Sunday, June 11, 2017

Crossing the Border or Crossing the Street

Moving Means Sorting Through Your “Stuff”
     Moving, whether it’s international or across the street means sorting through all of your belongings. When preparing to move across the street to a small house, I’ve been getting rid of a lot of paper stuff and digitizing some things, throwing out other things. For example, cassettes. Do you even know what I am talking about, you of the music download generation? I’ve thrown out at least a hundred of them, mostly music. Then there are three mini cassettes that I don’t even have a player to listen to them.
Finding Family History Treasures
     I discovered four family history tapes that Bob and I had made in 1978. What I learned about my husband is that he’s an audio type guy. Not only did I find music tapes but also a dozen song books and a three ring binder full of folk song sheet music that he had gathered to sing to Brianna when she was young.
     With anticipation of hearing my husband’s voice again, five years after his death, I began listening to the tape he’d made on his trip driving our car down to Guadalajara and our new house.
     This is a trip even he said was pretty boring most of the time. Apparently the tape recorder was voice activated and on the second side had recorded numerous coughs. I think he’d forgotten it was on. Towards the end I finally caught him telephoning me at the hotel where my mom and daughter and I were staying in Guadalajara the day before he was supposed to arrive. Of course, it was only a one sided conversation, but what a treasure I found. At the close of our conversation, I once again heard him say, “I love you, Bev.” Sigh.
Back to His Travel Log
     Before he’d left Nogales, Arizona (first he had to drive from Ontario, California to AZ which is about ten hour drive) he stopped at Sanborn’s to buy Mexican Car Insurance. He said it cost about $400 for a year and he’d added emergency medical evacuation insurance for all of us which would fly or ambulance a person to a hospital or back to the US. It was an extra $15 per person. Fortunately we never needed it.
Crossing the Mexican Border
     Bob began the tape expressing his anxiety about crossing the border and customs. Worried about having to unpack the car, etc. There were two custom points. Each one had a stop light kind of device that flashed a red or green light for each car. At the second place he got the dreaded red light and the agent had him get out of the car while he “poked” around, finally giving him the all clear to move on. “Guess I just had an honest face!” he records.
     The things Bob chose to talk about reflected his avid interest in learning a new foreign language. He’d begun learning Spanish a few months before and now I found him “collecting” new words to add to his vocabulary. He would read then say the various highway signs so as to look them up later… including: “check your brakes”, “turn on your lights”, “begin fog or mist zone”, and “keep your distance.”
     Bob had a good map and tourist guide that Sanborn’s had given him.
No Photographs
     Bob didn’t stop to take any pictures, although he’d seen a couple donkey/horse carts with people in them that he thought Brianna would love to see, saying he was pretty sure we’d see plenty of those before we left Mexico. (Actually, not so many, after all. Guadalajara is a large city with over a million people.) The scenery with fields and mountains in the distance could have been in Arkansas or Tennessee, he observed.
     Most of his negative comments were about how expensive the toll roads were and how few cars were on these four lane divided highways. They did have “returnos” in the middle to go back the other way, evenly spaced every few kilometers, as well as telephones. Philosophically he said, “lower the rates and get more traffic to pay for the roads.”
First Night in Mexico
     Bob checked into a small motel in Los Mochis that was clean and only $10 a night. He set out to find a nice place to eat and at an intersection almost ran into a car. Bob’s luck…it was a police car. With it’s lights flashing, it pulled him over. “Didn’t you see that stop sign?” “It was big.” Bob, using his worst gringo Spanish never heard a single English word from the “cop.” “It’s only my first day in Mexico, and I’m trying to find a place to eat,” he continued in poor Spanish. Finally, the guy finally said, “Follow me,” and took him to a good restaurant. Whew. Although he’d said the word ticket several times, he never wrote one up. Bob kept saying he could pay for the ticket now, in other words a mordita or bribe, but no he didn’t go for that. The policeman turned out to be very thoughtful and helpful instead.
