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, November 25, 2012

The Thanksgiving Round Up and Camille Mattson Weds

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
We start this post with family news.  Its late and I apologize.

Camille Mattson Weds Brad Hall

Camille Mattson married Brad Hall on October 20, 2012 in American Fork, Utah.  The wedding was held in the late afternoon followed by a reception that evening.  We begin with a relationship chart.

Relationship Chart

Camille and Brad will make their home in Utah Valley.  

Congratulations to the happy couple.  The wedding was wonderful.  Camille was beautiful.  She is both greatly loved and feared by her family and friends.  You'd have to know Camille to understand :)

Aunt Linda came down from Idaho for the event.  Uncle Marvin showed up the next day.  I enjoyed the reception.  The food was a big plus.  Aunt Bev's chocolate cake was on the table for all to enjoy.  It isn't a Mattson event without Aunt Bev's chocolate cake.  One thing disappointed me;  the refreshment table was missing a bowl or two of Aunt Joann's (Bev's sister) world famous caramel corn.  I guess I'll have to wait for the family Christmas party for that decadent indulgent.

Some of us are hoping Brad can take the edge off Camille's sarcastic ways.  Camille has always given me a run for my money in the sarcasm department at family gatherings.  Hopefully, with Brad's help, that won't be the case anymore.  I'm hoping married life will bring out the hidden, domesticated Camille some of us think is buried deep down  :)

The Thanksgiving Round Up 

I'm hoping everyone in our digital family union had a wonderfully filling Thanksgiving.

I'm reminded of the ancient Roman feasts when our family gathers for holiday feasts.  Like the Romans, we slouch  around the table, consuming mass quantities of exotic dishes until our stomachs can take no more.  The ancient Romans remedied the situation by excusing themselves to go vomit so they could return and feast once more.   The Roman solution would be frowned upon in our family.  Vomiting up one's meal isn't a way of endearing oneself to the hostess.

In our family, the women attend feasts wearing outfits one size larger to accommodate for their expanded stomachs.  The men solve the overeating problem by undoing their belts and the top button of their pants.

A panorama of semi dressed bodies lounging about in the living room and family room would greet an after the feast visitor. Some relatives would be found sound asleep; others would be moaning for a Tums, Rolaid or a table knife to put themselves out of their self inflicted misery.  A few might be alert enough to forage for crumbs on the carpet around them.  A legion or two of pestilent flies buzzing around the corpses would add just the right effect to complete the mental picture (if it wasn't November).  I think a cawing crow on the deck would be another nice effect.
Thanksgiving gives me the opportunity to confess publicly how thankful I am for family and friends.  I'm thankful for the twenty-two years I spent Directing the Space Education Center, and the outstanding dedicated staff and volunteers who worked in that happy place.  I'm thankful for the 310,000 people who came through our doors on voyages of imagination.  I'm grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support this program has received over the past several weeks.  There are many decisions to be made as we work to create a new Space Center in a new building.

The Williamsons and Burrows descended on Jilane and Kevin Bodily's home in Pleasant Grove for our Thanksgiving meal.  Steven and Janice Burrows were there with most of their children and grandchildren. The DelGrosso's had their meal at Kim and JD's house.  Later that night they they joined us at Jilane's for games and dessert.

You never know what you'll get at a Williamson holiday gathering.  In the best of times,  the event would pass peacefully with little to report other than Great Grandma Luella managing to keep a portion of her meal on her plate and off her blouse and the children surviving with little or no blood loss.

In the worst of times, there could be fireworks if family members aren't strategically positioned around the holiday table.  It is prudent to seat our family's few remaining independents between the rabid Republics and the Peace, Land and Bread Democrats.  Great Grandma Luella was chastised earlier in the week by my sister Lisa for attempting to convert her twelve year old daughter to "socialism".

Great Grandma brushed up for the holiday gathering by watching hundreds of hours of PBS and CSPAN.  She's tired of hearing conservative rhetoric from her children and grandchildren.  She was ready to dish it right back if given the opportunity.  We had to make sure that didn't happen.  Great Grandma was seated at the end of the table this year where she could do no harm and, on Lisa's insistence,  far away from the children in the next room.

We sometimes have a problem with religion at family gatherings.  Not only should family members with strong political views be separated, the hostess should also take into consideration her relatives' diverse religious beliefs as she sets out the name places around the table.  Those who favor reincarnation are generally tolerated by the liberals and teens.  Our Mormon majority are too numerous to separate so they must be sub categorized by conviction.  The more forgiving, back of the chapel Mormons, are good to mix with the minority agnostics.  Front row, hymn singing Mormons, are good to sit in the white hair section.  Knowing where the faithful are makes it easy to call upon someone to offer the Thanksgiving blessing on the food.

