Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, March 4, 2016

A letter to Roland's eldest daughter

Dear Frances,

            I am posting this letter to my blog as we don't have a current address for you - not that we ever did.  Your mom didn't (and probably still doesn't) want us to have any contact with you - even when we were living in the same state and it was court ordered.

            Even if you should come across this blog and read this post, I don't know if you'll know that you are Frances - as that is not your actual name, but rather one I have assigned to you through this blog.  But I feel impressed to write this.

            The last time we saw you was just over eight years ago - just before Tony left on his mission.  Jenna was only four at the time.  Unfortunately she does not have many memories of you or your other sister.  I have several pictures that I have shared with her, and I have always tried to speak positively of you and Pamprin. 

            I've been thinking a lot about you - mainly because of Jenna.  Not only do you two share a physical appearance, but personality traits as well.  At least the person we did have opportunity knowing about you before you moved away. 

            Like you, Jenna likes art.  She prefers drawing to painting though.  She loves crafts.  Last year she received an easel for Christmas.  Dad had sketched a picture of her in blue crayon.  I was impressed enough to frame it and hang it on the wall.  Every time I see it, I see you.  Or I remember the girl that you were, rather.  I realize you're an adult now and may not look so youthful as does the sketch.  Actually, Jenna looks older than the face in the sketch.  And taller.  Tall like you were at that age - perhaps not as tall as you are currently.



            This morning I was watching a National Geographic series called, "Unlikely Animal Friends"  I remember how much you loved Animal Planet and how much you enjoyed learning.
              There was one story that focused on a dog named Sunshade and her guinea pig friends named Meatball, Sesame, Squeaky, Ketchup and Dumpling, and I remembered how you were always naming stuffed animals after food. 

            You created a bear that you named "Jelly Bean" and Jenna had a dog that you named "Graham Crackers" which she still has and still calls "Crackers".  Jenna has other stuffed dogs which she has named "Fudge" and "Brownie" and has given other food names to various stuffed animals.  And so you share that in common.

            I remember when Jenna was born, how excited you were to have a baby sister.  The first time you saw her you said, "She looks like me."

            "No she doesn't,"  I thought.  "She looks like me."

            I was wrong and you were right.  Both of you look a lot like your Dad's sister, Aunt Linda, who has passed.  We tried to give you a bit of family history (as you had asked for it) before you returned to the island.  I think dad has found more information on his side.  Not much on your mom's side.  I, personally, haven't been looking.

            I'd like to send you pictures, but again, I don't know where to send them.  But if you look at the photos that I've taken of Jenna, I'm certain that you will see the resemblance.  I wish she would like vegetables as much as you did.  She seems to have acquired the same sweet tooth that was always present whenever we saw Pamprin.

            A lot of family growth has taken place since we last saw you.  You know that Tony got married and had a daughter.  She (Ester) just turned four yesterday.  And so you share the same birth month.  And just in case you don't remember - you and Jenna are ten years apart with ten days between your birthdays.

            Your brothers Randy and Biff also got married.  And so you have three sisters-in-law and now three nieces.  Randy's daughter, Devin, will be 7 months old in less than two weeks.  And Biff's daughter, Ali , just turned six months.   They all live in different cities in Utah.  Dad, Jenna, and I, in the meantime, have moved to Oregon.

            Dad decided to move us here to improve my health - similar to your reasons to moving, I think.  I can certainly breathe a lot better here than in Salt Lake.  That's for sure.
            We'll be going on our ninth month since we moved.

            Besides leaving family, one of the drawbacks in moving to Oregon, has been with Jenna's education.  For the last five years we had her in a dual immersion program where she was learning Spanish.  She doesn't have that opportunity anymore, but is playing the clarinet and going to middle school currently.

            When you first moved, your mom told us that you were learning Japanese.  Is that true?  Can you and Pamprin communicate in Japanese?

            Your brothers, Tony and Randy could communicate in Portuguese - though different dialects.  You may remember that Tony went on his mission to Brazil, but I bet you didn't know that Randy served a mission in Portugal. 

            I remember you once expressing a desire to go on a mission.  I didn't know if you were serious, but have wondered if you actually did take that opportunity.  Or if your mother would have even allowed you to go. 

            I'd like to reconnect through Facebook if possible.  I am so grateful to have this form of social media.  Through it I am able to watch my grandchildren grow.  I think I would miss out on most of it otherwise.  Life gets busy.  People don't correspond with one another the way they used to.

