Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy 2016

The New Year has begun...Welcome 2016.  Wonder what this will hold for Robert and me as well as our 5 kids and their families.  Only good, I want to say..but at the same time I know that they will, of necessity, have to face opposition and be tested and proved!  So let's get it on.

Robert and I went to bed last night before any ball dropped....guess that's a sign of how old we are getting.  We also opted to not spend the holiday at  Dawn and Ken's.  It's only 3 hours but with the weather as unpredictable as it has been across the US we felt it better to stay home. And Dawn said there was snow up there today.  We have had the best fall and early winter.  Unseasonably warm but delightful. Even though it has started to get cold there still is no snow.

Cadeaux de L'annĂ©e were exchanged before we got ready for the day.   I bought Robert the Harry shaving system and Robert gave me a cookie size cast iron skillet with a mini Hershey kisses cookie mix.  Then he took me out to Athena's for breakfast.  We stopped at the Avon Lake care facility to visit dear, sweet Frank Blazina who is failing fast and Jill Pavic's dad who is also there for rehab following heart surgery.  Mr. Pavic will be fine but it is so difficult to watch Frank  fail.  He was sitting in his wheelchair by the nurses station and if I hadn't been greeting all the patients who were in the hallways I wouldn't have heard his distinctive voice and recognized him.  So sad.  But we have always been blessed to have had him in our life, as a friend, as a home teacher.

The big moment of the day came late this afternoon as I got our dinner...and not the tradition pork and sauerkraut since Robert doesn't like pork very much altho he would have eaten it without complaining. I had purchased 2 small ribeye steaks and we had a French bifteck aux pommes frites or as Robert on his mission called it, 'bifteck frites' meaning steak and fries (and tonight salad).  Again Robert desired to make mayonnaise as they did while doing their missionary service in the Franco Belge.  He always complains about how long it takes by fork.  This time, however, I suggested he enter the 2nd Machine Age and use the immersion blender...which he did and was he ever surprised.

  It made up so very quickly...nice and thick and just as he remembered it.  Not to mention the first time it was this successful.

As we sat down for dinner, Robert picks up the bamboo spoon and happily admired his work.

 And then he paid tribute to the last 2-1/2 year missionary he met when he first arrived in Belgium.  "Here's to Elder Chinchilla Smith" he said as he dipped a write into the mayo.
The elder was called Chinchilla Smith because he ate raisins all the time.  This man was already in Belgium by the time Robert got there.  He was excellent doctrinally and taught Robert quite a few things.  Robert surmised that the elders that came out for 2-1/2 years never went to the Language Training Mission (now called the MTC).  They just arrived in the land and learned the language on the spot...Wow!

We have a weekend of Twilight Zones to watch which are being shown chronologically from start to finish and then there are the bowl games.  The Ohio State University beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl so that's good.

Happy 2016 Blog and my faithful readers.  Let's see what we can record this year.

Cleveland last night

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas is over and it's been a busy and a crazy month.  Hillary and the kids were here and then not here. Back and then off to visit others.  Mostly they just wanted to be together with Jordan as a family unified.  Luckily for them, they found a house, it closed earlier than expected (altho i have to attribute this to my 'heathen' friend Pam's prayers for this to happen), and they moved right in, having their stuff delivered by the storage company the day after the closure because of a cancellation.  Talk about being blessed!  They were kind enough to come and share Christmas Day with us.

Last year I had thrown away our tree, thinking that I just would skip a tree and settle on other ways to display our ornaments.  But when the RS asked if I would host the RS party I agreed and then went out and bought another tree.  I also bought a wonderful set of Mr. Christmas Bells which were motion activated and they greeted all the ladies who came as well as any visitors who came by.  It was my favorite purchase the year.  Oh yes, those and the Mr. Christmas Mice Marching band.  Years ago I had a Mr. Christmas Santa Marching Band.  I sent out to purchase a set for each family except Marissa who did not want one.  Then along came her boys and they loved my set so I gave it to them.  The past 2 years I've hunted for that set in the basement until I remembered I had given them away.  This year I decided I really wanted another set.  The mice were the cheapest on eBay and they are adorable.  This is a set that I just wish would stay out all year long.

Our kids were very generous as always.  Dawn gave Robert a huge marvelous water feature for the garden.  We got a lovely plant and water planter from NHB, from Great Licks in FL.  Lovely sweaters and pictures.

Earlier, Marissa attempted to give me a clue as to what her gift to me was altho it didn't help. She told me, "It will change you life."  That's a pretty huge result but she was so right.
This is an amazing electronic foot filer.  I am known for how very soft my hand and arms are but my feet are something everyone would rather run from. But no more.  I can file my feet with the easiest of motions and my feet have never been this smooth nor soft.  I probably can walk around the yard again without having to use bleach to clean out the crevices due to the scaling heels!  Thanks Swiss et al.

Sophia totally took me by surprise and sent me not 1 but 2 boxes of See's orange sticks. I have not had these in decades.  It took her quite a few trips to find some still left on the shelves so obviously they are as popular now as they were when I was a student at BYU.

Obviously we had a lovely full Christmas month and it was just as nice to put things back in their boxes til next year as it was to get them out again this year.  Several new friends stopped in to visit and to share the season.

