As far back as I can remember, my grandmother was a very hard working women, with a big heart. When thinking back to my childhood, I can not remember one single incident where she cried or was upset. Talking to my family, friends (who knew her) and relatives, absolutely none of them can remember her being angry or annoyed at anything
Surely she had her heavy days with stuff she worried about, like the rest of us. But she never showed it to anyone. Maybe my mother and her siblings might have noticed. But talking to them, they keep saying she was a good mother, with a big heart. Her husband was out of the picture early on, so she was the one (living alone) I always visited as a kid. And sometimes I stayed overnight or a weekend, and we got spoiled as grandkids are. Food and sweets, and watching television until late. Such good memories.
Amazingly enough, my dear grandmother also had a career at sea. Although not as long I myself. But when I heard the story, I just have to be proud of her, my cool grandmother.
It turned out that when she was 50 years old, she decided to take another job, in order to save up money for an apartment in one of the new apartment blocks the City of Bergen (Norway) was planning to clear land for, in one of the suburbs (Fyllingsdalen). And what did she do? Well, she though she would became a seafarer! Imagine that, she wanted to get to sea as a 50 year old lady!
Yes indeed, she went to the Registration Office for seafarers to register as a seafarer and obtained a “service/discharge book”, before she sent out applications to the various shipping companies in town. Bergen back in those days was a huge shipping town, with plenty of companies, so she got herself a job with the company “Jebsen” (later named Gearbulk). This was in 1963, and normally the first-timers joined their ships when they were about 15-17 years old. But not my grandmother, she joined at a very experienced age!
I only wish I could ask her what went through her mind when she did this. Was she nervous? Was it an absolute must, and she didn’t want to do this? nevertheless, it was sporty! Sporty as hell 👍
Above is a scan of my grandmother’s original contract, which I am so happy we manage to find when going through her belongings after she passed. The contract is dated 4th of May 1963, and she is hired as “girl” on a brand new ship, the M.S Cementus. The position “girl” would these days probably be the equivalent to a female Mess Room utility.
She did her contracts, working in these very unfamiliar conditions, until she had the money she needed for an apartment. Saving up what she could after she had transferred some of her salary back home for the family, monthly. I can only imagine this was a slow and painful process. Surely she must have missed her family and home town. I remember she once told me she had been to the far east.
Understand the pride I feel after I found out about my dear grandmother’s career. Especially since I also chose a career at sea. Her choice was nothing less than impressive, knowing she had to leave her family at that age, to do this job only temporarily.
And it now makes so much more sense when my my mother tells me that my grandmother was extremely happy whenever she received a postcard from me, sent from all over the globe. I must have sent her 100 cards before she passed.
That is why every year on the International Women’s Day March 8th, I post a little collage in honor of my cool cool grandmother
The best Grandmother ever….I miss you so much!
Your proud grandson, Kai