Memories coming in from the cold.

So, for seemingly no reason at all I mention Budd Lake, New Jersey today. This sets of a trigger of memories. From my birth through the 1980s, my family went to Budd Lake every year for Vasa Day, a Swedish-American festival of grand proportions that kind of faded in its later years.

At some point in the 1970s, there was a major event at Vasa Day. As I recall, members of the Swedish royal family appeared, which included a speech of some kind by the king of Sweden. I was eleven or twelve at the time and wasn't much interested in all that. I would hang out with relatives and look for kids my age. It was an annual ritual to break away from the family and find some kids. The place was like a giant picnic grounds and there were always kids down at the playground.

So, I'm down at the playground, on the swings or that ridiculous spinning thing they had that you could get to spin around with people on it at dangerous speeds. There were some kids there, including this one blonde girl who spoke with an accent and had a strange last name. I remember her laughing at my attempts to pronounce it. I would take her up to the bar where my Uncle Victor would always make a big show of serving me a Coke in a glass as if it were an alcoholic beverage. He made a big play about how I was buying a drink for the "pretty young lady."

Her family was strange, or at least I thought so at the time. They were very proper acting and were overdressed for a summer picnic. She had changed, but now she needed to change back. Every night there was a lengthy dance with a Swedish band, real ballroom dancing kind of stuff. She changed into this beautiful dress and I was still in my playground clothes. She wanted to dance, so I obliged, but I couldn't dance and felt foolish trying. She told me I was cute and kissed me. I remember talking and her saying she was leaving. It was the first time I ever kissed a girl. We sat outside on a bench while everyone else was dancing, holding hands and talking. She had this thing about catching fireflies in jars, but mostly that seemed to involve her brother catching them.

"Mom, I want to take dance lessons so next year I will be able to dance with her and not look stupid."

"She won't be back next year, honey."

I took the dance lessons anyway, even though I never managed to learn much from them. Later in life I lived with a professional ballroom dancer for a year and she couldn't teach me either, so it wasn't the instructor. I went back to Budd Lake the next year, but the girl wasn't there.

I had to call my mother about it. She only remembers vaguely the details and does not remember what year it was, but yes, the Swedish royal family was there one year, about a dozen royal types according to my mother. My mother only vaguely remembers me dancing with the girl and believes she was somehow involved with the royal family. That is all she remembers. However, I can recall some details now that eluded me for a long time. She had a younger sister and an older brother, but there wasn't much of an age difference between them.

The strange thing about this is that I may have just remembered the source of two patterns in my life, the result of an unresolved conflict. The boy who took dance lessons waiting for the girl from last year to show up at the big annual event and her not showing up. I remember it being completely heartbreaking. I truly expected her to be there the following year, even though I had been told she would not be there because she was going back to Sweden.

Except that a little research brought me to this: Princess Desiree Elisabeth Sibylla, sister of the King of Sweden (who was in fact there that year, that much is confirmed), has three children, Carl Otto Edmund, born March 22, 1965, Christina Louise, born September 29. 1966, Helene Ingeborg, born September 20. 1968. Three children close in age with the middle child being named Christina, who is about a year younger than me and fits the incomplete memory perfectly. I remember her brother being my age and her little sister being a bit younger. She even looks familiar in some way in the pictures I have found of her. It is possible that this is the girl in question. Her making fun of me for not being able to pronounce her name? The girl's name is Silfverschiold. However, I've been unable to get any information about visits by the Swedish Royal Family to the United States in the 1970s.

This is one of those weird things that melts your mind. It would explain the origin of the Three Queens pattern as well as the repeating Christinas and my need to attach royal names to my girlfriends for no apparent reason. Was the Baroness Christina Louise of Sweden my first real crush?

Oh, man. That is just too fucking weird, dude. I have just officially freaked out.