In Memory of a Swedish Centenarian, Christina Merryman (1913-2014)
Christina Merryman was born in Norrköping, Sweden, in 1913. Her father, Valdemar Eriksson, died of tuberculosis when Christina was 3 years old; she grew up with her mother, Edit, and her stepfather, Fredrik Andersson. Christina went through vocational training to become a bookkeeper and secretary and also went to school to learn tailoring. She eventually worked in both trades.

After World War II, Christina got a two-year work visa to the United States and traveled to Portland, Oregon, where she had relatives. Before her two years were up, she met Harold Merryman, a graduate from Oregon State University. Due to her visa status, she had to return to Sweden, but Harold was persistent in his pursuit of Christina and convinced her to return to America in 1952. He met her in New York, and she insisted that he marry her right there and then if she was going to ride with him in his car across the country. Christina was a very proper lady, and there was no other way, so they married before the long trip to Oregon.
Christina and Harold settled in Eugene, Oregon. In 1972 they moved to Portland. After settling in the United States, it was 16 years before she returned to Sweden, but after that, she went back every other year.
Christina Merryman was interviewed by SRIO at her home in Portland on December 14, 2010, for the book "Swedish Roots, Oregon Lives," documenting Swedish immigrants to Oregon. Her immigrant life story was earlier covered in Nordstjernan, Memories by a Centenarian in issue 9, volume 141 of May 2013.

“I actually never had any plans to go to America” was her first comment in any discussion with her friends. We should be very happy that she did, as America is a much better place for having immigrants like Christina Merryman.
Submitted by Leif Rosqvist

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