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Selma Louise Freudenberg Norton
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Birth: 1921
Death: 2009

Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009) worked as an Avon Representative and later as Bergen Record newspaper distributor. She was a member of Civil Defense and Disaster Control. (b. July 17, 1921; Bergen Sanatorium, 52 Madison Street, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, 07307, USA - d. 2009; Florida, USA)

Parents:
Arthur Oscar Freudenberg (1891-1968) and Maria Elizabeth Winblad (1895-1987).

Birth:
She was born on July 17, 1921. Her parents were living at 58 Oakland Avenue in Jersey City at the time of her birth.

Baptism:
She was baptized on Sunday, September 25, 1921 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jersey City.

Siblings:
Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) who married Burnett Peter Van Deusen (1913-1993) aka Pete Van Deusen; and Helen Eloise Freudenberg (1928-1989) who had a child with Eddie Ganlan, the butcher's son, and then married John Earl Borland (1924-1986), and after a divorce marred Albert Brindley.

Father abandoned family:
Around 1928 Arthur Freudenberg abandoned the family to be with another woman. The oral family tradition was that she was a burlesque stripper, but the woman who was a stripper may have come later in his life. During the depression Maria Winblad worked as a cleaning woman to earn money to feed and house the family. Arthur never provided any money to his family.

Trip to Chicago, Illinois:
In 1929 Selma traveled with her mother, Maria; older sister, Naida; and Otto Perry Winblad (1902-1977) to Chicago, Illnois to visit Lena Olson. Lena Olson was married to Andrew Havig Jensen. On this trip Selma met Osborne Theomun Olsen (1883-1971) and he gave her a gold-leaf covered, ceramic salt and paper shaker and a small gold-leaf covered animal figurine, which is still in the family. Lena was Selma's grandaunt, and was an imigrant from Farsund, Norway.

Jersey City, New Jersey:
In 1930 the family was living at 9 Claremont Avenue, Jersey City. Living with Maria was Otto Perry Winblad (1902-1977). Otto was Maria's brother. Arthur was still listed as the head-of-household, even though he had already moved out. Selma was incorrectly indexed as "Selam Freudenburg".

Injured sledding:
Selma was injured sledding in 1936 and the accident was reported in a newspaper article, posibly in the Jersey Journal: "Selma Freudenberg, 15 of 33 Claremont Avenue, sustained a laceration of the right leg when she fell from her sled while coasting in front of her home last night. She was treated by a Medical Center intern and remained at home."

Education:
Selma went to Henry Snyder High School from 1935 to 1939 in Jersey City and graduated on June 29, 1939.

China distributor:
She took the tube into Manhattan and worked near the Flatiron building for a china distributor. The office closed when the War started and they could not import the china. She then worked for the

Marriage:
She married on October 03, 1942. She was living with her mother at 11 Claremont Avenue in Jersey City when she married.

Civil Defense:
She joined Civil Defense Disaster Control (CDDC) after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. She remained active till at least 1980. She worked as a fallout shelter coordinator and was a radio operator in their RACES unit.

Divorce:
She divorced on May 25, 1966. Her husband rented a single room, and lived their until he retired. Neither of them remarried, and her now ex-husband still visited every Monday on his only day off from work. She joined Parents Without Partners and they sometimes had parties at her house in her basement in Paramus. That same year she bought a 1966 white Plymouth Valiant. She only had 30,000 miles on it when she sold it for $50 in 1998.

Death of father:
Arthur died intestate in 1968. His lawyer appears to have transferred all of Arthur's property to his own name prior to Arthur's death. At his death Selma and her youngest son went to Arthur's house, but it had already been emptied. In the back yard was a pile of his possessions and they rescued a few engravings.

Cleaning woman:
In the 1980s Selma worked as a cleaning woman. In 1984 while cleaning a house she went to lock the back door and fell through the floor. A remodeler had removed floorboards for his work and covered the hole with a piece of cardboard so the cat would not get out of the house. It became Bergen County Superior Court case number L-040076-84. A CAT scan revealed that Selma had a boney protuberance protruding into the hole in the base of her skull where her spinal cord enters. This may have been the source of her constant pain.

Interview in the Bergen Record:
From November 08, 1984 on page E-13: "It is not know who first said 'necessity is the mother of invention.' But it is known that [she] successfully applied the saying to correct the flooding problem at her Paramus home. Every time it rained, the water from her neighbor's yard washed down an incline on Ms. Norton's property, eroding precious topsoil and nutrients. And if the showers persisted, plantings were uprooted and killed. Frustrated and upset by the problem. Ms Norton turned to newspapers - but not the want ads - for help. She built a four-foot-high retaining wall of folded newspapers that now absorbs the water before it floods her yard. 'I don't know where I got the idea.' she says. 'I was desperate. Where are you going to get enough stones to build a wall? I am 63 years old, and its not easy to carry stones But you can carry newspapers and build a wall.' A conservationist who composts vegetables, leaves, branches, and grass clippings. Ms. Norton started building the wall four years ago."

