Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Look Who I Found!

I took an aimless trip to the mall to see if I could get inspired.  And indeed it happened.  It was not in the way I had ever expected.  I cut back through Penneys on my way back to my car.  There was this woman standing in line that sure had a familiar look.  And then she made that "Louise" expression.  I waited until she had made her purchase and then quietly said, "Diana".   I can't tell you how our hour visit revitalized me.

So much so, that I stopped on my way home, to take this picture of the boats in the bay with a dark sky.  It is a good day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Posies

With all of the fun Christmas stories, I am hesitant to interject this post, but thought it might be appreciated. Who can resist a beautiful flower, especially this time of year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Penrose Christmas Chronicles December 17 2011: A Tiny Bag of Candy for Louise

The Penrose Church house was in use until the mid 1930s for various activities, and remained in use for occasional activities like elections, dances, community meetings and the like until the 1950s when my Dad and Uncle Norman dismantled the building.  For 13 years or so our Grandpa Wasden was Branch President and Bishop.  Some time in the mid-1930s, a Christmas party was held in the Church house. A large decorated Christmas tree was set up at the front of the meeting room.  I don't remember if a program took place.  All I remember is how excited I was waiting for Santa, because I knew he was going to pass out little bags of candy to each of the children.  Instead of just going around and passing out the candy, Santa had a list of names.  How could Santa get the names of the Penrose children?  And finally Santa called my name: "Dwight."  How could he know my name was Dwight?  I eagerly went to the front to retrieve my Christmas bounty, so very, very rare in those dark days of the Great Depression.  As Santa handed me my bag, I said, "But my sister Louise is home sick and couldn't come tonight and she won't have a bag of candy."  And, lo and behold, Santa retrieved another tiny bag of treats with the name "Louise" written on it.  So I took our two little sacks of treats home and gave Louise her own candy sack, feeling relieved.  I was sorry she had not been able to go to the Church house and see the tree and have it personally handed to her by Santa, but at least Santa had not forgotten her, and I was glad.  I have never forgotten this event, another enduring childhood Christmas memory that has stayed with me forever.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Penrose Christmas Chronicles for December 16 2011: The Twenty-Five Cent Christmas Tree

When we were very young, we all continually pestered Mother to get a tree so we could put it up, decorate it, and turn on the magic colored lights a couple of weeks before Christmas.  But Mother never relented, and we always had the tradition of putting our tree up and decorating it on Christmas eve, then all of us sitting in wonder at the magic of the colored lights.  I wondered all my life why we had to wait until Christmas eve.  Then one day, just a few years ago, one of my sisters told me the reason for our late tree.  "Didn't you know," my sister said, "that Mother waited until Christmas eve to get a tree because she could go to town and buy one from the Boy Scouts for 25 cents, and that otherwise she could not have afforded to buy one?"  A tearful recognition set in as I thought about all of those Christmas eves when we finally got our tree and decorated it in time for Santa.  Not to mention my memories of Dad, who, though he could build houses, barns, cabinets, desks, make incredible inlaid wood marquetry works of art, and anything else, struggled each year to nail a couple of strips of wood together for a Christmas tree stand.  But ultimately he succeeded  while we some times worried how we were going to ever get the tree up. And thus, Santa was spared coming each year to our little house on another Penrose frosty Christmas eve without a Christmas tree to greet him.  Or was it her?  We would never know, and still after all these years, Christmas eve remains a mystery to be cherished.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Letter to My Siblings: December 15 2011

I told Judy last night that I have a theory about why we six have always managed to stick together despite some being fabric store fanatics, some being spendthrifts, and the like.  My theory is this: We were isolated. We had no other playmates.  Mother built a safe haven for us and Dad protected us.  We had to depend on each other, look after each other.  Like the time the schoolbus driver kicked Louise (Louise? are you kidding?) off the bus for something she didn't do, and we all dutifully and loyally trooped off with her.  The girls had no choice but to be close since they shared a room, all crammed cozily together, while I luxuriated in my private room, until Steve came along and started annoying me.  I never had a male playmate.  I had four sisters for playmates.  I never learned sports, how to throw a ball.  But I learned to make up fantastic tales in my imagination, to invent games with my sisters, to lead Liz astray who believed everything, to play annie-annie over the house, to throw rocks on the galvanized metal outhouse roof when someone was in there, to play school, road, build forts out of sagebrush, to haul Mother's Children's Literature book around the yard, to dig holes in the orchard to hide from Mother, to play our imaginary family sagas. Louise taught me to read, I tried to teach Liz how to read but she couldn't understand ditto marks.  Sad.

