Welcome to our site. I am happy to invite you to share in the life of a grandson paying tribute to a very special lady: my Grandma Maja. Grandma Maja was born in Solleftea Northern Sweden in 1897. She came to the United States at first thinking she would visit Chicago in 1922. Grandma Maja was an adventurer. As fate would have it she met a handsome Swede while attending church services. After a quick romance they were married and started a family. My mother, Delores, their first born, was born in November 1924. I came along in 1948 after a whole lot of activity occurred in Grandma Maja’s life. I have written a book about the activities centering on the events occurring from the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and Grandma Maja’s death in 1969. Grandma Maja’s life in many ways is forgotten.
Visiting here the reader will be welcomed to enter into the story of Grandma Maja. Life as an immigrant from Sweden was a challenge to begin her life as an independent woman in America during the “roaring twenties”. Maja had an amazing upbringing in Sweden, one of 9 children to Ida and August Kallgren. The Kallgren family was wealthy as Maja’s mother and father were hard workers and smart business owners of a delicatessen on the main street in the town’s business district. Maja had a great education, studied to become a nurse and heard much about the prosperity and opportunity being celebrated in America by her relatives who had left Sweden and struck out on their own.
The Great Depression changed everything for Maja and her husband, Carl Oscar Wittenstrom and their three children: Delores, Peter and Linnea. Carl Oscar was a first generation Swede who was born in Cadillac Michigan to lumber folk and came to Chicago to pursue a business opportunity in auto repair.
The story unfolds to highlight the character Maja must demonstrate when her husband has a fatal heart attack in front of her, falls to the floor grabbing at his heart at the feet of the shocked children.
Maja’s book tells the complete story from her birth and highlights what I call the “logjams of life” which she must untangle as a widow, alone, without her family or the support of her dead husband’s side of the family making a go of it in America’s terrible economic situation that would nearly be the death of Maja as she fought hard to survive the shipwreck situation.