Saturday, December 2, 2006

Old Folks At Home--Dec. 2, 2006

Thanksgiving was quite wonderful. It was filled with my favorite things: food and family. And yes, I do like the noise of family talking all at once and of kids playing. We had visits from David, Bree, Barbara, Erin and Donovin. Eric, Amy and family, AnnMarie, Brandon and family, Julie, Jim and girls, Siovhan and Amy J’s parents. It was a good time.

Usually Jim and Julie spend that holiday in Idaho so it was nice that they were here. It was nice to have some in-law folks to enjoy. That made the day even brighter. Of course, when you eat at my house you work yourself to death. Barbara made the pumpkin pies and
worked all day helping Dad and I get things ready. Amy made fruit salad, her mom made the yams (and helped clean up afterward), AnnMarie made the rolls, and Julie made apple and chocolate pies. YUM! It was all good.

Just before Thanksgiving, Howard and Siovhan drove down to Nephi for a short visit. We really enjoyed the visit and were glad to see Howard again. It was so nice that he could fly here to Utah to spend time with Siovhan.

We also had a great time at Toren’s baptism. Gramps and Grammy had the privilege of giving baptism talks. It was great to see Toren take the step of choosing baptism. He was happy about it but had become sick with a sore throat just that day. Shawn and LHT gave him a blessing prior to leaving for church. It worked and he felt better so he could enjoy his special day. The Howard’s, Joneses, Siovhan and LHT and Myrna Rae all gathered and had turkey at Shawn’s and Kimberly’s afterward.

I have always loved Christmas! It seems like the perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—in the dead of winter when there is little else to be joyous about. We have been told that the Savior was actually born in April, the same month (33-years later) that he died. But the dead of winter is when some of us need something to celebrate and something to look forward to. It isn’t just because I was born in December, it is because of the Christmas Spirit that fills the hearts of all Christians (and some who are not). The reason that I think the month needs a celebration is because it is always so very cold and, unlike the Trauntvein family, I have never liked being cold and would never, on purpose, choose to be outside on a chilly day. I have, from time to time, been persuaded by one of you to indulge in a winter activity. I enjoy being with the family but I am always glad to be back indoors where it is warm. I have no idea where I got this dislike of being cold from because I don’t remember any relatives who complained about being outside making snowmen and throwing snowballs and having a great time. I didn’t like getting on a hay wagon to go caroling either. I was always just persuaded by peer pressure to participate. No one else minds the cold. Just me. Maybe I am really an alien. Maybe my story about my guardian angel getting directions mixed up and eaving me in Utah instead of Hawaii is really true.

I wonder if Garth remembers the time when Santa came to the community center in Price in the evening. It was dark but was probably just 6 or 7 p.m. Anyway, we stood in a long line and I complained all the way there. Garth was happy with the candy, a bag full, and an orange and peanuts, but I was COLD and I did not want to do the Santa wait the next year. “Please don’t make me go!” I preferred the Christmas
community carol sing. It was indoors. So I haven’t changed, have I? By the way, this year, in Nephi, the kids got oranges and fruit roll-ups. Somebody was more interested in health than in fun.

Dad, however, is a snowperson in clothes. When we first moved to Nephi, our neighbor, Joey Olpin, came to our house and brought a jacket of her husband’s to give to Dad. I told her that he had a jacket, he just didn’t wear it. I actually had to show her the jackets in the hall closet. “Then tell him to wear one for me,” she said. She said that watching him shovel snow in his shirtsleeves was too much to expect of anyone. It made her cold just to watch him. He didn’t repent, however, now he wears a coat but he didn’t back then and he really did have three or four.

