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 tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photos from the Wiliamson Household, Late 1970's - Early 80's. Rapid City, South Dakota

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From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

This Sunday our Way Back machine takes us on a digital excursion back to Rapid City, South Dakota. The time dial is set to the late 1970's and 80's. Our Williamson family lived at 2214 38th Street. It was a lower middle class neighborhood. Our home was small by today's standards, and made even smaller because of the size of our family. Our home was built in the 1950's. We purchased it for $14,000 during the 1968/69 school year. I was in the fifth grade.

The photo above shows the Grand Entryway into our humble abode. The concrete steps and porch listed slightly to port. Visitors, unaware of the slight incline toward the bushes, found themselves a bit out of kelter upon reaching our front door and finding it further from them then they anticipated. Our dog Frosty and cat Inky stand guard in the photograph. Inky was always on death's door from the time she was a kitten. Her contribution to the world were hairball masterpieces and cat vomit smelling of exotic places. She committed suicide a few steps from where you see her in this picture. One day she hobbled across the driveway right into the path of our reversing 1958 blue Rambler Station Wagon. She'd had enough and knew when to gracefully exit. Inky and I never saw eye to eye, but I had to respect the way she took her final bow. Good cat.

The SPCA should have banned our family from ever taking in pets. We seemed to have enough troubles just taking care of ourselves let alone pets. Strangely enough, none of them ever ran away seeking better homes. If dogs and cats do go to heaven, then I hope and pray there is a special place in heaven for any pet unlucky enough to have lived out its short life with us. God bless them every one.

Take a minute and notice the pink wooden flower boxes to the left of the first step. Notice how the first one is half brown and half pink? That is a perfect example of life in the Williamson home. Someone was assigned to paint the boxes brown to match the brown painted concrete porch. Whoever it was (most likely Kevin) got halfway through before something else caught his attention. The job was never finished - never. That box sat there for over a decade half brown and half pink for all to see.

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This was the south side of our home. The gate to the backyard was lopsided to match the sloping front porch. You had to lift it to get it to open. This is where we kept our museum of garage sale bikes. Our mode of operation was simple.
"Mom, I want a bike."
Mom finds a bike at a garage sale. Mom brings the bike home. We ride the bike to death. The bike breaks down.
"Mom, the bike is broken."
The bike is added to the museum.
"Mom, I need a bike."
Mom finds another bike at a garage sale. Mom brings the bike home.......... and so on.

You counted yourself lucky if Mother found the right gender of bike. My sisters could get away with riding boy's bikes. They were pretty much tomboys anyway. My brothers and I had a harder time getting away with riding a girls bikes, but hey - you did what you had to in those days.

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Speaking of bikes..... here, captured on film forever is someone teaching my sister Lisa to ride a bike. It could be me or my Dad - not sure. Playing in the street wasn't a big deal. 38th Street was fairly quiet. The Rich family lived across the street in the home with the detached garage.
They were our only neighbors who somewhat understood us. You could count on them to wave to us when they were outside. Their two boys, David and Danny were good friends of ours so they didn't have much of a choice.

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Annette Williamson foraging for supper on the front lawn. She was as good as any billy goat for keep the lawn neatly trimmed.

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Lisa (left) and Annette Williamson (right) standing in front of our old piano. Kim and I learned to play the piano on that instrument. It was religiously out of tune, which made it difficult to know whether or not you were hitting the right notes.

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Mother (Luella) was always starting new diets and every diet started with the same ritual - the opening photograph, commonly referred to as the "before" picture. Strangely enough, I have several of these before pictures and hardly any "after" pictures. Strange, isn't it? This was taken on our front lawn in the late 1970's. Mother is wearing a dress considered Relief Society in fashion. The dress came from LeVoy's, headquartered in Salt Lake City. I believe the correct word for this dress was "Maxie" because its length was maximum to the ground.

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Another picture of Luella holding recently born Annette in the late 1976. Once again, dressed in a LeVoy's outfit straight from their fashion showroom in Salt Lake City. Mother was a LeVoy's distributor. It brought in a little extra cash, and let her dress 'in style' for pretty much next to nothing. Someone had to model her clothing line, why not her?

Charles Williamson holding his youngest daughter Annette. Annette was born in March 1976. Dad was 40 years old.

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Mother with her eighth child, baby Annette. Luella was 37 years old.

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Jon sits in our living room in the mid 1980's. The front door is behind. Our "closet" to his right. That closet's accordion door was rarely opened. To this day I don't remember what if anything we kept in there. Heaven forbid anyone hung their coat in that closet. The floor and furniture were the places to put your coat. Besides, that accordion door had a real attitude. If you open it incorrectly, with the right pressure placed at the perfect midpoint between the track and floor, the door would come off the track just to spite you.

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Janice Williamson taken in the mid 1980's. I believe the hairstyle gives the era away.

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Another picture of Janice in the 1980's. Tsk tsk tsk, showing a bit of the mid section are we? Button up Janice, you Jazebell! (We are talking rural South Dakota here).

Finally a picture of Grandma Elda and Grandpa Leiss square dancing.
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And there you have it. Its Sunday evening and time to move on to other things.

A side note, Jilane Williamson Bodily is in Hong Kong with sons Chaz and Brock. Chaz and Brock were invited (all expenses paid), along with other dancers from The Vibe, to perform in Hong Kong's Chinese New Year Parade. Everyone in the family wishes them a good performance and a safe trip home.


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