.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Three score and ten or more

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Post

Edit alarm. I have received a note from a relative that says that the picture below is not my grandfather but my GREAT grandfather. I am searching through files and if I find that such is true, I will find and post a picture of the real grandfather.
I decided to post another story or two about my youth, but I got tangled up in what I have already written and what I want to write. As a result, I have been trying to sort out my older blog posts to see what I have said. (One of the problems with three score and ten is that you have to be careful, or you tell the same stories over and over. In person, it is not so difficult because may family members are wont to say “Been there, done that” or my lovely wife Janet, who is much more tactful will catch my attention and raise her left eyebrow - - It is hard to believe that one eyebrow can be that expressive but in print there are no tell-tale eybrows.)

I went back to the very beginning of the blog and tried to save titles or stories in a folder that I could check, but my computer semi-literacy jumped in and I found that Windows and Blockspot conspire to keep me from saving things without going through ten steps to do it. (I now save everything I write as I write it. I haven’t mastered the art of saving commentary, and I would really like to find some commentary I have written in order to turn it into a post on my blog.

I guess I will have to depend on you my loyal reader (s?) to jump in an tell me in commentary not to do this again if I repeat myself. I’m don’t think I can see your eybrow even if it is as expressive as that of my lovely wife.

Having said that, I believe that I have already spoken of my great grandmother, of which I have only one memory, but it is a sweet one. I’m just going to copy from my memoir something about some of my other predecessors

I also have wonderful memories of my great‑uncle Charlie and Aunt Emmaline (sp.). Grandpa and Grandma Shurtleff (my mothers parents) owned a duplex with a basement apartment at 1021 East Clark in Pocatello, Idaho. Aunt Emma and Uncle Charlie owned a house around the corner and down about half a block or so, quite near Franklin Jr. High. The address must have been about 200 something North Ninth, but I don't remember exactly.

Uncle Charlie was my Grandpa Shurtleff's brother and Aunt Emma was Grandma Shurtleff's sister, and somehow that made them more special than my other Great Uncles and Aunts. Uncle Charlie was really inventive and could do almost anything with a pocket knife and some wood. He taught me how to make a willow whistle (Something I don't think I ever taught my children, and that embarrasses me), a rick-rack out of a wooden spool that was a tool used at Halloween to plague people who didn't "treat", and once he carved a ring with the face of an Indian out of a piece of wood. He just sat there on the porch whittling away as he was talking to us kids, and suddenly there, in his hand was the ring. Somehow, I think he gave it to me, but I don't remember seeing it or playing with it later. I did have, after I got married, a Scout neckerchief slide that looked much like that ring, but I think that I made that slide for a merit badge. Could perhaps be the same thing, and it has either been lost or I gave it to one of my kids, because I don't have it anymore. He also made a gizmo that I can't even clearly explain. It was made out of a wooden spool, and by putting several pieces of string in one end, then working the string over match sticks (I think) you could produce a soft, hollow continuous fabric tube out of the spool. I am not sure why, or why I thought it was so neat that he made this and taught me how to use it, but he did, and I did. I wish I remembered exactly how to do it.

The clearest memory of Aunt Emma is of food. She made peach preserves that were unique. The preserves were a really dark color, probably with cinnamon in them, and great whole cloves, and I thought they were better than Grandma's, better than my mother's, better than ANYBODY's. She made us sandwiches, sometimes, if we were really lucky, out of home made bread, and she coated one slice with a layer of her homemade apple butter (which is worth a paragraph in its own right) something like modern kids use peanut butter. Then she put on peach preserves. On the other slice, just butter, then she put them together to create a sandwich that was like no other. I have tried to duplicate that sandwich many times with products I made, things my mother and grandmother made, but no one on earth ever made a sandwich quite like Aunt Emma.

Grandpa Johnson
My grandma and Grandpa Johnson (my father’s parents) lived quite near there, on Lander Street, 1226 East Lander, I believe. I will probably write a lot about Grandma Johnson if I ever finish this, but I am now writing about memories that shift in and out, and seem deal with the time when I was very young. Grandpa Johnson is one of those memories. I don't really remember him very well except that, to a little boy, he seemed very tall, and I seem to remember white hair and that he bounced me on his foot and sang (Swedish spelling not guaranteed) LUNKEN EFTER VATEN, LUNKEN EFTER VATEN, HOOOCHIE HOOCHIE, LUNKEN TA HEM, LUNKEN TA HEM, SKOOTAVESTET, SKOOTAVESTET. My father also did this to me and his translation was "run after water, run after water, draw it up (from the well) draw it up. Run home again, run home again, Jump up the steps, Jump up the steps."
The most significant memory of my Grandpa Johnson is that his death was the first memory I have of the reality of death. I don't remember how old I was, but I vividly remember going to his funeral, seeing the flowers, and seeing my father cry, and being shocked that a father would cry (No one who knows me would ever be shocked by tears. I run like a leaky faucet.) I really think that I was so young that the memory of bouncing on his foot may have been told to me, and made real by the fact that my dad did that same thing to me.

(to be continued, if it is not a repeat._

7 Comments:

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Your Aunt Emma reminds me of my family. All the women made preserves and jellies. My grandmother made something called pickalilli (spelling?). I loved watching (and eating the results).

 
At 6:13 AM, Blogger Walker said...

Blogger already indexes your blog.

All you have to do is type in keywords at the top search bar (for example I typed in Shurtleff and found two posts other than what you posted today: Grandma Agren and More Childhood Memories.) Be sure to click "search this blog".

Anyway, have you done your genealogy as far as possible?

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Walker, I haven't personally searched it, but my wife is a geneology addict, as is my daughter in law, so I keep current. The Shurtleffs are traced in a THREE VOLUME set done by a relative. (All the Shurtleffs and Shurtliffs in the world seem to have come from one source). The Johnsons are more difficult. The only Johnsons to which I am related are decended from my grandfather (originally Jansson), whose father was, if I remember correctly Gustafson.

 
At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

I think the fact that strangers look forward to stories about your relatives is a tribute to your gift for writing and your perspective on life. The rest of my day will be interspersed with memories both vivid and dim of my family long past.

More please.

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I don't mind if you repeat yoursefl soemtimes. I know I do. I still enjoy your personal stories a lot.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

I was going to tell you how to find your old blogs on blogger, but I see Walker already has, so on to other things.

This is not a repeat, at least not since I've been reading your posts. Your grandfather was a striking-looking man.

I bounced my babies on my foot too; they would scream in delight and yell "horsie!" They would have done that until my leg fell off if I had let them. Memories like that are so very special.

The Swedish spelling looks fine to me, but it might as well be Chinese, so what do I know? I hope your wife with the eyebrow thing is having a wonderful Mother's Day! :)

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

I was going to tell you how to find your old blogs on blogger, but I see Walker already has, so on to other things.

This is not a repeat, at least not since I've been reading your posts. Your grandfather was a striking-looking man.

I bounced my babies on my foot too; they would scream in delight and yell "horsie!" They would have done that until my leg fell off if I had let them. Memories like that are so very special.

The Swedish spelling looks fine to me, but it might as well be Chinese, so what do I know? I hope your wife with the eyebrow thing is having a wonderful Mother's Day! :)

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home