Modern Matriarchal Studies

Helheta / Gunilla Madegård

MMS Website Blog




Inuti varje flicka bor en skog

av galna tjattrande pappegojor

och tusenfärgade ödlor

På natten kan det hända

att älskaren märker bladen

som tränger ut genom öron och näsborrar

eller grodorna som kväker i munnen

fåglarna som bygger bo i håret

Ligger stumt vaken

och hör skogen prassla

och prata hela natten

Han sträcker ut en hand

och fångar en uppsluppen nyckelppiga

En lysmask lyser upp den sovandes slutna ögon

Vet hon Vet hon inte?

Han törs inget säga nästa morgon

Hon sminkar sig, ler

kysser hans mun till återseende

Men aldrig mer kommer han

Rädd som han är för den vilda skogen

Ur diktsamlingen LUFTBERUSNINGEN 1977

av Ann-Marie Berglund.


The church in Hovmantorp; where my father serviced as a church musician.

The elementary School in Hovmantorp where both of my parents worked as teachers and I spent my first years in school up until I was 12

And here, in this big red villa right beside the school and the church in Hovmatorp, we lived, me and my parents and three sisters, until I was 12.


And in the house on the photo beneath (our neighbours nextdoors to the right) they made the most delicious ice cream cakes, that we bought for our sunday dessert.



These four buildings constituted the centre of the village Hovmantorp in the middle of Småland in the fifties, just some 40 km from the village Berg in Vährend, where the legendary author Elin Wägner eventully built her home "Lilla Björka". She died just one year after I was born 1948. (Look at the map!)



I fairly well recognize the atmosphere among the people she describes in her novels from this part of Småland, as well as the environments of its dark forests, and its many runs, rivulents and rapids flowing across the landscape between its plentiful scattered lakes - so rich in variousity and beauty, as well as the communal life surrounding the church and her her uncle´s vicage in Tolg, following the rythm of the seasons of the year.
This seems to had turned out to be a real paradise to childrens play and imaginative life.
I really loved Småland. And this is exactly as how I remembered it, as beautiful as in a dream or a fancy fairytale. No wonder that so many famous Swedish writers come from this district, as for example both Wilhelm Moberg, Pär Lagerqvist och Elin Wägner and not so far away from here, also Astrid Lindgren.


In wintertime, as well as in fall and spring, I just loved  walking around on my own in the deep forest and never felt afraid, but as safe as at in my own home.


This is me, as a little girl of five or six, sitting by that piano, whereby I so often could listen to my mother playing her classic pearls, with a distant look in her face, lost into another world of daydreams and beauty. My admiration for her great prowess was enormous. To me she was more like a Goddess, than a normal human being when the pearls from her classics of Mozart, Schuman, Beethoven and the Swedish national romantic Lars Erik Larsson and others were rolling from her hands.


Click on the image to listen to my mother´s music!

Not to mention how my soul loved to sweep around in the lofty space
of great glory and  splended beauty inside the church in Hovmantorp lost into another world, listenig to my father playing the churhcorgan, dwelling in one of the half-moon windows at the organ-loft, my soul just drifting away, sweeping around, high up above the top of the trees in the forest at the northern side of the church.


My favorite piece of music for organ by Bach:

And this is my very handsome father playing the church organ - also him like a real God. 


Just to the left of the church there was a so-called "community"-house which lodged a little library, in which I used to botanize. The really odd thing was though, that I can´t remember any grownup assisting in there, so that you could feel free to pick whatever book you liked.


So, without any help from assisting grownups I think I amazingly quick got orientated among the bookshelfs just on my own, to find exactly that what interested me. I have at least no memory of anyone advising me to borrow the books I devoured as if I was starving from hunger of fantasy.


The books,  beyond Pippi Långstrump, that I could read over and over again,  which eventually came to exert most impact on my imagination were such as "Gone With the Wind",  Dostojevskis "Anna Karenina" and "The Idiot", "The Three Musketeers"  as well as the so tremendously exciting biographies over Isadora Duncan and Josephine Baker unconventional way of living.


