Showing posts with label neighbors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label neighbors. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I Can’t Believe You’d Put Me in Band!




       Being in Oregon still feels so surreal to me – like at any given moment I will wake up and be in that cracker box house in West Valley.  Take this morning for instance.  It was definitely cooler than any day that we’ve been here since we had come out for spring break.

        I had dropped by the middle school to ask a few more questions.  The front door was open, and there was a light on one of the offices.  I think I heard a vacuum cleaner in the distance. It was before 9:00 am and perhaps was too early and so I decided to return at a later time.

        I drove to the pool which was still closed. I decided to sit on a bench and read until the instructor and lifeguards started filing in, and then walk down to do some water aerobic workouts.  I took a few pictures from my cell phone (as I had left my camera at home by the computer) before I notice the manager and then the instructor.  As I made my way over the hill and around the building, I couldn’t help thinking how none of this had existed for me just a month ago.  I wasn’t even aware of the existence of this part of the world.







        My aerobics start at 9:00 and go for an hour.  Jenna has swim lessons that start at 10:30. I allowed her to stay home while I was in the water and then returned home for her.  We had twenty minutes of waiting time and stopped at the school to ask the questions and I was also given the forms that I’ll need for registration. 

        After her swim class, we went to the music building which sits between the elementary and the middle school.  We introduced ourselves and I told the instructor that I was interested in putting Jenna in band.  He assigned her the clarinet and she had a four-minute instruction on how to put the instrument together and take it apart and gave her a first ten minute lesson on how to play each note.  He gave us a book and the clarinet and instructed us to return to the school to pay a rental fee. 

        Students are encouraged to practice the instruments during the summer so that they will be somewhat familiar once school starts.  I had been interested in starting Jenna in band when she was in the 5th grade, but when the leadership program was introduced to elementary school she attended in Salt Lake, it appeared that they had dropped the band program.  Now Jenna has the opportunity – which at this time she is not at all happy about – but she felt that same way about my having put her in the dual immersion program and theatre and those turned out to be pluses and band will, too.

        The school district does not offer a foreign language program until High School, but I am happy to say that Jenna will not lose her ability to communicate in Spanish.  Halla, a student who moved to Myrtle Creek from Mexico, speaks no English and so the school plans to assign Jenna as Halla’s buddy.  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

        Last night Jenna played with friends for the first time since we’ve moved here.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers a program to girls ages 8-12 which is supposedly similar to what the boys get with scouts.  The program is called achievement days or activity days.  We had taken Jenna to the church last night and she and Casey decided it would be great to continue playing together after the activity was over.  We brought Casey home with us.  Jenna was sooooo excited to have a play date with somebody – finally.

        I think we had only been home just 30 minutes or so when Casey’s younger sister, Carly knocked at our door.  She had with her Casey’s friend, Callie.  So Jenna, Carly, Casey and Callie played together and Jenna was in her glory.  It’s the happiest I have seen her in a long time, actually. She was hoping her play date would never end.  Of course it did end.  The skies grew darker and Roland’s eyes became heavier and he suggested sending the girls home.  I told Jenna she could walk down the street with them and then return.  I went out to the street to watch her – but it was so dark outside I really couldn’t see them.

        I heard my neighbor across the street and yelled out to her, “Hi, Judy.”
        When she seemed to respond, I had to cross the street to ask her to repeat whatever she had said as I couldn’t hear her.

        I saw Jenna return to the house – along with the three girls she had walked down the street with.

        “You girls cannot walk each other back and forth to each other’s houses all night!” I yelled. 

        Judy started laughing.

        “Casey’s mom wants to talk to you.  She’s right behind us.”

        The girls started playing games on the front lawn before Callie and Casey’s moms walked across the street to join Judy and me.  We must have all been visiting for 20- 30 minutes before Josie and Tara collected their girls and each went in a different direction.  Jenna was beaming and excitedly asked me, “Can I tell you what we did?” and started in with every detail beginning with activity days. It was quite amusing to hear her trip over the names of the other three as she explained the details of “duck, duck goose” and “mother may I”.  I am so happy to see that sparkle back in her eyes!

        This afternoon I took Casey and Jenna to the library for an activity.  We met the mayor – who, as it turns out, is my neighbor from just up the street (next door to Judy) and there was a programs and gifts and prizes and Jenna received a free t-shirt from a drawing. 

