My mother was born in 1938. She had a brother, John, who was 1.5 years older than she is. They grew up in the area around Skanderborgvej in Aarhus. To learn more, please watch this video and this video. As a child, she attended - with other girls - Læssøesgade school. At that time, key values in education were a strong degree of discipline and punishment for making mistakes. In her retirement, my mother organized - with other classmates - events, during which they reeengaged with students and tachers to learn about changes happening in the way education is done.
In 1953, my mother's father, Robert, told my mother that he had found a job for her at Jensen Skorup, a tailoring company based in Aarhus, Denmark. The company employed about 150 tailors and made uniforms for people working for the police, postal services, telecommunications companies, and transportation service companies. During the 12 years my mother worked for the company, she helped out with accounting services as well as the procurement of clothing materials from, for example, Japan and France.
Later in her life, my mother worked for the dentist school in Aarhus, a school that became a part of Aarhus University. In a career which spanned several decades, my mother worked on a large variety of tasks servicing both patients, dentist students, employees, and managers. For example, she bought gold and silver in Holland which she sold to dentist students. She also bought skulls in India which she rented out to dentist students. Among other tasks my mother solved were accountancy work, sending and receiving mail, writing meeting summaries, archiving information, registering patients, and connecting patients with dentist students and/or other people they needed help from.
Being fond of writing, she likes to share stories / ideas / thoughts / observations on social media such as facebook and Twitter. For example, she likes to share ideas and recipes she tries out when she cooks in her kitchen. She also likes to share experiences she has when helping out as events such as European capital of culture events in Aarhus.
My father was born in 1937. He was the first born child of his parents. He had a 9 month younger brother, Richard, and two younger sisters, Astrid and Gerda. The family of six lived in a 2-roomed apartment in the centre of Aarhus. During his childhood, my father attended Munkegade elementary school in Aarhus, a school only for boys.
In 1955, my father met my mother at Skanderborg youth hostel just South of Aarhus. He was there with a couple of his friends, and she was there with one of her friends. My mother and father married in 1960, and in 1970 I was born. With my mother, my father built a summer house at Kysing Næs south of Aarhus in the 1960s. And in the beginning of the 1970s, after I was born, they built a house for the three of us north of Aarhus. During a relatively large part of his life, my father had a problem with stuttering. My mother told me that when my father was young, his mother, Ingrid Bothilde, would, rather impatiently, tell him to stop with that and pull himself together. My mother also told me that my father's mother would also sometimes point out the window and say to my father, look over there that is where the rich people live.
My father liked to do craftsman work - for himself, his family and for other people. Early in his life, my father became a trainee at M.H. Jæger, a company that made safes. He educated himself as a smith and later learned to make technical drawings / product designs. My mother told me that during the time they were together, my father wanted to be the best at what he was doing. He was a perfectionist, wanted to do everything, he was doing, really well. For him, only the best was good enough. He liked order and also liked creating new things. The urge to be better, make products of better quality than others and be very orderly continued. He educated himself further, for example by reading, writing, drawing, testing, and constructing things. He also continuously worked on using innovative technologies and patented more inventions. He became the manager of a design department and also worked with teaching.
In 1975, my father divorced my mother. A couple of years later, he married Karin, who worked as a teacher, moved to Aalestrup, and started the company Mitek. During the 1980s, the company grew to about 50 people, and my father later sold the company to employees, who renamed the company Treco. At the end of the 1980s, Karin and my father divorced.
In the 1990s, my father moved to Gatten. In his house, which was situated at a fairway of one of the golf courses there, I remember we had many good conversations that I appreciate and from which I learned a lot. I think there were a few reasons that our conversations were good. One reason was, I think, that my father had time for conversations. He was not stressed. Another reason was, I think, that because of the bachelor education and master education, I was studying for, I could understand more about life - meaning that I could ask better questions and participate better in talks we had.
Elly Elisabeth Christoffersen
My mother's mother
My grandmother Elly was a quiet, sensitive, caring, and helpful person. When my mother worked as a trainee in the office of the tailor company Jensen Skorup, her mother Elly would sometimes spontaneously stop by and have a chat over a cup of coffee. One of the jobs, my grandmother Elly had, was helping people save money for presents they wanted to give to their loved ones at Christmas. She also sang in a church choir, and at home Elly loved to play the piano.
My grandmother Elly loved everything that was beautiful. And my mother told me that her mother, who was not very tall, was always wonderfully dressed and liked to regularly use perfume. In the 1920s, my grandmother started working in the house of the Rasmussen family. This family had a goldsmith store at Søndergade 1 in Aarhus, where a Georg Jensen store is now located. My grandmother later helped out in the goldsmith shop. She also helped a friend sew clothes for people. And for another friend, a half sister of Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe II, my grandmother helped people find their preferred fragrances at her perfume shop.
Ingrid Bothilde Sørensen
My father's mother
My grandmother, Ingrid Bothilde, grew up in Holstebro in the western part of Denmark. She had one sister as well as a brother, who had a bakery in Holstebro. When she moved to Aarhus, she helped out, for example, doing cleaning work at a hospital. She also helped out in the hospital kitchen.
