Welcome to Tessa's blog

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.