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The Sherwoods

of Vancouver

Ninna Elisabeth Sherwood

She came, she saw, she conquered and Ninna Sherwood could translate that and a lot more in Latin as well as in a raft of other languages.

Born Ninna Elisabeth Sejersen in Randers, Denmark May 13, 1939 she spent her first years during World War II in occupied Denmark. She progressed through the Danish School system with flying colours eventually graduated from university with both a B.A. in languages and a MBA in Common Market Business. After a stint as a Flight Attendant with SAS airlines she immigrated to Canada in 1961.   Arriving in Lethbridge, Alberta to marry a Danish immigrant she found out that he was already married with a wife and family so she went looking for work and ended up translating medical material at the hospital till the union came calling demanding she join.

The manager at Radio Station CJOC heard about her refusal and pending release so on learning she was fluent in both French and English offered her a position as his Executive Secretary so that when the Catelli personnel from Quebec bargained for special consideration (and spoke to one another in French) Ninna could provide otherwise unavailable intel. Shortly after joining the station crew she became Woman’s Editor and host of a weekly on-air program “European Music Hall”. Here she got her first taste of the theatre capturing the role of ‘Emily’ in the iconic play “Our Town.

She accepted a date from a local chap who said he would show her an example of North American culture whereupon he took her to the Green-Acres Drive In theatre for a showing of “Psycho”. After the movie thankfully ended, she invited him back to her apartment plying him with buckets of coffee and inviting him to stay over on the couch.   He took her back to his parents’ farm about 40 miles away; his mother got up at 3 a.m.; made her coffee and chatted the night away. He says, “Mother fell in love with her, we had to get married”. And marry they did in the Barons United Church, August 31st, 1963. Attendants were Sylvia ____   and Bill Sherwood. Art Balfour, Manager of the radio station gave the bride away and radio station personnel acted as Ninna’s family since none of them could come from Denmark.   George Sevcov and Gene Lehto ushered the folks into the pews.

The new couple ‘honeymooned’ on the way back to Vancouver where Ninna would support Larry for three years to finish his degrees. She worked briefly for CHQM and then accepted a great job as Executive Assistant to Mr. Tong Louie of HY Louie Ltd., a BC food wholesaler and master franchiser of the IGA group in BC and the Yukon and owner of London Drugs.   In addition she was appointed Frozen Foods Manager and designed some stores both new and those taken over from Dominion Stores. She “retired” from HY Louie only when she and Larry were expecting their first son, Torben, who arrived August 2nd, 1969. When 2nd son, Sean was on the way they moved to Toronto in the fall of 1971. Sean was born March 28, 1972. The whole family moved back to the coast and a home in North Vancouver the following year. Ninna was determined to be at home when our kids came from school so started sewing her own designs which led to a partnership and friendship with Joanne Thorpe who together subsequently set up Joni Creations which designed and manufactured women’s golf wear. One of their customers wanted something other than golf wear so they designed and made it and that became the start of EliMar Creations. (the name Joni came from the first two letters of their first names and EliMar was the first 3 letters of their second names). Eventually Joanne took Joni Creations and Ninna took EliMar. Ninna developed a different design, manufacturing, sales and distribution systems and the venture flourished. During all this, the Thorpes and the Sherwoods established a partnership to buy a condo in Kihei on Maui. As the business grew she found the house they live in, complete with a additional suite that became the head office of Elimar. Ninna was invited to display her products by a BC Government exhibit in Toronto and was featured at Expo 86 in Vancouver.

As if she wasn’t busy enough with the business and her sorority and raising her two boys she volunteered by serving on the board of the Capilano College Foundation, which she later chaired; and the North Shore Credit Union where she later became Vice Chair. She served on advisory committees at Capilano College, Vancouver City College and Kwatlan College. Ninna assisted with the sick by visiting, driving, and assisting a family friend who was suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer’s, a schedule she maintained until she was diagnosed with a brain tumor December 30, 2016.

Ninna and Larry discovered RVing in the early 90’s and explored much of the west and southwest of the US and Canada. That led to a lot in the Country Roads park in Yuma Arizona where Ninna again weaved her magic spell. She got involved with many committees and clubs in the park including the Painting group, the Building Fund, the Hiking Club, and the Drama Club advising for at least one play, acting in two others and finally writing and then directing the hugely successful three act comedy, “Gorgeous George” While she was writing this play she decided that she would write 24 short stories for the granddaughters’ Christmas advent calendars. As well she coordinated a group of volunteers who picked lemons, oranges and grapefruit for the Yuma Food Bank.

Ninna and Larry missed the 2015 – 16 season in Yuma while she nursed Larry back to health from a heart attack in August of 2015. When they could finally qualify for medical travel insurance they cruised first to Hawaii and back to Vancouver.   Before leaving for Yuma in November 2016 they went first to Denmark for a visit and reunion with Ninna’s nieces, their families, and a cousin, his family and a visit through her homeland.   They then flew to Amsterdam to travel three rivers to Budapest before flying back to get ready to motorhome to Yuma in November.

We had returned to Calgary to celebrate an early Christmas with Lea, Torben, Samantha and Claire and they noticed that Ninna was forgetting names. We then flew to Vancouver to be with Sue, Sean and Evangeline for Christmas with plans to fly back to Palm Springs and drive to Yuma but Ninna was now forgetting names and other nouns and at the urging of this family we went to our doctor on the 28th or 29th of December which led to brain surgery the next day and the partial extraction of the tumor which turned out to be malignant and growing rapidly. We were back and forth to the Cancer Clinic for 21 days for both radiation and chemo therapy both at the same time because it was deemed that her fitness level could handle both. Sean and Larry went south to Yuma to finish up the sale of the lot and trailer and bring back the motorhome and one car. In the meantime Ninna was maintaining her walking stints she was famous for in Yuma. On the last one of these she fell and her condition deteriorated rapidly resulting in her death, May 1.

The family wish to thank all the medical and community support personnel in Lion’s Gate Hospital; at the Cancer Clinic in Vancouver, and you for your thoughts, prayers, wishes, cards, letters and friendship through this trying time.   Ninna kept saying how lucky she was to have this love and support. We agree.

There will be a Celebration of Life to be decided by the family and the time and location will be communicated later. In the meantime, rather than sending flowers please consider a donation in Ninna’s name to your favourite charity.

 

Thank you

Love from

Larry, Torben, Lea, Samantha, Claire, Sean, Sue, Evangeline

 

PS As I was about to post this I got the news that our first daughter (unofficially adopted) Elaine Behn passed in St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver May 3. Rest in Peace dear. Larry

Gorgeous George – The Play

Gorgeous George – the Play

1

In the spring of 2015 the members of the Country Roads Drama Club put on an original play about life in Country Roads RV Park in Yuma Arizona. It was a satire poking fun at everything that goes on in the small world of 2 – 3 thousand people who live in the park during the height of the season.
The play is being introduced by the author and director of the play assuring the audience that every character is a fictional character who has no resemblance or connection to anyone living or dead and that the actors are there to amuse the audience – hopefully
Gorgeous George©

 

Act 1 – Scene 1

The curtain is closed – a long table is sitting at stage left with 6 chairs around it facing the audience – 3 men JIM, JACK and HARRY come ambling up the stairs – greeting one another and sit down. Little by little the other 3 men – JOHN, AL, and BRIAN come drifting up as well – GUITAR MAN comes up a little later. Coffee is being served by a CR volunteer,

ALICE. She is a bit lippy with the guys – she is there to help but can quit at any time.

JIM: A bit chilly this morning, isn’t it?

JACK: Yeah, but aren’t you glad you are not in Michigan

HARRY: I thought you were from Vancouver, B.C.!

JACK: Yes, and I am really glad I am not in Michigan – where I come from, we at least don’t have to shovel the rain.

JOHN is waiting at the bottom of the stairs on the word “rain” he starts up the stairs carrying a couple of golf clubs, followed by Al and BRIAN

JOHN: Thought I would have time to get a quick coffee with you guys before I head out. We are teeing off at 8:30.

HARRY: You are starting out early today!

JOHN: Yes, I guess – but I am in a horseshoe tournament at one, then Freda wants to go to the dance up in the ball room at three, and then we have the Poker Club Pot Luck dinner – you almost need a dance card to remember where you are going next. But we are both having a ball, and it sure beats watching the snow falling in Ohio.

2

(Joe, GUITARMAN comes up the stairs carrying his guitar)

JOE: Good Morning – I have a new song I wanted to sing on the patio later, could I try it out on you guys and see what you think?
(they all say, sure, yes etc.)

JOE: I found it on the ‘net, and I just set it to music ( sings the Snowbird song)

AL: Hey I like that!

HARRY: Yes that is great!

JIM: Man, remember how much time we spent shoveling snow during the winter? You would start at one end and when you got to the other end, your could start all over again.

JACK: Just as well, I don’t have to shovel the walk. We are having Happy Hour at our place this afternoon, so I guess I will get pressed into service to get ready for that. I think it is Elli’s painting group, so we will have to get everything tiddly.

JOHN: What is the traffic like coming out of Al Godones these days? My brother-in-law and his new wife are coming down from Palm Springs on a “drug run” tomorrow?

BRIAN: It is pretty good if you get in early and right back out again. But after lunch it gets pretty hairy.

ALICE: So – what are you big spenders wanting to order today? – We have a lovely truffle omelet – or perhaps a bit of fresh Russian caviar? (pretending to be a snooty waiter)

HARRY: In your dreams, Alice – Just coffee for me – gotta look good for the ladies.

ALL: (in chorus) Yes just coffee for me too.

ALICE: Yeah – don’t break the bank!
(while the men are chatting, ALICE brings coffee to the table)

AL: (leaning in confidentially) I just ran into AJ – he is in early today and he is all excited. – There was a cancellation of one of our shows and somehow he got Gorgeous George, the world famous country and western singer to come instead.

