Grøntoftgården, Markensgate 47. The surroundings in Tordenskjoldsgate, Persillestredet etc
This was written down by Hans Peter Grøntoft, youngest son of Thor Grøntoft who ran a bakery and patisserie in Markensgate 47. He was born on 22 November 1918 and is known in the family as uncle Petter. I have received copies of a handwritten document from Leif Leopold Olsen, husband of my friend Aashild Lauvland.
I see that parts of the document were previously written down on a computer by Peter's nephew, Erling J. Bakke. But as far as I know it is not known by the immediate family. I will write it down again, to make it known to family and other interested parties. I will write it down as uncle Petter has written it.
Ellbjørg Rummelhoff 08/04/2015.
Onkel Petter's Story - Saturday 3 January 1987.
The new year started with a cold. but sunny and calm weather. Personally, the ten days from Christmas week starting on Monday 22/12 -86 have been a continuous period of pain, and from the assumption of sciatica as the cause, to the well-known monster of a rash around half the body which revealed itself as the dreaded 'shingles'. Therefore, I hope that the coming days of the new year. will ease the grip of pain.
The purpose of these writings is that I often intend to write about my childhood and the city as it once was. Since I'm not a good memorizer who can write with a continuous plot, I've found that I'd rather write about episodes, leaping in time and place. Nephew Erling, who has often encouraged me to do this, may get something out of these fragments.
4 brothers and 2 sisters were born and grew up in Markensgt. 47, on the corner at Tordenskjoldsgt. It became the latter street with associated backyards. alleys with animal stables and Gartnerlokka as the rural image of the 'Persille Strait' which this district was named after.
In Nos. 12 and 14, two cartmen had a shared entrance to the farm with stables. I can imagine that it must be around 1923. and it was not the time for cars for these cartmen. One of these. Petter Lovås, had several horses. These cartmen of course had all kinds of transport tasks, but I especially remember when they were down at the railway yard where the trains from Setesdal were lined up, filled with firewood. The Olsen boys drove a horse and cart to the train. loaded on the cart. drove to the customers, tipped, and ready for a new assignment, if they were not to get the wood down into the cellar and sometimes also stack it, of course for a fee
The boys got food and lodging, rarely clothes and shoes, and sparingly warm clothes. But Olsen also worked with pigs, and therefore they had a regular task of collecting skinnings. There was an outbuilding in the yard with a grue on the first floor. Here the peeling was cooked in huge iron pots and I can still 'feel' the smell. actually not a bad smell. almost the smell of dinner.
In the outbuilding there was a room downstairs and a dormer room upstairs. Here the eldest daughter lived in the house as a newlywed, in the company of pig food and here lived 'Laumann'. the city's supreme dass inch. His most important fodder was ol. but otherwise he was an industrious fellow, whom no one could ever tame, he was free to live as he pleased. He had large drooping mustaches that were olive colored, and the smell that surrounded him was not exactly perfume.
When, after a few years, the dos were full, the dotomers were summoned, and they descended into the inhumanities and longed or hoisted up this fludium. It flowed out into courtyards and streets, to be eased into a large wooden box and to be driven through the city gurgling, while it trickled and ran from the leaky box. Oddleif, Hakon and Ottar Jr. were those who were driving boys back then. Oddleif died of tuberculosis, while in the end it was Ottar who continued the company and eventually switched to cars. I remember one of the boys well because he was always so cheerful and full of fun. He had a sort of slogan called: 'Allika - bollika - ba He went to sea and died while they were docked in Gothenburg.
It was quite dark in the evenings out here under the half-roofs where the carts stood, and under the cover of the darkness many started their first smoke, the belly move as they called it. had a bit of fun with girls and some played poker and here he built up his first earthly debt. In the stable, 'Salladdin', a horse that had been badly treated by a rawhide once and only left Håkon and Ottar at the game rope, whinnied. Then the pigs grunted and sometimes there were also sheep here. No wonder there were rats all over the town back then. The health council had other things to do than worry about a bit of dirt in the backyards.
As I said, Laumann lived quite primitively. in all kinds of weather, and often had pneumonia. I remember that once I was in Olsen's farm, a doctor came out of the brewhouse. 'Look here,' he said, 'go to the pharmacy and get these medicines for Laumann, he has pneumonia' So I did and went in to see Laumann. He was lying fully clothed and from the tussle with his hair the country was flowing in torrents. It was probably because Laumann opposed hospitals and nurses that it was so, but he always picked himself up again, and set out on the same hard life.
I remember him one summer evening when he sat outside and entertained us children with fantasies, he had a deep resounding praise, that gardener Nilsen from Krossen was on his way home from the square with a horse-drawn cart. Laumann was quick and talked to the gardener and came back with carrots, turnips, cabbage, etc. We had to go with him into the brewhouse. here he found a pot, chopped up the carrots and turnips with their blood on them, piled in some meat he had begged for and together with water everything went into the pot without washing or other unnecessary things.
On the second floor, or rather the attic, Thorvald lived with his leg, he used crutches and could not get up the horse path. He had to wait until Laumann came, he was strong as a bear and carried Thorvald up the stairs like another puppeteer.
At Lovås-sia there were also several apartments. These were inside the yard with the stable as the nearest neighbor. When the summer sun shone in here, I can imagine that it couldn't be easy to breathe. An old Swedish rallar lived here. maybe not very old come to think of it. Very. towering with a huge moustache, huge black rallar hat. very lame. He was separated from his wife, but stopped by at certain intervals to 'greet' his wife. We often saw that the children came out quite quickly. and as we could observe the rhythmic movement of the rallar hat from down in the courtyard and deduce from this that they had no particular introduction and were not at all horizontal, we experienced this several times. Not long after, we heard a knock-knock on the stairs and then he sailed away again.
In no. 10, it was quite substantial, because in addition to 2 apartments facing the street, there were also 2 apartments facing the backyard. There was a certain style to this house, because otherwise it could be so-so with the comforts of these backyard apartments. Mr and Mrs Torp, two small people, presumably Sami or something like that, were a peculiar couple. He had a little monkey-like face, so to speak, was a little hothead who tripped on his little legs at a fairly fast pace. He worked at KMV. A bit of a gnome with a funny appearance. We probably underestimated Torp. for he was a reading horse like no other, I remember him coming from Biblo with a lot of books under his arms. I'll never forget when he was with us boys on a frantic rat hunt inside the petrol station here.
