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Lögberg-Heimskringla

						LÖGBERG-HEIMSKRINGLA, FIMMTUDAGINN 19. SEPTEMBER 1974

ILögberff*J|eimfiiferingJa    Œdla ít m iEmjltal)

Exciting to be a Winnipegger When the City Was Young

Mrs. Ina Björnson can

think of nothing more excit-

ing than growing up with a

city just a few years your

senior, few sounds more ex-

hilerating than the symph-

ony of hammer and saw at

daybreak and nightfall, no

fragrance more pleasing

'than the smell of new timb-

er and no sight as promising

as new houses sprouting out

of vacant lots overnight-

She was born in Winnipeg

92 years ago when the city

was only eight years old, ac-

cording to its charter. Little

girls, including her and her

sister, skipped on wooden

sidewalks then, and there

were puddles where there

are now pavements. Their

parents, Gísli and Sigríður

Johnson,owned a house on

Burnell Street, a way out on

the open prairie and ran a

dairy close too home. Two

nice working dogs helped

herd the cows and played

with the little girls in their

spare time.

Mrs. Björnson's parents,

Gísli Jónsson and Sigríður

Pétursdóttir, came to Winni-

peg with the large group of

immigrants from Iceland in

1876. Sigríður was then a

young widow, left with

three children when her hus

band died tragically, lost in

a violent winter storm while

journeying to town for sup-

plies. Tree intense searches

were made for him and Gísli

had been in all the search

parties. This Sigríður learn-

ed when the two met on

their joint journey to the

new country Five years lat-

er, they were married in

Winnipeg and made their

home on Fort Street, be-

cause it was away from heav

ey traffic and the noise of

the city.

Their two little girls Ina

and Elín, grew up in the

home on the corner of Burn-

ell St. and Einarsson Ave.

They  attended old  Mulvey

Joy Antenbring

in a Recital

Joy Antenbring will be

heard in a half-hour recital

at Young United Church,

Furby and Broadway, at

12,30 noon this Sunday, Sept

ember 22. She will sing ari-

as by Mozart, including his

famous Exultate Jubilate-

This is one of a series of aft-

er church recitals inaugurat

ed by Richard Grieg, organ-

ist and choirmaster of the

church. A collection will be

taken for the organ fund.

School, a two-room structure

that burned down The board

then quickly rented a house

on Young St., just north of

Portage, painted blackboards

on the walls, and school con-

tinued with slight interrupt-

ion

Indians tented in the west

end of town then, and Mrs.

Björnson remembers a vil-

lage of 40 tents when she

was a Uttle girl. The stock-

ence to wait and found a job

in a men's tailoring establish

ment instead. It was exact-

ing work, requiring a good

deal of fine han-stitching.

But her mother, who was an

excellent seamstress of the

old school, had taught her

well and soon the youngster

was making too much

money to give up the trade.

Going home from work on

Lombard   St-   one   evening,

yards where located on the

corner of Portage Ave. and

Home St., and Arlington was

mostly mud.

Top-hatted gentlemen and

ladies in sweeping gowns,

carrying frilled parasols in

gloved hands, rode in hand-

some carriages drawn by

spirited horses, and some

wealthy parents equipped

their youngsters with buggi-

es and ponies, while a Mr.

Austen operated a fleet of

horse-drawn buses for less

affluent citizens.

Winnipeg grew by leaps

and bounds, through wild

booms and relaxing prosper-

ity, followed by new þooms.

By the time young Ina John

son reached her mid teens

her city was in its mid twént

ies. Nursing was her first

choice as a lifetime professi-

on, but too young to enter

training, she hadn't the pati-

she saw a great crowd of

people near the Clarendon

Hotel on the north side of

Portage Ave. Such traffic-

stopping crowds were un-

usual, even at the end of a

working day. Something

must be going on. The first

automobile had arrived in

town.

The old Hudson's Bay

store at Main St. and York

Ave., she remembers as a

bad place to work in one

way only. New merchandise

was unpacked right under

her nose, an overpowering

temptation for a young girl

making good money and in-

clined to dress in style.