ALL: (incredulously) Gorgeous George???

ALICE: You are kidding! –George Haskens is going to sing?

BRIAN: (Ignoring Alice’s comment) Come on – that is a pretty tall tale, even for you, Al – Are you trying to start another crazy rumour? – There is no way Gorgeous George
is coming to Yuma – much less Country Roads. He doesn’t do little rinky dink venues like ours. He is world famous and only does the big cities and the big arenas. I think AL saw you coming.

AL: No – it is on the level – something about Gorgeous George losing a bet or something, and now he is committed to put on a show at Country Roads. He normally makes hundreds of thousands of dollars per show. It is just like us winning the lottery.

JACK: Wow – the women will go nuts – not that it isn’t a big deal for us as well. Tickets for his shows usually go for over $300 a pop.

BRIAN: Oh no – that will just be another excuse for my wife to go shopping – it will be the reason for at least one new outfit – Kohl’s – here she comes! – This is one rumour I am not going to pass on!

JIM: Yeah – and my wife will be right behind her – those credit cards will be red hot.

3

JACK: What did that new set of golf clubs set you back? – You had better hope she doesn’t find out or she will really go to town!

JIM: Hey – whose side are you on? – My wife and I already had words this morning, and I never got to use mine!

All: General laughter. – Good One!

HARRY: I think you guys are a little hard on your ladies – I find a softer approach works wonders.

JIM: Spoken as a true bachelor – I can’t even shower in our place – it is being used as an extra closet.

HARRY: Aren’t you lucky you live close to one of the Satellites? – But if this rumour really is true, I’ll sure be able to impress the grandkids – Gorgeous George is on their ipods and everything. They are going to think we are pretty hip.

BRIAN: We have had some pretty good rumours going over the years. Remember when we had them convinced that Carol Channing was buying a park model in here

JACK: Well, she did come to see our show, so there was some basis for the rumour.

JOHN: Oh and do you remember when we started the rumour about not allowing diesel trucks into the park except to bring the rig in and out?

JIM: Oh Yes – I remember that. The whole park was in an uproar. Those who didn’t have a diesel didn’t want to pay for a shuttle back and forth from the storage yard! – That really stirred things up.

(the men start singing to the tune of “The Quartermaster’s Store)
There are rumours, rumours, Lots of juicy rumours
At the park, at the park
There are rumours, rumours, Lots of juicy rumours
At the Country Road’s Café
Our eyes are sharp, our minds are keen
The truth we bend, ‘bout what we’ve seen
But – oh what a hoot
When they all salute

Act 1, Scene 2

Before the spot light comes on the West side of the stage, the piano starts playing the chicken gossiping song from the Musicman for about 30 seconds. When the light comes on we see the 6 girls huddled close together wearing all sorts of pool paraphernalia and carrying noodles, towels and bags. They stay in their huddle talking gibberish for another 30 seconds whith the piano before the groups spreads out and starts talking as they are moving. They line up with IRENE, CORA, BETTY, CINDY closest to centre stage. Also in this scene CAROL, SUZY, FREDA.

IRENE: Hi Girls – I brought my new neighbour, Cora – she would like to join us for water aerobics.

(the women all say hi – glad to have you join us etc.)

CORA: Gee – this place is so friendly and I hear you have a- singles group. I sure wouldn’t mind meeting a nice single man.

CAROL: Good luck with that – most of them are a bit gun shy and then there are those that are just looking for a nurse with a big purse.

CINDY: And make sure he drives after dark!
(lots of giggles)

4

CORA: You never know, it never hurts to look.

SUZY: In that bathing suit, I think they will be doing the looking. – I don’t know about the rest of you, but have you been trying on bathing suits lately? I swear they are only making them in sizes up to 12!

CAROL: It’s a nightmare, all right!

SUZY: I was in the dressing room at Dillards and they bring me these elastic bands that you have to be a contortionist to get up over one leg and then you still have a leg left over – the elastic only holds some of it in, the rest sort of oozes out at the top and bottom – and so help me – I lost a couple of my favourite body parts for a while till they showed up as a speed bump around my middle. – talk about humiliating.
(lots of laughing)

CINDY: You think that is humiliating – I thought my husband was being romantic and wanting to go skinny dipping and instead invited me to go chunky dunking

SUZY: Oh – Not a good move on his part.

5

CORA: Maybe I should string up a clothes line with a few unmentionables on it.

IRENE: Better not do that – you’ll get a visit from the Architectural Control Committee, and I don’t think any of them are single.

BETTY: I guess we should get to the pool – I cannot stand here all day. I am going shopping. I need new shoes to go with the outfit I bought at Dillards.

IRENE: Yes, and then you will see another pair of shoes you just cannot resist and then you have to find another outfit to go with those. How many trailers do you have behind your motorhome lugging all that stuff home?

BETTY: Hey – I lost two pounds last week clogging and doing zumba and I am celebrating with some new stuff.

CINDY: And I found those two pounds – I wish you would be more careful where you drop those things. I’ll have to go shopping too – When are you planning to leave?
(laughing)

FREDA: (comes huffing and puffing up the stairs) Did you hear the news??? Gorgeous George is coming to Country Roads and he is going to put on a show here!

ALL: Gorgeous George????

CORA: George Clooney is coming to Country Roads?

CINDY: No silly – Gorgeous George, the world famous country and western singer.

SUZY: Whoa – I think we have to be a bit careful about starting rumours here. You know how things get blown out of all proportion – and that one is pretty farfetched. Where would we find the kind of money to pay for his show?

CAROL: I heard tickets for his show are over $300 a ticket. You are not going to find too many people in here that are prepared to pay that for a show in the ball room!

FREDA: Well, according to John, and he heard it from Al who got it directly from AJ – Gorgeous George apparently lost some kind of bet, and now he has to put on a show here at Country Roads. – and -at our regular rates – THAT IS HUGE! – Yuma will never be the same again.

IRENE: Wow I find it hard to believe – some of the rumours that get going around here are sometimes a little hard to swallow. Some people have just too much time on their hands.

SUZY: Well – speaking of rumours – did you hear about that little lady that is renting next to the Shaw’s this year.

ALL: No – what???

SUZY: I really am not sure about this one, but it is kind of funny. She seems to have a lot of male relatives that come to visit. – There is a rumour that she used to run a chicken ranch in Nevada.

CINDY: Suzy – really!

(Giggles)

BETTY: well – are we going swimming or not? – I have a full day ahead of me. I have to go shopping before I go to bridge this afternoon, and then I have to make a dish for Happy Hour with the neighbours. – I have never been so busy – and quite frankly – I have never had this much fun. Let’s get going, gals – WOO HOO

Girls start dancing across the stage holding their towels up in front of them singing
By the Pool, by the pool, by the beautiful pool
You and me, you and me, oh how happy we’ll be
By the pool, by the pool, you and me you and me
and Georgie boy too

BETTY: But wouldn’t it be something if it really is true that Gorgeous George is coming to Country Roads??

Gales of laughter and hi 5s – CINDY, CORA, BETTY and IRENE dance into the back of the stage, the other girls head down the West Staircase.

STAGE GOES DARK

Act 1, Scene 3

As the curtain opens,AUDREY walks by calling lunch numbers, carrying a tray.The cast members are busy setting up three tables. IRENE and CORA are sitting at the table on the East side of the stage. CINDY, MARY, BRIAN and BETTY are sitting at the table in the middle.. ALICE and AL come in from the back and start talking to the table of four. CORA is carrying a big hard cover mystery novel and primping and looking around to check out the action.

Also in this scene are HARRY, JACK, JOHN, RUBY, VERA, LYDIA, THE REPORTER, and ROGER from SECURITY)

AUDREY: (Walking across the stage ) No. 76!

BETTY: Good to see you eat here even though you have volunteered all morning serving breakfast. Gives one faith in the establishment.

ALICE: Oh yes – the clientele is a bit more sophisticated at lunch than early in the morning. I have to stay on my toes to keep that early morning coffee bunch in line. You should have seen them this morning, they were in fine fettle!

CINDY: There seems to be a lot of activity around the place today. – don’t tell me there is yet another rumour flying around?

MARY: Who knows – sometimes this place is abuzz for no reason at all.
(General laughter)

IRENE: What are you reading, Cora. You have had your nose in that book every time I have seen you the last few days.

CORA: It is a Mystery Novel! I just love reading murder mysteries. People just disappear and then turn up dead. It is just scary, And it could happen anywhere – I tell you!

HARRY comes sauntering in carrying his tennis racket

AL: Howdy, Good Neighbour!

IRENE: Hi there, did you win the tournament again?

6

HARRY: No – not this time – there are some good players among the new people this season.

IRENE: Have you met my friend Cora – she is renting next door to us this year. She is a tennis player too – aren’t you, Cora? – (she kicks Cora under the table)

CORA: (coyly) Oh – hi! – I am not very good at it. I think I need a coach to improve a bit. – Nice to meet you. (fluttering her lashes)

HARRY: Come join the group, we have a lot of people willing to help. Nice to meet you. – I think I had better go order my lunch.
(beats a hasty retreat, heads towards the back and turns around and stops at the centre table)

HARRY: Well, what is the status of the rumour mill?

BETTY: You mean about Gorgeous George? – I personally think it is another one of those rumours cooked up in the Liars’ Club in the morning. Those guys never know when to stop.

CINDY: I agree – the gossip and rumours flying around are getting out of hand!

HARRY joins the table at the West side of the stage. There is a commotion at the stairs leading up to the stage. Two young women in very funky apparel come bustling up onto the stage from the West staircase.

VERA: What is Gorgeous George doing in a place like this? – It is kinda pretty in a Geezer sort of way. But it sure isn’t the Coliseum or the Astrodome. I am telling you – this is weird!

RUBY: There is something weird about the whole thing – all these Golden Oldies running around like a bunch of kids at summer camp – it’s not natural.