        I had planned on creating this post while Jenna and Casey played together, but Jenna asked if I would play a board game with them – which I suppose was necessary as Casey wasn’t quite getting the joy of playing it.  After a while, Callie came over and the three girls played together.  Now Jenna is at an outdoor concert which I could have attended as well, but chose to write this post instead. 

        I did feel a few drops fall down from the sky.  Not a heavy rainfall.  It looks like it could rain however.  It really has been a great experience being here. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

People Come and People Go and Life Goes On



         
 I think I may have mentioned it in an earlier post that I grew up in a more established neighborhood.   Not a lot in the way of comings and goings – not that I can remember.

          The first person I remember moving out of our ward was a girl named Diane.  I don’t know under what circumstances she moved.  I didn’t take it into consideration that there had been other people in the house who had moved with her.  It actually wasn’t a very big house.  Perhaps they needed more room. 

          When I was in Young Women’s, I can remember a family moving into that same house. They must have had five at the time and Grace was pregnant with number six.  I remember being called upon to babysit. I think all of the young women received a turn at one time or another – until the two oldest were old enough to watch the other four on their own.

          Eventually they outgrew the house and moved – but only across the street.  That was the most fantastic move ever!  They never left our ward (church boundary)! Well, each of their children left at some point after they got married.  But at least two of them also bought houses in the ward and currently live in the same ward where their parents live.

          There were some people we were actually happy to see move out – like the hellions across the street or the dysfunctional psychiatric messes that lived near the field (which is now part of I-215) and others we hoped would never leave.

          When Roland and I got married, we moved into a rather transient area.  One of our bishops had compared our ward boundaries to a great big apartment building.  There were always homes for sale on every street (still are, I would imagine).  There were names of members who may have lived in the ward at one time but had long since moved away but their records continued to return to our ward clerk.  I bet that must be a frustrating job!

          My theory was that no matter how much I loved the house itself, I couldn’t or wouldn’t make a purchase without first checking out the ward we’d attend.  The church was just across the street from the house we’d been looking at – actually three houses – all within the same ward boundaries – although we weren’t aware of it at the time. I had been told by at least three ward members that we had been prayed to move into that ward. 

          I was teaching primary and one of the cute little girls in my class said, “Sister, please don’t ever move.  I want you to stay here forever” I don’t know if she mentioned it to her parents as well.
         
          Many of the homes in that particular area were starter homes – originally designed as military housing for soldiers who would move on.  They weren’t meant to be permanent.  They weren’t designed for families of more than four.  So when Wendy became pregnant with her forth child, they looked for another home and my primary girl moved away from the ward long before I did.

          I think it worked out well for her as she loves horses and had the opportunity of riding her neighbor’s horse that lived just behind the house they had purchased.  She’s graduated high school now.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.

          Roland’s original plan was to live in Kearns for five years and move to a house that we didn’t have to just settle for because of finances.  We were there eight years before we lost the house to an unkind economy and forced to move to something even smaller and start over. But again, we felt continued blessings and were aware of our needing to be in the current ward we are in.

          So our family has been new move-ins twice now.  In Kearns the ward got to know the boys.  Over here they know Roland and Jenna.  And we have seen a ton of people come and go.

          Shortly after we had moved to the ward, Roland was called as a counselor to the Elders’ Quorum.  When the Elders’ Quorum president moved, we were not surprised to receive a call from the Stake President – figuring Roland would be called to take place as the new EQ President.  We were surprised to learn that it had nothing to do with the Elders’ Quorum.  He served as a counselor to the High Priest Group leader and then the High Priest Group Leader moved.

          Through it all was George McDobb – who said he had lived in the ward for ten years.  I don’t know if he helped clean the building all ten years, but I know he’s done the last five.  He has always come early and put himself in charge of cleaning the chapel.  I don’t think he missed a single week when our ward was in charge.  Now he’s gotten himself married and has moved out of the ward.  I will miss him tremendously, but I am happy for him.  And I will be happy to take my turn in the chapel because that’s what I liked to do when we lived in Kearns.

          It always seems harder on the youth when friends move.  Jenna’s best friend last year was named Annette.  Annette moved during the summer – she thinks to Ohio or Idaho.  I left several messages for her mom to leave an address so that they might be able to correspond.  We even mailed a letter to their old address with instructions to forward to the new address – but still have not heard back. 

