Greetings & Wishes For My Grandmother Asta
My grandmother Asta was born 1890 and died 1982. She has kept a lot of birthday cards and get well cards that I would like to show you. There is also a small book with her marks from school and texts on how to behave as a good and well-behaved school-child.
She was rather lonely as a child because her mother had to work many different jobs cleaning in shops e.g. photo ateliers and cooking for people in their houses. Her best friends were attending school in the mornings and she had to go in the afternoon. She felt that the afternoon pass was inferior to the morning pass.
The greetings and telegrams from my grandmother’s confirmation. Her faith meant a lot to her at least later on in life.
She took care of her ten-year younger brother Svend as soon as she was old enough to do so and she suffered a lot from the loss of him when it later appeared that he couldn’t be trusted too well. He was very good-looking as a young man and sometimes borrowed money from people and his family but he didn’t care to pay them back.
Asta’s brother Svend
During her youth she worked long hours in a shop called “Manufacture Shop”. They sold textiles for clothing and underwear for men, women and children and stockings. She was very close to the owners of that shop and kept in contact with the family the rest of her life. After seven years in school she served her apprenticeship in a similar shop. She worked at the manufacturing shop for about eight years until she was 25 years old and was struck by bleeding stomach ulcer. That was in 1915. This made a huge impression on me as I was training to become a nurse when I heard about it. The woman who owned the shop sent her a “get well” card to the hospital. Later Asta was a re-convalescent at in Northern Zealand some hours’ travel from Copenhagen.
A get well card from Mrs Thea Schraeder who owned the shop
Other greeting cards to Asta
from school friends and admirers. The slide show can be stopped
The shop in Nansensgade 30 in Copenhagen
I believe that she was overworked as they had very long working hours combined with the fact that her father William had left his family for some years to live in another family. At that time it was a scandal that was never talked about. Her brother Svend asked her in a letter if she had heard anything from “Father”? We will never know but as he came back to his family a few years later, I am sure he has contacted her during her illness.
Once she wrote to her mother from a short weekend holiday she had with an aunt. She mentioned that she hoped her mother wasn’t too sad about being left alone. That tells me that she had a huge responsibility on her young life trying to cheer her mother Laura up now William Laura’s husband and Asta’s father had left the family.
To save money she walked to her work in the morning and back for lunch and then back to work until late evenings. I suppose she even walked home then too. It’s healthy to walk but I imagine that she might have lacked food or drink during these long hours. She says on a tape that she was nervous for making mistakes in counting the prices on the materials and clothing that people bought in the shop. Everything was counted by mental arithmetic.
Before William her father died in 1926 he is back in the family but it seems like Laura and he are living separately in the small Nyboder flat. At least they visit separately Asta and her husband in the province town Holbaek. The very last years William lived he signed the letters with both his name and his wife’s.
William wrote some hilariously funny letters to the newly wed Asta and Emry in the early 1920s. It’s obvious that he is annoyed with the fact that he cannot trust his son on money issues or on other things like appointments. It probably never dawned on William that he had not been trustworthy leaving the family in 1908. Svend was eight years old and Asta was eighteen and William had an illegitimate child with the woman he chose to stay with.
My grandmother hardly ever mentioned these things and when I as a small child admired her old photos I asked her “Did you have a little brother Grandma”? She said yes and I knew that she never saw him. I never saw him either. But the photos hanged on her dining room wall and now they are on my wall.