Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The first branch and leaf

When I started this, I wanted to share with my family and friends (read that as the younger set), stories about their relatives and the tidbits I find out as I research the family lines.  So the first few posts were to set the stage.  But now it is time to really look into that first branch.  My grandmother, Hazel Jensen Brossoit and what stories we can share.  With July being her birthday month, it is a good place to start.

Hazel Isabel Jensen was born 25 July 1908 in Sinnott Township, near the now city of Stephen, Marshall County, Minnesota.  This puts her in the upper north-west corner of Minnesota along the Tamarac River. She was the youngest of eight children, born to Martin Jensen and Laura Francis Toombs.  I remember her telling me to never name my daughters "Hazel" because she was always called "Hazelnut" and she did not like the name Isabel. 

What memories do we all have of her?  She always was welcoming and I can't recall her ever saying a bad word about someone else.  She was a lady through and through, but never put on airs.  She taught us how to bake apple dumplings, stuff sausages, play cribbage and the game where you hide the button.  We were allowed to play with her jewelry box and put curlers in her hair.  She was always game for a picnic or an estate sale or even just out to lunch.  We toured all the old historic homes together, watched "Peter Pan" every year at her house, had Brownie scouts in the basement and "Rocky and Bullwinkle" (in color!) in the living room.  We went to her house for lunch during our elementary school years, suppers on Fridays for smelt and had many a Thanksgiving dinner. 

When we went to the lake, she didn't swim, so we would gather the inner tubes and float along the shoreline and visit.  She taught some of us how to drive and others how to smoke and drink, but still remain that lady.  Gardens were her pride of her yard and she taught me how to arrange flowers and not be apprehensive to make centerpieces.  Raspberries were always in great supply and she would can those we did not eat at first picking as well as canned tomatoes.  She made lutefisk, pickled herring, head cheese, and blond brownies.  As children we wrote on the blackboard inside the back hall area, played on the organ or the "piano-harp" in the basement or listened as Grandma and Grandpa played thier favorite dance tunes on the piano and violin.

She loved to read, work crossword puzzles and knit.  Knitted mittens which as we grew older became wool throws which gave way to buying socks for all the grandkids as the numbers grew and the presents became too numerous to gather.


  1. Thank you for this one Auntie Lou - Grandma Hazel meant a lot to all of us and I do so enjoy hearing stories about her!