A few years ago, this old trunk found its way to my niece Amy’s home.

A legacy from a long-ago time, it belonged to my maternal grandmother, Emma, who journeyed from Sweden at the age of twenty.

While it may seem like an ordinary, and somewhat battered, trunk, I imagine that it could tell a few tales.

Perhaps there were many sentimental objects within…memories of home for my grandmother.

Her own mother died when she was two years old, and she was brought up by her two older sisters, who were in their teens at the time. 

In the summers of my teen years, I stayed at my grandmother’s house while working nearby at a cannery.  In the evenings, she told many stories, like how she felt about her sisters.  One she described as kind, while the other was stern and not so kind.

By the time my grandmother reached adulthood, many of her siblings had already gone ahead to America.   She traveled alone, and at one point, stayed near some of her siblings.  Ultimately, she arrived in Los Angeles, where she lived and worked for many years.

By the time she arrived in Turlock, in the Central Valley, she was married.  My mother was born there on December 21, so today would have been her birthday.

Happy birthday, Mom!  I think of her (and my grandmother) hovering nearby, watching over me.

This photo of me as an infant, held by my mother, reminds me of my family connections.  As I wrote my novels, available on my website and, I created a character much like my grandmother in each.  Someone brave, independent, and full of the warmth we all desire.

Here’s a picture of Amy and her daughter, America; Amy inherited the trunk, a reminder of family journeys.  Her daughter’s name also reminds me of our family’s journey from other countries to this one.

America was born on 9/11/08.

Amy and her daughter America

I thought about these stories as I did my morning chores,  and then again as I sipped my coffee while staring at this blog.  This blog that seems to be my best spot for family stories, treasures, and mementoes.

What memories do you have during the holiday season?  Traditions?  Stories?


    • Thanks, Patty…I really loved hearing my grandmother’s stories. I think of her as a feminist, even though she wouldn’t have described herself that way.

      I have pictures of her that I love from the turn of the century, holding a guitar and wearing a large hat with feathers. She was 88 when she died in 1961, just as I was launching my college years.


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