Down Memory Lane

Image:
“Exploding time”
Salvador Dali

Blogs are mostly written so that you see and read the last written post first.
Under this label, you can read the blog as the posts are written – chronologically!
Just like the chapters in a book…


June 21, 2018

The Wall of Silence

Abused as a child?
Me?

The very thought is hard to embrace. I was never hit. Never experienced any sexual abuse of any kind… never…

(gasp)   … except once when it could have been… something… perhaps…

He was a friend of my dads. Well… friend or friend… I don’t know now, and didn’t know then, the extent of that relationship. They might have met at work, and my dad always liked to talk to other people. Help with something if he could. He talked to the black-dressed missionaries who was biking around in the neighborhood, talked to people he met at the library, in shops et cetera. He was always kind and always showed interest to their stories.

This man came from Estonia. As a four or five year old I had no idea whether he was a refugee, or had moved to our country for some other reason. He had lived here for many years though, but I never saw any wife or any children. I guess she might have been dead for some time, and the children were grownups with children of their own.

Or I might be totally wrong.

To me, however, he was a very old man, older than my dad. With wrinkles in his face and grey hair. Slim, almost skinny, not particularly tall and with a somewhat crooked figure. And a mysterious accent when he spoke.
He taught me to count to twelve in finnish. Yksi, kaksi, kolme…

At least once I followed my dad to his house. Big old house. Big flourishing garden. Fruit trees and berry bushes. Raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries. Black and red currant shrubs. Apples and plums. Ripe cherries in my hand.

What impressed and amazed me the most, was a swing I had never seen before. Like two wooden sofas built together facing each other. Very odd. And there we sat. Me and my dad in one sofa, the man in the other. They were talking. We swung slowly while the shadows in the garden deepened, until it was time for dad and me to return home.

The man used to visit us once in a while. Sometimes he gave us something from the garden. Jam, or pickled something. Once he gave us a bottle of home brewed wine. Since my parents never touched anything with alcohol, they just smiled, said thank you and pretended like nothing. Afterwards they laughed a bit, but kindly. He meant well, they said. He didn’t know.

And I don’t know what they did with the bottle.

One afternoon the man had visited us and was on his way home. I stood above a stone-stair just around the corner of our house when he saw me and approached.

“Can I have a little kiss”, he asked and pointed at his left cheek. I giggled a little and then hastily pecked him on his cheek with closed lips.

Then he turned his face to me and opened his mouth wildly, closing in on my mouth.
Oh gosh what a big mouth he had!
Quick as a squirrel I turned around and skipped away to the back of the house, loudly singing  some la la la la laa laa…

I don’t remember him grabbing me, maybe he tried to. Maybe he started to reach out for me. Did he manage to put his hand on my arm?
I don’t even remember being frightened. Maybe I was, at least a little. Yeah! I think so. A little. But since I got away so quickly…
… I kind of won.


 

Was that sexual abuse? Did it hurt me? What were my feelings? Really!

It never happened again, I’m sure of that, and I never told anyone either.
What would have happened if I had?
That, I will never know.

Well! This episode occurred, I remember, and I must have recognized it as something grown ups don’t do! The wide opened mouths I had seen so far, was when someone had laughed out loud and such, not while closing in on my face. It was totally unknown to me.

No, he didn’t hurt me physically, I don’t remember he even managed to lay the tip of a finger on me. Didn’t I easily slip away? Yes I did!

But psychically?
Honestly! At this moment – I don’t know.

But there were other things going on in my childhood, that I wasn’t consciously aware of at that time.


June 27 2018

I’ve always loved the color red

A snowy afternoon by the time of Christmas. The heaven is dark but millions of lights are glittering, from every street, every building in the city

I’m twelve, or maybe even fourteen,
a most sensitive age, for a girl
who still hadn’t been kissed or looked for.

“Ah”, I said
and stopped in front of the large store-window
“Look, mom, what a beautiful red coat!”