My grandmother wanted her children to dress well and had a tailor help her make good clothes for them. In the 2-roomed apartment, where she lived with her husband and four children, she also took great pride in keeping everything clean. My grandmother liked to gather the family. She was great at cooking, and every Sunday, she invited the whole family over for flæskesteg, a classic and Danish roast pork meal that people enjoy for dinner as well as for lunch, for example with red cabbage, slices of orange and rye bread.
My mother's father
My grandfather Robert was born in 1898. He was an open-minded and curious person. He was educated as a cooper. However, it was as a policeman that he spent a large part of his professional life. He was charming, liked being with people, joking and having fun with people. He also liked to cook.
My grandfather was a great athlete. In 1924, he participated in the olympic games in Paris in wrestling. Robert was also a member of the board of Aarhus Athletes club. In the Autumn of 1944, towards the end of WWII, my grandfather was - together with about 2,000 other police officers in Denmark - taken away from his family and brought to Buchenwald and Neuengamme concentration camps in Germany. My grandfather explained to my mother, that when he was at there, he cooked food for his friends from left over potato peelings. Helped by people working for Red Cross, my grandfather returned - in May 1945 - first to Sweden and then to Denmark, as Denmark was liberated. Coming back from Germany, Robert became the manager of the department for lost property. During my life, my mother told me this sentence that her father told her several times, as he returned from the concentration camps in Germany: "Hanne, you must never hate Germans."
Rasmus Peter Sørensen
My father's father
My grandfather Rasmus Peter was born in the countryside outside Aarhus as the third child of 11 children. He left school very early and began helping out at various farms. When he moved to Aarhus, he started working at the port of Aarhus. My grandfather later worked in various controlling jobs. For example, Rasmus Peter worked as a city guard in Aarhus towards the end of WWII. He also worked as a controller / guard at the harbour restaurant Valencia in Aarhus. In addition, my grandfather worked as a caretaker at residential buildings in Aarhus.
My mother's father's sister's daugther
Unfortunately, my grandparents died before I was born and when I was relatively young. The closest I came to having a grandparent was Eva Granø. Eva was born in 1916. She was the daughter of Carla, my mother's father's sister, and a Danish sailor, whom Eva did not get to know. In the mid 1950s, Eva went to live in Quito, Ecuador with her husband, master brewer Poul Vang Granø. In Quito, Poul Vang Granø was the manager of a Ceres brewery. When Poul died in the mid 1960s in Ecuador, Eva returned to Denmark and moved into an apartment in Højbjerg south of Aarhus. It was not least Eva who inspired me to learn about what it is that makes Ecuador unique.
With Eva, I shared a few interests. For example, we both liked tennis, and when I was young, I recall that, now and then, she played a little with me at Aarhus 1900 where she was a member. Eva was well into her 70s before she stopped playing tennis and cycling between the club and her home in Højbjerg. With Eva, I also shared a passion for learning. I recall that she often cut out articles for me from Jyllands-Posten, a paper she read with much curiosity every day, and we had good conversations about what we had read / learned.
With Eva, I also shared an interest in languages. She communicated well in, for example, English and Spanish. When Eva was young, she worked for a period of time in London. And I recall that, over several years, Eva communicated via letters with people, who lived in Quito and had helped her and her husband in the house where they lived. A precious gift, Eva gave to me one day, as I was visiting her in her apartment in Højbjerg, was a freedom fighter armband, which she had received earlier in her life. She told me very little about the story behind. She just said, this is for you.
An additional thing we had in common was a love for chocolate. Eva's favourite chocolate was a dark bitter Feodora chocolate.
Johan Bernhard Christoffersen
The father of my mother's father
In the 19th century, my great grandfather came to Denmark from Göteborg in Sweden, where his ancestors lived. In Aarhus, Johan Bernhard worked as a foreman for the company Aarhus Olie. With his wife Anne Petrine, he had 3 children, Carla, Anna, and my grandfather Robert.
My godmother Gerda, called Putte, is educated as a graphic designer. She worked for Jyllands-Posten for almost 5 decades. My mother told me that when I was a child, she and my godfather Lars sometimes took care of me when my parents had a need for it. I remember that Putte and Lars had a relatively big St. Bernhard dog that I liked. Later in her life, Putte married Hans. They had two children, Carsten and Gregers. In the 1980s, when I attended high school as well as in the 1990s, when I studied for a bachelor education and a masters education, i recall that i sometimes visited them in their house in Aarhus. I remember, for example, that Putte liked to play the guitar, and sometimes we would sing songs, have a chat and a good laugh over a cup of coffee.
Not long before my parents divorced in 1975, my godmother Gerda and my godfather Lars had divorced. Later in his life, Lars developed an interest in Thailand. How? I was told by my mother that the father of Lars' brother's wife had started a garden center in Egå. Lars and his brother had the idea of collecting plants from exotic places around the world and bringing these to the garden center and thereby offer customers something unique. Lars and his brother traveled to, for example, Mexico and Thailand. In December of 2004, when Lars was in Thailand, he died with thousands of other people, as a Tsunami hit the place.
Lars was educated as typesetter and worked for Scanprint in Aarhus for more than 40 years. He also worked as a model and was a great goalkeeper on football teams based in Aarhus.