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, June 10, 2012

The Family Gathers for Easter. Mid 1980's

Easter, 1985?  
Grandma Mattson with her younger grandchildren.
Lisa, Gina and Kirk agreed to be in this picture after much coaxing,  but wanted everyone to know they didn't like it one bit as stated in their expressions.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
The fact that I'm sitting here typing this post is a testament to my survival of our first week of space camps at the Space Education Center here in the garden of all that is good, better known to you as Pleasant Grove.   Our campers came from many parts of Utah with a few here and there from out of state.  The only hiccup in the camp was a slight disturbance early Friday morning.

I was chaperoning the boys in the school's main gym.  My assistant chaperons and I sleep on the stage.  The younger campers sleep on cots on the gym floor, the older boys are in the main sleeping quarters in the Voyager simulator.  Around 1:00 A.M. I heard the floor creak.  Someone was making the long trek across the gym toward the stage.  I sat up and turned on the flashlight.  It was a camper.

"I'm scared," he whispered.
"What are you scared of?" I asked.
"Our mission in the Magellan had a scary part."  His heard turned from side to side as we spoke.  He appeared to be on the look out for alien creatures lurking the shadows of our elementary school gym.
"I want to call home."
 I tried to talk him out of it, knowing that is exactly what his parents would do.  He wouldn't hear of it.  He was determined to go home.  We stood up and walked into the hallway.  I gave him the phone.  No one answered.  He looked like someone who had just been given a death by hanging sentence from a "Hang 'em high" judge.  His gulp was nearly audible.

"I can't go home."  He was choking back a powerful emotion, not wanting to appear too weak for someone just shy of 12 years old.

"What can we do to make things better?" I asked.  I was interested in resolving this matter so I could go back to bed.  I was tired and had a long full day ahead of me.

"I need more light and ambient noise."  What did he mean by Ambient Noise???  What kind of kid needs ambient noise to sleep.  Where was I going to get ambient noise?
"I leave my light on at home and have ambient noise," the boy explained.  He kept looking about.  He was making me nervous.

I considered my options and told him to fetch his sleeping bag and pillow.  I put him down on the stage floor near the entrance to the hallway.  The hallway had an emergency light.  He said it would do.  He crawled into his bag.  I walked back across the stage, layed down on my own pad and closed my eyes hoping for a quick release from the there and then.   A moment later I heard him sit up.  I could see him in the light.  He was on all fours peering down the hallway looking for alien invaders accompanied by the spirits of teachers long gone prowling the hallways for unsuspecting children to torment.  He stood up and stumbled toward me.

"I'm scared."
"You've got all the light you need."
"There's no ambient noise.  I can't sleep without ambient noise."
"Does the hallway scare you?"
"Get your sleeping bag and pillow.  You can sleep near the EXIT sign.  You'll be closer to us."
He paused for moment. "What about ambient noise?"

I prayed for release knowing the prayer would go unanswered.  The boy was my problem.  I got up and walked down the hallway to the school's environmental center.  I opened the double metal gray doors walked across the small room to the large electrical box and pushed the the gym's air conditioning override button.  The large heating and cooling unit that sits on the roof over the stage  engaged.  He was waiting for me in the hallway.  We walked back onto the stage.

"Listen, can you hear the air conditioning?" He cocked his head to one side and listened.
"Sort of."
"Will that be OK?"
"Well, its not that loud."
"Maybe because most people need it QUIET to sleep!" I shouted in my head.  "Will it be enough to help you sleep?" I asked.

He crawled back into his sleeping bag.  I went back to my pad.  I could see him several paces away in the green light of the EXIT sign.  He was still.  I had found the just the right amount of light and ambient sound to get him to sleep.

Yes, welcome to my world of summer camps.  I know, I have no one to blame but myself.  It's my Center.  I set the schedules.  I design the camps. I made my own bed and must sleep in it.....

Easter in the Mid 1980's.

Today we step into Sherman and Peabody's Way Back Machine and visit the mid 1980's.  Our final destination, north Provo, Utah.   Jilane and Kevin Bodily and I were living in a semi retirement village at the time tending a townhome for an older couple serving an LDS mission.  The townhome complex had a club house.   The family was in town visiting from South Dakota.  We all wanted to get together for a  family Easter celebration and Easter Egg Hunt.  The clubhouse was the perfect setting. 

Brandon DelGrosso and Jake Mattson trying their hand a pool. Neither had played the game before (the pool table's green felt displayed the scars to show it).  JD stepped in to offer a few pointers. 