Dad remembers sledding, throwing snowballs and playing outdoors for hours. I guess that is why he always talked me into the tubing excursion every year. That and the fact that I wanted all of you kids to be normal and not like me. The best part was watching you all have fun in the snow. The very best part was having hot chili and hot chocolate afterwards. Oh, and you can all tell stories about going to cut down our very own tree. Let’s see, there was the time one of you fell down the mountain with the tree. Wait, that was Dad. I know there were other misadventures. Now my joy is my fake tree. Dad just gets it out of the box and puts it back in the box. No cold, no sneezing (from fir-fever), just green tree today and boxed tomorrow. I did do the tree thing all by myself one year. That was the year that Dad was in the hospital after having his gallbladder removed. I did the whole thing. I even got it in the stand. Of course, I remember that Shawn, Melanie, Todd and Eric were helpers also. AnnMarie was just a baby. She had been born in May and it was December. That would have made her 8-months old. Aunt Renee and Uncle Max came up to Provo and watched you kids during the surgery. They took you to Richard’s apartment. Grandpa Trauntvein sat with me at the hospital. Grandma Trauntvein was sick herself and had her gallbladder removed a short time later. Dad did get to be home for Christmas but he was still not feeling well.

I have always, at least since I was a girl, loved the carol/poem below. In those days of girlhood when I had hoped to be a poet/artist/dancer, I learned to enjoy the work of Longfellow. Grandmother Smith, Aunt Renee, Dad and Mom Edna had all learned works of his in school in the “old days” when people actually had to memorize poems. I did not know, however, that there was a bit about the Civil War included in the poem. Remember when we visited Longfellow’s home when we were on our 1976 trip? It was a U.S.D.A. property. I was in awe then—I was actually in the same place one of my writing heroes had lived. It is across the street from the LDS chapel. In fact, the church is built on property that once belonged to Longfellow when he was alive.

Christmas Bells
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’_
Then pealed the bells more loud and
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’
Henry Wardsworth Longfellow

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Over the river, and through the wood,

Grandmother Smith always loved this Thanksgiving song. She taught a verse or two to each of her classes each year. We would also sing it at home. Now, all these years later, this song always reminds me of her and of Thanksgiving. Her birthday was Novembe 26 and, depending on the year, it might actually fall on Thanksgiving. 

A Boy's Thanksgiving Day
by Lydia Maria Child.

Over the river, and through the wood, 
to Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the woodoh,
how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting a ling ding!"
Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood no
matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a huntinghound!
For 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood-
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bowwow,
and thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the woodwhen
Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone."
Over the river, and through the woodnow
Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Originally published in Flowers for Children, Vol. 2 in 1844, the poem has outshone the rest of the poems in that volume. 

Lydia Maria Child was one of the earliest American women to earn a living from her writing. She was the writer of one of the most popular domestic advice books, The Frugal Housewife, later renamed The American Frugal Housewife to distinguish it from a book published in England. She later published other advice books, including The Mother's Book , A Little Girl's Own Book and Juvenile Miscellany, an early American magazine for children. Her earliest novel, Hobomok, was one of the first American novels to depict pioneer life. When Maria turned to anti-slavery writing with her Appeal for the Class of Americans Called African, much of her devoted audience turned against her. Her most important contribution to history is probably The Appeal, but her poem about Thanksgiving is the best remembered.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Old Folks At Home--Oct. 27, 2006

Happy Halloween! If you see a witch, don’t worry. It is just Myrna.

Poor little Mary hates to go shopping. She is being traumatized by the store displays in Nephi (and elsewhere). There is the ghoul display (the ghoul is carrying an extra head) at “Family Dollar” and the singing skeleton at the grocery store in Ephraim. She keeps asking us if it is OK and talks about it constantly. Also, I knocked on her door late one afternoon and scared the wits out of her because she was certain I was a monster. I hope the rest of my grandkids are looking forward to costumes and candy and are not traumatized. 

I always wanted to stay home on Halloween because it was a lot more fun at my house than it was on the street. Grandma Smith always tried to guess who the person behind the mask really was. She also made everyone do a trick for her. They had to sing or dance or tell a joke, or something. She would say, “You said: Trick for treat.’ Here is the treat now where is the trick?” She had so much fun and the kids must have also because we used to get hundreds of kids. There went the budget. Of course, she gave good treats also, like candy bars or her wonderful big butter cookies or something BIG and good. Sometimes she even had apple cider or a drink to go along with what she put in the bag.

