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I woke up thinking about my beloved great-grandmother, Selma Lorentson. We bonded at first sight, so I'm told, and I have many dear memories of her. She arrived here with her husband from Sweden, a 16-year-old bride, straight off the farm.

It was she who told me, during a ferocious thunderstorm, to come sit on her lap. She held me and rocked me--I was afraid of the thunder and lightning--and told me that it was the Lord's doing. That we should stop what we are doing and watch God's work when there is a storm. [A variant on the Thor myth?]

The tale comforted me, and I think of her then holding me and rocking me and soothing my fears whenever in later years I've been in a thunderstorm or hurricane.

My grandmother, Lillian Lawrence, married an alcoholic who lost his position as first violinist of the Boston Symphony because of his drinking. All during the Great Depression, we three generations, my great-grandparents, my grandparents, my family too lived together in a three story house that my great-grandfather had paid off before the banks went bust and he lost his business, his savings, everything, everything. He ended up a chauffeur for a man who had once been his employee.

Lil's income paid the taxes, fed and clothed us. We made it through the Depression; my father, Robert Charles Lawrence, went off to war, surviving Pearl Harbor. His brother Warren moved to Anaheim, California.

So that's two generations, plus my own. Now there's my daughter's generation, my grandson's too, and yet another generation on the way.

The family spans six generations from the 1870's to the present. Every time the holiday season rolls around, I hold them in my heart and remember.

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