Friday, February 10, 2012

February 9th - Countdown to Valentine's Day - My grandparents

Very predictably, I started my next family history project today.  It is the project I have been planning for some time and I am so glad to finally get going on it.  I am working on my grandmother's line (the Bacon/Wesco line) to put together a book.  I am hoping to visit with cousins later this year and wanted to have it ready to give to them.

I have already done a lot of work on this line, so I am just going back to verify that everything is correct, to see if I can find any more documentation, and to add pictures and stories.  Then I can pull the book together.  I am expecting it will take me two or three months to get it done.

So, today I started with my grandmother.  We pulled some things out of the attic several weeks ago and among those things were pictures, letters, and other documents from my grandparents.  Today I scanned a number of pictures in and wrote several stories based on the documents I found.  The stories included about their wedding, my grandmother's report cards, graduation, other schooling, etc.  It was really fun to look at these pieces and try to put together the story.  I have plenty more to do as I still have plenty of pictures and stories of the years following.

I loved all my grandparents, but there was always a little extra special feeling for Grandma and Grandpa Nelson.

When I was little, my Grandpa Nelson was my favorite person in the whole world - and I guess that never really changed much.  The year before he died, I flew back from Provo, where I was going to college, to drive him down to Texas from Iowa, where they had wintered for many years.  He could drive locally, but was not able to drive that long distance.  He took me around to everyone he knew so that he could show me off. 

He always had a twinkle in his eye and loved to tease, but it was always fun teasing, never hurtful.  He taught me to play cribbage when I was really little.  It was his favorite card game and he wanted a partner, I guess.  I was so small that I really don't even remember it.  I just remember that I have always known how to play cribbage.  A couple of winters when they didn't go to Texas, he drove a school bus.  I remember riding with him on the bus and being so proud that he was my grandpa!  He was born in Denmark, but was young enough when he came to the United States that he did not have an accent.  He did tell some stories about how poor they were there and how much they loved the United States.  He served in WWI in France.  He died in 1970.

My grandmother was one of the sweetest people I have ever known.  I never remember seeing her angry or mean.  She was gentle in her manner.  I noticed in her bridal memories book that she wrote about the flower girl and said "that pretty little Dorothy Knudsen."  That was a great example of how she saw every one - always sweet or pretty or kind.  She loved her grandchildren, and I was the oldest, so maybe got a little extra attention.  She always bought season passes for the local swimming pool and called it the Nelson pass - my cousins lived in town, but she always added my brother's and my names to the list so we could swim when we were visiting.  She would sometimes give my cousin Shirley and I a dollar each and let us walk uptown to shop.  Our favorite snack at her home was an ice cream soda, made with 7Up, ice cream, and chocolate syrup.  She gave me her sewing machine when I graduated from high school and I still have it.  It is one of those little Singer's and must have been one of the best ever made.  I also have her cedar chest that she had before she married.  She died in 1965.

So, today my grandparents have been at the center of my thoughts and they have definitely brought out many feelings of love.  I have been very lucky to have grandparents as wonderful as they were!

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