Showing posts with label Dee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dee. Show all posts

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Best Dad

Heroes, 1983

Forty three years ago I chose the father of my children.

Of course I didn't know then what I know now. I chose him because he was cute and funny and he thought I was cute and funny, too. He listened to my rambles and understood what I meant. We dreamed the same dreams and saw the world through the same lens. As far as parenting skills, I assumed he'd contribute curly hair and brown eyes . . . hey, enough for me!

I know a lot of moms who undervalue dads. We women have a superiority complex that lets us think that we do it all, all alone, all the time—and we're pretty good at moaning about it. While there are some awesome single parents (moms and dads) who have that challenge, I'm very blessed to be only half of a team. Here are some elements my other half supplied, one for each year he's been a dad. (I could have listed zillions more.)

Dee did this with our kids:
  1. Made bird feeders during Morning Friends (5-7 a.m. activity time for human early-birds.)
  2. Constructed a cardboard model of a cathedral.
  3. Taught coin collecting, stamp collecting, anything collecting.
  4. Made real oatmeal for breakfast every day, whether they liked it or not.
  5. Found out what they wanted to do, and encouraged them to do it.
  6. Surrounded them with books; always went to parent teacher conferences.
  7. Made grilled cheese for lunch every Sunday.
  8. Held Wunsch Conzerts (classical music turned up full blast Sunday mornings.)
  9. Became a builder so they could have a house.
  10. Tossed jelly bean prizes for Scripture Chases on Family Night.
  11. Featured them in hundreds of photos.
  12. Sold his photo equipment to buy them stuff.
  13. Taught them it was fun to clean the garage, water the lawn, and shovel the snow.
  14. Took them to a potato chip factory,
  15. A cheese factory,
  16. The train yards,
  17. A train museum, gun museum, army museum, every museum.
  18. Picked them up from school when they were sick.
  19. Paid for broken arms, collar bones, surgeries and fillings.
  20. Attended their dance recitals, choir concerts, plays, games and meets.
  21. Sold his collections to pay for dance, piano, gymnastics, violin and clarinet lessons.
  22. Didn't burden them with adult worries.
  23. Gave them each a year abroad.
  24. Read all the historical markers on the side of the road.
  25. Emptied the dishwasher, ironed his shirts, did the laundry and let them see.
  26. Drove a no-frills car so they could have one.
  27. Dried their shoes, polished their shoes, trimmed their toenails, treated their athlete's foot.
  28. Took them to the fish hatchery so they'd be sure to catch something.
  29. With asthmatic lungs, ran the field as a soccer coach,
  30. And little league coach; took them tobogganing, golfing, and shooting.
  31. Lived when he could have died a few times.
  32. Was the school's first room-father,
  33. The troop's first den-father,
  34. Went to scout camps, winter camps,
  35. Girls camps.
  36. Let them rebuild a pioneer cabin.
  37. Let them have a dog.
  38. Came home every night instead of going out with the guys.
  39. Loved them in spite of themselves sometimes.
  40. Wanted them.
  41. Made them the center of his life.
  42. Loved their mother.
I am in awe of good fathers. It's interesting: I wanted to find a good quote to use in this post yet most of the ones I found were condescending or sarcastic. Isn't that sad? Many women who have been disappointed by their own fathers or husbands assign the blame to men in general and seem to spread the word via men-bashing. This sets a low standard for boys, who then don't have much to live up to. Decent dads, who take responsibility, work to support a family physically, spiritually and emotionally, and who set an example of dependability, contribute goodness to the world.

I chose wisely.

Dee and Marta at the zoo

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brothel Studies

Lecture Series, Garden Park Clubhouse

It was all meant to be.

Dee gave a second lecture in his series called Treasures of the Oquirrh Mountains. Tales from ghost towns that used to line Bingham Canyon fascinated folks who now live in view of Bingham Copper Mine, the giant that swallowed those towns house by house and left just one case in point: Copperton, Utah.