In No. 6 lived an elderly couple whose name I don't remember. She was a big firm woman who probably had all the power in the house. I remember the old man myself because of his sideburns and because he was a coachman for some wholesaler in town. It is said that the reason for the nickname came from the following; He knocked on the door to get in and when his wife's harsh shouts about who it was, the humble husband replied ''it's mæ, my gold'' He was then called 'My gold'.
No. 4 was the distinguished feature in 'Persillestredet', a handsome one-and-a-half-storey house. I think they probably rose a little above the street's other residents. kept a certain distance and was somewhat more refined. The Rosenvold family lived here, with siblings Gyda and Dag. For many years, Gyda was Tävennen's external face as cashier.
No. 2 was two-storey, but very small and narrow with all entrances from the yard. Of those who lived there, I remember the stonemason Dahl best. He was involved in paving Setesdalsveien from Markensgt to past
Bryggerihaven. an impressive facility, which was the result of the initiation of projects to alleviate unemployment, which was high at the time.
The daughters' names were Maja and Rosa. Maja was Mongoloid, but she was loved by everyone. One winter's day we were standing outside the house here, we had heard that Maja had died. 9 years old. When the mother arrived she asked if we wanted to see her. It was almost the first time I saw a corpse, and I remember thinking she was so pretty lying there with flowers in her hands.
We must move towards No. 16, i.e. towards Markensgt. First we'll probably take a part of Petter Løvå's house, here it was a small house where there was a small sweet shop. Mother and daughter were responsible for it. The father was almost an alien bird, reserved and refined, he had a fine gray hat, an elegant black coat with a floil collar, gloves and a silver-studded cane. He was Austrian, and we had a sensation when the newspaper made a big splash that he belonged to the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph's family and was a count or baron or something like that. He had disappeared and could not be heard from. There was a big uprising at the time, and I don't know how it really was. The name was Kohler.
No. 16 yes, with fam. Mikaelsen. Torp and Morkestol and with somewhat lugubrious apartments in the backyard. Søstrene Salvesen in no. 18, who ran an embroidery business in Markensgt., there was a marked smell when you entered this shop, a rather marked smell of kerosene and mothballs.
No. 20, the small house where Ole Andersen lived in his time, and which had horses and stables on our property.
No. 22, parallel to no. 20, a small doll's house with timber walls and a large pantry in the kitchen. When the house was demolished in -37, it was said that it was going to the Bygdøy Museum, it would be fun to know if anything came of it.
Well then we are at Markensgt. 47, the Grøntoft family's property since 1857 until it was demolished in 1937. The house stretched from Tordenskjoldsgate to Markensgt., it was a large plot of land, the house contained 11 rooms, 2 kitchens, cafe, shop, bakery and patisserie with a large courtyard, and the famous 'attic' that many Christians still remember. We shall return to the loft and what happened there.
It took another flu for me to start scribbling 3 years later. I am probably terribly lazy and not full of effort, but when I have taken it upon myself today to describe Grøntoftgården, it is because there is a lot to write about, and the difficulties are almost something to ignore. The angle of approach to describe the house and bring in something significant, I also think is quite difficult. It is therefore, after consideration, to deal with it rather geometrically, and I start by saying that the main house itself was rectangular, on 2 floors and with a high attic above.
It stretched from where the new Grøntoftgården abuts up to the new Myklandgården, i.e. the way the old houses were located, went at right angles to Tordenskjoldsgt., and went a little way into Tordenskjoldsgt. The fact that the new Grøntoft building was slanted is due to a circumstance that probably many people do not understand today. Because right up until the war in 1939, Markensgaten was the gateway to the city centre, buses and cars from the north (Setesdal) and all traffic from Grim. Møllevann, Enrum, Krossen, etc. entered this way. Markensgate was certainly not a pedestrian street back then, but there was a lot of traffic on the wide pavements. It was then that there were private apartments in virtually every house in Markens, it was then that the city lived and breathed in the evenings as well. Will get back to it.
The Field Sergeant himself. 47 had its short end against Tordenskjoldsgt. and since a small house a little further down the street was presumably incorporated into the property, the main house and the small house were connected to each other by a building with a gate so that it became an enclosed courtyard. The gate to the farm was usually closed with 2 large iron hooks and a gate, but when emptying etc. the gate could be opened completely. The gate was overbuilt and on the right side there were 2 woodsheds, from here Lai Grøntoft and "Gubbe 'Andersen, alias 'Mad', lay on top and eased wood skis down 'where the intended target was certainly not a head, but only luck decided the fate of the people. Both were roundly beaten by the undersigned.
We come out into the yard. cemented like that and moving towards the small house that was located here. The kitchen, narrow and long with a, given the circumstances, great horror. was probably a decent cooking area, but I can imagine that other kitchen work was rather hampered. The living room, which faced Tordens, had timber walls of large dimensions, not wallpapered, low under the ceiling, a proper dock room and with a certain charm, but then there was no TV or radio. to disturb the idyll. From the kitchen, there was a flight of stairs leading to a loft with a bedroom.
Of the residents here I remember 'Aunt Lydia' and then her niece Miss Trulsen, as far as I remember both were ticket agents at the cinemas, one in my humble opinion a desirable place, but maybe these misses didn't see
cowboy movies with Tom Mix and Ken Maynard with the horses 'Tony' and 'Tarzan'. The Andersen family, on the other hand, lived for many years in Knottehuset. Father William, as far as I know, never advanced from anything other than a salesman at Ludvig Nielsen's, where he both unpacked and repackaged glass and stentoy. Mrs. Ragna was a gentle, pleasant lady and probably the one who carried the load, since she was constantly out roasting, braising and serving in all kinds of company.
