Sunday, December 11, 2016

Simeon Shaw: Author 1827

Simeon Shaw wrote and had published a historical book in 1829.  It is quite a feet that he could get a book published.  I have been reading the book, "History of the Staffordshire Potteries."  It is very comprehensive, not as just a history of pottery in Staffordshire but of many pottery techniques in general.  The book is now available on the internet, and worthy of a review so as to understand the man.  Simeon Aykroyd Shaw is my great-great grandfather.  My grandmother is Melissa Shaw Wardle.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Charles James Wright: obituary

Charles James Wright is farthest to right.  He looks like my brother Charles' kids when they were young
My grandfather passed away shortly after I was born.  He passed away 13 May, 1958.  The obituary said due to a heart ailment, but I have always understood the cause of his death to be pneumonia.  He worked for the sugar company starting in Lehi, which was close to the family home.  He eventually moved with the company to Idaho falls, shortly after remarrying.  He had six  children with his first wife, and four more with my grandmother.  There were also four children from my grandmother's first marriage.  Her maiden name was Brandley.  Springall was the name of her first husband who had passed away.
He was the fifth of ten children born to his parents.  His father remarried after the death of his wife, and had six additional children.
I have seen copies of this picture, but the original is much clearer

Charles J. Wright Idaho Falls--Charles James Wright, 72, retired employee of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co where he had worked for 45 years, died Tuesday morning at a local hospital after a heart ailment.  Born Oct. 27, 1885, Pleasant Grove, to Hyrum and Ann Harper Wright.  Married Alice Bromley in Provo; later separated.  Married Mina Geneve Springhall May 31, 1927, Salt Lake City.  Marriage solemnized in 1946, Idaho falls Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Survivors: Widow: children, Mars William Law, Salt Lake City; Mrs. Peter Peterson, Green River; Ralph B. Wright, Twin Falls; Mrs Paige Teighert, Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. James Wardle, Othello, Wash.; Mar. Max Hill, New Plymouth, Idaho, and Mrs. Marvin Anderson, Idaho Falls; foster brothers and sisters, Mrs Floyd Troxler, Salt Lake City; Robert, Vallejo, Calif.: William, Idaho Falls, and Mrs. J.D. Robinson, Hayward, Calif.; stepmother, Mrs. Mary Wright, Pleasant Grove; brothers Reuben, Gooding; John, Pleasant Grove; Leon, Twin Falls; half brothers and sisters, Harold, Salt Lake City; Don, Farmington; Mrs Lucille Walker and Mrs. Emily Tyler, Pleasant Grove.  
Funeral Friday 2 p.m. Lincoln Ward Chapel, Bishop Ervin Wirkus officiating.  Friends may call at family home from 10 a.m. Friday until service; prior to that at Wood Funeral Home.  Burial in Ammon Cemetery.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Charlie Took Me to Wright Genealogy Sites in Lindon, Utah

Charlie and I had a pleasant drive through Lindon looking at genealogy sites.  This included a visit to the old Hyrum Wright home.  He had two wives, his first passed away.  He had family by both wives.

There was another local Lindon home on which Hyrum also worked.

We also went to the cemetery where we found Hyrum and his wives.  We also found his parents and a few of his children.  

a child

When Charlie and I saw this we thought maybe we had found another child.  However turns out this is the original headstone for Anna Wright and now there is a newer one shown before.

a child

Wright names on cemetery directory
 We also drove down to Geneva Park where there are still trees which came from Hyrum Wright's nursery.

Pretty fun little jaunt for a Sunday morning.

Monday, July 4, 2016

My Great Great Grandfather John Wright (my mother's side)

This history is gleened from Family Serch.  It is funny how the Civil War effected those not serving and sometimes across an ocean.  John Wright could not work because of the war, and the cotton embargo.  He determined to come to America as a result.