It wasn't just that we were isolated and had no other playmates.  Our home was a safe haven.  We never felt threatened.  We were never hungry.  We stayed warm in the winter with coal and cottonwood.  We were lonesome for Dad and watched for the little Model A roadster on Saturday nights when he would come bearing the Denver Post funnies and maybe make a kite and fly it for us. We ran in the country lanes, climbed on the snowdrifts in winter, played in the leaves in autumn.  We lived in close proximity to one another.  We pretty much knew everything there was to know about each other.  My sisters tattled on me.  Other than little spats, I don't every remember any serious animosity that ever existed among any of us. We teased, we played pranks.  We never talked about fairness, how tough life was, or why we had so little.  We grew up together, and we have continued to live life together, no matter how far apart or how much our lives diverged.  We have never, any of us, ever really left Penrose.

Students and Teachers at the Penrose School early 1900s

I'm sure this page from Mother's original photo album has been posted before, but after posting the photo above (I don't know where it came from), I thought it appropriate to show the two photos on the left of the students and teachers in the Penrose school.  Where did all these kids come from?  There aren't a half dozen people living in the Penrose valley today.  The school was a tribute to pioneer resourcefulness and emphasis on education, largely fostered by early farmers who had little, if any, education themselves.

The Penrose School House at the turn of the Century

This blurry photo may well be the only one we will ever see of the original Penrose school and school yard in the early 1900s.  The school was located only a short distance from the home in which we grew up, but the evidence of its existence had long vanished when we lived there.  However blurry, the photo evokes memories of a barren school yard, an outhouse, home made swings, and children at play.  Where did they all go?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ann and Liz

I was going through old photo files today and came across this one. I thought it appropriate even though it may have been posted before.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Chronicles December 9 2011: When Santa Forgot to Come

When we were very young, probably in the 4-6 yr. old range or thereabouts, Mother informed us one wintry day before Christmas that Santa would be late that year.  She also informed us that Santa had found it necessary to recruit Ezra the Mailman to deliver our package that Santa had arranged to be sent from Monkey Ward.  We were disappointed, of course, but full of wonder and anticipation over what bounteous gifts we would get when Ezra delivered Santa's package from Monkey Ward.  I don't remember what we actually got on Christmas day. Usually our stockings were a wondrous treat since Christmas was one of the few days of the year in which we received a bright big orange, bulging out in the toe of our Christmas stockings.  Of course, my short boy's stockings were so much shorter than my sister's much hated long brown stockings, which were valuable only on Christmas day.  Then we always got a few peanuts and a few other nuts and some hard candies.  We savored these priceless treats and stretched them out as far as we could

Then, day after day, I and one or two of my sisters perched eagerly on the roof of our tiny pine slab barn, more of a shed, where Mom milked old Spot, the black and white Holstein that gave us our milk, during the days when Dad was gone seeking work during the Great Depression.  We waited and waited and waited until we could see Ezra coming down the frozen dirt road toward our mail box.  Nothing today.  Our spirits sank again. Nothing the next day.  Would Santa ever get Monkey Ward to send his package with Ezra?  Then one magic day we saw that Ezra had delivered a package by the mailbox. Hurrying down from the barn roof, we ran to the mailbox, filled with excitement and anticipation and wonder.  Taking the package to the house, we opened it, just knowing of the treasures which it contained.

I remember only one gift I got from that magic package:  An aviator's style cap with long ear flaps that buttoned under my chin.  All other memories of that Christmas have vanished.  But forever pressed indelibly on my mind and in my hopes are the eagerness, the wonder, and the joy that we children felt during our scanty Christmases.  Times were hard. Mother was often by herself.  We had no money, no car, no telephone, no inside plumbing. We navigated the dark with kerosene lamps until I was nearly eight years old.  But today's extravagant piles of soon-to-be forgotten luxury toys and bounteous gifts can never be a match in wonder and excitement as we awaited and opened the brown covered package from Monkey Ward that Santa had forgotten to leave us on that cold Christmas eve so long ago.

Background Picture

After much trial and several tribulations here is a background picture. Ann informed me she was tired of autumn leaves and it was Christmas. Why is she always the instigator of everything? Anyway I more or less figured it out. First, convert to "blogger in draft" a sort of beta form of blogger. Which I did in case you notice the format is a tad different. Go to Design.>templatedesigner>background image>upload image.
The image is supposed to be no larger than 1800 x 1600 pixels but I had to get this one down to 500x333.
It's a bit much but the only other choice is to put the picture in the upper left or upper right corner and then have a plain yet-to-be-determined color for the rest of the blog. Feel free to vote.  Or find a better Christmas picture.  At least it's better than solid black.  We'll do better as we figure this out.  L, D.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Penrose Christmas Chronicles

