When I was eleven, my parents were involved with a school-Theatre Project for my province: Dala-teatern. This meant that we were visited by the actors and the director working on setting this up, having discussion and what not.
I was particularly taken by the Young director. He was skinny, Brown-eyed with long-swoopy dark hair, and looked all dashing, smoking his pipe.
He occupied my fantasies, and I kind of knew that I was still not quite old enough to understand all the parts of this, but if he could just wait until I was a bit older.
He was 22, it was obvious to everybody that I was having a crush. I’d fetch his ashtray, I’d sit in the room listening to him and my parents talking. My mom even commented that he obviously had a Little slave in me.
Nothing really came of the project. I guess a few attempts, and then the big ideas petered out and the actors and the dashing director stopped visiting.
I knew Before i moved to the US that he had kept working in Theatre and published some book, because you know someone, you just notice the name.
Even the first time I returned to Sweden my sister told me he was doing directing, and had continuted writing books, and that was interesting that my old crush were kind of a public person.
Actually, at some later visit, I got some of his books – mostly murder mysteries. Ripping yarns, but very gruesome murders. Some were set up North, others way down South.
As time passed, I realized that his books were now translated into many many languages – an american friend of mine recommended one. Once back, I also realized that the murder mysteries set down South had also been turned into several TV series on Swedish television.
Then the BBC did one with Kenneth Branagh starring as Kurt Wallander.
And, today, a push-notice on my phone told me he had died. From cancer. 67 years old. RIP Henning Mankell.
(I thought of bringing this Little story up in my class on basking in others glory, but I was way too embarrassed. It was my 11 year old crush. I had a few others, and none of them became internationally famous. I’d be sad finding out they died, too, but I’m unlikely to find out via push-notices)
I found a Picture. From a few years later. Click the Dalateatern – second from the left.