Memories of my grandmother: day 10

Dear grandmother,

I think I found your glasses by the road today. Or at least parts of them. It could easily be them, you had so many. Your glasses where always a bit bent and crooked, from being sat on or for fallen asleep with in front of the television or somehow getting under lots of bags in the car.

We walked the road of the famous 1931 strike protest today, the one that ended with the military opening fire against it’s own population and killing five people. A dark day in swedish history, but as some dark days do, it changed this country for the better since (almost) everyone realized the brutality was way over the top and that the military should have nothing to do with civilian matters anymore.

You where six years old when this happened. You didn’t need glasses yet. You had long before you would fall asleep in front of a television. You had not even sat in a car. You had all these years left.

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Fragment 11: a lens from a pair of broken glasses.

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Detail from the memorial of “the shots in Ådalen”, front page from the local newspaper the day before the protests with the news that led to the protests (“Strike breakers invades Ådalen”).

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Memories of my grandmother: day 9

Dear grandmother,

Do you remember when we drove through the mountains and you held on so hard to that little handle above the window each time your side of the car faced the edge? In every turn of the serpentine road you made your scared-sound by sucking in air through clenched teeth. You told everyone afterwards how scared you had been and you eyes glittered full of joy every time.

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Fragmnet 10: a piece of a rusty car we found along the trail today.

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The trail goes on for at least a km in each direction, how did it get here?

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We are in sawmill country now.

 

 

 

Memories of my grandmother: day 7-8

Dear grandmother,

We are between your homes now. This land is being abandoned, everyone is moving to the city and the fireweed -your flower, is left to claim the fields. I’ve never seen so many of them, they wave in the wind like purple weat.

On the way here we passed a charcoal kiln from WWII. The walls where broken and I could get inside to where the coal used to slowly burn. The brick walls where beautifully burnt and green from a thin layer of moss, old steel barrels lay on the ground. I remembered that you always enjoyed hearing about my travels so I will write to you instead of about you. That way I can still imagine your reactions and comments. You would say “Oh! That you dared!” when I told you about going into the kiln and I would get to feel like a brave adventurer reporting back to base camp.

The fields of fireweed also made me think about that summer when you made an outside theatre, telling the history of your birth place like a journey through time. They where everywhere that year. One of the characters in the theatre was the man “Vildhussen” that accidentally drained a whole lake trying to streamline the timber transportation on the river sometime in the 1700s. We passed the “Dead Waterfall” that was the result of his actions the day before yesterday. You would have really liked the salmon galets they serve there now.

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Fragment 9: fireweed. In swedish they are called “navvy-rose” because they grow on newly disturbed ground and followed the railroad-builders as a tail through the country.

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Newly abandoned field now covered with not yet fully blooming fireweed.

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Inside the charcoal kiln. The fire burned for two weeks at a time.

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The roof is slowly caving in.

Memories of my grandmother: day 6

Small pieces of glass at the roadside makes me remember that time when my grandmother took us to Paris by train. All the beautiful church windows. I was 12 years old and afraid to fly so I got my first proper backpack and we traveled by train. I’m wearing the same backpack right now, walking this road with the small pieces of glass. My cousin and I got to choose between Disneyland and Monet’s garden, he choose the land and I went to the garden. I’ve always longed for blue wisteria since that day but my country is too cold.

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The road goes on.

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Fregment 8: Colourful shards from collisions and bottles.

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If these horsetails where blue and hanging instead of standing they could almost remind of wisteria.

Memories of my grandmother: day 5

I remember that day when my grandmother’s cat brought home a full litter of hare-babies. One after another he picked them from their nest and piled them in a neat pile before we could catch him and make the extermination stop. It was when, as my sister put it, my grandmother lived in an “abandoned house in the forest”. It was the old midwife-house and strange herbs still grew in forgotten places around it. He was a great hunter, that cat. No mouse lived in that house for long. Another day he caught a seagull and draged it home, still alive. But then he didn’t know what to do with it so we nursed it back to health and let it fly again.

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Fragment 7: not hare-bone, but close enough.

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Abandoned car in the forest.

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Ridiculously pretty hay field, drying in the sun.

Memories of my grandmother: day 4

I remember my grandmother’s hands among the roses. She loved the white roses in her tiny garden. They were a gift from her mother. When she moved away from that house she brought clippings of the rose bush with her. Those hands did so many things. I see them flicking a pen while marking a script, brushing oil onto the lamb roast, holding surely around the steering wheel during one of out long drives and killing that potentially poisonous sprider in Spain that she always regretted afterwards. I see them grow curiously old, the skin getting softer, thinner and more transparent. My uncle, who was with her when she died said that at the end she couldn’t speak at all, except for the way she held his hand. “Imagine that”, he said “that the most important things you can say to someone, you can say just by holding their hand.”

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Fragment 6: Her kind of rose, it even smells right.

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A tiny house in a big world.

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Old road overgrown with moss.

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New road with thistles.

Memories of my grandmother: day 3

Once my grandmother was alone with all the children on the pine covered island. Hers and her friends’ children were playing among the cliffs and twisted island pines. No new food would arrive until the next day so when the last pasta on the island fell into the dish-water she rinsed it off and served it anyway. She laughed guiltily remembering that dinner, one of the full children afterwards smilig up at her and happily stating “you always use the best spices!” It was a rainy summer that year and a lot of sea to the shore.

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Along the river Indalsälven by canoe.

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Roots by the shore.

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Fragment 5: bark shard from pine in the shape of an island.