I could hear her frown when she said:
“You, who are so gray and insignificant,
shall not wear red.”

Later on I got a new winter coat, a gray one
with a collar buttoned  up to the chin

And I can still feel the pain


June 28 2018

Dad

Just the other day, I was lying on the sofa and my intention was to ponder my childhood according to my mom. Instead I suddenly came to think of my dad, and how much I still miss him.

I started to cry, and while sobbing I said out loud: “Oh daddy! I miss you so much, I wish you were here!”
A voice said inside my head: “You can’t have that, you know.”
“Of course I know! He. Is. Dead! Since. Long!
But I still wish we would have had more years together!”

I got married, left my parent’s home before I had turned 18, and moved to another city. Of course we visited my parents once in a while during the years to come, and they visited us, but not exactly on a weekly basis. Not even monthly. It was too far away to drive that often. And I was glad, sorry to say.

But I missed not having enough opportunities to talk to my dad. During growing up, we had always been talking, he was always there for me, and he has taught me so much about all and everything. And of lots of small nothingnesses. While out in the garden, or biking together, or sitting in his lap while he was reading for me or telling me stories from when he was a child.
Now – SHE was always around when we met.

It’s awful to say such a thing about ones mother, I know that, and it’s very difficult! It’s not allowed, and it hurts! But I have to tell the truth! To myself.
Yes! I have to realize the true truth.

They are both gone now. I was only thirty when my dad died, two years later my mom. An awfully long time has passed since, a lot of water under the bridges.

But I was lucky to be able to talk privately with my dad at the end of his life, before his cancer was so severe that he ended up att the hospital. It was a very good talk, and we were able to have some conversation by letters afterwards. At that time mom had had a couple of minor strokes, so he could obviously, and luckily, hide those letters and our conversation from her.

I could speak freely, and so could he.

The last time I saw him was at the hospital. He was very ill then and all yellow. But when I entered the room and he saw me, his smile lightened up the entire room.

Oh daddy! I miss you so much and I will always love you!


July 6, 2018

In some ways, Mom 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.


July 7 2018

Looking Back

One

It’s July, and the sun is lowering
will soon reach the treetops
on the other side of the road.

The air is lukewarm and soft against my skin,
one year old and a half, I must have been,
when sitting there, on my mother’s arm.

Her dress is covered with light gray flowers
on windy crêpe de Chine,
with ruffles down her bosom,
her neckline and her shoulders

I always loved that dress
and used to go into her closet,
just to feel the texture in my hands.

Suddenly I pull out one of her breasts
from under the light gray flowerbed,
and drink the milk she still can offer.
Deep gulps, and then I wipe my mouth
with the back of my hand

Mom laughs.
A warm and happy laugh.
And the moment is caught for ever.


This is a memory of my own, but placed in time with the help of some facts and logic. Mom said she had milk for me until I was two, so just a simple counting and the summer made this true.

Sometimes I wonder, why one remembers one event and not the other, especially when originated a very long time ago. I think those which one still carries, must have been those very special. Perhaps out of the ordinary…
Or maybe not… maybe it can also be what is repeated a lot…

This one is a very early memory, but perhaps not the oldest one. Though probably the most significant one. The  ones prior to this are only as I’m standing in my cot. First my eyes are under the upper edge, me glancing between the laths. Later I had grown a bit, my eyes at the same height as the upper edge. I remember standing on my toes to look over, or having to bend down a bit. Then came a time I didn’t have to stand on my toes any longer.

The door between the bedroom and the hallway was always a little bit ajar.

I wonder how much time I spent in that bed when I was little. I can’t seem to remember anything else from that time, long ago…


July 8 2018

Two

When I was little, I often thought I didn’t belong in my family. Sometimes I thought I had been kidnapped from my real mom, sometimes that I was adopted. But soon, my real mom would come looking for me.

