My Grandma Maja and I had 21 years of storytelling and mentoring focused on discovering the art and science of gritty resilience she called, framatanda. My new book, My Maja-A Grandson’s Tribute is a 16 year study dissecting and analyzing the essence of her unique power to manage her adversity challenges over her lifetime.
I hope you read my love story and journey with me enjoying details behind my infatuation with her ability to overcome, untangle and ploughing through the tough logjams in her river of life. All the usual terms associated with resilience apply to Maja and her use of tools and tactics. She was determined to achieve her Swedish American Dream. She was persistent after being knocked down many times by the Great Depression and a nasty fatal heart attack of her loving husband. She rallies as entrepreneur to become a successful breadwinner. Raising 3 kids alone in a hostile economic and discriminatory climate toward immigrants took guts. She was exhausted and strained and broke down for a short while, but jumped up back into the fray. Gumption drove her forward beyond her homesickness for Sweden and her loved ones.
Maja dug deep to tap into the sap of her ancestral roots, her upbringing, early life experiences. Her grit and zest for life drove her to choose to become a trained nurse to care for wounded soldiers. She was wealthy, but bent over to care for others all of her life. Self sacrifice was her bedrock principle.
Above, I bring you a photo I took in 2019. It strikes me, and expresses well, the main message of my book. Maja, above all had a Viking spirit that breathed in and energized her heart and guts. She was proud of her very deep and very strong Viking connected culture, tradition, legend, lore, art, history. Maja was well connected to generations of her family each who proved their framåtanda and taught her exacting expectations to persist only Viking who conquers. Yes, Maja taught me that Vikings first conquer their fears. Vikings conquer meekness that shudders when big challenges appear. Vikings do not cower when a second wind is needed. On demand, a Viking’s heart pounds harder and when needed a Viking’s lungs breath deeper and faster and keep pace. Vikings are known to be navigators in troubled, stormy seas. That are relentless in being determined to arrive at their chosen destination as proof of all it takes, whatever it takes. Vikings depend on themselves and know better than to hope for someone to rescue them from a battle.
Grandma Maja wanted for me to have resilience of the heart. She wanted to see me be compassionate in serving others over self. Maja wanted, BIG life goals for me that I would find my way to conquer.
Maja was a great mentor and teacher. However, she held back some life lessons, some ghosts she wanted me to discover on my own. Only after her death did I find three of Maja’s personal secrets, as skeletons hidden in a steamer trunk. It was in that steamer trunk that she assembled and transported select treasured belongings she intended to establish a new home and life in Amerika.
When I found these horrible secrets and skeletons I was forced to deal with them. Maja gave me the power and Viking wisdom to defeat them. I took them on and because I did, I now choose to tell her story especially to her Great Great Granddaughter and you. I decided to share the family secrets because…. Maja’s epic story, all of it, deserves to be remembered. Little Maja needs to know why her parents gave her this particular name to honor Maja Kallgren Wittenstrom. 1897-1969.
A Viking face is carved to be precariously?-out on a limb. But not to worry, as that Viking on a branch is connected to stronger branches. Those stronger branches are connected to very strong and very deep roots.
May your life be touched as mine has been by a person like, My Maja. This has been my way of paying a grandson’s tribute.