Tag Archives: Recollections

Min gata i stan

Ibland när jag går till eller från tunnelbanan i mina kvarter kan jag inte låta bli att slås av hur mycket saker har förändrats. När jag flyttade dit i början på -98 var det väldigt lugnt och tyst, nästan sovande, med mest äldre människor som bodde i lägenheterna runt omkring mig. På morgnarna stormade ett lämmeltåg av Ericssonare upp från tunnelbanan, man kände lätt igen dem, de såg ungefär likadana ut allihop och trampade alla åt samma håll, mot huvudkontoret. Soliga dagar var de ute och vandrade på lunchrasterna, men i övrigt gjorde de inte så mycket väsen av sig. På eftermiddagen tågade de hem igen, ner för trappen på tunnelbanestationen. Sen var det bara jag och gamlingarna kvar.

Så kom några år när det inte gick så bra för Ericsson. Det som varit områdets hjärta sedan tidigt 40-tal slutade slå. Det blev om möjligt ännu tystare. De små affärslokalerna längst ner i funkishusen stod tomma. Förutom en och annan modig rullatortrafikant såg man inte många promenerare eller folk som åt lunch i parken.

Men områdets invånare påbörjade sin förändringsresa. De gamla försvann en och en. De var ju inte så bra, de där husen, tre trappor utan hiss. Det funkade inte för gamla ben, men däremot för unga småbarnsfamlijer. De hade inget emot att klättra upp och ner för trapporna med barnvagnar och bäbisknyten. Både nätter och dagar blev mindre tysta och jag började ha på mig hörselskydd när jag pluggade.

Men de stora kontorslokalerna stod tomma. Tills Konstfack flyttade in. Vem hade kunnat tro det? Det öppnades trendiga restauranger och plötsligt hade alla på sig smal- och tvärrandiga tröjor, och från tunnelbanan strömmade nu ett hav av blommiga gummistövlar varje morgon. Man kände lätt igen dem, konststudenterna, de såg ungefär likadana ut allihop och trampade alla åt samma håll.

Nu är området fantastiskt levande. Man hittar spår av dess nya invånare överallt, som små brödsmulor man kan följa längst trottoarerna. Små konstprojekt har flyttat in i källarlokalerna, det finns restauranger och caféer, det byggs nya hus på varje ledig plätt och vart man än vänder sig ser man en smal- och tvärrandig individ, med ironiskt luddig farfarskofta och fulsnygga retroskor som pratar om hur, liksom, alltså, de bara känner att de liksom hittat det där bandet som ingen annan känner till och att trummisen som använder selleri istället för trumpinnar är rena geniet. Alltså.

Det är ju en väldigt tillåtande miljö och det är kul att mina gamla kvarter har fått nytt liv, men måste de jävlarna röka allihop? Fast det är klart, man kanske är ironisk om man röker nu för tiden.

Jag gillar det, trots allt, till en viss del. Jag känner mig inte så konstig när jag drar upp kameran för att fota något ur en obekväm vinkel. Det är svårt att stå ut i mängden av normativa individualister. Men jag kan sakna lugnet och friden. Det var som en sömndrucken, solig söndagsmorgon.

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4 Memories I Will Never Forget

This is a part of the 10 Day Challenge List, and it’s time to write about 4 memories I will never forget. This is a tuff one. Life, after all, is cluttered with abstract recollections and made-up reconstructions of things that happened, and sometimes you remember the big, and sometimes you remember the small. Everything changes, in retrospect. Something that felt very monumental at the time, it fades, and as time goes by and you get a bit of perspective your priorities change. They always do. You are never the same now, as you were then.

This is a list of a few memories I will never forget:

Day 7: Write 4 memories you will never forget

1 – When my parents turned 50, they had a hell of a big party. In a castle. True story! But they didn’t want it to be dull, so they had a line-dance theme. None of us new how to do it, but we all got dressed up and had a try, and, surprise, that party was anything else than conventional.

There were a lot of great moments that night, but these particular two I remember the most: All the guests got on a leased bus and arrived in one big group to the party. My mum and dad were waiting for us, and as the guests got off the bus, one by one, they went up and greeted them, it all got very emotional. Friends they hadn’t seen in years were there, particularly the “kids” they’d mentored, as they were sea scout leaders in their teens. I just wish I had had a better camera back then, that I would have been a better photographer, because nothing can describe the smiles and laughter and tears during that moment.