Once I had a dream, where I’m sitting in my real mom’s lap all surrounded by her arms and her love. She is young, blond and beautiful, and dressed in pale blue. She talks to me, looks at me, hugs me, cares about me. Really loves me. I know she’s a nurse and her name is Marie.

At that time I was old enough to know how to write, and made a note on a piece of paper saying: Mama Marie, nurse. Then I hid the small scrap of paper in a book. A safe place from moms eyes, I reckoned.

Many years later, while my eldest daughter was studying to be a preschool teacher, I told her this – without the details though. She immediately snapped at me: “It’s a very common fantasy among children!”

So! There I got hit!

No! I wasn’t kidnapped in to my family. Nowadays I actually sometimes see my mother in the mirror. Mostly on bad days. Don’t say I like it, but that’s life! So, get a grip, gal!

What else is not to like? Hmmm…. so many moments… so many incidents…

Like when Dad suggested I would sleep in mom’s bed for a change – I preferred to sleep in his arms – and she, as soon as I got there, turned her back on me. No warmth or softness of any kind. No feelings of comfort and safety.

Or… Like when I was struggling with sewing a dress for one of my dolls. She came, saw what I was doing, and said she would make one for me, a proper one. She didn’t understand, it was the making of it that was the most fun. I was a creative person already as a small girl.

But I could do nothing! She was determined, found a pattern, a piece of fabric SHE liked, then cut and sewed. Then handed me the dress, probably expecting a “Thank you” and a “how nice it is”. Can’t remember me saying anything. I was just so devastated, and thought the dress was ugly. Hated both the fabric she had chosen and the look.

The feeling I got out of this, and many more incidents similar to this one, was “you can’t, you’re worthless, I do everything better than you, and know how to do things the right way”.

I never let the doll wear that dress…

My self esteem went down, inch by inch, for each time something like this happened. However I must have had some strength within me after all. Or perhaps it was my creativity that was too strong to get killed. During the years that followed, I kept on knitting, sewing, crocheting – but always in secret. I never showed her anything, never told her anything. Nothing! Never more.

As a grown up and no longer living with her, I kept on sewing and knitting. Mostly clothes; dresses, trousers, jackets, sweaters. To myself, to my daughters, to my husband. Of course she must have seen what I made, but can’t remember she even once said “Look good! Well done”.

My sister also made needlework, a lot more than I did, and she learned me a lot. I don’t know if mom ever gave her any credit for how skilled she was, but I doubt it. Much later, my sister had developed MS and had in periods trouble with her eyes, with double vision. Of course, according to mom, all her eye troubles were due to the sewing and knitting.

Apropos that: all the books I used to read, could of course damage MY eyes!


July 9 2018

Three

I never liked the good-night kisses Mom gave me. She pouted her lips – and not in a cute way – they became like a small hard beak, with which she pecked my forehead. Very quick, and very “let’s get this done. I have other things to do”.

The only other times she kissed me, or tried to, was when she was very sad. Over what, I’ve absolutely no idea. She was crying, tears wet her cheeks and mouth. She  was usually sitting on a kitchen chair when she saw me and begged me to come nearer. Reluctantly I approached her, she hugged me and kissed me and burst out while sobbing: “OH! You’re the only one I have, my little sunshine!”

Those wet kisses and the sobbing made me feel very uncomfortable and I just wanted to go away. The words and something in her voice! So needy, so… I don’t know what! It’s hard to find the words to describe my feelings there and then, but I hated it. It was just so icky!!!

Awkward! I don’t remember any time when she hugged me and kissed me, and seemed happy about it! And made me happy… 😦

Mom also had the habit of threatening to leave us. I guess she and Dad had quarreled, they often did, and she reacted by putting on her coat and hat, taking her purse, handbag, luggage-something, and then sat down on a chair as close to the front door as possible. She cried and said she should go away, because no one cared for her. “No one will ever miss me!”

