Back in the early 90s I was given the opportunity to work with a children’s theater group. It was part of a Government work scheme and for me, an introduction into Swedish society. I was just learning Swedish at the time and wasn’t really sure if I would understand anything whatsoever. It was an easy going group though. They were patient with me and although for the most part, they spoke Swedish with me, they sometimes stretched the bar to English as well. The manuscript looked fun and my character was perfectly suited for me.
The show was about a group of animals who lived in the forest and a group of youngsters named, ‘The Garbage Gang’ (Skräpgänget). I played the part of Bill Battery. Bill was far from smart and it was more the things he did than the things he said that had such impact. I did have a singing part, which was fun. Singing in Swedish was much more fun than I thought it would be.
It was while working with this production that I met a young man named Leif. Leif and I hit it off from the very beginning. He was a year older than me, a musical genius and an all-round, great guy. To begin with we didn’t have an awful lot to do with each other outside of work, although we quite obviously had a lot to do with each other during working hours.
The show was a great success. We invited school classes to come and watch, and we went out to schools to teach young students the importance of recycling. The show was indeed the foundation of my fascination with the theater and was a project that I am proud to have been a part of.
One evening I received a phone call. It was Leif. At the time he was living about a mile away from me. He was in somewhat of a dilemma and wondered if I could help him out. Money was tight and he was the father of a wonderful, little girl named Linnea. Linnea was almost a year old and lived with him every other week. The problem was that he could no longer afford to live in his rented accommodation. Perhaps I could offer a solution.
I didn’t have much either, hadn’t been in the country all that long and had very little money as it was. I did have a two-room apartment though. Obviously, I was a little apprehensive at first. I didn’t really relish the idea of living with a man, even if we were only good friends, although in all fairness, a friend in need is a friend in deed and I certainly didn’t want him and his little girl without a roof over their head.
Until next time with the continuation …