Interviewed by Dorothy (Alberts) Sunday – Foreword by Aryn Henning Nichols
Anna (Rohm) Iverson lived her whole life on Oak Street in Decorah, Iowa, up until her recent move to Wellington Place in nearby Freeport, Iowa. Up until that point, she was Inspire(d)’s across-the-street neighbor. The 97-year-old is smart and practical and has a memory like a safe-deposit box. She can recall the name of every family that lived in every house on Oak, Sunday community concerts at Phelps Park, and a time when gypsies rolled through town. We live across the street from the house where she grew up!
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Mother gave us all good advice. She said we needed to learn how to take care of ourselves. We learned to work together.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I thought I wanted to be a seamstress. I even made one woman a suit out of a man’s suit. My mother sewed as well. We had mother/daughter bunads that even won honorable mention at a contest. Mother’s bunad is at Vesterheim now.
What did you do?
Well, my first job was at the Creamery. I did the butter slips, figuring how much it costs. Eventually I did bookkeeping. Next I worked at the hospital right after my daughter Lois was born. I worked 5-9 every night doing bookkeeping and answering the phone for emergencies. At that time a hospital room was only $10. Then I worked at Anthony’s Clothing Store downtown.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
Bible, water, shade tree.
Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
I hope I’m friendly…I try to get along with others.
(Dorothy’s note: I would say historian, very intelligent.)
If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don’t know if I could care for anything that long. (“Not even lefse?” Dorothy asks.) Not even lefse.
Name one thing you could not live without.
Tell us about…
…your wedding day.
Leonard and I met working at the Creamery together. He asked me out, of course, but I can’t seem to remember what we did on our first date. We got married May 16, 1947 out at Big Canoe Church. It was a cold spring day and a simple, small wedding.
…your favorite memory.
Arnold’s (her twin – there are two sets in her immediate family!) and my 90th birthday at Aase Haugen Home. It was just beautiful.