Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I Learned on Wednesday






Wednesday was one of those days when I learned how much I didn't/don't know and how good it is to keep working on "stuff". The day started with a load of bark/mulch being dumped in the middle of our driveway. Thankfully we had the cars already parked on the street so we avoided one major challenge there. Lesson no. 1 - try to stay ahead of the "what if's".
Then there was the quick trip to Costco to finish buying stuff for Steve and Mary Lynn's Jackson adventure. While there I saw the red velvet cake, which seemed to be the perfect way to finish off lunch at Louise's - who could resist? Evidently not me. Lesson no. 2 - do not look in the dessert cases at Costco. It is way to easy to justify buying something yummy - at least I didn't buy the pineapple upside down cake!
I had called Dwight's house on Tuesday evening and then again on Wednesday morning trying to see if we could talk with him in the afternoon while Steve, Louise and I, along with Cheryl and Lynn Styler, Paul and Mary Lynn were together, but there was no answer. I was honestly concerned. And then Dwight called me and said I had been leaving messages on Velna's cell phone for the past little while, and they don't use that phone very often, and therefore didn't know I had been calling. Lesson no. 3 - when reprogramming phone nos. into a new phone system, do not confuse cell phone nos. with home phone nos., otherwise you may start to think sad thoughts when you don't get a return phone call. Problem corrected!
When we got to Louise's, Steve and Mary Lynn were already there, having driven up from the SLC airport, with their flight arriving at 12:30. I was concerned that we had kept everyone waiting (we had a lot of the food with us), and Steve told me they had been there about an hour. Lesson no. 4 - Do not believe Steve, check with Mary Lynn.
And then, as things started to wind down, after a lot of chatting, Steve talking with Dwight on the phone, all of us talking about everyone who wasn't there, it was time to get out the cameras. Lesson no. 5 - always check the setting on your digital camera. Taking photos as though the setting is on Automatic exposure, when it is not, gives the above results (blurry photos) - and I can't go back and have a do over.
And then my almost final lesson for the day needs a little background. When Patsy Sorensen and I were visiting the first part of June (she is cousin Julian's wife), she talked about how Cindy hated to have her picture taken, and I believe she was referring to Cindy in her later years. After I looked at the photos of me from yesterday, there came Lesson no. 6 - I'm tempted to join Cindy in my lack of enthusiasm for having my photo taken. If my hair cut looks like a stack of loosely stacked gray straw, I have to either learn to accept it or change the hair cut - this lesson remains to find a conclusion, other than to say "Oh, well!".
However, the final lesson of the day came as I crawled into bed, and this is the best lesson of all. The six of us have our own families to focus on, worry about, cheer on and above all to love. And along with that, we have been blessed with a relationship that just picks up when we get together as though time and distance is non existent. Penrose Mornings has been such a great connector - we have shared memories and every now and again we have shared our struggles, as well as our joys. So my very final lesson for the day was a reminder of good things and blessings in my life that help to make it all complete. Whew! It must be nap time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letter To Liz

June 28 2011

Dear Liz:

I recorded the movie "Lili" with Leslie Caron and Velna and I entertained ourselves by watching it last night.  Do you remember when you went with us to see Lili at the Wyo Theater in Laramie a week before we all went to Penrose together in August 1953 when Velna and I were on our way to Bozeman where I would start my master's degree studies in agricultural economics?  I hadn't seen that movie for 58 years if my arithmetic is approximate, yet it brought back so many memories of that summer with flashbacks of scenes I still remembered from the movie.  And who can forget the lyrics to the lilting "Hi Lili"?

That was the summer I rescued you from hoeing beets with your siblings so you could move to the big city and tend the wonderful children at this home, which I took a photo of when I went back to Laramie for my 50th college graduation reunion.

You may even have wished for a return to the previous summer when I celebrated my high school graduation and my past tenure as state president of the Future Farmers of America by hoeing beets with you for weeks in the hot sun, swatting deerflies, horseflies, and gnats.  What did we talk about all that summer, up and down those rows, waiting for the water jug by the ditch at the end of the row?
You remember the trip to Penrose from Laramie.  We had our 1948 black 2-dr. Chevy we bought with a down payment from Velna's savings.  Velna was very pregnant, the day was hot.  We had a flat tire about 15 miles south of Lovell on the Greybull highway.  I hitchhiked into Lovell and got my brother in law Phil Reasch, who married Velna's sister Joyce, to come rescue us while you and Velna suffered by the side of the road for an eternity.  Finally, we made it home to Penrose.  Velna and I stayed for a week since I was supposed to be the substitute teacher in vocational agriculture at Powell High School while the two regular ag teachers went to the state fair in Douglas.  I had completed all of the courses necessary for a life certificate in vocational ag teaching at the University, but I had forgotten what ag students were like.  They put someone's arm in the power hack saw to see how close to the skin they could get without breaking it.  I passed out rope for knot tying, a skill which I had demonstrated in high school by making the most outstanding knot board in the history of the Wyoming State Fair.  After about 10 years of winning the blue ribbon at the fair, my teachers were told it was illegal to keep entering it.  I never did get the knot board back. And the rotten kids had lost track of what they did with the rope pieces to practice tying knots.  So after a week of treading water with juvenile delinquents, we were happy to be on our way to Bozeman to begin an unknown future to get a master's degre in ag econ.  I was 20, soon to turn 21, when we started that year.  We were expecting our first baby in November.  My assistantship paid about $70 per month.  Rent was about $17.  Velna worked part time.  We covered our new baby with Velna's coat when she came home from work since we couldn't afford a blanket.

