Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Diploma from The Big Horn Academy, 1923

This is the inside of Mother's diploma from the Big Horn Academy in Cowley, Wyoming. The cover is brown sheepskin or soft cowhide in a buff brown, about 12" x 5". What a bit of history from our mother, Minnie Wasden Blood.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Steve's Seagull and Christmas

In the early '90's, I, along with the help of Judy and friends, including Dad, Ann, Steve, David Paul, and other Oly-Tumwater friends had a holiday boutique on Tumwater hill at our home that was very successful. One year, Steve designed a group of Christmas decorations that included this seagull (by the way, copyrighted by him). Dad cut out lots of seagulls, buffalo, boots, and I can't remember what all that I painted, and we sold by the bunches. Dad sold his wooden boxes, which were a big hit, his bookends, and the cowboy pins, among others. Ann did Scherenschnitte, David painted beautiful boxes (I have one).
The other part of this story has to do with my ineptitude in getting plants to bloom. I faithfully stowed the little Christmas cactus away in a dark place for a couple of months, got it out, watered it faithfully, and look what I got - one bloom that is about to open, and two more potential ones. Next year, it will work better - or I may read the indoor gardening book that tells me how to achieve more success.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dad sends his Christmas greetings

More Flowers for Christmas

I was just repenting enough of my sour disposition to toss in another bouquet in Penrose this morning, when I was delighted to see Judy beat me to it!  But here are a few more, for Laura who is better, for Paul who is home from the hospital, for Velna who miraculously had a doctor who knew what he was doing for a change and is doing fine at home, for Ron B. who continues to mend, for Ron G. who is following instructions about snow blowing and doing fine, for Tom who goes on despite his ailments, and for anyone else with an ache, a pain, an ingrown toenail, or a hypochondriacal frame of mind.  At latest count, we are all home from hospitals, doctor's offices, and pharmacies, thankful to be home for Christmas and to be on the mend.  How can we do any better than that, or be any more grateful this day before Christmas?

And yes, I do remember taking the tree out on the front porch, and whatever toys I could find, to take a picture, because I wanted to remember this tree with its load of precious tinsel saved and stored from year to year and the Christmas that we shared at home.  We had no idea that we were poor, because we were so rich.  And we all remain rich to this day.  Merry Christmas and happy Christmas memories to all.

Flowers to Cheer Velna Blood and Paul Tanner

The hydrangea blossom is for Velna. We are so blessed that you were at home instead of Hawaii and that everyone moved swiftly to take care of you. We love you!!!
The holiday colors are for Paul who just came home from the hospital and is recovering from surgery. Ann says that with Paul asleep in his recliner with the TV on, life feels "normal".
To Velna and Paul, we wish for you a speedy recovery and for life to be a lot less exciting.
Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Tree from the Past

The early Baby Brownie either didn't have a way to use flash bulbs, or they were too expensive, but one year Dwight wanted to get a picture of our Christmas tree and some of the presents, so he moved it all to the front porch. It's nice to have this early picture.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Toys

Sharing Christmas was the high light of the day for us. Mom was always found in the kitchen helping and unfortunately there are no photos of that. Dad was the one who played with the toys and games. This is the year the girls got new jump ropes. But guess who played with them first!

Jay, Ross and Ginger, the cat, look admirably on. Notice the balmy weather. What a contrast to this year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Talking with Dad

I love this picture of Dad with the twinkle in his eye. This could have been with any of us six kids. The look would have been the same. Notice Dad's attention to what is being said. I'm sure that it was some nonesense. But it was a very good moment to have!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Memory Jogger