            That's all I have for you right now.  I'm sorry for any misconduct which I may have displayed whenever you were around. I'm sorry that I hadn't allowed myself to deal better with the situation at hand.  I'm sorry that you didn't get all the correspondence (if any) that dad and I tried to send. We really did try.  We have not forgotten you.


             I hope things are going better for you.
         

                                             Sincerely,   LaTiesha

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Miss Playing Games




            Growing up, I enjoyed playing games.  Sometimes I would play games with my brother.  Sometimes mom and dad would join in.  They taught Patrick and I how to play a card game they called “500”

            Patrick won almost every single game that he played.  When we played 500, we would play three games – switching partners every game.  If Patrick didn’t actually win all three games – it was because I had lost all three. 


            Winning wasn’t important.  I was fortunate enough to learn that early on.  If I felt like winning was the only reason to play – I would never play them.  I enjoyed playing games because for the most part, it really was fun just interacting with my family. 

Whenever my family members would get together for whatever holiday, we would always play games.  And that is what I looked forward to the most.  It’s a family tradition that I’ve had with my sibs and have tried with my own children. I remember laughing whenever we would play games like “Awkward Family Photos” or “Pit” and just enjoy ourselves.  



The first year that I started my blog was in 2012.  It hadn’t occurred to any of us that it would be our last year with mom – our last Thanksgiving with her.  My last Thanksgiving with her.  I think Corey would have returned from Las Vegas to share the holidays with her one last time.  I think mom’s death has been harder on him than any of us. 

Sunny had invited the family to an early Thanksgiving dinner – celebrating with mom and her children and their children the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day.

Each of us had brought several games to play – though Richard, Jenna, and I played just one before mom got antsy and overwhelmed with the huge amount of people that were gathered together – less than 20, I believe – and wanted to leave.  We took her to the theatre and saw “Brave” which she enjoyed.

On Thursday we had another Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, but there were only five of us.  We were just about to play a round of “Spades” when Randy and Carrie dropped by.  We redealt so that Randy could play (Carrie just wanted to watch) so we could play in teams.  Some of us have fond memories about the game and the smiles that it still gives us – some of us anyway.



As I briefly explained in this post, my mom had dementia.  We had to explain the rules of the game each time we dealt the cards.  Mom did try, but really wasn’t getting it, but that’s what made the game fun – I thought.  I love it when we are all laughing.  Winning’s not important when you’re having fun.

Last year I remember playing board games with Roland and our three daughters-in-law.  That was fun.  Memorable.  Don’t imagine they’ll be playing games this year as two of them now hold my newborn granddaughters (that I still have not seen in person)

This year we’ll be spending Thanksgiving in McMinnville.  I don’t know if there will be any game playing or not.  It’s not important.  We’ll be spending the holidays with friends.  It will be a great holiday if we allow.  I am looking forward to another “non-traditional” Thanksgiving. (see here)

Christmas may be a tough holiday – especially for Jenna who misses her cousins and her brothers.  Christmas will be different for each of them, too, as well.  Changes occur.  Life goes on.  



I miss my family.  Don’t miss the snow.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Labor Day Weekend is for Family

      Facebook has added a new feature.  If you would like, it will give you notifications of what you posted each date however many years ago.  Roland, Jenna and I had spent the day driving and spending time with friends in McMinnville. I happened to check facebook with only an hour left on September 5th - or else I would have missed reminiscing some great posts of years past.



      In 2010 I posted that I enjoyed spending the day playing games with the family.  At that point Bill and Kayla were not married.  Corey and Kayla were both at home and Roland and I decided to visit.  Patrick's family had also come.  They were about to leave to go home and make dinner, but I had actually made a huge chicken salad sandwich which I had put on a loaf of French bread and cut it into pieces, but there was still plenty left for Patrick's family.



      Ellen and Candy loved the chicken salad and ate it all up.  I was happy that I didn't have to take any leftovers home.  I was grateful too for the extra time it had given us to play games.  I have always enjoyed playing games with the family.

      One year later I had posted how much I enjoyed the Walden Family reunion. I was introduced to the Walden family after Jenna had turned one.  They are related to the boys by their mother.  Very hospitable people (mentioned in this post



      Jenna, Biff and I had planned on going to the reunion in 2013 but for whatever reason did not go.  Labor Day was on September 2nd.  Mom had gone into the hospital on the 1st.   I was scheduled to teach a class to the youth.  I heard my phone go off during my lesson.  I knew it was about mom. 

