Family photo taken in 1972
Family photo taken in 1972

My grandmother, Lilly (Lillian) Sjolund, emigrated from Gnarp, Sweden as a little girl. Her parents Erik and Brita had eight children and built a home in Jessie Lake, Minnesota. I am told they moved there because it reminded them of the home land. As a young woman, she had very dark brown hair and eyes. My Great Aunt Helen had dark auburn hair and blue eyes. Aunt Helen lived in this same house for many years. When visiting her we would go fishing and take long car rides along the pretty dirt roads. She got her mail from a nearby town, Talmoon. I clearly remember a square hole in the living room ceiling about one foot wide with a grate in it so the heat would rise from the first floor to the second. I remember my grandmother being very quiet but loud and boisterous when they played the card game Sheepshead at family gatherings. We always had spritz cookies and lutefisk for Christmas. My sister recalls her singing a Swedish nursery rhyme, Rida Rida Ranka, while bouncing us up and down on her knee.  Her Certificate of Citizenship document states she became a citizen on May 25, 1936 at the age of 33. Lillian was born September 23, 1902. Her Marriage Certificate dated from May 26, 1927 from Superior, Wisconsin lists her occupation as a ‘Waitress’ and my grandfather, Alfred Howe as a ‘Rodman’. This image is of my mother, Barbara, my sister, Maureen, myself, (Paula) and my grandmother, Lillian standing behind us. 

Place(s): Sweden,Minnesota

– Paula

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant