From the Fortress of Solitude
Today for our family virtual family reunion we have a mix of photographs from the boxes and boxes of photographs occupying a corner of my living room, all waiting their time on the scanner and then onto the blog for family history and your enjoyment.
This is a picture of Charles Ray Williamson standing beside the pride and joy of his life in the late 1950's (besides his new bride - although I'm not so sure which would come first if he had to choose :)
The car was a red Ford convertible with white wall tires. Charles spent hours a week on that car. It's surface was so polished you could see your face in the shine. Look closely at the picture. Notice the white wall tires. Luella said you didn't want to know how much time Charles took every week keeping them brillantly white! Well, we all know how Charles loved and loves his cars!
Luella believes this picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day 1956. Luella and Charles were already married (June 1956) and were celebrating the holiday with the Mattson family in Spearfish. In the picture Charles is wearing his Car Coat. In those days men and women had "Car Coats".
Grandma Elda and Charles didn't own a car from the time Elda and Grandpa Williamson divorced (Charles was 12 years old at the time) until Charles bought a car in his late teens. Grandma Elda never got a driver's license therefore never bought a car. The single mother and her son relied on other people if they needed to go anywhere their own two feet or a bicycle couldn't take them.
Charles was like Fonz from the TV series "Happy Days" during his high school years at Belle Fourche High. He was very popular at school and was even voted as the man with the most beautiful legs in the entire School (an award I could never win with my bleach white legs complete with overgrown forest of dark hair - which I might add have never, ever seen a razor blade - unlike some of the males in our family that regularly shave their legs for reasons only God and their vanity knows :).
Luella was also very popular at Spearfish High. Everyone admired Charles and Luella during the time they dated. They guys admired Charles because of the eye candy he had sitting next to him in his dazzling car and the girls admired Luella for her sweetheart with the good looking legs, nice car, sweet smile and peachy keen dark Italian looks. Charles hung out at Luella's home in Spearfish every night for the entire year before their marrige.
Charles and Luella first met when Luella was eight and Charles was eleven during several of the Mattson family's visits to Belle Fourche when then lived on their Montana Ranch. They met each other again when the Mattson's moved to Spearfish. They were at a dance and Charles offered to take Luella home. The rest is history.
Luella spent her senior year at Spearfish High engaged to Charles. At the time, Charles worked for the State Highway Department, making $250.00 a month. Luella worked as a waitress at the Valley Cafe in Spearfish making .50 cents per hour plus tips.
"What did you and dad do when he'd come over every night?" I asked Luella.
"Your dad would go outside with John and Marvin and play basketball in the back yard. We also went to every movie that came to town. Movies were .25 cents in those days. Spearfish had a drive in theater and a real theater. We also went to nearly ever dance."
Charles and Luella argued a lot during their courting days. Violet thought their marriage wouldn't last more than a few months, but they hung in there and we are the testament to that. Luella said she could always trust Charles. Charles was as reliable as the rising sun. He always brought his paycheck home - never spending money on himself. Having someone she could count on meant everything to Luella.
This is the Mattson home in Spearfish. The year is unknown. The window on the left was the living room. The window on right was the master bedroom. The home was built from red stone taken from the Spearfish rock formation. Many of the first homes in Spearfish were made of this stone. The home was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The Mattsons moved into this home from the Montana ranch in 1955.
The previous owners had recently remodeled the home, bringing it up to 1950's standards. The home had a real dishwasher (an amazingly modern appliance for its time). The kitchen had neon lights running across the ceiling, giving it that 1950's diner look. The separate garage was in the back. The cellar entrance was also in the back under the kitchen window. The home had one bathroom right off the kitchen. Luella and Linda shared the master bedroom. Luella and Linda slept in the same bed every night of their lives until Luella married. Violet and Walter slept in the other downstairs bedroom. John and Marvin slept in the large upstairs bedroom. The upstairs bedroom was decorated all in knotty pine. This was the Mattsons first home with indoor running water and an indoor bathroom.
This is a picture of Violet and Walter Mattson on the day they were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple. They're standing in front of their home in Torrence California. This picture was taken in the mid 1960's. Walter was on portable oxygen at this time. He was suffering from chronic bronchitis.
This picture was taken in Brodus, Montana. New students (Freshman) attending Brodus High School had to go through initiation at the hands of the seniors. The seniors drew the names of the freshmen from a hat and got to decide what kind of costume their freshman would wear in the school's homecoming parade. Luella's senior had her wear long johns covered with a swimming suit. She had a bunch of garlic and onions in her hair.
Luella is in the back, first one on the left (not counting the little girls). During the week of homecoming the seniors had permission to paint the freshman's face with lipstick if they were caught anywhere other than school or at home.
This is Grandma Violet holding a baby. Luella thinks it might be her because Violet still had quite a lot of hair. Violet lost hair at each delivery.
"It could have been anyone of us through," Luella said. We're just not sure.
(This is one of Luella's favorite pictures of her mother).
This is a much older Grandma Violet standing in front of the Spearfish home after a large snowfall.
More Pictures to Follow,