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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas holiday

I worked Monday and Tuesday, and there were a few things to do, mainly shelving. Wednesday I went by train to Göteborg early in the morning. I didn't have a seat reservation, so I had to move to another seat four times. Christmas Eve with my sister, her family and in-laws and my mother traditionally starts with kale soup (it's a green vegetable) for lunch. At 3 PM there are Disney cartoons on TV that for some mysterious reason have become traditional. It's mainly the same cartoons every year (some relating to Christmas and some not) and they have been shown on Swedish Television every Christmas for decades. Later in the afternoon someone in the family had to go and put more firewood in the furnace in the basement, and after a while Jultomten (Santa) appeared outside the window. (As far as I know there is no furnace). Jultomten brought gifts both to the kids and adults. Like every year the number of presents was enormous. My nephew John was ecstatic about the harvesting machine and the forest machine he got. I actually got everything on my wish-list: a large suitcase, body lotion and a knitted scarf. I also got some things my father had bought on his trip to India: a silver ring and a shawl made of wool and silk. In addition, I received the gift of books to a school in Ethiopia (great idea), a nightgown, two mugs and candy. For dinner we had the traditional food, for example meatballs, roasted ham, several kinds of herring and Jansson's Temptation. When the kids had gone to bed the adults amused themselves with charades on movie titles.

Christmas Day we went for a walk to a nearby park with a playground and then we had lutfisk for lunch. (Everybody except me). In the afternoon we drove to my sister's place in Borås. The next day the women (my mother, sister and I) went shopping at the after-Christmas sales. We did some minor shopping, I got two tops rather cheaply. In the afternoon I got to see my mother's apartment in Borås for the first time. She has just purchased a small apartment five minutes walk from my sister's place. She intends on staying there during the winter months. We have spent this weekend painting the walls there. Hard work but it turned out pretty good. I returned to Kävlinge this afternoon by traveling on three different trains.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cookies and candy

It was a busy time in the manuscript reading room this Thursday afternoon. I thought that people would have other things to do at this time of year, but there were several visitors. One even from India, he asked for manuscript material.

There have been lots of Christmas food events at work this past week. Our department head treated us to goodies; chocolate pralines, "knäck" (hard toffee with almonds), ginger snaps, apples, figs and glögg. We also got chocolate and homebaked cookies from two patrons. They apparently like the library services. The café closed down for the holiday and left all the remaining cookies to us, so we have had more than enough of sweets. The Christmas lunch with herring, ham, sausage, meatballs and dark bread was served Friday. We also got our presents, four gift certificates to movies each.

Today I sent most of the Christmas letters via email. I have also wrapped the last presents and tried to decide what clothes to wear on Christmas Eve. I'm travelling to Göteborg on Wednesday, so I have a few more days to make the final decision.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


There was actually an earthquake in Skåne early this morning! It is very, very unusual. It had a magnitude of 4.7 and was noticeable also in the middle of Sweden and Denmark. The last earthquake of that size was in 1904 here. There have been no damages reported, but people jammed the phone lines to emergency services to ask if an airplane had crashed. The strange thing is that I didn't notice the earthquake at all. It's the news of the century and I missed it! I didn't find out until I got to work and was asked if anything in my apartment had broken or fallen down, and I was clueless as to what they were talking about.

This evening I went to Malmö. Not for any particular reason, just to go to my favorite stores there. One is Gray's, where they sell American foods like pop tarts, marshmallows, peanut butter, oreo cookies, and cake- and pancakemixes. Did some minor shopping. The center part of Malmö was decorated with branches of fir trees and many lights along the walking streets and the squares. Some big trees had colorful lanterns and lights in the shape of Christmas presents. The arrangements were beautiful and created a Christmas atmosphere, even though there is no snow.

I have already received some Christmas letters and cards, and it's so nice to hear what everybody has been up to during the year. I have some editing to do to my letter, then I will take the easy way out and send it via email.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


It was the social club at work that organized the Lucia celebration at the library this Friday morning. It could have been done better, if the car the singers were in hadn't broken down on the highway and if the bakery that delivered the cookies and coffee hadn't been half an hour delayed. We were only three people to organize it, and basically everything went wrong. Finally, the 65 librarians got to hear the seven music college students sing the traditional Lucia and Christmas songs, including Stilla Natt (Silent Night), Lusse Lelle, Det strålar en stjärna and others. It was high quality on the singing and very good saffron buns, so I guess people were satisfied anyway, but the delay was frustrating.

This weekend I have written my annual Christmas letter, sent Christmas cards (some people still send real ones) and I also tried to sort the things on my desk, on the table and on the floor. Success was limited. One of my colleagues has written a book about the pubs in London, and I have started to read it. It's over 500 pages and only cover the ones he thinks are worth visiting. The book also contains a lot of cultural history of London, so even I, who never drink any beer, can appreciate reading it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Interesting work day

Sometimes I have these days when more things happen than I really want to. We had an unusually large amounts of requests to stacks today, and that's on a day when one person was on vacation. My cell phone kept ringing constantly (it's not common at all), and I spent most of my work day running around fixing other people's problems. They even called me when I was out to get the requests from the remote storages, and I really can't do anything if I'm not in the main building. That particular problem they figured out themselves, and then called me again to tell me about it. To make things worse I managed to misplace my cell phone a total of three times. (I think my short term memory is getting pretty bad). In order to find the requested book, we need a correct call number (it's not possible to have all 7 million volumes alphabetically). Today way too many requests had incorrect call numbers and I didn't notice all of them when I sorted the requests this morning. I was foolish to trust the handwriting of a colleague, and sent someone else to a storage to look for over ten books that were not there. All three of us apologized to each other later. In the afternoon a locksmith who was in the building to do repairs made a mistake and the computerized lock system locked all the doors. No one could enter or leave the library for quite a while, and it took a lot of phone calls and computer work to get it functional again. It has been an interesting day at work, but I'm glad it's not always this eventful.

It is with some pride that I can announce that I have done all my Christmas shopping now! I got the last things this week, it was mostly gift certificates. The recession means that people don't shop as much as previous years. The stores are getting more and more desperate to sell their goods. The clothing store I shop many clothes in, Kappahl, has offered 25% discount coupons for several weeks, but there really isn't anything worth buying there now. I've heard rumors saying they will start the traditional after-Christmas sales before Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas tree

It's been too long ago since I wrote on the blog, and I'm sorry about that. I have been busy! I thought that I would get time during desk duty on Thursday but I was involved with helping someone find old maps of Denmark in general and the island of Ven in particular. By "old" I mean 15th and 16th centuries. Back then Ven belonged to Denmark, now it belongs to Sweden. The world of old maps is fascinating and I tried to learn useful things from the map librarian while he was pointing out sources on the internet.

There have been a few meetings at work this past week, one more boring than the other. We managed to decide on a working schedule for this Christmas, and it will probably function unless someone gets sick. I will not get any extra vacation at all this holiday, but we will at least get five days off in a row (Dec 24-28). Also two days for New Year's.

Most of the evenings this past week I have been sitting like glued to the computer screen. I found a website with obituaries from a county in California where some Norra Strö people ended up (it's the Gustafsons for those who would know what I'm talking about). They had mostly daughters and their married names were often listed, so I have spent many hours searching these pages of obituaries. There were even clues to a sister going to Nevada. It's amazing how much family history information there is on the internet.

The Christmas spirit isn't really here yet, mainly because of the rainy weather. But I have decorated my apartment with all the ornaments that I have. The fake tree is also decorated and lit. (My father couldn't believe it when I said I have an artificial tree - he is a lumber jack and always gets a real one). The decorations in the tree come from several places, it's things I have bought at flea markets, inherited from my parents, bought in the US and things I used as decorations for the Leroy Anderson exhibits (small music instruments and bells)! I have also wrapped almost all the presents. I only have a few more gifts to purchase now, then I'm done.

Today I went by train to Kristianstad in the afternoon to attend the Christmas concert at the Holy Trinity Church. They had some sound problems (the orchestra drowned the choir), but it was still worth listening to. They played several Leroy Anderson pieces; Sleigh Ride, Song of Jupiter (arranged by L.A.), A Christmas Festival (arranged by L.A.), Syncopated Clock and I Never Know When. The first three were sung by parts of the Anderson choir that performed at the big concert in April. We also got to listen to more traditional Swedish Christmas songs like Lucia, Julen är här and När juldagsmorgon glimmar. We ended with unison singing of Stilla natt (Silent Night). Afterwards I had a falafel at a local pizza place with my mother (who had also been to the concert), and then I went back home by train.

I get messages to all of my email addresses, so I hope you are all able to reach me somehow. It's very frustrating when the email doesn't work properly.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mail problems

In case you have tried to send me an e-mail message to my yahoo-mail, you have noticed that it bounces. I don't know why, but it seems to be a universal problem and I hope they will solve it soon. Use my google-mail instead: tess88roots@gmail.com.

It's been a pretty slow day when I have mostly tried to figure out why I have mail-problems, but I have also exchanged the curtains to Christmas ones and got out some (but not all) of the other decorations for the season. It feels too early almost every year. The snow that fell melted in a few days, and now it's rainy and windy again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


One of the things that I did this week was to attend a lecture on XML. I was clueless before it and not so much enlightened afterwards. XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is used by computer programmers to get article references to follow the same standard and to get the entries machine readable, for instance. I really didn't need to know what XML was, but many of my colleagues were going to the lecture, so I did too.

Another thing I did this week was to take part in a social club meeting. We had to come up with some new ideas, because we have already done excursions to so many places in the Skåne area, and there aren't that many places left to visit with the colleagues. We actually managed to find a few things worth trying, for instance renting the ice-rink an evening and visiting the railway museum. Since I joined the board, there have been some other plans made also. They have asked me to arrange a genealogy class and lectures on related topics. Yet another project to start working on.....

Friday was the last working day at the library for the computer nerd that has helped us tremendously with developing the database and making it easier to communicate with the patrons. It was sad to see him go, especially since we will not get someone else to work in the stacks.

