Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009)

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Freudenberg-SelmaLousie 1998February07

Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921- ) on February 07, 1998

Norton-Selma 1980a

Selma in 1980 in Paramus, New Jersey on her acoustic guitar

1942 Selma Louise Freudenberg by Vinod

Selma circa 1942 in Jersey City, New Jersey

Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009) in Point Pleasant, New Jersey in 1939

Selma in Point Pleasant, New Jersey in 1939

2000px-United States Civil Defense Roundel.svg

She joined Civil Defense around 1962

Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009) was a housewife and an Avon Products representative. She worked as a Bergen Record newspaper distributor. She later worked as a housecleaner. (b. July 17, 1921, Bergen Sanatorium, 52 Madison Street, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, 07307, USA - d. 2009; Florida, USA)


Selma was born in 1921 to Arthur Oscar Freudenberg I (1891-1968) and Maria Elizabeth Winblad (1895-1987). Her parents were living at 58 Oakland Avenue in Jersey City at the time of her birth.


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


Father abandoned familyEdit

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, IllinoisEdit

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 immigrant from Farsund, Norway.

Jersey City, New JerseyEdit

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 sleddingEdit

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."


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

China distributerEdit

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


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

Civil DefenseEdit

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.


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 fatherEdit

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 womanEdit

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 floor boards 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 bony 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.

Bergen RecordEdit

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 Sally Norton 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.


She said in 2003: "I take 2 x 325 milligram tablets of aspirin about 6 times every day. That adds up 12 asprin 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 SelmaEdit

  • She said in 1998: "The first people to Paramus [of people we knew] were Gloria and Tom Healy who lived on Wedgewood Drive. They lived next door to us on Ogden Avenue in Jersey City. Tom Healy taught Thomas Patrick Norton II (1920-2011) to drive, then sold him his car so that they could move to Paramus. Tom Norton was working at Mutual Chemical at the time. The car was a green pre-WWII Chevrolet that was sold for $60. Tom Healy had rebuilt the car. On the Healy side of the block all the backyards sloped down, so Sally didn't like them. On the next block up, on Gorden Drive there was one house where someone had taken their $100 deposit back. Sally and Tom had to take the house as is. The frame was already up and the windows installed. It was raining on the day they moved their furniture and the streets were still unpaved (or at least their driveway wasn't, and still isn't). The neighbors Snooky and Al, on the corner, let the movers drive on their lawn to reach Sally's backyard. When they moved out, Sandy Roth, who became Judy's friend moved in. Then Judy and Peter moved in next door."
  • 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 diphtheria and Helen had scarlet fever. When I had diphtheria 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.
  • 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."

Memories about SelmaEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit


Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009)'s ancestors in three generations
Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921-2009) Father:
Arthur Oscar Freudenberg I (1891-1968)
Paternal Grandfather:
Max S. Freudenberg I (1858-1921)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Siegmund Freudenberg (1828-1908)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Clara Horwitz (1835-c1863)
Paternal Grandmother:
Eloise Lindauer II (1860-1935)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Charles Frederick Lindauer I (1836-1921)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna Augusta Kershaw (1841-1931)
Maria Elisabeth Winblad II (1895-1987)
Maternal Grandfather:
John Edward Winblad I (1856-1914)
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Anton Julius Winblad I (1828-1901)
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Elsa Maria Elisabeth Näslund (1829-1907)
Maternal Grandmother:
Salmine Sophia Severine Pedersen (1862-1914)
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Ole Mattias Pedersen (1822-1914) of Klungeland
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Thea Johanne Torstensdatter (1825-1864)

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