Klas Oskar’s House

Tilda Löfgren

Tilda Löfgren

Jan asked us if we were up for a rather difficult trek through the forest to see what remained of the cottage where Klas Oskar and his family moved after he lost his arm and could no longer serve as the resident village soldier. This was a small crofter’s cottage with a small amount of land surrounding it. Originally it had been on a road but since it was abandoned in 1925, the forest has overgrown the road making it somewhat difficult to reach. I was eager to see the cottage that had figured in the letters daughter Tilda had written to her parents in this location. I wanted to see the complete picture of where her parents sat as they read her letters and where she herself lived until she emigrated in 1905.

Anne, Daryl, Dick, Ann-Charlotte (Tottie), and Jan are led by their uncle Sven towards the remains of Klas Oskar’s final home, now hidden deep in the woods.

Ann-Charlotte Leidefors (Tottie), Jan and Dick’s cousin and Daryl’s third cousin, usually rides in a motorized wheel chair. But the terrain necessitated that she switch to a push wheelchair. The cousins had come prepared with plastic ropes that they attached to the chair. Dick, Jan, Sven and Aron lifted the chair over weeds and tree-stumps, through wild pig wallows, up hills and through ravines. Tottie’s wish to see the old cottage was fulfilled. Daryl held my hand against tripping and Lilly carried Jack a good part of the distance.

Interlocking timber construction clad with vertical boards

When we reached it, we saw that the cottage was in the process of returning itself to the forest. But the construction could still be seen—interlocking horizontal timbers clad on the outside with vertical boards. We found some hand-made iron nails and a gutter support. Part of a ladder leaning against a wall may have at one time led to an attic or a sleeping loft. Remains of blue paint decorated the inside walls.

Tottie talks with Anne and Daryl as the family gathers for dinner in a restaurant in Järnforsen.

Tottie talks with Anne and Daryl as the family gathers for dinner in a restaurant in Järnforsen.

Later we all drove to a restaurant in Jarnforsen. Daryl was going to have a strong beer but Dick educated him on the strict drinking and driving laws in Sweden. If you get caught, you go to jail for a long time. So Daryl drank a 2% beer. Daryl and I sat across from Tottie and became better acquainted with her. She drank Daryl’s strong beer, as she was not driving. The offspring of Hjalmar’s nine children made for a lot of third cousins for Daryl to get to know, but each time we gathered as a Lövgren family, we were able to converse, in depth, with one or two more cousins. We were grateful to have this time getting to know Tottie. Judy and Nancy treated us all, very generously, to dinner this night. Afterwards, we drove back to Rödjenäs with Lilly and Jack while Aron drove Jan’s second car with Judy and Nancy. We were going to Jan’s lake house the next day so that we could return Jan’s car.