The day after we joined sister Barbara and Thom in Illinois, we drove through Wisconsin to Northfield, Minnesota. There we met sister Chris and daughter Barbara who had flown in. We were together for a wedding in Colorado just a few weeks before.
After lunch, we walked around the town while waiting to check in the motel. I loved the address on a pink door – 105 ½.
We were in town to celebrate the wedding of the son of cousin Eric and Caroline. They starred as parents of the bride in the Colorado wedding, and this time they were the parents of the groom.
Kirsten, John’s first cousin, and Jay invited us for a light meal. We chatted on the porch, catching up on family news.
Anna and Eddie (bride and groom from the Colorado wedding) joined us for the meal. If you are good at facial recognition, you won’t need a list of those in the photo. For those keeping score of family relationships, Kirsten and Jay are aunt and uncle to the Colorado bride and the groom being celebrated now.
During the meal we began to talk about the common grandparents of all these first cousins (John, Barbara, Chris, Kirsten, and Eric). Johan Ellertsen moved from Norway to teach in Minnesota. He later became a Lutheran pastor, founded a church in Brooklyn, married a daughter of the congregation, and moved to Minnesota where he served four small churches. That’s where the mothers of the five cousins listed above were born. On Sunday we plan to go to the one surviving congregation in a nearby town. Our gathering is both a look backwards at our roots and a confirmation of the future of the family with the most recent marriages.
The population of Hayward in 1915, according to John’s mother, was 52 if you counted all the dogs and chickens. Jay said the current census was 250. Niece Barbara said when we go to church, there will be 256 people in the town. That cracked us up. Everything that was said for the next half hour brought another round of laughter.
When we were leaving, we wanted to know about the artwork on the walls. We knew Kirsten was an artist and Jay a retired architect and now a photographer. Kirsten told about the painting in the dining room. She based it on a plat map of the area where they lived, even pointing out where their house was.
Kirsten told Barbara about a painting in the living room. I wish I could have taken pictures of everything, because I thought all of the paintings and photographs were marvelous.
I asked Jay about his photos, and he pointed to a wall where there were two. My photo does not do them justice at all, but we had to leave to go to the informal gathering at a cidery. I’d love to spend a whole day looking at their work.
I took one photo at the party before darkness fell. Jay and Kirsten are flanking their granddaughter Allegra with the cidery in the background.