- SSN: 472-30-4152
Ruth was born at home. Episcapalien
Ruth lived at 167 North McGregor, Mahtomedi, MN for about the last 50
years of her life.
Education: Graduated from Towner, ND High School in 1937. She was
involved in Band in High School.
Ruth had training in Milling machines, Rockwell hardness, Tukon, Band
Ruth worked for Federal Catridge in New Brighton, MN from May 1966
through April 1970 where she supervised and assisted lab techs. Her
final salery was $3.57/hr.
Ruth worked at Merrill Abbot & Donahoaur from 1957 to 1965 as a
Practical Nurse. She provided complete home nursing care - including
any mediation or treatment necessary for patients. She made $2.50/hr.
Ruth worked at Twin Cities Arsenal from 1952 to 1956 as a Lab Tech
II. Responsibilities included Titrations, Preparation & reading of
grain size and grain configuration of metal. Rockwell Hardness
testing Mercurons Nitrate test. Viscosity of mouth Varnish and J. D.
Lacquer. Templex test of Annial temperatures. Ruth made $.88/hr in
Hobbies included Womens golf league, mixed doubles bowling, breading
August 24, 1954 Udal and Ruth purchased property at "Lots thirteen
(13) and fourteen (14), except the westerly ten (10) feet of said lot
fourteen (14), block three (3), third addition to Forest Heights,
according to the plat thereof on file and of record in the office of
Register of Deeds in and for Washington County, Minnesota," for the
cost of $5000.00.
Read at her funeral by her grandson Brian Freeman:
To me Grandma was my second mother. She taught me about life,
politics, manners, people, writing, golf, society, you name it. She
helped me with school projects and personal issues. She kept me
company when I was feeling down or lonely. When I was a child she was
not only my Grandmother, she was usually me best friend. That
friendship continued until last week.
Many things that I did in my life, I did to the motivation of hearing
her tell me how proud she was of me. We found that the two of us
could talk on a level that we often couldn't do with others. Although
Grandma had the ability to ruffle the feathers of other on certain
issues, we found a way to get beyond that and "solve the world's
problems," as she would say.
My memories with her goes well beyond holiday visits. I spent
uncountable hours at her house just visiting or helping out with
projects. Most of my memories lies within her house and yard as we
touched on all of the topics of the day.
I am happy about every moment I've spent with her even the occasional
disagreements which I think we both learned from. My last memory of
her today will be remembering all of the other good times we've had.
Memories from Ruth Maimie Ekstrom
Memories – Karen you asked for these.
I warned you there would be times they would be hardly legible but you said go ahead.
I remember my grandmother Ekstrom sitting in the “corner” of the kitchen. With the wood stove on one side and a table with many canaryies (sp) birds on a table beside her. She had what I would call a many layered cage and quite a few birds. She would sit and whittle and talk to them and they would respond. I was intrigued. They only responded to her voice. Not mine or any one else.
My grandfather was a gentle sort of remote figure. But although he may not have responded to the to her grand children, he did respond to me. My first remembrance of my grand parents home was warmth and Love. Lots of it.
They lived next door – one house removed.
Their house sm. house our house
All on one whole lot
In back – behind grandfathers house was the horse barn. Behind our house was the cow barn and chickens. Horses and cows were never kept in the same barn. Horses and chickens were separate but in the same building. The horses were for draying (hauling) your [supplies].
Life – Birds – Arvid – Death
(2) The days of haying –
The sand paint for water
The fun of controlling the placing of the hay on the stack by the speed etc of the stacker team.
First driving – Model T across hay (practice) land.
(3) My father took me everywhere possible with him. His campaigne (sic) for sheriff. His trip to Mr. (Fostor) to look after my mothers parents farm problems. Mr. Weker (Lawyer) and friend traveled with us (by train). I was about four years old. I was left with an older couple called Mr. & Mrs. Hanson while dad & Mr. Weker went out to the farm. This is still embarrassing to tell: Noone told me where the bathroom was and I was too embarrassed to ask these people I had just met and was left with. I suffered as long as I could and then went into some woods near by and relieved myself. What ever happened after that I cannot recall tho (sic) I have really tried. The Hansons spoke very little English and what they said to friends and my father was in Norwegian and I could not understand. Some how I was told where the “out house” was and I was scared to death of it (because all it had was two large holes and is was high). I was sure I would fall in. But I must have been very timid because I never told anyone my feelings about “anything”. My father was my “rock.” He always was kind of gentle and protective. My earliest memory is being picked up by him from a couch at my grandma and grandpa Ekstroms house on a Christmas eve (we always spent Christmas eve at this house, Thanksgiving at Aunt Anna and uncle Ervin Cook’s farm house, Christmas day at ours), but I digress. I had fallen asleep and when it was time to go home my father picked me up. Someone said “look she’s smiling” and daddy said, “She always wakes up smiling.” Funny how children are impressed with praise and I think it was because my father had pride in me that it meant so much. Also, I do not recall my mother “ever” praising me. Maybe she did but somehow she took care of my needs (physical) very well, I am sure. I was kept clean and healthy. As my father once said “she was a good woman.”