     Bob ordered chicken in a molé (pronounced MO leigh) sauce with milk to drink (that last part caused raised eyebrows from the waiter.) Guess most people ordered cerveza or beer.
Toll vs Slow Regular Roads
     Bob had taken a toll road out of Nogales and bypassed all of Culiacan, Sinaloa. He was determined not to miss Matzatlan.
     Most of the highways don’t have shoulders and when a truck breaks down, it is right in the land. “Rather disturbing,” Bob said, because you have to pull around into oncoming traffic. He noticed pot holes abounded, too: not deep but still there to be missed if possible. The Super Autopista he was on did have a shoulder. At one point nature called, and pulling over, he noticed no cars came in either direction.
     Everywhere you stopped, toll booths, Pemex gas stations and stop lights, kids would rush up to clean your window expecting a tip. It was “kind of annoying in a way,” but you could hardly blame them for trying to earn a few pesos with Mexico’s economy the way it was.
     Here 99% of what hit his windshield was yellow butterflies, in droves, leaving a “splat!” He said, “I’m fast losing my affection for butterflies as they mess up my windshield. If they don’t quit, I’m going to run out of washer fluid.”
Anyone Listening?
     At 42 km outside of Matzatlan, Bob says, “If anyone is listening to this dumb tape, besides me, I just am giving random thoughts as they pop into my head.” Twenty-seven years later, hearing his random thoughts brings me joy.
Photos are Fun But a Voice Recording is GREAT
     Photos are fun memories to put into FamilySearch.org’s family tree, but voice recordings are rare. So any of you planning on writing a personal history or story to add to that “Memories” section, get a recording device that uses MP3 or MP4 format and leave at least a few minutes of a parent or grandparent's voice.
     Continuing on about 11 am, Bob approached the exits for Matzatlan. He had a choice: Beach Cities or Center of Town. He chose the beach. “Whoa, a huge butterfly just hit my antenna and whacked it good, it’s shaking now. My sense of adventure is kicking in, hope I don’t lose too much time taking this route, but I’ve been bored up til now.”
     After quite a few miles going west he saw the beach or coastline. Then the road turns south and sees the beach, but it is all resorts and private beaches. He went down one street that dead ended at the beach but it had about a foot of water at the end of it an “I didn’t want to get my shoes wet.” Driving further south on the coastal highway, he took 4 or 5 photos finally, saying, “It’s nothing extraordinary except for mountains sticking out of the water, that’s kind of nice; at least I got to see it.” (maybe I’ll find those 4 or 5 photos sometime, but haven’t yet.)
     Heading to Matzatlan Centro he sees lots of pastel colored buildings very similar to Southern California beach towns with hotels and small shops. He comments passing a hotel with a high “hideous dark purple wall” that even Ruthe (my mother, whose favorite color is purple) wouldn’t want to stay there.
Settling into a New Language
     The “language guy” says, he’s feeling better about Spanish because he completely understood a fellow that gave him directions to get onto the correct road to Tepic that were accurate. He is now on the Highway to Tepic. But Bob the language guy despairs, “Everybody rattles on too blasted fast,” he moans. Even when he says “mas despacio, por favor” or “much slower, please,” people will slow their sentences down for a few words then begin to rattle them off again. Bob says, “But, I’ll get used to it; it’ll just take a little time.”
Final Comments on Side One of Tape  
     He passed an area with a sign that in Spanish said Center of Social Re-adaptation and laughed. “That’s an interesting euphemism for a prison!”
     Here the scenery changes from a desert to mountains green with trees and bushes: “not a cactus in sight.” He saw a dead horse in the roadway that had obviously got in someone’s way. That’s why driving at night can be dangerous. Now he runs into a stretch of road with thousands of little potholes and Wishes he’d had our shock absorbers and struts replaced before the trip.
Side Two of the Tape
     As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this side is one of coughs and a mumble every now and then, and the final night at a hotel where he calls me to see if I know the best way into town and reaching our hotel in Guadalajara. I had listened for many, many minutes to absolutely nothing on this side, then his call to me. AND his signing off with “I love you, Bev.”


