Monday, November 30, 2009

Be what it is that you're seeking...

"You can’t expect to draw people into your life who are kind, confident, and generous if you’re thinking and acting in cruel, weak, and selfish ways. You must be what it is that you’re seeking—that is, you need to put forth what you want to attract." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

Artwork above: A recent painting I did as an example for students in my painting class. We were painting faces with a focus on adding color, using a 1 inch brush or rag, working on large pieces of canvas.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


A longtime neighbor and family friend passed away this week, Axel "Junior" Bonander. Junior and my Dad grew up together as neighbors. Although he was three years older than Dad, Junior and Dad shared the same childhood church, closeness as only neighbors can know and raised their families at the same time about a mile apart.

Junior and Dad reminisced and talked of world events many times over coffee. The coffee pot was always on when Junior stopped or started when his truck drove into the yard.

They passed on many stories to me over the years. For example, one day in the 1930's, Axel "Junior" and Dad "Kelly" walked down to Granite to Ray Jensen's store and each had saved money to buy a pint of ice cream. Thinking ahead, the two boys each brought spoons from home and took their cold purchases to a ditch outside of town to enjoy their treat. After finishing their containers of ice creaem they scraped up enough money to go back and buy another carton to share. They also rigged up a telephone between their two rooms to keep in touch the quarter mile between their farms.

In January of 1943, Dad and Junior went to work in the Glenn L. Martin - Nebraska Company in Omaha, NE. They worked for $.60 an hour from 12:45 am- 8:30 am. Employees were expected to work five days in a row and then take off the sixth day and start again with the five day cycle.

Junior entered the U.S. Navy in October of 1943, serving in Pearl Harbor and Okinawa, Iwo Jima and China. A local newspaper wrote the following article in the 40's In the Pacific.- Axel R. Bonander 22, electrician’s mate, third class, of Larchwood, Ia., is serving aboard an attack transport in the Pacific. He participated in the invasion of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Bonander wears the American theatre and Asiatic-Pacific theatre ribbons. He graduated from Larchwood high school in 1940 and before entering the navy was employed as a machinist at the Martin bomber plant in Omaha. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Axel Bonander, Larchwood. His ship was the USS Berrian. He was discharged in April of 1946 and returned home to Larchwood.

Junior was Dad's best man at Mom and Dad's wedding in December of 1950 and Dad was Junior's Best man in his marriage to Donna Mae Hocke in 1952.
Left: Neighbors going out for an evening, January 27, 1057, Tracy and Carl Dieters, Junior and Donna Mae Bonander, and Calvin and Darlene Johnson. Below: Goofing off before going out, Mom in Juniors lap! and Virgil Bennett over to baby sit the kids.

Axel and Donna raised their son Bruce, who was the same age and grade as my sister Deb, on section 20 of Sioux Township, in the same house where he died. Donna Mae died on October 14, 2002 in Rock Rapids, IA.

Junior always stopped by when I was home visiting my parents. He'd see my car up in the yard and drive in to say his hellos and share that cup of coffee with Dad. He died in his sleep on Wednesday, November 25th, 87 years old. Raising a cup of coffee to you Junior...
Click here to be taken to Junior's on line obituary and guestbook.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Swanson Homestead

My cousin, Russ Swanson, recently flew over the old Swanson homestead (11/09) over by the Sioux River in Lincoln County, South Dakota and took this photo of the log cabin and surrounding land. The cabin, built in 1871-72, has had additions and changes to it over the years of course, but the structure still stands, a testament to Carl's building skills and the family who cared about the first log home built on their land in Dakota Territory.
Carl August Swanson (Svensson) and wife, Carolina (Gustafsdotter), immigrated from Ljung, Sweden in 1869. The family, with three children, arrived with a covered wagon and team in Lincoln Co. in 1870. Carl held a pre-emption claim to lands situated along the Big Sioux River approxdimately 8 miles north and one mile east of Canton, in what is now Dayton Twp. Their covered wagon was overturned on a sand pit, near a spring, for the family's first shelter. Twins were born under this shelter in August 1870, while a sod dugout was built for their first winter. Carl left his wife and children that winter to work south of Sioux City clearing land for wages. At home, Carolina and her children had but a little corn and a half sack of flour to survive on. Over the next years, Carl planted many cottonwood trees and in 1872 constructed a log cabin on a hill. A son, August, was born in the cabin in 1876; the cabin yet stands. Three sons died in infancy; two were buried in the 1870's in a plot on the Juul farm, about three miles south, while the other is reputedly buried some distance southeast of the cabin, near what is a very large cottonwood tree known locally as the "hanging tree. In 1889 Carl was riding a young colt on the homestead when the animal stepped in a badger hole. Carl was thrown and the horse rolled on it's rider. Carl was gravely injured and died in 1890, at age 55. Several days before his death, he deeded all his lands to his wife, Carolina, who then lived in the log cabin until 1903. Carolina then lived with her adult children in Dayton Twp. and elsewhere until her death in 1932, at age 92.
Above: Grandma Carolina in front of the cabin.
"The History of Lincoln Co., S.D." Copyright 1985 by The Lincoln County History Committee, Canton, South Dakota. Printed in the United States of America by Pine Hill Press, Freeman, South Dakota 57029.
Check out an earlier post I did on Carl and Carolina at

