Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Things my father told me

My dad was born in Salt Lake City but grew up in Scipio, Utah, a small cowtown in the middle of Utah.  One day Dad knew Jack Dempsey was going to be driving through their town.  He and his young friends decided they would throw rotten tomatoes at Jack as he drove through town and did so.

Jack Dempsey Dempsey --known as the "Manassa (CO) Mauler"--was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1919-1926. His parents had converted to the LDS faith through missionaries who had met them in W. Virginia. The family moved to a small LDS community of Manassa, CO and then had moved to Provo.   Jack was raised in the church. The boxer later described his own religious beliefs:  "I'm proud to be a Mormon.  And ashamed to be the Jack Mormon that I am."

Dad also told me that there was a canon of some sort in the town which someone  would fire it off at 4am on each July 4th to start off the celebration.  Big event for this little town.

Scipio also had a rodeo on the 4th of July or perhaps July 24th for Mormon Pioneer Day.  My cousin Paul had entered the calf-roping contest for the kids.  He got his calf but he also got his head kicked in by the calf so Paul had to spend the day on the couch with a cold compress.  He did not win his division.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

my father's dream

     The other day, for whatever reason, I started telling Susan what I remembered about an incident that occur in 1969.  The scene is shortly after my grandfather Frank  S Hatch's funeral
(which I did not attend).  This is what I recall my father relating:  My father noticed that the hole into which grandpa's casket was to be placed - was not quite "square" with the world.  The casket went into the hole anyway. The idea that grandpa's burial site was not "squared up" kept bothering my Dad.  Finally, in a dream grandpa appeared to Dad and told him that it was "alright, don't worry about it".  That was the end of Dad's concern.  By the way:  there is no period after the "S" in grandpa's name.  I distinctly remember a conversation one evening in grandpa Hatch's living room where the question arouse as to why there was no period after the initial "S".  Grandpa stated that there just was no period in his name.  Fun fact.

     By way of recording a long held oral history - one that I've never seen in print but heard repeated verbally: One of my English grandmother fore bearers - probably in the 1840s-1850s worked in an English spinning mill.  Of course this was in prime and proper Victorian days where the women wore long dresses and were modest in every way.  She had a dream one night in which she was to quickly raise her skirts, something which of course she would never do in public.  As it turned out in the course of her work the next day at the spinning mill her dress started to get caught in the machinery.  She immediately remembered the warning of her dream and quickly raised her skirt up high - avoiding injury or worse.  Pay attention to your dreams.  I'm sure she was glad she did.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chinchillas are us

Tonight over a luscious TV dinner, I got to reminisce about the first tv dinners I recall having.  Susan said she has no recollection of having a TV dinner but does remember now and again having a Swanson Pot Pie.  Perhaps that's what I had, too.  Once we went to SLC to visit our Native American Indian Aunt Ann (Piaute) , daughter of the Western Sage.  She lived in a very small apartment, 3rd floor (my first elevator ride ... the kind where you had to pull the screen door to close before going up) with a very tiny oven, 1920s style.  My mom suggested someone go out and buy some Chicken Pot Pies because we could bake them in her oven.  It was late and we were hungry.  We didn't go to restaurants (more on that later).  This was a treat!

From this remembrance I decided to regale Susan about the one big trip from the TriCities train station in Pasco, WA. to Detroit, MI.  All because my dad felt he could make a deal on purchasing a car.  Actually we were going to the Palmyra Pageant to pick up my brother, Frank W., who was doing his thing there.  Performing/organizing/leading/dance director/whatever?  But indeed, somehow my dad thought he could get a cheap car in Detroit.  He ended up buying a new 1960 full size Ford, white station wagon, blue interior.  And we drove to the pageant and stayed with our cousins the Chatterleys in  Rochester, NY. Then on to NYC to visit 2 aunts and then home...all in the new Ford.

In order to get to the main point of this blog entry, I need to tell you that my parents raised chinchillas for coats and I have a few pelts to prove it (in the basement in case anyone wants to see them). We even had a Christmas portrait taken with them for our Christmas cards one year.  I was too young to know how many they had nor how long they raised these animals.  But chinchillas we had...with these adorable carrying cages.  Shiny silver aluminum, about the size  3'x1'.  3 compartments to hold 3 chinchillas.

