall... I had to come home.. I must have stayed two, three days over in Minneapolis, I guess.  Dad and them figured I was coming home, you know, so they must have kept on going to town, about three times,  and the third time I wasn't there you know, so then they had to figure  they wasn't going to run back and forth, and they had Gust Gustafson along, and it turned out that I finally... had to go to Thief River first then get to Hazel and walk home!

 

Helen wrote on the outside of the letter "In Haste" you know, well that probably got there after I left there.  They didn't put anything about who it was from...

 

Geri: How did your mother learn how to play piano?

 

Emma:  I mean when we had Amanda Storvik...

 

Faye: Your mother didn't play piano, did she?   Just our mother.  The school teacher taught Mom how to play.

 

Emma:   See, she was a piano lady, you know, at home, see?  So, okay, she told Dad you better go and get a piano because she didn't want to lose her "piano touch" because the school house had an organ.

 

Faye: Your dad bought the piano then, that old upright piano over at Wally's.

 

Geri: Where did he get the money to pay for that?

 

Emma:  I suppose he borrowed the money, I don't know how much it cost.  We always had teachers, you know.  Ma said, at the time  I was little...  the Nessland girls, you know them? That was the one we had for the first teacher, in a way.  I wish I could remember the Norwegian names, but it was too bad, don't you see because I had the diarrhea and it probably got on the floor and had to clean up after and I had the teacher there! 

 

Geri: Who did you go to school with out here?

 

Emma:  Well, you see, I didn't know any English when I started school, only Norwegian.  In the beginning, no, I wouldn't know. 

 

Geri: Who did you graduate with?

 

Emma:  Well, lot of them went to school.  Inga and Alma Thune, Alma Anfinson, Fredrickson boy and all such things as that.

 

Geri: Did any of the Torkelsons go there when you went to school?

 

Emma:  Well, of course, Melvin did.  And they had the Dahls.. I mean the card has got names.

 

Faye: Did you walk to school all the time?

 

Emma:  Ya, well, remember it ain't very far from the farm to the schoolhouse.

 

Faye: But Dahls used to come in the horse and buggy because they lived further away?

 

Emma:  Ya.

 

Faye: Did you have Christmas programs and things like that in school?

 

Emma:  Well, I mean, that is, many years I can remember...

 

Faye: Did you have basket socials and stuff like that? 

 

Emma:  Ya.  We did have that.

 

Faye: Did you bring your lunch to school?  What did you bring it in?

 

Emma:  Ya. Whatever we had then.  Bucket or something, maybe. 

 

Faye: I used to carry mine in a lard pail.

 

Terry:  Did you go to school with the teacher then?  at the house?

 

Emma:  No, she must have walked first.

 

Faye: Was she responsible for the fire and stuff.

 

Emma:  Ya, boy did we have a big ol' that thing... the big thing around the stove.

 

Faye: That was the same thing there when we went to school.

 

Emma:  Some would come on skis, you know, cause they had farther to come from... They'd freeze their feet, you know, and that's the worst thing to stick their feet near the stove and they'd get what you'd call "nugglespetten"  I don't know how to make that word out in to  English, but that's what you'd call it anyway.  And Ruby, I suppose, most likely, was the one had to sit there and cry when it hurt so bad when the frost was coming out of the feet.

 

Faye: So, how did you learn English then, just in school?

 

Emma: Ya.  At home, why we never talked English. 

 

Terry: Did your mother ever learn in English?

 

Emma:  Ya. All of them did.

 

Faye: Marion lived with her mother, too, for awhile, and he spoke Norwegian, too, then.

 

Terry: That I knew, until about four years old, until he went to school.

 

Emma:  How many years did he [Marion] live there with her, I mean?

 

Faye: I think Mom said till after she married Daddy and then I think he lived with Grandma for a little bit after they were married, too.  Cause I think I remember her saying that even after they got married if he would get a little upset or if they would tell him what to do, he'd run back to Grandma's house...  You can imagine any three year old and if he'd get disgusted... run back to Grandma's!

