Maple Lane, Provo, Utah 2000-2007
The house I owned on Arnold Lane in Falls Church Virginia was a weight on my shoulders. The many bedrooms that had been useful as my family grew were mostly empty. I had friends, but not intimates. My friend Margy had returned to Utah with her husband when his assignment with the National Guard in D.C. ended. I also had the persistent feeling that my parents would come to need my help in time.
Although I tried dealing with the assorted shortcomings of the house, it was a huge task. I anesthetized myself by writing the Okishdu series which I posted to friends on the internet at the rate of nearly a chapter a day. A number of friends enjoyed the serialized books and the writing kept me sane.
There were a number of pieces of furniture that I didn't move because my son Richard would return to the house on Arnold Lane and rent to another young man after he helped me move to Utah. I still despaired of selling the huge house any time soon.
Against the advice of my residnt daughters, I set up my dining room in the area near the kitchen and contented myself for the meantime with using the old couches that had been purchased second hand for the house when it was used as a rental. I started preparing for Eliza's wedding. As our family tradition had established,there would be a lot of good food, including Chinese specialties like eontons.
Richard and I planned and constructed a pergola to hold the hanging bench swing in the back yard. It was the focal point for the garden reception. I purchased a lot
of potted plants which were hung from the edge of the deck and planted here and there around the yard to brighten up the area. I asked David to bring my birdbath from the Arnold Lane front yard to be installed in the backyard at Maple Lane where it balanced the pergola.
In the first week of June I interrupted my plans for Eliza's wedding for a trip to Chicago. Nancy would be awarded her doctorate on the ninth of June in 2000. I took my son Richard and my daughter Tisha, along with her children Rusty and Rochelle in my Toyota Van.
Several other family members, including Meg, David, and their father came from Virginia to attend the ceremonies of the day. Nancy was living in a co-op house near the campus in a neighborhood that was otherwise becoming gentrified. Her little cat Casper liked to nibble the toes of unwary sleepers. The children were excellent travelers and we made a good trip without undue incident.
Eliza and Philip Porter were married on her birthday, June 30, 2000. Philip wanted to be married in another temple than the Provo temple, but Eliza received her endowments there a few days before their marriage in the Jordan River Temple.
The family gathered for the wedding. Some stayed with me and others with Tisha in Salt Lake. We got together and prepared the food for the reception.
I had begun a diet that restricted carbohydrates, but the cake I made was as elaborate as any of the others I had created for the weddings of my children through the years. I rented tables, market umbrellas, chairs and forks. The trellis wedding arch I had made for Meg's wedding to Bryan several years before was decked with artificial ivy and silk blossoms and served as a focal point to guide guests down the gentle slope to the back yard. Philip's family stayed in a motel but we all gathered at the temple for the wedding. My mother was able to attend. Afterwards we drove to Provo and were guests at a wedding brunch provided by Phil's parents.
The evening garden reception started with a fair sky, but clouds soon gathered. The company was clustered under the umbrellas and the patio when the clouds grew dark and it began to rain, a force that brought a more cosy atmosphere to the gathering. Meg had prepared a slide-show of the couple's pictures from childhood onward and displayed them on a small TV. My sisters and their families came along with several other relatives. After the reception Eliza and Phil drove to my parent's summer cottage in Manila, Utah for a honeymoon. They decided to remain in Provo until they completed their education and they rented a studio apartment in the upstairs of an old house close to downtown Provo.
After the wedding reception my youngest son Sam returned to Virginia to find summer work before his mission started in December. My son Richard returned to try and find a renter to share the Arnold Lane house along with himself and Sam. He took the Toyota Van and I began life without a car.
In early July we received word from Nancy that she had eloped to a Las Vegas marriage with a young man named Hunter Bivens. They had known each other for about a week. I found him gracious and likable when they visited.
About this time I applied for health insurance. IHP turned me down on the grounds that I was overweight, old, and had received a minor surgery for a skin cancer on my nose. I decided not to take the alternative insurance which offered very little for a lot of premium.
I started working at the Provo Temple. Between walking to the Temple, the bus stop, the stores, and keeping to a new way of eating, I lost more than 60 pounds and became considerably more fit. Margy and I got together to paint now and then when I took the bus up to Salt Lake. I attended art meetings with my mother and won a couple of awards at the UWS Fall Show.
I finally sold the house on Arnold Lane to my ex-husband during a trip east. The idea of renting the house wasn't working out. I was preparing to put it on the market and toward that end I sanded and refinished the parquet floors throughout the first floor of the addition. My ex, Richard H. stopped by and admired what had been done, but he said that the narrow foyer area would keep the house from being sold. I moved the wall and a few days later he offered to buy the house. Perhaps I could have earned more if I had put the house in the hands of a realtor, but with no air-conditioning and a number of fundamental flaws made in the initial remodeling, I was happy to settle for the limit I could make on capital gains without paying taxes.
I had purchased a round-trip ticket and used it to fly home, but I decided to salvage the whirlpool bathtub from the basement. My son Richard drove it west in
the Toyota Van. Richard and I drove the Toyota Van back to Virginia via a scenic route that included Canyonlands, Arches,Hovenweep, Mesa Verde, White Sands, Carlsbad Cavern, and an eerie drive through superheated Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. We experienced first hand the effects of the Clinton manipulation of government funds when we took a wrong turn and ended up on a freeway that went nowhere. It headed out of Little Rock toward Whitewater, the fabled development in which the Clintons were involved.
Although we didn't stop at motels or camp along the way, the sleeping area of the van was comfortable. We showered in truck stops and took turns driving. After visiting with my family, I took the bus back to Utah just after President Bush was elected.
During the trip I had an opportunity to talk about the Church when the bus neared Salt Lake. The bus driver had questions about Mormonism from some of the passengers and he appealed to a Catholic priest to answer them. When the priest demurred, I volunteered.
In the fall of 2000 Sam returned to Utah and prepared to go to France. He entered the mission home in December. My son Richard moved to the house on Columbia Road. Mary and I lived upstairs at Maple Lane and Lucinda continued sharing with roommates in the downstairs apartment.
In the Spring of 2001 I met Sue Ream when she and I both enrolled in a class with Linda Moyer, a well-known watercolor painter. Sue had substituted for me at the temple, but I knew almost nothing about her. I needed a ride to Draper where the class was held and I received two names of other artists who were enrolled in the class. I was surprised to find that Sue lived less than a block away from me, just over the ward boundary on Briar Avenue. Sue was impressed when I didn't nag her about taking the wrong turn off the freeway. I knew we should go east to get to Draper, but she drove west toward Bluffdale. We became good friends in the following week as we commuted together. The fruits of my class with Linda was having a picture of fruit and silver dishes accepted into the UWS
In April of 2001 Hunter and Nancy were feted at an Open House provided by his family in Philadelphia. Lucinda and a friend flew to Virginia. Tisha and her children flew to New York on Jet Blue with me and we and rented a car for the trip to Virginia. We drove up to Philadelphia with the Virginia contingent of the family. During our trip back to catch the plane home from New York, Richard drove us in the Toyota van. We visited some of the sites including Liberty Island and Ellis Island. I took a picture of my granddaughter Rochelle with the skyline of New York City in the background. Somehow she refused to act happy and the picture of a little girl with her head down in a sorrowful pose with the World Trade Center in the background only months before September 11, 2001 is haunting.
Later that summer Lucinda and the other young women living in the downstairs apartment moved away and Eliza and Philip moved in. Eliza had just graduated from the Y with a degree in music education and after a brief time she was employed as instrumental music director at Kearns High School while her husband continued his studies. Mary stayed in one of the upstairs bedrooms. She worked at the MTC and later taught French at BYU as she worked to complete her degree. We seemed to deal fairly well together. Mary Jane taught first Spanish, then French, at the MTC.
I began to plan to serve a mission. First I had to deal with my teeth which had degraded rather badly from the major fix that was done years earlier. Otherwise in better health than I had been for years, I had various root infections and other problems. I decided to get dentures. It was not an easy thing to find a dentist willing to pull my few remaining teeth. At last I was referred to a dentist who supported my decision and over the next few months the job was done.
I resigned from my service at the Provo temple where I was working three days a week on the Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday early morning shifts. I put in my papers to serve a mission after once more approaching my parents about the possibility that they might need me. My mother was affronted by my offer and accused me of trying to cut out my sisters who had been granted a special legacy as compensation for taking care of our parents as they experienced various ailments.
The day after I handed my mission application to the Bishop of Oak Hills Seventh Ward my family contacted me. My father had taken a pick axe to the wall of the apartment downstairs in their home. The tenants had rewired the thermometer on the heater and he forgot that he had a key. My mother called my sister Katie for help, but failing to contact her, had called the police.
I said I would come up and stay for a month or so until I received my mission call, but it soon became evident that more than a temporary stay was called for. I contacted the Missionary department to ask for a postponement of my call, and they said they had no record of receiving it. In any case, I never heard from them again.
