Friday, 2 September 2011

Cafe Day

My mother and I took a turn about town to run some errands, and for lunch we stopped by Nya Konditoriet, a cafe which sells cakes and pastries on the bottom floor and sandwiches and coffee on the top floor, which can only be reached by climbing stairs hollowed-out by footsteps over many years. Nya Konditoriet is an old and respectable establishment in Umeå--so old and respectable, in fact, that my mother remembers it being old and respectable in her own childhood. She was surprised to learn that I had never once visited its premises, and she was delighted to share some of her own memories of the place.

They have retained much of the original decor.

When she was only six or seven, my mother used to come here after ballet class with her friend Sylvia (who was a twin and whose father owned the leather factory wherein my grandmother worked for some time as a receptionist) and Sylvia's mother. Sylvia's mother bought them each a cinnamon bun a tall bottle of Coca-Cola, which they shared--a glass each
"I always wanted to have one more bun, and I always longed for her to ask me if I wanted another--I was always hungry at five or six--but she never did, and I was too shy to ask."
It was the first time my mother tasted Coca-Cola, and she didn't drink it again until her holiday in Spain when she was thirteen.

"For the first two years, my father knew that I attended ballet class, but after that he thought it was a waste of money. So then I danced without his knowledge. But one day Michael let it slip, 'Erika has been to ballet class.'"
"What? Ballet class!" exclaimed father, and put an end to it.
You see, it cost 100 kronor for a term--a vast amount in those days.
"To think you could have been a ballerina," said I.
Mother, rather wistfully. "Yes."

As my mother remembers it, there used to be no self-serve station. They served you coffee in a cup with a tiny pitcher of creamer and a glass of water on the side.

This day I ordered a brie cheese and rhubarb marmelade sandwiche.

Mamma took this picture of me.

I took this picture of mamma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a magical place!