Note: no photos because this is a tribute to Bob, the audio-type guy.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

MOVING

Moving is as Big a Change as a Divorce or Death in the Family

     The actual move to Mexico was involved. It required going through all of my mother’s “stuff” and sorting it into piles: take to Mex, throw away, put into storage, sell or give-away.

     I find myself this June facing the same thing. This time I’m in Arizona and in a 3 bedroom manufactured home with my stuff, Bob’s stuff, stuff we inherited from his mother and grandmother and of course my mother!
    The next four weeks I must downsize to fit into a smaller 2 bedroom manufactured home. Fortunately, I’ll have the same landlady, a lower rent than I’m paying now, AND it is just across the street. Whereas the move to Mexico was several thousand miles away across the border with lots of “stuff,” four people and a cat.

 Bob and I had flown down and found our taxi driver who was the key to a smooth move. Here we are eating at a wonderful restaurant, he'd recommended, out on a terrace overlooking the street.
 
     Our taxi drive, Jose’, used his resources and knowledge of Americans in Guadalajara, realtors, etc. and drove us around to find a home we could rent. Having chosen our favorite one, we flew back home to begin the processes of consolidating household goods stored in Tennessee, Oakland (from Kwaj) and my mother’s house, then actually making arrangements for the move to a foreign country. DEFINITELY NOT ACROSS THE STREET!
Video taken going out of my front porch, panning across the street you can briefly see the house I'll be moving to July 15th
SORRY THIS VIDEO DOES NOT PLAY...I HOPED IT WOULD. 
    Me, Mom and Bri, along with Harriet the cat (in a cat carrier), our personal luggage and carry on bags, caught a unique bus in Ontario, California. It’s service was designed for people going down and across the border into Mexico. Bags were loaded on the roof, and off we went. I don’t think it went through customs, but we ended up on a hill above a station accepting these buses, and everyone debarked with their stuff, tried to find their bags and haul them down the hill to find a taxi to take us to the airport. We had reservations to fly to Guadalajara from there. Quite an adventure. Amazing we arrived with everything we’d pack, and in pretty good shape. Jose’ had shown us a hotel, near a shopping center, and Sandborn’s, a favorite American Ex-patriot restaurant, bookstore, and shop, where we had made reservations. Knowing ahead of time that we’d be there a couple weeks until Bob arrived, and then our household goods in a moving van arrived, we settled in.
     Bob packed up our Nissan Sentra, finalized closing my mom’s house which we’d cleaned and rented out, supervised the packing of our moving van, then proceeded to drive down to the border in Tijuana, and crossed with no problems, then drove down to Guadalajara. He took many photos on his trip down. It took quite a few days. Yes, he’d began learning words in Spanish. His quest to learn a new language had begun.
Mom and I knew we needed beds, living and dining room furniture, so we went shopping. Jose’ was our guide and transportation for all of this. Fortunately, we had a really nice retirement settlement and had the money to pay for all of this! It was really quite fun. Who doesn’t love picking out furniture and watching the budget, but knowing you could pay for it all.
Bob and the Nissan arrived safely, here is our new house in Guadalajara.

     My situation monetarily with my current move isn’t quite the same. I am getting rid of furniture, eating dehydrated meals supplemented by a few fresh grocery items and no cushion of savings in the bank. On the positive side, I am meeting wonderful families who are physically helping me go through all the books and food storage area, office and family history “stuff” and lifting the trash out to my garbage container. Just this morning the truck came hauling away my second week’s worth of heavy stuff including paperback books, ring binders, and hundreds of old cassette tapes and their containers. 
     And that dehydrated beef stew I made yesterday was actually quite good. A dollop of sour cream and a dash of garlic powder, slice of garlic bread and a salad, made for a tasty lunch. Then for dinner I made burritos with left over stew stuffing, refried beans and Monterey Jack cheese. Mmmm. Creative cooking again, I am next facing going through all of my cookbooks, recipe cards, and making decision which ones to keep and which to throw away and which ones to give away.

     I have several cookbooks from Mexico, but that’s another story.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why Guadalajara Mexico?

It Takes Two for This Tango
     When Bob proposed to his second wife, Alice, her father said, “You realize that you could end up living anywhere in the world, don’t you?” 
     His first wife, Ann, had died of cancer and a wife and mother was needed for his two boys. 
     Alice was quite beautiful and had children of her own. They became a blended family.
Bob and Alice's blended family
     Bob loved foreign languages and when I married him, he  spoke French, German, and a little Italian. He’d gone to France on a Fulbright Scholarship right after graduation from Princeton University where he had helped a professor translate a philosophy text for him. He had fallen in love with Ann, “Miss Southwestern”, and she had applied for the Fulbright scholarship and urged him to apply. She didn’t get it but he did, they married and off they went to Europe for a honeymoon, where he wrote his paper, and they traveled all over.
Bob and Ann on the Queen Mary 1952

     Bob served during the Korean War in Germany. While married to Ann, they lived in Newcastle, England while he worked for Proctor and Gamble. Bob also worked for Holiday Inns, International Division, and traveled all over the world for them. That was a little frustrating for him because, he said, “When I woke up, since all the rooms looked the same, I wasn’t sure whether I was in Germany or France or somewhere else.”