It was August of 2001 when I began to stay in the upstairs spare bedroom at my parent's home. I returned to my home in Provo on weekends using the bus and Trax. Taking care of my father was sometimes a wearing task and it was a relief to let my sisters take over the duties of stabilizing my father's mental state for a couple of days a week. There were some scary times those first weeks as we tried to find a way to tame his delusions.
It seemed that we were having some success with Lorazepam, a tranquilizer like Valium. Ironically, the first signs that my father was stabilizing came in early September, and on September 11, 2001, a day when he seemed to wake clear-headed after a night with no delusional behavior, Jane came into the room where I was taking care of him and told me to come watch the TV. We watched in stunned apprehension as the Trade Center in New York was damaged by planes and fell. She told me we should keep the news from Dad. I replied that we couldn't keep it from him. The videos of the fall of the Trade Center and the flaming Pentagon would not quickly go away. Dad habitually watched the news. There was no way to avoid it. He was somewhat bemused by the images and eventually became convinced that it was his own hometown of Panguitch, Utah that had suffered the destruction. My brother Mike came to visit, understanding that it might be the last opportunity to visit my father. I had damaged my parent's car an accident involving low concrete stanchions placed around a display car in front of Hinkley's Dodge, where my mother had instructed me to drive close so she could speak to a salesman from the comfort of her car. I rented a sporty red sedan and my brother, my parents and I drove down to Southern Utah.
Dad seemed anxious to get a supply of 'didies' once we reached Panguitch and he saw
that his nephews were okay and the town undamaged. My brother remarked on the strangeness of helping his father change his 'depends' when we stopped at a cafe to eat on the way back to Salt Lake City. President Bush was addressing Congress and we caught a few phrases on the radio as we drove through the evening.
My family are all Democrats, mostly of the liberal side of the party. This makes for interesting discussions when politics arise. I was proud of the strength and resolve the President showed in the following weeks as the economy trembled and war appeared inevitable.
I prepared the spare room at my parents' home for a long stay, bringing up my main computer and setting up the room to my preferences. I had the ratty old carpet removed and found a sound, rather nice hardwood floor underneath. My sister Katie and her husband Bill took on the task of taking up the carpet. I think the discovery that a sound hardwood floor existed under the carpeting played into their eventual decision to purchase our shares in the home after my mother died.
I turned the room into a combination office, studio, and bedroom, constructing a cabinet bed that held my large watercolor papers and a mat cutting machine. The north light from the large window was wonderful and I enjoyed painting when I had the time.
I returned to Provo every weekend as winter approached. I purchased a PDA in October and began keeping a fairly regular journal. Katie and Jane convinced my mother that I needed the car. I didn't take it as an outright gift at the time, but on November 23, 2001 I started using it to get back and forth to Provo on the weekends. I was already the principal driver. My mother still liked to drive now and then, but we discouraged her, particularly when she left the emergency brake on throughout a trip to her manicurist. When she got home with a car that smelled of burning brakes, she protested that it was all my fault for putting on the emergency brake. She had never bothered to use it.
Maryjane graduated with a degree in French from the BYU and finally decided she was more likely to find a job if she returned to Virginia where she lived with her father in the house on Arnold Lane and explored various kinds of employment, finally settling on banking where she made rapid progress.
I flew to Virginia after the turn of the year, keeping with my intent to keep up an acquaintance with my grandchildren. Salt Lake was donning special dress for the coming Winter Olympics. Security at the airport in Salt Lake was tight but efficient. It was quite another story in the east. I nearly missed my flight at BWI because of long lines and poor information even though I had arrived at the airport early.
Eliza had begun working as the director of instrumental music at Kearns High School which was across the street from one of the Olympic Speed Skating Oval She obtained tickets to events associated with the Olympic Games because she took the initiative to sponsor the participation of her school. We attended one of the rehearsals of the Opening Ceremony with other family members using tickets Eliza had obtained. I watched the big florescent Olympic Rings on a mountain above the city lit for the first time to the accompaniment of fireworks. We attended a performance of the LDS Church's Olympic festival in the Conference Center on 'stand by' tickets. The athletic events we attended were for the Paralympics, but they were spectacular and full of rare feats of courage. One was a hockey game in which the players had no useful legs. The other was a skiing event that included
skiers with various handicaps including one or no legs, no sight, or no arms.
My various visits east and participation in activities surrounding the Olympics took place in addition to my duties of caring for my parents. I had developed special recipes to get my father to take his medication. He particularly liked a concoction of ground up medicine mixed with cranberry extract powder, artificial sweetener, and rum flavoring that I put on his cinnamon rolls. He might not finish the entire roll, but he ate every portion that was soaked with the 'elixer' I prepared. In the weeks and days before his death he was still able to do many of his daily tasks, including going to the bathroom, although by now he wore protection as a precaution. After cracking a hip he spent a few days in the hospital, but it soon became apparent that the situation wasn't best for him. His break was minor and was healing easily enough, but the nurses could not keep up with his medication as he needed. The rehabilitation nurse found it difficult to work with him and recommended that we place him in St. Joseph's, a nursing home. Since we still had the care of my mother to be concerned with, and since institutional care didn't seem to suit him, we brought him back to his home on Darwin St. The major change was that he now used a walker. I took them went to eat at a cafe and when I parked the car he got out, removed his walker from the car, and started walking. In fear that he would wander unaccompanied across the parking lot, I hurried to get my mother out of the back seat. Suddenly my father was at my elbow offering to share his walker with my mother. They set out together across the parking lot, holding hands,each of them holding on to part of the walker.
Only a day or so before he died my father weakened so much that he couldn't leave his bed. Instead of waiting until Monday to come up from Provo, I left home after attending church, while still dressed in my nice clothing, wearing makeup and with my hair nicely styled, a real change from my usual attire while taking care of him.
When I arrived my sisters told me he had not spoken for a while. I went into Daddy's room and leaned over him to speak his name. The small lamp by his head was shining on my face and when he opened his eyes and looked at me, they widened and he acted as if I were an angel, his face was so beatific.
During the afternoon a number of his family members visited, even his grandson Michael Heywood from Washington state happened to be driving his truck through the area. Around two in the morning I was resting on the couch. Dad's breathing was stertorous and for a number of hours his body had been exuding large amounts of fluid. He had neither eaten nor had anything to drink for a day or so. He could tolerate neither. I wet his lips and mouth with a soft brush moistened with water. In accordance with information we had learned on a website called 'Crossing the
Creek,' we knew that in the final stage of passing the body is only damaged by efforts to force eating or drinking. Even intravenous feedings can produce a drowning effect. Mother got up to go to the bathroom with Katie's help and at that time my father was still breathing. Moments later when Katie checked on him, he had passed away. She woke me and we comforted my mother. My father died at around 2 AM on March 25, 2002.
Due to her occupation as an obituary writer, Jane knew the best funeral home to call. They came and carried Dad away after signing the death certificate. The following morning we took Mother down to make arrangements for the funeral. Dad's body had been refrigerated in preference to embalming. This meant there would only be a family viewing for a few minutes before the funeral. We decided on a large chapel within the funeral home with natural forest scenes portrayed in stained glass in the windows on the south side of the room. We chose the coffin that seemed to suit him best, simple but beautifully crafted of walnut with a minimum of decorations and a creamy lining. Mother asked that he be dressed in a white suit.
I wrote the obituary and it was illustrated with a watercolor painting I had made of him. Jane made a couple of minor changes to the obituary and published it. We had a family style funeral arranged mostly by my mother. My daughter Meg played the violin and Marlene Bowen's husband played the trombone. My children sang a song together. Tributes were made by family and friends and then we went up to the Salt Lake Cemetery where my mother's family is buried. My parents had purchased a plot from a relative and for some time they had a gravestone in place with only dates to be added. Ironically, after we came home from the funeral home a person from 'Hospice' made their first visit. We said their services would not be needed at this time.
My children had all gathered from the various places they lived. It was good to have them together. My good friend,Margy, stayed at the house and helped receive the dinner provided by the Relief Society.
I continued taking care of my mother now that Dad was gone. She grew more dependent on me as the days went by, wanting me to stay in sight even if I had to leave the room to make a meal. She said that I should stay all week long instead of returning to my home in Provo on the weekends. I resisted the suggestion because I found that staying five days a week was getting very difficult. My sisters spent less time at the house because mother seemed relatively healthy and they didn't think relief was needed during the week. Mother had an ulcer on her leg that varied in size and seriousness according to the stress she was going through. We visited the wound clinic at the University of Utah hospital at least once a week, in addition to other appointments. Mother and I still spent several hours once a week painting with her friend Val. It was a welcome relief from the solitary duty of taking care of her from day to day.
I had moved my computer and printer into a corner in the living room while Dad was still alive so I could keep my eyes on him. Mother wanted me to focus on her constantly, or if not tending her, to watch the TV shows she was watching. She resented any time I spent at the computer, even though I was only a couple of feet away. I began to feel like I was getting to the end of my rope. I had given up a chance to serve a mission to take care of my parents, but no one could say how long the duty would go on.
