Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A bit of history

Elna's childhood home

The fisherman Lundel built the old house in the background for his family in 1870. Algot built the yellow house after the war.

The famous veranda

Algot, the former owner of my house and the last in a line of Lundels and then Erikssons who had bought and built the plot of land, was a colourful character. A boxer, fisherman and an unbeatable drinker, in his older days he used to rush out into the garden with a gun in his hand to ward off little green men.
“When strolling on the village road”, a friend said, “and the evening sun lit the veranda from behind, you could see Algot’s silhouette as he was practising boxing with a sand bag. A glorious sight.” This he did until very old – he reached 82 years, a respectable age considering his drinking habits.
Once Algot was cleaning a revolver in his kitchen (and drinking with a mate) as the gun accidentally fired and hit the crotch of the other man. Promptly he ran outdoors and took his trousers off to check the damage. Algot followed, his face grey. “Miraculously, there was blood but no real damage. And anyway, I already had four kids by then”, the guy now counts.
Algot’s mother Elna was a fisherman’s daughter from the nearby island of Hevonkack. She was a seamstress and received numerous love letters from a young sailor, Gunnar Eriksson - Algot's father - who kept sending his “little friend” notes from all over the world. Sweetly, the last of the letters is addressed to his “little wife”. This is in 1912. The letters were stored in a box of rags in the attic and found completely accidentally by me as I was looking for some fabric to repair the upholstering of one of the old chairs. Amazingly, there was a piece of exactly the same red velvet that was just big enough for the job, amongst a squirrel’s nest, acorns and love letters.
Being curious, I made a little expedition to Hevonkack to see the house where Elna as a young woman received all these letters. It is a slightly older house than mine (which is built by another sailor, Algot’s grandmother’s father, in 1870). The current owners of the Hevonkack house bought it directly from Elna’s family. They have done a good job restoring the house, with most of the exterior done by now.
In front of the house I discovered what I was looking for: the same old peony that has been planted in the border in front of my house. Elna had brought something of her childhood home to her marriage, along with her sewing machine and all those letters.


  1. Replies
    1. Isn't it just! And to think that some less considerate new house owner than me might have just burnt those love letters as piece of mouse-eaten rubbish!


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