Today I have been to the Center Syd shopping center for the first time since July. There were no new stores, on the contrary there were fewer than this summer. Sweden is in a recession, just like most other European countries. I didn't shop much, just some groceries.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Genealogy quote

In search of material for a project I came across this very true quote:

Genealogy begins as an interest,
Becomes a hobby;
Continues as an avocation,
Takes over as an obsession,
And in its last stages,
Is an incurable disease.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's snowing

For the first time this season it's snowing here, and it's large snowflakes. It's very nice to sit inside and watch it, but it's pretty cold to be out in this weather. Slippery also. Today I made the wise decision to wear the coat my mother bought for me cheaply at the Red Cross second hand store earlier this year.

Tuesday I got a note in the mail saying I had a package to pick up at the "post office" (again, it's at a gas station about a ten minute walk away). It didn't say what the contents was, but I suspected it was a prize in a slogan competition. I was right. It was a (designed) pie tin, a serving spoon and a woven table runner. Nothing I needed, but nice things, so someone might get it as a Christmas present.

The work week didn't start that well. Monday I somehow managed to scrape the side of the company car against a concrete wall when I was going to park outside one of the remote storages. (Like I haven't parked there hundreds of times before).... The maintenance guy was not particularly happy when I returned to the library and told him what had happened. I think this was the third time I damage that car, and no one else has such a record. The work week continued to be pretty bad for various reasons. Someone got sick at the same time as someone else was on vacation, and then three guys were going to a job-related fair. I was all alone in the stacks Thursday, except for a few hours in the morning (luckily they helped out before going to the fair). We did manage anyway, because the requests to stacks decrease in number at the end of the semester. At this time it's starting to be more returns instead.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Lots and lots of work..... Since one of the staff members will leave us soon, we had to do some re-organizing of the work. It meant that he will try to teach two others the things he knows (which is really impossible). So I had to take over more work from those two people, to give them time to learn. In addition to what I already do, I now also drive the car to the four remote storages to pick up the requested materials. It's physically demanding to load and unload the heavy crates with books, and it will be interesting to see how long my back can stand this.

Every evening I have been working on the travel diary. It has taken two weeks to get it written in Swedish, but now it's finally done. I will revise it one more time tomorrow, and then send it to my family members (and some others) here. I do these trips to the US not only for myself, but also for my Swedish relatives, most of whom can't travel there.

This past week I have been downtown Lund and also at Nova shopping center to check out what new clothes there are for sale. I wasn't that impressed. One of my favorite stores, Kappahl, had half price off the sales price, and I did get one top there. Apart from that there wasn't much to see.

It has been very rainy and windy this weekend, so I haven't been outdoors in two days. Today I did the laundry (first time since I came back, so it was a very big load). I have also been cooking for the future lunchboxes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Leroy Anderson concert

Thursday I walked to the "post office" (a gas station) in the evening to pick up a package. My mother had entered my name in a slogan competition, and I won a breakfast kit including a toaster, a coffee maker and a water boiler. I actually needed a new toaster, but I don't know what to do with the other things. Perhaps I can give it away to someone as a Christmas present.

Friday after work I took the train to Kristianstad. My mother and I went to a very nice concert directed by Jonny Jangtun. It was mainly young people playing Leroy Anderson tunes (and some ABBA), with a 30 people choir and five dancers from Rickarum Byateater. It was a shorter version of the musical event they had done in Rickarum in August. I was very impressed by the choir, they sang Forgotten Dreams, Song of Jupiter and Sleigh Ride very well. The young guy playing the trumpet in Trumpeter's Lullaby was also talented.

Saturday we got up early to bake an apple pie, and then we did the usual flea market tour in Åhus. My mother needed more fabric for her sewing project (it's hard to believe, but she didn't have enough Christmas style fabric, even though I had been shopping for her both in Malmö and Lund). Lunch at home and then we picked up my aunt, visited the family graves in the Norra Strö cemetery, picked up the exhibit material at the historical society that had been there on display since June, and then finally arrived at our friend's house in Hanaskog village at about 4 PM. We had brought pizzas with us, and we had a nice time chatting with the Sjösten family. The apple pie was very much appreciated. It was rather late when we returned home after a busy day.

Today (Sunday) we were pretty tired, but still managed to clean the house a little. I went through the boxes with exhibit material, and also the bags with Christmas ornaments I had bought at the flea market in Åhus. They had put lots of different ornaments in plastic bags, and sold them for only 10 SEK each. Very cheap, and I couldn't resist it, there were very nice items in the bags. I returned to Kävlinge by bus, train and another train this evening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to work

The few days before I had to go back to work I tried to cure my cold and just take it easy. Sunday I took the train to Svågertorp south from here, to do some shopping on behalf of my mother. She has started on a project involving making a lot of oven mittens and aprons, and she needed some fabric and other materials for it. She intends to sell the items she makes at the Christmas market at Furuboda.

Monday was the first day at work after the two month vacation. It didn't take too long before I got into the work pattern. I did manage to get in through the door to the old collection right away. Remembering pin codes and passwords is not always so easy after a long absence. Wading through the large amounts of messages and postings on the intranet has taken a lot of the time this week. I was told that the computer genius working in the stacks got a new job elsewhere, which is very sad for us because he is very talented and has helped developing the database.

Tuesday evening I joined 27 of my colleagues for a bowling event in Malmö. It was arranged by the social club at work. We first had a very nice buffet style dinner, and then we divided up in teams of four or five and spent an hour bowling. We were equally bad at it, since none of us really had any previous experience to speak of, but we all had a great time. It was rated one of the best events arranged by the social club, judging from the comments afterwards.

Today I learned about the results from the US presidential election, and all I'm going to say is that I hope he can make a change for the better.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


It's a big job unpacking all the things I brought home from the US. I'm almost done now. There were actually 27 new pieces of clothing, not counting the underwear. Also three pairs of shoes. There is no wonder my luggage was so heavy on the return trip. My large suitcase, which I bought very cheaply earlier this year, has made its last trip. The wheels are damaged and the fabric was torn when I got it at Copenhagen airport. It has served its purpose well, I used it this spring to transport exhibit material also.

My mother had been in my apartment to water the plants once during my absence. She had finished making the quilt and it was on my bed when I returned. It looks very nice, the colors match the interior in the bedroom very well.

Some of you asked about the weather in Sweden. It's cold. About 3 centigrades today and frost on the trees this morning. No real snow yet, but we are getting there soon. It's also very dark. By 5 in the afternoon it's pitch black.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back in Sweden again

Tuesday Nancy and I had lunch at a German restaurant in Palatine, and then it was time for me to go to the airport. I had to pay for one extra bag this time. The JetBlue trip to Boston lasted about two hours, and I arrived at the Comfort Inn late in the evening. Got a room on the 7th floor in this recently built hotel.

Wednesday morning I got up early (because of the time zone difference) and decided to make use of the indoor swimming pool at the hotel. It was a nice facility and I was all alone there. Breakfast was included, and then I checked out but left my luggage in storage. I went with the hotel shuttle to the airport train station and after a short ride on the subway I arrived at the New England Aquarium. I spent a couple of hours there, looking at the water tanks with more or less colorful fish. Very popular place for school children on excursion. There was a large round tank in the middle, with a reef. It contained sharks, sea turtles, rays and many other species I don't even know the names for. Two of the staff members dived into this tank and handfed these animals. It was fascinating to see. The other smaller tanks were numerous and what I remember best are the grey-looking fish hiding in the sand, the anaconda sleeping in a tree, the electric eels, the bright blue frogs that didn't move, the large flat ray with a long tail that seemed to sail by in the round tank, the piranhas' scales glimmering in the dark and the jelly fish with long threads. I followed the previously established pattern and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. A very tasty chicken in herb sauce this time. Same dessert as the other occasions. It was very cold and windy in Boston, so I only did a little bit of sightseeing before heading back to the hotel again. Got my bags and was brought to the airport. Traveled with Icelandair late in the evening. The flight was boring and I couldn't sleep.

I changed planes in Iceland and arrived in Copenhagen around noon Thursday (Swedish time). Because of my cold I had problems with my ears, and it was not pleasant. It still isn't, because I can hardly hear anything on my right ear, it's clogged. Took the train from the airport, changed in Lund and arrived at my apartment in Kävlinge (after a very burdensome walk from the station) at around 2 p.m. I don't want to know how many hours I have been awake now, and I even plan on going to bed when I usually do here.

To all of you who made my trip so memorable and enjoyable I want to say a BIG THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dirty Dancing

Sunday Nancy, Richard and I went downtown Chicago to see the musical Dirty Dancing. It was a wonderful show, the dancers were very talented. The musical had basically the same dialogue as the movie, and it followed the script closely. The set design was intricate with a screen showing different backgrounds and a rotating floor. The final song (I've had the time of my life) was incredible, I learned later that the guy who sang it was an opera singer. Later in the evening we had dinner at Olive Garden in Schaumburg. It was a very popular place, and we had to wait a while to get a table. It's an Italian restaurant with very tasty food.

Monday Nancy, Debbie, Nolan and I had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes in Schaumburg with Jim, Jeane, their daughter Ann and her son Trent. It was very nice to see them again, but sad to have to say goodbye. In the afternoon Nancy, Debbie and I went shopping at the mall right by the restaurant, Woodfield Mall. Nolan got a hat and mittens, but wasn't too interested in wearing them. I bought a top on sale at JC Penney. When I returned to Nancy's place I noticed that I was getting sick. I had a fever and felt generally low.

Today is Tuesday and I still feel sick, even though my temperature is down. It's at the end of my visit here, this evening I'm going to Boston to stay at a hotel for one night, and then I will start on my return trip to Sweden on Wednesday evening. If everything goes according to plan, I will be back home on Thursday afternoon, Swedish time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rockford and other places

Wednesday Nancy, Debbie, Nolan and I went to Rockford about an hours way northwest from here. We visited Nancy's sister Joyce and her husband Pat. Pat was busy working on a new porch, but the rest of us went on a museum tour of Rockford. At the first museum we learned that the first Swede arrived there in 1852. It was a town with a considerable Swedish population, and they were very industrious. They were particularly engaged in furniture manufacturing, tool making and sock knitting. At the second museum (which took a while to locate), we were overwhelmed by the number of Swedish artifacts. It was the home of an Erlander family, whose origin was in Småland. The husband had made his living in the furniture business, and the house had eventually become a museum. It had very nicely decorated interiors and typical style of the 1870s. In the basement the historical society had gathered an interesting book collection with several rare books about Swedish-Americans. In the evening we all had dinner at a Thai restaurant, which served spicy but good food.