Daughter Lilly was a beautiful little girl, actually a pretty person to this day where she stretches towards 80. Son Godtfred, despite his flat feet of dimensions, of witty baker's cat 'Tren' when he juggled buns in the yard, most recently Hjørdis. colloquially known as 'The Ornament of the Field', besides of course 'Pearl', an unappetizing version of the cat family that I occasionally chased over the walls of the neighboring property. Tore and Karen (Peter's sister and nephew) lived in the little house for a while.
Then we angle a little and find a low building that supports the newest part of the bakery. Here were the house's 2 outhouses, to the left for the people of the house, to the right 'Bakerdoet''. The latter was probably a little simpler than the folk do, the curtains in the small windows were probably not so full of cobwebs and dead flies, so there was a little discrimination here. On hot days, the air in here was so strong that you got water in the islands, and it was no less so when we emptied the remains of currants after pickling in the vat, then it fermented to such an extent that you came out of the vat slightly drunker, if you had sat here a while.
Wondering in our environmental times if the housewives were further excited when black coal smoke tumbled out of the pipe like that for 14 ten or later. The furnace was fired at the very
bottom, and it wasn't just a matter of simply hauling in coal like that. It was supposed to be a single hearth for new coals were thrown on, and at the end everything was to be burnt out, no flames were to lick combustible objects, but you could enjoy a good job if the furnace was completely white-hot. This was a so-called channel oven, and when the air dampers were closed, the heat was stored in the channels. The oven was finished firing approx. at 16.30, and then you could cook the whole next day. Double firing on Saturdays and extra shifts with firing at Christmas, Easter and otherwise on extra busy days.
Out here it was the baker's domain. here he kneaded large, hard bread doughs with his bare fists, particularly remembering Gustav Lund's forearms.
Otherwise, electricity was installed, but there was still gas in the pipes and we had a special gas lantern to light up the ovens, and all kinds of cooking was also done on gas appliances. The top of the oven when the yeast cake had to be raised, and otherwise there were stakes and sticks (to put the plates away when they came out of the ovens). I was lucky enough that when I started in the profession they could afford to buy an electric whisk and mixer. It was called 'Hobart', a recognized brand to this day. I have heard that it cost NOK 4,000, a rather formidable sum at the time. The machine was so big that we could whip up sponge cake bases from 50 eggs on it. To think that this made those with hand strength when whipping sugar bread, obviously not from 50 eggs, but bakers and confectioners had big forearms at the time.
A cupboard in the innermost part of the room was interesting because here were all the bottles of essences. They smelled though and the selection was great. Blue. agar-agar-gel, Agar-agar is a kind of dried white seaweed, which was first soaked for a day, then boiled with sugar, distributed in several stone vessels, various colors and essences added and when it solidified into a gel, cut into pieces to decorate the sponge cake. My father liked to trick new entrants into the patisserie and also other visitors, by letting them sniff all the wonderful smells from the essence bottles, then finish off by smelling deer antler salt or ice vinegar. Probably harmless, but what a shock, speaking from experience. but has himself done this to others.
As time has passed, it has dawned on me more and more what a skilled professional my father was. He processed doughs and made cakes with unfailing accuracy, punctual and clean, and when the thought comes to marzipan making. it, i.e. the Christmas exhibition, must be treated on its own.
It is a shame to think that this skilled professional had to work hard to rectify economic conditions during the First World War. Like so many others at the time, the temptation was too great to make the big leap, and since most of them lost in their attempts, they had to patch it up for the rest of their lives. For the family afterwards, it can be strange to think how it would have been if it had succeeded.
From the patisserie, we come out into the packing room, a room between the shop and the patisserie. We got, among other things, eggs in large wooden crates, which had to be emptied and sorted. Here were large wooden boxes of sugar and powdered sugar, as well as barrels of almonds, boxes of margarine. raisins. Corinthians. sukat, coconut mass oma In the creation above these benches were all the beautiful shapes for making ice cream, including swans. At the time, ice cream was a party food only for the rich, but as the youngest man, I could control my excitement by sitting for hours cranking. while it became heavier with each roof to turn the machine around.
Since the raw ice cream was sprinkled with salt, one had to be embarrassingly precise when filling the molds and not least when emptying the molds late on Saturday evenings, because that was the job of the confectioners without remuneration. but as an obligatory thorn arrangement. According to Gustav Lund, the servants could splash wine when it was late in the evening, with the consequence that they were not quite steady and afraid of getting salt in the ice or that the figure would be destroyed.
Something I'll also never forget was the wonderful cornucopias we made. A large wreath cake was placed sideways and while cutting a bit off the edge, an elegant horn was formed with a nice twist on it. Small oak leaves made of marzipan mass were spread over a stencil, were fried just right, and placed over a round log of different circumferences, so that you got oak leaves with varying round bellies, suitable for the roundness of the wreath cake They were glued on with melted sugar so that they covered the wreath cake complete.
Then it was decorated according to all the rules of art, with knall- bonbons, roses, leaves. flag and finally cheese into its interior, confectionery. which flowed out of the corner and far out on the board. This was the horn of plenty. Wonder what such a thing would come up with today. 3-4 men worked for many hours with such work. I have spent many tedious hours trying to keep the sugar liquid without it burning. It almost never happened that one did not get a burn or two after contact with liquid sugar.
From the packing room, a steep staircase led up to the lofts above the bakery and patisserie. Here was a large room, and out towards the yard a large door with a rope hoist. In my time, it was common to buy large batches of flour, sugar etc., wholesalers were probably not that old back then. Now there wasn't much left for that sort of thing. instead, there was room for the sports club "Rekord", which my sports-interested elder brother was the man for. Einar was actually a bit of a pioneer and zealot when it came to sports, in any case, boxing and wrestling were practiced here, for quite a while, besides that there were homemade power rings and sway bar.
My brother Håkon also came and I remember they made a bench and produced a radio and gramophone table, bookshelves, etc. The equipment was extremely modest, but they set off in comfort. Bazaars were also held here, my sisters Ruth and Karen together with friends performed 'Life's Color Play' with costumes made of crepe paper, necessarily held together with pins. There was no new Vavlova- from any of them, so the dance was probably almost an entrance and then 'Good-bye'-. Personally, I was probably too young to have a sense for such things, but I remember that the boys in the street talked about the event a little excitedly. Maybe they caught an ever-so-slight glimpse of grey-brown floss ice in the spaces of the crepe dresses, who knows?
