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Friends of Lucia 2023

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17 Jan 2023

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Home Newsletter Scrapbook (pre-2002) 2000: A Lucia Remembers Sweden
2000: A Lucia Remembers Sweden Print

Barkeryd, Sweden -- August 2000. As I think back on my weekend in Barkeryd, I have many fond memories of the people, places and events that I experienced. My mother, my grandfather, two sisters and myself were the guests of Evert and Gunvor Jonsson. We met Evert on Saturday, August 5, at the church in the center of the village. He then took us to their lovely home and made us comfortable. The Jonssons showed us true Smålandsk hospitality. Gunvor prepared several delicious meals, including some local specialties, and she even made vegetarian dishes just for me. Evert allowed us to explore their property so we walked in the woods, hobnobbed with the cows, and explored the historic sawmill that still stands beside the creek.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Landbruks museum. We had a very interesting private tour. It is amazing how hard the people had to work at farming, handcrafts, etc., and it wasnt all that long ago! I really felt a connection with the people of Barkeryd, and their ancestors who emigrated to Texas after visiting the museum.

Although the weather in Sweden this past summer was not very pleasant, the morning of August 6 was warm and sunny. I believe that was a good omen for the rest of the day. Inga Lisa and Gusten Calissendorff came to Barkeryd from Linköping. Inga Lisa explained what to expect for the rest of the day. As we got ready for the celebration, I went over and over my speech in my head. My grandfather had translated my English version into Swedish, and he was very patient with my pronunciation. He made me practice many times and I felt prepared. We went to the Hembygdsgård to participate in the procession, and I was amazed at how many people had come to this tiny town for the festival. This is the closest thing to a traffic jam this town has ever seen! I was taken down the road to my parade position, which was in the bed of an historic horse-drawn wagon. My mom, grandpa, and sisters marched toward the front of the procession waving Texas and American flags. As we approached the festival grounds, an announcement was made welcoming the 1999 Texas Lucia! I felt so proud to be representing the Swedish Club. After some music, speeches, and other entertainment, Inga Lisa introduced me, and I gave my speech. I was nervous, but I think it went well. My mother said the crowd looked like they understood me.

As a result of my trip to Sweden, I have developed a greater appreciation of my Swedish heritage, and for the many sacrifices that were made by those who came to the states for a better life. I wish that more young people would connect with their roots and appreciate their forefathers customs and traditions. I will never forget this wonderful experience.

Thank you to the Swedish Club for allowing me the privilege of representing you, to SAS Airlines for their generosity in providing my air transportation, to Evert and Gunvor Jonsson for their hospitality, to Inga Lisa Calisendorff and Liz Cadwallader for all their help, and last, but not least, thank you to my family for all their support.

Lucia (Karolina Melrose)