     Bob, the Princeton philosophy major, discovered he truly believed in the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this ended his marriage to Alice who was Catholic. Not long after this our friends introduced us even though he lived in Tennessee and I lived in Southern California.
     Bob told me the story about what his second wife’s father said about ending up living anywhere in the world. Quite frankly, I told him, I’m more worried about being bored living in one place for too long.
Bob and Bev August 23, 1979

    In college, my Master’s Thesis advisor, G. Ray Kerciu, was having trouble getting a sufficient number of people signed up, for a 6 week painting and drawing course in Mexico. He said that if I got 20 people enrolled, I could go free. Sounded like a winner to me, so I did just that. The tour called for two weeks in Guadalajara, two weeks in Puebla and two weeks in Mexico City, and that’s where I was when the first steps were taken on the moon.
     After college, I became the Director for the Downey Museum of Art in Southern California. The City of Downey’s Sister City was Guadalajara, Mexico!!! So of course, I went with tours down there and set up exchange exhibitions for artists in our museum.
     After our marriage in the Washington D.C. temple we lived in Arkansas and Nashville, TN. The International bug bit again and Bob got a job as IT Director with Johnson Control World Services on the Island of Kwajalein, an Army base in the Marshall Islands. We lived there for five years or so until Johnson Controls lost the contract to Raytheon and all the top managment positions were being replaced.  At this point retirement loomed on the horizon because at 65 and the peak of his earning career, Bob could not find employment. We started talking about where we would like to spend our retirement years. Our household belongings were in storage in Nashville and our 1200lbs from Kwaj were being shipped to San Francisco to be stored until we decided where we would end up.
     We went to Southern California to stay with my mother who was not doing well living alone, and absolutely did not want to go into a Senior Citizen home. We had an eight year old daughter, who we had home schooled, but had to attend 3rd grade while in California due to education laws there. When she came home from school saying she didn’t have to read except for half an hour, that did it. Prior to this she’d spend hours reading whole series of books.
     Bob suggested we could retire in Saudi Arabia, or maybe Greece, where he could add another language to his repertoire. He’d already learned Russian, attempted Japanese, and had a little Marshallese under his belt by this time. I dug in my heels and said, “No.” to these suggestions. I said, “How about New Zealand?” He replied, “They speak English there.” What about the beautiful mountains? “I’ve seen the real Alps.” They have sheep and the Māori who are the Tangata Whenua, an indigenous people, of New Zealand, I countered. “They have British food which is horrible, because I lived there and know it well.”
     Bob said, “I want to go where they speak a foreign language, eat foreign food, the signs are in another language and the landscape is totally different from anything I’ve ever experienced.”
     “What about Mexico?” I said. After a little research at the library, he came back saying, that Mexico was probably the most foreign place you could go that was easily accessable to the U.S. Having experienced Mexico City, I told him, I’d only agree if we could live in Guadalajara. And that began the process of paperwork, visas, etc. everything in quadruplicate because there would be four of us. All of the paperwork had to be in two languages, English and Spanish. (Hey, Bob, you liking this yet?) We had to get inoculations, a bank account where we could draw out money in Mexico, a post office address that would forward mail to us down there (bills still needed to be paid) and arrange for household goods and our car to get down there too.
     I have no sympathy for illegal immigrants. Mexico had many restrictions on our Visas. We could not work there or take a job from a native person. That limited us to teaching English or practicing one of the arts, like writing, painting and drawing, music, photography, sculpture etc. We had to jump through a thousand hoops, it seemed. And we had to renew our visas every year.
     Finally we went down there on a scouting-it out trip. We stayed at the hotel I stayed in when in college.
     Bob loved it. We had a deal.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Miraculous Monday

A Strenuous Saturday
     You sometimes wonder if God really does know your every need and then a miracle happens and you see his hand in your life. Saturday I searched for and found, then organized my photos taken between 1995 and 2001 when my family lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, because I said I would on my last blog post. What an overwhelming task.  No I hadn’t written dates or people’s names on the back. I’d taken them to the FamilySearch History Center where they have a world class scanner. But it took me hours just to sort them by year, mostly using the paper package they came back in after developing. Most of them at WalMart. Yes Guadalajara has a WalMart. Fortunately they wrote the date on that package. By this time I realized I could only scan a few things before my energy ran out: the cover and a page from three books, a photo of my mom and her friend and a couple pages from a booklet from the 1980 World Conference on Records held in Salt Lake City.