There was even a shooting range here. when the boys had borrowed air rifles with arrows. Another room faced Marksgt. , and here were also large barrels and crates, mostly paper and bags, but also almond barrels. The marzipan molds were also stored in the cupboards up here. Out in the attic, there were also some powerful girders that held up the roof of the bakery. With the support of these, the boys built a doll's room for the girls. One couldn't stand upright in here, but there were cups and vessels in miniature, so it was offered and served for company inside the cabin, I believe there was electric light in the ceiling. Since the loft was directly above the bakery, there were no problems here with keeping the heat.
When you went out the door in the parcel store towards the farm, you came to a small alley and since the sun never reached here. here stood a large oak cabinet, lined with zinc. Every day during the summer months, blocks of ice were put in, so it was an efficient refrigerator. I can still feel the smell, a bit musty, in my nostrils, and from the bottom, there was constant meltwater that ran down the yard to the drain. Since we also used salt when we froze ice cream, there was also a white layer of salt down in the yard.
A small pile from the house, sticking out from the wall, was the brewer's house. Apart from running water, a kettle to heat the water, a 15 W bulb dangling from a cord, maids standing in smoke and steam rubbing the skin off their fingers on washboards. large and small logs lay here. When I think about the suffering these girls actually had to go through in freezing winters, I would mostly deny the phrase the good old days. Never forget the sight of frozen swollen hands with skin almost like jelly. That they could sing. trolling and keeping alive is incredible.
I have to visit the package store once more. because a door led down to the cellar here. A wide stone staircase. floor and walls of stone slabs, small windows at street level and this long stone cellar led up to Tordenskjoldsgt. Here we had a large iron cupboard with an iron grate, and here we kept what we made of strawberry and raspberry jam, as well as currant jelly. Inside was the house's cellar where Aunt Ida's pickled purslane. cucumbers. string beans etc. were stored. I also remember a small wine anchor that was sealed by a piece of dried breadcrumbs. An ideal basement. cool in summer, frost-free in winter.
Once again, from the warehouse directly into the store. First, a glass counter where pastries etc. stood, delicate pastries and tarts, under various drawers and shelves, i.a. the drawer that never brought in enough money, nothing as nice as a cash cabinet Then the marble counter, a cabinet from 'Freia' with snop, a large cabinet with glass with lots of cookies against the wall, on shelves room for brides of all kinds, also different types of carving. For us children who licked cakes every day, the white boxes under the counter were probably more attractive, because they contained chocolates from Minde, Bergene, Freia, etc. As I said, cakes were not a problem, we had our favorite cakes, otherwise I remember yeast cakes, bowls. pastries etc. which were almost considered inedible if they survived the morning.
Across the street. at cozy Ragna Eg. they sold something called Mikkelskaker, some round cakes, brown, chewy. made of syrup, my brother Håkon told me that when he rarely had a jingling coin in his hands,
he would occasionally cross the street and buy Mikkelskaker. I wonder what Ragna Eg was thinking at the time. Otherwise, for my own part, I remember that a glass of milk and a piece of water cake tart with macaroon filling and powdered sugar was very good. Other printed hot buns flat and with a glass of milk. But that was in the days when fat milk was in, and words like calories and cholesterol were unknown concepts. But then there were times when poor nutrition, poverty and tuberculosis were common.
The shop floor was tiled up to the counter, and by the window stood a fairly ordinary kitchen table with cane chairs for those who wanted to rest their needy limbs, and have a cake or two with milk. Making coffee and drinking chocolate was more problematic, than she, who served the counter, had to knead through half the house to get to a hob. Not for that, we advertised with a cafe, and in the long room facing Markens, there were several plush sofas and marble tables with chairs, and in the corner the nice console that I think my sister-in-law Nilla has to this day.
From the shop out towards the room that faced the farm. It was the busiest room in the house, since it was here that we had breakfast, dinner, coffee and supper, and it was done in portions as not everyone could leave the pastry shop at once. We originally had other arrangements, when my mother was alive we had our own household, then we were split up into several departments, since apartments were rented out.
Here was the house's telephone, accounting table etc. From this room out into the hallway that led to the second floor, while straight ahead was the kitchen, long, narrow and also with horror. Here Aunt Ida ruled unrestricted, only interrupted by small feuds with some maids who took revenge. In particular, I remember one who did not want to take the blame for finely chopped carrots ending up in the chocolate pudding.
And thus we step into the long room facing Tordens, which was ruled by aunt Ida and "mother". My step-grandmother, married for a few years to Peter Grontoft, with the pleasant-sounding name Pauline Leonore Andersen, baptized in the bakery as "Polly . She was a good person if she felt obliged to stand in solidarity with aunt Ida in conflict situations with us children. We were on the verge of siding with the maids when we thought it was getting too bad. There were actually many nice things in this living room, mahogany furniture and the big, beautiful 'secretary'.
Into the next room, the house's main room with a corner cut off after there had once been a shop here. In the corner living room was the old "Brødrene Hals' piano, in the corner above the piano a moonlight lamp, a chair (Hilda) with llama skin, a round table, two game tables. nice chairs for the tables. Since it was located just inside the entrance in Markensgate, it was here guests were welcomed, the ladies in crackling atlas dresses with chains and the gentlemen with the famous patricide and ready-tied ties. The service could be a glass of wine and some good cake, or wreath cake to which the gentlemen smoked cigars. I had the impression that these were fairly formal visits .
There was another room facing Markens which adjoined the cafe. Apart from Fridtjov who lived here for a period. was this room still for rent, it had its own entrance and was therefore central. The best apartment was our parents', located on the second floor on the corner between Markens and Tordens. Not large, and was furnished quite traditionally, a solid oak dining room with a high buffet, and dad's dragon chairs as part of the furniture. View from the corner window up towards the avenue on Setesdalsveien, Baneheia and down on the life in Markens.
