Monday, November 25, 2013

I Am A Witness!

Tomorrow My Sweetheart will turn 66.  This morning I awakened with the thought...I was called to be a special witness of his life.  I met him when we were in the summer before our senior year in high school.  The year was 1964, the year President Kennedy died and in the same season.  The year we turned 17.  So when we met I was just barely 17 and he was about to turn 17.  That couple of months difference in our age has been a rub on me all our lives together.  He starts pouring it on around my birthday and then falls silent about age about this time every year.  Every time we meet someone new he makes sure they know he married an older woman.  So predictable!  I can count on it.  When I met him he was sweet and loving and wonderful.  Now he is all of those things times 50 years.

One of the most wonderful thing about a 50 year long relationship is the character witness you become of that person and his or her life.  That person becomes "Your Person!"  No one knows their character, their strengths and weaknesses more than someone who has spend 50 years observing their companion in every conceivable situation.  No one knows the vulnerability of that person better than you do.  What a privilege to know things that no one else does about just one individual on the planet like you do.  It is to be more than a wife but an actual witness to the life of another because you have shared it, day in and day out, year after year after year.  The good times, the bad times, the extraordinary, exhilarating highs and the sorrows and vicissitudes of life in mortality that bring you to the depths of despair.  You face your faith and your deepest fears together, you experience the most heavenly joy.  You are yoked in your live, in your commitment, in your love.

No one has the power that your person does to lift you or bring you down in the same way.  It is more than friendship, more than a marriage, more than the big things that happen as you experience life together.  It is your spirituality, it is all your foundational beliefs, it is your beautiful family, it is romance, it is your life plan together, your struggles, your happiness and all the wonderful people you meet along the way that become more than friends.  It is also the bills to pay, the decisions you make together and on your own that affect your person as much as they do you.  It's the day to day labors, aches and pains, the joy of accomplishment and the comforting when defeated.  It is going with the flow, it is preparing for the inconvenient, it's putting up with the quirky imperfections and loving in spite of them...being past that time when you thought you could change your person to be more like you.  It is sheltering and being loyal, it is protecting and helping and doing things together...even when it is not your favorite thing to do.  It is gifting your person with what they need even when you own reserves are rather low.  It is holding hands.  A lot of holding hands and going forward as one.  And it is a process, often arduous...of acceptance, refinement of yourself and tenacity.  It is a lot of learning and traveling and building...always building..your life together.

Jim is an amazingly intense Italian.  I am half Welsh, more relaxed, more reflective while he's constantly on the go always planning his next adventure.  We are both organized and planners don't get me wrong, but he works it as only he can.  I can work as hard as he does but standing side by side it never looks that way.  He is a ball of wild can feel it when he walks in a room.  I like one on one interactions with people best...he likes a big group.  I have said it before...he is a dash and I am a dot.  I'd rather write a book, he'd rather scale a mountain.  Many would say we are an unlikely pair.  We have even said it ourselves as we have grown from a couple of starry-eyed teenagers in love (just two years older than our oldest grandchildren right now) into the people we have become today.  But somehow life-long love and commitment changes everything.

Especially when you add 50 years worth of common experiences shared with no other, you love all the same people, and you have the same eternal goals.  We are both Swedish and it may be there that we have found our common ground.  That and The Gospel of Jesus Christ, our posterity and ancestors, and our love for all the great people in our lives.  We have built a life on our love of it together, and hope in our future.  And all of it is laced with gratitude for all of our blessings and a desire to serve others in remembrance of all we have been given.  Even the hard times when our rough edges and barnacles have been ruthlessly scraped away one after the other, until we have come to a better understanding of what our life is all about. 

As I was looking through pictures the other day I found this one above of us.  It is rather goofy and one of those arm's length ones you take when no one else is there to do it for you.  I love this picture because it was a moment that I remember exactly how I felt when it was taken.  I felt completely happy, extreme contentment and the joy of this relationship I have been talking about in this post.  It was his birthday a few years ago and we were walking through the fallen leaves at St. Mary's College campus.  It was an afternoon of just him and me and it was magnificently beautiful that day.

