Our Memories

Amy’s Wooden Bowl

My mother had a small polished wooden bowl in her house for many years, which had belonged to her mother, Amy Johnson Lindgren.  The bowl has a matching removeable lid with an inscription in Swedish burned into the underside, “Till Amy från Ida, 14/10/1919” (date written European style: day/month/year).  Translation: “To Amy from Ida, October 14, 1919”

Ida was Frank Lindgren’s sister-in-law.  Frank Lindgren was one of six children, all born in Sweden.  Four of the six – Frank and his older brother John (the sons of Peter Magnusson) – and their sisters Selma and Jenny – emigrated to America in the 1890s.  The other two sisters – Ida and Amanda –  remained in Sweden with their elderly parents Peter Magnusson and wife Ingrid.  The four who emigrated took the last name of Lindgren in America.  In May 1913, the year before World War I began, they received word that their mother Ingrid had died.  Frank and John planned to make the long trip back to Sweden after the war ended to visit their still-living father and other relatives. 

The Armistice was signed in November 1918, the war was over, and the brothers planned to go back in 1919.  But at the last minute, Frank felt he had to cancel, because his daughter Ruth (my mother), then 6, had become ill (according to Irene).  This was at the time of the great world-wide “Spanish” flu pandemic of 1918-1919, brought home to America and other countries by returning troops.  It killed millions worldwide.  The whole Frank Lindgren household except for daughter Gene had had the flu in early 1918.  They all recovered, but when 6-year-old Ruth got sick again the following year, Frank probably feared this was another bout of the flu, and that he would go to Sweden only to find that his little daughter Ruth had died while he was away.  So John went on to Sweden alone. 

It turned out that Ruth had scarlet fever (according to Roy), which was also a dangerous disease in those days.  Probably Ida meant to give this little bowl to Frank to carry home to Amy, but Frank’s brother John took it back to Amy instead.  Ida probably had to plan a year ahead as the bowl was especially made, turned on a lathe and polished, and prepared with the inscription and date burned into the removable lid.  The date says 1919, but John may not have gone until 1920.  This was Frank’s only chance to go back to Sweden, as he began to establish a new life in America, and then his father died in 1924, so he never did go back.

Editor’s Note:

Photographs below were provided by Linnae and her neighbor Lana Tyssen. Linnae’s hand provides perspective on the size of the bowl.

With recent communications, Linnae is sending the bowl to Laura Gardner in Ames, IA. Laura will pass it along to her daughter, Grace, for safekeeping for another generation. Thanks to all for preserving this important artifact.

The Website

Swedish Notation

Ed. Note: The following was compiled by Linnae Coss to help with the writing of website content where proper names and terms may, in Swedish, use notation using diacritical marking.

Swedish diacritical marks list

Use these to copy-and-paste into a document: å ä ö Å

To search for letters with diacritical marks with the computer, (1) click on “insert” at the top left of the screen, (2)click “symbol” at the top right of the screen, (3) move through the “symbols” until you find the right one, (4) click on it, (5) click the “insert” button at the bottom of the symbol screen. It will insert the symbol wherever you last clicked in the body of your text.

By the way, in the Swedish alphabet, the letters with diacritical marks – å, ä, and ö (or in capital letters: Å, Ä, Ö) – come at the end of the alphabet, in that order, after Z. So the alphabet has 29, not 26, letters.

Some Swedish words that use diacritical marks:

(It is easier to copy-and-paste the whole word if you can find it here)








Södra Ljunga

Säby Parish, Jönköping


Kärsti Johansson



Åke Nilsson (1735-1810)

‘The Hard Year’ (‘Nod År’)

Some Swedish words which do not use diacritical marks:




Lagan River


The following is a downloadable version of a Word document of the content above.

Our Families Our Memories

Photos from Aunt Irene

Ed. Note: Linnae Coss is the daughter of Ruth Lindgren Coss

January 2021:

Below are six photos which originally belonged to Irene Lindgren Lessing, who passed away on December 7, 2013 at age 96.  Aunt Irene sent these photos to Uncle Em’s daughter Sonja Noordeloos several years ago (Sonja’s daughter Farah Irene is named after Aunt Irene).  Sonja sent the photos to me in December 2020, while she was clearing things out in preparation for her and Jon’s move from San Diego CA to Tucson AZ.  I have approximately dated the photos based on the birth dates of the Lindgren children pictured here: Roy – 5/15/20; Irene – 8/7/17; Ruth – 1/15/13.

Four of the six photos are snapshots, probably from a small photo album which Irene put together as a teenager.  (Irene’s sister Ruth had a similar album.)  The photos were glued to the black paper pages (rather than using photo corners), so there is slight damage to the photos which were removed from the pages. 

I have labeled the first two photos “ca. 1920 (Irene 3, Roy 6 months)” and “ca. 1924 (Ruth 11, Irene 7, Roy 4).”  They are still attached to a single black album page, measuring 5×8 inches.  The 1920 photo shows Irene and Roy wearing warm clothes, so it was probably taken in the fall of 1920 (Roy was born in May of that year, and looks to be a few months old).  Most of the page has been cropped digitally when scanning it, showing only the photos and the captions underneath. 

The third and fourth photos have been peeled or pried from the black album pages.  I labeled them “1920s, Lanyon school ” and “ca. 1928, Roy and Irene, ages 8 and 11.”  Bits of black paper are still stuck to the backs.  There are notes written with a pen directly on the front of each photo, in a shaky handwriting, probably by Aunt Irene toward the end of her life, when she was taking the album apart to send photos to various people.  On the school picture, she wrote: “Our School, 5-12 grades, Lanyon,” and on the 1928 photo, she wrote “Irene, Roy.”

The fifth and sixth photos are the front and back of an 8X10 glossy photograph taken professionally in 1954 (when Irene was 37 years old).  The subjects are Aunt Irene and “King Kong” (looking a little the worse-for-wear).  It is a just-for-fun photo from her career days.  The scanned copy of the back of the photo shows Irene’s inscription, in her then-typical bold handwriting: 

“Irene L. Lessing, 1954. Taken in a television studio – for fun!  Irene had a cooking show on ch. WFBM-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1953-58, in an adjoining studio.”

Gallery Note: to view the full image, right-click. To return to the gallery view use your browser’s back button or ALT-Left arrow.

Top Row: “ca. 1920 (Irene 3, Roy 6 months)” | “ca. 1924 (Ruth 11, Irene 7, Roy 4).” | Lanyon School.

Bottom Row: “ca. 1928, Roy and Irene, ages 8 and 11.” | Aunt Irene and “King Kong” | Irene’s inscription.