Market Gypsy: Home, no matter how small, is what we make it

Millennial pink, girl boss and minimalist living are not new.

Meet the ladies who were ahead of the hashtags describing an era. As I was walking across the brick and mortar arched bridge at the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, I was thinking about how a ‘home’ is defined by so many people in so many different ways, yet, all meaning the same thing, a place that offers pleasure, comfort and safety.

I could hear the ladies laughing in the tiny log cabin that once was their home. Irene, Helen and Ardis, along with their niece Lynne, welcomed me into the Thomsen family log home.

The home has a picture hanging on the wall with the man who built it in 1930, Elmer Thompson, son of a Danish Canadian immigrant.

It is tiny, with just two rooms that housed the Thomsen families and Helen, the eldest daughter of Gladys and Hans Kappel, pointed to the area by the window where her sister Irene was born and delivered by the local midwife who was also their 72-year-old grandma Caroline Thomsen.

Caroline worked to help her family and to help other women. Perhaps she is one of the earliest forms of being a true ‘girl boss’ but without an Instagram hashtag.

The stories had me thinking about how minimalist living is trending and back then it was a way of life.

That way of life was filled with joy, adventures, hard work, and family. The two-room log house had a sofa, dresser, single bed, double bed, large wood stove, a wood box with a sink on top, and a piano.

The ladies remember the house always having music playing either by piano or from the radio.

The house was filled with only things they needed and music was one of them.

Their early minimalist years were based on using everything, not being wasteful and learning that perhaps more is not always better.

The garden supplied their table with meals that nourished them and the wood stove served as heat as well.

The heat from a wood stove is one that I crave — even on rainy summer nights.

When I asked Ardis if they were ever cold in the wood chinked log home, she said, “never.”

All three ladies talked about how they never once thought about the house as a tiny space. It was home. It was warm. And it was enough.

Ardis, daughter of Ruth and Soren Norre, also lived in the house with her family.

While we looked at their salvaged log home, she pointed out they refinished and refurnished the interior of it to be as close to what they could remember.

The dainty curtains were letting just enough light to slip in to highlight the tiny details of household items. I noticed soft blue and pink as accent colors.

Was I witnessing the origins of millennial pink and serenity blue?

I felt like an anthropologist. What would a social anthropologist say about these colours? They are happy. They are calming and they add a bit of flair. I do believe it is an Instagram worthy moment.

With a world increasingly busy and at times seemingly complicated, I wonder if these fascinating, strong Thomsen women know that they reaffirmed to me that a home is what we make it and the time we take to care for it.

I wonder if they know how much I appreciate them for opening the proverbial door to many of us who may take the simple moments for granted, such as I have.

Sharlyn Carter lives in Red Deer creating a feast with local ingredients. You can find more on Instagram and Facebook as Market Gypsy.

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