I am going to say that knowing her was an opportunity missed. It wasn't until I was an adult (middle aged at that) before I understood her. As a child, she was a formidable figure who slightly frightened me. No, she was not mean or threatening in any way, she was just a presence that was larger than me.
Bernice was born on July 4, 1912 in Minnesota. Her father arrived from Sweden in 1880 when he was a toddler. Her mother was born in Iowa. How they met or gravitated to Minnesota is not known but Aunt Bernice was very proud of her Minnesota roots. She was the oldest of five children and was very partial to her brother Kenneth.
I haven't done the research to find where she met my uncle but I do remember when they came to see us after they were married on September 2, 1955.
They made the trip from Montana to Southern California. One of my parent's favorite things to do was to take family to Los Angeles and eat at Clifton's Cafeteria in Downtown. (Clifton's has been closed for years but is reopening soon and I am so looking forward to a trip there.)
|Me, Uncle Ralph, Aunt Bernice, my mom Ruby, my dad Ernie and my brother in September 1955 at Clifton's.|
|Howard Rhea, Anne Rhea, Ralph Rhea, Bernice Rhea, Ernie Rhea, and Ruby Rhea in Walnut Creek, California 1970's.|
It wasn't until years later when my husband and I made the trip to Yellowstone National Park and Billings that I finally understood my aunt. She was in an assisted living facility. It was then I realized she was a kind person with a no-nonsense exterior. I wish I'd seen that before but I treasure the week we spent with her and my uncle.
Bernice Elaine Bergstrom passed away on August 1, 2005.