Monday, September 19, 2011

Stories from the life of Sadie Stean, part 2

Sadie Stean, ca 1916

Part 2 of the stories from Sadie Stean's life continues where part 1 left off. We next find Sadie as a 14 year old girl ready to make her way in the world.

“I was 14 years old and as my parents were not able financially to send me to high school I had to get a job. I had been nursemaid during school vacations so I knew how to handle children. Mrs. Gundrson wrote I could come to them. I helped with the children. I remember the big stone apartment house on Strandgaten, that is it looked big then to me now after seeing New York, Boston, Chicago and many other large cities when I think back on that apartment house it was not any larger than some of the homes I have seen in this country, but it was home to me that first summer away from home and I liked the nursery. It was a big room with bars over the windows so the children wouldn’t fall out. I slept there with 4 other little beds. It was a happy summer.

“Mrs. Gunderson was wonderfully kind to me. I was green to city ways and had lots to learn. She took me along on shopping trips and she would stop and talk to so many interesting people, everyone loved her. I’ll never forget how beautiful she looked when she was dressed for the big even of entertaining King Håkon and Queen Maud on their first visit as King and Queen to our city. When she was already she stood up on a stool so we could get a good look at her slippers, too. She was dressed in a black satin evening gown and gold slippers, her necklace and bracelets were garnets set in gold, a present from the Captain when they were engaged, she liked them best of all her jewelry. She sure was beautiful. She was very small, dark brown hair and blue eyes and a wonderful complexion. The Captain was handsome too, over 6 feet tall, and in his best dress uniform. I am sure they were the most handsome couple at the party. In the fall I had a chance to work in Jepson’s Factory doing this and that, sorting samples, working in the sewing room they had just installed electric sewing machines, the first I had ever used. I waited on tables at noon and so got my dinner free. Oh, I was getting along fine and liked it.

[The rest of the journal is about Sadie’s experiences in America and may overlap a bit with her immigrant story. To read more about Sadie’s trip to American see the post from August 31, 2011 entitled: Sadie Stean, Reluctant Traveler.]

“I don’t remember much, we got to England, we were both seasick and we had to stay in our cabin, it was too stormy to be on deck. What a treat it was to take the train from Hull and go across nice green fields. We got to Liverpool, we stayed there a whole week. My sister enjoyed herself immensely. There was dancing every night at the Hotel and new people coming in every day on their way to Norway for Xmas. “We spent our Xmas on the stormy Atlantic Ocean and we were glad when we reached New York and the next day it was Boston and New Year’s Day. Aunt Lydia and Uncle John lived in Melrose, so Aunt Lydia came in to Boston to meet us after a few weeks my sister got work and then I got work. I’ll never forget how lonely I was the first weeks, but time changes everything and I soon learned to talk enough so I could go shopping alone and make myself understood and letters from home helped a lot.

"The rest of the winter went fast and winter went to summer, and oh how dreadfully hot it was on days off. I would go exploring. My sister Anne was spending part of the summer at Marblehead. It was beautiful there. Sundays we would go to Reveer Beach whenever we could cool off. I was glad when summer was over and frost and snow came next spring my Aunt Anna that had been home on a visit to Norway began talking about going out west to Seattle, Washington and asked me to go along. I was more than glad to get away from another hot summer, and the trip was beautiful. I loved all even tho our eyes were closed tight with coal dust when we woke up in the morning. I’ll never forget going thru the Rocky Mountains, those little log cabins and streams coming down the mountainside just such a home was what I would have liked to have had then.

"We came to Seattle July 3 in the evening, a missionary from the Danish Norwegian Church came down to meet us and she had engaged rooms for us next door to her own apartment. We stayed there for a while then we got work evenings and sometimes on Sundays we would spend at the Fairgrounds. We made friends at the church and we were happy. Aunty became engaged and started planning for her home. I wasn’t the kind that made friends very easily and got tired of sitting in the dark gloomy church, so started to spend my days in parks and went on long street car rides and beaches in the summer time, the minister and missionary got after me for not coming to church, but I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t enjoy the good old sunshine while I could, so kept on staying out and was happy.

"In 1913 I planned on going home for a visit, but decided instead on going to Los Angeles, California. Stayed there 5 months, spent most of the time on a ranch near Monte Bello helping Mrs. Ducher with her children and cooking. Spent a week with Anne in L.A. before taking the boat for Seattle and the trip was a bit stormy. Was glad when we docked in Seattle. Some of my friends were down to meet me and we all went out out Yale Avenue to Auntie’s house for a midnight lunch.

"I stayed there for a few days at a time. Aunty was expecting another baby. I went along with Johanna up on the ranch to help her get ready. She was going home to Norway on a trip and my cousin Gunnie too stayed there 3 weeks, had a lovely time. The Hansens were so nice to us.
May 25th [1914] Aunty had her baby. I was there when little fat-roly poly Betty arrived. She was a darling. A week or so later, Gunnie and Johanna left for New York, going to sail June 2. It was lonesome after they had gone. Planned on getting a job, was tired of loafing and money was getting low. Aunt Gudrund talked me into going with her on a camping trip on Hoods Canal where her sister camped. Ester and Jack, Carl and Lena were camping too. We spent a month camping and came back to Seattle brown as Indians. We had a wonderful time. Little did I know that the boy I met there I would be married to 5 years later.*

Sadie Stean and Herbert Solwold, ca 1919

September 18, 1927—Today is a beautiful day, not a cloud to be seen. Herbert is working at the [fish] hatchery and maybe home this afternoon. Richard got a cold in his nose, plays too hard at school.

Richard Solwold, Betty and Bill Schroder

August 8, 1928—Well it is a long time since I wrote lots of things have happened since. Many things that are already forgotten. We hare having a few more warm days. We had 2 to 3 weeks of real warm weather all summer. Last night about 10:30 I saw sparks from a meteor. There was a light spot in the sky, looked like the northern lights, only I could see both ends of it, on one end lots of starts were shooting out from it. Must have lasted for about 2 minutes. I wonder where it fell. We were over to Gunnie’s Sunday the 6th. We had a nice time. Had a letter from Mama. She is just about ready to leave us I guess. Works too hard. Wish I could see her once in a while. . . .

[There were a few more short entries but nothing more about her own life or that of her family.]

Sadie died 28 February 1941 at the age of 50. Herbert died 9 December 1989 at the age of 97.**


* Sadie and Herbert Solwold were married 8 October 1919.

Marriage certificate for Sadie Stean and Herbert Solwold, 1919

** After Sadie died Herb remarried in 1943 to Georgie Taylor. Georgie died in January 1972 and in May 1972 Herb married a third time to Connie Danielson. Connie died in 1984. I met Herb when he was 95 years old in very good health and mentally sharp. At that time he was visiting with Agnes Allpress and had been walking around the Duckabush and Brinnon areas helping with an historical project about Brinnon. The younger people had trouble keeping up with him as he was said to have "walked their legs off." His parents had been homesteaders and some of the first settlers in that area. At 97 years of age Herb was surf fishing in the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast and developed a blood clot in his leg. Complications from the clot caused his death otherwise I think he would have made it to 100 years or more. He was such an interesting person and was almost like a living breathing history book. I was certainly glad that I had a chance to meet and visit with him.

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