As of March 2014, we six Blood siblings are still around, meaning in mortality. From oldest to youngest, we are Louise, Dwight, Elizabeth, Judy, Ann, and Steve. Like the Blind Men and the Elephant, we each have a different view and a different set of memories of growing up in Penrose, Cody, and Ralston. I (Dwight) was the first to leave, in January 1950. Louise essentially left at the same time, since she moved into Powell to continue school at the junior college there. I was 17 when I left home. My memories of Penrose consisted of nine years in the little brown house, three years in Ralston, and four years in the white house that was the Blood family home until our parents moved to Washington state. My sibling memories are most closely linked to Louise and Elizabeth, being closer in age. I can remember the exact days that Ann and Steve were born but, for the life of me, I have no idea how Judy showed up there in our bedroom with the other three of us in the little brown house.
Thus, my memories of Penrose are most closely linked to we three older siblings, since the other three were still young when I left home. Getting better acquainted with them during the past few years has been one of the delights of being a big brother. Since I left home in 1950, most of my memories of Penrose are limited, first, to the little brown house where I spent the first nine years of my life. This house today would hardly pass minimal housing standards but, to us, it was a paradise among the cottonwoods and the apple orchard. Louise started school in 1935 and I started school in 1936, riding the primitive school bus on an arduous long journey into Powell, 12 miles away as the crow flies, but many miles longer in collecting children along the route. I wore bib overalls and had a bowl-type haircut with my blond bangs hanging in my eyes.
In 1941, we moved to a small farm a mile west of Ralston on the Powell-Cody highway. We spent the war years there, again riding the school bus into Powell and enjoying the much shorter route and less time bouncing over the rough roads on the Penrose route. And then in 1944, after my Uncle Orvil died, Dad moved us back to Penrose to manage Grandpa Wasden's farm, for a brief time with Uncle Norman Sorensen.
After leaving home, I was able to come home only sporadically. During college at the University of Wyoming, I usually could not afford to come home for many of the holidays since I had to work to stay in school. After leaving Laramie, we lived in Bozeman Montana, Fort Collins Colorado three times, Ann Arbor Michigan twice, Washington, D. C., State College Pennsylvania, Cheyenne Wyoming, Laramie again and, finally, Provo-Orem Utah. Since our parents had moved to Olympia Washington, we rarely were able to have either the time or the resources to travel that far and, often, gaps of two or three years existed between times when we could visit our parents.
Thus, my memories of home and Penrose are restricted to a narrow early window of time and space. It is up to everyone else to fill in the gaps and tell the stories and relive their own memories. Judy is now writing her life story, Louise and Elizabeth have told their stories, and Judy is writing hers. That means that Ann and Steve remain to tell the missing stories from the times when none of the rest of us were around home and we can only fill in the gaps with our imaginations.
Besides our more formal life stories, we all have much to gain from sharing stories and reminiscences here on the blog. Since some of cannot remember who played last night's basketball game, it matters little whether we can remember exact stories and sequences. What matters is the spirit of the stories, the light we share from the memories, and the ties that bind us.
Ann is working on a great project with family pictures and brief family stories, and I need to finish my contribution to this project. I hope we can all take just a few minutes now and then to share some special memory or story here on the blog since such postings tend to wake us all up and keep us in touch with each other. And who knows how long we will be able to continue doing that?