History of John Wright Sr. and Charlotte Smith

Biography of John Wright and Charlotte Smith Written by a Grand daughter, Mary Lim ................................................................................................................................................ Days were getting cool and stormy and the harvest days were almost over for another season in the farming districts of England. William Wright had worked hard and long during the summer months, but now it was forgotten; for a time of great rejoicing had come to the Wright home. Rejoicing occurred one bleak morning, Oct. 8, 1831, when a son was born to William and his wife Catherine, in the little town of Thorney, Cambridge, England. He was christened John, according to the order in the Church of England. In his youth, John attended school and was required to pay two pence each week for his tuition. Often his parents were unable to raise this amount and that week John was to remain at home. At an early age he worked on the farm. When fourteen years old, he was let out as an apprentice to learn the mason trade. Two years later he was able to hire out as a mason and make a fairly good living at this trade. When a young man of nineteen years of age he (John Wright)1 was engaged and soon married Charlotte Smith in Winwick, Huntingtonshire, England in 1850. She (Charlotte)1 was the daughter of John3 and Hanna Sutton Smith.2 She (Charlotte)1 was born March 21, 1830. Four years later (following their marriage)1 on February 5, 1854, they (John and Charlotte)1 were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by Elder Moses McHarms; and confirmed by Elder Joseph B. Richmond. In 1858, John and Charlotte, with their little two year old son Hyrum, moved to Bowlingbrook, Lincolnshire, England where the father (John)1 secured work in a cotton factory. Months slipped by and each day found a more urgent need for John to work many long hours at the factory. He received but a small wage, far too small to support the family, for a new member had been added to the family circle, a second son, named John for his father. The Civil War was raging between the North and the South in the United States. The English manufacturers and merchants, as well as the English working people were depending on the Southern States cotton for their means of support. The war was greatly crippling their industries. By 1862, the North had completely blockaded the sending of cotton to England, and in turn England was unable to send to the Southern States much needed war supplies. Many factories were closed as a result. A cotton famine was experienced and the working people of Lincolnshire were soon near starvation and very poorly clad. During the severe cold of the winter months; men, women and children suffered, almost beyond endurance. Among those suffering was the John Wright family. As soon as transportation was available and John could make the necessary arrangements, he moved his family to Liverpool, arriving there in 1863. From there John was soon hopeful of sailing to America. The war had caused many changes. Although it did not as severely affect Lancashire as Lincolnshire it took John some time to make more than a mere living for his family. In 1866 the long awaited dreams of John and Charlotte were realized when the missionaries helped to make it possible for them to migrate under the Perpetual Emigrating Fund. How busy they were preparing and packing for the long journey westward. Certain necessities must be taken, such as clothing, bedding, eating and cooking utensils. Many cherished possessions were left behind, for each family was allowed to take only a certain number of pounds (weight)1. While Charlotte was packing John was busy rushing about getting a date for sailing. Each head of the family had to pay one pound (money)1 and fill out an application stating his age and occupation and the ages and names of each of his family members. During all the worry and bustle of the past three years a new baby made her appearance in the Wright home. A lovely little daughter and sister, greatly loved and adored by the happy parents as well as the little brothers. The day before sailing John, now thirty-five; his wife Charlotte, thirty-six; Hyrum, ten; John Jr., seven; and the baby named Selena,4 not yet three, boarded the ship, ”Onkwright”. After a nights rest they began sailing out upon the deep Atlantic. For almost eight weeks the ship glided over the rippling waters on some days, while on others it was tossed about by the angry waves amid storms of wind and rain. Each night all knelt in prayer meeting, which added faith and courage to the spirit of sailing. Measles broke out on the ship and the Wright children contracted them. How happy the emigrants were when they arrived at Castle Gardens and went on a tug boat to the shores of New York City. After a short rest they traveled on the railroad to Omaha, Nebraska. While at Omaha their little girl (Selena)1 died, the mother holding the dead child sitting in the shelter of some trees until morning. She was buried in the shallow grave by the wayside. ........................................................Continued in part 2........................................................ Life Story of John Wright, Sr. and Charlotte Smith (Part 2) Contributed By KarrieSweat · 2013-09-24 16:09:55 GMT+0000 (UTC) · 0 Comments With heavy hearts, the Wrights were assigned to travel to Utah in Andrew H. Scott’s company. The day after their baby was placed in mother earth. The trip across the plains was hot and sultry, but still they marched on. It was October 8th when they arrived in Zion and two days later John with his family were on their way thirty six miles southward to Pleasant Grove, where they found rest and shelter with Charlotte’s mother, who had emigrated there five years previous, with her husband. The Wright’s first home in Utah was a one room dug out, with a willow and dirt roof. After a short time, the family moved into a one room log cabin. John worked at a sawmill up American Fork canyon. He also sold lumber logs to the settlers, hauling it by a span of mules. While living in Pleasant Grove, two more children were born; James Thomas and Hattie. John bought land out in Stringtown. Much hard work was required before he could raise a good crop. The first he tried was grain and sugar cane. In 1871, John had built a dug out on the farm and moved his wife and four children to this new adobe house, as he was a good mason. He hauled sand and clay, built molds and made his own adobes. Although costing but little, no mansion was more homely or appreciated more. With the help of the boys, their father plowed, planted, weeded and irrigated. Then came Fall and harvest time. All the family help gather and store for the severe winter ahead. After the crops were in, John was off to the canyon to et fuel for winter use. He cut and hauled ties for the railroad in the winter months. When Bishop John Brown called for men and teams to haul granite from the canyon for the Salt Lake Temple, John was one who volunteered to go and do his share toward the completion of this marvelous structure. In 1875, John joined the United Order in Pleasant Grove, putting all he had into this common store house, both in crops and cash, with charitable and unselfish heart. John was willing to share. Doing a kind deed for the less fortunate was found his greatest joy. The purpose of the order was to gather and store together thus mingling as one large family. As time went on, this plan proved unsatisfactory, so the idea was abandoned in 1879, five years after it was organized with very little to turn back to its members. When the third school house was remodeled, John worked as mason and plasterer. Many other homes and buildings in Pleasant Grove and the surrounding settlements were erected and plastered by him. The Wright family did their part while assisting to build up this common wealth, both by labor and means: in fostering educational, co-operative, and industrial undertakings in all civil and religious affairs. Letitia (Letishia) was the youngest child born to the John Wright family. John served as a Ward Missionary under Bishop John, as a ward teacher for many years. He was ordained a High Priest in 1891, by Bishop James Cobbley of the Lindon ward. He was a progressive farmer, ever trusting in God for his successful life, feeling that trough Divine Guidance he was able to earn a good livelihood for his family. John and Charlotte lived together 43 years in peace and happiness. Then one beautiful spring morning at the early age of 62, he passed to the great beyond, May 9, 1893. A good night to friends and loved ones Near, through the eye cannot see. Just one from the scene of this earth life To peacefully rest in eternity. Notes: by Mike Harris pertain to part 1 only. 1.Italicized names and parentheses are added to clarify meaning. 2. Smith, Hannah Sutton 106806 b. Mar. 10, 1800 d. Jun. 15, 1868 Pleasant Grove City Cemetery 3. Smith, John 106805 b. Aug. 4, 1795 d. Oct. 16, 1862 Pleasant Grove City Cemetery 4. ( Family Group Record indicates this may have been Sarah Ann born in 1864) Notes: In the original history there were pages missing. These pages have been added by Karie Sweat as part 2. Arlene Juber Harris also had a complete copy which contained the name of the author which was previously unknown. Thank You Karrie and Arlene. Family group records also indicate that there were 12 Children born to Charlotte and John prior to the departure to America in 1866. All but 3 of the children had likely died. Some of the children are missing death dates and probably died shortly after birth or may have been still born. Some of the names are repeated and should be checked for accuracy. John Wright and John Jr. are both listed in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Pioneer Index. These histories may be on file with the DUP in their histories collections.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Great-great Grandmother: Charlotte Smith Wright

Her is a story gleaned form Family Search:

Charlotte Smith and John Wright

Charlotte Smith

Charlotte was born in Huntingshire, England. She along with her parents, were members of the Methodist Church. She married John Wright when she was 20. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1854. Their first two children had died, so it was with happy hearts in 1856, that they took their new baby to the LDS Church and there hear the elders promise the child a long life and give him the name of Hyrum Issac Wright. John and Charlotte’s greatest desire was to take their family to Utah, the headquarters of the Church. Through help from the Perpetual Immigration Fund, their joy was full when they boarded the Ship Arkwright in early 1866, with their three children. John was 35 years old, Charlotte was 36, Hyrum was 10, John, Jr., was 7 and Sarah Ann was not yet 3. About four weeks out to sea an epidemic of measles broke out among the children. Hyrum and John recovered from their measles. Little Sarah Ann remained sick and weak. Each day she became worse. Charlotte pleaded with God to let her child live, if only to be buried in Mother Earth, and not at sea where huge sharks followed the ship. After almost eight weeks on the water, they landed in New York and from there traveled by railroad to Omaha, Nebraska. They joined a company of saints to travel by covered wagon to Utah. While in Omaha, Sara Ann died. Charlotte sat in a shelter of some trees and held her dead child in her arms until morning where she was buried in a board coffin that was hurriedly made. The next morning the family left Omaha and traveled by ox team across the plains. They arrived in Salt Lake City in October 1866, and then traveled south to Pleasant Grove, finally settling in Lindon, Utah. Charlotte and John were married 43 years. They had 9 children, five living to maturity. She was a widow for three years. Her granddaughter said, “She was very industrious. After churning all morning, she would walk to American, Fork, Utah with her butter and eggs to trade for groceries. She walked along the railroad tracks.” She died at the age of 66

Lessons From My Children: Anthony: Have a Good Time.

