I’m a member of a Swedish/American genealogy group on Facebook. People post there asking for help finding records for missing relatives in either Sweden or the US. Often Americans need help with translations of Swedish documents or correspondence left behind by older relatives. This morning a man asked for help with a postcard dated March 28, 1928. Here is the translation I typed:
Dear Evelyn I am sending you a view that maybe one day you’ll come visit along with my very best wishes to you and everyone at home from grandma!
One run-on sentence from Värmland to Los Angeles on the back of a picture of Mårbacka.
I think what is fascinating with these cars is that they are so much about the dream of the future, and about the dream of traveling there. Cars from the 1930s look like space ships. They look fast, as if the future couldn’t get there quick enough. The romance of that is irresistible. A Toyota Prius? Dull, and practical. But does it really have to look dull and practical? There is a statement about our times in there, and it isn’t good.
There were two old guys walking around the exhibit yesterday, making conversation like 5 year old boys: “This one is mine!”. “No, I’ll go with the Packard.” Adorable.
The photo that I’m using for the front page of the site right now was taken this summer in Skanör, Sweden. Skanör is a cute little seaside town, so close to the southern tip of Sweden that you can actually see the Danish coast on a clear day. It’s gorgeous, and windy, and within walking distance of Falsterbo, which is where my sister-in-law grew up. (Lucky woman.)
The beach huts are tiny, and there are hundreds of them all along the coastline.
One of my friends sent this pic of me yesterday. It’s almost 30 years old and he snapped it with his ipad out of a photo album. I don’t know where it was taken; it could be Stockholm, or Göteborg, or Brighton on the south coast of England. Maybe it’s Göteborg, in the fall of 1985. We shared an apartment for six months and spent a lot of time together. Plus it’s windy, and Göteborg is always windy.
I don’t remember those shades, but I can see I’m wearing something black, with shoulder pads. (It’s the 1980s, after all.) Whatever I’m wearing it’s likely I made it myself out of army surplus linen, dyed black. I remember the earrings. Geometrical, plastic, black.
Apart from the shoulder pads I see my own students. Big shades, long hair, fresh face.
An old friend of mine got his band back together, almost 30 years after they broke up, and played two nights. Part of the reason was, as I understand it, to show their now-grown kids what dad can do. (If you lived in Göteborg in the early 1980s you might want to press play.) The last time they played together was in the summer of 1985, and everyone was very young.
My friend was sweet enough to send me the link for the youtube version of their show. As I listened (because, let’s be honest, you don’t really see much) I realized that those songs were sitting somewhere in my brain. They’d been there all along.
I’ve never been fascinated by time travel, but all of a sudden it felt as if the 1980s was a place. A place I could travel to on a plane. And if I did travel there, I’d find the streets and the bars and the stores and the people still there, intact. The people who are dead now, and the people who are older now, and the buildings that were torn down. Still there. A strange feeling.