For my aunt Siv

These two women- my great aunt Helga, and my aunt Siv, had the most compassionate impact on my life. Helga- she taught me to follow my heart- MY HEART. Mine. Siv- she taught me to stay neutral and in joy and embrace children as fully formed human beings to be celebrated, not moulded. I remember so much laughter. Siv died peacefully in her sleep last night at the hospital after a fall. I am so grateful I had a chance to talk deeply with her in June and we held each other and acknowledged it was likely the last time and we both just knew that it was ok. 🇸🇪♥️💐


Man klarar sig i många år på ett ögonblick…

Just a few moments from this past week.

I was gifted 3 very special, very moving, very private days in Stockholm.

It was about family, about grieving, about celebrating, about the city.





Man klarar sig i många år på ett ögonblick

– Kalle Moraeus, Sommar Pratarna, SVT24

[You can survive many years on a moment]






This New Moon is about the heart, your truth, your emotions, and working with what you carry in your bones and blood from your ancestors, your imprinting and your own personal lineage of lifetimes. 

The Power Path

This post is dedicated to my aunt, Siv.

With my Aunt Siv at her apartment in Stortorget, Gamla Stan , Stockholm June 27, 2019

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 7- Grad and the Party



Previously on PND:

Instalment 1: Introduction

Instalment 2: The First Entries

Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance

Instalment 4: Sex Education

Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition

Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: Steven

Instalment 7:

This instalment is enhanced when accompanied by:


© Katarina Thorsen 2018

We were drawn together on Saturday- and now I know why…

I love family.  And we have shared so much- all the life markers, the ups and downs of life and through it all there is that special glue that connects us.

Illustration by Björn Berg. Emil i Lönneberga by Astrid Lindgren.

We had an impromptu get together at my place on Saturday- somehow ALL of us (niece, nephew, brothers, sister in laws, daughter, son, daughter in love, parrot) were together in my creative mayhem- my crowded delirious delicious chaos.

It’s not unusual for us to get together, but this day felt a bit deeper and very special.  I was so aware of a feeling I couldn’t name- joy, love, gratitude, what?

I looked around as I sat sewing my nephew’s Cookie Monster costume and smiled, watching the hurricane of activity as everyone ranging in age from toddler to adult was talking at once, doing something, playing with something, eating chicken! ribs! cupcakes!, being real loud and hilarious.


Chaos meets chaos in the name of LOVE!  I felt the strong presence of mom and dad and that they were celebrating with us.  Celebrating family.  I felt Tobey’s spirit walking around snuffling for scraps.


And I really had this sense that we were drawn together for a reason– if nothing else than to just BE together.  But in my heart I felt there was something more.  I had a smile on my face all Sunday and just had to send a message of love and gratitude to the family today, acknowledging there was something magical about it.  It definitely was not a typical family dinner.  The palpable connection and vibe harkened back to our vigils around Mom and Dad during their final days.  We were all together celebrating our connections.

And so now, we cut to about an hour ago and I receive a message from my cousin in Stockholm that my mom’s brother, my uncle Olle, passed away peacefully on Saturday surrounded by family.

Is this why we were drawn together on Saturday!?

It’s amazing- a family drawn together.  Souls celebrating, acknowledging.

My uncle was so funny, so loving.  The rest of us were frequently doubled over in laughter.  And often woken by his late night cook offs in the kitchen.  I recall he was so worried that I would get lost in 1984 when I hopped on the train to visit my friend outside of Stockholm.  When I arrived at Huddinge station, he was sitting in his car, ensuring I had arrived OK.  In 2009, when my son and I were taking the bus to visit my cousins at their summer cottage, Olle walked us to the bus stop, bought the tickets and thrust chocolate bars in our hands for the trip.  He loved history and he influenced my love for American literature- introducing me to the likes of Miller and Heller.


Photo by my son Julian Bowers of my uncle during our visit in 2009.  Olle looks out his apartment window over Stortorget in Stockholm.

My aunt and uncle’s apartment is the yellow building on the left. PARADISE!

Say hi to Mamma and Pappa, Olle.

My mother, Karin, and my Uncle Olle.

An homage by my son, Julian:

My great uncle Olle passed away on Saturday.

I only met him once during the half a week I was in Stockholm, but he was a really wonderful and warm person and he was one of the many things that made my trip to Sweden in 2009 so phenomenal.

A story mom’s fond of telling is his bashing around in the kitchen at three in the morning to make himself a full dinner. I can relate to this habit.

When I went to Stockholm, he was living across from the Nobel Museum.
“See that place?” he asked me.
“Yeah, I went there yesterday,” I said.
“I’ve never been there in my life,” he laughed.
“I’ve been meaning to go.”
“Ehh, I’m not in a rush.”

I always thought that story was funny, but in hindsight, I appreciated the fact that he wasn’t too concerned about rushing in to doing things if it wasn’t necessary. It doesn’t matter if he ever went or not, he was obviously relaxed and satisfied with how his life was going and it was wonderful to see someone content with the flow of life as opposed to fighting it. He was a comforting human being to be around, just judging from the few days I was able to see him.

I took this photo of him in his apartment.


Dedicated to Olof Orwald and Aunt Siv, cousins Annika, Dan, Gunilla, Tom and their families.

Interestingly, today it is 48 years since my family arrived in Canada:

Leaving Grums train station October 1968.


Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 8 August (age 15): Maud, moving to Canada

This post dedicated to my mother, Karin, who suffered so much loss, but lived and loved so fiercely.

I miss my two favorite women, Helga and my beautiful mom.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

For April 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 4, April- The Audition

For May 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 5 May- Paris

For June 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 6 June- Graduation

For July 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 7 July- Summer

August 1

Maud called today and asked if I want to go with her family on a trip to Gränna, Småland.  I want to see Gränna and I want to be with Maud as much as possible before we leave so I said yes.  Mom thinks that would be fine, as the moving company comes on Friday.

I have started to take down pictures off the wall.  It is sad.  I am starting to be worried about school over there.  I mostly want to go to Balmoral because there I don’t need to worry, as I know people.  Anyway.  I am a little worried about Maud’s dad’s driving.  But they have managed all these years, so it should be OK.  Maud and I will sleep in the attic room at the hotel by ourselves.  That will be fun.

[I have no memory of this trip, so I suspect it never happened.]

I remember an incident.  Affe C. asked me in class if I was moving back to Canada and Steven answered for me.  Wow!  Does that mean anything?  I hope so!  I haven’t gotten a letter from him yet so I will call his brother the day before we leave to ask him.  I wonder if there is a mail strike in Canada… it would be catastrophic.

August 7

It’s Dad’s birthday tomorrow.  I bought him a clay picture with Slussbron on it.  40 kronor from both Fredrik and me.  Mom bought him a necklace with an “R” pendant and Anders bought him the “Warning: Children” record.  I think they are all very nice presents.

Tomorrow the rest of the furniture will be packed up.  The house is starting to feel rather empty.  No curtains and we have to lie on the floor to watch TV.  Tomorrow night I have to sleep on the floor.  Milton is nervous and angry because they are taking his house.  He doesn’t understand what is happening.  We bought his cage for the plane ride.  I have been worried about how it will be for him.  But the cage is large.  We put him in it at night so that he can get used to it.  In the beginning, he was all quiet.  Then he started to whine.  We let him out when he whines but we have to start making him sleep in it all night so he gets into the habit of it.  I am glad he won’t be in quarantine.  I think it is terrible there.

Today we were at Grönalund. Mamma, Pappa, Fredrik and me.  We had lots of fun.  But the money just pours out.  I bought a poster with Swan Lake on it and it has my name on the roster as Prima Ballerina.  It’s really nice.  9:75 kronor.  Fredrik bought a “Wanted- Dead or Alive” poster with his name on it.  Maud said I should have bought her a poster.  That was a little pushy.  She was grumpy today.  When I asked her if she would like to go to Cupido with me, she said, “Maybe we should meet there,” like she was trying to avoid me.

