By Mary Clearman Blew

In language comparable to the wild fantastic thing about monstrous Sky state, Mary Clearman Blew provides us a glimpse into the lives of her relations as she lines their connection to Montana’s average and human panorama. starting together with her great-grandparents’ arrival in 1882 in Montana--still a territory then--Blew relates the tales that make up her life.

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Extra resources for All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family

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He was intrigued, he said, by the apparent contradiction of Abraham's choice of medium-his scrap paper-and his care- Reading Abraharn 3 7 ful preservation of such ephemeral texts. A day or two later I got a long letter from him. "I feel compelled to think he had some rather specific audience in mind," my friend wrote. "It struck me at an early hour this morning, in a hazy vision of Abraham stopping by Spring Creek, that undoubtedly he had you in mind all the time as audience-or the persona of you that we all carry with us when we speculate about our descendants unknown and their view of us.

I tried to remember everything I ever had heard about Abraham. I knew he had been born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1855, and that he had attended Lafayette College. He had become a surveyor for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In l 8 8 2 he came to the Montana Territory with the railroad, but left it to start a ranch at the mouth of Spring Creek in Fergus County. For a number of years he had been the Fergus County surveyor. My high school geometry teacher had known him. He described for me how, in the early days, the plats were measured by the revolutions of a buggy wheel.

He described for me how, in the early days, the plats were measured by the revolutions of a buggy wheel. Abraham's buggy had covered every mile of central Montana. As a teenager my father had driven with him to carry 22 Mary Clearman Blew his chains and had picked up the rudiments of surveying from him. Surveying is the application of geometry and trigonometry to achieve a representation of the land on a reduced scale. Surveying exchanges one perspective for another; it exchanges the physical for the abstract.

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