The thing I love most about the thoughts and feelings I am having today is that I know they are real.  They are unclouded by anything hurtful...just the pleasantness of where we have come because we kept on keeping on.  We didn't give up, we kept moving to this joy-filled place.  If there is any message in it, it is what a lovely time of life this is.  I love my husband, my special person like no other.  And I want to witness many more birthdays with him.  God isn't finished with us yet and we are in it for the duration of this earth life and beyond.  And whatever happens it will be good, all good.  And I am thankful for him and who he is and is yet to become.

Reconciliation and Thanksgiving~President Uchtdorf

The following is a talk President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, gave November 19, 2013, at the Salt Lake Rotary Club.
There is a story told of an aging man who made a meager living by selling apples on a busy New York City street corner for fifty cents apiece. Each morning a dynamic businessman passed by this corner on his way to work. He didn’t care for apples, but he wanted to help this elderly man who reminded him of his teacher in grade school. It was a way he expressed gratitude and thanksgiving daily for his former teacher.  So each morning he would give him 50 cents and not take the apple.
One morning, after the daily ritual, the old man called him back. The businessman said, “I know, you are wondering why I never take the apple.”
The old man replied, “I couldn’t care less, but you should know that the price has gone up to seventy-five cents.”
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I mention President Thomas S. Monson, who is an honorary member of Rotary International.  He sends his love and greetings to all of you.  He is one who always encourages us to have an Attitude of Gratitude.

Service above Self

Almost 40 years ago while I was in charge of our Lufthansa Pilot School in Phoenix, Arizona, I became a Rotarian.  Today, I am grateful to be with Rotarians once again.
Back then, I learned to appreciate the purpose of Rotary International: to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards, and build goodwill and peace in the world, regardless of race, religion, gender, or political preference.
The motto “Service above Self” resonated with me back then, and it still does.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partners with Rotary in many worthwhile efforts. Over the years our charity organization has contributed over $5 million to Rotary in 31 different countries. Our major efforts have been in the field of immunizations, wheelchairs, clean water, medical equipment for hospitals, and help for refugees.

Reconciliation in Action

As a child I learned what it means to be a refugee.  I was one, not once but twice, first fleeing as a four-year-old from Czechoslovakia to East Germany, and then at age eleven escaping across the Cold War border to West Germany.  Both times my family left behind all we owned and started again with nothing.
With heartfelt gratitude I remember the care packages and the generous help that came from the LDS Church during those years.  I can still smell and taste the sweetness of wheat and peaches that came from Utah at a time of great need.
And I will never forget the blessings that came from the Marshall Plan, how it helped Europe and especially Germany to get back on its feet.
Of course, at the time there were also other voices after the terrible war and the destruction Germany had caused. The Morgenthau Plan focused more on harsh punishment instead of reconciliation or compassion. In early 1947 four million German soldiers were still being used as forced labor in the UK, France, and the Soviet Union.1 The last prisoners of war returned in 1955.2
Under the leadership of the U.S., moderate voices―more compassionate voices―succeeded. Blessed compromises were found; reason, common sense, and reconciliation eventually made friends out of foes. Competitors became partners.
Only 14 years after the end of WWII, I was 18 years old when I joined the new German Air Force. I was privileged to be sent to the U.S. for pilot training.  Not to brag but to make a point, I want to mention that I graduated first in my class, receiving the Commander’s Trophy, and returned to Germany as a fighter pilot in the German Air Force.
How grateful I am for all those moderate and wise voices that influenced far-reaching decisions and made my path in life possible. I have seen reconciliation in action.

Thoughts on Gratitude

Let me just share a few quotes about gratitude:
"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."3
"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."4
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”5
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”6

A Wonderful Legacy

The U.S. has such a great and inspiring history. It is now 392 years since the pilgrims celebrated their Day of Thanksgiving. 
These people of the Mayflower Compact were 44 Saints and 66 Strangers.7Nevertheless, it was a contract of equality and unity.
During their first winter, 47 died.8 But hope and harvest came again.
H.U. Westermayer said, “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished; nevertheless, they set aside days of thanksgiving, days of praise and prayer.”9
What a wonderful legacy for building a people and a great nation. It is very similar and comparable to the faith in every footstep of the early Mormon pioneers, who built the LDS Church and this great state of Utah. 
Today, some think that Thanksgiving Day should not be connected to God the Almighty but only to country and history.
Let me share with you what George Washington had to say in his October 3, 1789, Thanksgiving Proclamation:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;  both Houses of Congress have, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."10