Hyrum Eddington who is serving a mission in the Adriatic North sent out a message encouraging us to be as open in the coming months as we have been in December.  Being open to smiles and easily talking with strangers.  I think it's a good thing to do in order to keep that openness and love apparent.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Bon Lion

Our only baby boy, our Bon Lion, turned 33 on December 20.  We had hoped he would be here on that weekend but we were happy to have him for  Christmas. All this year I posted picture of our kids on their birthday and began most with baby pictures.  But this was taken Christmas  Day was a great way to start Jordan's entry.  He taught his 2 boys how to build a fire in Bonpapa's fireplace.  When I saw what he was doing, I suggested Pie Iron Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for lunch.  Some time ago when I was talking about pie irons with young Rob,  Rob insisted you couldn't cook in a fireplace.  Now he knows differently.

Making fires is Jordan's forte. He often made the fires on 'our' lake's beach, especially on the Fourth of July for my mom's birthday, and for watching the fireworks off Lorain and/or Cleveland.  This was from 2000.  With Marissa's help, the beach was always cleaned up and ready for us and our chairs and 'smores.

We were very excited to discover we had #5 on the way.  Back in those days there were no tests to tell you if you were having a boy or girl. BUT odd as this is going to sound in face of today's technology, there was this 'test' that I used to perform on pregnant friends of mine back in the day and so it was only right that I tried myself.  The items cup to catch the urine, one cup with some dry Crystal Drain-o (used to unplug drains), and be sure to do this outside.  Once the urine was obtained I walked outside, to the back steps at 809.  I poured some of my urine into the Drain-o cup and immediately watched for the crystals to change colors.  If it turned blue/blue green you could expect a boy.  If it turned brown it was a girl.  One of the girls was beside me watching but not knowing what I was doing.  She asked, "What are you looking at, mommy?' and after 4 daughters, I was astonished to say, "I think it's your baby brother!" (realize that the crystals will all eventually turn brown so I had to watch fast and watch in the open air so as to not asphyxiate myself).  Altho most people thought it was a silly experiment, I did not. I had done it on so many of my friends and it was always correct.  But of course, it was just a silly something so I still had to wait for the delivery to find out.

My grandmother, Gladys Holman, had been so ill and in Deaconess Hospital.  I so wanted her to see our new baby and hoped she would hang on.

Jordan was born on Dec 20, 1982.  I remember the moment when he was all seemed so strange to be told we had a son.  Everyone in the delivery room knew we had 4 girls and all were excited for us.  One nurse kept saying, "Kiss your son.  It's the same as kissing the girls."  I thought she was the strangest things.  Of course I'd be kissing my boy, I just needed to catch my breath.  But Jordan was lovely. When the girls came in to see him, he had purple fingers and having just seen the movie E.T. they kept saying he was E.T.

Our neighbor, Dawn Kanary, called me at the hospital to congratulate me and then told me Robert was running around the backyard exclaiming it was a man child (another show we had watched on TV...Roots...apparently had him exclaiming to the universe that he had a man child altho he still denies this).  I called my grandmother from Fairview Hospital and told her  I had had the baby. She asked, "what?", very weakly.  I told her it was a boy and she told me she was so happy.  I told her to hang on and I would smuggle him up to meet her in a basket.  She was tired and said she needed to sleep.  And by that night, sleep she did...forever.  Nothing like having your beloved grandmother pass on the day your beloved son was born.  I left the hospital a few days later and went directly to the funeral.  Robert's parents had arrived unannounced the night before so on top of post partum, the death of my grandmother, Christmas, I now had inlaws to contend with.  It was a very stressful time.  (Dawn posted this but since the comments aren't included when I make this a hard copy, I wanted to be sure to include it here:  I remember that day. Bc dad came up to our upstairs bedroom distraught.and handed us, hankies or tissues. I knew it must have meant that Sah had died..and had to ask him...Bc he wasn't talking.and then we all just cried. But, Jordan did give us rather nice, trendy hair clips, with ribbons that morning.I think it was a Friday.And I was able to wear them and show them off at school. And I remember that grandma hatch made toffee. ON THE KITCHEN TABLE. that was pretty scandalous!   Dawn was correct about the scandalous making of the toffee on our kitchen table and that's because Marian gouged a chunk out of the middle of our almost new dining table)

   My friends had planned a surprise shower for us after their learned we had a son.  It was held in our home and it was a surprise.  A very kind gesture particularly since after 4 girls, we were woefully lacking in anything non frilly.  This outfit might not be frilly but to be sure it was classic baby boy.  And isn't Jordan just a darling child?
Life with a boy is a bit different than one with girls. But our family was now complete.   Suddenly there were new toys, boisterous days, new things to learn but it is all a part of life.

And what a life it was. Jordan never could figure out how to come home on time for dinner once he learned to ride a bike and had friends.  Several times I'd tell him 'no more bike' but of course there was and of course he'd be late again.  He was ill one day and I made a bed up for him on the couch in the family room and turned on IT for him to watch, a Stephen King movie.  Yes, he was young and yes, he was scared enough to come home on time for a couple of weeks....but not forever.  He knew fiction from reality and I doubt there was very much that scared this son of ours.

Jordan always had a sense of who and what he was.
  Having 4 sisters made him very comfortable around girls and young women and you can sure he was much sough after.  He as made a career in finance and it comes as no surprise.  When he was in middle school he made a profit out of a pan of brownied I had made that didn't turn out good at all. I was ready to throw them away but he asked if he could take them to school.  I thought he meant to give them away...but oh no, he sold them by the squares.

He used to make necklaces out of fishing spinners and sold them.

Jordan was always close as a youngster to my mom.  Robert was unemployed for about 8 months and I went back to substitute teaching in the school district so Jordan spent his days with my mom.  But he was also close to Bonpapa (Roger Osborne).    Bonpapa loves to tell how he and Jordan would play the Intellivision (and early game program on the TV).  They'd get out BurgerTime and before Bonpapa had time to get settled, Jordan would have yelled "GO" and be off, beating Bonpapa royally.

