Andrew Peter Anderson
This story was provided by Terry L. Kardos
At a family reunion, about forty years ago, the following was told:
THE STUMPANAS STORY
This is not a fairy tale but a true story –
Once upon a time in the little town of
It was a great big house, two stories and a cellar in the pantry. Wild roses, yellow buttercups and fragrant tamarack made grandma’s house something to smell and to see in the spring. It was especially interesting from the little south balcony upstairs. The weight of too many grandchildren through the years made it sag dangerously. Two big cottonwood trees guarded the front slat gate. It too began to sag early as we swung on it and called the neighbor kids names.
Grandpa made it and lost it several times in the sheep business but the kids, totaling eleven, were never hungry. As soon as they were nine or older they worked for other people. Aunt Esther and Aunt Lilian went into the city. Aunt Millre, at twelve, did heavy housework for Frans Poulson’s family. She carried buckets of water from the Spring Ditch to the outdoor boiler over a bonfire for the washings.
Grandpa loved to come in out of the bitter cold, unbuckle his heavy boots, pull off his shoes, and put his homespun socks and frozen feet into the wood-burning stove’s oven. He waited patiently for the blue granite coffee pot to heat over the small hole in the multi-ringed lid. Grandpa’s droopy mustache beaded up the globs of yellow cream skimmed from the flat pans cooling in the pantry. The java, as he called it, seemed to taste better sipped from the saucer.
Grandma never quite adjusted to country living. Her treasure of city life was an eight-inch high toy rocking chair enthroned on the shelf in the clothes closet. It was hands-off for the grandchildren and it came down once a year at house-cleaning time to be dusted.
Occasionally from Grandma’s pantry came the pungent odor of fermented juice from bottle peaches or raspberries. She loved to drop dried crusts of homemade bread into the brew for a taste treat. There were pans of milk set to sour. The clabber, when sprinkled with sugar, made a good dessert. From the cellar under the house came the musty smell of stored potatoes and side pork curing in the brine barrel. That grease off the cured pork, fried and stirred into molasses turned into a golden treat when spread on thick slabs of freshly baked bread.
In all fairy and true stories there are princes and princesses. We have some her with us today. You remaining children, Stumpanas’ children, please stand up when your name is called. Do-do, Vera Athema, the baby of the bunch. She was teased and pampered by brothers Murrel, Fat and Lin. She taught her nieces the pleasures of rag dolls, until the bed bugs moved in from a friend’s home. She taught them how to put on lip-stick and the fox trot. You learned to have nimble toes or she tromped on them hard. Millre Johanna, she never quite accepted her ordinary name. She wanted to be a Mildred Joy and tight-rope walk in a circus. Lovely Lilian, before each special date she greased her work-worn hands and arms, and wore gloves to bed. Elegant Esther, our lavender lady was the proud beauty of the family. She composed this little jungle about grandpa’s coffee pot:
My father had a coffee pot, he prized it very highly.
He gave it the name of Bluech, which he though very styley.
He traded horses, he traded cows, and everything on the lot.
Never once did it enter his head to trade dear old coffee pot.
Ernest . . . dear old Fat. Good hearted, rough and ready. There were very few people who bested him in a prank, or very few bronc that threw him off.
You boys and girls are here today, thanks to your parents and grandparents. There were simple, honest, hard working people. They recently travelled the same road you are on – one of mistakes, disappointments and temptations, and there is happiness, challenges and opportunities. A toast to the
My great-grandmother, Emelia Marie Larson was born on January 27, 1869 in
In the eulogy given at my great-grandmother’s funeral on July 10, 1947, Rebecca Michelson Hales who had worked for grandma when she was a child had this to say –
“May her loving memory live forever in the hearts of her children, for whom she was always very concerned – She always learned to watch for us, anxious if we were late. In winter by the window, in summer by the gate. And although we mocked her tenderly, who had such foolish care, the long way home would seem safe, because she waited there. Her thoughts were all so full for us, she never could forget, and so I think that where she is , she must be watching yet. Waiting till we come home to her, anxious if we are late, watching from Heaven’s window, leaning from Heaven’s gate.