As always, Mother was somewhat self-focused and autocratic. I was at her beck and call and I was wearing out. She really wanted to move to my sister Katie's house, but that wasn't a viable plan. My parents had purchased their home when they were in their forties, but it was well suited to the needs of older people. The front and back doors were just one step down, and even that was sometimes difficult
for them to navigate. I had installed grab bars in the bathroom and along the hallways to help them as they moved.
Finally, even though I prayed for strength, I realized some other arrangement would have to be made. My house in Provo had been built in the same era as my parent's home with similar easy access. If I took care of my mother in my own home I would have more flexibility in making plans. I could call on one of my college aged daughters to help look after her when I needed to be away from the house. Even though my sisters and their children offered to help as needed during the week, it seemed a stretch to call on them just to get away to go to the temple or go to the store, particularly when my mother protested that she liked to go shopping.
I was asked to attend a Welling Family History meeting in Ogden one Saturday and it seemed best to stay in Salt Lake instead of going back to Provo Friday night. I called my sisters and told them that I wanted to meet with them on Saturday morning. We sat around the dining table with our mother and I told them I had begun to find our arrangement difficult. I suggested that each of us should make a proposal about how we planned to help take care of our mother. I told them I was willing to continue taking care of her, but would prefer to do so at my home in Provo. Jane asserted that they would never see my mother if she moved to Provo. She suggested that she would give up her apartment and move in with mother. I could come up on Friday morning and stay for two days. During the weekdays Katie would be on hand to take care of her and we could hire someone to take the times that Katie wasn't able to be there.
Mother said that she would prefer to live with Katie at her home in Rose Park. She really liked Bill, Katie's husband and would feel better with a man in the home.
Katie started out somewhat aggressively and said that she thought we should put Mother in a nursing home because she was too busy to take care of her on the weekdays and certainly didn't want to have her move into her home.
Mother seemed quite unruffled by Katie's firm rejection of her plans. She said that she would prefer living in her own home with Jane if she couldn't live with Kate. It seemed the best compromise and we agreed to put the plan into effect within the next few weeks.
Only a few days later mother broke her hip. She was trying to move from the bedroom to the bathroom supporting herself on first the dresser, then the doorknob, then the grab bar in the hall. She had a walker near at hand, but she felt it made her look old to use a walker.
When she let go of the edge of the dresser, she reached for the doorknob and missed it, but her angle of movement made her stumble hard against the dresser, then twist and fall. As a result she broke not only her hip, but cracked some ribs.
She was taken to the hospital and the orthopedist put pins into the bone that had broken just beneath her hip joint. Fortunately she had been taking a medicine that strengthened her bones and no hip replacement was necessary. On the other hand, she was physically compromised in several ways and we decided she should stay in the hospital rehabilitation ward. She made slow, if any, progress. We were wondering how long it would be wise to have her stay there, then a nurse gave her an overdose of Coumadin, a blood thinner. The following day Mother looked ghastly. We had no idea of why her eyes were red and blood was pooling under her skin until the nurse came in and confessed that she had somehow managed to give two doses instead of one the day before.
We decided Mother would be better off at home. Jane was able to hire a lovely woman named Liliana who had come into the newspaper agency to place an ad for elderly aid. The people who brought Mother home apparently believed that she was coming home to die within a week or so. Instead, in her own home again, she soon got off oxygen and began to thrive. I was glad we had already made arrangements for a new order of taking care of her. Jane rearranged the bedroom I had stayed in with a double bed and television.
After a day spent working with computers and writing she had no interest in anything but a cozy bedroom. I moved my computer and studio furniture back to Provo. Jane watched TV in bed, but otherwise the function for her bedroom was sleeping and personal relaxation.
My son Richard had joined me at my home in Provo and we set about remodeling the upstairs bathroom. I had been making a number of renovations to my house as time went by. I removed a closet that cramped the dining area and completely remodeled my kitchen. The bathroom renovations included putting in the spa tub we brought from Virginia and installing a full length walk-in shower. When I took care of my parents their age and inflexibility made it really difficult to get into the tub
to shower. I took out the carpet in the dining room and entry area and put in wood parquet. I had already installed parquet in the large upstairs bedroom and I had done work on every closet but the small one near the back door. Even there I had drilled holes in the floor in order to put in a gas line for my new gas stove. Wherever possible I recycled cabinets and shelves instead of purchasing new. I had planned to build a module for my TV and accessories in the living room and had not quite settled on how to arrange my front room furniture. I had replaced the dowdy cloth couch set with a dark green leather couch with recliners built in at either end. One day I came home and found that Lucinda had decided to clean the rug. In the process she had rearranged the furniture. I liked the arrangement so much that I have hardly altered it at all in the past several years.
My son Sam returned from his mission to France at the turn of the year 2003 and returned to his studies at BYU where he was studying math. He and Richard lived in my basement apartment and Sam worked in the math lab as a tutor.
One thing my mother accomplished after getting back on her feet was going to the Bountiful Temple in March of 2003, a year after my father died to effect their sealing to each other. My son David flew from Virginia to act as proxy for his grandfather in receiving his endowments and being sealed to his parents and his wife. Sam was there to help with the sealing ordinances. My mother had assumed for years that the sealing between the two of them would take place after she died. Liliana, mother's nursing aide accompanied us to the temple. She was truly fond of my mother and took good care of her in the four hours, four days a week she stayed with her. She discovered an incipient cancer on Mother's back that we easily could have overlooked. I'm certain her care added at least a year to Mother's life.
My mother suffered from short term memory loss after her hip fracture and operation. It took some adjustment to talk to her. She would forget a conversation and instigate the same discussion several times. If she was given short shrift of succeeding repeats, she would grow unhappy and claim we were ignoring her concerns. Eventually we learned the patience to have the same conversation several times until it satisfied her.
My oldest son, David, and his wife Jing, had apparently finished having children. Jing was in her early forties when she visited a doctor because of symptoms that worried her. She had been taking care of their daughter Talitha who was receiving radiation treatments for an overactive thyroid. To Jing's surprise, she found that instead of having severe symptoms of menopause, she was pregnant. In September of 2002 she gave birth to a healthy son. I recommended that they name him Alden, after our first American ancestor, John Alden. I had hoped to be there for the birth when I reserved a flight to Virginia for the September,20, but he came a little early on the seventeenth.
Lucinda drove along with me to the airport as I headed east to visit my new grandson. For a number of years she had worked in the BYU facilities maintenance department, becoming expert in intalling all kinds of flooring as well as preparing BYU owned apartments for rental. She had quit going to school and was working almost full time but there was a policy that only students enrolled at the Y could be employed. She was able to get back into school and decided to major in math. She met a young man named Jared Hancock in one of her math classes. He had known Phillip Porter, and at first thought Lucinda was her sister Eliza. They had studied together and were planning a date when Lucinda joined us in the ride up to the airport in September of 2002. Not more than a week later she called me in Virginia to say that she and Jared were talking about getting married. After having had both Nancy and Tricia marry with very little notice, I was not particularly surprised. They didn't marry as soon as they had first anticipated, but about four months after their first date they were married in the Provo Temple. Jared's father taught political science at the Y and his family included two older brothers and a couple of younger sisters. Jared was the youngest brother but the first to marry.
Although my mother was able to come to Lucinda's shower, she couldn't make it to the wedding or the family reception following the wedding. My former mother-in-law, Pei-yun Chiu, died about a week before the wedding and a number of family members changed their travel plans so they could attend her funeral in California before coming to Provo. Lucinda wanted to keep her wedding simple with the temple ceremony as the most important event of the day. For that reason she decided that only family would be invited to her reception. There were enough family members from both sides to make a nice crowd in our home on the evening of the wedding.
Jared's parents had sponsored a wedding brunch at a ward house near the temple where friends had the opportunity to greet the couple and give tribute to the both of them with 'toasts'. Lucinda didn't want a typical wedding dress, but I found a lovely white dress in cotton with a medieval look at a temple clothing store and added length with lace. She wore a wreath of white flowers in her hair and looked as lovely as any bride I have seen.
A small house at the beginning of Briar Avenue was the couple's first home. A month or so before the marriage I had asked if anyone had an apartment available. Although the Liechtys hadn't rented their rental house for a couple of years, they made it available. Jared and Lucinda continued attending the BYU, but soon after marrying, Lucinda quit her job. She decided it was important for Jared to be the support for the family.
My daughter Tricia gave birth to her third child, Hannah Ruh on May 5, 2003, not quite five months after Lucinda married. I was in the waiting area at the hospital when a nurse poked her head in and then left. Apparently she expected to see an oriental woman and I didn't fit the bill. A little later my daughter Eliza and my son Sam came looking for me. The baby had been born a few minutes earlier. Hannah was a pretty infant with dark hair and creamy skin. Like her aunts Lucinda and Meg, she had a sensitive skin as she grew older.
