Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fearless Females: March 6 - Heirloom

Whether or not the grandchildren were allowed to roam around in my grandmother's bedroom, it is one of my many memories of time spent at Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Bergeron's. We never called my grandma by her first name, Mildred, and to me she was always Gram.

Her bedroom was on the second floor of their two story home at 103 10th Avenue in Antigo Wisconsin. At the top of the stairs was a open area with a double bed, a buffet outside of Gram's room and a large radio/photograph where I recall listening to a scratchy 78 rpm record of Thumbelina (yes, I can still recite the story and sing the happy little tune). At the far end was a small storage area created when the staircase was closed off and relocated to the front of the house, and two bedrooms, one of which served as a guest room. Hanging on the wall in the guest room was a certificate, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt, expressing thanks on behalf of the country for the sacrifice made by my uncle, Earle Bergeron, in service to his country. Thinking about it now, I wonder why this token of appreciation was in the guest room and not in either of my grandparent's rooms.

Grams's room wasn't very big: a bed, a dresser, an overstuffed chair in a deep shade of indigo blue and a dressing table with a mirror. There were two windows that looked out the front of the house down Aurora Street and the other looking west over the alley. Other than the times when my cousins and I were playing hide-and-go-seek when we would steel ourselves to hide in Gram's closet (it was situated behind a wall and therefore very dark and scary), my memory of her room is that of quiet sadness. I have written about my uncle Earle on several occasions; his death at the age of 20, two months and one day short of his 21st birthday, had a profound affect on our family.

When Gram died in April 1968 and Grandpa Charlie decided to sell the house and move to Minneapolis, I was asked if there was anything special that I wanted of Gram's. Without hesitation I said I would like to have her jewelry box. When I was given a white covered jewelry box, I was crestfallen. What I wanted was the glass sided box that sat on her dressing table next to a photo of Uncle Earle dressed in his flight helmet and goggles. Inside was a photograph taken of Earle in the front yard of the home on 10th Ave. I thought the box was 'lost to me' until I discovered that my mother had the box. When I told her how glad I was it was still in the family, she presented it to me.

The box now sits on my dresser; the photograph of Earle that once was inside the box is now framed. My Dad shared that this photograph of Earle was on his last day of his leave before heading to North Carolina to begin the long trip overseas. The photo that is now inside the box is one of Earle at Fort Kelly, TX, when he was attending flight training as part of the federal program that created the "Flying Sergeants."

Thank you to Lisa Alzo for Day #6 for today's blogging prompt.

Copyright (c) Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski, 2010


Lori said...

Cindy, I love this story and the treasures it contains. Aren't our best treasures associated with the people we love?

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