I left Norway when I was 16 years old in 1907, I had been to sea with
my father since I finished the sixth grade.
My father could heal - people came to him and he healed them.
I asked him how he did it and he said it was a gift and when I was
ready he would give it to me. But I never went back to Norway while
he was alive.
I went to San Francisco, I didn't know the lingo but after the earthquake
everything was booming and the harbor was full of ships.
In 1910 I went to Alaska looking for gold. At Seward I met a Swede
and a man from North Dakota on their way to Fairbanks. We went over the pass
from Seward to Anchorage (nothing at Anchorage then) digging in creeks along
the way over three passes. Found nothing but a rusty pan and after that
I came back to camp and told the others, "I'm going back," and picked
up my bed roll and pack. The other two looked at each other--didn't
say nothing but packed up too.
"You don't have to come because I leave. I'll take care
When we got back to Seward I found out the rule of Alaska:
3 go in, 3 must come out.
There was three feet of snow in Seward. I had breakfast and walked
to the dock. I saw Charlie (I had played solo with him many times
"What's doing," I asked. He was boss of the railroad getting coal
"Snow covered tracks up at the pass-have to go in and fix it
"Any chance for a job?"
"Are you a carpenter?"
"One of the best," I said. Then I got cold feet. "I don't
have any tools."
Charlie said, "There tool for all. You're hired."
When the ice broke up I went to Nome on a ship. Hundred of people
on the shore picking up gold that had washed down with the ice.
I came back with enough to get to Seattle and San Francisco. In
San Francisco I was acquainted and sailed out of there on ships many
When I was in Panama on my way to South America I met the man from
North Dakota in a restaurant and another time I saw the Swede in Vancouver.
Both had stayed in Alaska and struck it rich.
I was independent-if I didn't like a job, "Pay me off", I'd say. No
trouble getting jobs any time-lucky.
In San Francisco there was a theater up Market Street. I liked to go
there. I'd go to dances. Free, not married-go where I pleased.
When we got paid off at the dock, the others would go for a beer and
spend 2 or 3 hours there. I'd go off by myself right away. No
I came in on a ship at Seattle and called the judge's house where
Christne was working doing cooking and caring for four bedroom house for
$35 a month. I asked if she could go out that night. The Mrs.
said yes she could.
I arrived at 7 p.m. "Let's go kid."
She was in tears with a sink full of dishes. The Mrs. had had a
tea party that afternoon and the judge had brought home a group
for dinner. I rolled up sleeves and we did the dishes.
At 10 p.m. I called the Mrs. in and said I'd be back for Christine's
truk in the morning.
She said, "You can't do that."
"We're getting married, I said. "You can't treat a girl like
"Be good to her," she replied.
We were married the next day and I went back to the dock
to get my pay and left the ship. We fooled around Seattle for a few
weeks until I ran out of money and went back to get another ship.
I could have had my own ship.
The union was striking. The boss said, "You walk off, I'll see you'll
never get another ship."
I walked off. couldn't' let the boys down. Never got another
ship. So went to work loading on the dock.
I became boss of the gang. Our gang did more work than
others. I stayed with them and no fooling. One man in particular was quiet
and did his work well. One day I saw him in church.
When I was retirement age I went to get severance pay. The boss
said, "What do you want - I'll give it to you."
"I don't want nothing. I want to quite working."
What to do with retirement pay? Went down to Portland to talk
to Mr. Chatham of Georgia Pacific. He took me all over and showed me everything
and sat me down at his desk to talk for about an hour. I was convinced
he knew his business and invested the whole thing with him.
I've been lucky in the stock market. It's been something to keep
me occupied. I should have gone into real estate but it worried
mamma. I bought 2 lots- about 5 acres for $900. Christine worried
so I sold them for $1600. Wanted to buy some Martha Lake property
for a farm. Christine didn't want to farm.
But I've been lucky in the stock market. Got in pretty heavy when
the market was low this time - thought sure it would turn when Nixon
left. But it's been slow. They tired to get me the other Friday for
more margin --kept calling on the phone but I was out fishing until late.
By Monday Georgia Pacific had gone up 5 points which took care of everything.
I like music. I wanted to play. My teacher asked me to sing,
"O.K.," he said. "Perfect pitch."
...Couple of weeks ago I was fishing at the poplars in cold rain. The
motor gave out and the wind drifted the boat out into the Sound while I was
trying to start the motor. I gave up and rigged up a sail with some
Sailed across the Sound and landed at Madison Point. Secured the
boat and climbed up a snow bank to a house with a light. They took me
in - nice young couple - insisted I take a warm bath and gave me a hot meal
and wouldn't let me go home, I called mamma and they came out
the next day and took me home. Phil brough the boat back later.
They were such nice people and wouldn't take anything for their trouble.
I sent them the biggest box of candy I could find.
End of This Written Record