I hope we find a really nice house.

I have started to sketch ballerinas in a different way.  With ink.  And I sketch the whole face now.  It’s working out. I am Queen Silvia crazy.  I have bought a magazine about her.  I draw her.  It’s fun, I think.

I write in such a boring way.  I can’t write about love, as there is nothing to write about.  I have to get Thomas’ phone number, so that I can get Steven’s address.  It can’t be all that bad.  I keep going on and on about this.  Can’t stop.

August 14

I haven’t written in a while.  So much has happened.  Dad had his birthday.  I bought him a clay painting as you know.  Sivan has also had a birthday.  Nilla, Brolle, Mom and I were at Morfar’s funeral. I have met a bunch of relatives.  The funeral was overwhelming.  Morfar was in a little urn. We had to walk along a plank to lay flowers beside the urn.  When Nilla walked she almost fell.  I was hysterical and started to laugh uncontrollably, but quietly.  Nilla too.  I didn’t stumble, luckily.

I saw my great aunts.  Helma has grown so old.  Helga is so nice.  And she is my favorite.  She gave me a lovely rag rug in pink and light blue.

We might meet up with her next week.

[My great aunt Helga was a mother for my Mom.  My grandmother died suddenly when I was only 2.  I can only imagine the loss my Mom must have felt as she was very close to her mother.  Helga became our maternal grandmother.  She gave me great love, great advice and was an inspiration.  She never married.  She lived stubbornly, intelligently and independently. I light a candle for her and my grandmother, Stina, and my female ancestors every day.]

We have a week left in Sweden.

Anders has had his birthday.  I gave him a wallet that he can attach to his belt.  He also got 100 kronor bill, a gold necklace, a bone from Milton, a mirror and a gold pendant from Majlis.  They had a party for him last Saturday night at Göran’s.  Anders got a great nightgown on which they had embroidered Anders Fan Club.  Really nice.  When Anders and Majlis were here today, they locked themselves in his room.  I heard them fooling around in there when I was watching TV.  Majlis just called and her voice was all hoarse.  I wonder what’s up.  I hope nothing is wrong because she sounds like she had been crying.  He is talking to her right now.  I am wondering and wondering.

I have to brush my teeth and put on my PJ’s.  I hear Anders is laughing now.  Whew!  Anders is so nice.  I was downtown with him and Majlis and I sat on his knee on the bus, as it was too crowded.

I feel so little and bloated and not 15.  But in a way, it doesn’t matter.  I am going to be ambitious in Canada.  Write good reports.  Be interested.  Not so shy.  I can even get my driver’s license next year.  I will try.  I want to start playing tennis and I want to dance every day.  How fun it will be.  I am really in the mood to work with something.  And I want to perform and be discovered.  To have many friends.  I want to show Milton.  I hope it all works out like I want it to.  But now I have to sleep.  I will finish writing tomorrow.  Then I will have danced for Joelle Mazett.  She is strict.  Maud has gotten some reprimands.  But it feels good to dance.  I would like to do what Nils-Åke Häggbom does- dance 10 hours a day.  How fabulous that would be.

August 15

It isn’t nice to dance for Joelle because she doesn’t see me.  I can stand right under her nose without her noticing me.  She doesn’t correct me.  Doesn’t say “good girl.”  She has teacher’s pets.  I think that is irritating.  She is strict and often gets mad at Maud.  Ann Parson is the best teacher I have ever had.  She doesn’t just focus on the technical.  Lillemor had cut her hair.  It’s shocking.  And not exactly attractive.

Friday will be my last day at Balettakademien.  Weird.

When I saw Mikael that time, something inside me exploded.  I wonder what it is, and I think about it a lot.

I get so much money from Mom and Dad, it’s terrible.  I bought a new cost.  98 kronor on sale (regularly 298).  Tomorrow I am buying jeans.

I got a great letter from Kathy today.  Many things.  She is so nice.  We are going to be good friends and she agrees with me on a lot of things including Steven.

I write rather dully don’t I?  But I don’t know how I can make things sound more exciting.

I got a letter from Maud today.  She sent along a photo of her at age 1.

Maud writes: Since it is soon time to bid you farewell, we will have to savour each day that remains.  It is a nightmare to know I will not see you for at least a year!  How will I stand it?  If you have a prescription for this malady, please call 08/7– 2- 9-.  To my best friend from Maud


August 16

How can I forget something so important!  Ellen Rasch observed me in class yesterday!  Firstly, Aeron observed.  Then I saw a woman in the door with him.  I asked Maud who it was and she said that it was Ellen Rasch!  How wonderful!  In Canada I will try to get into the best dance school they have.  I am writing this on the train.  Soon I am going to dance for Joelle.  She is like Lillemor.  But Lillemor noticed me more.  Joelle has teacher’s pets.  The teachers I have had: Mrs. Vanneck, Lillemor, Ann Parson, and Joelle Mazett.  I have auditioned for the Opera Ballet.  I have met Gösta Svalberg and 19 other dancers and teachers.  I have met Anneli Alhanko and Per Arthur Segerström.

August 18

Maud writes:

Dear Katarina, Between us ballerinas, it feels quite depressing during these last few days before you leave.  Or what do you think?  I am going to create a little bon voyage dance for you!  To Romeo and Juliet.  We’ll have to hope that I have time to show it to you.  I think the last day will be one big lake.  As I am writing this, the most sentimental and sad music is playing in the background.  It’s hard not to cry.  I wonder what kind of dancers we will become?  I think you will be a ballerina in Toronto.  And me?  A stage janitor at the Opera Ballet.  Or what do you think?  No matter, that is a question for the future.  I want you to say hi to your family for me.  I don’t think I will write anymore right now, because it feels quite hopeless. 

From your best friend, forever.  Maud

[An envelope inside this letter is labeled “extra note- secret letter.  Show no one.”  A smaller envelope lies inside labeled “very secret extra note.  Show no one.”  But alas, that envelope is now empty and I cannot recall the contents.]

August 19

Maud writes:

Hey Katarina!  

On Sunday, I was thinking that you, Gisela, Helen and I could be together is the morning and then you and I take the afternoon to ourselves as it will be the last hours we spend together for at least a year.  I already can’t wait for next summer, but it is a long ways away.  And maybe by that time you may think I am dumb and I may think you are strange.  Blah!  It can’t turn out that way!  I guess I would have to bring a present, as you will have turned 16 by then.  We’ll have to send cassettes to each other, and presents etc.  That might be really fun.  But not as fun as seeing you in person at least 3 times a week as we have been doing.  What day is your birthday?  I actually forgot.  Mine is August 28, but you probably know that already.  You have a better memory than I do. 

Yesterday, my dad didn’t feel very well.  So I guess it isn’t just me that has been feeling bad.  Lucky you who will be spared “Black Ands” when you move!  I will probably be stalked by them my whole life!   Who cares?  I do!  Goodbye, Love, Maud. PS.  I will miss you too!

August 21

Oh, oh, oh.  It’s been a long time since I wrote.  It’s been very hectic, but I haven’t had that much to do, so I don’t have a good excuse. Joelle got a lot better as a teacher.  I got to stand in the front row and even became one of the teacher’s pets.  I had fun.  And on the last day she hugged me.  She is actually quite nice once you get to know her.

