Life in the village.
A report on life in Vallensbæk village in 10-years 1930-40
Fin Kløve Lassen
The day and night rhythm.
In my childhood village, there was life. There was life in the morning
when cocks noise broke the silence, and it began to rattle when firing up
in the stoves, or primus stoves began to hiss for the preparation of breakfast.
The electric stove was a rarity, and bottle gas was not yet in fashion.
As child one could in winter be laying in the warm bed and hear the stove be stirred. Fired up with a cornet with ash soaked with kerosene, a little wood on top, and so the precious coal or coke. When it had burned a little, there was shaken vigorously and noisy with the screen, and then one knew that the heat was about to spread into the room, and we dared to go from the cold bedrooms with ice krystal on the windows, and sometimes also on bedclothes and walls.
While the smoke rose up from the chimneys, people went to work and the children to school.
Some worked in Copenhagen, but most people had their work on farms and nurseries in the vicinity, or could simply go into the workshop, the smithy or slaughter house, which was in connection with the dwelling in the middle of the village.
During the day, there was life. As the sound of hammer stroke, horse wagons rumbling and horses step. At times was feelt the smell of new hay or manure to be spread out. From the school was the familiar sound of noisy children who were playing the "end up", or the balls slush, slush, along house wall.
The coach maintained the relationship with the city of Copenhagen, postman Peter Hansen with the world, and the delivery man arranged twice a week for fresh bread from the Red Vejrmoelle common bakery.
In the evening changed the sounds again. It was no longer the distinctive sounds in the context of today's work. Now, the plates could be heard when doing the dishing, and children playing with more modest one last time "hide" or "langbold" before bedtime. The young people could drag on a bit longer. They gathered in groups where the talk was done as it always has done.
Maybe there were some of the residents of Kommunehuset who had had a beer too much, and now in all peace shouting the worst threats to each other, but had no intention or ability to execute the acts in prospect.
In the late evening hour we could also hear "Night-Anders" with his old Ford, when he in this strange time provided his customers with bread.
At last evening and night were almost completely quiet. Perhaps you heard an owl howling, or a large dog came with a few deep "Vuf-Vuf", to great irritation of my parents. That was maybe because our krystal radio with the the news was only equipped with one pair of headphones, and that was too little to the eight heads we were in the family, why it required silence if all were to listen to.
Another well-known sound was the steam locomotive which started in Glostrup, or Taastrup station, or by the holding place in Vridsloeselille. You could really hear the long "Puuf - Puuf" - and then some fast "Puf, Puf, Puf" when grip in the rails failed, and there had to be closed slightly down for the steam to there were bid again.
Otherwise was only heard a nick from the transformer buildings which, as small oil drilling towers had been placed in strategic locations around the city to provide electricity, or a singing from high tension wires in the cold starry winter nights.
Notwithstanding the silence may nevertheless something had happen in the city's houses, for how can we otherwise explain the many children there at that time was in the family, despite the difficult conditions of the parents' privacy in overcrowded houses.
When my parents moved to Vallensbaek in 1932, it was a result of the
depression, which made it necessary to abandon the operation of a
small-scale farm in Sydsjaelland.
They joined now a work of so-called herdsman on the farm Korsagergaard, and consequently we came to live in a house belonging to Korsagergaard. The idea of a married herdsman was, that the woman had to help with the milking, which was only made by hand.
There went however no more than a few years before they had to change jobs again, because my mother's hands could not stand up to the milking job.
In the time we lived by Baekrenden we were close to the tradesmen, as our neighbours were carpenter Ole Andersen, butcher Henriksen and behind this blacksmith Iversen.
From the carpenter shop was day long heard sounds, strong hammer stroke when getting the nail in. The tone changed, were higher as the nail disappeared into the plank, and finally a few extra blow where the plank itself gave sound, when the nail head was beaten all the way down in the wood surface. There was the more consistent, softer blow when club hit the wood chisel, because at that time the building parts was assembled with taps and holes. The sound of the hand saw was also easily recognizable with the sound changed with the depth of the cut and ended with the wood piece fall on the floor.
When the hand power was no longer sufficient, the master or the apprentice went to the rear left corner of the workshop, struck up the circuit breaker, and the electric motor began to growl. The long shaft with the large belt drive up under the ceiling came in revolutions, the belt connections began to clack and the circular saw to sing.
Then was the piece of wood cut, the circuit breaker returned to the starting point, and the sound of the machines died slowly out again, and it was now possible to hear the apprentice whistle the time schlager.
There were many children in the carpenter family. In fact, there was 12 children born through a period of 24 years. A boy was, however dead of genuine croup, which reportedly occurred after a walk in the humid swamp.
The oldest children had already moved from home and had established themselves as independent, yes, Laurits reached even to get in parish council, and furthermore to be chairman in the parish council during the time this description is about, from the depression first in the thirties, to 2. World beginning and occupation of Denmark in 1940.
Most of the children however still lived at home, and here it was naturally Willy with his BSA, and Hilbert with his Ariel motorcycle, which appealed to a little boys imagination.
Willy worked as a carpenter, and drove off to work on his motorcycle. My mother was concerned, because he had a habit of turning his head and look down on the rear wheel, enough to see whether there was enough air in the wheel.
My oldest brother Bent was more concerned about Hilbert. Not for looking at the rear wheel, but for that he should forget to look at the alarm clock. They worked both on horticulture at Glostrup, and Bent was riding on the back of the Hilberts motorcycle, sometimes with delayed departure because of Hilbert sleeping too long.
For such a large family, there was of course need for much food. Here it was Peter who came in. They had own cow as Peter took care of, and when summer nigths silence started, we could hear the cow come home, while Peter came well behind, and filled the evening quietness with a melodic whistle.
We did most see the young girl, Ellen Margrethe, which was, what one with a modern expression will call teenager when we arrived to the village. Although a herdsman family not ranked very high in the social pecking order, was both my father and mother reasonably well-trained, and had in particular been at the folk high school, and were both trained as control assistant. This led to, that they raised around from farm to farm and checked the quality of the milk. The newcomers seemed therefore probably as a breath of fresh air from outside, in a village where the residents extensively was linked to each other by family ties.
Furthermore, my father in his youth had played violin, and it happened now, that he took the violin out in the garden, and let the music sounds. That withdrew quickly young people, at a time when radio took its first step and television were not invented.
Ellen Margrethe came from a home with piano, and one could not fail to hear when the music sounded out in the courtyard through open doors and windows, while we kids were highly impressed.
Ejler was always active, whether he was out in the courtyard and drilled a hub for a horse-drawn carriage wheel with a sophisticated tools, or made a little extra pocket money by repairing bicycles. It was also Ejler who was in charge when cutting down the large tree, that was too close to the carpenter shop, and it was necessary to rig pulleys and pulley blocks and a long rope, to drag it out from the building during the fall.
The pulley arrangement was fixed to a pole beaten into the ground, but such an event quickly where spread, and the helpfullnes was great, why there was drawn in the rope with such a violent force that post gave in and the tree was standing. The cut had to be done a little deeper with the great two man wood saw, and finally it was the tree which came down. All ran as crazy to pull the tree on the right track. I withdrew course with the rope, but my size taken into account, was my best performance certainly that I was not entered into by the other.
Helga and Leo was the youngest children, and of age with my older siblings. I remember them not as some we used to deal with, but it can result from, that they were in the age when one is too big to play, and too young to be an interesting model for us children.
The blacksmith was a neighbour to the carpenter shop. The blacksmith shop was easily recognizable on the big chimney for smoke from the forge, and there was clay floor in both the blacksmith shop and the building where the horses stood when they should have new shoes.
From the smithy sounded healthy hammer stroke day long. First a few idle stroke on the anvil to boost the hammer. Then the heavy blow with the softer sound when the hammer hit the glowing iron, each time accompanied by a small sound from the blacksmith Iversen. Then a qualitative look at the work, wich were hold with the left hand in the tong, and now was too cold for further processing.
If the work was satisfactory, it was cooled with a sizzle in water. Was any further processing needed, started the blacksmith again the only motor driven tool in the workshop, in addition to a mechanical hammer, namely the fan to the forge. There was a little messy in the coal, and the blacksmith could breathe while the forge again heated the item up to the right temperature for further processing.
If there were to be used sledge hammer, for example in making a horseshoe, had the man who had come with the horse to help, because the blacksmith had to hold the horseshoe with one hand, and in the other hand hold the chisel or mandrel, which the helper should beat on.
When the mechanical hammer was used, there was a different rhythm in the beats, as with a huge uproar fell down over the issue to be processed, but this hammer was only applicable to certain tasks.
An electric power drill is now a matter of course in almost every home. Blacksmith Iversen, however, could well deal with a hand driven Columndrill with a large flywheel on top, as keept the drill rotating when he left off the crank to lubricate with drill oil or increase the feed.
It might be cold in winter, but to that had one of those rare helpers a solution. He took some glowing coal from the forge and came up in his wooden shoes, shook with them so that they were not burned at the bottom, and then poured the coal back at the forge. Now was his wooden shoes nice warm, but we thought like him when he told us that we should be careful to get all coal out before one again stuck their feet in wooden shoe.
One of the main tasks the blacksmith shop was able to get out of, was when there should an iron ring on a wheel for a horse carriage. Here was carpenter and blacksmith working together.
The wheel was put down out on a round concrete flat with a hole in the middle, where the hub could go down, and the rim thus be close against the ground. Now the blacksmith made a ring of iron which was welded together by the forge. This was done by that white-hot iron was beaten together, and everything should be done quickly, because the iron should be completely up by the melting point, and it required several helpers to carry the heavy ring, and hold it while it was welded.
The ring was made a little too small to go on the wheel. When the ring was finished, it was heated up all around. This was done piece for piece, turned around in the forge, so the heat was evenly distributed.
Now was the ring expanded because of the heat, and it could go over the wheel, usually helped with a hammer. When the ring had set itself a bit, the wheel was raised up and rolled down into a chilling bath, which only was able to cover piece of the wheel rim at a time. The wheel had to be rotated bit by bit, while smoke from burning wood, and steam from the cooling water, stood around the busy group.
When the iron ring was chilled all the way down, it had pulled hard together on the wheel, and was on that way helping to keep the individual wood parts, of which the wheel were made, to a solid compressed whole.
Outside the blacksmith shop was also the great manual grindstone, as we drove down and borrowed, when there was a greater sharpening as the knife to a binder.
The blacksmith was also bee-keeper. When the day's toil was over, one could see him go around with the net on his hat and smoke blower in hand, while we children kept an appropriate distance. We knew of course, the bees best from their sticky part, when we under play came to squeeze a bee so it went to the resistance. It was therefore also the blacksmith there were summoned, as a cloud of bees struck down in a tree at the school, and the panicked children considered him as something of a magician, because he could reassure the swarm and lead it home to its own hives.
The blacksmith also had a public office. He was chairman of the sickness fund. He was chosen instead of "Vognmanden", Valdemar Hansen who also wanted this honourable post, and the waves were high on the general meetings, where even a resident from kommunehuset participated in the hot-tempered debate. This notwithstanding that he was due to the arrears and were actually non-voting, and then outside impact on the future of the Sickness Fund.
The blacksmith had 3 children, all girls. The daughter Inger and the carpenters Willy flirted. That seemed we boys were no nonsense. Girls should we stay away from. My little brother Paul had already taken his position. He played with "Nutte", which was granddaughter of the blacksmiths neighbour and, at times lived with her grandparents. Yes, Poul and Nutte went even so far that they kissed each other, while the adults stood and announced far and wide where sweet it was.
We others simply found, that they were so small that they had not yet recognized what befits a boy and a girl.
That did Inger and Willy, which ended up with being married in Vallensbaek Church. My oldest brother Bent was soon begun to have an interest in photography. He had of a mate on work bought a large camera who took pictures of postcard size, and he took the opportunity to test camera by taking a picture of bride and groom in front of the church.
Unfortunately did quality of the image not match the size, whether it was due to the lens, or a sloppy prints. In any case, should the married couple have a picture, so it was not completely wrong.
At the far end of our garden lived butcher Henriksen. However, it is more accurate to say the butcher family Henriksen, because butcher Henriksen was dead. I had heard it was due to an accident with slaughter gun, but that was not true.
The butcher business was driven forward as a family affair, where Mrs Henriksen most were for sale, while the two young sons, Simon and Hans Christian carried out the slaughter, both based in the slaughter house and out on the farms.
Being a butcher at the time was not to have a slaughter house with white tiles on the walls. In this case, the slaughter house was closest to compare with a garage with whitewashed walls and concrete floor. This hindered however not Simon and Hans Christian in the slaughter of a cow, only with a tackle to help, so the animal could be hoisted in the leg during the evisceration and parting.
We all had a certain respect for the slaughter gun, which we had heard could also be dangerous to the butcher. When there were slaughtered a calf was the risk not so great for her the calf were just put up in a slaughter crib, and stunned with a blow to the head of a large hammer. Such a slaughter could well be out in the yard, and as close neighbours, we could keep up with what was going on.
The shop was not something to boast of. There was not any. What made it next to a butcher shop was a so-called basement room at the end of the house, with recessed stone floor and a stone bench along the wall. Here foods could be as cool as the seasons allowed, for there was nothing called refrigerator or freezer.
The sale was made by the entrance door, and I have often stood in the small entree and looked down in the basement, where Mrs Henriksen chopped meat on the electric meat grinder, which was on the stone bench to the left of the door down to the basement.
The meat grinder had its own sound. Each time it got a new portion pieces of meat - helped on its way down through the funnel with a tool of wood, the fingers should be taken care on - we could hear that the grinder had something to work on, until it all came out in front of the machine, and was like a portion pink macaroni, and the machine again went back to the idling sound.
