Axel and Betty both had light brown hair; Axel, blue eyes; Betty, brown. Both mastered the English language with a special Swedish accent! The family members frequently spoke Swedish. The Greenwalls were members of the Swedish Covenant Church in Wausa where their children were confirmed in Swedish. Stories were told of hitching up the horses on dark, chilling Christmas mornings to attend the 5 o'clock Julotta in Wausa. Axel kept lyrics for hymns in a handwritten book. Esther mentioned that the older Greenwall brothers would sometimes sing in quartets for church. The simple beauty of nature was another great source of inspiration and joy.
Commercial playing cards were not allowed in their home (so the kids made their own!) Esther could not wear make-up! (In secret, she would substitute a little "flour" for powder on the nose!) Axel Greenwalls lived on a farm near Wausa, NE and later built a farm place about 14 miles SW of Bloomfield, NE. They were frugal and industrious, lacing a routine day with humor and favortie Swedish melodies, softly sung or hummed! One of Betty's favorite songs was "Yesus (Jesus) loves da Little Children"--a song which her grandchildren learned at her knee!
Elmer, Esther and Rick received a thorough elementary education in their country school--where even Latin was taught! When they reached their teens, high school was not a priority nor was it logistically and financially feasible. Rick and Elmer were hired as farm hands in Nebraska, when not needed at home. One harvest season, they brought home another hired hand, a certain Laurence Havekost, soon to be the lifetime focus of Esther's life.
As a teenager, Esther went to Minneapolis where her mother's Swedish Aunt Annie Anderson lived. There, Esther lived with wealthy families near Lake Harriet as a nanny and housekeeper. It was an "on the job education" where she learned many skills of cooking, food presentation, to entertain and observe first-hand how a different level of society functioned! She married her husband, Laurence Havekost, in Minneapolis.
In 1941, Esther and her husband, Laurence, moved from Minneapolis to Nebraska to help Axel and Betty and thier son, Richard, and his wife, Ruby, with the farms. Elmer was a skilled large equipment mechanic during the construction of major highways in South Dakota.
After many years of hard work in the "New World," Axel and Betty retired to Bloomfield, where they built a small home and attended St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Driving to the farms, visiting Wausa and listening to ball games on the radio were favorite pastimes for Axel in retirement. They also treated grandchildren to roundtrip rides on the train between Bloomfield and Wausa! Visiting Aunt Anna Nordstrom on her bread baking day was always a joy!
Axel wrote his last letter to Sweden a few days before he died in December of 1950. Following Axel's death, Betty lived with her daughter, Esther and family for the next ten years. Axel and Betty are buried in the Swedish Covenant Cemetary near Wausa. For the grandchildren who remember them, their lives continue to be an example of faith, strength and courage to achieve life's maximum dreams and goals for themselves and others--both in prosperous and challenging times.