      On September 5, 2013 I posted the following: "This post is for those interested in the welfare of [June Cannon] - who was doing so spectacular before Sunday morning, and a freak fall sent her to the hospital. . She is now in hospice at St. Marks room 3W21. They are making her as comfortable as possible. Those who would like the details can message me and I will let you know. Or if you are friends with [Peggy] or [Corey] you can learn more details on their fb pages."  Still with family - but not a fun way. My mom passed away five days later.



      This year Roland will work on Labor day this year. He will take off Wednesday - which is our anniversary. Celebrations this year won't include the same group of people. Two of my sibs remain in Utah, one in Las Vegas. 


      On Saturday we went to McMinnville to spend some time with Beth and Graham - who loaded our trunk with food.  Graham also parted with the clarinet he had played which had remained in the closet since their arrival in McMinnville.  So Roland and Jenna are able to practice together - even if Jenna leaves her instrument at school. Here are a few of the pictures that we took.









Sunday, July 5, 2015

Reminiscing a Very Past Memory (maybe three)




          I don’t know how old my grandma was when she decided to get her driver’s license.  She had been born and raised in Utah, but was then living in San Francisco.  I don’t know if she had ever driven at the time she had resided in Utah and maybe didn’t feel the need in San Francisco as she could rely on public transportation.

          Grandpa Ralph was a retired bus driver and did know his way around. I am pretty sure that he had a car, and after he passed way, perhaps Grandma Mary had been missing that luxury of just driving somewhere and not having to wait for the bus or the streetcar or the BART or whatever. 

          I was too young to actually get all the logistics involved.  I just remember my own mom having mentioned it. I know that Grandma had purchased her own car but doubt that she had it for more than two years.  San Francisco has a lot of hills and narrow spaces. Why anybody would ever want to drive (or learn to drive) in San Francisco is beyond me.

          I vaguely remember teeny space off to the side that led the way to underground parking.  I probably would have missed it altogether except for I remember daddy driving through whenever we would visit – which wasn’t often, really.  My grandma seemed okay with the driving part, but was more than reluctant to try to park it.  I remember her telling my mom that she would stop it in the street and wave someone down and offer to pay the individual five dollars to park the car for her.  That always fascinated me as she lived in a very high crime neighborhood.  Yet every person that got behind the wheel would actually park it for her and no one just took it from her.

          My Uncle John had worked for the police force and lived in Martinez.  I remember taking the BART from the mission district to a location that was near to where he could pick me up and drive back to Martinez.  It was interesting to me that grandma had taken me to a BART location in San Francisco where the transportation was located underground which reminded me of a subway system.  And yet when I got to Lafayette (I think that was the name of the station where I got off for Uncle John) it was above ground like a monorail.




          I had gone to Martinez to go to church with John and his family and when he returned me to the station, his police radar had kicked in and as he told me where to get off, he warned me to stay underground.  The mission district was full of crime and he said under no circumstance was I to walk up to the street but that I had to wait for grandma to come and get me.

          I remember telling mom and she kind of made a face and laughed and said, “I’m sure he’s asking you to wait for this little old lady to come and protect you.”

          Grandma was a very friendly and optimistic person.  She didn’t seem to be bothered by much.  I remember my mom telling me that grandma’s residence had been broken into a least a couple of times – but it was while she was out.  I don’t know that she was ever physically attacked.  On the other hand, mom did have a good friend who had been attacked at Golden Gate Park.  I cannot find the original source, but there is mention of it here.

            I don't know what it is that triggered my memory of my grandma.  It still fascinates me when I think about it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

We Really Need to Update Our Will





            When Jenna was a baby, Roland and I had our wills done with an attorney named Kevin Jackson.  We each received copies  -  but I have no clue as to where they might be right now. 

            I do remember taking my copy to my mom’s house so that each will was kept at a different location.  I may have put it in the crawl space off to the back of the house.  It could still be there, but may be discarded if the current owners come across it.  I don’t remember seeing it when we were cleaning out mom’s house.

            Regardless, it needs to be updated.  We certainly didn’t have much in the way of possessions at the time.  My main concern (still is) is that in the event Roland and I should go before Jenna is 18, I would want her to stay with my family – though I think only one address on the wheel remains valid.

            Kayla was the first name.  She was still single at the time and lived at my mom’s address.  The next person on the list was mom.  The third person on the list is one of Roland’s sisters – the one who has raised a number of children due to family situations.  The last on our list is Sunny and Patrick.  Theirs is the valid address.

