Publisert av: For the Little Prince - Per | januar 21, 2008

Cotton Candy Cloud


What’s so great about a Cotton Candy Cloud?


What Do You See?

I revisit my childhood:

I sat in the pasture surrounded by my horses.

Laid on my back, eyes to the sun; I watched

the clouds go by. My grandma taught me to look a little

deeper. She would ask: What do you see in the clouds,

Sandra? I see lambs, and whales and angels, Grandma

Martha! What did you see, Grandma Martha?

I see a Cotton Candy Cloud, Sandra. And, Grandma Martha

would join us in our imaginary travels. She would

dare to be like a child. She would play with us.

She would imagine with us. She would walk with

us. She was with us. She would pray with us.

She told us stories. She described people and places to us. She

taught us that people experience hardships and that they

endure these challenges. She showed us that some people care

about other people. She showed us how to care for people.

She helped us to understand where we came from.


My mother would always say, «She, Grandma Martha, never

got angry at us.» My little brother would then tell us about

the story when he peddled his tricycle down to the end

of the very long driveway and he went out onto the rural road.

She got angry. My brother is still going to the end of very long

roads on his all-terrain vehicle. I wonder if he remembers

the day that Grandma Martha got mad. She was really mad!


When we climbed to the top of the poplar trees, Grandma

Martha was at the bottom describing the very delicious

peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that she had made for

lunch. We had NO FEAR. We were pirates hanging from the

mast of the ship. We were having a blast and- I am definitely

sure- Grandma Martha was scared that we would

fall. And, she had good reason to believe it. But, she did

not yell. She was calm, and patient, and kind to us. And, we

survived. It was something that we NEVER spoke of

again. Swinging back and forth at the top of the poplar trees.


Grandma told us a lot of stories. [Peep Peep Story, later]

Grandma wanted us to know about our roots.

She told us about who made us and where they

came from. That’s how the Cotton Candy Cloud theme

came to be. It’s about My Grandma Martha in me.

She was so very special. Of course, I miss her.


She would be one hundred years old this year.

She was born on June 29, 1907. She married when she was

24 years old and my grandfather, Perry, was 48 years old.

They met at the corner of Second and University Avenue

in Minneapolis, MN.

She was crossing a busy street to mail a letter and he yelled

out, «I’ll get that for you.» He retrieved the letter and their

romanced blossomed. He said that she was the perfect rose.

She called him Tommy. He called her Martha.

(He was also known as Uncle Perry, thus, the reason I refer to

him as Perry.)


After her death, I missed her so much that I never mentioned

her name- my Grandma Martha. I was overcome with grief

when she died. She died too young. She was such a

wonderful mentor to me. (She was a photographer. 🙂 )


My grandfather, Perry, was an English teacher and a farmer.

He took several very long trips and one of them was to Voss,

Norway. He traveled all over Europe until his attorney

summoned him home. «You have some work on the farm to

do, Perry!» His money never did totally run out; we still own

the two farms and the old house belonging to my great

grandparents from Voss, Norway. He still had enough

money to retire early and to raise several children.

A stay-at-home dad in the 1930’s- what a concept!


When asked if she ever wanted a son, my Grandma Martha

quietly say, «Of course, I did.» She called my little brother,

«My little boy…» On the day that her second child was born,

there was a mix-up with the birth certificates and some

shuffling in the delivery room, they suspect, though never

confirmed. The birth certificate said MALE and she took home

a feMALE. It was upsetting to learn that the aunt that I loved

and cherished might have been a cousin to her sisters and

brothers. I studied her features long and hard whenever

I visited. I still didn’t have any answers.


I asked my aunts and uncles about this. And, here is their

reply: «She, your Grandma Martha, kept a newspaper article

of the birth of a little boy with the same last name as

ours.Oddly enough, the little boy was born on the same day

as her little girl. She would ask about that «little boy»

from time to time. She kept a newspaper clipping that

featured the accidental drowning of a 16 year old boy close to

the farm where she grew up. It was the same «little boy» that

she had wondered about over the years. She didn’t say much

about him, however, the silence surrounding the questions

about a little boy and the look in her eyes told me that she

cared about that little boy.


