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 31, 2013

Evelyn Configliacco's Obituary and an Easter Greeting

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I begin my passing along the sad news of a death in our extended family.  Evelyn K. Confligliacco passed away on March 22, 2013 after a short illness.  

Evelyn was our 2nd cousin, once removed.  There is an error in the chart.  Giovanni John Vercellino and Maria Viano were our Great Grandparents.  

My parents enjoyed Evelyn very much, and made it a point to visit her whenever they had the opportunity. 

The following is her obituary

Evelyn K. Configliacco 
Evelyn K. Configliacco
(January 10, 1916 - March 22, 2013)

Evelyn K. Configliacco, 97 years young, lifetime resident of Lead, SD passed away March 22, 2013 in Rapid City, SD after a short illness. Vigil services will be at 7p.m., Monday, March 25, 2013 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lead with visitation one hour prior at the church. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 2p.m., Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at the church with Father Kerry Prendiville as Celebrant, burial will follow at Mountain Lawn Cemetery. 

Evelyn was born January 10, 1916 to Venere and Mary (Vidano) Configliacco. She attended school in Lead and graduated from Lead High School. Evelyn worked as a chief telephone operator at the telephone office in Lead. She enjoyed the young girls and always was a mother figure and they always looked up to her and came to her for advice. She always had a positive attitude, and made the best of everything. She transferred to the Deadwood office for the last years of her career. 

Evelyn is survived by her brother, Leslie Configliacco of Lead, nephew, Michael Configliacco (Barbara) of Ohio and their daughter, Leslie Ann Silva of Ohio, niece, Connie Holso (Thomas) of Lead, and their sons, Anthony Holso (Debra) of Rapid City and Timothy Holso of Spearfish and daughter, Tamara Kintz (Randy) of Pierre, nephew, William Configliacco, (Darla) of Utah and their sons; Tony Configliacco (Becky) of Alaska, Bruce McConville (Wendy) of Idaho and Bryan McConville (Jill) of Utah and numerous great-great and great-great-great nieces and nephews. Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents, and brothers, Theodore, Russel, Fred, and Raymond. 

Evelyn was the matriarch of the family, she was very generous, spoke well of everyone, she was a positive influence on family and friends, and touched everybody’s heart that she met. Evelyn had faith in God, family, and friends, Evelyn with all our love, “Salute`.”

My Appreciation for Easter Peeps

Today is a special day for members of the Peeps Appreciation Society (PAS) like me.  The PAS works diligently to foster the celebration of Easter and to insure its place in our society.  While many of us are Christians, and understand the religious significance of Easter, the PAS is a way for all people, religious or not, Christian or not, to celebrate the day when the Peeps make their yearly appearance on grocery shelves to warm the hearts of both children and adults.  
The PAS is divided into two camps.  Stage 1 members enjoy their Peeps fresh off the production line, when the marshmallow is gooey and sticky.  Stage 2 aficionados enjoy their Peeps after confection rigamortis has partially sent in and the marshmallow is gummy and somewhat mucilaginous.  You'll find more boys and men in the Stage 2 group, where the act of biting into the Peep and then pulling and tearing away its marshmallow flesh reminds us of our carnivore heritage.
Digging in the Battlestar

I stopped by the new Discovery Space Center in Pleasant Grove on Saturday morning to visit with center director, Casey Voeks.  The Discovery Space Center is the newest Space Center using my curriculum and experience / simulation based methodology.  I'm working with them as their Director of Education.  I wanted to see how things went on their Friday Overnight Camp.  Casey seemed confused.  The dark pouches under his eyes told a story of many late nights and early mornings.  His hair was unkempt and his glasses slightly askew, which is all normal for Casey;  but if his glasses were a ship at sea, the Captain would be closing the water tight doors and preparing the passengers and crew to abandon ship if the list got any steeper.

I found Mark Daymont and his brother Dave and suggested we take Casey out for an hour or so for lunch, fresh air and great company.

"Casey, do you want to go out for lunch with us?" I asked.

"Lunch?" Casey questioned.

"Yes, lunch - that meal many people eat at or around Noon," I explained. I noticed the concept of lunch was taking hold.  The vacant expression which had previously squatted on his face, was being pushed aside by the look of someone experiencing a conscious enlightenment.

"Sure," he vocalized.

We settled on Chick-fil-a.  Casey realized he'd forgotten his wallet when the nice lady at the window asked for his order.

"I can help you Sir?"

"Hummmm, aaaaaaa, I'll have a water," Casey mumbled.

It being Easter and all, I decided to do the Christian thing and rescue this poor soul, drowning in his own confusion.   We got him a nice box of Chick-fil-a's version of McNuggets, sat him down, and let him work on getting the box open while the three of us talked about this, that and the other.

Our lunch was successful.  We enjoyed a reasonable fast food meal and color was restored to Casey's face.

I noticed a large vacant lot with a dirt road next to Chick-fil-a as we left.   I cranked the steering wheel and turned the Battlestar heavy to port.  The lumbering Lincoln answered the helm and began a slow, titanic turn toward uncharted waters.

The Dirt Road

"What are you DOING?" Dave shouted from the back seat.  I could see him reaching for the door handle in a vain attempt to throw himself from the car in the event it left the pavement.  Mark grasped the seat belt with both hands and closed his eyes.  Casey simply asked, "Where are going?"