South Jordan's Historian

The architecture of that little burg was the inspiration for Garden Park, our own community. Dee talked about arts and craft, knee braces, and porticoes, and then threw out a teaser for lecture number three: "Bingham Canyon had 36 bars, 18 brothels, and dozens of stories. Come back in April!" I knew the first two lectures had filled his time, and that he still had lots of research to do for the third one—he really didn't have any stories ... yet.

Garden Park Clubhouse

After the lecture Dee shook a bunch of hands and answered a bunch of questions. He made his way over to me and sat down. Suddenly he slumped over and turned white. Several people were still in the room and when he wouldn't revive I yelled out, "Call 911!"

A neighbor, a retired cop, immediately took charge and Dee was carried to a couch, his feet elevated and his color started coming back. He was in and out of it until the EMTs arrived. They put him on oxygen, determined it wasn't a stroke or a heart attack, and hustled us into an ambulance headed to the emergency room.

A nurse asked what he'd been doing when he fainted. "I'm a historian, and I was giving a lecture on Copperton, which is a company town in Bingham Canyon built to house miners from 28 different countries ... " He's delirious, I thought. "The Bingham brothers discovered copper in 1858, but Brigham Young sent them to settle ... " (Obviously, he'd survived.) The nurse listened to his ramblings as she drew his blood, checked his vitals and stuck his arm with an IV. She put him on pause while she went for juice. "Dear, you don't need to give her the whole spiel," I told Dee. "She was just making sure you stayed conscious."

But then she came back with a sandwich. "I want to hear more about Bingham Canyon," she said. "That's where my dad grew up. He used to deliver coal to the brothels. In fact, he and his old Bingham buddies still get together every Thursday for lunch—they're all in their 80s and they love to talk."

Dee at his Garden Park Lecture.

Dee was released a few hours later. Along with instructions to lower his blood pressure meds, the nurse gave him her dad's telephone number. By Thursday they were best friends, and Dee was invited to lunch. And now he has dozens of stories!

"Did you hear the one about Big Helen? She was a madam who paid for us to go to the movies every Saturday. We used to throw rocks at her window until she came out and paid us each a dime to go away!"

My Heritage Associates blog has another good story: Click here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trust Your Instincts

"Hi, Opa." The little voice squeaked with worried tears.
"We have a big prob-wem!" His panic came through the phone.
"Songbear needs surgery, and there's nobody else who can help us."

Songbear is Benji's best friend, and he'd been hugged til his stuffing was coming out.
A holiday bath had made things worse, and Benji was feeling his buddy's pain.
"Can you help us?" he whimpered.

Opa perfected his sewing skills years ago with Cub Scout shirts and Boy Scout patches. There's nobody he'd rather pick up a needle for than a little boy. He arranged to meet his patient at the Christmas Eve party.

All during the festivities Opa snipped and stitched.

"I'm trying not to hurt him," he said as the needle poked a furry backside.

When Operation Songbear was complete, Benji tied the final knot.
The perfect Christmas present.
(Who needs Santa when you've got an Opa?)

Forty three years ago, when I was just nineteen, I met a 22-year-old boy. We were on a semester abroad without the accouterments we normally judge people by. I didn't know his family, what kind of car they drove, how they interacted. I'd never seen him in real life—his clothes, his friends, his house.

Ten days later we decided to get married. My parents freaked out when they got the letter. What was I thinking? They didn't know a thing about him! But I did. Our first Saturday together he shined my shoes.

Something told me he'd be an awesome Opa.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Goal

Dee 2010

Dee was checking the progress of his soup. Feeling reflective, I was rummaging around for purpose and meaning in life. I asked him, "What should be our goal for the new year?"

He suddenly twirled around the kitchen in his socks, struck a familiar pose and started to sing his answer:

"Ah, ah, ah, ah...
Stayin' alive, just stayin' alive."

Good goal, Dear!