She did that over and over again, during my childhood, my adolescens and further on. Until her death. I guess.

Now when I compile these memories, I realize that the crying-kissing-part occurred when she was alone with me as a little girl. The “go-away”-part occurred when at least Dad was around too.

Naturally she never did “leave us forever”. My eight years older brother got irritated when she got these tantrums, and went up to his room . And so did I, when I got older and had a room of my own upstairs.
But mostly she actually did go – out for a walk – and Dad went out after her. Later they came back together. Seemingly everything sorted out between them.

Some courage I still must have had as a child. I remember once she sat there in the hallway sobbing and feeling sorry for herself, threatening to leave. I might have been four or five.

I looked at her, opened my mouth and spoke: “Well go then! You always say you’re going, but you never do it!”

She just stared at me. As in chock.

Wish I could surely remember what happened next. I have a faint memory, of how she without saying a word, went to the kitchen and started to do the dishes or something. Did it loudly…

However, I might be totally wrong about that. Can’t see her going out for a walk that time, though.

Much later, during the period Dad was sick in cancer, before he died, we had the possibility to talk with each other a couple of times without her with us, and also wrote some letters to each other. We were both totally honest and therefore able to talk about things, events, feelings we had kept as secrets, and sort of straighten some things out.

One thing he told me, was exactly the same I had experienced! Namely! If she had a quarrel with Dad, she was always asking me who I thought was right. Herself or Dad. And I had to answer that she was. Even though I actually thought that Dad was right. Otherwise things would be a lot worse. She would be furious at me as well. And if she quarreled over me – not “with” this time – she asked Dad who he thought was right. He had to say she was, for the same reason. Things would be a lot worse, and he got it afterwards.

One or the other of us always got it afterwards…


July 11 2018

Part four – Conclusion

When I started to write here just a couple of weeks ago, it was of course not the first time I reflected over these memories of mom hurting my feelings so deeply. But the reflections earlier was of an other kind, more just: “Ok! So it was! She was not always nice, but she was my mom, and the best thing to do is to forgive and let go!”

Already some 20 years ago or so, I had this “vision”. In my mind I saw her standing in front of a house. I saw her like from a long distance, she appeared very small and the house was a huge four-story building. What I saw was not as much the physical appearance as… her mental self. It was more a feeling of her I saw.

At first I saw her as I had seen her during all the years. Self-righteous, rigid, prudent etc. Maybe not with a stiff upper-lip, but without doubt with a stiff neck. Suddenly there was a shift in my perception. Everything looked the same, though. The huge house, the small woman, her posture, how she held her head. But the feeling of her was changed! Now she looked vulnerable, tired and sad, like if the whole world lay upon her shoulders.

I understood! I finally understood she was a victim! Of her time, of her upbringing, of her society, of all the demands she had on her. Both from within herself, inherited over generations, and from the outer world.

I felt a little bit more comfortable after this, and in a way I forgave her. At least tried to. There were still feelings inside me that popped up now and then. And as times passed by, I got more and more pain and stiffness in my body. Which I, by the way, blamed on other events and experiences.

If I imagined her watching me from some other realm – I felt very uneasy. I had a friend some ten years ago that had the gift of seeing and hearing spirits. She once sad my mom was present, and told me mom said she loved me and were very proud of me. I felt extremely uneasy. To think she was present and watched me!!! Boohhh!


About a month ago, I suddenly got the urge to reread this book, and got it from the library. “Thunder at Twilight – Vienna 1913/1914” written by Frederic Morton. It’s European history, a very interesting and well written chronicle of the events which led to the brake out of World War 1.

The reader, among other events, also meets a lot of still today very well-known people. One of them – Hitler. This made me recall that the psychoanalysist Alice Miller had written a book where she in one chapter went into his childhood and upbringing, and what kind of man he had become due to all the physical and psychological abuse he had suffered. So I turned to the library again, borrowed and read…

… and became aware of that I had been abused as a child. Never physically! “Only” neglect, deminish, belittle… shall I go on?
I remembered lots of it, but never realized this actually was abusive behavior. Never came to think of how wrong it was.

