Friday, August 1, 2008

What happens when you get up early

The year was 1938. There were two old ladies in my cabin, both snoring loudly. The oldest was probably at least sixty. They sounded as if they were trying to harmonize but in my estimation they were failing miserably. It was dark, only a slight light tried to peak out from under the door. I felt I could dress quietly and get out smoothly enough to let the duet continue.

We were on the path and certain to meet the Hurricane which had devastated the Nassau County on Long Island. The smell of musty clothes and morning bad breaths filled the cabin. I had to hurry to get out before the high seas won the battle with my stomach. I opened the door to the hall and escaped into air that was not much better. Since I was travelling steerage I was supposed to stay on the lowest deck and the air outside was wonderfully welcome. I saw no other souls stirring around so I climbed the stairs to the next deck and since nobody stopped me I climbed some more stairs and found myself on the top deck.

I sat down on a box that probably held life jackets and drew long deep breaths and slowly my stomach settled. I closed my eyes and probably would have fallen asleeep. The box was smooth and slippery and I had to hold on to the railing to keep from sliding off.

Suddenly I felt I was no longer alone. Out of the darkness a very tall person had appeared and since she was standing looking at me I felt I had to greet her. Would I do it in Swedish or in English? When she opened her mouth to respond, there was no doubt about who she was. It was the "I vant to be alone" woman, Greta Garbo. I said "Im sorry, I'm not supposed to be here for I have my room in 'steerage' She said "don't go on my account" We chatted for a few moments. She asked what my plans were and I told her I had wanted to go to America since I was a small child and when I was small I used to tell people I would have eighteen children. She asked how old I was and I told her I was eighteen years old.

15 comments:

dailycoyote said...

Hi Grandma! This is so much fun to get on your blog and see your posts! Love it! xo Shreve.

Jane Ritter said...

well done...great language...so able to visualize the scene...keep it up!
jane

Anna Grace said...

Dearest Grandma Svensto,

I, like Jane, love hearing the language style you use for your writing. You are such a good story-teller. Thank you for sharing your life with us through these.

Joanna said...

I came here via a link from Shreve. This is a great story. Greta Garbo. Wow. I can't wait to read more.

Sandy said...

I found you through Shreve. I love her blog and reading about Charlie, Eli and Chloe and just knew you would be wonderful too! I can't hardly wait to read more!!!

Sandy said...

p.s. I forgot to say, "Wow! Greta Garbo!" How exciting!!

jenn said...

Grandma Svensto...I like some others found your blog via Shreve. I can't wait to read more...thank you for sharing!!!

Leesavee said...

Dear Grandma Svensto,

How marvelous to get to hear these stories! I came here through Shreve's website, and I can already tell that I will have to keep visiting. I think you're becoming everyone's grandma!

Best wishes from Maine!
Lisa

BumbleVee said...

I, too, found my way here via Shreve and Charlie.... I'll be sending your blog to several friends who, at 60, think they are too old to figure out blogging.

You have an easy way of telling a story.... will we see some of your paintings eventually?

Welcome to the world of blogging....

~Mad said...

Dear Grandma Svensto,

I, too, came from Shreve's blog. I am loving that you are doing this - I will visit daily. How wonderful to have your stories written down. And thank you for letting us "eavesdrop".
~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
www.xanga.com/madewyn

Pam said...

Wow. That is exciting!

Moon Rani said...

"Shreve sent me." :) I'm enjoying your blog. Love the part where you meet Garbo! Keep up the good work!

Hunde Haus said...

I also found you through The Daily Coyote!

I am hooked on your blog already!!

tamaraeden said...

Sharing your stories is a gift.

I think you should be called Hip Grandma !

Molly Brown said...

WOW...I am going to LOVE reading your stories...
You were born the same year as my Mother (she passed away 5 years ago) and your 4th child was born the same year as ME!!
I already have tears running down my cheeks just reading the first few paragraphs...what a great gift you have for writing and I am sooo glad I found your blog...
Take care, Molly
(from North Carolina)