Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Old Spice Guy

It´s father´s day in Sweden today and I just got off the phone with my own father.

I love my father dearly and I also know that my father loves me with a deep and unfailing love, just like he has always loved my mother and my sisters. Nonetheless we have always had some problem communicating directly with each other ever since I was an adolescent. For deep heart-to-heart conversations we always needed my mother presence - or one of my sisters - otherwise we end up yelling at each other. It´s strange, really strange, because both of us want to avoid these unnecessary conflicts but we end up misunderstanding each other without an interpreter to cool things down.

My father´s passion for his immediate family stems from his strange childhood, I believe. He was born in the 1930´s when my grandmother and grandfather had not yet been married. Apparently it was a huge scandal those days, so my grandmother traveled with my infant father from the countryside where she was living to the largest town close by.

With the infant boy in her arms she apparently walked the streets of the small town and asked women she met if they would like to have him and take care of him. Finally she met a woman who agreed to do this and my father was handed over to the other woman.

My father did not meet his mother again until he was 18 years old. The reason for this meeting was that he was going to do his military service and the military asked him which of three surnames was his true one. They sent him to his birth mother to find out. Dad went to meet her together with my mother, whom he had met and fallen madly in love with when he was 15.

At the meeting my grandmother told my father that she had married my grandfather soon after dropping off my father. They now had five more children together. She had however never considered bringing back my father. The visit was successful in the sense that my father could return to the military and inform them of his correct surname, but in every other way it was seemingly a total disaster.

The contact between my grandmother and my father in particular, but also with my mother, remained strained for the rest of my grandmothers life. I cannot remember meeting her more than at the most 10 times, partly because we were living abroad but also because there was no will on either part to meet.

This background and the intense love between my parents has made us a very close knit family. Both my parents have always showered us kids with love and support in every situation. We still great each other with pecks on the lips and hugs.

Since my childhood there is one scent that I will forever associate with my father, even through the years when it was no longer fashionable, and that is the scent of the original "Old Spice".

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