One of my jobs at all holiday reunions is to monitor the gathering and inject myself into any conversation or situation that appears to be approaching the boiling point.  My 30 years in the classroom uniquely qualifies me for the task.  I know the family very well, having been a part of it  for 54 years, and can generally detect the raising of voices quickly enough to bolt across the room, squeeze in between the combatants, and turn a phrase fast enough to cool the waters and redirect the conversation.  I've been brushing up on anecdotes and feel confident I can keep things civil and peaceful until everyone goes home to debate whether or not they'll ever attend another gathering.

I have a nuclear option if my efforts to calm a heated debate fails.  I walk over to Great Grandpa Charlie, pull him away from the poor soul he has trapped in a conversation, and tell him that So and So has a question on the how to prepare for the approaching apocalypse.

"You've come to the right person," he says as he shuffles towards a potential convert.  He must be careful as he dodges the dozen or so great grandchildren decorating the carpet.  One can't afford to fall and break a hip at his age.

Great Grandpa Charlie believes the world is fast approaching its sell by date; a conviction he has strongly held since 1959, which is why he purchased six acres of farmland in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

"When the government falls apart we can go to South Dakota and live off the land," he answers proudly whenever asked why he doesn't sell the land and pocket the profit.  His survival plans unravel when we press him for details on how we are suppose to get to South Dakota from Utah if things suddenly head south and starving mobs ravage the cities, towns and countryside.

Anyway - here I go getting carried away.  To sum up - I'm hoping all of you had a very happy Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our Relationship to Henry VIII (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Today I found a link through the English Royal Line to Henry VIII of England.  We begin with the Relationship Chart:

Henry VIII
is your 2nd cousin 16x removed
Mother of Henry VIII
Father of Elizabeth of York
Father of Edward IV
Daughter of RICHARD
Daughter of Anne
Daughter of Anne
Son of Margaret
Son of Giles
Daughter of Sir John
Son of Grace
Son of Edmund
Daughter of Thomas
Son of Rebecca
Son of Cuthbert
Son of Cuthbert
Son of Mathew
Son of George Matthew

William Jonathan Williamson (1858-1934) married Effie Helen Victor (1867-1944)
to their children
Ima Della, Vinnie, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie Elvery, Emmett, Walter, Charles, Maurice

Henry VIII plays a major role in the history of England.  His role as founder of the Church of England is his contribution to the world.  He is the English monarch who broke with Rome and challenged the authority of the Pope.  This estrangement was caused by his desire to father a son to inherit the English throne.  He wanted his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled so he could marry Anne Boleyn.

Several Television shows, including the HBO series "The Tudors", are based on the life  of Henry VIII.  Several major motion pictures have also been made chronicling his life.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg Mattson's Photo Album and Luella's Struggles with Kelptomania

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
You'll need to scoot up closer to the fire today in our digital reunion. There is snow in Pleasant Grove and it's cold outside.

I woke Friday morning to the sound of a winter storm rolling in over the Oquirrh Mountains on the other side of Utah Lake.  The thick dark clouds told me this storm would make itself at home in our valley for a day, if not two.

From the deck I could see rain coming down like a fog over the western end of the valley.  The rain slowly worked its way across the towns of Lehi, American Fork and into Pleasant Grove.  It was raining steadily when I left for school.  The rain turned to snow mid morning.

"Look, its snowing!" one of my pre-algebra students said, interrupting my lesson on inequalities with a variable.  The sixth graders found the snow infinitely more interesting than my lesson, so we watched it snow for a minute or so before going back to work solving for the variable x.  

On Saturday I shoveled the driveway and sidewalks for the first time this winter.  The snow was wet and heavy.  The Fortress driveway slopes sharply toward the garage making shoveling dangerous.  One day I'll slip on that terminal incline and come straight down on my keester, shovel in hand.  It will happen just as someone passes the house, thus causing maximum embarrassment.  To prevent such a spectacle, I shuffle through the snowy incline using baby steps.  Mind you, now that I think about it, my old man shuffling should be as embarrassing as loosing my footing in the snow.  What do I do now?

I took Luella grocery shopping today.  She won't drive in snow.  Her numerous brushes with death while driving on the snowy Black Hills roads is the cause.

"I can't believe I use to deliver those papers in the snow," she reminds me every time I take her somewhere after it has snowed.  "Is it safe.  Is it safe," she asks over and over again.  "Are the roads slippery.  Maybe you should slow down."