The bedrooms located in Tordens, the kitchen facing the yard. Since there were 6 of us, it got quite cramped eventually, so the 3 oldest boys moved into what we called the Hall, a rather black room. The 3 youngest lived in the apartment with our father after he became a widower. As ten passed and there were recessions and we grew up, we divided the hall in two, so that the boys got the biggest part and the girls a smaller one. My father got a room of his own, in retrospect I think it looked somewhat impoverished, a widower, financial difficulties and, on top of that, absolute deafness. But he persevered until one day in 1937, when he had a brain hemorrhage, and was paralyzed for the last 3 years of his life.
Facing the yard was another room where 2 maids lived. Not very cozy or comfortable, but we kids had good contact with the girls and we have many good memories from here. From the hallway here it led up to the attic, which consisted of 2 parts as one part was somewhat higher than the other. Here you could find a lot of oddities, furniture, clothes, books, Christmas tree decorations etc. and the infamous roll. A lot of cloth was used in the bakery, mostly sewn from flour sacks, there were also sheets and pillowcases, and when clothes had to be washed and ironed for so many people, it goes without saying that there was a lot of work.
The roll was therefore a solid frame made of fairly thick material, the roll, therefore, included a wooden frame that was filled with giant stones. Under this frame, round, smooth-ground logs were placed so that the roller could move back and forth. The frame was pulled out so that it tilted up and you could get hold of one of the logs. On top of this, the cloth was laid in layers, probably a difficult task that aunt Ida was a master at. A piece of cloth was laid on top of everything, and when various sticks had been prepared, the rolling was started.
As I remember it, the cloth was now nice and smooth and it was left to put it in straight, nice folds. The job up here was rather monotonous and boring, so it was very unpopular. There was a lot written about this in pencil on the walls, unfortunately, I didn't write anything down, there was probably both one and the other. So the house was demolished in 1937 and rebuilt after 1 1/2 years. I think I have learned quite a lot.
Now I want to jump over to "The Castle", which stood until 1939-40.
An impressive building according to the building customs of the time, and as the name suggests with the facade facing Markensgt. it was made of brick and had round lines, balconies with wrought iron and an impressive entrance. When you entered the stone staircase and entered the hall, the stairs went straight up, but divided so that one went to the left and one to the right, the entrance doors had inlaid glass and the apartments were large both in length and width and height under the roof.
Mrs Kilba lived here, there was a sign on the wall 'Dental technician' Kilba was something special, she was Catholic, possibly she or her husband were foreigners.
The Dane Jørgensen lived here, he was the one who started 'Viking' clothing. Sisters Johnsen, Jorunn. journalist in "Aftenposten". Reidun, librarian and the last one who was a teacher on the first floor on the left side of the building had Herman Langenes' business. Colonial and miscellaneous. but it was probably the store's strategic location that became such a goldmine for Langenes, because here a steady stream of needy beer drinkers passed. I never think that Langenes gave anything away, so he probably became a loyal man, without it showing on him.
On the left side into the yard there was a lovely elderly person doing laundry and English and French ironing. The "Castle" itself had cornices and projections, so one of our big time problems was "taking the list" I don't know if the houses today have such round edges and for that reason, no one "takes the list" We stood outside in the gutter and threw a rubber ball against the wall. If you could catch the ball without it touching the pavement, you got 10 points. It was also legal with a bounce. but then it was only 1 point. The score was agreed in advance, so that whoever reached 500 first won. The stone stairs up to the first floor were wide and good, and here the ball game 'rolled and bounced' or 'paw one, paw two, paw three' took place.
This staircase was actually a gathering point for all of us who were huddled under the gang. From here we had a view down the whole of Markens, and in the evening when people poured in at the top of Markens, we sat here and commented and recorded the maidens' entry march on their way to the evening's adventure. It was also common back then to drive the hearse up to the chapel in the evening, so I have seen several hearses in my time. The hearse was draped with black cloth and the horse was also dressed in black cloth. coachman. the shoemaker's gang with big hats (it was the supporting gang, recruited from among the town's shoemakers) and on the eve of each follow Trygve Beget. a famous urban original. He sniffed out every corpse, so this was probably his No. 1 hobby.
In a two and a half high brick house there were four apartments and there lived a figure whom I have never forgotten. He looked like a patriarch in a black hat, black long coat with a chalk white beard flowing down his chest. He always smiled and was always so friendly. What he was, I never got to know, but his name was Steen, I remember.
On the corner was a small house and a driveway in the yard of the Eriksen Smithey. For approx. 60 years ago they demolished these houses and erected the 'Mission House'. and here there was a lot of fun in the evenings during the construction. Was in the rascal age back then and everything we did here was not good. Among other things, we lined up in the corridors and exchanged coats, hats and galoshes. We stood in the darkness outside and saw a great confusion.
We move into Fritz Jensen's gt. until - Smøiet. It was quite a place on dark winter evenings. Here we played Bom, Tikken and "Tateren på körket, Korn". We wandered over fences and bins from one property to the other. We actually had a lot of fun just with what we came up with ourselves. Without money and things.
The Bodin family lived here. Kjell, Else, Reidar and Kirsten and nearby Finn Karlsen, known under the name "Finnbekk" today, large construction is done on these plots. On the corner of Markens and Tordens, on the opposite side of our house, was Ragna Eg's colonial, where "Dahl's" electric is today. Ragna I guess I wasn't quite young at the time, every day she stood behind the counter in a freshly ironed white apron. There were not ready-weighed bags of sugar, flour, peas, etc. No, here were a number of drawers with scoops in them, and Ragna weighed and measured.
Here, the farmers came from the valley with huge vats of butter, and since it was about salt and flavor, Ragna stuck a sharp knife down and lifted a small morsel to the customer. Two polished brass weights with cut paper in a pattern and with brass weights, were polished to a shine every day, I'm sure. By the exit door were kerosene lamps and primus for cooking. This was Ragna Eg's shop, the smell of colonial goods mixed with the scent of kerosene! Later, the muntration council Hans Martin Hansen had a colony here for many years. After Ragna Eg came a small shop with a high staircase. This was with Shoemaker Olsen, who was a skilled professional. I always knew exactly what he was going to say, in one breath he said -11 e those shoes yes you are done you have the money with them." no commas, no pauses.