Halloween means Christmas is just around the corner. The stores have forgotten about Thanksgiving. I found a couple of turkey decorations and that is all. When you get to be my age, the days just slip by. Everything goes so quickly that it seems that there is just time to put away the Christmas decorations before it is time to get them back out again. I am certain that Christmas was just yesterday. When I was a child, Christmas took FOREVER to get here. Garth, David and I (Richard was born when I was 11.) would start picking out things about July and then we would revise and revise. David and I had birthdays at the end of the year, but Garth got his birthday present back in March. Either way we took time to consider carefully just what we would ask Santa to bring. Now I just buy what I want (ha, ha) when I want it. (Now you all know that was a joke, right?) I still have my secret wish list. For example, there was this. . . never mind. (If I told, you kids would get it for me and then I would feel dumb). I’ll probably ask for new socks or underwear, just the things I hated to get when I was a kid. Now that I am OLD they are OK.

I just wanted to add this bit: “I. . .saw the reference to the lion's cage at the LA Zoo, no doubt. My son did something similar at Sea World in San Diego when he decided to climb to the top of the shark tank so he could look down inside from there..... He was about 10 and his dad & I had gone into a 'dancing waters' show & didn't know about it until he had already climbed up! Boys!!!! Gotta run, more later, Toni” (Betty’s daughter)

We had a great time at Disneyland. AnnMarie and Dad (LHT) rode everything scary. I am getting better. I did quite a lot of things with Dad, Ams, Brandon and the older kids and quite a lot of things with the younger kids because I still like climbing the Tarzan tree and going to the Tom Sawyer island. Alyssa is like me; she isn’t really crazy about wild rides. Rachel had fun just walking around the island and liked everything except the swinging bridge because some OLD nerdy guys made it shake while she was trying to walk and she is not that steady yet. Anyway, the pills I take for my stomach have made it so that the drops of some of the rides do not make me want to throw up anymore.
That’s a plus. . I used to wonder why Dad wanted me to pay someone to make me sick. I don’t mind being high if I am in something but I used to hate having that falling feeling. I still don’t like standing on edges of things and lookingmdown. I wasn’t born to be a high-wire

We stopped to see the St. George Trauntveins on our way back. (It was too late when we were headed down because we waited for school to be out for UEA so we could leave. They did have an early day but we still drove way late.) The Howards got to see the great place that David and family are living. They were impressed with how nice it is and how big. It is a good place for the kids and the family. Barbara was cooking chicken that smelled wonderful and we were invited to eat but had been eating the food we brought so we were full. Plus we had Burger King for lunch. 

The trip into Nephi was horrible. My boss, Allan, said he knew about how horrible it could be so he got off at Mills. We didn’t. We crawled home. The freeway construction just east of Nephi had everyone at almost a stop. There were signs that warned that fines doubled for speeding. AnnMarie said that they should warn that fines doubled for parking. As a result, we got to Nephi about 11 p.m. and the Howards still had to get home. We had Matthew and Megan with us so we just put them in their car and they left. They went the Mona way because getting back on the freeway was a joke.

David was a big help to Jim working on his warehouse, barn or whatever we are currently calling it. Thanks to him, Dad and Jim’s Dad, Phil, who also came to help (at a different time), the warehouse can now be used for extracting though it is still not all the way insulated. There have still been some problems. Even working to get it done so quickly, still put the bees behind schedule and some of the honey has started to crystallize in the hives. It cannot be melted out of the hive without ruining all the honeycomb which is needed for the next year. So
some of the hives will just winter with the honey inside. Nevertheless, all the hard work has made it so that the place will be useful for years to come. Jim and Julie have now put their trailer on the lot and the family can be together more. They will stay there for four days or so at a stretch. The guys worked to put up insulation, build a heat-room (so the honey will come out), and to install two boilers and an extractor. Greg Newton decided to sell Jim his used equipment so that helped.

Dad has almost got his shed finished. (Now there is the little item of the downstairs bathroom that still needs to be finished.) Thanks to all the help from family, Dad’s shed is almost done—it just needs one gable and the doors. Shawn and boys came down and worked one day and Jim came and helped. Dad and I worked some and we roped Julie in for part of the job. Dad tried, once again, to smash me. He dropped a 2X4 on my finger. My pointer finger has been so bruised that I don’t shake hands. But, with the help of a lot of tape and padding, I have been able to type. When the doors are done, we can actually use the place. Dad is going to do like my Dad and put shelves up and hang things around the edges. We are supposed to put the Christmas tree there. We have had the fun of having some of the grandkids come to visit. We always like having them here. After all those years of noise and confusion, the poor old house makes noises if it is not full. (Maybe it is just the two old nuts rattling around inside.) So it is nice to have kids here. We got to see Donovin for a short visit and Shawn’s boys.