Count Your Blessings

With all the busyness and the business going on during this time of year, it is easy to focus mainly on the feasting and not so much on prayer and praise!
Occasionally I like to remind myself of one of my favorite hymns, which reads, “Count your many blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God has done.”11
A wise man once said, “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables you to count your blessings.”12
Shakespeare said, “O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”13
Enlarging our capacity for gratitude enriches our entire soul.
Gratitude is one of the most important human virtues and one of the most common human deficiencies. Gratitude does not develop without effort.
We can learn this from the fearless handcart pioneers who, by their own strength, pulled their meager belongings in handcarts across the scorching plains and through the snows of the high mountain passes to escape persecution, and then expressed their gratitude in peaceful worship in the Salt Lake Valley.

Our Debt of Gratitude

How can we pay our debt of gratitude for the heritage of faith and courage handed down to us by pioneers and pilgrims?
Elder James E. Talmage said, “Gratitude is twin sister to humility; pride is a foe to both.”14
President James E. Faust said, “A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness.
“[It is with gratitude as with all other] types of human strength: ‘Use it or lose it.’  When not used, muscles weaken, skills deteriorate, and faith disappears.”15
President Hinckley said, “I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we ‘accentuate the positive.’ I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.
“I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance.”16
And from President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated 50 years ago this week:  “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”17
We live in challenging but also beautiful times, with great opportunities.
“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”18
A wise man once said:
Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.19
These values are expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. They are urgently needed in a time of serious challenges and uncertainty worldwide.

There Is Always Hope

We need only to open a newspaper to realize that we are living in a cynical time.  Trust in public institutions, corporations, and organized religion is declining.  Almost daily, media reports describe the decline of moral decency and the erosion of basic ethical conduct.
In this time of uncertainty, mistrust, fear, rumors of war, and political road rage, is there still hope for integration and openness across different cultures, religions, societies, and political interests?  Is there still hope for virtue, moderation, and divine moral principles?
My dear friends, my answer is a clear and resounding yes! 
But I am also convinced that the axiomatic and eternal principle of moral agency demands that there be “an opposition in all things.”
It ensures that meaningful choices can be made—choices not only between good and evil, but also from among multiple righteous alternatives.
Moral agency refers not only to the capacity to act for ourselves but also that we are accountable for those actions.
I believe one reason for today’s decline in moral values is that the world has invented a new, constantly changing, undependable standard of moral conduct often referred to as “situational ethics.”  Some convince themselves that ends justify means, and that agendas or ideologies must be advanced regardless of collateral damage.
This delusion is in direct contrast to the God-given standards.  The Ten Commandments and other divine laws constitute the commandments of God.  These divine laws are instituted by God to govern His creations and to prescribe behavior for His offspring.

Building Bridges of Brotherhood

The members of our Church throughout the world accept and try to live by ethical principles reflected in our Articles of Faith.  I quote:  “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, . . . and in doing good to all men.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”20
This basic declaration is part of our theology and describes the principles and ethics of our desired behavior.
We are not perfect—we know this—but our goals, aims, and ideals are high. If we lived by these principles, courtesy would overcome cursing; dignity would replace disgust; hate would diminish; and love and respect for one another would increase across geographic and ideological boundaries.
It takes courage and humility to put away old hatreds, divisions, and traditions that constrict and confine people into a blind succession of destructive behavior toward others.
“Where there is gratitude, there is humility as opposed to pride; there is generosity as opposed to selfishness.”21
I believe that it is within our reach to breach barriers of hate and build bridges of brotherhood and understanding between opposing cultures, religions, political ideologies, and world views. 

The Power of Christ’s Teachings

Today, the power of Christ’s teachings could bring to pass a miracle, similar to the one Paul described to the people of Ephesus, a people ripe with divisiveness. 
“Without Christ, we were aliens, having no hope.  But now in Christ Jesus we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.22
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”23
Too often the teachings of our respective faiths are kept in an abstract religious box, cautiously separated from personal conduct.  Nevertheless, divine leadership principles are based on the commandment “love one another.”  By reemphasizing this commandment, the Savior has made feeding His sheep one of our ongoing responsibilities that cannot be dismissed without serious consequences.
Selfless adherence to eternal principles and the unwavering commitment to divine truth should be the expression of our gratitude toward our Creator.
Many of you are exemplary bridge builders between nations, cultures, and religions.  The world needs builders, not destroyers.
“Service above Self”—a worthy motto for all of us.

