Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HALVERSON ASHBY ERMA'S LETTER

ERMA'S LAST LETTER
This letter was written to Aunt Mary Halverson Bowen a day or two before Erma's death, Aunt Mary wished to share it with the family at the 1995 reunion.  I'm glad now that I published my books even though they were in such poor shape.  Erma had asked me to bring them if it was possible and it seems to have given her pleasure to read them.

Roy, Bob, Erma, Arnold,
Shirley, Leona, Ted, Glen
2 Aug. 94
Dear Aunt Mary,

It was so nice to hear from you and know you are doing better. 

Yes we went to the reunion.  Didn't feel like driving so we flew to Denver and got a rental car and drove to the reunion and then back to Denver where we visited a grand daughter on Gordon's side. 

It was a gorgeous place for a reunion, 8000 feet elevation, beautiful forests, lots of deer and also saw many wild flowers in bloom. 

Andrew, James, Mary, Myrtle
Gene has finished the genealogy and it boggles your mind how much work he did, and how much information he found and hundreds of pictures.  He has a separate book for Grandma's side, about 250 pages, Grandpa's is about 450 pages and genealogy back to the 1600's!  He has a lot of history about what was going on in Denmark, why people left.  And many, many stories by various family members.  He gathered so many stories about different ones, fascinating to read. 

I do like to write, and wrote a lot about Grandma that Gene has in the book.  I also wrote about Uncle Joe, glad I did, it was the only one that was wrote about him.  And a story about Mother. 

I also remember almost word for word what Grandma told me about coming to America on the ship.  And living in a dug out for two years and how cold it was in the Winter, but she doesn't tell that in her stories.  I think she must have been very afraid to be alone, which is one reason I was sent down there.  I know Uncle Joe worked nights but I don't know where.  The house was locked tight at dusk and we always brought the ax in and put it under the bed.  We always played rummy before we went to bed, how Grandma loved to play cards!  If anyone came we would hurriedly spread them out and pulled the table-cloth over them. 

 I remember Elda, or Goldie I think she was called {Goldie was Roy's wife} and Roy.  They came often to she Grandma, and she used to wash and wave my hair.  Once Grandma even let her use an egg white on it, and you Grandma would think that very wasteful.  I think she loved her very much and couldn't say, no.  She sent me a butterfly quilt when I got married. 
Grandma and Grandpa

I often think and wonder why Grandma never ever went to Church, but she sent me.  I must not have went often enough because I am no longer a Mormon.  I do remember her and Uncle Jim's wife going to Salt Lake City to do Temple work.  They went on the Orem from either Springville or Provo.  I remember them going at least twice.  And Grandma always shopped at Woolworths, I'm sure that was her delight.  She bought lovely hankies for gifts and once got Lee and I each a pair of salt shakers from Japan.  Lee still has hers, I lost mine when our home burned in 1969.  I also had a photo album Grandpa gave me when I was five.  It had a photo of a peacock in it



I sure do remember Grandma's cooking; the rice puddings, chicken soup with Danish dumplings and lots of parsley.  Grandma had parsley and sage growing back of the house in a corner where Great Grandma's room was.  And of course the raspberries.  I remember when we came from Nevada, she'd give me a bowl to go out and pick raspberries for breakfast.  I'd go out in my night clothes and bare feet.  Raspberries were always very special to me and a wonderful reminder of Grandma.  Once years ago I actually had my own raspberry patch.  Uncle Jim was visiting Mother and I would take raspberries to them every day.  I was so P.O.'ed when they didn't think raspberries were special.  Guess Grandma didn't have them when they were young. 

Joe emptying wagon into barn
I also remember that huge (at least it seemed huge to me) mulberry tree.  The berries were pink and sickening sweet but we ate them anyway.  I was so hurt the first time I was there and the tree was gone.  But I do realize it was really a messy tree. 

Grandma made wonderful grape juice and punch.  I remember her stirring constantly and skimming seeds.  She said, "No one would ever find a seed in her grape jam".  Her ice cream was wonderful, she cooked a custard and added rennet.  I've always made ice cream that way. 

And cream cakes, once I ate holes in the layers when they were cooling on the Hoosier cabinet, when I heard Grandma coming, I ran and hid under her bed.  She called me a "little beggar" but she didn't spank me (she should have). 

I remember pickled peaches and water melon rind pickles.  Wonderful bread, eating bread with bacon grease on it and sprinkled with pepper and accompanied with the first radishes.  Uncle Merrill taught me that. 

I do have many wonderful memories of Grandma and Uncle Joe.  Well I must close and get to bed.  Tomorrow I'm having a Hysterectomy-- beats the hell out of me why you wait almost 76 years to need that, but I did.  I sure missed seeing Connie and Venice, we never had enough time together last time.  Tell them next time we have to really get acquainted.
 
All my Love to you and Uncle Lewie,

Erma Lorraine

My goodness, you'll be cross-eyed reading all this!       Grandma also made beer from wheat. 
Next year the reunion will be at Aunt Doris' hosted by Joe.   Erma died a day or two after this .

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