(Being married to a man who makes me laugh
is a fun way to live.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marriage: What Brings Us Together

"Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
Mawage, that bwessed awangment,
that dweam wifin a dweam . . .
wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . .
So tweasure your wuv."

I love being married. Last week we were talking to a Social Security guy over the phone (Helen and Morty style: both of us on the line) and he asked, "How long have you been married." "Forty-two years," I said. "To the same person???" "Yes," we said together. "Forty-two years!" he gasped. "God bless you!" Then after a pause he continued, "You must be experts at it. What are your secrets?"

I have learned a lot about marriage over these past four decades and I'm going to share some marital secrets.

"Mawage is wot bwings us togeder." Dee and I stick together. Our first hours together were spent walking and talking. That's literally all we did during our courtship. We met as students on a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria—no money, no car, no TV, no friends, no family, no place to make-out—we just talked. Quickly we became friends, best friends, and we wanted to officially become bff.

That's a secret: talk. After we were back home with a job, a car, TV, friends, and family there was competition for our talking time. And finally we had someplace to make-out, so babies started coming and the din in our tiny trailer made chatting a challenge. But we've kept talking to each other (about anything and everything, all the time) a high priority.

And the bff thing? Another secret. Best friends don't blab about each others faults, frailties, foibles or flaws. They're loyal. I'm certainly not perfect at this but I must be nearly perfect, because lots of folks think Dee is perfect! (I'll leave it at that.) It's not a totally selfless thing to speak highly of my husband: I think it makes me look better to be married to an awesome guy. Why would I tattle on his quirks and make myself look like an idiot to be hooked up with him? When I do talk about his eccentricities, I try to do it with love and humor, because that's the way I decided to feel about them. (I see it as a choice.)

Beauty experts say to focus on the good stuff to take attention away from the bad stuff. If your eyes are pretty, play them up to take attention away from your double chin. If your ears are huge, don't wear huge earrings, and if your hands are expressive wear rings and bracelets. When you're looking for beauty in your spouse, don't focus on the warts! I don't want Dee looking me over with a magnifying glass—"Hmmm, you spilled coke in your car again . . . I still don't have any clean towels . . . you deleted BEAR GRILLS???" I love it when he says, "I'll make my own dinner. Just keep putting stickers on the grandkid packages. That's the important stuff." He compliments me and I compliment him on our tiny, unique attempts to improve the world, and we both feel good about ourselves. Which makes us feel good about each other.

So what are you thinking right this second? Are you thinking, "My husband NEVER does that. If he'd just change, our marriage would be happy." Or are you thinking, "I ought to do that. If I changed, maybe our marriage would be happy." I've learned that I can't change Dee. Trying makes me miserable—it focuses all my energy in a negative direction. The ONLY person in the whole world I can change is myself, and doing that focuses me in a positive direction.

If my marriage needs more empathy, I can provide that empathy—towards him. If my marriage needs more fun, I need to become more fun to be with. If my marriage needs more forgiveness, I can forgive. If my marriage has too much stubbornness, I can eliminate mine and there won't be as much. When my marriage is stagnant, I need to get out of my doldrums and become interested and interesting. It will be at least 50% better when I make a change.

The "bwessed awangment, this dweam wifin a dweam" sometimes becomes a nightmare. Having interests and hobbies in common, dating for years, living together first . . . none of these things can prepare couples for marriage. Marriage is life, and life is unexpected. You can't practice it first—you learn it together. Couples I know have lost jobs, children, houses, health, money, limbs, eyesight, hearing . . . they weren't ready for these nightmares to snuff out their dreams. But every one of the couples I'm thinking of learned how to be happy again. New characteristics were developed individually; they supported each other as they each learned to live with broken hearts, and then learned how to be a couple again. Being willing to learn is the definition of humility. Marriage is a continuing education that demands humility.