          Today she told me the girl she’s hung out the most this year is moving to California.  How fortunate I feel to have taken pictures of the two of them on Saturday.  They were the only two from their school to run in the Girls on the Run 5K.  I did get her grandma’s email so perhaps we’ll have better luck.  I hope so anyway. At least when Jenna's friend, Lillian, moved, her mom continued to keep her at the same school.

          People come.  People go.  People may stay put and the boundaries may change.  There was a member from my last ward that said she had lived in the same house for over 30 years and had been a member of two stakes and eight different wards while living in that same house.  That was hard for her.  But I think I would enjoy the diversity.  It’s never happened with me personally, so I don’t know.

          My sister Kayla lives in the same stake, but a different ward than when I left.  I’m told that there are many who are inactive in that particular ward – which is odd because when I lived there, it appeared there was more activity in that ward than in our ward.  Again, the comings and goings have made an imprint or left a hole.

          I hope that I am always able to leave imprints and a positive influence and that I am missed – but not so much that it leaves a hole.  We need to share our talents and learn from one another and be able to move on.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tori and Natasha


Tori and Grace were friends with one another – at one time.  Grace and her daughter both worked – or perhaps it was something else that kept them away from raising Natasha, Grace’s granddaughter.  Tori agreed to watch Natasha to assist both Grace and her daughter, but developed an attachment you might say.

Things might not have ended up so ugly if Grace hadn’t tried taking advantage of Tori to begin with.  Natasha’s mom abused Natasha and was later sent to prison for it, leaving Grace to tend to her granddaughter – but it appeared that Grace had abusive issues of her own. That’s how it was explained to me and that is what I believe.  I don’t know all the details.  I had just heard that after Grace moved, she would lock Natasha in the closet and fed her only one meal a day.

Tori is not the most educated, but she has a good heart.  In addition to caring for Natasha, she also allowed her ex-husband to move back in.  What a sap he is.  Roger is a professional bum who donates plasma twice a week so that he at least has enough money for his smokes. He doesn’t take the incentive to clean up after himself – let alone someone else.  He’s a know-it-all talk machine. If Roger could make a career out of talking on and on just to hear the sound of his own voice, he would be a millionarire.  One minute with Roger makes spending an entire day with Cliff Calvin seem comfortable   At least Cliff appeared to have a job

I’m unclear as how it is that Tori gained custody of Natasha. Perhaps DCFS was involved.  In Tori’s eyes she is the one who raised Natasha from the time she was a baby. I don’t know who assisted Tori into finding a way to legally adopt Natasha. 

Natasha was happy to have Tori as a mom and was willing to make sacrifices to help her as she had been helped herself.  So when Tori held a yard sale in order to raise a little money, Natasha volunteered - of her own free will - to sell her bike.

            I don’t fully understand why Roland seems drawn to yard sells – but he can always spot them while out driving.  Just before our first summer living in West Valley he was on his way somewhere when he noticed Natasha’s bike and stopped off to make a inquire about the bike. He paid for it and said he would return for the bike at a later time. Natasha, who appeared to be just as friend-hungry as Jenna, offered to bring it over so that she could meet the new owner of her bike. 

            So for about two years the girls played together off and on – once or twice a week, a few times a month, and then every other month.  And then it was about a year before we saw Natasha again.  It was always hit and miss.  Tori was always working – but Roger was always there (unless he was out selling plasma or picking up smokes) 
            Natasha didn’t understand why Tori worked all the time – that the hours she had put in were to support them financially and pay the attorney and fees. Tori wished to move – find a place for just her and Natasha – far away from where they live currently.  Only two bedrooms instead of three so she could honestly tell Roger that there would be no room for him.  So her house went up for sale, but the attorneys advised against it.  And then she went bankrupt and lost the house and had to take the sign down as it now belongs to the bank, but she’s been paying rent from what she tells me. Not really sure how that works - but she's still there and just scraping by financially.

Natasha has spent too much time with Roger.  She hasn’t been respectful to either him or Tori.  She’s acquired many of his bad habits.  Doesn’t lift a finger, even when Tori asks her to.  Tori has allowed the two of them to walk all over her.  I wouldn’t put up with it (but then again, I would have never got involved with Roger in the first place – let alone taken him back)

I saw Natasha and Tori the other night when Jenna and I were returning home after a long day to end her summer.  Natasha was out riding her scooter.  She seemed so forlorn and distant – as though she has given up on life.  She’s only twelve. She just started junior high.  I hope she makes friends there and doesn’t break.  I was just so sad as I watched her not caring.

