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Astrid and Anne-Marie played, they climbed, they walked in the forest and built hideaways in the dusty barn. They became “blood-sisters” and promised each other to “never lie, never leave and never betray one another”. According to Astrid they only ever quarrelled once. That was when they were about nine years of age, and it soon passed.

They continued to stay together through their teens and still got up to mischief now and then, even though they were too old to play. For Anne-Marie’s 17th birthday, Astrid and a few other girls came dressed up as suitors come to court her. To be in love and to have somebody in love with you was something that all of the girls were very focused on. Astrid, who did not find it quite as easy as some of her friends, has said: “At that time I completely lost all my senses and from then on had only one interest, as far as I can make out, namely to get as many as possible to fall in love with me. Dear, oh dear, oh dear – that was no easy task, let me tell you!”

In their late teens they were not able to meet quite so often. Astrid lived in Stockholm and Anne-Marie moved first to Linköping and then to Uppsala, but they kept in touch through frequent letters. Eventually, Anne-Marie and her husband Stellan also moved to Stockholm. Astrid and Anne-Marie were now both young mothers and used to walk together through Vasaparken with their prams. During the War, Astrid was employed by the government’s clandestine mail-censorship office in the Special Intelligence Agency. She also managed to get a job there for Anne-Marie. After the War, Astrid made her debut as an author and Anne-Marie was engaged as a lecturer on children’s literature at the same publishing house where Astrid worked as editor and was having her own books published.

They gave speeches at each other’s 80th birthday celebrations in 1987 even though by that time they had started to become a little old and frail. Anne-Marie spent the last two years of her life in hospital and Astrid visited her every week until she passed away in 1991. They had much in common. Their sense of humour, their interest in children, nature and fun games brought them together and they remained close friends all their lives.