About the time that Hannah was born, Lucinda discovered she would have a child early in the coming year. She turned to me for advice and I tried to share enough of my experience to be helpful without overwhelming her. I was working at the temple on Tuesday and Saturday during this period. I spent Thursday and Friday of each week with my mother in Salt Lake.
Eliza's husband, Philip, graduated from the Y and headed for Florida to find employment in his field of music education. He had been raised in Gainesville, Florida and preferred the heat of the sub-tropics to Utah's winter chill. Fortune smiled and he found employment equivalent to Eliza's position at Kearns High School, as instrumental music director to the school associated with the University of Florida. Eliza purchased a van to move their belongings to Florida to join him as soon as her obligations at Kearns High were finished.
I became involved in zoning issues early in 2003 in response to a petition. I wrote letters to the editors of various newspapers, attended City Council meetings and joined a group that tried to reverse the trend of ever more restrictive rental ordinances. My own house was already in the area of strictest zoning, but a majority on the council wanted to extend the same restrictions to all residential neighborhoods. We decided to participate in the annual Freedom Days parade during the weekend of the Fourth of July in 2003, I designed a float on a 12 foot long trailer and Richard helped me construct it. We had family members and friends in the costumes of pilgrims, patriots and pioneers both on the float and walking along beside as I pulled the trailer through the town behind the van. My son-in-law Bryan, as well as my granddaughter Tara were part of the group and Tisha carried her new baby while her children rode the float. We had a good response from the crowd along the parade route since we had the name of Provo prominently displayed along with a depiction of Y mount.
A day or so later I joined my friends Sue Ream and Margy Lloyd in a trip to Margy's family cabin near Yellowstone. Along the way we stopped at 'Bear Country' where we drove through a park where animals ranging from wolves and bears to elk and buffalo lived in enclosures several acres in extent. We spent time at Yellowstone Park. Sue had never been to Yellowstone and her interest in sights that were new to her made the trip more interesting for all of us.
I made a habit of taking a week or so now and then to fly back to visit my family members in Virginia. I also visited Eliza and Philip in Florida. They lived in an apartment within a block or so of the school where Philip worked. Eliza hoped to find a house that they could purchase. I went with her to see some prospective properties, but I advised her to keep their expectations within a range that would permit her to be home with their children when she started a family.
Mother had never suffered from the senile dementia that affected my father, but now and then she referred to people that I couldn't see. I thought this was an indication that the guides who would greet her at her death were already visiting. My father reported visitations, but he didn't interpret them that way. One day he had crowed, "That man who came and told me I was going to die was wrong." Hospice had been giving us some support since my mother broke her hip and part of the 'kit' they gave us included an assortment of medications. One of the reasons my mother needed someone looking after her, in addition to increasing weakness, was her memory. She took a wide assortment of pills for various conditions. Her blood pressure pills had to be administered with rigid regularity. With no real memory of whether she had taken her pills, she could either fail to take them, or take them too often, either of which would be life threatening. My mother was almost two years younger than my father who had died a little less than two years previously. My sisters asked me to stop taking her to paint with her friends. Not only that, I couldn't find her painting materials if she wanted to paint at home. The effect on her mental state of cutting off this stimulation was evident. Art had given her a focus other than her aches and pains and diminishing memory. Although she continued to be mobile, she grew visibly weaker.
It was mid January 2004. Lucinda was expecting her baby within a month. After attending the funeral for a friend who was one of my visiting teaching sisters. I decided to go up to Salt Lake earlier than usual and found that my sisters were convinced that Mother was in her last hours. She had not been able to get out of bed for a day or so and had no appetite. She would say that she was hungry, but when offered food, she couldn't force herself to eat. As the day passed she began the characteristic stertorous breathing we had experienced when my father died. The breathing went on through the night and my sister Jane became more and more unnerved. She had been under a lot of strain in the past few months as she waited for her mother to die.
My sister Katie and I were in the kitchen having an amusing conversation and I had just laughed when Jane came into the room and angrily told us to be quiet because our mother had just passed away. We hurried to the bedroom and I found that although her breathing had stopped, she was still fighting the drug that Jane had given her. I took her hand and felt her grip my fingers. Her sunken right eye opened just a tiny bit and she glared at me. I felt that she was not yet willing to give up her fight for life. "It's time, Dad's waiting for you," I whispered. Her fingers relaxed their grip and her eye closed as she finally let go.
My children gathered again as they had the previous year for Lucinda's wedding. My brother came from Vancouver, Washington with one of his daughters and his wife Mary. Mike had intended to fly back home after the funeral without taking any of the legacy of furniture and art my mother had left for him. When he found that the reclining chair intended for him was nearly brand new and was a deluxe model worth a couple of thousand dollars, he reversed his decision. In a few days he was heading home with a rented truck containing the chair, some paintings, and several other items. Years before Mother had arranged her will and a list of bequests. The years between had added a number of items to the household that were not listed. Among these were many paintings, both her own and those for which she had traded or which she purchased at workshops. Jane, Kate and I emptied her 'studio', a small building near the driveway that was primarily used for storing her artwork, finding boxes of paintings we hadn't known existed. We arranged the items into several lots; antiques and household articles, paintings by my mother, and paintings by other artists and took turns making our choices. After the process was finished we made a few trades between us. From the paintings I received I selected some paintings to send to my brother's grandchildren. I also set aside pictures for each of my own grandchildren.
A month and a day after my mother died Lucinda gave birth to her first child, a son on February 15, 2004. We didn't know his name until shortly before he was blessed even though Lucinda and Jared had decided on a name for him some time before he was born. Perhaps they were trying to avoid pressure to name their first son after an ancestor of some degree or another, particularly a grandfather. Lucinda gave birth at the Utah Valley Medical Center with Jared and me in attendance. She had chosen to go without anesthesia and she was successful in handling her contractions up and until she felt like 'bearing down' and was urged by the nurse to wait until the doctor arrived. Later she wished that she had gone ahead and had the baby without his 'assistance' which consisted of a rapid slash with scissors that nearly sent the child shooting across the room. After a couple of days in the hospital the Hancock's brought their infant home. I stayed at the Hancock house for several days while Calvin was tiny. I put him under a full spectrum light which brought his bilirubin count down swiftly. When he needed feeding I would take him to his mother. It helped Jared get some much needed sleep and allowed Lucinda to deal with the various effects of giving birth.
Meanwhile, I was kept busy working on my renovations and serving at the temple. I began to work on Friday mornings after my mother died and there was no longer need for me to travel up to Salt Lake to care for her. I made some changes in the arrangement of my living room to accommodate some of the items my mother designated as my legacy. There were two lamps, one a hanging Victorian style made of cranberry colored glass and etched brass filigree with hanging crystal drops. The other an ebony carving of a dancing Malaysian woman that my mother had purchased in Hong Kong years before. A tall antique bureau with glassed-in shelves on top was difficult to place in my home but my children chided me for considering selling it. I placed it in the entry area and moved the mirror and cabinet that had been in the entry into the hallway. The arrangement worked, in fact it added distinction to my decor.
Eliza and her husband were happy in Florida and when I visited them in the Spring of 2004 I learned that she was pregnant with her first child. I was in the Birth Center when the nurse gave her the news. She asked me to keep it confidential and I did so, surprising her sisters with my ability to keep her confidence.
My friend, Susan Ream had long wanted to take a trip to California. In May 2004 we decided to make a trip that lasted from Saturday afternoon to Thursday evening, thus allowing us to keep to our schedule of serving in the temple without the need to find substitutes. Sue had grown up in northern California. We drove to Reno where we spent Saturday night and attended an LDS ward on Sunday morning before driving on to Eureka California. Although I had driven over the same route many years before, I remembered little of the territory. We arrived in time to find our motel and make a trip to the beach while the sun set. For the next few days we explored the area. We walked through the quaint downtown and painted on the docks of Eureka and visited the Redwood forests. We returned to Provo in good time to serve our Friday morning duties at the temple.
In June another friend, Joyce Parsons, invited me to join her at a houseboat on Powell Lake. The sun had set and it was growing dark when we arrived at the dock. The lake was at its lowest level and the houseboat had been renovated since Joyce had last been there. As a result, we had to search for the houseboat using a motorboat. The young man driving the boat with Joyce and me and a lot of cargo aboard was struggling with the boat which seemed to be riding low. It was finally determined that we were rapidly taking on water. I had safely secured my camera and bed clothes in zip-lock bags. We barely made it to a fueling dock with water coming over the sides with every movement of the boat. We were able to get the attention of a Skidoo driver who suggested that drain plug in the bottom of the boat was open. Fortunately, his suggestion was correct. This meant that we only had to close the drain and begin to bail.