Thursday I went by train to Chicago to do research at the Newberry Library. Didn't make any great finds, but a few details. Found a nice Italian restaurant, Giordano's, where I had a chicken sandwich. Did some window shopping also before I took the same train back as Richard.

Friday Debbie came to pick me up, we went to a jewelry fair at a convention center. For some strange reason Nolan was not allowed in to the fair, so Debbie had to stay outside while I was shopping for cheap necklaces and bracelets. We soon departed from there again and went to a mall instead. I did once again some clothes shopping at Lane Bryant. Definitely one of my favorite stores. In the evening we were babysitters to Nolan, while Debbie and her husband went to a party. We watched a lowbudget comedy entitled The Ex, and then we managed to connect my camera to the TV so that we could see the photos I have taken during my trip. The photos were surprisingly good. I'm sure it's pure luck.

Today (Saturday) Nancy and Richard brought me to Oak Park. We started at the architect Frank Lloyd Wright's home (www.wrightplus.org), where we took the self-guided walking tour. We had ipods, where a woman's voice directed us in the neighborhood, so that we could see the houses Wright had designed. Interesting buildings in the prairie style, with horizontal lines and little ornamentation. Directly afterwards we joined the guided tour in his own home and studio. After a quick lunch at a fastfood place, we continued to the other museum in Oak Park, the Hemingway Museum. Ernest Hemingway's life and works were displayed, showing how his childhood memories had ended up being part of his production. We also visited the house where his family lived in the early years. Interesting old house. Dinner was closer to the city, at Mrs Murphy and Sons, an Irish style place. Very good food and the waiter was kind of cute. On the way back we stopped by at Nancy and Richard's son Mark's place, just to say hi to him and Cheryl.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Salt Lake City

I thought that I would gamble at least a little, so I put a dollar bill into one of the machines at the airport. Easily lost money. After just an hour in the air, I arrived in Salt Lake City in the evening. Checked in to the Plaza Hotel at Temple Square. Friday and Saturday were spent doing research at the Family History Library next door to the hotel. The library is five storeys and contains the largest collection of genealogy materials in the world. There are 200 computers with databases, 2.5 million microfilm rolls with scanned records, 700 000 microfiche and 300 000 genealogy books. All of it is run by the mormons at no charge for the visitors. The opening hours are generous, 13 hours most days, closed only on Sundays. The research was successful in some cases and not at all in some. The research I had been asked to do regarded very different locations. Examples: Königsberg/Kaliningrad, Nova Scotia, Lancashire, Brooklyn, Ireland and Boston. After two full days in front of the computer/microfilm screens my brain was in need of a break. Saturday evening I attended a concert by the Utah Symphony Orchestra. The guest conductor Marvin Hamlisch from New York entertained the audience with his Jewish jokes (in a mormon town) and also his music. He has written music for Hollywood movies, for instance A Chorus Line and Sophie's Choice, and has worked with Barbra Streisand. We also got to hear some other popular pieces by Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin and others. The pieces I recognized the best were Ol' Man River and Oklahoma. Very nice concert.

Sunday in such a religious town was in my personal opinion rather boring. The library was closed and so was much else. I spent half an hour in the Planetarium looking at the exhibit, and then I walked for over an hour to a mall. Unfortunately, the effects of the financially bad times had put a large number of the shops out of business. There was nothing there to see, so I had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe instead. In the afternoon I took the lightrail to another mall, which was larger and had a nice book store.

Monday morning I did even more research, and after having lunch at the only restaurant within five blocks, I went to the airport. Salt Lake City really isn't a tourist oriented town, but I guess few people would go there just to see the town. There is a large convention center, the Library and sports centers in the mountains that attract visitors.

Late Monday evening Nancy and her husband came to pick me up at the gigantic airport O'Hare in Chicago. Today (Tuesday) I went with Nancy, her daughter Debbie and grandson Nolan (aged five months) to lunch. I had a very nice lobster sandwich. We also went to a pumpkin farm, where they had images of Disney characters for the kids to play around outdoors, among other things. We didn't get any pumpkins, but we managed to get Nolan to pose for several pictures. Nancy and I spent the afternoon shopping for souvenirs, and later in the evening we went to a movie, Nights in Rodanthe. A romantic and also sad story with Richard Gere.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Las Vegas

Monday I visited Diane, who was working at the Minneapolis Public Library in 1994, when I did my internship there. We have stayed in touch since then, and it was very nice to see her and the cat Licorice. Even though the cat was rather suspicious and didn't want to play with me. In the afternoon Randy came to pick me up, and I spent a few hours before the plane would leave at his parents place. It was one of the most "Swedishly" decorated houses I have ever seen. Enormous amounts of old (and some new) souvenirs and antiques. Nice jukebox that played 45's from Göingeflickorna. Amazing.

The flight to Las Vegas was very bumpy, and we were all very happy when the plane finally landed late Monday night. Linda and Thom brought me through the center of the town, The Strip. It's hard to describe it in words, the neon lights are everywhere, the hotels are huge, the Eiffel Tower, a pyramid, Statue of Liberty and other landmarks are copied here, there are lots of people. Tuesday Linda showed me two different shopping areas, and I did some minor purchases (two pairs of shoes for instance). In the evening we returned to the center of Las Vegas and walked around the casinos and watched the water show outside the Bellagio.

Wednesday we went by car to Hoover Dam, on the border to Arizona. It produces electricity and the lake gives Las Vegas water. Glad I'm not afraid of heights, the distance from the lake to the river down below is huge. Interesting place and a major tourist attraction. In the evening we saw a show in Vegas, it was called The Mentalist. He was like a mindreader that guessed (with the help of some statistics and tricks) peoples names and ages, and many other things. He was very talented, and there is no way I can explain how he did all of that.

Today is Thursday and in the afternoon I will travel on to Salt Lake City.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Leroy Anderson exhibit

Friday morning I took the bus to St Paul on the other side of the river. It took a while, but it's interesting to see the different neighborhoods. I got off at the Minnesota History Center, which is a museum and archive. I spent a few hours there, doing research. Found about half of what I was looking for. Lunch in the cafeteria was cheap and very tasty, Minnesota wild rice soup with chicken and a sandwich. Got on another bus to downtown Minneapolis, and changed there to go to the American Swedish Institute. Jane (who had arrived last night) had been there most of the day working on the exhibit about her father. We were there until about 10 PM and wrote texts for the pictures, and made plans for the Saturday events with the staff. Dinner was a very late cup of soup in Jane's hotel room.

Saturday I did some exploring in the area, I walked Lake Street east and found fairly soon a shop I have heard of many times but had never been to: Ingebretsen's. It was like little Scandinavia in there. They sold lots of Scandinavian souvenirs, glass, ornaments, fridge magnets, books and items relating to the Nordic homelands. The food section was also interesting, they sold salmon, cheese, sausages, brown beans, herring, imported lingonberryjam, crispbread, chocolate and candy, and much else. The place was very popular. After a little more walking and window shopping, I returned to the hotel. At 5 PM Jane and I were picked up and brought to the American Swedish Institute. We attended the reception for the official opening of the Leroy Anderson exhibit, along with some especially invited people. Some of the Nelsons were also there, and we all viewed the complete exhibit. At 7 PM Jane gave a marvelous speech about her father, focusing on the Swedish aspect. A string quartet played several of the best known pieces, like Syncopated Clock, Forgotten Dreams and Sleigh Ride. Great entertainment from all participants. Afterwards Jane and I went to dinner with Bill, Mark and Jen from the Institute.

Today (Sunday) Ron Nelson stopped by the hotel to pick us up and he drove us to Lester & Esther Nelson in west Bloomington. It was very nice to see them again, and we talked about the time they came to Sweden to search for us in 1991. It was the start of everything, that's when I began the research to find the descendants of the emigrants in my family tree. It has lead to a whole lot more than I ever imagined.

This evening a research friend, Randy, brought me to a dinner with some other people with Swedish ancestors; Shelley, Todd and Connie. It was yet another tasty dinner in good company. We discussed difficult research questions and things Swedish.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Around noon Tuesday I said goodbye to the Hagertys in St Charles and traveled to the airport in a taxi. I had waited a little too long before I booked the planeticket, so I had to purchase a seat in first class. It really wasn't worth it. The soda was served in real glasses and the seats might have been a little more comfortable, that's the differences I noticed. After half an hour on the ground waiting in line and one hour in the air, the plane landed in Minneapolis. The hotel was not that far away, the taxi ride was fairly short. It's a nice hotel, but the area it's located in is not the best. The only place I could get any food was KFC (fast food). I ordered a chicken salad and had to wait 20 minutes for it. It gave "fast food" a new meaning. But it wasn't that bad food and I wasn't in a hurry, so I shouldn't complain.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I took the bus from the transit center just outside the hotel and changed to lightrail after a five minute ride. The lightrail is a short modern train, and it took about 15 minutes to the center of Minneapolis. I walked over to the new (2006) public library and visited every floor (4) to see all of it. Many years ago I did my internship here (at the old building), and it was interesting to see what they had changed from that time. It is all in glass and concrete, not much decorations, low book cases in the first half of the room, high in the back. It was a popular place, all the computers were occupied.

After a quick lunch at an almost empty Hard Rock Cafe, I took the lightrail all the way to the end station - Mall of America. It's the largest mall in this country with an amusement park, restaurants, cinemas and 520 stores. No, I didn't visit all of them. But quite a few. Did some shopping, naturally, but only some souvenirs and two tops in a clothing store. Also had dinner there before I returned to the hotel by rail and bus in the evening.