VERA: Yea – don’t drink the water!
The people at lunch are looking dumbfounded at the pair of them. MARY takes a drink from her flask

RUBY: (With a nervous little wave) Hi –We are from the official Gorgeous George Fan Club. We were following his coach when he turned in here, and that stuffed shirt in the guard house up there wouldn’t let us in, and now we have lost him.

VERA: We asked some old guy fixing an even older car if he had seen him, and he didn’t know nothing – he looked like he used to be a plumber.

7

CORA: How could you tell that?

IRENE: Hush, Cora. I’ll tell you later.

(JACK and JOHN come rushing onto the stage)\

JACK: We just came in through the back parking lot and Georgous George’s coach is parked there. – wow – you should see it. It looks like a fancy hotel on wheels. But I didn’t see anybody.

JOHN: It is all chrome and fancy lights, and I bet it has mirrors on the ceiling in the bedroom. It has that kind of look.

CORA: Why would he have mirrors on the bedroom ceiling?

IRENE: Hush – tell you later – start a list!

RUBY and VERA: – But where is he????

A mysterious person has been moving stealthily up the stairs. She is wearing a trench coat and is carrying a camera around her neck, as well as a notebook where she is furiously taking notes. Obviously a member of the 5th estate. She stays at the edge of the stage but is moving in wherever she can catch whatever conversation she can hear. – When anybody looks in her direction, she opens up a copy of the Yuma Sun pretending to read, but trying to cover her face.

8

JACK: There is something not quite right about this. – The coach looks like it has just been abandoned – and Gorgeous George has disappeared into thin air!

BETTY: That is ridiculous, People don’t just disappear into thin air!

CORA: (Slapping her book on the table) See!!!!!

(MARY takes another sip of her flask)

VERA: This is spooky – do you think he has been abducted?

RUBY: (nervous giggle) – yeah, maybe by some little gray haired lady in a spaceship.

BRIAN: Young Ladies! – a little respect would be in order. How did you get in here?

VERA: (a little sheepishly) – we climbed over the wall. That was when we met “the plumber”.

Now another person comes up the stairs – he is wearing the uniform of the security staff.

ROGER: Is everyone wearing badges? (looking at RUBY and VERA) – Were you not just down at the guard house?

BETTY: (standing up and interrupting him) I believe we have a bigger problem – Apparently Gorgeous George has arrived – but nobody has seen him – and nobody knows where he is?

ROGER: Well, he arrived quite a while ago. Nice gent he was too, gave us all his autograph and picture and everything. We told him to park at the back. It is quite the rig he is driving. So he has to be here somewhere. – unless he climbed over the wall to get out! (looks pointedly at VERA and RUBY).

LYDIA: (coming forward eagerly) Sir, I am from the Yuma Sun – would you care to give a quote to the paper, and perhaps a picture of you with Gorgeous George’s picture?

(ROGER starts to stand up straighter and looking important, but is interrupted by BETTY)

9

BETTY: This information is not leaving the park. I don’t know how you managed to get in, young lady, but if this is leaked I shall make sure that no one in this park ever buys another subscription to the Yuma Sun!

LYDIA: Sorry – it is already too late for that – I got my information from Entertainment Tonight – I am just the beginning of the paparazzi that will start camping on your door step.

CORA: (wailing) Oh, My Gosh!!!! – Do you think Gorgeous George has been MURDERED??????????

Audrey drops a tray of fork on the floor and covers her face, MARY chugs the rest of her flask

Everyone looks thunderstruck and as the curtain closes they start to sing
Oh where, oh where has Gorgeous George gone, Oh where, oh where has he gone ….. and the piano plays it out.

21

Act 2, Scene 1

When the curtain opens, the stage is set up similarly to the regular board meetings. 4 men with yellow baseball hats are seated at the tables with microphones in front of them. The Architectural Control Committee. There is a man standing off to one side at a lectern holding a sheaf of papers – THE CHAIR PERSON of the ACC committee! Also on the stage is FRED ‘’BULLDOG’ TURNER, retired lawyer. Joining them will be Sir REGINALD FOGGYBOTTOM, formerly of the Old Bailey, in Jolly Old England. VERA, RUBY, BETTY, ROGER, LYDIA and CARLA. Both the chairman and the lawyer are reading from their prepared notes.

CHAIR: My fellow residents – We, the Architectural Control Committee, in our capacity as the upholders of order, aesthetics, and measurements in this park, have been asked to conduct this internal inquiry into the News Story that has made headlines around the world. If you will permit me, we would like to start our meeting in our usual manner, so I beg your indulgence for a couple of minutes.

(He turns and looks at each of his Committee members)

CHAIR: My fellow ACC Members, please stand and let us start this meeting with our Mantra:

(They all stand and speak in unison holding up their right hand as if swearing on a bible, slowly and deliberately)

ACC: Thou Shalt Not, Thou Shalt Not, Thou Shalt Not! –

NO! NO! NO!

CHAIR: Thank you, please be seated.

CHAIR: My fellow residents of Country Road – I am pleased to see so many of you assembled here today. – These are very unusual circumstances. You will notice that we, myself and the other members of our Country Roads community are reading from prepared notes in order to make sure we are covering everything in the proper manner. – Country Roads has become the center of a news story of worldwide interest. (pausing and looking out over the audience with great concern

A woman comes charging up the East staircase. She is wearing Zumba gear and is quite agitated and pays no attention to anything other than the Chairman.

CARLA: Will you please get off that stage immediately – we have this space for Zumba, and now we have to move all this stuff.

CHAIR: Whoa – whoa – hold your horses – where have you been the last few days, We are trying to find out what happened to Gorgeous George – He has disappeared right here in the park.

CARLA: Oh, I’ve been in bed with a bad cold – looking out over the crowd – Oh – good grief, I am not dressed for this!!! Runs back down again.

CHAIR: I apologize for this interruption – We have a lot of things going on here – But as I started to explain. – A few days ago, a famous entertainer apparently arrived in Country Roads and promptly disappeared

. – It has given rise to many rumours and much speculation.

There is a bit of a commotion as Sir Reggie, in full British Judge robe and wig comes stumbling up on stage and gets set up on a stool to one side.

The Chair nods at him and motions him to his stool. As the judge walks across the stage, the ACC members chant in sotto voice “Here comes the judge, here comes the judge, here comes the judge!”

The chair is getting increasingly agitated with the interruptions.

The world press is parked at our gates. All the major networks are represented, and even the various authorities have entered the fray. I understand that both the FBI, the NSA and the CIA are standing by, and even NCIS has a team on the way. – But so far they are respecting our wishes to keep this an internal matter.

(Roger comes up the stairs holding a piece of paper in his hand – he hands it to the Chair)

ROGER: Sir – this was just delivered from the Guard house – Gibbs and Abbie have requested that they come in and join us. Abby wants to fingerprint everyone in the park.

CHAIR: (Sighing) We will deal with that later. – Let them in – but just on a day pass. – (frustrated) – Let’s get on with the script:

We – my fellow members of the Architectural Control Committee and I have persuaded one of our own – retired attorney, Fred ‘Bulldog” Turner to preside over an informal inquiry of our own, to see if we can somehow establish exactly what happened. – And as luck would have it, we have a distinguished judge from Jolly Old England visiting our beautiful and well regulated park, Sir Reginald Foggybottom. Sir Reginald has kindly offered to oversee these proceedings to make sure we are keeping to the proper standards and conventions in the handling of this unfortunate incident. – It is indeed an honour to have Your Honour join us on this stage.

22

SIR REGGIE; Hrmph – Yes – I see once again that things have gotten out of hand in the Colonies. – Do carry on, my good man.

Sir Reginald is resplendent in wig and gown and does a lot huffing and puffing and adjusting himself at the podium.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you – Sir Reginald – I will now turn the floor over to our very own

– Mr. Fred “Bulldog” Turner – Fred!

 

FRED: Thank you, Mr. Chairman – Ladies and Gentlemen of Country Roads and our invited guests representing all the major networks. – As our esteemed Chairman

so eloquently explained – we are here on a fact finding mission. I will be speaking to people that were present at the time around Gorgeous George’s arrival. –

The first person to make contact with Gorgeous George upon his arrival at Country Roads was Roger Peterson, a member of our Security Staff. Roger, would you please join me on the stage?

(ROGER comes quickly up the stairs)

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FRED: Roger, tell me in your own words about Gorgeous George’s arrival. And face the audience and move close to the microphone so they can hear what you are saying.

ROGER: (nervously) Well – this really huge motorhome with all the bells and whistles pulled up to the guard house and when the driver leaned out, it was Gorgeous George – in the flesh – I don’t think I have talked with that big a celebrity before. He was really nice and he gave both me and Clive in the guardhouse his autographed picture. Then we told him to park at the rear of the complex, and he waved and said “See yah” – Like we were real buds, you know?

FRED: What else do you recollect from that day?

ROGER: A short while later, these two crazy chicks show up and want to enter the park. – They said they were with Gorgeous George, but he never said anything like that, so we told them they had to be invited in by somebody in the park. So they left. – But then when I went up to check for badges on the patio later, they had somehow got in and were up there and I escorted them back outside the park. Pretty nervy, I’d say!

FRED: But no more sign of Gorgeous George?

ROGER: No. Sir.

FRED: Thank you, Roger, you may go back to your post

FRED: Would Betty Hudson please come up to the stage?

(BETTY has been waiting on the stairs and comes up quickly)

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FRED: Thanks for joining us, Betty – I understand you were on the patio at the time Gorgeous George arrived? Can you tell me in your words what you know about Gorgeous George and his whereabouts? – And please step up to the microphone so we all can hear you!

BETTY: Yes, I was – but I never actually saw him. What I know about him is no more than the rest of the world. He is probably the most famous entertainer of our time. He is right up there with Elvis – Most of what I know comes from The National Enquirer, and I don’t think I’d want my daughter keeping company with him, and I am certainly not the type to go flinging my underwear around!