So, Liz, how did you get back to Laramie?  I never thought I would ever go back there, but go back there I did, for another nine years of teaching.  The University Stock Farm sheep barn, where I lived the first year I was at Wyoming while working there as a student, and Old Main remain icons of my life.  Whatever happened after that, you and I had an opportunity siblings rarely have, even if we were spending our time in forced slave labor, to get well enough acquainted to stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives.  I find it difficult to insult you or make you angry, since you always agree with all of my insults.  But all of these memories came flowing back while watching sweet little Leslie Caron sing "The song of love is a sad song. . ."

My home was in a room fixed for student workers in the second floor of this sheep barn.  If you are wondering what you smell like after your clothes, your hair, everything you have is reeking with sheep lanolin, I can refresh your memory.
Old Main where, among all the other buildings on the UW campus, I was student janitor one summer.

So that about sums it up for this letter.  Love, Dwight.  (sorry you never understood the word ditto, or you could have learned to read even sooner than you did).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Powell Ward 1954




Who can you find in this group?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Paul and Kathryn Ann Tanner Family


“Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Letter

Perhaps this will explain why I asked the question about when we were born. The following is a letter that was shared by Patsy Sorensen which was written on Uncle Norman and Aunt Cindy's 50th wedding anniversary. I loved what he wrote and as I read it I could hear him telling the story in his own unique way. I guess I longed for a little insight into life when I was born, as he had shared here. I also realize it was another time and another place when we came along, but here is what he wrote. It is delightful to read and adds another bit of insight into the lives of our Wasden family.

(Note from Patsy to me/Ann - Brooks letter to Lucinda. This is not dated, but it was with the 50th anniversary stuff, so I am going to assume that it was sent about that time.)

AUGUST 20, 1913
Let's keep that date in mind --for some reason or other--

In the beginning, things were different!
Now, since that hurdle is passed, may we settle down to good--yes good constructive thinking? Whew! This wears me O-U-T.

The above day started about the same as any other August day. There were calves to feed, hogs to prime their grunts, horse barns were always reserved for my kind attention for sanitary purposes, by which time Father (or Papa; NEVER Dad), and David had the cows milked! Time out for breakfast. We had rolled oats; oatmeal hadn't been invented yet. Cream and sugar--"now don't try to heap up your spoon-full". There would be Mother's baked bread; trowel on a smear of butter, or honey, preserves, or eggs with home-grown bacon or ham, and fried potatoes? Lets see--what else? "Brooks you take the cows down across the river-bridge to pasture."

On my way home I will detour from the established trail to find a little gulley that has been washed out at about where the corner of our
LOT used to be. The irrigation lateral had departed its true course and allowed the stream of water to wander whither it wilt. This little gulley was born from this laxity; it was not very deep not very long but it had two banks which provided the necessary challenge for my skills to build little roads, dugways, tressels, tunnels, bridges, for the conveyance of my wagon!

My wagon? Yes, it really was a caster--an off-cast from a bed-stead. But, my, how nice it worked to make tracks on the soft dirt! Not the scratchy kind when you drug a stick, but a nice, flat-pressed, beauty. I carried this little jewel in my pocket for any opportunity to apply its pretty initials anywhere. But this gulley was a real hang-out. Usually I could just get interested when the alarm was sounded throughout the realm and my presence was urgently needed to turn the washing machine, pull weeds, get in hay and get going. Consequently, I had learned to not bobble my head too much above the limits and quietly attend to my important business.

But--this morning wasn't working out as usual. David, my big brother, had visited my project and completely erased all past construction. This saved me the agony of having to do the same thing because the joy of doing and building is more a pleasure and invites new ways of doing.

But--besides this--I wasn't being interrupted! Sofe would usually be dispatched to bear glad tidings that I must be doing other things of no consequence to me but better to pay attention! But this day, she would come and ask "Was I alright?" Had I heard anything? Well, don't worry." and she would be gone! However, I did see Sister Jones come.

And she left. Years later Edward Jones will teach me to ride his bike.
Then came Sister Shumway. She was our neighbor to the west.
Then, she left.
Came next, Sister Carroll. She was Irish. So was her husband. He had an awful loud temper. He would yell at his horses like thunder coming out of a tunnel. Some said you could hear him clear to Byron, eight miles away. I don't know about that, but he could sure wake up the chickens early in the Penrose mornings.

