Tuesday, September 10, 2013

View From The Bridge 9/13/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

The worse day in the history of our Country, (according to 60 minutes last Sunday evening) is upon us again.  Were you able to see the program and how the National Museum is being completed?  You look at the faces of those innocents who perished that day and remember how fragile life is.  Think about those 911 victims as well as our Troops every day and not just today.

I often ask for readers to call me if they want an event to be in the View or they have questions.  I asked last week if anyone had information about William Swensgard to contact me. 

I received three phone calls within a few minutes of each other.  The first call came from Doris Rowe’s daughter, Barb, and she said that she and her sister, Nancy, were cousins of William.  However:  she said I should talk to Kareen Bratt, author of “Montana is my Home,” and her sister Renee who are also cousins. 

The second call came from Bill Swensgard who lives in Great Falls.  He said William was his uncle and he was named after him.  He also said that I should talk to Kareen Bratt.

The third call was from Kareen and I learned many facts about Bill.  He did not graduate from Fort Benton High School as the other Swensgard kids did.  His mother, Bea, was very active in the Lutheran Church.  The Church gave young Bill a scholarship to Concordia High School in Minnesota.  He wanted to attend Fort Benton High School with his friends and play basketball.  Because of the nature of the scholarship he left Fort Benton and graduated in 1965. 

He was drafted into the Army soon after.  When he said goodbye to Kareen on his way to Vietnam, he told her that he wouldn’t be coming back.  He was killed just a few days before his 21st birthday.  He is buried in the Fort Benton cemetery.

On his gravestone in Riverside Cemetery reads: 
William A. Swensgard
SP4  COB  1BN  5 Infantry
Vietnam PH
10/19/47                 9/21/67
Remember him on his birthdate September 21st as the hero that he was.

I have a great affection for those men and women in the service of our Country.  Perhaps it is because my maternal grandfather was killed in WWI.  That is the reason the “Veteran’s Photo Project,” was started and now has approximately 250 photos hanging at the Sunrise Bluffs.  Have you been there yet?  Please go to honor these brave men and women by viewing their photos and signing the Visitor’s book.

Do we inherit our likes or dislikes of things our parents do?  Not in the case of Helen Anderson, who as a child, used to stand by her mother’s treadle sewing machine and want to be the one sewing.  Her mom sewed every piece of clothing her children wore.  Her grandmother also sewed.   Helen began sewing in 1970 while she was living in Great Falls and her family did not require her full attention.  She moved to Fort Benton in 1974.

Her quilting hobby really began in 2000 when she joined the Eye of the Needle Quilting Guild.  (Note:  what a clever name.)  Their project at the time was making Baby Quilts for  babies in the huge area of Chouteau County..

When the Chouteau County Cancer Support Group merged, Helen expanded an idea to make lap quilts for those cancer patients who received chemo or radiation.

How long does it take to make a quilt?  Helen said that it only took a couple of days to make the top but that is just the beginning.  The bottom batting, the quilting, and the binding take the longest.  It was difficult to judge the time because it depends on the patterns.  She did however, at one time, make 9 lap quilts in 6 weeks.  Time and energy do not count when you are doing something you love to do. 

Helen tried some Craft Shows but found something her father said to be true.  “If you plan to make money for a living on your craft, go buy a mirror and watch yourself starve to death.”  What a wise father. 

Helen had to put aside her quilting skills for a while but just yesterday, Saturday the 7th, she retrieved her sewing machine and plans to get busy making the quilts she so dearly loves to do.  She loves simplicity in her patterns as the same as her simple life in Fort Benton, MT.  We are blessed to have her among us.

The season begins again next week Tuesday, the 17th.  Look for their ad in the River Press as they give much more detail than I have room for.  See you there.

No. 7 - (Cannot print this one.  If you are curious, you will have to get a copy of the magazine.)
No. 8 – We have more folks in the Army, Navy, and Marines than any other states, so don’t mess with Montana.  If you do, you will get whipped by the best.