Now & Forever ABCs (Gramps & the Witch)

Albert Lee Swanson & Claudette Isis Swanson née Baardsson

10 October 1935 & 2 June 1933
Anglican & Church of All Worlds

The couple who brought Yvette into the world, and an eccentric pair.  Gramps, as far back as Yvette can recall, tended to give people names to suit a mix of who the person was and his own unusual sense of humour.  The Witch, on the other hand, felt that children should actually have names — so insisted on giving permanent names to her children, and also insisted that, given that they’d have to live with them, that it should sound like a name rather than an appellation.  Gramps has never once called one of his children by their given name — and his wife has heard him utter her name few times in the decades they’ve been together.

The pair live in an old hotel that’s been converted to a large home in northern-most Washington, part of their property is possibly in Canada in fact.

Married in 1951 the pair had ten children over the course of twenty-three years.  Gramps has always been talented with woodcarving and carpentry, so owned a furniture making shop and did contracting work while the Witch, who had always been immensely fascinated by the various uses of plants, opened an herbalist shop which specialised in beauty supplies and cosmetics.  Both businesses were successful enough that all of their children were able to go to college, though only eight did, and all of them got scholarships — so the education money went to helping each child into their first homes or other similar boosts to starting adulthood.

The Witch was raised in a household that, ostensibly, was Unitarian but was largely agnostic or Deist in specifics.  She and her siblings were encouraged to study philosophy and theology, their father believing it gave a better understanding of the world, people, and morals & ethics.  She is well versed in Judaism, several forms of Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, can quote the Bible in Greek, and has a firm grounding in several forms of Hindu.  When Otter and Morning Glory Zell founded the Church of All Worlds she studied it as avidly leading to her rising within the ranks of its priesthood.  Gramps, on the other hand, continues to attend a small Anglican church near his home any Sunday he can and makes a stubborn point of going on Easter and Christmas, and insisting even more stubbornly that his wife, and any of their sundry children, children-in-laws, and their children join them whenever they’re visiting on those days.

Among their various hippie friends the pair are sometimes seen as oddly old fashioned.  Gramps and the Witch were fairly strict with their children in terms of expectations of their behaviour.  The girls were, at the Witch’s adamant insistence, thoroughly taught etiquette, diction, posture, and just about every other womanly art that would be taught in a finishing school.  Gramps followed her example — every one of their sons was to be a perfect gentleman (he stopped short at actually making them learn to use a sword, given that he couldn’t use one either).  In seemingly stark contrast to this the parents were exceedingly open with their children and the Witch even educated those of her daughters and sons interested in the subject on the contents of her copy of the Kama Sutra and other related works — not practical demonstrations, mind, only theory; practice was up to them to arrange.

Eventually the couple has retired, giving over his business to a friend and hers to one of their children, and are spending their twilight years enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, spoiling them as much and as often as possible.

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3 thoughts on “Now & Forever ABCs (Gramps & the Witch)

  1. Pingback: Now & Forever ABCs (Lucas) | Jaye Em Edgecliff

  2. Pingback: Now & Forever ABCs (Maureen) | Jaye Em Edgecliff

  3. Pingback: Now & Forever ABCs (Yvette) | Jaye Em Edgecliff

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