Enthusiastic Ambassadors

Today, our Church has over 80,000 missionaries serving worldwide—young and old—all volunteers.  These missionaries are men and women who serve the people of nations around the world on their own time and of their own money.  They practice service above self, every day, all around the globe. 
When these missionaries return home, they become enthusiastic ambassadors for the countries in which they have served. They come back with a broader view of life. They have the potential to be bridge builders.
These young people leave home to serve with a message of hope, peace, and neighborly love.  They do not tear down other religions but work with them to improve the world by changing the hearts of individuals.  They enter homes and nations through the front door.  They have nothing to hide.  They honor the laws of the nations in which they live.
Though members of our Church are human and thus make mistakes, they are men and women of integrity and honesty, reaching out to those who are hungry, grieving, and in distress. 
They are good citizens in any nation, political system, culture, or economic environment.  They work hard to make their families, schools, communities, and nations better, regardless of culture, language, religious beliefs, or political preferences. 

Trust in God

My dear Rotarian friends, it has been a pleasure and privilege to be with you today.
Let us never forget, God is not merely an abstract concept.  He lives!  As we trust in God and listen to His voice, regardless of our faith and our religion, He will help us personally and collectively, even in challenging times. 
There is always hope.  There is a great future ahead of us.  It is in our hands to make it happen.  You are the ones with compassionate hearts and strong hands. You are the ones who put “Service before Self.” With trust in God, you can do it.
As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I express my love and gratitude at this time of Thanksgiving for all of you, and for the good you accomplish.
Thank you, and may God bless you all.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Simple Woman's Daybook~November 15, 2013

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Friday, November 15, 2013
Outside my is dark outside now.  About 6:30 pm.  It feels much later as I am still not use to being back on Standard Time.  It is chilly outside and I am thankful for my little space heater under my desk that keeps my toes from freezing.
Have you ever been back east where at this time of year people put those single taper candles (battery operated) in all their windows? Well, I love that.  This year I bought some and slowly but surely I am putting one in each window.  They are on a timer so every night at precisely 5:30 they come on for five hours.  I have such sweet memories of driving through the woods of New England and seeing them shimmering and flicking in the windows of the houses with so much space between them and no fences. That is just iconic for the feeling of Christmas in New England and being there with our sweet kids.

I am already feeling that little twinge of wishing we were going this year.  But we just cannot go anywhere else this year.  Jim just returned from a week in Rhode Island helping the kids put a new kitchen in their house.  That means that since May one or both of us has been either to Utah or Rhode Island every single month.  We are beginning to feel like transcontinental commuters. So are staying put for the holidays and beyond now until spring or summer.  But I still miss all of them during this season.  I guess that is something a mom and dad never get past.  Christmas is family, friends and our Savior.
I am thankful for....the fact that our Savior is always right beside us when we miss our family and special friends.  Once we recognize that and feel it and know it in our hearts, we never have to feel alone.  I have been missing my sweet mom today.  It was just ten years ago tonight that she left this world for her greater reward.  She is always near to my heart, always close. And yet it seem like an eternity since I could touch her.  Ten years might as well be 50.  But I know I will hug her again one happy day.  If it were not so, what would be the point to any of this?

From the learning room....I will never be too old to learn new things about life, people, the Gospel or myself.  I like that don't you?  I never thought there would be big revelatory surprises at this age.  I was wrong.  Things happen all the time that teach me otherwise.  I have met some of the best friends of my life in the past few years.  The heart's capacity to love is endless, deep and surprising.  I think that part of us lives on forever.  At least I hope so because it is a wonderful thing to love.

I am reading...nothing that is just for enrichment and leisure time.  I must fix that.  Reading is so therapeutic and broadening.  To be honest I find I get restless reading these days.  The electronic version of things really helps though.  I like having the light behind the page, it helps me see a lot better.  But mostly I just have other things I need to do pulling on me all the time.
From the kitchen... I need to go shopping tomorrow.  I don't care to go on Saturdays but it has to be this week.  So, I will. We are spending Thanksgiving with Jim's cousins again this year.  It has been way too long since I have cooked a turkey with all the trimmings.  I might do one on Friday or Saturday of that weekend.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been thinking about how spectacular the Gospel Plan of Jesus Christ really is.  How wonderful that we have so many ancestors and so many people coming after us in a long line of posterity.  Families are so amazing.  As I have been working on our Family Tree I have come to know the stories of our ancestors, their hardships and challenges and sacrifices for their posterity and I am in awe of their journeys.

