Min egen historie fortalt på engelsk
Hilsen til mine OLDEBØRN
NIELS JØRGEN THØGERSEN
Dear Great Grandchildren,
Do you like reading about ”the good old days” ?
About when you great grandfather lived – and enjoyed life ?. I believe you can. That’s why I have decided, that I will write a book for you. A book about my life, what I have been doing and experienced, about what I think about many things.
Not to say that I am right in all of it. Not at all. But I do it to make it possible to know what sort of guy I was. I would love, if my great grandfather had written such a book about himself and his life.
I am afraid
that that we will never meet. I will no longer be here, when you grow up. I got my children when I was very young. This could have made it possible for me to meet you – if only my kids had god their children early too. But they didn’t…
So I think we will now live at different times.
With this book I should like to try to make us “meet” in another way.
I have had a lovely and very exciting life. And by the way, I still have.
Hopefully also for many years to come. But still I will start writing for you.
I know it will be a great pleasure and inspiration for me to write this book – to tell you about me. I hope that it also will be interesting
and a pleasure for you to read it !
And I want to wish you a lovely, warm and exciting life too !
Love to you all
your great grandfather, the Cimbrian, the European
35, Avenue de l’Europe, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium
Before I went to school
My life before I went to school
I was born on a farm. With cows, horses, pigs, hens, dogs, cats and mice. And fields to grow grass, corn, beets and potatos. All to be used to feed our animals.
My parents had inherited the farm from my grandparents. And they had modernized it over the years.
Actually, I was born on the farm – not in a hospital. It was in the middle of the winter. On Monday, 22 January 1945. It
was at 01.15 in the night. Outside there was a terrible snowstorm. And the midwife did not come in time, because her sledge turned upside down on the way. So when she arrived I had already arrived. Everything went well. I was probably screeming
a bit. And so was my mother. But the next day we were all happy. Our neighbours all came to see me – and brought me presents. I am afraid I forgot to say thank you , because I was not yet well behaved!
baptism was a couple of months later – on Sunday, 11 March. It took place in our small church in our village Grynderup. The chuch is 900 years old. I got the name Niels Jørgen Thøgersen. Niels was the name of my
grandfather. We had many guests for my baptism. Our family, also from far away, came to see the new boy. And they all slept in our farm. It was still winter at the time. And actually, there was a war going on. The Germans had since 1940 occupied
Denmark, also our village. But they did not do us any harm. They did not give me presents either. But on the night of my baptism the only bomb ever exploded in our village. This was 2 km away and destroyed the railway line. Everybody woke
up, of course. But nobody was hurt. Two months later the war and the occupation was over.
You might ask, how I looked like as a baby ? I have a photo from when I was 6 months old. Here it is:
What do you think? Do I look friendly? I am sure I was very happy. And a bit fat too. My mother was feeding me very well.
The clothes I wear on the picture was made from one of my mother’s aprons. White
with blue collar and sleeves. It was necessary at that time to re-use clothes you already had, because the war had made it very difficult to get new clothes. And fortunately my mother Jenny was very good in sewing.
Loosing my beautiful hair
Loosing my beautiful hair
When I was born I did not have any hair. You can see that on the photo in my last chapter. But as soon as I was one year old I had a lot of hair. It was fair, almost white. And
it was very curly. You can see it on this photo, which was taken, when I was 3 years ol. I am sitting on the knees of my mother Jenny and my daddy Alfred:
I was very proud of my hair.
Do you understand that? So I was very sorry when my dad one day said that we would now go to the hairdresser to have my hair cut. Why ?, I asked. Because you look almost like a girl now, daddy replied. I did not agree. And I did
not care, even if it was true.
But one day daddy grapped me, put me on his bike, and we drove the 3 km to the hairdresser. I remember his name was Orla. He was nice. But I was still against
having my hair cut.
So as soon as he wanted to start I jumped out of his hairdresser chair and ran away. Out of the shop, down the street, even crossing a big street (fortunately there were no cars coming) and run in to a huge building,
where the local shopkeeper had his stock of food for animals. I found a place in there to hide. Daddy and the hairdresser were so surprised that I ran away from them. And only 2-3 minutes later they ran after me to catch me. They saw that I entered
the big building. But in there they could not find me. Only 20 minutes later they found me. Daddy was a bit angry with me. But at the end they both laughed.