Today I made use of the last minutes of the bus pass I bought yesterday and got on the southbound bus for a ten minute ride. I arrived at Kathy's place just before 11 a.m. Several of the Frank Nelson descendants gathered there to have a very tasty lunch (these Swedes can definitely cook). We had a good time chatting about basically everything, but family matters in particular. A couple of hours later we all drove up to the American Swedish Institute, to view the Leroy Anderson exhibit. It was very well done, but we missed a typewriter! It seemed like the exhibit wasn't completely finished (the official opening of it will be on Saturday), so there might be some more things added later. Apart from the large information boards, there were some musical instruments, a sleigh, album covers, handwritten scores and some of Leroys clothes. The dvd documentary was running on a screen also. We returned to Kathy's place for coffee and even more talking afterwards. It was very nice to see the Nelsons again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Museum visit and more

Saturday evening we went to a local restaurant, where we had a very nice dinner with the Hassmans. The junior member of the party, Nolan, aged 5 months, attracted everybody's attention. Cute (and quiet) kid. Joyce and Pat had traveled all the way from Rockford, and it was great to see everybody again. Since I have done too much shopping, I handed over some of my belongings to Nancy. I will meet them again in a few weeks.

Sunday I went by train to Chicago, this time to go to a museum. The Chicago History Museum is a newly renovated place with very interesting displays. I learned there that the name Chicago comes from a wild onion plant. The exhibits covered many aspects of life in the Windy City; the immigrants through the ages, the big fire in 1871 that devastated 18 000 houses, the World's Fair in 1893, inventions, Chicago architecture, steel and meat industries, race riots, jazz and blues music, sports and Native Americans. The special exhibit contained fancy designer dresses from the 1920s and on.

In the evening we had dinner at Colonial, a restaurant with a long history. It was started in 1901 by Swedish immigrants. The food was very good, but the ice-cream was even better. I had a large cup of vanilla ice-cream with chocolate, peanut butter, whipped cream and M&Ms. Yummy!

Monday I went on the early train again, but this time I got off in Maywood. I visited the library to search for information about my relatives who lived there around 1885-1950. Quite a few people from Norra Strö settled there, and I have always wondered why. I found the city directories from the early years and wrote down all the Swedish-sounding names. There seems to have been three grocery stores, all of them owned by Swedes.

Later in the evening, Ann came over with her family and brought along a delicious crispy cake.

Today I will travel on to Minneapolis, another "Swedish" town.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Thursday I went by train with all the commuters from Geneva to Chicago in the morning. It took a little more than an hour. After walking about six blocks and riding the L-train for half an hour, I arrived in Forest Park. I managed to find the cemetery I was looking for, Forest Home Cemetery, after a while. It's a huge area, and the gravestones I was searching for were of course not close to each other. Several of Leroy Anderson's relatives are buried there; his grandparents, three aunts, one uncle and one cousin. I found all the people I knew would be buried there, and a couple more. The grave of Aunt Augusta's stepson Walter (wife Marie) was also there. I was pretty tired after all that walking, so I returned to the city and had a long lunch at a sandwich place. I did some more clothes shopping at Sears, a top for 4 USD, before I went back to Geneva on the train.

Friday I went on the same train in the morning, and arrived at the Newberry Library at 10. It's a private research library that has a large genealogy collection. I spent several hours there, looking for more information about people in Maywood. Found some more details, but not so much. I started on some of the research questions other people had given me, but didn't get far. It's very time consuming to do this kind of research. People weren't too meticulous when it came to spelling the names 100 years ago either. Often they made themselves younger than they really were when the census taker asked also. Deciphering the handwriting is yet another challenge. But it's very interesting to "meet" these people in the old records.

I returned to Geneva in the late afternoon. Jim is the cook in the household, and he served bratwurst and potato salad with beans for dinner. The first time I have tasted bratwurst, actually.

Today (Saturday) I haven't done much, apart from sending some emails. We will try to get to a mall/shoppingcenter this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Sunday we drove south through the Vermont valleys with trees changing colors into red, yellow and orange. We didn't see much of the tops of the mountains, because they were covered in fog. We stopped at a water stream which had carved deep round pots in the granite. After lunch in Hanover, we arrived at Billings Farm in Woodstock. It's a working farm open to the public, with a small herd of Jersey cows and four horses. People get to see the milking process and other activities. There was also a large agricultural museum, with farm equipment and interiors from a farm house from around 1900. There were displays on ice collecting, cheese making and maple syrup making. Later in the evening we found Mark & Cindy Bergstrom's house near Rutland. Cindy brought us to Mark's job. He works for the electric power company. It was fascinating to see the control room, the huge grid was on a "map" on the wall and the computers were listing figures in massive amounts. We returned to the house and had dinner (chicken), and spent the rest of the evening chatting in front of the TV.

Monday morning we had waffles for breakfast and then Mark took us in the Volvo sports car on a trip in southern Vermont. We went to Manchester, a nice town with lots of outlet stores and craft shops. I did some bargain shopping in the Lane Bryant outlet store, and also got some souvenirs. The bacon cheeseburger at the local diner was delicious. We took the even more scenic route back to Rutland, passing by small lakes and colorful forests. Despite the somewhat chilly weather, we had the top down on the car for quite a while. In the evening we picked Cindy up and went for dinner at the Long Trail Inn. The athmosphere was Irish-inspired and the food was great. After dinner, we made use of the hot tub in Mark & Cindy's back yard. What a luxury!

Tuesday it was time to say goodbye to the Bergstroms (including the dogs Ripple and Nelson). Rolf and Sharon brought me to the airport in Burlington, and I left from there around noon. I changed planes in New York and arrived at O'Hare in Chicago in the afternoon. The taxi ride from the airport to St Charles was long (rush hour), but I finally got there at 6 p.m. I'm visiting my mother's second cousin Jeane and her husband Jim here. Their daughter Ann and her family stopped by and we all had pizza for dinner last night. Today we really haven't done much, apart from talking about family history and using the computer for email. I have also viewed the photos I have taken during my trip, and they seem to have turned out pretty good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trip to Canada

The last entry was written at a very slow computer at a hotel in Montreal, and I didn't have the patience to write more that day. We went to two different museums in Montreal, both historical ones, but one focused mainly on archaeology and the other more on later history. We saw exhibits on the history of Montreal, the French explorers, the Inuits and a large exhibit with women's clothing. Wednesday evening we had dinner at a place called L'Orignal = The Moose. The province of Quebec is dominated by the French language and it was fascinating to see all the signs in that language in North America. I have never studied French and never will, but with the general knowledge of languages I have, I could understand around 25 % of what people said and half of the written texts.

Thursday we drove on to Quebec City, on the St Lawrence River. We stayed in a small hotel in the old parts of the town, and it was very idyllic. The town was founded up on a high hill in 1608 and a fair amount of the old buildings have been preserved. We arrived in the evening and the view from the boardwalk over the river was magnificent, with all the lights on the bridges and on the other side in the town Levis.

There were a lot of tourists in Quebec City, and we joined the crowds in the shopping streets. We also visited two museums, the exhibits included French-speaking America, Gold in the Americas, First Nations (the native peoples) and Canadian culture. Very interesting, and well done exhibits. Friday evening we attended a wonderful Leroy Anderson concert at the large theater. In fact, that was the main reason for going there. It was a very nice concert, with a few special things. A female step-dancer performed during some pieces. During Sleigh Ride, they lit a small Christmas tree. For Waltzing Cat, the conductor asked the audience to help out, making the sound of a cat. At the end of Sandpaper Ballet, one percussionist covered his mouth with a mask and brought out an electric sandpaper machine instead. The Typewriter percussionist did a great job on a real typewriter. Afterwards we were invited to the conductor's private home, along with some soloists, for snacks and soup.

Saturday we drove to Sherbrooke in southern Quebec province. We met Mark Anderson and two of his daughters there. His daughter Keira attends the university there, and he was visiting this weekend. He brought us of a tour of the rather small but beautiful campus. He studied here in the 1970s. We also had coffee before we had to continue our trip. We crossed the border later in the afternoon, and arrived in Franconia, New Hampshire later in the evening. We are staying at a motel here, which has nice facilities. Sharon and I have been floating around in the large swimmingpool and sat in the hot tub until the staff closed it at 10 p.m.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Burlington, Vermont

The train trip lasted five and a half hours and it was pretty boring, although the train crew gave sometimes very entertaining announcements. Rolf and Sharon Anderson picked me up and brought me to a very cozy inn where I stayed the night. Monday morning started with a very nice breakfast, thick pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit. We spent some time downtown Burlington on the walking street, but then we decided to go to Shelburne Farms south of the city. It's a large area with an educational center for children, cheese production and an inn, among other things. We went on the guided tour in a wagon pulled by a pickup truck. It was pretty cold, even though the sun was shining. It was interesting to see the architecture of the barns and houses, it was an entirely designed farm from the mid/late 19th century. Later in the afternoon we went on a small car-ferry (but without the car) to the other side of Lake Champlain, to a small summer town named Essex, which is in New York State. We were determined to have some ice-cream, and we managed to get the saleswoman at the only open convenience store to lend us a knife so that we could share the container of chocolate ice-cream. Afterwards we went to the park by the lake and admired the view of the green mountains in Vermont. Dinner in Burlington was a very delicious pasta carbonara.

Tuesday I had waffles with chocolate chips and maple syrup for breakfast. Not the kind of breakfast I'm used to, but it's fun to try different things. We started the day by going to the special collections department at the university library in Burlington. Sharon did some book searching there, and was happy with the results. We also viewed an art gallery and some minor exhibits on Native American and African culture. Around 1 p.m. we picked up Earl, who is a friend of the Andersons. All of us went to Shelburne Museum, which is an outdoor museum with several different buildings. I saw the exhibit on quilts, where the oldest dated from around 1790. Amazing what patterns they could create from just small pieces of fabric back then. We also visited the 19th century general store, the drug store from the same time period and looked at a large boat placed on land. Dinner was at the Ice House, situated at the lake. The crab cake and tomato soup were very tasty. Earl had to return to his job (pilot), but the rest of us attended an amazing theater performance called Stomp. There were eight people on stage, basically making sounds (stomping) with everyday objects like plastic containers, metal cans, brooms, pots and newspapers, and they also used their hands to clap and their feet to step. It's really not possible to describe it in words, it was so funny and energetic.

