Memorable, moving tale of an immigrant woman’s resiliency and determination. This true, touching story chronicles a young Swedish woman’s journey from Sweden to America in the 1920s. Maja was born into a successful Swedish family which enabled her to travel to America as a woman with education and a vocation (nursing). While her journey was initially just a “visit” to relatives in Chicago, she fell in love with a man there, married, and started a family. She ached for her familiar Swedish surroundings and family, yet she was firmly an American with American children.
Sadly, personal tragedy struck the Wittenstrom family at an economically fragile time. After a visit back to Sweden to regain her bearings, she marshalled her formidable reserves and found a way to support herself and her children back in Chicago. Her story was not without sadness and “secrets” which render her story just that much more poignant.
This story differs from many immigrant tales in one crucial way. The author explains how his grandmother’s strength of character and determination directly touched him, and improved his life. In this way, we (the reader) can learn from Maja and benefit from the lessons she lived. I know I will rely on Maja’s story to persevere through difficult times. I will share Maja’s story with my children so they, too, can be the beneficiaries of Maja’s life lessons.
The author not only shares Maja’s life story, but includes beautiful photographs of her family here and in Sweden, and many of their treasures Maja packed in her trunk to America. Each item was a reminder of a much-loved family member and a tangible remembrance. I am grateful to Dr. Grossnickle for taking time to share his beloved grandmother’s tale with a wider audience. Maja’s story and spirit will stay with me forever.