Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #14–My Granny’s Love for Her Granny


This blog post was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow 's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge.  Learn more at her blog.

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AlvildaGravestone The pictures to the left are of the gravesite of Alvilda Monsen, my great-great grandmother, in Riverside cemetery near Huron, South Dakota.  The humble gravestone is engulfed by irises, all from a couple of small clumps my grandmother, Lillian, planted there many years ago. 

Alvilda was born and raised in Norway, the wife of a fisherman.  Her husband’s fishing boat was caught in a storm at sea, and he never returned.  Alvilda had a
difficult time providing for her three children, but they got by.  Her oldest daughter, Ella, came to America in 1904 to her paternal uncle in South Dakota.  One by one, as the family members crossed the ocean to a new life, he opened his heart and home to them, helping them to
AlvildaGravestone2 learn English and find employment.  Ella worked as a housekeeper in Huron, and soon after married and began raising her own family.  Her younger brother and sister eventually followed Ella to the United States, but Alvilda stayed in Norway.  

Finally, in 1915 at the age of 54, Alvilda went to South Dakota to Ella’s home, where she and my grandmother Lillian spent many hours together.   Lillian was 3 when Alvilda made her home with them, and was 13 when her granny died of liver disease.

Every time I see these irises, I wonder if Lillian thought about how much she missed her grandmother as she dug the holes and placed the bulbs around the marker, perhaps remembering things they had done together.  Seeing the flowers that my grandmother lovingly planted on her own grandmother’s grave warms my heart.  I wish I could do the same for Lillian.

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