Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dear King

We were eating breakfast the next morning when Anna came rushing in, announcing 'I did it. I did it'. I asked 'What did you do? ''I wrote a letter to the King.' I said 'May we read it before you send it? She said 'Of course.'

I do not have a copy of her actual letter. This is what I remember of it. Dear King, My family and I came from America yesterday. I was surprised to hear that you are a neighbor of ours. I have never met a real live King. Could you come to our house and have Tea or Coca Cola.

I thought the letter was so to the point, and so child like, I put it in an envelope and mailed it for her.

Three days later there was a letter in the mailbox. So official and so important looking, the mailman must have bowed as he put it in my mother's mailbox. Anna still has it in her memory box from that trip. This is what the letter said.

My Dear Anna, I am desired by His Majesty the King to acknowledge the receipt of your lines of July 5th. The King had pleasure in reading your letter and asks me to inform you that the gardens of Sofiero are daily open to the public between one and two p.m. So if you and your mother and brother and sisters come here during that hour any day next week and about two o'clock ask the policeman stationed in the park to phone me, I will tell his Majesty, who will then come out and have a chat with you and yours. C.F. Palmsteirna, private secretary to H M the King

Well we had a nervous week-end and rehearsed how to make a curtsey, how to take a picture and what should we wear and what should we talk about and rememeber not to turn around until he has turned around. The children asked me not to speak Swedish with him so they would know what was going on. How do you know he knows how to speak English, they asked. I know, because he was married to an English Princess.

Everything worked like magic. All the females in the group forgot to curtsey. We were waiting by the back stairs of the Castle when HM the King came down the stairs. He was gracious and kindly and actually a handsome man. I forget what we talked about. He asked each child a pertinent questions and they answered without any ers and ers. He even gave me a question and I do not remember in detail but something about why had I emigrated. Then he told us he was going to Bastad to watch a tennis match.

The children, especially the younger ones were very disappointed. He did not wear ermine or red velvet robes and no crown. He was actually wearing Pat Boone shoes. I prayed that the one picture I took of the event would turn out to be a success.


Anonymous said...

What a delightful story!

Joanna said...

That was worth the wait! Thanks.

Alison said...

What a wonderful experience! I know you said you were a name dropper, but you continue to surprise me with all the folks you have met.... I love the photo... the children are adorable!

Anonymous said...

G: This story is so perfect and such a wonderful experience. The picture is worth a thousand words!!
Take care,

M & K

Bridge said...

I love reading your stories so much that I just gave you an award on my blog. Feel free to accept and participate, or just know that I love your writing and your memories.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic stories, fantastic blog...a quality read.
I have been following you for a while, thought I would finally introduce myself.
Please keep up the good work.
My Regards,

Emiana said...

Your children are beaming in that photo. They couldn't be happier. How delightful!!

Sarah Mattingly Photography, LLC said...

I can't tell you how much I look forward to your stories. They never fail to surprise and delight!

Unknown said...

Which of the beautiful children is Anna? I would love to know! She has some spirit - although by the looks of the beautiful photos, they all do... :)

Melissa Weisbard said...

It is wonderful that your children actually got to meet the King! What an amazing experience for them to have.

Barbara said...

Great story & photos. Which of these children is Shreve's parent?

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

Who could resist the honesty of a child's letter? Not me and apparently, not the king either!

Anonymous said...

Hi Grandma,
I hope you read this, but if you don't I'll send it to your email too. I just wanted to tell you that we took a trip up to Beijing this week and spent a whole day at IKEA. It was fabulous. As soon as we arrived (maybe 10:30) I dragged LY directly to the cafe to have a plate of meatballs and mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Of course they were nothing like yours but every bite brought me back. After that we walked around the show floor, and all the swedish signs and "style" brought forth story after story of my memories both of sweden and the traditions you started in our family. After the tour of the show floor, we stopped by the cafe for another round of meatballs and then we went to the merchandise floor and picked up some fabulous little things to make our apartment cozier. After we paid we stopped by the food shop to buy some things. The past few days I've been having knackebrod and herring, both the vinegar kind and senapsil. Along with Daim for dessert. I've been chewing on salt licorice every day on the bus to work, rejoicing in the fact that no one else likes it or else I'd have to share. If only they sold swedish cheese and butter in that shop, I'd go there once a week to refill and probably would live on nothing else.
Anyway, we had a great time and I really enjoyed going there at this time of year. Makes me think of you a lot and our Christmases.
Keep writing!