Buttercup's pastor said, "wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . ." I disagree with this part. Love is not a noun (person, place or thing) that follows you around, whimsically disappears and shows up somewhere else. Love is a verb, an action word; it's something you DO. That's why people say marriage is work. It takes effort, energy, enthusiasm—it's an endeavor. Think of something you're proud of in life: graduating, raising your kids, running a marathon, growing your bangs out, whatever. It took time and patience, you got discouraged, it was the pits, you thought you'd never make it, but you did. The reason you're proud of that accomplishment is because it was hard. A happy marriage is hard—fun and hard—and it's my proudest accomplishment.

"Tweasure your wuv," the wise old man said. Definitions for treasure are: value greatly, prize highly, hold dear, adore, cherish. To be happy in marriage, I've learned to value, prize, adore and cherish not only my husband, but the marriage itself—our couple-ness. When I'm making a decision, I often boil it down to Will this strengthen my marriage or be divisive? Since my marriage is my top priority, the choice is usually clear, even though it involves a sacrifice. (Secret: don't expect gratitude when you make a sacrifice. Most of the time, nobody even notices you made it. Just revel in the fact that you're becoming a wonderful person.)

Like I said before, I love being married. In fact, we've just moved in together full-time! Dee's office is now in the loft above mine and we can hear each other think. It's not a 24/7 situation—we still have places to go and people to see, but it's fun calling up to him with a geography question and have him ask me how to spell something. We're still learning from each other and about each other. That's our secret.

"wuv, twu wuv . . ."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dee, three.

This is a War Baby, born 9 months (plus a few hours) after his WWII soldier dad returned to his waiting wife. A true Boomer. And he's mine.

You could not meet a more interesting guy. That's a direct result of the fact that he's interested in EVERYTHING. By the time I met Dee when he was 22 he was already an expert in European History, World Geography, the British Military, photography, German philosophy, politics and US current events. He collected coins and stamps, knew diverse things about music, Rommel, Hubert Humphrey and art. I was fascinated.

He'd worked in a pizza place, hoed sugar beets, stocked fabric bolts, and managed a pro-shop at a golf course, saving for college from the time he was 13. He'd lived in Germany, met Bobby Kennedy, been a boy scout, worked at Grand Canyon, skinny-dipped in the river, hunted pheasants, and made fires to roast grasshoppers for a picnic. He'd tracked trains, then put nails and coins on the tracks to watch them get flattened. He had a Tom Sawyer type childhood, a hard-working, studious youth, and was smarter than anyone I'd ever met.

We'd been married a couple of years when he received a triple degree in German, European Studies and History from BYU (he had planned to go into foreign service, the CIA or the Intelligence field) and with a wife, a daughter and a son on the way, he continued a job in real estate as a developer and builder. He built about 50 homes, a subdivision, some condos, office buildings and a business park and was involved in the politics of water rights, irrigation feuds, and building permits. He arbitrated, negotiated, and stagnated. It was time to move on.

After reinventing himself with a year at The King's Manor in York, England he received another degree in Architectural History and Preservation. Dee's first business venture after returning home was to sponsor a three-day, world-wide conference on retro-fitting historic buildings with hydraulic springs to prevent damage during an earthquake. The Salt Lake City and County Building was the first building in the world to benefit from the new technology and Dee's conference was well-attended by architects from all over the world who wanted to observe and learn first hand.

Salt Lake City and County Building, World Wide Symposim

He began writing books on historic buildings, and architectural styles and features, which led to books about towns, individuals, businesses and families. He's now written over 50 privately commissioned books, becoming an expert on each new topic, spending months, even years, studying the various subjects.

It's fun to watch Dee immerse himself in a new interest. When he wrote a book about a Jewish Rabbi in Seattle, it led him to 1860's silver mines in Colorado and the beginnings of a rabbinical school in Cincinnati. The story of a San Francisco bridge building company took us to an ancestral winery in Germany, as well as a study of the construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France.