Although the slaughter and selling conditions did not meet today's demands, we must not believe the quality of products was lower. They where just not able to have the goods lying so long, and was more critical of the quality of the products coming home from the outside.
That could be possible, because the butcher family had a car. They could get goods in Copenhagen, or run around and sell their products in the near vicinity. However it was not an ordinary car, with today's eyes, because it was both person and a delivery car. But not at the same time.
The system was simple. The rear part of the body and the back seat could be released and lifted, off by a few strong men, and instead was placed a small delivery box on the empty space. That was a very sophisticated solution, but the operation was, after all, so large that it perhaps not made it practical to change for going to coffee with the family.
A large part of Simons and Christians work was slaughter at farms and homes with a pig. In particular to Christmas, it was just as difficult to get a time for slaughter, as if we today are going to the dentist.
From early morning until late evening, in the glow of lamps, was the heart-rending cry from the poor pigs, whether it was grain fat farm pigs, or poor mans pig, which had been fattened on a mix of leftovers or cereals got by barter, while they lived a hidden lives in the shadow of tax and veterinary services.
Regardless of belonging of screaming pigs, they was however at same level, when they abruptly were drawn out of the warm shed by some strong men, while we children preferred to hide until it all was over. You get anyway a certain relation to such a pig, which came to the house in a sack on the back, and now should preferably weigh as much as an adult person.
The ritual at slaughter was always the same. Hot water in the washing boiler, a tub ready to scalding, and a ladder where the pigs could hang on for the draining of blood and cooling.
When the butcher came, it all went quickly. Once the pig were placed it was "stuck" so that the blood sprayed out. Here was our mother prepared with a large pot and grains, while the blood was collected to black pudding. So the pig were scalded in hot water, scraping bristles with something that looked like a cornet, intestines removed, and the pig body with the head, attached by the legs to the ladder. The pig was then moved to cool in a vertical position under a lean-to or in a covered place, and then it was hoped that all dogs was held captive in those days.
The parting took first place at a later date. The meat should be stored for long periods of time, and should be light cured in salt in the brine tub, and some was later smoked.
For those fortunate owners of the slaughtered pig was tasks, however not ended. Bad smelling casing were reversed and cleaned between two knitting pins held close together. It was the thin casing to be used for sausage. The thick intestines and stomach were used for black pudding. The fat was melted and mixed with onions. It gave some lovely fat sandwiches, and in addition we got greaves. The lungs was used for finches, and, in general, there was not the part of a pig which could not be applied.
Our neighborly relations with the butcher family was excellent. Even when their chickens had misunderstood the modern concept of free-range, and preferred to have their own way to our garden, and a little too well-directed stone throw hit a bird in the head, so it fell dead, and my mother had to enter and deliver it back.
It was also the butchers which may keep for when it was thunderstorms. My larger siblings were very afraid of thunder. I was obviously not, because it was always me who had to go up to the butchers, to ask them to call in our mother, who was at work on O C Kjærs horticulture at Torvevejen.
The answer was known in advance. The phone was then led in overhead lines, and no one wanted to have broken ear drum by a close lightning, or perhaps even be involuntary lightening conductor of a direct reduction in the threads ,so they had to regret that it was not possible to call. That was good, because it was not nice having to go home on bicycle in the thunderstorm.
Grocery and tradesmen
To the tradesmen must also be counted the city's merchants. There was
When we came to Vallensbaek we used H P Sorensen as grocer . He had business in a house on top of the hill.
H P Soerensen and wife Joanna were elderly people. They came from Ledoeje, and the grocer was also known as "The watchmaker from Ledoeje". Sorensen had a stiff leg, so he was not a good pedestrian, and when he sat in a chair stuck the leg just out in the room. It was kind people who punctual took care of the small, and not particularly well-equipped shop, when the bimmelim bell, which sat on a spring above the door, sounded.
I have often been to the grocery store here. I ran up through the pass way between the blacksmith and Anders Pejtersens house, going by Johan Amagers house, and was then near the grocer shop. Since the store was spartan equipped, there was probably not so much a boys heart could wish, but I can remember that I once acquired a pamphlet, perhaps it was for a Christmas, where it was told how Pig Mathis went through the ice.
Grocer Sorensens was, as I said, older people, and probably not aired so much as there was needed. The result was, that it came to smell. An aroma which also followed the goods. This gave rise to a popular sport at the confirmations, which was to snoop through to the telegram and guess where they was purchased.
Smells was not anything that was so delicate at that time. A horse that watered out on the road, the dunghills at the farms in the town, dung and urine which was spread on the ground outside the windows, or the bog-which was the root cause of our coveted large rhubarb-had, all had the ingredients to put its mark on the village. If there even was a little waste from the floor, and a bit of cheese coming in the stove, then it could smell over half the city in the next 10 minutes
Since the grocer Soerensens wife died in 1937, he gave up to operate the business further, and moved to his daughter and son in law Cort Kortsen on Enghavegaard. Grocer Soerens went however daily to his old residence, to sit and read the newspaper in the familiar surroundings.
When the old merchant gave up, we had to find a new supplier. That was the big grocer down the intersection where the road to Broendbyvester, Vridsloeselille and up through the town towards the beach area, met.
This was a kind of commercial centre. Here was the mailbox and here stood the phone box with coin opening to 10 oere, and here was also the grocers gas station. Sales were, however, probably not great, because it would be sufficient to fill the underground tank from some 200 liter barrels, which was on the truck boody, and was associated with the filling pipe through a hose with fine brass fitting.
The gas dispenser was, of course, the old style, where gasoline was alternately pumped up in two glass containers. Each container could hold 5 liters, and when a container was full, a shift handle was activated, and the gas ran under its own power down in the vehicle tank. In the meantime, had the operator filled the second glass with some quick pump strokes, and the process could be repeated.
It was dangerous liquid we here had to do with, and that demanded a responsible person to operate such a service station, so one could be sure that the plate with "Smoking strictly prohibited" was taken seriously.
The small dispenser for kerosene, which was placed on the wall inside the grocer store was easier to operate, although it in principle worked in the same way. Here it was just kerosene to be filled in carrying cans. The facility also demanded attention, but that was mostly not to get kerosene on the fingers, because snowballs with kerosene taste were not so nice, even if they only cost 5 oere a piece.
This grocer shop was light and airing with the fragrance of freshly ground coffee from the electric coffee grinder. We should always have 1 / 2 pounds of coffee and 2 Richs. That it should be Richs coffee stretch was a matter of course, for here was Richs picture card in the package. So it helped not that the competitor "Denmark" answered the Richs slogan "It is Richs which are used" with "But it is Denmark which are useable."
That the coffee smell also had value Olsson old mother know. She came with the old bag when she had to get coffee, for the power were sitting in it.
There also smelt of new leather from clogs. Of salted herrings which was taken up from the barrel with a tong made of wood, and wrapped in a layer of old newspapers. The fragrance of cinnamon and spices, soap and soda and sweets and cigars. The last most when a larger bill was paid and the children were given a cornet with sweets, while the man got a cigar from the offering box.
That there could be a major expense was not so strange, because the goods were mostly written in the book, and then paid at certain intervals. Sometimes a little too long intervals or not at all.
The grocer store was divided up by a counter. A limit which could not be exceeded. On the other side of this significant barrier prevailed the grocer and the possible assistant, while we, certainly had nothing to do over there. We had instead to express our wishes, or place a carried slip on the counter. Then withdrew the grocer drawers at the back of the counter or from the shelves on the back wall. Flour, grains, sugar and salt, or what they otherwise would have were carefully weighed up in paper bags on the brass balance with the two big weighing bowls. This tool was probably the most used, because, so to speak, all was sold in bulk at that time.
On the counter was of course also a cash register, which like another "one armed thief" had dancing digits and bell sound, when there were turned in the handle, and the drawer came out. However it was as mentioned not every time there was a "Jackpot" for the grocer. Anyway he was not unhappy, because I heard him once mention that his then shop assistant could produce a turnover of 75 kroner a day.
When we had been down at the grocer, and the goods had to be carried home, then we was using the carrying chip basket. However, not when we should have coal. They were brought out on a carrier cycle.
There had been several owners of this shop. I remember however best merchant Sidenius, who had the store before he exchanged with Lauritz Andersen, and was given his large house on Koegevejen, while Lauritz and Fanny was the new grocer.
Sidenius was probably a little ahead of time. He was aware that advertising is required. He had therefore an ad in the Glostrup lokal newapaper which said "Paris - London - Vallensbaek. Here is always obtained the best products." Whether the ad increased turnover is not known.
The third businessman was actually a kiosk, which was on the corner where the road was going down to the beach. When we came to the village they called the house "Rapid", but later were given it a name that better suited to the locality, "The Corner". The Kiosk also changed. With the time passing by it was enlarged, and in the end it was a very small grocer shop.
Oscar Banemanns ice kiosk, by contrast, was never a grocer shop, a place where the city's young was coming, and it continued to exist for long in to later times.
Banemann was very interested in animals, and had in particular a monkey. It was a guenon that could easily arouse himself, and then it was hard for the young people not to tease it, whereupon it was Banemann who was excited. At a time he also had an alligator and a snake, which he liked to show how the anus was closed with a lid, and then was in and sell ice in the kiosk.
Anyway we were happy to be where other young people were together, because there was not much entertainment in the village at the time.
Banemann had several sons. Henning was one of them we where looking up to, because he was an apprentice as cabinetmaker, and he had built a kayak, which he used to paddle around in the village pond. A Sct.Hans evening was particularly unforgettable. Henning paddled around and lit the bonfire in the middle of the pond, and torches outside. There might have been sold many ice creame this evening.
Henning was also in the process of building a glider. Because he was a cabinetmaker, he in the total body carefully used wood screws lubricated with paraffin, and not glue. He was never getting the rest made, and it was probably lucky, because that was not the way prescribed for building an aircraft. But it was exciting then, and especially when you also had the dream of being able to fly.
Supply to the ice kiosk came by car from Hellerup ice Cream. As there still was no freezers for storage of ice, it was instead placed in a ice cabinet, where the coolant was some containers of crushed ice. This ice was then supplemented with new, and melt water poured out, every time the car came with a new supply ice cream. However, it is a mystery how this system could maintain the temperature so far down that the ice cream did not melt, but it was perhaps a chill mix consisting of crushed ice and salt, which was able to bring the temperature down below freezing.
It was this method which were used, when homemade ice cream was produced to greater parties, but it should preferably be winter to catch the ice. In the bigger towns drove the horse drawn delivery car around with icecubes to private ice cabinets, but they did not came out to Vallensbaek.
When the village's merchants no longer was enough, we had to go to Glostrup, Taastrup or even to Copenhagen.
In Glostrup was purchased butter from cask, dug out and folded in a package with a small riffle tool of wood. It gave a great pattern in the butter when the sweet Irma girl made magic. Butter and eggs etc. was sold in a room where the shop windows all the time was cowered by running cold water, and at least made you feel cool.
Coffee and groceries were sold in the room next door, and here it was through something so unusual as a door which could go to both sides. In the coffee sale was the coffee mill with the large belt driven wheels and the white containers with the coffee to be grinded. There was a wonderful smell of coffee and spices in this section.
In Cykelimporten - also known as the "Copper Smith" - a name which reportedly had emerged as the owner in his young days was driving a motorcycle, and had provided it with an exhaust pipes of copper, we understandably bought the new bike. This was however, most often a used bike that was overhauled and painted in the workshop behind the shop. There was also charged battery to the radio, which was necessary in the time we lived in a house without electricity.
Should we use books or the like, it was Otto Thim's bookstore, where the bookstore owner himself was behind the counter, and dressed in aristocratic dress. If you had more money than you could use, we could provide them with Forstaedernes Bank next to bookstore.
There was also Privatbanken and Andelsbanken, but we were carefull with whom you would entrust your money, and to borrow was out of question.
It was therefore Forstaedernes Bank which went on with the victory, and was my trusted financial institution until, they not so long ago announced that they did not really needed me anymore. Yes, I could have my money in their custody, but I would not have interest longer, and may not be served by the sweet cash lady, but was instead referred to negotiate with a machine in a corner of the room.
50 years ago it was different. Here it was first at the counter, with the sign "Quotation". A stylish lady embraced bankbook, and she did write with pen and ink deposits or withdrawals into this and in the general ledger. Afterwards, it was taken to the cashier Jensen, who sat in his cubicle, and here paid, or receive, the money which had been noted.
Everything was marked by calm and dignity. The chamber radiated solidity and reliability, and spoke was subdued, as it was a solemn act that took place.
In Taastrup, it was H. Jessen shoppers went to if one should buy a new grill to the stove, or a board to repair a building or make a construction.
The last was the case when I would make me a pair of skis. The board, however, was heavier and longer than I had imagined, and it resulted in, that I could not come up and sit on the bicycle saddle when I had the board on the shoulder, and had to use one hand to control it. I biked therefore home sitting on the luggage carrier, because I could reach the ground with my legs in this position.
A police man, who of course also was on a bicycle, stopped me, and should have an explanation of what a boy, sitting with a 4 meter long plank on the shoulder, was doing on a luggage carrier. It had apparently not been anticipated that this could take place since the law was designed, as I was allowed to continue home.
The skies was also made, but when I was neither able to plane them down to the right thickness, or bend their tips, they were somewhat clumsy.
When we should have butcher articles which went beyond the butcher Henriksen's capacity, it was also often Taastrup we went to. One winter I was sent up after sausages. When I arrived and had to ask for the goods I had lost the money, and had to cycle home with undone case. It was almost not to bear. None wonderful sausages, the money gone, and so even hands with pains from cold, and had to get massage between my mother's hands, to get through the painful process it is, to get the blood going again.
