A 'Swenglish' journey through family photos, notes and postcards
from the early 20th century.


"Word Gets Around" - Sepia Saturday 649

Continuing the series of letters from Sally to Gustaf from 1926, when he was away doing his military service at Kviberg in Göteborg (Gothenburg). (My grandparents - but back then, still just "friends"...) The series started with Sepia Saturday 645.

Storegården, [Thursday] 14 May 1926

My dear friend ”Nothin”,

My heartfelt thanks for your letter, with the enclosed photo. I was really glad to receive it, and if you have any more photo taken while you're still down there, I hope you'll remember me. It's always nice to get photos of friends and acquaintances.

I'm writing this in the evening. It's half past eight already, and anyway, the 9 o'clock train doesn't stop here now, so that will tell you that I'll not be down [at the station] to post anything tonight, but am staying home. It's quite hard to stay indoors now, though, because it's so lovely outside, that one really enjoys being outdoors. But on the other hand, one spends so much time outdoors during the day now that one is also feeling quite tired in the evening. I'm also still not feeling quite well. I've ”improved” my cold a bit with a sore throat and a runny nose. I got carried away thinking it was proper summer already, so that I walked around dressed in rather thin clothes for a couple of days. I guess I shouldn't have, it was probably a bit too early for that, and easy to catch a cold.

So, you have heard what we were up to in Gullered... Word gets around, as usual! But to start with, you can tell Melchersson that he's been exaggerating a bit. It's true that Nils was accompanying a girl by name of Agnes – she was serving at the famous ”party” in Hjälmsered. Nils was just being polite though, offering to walk her home at night, so that she wouldn't have to walk alone. But that they met Melchersson and that he overturned, is not true according to Nils. Nils didn't meet Melchersson until he was on his way back, alone. Nils remembers him well, but I don't recall who he was – there were too many people there to remember them all. Ah well, enough about that for now! 

Today we have been planting potatoes for a while, and yesterday as well, but we're not done with that yet. Now I have to apologise for my sloppy handwriting tonight, but I'm writing really fast. 

You ask about your grandfather, but I'm not sure what to say, as I've not seen him for a couple of days. It wasn't all that long ago, though, so I assume he's the same as usual. 

Hildur from Länghem just arrived, so I think I'll have to finish my letter for tonight, so as not to be rude, but sociable. 

Best wishes from all of us to you. 
Your friend, ”Bengtamora”


I think the enclosed photo from Gustaf to Sally may have been this one, of Gustaf (right) and a friend:

Gullered - small village east of Ulricehamn; and I think Hjälmsered was close by. (When I search the names they appear together in the same address.) I know my grandmother and her family at the farm in Fristad had friends in Gullered, because the name appears here and there in the photo albums. The distance from Fristad would be at least somewhere around 40 km, so I'm wondering how they got there. (I have no indication that they had access to a car of their own back in those days.) It was possible back then to travel by railway to Ulricehamn via Borås, though (it isn't any more) - and I suppose their friends could have met them there with horse and carriage, if not by car.

No explanation given about the occasion for the "party"; but if help with serving was needed, it seems to have been a rather big event. (Possbily some kind of church function, as that was usually the kind of thing they would attend. The wording in Swedish might indicate a more private context, though.) Gustaf probably knew all about it, so no need for Sally to explain the details - except to correct what 'Mechersson' (whoever he was) seemed to have exaggerated! ;-)

'A walk in Gullered' - photo from Sally's album (year unknown)

Very blurry when enlarged, but I think the three to the left in the front row are Hildur (Sally's sister), Olle (Hildur's future husband) and Sally. 

Nils - Sally's younger brother; and friend of Gustaf's since their childhood.

Sally's and Gustaf's nicknames for each other ('Nothin' vs 'Bengtamora', both of obscure origin) have been commented on in earlier posts in the series. 

'Hildur from Länghem' who turned up to interrupt Sally's letterwriting here was introduced in the previous post (SS 648). 

To connect to the prompt photo for Sepia Saturday 649, I'll finish off with a Mother & Daughters photo of Selma, Hildur and Sally, from Mother's Day 1930 - in Sweden celebrated on the last Sunday in May. That was the last summer they were all still living at the farm Storegården.

