Stories that mention the old country and home are near and dear to our hearts. Just the thought of hearing the voice of a loved one who no longer speaks to us can melt our emotions.
“Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave,
but not our hearts.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven
Sometimes it is a sentimental song that can transport us back in time and connect with home and the old country. Just such a song always brought tears to Grandma Maja. can you hear the music in your head? The English translation conveys the almost spiritual connection that brings one together again to persons, places and times.
(Swedish) Hälsa Dem Därhemma (Greet the Folks at Home)
Greet my family at home;
Greet my father there,
And my dear old mother,
My love with golden hair.
If I had wings of a swallow,
I’d fly across the sea;
Go home, little swallow,
Greet them all for me.
Hard times forced me from my land;
All I own is in my hand;
The thoughts of those I’ve left behind
Come ever to my mind.
Little swallow, fly for me,
Fly back home across the sea,
Take my message back to them
I had to leave at home.
Just this week a Facebook friend,-Barbara Eldred Hawkins,- related a story in which she connects with, home and old country and memories. What a gift to be able to call up a recollection. Take a moment and review this storyteller. Perhaps you have a story to share?
“My grandmother came to America with a girlfriend at the age of 21 in 1922 from the Åland Islands. She met my grandfather in NYC who’s parents also immigrated from Åland. She often talked of the “Old Country” or “Home” and I longed to visit there. In 1980 my husband and I traveled to the farm on the island of Bergö, Vårdö, where my grandmother was born and where her sister still lived. Having seen pictures and heard stories, I felt like I belonged there, There was a big house and a little house as well as a barn and a two seater outhouse. My great aunt lived in the little house and guests stayed in the big house. As we put our suitcases in the bedroom of the big house, on the wall I saw my parents’ 1947 wedding photo.
I was the first of the American family to ever visit there. My great aunt did not speak English and I was not taught Swedish because my mother did not want us to be “foreigners.” However, my great aunt and I seemed to have no difficulty communicating. She even sent us down the road with a milk can to collect some fresh milk/cream from a neighboring farm.
Swedish had always been the first language of my grandparents home unless there were English only speakers. In fact, when my grandmother came to live with me at 90 years old, she would switch between English and Swedish mid sentence. What a treasure it was for me and my young son to have her with us her last three years. She was not ill, she came to live with me because she had torn her rotator cuff shoveling snow at 90. The day she passed, at 93, she watched General Hospital that afternoon, went to bed that evening and took her last breath. My mother arrived that evening, unannounced after driving 2 hours because she had a feeling. She was able to speak to my grandmother, who knew she was there. ❤️🇸🇪❤️
When I think about the missing of home I imagine the Ellis Island kind of experiences. I am fascinated with photos of new immigrants coming to America and leaving behind the old for the new