Their old cubs held a speech at the dinner. They wanted to explain their gift: Two lanterns, one green, one red. One for starboard, one for port. They said, many of them were troubled as kids, and without my mum and dad they would very surely have gotten themselves into trouble, and possibly would not have been there that day.

The other moment that night was a speech made by my mother. She looked at my dad and talked about how much fun they’d had together since they met in their teens. Their time as scout leaders, that was fun! Their time in the archipelago, their trips, that was fun! Having so much in common, playing golf together, that was great! And then; starting a home, and having my brother, having me. That was fantastic. The biggest adventure yet.

2 – That party was fantastic and went on long into the night. I had to get home and get some sleep though, because the morning after I was getting up and getting ready to be a maid of honour for my friend Sara.

Photo by Göran at Telgefoto.se

I met Sara in, what I think would be called Sixth Form (“gymnasium” in Swedish) and she was the only friend I had for those three years. I just didn’t fit in, at that age, anywhere. Now, you now how you got burnt all those times and think that love can never last and you will never meet anybody and that is something out of a fairy tale? Well, Sara and her husband Tor had been my proof all these years, that that it’s just not true.

Anyway, I managed to get myself in order and get to church in time, and the wedding was of course beautiful, but what I wasn’t ready for was the massive serge of emotion when I saw my friends at the altar. I think the feeling was this: “It’s done now, we can all be safe. There is love in the world.”

3 – Last year my dear mum and dad turned 60. My mother always dreamed, for years and years, of going to Italy. It just didn’t happened, it took a while for this dream trip to come true, but now, at last, we all went. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday, can you? When the plane took off, my mother had a little happy cry and said: “Finally!”

The first week me, my mum and dad rented a tiny car and drove around in Tuscany. We new what hotels we had booked for us every night, but other than that we were free to go wherever we wanted. We explored and enjoyed, but all good things must come to an end, and the last day we took our last detour, through wild forests and rainy mountains, to a little town called Grosseto. It was a Sunday, and we had been driving for a long time, clothes wrinkled and (as I imagine it) covered with dust from the roads. We were dying for some coffee and found one open little coffee bar in an otherwise deserted town.

Of course, it felt deserted because everyone was in church. Apparently it was a custom to go to this coffee bar after the church service, dressed up in fabulous clothes (Italians wouldn’t do it any other way) and have campari drinks. So, fabulous, fancy and fashionable Italians pour in to the café, and they look at us, the dusty, wrinkly, fashion-challenged Swedes, and they wrinkle their noses and order more campari. We smiled and ordered more cappuccino. It sounds awful, but it was really a very funny moment on that trip. I can’t explain why.This is my favourite picture from that trip, and it’s from that café:

4 – I always wanted to go to Scotland. Last year, I finally got to go. Sometimes, all that you imagine about a place comes true. That trip was all I’ve ever wanted from a vacation. I think I can honestly say that that trip was the first one where I felt completely relaxed, at ease, and had a chance to really ENJOY while I was actually there. Usually there are to much stuff going on that you can’t take in and appreciate it all while you are experiencing it; instead you process it and mull it over and start to appreciate it all afterwards. Not this trip. It sounds silly, but I was in the moment.

Scotland really was just as beautiful as I imagined. The trip itself was immaculately planned by Jed, with the purpose of giving us time and flexibility. We drove from east coast to west, from Edinburgh to Kennacraig, making stops wherever we wanted. Then we took the ferry over to Islay.

I don’t know why the remoteness of it all made me so happy. It was just a very private couple of days; it was a very undisturbed, isolated and secluded, painfully rugged and beautiful place. The people were friendly, the food was hearty, the beer was good (the whisky even more so). I was truly content and happy. Just thinking about it actually makes me a bit sad, that I am not there right now.I still have some pressed heather in one of my note books. It’s supposed to bring you luck.

Photo by Jed. Islay 2010.

10 Day Challenge List

(I found this list in a Swedish version at Anna’s)

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Photos With Personal Value

I got a photography class from my parents for x-mas, bless them. It finally started last night, and I sneaked into the school wondering what the whole thing would be like. The great thing about night classes is the mix of people; a women just wanting to take a good picture of the birds outside her house, someone of the food they cook, an old man in a bright red beret announcing that he had a great project that he would not tell us about because we would steal it, but we were all welcome to read about it in his book ten years from now. One man had been on a safari in Africa in November, and so much enjoyed taking photos that he wanted to learn more. It made me think of Mia* and her trip that she has been blogging about, and I almost asked him if he knew her.