Mors dag 1930 - Hildur, Selma, Sally

Linking to Sepia Saturday 649


"Ryktena går"

Storegården den 14 maj 1925 [torsdag]

Snälle vän ”Nothin”!

Mitt hjärtliga tack för brevet, med inneliggande vackra fotografi. Jag blev verkligen mycket glad åt att få det, och skulle du fotografera dig någon mer gång medan du är kvar där nere, hoppas jag att du kommer ihåg mig. Det är alltid roligt att få fotografi av bekanta och goda vänner.

Jaha du, nu är det kväll när jag skriver till dig. Klockan är över halv 8, förresten så går 9-tåget förbi nu, så nu förstår du att jag inte är nere och ”postar” ikväll, utan håller mig hemma. Det är ju riktigt svårt att sitta inne nu förstås, för det är så bedårande ute, så man njuter i fulla drag så fort man kommer utom dörren. Man nu får man vara ute så mycket om dagarna så att när kvällen kommer känner man sig ganska trött. Även är jag ej heller nu riktigt kry. Har ”bättrat på” förkylningen något, så jag har fått lite ont i halsen och snuva. Jag gick och trodde att det var riktig sommar nu, så att jag, ett par dagar, gick ganska tunnklädd, men de skulle jag visst inte gjort, det var nog väl tidigt, och förkyla sig är ju lätt gjort.

Jaså du”, du har fått reda på vad vi hade för oss när vi voro i Gullered, jo jo. Ryktena går. Men du kan ju , om du vill, hälsa Melchersson med att han ”skarvat” lite. Att Nils hade sällskap med en flicka vid namn Agnes, var ju sanning. Hon var uppasserska på den omtalade ”hippan”, som Melchersson kallade bjudningen i Hjälmesered för. Nils skulle då vara artig, och följa henne hem på natten, så hon slapp att gå ensam, men att de mötte Melchersson och att han körde välte, var visst ingen sanning enligt Nils' påstående. Nils mötte honom först när han ensam gick tillbaka. Nils minns honom mycket väl, men jag kommer ej ihåg vilken som var Melchersson, det var ju så många där så det är ej gott att minnas dem alla. Ja, nu nog om detta denna gång.

Idag har vi satt potatis en stund, likaså igår eftermiddag, men vi har ej färdigt med det ännu. Ja, nu får jag verkligen be dig om ursäkt för att jag skrivit så illa ikväll, men du må tro att det har gått med en fart. Du ber att få reda på hur det är med [din morfar], men jag vet ej riktigkt vad jag skall säga, för jag har ej sett honom på några dagar. Dock är det ju ej så värst länge sedan, så jag tror nog att han är sig lik.

Nu har Hildur på L [Länghem] kommit hit, så nu får jag nog sluta brevet för i kväll för att ej vara oartig, utan sällskaplig. Hälsningar i mängd från oss alla till dig.

Din vän ”Bengtamora”


  1. And your last photo also shows three women standing together...well done to match Sepia Saturday theme. I always enjoy hearing words of your family from the past, and seeing some of them in photos too!

    1. Thanks Barbara. I was happy to find a good match this week, and still involving the people I'm writing about :)

  2. Your mother and daughters photo was taken six years before mine.
    I'm enjoying following the correspondence of your family.

    1. Thanks Kristin. I've not read your post yet, but I will.

  3. I have some catching up to do with the correspondence you have been posting, but even just reading this one is fun - and to think of your grandparent's nicknames. Nice pictures to accompany the letter, too.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I do strive to try and make each post work as 'stand-alone' even when part of a series. Always a balance how much background to keep repeating, though!

  4. I continue to enjoy your grandparent's letters as even in your translation I can "hear" the one-sided conversation between them like listening to someone on a telephone call. I'm glad you included the map and a description of train/road travel as I had begun to ask that same question as I read the letter. When I looked at the country lane in your second photo, I recognized a detail I had not thought about. Today a narrow dirt road has two tracks for car/truck tires. But in this photo there are three. The outer two are marks of wagon wheels and the center "lane" is where the horse trod!