Greetings from Seattle

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Finding Grandparents

Families can get detached when parents die too soon.

Graves can be forgotten when the bereaved do not want to deal which the aftermath of death.

So it is that we "lost" Tom's maternal grandparents, Mary and William (Bill) Anderson. 
Bill and Mary had two daughters, Bernice, on the left in this photo, and Mildred. Bernice is Tom's mother, along with his twin sister Jan and their brother David. Mildred was the mother of five and stepmother of three more. 

Mildred's first husband Ed and father of those five died very early, and then Mildred, after remarrying,  died when her youngest was eight years old. The family splintered, as older children struggled to find their own way after their father/stepfather died several years later. They all lived on the east side of the mountains in Washington State.

Meanwhile, on the west side, Bill and Mary lived near their daughter Bernice and the three grandchildren Tom, Jan and Dave. Bill preceded Mary in death by about 9 years and was buried in the Tacoma Cemetery, in the city where they lived. Mary spent her last years sinking farther into dementia and when she died she was buried next to Bill. Bernice was now the only survivor, and not liking to deal with death, she never ordered a marker for their graves. 

Tom and I discovered this about five years ago, when we visited the cemetery and searched in vain to find his grandparents. Conferring with the cemetery office, we knew where their grave was, and along with sister Jan, we ordered a grave marker. Then none of us went back to check on it.

Last spring Tom and I made the rounds of cemeteries again and discovered that the grave was still unmarked. We contacted Jan and Dave, ordered a marker, and made sure it was installed last fall. Then Tom set about to contact his cousins, Mildred's four surviving children, Karen, Ed, Doug and April. 

It has taken some organizing, but this Saturday Tom and Jan pulled it off. We gathered at the grave of the grandparents we had lost, and shared family history with those four cousins and representatives of three generations who descended from those four people pictured above. 
 Tom handed out a printed family tree showing the family line of those buried here in the Tacoma Cemetery. Some had questions and a few shared stories. 

 We also found "Grampa Swanie", Mary's stepfather, that was the only great grandfather that any of Tom's generation knew, since he lived to the age of 97.  

 We also found Bill's mother, Great Grandmother Volborg, who was born in Norway. She had divorced Emil Anderson, hence the name "Smith". 
 And we found Volburg's first husband, Great Grandfather Emil Anderson, who was also born in Norway.  

 It had been raining when we first gathered, but the rain ceased, and we spent time talking and sharing stories and asking questions.

Then we all went out to lunch at a nearby restaurant. 

Tom had brought along artifacts to share: photos, books, albums, memorabilia. We had a great visit with family members some of whom had not seen each other for a long time. The younger generations had an opportunity to learn some of their family heritage and to meet some of their cousins. 
Grampa Bill and Grandma Mary would be proud of their legacy. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April Flowers

We're having plenty of April showers. But here in the coastal Pacific Northwest we don't have to wait for May flowers. 

Here's what's in bloom in the Reeder garden.
Tulips and grape hyacinths. 
One of many primroses

Tulips, bluebells (wood hyacinths) ranunculus.
The white candy tuft border is coming into bloom 

Bleeding hearts

Hellebores, pink pulmonarias, purple heuchers, 
The bronze of new fern fronds. As you can see, everything is erupting. 
Native mahonia (Oregon Grape - low growing)
Red Japanese maple tree flowers. 

Native red flowering currant. 

Still blooming: Leucojum above, Magnolia stellata below. 

The first Lewisia is blooming on the front porch.
Trillium: Red flowering,
Native white flowering, now turning purple with age,

Yellow flowering. 
Blue and white pulmonaria (lungwort) 

Native purple violets

Fragrant Viburnum burkwoodii 
Viburnum davidii


"Mouse" flowers under the Mouse Plant, but those are not the leaves of the Arisarum proboscideum.  I'm holding thos back, and didn't get any in the photo. Quite the name for a funny little plant. 

Flowers of the Full Moon maple

Tall growing mahonia - Oregon Grape.

These are highly fragrant and the bees love them. Now if it would only warm up enough for the bees to emerge. 
Tom has put out all of his mason bee cocoons and I keep looking for them to start buzzing about. No more bees in the refrigerator. :-)