Remember to vote! Grandmother Smith, who was something of a Suffragette and stood for women’s rights, valued the right to vote and never missed a presidential (or other) election after she could vote. American women have had the right to vote since 1920. (Wyoming Territory in 1869, Utah Territory in 1870, and the states of Colorado in 1893 and Idaho in 1896 granted women the vote but the Eastern states resisted. Utah had actually allowed women to vote since settlement but did not make it a law until 1870.) Remember that Grandma Smith was born in 1894. My Dad was also proud to vote. After all, he fought to preserve that right and to preserve the free world. Grandma Edna was also proud of the right to vote and served as election judge many years. I too am proud of the right to vote. I encourage you all to be.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Photos From Donnette

In rereading this I did have those original pictures. Now I can only find the negatives. I have a scanner that does negatives but have no idea what the dpi is. I just can't seem to be able to find the pictures. I have gone through all my boxes of pictures.

Maybe I'll have to have the pictures printed up and then - 
I only have the 35 mm negatives of those two pictures. You go ahead and sign for the family. I have searched through all my files and can't find any of those Mexican border pictures. I tried to put everything in big boxed files when I did the CD scanning - I can't imagine what happened to everything.

Oh dear. I have spent two days now looking for those pictures. I realized, too, that Richard's war pictures are also missing - they must be together. I have gone through every envelope in every file drawer and in every box I have filed pictures in. I am at a loss.

My scanner that I scanned pictures with could scan at different dpi and I usually used 300 except for the very small pictures when I switched to 600. But my little HP Photo Smart is older and while it does a good job with 35mm films and slides it doesn't really tell what the scanning scale is. I scanned it on the largest it had. I hope this will do and I will still wrack my brain to find the original pictures.


Friday, April 7, 2006

The Old Folks At Home

One year of newsletters! It is our family newsletter anniversary, since we started in May. Is that something worth celebrating? One year of Mom nagging, cajoling and pleading. Oh, well, you are all used to that anyway, right?

It has been a good month. The daffodils are blooming and the tulips are nearly ready, so summer must be just around the corner. Here in Utah we can’t decide if it is spring or winter. One day it is one thing and the next day it is the other.

Robert Frost said it best.
“Two Tramps in Mud Time”
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.

We have been enjoying the fireplace. However, on the Sunday of Conference, Dad got the T.V. room so warm we could hardly stand it. Just ask Melanie. She was sitting closest to the fire. When we went upstairs to eat, it became apparent that we were enjoying a warm day. We ended up throwing the windowsopen just to catch a breath of cool spring air. Just an aside, Melanie still owes Julie a dance. Julie and AnnMarie made pies just so Melanie would keep her promise to dance for pie, and then she didn’t do it.

We had a great time bowling. Those moms and kids who could be there (it was too far for Todd and David and families) went to BYU and bowled while the men went to Priesthood. Then we all went to Brick Oven for pizza (men included). Thanks to Eric getting there a little ahead of us, we got a ROOM to ourselves. There are no reservations during conference weekend.

We also enjoyed a weekend visit from Erin and Donovin a couple of weeks ago. We all had fun and hope they did. Mary misses them and, the day after they left, asked where they had gone. We also had the Howard kids with us (and AJ) overnight during their spring break.

We are looking forward to a camping trip to St. George to spend Erin’s birthday with her. She wrote us a letter inviting us to, please, take her camping for her birthday.

I have one bit of great news. You all remember that dark brown age-spot I had at the corner of my left eye? It is gone. I went to a dermatologist to have a skin cancer burned (they actually freeze them) off and he also burned that off. I am happy to be rid of it. Now, if he
could just burn off wrinkles.

Dad is still Dad. He works so hard all of the time that I can’t even dream of keeping up with him. He and Jim tilled our garden the day before it snowed again. So we are ready to plant. All of the electric work in the on-going bathroom project is done. The shower fan works and now we need to put up the rest of the drywall and paint and my dream will be complete. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it just the way it is.