The class itself was nice too; of course the teacher went over the different ways of exposing a picture in terms of aperture, shutter and ISO. But he also talked about the photos in themselves, and different values one can ascribe it. I don’t know how these values would usually be called in English, but I guess I would translate it into personal, stylistic and interpretational values. It felt like being back in my literature studies.

I found the discussion about photos with personal value most interesting. Those kinds of pictures that really only have any value to me or people close to me; family and friends eating lunch outside in the sun during midsummer, the tiny birds out by the summer cabin (oh gawd, fuzzy pictures of tiny birds from too far away!), endless rolls of people having Christmas dinner year after year. They don’t even have to look great, they can still hold a value.

Now, those fuzzy photos of the tiny birds from too far away meant a lot to me when I was a kid. My grandpa and I used to feed them and they ate out of our hands. They used to follow him around when he did the gardening, sitting on his shoulders. I liked them, so I took photos, and I enjoyed those photos, when I was 10.

The thing, though, with photos of personal value is that the value can decrease. These days I’m not that interested in the photos of the fuzzy birds, I’m more interested in finding old photos of my grandfather. They mean more to me.

All the photos we take during vacation generally only have a value to the people that actually went on vacation. A picture of, say, the bottle of olive oil at that restaurant does not tickle the memories in someone who wasn’t there to taste it.

And then we start to forget. One great photo can awaken all the memories again, but some photos are just rendered useless when we can’t really put them in context any more.

Like this photo, from 1986-87, of a small Swedish band that are performing in an amusement park we visited on one of our vacations. Back then, when the context was still fresh, this photo was probably great fun to look at. Today nobody in my family has a connection to that band or their music. It just doesn’t matter that much anymore.

But pictures with personal value can loose it and gain it back, with time. Something forgotten is rediscovered and a whole new layer is added. Not necessarily to anyone else, but to oneself.

This is me watching the concert, and looking at it I can remember how I felt.

This band had a song that was played on the radio, and I got see them play. I’m pretty sure this is the first pop concert I ever saw. I only knew the one song, and they played a whole lot of other songs I hadn’t heard before and I didn’t care about before THAT song. I was frustrated and then I was happy. I knew the lyrics, I could sing along.

I don’t think this particular photo had a lot of impact in our family albums when I grew up. I can’t remember ever seeing it before, but I found it now, and I love it. It has a lot of personal value to me. And I just made you read about it. Sorry!

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In Search of Photos and Bunkers

My father has always taken a lot of photos. He stopped for a couple of years when he felt that all he did was to photograph the same motifs over and over. The last couple of years though he’s found his way back to it, and even took an evening class to get the hang of his new camera. I’m proud of my dad, and I feel very lucky that we have this common interest. It’s something that makes me really happy.

Just like me he likes to have his pictures and files in neat order, and he started a never ending project to scan some of the old negatives. I got all his photos on an external hard drive and it’s been pretty amazing and funny to go through them all, seeing pictures I never even knew was taken, pictures from when I was a kid that I’ve never even seen.

We went on road trips a lot for our vacations, and I have probably seen a lot more of Sweden than I can possibly remember. However we also drove down to Denmark, I think more than once. We went with my friend Richard and his family, I went to pre-school with him when I was six.

It’s hard to estimate when this trip took place, but if I should guess, I’d date it to 1986. There are pictures of me in an amusement park, from the same trip, watching a Swedish pop group perform a song with which they’d just won the Swedish Melody Festival, and this was the summer after that competition.

I was seven, and one of my sharpest memories from this trip is when we went to the beach to look at bunkers. They were huge and some of them had toppled over and I got to climb around in them! It was awesome and I felt like I was a character in an adventure book.

I of course have no recollection of where this was, but conveniently someone spray painted one of the bunkers with the name of the location; Kolding. But what on EARTH am I wearing? I look like a pinkish-red smurfette!

Funny thing is, 24 years later I find myself hunting for bunkers again. Maybe this is a hobby of mine; maybe it’s just been latent. I know I felt just about as excited as I did when I was seven. And I got to climb around in it. And obviously red is my bunker-hunter colour.

Photo by Jed, September 2010