Luella never forgets to buckle up when there's snow on the road, even if it means wrestling with the seat belt longer than she normally would before giving up and telling me her life is in my hands.  I drive carefully to let her courage build.  When I see she's relaxed her guard and become distracted in some story on National Public Radio (her favorite radio station), I speed up and take a corner at speeds inconsistent with what one would expect from the driver of a Lincoln Town Car.

"Oh Oh...Oh," she vocalizes as she grabs for the seat belt and struggles to find where the belt fastens into the buckle on her seat.  "Victor Alan, you stop that!" she exclaims once securely fastened into the vehicle.

Luella's becoming more forgetful OR we could have a real problem on our hands.  For two weeks in a row she's forgotten to take everything out of her shopping cart and place them onto the moving belt to be scanned by the clerk at our local Winco grocery store.  Last week I had to remind her she'd forgotten to pay for her disgusting pickled herring.  There was a line waiting, so I paid for the herring with cash to speed things up.  Luella only writes checks, and you know how long a senior citizen takes to write a check.  Haven't we all be caught behind a senior citizen as they work their way through the complexities of getting the right date on the check, then the right amount, then the signature - not to mention the time it takes to rip the check out of the checkbook.  The seniors are fearful the check will tear, meaning they'd have to start all over again.

This week she forgot to pay for her Woman's Day magazine.  Luckily she had a few dollars in her purse, thus sparing us another check writing delay.  Unfortunately, she could have written another check in the time it took her to find the money to pay for the magazine in her luggage sized purse.

I stood behind Luella and looked at the clerk.  "Kleptomanic," I whispered while pointing to mother from behind.  "She'll claim elderly dementia if she's caught.  Gotta keep an eye on her."
The clerk smiled.

"What are you saying about me?" Luella asked, after successfully mining a couple of dollars from her purse and handing them to the clerk to pay for her 'forgotten' magazine.

"I'm only telling this nice lady what a lovely person you are,"  I replied with a Cheshire smile. 

"I'll bet you are?" Luella snarled.  "He's my son.  I'm stuck with him."

Grandma Ida's Photo Album

Today we start looking at pictures taken from Great Grandma Ida Tornberg Mattson's photo album from the Montana Ranch.  Great Grandma Ida was Grandpa Walter Mattson's mother.  Grandpa Mattson married Violet Pierce.  Luella, Linda, John and Marvin are their children.   

This is a picture I've posted before. This is Grandpa Walter Mattson when he was five years old.
The picture was taken in Lead, South Dakota in 1917.

This is Grandpa Walter's kindergarten photograph taken in the Autumn of 1917
in Lead South Dakota.  I don't know which one of the many is Grandpa.

This pictures is marked 'Sweden'.  Great Grandmother Ida's name is written on the left.
I'm guessing this must be her sister Hilma and her children.  The picture was taken
in Sweden and sent to Ida in America.  I'm hoping one of our Swedish relatives will 
know for sure and tell me.

This is Karl Winhalato (spelling?) at 18 years old.
He was Hilma's husband, therefore Ida's brother in law.
I don't recognize the uniform.  Swedish police or army for sure.

This is Grandpa Walter Mattson in a sombrero

Grandma Violet with her firstborn Luella 

Baby Luella with her two grandmothers
Vesta (Violet's mother) on the left.  Ida (Walter's mother) on the right.

Great Grandmother Ida with Luella
Montana, 1940 (?)

This picture, and the ones above are of Luella (22 months) holding her new baby brother 
Walter (1 month old)

November 1940

These are the only pictures we have of Walter.  He died that winter of pneumonia.   He was having trouble breathing one morning.  His condition worsened.  Grandma and Grandpa Mattson rushed him through a blizzard from the Montana ranch to the nearest hospital in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  Walter died in his mother's arms during the trip.

Luella with her Grandfather John Albert Mattson on the Montana ranch.
Summer of 1940

Luella with her doll on the front porch of the ranch house
Great Grandmother Ida watches from the doorway.

Luella in her cowboy boots with doll.

Luella with her doll Mary Lou

Luella with her father Walter.
Again, with a doll in hand.
Early 1940's.


Luella Mattson.  Four years old

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Aunt Linda's Photo Album. Mattson Life in Montana, Luella's Wedding and Other Things. 1912 to 1964

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Sorry for not updating the blog for a few weeks.  I'm backed up on posts and need to get a few out.  There is no need to worry, all is well.  Life has injected itself into the Fortress' day to day operations.  Our cousin Camille got married a few weeks ago (a post will be coming soon).   Aunt Linda (Luella's sister) came down from Idaho for the wedding.  Uncle Marvin (Luella's brother) came for a few days right after the wedding.   