FRED: Ah, I somehow thought you had more information. You volunteered to come and testify?

BETTY: Yes – I did – I didn’t want those dreadful girls spreading rumours that the people of Country Roads had done away with Gorgeous George.

FRED: Thanks Betty! – Would Lydia Garcia from the Yuma Sun please come up?

(Lydia has also been waiting on the stairs and comes quickly onto the stage)

FRED: Thank you for coming up to tell us your version of events, Miss Garcia. In your own words can you tell me what you know. – And please face the audience and speak into the microphone.

LYDIA: I don’t think I can add much to what you have already ascertained. I came to Country Roads with our delivery truck in the morning of the day in question and I stayed to pick up as much gossip as I could. There was a story filed on the wire service about Gorgeous George and his addiction to gambling on just about anything. They had the story about how Gorgeous George had apparently lost a bet with his booking agent, so George now had to perform in some obscure little place in Yuma (looking out over the audience) I am sorry, but that was what the story said.

FRED: So you actually didn’t see Gorgeous George.

LYDIA: Sadly No.

FRED: Thank you, Miss Garcia. – Would Miss Vera Glockenheimer please come up on stage?

nd RUBY are standing by. RUBY stays at the end of the stage as VERA moves hesitantly to center stage.

FRED: Guten Tag, Fraulein Glockenheimer – wie geht’s heute – Oh Pardon me I just returned from a trip to Germany and still carry the lingo in my head.

FRED: Good Afternoon, Miss Glockenheimer, thanks for coming. I take it you are staying in the area till we find Gorgeous George.

VERA: (nervously) – Yesss – Sir.

FRED: Please tell us in your own words your version of events on that fateful day.- and please speak into the microphone and face the audience.

VERA: (choking back tears) – I am really scared. – Ruby and me, we have sort of

been the leaders of the Gorgeous George fan clubs for a while now, and when he is stateside, we kinda hang out wherever he is – and then he decides to go out here to Geezerville all of a sudden – and – poof – he is gone! – There is something strange going on here, I just can’t put my finger on it.

FRED: Any suspicions? – Have you noticed anything specific?

VERA: They are all so danged cheerful and happy – that’s just not normal.

FRED: I don’t really think that is illegal. Thanks for coming.

FRED: Ladies and Gentlemen – I don’t think this meeting has produced much in the way of information. – If anybody at any time sees or hears anything that would shed some light on this mystery, please call anyone on the Architectural, Control Committee or myself at any time, day or night. (he gathers his notes and looks to the Chairman to make the closing remarks)

CHAIRMAN: (totally oblivious) Well that certainly cleared up a lot of things. Thank you

Bulldog for your insightful and penetrating questions. I think we can

adjourn this meeting – (notices that the judge has nodded off) – Will somebody please wake up the judge!

(Fred rushes over to the judge to shake him– The members of the ACC start chanting:

ACC: Wake up the judge, wake up the judge, wake up the judge

CHAIRMAN: Thank you everyone for coming.

Curtain closes.

 

Act 2, Scene 2

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Before the curtain opens on the stage, the piano starts playing “Tea for Two” as CORA and HARRY slowly come up on stage on the stairs, just sauntering looking at each other, and separating at center stage for a quick little hug and HARRY ushers CORA through the curtain and he sneaks in as the curtain opens so they don’t appear to arrive at the same time. A new romance is blossoming unnoticed amongst all the rumours.

When the curtain opens, we are on the Country Roads patio once again. JACK, CINDY, and CORA are sitting at the table on the East side and JENNIE and CAROL at the centre table. AL is at the table closest to the West side and HARRY will join him so he can look at CORA. They are all chatting quietly. Also in this scene: CARLA, JIM and MARTHA.

CINDY: I guess you all heard the outcome of today’s meeting. They didn’t discover a thing. We are right back where we started. That big motorhome is taking up half

the back parking lot. The potters and the laundry customers are none too pleased. And I won’t even mention what the Pickle ball players are saying.

26

CORA: I’d sure like a peek inside that motorhome. Do you think they are going to break into it one of these days?

JACK: They did let one of those FBI or CIA specialists that are camped outside come in and put one of their testers on it and they did determine that there

Is nobody inside.

AL: Yes, it is strange. – Did you see there are now four big notices on the front window. Must be driving Security nuts.

CARLA comes in from the back carrying a pickle ball racquet and looking disgusted.

CARLA: This is getting to be so frustrating – you cannot even get a partner for pickle ball any more – it is all Gorgeous George, Gorgeous George – I wish it would just all go away – it is all people are talking about. – I don’t even like Country and Western!!!

JENNIE: You would think people would be a little more careful how they behave. There are all kinds of strange things going on. I have noticed a lot of people all of a sudden are acting mighty peculiar. Coming and going at odd hours and that sort of thing. – Myrtle Hodges lives next door to us and she has been out shopping every single day this week. She always keeps to herself and you never know what she is up to.

AL: Oh you are nothing but an old busybody. You should find something

better to do than sit at that corner window all day.

JENNIE: (huffs) Huh! – just saying.

CINDY: Well, I don’t know – Millie next door to us has been back and forth to the laundry room every day. I don’t know what she can find to wash every day in that little motorhome of hers – and did you see the purple silk sheets she had on the line the other day?

AL: Meow, meow – wow, you gals are a little hard on one another, aren’t you?

CAROL: Do you think they will cancel Bingo?

CINDY: That will be the day! – It is like the post office – neither rain nor sleet or dark of night shall keep the bingo fanatics from lining up around the complex on Tuesday nights.

General laughter

There is a commotion at the stairs and JIM comes rushing up almost out of breath.

JIM: I was just down at the Maintenance Yard to dump some garbage and check out the Canadian Exchange – and they have a bunch of Security going through the dumpsters. There is apparently a trail of blood leading up to one of the dumpsters!

ALL: Oh No!!!!

Everyone clusters around Jim to get more details – CORA covers her face and HARRY sits up ready to rush to her side.

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CORA: (Wailing) Oh Dear! – That was my roast. I forgot it in my car overnight, so I drove down to the Maintenance Yard early this morning and dumped it in. I guess I made a trail all across the yard. – I didn’t want everybody to know what a ditz I am – and now everyone will know – I’ll have to move (wailing)

HARRY: (rushing over to console her) Sweetie – it is OK! – Don’t cry – it will be OK

CORA: Everything was just going so perfectly – I wish I had never heard of Gorgeous George!!! – I am so jinxed!

HARRY: Hush – it will all get sorted out and I am sure there is a happy ending right around the corner.

(the rest of them console her as well and assure her all will be Ok)

Somebody else now comes up the stairs – MARTHA MERGATROID comes trotting up the stairs. She looks out of breath and distraught.

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MARTHA: Oh, I am in so much trouble – Gorgeous George ..

HARRY: (Interrupting quickly) What do you know about Gorgeous George?

MARTHA: Oh – he is such a sore loser.

CARLA: Do you know where he is?

MARTHA: (Wailing) He is at my house!

CAROL: All this time?

MARTHA: I just invited him in for pie and a cup of tea and….

JACK: (Interrupting) But that shouldn’t take this long!

MARTHA: Then I introduced him to gin rummy and …

JIM: (Interrupting) Still shouldn’t take this long!

MARTHA: Did I tell you he is a loser?

CARLA: That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

MARTHA: Well, he won’t leave till he wins his 60 bucks back!

CINDY: Oh Martha, you didn’t do anything rash?

JENNIE: Why didn’t you come for help?

MARTHA: He WAS a nice fellow

ALL: WAS???????

CARLA: Oh Poor Martha!

CORA: (Wailing) But Martha, – the whole world thinks he has been MURDERED – Right here in Country Roads!!!!

(everyone freezes and the curtain closes.

Act 3 – scene 1

Before the curtain opens ROGERS has been coming up from along the East wall of the ball room carrying a flashing white light held aloft ala Statue of Liberty, saying “Emergency” excuse me – “emergency. He goes up on stage and enter through the center of the curtain. He places the light at the back of the stage, so it looks like there are emergency vehicles parked out back of the stage. When the curtain opens we are still on the Country Roads patio with the same cast of characters that we closed with –CORA, JACK, CINDY, AL, JENNIE, CARLA, CAROL, JIM, HARRY and MARTHA. – We also have ROGER from Security. Two members of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS and IRENE, BETTY and SUZY will show up later. MARTHA is sitting in a chair center stage with ROGER from SECURITY holding her. The residents on the patio are sitting around the two tables. There are flashing yellow lights from the security vehicles parked outside showing at the back of the stage. AUDREY the waitress is standing looking lost.

HARRY: I don’t think you need to hang on to Martha. I don’t think she is planning to run away.

MARTHA: Don’t you worry about me, Harry. I know my rights – I like to watch all those cop shows on TV, and I know what they can get away with and what not.

CINDY: Good for you, Martha. What are we waiting for anyway?

ROGER: The Chairman of the ACC. He gave us strict orders to leave no suspects unattended!

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JIM: Don’t you worry, Martha – we have your back!

(BETTY is coming up the left set of stairs, loaded down with shopping bags.

BETTY: What in the world is going on here?

CARLA: Good Grief, is there anything left at The Palms Mall?

As Carla is talking , there is the sound of racing golf carts coming to a screeching halt, then a crash and glass shattering. IRENE and SUZY can be heard talking in the background before bounding up the stairs to the right)

SUZY: (Off Stage) I was just headed to that parking spot!

IRENE: (Off Stage) Me too – it looks like there is something going on!

SUZY: (Off Stage) We can sort this out later – let’s go!

(SUZY and IRENE rush up the stairs and join the rest on stage)

IRENE: We just heard something was happening – what is going on?

