Sometimes we just need to dig a bit to remember who we are and what made us.
Whether our heritage is bright and shiny or rough and rusted, it is worth recalling.
We can reach back to things we don’t even know through the things people have left behind, as the milk jug shown above. I can imagine my great grandpa milking the cows and storing the milk in this.
Grandpa P.J. (Paul Jean) Hanson farmed, raised pigs, and drank cold day-old coffee while eating pancakes in the morning and had beef stew every night.
Though my great grandpa died when I was an infant, I swear I have a memory of him holding me.
Today, as I write, I feel connected with my past. Not my personal past, but the past that influences each of my family members in their own way. Those I know; my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my grandma and grandpa, whom I all love dearly, all have our roots in Sweden.
P.J. was born here, but that didn’t diminish his staunch view of hard work and “all business” that comes with what is passed down in a Swedish immigrant family. The simplicity of his life had a certain beauty. As mentioned before; coffee and pancakes for breakfast, and beef stew everyday eaten from a table with newspapers for a cloth. What more do you really need when your life is outside?
P.J.’s work ethic passed to my Grandpa Bud. Grandpa softened in his “all business” view; I think I see it that way maybe because I am his grandchild, or maybe he really did. I remember nothing but kindness from him.
My grandpa worked hard all his life. I only ever saw him at Christmas or when he and Grandma came to visit, but I know this of him anyway.
He would put on his winter clothes and carry firewood in for the wood stove at Christmas. He loved to fish, but even moreso, play cribbage; a game which I have never been able to figure out no matter how many times my dad has tried to teach me.
He and Grandma had a feed store and Grandpa drove a school bus. When he passed, the church wasn’t even big enough to accommodate the couple hundred people who showed up.
All this to say, I feel grounded here. There are so many other stories to tell, on both sides of my family, that make up who I am. They are all worth recalling and worth telling.