four smiling sisters

Hello to Howards Grove High School 50th Reunion

Hello HGHS Friends!

Thanks for planning the reunion for the class of 1974. It sounds very inviting, but it’s too far away from my California home for me to attend. Instead, here is a letter from me.

In the invitation I especially appreciate you listing the new last names of my classmates. I’m also saddened to see asterisks next to the names of those who have, I presume, passed away. RIP especially to Rosemary Meyer and Mary Tiede Wilhelmus.

To those of you who remember my mother, Joyce Mattsson, she passed away in June of 2018. All four daughters met for a celebration of her life in the summer of 2019 at Emily Mattsson Moore’s home in the Northern California Westwood.  (See photo of the four of us then: left to right June, Emily, Bernice, Carol.)

 

Woman holding Tubex around newly planted shrub
Carol planting shrubs in Palo Alto in 2016. Photo by Hilary Hug.

I still live in Cupertino, CA, in the house I purchased in 1987. My house now contains five more pieces of furniture, as part of a big shipment that arrived after my stepmom Judy passed away in 2020. Since my father passed away in 2004, the shipment included a few of my Dad’s wire sculptures, which are fun to remember him by. It was a good relationship-building exercise with my sisters to figure out how to distribute all of Dad and Judy’s stuff. I’m not sure any of you met Judy’s remaining son Mark, but he got the bulk of the work, preparing Dad and Judy’s house to sell. (Judy was the former wife our our art teacher Mr. Jeffries.)

I feel that I am in good health for my age. I still work from home as a freelance web developer, now part time as I have slowed down a bit. I do enjoy taking naps! I volunteer pretty often with California Native Plant Society (environmental organization), Bicycle Exchange (takes in donated bikes, repairs them, donates them back out to those in need) and Friends of the Library (book sale setup).

Carol at Bicycle Exchange with purple bicycle
Carol at Bicycle Exchange with about-to-be purchased purple step-through Breezer bike in 2019

My volunteering makes for a good social life. I also like to hike, especially during spring wildflower season — there are so many good open space preserves where I live. And I still grow a vegetable garden every year — this area is VERY good for growing fruits and veggies, though it’s getting really crowded due to the nice climate, legacy high tech, and world wide overpopulation.

I still like bicycling and I still have my 1974 yellow Schwinn LeTour bicycle, that I purchased in April 1974 with money from my Burger Chef job. That was on 8th Street in Sheboygan. I wrote a paper in English class, about efficient bicycling, to learn more about bicycling and to choose that bike. The bike’s in decent shape, but I save its use for mostly hauling groceries, and I have a newer, lighter bike for my regular travel.

Carol in blue apron arranging books at library sale
Carol arranging books at Los Altos Friends of the Library book sale in 2016

How are you all holding up? At our 35th High School reunion I enjoyed being reminded of how many GOOD girlfriends I had back then and how cool you all are now! In the last five-ten years, I’ve become less concerned about what other people think of me, though I am trying to LISTEN more during conversations. As I continue to go through life, the various experiences I’ve had help me to feel more confident when something new comes up. I’m also grateful that I grew up before I had a smart phone to ruin my development. I’m thankful to my parents who gave me pets and free time at home and especially to my mom who prepared us healthy meals from her vegetable garden. Belonging to 4-H was also pretty cool, as now I have practical knowledge about sewing, gardening, knitting that I don’t see much of in my younger friends (but I can teach them).

And though as a teen it was really hard to feel that I didn’t fit in with many of you whose families lived in the Howards Grove area decades before my family arrived in 1964, I got used to the feeling. That encourages me to be myself now, doing what makes sense instead of following the norm.

Carol and Jeff on an orange chair
Carol and Jeff at the UW Madison Terrace 2017. Photo by Tony Jacob.

Three more tidbits: If you wonder where the Mattsson family home, the pink house on Wisconsin Drive that used to be where the Howards Grove Fire Station is, it got moved to 1121 Bell Ave. in Howards Grove. Also I got cataract surgery two and a half years ago after my glasses could no longer give me clear vision and I saw three copies of anything bright. The surgery worked out GREAT! Now I can see my computer screens without glasses, and wear soft contact lenses — no foggy glasses — when I wear a face mask, and see clearly FAR with much cheaper eyeglasses than pre-surgery. Finally, at about the time of our 35th reunion, I started a relationship with my friend Jeffrey Hook and he’s turned out to be a great boyfriend and partner! See the photo of us together in Madison on the UW Terrace in 2017.

I send you all wishes for good health, good times with friends, and continuing to live good lives far into retirement. Happy Reunion!

Note: you may view this letter online at
https://wp.elizahost.com/family-friends/hello-hghs/

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