Sven Nielsen's Memoirs Part 6

Semi retirement

About this time I attended different encounter groups, they usually consisted of 12 persons, and you were supposed to say exactly what you felt like. One person would be in the hot chair at the time, and the participants would say exactly what they thought of him. I learned a lot from those sessions. Also I joined a group for meditation, where I learned how to hypnotize myself and had a couple of out of body experiences, where I would float in the air and see my body resting. It was a little scary, and not particularly useful.

Carol is born

In 1968 Elizabeth had a child, a boy. Unfortunately the cord had a knot on it, which cut off the blood supply to the fetus and he died in the eight month of pregnancy. It might have been caused by playing tennis and jumping around on the court, but she still had to go for another month before the birth. It must have been an unimaginable pain to go for a whole month with a dead body inside.

A couple of years later she had a girl Carol, who was born August 20th 1970 and was a real joy and a beautiful girl. I remember a summer in 72 where I took her down on Yonge Street, which had prohibited all motorized traffic during the days. It was so nice with beer gardens outside cafés and plants, trees and flowers all over. People were so happy with the arrangement, Carol was so cute and she seemed to like beer too. She was walking around and saying hi to everybody.

Unfortunately the open street only lasted two years. The police said they couldn't control it - too much drug traffic and body rub parlours - so they closed it. Strangely in Ottawa they manage quite well and also in lots of cities in Europe. Another episode I remember was when Carol was in an Easter parade on Queen Street; she was a majorette that time and took it very seriously. When she walked by I said: "hi Carol" but she said schuss we are not allowed to talk to anybody.

On my own again

I then moved in with my sister Lizzy for while, drove to Florida in my new car, it looked so small there compared to all the Cadillacs and other big American cars. Here I played tennis every day, went sightseeing, swimming, dancing, played bridge and pool and had a very good time.

I become a salesman

When I got back, I took a position as a salesman on commission for an electronic store on Bathurst Street. It was new to me to sell, but I did very well, and sold more than anybody else, partly because I was older and never pressed a customer to buy. At this time I also worked at home assembling Hi Fi kits for a Jewish engineer, he would in turn sell them to his friends. I needed some money to live on, my pension from Philips was $ 136.20 a month, and it would be another 9 years before I could get Canada pension and old age security, but I was free to do anything I wanted, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

A job with free hands

After another winter in Florida I needed some income, so I went to see a customer from Philips, a Dr. Brooker, and told him I was available to do some work in his laboratory, but only with complete free hands: if the sun was shining I would play tennis, and during the winter I would be in Florida. He said that would be fine, I could do anything I wanted as long it was connected with the company.

So I did a lot of things to improve the operation, among other things I made a robot which was fully automatic. It could do the works of three men and work 24 hours a day. It was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saved a lot of money and was able to make up a nice RSP. The first year I contributed $ 15000.00, which was the limit then, and eventually at 69 I had accumulated $ 110000.00 in RSP and bought a couple of annuities and a RRIF. So far 16 years later I have received double that amount, and it will continue to pay as long as I live.

From 1974 to 2000 I would go south every winter, the first 9 years to Miami Beach, then 8 years to St. Petersburg, and 9 years to Las Vegas, and almost every year Carol would come for a visit. A couple of times I took her to Denmark, where we went by train to Germany and by ferry to Sweden.

I meet Danuta

Danuta Lappo

On September 30th 2001 I went on one of those walking tours. Here I meet the dream of my life, a lovely blond young lady from Poland, Danuta Lappo. She was a teacher and principal in Poland with a PhD degree. We started dating, and after some months decided to move in together, but not to live in Toronto. We thought about Victoria, however it was so far away from our families, so we went on several trips in south western Ontario, and stayed overnight to see what the towns were like, and finally decided on St Catharine's. Here we rented an apartment for one year and later bought a condo on 365 Geneva Street.

We like the quiet life here, very little traffic, and only a few minutes to anywhere in town. We go on lots of hiking trips in the area of Niagara escarpment, Bruces trail etc. Shortly after we moved here I had to go to the hospital for a prostate operation and was diagnosed with cancer. They wanted me to go for radiation and chemotherapy, but I refused. It was a good decision: now after more than three years I feel fine, no problems whatsoever. If I had decided to take the radiation, I would probably be dead now. I firmly believe that Danuta has cured me with her good care, love, and healthy food. We walk an average of 10 km a day and have a beautiful relationship. We never had an argument in all that time and are still much in love. I am very happy now, and wish I could live forever, but there is a lot of mileage on this body, time is limited, so we just enjoy every day as it comes.

Danuta and I in the mountains

In December 2004 we went to Las Vegas for 3 months, we didn't even get any medical insurance. It was nice to be back there again, I met a lot of old acquaintances. We did some hiking in the mountains, one day we walked 22 kilometres, explored the desert, gambled everyday, went dancing, and just had a good time. Carol & Kevin came and stayed a few days, and we all went to see the Grand Canyon.

We are very happy in our condo, the people in the building are friendly, I play bridge downstairs once a week, but we are outside whenever the weather permits, going for long walks holding hands, just enjoying each others company.

Danuta is very unique, always happy, usually smiling or laughing, and she has a kind word for anybody we meet. We go dancing a lot, and thoroughly enjoy it, do a lot of walking or hiking an average of 10 km a day. In the summer we go fruit picking, it is amazing how much fruit you can pick up for free. The first summer we picked over 300 pounds of pears, apples, wild grapes and cherries. We go to the senior centre, it is like a poor mans country club, where I play snooker and Danuta plays shuffleboard, and on Wednesdays they have tea dances, other programs are bridge, table tennis and craft, and once in a while we gamble at the casino in Niagara Falls. We also spend time on the internet; here you can always find an answer to any question.


Sven Nielsen died December 1st 2007, 87 years old. Before his death I told him that I would like to publish his memoirs and share the story with a wider audience. He liked the idea and said I could modify it anyway I liked to suit the purpose.

I have corrected some spelling mistakes, changed some commas to periods and added headlines for easier reading. Otherwise I have altered nothing. If you want to read the original manuscript (Word document), you can download it here.

December 8th 2007, Eric Bentzen