When I was six or seven, I told Mother I would like a book about Jesus for Christmas.  So on Christmas morning here was my wondrous book. The book was a cheap one, marked 29 cents inside the front cover and I am sure even the 29 cents was hard to come by in those troubled days.  I was so proud of this book.  I took it to Sunday School in Byron and showed it to my teacher.  She looked at it and told me "These are such poor pictures of Jesus. He doesn't look kind."  My day was crushed and my heart sank.  Forever after, I have never forgotten my sad feelings when my precious new book that came from Santa Claus was destroyed by an unthinking and careless Sunday School Teacher.  So ever after I have thought, "Be very careful what you tell a child."  And I have never forgotten this incident, seared permanently in my heart.  But I know that Mother loved me enough to honor my humble Christmas request with the best that she could do, and my heart goes out to her even now for this treasured gift after so many, many years.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Importance of People Who Touch Our Lives

My old school chum and Sheep Barn roommate Felix Bessler is in hospice in Cody with terminal lung and liver cancer.  For each of us, we can think of one or more people who said something, did something--an act of love or kindness, a word of encouragement, a suggestion--that altered the course of our lives.  For me, Felix Bessler was one of these persons.

Felix grew up in a large family in a tiny house on Willwood, the farming community south of Powell WY.  He slept with other children in the unheated basement of their small home.  Somehow, he had saved enough money to start school at the University of Wyoming in Laramie the fall after our graduation from Powell High School in 1949.  Louise and I started college at Northwest Community College in Powell.  During Christmas break, I saw Felix, or "Red" as he was then fondly called, at a Powell High School basketball game.  He said, "Blood, I've got an extra bunk in the room in the hayloft of the sheep barn at the UW stock farm.  Why don't you come down with me and go to school there?"  Great question.  I had no money.  I had no job.  I had a scholarship that would pay most of my tuition, only a thimbleful at the time.  Dad cashed the $75 check I earned at my job at the Park County Sentinel, a weekly paper that was about to fold, when we made a quiick trip to Powell where the K Bar was the only place open to cash a check.  I packed my meager belongings in a cardboard box and in my FFA Samsonite suitcase.  Mom and Dad never said, "How do you think you can do this?  You have no money.  You have no job.  You have no clothes."  Instead, they waved goodby on a frosty January 1 as I headed for Willwood to pick up Red and head for Laramie.

Fifteen miles north of Laramie, Red told me that his girlfriend, Dolly, had a cute little blonde girlfriend named Velna and that I should call her when we got to town and go on a blind date to a square dance.  Three or four days later, I knocked on the door of 615 Flint, knees trembling, fearful,  What would she look like?  Would she turn up her nose when she saw me?  Would she think she had made a big mistake?  Off to the square dance we went.  Three years later we got married.  Fifty nine years after that, 62 total, we are still together, though neither of us can square dance any longer.

So Felix was responsible for me going to the University of Wyoming and for finding the girl who would be my lifelong companion.  How much more can one person affect your life than that?  We have stayed in touch over the years.  But I have never forgotten, nor have I ever given Felix enough credit, for the ways in which he changed my life forever.  Thank you Felix (Red), and may you be at peace.

Photo of the Sacred Grove

By the way, the photo I posted on the Blog banner is of the Sacred Grove.  I thought it was appropriate.

December 3, 2011: A Letter to My Siblings

Dear Ann:
Two days ago Velna reminded me it was your birthday.  Of course, I knew that already.  That was the day I walked downtown to urban Powell and noted Dr. Coulston's Cadillac was gone behind the Coulston Clinic where it always was parked.  I put two and two together and when I got home, sure enough, there she was.  I never could figure out why anyone else ever thought this was such a big surprise.  Anybody could have figured this one out.  I do remember you made a lot of racket, but we didn't seem to mind since you were somewhat of a celebrity.

I am proposing that on the 1st day of each month you post the stuff you have bought during the previous month, or that you are thinking of buying this month.  Explain the reasons why everyone else should also buy it.  Then make sure you buy it yourself instead of sending us all of to the store while you laugh your head off at home at how gullible we are.  The lastest: My $30 nucular powered S&P shakers. Ann offered me a free lunch, not knowing how expensive it was going to be. Then she hustled me off to Costco and headed with warp speed to the location on the shelves.  Now she is peddling dirt.  Listen up.  Or better yet set up your own Ann's Terribly Interesting Infomercial Network."    But what would we do without you?

Dear Liz:
You may be the most gullible among us, I thought, until I heard Judy actually forked over a boatload of cash to buy a book Ann recommended.  Are you kidding?  I couldn't ever get her to part with a $20 bill to give to Robert.  But you have the most melodious laugh and the longest and most involved phone answering message.  And you do use big words once in awhile to remind us you were an English teacher.  Or something.

