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.

Just Posted

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Most Read