Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Table

For years, at my age that probably means decades, I thought my parents’ wedding anniversary was May 10, but I now know due to the newspaper clipping that was sent last year, the correct date was May 12, 1934.  The clipping was an artifact sent to me by a woman in Shelby, Nebraska who I know only slightly, but who found it among her mother Gertude’s things after she died. Now there’s a name you don’t see much of any more. Gertrude was my mother’s maid of honor at the wedding.

We are so critical of today’s journalism, but the wedding announcement was very brief and just about had all the information in it.

That was nearly 80 years ago.  My brother was born in 1940, and that was 72 years ago.

You have all heard me give my favorite “dimension” of time when talking about Grandma Carstenson.  I was almost 13 when she died in 1958 and she was 16 when Lincoln was assassinated.

One of the rules ought to be that people write their memoirs when they are young as they tend to drift off and have difficulty separating the significant from the insignificant in their stories.  Evidence—the above paragraphs.  These meanderings are not trying to offer the significant, so stop reading if that is your expectation.

The date was selected for two reasons:  Norma taught school and that was after school was out, and Wallie was farming, and that was after the corn was planted.  Corn was supposed to be planted no later than May 10 back then.  Anyway, it was well over 100 degrees that day, it stayed very, very hot and dry and the corn crop never had a chance.  The times were tough. Wallie shoveled snow that coming winter for $1.00 per day, bring your own scoop.

By the time my brother was born, they bought a kitchen table and chairs as a commemoration of the event.  That is the same table and chairs that Linda and I took to Oregon, and before that to California, and then back to Kansas City. And now to Virginia Beach. Frankly, my mother would never tolerate such homelessness.

We just realized how many meals have been served and eaten on that table.  Let’s say 72 years, three times a day:  Given that the table was in the basement for a few years, let’s say 75,000?

Let’s see…fairly thrifty and can’t stay in one place.

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