Pleasant Grove, Utah
Something unusual is happening in Utah. All eight Williamson brothers and sisters are gathered for the holiday. Jon is here from Las Vegas. Kevin flew in from Nashville. Janice is here from California. Lisa drove up from Arizona. Annette, Kim, Jilane, and I are transplantees who've taken sanctuary in this fair state. Such a gathering of great minds and overblown personalities hasn't happened in ten years. It's not that we can't stand each other's company, or politics, or religious views, or peculiar tastes in movies and music; it is a fact born of busy schedules and an acknowledgement that having spent so many years together in a modest post war 100 square foot bungalow on 38th Street, Rapid City, we find a little distance quite comfortable :)
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I've pulled out another of my dusty photo albums filled with grainy images detailing a simpler time when all we had to worry about was getting out of chores, finding something to wear in one of many piles of laundry piled haphazardly in a musky labyrinth we lovingly called "The Utility Room", and being the first to select which bowl of ice cream would be yours (ice cream was rarely dispensed fairly at 2214 38th Street, so being the first to pick from the eight bowls gave you the largest helping, which meant more calories, thus giving you a better chance of survival in the long dark South Dakota winters.)
Could there be a better picture showing the love of two sisters? Lisa and Annette in the late 1970s. While not sure of the particular circumstances leading up to the picture, one would guess based on Lisa's love of attention, that she'd tolerated the baby of the family long enough.
I did my best to restore this old picture to its proper colors, but in the end gave in to the fact that the ravages of time has had its way with the photo, much like what time has done to Jilane, Annette, and Lisa over the same number of years. Once young and fair, now wrinkled, worn, and leathery.
I'm guessing this might be an easter egg hunt. Strange to see Lisa with an empty paper bag. Her modus operandi always was if you can't find them, take them from the younger more innocent and naive.
Judging from the Safeway Crispy Rice cereal box on the counter, we're looking at supper time in the Williamson home on 38th Street in the late 1970's. Jon is looking his usual malnourished self. He was always too slow getting to the ice cream bowls - a runt of the litter type thing.
You'd think by the number of pots and pans on the stove the Williamson home was the center of fine cuisine in western South Dakota. Actually, there was no other place to store kitchen items rarely used :) Thank goodness for the microwave oven - a recent invention at the time - which restored hot food to the kitchen table. (OK I exaggerate. Perhaps my memory has clouded over time. Did the microwave come out in the early 80's).
Janice cleaned up and painted for prom. I think her date was drawn to a similar part in her hair - one of those strange fetishes. Janice was in a state of shock for most of the evening as seen in her face. She realized my brotherly prediction of her converting to Catholicism and, out of a need for companionship, spending her adult life as a nun in a convent might not come true!
This is Jon Williamson taken in the 1980s. Most people don't know this, but our Jon was the first to take regular selfies, at least whenever he could afford the film and processing.
Janice following her twin brothers fascination with selfies. This picture was taken in our 38th Street kitchen. Could it be she's finding it difficult to breath? Or perhaps it's her modesty she's so seriously protecting by wearing something designed to guard the frontier woman from bears and marauding indians.
This photo album has no rhyme or reason to it. We go from casual day to day photos from Rapid City to this picture of Kim, JD, Forrest, Brandon, and Amber at their temple sealing.
We switch gears now and move to the Mattson home in American Fork, Utah. Again we are in the 1980s.
Forrest DelGrosso. They were visiting from Colorado.
Joseph Mattson, never without a football.
Switching gears again, we find ourselves back in Rapid City in the 1980's enjoying the ward's talent show held in the cultural hall.
Lacking a performing talent of his own, Kevin volunteered to be someone's sidekick in a comedy act. That's a cup of water on his back. His mission was to remove it without getting wet.
Jon is seen either getting or giving something pink. I'm guessing the item was 'found' unattended and Jon is being a gentlemen and returning it to its proper owner. Jon was the best at finding missing things; and for a small finder's fee, was prone to return them.
A very rare photo indeed showing our Jon doing one of his first mimes. What a performer; always was and still is.
Who is this guy! I'm memorized by the teeth and the furry mat of hair erupting out of his shirt.
We switch gears once again. Pictures from the 1990's. These were taken during a quick family trip to California where I received the Milken Award in Education.
We're near the beach, debating whether or not we should go any closer to the water. There were rumors the sand was unforgiving that day.
Charles Williamson got to the water first. Maybe the first time he'd seen the ocean. Dad didn't get out much, bless his heart.
Janice and Lisa made it to the beach safely and thought to show a little leg in hopes of drawing a bit of attention.
"Is she still breathing?" Jon asked.
"I think so," Jilane replied. "The sand is moving under her nose. We really need to get her out before she sinks any further. Hold on mom. We're going to get you out."
"I told her not to walk out this far."
Well, we tried. The sand eventually took her. We held a brief memorial service then headed back to the car. Lisa waved one last goodbye as the last wisps of gray disappeared into the sand.
Luella. Mom. Moments before......
We like to remember her this way.
Here we are in Jon's apartment. Lisa, Janice, and Jon.
Charles and Luella. Surprisingly a couple beach bums stumbled upon her after we'd left and dug her out. She wasn't happy and refused to speak to us for the rest of the day.
Jon, Janice, Jilane, Lisa sporting their California hairstyles.