Next house Louis Kristensen, he worked with pigs inside the farm. The milk sale with farmer Olga Finkelsen with small measures for cream and milk. Here there was also a country's innocence that was so captivated by Hans Martin Hansen, that HMH said it like this: "Can these eyes lie"?
In the same shop was also Messel's bicycle shop, later Nils Fidjeland's blacksmith workshop.
We are approaching a house that I think was so special, the house with the flashy name Hotell Norge. Cafe and restaurant on the first floor, lodging for travelers on the second floor, with stables in the yard. Farmers came here to trade and since there were both stables and lodgings there was a lot of traffic here. There was always a fair amount of cheap stuff out and about, and perhaps peasant poaching also occurred.
in the next farm there was also a kind of boarding house. Admittedly a bit special, because the lady who ran this boarding house was quite constantly "on the vine". I don't know why, but the lady put red color on her face, from what I've heard, not with expensive rouge, but with red crepe paper, wetted with water.
A story belongs to this woman. (I have deliberately omitted the name, although in this context it could have a certain affect.) She was visited by a possible lodger, a student apparently. He was duly interrogated by the lady, i.a. asked how he approached alcohol. He replied that he was abstinent. He was then told that he was not relevant as a tenant. It was a well-known fact that the landlady used to have intimate relations with her tenants if they met her demands for sex and alcohol.
The penultimate house in this quarter in Tordenskjoldsgt was inhabited by a Danish photographer (I think), his name was Knudsen He was somewhat Jewish in appearance. this was not said in a racist way. The son was a prominent figure in Kristiansand's musical life. Rolf Knudsen. He was a pianist and worked both as a piano teacher and as an accompanist for many performing singers.
That the apple does not fall far from the tree was the son who became a famous violinist. Educated in Copenhagen where he was supposedly first violinist in a well-known quartet called Reidar, he was for several years in Trondheim and was first violinist (concertmaster) there. Now (1994) is a teacher at the conservatory of music here in the city.
On the corner between Tordens and Kirkegata is a small building with an entrance on the corner. For all the years as long as I can remember a colonial business with a beer outlet. Beer sales were probably the very basis for the business in recent years run by Rolf Kristiansen, married to one of the Eg sisters from Artellerivollen.
In those houses in the next quarter, I don't know anything about the corner house, except that in later years (this was written in 1994) it is the house of Max Balchen. Max is disabled after a stroke. but has worked in the city orchestra and as a teacher until he had a stroke. Furthermore, the Bugge family lived with their son Leif and a brother and a sister, bricklayer Homme with his family, and all the way up to Stener Heyerdalspark with the Dollhouse. In my childhood, it was a boarding school for the insane. My childhood street ends on this side of Tordenskjoldsgate.
From 'Smøyer, which in rebuilt form still exists, I remember the house that was at the end of Smøyer. I remember that the Jacobsen family lived here, eldest son Henry, called 'Kjempa', unknown for what reason, because he was fairly normal in body weight. 'Kjempa' was known as a goalkeeper in 'Start' and because he was known after that time as a good pole vaulter. The brother was one of the big ones in the 'Visergutten', a religious group that stood out in the post-war period. The brother Sigurd and the sister Sally, married to the footballer Rolf Andersen, formerly Lyn, now Start. Sally became a painter and a teacher for many in the noble art, including Astrid and Irene, the latter my wife.
After the death of her parents and the dissolution of the home, Sally was adopted by the aunt of Håkon Kristensen who ran a small colonial on the corner at "Smoyet. On the corner at Tordens-Fjellgata Asborg Olsen had a shop, a so-called delicatessen. Asborg, with his family associated with the "Salvation Army", had delicious chops, pork chops, compere etc. in the business. In the farm here shoemakers, first Lunde. saw Myhre. On the opposite corner, colonial shop Nilsen, with daughter Mathilde, one of Sister Ruth's friends and schoolmate.
Then came the Jansen family, the sons Erling (father of "Guttis" and Sverre). 'Jernhaue'. The daughters "Jussa" (married Ruthford) and Astrid, and Rolf. a childhood friend who became a Nazi and fell in the war in Finland. On the corner Kirkegata-Tordens the house of Gabriel Gundersen, later his son Gustav and daughter Aud, baker Lund, later father of Karl Olsen They had a Mongoloid son who stood in the streets and directed the traffic under his own authority. The last house in this quarter belonged to Abelsnes, his son Georg was one of the guys who belonged to the gang in 'Persillestredet.
In the next quarter, Josefine Hansen had a colonial shop in the corner house. Was usually called 'Jossa'. Next, the Henchien family with their son Jens, who was an associate with connections to the Scouting milieu. The Holte family lived in the middle of the rows of houses in the quarter. The father was the office manager at -Agder Kjøpelag' in Vestre Strandgate. The sons Leif. Georg and Per were also small friends.
In the corner house for Tordenskjoldsgt Skole, called 'Todda", a strong smell came from inside the farm. There was a coffee roaster here, and I can still smell that smell. In the corner house lived the school teacher Mrs Foss and her son Olav, who was my classmate for many years. Otherwise, the Stien family lived, dad a taxi driver, and son Reidar I went to school with for 7 years.
Around here, before school and with Stener Heyerdalspark, the sphere of interest in the street of my childhood ended in a way. A street characterized by carriage shops, pig farms in the middle of the city, accommodation for farmers on errands in the city and also with the opportunity to see horses and cows stabled in stables in the backyards. Apartments in the backyards of a low standard, and with a generation that never got to experience the welfare state, but had to get by as best they could.
In the following pages, there will be some rambling thoughts, and therefore not further chronologically. So much happened that in retrospect has appeared at certain intervals. It may well happen that I will describe things twice, you can dare. Strange to think about today are the small joys and experiences that occurred, of the kind that cost nothing. Because money was scarce back then, and everything that was free was joyful.
