Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Wonder about Her

I wonder what she was like.  I mean my Great-Grandmother Rise, who came to the U.S. from Norway as a young woman in the late 1800's.  Who was she?

I have the spinning wheel that she brought with her to this country in 1880.  It must've been very important to bring with in order to haul a piece this large all that way on a ship.  I would love to know what else she had with her.

 The wool carding tools are handmade and came with the wheel, and the ball of yarn was supposedly made with this wheel too. I am not sure where the bobbin or the darning pieces came from, but I keep them just the same.

I also have her Autograph book - it looks like she received it for Christmas.

Did you notice the year?

Here's a closer look:

It amazes me to have this little book.  It makes me wonder about her, her friends, and what her life was like in this new country.  I've often thought of my various ancestors and what they were like, but having these things that once belonged to her make me wonder even more about her.

The autograph book is interesting to look at.  Most of the entries are in Norwegian, and the cool thing is that there are a couple of entries by my great-grandfather from before they were married. Signed "your friend".  This entry is on Christmas - the same date written inside the cover.  Maybe he gave this book to her when they were dating?

And another entry by my great-grandfather is about a year and a half later. 
It says:  "The world is round and has no end, and so is my love for you my friend."
How sweet is that? 

I can't find the date they were married at the moment, but their first child was born in May of 1890.  That child even made an entry in this book!  I wonder if Rise chuckled at her little girl's entry to Mama:

I remember my grandmother used to wear this locket containing pictures of her parents when I was a little girl.  I am lucky to have this locket now also - my great-grandparents Rise and Thom.  Another connection to the mysterious Rise.

I plopped it on a new chain, but it wouldn't pass over the little pearls on the chain.  

 So, I added a beautiful old clip on earring of my mom's to cover up the clasp and voila!

I have a beautiful new necklace to wear, and carry my ancestors with me.

And every time I look at the pictures, I just can't help but wonder what Great-Grandma Rise was like.  Obviously she spun yarn.  So, did she knit?  Crochet?  Did she tat? Did she sew or quilt?  Certainly any of those things would have been done out of necessity - not for pleasure or crafting like we do now. 

I wonder if there will be anything I have now that will make MY great-grandchildren wonder about me?   


  1. Very interesting post. Thank you!

    i have my Gram's autograph book from New York, celebrating her high school graduation. It is dated 1918, and many of the poems inside have the same flavour as the one from the child in yours.

    And of course, the handwriting is an example of a lost art!

    I cherish the little book, as it has writings from people I know about or have met many, many decades ago.

    Then I saw the earring sunburst; I have my Gram's pin that looks very similar, except it has sharper points that used to scratch my cheek me as a child, when I got a hug!

    These things are such treasures, aren't they!
    Fox ; )

  2. Dena has the spinning wheel that belonged to our grandmother - our family is also from Norway - and it looks very much like yours. I wish we had some of her other things. We didn't get to know her as she died fairly young, before I was born and maybe before Dena was. It's nice to have the wheel and know there is a connection between the generations.

  3. Lovely treasures...these links to the past are so interesting and special :-)

  4. So fun! But think your great grandchildren will have access to this blog! They will have a key into some of your thoughts anyway. Love the locket and pin!

  5. What lovely keepsakes you have! I've considered having my blog put into book form so that my children, grandchildren, etc. have an idea of what I'm like. Somehow, I think I like the mystery of your story, though.

  6. The locket is such a lovely keepsake. I'm glad you found such a pretty way of wearing it. And having the spinning wheel is amazing - not much gets saved in a family that long. I have wondered if any of my shuttles will ever be kept in the family that long and what memories they may bring.


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!