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Kvam, Ingerid M. / The Skalet family : ancestors and descendants of Sever and Malla Skalet

Sever and Malla Skalet,   pp. 7-26 PDF (6.5 MB)

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Malla spent many years being a mother and caregiver to her children. She moved to Black
Earth in 1949 and lived there until her death in 1958.
Thora wrote, "Ma was an excellent seamstress. In those days before she was married, she
stayed with families for two weeks at a time and just sewed clothing for members of the
whole family. And so, in our family she sewed for all of us. All I needed to do to show her
the style of dress I wanted, was to draw a picture to give her an idea. (no pattern) All my
young life and into college I wore dresses sewed by my mother.
"Ma was a cozy person", says Jorgen, "she almost always had a smile."
Christmas was an especially busy time of year for Malla. Gil recalled her making lefse on
the 24th in order to have it fresh for Christmas Eve. "Some of the best stuff we could eat",
Gil said. Malla would make a list of all the things to be done before Christmas. The sign
might even say wash floors, wallpaper a room, curtains need to be washed, etc.
Malla enjoyed berry picking up in the woods. This was something she enjoyed to do all
alone. The kids feel this was her "get away" and quiet time from the family and all her work.
She made shortcake covered with wild Strawberries from her pickings. The children picked
berries sometimes too. The comment was made "oh so good!"
Dorothy Mae remembers her mother enjoying singing little songs around the house. Sever
bought a player piano for $500 when the family could least afford it, proving music very
important. Dorothy Mae would be practicing on the piano and Malla would always tell her
play "Rondo" and then a wren would sing outside the window.
Taking care of infants back then was not as easy as today. There were no cribs, bassinets, or
high chairs. The baby would sleep between Sever and Malla at night, and the toddler would
sleep at the foot of the bed. When another baby was born, the toddler would get moved
upstairs with the other children, and the "old baby" would move to the foot of the bed to
make room for the "new baby". Malla used to have a hammock in the kitchen that she would
put her babies in. Every once and a while she'd give it a little push and the baby would
swing. The toddlers would sit on Pa's lap at the table to eat. It was remembered that when
Phil sat on his lap, he'd finish his food and say, "more Pa".
Malla was not always able to go to church on Sunday mornings, but Phoodee recalled always
finding her in the parlor reading her Bible.
When Malla was married to Sever her wedding dress measured to have a seventeen inch
waist. Years later, the dress was to be worn for a history event held at Vermont Church.
Amy Schmitt Schlimgen was the one chosen to wear this dress with the tiny waist. There is a
picture of her wearing it in the Sever and Malla Family photos section.
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