Milton was at the vet’s and luckily he did not have tooth decay.  He got sleeping medication for the plane ride.  It works well.  He sleeps well and seems so calm.  I don’t have to worry that he will be uncomfortable. Milton met his brother, Oskar, who is owned by Sivan’s brother.  Catastrophe!  @#%&@##* They didn’t like each other at all.  Oskar was nice but Milton was so angry!  I took a bunch of photos because it may be the last time they see each other.  Oskar had gotten a burn when their tent went up in flames at a camping trip, but he a recuperated well.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to Maud.  The tears ran.  It was very sad and overwhelming.

[Maud got me through the roughest times in Sweden as she allowed herself to be innocent as well, in a land that tended to skip over that stage of development.  Our private world was one of pink angels and magical powers.  And her friendship remains one of my deepest.]

August 24

We are actually sitting on CP AIR now.  We have reached the halfway point.  It seems like we have only been flying a half hour. Last night I opened the presents I got from Maud.  I already have an address book that looks like you, Diary.  Now I have the cutest poetry book as well.  I have always wanted to have a little poetry book.

Tom cried (trying not to show us) when we left yesterday.  Poor thing.

We got up at 5 AM this morning.  Milton was quite alert so I ran around with him for a while at the airport.  We gave him the sleeping medication and he fell asleep right away.  He slept all the way to Amsterdam.  Mom and Dad took him out for a walk there.  He didn’t want to go back into the cage, but he got more medication. I don’t know how he is dong now.  I hope he is sleeping.  Poor thing.  He doesn’t know what is happening.  But it will soon be over.  Now they are going to serve drinks and then dinner.  I don’t know if I want any but I will take it anyway.

There is the world’s grumpiest stewardess on board.  Poor Fredrik was ordering orange juice and just because he didn’t say please, this woman gave him the dirtiest look, and didn’t bring him a drink.  Idiot, stupid woman.  I’d like to wring her neck.

A few hours have passed. We were going to watch “The Eagle has Landed” on the plane, but typically, the movie projector isn’t working.

I called Catharina and said goodbye from Arlanda. Two to three hours left.  A man told us that they moved Milton to the front half of the plane where it was warmer.  I will write at the hotel.  I will call Kathy.

Vancouver, here we come.

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 7 July (age 15): Summer, potato nose

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

For April 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 4, April- The Audition

For May 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 5 May- Paris

For June 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 6 June- Graduation

July 1

I have written a letter to the elderly lady, Elna Järnebrand. And I painted a little picture for her.  I told you I save all pictures of ballet that I can find.  I hope she sends me a picture.  That sounds kind of selfish.  Shame on me.  I hope she likes the painting.

I am rather tired of the train.  Rather?  Much!  The stations go by: Rönninge, Tumba, Tullinge, Huddinge, Stuvsta, Älvsjö, Stockholms Söder, and then Stockholms Central.  The train continues on to Märsta.  It’s enough to drive you nuts.  But it is a good system with the monthly card and all.  But it gets rather tedious.

Another day has gone by.  It doesn’t seem like summer at all.  It just rains and rains.  And I get more and more pale and soon we’ll be wearing hats and mittens again.

I want to gain strength in my legs so that I can extend them high.  Today we were horses and that was fun.

I wonder if there is anyone out there that thinks I am cute and who feels the same way about me as I do about Steven.  I wonder how all this will play out in Canada.

July 2

Björn Borg won Wimbledon today against Jim Connors.  I wanted Björn to win the whole time.  Yesterday was the semi-finals and Björn had a rough time.  I put my hands together in prayer and whispered “Björn, win” and looked at him the whole time and then it went better and he won!  I did the same thing today when he struggled and it went better and he won!  Then I felt sorry for Jim Connors. I think he looks so good when he plays tennis.  In the paper they did a caricature of him with a large nose.  Silly.  I wonder if I really helped Björn.  It worked for Björn and it worked for Ingemar Stenmark.  Next time Björn plays I will do the same thing.  Also when Connors plays.  But not if he is playing against Björn.  I have gotten totally interested in tennis.

Mom, Dad and I were in town today shopping and a car full of guys pulled up.  They were staring at me quite a bit.  I wondered why.  Then, darn it, I saw that Lars B. was in the car.  He laughed and waved at me and I smiled back.  He stared at me the whole time as they drove away.  I wonder if they thought I was cute.  In a way, I hope so.  Sounds silly.  I called Catharina.  She is going to Germany in 3 weeks.  Tomorrow I will jog.  I will!  I have decided.  I am too fat.  I feel fat fat fat.

July 3

Tomorrow I am going to Morfar’s funeral.  He will be cremated.  I wonder what it will be like.  I will bring a flower.  Nilla is going too.  I would never have dared until Mom convinced me to go.  Now I have to stop.  Good Night!

PS.  Peo Hallgren was my biggest love when we lived in Sweden when I was younger.  I always fought with Anki about him.  But I don’t dare to talk to him now about love.  He is so funny.  He is always up to mischief.  I wonder if he likes me.  He may like Ann-Christine more, because she is more outgoing.  He and I used to be pen pals and ended our letters with kisses.  I am going to send him a letter when we move and see if he sends anything back.  I hope so.  Oh, Peo.  I love you.

July 4

We are leaving soon.  How will it be?

Now I am back [from the funeral].  It was strange, creepy and wonderful at the same time.  The priest was female and she wore a cape.  She mumbled some psalms in the beginning.  Then she really got into it.  We laid roses on the coffin.  I placed a bouquet on it.  We had to sing.  Nilla and I couldn’t keep from laughing.  Terrible.  Mom and Siv laughed too.  It looked like we were crying.  Brolle and Dad were serious.  I admired them for that.  Now Morfar will be cremated.  We will take him up north later on for burial of the ashes.  Rest in peace.

July 5

Today we had pointe class.  It was really hard.  I felt dumb.  Not dumb.  Bad.  I am not talented enough to do deboullés and balance and all that.  There is a girl I am enthralled with.  Her name is Ewa W. and she is in Eva and Lotta’s class.  She is very talented and sure of herself.  She attends Ellen Rasch’s school.  She has such a presence.  Ellen has arranged a job for her at Oscar’s.  I will not be jealous.  She has danced a lot longer than me.  This is my sixth year.  Tomorrow I will try harder.

I never swear.  In the last while, I have started saying “darn.”  I don’t think that is so bad.  I can say swear words to myself.  They are only words.  But still.  Today I actually said that Fredrik was “pissed off” because I didn’t make him an ice cream cone.  I said that to Majlis.  I am so ashamed.  It just leaked out.  But it isn’t that bad.  They are only words.  Who cares?  Me!  Oh well.  I think it will be quite a while before I swear in English.  Those words are so gross.   [Well, that sure changed.]

July 6

I don’t dare to go to a school dance, as I can’t dance.  How stupid I am!  Of course I can dance!  Easy as pie.  But I can’t relax.  I wonder if a guy will like me.  It seems like that is the only thing I think about.  I want to try to get high marks at school.  I will try hard.  I wonder if I am gifted as a dancer.

July 7

I didn’t get to dance en pointe today.  My knee was hurting me.  The teacher will help me tomorrow.  I hope.  She told me you have to have your knee lined up with your toes, or else it will cause damage.  It was a bad day: first the pointe guard fell off.  Then my heel elastic broke.  I put a rubber band around my foot and it snapped.  Then the blister on my big toe broke.  And then the knee hurt.  No wonder I couldn’t take part in the class!  Before I left she said, “Hope your knee feels better tomorrow.”  I hope so.  I want to be able to extend my leg high in developpé.  Good night.

July 10

We were at Skärgården today.  Nåttarö Island.  Orwald’s have rented a cabin there.  Fredrik will stay with them for 2 weeks.  It is glorious there.  There are no cars there.  The store is a little cottage.  The water is clear.  You get there by boat from Nynäshamn.  It takes 35 minutes.  Fredrik called tonight and he is having a good time.  He misses us a little bit.  I want to go there and visit him.