A little while back Judy posted a picture of her well loved doll she had received for Christmas one year. Here is a picture of two of my favorite Christmas gifts I ever received, while living in Penrose. The little brown and white bear I received the year I informed Mother I did not want a doll for Christmas, but wanted a teddy bear (when I was probably in second grade). This was close, and the little creature was well loved. There is still a bell in one ear that probably drove Judy crazy when we slept together because the bear was my friend and slept with me. The jewelry box (forgive how the inside looks, but that is the real me!) was a most amazing gift I received my Senior year of high school. For some reason I wanted a jewelry box, although the only piece of jewelry I had was a pearl ring Judy had given me to wear for a few years, and a few pairs of clip on ear rings (very big flowers!!!). There was no logic to that wish, but this has been a priceless gift that has traveled many miles with me. The lining in the compartments is from the scraps of my green velvet dress I wore for Judy's wedding. There is a place to stash more treasures by lifting out the piece that holds the treasures you can see. It holds even more mysteries! Dad did sign the inside of the lid - I wish it had Mother's signature as well because she played a big part in making this become a reality for me. This was definitely a gift of love, as were all the gifts we received at Christmas time, big and small. What are some of your favorite Christmas gift memories?
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Christmas Angels

This picture, taken in December, 1955, shows our angelic younger sisters at their very best - demure poses and all. This was my last Christmas at home, and it was a special one. You can see the tinsel on the tree that was carefully saved from year to year, to say nothing of the decorations and lights. No matter what our age, Christmas was and is magical. Occasionally I still look for the chocolate creams and the ribbon candy that we used to get in our stockings.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Santa Came to Powell

Santa's Visit to Powell -
Remember how it was in the late 1940's and the1950's?

This picture is from the PT web site, where there is a story about how Santa came to Powell and opened up the festivities for the Christmas season. My, how things have changed!! Steve called tonight and we had fun talking about our memories of when Santa came to Powell, and Mother would take us in to town for the festivities. Judy, Steve and I spent weeks in anticipation of the day. Santa came in from the airport (go figure!) and that was certainly not the way we imagined it should happen. There would be the trips to Samsels and Bonners, among a few of our favorite places to spend our wishing time. Steve's memories are very vivid about this adventure, mine are somewhat spotty. However, I do remember oohhhing and ahhhing at all of the amazing treasures in the stores that seemed to magically appear just in time for Santa's visit to town. So my question is, did Louise, Dwight and Elizabeth get to go to town when Santa came, or was his visit a creation that happened too late for you to enjoy the magic? I tried to get a picture from the PT web site, but I couldn't figure out how to get into their archives. Maybe Dwight still has some pull and can find a picture from the early days to post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Report on Mince Meat Pie

This picture gives you just a hint of our Thanksgiving Friday. There are about 4-5 people missing in this picture. Names aren't important - I only wanted to give you a little bit of an idea as to why I am sleeping well these nights. You would think that among this group there would have been someone who liked Mince Meat Pie! One of the classics went something like "we don't put lettuce in a pie, we shouldn't put meat in a pie". So, let's just say it was not a hit. Somehow there isn't an appreciation for what some of us consider to be the finer things in life!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Wishes to Kathy

While I was in college the year of '58-'59, Ann wrote voluminous letters, missing no details. And often she signed them "Kathy", which I believe was her new but short lived romantic identity.

Incidentally, in one letter she mentions that the "Kitty had 4 little kittens, two coal black and two just like her. We are gong to keep one of each." Yes, there was always one cat or another in her life.

I looked desperately for the 2 photos I have (had?) of Ann's coronation. Not finding them, I am substituting these pictures that were taken at college. Is this Provo or Weber? Anyway Ann still looks quite queenly to me. She is very beautiful. No wonder Paul Tanner fell for her!

During the few years that Ann and Paul called Olympia home, we were privileged to share family events. This is one of the best of Ann, along with little Kristen....
So on this 66th birthday, we give tribute and salutations to our sister Kathryn Ann, who brightens this life for the rest of us. Our lives have been a little happier, a little funner, and filled with a lot more love and forgiveness because of her.
Many returns of the day!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ann and Holstein, the Tomcat

Happy Birthday, Ann!

These are pictures taken in the last few years - the top one when Ann and Paul were gifted with a trip to Hawaii by their children - thus the wonderful Hawaiian shirt, and the other after Ann retired from BYU, and we had a little get-together at Dwight & Velna's house in Riverton, UT, with the Tanners, Louise, and Ron and I. Ann was not only queen of the prom - she has been a queen in her family, and in ours. She may be the youngest sister, but she has gained enough practical sense (including nonsense) over the years, that she can work through the knottiest of problems, and be a support in a myriad of ways. Happy birthday on December 1st, and many more to come.

