Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Stormy Weather, Rattlesden, East Anglia, England

My uncle, Leland Keith Bergeron (fourth from the left, front row). WWII veteran serving in the 8th Air Force, 440th BG based out of Rattlesden Field in East Anglia. This B17 crew came together at Moses Lake, WA, for training. They then flew to England and went on to complete their required number of missions with everyone continuing to serve in the position that they were assigned with the same unit of men. Something that rarely  happened during WWII and a source of pride of all the crew members. This crew was regularly assigned to aircraft known as Stormy Weather and American Maid. Lee served as the crew's engineer (top turret gunner). Proudly remembering Uncle Lee and his crew this coming Memorial Day.

"Stormy Weather." Digital Image. Undated. Original photograph privately held by
Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski (c) 2011.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Treasure Thursday: Charles Polar's Magnifying Glass

On Monday's post I shared a memory of my grandfather Harley Space at the writing desk which housed my great-grandfather's magnifying glass. While I had planned a different subject all together for today's blog post, it seemed appropriate to share Charles Finley Polar's glass instead.

I'm reminded of how blessed I have been to have had time spent with great-aunt Leona Polar Belott to help fill in the empty spaces of our Polar family history. So much of our family history would have been lost had it not been for Aunt Leona. Losing my grandmother to Alzheimer's long before her death in 1987 would have meant the loss of so many stories had it not been for Aunt Leona. 

During one of our visits, she reminisced about her childhood, sharing their family had "The History of the World," a large set of books that her father read several times over. Aunt Leona mentioned the magnifying glass used by her father and her thought that possibly  it had been in the possession of my grandmother; I was able to confirm that it had been at "the farm" and was now in my possession. She was glad to know that it was one of the things I requested and after that, it took on new meaning.

Up until then my memories of the magnifying glass were associated with my grandparents: my grandfather using it to augment his glasses when reading the newspaper, on occasion my grandmother using it in the reference books she had on hand when working crossword puzzles. I also recall taking it outside to get a closer look at the ants marching on Gram's peony bushes or the inside of the Morning Glories after they had opened.

Now I think about the childhood memories it brought back for my grandmother and what she thought about and felt whenever she picked up the magnifying glass or saw it in the hand of her husband. 

"Charles Polar's Glass." Digital image. Dated: 19 May 2011. Magnifying glass and Bible
privately held by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski. Image and text copyright (c) 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Letter From Grandpa Harley 1984

Written and mailed on the morning August 15, 1984, this letter is one of several letters received from my maternal grandfather Harley Space.

While it as been almost 24 years since his death, I can picture him sitting at the desk, deep in thought, writing a reply but keeping a watchful eye on my grandmother. By the time this letter was written, my grandmother's memory failure had not quite become the debilitating descent into Alzheimer's that was yet to come, release coming with her death 11 months after this letter was written.

I find it comforting to read Grandpa Harley's letters despite the fact this period of his life was heartbreaking and yet, I have many wonderful memories of time spent "at the farm." I remember when you walked into the dining room from the kitchen, the floor made a cracking sound where the linoleum had a permanent buckle. The windows faced south and in August the sun would have not quite reached the back wall; Grandpa would be anxious to get the letter written and out to the mail box before the arrival of the mail lady.

The desk was situated in the dining area facing the north wall; after all these years, it's only now that I wonder who owned the desk before Gram and Grandpa. There were three drawers down the left-hand side, several of which were difficult to open but always a source of curiosity to granddaughters at any age. Stamps and the "glass" could always we found in the long top "draw." The glass being a magnifying glass that belonged to Grandma's father, Charles Finley Polar. Today "the glass" resides in a "draw" on my desk, one of the many family treasures in my life.

Wed A.M.

Dear Cindy & All!

We got your nice long letter and enjoyed it very much.

We are going to town this P.M. and get some things & get Grandma out for her ride. She expects a ride every day and I try to do it for her if I can.

We had or I did some company last Sat. & Sun. One person was a son of his father that was borned on this place here, and he & I had a real visit as he wanted to know of things that happened before he was born and I could tell him of what he wanted to know, as he was the same age as Bud, born in 1922.

I'm real lucky that my mind is sure good and I feel so sorry for Grandma that can't remember but I have to remember for her & I hope I can keep it up.

Tell Al we got bear hunters around setting out bait for them when the season opens. The two Sykora boys I gave them permission to set baits in the woods out here so maybe I will get some bear tracks to eat. Ha.

Did I tell you, we saw an old mother bear on Monday going up to Summit Lake, and also a big timber wolf west of our place.

We were at a birthday party last Sat. at Millie Somers son-in-law, Hank Holy. His Dad and I was real good friends when he was alive & I remember Hank was born in 1917 as I was logging for his grandfather and they use to bring him up there to visit but he's a grandfather also now. Time marches on and if you live long enough you can see the changes and it all makes memories to think about.

It was nice Mother & Dad could get away for a few day, as that is nice to relax for awhile.

About a year ago we were in Montana for the James [family] reunion which I sure glad we went. Guess it is over with by now and they wrote wanted to know if we would be able to come but I said it was too far for us old people but I sure would have like to go if we were younger. I guess I could stand it but Grandma would want to come home soon after we would get there. I know she can't help that but she can walk around better than I can.

The boys will be going to school soon, so will Lori also the summer sure is going fast. I hate to think of the winter. I saw a woodchuck out here on the well platform the other morning, I guess he is the only one around.

Mother called us when they got back last Sat.

It sounds like Las Vegas got another bad rain storm which is the second one, as Sis wrote and said that they were O.K. from the other one.

Well Cindy, thanks for such a nice letter & write when you get time.

Love from Grandma & Grandpa

"Letter From Grandpa Harley." Digital image. Dated: August 15, 1984. Original
document held by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski (c) 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Mother's Day

"Happy Mother's Day." Digital Image. Undated. Original photograph privately
held by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski. (c) 2011


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