My mother had a mix of cheap costume jewelry and some more expensive items and after she died I was less interested in the expensive items and more interested in anything with sentimental value. I know her father gave her a heart shaped locket when she turned 16, so I took that and a few other necklaces that I knew she liked.
One of these items was a mystery. It was a large gold-toned cross on a long chain. My mother was not all that religious and I had not remembered ever seeing her wear it. I almost dismissed it and left it at the house to be sold with her other things, but I decided to take it because it looked old and I wondered if it might have belonged to my Grandma Patrick. I had no reason, except its age and the fact that my father’s mother was quite religious to suspect it was hers, but I didn’t want to leave it there in case it was. The one thing that threw me though, was that the chain looked newer than the cross and cheap compared to the cross so I was not completely convinced that 1) it was old or 2) had belonged to my grandmother.
A few months after bringing the cross home I was looking at some photos that I’d scanned. One of them was an old photo of my Grandma Patrick when she was maybe 16 or 17 years old. I noticed she was wearing a long necklace and when I enlarged the photo I knew the cross was hers!
Not being all that religious myself, I don’t know when I will wear it, but I am glad I didn’t leave it at the house.
A few years ago I went through a box in the attic kneewall marked “Memories — Dona” and found a number of items, many of which will be making an appearance on this blog. Lucky you. Somehow one of the items was given to Clare (instead of the rubbish heap or Goodwill). I’d pretty much forgotten about this item until we moved her belongings from Bronxville to Bethesda. She had it in a pile of clothes she was leaving there (which included her first “formal” and a cape my mom made for her back when Clare was into capes.) Of course I challenged her on the formal and cape and she admitted to not realizing they were in that pile (college kids these days!). She didn’t make the same claim on the item in question. As for me, if I had not come across the item, I would not have missed it. But, alas, I did. And now you get to hear all about it.
First, a bit of history of this item. As you may or may not know, I’m a bit of an Anglophile and was chastely engaged to a young man from England for a number of years in my late teens and early twenties. During one of those years my family and I visited my grandparents in Chetek. My other grandmother was along for the trip and one day we were shopping in downtown Chetek and I found a t-shirt I had to have. I don’t remember the price, but I didn’t’ have enough money and my mother would not give me the extra cash so I could own the t-shirt. When my mother walked away, my grandmother (not the one who lived in Chetek) asked me how much money I needed. I told her and she gave me the amount so I could buy the shirt. I didn’t hesitate, and possibly didn’t even thank her (kids those days!), and took the money and bought the shirt. I was elated. Until mom found out that my grandmother gave me the money. It kind of spoiled the moment.
However, I wore the shirt with pride — a few times. But I kept it. It traveled with me to Pittsburgh and Virginia and finally Maryland where it stayed until it then traveled with my daughter to New York and then (barely) back to Maryland. Here it will stay until at some point my kids have to go through my stuff after I die and wonder why I kept such a thing. (I suppose I could put it in my will that it must be kept or they lose their inheritance.)
I know you are waiting to see this item. You’ll wish you had one too. I know it.
Last night (during one of my “I can’t sleep episodes) my phone made its “You’ve got mail” sounds. I picked it up and checked who’d emailed me at 2:00 in the morning and found it was the innkeeper of Rold Gammel Kro — the inn I thought my grandmother may have been born in. Here is what he wrote:
Thank you for mail,— Yes that my inn,- I have been innkeeper here at Rold gl. Kro for 17 years. For me it is very interesting to hear about this story.
My mom’s house is a treasure-trove of interesting things. She has stacks, drawers, closets, kneewalls and rooms filled with stuff. Photos, letters, trinkets, newspaper clippings, reel-to-reel videos, and cassette tapes are a few of the items waiting to be discovered in my mom’s house. Some people may consider her a hoarder. I think she’s a keeper of family history.
One of the items I found in a pile of old photographs at my mom’s house was the record of my paternal grandmother’s baptism. She was born in Denmark, so the text is in Danish. The paper is yellowed and old and the spidery handwriting is hard to read. I posted a scan of the baptism record on Facebook with a plea for help deciphering it. Barbara, a long-time friend, suggested that her daughter, whose next door neighbor is from Denmark, might be able to help so I sent Teri an email and attached the scan of the document.
After several emails back and forth it was determined that it reads something like this:
Emilie Margrethe Marie Nielsen
Daughter of [kroferpayter] Kristian Nielsen and wife Ane Marie Sorensen(?)
from the city of Rold in the parish of Hindsted in the district of Aalborghus
Born 8 June 1895
baptized in a church 14 July same year
Recorded 13 Dec 1897
I still don’t know what the word or words are just before my great grandfather’s name is. He was an innkeeper and according to Teri’s neighbor kro means tavern or beer establishment. Perhaps the word has something to do with that because it begins with kro.
Here is a photo post card of the building where my grandmother was born. I’d always thought she’d meant this was the city where she was born — but apparently she was born in the building — which was (and still might be) an inn.