Friday, March 19, 2021

Life ~ The Early Years

 I was born in the evening of the summer solstice in Stockholm, Sweden. The city is too far south for the midnight sun, but June nights are light and lovely there. I have always been happy about the timing of my birth. I'm a Friday's child.

I was long and skinny when I arrived. Later, some chubbiness set in. 

We were a small family. My dad had one brother, my mom a brother and a sister. I was the first child, much wanted, much loved, much spoiled, but also much trusted. Their trust in me was the most important gift I received from my parents.  

My first memory is of ants. I was fascinated by a structure built by ants.

More than half of Sweden's land area is covered by forests, mostly pine and fir trees. As pine and fir needles drop to the forest floor, ants pick them up and use them to build amazing ant buildings, or stacks as they are called in Sweden.

During my first year or two, my parents rented a small cottage on an island in the Stockholm archipelago where we spent our summers. I don't think we owned a boat in those early days.

The rest of the year, we lived in an apartment building in a city suburb. The building was located at the foot of a steep hill and was surrounded by woods. The hill was a lot of fun in the snow. I was totally unafraid of riding down it in one of the above pictured kaelke, a small sled of sorts. 

The winters of 1941 and 42 were very cold with lots of snow I've been told. And I have these pictures to prove it. Looks like I've  loved snow forever.

I was born in 1940, so for the first five years of my life war was raging outside our borders. My dad was in the reserves and was often away, preparing for an eventual war. Above, I'm shaking hands with my soldier dad. As you can see, my dad was tall too.

This is my favorite picture of mom and me.

How awful it must have been, with  the rest of Scandinavia occupied. Finland with its own winter war with the Soviet Union. Was Sweden able to help enough, I hope so. A couple of families in our street took in Jewish refugee children. 

But there were happy times as well. By the time, my brother arrived in the spring of 1943, we needed a larger home. My parents bought a house in a lovely street, where the homes were built at the tail end of the city of Stockholm's first suburb, Enskede.  Some day, I hope to tell the story of this suburb, as its history and how it came to be is quite interesting. 

My brother and I enjoying our very own green grass at our brand new house. I know my parents must have been so happy.



  1. Hello,
    Your family photos are a treasure. I do not have many memories of my early childhood, maybe flashes of this and that. I like the photo of your soldier dad and you shaking hands.
    Wonderful memories! Take care, enjoy your weekend!

  2. Thanks for sharing. Childhood memories, including photos, are priceless!
    My parents lost all documents as they were exiled. They returned at the end of the war, broken people.Their baby child died there. They didn't even want more children (my birth was not planned; it just happened).

    Blessings and Hugs to you!

  3. you were adorable and already showing you would be tall.. I always wanted to be tall, only made it to 5/'6'' and have now lost 2 of those to OLD AGE.. it is good you have all these photos, i have only maybe very few of myself. we have none of bob. the photos all of you look very happy in those troubled times. i was born 4 years behind you

  4. It is hard to imagine the troubles all around you looking at the smiling faces. So glad you were too young to know what was going on. Loved that shot of you and the sled. There is an adventuresome little girl in that look.

  5. You have many sweet memories of your childhood with all those photos... This brought childhood memories to me.

    I was born after the war and even though the war had ended,I often heard war stories. I still remember food ration stamps. I remember one of our neighbour would steal his baby sugar ration to put in his tea. In those days, they gave sugar to babies. When I was old enough to go play outside, I remember being afraid of airplanes that occasionally flew overhead because of war stories I had heard about not everyone knowing that the war had ended. I would run and hide in case they would shoot at me...

    Hugs, Julia

  6. What an amazing gallery of pictures. And a family story.

  7. Hi Inger - loved seeing the photos and 'thinking' of your early years - I can believe the lankiness ... I doubt there was much chubbiness - ever!! Ah ha - I can now see why you loved that snow chill - delightful photos. The ant structures must have been enticing for a tot ... I had fun with an ants' nest as a youngster ... somewhat bitten around the bum! I do hope you'll tell us more about your home-street - it'll be so interesting to learn more about your early days in Sweden. Loved this - thank you ... cheers Hilary

  8. What a lovely post, Inger. You seem to have had a beautiful childhood in spite of the war.


  9. Such cute pictures! And I love your memory about ants. I once heard professor say that our first memory says so much about us—and our purpose in life. I always thought that was fascinating.

  10. What great memories, Inger! I love old family pictures and have been scanning a lot of them lately!

  11. So nice learning about your early years!! Great that you have those special photos of that time.

  12. I am so happy to read your recollections and view the photos of you as a small child. Memories of the past are vital to keep alive, I think! Looking forward to more memories being posted, of the suburb you lived in and more.

  13. so very lovely Inger. these family/history posts are wonderful. thank you! XO

  14. Härligt Inger att läsa om din svenska uppväxt. Kälkåkningen och snön är även för mig fina barndomsminnen !

  15. You did love snow! I adore the look on your face in those early photos. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Fascinating story on your life and loved the photos.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
    The photographs you've included on this post are very special indeed.

    All the best Jan


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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