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Ellen Bonde through the eyes of a 16-year-old

January 29, 2015

During my high school years Ellen was usually in the living room in the armchair crocheting or watching TV.  This went on for many months as I went about my daily activities:  school, after school athletics, running down into the basement, running upstairs, running outdoors to the clothesline pipe to hang upside down.  This was Dillon, Montana in the ‘60s.  I delivered morning newspapers with my friends even though I didn’t have a route of my own.  I’m sure I got paid something.  Man it was cold in the winter!  My friend Duck’s route took us up by the college on the hill where the wind whistled in from the continental divide.  Grandma wasn’t up then, but I’d see her at noon when I went home from school for lunch.  She didn’t make lunch for me, so I’d make about 10 peanut butter and bread sandwiches.  I weighed about 170 lbs but I was almost 6-5, people called me skinny.  I played football and I wanted to weigh 200, a goal I never reached until after age 50.  I remember during football season that my knees always hurt from me falling on them.

Ellen’s crocheting eventually resulted in an amazing tablecloth which she gave to my aunt Corinne in Seattle.  Grandma loved her three daughters and their kids, but she didn’t like my mother’s kids including me.  We argued with her about politics and just about everything else and I know she disliked insolent children because that’s what she called me.

I’d guess the tablecloth took several years to complete.  She managed to travel with Corinne to Europe and to go to Seattle to have a mass removed from her abdomen another time.  Grandma brought back a bunch of boughten slides from France and Norway.  I looked through them and I, being 16, was delighted to find some of bare-breasted women dancing in the Folies Bergere.  I had a darkroom with an enlarger so I could view them easily. I don’t think grandma knew about the pictures of breasts because she was nearly blind from cataracts that she wouldn’t have removed.  She said she thought the surgeon’s hand might slip.

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