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Things Remembered

sundayswsharon

Yesterday, my brother and I went to visit our step-mom, who is downsizing. She wanted to return items we had grown up with, now that our father had passed. These were things coming back to our family that were owned and enjoyed by our mother and dad during their nearly 60 years of marriage. You haven't lived until your father starts courting at 80, and then remarries. Being an engineer with good humor, although dry, and not known for being a “player” he still managed for part of his last years to have a wife in both worlds, here and in Heaven.

IMG_5250Some of these things had been in drawers, unseen, because there were so many of them.  My brother and I appreciated that great care was taken not to dispose of anything the family would want to be passed down later on. A a suggestion my father should mark and label everything, he scoffed, “I don't want to be living in a museum of my own things.” Point taken. And so, we know Dad loved them, tucked them away in a special place, but left no notation about it or its significance. We had to guess.

I think everyone wants to be like the kids in Madison County, finding an old love letter from someone not of their father's lineage, a great love secretly tucked away and hidden from family. In reality, I'm not sure that happens very often. We didn't expect this, nor did we get it. But it's always fun to revisit the things our father held, loved and decided to save in a special place.

We found these glasses. My brother and I had never seen them before and there wasn't anything indicating what they were. We guessed they belonged to a bachelor “uncle” of my mother's who lived in San Francisco and was a dental salesman for a time. He's buried along with his two spinster sisters, Aunt Mary and Aunt Elizabeth, in a cemetary in Galt, California. We knew Uncle John wore glasses, but not a double-lensed monocle.IMG_5251

Until we stumbled upon this picture. This is my great grandfather Fridell, on occasion of his 25th wedding anniversary 99 years ago. I remember this man, and so, I think I did see these glasses worn by him. Although his beard is short in this picture, he grew it long after my great grandmother passed, and used to separate it and tuck each half into his vest pocket. I remember playing with his beard while I sat on his lap as a toddler. He used to chase me around the house, saying “bitte, bitte Sharon” and I can remember screaming and nearly running into things as we played this little game of chase.

IMG_5243Grandpa Fridell came over from Norway as a young Baptist minister, seeking religious freedom in an environment where it was said the children could not go to school unless they were Lutheran. For a time, he traveled the midwest in a buckboard, with eventually 9 children, living from house to house as he cared for three churches in Nebraska, where there was a large Scandanavian population. My grandmother was the oldest, and had been born in Norway.

I can remember him talking about my great grandma, not by name, but always by his name for her, which was “My Beloved.” IMG_5248

He became the pastor at the church California my mother's father would one day lead, which is where my parents met. It was the church where my grandmother and two of her sisters met and married my grandfather and two of his brothers.

And so the lost is found. The mystery solved. No steamy love letters amongst my father's things, but a story of dedication, and sacrifice, of new beginnings in a new country and a dynasty to follow. And yes, like everything in my life, a love story.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
Sandypo - November 16, 2014

That is a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it. And how lucky for the next generations of your family to have this information to pass along.

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J.D. Hart - November 16, 2014

What at beautiful love story, "My Beloved". No secret "Madison County love letter" hidden in the back of the drawer. That is an inspiration just like Sunday's with Sharon. Thank you for sharing this very romantic story. Long live "True Love" and long live Sharon Hamilton and her stories that touch and warm our hearts in such a special way.

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Karen H - November 16, 2014

Awe Sharon, this is so awesome. I love old things some of mine and my hubbies favorite things are antiques. Seeing these old pictures is just so cool. When we finally finishing remodeling our breezeway into a room my plan is to decorate it with our antiques some of which are from both of our families. The cool thing is we have used some of them. I have an old curling iron you put on a wood stove top to heat up that I used once when we lost power in a storm. It worked great too.

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Sharon - November 16, 2014

Thank you, Sandy! Yes, finding these treasures is so wonderful. So nice when we can find out their origins. Sadly, not all of these stories has a happy ending.

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Sharon - November 16, 2014

JD, thank you for being here with me step by step, and for breathing true life into my stories. I don't think anyone will ever go through a loved one's things again without thinking of that movie or plot. I know it means a lot to you too. When I think of it, my family life has been dotted and dappled with these little stories, strung together to make the tapestry of my own story. Like a great book, that you get to narrate! Thanks for being right next to me, J.D.

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Sharon - November 16, 2014

So awesome, Karen! We had an old waffle iron that heated up on the stovetop too, and yes, on more than one occasion, we used it for a wonderful breakfast or dinner when we were without power. I love displaying old things. We have big walls in our new house, and though they are tall, will some day be filled with old lovelies. Thanks for being here.

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Eniko - November 16, 2014

WOW what a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love to hear stories like this, and things that are preserved for future generations with a story to go along with them.

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julie - November 16, 2014

We were so lucky to trace my mothers mother family tree several years ago. My mother had a small table that my grandmothers brother Roger had made. Because it was such at unusual name in Wales in the early 1900s we were able to trace after a couple of dead ends our family . We dont know what happened to the table but, we know there were no more Rogers. Thanks again for a marvellous post that makes us think of our own past.

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Sharon - November 16, 2014

Thanks, Eniko! It's a true story too!! It was a day I think my dad would smile over. Thanks for being here today.

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Sharon - November 16, 2014

Julie you are so welcome….I write these for all of you. Glad it was a good story.

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