As my grandmother was going through some old family things she happened upon an amazing treasure; my great grandmother Hilda (Helda) Johnson’s diary. It contains lot of very incredible and often humorous stories from a time long gone. My great grandma Johnson was born in Tollarp, Kristianstad, Skåne County, Sweden in 1897, and I’ve decided to share this beautiful gift that she left for us. The following are the exact and unaltered words straight from her.
Mom Johnson’s Life Story (In Her Own Words)
A Story of a Girl Born in Sweden, by Hilda Johnson
My name is Hilda Johnson (Malmberg). My Dad’s father was Carl Nilson. That was my Dad’s name too. When Dad became a soldier and went into the army, he had to change his name from Nilson to Frisk. That was his first soldier name. My Dad did not like that name, so he asked for a new name.
The officer said ‘No, you keep that name’.
My Dad took the officer by the neck of his shirt and seat of his pants and threw the officer on his bunk bed.
Dad said ‘Now will you give me my new name?’
The officer said ‘Yes, yes, yes’
That is how my Dad got his new name Malmberg. My Dad could have gotten into jail for doing that. Dad was not a common soldier for he was an officer. This all happened before Dad was married.
My uncle Pete was a station agent and very heavy on the bottle. Uncle Pete asked my Dad to help hide his drinking at work. My Dad also drank, but he was smart enough to stay sober when the trains came to the station. They would ask where Pete was, and Dad would always cover up for him because Pete was gone drunk instead of at the station. Well this was the time that Dad met Mother because Mother’s sister was uncle Pete’s wife. Mother went to visit them and of course Dad fell head over heels in love with her.
Dad said that not one of us girls was as beautiful as she (mother) was. She had black hair, big brown eyes that sparkled and skin as white as milk.Hida Johnson
Dad said that not one of us girls was a beautiful as she was. She had black hair, big brown eyes that sparkled and skin as white as milk. There was one problem; Dad drank. Of course he promised to stop drinking and he did, but once in a while he would kick over the traces at weddings and funerals. I was told all these things after I was grown up to warn me. You cannot keep a promise unless Jesus has changed your life. Mother was very gentle with Dad.
Then I came along in 1897. I guess I cried most of the time. I had colic for six months. Poor Mother was left with me. Dad was young so he would take off to play for dances on his accordion and he would also put his wedding ring in his pocket. This was what they told me.
Dad would come home when he had drank just a little bit too much and I was scared to death of him. I used to hide under the bed.Hilda Johnson
Liquor was sold everywhere. When I was two, then Esther came along. She was a wonderful child. She never cried. She had big blue eyes and blonde hair. I guess my hair was black. She was two years old and mother told Dad that he had to take care of Hilda and Esther. She was going to visit a friend. I was four years old but I can remember it as if it happened today.
While Mother was gone, Esther and I were sitting on the floor by a papered wall. There must have been a loose piece and I pulled off a big chunk of wallpaper and told Dad that Esther did it. Esther got a good spanking. My I was hateful. Esther was a perfect child and never did anything bad. I never had a spanking from Dad that day, only Esther did. That is the only thing I can remember when I was four years old.
Then came along my brother Carl Jr. I was about four and a half years old. I can remember a few things. Dad would come home when he had drank just a little bit too much and I was scared to death of him. I used to hide under the bed. Then Mother would get him to bed and hold him there until he went to sleep. He wanted to fight with everybody. He never hurt Mother or us kids. Then there was a revival in the neighborhood. Two young ladies held the revival. So many people came to know the Lord that day.
Dad was young so he would take off to play for dances on his accordion and he would also put his wedding ring in his pocket. This was what they told me.Hilda Johnson
There was old Grandma who lived a little ways from our house. She would say to my dad ‘Oh Carl, please come to the meetings’.
He would say yes just to please her, but he never went. That did not discourage her. Grandma would ask again, ‘Carl, you didn’t go to the meeting’.
He would answer, ‘Those two girls putting on the revival are no good, they just want to catch a man’.
She would plead ‘No Carl, you need Jesus in your life and He will help you to live a Christian life, please say you will come’.
So Dad said to Mother that he had better go because Grandma would never leave him alone. Yes, Dad went and came home a new man in Christ Jesus. He was a terrible man to swear, but the Lord really cleaned up my Dad.
Of course Mother said she was as good as Dad was but that wasn’t right. We are all sinners. We have to repent and accept Jesus Christ, and His blood is the only remedy for our sins. My mother was a very good person and she said that she didn’t need to be saved because she was just as good as Dad was. Mother watched Dad when he got dressed one morning after the revival and he didn’t swear every other word like before. Mother began to think that something had really happened to Dad.
Dad said to Mother, ‘Marie, I have heard the angels sing to me as I was working. It was beautiful’.Hilda Johnson
Dad was a stone cutter. He was so nice to Mother now. He never grumbled about anything anymore. Mother said to herself ‘It’s real’.
Well after supper one night, Dad said to Mother, ‘Marie, I have heard the angels sing to me as I was working. It was beautiful’.
Dad said he would take care of the children so Mother could go to a revival meeting. Dad had never asked to take care of the children before, so that was a nice change for Mother. Carl was in the cradle so Dad got down on his knees beside the cradle and asked God to save Mother after she left for the revival. He kept on saying the whole time ‘Save my wife, save my wife’
I never could sing. Oh I make a noise but thank God He hears us crow and it sounds to Him like a lark.Hilda Johnson
After the revival, here came Mother dancing and shouting, ‘I’m saved, I’m saved’.
There was great rejoicing and there was a great change in our home from that day.
I realized that I needed Jesus in my life so I got down on my knees and asked Him to come into my heart. I never could sing. Oh I make a noise but thank God He hears us crow and it sounds to Him Like a lark.
To be continued…