Girls wore white formals

and opera cloaks to the the-

atre in those days, when

their escorts could afford

choice seats, especially to

the old Walker on Notre

Dame. Gloves were a must

on all occasions, millinery

was elegant and expensive.

There was lively interest

in music and the theatre,

with visiting stock compani-

es and opera singers from

large cities in Canada and

the states, as well as local

talent and vaudeville'. Young

Ina Johnson took elocution

lessons from Edna Suther-

land, a well known Winni-

peg elocutionist, and was in

demand as a reader at con-

certs in the tæo Icelandic

church and elsewhere in the

city.

New hats and dresses

were in order for the yearly

celebration of "Islendinga-

dagurinn," always held on

the 2nd of August in the

early days, when many

Winnipeg firms generosuly

gave their Icelenders time

off to absorb lengthy toasts

and speeches, sing songs

from the homeland and soci-

alize over substantial lunch-

es brought from home.

There was a good program

of sport sand athletic con-

tests, including the Icelendic

glíma- All the early years of

her married life, Mrs. Björn-

son's husband, Sigurður

Björnson, was an active org-

anizer of the sports program.

Sigurður has now passed

on. He came to Winnipeg in

infancy with his parents,

ahd lived out his life in the

ci'ty of their choice. Some of

the couple's grandchildren

attended public and high

school inthe west- end south

of Portage, not far from the

site • of their grandmother's

first school. When a po.ll was

taken there, it was found

that Mrs. Björnson's grand-

son was the only third-gen-

eration Canadian in the

school. Her youngest des-

cendants are born fourth-

generation Winnipeggers.

Thousands of Her Prints Hang on

American Walls

By NANCY SMITH BATE

This interesting interview

was sent to Lögberg-Heims-

kringla by a reader, Margar-

et Benson Haukins. It appe-

ared in the New York Sun-

day News, May 12 this year,

under the heading "Collect-

or's Item." It deals with the

work of Margaret Johnson,

daughter of the late Nels

Johnson, former attorney-

general of North Dakota and

superior court justice- Miss

Johnson is also a niece of

Mrs .Lilja Eylands, wife of

Rev- Dr. Valdimar Eylands.

In a blurb above the feat-

ure, the writer says of Miss

Johnson: "Her balconied mid

town duplex is a collector's

treasure trove."

*   *   *   *

"When I've come up with

a successful series of designs

I take cabs and buy moun-

tain tops. When things slow

down, I walk and spend

more time at home."

Margot Johnson is the de-

signer of hundreds of thous-

and zodiac prints that hang

on American walls today,

and home for her is a duplex

townhouse on a tree-ined

street    off    Madison    Ave.

Long on ambiance and filled

with architectural nuance,

the one-bedroom apartment

has a 28-foot living room end

ing in spectacular floor-to-

ceiling leaded glass windows

which overlook a garden.

The windows and spotlights

help keep the vast hanging

plants healthy.

"I love growing things."

Margot says. "I own an old

stone house in Bucks Count-

ry, Pennsylvania, and one of

the reasons I actually bought

it was the 40.000 daffodils

that bloom each spring. I

still go to the country to

furnish my New York living

room with plants."

Among the room's high-

lights are a carved oak fire-

place and a balcony which

circles the room.

"I couldn't quite imagine

what I would do with the

balcony, so I roped it off úp-

stairs from my bedroom,"

she explains- 'I thought I'd

better keep people off as it's

not as secure as it was in

1919 when the house was

built. It's too bad, really be-

cause it would be the per-

Cont. on page 3

O

RAFMAGN OF DÝRT?

Notið vindinn til að framleiða raf-

magn fyrir býli, hús eða sumarbú-

stað. Við seljum vind-knún'ar raf-

orkuvélar, 200—2000 watt. Sendið

$2.00 fyrir bækling og upplýsingar.

ENERGYALTERNATIVES, mq.

UP.O. Box233

Leverett.   flf^.     01054

					
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