Monday, October 29, 2012

"In all your ways acknowledge Him"

The year was 1949. It must have been a Sunday, that October 11, when Grandma and Grandpa said good-bye to their life in Cashmere.  My Vintage Jewel, a black Bible engraved and given to Mr. & Mrs. W.E. Gerry by their "Cashmere Baptist Church friends."  Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."  Such a sweet word for my grandparents as they left the only place they'd known as a family and looked to the Lord to direct their "path."  I long to know all the details of their decision to leave Cashmere.  The orchard had burned , as I remember for the second time and their life at the orchard had ended.  The cycle of life in the orchard, the beautiful Apple Blossoms and the harvest of their labors were to be no more.  How they must have agonized at leaving with an unknown future ahead, the place of their roots together and the birthplace of their two sons. But God had a plan which included me in the life of my Grandma & Grandpa at my birth on Feb. 13, 1950. God, in His graciousness, prepared the way as our family moved to Poulsbo where Grandma & Grandpa now lived.  Their little cottage was pink, overlooking Liberty Bay.  Grandpa always had a big garden and there was a Weeping Willow in their front yard with swing and a handy. place for a switch if needed.  It was dreamy.  It was too wonderful.  God had indeed directed their path and the path of their son, my father.  The Willow tree is gone but the grape arbor that Grandpa planted is still there as well as the Butterfly Bush Grandma started from a cutting taken from a bush at Lake Retreat Bible Camp we went to in the summer.  He has directed our paths.   

Grandpa owned an apple orchard

Summer has passed and ah, the beautiful colors of fall have arrived in all their splendor. It seems that most days and all seasons, my heart reflects on another part of my family history, my Vintage Jewels. My thoughts travel to Cashmere and our fall trip to buy the most beautiful apples one could find anywhere in Washington State.  But the apples were only the symbol of the reason for our travel.
My father grew up on an apple orchard in Cashmere, Washington and it's only of late that I have begun to understand his need to reach back to his life in the apple orchard, a jewel in his life as a child.  Thus our trip to Cashmere.  We drove the splendor of Blewett Pass from our home in Poulsbo on the westside of the state to arrive at Tiny's Fruit Stand to pick our boxes of apples and have a picnic lunch.  It was always a beautiful, sunny day and the site of  the orchards was intoxicating as we drove across the river and through the countyside of the valley.  As the boxes of apples had been collected we could now begin our drive through what was then a sweet little eastern Washington town that hadn't changed much.  We would tour the Aplet and Cotlet Factory, did we remember that grandpa had once worked there?  And the soda fountain where my dad had also worked at one time.
And then the site of the Cashmere Baptist Church, the centerpiece of Cashmere. The church my dad grew up in.  The church where my Grandpa built all the little table and chairs for the Sunday school The church where grandma & grandpa and their two little boys grew in faith and friendship.  Cashmere, a Vintage Jewel, the home of my father and his family. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Almah Christine Nordeen

I have a very special treasure, a black tin box, which belonged to my Great Aunt Mary.  The box contains all sorts of wonders, a window into the past, and something so special, my Grandmother Almah's birth certificate  My grandmother was born in Kansas City, Missouri on June 16, 1888. She was the second daughter born to her parents, Augusta & John Gustaf Nordeen and the first generation of her Swedish-born parents to be born in the United States.  My childhood memories of my grandmother, my hand in hers, walking to the nearby cafe for a root-beer float.  I'm again, a little blond girl walking through her flower garden with her naming all the flowers in her garden, Sweet William, Pinks and bright red Salvia surrounding the Catalpa tree in her front yard. And our Sunday's at the North Kitsap Baptist Church, my heart is again with my adored Grandmother Almah.  I can hear her voice next to me "Sweet Hour of Prayer, Sweet Hour of Prayer, that calls me from a world of care, and bids me at my Father's throne, make all my wants & wishes known." My Vintage Jewel black box of memories .  Happy Birthday to you, my dear Grandmother Almah.  I loved you so------