After a while we were able to set out again on our search for the houseboat. At last we found it. I was left aboard while the other two returned to the dock to get the other guests. I hung the sopping sleeping bags to dry and sat waiting for a long period of time. For a moment I wondered if I had been set up for some weird reality show, but I had a couple of large coolers full of food, the weather was mild, and there was no lack of fresh water. Even if I were stranded for a long time, I would be alright. In the first hours of the morning the rest of the party arrived and we prepared to spend our first night aboard the boat. It provided fairly luxurious accommodations. The only entertainment that was different from staying in a land-based cabin was taking the motorboat to various sights on the lake. Many venues were cut off to us by reason of the low water table and the young man who drove the boat gave us a bouncy, gut shaking ride whenever open water offered him a chance to do so. I enjoyed the company, but I discovered that spending a holiday on a houseboat is not my favorite idea of fun.
In July of 2004 Sue and I joined Margy once again at the cabin in Yellowstone. Sue and I drove up separately, spending the Fourth of July in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho where Sue and her family had long enjoyed long weekends. There were a lot of Koreans in the spa, which was a series of pools with water that varied from barely tolerable in heat to merely somewhat warm. A cancellation at an Inn near the spa gave us an excellent room which was right on the street only about a half a block from the springs. Sue was weary after driving for several hours. After we returned from the spa she fell asleep. I let her sleep while I watched fireworks from our back porch. The town is located near a volcanic cone and the fireworks were shot from the summit. In the finale a cascade of fireworks down the cliff face looked like bright lava. In the morning we continued our trip, taking a detour east to drive near the Idaho side of the Teton mountain range.
When we reached the cabin Margy had not yet arrived, but her father was there, making renovations that his daughters had suggested. We spent several relaxing days. This time we didn't go far from the cabin, except to visit the town of West Yellowstone and the sights of Mesa Falls and Big Springs. We tried to take a trip up the Snake River, but the motor on the boat hardly worked. It sputtered and quit several times, leaving us to float back to the dock, using oars to steer the boat. I have never been a fan of motor boats and I was happy to return with the current.
My daughter Mary called and said she was planning to marry a young man from Togo named Kizou Sam. She had been very successful when she graduated from the BYU and moved to Virginia. After a period of working at temporary jobs, she had obtained employment with a mortgage bank and because of her intelligence, and the fact that she was living with her father and had little incentive to go home early, she made rapid progess in her job. She was able to purchase a condo overlooking Lake Braddock and I had helped her decorate it. She lived there with two cats. I wished she could have married someone who was a member of the church, but she loved her fiance and seemed happy.
In October Sue and I took a trip to CanCun, Mexico. The hotel suite where we stayed had two double rooms. One had a couch, the other a kitchenette. The beach was beautiful and we traveled inland to see the ruined city of Chichen Itza. We took the tour to Chichen Itza twice, once to sightsee with a guided tour, the other to amble and make sketches. I had injured my ankle on the first trip, but a trip to a nearby pharmacy provided arnica and a brace. The injury meant I was able to sustain the pace Sue set when we returned for our second visit and when we visited the ruins of Tulum. I liked Tulum more than Chichen Itza. It seemed less crowded, and it haa a lovely setting on the coast with a beautiful beach beneath the cliff on which the ancient stone buildings are situated. A local restaurant in a shopping center not far from our hotel became our favorite place to eat.
For some time my son Sam had planned to spend some time in the military. He investigated the possibilities and decided to join the Army Reserve as his graduation from BYU neared.
I flew to Florida in December 2004 for the birth of Eliza's first child. I enjoyed my stay with the Porters in Gainesville. They had purchased a condominium apartment that should be an excellent investment as the years go by. The two bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, making a comfortable situation for a visitor. I helped Eliza arrange her furniture and hang the many pictures she had received. In her previous apartment a steep fine had been levied for any nail holes in the wall. She was happy to have everything in place before her baby was born.
Eliza had arranged to give birth in a Birth Center. This meant that she would be attended by midwives in a homelike setting. Geoffrey was born on Christmas Day. The birth wasn't easy, and the elbow-first presentation of the infant made it necessary to call in a surgeon for the repairs.
I had purchased a small artificial Christmas Tree and decorated it with objects like tiny toys that had been given to the baby. I purchased some little gold bells which I colored orange and blue, the 'gator' colors.
By the time I returned to Provo in early January of 2005, Sam had met his graduation requirements and had flown to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for Basic Training. Tech toys of any kind were frowned on and he communicated by mail.
Mary and her husband Kizou visited us in February and we had a small reception. I invited my sisters and some other relatives and neighbors and served a nice buffet of favorite foods.
I was planning to make a painting of Joseph Smith cutting the ice on the Mississippi River for the baptism of my great-grandfather Joseph L. Heywood. The information I was able to obtain by consulting various sources including family histories and the internet did not provide enough information for the painting. I planned a trip to Nauvoo while the trees were bare, since once the summer came much of the scenery would be obscured. Sue Ream decided to join me and we flew to St. Louis in April and drove north to Nauvoo in April, 2005. I had reserved a
room in a modern hotel with a design based on old Nauvoo houses. It was a pleasant room with conveniences ranging from a small refrigerator and microwave through an ironing board and iron. I purchased a laptop in preparation for the journey. We were able to watch movies in the evening after a day of sight-seeing and information gathering. The small red car we had rented was sporty and
comfortable. It was not the height of tourist season so the rates were reduced and we didn't have to stand in line for various attractions like riding in a wagon pulled by horses or going to the show at the old Masonic hall. I was able to get a lot of information that was otherwise unavailable. It was a very satisfying trip.
Eliza's baby Geoffrey had been looking poorly and seemed to be gassy because of his extended stomach. She took him to a doctor in late April and was given medication for gas. A couple of weeks later it was determined that he had leukemia. He was hospitalized immediately and started on chemotherapy. My daughter Nancy, now an M.D in New York, flew down to Florida to determine if the best of care was available to her nephew. She was satisfied with what she saw. Eliza and her husband Philip had chosen their home for its proximity to the school where he was teaching band. It turned out to be very close to Shands Hospital which has one of the best pediatric oncology departments in the nation, particularly relating to childhood leukemia.
In June my son Richard and I flew to Virginia and joined my son David and his two sons Taylor and Alden for a drive to South Carolina where Sam would graduate from Basic Training. The trip took us overnight and although I had arranged a room at a Motel 6 near the base, we arrived early in the morning of the graduation day completely fatigued. Fortunately I stopped by the motel to make sure we knew where it was and to determine that we had a room. To my delight, the concierge said we could use the room beginning that morning. We were able to get some rest for several hours before going to Fort Jackson and attending the ceremony. Sam spent most of the day with us, except for time spent in a drill when prizes were awarded. It was great to see him. He was leaner than usual, but more muscular. He was going into AIT at the same fort immediately following his graduation. I brought his laptop computer with me, but he wasn't allowed to use it.
Not long after we returned to Provo, Lucinda gave birth to her second child, Jacqueline on July 15, 2005. After her experience in the hospital when she gave birth to her first child, Calvin, Lucinda decided to give birth at home with an attending midwife. After my good experience with Eliza and the Birth Center, I was happy to assist her in any way I could. She had decided to use a pool of water to reduce the pain of labor, and possibly to give birth in the pool. She was attended by several midwives. I mostly kept busy keeping the water in the pool at around 98.6 degrees for the birth. I had always heard about people boiling water at the time a baby was born, but this was the first instance I had actually experienced such a thing. When people asked me what I was doing when Jacqueline was born, I answer: "I was boiling water".
I had not yet visited Nancy and her husband in New York City, even though they had come west several times, including when Rochelle was baptized. I was able to arrange a trip that took me from Utah to New Jersey, then a train to New York. I spent several days visiting various sights in the area, including a session at the Manhattan Temple on my first day in town. The following day I took a cab with Nancy and saw her office and hospital before proceeding by bus to the Cloisters museum where Nancy met me after several hours. When she met me I was just finishing a watercolor sketch of one of the gardens. I spent the next day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a daunting experience. The following day Nancy and I visited the Museum of Modern Art, viewing a wonderful exhibit featuring paintings by Cezanne and Pizzaro, had fresh mint gelato in the sculpture garden, then wandered around the lower Manhattan area, taking the Staten Island ferry as pale peach clouds of evening filled the sky, taking a bus past the empty hole where the World Trade Center had stood until 9-11-2001, and eating a delicious meal at a funky cafe on the lower east side.
The next day I set off for the airport and a day-long trip to Jacksonville, Florida where Eliza's mother-in-law picked me up and took me to Gainesville where I joined Eliza in the hospital. She had hoped that they would be home for my visit, but
that wasn't possible. At least I learned how things were with Geoffrey and knew more about how things were conducted in Eliza's special world. I changed my tickets so I could visit Virginia, but Meg and her family were visiting Utah at the time so I missed them, although I had a nice visit with David and his family.
