In February I asked if you knew some of the people who influenced me joining the Church in Cleveland. You did. There is a further family connection with our mutual friends.
My father, a staunch Hungarian Catholic, owned two funeral homes in the Cleveland area. I believe my father handled the funeral services for Gladys Osborne's first husband (actually her second). Gladys was always kind and sensitive to my mother's situation as a Latter-day Saint with a non-supportive husband. She helped my mother in many ways.
One of my fondest memories was when Gladys was visiting my mother one afternoon. I was about twelve or thirteen years old. My mother let me read her copy of Eternal Man by Truman Madsen, which she hadn't yet read. I shared with my mother Brother Madsen's insights (which were very different from what I was learning from the nuns at the parochial school I was attending). My mother told Gladys what I'd read and then they both called me in and asked me questions about the book and Bro. Madsen's thoughts. I felt extra valued that afternoon that someone of Gladys' stature would be asking a kid like me questions about things that mattered. It stuck with me.
As per my father's wishes, I wasn't baptized until I could leave home and support myself. I was 20 when I thought I could make that happen (what was I thinking???) and it was Bishop Osborne who interviewed me for my baptism and also to attend BYU. Like Gladys, he was always kind to me.
And I I babysat once for Susan and Robert Hatch's first baby when they were in a jam. Susan probably wouldn't remember but she came to my baptism a week before I left for BYU. I remember her asking afterward if I felt any different. I felt very strongly that getting baptized was the right thing. That was enough for me that day and what I needed most confirmed. It's interesting what specific memories stay with us.
My father passed away three decades ago but my brother, who has taken over the business, took care of the funeral services for Mae Rice when she passed away several years ago. My eleven brothers and sisters learned what little they know about the church through funeral services. Yoshimi Inouye baptized me, and Chris Miller, if you knew him, confirmed me. Bro. Miller passed away a year or two ago. Mary Hall
How I long to have a conversation with my mom...sometimes I just imagine she's sitting by me or walking with me down the stairs and I talk to the air. Maybe she is there. Wouldn't that be something nice to find out when I pass over.