It's the end of a decade...

...when several members of the oldest generation have left us, and when a fifth generation (after Salomon and Lydia) has been established as a part of our lives. But even more important: it's a decade when we have started to know each other better, in Sweden, in Canada and overseas. And my hope is that this will continue, even develope, in the decade to come.

Happy New Year.

Guest blogger: Marita Tidlund Lindman

We have had a wonderful day at Skeda gård, a nice time with a part of my family. I have learnt a lot about my family that I didn't know before and I'm grateful. I'm also glad that you wanted to welcome us, my husband and I and our two dogs. Thanks Dick for the nice wrap and the book.  The first one will make my neck warm, the second one I will read with open eyes. Both make me warm. Thanks Hans for taking care of the family history, this knowledge has made me feel content in my old age.

New: Guest blogging

From now on all family interested have the chance to be a guest blogger. Write a little text, maybe send me a photo and it is very likely that I will publish your entry. If you write in Swedish, I will translate it for you. The first guest blogger will be Marita Tidlund Lindman, daughter of Torsten Ljungdahl, granddaughter of Kerstin Lindman, who visited us yesterday with her husband Sune.

In the 1860's...

...Salomon was photographed together with his sister Anna. Imagine if they had known that Salomon was going to have a daughter Anna, and Anna (the girl in the picture) was going to have a son Helge, and that the two of them were going to marry. And that Anna and Helge would become my great grandparents.

Helge's mother (the girl in the picture), was Anna Wennberg nee Lindman. Her daughter-in-law, my great grandmother, was also Anna Wennberg nee Lindman. And to complicate it even more: Salomon's mother Sofia was a Lindman nee Wennberg! From this you can understand that I'm related to myself in more than one way. (September 22.)

The unknown Mr. Bob Andersen

One of the descendants that we know the least about is Greta's oldest son Bob (or Bobby). He was born in Chicago 1914 and died in 1971; his full name was Robert Lindman Andersen. (Under "Other Documents" you can read about him in letters written by Greta and Lydia.) He had three siblings: Margaret, Else and Chris. When they moved to Sweden in the 30's he didn't follow them and that's why we know so little about him.

In March this year I decided to call Else and find out some more, but unfortunately she was already rushed to hospital for the very last time. I never got that information. So I decided to write a letter to her only remaining sibling, her twin brother Chris in the US. He never answered it, likely because he read it on his deathbed.

I didn't dare to contact any more people.

Anyway - when I visited Jennifer in Ottawa in July, i found a document written after Aunt Karin's death in 1985. It was a record of her survivors, saying that Bob had an (adopted) son named Lee Drott, living in Rockville, Maryland, US. By the internet I could find out some more: he would be 75 years old by now and seems to have a son named Justin and a daughter named Greta!

Who knows. Maybe some day they will read this, contact us and want to be a part of our society. And when they do, they will be most welcome. (September 19.)

A family historian in action

(July 16, visiting Jennifer)

We really look forward... really look back. (July 11, on our way to the family reunion.)

It's good to be able... look in the rear view mirror. (July 9, on our way to Niagara Falls.)

2009 in retrospect

2009 is soon to be over. I will now re-publish some of my favourite blog entries from the past year. Enjoy (hopefully!)

Christmas gathering II

My cousin Amelie, my niece Lovisa, my aunt Birgitta and my father.

Christmas gathering I

My mother and my brother.

My brother's gingerbread house

Creativity is in the family.

It will be a white Christmas at Skeda

About the Wennberg name

As we know, there are several connections between the Lindman and Wennberg families. Salomon Lindman jr. was just as much a Wennberg as he was a Lindman. And up to now, the oldest Wennberg ancestor that we knew was Olof Wennberg, a rural innkeeper in Mulseryd in the county of Jönköping. But today I had an email from a genealogist, Martin Brandt, who has just found his death record. There his name was spelled Olof Petter Värnberg and his parents were evidently Johannes and Anna-Stina Värnberg. Interesting how names change over time. Maybe Olof Petter started to use an alternative spelling of his name, which was also used by his children.

Another one...

...that I like very much.

A picture by Jenny Nyström

Christmas in 1979

A bit of family history. My aunt Anniqua with her children Jakob and Anna. My brother Larz and I. Our great grandmother Anna. In the sofa: her sister Karin and my mother Margareta. Furthest back: Anniquas husband Peter. If you study the poses and facial expressions, you will discover a variety of different attitudes towards Christmas.

