Friday, June 30, 2006

A Family Saga

Yesterday afternoon I received the most incredible gift in the mail. Eva, my Swedish cousin (well, actually she is married to Bertil who is really my Swedish cousin...and they do live in Sweden!) always sends me wonderfully thoughtful gifts for my birthday (and on time too, as opposed to mine to her which are ALWAYS late!) but this year nothing came. She emailed me happy birthday wishes in an ecard and said that my gift would be along shortly. It is highly unlike Eva to be late with anything, but she has had a lot going on in her life lately, so I figured she had just been busy and so I had something to look forward to. When I got the mail yesterday afternoon, this incredible book was wrapped up in a package from Sweden!! The handsome devil on the left is my great grandfather Ola Peter Andersson and the stylin' gal on the right is his bride, my great grandmother Petronella Andersson. Inside the book are wonderful photos of my Swedish relatives from "way back when" plus many letters from my grandmother back to her family in Sweden. Of course I had never seen any of the letters before so it was very interesting to read what my grandmother had to say (they were all in Swedish, but kind Eva even translated them!). Nana left her home and family in Hov (close to Bastad, which is north of Malmo, Sweden on the west coast) when she was about sixteen and came to the states all alone to start a new life. Times were tough in Sweden, and so she hoped for better here. However in her letters she is always making reference to the fact that a new president has either just been or will soon be elected and she hopes for better days ahead! Nana was a very attractive young lady and she was also a real go-getter! She married my grandfather,the truly handsome Herman Sigfrid Peterson, on October 2nd 1909 at 8:00 PM. I know this because there is a photo of their wedding invitation in the book! They were happily married for 49 years, when Grampa suffered a massive heart attack and succumbed. I remember that day vividly!! Nana passed away when I was thirteen but I have very wonderful memories of times spent with her. She was a wonderful gardener, a seamstress beyond compare (she made me an entire trunkful of doll clothes one year for Christmas!) and she could quilt with the best of them! She taught me to embroider and made me an honorary member of her little Swedish needlework group! She was very active in her church and walked the 2-3 miles there every Saturday to prepare the altar and the flowers, and then they all would walk back to church as a family on Sunday morning. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, threw away (yes, you read that right!) all of Nana's quilts after she died! Now that alone is grounds for murder, but I have restrained myself over the years!!!

This is the last entry in the book....Nana never mentions what happened, but I know that she is making reference to the death of her dear sweet Herman. She was a real stoic and would chide me now for the tears in my eyes!

Nana had a brother Carl who also came to the states in the early 1900s, but he settled around Minneapolis. He married a gal named Minnie and they had one son, Harold. Carl died from pneumonia in 1918. The letter from Minnie to my grandmother, telling of Carl's death is included in the book. I have been looking for Harold Anderson for many years now, but with no luck. There are two letters in the book from Harold, the last being from Wichita, Kansas. Wouldn't it be grand if someone reading this blog would know "my" Harold Anderson! He must be about 89 now!

Thank you again and again and again, dear Eva for this wonderful gift! I will cherish it forever!!!!


Eva said...

I'm so glad that you liked the book. I really do hope that you will find your "missing" link, Harold, and that he still is alive. Perhaps you have lots of second cousins all over the country ;-)
Who knows.
Well anyhow, it was a real pleasure to make and give you the book, because I feel so related to you and your family even if I'm not.

Love to all,

Karoda said...

That is truly a treasure!

Gerrie said...

What a great story and a wonderful gift. Your grandmother sounds like my maternal grandmother. She could do anything and tuaght much of what I can do with my hands. And I don't know where her quilts are!