The childhood home

It was to the credit of Astrid’s father, the then 18 year-old Samuel August that the family ended up on the property at Näs. He was working as a farmhand for his uncle Per Otto in Vennebjörke when he found out that the tenancy of the rectory at Näs would soon become vacant. He decided to try to get his parents interested in it and one Saturday evening in August 1894 he trekked the twenty kilometres from Vennebjörke home to Sevedstorp. The journey took several hours and Samuel August got chafed feet and was forced to take off his shoes and go barefoot. Later in life, when recounting the story, he said: “And I wished for a bike, so it was odd that it didn’t just come up out of the ground”.

The move to Näs

That walk was a deciding factor on the rest of his life. Samuel August succeeded in getting his parents interested in applying for the residency at Näs, but the final decision rested in the hands of the rural dean, Johan Teodor Blidberg. After one of the services, the dean and the teacher at the school were talking about Samuel from Sevedstorp. The school teacher was pointing out that a tenant farmer has to be tough with the people he employs and that Samuel was a little bit too soft. But the churchwarden, Jonas Petter Jonsson from Hult was also there and he disagreed, saying, “It usually works just as well for people who are nice to manage other folk.” At that time, nobody would have guessed that one day, Jonas Petter Jonsson would end up being Samuel August’s father-in-law.

And so it transpired that Samuel August, his parents and the rest of the family moved in as tenant farmers on the property at Näs. It was on 30th April, 1895 that the Ericssons arrived with their cartload of furniture and belongings. Samuel August had arrived at Näs, the place where he would live out his life and eventually die.

Astrid´s childhood home. Watercolour by Leif RuhnströmInterior from her childhood home. Watercolour by Leif RuhnströmInterior from her childhood home. Watercolour by Leif Ruhnström