I am awaiting a letter from Steven.  I hope he got the letter.  It would be so great if he wrote to me.  I should call his bother Thomas to get his address.  Do I dare?  I should dare, as I will never see him again.  Fredrik teases me about Steven.  I guess that is fair as I dream about Steven every night.  Not dream… think.  And I don’t have any defense against Fredrik’s teasing.  But there is Agnetha.  Fredrik has a crush on her.  Wanted to get a picture of her.  So cute.  I dream that I will meet Steven at a basketball tournament in Vancouver and we meet and click click click and all that jazz.  Oh well.  Good night.

July 12

Didn’t write yesterday as I had a headache and had to miss ballet class, even though it was supposed to be the last day.  I have bought Ann Parson a troll candle and I made her a card.  I hope she likes it.  Today Maud and I were in Gamla Stan.  We walked and walked and walked.  I bought a little midsummer pole, a Holly Hobbie memo pad, and an address book.  It looks like you, diary, but pink.  I have to ask Parson for her address tomorrow.  I am in the mood to dance.

Yesterday, Maud was here and we walked all day in the forest with Milton.  We sat on a cliff and had a picnic, while Milton ran around loose.  It was wonderful.  I have gotten quite tanned.  Maud gave me a lovely bracelet.  Looks like an ID bracelet.  It says “Katarina” on it, and has a pink rose on it.  Maud has one too.  It means friendship.  I am so happy.

Every night, before I head to sleep, I think about Steven.  Steven, Steven, the whole time.  I am tragically in love?  I look down his street when I walk by even though I know he is in the USA.  I hope he got my letter.  The day before we move, I will go to his brother and ask for his address.

July 13

The last day of ballet.  I talked a little to Parson.  She gave me her address.  “Thank you for working so hard,” she said before I left.  I have gotten a Swedish dialect.  Not when I talk to myself though.  I suppose it’s kind of cute.  I am taking a summer course for two weeks with Joelle Mazett.  She is French.

Tomorrow our house will be listed for sale in the local paper.  We leave either the 23rd or 24th of August.

I will call Aija and ask her to apologize to everyone at school for my shyness.

July 15

Late Thursday, Queen Silvia was taken to the hospital.  It’s a princess!  I am so glad.  The paper had predicted a boy.  So there.  I attended Silvia’s wedding.  She was so beautiful.  I wonder what the princess will be called.  They are already back at the castle.  I thought you had to stay at the hospital at least a few days.  There will be no public pictures of the princess for 10 days.  Just found out her name- Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I was awake the whole night.  I love to sketch, so I stayed up and sketched Archie.  I have a headache every day.  A little one always in the background.  And today I had a talk with myself.  I am scared that the tumor is cancerous, but I don’t think it is, as then it would be growing faster.  It’s probably a lymph gland.

Dad just got back from Scotland.  He gave me a beautiful big doll, a Westie figure, and a cloth with a Scottie and a Westie on it.  Wonderful!  We are going to buy a Scottie!

July 18 “Fredrik Dagen” 

Today Maud and I were in the city.  We walked and walked and walked.  I bought a necklace, velvet ribbon, and a watch.  I have cut my bangs.  Much better.  30 kronor!  I bought a ballet poster.  Really nice.  It just cost 3 kronor.  I have to have velvet ribbon to tie my hair up, because my hair is so worn out.  Gunilla and Annika work in a jeans store.  We visited them.  They are so nice.  I bought jeans there today.  Tomorrow I will jog with Milton.  

July 21

It’s terrible.  Horrible.  I just saw an image on TV of a poor poor cat with something connected to its head and it looked terrified and didn’t know what to do with itself.  STOP ANIMAL RESEARCH NOW!  The poor poor animals.  They can’t escape from the horrible humans.  We have no right to take a living creature that can’t make its own decisions and do what we want to them.  The humans should experiment on themselves.  If that doesn’t work- tough luck!  People are so idiotic and gross and the most terrible creatures ever created.  People have no right to be on the planet.  They only ruin things.  The animals have the right.  Stupid humans.  I HATE THEM!  They also decide how dogs should look.  The dogs are bred so that their eyes pop out, get infections, can’t breath etc.  God, we are dumb.

I have to calm down now.  Candy has to be kept away from me!  It’s driving me crazy!  I am drowning in it!  I am sitting and writing this right now with a candy in my mouth.  I will throw it out now!  But candy can be good now and then… ha ha.

It’s just raining and raining again.  I hope it gets a little better so that I can maintain my tan before we move to Canada.

July 26

All I do is wait for a letter from Steven.  But he isn’t thinking about me.  I dreamt that Marianne got one from him so I thought I would get one the next day.  I couldn’t wait.  I think a lot about him.  Can’t stop.  I dream about him visiting Vancouver, contacting Linda about where I live and surprising me there.  Oh wow!  I am a little dumb.  But hey, I have a right to feel.  I don’t think I am good looking.  I am ugly, ugly.  Sometimes I think I look alright, but my nose.  It is so big.  I don’t like it.

I don’t like M.’s dad.  Never have.  It’s like Milton’s feelings about certain people- a sixth sense.  I don’t know why I feel this way.  He always has to show off and… yes… he is so silly.  He always stares in that way, you know.  And makes a scene.  I hope M. doesn’t like her dad.  My dad is so nice.  And my mom.  M.’s mom and my mom are actually quite similar.  But our fathers are as different as can be.  Her dad is strict.  And he always wants things clean and tidy.

We have started pantomiming a lot.  More than dancing.  Soon the second summer course starts.  And Maud and I are in the same class.  I hope we will make it on time as the subway leaves at 8:10 AM in the morning.  We’ll see.  I am sure it will be fine.  I don’t like the subway.  Blah.

July 27

I wish I could earn some money.  But it is too late now to get a summer job.  I bought dog shampoo today.  It reminds me of my work experience at the dog kennel last year.  I want to write a book about ballet.  I feel like doing research and things like that.  I will read my French magazine so that I can practice my French.

I got a really nice coat yesterday.  I need to get jeans.  I just buy and buy and buy.  I have strong guilt feelings.

July 29

Yesterday we were in town shopping.  All of a sudden, unexpectantly, someone said hi to me.  It was Mikael A.  He has such a nice and kind face.  I said hi back very naturally.  It felt good for once to not be tense and for him to have said it first.  I didn’t notice him at first so he really meant it; otherwise they usually avoid me so that they don’t have to say hi.

I have bought stovepipe pants with pockets on the side.  They suit my new coat very much.

Boy, it is a sin to be as ugly as I am.  When I look in the mirror, I practice what I should look like when I laugh, etc. without looking ugly.  I hate it when I am natural and then see myself in the mirror and see the world’s largest nose that would break the world record for the largest potato.

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 6 June (age 15): Graduation

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

For April 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 4, April- The Audition

For May 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 5 May- Paris

June 6

Today is Fredrik’s birthday.

I bought him a tackle and a large cardboard perch that he can hang from the ceiling.  He says he has finally grown out of the pee and poo stage.  He is going to have a masquerade party next Saturday.  He wants to dress up as a drunk old man and he will borrow my inflatable champagne bottle.  But only if I get to dress him up.  At first he didn’t want to invite any girls but then he sat down and had a “think.”  And he changed his mind.  He is so nice.  We always horse around but I suppose that is meant to be.  He is obsessed with fishing.  And he likes pop music and things like that.  He likes the records that Anders plays.  At first, I didn’t, but now I do too.  But not that kind of screechy electric guitar music.  It pierces the ears and sounds like a dentist drill.  I like Boney M. and Queen.  But most of all, I like Swan Lake.  I can sit for hours and hours and dream.

