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, March 25, 2012

The Last Sunday in March, A Birthday and More from the Wayback Machine

Here you go Jilane, a picture from your lovey dovey days with Kevin. AH, the innocence of youth. Little did they know what they were about to unleash upon the world. Happy Birthday!

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,

This week we celebrate Jilane Williamson Bodily's birthday. Jilane refuses to give her age, preferring we guess instead, using all available visual clues. I've given the matter much thought and hope she doesn't ask my opinion at today's Sunday dinner.

It would be unwise to judge her age by her clothes, considering much of her wardrobe comes from what she finds at Utah's many weekend garage sales (mind you, she did look pretty good in the bell bottom low cut jeans and platform shoes she was wearing when I bumped into her at Walmart last Wednesday).

Jilane preparing to go to her daughter's Parent Teacher Conferences with a little something she found in someone's driveway (I don't think they were having a garage sale. However, they did raise chickens).

Judging her age by her physical appearance would also be a mistake. Remember, she is the mother of Chaz Bodily and Chaz has a tendency to prematurely age anyone who spends a significant amount of time with him.

Kevin, Saved from the Hoes and Wenches of his younger days by the ever innocent and always darling Jilane.

Jilane is also is married to Kevin, and God bless her for that. "I saved him from all those other Hoes and Wenches he was dating at the time and could have married." Jilane says with pride about her greatest single act of charity for this period of mortality.

Luckily Jilane has her new daughter in law to comfort and sustain her.

This is the last Sunday in March and its over 70 degrees here at the Fortress! Our warm spell will be short lived. Tomorrow a cold front plans on disrupting our fun with snow and rain. So until then, we bask in the warmth and enjoy the spring breezes.

Charles was out tending the Fortress' lawn Friday afternoon when my phone rang. It was Luella.
"Your father wants you to go outside and compare your lawn with the neighbor's," she said. "I don't know why, just go out. It will make him happy."

At the time, I was reclining in my favorite chair watching a TV program suffering with purpose. The show centered around a theory held by several UFO enthusiasts that the Big Foot and Yeti were really aliens blessed with the ability of transcending dimensions of space time. I may have been watching Aliens and Big Foot to get me in the mood for that evening's Overnight Camp at the Space Education Center. Regardless, I jumped up and went out onto the deck to see the demonstration. It gave me an excuse to turn off the television.

Take a look for yourself.

Our neighbors directly to the north.
To be perfectly fair, the neighbors lawn on the far north is just as green as Dad's.
I worry about that. Charles has been known to take an occasional midnight stroll through the neighborhood with his Red Ryder Wagon, bag of lawn kill and spreader.

The Fortress' back lawn. A testament to Charles Williamson's tender loving care. It got its first cutting Friday afternoon. It responds well to his touch, not to mention the amount of money he charges me to bring in Turf Care Plus. What does it matter that you can never use your lawn during the summer because of all the toxic chemicals used to give it that beautiful green color?
At least its the envy of the neighborhood (although one day I fear they'll discover the true cause of their children's summer coughs and sore throats).

Finally, our neighbors to the south.
"A barren wasteland." Is that what I heard you just say?

Let me state here and now that it would be thoroughly unchristianlike and unneighbourly to describe it that way. I cannot be faulted, because you are the one who thought it.....

In their defense, they have a home full of children and are the new owners of a dog. Their children play on the lawn, making it a useful piece of real estate and not the museum masterpiece Charles toils over all summer long.

And now, a few pictures from yesteryear using the magic of Peabody and Sherman's Wayback Machine,

I believe Jilane and I were visiting Kim, JD, Janice and Steve in Colorado sometime in the early 1980s. It was near the end of their school year and time for Field Day. I took my camera to record for all time's sake Forest and Brandon's athletic prowess.

Don't be mistaken, that is Brandon DelGrosso in the lead. (I fail to mention this isn't the front of the pack. At least he didn't come in last!) Of course, Brandon's recollection of the day's events differ somewhat from my own. You, kind readers, are left to decide for yourselves.

Another suberp action shot, thank you very much. Not bad using a camera that still used tin plates to capture the image. Brandon is in the lead! I'm wondering if this may be the race reserved for the school's special students?

Run Forest Run!

(from the movie Forest Gump for those of you unfamiliar with Hollywood's greatest achievements in the cinematic arts). That is our very own Forest DelGrosso far ahead of the pack. Forest's rear end was all the other race participants ever saw of our mighty Forest during a race.