CORA: (wailing) – Oh – they have arrested Martha for killing Gorgeous George.

JENNIE: I am pretty sure that is a gross exaggeration – No real crime has been committed here. – I will bet you Gorgeous George is sleeping his fool head off on Martha’s Davenport.

MARTHA: That’s right, that’s right – that is how I got away and over here!

CAROL: It is beginning to sound like a clown convention around here.

CINDY: Well, I for one think we should have a say here. What do you guys think?

( She looks around the group and a few of them start nodding)

SUZY: I saw a couple of the members of the Board of Directors around the corner – the way I was driving that cart, I am surprised they haven’t shown up to talk to me about it. –

AL: And I suppose Melissa will be right behind them.

SUZY: Yup – there they are!

(Two men come up the stairs. They are wearing identical navy bomber jackets ala the FBI with BoD emblazoned on the back – members of the Board of Directors)

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RALPH: What in the world is going on here? A total lack of decorum, racing golf carts, cart crashes, flashing security lights – This cannot be Country Roads?

BETTY: Hi Ralph – I am so glad you are here – I don’t know what all is going on, but, you are right, it sure doesn’t look like Country Roads. Harry was here before I got here, maybe he can tell us what has happened.

HARRY: Yes, I’ll be happy to. – It would appear that Martha invited Gorgeous

George in for pie and a cup of tea when he first arrived and she introduced him to the game of Gin Rummy, not knowing what a gambling addict he is and now he

won’t leave her house till he beats her at cards. She came to us looking for a way out.

MARTHA: Yeah, that’s right!

GORDY: (grumbling) I told you – when you start bringing in folks that have been on the cover of National Enquirer, you just never know what is going to happen.

CINDY: Lighten up – my goodness – we can all handle a little excitement. But don’t you think we are a little hard on Martha – she was just acting like a good Country Roads resident, making somebody feel welcome. Couldn’t we discuss it a little?

MARTHA: (Nods vigorously)

AL: I think that is a good idea. Let’s not fly off the handle here.

RALPH: I think maybe we should call an extraordinary meeting of the Board and see if we cannot find a solution. –Nobody has been hurt – right?

ALL: Right!

RALPH: Nothing has been Stolen – right?

ALL: Right!

RALPH: And no damage has been done to property – right?

ALL: Right!

RALPH: And it doesn’t appear any ACC rules have been broken

(everyone nods in agreement)

RALPH: Gordie, what do you think? – Could we have a little meeting here and those present that have Country Roads badges could vote, (shades his eyes and looks out into the audience for anybody with badges) and we could solve this little problem right now!

GORDY: It is kind of extraordinary, all right – but this nonsense has been going on long enough – we have to get back to normal. It is all everyone is talking about. We need to get everything back on track. – So – how do we go about it?

RALPH: I suppose we start with a show of hands to see if there is any support for this, and then we go from there.

(Everybody puts up their hand)

RALPH: Well – that looks promising – can we have a motion?

(everybody start talking at once, until BETTY stands up, looks over at Jennie and gestures to her to do a wolf whistle.

BETTY: Thanks Jennie – I move that we forget everything that has happened since the arrival of Gorgeous George’s big bus, and that we get on with the Big Show we were promised.

HARRY: I second the motion!

(Cora looks adoringly at her “hero”)

RALPH: Any questions – all in favour?

Everyone waves their arms and express their agreement

JENNIE: Yes let’s get on with the show!

(everyone expresses similar opinions)

RALPH: Motion carried – let’s get on with the show

(MARTHA shakes off ROGER’S hand and starts a little victory dance)

(AUDREY jumps up and down drumming on her tray)

(Lots of excitement on stage as the curtain closes)

As the curtain is closing – a gal carrying a folding lawn chair under one arm – and a big martini glass in the other trots up the stairs and across the stage and down the other set of stairs “looking for “ a Happy Hour.

I was invited to Happy Hour – But I can’t remember the number of the lot!

Piano plays Happy Days are here again!

Finale – Act 3 – scene 2

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The curtain opens and Gorgeous George is standing with his head bowed wearing

flashy Western suit and as he starts to sing a rousing Western song, the actors start to congregate around him waving and dancing around him. There is no curtain calls, everyone is on stage when the song ends.

Gorgeous George was performed in February 2015 at Country Road RV Resort – the actors were all members of the Country Roads Drama Club and the pictures were generously supplied by Sam Shemwell to go with this blog about Gorgeous George.

A special thank you goes out to all the technical people that made the play possible. There was an army of people behind the scenes with lights, mike management, sound adjustments, prompters, moviemaker, and people herding people into place and a very special thank you to Brock and Sherry Quast for the “star” performance of the show.

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Now Why wasn’t I born with curly hair?

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As any self-respecting child born in my generation I was born as bald as a billiard ball and whatever hair showed up eventually was literally translucent and – horror of horrors – it was straight as a poker. I think my Mother took it personally and she spent most of my childhood trying to remedy the situation. As soon as it reached a length of maybe two inches when I was about two, she shaved it off hoping it would come in strong and curly. It took another while before there were enough little wisps that she could start putting it up in rags. It was a fairly common practice at the time. It was war time so people had to make do with whatever was at hand. So before bed time my hair would be wetted down and she would take a small section of hair and a 6” long strip of rag off an old sheet. Then she would roll the section of hair around the piece of rag til she came to the scalp and then she would tie a knot in the rag – and – presto – instant curlers. I would go to bed looking like an old mop, complaining all the while about how uncomfortable I was. It turned out like rather frizzy looking hay, but at least it wasn’t straight. – One other reason that curly hair was so desirable was the fact that the Danish royal princess who was born a little while after I was – had beautiful curly blond hair. – However, she too had to wear the obligatory big bow on top of her head or a big cannelloni-like hair curl on top.

As time went on, the quest for curls carried on. My Grandmother, Mormor, was as obsessed with curls as my Mother was, and when I when to visit them she had her own method which consisted of  braiding each little section of wet hair  before bed at the farm, I would have a head of maybe a dozen or so tiny braids sticking up all over my head.  This method didn’t really produce curly hair, it was a little more like having stuck my finger in the electric socket. My hair was zigzagged up to within half an inch which was dead straight – but at least it achieved some volume to anchor the big bow.

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As I got older I was taken to the official local hairdresser. I don’t recall any salons for hair dressing. Some enterprising woman would have a bedroom set up as a shop and it was there we went for the real curly hair! Home permanents did not become popular till sometime in the 50s when we started getting things from North America. My first permanent waves as they were called were obtained from a very nice Fru Schnorr. She had invested in an electric curling machine. It was a large cabinet with thousands of wires and connectors. The hair would be rolled up on tight rollers that seemed to stretch the roots of the hair to get that last mm along onto the roller and then some foul smelling liquid was brushed on; I can still smell it to this day. – Then came the real torture – huge metal clips that were so heavy that they had to be put on in a certain order so your head wouldn’t tip over. They were hot and they were attached by electric wire to a big machine with all sorts of lights and switches. I actually never heard of any mishaps, but I cannot imagine my daughters in law subjecting my granddaughters to this. But now I actually had curls that lasted for about 6 months.  – Mother was happy.

And then – There was war!

 

 

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I have very few recollections of the war. I was pretty young, and I had nothing to compare; I didn’t know what life  had been like before – I assumed that was the way the world was. I was born in a small apartment in Soeren Moellersgade across from the Elementary School I would eventually attend. When I was about 2 years old, we moved from almost the centre of town to a “modern” apartment a couple of km away. In retrospect, the war wasn’t that bad from a small child’s viewpoint. The one thing I learned pretty quickly was the Air Raid Alarm. There were speakers mounted everywhere, and when the alarm went – day or night – everybody sprang into action. Denmark did not have the huge bombings that England and Germany had, but we were being bombed just the same, and by both sides.  But the air raids were great social events for us kids. If they happened in the middle of the night, as they seemed to prefer, we had everything ready to leave for our bomb shelter: Blankets, pillows, food and thermos bottles with coffee. In our case, we all went to the basement of the apartment building. We lived on the fourth floor and the way the apartment buildings were arranged, there was a set of front stairs and a set of back stairs with an apartment on either side of it; so in our case, it meant we had 8 apartments with probably an average of three people per apartment.

The basement was totally dark as the small high set windows had been painted black for the black-outs, so it was always dark. Down there was an old-fashioned wash house with a wood-burning boiler made of concrete for boiling the family wash. There were small lockers for each apartment, and then there was a fairly large room for hanging clothes to dry when it was too wet and cold to hang them outside as well as bicycle storage. This was where the big boiler for the building’ central heating was stored so it was generally nice and warm. My recollection of the boiler was that it was about the size of a small truck and it was about a foot and a half off the floor. For some reason they had figured out that the space under the hot water tank was the safest place for all us kids. They had placed some thin mattresses on the floor there, and all the little kids were generally just yanked out of their bed and carried down. But everything was in readiness for this sometimes nightly trek. There were thermoses with hot drinks sitting ready, food and whatever else might be needed. Sometimes we got the “All Clear” almost before we got ready to go, and other times it could last all night. The whole time we were there, we would be waiting for the explosions and there would be speculation as to how far away it was. There was a Primus stove down there as well. It was just a one burner affair, but it was put to good use when the wait was a long one. But there seemed to be a lot of camaraderie and in later years, it seemed to me to be a much happier time. Everybody was in this mess together, and everybody was coping. There was next to nothing for anybody to buy, so we all had to be very creative, and there was a certain amount of satisfaction in that.

