From my dad’s journal of memories: a story from his life when he was a teenager in Denmark during the dirty thirties.
The Brick and Cement Jungle: Aarhus, Denmark.
Aarhus, or the ‘House by the Creek’, grew to become Denmark’s second largest city.
It had a huge cathedral built in the thirteenth century that survived an ammunition explosion similar to the one that happened in Halifax on the east coast of Canada, a credit to the builders of the cathedral hundreds of years earlier.
With a large deep sea harbour and beautiful sandy beaches, it faced the open Kattegat Sea between Denmark, Norway and Sweden and had a huge shipbuilding industry that lasted a couple of centuries.
My dad went independent by buying a creamery in Aarhus. He bought milk from independent farmers, and bottled and distributed the various products to small stores.
The name of the creamery was Trøjborg, a fancy name for an industrial building in the middle of a bunch of five-storey apartment buildings.A small furniture factory was right alongside it, and both spaces were rented from the developer of the entire city block.
We first lived in a villa in the suburb, Aabyhoj, and went to school there. But it was the dirty thirties and the depression had hit Denmark hard. The competition became fierce and after two years the villa was sold and we moved to an apartment nearer to the creamery.
My dad put in modern ice-cream-making equipment and refrigeration, and the sales went well for a while although the whole family had to work to keep the business afloat.
The city school, a boy’s school, was rough with many macho kids ready to pick fights. My brother Knud was strong and did well, but being smaller I had to fight harder and got caned a couple of times for fighting.