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B.B. Clarke Family Held Reunion In Madison Saturday

September 15, 2013

BB Clarke portrait

Several family members of Bascom Clarke, whose house still stands across from Orton Park, held a family reunion in Madison on Saturday. Bascom had the Queen Anne Victorian with Arts and Crafts elements built in 1899. While some of the family resides locally, two of the great-granddaughters (Peg and Liz) came from Minnesota, and another from France.  Helena lives in Lorient, roughly 300 miles from Paris.

Several years ago Helena did a Google search for Bascom and found this story on my blog.  She made contact and since James studied in France a friendship was started.  This weekend was Helena’s second trip to the isthmus in three years.

Saturday James drove the ladies to the Forest Hills Cemetery plot where Bascom and the family is buried while I prepared the final details for a torchlight cookout where they could eat while gazing out at the park named for their great-grandfather.  We also flew the French flag and Helena quipped, “It looks like I am in residence.’

The conversation and laugher never ended, and would still be going if time allowed.  Fond memories and very wonderful friends.

One of the stories that was retold on this visit hits just the right tone.

The Clarkes had a cook named Augusta, though she was fondly referred to as ‘Gustie’.  Each evening she would serve the meal prepared for Bascom and Belle.  But later in the evening when it came time for ‘Gustie’ to eat it was Belle who would serve the cook, and then often sit alongside her at the family table and chat about the events of the day.   “Gustie’ would go to work for Belle La Follette in later years, as the La Follette’s and Clarkes were close friends.

Before the ladies left with a hug James and I were presented with something we will forever treasure.

BBClarke Award

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