While the boys sweated it out on the track, their two sisters found themselves the target of my camera. This is the eldest Amber with Ashley, the youngest at the time.

Ashley with her favorite blanket.

We spent some time with Janice, Steve and Nikki on that same Colorado trip.
This is Nikki on the DelGrosso's backyard tramp.

Nikki with her favorite Aunt Jilane

Another dial turn on the Wayback Machine takes us to the Williamson home at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City South Dakota. Again we have landed in the early 1980's.

Here we are in the Black Hills having a picnic. Left to right, Lisa, Amber, Brandon, Ashley, Annette and Forest.

During that same trip I met Luke Mattson, my newest cousin. He is the eldest son of Uncle Marvin and Aunt Cindy.

Every visit must come to an end. We are standing on the Williamson's driveway saying goodbye to Kim and the kids as they pack up for Colorado. Left to right - Kim, Brandon, Jilane holding Ashley, Amber, Annette and Luella.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Christmas 1983 at the Williamson Home. Rapid City, Dakota Territory.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
This Sunday, the Blog's Way Back Machine is set to the early 1983, Rapid City, South Dakota. It's Christmas Time and family has gathered from far and wide to celebrate the holiday at the Williamson home on 38th Street. I was home from BYU with camera in hand to record the event for posterity. And look, we have finally reached Posterity. My how the year's have flown by. I look at these pictures and still remember the voices and faces of dear ones passed.

I wish back then I had taken the time to talk to my grandparents about their lives, but when you're young, those things don't seem to matter. I hope today's members of our American Dynasty will take the time to talk to their grandparents before eternity sweeps them away. It is time spent you'll not regret.

One of my favorites of the family. Jilane is relaxing on the back of the love seat. Annette sits on Charles' lap. Luella leans her head on her husband's shoulder and Lisa rests on her mother in this Christmastime photo.

I see the back of one of our wobbly wood kitchen chairs in the photo's lower left corner. I think we put the kitchen chairs out for show. No one was foolish enough to actually sit in one.

We rarely took our meals in the kitchen and especially never in the winter. Our kitchen at 2214th street was an afterthought built onto the home by its previous owners. It wasn't well insulated and was usually only a few degrees warmer than the cold winter outside. It was heated by a small natural gas wall heater with a wonky pilot light that stubbornly refused to lite, and when you did manage to coax it into lighting (after using half a box of matches) the flame blew right out with the slightest gust of wind.

For that reason, our kitchen chairs were rarely used. And because of the constant shrinking and expanding of the wood, caused by the wild temperature extremes between summer and winter, their stability couldn't be trusted. They still looked good, deceptively so.

Grandma Violet Mattson (Luella's mother) with her youngest child Marvin in the same love seat.
Grandma Violet was a fan of turquoise jewelery (notice the bracelet).

Our love seat and couch made up our Living Room of Many Colors. The velvety fabric made for comfortable sitting. One had to be careful on the love seat. The fake planter with plastic plants was an excellent habitat for spiders. The spiders had an uncanny knack of appearing at the worst possible times (like when eating your supper in the living room).

Many of these pictures were taken on Christmas Eve's night. In this picture we shift to our living room couch. Notice the couch matched the love seat; something odd for us but normal for our visitors from the real world. In the picture above we have Grandpa Leissman (Charles' step father) and Grandma Elda (Charles' mother) visiting for the holiday from Bismarck North Dakota. As they got older they had a tendency of falling asleep during lulls in the conversation. This particular Christmas Eve I decided to abruptly wake Grandpa from his slumber......

I caught his reaction to being woken up on camera for your enjoyment. Grandpa Leissman was an engineer for the North Dakota Highway Department (notice the top button buttoned and the pen with pocket protector).

We move ahead several hours to Christmas morning. Annette (left) and Lisa are showing their Christmas morning takings.

Luella is showing her delight with her Christmas present. Who wouldn't want their very own Osterizer for Christmas? This mixer could slice and dice with the flick of a button. She's being a good sport and forcing a smile, but you can't hide your true feelings from my camera.

I think they still have that Osterizer today, never used and still in its original box. I wonder what they go for on Ebay? Although, with the rapid disappearance of their real teeth, I think having a good mixer to chew their food for them would be a blessing. I need to find this marvel, dust it off and show them how to use it.

This is Annette with her little friend Robby Weber from across the street. They are sitting on our couch of many colors. An explanation for you young people of today - the strange devices you see in their hands were called walkie talkies (the precursor to today's cell phones). Robby brought them over to show Annette. His intentions were obvious to all except Annette. Think about it. Robby at home with his walkie talkie and Annette with hers right across the street. Late night conversations at bed time. That's right Annette - I think little Robby may have had a crush on his foxy classmate living across the street.

