A Granna to All

A Granna to All

A Granna To All

May 18th, 1943 is a historical period in time. Most remember this day, the Peace Treaty
Was signed, and a violent volcano eruption took place in Oregon. This is also the day Ivar Johan,
Age 41, delivered the eldest of his daughters, on a river boat in the Yukon River near Anchorage,
Alaska. Her name was Mert. She was the second of ten brothers and sisters. Her mother Ruth
Joseph, age 16, and her father ( Ivar) were married a few years earlier and began a family.

The family of twelve lived in two single-room log cabins that sat on a two-hundred mile
Trap line on the Yukon River . Her father was a fur trader of 37 years. He was a hard working ,
handsome, family man. Standing 6’2’’ , of Swedish decent, had blonde hair and sparkling blue
eyes. While Ruth at the time 4’11’’, 100 % pure Alaskan Native stayed home with the younger
children who were not yet big enough to work. Ivar was already shaping Mert and her two oldest
brothers into hard working family members. At age seven Mert was already pumping the
water , heating it up on the stove , giving her sibling’s baths, and washing family laundry. She
could cook clean and skin a beaver with her eyes closed.

Her average day would consist of waking up at 5 a.m. to chop wood with her two
brothers and father. Around 8:30 they would head back to the cabin for a hearty breakfast. A tall
stack of pancakes and 4-5 eggs each was easily demolished by the 4 hungry workers. After
breakfast, it was then her responsibility to hike out to the river shore (where the family well was
dug once
a year) and make about ten trips to gather enough water for the whole day. She then would
heat up the water on their wood stove and began dishes and bathes. By the time all of this was
completed she would start dinner for her mom and begin making soap and candles for the winter
At age nine as she explains the best gift was given to her, the first day of school. She

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