Jordan dedicated Bonpapa's grave and to this day, many people recall with tender tears of the one line Jordan had used, "Good bye, Roger, Old Friend."  It was a lovely statement of appreciation for his grandfather.

Jordan began his sports with soccer at 4 years old and enjoyed it through his high school years.  But he would run track to keep his legs strong for soccer season but he also enjoyed basketball. I think it was his senior year when both Jocelyn and Marissa were home for a game and opted to attend the game dressed as Jordan's fan club of super heroes.

Jordan went to The Ohio State University for his freshman year and then served a mission to SLC and returned to OSU.  He married Hillary Diane Kinkead and to this point, they have 3 lovely children, Lily, Robert (named after my Robert), and Marius.  They lived in Columbus, spent 2 years in Florida but because Hillary wasn't happy there, Jordan has gotten a job in Michigan because as he told me, If my family is not happy, I am not happy.  That's just the kind of man he is. And for that I am so grateful. There are many new experiences for them in Michigan and he will be somewhat closer in distance to us.

It's a good thing to have finally had a man-child.  If I knew I could have had another boy like Jordan, I would have but there was no assurance of that.  He is one of a kind.


Friday, December 18, 2015

1st LDS Chapel in Cleveland

Yesterday, Tuesday 15 December 2015, Robert and I went in to take my godmother, Patsy, to do some errands which included a marathon shopping trip for groceries.  We have learned to avoid driving through the city of Cleveland in order to avoid the traffic, construction and Dead Man's Curve so instead we get off I90 at West Blvd and pick up the Shoreway.  Part of the fun of that is that we always get to drive past the first LDS Chapel I ever attended, and can only spy it through a park system.  But it always makes me feel happy inside.

Yesterday, we started off the same way only to discover that we could not get onto the Shoreway at that point, again due to construction, and opted to turn onto Lake Avenue.  I was driving and knew this would be fun. I'd get see the house my friends, the Harlows, lived in and then a few more houses past that one and I'd see my chapel.

Instead...there was no chapel.  Only a fence with huge construction vehicles within and just a hole in the ground.  I was stunned.  I was saddened.  I was bereft (if that's not too huge of an emotion to admit).  I had just talked about that chapel with Bishop Falke on Sunday during tithing settlement.  And now it was gone.  The worse part is that I was so stunned, I didn't even pull over to take a picture or to see if there was at least one brick left over for me to grab and remember.  Not Fair!

Here is a picture of the chapel on the day it was dedicated by President David O. McKay, from a historical booklet the stake had put out.
There was always something so sweet and tender about this chapel that I can clearly still see and feel.  My mom and I were baptized in the font, which was under the stage in the basement.  There were classrooms that doubled as dressing rooms on either side of the stage.  We were baptized on a Monday night, the night right before my mom had her eye surgery.  It was a rainy and oddly dark night for July, 1960.  No family came other than my sister, Deborah.  A few men who would perform the ordinance.  As my mom and i dressed in our baptismal clothes my mom asked me if I was still of the same mind to be baptized because once we committed to this religion, there would be turning back.

Mom was also a believer/worshipper and had long been searching for the truth.  We had attended many different churches and she had taught Sunday School in at least Parma Methodist.  But once the missionaries had stopped by my grandparents who had sent them up to us, we investigated for quite a few years and finally knew we had to make a decision.  My sister wasn't 8 yet so her time would come.  Daddy Center had no interest.  My grandparents were waiting til the fall for when 'their' missionary would be in town for a BSA meeting and Elder Day could perform the baptism (however, Poppy died Oct 16 and so my grandmother was baptized alone).  I felt certain, even at that young age, that this is what I wanted to do and I have never regretted that decision.

Let me tell you about this lovely building.  We would walk up the few steps to the front door. Immediately on the right was the ladies restroom. During the Beatles' rise to popularity, Sue Hinckley had spent the weekend with me.  I did her hair like the Beatles on this one Sunday before church. Her mom had a hizzy fit when she saw Sue and marched her into the ladies room and made her comb it out. Sister Hinckley taught school, I think...elementary grades. Her handwriting always resembled the handwriting charts on the walls above the chalkboard in school.  From her I learned how NOT to embarrass my kids, wonder if I was successful? But i also learned to love pretty handwriting, even taking a class in Calligraphy, a 'skill' I still use today.

On the left of the foyer is the chapel. The chapel was a very lovely room. Light and airy.  Sundays for us meant Sunday School held in the morning  after the men had attended priesthood meeting and then after we'd go home for lunch we returned for Sacrament Meetings at 5pm or was it 6pm?  Often I would go to Cris Marriott's house or Sue Hinckley's house between meetings.  Sometimes they'd come to mine.  I remember filling a small bag with Charles Chips and during Sacrament Meeting I'd stick a chip in my mouth and suck it til it was soft and didn't make noise.  I'd share.  And we'd think we were getting away with something...and we were.

Once in the chapel there was a door along the right wall that lead to the parking lot outside.  At this same wall at the back is the Cry Room as it was called back we would call it the Nursery.  The speaker system piped in the people who spoke but the people tending their children in the Cry Room could see what was going on.  Interestingly, the kids were never allowed to go crazy and be all playing during church meetings.  Sure, they might walk around but there were no toys out.  They just needed to sit their with their moms (usually the moms) until they could figure out how to sit reverently.   (How sad many parents today haven't figured out how to teach their children reverence at this early age.)Behind this room was at least on classroom.