I was born approx nine mos. After my sister Edna died (at about 1 1/2 or 2) I was the third girl. I somehow (later) sort of got the feeling I was a “gender” disappointment to my mother. This is a sort of (paradox).
My father, being the only son of an only son of an only son – etc. of the Ekstrom name and line. My father wanted a son to carry on the family name (a proud name) and so there would be more pregnancies until a son was born. Some how I got the feeling that sex for my mother was for procreation only – not a pleasurable act. ie: That’s why I got the impression from her.
But my father never felt that way. He really hurt a great deal when Edna died (he loved children) and I probably helped fill an empty place in his heart. I was what one might say “a daddy’s girl.” I was a blue eyed blonde happy baby and I enjoyed a very happy young life.
At pre-school age (maybe 4) I was chosen to be the bride in a presentation at school called “Tom Thumbs Wedding.” My groom was Ormiston Kermott, the dentist son. If you do no know, Tom Thumb was a famous midget in the circus world. (There are pictures of us among my photos). Ormiston (what a name) died while attending the U. He had a blister on his heel. It led to blood poisoning and killed him. (Remember b/4 penicillin and also remember young people feel they are invincible and are careless of their health.)
My next years of “Lime-light” are my years of competing in what was called declamation contests. I really did quite well. Memorized and had training from Mrs. on presenting my reading.
I won awards including a gold medal. I am enclosing and the prize I gave.
I remember the warm, clean smell of the cow barn in the winter time, when the cows were brought in from the pasture and lived near us (in the same block).
| House barns | Sow barns |
| Chickens | Silo & feed area |
Our house | Grandfather’s | sm | our house | Block of space
| house | house | milk house |
| | our old | indoor |
| | one | plumbing |
There were always (barn) cats. They were sort of wild, except for one, and lived warm & snug among the cows, had their litters hidden away in the haymow (but I found them and loved them,) and they kept the mice down and received warm, fresh cows milk morning and night.
My father was meticulous (very clean) about the hired hands who helped with the milking, that they washed the cow teats (tits to you) and their hands before milking. My parents were Scandinavian and very clean people. Only now do I realize how natural this was for them.
Today it would be controlled or demanded by someone. To them it was simply the way one did things. My father was a self taught vet. He vaccinated, treated many animals beside his own. If I say self-taught, I may be wrong. His family was very intelligent and had formal education beyond the usual (norm.) His father, Grandpa Ekstrom came from a wealthy family in Sweden. He ran away as a young lad (what age is uncertain – at least in his terms) and hid on board a ship was accepted as a cabin boy. His family tried to have him returned to them but was not successful. He stayed at sea and worked his way up to Captain of his own sailing vessell (sp) ship. There is a time lapse I cannot account for. Maybe cousin Roy Cook in Seattle may help you. He has a genealogy of the Ekstrom family. His wife’s name is Sophia.
However, my father was very intelligent and adaptable to his enprisonment.
Grandfather Ekstrom at one time when he was married and had a family of 3 girls and 1 boy (my father) an other male child Verner, had died in infancy. He was a banker in, I think, Litchfield, MN. At that time banks were personal businesses. He and two other partners owned the bank thru economics, poor loans, extended credit or whatever, the bank failed. The two partners pulled everything they could out of it but my grandfather felt an obligation to his depositors and put everything on the “block” except his furniture and personal possessions.
My father, who had homesteaded in North Dakota brought them, his parents and three sisters to Dakota (Towner) and built them a house. His mother grandma Ekstrom and her daughters became seamstresses. They had always done fine “needle work” and they now put it to use.
They hand made every fine linen you could imagine. Cloths, wedding gowns, table linens, trousseau (sp) linens, baby Christmas gowns, table linens, napkins. This was not simple embroidering, but “cut” work or “open” work, where a solid satin (I think) stitch was done over & over. I was too young to appreciate what they were doing and what my cousins, particularly, Hattie Cook, was forever doing. They were never without hand-work in their hands.
My grandfather became a “dray man”. He with his team of horses and dray wagon on the wheels in summer & sleigh in winter hauled freight from the Depot to the merchants of the town. He accepted what was handed him and gained the love and respect of the town businessmen. He was “Dad” to them and they gave him a gold watch on his retirement with the inscription “To Dad from the Boys”. He was a great wonderful person.
My own relationship with him was a warm, safe, place. Because of his loss of hearing and bad eye sight (he had a cataract operation before anesthesia was invented) they gave him whiskey & tied him down, he only had it done once – could not face it again. He loved to read but had to use a large strong magnifying glass. He took & read a daily paper and had in the past accumulated a bit of a library.
