I know that an ode is a form of poetry and I do not know how to write poetry, I want it to be a few lines of praise for her. She had a hard life and I am sure I added to her difficulties.
She was born to parents who probably did not want her any more than she wanted me. Her parents were born in 1838 and 1840. They already had six children and in 1886 when my mother was born her mother was about fifty years old. Blenda's closest sibling, Olof. was probably still in diapers. My grandfather was the teacher for all children in a little farming community called Allrum. The job was paid for in a small salary and in totally unsatisfactory living quarters. The School and the living quarters were in one building. My grandmother had to knit socks for her whole family and I have never seen a photograph of her where she was not knitting. My grandfather retired on a pension and moved his family to a little fishing village about 20 or 30 miles away. Viken. The family had grown smaller by the time grandfather moved, for all his children moved to America as soon as they were old enough to get work.
Ivar worked in a grocery store in Walla Walla, Washington. He later worked for the Swedish American Line as a teamster. He had two horses, a team, and a cart that delivered luggage and probably some freight. Did you know that's where the word teamster came from? He later moved to upstate New York. Alma was a baby nurse or a mother's helper and I think she never developed beyond that and had to retire back to Sweden when she grew too old for that kind of work. We all felt she was a little weird and my mother always told me I was just like her. Helena we never heard of. She died young and the fact that we never knew what happened to her made her a fascinating person for us to wonder about. Olof was the only one of the children who got any education beyond the seventh grade. He became a banker. I forgot Karin who went to America like all the others. She worked as a cook till she got Social Security and moved back to Sweden.
My mother went to America when she was about eighteen. She began as a baby nurse and one day on her day off she met a Sea Captain from Viken. They had never met before and he fell in love and asked for her address. He and his ship left after just a few days, but the mail between them was hot and heavy. He and the ship returned a year later and Captain Nils Svensson asked Blenda Olsson to marry. She said: I will have to return to Sweden and begin working on my hope chest and on my wedding dress. And then I will be happy to marry you. (To be continued)