Christmas in 1967

This is my aunt Anniqua, my great great aunt Karin, my grandfather Bertil and grandmother Brita celebrating Christmas (possibly at Skeda before the upper floor was restored).

Another one... Carl Larsson from 1904: Julaftonen (The Christmas Eve). One of his most famous pictures, which has given many Swedes their conception of what Christmas should be like.

This picture from 1908... Carl Larsson gives another clue about what the Lucia tradition means. Carl Larsson is, together with Jenny Nyström, the Swedish artist who is most associated with Christmas.

Lucia in 1980

In Sweden we celebrate Lucia (the Sicilian saint) the 13th of December. This photo of me, my brother Larz and my great grandmother Anna gives a clue about what this means. I call the photo "Lussande för gamlamormor" which is absolutely impossible to translate.

Soon it will be...

...Christmas in Sweden.

Being intellectual... not the same as being intelligent. I consider myself intellectual since I absolutely cannot accept what I don't understand. Especially when it comes to human matters. Today the Nobel Prize Cermony is held in Stockholm. To be invited is more prestigious than anything - I wouldn't say no to it myself.

And I must say that I have tried to listen to the Nobel Prize speeches on TV. Even though I'm more of an abstract thinker (and a reader) than the average, I cannot say that I understood more than parts of it. And I couldn't keep my attention very long: it was boring.

So what about all the others listening to the speeches, including our king? Do they listen to every word of them? Do they understand, do they even try to understand? How much do they remember afterwords? How many people can say that "in 2002 the best speech was made about this prize, you know when so-and-so talked about this-and-that"? For what people exactly are those speeches made? If the king would admit that he neighter understand the speeches nor care about them, would they be made in vain?

Crabby Old Man... a poem that Dick sent to me. It is said to have been found besides the bed of an old man after he had died at hospital:

What do you see nurses? . . . . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man . . . . . not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . . . with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding .. . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? . . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am. . . . . . As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . . . . . with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . . . . who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen . . . . with wings on his feet.
Dreaming that soon now . . . . . a lover he'll meet..
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . . that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . . . have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . . my wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . . . and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . . . and nature is cruel.
This jest to make old age . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . . . a young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . . . . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . open and see.
Not a crabby old man . . . Look closer . . . see ME!!

In the Swedish Television...

...right now there is a series called "Vem tror du att du är?" (Who do you think you are). A well-known person gets help to find information about his or her ancestors and other interesting relatives. The episode two weeks ago was about actor Claes Malmberg finding a brother whom he didn't even know of (fun for me since I nowadays titulate myself a brother-finder). Today's episode is about the hip hop artist Dogge Doggelito. Hopefully this series will help out to make more people, especially the young, interested in knowing more about their origin.

A wonderful film at Christmas

This picture comes from Ingmar Bergman's wonderful masterpiece Fanny and Alexander (1982). I have seen it several times and cannot stop loving it. If you see the television version of it (which is five hours long) you will understand what I mean: the colours, the atmosphere, the story, the acting. In this film you have the chance to see the wonderful actress Gunn Wållgren playing her very last part.

I remember Bergman saying in an interview, many years ago, that he believed that there were "other realities" than the one that we take for granted. And I guess this is very much what the film is about, showed by means of the lively and creative mind of Alexander. (Photo by Arne Carlsson, copyright Stiftelsen Ingmar Bergman.)

Today at Siljan's café...

...reading a book about Swedish history, I found out the name of the book that I plan to write: I Lydias fotspår. En resa genom 150 år. (In Lydia's Footsteps. A Yourney through 150 Years.) The book will have five sections: 1860-1890, 1890-1920, 1920-1950, 1950-1980 and 1980-2010. It will be highly personal - if I ever write it.

Dick sent me this picture...

...which tells us what life can be like for an old person.

An upper class home in Jönköping... the end of the 19th century. This is the place where wholesaler Salomon sr. and his wife Sofia lived, and where (I guess that) the children Sofia, Anna, Salomon, Elisabeth, Esther, Fredrik, Gustaf and Elin grew up. The man reading the newspaper is Gustaf Lindman. Myself I like everything in this picture except for the design of the carpet.

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