I was thinking about my Grandma on Sunday when I remembered that it was her birthday. I miss her even though she has been gone over 50 years. She was born Annie Juliana Norderlund in Torpin, Norway on August 31, 1861. I have heard this story several times: A man, Halvor Walland, came to their house one day. He looked at the baby, Annie, and said, “I will marry this one when she grows up!” And he did, in the United States 22 years later. Isn’t that a story? But it is true.
Annie’s family was very poor. Her father died when se was very young. From the time she was little she was hired as a shepherd girl. She took sheep up into the hills in the summer and brought them down when winter arrived up in the hills. When she was 16 her uncle paid her way in nickels and dimes to come to America. Her parents let her go because she would have life easier here. She went through Ellis Island and took a boat up the St. Lawrence River and got a job doing housework in chicago. The people were quite mean to her so she left them and went to work for another family.
A doctor told her she must leave Chicago and go to a dryer place. So she went to North Dakota where she spent the rest of her life. Annie married Bjirnt Helland and Just before his baby girl, Berdina, was born, Bjarnt walked to the nearest town to get the mail and groceries. A blizzard arrived on his way home. He found shelter under a bridge and was found frozen to death the next day. They were living on a homestead claim She had tp go to court to prove her baby was a girl. If the baby had been a boy whe would have lost the farm.
Annie lost her eyesight when I was a baby. Though she went through most of her life blind, she never gave up. She knit mufflers for every boy who went out to fight. She was voted Mother of the year in Grand Forks and the Army Band came to her house twice to pay for her. But to me she was Grandma, the lady who prayed for me. I hope she still does. She died when she was almost 100 years old.
I will never forget Annie Juliana Walland, the grandma who always knew what time to start dinner, preparing for her two daughters coming home from work. She never missed a game of the Grand Forks Chiefs baseball team and her feet would go really fast when the game was exciting. She knew what time to go into the living room to listen to her favorite soap opera, like Ma Perkins.
Grandma was a person you would not forget if only all of you could have met her.