     Remember how in my last post I hadn’t really felt my life worthy of telling about; I’m just a plain regular person. While hunting for Mexico photos I found this booklet from the 1980 World Conference on Records by George D. Durrant entitled:

THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL AND FAMILY HISTORY by George D.Durrant: Born in Utah. Resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. Director, Genealogical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ed.D., Brigham Young University. Author, lecturer, teacher.

He says, When I was asked to talk about the importance of a personal and family history, my first thought was, "Why me?" Why not get someone whose life has been filled with excitement and accomplishment and whose family has been among the elite?”

I suspect everyone has this same reaction. Durrant has become quite famous and influenced many students at BYU over the years. He now has 37 more years of personal history and stories to tell. So I begin my personal history by blogging starting with my family's life in Mexico.     
A Sacred Sunday
     Saturday was exhausting and left me in a great deal of pain. So much so, that I wasn’t sure if I could attend all of my meetings on Sunday. I am our Ward Employment Specialist so I attend Ward Council a couple times a month at 7:15 a.m. But recently I noticed that if I am found doing the right thing, am in the right place, at the right time, I am blessed to be physically sustained to endure the day better. Usually this occurs on Sundays.
     It was fast and testimony meeting Sunday and I’d attended the council meeting, and was praying that God would help me to serve others, remain positive about my circumstances and help me on the anniversary of my husband, Bob’s, death on May 9th.
     You never know how an approaching date can affect you. Brother Platt told the story of his brother’s tragic death a year ago and how he’d never understood why people reacted to this type of anniversary, until this year. With tears, and anguish on his faith he said he kept reviewing all the events leading up to his death. It was hard. You could tell his heart was broken, even knowing the Plan of Salvation and that he was spiritually still alive, just on the other side of the veil.
     This reminds me of how Heavenly Father must have felt watching his son, Jesus the Christ, during that week leading up to his death and resurrection. How important it is for us to remember those events. They are sacred to God, and to us. We remember them every Easter.
Cast of Characters
Here is a photo of our family of five taken in Ontario, California just before we left for Mexico in 1995. It is the cast of main characters for my Mexico stories that I’ll be sharing on this blog over the next months.
Bev, Bob, Brianna, Ruthe and Harriett the cat
A Miraculous Monday
     In just one hour, my life changed and I saw God’s hand in my life! There definitely are stories that only I can tell. Here is the one that made a Miraculous Monday.
     Two months ago the Pima Council on Aging sent a representative out to my house to assess my needs. This past month my physical needs changed drastically. I can hardly walk safely and am using walkers, walls, door jambs and furniture to get around in my house, so I don’t fall. On Monday morning Gerry, their representative and my case worker ran late for her appointment with me because of the Ina Road closure at highway I 10. This construction work is disrupting traffic for the next two years. Sigh. She called at fifteen minutes after the hour saying she’d be at my house located seven miles west of I-10 in another fifteen minutes.  Why do I tell you this timing? This is where the miracle begins.
     Mandy, my ward Relief Society President called minutes after Gerry called, asking if her family could come over at 6 p.m. for Family Home Evening and give service for me ie., dusting, vacuuming, doing dishes and cleaning floors. Wow, sure I said. I’d no more hung up from her call, when my landlady, Kim, who lives next door, called and said it was a hard thing to have to say, but that I would have to move out of my house in July. Of course, my heart plunged and I asked if she could come over and meet with the PCOA lady who was just then walking up to my door, so we could all talk.
     The short of it is that Kim has a smaller house right across the street from us where her tenant’s lease will be up July 1st.  Because they need to refinance this property where we live, I need to move. They will gut this place and use it as a place of business. She said I could take anything from this place that I needed to use at the new house. This includes ramps, window air conditioners, raised toilet, etc.
     Gerry had already looked at my bathroom and said it was dangerous for me to be getting in and out of the tub to bathe. The new house has a master bedroom with a bath that has a walk in shower! Problem of safety solved. AND ALL OF THIS FOR $120 LESS A MONTH FOR RENT. NO FIRST AND LAST MONTH RENT AND NO SECURITY DEPOSIT REQUIRED EITHER. My prayers have been answered.
Further Potential Miracles May Follow
     Timing and communication are so important. Monday evening I was able to relate to the RS President what was going on so she could present the circumstances of my housing to the Ward Council. Kim has a single wide trailer at the front of my new address, and the tenant there will be leaving also. It is my hope that through my LDS network, we can find her a new renter and help them get moved in and I'll have a lovely neighbor.
     Gerry’s needs may be met because PCOA is hunting for Direct Home Care Workers who live West of the I-10 freeway. They will screen and train them. Right now, they are having trouble serving me or the people in this area because it is too far to drive and they don’t pay mileage. As Ward Employment Specialist and through the LDS Employment Center, I may facilitate connecting people with needs to those who have solutions. So Cool. Whee!!
     My daughter who is now 30 and living in another state is overjoyed because I have a deadline to get rid of some of my “stuff.” I’ll be selling and donating a lot of household items to pare down into a 2 bedroom place.
     Miracles happen, many needs are met, and many people are served because God sees the whole picture and inspires people to call and react at exactly the right moment in time. Don’t you just love it when everything comes together just like that A-team slogan?
This is an introduction to the stories of my life in Mexico interspersed with stories where I see miracles occuring in my daily life.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo
Stories of an LDS family in Mexico
This day conjures up festive dancing, celebrations of joy, fireworks and my memories of Mexico. My family lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico from 1995 to 2001. Determined to write the stories only I can write, this month I will blog about those stories formed in Mexico.

