Emma Quaale De Jong, b. 1913

I’m Emma Quaale De Jong.  I’m ninety-three years old.  I was born March 19, 1913—born down in, I don’t know if you call it the Carnation or the VincentValley.  Anyway it was where the water had just taken home anyway.  There’s where I was born.  And I went to school there in Vincent.  In fact, that’s my picture, first-grade picture up there, and our school there in Vincent; went to school there the first six years.  And then we was transferred up at Carnation the rest of the time.

My dad came in 1901, the whole family, and they came to Seattle.  And they were there I don’t know how many years.  Then my mother came over.  They didn’t know each other.  She was twenty-two when she came.  I shouldn’t say this, but she came here to marry somebody.  This man had came ahead of time to get settled and everything, was going to send her over this way.  And she came here, and he was married!  So she was a dressmaker, so she had to find a job.  The Quaales were the first family that she did.  My grandmother, the mother of the family, she sewed for her.  She sewed for her all these years until she died, which is 1956.

Dad came from Funrum and my mother came from Smorkval. Norway, both of ’em from Norway.  As a matter of fact, the Quaales have a street named after them in Norway, and it’s still there, it’s not taken down. And the house my mother was born in, is still there.  So it’s quite old.  Different people use it as a summer home right now. And like I said, my mother came here to marry.  Of course she met my dad at this family, see.  So then they got married.  I think that picture up there is when they were first married.  There was my grandpa and grandma.  Then after awhile, then they came out here in Carnation.  The place they moved to, of course, is there, but not the same house.  The old house is torn down and stuff.

My parents were farmers. That was what they did in Norway.  The farms were too small back there, they didn’t make a living on the small farms in Norway.  I don’t know what it was like in Sweden, but in Norway….  That’s why they came over here, was to see if….  And it was farming, and it was hard work.  And my dad worked so hard—my brother’s probably told you this, too—he farmed and they cleared land.  It was hard work.  And he got pneumonia.  Us kids were all small, and he died at forty-one years.

I was eighteen.  I was just graduating high school, my last year in high school it was.  My sister was in Portland, she was a nurse.  And from then on, I don’t know, of course everybody got married and stuff.  I was married at twenty-two.  Met my husband, he worked at the Carnation Farms.  You know, at that time, times were hard.  There was no jobs, no nothing.  We struggled, of course, just like everybody else.  You tell the kids nowadays, they don’t believe you, you know.

We lived in two different farms.  When I was smaller, we lived close to where the school is.  And then we moved to where the farm is now, next to my brother.  And there’s where I spent my teens and stuff, until I got married.

We didn’t have anything; no electricity.  That was down at the farm.  We had lanterns, and we struggled.  My dad was so tired, he’d eat and he’d sleep at the table.  After he got through eating, he was so tired.  You know, they worked awful hard, you know.

We shocked hay, we cut hay.  I was out there with the men, shocking hay.  I drove the team in back of the barn.  I don’t know if you know any of this farm stuff or not, but that’s hard work, with big work horses. You shock hay with a pitch fork, and pitch it up, make stacks.  And then the stacks, they lifted it up and put it on the wagon and hauled it to the barn.  And then from the wagon, they used a pulley—big huge forks—and pulled it up and into the hay mow.  I worked in there, too, and that wasn’t fun.  Of course they milked many cows.  I don’t remember how many it was, but I could not milk.  I could not get the milk out.  So they gave me the job of cleaning the milk house.  So that wasn’t fun.  I was the last one doing work at night.  Then I had to cook, I did all the cooking, because they were busy.  So us kids, we had to do our part.  There was no free time at all.  And of course we rode the school bus into school.  At first we had to walk to that one in Vincent—you know, us kids were small.  It was freezing, no mittens, no gloves.  And the school bus that picked the kids up to go to Carnation, he felt sorry for us, and he picked us up.  So that went on, so we didn’t have to walk anymore.  That helped a lot in getting to school.

And then of course you went to grade school.  I’m talking about myself now.  My mother was working awful hard.  She had to take over the farm.  The boys, one of my brothers—he probably told you—he had to quit school.  But after one year, she made him go back, and he finished all right.  That’s hard work, awful hard work.  I don’t know, I can’t remember too much about the boys really, because then after high school, of course, I played basketball the whole four years.  Norma was one of ’em I played—we played together.  I stayed at her house.  There was another girl I stayed [with], because, you see, there was no way of gettin’ back and forth—the games were at evening—and so I stayed over that way.

Then after I was through high school, I worked for a lady, and her name was Wallace—just housework, that’s all you could get.  I didn’t have no way to get to school.  I wanted to be a hairdresser, but that didn’t work out, because I had no place to stay, and going back and forth, you had to go to Seattle to do that.  That didn’t work.

Then after a while, I met my husband.  He was working at Carnation Farms as a milker, just like with Addie’s husband—they worked together, and we chased around together, went to movies and stuff.  We were married fifty years and six months, so that was pretty good.  Then I just had the two kids, five grandchildren, like I said.  Ten great-grandchildren, and two—one’s comin’ up in June, so then I have to say two—two great-great-grandchildren.

One time when he was little, my brother Will burnt a house down.  That’s why we had to move to this place there close to the schoolhouse—there was no place to go.  He was only about two, though.  He was playing with matches under the house.  Dad had a violin, he played violin—that was burnt.

Emma Quaale De Jong
Date of interview: 04/06/06
Interviewed by Jerry Mader
Supported by a grant from King County 4-Culture Heritage
Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona