My sister had given our mother a notebook, with the suggestion she writes down some of her memories. While she was originally reluctant to do so, she did in the end fill almost the entire book. I will occasionally reproduce some of her memories here.
The Kerosene Lamp
We had at home a kerosene lamp, and if it was not quite dark, my mother would light that lamp. The wick was turned up a bit, the burning match held close, and then the small flame would quietly crawl around the round wick. I liked the yellow light. If the electricity failed in the evening (which happened then more than now), we also used the kerosene lamp, of course. The shade was silk, with a fringe of silver beads. The lamp sat on the table, but if it was not lighted, it stood on a small table in the corner of the room. I don’t have special memories of it, but if suddenly it had disappeared, it would have looked empty. The kerosene was sold door-to-door by a man with an “Automat” wagon: a small cart with a tank on it, from which the kerosene was drawn. A cart like that was from a large oil company, but I’m not sure which one, maybe “Shell,” I remember that name best, but I didn’t really know what “Shell” meant. Those carts were a great improvement for the kerosene sellers, but I don’t remember how they did it before that time. The kerosene seller used to be an organ grinder. He had a small portable music box with a crank, which he turned, and then you could hear the music. He walked along the houses. He came on Saturday afternoons along our house, and he then received a penny.