On January 21st 2013, my Mormor, Ane Birthe Elisabeth Carlsen, passed away at the age of 100. She died in her sleep, in her own home. It was a peaceful end to a busy life. I spent a week in her home, south of Copenhagen, Denmark helping my mother with the sorting and packing of a house full of memories.
|Our 2005 Visit and Gus's first time to meet his Olde Mormor|
The house was built in 1919. It is quirky with built in cabinets and shelves and a wonderful paneled dining room. My grandparents purchased it in 1949 as a summer home and moved to it year round in 1964. There are a lot of memories here. In 1987, while touring Europe by Eurail pass after spending a semester in London, I arrived one morning in Copenhagen much earlier than expected. Rather than wake my grandparents, I curled up on a chaise lounge on the back terrace where they found me a few hours later. I remember the terrace as covered in flowers, though this trip it was snow. Sixty years translates to a lot of stuff.
Specialty items galore as well. Who knew there was such a thing as an oyster plate? Well, my grandparents had 10 of them... The everyday china has even more specialty pieces. So far we've uncovered a gravy boat, butter holder, toothpick holders, candy dishes of various styles, in addition to the requisite plates, bowls, lunch plates, tea cups, saucers and serving trays. My favorite piece is the fruit ark... As my uncle put it, in 10 years, this will be retro. Right now though, I think he is wondering what to do with it.
I spent one afternoon tearing up worn sheets to wrap items and organize them for shipping to Florida. The tearing was therapeutic, but dusty. Speaking of dust, Gus so generously shared a cold with me about a week before I left. I was doing pretty well on the trip over, but between the lingering cold and the amount of dust we kicked up as we carried things around, I spent more time concentrating on breathing / not coughing the first two days. I did learn that most of the OTC drugs we can get so easily here require prescriptions in Denmark. Fortunately Mom was with me when we ventured into the pharmacy where we found a children's cough syrup to combine with the meds I brought along with me. Wow. VILE doesn't begin to describe it. Little to no danger of kids sneaking it. I think I can still taste it.
My memories of the house have always been tied to their artwork. Several years ago, I asked Mom, if there was one item I could have from the house, it would be the cow painting - and I'm pleased to say that once the estate is settled and the items packed that we will be finding a place to hang this favorite painting.
While in Denmark, Mom and I spent time doing fun stuff as well. On Wednesday we went downtown to enjoy high tea at AC Perch's Tea Room. For the tea connoisseur, this is crack. The first time Mom introduced me to AC Perch's Thehandel it was to the store below the tea room. Imagine walking into a small room, lined on two sides with brass apothecary jars. As you open the door a wave of tea hits you in the face. Intoxicating! I brought home four different types of tea, nearly 1/2 kilo in all. My luggage smelled wonderful.
Patchwork Butikken is a delightful store. They do carry many fabrics I can find at home so i pass those by. Over the past few years I've found several patterns with very Danish themes and some uniquely Danish fabric (Nisse). Mom brings me fabric and/or patterns after most of her visits too.
Now, remember my opening picture... the high on Thursday was 1 - Centigrade. A veritable heatwave. This southerner bundled up!
Thursday night we spent at Cirque de Soliel - Allegria. VERY French. The acrobatics were amazing. We went with two of Mom's friends and ran into more of her highschool friends while waiting in the lobby.
I enjoyed spending time with Mom. It was bittersweet knowing that this was my last visit to the house I've been visiting for over 40 years. I'm not sure when I'll get to return to Copenhagen. There are so many wonderful memories. I have plans to incorporate these into future quilt projects.
|The Beach at Greve. February 2013. Snow atop the white sand.|