While Jenna ran home to get her scooter, I walked Natasha to her house and Tori came out to tell her something.  She looked awful – Tori did.  Her hair is short and quite thin.  She has red splotches all over her face.  She says she has cancer. I don’t know what kind. I know her financial affairs are not the greatest.  The disease will most likely kill her as she doesn’t seem to know how to prioritize her affairs.  And Roger does absolutely nothing to help her. 

My heart breaks for both her and Natasha. What will become of her if /when Tori dies. Is that why Natasha seems so distant?

I told her about a place not too far from here.  I hope that she is able to remove Natasha from her current living environment.  I hope she takes the time to teach her daughter the values that she might have once had before Roger corrupted her.  I hope Natasha realizes that education and work will work to her advantage much better than following in Roger's footsteps and trying to continue life as a bum. I hope she understands the sacrifices that Tori has made and that she will find strength to overcome.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It Amazes Me What I Can Remember

          It’s been almost 40 years since Jill and her family moved out of my mom’s neighborhood.  They are the first family that I remember having moved.
          It’s only been in the last couple of months that I got in touch with Jill through facebook. She has since moved back to Utah. I told her about mom and made arrangements for us to visit.

          And so the other day Jill drove to mom’s house and we visited for a while.  She told me how she and mom had spent many a days visting at each other’s houses.  And made it known (for the first time) that her youngest had had a crush on me when we were younger.  Really?!  Because I had had a crush on him and wasn’t aware that he had felt the same way until Jill took us to lunch.
          I think the greatest thing was watching mom’s recognition when Jill first arrived – like nothing had changed.  But time has changed us all.  And mom didn’t remember doing lunch once we left the restaurant.



          This is a picture of the two kindergarten classes, the principal and the two kindergarten teachers.  It is the only colored class photo in my possession.  The rest are black and white squares.  But all the “class pictures” that I have are not just class but entire grade.  I like is that the picture included everyone in my grade – and not just the class I attended.

          I don’t know if mom wrote the names on the back of this particular photo.  I forgot to scan them in if she did.  But I actually do remember.  45 years.  53 faces.  And I seriously am able to put a name to 43 of them.  Not just first names, but last names as well. Give me some time and I can get at least 6 more.
          We had a lot of Lindas and a lot of (last name) Nelsons – though I’m sure each was spelled differently.  And I think Paul looks like a cut out.  But they didn’t crop and Photoshop and insert back then.  So probably not. 

          I’m a little embarrassed at not having recognized my neighbor from across the street – I don’t think it’s the best picture of him.  But I was able to pick him out because of the sweater.  5 boys in the family.  I think each of them wore it.  I think it might have even been passed on to the grandkids.  That would really be some super-strength fabric though. 

          I don’t know what happened to Mrs. Cannon.  I always wished that my teacher had been Mrs. Flinders.  But she did not finish out the year with us.  Nor did Miss Nelson who followed her.  No, my kindergarten year unfortunately ended with a Miss Wamsley – I’m quite certain it was Miss.  Can’t imagine any guy purposely marrying that old dragon. She was so bad that even the parents complained about her.

          I wish Jenna could experience the stability that seemed to exist in my own childhood.  I suppose I am able to put first and last names with so many of the faces is because I actually graduated high school with most of them.  Oh, there were the occasional moves – but not like today.

          When I was younger, I could step outside my house at any given time of the day, and there was always at least twelve other kids outside for me to play with.  Jenna doesn’t have that over here.  There are very few children in our neighborhood.  And there are only a few on the street who stay for more than four or five years.  I hope we will be able to move again – but because we want to – not because we have to.

          May I continue with this memory and not ever have to burden my kids with a memory disorder – because it’s rough.


         

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome to the Neighborhood!




          When we first moved to our current neighborhood, I wondered if had neighbors.  It was quiet.  The most people I ever saw was in the morning when children would walk to the bus stop.  I hadn’t actually met the people on either side of us – but my social Jenna introduced herself to just about everybody.  We met our across the street neighbor through her.