In late summer 2005 Lucinda called and asked if she and her family could move into my downstairs apartment. I said I had promised David that he could live there sometime in the future, but for now the space was available. Lucinda and her family moved immediately, taking only a couple of days from the decision to move to completely moving into the living room and kitchen of the downstairs. Soon after that, knowing that David would at some time be using the apartment, they began to shop for a house. There was only one real candidate. Because of Provo housing policies, houses with accessory apartments are becoming rare. A small house on Briar had been on the market for some time. Meanwhile Tisha and her husband learned that he had been hired by an agency which valued his ability to understand Arabic, a skill he had gained in the Air Force years before, and which he kept relatively current.
I helped Lucinda and her husband, Jared, purchase the house on Briar Avenue where they could have the rent from part of the house to help pay the mortgage. After doing some needed renovation, they moved into the basement apartment and put the upstairs apartment up for rent. After a few initial disappointments, they were able to rent the apartment very favorably.
Meanwhile I worked on a stained glass panel that depicted the baptism of my great-grand father in the Mississippi. I put almost everything else aside as I worked on the panel, my first work in stained glass. It would have to be finished sufficiently for me to take a picture for submission to the Church Museum of History and Art in late October.
Since I had missed seeing the Stouts in August, I made plans to visit them in November after the deadline for my panel had passed. It was a visit in which I concentrated on my grand-daughters, Tara, Beth, and Annie. I spent some time with each of them in various ways, as well as spending some time with my daughter Mary and my son David's family. David's son, Taylor had decided to join the Marine Reserve when he graduated from high school. I attended a football game in which he played a significant role. I made a trip the the Women's Museum of Art in Washington D.C. with my daughter MaryJane and granddaughter Tara, then in her senior year. I also worked on a short novel for NANOWRIMO, a web based contest in which everyone wins who can write a work of fiction of 50,000 words or more during the month of November.
Eliza's baby Geoffrey was making progress with his treatments for leukemia. She kept us updated with a web-page where she could show pictures of her darling little boy.
Nancy and her husband Hunter joined us for Christmas at the end of 2005. We had a family celebration with my sisters on Christmas Day when Hunter and Nancy were scheduled to fly back to New York City. Nancy was expecting her first child which was scheduled to be born in early July.
In early January, 2006 I learned that my stained glass panel had qualified to be in the second round of judging. This meant I had to give it the finish for it to be seen publicly and construct a suitable frame and support. I purchased two eight or nine foot long 2 inch thick walnut planks from Woodcraft in Sandy and designed a frame and coordinated support. The fragility of the panel, nearly 16 square feet in size, and its weight, made a movable support necessary. The deadline for taking the panel to the museum was February 4. On January 31 I was close to finishing the panel's support. There were still a few minor things that could be done and I walked into my studio around 10:30 P. M. to consider what remained to be done before submitting the panel to the museum. I had used a lot of power tools to make the frame and support and their round cords were strewn around the floor. I probably tripped on one of them. A moment later I was on the floor and my left foot was still upright in its sturdy shoe.
My son Sam, home for a week or so between training at Fort Dix and deployment training at Fort Bragg, was able to help me in the following days. He brought me the phone to call 911 and helped the paramedics where he could. With his help available, I didn't need to stay in the hospital after being seen in the emergency room. I was able to use the walker I had kept after my parents died to get around and take care of my personal needs. On February 1, the day before my ankle bones were screwed back together, Lucinda and Sam loaded my panel into the back of my Dodge Caravan and I rode in the middle seat with my foot supported on the lid of a bucket when we drove to Salt Lake to deliver the panel to the museum. I called the temple to say I would have to go on leave until my ankle healed.
By the time Sam left for Fort Bragg I was able to get around fairly well. Even though the plastic and velcro splint was awkward and heavy, it was not as bad as a plaster cast, or even the fiberglass splint I had worn for a week or so after my operation. I could drive because my van had automatic transmission. I had discovered that I could get a discount from the hospital and my doctor for paying my bills promptly since I had no insurance. My friend Sue gave me a short term loan of several thousand dollars to cover basic costs, sparing me the necessity of using credit cards. In the years since IHC had rejected my application for health insurance I had saved more than $25,000 in premiums. The ankle cost me around $8,000, meaning I am still ahead of the game. I applied for insurance again, but the story was the same. I was denied insurance except through high deductible, high monthly payment state mandated plans. I am still self-insured.
By the last week in February I was able to attend both of the art groups I usually work with as a board member. I also painted several paintings during my convalescence and submitted an image of my granddaughter Tara playing her trumpet to the Utah Watercolor Society for their Spring Show. I received word that my panel had been accepted for the show at the Church History and Art Museum and my watercolor painting for the UWS show, making me a two star member.
My daughter Tisha and her husband were scheduled to move to the Washington D.C. area in early March. They had been renovating their home in hopes of increasing its value but time was growing short. I tried to help by taking care of their children, particularly their little girl Hannah, in the final days before they had to leave. I was still wearing a splint but five weeks had passed and the doctor said that when I saw him the following week I should bring a shoe. The next day I went shopping at a store near Tisha's house. I was using the motorized cart as usual during that period but I had the idea that if I could find an ankle support that had rigid plastic on the sides to keep my ankle from wobbling, I would be able to discard the awkward splint. To my surprise, I found an ankle support exactly like I had been thinking of. Of course, it is possible that I had seen such a support before and simply forgotten when. In any case, I took off the bulky splint, put on the light and relatively flexible support after buying some inexpensive shoes that would accommodate the support.
In the following days I was able to cut and lay terra cotta tile on the back deck near the spa in the Voss house and take care of a few other things. I soon discovered that I became exhausted after several hours. It was finally the day that Tisha and Brad had to leave. They put their house on the market, and to their gratification, the house not only sold, but it eventually brought in several thousand more than the asking price. They were on the road east when the final offer was confirmed.
I had more than a casual interest in the transaction since I had funded their mortgage. After my accident, and some car repairs, and the funding of my daughter Lucinda's mortgage, money had become so tight that I was praying for the success of their sale. On the opening evening of the International Exhibit at the Church Museum, we stopped at the title company that handled the sale. I took possession of the check that would pay off over $100,000 of debt, leaving me with enough to put aside for the renovation of my own small house in Provo where the carport deck was badly cracked and the roof was taking on a distinct sag. Fortunately a branch of my bank was less than a block away from the title company and I was relieved of the worry of carrying the check for more than ten minutes. We arrived at the parking garage under the Conference Center where exhibitors had free parking for the opening. I limped around to the Assembly Hall where the awards ceremony was taking place while my son Richard and Sue visited the exhibit. My panel was displayed in an excellent location in the lobby close to the entrance to the room where books and souvenirs were sold.
The promise that the multiplying and increase of my family would continue came when Lucinda told me she was pregnant again. It made me feel better that I had helped her with a new 'all in one' laundry machine. She had long been bothered by chapped hands that were exacerbated by the transfer of damp clothing from a washer to a dryer.
We had gathered together as a family a number of times for weddings and funerals, but other than getting together for holidays, we had not planned a family reunion. We decided to get together in Florida in June, 2006, but with Sam doing Ninja stuff and Nancy in her eighth month of pregnancy, it might not be a complete collection. Sam indicated that he would fly from Afghanistan to attend the reunion.
The family gathered to Florida gradually. Mary was first, spending several days with the Porters and helping Eliza make preliminary plans. I flew out of Utah with the Hancocks on June 22,2006. We left early in the morning but spent several hours in Houston while waiting for our connecting flight. I entertained Calvin by playing a movie on my laptop. We arrived in Jacksonville in the late afternoon and I found to my delight that instead of getting a small car, I got a free upgrade to a minivan. Mary had investigated the cost of renting a minivan but it was around 700 dollars for a week. The cost for the upgrade was less than $130. The Hancocks joined the Porters in their condo and Mary and I stayed with Phil's grandparents on Thursday and Friday nights. We received the happy news that Nancy had given birth to her first child on Friday, June 23, 2006. On Saturday the Vosses and the Stouts arrived and we moved into our campsites at Paine's Prairie. That night we had a camp meal with chicken teriyaki and roasted vegetables. Ice cream bars were served for dessert. We all made it out to church on Sunday. On Monday David and his family and Sam arrived within a short time of each other. Taylor had started Basic Training so he couldn't join us. The activities Eliza had planned proceeded smoothly with breakfasts, lunches, dinners and visits to local points of interest. A raft trip on the Itchnetucknee River on Tuesday morning was a favorite activity. Brunch on Wednesday morning was the last activity for all, and the Vosses had taken to the road before it began. Meg and her family were next to leave. Mary joined me and Lucinda's family when we drove to the airport for our return to Utah. Her flight to BWI took off from the same gate area about twenty minutes after our departure. David's family with Sam along stayed a little later. It was a lovely reunion .We had missed Nancy and Hunter, but they had added to our family even while we met in Florida. Their lovely little daughter Miranda Ruby was born on June 23. I had already reserved a flight to New York City for what I had thought would be a couple of weeks after her birth, but instead arrived when she was nearing her first month of life. I had a wonderful visit learning to love her first hand. She is a very pretty child with elements of both her parents in her appearance.
