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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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another meeting

Monday evening there was another Centennial Committee meeting in Kristianstad. I had driven the car to work in the morning. I thought it would be lots of traffic going north in the evening, but there wasn't that much. It takes longer time to drive a car than to take the train. It is really beyond my horizon that so many people drive a car to and from work every day, when the buses and trains run so frequently. Especially now, when the cost for gas is very high. Anyway, the meeting was nice, a guy came over to film us when we introduced ourselves. It will be for a documentary about the concert in April (only on DVD). At the end of May there was a crossword puzzle in the local paper and the one who made it had used pictures from the concert and the clues had a Leroy Anderson theme. This week it's an international music festival in Kristianstad, with participants from several countries. The Moscow Area Symphony Orchestra will perform music by Leroy Anderson. I hope to see some of it this weekend.

This week the high schools have their graduations here. It's very noisy in town with lots of happy (and drunk) students and when you go to work at seven in the morning you often see young people dressed in ball gowns on their way home from a (I assume) great party.

Congratulations to Joyce and Pat who just got married!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Exhausting weekend

Since it was our national holiday on Friday, the library was closed. I went to Field's shopping center at Örestad near the Copenhagen airport. It's very convenient to go by train, it stops 200 meters from the entrance. Quite a few people had come to the conclusion that the stores in Denmark were open that day, so the trains were crowded and there were lots of Swedes in the shopping center. I didn't shop that much, just some underwear and a pair of summer pants. I decided to try a new restaurant in the food court, a Mexican place called Nachos. Pretty good food, but I wonder how much of it was really inspired by the Mexican cuisine. It wasn't particularly spicy. In the evening I drove, once again, to my mother's place.

Saturday my mother and I went to a department store to get some birthday presents for my nephew John. We ended up with some toys, but also other things like plants. So when we came home, I planted these flowers in the yard, and watered everything. It hasn't rained in a long time now, the earth is very dry. The entire weekend it was stifling hot weather. In the afternoon I went on a meeting at Furuboda. I was given instructions for the flea market in July. There is a risk/chance (depending on how you look at it) that I will be the one in charge of the whole thing this year. My mother has health issues, and I don't know if they can find anyone else. In the evening I walked down to the beach, just to see if the water was warm. It usually takes a while for the ocean to get so warm that it's possible to go fo a swim, but this year it seems to already be very ok to jump in. I didn't bring my swimsuit though, but I walked in the water for a while.

Today we met my aunt and uncle for lunch at Furuboda. It was very nice to see them, and we had a lot to talk about. We invited them for coffee and ice-cream afterwards.

After the usual cleaning, washing, watering, and tidying up I finally drove back to Kävlinge this evening.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Monday I left work in the early afternoon and travelled back to Kävlinge to get the car. I then drove to Svågertorp, where there are many stores and also a big train station for the trains to Denmark. I didn't care about the trains though, I was more interested in the shopping. One of the biggest fabric stores is there, for example. I got some small things. On the way back I stopped at a mall to check the collection in the full-size woman's clothing store and ended up buying one very yellow top (my favorite colour). It was a nice evening, but it was very hot and I will think twice before I go by car to the Malmö area in rush hour again.

On Tuesday I stayed late at work to do some preparations for the exhibit, and decided that I didn't feel like cooking dinner. I went to the Chinese restaurant in Kävlinge instead. I hadn't been there in many years. The food was very nice; chicken in peanut sauce.

Wednesday evening I had picnic on my own in the park near the Church of Dome. I was waiting for a concert to start. At 7 the Lund Hemvärnskår Orchestra gave a summer concert outdoors in one of the town squares. They played very well. One of the pieces was Belle of the Ball by Leroy Anderson.

Some photos from the April 26 concert in Kristianstad can be found on this website: http://www.scoutz.se/Fotoalbum/Familj/KonsertLeroyAnderson2008/index4.html

I have been thinking of making a trip to the United States again. It's three years ago since last time. I'm planning on staying away Sep 2 - Nov 2 approximately. If anyone of my relatives reading this wants me to visit, please let me know. I'll start in the east and travel westward.

Tomorrow is our national holiday, and I will celebrate it by going shopping in Denmark!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Choir performance

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the archive in Lund. I had some research to do for the exhibit at the Historical Society this summer. I had to find the ancestors for a Swedish author named Gustaf Hellström. His mother's family was from Norra Strö also, and I will include this information in the exhibit (which will have the theme: famous people whose ancestors lived in Norra Strö). My great grandfather (on my father's side) was a salesman for Swedish Match in the early 1900's. He visited mostly east European countries. Just to see if he was listed anywhere, I searched for his name in the Ancestry database. I got one hit. It was an arrival record from 1951, saying that he had entered the United States by airplane on Nov 1! I was very surprised to see this. I had no idea about it. It listed a chemical company in New York City as his destination, so I assume he was going there for business.

Yesterday evening I listened to a choir performance in a small church outside Lund. It was the Augustana College Choir, consisting of students from the college in Rock Island, Illinois. Augustana College was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1860. I have been there once to visit the Swenson Center (research facility with Swedish-American material). The 75 people in the choir gave a great performance. The first piece was a wonderful version of Agnus Dei, and I knew it would be worth the trouble of going there (it was in a suburb). The repertoire contained both spirituals like Deep River and modern music like Blackbird by the Beatles. They even sang in Swedish, a piece called Pingst (Pentecost) that I had never heard before. They also sang the first lines of "Tryggare kan ingen vara", one of the old Swedish hymns my grandmother sometimes sang.

Today has been the usual laundry and tidying up day.