 

Terry: And Thelma [Stene] used to babysit when your mother [Helen] used to work.  She'd bring him in a blanket...  when she worked at the chicken factory.

 

Faye: Now I know that Mom didn't think of the name for Marion, either.  Someone else in Montana came up with the name?

 

Emma:   You suppose it was Mrs. Gobel?    My dad, you know, the thing is we got Francis Marion out of the deal.  And Dad would say something about "Francie Dahl", you know, because Francis Dahl was a lady and she got it first.

 

Geri: Your dad did not like that name too well at all then?

 

Emma:  No. I suppose that's why they just called him Marion, instead of Francis.

 

Faye: I think if she named him that after Francis Marion Drake, the explorer? 

 

Terry: ...or the Swamp Fox down in Louisiana?

 

Emma:  Ya. Because he didn't have any father's name to put on to it, so I suppose that's how it got to Wiken.  Torkelson, it got to be afterwards.

 

Dad liked that child real good, you know, I mean..  Even if it had been [something Norwegian].  That's the part I can't say but in Norwegian, anyway, just because it "went wrong"....

 

Faye: I suppose your mother must have, too, then?  Thought he was something special..

 

Emma:  Ya. Oh, my, we had pictures... How did we get a camera in them days?  We always had pictures you know... outside...  I mean, when the kids were little, holding them. 

 

Geri: Your camera or your mom and dad's camera?

 

Emma:  No, I don't suppose they had one.  I don't know.

 

Faye: You always have taken pictures, haven't you?

 

Emma:  I don't know where, how come I bought a camera.  I don't remember that part of it, but I know I'd have to do that.

 

Terry: When did you start with your diary?  Same time as the camera?

 

Emma:  About 1954.  I mean, because Leland's mother was doing that...

 

Geri: Your kids are going to really appreciate that diary in time.

 

Emma:   Mighty goodness, if anyone were every going to get ahold of that one, I don't know how they'll get it all together because the pages come loose... but it still has a cover on it.  It's a five-year diary, see?

 

Geri: What did you do for recreation when you were younger?  Did you go to dances?  Farm dances or what?

 

Emma:  I don't know if we went too much for nothing.  With us kids, we just walked... going to Dahlens or Riegerts or something like that... just to see people... that had to be on Sundays, I suppose.

 

Geri: You and your husband Hans used to come here a lot of times and visit.

 

Emma:  No, Hans, never did come.

 

Geri: No, I remember Hans coming.

 

Emma:  Ya. When Wahna was born...  We probably managed to get here in one day, didn't we?

 

Geri: You must have drove night and day.

 

Emma:  Maybe it never took that long, do you suppose?

 

Faye: What were the roads like?

 

Emma:  I suppose they were gravel roads, most likely.  Ya, but you see back in 1938 we had a car.  Didn't we one time come in a pickup?  Or was it Melvin's pickup?

 

Geri: I remember some bigger black car and it was a nice looking car, I thought, more modern than we had.

 

Emma:  It would go so fast, Harlan or whatever it was doing the driving.  The door flew upon and he fell out of here, but your place over there.  [laughter]

 

Of course, gasoline then wasn't a very high price.

 

Geri: You must have packed lunches with you?

 

Emma:  No, we didn't go no place to eat, that's for sure.  Don't you see, there's some certain things I don't remember. 

 

I remember when we left your place, I don't know where we was going, then all of a sudden, the door must have flew open, that's when he fell out.

 

Terry: How old was he?

 

Emma:  It would have to be before 1938, because they couldn't have been too old...  Alan would have been only three years old, he was born in 1935.

 

Geri: I remember Hans.  I did see him.  I suppose I was little then, too.  But I do remember them coming down...  I kept thinking, boy,  that woman, for being so far away that would come down here for all these things.  That was something really nice.