When there were traded in large quantities, it was in Copenhagen it was done. One could take the bus with Holger Larsen as the driver, but it was cheaper to take the bicycle, and my mother was not going away for cycling in to Copenhagen after a full working day. Sometimes she had company of my larger siblings, but otherwise she drove on alone, because my father had to take care of the milking.
In Copenhagen, it was particularly Istedgade which was the preferred area. Here was many good shops with reasonable prices, and it was here we got to the minced meat to chopped beef from the horse butcher and shoes from Valeur.
When we not selected Istedgade we could also get shoes from Hector, and then there was of course Daels department Store. Illum and Magasin was only for the fine. Here it was too expensive to shop for ordinary people, but one could by the mark of the cloth see where it came from, so it gave a certain prestige, and showed that it had class. For us was a coat with that brand not so wanted, because here it was just a sign that was purchased from a second hand dealer, or donated as charity.
If we did not want to go to Copenhagen, there was finally the option to order the goods home in a mail-order from as well Daells Varehus as Candor, which both issued catalogues each year.
Daells Varehus had virtually the same as in newer times, clothes, toys and house hold articles, but not furniture, which came later. Candor had tools, bicycles and articles for agriculture.
The goods were usually sent as postal, to be retrieved from the post office in Glostrup. If the package was not too heavy, postman Peter Hansen, however could carry the package on his bicycle, when he was in Glostrup to get today's mail, and he got a gratuity for his trouble.
When the package was finally in house, the tension was almost unbearable, until the rest of the family was assembled, and unpacking could be done. The received goods were generally of good quality and equal to expectations.
As previously mentioned, we purchased bread twice a week by the delivery car from the Red Vejrmølle common bakery. Furthermore, there were "Nightanders" which had his own clientel. In recent years we started to get bread from a baker from Greve, very logical he were called "The Greve Baker". He came only once a week, and his speciality was a long "landbread" - a kind of white bread, which we children immediately threw us over, and made sandwiches with fat and salt.
If you were thirsty from the salt, there was also a solution, as one could buy soft drinks at a car which came from a little factory in Taastrup.
The supplies which came through the door, would include the wool dealer who came with the bundle on his back. It contained most good warm underwear. There was also a hairdresser who was allowed to cut us all, in turn, and "Vrikkelaus" - who had bad hips and bend to the side for each step he took. It seemed a little grim at us children, but he was obviously quite harmless, and maintained lives by selling a little at the doors.
That did Laurentius also. When he was in town he usually ate his lunch box with us, and got probably a cup of coffee to the meal. What he really was selling I do not remember, but I remember, however, that we bought a used radio from him. A real radio with silvery tubes and a speaker. A radio that could replace the krystal radio with headphones, and enable that all listened at the same time.
This radio was something special. It was equipped with battery power to the filaments, and a large anode battery insured the anode current, all because we had no electricity in the house we lived in at that time. Laurentius lived in Copenhagen, and my brother Bent and I biked in to get the wonder home. We were treated with coffee on the dark mahoney table in the victorian style home, and I got a well-directed kick of my leg when I tried to mix me in the conversation which took place between our hosts and my 6 years older brother. Finally, there was "The watch Man" from Hedehusene. The watch man was called such because he came and depleted the save watch each month. The save watch was part of an insurance, and it was fed with a ti-oere each day, before the date could be changed with a handle on the back.
The watch man also sold sewing machines. When my mother some years patched clothing for a laundry that was placed where Litex later turns seaweed to environmentally friendly additives, she had to have a treadle sewing machine. We got also a fine machine with a fine board and beautiful painting. But it could just not sew. In any case, not what it had to sew in here, so there was instead bought a Husquarna H26, which was probably less attractive, but could sew in all from silk to the plywood as we used to say.
The laundry was specialized in cleaning work clothes, and as such was not a competitor of Fisher's in Vallensbaek steam laundry, which was lying not far away. The owner was called Andersen, and he drove himself around and collected work clothes on the big workplaces. My mother's task was to mend the clean clothing, which was then fitted with a small slip with the financial statements of work, which was fixed prices for patches, mending and buttons, etc.
It was usually my father who had to pick up and deliver the work clothes, on bicycle of course, but I have even been sent for this job, and remember that, in my view, large warehouse, where you stood and threaded the laundry. I remember also the steam boiler, which came from a steam lokomobil, a kind of steam driven tractor. Such a boiler was considered with a balanced mix of fear and surprise, for we had heard that such things could explode.
Farmers and smallholders.
Agriculture played a dominant role in the village life. In Vallensbaek
the fields were distributed around the village, while the blacksmith, carpenter,
butcher and grocer was in the heart of the village. This led naturally to
regular traffic through the streets with horse wagons and working
In the short-haul traffic it was most rigid work wagons without suspension, with tapering side boards which could be lifted to facilitate unloading, and with two horses to draw.
These wagons were notably used when the dung pile was emptied, and the content was run out on the field. Here it was unloaded in small piles, using a dung hoe, which resemble a grip with long shaft, and with the branches placed perpendicular to the shaft. The piles was then later spread on the fields by hand, and finally plowed down in connection with the preparation of the soil. The worst job were nonetheless loading of the cart, where the straw filled cow, horse and pig dung was separated from each other, and passed up over the sideboard.
It was easier when there was liquid manure to spread out. Here the animals' urine ran directly from the stable out in a concrete storage, and when the time had come, was the urine pumped into a tank at a working wagon.
The tank was built of wood boards as a barrel, but as long and wide that it just suited to the rigid wagon. The filling with urine was made either with a big hand pump, which in principle, was designed as a water pump, or there could be a power-operated urine-pump.
Spreading on the field was more simple. Here you just opened an outstanding cock, while a plate ensured that the beam was scattered, and a suitable area benefitted from the fertilizer.
The rigid wagon was also in use when hay or the grain should home. Then was added a framework of planks on top of the side boards, to make a bigger flat to build the load up on. The establishment of a wagon load of corn was something of an art, and no matter how carefully it was done, then it could easily happen that the rumbling rigid wagons got the load to slide.
The work wagons was likewise in use when the beet should home from the soft autumn fields. Here was the work not less. First move beet up and chop the top of with a beet knife. Then load the beets on the wagon with a special beet fork with buds at the end of the branches, and then driving home and building a clamp so they could be saved over the winter.
The clamp was a task which required experience. First dug a recess and put the excavated soil along the sides. So filled beet in the recess, and building up as the roofs on a house. Then come a layer of insulating straw outside the beet, and at last the soil was shoveled up so that everything was covered.
It was an effective way to store winter feed, but not without risk. We could not predict whether it was a mild or severe winter, and was the beet insolated to good in relation to the temperature, there was a risk they were destroyed by the heat they developed themselves. A severe winter could in turn mean that beet was destroyed by freezing, because the insolation was not sufficiently effective.
When spring came, one was in any case sure to discover where the remnants of the clamp was located. That would the smell of the beets which not made it over winter tell you.
For the more transport like tasks was used horse wagons with spring suspension. Rarely, the light type there was only intended for passengers, probably because there was a car on most farms. Of the slightly more powerful horse wagons we had the loner-type, with a real platform and loose bench. The wagon was equipped with two wagon poles, elegant bent into an arc where they were attached to the horse's harness.
When the horse was harnessed the one pole was raised up, while the other was was resting on the ground. Then the horse was manoeuvred in towards the lying pole, without the horse was frightened and came to step on the pole so that it cracked. Then, the standing pole was put down, and both where fixed to the harness on the side of the horse, and the trace was attached.
The bigger spring suspended wagons was with two horses. Here was a single strong wagon pole between the horses. The pole was in the front attached with a chain to the harness on the horses chest, and rested against the horses sides. The pull from the horses passed through the trace to the single tree, which in turn where connected to the double tree, so the horses had to pull evenly together.
Such a wagon could be a nice piece of workmanship. Typical the color was green, with lines on both sides, front and back, and on the wheels, and where there was room for decoration.
The hubs could be covered by brass caps to protect against the black cart grease, and a real equipment was also a drivers seat there, to the driver and any passengers convenience, was put on side boards, and at such a distance from the front, that the driver could support his feet when there was hold hard back on the horses.
The spring equipped wagon was as mentioned used for transport. One use was to transport straw to Copenhagen, for example to the Zoo.
Here was the wagon loaded the day before. Again were used planks to make the flat bigger, and the cargo was then built up to what there seen with a small boys eyes, can only be described as a huge load, which consisted of sheaves, and was properly secured with rope to keep it all together.
The next day, in the early morning, climbed the driver up on the top of the load. From there, he had a good view forward, but not much to the side and behind. To signal when he would turn it was not of much help for other road users, which in morning darkness not would have any opportunity to see a whip pointing to that direction the driver would turn.
Light was also simple. A lit kerosene lamp suspended from underneath the wagon was sufficient in law, but far from easy to observe.
The trip to Copenhagen was long, and would to take all day, so the horses had to have their animal feed which was taken from nosebags.
When the straw had been unloaded by the beneficiary, the trip was mostly around Carlsberg, where the carriage was laden with steamy hot mash.
Mash was a residue from the beer brewing, and was used as feed for cows. It was loaded, into the mash pit in the room next to the stable, a recess in the floor as a half basement, and with a low wall in front to increase capacity.
The new mash, was as mentioned hot and humid, and it felt nice to go into it with bare feet.
Such a trip to the capital was regarded as something of an event, and we was looking up to the man who had been driver, as it was a sportshero from the winning team.
So to say all farming was then horse drawn. The plough with two horses in front was only able to draw a single furrow. The plough man walking behind with the rein around his back, for both hands should be used to control the plough. Since he only had limited opportunities to handle the rein, and certainly not be able to use the whip, he instead was scolding on the horses in a coarse language, while a flock of gulls followed and scolded on everyone, while they did themselves to good with the worms coming up.
When a groove was to end the plough was toppled on its side, and the ploughshare left off the ground. As soon as the horses were on the new course, the plough was raised up again, and began to turn over the sleek black earth.
A seemingly endless series of plough furrows lay ahead, and waited to be processed in quiet pace. The work, however, was not contempt, and in particular farmer Kortsen did like to walk after the plough in the field.
The cultivator took a little more at a time. A tool on iron wheel with curved spring tooths which could tear up the soil and could be raised and lowered with a handle.
The harrow was more simple. A framework with teeth that could separate and regulate ground, and at appropriate intervals, had to be lifted up so the roots from couch grass and the like could be freed. The harrow was also a practical tool to have in a hard autumn storm. Here it could be laid up on the roof of straw when this was old and tender, and threatened to blow away on a weak place.
There could be a spreader for fertilizer, which was designed much like a saw machine, with some rotating plates which could disperse chemical fertilizers or lime addition to the field.
The real saw machine was quite complicated. With a system of gears and exchanges to bring the seed forward in the right pace, and go down trough the tubes, which ended in a kind of a plough, that could make the way for the seed to a place below the surface, where it was not immediately taken by birds.
When we drove with the saw machine, there should be an eye on each finger. The rows should be kept, but at the same time it had to be controlled, that there was no constipation, so the seed in a tube did not come out. Perhaps the lower part of the pipe had to be lifted, so couch grass or similar who had gathered in front of the tube could escape, and again made a hole in the ground for the seeds.
It might therefore be necessary to have a help - usually a boy - who could be responsible for the seed came in the ground.
When the field was sown should it be harrowed to cover what has been sawed, and then compacted by a roller. The simplest form was not actually a roller, but only a board which was dragged over the field of a horse, while the farmer was standing on the board and supported by the bridle to keep the balance, while his weight increased the boards levelling and compacting effect.
A real farmer had a ring roller. A tool that filled the entire street in the village, not only with its width, but also with the incredible noise from the lose cast iron rings- every second with a smooth comb and every second with teeth - emitted during the transport on the stone covered asphalt road.
The advantage of the ring roller was partly the great weight, but also that the loose cast iron rings was better to follow the terrain, and provide a more uniform compression of the surface.
The smallholder Andersen did not have this advantage. His roller consisted of a large tree trunk with an axle through. It made not so much noise, as it was more a deep rumble.
When the grain was up, did we not go around in the field, for grain which were down - as, for example. "lodging" which was overthrown of rain in a thunderstorm - could not be picked up with harvesters of the time. There could therefore only be need for additional fertilizers, where traces of the horse, the narrow wheels on the fertilize spreader, and the man who went behind, hardly put visible marks in the young cornfields.
One of the crops for winter fodder was the hay. This was usually harvested in the first part of summer, when grass and clover had increased and was juicy and green.
For hay harvest was used a horse mower, with a knife which was pulled in a forward and reverse movement of a gear and connecting rod system, which was connected to the wheels.
The horse mower was a fairly simple machine, with a knife which could be raised to a vertical position, so as not to fill so much during transport. It was also simple to run and operate, and demanded not greater expertise of the user. The most important thing was to take care that none was hurt when the knife was in work, or when removing something from the knife.
This was an obvious source of accidents to stop the horses and start working with the knife without linking this from the drive. If the horses then began to move was the risk of injury high. In any case, should the driver be cautious, particularly if there were children nearby, but we would also prefer not to hurt wild animals, as the rabbit lying in the field, or farm cat on mouse hunt.
When the grass was cut, and the first part of dehydration over, it was time to begin to resemble hay pulled together with a horse rake. A simple but practical tool, with big light iron wheel, a series of curved elastic teeth of spring steel of such high quality that they are now used for the manufacture of some excellent knifes. The horse rake was towed by a single horse between two bars, and on top of it all sat the driver in his relatively comfortable steel seat, where he with a foot pedal could bring a pal in action with some teeth in the hub on the wheels, and thus allow the horse and machine to carry out the work in lifting the large number of teeth, so it almost looked like magic.
