Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Had to keep this on as a memory for me

This one’s for you, mom. I wanted to make sure you saw it....Marissa
A few years ago, my oldest son went through his nightmare phase. My mom happened to be visiting us, and when he told her how he was afraid to sleep, she set to work, scrounging up whatever she could-a canning jar ring, some rainbow yarn, a few beads-and whipped him up a little dream catcher. Let me tell you, that funky little makeshift dream catcher was a lifesaver. He put so much belief into its magic, and into his grandma’s magic, that if for some reason he didn’t have it in his room that night, he would scare himself into a nightmare. That little thing made it through three moves, across the country and back, and has seen my kids through many transitions and meant so much to us. (Thanks, mom!)
So in that spirit, I will be hosting a little workshop to create our own dream catchers, only this time, instead of an old canning jar ring, we’ll be using hula hoops. We’re taking that grandma magic to the big leagues. Join us! Because not only are these catchers of bad dreams, but they also look cool.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Today Keith Belanger is running in the Boston Marathon in support of a Jeff, veteran, who was helped getting back on his feet through the Boston Medical Center...a very worthy cause that needs financial support.  Keith is our neighbor across the street. He, too, is a veteran and has been working out to be able to run this marathon and I hope he does well considering the weather is going to be very cold and wet in Boston.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

John Ferrell Stafford, Jr

This is very difficult entry to write and it's taken me a couple of weeks to do so but I cannot leave the month without writing about it.

On Wednesday,  March 7, about 1pm I got a phone call from Janet who heard over the police scanner of a death.  Her first question to me was;  Where does John Stafford live?  Then she asked, When was he born?  I told her. And she very quietly said, I hate to tell you this but I just heard that John Stafford has died.

I was hit so hard with this that I could not comprehend it.  I knew it had to be true.  Janet would know. But I couldn't call Linda Stafford. I had to wait.  About 2:30pm Linda called and asked if I was sitting down.  I hadn't moved since Janet's call...still trying to sort things out.  And next Linda said, John is dead...and thus followed horrible wracking sobs.  From her and in my heart.

I knew John had gone to read scriptures to his mom the day before and had fallen outside the nursing home.  He felt pain in his back and in his ribs.  In the evening he took himself to the ER at Mercy Hospital.  He called for a blessing and Robert and Bob Powers went together. Both men told me that John looked normal.  Robert asked John what his pain level was 1-10. And John answered 9 or 10. That surprised Robert because he wasn't writhing in pain or moaning. Bob told me later the same thing. Plus that John seemed perfectly coherent.  When the nurse came in the 2 men left.

The rest of the story is this:  John went home after the ER had taken X-rays and scans and told him that he was constipated, gaving him a pain pill,  He told Linda he was in pain, horrible pain.  Then he started saying he was dying.  Linda scoffed and said, Quit being so dramatic.

John decided he felt more comfortable sleeping on the couch in the front room. Linda, as per her usual, went upstairs to bed.  Linda usually goes up and either watches TV or plays games on her laptop til the wee hours and then goes to sleep.

On Wednesday, Linda got up and showered and when she went downstairs about 1pm, she found her beloved John dead on the kitchen floor.  She called 9-1-1 and then her kids and her neighbor. He held her hand, prayed with her and stayed by her. The coroner came and pronounced him dead officially and there had to be an autopsy.

What follows is nothing short of pure nightmare.  The autopsy was performed and showed that John was not constipated but had died of internal bleeding in his stomach and intestines.  The coroner told Linda that this death was PREVENTABLE and that he was going to go back to the ER and see what they didn't see. This word PREVENTABLE only made the death so much worse.  Adding to that was Linda's comment to John about him being dramatic. Linda hates that she wasn't with him all night, that he had to die alone.

I made all the phone calls or texts/emails she asked me to and added a few more. Later Linda Bruderer suggested I send out emails to the rest of the ward since many of the people might know him in ways we were unaware since John had touched so many lives.  I did so.  The results were always the same. The phone rang and rang with people who wanted to know what happened.

The viewing was held at a funeral home in Amherst Sunday afternoon/evening and the funeral was from our chapel on Monday, March 12.  It was a lovely funeral but no one can get a grip on what it means to be without John Stafford. All the kids were there with spouses and grandchildren.  Linda is distraught.

John's male family members had never made it to 70 years of age but John was planning a big party when he turned 70 in 2019. Plus that would be the year John and Linda would have been married 50 years and were going to combine the celebrations.  Sadly, that will never happen.