Today (Wednesday) we drove to Montreal in Canada, but I will have to save that for the next blog entry.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gutenberg Bibles

Friday I went to the Pierpont Morgan Library, which is a museum with sculptures, exhibits and rare books. It is the only institution in the world that has three Gutenberg Bibles. They were printed around 1450-1455 and are priceless. All three of them (a total of six volumes) were on display. Very finely decorated pages and an incredible craftmanship from so long ago. The other exhibit displayed sketches and books by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff, who wrote the children's books about Babar, the elephant in the green suit. Another part of the museum were a few rooms from Mr Morgan's private home, containing his study and library. Unfortunately the books were behind glass doors and you were not allowed to touch them.

I spent the afternoon walking around in the city, and I ended up in the Garment District. There are lots of fabric and clothing stores with really affordable prices. It's mostly discount stores with last year's (or even earlier) collections. I found a sleeveless top for the amount of one dollar. I had dinner at a traditional American diner with very nice hamburgers. At around 8 p.m. I went on the tram back to Roosevelt Island. The view of Manhattan from the tram was postcard-like.

Saturday morning I said goodbye to the cat Audrey, and Eliza and I went in her car to Hartford, Connecticut. After about three hours we arrived at the Harriet Beecher Stowe house, which is now a museum. We took the guided tour of the house, and it was interesting to see the interiors and hear about her life. Later in the afternoon we arrived at the Vanilla Bean Cafe, where we met Jane and her friend Chris for a rather late lunch. After chatting and eating, Jane and I stopped by Eliza's house, which is a very old house situated in a wooded area at a beautiful pond. We had tea there, and then Jane and I returned to Thompson. In the evening her sons Anders and Lars and some of their friends arrived, and we had Thai food for dinner.

Today (Sunday) will be a traveling day. I will go by train from Springfield, Massachusetts to Burlington, Vermont.


Thursday I took the subway a long way to southern Manhattan. I walked north and passed discount stores, walked through Chinatown with all the small shops offering jewelry, clocks, bags and souvenirs, and then I made a right turn and suddenly I was in Little Italy. From one ethnic area to another in just a few steps. They had a street festival and the red-white-green flags were everywhere. There were stalls with Italian food and pastry for several blocks. Very nice to stroll there. I got some candy called torrone, sort of a hard nougat with almonds. I had lunch at a very Italian restaurant named Lombardi's. Just to taste the Italian meatballs, I ordered a pizza with that as a topping. Very good, a little more spicy than a Swedish meatball.

In the afternoon I spent a couple of hours at the library again, searching old phone books for distant relatives who once lived in Brooklyn. Success was limited. I did find a few addresses, but no listings after 1975. Dinner was a very large plate of various Italian food (again) at Olive Garden. Very tasty.

Just before 8 p.m. I walked over to the Ambassador Theater to see the musical Chicago. It was a story set in a very jazzy Chicago of the 1920s. I had heard some of the songs before, like Roxie and All that jazz. It was a comedy with lots of dance segments. I was sitting quite far away from the stage, but it was still worth the money. A visit in New York City isn't complete unless you have seen a Broadway show!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Wednesday I studied the subway map very carefully and managed to get to Bergen Street Station in Brooklyn by riding three different trains. I went there mainly to take a photo of a house for someone I had done research for. I noticed a mall a few blocks away, and decided to have lunch there. I had a chicken sandwich with a spicy sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings. It is hard to resist the low prices on clothes here. So I did some more shopping. 20 USD (120 SEK) for a pair of dress pants is cheap. I returned to Manhattan and spent the rest of the afternoon there, browsing, mostly. In the evening Eliza and I had dinner at the apartment, she made a tasty chicken dish with green beans. We sat on the balcony until almost midnight, it was a wonderful view of the Manhattan skyline.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The United Nations

Monday Jane and Anders went back to Connecticut. I took the subway to Manhattan, changed once and then walked over to the United Nations Headquarters at East 46th Street. I met Eliza (she works there), she arranged for me to have a guest pass and brought me to the delegates dining room. It was an honor to be invited to have lunch there. It was a first class restaurant with a buffet. The food was excellent, there were all kinds of fish (gravlax for instance) and meats. The dessert table was also impressive and I tried four different kinds (the chocolate cake was very delicious). Eliza was in a hurry to a meeting, so I went back to the ground floor and joined a guided tour of the building.

Later in the afternoon I went shopping for clothes in some stores that have my sizes. I just got some small items, most of them on sale. In the evening I went to Macy's (very large department store), they are open until 9.30 p.m. It was not that late when I arrived, only around 8. There are mostly designer clothes there, but it wasn't as expensive as I thought. I did actually find a dress on the sales rack, it was only 34 USD (200 SEK). When I returned to Eliza's apartment at 10 p.m. the cat was the only one there (and she made sure I noticed).

Today (Tuesday) I took the tram to Manhattan in the morning. It was a very nice view from above, and it takes almost the same time as the subway. I walked west through Central Park, and passed Strawberry Fields (a mosaic in memory of John Lennon) and the Swedish Cottage(!). The cottage was more like a house from northern Sweden and it had been built in 1875 and shipped to Philadelphia the following year for an exposition. Nowadays they had theater for children there.

When I finally made it out to the west side of the park (after more than an hour), I went to the Museum of Natural History. A building of impressive size. I saw the special exhibit on the Horse. Also the permanent exhibits on African mammals, New York City animals (mostly rodents and birds), dinosaurs (huge collection), and North American Indians (three different rooms). Very educational.

After the exhibit tour I went down to the basement level and took the subway to the Public Library. They have some databases I can't access from home, so I spent (too many) hours there, looking for more details about my American relatives. When that department closed at 7 p.m. I walked over to Times Square. This is where the majority of the tourists are. This is (consequently) also where most of the souvenir shops are. I located the Hard Rock Cafe and went in. I had dinner there, bacon cheeseburger with fried onion rings. Fudge sundae with brownie for dessert. Yes, too much, but so incredibly tasty (and I had only had a small salad for lunch). On my way back to the subway I noticed a very interesting store: M&Ms souvenir shop. Three floors with the chocolate candy in hundreds of variants and memorabilia (T-shirts, mugs, bags, toys and other things). Amazing.

I have noticed that the clocks on my blogs are still on Swedish time. The difference is six hours. If it says 4 p.m., I wrote it at 10 a.m.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday in the city

Just before noon Anders, Jane and I went by subway to an Italian restaurant on Lexington Avenue. We met one of Jane's friends there, Margaret, who is originally from Iceland. We had a very nice meal and a very nice chat. Margaret had just purchased her own apartment and was in the middle of home design and furniture shopping.

After the meal we split up and I spent the afternoon in the city. I walked Lexington Avenue south. There was a street fair on several blocks down, and it was interesting to see what was offered in the lines of jewelry, ethnic food, New York City souvenirs and clothes. I did some bargain shopping at Bloomingdale's, one of the largest department stores. I found a long skirt marked down from 178 USD to 46, which is a great discount. I am very happy with that purchase. Eliza told me later that the brand is very well known.

Later in the afternoon I went by subway down to the same theater/bar we were at the day before, The Duplex. Jane and Anders wanted to see the Goldilocks show again, and I went with them. We were seated in the front this time, and we had a very good view of the set. It was once again a wonderful performance, the actors are really talented. It's incredible that they will learn all those lyrics for just three shows.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goldilocks show

Friday we really didn't do much, since Anders had the car all day. I reorganized my luggage and spent some time at the computer.

Saturday (yesterday) Anders, Jane and I drove to New York by car. It took about four hours. We are visiting Jane's friend Eliza who lives on Roosevelt Island just east of Manhattan. In the evening, we all went by subway to the southwestern part of Manhattan. We went to a restaurant, North Square. When we got there, part of the Anderson family was already there; Eleanor, Kurt and Ivan. Also Christopher Kerr with company. We had a nice meal including dessert (chocolate mousse with ice-cream and cookies), and the entire event took about 45 minutes. We were in a hurry to get to the theater in time. Just before 7 p.m. we arrived at The Duplex, which is a bar that occasionally shows cabarets. This weekend it was the musical Goldilocks, with lyrics by Walter and Jean Kerr (Christopher's parents) and music by Leroy Anderson. It turned out to be a fabulous show, so funny that even the cast members sometimes had problems keeping a straight face. Goldilocks is a comedy about a female silent moviestar who is persuaded to do one last film before getting married. There were nine people on stage with one pianist. It was a small format, but very well done. We all enjoyed the show tremendously, and Anders stayed on for a while afterwards to chat with the cast members.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Old Sturbridge Village

Thursday Jane and I went to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It's a re-creation of a New England village from the 1830s. The buildings have been moved there from other places, and basically every kind of house is represented. There was a school, church, pottery, blacksmith shop, grocery store, bank, shoemaker's house, mill, parsonage, tavern and several small farms. The stagecoach was drawn by two large horses around the village. The sheep were moved from one pasture to another. The geese were grazing on the common. A woman in a long checkered dress, apron and bonnet picked carrots in a farmer's field. In the blacksmith shop two older men were making iron hooks. The tin maker made spice tins. The potter made three jars while we were standing there. All the guides were dressed in old fashioned costumes. It was definitely like visiting another time. It's a very interesting place. Link: www.osv.org

Today will be a packing/organizing/laundry day. Tomorrow we are going to New York City for a few days.

In the left hand column of the blog I have added the time schedule for my trip. The dates are approximate. If you received this blog entry as an email and do not wish that to happen, please tell me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Block Island visit

The visit to Block Island was very relaxing, more like a vacation. Anders and his father Peter were there also, and they cooked for me and also treated me to lunches at restaurants. We made several visits to the ice-cream place in the village. Very tasty. When Anders and I went over there on the ferry, it was terrible weather; rainy and very windy. Some people got seasick, but not us. It rained very much the entire night, and then it changed into very sunny weather all of a sudden. I spent some time at the beach and got a little burnt, so the next day I got a sun hat in the village. Apart from beach visits, I read a few books and just tried to take it easy. Anders and I made it back today to Jane's place in northeastern Connecticut, after a logistically challenging trip by car, ferry and car again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Short note

This will just be a short note to tell you that I have arrived safely at Jane's place in Connecticut! The trip went well, the change in Iceland was easy (small airport).