I returned from New York City and once again began to work a couple of days a week in the Provo temple. My ankle was healing well. I had become involved as a sort of 'super fan' with the summer program SoYouThinkYouCanDance and in the period between the beginning of the show in May and the finale in August I had joined a chat group and started a MySpace to communicate with my fan friends. I was able to go up to the Idaho cabin belonging to the family of my good friend Margy Lloyd with Margy and Sue Ream. We spend a fine week just lazing around. I was the cook for the week, making meals that were delicious and fit within the guidelines of Margy's diabetic requirements. I had been uncertain about attending my grandson Taylor's graduation from boot camp, but I found a round trip ticket to Savannah, Georgia for a reasonable price and made arrangements for others to take over some of my duties as the president of AUA. I flew to Georgia in September, 2006 and joined David's family at the graduation ceremony while his son marched gravely onto the field and received his insignia that marked him as a United States Marine. A car problem brought about an adventure that lasted until 3 AM so I stayed in the motel with the two younger children while David and his wife Jing returned to Parris Island for additional ceremonies. Afterward we drove to Florida where Taylor was introduced to the joy of drifting down the Itchnetucknee river. The Chiu's proceeded back to Virginia after church the next day but I stayed on for a nice visit with Eliza's family. We rode horses and visited an unusual nature center in Savannah.
I returned to Provo for a week or so before heading out again to visit Maryland and Virginia. Nancy took a train down to meet the family with Miranda who had grown and blossomed. After she left for New York, I took the metro to Virginia to stay with Meg's family. We had purchased tickets to the SYTYCD concert in DC on October 10, 2006. Mary and Kiki, Meg, Bryan and their middle daughter Beth and I enjoyed the show and the Stouts and I met the dancers afterward. The next day Mary, Meg and I went to the Washington DC temple for a session, ate lunch, then Meg and I headed to southern Virginia to visit my oldest grandchild, Tara who began her freshman year that fall at Southern Virginia University. The next day I returned to Provo.
Lucinda was hoping her third child would be born without too much delay and she gave birth only a few days later than she was due. I attended the birth of her baby along with her husband Jared and a couple of midwives. As she had done with her daughter Jacqueline, Lucinda gave birth at home with the aid of a 2 ft deep plastic wading pool. I helped her in her transition for the next few days.
Not long after the birth of baby Adam my friend Sue asked me to read a book about nutrition that she had casually picked up in a book store. It was titled "The China Study" and although I wasn't very enthusiastic, I agreed to read it and tell her what I thought. For more than six years I had been avoiding refined carbohydrates, whether in the Atkins Diet back in 2000, or in a system based on glycemic tables. Lately I had begun to add more whole grain products, but I still ate a fair amount of animal protein from various sources. I knew that dairy products were not nearly as healthy as their producers would have the public believe, and that the onset of childhood diabetes was associated with feeding cow milk formula to babies. Yet like most Americans, I had the opinion that more animal protein in the diet was a good thing. The book was scientifically sound. The diet advocated by the writer was significantly similar to that advocated by Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Because I am something of an enthusiast I immediately decided to follow the guidelines of the diet, which made the recent purchase of some bratwurst and a couple of beef roasts somewhat redundant. My modifications of the diet include the use of dairy products as condiments instead of staples in the diet. For instance, I sprinkle a little parmesan on spaghetti sauce served over green beans, a little chedder over salsa eaten with whole grain taco chips, a little whipping cream (virtually no milk protein) on a baked apple, and some butter on toasted whole wheat bread. I also allow myself to eat turkey at Thanksgiving, lasagna at Christmas, and lamb at Easter. Otherwise I avoid meat except for fish and seafood now and then and eggs and other dairy products are rarely eaten. I had wondered if it would be difficult to follow the guidelines, but it turned out to be quite simple. I decided it would help if I had a way to make soy milk and I found a machine on the internet that both grinds the soaked soybeans and heats the water to the correct temperature. I decided to order the machines for all my children except Richard who lives with me. I found that a number of them were very pleased with the idea. Various allergies, and even simple preference made them feel it would be a good thing to have. I have also begun trying to grow fresh herbs and vegetables. I turned my rarely used bathtub area (I had installed a walk in shower several years ago and have never personally used the tub) as a green house area. With grow lights mounted to the ceiling and hooked up to a timer that gave a booste to sunlight through the window, I hoped for success, but my thumb has never been green and eventually my project failed as each new seedling faltered and failed.
Sue welcomed my support as she embarked on the same general eating program. She had a number of degenerative problems that she hoped would be helped or possibly reversed by a change in diet. As the year 2006 drew to a close I submitted my stained glass panel to the Springville museum of art and it was exhibited until the week following Christmas. My daughter Tisha and her family drove back to Utah to spend the holiday season with their families here. They spent Christmas Eve at my house, playing games and acting out the Christmas story with Lucinda and her family who also joined us. It was wonderful to have a long line of stockings hung up waiting for the delight of children. When I drove From Virginia to Provo with Richard's motorcycle and other belongings in a trailer behind my car in 2002 I felt that it would be my last car trip across the USA. Since then my preferred mode of travel has been by air. Shortly after Christmas in January of 2007 my son David arrived at our home with a load of assorted furniture and belongings in the second phase of moving to Provo. His wife and younger children were still in Virginia where their condo was on the market. David asked if I would be willing to help Jing drive their car while he pulled another trailer behind their pick-up truck. Love led me to agree. David and I started east late in the evening of a snowy day. As we drove up Route 6 the rate of the snow increased. The traffic slowed to a crawl and we passed the scene of a recent accident. A pick-up truck very much like the one that we were driving was wrapped around the front of a school bus. People were directing traffic but the police and a bus to carry the passengers on the school bus met us as we proceeded up the road. Moments after we passed the accident scene David's cell phone began to malfunction, and suddenly the fuse that controlled the dashboard clock, the radio and the electrical outlet for the phone blew out. I joked that we had taken on a poltergeist. For several days afterwards I had the persistent feeling that there was someone in the car with us. It seemed to be a female presence, but I sensed no kinship. Later I learned that a couple had been driving west from the DC area in two cars to a new home in California. The woman drove in a pick-up truck much like the one David drove. The sudden snow and a mistake in driving left her truck crushed against the front of the large school bus and she died only moments before we passed the scene. I think she took passage with us for a time until she realized she must move on.
We met various road conditions of slick roads, blowing snow, and dense fog, but at last we arrived in Virginia with no damage to ourselves or the truck, except I felt that I had aged several years.
In Virginia I visited with Meg's family, saw Tisha's family and spent some time with my daughter Mary who had moved to a home she was buying from her father with her husband. Mary entered enthusiastically into making soymilk once I showed her how to use the machine. She took me to see the movie Dream Girls and I agreed that the performance of Jennifer Hudson was a standout. As the days passed I realized that the schedule David had proposed when I joined him in the trip to Virginia was not being applied. I had scheduled substitutes for my temple duties but that only covered the coming week and we needed to have time to make the drive. I suggested that I should drive west with Jing and the children and David could follow when he had finished the various details in his renovation of the condo. As it turned out, he was able to make more efficient decisions about what to pack once his family departed. Our trip west was harrowing because of an assortment of storms, particularly ice storm as we approached Kansas City that convinced me to end out day early on Saturday afternoon when I found a motel room in Independence Missouri. We stayed until after noon on Sunday and proceeded west. Much to my relief, we arrived safely. David followed almost a month later when the weather finally cleared. Their condo had sold for the asking price. David family stayed in my basement apartment while looking for a home to purchase.
I continued my voluntary service with the AUA and the UVAG, publishing newsletters and giving presentations. In March my picture CanCun Can Can won a prize of a hundred dollars at a UVAG exhibit. I made my reservations for a trip east in June and the year shaped up to be a busy one. I found that I had been released from my Relief Society teaching position and after a brief spate of wondering what I had done wrong, I accepted the situation and waited to see what would come next. I was called to extract records from documents published on the family search website. The work is done from any computer with an internet connection. I enjoyed settling down in my favorite position on my comfortable leather couch and call up the site where the work is carried out. I set a goal of indexing 1000 records a week when I started. I decided to enhance the work by setting a goal to be a patron regularly at the temple and began to attend the first endowment session of the week, followed by picking up a sister with no car and taking her for a session of initiatory work.
David and Jing found a house near the BYU stadium just through the block from where Jared's parents live. There were several ways in which the house could be improved, but it was in pretty good condition and the price was right. A major improvement resulted from taking up a worn carpet and refinishing the hardwood floors.
