"The Greatest" Generation
Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
61Trip End Jul 11, 2013
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Where I stayed
My 97 Year Old Cousin Charlotte
What I did
River Falls Wisconsin
A little sidebar: When my cousin Annie had her son Tony, he became the first "great grandchild." And through the wonder and reasoning of a child, OUR Grandmother Mary Mallery HIS great grandmother became "The Greatest" a name that has endured. He would say "We're going to visit The Greatest!"
I feel like this post is rather fitting, as today is "The Greatest" birthday. (She'd be 119!)
OK so I did a search of my "Contacts" (I used to call it my Rolodex..
I told her who I was and asked if I could come visit. Charlotte is 97 and as energetic and spry as I am (OK so not many of you would call me spry these days but SHE was and its a great word) She was quick to tell me she had a lot on her plate but our selected time would be "just right."
I had begun some family tree work with a family bible and inquiries with my Aunt Mary (my Mom's older sister and husband Uncle Poul Houlberg who had a home in Creston, Montana forever.) They helped me with my Grandmother's immediate family and I had saved that file and brought it with me on the trip. (I only mention this to set the stage for my time with Charlotte.)
My grandmother was 9th of 12 children, born in1893. One of her older sisters, "Aunt Liz" (born in 1887) was Charlotte's Mom so that would make my Mom her cousin, and so Charlotte and I are second cousins
Anyway the trip from Woodbury, MN to River Falls, WI was beautiful, and it was another glorious Autumn Day. As we entered the Apartments (a Senior Assistance Residence) I knew her the instant we walked in. She was waiting to greet us in the Lobby! I'm not sure she recognized me but played along with my blatantly affectionate hugs... one for Kristen too. (I have to say, Kristen is so family grounded and, like me, truly enjoys time with "Elders" and when I asked her if she'd take me her response was..."are you kiddin' me? I wouldn't miss it!" And I believed her.
So Charlotte leads us up her apartment where she has lived alone for 15 years since her husband Harvey died. She clipped along with the pace of a 20 year old and greeted everyone on a first name basis.
She had coffee brewed for us and fresh flowers on the table, her home neat as a pin. She gave us a brief tour and then sat at the kitchen table. I just wanted to hear her talk. She was funny and frank and gave us the rundown of her busy, full schedule which included coordinating all the birthday parties at the residence, calling BINGO, running the (Rummy?) 500 games and half dozen other activities I couldn't keep up with.
My sister Carol (often referred to as Coco or OWC) reminded me they/we called her Mighty-Mite" at a 4'4" she IS that!
Unbeknownst to me, Kristen had the video recording on thru much of our visit but unless there is a major outpouring of requests (!!!!!) I will wait and share them with my brothers and sisters when I see them. Charlotte confirmed most of the history I had and added more info that was new to me so all in all a great visit.
When I asked her to share some stories about my Mother she became reflective and simply said Mom "was a beautiful, talented musician whom I remember loving to listen to and watch her play the piano and marimba with her Dad. We were all so proud of her."
Another and final sidebar: Charlotte's Grandson Brad and his wife Monica came to Bigfork a few years ago (10?) and shortly after their visit I received a note from them saying that they had bought a Hale's (pronounced Holly) "Island Noodle" franchise from our friend Hale Lake, a hard-working successful Hawaiian entrepreneur we know from his years in Bigfork. Brad & Monica have a busy and successful business, I heard, as they travel throughout Minnesota , Wisconsin and elsewhere to State Fairs and County Fairs and major event where they have made a name for themselves.
Billy keeps nudging me to get in front of these posts so I'll try!!!! Hi everybody!
Leave a comment so we know you're finding us! Mare