a unique perspective on this crazy world


Both my dad and my grandmother are dead now.  They were the reticent type unwilling to part with morsels of personal information easily.  So, even if I had spent more time attempting to extract the facts, it’s highly uncertain I would have learned anything more about my Swedish grandfather.

I didn’t even know what he looked like until I was in my teens.  My grandmother considered family the most important thing in the entire world so her tiny house was crammed with collages of photos of miscellaneous people only some of whom I’d actually met.  Martha Stewart would have been horrified 🙂

Normally the collages were updated for new grandchildren or more recent school pics of the ones already featured.  But one day when I was inspecting the walls for new updates (my grandmother kind of invented the concept of facebook photos before Mark Zuckerberg was even born 🙂 I was intrigued by one of the new photos.

As they would say on Sesame Street, this one was not like the others.  The photo had been taken in an entirely different era.  When having your photo taken was a ceremonial occasion, not a drunken iphone click.  The gentleman in the photo looked like a gentleman!

He is dressed to the nines.  He is holding a cigar and about to take a sip of some manly intoxicant.  He looks like a movie star.  Or some dude promoting a celebrity fragrance.

In small town Canada this was the most fascinating photo I had ever seen.  I asked my grandmother “who is that?”  To which she casually replied, “oh, that’s your grandfather.”  Hot damn!  That is NOT what grandfathers looked like where I lived…

I now regret I didn’t ask more.  But my grandmother didn’t drink and back in those days people actually thought it was polite to not blab personal details – even to family, let alone post them on facebook.

So I came to Sweden to at least see where he came from.  And maybe get some essence of what he might have been like.  And looking around at the gorgeous, perfectly groomed, fashionably dressed men in Stockholm, I did feel I was channeling him.

I think style normally flows through the maternal lineage.  But in my family, it’s the dudes who seem to have those genes in spades.  I like to think I have a little bit of style.  And a long time ago I became my mother’s stylist because apparently my father really liked everything I made her buy 🙂

My dad spent his entire life in small towns.  But he had real style.  He understood fabric.  He cared about cut.  He had expensive taste.  Maybe it’s in the genes… He looked a lot like his dad.

And his dad…  Check him out 😉  He doesn’t look much like a grandfather.  But the original metrosexual?  Your call…

It looks to me that Swedish men have been pretty boys for over a century now.  If the sketchy facts I have been told are correct, my grandfather was born in 1886…

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