The Mattson siblings (Luella, Linda, John and Marvin) enjoyed their reunion here in Utah County and are still good friends, even after having been together again for a few days.  I was privileged to spend a few hours with them when they were all together.  One of them would begin reminiscing about their life on the Montana ranch.  A second sibling would butt in and insert a few comments to correct the first sibling's faulty memory.  The third would jump in and take a side.  The youngest (Marvin) worked to calm things down.  You would have enjoyed it also.  

Aunt Linda brought her photo albums for me to scan and include in this online family history.  Today's post is a somewhat random selection from the albums coving the years 1912 to 1964.  


A postcard photo.  Great Grandparents Albert and Ida Mattson on the right.  Parents of Grandpa Walter Mattson Josefina and Charles Lidman on the right.  Josefina was Albert Mattson's sister, our Great Great Aunt.  Their Daughter in law Rose is seated.
Lead, South Dakota.  1912.

The back of the postcard.

The deed to John Albert Mattson's first homestead in Montana.  
They moved to the ranch from Lead, South Dakota.
This land was later sold, then the new Mattson ranch was purchased.

School Picture 1950 / 51

Luella was 10 years old.  It was Linda's birthday. Oct. 25, 1949  Linda was 8, John was 7 and Marvin was 6.  The teacher was Mrs. Williams.  It was a one room school house covering grades 1 to 8.  Linda says Mrs. Williams never took a bath and wore 4 petticoats.  Linda said she had terrible body order.  
During the winter she always sat closest to the stove.  She gathered everyone around the stove for their lessons.  The school had an outhouse.  

The boy next to Mrs Williams was Francis Rosencranz, then Jerry Rosencranz,  Luella, Harvey Cambell.  Front row left to right, Gladys Rosencranz, Linda,  Marvin,  John and Sally Cambell.

One interesting story Linda remembered about Sally Cambell's father Redd
"One day Reed Cambell was at our house.  Mother (Violet) walked him out to his car.  She had her 22 shotgun.  She was going to kill a couple of chickens for that night's supper.  As they spoke, two chickens darted out into the dirt road.  Mother took aim and shot the heads off both of them from a distance.  She was that good of a shot.   "I'll agree with you all the time," Reed said."  

Linda with her birthday crown of multi colored kleenex's.  October 25, 1949.

 Linda's 8th birthday.  New Dress Oct. 29, 1949.
She is wearing shoes, but the soles were coming off so Violet made her 
turn her feet so the soles wouldn't show.

Mattson Ranch House
Winter of 1949

Violet was outside wearing Luella's new mochassions.  It was wet and muddy.  She was jumping from dry spot to dry spot to get back into the house.

The Mattson ranch house was actually two grainerys put together.  The center section started as a log cabin.  The holes in the log walls were plugged with cloth.  The tipped over barrel in the front yard was to catch rain water.  The house had its own electrical generator - the gasoline generator charged a shed full of batteries.  They also had a wind charger on the top of the house.  The generator was installed in 1949.  

True Love Magazine.  1950

Linda said that Luella would hide in the outhouse  to read her love magazine to avoid doing dishes.  "True Love" was her favorite magazine.  It contained fictional love stories.  She hid her 'True Love' magazines under the mattress in her bedroom.  Luella was all girl.   Not one drop of tom boy in her.

Violet and Luella on a park bench.  Belle Fourche
1951.  Luella was 12 years old.

Belle Fourche Park 1951
Luella front.  Linda middle left.  Cousin to the right (daughter of Violet's brother Walter)
John top left.  Marvin top right.

Summer of 1956
Buck Harris family with the Mattsons on a picnic.  
 Linda Mattson in black.  Marvin with his tongue out.  Water next to Marvin

Linda Mattson
Sophmore.  Spearfish High School.  1958

School Year 1959/60
Spearfish High
Marvin Mattson

Linda Mattson
Junior in High School.  Spearfish High.

Linda Mattson
Spearfish High School Senior picture.  1960

After high school, Linda worked at a Spearfish restaurant.  She went to the Black Hills State Teachers College in Spearfish for one year. She moved to Rapid City and worked at the Bennett Clarkson Hospital.  She lived with us for one month before getting her own place.  She married Brian Cole Dennis.  

 Marvin Mattson 
Senior Picture 1964
Spearfish High School

Luella Mattson's Wedding Announcement in the
local paper.

Wedding Invitation
Charles Williamson and Luella Mattson

Kevin Williamson at 1 Month Old 
39 East Signal Drive, Rapid City.
July 29, 1961

John Mattson,  missionary picture

John Mattson's Missionary Farewell Program
December 27, 1964