Anthony's story of how he became a part of our family is remarkable.  He was born six weeks early, and shortly after his being born, Social Services informed us that he would be coming to our home.  We had recently been licensed as foster parents, and he was our second foster child.  We were a little bit wary, having had no experience with parenting a preemie.  Sheri visited him in the hospital a couple times, and visited with the nurses before bringing him home. He was born four pounds seven ounces, and when he came to our home at two weeks weighed about five pounds. He was the love of our life from his first coming home.  Man those preemie diapers are small.

His only medical problem after that has been his kidneys retaining too much water.  But that has pretty much resolved itself as he has gotten older.  They were also worried about the strength of his legs.  But with climbing up stairs, and jumping on trampoline, his legs are as strong as anyone's his age.  He now enjoys climbing trees, the wall the shelf etc.  He's Spider Man you know.

My proudest moment with Tony, when he was small, was taking him to my older son's Marine graduation. I had him in a carrier, and people so much wanted to see the beautiful baby.  He was still small, but such a beautiful boy.  I didn't tell anyone he was our foster baby; just our baby.

But, unfortunately, our happiness with Tony was short lived.  Social Services found a relative placement for him, with cousins, and after he was with us only two months he moved on.  I went to the exchange, which took place at the shelter.  He weighed eight pounds when he left us.  We really didn't think we would ever see Tony again. 

But who knows how things work.  About ten months later, after his first birthday, Social Services called us to inform us he was available for placement. We jumped at the opportunity.  Our baby boy was coming back home.

We were close to Tony from the first moment he came to our home, both times.  We have loved him.  He was very easy to love. After a child has been in your home six months you can petition for de facto parent status.  This we did as soon as we could.  And so we were then more involved in the court process.  Social Services has a general philosophy of placing with relatives, no matter the circumstance; so much so that even after his mother's parental rights were terminated, they found a relative placement for him.

When Tony became available for adoption we wanted him to stay with us, forever.  We did not feel it would be good for him to move to another home.  Social Services, having found a family, and after his being with us for almost a year altogether, developed a plan to move him, to family members he didn't really even know.  We felt Tony was already home, and that a further loss (he had bonded to us) would not be good for him.  He had already gone through three removals--loses in essence, and didn't need another one.  They went so far as to take our little baby by car, over an hour away for a visit.  We understood he cried all the way there.  Poor little Tony.

Tony developed a funny habit during this time.  He started seeking out Sheri's blouses when for whatever reason he couldn't have Sheri.  It was cute, but an indication to us that he was overwhelmed with things in his life he couldn't control, and found some comfort with Sheri's smell.  He preferred dirty ones from the hamper, but would take a clean one from the closet if he couldn't get to the hamper.

And so a court contest ensued.  We petitioned the court to not move him, and discontinue visits, which had started with the new family.  Visits were continued, but on a pared down basis.  The court decided to have hearings with regards to determining the placement.
This process seemed to drag on forever.

Generally the court sides with social services.  However there was a precedent of another case being decided in favor of a foster family.  County Counsel was representing social services, recommending movement to the relative home.   The County Attorney's office, which represented Tony, was fighting for him to stay with us.  We finally got our own attorney as well.

After numerous postponings, we finally made it to court.  The deciding testimony was that of Tony's pediatric MD, who was an expert on loss and separation, and told the judge that moving Tony would be detrimental, making him more susceptible to separation issues and ADHD.  What a great day when the judge ruled in our favor and decided Tony would stay with us.

Tony's adoption was finalized April 15 2009.  He was two years, two months at that time.   When he was adopted, Tony slept.  We celebrated at BJs.

Another big day for Tony was his sealing day at the temple.  We went out to celebrate before, because of people's schedule.  Sheri went to the car to change his butt, and left her purse as we were leaving soon.  Someone broke the window and took off with the purse, in that little time.  What a stunner, as the purse contained the documents we needed for the temple, as well as the recommends for most of our party.  Tony's older siblings were going to the temple as well.

With calls to our neighbor, who was able to fax the documents, and the Bishop being there to verify temple worthiness for everyone, we got the sealing done.  Tony wasn't happy until after.  He had to ride in a car with a broken window, and couldn't sleep like he normally did in the car.

It is a joy to have Tony as our son.  Tony reminds us every day that it is important to have a good time.  I took him to the library and he got to play on the computer, and climb on the seats, and look at books and after he said, "We had a good time."  I have taken him to the park and he swung like a “monkey” on the bar, and he pretended to be Spider Man in the swing and shot his pretend webs, and kicked me in the belly as I pretended to be the monster.  We would go by the creek and he threw stones into the water and I picked black berries. 

We have a good time.  He loves to bounce in bouncy hoses, he loves to play with his toys, and he loves McDonald's for the new toys.  Tony has the most winning smile.  His face is so expressive.  He has a good time, and in doing so has reminded us all that it is OK to have fun. 

After we moved to Manteca, Tony and I took the task of visiting all the parks so as to decide which we liked the most.  At that time we were looking for the best Spider Man net.  Now Tony prefers the monkey bars.  He loves to swing, and he has incredible upper body strength for his age and can do many tricks.  I can't remember exactly what the psychiatrist on MASH said, something like "Pull down your pants and slide on the ice."  That is our Tony.

Tony has a different lesson to teach.  This one is service.   He will bring candy and cookies to you.  He loved handing out candy for Halloween.  He will also do little things for you, without being asked, when he sees there is a need. 

Along with his service is his great faith.  He says the most outstanding prayers.  He has many things to tell Heavenly Father.  He is thankful for opportunities to play with his friends, for little things people do for him, for school, and for his momma.

Tony, like all our babies, is a miracle.  He is a miracle and we love him.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lessons from my Children: Caleb; Have Faith


After Miranda was born so quickly, we expected Caleb to come even more quickly.  The thinking was each baby should be a little quicker, because the birth canal is a little bit more stretched out.  With Caleb that was far from the case.

I was working graveyard at the time.  I thought I would be with Sheri until the baby was born, and then slip over for the rest of my shift at work and then be with Sheri in the morning.  Man was I mistaken.  I had to call explain that I wasn't going to be in at all.  It seemed Caleb didn't want to be born.

We went to the hospital in the afternoon.  Caleb was definitely coming, but he came so slowly.  We went all night and into the next morning and still no Caleb.  Mom’s regular doctor was even able to attend the birth.  (At Valley Medical Center the interns covered the graveyard shift and the regular MD had a regular daytime shift.)  After Caleb was born, we discovered that his arm had entered the birth canal first and was blocking his progression.  We always thought it was his way of saying, “No not yet!  No not yet!”

 However Caleb was born, and there were no complications.  Caleb's lesson for me, was taught when he was very young.

When Caleb was only six or so, he burned his hands over spring break while we were camping.  He was leaning too far forward in a folding lawn chair, it collapsed, and he grabbed the fire ring catching himself.  The fire was enclosed in a metal ring, which had been heated by our fire.  He burned both his hands, one on the palm and the other on the back of the hand.

