It’s hard to write about mom. I’ve been writing in my head for several days, and now I’ve been sitting in front of my MacBook for several hours. Everything that come out through my fingers seem like rubbish. Or at least blurry and unorganized. That’s okay, per se! Not everything I write comes out more or less perfect at the first attempt. (Nota bene. Only rarely something comes out perfect at first attempt. I have a couple of short stories, though… )
Well – all about Mom…
In a way, she was fantastic. But it took me a really long time to realize that. As a little one, I knew nothing, understood less, but felt some and reacted on those feelings. No! Wrong! I learnt very early how to hid those reactions, and most of the feelings. I also made observations, but I didn’t understand them to be observations until I was grown up. They were just some other sorts of feeling. Noticed – and then hidden somewhere deep inside. With everything else.
I never got to know anything about my Mom. Neither did my older sister, and probably not my older brother neither. She never told us anything about herself. Nothing from her childhood, nothing from when she was growing up. I know nothing about what she might have been dreaming about when she was young. What did she expect from life? What did she want to do with her life? Did she even have any dreams???
Was her life, as I experienced it, just as she wanted it to be? Or was it just a big disappointment?
The only thing I have are some facts, my own memories, and some facts I have been told. I have no documents of any kind, no diaries, no notebooks, no old cookbooks, not even a single photo any more. And of course no furniture, no household items, nothing left from her home. No. Nothing. Nada.
Mom was born the day before Christmas eve, in 1910. I can hardly imagine what it would be like, to live in Europe at that time. How was it to be a small child in the south of Sweden, when there was a big WAR going on at the continent? Even though Sweden didn’t participate in the war, there must have been effects on the daily life.
In the twenties she must have been going to some kind of school, and been having friends. There was a lot of photos blended together in a desk drawer when I was little, and among those were some of my mom at the seaside in the late twenties and early thirties. Bathing in the sunshine, on the cliffs near the ocean. Surrounded with friends, males and females. She seemed to be enjoying herself.
She married Dad in October 1937, and my sister was born in august 1938. Mom got VERY irritated (read: furious) when I once had been doing some counting and burst out without thinking: “Were you already pregnant when you married Dad?” She denied firmly, turned her back on me and went away.
I may have counted wrong, or maybe she got pregnant the first time on her wedding night, but I also could be right, couldn’t I? It was an humongous shame at that time and space, to be pregnant before married. And she was, as I and my sister knew her, very prudent.
My brother was born in July 1942. During that time, the time at WW2, the family lived in a suburb a bit outside the city, how many years in total they lived there, I don’t know. They had a house and also a dairy shop where Mom sold milk, butter and eggs. Cheese? Don’t know, don’t think so. But since it was a War going on, there were restrictions of how much milk, butter and eggs people were allowed to buy. They had coupons! Si and so many eggs per month.
I have one memory from this, a told story. There was a huge and steep slope uphill from the main road where the milk-car left the big cans with milk, and every morning Mom had to handle those cans up on a hand drawn trolley, and then pull the entire set uphill to the house and the dairy. Don’t know how many cans, nor how much milk each can contained. Two cans á 50 liters? I can’t even guess! Could she sell 100 liters of milk per day, in that neighborhood?
Well! After that nothing happened… nothing happened… nothing…. still nothing…
And suddenly in the Fifties, there was me… and there was a quite different world out there, post-war.
Painting by Van Gogh – Café