But I did not avoid the haircut. While my dad held
my hand the hairdresser cut all my white curls off. Yes, it is true. Afterwards I looked much more like a boy. But I was still sad. To comfort me the hairdresser gave me one of the nicest curls he had cut off. I still have it today –
65 years later. You can see it on this picture:
Also a naughty boy - sometimes!
Also a naughty boy – sometimes !
As I already told you I was born and grew up on a farm. A farm which my grandparents had built many years before. Actually, the farm burned
down shortly after it was built. A lightening hit it. My grandmother had her eyebrows burned. This was all which happened to the people. And the animals were not hurt either.
When I was a small boy our farm looked like this:
As you perhaps can see on the photo other farms are a bit away from us. Farms are not next to each other like houses in cities. It is important to have land in between them. This is used for growing food for our animals.
I had a very good friend on the farm not too far from us. It was a girl. Her name was Janne ( like Jane in English ). She was one year older than me. So I had to do, what she told me! We were playing, running in the fields ( where we had
to be careful not to come too close to the big bull ), cuddling their cats and dogs, and playing hide and find inside their big barn. We always had a lot of fun.
One day it all ended very badly. Janne’s mammy
called: It’s dinner time! She was always talking very loudly, almost shouting. She did not hear very well herself, and she believed that everybody else were half-deaf too. So she believed she had to shout.
I went inside to sit at the dining table. And I asked: Where is MY plate? I was told that now I had to go home and eat together with my parents. I got not only very disappointed. I got very upset ! So I ran out of the house
– grabbed a big stone on the ground and threw it though their window !! BANG it said. And the window was smashed !
I immediately ran away. I think I had never in my life been running so fast before.
I could hear Janne’s parents shout at me and ask me to come back. I didn’t ! I ran all the way home. But I did not tell anything to my parents! I was afraid that they would get angry with me. And I believe I deserved
So how did my parents find out that I had been naughty? First they could not understand that I did not want to go and play with Janne anymore. And then I am sure they spoke to Janne’s parents at some point. Some days
later my dad suddenly said to me: I hear that you have smashed a window at the other farm!! Before he could start getting angry I immediately replied: Yes, but there is no problem. The carpenter has already put a new window
I don’t think my answer calmed dad totally down. He had to pay for the damage. And I had to promise never ever to do it again!
And I never did it again. It was stupid thing
to do. But I was SO disappointed that was not going to have dinner with them that I lost my temper. And when people loose their temper they often do stupid things !!
When I was a small boy I had many animals on our farm. One of them was Frederik. He was a big rooster. You want to see him? Here he is:
He was very big.
And he was also very friendly. Normally he was busy looking after all the hens. But he and I were also having good fun together. When I all of a sudden started running away from him he ran after me. We were often running several times around our
farm. Full speed. When I sometimes stopped and made a halt around a corner of the house he did not notice. He passed me with full speed. Only when I started running in the opposite direction he immediately turned around and ran after me again. He never
really learned that trick. But he was very fast in making a turn.
Frederik could run faster than me. So after a while he reached me. He did not harm me in any way. He just stopped and made a very loud and happy KYCKILIKY, which could
be heard from very far away. He was SO proud !
We were really good friends. I could see that he was disappointed, when I had to go inside to prepare my school classes.
And I was very, very sad when I later found
out that the fox had caught him - and killed him. The fox brought him home to his small “fox children” for dinner.
But I am sure that Frederik had a very good life.
also had a cat. Her name was Pjevs. It was a she – and she had many kittens over the years. But what was very special with her was that she often played with our pigs in the farm. Pigs are very clever – much more clever than they look
like. So they invented many ways to play with Pjevs. Of course, she had to be careful. Because a pig is much bigger than a cat. This was not a problem for Pjevs. You know what she sometime did? She hit the mouth of the pigs with her paw. And if that
did not help she scratched them with her claws. Right on the front of their pink mouth. She only had to do that once with a pig. Then he or she understood: Never do that again!
When the pig was screaming it was as if it
said to me: Come and help me against the cat! Some times I did help. But normally Pjevs and the pigs had a lot of fun together - without my help!
Our cat playing with the pigs
When I was a small boy we lived – as you know – on our farm. It was in a small village with a few houses and many farms. The farms were not close to each other. So if you wanted to visit your
friends you had to pass over the fields. Or walk on the narrow roads.
