The Last ½ of the Last 1/3 of Mom, Part II
The final leg of Mom’s journey home takes us up the road to Hagestad Lane,
just outside the tiny village of Ettrick, Wisconsin whose population TODAY is 511! Imagine what it was like in 1854 when Mim’s great grandfather arrived from Ulvik, Norway. Actually not much different than today.
When Knut Knutson Hagestad, my gr great grandfather, arrived here in Ettrick, he had a wife and 3 small children. He went to work and built a log cabin to house his family and began, with his few neighbors, the Swensons etal, to clear and farm the rich countryside. It is to this humble log cabin we return today, again, with the help of Cousin Mary who knows the family who have lived here for the last 2 generations. The house looks perfect and picturesque and manicured as we drive up.
We approach the house with Carolyn and Leland, who have primped and preened the property into perfection in 100 degree heat for our arrival. We are anxious, uncertain, sad, excited. We carry, in addition to mom in the cocktail shaker, a photo of a log cabin wall that she took sometime decades ago that we think might have some connection to this place.
Rather than re-tell the next section I will refer you back to a June posting called “The Wailing Wall”. Suffice it to say this would set the emotional tone for the rest of our time here on the Hagestad Homestead.
It also intensely struck us that as we gazed out the ancient kitchen window over the sink, across the rolling fields that our great great’s had cleared, plowed and worked so many hundred decades ago, that it must have appeared to Katrina and her daughter-in-law to follow, Astri, almost exactly the same. Time had been frozen in this window-scape as certainly as paint stops the advance of years on a canvas.
After regaining our composure somewhat, we set about the mission that had propelled me, mom in a shaker, and subsequently all these cousins and friends to gather on this sultry day in June and leave what remained of Mim on this land that her ancestors had loved and lived upon.
Carolyn and Leland had chosen a perfect spot up in the meadow above the house under a crab apple tree next to a bird house. It was peaceful, perfection.
I walked up alone to absorb the view, the place, the feel of this final spot that would rest in all our minds from today forward. I had to embrace this as the place we would all think of in years to come when we mentioned Mim in passing conversation or thought of her in the continuity that family engenders in us all.
Was it a fit?
Would it be what I had envisioned those years back as I made this decision to split mom into segments and traverse the countryside with her, sprinkling her like Johhny Appleseed amongst the fields and fauna?
Was I nuts after all?
I was right.
Her view looks over the house her heritage built.
In the company of the creatures she so loved
And down to the last detail, she gazes at the remains of the barn that her very own father had painted back in 1905, the year he met, bedded and married her mother, Clara, and here I’ll refer you back to Part I of this particular tale <g>
And so we gathered on the hillside, more solemn than I thought we would be. We had come to this place form such disparate spaces and times, so much time had elapsed since Mim had died, so much joy had been uncovered in this journey back to this hillside that we were all a little taken aback at the emotion that welled up like a spring form the raw green hills of this verdant landscape. We had come with humor, intention and Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, Mim’s Go To wine of choice. The cousins gathered around me below the hill and I slowly began to say this final farewell to my mother, in this place where she began her life and now this place where she would remain, forever.
And we were complete……..and happy.
There is yet one more chapter in this tale of tears and travel.
It is really the LAST ½ of the last 1/3 of Mom……..I had one more plan that I really, really needed to fulfill.
Coming Next: “Cuzins Cut Loose” or “Why the FBI got involved……….and other tales from the Crypt”