Continuing down that hall was the men's bathroom on the right but on the left was a set of stairs that went the branch president's/later the bishop's office (I think....I actually don't know if I ever saw that room.  Just knew it was there).  But at the top of the stairs was a room was that officially the Relief Society room altho the girls 12-18 met there on Tuesday nights for class.  There on the wall in the RS room was the amazing picture which always gave me peace and a moment of much so that I always wanted a copy of it.  Decades later a man in the ward (Br. Conrad was also our building's custodian)  who knew of my love of this picture called to tell me he had seen the picture in a furniture store in Westlake. (Warners, to be exact).  Robert and I raced over and Robert was so generous and allowed me to buy it, despite the fact we didn't have much money, at all.

Do not know the actual name of the picture but we always called it Woman at the Well.  This picture hung in our apartment in N Olmsted, then at 809, and now it's back on the wall at 3830.  The effect is still the same.  When I feel stressed or tired or any sort of negative, I go and stand in front of this picture for a few moments and just let go of everything. And she fills me with whatever I need.  Isn't she lovely?

Back to the the church building.  I've already described part of the basement.  The baptism font that was under the stage flooring and the changing rooms which also were used as classrooms.  When mom and I were still investigating, Pearl Vasenda would pick me up for Primary on Tuesday afternoons.  She was also my Co-Pilot teacher (7 year olds).  One day she was teaching us about Judgement Day.  She told us what it would be like.  That it would be like we were sitting in our cars at a drive-in movie and this huge screen would roll down from the skies and all our sins would be played out on the screen for EVERYONE to see.  It's a lesson I've never forgotten.  In discussing this moment with some friends today at lunch, one said "it would have been a great lesson to have remembered when you were in your teens."  As I told her, it probably was the reason why I was such a good kid.  I remembered the story! Pearl had come from Mormon stock but had married Pete, a non member his whole life.  But through all the years, Pearl remained faithful to her beliefs.  She would go into her bedroom by herself and talk to herself in a Family Home Evening.  Pearl and Pete fostered Rick Johnson and for a shorter time his brother.  It must have been difficult to take in a boy so in need of love and stability but they did it and remained close as he grew into an adult.  When I had my car accident and was unconscious, I 'came to' and who was sitting beside my bed?  Rick Johnson, the cutie patootie of our youth group.  I wasn't aware at how I looked all bandaged up, only one eye visible. But apparently it didn't bother him.  Rick told me he had just been sitting there watching the last thing I ate (Manner's Big Boy) go through the tube that was pumping my stomach...sesame seeds, lettuce).  I have an idea that perhaps Pearl might have had a hand in having Rick come to sit with me.  She would have done that sort of thing.  Pearl had 2 beauty salons and she hired me to work for her throughout high school. She even frosted my hair and then bleached me out to a champagne color before my 2nd year at BYU.   From Pearl I learned about giving with a generous heart and teaching with object lessons. And she had many and often shared what she thought during the hours at work.

Primary was a very special time for children under the age of 12.  I loved my few years there.  When as a girl you turned 9 you entered into a 3 year type program.  Initially you were a Gaynote, then a Lark, and lastly a  Seagull.  We also learned to embroider.  I still have my piece framed and currently hung in my bathroom.

The colors were my mom's suggestion and I always would listen to her because she was always right.  The 3 encouraging statements... Greet the Day with a Song,  Make Others Happy and Serve Gladly what we were encouraged to do.  My mom was really good at commenting to anyone that she always knew if I was home or awake because there was always music playing.  Altho the fabric has slipped a bit, you can just read the date that says I finished it Juy 2, 1959.  The evergreen tree above it was the emblem the boys of the same age actually had.  They were known as Trail Blazers  Interestingly both the home and this tree was present and in the year of so many issues about gay marriage, I can see how our church always taught the equality of man and woman and the need for both in a union.

Beneath the stairs that went up to the RS room, was a set of stairs that lead you to the basement.  The main part of the lower floor was a huge room used for parties, dinners, dances, and Jr. Sunday  School as well as Primary.  I was the pianist for Jr. Sunday School for years while as a teen.  After classes for MIA (Mutual Improvement Association) we'd gather with the boys for fun or treats or games or whatever.  There was a door down there that opened up to a set of outside stairs that went up to the parking lots...where more fun could be had (Once our leader Br. Glen Pont was joking with David Vasenda who was driving then, and Br. Pont was a big guy. He threw his body into David's car and dented in the side).  There was only one year that I could attend Seminary once it started in our ward and Glen was our teacher.  From him  learned to laugh and how to open my house and heart.  He and his wife fostered a young, troubled girl and eventually adopted her.

There was a room opposite the stage, behind the main room, which could be divided into two by a folding door.  My grandmother taught the 3 year olds in Jr. Sunday school for years and years in that room.  From grandma I learned about steadfastness.  It was also the room that I was positioned during the Gwen and Christ Miller  wedding reception.  I was asked to be in charge of their wedding gifts. I would receive the gift placing a numbered tag on it and open the gifts!  Can you believe that? I opened all the gifts. Then I would record what the gift was and who gave it on lines numbered in Gwen's wedding book, associated with the number of the gift.  Wasn't I the lucky one?  (But be it known by the time I got married, NO ONE was going to open our gifts but me and Robert!)