Still Queen

Nothing has ever been able to wipe away that grat smile. Happy birthday and love from New York.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

There are only a few Thanksgiving Days that stand out in my memory. One occurred the year that I was in the 3rd grade - 1943. We came from Ralston to have Thanksgiving dinner with Uncle Norman and Aunt Cindy and baby Newell in the tiny house that had been Uncle Orville's and would later become Dad and Mother's shop. The Sorensens were living there temporarily until their new house could be built east of Grandma & Grandpa Wasden's house. We were pretty cramped to add our family of 7 to that tiny space, but I recall it being a good day. The excitement began when Dad and Norman began pounding in the stakes and stretching the string to indicate where our new house would be built, east of the house they were living in.

The next Thanksgiving that stands out in my mind so clearly happened on a November day that was a perfect Indian Summer day. When the delicious dinner was finished, we children set the dishes aside, and trekked the half mile or so down to the Shoshoni River. The day was so warm, and we revelled in our escape, and the fact that winter hadn't come yet. We lingered in the sun, but clouds began to form, and we hurried back home, full of fresh air and happy spirits. That was a memory to cherish as the cold, snowy, wind-blown days of winter settled in.

Thanksgiving was special in many ways. We were almost self sustaining on the farm, but some things had to be purchased. Thanksgiving and Christmas were usually the only days we had such special foods as celery, yams, cranberries, and grapes. Mother would often make mince meat (see Ann's recipe), and her squash pie always tasted as good as pumpkin. Sometimes carrot pudding might be part of the dessert, although that could be reserved for Christmas. The first turkey we ever had was during my senior year in high school, and we decided it was drier and not as tasty as the big baking hens that Mother usually cooked for us. The food was cooked on the old coal range, which Mother had mastered so completely that her baked things, including bread was delicious. We would work all morning preparing the meal, carefully set the table as if for Sunday dinner, including paper napkins to the left of the forks. We tore the loaves of bread for the dressing - never stuffing, because it was seasoned, moistened with chicken broth and home-churned butter, and baked in a big baking pan in the oven apart from the big chicken. The yams, too, were baked in the oven. Russet potatoes were peeled, boiled, and mashed by hand with cream for the right texture. The table would almost groan under the food, and we gathered around it, giving thanks for all that we had. It was a wonderful sight to look around the table at our beloved family members - forgetting for the day any squabbles that we might have had. We had and have much to be thankful for as we contemplate the close association we have had over the intervening years. Perhaps the reason Dwight's Penrose pictures are so precious is that they evoke a simpler, more basic life which wasn't constantly shifting and changing, and include images of the people who were most important to us. We are thankful for all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Somewhere in my collection of pictures is a picture of Judy in her lovely wedding dress, and Bob, looking very young and distinguished, cutting the wedding cake. It is a testament to my state of disorganization that I can't find it on this momentous day. However, next year will be the Golden anniversary, but in the meantime, congratulations, Judy and Bob, for your forty-nine years together. Your family has grown, and the affection you all have for each other is a testament to your goals in life. Even though this picture was taken 13 years ago, neither of you has changed very much since then. Clean living and hard work will do it.

Hey Liz, Remember This House?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mince Meat Pie For Thanksgiving

For years I have wanted to try making mince meat pie. The smell of the ingredients cooking in Mother's kitchen has been one I have remembered well. I always wondered if I fantasized over that smell, just a little. So, this was my year to give mince meat a try. I halved the recipe, used an "imitation suet", in other words it wasn't the hard fat that suet normally is, but rather a mixture of a little fat and a very little beef (the butcher at Albertson's was more than happy to help me out. He just needed a little advance notice.), and then I used hardly any in the recipe. If Mother had only owned a food processor (of course they didn't exist way back then) the process would have been so much easier for her. As this strange mixture was heating up, I caught a whiff of the familiar smell I remembered from years ago, and it was as delightful now as way back then. I don't know if anyone else at my house will eat a piece of Mince Meat Pie, so I will only make a small pie, and freeze the rest of the filling for something later down the road.