The technique was then to lift the horse rakes teeth at appropriate intervals, so there was left a portion of hay in each place. The next series was run in parallel with the first, and the rake triggered off the beside the first portion. When the entire field was run through, was the hay collected in long rows, which in turn could be collected in the other direction.
When the hay was appropriate dry, it was set up in stacks. Not big stacks, but just some stacks which could protect against rain, and yet was so airy that it was still drying.
On Ragnesminde they had not stacks, but laid instead the hay on some tripods of wood, so the hay was not resting on the ground. This avoided that it took moisture from the soil, and gave a quick and more efficient drying of the hay. The system was particularly advantageous in a rainy summer, where it was difficult to get the hay dried in the ordinary way.
As soon as the hay in stacks was ready, it was driven home to the farm. It could be a ungrateful task to load the hay in a way, that not to much was lost when the horse and cart were driving home over uneven fields and roads.
When the corn was harvested it was quite different. As time for harvest approached, and the grain was high and straight, it was time to inspect the binder, which at virtually all sites had taken over the laborious job of harvesting the grain with scythe, collect it and tie the cheats in hand with a band of straw.
The binder was an entire small factory. It was pulled by three horses, and was supported by a broad iron wheel under the machinery part, and a small wheel at the end of the table with the knife. This cut the straw immediately above the ground, and left a clean stubble field with short stubble, that was hard by the bare legs and ankles when we went on the field.
The wide wheels had a protruding design to improve friction, as this was to draw the machinery. When the binder was transported out to the field to be harvested, pressed the wheels a similar pattern in the summer heat asphalt roads, so we could easily follow the route, and if you were on a bicycle, wheels could produce a funny sound if you ran on top of the embossed pattern. However, there were also transport wheels with smooth lanes, which could be placed under the binder when it had to be transported over long elongation.
The principle of the binder was, that the cut straw were forced back towards the rear by a kind of wings, which served as a shovel wheel on a ship. The cereals landed on the table and the belt of canvas called the sail. The cereals was now passing up over the machinery, that had form as a house, and ended up on the other side, where it was pressed together to cheats, which periodically was throw out of a pair of rotating arms, after first being equipped with a surrounding string.
The last part of the process was the most difficult to understand. How could a machine learn to turn a knot, when I nearly not could tie a shoe lace.
Before it came so far, one had to prepare for the binder in advance. There were cut a notch around the field with schyte and the grain from here tied by hand. This was done because the machine might run in the grain in the first cut. It would therefore be trampled down by the horses or overthrown by the wheel, so it was more or less wasted.
When the field was harvested, and sheaves were dispersed as the binder had left them, it was time to put them up in shocks. This was done by taking the sheaves from a small area and gathering in a row, standing with the grain up, and leaning two and two against each other and against them ahead in the series.
There was no corn dryer at the time, so it was important that the weather allowed the corn to dry in the natural way, why it was in a very critical stage. Was it rain for a long time, there was a risk, that it began to grow in the shocks, and the grain was in any case of a lower quality.
We had now reached a major events. The corn harvest could run in to house. Sheaths after sheaths was passed up with a fork and the load build up to make a big horse carriage load to go home to the farm. Here they were again loaded in to the barn, or set up in a large rick nearby.
We could now breathe a sigh of relief on the farm, and rejoice if it was a good harvest which was brought fortunate in house, or fear the future if the proceeds were poor or ill-dried, so there was a risk of mildew or fungus, or perhaps self-ignition when the damp straw burned together.
Now where only missing the final processing of the grain. That was threshing to discard the corn from the straw.
One day during autumn or winter, came "Laust Sørn" puffing with the kerosene powered Fordson tractor. It was fitted with smooth iron rings around the wedge-shaped grips on the large rear wheels, and the steam wavy up of the open radiator cap. The tractor was coupled with a mobile threshing machine as large as a house, and after this a straw compressor. A whole parade, which even brought their own means of transport in the form of bicycles.
The threshing team was driving from farm to farm, where they did not have own threshing machine. The transport was not without problems, although the limited horsepower in the tractor was enough when using an appropriate gearing, but the smooth iron rings on the tractor driving wheels could lose their grip up the hill, and it was wise to have a brick ready to throw behind one of the wheels, for it was only the tractor, which could brake, and that was of no use when the wheels had lost grip.
So turned Laust Sørn the chewing tobacco in his mouth, took a little gravel on the side of the road and throw under the wheels of the tractor, and then went further to the destination.
Here the threshing machine was placed halfway into the barn and was leveled up with the help off some wood covered jacks. They were so heavy, that there was needed a strong man, just to wear them. The tractor was placed outside, and connected with the threshing machine with a long flat belt, which was crossed to give maximum support on the belt pulleys, and also at appropriate intervals got sticky beltwax, from a block which was held against the belt while it was in motion.
The belt was shielded with a rope. Not a very effective security measure. We children had also been severe warned to keep us in good distance.
Now could the threshing start. The sheaths was passed up from man to man, binder string was cut, and the sheath content feed down in the plant's insatiable gap. When the threshing machine under work lost some revolutions, the sound was a little deeper, and the tractor worked a little harder, until the sheath has passed. This sound could be heard throughout the city and much of the surrounding area, as there normally not was many other sounds.
The threshing was a dusty work. It happened often that I was called with a "you Kresjan, run down to the grocer after two beer and a soda for yourself." I could not drink all that soda, but got then a femoere or tioere instead.
For the rat dog this were the golden days. As sheaths was removed, disappeared hiding for the rats, after which they fled to other hiding. Then it was important to have a good rat dog, who could catch the rats and kill them very quickly.
For the man who would bear the full sacks of corn up on the farmhouse ceiling it was not golden days. A full sack of corn is heavy. Take in the top of the sack, a quick lift and turn while a helper gave a hand underneath, and so up on the neck. It was a job where you have to show how strong you were, but which have cost many mutilate backs and early degradation, for the way from the threshing machine to the farmhouse ceiling could be long, and the stairs to the ceiling difficult to climb up.
When we as child was going about on a farm, there could be many dangers. There were cows which could use the horns, horses kick, unsafe machines and heights you could fall from. But there was also a security. The warm stable with the munching cows. Noise from the chains as kept the cows in their place. The milk which said "strit strit" down in the bucket because all milking was made by hand, and the cat who came to beg for milk. It all helped to create a feeling of security and peace, because everything had its own well-known rhythm.
A farm could also be a wonderful place to play. There were plenty of places you could hide when we played hide. We could stand with bare feet in the hot mash, or tumble in the straw in the dark barn, where lights from the cracks represented their tracks in the dusty air, and a hole in the wall acted as the lens in a camera obscura, and represented a perfect but conversely picture of the landscape outside, on the surface next to the hole.
There was also the coach house. Here we could go and cuddle a little for the fine carriage, wonder at the machinery construction and operation, and perhaps steal to sit in the family car and believe you can switch gears as a racer driver.
We could also get some poetic experience, as when I an early morning at late summer sat on the bar on my father's bike, when he was out to the cattle in Nordmarken. Here, the low sun shine in the billions of duw drops in the flat web between the stubble on the harvested field, and with colours which can not have been better for stones in Aladdins hollow. Unfortunately, the poetry become realities since the handlebar of my father's bike refused to follow with the front wheel on the pierced road, so it was only my father's long legs who rescued us from toppling completely on the uneven field road.
I remember one summer day with blue sky, as well as rain clouds. We were taken out to the field where my father was milking, and had some empty fertilizer sacks that we could take over us when there came a shower. It was really nice to sit and hear the rain drumming on the sacks, while we noticed the smell of tar and paper, because at the time consisted protection from moisture, bags made of two layers of paper with tar between.
When my father was milking cows in the rain out on the field, he used instead a jutesack for protection. The first corner at the bottom was pushed into the second, then founded a kind of hood that protected both the head and back.
When we were out there on the field, we had real contact with nature. Felt the smell of rain which affected the sun heated ground, while we was laying at the back and looked up in the drifting clouds, without any idea, that on this place should come athletic facilities and a highway with an endless stream of noisy cars.
It could also have some amusing experiences, as when some heifers, that had gone in a meadow throughout the summer, had been wild, and did not like to be captured. The owner of Gammelgaard then determined to take his Ford car and hunt them around in the meadows to run them tired, while half the village stood and looked on.
That the farms were a part of village life it could not fail to note. You could see the farms and related fields, one could hear the farms and the life that occurred in them, and we could generally also smell the farms.
The farms were for a large part the basis for the village's economic life, and did therefore also take part in the municipal and public duties. When the tax assess was over, and lists of what each had to pay in tax was put forward for public viewing, one might well wonder how bad a business it was to operate a large farm.
The farms were also noticed when there was offered celebration for peers, where my mother had a job as occasional cook . Here was the resources needed to create a party with good Danish food and common access. Let be that Laurits Andersen said, "You can take the white potatoes out again, we are satisfied with the brownish".
Of smallholders there were probably only the state smallholders, with their nice whitewashed houses and a land area which hardly was enough for general agriculture. It was however not so, that they ranked at the bottom of the social pecking order. Although they were not the great farms peers, but there was certainly some state smallholders which was respected and listened to.
The boundary between what was agriculture and what was horticulture
could be a little vague. However, there was no doubt that Tjønagergaard
with OC Kjærs market garden at Torvevejen was horticulture. There were
many greenhouses, heating plant with a high chimney and coal piles outside,
and they were driving to the market square in a truck with a beautiful red
tomato painted on the back.
But still. Even here, it was strawberries, cauliflower, cabbage and leeks, etc. in the open air, as well as potatoes. A breeding which was not very different from what smallholders and some farms tried with. At Bertel Bjerre on Stjernegaarden was also attempted horticulture, but still more as a farm. At least in the beginning.
At Per Bjerregaard in the middle of the city, it was also horticulture, but on a smaller scale, since the work could be handled by the owner and one helper.
On the large nurseries as OC Kjaer, there were several employed, and there was even settled helpers who lived in the main house. In addition, employees as wives from the city and half grown children, almost all from the lower social stratum, had at some time been in work here, or some other horticulture. This was not least due to, that it was a profession which often needed many helpers for short periods.
As mentioned had the major horticultural own cargo car to go to the market. The horticultural producers working in a small-scale could instead use Kaj Nielsen as the commissioner, which is to say, that he drove into the market square, and as an intermediary to sell their goods at a fee.
The nurseries come with a sign of a new era for the village. It was industrial production, where the employer demanded respect for meeting times and breaks with minute precision, while you on the farm did not take the time as heavily, for the work that necessarily had to be done should simply be finished, regardless of the time.
It also meant that casual laborer could foresee work when production was requiring manpower. But also had to foresee, that there was no need for one any longer. As a laborer or girl on a farm you was secured, but on the other hand might as well run the risk for some long hours, without it gave rise to the payment due to overtime.
Post and Telephone company.
The village postman Peter Hansen was the link to the world. Regardless
of the weather, he did bike up to Glostrup Post Office, delivered letters
from the local mailbox, and got letters and small items back to the delivery
on his round, and perhaps a single larger package, so that the recipient
saved the trip to Glostrup Station to get it.
Could we not clear our mission with a letter, there was the coin telephone by the grocer, but the cost was 10 oere, and it was limited who we could call, because the phone was not as widespread at the time. To call outside the immediate area was almost unthinkable, and if you would call Jutland, you had to be addressed to Rigstelefonen, and so it was really difficult and costly.
In addition, Vallensbaek was a phone development area, where you as one of the first places in Denmark had automated phones, where you was able to turn the number. However, this could only occur within the centre's own territory, because there went many years before the other exchanges were automated, and the telephone operator retired.
The coin telephone was not automated. Here we came in connection with an operator who moved on to the desired number and said "Please put 10 oere in the box," and the connection was established, but only when she had registered the coin fall in the coin box. After 3 minutes she was there again,
"3 minutes, do you want to continue." Was the answer yes, a new coin in the box, and it was to regain the thread of the conversation.
The automatic telephone exchange was located in a pretty small yellow stone house down by Baekrenden. The house was widely visited by the phone company crew on bicycle, but it was probably most to gather experience, or to enjoy nature, for the automatic telephone exchange operated as far as is known very well.
Was it not enough with mail or telephone, you could at an affordable
price even go to Copenhagen with the coach.
The coach was stationed in Vallensbaek. A garage of corrugated iron plates was the bus station, while Holger Larsen was the standard driver, and lived in a place next to the garage.
Although the bus at the time seemed great, it was not the case after today's conditions. It was one man job to be driver. Holger had to deal with ticket sale, where everything was assembled in the money bag, which also included tickets and ticket punch. He had also to open and shut the door for passengers going in and out. This was done by remote control from the driving position, using a handle with a connection which could open and close the front door. Finally, he should naturally lead the vehicle safely back and forth between Vallensbaek and Copenhagen.
This was obviously a difficult task, for a sign above the windshield announced that "It is forbidden to talk with the driver while driving." A ban, of course, that was not strictly enforced.
There was no bus stops. You were just taken up on the road when the bus passed, and was accordingly let off on the way back from the trip.
The route went over Broendbyvester and Broendbyoester, while the final stop was Aalholms Square. From here we could extend our journey by tram into the centre of Copenhagen. An experience in itself, with the rather small cars, which consisted of a front car and a trailer. The electric motor which was driving the tram was placed in the front car and the power supply was given by a rod with a small wheel on the top. It ran on the line above middle of the track, and it had an ability to jump of in an inconvenient place, leading to the tram stopped and blocked the rest of traffic, until the staff again had manoeuvred the rod in place by the fitted rope.
The trams was noisy. The wheels against the rails made noise, even there was people running around and lubricate in curves and other difficult places. Where the wear was strongest, there were people there at night welded new surface, so the blue light flamed ghostlike up on the houses, while the welding place was protected by a screen with the words "Do not look into the welding flame".