This was the case with the division music which delighted us with festive music. From the venerable staircase up to 'Børsen' in the stock exchange park, the divisional music played overtures, marches, waltzes, and operetta music with Julius Grande as conductor. He was a northerner and a striking figure, austere and straight in appearance and demeanor.
The fact that the division's music for several years was somewhat influenced by alcohol did not diminish the joy of attending the concerts at 13 from the stairs at Børsparken. When Hammersmark handled the piccolo superbly in 'Stars and Stripes', he was a one-man and someone we looked up to in the division music. Jørgensen on drums, chewing obliquely with his uniform hat on his back, fam. Gjertsen, father and son on trumpets, Uleberg on trombone and all the others we greatly admired. And when there were evening concerts followed by a march through the city to Østre Strandgate ending at the General's house, then we were happy. satisfied with the end of the day.
Even the end of the patisserie, demolition of Markensgt 47, in the period up to the new start with ''Petters Konditori-, conscription in Den Kongelige Garden, January to June 1938. From Dec. 1938 confectioner Einar Jensen. the war years and the time up to 1951. tiring years up to 1961. cessation of the business upon brother Einar's death.
Will add the chapter about school time at a later time.
At these desks, I sat in 1934 and drew under the direction of architect Dahl. It was neither comfortable nor appropriate, and the fact that after 2 years at ''Katta'' I finished with flying colors, I have not been particularly impressed. Teacher 'Schotta', teacher Lauen, and Norwegian teacher Hagen should not be to blame for my sort from 2nd middle school class.
Well, then it was time to enter the confectionery profession, with subsequent schooling at 'Teknikken'. It was a set routine. start as an apprentice in a craft subject, and start at the Evening School, popularly called the Technique'. There was arithmetic with Arnulf Johnsen, one of the fine teachers, Norwegian with Sven Jørgensen, drawing with A. Johnsen and architect Dahl. It became the confectionery profession, as an apprentice with my father, brother Einar, and baker Gustav Lund. later also Anker Smith.
Tore Christiansen, (mother Karen Helene Grøntoft.)
Translated and prepared in honor of dear uncle Peter who was like a father to Erling and me.
Memories from Tore's childhood.
I was born in 1933 and was only 7 years old when the war broke out in 1940. When my mother and father were separated a few years earlier, it was my uncle Petter who took over as father and companion to both me and my brother Erling.
The earliest I can remember was as a 3-year-old when we lived in Grøentoftgården. The horses in the stable inside the farm. The cozy cook in the kitchen, I think her name was Thea, always with the big coffee mug in her hand, who had a big smiling face with cheekbones, not unlike Thea.
I remember with excitement the rolling of sheets in the attic and the huge roll with tons of stone and all the maids who worked there all day under the strict inspection of Aunt Ida. The basement of the bakery was an adventure with lots of goodies, from fresh twelve-hour cakes, juicy pastries and soft buns. Not to mention delicious vanilla ice cream made to order from real goods that customers had to bring with them, bought from their ration cards.
Both Erling and I were diligent guests when the ice cream was made in the large wooden form with a metal container on the inside around which layers of ice cubes and salt were packed. In the middle, a large paddle whisk that was driven by a belt from an electric motor. When the whisk was pulled out, there were kilos of ice cream on it, which Erling and I were in a hurry to lick off. Wonderful times.
I remember the large baking oven with the handles which eventually became full of dried dough, which we were tasked with scraping clean from time to time. From time to time, the bakers took a breath or a smoke by the bathtub in the small room at the end of the hall by the stairs up to the patisserie. We were there often and were pranked by Petter and Einar as well as the other bakers.
On the way up the stairs, we often grabbed fresh baked goods from the stand with all the cakes, especially the wieners. I also often visited Mykland's vegetable shop, which had a big round smiling face, as well as the barbershop in the new building which had a wooden horse on which we got our hair cut.
The elegant confectionary was often visited by my mother and aunt Ruth on city trips after shopping in the many small and cozy shops. There was a large, beautiful glass counter with all the world's wonderful baked goods and the coffee machine. There were lots of nice little round tables with ditto chairs, and here the ladies of the town could enjoy themselves with coffee and cakes, and preferably with one or two nice glasses of liqueur or cognac.
The marzipan display in the windows was also a special attraction. Whole pig heads, large hams, etc. exactly copied in both shape and colors which looked very lifelike. But then uncle Einar was also trained as a pastry chef in Vienna. Also had many cozy moments in the kitchen with the beautiful serving ladies in elegant serving suits. Out in the large backyard it was ideal to play hide and seek in the many dark corners and horse stables. I also remember the days when the girls had a laundry, with huge sheets and duvet covers hanging to dry that you had to find your way through.
I remember one time when one of the cartmen let the horse and cart stand for a while at the gate. The horse was blindfolded and ate grain from a large mule bag. While I was very close to the horse, it suddenly pulled its head out of the bag and bit into the shoulder of my thick winter windbreaker and lifted me high into the air to carefully put me down again. It was indeed a bit of a surprise, but the horse was apparently in a good mood, so no damage occurred. When I told my mother, she was not happy.
A lady I had great respect for was aunt Ida, she ran the girls with a strict hand and was responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of everything
indoors. Sheets and pillowcases were shiny and stiff. I don't know exactly why they stiffened all the bedding at that time, it wasn't particularly
comfortable to lie on. Since then we lived in Markus Thranes gate in Lund, where I remember grandfather Thore Groentoft was bedridden for 3 years after a stroke. They just pushed him to and from the bathroom etc and he was a big and heavy man.
My mother and aunt Ruth lived with me on Flaten in an apartment at the outbreak of the war as mentioned below, but later moved with uncle Petter and Einar to a cozy large house on Grimsmyra, close to Baneheia and Ravnedalen. Petter made a separate extension to the house where Erling and I spent a lot of time singing and playing from uncle Petter's fine piano. Often we were thrown between walls as Petter was also a keen wrestler in AK28, when he showed us "double Nelson" and other wrestling moves. In the evening, after a lively wrestling match, Uncle Petter often took us up the mountain road to Stampa where we bathed in the moonlight. Fantastic times.
