Monday, February 27, 2012

A Fun Journey

Today is a good day and kind of a sad day, because I finished copying over all of Penrose Mornings, including the comments and the photos. It has been so much fun to read through all of the birthday wishes, the goofy comments, the memories that have been written, and all of the treasures that have been shared. I think we have done an amazing job of putting together a record of something that is very important, not only to us, but to our posterity. In a way, I am sad to see this project come to an end (that is just my copying, Penrose Morning still has work to do)because as I copied everything over, I felt as though I was spending just a little time with each one of you, as well as our parents and grandparents, along with some very special people who we have yet to know.
The file that contains all of the records totals 2.4GB. There are a few extra photos in that file, and I am just including them so you can do with them as you wish. Steve has sent me a USB drive and I will burn a copy of Penrose Mornings for him onto that. Would any of you like a copy? I can burn it to a disc (I have plenty) or if you would rather have it on a USB drive, just send me one.
Now it is time to go get Grandpa Wasden's missionary journals copied. I am told it is always good to have a project, so this must all be good.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Little White Penrose Blood Family House

I lived the first nine years of my life in the little brown house, across the field to the north from the location of this home.  Dad built this house in 1944, I think, during the war when he received dispensation from the government for building materials because he was coming to Penrose to raise sugar beets and farm Grandpa Wasden's farm.  I lived in this house for only five years, the other three years making up my seventeen-year-old age when I left home being spent in our Ralston home during WWII.

Burchell Hopkin and I paced off the width and length of the house one summer when I was in Penrose and we determined the original dimensions before the addition to be 960 sq. ft., which was how big it was during my five years there.  Our little home in St. George has 1474 sq. ft., and we think that is small.  But the Penrose house seemed like a mansion when we moved in during the spring of 1944, riding the school bus from Powell to Penrose for the first time in several years to reach our new house.  We had a grand door handle on the front door, glass doorknobs on the inside doors, lovely hardwood floors, glass light globes in the ceilings, closets in the bedrooms. Mom and Dad had their first private bedroom with a real bed since their marriage thirteen years before, having slept on a fold out couch in the living room all those previous years.  Now their bedroom had space for Mom's linen chest, her treadle sewing machine, and their priceless dresser, plus barely enough room to walk around the bed.

I remember my bedroom, luxuriously spacious compared with my sister's bedroom, since they had the good fortune to arrive in multiples whereas I was the only male until Steve made his appearance that first summer back in Penrose.  I had the corner room on the near corner looking at the photo above, with a real bed, and not just a cot that I had slept on until then, a closet, and a corner to stash keepsakes.  Two of my sisters shared a double bed, one a cot at the end of the bed, and the other the tiny room originally planned to be a bathroom, a luxury that did not materialize until several years after I left home.  Our tiny living room had space for a couch, Dad's pole chair, and another chair or two, with a wonderful spinet piano added the last year I was home, too late for me to learn how to play.  The lamp stand stood in the corner with one of Dad's masterful six-sided lamp shades on a cedar base and the perennial Soils and Men USDept. of Agriculture yearbook gracing the shelf.

I remember the doors, and the windows, and the kitchen table and chairs as we moved the table out from the wall to make enough space for six kids and two parents to sit down at the table for meals.  I remember hauling water bucket by bucket for wash day and the water bucket on the small stand just inside the door where we all drank out of the same dipper.  I remember the cream separator which stood just inside the door to separate the cream from the milk.  I remember hauling buckets of skim milk back out to feed the calves as Dad always admonished that drinking skim milk "would make you pot-bellied."  I remember trying not to track manure in from milking cows and from the barnyard and cleaning off traces of manure from the milk buckets before they were washed in dishpans on the small kitchen counter.  I remember the one cupboard that didn't have a door but which had a perennial supply of small candies like lemon drops.  I remember the big coal kitchen cook stove which Mother miraculously turned out endless loaves of bread, cinnamon rolls, stacks of pancakes, dishes of "invalid eggs" baked in cream, cakes, pies, fried potatoes, and everything else, her experience in gauging temperatures in the temperamental old black beast always impeccable.

I remember the comforting sounds of the nearby Shoshone River and the choir of crickets and the sweet smells of summer.  I remember the howling winds around the corner of my bedroom in winter and going out to check the snowfall and snowdrifts in cold and frosty mornings.  I remember Dad getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go change water in the summers and coming home for breakfast and then working all day in the fields and then milking cows and doing chores at night.  I remember Mom and her bib overalls tending our huge garden of potatoes, tomatoes, peas, beans, beets, gladiolus, corn, and whatever else would grow in the Penrose soil, liberally doused with manure from the barnyard with the first loads from the cleaned corral each spring.  Our garden was our lifeline in those subsistence days of getting by, eking out.

Above all, I remember the love and closeness that we shared in that tiny house, the sense of safety and security, the feeling that we were protected and kept from danger.  We went without many things, if not most material things and conveniences, but what we did have formed the character of our lives and the bonds that we six Blood siblings still tightly and warmly share after eight decades of life.  For many of us, we have never left Penrose and our hearts remain forever in the little white house.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Judy and Louise by the Shoshone River

A little while ago, I put Louise's picture by the river, and should have included this one of Judy and Louise. The wool scarves tied around our heads for warmth were always part of our winter wear. We never worried much about what they did to our hair - not much vanity in our family. I still can't remember why I asked everyone to sit or crouch in the snow to take these pictures. Oh, well! This is the best I can do this morning. Where are you, siblings dear? We need to have some rejuvinating of the blog. Happy Sunday to all.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our Grandmother Louise Mach Krajicek

Dad's mother, Louise (Louisa) Mach Krajicek was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1883, of immigrant parents from Bohemia (today, The Czech Republic). The picture of her with Dad when he was a little over a year is a great treasure. Unfortunately, Dad did not remember her, because she died following another childbirth when he was 1-1/2 years old. She was only 26 years old. It seems appropriate to post her picture on the day before Dad's birth just to remember that she loved her baby boy, and that he missed a great deal in his life because she was not there to nurture him.
We did some crazy quilting last month, and this was a trial one for me. I did not do the detail embroidery that I wanted to do because of lack of time; the sewing machine embroidery is not up to par with the find hand work that needs to be on these blocks. I'm not sure what to do with this one - it's has many errors, but at least, now I know better ways to proceed with another project.