John DelGrosso with Forrest.  The boys got their first lesson from a master pool hustler.  John was good, but according to all reputable sources, our very own Kim Williamson DelGrosso was the one who really knew her way around the top of a pool table.  Kim declined the invitation to demonstrate her skills, referring to her husband instead.

"Pool tables are in my past," she explained, while quickly changing the subject.

Of course, what did the boys do as soon as horsing around at the pool table got serious?  While Forrest distracted John, Brandon and Jake saw their opportunity to slip away to look for other entertainment.  Neither was musically inclined, but what kid can walk away from a Wurlitzer Organ without stopping to pound on the ivory?  Brandon and Jake's goal was to make as much obnoxious noise as possible.  Mission accomplished, hence the earphones.

Jilane Williamson Bodily, Aunt Bev Mattson and Kirk Mattson

Luella Williamson, Cousin Shelley Mattson and Aunt Bev.  I don't understand the reason for Shelley's obvious lack of excitement.  Her expression speaks volumes.  Perhaps it was the fact that she was stuck spending Easter with us.  Perhaps it was the fact that Grandma Mattson was riding her case about something.  Perhaps she was shooting daggers at the boys playing the organ.  Tis a mystery never to be solved. 

The Hunt started right after lunch.  The orders were for the little ones to lead the way with a minute or two head start followed by the older cousins.  Joe Mattson,  having earlier in the day scouted the club house for the best hiding places, knew right where to look for the 'good stuff', leaving the little ones to scamper about in the grass outside.  My candid camera caught him in the act, violating the 'head start for the little ones' rule.

Candace Mattson and Ashley DelGrosso searched the lawn outside while Joe cleaned out the clubhouse.
"Picture!" I shouted.  Ashley immediately stopped the hunt and broke into a million dollar pose.  Candace, not as well trained as Ashley, ignored my command and saw her opportunity to strike while the iron was hot and gather all the eggs while Ashley waited patiently for the shutter to snap. 

Candace Mattson showing off the fruits of her spoils.  She is very pleased of herself.
1.  She got her picture taken and sported an amazing smile,  AND
2.  She had a bag of Easter Eggs, having cleaned out that section of the lawn while her cousin Ashley
waited for me to get the right settings for the photo.

Ashley cried.  Candace was ordered to share.  Candace bolted for the street.  

Forrest DelGrosso in his shirt of many colors.  Poor Forrest, he made the mistake that day of following two others in the Easter Egg Hunt......  

His cousin Jake....

and his very own brother Brandon.  Forrest couldn't understand that Brandon and Jake didn't have his best interests at heart.  In our family, Easter Egg Hunts have one rule and one rule only.  Give the little ones a head start, then its "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!"  Forrest followed Jake and Brandon.  Jake and Brandon left nothing, not even stubble, in the fields.  Forrest was left with a nearly empty bag and a tough life lesson.  When someone shouts, "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF" you go for it cause ain't nobody - not even blood or kin gonna look out fer ya when candy is involved.

 Autumn DelGrosso found the commotion, crying, screaming, hair pulling and scheming quite amusing.  Here she is in her stroller looking as cute as ever. 

Grandma Mattson, Pat Bodily (Jilane's Mother in Law) and Aunt Bev relaxing in the club house complete oblivious to the carnage outside.

 Lowell Bodily (Jilane's Father in Law), Jilane and Cousin Shelley. 

Kim Williamson DelGrosso with husband John visiting from Frisco, Colorado.

Uncle John Mattson, Grandma Mattson and Joe.

I may be mistaken, but I believe this photo caught Uncle John rifling through Joe's bag looking for the good stuff.  Isn't that what adults do?  Let the kids do the hunting, then demand access to their bags to find the best of the pickings?  It's what the adult does afterwords that defines character.  Do you barter with the youngling for that Cadbury's Egg or do you take it under the unwritten rule that "Might is Right?"

"OK, everyone get together near the fence for a picture!" Luella shouted for the fifth time.  No one listened.  A few minutes later, she successfully corralled them within the confines of the camera lens but still couldn't get them to strike a pose.  I had to step in and use my teacher's voice.

"PICTURE!"  My voice shook the glass in the clubhouse.  Three seconds later the picture was snapped and and recorded for posterity's sake.

Can you identify everyone in the photo above?  Left to Right, Angie Mattson standing behind young Amber DelGrosso, then Brandon, Forrest, Jake and Annette Williamson.  Joe is kneeling.  Ashley is beside Joe and Candace is at the very bottom.

We had a fun Easter that year.

Everyone has gotten older and our families continue to grow, adding new generations of Easter Egg Hunters.