Old family tidbits

My uncle Dobe sent out email a few months ago pointing to some websites containing information about our family history. Somehow I didn't get around to looking at them 'til now. The most interesting one I've looked at so far is an online version of a book called Homestead Shacks Over Buffalo Tracks: A History of Northeastern Fergus County, which among other things includes information about the town of Roy, Montana, where my grandmother was born. Specifically, Roy, Part 4 contains a section on the Hanson family; Peder Hanson, "who became one of Fergus County's best known and popular merchants and stockmen," was my great-grandfather, and Grandma (the eldest of his six children) is even mentioned by name on that page. My father Peter's original name was George Peder Hartman—George after his father, Peder after his grandfather.

The funny thing is that later on that page there's information about a Hartman family that lived in Roy, but as far as I know they're no relation to my family. (Unless my memory is completely wrong about when Grandma and Grandpa met.)

Studio photo of Jed and Jay, with toys, around 1972.
Jed and Jay

Jumping ahead quite some years, and having nothing to do with the abovementioned website, the photo here is of me and my brother. Presumably taken sometime in the early '70s, though there's no date on it. Thought y'all might enjoy it. I'm the one with darker hair.

And on a related note, Dobe gave me a letter that my mother wrote to Peter's parents sometime around then. No idea exactly when, because the only date on the letter is "Wednesday." I urge y'all to put real dates on your correspondence; you'll be doing later generations a favor. (Added later: a reference to a particular TV special suggests the letter was written in 1972.)

The letter was "spoken by Marcy and typed by Peter"—typed with our old manual typewriter, apparently, on that thin typing paper people used to use for such things. It was written around Christmastime of whatever year it was.

Here's a paragraph I particularly liked:

Everyone is fine; the boys are eating like elephants and growing like weeds, and nobly avoiding department-store Santa Clauses. Jed noticed that the one we saw today had a broken boot. I had to remind Jed today not to yell, "Mama, is that another fake Santa Claus?" loud enough for the whole store to hear. He is very interested of late in the "realness" of Santa Claus, Lassie, various stories he hears, the astronauts and moon on TV, and various sorts of fakery and trickery.

It goes on to talk about toys ("Jed is very willing to abide by the rule that we won't buy him anything advertised on TV") and dentistry: "The kids are both very good in the dentist chair, as he tells them they're sitting like astronauts."

Anyway. I guess that's all for now. More soon, no doubt, but I oughtta go read some submissions.

One Response to “Old family tidbits”

  1. Diana

    Those are wonderful family tidbits. It makes me wonder if we have any such things squirreled away somewhere. The photo is adorable, too.


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