Posted by: Jim E | February 16, 2010

Legacy???…Me???…

We all leave one…a legacy, I mean…I wrote and sent links a couple of days ago about two brothers who just died, Bill and Carl Larson…in their 90’s and lived their whole lives (other than three years of WWII) on the same farm on which they were born…

How could they leave much of a legacy most would ask?…but if you read the two stories that were in the paper, you know they had an effect on many…and many more than we heard about in the stories…a legacy…

Comments left by people who knew them and many who didn’t know them went like this: Hardworking, earnest, sincere, took pride in the land…we appreciate what he and his brother contributed to making America what it is…Loyal family bonds and deep, unspoken alliances and devotion characterized them…your community first and your reputation transparent…a sense of survival, peace, living for others and trust in God…Rugged individualism, selflessness…These were GOOD Americans and the backbone of what made this country great…and many more…a legacy…

How does all that happen?…think of it this way…do you remember your parents?…okay…do you remember your grandparents?…okay…now it gets more difficult…do you remember your great grandparents names?…where they lived?…how many kids in their family?…how about your great great grandparents?…need I go further?…we lose all that in a short time, don’t we?…

And what was your great great grandparents legacy to you?…you may know something…but most of us do not remember much of anything about our great great grandparents…or great grandparents…some not a lot about our grandparents, let alone their legacy to us…

So what’s the point?…I will get there, hang on…I don’t really know anything about my great great grandparents…other than one set lived in Ireland and one set lived in Sweden…I met one relative from Sweden some years ago, when he came to America to see us, his relatives…but other than that there is nothing…how about you?…

Only my great grand parents on my Dad’s side do I know anything about…I have pictures of them and of the house they lived…in Marine-on-the St. Croix, a small town on the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin…when they came to America from Sweden at the end of the 1860’s…Jonas and Johanna Elmquist…logging was still an important industry in that part of Minnesota…the river was full of white pine logs traveling downstream to Stillwater, Minneapolis and other places to be made into lumber to build this country…here is a picture of them and house that he built in Marine…(it is still there today)…a legacy…


I know very little more about them…he died in 1912 and she in 1940, just before WWII began…and here is a picture of four generations: my great grandmother Johanna, my grandfather John (one of 9 children), my dad George and my brother John (Jack) born in 1939…I was not around until 1942…a legacy…

Now where are we in this whole thing?…I heard lots of stuff as I grew up…things like how my great grandmother loved the Bible (in Swedish of course)…loved to read it and quote it…went to church…my grandmother (my Dads’ mom) went to church, read the Bible…in every generation there was a spiritual thread…all the way down to me…then our kids, grandkids, etc…was it everyone?…no…but there is that thread…

What is that thread?…it is a legacy…perfect?…no…but it is there none the less…how about you…perfect?…no, none of us are…but we need to keep that thread alive…good people, leading good lives, working hard…taking care of the spiritual side of our lives…passing on a legacy that God can use in this world…

Not unlike Bill and Carl Larson on their farm in Oklee, MN…born, lived and died there…good people who knew God and honored Him with their lives…knew who they were and how to live…and how to die…left the legacy that was theirs to leave…nothing more, nothing less…and that is our role to fill…

In the movie “Amazing Grace”, when Wilberforce was beside himself in the garden not knowing what to do…struggling with his spiritual demons…one of his servants sat down beside him and said, “It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else and still unknown to himself.” (Sir Francis Bacon)…it turned him around…a legacy…

Everybody leaves a legacy…leave the one God wants from you…because it stretches further than the eye or mind can see…the one I received goes back generations I never knew…and continues beyond what I can imagine…


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Responses

  1. Wow, just last week I was looking at some old photos and there were the same ones in my box. Last time I went to the house over in Marine, I went up to the house and knocked on the door. What was I going to say? I’m not sure, but something about my past relatives and the meaning of the house.

    You talked about great grandparents, I only knew of three of them…at least I remember. Two of them were on my dad’s side and one on my mom’s… I wish that I could have known all of them. Because, I believe that all of my great grandparents were like what you were talking about in your blog. Your grandfather George had that shop down in the basement. As a kid, I would go down those wooden stairs (were they the color gray?) and watch him work down there. Most of the time he would have on the radio, plus he made sure that I was not getting into to much trouble…. I now have that old radio

    I think that you touched on an important subject. I wonder if the “younger” generation does not really care about their family history?

  2. very good


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