THE NEWNESS NEVER WORE OUT Kate’s Journal


Episode 34 Kirkland 1969-1974

051 “Inuit Mother and Child” watercolor by kayti sweetlanhd rasmussen

There was some success selling my sculptures in Seattle, and a minor bit of chicanery. If someone doesn’t try to cheat you, you haven’t made an impression.

For our second Christmas in the Northwest, Dr. A with the aid of a large truck and a large friend, brought home an enormous tree which reached to the ceiling of the barn, and became home to a number of enormous papier mache elves, while several more elves, dressed in colorful velvet clothes, straddled the rafters. The California family arrived in full force. and audience participation prevailed while serving up the old Rasmussen Christmas breakfast, with a few aebleskivers thrown in.

We learned that a family isn’t complete without a new generation, and in 1973 our California daughter gave us what we knew to be the world’s smartest and cutest grandson. It was troubling that he lived in California while we presently lived in Washington.

The flu can make a wet dishrag out of you, and in the midst of feeling sick and sorry for myself, alone on Valentine’s Day, our youngest daughter announced that she wanted to get married on St. Patrick’s Day. Better than that, she wanted to get married in our barn. Dr. Advice was traveling two weeks out of every month, so he was slow in getting the news, good or not so good.

marvin Oiver Large print by Marvin Oliver, Professor of Indian Studies, University of Washington

It’s amazing how fast a wedding or a climatic catastrophe (there isn’t much difference between the two) can get you out of bed. The amount of time spent on wedding arrangements today can give you plenty of time to change your mind on the whole thing. We had a month, and our daughter was in the middle of finals.

Handmade invitations, wedding clothes and food appeared in the appropriate time with the help of friends including pickled oysters from the Hood Canal from Georgia and Emmett. When everything else was set, we needed someone to marry them, and believe me, it isn’t easy when you do it at your home cold turkey. After a number of rejections, including all the regular churches, someone had a relative who was an unemployed Mennonite minister who would come.

The day of the wedding gave a display of weather the Northwest is famous for; rain, snow, hail and brilliant sunshine, not necessarily in that order. The bride walked down through our meadow on the arm of her handsome father and into a warm and cozy barn with sunshine pouring down through a large window near the ceiling. The groom was a lapsed Catholic, the bride was unaffiliated, and we were just guests, and we built a chuppah which was covered with daffodils and daisies. The new grandson slept peacefully in my arms throughout the service, undisturbed by the festivities.

North Coast Shaman “North Coast Shaman” sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen

We sent the new couple off with the bride carrying a small cage of crickets (don’t ask) and found that the Mennonite minister had not signed the wedding certificate. Ominous? Everything got straightened out eventually.

There are strange sights in the country which you don’t usually see in the suburbs, a lot of them involving animals. A small Shetland pony being led down our road at 5:30 Christmas morning would be one of them, an entire line of cars at morning commute time regularly stopping to let a row of ducks cross the road, a couple of escaped horses stomping through our newly planted lawn., and of course, the belching goat.

One of our friends was a weaver of lovely things, which led me to try my hand with the warp and woof, but without her expertise. It seemed a shame not to be able to even weave a reasonable set of place mats and napkins, but it was a nice feeling to sit and try on a rainy morning.

The barn allowed us to have more parties involving more than four people. On one such occasion, a woman guest left in a huff when her husband told a raunchy joke. She just didn’t fit in or got tired of her husband’s boorish behavior. At another party, planned to entertain guests from California, fell apart when the belly dancer planned for the entertainment, refused to come when she discovered one of the guests was Jewish. Later, when our house was for sale, she wanted to buy it to use the barn to teach belly dancing in. She couldn’t come up with the money.

Seattle is one of those places where float planes fly in and out to Lake Union, taking you to places further north, and if you want to, you can go even further north to see the Iditerod races, fishing and meet new friends.

A 12 pound turkey graced our table on our last Thanksgiving in Kirkland. Complete with all the trimmings; potatoes, gravy, dressing and pumpkin pie, it brought home the fact that we had a 12 pound grandson waiting in California. Not that he was eating all this stuff by then, but you couldn’t ignore the weight or cuteness similarity.

Dr. A had supervised the building of the Alaska pipeline, caught a respectable number of fish, and made a lot of new friends, so we semi-reluctantly pulled up stakes and headed back to California.

chilcat blanket

Addendum: This post was written without using the word “I” even once. In this day and age of people like Donald Trump who seems to have a monopoly on the word, and even nice people who don’t realize they are doing it, it seemed a good lesson.

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Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

17 thoughts on “THE NEWNESS NEVER WORE OUT Kate’s Journal”

  1. There’s nothing wrong with “I”. For one thing, without “I”, we can’t take responsibility for our actions — not that Mr. Trump seems particularly inclined toward responsibility.

    Aren’t crickets considered good luck in some societies? I’ve always heard that you should have a cricket on your hearth. In fact, I’m sure I’ve seen sculptures of crickets on hearths. I like crickets, and always enjoy hearing them again in the summer.

    Grandchildren are a magnet, aren’t they? And your painting of the mother and child is so real, so tender. It must be wonderful to be surrounded by your own work. Doesn’t it make you happy? I would think it does.

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    1. There was a charming shop in Bellevue, WA which had crickets chirping away while customers ate delicious soup and homemade bread while shopping for stuff you couldn’t live without. They sold little cricket cages with resident crickets and I tried to raise some so we could always have one on the hearth. For the wedding I had crickets chirping away among the greenery. I may have been the only one who noticed them!

      You’re right, we do need “I”. It is the people who continually make sure you notice them who annoy me.
      I have very little of my art here at the house. My family has a lot, but the largest amount sold or was bartered off.

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  2. Yes, that’s how it goes. Before you know it there are twelve pound grandsons and twelve pound turkeys about. I wonder what the barn is up to now? Where is the belly dancer? Has she calmed down a bit and accept Jewish people? The husband with raunchy jokes? One can hear the echos of your past. Good piece, Kayti.
    As for Trump. Goodness me, how is it possible.

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    1. Like marriage, which interrupts a nice single life, grandchildren tend to come along and remind you of how time passes, but in a good way. For years after we sold, we drove by and admired the barn until a few years ago it was no more, and five houses had been built on that property we had loved. I’m sure the bell dancer got fat and is still anti-semitic. As for Donald Trump—-we can only hope it isn’t possible.

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    2. It’s possible because of the likes of Barack Obama, that’s how. There is a great deal of rage in this country brought about by the class warfare he has encouraged. Barack Obama is the reason we have Donald Trump.

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  3. Such detail in this post. So many things about your life in Kirkland and about Cori’s wedding that I did not know. Perhaps the sweetest part is the crickets. I love your stories. Hello from Arizona!

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  4. Fantastic stories you bring us, Kayti! Loved this one and I’ve got heaps of questions, esp about that tantalising “ominous?”. You’re a tease.

    Nothing wrong with “I” per se, only in the way it’s used. It certainly takes something to write an autobiographical episode without it. Quite a feat!

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    1. Show you need to pay attention to signs—they’re all around us. It was still the nicest wedding I ever went to even though it wasn’t the nicest marriage.

      I know you get what I was trying to say about using the word “I”. Some people wear it out don’t they? I try to remind myself now and then that I’m not all that important! (grin)

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