Because the village was small we were not many children there. Not more than 10 or 12. I knew all of them. They were all nice. I hope they also thought that
I was nice. Do you?
When I had my birthday they all came to visit me. Sometimes it was difficult for them, because I am born on January 22 in the middle of the winter. And at that time of the year we often had a lot of snow. Like this:
They were invited to come at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And you know what? Each of my friends always gave me a coin as their present. A Danish coin – a Krone. It was like a Pound.
looked like this: ( see below)
It was golden and very pretty. So after each of my birthday parties I had 10 or 11 of them. I felt I was very rich. I played with them. Have you seen on coins that they
tell you which year they were made? I put them in order in a long row, so that the oldest coins were to the left and the newest ones to the right. Actually, I thought I should have my birthday several times every year – and not only once!
Then I would get many more coins J
By the way, each of my friends came with their coin wrapped into the corner of their hankerchief. Why? Because their mammies were afraid that they otherwise would loose them.
So I had very fast to grap hold of the hanker chief of each of my friends – and get the coin out. I gave them their hankerchief back. But I never gave them the coin back. Because that was for me!
do not believe me? See how it looked like: (see below)
After I had got my presents we were playing. Normally inside the house, because it was so cold outside. We played: Hide and Seek.
And we also played with my toys. You know what my toys were? They were small machines like the big ones my dad used in the fields and to feed our many animals.
And afterwards my mammy served us all hot chocolate with cakes
and cookies. Sometimes we even played when we had hot chocolate. This was not very good. Because then one or two of us pushed our cup over, and the chocolate was all over the table cloth. Uhhh, that was naughty L
But my mammy was very nice and said: I will wash it. But please, don’t do it again! Sometimes the spilled chocolate also made big stains on our clothes.
When I had my 7 years birthday I got a very special
present from my best friend Kaj. He gave me 4 chickens and 1 cock. He brought them to our house in a sack. And I let them loose in our nicest living room. My mother was not happy with that at all. They were shitting all over the place L
So I had to take them to our hen house to live with our old hens.
You want to see my present? Here they are:
They lived for many years. I loved them J
They were my friends. I even gave them names.
A Danisk 1 Kr around 1950
Coin in my hankerchief
The coin taken out of the hankerchief
My birthday present - 4 hens and 1 cock
My trips with my parents
MY TRIPS WITH PARENTS
When I was a small boy my parents also took me to different places. Just like your mammy and daddy take you to Sea World and many other exciting places.
my mother took me along on a picnic tour in a huge forest not too far from our farm. We were sitting in the grass just next to a nice lake, and the sun was shining happily. I liked it a lot. Mammy also brought some nice food and cold juice. Not
far from us I could see the railway line. Suddenly a big train passed by. It looked like that:
My mother said to me: Look Niels Jørgen. This is the choo-choo train! I looked up from playing
in the grass and said: No, I don’t agree. This looks like a very normal train!!
Another time both my parents took me to a huge birthday party. It was on July 4.
You know who has birthday on that day? It is America! The United States of America. The big country on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Every year this birthday is celebrated also in Denmark. See this picture from the birthday
party I took part in:
See photo below
Sometimes 50.000 people came to the party. Would you like to have so many guests for your birthday some day?
Why did we go there every year? Because
I had two uncles, who lived in America. So when we went to the party we were also thinking very much about them. They had left Denmark many, many years before, and I had never met them. They were my dad’s brothers, and he was only 10 years old when they
left. He missed them a lot all his life.
When I came home from this huge birthday party I especially remembered the many nice policemen there. They made sure that people could walk without being hit by all the cars. Once they also stopped
the traffic, because a nice duck wanted to pass the road with her small ducklings:
See poster below
Sometime I also wanted to be a policeman. So I took a hat on and stood on the road in front of our farm. I also had a stick,
so that I could show the cars where to go – and stop them if necessary! The only problem was that I got scared each time a car was coming. Then I was hiding in the bush with my hat and stick. Fortunately, our road was very calm. Only once
an hour a car passed by. So I could stand peacefully – and very determined – in the middle of the road for a long time without being disturbed.
My hat as policeman? My daddy made me a hat from a newspaper.
You also want to have such a hat? If your mammy or daddy look at this video I am sure they can make one for you – and one for Zoe too:
The Rebild birthday party on July 4 every year
My first school day
MY FIRST SCHOOL DAY
Today I want to tell you about my first day in school. I remember it very clearly, even if it is more than 60 years ago now.
