Then and now

I wrote about my recent trip to northern Wisconsin a few inches down this page. The purpose of the expedition was, along with my brothers, to “get to know” one of our great-grandfathers, a colorful Norwegian immigrant named John B. Johnson.

Below is a picture I’ve shared on this blog before, showing John B. and his family (my grandmother is the little girl second from the left). The story of this photo, I’ve been told, is that they’d bought a fancy new glass door for the house, and they wanted to take a picture to commemorate the event (it’s hard to tell here, but under magnification you can see that my great-grandmother Olina, the woman on the left, is wearing an apron embroidered in the Norwegian Hardanger style. Such items were treasures — she had put on her best for the photo). At the last moment, however, a neighbor boy scrambled in to be in the picture too — and stood right in front of the new door. This neighbor boy, the tall drink of water, would years later marry the little girl, and they would be my mother’s parents.

The Johnson place

On our trip, we visited the site of the farm, and saw what was left (just near-buried concrete foundations). This picture shows the hill where the house stood.

The Johnson place 2016

Thus pass the glories of this world. Also its humilities.

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