I have never wanted to be a ballerina as much as now.  I have been to ballet during spring break- 3 to 5 hours a day.  Last Friday- 6 hours.  We are practicing our dances and were going to perform on Thursday and Maud said we could perform at Anlan in Huddinge.  But that didn’t work out.  No, that did not work out.  And she will absolutely not perform at her school.  I would perform at Rosenborgsskolan but we have no stage.  Maud is so silly because when we practice and someone comes in, she stops and says she can’t continue.  And when we dance for our friends she always has to talk and explain.  Why not just stay silent and dance?  Then the dance would be a lot better.

Now I have to stop because I have to color the poster for Hyllman.  We have a professional day today.  I had all last week off school.  I wonder if someone has read you.  I have read the book that Majlis wrote Anders.  Hope he doesn’t know that.

June 8

Yesterday I was totally surprised.

June 10

About the other day.  Catharina called me and asked if I wanted to come to her house.  To eat sandwiches and drink tea.  Gitte, Lena, and Marianne were there too.  What a house she has!  3 levels.  Ground floor: 3 rooms, and sauna.  2nd level: kitchen, living room, porch, and entrance.  3rd level: 3 bedrooms and a den.  They live right by the forest.  It’s a townhouse.  But it seems like a mansion.  We had fun.  Danced.  Watched TV.  I had my new vest and pants.  Pink.  I think it’s a great outfit.  But the new cloth leaks dye.  But Mom cleaned them and they got better.

On Thursday, the teachers played soccer against the students.  There was a penalty shot and Catharina got to do it.  It went in!  I really was happy.  Gitte played too.  And Steven.  I was jealous when Gitte got to wear Steven’s jacket to cover her red shirt.

We were invited home to our teacher.  She has two kids and a husband with a beard.  She is so nice to her kids.  They have a lot of toys and she does all that psychology stuff you are supposed to do with little children.  She has a large aquarium that is really clean.  And beautiful.  We played in her house, the whole class.  I gave her the poster that everyone had signed.  We got cake.  She has 11 rooms in her house.  She said we have to come and visit her during summer holidays.

Before I rode to her house on my bike with Gitte, Lena, Catharina and Marianne, I went to town with Catharina and Marianne to look at shoes.  We looked around a little bit and I found some black ones I think are cute.  We went home to Catharina and ate sandwiches and drank milk.

June 10 GRAD

In the morning, I got ready and walked to the kiosk.  I met Steven and Thomas.  They were on their way to Lars B. (Bolle).  They asked me if I wanted to come along.  OK.  Bolle lives in an ugly house.  But.  We went into the garden to take pictures.  We looked so funny in our hats.  I looked like a Carl Larsson painting.  Bolle put his arm on my shoulders when we took pictures.  Yuck.  They smoked cigars.

We walked towards Östertälje and met some others from our class.  It was great with all the hats.  Everyone stared.  We walked to the park to meet the rest of the class.  Then we walked to the school.  We were a big success. We were the only ones with hats.  Ulla H. got one too.

My homeroom teacher, Ulla H., Class 8:3 (75-76) and 9:3 (76-77), writes:

Grad ceremonies, Grade 9, Rosenborgsskolan.  It has been really nice to get to know you, Katarina, during these past 2 years.  Good luck in your future endeavors.  Ulla H.

Catharina gave Affe a hug and a rose.  That was funny.  Everyone was dressed up.  Peter had champagne along and sprayed it everywhere.  We sang.  Got our report cards.  B average.  I lost points in music.  How maddening.  Hugged the teacher and said goodbye to Rosenborgsskolan.  I had a lump in my throat.  I never thought I would have that.  Tell you more tomorrow.  Summer holidays!

(Fredrik is going to have a costume party tomorrow)

June 12

The weather is like it was pre-ordered.  Cold school weeks replaced with warm and sunny summer holidays.  I am by the lake.  I am finally getting a tan.  Anyway, after school last Friday, 12 of us walked to town.  We had on our hats and everyone stared and congratulated us on our graduation.  We went to Pizzeria Milano and I ordered a 1/4 pizza and gave the rest to Per-Arne.  He gave me a balloon.  I have taken a bunch of photos.  I have to take a break.  We are heading home.  I never have time to write in you.

Tomorrow, ballet.  I will try to write on the train.  But there are so many people.  Good night!  Let me be a ballerina!

June 13

Now I will continue writing about Friday. We were in the local paper but I didn’t get in the picture.

News clipping from our Grade 9 grad.  Steven is on the left. 

June 15

Today we find out if we are going to move or not.  I want to move.  I really want to meet a boy there that likes me.  It would be ideal if he were a dancer.  He would preferably be an athlete.

Now I have to concentrate.  Back to last Friday:  I had fun.  12 of us walked to town and everyone stared.  We ate pizza.  I don’t like pizza but I was almost forced, as it was grad time.  But I already wrote about that.  Anyways, after the pizzeria, we went into the department store, Domus, and bought a bunch of balloons.  That’s when Per-Arne gave me one.  He wanted to pay for my pizza, but I told him he didn’t have to.

Gunnar was having a party that night, but I did not want to go.  Catharina couldn’t go because she was competing, and there would just be a bunch of drunkards anyway.  Marianne, Lena and Gitte told me I should go, and they aren’t drinkers.  But I didn’t know.  Gitte called me that evening and told me they had bought pop and we could all bike together.  I gave in.  We met at Lena’s house.  We got there early.  So we hid in the forest in front of Gunnars’ house.  He drove by on a tractor to pick some people up.  We laughed a lot.

We went into his house and hid the pop.  We sat in the living room and laughed.  We went up to Gunnars’ room.  Bolle was already there, piss drunk, and going on and on how nice I looked in my blue dress.  “Why aren’t you wearing it now?”  I wonder what he would have done if I had been wearing it.

Later, we were offered beer.  I did not want any but the others accepted.  I started to get anxious.  After awhile, everyone was getting drunk, except for Gunnar, Christer P. and Steven, and me, of course.  It was so boring and awful.  Everyone sitting around, drunk, and me in the middle of it all.

The party at Gunnar’s.

Couldn’t talk to anyone.  Thomas H. put his arm around Lena and she put her arm around him.  Gross.  I tried to find Gunnar to tell him I was going home.  But I couldn’t find him, so I just went home.  But know what?  Steven knocked on the window and waved goodbye.  He must have understood my need to leave.  He is leaving for the USA on Saturday.

Secret:  I would like so much to say goodbye to him in person.  But how?  Just go there?  I want so much to hug him goodbye.  Now, no one… NO ONE is allowed to read this.  I wish he would come here to say goodbye to me

I have a new dance teacher.  Her name is Ann Parson.  I am taking a summer course with her.  She speaks American English.  She has so much feeling.  She is not at all boring like Lillemor and she always does different things.  She has such an imagination.  Put away plates, tell stories, throw Frisbee, catch a football, blow with a straw into a coca-cola bottle.  Every step refers to something in reality.  I will learn a lot from her.

June 16

Tomorrow is the last day before Steven leaves.  I have to get his address in USA.  I will have to put a little letter in his mailbox.

We have decided on Vancouver!  I have been longing and longing. Now that we finally made the decision, I feel strange.  Like I’ve changed my mind.  But we will get a better life, and Kathy and I can be friends again.  I hope her dog, Sarge, and Milton will get along.  I would preferably like to go to Balmoral.

I hope it goes well for Milton on the plane.  Poor thing.  I will never abandon him, like we did with Tippy.  Poor Tippy.  Today, I rode my bike with Milton.  Kari rode by and rang his bell.  Totally unexpected.  I am so glad.  Fredrik is alone at home in the morning.  Poor thing.

June 17

Steven D.

