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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

American relatives

The pace at the library is slower and that's very good because my personal life has been extremely hectic. I drove the storage round three days last week and attended one meeting. Thursday I left work early and took the train to my father's place. After the fika I borrowed his car and drove to Helsingborg, which is across the other side of the province. I went to Ikea to get some things for my mother. Also did some grocery shopping at the mall. I returned home and have to say I was lucky to have survived because they drive like crazy on the highway on the west coast. Saturday I went to the nearest mall, where I left several bags with items to the charity shop, looked for furniture and lamps for my mother but found nothing worth buying, and went grocery shopping one more time. In the evening I saw a performance by the local amateur theatre company. It was a farce with extravagant costumes and lots of singing. Pretty funny with several references to local places and names. I had been given the ticket by a friend who were supposed to go too but she unfortunately got sick.

Saturday night I packed. At 4.30 Sunday morning (yes, I mean it) I crawled out of bed and got ready to leave. At 5.15 I got into the car and drove to Ystad on the south coast of Skåne. My American relatives Mara, Philip and Alisa arrived on the morning ferry from Poland at about 6 AM. These kids (they are siblings and aged 18-22) belong to the Nelson side of the family. Their ancestor August Nelson left Sweden in 1869 and settled in Iowa and later Minnesota. I brought the visitors out east, to Ales Stenar, which is a megalithic monument high up on a hill just by the ocean. It's a large oval stone ship with 69 pieces of rock probably dating back to the Iron Age. It could have been used as a solar calendar and/or a burial site. The view is amazing from there. We had breakfast near there. Since it was so early the easiest way to get food was to bring it. I had made sandwiches and bought some apple juice. After this we went to Lund, an hour away. I showed them the library and some books on history and then we went to the Museum of History and saw all the exhibits (coins, church items, cathedral interiors, curiosities, stone axes, Nordic postglacial fauna, Greek/Roman statues and a few other things). We also saw the large cathedral, built in the 1100s. We had lunch at a mall and then drove across the province to the east coast. We had a pretty tasty ice-cream in Åhus and then went down south to the summerhouse. We spent much of the evening talking about family history.

Monday morning (sort of) we (plus my mother) went on a bicycle ride in the area. We rode through the forest and out to the beach. At noon we packed all the belongings in the car and said goodbye to my mother. It was time to visit the ancestral origin, Norra Strö parish. We went to the church where many of our ancestors worshipped, were baptised, married and buried. I explained why there is a wooden chair from 1665 at the front of the altar (it was made by a parishioner who was always late for service, so he brought his own chair to be sure to get a seat). The tour continued out in the cemetery, where many relatives were buried. Next we went to the place where August Nelson was born. There is no house anymore, only ruins. Nevertheless, I wanted to show it. We drove through a forest and managed to find the place. I hadn't been there in ages and there was a large amount of trees where the house used to be. The stone walls surrounding the fields were still there, but it wasn't much to see, really. After this we went for a late lunch at the golf club in the next town. Then we returned to the village. We stopped by my uncle's place to get the key to the Historical Society Museum. The museum contains several rooms with exhibits and the school room was decorated like in the old days. My mother went to school here and we could spot her on a few photos on display. We had a snack here and I got the history books out and pointed out the lists with emigrants related to the Nelson family. After stopping by at my uncle's place again to return the key (and we also had a chat of course) we drove to Hässleholm. The young Nelsons had booked tickets on the night train to Stockholm so we had to wait it out. We spent much of the evening in a pub, eating and talking. I made sure the train was scheduled to actually leave before I left to drive home. I came home at midnight and went straight to bed. Getting out of bed this morning to go to work was tough. But I am very happy that these young people took the trouble to go to Sweden to visit their relatives. It warms my heart to know that they are interested in their personal history and I hope they will spread information about all this when they come home again. We would be happy to host more visits from our American relatives!

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