When my mother left me a lot of family correspondence, I was particularly touched by my grandfather Folke's letters to my grandmother Olga. There was a reason why he had written so many letters to her.
My American grandmother, Olga, met my Swedish grandfather, Folke Jonsson, in Brussels in 1909. Olga was eighteen and Folke, twenty-three. They settled in Gothenburg and Särö, Sweden. Olga, being American, had her family in Florida, and Folke soon came to realize that if you marry a woman from another continent, and this woman is charmingly independent, innovative and brave, and has her own means to boot, she is bound to want to visit her native country some time -- or several times -- or more than several times.
To Folke, a sensitive soul, the long separations were quite painful and he suffered till his darling Olga returned. He “talked” to her in his frequent letters.
Olga saved all his letters, in their original envelopes, in neat little bundles held together with different coloured ribbons. They were a treasured lifelong testament of his love.
Olga and Folke corresponded in English as Olga was American and preferred writing in English. Had my grandfather Folke married a Swedish woman who had stayed at home, there would not be this stack of his letters today. He never intended the letters to be shown to others, but more than one hundred years have passed since Folke wrote them to his darling Olga. I have enjoyed getting to know my grandfather in this manner and I think others, not only relatives, should also share that privilege.
The letters have now been published:
Places to buy this book
For this who wish to see how Olga and Folke lived, there is a Picture Book