Maud writes:

Today I am visiting you again.  We left a little note for a certain someone.  Hmmm…  When we were heading into the city, a Mercedes full of Middle Eastern men honked at us.  Help!  We went home again.  But now we are going to do pantomimes.  Bye bye – Maud

I did it.  I wrote a letter to Steven.  I put it in his mailbox a few hours ago.  But it wasn’t as romantic as I would have liked it to be.  If it had been, he probably would have thought I was nuts.  Wonder if he has found it.  What if his brother, Thomas, reads it first?  Darn it.  He can’t do that.  Steven maybe even won’t get a chance to read it.  He is leaving tomorrow.  I told Maud about the letter.  We rode to Skimmelvägen 2 and put it in his mailbox.

Maud and I were going to go to the craft store but didn’t have time.  Fredrik has a little hot rod bike.  It’s great.  Tomorrow we are heading to the summerhouse.

I didn’t get a hug from Steven after all.  Pity.


Yes, we are going to move.

We have finally made the decision.  Dad says we will give it all we’ve got when we make this move work.  Dad is going to get a big car.  Mom is getting a little car.  Even Anders is getting a car.  I hope Majlis comes with us to Canada.  She is so nice.  You feel good when you are with her.

I wonder if Steven had time to read the letter.  I hope so.  I hope he didn’t leave on Saturday, but waited till Monday.  I came up with the right time to hug him.  It should have when he knocked on the window after the party.  Why do I have to come up with that so late?

I dreamt about Steven last night.  The whole class was at the summerhouse.  I was going to head home.  It kind of looked like the actual summerhouse.  When I was leaving, I stood on a chair to call Anders.  Anders arrived and he and Steven shook hands.  Then Steven pulled me into him.  In front of everyone.  He whispered in my ear.  My throat swelled up with tears.  What a dream.  If only it were true.

[Years later, in 1984, I ran into Steven in Stockholm.  He HAD read the letter.  He saw us put it in the mailbox, as he was right down the street at the time.  He had run after me, and was going to give me a hug, but Maud and I were riding away so fast, probably in a cloud of dust and giggles- we didn’t hear him calling after us!  He was a UN peacekeeper in 1984 and much shorter than I remembered.  And I was the bold one this time- hugging him and admitting all my follies and shyness]

The summerhouse is so nice.  But it would be nice if it had electricity.  Then it would be easier to stay here longer.  It’s hard coming here late at night and to have to find candles, light lanterns, and get water from the well.  And the outhouse is so far away.  But I love the summerhouse and now we have sold her.  It’s so sad to think that others will be living here.  We have had her for so long.  But now we must leave.  The lake, the forest, the moose.  Goodbye beautiful summerhouse.  You have given me so many beautiful memories.  I hope to return one day.  Goodbye.

June 20

Today at ballet, Ann Parson helped me a lot and talked to me.  She said “good girl” when she showed positioning.  It is so fun to dance for her. She talks to us as equals- like we are real dancers.  With steady jobs.  We dancers…  When we stand on stage…  We are artists…  We make images of that we are not…  (e.g. To fly)  In the studio she says- downstage and upstage.  She is fantastic.  She curtsies so beautifully at the end of the class. Pauleena, who tried in to the Opera Ballet at the same time as me, is also in the summer course.  She was accepted on a 6-week trial at the Opera Ballet.

I want to buy the film of our ballet year-end but I don’t really dare to ask Mom, as it is quite expensive.  Fredrik borrowed 20 kronor from Charlie, his classmate, last year.  Today Charlie wants it back.  Poor Fredrik.  He hadn’t dared to tell Mom all year that he had borrowed the money.  But he got the money from her now.  Now it sounds like I have strict parents.  Not in the least.  They are the world’s nicest.

I got a letter from the elderly lady on the Paris bus trip.  She sent along a handmade tablecloth she had made.  Wonderful!  We have a lampshade that is similar.  I will paint her a little painting.

June 21

I got a long letter from Kathy. We are already best friends.  Someone I can be with 100% of the time.  Ann Parson said “good girl” the whole day today, and people asked if I am with the Opera Ballet.

I just called Mom.  Grandpa (Morfar) died this morning.  I can’t believe that.  Maybe it’s for the best.  He had terrible asthma and his bones are, I mean were (gulp), very stiff and painful.  And since we are moving, he won’t have to miss us.  Goodbye Morfar.  I hope you will be happy in heaven.  I believe in heaven.  I always have.

June 23

Forgot to write yesterday.  Just a second- I just have to put on my pajamas- there, now I am done.  Sorry.  I still haven’t explained our issue with Middle Eastern young men (not women).  Maud and I call them “Black Ands.”  First we called them bad spirits- “onda andar.” Then we called them “black spirits.”  And we mixed it together to “black ands.”  We don’t hate them, but they creep us out terribly.  Yes, I sound racist.  I can’t judge everyone for the actions of a few.  But every young Assyrian man we have met behaves that way.  Stares, tags along after you, and acts creepy.  Teases us, etc.  They say Sweden should be kind to them, but what are they doing to us?  Two of them followed Maud and Marie.  They grabbed the girls and picked them up in the air.  Blah!

I went to ballet today and rode the train with Majlis.  Anders had written her a letter that I had to deliver.  And she wrote a letter back that I had to give to him.

I was at Maud’s today.  Hard.  It was hot.  I was tired after ballet.  Maud wanted to go to the city.  I didn’t dare to say that I was too tired.  I got such a headache.  It was so hot.  She didn’t find anything.  Useless trip.  She easily loses her temper.  But I LOVE her.

June 25

We celebrated Midsummer yesterday.  The whole family went to S. (except Anders who was with Majlis).  Milton stayed home because it was too hot.  We ate dinner at O.’s.  B. wasn’t there.  They said he was out for a walk.

After dinner, we headed to a park but we were late as usual.  They had already raised the May Pole.  We went to Gamla Stan.  We went to Stor Torget and the market.  But the market was closed.  So we did a lot of walking this Midsummer.

When we got home to the O.’s, B. was home.  He was acting strangely.  He seemed drunk.  T. told us that B. comes home late at night, drunk.  I noticed B. was drunk.  Poor T., S. and N.  He walked around talking gibberish about flowers etc.  Poor Mom and S.  It must be embarrassing.  He doesn’t seem to consider the family.  I was scared.  Dad held my hand and squeezed it, and told me not to be scared.  I felt safe.

I feel ashamed and sad.  My [ ] has a drinking problem. Fredrik asked me privately later if B. was going with us to Skärgården.  I said no.  I have never seen Fredrik so relieved.  I think it is so terrible.  I will try not to go to O.’s place for a while.  That sounds insane.  They are my [ ] after all.  I don’t dare face it.  It has made such a big impact on me that I will never forget.

We were at Malmsjö Badet yesterday.  That’s when I found out that Fredrik also thinks that Middle Eastern men are creepy.  I told him that Maud and I call them “black ands.”  He started using the term too.

Today Majlis was here for dinner.  When I was supposed to get her and Anders to let them know dinner was ready, I heard kiss-kiss from behind closed doors.  So I didn’t dare to disturb.  Tomorrow is ballet.

June 28

Today I asked Ann Parson if she knows of any good dance schools in Vancouver.  She is going to give me her address in New York.  That way she can ask her friends in New York if they know.  I also talked to Lillemor.

I feel like Anders did last year.  That Mom and Dad think I am lazy.  They say, “What are we supposed to do?  Be home, so we can drive you somewhere?”  I don’t know how to explain it to them.  I am tired.  The weather is bad.  It doesn’t feel like summer holidays.  Then they would sigh over me even more.  I don’t dare to tell them that I am tired of coming home and cleaning up after Fredrik, and nag him, clean his room, and pick up after Anders and Fredrik.  Can’t they do it themselves?  I want to have more time to go for walks with Milton, and to paint.  Even if the weather is bad.  Then I would have more energy.  I want to communicate this.  When mom comes home, and I am lying down, relaxing after dance class and cleaning up after the boys, she says, “You seem so lazy.  You should walk Milton while you are off school.”  Now that Anders isn’t depressed anymore, I don’t want to act all depressed.  Fredrik is so darn lazy.  He always has to be contrary.  I have to put up with it.  I want everyone to be happy.  I don’t want to be lazy.  I want to work hard in school.  Have high marks.  Dance a lot.  A lot of ballet.