Dear Steve:
How much stuff have you bought that Ann talked you in to?  You may be the wisest one amongst us since as you say, you are not here to get personal pressure and influence to part with your hard earned cash so you will have something later for garage sales and to store in your store room.  We're all happy you are making stuff again.  Send pictures.  Tell Mary Lynn you are sorry.  She'll know for what.

Dear Louise:
We're all happy you got new shingles on your roof and that the storm didn't blow them all off.  Do you remember when you learned a naughty word at school and brought it home and you and I repeated it millions of times in the front yard of the original Penrose house and laughed and laughed and laughed?  I still laugh every time I hear or see that word.  We're all happy that you are happy.  We just need to hear a word or two on blogs once in awhile.  Like, "Good morning. I am fine? How are you? Love, Louise."  Stuff like that.  So we know you're o.k.

Dear whoever is left.  Let's see.  Ann, Liz, Steve, Louise.  Oh yeah, Dear Judy:
Last but not least.  What can I say? I'm living in shock at what a spendthrift you turned out to be. Thank you for checking up on me and Velna so often.  I try not to commit any egregious sins in between your calls.  And we're all amazed at all the things you do--RS, gardening, kid tending, phone calling, doing good works of all kinds and manner. 

There we are.  All six of us.  Can you imagine how empty our lives would be, each without all the other five?
Love, Dwight

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ann!

You couldn't scare anyone if you tried.  Not even your sweet little face would keep the birds out of the strawberries.
Please have a very happy day.   And I am so glad that you are my sister.

Who could resist loving this little girl?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You Missing A Key

I am sorry to be so slow on this one. I have been "bumping" into these keys for several years as I have gone through stuff trying to figure out what to do with some of the little odds and ends I have. Today it finally dawned on me that perhaps those of you who have some of the little chests from Mom and Dad just might want a key that goes with a lock. So, take a look at these keys and if you think they might fit a chest you have, please let me know and I will send them around. I have even wondered if one of them goes to Grandpa's rolled top desk.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


No photos, just a Thanksgiving wish.  Lots to be thankful for this year, hope everyone else feels the same way.  Love from NY

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Look at Grandpa Working in the Beet Field

I don't have time to try and play with this photo, but thought it would be worthwhile posting the companion photo to the one Elizabeth just posted. Does it look as though Steve and I were driving Mother crazy and so she sent us out to "help" Grandpa in the beet field? Or maybe Dwight wanted us to pose for this photo op. Hopefully you can enlarge the photo and see the facial expressions on these "angelic" looking children. I suspect once Grandpa got bent over it was really difficult for him to stand up straight - at least as straight as his frail body could stand.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sugar Beets

The month of October has come and gone, as has the sugar beet harvest. In the "olden days", the beets were dug up in a long row, then the workers would come through with the curved, sharp beet knife, pick up a beet with the hook on the end, hold the beet in the left hand, and chop off the tops on the right hand. The tops would go on one row, and the beets on another. The beet loader would come through and pick up the beets, and the tops would be picked up to be used for cattle feed for the winter. In spite of his age, Grandpa would go out and top beets with the other workers. There is another picture of Ann and Steve posing by him - but this is the only one I could find in a hurry. I assume that Dwight took this picture? You recorded a bit of history here.
Preston, like many other farming communities, once had a sugar beet factory, and it was a favorite money crop. However, the company that owned the factory moved away, and it now stands, tall pipes against the sky, and windows broken out - an eyesore on the countryside. On the other hand, the sugar beet farmers in the Big Horn Basin banded together, purchased the factory, and have successfully run it during this time. I'm still glad we don't have to thin, hoe, and harvest sugar beets anymore.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ann is Always Right

After a Sunday dinner of fish, which was yummy, I put one last uncooked piece on the stove to cook and promptly got distracted downstairs.  Bob went to the kitchen for a drink and found the kitchen in stinky smoke.  Yes, the smoke alarm, even with new batteries,  had failed.  I scrubbed and scrubbed, but the oder has lingered with us.  Today I called the expert:  Ann.  She said to put white, not red, vinegar in an open glass, not plastic and not metal,  container.  It sounded like the routine Grandma used to tell us when we wanted to get rid of our warts, but I followed Ann's instructions to the letter.