Tomorrow we are going to the Vercelli's vacation house in Block Island - a summer resort outside the coast of Rhode Island.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quilt making

Monday I had an appointment at the chiropractor's in the morning and afterwards I went to the library. There was not enough time last week to make all the preparations for my long absence, so I surprised my colleagues by stopping by on my first vacation day. It only took a few hours, and then I had lunch in town. I spent the afternoon at the archive.

Yesterday my mother came for a visit. We engaged ourselves in quilt making! I have collected some fabric and she brought some with her, and we had a good time choosing colors and patterns. In the afternoon we went to the mall in Lund also. In the evening I finally found the living descendants of the people in New London by searching the internet. It is so much easier these days to locate people.

My mother spent the night here, and today we have continued making the quilt for my bed. It's a long process and we didn't have enough fabric, so my mother will bring the pieces with her home. We have also put the balcony furniture in storage for the winter, thrown out the balcony flowers and changed the curtains in the kitchen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Genealogy conference

This weekend it was the annual Genealogy Conference and Fair in Malmö. I visited yesterday and it was very interesting. Already on the bus to the conference center I met someone who was searching for her relatives in America. She gave me some details and later (when she had received even more details from the people at Ancestry.se) I agreed to help her with the research. We'll see if it's possible to find the living ones (the family lived in New London, Connecticut).

There is a new project regarding emigrants hosted by the Emigrant Register in Karlstad, and when they have finished it, it will be of great value. They are going to scan all the vital information (death notices) from the old Swedish-American newspapers, and match the name with the passenger lists and parish moving records. They just started and "my" areas hadn't been entered into the database yet. It will be a subscription online database. I got to search in the databases the Emigrant Institute in Växjö had brought with them, but there was no new information to get. Instead I bought a book about Swedes in Australia.

At another station I booked a computer with different databases, and I was "helped" by a volunteer. This volunteer was clearly used to neither computers nor the databases, so after a while I took the keyboard from him and did it myself. I got some details about a family in Småland I have been asked to find. Several businesses, organizations and local genealogy societies were represented at the fair, and it was fascinating to walk around and see what they were selling and/or what they informed about. I got some brochures and bought one more book.

At the fair I met several people I have mostly communicated with via email, and it was nice to get faces to the names. I ended up chatting for quite a while with a woman from the VASA Order I had met in Önnestad two weeks ago. The woman who arranged the school museum at the Norra Strö Historical Society was there also. All very nice people.

Today was laundry day and I am doing my best to get organized for the trip on Friday. Part of the luggage is packed.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Thursday morning we all worked like mad to get everything done in half the time it usually takes. At noon most of us in the stacks (and many other colleagues) got on the tourist bus the social club at work had booked. We went on an excursion to the east side of Skåne. The first stop was at a farmer's field outside Skillinge, where they grow grapevines. It's rather unusual in Sweden. The owner let us walk in the field while he explained how to grow it, what different kinds of wine you could make and much else. He had done this for ten years and knew a lot. This visit was much more interesting than I thought it would be - and I don't even drink wine!

The next stop was Autoseum, which is what you think it is - a museum with cars. Brand new museum very near Simrishamn. We had coffee there and then we viewed a Pontiac, McLaren racing car, an amphibious car (both for land and water), London taxicab, Trabant, the first electric car, large limousines formerly owned by the Royal Family, several old Volvo cars, a T-Ford from 1921, a delivery truck from the 1920s, a fire engine, old motorcycles and a large number of other motor vehicles. This was also an interesting place to visit.

On the way back to Lund we had a quiz contest. A rather difficult one, I must say. I guessed on most of the questions. After return to Lund we had dinner at a restaurant. It was a buffet and very tasty (they had chicken in peanutsause and I like that very much). It was great to talk to my colleagues outside of work. It turned out that one of them had just been in Quebec City, Canada, and gave a very positive picture of it. I might go there with my relatives for a Leroy Anderson concert in late September. At the end of the dinner, they announced the winners of the quiz contest, and to my surprise I got first prize! The reward was a grapevine in a pot! I had no idea how to keep it alive, but one colleague promised to take care of it when I'm in the United States.

Today was the last working day for a couple of months, and it was stressful. There were so many things to sort out, I tried to clear my desk (it was impossible!), I talked to people making sure they knew I will be away and made preparations for my absence. I will have to stop by there at least once more before departure to Boston. I will leave on September 5.

By the way, if anyone wants to have anything special from Sweden, let me know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another trip to Kristianstad

Monday after work I took the train to Kristianstad. I met the Andersons at Grand Hotel and then we walked over to the Department of Culture and Leisure at the city administration building. Kristina, who was the secretary of the Leroy Anderson committee, had arranged a meeting there. All the orchestra leaders, choir organizers, committee members and music school teachers who had taken part in the concert on April 26 were present. Tommy handed out plaques with inscriptions commemorating the event to them. This was our way of saying Thank You to all the participants. It was nice to talk to people and hear their stories of the April 26 concert. At 9 p.m. I had to leave, and said goodbye to the Andersons. They travelled to Stockholm yesterday and the next time I will see them will be in the United States. It was great that Eleanor, Kurt, Ivan, Rolf & Sharon could come here and experience some of the events related to Leroy Anderson.

It has been a tough week at work so far and the rest will be the same. It will not be possible to make all the preparations for my absence by Friday, so I have to go there again on Monday. After work today I took the bus to a mall called Nova. There is a huge warehouse where they sell electronic equipment. I had consulted my more technically gifted colleagues, they recommended a certain brand and I took their advice. I ended up purchasing a Canon Ixus digital camera in a pink color. It is my first digital camera!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wonderful theater event

Saturday morning my mother and I picked up Rolf & Sharon at their cottage in Åhus and drove to the church in Norra Strö. When we got there, a couple of relatives (Ewa and Roland) from Växjö in Småland were there also. We took a short tour of the cemetery to see the Mattisson family graves. Unfortunately, it was raining very much so we didn't take any pictures. At 11 Tommy arrived with Eleanor, Kurt and Ivan, and we all walked into the church to view the interiors. The church was built around 1150 and is renowned for its beautiful wall paintings from the 1470s. We were guided by a member of the historical society.

At noon we all drove to Färlöv to have lunch at Tommy's place. We were treated to some very delicious salmon, and we had old style applecake for dessert. At 2 p.m. we went to Övarp, Norra Strö to visit the birthplace of Leroy's father Bror Anton Andersson (called Brewer in America). It is now owned by Mats, who thinks it's amazing that his little house attracts so much attention. We spent about an hour there, looking at pictures and talking. Afterwards we went back about a kilometer to the historical society. The ladies of the board had outdone themselves in baking cookies for us - there were eight different kinds! The Andersons also got to see the Leroy Anderson exhibit, which we (luckily) had decided to keep until November. It was a nice day, even though it rained incredible amounts.

Sunday (today) it was time for Rolf & Sharon to move out from the cottage in Åhus, so we picked them up in the morning. After a tour of the upscale part of Åhus, the marina and a nature preserve area, we drove to Nyehusen where my mother lives. We went to the beach and it was rather unusual to see the completely empty beach and the fierce ocean with high winds at this time of year. It's a little early for the fall season, but that's what it seems to be right now. We had lunch at Furuboda, it's a buffet type of restaurant. Very nice fish today. We then went to my mother's place for coffee.

At 3 p.m. we drove to Djurröd, which is a small village south of Kristianstad. The local theater company gave a wonderful performance of Leroy Anderson tunes combined with theater and dance segments. They had engaged part of a Russian orchestra, people from the music school in Kristianstad and locals to perform 25 pieces. They even put together a choir for this, and they sang Sleigh Ride, Forgotten Dreams and Song of Jupiter in a way that was just incredible! They are all amateurs and I am so impressed by their abilities. Singing Sleigh Ride is difficult! The whole thing started with a theater act where the Anderson family emigration was depicted, with Nils and Hanna Andersson and all their seven children (of right ages) on stage. In the first part, Nils told Hanna that he had co-signed a loan and that he now owed the bank a lot of money. Nils suggested to Hanna that they should emigrate in order to earn money and pay the loan, and she agreed. (The story is completely accurate). In the second part all nine of them had packed their luggage and was about to leave Övarp. For me, this was the most memorable segment. Of the Leroy Anderson tunes, I especially remember The Typewriter, which was a theater act with a guy we know who acted as the typist. He did a marvelous performance in a Jerry Lewis style (very funny) and the audience laughed a lot. I also enjoyed A Trumpeter's Lullaby and The Waltzing Cat, in addition to the choir pieces.

I had to catch a train in town, but the Andersons stayed on to get a very Swedish supper; pea soup. I arrived back in Kävlinge at 9 p.m.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Concert in riverside park

Wednesday Eleanor Anderson and her son Kurt and his son Ivan arrived at the airport in Copenhagen. Tommy picked them up and drove them to the hotel in Kristianstad. Yesterday I went by train there for the Stadsmusikkåren concert in the riverside park. I stopped by at the hotel first and accompanied them (Rolf & Sharon too) to the park. It's a short distance, so we walked. My father was there too, and we enjoyed an hour of mixed music, particularly Leroy Anderson tunes. We listened to Syncopated Clock, Blue Tango, Rakes of Mallow, Belle of the Ball and Serenata (twice). They also played some Swedish tunes by another Andersson; Benny (former member of Swedish pop band ABBA).

Afterwards my father and I were invited to dessert and coffee at the hotel. The chocolate cake was delicious. We talked a lot about several subjects; languages, Leroy, their visit here in 1966, the Sami population in northern Sweden, the regional differences here and much else. It was very nice to see them and it was very late when my father drove me home again.

This evening I am going to my mother's place again, and we will see the Andersons both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Busy weekend

The work week was rather uneventful. Thursday afternoon I stopped by at the hotel Rolf and Sharon stayed at in Lund. They had arrived there very early that morning and they were tired. We went out for coffee and then we had dinner at the hotel. Slow service, but good food.

