I’m Thinking About This Sketchy Family History Because Of The One-Hundredth Anniversary Of The Armistice, Which I Was Reminded Of Because Of A Poem I Read Today, And This Title Is Almost As Long As The Sketchy History.

My grandfather died one hundred years ago at the ripe old age of around thirty-eight. I’m really not sure of his exact age at death, because, obviously, I never knew him and my father wasn’t real keen on details which has left a gaping hole in the history of the Swedes in my family. Anyway, he had served in the Swedish army before he immigrated to the states with his wife and two sons, one of whom was my father. Shortly thereafter, in Rockford, IL, I think, my grandmother died giving birth to a stillborn girl. My uncle, who must have been around five at the time, was sent back to Sweden never to return to  the states. My dad, who was probably around eight at that time, and my grandfather then attempted to eke out a living in Gary, IN or East Chicago, IL where my grandfather was a foreman in a steel mill. When soldiers of WWI came back to the states and settled in the Chicago vicinity, some must have gone to work at the mill. My grandfather fell victim to the Spanish Influenza pandemic which the soldiers brought home with them, the irony being that the pandemic actually got its start in the states, traveled overseas where it got the misnamed moniker. My father was around thirteen when he was orphaned. My dad died at fifty-six, my Swedish uncle, who I never met, died in his mid-eighties (again, I think) and in ten days, I’ll be seventy-four and most things, herein, are subject to correction except my birthday anniversary, of which I’m pretty sure.

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