Saturday, August 9, 2008


With my increased wealth I felt I had to go to a dentist. Social medical care did not include getting our teeth fixed in those days. And my mother had less knowledge about the care of her four children's teeth. She used to say: if you eat an apple before you go to bed, you don't have to brush your teeth. But it was not cavities that drove me to the dentist. It was a small chip in my front tooth. It had made me put my hand over my mouth every time I smiled.

You might be interested to know how I got that chipped tooth.

Early one winter morning my mother was standing in the corner of the living room talking to a friend. On the phone. No cell phone. The phone was fairly high on the wall and I dont think she could sit down and talk on the phone at thesame time. All of a sudden we heard her say: Oh, my God, there is a huge ship practically in our front yard. There was an edge of hysteria in her voice. We children quickly donned our outer garments and ran down to the beach. Well, there was a freighter way up on the beach. Only the aft of the ship was still in the water. There was ice on the rocks we had to climb over to get a front seat view. I slipped and broke my front tooth. We could not afford to have it fixed, said my mother. So I had arrived in America behind my hand hiding my open mouth. Luckily it was a very small chip.

Are you all dying to know why the ship was in our front yard? Remember it was before the age of radar and a ship's master had to use eyes and ears. It had been very foggy in the dark before mornning light. The captain had the wole crew on deck to listen to any noise that could tell them how near they were to either Sweden or Denmark. He said he had a feeling that he was very close to the Danish coast. All of a sudden a cock crowed and he ordered HARD STARBOARD. And with that he found himself in Sweden.

I will have to tell you about going to the dantist next time.


Jirel said...

I also found you via your granddaughter's blog (The Daily Coyote). Your posts are fascinating and I enjoy getting a look into the world of my mother's childhood. She was born in 1928 but became senile at 63 and has since died, so I've not had a chance to hear much from "the horse's mouth" so to speak. Although she did not immigrate and lived a different life, I still feel like your stories take me to her time.

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading what your are writing, please keep it up!

weecyn said...

Dear Mrs. "Svensto,"

Thanks so much for writing. I am enjoying it so very much. My mother's side of the family is all Swedish - my great grandparents came over early last century, two of them stowaways. My two great-grandmothers, both of Eureka, California, lived to be near a hundred, but I was quite young when they passed, and have always wished I could have heard stories like the ones you are telling. They were probably almost your mother's age. You have a gift for storytelling, and your posts are a joy to read. You and Shreve are alike in that regard! Tack så mycket.

Cynthia Hathaway

Allie said...

You reveal something completely unexpected every time! You're such a gifted storyteller, Grandma Svensto. :)

Plot Whisperer said...

Do we know how old you are at the time of your stories??

Anne said...

I've been having my morning cup of coffee while reading your blog. It seems we're sitting at your kitchen table, two old friends, reminiscing about 'other times'. Every day that we get together for our coffee I feel closer to you, dear friend, learning things about you that I didn't know. I'm becoming fonder and fonder of you. Thank you for coming into my life, dear Svensto.

hello haha narf said...

can't imagine seeing a freight liner right there in front of the house! what a morning!

i also fell and chipped a tooth...i know the feeling of covering a smile with a hand. what liberation i felt when i finally had the tooth fixed! looking forward to hearing about your adventure to the dentist.