Early logging in Ontario's rivers, and the establishment of Quaker Meetings in Pennsylvania, pirates settling Newfoundland and ghost towns in Southern Utah have become a few areas of expertise for Dee. He loves to dig out the stories behind the stories and he becomes well acquainted with people long gone. He knows people's businesses and ancestors better than they do themselves, and he appreciates the hard work and sacrifice of unknown heroes. His research skills are superb. He can find everything that's been written about anything, consolidate and unify the information, add to it, and then condense it to a form that's factual and entertaining. He would find the history of dirt intriguing, and you would, too, if he wrote about it!

Dee has an incredible memory for dates and places involving anyone else, and when he gets going on a little historic recitation he's thorough to the point of . . . well, thoroughness. But it's almost impossible to get him to talk about his own memories. He's foggy on the details.

We got married 42 years ago in September, and a few weeks later on his birthday I baked him a cake. He came home from school, saw it on the table and was overcome. "I've never had a birthday cake before," he told me emotionally. He hadn't? Where was his mother? What kind of deprived childhood had he come from? I vowed to make it all up to him. I'd give him memorable celebrations that would overwhelm his past disappointments.

The next year, true to my promise, I baked him a triple decker. When he walked in, his eyes misted over and he whispered tremulously, "Oh, my gosh, Dear. I've never had a birthday cake before."

Like I said, he's an interesting guy. The best part is that he's interested in me!

Happy Birthday, Dear!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eye Popping

Here's a sight for you!

Dee had a coughing fit during the night while we were in California. It passed, and he went back to sleep. This is what he looked like the next morning!

He didn't feel a thing, and he could see perfectly, but a blood vessel had broken in his eye (it's called a subconjunctival hemorrhage) and for a few days he's looked as if blood was going to gush over his eyelid. Finally today we can see a bit of white again, so it must be reabsorbing. The doctor says it's fine, but the horrible sight has caught a few eyes!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What If You'd Married What's-His-Name?

Mary Engelbreit

An excerpt from
Son of a Gun
Marty Halverson

Ruby sat by the window and considered her reflection in the September twilight.
Streaks of sunset polished her skin, and caught her hair on fire. Where would she be tonight if not for Leo?
Leo lived in that rare grace of self that could keep his identity in tact through any ordeal. He did not depend on outward props to shore himself up; heartache, circumstance and violence could not eradicate the moral, gentle habits of his upbringing. Jack had been a mirage. Leo had been a well, hardly visible from a distance but with the depth and purity to restore her. Ruby hardly ever thought of those ugly days anymore. Leo had broken off that part of her life like he would the wormy end of a piece of corn. When it was gone, it was forgotten and he just saw the golden, fresh promise she held inside.

Admit it: old What's-His-Name was just a mirage. Think of one word that describes what you missed out on by dumping him. I'll go first: TROUBLE.

What five words describe the life you have (or the life you want) with your true love. I'll go first:
  1. Fun
  2. Unique
  3. Educational
  4. Intriguing
  5. Memorable
Aren't you relieved you didn't end up with a dork?:

Now it's your turn~

Write down why you're glad you're with the guy you're with. Someday in the future someone will want to know. (And someday in the present, you might need a reminder, yourself!) I've written many such love letters; click here for one of my favorites.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quilting History

Quilt Pattern: Log Cabin

I can't play with my imaginary friends for a while—reality's calling. When I'm not a novelist, I'm an editor, and a new biography hit my desktop today. It's time to focus in and get my needle threaded: writing history is like piecing a quilt. I'll tell you how we do it.

Dee starts a project by looking at the whole picture, observing the arrangement, the variety, the theme. "There are logs in this pattern," he might say."Tell me that story."

He breaks the story down to a list of basic facts and creates a time-line of the person's life. "1956: born. 1960: took his first tennis lesson," all the way through. It helps to see it in chronological order, with dates.

Then he starts searching for pieces. Interviews, photos, scrapbooks and letters lead to more interviews, photos, scrapbooks and letters, and a unique pattern begins to emerge. Color and texture come by stitching in current events, styles, and music of the times.