John was a delight.  He served so many people without any fanfare.  Always took the sacrament in to the homebound, ill, aged.  He was always visiting hospitals.  He had been bishop in Lorain.  We laugh at what a messy eater he was and Linda says she still wraps herself up in his robe with a food stain on the color. She is not going to wash it. She just wants him near.

I waited for Linda to come to church today for the first time without John.  I stood at the back door, helped her take off her coat.  I had told her she needed to change pews since sitting in the very back row without John would be terrible so she came and sat with Robert and me.  I think she will continue to do so.

I think through these past few days/week, I have renewed my time and appreciation for Robert.  We just never know when death will come to either of us.

From John's Obituary:

John Ferrell Stafford, Jr., 68, of Amherst, passed away Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at his home, following a sudden illness. John was born July 3, 1949, in Huntington, West Virginia and came to Lorain as a young boy.
He was a member of the class of 1967 at Admiral King High School before moving to Amherst, where he made his home. John proudly served his Country during the Vietnam War in the United States Air Force and was a lifetime member of the Amherst Veterans of Foreign War Post 1662.
He worked as a union official for the Ford Motor Co. in Avon and retired in 2008 after 35 years. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he served as a counselor in the high priest quorum and also served as a former bishop. He was a member of the OHAA and traveled around the county umpiring baseball and softball games for area schools as well as many charitable events, tournament games and even Cedar Point hosted athletic events.
Upon retirement, he stayed active, being self employed, mowing lawns for his company Big John's Mowing Service. In his spare time, he enjoyed cheering on the Cleveland Indians, bowling at Rebman's in Lorain and spending time with his family.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 49 years, Linda Ann Stafford (nee Henry); children, John Ferrell (Alice) Stafford III of Louisville, Kentucky, Matthew Earnest (Lesa) Stafford of Elyria, Maureen Lynn (Brad) Crawford of Henrietta Township and Kenneth Sean (Karrie) Stafford of Avon; mother, Betty Ann Stafford (nee Metheny) of Lorain; grandchildren, Tricia Lee Stafford, Amber Gwen Stafford, Alexander Steven Crawford, Tyler Dillon Crawford, Brent Xavier Crawford and Nicholas Sean Stafford; sister, Sherian (John) Villers of Piqua, Ohio and many nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his father, John Ferrell Stafford, Sr. in 1994.
Friends may call Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 3 to 8 P.M. at the Hempel Funeral Home, 373 Cleveland Ave., Amherst. Funeral services will be held Monday, March 12, 2018 at 11 A.M., at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, 3501 Kolbe Rd., Lorain. Bishop Falke will officiate. Burial will follow at Ridge Hill Memorial Cemetery, Amherst Township.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to, the Fast Offering at the church for the local needy at the above address.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marissa at Ohio Cleveland Stake Women's Conference

Cleveland Stake Women's Conference, March 24, 2018.

Apparently about 3 months ago, Marissa was asked to give the keynote speech at this year's Women's Conference after she presented a stirring Sunday School lesson on the Nativity in Art in December 2017 which moved everyone to tears...starting off with the Czekala nativity which my father made in 1945 from cigar boxes (yes, then they were made out of wood) and bought the figurines from Woolworth Dime Store. This nativity will belong to Marissa one day..one day very soon if her sons ever calm down enough to not destroy this treasured piece of 'art'.  It was quite the moment as I watched my baby girl stand up there and be fully grown woman, strong and determined and educated and capable of such a presentation.  And on top of it all, I knew she knew. That she has a testimony and will remain firmly committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The night began with a meal.  We walked into the cultural hall and at each place setting was a tote back filled with the fixings for a Chipotle-type meal.

 The the men from the Stake High Council arrived with platters of cilantro rice and carnitas (pulled pork) and virgin (of course) pina coladas.

Then we went into the chapel for the program.  Marissa's topic this time was Christ in Art. She started out with a picture of my father's nativity and progressed through the Savior's life, adding some humor and a lot of easy explanation for various elements of art.

Everyone was riveted.  It's not often the people can sit and have art explained to them in ways that make you learn and yet not feel overly educated.  

The responses to her speech were immediate and then continued all day in church today in Lorain Ward. Then I received this email from Betty Franklin:

What a wonderful program last night that started with the informative presentation by Marissa.  I loved the way she showed the life of the Savior through the different works of art.  It is always interesting to see the cultural interpretations over time.  She was so knowledgeable.  

Her point of  "What mark will I leave on the earth " and the phrase of " fulfilling the measure of my creation"  capped off her part so well.


Also from Marissa:  Nice meeting mom! I also got an email from Lexi saying ladies at Sandusky  Wrd were mentioning all the talks a lot in testimony meeting, and Bishop Weight sent a little message as well.