Sam returned from Afghanistan and began to work on a MS in electrical engineering at the Y. He moved back into the downstairs and helped me make some changes to my living room and bedroom by taking up the carpeting and laying wood parquet. I found new, long curtains to replace the old ones which had faded and begun to tear. I had planned to turn my living room into a 'media friendly' room and had reconfigured the window on the southern wall to accommodate a screen 8 feet wide on which I could project movies and presentations. I gave several presentations, one to the 'Grand Friends' about my stained glass panel, and the other about a website I had developed for the Provo Art Council. We also enjoyed watching movies on the 'really big screen'. I took care of a problem of a split in my bathroom wall with a sheet of metal and took care of the problem of covering the metal by putting up a wicker look textured wall paper. In my bedroom I made a 'chair rail' installation of palm patterned wallpaper that helped to integrate my silk duvet with my walls. The new parquet floor was protected with a palm patterned sisal rug. In the living room I placed a rug in the center of the parquet floor that combines the various rich colors in my furniture. The improvement to the appearance of the several sooms was pleasing.
Eliza was expecting a daughter in Florida in June of 2007, and I hadn't seen Nancy's lovely little daughter Miranda for more than nine months. It was time to fly east. I flew to Jacksonville and was picked up by Eliza's mother-in-law Colleen at the airport. She was in the process of changing jobs and was happy to have me there to take up the 'grandma' duties. Eliza had been concerned about her child's prenatal development because of various tests and had resigned herself to giving birth in a hospital instead of the Birth Center. A short time before I arrived she received encouraging news. The baby's measurements were good. I spent about a week playing with Geoffrey and enriching my vocabulary of ASL signing. I canceled my flight north when it began apparent that the baby was taking her time and there was no longer a schedule to induce. My plans to schedule another flight were superseded by the decision that Mary and her father would come to Gainesville for a brief visit once Margot was born and I would ride to Virginia with them. As it turned out, I wasn't taking care of Geoffrey on the night Margot was born. Eliza had been in quiet labor all day on the 12th of June. She asked her in-laws and I to take Geoffrey to their home that evening. As we left, Colleen and I warned Philip that the baby would probably come quickly. About an hour later she was born at the Birth Center. The family gathered to get a first look at her. Eliza was resting and preparing to go home that same night and didn't appear. I painted pictures of Geoffrey and Margot as a gift for Eliza's birthday.
When Mary and her father arrived a few days later they took a couple of days to rest before we headed north to Virginia. The drive was quite pleasant in Mary's new car. It took us less than twelve hours to drive from Gainesville to Fairfax County. For the next few days I visited with Meg's family and Tisha's family. It was good to see the grandchildren I had not seen for months. Mary had interviewed for a job while she was visiting Utah earlier that month and received an attractive offer she decided to accept. The new job required her to move to Utah and I canceled my reservation to fly from BWI in order to accompany her on the trip west. Mary and I took care of Tisha's children for several days while their parents attended a wedding of Brad's youngest brother. Then we drove to New York. It was fun to stop along the way to eat a special meal in 'Northeast, Maryland' where we enjoyed a seafood feast that ranks among the best meals I have eaten. We settled in at Nancy's apartment at the northern end of Manhattan Island and became reacquainted with Miranda. We had purchased a lovely fuschia silk dress and shell wind chime for her birthday and she looked lovely in the dress and was fascinated by the wind chime. Mary and I attended the Manhattan Temple, shopped, and went to the Museum of Modern Art during the days when Nancy had work and Miranda was in day care. On Saturday I took care of Miranda while Mary shopped and Nancy worked. When Hunter returned from a conference that had kept him away for several days, Miranda grabbed on to her daddy and would hardly let go. After attending church at Nancy's ward on Sunday, Mary and I picked up her car from the weekly rental lot and our luggage from Nancy and Hunter's apartment, then headed south to Maryland. We spent the night with Tisha's family then drove to Virginia.
While on our way out of New York on Sunday we had received a call from a friend and former neighbor in Falls Church. We arranged to meet her and another neighbor for lunch on Monday. It was a truly great meal. Lively company with a lot of information to catch up with and some of the best food I have experienced, ever. My dietary preferences include seafood and the Thai restaurant where we ate made wonderful dishes such as 'golden scallops' and the best calamari I can remember. After the meal Mary and I went to her condo and packed away her most precious items that would fit into the trunk and back seat of her car. We had purchased a large cat carrier with the idea that Mary's cats would prefer to travel with each other rather than in separate carriers. As they came down the elevator in separate cages with Mary they were yowling, but as soon as they were put together in the same box they quieted. They were content for most of the trip across the country. After a late night visiting, Mary and I set out the next day. We had reservations at various motels along the route of our trip. I had planned the trip to coincide with various sites I wanted to visit for pictorial information on which to base some stained glass panels of my pioneer ancestors. After staying the night in Indianapolis, we drove to Carthage, Illinois where I took pictures of the jail in which my great-grandfather, John Taylor, had witnessed and almost shared the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. I had not planned the hour or day on which we would arrive, but as it turned out, it was within a week and near the hour of the event I would portray. Mary and I found that cornfields can be a wonderful substitute for rest areas. As we reviewed our time frame I realized that it would be best to add a day to our travel and rearrange our reservations. After visiting the grave site of the child of another ancestor who had died along the hand cart trail, we spent the night in Des Moines where we were able to celebrate the Fourth of July with a movie and a meal. The following day we spent a few hours in Florence, Nebraska where Winter Quarters had been established by the fleeing Mormons on their trek west. I visited the grave of another child in the cemetery there and found much visual information in the museum.
We spent the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming and completed our journey the next day. Things had been going well in Utah in my absence. David and his wife had refinished the hardwood floor in their new home and I moved the stained glass panel of 'Joseph Cuts the Ice' to their house where we arranged the furniture to best advantage. Mary started her new job in Park City and found that she enjoyed the commute down Provo Canyon every day. Sam was driving my car to work, but he got his own car working within days of my arrival home. I had the remainder of July to ease back in to my normal routine, and when the Provo Temple reopened in the last week of the month, I was happy to return to my calling. Having canceled two flights, with resulting funds for later use, during my trip east in June and July, I wondered when I would fly again. I received an invitation that would take me to Boca Raton in December to take care of Miranda while Nancy attended a medical convention.
In early August, 2007, I woke around 1:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep, quite atypical for me. Resolved not to waste time if I couldn't sleep, I was working at my computer trying to arrange flights for my trip to Boca Raton and the DC area. Sue called me around 3 AM and said that she needed me. She had fallen more than two hours earlier and injured her hip. She was hoping it was a sprain and asked me to bring Arnica. I took my walker with me just in case it would be useful. She told me the door would be unlocked and I would find her near the entrance to her kitchen. The first thing she wanted me to do was put her two large dogs in the back yard. After doing so I tried to clear a path so I could take her to the bathroom as she had requested, but I soon determined it would be unwise to lift her into the walker. I cleared the entry which was stacked with boxes of books and other objects so that when the paramedics arrived there would be room to set up the gurney. I called 911 and after several minutes, during which the morning paper was delivered, a couple of ambulances came. Sue was awake and cogent during all the procedures, telling the paramedics when they hurt her as they moved her up onto the stretcher. They took her out to the ambulance and I told her I had put the eggs she had been cooking into the fridge, knowing she would worry otherwise. I had moved my car into her driveway and was blocked in by one of the ambulances. I waited for a while until they moved away, then I drove home, picked up my cell phone and went to the hospital where they had taken her. I arrived at the Emergency entrance and was shown where her room was. They said she had just arrived a few minutes earlier. The room they had told me about was empty, but a large room kept for acute procedures was teeming with activity. I overheard references to procedures that made me aware that desperate efforts were being made to restore life to a patient in the room. Later I learned that my Sue had chatted briefly with the paramedics in the ambulance, then said: "I'm going to pass out". They put an oxygen mask on her, but at some point realized she had no pulse. From that point on efforts were made to restore her breath and heartbeat. My friend had taken care of her invalid, bed bound mother for 15 years. She hired sitters to be with her mother during the day while she was working, but in the evenings she rubbed contact points with vitamin oil to keep her from getting bed sores and in other ways tried to ease her long and lonely days and nights.
Sue didn't even want to discuss what provisions she had made for herself as she grew more elderly. In the past year she had lost the sight in one eye, grown increasingly lame in knees and other joints, and had fallen, exacerbating an old back injury from years before.
I called her family members from a list she had put in her purse before the paramedics came. I tried to convey that she was in critical condition, but it was the time of day when people aren't really thinking very clearly. At last I had to call her nephew back and state that she had died. I talked to other family members, encountering confusion when I tried to explain. At last her cousin and his wife arrived to make arrangements for her body. The next day I cleared her belongings out of the locker we shared as fellow workers at the temple, turned in her locker key, provided several items needed to dress her properly for burial, put a new panel of acrylic into the painting that her family want to display at the funeral, and continued to be somewhat bemused myself. I spoke at her funeral, telling of our adventures together in the past few years. I never experienced keen mourning for her death. She brought me treats when my ankle was broken and she was always eager for an expedition. I felt that she is venturing into a whole new world of wonder and adventure, unimpeded by the failing body that had begun to fail.
Her passing began a new phase in my life. Her friendship was a gift to me. I feel blessed that it was I that she chose to call when in extremis. I feel that she trusted me to act in her best interests.