Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Holloween

I got two messages about Halloween this morning and so I feel compelled to write about our Halloween when our four children were growing up. One family asked if they could call at dinner time so I could laugh like a witch for their two grown boys. I assured them that I need more developed abdominal muscles in order to be effective. When we moved from Diablo to Laguna Beach our good friends called on Halloween morning and told us they were coming South that afternoon, for they didn't want their four children going through a Halloween without hearing my witches laugh. (I had abdominal muscles in those days) I remember that as one of the happiest weekends in Laguna Beach.

When the children were older than toddlers I used to dress all in black, and go out and wait for their friends to arrive. I stood under our bridge and when they were directly above me, I would give forth with a thunderous laugh. Think of now being an almost ninety year old woman and hearing that that laugh made me memorable. It is wonderful. But I would rather be remembered for ending hunger in the world or something meaningful.

One year when Anna was in high school I heard two boys whose voices I recognized, coming down the street after having been at the Greer's house, saying, Let's go to Anna's house. It's right here over the bridge. When they were directly above me, I let forth with one of my best ones. They turned around and ran as fast as their little feet would carry them. Anna was told next day in school how scared they had been.

When I grew up in Sweden we had no similar holiday. We did have a spring festival called Valborg's masso afton. It was almost the opposite kind of festival. It happened on the evening before the First of May. People got dressed up but not with anything scary. We had picked little twigs of our birch trees and even though the trees had not yet turned green, our twigs had because of the warmth in the house.

There is a description of Valborg's Masso Afton in a previous blog. If you don't feel like looking it up, I will go into further details about it next time I write.

Happy Holloween

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our new wonderful world

Yesterday afternoon I received a comment on a blog I wrote sometime in 2008. The sender's name was Susan and she was doing research on her grandfather who was the last president of Robinson Reminder Co. How magical that a short mention of my having met him on a train to California could have turned up in her research. And how I wish I had more information to send her.

He was a good looking man. He was very proud of his two sons who were both pilots in the Navy. I think he mentioned that he himself had been a pilot in the navy. He didn't seem old enough to have been involved in WW1, but he could have been there during the peace time between the two wars. He spoke lovingly abut his wife who was forever interested in historical architecture. And he said that when Sam and I visited them in New England she would be happy to show us around. We did communicate by mail. And we were invited to visit. We had to decline and I am fairly sure that it was our financial situation that kept us from accepting. From then it was just Christmas cards and congratulations on new arrivals in the baby world.

Mr Robinson gave me a Robinson Reminder and he gave one to Mr.Shaw, my father-in-law, during lunch. And Susan I would like to know if both of his sons lived through the war. I may have been told about their happy re-unions in one of the letters but I do not remember.

I have been surprised several times by the life of my blogs. What surprised me the most was when a reader checked on the names of my fellow travelers on the trip from Sweden through the Panama Canal to San Francisco. Maybe that's the reason my memories paled. What if I told about something that was all wrong. Age does strange things to memories. When the Argentina pulled in to her berth in San Francisco, guess who met me. Mr, Shaw again. This time he came on board and had lunch with the Captain. I never called him anything but Mr. Shaw. For some reason he liked me, and we got along swimmingly.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mollegarden continued

I think I have already told about Mollegarden long ago. I spoke about my paternal grandmother's unfortunate break with her family. Sorry if I repeat myself. Some of what I will tell you might be debatable. But this is what I heard while listening to my mother and her coffee friends.

Elina was the name of my grandmother. She had several sisters. All of them were beautiful and a good catch for any swain in the neighborhood. According to her father, Magnus Lindberg, the swains had to be wealthy and well educated. He was a Danish immigrant who had settled in Viken when he was a young man. He had a boat-building business which made him wealthy, and from then on every business he touched succeeded. He built the windmill (molla) and the farmers who had seeds to be milled into flour came with their horses and wagons and seeds, paid a fee and took their flour home to be used for baking bread or for sale. Mollegarden was his homestead. It was built in the usual shape. People were afraid of raiders who came usually from the north. Four long buildings were built into a quadrangle. The northernmost building was the living quarters for family and servants. One building was the barn with one end quartering their horses and the other storage of the feed, hay and such. The other two I don't know about. One time when I was young, one of the buildings had become our post office.

As young woman or maybe as still a child, Elina fell in love with a young man who was not in great-grandfather's idea of a suitable swain for his most beautiful daughter. I do not know if they decided to marry without his blessings or if they were forced to do so. Mr. Lindberg told Elina never to darken his door again. Elina's mother was as sad as Elina. She did help Elina when the bad times came and there was need for food for a growing family. My grandfather was successful in some of his endeavors but mostly he was a fisherman. He and Elina had many children and my father was one of the younger ones. He went to sea when was 16 and worked his way from lowly seaman to Captain.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I heard today that two granddaughters had to shovel snow this morning. Karin in Montana and her sister in Wyoming. That brings forth so many memories. Growing up in Sweden, we young people loved the snow. We had so much fun and there were so many activities we could partake in by just going out the door. When our children grew up in California I felt sorry for them, for what could they do for exercise in the winter.

One or two winters it was cold enough that the straight between us and Denmark froze over completely. I was too young to venture very far out, but I remember how good the cod tasted that my older brother caught after he had made a hole in the ice. The snow ball fights between girls and boys were memorable. The girls were inside a thick stone wall encircling the garden of Mollegarden. We could go there early in the afternoon and build up a huge supply of ammo, snowballs that is. We could duck down behind the wall when the fight began, so I admit it was an unfair fight. But so much fun. And Mr and Mrs Anderson who owned the place would always make plenty of hot chocolate and cookies for the girls. ( They had no sons) And then we were lucky in that some years some adult would pour water on the tennis court and we could pretend we were playing hockey.

In the summer you could walk through the village and no boy would speak to you but in winter he still would not speak but after we passed each other he would throw a snow ball at you. No matter how much it hurt and no matter how much snow would run down the back of your neck, it did not matter. It felt good knowing that you had been noticed. If the boy was the one you had your eye on, it felt even better.

I will tell you more about Mollegarden next tim i write.