My Swede Grandmother made a big decision by coming to America in 1922. She initially came just for a visit and looking for adventure.
She stayed, quickly finding romance. And as they say, the rest is history. Her Swedish roots would grow an American dream that would be severely tested.
Before 1900. Maja’s father’s brother Albert came to America. He started a construction business in Chicago and struck it rich. Uncle Albert’s Swedish roots grew an American Dream.
Albert sent a note encouraging his Swedish family to join him in America. It was my grandma Maja who took the bait. During her visit, Maja found her future Swedish husband singing in the church choir. Maja’s Swedish roots became planted.
In 1924 my mother was born in America to 100% Swede parents. Carl Oscar had come to Chicago from Northern Michigan with a dream to make good on a burgeoning auto industry. He opened an auto repair shop.
They lived in a very Swedish Chicago South Shore neighborhood where many immigrants were happy sharing culture and traditions.
Telling Maja’s entire life story in our book: My Maja A Grandson’s Tribute connects my Swedish American roots. Available on Amazon Books.
One of the first order of business for the new family was to book passage and head to Sweden. Maja was proudly eager to show off her family to her mother and siblings in Sollefteå.
Returning to America in 1929 the young family was about to have their Swedish roots tested. The stock market crashed and the US and global economy went into a tailspin.
Three more children were born and family life prospered. Maja’s younger brother Oskar came to America to set down roots and start a Swedish American business as a masseur.
On Sunday June 20, 1932 Carl Oscar Wittenstrom, 35 years old, collapsed in front of his family and died of a heart attack.
Maja and family conducted a funeral. Maja and children returned to Sweden to grieve with her Swedish family. Maja had to decide where she would once again plant her Swedish roots.
Maja would now test her Swedish roots in Sweden? or America? She was a widow, single mother of three with no job, meager savings, a house in Chicago. What would she do?