Reprinted from The Bulletin #41, May 5, 2003
(Reprinted as a Best of The Bulletin selection in #72 November 19, 2003)
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This and That Stories, Poems, etc.
by Elaine Wold
One of the essays that had its place in The Bulletin in its first year, and that several of you may have missed or forgotten, was the one that follows, to which Elaine contributed her memories:
Grandpa Hans C. Anderson
by Dorothy Anderson
Grandpa came from Denmark as a young man. He never learned to speak the English language quite like a native. When I first met him, I immediately liked him. He was a very pleasant man --but to communicate with him was nearly impossible, as he was almost totally deaf. He was a smaller man than his children and was bent from the arthritis from which he suffered. He had a mustache, and as most of the Danish people, he was a tobacco user -- pipe, cigar, or cigarettes -- he didn't seem to mind which!
He spent from spring until fall with his son Harry and the family. In the winter, he was at his daughter Lydia's, first in Iowa and then, when she moved to the state of Washington, he would go there. I am sure the mild weather was pleasant for him as he reached old age. He had been a farmer when he was younger, but from the time I met him he was retired.
When he was at Harry and Cleo's, he usually helped in the garden, and to the kids' disgust, seemed to keep pretty close tab on what they were supposed to be doing and let them know when they were slacking. He liked to go to town with the family, or really wherever they went, he was eager to go along. I don't think they would have minded that as much IF he hadn't been so quick to "light up."
I have asked Elaine to provide us with some information about her Grandpa, Hans Christian Anderson:
When he lived with us on the farm, he would sit on the front porch and often tell us about coming to this country from the "old country," as Europe was called. We kids would tell him, "Yes, but this is the new country!" Now I wished we would have written it all down and had it on record. But that's the way it is ... and that is a good reason for The Bulletin, too, to save some of this family history.
Coming from Denmark with his wife and son Maurice, (and Carl was expected), he stayed with a brother in law, John Anderson, in Ibsen Township. At that time, Ibsen was a part of Dwight Township, for those researching history. Later, Harry (our father) and Inga were born, also Earl Willie and Earline.
He knew lots of sorrows in his lifetime... Little Earl Willie died at a year old, then his wife, Inger, died, leaving baby Earline, who was adopted into the John Anderson family. Then his mother came from Wisconsin to help raise the family. H.C. then married Bertina Olson and had Lydia and Oswald, and then Bertina died in childbirth, and the baby was buried in her arms.
Hannah and Anna Carlson often said she was a good woman, and a pretty person. When Earline and Inga married and had small children, they both died very young, also. H.C. also saw his son Carl die before him. At the time of his death, Oswald, Lydia and Harry were survivors.
I remember him being in a wheel chair when they lived on the Dwight Bonanza farmhouse. However, he recuperated and walked again. He had bowel obstruction surgery when nearing 90 years but died of an aorta aneurism at the age of 90.
Besides farming, and having Holsteins, and a purebred Angus herd, he worked for the Highway department and mowed roadsides with teams for many years.
I often remember how he liked all the things that are not recommended for healthy eating. He loved ham and eggs, and bacon and eggs for breakfast ... smothered with lots of salt. Also, he ate a lot of cream and bread. It was hard for him to socialize, with his poor hearing, and now, as we get older, we can understand his frustrations. Maybe that is why he read a lot and endorsed "The LEADER," the Non-partisan League newspaper.
He had a hard time keeping up with the latest ideas and inventions, and often would quote these words. "MY, MY, NEVER SEEN SUCH T'INGS!" Another quote we kids would say when we met someone new came about like this.... One of the boys (don't remember which) put on an ugly Halloween mask and came into the living room one evening ... and he said, "I DON'T KNOW YOU, FELLOW." It is strange he didn't have a heart attack!
We have many special memories of him; he taught us many things ... kind and caring, had very little money, only an old age pension, which was very meager, but it taught all of us how to appreciate all the good things we have, compared to the hard times in his life.