That was 4 hours ago.  We left for a couple of hours and just came back home.  Opened the door.............and you are right if you think that it worked!  Thanks, Ann!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mary Lynn's Kitchen

Except for a little of this and a little of that, this beautiful kitchen is almost done.  With a lot of hard work (how many different times did Steve stain the wood for the floor?) and amazing craftmanship, the result is this showcase kitchen.  Let's all go for dinner, what do you say?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Penrose, Mid 1960's

This occasion in Penrose when my little family was there, at the same time as Dwight and Velna and their children. There were some choice pictures that came from this time. You have to excuse my hairdo + cat-eye glasses, but remember, it was the mid-60's.
We must have gone to church.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Long-ago Picture

The names written on the back of this fuzzy, out-of-focus old picture says "Russell Blood & Jack Riddle". Dad's stance gives him away - you couldn't miss him. Just thought this was an interesting picture - taken at the ranch in Sunlight? Who knows? More history to this? Since no one is playing these days but Steve, we might never know any more.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dad and the Lilies

This picture of Dad among the lilies, dahlias, and astilbe in my Tumwater garden was always a favorite. Dad was always willing to have his picture taken to make the subject more appealing. I was a little unhappy this morning when I really looked at this picture and saw how blurry it is. I watched a short feature yesterday on a new program that Photoshop is developing that sharpens impossibly blurry pictures. Don't throw them away yet. We're waiting for that one.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Person from Dad's Past

I found this picture of Paul Hineman (sp?) in my folder of old pictures. Evidently, he was a friend of Dad's from Cody High School. Remember Dad talking about having to move the rocks off of the football field so that they could play football? Dad never finished high school, being more homesick for the ranch in Sunlight north of Cody than he was fond of learning. Dad did talk about having a letter sweater, and it looks like Paul had one, too. How about the striped pants? I remember Paul Hineman from when we lived in the little brown house, because he came to visit a few times. I was fascinated, because he smoked cigarettes and blew smoke out of his nose. We didn't see people smoke, so that alone seemed strange. I always wondered if the smoke could come out of his ears, too, but it never did. His voice was distinctive because of a slight cleft lip.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Here's a Gem

Look at what I found this afternoon!  Name the year, the place and which Tanner for the big prize!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mary Lynn's New Kitchen

Steve has talked about this kitchen project for awhile.  It was no simple task.  Look at that flooring!  Ask Steve the story on that.   He built the cabinets from cherry and maple, and the hardware is his personal creation.  What a showcase kitchen!  Steve, write the rest of the story......

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brother Dear

Dwight was the picture taker in our family - pictures of him in his youth are few and far between, but I always liked this one, probably taken by a buddy - note the FFA jacket.
This is sort of a professor-type picture - family reunion in Orem.
And, we're only missing Steve - Sweet memories of laughter and tears shared over the years.
Love this picture from the past. We always look forward on our birthdays - sometimes the scenery looks a little uncertain, sometimes we know the path. Life is always throwing us a curve, and we often go into uncharted waters, but it's important to know that family is always there to support and love us on.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My New Recipe

We ate every crumb so there is nothing left to take a picture.
So easy and so good if you like peppers.  Enjoy!

3 Pepper Quesadillas
1 cup each thin strips peppers:  green, red & yellow  (or whatever you have)
1/2 cup thin onion slices  ( used more)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 t. cumin ( didn't use any)
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup (8oz) shredded cheddar
10 flour tortillas
thick & chuncky salsa (forgot to use that)

Cook veg in butter for 4 min. Drain . Save butter.

Spred 1/2 tortilla with soften cream cheese.  Sprinkle grated cheddar.  Top with cooked peppers and fold in half.  Place on cookie sheet.  Brush top with remaining butter.
Bake 425 degrees for 8 mins.  Don't burn your mouth

Get Cookin'.

Monday, August 29, 2011


We all remember these two points of interest when we were growing up.  First the stories of the bridge that Grandpa worked on in Yellowstone, then the narrow road of the canyon that took us up the North Fork.  We also probably remember how much Father did not like the canyon drive.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Elizabeth and Ron Came to Olympia!

We had so much fun.  Not many somber moments, not even for the camera.
Giving each other advice.......the hands, you've got to watch the hands!
While the ladies watched the new Jane Eyre movie, the men escaped to the shade in the yard to get a little reading (and sleeping) done.
What an event to have the Gages traveling to Washington again! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Technology To Watch

"A company in American Fork has announced the release of its M-DISC, which is the first permanent file backup disc technology that will protect your information for up to 1,000 years." This is quoted from an article in Tuesday's Daily Herald. Two BYU professors came up with idea. I have included their web site so you can research this on your own. Can you imagine someone coming across this disc in 1000 years, looking at it and wondering if it was just a shiny frisbee? However, the idea of being able to preserve photos and genealogy and whatever else we have, without the data deteriorating would be wonderful.
The projected cost of the discs in a 20 pack is $26.95. I suspect there would be an additional purchase of the drive to burn the disc. At least that is what I gathered from their web site. Happy learning and let us know what you find out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Penrose School: Page from Mom's Black Photo Album

Apologies if this has been posted before.  What is amazing is how many people and children there were in Penrose once upon a time.  The picture on lower right is, if memory serves me, Lucinda Wasden.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mother's Tatting

Oh, yes and something else that should be included. And do you recognize the scarf?