Friday, June 1, 2012

Varmland, Sweden 1853 My Great Grandmother Augustine

My Great Aunt Mary's Emerson Birthday Book has given me a small window into so much of my past and my heritage.  My Great-Grandmother, the mother of my much-loved Grandmother Almah, and my Great Aunts Mary and Elida was born in Edsberg, Varmland County, Segerstad Socken, Sweden on July 23, 1853. Varmland County is just west of the middle of Sweden and oh, such beautiful country.  My heart can easily travel to the place of my Great-Grandmother Augustine's birthplace in the countryside of Sweden so many years ago.   Great-Aunt Mary  in her beautiful handwriting also recorded the passing of her mother and my Great-Grandmother Augustine in her birthday book.  Augustine Steuson Nordeen passed away in Everett, Washington on September 27, 1933.  Augusta was buried on September 29th.  We will have to meet another time, my dear Great-Grandmother Augustine and I.  In the meantime God has been good to me in His gift of my heritage of those who have gone before me who were believers in Christ.

"Hemma, Hemma. Fa Vi Hvila."  "Going Home, Abide with me."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Red Poppie

Memorial Day, a moment of reflection for us as a nation of freedom.  My eyes were drawn to the card-table set up in the entry of the market where I shop and to the two very elderly gentlemen at the table, both having served in WW11.  I knew immediately that this was a Vintage moment for me as the Red Poppie has always been a part of  Memorial Day and that of my two daughters.  It was all so fresh  in my mind and heart as were the photos of my father in uniform as an Air Force pilot during the war standing next to his plane.  So young and handsome with his black hair and leather flight jacket.  It's no wonder my mother fell for him the way she did!  I spoke for a moment with the sweet gentlemen at the table surprised to find unexpected tears in my eyes.  At that moment I so wanted to greet my own father at the table with the Red Poppies but it was not to be.  Ironically, my father suffered a fatal heart attack on another plane on his way to vacation many years after his Air Force service.  My childhood memories include a parade through our little town on Memorial Day.  The coveted reciting of "On Flanders Field" at the cemetery at First Lutheran Church. A wreath tossed in the water in remembrance at the waterfront.  Vintage memories of my childhood from a still grateful heart.  I salute you my father, Lt. John Robert Gerry on this a day of remembrance.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

J. Robert Gerry.  Handwritten in my Emerson Birthday Book by my Great Aunt Mary is the date of my father's birth, May 17 1921.  I know the birth of my Dad was a joyous occasion for Great Aunt Mary and her sister my Great Aunt Elida. They both had remained unmarried and this was the birth of the second son to their sister, my Grandma Alma and my Grandpa Bill.  My dad was a darling from his early years which anyone who knew him in later years would well understand.  He was a wonderful husband, father and friend.  And so handsome!  His love and commitment to his parents, Aunt Mary and Aunt Elida was a foundational part of my childhood and connected us in a deep way as a family.  Grandpa Bill, Grandma Alma, Great Aunt Mary and Great Aunt Elida impacted my life in ways untold only meeting the Lord after long and fulfilling lives that we were all apart of.  Reflecting on their influences on my life with a grateful heart----------

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In my past--

Lately I've been spending much of my time sorting through family treasures that have been stored over the years in a number of different place at my home in the country.  Oh, the most wonderful things I've found that I'd forgotten I even had.  Today I uncovered  the EMERSON BIRTHDAY BOOK, a sweet little leather-bound book given to my Great Aunt Mary in 1906.  It's a record of all the birthdays of so many of those important in Great Aunt Mary's life, and much to my surprise even included my own birthday, Feb 13, 1950 so many years after she had received the little book.  I recognize her handwriting and can still recall a picture of her in her home sitting at her writing desk.  Maybe recording another special ones birthday or preparing that card to drop in the mail to them.