I started in school on Wednesday, April 2, 1952.
I was 7 years old. At that time all Danish kids only went to school, when they had turned 7. And as you know I lived in a small village on a farm. In our village we only had one school. A very small one. And it had only one teacher.
His name was Mr. Madsen. An old tall guy, who had a club-foot. So he was limping when he walked. I also remember that he was eating a lot of raw garlick. It smelled a lot. So we tried not to be too close to him!
of our school was Grynderup Skole. It was built many years before. My dad also went to school here, when he was a small boy. In one end of the building we had our class room. It the other end the teacher and his wife lived.
special thing with my school was that it only had 2 classes. The SMALL class. And the BIG class. They were not called that because one class was bigger than the other. In the SMALL class we had the youngest children – those from 7 to 10 years old.
All together. And in the BIG class the older children from 11 to 14 years were together. And we had only one class room to share. And only one teacher to share. So the SMALL class went to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And the BIG class on Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday.
Every class was very small, because our village was very small. In my class we were only 6 children. In the age from 7 to 10. You can see us here with Mr. Madsen in the garden of the school:
Can you find me? I am sitting on the bench just under the left elbow of our teacher. The class mates were nice. Their names are Irma, Bent, me, Vagn, Janne and Birgit. I still have contact with
all of them.
I remember very well my first day in school. It was a very sunny day. I had my breakfast very quickly. And I was running all the way. I was very excited. It was about 1 ½ km. On the way I passed some
of the other new children. So I was the first to arrive.
In the class room we were sitting two together on a special bench. Here can you see what it looked like:
I was sitting together with
the oldest boy in the class, Vagn. He was two years older than me. Our bench stood in front of the other benches. Can you see the hole in middle of the table? This was for our ink bottle. We were writing with a pen using blue ink.
We also got our first school book on the first day. It was a reading book. In Danish. It was called OLE BOLE. He was about a small boy, who should show us how to read. Here is the front page of the book:
I could read and count before I came to school. But it was fun to try it in another way. And together with my new friends.
Back home my younger brother Hans was very envious, because he was too young to go to school. But
he wanted at least to read like me. He couldn’t yet. One day he asked our mother, why dad was using glasses. “The makes it possible for him to read the newspaper”, she replied. Moments later you saw
my brother putting dad’s glasses on and grapped hold of the newspaper. “I do not understand. Why can I then not read with the glasses!” , Hans said very disappointed.
My bench in my school - together with my friend Vagn
My first reading book OLE BOLE
OUR LOVELY LIFE ON OUR FARM
Our lovely life on our farm
As I have already told you I lived on a farm when I was a small boy. It was a lovely life. There were always something happening. I told you about my own animals
(the rooster chasing me in full speed, my cat playing with the pigs and my dog Molly barking and playing as often as he could).
Today I want to tell you how we had a lovely life though we did not have most of the many machines and all
the new things we all have today. Try to imagine, if you could live without them? I am sure you could.
We did not have a TV. Can you imagine? But it was no problem. We had our radio. And
we listened to it very often. Do you know how it looked like? Here it is:
It was a nice radio. It did not always have a nice and clear sound. That was how radios were in those days. And it could only speak Danish. That
was not a problem. Why? Because we only spoke Danish. It was only later that I learned English and other languages.
We did not have any Telephone either. So we had to write letters, when we wanted to
tell other people something. The postman passed by every day to pick up our letters – and to bring us letters from our family and friends. Or we had to visit people to talk to them. This was nice. I liked that. Then I got apple juice or other
Perhaps you think: why did you not write e-mails on the Internet? But the Internet did not exist in those days. So we could not use it, of course.
did not have a Car either. And my dad and my mom never had a driving license. So when we wanted to go somewhere we walked. I sometimes ran. Especially when I wanted to visit by best friend, Leif. He lived only 1 km away
on another farm. When I was 6 years old I got a bike. I was very proud. Also before I learned how to ride it.
When we had to go to places far away – for example to my grandparents who lived almost 100 km away – we
took the bus. Or sometimes we took the train. Or we hired a old guy to drive us there. He had a car. A very old car, I remember. It had no heating inside, so in the winter we had to put all our clothes on. And still we were freezing in his car.