Friday I brought a chocolate mint cake I had baked the previous evening and my colleagues finished it at the morning coffee break. Every Friday we are a group of people from different departments who get together and have coffee with bread rolls. It's a nice tradition started years ago. Since most of us work in the stacks we don't really get to see our colleagues that much, often not even during the lunch hour.

Friday at noon I met Rolf and Sharon for lunch at a restaurant close to the hotel, the pasta gratin with ham was very tasty. We then went on a tour of Lund, we saw the main university building, rune stones, old museum grocery store and spent some time in the Botanical Garden. Extensive collection of flowers, and a very nice garden to stroll in. We spent a few hours in the library, where I showed some of the books in the old collection. Rolf used the computer and then we had some chocolate mint cake (I had made two). At 4.42 p.m. all three of us took the train to Kristianstad where we were met by Tommy and Patrik of the Leroy Anderson committee. Rolf and Sharon checked in to Grand Hotel and then we had dinner at the restaurant that has such delicious pizzas. After that, I took the bus to Åhus, where my mother and sister picked me up.

Saturday the Ericsson family women went to three flea markets in Åhus in the morning. We found some small items worth buying. I got an egg cup and a smaller bag (for the trip in September). My sister found some caps for John. My mother got a box with coasters (to have under the drinking glass). Oscar and John spent the morning at Furuboda. It was Play Day where (mostly handicapped) kids of all ages got to participate in games and other fun activities such as golf, bungy jump (sort of), go for rides in a horse buggy, an old car, a small train or a haycart pulled by a tractor. You could also go for a ride in a merry-go-round, get your face painted, spend time at the computer, listen to several well known pop singers and have some ice-cream. After lunch at my mother's place, we all went to Furuboda again. John was mostly interested in the merry-go-round and jumping on the trampoline mat.

Later in the afternoon, my mother cut my hair (very needed) and then my sister and I went to Kristianstad to pick up Rolf and Sharon. We all went to Färlöv to attend a party at Tommy's place. He is the chairman of the Leroy Anderson committee. He had invited the other committee members and Rolf & Sharon for dinner. The entry meal was a selection of very Swedish food: herring, smoked salmon, pickled raw salmon, eel, crayfish and some dark bread. The main meal was marinated meat with potato salad. Very tasty. It was very nice to see the others again. We had a lot to talk about and it was after midnight when we left.

This morning it was difficult to get out of bed, but it was necessary. I drove to Kristianstad again to pick up Rolf and Sharon. We went to Önnestad to attend Sweden America Day. It started with church service at 11 a.m. Outside the Åhus Wind Orchestra lined up and followed the nation flags in the parade to the nearby park. There were speeches and the VASA Order of America presented the annual award to a businessman who helps Swedish companies to start businesses in America. The VASA Order is a Swedish-American friendship and cultural organization promoting exchange between the two countries (and Canada). They give this award to people who "build bridges" between these countries. We belonged to the VIP-guests, so we were treated to lunch (herring). The orchestra played mostly tunes by Leroy Anderson. I didn't get to hear much of it, because I was involved in a very interesting conversation with a former recipient of the award, Bengt Berglund. He and I discussed the history of emigration from the area around Kristianstad, and he was very knowledgeable.

After a little more than three hours in Önnestad, the rain increased and we decided to leave. I drove Rolf and Sharon to the cabin in Åhus they have rented for the week. We also went grocery shopping and drove a few rounds in the village for orientation purposes. I hope they will have a good time and that the weather improves.

I returned to Kävlinge this evening by train.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend at home

The past week was a little slower at work, but I still didn't have time to write on the blog during the desk duty on Thursday.

Monday evening I got a visit from a friend of mine who lives in the north of Sweden, but is down in Skåne for vacation. We talked about computers (she had bought a brand new one), vacations, books and clothes.

Friday I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on TV. Spectacular, to say the least. Incredible fireworks! Sweden already got one medal, a female cyclist named Emma Johansson came in second in the road race. Everybody was surprised, also the commentators.

This weekend I spent at home, trying to get things organized for the up-coming events. Several members of the Leroy Anderson family is coming to visit in a very short time! Leroy's widow Eleanor, aged 90, couldn't come to the concert in April due to health problems, but she is now going to visit Kristianstad later in August. She will attend a concert, a musical, a meeting and also visit the Norra Strö area. All these things will be connected to Leroy Anderson. His sons Kurt (with son Ivan), and Rolf (with wife Sharon) will also be here. Unfortunately, I have to work during the weekdays, but I will see them on a weekend and a few evenings.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Interesting Friday

The last working day of the week, Friday, turned out to be an interesting one. Several things out of the ordinary happened. First, the lock on the safety cabinet (where all the manuscripts currently used by patrons are kept) malfunctioned. It was impossible to open the door. It took a long time to get hold of the only locksmith who could get it open - he was in Blekinge province.

When I had been collecting books from one of the remote storages and made the last turn to get back to the library I noticed two fire engines with flashing lights standing outside the staff entrance. The things I said out loud at that moment aren't suitable to repeat in writing. The greatest fear is a major fire there - the amount of easily burning material is gigantic. Luckily, it was false alarm.

Saturday I went on a shopping trip to Malmö. It was really hot and sticky weather, and not an ideal time to spend in a town, but I had a nice visit. I went to the area where many immigrants have stores, Möllevången. This is a very interesting and lively area, where you can get Greek, Indian, Turkish, Arabic and Lebanese food, shop very affordable fresh fruits and vegetables in the square and go to the flea market and haggle with the Russian women selling clothes and make-up. I came home with a pair of jeans, a watch and some small items I need for the trip in September (there are limits on the size of the shampoo bottles these days, so I had to get smaller containers).

Today I have been very active, I have cleaned all the windows on all sides, mended two tops and three pairs of jeans, thrown out some clothes I never use, mopped the floors and cleaned the balcony furniture.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Booked trip

Several afternoons this week I have taken trips to malls and clothing stores to see if I can do any bargain shopping. Right now, many clothing stores have half price off the sales price, so it's very affordable. But there are not that many clothes worth buying, since it's at the end of the season. I did get some underwear and a pair of black jeans. Yesterday evening I went by train to Helsingborg, a very nice town on the west coast of Skåne. There is a great place to eat called Ebba's. It's decorated entirely in the 1950's style, with a jukebox, posters of rock'n'roll bands of the era and ads for old chocolate brands, for instance. The food is good too, with homemade french fries and very large cookies. I especially recommend the raspberry cheesecake.

I'm making preparations for a trip to the United States this fall. I have recently got a brand new passport and also a new driver's license. The trip is now booked, and I will arrive in Boston on September 5. I'm flying with Icelandair this time, it will be a new experience. Return date is October 29. In between these dates I was thinking of visiting some of my relatives, engage in genealogical research and do some serious shopping. The exchange rate is favourable for us right now. I might have to get an extra suitcase on the way home...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Historical Society

Friday evening I went to Kristianstad, where my mother picked me up. Saturday we went to Yngsjö, where there are lots of summer houses. We visited the guy whose grandfather was lost in America. He showed me the letters the grandfather had written and sent home to Sweden. It's clear that something had happened, because the letters indicated that his wife was upset with him. There were also some returned letters written in 1934, so his family never got hold of him after that. I have ordered the death certificate for the person with a matching birth date I found dead 1974 in Florida, to see if that was really him. If it was, his family members in the US will get a surprise.

Saturday evening my mother and I engaged ourselves in work around the house. I mowed the lawn and she tried to clear out and re-organize the stuff in the small house in the back yard.

This morning we filled the car with things we didn't have a need for, and drove about half a mile down the road to the annual fleamarket arranged by the homeowner's association. Anyone living there could set up a table and sell things. There were about 12-15 tables. We had brought four beach chairs my mother once won in a slogan competition. We sold all of them pretty quickly - it was the right kind of people there. My mother lives in an area near the beach where there are mostly summer houses. We also sold some clothes and small decorative items.

After a quick lunch (tuna salad) we drove to the Historical Society in Norra Strö. It was open for business, meaning they served coffee and cakes. The Leroy Anderson exhibit was still up, and we decided that it will continue to be there until early November. It was a nice afternoon with lots of chatting about family and local history.

The train ride back to Kävlinge was the hottest I have ever experienced. Something had happened to the air conditioning system, it had totally freaked out and was blowing hot air. It was definitely over 40 centigrades in the train. It was awful, and people were about to pass out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The only noteworthy thing today was the three different cakes our boss had placed in the lunch room for us. It is her namesday (Kristina) today and thought we should celebrate it. It was very nice of her. They were very tasty. All three of them.

I'm still doing several people's jobs, but it's not as stressful as last week. It has slowed down even more. There are only two visitors in the manuscript reading room right now.

A few weeks ago I was asked to locate someone's grandfather..... He had emigrated from Sweden alone in the 1920s and wrote home during the next ten years, but then stopped. He was divorced, but I still don't think that's a reason for not writing home for the additional 40 years of his life - I found out that he died 1974 in Florida. His children had no idea about this. I'm not saying this is the worst case I have been asked to solve, but it's making the top ten.

Can anyone guess where I'm going this weekend?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Friday at noon I took the train to Kristianstad. My mother picked me up at the station. We went to the funeral of Inga Lundblad, my mother's first cousin. She was very interested in family history and helped me a lot with information about the Mattisson part of the family. Her mind was clear until the end (she died at age 85), and we often spent time talking about "the old days". She was the kindest, most generous person you can imagine, and her death is a great loss to her family.

Saturday my mother and I went to the flea markets in Åhus. She hadn't been there in months. We didn't shop that much, just some fabric my mother will make into rags and weave with. She has a loom set up in the small cottage in her yard, and she weaves table runners and sometimes rugs. In the afternoon we visited a friend of hers in Tollarp.