            At the time all of our boys were still in school.  I had asked Kayla if she would raise Jenna and she said she would be honored.  Roland said he’d like the boys to stay with my family as well. 

            Meanwhile, Kayla has married and has three children of her own.  The boys are of age now where Jenna could live with one of them if he and his wife were willing.  I had taken Tony and Rochelle aside to tell them that they could raise Jenna in our house.  I figured they’d oblige to keeping Jenna in the dual immersion program – that was before we moved.

            Jenna said she doesn’t want to live with Tony and Rochelle.  They are definitely NOT on time people.  There seems to be tension on Tony’s part.  Always has been.  If someone gives him an inch, he’ll always wish he’d been given a mile.  He doesn’t seem grateful about things and is always complaining.  As mentioned in an earlier post, Roland’s nickname for Tony is Donald Duck.  I don’t think I want Donald Duck raising my baby.

            I had told Tony and Rochelle my wishes verbally.  Nothing in writing.  I am grateful for that, as I have changed my mind.  I think it would be better if Jenna were to go with Randy and Carrie.  Randy has always had a great mannerism about him. He will lovingly provide any discipline that will be needed.  He doesn’t blow up.  I think Randy would be a much better choice.

            I hadn’t considered Biff.  He doesn’t seem to do well with finances.  Plus he already has his hands full with Jeanie – who often seems to break out into major mood swings of her own.  I seriously think there is a chemical imbalance on her part.

            Jenna and I would both love it if she could go with Kayla and Bill.  I think Bill would do it in a heartbeat and think nothing of it.  He and Jenna seem to share the same personality – which sometimes grates on Kayla’s nerves.  Having two of them – maybe more (I think Gary might actually have a lot of Bill in him) than she is willing to handle.  But then there are pluses.  Kayla certainly wouldn’t allow Jenna to go unclaimed.  (Not that that would happen)

            I’d rather she stayed with my family than go with Roland’s.  We teach values to Jenna that Roland’s family doesn’t share.  Biff had lived with Roland’s sister for a while, and they would send him to church, but they did not attend with him.  I don’t want that.  Besides Roland’s family seem to be getting up there in years.  My sibs are all younger than me.  Though I realize age is not always a factor – there are concerns.  I am already old enough to be Jenna’s grandmother.  I’m not as active as the parents of many of her friends.

            I don’t really think there is a cause for alarm.  Roland and I will both live long enough to see Jenna graduate and get married.  But there is always room for a back up plan.  I don’t think we have any material possessions worth anybody making the trip to Oregon to make a claim – unless it’s for sentimental reasons.  But I think I have scanned most of my pictures.  But I think my brother, Corey, is the only one who would even place value on anything like that – unless Jenna, herself, wants them.

There’s probably not a whole lot of value in leaving instructions posted to a blog.  I know my family members know who I’m talking about, but how would it ever be proved in court since I’m not even using real names.  Well, I did for the attorney.  His name is real.  Don’t know his location.  I believe he’s moved twice since we first met with him.

I definitely don’t want DCFS to be in charge of the whereabouts of my little girl.  DCFS is one fouled up system in my opinion.  I don’t wish for any family members to be fighting it out in courts.  We already did that with Jenna’s sisters.  It was a losing battle all along.  Not just for us, but for them.

Don’t know why it’s on my mind even.  But it is.  There is so much we need to take care of.  Getting Oregon drivers’ licenses and plates for our car.  Finding a doctor should we ever have the need.  Maybe a dentist.  Jenna LOVES to go to the dentist.  I think that’s weird.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not the Reunion We Were After




          My Uncle Ross had battled cancer off and on for I don’t know how many years.  His last time in the hospital was majorly hard on his wife and children – but he kept up a positive attitude, I believe for their sake. 
         
          When he left the hospital, he was told that he would have no more than a year left on earth.  (Probably not in those exact words – but you get the gist)

          My cousin, Michelle, had sent out a request for an early “Christmas in July” celebration – hoping that we would all enjoy one last celebration with Uncle Ross and have those treasured memories as we had for mom.  Only her request came as a plea on my part: “LaTiesha is moving to Oregon.  Let’s have our Christmas early this year before she goes” She didn’t want to say what she really meant “before Dad goes”

          The date was set up for June 14th – though not everyone would be able to attend.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a “Christmas in July” party in which all of us were there.  And yet when we had celebrated in December, I don’t remember anyone NOT being there – even if it was just to put in an appearance (which seemed to become more popular as the family grew) 

          The celebration for this year would take place at the same time when my family attended Church – which is why I had announced in my ward that the 7th would probably be my last week (I was still tired from bus trip mentioned in my last post; wasn’t thinking clearly)

          On June 6th I was on the bus going toward Salt Lake.  I had the option of using my laptop but did not actually make the discovery until the last leg of the trip, but chose not to deal with it in such tight quarters as it was.  Corey had texted me in the event that I wasn’t on facebook.  Michelle had messaged family members to let us know that Uncle Ross had chosen not to fight anymore.  Corey had just seen him two days earlier, and though he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, Corey said that Uncle Ross seemed to be in good spirits.

