Incredibly good at jigsaw puzzle patterning,
I select a piece, then quickly and correctly place it,
Intrigued by and satisfied with the progression from
Individual pieces to unified whole, from chaos to completion.
Getting acquainted with new iPad map apps;
Amazed by the capacity to quickly move from
Place to place, orienting by moving outward
For the broader overview, then moving inward for
Finer details--my own street, a photo of my house.
An animated cartoon, now digitized via actual photos,
Microscopes down to anatomical mitochondria,
Then telescopes outward to spatial nebulae,
Again cascading backward from cosmos to atoms.
During past two trips to Sweden, 2007 and 2011,
Only fleeting and flittering visits to family nexus.
2013 visit to Sweden, unexpectedly extended,
Yielded opportunity for prolonged conversations
About the genesis of our family in Åmål and Tösse.
Within the luxury of this context, missing puzzle pieces
Appeared; connecting trails appeared on the map;
New planets joined the solar and lunar systems.
Family members interested in genealogy
Formulated several versions of family trees
And genograms, based on a large 138-page
Blue book, lovingly commissioned and crafted
For Bengt Sindsjö for his 45th birthday:
"Från mor och syston med familjer/
From mother and siblings with the family."
"En släkthistoria (a family history):
Anders Hjalmar Karlsson,
Emma Matilda Fälting"
Av A. Gerdin (by Arthur Gerdin),
Dedicated in December, 1965,
In Åmål, Dalsland, Sweden.
The Blue Book/Blå Bok, intricately organized
And accurately typed; evidence of focused care
And attention to vital and precious details.
A family treasure, indeed.
Karlsson/Carlsson/Carlson family saga:
The Swedish "Line" I visit: Anderson Hjalmar
The direct "Line" I am from: Britta Carolina Ingeborg.
Elisa(beth) Charlotta Andersson Carlsson,
My great, great grandmother, died Jan. 10, 1857,
One day after giving birth to their fifth child,
Anna Maria Carlsson, who lived until about five.
Anders Hjalmar, my great grandmother's
Third brother, remained in Sweden after his
Father and three other siblings moved to USA
In 1879, 1879, 1888, and 1892, respectively.
During a visit with a family elder, we looked
At the Blue Book, as well as reviewed
Family albums in which we saw many actual
Photographs of 2 generations of grandparents,
Giving a second dimension to people known from
Printed pages, genograms, and genealogy lists.
Similar to puzzles, maps, microscopes, and telescopes,
My mind tilts and accommodates each new iota
And magnum opus. My aperture attempts to adjust,
Track, capture, and digest as generations recede
Into the past, then surge forward to the present.
Lines and links fluctuate while firmly connecting.
In this intensive learning process,
I am capable, intrigued;
Disoriented and reoriented;
Dissembled and reconfigured.
These experiences teach me
About identy and belonging.
I am a single individual firmly
Embedded in a family context;
I am a vital puzzle piece
In the family picture;
I am an orbiting satellite
As well as a spinning galaxy.
Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 8, 2013