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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thanksgiving at Grandma Mattson's, November 1957

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Ah, my first Thanksgiving. These pictures were taken at the Mattson's home in Spearfish South Dakota on Thanksgiving Day 1957. I say this was my first Thanksgiving because my mother Luella was about one month pregnant with me so she was eating for two of us.

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The family was small then, just Luella and Charles and mustn't forget four month old Kim in all her glory. Don't know what she was wearing in the picture above. This picture brings fond memories of Grandma and Grandpa Mattson's home. It was taken from the living room looking toward the kitchen. Do you see the open dish washer? I remember visiting Grandma as a kid and being fascinated by that dishwasher. We didn't have one and I didn't know anyone that did, except for Grandma Mattson. I thought it was something right out of the Jetsons; a machine that washed dishes! We use to run up the outside cellar door and peer through that kitchen window.

You know I can almost still smell that kitchen. It had its own smell, as did the entry way right off the kitchen. It wasn't a bad smell at all - just its own smell. Blind fold me, put me in a time machine, drop me into that kitchen and in one inhale I'd nail my location spot on!

I loved everything there was to love about Grandma's house, especially the steep stairway leading to the attic room where Kim and I use to sleep when we'd spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa in the summers. I'll call that stairway "The Broken Neck Staircase" because if you fell down you're neck, back and legs wouldn't survive the tumble. Didn't have a railing either if my memory is correct. To get to the attic you opened a door off the bedroom nearest the kitchen, stepped up one step onto a landing, turned right and ascended one steep narrow step at a time. The attic was wood paneled. It was a perfect play area, except in the heat of the summer when it was just too hot to be up there. I remember laying on the bed in front of the attic window on a warm summer's night and listening to the sounds of the Spearfish Passion Play from up the hill.

Grandpa Mattson use to take Kim and I to work with him at the RV sales lot. He sold RV's and trailers and Kim and I ran around and played in them. What kid wouldn't love that?

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Again, we return to the Thanksgiving Feast. In this picture you see Grandma Elda, then Luella and finally Charles with fork and knife in hand working through the contents of his plate. Strange to see Dad eating and Mom just sitting (am I going to get in trouble for that one....?)

Don't know who that is with her back to the camera. I tried to zoom in to see what was on the menu, but no luck. Of course we all remember Grandma's piano. It's still in the family. If you're in the mood to play a piano last tuned during the Napoleonic Wars then make a trip to Jilane's house. The piano sits in their projector room. Kim and I learned to play the piano on that instrument so my memories of it are mixed as one would expect from years of exposure to a device that brought some joy and an equal amount of torture.

The door behind the piano led to Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom. Luella and Charles look young don't they? Mom was 18 and dad was 21 years old. Far too young to be married with one child and another on the way wouldn't you say? Mind you, I'm glad for just my being's sake that they decided to move ahead and not delay in the family department so I'll leave that as said and move along.

Simply,
Victor