Translated from Swedish by Mildred Anderson Lekberg & Sven Lekberg. Edited for clarity by Rosalind Spitzer
Read the whole story here: The Story of Johann Magnus Anderson
My grandfather, Anders Peterson, died three months before my father was born. My father, Johann Magnus Anderson, was born April 20, 1830, at the estate called Ebbarp in the parish of Såby, Jőnkőping’s Province. Anders had married my grandmother when he was already an old man with several children from his first marriage, so my father had no full brothers and sisters. He had many half brothers and sisters who were very much older than he was and didn’t have much use for their stepmother or her son. They were well off, but my father and grandmother had often suffered need and had to eat bark bread.
Is there something about childless women that makes them more likely to be caught up in the past? Or is it that those of us with children are so obsessed with the future that we forget we were formed by what happened before us?
I don’t know the answer, but I do know that both Anna and Gustaf’s childless sisters wrote family histories. Read More
Anna’s father, Peter Olsson Tilderquist, would never speak about himself or his experiences unless pressed to do so, so his children grew up knowing very little about his background. The most they learned about him was when his brother Lars, who had immigrated to Australia, came for a visit in 1884, Read More
Gustava sat down with her bundle of belongings in an open door of a dilapidated barn and cried as if her heart was broken. It was not easy for the favorite daughter of a nämndemannen (juryman) of Kärda, Sweden, endowed with an independent spirit, to get along in a strange country learning a new language and new customs. She was not used to working for others, and she was sent from place to place without satisfaction. Read More
In Chapter 1 of Anna’s Home, the character Eva tells the story of her mother’s beautiful, but unworn, wedding dress. This is a real story is narrated by Eva Tilderquist in the family history, P.O. Tilderquist Family, which she published in 1952. Eva implies that her mother never told the story; it was Jane Berggren, Gustava’s younger sister, who disclosed it after Gustava died. Read More
With Earth Day and the March for Science coming up April 22, I’ve been reflecting on how important science is to me even though I chose a career in education and writing instead of a scientific field. My family tree is rife with science types, albeit, until recently, all male.
My great grandmother’s generation produced a physician, an engineer, a naturalist, and a horticulturist. The next generation of sons boasted two renowned research scientists.
Recognizing the wildlife and fauna around me has long been one of my goals. I believe if you look closely enough at nature that you notice details of appearance and behavior, you are more at home there. It’s like greeting an acquaintance by name, as opposed to just saying, “Hi there.” I knew a lot of birds visited our property, but I wanted to know which specific species came by. Read More
January 20, 2017
I expected to be in deep depression on this day, burying my head in my pillows, crying my eyes out. It’s Inauguration Day, 2017.
Instead, I wake from a deep sleep, the best I’ve had in weeks and feel the toxins drain from my brain. Nothing hurts, and I want to enjoy this time, waking up slowly. I see the sun has risen; it’s bright outside, the rain from the last few days done for now. I move my head slowly; my neck and shoulders feel relaxed. I turn my head and feel no pain. Without thinking, I rise from the bed. I feel good.
It’s always interesting to observe people when they’re traveling, but with my new rating system, I was more observant than usual. I especially enjoy watching parents with young children and listening to mothers talk to their children. In the bathroom stall next to me at the airport was a mother with a young child in the early stages of potty training. Read More
December 30, 2016
I want to say that kindness is contagious and could overcome the meanness in the world from the inside out. But how does one know if it’s working? What if I am the victim of wishful thinking? What if all the kind acts that people engage in every day don’t compensate adequately for the greed, envy, hatred, and narrow-mindedness that’s also out there? Read More