On the occasion of an anniversary, retracing the origins of a still gestating project.
One year ago, we kissed good-bye my beautiful grandmother, Mae Ella (Carlson) King. She was 91-years-old and had been living independently in the home that she and my grandfather built until a few days earlier. It was a sunny winter morning, and she pulled her car out of her driveway onto the two lane rural highway and into the path of an oncoming bus. No one else was injured, but the accident proved fatal for her.
I could carry on all day about how special my Gamma was. However, what I want to share here is how this tragic event lead has inadvertently led me into a new project that I am just now beginning to shape and form.
The Sverige Project
While going through her house, we came across three small slide boxes and a stack of neatly typed notes. It was the slide show that my great Aunts Margaret and Alice Alphield assembled after their holiday to their ancestral homeland of Sweden in 1964. It was an impressive archive : the notes detailed and sprinkled with wit, the scenes lovely.
Nearly twenty years after the sisters’ journey, my own mother (and Auntie’s namesake) studied abroad in Stockholm. And from her tenure, we still hold the small Kodak 3 1/2 ” x 4 1/4″ snapshots that she took and a thick stack of postcards that she sent home.
Perhaps in remembrance of that past generation, but certainly for our own sense of wanderlust/nostalgia/adventure, my mother and I are going to undertake the journey to Sweden together come this late summer.
I hope to bring the ephemera of all three expeditions together into a highly-illustrated text exploring the parallels and divergences of our treks through this loaded landscape. In the meantime, I really need to start learning nagra ord pa svenska.
Se ut for dorrarna, dorrarna stangs!