Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Maria Elizabeth Winblad interview from August 1986 by Susan Penny Van Deusen at the Lutheran Home in Jersey City, New Jersey

Maria Elizabeth Winblad interview from August 1986 by Susan Penny Van Deusen at the Lutheran Home in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Penny: We thought of some questions to ask you.
Maria: Oh, you did?

Penny: Like, what year were you born in?
Maria: 1895. ... [volume too low] [unrelated conversation]

Penny: We brought a tape recorder so you can talk into it and we can listen when we get home.
Maria: Oh, well, I would say I wish you all have a nice day and a nice year in your home there, and enjoy yourself, where you can run all around in the grass with all your friends, yes, that's nice.

Penny: Christy wanted to know what your parents were like.
Maria: What they were like? Well, I will show you. Did I have the bible here? [she gets her bible] [ambient noise]

April: Hi, I am April
Penny: They wanted to know what was your mother’s name and your father’s name?
Maria: Well, my mother's name was Salmine, S-A-L-I-M-I-N-E, Salmine. See [shows name in bible bible], Selma gets her name from her. My mother did not like Salmine. ... That is a nice name, why didn't you call her Salmine ... That is the name you saw in the book, and my father's name was John, that is another John, only he was John Edward. John Edward, that was my father's name. That is another John.

Penny: How many children did they have?
Maria: Well, I think my mother had seven, but ... she raised three, three. Well, Eddie ... Eddie was only two years old. We went up the street one morning, my mother told me I could take him out. ... This little girl had whooping cough ... I guess I was eleven, was I eleven? ... They had things to drink there. Eddie and I came down with whooping cough, so the doctor said ...My brother the little fellow ... pneumonia and died. I was 4 and he was 2 ... Eddie went into pneumonia and he died. But the doctor said that there was no hope for the little girl. ... She never should have let her little girl have all those children there ... Eddie went into pneumonia and he died. Could I have a piece of bread? ... He was such a good little fellow. Daddy has the papers, that is where I will be buried., with him. Out in Greenville.

Penny: Is that in New Jersey?
Maria: New York Bay cemetery ... Daddy had paid ... that I have that grave there.

Penny: Were all of you born in the United States?
Maria: [misunderstands question] Christian ... My mother was only 2 years old when her mother died. So there he was left ... baker ... he never remarried and raised these seven children, and my mother was only 2 years old when her mother died, and he never remarried. He was a very religious man. He lived it.

Penny: What did he do for a living?
Maria: He was a baker
Maria: He was the dean of a college there [Note: He was the only school teacher, not a dean of a college. His daughter Frideborg would become the principle of the high school and the stories have become conflated and exaggerated]

Penny: What was your last name before you were married?
Maria: Winblad

Christy: Where were you born?
Maria: New York City
I was 9 months old when my father had the house built.
Apple street and a dirt road across the street and a big pasture there. They had a carriage, a two seater, it had the fringe around it [laughs], ... I would like to have a ride in one of them. He had a big pasture across the street ... one block to the other ...

Penny:Who was the youngest child and who was the oldest?
Maria: Otto was the youngest ... Tony was the oldest. Otto was 75, Tony was 88 when he died

Penny: Why did they come here?
Maria: He was on a ship when he met my mother ... They had a cleaning lady and a lady that did the cooking.

Penny: I would like to have two ladies [to help at home].
Maria: He was gone for 5 years, he ran away from college. Selma said I can't sleep ... try it for one month and I will talk to your teacher. Try it for a month. Selma. When she got the report ... I am not going to make the mistake that my father did. ... She was happy. ... He was gone 5 years and he was in Norway and must have liked her. He said he wanted her to go up to Sweden to meet his father and mother before they were married. I don't think his father was alive. [Note: his father was alive and died in 1901]... I think the father had died. He was gone for 5 years . He had four sisters and two of them were nurses, and his father wanted him to be a pastor. If my grandfather had not been so strict, he may have been a pastor. With Selma ... and she did and she got a good report.

Penny: So they came to the United States right after they were married?
Maria: ... Brides ... She washed the chicken off and put it in the oven. You can never take that back. Your supposed to take that out.

Penny: They didn’t know anyone here?
Penny: How old were you when you started school?
Maria: Number 11 school ... firehouse

Penny: Do you remember any friends from school
Maria: I remember the day I graduated

Penny: Did you go all the way to 12th grade?
Maria: [volume too low] ... My father paid $10 a month

Penny: You had to finish the course?
Maria: That bothered me

Penny: What did you do after you finished your business course?
Maria: ... Cuba ...

Penny: What did he try to do?
Maria: ... He would tell them where to put the They were in the ship in the bottom ...

Penny: Why couldn’t he stay in Cuba?
Maria: He was a man of the sea, he couldn’t make a penny there. ... It had four rooms ... four bedrooms.

Penny: How old were you?
Maria: I was 15 ... Otto and I were there a year and a half. Tony married Eva ... She lived across from us, one day a storm came up and the house blew down the road

Maria: My mother got sick down there ... her heart ... I did the washing, the ironing ... the Bronx
Penny: Why did they go to Norway?

Penny: How long were they gone over there?
Maria: They died over there.

Penny: They took Otto?
Maria: ... My aunt’s house. ...

Penny: How old were they?

[recording ends]

Transfered to a digital format by Kevin Borland in 2009. Transcribed by Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) in 2010.