If you want to have complete contentment and happiness in your life, you might want to do your family history.  As you learn to love them you learn to be more grateful for your blessings.   I can promise you we have nothing to complain about.  We are so blessed.  That doesn't mean we don't have trials like they did because we surely do.   But we have so many new ways of coping with the age old problems that they never imagined in their wildest dreams.  This work brings an abundance of gratitude.  I always have thought you cannot be grateful and unhappy.  I recommend you look back in time.

I am hearing...Eva Cassidy an artist I just recently discovered.  She is singing Autumn Leaves right now and it is simply beautiful.  She is kind of a folksy, melancholy, sultry singer with a great style and a voice like an angel.  She died at age 33 of melanoma back in 2007 but her music lives on.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Danny Boy and Tennessee Waltz are some of the best of her work.  She is very relaxing and inspirational.  Perfect music for writing.

One of my guilty and lunch with friends.  We had a serendipity experience today.  A couple of us decided to go to Room With A Past and then another friend joined us at the last minute.   Then we went over to Clayton to a favorite shop and decided to have lunch at La Viranda.  Perfect morning, so relaxing and it was so beautiful out.  And we all felt we had gone on a mini-vacation.  We already decided to do something equally as fun next month and take our friend out to lunch for her birthday.  She couldn't come today and I could not reach her by phone.  She has a lot of health issues right now and I hope she is OK.

Pet Peeves...all seems right with my little world today.  But I sure wish it was that way for each and every one of us more often.  The beginning of the week was difficult.  My youngest brother had a stroke on Monday.  God blessed him, it was a slight one but nonetheless very scary.  He is home and doing a lot better but now the threat of that happening again is always in one's mind. Meds should be a great preventative.  He has a heart defect that was discovered and then we learned our other brother already knew he has the same thing.  Then our little Hazie has been having some problems with her eyes and had a CT scan yesterday.   All turned out well there but the problems still exists so what it is is a mystery?  Also one of our very best friends is recovering from a major surgery so that is good news too. My world is all right compared to the beginning of the week.

I am quoting...Pinterest

If I could change one thing it would be...that the disaster in the Philippines had never happened this past week.  Terrible destruction and so much suffering is going on there.  The good news our friends' son was working there and he is OK.  We watched the path of that one I promise you.  So thankful John and Carol's son, Michael is safe.  

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...We watched Cast Away with Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt last weekend.  It was very good to revisit it after many years.  I just love Helen Hunt. She portrays being in love so beautifully.

I am curious!  Holy Cow!  People all around us are getting dropped by their insurance companies and especially small business owners.  Some people have said their insurance will rival their mortgage.  Seriously this is the lamest political disaster in a long, long time.  Even the Chief himself admits it now and has extended the deadline another year for some it seems.  I saw the headlines but did not actually read the article so I don't know for sure what the reprieve entails.  Apparently it applies to only those who have not already been canceled by their companies.

Plans for the rest of the week... are all about Trees.  Work on my Family Tree, teach two lessons on Tuesday and keep up with the house work and get some of the fall decor put to bed and I may even start on the Christmas Tree.  I decided to start there and then decide how much more I am actually going to put up this year.  I will probably do it all but I am pacing myself and taking my time. 

