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)
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.
Luella Mattson. Four years old