Since I can't put any of this in the mail, I just wanted to report that the experiment was successful. If you would like a piece of pie, please stop by.

Mince Meat for Pie
4 lbs of lean boiled beef chopped fine (I cooked it in the slow cooker until it was fall apart done, then used the food processor to chop it)

(With Mother's recipe only including the list of ingredients, I went on a hunt for more explicit instructions from my older sisters - I didn't mean to be discriminatory, but I guess I was. I should have called Dwight and Steve to see what they remembered - sorry guys. I called Elizabeth, who suggested looking on the internet, I called Judy, who wanted to know if I was really going to make mincemeat, but she did check her Farm Journal Cookbook to see what was there - or was that Elizabeth - and I called Louise who said she only remembered Mother cooking it in a pot. The consistent comment from all three was something about how they could get some when I was done. So much for checking with the experts!)

After the beef is prepared, I mixed all of the following ingredients in a big pot and cooked it for awhile (I am one of my Mother's daughters - my instructions aren't much better than hers.).
1 lb suet (I didn't use even a half pound and I wonder if it could be eliminated completely. I wanted the real thing so I didn't go that far in my experiment this time.)
8 lbs fresh green apples (I chopped them in the food processor before adding to the mixture)
2 lbs raisins (I chopped the raisins in the food processor, as well)
2 lbs currants
1/2 lb citron & lemon peel cut fine ( chopped in food processor)
2 lb sugar (used half brown and half white sugar and did not put as much sugar in as suggested)
1 T salt
1 t pepper
1 t allspice
1t mace
1t cloves
2 t cinnamon
(1 lb. dried fruit 6 lb fresh)
Cider enough to make a batter. (Just what does this mean?? I took my best shot at what a batter should look like in this case. Remember the movie, "State Fair"?) Heat it thru and when cold add 1/2 pt brandy. (Just so you know, I did not use any brandy)
Fruit juices may be used in place of cider.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Near the River

Powell Hits the Big News

This picture, with the accompanying heading, was in the Provo Daily Herald on The Nation page. Thought you might like to see how far education has come at NWCC.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Concern for Living on the River

As Dwight has posted the photos depicting the personalities of the river, I recalled the letter written by Aunt Elsie to our parents. She does voice her concern of living on the river with the children.

There are other treasures of this letter:
1. That she truly did love her nephew, Russell Blood.
2. That the ranch suffered the fallout of the depression, and they were short on business and money. This could be why Dad did not get paid his expected wages.
3. She mentions getting the "watch" fixed in Billings. (Grandma Louise's watch?)
4. Dwight had colic
5. That she was considerate of mother and her circumstances.
6. And there is probably more that you will determine as you read this letter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dad and Dwight's kids by Shoshone River

Graveyard Stew

Recipe found in a cookbook published in 1993, in commemoration of the Oregon Trail. It will certainly bring back memories of some Saturday night meals!

Graveyard Stew
1 slice bread, toasted and buttered
3/4 cup milk, heated but not boiled
Sugar to taste

Place toast in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and pour warmed milk over toast.

As I recall, our graveyard stew was never so fancy as to have any sugar in it! But it was quite a corroboration of the fact that others knew about the name, and that, basically, it was just fancy bread and milk.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Complaints about the Blogger error message bX-csvgyf

Is anyone else having grief with Blogger?  I keep getting an error message bX-csvgyf and a failure to post.  I go to the message groups and a whole batch of other Blogger users have the same complaint and nowhere to be found is a response from Google or Blogger or anyone else about how to solve this problem.  I can finally post by punching publish post a half dozen times, then I have to delete all the extra posts.  I have never been able to find any way to contact blogger or google directly ; all they have are these "help groups"; in other words, Blogger users are expected to solve each others' problems, and don't bother them.  Maybe it's because Blogger is a free service, but I'm getting very fed up with them.