Jim is planning or at least hoping for a work crew here next Saturday to help him finish putting the roof on the work shop.  Then he can rest up a little during the rainy season and maybe get his hip replacement.  What a concept.  First we kill ourselves on all these huge and very physically challenging projects then we have surgery.  Why are men so stubborn about this sort of thing?  I hope he does it soon.  Tomorrow the Scouting for Food food collection for the region will happen. Yes I did say region.  Not the troop, not the district  not the town, not the county but the REGION!  He is in charge for the 18th year I am so glad it is almost over.   I am getting very weary of all the big projects and just want to get back to our regular life soon.  Do we have one anymore seems to be the big question?
One of my favorite things...Genealogy Conferences.  We went to the Ancestry Day in San Francisco this past Saturday.  We had a great time and it was fabulous to be back in the City after a long absence.  We went to dinner with our good friends afterwards and that was so nice and relaxing.  There is one in SLC I'd really love to attend in February but I'll be content to see some of it streaming live from the conference this year.  Planning to go in 2015 for sure.
One thing that made me so happy this past week...the condo is in its final escrow days, Jen and family got a new house in the exact place they wanted, The RI kitchen is getting closer to done every day and the health of my brother and Hazie are much better than what might have been.

The most surprising thing this past week...definitely my brother's unfortunate stroke.  Just did not see that one coming at all.  And finding the rose from my mother's bridal bouquet.  72 years old.

2 photos I am sharing this week...A blast from the past!

My Great Great Grandparents
 that immigrated to the US
 from Sweden in 1881.
Johan Andreasson and 
Albertina Josefina Christiansdotter.
They had 8 children.

Three of their sons, and two grandsons:
Fritz and Daisy, George and Hattie
Victor and Lida.
The little guys..
Howard and Virgil.
The babies were my Dad's first cousins, 
making them my first cousins, once removed.

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Parents Wedding Day~28 September 1941

Ross Colberg and Josephine R
September 28 1941
St. Paul, Minnesota

Just this past week I found this in an old envelope as I have been going through some things from the past.  It took my breath away when I saw it.  This is a rose from the wedding bouquet of my mother.  The rose is over 72 years old.  I don't remember ever seeing it before.

I have not retouched this or altered the photo in any way.  I was astonished at the color and the green fern.  I just removed it from the envelope and placed it carefully on the back of my iPad for a dark background and snapped the shot.  I put it right back into the envelope and am now trying to decided how to preserve it and display it.  What a treasure, I am thrilled to have discovered it!

The following is an excerpt from the biographical sketch I wrote and complied for our family after my father died in 1979. I wrote the introduction and my piece and then I asked my Mom, two brothers, my husband,  and a close friend of Dad's to add something.  The compilation was a very exciting project portraying a unique perspective of my multi-faceted father from the people closest to him.  It was also excellent grief therapy for me.

The following is a portion of what my mother wrote about their meeting and marriage:

"To My Darling Children,

I was born in Pierre, South Dakota on May 17, 1919.  There was another big event that day as I have a twin brother named Joseph.  At that point in my life I had four sisters and three brothers; Letha, Lena, Harold, Margaret, William and Wilma who were also twins.  We lived on a farm about twenty miles from Ft. Pierre, South Dakota.

When I was five years old we lost our mother from an infection after giving birth to another baby girl, Ruby.  I am so sorry I never got a chance to know my mother as I know I would have loved her very much.

After I graduated from high school in Pierre in 1938 I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota in January of 1940.  I went to Bismarck to attend Beauty School.  During that six months I lived with a couple I met and who became dear friends, Rose and Fred Gerberding.

That move to Bismarck really changed my life. It was the best move I ever made because this is where I met Ross.  Yes, he definitely was the best thing that ever happened to me.  Through friends we met on a blind date.  He looked so handsome that night.  He had on dark pants, a white sports coat and tie.  We double dated with our friends and had such a wonderful time.  After that we saw each other all the time.  He was such a gentleman and always so nice.  Yes, it definitely was love at first sight!  We met on May 4, 1940 and we always had such a good time when we were together.

About Dec 1st of that year Ross was transferred to Fargo, North Dakota.  He worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.  It was a sad day for us both because we knew it would mean many months of separation.  Not having a car he didn't get home very often--I really missed him.  In the spring of 1941 I moved to Ellsworth, Wisconsin to stay with my friends, Rose and Fred, that had been transferred there earlier in the year.  Ross came there to see me a few times.

I August of 1941 I decided to go to work in St Paul, Minnesota.  At about that same time I learned that Ross had been transferred there too.  We were both so happy to know we would both be there.

On September 28, 1941 we were married  in a Lutheran Church in St. Paul at 8:30 in the morning. yes it was a very strange time to be married but Rose and Fred were our attendants and being a Greyhound bus driver, Fred had a run to make in the afternoon.  The main thing was that we were married!