We were at Big Basin, and he was in a lot of pain on the way to the hospital, about 40 minutes away.  We tried to cool down his hands as best we could, Sheri sitting in the back seat with him as I drove.  We got him to the hospital and he ended up with big bandages on both his hands, and had to go to the wound center for treatments.  He still has some scars, but nothing that affected his ability to use his hands.

Caleb had already been practicing a song to sing in the adult session of conference a day after we were done camping, "I wonder When He Comes Again".  He did a great job.  His hands were bandaged and everything.  After the conference session a woman came to congratulate him.  She did it by grabbing both his hands, ignoring the bandages.  Caleb didn't say anything, but he was in obvious pain.

Caleb has always had a desire to perform.  That same year, Mark, his older brother, was in the High school musical, "The Music Man."  Mark portrayed Winthrop, the boy with the lisp.  Caleb decided he was going to portray the same roll in a play.  I don't know how he did it, but it happens the Middle School did the same musical that year and somehow Caleb, who was a first grader, had the roll of Winthrop for the Middle School Musical.  He was case opposite a young woman, seventh grader, who in the play had a crush on him.  Somehow they made it work.  Jeremy was in the musical as well as a salesman.  I think my other elementary kids were in the musical as well, as townspeople.  Caleb did a great job.  He has friends to this day from that experience.

I don't know how, but my kids have always seemed to get roles in plays at the higher institution with their older siblings.  In similar fashion Caleb was in "Once on an Island" with Mark and all the kids did "Into the Woods" with Mark.

Caleb though has had the most examples of this.  He played Jo Jo in the musical Seussical.  The musical was being presented by a different ward, but they needed someone to play Jo Jo, a male soprano.  Caleb’s voice has already changed, but he still managed to sing all those high notes.

Caleb is now playing with a group of friends in a high school garage band—Hot Spud.  They have written some nice songs and have had some success locally.  However they have plans for a lot more success.

Caleb has sung in the District choir the past two years.  This year he was able to sing a solo.  He believed in himself, and tried out.  And he was awarded the tenor solo.

Just goes to show, if you think it, you can do it.  Like the song they use to sing on PBS every Sunday morning when I was growing up, "If you want it, you can get it.  But to get it, you've got to want it.  Anything you want to try; just spread your wings, fly high!  Or the Jeff Goodrich song, "With God, nothing is impossible; But you must reach and take his hand."

More recently, you should have seen how excited Caleb was with the announcement of the lowered age for missionary services.  He will turn 18 just before graduating, and wants to be headed on his mission as close to then as he can.  He has big dreams, and big plans, and has a way to make his plans come true.  He exemplifies the poem:

Always Have a Dream

Forget about the days when it has been cloudy,
But don’t forget your hours in the sun.
Forget about the times you have been defeated,
But don’t forget the victories that you have won.
Forget about the lessons you can’t change now,
But don’t forget the lessons you have learned.
Forget about the days you have been lonely,
But don’t forget the friendly smiles you have seen.
Forget about the plans that didn’t seem to work out right,
But don’t forget to always have a Dream.

Caleb has been an example of great faith in his life, which has given him opportunities.  If I could have just a particle of the faith Caleb has now, and had as a small child, it would be well with me.  Caleb has taught me to have more faith.

Lessons from my Children: Miranda: The Little Things are Important

Lessons from my Children: Miranda; The Little Things are Important

Miranda was the quickest of our babies in coming. We were only at the hospital a couple of hours before she was born. Hers was also the most natural childbirth—there was not time for an epidural. It was a surprise to everyone at home when I called to report Miranda had been born. It seemed Sheri and I had barely left home to go to the hospital. The Fazzinos, who lived around the corner, watched the kids for us while Miranda was born. They were surprised as well, as I was home by ten to relieve them.
    Miranda is a stickler for detail.  It is she who remembers important things, and important dates.  A couple years ago, an February 8, she remembered it was Tony's birthday.  Tony had been our foster child who had come to us as a beautiful preemie baby.  We loved him and were proud of him.  But at two months he went to live with a relative foster home.  Miranda remembered him, and helped us remember him on his birthday.  Better yet, within a couple weeks after his birthday, Tony was returned to us, and he's still with us and we love him.
   But for better or worse I don't always see the little things that Miranda does that makes out family a Heaven on earth.  It is Miranda who fixes dinner when we are all to busy.  It is Miranda who will watch a baby at the last minute, even when she would rather not.
    Miranda and Caleb have recently become dog owners.  Miranda is particular to take care of the little things with the dog, making sure he has water and food, baths and flea medicine.  She gets mad at me if I feed him scraps from the table, as they are not good for his health.
    And that is the lesson Miranda is teaching me--how to be more sensitive to the little things.  I must admit this blog is the hardest for me to write.  I have not learned Miranda's lesson very well.  I am generally the laid back person, and as a result I miss important keys.  Consequently it seems too often I offend Miranda.  She has to put up with a lot living with her "old man."  My philosophy has always been that love would smooth over my faults, and everything would be OK.  However I am learning that sometimes the little things count; sometimes paying attention to them is how love is shown.
    I have a bad habit, especially where Miranda is concerned, of accentuating the negative.  I know better.  As Bing Crosby use to sing:
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

(To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark)

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between
Do you hear me, hmm?

(Oh, listen to me children and-a you will hear
About the elininatin' of the negative
And the accent on the positive)
And gather 'round me children if you're willin'
And sit tight while I start reviewin'
The attitude of doin' right

(You've gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between)

You've got to spread joy (up to the maximum)
Bring gloom (down) down to the minimum
Otherwise (otherwise) pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate (well illustrate) my last remark (you got the floor)
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they say (what did they say)
Say when everything looked so dark

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No! Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Elder M. Russel Ballard quoted different young people about how they follow Christ at the  CES fireside November 2010.  “I show faith in Christ by being consistent and doing the little things that matter most. By reading my scriptures, praying, and trying to love others as Christ would, my faith grows.”  He had asked a series of questions, which are worthy to help us remember to do the little things:

1. Are you happy with the direction of your life and the depth of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
2. Do you love God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind? (See Luke 10:27.)
3. Are you doing the simple things in your everyday life?
a. Are you saying your prayers every morning and every night?
b. Are you reading every day from the holy scriptures?
c. Are you using appropriate language?
d. Are you being honest?
e. Are you living the Word of Wisdom?
4. Are you being kind and thoughtful of the needs of those around you?
5. Are you following the counsel of the Brethren … to avoid completely any kind of pornography?
6. Are you living worthy of a temple recommend?
7. Are you actively participating in your Sunday meetings, especially sacrament meeting—partaking of the sacrament worthily and renewing your covenants with the Lord?

This is a good lesson in looking at whether or not you are doing the things you should be doing.  In doing these things, one will find greater joy.  I have tried to live a Five-star life as presented by Bishop Betts in Ballard Ward—daily prayer, daily scripture study, family and individual; weekly family home evening and journal writing.  That is really six things but makes a good list.  Unfortunately I have come short, but Miranda is on her way to making these habits part of her life.  I need to better follow her example.