Festive paper banners at Hacienda Sta Lucia
My blogging had stopped in June of last year. Not only had I lost the desire to write, but I could not even get signed back in when I tried last April 1st. Some Joke.
"AVOCADACIOUS"
Yesterday, I saw on TV where avocados have their very own upscale restaurant called “Avocadacity.” I too have a history with these omega oil rich teardrop globes of creaminess. My sister Loni has a humongous tree in her California backyard and once in a while she’ll pack up some and send them to me. Oh my how much more glorious they are than those we find in our local store. My love of avocados, chocolate, chilies, tortillas and Mexican food led me to helping the Guadalajara American Legion Auxiliary publish a cookbook. I will share some of those recipe’s this month.
A local organic sample compared to my Sister's Avocado
Why did I start Blogging as BEEintheDesert?
For those of you just joining me or who have followed me on Twitter, I should probably tell you why I started this blog. A paragraph in my patriarchal blessing (an LDS thing; see my series of blog posts from 2011-2012) says, I’d be determined to serve the Lord…to bring to pass much righteousness upon the earth, and to be an influence for good amongst my fellow associates and friends. Good grief, I thought! Upon the Earth? How could this old lady have an influence all around the world? So I started this blog.
Everybody now has an international following whether on YouTube, a Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., or even just demonstrating holding up signs and appearing on the TV News. The whole young Millenial world is socially connected. This is the Theme of the recent film entitled “The Circle” starring Tom Hanks, and Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame. This connectivity is both good and bad. What it comes down to is a sense of personal integrity, and who we really are.
Reasons Why I Keep a Journal
1. As a memory aide
2. For my mental, emotional, and psychological life…it’s healing.
3. To record important events or insights, joyful, or sad and reasons why.
4. To recognize God’s hand in my life.
5. For an overview of life lessons learned so that one day my descendants could benefit.
6. To discover who I really am and what my purpose in life is.
33+ Journals not including childhood diaries
So you can imagine how I felt when my daughter says, “Mom, you’ve gotta get rid of some of your “stuff.” She gestures over at my notebooks in the shelves and says, “Just scan them.” Then she opens uo one at random and exclaims, “Oh!” My journals are a lot like Camp Fire Girl’s Memory Books with lots of extra memorabilia in them, as well as hand scribbled written pages.
When told about this incident, my friend Pam began bugging me to go through the journals, extracting the stories, insights, etc. and write my personal history. YIKES.
Like everyone else, I think, who’d want to read it? Mine is just a life lived, nothing very great. Pam said, not true, you’ve influenced many of your friends. Okay, Pam, now I’ll start by telling the stories about an LDS family living in Mexico to begin with during May.
A Horrible Lemon Monday
I can blog again now after a horrifying day last Monday where everything went technologically WRONG. I spent all day trying to get my printer to acknowledge my new wi fi provider. Frustrated beyond description and very angry, I turned to family history research because that always calmed me down. But HORRORS, the sources weren’t attaching properly. So I called FamilySearch for help. They said, eliminate all your cookies…from the beginning of time! I fought this, but finally gave in and did what I was told. NOW I CAN SIGN IN TO MY BLOG AGAIN!!!! The Lord works in mysterious ways. Lemonade was made out of a horrible Lemon Monday.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Three Day Assimilation Rule