By and by, Sister Carroll left. She walked straight and determined. She once had rescued me from a gang of big boys who had tied a diaper around my head and arms and would hoist me over their heads and play toss the baby. Of course my joy in this pleasure was measured in decibels of lung capacity which brought Alice Carrol out of the church; her eyes blazing fire and her voice the thunder of
Mount Siniai! I was gracefully deposited in the weeds by the fence while Israel fled in 20 directions.
By and by, Sister Carrol left.
Shortly afterward, Sofe came "triplingly" over the "terra" of the "firma" and announced:
"You may come into the house! You have a new baby sister."
"I do? Where did she come from?"
"Heavenly Father sent her."
"Heavenly Father? I thought we got everything from Montgomery Ward."
"Oh, come in and see."
Sofe tootled me along and sure enough--there in the cradle was this squriming, not quite snarling. little fist fighter! Oh, dear me. "What will we do with her?" was my first worried concern.
"You won't have to do anything about her," was Sofe's welcome reply. "Just wait and watch and you'll see her grow up like Minnie and Elna and Orvile."
Now--that was hopeful! More pals like them? Ah, Heaven came awfully close, right then.
But--you took so much time to grow up. Why, the next morning you weren't a bit bigger than you were yesterday. Good grief if you took so much time would you ever grow up before we were old and feeble? But it seemed everybody just relaxed and waited--come what may.
One thing you had done most admirably though was to fill in that gap between July and September with a birthday which reconciled Mother's pre-determined schedule to have a separate month for each child's birth. I learned later that she was downright provoked that Orvil had got in a hurry--he should have came in June! That upset her approved calculations and she must study the stars and the phases of the moon more carefully and your ticket did much to relieve her anxiety for error. All ready, you rated an A+, so the rest was easy sledding.
And so--you were named "Lucinda." NOT Cindy! Oh, NO!

Now that we've got you that far along, what can I add next? I sit here in a kind of dreamy trance, trying to put together the years that followed. School in the winter times and working with Father in the summer times, left only a few short periods of time to hatch-up or bring to pass the real actions which made up the growing years. YOU were were my first convert to the church? At least our Father Bishop did arrange it so that I baptized you, just before I left on my mission to
Texas in July. We had the usual 'font' --the Elk Canal which snaked its circuit along the foothills above the valley. It was the same spot where my delayed (?) immersion did come to pass, but only after I had convinced my reluctant bishop that I needed to repent of my sins! The occasion did not seem to have a lasting effect--maybe because the water was too cold?
Anyway we were gathered at the bridge across the canal where the road to
Burlington disappeared into the lava hills beyond the Penrose farms. I took the lead by feeling my way over the bottom of the flowing pool--bare-footed of course. The bridge, I was sure, would be my steadying point in case the flowing current intended to move everything downstream! Brother Berthelson steadied my faltering nerves and my fluttering shivers by grasping my right arm and teaching me how to make it square from the shoulder for the ordinance. By then you were cross-wiggling your way towards me, arms above the water and that perpetual grin of greeting which break into a full-fledged smile on the instant!
And so we complied with the ages old instructions for this honored privilege. There may have been one other person baptized at that time--it kind of seems that way, but I don't remember. You were the main one.
Edward Gwyn had came up with me from his home in
Cowley, Wyo. where we had labored diligently in the cause of truth and righteousness the Saturday night before. Sounds --er, mysterious? Could be!
I had driven Blizzard (you guess what that was), on a little ditch rider's two-wheeled cart, over to his home-base, on Saturday morning. During the morning's chores we reckoned this cart might be a new adventure for Beaulah Carlton and any friends she may have gathered around. Umm, well now, did it work out that way? But we did arrive in Penrose before the time for the service. With Sunday School being dismissed at
12:00 noon in those days, and Sacrament Meeting beginning at 2:00 p.m. this time was planned for the baptism. Now it was time to change to dry clothes, eat lunch, feed the horse and get to meeting. Didn't make it. By the time all was ready the meeting was 2/3's gone so I took Edward home. A few days later I boarded the train at Powell, Wyo, and was on my way to Salt Lake City and my mission. Twenty-six months later, I came home and found you had grown up! Yes, you had grown up and pretty as a picture! Then there followed some years of hither, thither and gone. until I landed up in Long Beach, California. Then one day the news was received that you were married to Norman Sorensen! Now--the Normans were recorded in history in a very commendable way. And Sorensen? I have written an appraisal of his choir's singing elsewhere and if I find it, it shall be sent along.

Now I know that if we could get together to prompt each other, we could knock our beanie heads into endless schreechings. That is what they made milleniums for? So--I must get busy to sort and pile up enough what-cha-ma-call-its for who-it-may-concern!

Brooks

Friday, June 3, 2011