Personal/Oral History


This assignment will present life stories from four different people in my family; my father, my mother and my father’s parents - my grandparents. My grandparents are quite unique because they have lived in almost every part of Sweden. More or less, all of their children have been born in different cities. Their travelling is in my opinion quite amazing and that is the reason for why I have chosen to write this story. My assignment is going to focus on why people are moving in their own countries. What make them do that? Are they tired of living at the same place or has it do to with weather, job, etc? I am going to figure out why my grandparents and parents move and the difference from before and today. Are there any similarity?  

Interview with: My father and mother (meeting) and my grandfather and grandmother (telephone).


 My grandfather, Nils Ronquist, was born in 1935 in Eskelhem, Gotland. He grew up with his five brothers (!) and his father and mother. His father, Nils-Henrik, was a priest and his mother, Ingrid, was a teacher. They lived in the vicarage under quite hard conditions compared to our modern standards. They had seven tiled stoves which they where forced to fill with new wood every day. Running water was not to think about, water pump outside was the only water they had. But the family’s condition could be improved when the electricity came to the family at the year 1947. Since Ingrid had study nature on the University she was able to draw the electricity into the kitchen totally alone.

My grandmother, Monika Kalebsson, was born in the town Elsemåla outside the city Tingsryd in Småland in the year 1939. She had seven brothers and sisters. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a nurse. They owned 2 acres of land which all together with the income from the mother’s job as a nurse gave the whole family their needs.


But when did they meet? Nils and Monika both moved from their hometowns to start study in Lund in the 60’s. They became room neighbours when they both started study at the private University Spyken. They fell in love and started dating. Monika became pregnant and in December 1962 she gave birth to their first daughter Gunilla.


They took their upper-secondary final examination and went to Gotland to get married earlier that same year. They where now Nils and Monika Ronquist. Back in Lund Nils received a job offer in Nyköping, Södermanland. So the family moved to an apartment in Nyköping and Nils started to work at AB atomenergy. They lived in Nyköping for eight years until Nils had received a new job. At this time two new children had come to the Ronquist family, Birgitta and my father, Hans. Since the new job enticed Nils, they moved for the second time. Now to Fagersta in Västmanland. He got a job at Fagersta Factory, but the Factory did not go that well, therefore Nils and Monika decided to try the luck at another place. They moved to the North of Sweden, to Kalvbäcken.

 Kalvbäcken was a small village with a few numbers of inhabitants. They took up their residence in a farm and bought goats to make goat cheese. Nils also started to work in the forest, and as a teacher in a school. Monika started to work as a nurse in a hospital in the neighbour village Bredbyn. The three children started school. Monika did also give birth for their last child here, Johanna.

When the children had grown up and moved away from home to study, Nils and Monika decided to sell their animals and move back to Gotland. They had found a larger farm so they could have room for more animals. The new farm was located in Grötlingbo, outside the community Havdhem, in south Gotland. The farm was large with a big yellow house. Around the house there were apple, cherry and pear trees and beside the house there was a big red barn. They had large pasture for lambs, cows and horses, a dream place for real. Beside the hard work at the farm, Nils continued to work as a teacher and Monika as a nurse at Hemse Health Centre. But the time went on and Nils and Monika grown old. They became gradually quite tired of the hard work, so they decide to sell their farm. They moved from Gotland, to Småland, to a nice little apartment in sweet Västervik near the ocean to be worthy pensioners.

 Meanwhile Nils and Monika moved to Gotland my father Hans finished his last year at upper secondary technical school in Örnsköldsvik, one and a half hour drive by car from Kalvbäcken. After school he also moved to Gotland to do his military duty. After the military duty Hans got a job at Scania, Södertälje, outside Stockholm, where he became a design engineer.

One day when Hans and his oldest sister Gunilla went to Stockholm, Skeppsholmen, for a blues festival, he by a coincidence ran into Annica, the love of his life.

 Annica was born in December 1969 in Bredbyn, a small village one hour from Örnsköldsvik. She lived with her brother Kent and her mother Nancy and father Jan-Erik. Her father ran his own company as a carpenter and car mechanic. Her mother worked at the village food store, Konsum.

When Annica became sixteen she started study at the same upper secondary school as Hans. After upper secondary school she moved from Örnsöldsvik to Umeå with the dream to be a hair stylist. She became apprentice at Börjes Klippstuga in the city. Unfortunately she could not complete the education since she got to much skin rash. So she started over and moved all the long way down to Stockholm, to be settled in Bromma. She started work at Konsum at Sveavägen. But when she met my father, she had changed job to Posten in Rissne, Solna.

 After the night at Skeppsholmen when Hans and Annica met they started dating. A year later Annica become pregnant with their first daughter, me. Annica moved from Bromma to a common apartment in Södertälje. She gave birth to Jennifer in Södertälje Hospital in the morning the 19 of august 1990. It was a rainy day. After a while they realized that Södertälje city was not the best place for Jennifer to grow up. So Hans and Annica moved to a small community outside Södertälje, Åkerstyckebruk.

Jennifer started go to the day nursery and Jennifer’s little sister arrived to the world, Josefine. The year was 1992, and actually on my father’s birthday, august the 15. Our family lived in a nice apartment, Hans was still working at Scania and Annica was home with the baby. The years went by and Annica started work at the community’s Postal Service and the two daughters started school.


But in the year 1997 Annica received a new job offer. The job was in Solna, so the family was forced to move again. There was even another reason for my parents to move from the small community, Annica and Hans wanted to come nearer Stockholm. They wanted to have better communications and better schools for their daughters. They found a nice yellow house in Tumba, a suburb to Stockholm. Jennifer and Josefine switched school, which they where very happy with, and got a lot of new friends. The house was bigger and had a big garden so their daughters could play around a lot. I think that was the best thing my parents could do. My mother got a nice career at Posten and my father had closer to his work. And we are still living there.


So what is the reason for people to move in their own countries? My grandparents generation are not so unlike my parents generation. My grandparents moved because of studying and work. Nils and Monika moved both from their hometowns to start studying in a private school for good education. When they met and married they moved together, which my father and mother also did when she was pregnant with me. My grandfather and grandmother where in my opinion really courageous since they in fact did not know how their new lives in the new town where going to be like. People in our time have really hard with that, maybe because it is quite impossible to...

I think that another big difference between my grandparents and parents generation is farming. There was a more important part for people in the past. It was better to could earn living directly from the farm instead of working with other jobs. Now are there a very few numbers of people that provide their self with just farming. Almost everyone is working in offices, and the most of the old farms are gone. The small farms have been exchanged to fewer but bigger “factories”, like Arla. Therefore are there harder for the small farmers who are remaining to survive.

There was also not that big hysteria of living in a city before. People were quite spread over the whole country (and happy with that). In our time almost everyone moves into the big cities. The reasons can be differently; jobs, living, culture and communications.


Education has also a big affect when it comes to moving. As my grandparents both of my parents moved from their families to start study. The difference from the past is that it is more important now to have a perfect education to get a good job. Even if it was really good to have a good education, you could have survived without it. In our modern you must have an education to get a job; otherwise it is going to be really hard.

 Jennifer Ronquist