Linda Bruderer The whole evening was amazing! Marissa did a great job.

Jodi Jakuszeit Rodriguez She did SUCH an amazing job! I’m sooo glad I get the honor of calling Marissa my friend. I adore her!

Marissa Hatch Trefethen  aw, shucks. Yours wasn’t too shabby itself! I loved listening to you.

These last were not mentioned in the speech as Marissa needed to shorten her talk but I include them here because she had them on file.

Robert and I will be turning this into a Power Point presentation so it will flow from picture to picture and with Marissa's narrative with each slide.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Stake Conference

We just had Stake Conference and IT WAS AMAZING.  There's no way to actually relate all the wonderfulness of it but here's just a reminder to me for the future.  The best one in years. Truly.  

Our visiting authority was Elder Michael Dudley who started Sat night by proclaiming in a quiet but strong and tender voice, that we would start with the Name of Jesus Christ on our lips and would end it the same way.  He talked all the time about being on the Covenant Path..of getting on, keeping on, and staying on…quoting Pres. Nelson.  He encouraged us to read the biography Russell M. Nelson, Father, Surgeon, Apostle…a book that happens to have been written by a BYU bishop Robert had.  Spence Condie.  He conducted Saturday night session (which began at 6pm rather than 7 which was so much nicer) as we are instructed to hold our various classes.  In a discussion form, not a lecture.  He invited audience participation and still managed to get into the discussions all the things he had for us.  It was the manner in which he framed his questions. The congregations responded perfectly.

Sunday morning I played the piano for the new convert meeting so I was able to hear him again talk about Getting, Keeping, Staying On the covenant path.  This was almost a visual display as he talked  about Lehi’s vision and said he looked at the iron rod was what we hold onto when we are in an airport and get on one of those people mover moving treadmills…how you step on, hold onto the grip on the side and KEEP ON moving forward til you reach your gate. While he told this he slowly walked down the center aisle between the chairs and gave the image of a man on that people mover.  And reminded us how it’s important to know the end from the beginning.  Quoting the new prophet when he addressed church members from the SLC temple when his presidency was announced.

For the Sunday morning session he told 2 interesting stories, maybe more but these 2 were important.  He told how he had met his wife at BYU after his mission.  But just as they started to date more seriously his girlfriend’s parents were called to preside over the S. Africa mission and they wanted her to go, She wanted to stay, They said, Go,  She said NO.  She asked him and he said Go. So she asks, will you be here when I return?  He had not thought that far ahead.  But she went. While there, the President of the 12, Spencer Kimball, came to tour the mission with his wife.  One morning this girl heard a noise and went to look and saw Pres. Kimball on the ledge of a balcony trying to read a stick which was over the lake filled with alligators or crocodiles (whichever you have in S. Africa…i don’t remember which).  She had him get down to safely.  Pres. K asked her about her special friend. She asked him…Do you think it would be OK if he flew here, my dad married us and then we flew right back to the states and were then sealed in the temple? Pres K said, No, you must do the right thing in the right order.  And if you will do this I promise I will seal you.  So she waited but pretty soon Pres. K of the 12 got word that President Hunter, Prophet, had died and that he was to become the next president/prophet.  Yet, when this girl and our authority were sealed in the temple, President Kimball honored his promise and did the sealing.

Years passed.  Elder D’s wife took their 12 year old daughter to a  Broadway show in NYC.  The girl, Sandra came home and asked him, Dad how can I do that? I want to be on Broadway.  Elder D said, I don’t know.  I’m sorry.  If you had asked me about baseball I could help you.  But this I don’t know anything about This young girl persisted weekly looking at the theater classified and when there was a call for actress/singer she went.  She received various parts.  Then she got the choice role of Sandy in Grease on Broadway. But she knew from the fun film (and to this Elder D added that there was probably better films to see but that this was a fun one, even tho there were probably parts most parents would not want to have their kids see…do you know this movie, Elder Voss).  Anyway…there was that cigarette scene.  His daughter Sandra said she could not do that part, touching, smoking the cigarette. She went to the producer and director and told him, even telling him he might need to cast another girl in that role and that would be fine and in the discussion he said they would work it out.  So the practice began with that very scene. They got to the cigarette part and she stopped, said she could not/would not do it.  He said, NO?  She said No.  I thought we had discussed this and would find a way around it.  The Director said, you either do it or you can walk.  She turned and walked away…having chosen the covenant path, for her there was no other decision.  And yet, heartbroken as she might have been, very soon afterwards she was given the role of Cosette in Les Mis on Broadway and she was there for 6 years in that role which would not have been hers had she been in Grease.  I hope you know that musical

Anyway…it was a great story.  A great response.  A superb example for all of us.  In a way this is the choice I had to make.  At the time my dad was barely a member and a very ill man. I wasn't sure he would be able to get to Utah for my BYU graduation and my temple sealing the next day.  Back then women with nonmember husbands were not allowed to go to the temple for themselves.  But things worked out that it all came together   My parents were sealed on the 25th in SLC, I graduated from BYUon the 26th altho Daddy remained in the hotel resting, and Robert and I were sealed in Manti on the 27th. 

