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, October 20, 2019

The Family Gathered for Grandma Mattson's Funeral. September 1987.

There is a certain melancholy one gets when perusing old photo albums.  Those of us showing age marvel at how quickly time has past.  We look at our faces in the photographs and compare them with what answers back in the mirror every mornings.  We curse the passing of time and its ravages on our youth.

"If I could only have those years back," some mutter, wanting to relive those happy days long gone, forgetting that the passage of years has an effect on memory's reliability.  We forget that time can gloss over the rough spots. 

Others mutter, "If I could only have those years back," out of regret for poor decisions made and the wish that what was done could somehow be undone and a different path taken.

I remind myself that today is the day I'll look back upon in the future and ask, "If I could only have those years back."  Well, we have those years now.  We are not dead and buried, the sun shines and oxygen moves in and out of our lungs, so never forget the preciousness of the present. Today there are decisions to make and people to love and places to visit - so make every hour count.  Pull up the regret anchor weighing down on your soul. Take the thought that your best years are behind you out with the trash.  These things belong in the past. The past has already been lived.  Its the future that waits to be written.

Grandma Mattson's Funeral.  September 1987

     Our beloved Grandma Mattson died in September 1987 in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Violet Pierce Mattson was the mother to Luella, Linda, John and Marvin Mattson.  She was preceded in death by her husband Walter.  Grandpa Mattson died in February 1973.
     Most of the family gathered in Belle Fourche, South Dakota for her funeral and burial. 

     Grandma Mattson's grandchildren are pictured above.  Kirk is the tallest.  I'm standing next to Kirk; and thank you for commenting on my distinguished appearance.  Kim Williamson DelGrosso, Grandma Mattson's eldest grandchild (and my sister), stands next to me. I won't labor the length of this paragraph to list the others.  I've mentioned the most important, so let's leave it at that - shall we?

     Grandma Mattson's Great Grandchildren at the funeral.  I'll list them for you and let you identify them in the photo based on the descriptions. Amber, the sweater of many colors.
Autumn, in her calico 'done gone to Sunday Meeting dress'. Ashley, always so photogenic.
Jazmine Burrows, shy and feeling very embarrassed because of her sister.  It's all she can do to keep from giving Nicole "something to cry about!" She bites her fingers instead.  It is a coping mechanism. Nicole Burrows giving her best attempt to wake the dead.  It was a funeral; you got to give her credit for trying. Brandon DelGrosso. It's just Brandon.  He's the kid that always looked so innocent.  It was important to know where Brandon was at all times. Seen and heard was good a good thing for that boy. Forest DelGrosso holds Sierra Burrows.  Best Smile of the bunch belongs to Forrest, and he managed to pull it off even with the smell from a very dirty diaper.

     Luella Mattson Williamson, Grandpa Emerson Leissman, Charles Williamson and Grandma Elda Vercellino Leissman at the funeral luncheon.  Emerson was stepfather to Charles. Elda was his mother.   

     Elda Vercellino Leissman with her grandchildren.  Janice Williamson Burrows, Kim Williamson DelGrosso, Annette Williamson, Lisa Williamson, Victor Williamson and Grandpa Leissman.

     Here we are at Grandma Mattson's graveside.  I remember how we struggled with Grandma's coffin from the hearse to the grave through the wet soggy marshland Belle Fourche calls a cemetary. It was all poor Uncle Ray could do to stand upright.  I struggled behind Uncle Ray, carrying my share of Grandma and his.  I know Grandma took great delight is watching us from the other side.  Her sense of fun was all too present that day.
     Notice the flowers in the childrens' hands?  Both the grand and great grandchildren thought to liberate Grandma Mattson's flowers and distribute them to several of the other graves nearby. I suppose it was a kind gesture and perhaps welcomed by the spirits at hand. It started when Luella gave permission for a few flowers to be taken to Walter Mattson's grave (Violet's husband) and things got out of hand.  
     I was all good in the end.  Grandma's coffin was flowerless, but at least she made a good first impression on her new long term neighbors.  Wouldn't you agree? 

Family and friends gathered around Walter Mattson's headstone

Uncle John filming a prairie dog at Custer National Park

     Before and after the funeral we toured the Black Hills. 

Another stop was to visit other family graves at Hot Springs

No comments:

Post a Comment