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!