These writings now, have made me see that more clearly! Even though I only have written about some of the events and kept many others left in my mind, I don’t feel the need of wallow myself in this any more. I can still think about it and write about it – but not wallow! I got the picture! I got the lesson!

I had anticipated, though, and hoped for, that I should experience great anger and sadness. Yes! I have cried quite a lot these last weeks, for different reasons. Missing Dad is one. But I can’t find any anger within me! I thought I might have wanted to hit something, scream, hate her! But no. I can’t.

In all the memories I have dwelled in I have felt and experienced the situations almost as if I were there again. Both as a participator and as a spectator. And I came to see her as a couple of different personalities.

One persona is mean, egocentric, self-rigtheous, manipulative, and playing other people with feelings. But there is also a persona that is deeply, deeply wounded! The more I was thinking, reliving, writing – the more I felt sorry for her. Say! How can I be angry at that little girl inside her, who only wants to be loved and accepted?

No! No anger!

I don’t doubt that she loved me. She just didn’t have the ability to show it, or act like it. I know she loved dad, even though she terrorized also him from time to time. I am sure she loved my brother and sister as well. She just had a huge knot inside her!

I think I can truly forgive her now. And feel the love for her, that I have been hiding in a knot inside me for so long. But I’ll still work on this, since it’s very possible that the anger might lie deeper in me and needs more time to show itself.


July 13, 2018

Reposing

After I had finished the “Part four – Conclusion” the other day (last night),  some kind of “nothingness” fell over me. Nothing bad, really. Not at all. I just didn’t do anything.

Other then my usual tour on the bike, I read some, spent time at the sofa as long as it was too warm to be on the patio, slept there for a while, and was doing some Jigsaw puzzles on the iPad.

I think I browsed iBooks too that day, for a while. Found this book “Loving yourself to great health” written by Louise Hay which I later bought, by the way. Very interesting! Very recommendable!

When bearable temperature at the patio again, I sat there reading until late. A “real” book now. “Eva Luna” by Isabel Allende.

Since “part four” I’ve also been thinking a lot. About life as such, about mom, dad… cried some… been hoping to feel some anger…

Been thinking about my former husband who also is the father of my three daughters. Now they’re grown-ups with kids of their own, and he is old and sick. What about him? He had also a peculiar childhood, but he told me very little about it.

My sister suffered from Psoriasis since very young, and later Multiple Sclerosis (MS). How was her upbringing? What did she feel when she was little and growing up? I know she had at least one experience of mom almost the same as I have. Mom didn’t care about us. She neglected us, and pushed us away. Sis always heard: You’re big, you can do it yourself! I heard: You’re so small. You can’t do it.

Sis got Psoriasis and MS. Anything else that I don’t know of?
I got anxiety, fibromyalgia and food allergies. Was also over-eating. Yes! It can very well be labeled as an addiction or eating disorder! Food is very good at soothing at anxiety attacks, you know. It doesn’t even have to be sugar or junk, ”just” eating too much, too often. I’m still not quite over it. Mostly but not to 100%

I realize I also almost my entire life have withdrawn myself from social encounters. Not as much as young, just a bit shy, but more and more the older I’ve become. Especially after those years with severe anxiety. As teenager, I went out dancing… 😀

My brother? What about him? Was he “mammy’s little boy” as my sister once said? I know he sucked his thumb until he was a grown-up and had a work as mechanic to go to. Later (?) he started smoking. Both he and I kept our smoking habits hidden to our mom and dad. The first time I saw him smoking, was at mom’s funeral. And still he walked away a bit, and turned his back to us. But he couldn’t fool his sisters. 😀

My grandparents? I know absolutely nothing about any of them. The only one still alive when I was born, was my mothers mother.
Her father, my Mom once told me, had died just a short while before I was born. One night she woke up and saw him standing by my bed, looking at me. When he realized she had awoken, he just said he wanted to see me since he hadn’t been able to do so before – then he vanished.

