Generations of Memories in Our Swedish House
I blame it on the house. It drew us there. The house was the reason we all were in Sweden. The house and all its memories.
My husband’s great-grandfather was given the house on Vasmen Lake in Sweden after he lost his sight and a hand in a mining accident. Had the accident not happened, he would have immigrated to America. However, the accident happened and thus the house became part of the family.
Stories of happenings in the house swirled around us. Which family members were born there? Who fell in love here? How many people slept here after the epic parties of ’74 and ’75? Neighbors and family poured out their stories.
After 20 years of standing undisturbed, we breathed life back into the house.
Ten of us.
My husband’s father, mother, brother and his wife, sister and her husband and two kids all descended upon the house. Some of us were seeing the house for the first time. For others it had been a decade or two or three since seeing the house.
Martin and I had visited the house briefly in 2006, only staying long enough to take pictures. This time was different; we all worked on the house. We did everything we could in a manic four days to protect the house. Painting and clearing trees were the biggest priorities. But we also repaired a leak in the septic system, aired out the house, vacuumed, resealed all the windows (there are so many windows!), repaired a hole in the floor, and landscaped the backyard to keep rainwater away from the house.
Exhausting. Yet so rewarding.
I left feeling strongly connected to the house and the family history. I think everyone else did too.
Of course we timed our trip there during midsummer – the best holiday in Sweden. Neighbors welcomed us like family. We danced and sang and ate and shared stories.
After not seeing my husband’s family for over a year, this was a magical reunion – one I will remember forever.