Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sweden

When the ship arrived in Gothenborg I had to rush to catch the noontime train going south. I was fortunate in that I did not have to have help moving my luggage. There were a couple of people with steamer trunks and they were the last to leave the ship, I imagine. I hope they contained the smell of mothballs.

I had a cousin of sorts who lived in Halmstad and I looked for her at the station. Thought maybe the news of my return might have brought her there. She was my most favorite relative. S and I would go there if he ever got leave. When the train finally reached Helsingborg, there was a tall man with a hooked nose smiling at me and for a second I wondered what he wanted. But then there was flash of something, and I knew he was my father's son, in other words, it was my brother. When I left home in 1938 he was sixteen years old, the cutest teenager you could ever meet. He was now a man of 23 and he had changed. He had a hat on so the fact that he was bald came as a surprise later. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I grew to love him again.

And then we had to go home to see our mother. One reason for this delay in writing my blog is the fact that I have to face this very difficult relationship. She had often talked about the perfect life she had before I was born. She had a perfect little daughter, four years old and a perfect baby boy who was two. And then life went to hell. I cried from the moment of birth and I continued to make life unbearable for her until I left home at 18. She had spoken freely about how she tried to have me lost before I was born. She rode her bicycle over the rockiest paths and even used some kind of mixture her mother-in-law gave her. This is not a sick sign of my imagination, she told me. And I was beaten regularly. I remember many summers when I could not go swimming, for the welts on my back and the back of my legs would be too embarrassing. When mother met S. her first words to him were: WHY ON EARTH DID YOU MARRY HER. I have struggled since Sunday how I would tell this. There is one happy note I can tell you, she liked me between 87 and 89. I am extremely grateful for that.

19 comments:

nickee said...

Perhaps the reason you cried and cried was because you had a bad time while you were in the belly. Also subconciously you knew you were not wanted. So sad. Well, we want you, and we love reading your blog!!!!

Sarah said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry. It is awful that paretns have these feelings,and worse when they act on them. I wonder if being 'unwanted' let you be free to be so adventurous?

Anonymous said...

I never comment but felt compelled too. I have been reading your blog since the conception and your stories remind me of my families. It is wonderful that you are taking the time to create a written record of your history for your family to receive for generations to come.

It is a shame that your mother felt that way about you, but it was not your fault, it was hers. Hopefully, she at some point attempted to make amends with you and herself.

My own mother wanted to have me aborted (Roe/Wade came into effect just after I was born), emotionally and physically abused me on a consistent basis, not to mention putting me into some serious situations that no child should be in(drugs coupled with her "boyfriends"). She made it apparent to me from my earliest memories that I was not wanted nor loved in the way that children are supposed to be loved. Thank God that I had/have some wonderfully amazing Grandparents that enabled me to feel safe at some points in my developing years. I hope that you had some influential people that cared for you and enabled you to feel safe and loved.

I don't know if this would give you any type of solace, but to me it is theirs is a greater loss. They lost out on having a giving soul that came from their own loins and unfortunately do/did not love themselves, hence their actions. Consciencely or subconsciencly, they know what they did and have/had to live with their actions.

I am sorry that you had to deal with that growing up. No matter how many years pass it is something to some degree stays with you to some extent, the small child within us all.

That said I am sure that your children had the upbringing that you wished for. Please keep the stories coming, they are wonderful!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish you had not worried so much about writing today's post. You are not alone in having had that type of relationship, and those experiences, with a parent, and you should feel ashamed for something you did not do, or couldn't control. That kind of honest retelling helps us all. I, for one, appreciate ALL your wonderful memories. Good or bad, they are real and true. I look forward to more. Your writing is wonderful. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

A correction for the last comment, in which I made a mistake "...you should NOT feel ashamed for something you did not do, or couldn't control..."

Anonymous said...

Yes, she gave us a childhood full of wonder and adventure and art and love and the freedom to be who we came here to be......

Della said...

Ohh Bless your heart! You're living proof that a person can rise above terrible abuse and pass on a much better legacy to their own descendants.

Thank you for sharing your stories!!

Bridge said...

I just wanted to say that I am SO glad that you were born, and that you survived your difficult childhoood to live such a wonderful and fascinating life. And I am very grateful that you are sharing your memories with all of us - even the painful ones.

Thank you!

Arinn said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share this difficult story with us! I love reading your stories. It seems you have had so many adventures and they are all interesting to read about.

Anonymous said...

Svensto, thank you for this and all installments of your story. I am so sorry your mother felt that way, and so sorry she let you know. Think of all the love coming to you from your readers, who are so touched when we read this.

And now. please, a request. More pictures! Pictures of your art work, you as a girl, as a bride, as a nurse. Get coyote girl to help you.

Anonymous said...

You are a strong and wonderful person and a survivor of many things. Thank you for sharing your hardest of emotional memories with everyone, it must feel good to let it out and know you are loved by your readers, friends, and your children. We look forward to more of your wonderful stories. See you soon!!!

M & K

Anonymous said...

Hello. I came over from the Daily Coyote and have been reading for a while, but never actually commented. Thank you so much for posting this blog, I just love reading your stories. It makes me want to go and ask my own grandparents to tell me what they were doing when they were young, heh. I can't add much more to what the other comments have said, but I can agree with them on most things. Even I don't personally know you, I'm also glad that you were born and managed to survive that rough childhood. Again, thank you so much for sharing your stories.

~Mad said...

Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for sharing with us.

End of life issues with our parents are quite a "study", aren't they?

Too, I was very satisfied when my mother and I loved each other at the end - and she needed me (finally).

Love and respect to you as you continue to write and invite us to read,
~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
www.xanga.com/madewyn

jemarsta said...

I've been worried about you the last couple days so it's good to see you back and writing. Thank you for sharing such a difficult part of your life with us. Know that there are people who've never met you who think the world of you!

Anonymous said...

Svensto, I was worried about you too and was so happy to see your first post in a week!

I, too, had a very unhappy childhood, and it took me a long time to get over it. But I have been able to, so much that I cannot remember stories and instances of abuse. They are gone!

I hope that your bad memories will be gone too.

JM

TM Photography said...

I admire you for being able to share all of these stories (especially the painful ones) with complete strangers! You're amazing.

Melissa said...

While my relationship with my mother was never this bad, I can understand how one can carry terrible feelings about it for years.

Thank you for sharing it with us. I hope the telling of the tale has brought you some peace with it.

Marlene said...

Svento...You are not alone..there are more than you can imagine that share those same heartaches from thier past. It was good for you to speak of it and release it out..

being a parent comes naturally to some and others not.Your mother may have had a hard childhood too
and her bitterness spilled over to you..I am sorry for your hurt.So many lessons we are here to learn. I really enjoy your story. Marlene from Cambria

Anonymous said...

sweet Svensto,I am ashamed,a grown woman crying over what in reality are mere nothings teensy problems in the scope of things.i now see i know Nothing of real trouble.You have LIVED and risen to tell.brilliant ,Shreve must publish your story .the Ballads of Svensto.I have laughed aloud and cried at your stories,very addicting.Bless you,Terri