For the work in the fields of the farm we had two Horses. They were red and both of them very nice and friendly. We did not have a tractor, when I was a small boy. The horses had to do all the work.
You want to see how they looked like? Here they are:
Here they are plowing. When I was 11 years old I was behind the plow and directed the horses where to go and what to do. This was a good and healthy
exercise. You walked a lot during a long day.
Inside our house life was also quite different from today. We had no Fridge. Our food (milk, meat and other things) had to
be stored in a cold basement under the kitchen. But it could only stay there for a few days, before it was too old to drink or eat.
And we had no heating from Radiators like today. We had
a nice Stove. It looked like this:
You put wood or coal inside the stove, and it could give heat the whole room. In the very cold winters it was nice to be close to the stove.
I remember once when I was putting on my clothes in the morning I came too close to the stove. And suddenly my bare bottom touched it. Aaavvv L It was hurting a lot! I never did that again!
now I will tell you something, which I believe will surprise you a lot: We did not have a Toilet in the house. Can you imagine! Nobody in the farms had toilets in those days. So what did we do, when we needed
to do a wee-wee or more? We went to the cow house and used the place behind the cows to do it. That was where the cows had their wee-wee. So we just had to be careful not to sit right behind a cow having a wee-wee! It worked very well.
And it was always warm in the cow house, also in very cold winters.
Have a look how this place looked like:
I wanted to tell you that we had a lovely life, even without
all the things we have today. Life was sometime a bit more complicated. And doing many things took more time than today. But this was not a problem. We had no TV to steal a lot of our time. And in my village I only went to school three days a week.
So we had time for everything.
You might ask, if we were very poor, as we did not have all the many nice things you have today? No, we were not poor. We were like most people in those days. And we felt that we had
a lovely and exciting life. This was the most important. Do you agree? I think you do.
My animals - after I started in school
My animals – after I started in school
Do you remember that I wrote about my animals, when I was a small boy? About my rooster Frederik, who ran after me around our farm. He was a very nice rooster.
I sent you a picture of him in my story.
I also wrote about my favorite cat Pjevs. She played with the pigs. And you know what: once I found her with a mouse sitting on the top of her head! You don’t
believe me? Have a look:
Naughty mouse !
I also had a dog. She was called Molly. I got her, when she was very small. She came from another farm not far away. You want to see
a picture of her:
We were running in the fields. And I also took her along, when I made a tour with my bike. In the beginning of the tour she was pulling me. But after a while she was so tired that I had to
pull her back home. Then she was sleeping the whole evening and the whole night.
Molly was also chasing the cats – also my cat Pjevs. Most of our 20 cats were scared of her. But Pjevs was not. She was just showing her teeth
and spitting at the dog.
One day Molly became very popular in our family. Late in the evening a fire had started in our barn. We only found out about it, because Molly was barking very loudly. This rescued us. She got an
extra big portion of food that night!
Do you like my animals? Do you think they look nice?
I also had pigeons, when I started in my school. They had no names. And I could not hold them. But they
lived in our house and were allowed to fly around where they wanted to. Not in the house, of course. But outside it. Sometime they flew far away. But they always came back in the evening. How did they look like? See here:
they were happy they made a lot of sounds. They were cooing. You can hear what they said here:
Do you understand what they say? I think they are happy. And you know what? Pigeons from all countries around the world can understand each other. So they do not have to learn other languages. Like you and I have
to do. But still, I am happy that I am not a pigeon. And you?
I want to tell you about one more animal I had as a schoolboy. It was a turkey. Actually, I had four. They were
so tall that they could look right through our windows. And they did so, when they wanted more food. You know how a big, friendly turkey looks like?
It is called a kalkun in Danish. They can
make a lot of noice. And this is good, Because they scare the mice and the rats away. On farms we always had mice. And sometimes also rats. But after we had the turkeys we had no rats. And only a few mice. Perhaps that is why one of the mice was hiding
on the head of my cat Pjevs?!
You want to hear the noice, which turkeys can make?
think they were happy. We just think they speak in a funny way. But perhaps they also think that you and I speak in a funny way.
So you see: I had a lot of animals when I was a schoolboy. It was fun.
I loved them all. And my job was to feed them. Sometime I forgot it, because I was playing with my friends. Then my mammy and my daddy got a bit angry with me. Because when you have animals you have to look well after them. You want
to make them happy. Because it is only when they are happy they are your real friends.