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be Thankful

I'm thankful for memories. Those of the past, and look forward to those to come. Passing down my own memories and those of my forefathers is what this blog is about. Maybe it's therapy for me in some way and my genealogy searching and home history interest has become my connection to those important memory makers in my life.

My Grandma Phoebe Johnson was a poet. Her poems give us a glimpse into the days she wrote about. She along with her brothers and sisters wrote little books about their parents and grandparents life. I treasure those stories and rejoice in their content that many others searching and researching their ancestors do not have access to for their families. I appreciate that I come from a family of collectors and savers. (most of the time) How we found papers at Grandpa Charlies that have filled in a story or added to one. Pass down your own stories, write down your memories, someone will be thankful for it in their own time.

Photo: Top left: Mom and I in the church in Linkoping lighting a candle. Top right: Deb and I at Globe, AZ on Christmas Day 2006
Bottom left: Four Generations. front: Calvin, Grandma Carolina, Joyce. back: Grandpa Phoebe and Grandpa Charlie. Bottom right: Our last family photo with all 6 of us, Christmas 2006. We'd just come back from swimming and Steve set up his tripod and camera and took our photo. Remember you can click on the photos to see an enlarged view.

Hallowed Remembrances
by Phoebe Swanson Johnson

Memories bring
Light and love to the soul;
A song, immortal, fills the heart

With faith.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Half-way through November!!!

Where have the days gone? I've been sick on and off for the past three weeks so that has taken me away from my normal activities to some degree and to my regular viewers, I apologize. The flu, cold and cough made sleeping tough, then I topped it off with pink eye and some blown blood vessels in my eyes from all the coughing... Missing school and not feeling well puts you behind in more than one activity or task. I feel I am on the mend and hope to be getting "back to normal" with posting, grading, housework, laundry, and the million other things on my to do list. What is normal? Have I ever been "normal"? I guess you'll have to stay tuned...

On a genealogical note. My first cousin once removed, Myrtle Carlson passed away at the end of August at the age of 92. She was the daughter of my Great Aunt Lena Johnson Carlson, my Grandpa Joe Johnson's sister. After her funeral, my Mom and Dad were given suitcases and boxes of family items. Myrtle and her sister Muriel had done some genealogy research and written down many dates, names, identified photo and there is much to go through. They chose not to share any of this while they were living which makes it difficult now to go through as we can't ask questions. They were private people, never married and to put it nicely a little odd. Mom sent me some papers to go through, some has been given to other branches of their family tree on the Carlson side, actually some relatives on my Swanson side who also married into the Carlson family as well. It will take some time to get through it all. Another project for next summer perhaps?
Here is Myrtle's obituary: Sioux Falls - Myrtle E. Carlson, age 92, passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2009, at Bethany Lutheran Home in Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be 2 PM Wednesday, September 2 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. Public viewing will begin at 12 Noon on Tuesday, September 1 at Miller Funeral Home (13th & Main Ave). Myrtle Carlson was born on January 20, 1917 in Ellis, SD, daughter of Frank and Lena (Johnson) Carlson. She grew up on a farm in the Hartford, SD area and graduated from Hartford High School in 1936. She, and her sister Muriel cared for their mother after an accident on the farm left her disabled. Following the death of her mother, Myrtle and Muriel moved into a home they purchased in the now Historical District of Sioux Falls. They turned the home into a boarding house and had many residents over the years. Myrtle and Muriel were the twins sisters, that weren't; they both wore the same outfits that Myrtle had designed and made herself. They were seen all over Sioux Falls, and especially made a point to attend funeral services in the area. Myrtle kept very busy volunteering with many organizations, including the Minnehaha Historical Society, Bethany Lutheran Auxilary, the Alzehiemers Association and the Old Courthouse Museum. Myrtle was an early member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church and was a very active member. She had served on many different organizations within the church such as Lutheran Circle, Office of Gospel Missions Auxilary, as president of the Church Women United. Both Myrtle and Muriel were members of the First Valiant Women of South Dakota. Myrtle kept active volunteering all of her life. In her free time, Myrtle enjoyed doing ceramics, crocheting and embroidering. Myrtle is survived by many cousins; Randy Maas, longtime friend, and many other friends. Myrtle was preceded in death by her parents, and her sister, Muriel.


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