Monday, August 31, 2009


Have you ever been lost? I was once when I was four years old. It was Halloween. My mom and I went to visit my grandmother that day while my older brother was in school. I was dressed in my gypsy costume so I could show grandma. I had lots of necklaces and bracelets, a red bolero jacket, and a very full, crinkly brown skirt that swirled outward when I spun around. I even had a little tambourine to play. I was SO excited!! I remember that the skirt had sequins sewn on it that sparkled as I swirled. I loved that skirt and I loved being all dressed up.

Well, as long as I was dressed up it just seemed logical that I go trick-or-treating there in Grandma's neighborhood, so I asked if I could just go to the houses across the street. And if I could go to those houses, could I also go around the block? Amazingly, they let me. I remember one cranky man saying that trick-or-treat wasn't until that night, but most people were nice to me as I knocked on their doors. I remember that one older couple invited me in so I could dance for them in my swirly skirt. It was fun and I was really in my element. (a bit of a show off?)

I didn't notice that the day was wearing on and it was getting late. I don't know what happened, but I went around a corner, and I didn't know where I was. I do remember that horrible feeling as my confidence sank into the sidewalk. I knew I was lost but good and I started to cry.

Just then two older girls came across the street and asked if I was lost. They took me to their house and called my grandmother's house. I remember that they fed me ice cream while I waited for my mom.

It turns out that I had been gone so long that mom had been out looking for me. When she couldn't find me she contacted the police. They stopped at a school where a girl scout troop was meeting and asked if anyone had seen me. The meeting broke up then and the girls started combing the neighborhood looking for me. The two girls who found me were from that girl scout troop. I suspect that mom may have come by in the car at the time I was in entertaining those old folks with my gipsy dance. Otherwise I don't know how she could have missed me. Well, I was picked up in a police car. That was exciting. I was bursting with all the news when we got home. I had so much to tell my brother. I also noticed that it was getting fairly dark. I remember exclaiming gleefully that it was dark enough to go trick or treating, and I was all set to go because I had my costume on.

Mom gave me a withering look and said in no uncertain terms, "You have had enough Halloween for one day!!" I knew better than to protest too loudly. It wouldn't have done any good.

All's well that ends well, but to this day I have at least a partial recollection of what it felt like to be lost, and the wonderful relief that came over me when I was rescued. I was looking at the LDS church website the other day and found a wonderful video. Elaine Dalton tells how she felt while running the Boston Marathon, and realized that she might not have the strength to finish. She also realized that she was in a big city with thousands of people lining the streets. How would she ever find her husband at the end? She felt totally lost and alone.

Spectators noticed she was crying and called encouragement to her. She also began to pray as she ran, and step by step she made it through.

I think you will enjoy this little story. It was very uplifting to me. I plan on going back to it now and then and what better place to do that than right here? Love, Kathey

Friday, August 7, 2009

Family Frolic: Part 3--Different Talents, Different Tasks

The last segment in the continuing saga of the June 2009 adventure when our kids and their families landed here all at the same time! (At the end of this segment, please scroll down for part 2 and part 1.)

Here's a slightly hammed up version of our family picture. Aren't we cute?
Front Row starting at left is Helena's family: Doug with Andy age 5 1/2 months, Helena holding 4 1/2-year old Kate. Then Betsey with Angie. (At 15, Angie is definitely our oldest "grand daughter." )

Row two starts with Barbie's family: Kyle, Barbie holding Hazel, age 7 1/2 months. Kirsten, Kathey & Jim. Then comes Peter's family: Karen, 17-month old Elizabeth, and Peter.

During the time that everyone was here the little children were the top priority, but in between times it was interesting to me how each family used their different talents to do something really spectacular.

Barbie and Kyle

Barbie and Kyle did some fantastic landscaping. Kyle did the physical labor. Around the swing house was especially his design.

