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Mending the Past 20: Illegitimate Boy

In the novel Augusta‘s Daughter by Judit Martin (2012), several generations of Swedish women suffer poverty and discrimination in the last century beginning with Augusta, a poor peasant a bit younger than Maja Lisa. Was Maja Lisa’s experience giving birth in 1838 anything like the fictional Augusta’s in 1854? The story, based on the author’s research, makes […]

Mending the Past 19: Costume Drama

“Some of you who are children of emigrants who left their homeland at the turn of the century may have no memories of your parents in bygdedräkt [parish costume]. There may be two reasons for this. First, they had probably not participated in their home district’s choice of a typical bygdedräkt, since the process was […]

Mending the Past 18: Imagination and the Bog

Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it. –Seamus Heaney, from his poem Digging After writing about the spirit of landscape, it seems right to return to the part of Maja Lisa’s story that concerns her family’s move to a smaller farm near a bog in 1870. Maja’s son […]

Mending History 17: Where are Your Stories?

It happened at a meeting between an Indian community in northwest British Columbia and some government officials. The officials claimed the land for the government. The natives were astonished by the claim. They couldn’t understand what these relative newcomers were talking about. Finally one of the elders put what was bothering them in the form […]

Mending the Past 16: Thanks for Good Times

Vårt dagliga bröd giv oss idag. Give us today our daily bread. –The Lords’ Prayer This week we celebrate Thanksgiving and it is a reminder that, these days, we live in a time of plenty. We don’t worry about not having enough to eat. Instead, the anxiety the holiday raises is rooted in ‘too much’ […]

Mending the Past 15: A Guide to Mending

La plaie mal suturée parviendra-t-elle cicatriser avec le temps? The wound that is badly sutured, will it form a scar over time? Estelle Chrétien Mending the past is what I decided to call this story at the outset. The lives I am writing about have been flawed, broken, torn in many ways. Maja Lisa was separated […]

Mending the Past 14: The Children

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one […]