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, December 7, 2014

A Bold Fashion Statement. My First Car. A Trip to North Dakota. and John and Don's Birthday.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today's digital reunion takes us back to our life in Rapid City, South Dakota in the mid 1970's.  I must warn you that what you're about to see may be upsetting to those with sensitive fashion tastes.  I also feel compelled to warn epileptics that the following photo contains visual stimulus which may induce a seizure.  Proceed at your own risk.     

     Did I not warn you?  That sports jacket is embarrassingly checkered, strangely colored, and matched with a tie only someone like me would ever think went together.  Funnily enough, I still have that jacket hanging in my living room closet.  I'll be happy to rent it out to anyone attending a 1970's fancy dress party.  Its a one of a kind so be prepared to pay a hefty premium. 
     Take a moment and stop staring at my jacket long enough to see what Cary Gillies is wearing.  I'll give you the jacket and pants.  They work.  The white tie and biologically patterned shirt go together but fashionably date the photo just as blatantly as my jacket.
     I had a thick forest of hair back then and let it grow as was the fashion.  The glasses are the best my budget would allow.  I was making $3.25 an hour in those days at our friendly neighborhood McDonalds, just enough to keep me in gas, insurance, clothes, school, and the occasional movie, with just enough left over for my mission and college saving account. Designer glasses were a luxury.    
     To our credit, we are seen above home teaching Sister Aish.  We were pretty good home teachers considering we were both priests at the time. We visited Sister Aish nearly every Sunday afternoon between Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting. In those days, Sunday School ended at Noon and Sacrament Meeting started around 4 or 5 P.M.  
     Sister Aish was a wonderful person with a head full of memories from the early 1900's and up.  Her husband was the stock broker to first floated Piggly Wiggly's stock.  She remembered the stock market crash of 1929.  Her husband lost everything.  Several of their acquaintances were left destitute.  Some committed suicide.   
     Sister Aish passed away while I was on my mission.  I think of her from time to time even today.  

Mabel, My First Car

     That 1965 Rambler Station Wagon was my first car.  It was the family's car until Dad bought the 1968 Ambassador Station Wagon.  Dad gave it to me under the condition that I maintain it, pay for all repairs, gas and insurance, and take all responsibility for killing myself and anyone who may be riding with me if I ever got into an accident. 
     I called it Mabel to match its personality.  It was over ten years old when I got it. In Rambler to human years, the car was equivalent to an 80 year old person.  And that is exactly how it ran - like an 80 year old.  
     The car had no guts.  The engine was seriously on its last leg with I got the car.  I had to add a bottle of Geritol for every 15 gallons of gas just to get it started and running in the morning.  I couldn't drive to school the way everyone else in my neighbor drove to school because of the steep hill.  I drove to school the long, back way.  The route with the longer, yet more gradual incline.  Even then I had to get a running start to get up the West Junior High Hill.  I'd come down Canyon Lake Drive to the junior high road, and instead of turning left up the hill, I'd turn right, drive to the baseball fields, turn around and floor it to get a run up the hill.  If I could get to 40 miles per hour at the bottom of the hill, then I'd be cresting the hill at around 10 miles per hour (five miles per hour if I was carrying passengers).  
     Yes the car was a real pain, but Mabel was my own car and that meant freedom.  On the bright side, the back end came in handy for drive-in movies. 
     By the way, I wonder what that stick shift bike of Jon's would be worth today?

The Christensens      

     I met the Christensens when I got back from my mission in 1979.  Brother Christensen worked for LDS Social Services if I remember correctly.  Don and John were twins.  I saw them every morning in my early morning seminary class. Jennifer was their older sister. 
     This picture was taken on the twin's birthday, December 26, 1980.   

The Family Trip to North Dakota.  1973

Below are a two snapshots of the family vacation to North Dakota in 1973.  Kim and I didn't go and I don't know why.    

Janice, Kevin, Lisa, an unknown park ranger and Janice at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Kevin, Lisa with her bottle (the only way to keep her quiet), Jilane, Jon, and Janice.

I wish I had more to say about this trip, but having not gone, anything said would be pure speculation so we'll leave it at that.  


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