June 30

Now everything is good again!  I told Mom that it is hard work to pick up after Fredrik and Anders and she had a talk with them, and things are better.  I was grumpy because I had PMS.  It’s ridiculous that you get grumpy just because of that.  Oh well.  Can’t help it.

Today I took an extra class with Ann Parson- en pointe.  Only adults are in the class.  But I will attend anyway.  I have to get faster and get better balance.  I watched the advanced group.  I fell in love with a girl in the class.  She seems very shy.  She has gorgeous long legs and beautiful arms.  I think my legs are too short.  And I am bow-legged.  It drives me crazy.  And I have a bad balance and I have to be able to hold an extension for longer.  I have to train, train, and train.  Now that ballet is ending, I have to jog.  I want to maintain my fitness level.

I have bought a UCLA sweater- yellow with blue letters.  I am going to buy blue jeans and blue ADIDAS shoes.  Very Swedish.  I wonder what it will be like when we head to Canada?  Exciting but scary.  I want to be a ballerina so badly once I am over there.  Let my legs be strong.  I, I, I… want, want, want, so much.

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 5 May (age 15): Paris

May 14

Our trip to Paris:

Södertälje to Helsingborg

The Helsingborgs hotel is called “Stads Motell.”  There are many TV’s outside of the room and one inside the room.  We are traveling (Mom, me, Aunt Siv and cousin Gunilla) together on a bus trip. Our room number: 109.  Orwald’s: 108.  We have a colour TV.  We bought food from a convenience store and ate in our room.  I watched Nadia Comaneci.  She didn’t win.  The bus trip to Helsingborg was really long.  I saw a windmill.  

May 15

In the bus in front of us, there is a man who looks like Hitchcock.  We are having a great time.  Dad came home today.  Too bad we missed him.

Helsingborg to Helsingör to Köpenhamn to Germany to Arnhem-Velp Crest Hotel.

Bought souvenirs. Expensive souvenirs: wind mills, cigar for Dad, stickers, small wooden shoe ship for Fredrik, Dutch cookie jar for mom.  German mouse and pincushion for me.  Stole a small stainless steel creamer from a German restaurant because of the rude service.  Watched German TV.  Didn’t understand a thing.  4 channels. Drove by a concentration camp in Holland.

We were on the ferry for an hour.  A lot of people and a nice restaurant.  Had ground beef patties.  Excellent!

Old lady by herself on the bus.  Really cute.  She always wears blue and buys postcards all the time.

Nilla and I have nicknames for everyone on the bus:


Dandruff Man

The Old Lady

The Lady with the red-blue glasses

She with the Bun

The Owl

The Chauffeur

The Leader

May 16

Holland to Brussels

Unknown soldiers grave.  Nuclear power plants.  The central square in Brussels.  The peeing boy.  The restaurant, the chicken, pineapple.  NATO headquarters.  Comic of Mickey Mouse- in French.

To Paris

Sightseeing Paris by night.  Consulate restaurant.  Singer.  Bought a record.  Eiffel Tower.  Arc de Triumphe. Tasted wine in Montmartre.  Gross!  Church.  Dark.  And cold. View over Paris.  Gorgeous.  Fountain by the Eiffel Tower.  Sacre Coeur.  The Consulate.  Got a red ribbon.  She with the Bun got a little drunk.  Started to sing and waltz.

May 17

Sightseeing Paris by day.  Winery.  Madeline Church. Caves St. Michelle.  Place de la Concorde.  Eiffel Tower.  Notre Dame.  Rennes Saint Placide.  Rue de Rennes.  Notre Dame.  So beautiful.  Restaurant.  Vegetables.  Schnitzel.  Winery.  Dome of the Invalid.  Wine did not taste good.  It stung the nose.  Perfume store.  Bought Marie Antoinette doll.  Bought wine and baguettes for the hotel room.  Wrote 9 postcards.  Dogs run loose.  Worries me.  Looked at dance shops.  Bought a ballet leotard.  With skirt.  I am having a good time.  Mom too.  I am so glad for that.

May 18

Louvre 10 AM.  Ate at a wonderful restaurant.  So nice.  Saw the Mona Lisa.  It has been stolen 3 times.  Guarded now with marble, glass, alarm and guard.  People were sketching from the masters.  People from art schools.  The Venus de Milo.  So beautiful.  One sculpture without head.  Wings.  Didn’t get to see Degas.  But mom, sweet mom, bought me a little copy- La Classe de Danse.  Mom also bought a little painting for herself.  I bought a Mona Lisa card.  Will sketch her.  Trip on the Sens. Bought light blue dress.  109 francs.  Got 9 francs off.  The boat.  Under 26 bridges.  Bought a key chain.  The guide spoke a weird combo of Swedish and English.  Ate French Fries and baguettes in the room.

Mom and I at Hotel Migny in Paris.

The Old Lady: she is so cute.  On May 17, she took the subway all by herself and had a great time.  Everyone offered help.  Meanwhile, the four of us walked hand in hand and didn’t dare to do a thing.  She is so energetic.  She runs and skips and is interested in everything.  I want to be like that when I grow old. 

May 19

Versailles 9 AM.  Drove through the Bois de Boulogne to Versailles Castle.  Very large and many, many people.  Lovely but each room is pretty much the same.  Big garden.  Several kilometers.  Forgot to go up the Eiffel Tower but did visit there.  Shopped for the rest of the day.  Very tiring.  Bought a wallet, necklace.  Went on the subway.  Easy to find your way around.  Strange machines that suck up the tickets.  Long tunnels underground.  No drunk old men.  Went to a bar and drank Pepsi.  Paris’ most famous café.  Very hot.  Ate baguettes and drank juice.  I ordered wine on my own.

May 20

Started the morning with breakfast.  Tired of baguettes.  Traveled to Champagne wineries.  Stopped at Mercier Champagne makers.  Rode a train through the underground vaults.  Got to taste.  Not very good.  Burns the stomach.  Got an inflatable Champagne bottle.  Traveled to Reims.  Stopped and looked at France’s largest cathedral.  Bought post cards.  Then traveled towards Belgium.  The bus planned on making it to a gas station in Belgium where it is cheaper to buy gas.  Didn’t make it.  Sat in the bus 8 HOURS!  The pump was broken.  People from the local town came and picked us up and drove us to Grand Hotel.  No bath.  Haven’t had a bath in 5 days.

May 21

Went for a walk in the village.  Cute small streets.  The bus arrived at 7 AM.  We thought it was leaving at 10 AM and we didn’t get a wake up call.  So we got ready in a hurry.  Björn said we were going to try to make it to Helsingborg tonight.  But everyone protested.  Everyone was too tired.  So he arranged for a hotel.  Gorgeous.  With bath, kitchen, sofa, balcony, all the fixings.  And a view over the ocean.  But we just had it for one night.  Before that we traveled through Hamburg.  I like Paris better.  Hamburg is modern with lots of nightlife. All the men on the bus went into one of those clubs… you know the kind.  A couple of men in the city started whistling and yelling after us.  We hurried along.