And Dad? What about him? How strong he must have been, my wonderful, caring Father! Did he suffer? Or was he able to bear it all?

There must have been love between my Mom and Dad, after all. Sis told me, that after Dad’s death, Mom, who at that time already had suffered from a couple of minor heart attacks and at least one small stroke, used to go to his grave, sitting there crying and screaming for him. “Come and fetch me! Bring me to you”

Almost exactly two years after his death, she got a major heart attack in her sleep, and finally reconnected with him.


July 19, 2018

Grandma

When I was little I used to be at my Grandma´s while Mom was working. I don’t know how old I was when she first started to take care of me, I just know I was there during the years before I began school. There was once a photo of me from the summer I was four, standing outside the building she lived in. But I have some random memories from before that.

Though I can hardly remember what Granny looked like. She was round, well – obese, and she always had her hair in a thin bun in the neck. I guess she looked like my mom did when she got older, and probably as I will look when I get old. Though I won’t be that round-figured! I promise! Even though I share the same genes. I eat better and love to ride the bike. At my age now, Mom was both obese and had diabetes 2 – I am not and I have not.

I have also decided I won’t die at 72-73 something like Granny and Mom – and Dad! I’ll be at least 104! And at that time I’ll have written several novels, made a lot of images based on my photos, been traveling around the world at least once and live in a nice cottage in some wilderness, having cats and a dog and a nice male-friend. 30-40 years younger than I. (I can settle for 7 years younger…) An artist of some kind. Also a writer, perhaps?

A girl can dream, can’t she?

No! Now! Back to Grandma!
As I said, I remember very little about her. Just bits and pieces here and there. But I remember some from her apartment! She had a kitchen and one room. Literally one room!  And a bathroom. And a hallway.

The kitchen was quite big. She had her bed there, which to me was huge. Like up to my armpits. At first I couldn’t climb up there by my own, but I grew on it! So to speak.
There was also a table in front of the window, and I remember she used to sit at the table, facing the window with the tree and the street outside when she was baking. She used to give me a piece of dough, but I just played with it until it was impossible to form into a bun. Then she took the piece, blended it into her much larger lump of dough, and gave me a new small one. Big enough to make one bun. It tasted very good when it came warm out from the oven, eaten with a glass of milk.

Once in a while the whole family came for dinner. At least my two uncles and someone else were there and I remember us eating vegetable soup with brothboiled meat and dumplings. We had one dumpling each, it was quite big, and I hated it. I hated the look of it, the texture of it, and that she used to seasoning it with some bitter almond.  “It’s supposed to be that way”, she said when I grumbled about it and refused to eat.
I didn’t have to eat the dumpling.
At those times, the table was moved in front of the bed, and three of us had to sit there. It was fun to eat sitting in the bed.

I have absolutely no idea what the dumplings were made of. Wheat flour I guess, but there might have been some mashed potato in there as well. I just saw her form the dough to pieces and then drop them into the broth to boil.

Or did she??? The dumplings had certainly not the texture like bread, they were sticky! Icky-sticky! Now when I think of it, they had more like the texture of polenta or grits, but even stickier. Nowadays I like polenta, real polenta, very much.

She had a big cupboard where she kept her groceries. The most odd there were jars with cow-berry jam, (lingonberries) and in each jar was a whole, peeled, pear. It was like magic when she opened the jar, and suddenly pulled out a dark-red colored pear! Like – Oooops!!!

Over the sink, under the cupboards on the wall, was a row with small containers attached. They were made of china, had a handle also of china, withe – of course – and with blue flowers painted on the front. In those containers she kept wheat flour, sugar, salt and in some smaller ones she had spices. I remember the cinnamon sticks.

