How do you pick someone from a long list that fits this topic? It is hard, as so many over time either nurtured a family or they were nurtured by one special person in their life. My choice was made easier due to an email I received from my 2nd cousin. It contained stories about Johanne Kirstine Elmose, told by her grand-daughter.
|Name: Johanne Kirstine Elmose|
|Birth: 26/5/1902 – Starup, Malling, Ning, Århus|
|Marriage: 12/12/1941 – Risskov, Hasle, Århus|
|Spouse: Ingemann Jensen|
|Death: 1998 – Malling, Ning, Århus|
Johanne, my 2nd cousin once removed, and a member of the Øvle-clan, was quite frail as a child. This may be the reason that she became interested in music to the extent that as a young girl she attended the Music Conservatory. This love of classical music stayed with her throughout life.
Music was not Johanne’s only love. Cooking also fascinated her. This interest, once she was fully trained as a chef, took her to many interesting places.
One of these was Kokholm’s Hotel in Kandestederne. This hotel is situated at the beach on the west coast of Skagen, about 15-20 km from Jutland’s most northerly point. Another was a large estate in Eastern Sealand.
Later she worked at Anneberg in Northern Sealand. She obviously liked traveling and seeing different places. Her adventurous spirit took her on a trip to England where she worked at a large Estate.
By 1939 Johanne had reached a career pinnacle. She was working in a management position at the d’Angleterre Hotel, Copenhagen. For those who do not know this hotel I can say that it is a ‘Five Star Superior’ rated hotel, the only one in Denmark. It was established in the mid 1700s and is situated in the centre of Copenhagen with only a minute’s walk to ‘The colourful Nyhavn, The Royal Theatre, Kings Garden and Strøget‘ (from D’Angleterre Website). The restaurant, where Johanne would have worked as a chef, is now Michelin-starred.
My information tells me she had lost interest in this career by mid 1940, and I also suspect it had something to do with the German occupation on the 9th of April 1940. The German High Command chose the Hotel d’Angleterre as its residential headquarters and placed guards at the main entrance. The Danes were not happy about this and started to boycott the hotel. I think this would have been another reason for Johanne’s decision to leave.
In the summer of 1940 she became a housekeeper at Aldrup Andelsmejeri (co-op dairy-works). The manager, Ingemann Jensen, had recently lost his wife and was suddenly alone with three young girls aged 3, 5 and 9. He was in a lot of trouble, but it didn’t take long for Johanne to straighten out the house and family.
Johannes granddaughter tells the story about how her mother and siblings were hanging out of the attic window the day Johanne arrived. As she stepped down from the bus they noted she was a very smart woman wearing both hat and gloves.
Love blossomed, and Johanne and Ingemann were married at the end of 1941. Another daughter Kirsten arrived the following year, and this is where the nurturing comes in. Johanne always loved and treated the four girls exactly the same even though only the youngest was her biological daughter.
Johannes was religious and apart from her music interest she also read a lot, keeping up with the news as well as the latest in literature. She was a very busy woman because in addition to looking after the house and family she was a fantastic cook, says her granddaughter. Somehow, she also found time to knit and sew for the family.
Ingemann died in 1973, but Johanne lived for a further 25 years and died aged 96. Whilst her body was tired towards the end, her mind remained sharp.