Going Home Again

Chance or accident?  Perhaps . . .

My Dad, Carl Ohlin, came as a nine year old, with his parents, Peter and Maria Ohlin from Sweden, and for the rest of their lives they might have wished to go back for a visit, but time and circumstances said no.

But Wayne Ursenbach, the husband of, Bernice, one of Carl’s daughters, was in Europe on company business, and when that was over, he called Bernice, to ‘come on over’ and let’s do a bit of exploring. And they did.

And one of the places, was Eskilstuna, Sweden, where Dad had lived as a boy. They prowled, and they, as well as the woman at a Traveler’s Information counter, were in awe as they found they were there on a street that Dad had known and mentioned.   And Bernice cried as she wished she could have told Dad of the day and coincidence.

Then time passed and Wayne and Bernice’s son Stephen, in Europe this past month, also went to his Grand Dad’s (Carl) home town, and rejoiced as he photographed tall churches that had been there for centuries. Buildings that Carl couldn’t have helped but have seen and known.   And there was rejoicing on both sides of the Atlantic over the ‘going home’ occasions.

Today, with travel so available, one would think parades of people would be ‘going home again’. and joyously do so in some parts of the world, but in others????   Yes, in others, it’s best to not even try, for you might never get there, much less get back..

Read on and I’ll tell a tale of one person, and in my whole story I shall hide all mention of gender. Safer that way. But the mother of one of a couple who had lived in a mid-east country, died, and the child of that woman, decided to go home, from America, for the rites. It wasn’t a good decision, for they never dreamed the ‘traveler’ would be imprisoned, labeled a spy, and threatened with death. Returning to the American home an impossible dream.

I met this person about 20 years ago, and had occasion to hear the first part of their story. How they chose, to leave that mid-east country, and ‘come to America’ bringing their children with them. Same as thousands have done over the centuries and it was good..

They were skilled in crafts which have world-wide usage, and so easily found work, Their children adapted to American schools and by the time I met them the kids were ready for college and the two were both doing extra work to help pay their ways. Nice.

Time passed and not too long ago I stumbled upon people who know the couple I write about, and quite accidentally heard the second part of their story, only this was a ‘going home’ story of horror par excellence.

The death of the mother was sad, and so they thought it would be good if she/he went ‘Home’ for the sorrowful rites. But it was not to be, for as she/he stepped from the plane in that mid-east country, he/she was met by the police and for the next five months was imprisoned as a spy, traitor or whatever. The joy of any family ‘reunion’ was lost in terror as the family, from both there and here, were put through absolute hell.

Those there, had to prove they weren’t sending information to America, and the one from here, going home for a funeral, had to prove his/her innocence.

Five months is a long time and the execution of that one was tossed back and forth by the authorities there, with even the date of execution set.

Who knows what happened? And if anyone knows, who will tell, but suddenly she/he was released and told to get out of that country fast if they valued their life. The people telling me, knew only the basic facts, No details. No one talks. And so fear we have never known before is implanted here in America. The fear of simply sharing the events of our lives.

Our family, in Sweden, rejoiced, told the world, sent pictures by the internet and gloried in searching for old bonds. The other not too far away by today’s reckoning, was luckier than many, and was not executed, but only imprisoned, mistreated, then suddenly kicked out.

We live in two worlds, and can only thank The Source’ that we were born here on this side of the world, and not there on the other side.  TYG



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