There was one more room...a huge long kitchen.  A COLD huge, long kitchen.  I think the vents went directly outside and in the winter you'd need to keep your coat on to keep from having your teeth chatter.  I remember Br. Astle being out teacher for awhile. He was a very, very smart man, brilliant in fact.  The other thing I remember about classes before I was baptized is that next to my name were the letters NM.  I didn't initially realize what that stood for but they disappeared when I joined the church.  Then I figure it out...Non Member.  Mormons are very big on keeping accurate records.

So this is the building wherein I formed my spiritual life.  That and in my home with my very wonderful, spiritual and wise mom. From mom I learned everything I would ever need to know and to do.  She was amazing in all things...honest, courageous in face of opposition, always seeking more knowledge,  It was here that I developed crushes on boys.  It was here that I learned about activity and being true and faithful.  It was here that I recognized that not all those people were as steadfast as my mom and I were, as my grandmother and sister were.

There was Br. and Sister Early who were pillars.  Br Early had  Parkinson's Disease.    Toward the end, Sister Early would put him against the wall, near the coat racks, to be out of the way and safe.  He would stand there and shake but he was the sweetest of men.  He came to church as long as he was able but there came a time when he was bedridden and we didn't see him again. From this couple I learned to attend meetings no matter how I feel, that there's always someone worse off than I am.

Br. Yoshimi and Sister  Helen Inouye were there with their 3 kids, Steve, Susan and Sharon.  Steve was 2 years older than me. He had a motorcycle and took me for a ride on it.  Once he took me to a drive-in theater to see some movie.  Br. Inouye would drive us to MIA.  One night he refused to let us go home until we went back to his house and ate some dried seaweed.  And he laughed the whole time while Sister Inouye tried to make his stop but she was laughing as well.  We all laughed.

Sister Inouye and my mom were the best of friends.  She came from California and during WWII she and her family were put into camps because they were Japanese.  But she loved her nationality and taught my mom how to cook some native dishes and I still have her Fried Rice recipe.   Helen and mom also put on parties, with the guests seated on the floor around the lowered tables and sometimes Sr. Inouye's girls, Susan and Sharon, would dance for the adults, dancing in their lovely kimonos. The Inouyes never put themselves forward, always were in the background and always served everyone.

RS and all the other organizations were allowed to have fundraisers back then.  Once a year the RS always held what we would call a bazaar.  It was a lively event, a culmination of a year of crafting, sewing, cooking.  A dinner was offered and people could then go round the large room in the basement, filled with tables ladened with hand made things.  The money earned was used to support their activities and events. The ladies would also sell used clothing in a store front rented for the week in Cleveland.  One day at such a sale, a very hateful man came through the doors, saw Sister Inouye and started screaming awful things at her. Suddenly this VERY old lady, Sister Rowe  (one of two faithful, elderly women who were always present...the other was Sister Kaiser).who was just sitting quietly, stood up and with her cane beat the man out of the store. Sister Rowe was , indeed, very old but frail she was not.  At least not on that day.  Yes, it was a lot closer to Pearl Harbor destruction than today and yes, emotions were still very high.  but Sister Rowe didn't care a thing about that. She was going to protect Sister Inouye who could only stand still, with tears streaming down her face.  It made no difference to us that she was Japanese.  She was our friend. She was our family.  I still talk to her every couple of months...she now lives with Susan in Utah. From this family I learned what true humility is, what true friendship and service is all about. 

One of the boys my age was Larry Adeboi with whom i still communicate  often.  Larry's parents were the best ever. But very quiet. I don't remember what callings they ever held when I was young but they were always present.  Years later, Br. Adeboi became the patriarch for our Stake.  He gave my 5 kids their patriarchal blessings and I was so glad.  When he died, Sister Adeboi moved to LasVegas to live with Larry.  Now they are both dead, buried just above my mom and Roger.  So when we bring flower to my folks, we always stop and bring some to this wonderful couple.  This Christmas both sets of graves are adorned with a small shiny Christmas tree.  And yes, I always had a crush on Larry but he only had eyes for Cris. From this family I learned it's not where you serve but how you serve.

There were the Rices....Tom and Mae and their kids. These were the sweetest people (Golly...I think all these  mentioned families/people were incredible.  That's what I remember. I don't ever remember any gossip about any of these people I've written about).  Son Tom became our Stake President for about 10 years and now he is our Stake Patriarch. I have served with Tom's wife, Marina, in the Stake RS.  This generation learned well from their parents on how to do what the Lord requires of them.  From this whole family I learned more about faithfulness.

Frank and Fern Woodbury was a very special family to my family, too.  Frank was the branch president and I can remember driving to the big meeting when we became a stake and my mom and Pearl talked about how awful it would be if Frank was not called to be bishop.  Luckily he was.  Lucky for all of us.  He was such a tender man.  Had about 7 kids.  And a lovely grand piano.  There was also laughter in their home.  From this family I learned to be gentle and genteel.  At least I tried.

And the best part of this story, is that all these people mentioned remained faithful to their baptismal and temple covenants to this day or until their deaths.  So I would like to believe this wonderful building that was built by service missionaries had something to do with that dedication.  When a group of people strive together, in small numbers, they seem to fare better.

So altho the building itself is no longer standing on that patch of land, it still stands on my heart and in my brain.  I can see it as I sit here as easily as if it were right there in front of me.  And for that, I guess, I must be grateful...even if I don't have brick to remind myself.  I have better....I have the lives of faithful Saints.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marissa's Day

This is the day our 4th daughter was born.  Marissa Maia.  This is the year (2015) that she really did move away and in so many ways I still get weepy over this.  But on Easter of this spring, Hank took her and the boys off to California.  It was so hard to let them go because they lived the closest to us for a short period of time.  I always told each of them to go where they had to, to make the life they wanted to make so in this she's doing what she needs to do. But it's still hard, very hard.