The Three Day Assimilation Rule
 I wrote this post originally in 2013 and am updating it in 2017
  I leaned while homeschooling my daughter that it took about 3 days for some new concept or topic or principle to "sink in." This was a very important discovery. That a teacher could try to cram more about a certain concept, topic or principle into non-hearing ears and an uncomprehending mind the next day. But no learning would happen. This would cause complete frustration with herself, thinking what a terrible teacher she was, because the student simply didn't "get it."
     However, after three days, the student herself would begin to talk about that new concept or topic or principle!!! With understanding. It wasn't because the teacher had given the lesson over and over again (like I'd once thought was the case) but it just needed time to germinate quietly in the dark recesses of her mind.
     This past month has been such a period for me.
     RootsTech 2013 completely blew my mind. It turned my thinking upside down... and I needed time to assimilate what I learned. This is the reason that I have not posted here recently. I had gone up to the event with very specific goals and each day drove my scooter around and talked with the most amazing, inspiring people. I collected stories of how God's hand was seen in their lives as they did their "genealogical thing." I also attended fabulous Keynote speakers, along with presenters who were at the top in their fields within the genealogical community. Many of these were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They seemed to shine among their peers. They were looked up to and respected for being innovators. They had fabulous stories to tell and told them well.

Stories were the Theme of RootsTech 2013
     My goal of collecting stories was right in line with the overall theme of RootsTech. I had even had cards printed to pass out to people, encouraging them to contact me with their stories. On this card it said, Beverly E. Field, author of Elijah's Warriors. Of course I told people, there would be no book until I had collected the stories. The stories are coming, however, now I know there will be no book.

What!!!! NO BOOK?
     Yep, no book. My target audience was to be young teens. I wanted to show them how God's plan was unfolding and that they were His young warriors using the genealogical technology needed to move His work forward, They would be responsible for  finding records, indexing those record collections, identifying specific individuals and then providing the necessary ordinances for all of those who have ever lived anywhere upon the earth. This means ALL who ever lived in China, Russia, Australia… everywhere. That means the youth of those countries will be Elijah’s Warriors. The young native speakers of every language will have to learn how to read OLD manuscript writing in ancient mandarin, historic Spanish, and so on. They’ll have heavenly help, of this I can share my testimony about.     
NO BOOK BECAUSE OUR YOUTH DON’T READ BOOKS ANYMORE!!!! 
They watch 5 minute fast paced YouTube visual stories. Maybe…just maybe  they might read an E-book on their Kindle, woops the young don’t DO Kindle’s do they? In reality they want short quick burst of infusion before they go on to their next task; they want TWEETS, they want a continuing FB conversation one sentence at a time. NO BOOK.
Mini RootsTech Conferences All Over the World
     RootsTech FamilySearch speakers told of how there are to be Regional RootsTech Events in several countries this year. Then maybe 60 such RootsTech Conferences in 2014. If the youth in American don’t respond to this call the youth of the world, will. The cultures of China have left the burden of their family stories on only one or two children because of bans on large families.
UPDATE 2017
    I've lived through several of these Regional RootsTech Events in my own town and the organizers, just didn't get the difference between a regular Family History Conference and a RootsTech one. They'd invited local experts instead of using the pre-recorded 1 hour sessions by world renowned experts presented at RootsTech. This past February, our stake even scheduled "their" Discovery Day on the same day as RootsTech's Discovery Day in Salt Lake. What did I choose to watch at home on my computer? Salt Lake's experts of course. I must say here, though, that everyone who attended the local event absolutely loved it and learned a lot. But it was not a RootsTech Family Discovery Day.
MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF THE LEMONS
     

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

108 degrees or 114 degrees

Social Media is Motivating and 
Thought Provoking
     Here is what my friend posted on my time line by a friend from Illinois: “I have been watching the weather and it seems your area is very HOT! I sure hope you are staying "inside" with the A/C on full blast. We have been hot too and I stay in my lower level of our raised ranch house where it is cool because I don't have air!”
     My response: ”Yes, I'm staying inside. My "A/C" is window air conditioners... so I stay in my bedroom, mostly, keeping the other rooms warm but not 114 like Sunday, or 112 yesterday. It's supposed to be only 108 today! Won't go below 105/6 the rest of the week. When I was mobile, I'd go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned store, etc. So it never bothered me much. Now it takes too much time getting from house to car into a store and I melt. Getting old ain't for sissies!"
My Illinois friend said: “ I hope you are alright! We have had 90's with no A/C and I think my dogs suffer more than me. I have a pool exercise class 3 times a week and that is very refreshing. My house is surrounded with big oak trees so always a breeze outside. Having a fence installed across part of the front to keep Jethro from getting on the road, about 230 feet, with a nice gate. Then "we" can all be outside when I want to do gardening.....Molly loves to lay in the green grass. Think of you often my friend!"