So on the train, of course, we did not eat in the Dining Car.  Instead my mom packed food...carrots, crackers, grapes, raisins, comestibles, munchies IN THESE CHINCHILLA CAGES.  ( I always thought something was wrong when all the other kids my age would get to go and do fun stuff and I had to mow the grass at the cemetery).

This is not quite what our chinchilla carriers looked like but close.  It had air holds for the animals to breathe  It did have a handle like this, though.

For the record, we left the chinchillas at home.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Susan and I were talking about seminary and attending BYU.  When we were seniors in seminary we had a talent show around Christmas, Bob and John Delaine and I performed a popular Christmas a Hootenanny type song.  I played the piano and we all sang and I can almost hear the lyrics.  "Time engenders love, and then, a  Christmas world is young again."  Because we 3 boys got up and sang a non standard Christmas carol, we were considered the cool kids.  At least we thought we were.  An unexpected delight...let's just put it that way.

Susan only had seminary her senior year and didn't have a talent show but she did play the pump organ in the Hinckley's home for hymns.  I, however, got to play the pump organ in Seraing, of the original LDS church chapels from the late 1800s.  It looked like a smaller cathedral.  ***
So asked Susan, how did you get into BYU without graduating from seminary...obviously it was not requirement back in the 60s.  I asked her why she went to BYU and she replied, that's where all the LDS kids went, no other choice.  She continued that now she doesn't understand why people feel like they can only attend BYU...which is sad because they don't learn to be strong in their testimony and build up other areas.

When my sister, Julie, was a science fair docent, we were up staying in her apartment in Seattle.  It was a weekend morning and everyone was still sleeping because they had stayed up so late (and all I wanted was for them to stop talking and go to sleep).  Julie told me to go down the street and buy some Hostess cherry pies for 25 cents.  I went out and looked but could never find them. We never did have any pies. I also never got to ride the monorail nor go up in the Space Needle as a kid.

***Sporadic LDS missionary outreach occurred in Belgium prior to the late 1880s.[6]  The LDS Church was first established in Belgium in 1888 through the efforts of LDS missionary Mischa Markow, a Hungarian convert baptized in Turkey a year earlier.  As Markow traveled across Europe preaching, he stopped in Belgium and baptized a family of six in Antwerp and reported the baptisms to the Swiss-German Mission.  80 converts joined the LDS Church and three branches were organized in Liege, Brussels, and Antwerp just two months after three full-time missionaries sent to open missionary work under the Swiss-German Mission.  The Netherlands Mission began administering Belgium in 1891, and by 1924 all non-Flemish-speaking congregations were transferred to the French Mission.  Latter-day Saints experienced persecution at times during the late nineteenth century, with some missionaries receive death threats and misinformation about the Church being published in local newspapers.  Both world wars suspended LDS missionary activity and resulted in widespread property damage for the Church and its members.[7]  Many of the LDS congregations had few members before and after both World Wars.  Elder Charles Didier of the Presidency of the Seventy noted that when he and his family first attended an LDS Church service in the 1950s, there were fewer than 15 members in the congregation, five of wom were members of his family.[8]  In 1963, the Church created the Franco-Belgian Mission from the French East Mission[9] which was later renamed the Belgium Brussels Mission in 1974.  A second mission, the Belgium Antwerp Mission, was created in 1975 but discontinued in 1982.  Seminary and institute began in the 1970s.

 By 1973, there were four districts and 13 branches.  Districts were located in Brussels-Liege (four branches - Brussels French, Herstal, Liege, Seraing, and Verviers), Charleroi (three branches - Charleroi, Jumet, and Namur), Antwerp (four branches - Antwerpen, Brussels, Gent, and Michelen), and a fourth district for English-speakers (two branches - Brussels English and SHAPE Servicemen). 

Memories on a wintry dinner eve

I rode a vintage school bus to school, even as a senior.  It was very old (looked like from the 1930s but probably not that old)and Jose was our bus driver.  Obviously he was a Mexican or a Mexican American.  Mustached, on the heavy side a bit.  He was very nice guy.  On my last day of school as a senior, having suffered the indignity of having to ride the school bus (because my 1959 Fiat 650D died and I didn't have the expertise nor money to fix it), I thanked him for being my bus driver through all the years.  We wished each other well and I never saw him again.

I ate hot lunches at school, cooked at the schools.  Bob Gilmore always got to have Twinkies and Fritos because his mom packed his lunch for him.  Sometimes he would bring Snowballs for dessert.  I worked for my lunches in 5th and 6th grade by pushing a cart down the hallway in order to collect the leftover lunch items.  As students we ate our lunches in our classrooms.

