Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where’s My Rain?

         So often the weather forecast promises rain – and there are a few drops.  Sometimes we have showers that last almost twenty minutes.  Jenna and I will sit under the carport and watch the rain.  I love rain. 

         The promised rain always goes somewhere.  Often it is not received as a good thing.  It has caused the earth to moisten to the point of mud slide causing extreme financial damage – not to mention has left some homeless.   Or having I-15 close – in the dessert of all places.  That’s just mind-boggling.

         For me personally, Rain has always been a positive thing.  As I mentioned in this post, at least half my family vacations involved rain – not that we had planned it that way.  Dad always helped us to make the best of it, and we learned to accept and enjoy.

         I have fond memories not only of places that I’ve been, but the attitude of those that have surrounded me.  We always had fun in spite of the rain or because of it.

         There are several times I have taken my umbrella and have not needed it or purposely didn’t take it with me because I wanted to welcome the moisture.  Each time the forecast says “rain” – there is, but always elsewhere.

         I had planned to go to Kayla’s on Monday – right after I dropped Jenna off at school.  That day the wind was blowing – getting ready for the supposed expected storm.  The air was cool.  I might have enjoyed it, except for some reason it seemed all my energy (which lately isn’t a lot) had been sucked out of me.  I was so tired.  My presence wasn’t going to do either Kayla or the children any good.  And so I went home and slept.

         Yesterday morning was overcast – but hot.  And not a humid hot.  A dry hot.  Like when you are standing too close to the vent and it shoots a warm dry air up your body.  I found the thick heat to be smothering.  After I left Jenna, I got on the bus headed toward Kayla’s house.  When the bus turned the corner, black clouds had filled the air.  I could get rained on, I had decided.  And I welcomed the rain – though my backpack didn’t.  I hadn’t thought to bring an umbrella to keep my backpack dry.

The rain had stopped by the time I got off the second bus. By the time I left Kayla’s house, we couldn’t even prove that it had been raining - well, except for my overly damp backpack.

This morning seemed fair.  I wore a light jacket.  It came off before Jenna and I parted ways.  I am warm again.  I would much rather have the rain than the blaring heat of the sun or the hot dry air that makes me feel like I’m trapped in a sauna and can’t ever get out.  Why do people pay to sit in saunas anyway?  I know from experience that it is less costly just to sit in your car – particularly if it’s a dark one. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Memories of My Dad

            As Jenna and I were walking toward the school this morning, there appeared to be a car backing out of a driveway.  She took my hand and gripped onto a little. 

“Death Grip?” I asked jokingly.

“What does that mean?” she asked.

I told her that her grip was really nothing but related the accounts of my dad’s “bone-crushing” death grip.  We called it the death grip anyway.

As a child, I had always thought that my dad’s hands felt clammy.  Yet he was always holding the hand of one child or another.  He did it out of love and responsibility.

By the time he was in his early 50’s, my dad had been the victim of several strokes – many which went undetected, as they were considered “mild”.  But with each stroke came the lack of communication between his brain and his muscles.

His speech slurred more with every passing stroke – and although he knew exactly what he wanted to say, his brain didn’t send the message to his lips and tongue as quickly as it needed to. 

Dad was very unsteady on his feet, as his legs weren’t getting the signals from his brain about how he should move.  But he never lost his grip.  In fact, I think it increased.  He would hold onto things (people included) with every ounce of fiber that he had – and then some.  It would not have surprised me at all if he had sent one of us to the doctor for phalange repair. 

If I was the one he was gripping (stopping the blood flow in my arm or hand or what have you) I would stop dead in my tracks and say,  “We are not moving any further until you ease up on your grip”

He would just laugh and start to drool (again the mouth wasn’t getting the message from the brain).  Who would have thought that those would provide pleasant memories for me later on down the road?

Jenna also asked about my dad’s whistle.  I am certain he lost that ability perhaps with the first stroke.  I actually don’t remember when was the last time I heard my dad whistle.

