Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"old age realizes the dreams of youth"

The first four days of this Summer, Mr. and I went for a vacation. We did not go very far. Two hours by car. However, I wanted to go back a hundred years to find out where my great grandparents had lived and worked.. My mother's sister had sent me some old photos and I knew from her that the house still exists.
Before this journey back in time, the only thing I knew about them, was, that they were called Mama and Baba. 
In the 1930ies my mum and her sister went to visit their grandparents every summer for a couple of weeks. In those days there were gravel roads but apart from that, the town plan have not changed much.
We had brought our bikes and went slowly through the small quiet village.
My grandparents were both born in 1875. He came from Germany, trained as a blacksmith he travelled round the country, working, until he came to where my great grandmother lived, a part of Denmark which was German until 1920. They fell in love, married in 1899, and settled down not far from her home. In one end of their house was the forge, and they also started a grocery store in 1904, the only shop in the village.
Next door was the dairy work and every morning horse-drawn carriages came with fresh milk from the farms and my mum and her sister sat in the open window greeting the drivers. Baba shoed the horses and mama was working in the grocery store. What a lot of life. They had nine children.
During the First World War Baba was enrolled in the German army for four years. He has probably been working as a blacksmith, and during those four years Mama had three of her children and provided for the family. In 1949 they celebrated their golden wedding. At that time they had 26 grandchildren.
Mama came from Apenrade, now Åbenrå and we went there to visit an textile exhibition at the local museum. "Silk for peasants and brides in South Jutland"
No knitting, I am afraid, but a pair of silken stockings thrilled me a lot. I knew that "my" folk socks were imitations of the stockings for the very rich but I had not seen a pair until now.
I know the photos are not good. But I want to show it anyway. Imagine the glossy silk.
In stead of the purl stitches the patterns are sewn on the stocking. The seam is awesome.
They were wedding stockings and so delicate. Of cause everyone wanted to copy such a beautiful piece of clothing. In a way they could afford.


  1. What a fun trip. It is amazing how hard our forebears worked. (Unless you are an aristocrat, I suppose!) Those clothes are beautiful. I appreciate being able to zoom in a bit and see the details. What a thrill to find the inspspiration for the folk socks. However, I prefer your stockings to the silk version.

  2. How wonderful that you could visit your great grandparent's village and find it largely unchanged.

    I'm intrigued by the title of the exhibition that included those gorgeous stockings ... "Silk for peasants and brides ...". What silks did the peasants have, or does it refer to their copies of silk garments?

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  4. Hi Annie! When I chose the word peasants in stead of farmers I did it to emphasize the historic view. Some of these people, my dictionary calls them the landed gentry, were extremely rich and their dresses were of the finest silk.
    However, ordinary people had to use their wool.

  5. How wonderful! I so enjoyed reading about your family! And those stocking as so gorgeous - I would love to re-create a pair! Imagine all the tiny tiny silk stitches and then the meticulous embroidery. beautiful! Your great grandmother was beautiful too!

  6. Oh my, how fun. How grand to see the house. Did you knock on the door??

    My five Great Grandparents were from Langeland...do you ever go there? We have yet to locate any distant cousins...


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