Page 6 - Looking Back-sample-rev
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8	 ro be rt jensen

 hagen. He was very knowledgeable about the family’s history, having
 spent a good deal of his time researching the family line at Copenha-
 gen’s archives. Strangely enough in all of our conversations there was
 never any mention of why my father left home at seventeen.

 On the tour we saw the former brewery built in 1783, where our great-
 great-great-grandfather, Peter Christian Jurgensen, was Brewmeister to
 the King of Denmark; he and his family lived close to the brewery.
 Steen later took me to visit the cemetery where my grandparents are
 buried. My grandfather Hjalmar Peter Jensen worked on the Danish
 National Railroad, and his father, Peter Christian Jensen, was a butch-
 er, according to Steen. The plot was about eleven by fourteen feet. I
 wondered how in the world all these people in our family could fit in
 there. Steen explained that in Denmark most people are cremated due
 to the shortage of land.

 Steen’s mother, Gerda, still lived in the same apartment building that
 my father had been raised in. I was told hers was similar to the apart-
 ment in which my father grew up, with its small front parlor overlook-
 ing the street, a dining room and kitchen going back, and bedrooms
 in the rear. I had had visions of something grander because my father
 always had a way of making everything seem bigger and better in Den-
 mark. In fact, it was quite modest. Europeans tend to live in smaller
 spaces and we were told that in Denmark such housing was considered
 middle class. Nonetheless, it was emotional to see firsthand what my
 father’s surroundings must have been like as a child. Later in life, after
 I began to earn a little money, on several occasions I offered to buy my
 father and mother tickets to go back to Denmark but he always refused.

 When he emigrated from Denmark, we believe my father, Louis Peter
 Jensen, may have gone first to England, because according to passen-
 ger manifests, he departed Liverpool on March 22, 1924, on the ship
 Lancastria, which docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before continuing
 to New York. On the crossing he became friends with a fellow by the
 name of Alfred Sonar, a woodcarver who later achieved some note in
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