Samuel August had noticed Hanna as early as 1888 in school and since then had never been able to forget the girl with the fringe. He thought about her a lot over the years. In 1902 they both happened to be invited to the same wedding and this led to an exchange of postcards and letters. In the early spring of 1903 they met up again by chance in the town. Hanna was going to spend some time in Vimmerby to learn weaving, and whilst she was there they continued to meet. They went for walks together and drank tea at the Café Royal. It later turned out that neither was particularly fond of tea. But it was considered more refined to drink tea than coffee, and they both wanted to make a good impression on the other.
Under the weeping ash
And so one snowy evening in the early spring, on a bench under a weeping ash in the churchyard, Samuel August plucked up the courage and asked Hanna to marry him. Astrid has described it like this:
“Do you think that you and I could live happily together?”
To that, Hanna replied:
“Not on our own strength must we rely!”
Hanna had been brought up in a strictly religious home, and what she meant was that they had to be reliant on God’s help.
The love story of the millennium
That answer was never quite accepted by Hanna’s children. But Samuel August Ericsson and Hanna Jonsson were married in 1905 in Pelarne Church – the beginning of a lifelong love story. Samuel August and Hanna settled in at Näs and before long they took over the lease from Samuel August’s father.
Astrid talked about how good it was to have Samuel August and Hanna as parents. “It made us feel safe to have those two, who cared so much for one another and who were always there when we needed them. But, otherwise they allowed us the freedom to happily roam about the fantastic playground which the Näs of our childhood was.”
In the book Samuel August from Sevedstorp and Hanna from Hult, Astrid has written of their love story: “There was more love than I’ve ever read about in books, and for me it was beautiful and moving.” In 1999, the story was chosen by Swedish radio listeners as the love story of the millennium.