The gear wheel in the transmission growled also badly, and what the technic could not produce ,the sounds made by the two conductors, one in each car, when they withdrew in the common leather line up under the ceiling, and a loud bell told the driver that now he might run. But first he should perhaps close the window up and change tracks with the rod hanging up in front of the tram, and could comfortably be used out through the window.
Had you baggage went you from the street up in the drivers place, and gave him a gratuity for the inconvenience. On the other hand, had the conductor nothing to do out there. He knocked with the ticket punch on a small glass shutter in the door, and then you had to pay through the opening. A "straight" if you do not need to change, and a "transfer" if you were to continue with a second tram a place on the route.
When the tour in the noisy city, with the tempting shops and illuminating neon signs was finished, we could stay in the waiting room on Aalholm square, in to Holger came up with the warm bus and friendly atmosphere, and then it was difficult to keep eyes open after a whole day's experiences and impressions.
The time you go to school is one of the most important periods in life.
A good education can provide good opportunities later in life, and an unfortunate
schooling can lead to a cut-off of later development.
In Vallensbaek was both options present. If we could follow, there was much to get in the three hours of daily training, but there was always some coming unhelpful behind, and there was no time to take care of children with Dyslexia or other deviations from the norm, which in fact in this time simply was thought to be stupidity.
The school was a beautiful red stone building with roof covered with true slate. The teachers home was a similar building which was in a angle of the school building, and a second leg was the old school building. It contained now the municipal office at one end, while the other end was reserved for school children privy, and storage for exercise tools etc. The three buildings formed a U-shaped frame around the school square , with the high flagpole in the middle. The real playground with the fixed gymnastic apparatus were nonetheless above the school buildings. Up against the the Mariehoej farm.
The three classrooms were laying together around the entrance with the chequered stone floor. Beautiful it was, but hard to fall on. Along the left wall was a long wood bench. That was the boys bench. A similar bench on the opposite wall - right when we came in - were the girls bench, and we where very carefully not to put ourselves on the wrong bench.
The classroom to the left was first class. It was only a name for the room, as we where two years in first class. It was a long narrow space, with a number of desks for two pupils on each side, and located close to the wall, so the outer pupil had to move when the inner should out. The teacher, Madam Frandsen, resided at teachers desk, which stood on a platform, so there was good overview of the small heads. They had in turn good vision to the blackboard, which was held similar high.
The room was, as the other classrooms, heated by a big black stove, and for that we should not get distracted, there were pasted pattern, pergament like paper in the lower part of the windows. We had instead of letting mind wander through, to look at the colored posters that was hanged on the wall, and showed images of everyday life in Denmark.
Second class, that included third and fourth year pupils, lay behind the first class. It was a similar narrow room, and seemed dark, most probably because of the trees behind the building, but the prospect of farm owner Christiansens dunghill was not particularly inspiring.
The large class in which the fifth, sixth and seventh years of pupils went to, filled whole the opposite end of the school building. Here was the classroom in the buildings full width, however the space was not big, when about 40 students were in education, and even at three different levels.
The students were sitting here at two man desks, but there was, however, so much more space, that it was possible to get out from the seat to both sides. And then, there was ink in the common inkwell above the sloping desk. It was in that class that the cabinets with glass doors - which included the school's collection of stuffed birds and physic instruments - were located. It was also here we had the school library, which also could fit in a bookcase. On the walls hang a series of dust collecting portraits of the crowned or famous heads mounted on boards, while the teachers desk and other interior was virtually as in the other classes.
School sanitation was not great. A basin in entrance after tap water was established, and an old-fashioned privy to the girls and boys. The buckets depletes the municipal worker on the dunghill at Christiansens farm, who after all was conveniently right next to the school. The fly's could then bring a greeting back when you were doing your packed lunch.
The first school day are not remembered long in the memory. It did, however, an incident. In the big boys violent play got the well feed Elmer from the state smallholder on Broendbyvestervej, torn the neck opening on his little too tight seaman suit, which he of course was outraged over. I thought probably it was a pity for him, but should myself have enough protectors, since I had three siblings who already was in school.
At Mrs Frandsen, we were taught in elementary basic, of which I particularly remember writing. We made the writing on slate boards with a slate pencil. It was sharpened out on the steps at the entrance, and it screamed badly with the many slate pencils against the slate boards, but it saved on paper. It did so when we did not have a book, but instead had to look after Mrs Frandsens writing on the blackboard.
Mrs Frandsen seemed to us as an old lady what she also was, at least in relation to us. She was a real mistress after that times view, with her hair gathered in a knot in the neck. She demanded the unconditional peace of the class. Did you forget that you had to put your hand on the desk, and so we got a rap over it with a ruler. Mrs Frandsen had a big mistake, she taught us not to sing. It was therefore a happy event for us, when she a rare time was replaced by a young sweet relief, that immediate taught us to sing "Now titter to each other, the brave flowers small." The luck lasted, however not at this time. Mrs Frandsen came back soon, and we were again without singing.
After two years in the first class we started in second class, and had here a man to teacher. It was really a teacher Christensen who was the permanent teacher, but he was very ill, and I only remember supply teachers. We had a few in short time, but then came Elmer Sorensen, who later became permanent as a teacher at the school.
Teacher Sorensen was a young inspiring and enthusiastic teacher, who both could play violin and sing, and teach us the last, not least when we were to leave school, and ended with standing beside the desks and sing "Always cheerful when you go, Roads God know. " On the morning was also sung a hymn, and asked the Lords Prayer before we began today's education.
Teacher Sorensen would also like to teach us something body culture, so we had to be up on the square and do exercises, even though the gymnastics display were not included in the scheme with the scant three daily lessons. Here, there was ample use of time into danish, arithmetic, history, religion, geography and natural history.
Teacher Sorensen did not go away for smoking a cigar in the break, and when he was a little sharply also could also be good for a couple of profanity words. It was not typical for teacher Sorensen, who both play on organ in the church when necessary, and also worked as church singer.
It was, in other words, a teacher we could look up to, but also a teacher who had great demands, both to him selves and to the pupils, while parents not was something you wasted time on. The school commission did we neither see too much. The members, or at least some of them came and listed to the annual exam, but in reality it was probably more the teacher than the rest of us who were up for the exam.
The years in the second class was probably the time which gave the biggest boost. Here did we learn to read ,so that you could even read children's books. We did learn tables, as they sat firmly rest of our lives, and we learned that to account consisted of more than 2x2 = 4. We learned about fractions, and reiterated in chorus after the teacher the lessons it is so necessary to remember.
We did not have much homework. It had probably been hopelessly, for most children had responsibilities at home, and there was not much space to work with the tasks. When it was history or related disciplines, was the section reviewed by the teacher the day before, and then we were consulted in the substance next time we had this subject. Although I was good to remember, so for my part, it was not particularly important to read at home, as long as the substance had been examined thoroughly in school. With the verse of a hymn it was a different matter. We should learn verse by heart, and it has never been my strong point, so it's certainly not at that I have taken good marks.
In the third class, we were referred to three cohorts. It is still a mystery how teacher Sorensen could successfully teach at three levels simultaneously. That he could, but it was of course not all the subjects that required a different education, for example. history could probably be dealt with simultaneously by all, while subjects such as danish and arithmetic necessarily had greater demands the longer you was in the school course. In certain situations, one could even work together between all three cohorts. I remember in particular one competition in which all campaigned against all, and it was not necessarily the older students who were best.
The breaks was wonderful, but not when it was cold or raining as the only place we could be was in the entrance. Here was no heat, and if we was to noisy, the reward could be a slap in the face on stripe to the involved. Perhaps also a few to them who really had not been involved, but had been unfortunate and stayed in the wrong place.
Punishment was however rare, but occurred in other words as a slap in the face or a stroke on the tight seat, where the unfortunate had to bucks, for that he would be an appropriate target for the flicking stick. The other students were usually forced to watch the punishment, and it took a thrill through the rows of each blow. The punishment could also be the detention, but here it was also beyond the teacher leisure.
The breaks started as a rule, with the cry "last up". And then it was not to be the last to reach the gymnastic apparatus at the top of the square above the school, as the last one were to be left to "stay" when playing hide, or perform other unpleasant tasks.
If you did not play one could climb in the bar or exercise in the boom, or best of all, you could eat your sandwich carried in the lunch box. However, without school milk, for that did not exist, like the refrigerator to preserve it in, so when thirsty we had to drink water, and it was hygienic enough with the new water dispenser, where the water came up in a thin beam when pressing on a ring.
Orla was the strong boy in my class, but he was not abusing his power. It was only when necessary, and a single demonstration was enough to convince any of the rightness of it. Klokkerens boys were those who where bullying. They were not able to form clique with other than themselves, so it ran in the rule into nothing, while they in turn ran back to their mother in the house next to the school if it began to go wrong.
Valde followed me when I went home from school, and we laid great plans for tours there was never carried out. Kurt was sitting beside me at the desk. We were both interested in technique, and he had a "Laboratory" under the stairway of his parents state smallholder place on Broendbyvestervej. He was one of the school boys I used to deal with.
Hans Peter Ejgil Flemming Schmidt was enriched with many names, and a strong talent for gymnastics, which I lack completely. We were fortunately allowed to call him Ejgil, and could also count on him as a good friend. Villy, who was the one half part of twins out from Frede Andersen on Broendbyvestervej, was the class arithmetic master. Always first with the answer when there were arithmetic, while twin brother Ernst was more cautious.
And then there were the girls. These ball playing and hopscotch playing individuals, thereby avoiding any further contact. They could just stick to their bench and their part in class. Therefore, it also caused quite a stir, when I one day my side buddy had irritate me enough, asked the teacher if allowed to move on to an empty desk at the girls part off the classroom. Astonishing was not less, since the girl, who used to sit at the desk, some days later returned to her place, and I was sitting with her, but probably not for long.
Generally it should be said ,that the students got on well with each other, and that despite large social differences were not squinting to them. The only case I recall massive reservation against a pupil was, when a new pupil came from a school in Copenhagen, and now feared all to fall through in relation to the newcomers, who they thought had been given a much more comprehensive education. It was perhaps partly true, because they probably had more subjects in Copenhagen, but for the basic subjects taught by Vallensbaek School could be raised no criticism.
The schooling was not just teaching. There was also some festive occasions. An exam may not be regarded as a party, but for us it was. The first solemn mood was soon more relaxed when a member of the education committee had sent a pupil after sweets. When the exam was over, we had been given money from home, and when they were used, the rest of the day went with playing with friends.
The summer trip to the woods was another festive event. As previously mentioned, some farms had horse carriage and driver available, and then we went in jubilation and cheer up to Hareskoven. Here, there could be served red fruit pudding in a restaurant, while the staff struggled laudable to keep us away from the piano and bowling lane. During the return continued the cheers, but now only to the extent it would be possible for the filled stomachs.
One time we was on a trip to the island Ven. Here we would of course see the remnants of Tycho Brahes observatory. They are still there. That is the light motorcycles young people drove around on also. We were much more interested in the motorcycles than some old building remnants. It was nevertheless a remarkable journey. The first time abroad, and the first time out to sail with a large ship, in this case the S / S Sct. Ib, where you could look down into the engine room with polished piston rods and beams in rhythmic moving, and ultra-quiet machinery for the ship's propulsion. It was fortunately a beautiful day without heavy sea, and the first cruise did not end with a defeat to the sea, as the smell of the day-old eg sandwich in your packed lunch could give rise to.
Finally, there was the Christmas. A large Christmas tree was put up and decorated in the great classroom, and here we were then enough to dance around the Christmas tree. There was also played singing games as "Father, father krigsmand" where the last man ended in the black pot. Fortunately, it was not meant literally, so we limited itself to long for the pot of hot chocolate. There was also Christmas gifts. One year I was given a book called "76 kg. Gold", and was written by a Tex Harding. It was quite exciting, and not just a children's book. It can be easily found because I still have it. Another time it was a book about a trip to the moon in rocket. The book's author had been right foresight, for it was a rocket powered by liquid fuel, so I think a certain German rocket expert had worked inspiring on the author. Since the book, unfortunately, is lost, I have no longer the possibility to establish the accuracy of it.
We also had a couple of events which where outside the normal school environment. One was a trip teacher Sorensen organised to Roskilde Cathedral, with subsequent chocolate on Hoejskolehjemmet. We drove back and forth in passenger car, but if it were private cars, which of course did not exist as much of the time, or hired, I do not know. Who held the cost is also not clear, whether it may have been a teacher Sorensen who paid of his own pockets. One is safe, we have hardly had to pay, as I then had not participated.
Another excursion was not so money demanding. It was a bicycle ride with teacher Sorensen to Soendersoe by Hareskoven. A long journey, but a recent bicycle ride into the the Grundtvigs church in the north of Copenhagen was hardly shorter. Here we could see the beautiful church under construction. Only the tower was completed. It was on the other hand so large ,that it could provide space for the church acts until the rest of the church was finished.
In 1938 came the revolution to Vallensbaek School. There was hired a first teacher, created several classes, and we could no longer do with three hours of schooling a day. The good thing was that there was also an opportunity to create more new subjects. One of them was physics, and since I had only seen this area myself in old textbooks I had been given, I welcomed this subject. Unfortunately, teacher Larsen, who had to teach the course, was not so well versed in this area, but that said he honestly, and used instead as much more energy in the song lessons, to teach us to sing "A Rose I saw shoot" in part-singing choir.
Teacher Larsen was in many ways the contrast to Sorensen. Teacher Sorensen had often quite strict requirements, and did not want to compromise on these. Teacher Larsen was the epitome of the Fuen roundness, which he had brought from his home on the island Aeroe. If a pupil was a little too anxious in the hour, he said simply "Think before you speak Rosa", and it was over. He was the type of the modern teacher, who did not want that corporal punishment should be a necessary component of the school, and was therefore in reality, to introduce a reform in schools.