This is how it looked several weeks later. A volunteer sunflower made its appearance. We decided to let it grow and see what happens. A close-up of some of my favorite flowers. I really like those orange cone flowers. I didn't even know cone flowers came in orange!
And here is a green cone flower. It's going to be interesting to watch this one grow. Its flowers are so unusual.
Around the deck things changed a lot! The plants here are very different because this area is totally in the shade. We thought we'd add a bit of whimsy. (The stump is from our Bradford pear tree that fell apart several years ago.)
Continuing on around that side of the deck we see this:
And this. The landscaped part is much larger than I thought it would be, and it's great. We're very pleased with how it looks. We used a lot of mulch, and also put down Preen to prevent weeds.
And on the sunny side of the deck: And this is how it looks today:Karen and Peter
Karen has a special talent for cleaning, and organizing. She headed up a massive clearing out project. Everyone pitched in. The basement was full of stuff much of which was carried upstairs to the deck to be sorted, or to the street to be thrown away. There were boxes, and boxes and art portfolios, and even a huge frog basket, the tail end of which can be seen here if you look really close.
Carting all that stuff upstairs was hard, tiring work.
After a few days it was possible to relax for a bit. Here are Peter, Karen and Lizbeth. Thanks so much for a job well done. (Mollie, as usual, is helping. )
Peter also volunteered to take the family genealogy home with him. Yay Peter! It's good to know that he is taking care of that. Too bad I didn't get a picture of him sorting through that stuff.


Helena was the chief photographer. We recently added a small fountain to our back yard. The fountain was on the deck for awhile, but we discovered that it splashed too much for the health of the deck, so…
We moved her down into the yard where she is surrounded by grass and flowers, and can splash all she wants. As the kids have grown up and started their own families, much of their "stuff" stayed here. One of the goals while everyone was here was to have people do as much clearing out as possible. Many things had been kept for sentimental value. A creative solution was to have Helena photograph stuff that was near and dear to someone's heart, but not important enough to take up space forever. Mollie, who really likes to be included in all things family, decided to "help" Helena photograph art treasures.
And here she called in reinforcements.Remember the frog basket that was on the pile of things on the deck? Well, it is now among the bank of photographic memories. Elizabeth thought it was pretty cool. I don't remember the story behind where it came from. Perhaps Peter can tell us…Something else Helena did was to lead us in playing a few songs on pipe chimes. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture. I was too busy enjoying myself.


Helena's husband was frequently in a supporting role. He supported Andy in more ways than one. (Think of all the ways it's possible to have a supporting role with a 5 1/2 month old…)Sometimes the two of them just sat and relaxed while other things were going on.Oops! Bless you, Andy.
Doug supported Kate too… OK, this picture was from last year, but it fits so well…
And he sometimes filled in as assistant cook and garlic presser, etc.
Jim, Betsey and Kirsten were the glue and the oil that kept everything together and running smoothly. Sometimes we saw this view of Betsey:Or this one:

But frequently she could be seen in the kitchen in the role of Chief Cook. There were lots of "Bottle Washers" around, and also assistant cooks. Much chatter and visiting went on while cooking. That was part of the fun, and a necessary part of the activity.

Kirsten wanted to go to school during the day, which she did, but otherwise she was available for unloading the dishwasher, helping to keep laundry going, and laughing at the babies. Here she is talking to Ray, her special friend, on the phone.And then there's Jim. What can I say? He was the official fastener of all loose ends; preparer of morning oatmeal; fixer of everything broken; transporter of whatever needed transporting; doer of whatever needed doing, including more than his share of dishes; official frequent gatherer of groceries, and a really cool grandpa.
And remember those boxes I pointed out that were on the deck ? Well, here's the last one going up in smoke. It was one of those things that landed in the basement and took up residence there for years. We found out it contained 1987 tax records. Here Jim is starting the fire with Mollie supervising as usual.
Burn, Baby Burn.
And as for me--I got the best job of all. I got to be grandma.

Cuddling with Andy and Kate in the quilt that Barbie made for me awhile ago.
The deck is all cleared off now, which is really nice…But it's quiet, Oh so quiet…
Barb and Kyle's flowers are growing…but the swing is Still, Oh So Still…Until Next Time…