Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Kronqvist Phenomenon

I have just spent a glorious Easter in the bosom of my family- that is to say the Kronqvist clan, the ever expanding branch of my father’s side of the family.  Tragically, and unusually for Sweden in the twentieth century, my paternal grandmother  Ingeborg outlived all her 6 children except one. Her children died young, some of accidents like my father who was run over by a car before I was born and probably just a few hours after my conception. Of all the dead siblings I am the only progeny. But my uncle Ebbe was the one survivor, and he and his wife Birgit made up for all the lost children. Although he has long since left us, Aunt Birgit is now, at ninety, the matriarch of four children, thirteen grand children and 11 great grandchildren. Her four children are all engineers whose children are also engineers with a small divergence including a doctor, a nurse, a teacher and a lawyer.  My uncle Ebbe (a lecturer in Maths and Physics) tried to teach me maths one long hot summer and gave up in the end.  I am very different from my clever scientific cousins...

And they were more or less all there, in the little former fishing village of Torekov in Skane on the West coast of Sweden: our childhood paradise where the fishermen’s cottages have now been taken over by well heeled summer guests: Stockholm bankers and the occasional film star such as Hugh Grant who is reported to have built a villa overlooking the sea with his Swedish wife.  The Kronqvist residence is tucked away in a wooded grove, ten minute walk from the beach where time has stood still: this is where I played with my four cousins on long summer’s days when the sun always seemed to shine. Now the place is alive and literally crawling with children: there are babies emerging from under each bush, there are toddlers popping up at the back of every sofa, one has to check where one puts one’s feet because one doesn’t want to squash a baby: one has to move the cushions on the beds and the sofas just in case there lurks a sleeping child or one playing hide and seek. This youthful mass of humanity is surprisingly good humoured- I don’t think I heard one of them cry. (This peaceful family trait extends to the adults too and there never seems to be any of those unpleasant family feuds which often mar family reunions) Then there are the dogs: puppies and grown up dogs all rolling around excitedly and yapping. It is all very entertaining and one can just sit contentedly and look at it all.
Then at dinner when all the off spring have been tucked away  the adult Kronqvist Clan will start singing traditional Kronqvist songs which always includes the unavoidable;  rousing (and very long) ‘SamboremBom’ a stirring tale of unrequited  love  from the Argentinean Pampas  in Tango rhythm...


Blogger mary said...

It all sounds wonderfully idyllic and a far cry from the chocolate egg bonanza created here by the supermarkets. I hope that your health responds to whatever the NHS has in store for you and that you enjoy the delights of the western world although there will still be challenges but of a different order from those in Djenne.
As ever, looking forward to more tales of your expeditions and adventures,

3:13 PM  

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