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Grandpa Carl Tosten Bonde, all around good guy

June 30, 2015
Carl T. Bonde caught a king salmon when he went with his son-in-law, Norman B. Ackley, probably out of Port Angeles, Washington.

Carl T. Bonde caught a king salmon when he went with his son-in-law, Norman B. Ackley, probably out of Port Angeles, Washington.

Grandpa had 2 curls in the front of his wavy hair, just like his son Bud. His hair was always silver-looking, and he wasn’t terribly tall, but he was barrel chested because he puffed and puffed from emphysema. He smoked a lot. Said it was a nasty, dirty habit, but was not able to quit. He had some cigars here and there, and pipes and tobacco, but mostly he smoked boughten cigarettes, indoors and out. In those days you could smoke anywhere.
I was annoyed that he had a way of saying, “take it easy, Danny,” because I was kind of hyper. I think he liked me, but sometimes I wasn’t quite sure. I asked him about his life once and he told me that he used to be “a knight.” I had very little idea what that meant, because I was maybe 6 years old. My brother Tom had toy knight figures he played with. Of course I thought he was teasing me, but I didn’t know why.
He was fun, and that was one of his great gifts. He played a game with me and my cousins, to see who could tie his shoes the fastest. I couldn’t tie mine at all, but I pretended to. He tied his shoes, then untied them by pulling on the lace end. [we struggled with ours] He tied them again, untied them, repeated until we beat him, then he gave us each some pennies. He had an old tobacco can full of pennies, some of them were steel 1943 pennies. My cousins and I counted and recounted them. We lived out on the edge of town so money didn’t really mean too much to us because we couldn’t easily spend it.
One Christmas, soon after our father Robert P. died, my brother Tom got an English bicycle for a gift. He was throwing tantrums because he didn’t think he would get one and he was disappointed, but Christmas eve grandpa wheeled it into our house through the front door as a surprise, singing, “here comes santa clause.” It was a Hercules bicycle, 3 speeds. I inherited it from Tom when he was a sophomore in high school. The damn thing would slip out of gear and cause me to land on the crossbar with my crotch! Man that hurt!
Grandpa noticed that I sulked around a lot, and he didn’t like that. “You know, Danny,” he said, “people like you better when you smile more.” I remember hearing him tell me that on a road trip in his old green Pontiac. I remember how I felt. I did not feel like smiling more.

Grandparents Ellen and Carl Bonde in the 1920s or 1930s.

Grandparents Ellen and Carl Bonde in the 1920s or 1930s.

He also took a dim view of the way I appropriated as much of his property as I wanted, because I truly believed all of my grandparent’s things were mine to do with as I pleased. I’ll feel guilty if I mention all of the things I broke, like the grindstone that I first gummed up with bees’ wax. I found lots of old rusty tools, like a cultivator with a wheel and a potato planter and a bunch of bee hive boxes with wax that I could methodically crumble and wad up into bees’ wax balls. Those were some of the milder things. I tried some of grandpa’s whiskey, but it tasted really awful! I sprayed some insecticide into a small shot glass near the whiskey bottle. Why? I don’t know. I do know that grandpa lived a long time after I did that.

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