He had a whistle louder than any other I’ve heard from any human being.  He would put two fingers between his lips and let out a whistle that could be heard from anywhere in the neighborhood.  That whistle was a sign to all of his children that it was time to come home – or sometimes just to know where we were.
Dad’s whistle soon became a recognized sound to many friends, “You’re dad is calling.”

I don’t remember ever being embarrassed by it.  I think overall I was impressed to be related to such a quiet person who possessed this loud gift.  And I am impressed, too, when I think of all the strength my dad held in his hand up to the end.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Visiting the Magic Kingdom Before School Starts

There was one year when Roland seemed to make more money than in previous years or even the ones that followed.

He had managed to find a package deal through a travel agency and took us all to California just right after Christmas.  The boys were out of high school for the holidays.  Jenna was two.

I have heard that between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the best time to visit Disneyland.  From personal experience, I know that between Christmas and New Years is the absolutely worse time to go.

I remember riding the tram the first day we went to the park.  Jenna’s enthusiasm at riding the tram from the parking lot to the park was awesome.  All four of them were excited and enjoyed every moment.

I’m not exactly certain why we had driven or taken the tram.  We spent two days at the park.  As I recall we just walked to the park the second day.  I know Richard and I went back to the hotel about four hours before the boys did.

While all three of her brothers still have fond memories of that vacation, Jenna does not remember.  Thus Roland decided we’d take her back this year.  I made reservations so that we would be gone during the last week of summer vacation and would come home just one day before school starts.

Corey had given me the name of a motel where he and Joh stay when they go to Disneyland. I had booked us at the Rainbow Inn thinking it was the same. Halfway between Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  I had thought of going to both;  I thought that Jenna would enjoy the Timber Log Ride as much as I had.  I did not realize that KBF had become a roller coaster park – that Jenna would have loved far more than Disneyland.  And I hope that someday she’ll be able to return with someone who is younger and in better shape than her parents are.

First of all we had stopped off in Las Vegas and spent the night at Corey's house.  I am the last of my sibs to see his house in person.  He went with us to downtown Las Vegas.  We went to the MGM where he works and then to M&M World. He said it was the first time he has ever played tourist since he's lived there.

We had a two-day park hopper. We spent both days at Disneyland doing mostly what she wanted.  I thought we should walk to the other end of the park and start with Splash Mountain.  Roland, on the other hand, decided to hit every show and shop on Main Street –which would have been okay – but we were there for Jenna and she wanted to ride the rides.

That first morning was quite overcast.  It looked like it might rain.  Truth be told, I was hoping that it would.  I know that some attractions close due to the elements, but not all of them.  I recall a year my family had gone to Universal Studios when it was pouring.  We saw everything that was open!  It was great! I was hoping to recreate those memories at Disneyland.

I had told Jenna that she was in charge to choose whatever rides we went on.

We headed for tomorrow land.  The first ride she chose was the rockets.  And then Buzz Lightyear, I believe.  We’d gone to Space Mountain for a fast pass and then we went to Fantasyland and made an appointment for a princess package makeover. 

Jenna and I went on the Dumbo ride and Roland took pictures.  We also went on the Peter Pan ride and Pinocchio – I don’t recall having ridden the Pinocchio before.  I’m sure I have, but I just didn’t remember.

Space Mountain had been the favorite ride of our boys.  I am overwhelmed with how much they saw and how many rides they had gone on eight years earlier.  There were so many lines.  I stood in several of them just to get into the bathroom.  Jenna was still in diapers at the time.  

This year was different.  I think I was most grateful that there were no bathroom lines.  During all of my Disneyland experiences, the park did not seem that crowded in comparison. I smiled at many of the memories I’d created in past years and pulled them out occasionally during this year’s trip.

There was one year after Patrick was married and after my dad had passed away and when we planned a family vacation with mom, Kayla, Corey and I.  We were all adults and mom said we each needed to pay our own way.
Corey had told his friend, Jinx, about our plans and we ended up inviting Jinx to go with us.  He was the first one to provide full payment for the trip.