It was a very small and simple wedding.  Ross' mother was the only relative there, but we were just thankful to have her with us.  We were just new in St. Paul so didn't know anyone to invite.  We were both working fortunately but worked opposite hours unfortunately.  So I'd get up in the morning and fix his breakfast and get him off to work and at night he'd wait up for me until midnight and then come down to the Ice Cream Parlor and walk me home.  We always stopped at a little hamburger place and had a nickel hamburger and a ten cent piece of cherry pie.  We were so happy and loved being married.   I really enjoyed being a housewife and always have.

Oh yes, I almost forgot our honeymoon.  It was a trip---from Minneapolis to St. Paul. After the wedding we went to get our pictures taken.  Then we went to breakfast with Ross' mom, Rose and Fred, and a couple of Fred's aunts that must have come along just to increase our numbers. Neither Ross nor I knew them.

Afterwards we jumped into the car, Rose and Fred in the front seat and Ross and me in the backseat. Sandwiched right in between us was none other than "Mama!"  This was so embarrassing to us at the time because we happened to run into some friends of ours on the street corner as we stopped at a light and it was obvious we had just been married.  Why?  Because I wore my wedding dress all day long and there she sat in the middle of us.

The next event of the day was a tour of the Capitol Building.  Over the years we laughed so many times about that, especially going there in my wedding dress.  Of course everywhere we went people stared.

Finally in the afternoon we put his mother on a train to send her home.  After that we stopped in a little place to have a drink and celebrated our wedding day.  After paying for the drinks we discovered we barely had enough money left to catch the streetcar home to St Paul which was just across the river. We had also been able to see Horace Heights put on big band show so we were pretty exhausted so we were happy to come home to our little apartment that we had just rented the week prior to our wedding.  I stayed there and got things ready and Ross lived at the YMCA until the day we were married.  The night before the wedding Rose and Ross' mom stayed with me in our apartment.  Everyone was a little frazzled and cramming three women in the bed was a bit much.  Just as we were about to go to sleep I said, "This is the first time I have ever slept with a Colberg!"  This sent my future mother-in-law into fits of laughter!"  She told that story repeatedly over the next many years.

Our apartment was tiny and our first home was so much fun.  In our home our living room was also our bedroom.  We had a Murphy bed that pulled out and down from the wall   So every day and every night we had to rearrange our furniture.  When the bed was up it had a nice mirror on the back of it so it looked just like a real living room.  Those were wonderful times.

I can remember how proud I was to be his wife, and how through our marriage I'd look at him and find it hard to comprehend that he was mine, all mine!  We didn't have much in the way of material things then, we went into our marriage with a few dish towels without hems and a few cents in our pockets but we were very much in love and we had each other, so what else really mattered?"

The End of Part I

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Invasion Of Our Privacy...Pure And Simple!

One thing about where we live, we don't need any pets.  For the past several years we have been invaded by all kinds of wild life.  People think it is so neat...think again.  Between the deer who eat flowers and plants, the turkeys, the raccoons, the possums, the squirrels, occasional coyotes and the neighborhood animals that wander freely through here it is a constant video of animal life out every window.

These turkeys are testing my patience.  They are literally all over the place.  You can see from the two giant ones on the retaining wall they are not a little nuisance.  They seem to be about three feet tall when they are not stretching.  Oh yes, they can stretch and look into our windows.  They appear to be a parascoping type creature about the size of ET when you catch one out of the corner of your eye.  They boldly come right up to my office window and peer in.  I've jumped sky high more than once.  They can stretch their necks and bodies to at least four feet tall when they want to be peeping toms.

So their new favorite trick is they like to jump/fly onto our roof and then jump or fly off.  It reminds me of the giraffe video below or a bunch of kids at a water slide park  They get in a line and do it over and over again!  Another way that they are like kids is they only do it when Dad is gone.  It is a good thing too because he does not want them bouncing on and off of the roof and they sound like a grown man when they are walking up there.

I am not sure how this population can be controlled.  We have babies, teens and older ones.  There is no gunfire allowed here so where are the archery experts?   If they don't get out of here soon you may hear a pellet gun doing a little target practice.  At the rate this is going they may be having us for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Alfred Hitchcock's movie, The Birds, is creeping me out.  Imagine a few feathers on these giraffes and you will get the picture.