During the war there were shortages of everything. Our apartment was very modern by the standards of the day. We actually had a bathroom right in the apartment, and both our kitchen sink and bathroom sink had two taps, one for hot water and one for cold water. All through the war, we never did have hot water. Fuel was at a premium. The government actually passed a law that no one was to heat their house to more than 18 degrees. We were very fortunate. My Dad worked as a salesman for a company that sold wood to carpentry shops, so he would come home with wood ends that could be used for burning. There was a bit of a problem with that though. We did not have a wood-burning fireplace or stove. We were cooking with gas. This did not deter my Dad. The chimney for the boiler down below ran right by our bedroom, so he smashed a hole in the chimney and put in a pipe and found an old Franklin type stove and – voila – we had a wood-burning stove and cook top. We even thought the food tasted much better having been cooked in this manner. It also had the advantage that we went to bed in a warmed room in the wintertime, something that was unheard of in Denmark. We did have radiators in the bedroom, but you certainly didn’t waste heat on a bedroom. – It also helped on our quarter situation. Our gas burners were on a meter, and we would have to plug something like a quarter into the meter to keep the gas coming. Many are the times when we would have to eat food that wasn’t fully cooked because we ran out of quarters. But that was just the way things were!

In our apartment building we had a big loft as well. The whole block was connected through this loft. It was reached through the back stairs and connected to the next series of  8 apartments and their back stairs. Up there were more storage lockers and a row of small rooms under the roof as well as a large bare room  that was just framed in. It had small windows in the roof which was made of red clay roof- tiles. These roof-tiles were placed on narrow strips of wood going across the rafters and there were several places where you could glimpse the sky through the roof. But all roofs were like that then, and they generally did not leak as the tiles were curved in such a way that the water just went down the middle of them. This room served many purposes – most of the time it was used for drying clothes for the whole complex, but when there were special occasions such as a wedding or a confirmation or baptism it could be transformed into a party room. It would be strung with crepe paper in appropriate colours and long tables and benches would be set up with white table-cloths, candles and flowers and everyone’s best china. Both my confirmation, and that of my brother Per and his baptism were celebrated here. – But during the war a whole new purpose sprang up. There was a great shortage of tobacco, in fact, I am not even sure there was any. So there were all kinds of concoctions created. One of the most popular thing was using dried cherry leaves, as I recall. They were strung together on thread and hung up there to dry. I know several other experiments took place that all involved drying things. – So many things were rationed and quite severely so. Coffee was a good example – I think we got stamps for about a quarter pound a week. There were many ways discovered to stretch this measly amount of coffee. We could buy Chicory. It was rationed as well, but not nearly as much, so it was added to the coffee, and by the end of the war, most Danes were so used to the “full bodied” taste of the chicory that it took probably 20 years before most people gave it up. The chicory came in two brands, Richs and Danmark, and the feelings ran high as to the superiority of one over the other. The added bonus was that each package contained a collector’s card. Towards the end of the war, I was an avid collector of the Danmark movie star collection. You could send away for an album to paste them into. I think you had to send so many end flaps in to get this album. Of course, there was brisk trading going on as well to complete your set. Most of the movie stars were unknown to us since we did not see any new movies during the war.

When Denmark was occupied, it was like our borders were closed to the rest of the world. The Germans imposed very strict censorships on all forms of communication. They appointed a state sensor who had to approve all newspaper and magazine articles, and any infraction was heavily fined. – By the middle of the war, we were starting to get news bulletins from England on short wave radio, but most of the time, we really did not know how the war was going. Both sides were feeding us propaganda, but most of us tended to believe the British.

Big business in Denmark was very torn on which way to go. It was in their financial interest to cooperate with the Germans in order to preserve their businesses. The Germans needed them to help rebuild all their conquered countries, so many of the large business leaders got themselves involved in the war-time cabinet, and at about the time Germany was on their way across Russia, and apparently on the way to taking over all of Eastern Europe, a delegation from Denmark was negotiating the complete absorbtion  of Denmark into Germany and adopting the German Mark as the currency in Denmark as well.

Another thing I remember from the war was the shortage of glass and lead. Very few things came in tubes. But the tubes were made of lead, probably with some kind of coating on it or we would have been dead, I guess. At any rate, if you wanted to buy something in a tube, you had to hand in an empty one to get a new one. I also remember going to the grocery store with an empty glass bottle and getting half a bottle of vinegar, and at Christmas time when we were baking, I would go to the store with an ordinary glass and get syrup for the gingerbread cookies. Not all of it made it home – one had to have a little taste on the way home.

During the war most people that had had cars before the war were forced to park them and put them up on blocks because gasoline was rationed to such an extent that only emergency vehicles such as for doctors and officials could get their hands on it. My Dad had just started as a salesman when the war started and had bought an old Willys. I would suspect from around 1930. Now it was parked and he used the train to go around to his customers throughout the countryside. It must have been difficult. I remember at that time he also started representing a wooden toy manufacturer; so along with his sample case of wood, he had a huge suitcase of wooden toys. – I think that was the beginning of my Dad’s downfall. The socializing on the trains. Beer was available everywhere, and it was a part of life in Denmark. I think it was the one thing that wasn’t rationed. Maybe the Germans thought they would at least keep us happy, and we might not fight them as much. I have no idea. – At any rate, it was around this time that I remember Dad coming home and having to have a nap on the sofa before, during and after dinner. The job as a salesman in those days always involved lunch and sometimes lunch carried on all day. There must have been a lot of pressure on people despite all the bravado. We were all powerless.

It was a difficult time. Five years is a very long time. We were not actively at war. Our army and police was taken over by the Germans. Any resistance was instantly put down. Dissidents were persecuted. No one knew whether this was a temporary thing or a new way of life. Most Danes remained passive and just carried on their lives as best they could under difficult circumstances. Some people joined the Resistance Movement. It was an underground organization that was constantly in danger; and others again must have wondered if they might be better off by joining our oppressors.  One of my uncles was in the Resistance, and many nights I know my Grandmother knew he was out somewhere on a mission. Many disappeared and sometimes one of them had to find a small boat and get ferried over to Sweden. They were neutral, so they helped both the Danes and the Germans. Denmark had a small Jewish population and throughout the war they were smuggled across the small strait between Denmark and Sweden. A great many lives were saved. When the Germans decreed that all Jews in Denmark had to wear an armband with a Star of David at all time, every Dane, starting with the King of Denmark were wearing them.

Hang in there – we will get there.

Descendants of William J. Sherwood, Barons, AB.

Descendants of William J. Sherwood, Barons, AB.

1-Will Tillie Sherwood

Pictured above are my paternal grandparents Sarah Kathleen Matilda Sherwood (nee) Hunter (sometimes called Tilly Will in Eastern Canada) and William John Sherwood of Barons, Alberta, Canada

Below are the descendants of these two as I have been able to put together.  If you see an error or omission I would appreciate hearing from you.

William J. Sherwood

Son of:
Thomas Sherwood
Mary Wright Sherwood

Brother to:
Bernice Sherwood (Fredric Acheson)
Lillie Maude Sherwood (Daniel McFarlane)
Elizabeth Ellen Sherwood (Joseph Prickett)
Thomas Edward Sherwood (Matilda King)
Mary Bell Sherwood (Robert Samuel Taylor)
James Arington Sherwood (Unmarried)
Margaret Pearl Sherwood (Burwell Charles)
Earl Cecil Sherwood (Unmarried)

Grandson of:
William Sherwood
Eleanor Smith Mustard Sherwood

Husband of:
Sarah Kathleen Matilda Hunter (Tillie)

Father of:
Farley Stanwell Sherwood (Norma Sturgeon)
Ralph Hunter Sherwood (Nora Downey)
Betty Kathleen Sherwood (Chester Allen)
Shirley Eileen Sherwood (James Aiken,Ted Evans)

Grandfather of:
Larry Garth Sherwood (Ninna Sejersen)
William James Sherwood (Daphne Blixt)

Donald James Sherwood (Phyllis Sharp, Joyce Brooks)
Thomas Ralph Sherwood (Ann Coffee)

Kathleen Patricia Allen ( Ian Rae)
Kenneth Chester Allen (Linda Curle)

Great Grandfather of:
Torben Lance Sherwood (Lea Miller)
Sean Carsten Sherwood (Sue Gaspar)

Mathew James Sherwood
Pamela Dawn Sherwood

Rhiannon Sherwood
Mariah Sherwood

Derek Allen Rae (
Kyla Elizabeth Rae

Lisa Kathleen Allen
Christine May Allen

Great, Great Grandfather of:
Samantha Jayne Sherwood
Claire Ryan Sherwood

Evangeline Victoria Gaspar Sherwood

Kylie Jessica Rae
Emily Patrysha Rae

Uncle to:
Edith Acheson

Arington Geo. MacFarlane (Ellen (Nellie) Murray)
Del MacFarlane (Ollie)

Velma Jane Sherwood (Charles Lloyd Campbell)
Alma Matilda Sherwood (Adam Breen Sargent)

Mamie Enid Taylor (Ernest Wesley Allen)
Gweneth Mary Louise Taylor (Eugene Hogan)
Cecil Samuel Taylor (Mary Ann Nancy McDermott)
Donald John Taylor (Kathy Hansen, Ruth ___)

Mary Louise Charles

Great Uncle to:
Lloyd Wayne Campbell (Margaret Elaine Pennock)
Delbert Eugene Campbell (Ina Groenewegen)
Gary Charles Campbell (Cheryl Elaine Leeman)
Rodney Dean Campbell (Vicky Lynne Compton)
Derrick Ian Campbell

Patricia Doreen Sargent (Arthur William Burgess)
Arthur Edward Eugene Sargent (Mary Louise Gesic)
Constance Arlene Sargent (Melvin Hughson)
Dale Sargent

Brian Lee Allen (Patricia Karren Lehto)
Barry Norman Allen (Judith Ann Gibb)

Isabelle Jean Hogan (James Howell)
Nancy Louise Hogan (John Roberts)

John Michael Taylor (Irene Isaac)
Mary Patricia Taylor (Jack Radulevic)
William Patrick Taylor (Lorraine Ledgerwood)

David Cecil Taylor (Jacqueline May)
Cameron Gilbert Taylor (
Christina Belle Taylor (

Great, Great Uncle to:
Barry Lloyd Wayne Campbell (Debra Gannon)
Cindy Lou Campbell (B. Cumpson, Gordon Johnson)

Darrell John Campbell (
Delina Mary Jane Campbell (Nelson Melo)

Great Great Uncle to: (continued)

Dayton Campbell
Curtis Darren Campbell (Amy Davis)
Kimberley Jane Campbell

Sheri Lynn Campbell (John Shetler)
Coralee Jane Campbell (Nathan….)

