Thursday, August 7, 2008

change

When the line for coffee came to an end Mrs B said, Let's go into the office where we can talk. When we were seated Mrs B said,'I heard that you are having trouble with the chauffeur.' How did she know! How can I answer. I said nothing, just looked intently at my nails. I wished I could bite them.

Finally Mrs B said ' I will tell you how I know. Angelo, who used to work for me, until he said he wanted to retire, came to me yesterday and told me what you said about Tom. He, Angelo, is very fond of you. He said he wished he had a daaughter like you. Then he asked me if there was anything I could do. Mrs D is a good friend of mine and I don't want to meddle in her household.
If you want to, I will offer you the same job you have now and I will increase your wage by a third. Finish out this month, give your notice, and when it is right for you to leave call me. I will send my chauffeur to pick you up. If they want reasons say you were offered more money. You don't have to tell me now. Think about it. But I can promise you one thing, you will be safe at my house. Now tell your group that I will take you home.

I had so far never met Mrs D. I had seen her from a distance. I felt her ignoring me must show how people related to their servants, at least the ones on the bottom of the rung. And now, suddenly, I had been thrust from oblivion into full daylight.

When I returned to the house, Inga and Elsa were sitting in our living room. What happened! Why did she want to see you. I lied and said she just wanted to know about Greta Garbo.

24 comments:

Emily said...

sweet g,

i can't believe your instant internet fame. reading everyone's comments about how they wish their grandmother would have done this makes me realize just how lucky i am.

i hope you're having as much fun doing this as i am reading it. knowing some of these stories but not others, and some of the ones i know will come, i cannot wait to see how they all link together.

love, emily

cheeto said...

I just love reading your stories - they're so beautifully written I feel as if I were there. My family came over from Sweden, too. While reading, I wonder if my grandparents and great-grandparents had some of the same experiences? Thank you so much for the stories, I look forward to them so much!

Nancy Peacock said...

I look forward to reading your entries each day. Great storytelling of your very interesting history.
I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
so you see that your story is being read far and wide!

svensto said...

I remember so clearly the day you had just arrived and I got a phone call from a woman I had never met, wanting books from the Friends of the Library to take to Africa. She said Thank you sweet Gertrud. I told the gang of you and for years I was Sweet Gertrud. I had totally forgotten. I loved that you said that, for usually people who comment are strangers, as a matterof fact I have had more than two other Emilys. Or, dah, have you commented before. Shreve has arranged that I get all comment on the email site.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer.

Be safe

Grandma Svensto

svensto said...

I remember so clearly the day you had just arrived and I got a phone call from a woman I had never met, wanting books from the Friends of the Library to take to Africa. She said Thank you sweet Gertrud. I told the gang of you and for years I was Sweet Gertrud. I had totally forgotten. I loved that you said that, for usually people who comment are strangers, as a matterof fact I have had more than two other Emilys. Or, dah, have you commented before. Shreve has arranged that I get all comment on the email site.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer.

Be safe

Grandma Svensto

LaurieG said...

Your blog is the first thing I read every day when I get online. I truly look forward to your lovely memoirs and I'm glad Shreve got you started on it. Best wishes from Texas, USA.

Criss said...

Your story is amazing. I'm hooked. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

I love the last line of this post. :)

Sarah said...

wow .. thankyou so much for sharing your stories!!!
I've been following Shreves Charlie for sometime, and am actually just gripped by your posts I've read in the past 15 mins. Can't wait for the next one!!
Greetings from Montreal, Canada
Sarah

suezoos1 said...

Love your writing..looking forward to each entry..

elizaw said...

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us; my grandparents had never been close, and I'd never heard stories like this. It makes me feel like a little child, repeating, "And then what happened?" over and over.

Thank you!

Suzy said...

Thank you for your wonderful story telling. They are beautifully written and I'm sure priceless to your family. I only wish that I had had my Great Grammie Ellie Belle right down her stories. She was born in America in 1891 and passed away in 1996 (just shy of her 105) birth day. She used to tell me about her line as a girl but I was young then and don't remember them very well anymore. Thank you for allowing me and others into your past.

hello haha narf said...

this is so exciting! looking forward to your next post and more stories.

oh how i wish my mother would have blogged like this.

you make my heart sing. thank you.

Allie said...

Dear Grandma Svensto,

What an amazing gift to your grandchildren, to hear about your early life in America like this!

I, too, wish that my grandparents had known how to share their stories: they had so many of them, and I wish more than ever that I could hear some of them again.

Looking forward to your next installment!

Lisa said...

A friend of mine pointed me to this blog and I've sat here for the last few minutes reading through what you've posted so far and wanting more! I wish my grandmother could get the hang of computers, but I will just have to hear her stories right from her own mouth. I can't wait to read the next post!

kiki said...

greta was a great( great could well be an anagram for her) excuse!
ahahaha

thank you so much for sharing your memoirs with us, Grandma Svensto!

wish my dad would do the same.

Pam said...

Are you going to work for Mrs.B? I wonder...

Karen Hargett said...

You have a great gift for telling stories. I'm hooked. Thanks for sharing.

mleahone said...

My mom is an only child and both of her parents passed before she was married so I will never know all the great stories from her side of the family. Growing up, my father's job in the Navy took us so far away from his side of the family that time with them was limited to holidays. Sadly they have both passed now too. Reading about your experiences in a time when things seemed so much easier (or maybe the word should be hopeful?) is a wonderful way to begin my day.

Thank you!

Melissa Weisbard said...

It so wonderful to read your stories. It is wonderful to hear how different life was back when you were young. I can't wait to read your next post!

j-momma said...

Mrs. Svensto,
Thank you for sharing your stories with us. I found you through Shreve's blog on Charlie.
It has been wonderful reading about your life and I eagerly await your posts.
Thank you for sharing with us.

(I'm reading this in South Central Kansas)

Haphazardkat said...

Your stories have completely captivated me!
I find myself anxiously awaiting a new day so I can read another.
You write beautifully; it's as if I am there seeing everything you have seen :)
Greetings from Vancouver, Washington

Kat

Becky said...

I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest of this story. You are an amazing write, I can't wait until your next post!!!

earthgirl81 said...

It is amazing to see how different things were back then. You seem like such a strong wonderful person. I am hooked and anxiously wait for more.
My uncle moved to Sweden after he fought in the Vietnam war and met his wife there and now never wants to leave.
Best wishes to you and Shreve,
Love Lidda

Jer said...

You write in a very lovely, easy to read style. Thank you for the calming words!