In l872 our Williamson great-grandparents and their family homesteaded in Saunders County. There were no trees. Nebraska's land was virgin prairie with grasses six feet tall. Children got lost in it. Pioneers who buried their treasures overnight, couldn't always find them in the morning, but they persevered carving out homes and lives. Great Grandmother, Charity Williamson, was a mid-wife. In the only picture we have of them, she and her husband, George Washington Williamson, looked jolly. One story was passed down about her. Some kid had his ear almost cut off. She held it in place until it healed with the lining in an eggshell.
The land was harsh, unforgiving. Grandma Mae Simmons Williamson was from Lynn, Kansas. She remembered being frightened by Indians coming to their home. She and her brothers hid under the bed. Her mother gave the Indians bread and whatever else she had.
As a grown woman, Grandma had a fear of iron bridges. If we didn't put her in the middle seat, she'd get out and walk across the Platte River bridge.
Both sides of our father's Swedish ancestors homesteaded in Saunders County, too. His mother, Ann, is my namesake, and I look like her. She died when he was eighteen months old.
I moved to Mississippi with the pioneering spirits of my grandmother's Mae and Ann. When my sister moves to Virginia, it will end our family's 150 years presence in Saunders County. It makes me sad. I miss the cemetery. I can call and talk to everybody else. My Nebraska friends are my anchors to my roots.
2012 Red Convertible Travel Series