   So let me end this blog with an apology.  Miranda, I am sorry sometimes I miss the little things that you do that help our family.  I am sorry I come home, and the first thing I do is point out something I think you should have done.  I will do better.  I appreciate your pointing out that little things are important.  I will be more aware of your contribution.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lessons from my Children: Charity: How to Love Unconditionally


I have started each story of the kids with a story of their birth. However after the excitement surrounding the other kids, Charity's birth was pretty normal and undramatic. The only bummer about her as a baby was that the camera we had at the time went on the blink, and so we lost the pictures of her blessing day. All the same we loved her like all the other babies that came in our door.

I guess I advocated for the name, Charity, because I have always sought after this Christ like love, although I have come up short on many occasions. But Charity, for her part her name says it all. She has always been a great example of Christ like love:

And Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and evieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; (Moroni 8:45)

This is a very good description of Charity. I have seen her demonstrate these principles on numerous occasions in her life. When Charity was three months shy of two years old, we moved from Utah to California. I drove the Budget rental truck, while my wife drove the car. I enjoyed the trip, because Charity for much of the trip insisted on riding with me in the truck. I think she had a sense that I was lonely in the truck, and she could provide me with company in this manner. I enjoyed her enthusiasm for the newness of the truck, even if she had to be in her car seat.

A demonstration of her personality was our first visit to a Major League Baseball game shortly after moving to California. We went to an A’s game. We were sitting high up behind the backstop. There were not many with us that high. We had brought spray bottles with us to give us a squirt of water every once in a while to ward off the heat. Charity took one of those spray bottles, and a napkin and proceeded to wash the seats. She washed a couple of rows worth. I don’t know if she watched the game, in fact I don’t remember the score, but I do remember Charity cleaning the seats. She was so cute.

Charity, throughout her schooling has always had a tender heart, and reached out to classmates who may have needed encouragement. Her best friend went through a scary situation with a brain tumor, which required surgery. Charity was available for her friend and did things to include her and help her feel better.

More recently, when we were doing foster care, Charity’s ability to love was manifested. Our first foster child, Rena, slept in the same room as Charity. She was younger and would often have nightmares at night. In those nightmares she would often moan, and kick off her covers. Charity would wake up at all hours of the night, and lovingly put the covers back on her. She and Rena became fast friends, and even though she was only at our house a few weeks, Charity made her stay with us as enjoyable as could be. Charity was in the high school yearbook talking about her experience with foster care and was quoted as saying, "Because they were so easy to love, by the time they left, it was like saying good-bye to one of my own siblings. All these kids wanted and needed was someone in their life that cared about them like my family cared for me, so when they came into our home it was so easy to build a relationship with them."

Charity has always been the best helper around the house. This was more manifest as we were fostering. It was impossible to keep up with everthing. Charity, sensing this, often took it upon herself to do the dishes--not just the basic job, but scrubbing the pots and wiping the counters. She wouldn’t quit until everything is done.

Charity's first real job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken. I enjoyed picking her up, and pulling up a few minutes before she was done at the counter. I could watch her through the window and see her interaction with customers. She always had a smile on her face, and a helping attitude. She developed friends among the regular customers at the store. She has also manifested this caring attitude in other jobs. She is currently a lifeguard.

Charity's enthusiasm for life has been based on one of service and love:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. (Moroni 7: 46-47)

Charity’s example has set a high watermark for me and her siblings. If we can follow her example, we will be more Christ like.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lessons from my Children: Jeremy; Through Practice You Can Overcome


Jeremy at the MTC

When Jeremy was born, our greatest challenge was finding him a name. He was born the day after Natalia’s third birthday.  It was a scheduled delivery. Even so, we still hadn’t decided on a final name for him. It was a struggle. I wanted to call him Jeremy Truck, because I knew he was going to be strong and tough. Sheri forced me to compromise, and we decided on Jeremy Tate.  Jeremy is a family name on my mother’s side.  Her great grandfather Thomas Jeremy was captain of an emigration party, and stake patriarch in the Salt Lake Stake.

I had a very bad cold when Jeremy was born. The OB doctor prescribed some medications for me as I struggled with a stuffed up system.

Jeremy was the longest of our children when he was born. Sheri is very short. As a result he was born bull legged. He had to be fitted for special shoes, which turned his feet out. The shoes also had the special bar to go between which made it so they were attached to each other. This thwarted Jeremy’s mobility. Jeremy hated them; the bar especially. It was heavy and awkward, and had to be dragged around as he crawled or as he began to stand. He couldn’t get around the way he wanted to.

More than the shoes, the thing that helped Jeremy’s feet was his mother’s patience in carefully massaging them. Every time she would change his diaper, she would take time to massage his feet and turn them out. Over time his feet and legs were completely corrected.

Jeremy as a baby was a climber. He taught us patience, as he could get into anything. We had a hard lesson in patience when Jeremy’s baby sister was born a couple years later. Jeremy was jealous of his sister and the attention she got, and didn’t like losing his place as the baby of the family. He climbed on the piano, where we had put a porcelain replica from the “Hansen” collection of a mother praying. Jeremy knocked this off, and it broke, irreparably.

The life lesson I have learned from Jeremy is that through practice, you can overcome. He is much like Heber J. Grant who would quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do—not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased,” and then put those words into practice, guiding his life.

Jeremy, like President Grant was not the greatest of singers. However Jeremy had a great desire to sing. I remember when he came home from Primary one Sunday and let us know his favorite song was “I am a Child of God." He wanted to sing it for us. He was probably three at the time. He sang every word. He also had the rhythm down as well. It’s just, I thought the song had more than one tone, which was how it came out. That was where Jeremy started in his singing ability.

However, he continued to sing whenever he could. He sang in Primary. He sang in school programs. He sang whenever the opportunity presented itself. He would sing with recordings. He would sing in church. He would sing with his stereo. He would also listen to music as well. He used rehearsal C.D.s and rehearsal helps on the computer. He worked hard at learning music.

When in high school he continued to pursue singing. He often sang in two choirs—men’s chorus and advanced 'capella chorus. He also participated in an acapella men’s quintet. He sang in our church choir. He sang in a youth choir for two years in the San Jose area and was the bass leader for a time. He can sing both low tenor, baritone and bass parts. He is much better at hitting the right note than I am, and I have sung in church choirs since I was about 14 years old. (39 years) He has had lead parts in musicals, and it is fun to watch how he learns music, singing parts over and over again with the computer.

The ability to overcome difficulty, and develop our talents was expressed in the Book of Mormon, by the Lord as he counseled Moroni, when he complained that he was not mighty in writing:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

Jeremy also had a love of sports, and played on several teams.  He loved wrestling, basketball and soccer.  When he arrived at high school, these three sports took place at the same time.  As a result he had to choose.  He was best at soccer, but wanted to play basketball.  He had to work hard.  He wasn’t the best shooter, but because he played so hard, he was a very good defender.  I don’t like to play against him because of that.  I like a little space, which he doesn’t like to give.

