Saturday, December 6, 2008

2nd day

The girls' whispering woke me up. I looked at my watch and it was 4.15. I tip-toed into their room and hushed them so they wouldn't wake their grandmother. I woke up Gilbert and we snuck out of the house and began a two hour walk. I had promised them I would take them to every significant place from my past. We began by going North, out on the heath. There I showed them where we had played house in the mountains of timber that my uncle had gathered from the boats that had foundered on the reef between Viken and Lerberget. And then we talked about the Pavilion, the one remaining of the two that were there when I was growing up. As a young teenager I had been allowed to sell soft drinks and candy when there were dances in the summer. And then we came to the sorry little stream, or rivulet that we called The Mississippi. There we turned around and went South.

We called this Svangen, which means the turn around. Once, on our way home from school a man stood in the trees exposing himself. He had pulled his pants down and was clapping on his stomach to draw attention to himself. Pretty stupid. And his rhythm was poor. We ran home and told our mothers who really got upset and began a search for him. We did not understand what the hysteria was about. But now I know, I said, there is danger from people like that and that they should do what we did. Tell a grown up if you ever happen into something like that.

And the rest of the two hours went on like that. this is where I fell off my bicycle and and here is where a man lived who was scary for he looked as if he never took a bath. And here is the wind mill, built by my great grandfather. And this large house was his and while we grew up the Anderssons lived there. Inga Andersson was my best friend and her sister was Birgit's best friend. We got to go there to help with their Christmas baking and it was so much fun. This later was made into a hotel. If you want to I will arrange to have you see the inside of the wind mill and see how they grind the flour from the seeds brought in by the farmers. In front of this place is where we had huge snowball fights. Always the girls against the boys.

And then we ran down the hill that had seemed so gigantic when we were little. The hill that went down to the harbor. Way over to the south was where the ship building took place. My great grandfather who came from Denmark and who had also built the windmill and surrounding houses had been a rich man and when his youngest daughter wanted to marry the poorest boy in Viken, he showed her the door and told her not to come back. Luckily his wife used to smuggle food for them. They had lots of children who all went to America. I only met one of them, Aunt Hilda. There was an uncle who became a Coast Guard officer and according to the rules at the time, he had to take his mother's maiden name, Lindberg in order to work for the government.

I was at this time stalling for time. I wanted to finish our trip at the same time as the sweet rolls were coming out of the oven at Vibo, the local Conditory. We were going down to the beach in front of our house to eat them and then go home to see if Grandma was up. When we walked in the front door we heard her on the pone saying. 'No they are still sleeping. Not a sound from upstairs.'


Alison said...

Did you continue your friendship with Inga after you moved away?

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

It sounds like every day was an adventure for you and your family.

Why did your Uncle have to change his name in order to work for the Government?

Anonymous said...


My niece told me about your blog and it something I look forward to reading every day! I find your life fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing.

After your experiences in New York (losing weight because of low funds), do you feel that we are in a recession/depression now?


Sadie said...

Hello, working my way through all your wonderful posts, and I had to say that "And his rhythm was poor" made me laugh. It's interesting what things stick in your head. I had similar experience as a child with a man in a car exposing himself, and I remember thinking how odd he would drive without pants.