– a faithful servant and close friend
Embedded in the hill between Ricklundgården and Saxnäsgården there is a small red cottage. It may be small and neat, but it contains a long history and is today a cultural heritage. The cottage, which was probably built during the latter part of the 1930s, was a declaration of love to a faithful and close friend.
Selma Elisabet Nilsdotter Stemp was born on November 21, 1878, and was the youngest of seven siblings. Her parents were Sami who came from Östra Fjällfjäll. As a 19-year-old, Lisa started working as a maid for Axel-Aron and became a significant help on the farm, especially after his wife, Anna Olivia, and the mother of Axel-Aron’s eldest daughter died when the child was only a month old.
In the text, it is difficult to find what exactly happened and everything is described a bit vaguely. But while Lisa worked on the farm, Axel-Aron’s brother Elias also lived there. Elias was known for an adventurous life and had five children with five different women, he abandon them all when he emigrated to America in 1903. The cute little, then 25-year-old, Lisa was one of the three women he impregnated the night before he packed up and moved on across the sea to never be found again.
Lisa had a daughter who was named Rosa and Axel-Aron’s household became her home. The only way for poor girls to earn their living during this time was to serve as a maid and Lisa not only served, she dazzled. She became an important part not only in the operation of the farm and the inn, but also as a good friend. She got a job with Emma Ricklund and helped with the business at the adjacent inn. When the child was growing up, Lisa rented from Emma’s father. When her daughter Rosa later moved to first go to school in Vilhelmina and then settle in Stockholm, Lisa was left alone. Emma then had the red little cottage built for her. It is in its dimensions adapted to the slender, short woman that Lisa was. A hallway, a small kitchen, a chamber with a small fireplace and an attic. The cottage stood on the site even before the main building, Ricklundgården, was built.
Who knows what kind of life Lisa dreamed of for herself and her child, maybe there was not even room for dreams. Lisa came to work for Emma all her professional life, but the professional role changed and over time it became a significant friendship between the two women. 1952 was a difficult year for Emma, first the divorce with Folke and then her mother Anna became ill and passed away. But Lisa was always there for Emma and supported her through the grief. At the age of 74, Lisa herself became seriously ill, but she recovered. There at the end of her life, Lisa felt it was time to be reunited with the small family she had left and therefore moved down to her daughter in Stockholm in the mid-1950s. But she never liked it there. At Christmas, Sune Fisk wrote a long letter to Lisa in which he told her about everything that happened around Saxnäs during the year. Rosa later said that she had to read this letter over and over again throughout the year until the next letter came the following Christmas. Lisa had both her heart and her soul left in Saxnäs. She turned 80 before she passed away in 1958.
The cottage has been renovated with care. The wallpaper inside the small kitchen has been reprinted. The sofa has regained its former place and the coffee cup, it is ready on the table.
Information for the text is borrowed from Women to Remember published by Medborgarskolan Vilhelmina and De vida viddernas kvinnor by Sally Lindström.