I became an orphan when I was ten years old but I was fortunate to come to a loving foster mother. This is a homage to her. Her name was Anna and she took me in as her own child and gave me that unconditional love only a mother can give. To the point where I lost my birth mother my childhood was messy to say the least. I lost my birth father to the alcohol even before my mother died. I was a broken child when I came to her but she mended me and healed the scars. Even if there are still some I struggle with.
They lived on a medium size family farm outside a small town in Halland, Sweden. Anna and her husband. They got married when they were quite old, around 45 years, so they did not have any children of their own. This fact I think was a great void in my foster mothers heart. I came to them to just stay a few weeks over the summer. As a part of a program the major cities have in Sweden for children from low income families to be able to go to the countryside. I felt so welcome I wanted to stay with them forever and so it was decided by the social welfare authorities.
Anna had two sisters and came from a house on a cape in Laholmsbukten. She grew up in the 1930:ties and 1940:ties under simple conditions as the oldest sister. Her mother Hulda was the only remaining sibling of five. All they other four older siblings emigrated to USA. She started to work as a maid in her early teens and after a few years in Malmö she attended household school. She did not meet Mr Right so she started to work as a health visitor. Helping out in homes where the mother was sick or when giving birth. She did this until she met her husband on a dance many years later.
Missing out on having her own children she gave her love to her sisters children as they were growing up. She took them with her on her holiday trips by buss all over Europe. She really loved to show those pictures. Anna took lots of pictures and she had a very special style to do it. You know this was long before the cell phones or even digital cameras. There was actually a film that needed to be winded forward before you could take the picture. Another history lesson. She asked everybody to parade and then she carefully aimed. The aiming part could take up to a minute and then she clicked while taking a step forward. Even so all pictures were sharp.
She was a really good cook and made everything taste amazing with just peppers and salt. Her brown sauce was always very tasty. She made traditional Swedish dishes, pancakes, meatballs and brown beans. She could also bake cakes. On every birthday party or Christmas there was at least seven varieties of small cookies, two soft cakes and cinnamon buns. Then came the cake. Strawberry and whipped cream with a marzipan rose on top. Getting hungry?
She took really good care of me and made sure I was safe. Standing in the kitchen window watching as I cycled to the school buss one kilometre away. Calling in the morning when I slept over with a friend to make sure I was okay. If I felt sick I could stay in bed and she bring me breakfast and comics to read. I must admit I held that thermometer under the lamp a few times just to be taken care of like that.
She also made sure her family took me in and they really did. I never got to meet her mother but it feels like she accepted me as Anna’s son also. At the age of 16 the authorities asked if they should help me move to my own flat but I felt so at home so I stayed on until I was 25 and moved away to another town for work.
When I got children of my own they never called her anything else but Grandmother and I think this was my way of giving back to her. Having her own grandchildren. She is forever in our hearts and will not be forgotten as long as my sons are alive. They loved her the same way I did, unconditionally, like family. I owe her so much and when she passed away some years ago in cancer I cried my eyes out. If you lost your mother you know the pain. I lost two!
In loving memory Anna Johansson, born Elofsson.