My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was one of the strongest women I have known.
Born into a working-class family in Norway, she lost her father to drowning at a young age. After her mother remarried, the family emigrated to the Canadian prairies, into conditions just as harsh as the ones they had left behind. She didn’t speak a word of English when she arrived, and only had a Grade 8 education when she left school. Norwegianisms used to creep into her language now and again: “I hope you are keeping well,” she would say, and “Uff-da” instead of “Oh dear”.
She was working as a housemaid to Vancouver’s grand families when she met the man she would marry. Continue reading