Christmas Day with Grand Uncle Ed Vercellino, his wife Iris and Grandma Elda in the Williamson living room. Ed was Elda's youngest brother. Don't let this picture lead you into thinking we could afford a real fireplace. The one you see next to Grandma Elda was made of cardboard and brought out at Christmas time. It gave us a place to put our stockings.

The false firelight was generated by a nightlite bulb hidden behind cardboard flames. Balanced above the nightlight was a small aluminum disk with slits. The bulb heated the disk causing it to turn ever so slowly. This motion threw a dancing light against the cardboard back of the fireplace. It was cool and something we brought our friends over to enjoy every holiday season (mind you, just our friends who didn't have fireplaces of their own).

Strangely enough, I have one picture of Ashley DelGrosso in this series of Christmas photos. Proof positive Kim, JD and their kids were up for the holiday as well. Today, Ashley's youngest son is the spitting image of his mother when she was his age.

And what do we have here? Proof positive Janice, Steve and their eldest daughter Nicole were there for the holiday as well. This is Nicole. She wasn't happy. She was upset because I took her from her mother, set her on the couch and had the nerve to request a smile. Instead of the wanted smile, Nicole blessed us with screams I thought would surely alarm the neighbors. Look at those beautiful blue eyes. Nicole could charm your socks off, when she wasn't screaming.

And finally, the Williamson Wall of Records. Our Wall of Records was in the basement of our home in Rapid City. To the left of the love seat was the piano and the basement door. To get to the Wall of Records you first opened the basement door, descended two steps, turned left and walked down the narrow stairway eight steps. Our fire trap of a Utility Room was on the left just as you got to the bottom of the stairs. The Utility Room's door is seen on the left of the picture above. The Wall of Records was next to the Utility Room door.

The Williamson Wall of Records recorded our heights over the years while we lived at 2214 38th Street. The following series of pictures come from the Wall of Records. I did my best to highlight the pencil marks.

The first marks from the bottom of the wall up. 1973

Moving up the wall

Still moving up the wall.

And finally reaching the top.

I'm hoping you are all enjoying your Sunday. Did you take a moment yesterday (St. Patrick's Day) to think about our Irish ancestors. A few years ago we had no clue, but thanks to my pain staking research, we know our blood sparkles with green.

I'm feeling your love and gratitude :)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Mattson Kids. Early 1980's

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

It's after 9:00 P.M. Before I turn in for the night I thought I'd post a continuation to the original round of pictures I posted earlier in the week of our California Dreaming Vacation with a few other gems taken at the Mattson home in American Fork

Remember, Uncle John and Aunt Bev were kind enough to invite cousin Shane and I on their California vacation in the early 1980's.

Jake Mattson with the Penguins.
I don't remember where this was taken. I guess I wasn't impressed.

In the background, Shane with Camille(?) in the stroller. Angie is sandwiched between Shane and Jake (looking through the binoculars). Joe is closest to me with John and Bev behind.

Jake and his soon to be sand castle.

Angie, Camille and Joe

We jump ahead a few years to the Mattson home on 510 South in American Fork Utah.

I remember one cold winter day Uncle John took out the four wheeler, some rope and a sled.
It was a great afternoon in the backyard. Kirk is trying to get some air in the snapshot above.


Candice Mattson above and below

Joe sitting in his dad's chair

Jake and Kirk take a break from the evening's sports in the basement.

We say Goodnight with this final picture. Camille, Angie, Joe and Jake


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pictures from Victor's Albums 1970's and 80's South Dakota, Utah.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
What's a Sunday without a few pictures from my old photo albums? Hold on, the Way Back Machine is about to whisk you 30 odd years back in time to simpler days. These pictures are entirely random and presented as they appear in the albums.

The Backyard Gathering

Forrest DelGrosso, Annette Williamson, Brandon DelGrosso and Lisa Williamson in the backyard of our humble abode at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City. This picture was taken in the late 1970's. Brandon is always happy. I could never figure out why? At first we thought there was something wrong with him. Turned out he was just pure boy - mischievous to a fault. That smile hide something devilish he had planned for someone unsuspecting.

Lisa is in the throws of another attitude attack. She had quite a few of them in those days.
Rest assured I was saying "Smile!". She chose not to comply.