Jeremy has exemplified faith and humility in many areas of his life, one of which has been the way he has overcome his weakness in music, and made it a talent.  Another has been his participation in sports.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lessons from my Children: Mark, Being a father

Mark and me, Porcupine  Dam

Mark’s getting here was not as remarkable as Natalia’s. However in Sheri’s pregnancy with him we learned patience. There was a period in his pregnancy when the doctors felt Mark was not growing as fast as he should. They decided to conduct an amniocentesis to decide if it would be OK to induce labor, as they felt there might be something wrong with the pregnancy.

I was excited to get Mark here as quickly as possible. However the result of the tests did not support forcing him to arrive early. The opinion was that Mark was just fine, but somehow we had gotten the due date wrong, and that was the reason he wasn’t as large as they thought he should have been at the time. We had to wait a while longer.
(Sheri, who probably is right, remembers this story differently. She indicates the reason for the amniocentesis was a result of the doctors having gotten the autopsy from Billy Boy. This worried them so they wanted to determine if they could have him born early and if anything might be wrong with him. The amniocentesis indicated nothing was wrong, however his lungs were not yet developed to the point that an early delivery would be advisable.)

Sheri’s labor was not induced with Mark. Sheri had a bad cold when he was born. I always felt, that after the first two pregnancies, Mark’s lacked excitement. We went to the hospital, and then he was there with no big deal.

I loved him just as much. I put up the big sign this time, “It’s a Boy.” He was born 15 months after Natalia, and would be just one grade younger than Natalia in school.
The first lesson I learned from Mark, was the same as Natalia. Stuff happens. Mark taught me this by getting his stinky diaper in my face every morning. Mark, like many youngsters when he was a toddler, would find his way into our bed. Somehow he would get upside down in the bed. I don’t know how many mornings I woke up smelling his peed diaper.  One morning he was sleeping on top of me when I woke, with his diaper covering my face.

Natalia and Mark also taught me to roll with the punches. When they were both small, but after Jeremy had been born, Sheri and I were asked to talk in church. We were going to sing a family song between our talks. We worked with Natalia and Mark to learn the song, “As I Have Loved You.” We also learned the sign language that is in the Primary Song book. Natalia and Mark looked so cute when they rehearsed. At this time Natalia was probably close to kindergarten age and Mark three or four. They had worked hard and learned the song. Unfortunately when it was time to sing the song they were both fast asleep on the floor around our feet. Sheri and I sang the song, and did the sign language alone.

The life lesson I have learned from Mark, is the importance of being a father. This lesson came to me gradually. I always liked being a father, although I was not a perfect father.

When Mark was young, the movie Hook came out in theaters. In this movie, Robin Williams, portraying Peter Pan has to find his happy thought. His happy thought in the end was being a father. I think this too is my happy thought.

Mark has had three loves in his life growing up. One was soccer, and the others drama and music. When Mark was young I would coach him in soccer. However by the time he was 12, Mark new as much about soccer, and could play much better, than I ever could. I let others coach him then. However it was through drama, that Mark made me think more about being a father.

When Mark was a Freshman, the High School put on "The Music Man," and Mark was cast in the role of Winthrop, the piano teacher’s younger brother. This may have been because of Mark’s size. He always took after Sheri and was somewhat short. However Mark also is a very good actor. Three actors from the performance were presented best acting awards, and had their pictures displayed at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. Mark and the two leads were selected.

In the show the lead character, Harold Hill, befriends Winthrop. He thrills him with the idea of his playing the trumpet. However Hill is actually a conman who doesn’t know how to teach music. He is just interested in selling instruments and band uniforms. Towards the end of the play Winthrop confronts Mr. Hill. “Are you a big thief? Are you a low down good for nothing crook?” As Mark delivered these lines he did it with such conviction. His lower lip quivered. He had tears in his eyes. His voice broke with grief and pain. In that quivering lower lip, in those tears, I could see all my failures--every cross word, every swat, every mistake and every let down. I could see it all in that face and in those tears.

I know he wasn’t talking to me, but to act that well, the pain must have come from somewhere. I wasn’t a terrible or abusive father. But even so I could have done better, and in that moment made a commitment, as I myself was in tears, to do better and to be more faithful.

President McKay’s words come to mind, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” I needed to keep my priorities in line and this was a good reminder.
A couple years later, Mark was again in the high school musical, “Working.” Mark, with two other young men sang a tribute to their fathers, “Fathers and Sons,” written by Stephen Schwartz:

I heard a lotta songs say “Where you goin’ my son?”
Now I know they’re true.
Boy, you never stop to think how fast the years run; now they’re taking you.
I remember you was three and a half,
your mom and me we’d sit there after things got quieted.
We’d laugh at some new word you said, how tough you were to get to bed
and we’d plan the night away.
Planning for our kid.
I was your hero then, I couldn’t do no wrong as far as you were concerned.
You thought I was the best of men, the tables hadn’t turned, you hadn’t learned
How little time it takes.
And daddies make mistakes.

It seems to me that lately I’ve been thinkin’ a lot;
I think about my dad.
Lots of funny things come back I thought I’d forgot, Now they make me sad.
High school and it used to be, I didn’t want him touching me
and I shuddered if he did.
Further back to summer nights:
Baseball games beneath the lights and sleeping in the car.
daddy and his kid.
He was my hero then, He couldn’t do no wrong as far as I were concerned,
I thought he was the wisest and the strongest and the best of men,
the tables hadn’t turned, I hadn’t learned, how little time it takes.
And ev’rybody breaks.
And daddies make mistakes.

I heard a lotta songs say “Where you goin’ my son?”
Now I know they’re for real.
Boy you never stop to think how fast the years run; or the things they steal.
Now it seems I always knew why I do the things I do, and the thing I never did.
Why I work my whole damn life so’s I could give a better life
than the one my dad could give me.
I give it to my kid.

You can imagine how touched I was with this song. It sort of explained how I felt, and maybe somewhat how Mark felt. The relation between fathers and sons was put into an untitled poem Mark wrote:

When I was young and you were not so old
You whispered Spanish in my ear when we
Stopped by a road's edge. My hand found its hold
In your most calming hand that seemed to me
Secure as any fortress in the world.
Our ears perked, eyes turned right then left to see
that all was safe beyond where pavement curled
Around a thick, shadowing maple tree.
When all was safe, no danger to be found,
We anxiously stepped and soon would be
Beyond the road to fields and playing ground,
The promised place where I had longed to run free.

You are the man in whom I see my God.
Few boys were better taught or so well shod.