Today we had the usual lunch at Furuboda and then I went back to Kävlinge again. The bus and the train were unbelievably crowded, and the busdriver (who was ten minutes late already before leaving Åhus) broke all possible traffic rules so that we would make the connection.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flea market

Last week I spent three days working with the flea market at Furuboda. My sister and her family had come down from Borås also. She and I sold books, my mother sold textiles. We had stalls with differently marked prices, starting at 5 SEK (1 Dollar). Also special tables for technical stuff, Christmas ornaments, paintings and lamps. The most valuable things were sold at an auction at the same place. It wasn't such a big event as it was last year, but it was still very exhausting. But also very fun! Some people who bought books didn't want their change back, because they knew the money went to charity. We had very nice customers and I sold books I never thought anyone would be interested in.

On Saturday we took it easy. We needed to rest. Sunday my mother and I opened the flea market again for a few hours. There were some things left that were worth buying. I reorganized the books, weeded four boxes to be thrown out and put the rest in a storage room for next year. Later my mother drove me to the bus stop in Åhus, and I went home to Kävlinge again.

One other thing we did last week was a very nice dinner at a local fish restaurant with a great view of the river, Helge Å. We (my sister, her husband and I) each got a big bowl of prawns, bread and three different dips. Chocolate cake for dessert. Very tasty.

Back to work on Monday it took a while before I realized that I was the only one in the stacks..... It is July and not that many requests, but it was at the top of my ability to do seven people's jobs. The worst part is driving to four other locations (remote storages) to retrieve books - it's so time-consuming. And then of course the compact shelves at one storage had to malfunction just because I was in a hurry. Today was better, two others had a few hours left and helped out in the morning.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I got this week's only desk duty today. I'm going to my mother's place tomorrow evening to help out with the flea market at Furuboda. They get donations from people and sometimes that can include household items, furniture or entire estates, so they have to sell the things to get funds.

This past weekend I actually stayed at home. I can't even remember the last time I did that. But it was hot and humid and I didn't feel like going anywhere. I stayed inside and did the laundry. And I started sorting the piles of documents on the floor. It will take a while to get that in order. I spent some time on the balcony also, and that clearly disturbed the swallows that have built a nest under the roof. They have been very messy in general, and also rather loud.

Friday, July 4, 2008


There isn't that much to do at work in July, and that's rather nice. I got the desk duty today instead of Thursday, because someone else wanted to go on a birthday party. Right now there is just one visitor here. During the summer we often get visitors from other countries, yesterday there were people here from Australia and Dubai, for instance. We have already done several of the summer projects, so now there are only the boring things left.

The past ten weekends (except one) I have spent at my mother's place, but this up-coming weekend I will not. I've been thinking of what to do, and I might go to a city and be a tourist. What I really should be doing is clean the floor in my apartment, get all the photos into albums, mend three pairs of jeans, do laundry and clean the windows. But it's not as fun.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Historical Society celebration

The sharp object my mother wanted for her birthday was an axe! She has a stove in the house, so she needed the axe to cut firewood.

My mother is doing even better, she only uses one crutch now, and it seems to be going well.

Saturday I spent about four hours at the historical society in Norra Strö to arrange the exhibit. I got two tables and a few shelves for the part about Leroy Anderson. It was focused on the Swedish aspect, and I had his ancestor chart there, picture of the emigrant ship, story of the emigration and family, photo of Brewer's birthplace in Övarp and several other family photos, and the book where it says that Leroy's father was from Övarp, among other things. I also filled one shelf with clocks (to illustrate Syncopated Clock) and one with album covers. The old typewriter was placed in the center of a table, with CD-covers around it. In addition to this, there was one table with information and ancestor charts for other celebrities whose ancestors came from Norra Strö. These included Swedish author Gustaf Hellström, American ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his daughter actress Candice Bergen, and Swedish actress Marianne Lindberg Bernadotte, who married into the royal family.

Sunday was the big day at the historical society. When my mother, aunt and I got there a few minutes after opening, it was already crowded. When I finally made it in to the hall, people started asking an enormous amount of questions, and it was great to see such an interest! I found myself discussing everything from distant ancestors to Blue Tango's popularity in the 1950s. We could only get ten CD's to sell and it took three minutes to do that. Almost all the flyers I had made were gone when the day was over. The candy too.

In the afternoon a part of Kristianstad Stadsmusikkår played Leroy Anderson pieces, and they did it very well. Some of the pieces: Belle of the Ball, Rakes of Mallow, Blue Tango, Clarinet Candy and Syncopated Clock (twice). Tommy was there of course (since he plays in that orchestra) and Patrik was there with his family. Tommy told the story of how we ended up celebrating the Centennial, which was very good, since not everybody knew about it.

I talked to Mats, who now owns the house Brewer was born in, and he said several people had been there to see it. He thinks it's amazing that his little house attracts such an interest.

Several of my relatives were at the historical society that day, and it was so nice to see them (the last time I saw some of them was in 1995)! The Leroy Anderson Centennial has had very interesting side-effects, I have never met and talked to so many people on any subject before. It has been a wonderful experience.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mall trips

The first three days of this week I visited one mall every day in different cities. Monday afternoon I drove to Löddeköpinge to get some small things and also a sharp, heavy present for my mother's birthday. Tuesday I took the local bus to a mall just outside Lund called Nova. Didn't get much there, just a long tunic which I had looked at before at 400 SEK, but didn't get. Now it was 79 SEK and I decided it was worth it. Big discount. Wednesday I took the train + bus to Väla outside Helsingborg. The sale at the specialty store for the full sized woman was not interesting this time. Instead I got a top at Kappahl, one of the best clothing stores here.

During the summer there is a card to use on the buses/trains that is valid in the entire province of Skåne. It's very affordable, it's much cheaper than our usual commuter cards. I can go anywhere and change between long distance buses, city buses and trains unlimited times. If I do all the changes within three hours it will count as one trip. Yesterday I managed to travel one hour, shop, have dinner and get back to the station and it was counted as just one trip (with four minutes' margin).

Tomorrow there will be more travelling - yet another trip to my mother's place. She might want her car back this time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The drive to my mother's place Thursday evening was not particularly pleasant. It's kind of depressing when you have to go at 30 km/h on the freeway. The traffic was really, really bad. The Midsummer holiday is one of the biggest holidays here and the traffic situation becomes much worse than usual. When I reached my destination my sister and her family were there also. They had arrived the previous day. Friday, Midsummer Eve, we spent some time on the beach. The water was bitterly cold, but that didn't stop my nephew John who is crazy about water. His aunt had to rescue the toys when he threw them into the ocean, so I got a little wet too. We were pretty much alone on the beach, I guess people had more important things to do that day. In the afternoon we drove to Vinslöv to attend the Midsummer celebrations at my mother's friends house. Now, we didn't have the maypole or the singing or the dancing, but we did eat a lot of herring, potatoes and strawberries with ice-cream. It was delicious, and we all ate too much. To get some true Midsummer-spirit, we watched the broadcast from the celebrations on Gotland island on TV.

Saturday it was John's third birthday and it was celebrated with coffee and a cake. We had invited some relatives and friends, and it was a nice afternoon. John got a few presents: a tractor, a police car, some smaller cars and motorcycles, clothes, books and DVD's with cartoons. Of all these presents, he favored the tractor, which was orange and about half a meter long. The police car was also interesting, especially since it made all the appropriate sounds if you pushed a button on the roof...

Today we had lunch at Furuboda (we often do on Sundays), and then Anette and family returned to Borås again. They would stop at my father's place on the way back also. I returned to Kävlinge a little later, and this time the traffic was pretty normal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Tuesday evening I went to the local park in Kävlinge to see the annual outdoor theatre/musical performance by the amateur society. This year it was an operetta, Vita Hästen, with a story set in an Austrian inn, where the waiter Leopold has a crush on the innkeeper Josepha. They had altered some details in the plot and included references both to local politicians and villages. It was a very nice performance, they are talented.

Apart from that it has been mostly work lately. This week I have had two sessions in the manuscript reading room, because several people are on vacation. Most people get their vacation in July here. During the summer, when it's a little slower, we try to do all the projects we normally don't have time for. So yesterday I was at a remote storage to see if we can weed some of the books. I ended up hauling five carts to the main library. It's books from a closed-down branch that no one is asking for anymore.

Later this evening I'm going to my mother's place for the Midsummer holiday. Tomorrow it's Midsummer's Day and we celebrate that by eating a lot of herring!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two concerts

Friday evening I drove directly from work to my mother's place (yes, again). We attended a concert at Furuboda that was very nice. It started with a group of young Russian girls who sang folksongs. The other act was a symphony orchestra from Lithuania. They were pretty good, and they got everybody clapping hands when they started with an ABBA-medley. Very enthusiastic conductor who occasionally turned around and directed the audience also! Music can really build bridges and cross over language barriers. They played Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson.

Saturday we picked up a friend of my mother's and drove to their friend in Kristianstad. Three talkative and chatty women in their 50's..... We got very tasty strawberry pie there. But I was happy to get orders from my mother to go grocery shopping after a while. When I returned, we left pretty soon, because I had bought some frozen fish.

Saturday evening my mother and I attended a wonderful concert in Åhus Church. It was the Zhukovsky Symphony Orchestra from outside Moscow who played many pieces by Leroy Anderson. Fifteen, to be exact. They were incredible! They managed to give an outstanding performance of these pieces with all the attributes. Though just one sandpaper for Sandpaper Ballet (should be three). At the end of Chicken Reel one guy stood up and sounded like a rooster. In Waltzing Cat, three guys jumped up and barked like dogs. The Fiddle Faddle was amazing with a girl playing the xylophone at an incredible speed, and she received the longest ovations also. For Syncopated Clock, they had a real clock ringing a few times. They also played Yesterday (The Beatles), a Russian piano piece and ended with a medley of Swedish(!) summer songs (Taube and others). The orchestra had the European Soccer Championships against them (Sweden played Spain at the same time - Sweden lost), but the church was almost full anyway. It is true that pieces by Leroy Anderson make the members of the audience leave the concert with a smile on their faces. It was a great concert, and I'm especially happy that my mother finally got to hear Leroy Anderson's music live!

Today was mostly garden work, laundry and cleaning - at my mother's place. No wonder my own apartment looks so messy.