On June 2, the school year ended at the Swedish School at Sugar Loaf Park in Walnut Creek.
The late afternoon celebration included grilled hot dogs, homemade strawberry cakes, drinks, singing, “brannboll” and play.
First at the scene were John Dillon and his wife, Kristina Svensson. They got the barbeque going and set up the tables―just like in Sweden, where it is important to have table cloths and vases with fresh summer flowers on the tables, and Swedish Flags and blue and yellow balloons hung up before the families arrive with their potluck dishes.
While John kept an eye on the barbeque, the kids lined up on stage to sing all the Swedish songs they learned for this special occasion. No doubt about it: The traditional “En blomster tid nu kommer” has a very special place in the hearts of Swedish parents, bringing back memories of summers off from school.
For these kids, it's a boring song compared with “I Medelhavet…”, “Ida’s sommarvisa” and “Sill i dill.” In between the songs there were some solo performances, first by Natalie Andersson and Emma Caufield on recorder, playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and later Ingrid Norberg on violin, playing Bellman’s “Fjäril vingad syns pa Haga.” After the music, School Director Ami Rådström-Ditzel thanked the parent volunteers and offered a very special thank you to Maya Fink, a long-time Swedish School teacher who is leaving to move back to Sweden. What better presents could she receive than a fleece sweater, a pair of gloves and a scarf.
Just as Rådström-Ditzel was going to announce that it was time for refreshments, SWEA San Francisco’s President Camilla Podowski sneaked up to hand over a little surprise donation from SWEA San Francisco―a $750 donation to the school to use next year.
After that everyone hurried over for hot dogs, which disappeared fast, and it wan't long before there was a line for coffee, fruit and homemade fresh strawberry cakes or Swedish pancakes.
When everyone had enjoyed fika, a few brave parents and most of the children played a game of “brännboll” while others talked about their plans for the summer ... of course quite a few had plans for a trip back home to Sweden.