I guess that says it all. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lessons From My Children: Natalia; Persistence Wins


Natalia was born October 17, 1985. The story of her birth is a miracle, and we owe a world to Dr. Rosenfield. After Sheri had become pregnant again, we moved back to Utah, close to where Sheri’s family lived. Sheri had intense monitoring during the pregnancy in light of the result of her first two pregnancies. Sheri’s labor was started, as they didn’t want her to go over her due date because of her past experiences. During her labor, they noticed that the baby’s heartbeat would slow down whenever Sheri would lay on her side. Sheri had to remain on her back, but they were still worried about what this might mean.

They thought that perhaps the baby had ingested some fecal waste, and because of their concern, they asked the local pediatrician, Dr. Rosenfield, to attend to the baby’s birth. During the childbirth, the baby’s heart rate dropped greatly. The umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby’s shoulder and this caused the problem. They decided to push the issue and deliver the baby as quickly as possible. They used forceps to pull Natalia out of the womb, leaving red marks on her forehead.

When Natalia was born, she did not breath. Dr. Rosenfield and the pediatric nurses (Aunt Judy, Sheri’s aunt was one of them) grabbed Natalia and took her to a table. There they did what they could to get her to breath. Sheri and I sat staring at them as they worked with Natalia, slapping her on her feet, and trying to get her to go. They put a tube down her throat and started pumping air into her. A minute passed and she still did not breath.

Sheri and I were stunned at the activity. It was almost like we were forgotten during all of this. It was almost 90 seconds before Natalia first cried. You can imagine the relief we felt at that cry. After that first cry they continued to shake her and jostle her to keep her going.

They cleaned her up, and brought her to us to meet her. I noticed her eyes. They went back and forth, back and forth studying everything. They reminded me of the cyborg eyes from Battle Star Galatica. They were beautiful as they went back and forth, back and forth.

Natalia’s name comes from Argentina. I had met a young woman, Natalia Bonavena, and liked the name, so I determined my first daughter would be called Natalia. The name fits her, as it means rejoicing in birth, and that we certainly did. I put a big sign up at our house, “It’s a Girl,” to welcome Natalia and Sheri home.

Natalia taught me to be a parent, and to realize it is not all glamour and games. She taught us that sometimes the diaper leaks and poop goes everywhere. (That was a Sunday at church and fortunately we lived close enough to church that Sheri could take her home and change her dress.) It happens, and you laugh and roll with it.
But the life lesson that Natalia taught me is that often the turtle wins. Natalia’s favorite animal is a turtle, but I am referring to the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare." Natalia was born with average intelligence. Her brothers on the other hand, have always tested smarter. But Natalia gets better grades than all of them. Discipline plays an important factor in life, which breeds faith, which in turn creates success.  A friend once told me that.

Natalia had a terrific fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jackson, who influenced her greatly. The most important thing Natalia learned that year was how to study and organize. She learned a basic principle; it is more important how you study than your general intelligence.

More important than talent, is doing. The person who does, the person who performs, feels good about their effort, and consequently they have more faith. I like what James said about faith in his general epistle in the Bible:

14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food.
16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.
20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2: 14-24)

There is a relationship between actions, faith and accomplishment. Those who put in effort, who are disciplined, have an increase in faith. And those with an increase in faith have an increase in performance and success. This can be measured in grades at school, prayers said, scriptures read, or in financial success.
It was James who also wrote the scripture that inspired Joseph Smith to pray in the grove, and initiate our dispensation:

5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.
6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waivereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7. Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1: 5-7)

This scripture moved Joseph to act. Faith creates action. President Kimball said, “…Remember that there were no heavenly beings in Palmyra, on the Susquehanna or on Cumorah when the soul-hungry Joseph slipped quietly to the Grove, knelt in prayer on the river bank, and climbed the slopes of the sacred hill.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer Kimball p. 142)

Schoolwork is not the only area where Natalia demonstrates discipline and faith. She is faithful in reading her scriptures and saying her prayers. Her faith has been rewarded with a testimony of Jesus Christ and of the restoration of the gospel. Spencer Kimball also said, “In faith we plant the seed, and soon we see the miracle of the blossoming.” (ibid. p 142) Natalia has received the miracle of testimony in her life, because she was willing to plant and nurture and tend the seed.

Lessons from my children: Billy Boy: A Time to Grieve

Dads are supposed to teach their kids, but in my case the experience has been reversed. Of course I have shown my children how to hold a baseball bat, or how to throw a Frisbee, but the important lessons, I have been the student. 

My wife, Sheri, and I are the parents of eight children, five boys and three girls. Our first baby boy was stillborn. In our elderly years we have been the foster parents to about 30 children. One of our foster children we have adopted; three-year old Tony.

And so what are these life lessons my children have taught me. To explore that, I need to go slowly, and talk about each child

Billy Boy

Billy Boy is the name we gave to our stillborn baby. He was our firstborn, but actually our second pregnancy as a miscarriage had preceded him. We were always going to name our first born, after my wife’s brother, Mark, who died when he was young. However we didn’t want to waste that name, and so in our haste to change the baby’s name it came out Billy Boy. The hospital had already given him the name, Baby Boy Wardle, so we just changed it slightly. Sheri and I wanted to be parents so much it hurt. We had moved from Utah to faraway Nevada to start our family. We lived in rural Duckwater. (Duckwater really was rural. It was 70 miles to the nearest grocery store over good roads. If you wanted to go over dirt roads there was a grocery store only 50 miles away. We generally shopped in Ely, 70 miles, and that is also where medical care was found.

>We were very excited for a baby to come to our family. When Sheri was eight months along in her pregnancy, I picked her up after her regular medical appointment. She was all upset and had been crying. She reported that we needed to go to Salt Lake City because they feared the baby had died. They could not find the baby’s heart beat when they attached a monitor to see how the baby was doing. They did not have ultrasound equipment in Ely, Nevada at that time, so we were referred to the University of Utah Hospital for an appointment and evaluation the next day.

I remember, before we went home to Duckwater, I took several pictures of Sheri. I wanted to get a roll of film developed and there were pictures left on the end of the film. I guess I was in denial that anything could really be wrong. We then drove to Duckwater in silence. Sheri had already accepted that the baby had died. She had noticed that the baby had stopped moving inside her, and the report from the doctor in Ely only confirmed this. I had no such belief, and was not ready to accept any such outcome

The next day, after packing, we traveled to Salt Lake and the hospital, Leaving Duckwater by five in the morning. I remember the trip was somber. I made several attempts at levity, which seemed to falter and fall flat, like something in your stomach that doesn’t want to digest. We arrived in Salt Lake late morning, and went directly to the hospital. Initially they tried to find a heart beat by monitor, and when that was not successful we were referred for an ultrasound. After a couple hour wait we were with the ultrasonographer and he was using KY Jelly to help with the review of the baby’s systems. It was at this time that Sheri’s belief was confirmed, and my denial was proven to be false. They could not find any activity on the part of the baby. They looked at the baby’s heart, and it was not beating.