The car left the parking lot.  It was like going off planet.  We were on a real dirt road.  We were digging!   "Put your phone away and enjoy this," I shouted to Dave.  Dave was trying to call his wife but found it difficult as the car lurched one way, then the other as it navigated the bumps and rocks.

"Where are we?" Casey was trying to get his bearings.   "Are we still in Utah?"

"Chick-fil-a was my last meal on Earth," Mark lamented.

Making the tough decision

I stomped on the brake.  The car leaned forward - then settled into a gentle rocking motion.  The dirt road rose sharply ahead, up and out of the field and back onto pavement.  Part of me wanted to take it on.  The more sensible part of me urged caution.  Mark, Dave and I are on the large side and I feared high centering the car.  It reminded me of a scene from the film The Perfect Storm, where the captain of the boat steered straight toward an oncoming mammoth wave.  He knew the boat would roll if he took the wave at any angle other than straight on.  Taking the sharp incline at an angle might have put us upside down.  Taking the angle head on would high center the car.   A decision had to be made, and being captain of the ship, it was me who had to make it.  After a moment's deliberation, I ashamedly backed away.  The passengers were happy, but I felt I'd let myself down for retreating in face of a real American challenge.

It was a three minute adventure none of us will forget.  It made us a Band of Brothers.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Collection of Photos from our Life at Canyon Lake. 1970's 80's.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
It's been a while since our last digital reunion.  I blame the weather.  The dark and dismal days of winter were not conducive to family history research.  I got home from school and immediately faced a dilemma.  On the left of my easy chair was my 65 inch window on the world, and to my right - that corner of the great hall stacked with boxes of old family photos and papers and documents by the ream.  It would have taken the will power of a Saint to make that right turn.

Today's weather was mild and sunny, so I decided to post a few pictures from the boxes and reduce the overall total in the eternal holding pattern over the document scanner.  Before doing so, I had to go to City Creek Mall in Salt Lake to purchase a long promised and seriously late and nearly forgotten Christmas present.  Mom called and asked if I was doing anything so I decided to take her along.  It would be an adventure.  Instead of driving, I thought of taking the train.  Mom had that prison pallor, gaunt expression about her when she got into the Battlestar.  I could see why she wanted to get out.  She needed a bit of sun and some fresh air.

The trip was uneventful.  The Frontrunner offers a nice, smooth ride for a great price.  I was impressed and think I'll make the train my official mode of transport whenever I go to downtown Salt Lake.

Mom handled the train well, except for the loading and unloading.  My challenge was getting  her across the threshold and into a seat before the carriage lurched forward.  Stepping from the platform and into the train was 'one small step for man, and one GIANT leap for an old lady'.  Mom acted like she was about to long jump across the Grand Canyon as she nervous kicked out her leg to span the 3 inches or so seperating the train from the platform.  I wanted to shout, "Old Lady, Clear the Way!" as she kicked out and lunged forward while grasping for anything semi stable, like my arm, shirt and belt.  I had this fear the automatic doors would close on her leg and arm so I kept pushing the wheelchair door button hoping that would buy us a bit more time.  "I should have brought my cane," she repeated more than once.  All in all, it was a good day out.

Family Photos from Our Days at 
Canyon Lake.  1970's and 80's

 The Kevin Williamson Collection.

I believe this is Kevin's 6th Grade photo from Canyon Lake Elementary 1972.
I posted it because of the hair.  Is it me, or does it look like Mom 
had some trouble cutting his bangs?

 Kevin's baseball team.  I wondered why their team photo was taken in front of the McDonald's 
where I made my small fortune (and I mean small) during my high school years.  Then I read the name of the team and it all became clear.  Kevin is on the back row, middle.

Kevin gave up baseball when he got older and took up snake charming instead.
After several trips to the emergency room, he gave up that career path for 
another form of snake charming - managing newly discovered bands.

Kevin, I believe taken during his senior year at Steven's High School in Rapid City.  He looks like he could use a few dozen of those Big Macs from his earlier years playing baseball for McDonalds.

The Janice Williamson Collection

Janice's 5th (?) grade photo, taken at Canyon Lake Elementary in the early 1970's.

Janice's 6th Grade photo, taken at Canyon Lake Elementary.  
She blossomed early.  She took after her mother, who was nearly
7 feet tall by the time she entered the 7th Grade back in the day :)

Janice again.  I'm wondering why the photographer blurred the photo.  Regardless, 
I'm sure she gave many a junior high boy something to stare at  :) 

The Jilane Williamson Collection

I thought of leaving Jilane out of this post.  She gets so much attention as it is.  I changed my mind when I saw this photo and decided to include it for history's sake. Besides,  I knew her kids would get a kick out of seeing their mother in the fashions of the day.  

The Jon Williamson Collection

Jon Williamson.  I'm thinking 6th Grade, but he might be older.  Jon is Janice's twin.

Jon with his baseball team.  Jon is standing next to the kid his hat.

Jon with his prom(?) date.
Jon had no problem getting women.  
Getting the grades was an entirely different matter altogether!

The Lisa Williamson Collection

Little Yellow Lisa

A little older Lisa. 
I scanned this photo and noticed that little something on Lisa's nose.
"No, it couldn't be.  Could it?"  I thought.
So I zoomed in to take a look...

Well, it could be a spot on the photo.  Or.....
I decide to spare Lisa the embarrasement, so I decided to use my master skills as a Photoshop
expert and fix the problem.  What do you think?

Lisa liked to play softball

 Lisa is the second from the left on the middle row.