Thursday, August 8, 2013


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; 
Satisfied, amazed;
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

1 comment:

  1. Ann, I hope you have the English translation of this valuable book. Betty Heinig and I had it translated and we typed up the English version back in 1977 or so. We sent copies to all branches of the family, so I hope your copy was passed on to you from your mother. We visited your mother and your grandmother Helen as part of a visit to Hibbing that year. Your grandmother Helen added so many interesting details about the family in Hibbing. Your mother contributed her enthusiasm to all we did!