Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Under the Walnut Tree

I was always very familiar with my maternal grandmother's siblings. (Nina Smith Grisso) Since these were the children of my great grandmother (Estella Smith) with whom I spent my childhood, it is only natural that I either knew them first hand or heard many, many stories about them. My maternal grandfather's siblings (Bert Grisso) were not as familiar, but I could always name them. On my dad's side, my maternal grandmother was Nina. It was easy to remember her siblings because she was an only me. She went on to have eight children...unlike me. I always was certain this was not a family tradition I planned to carry on. The family I could never keep straight was my paternal grandfather's siblings.
(Albert Wright) Only in recent years have I been able to make much sense of these five children of Charles and Jenni Wright. I have discovered numerous second cousins from this branch and even am Facebook friends with some of them. The Wright side of my family is my projected topic for next winter.

I mention all of this because I have noticed my own kids get my aunts and uncles confused just like I did my dad's aunts and uncles. Searching 4th great grandparents and beyond is fascinating to me, but I think I also should try to help my kids and my grandchildren understand some of the memories I have This might help them a little. Granted, these stories seem too new for genealogy posts and yet what could be a better forum. After all, Cousins is also for them.

My dad was the oldest of eight kids. I knew them all well. The first of dad's siblings to pass away was my Uncle Al in 1994.  Do not confuse Uncle Al Wright with Uncle Al Tubra who was married to Dad's sister, my Aunt Bonnie. This Uncle Al was named Albert Wright Jr. after his father. I always thought it odd that it was the second son to be named for the father.

Albert Wright Jr. married Norma Seely. They had three children, my first cousins. These cousins, like all of my cousins, were younger than me. A few days ago I received word that Aunt Norma died on Oct. 23. She had been a resident of Idaho for decades and had recently moved to Oregon where she could be better cared for by one of her daughters.

Anyway, my fondest memories of Uncle Al and Aunt Norma were when they lived under our walnut tree. The walnut tree was next to the garage on our farm (The Sixty). They lived in a trailer house under the tree. I have no idea how long they lived there. Their oldest child was a new baby so I loved to go see her. I think I was only about five or six. I remember Aunt Norma using the wringer washing machine on our porch and making crass remarks about big bossomed women and wringer washing machines. It was a bit much for my innocent little ears. They moved west eventually and I only saw them when they came for family visits. Maybe I didn't know them as well as I think, but my parents always spoke lovingly about them. I knew they were special.  For me, I have wonderful childhood memories of them when they lived under the walnut tree in our yard.

Rest In Peace,  Aunt Norma.

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