The pieces pile up and are bundled into chapters: Family, Childhood, Education, Marriage, Career—whatever the design dictates.

Dee bastes all the pieces together,

And then I do the sewing. My goal is to eliminate bumps and snags, make it smooth and even.

I'm especially excited to start my work this time. It's about a guy who was a lumberjack!

Quilt Pattern: The Lumberjack

It's your turn:

Make a time-line of the major events in your life. Go back to the list and add a source for additional material. (Example: Childhood—Aunt Ruth; Junior High—Joan; High School—yearbook.) Schedule a time to search for these pieces of your quilt.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scary Stuff: Turning 64!

Looking back

"Will you still need me . . . when I'm sixty four?"
"There's no doubt about it. I'll love you even more."

Click here for my homemade Opa Movie.

(Happy Birthday, Dear!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Raise Your Expectations

"If we did all the things we are capable of,
we would literally astound ourselves."
—Thomas Edison

My new best friend is Ruby. I'm with her 24/7 and I really like her. Maybe it's because I made her up. Anyway, I've learned a lot from her.

At eighteen she fell for the wrong guy. Most of us did that, but she thought he was her ticket out of a boring life, and literally fell for him, hoping that would keep his attention. It did, for a few hours—just long enough for him to leave her with a souvenir of their, um . . . friendship.

Trying to do the right thing by her new little guy, she left the baby with her mother so she could go to a new place and start over. Back in 1873 there weren't many career choices for an untrained young girl, so, sad to say, she fell back into her area of expertise.

Now, as a soiled dove, she has forgotten who she really is. Stuck in The Fat Chance Saloon, she accepts the lie: "You think you're capable of something more? Fat Chance!"

On the surface, Ruby and I don't have much in common. But I have stayed a few times at the Fat Chance Saloon, and I know how it feels to wonder if I am capable of something more.

Ruby might be rescued if someone sees her potential and helps raise her expectations. Time and again, I have had that experience. Lucky for me, I fell in love with the right guy, and he didn't ride off with all my hopes and dreams. He keeps handing them to me, over and over and over.

I hope Ruby finds a guy like mine. Maybe I'll make one up!

(Here's a scene I worked on today.)

Excerpt from
Son of a Gun

Marty Halverson

Jute started a small fire. Pre-empting the conversation, he said, “I don’t think we ought to talk about you and the woman, Boss. It ain’t really fitting. There’s things that won’t stand a straight answer, and what’s between a man and a woman is one of ‘em.”

“You liked her, though, didn’t you?” asked Leo.

“Sure. She seemed a right nice lady.”

“You call her a lady. That’s sort of funny under the circumstances.”

“No, I don’t reckon it is. Not the way I see things.”

The wizened cowboy fussed with the coals, shifted his legs, and finally got out the rest of his reply.

“Well, let’s just put it this way, Boss. I’ve knowed whores I’d take my hat off to, and respectable women I wouldn’t spit on.”

“I know what you mean,” said Leo soberly. “It’s the kind of thing where people are more what they think they are, than what they really are. You know what I’m trying to say, Jute?”

“Yes, sir, I do. It’s what I meant about Miss Jewel.”

“Her real name’s Ruby, Jute . . . Ruby.” They sat still again, watching and listening to the flames.

“I reckon most of us don’t get a second chance,” mused Leo. “We don’t get to be our better selves. Folks just expect us to keep on being, and we live down to their expectations. It’s a shame.”


~Who is someone you know who's staying at the Fat Chance Saloon? List some achievements you've observed, and send them a note of congratulations. Raise their expectations by reminding them who they already are.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Through a Historian's Eyes

Sign In

Historians can't be near-sighted;


Things are blurry when they're too close.

Dress for the occasion

Dee had eye surgery this morning,

Thirty minutes later

No blood, no pain . . .

One hour later—look at that!

But a whole new perspective.

Dee has always envied my 20/20 vision, but he's taught me to see things through a historian's eyes. Whenever I fret about the state of the world, he reminds me that it's all happened before, and that we can learn from the past.