Teacher Sorensen continued at the school as second teacher, and we could now experience to be taught by two different teachers during the school day. It had not been the case previously . One could also see, that the two teachers in the breaks was walking up and down the playground together, while they discussed eagerly, and probably only had half a mind to the children.
One day in March 1940, it was over. The pupils who should leave school was in the morning to chocolate in the home of the teacher. In the afternoon I started as a 13-year boy my career with the adults to carry plant together with with the helpers up on the OC Kjær's horticulture.
It had been possible to continue schooling in the private school in Taastrup, because I as one of the brightest students in the class had received offers of free education. The offer included, however not clothing and transport, and as there was no money in the household, and also was good use of the money I could earn, I had as my other siblings to finish school after the 7 years of schooling.
The school was nevertheless not quite over. Teacher Sorensen - who had had a nice home- arranged on the ceiling of the school - took on a voluntary basis, to teach a small group of English, and this came to form the basis of my future and essential skills in this language. The training took place on the evening at the residence of teacher Sorensen, and we had some incredible comfort, where it was enough just as much talk and coffee drinking as education.
There was also some basis for night school. Here I learned to make a wreath and book binding with Enrico Bjerre as a teacher. The adult library also began to take shape in the school's auspices. Located in some shelves in the classroom for the second class, and with the teachers as the driving force. The most important thing was, that it was now possible to order books home from the main library in Hellerup, because the fixed collection of books would need to be very limited.
Priest and the church
We could not say church life was dominant in Vallensbaek. There was
a small group, which like pastor Lorentzen had an evangelic branch of the
church of Denmark. This congregation met faithful in church every Sunday,
but there was no broad support for church life in general.
It seemed strange because pastor Lorentzen seemed plain and straightforward, and was a man who was not afraid to get into work and even tried to make a fur farm during the war. Perhaps it was because the evangelic style, where he on the pulpit could take the opportunity to blame the newcomer in the church, that they were not in church every Sunday. That was not least the candidate for confirmation exposed of, when it as a part of the preparation for confirmation was claimed, that they should participate in service some times before the confirmation. Here they could then choose to ignore the reproach, and instead study the exciting carved figurines on the pulpit, and the painted frescoes which at this stage was visible.
We also tried sunday school for children, but the form was probably not the right, for it become no tradition. That was rather the bazaars in the parsonage garden, held to raise money for missions work. Here was raised booths in the old garden with the big trees. In the booths you could buy tickets to a lottery, fish for small packages in a "fishing pool", or throw rings to be run over some upright pegs. Finally, we could perhaps see Denmark's only negro, who came from the Caribbean, and that was free, while all the other cost money, and money was not what was most of the large families.
That felt my mother too. She visited the churchyard, for she was of the view, that a cutting which came from here had the best chance to grow up to a large and healthy plant. That had those who lay buried nothing against, and the living who could take umbrage of it was not to know.
For big children, it was an experience to be allowed to go with the bell ringer up in the tower and rings the sun down. We could get a look beyond the village through peepholes, and it was possible to see real far as the church towers were the highest points in the otherwise flat land. Maybe we was allowed to pull the rope to the bell once it was set in turn of bell ringer Nielsen, and then there was a sound of the great bell in the small space, so that you could probably get a starting hearing damage. Afterwards we could feel that we even had a share in the sun could go down in her hide out there in the west, while the ground mist began to withdraw its veil over the low bog.
There was as mentioned confirmation prepares. This was done in the parsonage in the room onto the garden. Here we sat on chairs in the company of pastor Lorentzens collection of long pipes. Girls ahead of boys. So could Orla conveniently tie girls long strings fixed to the seats while Lorentzen was called in to another room.
The training was probably not very inspiring. I learned the twelve small prophets, and I am nodding identifying them when they are depicted in a church I visit, but I do not know what they stand for. The confirmation was coming, with a hearing, which I think was not very glorious. Then the confirmation itself, with new clothes which quickly became too small, and was paid by "Propforeningen" in Glostrup.
Afterwards, there was fest dinner to the extent that the economy managed. Not the big feasts, but aunts and uncles from Zealand was invited to the steak and a bottle of wine. The peak was the telegrams. Especially those with money, which should be used for a clock in order not only to determine the time from sun heights and the church bells, where the sound was not yet strangled by traffic. It was from telegrams, even those without money, that we could see how popular one was with neighbours and the city's remaining residents. There were also gifts. Some had to be out and show the new cigarette case, which was the start of a vice most would have been without today.
Family and homes
There were many families with a large number of children, and many mouths
to feed. This led to that both the father as the mother had to work to pay
rent, food and other necessities. Since there was not something called
kindergartens, had the older children to care for the small, when neither
home. However, there were limitations, for when the older children reached
the age when they were able to take responsibility for their smaller siblings,
then they should out to work, and school should also be cared for. It could
therefore be some very small children who had supervision of their even smaller
The necessary work in the family followed the pattern of time. The mother made food, and if there was a girl in the family she had to help. The boys was however also to participate. We boys who had not yet begun to work had to help to peel the cooked potatoes, and that was many. It was therefore a mitigate factor that by starting work you were left off for potato peeling. The boys would also help to keep the house clean, but that consisted as a rule in sweeping of the floor, as a vacuum cleaner was not available, and washing the floor occurred of course not every day.
This provided some extra wear on the floors, so they had to be periodically varnished. What could be removed from the room were removed, the floor scrubbed and the new varnish applied. As it dried slowly, and the other rooms in the house all the time would be used, was boards and doors and the like laid out to walk on, so that we in a few days could pass from room to room without making footprint of the new varnish.
Family life was also wearing on the furniture. The chairs could then get a new plywood seat ordered home from Candor, while the rest were given a kind of lacquer, which were to fresh up on the look, but not exactly impressed with a shiny and resistant surface.
The ceiling were painted boards, and here it was usually enough to wash soot from stoves, kerosene lamps and cooking, down, but it was an unpleasant work, with the dirty water running down of arms into the sleeves. If the room had to be perfectly acceptable, one also had to put up new wallpaper. Here the boys could again make an effort by cutting one side, for Tapestry had a narrow edge in both sides, which were intended to go under the next sheet. Finally the curtains might be washed, or otherwise had to be renewed. But then smelled the room also fresh and good, and the house was ready for a confirmation or other family celebration.
Garbage collection, there was nothing called. Waste was thrown out on a small dunghill at the house, unless it could be sold to a man, which bought the old iron, rags and bones. Most were in fact translated back into the garden with the bog content. Here it was intended to strengthen poor mans economy with potato, cabbage, leeks and even a so exotic growth as Jerusalem artichoke, were important ingredients in everyday cooking. Here it was otherwise milk which was available, and therefore was bun of cold porridge from the day before, and now served in hot milk, no rarity. It could also be black bread pieces which was served in the milk and with salted herring to. Otherwise mess, fruit soup or stewed fruit was a welcome addition to the main meal, with the meagre allocation of meatballs or other products with meat as a raw material.
Could it not be anything else, we could get some big cheap tomatoes, which was called monkeys because of their similarity to a certain monkey race rear. When the tomatoes were cut into slices and fried on frying pan, it was called tomato beef, but they where not much like the beef you could get out of the mince meat from the horse butcher in Istedgade. The favorite dish was however, most potatoes porridge with fried onions and perhaps bacon tern, pancakes and of course the big celebration parties with roast pork or beef, or perhaps a chicken or duck.
The personal hygiene had hardship. In particular, before the waterworks were established. It helped, however, not so much with us, because there was neither installed water or electricity into the house behind "Oenskehuset" where we lived for rent in the last half of the thirties. Water had to be retrieved by hand pump and warmed on the stove or the primus. The daily washing was done in the kitchen and a bath was something you carried out for Christmas in a bowl, all male in turn in the same water.
When there was a great wash, it requested a greater preparation. clothesline had to be put up. Wood cut to pep up in the washing kettle, and there should be plenty of water pumped up with hand pump for washing and flushing. For the washing, we had a sophisticated apparatus. A washing machine. Hand powered admittedly, but nevertheless a kind of drum washing machine, and not one of those of wood which were common.
Our washing machine consisted of a lower part with a depression which could go down in the stove when the rings were taken of. In the body rested a drum with holes, which had a hatch as the clothes could put in and taken out through. The drum could turn around with a handle, and everything was covered with a upper part. Now we could bring soap water in the body to boil, one of the boys were set to rotate at a reasonable pace and time, and so were the clothes washed. The rinsing would be manually in a bowl, and twisting of the cloth to get the water out was also by hand, so there was plenty of manual work.
If we were lucky with the weather could the laundry be dried. Sheets was stretched by my father and mother was pulling at opposite ends, and what should be rolled was to have a tour om the stick in the cold roller with the stone weiged load that could be rolled back and forth on top of the stick, and then lifted with a foot pedal, and the stick with table cloth could be extracted.
Now there could be shifted on the beds, where there was straw on the bottom, and over that a featherbed. It could not prevent the the straw from being noisy and annoying at every little movement, and then we were afraid that it was a mouse in the bed straw.
The heat in the house came from the stove in the living room and the kitchen range. The stove was also the means to dry children's clothes. Once so strongly that there was fire in the clothing laying at the top of the stove just below the ceiling. However, it was fortunately discovered in time, but gave rise to a constant fear that it could happen again.
The stove was also a friend, where we at evening coffee could roast golden white bread slices when we held them with a fork in front of the glows behind the grating in the open stove door. We could also sit at the remnants of the range heat in the kitchen. Here, my father read by a small light, that came from the kitchen lamp to kerosene. The most common type, with a green glass for kerosene, and a shining, round metal plate which should shed light into space.
In the bedrooms, was only the heat we could produce ourself, and the sleepings did hold on. In winter there was ice on the windows and often on the walls. It was really hard to overcome to stand up under these circumstances.
The social security for families was quickly overlooked. If you were in real need you could get social security, but that was a way most would like to avoid, for it was a shame, and it could also lead to interference in the civil rights so that we will not be able to vote in elections. The illness had health insurance fund, but it should also be paid to before you could benefit from it. The workers as bricklayers were usually unemployed for a period in the winter. They knew the conditions, and were members of a trade union where they could obtain support during unemployment. That was not customary for farm workers, so they had to cope as best they could.
It is mentioned earlier that the older children could work on nurseries.
We need not to be the right age to participate in the hunt for money for
family subsistence. In my case I had the first experience in this direction
as a paperboy, and was probably not even able to cycle. I could only go around
in the village,
while my older siblings had a wider area at the beach. Later, I had the district
in Nordmarken, and still remember the hot coffee I got a winter morning on
the farm "Plovmandsminde". Unfortunately, I was so cold and the coffee so
hot that I felt myself incinerate in the mouth long after, but the intention
was good enough and a warm reception.
My second job was to run with laundry for Fishers Steam Laundry. With a large basket in front of the bike, I drove out on Tuesday and fetched laundry in the area Vallensbaek and Broendbyvester beach, while I was running around on Friday and delivered the washed clothes, and got money back. The clothes were then wrapped in brown paper, and the bill attached outside of the package. If the customer had no money at home, I took the bill back, unless if I had been told to take the whole package, if there was trouble to get the money.
My bike with the basket in front was perhaps not very rational. Fisher had therefore got a three-wheel carrier cycle with a box in front. That I did not like. It was infinitely heavy to use. I was sitting in a wrong position and could not take advantage of the power in my legs, and may not run on the bicycle path, but was to be out on the road where cars all time was speeding by.
The best at Fishers was, when I came back after a long trip along Koegevej, and there waited a cup of coffee and a piece of new baked white bread with a thick layer of butter. I was not accustomed to that at home.
One of my voluntary work with Fisher's was to follow Ruth home to the city. She worked in the laundry, and it was natural that we went along together, since the road was deserted, and there had been assaults on a girl on this route. Perhaps it was also helping to increase an uneasy feeling that the Second World War started, and there was already talk about rationing, although Denmark was not involved.
The income of these small jobs went into the family's total economy. However, I was allowed to keep a fixed share of my tips. If there was any. Part of this was saved up to the purchase some of my warm wishes, but there was also afforded candy, and that has my dentists later profited by, for the systematic tooth brushing and maintenance, that was not really possible to implement.
Children's games and hobbies.
As previously mentioned were childrens play in the free usually ball
games, hide, hopscotch and the like. However, it was far from everything.
Toys were in short, but so was empty matchboxes and cigar boxes adequate
as a building material for fortress for tin soldier. Too little toys there
was, however. The army of tin soldiers was with us developed by ourself by
producing new ones. This was done by creating a two-part mould of gypsum,
and melt tin or lead in a tobacco tin in the stove, and then hope to, that
the mould held in the molten metal when this was poured in, and sprayed well
up through filling hole.
One could also make a ship of a board, and sail in the flat water when the meadows were flooded in the spring, or carve a propeller and build a windmill for the demonstration of wind forces. The best was however, if one could afford to buy a Tekno kit. It consisted of flat metal pieces and angles and so on, with three rows of holes in, so they could be assembled with screws and combined in many different ways. There was also axles, pulleys, rims, tires, gears and even an electric motor, which was a major consumer of batteries, but had a minimal traction. It was Lego of that time, but actually more accurate, since it was screwed together, and therefore better correspond to the real life constructions.
For my part the game become more a hobby when I was about 10 years and began to build model aircraft. The magazine Familiejournalen had started a series with a description of how to build model aircraft, and that I had to try. Good teased of my siblings who did not really believe in the enterprise.
In any case, I started the construction of my FJ-1, as the model was called. There was not money to buy a kit with all the necessary materials. I needed some 1 mm thick plywood-which no one would believe existed. I used instead the plywood bottom from a margarine box as I parted in layers using a wood chisel. It was then cut to ribs of the wing and spants to the body by means of a Coping saw. Lists I think my father had cut, japan paper was purchased from Otto Thiim s bookstore in Glostrup, and acetone and celluid chips for the manufacture of dope to the impregnation, I received from a paint shop in the building confront.