When my cousins bluntly told me that my aunt was actually

my aunts’ and uncles’ cousins, I was just stunned. I still don’t

have any words to describe that feeling. However, it has

always been just a question; there are no definite answers.

I love my aunt just the same.


My grandfather, Perry was a writer, an English teacher and

a man who spoke and read six foreign languages.

He was a humble man and never bragged. He probably knew

more than six. He was one of three children of nine that

survived beyond the age of 40 years old. Thea lived to be

98 years old. Synnøva lived to be 41 years old. Perry would

live to be 83 years old. My great-grandparents buried six

of their children before they reached 45 years old.

They both lived well into their 80’s. I can’t imagine the

depth of their grief. These were the stories that my

Grandma Martha shared with me. The stories of

joy and pain and challenge and triumph. I am really

proud of my great-grandparents for their persistence,

for their faith and for their generosity despite the fact

that they had lost six of their nine children to childhood

diseases-cancer, diphtheria, polio, pneumonia. I just can’t

even imagine it.


My grandfather, Perry:

He was born on April 6, 1883. On the night that he was born,

his father told his older sisters that there was a young man at

the door who came to see them. They came downstairs and

were greeted by this young man, my grandfather, Perry.

He had just arrived. I bet that they were delighted.


My Grandma Martha had two sisters and a brother.

Inga, Ragna and brother Oscar (sons and daughters of

Ingeborg and Ole) Her infant twin siblings were Karinus and

Ragnild. They were born prematurely. Karinus and Ragnild

were too tiny to survive. Grandma Martha remembers,

as she showed us a shoe box, that they were so small that

they could fit into a small shoe box.


My Grandma Martha walked me through the old homestead

house one summer. She told me A LOT of stories that day. It

was the following winter that she became gravely ill and lost

her fight with multiple myeloma.


One of the stories that she told me was that of the rocking

chair. A daughter of my great-grandparents, Maria, was

dying. She asked her father to help her get her very best

Sunday dress on. That week he had walked to a town not far

away to purchase a beautiful rocking chair. She dressed ‘for

church’ and then she asked her daddy to rock her to sleep and

she died in his arms.


The house was small-four or five rooms.

Under the staircase, there was a little closet. It was here that

he knelt to pray and he sat down and sobbed. I have always

called this little room, the crying room. It was during this

day that Great-grandpa sang, «Den Store Hvite Flokk Vi Se»

to his little Maria. The story gives me goosebumps. Again,

I can’t imagine the depth of his grief.


My Grandma Martha:

She loved cats and kittens. She thought fondly of my

Hungerian Vizla, Duchess. She would bring a milk carton full of

kitchen scraps for all of our pets every time she came to visit.

This was only normal to us. She was then what we now call,

«The Dog Whisperer«. She showed us that she loved animals.

She also loved people. She would tell us about the special

people in her life/our lives. She would talk about Dina who was

deaf, and about Roger who had cerebral palsy, and about

Lydia who could not speak. I guess that she wasn’t only

telling us about what they could or couldn’t do.

She was telling us that she cared about people. She was

sensitive to people with special needs. That’s my

Grandma Martha. She was special. She radiated

kindness. And, oh, how I miss her.


Thanks for pointing out the Cotton Candy Cloud, Grandma

Martha. I’ll always love you, Grandma Martha. Amen!


Note: My Grandma Martha died of Multiple Myeloma in

1977. She was 71 years old. She never told us that she was

sick. She told us that she had something like «a cold» and

that she had to take medicine for it. She knew it was

terminal. She lived life with multiple myeloma, a leukemia,

like she was going to live for another 100 years. She took

me for walks. She taught me how to ride bike. She read to

me. She drove me to the farm; the farm where she loved

and lived and thrived. She walked me through the old rickety

house and told me stories. Now, I know why. She was

sharing all that she knew about her family, her kjæresten sin

family and her Norwegian-American heritage. She helped me

to understand the many questions that I had, «Who am I?»

I am Grandma Martha’s grand-daughter. My name is Sandy.

And, what I lucky little girl I was!


Sandy S. Zoo © 2008


  1. *
    The Wonderful World of Cotton Candy Cloud

    Sandy S. Zoo

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