Monthly Archives: November 2017

Nielsen Family Photo

This photo has always seemed sad to me, but I recently found out more about it and it made it even more sad.

It was taken in Denmark less than a year before they emigrated to the United States. In the back my great Grandfather Kristian is holding Elna. She was very sick and died shortly after this photo was taken. A cousin on Facebook thinks it was from leukemia, but I seem to remember my grandmother telling me her sister died of diabetes.

On the right, my great Grandmother Ane Marie is holding a baby that, apparently, at the time of the photo was not yet named. After the original Elna died, they named the baby Elna. (Also according to the cousin on Facebook). In the front, on the left, is Antonie (Toni), then Harry, then my Grandma, Emily, on the right.

No one in this photo looks happy and now I know why. I only wish I knew more.

I wish I knew more about their reasons to move to the United States. I think a brother may have been here, but I might be mixing that up with another branch of my family tree.

As I mused in the post about the circus folk who owned the inn my great grandparents ran: Were they out of a job and needed to move somewhere more promising or did they decide they needed to move somewhere more promising which caused the circus and inn owner to quit the circus and run the inn?

Note that the spelling of Nielsen is different depending on what family tree you look at and what census record you view. I am pretty sure Nielsen is correct based on my grandma’s record of baptism.


A few found things

Continuing my never-ending purge/clean-out and I have found many things I want to blog about. Here are three unrelated items, but in chronological order (probably).

I’ve had a life-long love of reusable carrying bags. This must have been one of my first. It may have been a present from my mom (only she would have bought me something like this). I kept my embroidery and needlepoint supplies in it. It is ripping at a seam on the bottom and likely no use to anyone, but I am not throwing it away. I’m donating it. Maybe someone will want a retro bag for a costume party.

Clear plastic carrying bag with purple flowers
Clear plastic carrying bag with purple flowers

The second item is something I imagine my British family gave me for my birthday or Christmas. I tried them on, but the material must have reacted to the cold or heat of my mom’s attic and they no longer stretch. I tried to give them to Clare, but she was not interested. I probably won’t get rid of them. They don’t take up too much space.

I know exactly where this last item came from. In 1978 I was working as a server at the Manor Pancake House in Elgin to pay for my upcoming +3-month long stay in England to student teach in London. I’d worked there long enough to have “regulars” and this item came from my favorite “regulars,” Carol and her workmate Chuck. They worked at Beef Villa and we got to know each other through visits to one another’s places of employment. I don’t know that we ever actually hung out together except at work.

Anyway, on my last evening at work before my trip to England was a very snowy one. I didn’t expect to see too many people I knew at the restaurant, but pretty much all of my “regulars” came in to say goodbye to me. I was really touched. Carol and Chuck even brought me a present. A stuffed polar bear. I named him Chuckles — sort of a combination of Chuck and Carol. All these years later, the three of us have reconnected (on Facebook of course). Chuckles is a keeper.

Chuckles the polar bear
Chuckles the polar bear