And perhaps it's this reason that it's taken me so long to write up her birthday post.  I'm dong it today, a month late and past dating it and am still sitting here in tears.  But OH SO VERY GRATEFUL that she joined our family.
Marissa in her daddy's arms.. Easter 1980

Marissa came and for so many years was this quiet, petite little thing.   (See?  She even fit perfectly in the little wagon she wanted.  This finger pointing reminds me of her own boys.)  Hated to be the spotlight child. Hated to be seen.  Hated to have anyone make over her. She gravitated toward her Uncle Al Etzel which always seems strange. Al was a good man but a quiet man.  Perhaps Marissa just related to Al in a way none of the rest of us did.

Swim team at Carousel  ..bottom row.

 But there was just too much of Marissa to be kept in a petite body, quiet body.  By now she's 6 feet altho she insists she's 5 ft 11.5"  Marissa grew to be as independent in thought and actions and everything is always BIG for her.  Her paintings are big.  Her thoughts are big and I fear her challenges are big, too. But I know she will hurdle them all.

Always loved her daddy and tried to do what he did.  Playing the piano came pretty naturally to her and I have promised her my grandfather's grand when I die.
 OhOh...beware the bbq grill as well as the AMC Gremlin...from where we got our family secret password back in the day (Gremhog).

  Trying to comfort Robert while he tearfully, sobbingly attempted to get through the annual reading of The Littlest Angel Christmas Eve...but she's as big a crier as he is.

Marissa hated underwear as a wee one. Not sure why..not then, not now.  I can remember being at a the SL Community Days Parade (hot July).  There she sat on the curb in a cute cute cute sundress...but no panties!  We were to go to the Gaspar's afterwards but first we had to go home and get her ensemble corrected.  Today we laugh about it. Back then it was always a struggle.

Marissa wrote the most amazing books for Young Authors and I think she won an award each year she entered the contest. I was certain she would grow up to be an author/illustrator. I still have hopes of that.  Marissa has the most amazing view on things.  She IS where the wild things are...or maybe she IS the wild thing.  And she's raising a house full of wild things, from her husband, Hank, down through Henry, Oskar, and Simon. And it's perfectly wonderful.  And tiring.  And exhilarating. And And And.

She was cast by Jocelyn in the most memorable FHE we had one year...Valentines Day    And she is a sweetheart!  Sharing love everywhere.

As Marissa aged out of childhood, her opinions grew stronger and she didn't really want my view of things, my way of things.  That was hard to endure but it's life, right?  She also never saw color in people, nor would she endure inequality in the races/sexes.    (Here she is as a lifeguard at Lakeview Beach in Lorain, OH)  She truly would have been comfortable in the 1960s but I am so grateful that she was saved for this time because I fear I would have lost her in that era.

  With good friend Michelle Turman Meno...and yes, both are my instruments and no, we weren't home for this backyard fire.

  Had to include this picture of the Nova she drove.  In a short period of time she had 3 accidents and never really left our driveway.  But the big one came (and the last one) on the way home from school one day, rear ending another student.  Jordan learned to value using a seat belt that day. But as she waited for the cops, she turned to Jordan and asked, "Where do I go?" because I had told her if she had one more accident she couldn't come home.  Not true but she knew I meant business. Just so glad she wasn't hurt.

Marissa never wanted to walk to the tune the rest of the world danced to.  She was always going to cut her own path.  She chose to attend Miami University altho I never knew why.  It was way too yuppy of a school for her but perhaps it was  a place that kept her safe for a time.  After the first year, where she excelled, she determined it was too normal and opted to sign up for Western Campus of MU..some weird place (for me) of strange majors and stranger people. But we knew Marissa would succeed wherever, no matter what/how we felt. Funny thing that change...I don't think she lasted 2 weeks there.  We got a call from her that announced not only did she not want to be on Western anymore but she had already taken the steps to change, move out and get back onto main campus.  She got back into art and was amazing there.  And not just on canvas...she used herself as canvas as well...and often

There's always fun when the 5 of them get together.

Marissa got a job teaching art in the Lorain School District as well as being a volleyball coach.  When she married Hank she continued doing all this in Atlanta.  When they moved to NYC and she became a mom, she really became a mom. She instills the love of art and freedom of expression in her boys.  I am sure she will do the same in California altho I doubt they will stay there.

She supports her husband to such a degree...a degree that I could not begin to imagine nor match.

She was still living in Lakewood and one Sunday was able to  tour our old home at 809 with her boys.  Here she's showing Henry her secret spot in her bedroom, under the a loose floorboard...and yes, there are still the dust bunnies, broken pencils and whatnots that she left behind as she left children behind....but the memories linger on and are shared with the next generation.

I love her...I want so much for her...I am so glad she's mine.  Happy Birthday Marissa. You are woman and you will continue to roar.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jocelyn's Day

TODAY is Jocelyn's birthday.  Lucky for her, Jocelyn was born on the actual Sweetest Day 1977.

I remember really wanting to have this baby because I had had a UTI and was very miserable.  My actual doctor was not in town and his associate was coming in to deliver the baby.  I had gained the most weight during this pregnancy (and in an attempt at full disclosure I gained the following pounds with each pregnancy...50, 60, 70, 60, 50...BUT  be sure to read the next line ... But by my 6 week checkup, each time I was down to my normal 120 pounds without diet no exercise. I was blessed...and how I wish the same could be said today).

