General Non-Fiction posted November 1, 2022

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Hard work could have a respite in a community celebration

A Summer Celebrant.

by Allezw2

Memories Contest Winner 

I never knew my maternal grandparents. They died in the early teens of the last century leaving my mother and her two sisters orphaned at an early age.
With help from the staff at the Hot Springs County Office of Records, it was possible to set some facts into the fabric of their lives. Previously there were only my mother's memories and a couple of photos, one each, of my grandparents before they were married. 
The weekly Thermopolis Wyoming Herald regularly published bits of the national and state news telegraphed to it. These were often overshadowed by the folksy accounts of local interest. The Fourth of July, 1910's celebration mentioned the winner of the Married Man's Race. "Jackson Guinard, a Lucerne dairyman, won a pair of work gloves donated by Gamble's Hardware of Thermopolis."
Reading that note in the digitized collection of the Fremont County's library brought home my maternal grandfather's humanity in a most poignant way. It had far more meaning than the dry statistics of his birth and death certificates.
Jackson was born in The Bitterroot region of Montana Territory, October 16, 1879, the second son of Louis Guinard. His father, Louis, was known for building and operating the Oregon Trail's historic Platte River Bridge near present-day Casper, Wyoming. 
Jackson worked on his father's various properties on both sides of the continental divide in Wyoming. He often led their cattle drives south to Colorado and the railroad. After the latest sale, he paid off his men ready to return home. Fate played a hand when he fell seriously ill and was admitted to Denver's Swedish Hospital for care.
One of his attending nurses was a young immigrant from Sweden. Inga (for Ingrid) had left a well-to-do family to go adventuring in America's far west. In Denver, she entered training at the same hospital and graduated as a registered nurse. During his recovery, he charmed this well-educated young woman into marrying him. The date of their marriage was recorded as October 16, 1909, also his thirtieth birthday.
They came home to their farm and their house in rural Wyoming, one without running water or other utilities, far from her experience.
Their Lucerne farm supplied fresh dairy products to the coal mining industry operations nearby. It was a profitable enterprise and expanding under his direction before misfortune came.
Jackson contracted Diptherhia and died on October 17, 1915. There were none of the vaccines commonly available now to save those stricken in the early days of the last century.
Christina perished three years later during the Influenza Pandemic on October 14, 1918. She was working as a nurse in the Thermopolis hospital.
My mother and her two sisters were fostered: Their inheritance was distributed among their church's congregants as a fee for the girls' care.

Writing Prompt
Write a true story about someone's grandpa and grandma.
No war stories. Word count 300-330. Black font only. Keep
it G rated--suitable for kids.

Contest Winner

The girls were treated as indentured servants for the duration of their foster care. They were never members of the families. Only the generosity of some neighbor boys with their car enabled my mother to attend high school in Thermopolis twenty miles away. Otherwise, she would never have earned the scholarship to Denver's Colorado Women's College and the primary education teaching degree she used for the rest of her life.
The reverse side of the monument lists my mother and her two sisters.
Their brother, born earlier, died two days after his birth; listed only as Baby Boy Guinard.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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