When we were seniors our football team was so bad that halfway through the season, John Delaine Wyberg, Bob Gilmore and I decided to turn out for the team.  We met at Hawthorne Elementary Scipio.

I was also a wrestler, in dual meets, with a perfect record, 1-0.   Then I broke my ankle in practice and so it was time to retire.

 Once while visiting with the Hatch cousins in Scipio, UT, and my grandparents Hatch,I was sitting with  Paul and Steve, telling them how I was such a great wrestler.  They asked about my record. I replied, 1-0.  Then they challenged me to something...not sure what but I remember the discussion.  This reminds me of the woman from Europe someplace who decided to take up golf.  She took lessons and in her first actual game, on her first stroke she made a hole in one.  Time to retire!

Monday, July 29, 2013


It's been so long since I blogged we had to look up my blog name.  Now that retirement is just months away, I need to get into the habit of once again recording my memories.

This week I am on vacation so today I am doing odd jobs outside around the house.  I am trimming the hedge to the north of the garage, the yearly chore that will take me all day.  I asked for tuna sandwiches for lunch and brought in a cucumber and tomato from our garden to add to the plate.

And everytime I bring in a cucumber from my garden it reminds me of an event.  When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I rode my bike with my brest friend Bob Gilmore all the way across town.  We went to visit Noel Trunnel house, a girl we both liked (one of about 18 kids in that family).  We didn't tell anyone where we were going specifically but I did tell my mom that I was going to run away for the day with Bob.  As an adult now, I can imagine my mother calling Bob's mom, Jean, to see what was up.

Bob had this great 10 speed English racer and I had an unknown vintage one-speed (but at least it wasn't my sister's bike).  I cleaned it up not knowing what I was doing and halfway into the ride I had no brakes.  I was pedaling with all my might to try and keep up with Bob.  By the time we got to Noel's I was whipped.

So we rode from our far west side of Kennewick to her far east side of Kennewick, at least a good 10 miles and hung out with her.  Her mom asked, "Are you guys hungry?"  We hadn't thought about food, just thought about our love interest.  When she said food, we decided we were hungry.  She told Noel to go into the garden to bring in a cucumber.  I was amazed that they actually could grow a successful garden.  We had lunch and then her mom asked, "Do you boys want a ride home?" and again I am pretty sure she had called our parents by then.  So she loaded our bikes into her car and drove us and the bikes home.

The last time time I saw Noel I was in the hospital after a head-on car crash, January 1969 (on my way home from my 3rd semester at BYU and preparatory to leaving for my mission).  She came up to the hospital to visit me.

But now I can grow a garden with cucumbers,
tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, peppers, onions, potatoes, beans, peas...anything you want.  But I always wonder what happened to Noel and if she ended up with 18 kids, also.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the end of winter

I grew up in the great Northwest, in the desert of SE Washington....specifically The TriCities. Winters for me were cold and dry. We only got snow every couple of years and 2" of snow would have been huge. The land looked tawny in color but there were about 280 days of sun per year.

I have lived in NE Ohio for 38 years now and have come to appreciate the beauty like the picture to the left. We had a winter that was harsh...very cold, particularly working long hours in the mill which is all steel/metal which retains more of the cold. Last week we had the February Thaw. The top of the snow was melted and showed the ugly underside...the black snow. But within a few days, even it was gone. We actually believed or hoped the groundhog was correct, that spring was on its way. However, the next winter storm hit us on Sunday night (specifically as we were on our way for a meeting held in the Historic Kirtland Temple). Icy snow fell...and then icy rain. All over our fair land was the glimmer and shimmer of ice. This morning as I sat at the kitchen table, indexing, I looked out the window and saw the breathtaking shimmer of sun on the ice. I grabbed a camera to take a picture as I also went out to give more corn to the squirrels in our neighborhood. My friend Ken made us this corn feeder and we have enjoyed watching the squirrels come to feed. But more fun is watching our Niko go nuts to get out at the squirrel...and then watch the squirrel overhead in the tree, looking down teasing the dog.

I don't hate it here...I have learned to endure it and enjoy the changes. Yes, there was more sun in the TriCities but today, we have wonderful sun. And I will enjoy this. Because I know, deep down, that spring is really just around a few corners.