Monday, November 25, 2013


In 1941, when my Swedish mother Gunilla was twenty and had gone to Uppsala to study at the university there, she tried to find a suitable room for herself. Her girl friend already had a room but my mother still had not found a room two weeks after her arrival. Her American born mother Olga, writes in English which was her habit, wondering why she still has not a proper room for herself. This was after all during World War II and many men had been conscripted so there should be rooms available for a student. I suspect she thinks that my mother was not quite organized and mother Olga delivers some good advice for her seemingly disorganized daughter:

"Begin to plan your day calmly in the morning  -- give yourself good   time for everything    -- one hour you must take for your 'toilet' and at night put your clothes orderly on  a chair for the next morning. Give yourself good time for everything. People who are always in a hurry are not orderly people. Keep your nails manicured, your hair well brushed and never wear a slightly soiled collar. If you have order in your drawers, you will have order in your mind and always remember that a woman's daintiness -- freshness are what attract a man. You will not forget things or lose your belongings if you make up your mind to begin at once and plan each hour of your day -- if you do not begin NOW, you will acquire a habit of slovenliness and it will grow on to you and cling to you and before you know it, you are a slave to the habit of disorder and it will be noticeable in all you do.
                      Now, if from the beginning of your arrival in Uppsala you had made up your mind that you were going to find a nice room, you would have one by now. Go forth in life with a purpose and do not be afraid of to say no when necessary -- it is a sign of strength to be able to clearly demand what you want. Now enough of the preaching, but I hope you will read and reread what I have written and abide by it...I want you to be perfect and want to be proud of my little Gunilla. You are too fine and good not to make the best of your life.

Lots of love and kisses from Mams"
February 20, 1941

My mother Gunilla in Uppsala, not exactly studying at this moment -- but having fun on her way to a spring ball.

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