Saturday, July 05, 2008
LOVE STORIES, JULY 13th.
My Mom insisted on going over the moors to see the small waterfall in which we used to bathe. Not even a small path to help her on her way.
Celebrating Mom's 83rd birthday, sitting in the sun outdoor the hut. Karibu is the name of a hut on the path leading to Kilimanjaro. It means something like; "Welcome, come nearer,"according to my aunt who was a missionary in Kenya. For once I tried to imitate Mr. Jim, showing off my shrimp sandwich before I ate it.
The oven belonging to my uncle Leif, was transported on an iron bed by him and my Dad forty years ago. I was there, cheerily remembering how heavy their burden seemed to be in the sunny summer's day. They were laughing and joking, drinking water from the brook. Not one word of complaining or self pity.
The hut diary. One's simply got to leave a message there. Five generations of Ljungs have faithfully done so.
Dad's only sister Ellly married a Pentecost pastor shortly after her Mom died. Here they are on their Nord-stoel honeymoon.
Picture still hanging in the hut.
Right; the riddle of the Zink. My grandDad told that a prisoner had a similar lock on his door. He could regain his freedom by picking the rings from the bow. My brother and my dad used to compete how fast they could do it. I don't remember who held the world record. I probably can find it in the diary from the sixties.
My dad made a mark on the door post for every visit from about -37. An old razor, skiwax and a whetstone on the tiny shelf.
Artistic uncle Kaare made a bugle horn from a goat the same year as the hut was built. I never got the hang of making it sound, most Ljungmen do.
The year was 1961. Uncle Leif, my Dad, cousin Grete, bro Kel and I were up to scrape and paint the little hut. It took awhile before we had finished. I still remember running downhills in the dark. Mu uncle holding my one hand, my Dad the other. The path then was so narrow and stony, we had to run in a line. I still think that was my best record ever for the stretch Hut-parking place. Feeling so safe, smelling the odeurs of the night from moss, blooming heather and blueberries .
This was the longest trip my Besten made towards the hut after my Grandmom in heaven died. He brought the family up to the parking lot in his Dodge 7-passenger sedan with a full-bodied Ram staggering the front. Cousin Grete, myself, cousin Bjoern, bro Kel are standing on a stone in the river. Besten supportingly behind with his second wife Gerda, who the grandchildren held mighty dear.
Summer of -45. Dad celebrating the freedom, playing toreador with the farm's goat.
1929 the Ljung family as always closely knit together. Uncles Rolf and Kaare behind. GrandMom, aunt Elly, Besten, and in front sitting; my Dad, by his side uncle Leif. One by one they joined the Pentecost Church, and now they're alll celebrating in Heaven my uncle's arrival this very summer.
My Grandmom in Heaven, my Dad and little dog Prince in front of the new hut, the summer of -34.
My Grandmom at the age of 15. Back then a governess of a Swedish Duchess' children. "Jenny must not scream like crazy in the kitchen," the duchess talked down her nose. "I'm not screaming. I'm singing about Jesus," Grandmom replied and continued her singing. My Granddad was a Dragoon with the Swedish Stormtroops. He came to serve at the Norwegian Court Stables in 1907, just two years after Nowrway and Sweden were peacefully separated.
The love story of my Dad's family is ten square meters.
The hut my Granddad built to help save the deteriorating health of my Grandmom in Heaven. The year was 1933. Depression all over the western world followed the crack on the New York stock exchange in 1929. My "Besten" (means the Best) had heavy loans on his house, a new established bus company and a taxi as well. His wife was seriously down with an asthma, worsened by the heavy pollution from smoke by the Canadian steel plant.
The doctor ordered fresh air for Grandmom. Besten bought an old shed and paid his second oldest son Kaare to bring the materials 400 meters up in the mountains and set up a summer hut for my Grandmom there.
At that time money were so tight, that my Granddad would roll the petrol barrels from the quay to the bus garages himself, just to save a quarter of a cent.
He loved his wife though, and somehow managed to make it through, both with the building of the hut, a maid to cook downtown, thus saving his business and his home.
The summer of-34 the hut was ready. My Grandmom, Jenny Othilie, was too weak to walk, and had to ride barebacked on a horse.
My dad and his youngest brother, Leif were to stay with her a fortnight each and then make a switch through their summer vacations.
Their eldest brother, Rolf, had already done his time in the army, serving as a Royal guardsman at the king's castle in Oslo. Now second brother Kaare was about to enter the same duty as an elite soldier.
Sister Elly, sixteen, had finished as best student at her school, but was needed at home and not allowed further education. She would faithfully follow her mother at Sunday meetings at the Pentecostal Church, and help out home, teasing and grooming her younger brothers.
Besten would come up to the little hut in the mountains from time to time with food supplies and jokes and laughter. He even made a little poem about my father as he admired him training for track and field competitions entirely on his own;
"When Arne's coming to the hut here up/
he'll be doing pole leaps and high jumps/
and time he's fixing self/
and time he's fixing well."
So he wrote in the hut diary. We're still writing in newer copies of the hut diary, and the green wood stand for high jump always is ready for use for the fifth generation.
My Grandmom did not get to use the hut for more than this last summer. She died in what was called "lung fire" in February -35.
Neither did my Granddad want visit his hut anymore.
His children would use the hut for spare time events. Making ski jump competition and having major sleepover parties.Once seven boys were assembled in that little hut, and if they had not much money, they sure knew how to make fun anyway.
Above all the hut was a place to draw away from the crowd.
Talk about their "Mom in Heaven", feel her presence.
All the five children in turn brought their loved ones to the little hut.
My parents did even spend their fortnight honeymoon there, 60 years ago.
We are fifteen cousins who have all brought our husbands and wives to be up there.
Every season the mountain has a special beauty, bathing, fishing, picking blue berries, climbing the peaks, cross country skiing, fetching water in the brook, showers under the waterfall in the river, the freshwater lakes, the moors.
Sheep use to grass there all summer, their bells sounding from the hillside nearby.
The flag will be hoisted to tell the wanderers that people are present.
Not many years ago, in the childhood of the cell phones, I got a call.
Someone was playing harmonica; "You are my sunshine." My uncle Leif spoke,"guess where I'm calling from.I'm sitting on the roof of the little hut.
The second of July this year my Mom had one single wish. To celebrate her birthday at the little hut.
She is not longer able to walk to half hour path we used to follow, after the stroke she had this winter. The farmers have however built a wood road, and she managed to get hold of a key allowing us to drive this single day. She still knows how to get her will done, my Mom.
For five hours we sat outside in one of those rare, Norwegian sunshine days, eating cream cake and sandwiches.
"My best birthday ever", my Mom said. "I felt Arne around me all the time."
The little, red hut, made of love still is binding young and old, the living and the dead together.