And another of happy Brandon DelGrosso with innocent Annette. I love the missing tooth. Perhaps he was overexcited for the prospect of another visit from the tooth fairy and a bright new shiny dime to add to his collection (hey, those were the days when a dime could by 10 red vines!).

What can one say about Annette? Her mother would say "perfect child". I would tend to agree.

Lisa granted the photographer a smile. While not her best, it was the best I could get. Forrest - what a handsome young man. For years we wondered if his mother ever fed him. He was a all skin stretched over bone and sinew. Of course, there was the theory that Brandon ate for two in those days - leaving Forrest the table scraps.

The Williamson Family Reunion. Late 1970's

I'm sure I have more pictures of this reunion, but I'm not taking the time to organize my albums. If I did nothing would get posted.

In this picture we have Charles Williamson's half sister Kriss with her family at the Williamson family reunion. Today Aunt Kriss lives in Montana.

On the way back from Spearfish we stopped along the interstate so Charles could show us his latest project, a railroad tunnel under I90. Luella wasn't the least bit interested and stayed in the car to read. Don't know why the baked beans sat on the top of the car. Perhaps we forgot to put them in twenty miles back.

This was our yellow Rambler Station wagon. It is a true Williamson car and I can prove it. Look closely at the windshield wipers. Notice anything? The wiper on the passenger's side is missing. That alone qualifies it as a Williamson vehicle. Rest assured, no matter what happened to be missing from any of our cars (windshield wiper, floorboard, window roller upper, gear shifter, muffler etc) Charles kept them immaculately clean through and through. We were proud to be seen driving in the cleanest junker in Rapid City!

Charles, Annette, Janice and Lisa standing under I90 in Charles' new railroad bridge.

A rare picture indeed. Jilane sitting behind the wheel of our yellow Rambler Stationwagon. This was taken around the time of the family reunion. I say that because Charles never let anyone drive when he was in the car. He drove and that was that.

Jilane may have been learning to drive in this picture. It makes sense because I'm in the back seat snapping the photo. No one in their right mind would be in the front seat with Jilane. Remember, we didn't have air bags in those days and Jilane had a fascination with her appearance in the rear view mirror (to the horror of many a driver coming towards us in the opposite lane of traffic). The safest place to be was in the back seat, belted in with the St. Christoper medallion in hand. I kept it in the glove compartment.

This picture is a mystery. Jilane Williamson is on the far right with a few high school friends I'm guessing. It looks like they are at a park.

The Mattson California Adventure. Early 1980's

I don't remember exactly when we went on our California Vacation. It was the early 1980's for sure. Cousin Shane (Uncle Marvin and Aunt Pam's oldest boy) and I went with John and Bev and the kids. In this picture - Joseph, Kirk, Jake and Shane. Seat belts? Who needs them. Uncle John was driving.

They played a trick on me during the long drive through Nevada.
"Hey, did you know you can honk the horn just by pushing on the van's roof?" John said from the driver's seat.
"That's ridiculous," I answered. "Why would a car let you honk the horn by pushing on the roof?" I shot back.
"Try it." Everyone watched. I reached overhead and pushed the van's roof with my index finger.
Sure enough, the horn sounded. I was amazed at the technology and tried it several times until everyone's laughter made me suspect I was the brunt of a well played joke. Uncle John was watching me in the rear view mirror and honked the horn every time I pushed on the roof.

The California Vacationers. Left to Right. Shane Mattson, Uncle John, Joseph, Angie, Camille,
Aunt Bev, Gina, Jake and finally Kirk.

Here we are at Knott's Berry Farm. We needed a break. I was sicker than a dog from some ride.

Joseph Mattson waiting patiently for me to feel better so we could get on the next ride.

With Grandma Mattson in American Fork

Grandma Mattson was visiting so I took a couple pictures. Grandma and her eldest son Uncle John sitting on John and Bev's couch in their living room in American Fork.

Grandma Mattson with grandchildren. Joseph, Camille and Kirk.

And a rare picture of yours truly with my Grandma Mattson. I was at BYU at the time and living in Provo. Those glasses were styling in their day. The larger the frames the better.

A Day Out with the Seminary Class

These pictures were taken in the spring of 1980. I returned from an LDS mission to England in September 1979. My first calling back in Rapid City was to teach early morning seminary. The class started every morning at 6:30 A.M. (if I could get the girls out of the church's bathroom).
In this picture you see Don Christensen, Jilane Williamson, Paula Thomas and John Christensen..

And finally, twins Don and Jon Christensen in front of my yellow 1972 Buick Skylark.

Thanks for stopping by,