Jinx had worked at Disneyland one summer and knew all of the tricks of getting us around.  Jinx made that trip, I think.  He was always so funny.  I remember his leading us to Toon Town and commenting on some patrons who were walking away from Toon Town doing “that middle of the day walk” when it was so early in the morning. 

We had also spent two days at the park.  The first day we had ridden every ride possible.  The second day we shopped and watched shows and took things very easy.  That really was such an awesome trip.

Jenna had pictures taken while wearing the largest  “Brave” dress that was available.  It was too tight and there were tears in her eyes.  And so she changed to a tee shirt to meet the princesses.  She had her picture taken with Ariel, Snow White and Cinderella.

The next day we returned.  Since we had already seen Tomorrow land and Fantasyland, I suggested we go to Adventure land, Frontier land, New Orleans and Critter land.  I suggested we go to Critterland first and get a fast pass for splash mountain.

As we were going through Adventure land, Jenna noticed the Indiana Jones ride that had been closed eight years ago.  Her brothers had enjoyed riding it.  (It had been under construction the year that Jinx went with my family and I had never ridden it after that) Jenna’s never seen any of the Indian Jones movies, but said it was definitely her favorite ride.  

Roland and I enjoyed the tamer rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean or Small World (the night before) though I understood Jenna’s ambition for the roller coaster rides.  I had always liked those when I was her age.  Sadly my stomach has seems to have outgrown what once thrilled me.

I hadn’t planned on going to Toon Town at all.  The two times I had gone before, Toon Town was so overly crowded that the “Happiest Place on Earth” seemed a distant myth, but it really wasn’t too bad this year.  I think Roland and Jenna waited in line for the roller coaster longer than we had to wait in Mickey’s house.  We did get a lot of pictures.

My original plans included going to the beach – which actually seemed to be the highlight of our last vacation.  Just think of all the money we could have saved if we had started our vacation at the beach.  But we didn’t make it to the beach this year.  We hadn't made our way to Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn or California Adventures. Roland decided that we would cut our trip short and return home early.

He did all the driving.  Spent ten hours or more on the road on Thursday so that we’d have two extra days of rest.  I remember when it would take mom and I 7 hours just to get to St. George.  We would stay overnight and continue on to Bakersfield the next morning.  The speed limit was lower then.  Now it only takes 6 hours to get to Vegas.  But then I guess it depends on who's driving and how many stops are made.

Jenna starts the fifth grade on Monday.  I will have to start my scrapbook pages while she is in school.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Little Reminders

     I decided I would take an early bus and get some snacks for the girls.
     When I first walked in the store, I noticed the display set up for Mother’s Day.  A sign said, “Don’t Forget MOM” Tears welled my eyes as I thought, “I won’t.  I can never forget her.  I wish she were still here with us.”

     After I purchased the snacks I went on my way and passed drug store advertising some kind of Shingle prevention shot – at least that’s how it appeared.  I thought about the commercial that advertises that if you have had the chicken pox the virus is already in you. 

     Mom told me that she could find only three chicken pox on my entire body.  It’s quite unfortunate that the worse case of chicken pox she had ever seen was that of my brother Patrick.  She said he had chicken pox on top of chicken pox all over his entire body.  She said he looked like a little monster . . . or something like that.  That must have been terrible for both of them.  

     I also remembered when his children, Ellen and Kimball were quite younger, they were playing with the neighbors across the street.  There must have been five or six of them total.  They each took turns playing a toy flute or a whistle of some sort.  Gradually all of them came down with chicken pox.

     With each step I took, I could feel my pants slipping and would have to tuck and adjust.  Could I actually be losing weight? 

     The sun’s been hot, but there’s been a cool breeze for the most part.  I continued on my way to the school and noticed that ball fields are being made over.  Season is about to start.  Won’t bother me so much now that I’m not driving anymore.  At least I don’t think it will.

I sat on the first bench I came to.  The sun was too warm.  I moved to another that had more shade. I read a bit as I waited for the bell to ring and school to dismiss.

     Jenna had her first friend-from-class play date and I didn’t know what they had planned, but had suggested some options.  The girls decided that we would go home and they would picnic on their snacks.