 

Because I don't know if Mom ever went by your place.  Mom didn't ever go to visit you in Montana

 

Faye: I don't think she started going out there until...

 

Emma:  After we were married.

 

Faye: After she and Daddy got married, they didn't go out there again for a long time.

 

Emma:  One of them came once...  of course, my mother did the time Marion was born.

 

Terry: How about after that?

 

Emma:  Not until...

 

Faye: Probably the 1950s again.

 

Geri:: Maybe when Marion and Terri went out there the first time...

 

Emma:  My brother [Martin] come and stayed with us before, too...  He probably, maybe stayed, after he came there with the folks.  Then he went back again.  I think my Dad, maybe Anton, came together - instead of Melvin - I've got pictures of them on horseback in the hills. We went back in the hills where they'd had a fire all those years, underground.  I don't remember the name of the horse I had.  So that had to be before Henning was born.

 

Geri: What year did you and Leland get married?

 

Emma: 1947.

 

Geri: Leland was married how many times before he got married to you?

 

Emma:  He married Ella in 1915; little Emma" they all started on "E" too, mind you. It was Ella, then Emma, then it was Eva, then it was me! 

 

Geri:  He sure liked them "E"s.  Did all of them die?

 

Emma:  No, I think Eva's still alive.  Emma would be alive, of course, way out in South Carolina or someplace there after her second husband died.

 

Faye: Who did he have children by?

 

Emma:  Little Emma,  now Big Emma!  Two of us...  they lived on his folks' place, over there,  there were a couple of farms.

 

Faye: Does Leland have children still alive?

 

Emma:  Ya, they're all alive.  Three:  Donny...

 

Faye: Did he have more children by another wife?

 

Emma:  Ya, he had by his first one, but they didn't live.  You see, he worked in Buffalo, Minnesota at the time that him and her... He worked in Minneapolis otherwise.  In Buffalo, that's when she's going to have the second one.  The first one was when they lived across from our place, more or less, and Grandpa says she didn't like children, but they didn't do abortions then, but she figured if she rode the horse or something, she'd probably fiddle around and lose it, you know? So, I don't know how long it lived or what.  But the second one, when he lived there and stayed a week in town back and forth from Buffalo.  If I remember right, it was born also without his knowledge and buried before he got home.  When he got there, there wasn't any.  I don't know why it died, but it didn't live, anyway. That was kind of a bad thing.  Maybe they didn't have good connections to call anybody.

 

Geri: So, he's got three children.  Did he have grandchildren?

 

Emma:. Ya.  He's got Bobby Jo and the other girl.  She came to the funeral anyway.  I called Bobby Jo and I knew she'd call her mother and the other sister.

 

[some discussion about neighbors, George Carlton, and Donny working for Mayflower moving company and how Donny found out about Leland's funeral on a company bulletin board]

 

[some discussion about a "mix-up" that Alan and Donny had some years previous"]

 

Geri: When did Leland die?

 

Emma:  May 14th, 1982.  He was 89?  No, if he'd lived he'd have been 89.  He was born in 1893. 

 

[discussion about Jackie - Henning's wife - at Leland's funeral and some choking incident!]

 

Geri:  Where are they now?

 

Emma:   Henning is in Oregon; Emery and wife Mary in Rio Linda, California; Art and them boys live in Billings; Alan lives in Billings; Harlan is at Colestrip, Montana working.  Kind of by Mile City.  That's where the squabble came in at Leland's funeral.

 

Well, Henning come in an airplane, but she was made when they left about something.  Turned out after she got a ride to Alan's place, she was going to get right back to Oregon in a hurry.  Then she tried to call again, determined to get back, of course, they had an airplane strike and couldn't get back".  by then, they went to a motel, but after that happened, they kind of come back over to our house"  everybody's outside in the yard, in the daytime.   All people went there in the evening to sit around and drink beer...  so then she says after she got out of the chapel" 

 

TAPE ENDS