The Penrose School

This is a very poor photo but I think it is worth adding to our history. This is the Penrose School. The photo was in an old photo album of Uncle Brooks that I was able to borrow from our cousin, David Wasden. There wasn't much of interest in the album, except for this photo. There is one of a young Uncle Brooks that I will post later. Hopefully you can at least get an idea of this little country school that Mother and her siblings attended.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What A Difference a Year Makes

Ok, I know, I need to have my own blog, and I just may surprise you one of these first days. However, it is important to put the next chapter on the blog to follow up on a post dated Wednesday May 12, 2010.

The photo above seems to ask, "who needs a garden gate?". The squash and melons have a mind of their own.
The flowers across the front of the family room windows have been beautiful this year.
One days' harvest. It is time to make catsup and beet soup, maybe even some dilly beans. Work to do, work to do! The tomatoes are a jungle, the squash and melons (including 12 watermelon) are merrily filling in any empty space they can find, and life is good. This has been a great team effort this year, and feels really good.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Russell M. Blood and Friend, Denver

This copy of a picture was in my files - hope someone has the original. It is a picture of Daddy with his friend, Dwight Tabler (whom brother Dwight was named after). Wasn't he the one whose father helped Dad make connections with Elsie and Dewey? Sorry you can't enlarge this picture well - the pixels just break up. Nevertheless, the dress, which was everyday school dress for Denver schools, seems quite formal. If we could see the whole picture, I think these were short pants, with knee socks. This is one of the few pictures we have of Dad in this period of his life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How We Got Through the Great Depression

During the 1930s our Dad was gone much of the time looking for a day's work here and there leaving Mother alone with first, Louise, then me (Dwight), then Liz, and a bit later in the decade, Judy.  We lived in a two-room uninsulated home that would probably be called a shack today.  Here are the resources Mother had to get us through that troubled decade:
  1. Maybe three or four pans and a cast iron skillet.
  2. Two coal stoves, one for heating the bedroom, one for cooking and heating the kitchen.
  3. An enamel dishpan, which sprouted a hole midway through the decade.
  4. Two kerosene lamps.
  5. A can of kerosene.
  6. A stash of coal and green cottonwood for burning in the stoves.
  7. A cellar full of canned peas, beans, tomatoes, corn, peaches, pears, apricots, strawberry jam, plus some potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and a few apples.
  8. Mustard for mustard plasters.
  9. A water bucket for carrying water into the house from the outside pump.
  10. A scrub board.
  11. A galvanized metal bathtub for laundry and baths.
  12. A big garden and an apple orchard in the summer.
  13. Two beds, one of which my two sisters slept on, and the other, a cot, which I slept on, and a sort of couch that Mother slept on in the other room.
  14. A rolling pin and bread pans.
  15. Irons Mother heated on the stove for ironing clothes.
  16. Surely I have left something out.
What we did not have:
  1. A car.
  2. A telephone.
  3. Electricity--until 1939.
  4. Inside plumbing and bath rooms.
  5. Washing machine.
  6. Many toys.
  7. Many clothes.
  8. Store bought groceries of any kind except for a few staples.
But what we did have that got us through the Great Depression:
  1. Love in great abundance.
  2. Warmth.
  3. Great imaginations for inventing things do do.
  4. Mother's indomitable will, perseverance, mustard plasters, and lonely days and nights.
  5. Dad's sacrifice in looking for a day's work anywhere and everywhere and showing up some Saturday nights with the Denver Post with its "funny papers" and making a kite for us that flew and pulling us around in our red wagon and playing his harmonica for us and giving us hugs.  And then he was gone again.
That is how we learned to get by on our own throughout our lives, to tough out the bad times, and to stay close to one another.  So we really came out ahead, didn't we?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For Sale: Roncoe Rotisserie, Pressure Cooker, Bread Maker. Make an Offer

My sisters are just like sheep.  If one of them says, "buy this!", they all march out and buy it.  Except Ann is usually the one who propagates this mania and gets everyone else to buy some worthless piece of merchandise, and by the time everyone else has all gone out and bought it, Ann has decided she doesn't want to buy it after all.