 First they jumped on the trampoline while I prepared their snacks.  After two hours I got ready for a date.  Roland likes me to wear make-up.  I also wanted to change into a nicer shirt. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Remembering Mom

         It was in January of 2012 that my sibs and I worked together with my niece and her husband to put ourselves on a schedule so that someone would always be at home with my mom – which unfortunately did not always work out.

         We would keep in touch by phone and sending the same email to our group so that we could all kind of keep track of what was going on.  It wasn’t until November when Nate decided to create a group page on facebook.  He gave it the name “Operation Grandma Care”.  We started out with Six members and gradually we became Nine.

         The site was up for less than three months before we had moved my mom into assisted living. I don’t know when Nate removed himself from the group but it couldn’t have been more than eight months after he’d created the site.  Nevertheless the seven of us that remained continued to keep tabs on one another, supply information and make inquiries. 

         Pictures we posted and Sunny even posted a video which shows my mom singing three songs. What a treasure that is!  I am so grateful to Nate for having created the site for us.

         After my mom passed away less than five months ago, we decided we would keep the site but we changed the name.  Well, Kayla did.  Operation was dropped and an S was added to make “Grandma Cares”  It’s funny that the site contains only one grandchild. 
         We kept it in order to share stories and photos and memories of mom but also of dad and our family.  Corey will periodically post discoveries he has made while going through her journals. Yesterday I posted one of Jenna’s favorite stories that only Patrick and I had experienced.  (Fortunately for Corey and Kayla they both missed out)

         True story: In searching for creative ways to economize, Salt Lake Tribune had a featured area of suggestions and recipes.  My mom tried one called “Peanut Butter Casserole”  the very idea of putting tomatoes, onions and peanut butter together would make my nose turn – but now that I’ve tasted it, I can honestly say the idea makes me puke.

         Mom decided to go heavy on the peanut butter – which I have no way of knowing weather it improved or hindered the taste.  My brother Patrick thought it was the grossest thing ever.  He had had only one bite and figured out what the ingredients were and pulled away from the table as though he had been bitten. 

         I remember finding the recipe that mom had so carefully cut out of the paper.  I tore it to bits and distributed only a few pieces into each trash can we had in the house.  Mom wasn’t good at puzzles.  She would never be able to put it back together if she wanted to.  But she too, admitted it was bad.

         I didn’t realize until my neighbor commented on my post that she too had tortured her family with the yucky excuse for a meal.  She, too, can testify to its awfulness.  Now we can all laugh at the experience.

         Thanks again, Nate, for creating the site for us.  We do have another site with all of our children to inform them of events taking place currently.  But it’s fun to have a “Grandma Cares” site for memories

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Visits

         Roland had sent me this thought that brought humor to my mind when I first read it: 

Mildred calls her neighbor and says, “Please come over here and help me.  I have a killer jigsaw puzzle and I can’t figure out how to get it started.

Her neighbor asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished? “
Mildred says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”

Her neighbor decides to go over and help with the puzzle. 
Mildred lets him in and shows him to the table. 
He studies the pieces for a moment than looks at the box than turns to her and says,
“First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.” 
He takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax.  Let’s have a nice cup of coco”
The he says with a deep sigh, “Let’s put all the corn flakes back in the box”


Now I think of Mildred as one who is going through her first stages of Dementia. Lucky neighbor.

My parking job was not the greatest, and so I pulled forward and backed in again.  I didn’t notice the other car that had pulled into the parking lot was Uncle Ross and Aunt Fern until they got out of their car.

         Mom was on the phone talking to Corey and smiled as we all waved for her.  Ross and Fern were hesitant about opening the second door as Myrna was standing there – afraid that she might escape.  I didn’t figure it out until just before we went through that Myrna was actually trying to open the door for us to pass through.  She knows the code.  Myrna’s sharp.  What in the world is she doing in that particular assisted living?

         Mom evidently told Corey that we were there – or that somebody was (I don’t know if she gave him the correct names) and Corey said that he would call back.