Brenda Jane Burgess (Darren Tibbutt)
Elizabeth Doreen Burgess
Allen William Burgess

Wade Eugene Sargent
Christopher Adam Sargent
Clayton Edward Sargent
Bradley Allen Sargent

Troy Melvin Hughson

Tracy Lee Allen
Trenton Jay Allen

Brett Norman Allen
Jody Nadine Allen

Michael James Howells

Heather Louise Roberts
Alan Edward Roberts

Meghan Taylor
Scott Taylor

At the very beginning

I was born in the spring of 1939 in Denmark when the world was still a pretty nice place. By the fall of that year, Hitler had marched into Poland and by the spring of 1940 his troops had also invaded and occupied Denmark. That April 9th the world changed for all Danes.

birthplace
I Was born at Soeren Moellersgade 4 in Randers, Denmark

I was born on May 13th, 1939, at home, in a small apartment at Søren Møllersgade No. 4 and lived there the first two years of my life. My parents were both born and raised in the country in mid and northern Jutland. My Dad was working as warehouseman at a wood importing company, where he would stay for most of his working life eventually advancing to Sales Manager. My Mother left the work force before I was born. She had been working in a very fancy bakery/konditori. She would regale us with tales of being in the front of the store and everything was handled with tongs and tissue paper and out back in the bakery the bakers would dip their chewing tobacco in the butter vat . –

Ninna 2years
Ninna at 2 with Elly and Henry Sejersen

I grew up with a wealth of relations. In fact – almost too numerous to remember. – My father was one of 16 children and my mother was one of four, so whenever we had family gatherings it was with casts of thousands it seemed, especially on my Father’s side. – Most of our socializing was with the families. – My Mother’s parents lived on a small Farm of about 16 acres in a small village about 40 km away. They cultivated 21 acres of land and a part of the back garden was an old Viking grave that had been opened many years previously and there were no artifacts left. When we went there we spent a lot of time playing on the mound. It was probably 15 feet high and covered in grass and heather. We would run up and down the hill or roll down like a log and scream with laughter. The area around my home town of Randers were dotted with Viking graves. Most of them had been opened long ago. But a few are still left untouched. – The Viking would be placed on the ground and surrounded by huge boulders much like a mini Stonehenge and then the whole would be covered with dirt and eventually grass and heather. They are littering the landscape and there are hundreds of them.

Vammen Farm
My Grandparents’ Farm in Vammen, Denmark

This is a picture of my Grandparents’ farm in Vammen. It is typical of thousands of small farms all through Denmark at the time of my childhood. They had all at one point been tenants of the big farm or estate in the area. They were all built in much the same style with the main house, where the people lived and, in this case an L-shaped building which housed the animals in the bigger part of the L and the foot of the L was the hay barn as well as the place where the threshing machine was set up during harvest time. – The shed-type building had a wash house at one end and the wagons and other implements where stored in the rest of it. That was also where the outhouse was and the chicken house. Behind the stable is the open midden where the animal waste and dirty straw from the stable was stored before it was hauled out into the field as fertilizer. It was all very compact and efficient. The well was in the middle of the cobbled yard and when I first remember the farm, there was no electricity or water in the house. It came in the mid 50s just before my Grandfather retired and built a house in the village of Vammen.

My Grandparents, Bedstefar and Mormor, Kristian and Martine Flarup ran the farm by themselves – Mormor – my Mother’s Mother had come from a quite wealthy farm and, according to stories I was told, her family was not very happy to see her marry a poor carpenter. She was born Martine Mortensen. I only met my Great Grandfather once when I was about 5.

GreatGrandpa
My Great Grandpa Mortensen and I when I was 5

My Grandparents had 6 cows, a couple of calves generally as a cash crop and a few pigs and two horses. The 6 cows were milked by hand twice a day by my Mormor. During the spring and summer they were led on ropes down to the grass field and tethered. They would eat the grass within the circle of their tether and it prevented the field from getting eaten all up at once and give it a chance to regrow, I guess. There was also a pig pen with a bunch of pigs depending on the size of the litter of piglets. There was always a big sow who would produce around a dozen piglets every spring and they again were being fattened up to go to market before Christmas. The two horses were strictly for pulling either the hay wagon or the plow. The hay wagon was also the only transportation my Grandparents had if they were going to town. If they were just going in for a few things, they would go on their bikes or walk.

On their 21 acres of land they always had a field of sugar beets that they sold to the sugar mill and they also grew turnips and some grain, usually oats and barley, to feed the animals. They also sold most of their milk to the dairy that came by in a horse drawn wagon every other day, as I recall. – Further afield they had an allotment of meadowland where they would dig their own peat for the house for heat and cooking. They were almost totally self- sustaining. They bought very little. What few items they needed such as flour and sugar and yeast they would trade for eggs at the co-op store.

Their lives were like their ancestors for many generations. Neither of them had ever been more than 50 km away from where they were born. It wasn’t until their children started driving cars after the war, and then they did get a little further afield. – Oh – if they could see me now!

The First Truck

My Grandfather’s (W.J. Sherwood Sr,) First truck was like this one.
By Larry Sherwood, July 17, 2013

My dad, Farley, sometimes told the story of Grandpa’s first truck. According to the History Book (Wheat Heart of the West-), ”In 1927 Will purchased a one-ton Chevrolet truck which could haul 65 to 70 bushels of grain. . .” (Author’s note – the truck would be overloaded most of the time since wheat would weigh between 1.9 and 2.1 tons – for those modern people that would be 1.8 to 1.9 tonnes L.S.) Anyway the rest of the story goes like this:

Grandpa arranged to buy the truck in Lethbridge so one or both of the boys, Farley (14) and/or Ralph (9) drove Grandpa to Barons by horse and buggy where he boarded a C.P.R. train to the city. He stayed overnight in a hotel and picked up the truck in the morning.

As you can imagine the arrival of a truck was pretty exciting for everyone. Anticipatng the arrival of the truck, the boys had cleaned out a stable in one section of the barn. They laid a couple of large fence posts across the front of the stable to prevent an accidental bumping of the wall so all was in readiness.

At this point it must be said that Grandpa was a very strict Methodist and was known for his clean language at all times.

Can’t you see it now, everybody keeping an eye out to the south and east for the dust cloud and ears cocked for the sound of the truck coming. It probably took the better part of a day since the roads were wagon trails and it was about 36 miles (about 58 km) and I doubt that he was able to average 10 mph (16 kph). Finally they spotted the dust and heard the noise of the engine. It was so exciting. The whole family was in the yard. The boys were ready to direct their dad into the stall they had prepared.

Grandpa entered the driveway and the yard going at a good clip. He sat straight and proud in the driver’s seat heading for the stall where the boys were pointing. He was probably a bit tired but he steered toward the stall. He pulled back in the steering wheel yelling “Whoa”, pulled back a bit harder and yelled a lot louder, “Whoa, Whoa”. The truck kept going. Finally in desperation he yelled as he yanked on the steering wheel “Whoa, whoa, WHOA you son-of-a-bitch WHOOAA!”

Fortunately the fence posts stopped the new truck and killed the motor. Apparently, everyone kept a very straight face and the scene was never mentioned in his presence.

Last Pic of Will Sherwood
Will Sherwood

Matilda (Tillie Will) Sherwood

Grandma Sherwood, the Blizzard and the Indians.
By Larry Sherwood

My paternal grandmother, Matilda Hunter Sherwood, “Tillie Will” to the eastern members of the Sherwood family, related the following story to me a number of times. You might be interested in it as it illustrates some of the hardships and fears of a young bride who was born and brought up in Ontario’s Manitoulin Island. Her parents, Thomas David and Phoebe Lane Hunter first came to Granum, Alberta and later farmed about a half mile south and a bit east of where Grandpa William, “Will” had taken up a homestead in 1904 along side of one granted to my maternal great uncle Archibald Campbell. That’s another story but it is important to this one because these two lads facing an early winter and no shelter had dug into a bit of a hill side and spent their first winter in this hole-in-the ground. In the following years both Grandpa and Uncle Archie built shacks on their adjoining properties.

Grandma and Grandpa were married in July, 1910 so it was sometime after that a bad blizzard struck the homestead. The shack was very drafty and the temperature inside was not much warmer than the freezing cold outside so they moved into the hole-in–the-ground. Sometime later they heard thumping above them and Grandpa decided to go outside to investigate. He apparently tied a rope to himself and Grandma paid out the line. Grandpa stumbled over something and found a human form in the snow and dragged it into the shelter. It turned out to be an Indian brave who spoke no English but somehow communicated that there were others outside so out Grandpa went to see if he could find them. Grandma said she was very scared but figured she could tug hard on the rope and Grandpa would come to her rescue

Grandma may have told me how many more he found and brought in but I don’t recall the exact number. Needless to say there were quite a few people in a small space. Grandma said she was scared stiff but set about to feed them and find places for all to sleep. Since Grandpa and Grandma had been using the hole-in-the-ground as a root cellar and cold room they had food. The blizzard raged for at least two or three days and nights before it broke and the “guests” could round up their horses and the others they had been droving and ride off into the prairie.

Including the last time I was told this story before her death at 90 Grandma complained that “those Indians never said ‘Thank-you’”. And no matter how many times I tried to explain that she had told me they spoke no English and very little else amongst themselves, it was understandable that they didn’t say ‘thank-you’ Grandma kept insisting that the least they could do was say ‘thank you’.

