I was offered to share someone’s grandparents on facebook on Sunday. It was very kind. As ‘everyone’ mentioned their grandparents and the war on Sunday morning, I felt a little left out. More so than normal, because I have no such memories to share.
Of course, that’s something to be grateful for. No one in my family went to war and suffered. The most exciting thing I know about WWII and my family is that Mother-of-witch gave up sugar in her coffee, because of the rationing, and how she had a slight accident walking home in the dark one night, due to the black-out.
And Uncle spent some time in uniform, somewhere in the north in preparation for an invasion. Luckily that never happened, but since both Norway and Denmark were invaded, the threat was real enough. There were also enough German soldiers inside Sweden to cause concern.
But apart from the dark and the rationing, life was fairly normal. And for my grandparents, even food wasn’t too much of a problem, as they had relatives who farmed and who sent extra food.
Mother-of-witch was a teenager when WWII broke out, but thinking about it now, I realise that her siblings would have gone to war in some form, had war come to Sweden. They were much older.
Whereas my grandparents were far too old by then, and it would have been WWI they’d have fought in, had the country been at war. So thinking that thought through, perhaps my grandfather would have gone to war and died. In which case I wouldn’t be here now. Except he had been invalided at work, and since he worked on the railways, he would presumably have continued there, instead of being a soldier.
I know that where I used to work before emigrating, I would have stayed ‘on my post’ in case of war. Any involvement with voluntary military organisations was prohibited, as we’d be required to do what we were already doing. One colleague who did do airforce volunteering, was told to keep quiet about it. I suppose the threat of war wasn’t seen as very great.
And – I’m almost ashamed to admit this – in Sweden Remembrance Sunday this year was actually Father’s Day… More a case of unwanted ties and cake, than poppies and memories.