         Meanwhile Harold had been waiting in her room – aware that June was on the phone with Corey – he even told me who she was talking to.  And I told him that my mom had other visitors and had invited him to join us.  But he remained in the room I guess.  He didn’t join us.

         It was so good to visit with Ross and Fern as I have not seen them in a while.  Mom enjoyed the visit also.  But I remember the details. 

         Ross said that he enjoyed seeing the pictures that Corey has posted on facebook.  I think Ross is only one year older than my mom, but his face appears to be at least ten years older.  But then mom always has looked younger than she is.  And I inherited that gene as I don’t look as old as I am. 

         We talked about the house in Magna and the dinner photo I sent but still don’t know the names of the three I had inquired about.   But then neither one of them are avid facebook users and don’t even pay attention to who’s wall they are looking at.

         I told Ross about an interview that Corey had done with Grandma Helen and revealed things that Ross hadn’t even known about his own mother.

         We visited about an hour and Uncle Ross and Aunt Fern excused themselves and mom and Jenna and I made our way back to her room.  Harold meanwhile had come by just as Jenna and I were getting ready to leave.  He asked if we were all there still.  I said that two had left and the remaining two of us were leaving and he was welcome to visit.

         It is nice (and almost funny) to see (and hear about) mom being so content with staying where she lives.  She no longer tries to escape.  She doesn’t even wish to leave when we offer to take her.  Okay.  We’ve made progress with her.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Memories

When Jenna was younger, we would go for walks ALL of the time.  I would point things out as we passed different yards.  “Oh, look at the flowers”  “See that pretty pin wheel” 

 The thing that she seemed to overlook with each yard I pointed out was the well.  I never understood why she couldn’t see them.  Several yards contained some form of a wishing well.  I don’t know how many walks we took before I realized she was looking for a “whale”


Jenna was three the first time we had taken her to Arizona.  We were actually in the city part when Jenna asked, “Are we in a dessert?” 

I turned around in disbelief.  How did she know that Arizona is a desert state? 

“Yes we are.” I proudly beamed.

Jenna appeared to be highly disappointed.  And here is why:

“I have looked and looked and I have not seen a camel anywhere.”

Oops.  Wrong desert.


My Grandma and I had gone to a Ferrell’s ice cream parlor in Hawaii.  The Hawaiian menu offered a variety of dishes that were different from the Utah menu.  I thought  it would be fun to take a few menus home and trade them for a couple of Utah menus and watch as people would order these foreign creations which might fluster the waitress as it was obviously a Farrell’s menu – but wasn’t familiar with most of the items listed.



Farrell’s had advertised soda water for  two cents a glass.  Patrick and two of his friends decided that they wanted to “splurge”  They got soda waters for each of them – that’s it.  I don’t think they fully understood what they were ordering.

One friend managed to drink it all.  I believe Patrick said he had swallowed down half of his.  But Mark could not get past the first taste.  After having gagged down the first swallow, he refused to drink any more of his two cent purchase. The entire bill came to six cents.  They left a fifty cent tip.


Jenna loved fire hats and fire engines and fire fighter equipment.  I really thought that she would want to grow up to be a fire fighter.  But when asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" she had it narrowed down to two: either a pirate or a ballerina.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DownPour on My Birthday

I recall a few of my birthdays were cooler than normal – requiring a sweatshirt or summer jacket.  Never a rain slicker!  Not quite a monsoon but certainly not what I’ve grown accustomed to.  I can’t see to drive on the roads.  There’s not enough light.

          Corey and Joh offered to pay for new glasses – but I don’t know that a stronger prescription is really the answer.  The way the doctor explained it to me is that I have weird shaped eyes that just don’t seem to let in the right amount of light needed for me to see throughout each day.  I’m certain that I will go blind eventually. 

          Besides I’d rather have spent the money on shoes or new pants for Roland or something that seemed to take precedence for me.  And we have been blessed in major ways.

          On Saturday Jenna spent the day with her friend August.  When we pulled up in front of the driveway, we could see items being set up for a yard sale.  When the sale was over, the family loaded up a bag of clothes for Jenna.  Three pairs of shoes that appear as though they’ve never been worn. 

