Monday, August 14, 2017

Grandma & Grandpa Genson

It seems a shame that I know next to nothing about my grandparents, George Elroy Genson & Edna Emogene Larson, but such is the case. As far as I know Gramp's always worked in logging or construction of some kind, and they moved all over the place, never settling long before he was off on another job. I do know they were very attached to my mother, and often moved to live closer to us, so keeping with that tradition they moved to Goldendale, Klickitat Co., Washington sometime soon after we did in 1973.

Below is the one and only picture I have of my maternal grandparents. I took this while I was in high school, and I believe it was the summer of 1976 or 77 on the place we lived at the time, which was a ranch owned by Dr. & Clarence Tupper, a few miles west of Goldendale.

Before I tell about when they lived in Goldendale, I will recount to you a hilarious story as told by Grandma Genson. This concerned one of the most embarrassing moments in her life, and how she kept her head, and avoided disaster.

While they were still living in the Snoqualmie Valley, not so long after they were married, it seems she and Gramp's had gone into town and were walking together along the sidewalk. Suddenly the elastic in her bloomers broke and they fell down around her ankle's. She not missing a step, kicked them up into the air, grabbed them with her hand, and stuffed them into her pocket. Meanwhile, Gramp's had stopped dead in his tracks and began peering into a shop window, acting like he didn't know her. When it finally dawned on him no one had noticed, he still wouldn't take her home so she could get other underwear, so she had to stay in town, not wearing any, until he decided to go home. She wanted to murder him.

An early memory of mine is going to their place, which she kept neat as a pin, and playing in the button drawer of her treadle sewing machine. She had a button collection that was tied on string and it was very interesting to look at and play with. She also taught me to sew on her treadle sewing machine, sewing patchwork blocks together for quilts. It is the earliest memory I have of sewing, and it seems to me the source of my first experience, I was only nine or ten.

About the time I finished 8th grade, they moved to Goldendale, as I said before. They lived in and became curator's of, Presby's Mansion in Goldendale, Klickitat Co.,Washington. I spent many a happy hour clambering all over that stately pile and investigating its every nook and cranny. Now there was a place with scope for the imagination. If you ever happen to be in the area I recommend that you check it out, it is chock full of local history, and historical artifacts.

My granddad used to walk people through it and told the most outrageous, "Tall Tales", about how he was related to Mr. Golden, the founder of Goldendale, and how he as a boy had played in the mansion and his folks had gone to elegant parties there, complete with carriages. When I got on him about it, he said it made no difference to the people that visited, and it made it a sight more interesting for him to tell. The man was a card, but I would have hated to be a genealogist that asked him for help. My grandmother made quilts and sold them in the museum to tourists, and sometimes she let me dress up in the old clothes. They lived there for many years and I think they were the happiest years of their lives. Grandpa socializing at the local tavern, and Grandma at her local church.

A funny thing that happened when they were there. My grandmother kept a canary or a parakeet, I can never remember which?! She used to clean its cage and dump out the left over birdseed in the flower bed by the front steps. One day when I went to visit I noticed some very unusual plants growing there. I went into their apartment and asked grandma to come out and look. When she did, I asked her why she was growing marijuana?! She hadn't even noticed and denied she had planted them. On further investigation it was found the birdseed had come from Mexico and had a bit of interesting seeds in the box. No wonder her bird acted so happy! ha ha ha

Things look a bit different now than they did in those days, and sadly I haven't any of my own pictures. I found these on-line, of what it looks like more recently, and as it has only changed a little, I have put them up here for your enjoyment.

They used to run this old thing on the 4th of July when I was a kid, but I don't know if they still do?! It belched a lot of black smoke and had a very loud whistle.