…exactly one year after the Challenger disaster, I had a more personal loss.
My mother, Marie-Luise Martinsson (born Groeling) suddenly and unexpectedly died, just a few weeks short of her 61st birthday. She was born in 1926 in Lauenburg in what was then Pommern. Since the end of WWII the town is called Lbork and belonging to Poland. My mom was just 19 years old when the war ended. The picture to the right was taken aroudn that time, probably in 1944. She lost her only brother (who I am named after)in the war (he was a glider pilot)as well asthe oldest of her two younger sisters due to diphtheria the year after. Her father had become a POW and was imprisoned by the Russians, but was eventually released a few years after the end of the war. My grandparents settled in Stralsund in the then DDR. Not until they retired were they allowed to move to the west, where my aunt lived.
My mom was on the run for a couple of months, escaping the Russian troops pushing west through Germany, and she eventually ended up in Bremen. She later moved to the Hamburg area, where she worked for a few years.
In the 1950’s (I think 1952) she moved to Sweden to work as a nanny for a Swedish Air Force Colonel, and she ended up staying. In 1967 she met my father and they got married.
My mom was a great cook. She had been schooled in cooking during her late teens, and she could cook all kind of dishes. She was also great at baking. We often had fresh home-baked bread growing up, and both me and my sister to this day enjoy cooking and baking. I have to admit that my sister is better than I am, but I consider myself a decent cook.
She was strict but loving to me and my sister. Perhaps it was her German upbringing, or just due to the fact she belonged to an older generation (she turned 43 the week after I was born), but I am very grateful that she instilled some discipline in me. She was also very adamant about acting like a gentleman, opening doors for people, treating women well, etc. All those things have been beneficial to me later in life.
She was not too happy about me spending so much time in the computer room in school, instead of coming home to do homework. But I am sure she knew I would eventually work with computers or something similar. I just wish she would have been able to see me succeed in life, and to see my son Erik being born.
My mom stayed home until both me and my sister were in school. Then she worked nights at a local hospital for a while. The last few years of her life she worked for the German Parish in Stockholm. Her funeral was held in the German Church in Stockholm’s Old Town.
Thank you for everything, mom. You made me into what I am today.
Marie-Luise Martinsson (Groeling)
1926 – 1987