Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cake Ladies

Meet my grandma Esther's sisters, great aunties Hilda and Margaret. They are, respectively, the baby and the eldest of my grandmother's family of origin. In the above photo they are serving cake at grandma and grandpa's 25th wedding anniversary party. I am pretty sure, although I was not in attendance, that the festivities took place in the basement of the Lutheran church in Alamo, North Dakota. I love their hats. And their most stoic Norwegian facial expressions.

I expect that since they did such a fabulous job the first time around, here they are at it again twenty-five years later. The occasion being Grandma Esther and Grandpa Knut's 50th wedding anniversary party. Their positions are reversed and Hilda is wielding the cake cutting device this time around. I was at this celebration and can tell you with confidence and authority that it is November of 1979 and the location is the basement of the Sons of Norway lodge in Williston, North Dakota. I didn't know either of my great aunts very well but I do remember my mother telling me that Aunt Margaret did not leave her house when she was pregnant with either of her children. She hid out at home because she was, according to other family members, embarrassed to be seen in public because people would know what she and her husband had been up to. I do remember her sporting earrings in her recently pierced ears at this party! It seems that she had shed her sense of propriety where others' opinions were concerned by the time she was seventy-five. She had been along on a trip to the mall when her granddaughter was getting her ears pierced and said granddaughter had encouraged her to get hers pierced, too. Grandma Esther had called me a gypsy a few years earlier when I had pierced my ears. Aunt Margaret must have wanted to be a gypsy, too. Mom had told me that Aunt Hilda had been a closet smoker most of her adult life. Actually, she was a behind the barn smoker and snitched them from her husband. When the doctor told Uncle Oliver he had to quit, Hilda had to quit as well or be forced out from behind the barn to buy her own. From all accounts, Hilda took quitting harder than Oliver, and more personally. I thought she was cool because she had cowboy boots. I've always wondered if the aunties served cake at grandma and grandpa's wedding. I don't think there is anyone living who could verify one way or the other. I like to think that they did. And hope that someday I'll run across a photo of them doing just that.

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