The Shoshone River in Winter

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Retirement Made Easy

I snagged this from mother on the rare occasion that she would toss things out. I remember when I was very young and they came to visit in Penrose. Ann and I were very excited and I wanted to make a good impression. I was on the old Schwinn of Dwight's' running back and forth between the old barn and the shop. I would stop and listen to the adults talk there in the driveway, certain that I looked older than my years. A gentleman who came with them turned to me and said, " you got a flat tire there sonny." The tire was not as deflated as me. I can't tell you why I remember this so vividly, but it's another link that connects us all.
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Brooks' Letter, Second Installment

I do have other pictures of Uncle Brooks, but this one is on my computer now, so I'll use it. He is center front on the front row, with Uncle Norman Sorensen on his right, and Aunt Elna and her doll on his left. The back row is Aunt Sofe Johnson, Aunt Cindy (Lucinda) Sorensen, and Aunt Lorraine Wasden. The picture was taken in Lovell, Wyoming, on Aunt Sofe's front steps in 1975

To continue with the letter: "The rest of the trip up the canyon was more and more mind boggling [and] thrilling. The roar of water, the birds daring to fly up those sheer walls, and then the dam with the water piled up behind it! This little boy and all that his eyes and mind could behold for all time - he was sure.
We made it to the "Hanging Rock" for the evening camp. Real trees big, big! A place to graze the horses like the story of "The Virginian" by Owen Wister. Next morning we passed the rock formation, "The Holy City". What romance that excited! And the day continued to expand unlimited beauty and more beauty.
Father met us below Pahaska, on horse-back. Wondered what took us so long. Camp was inside the Park just below the steep incline to Sylvan Pass. About a week later we moved camp down to Pahaska. It was here that Father put me on a road-grader - very pleased with what he had taught me to maneuver it. Hoped I would not let him down. We "bladed" the road from Pahaska to the entrance in time for Mr. Albright's first visit. The road did look neat and he took time to speak to me. This excited the other laborers because "officials" did not usually notice them. The next morning, Father kind of shuffled about for a bit, and then said,
"Now, don't get the big head but Mr. Albright said, "That son of yours can handle a grader like that? Tell him he's always got a job here with me as long as he wants one." Father, I know, hated to tell me that because he knew it would be hard on hat-bands. But for Mr. Albright to notice me, to give that notice of recognition, did a miracle for my self esteem. Perhaps, just perhaps, I could do something good, worth a compliment. It has ever been a cherished thing.
The next year, I did send him an application for work. When it arrived in the mail box there in Penrose - a big envelope - there was a second big envelope with it. One envelope said, "Report to Cody Wyoming to------." The other envelope said, "You are called to fill a Mission----."

And that is the end of his Yellowstone Park story in the letter. Of course, we know that he went on to fill a mission in Texas; he told Mother a story about some of his experiences there, which she recorded on a cassette tape, which has become garbled with time. We all knew that Uncle Brooks could be quite a story teller - perhaps that talent has come down through the family.