It was a great day when my model was finished and was tested in the air. The day was even greater since it to everyone's astonishment appeared to fly very well, and the doubters had to poke whistle. This was the start of an era in which I was a member of a model flying club in Glostrup, and my brother Hans also took up this hobby. The postman son, Aage tried as model builder, and we had some good hours together out at their porch, but otherwise it was not something for the young people in the village.
It was certainly very welcome at my parents that we started with this activity. My mother was always very concerned were we went in the evening, as she thought we were going to keep us from street boys. It was now very innocent what was going on. The worst vandalism was enough if a boy threw stones after one of the sleepy street lights with the white emaille reflector. It could give a proper "Pling" if the stone hit. Maybe hit the stone also the bulb, and that was not so good, for it was very dark in the village at the time.
New Year's Eve, it was something else. Then was looked through the fingers when the garden gates ended up in flagpoles, a plough on the farm roof, and a horse-drawn carriage out on the ice on the pond by Enghavegaard. There was the possibility of cheap fireworks from the factory lying nearby. There were beautiful rockets, but also big bangs. One of them was on the big stone by the butchers corner. That took the best of my hearing for the rest of my lives, as a warning cry came too late.
I doubt that there were many who had a real hobby at the time. It could be a little cycling around when it was fine weather, read, listen to the radio and perhaps run a rare trip to the movies in Glostrup. My brother Bent was active with photography, and tried to make pictures himself by highlighting photopaper through the negative in a frame placed out in the sun, but the cost was high and made it a hobby you could not spend much time on. The most energy was probably disappeared after long active day, which also covered the whole of Saturday, both at school and at work.
You could also be curious. Follow after an inspector to oversee the
high tension wire across the bog, and first cut off the electricity at the
transformer station by Enghavegaard. It was awesome dangerous, this high
tension and the long insulating rod he used to operate the switch up in the
tower. On the way over the bog he should try if the wooden poles was rotten
by picking a tool into them. By Tranegilde was deferred a new distribution
mast in steel latticework. It was something new at the time. It was very
exciting for us and very difficult for them, for the accessibility of the
bog was difficult.
That it also was when the bog was to be dryed out. Some thought that the land should be used for anything other than grass, but it was never something granary. That was the peat soil not suitable for, but it was good for potatoes and carrots, and the family Hans Peter Olsen's rabbit hunt, and it went actually so dry that the protected flowers we called Stars disappeared. For the curious children, there was much to look at. A large excavator which had to make its own road of sleepers not to sink into the bog. Then it could also rechannel St. Vejleaa, so it was led around the marsh. Deepen the old channels, and displace Baekrenden so that it followed the city's outskirts.
The most exciting was however the pumping station. A deep, deep hole, lots of concrete and a nice little house of yellow bricks. In the depths hides the pumps. You could see floaters rod connection move up when the water flowed to. Then it said bang, the pump started and the water poured out of the large pipes with the flip which should prevent the return streaming. It was just so exciting that the construction had to be inspected every day.
The same was the case when the city's water works were built. Large containers were rolled into place inside the foundation before the building was built in bricks and roofs of concrete. I wonder if they were going to tear the building down when the containers were replaced. There was dug pipes down in the road and brought into the houses. Apart from that we lived in. Well there was enough to see if you were curious.
Trips and tours.
Some trips were free. As for example. to run down to the newly built
Koegevej and look at the returnees traffic flow a Sunday evening. A number
of cars, motorcycles, many with imaginative side cars that could resemble
anything from a motorboat with chrome fans on deck to the Harleys oversized
clogs. Here was an endless stream of bicycles with bagage bags and camping
We were also at the beach one day. A warm day where the sun burned the tar soft on the tar coated and broken stone covered road. We had probably been down on the beach by Sandvejen, which smell badly of rotten seaweed, and you should not be sensitive to wade the long stretch to the sand island, where you could then fear to drown in the sand hole when you bathe.
I had to be staying on the beach. The water here was too foul to bathe in, and I had to be satisfied with looking at the very flat boats that could get in, perhaps plumber Frederiksen caught eel, or look att the summer cottage, which were not limited by a planning permission, and therefore could let a decommissioned tram included in the design.
I was too big to sit in front on a bicycle or there had not been a vacant place. I did not own a bike, and therefore had to walk all the way to the beach and back. On the burning heat road, and bare feet.
It was hardly surprising that a man at the kiosk on the corner offered me a refreshing soft drinks. My mother asked a lot about what he was for a man. That I could not understand then. And he was also only a man who I thought could see that I was thirsty and dusty, off what he was right. But the soft drink went to belch water and tightness in the stomach, and that ended this excursion.
We were also one time for a walk in Tivoli. It has been a proper expense with parents and 6 children. We had ourself lunch with us, and perhaps it was affordable with a soda and a single carrousel trip. Zoo was also a theoretical possibility. But when Circus Royal had raised the tent at Broendby beach, and then drove through the city with a huge scratching speaker on the roof of a passenger car, and alternated with something which should be music, to announce this evenings performance, it was outside the possibilities border.
On a trip to the city could we be allowed to visit Louise in Skydebanegade. That was my grandmothers niece, and therefore a bit far in relationship. She was married to a moulder, and they had a boy at our age, but in our view, very spoiled. We could not come all eight space demanding members of our family at the same time, as they lived in an apartment a few floors up, and space was not large. On the other hand, it was a fine apartment, with table centre mat on the dark table, and the furniture was not weared down as ours. There was a shining brass dust pan and brush to the crumbs, but what surprised me most was, that on the door to their toilet with drag and drop was a small oval enamel sign with the inscription "Vestibule." It was a word I did not know and could not connect with the room function.
One of the warm wishes a child could have at that time, as well as today, was a bicycle. A way to explore the outside world, but also an instrument for delivery ride and for an newspaper boy. I was about 10 years when I got my first bike. Purchased in Glostrup Cykelimport, and taken home of my father by running with two bicycles, as he did hold the new bike next to his own by holding it with the right hand at the middle of the handlebar. It was smaller than an adult bicycle. A little lower in the frame, and therefore also quickly too low, but I avoided the tense wooden blocs on the pedals to reach them. That it was a small bicycle prevented however not, that it was stolen one night. Also from an outbuilding that was well back from the road. However, it was found again by police help, so I only got to miss it for a while.
The newly acquired bike was quickly utilized. I did bike to Mosede port and saw the small freigth boats empty their loads into the A / S Jessen's warehouse. In Koege where there could be greater ship in the port. A long way in which solar heat gave mirage above the ground and the birds was singing in planting along the way. To Glostrup where you could see and hear the thumping steam express train at the station, and be warned of the personel not to stand too close. In Roskilde Cathedral to admire, and to "Children Day" in Taastrup with marches and overflight of "The Flying Wing" that was so great that the passengers could sit out in the wing and look through the windows in the wing front edge.
I could now easily get out and visit my schoolmate Kurt in the farthest state house, and it was possible to follow with my bigger siblings to swim at the beach. I could also make a trip with Valde up to Vaerloese military airport, where we felt, that it was necessary to bow when biplanes of that time came low over the road to land as close to the fence as possible. When I took over Bents box camera I used the opportunity to take some pictures of the parked aircraft, but that was no good, and some passing soldiers warned us that we should not take pictures, and advised us to save the camera before there came an officer. That was before a defense minister repealed the photo prohibit on flight stations.
It was easier with the glider flying in Vaerloese. That was on the area outside the fence, and here there was none who took offence of an old box camera, one of these cameras which was then on the wish list at confirmation.
We had now also flying in Vallensbaek. One day I saw a plane that went down low in direction of Stjernegaarden. Since I did not see it come up again, I went up on the bicycle, and as soon as possible come out to the fields behind Stjernegaarden. Here was indeed a double wing aircraft with the pilot next to, and a larger crowd of people around. The pilot told, that he had been like for a cigarette, which he could not smoke in the open cockpit, but he must have been very needy, for it could not have taken much longer to continue to Kastrup, and with the traffic of that time was there no risk that he would wait in the queue of aircraft landings.
The biggest challenge was, however, when I for two years in a row did bike down and kept a week's vacation with my aunt in Slagelse. My uncle was sailing chief engineer, and their adult children were in Greenland, so there was ample space in their provincial town house with drag and drop, and a milk sale with fresh white bread on the other side of the road. A luxury life without equal, but a little too quiet when there was only Aunt Hansine, cat and parrot Lorido, which never learned to accept me, and it was otherwise precocious enough, for it could swear in Spanish, and when it was hungry said the "Lorido pill potatoes." Therefore, it was still great to come back to friends and siblings, and the more modest circumstances in the village.
The bicycle could also be used as a play tool. A piece of cardboard fixed to the mount to the front fender with a clothespin, and a string up to the handlebar. Then was the bicycle turned into a motorcycle when the cardboard rattled against the wheel. One could run in competition, and we could demonstrate how clever you were to run without hands on the handlebar, sit backwards on the bike, run down the earth pile that was left behind by excavation of Baekrendens new channel, and other tricks. Sometimes, this went wrong. Large wounds in the knees revealed when there had been a melee, and it could be very painful when they broke up again by a new accident.
But it could not be denied. The bicycle was a crucial step on the road to the discovery of the world.
There was not much opportunity to practice sports. There were started
a sports club, but the facilities were in the beginning just a few handball
or football gates in a meadow, and the possibility of mark up the ground.
There was not anything called bathing or dressing facilities, which meant
that the players issued a sharply odor when they were very sweat.
Despite the primitive conditions, there was however good support, not only of players, but also the spectators to see the football teams super player ripple one's muscles. It also came to, that the girl handball team got a coach. Respect did indeed decrease, as rumor said, that he had been involved in a battle on the railway hotel in Glostrup, including that he had thrown the jacket, which showed, that he was only wearing "Klipfisk" and "Raflebaegre", what is shirt-front and solve cuffs, but no shirt.
The main cultural services was the library. Here one could borrow books
similar to his own needs and wishes. The radio gave his grant of intellectual
art, newspapers and magazines also, although quality then as now was debatable.
Finally, the cinema was a possibility, although the cultural level here could
be discussed. My first experience in this direction was the movie "Barken
Margrethe of Denmark", with Ib Schiønberg as ships cook. It was then
an indelible impression on me that he proposed to cure a bad finger by chopping
A visit by the Salvation Army, which acted with song and sound instruments, could maybe not be called a high cultural experience. The real reason for the visit was also to provide money by a tombola, where you among the benefits that were exhibited on a table, could be lucky to win a dias wiewer with candles. It would be convenient for us who lived in a house where there was no electricity. On the other hand, it was not real slides from photo, but sketched and colored images. Probably worth a fortune today.
Otherwise, there were not many actions which could promote culture. A minimum of gathering, no lectures, folk dance, amateur teatricals or choir and musical society of importance, so that even a Oxford meeting in Missionshuset, with preacher and declarations from the awakened, could act as a cultural resurgence of the apathy village life, And when Karl Rasmussen came and set up his easel to make a painting of the parsonage, it was in fact probably one of the most cultural happenings one could see at that time.
Illness and accidents.
Life on the country could be dangerous, but the possibilities of help
was already at that time amazingly good. We had a health insurance doctor
in Glostrup, as one would visit in the consulting hours . We sat and waited
to be called. Not something with numbers, but just wait patiently. Was you
for sick to come up in consulting hours one could call the doctor, who came
in at his round on patient visits. Was you seriously ill at night, it was
also one's own doctor who came. He had to interrupt his good sleep and rise
up to take on sick visit . And he came, the doctor knew that there was a
cause for concern when the relatives had to go down to a phone kiosk to
The doctor could do the most. Put in place a broken leg in plaster, take a foreign body out of the eye, dress a wound from a cut or withdraw a tooth. We had all most childhood diseases. Some was counted for worse than others, and required complete isolation. One of the scourges of time was polio, and there was cause for concern because they did found infection among children in a school class which had been at school camp. Fortunately only a single one was infected. Later came the polio vaccine, and we did no longer need to fear this disease and the paralysis that resulted.
When I was given false croup Dr. Ammitzbøll came and prescribed treatment with steam. He helped himself to build a tent around the bed with chairs and blankets, and make tubes of cardboard to lead steam from a boiling kettle on a primus into the tent. Gradually the difficulty in breathing was reduced, but it took time and a home nurse came to see me. She gave me a jumping jack. It was to replace the one which was destroyed by the use as cardboards.
Another time I felt that I had been sick a whole autumn. When I put myself to bed there were leaves on the trees. When I again was able to get out, all the leaves was gone, and the trees stood with naked black branches on the grey day. It could only be a few days I had been bedridden, and it must bee a storm that had promoted come of autumn.
Infant mortality had fallen dramatically compared to the 1800 figure. It was rare that children died. Yet it happened. One day I saw Elias from kommunehuset with a small white coffin under his arm. On the way to the funeral.
Parents could also be sick. My father complained much as his innate hernia went to incarserated hernia. But then he got the operation made that did he should not go with hernia belt to keep the hernia in place. When my mother was bleeding, and it would not stop, she also went to the hospital. She, who used to bring together the threads in the home, was gone for a time, taken to Amtssygehuset on Nyelandsvej in Copenhagen. But it went anyway. The routine was worked in and the rest of the family did known their tasks.
Accidents happened also. One day was a carload of furniture a little too high to go under the electric wire across the road. The man who sat on top of the load thought he could lift the lower wire by using his hat as insulation. It went wrong, and they had to turn an iron chain over the power lines to get the man free.
