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Beyond the Lone Islands

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Once Upon A Time

80 years ago today, a little girl was born far up in the North of Sweden. Her name was Birgit. 25 years later, that girl herself became a mother. My mother. She died last year on 26 May, at the age of  79 years, three months and a few days; so did not live to celebrate her 80th birthday today.

The photo above shows my grandmother with my mother in 1930.
I borrowed my aunt's family album a couple of years ago and used my digital camera to copy some of the pictures in it. This one was originally black-and-white, but I chose a sepia tone in the editing for this post.

When I was born, my parents (married the year before) had just moved to a new town, only a couple of months before my birth, and my dad had just started a new job. Mum was at home with me, her first-born child, in a town where she knew no one at all except her husband, who was at work all day. To me, at the age of zero to five, this was probably the most natural thing in the world, because it was my world. It is only much later in life that I have sometimes wondered what it must have been like for her. The only company she had during the day was little me and the radio.

One thing my mother sometimes did back then, to amuse herself as well as me, was to draw pictures. When I was about 1½, she put some together into two little hand-made picture books, which I still have. She covered the pages with sticky tape, which was probably a good idea at the time. I doubt she considered the possibility of the books surviving 50 years, and what sticky tape might do to the colours in the long run!

Anyway. I scanned these pictures now, using some colour adjustments on the scanner; and then put  them together into four collages, which you will find below.

The picture books were based on me. I'm sure I loved to be in focus! The fun thing about them now is that they show glimpses of the flat we lived in, the furniture we had, the clothes I wore, and the toys I had at that age. And one thing you will notice is that my Mum kept a tight rein on me, quite literally!

The first book is still kept together by the original binding.
It shows the procedure of taking little me out for a walk.

The other one is a set of six pictures. I'm not sure if there were originally some more. There is no text but the pictures show details from our flat. The radio. My bedroom. Our living room. My parents' bedroom. The hall. And some of my favourite toys.


GB said...

What an absolute treasure. I think that is one of the most magical of momentos.

Sandra said...

these are all pricless memories and it is amazing they have survived so long and so well. the drawings are wonderful and the photo is so touching. thanks for sharing these. you were blessed to have a mother like yours.

Don said...

Drawings: windows into the past, windows into the perceptions of another, windows into the world of your formation. Drawings.

Nice post. Nice pics. Nice birthday tribute.

rae said...

This is a beautiful post. Thinking of you on the anniversary weekend.

Also, what a great set of visuals!

mo jour said...

dear DawnTreader, how adorable this is! I also like the foto of your mothers very much - I'm wearing almost the same hairstyle nowadays .... thank you for sharing this on a day that might not have been easy for you - thinking of your treasures and of your losses

jeannette stgermain said...

Your mother and you were were her LIFE! So much is expressed by her journal of your life. And she draws very well too!
If I had known her I would have begged her to venture out in art and paint!!! It must be a great comfort that you have this tangible memory of her. Thanks so much for posting this!! It's a real treat.

DawnTreader said...

Thank you all for your comments.

@ Jeannette - Later on, my mother chiefly found outlet for her artistic talents in textile art like batik and patchwork and embroidery. She was always very modest though in her opinion of herself. I don't think she ever even would have used the word "art" for the things she made. And she never put a price on them - never sold anything for money. She did however give things away, to family and relatives, or to be used as lottery prizes. I have some cushions and table cloths etc that she made too. My maternal grandfather had artistic talents as well; he used to paint a bit, and also did textile art in batik. He made "pictures"/ wall hangings using batik, mum used the technique more for table cloths and clothes.

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...this is fantastic! As you know, I love anything about history and your picture book is at the same time simple and beautiful and a treasure! It really is one of the more interesting pieces I have seen on the blogs. I would like to have known your mother.



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