Grandpa and Grandma had a dog that would bark loud and long if anybody came to the homestead. He was famous for this trait amongst the old timers in the district. So what, you say. Keep reading dear friend.
Just before the frost went out of the ground after the incident above, Grandpa went out to the small barn he had built. Hanging from one of the rafters was a fully dressed freshly killed deer. The dog had not barked! None of the neighbours had seen or heard anything! So how did it get there. Grandma said that Grandpa figured it was the Indians who had been there in the blizzard. Needless to say they enjoyed the fresh venison and they shared with their neighbours and relatives. The following fall after the first hard frost Grandpa found another deer in the barn. Again the dog didn’t bark, and they and their neighbours had seen or heard nothing. Grandpa apparently told Grandma that this was the way the Indians were thanking them. For many years after, every fall after the first hard frost and every spring before the frost came out of the ground, Grandpa would find a dressed deer or elk hung in the barn. And the dog didn’t bark and the neighbours didn’t see or hear anything and Grandpa kept telling Grandma that this was the Indian’s way of saying thank-you.

And to her dying day when she told this story, she would always end it with “Yes but, they should have said, Thank-you”.

1-Will Tillie Sherwood

 
Larry Sherwood
March 28, 2013.

The Hottentot

The Hottentot.
Larry’s first trip to Denmark.

Apparently, when Ninna, my wife, announced to her family that she was going to Canada some said that she would go away and probably marry a Hottentot. Thus the reason for the title above. Hottentot is defined as a member of a nomadic pastoral people of SW Africa; the Khoisan language of this people.

Following our marriage we motored to Vancouver so I could resume my studies at U.B.C. I had decided to switch from Forestry to Commerce but I kept in touch with some of the Forestry students and faculty. After two years of study and near completion of the Commerce degree program and I decided to enroll in the final year of Forestry. That summer we headed off to Denmark on a charter flight in May or June of 1965 to visit Ninna’s family and friends and for my introduction to them and to the culture and country of her birth. I don’t think I was aware of the Hottentot designation – even if I were I doubt that I knew what they were talking about since my comprehension of the Danish language was limited to the few words Ninna had taught me.

Before we left, I had spoken to Dr. Philip Haddock, . a U.B.C. Forestry professor about our upcoming trip. When he heard we were going to Denmark he suggested that I try to contact a Danish forester by the name of Flemming Juncker.

Ninna’s mother Elly was bedridden with Multiple Sclerosis so for the most part we stayed close to the apartment in Randers where her folks lived along with her brother Per. Per was just graduating from High School but had managed to buy a 1949 Anglia “car”. He had it shined to a stunning state and he was very proud of his “Putta”. He spoke and understood English very well. Ninna had asked to borrow her father’s car but he was a salesman and he had a legitimate excuse for refusal. (I still think he thought that the ‘Hottentot’ wouldn’t be able to drive very well). So both of us asked Per if we could borrow “Putta”. I explained that I had driven cars, trucks, tractors and even taxis but in his mind there was no way I could drive his car.

A bit later during a casual conversation I asked Per if he knew a person by the name of Fleming Juncker. “Oh yes”, he replied excitedly leading me over to the east window of their top floor apartment and pointing at a building a block away he explained, “he has three Citroens and I see him regularly. Oh I know him well.” (Per had never met him but he knew him well because his cars were serviced in the neighbourhood.) Private telephones were not commonplace in Denmark at that time so I asked Per if Hr Juncker would have a telephone and if he did, would a call to him be long distance. I didn’t realize that all calls in Denmark were toll calls. However Per assured me that Hr Juncker had a telephone but when I picked up the receiver to call it was taken from me and replaced in the cradle because one shouldn’t “just call him”. You see at this point I had no idea of who Fleming Juncker really was nor did I really know that the family didn’t think I had the cultural upbringing to marry the Duchess – Ninna. Even had they told me I wouldn’t have known what a Hottentot was.

Anyway, Per went down stairs to work on his car, so I dialled the number for Juncker and he answered in person. I explained that I was a student of Dr. Haddock at UBC and was asked where I was located. As it turned out we were only about 20 miles away. He then asked whether we had transportation or did we want him to send in a car for us. Per happened into the room then, I covered the mouthpiece and asked again, if I could borrow his precious “Putta”. When he found out we were going to go to Junckers we were able to convince Per to lend us his car.

Puta the 1949 Anglia
Puta the 1949 Anglia(Per Sejersen, Ninna’s brother with head in the engine compartment of the 1949 Anglia. Larry Sherwood looking on. Don’t know who the guy on the sidewalk was. Taken in Randers, Denmark on our first visit 1965)

Neither Ninna nor I knew much about Fleming Juncker other than he was a Danish forester. So when we arrived at the address we had been given you can imagine our surprise to see a castle inside the gate

Juncker Castle
(This is what greeted us when we turned in the gate in 1965. Later pictures found on the internet are appended later in this article)
We were met by Hr Juncker and his chief forester Hr Peter Apollo. Mr. Juncker was very interested in both of us but Ninna, being a local girl caught his attention. We were unaware of how important a man we were conversing with. Hr Juncker is pictured below.

Image result for flemming juncker
The history of Overgaard Estate goes back to the time of the Reformation. The main building dates back to 1547. In this main building, you have access to the oldest library in Denmark, which was furnished in approx. 1730 by the royal master joiner Mathias Ortmann. In the library, you will find a number of invaluable artefacts, including a copy of the Code of Jutland from 1548. You will also have access to the gallery where the owners of the Estate through the centuries are portrayed. The most well-known of these paintings is that of Christence Lykke, considered a principal work of 17th Century Danish art. The Estate is surrounded by a large park where for instance Hans Christian Andersen and Gustav Wied wrote some of their works in the charming little teahouse.
The Estate played an important part in the resistance movement during the 2nd World War. The owner of the time, Flemming Juncher, organised the resistance in Jutland against the Germans and helped convince Marius Fiil from Hvidsten Kro to found a resistance group. (copied from:http://www.visitranders.com/ln-int/east-jutland/hans-christian-andersen/overgaard-estate)
In addition Fleming Juncker perfected the manufacture and commercialization of parquet flooring made from beech wood

Hr Juncker and Hr Apollo explained during the tours of the estate that Mr. Juncker had turned to the old law books housed in the library of the castle and had read in the Code of Jutland of 1548 an old law. It stated, and I paraphrase from the explanations told us, that ‘where a flat bottomed boat could not float at low tide the land belonged to the adjacent land owner’. The property is located on the Marianger Fjord northeast of Randers. Armed with this information Fleming Juncker got into a very small dinghy at the peak of a low tide and rowed around. Every time his dinghy grounded he pulled in a flagged stake and planted it in the mud thus marking out the new boundary for his property. I’m not sure whether he hired a dragline or bought one and dug out the drainage canal with the dredged material forming the dyke. Apparently the land was drained and he planted wheat the first year. The resulting drainage ditch and dyke are pictured below as they appeared to us in 1965. This activity resulted in a 50% increase in land area for the estate.

1-IMG_0139

 

Hr Juncker apparently repeated this program some time later thereby increasing his land by another 50% thus effectively doubling the arable land available to the estate at a cost significantly less than purchasing adjoining properties.

Ninna and I were invited back for “tea” shortly after our first visit and were escorted through the historical library mentioned above to the family library where we were introduced to another couple from England. One of them was a cousin of Fleming Juncker and apparently a titled member of British society. All were most cordial and down to earth with both of us. They were most interested in Canada and Hr Juncker was most interested in both the agricultural and forestry aspects of my life. He owned forest land in Oregon and had planted Douglas Fir on parts of his forest lands at Overgaard. He had developed a different thinning technique whereby he thinned (harvested) the dominant trees in a stand first rather than the previously accepted method of thinning the least viable of the trees which were usually scrapped incurring cost but no revenue. Thus he was able to get some revenue regularly and at the same time encouraging the lesser trees by removing the competition for light and nutrients, At the same time, just before the Christmas season he was pruning the lower branches which he used in the manufacture of Advent Wreaths providing regular revenue and employment for local people.

Hr Juncker asked me about my Dad’s farm in Barons, Alberta. I told him it was a dry land farm and we grew mostly wheat and rye and that it wasn’t very big – only about 320 acres (nearly 130 hectares but Dad and his brother Ralph together farmed about 2.5 sections or approximately 1500 acres (just over 607 hectares. He and the British guest both exclaimed “that is small?” When I explained the meagre yields achieved on this non-irrigated land they both seemed to understand a bit better. Fleming Juncker, always looking for more information then asked what size of tractors were used because he had attempted to buy a big articulated tractor from North America but the Danish import taxes were so exorbitant that he had to find another way. He bought two large Volvo tractors then he and Hr Apollo joined the two together and synchronized the two for a third the price of importation. They then wanted to know about the corn we grew and since I had indicated that Dad fed some beef cattle, what kind of silage activity did we do. I indicated that yes we grew corn but that was for the table. This was unheard of at that time so there ensued a long discussion of the type of corn Dad raised for human consumption. Dad grew a hybrid of an early ripening variety and an Indian corn which was just excellent. This was fascinating to Mr Juncker and he wondered where he could get some seed. I said that Dad kept a few ears for seed every year and I would ask him to save some which he did. He shelled a couple of ears and packaged the resulting seed and sent to Hr Juncker. We found out later that this importation was quite illegal but the Junckers grew and relished the corn according to the letters both Dad and we received later.

Double tractor

We have not been back to the estate since 1965. The estate is now in another’s name but we will never forget the hospitality afforded us by this very important Danish man and the reception that made us feel somewhat important. And this served to end the Hottentot designation amongst the Danish relatives because on our last trip there a couple of years ago some of them had to fill me in on what had become of ‘my friend’ Fleming Juncker.

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