Let us take the Roncoe Rotisserie of Set it and Forget it fame for example.  For a brief period, chicken rotisserie mania set in.  I remember when Velna and I went up to Preston to see Liz and Ron and they proudly presided over two properly trussed birds as they rotated themselves into splended states of rotisseriness.  Judy dissembled for years claiming she had one when everyone knew she didn't.  Some where she will pay for this dissemblement.  I suckered into this epidemic and bought one, with splendid visions of perfectly rotiserried chicken, steaks, salmon, kabobs, etc., etc.  As far as I remember, we may have rotisseried three fowls.  It took half an hour to truss them up properly, haul the monster machine out of the pantry, and turn it on, watching the spit turn round and round and round.  The chicken itself was fine but then it took two hours to scrub up the rotisserie.  I figure my three Roncoe rotisseried birds cost a mere 75 bucks apiece or some such amount.  The solution? Pay 5 bucks at Costco for a perfectly wonderful rotisseried chicken and put the rotisserie in the store room.  For five bucks, two people can eat for weeks.  First, you pick a little chicken off for a couple of sandwiches.  Then you chew on the thighs, drumsticks, and wings.  Then you make some other dish like chicken enchiladas.  Then you berl up the carcass for broth, chuck in some frozen noodles, and eat chicken and noodles for approximately two weeks.  All for five bucks and you don't have to clean up the stupid rotisserie.  But if you are enamored with the Music Man con man who peddles these things with his adoring audience chanting "set it and forget it," I will sell you mine cheap.  As far as I know, all of my sisters' rotisseries have met a tragic fate.  But maybe we have all been too dumb to see the potential here.

Now my sisters didn't connive to get me to buy a pressure cooker and a bread machine.  I did those deeds myself.  I pressure cooked one roast and one batch of pea soup.  My wife kept saying, "What is the advantage to that?"  "You can roast a roast in a short time and berl some pea soup in a jiffy anyway, and besides, what else do you have to do that is so important that you need your roast or your pea soup in a few minutes instead of an hour or two?  I just took my pressure cooker down to the store room.

We did use our bread machine quite a bit when we had more family at home.  Bread machine bread is wonderful when it is first baked.  But after three or four fresh slices, the loaf sits around and turns to stone and no one ever eats the rest of it.  So the bread machine is now headed for the store room.  Maybe I'll try one more loaf first.

I know Ann has been like Eve and the apple on several other occasions of sending her sisters scurrying to the stores or to or to DI to get something she has had a current inspiration about, but my brain has fogged in these regards.  Perhaps others can fill us in on these multitudinous details.  Why is it we have never learned, however?  Irregardless [sic] of how many times we have listened to Ann peddle something to us, we still go out and buy whatever her current fascination is?  Why is that?

Currently we have the Vintage Sewing Book Saga.  A sad story beyond all human imagination.  Ann finds this book about how to sew 100 year old underwear and convinces her sisters to all buy the book.  Then someone paid for them and mailed them out and now nobody is smart enough to figure out how the heck much anyone owes anyone else or who mailed what to whom or who paid postage.  Meanwhile we have burned up 41 comments on what is supposed to be a dignified family history blog with total, utter nonsense.  No wonder Congress is so screwed up if we highly educated Blood family members have no idea how to do addition, subtraction, and long division.  Why would anyone want a vintage sewing book?  What if I suggested we all buy an economic analysis book so we could correct all of our mistaken notions and understand Supply and Demand?  How many would buy it?  Besides, there is an element of gender discrimination here in spending so much time, energy, computer space, and continual click click clicks to see if some robot has added the next comment to an inane list of previous comments about a book about old ladies underwear.  What a sad commentary.  Mother would be appalled that her children do not have anything better to do, that they do not know how to do arithmetic, and that they don't buy a treadle sewing machine to make real stuff with.  I have worn myself totally out with the effort required to write this epic piece.  I hope I have shed light and inspiration on these important subjects.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Siblings of Russell Blood

Kathryn Blood - a half sister
Paul Blood - a half brother.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday Party

The special entertainment was a bagpiper. I was so caught by surprise and loving bagpipe music the second I heard the sound from the hall I broke down and cried. It was so amazing what my kids thought of for me.

As you can tell, I enjoyed it immensely.

Kevan's group, Lattigo, entertained throughout the evening. Here they are playing Happy Birthday.

