Thanksgiving – My Grandma Carlson

November 29, 1996  Friday

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  The day of turkey, football, and cherry pie (all in excess).  I had a good time.

If the above is less than festive, well, it’s on purpose, or at least can’t helped.  Dad hadn’t gone with Mom, Nicole and I to the farm.  He was with his mom, who had a few days or two before stopped taking liquids.  I’m not sure if it was by her choice, but I think it was by choice.  When we got home that night Mom told me she had died.

Grandma Carlson lived a very long life in the town of Knoxville, roughly a 25-minute drive north-west of Elmwood.  She had been a housewife.  Grandpa Carlson died several years ago, on Martin Luther Day Day, in January 1989.  Over the past year or two her health had worsened: breaking a hip one day on her front walk, loosing some sight due to cataracts, and generally getting weaker.  I think she spent a lot of time just sitting and watching a TV she’d couldn’t quite see, even before the nursing home.  Today I thought about a time, about two years ago, when she still went out places, when Dad and I took her to the Sandburg Mall in Galesburg.  We were coming out of J.C.Penny’s exit when grandma seemed to slip on the edge of the sidewalk.  She collapsed, and was suddenly out.  To be honest, as I crouched there in front of her, I thought it was for the worst right there.  But soon she opened her eyes, eventually.

She was very kind of me, when we would visit.  My dad’s family didn’t have much growing up, but for birthday’s she folded a ten dollar bill into a homemade construction-paper heart for my Valentine’s birthday, always with a Bible verse scrawled on the inside.   I wrote something about about her a few years ago for school, after interviewing her.  It follows below (please excuse the simpler writing):

Grandma Carlson

Mabel  Carlson,  my grandmother, has influenced my life immensely with her unending love and compassion.  She has always been a great grandma, and more importantly a true friend.  For this reason I have picked her as my favorite relative.

Grandma was born Mabel West, to Emil and Nelly West way back on December 6, 1913.  She grew up with two brothers, Earl and Roy, and two sisters, Rose and Bea.  Grandma was my age when the Great Depression began.  For this reason she had very little money growing up.

Transportation was mainly by horse and buggy, or by foot; other forms of locomotion were too expensive or impractical for everyday use.  She was quiet and attentive, and did not like school and as soon as the bell would ring she would run all the way home.  Her Uncle John once gave her five cents, for passing a grade in school.  She was a saver.  Her father called her Sally, but others called her Perd.  My grandma, being Swedish, is a Lutheran, and is very religious.  Her ancestors founded the church in Knoxville.

Grandma met a handsome young man named Francis William Carlson,  They were married on Christmas Eve, 1936.  She was a housewife for the rest of her life, and took care of her two children.  She has four grand kids and and three great-grandchildren.  Grandpa Carlson died in January of 1989.

Grandma is now 81 years of age.  She’s still a saver of money.  She also never learned to drive a car.  She now lives in Knoxville Nursing Home.

My grandma Carlson is very special to me, and I hope to have as fulfilling a life as her.  That is why I picked her for my report.

The visitation is Sunday night, and the funeral is Monday.  I better go, I have lots of Trig to do.


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