If I’m being honest (it is the best policy!), I didn’t know the translation of Eklund until about 2 minutes before writing this post. I’ve always just explained that it’s a family name. More specifically, it is our Swedish paternal grandmother, Ruth’s, maiden name. She is the beauty pictured above. Now though, I can tell you that Eklund in Swedish breaks down into Ek and lund. Ek means oak and lund means grove. So, if that was all you were wondering- mission accomplished! Oak Grove! Thank goodness for the Swedish language though, because “Oak Grove Griffin” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. It feels more like the nickname for a very effective bouncer. I much prefer Eklund.
If you’re willing to spare a few extra moments, there is a bit more to it than that. The literal translation is the only tip of the emotive Eklund iceberg. Our great grandparents, Hannah and Wilhelm Eklund emigrated from Sweden and wound up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine many moons ago where Hannah ran the Ocean House inn for years and years.
From the get-go, Hannah was a hustler… and a damn good cook. She was a veritable one armed wall paper hanger. (And our great grandfather could actually hang wallpaper with one arm. He was a professional painter and had incredibly steady hands. I’d be surprised to learn if that man ever once taped off crown molding in his career- he was full of pride and bravado.) Anything Hannah put her mind to, it seemed like it was gonna happen. I mean, look at that woman (pictured below)- if she doesn’t look every bit the cool, confident and commanding lady of the house, I don’t know what does!
Ruth, on the other hand, was a passionate actress and educator. As a teacher she poured herself into her students every day. She also helped to create the first in-school library locally in South Portland and went on to establish 14 others in schools around Maine. This woman did it all, so here is a brief laundry list of her philanthropic persuits: serving as a member of the Trustees of the Thomas Memorial Library, volunteering her time and talent to read books onto tape for the Cape Elizabeth School Department, and being a literacy volunteer and participating on the Right-to-Read Task Force. Literacy and access to information was her jam. Right up to her last day she was full of vim and vigor.
Which brings me to the very last bit of this post. Following in the footsteps of the strong women, on both sides of the family, before us we are carrying the baton of hard work, passion, and a good dose of personality to make our mark on this world. Because as Dr. Howard Thurman says, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” And we’ve never felt more alive than working together- a sister team of two- making it happen under the family name. Eklund Griffin.
There you have it! Blair + Hayley