          Less than two hours later I received another text.  Uncle Ross had passed.  At that point I didn’t have (nor expect) any details about the funeral.  It may not have been until Monday that I learned that there would be a viewing on Thursday and the funeral would be on Saturday, the 13th.  So of course we wouldn’t be having the “Christmas in July” on the following Sunday.  




          Roland had graduated from his collage courses and already had his diploma in hand.  But he had signed up to walk across the stage in a graduation ceremony that same Saturday – an activity that I was never truly excited about to begin with.  I would seriously rather attend a funeral than a graduation or award ceremony that always seems to drag and make me feel like death would be an awesome option for ending the many hours I feel like I spend at said ceremony.  But it’s not like I wished for it to happen just so I’d have an excuse not to go.

          Meanwhile, Roland seemed to forget about it as well as he planned to leave Utah on Friday night after he got off work to take a load of furniture and packed boxes to Oregon.  He didn’t attend either viewing or funeral.  He and Bill both work late on Thursday and so Bill did not go to the viewing either.  Kayla stopped by with their three children and we rode to the viewing address together.

          The viewing, without doubt, is the most interesting that I’ve ever attended.  Corey would have loved it, I think.  There was a “celebration of life” theme.  Nothing wrong with it – just different.  It wasn’t something that Kayla and I are used to.  It just felt irreverent when we first arrived.  I felt like we had walked into a cocktail party rather than a viewing. But it was a great send-off. Made it easier on my aunt and cousins – who for the most part, were out mingling amongst the “guests”.  Uncle Ross was left in a room by himself (for the most part).  Aunt Fern said it made it so much easier for her not to be in the same room with his lifeless body. 

          They had dressed him in golf clothes and he held a golf ball.  Kayla and I tried to visit with family members while taking turns supervising the children as Anna wanted to go in one direction and Gary in another and the food wasn’t as important as they thought.

          Anna wanted to go upstairs in a closed area and Gary wanted to stand near enough to the water to play in it.  BJ was very good, but after a while he wanted to get down and explore as well.  Neither Kayla nor I were willing to allow that to happen as he could have easily been stepped on.  Didn’t seem like a very kid-friendly environment – but than neither is the traditional viewing that we are used to. Children acting up or misbehaving seems more noticeable at a viewing than it does at Church services.  But given the amount of volume level amongst those who had come to pay their respects, their behavior seemed to be overlooked by everyone except me and Kayla. 

         I had asked Earl how they had found the funeral home or made the arrangements. He said that the family had been introduced to the services after an uncle had died.  His mom liked the feeling of “life” as opposed to the mourning for death.  The family agreed and made the arrangements.

         Kayla and I did not stay long as the kids really needed to removed from the situation at hand.  I think all of us were tired.

          The Saturday service was really nice.  Three of my cousins gave talks and shared memories of their dad.  Michelle’s husband played guitar while Corey sang “Landslide”, a song that neither one of them were familiar with, but I had heard it before.  Michelle mentioned that the song had been chosen as her family doesn’t seem to deal well with change – at least where death is involved.

           Golf balls had been purchased for mementoes to take for each person who attended the services.  One son-in-law works with the police force and made arrangements for a police (on motorcycles) escort to be with the old fashion looking Hearst.  People may have seen it and thought there must have been an important person in the casket.  It was indeed a great honor.



After the services were over at the cemetery, we all threw paper airplanes.  A balloon was tied to one to send on high.  Just a few minutes later many of us returned to the church to have lunch with the family.  I went around and said my good-byes to all of the family members who had usually turned out for Christmas dinner.  Some who said they couldn’t or wouldn’t make it to the BBQ for an early July Christmas. It was Uncle Ross’s final farewell and everyone turned out for it.  And it was great.

  
 
Now he is reunited with his mom and dad and brother and sister. This picture is my dad with Uncle Ross long before they were my dad and uncle.