Meet the Anderssons

A couple of years ago, a friend brought me a small cardboard box. It was roughly the size of an A4 paper and had belonged to my aunt Lillemor Andersson before she died in 2014. It contained a wide range of letters, photographs, postcards, and other more or less significant documents pertaining to my mother’s side of the family.

My grandma Agnes was a de facto mother to me, so any image with her in it is always heartfelt. Before today, I had never seen a family portrait like the one above with my mother and her sisters gathered in it. I don’t know when the photograph was taken, but judging from Lillemor’s young age, she was born in 1944 and was the youngest of her siblings, it must have been sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

My mother, Solveig/Cissi/Ina was 13 years older and aunt Elvy, the oldest of the girls, was born in 1926. It’s Elvy’s husband, Stig Starrsjö next to my grandfather Eskil looking down at her. He was one of several father figures in my younger years. Uncle Stig was a sweet man with a giant heart and a creative spirit.

The only surviving member of the Andersson clan in the photo is the seclusive Lillian, born 1938 and apparently living somewhere along Sweden’s west coast.

I love this photo and can only imagine what it must have been like getting everybody together, deciding clothes, positions, fixing the lighting, and coaching the group to smile for the shot to convey at least a brief sense of congeniality, however fugacious it may have been before and after the final frame was exposed. I wonder what camera was used. I’m not in touch with Lillian these days, but, boy, would I love to hear her memories of this historical Andersson family session!