Linda Bruderer made this same choice as well and her parents flew all the way west to stand outside while she was sealed to Ken.  Her parents never did join the church but they supported her in her new religion and her belief in an eternal marriage.  She’s got a great story to tell.  So you remember that…you Get on, Keep on and Stay on the Covenant Path.

Friday, February 02, 2018

b.a. Sweeties

Hank and Marissa invited us to meet them at B.A. Sweeties, near Parma.  It was always a huge warehouse of candy (amazing) but now they've added a huge soda fountain.  All ice cream is home made.

 As you can see some of the tables even had swings attached to the ceiling for chairs. Very relaxing.  I had a chocolate shake and it was excellent...that's as far I as I will go in exclaiming over ice cream

Monday, January 08, 2018

An edited family photo

Last Thanksgiving I posted a picture taken out front, by the rock, when Pam Barlow came buy to snap the shutter.  I was sad that Jacob who had to work ER and Cody who was out west at college couldn't join us.  But I got a great picture of the whole family, minus those 2.  I had decided that I would somehow get someone to Photoshop these 2 in the picture.  And even if it wasn't perfect, at least I'd have one picture of all of us.

I know that within a month Baby (Coy) Boone would be out of the swaddling but I still wanted the whole family.  Up til this one, the only whole family picture I had was one taken at the cemetery after Bonpapa died, 9.5 years ago.  It was time.

And of course, Sweet and Wonderfully Talented Lauren Olson who now lives in GUAM took on the task.  Not only did she insert Jacob and Cody and she also got rid of the phone lines and poles.  I am forever grateful.

I had hoped Cara would take the picture of the guys before Cody returned to BYU with her camera but you know, phones seem to be the least bothersome but not the best.  The resolution was not as good as the photograph so it's more than obvious that these 2 were inserted...but still I don't care.  I had it printed off 8x10 and framed it and am now enjoying it on our mantel.

My family is wonderful.  Each is so special in his own way.  I've had one on one time with most of them.  The Lord certainly blessed Robert and me with all the choicest of spirits He had to choose from to send them to us.

So to be official, here is all the Hatch Batch at the rock, that has entertained all our 5 as they grew and now all the grands when they come to visit.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Hank's Babka

In December I had taken out a book from the library.  Hank saw it and of course ordered it and this is the creation he made Saturday and shared with us today.

LAQ Machine

My dear friend Diane Pepin who used to live in the Village but now lives in New Hampshire contacted me...altho we've never not been in contact after she moved.  Ron gave her a LAQ Machine which he set up but she's never used since it wasn't what she wanted.  She was bothered that it fills up the one room so much so that she cannot get into her closet that holds all her sewing things.  Some parts are still wrapped.

She had offered it to me before but this weekend, offered it again.  I could not accept a totally free gift of this magnitude so we came to an agreed price which is still basically stealing.  And I am so excited.  Ron will take it apart and with Diane (and maybe Billy Ochsher) will bring it here in a couple of months.  This way Ron and Robert can reassemble it together and renew that friendship.

This gives me a couple of months to dump the stuff in the basement, at least one area of the basement and there will be a designated area for my quilts.

This is the same size quilt Diane Colangelo has in her attic and works on.  Diane C has a larger one in the garage, which is the one I worked on last fall, but Diane says this will be a lovely machine for my needs.

I made another quilt last week when the temperatures were -20 or more with wind chills. We seldom ventured out. Robert spent most of his day stoking the fire or studying for Seminary.

As I was working on it yesterday I realized we had a  YW who graduates this year and it's been the custom to present them with a quilt from the RS and YW.  I've done a couple of these after Jan Warren, former RS president, started the activity because we had a couple years of quilts being tied during a mid week meeting.  So this one will be given to Jacintaya Boldware.  I had asked the current RS President, Elaine Guthrie, if she was going to continue this lovely tradition and  that I had one quilt top done.  She hadn't heard about it but was happy to welcome each new YW to RS this way.  Then before church today, she told me we actually have another senior girl, London Voss. So hooray for me, I get to start a 2nd one soon.

Then I may make a couple for us.

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