Thursday, January 28, 2010

life in Alrum

It was a difficult life for Botilda. I have never heard anything about how her family treated her after the marriage. She certainly married beneath her socially. She died ten years before I was born so all I have of her are photos and in every one she is seen knitting stockings for her brood. They were not socks the way our children's were, but things that went up over the knees. And did she have a yarn store to rely on? Or did she sheer wool from the sheep and spin it into yarn? I remember my older brother having to wear long socks like that when he was a child and the yarn was so itchy on his legs that he sat on the side of his bed crying in the morning because of the misery.

In my case, I had to wear stockings like that, but I must have had to wear hand-me-downs from my sister, and they were as smooth as silk. Probably a darn here and there. You should have seen the ugly garment we had to wear to hold these stockings up. A sleeveless thing that buttoned down in front. And then there were elastic bands hanging down from the sides, which buttoned on to the sides of the socks. As you can see, I don't know if I should call them socks or stockings. The item that held them up was called knappe-liv. Knapp means button. How is this getting to either Nils' or Botilda's story, much less Blendas'. I have a feeling there will many diversions like this in this story. Can't help it. By the way, the elastic bands I spoke of were bought in the store. They had buttonholes every other inch so they were buttoned first on that garment and then on the stockings.

Tomorrow I will try to tell you about the dwelling they lived in and about the horrible discomforts they all suffered.


Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to this new story. So glad you have found something so interesting that makes you want to write. Have missed you. And a Belated Happy Birthday too!

Danielle said...

Don't worry about the little side stories (like how you held your stockings up). They help make a glimpse into your life all the more exciting! So please, keep up with your diversions!!!

Thanks for sharing the stories of your life and those of your families, I look forward to your blog everyday!

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting to read about the past. I lived in Stockholm until I was 12, then moved to Canada. I remember wearing "livstycke" with the elastic and "knapp" when I was very young and I am almost 30 years younger.
A belated Happy Birthday to you.


deadened-glow said...

I love hearing stories from the past! I am really into genealogy. I use and for help on my searches. I also have some relatives on both sides of my family that have dug deep down into our roots. My maternal side branches out to 1800 in one direction and the other goes to abt. 1650. My paternal side, one side goes to abt. 1750 and the other well....goes way down...I guess I could say I'm related to most of Europe, because it was before the Black Plague.
Oh and the stories are what really makes it! So this is why I love your stories about your family. :D

musingegret said...

It's the 'diversions' that add so much color and realism to your story. The itchy wool stockings got me to remembering a hated wool sweater that I felt so guilty for finally tossing! Now that I've been reading about how to produce felt from old wool sweaters I just wish I'd had the Internet back then.

Keep writing Ms. Svensto; you bring so much education to so many.

Barbara said...

I am only just now discovering your blog and your stories. I agree - the side stories add color and richness. I love the details! I need to back up and see where we are...

per said...

I find it very interesting to read about people in this period in Swedish history so please keep writing.
A side not about the side not: If you want to look at these socks/stockings just look for Pippi Longstocking, in the books and the Swedish film she is wearing something very similar to what you are describing. The name longstocking is probably related to this but I don’t know if it is the correct name for them as Astrid Lindgren has a very playful language.

Anne said...

Dearest Svensto,
I haven't been reading your blog for the last several months. What a wonderful treat it was this morning to see that you have been very busy.
Your comments about Ray Carver intrigued me and now I want to read the book about him by Carol Sklenicka.
I am constantly in awe of the fascinating people you’ve met during your life and I love reading about your remembrances of them.
A (belated) HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you. Reading about the party plans is almost as fun as actually being there ~ and a lot less work. All I have to do is sit here and read. Lol
My heart goes out to you, dear Svensto, for the loss of your precious Cap. I am so very sorry.
I’m glad now to read about your mother’s story. My relationship with my own mother wasn’t the best. For her 80th birthday I arranged for a two part scrapbook for her. The second book consisted of pages contributed by each of her 6 children and 5 step-children, each of their children, her brother, and her own step-mother. The first book, made by me, was her history in pictures, starting with her great-grandparents. As I copied and enlarged and placed the pictures of her as a child and young woman I began to love her in a way I never had before. I felt an empathy and understanding of her. It was so healing for me. I’m hoping that your writing about your mother will help you in this same way.