Went in yesterday to see Aunt Olla at the Hilton. She was in fine form, and told some stories I had not heard before. Namely, she recalled an incident which happened in Ulen in the mid-1920s where a Negro boy was accused of assaulting a local woman. The mob chased him across fields until they caught him right by the Bergeson farm. Aunt Olla figured the woman was probably making up the story and that the poor kid--he was just a kid--didn't know what hit him when the sheriff's posse arrived from town with chains and guns galore. "He looked so frightened in the back of the car," she said. "I told him I felt sorry for him."
Another story: A neighbor lady named Geneva would come over to bathe the two youngest boys in the family on Sunday afternoon. They didn't like it, but she was assertive and made sure they got a good shampooing. One wonders what led to that ritual.
When Aunt Gertrude was a young mother, she needed surgery over in Ada. They had no money, so the neighbors threw a party and raised the necessary amount. My grandfather Melvin drove Mama and Olla over to the party. He was all of sixteen. They had a Model T with the top down. Well, Melvin (they called him Mike) wanted to go home but Mama was visiting...and visiting...and visiting. She was particularly fond of Mrs. Dunham, and the two just wouldn't shut up. When finally Olla and Mama got in the car, Mike drove so fast home that Mama and Olla thought they were going to get thrown from the car. He was furious.
Eldest Brother Roy made a hammock out of a bedspring which the kids thought was great fun. Olla didn't dare sleep in the hammock, but she did sleep on the porch one night. She took the spot right near the door as she wanted to be able to get inside in case Gypsies came. Roy also poured a sidewalk from the drive up to the house, an unheard of luxury at the time. He was a forward thinker, even at age 18. But Roy always had to lay down the law with Olla, as she would rather play than work, even into her 20s.
Olla figures it was probably for the best that their Dad died at age 42 or the kids wouldn't have had nearly the fun they did. "He would have put a stop to it," she said, while Mama was a gentle soul who never minded if the kids stayed up until dawn playing cards.
Mama once ventured to Grand Forks for a gathering of Stavanger Norwegians. Her only instructions to Olla, who was hopeless with chorse, were to feed her chicken who had a brood of chicks. Of course Olla completely forgot and there the chickens were stone dead when Mama got back. But she didn't say anything.