This was before the plastic era!

The room was big and had a large window. Along one of the walls she had a bed sofa with an oldfashion bedspread and a rather big handmade cushion which had tassels attached at all four corners. (You know about “tofsar”, don’t you?) I loved tht cushion and used to play with it. Let the tassels dance…

There was a… no, there must have been two armchairs, and a three armed floor lamp. On the other side of the room there was a chest of drawers, and I imagine some kind of dinner table with chairs, and perhaps a small book shelf. The whereabouts of these items are more or less a guessing from my part, then actually remembering

My youngest uncle slept there at nights, he had a fiancée somewhere, but at that time he wasn’t married yet. He must have been around 37-38 then, so not exactly the youngest fiancé ever.  But he was very nice and I loved him deeply. Once in a while I was allowed to sleep over at grandma’s, and that was really funny. The sofa became a bed, one of the lamps was lit, we brushed our teeth together, put our clothes off and pyjamas on – and to make this very clear – we didn’t do THAT together! Everyone back then was more or less prudent. Mostly more… The whole era was prudent!

Then uncle put the two armchairs together for me to sleep in. Yes! The armrests was all around me, and the whole thing was soooo cosy!

Uncle had once bought me a Christmas present, and long before the time was due, grandma blabbed and told me what he had bought for me. She had said something about a small doll which was dancing. And I of course asked uncle about it. He got so angry with Granny that she had revealed what was supposed to be a secret for a while longer, but then he fetched the package and gave it to me. Inside was a small bed for my doll, with cover, a cushion and all. Then, hidden in the bed was also a small music box, with a ballerina dancing round and round on top of it. Wish I could remember what music it was. Some waltz from Wienna??? Maybe rather Twinkle, twinkle little star!

At that time in my life I had an invisible friend called “Icke”. Pronounced like “beek,” whith an “e” at the end. Not that that matters much… and isn’t icky…
The word means, by the way, something like “no” or “non” in a somewhat posh-y meaning. Not in the normal talking-way. So there we also have the stiff upper-ip, again. LOL

So what about “Icke” then? Well. Nothing really. I played with her, talked with her. I had no playmates my own age as I was little, so… Thus, I have a three year older cousin, but didn’t get to meet her particularly often. She stumbled on a branch in the wood once, all the blueberries fell out of her little basket and GOSH how she screamed.

C

August 2, 2018

I love you, Mom!

Just the other day, when I was on my way home from the grocery store with a load of fresh fruit and vegetables, my thoughts were mingling with this blog. I had planned to write about my childhood, the abuse and so on, when suddenly – there was no more to write about! I felt emptied, though not in a bad way.

So the thoughts glided over to my Mom, and suddenly I (silently) bursted out: I love you, Mom! And started to cry. Luckily not so heavy that anyone saw or heard me. It was a deep feeling, though! A good feeling.

This is the first time in my entire life, that I’ve said those words. I haven’t even been able to think them, or even remotely let myself come near those feelings. Thinking of Mom always made me feel very awkward, uncomfortable, strained even.

And now – just the other day – I said “I love you, Mom!” and felt okay with that. More than okay!

Then I thought: “Why on earth don’t I continue to write about my childhood and my family?” I may not remember much, but all of it wasn’t about abuse, in different way, or other bad things. There were a lot of good things as well!

And I might remember more, when I start going down Memory Lane.

One thing I’ve realized while writing and thinking about this topic, is how all this has affected my grown up life. How fearful I’ve been to express love, afraid of being rejected. I’ve sometimes been called “cold” or “reserved”. I do have feelings! I do love, and care, feel compassion and such. But haven’t been able to express them. And then I have drawn myself back.

I don’t want that any more!

I now let all that go, I don't need that behavior any longer. 
It protected me as a child, but that was a long time ago. 
I now love both the child I once was, and the mature woman I'm now.
And I love my Mom.