I love this photo. It is the earliest I have of my Grandma Emma, born in Assaria, Saline Co, KS in 1876, which would make her 34 here. The little guy in the straw hat looking sooooo serious is my dad at 3 1/2. The other little guy - don't be fooled by the bonnet - is my Uncle Roy at about 11 months. One more son, Melvin, would arrive four years later.
From the date on the back, I'm guessing the photo was taken about mid-May, 1910. But definitely in Coldwater, Comanche Co, KS, where Daddy's other grandfather and an aunt were living at the time.
Emma Charlott NYGREN was the 5th of eight children of Abdon "John" Nygren and Charlotta "Lotta" SUNDHOLM, both from Varmland, Sweden.
John and Lotta married there on Christmas Eve, 1864. On 30 June 1865, they sailed for America with Lotta's sisters, her parents Jan Anders and Christina (nee Larsdotter/BERGSTROM) Sundholm, and John's brother whose name was reportedly Axel Nygren.
By all accounts the Sundholms weren't the "poor and down trodden", but rather well-off. Years later, Emma's brothers would squander most of their inheritance (and hers) on worthless land in Texas.
But I digress.
John, Lotta and the Sundholms et al entered the U.S. at New York City through Castle Garden (Ellis Island wouldn't open until 1892). They settled in Chicago, then around 1875 moved to Saline County, KS. John had been a blacksmith in Sweden, and remained one in Kansas, where he was also a farmer.
Emma and my grandfather married in Assaria, Saline Co, KS in 1904. My birth certificate says my dad was born in Protection KS (a town near Coldwater), but years later it was determined he was really born in Assaria.
The postcard is in Swedish, from Emma to her parents, who by then had moved to Lindsborg KS which had a large Swedish population.
Emma was bilingual by necessity. As children, my dad and Uncle Roy probably were too.
The only part of the message I understand is "godt portratt af barnen", meaning "got portrait (photograph) of children". No doubt it was mailed (as opposed to being tucked into an envelope with a letter), but after sitting in a trunk for several decades, the glue dried out on the stamp and it fell off.
Emma was psychic. She also loved to rock babies and sing to them. By the time I was born, she was in her seventies and living with my parents.
One hot September afternoon when I was 3 months old, my mother had put me in my bassinet in an upstairs room with no fan and no trees to shade it. Emma hounded her to "bring that baby down here so I can rock her". When my mother finally complied, I was comatose from heatstroke and dehydration. According to my baby book, I was in the hospital for 3 days, no reason given, but all my mother would ever say is I "wouldn't wake up".
When I was 6 months old, Emma went to a nursing home, where she died three months later. Almost everything I know about her is from stories aunts, uncles, and cousins have told over the years. The rest is from other photos...and an oil lamp that supposedly belonged to her.
Whether it did or not, when the power goes out and I'm carrying it from room to room, it always feels like she's right there with me.