What to Do When it’s Deadly Hot

     It doesn’t matter whether it is 108 or 114 degrees temperature where I live or not. These six degrees are still deadly hot. I am not going outside. Keeping my house cool is very difficult. So what do I do when my internet connection, doesn’t function well? I watch Netflix…. Nope, can’t even do that without a wi-fi connection. Shoot. After a week of this imprisonment, I’ve decided that there IS one thing I can do. 
     Go through all my paper files and documents and start checking to see if they are online in FamilySearch.org Family Tree. If I find original stories or documents, not there, I am scanning them and will put them into the system. My own memory is getting worse, so reviewing notes that I took while interviewing people back in 1969 when I first began researching, is revealing more accurate versions of memories than I had misremembered. Guess I’d better get busy. 

 Picking a Surname
     Where to begin? I’ve always assumed that my children and grandchildren would absolutely love to have what I’ve accumulated over the years. WRONG! My daughter, who is adopted, simply can’t understand why people save objects that have only sentimental value. Her husband does, however and so does her son who is 9 years old and starting to make his own memories in Scouting. His mother does recognize that others have this need to keep “things” and agrees to ask permission to throw away stuff, before taking action. At age 29 she can’t imagine going through all of my “stuff” when I die.  So to make things easier on her I am taking action
My First Choice in Surnames Goes Awry
     I’d gone to my father’s Surname, Eckles, first and posted on Father’s Day, in Face Book, that I was going through all my years of research notes, etc. in order to pass the torch or baton, so to speak, to a younger generation. And the response that I got was startling. I’d already give the tapes of my interviews with my dad (taped in the early 1980s) to my half-sister, C. She didn’t want to transcribe them, but did, and they sit languishing in her closet while she travels the world. Her younger brother J, a financial type guy, responded to my post:
     “hi Bev!  Hope you are well.  Please don't add my name to anything to do with pictures of our Dad.  I have very, very, bad memories of him- he was an abusive, bigoted, alcoholic.  I spent years "unlearning" the garbage he taught me, so I would rather not see pictures of him nor have my name anywhere close to his.  Thanks, J“
     My response: “Oh, my, so sorry. That was kind of my impression of him, too, but no personal knowledge. I promise to not add you name again. I truly understand. He damaged C, too. I always blamed my poor self-image on him, but over the years have realized my memories were a bit off. So am on the forgiveness path; but I'm 72 so it's taken me a looooong time. Love that you're my "brother" even though your mom kept emphasizing that I was no relation. I've always admired you, so I guess you're doing something right. Keep up the good work.”
     His response: “Thnx. I get the forgiveness thing as well.  But the fact remains some people have no business being around children, he was one of them.  He is not someone I am proud to call my father, thus, the preference to avoid the association.”
     My final post: “I was lucky that I got him early before he let alcohol take over. He was starting to do that dinner-table-drinking thing when I lived with them in 1961 for six months my first year at Junior College. So okay he's no longer a topic... now... Let's think positive thoughts. Have a wonderful Father's Day.”
This is a Classic Genealogical Conundrum 
     Negative things want to be forgotten by people. When there’s a lot of that family drama, no one wants anything to do with it. Stories are buried and no one learns from the mistakes of their elders, and then seem to repeat or make the same type of mistakes over and over again. Call it cellular memory or cussed orneriness. Somehow, I missed that gene. I don’t care about all of that. I love the stories, love the research and putting together the pieces of my family puzzle. 

Seeing the Whole Picture from an Eternal Perspective
     Christian’s believe that through Christ’s atonement all who accept Him as their Savior will be forgiven. Golly, we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger boo boos than others. Mormon’s believe that everyone who has ever been born on this earth will have the opportunity to accept or reject Christ. Of course, millions have died without ever even hearing His name, much less His Good News!  That is why we research our own families and perform vicariously for them the ordinances, including baptism, for those who have died. We are responsible for our own family, no one else’s. God knows where to send us and into what family he wants us born. He knew us before and knew which one of us would actually do this vicarious work, if we had a choice. Guess He knew me. I don’t judge my ancestors, and when they are particularly naughty, I envision them as a seven year old child, without the stains of sin. Hope Heavenly Father will look at me the same way when I see Him again.