We probably all suffered from different kinds of PTSD. Mother had gone through a childhood which included a kind, but weak mother, an alcoholic and abusive father, nine siblings, and extreme poverty. Father and his seven siblings never quite got over the terror they felt for their father, who would punish them brutally. My siblings and I were starving like baby birds from lack of physical and emotional closeness to our parents. All four of us were very quiet and lacked  basic self-esteem.

Mother tried to free herself from her worries by keeping her house sparkling clean. When given a chance, Father would attempt to find a moment’s freedom by getting drunk. Daydreaming was my way to search for a better world. 

 During my childhood, the family made one single Sunday excursion. Early that morning, Mother poured hot coffee into a thermos and made sandwiches. Father put hammers, screwdrivers, and paint scrapers in an old bag. Everybody put their dirtiest clothes on.

We left home on our bikes and went to a place where there was a big pile of old, used tiles. To make some extra money, Father had accepted a one day job for a construction firm. Our task was to free the tiles from cement to make them reusable.

Without telling anybody, I was excited. The owner of the construction company had a daughter who was in my class. Annika was a peaceful girl, with cute freckles and golden blond hair. She was the most beautiful girl I knew. 

All day long, I was daydreaming…

The manager unexpectedly shows up to inspect our work. His daughter is with him. When she sees me, she comes over to talk. She looks deep into my eyes. She smiles and invites me to visit her in their big, beautiful house. 

In the evening, when we returned home, we were dirty and exhausted. Next day was a Monday and we would go back to factory work and schools. 

We had done a good job, freeing the tiles from the grey, stubborn cement. What could liberate us from our past traumas?

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Preston Randall
Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

I think all of your stories are marvellous, and knowing they are based on your actual life experiences makes for an even richer read, in my opinion. Most of my writing is also either based solely on personal experience, or adapted in some way from that experience. Unfortunately, I’ve found… Read more »

Preston Randall
Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

Thanks again Christer for your kind comments. Yes, I also feel that receiving some type of explanation as to why a story isn’t shortlisted would be a great solution and enhancement to the site. It wouldn’t need to be a full review but just a phrase or two to provide… Read more »

Voice-Team
Voice-Team(@voice-team)
Admin
Reply to  Preston Randall
1 month ago

We noticed this conversation between you and  Christer Norrlof We have not been able to publish stories in our usual timely manner due to one of our vital volunteer’s recent cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemotherapy. However, our remaining volunteer team is still working hard. We recently made some improvements that… Read more »

Preston Randall
Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

I’m also very sorry to hear about the illness of one of Voice.club’s generous volunteers, and understand how this can affect the publishing timeframe. I also want to thank Voice.club for the creation of a new contest entry status system along with a more detailed explanation of how the process… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Preston Randall
Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
Reply to  Voice-Team
1 month ago

I am truly sorry to hear that one of our wonderful hard working Voice.Club volunteer editors is sick. Cancer is such a horrid illness which strikes without tolerance- the young and the elderly, the healthy and the unhealthy, men and women. I wish this volunteer a healthy recovery and God… Read more »

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
2 months ago

Great idea, Christer, and one that I could ape. My childhood in Scotland was, I thought, worth recording and have done so In my memoirs (part 1) called Abo – A Wee Boy’s Progress. blurb over, this is fascinating stuff. When I think of Sweden, Stockholm is not foremost in… Read more »

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

I’m about to read the other parts of your offering, Christer. Spent last night up until 02.00 formatting and indexing my 100 flash stories book (out soon). Abo is the nickname I was given by colleagues in one unit of the organisation I worked for, not Åbo, the town in… Read more »

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

It is that time of year, when we look back on our personal histories and muse. Like you I have written about my mother’s past. The past does indeed define us.
Christer, enjoyed reading about another culture, country and habits. Wow, what we did to make money is fascinating!

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago

Voice-Team I just wanna take a moment to ask if it would be possible to send my well wishes to the person you’ve mentioned? I understand these things myself. I have had surgery, I am now on month three of chemo. I understand how hard and trying of time this… Read more »

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
1 month ago

Melissa, so sorry to hear that you too have been sick and undergoing chemo. I wish you and your family the best for 2023. I always enjoy your talented writing.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

Thanks so much Christer and Margarida! You’d be suprised where you can find strength, when you have no other option! I’m on a low-dose treatment currently. If all goes well I’ll be done with it in March– I’m feeling fairly positive about everything so far. One day at a time… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
1 month ago

Mellisa, I feel so emotional knowing that you have been sick and undergoing chemo. All I can send you is my prayers for your past recovery. Prayer is our best weapon against any kind of illness. Get well soon. God bless you and your family.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
Reply to  Lotchie Carmelo
1 month ago

Thank you very much for your kind words, Lotchie. You’re a great friend.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago

Christer, this is great! I love that you write about your memories, culture and country. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Hello, Christer. I admire your bravery to write about your past. Only a few can do it. I wish many will be inspired to do so. Well done. 

I am excited to read the next part.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Christer Norrlof
1 month ago

You’re most welcome, Christer.

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