Again, back in that day, we didn't know the sex of the baby until the birth.  After 2 girls, all the nurses were saying this was going to be a boy.  When Jocelyn started her arrival and they saw her shoulders, even the doctor said, "Oh yes, look at these shoulders...this is going to be your son."  A few seconds later...he was wrong and we were still thrilled. There's nothing like a daughter.

Dawn and Cara had still been using the small baby chest of drawers but with  #3 baby coming I knew I needed another one for them so the baby could have the cute drawers that matched the crib. So before Jocelyn was born, I set about selling Tupperware.  My only goal was to sell enough to afford a new set of drawers and I met that goal and had some good fun along the way.

Here's an image of what some vintage TW looked like in 1977.  We probably had most of these items and many more besides.  Once a week I would drive to N. Olmsted for the business meeting which were more like pep rallies.  All the dealers would start the meeting by singing our song. "I've got that Tupper feeling up in my head, deep in my heart, down in my toes, I've got that Tupper feeling all over me, all over me to stay."  That's the last verse combining all the 3 places that each were given their own verse...and yes, there were pompoms and shouting and cheering.  No wonder Jocelyn ended up becoming a cheerleader while in high school.

  Here she is in our backyard/driveway, still in the same English baby buggy that my mom had used for my sister Debi (c. 1954)...the same one Dawn and Cara were pushed in.  Robert was such a great daddy to the girls even though he worked shifts. He always made time to play with them.

We learned early that we needed to keep on eye on Jocelyn, especially after bath time.  She was most fond of running out the front door naked as a jaybird, with one of us running after her, trying to catch her before the neighbors did.  One day the next door neighbor, Dawn Kanary, rang our back doorbell and when I opened it, I was surprised to find her holding Jocelyn's hand, again naked as a jaybird and it wasn't even bath time.  Hence the nickname was presented to her...Jbird...despite the fact I had always insisted none of my kids were have a nickname.

Jocelyn didn't do a lot of talking as a child UNTIL my grandmother, Gladys Evans Holman, came to stay with us for a few months.  She would spend hours with Jocelyn, playing and talking with her and Jocelyn has talked ever since...a lot of talking!

We opted to keep Jocelyn home from kindergarten when she was just shy of 5 years old, having missed the cut off date for enrollment by 15 days. We had her tested and she passed BUT that very spring 3 of my friends had daughters who had chosen to go in early and in the 3rd grade were retained. I didn't want that to be Jocelyn's lot altho in retrospect she would have been fine.  

Instead she went to preschool and then when she got to kindergarten she knew all she ever would need to know and was known to have gotten into trouble for knowing more than the teachers who on occasion needed to come in and give Miss Marsico a break.  Jocelyn would run the class and inevitably I'd get a call.  But to this day, Jocelyn is friends with Miss Barbara Marsico.  

When she was in 3rd grade the teacher did a section on city government.   That teacher warned me that one day Jocelyn would end up ruling the world and in many ways she has.  She managed to convince me that she could not play with both hands on the piano and me, like a dummy (albeit a very tired dummy mom), gave in and quit the lessons.  Within a few years I am watching this cheerleader doing these crazy routines with both hands. So she had to wait till she was married to get a piano and realize the value of playing it.

Jocelyn was very good with our dogs. She learned hair design on Lance but Lady sure did love Jocelyn.

Jocelyn got to Brookside High School and fulfilled her 3rd grade teaches prophecy.  She was president of a lot of the organizations she was a member of.  She graduated and attended Miami University, following her oldest sister Dawn.  She did well her freshman year and was invited to be a part of the Leader/Scholar program so her residence the 2nd year was literally ON campus in a magnificent room with exquisite furnishings.

She went on to do a fellowship for Reuters in DC.  She also covered the Democratic Convention in CA and here she is covering the 2005 Presidential Inauguration in DC.  She loved the news and I think the news loved her.

 Jocelyn met many famous people during her time with the news..including Wolf Blitzer at CNN and John Kennedy Jr (I really need to find that picture of her with him just weeks before he died).

But the best and most famous person she met during those years was the man she would go on
to marry...Steve Christensen.

Together they are raising a lovely family with (at this time) #5 on the way.  Jocelyn blogs and quilts and encourages.  She praises and she cries. She testifies and she teaches.  The world is a happy place with her and her family.  

And our own family is a very happy place since she's joined us.  So for today...Happy Birthday, Jbird.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

General Conference through the ages

At least my ages.

Last night Jill called and we talked about the previous 2 sessions (no, neither of us sat and watched the Priesthood session).  I was trying to explain  how our viewing of General Conferences had changed over the decades  but then, in talking with Dawn, Dawn reminded me of something I had forgotten.  So I shall regale you with what it used to be like before technology became such as it is now…and I just wonder what it will be like in the future.
This is the first chapel we attended, my mom, grandma, sister and me.  It was on Lake Avenue in Cleveland. This picture came from a dedication book.  President David O. McKay came for the dedication.

In the beginning, we just learned about what was said in General Conference when the little booklets were printed and mailed out...I'm not even sure they were whole messages given  in the Improvement Era magazine.  I just know somehow we got them and we read them, studied them.