Prejudices have come and gone in our country, and it seems like every generation has to learn the same lessons. These days Hispanics are being profiled and stereotyped, but a hundred years ago Italian and Irish immigrants took the brunt of racial aversion. Chinese people were only allowed in the USA to work on the railroads. Before "political correctness" was a concept, Jews and Poles were punchlines of rude jokes, and John F. Kennedy was feared because he was a Catholic.

Remembering history is a perk of getting old.

When I was a little girl, a Japanese-American couple put an offer on a house on our street. (This was Salt Lake City in about 1958.) Our suburban neighborhood had restrictive covenants that didn't allow Japanese people. Even though they were born in Hawaii and California, and the husband had served in the army in World War II, they looked Japanese, and therefore were not welcome.

A petition went around to keep them from buying the house. Ironically, a woman from Indonesia (not yet an American citizen) headed the attack. I remember a meeting in our living room where the neighbors (all upstanding church-goers) gathered to discuss the problem. The prevailing view was that property values would go down if these kinds of people were tolerated.

Well, the couple didn't buy the house.

This particular woman has since become very prominent in our community. People buy her books and line up to hear her speak. When she refers to the humiliation they faced in the 1950's because of their race, there is a hush in the audience. Who would be so racist, so condemning, because of their foreign sounding name or the shape of their eyes? It seems unthinkable, now, knowing who she is. Unfortunately, nobody in my neighborhood knew who she'd become.

Looking through a historian's eyes, we were a little near-sighted.

More perspective tomorrow . . .

Monday, June 28, 2010

Detective: Summit County, Utah

I married a detective. We're always looking for dead buildings,and the story of how they got that way. The cases are mysterious and the techniques are fascinating. For instance, there's a special kind of DNA to identify age: this broken-down old soul had personal, hand-made nails holding her together. (It's a little like having natural nails in an age of acrylic.)

At the autopsy, Dee modestly lifted up her floor boards, exposing private clues: old newspaper petticoats with dates like 1927. The tongue and groove herringbone boards, laid in specific patterns, were as time-specific as stocking seams.

He had to pronounce this old girl dead on the spot. Exposure, lack of fluids and no loving care had done her in. She collapsed right where she stood. Witnesses stood back and waited for help but she was old, gray and unbalanced. Her family run business dried up and blew away with the sheep industry, and she must have felt unnecessary like many folks do in old age. We paid our respects.

Dee attracts Ghosts and this week we're off to do some ghostbusting. Don't worry about me. I'll be with a history detective. I think of gathering history like gathering autumn leaves. We are finding the brightest examples of a former glory that beautified now barren places with life and growth. The people who created something from nothing, who raised huge families filled with hard working, inventive folks, while feeding vast numbers of citizens from the food they produced; these are the unsung heroes who built our country. Did they make any less of a contribution just because we don't know about them?

We've got our maps and our magnifying glasses and we'll bring home some news!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Love Letters

Photo by Stie

Me: I think you're starting to rub off on me.

Dee: That's good. I've been trying to lose some weight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

History in the Making

Chelsea, Liza, Jill

So, Opa, how do you write a book?

Lucy and Opa

You have to read all this first?

Opa's Office

How long does it take to type?


Maybe we'll write about you someday!


~Find out something about your grandpa and write it down for future generations.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Postcard from Las Vegas

Dee suggested this particular stamp to honor a client.
He followed through with the stamp-design people, to make sure his client,
(who produced most of the Las Vegas signs)
was recognized on the Nevada stamp.

Dee's nuts about stamps.

Do you have a passion? Do you follow through?
What do you feel proud about having accomplished?

A stamp is a tiny, practically worthless, snip of paper, first spit on and then slapped.
But it travels the world, spreads a message, represents an artistic genre,
expresses the pride and values of our nation, and eventually has enormous value.

Is there an analogy there?
(I'm on vacation. I'm leaving the meaning for you to discover.)