(a) Death of Grandma Ekstrom – laid out in parlor of their house. Took Carol (neighbor) Chadderton to see her. First death I had experienced.
(b) Presentation of bouquet of roses to Crown Prince & Princess of Sweden – on rear platform of train. Betty Sommerdorf represented the Germans (her father owned the general merchentile store) and I represented the Swedes. We both wore link (satin? rayon? shiny material) like dresses with panties to match. About 4 yrs old I think – or less. The bouquet was as large as I was and my father held me up to present them. The picture that was taken shows me standing on a chair holding dahlias from mothers garden. We each (Betty & I) received a gold bracelet. I am wearing it in the picture. I just recently got I back from Aileen after I pointed out it was mine in the above mentioned picture. The inscription on the inside had been scratched out.
(c) Tom Thumbs wedding – Ormiston Kermott (dentists son).
(d) Declamation contests
Mrs. Kinder, wife of school principal coached me. Still have one gold medal.
(e) Played 1st trumpet in band. Was suppose to play solo “Little Town of Bethlehem” at church xmas program. Totally “froze” – couldn’t play a note! Mother was embarrassed & angry. Daddy felt so very sorry for me and comforted me.
(f) My first dog. The butchers wife gave me a Pekinese puppy. Her purebred female was unfortunately mated to a undesirable male. I was thrilled and loved her (my puppy) dearly. But one day when I came home from school for lunch I could hear crying in the basement and the door was locked. Mother wouldn’t let me go to her. She said the dog was sick but she was taking care of it. When I came home after school she said it had died and she had buried it. I found out she had cloraphormed (sp) it and her puppies. I didn’t even know she was pregnant. When I told her I knew she had killed them she didn’t deny it and was furious at the neighbor who had told me. I was crushed.
These are real names.
I am trying to be completely honest with you. I don’t think many parents do. It is different to separate ones feelings.
The small form stopped struggling and became still. Like a sigh, Edna ceased her struggle for air and relaxed. It was over. Mrs. Shipman, the nurse, turned to John and shook her head. He buried his head in his hands and sobbed.
He cradled the baby and rocked her. Talking to her and soothing her as if she was still with them.
She in now in God’s hands. No she is still in mine.
The blond, blue eyed baby lay limp but still warm to the touch. He could not put her down.
At 2 1/2 she could walk and her dearest treasure was “a new pair of shoes”. She had hugged them to her and repeated over & over “new shoes, my new shoes!”
They took her from him gently and his sister (Mamie) put her arm around him and lead [sic] him off.
The mother & nurse bathed and dressed the baby and prepared her for burial. In those days there was not a funeral parlor and embalming was not done. The family took care of it’s own.
John came in and put the “new shoes” in her arms.
She was buried from the home.
John was inconsolable. His sisters rallied around him and gave what support they could.
A judge, Judge Christianson, a friend of John’s knew of Nettie’s love of flowers particularly dahlias and as a new strain of light pink had just been developed he gave it the name “Edna Karin” in memory of (my sister) the baby.
Approx 2 1/2 yrs later another blond, blue eyed baby was born to John & Nettie. Atho [sic] she could not replace Edna, she did fill a loving need.
She was a happy cheerful child and her father adored her. He took her everywhere possible with him.
However there was an older child. Born 2 yrs before Edna. She was a somber quick baby and when the tragedy of Edna’s illness (pneumonia) and death overwhelmed her parents I’m sure she felt a bit left out. Then the new baby. All smiles and watched over very carefully so nothing happened to her.
This new baby seemed to live a charmed life. She was blond, blue eyed, chubby and a totally happy smiling person.
John was enchanted by her and his family, who lived next door were thrilled to see him so happy again. And the bond between father & daughter grew every day.
John was well liked & respected in the community. He was kind and gentle and giving he also had great manners. He was hansom, and people responded to him. He was without guile and was trustworthy. His ward could always be depended upon.
He was brought up a “gentleman” but never let necessary hard labor demean him. His manners were impeccable. It was inate (sp). (totally natural)
My father (John) led a very diversified life. He was an only son after his brother Verner died in infancy, and being an only son meant a great deal to the Ekstrom family. There had been only one male to carry the name for several generations. And today there is only one – John Verner (my brothers grand son) to carry it on (and possess the “Loving Cup”) a family heirloom handed down to only sons for at least 6 generations.
Vestibule of Train
I have a desire to let you all know who I am and have been.
I don’t think it is an ego trip. I do feel there isn’t enough time or availability to tell you all I would like you to know and I am overwhelmed with trying to give you an unbiased picture. But I know it is almost impossible to be objective.
And I have no way of knowing how you will interpret what I tell you. Boy I wish I could.