When I was young, as a young teen, we would go and sit in a chapel and the conference was delivered by a phone line through the audio system.  Nothing but hours of listening to the words coming through a phone.  It seems like the lights were not always turned on bright in the chapel.  At some point, the local ABC network, Channel 5 WEWS, would broadcast the 1st session of Saturday’s conference at like 5am or 6am on the TV.  Dawn said she remembered Robert and I getting up early on Sunday and watching that one session.  We’d go to church and a sweet old lady, Marian Ballif, would put up a picture of the General Authority who was speaking so we had something to look at and connect the voice to the picture.  Marian was from Utah and very familiar with many of these men.   Like this of the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith.  And we would sit and often just stare on the picture as we listened....truthfully.  We did that.

(She even had a set of recipes of ALL the prophets' favorite food/recipe.  I have a copy somehwere.  Marian gave me my first accordion.  She knew I had wanted one and her lungs made it impossible for her work the bellows) 

There was some disagreement with WEWS and other churches, I think..or the advertisers and they stopped the presentation of that 1st session. 

But then Cablevision TV arrived in this county.  At that point, I think Cablevision was the only cable network…at least it was in Sheffield lake.  My mom kept up an ongoing campaign to get them to agree to broadcast conference.  She was a terror. But she made it work.  It was a joy to be able to sit in our own homes and watch the Brethren speak to us.  Around the same time, the ward buildings began to install satellite dishes. those huge ones, and now not only did we have voices we had video. 

Today, some cable companies offer the BYUTV channel.  Dish and DirecTV do.  And if all else fails, there’s the wonderful internet which can be hooked up through the HDMI cable to our television (which is what we personally do right now).  Oh and Roku TV. 
I went out to church for the Women’s session broadcast and learned we have satellite issues which I gather have not been corrected yet.  Perhaps it never will be.  But we do have a Roku tv so the ladies sat in the RS room and watched that session.

Now the conferences are all held in this huge building.  The Authorities must seem like tiny ants if you were to be given seating in they way back.  This place (and I have been there) reminds me of the Cathedral of Tomorrow in Akron, OH.  Built for Rex Humbard who my grandmother and I used to watch on TV before we found the restored church.

Once while still at BYU I attended a conference session in the old Tabernacle. See the pillars along the sides?  It was just my luck to be seated behind one of them toward the back.  And man!  were those pews HARD.  Obviously I was not made of pioneer stock, at least not of pioneer butt.

But while at BYU, we were able to watch each session on a small black and white TV which I had brought from home.  And we could watch them in our apartment.  It was here, after Robert returned from his mission in the Franco-Belge that we started our tradition of having Conference (coffee) Cake and juice on Sunday morning of conference. This continues to this day, in each of our children's homes as well.   This morning Jordan asked when we started to call this Conference Cake and not coffee cake.  I think it started pretty early because Robert, being the forever Mormon, didn't want to use that term around our kids.

But I have been blessed to have grown up through the technology changes and have grown to appreciate General Conferences is in a different way through the decades.  It still works best for me to list 2 questions I am searching answers for before the start of each General Conference and then to wait and see who answers and when. Almost always the answers start in the first session and end in the last. How does that work?

I don't believe in having a favorite speaker/favorite authority.  I don't want to remove myself from learning from all of them.  Inevitably, many of them answer my questions and give me a whole lot more to think about.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored the earth and with it all the truths to help us become more like Heavenly Father and my Saviour Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for Elder Fred Day who brought this gospel to our home, and to my mom who had always been on a quest to find the truth...who then embraced it and held fast to the iron rod until her dying breath.  I shall do the same.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall 2015

 Fall arrived by calendar this week.  I keep hearing that there's a different First Day of Fall by Meteorological determination, not the solstice.  Me? I'm sticking with the solstice.  I'm ready for fall but a bit sad to see summer over.  It was a wonderful summer weather wise.  And I guess in all wise.

I remember that down at 809 there was always this one rose bush that allowed one rose to bloom late into the fall.  There were a few years when the rose would still be around when the leaves had fallen from the trees and snow was in the air.  Roses for us are pretty young and new here at 3830.  But just this week, this lovely yellow rose bloom, right next to the garage.  It's too spectacular to snip and put in the house.  It's meant to be seen and enjoyed.

 Strangely enough, this fall our faithful spring primroses have started to blossom again by the patio.  They are the most welcome when the winter snow has melted.  We see them along with the crocus and snowbells.  But to see them again this year, in the fall...well, that's pretty wonderful.

Equally wonderful is this strange sunflower plant.  Last year we had one and this summer we have many more.  They grow tall and green for months.  As you can see they are almost as tall as our home and just when you think there will be no flowers, mid September you awaken one morning and WHAMOOO..that's for Bopnpapa...there they all are, in resplendent yellow.

 I have no idea what this plant is but in the fall these pods burst into fluffy stuff.  The stuff doesn't fly off into the air as a similar plant does in the spring, right before the advent of the midgies.  It just hangs around.  I wondered to Robert if the birds that stick around through the winter come get the soft white down for their winter nest.  He didn't know but I like to pretend they do.

This summer I asked Robert to grow some Indian corn and he did.  They turned out incredible.  I will purchase some great fall ribbon this weekend and hang them outside, everywhere.
 So fall is here...and with it comes a trip to visit the Florida Hatches and a few days after our return we must might be hosting Hillary and kids until their Michigan home is ready. is Jordan's last day at work at Chico's in Florida and Monday he starts work for the Wolverine shoe company.  I say shoe company because I actually have no idea what all they sell.  I know there are boots involved.

The only thing missing in my life is Marissa/Hank and their 3 California.  Oh how I miss them.  Facetime is wonderful and needful but not the real thing.    But it will have to do.

But I rejoice that I am still alive to enjoy the days left to me.  To enjoy my children.  To love and appreciate the grands.

email updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner