Secundogeniture is a senior this year and it's fall. He's looked at schools - but still not decided - so we went to look at more. Two weeks ago we visited his brother at college. Last weekend we traveled 13 hours, visited my Jackson cousins in the midwest, and visited a humongous school. Both experiences were good and have added to his decision making process. But he still needs to look at more schools.
Prior to visiting a large contingent of Jackson cousins on this combined family/college visit, I baked enough of Grandma Grace's famous krumkakes to feed the entire battalion of cousins. I discovered a very important lesson. Grandma Grace didn't try to Facebook or surf the internet when making her krumkakes in the 1970s and 80s. My first dozen cookies were overdone burnt until I put the computer away.
Once I ditched the electronics, the krumkakes came out perfectly. I was so excited. I had approximately 100 cookies for the 30+ relatives to enjoy.
Now here's where the story gets a little funny.
Here's a picture of my family visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Yankton, SD in about 1969. I'm the littlest one. My Jackson cousins lived in Yankton at this time as well and spent a lot of time with our grandparents. Apparently, Grandma Grace wasn't making krumkakes in the 1960s.
Fast forward to the mid-1970s. The cousins moved to Michigan. Somewhere along the way, Grandma met a woman who made krumkakes and she decided to buy her own krumkake iron. (No she wasn't Norwegian - she just liked the cookie). She started making krumkakes for every family get together. They were a huge hit in our family. But the cousins didn't really remember them as something extra special about Grandma Grace. In about 1980 or 1981, Grandma sold her apartment in Yankton and moved to Sioux City, IA where my family lived (about 40 minutes away). I got to spend a lot of the the late 1970s and 80s with Grandma until I graduated college and moved away. She taught me how to make the krumkakes. In fact, when she died, I inherited her krumkake iron.
You can probably see where I'm going with this story. It turns out that the Jackson cousins don't really have a memory of Grandma Grace and her famous krumkakes. So they appreciated the gift... but the they don't carry the same special childhood memory that my family enjoys of Grandma Grace and her very special cookies.
It's all about perspective. It got me thinking. We're all so different as the years go on. I don't think anyone is the same person in their 00s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. Many of my cousins knew Grandma best in her 50s, 60s and 70s. I didn't even meet Grandma until she was 68. So I knew her when she was in her 70s, 80s, and 90s. I spent a great deal of time with her then - especially since I was the youngest child at home and went to the dinners when we visited Grandma in Yankton. We went a lot. In hindsight, it was part visit and probably part selling the apartment and getting things taken care of to move to Sioux City.
Last weekend, my cousins told great stories about how Grandma Grace would make up stories and put each child as the hero of the story. That's not what I remember. But that's probably because I loved to pick a story from the My Book House series on our bookshelf and have Grandma read it to me.
I loved those books. I loved the stories.
I loved the artwork.
I would stare at the inside cover of the books and try to pick out every little detail. I imagined myself being in that long line of visitors heading to the fairy tale castle at the end. Grandma and I would talk about the artwork.
But most of all, I remember the wonderful feeling I got from those books. Those books and Grandma Grace are tied together. I loved how Grandma Grace held me in her lap and read the stories with great drama and love. I cannot separate the two.
This past weekend, I loved sharing stories with all my cousins, my aunt Shirley and all the second cousins. Because family is a gift and even though we all have our differences - we have so much in common. I especially loved seeing two of my cousins Pat and Jeff - because between the two of them - I can catch a glimpse of my Dad. The family genes really stand out. Even Secundogeniture noticed the resemblance (and he was young when his Grandpa died).
So God Bless family. God bless those memories. And thanks to all my cousins for making the effort to get together and reminisce and have some time together. It was really a wonderful treat.
And speaking of treats, Michael and I finished the last of the krumkakes on the long road trip home. Sweet!