While cleaning house in preparation for Elle’s High School graduation party at our place in a couple of weeks, our daughter discovered several of her paternal grandmother’s sixth grade workbooks – all dating from 1945.
My mother, Solveig Ina Andersson, was 14 at the time she finished the book and as there was a page with an Easter theme, I can surmise that it was completed sometime during the spring semester that year – just a few months before World War II ended, on September 2, 1945.
What thoughts must have been going through my mother’s mind at the time? Especially at her age and during that precarious era. As peace approached in the European and African war theaters, yet was still ongoing in Asia and the South Pacific, I wonder what plans she was making for her future. Her parents, my grandmother Agnes and grandfather Eskil, must have hoped their family would soon be able to enjoy a more peaceful existens. For even if Sweden stayed neutral during the war (through dubiuos political bargaining), the rationing and looming threat of being pulled into the war was certainly impacted daily life.
My mother eventually became a nurse, left Järna, her village in Sweden, and moved first to London, then New York and finally settled down in Los Angeles, where together with my father, she started a family and lived out the rest of her relatively short life. There’s some footage of her a little more than a decade later right here.
Though I have zero positive memories of her from when I was a child and in her care, I do find some kind of solace while looking at stuff from days when my mother was a young and innocent woman full of hopes and dreams of an interesting, adventurous life filled with love and happiness. The same kind of hopes I now have for Elle.
Side note: I’m amazed at how well-preserved my mother’s workbook is after almost 75 years. Imagine picking up an iPhone in 75 years…