We were advised get a hotel room and then return the next morning when they would start Sheri’s labor and deliver the baby. We had dinner, and Sheri started to have contractions, but not very regular. We went from there to get a hotel room, and Sheri couldn’t sleep because of the pain. We called the Dr. and I returned to pick up some sleep medication for her. Turns out the hotel was mostly a waste of money. (I seem to think about money a lot.) Sheri had a bath, but then couldn’t get to sleep. She had gone into labor of her own self while we were having dinner. Initially the pains were not very alarming. By the time she got out of the tub her labor was very active. We returned to the hospital about 10:30 that night, after not getting any rest.

After returning to the hospital, the baby came quickly. I was to coach and help Sheri. Sheri at one time became frustrated with me, and socked me. Sheri did not get an epidural. They didn’t have time to get the anesthesiologist and she just had local pain medication in her IV. When the baby came they did a major episiotomy, and Sheri also tore considerably. The baby was born just after midnight on Sunday morning, December 9, 1984, within two hours of the time we returned to the hospital.

They figured the baby had been dead for about a week. The only thing we heard from the autopsy report was that his heart was enlarged. This meant he had been under stress for some time. We never were given an explanation as to why the baby was under stress.

Even so, when the baby was born, I wanted, beyond hope for some miracle to take place. I waited for the Dr. to pound him on the chest and bring him back to life. He never pounded. The baby was dead.

They moved Sheri to a regular inpatient unit rather than to a maternity ward. I think I would have preferred the maternity ward, but Sheri asked the hospital staff to put her someplace where she wouldn’t be around people with live babies, as that would have been hard to deal with.

I went to the room with Sheri. My first after-birth task was to massage Sheri’s belly, which was suppose to help her uterus contract and return to its normal size. As the morning dawned, I was given another task, to call family and let them know we were in Utah (my family lived in Northern Utah and Sheri’s in Eastern Utah,) and also to inform them of our loss. I didn’t much like this a chore. However it was within just a few hours that people started showing up to wish us well. For my side of the family, a loss of any kind, other than grandparents, was something new.

As for Billy Boy, the hospital staff tried to remove his birth covering and clean him up, however in doing so his skin peeled. Consequently they stopped and he was left with what looked like a red rash where they had cleaned him up. We have one picture of him, and you can see his red rash.

I held him. He was very tiny. He weighed just less then five pounds. Sheri did not hold him, and she has expressed regret at this since.

My older brother’s father-in-law, Bishop Garbett came to the hospital.He was a former bishop and we consulted with him about the proper way to proceed with a stillborn in terms of church blessings. We decided there was no reason we shouldn’t give him a name and a blessing, so we did. My brothers assisted me. They brought the body to the room and I gave him a name. I don’t remember much of the blessing, but it was very short.

We did not take the body home for burial. The hospital staff said they would conduct an autopsy, and then dispose of the body for us.

That is the story of Billy Boy. From this experience, I learned there is a time to grieve. The grieving process was not just a one-day thing, but took place over several weeks, even months. How do you grieve for a baby you never cuddled and held? It wasn’t hard. The baby was real to us, and we had made plans to make him part of our lives. Sheri’s grieving was intense, because she had felt every kick and movement while the baby was inside her body. I had felt kicks, but only when Sheri shared them with me.

We went to spend a week with Sheri’s family for bereavement. It was a comfortable week for me. Not so much so for Sheri. They had given her what would be an inflatable tube for her to sit on to aid in her heeling process. We spent most of our time in the living room while Sheri tried her best to get comfortable.

We returned to Duckwater after at week of grieving leave. I worked for the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, and while we were gone an elderly tribal member had passed away. I am not sure why, but where this gentleman had been a member of the Church, it fell upon me to talk at his funeral. Preparing that talk, and remembering the eternal nature of life and family, helped me along my grieving process. The funeral was attended by the entire reservation of almost 200 people. I had received delivery of two large turkeys from BYU Community Outreach, which I brought back with me for a tribal dinner for the Holidays. We used these for a tribal feast to honor our newly departed elder. I felt I was handling everything OK.

Sheri did not grieve for some time. In fact she really didn’t grieve until a couple years later. My niece had a stillborn baby boy, Skyler, for whom they had a funeral. Sheri finally was able to grieve at that funeral, and let out her feelings about Billy Boy. In the mean time we had a new baby girl.

It’s funny about grieving. It is not a one-time process and then you’re done with it. Grief is less intense over time, but it is something that comes back. I wrote in my journal about having a bitter day a month after losing Billy Boy. Bitterness is evil and to be avoided. It can blacken your soul. I avoided bitterness by leaving things to the Lord and accepting that all will work together for our good. (See D&C 122:7) There is peace in that thought, and peace replaces bitterness.

A couple years later I wrote in my journal:"When Billy Boy died I remember asking myself inside for a long time, 'Why? Why? Why?' The question went away, but I’m not sure if I ever really answered it for myself. I do know when Tali was born and I saw how beautiful she is, the hurt seemed to fade—although for a time it was more piercing as I realized what we had missed. God, I know, has blessed me greatly, but it was after the tribulations and trials that allowed him to pour our more abundant blessings and make Tali so beautiful."

My trials have not been near so hard as others--As Job who lost everything, but was then able to see God. Or as the pioneers who lost so many children. (In uncovering an old burial site archeologist discovered four times as many infants as adults. In my own family there are stories of numerous children dying on the trek.) But these families overcame and built a city and temple with God’s help.

I know I can expect more trials, likely of a different nature. I have further to go to be in control of myself, and my own destiny. It is through trials I can prove to myself that I have made gains towards becoming more like Heavenly Father and Jesus—more perfect.

Sheri, for her part, fought depression. I realize now I wasn’t there enough for her. I wasn’t open to her talking about her loss and her issues. I just wanted to go on. A coworker suggested that perhaps we needed counseling to help deal with the loss. This seemed foreign to me.

23 years later, I still have days when I miss Billy Boy, or where he is acutely in my thoughts. At every funeral I attend he seems to be there. A few years ago we traveled to Arizona, to bury the nephew of my wife who had been struck by a car and killed while bicycling home from high school. That was a funeral with a significant amount of grieving. Seeing Sheri’s brother, wife and family, and their grief was painful. I started to write a poem I couldn’t finish:

One thing I would never wish to be
Is the guest of honor at a funerary

Parents should grow old, and their children should bury them, who are buried by their children and so on. Everything should be done in a proper order, but things don’t work that way. I remember the words of the poem The Weaver:

The Weaver(author unknown)

My life is but a weaving,
between my Lord and me,
I do not choose the colors;
He knows what they should be.

Ofttimes he weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reasons why

The dark threads are as needful
in the skillful weaver's hand
As threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

I am grateful for Billy Boy, and his short time in our lives. I still look forward to the day when I will be able to parent him and hold him in my arms. In the meantime, I feel his presence, and his loving concern for Sheri and I, and our family.