Eleanor J. Bonanno|
Our Mother, Ellie Bonanno, wrote this story to share with all of us upon her death and we wouldn't change a word!
Ellie passed away on January 23rd, 2014 and this is her story!
I have had such a wonderful life and I thank God that he has blessed me in so many ways. I was born Oct. 20, 1928 on a farm in Iowa. There was indoor plumbing, a furnace that burned coal but no electricity. My grandparents had built the new house shortly after my parents were married in 1918. REA or Rural Electrification brought electricity when I was 12. It was a great occasion as we had to choose all the fixtures in the house, get a refrigerator and electric stove. We did have a telephone, but it was a party line with 12 others. Our ring was 4 short and a long. One uncle's ring was 2 short and another one was 3 short. If there was news, such as a sale, that needed to be spread to everyone, there would be a long ring and everyone would listen, course you could listen to all the other calls too.
I attended a one room school house for the first 8 grades. It was a half mile away and I usually walked. My Dad did take me by horse and buggy or sleigh if weather was bad. I was lucky as there was indoor plumbing there, too. I carried my lunch in a small metal bucket. I think it had held syrup. No hot lunches were around for us. I remember taking a potato and putting it in the lower part of the furnace to cook and we would have hot food at noon. There were 3 others that graduated from 8th grade with me. At one time we had had the largest class of 5. One teacher taught all the grades. We would have to take a county test to pass and promoted to the 9th grade. At recess we would all go out together and play games like workup in baseball or fox and hound in the snow. There were swings and a tetter-totter. One winter we make a huge snow tunnel. We could stand up in it.
Our high school was in town and we had to provide transportation. I rode with a neighbor boy when the weather was good. During the winter, I stayed with people in town. There were 21 in my graduation class. We had a football, basketball and baseball team. There was a girl's basketball team and I was the captain--played guard as I couldn't make a basket!
I attended the University of Iowa and achieved my degree in sociology. I worked as a case worker for a hospital in Illinois. There I met your Dad, and we were married at the small country church in Schaller in 1950. Our first home was in Jacksonville, Illinois where we both worked in the hospital for the mentally ill. Jeff and Mark were born there. Gus had his Masters but went back to school at WSU in 1953 and we moved to Pullman. We were in Washington! Rick was born in Pullman. We moved to Edmonds in 1955 when Gus became the first psychologist in the school district. We rented a house on Spruce St. and in 1956 bought the house at 830 Walnut. Janet and David were born and the family was complete. The house at 820 was built in 1963.
I loved being a mother. You 5 were such fun. Remember our camping trips, singing in the car, playing games and just being together. I enjoyed being a stay at home mom.
I went back to college in 1970 for a teaching degree-Jeff was in Jr. College, Mark and Rick in High School, Janet in Jr. High and Dave in Elementary. I always said I had one in college, two in high school, one in Jr. High and one in elementary. I had the good fortune of teaching school for 25 years. Let's see, I was at the old Edmonds Elementary, Snoline (now Woodway), Olympic (now Edmonds) and Westgate.
In 1991 I retired and Gus and I loved to travel and saw Europe, all over the United States, plus our trips to Iowa and California to see family. It was sad when Gus passed away as we had been married for 50 years.
To keep out of mischief, I started working for the Mariners baseball team. It was a fun part time summer job. I had a uniform, and got paid to tell people where to go!
I always had time for bridge and did join the Floretum Garden Club, Sno-King School Retirees.
I have enjoyed all the phases of my life and feel I am the most fortunate person I know. You kids have always been at the center! Yes, sometimes you were problems, but you gave me great joy and I am always so proud of all of you.
I worry that you will drift apart as you are all so different. Try to keep the circle of the family going. Sometimes the circle comes apart for a bit but I always want you to keep it intact.
Love to all of you and remember to celebrate. My journey has been a great one. What's that poem, "Miss me but let me go"? I shall be with your Dad, my parents and be waiting for each of you.
Ellie was preceded in death by her beloved husband Justin "Gus" Bonanno; and is survived by her five children, Jeff, Mark, Rick, Jan and David. Six grand-children, Justin, Nic, Jason, Tyler, Amy and Elizabeth. Three great-children, Sage, Ari and Odin. One cat, Wally.
A Memorial Service will be held February 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm: Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 19523 84th Ave W, Edmonds, Washington 98026-6107.
Memorials can go to Maplewood Presbyterian Church or Sno-King School Retirees Scholarship Fund.
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Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 28 to Jan. 29, 2014