Another time it was a piece of chocolate, which was throw up to the driver on a full loaded harvest carriage, which frightened the horses. They ran riot, after which the driver fell down and was killed. By Ironically reiterated this accident later on the same farm.
A less tragic incident, it was, when two cars collides on the corner of the road to the beach, which was next to the drive in to Gammelgaard. The cause of the collision was alleged that they could not see each other for the high level of cereals on the field and farm owner Kortsen was asked by police to clear the outer part on the corner.
There were no injuries, but the cars could not even run from there. One was a car led by a lady. It was in itself quite unusual at the time. Her car was damaged in the front, so she locked it and left the spot, while Falck came to retrieve the vehicle. Unfortunately, she had pulled the hand brake before she left it. The Falck man stated however, that he had tried that before, so he had a piece of specialized tool ready in a form of a wire, and through a hole he could loosen the hand brake, lift the front up in the crane, and run away with the vehicle rolling on the rear wheel.
The second car was an old Ford T, half-ton truck and the driver a man. That could not roll so much, because the wheels with spokes of wood collapsed. However it was not just sadness, the owner declared pleased that he now had found his lost pipe. It had come up to light by the collisions reorganization of the effects in the vehicle.
It was also an accident when a horse fell into a flooded hole in the bog, and could not come up through own efforts. Then came Falck again with crane truck, and if you could get a wide strap under the stomach, you could use the crane to lift up the horse from the bogs suction. As a rule it went well. Did it go wrong it was a dead horse and swelling up until the truck came from the dead animal processing plant and drew it up a ramp with a hoist, so it together with the other fallen and smelly animals could be processed and re-engage in natural Circuits.
The largest and most tragic accident was however, when the firework factory went in fire and exploded and several people died. These include the schoolmate who had helped me the same morning after a provoked fall on the stone floor in the school's entrance. When teacher Sorensen next day kept a memory of the dead were the emotions free at all children.
The fire-fighting service was, of course, to prevent accidents, or to
limit the consequences of them which occurred. The fire trucks came from
Taastrup, and there could go some time before they arrived. It was probably
therefore, we had a fire fighting corps on bicycle in the municipality. It
was people like plumber Frederiksen, smallholder Andersen from the state
house on Broendbyvestervej, and a few other men. They had in addition to
uniform with a helmet been awarded a carrier cycle with luggage holder in
front, and on this was placed a hand extinguisher. In case of fire, it was
meant they had to come on bicycle as soon as possible, and start fire fighting
and, when the big fire trucks arrived, then moved to as helping crew. Farmer
Kortsen was fire chief, and had thus command, even when the big fire trucks
When such a diversity of people would work together, it was necessary with exercises.
One evening was all meeting, fire hoses was laid out and there was sprayed a little with motor pump. Now could all see how powerful the jet could be, and how much power was needed to hold the nozzle. The surrounding gardens got also a little water, but it was probably more to harm than good, as a direct jet was so strong that it destroyed the plants, and even the water coming down from an upward jet could hit so hard that it was devastating.
Anyway the tonight's entertainment was ensured.
Moreover, it was a requirement that there should be an ladder on the wall of all houses with a roof of straw. It would probably not be of much help if there had been fire in the straw, but in the event of a chimney fire, where the tar like coatings inside the chimney had caught fire, the ladder could reach up and make it possible to come water on the straw around the chimney.
Fortunately, there were not many fires in my childhood. The only building fire I remember was, when a forgotten iron burned through the table on 1.flor in the teachers house. Here the damage was limited to a burn trough in the roof. This was the plumber Frederiksen opportunity to show that he also was a slate layer, for it was a roof coated with real slate. Otherwise, there could be fire in a pile of straw or burn in the peat at the bog, but that was just allowed to burn, and it was also almost impossible to extinguish.
The long arm of the law.
In the daily we did not see much to the police, who had station in a
small building on the main road in Glostrup. The police had a outlook as
a bay window, which went out to the road and the sidewalk, but how much one
could predict from here is probably a question. The building was equipped
with the word "Police" on an oval green enamel sign , and in the evening,
there was a green lamp which marked this important function. Most of the
police duties were not very dramatic. We could get a fine for driving without
a bicycle lamp, or if we was driving several side by side. They also had
time to investigate a bicycle theft, and make measuring drawings in traffic
accidents, even if there were only material damage.
There could also be widely theft, where they often did know who you were to talk to, and there could finally be a case of fraud, as when then the municipal cash were relieved of a part of the contents of the municipality's only administrative assistant. There was several having an eye on the municipality money, for a second time was the safe simply removed. Obviously to be run away on a wheelbarrow, and then stripped at a more unobtrusive place. It was obviously exciting to come to school that day, because the municipal office was indeed almost in the middle of the school.
One of the more serious and tragic cases was, when a resident of the village hang himself. Obviously because he feared a hospitalization for a minor ailment.
The local police were the official performing certain juridical function in the parish. I know only to his activities as responsible for the conscription register, and he had to be informed when we left the municipality for a long time, and it was also him that was collecting dog tax.
The municipal roads were, as previously mentioned tar roads. That means
roads which were built in an excavated area, with stones of different sizes
in each layer, and the finer materials at the top. Here was finally sprayed
a coating of tar, on which was laid a layer of fine crossed stone. They could
then be compressed to settle in tar with a motor roller, and I have even
seen an steamroller in the village. Smaller works was performed with the
manual drum, or they let the passing vehicles clear this part of the work.
It was an excellent and sustainable way to traffic of that time, but the
newly built road was hard at the bicycle tires, not least because there was
plenty of loose stones.
There were no sidewalks or bicycle paths. Instead, there were deep ditches, and in particular got Torvevejen by a repair new deep trenches, with beautiful tapering sides, but not so nice to run down in.
Vridsloesevejen was long and straight all the way to Nordmarken and the border to Vridsloeselille. Then there were some minor bend, and the viaduct to Roskildevej. Torvevejen was also straight on the first part, but after the fire work factory was a bend to an intermediate part, where one an moment could sense that it was more or less wind from the good or bad side, depending on the prevailing wind direction. Here, on the other hand, was no viaduct, but a guarded level crossing with booms and level-crossing keeper which beckoned ready signal to the train, and in the evening swung a lamp to show that booms was down. To the security system also heard a large bell on a man-high iron cylinder. That could be heard all the way down to the village, but it was a mystery what to do good for, because it can be assumed, that the boom keeper did not have so bad hearing, and the driver in turn was unable to hear it when the train was on its way. Since it was the most used road to Glostrup, there has been spent a lot of time to wait for the train to pass, and booms again go up.
Broendbyvestervej was the way the coach was running. Here was a pair of sharp bends by the last state house and the border to Broendbyerne. It was only a short piece, where the road suddenly went across. Vallensbaek has probably not been able to agree with Broendbyerne about who should pay for the restructuring, because that was first done many years later.
The road to the beach also had its obstacles. First, the sharp corner by Gammelgaard, which was the cause of the said road accidents, but also a few minor bends, where it has occurred, that a car had not turned in time, and therefore hit a pole for the electric wires. Not a light pole, because there was no light on the roads outside the village.
The new "Gl.Koege Road" was as Roskildevej made in this period. They were both done as cast concrete roads, where one could admire the machines which laid out concrete and was running on the rails on each side of the roadway, while the concrete was ram in place. Afterwards were laid straw mats, which where regularly watered to give a slow-drying and long life. It must of course be said to be successful. Koegevejen was for a large part made as a completely new road, while Roskildevej only was replacing the old roads paving stone with the new roads surface of concrete.
To repair the village roads, there was a road worker. Not because he could do so much, but to remedy a hole in the coating he had a barrel of tar on a special cart. Here it could be rotated so the hole came down. This would fill a can with a spread plate, and he could spread the tar on the place to be repaired, and then throw some crushed stone into the wet tar.
In winter, it was worse. Then should the roads be cleared of snow. There was only a horse drawn snow plough of wood. A large triangular monster with a steering boom behind. I saw it never in operation. Later we got a real steel plough to be fitted on a truck. With hydraulic equipment as one could raise and lower the plough from the driver cab. The pure luxury. The chosen vehicle was a Ford V8 which was owned by a haulage contractor down by the beach. We talked about that the chassis could be twisted, but so wrong it was not going.
Should gravel be spread on a slippery road there was just a couple of men on the truck body of a slow running truck and spreading the gravel out with shovels. Then we got a spreader mounted behind a truck, but the gravel should still up in the spreader by shovel. It has been both a cold and dangerous work. You could easily lose balance and fall down from the truck while driving.
It was not always the snow plough was enough. Then should man of house, the road should be kept open for the bus and removal of milk from the farms. Each house or farm owner had as a duty to make personnel available, and we was able to see a large number of men with shovels, doing the clearing job the machines could not cope with. They were supervise by Frede Andersen, who as snow inspector was responsible for clearing. When he came he was very practical riding high on horseback, why he had a good overview of the work, and was able to verify that we also had cleared to the ight width. The horse was also a good means of transport when he would investigate how the crew would be deployed, for he was not stuck in the snow drifts. We did however knew in advance where we could expect problems. This could in turn be so large that it was necessary to dig shelves, so the snow could be thrown up on banks along the road in two steps.
When spring came, and winter melted in ditch and grave, it was not always the ditches was large enough. In particular, it was the bridge over Baekrenden below the parsonage garden that could give rise to the water. It was particularly bad if there was ice floes in the stream which could screw up by this narrowing. Then there was flooding, and the bus more like a river steamer when it paved the way through the water.
There was also flooding in the bog, and on the earth roads here, but that was what you might expect, and usually there was no need to use these roads before the water was drained away by itself.
Nature and wildlife.
There was a lot of nature around Vallensbaek village. First and foremost,
the bog, with the green meadows, streams and bog holes. One of the favorite
excursions was "The deep water hole", which was in the bog behind Korsagergaard.
It was probably originally an marl or peat pit. Now it was one of the ponds
we feared. Although the water was clean, it had the effect of being black
and not to see through because we could not see the bottom, and we was always
told that you should not swim in a marl pit, because the water was so cold
that you would get spasm.
That did not the tadpoles, and it was them which were the excursion target. We could follow the development, from eggs to small floating black commas, and again to frogs. There were also rumours of pikes, but it was never proof, and the water hole was, after all, of such a size that there hardly has been the opportunity for a pike to survive.
In Baekrenden and St.Vejleaa there was clean water and sandy bottom. It was wonderful to wade in, but we should beware of the leeches, as there were many. They would like to put themselves on your feet and suck blood. The stickleback did not mischief. they could be observed, but otherwise they served no real purpose.
In the beginning, there was also the stork. This big, beautiful bird that had been prepared an nest on Mariehoejs gable, but disappeared since feeding possibilities was restricted by the bogs disappearance. The lapwing with the crest in the neck was not challenged of this intervention in the natural order. They continued stubbornly to nest in the meadows between grazing cattle and tried to lure the human being on the wrong place when looking for the nest. It announced the spring with its screams and close overflights.
A summer evening in the beginning darkness you could hear horsegoegen - which in reality is a snipe. It produced its own sound by diving with stretched tail, so tail feathers vibrate.
In autumn was the harvest of nature's goods. When the hunting season went in shoots sounded, and rabbits and ducks had to be killed. The luck was to find a gunpowder smelling cartridge, which always could be an element of the toy collection. Then got we children also a yield of the hunting season, because rabbit steak was hardly to afford, even if you were buying locally.
The inhabitants of the village.
We will probably see some of the village residents as originals. They
was that, in a way also. Original people. Silkhans was walking on the road
and talked with himself. Elias had the dream of a gipsy caravan. Johan Amager
running around with a toy cart and pick up droppings for his horticulture,
and drove on a settee bicycle. The farmer who sat in the stable and relieved
himself in the spilling behind the cows, because it was nice to be able to
talk to the herdsman during milking. And it ended anyway at the dunghill
all together, whether it had been over the bog or not. Katinka who was drawing
away with her lone cow, and had the priest helping to keep track of it.
The prerequisites for a certain uniformity would otherwise be present. A very high proportion of the residents were related to each other. Thus, it was found that residents in 22 different buildings had more or less strong family relationships to each other, often as siblings.
What has become of the village residents from the 10-years from 1930 to 1940. Yes, all the elderly have died. Some can be found in the graves and gravestones at the cemetery. For other gravestones has been a provisional place at the cemetery wall. Here is a beautiful stone cross with an inscription that this is the clog maker Anders Poulsens family grave, but Katinka is not mentioned, although it probably was her who ensure that the clog maker was not forgotten. Here is also the stone for the family Banemann, which for so many years sweetened lives for local young people, with the supply of ice cream and candy and a collection place for youth. There is now only gravestones left, and once they are gone, there are only some notes in the parish register to describe an entire life.
You there, as myself, was a child during the period, is now the pensioners who previously was run in "The olds outings in the wood" in the farmers cars, but now it is in bus. The farms are also gone, or altered beyond recognition, and instead of productive dairy cattle, it is the citizen children riding horses grazing in the meadows in the bog, or are housed where it is still possible.
In the fields, were you formerly heard the club blow when the cows in the tether had to be moved, there is now houses or recreational areas with golf courses. But the sound of golf clubs blow to the ball quickly drowns by the endless noise from highways toiling away right across the municipality.
The deep pond with frogs ended up as landfill, but reappeared as Vallensbaek Lake - or perhaps was instead buried under the highway asphalt. The other marsh was partially filled for use as a sports area, but ended instead up as a place for training of dogs and motor cross. But the pump house is still there.
A spring Day in april 1940, there was an unusual engine noise from aircraft we did not know. German aircraft and Royal call on light poles. In the evening was all dark. Denmark was occupied, and it was never quite the same again. And let this be the end of the report of childhood in Vallensbaek village and the life it contained.
Back to Home
Revised marts 2 2009