Kevan getting into Orange Blossom Express. He is amazing. (Does my motherly pride show?)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here's Whatcha Do

Dear Louise, This is the whole story about your book on vintage sewing. I found the book on line right before Judy's birthday. Called Ann, and asked her if she thought it would be good for Judy and for your birthday. We looked at some of the pages on Amazon (I think), and then decided that all four of us should have the same book. So, Ann was already putting in a book order at Amazon, so she said she would order her own birthday present (why wait until December 1st?). I proceeded to put in an order (I thought) for the other three books. A couple of weeks went by, and I realized that no books had come. Back to Amazon, My Account, and there was no evidence of an order - what hadn't I done? So, naturally, the thing to do was to place another order, which I thought I did. (Note: I order books from Amazon all the time, and never had any problem. In fact, two other orders came from them in the same time I thought this order should come.) Again, no books, and Ann had had hers for some time. Soooo - the third time is the charm, right? The books finally came - in time for my birthday, two months after the intended first order should come. The upshot was that now we had to figure out who owed who what for what book. Your book, Louise, was to be your birthday present from the three of us. Judy was gang-pressed into paying her fair share for the three gifts. How do you figure this out? Ann finally came up with the following solution, which is pretty darned good, I think. However, Judy had to mess the whole thing up by sending me too much money, so now I owe her something like $3.64. Sigh. We're just sorry that you couldn't have been laughing with us while all of this nonsense was going on. The one thing I'm struck by is how simplified the sewing and fashions were in the late 1920s. Love, Elizabeth

Ann came to the rescue with the following solution.

Begin forwarded message:

 From: Ann Tanner

> Date: June 1, 2011 11:30:35 AM MDT

> To: Bob and Judy Petersen , Gage

> Subject: Here's Whatcha Do Maybe

> This is a story book problem at its best.

> Major accounting issue:

> 1. Louise's book $20.00 divided by 3 = 6.35 paid by E. J. A.

> 2. Judy's book $20.00 divided by 2 = 10.00 paid by E. A.

> 3. Elizabeth's book $20.00 divided by 2 = 10.00 paid by J. A.

> 4. Ann's book $20.00 divided by 2 = 10.00 paid by E. J.

> So, now, who owes what to whom, you ask.

> Well - here's whatcha do.

> Elizabeth bought three books, Ann bought one book.


> Elizabeth, Judy and Ann send Elizabeth 6.35 each for Louise's book.


> Elizabeth and Ann pay 10.00 each for Judy's book.


> Judy and Ann pay 10.00 each for Elizabeth's book.


> Elizabeth and Judy pay 10.00 each for Ann's book.


> So each one of us owes $26.35 somewhere, somehow.


> Now, this is where it gets tricky.


> Judy sends Elizabeth $16.35 for Louise's book and Elizabeth's book. She sends 10.00 to Ann for her book (that she bought for herself, so does this qualify? If so, I can see a small business with potential. Shall I let you know when I buy more books?).


> Ann would normally (Is any of this normal????) send Elizabeth $26.35 for Judy's and Elizabeth's and Louise's books, but since she got in a hurry and bought her own book (yes, some of us remember to click on "place order" on Amazon so it doesn't take forever for an order to arrive), and paid for it herself, she really complicated matters. Elizabeth would owe Ann $10.00 for her (Ann's) book, however since Ann paid for it herself, but owes Elizabeth money, then this will balance (?) out. Ann will owe Elizabeth $16.35 - just wait - it will work out, maybe.


> Elizabeth would normally (? ?) send Ann 10.00 for her book and pay $16.35 for Louise's and Judy's books, but since she already paid for the books, that is Louise's and Judy's books, Elizabeth won't send anything to Ann, which will, in turn pay for part of Ann's portion.


> Now, the question is, does this balance out?

> Judy will pay $26.35. (She owes Ann $10.00 and Elizabeth $16.35)

> Elizabeth will pay $26.35, which she has already paid (she owes Ann $10.00, Ann owes her $26.35, so subtracting the $10.00, Ann now owes Elizabeth $16.35)

> Ann will pay $26.35, however see note directly above. So Ann owes $16.35.


> So - the total ins and outs should/will come to $79.05.


> Now, if Judy sends Elizabeth $26.35, then Ann will need to send Elizabeth only 6.35, because instead of Judy sending money to me (Ann) that I would then send to Elizabeth, it would definitely simplify ??????? the situation.


> And that's whatcha do. Whew, I am going to play in the flowers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Birthday Party

Yes, there really were 80 candles, but we were outside and there was a breeze so they didn't all get lit at once, even with the connecting trail. It did make quite a flare-up for a second.

There were some trick candles that wouldn't go out so I was getting some help.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Louise Blood Celebrates 80th Birthday

This beautiful formal portrait of our sister Louise, must be part of our blog record.  Her birthday party was held on Saturday, July 16 with her children honoring her in meaningful detail.  We hope to bribe those who had cameras to share their photos for all to see on the blog.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Hotter than the shades of Haiti's so I helped Mary Lynn get her hammock up.  Lily recognized at once that this was the place to be.  (It's really to early to call them the "dog days of summer'" but it just made a good title.