formats

Grandma Ruthie with Grandpa Wally Pops on their 50th wedding anniversary

My great-grandparents on my mother’s side were immigrants from Sweden who settled on the north side of Chicago on Catalpa Street.  My great-grandmother died young.  Her husband was unable to care for the five children, of which my grandmother was the eldest.  At thirteen-years-old, she tried to feed and clothe her four younger brothers but the strain and malnutrition caused her to become seriously ill.  The story in our family is that my great-grandmother’s friends in the ‘Swedish American Women’s Club’ let my grandmother choose another family to live with.  Until she was 19, she lived in the country with ‘Grandma Burling.’  The women had made a pact to watch after one another’s children in the event that any of them died. With the Tillie Ride,  I feel a bit like I am repaying in small part the Swedish community of Chicago’s kindness to our family.  As my friend, Mary, says “Tack!” to the Chicago Swedes.