Otherwise, we took the 'heiaveien' up to Ravnedalen with a blanket, packed lunch and a bottle of juice and water to spend the day on the nice lawn by the round pool with the fountain. Those were good days. I also remember the visit to ´Sjappa´ in Myra to buy Spoek og Spenning, the weekly magazines and not least the ´chocolate edition´ once a month. During the war it was very popular to visit our 'basement living room' with a fireplace and various drinks and music.
Memories of the April days 1940 and German occupation, as experienced by a 7-year-old boy.
There was also no danger of forgetting to dazzle the windows, which was required. There have been many guests from home and abroad. Many Dutch who were ordered by the Germans to work and lived on Kalla. I especially remember Johannes den Hertog and Gerhard von der Kneiv, who became good friends.
On the morning of April 9, I woke up to what sounded like thunder, and I ran to the bedroom window. A large black cloud descended over the center of Kristiansand, and shortly afterwards two military planes came swooping down over the large grassy field in front of our house, and are firing their weapons at targets at Gimlemoen, a Norwegian military camp located at a slightly higher level.
My mother and aunt were still asleep when I shook them and excitedly told them what I had just experienced. They didn't wake up straight away and turned over to continue sleeping, that is, until another loud bang made the windows rattle, and my mother sprang to her feet. My Aunt Ruth, who was a little heavier sleeper, took a little longer.
We were advised by passing cars and neighbors to begin preparation for evacuation to the countryside when the Germans had, we were told, invaded and bombed our town. After my mother called one of our relatives who lived on the other side of the field, we hurried over, my mother pushing a pram with my younger brother Erling and the rest of us dragging a few personal belongings with us.
Halfway over, another German plane swooped down, firing its machine guns. A small van crossing the field had one of its rear tires punctured by a bullet, and the driver and his friends tried to push the van in front of them. Once over we were greeted by our family and rushed down to their concrete basement for temporary safety. We were comfortably enough down in the slightly damp cellar which contained cut birch wood for the winter stoves, as well as pots and pans of delicious fruit and jam made by the ladies of the house. I remember a nimble finger down into one of the strawberry pots that had a thick layer of melted wax under the lid for storage.
We heard sirens, and gunfire from the German planes whizzing overhead, but the old grandmother in the house crawled up and down the stairs with mugs of hot cocoa and fresh sandwiches, while completely ignoring the spectacle above, saying, "I'm old and soon to die, and I am not afraid of these German vandals". A couple of hours later a small truck arrived at our gate and we were all asked to jump aboard. There were already a few families with children on board, all looking anxiously at the sky. Well up in the heights, we soon lost the sounds of war, and drove up the beautiful countryside, past lakes and rivers to Bjelland, a small place with a schoolhouse and a couple of shops.
We were asked to enter the empty school building with its large curtains and windows, to spend the night by sleeping on the floor with whatever blankets we could find. It was a strange feeling as we lay in the dark, the shadows of the large windows, greatly enlarged, fluttering across the walls every time a car drove by.
The next day we were all distributed between several farms up in the nearby hills, transported by available cars and trucks. After about an hour of driving up some narrow and steep dirt roads, we finally arrived at our
destination farm, the name of which I, unfortunately cannot remember at the moment. We were received and greeted with touching hospitality and installed in spare rooms, some also in the barn full of sweet-smelling hay, where we had a lot of fun jumping and playing in the hay during the day. We slept very well and ate hearty peasant food, and the days passed.
I remember one morning they told the families to keep all the children inside as they were going to slaughter one of their big pigs. When I was a very curious 7-year-old, I snuck out and witnessed a rather primitive slaughter. One farmer pulled the screaming pig out of the doorway while another stood outside with a large sledgehammer raised above his head. He only managed to half-stun the pig, which ran screaming around the farm out of control, before they euthanized it.
Later that day there appeared to be another event in the brewery house where the pig was now hanging from a log by its hind legs, throat slit, draining its blood into a large ceramic bowl. The old lady of the house, thin and wrinkled, and with only a few teeth in her mouth, dipped a cup into the vessel of blood, drank and sipped the warm blood, saying, "This is good blood for an old soul," or something like that, the blood running down her mouth and throat, making her look like a cruel witch. I remember my mother being very angry with me when I told her what I had experienced.
One day when I was playing in a field with some other boys, a man came
climbing up the potato field towards us. It didn't take long before I saw that it was my father, who was currently working at Norsk Marconi in Oslo, and had recently separated from my mother. What a happy surprise!
He lifted me onto his shoulder while giving me a good hug. He brought a gift, a hand-made replica of an airplane which I treasured very much, while I ran around the field making buzzing noises. Soon, however, he told me that he had to go back to Oslo and work to see what was left after the German invasion. Unfortunately, we said goodbye far too soon as he headed back down the hill and disappeared.
Soon we received instructions from the authorities that it was safe to return to our homes and we were collected by buses from Bjelland. The journey back was a mixed feeling, happy to go home but worried about what we would find. On arrival we met many military vehicles with uniformed Germans, who seem to us like creatures from Mars.
When we passed Kongensgaten we saw to our horror that a whole corner was gone from a building, and the whole street with broken windows and curtains fluttering in the wind. Furthermore, our lovely church looked very strange with 1/3 of the tall spire missing, the rest lying at the foot of the church. But the split spire continued to point proudly towards the sky, which made us all sit up and straighten our backs, it wasn't over yet, for a long time!
While the city looked quite chaotic, there was no further serious damage to be seen aside from the ubiquitous green uniforms and Germanic
helmets. There were also many warships in the harbor of all sizes. We
were very pleased to hear that one of our large and very old guns at Oscarsborg, near Oslo, had succeeded in sinking one of the largest and newest prides of the German fleet, the battleship Blucher of 18,000 tons,
before it could now our capital Oslo and the larger warship, Scharnhorst built in 1939, with a whopping 38,000 tons was also sunk in northern Norway in 1943 by the allies.
Fortunately, our house, which was on Grimsmyra on the outskirts of the city, was not damaged. And then our lives began under German occupation for a period of 5 years, but that is another story I may tell another time.