Aspirin:
She said in 2003: "I take 2 x 325 milligram tablets of aspirin about 6 times every day. That adds up 12 aspirin a day, I keep a piece of paper with the times on it. Sometimes I take 14 a day. Each tablet has about 325 milligrams of aspirin in it. I am in constant pain."

Memoirs of Selma:
She said on February 20, 1999: "Samuel Kirkpatrick was married to Charlotte (Daisy) and they were our neighbors. They rented the top floor of a two family house at 8 Claremont Avenue, when we were living at 11 and 9 Claremont. They had two girls, Phyllis an Betty. They went to Browne Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church with Burnett Peter Van Deusen. I used to go to Pete's Church for Bible study. Phyllis introduced Pete to Naida. Sam was the guard at a factory and he got my mother a job cleaning the bathrooms there. I would go with my mother and clean with her. After that job my mom would cook for the people that worked in an office. She would prepare the food in their kitchen at the office. It was a long walk to the office, there was no bus to take. She would make them dinner every night. At one time she cooked in a restaurant in New York, I went with her once and they let me go down into the cellar. In the cellar was every possible toy and even bicycles. The chef said we could have them all, but Nanny had no way to bring them from New York back to Jersey City. I cried for weeks thinking about those toys, we never owned a bicycle. In the 1930s we were renting 9 Claremont Avenue which was a four family house and it was attached to another 4 family house at 11 Claremont Avenue. Nanny was the superintendent for both and I had to scrub the halls every week. Someone would come and shovel the snow. The Herks boy from down the street would be paid a dollar and he would carry out the ash cans from the basement. The houses were heated with coal back then. I would go out and buy a bag of coal for 25 cents and bring it back in my wagon. We couldn't afford to have the gas on in house so we used kerosene lamps. I would warm my feet on the coal stove and my mother would heat the iron to do the laundry on the stove. Once the laundry line got stuck, the wind blew the sheets so they twisted over the line. I had to climb the pole to untangle the sheets. Later my mother cleaned a doctor's office. His name was Dr. Ben Asher and I think he was Jewish. She would clean once a week. He was our family doctor and we always owed him money. I had diphteria and Helen had scarlet fever. When I had diphteria everyone had to leave the house except my mom. Otto, Naida and Helen had to live elsewhere. Naida and Helen went to stay with Eloise Lindauer, our grandmother on my father's side. A health inspector would come in and swab my throat every day. My father gave me his stamp collection after I recovered. I remember once sitting in the yard and the stamps were blowing away. Another time he gave me his postcard collection. My cousin Dick and his father and mother would come down to the shore house that was owned by Ada and Ralph Kohlman. It might have been in Matawan, New Jersey.

Kathleen Norton Esposito on June 02, 2006: We would swim in your pool in Paramus. Your mother would make a macaroni salad with tuna fish and she taught me how to make it. I still make it to this day.

Selma Norton on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14, 2006: "Once I was in Shop Rite and an African American woman was standing in front of me and she said "you go in front of me, I am waiting for someone". She then slipped open my pocketbook that was over my shoulder and without me knowing it took out my wallet and later that day I got a call from the Post Office in Maywood and the postman found my wallet in the street and brought it in. I never kept my money in my wallet. My mother was mugged in Jersey City, she was staying there to help Otto's wife's aunt Dotty. They pushed her to the ground and took her pocketbook. Otto lived on an adjacent street, they took her money and threw her pocketbook in the street.We went to Chicago in 1929 and we had to cross over the mountains to get there. Otto Winblad was driving and my mom, Maria Winblad was in the passenger side. Naida and I were in the back seat. Otto was a wild driver, he drove fast and in the mountains it seemed like we were going to fall off. He would always try and pass the car in front of him."
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Arthur Oscar Freudenberg (1891 - 1968)
  Maria Elizabeth Winblad Freudenberg (1895 - 1987)
 
 Siblings:
  Naida Muriel Freudenberg Van Deusen (1915 - 1998)*
  Selma Louise Freudenberg Norton (1921 - 2009)
  Helen Eloise Freudenberg Brindley (1928 - 1989)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
George Washington Memorial Park
Paramus
Bergen County
New Jersey, USA
 
Created by: Richard Arthur Norton (1...
Record added: Sep 22, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7889219
Selma Louise <i>Freudenberg</i> Norton
Added by: Richard Arthur Norton (1958- )
 
Selma Louise <i>Freudenberg</i> Norton
Added by: Richard Arthur Norton (1958- )
 
Selma Louise <i>Freudenberg</i> Norton
Added by: Richard Arthur Norton (1958- )
 
 
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