Shoshone River at Penrose in Winter

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Uncle Brooks' letter

James Brooks Wasden as a young man. I think that all of you might have in your archives a copy of this letter that Brooks wrote to Dad and Elna on May 9, 1987, but I was re-reading it this morning, and wanted to copy part of it into the blog, since the story it tells is so interesting.
Elna had sent Brooks a copy of an obituary for a man named Horace Albright, and this was his response. "How thoughtful that you would enclose his obituary. Yes, I knew him and darn near attached a little worship to the man. If I calculate rightly, I was 17 years older then, and he had been Park Superintendent for a year. (Park, being Yellowstone Park). He was promoting the need for improved roads for the sure-to-come automobile traffic - which Father hated to see come, but had to bow to "Progress". Father felt that this was the sure sign of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rampaging throughout the world, desecrating and destroying all that is good and beautiful. How near his summary of such things proved true may not be as debatable now as then, but it was the increased activity in road building that gave Father the opportunity to return to living in the Gardens of the only remaining Eden on earth and feel the limitless wonder of it all. I can still see him wake up in the morning, go outside the tent, pause long enough to stand erect, raise his chin to bring into focus the heights of the mountain's about our camp, and inhale the sublime joy of privilege to live and feel and listen to the solitude his whole person could encompass.
Mr. Debs and his brother helped me trail our eight horses from Penrose to the Park. We drove "4" on a wagon loaded with grain and hay, and our bedroll plus cooking needs. The other "4" trailed along behind. We made it to Cody the first day and camped at the bridge which crossed over to the railroad station. This was the farthest I had been from home and the only time I had seen the Shoshone River with the city of Cody and its adjacent interests. We rolled out on beds and slept on the ground. Think of doing that now.
Early the next morning we were on our way. The only way to travel was the little thin line along the north side of the canyon you can see as you travel the present highway. Mr. Debs drove the team - thank goodness - because I was so totally enthralled with what my eyes were seeing. At first it appeared like a solid wall of stone and mountain blocked our way, but as each step forward of the teams revealed a widening crack - maybe, just maybe we might get through and not have to climb over the top. It was like the jaws of a huge gate slid noiselessly apart to let us through and then closed just as noiselessly behind us locking us in for keeps.
An automobile from Texas caught up with us. At the first chance we pulled our wagon into a side gap to let them pass. As they pulled up to do so, the trail horse at the rear jumped out and her hind leg hit the fender. They stopped all right. The poor lady was terrified. This was before the days of glassed-in windows and doors - just canvass "pin-ons". To the lady it appeared the horse was intending to get in and ride! Seemed there was a difference of opinions. I hopped down, went back and shooed the horse back into line. But the lady's terror increased; "We didn't mean to do it - We didn't mean to do it," she babbled hysterically. Her hands were quivering before her face and her eyes were so pleading - like she expected to be scalped and thrown into the gorge below. That's when I learned I had charm! I rebuked the horse, smiled at the lady, told her we were sorry. Her expression changed like sunshine bursting from behind a cloud. "You see, Henry, they are not mean; they will not hurt us." Such assurance! And they drove on.
(to be continued)

Steve, Russell, and Ron at Shoshone River dam

Sunday, November 9, 2008

That Contagious Laugh

This was our only trip to Cody that we saw Dad. And as always we loved and laughed. Just as all of you did also.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Petersen kids

Not being allowed to post on the more prestigious Amsbaugh Gardens blog, I'll throw this photo in the mix for Kemp's birthday.

Old Penrose Bridge

A side view of the old Penrose Bridge, which consisted of two original railroad bridges placed end-to-end.  Question:  how on earth did they haul the railroad bridges in here at that early date?  You can see the middle pier, which was our private fishing and hiding out place just to watch the river flow by.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The End of a Busy Day

In the spring of 1968, Mother was beset on all sides with responsibilities that she always felt so keenly. She was teaching full time, had my five children and me in the house. with Tony being the baby with allergy problems requiring constant rocking and care, Brig and Pat, whom she was determined would learn how to do dishes properly; she was also planning the house to be built on the acreage on 93rd South in Washington, contemplating changing teaching positions from Powell to Little Rock, counseling me, helping Dad plan for the move, and also keeping Steve and his brood who were living in Powell in her sights. There were the gladiolus and dahlias to be planted so that they could be harvested in the fall and moved to Washington, garden to be planted, and on and on and on. This was also the spring that Uncle Norman became very ill, and Mother and Dad were worried about him. I think about this time, and think about how she was spread so thin, and still managed to oversee all the details that were necessary to their future. Mother had a tremendous capacity for work and organization.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Antique ? Doll

If I got this doll for Christmas when I was 6 years old, does that make her an antique? What does that make of me? That year I believe that Ann and I got the most wonderful dolls we had ever received. The little knit stockings are missing, but everything else is original. She has been carefully kept and brought out of hiding from the cedar chest only to show grandchildren and let them hold her for a moment. Her name is Susan.

Thursday, October 30, 2008