          Next door to him on each side were Spanish speaking neighbors – the adults anyway.  Jenna would occasionally hang with the girl who was 4-5 years older than her.  Jenna said she didn’t know Spanish that well – weird.  If that’s what they spoke in the home.  They had to have spoken Spanish to the grandma as she just didn’t know any English.

          They have since moved.  The house was vacant for a couple of months before an acquaintance of the neighbors to the east of us moved in temporarily.  I don’t believe she was living there legally.  She was an uptight bitch.  I was relieved when she was gone – I didn’t think it would last.  And I don’t see it lasting for the current group that come and go right now. 

          Up the street from us is a house that has been vacant from 1-2 years.  A couple moved in just last week.  They are from California and according to her are NEVER going back.  Both are quite impressed with the welcome they’ve received.  And I like having them at the top of the street.  I am saddened that none of the move-ins have children that Jenna can play with.

          Traci and Miles packed all of their belongings and drove here from California.  They said that everything that could go wrong with the move did.  They were supposed to arrive on Saturday but because of some mechanical problems did not arrive until Sunday.  And then they couldn’t get a hold of the landlord and had oodles of possessions which needed to be moved in somewhere.  But it was unrealistic to take it all to a motel/hotel.

          Hot water went out and it sounded as if they experienced some kind of water explosion whenever they tried to use it.  Plus the garage door won’t open and so they can’t use the space.  (There was a lot of vandalism that took place on that house during the time of vacancy) But they are both happy to be here.

          They said that when they moved in that one of their across the street neighbors (they live on a corner) came over with a six or twelve pack of sodas saying that it was too hot to be working so hard and maybe they could use the drinks.  One of their next door neighbors invited Miles over for a beer.  Our across the street neighbor gave them a pie.  They are floored.  Never have they known such hospitality.  They said they would never see that in their old neighborhood and that if someone were to come by, it would probably be something negative – they used the example of shooting.

          I had actually met Traci the day prior.  There was a fire at a restaurant nearby.  Traffic had been rerouted into our neighborhood.  Oh, my goodness.  I haven’t seen that many cars over the two and a half years that we’ve lived her.  It was crazy!

          Traci had parked in front of our house – which is a ways down from her own.  She walked to her house on foot to find Miles standing in the street directing traffic.  I think that’s great that he took that incentive.  It really was helpful.

          Traci and I visited for 30 minutes or so.  And last night Roland and I were to visit with them both.  I hope they’re with us for a while.
          

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chua Thien Duc

         Jenna had a hard time after we moved in – often crying as we were waiting for the bus that would take her to school.  I am so grateful to Angie who took the incentive to befriend Jenna – though it was only for a couple of months.  They were really hoping to have a play date together.

          Angie’s mom worked – and so the only time we could come over was after dinner.  The first time we had gone over to play with Angie, her mother looked at me and asked what kind of pizza I liked.  We visited a bit while the girls played and then Angie’s mom put on a video.  Cinderella III – in Spanish.

          Jenna watched that show all the time – but in English.  But I was certain she’d still understand what was being said.  But that’s not why Jenna was there. She was hurt when Angie started watching the movie and paid little or no attention to Jenna.  We left before the movie ended.

          Angie had given Jenna a penguin she had made in school.  That was the last we saw of her.  Her family had moved out during fall break.

          Like so many houses around the nation (our last one included) the house had gone to foreclosure.   It hadn’t been completely vacant as family members continued to come and go – taking whatever possessions they could.  Often leaving possessions on the curb for any passerby who might be interested.  I think it was the beginning of summer when the new homeowners moved in.

          Flags everywhere.  I didn’t know what kind of flags.  I just thought they were party people who must have had a large number of children who had birthdays quite close together.  For every Saturday there was a large number of cars parked all around the house.

          One day Roland commented that it was a Church.  A church?  Really? Someone had converted Angie’s house into a church? 

          I actually hadn’t noticed the letters over the car port: Chua Thien Duc.  I remember looking it up.  I was told it is the name of a Vietmese temple.  Wow.  Angie’s family’s house had/has been converted into a temple?  Interesting. 

          I don’t have a problem with it.  I would rather have a religious organizational structure in my neighborhood than a crack house.  People are being fed. Uplifted.  They are growing in their faith and spreading their devotion.  And that’s cool.  It’s just kind of different to think I have been in the house when it was used as a house.  I’m certain that I would not even recognize whatever new makeover that’s been created.