          And last night my youngest niece also sent us home with a bag of clothes and a box of shoes.  And I really have been needing shoes – so this is great!! 

          I think the majority of shoes are too big for Jenna, but she’s at the point where she likes wearing big shoes.  Her feet will eventually get bigger than mine.  And then her shoes will be big on me.

          This weather right now reminds me of a time twelve years ago, before Roland and I were married.  I had taken the boys to see my mom at the place where she was working.  At least two of them had their heads hanging out the window and made comments as though they were pirates or sailors fighting off a storm.

          There was also the many times that my family went on vacations – didn’t matter where.  We’d have rain.  We’d have car problems.  Often both.

          The wettest family vacation rain that I remember was the year dad drove us to southern California and enjoy Disneyland and Universal.  It poured the day we went to Universal. POURED!  And it is still one of my greatest memories.

          We had gone on a tour bus.  When the driver dropped us off, he told us that we had to be back by 5:00 pm or we would have to find another method of transportation back to our motel.

          Our experience was awesome.  No lines to wait in.  We got to see EVERYTHING.  Universal never sold so many raincoats and umbrellas on any given day.  As we did not bring rain gear and couldn’t afford six coats to wear, either mom or dad suggested garbage sacks and so we put them over our heads and cut holes for our faces. We spent the entire day going from exhibit to exhibit in our garbage sack ponchos.  It is a really great memory for me and Corey in particular.

          We returned to the bus at 4:30 – the last group of people to arrive.  It seemed that everyone else had been waiting on the bus for at least two hours and were a bit perturbed with us for taking so long.  Hey, we arrived a half hour earlier than the designated time.  And we definitely got our money’s worth.  It was fun!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Bread Box and the Coveted Cowboy Cup

After the pathetic attempt of a yard sale, I loaded the trunk of my car with a few items that hadn’t sold.  Two of the items I brought home with me were: the practical bread box and the fun cup full of memories.

When I was younger, I remember getting bread out of a white tin box with copper trim.  The box could hold up to four loaves and then some. 

Mom also had two canisters that held sugar and flour.  I don’t know if the three came together, or if it was just coincidental that there was a very similar appearance.

I don’t remember what happened to the tin bread box, but I remember it had to be replaced.  I remember mom and I had to hunt hard to find one – and then the only ones we could find were less than half the size and made out of wood.  This one holds only two loaves at best.

The bread box is quite a practical item for me as we live in this cracker box house in which all the furniture and appliances are squashed together.  Our back door does not open all the way because the dryer is in the way, next to that is the washer, next to that is the stove.  Our loaf of bread seems to move from counter to stovetop to table to washer – it really needs a more stable home.  (I hope the breadbox will be able to stay put)

I took the cup to give to Jenna and hoped she would find as much pleasure as Ellen and Kimball had.

The cup itself is not all that special, but the memories are.  The cup is plastic coated with silver and the initials WJW are engraved in fancy letters.  I don’t know if at one time it belonged to someone with those initials or if that was the manufacturing company or what.  I have no idea where it came from or why it was in my mom’s cupboard.

The bottom was clear – and so you could see the consumer’s face as he/she drinks – and likewise the drinker can see you.  I don’t know who it was that told us (maybe it was my mom) that the reason why it had a clear bottom is so that the cowboys who were playing cards could spy on their opponents while they drank.  Patrick and Sunny’s oldest two thought that was the coolest thing ever. 

I remember my mom and I had hunted around to find at least one other “cowboy cup” so that each child would have his/her own.  Alas, we searched in vain.  If we did come close, the price was just too outrageous.  So Kimball and Ellen took turns using it.

Jenna’s enthusiasm isn’t near what was expressed with Ellen and Kimball.  Never has been.  But we still have Anna and Garrett to explore the wonders of this “cool cup” - and watching the excitement on the faces of my dad’s posterity is mainly why I took it.  Because the memories of the cup far outweigh the bread box.