As you read through the items from family members, please note how many great students and how many talented grandchildren we (Grammy and Gramps) have! Is that due to good genes (I know you are going to say from the other side of the families.), good parenting or just lots of love and care? Whatever it is, we are thankful that we have so many wonderfully talented and highly intelligent people in our family.

In June, we should have two more and that will add even more to our happiness. Thanks for sharing these wonderful people with us! We are grateful. I want you all to know that, now that I am a grandma, I could be a better mother. I just had no idea what I was doing, most of the time and had to fly by the seat of my pants, so to speak. I no longer cringe when you bring up my mothering shortcomings; however, because I have learned the women I work with at the temple (who are angels in my estimation) all have regrets as well. So I am now acknowledging that I am human and, as such, have made and will continue to make mistakes. So forgive me my past and I will try to
continue to grow up. I may even make it someday. I do want my kids to know, however, that I don’t remember everything you say I did or didn’t do. I do remember that I loved you and that I still love you. It was a great privilege being part of your lives and watching you grow and become the wonderful people you all are. I still LIKE all of you as well as love you. Thanks, also, for marrying such wonderful people.

All of you know that Grandpa Pitts was good at playing the harmonica. He also had a beautiful baritone voice and he and Mother Elaine sang together for funerals, dances and other occasions in the Carbon and Emery County areas. Did you know that Aunt Renee was also quite musical? She played the trumpet in the school band. The talent I most admired, however, was her whistling. I always loved to wake up at her house and hear her whistling. She could sound like a great variety of birds plus she was good at whistling tunes.

Grandma Smith always woke me up by singing: “Lazy Myrna, won’t you get up, won’t you get up, won’t you get up? Lazy Myrna won’t you get up so early in the morning?” Dad says his mother used to sing that to him with the exception of exchanging Tim for Myrna. Grandma Smith was also musically inclined, though she did not have much of a singing voice. She played the accompaniment while her sister, Jessie, sang all over at all sorts of events. She also made needed cash by playing for the silent movies. She would watch the movie before the theatre attendees so that she would know when the music should be happy or sad, loud or soft, romantic or dangerous. In those days, each piano player came up with his or her own mix for the movie so that it varied from town to town.

Great-Grandpa Pritchett, Vivian’s father, played the violin and would fiddle for dances in Sanpete County, Utah County and later in Emery and Carbon Counties. Of course, when he played for dances, it was called “fiddling” and Grandma Smith said her favorite of all the tunes he knew by heart was “Turkey in the Straw.”

Grandpa Ray and all of his brothers sang together in a popular group. Later some of those brothers sang with the Tabernacle Choir. Grandpa Tom Pitts also had a wonderful singing voice. So there you have the music abilities of the family that I know about.

I think Dad, LHT, has a good voice and many of you also have good voices. You know that Auntie Helen is a good pianist. So I suppose you get your talent from ancestors on both sides of the family.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Bell Bottom Trousers

A Memory:
This is the song that my family used to sing to me during the war (WWII). All of them sang it, including Dad when he came home from the war. He was in the Navy, a SeaBee (Construction Battlion). I finally stumbled across the lyrics the other day. I remembered the tune but I could only remember the words to the chorus.

Tony Pastor Lyrics - Bell Bottom Trousers

1. Once there was a little girl, who lived next to me
And she loved a sailor boy, he was only three
Now he's on a battleship, in his sailor suit
Just a great big sailor man, but he's just as cute

Chorus: Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
She loves a sailor man and he loves her too

2. When they walk along the street, anyone can see
They are so much in love, happy as can be
Hand in hand they stroll along, they don't give a hoot
He won't let go of her hand, even to salute

Chorus: Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
She loves a sailor man and he loves her too

3. Everywhere her sailor went, she was sure to go
Till one day he sailed away, where she doesn't know
Now she's going to join the Waves, maybe go to sea
Try to find her sailor boy, wherever he may be

Chorus: Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
She loves a sailor man and he loves her too

4. If her sailor she can't find on the bounding main
She is hopeful he will soon come home safe again
So they can get married and raise a family
Dress up all the kids in sailor's dungarees

Chorus: Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
She loves a sailor man and he loves her too.