Click on the image to listen to my childhood music: 

Click on the images for to listen to the music of the French composer Francis Poulenc accompanying the dance of Isadora Duncan and Josephine Baker!


If it was due to these books, that I eventually developed such a tendency to disappear into daydreams of the more expanded kind of womens life, than just that one of  becoming a simple housewife with a lot of children and such, I don´t know. Anyhow a life like that, I was sure,  just happened to some kind of women, but definitely not me.

Quite the contrary were my daydreams always about reaching far out for the really great adventures. As a given, I imagined my life exactly as those of Josephine Baker and Isadora Duncan,  travelling around dancing and expressing myself freely on my own premises and without necessarily getting married. Especially the former made a deep impression on me,  as I after all hold a rather strong instinct of protection, due to the fact that she had adopted a lot of orphans.


Inside the dark and cosy Småland you had such a nice feeling of being safely enfolded and surrounded by the nature and culture; music and books and the school. But in summertime that instead easily could turn into a feeling of being trapped and stifled.


Therefore the relief of entering the open landscape and total freedom of Öland after having landed in Färjestaden with the ferryboat from Kalmar, was all the more noticeable - this long and thin island outside the eastcoast of southern Sweden, where I live nowadays.


Here my parents built a little cheep, but very nice cottage in the middle of the fifties and therefore I eventually came to know and love this landscape as much as the one inside Småland. Specially in springtime, though, when the coast climat here on Öland is harsh and chilly, I often long back to the kind of wondeful wood anemone fields, that I remember from my childhood in the forests around Hovmantorp, and that´s pictured above.


Here you can see our newbuilt summer cottage, and me sitting to the right of my father and my youngest sister Ingalill to his left, my oldest sister Birgitta kneeing beside the lady in the chair, and then my mother  in the chair to the right.


Here our relatives from my fathers birthplace Madesjö in Småland have come to make their inspection of our new summer residence. They couldn´t for their lives understand how you could chose a place like this,  without any trees.

I remember this summer very well as the hotest of them all, (around 1957-8) because I recognize the blue striped shorts I then was wearing   during the whole summer, whithout any other clothing at all.


Here we are having a nice time at the beach with my mother, me and my three sisters, Ulla to the right and then Ingalill, the youngest one, and behind my my oldest sister Birgitta.

And then in the end of the summer when everything here on Öland was burnt as a desert and had taken this gloomy brownish colour, it was quite a relief to come back to civilisation again and to start school that i just loved because of my wondeful teacher Anna Johansson, of whom I unfortunately haven´t got any photo, because she was really a very very good teacher.


Our garden was full of the heavy scents of the flowers from fall and from fruits and berrys. And then in the end of august the obligatory and very much longed for cray-fish party deluxe took part, of which there were plenty in the sees and rivulets in Småland


The photo here beneath is of my school-class when I was 10 years old standing in the second line next to the left. The photo is talen in our garden next to the school yo can see a glimpse of behind. I liked my teacher Hans Wahlström, he was kind - and also o socialist which my dad didn´t like.



This is what Hovmantorp looked like 1912. You can see a little bit of the western side of our house and the old schoolbuilding behind it. To the right of our house there is a white building that has knocked down since then. Thereafter it was made to a parkingplace for church visitors and the teachers working in the new school, that was built in the fifties, and you can see above on this page. In the fifties the society grew rapidly from its glass production at Hovmantorps glassworks.

Old schoolhouse ⇓                            Our House  ⇓

And this is what the present so fashionable beach in Djupvik for tourists, looked like 1921 when the indigenous people from Öland had their income from these windmills, which worked as manufactories, which the workers together with their horses, drove in order to grind limestones to be shipped by boat to the mainland for disposal.

Uggletorps affär