May 22

Today I bought two small cat figures at a rail station in Hamburg.  We woke up before wake up call this morning.  A lot easier after having had a bath.  Our beds folded down from the wall like a Barbie house.  Ate breakfast.  The bus didn’t start!  I thought we would be here one more night.  But they worked on it and we made it to the ferry.  Just in time.  Bought Dutch licorice.  One to Nilla, Tomme, Aija, Eva, Fredrik, Anders and me.  Really good.  But you get thirsty.  Now we are traveling to Denmark.  The trip is almost over.  It will be nice to get home.  Thought we’d never make it.  But we got home at 11:30.  So nice.  Milton.  Cute Milton was happier than ever.

What I bought on the Paris trip:

Marie Antoinette Doll

Belgian Doll

Two cats

Eiffel Tower

German mouse

Key chain



Mona Lisa post card



Ballet leotard

French magazine

German magazine

Inflatable champagne bottle

May 23

Stayed home today.  Sore throat and tired.  Presents from Dad from his trip to Canada: Nadia sweatshirt.  Rudolf Nureyev book.  Canada sweater.  Ludwig Coloring Book.  Like a dream.  The Nureyev book is as thick as a mountain.

The Nadia sweatshirt is beautiful.  If I had three wishes- they would be:

1. To be as good as Nadia in all events. 

2. To be a ballerina.

3. [I forgot to write a third wish]

I feel sorry for Nadia.  She lost and was also disqualified when she went out of bounds.  Romania and Soviets always competing.  The power ruins everything.  Nadia, I wish I were a perfect ballerina.

May 27

I have sent Steven a card.  He and I talk more often now.  I actually sat with him on the bus on the way home.  We talked a lot and I waited for him to get his bike and he rode slowly while I walked beside him.  And he waved at me when Marianne, Catharina and I were walking home from town.  And in PE he watched my belly as I did arm lifts.  And he asks me all the time about America and schools and such.  He says he may visit me because he is going to USA to play basketball and study.  He is really nice.  I have also started talking to Mikael Andersson and Per-Arne.  And I can speak up in class without feeling stupid.

The whole class went camping.  They will be biking and camping for 4 days.  I wanted to but not.  I don’t dare even though I am not so scared anymore.  Ballet prevents me from going, which I am very proud of.  I think I am supposed to go to school but Mom says I may as well stay home.  I am going to train.  Ride to the lake with Milton.  Ballet.  Suntan.  I hope the weather will be sunny.  I have drawn a large poster for school, which I can paint during the week.  I will write letters and choreograph.

We got to borrow room C at Balettakademien.  Eva, Charlotte, Marie, Katarina, Anna, Maud, Anna-Carin and I are in the group.  I have learned character dance.  It is really fun.  I got to borrow a pair of shoes from Eva.  They are wonderful to dance in though they do hurt a bit.  We want to perform for the elderly and for grade 4/5’s.  That will be fun.

We got our Visa for Canada.  Now we have to find a house we like.  I want to find the best ballet school in Vancouver.  And I want to audition for the National Ballet of Canada.  Then maybe I could meet Rudolf.

There is only 2 weeks left of school.  I have survived two years at Rosenborgsskolan.  It was hell.  Milton, ballet, Mom, Dad, Anders and Fredrik have helped me.  I am lucky.  Now that I have only 1 week left with my Grade 9 class, I dare to talk to them.  Typical.  But better late than never!

May 29

Now it is Sunday.  And it is Mother’s day.  But it seems strange.  There has been nothing abut it in the papers.  And just a little in the stores.  Annika was the only one to give Siv a present.  And we were rather mixed up here this morning.  I didn’t know whether I should give Mom the glasses I bought her.  But I did.  And Dad got Mom a brass planter that hangs from the ceiling.  Mom and Dad seem mad at each other.  But I suppose they have the right, as we all get mad from time to time.  Mom visited Grandpa today and he was happy about that.  He can sit up in his chair and he likes the physiotherapist.  He seems to be getting better.  I am so glad.  Tomorrow there is a holiday.  Mom and I are going to the castle.  And we will tour the inside.  I hope we visit Grandpa.  Dad and Fredrik will go fishing.

I have written out a schedule for myself about how or what I should eat and when and how to train.  For example, biking, dancing, jogging etc.  I want to be in top form when the school class gets back from camping.  I don’t want them to come back bragging.  I want to be suntanned and I want to stop biting my nails.  I have made a whole binder of the Paris trip.  I want to start taking photos with my camera.  I want to go up the mountain with Maud and take pictures of us as angels.  I want to start dancing more than classical ballet now.  It is fun to discover new things.  Shirley MacClaine is going back to corps (gypsy) dancing.  She considers it the most fun.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March

For April 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 4, April- The Audition

This post is dedicated to my friend, Julia Kozlov, who embodies my love of all that is Russian- dance, literature, poetry, art…

Photo by Conrad Brown

Here is Julia in Grade 4:

From Julia re the 1977 diary:

I have greatly enjoyed reading your diary entries – what a beautiful youth you had – just as beautiful as your adulthood. I didn’t know you were Swedish and lived in Stockholm – amazing. Such great culture in Sweden and they sure are strict about their artistic schools! Anyway – amazing diary entries…

Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 4 April (age 15) The Audition


April 13

My birthday.  I am 15 now.  I feel big on the inside but small on the outside.  I wonder if I will always feel this small and young.  In one way, I hope so.  Then I can stay younger longer.  Time flies.  I wonder what I will be doing and who I will be when I am 18.  I’ll have to just live a day at a time.  It’s probably for the best.

April 23

Saturday.  Lord, it’s exactly 10 days since I wrote.  I sure have a lot to write.  But guess what I did today?  I auditioned at the Opera Ballet.  I have danced at the Opera Ballet!  My number was H1.  We get an answer in 2 weeks.  I wasn’t nervous till afterwards.  So long for now.  See you in the morning.  Good night.  – Nina

 April 25

Now I am sitting on a bench and waiting for the train to come and take me to ballet.  These endless trains.  I am so glad I am going to move.  Not that I would be glad to move from the Opera Ballet should I get in.  But everything else.  The trains, Central Station, gross people stumbling around with beer cans, tagging along after people, and that horrible, horrible school where nothing is fun.  One doesn’t dare to speak to anyone at anytime about anything.  All those stupid girls that walk around painting their faces and talking about clothes, and parties and who think that they can decide what everyone else should wear.  As soon as you don’t have tight enough jeans, they whisper.  I will be relived not to be tormented by Assyrian men.  I’ll explain more later.  Too many people around me right now.

The audition for the Opera Ballet. 

Number H1.  I went to the 3rd level foyer.  Karin and Carina were there.  Typical, I thought.  I wasn’t nervous though.  Mom and Dad came along.  The exam was 40 minutes delayed.  Then they opened the doors.  There were at least 20 judges.  I was so scared for the improvisation part of the exam.  But this was different.  We did a regular ballet class instead.  During the lesson, the judges asked me to do a demi-plié.  I guess they were checking turnout.  Svalberg was in the middle of all the judges.  When I was going to do waltz steps, it didn’t go so well.  I think that’s why I didn’t get in.

No, I didn’t get in…  This is how the letter read:

To guardians of Katarina Thorsen (H1), regarding completion of audition for the Opera Ballet student program, Saturday April 23, 1977.  We regret to inform you that we cannot offer a position to your son/daughter in our student school.  We thank you for your interest.



Gösta Svalberg

Do you think this meant that there was no room for me?  That if they had had room, I would have gotten in?  Svalberg signed it himself.  But I won’t give up.  I read about a ballerina that didn’t get into the Opera Ballet and now she dances in Leningrad.

My Diary, 1977  SÖDERTÄLJE– translated from Swedish, word for word, unabridged, sic, ad nauseum

Recall first post: My Diary 1977

For January 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 1, January

For February 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary, Part 2 February

For March 1977 go to: Snippets from my 1977 Diary Part 3, March