I’ve had an exciting couple of comments on the blog today from a lovely person who’s apparently a relative of Augusta Parsons Hylander, whose memoir I’ve been transcribing and posting here.
The comments (here and here) are really helpful, particularly in that they reveal a rather amazing piece of information about Augusta’s childhood home in Sturup. It’s not gone forever. The village was indeed, as I’d understood from my
clearly inadequate research, within the footprint of Malmö Airport, and was apparently dismantled. But Augusta’s actual homestead is, it seems, still there, and still in use. They built the airport around it.
*books ticket* (no, not really. I wish.) But isn’t that fantastic?
Susan, the commenter, also mentions that there is a book in existence that documents the lost village, although I don’t know whether it’s in English.
I am full of questions: why was that homestead saved when the rest of the village was lost? What is its use now – do people live there? With an airport surrounding them? That seems unlikely, so presumably there’s another explanation. In any case, I’m fascinated. I’ll post more here as I learn it.
This section is a bit of a digression within Augusta’s story – she turns aside from the account of her imminent emigration in order to describe Sturup village life and Swedish festive traditions. Read more
September 20, still 1959
This is written in Hamilton, back from Brooksville, Maine. I am sitting in my room here at Ray and Gay’s house [Gay was Augusta's daughter], writing at the big desk that came to us from Sweden after my husband’s sister Maria died. It is a beautiful desk, now considered a valuable antique. My husband’s father built it himself. The slanted front comes down to form a good writing surface, and inside are eight small drawers, four on each side. Read more
Certain aspects of the life Augusta describes here seem rather like some sort of mad endurance challenge: the frequent lengthy walks to and from church (her church, in Börringe, is pictured here); the memorizing of entire testaments for confirmation, as well as two-hour sermons each week for her father’s approval; the responsibility of caring for her much-loved mother after a “bad shock” (what was that, then? Desperate to know, but I probably never will); and, of course, the arduous daily routine of rising at 4:00 AM to see her father off to the brick factory before knuckling down to do all the housework and domestic management. Read more
See here for the background to Augusta’s story, as well as links to all related posts.
Sturup, the hamlet of about fifteen houses where Augusta grew up, no longer exists as such*; it was within the footprint of what is now Malmö Airport. I can find nothing online about its history, which seems to make her memoir of her time as a little farm girl there all the more valuable and worth preserving.
*[Edit: true, but Augusta's homestead is apparently still extant! See comment from Susan Hylander Duncan at the foot of this post]