Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Friday, August 26, 2011

11. July 18 1869 Part 2

Johan August continues to give both sides of the decision to come to America.  He seems to be afraid that someone will come and not be happy--which is usually true the first year.  It is interesting that he mentions birds singing.  There are many trees around Spakarp so of course, there are many birds--we saw many when we were there.  The farmland in Illinois is flat and grows wonderful crops but does not have many trees-so there are fewer birds!  I think he is also remembering Sweden through "rose colored glasses" from the distance--talks about the "light and healthy air". 

When you come here it is at once easier to get clothes and food, but if the health and all else goes, it is too much to lose.  When you are in Sweden with the light and healthy air you can work .  It does not strain you so much.  Such lightness is good for the people and you can hear so many birds sing.  It is a great pleasure to be at home in such a country.  It is not that way here.  There are no birds who sing beautifully.  Here there is no echo when you sing, so it does not give pleasure to sing.  When it is like this in this country you can understand that it is much more difficult the first time you are here before you get used to it.  When you have gotten used to it here, it can be good for you.  But wherever you live you will have difficulties.

I have thought much about you and your future with various difficulties in Sweden and other difficulties if you come over here.  As it is here now, I cannot say how you should do.  You have to do as you feel.  If you live like other persons and work to earn a place, you can have that when you get old.  In Sweden you cannot do that.  In that case it is better here, but there are not any more benefits from being in America.

I am satisfied to be here now.  When I came here I was sad.  If I had money I would not be here today but my money was gone.  What could I do?  It was as if I had been in a prison.  I think that all who come here get the same feeling.  It is a minority who write the truth to their home country.  Perhaps they say they are happy and trick people into coming over.  If people in Sweden knew how hard it was, I promise that half would not come.  But their money was gone so they had to earn enough to go back and by the time they had done that, they felt better and better and they stayed longer.

When you get used to the weather you think that you can do as well here as in Sweden.  Here you can earn money for clothes and food better.

The body does not feel good for at least a year.  You feel uncomfortable so you may understand for me to tell you what to do.  One the sea trip,  you will ask how I could tell you to come.  That is only the beginning.  The rest is much more difficult.  You have to decide for yourselves.

At last my warmest regards to all of you.

J.A. Swenson

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this blog so we can see what it was really like for our ancestors to adjust to a new country and culture.