Many thanks to all who have commented, either by posting here, or by friending me on Facebook!
I’ve been using and posting to Facebook for a few days now, and find I rather enjoy it. I have even chatted with a friend through the interface they provide, and become addicted to one of the games available. (The Sable Star Sanctuary is small, but thriving, in the Facebook game “My Zoo”.)
For those who don’t feel compelled to join Facebook, that’s quite all right. Like Twitter, and blogging, and so many of the other “social” opportunities online, it’s not for everyone.
Rest assured that I will not abandon the blog altogether. The Transmogrifier’s Tale will stay here for those times I want to post a photo essay, or a longer, more detailed description of some event.
It just might be that these longer posts happen less often than before. It takes time to write them, and the truth is, I am having so much fun doing all the things I’m doing. I find myself reluctant to set these activities that I’m enjoying to spend the time a fully detailed post takes.
I’m sure there will be more tutorials, more rattie stories, more of my thoughts about knitting, transmogrification, and all the other –ifications and –osises and such.
Please, always feel free to drop me an e-mail or comment. Tell me you miss me, ask me a question, nudge me, nag me, pester me to post rattie pictures or knitting pictures or tell you about the latest adventure of my EverQuest I & II characters. I don’t want to lose touch, and I will welcome the reminders.
Digging Up the Past
Another activity I’ve added to my days is digging into my family history over at Ancestry.com. Now there’s a time sink for you! For some years now, my father has been using offline research to create a tree for his side of the family. My plan is to help him with the online research I can do, and also to work on my mother’s side of the family.
A specific project on my mother’s side of the family is to prove where a certain connection to someone famous is – if, as family lore tells us, it’s there. The story is that my maternal grandmother is a cousin by marriage of Greta Garbo. Supposedly, my grandmother’s aunt was married to Greta’s uncle.
Family lore doesn’t tell us which aunt, or which uncle. I decided that I wanted to know. Or to prove that it’s a myth. Either way, I intend to find out.
I began by doing some research into Greta’s biography. She’s five years older than my grandmother, but I found a very interesting parallel in their lives. They both, as young women, worked as models at Stockholm department stores.
Greta was at the PUB, aka Bergström’s. She so quickly moved into modeling for the store, then appearing in short film ads, and finally to leaving the store for real film acting, that I doubt she would have crossed paths with my grandmother, 5 years younger.
I don’t know which department store my grandmother worked at. The other one that would have been known at the time is NK, or Nordiska Kompaniet (literally The Nordic Company). Either way, while she wouldn’t have been there at the same time as Greta, when she chose the job she may have been inspired by Greta’s quick rise to fame from the ranks of the store’s models.
I have something special to share with you – pictures of my grandmother, clipped from the department store’s catalog. My mother, my aunt, and I found them in her apartment after she moved into a nursing home. They were tucked into a very old, folded envelope, with some writing in Swedish on the outside. I was very honored to have them pass into my custody for safekeeping.
I scanned them into my computer once for a project, all on one sheet. Be sure to click on the image below to see a larger version.
The names below the individual images are the styles of dress, coat, or hat she is wearing. It’s pretty clear that this was in the Twenties. Sadly, no other identifying information from the catalog was included – just the raw clippings of my grandmother herself.
I showed the text on the envelope once to a woman I met who spoke Norwegian – a related language, but not quite the same. Still, she was able to give me the gist of what it says. “Here are some pictures of some woman I thought were funny.” It sounds like a friend or relative of Grandma’s had cut them out for her, and passed them on to the model.
That may have been around 1930, when the ship’s passenger list that I found through Ancestry.com shows that my grandmother arrived at the port of New York on Dec. 31, 1930. I can imagine someone, having clipped the photos for their own keepsake, handing them to her as she left her homeland, to come to America.
I recently saw some clippings of Greta Garbo modeling hats for her department store’s catalog. The styles were clearly from, oh, about 5 years or so earlier than my grandmother’s outfits. You can see the photos here, at the Garbo Forever website: http://www.garboforever.com/Greta_at_PUB-2.htm
I get an eerie feeling as I look at them. The photographic style is a little different from my grandmother’s pictures. But again, there’s that sense of a parallel life, something so similar to what I see from my grandmother in the images above. Although, I will confess that I think my grandmother’s style of pose and expression is much warmer than Greta’s famous chilled distance.
My grandmother has always been a slightly mysterious figure to me. By the time she entered the nursing home, she had deteriorated mentally, so I was never able to ask her about her life before I knew her.
This research is a chance to redress that oversight, to help fill in the gaps. Both for my own better understanding of my family history, and for the benefit of other family members. There’s quite a story here in my grandmother, and I want to know more.
For whatever it may be worth, my grandmother’s maiden name was Astrid Bjurman. She was born on November 18, 1910, in Stockholm, Sweden. She came to America at the end of 1930, and worked as a housemaid before marrying my grandfather, Gus Frodin, also a Swedish immigrant. On the off chance that anyone who finds this post can help with information about Astrid and her family, please contact me! My e-mail address can be found at the top of the left sidebar.