My Darling Mother

For my Mother’s birthday, I thought I would share a few thoughts about her.  I know she is pretty maligned by some, praised by others, and many more just do not know what to be in relation to her.  Therefore, I thought I would talk about her with that title, Mother.

The above photo came to me in 2010.  This photo was given to my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898-1987), probably not long after it was taken.  I am guessing before 1960.  From my understanding, it hung on the wall of my Great Grandmother in Richmond, Cache, Utah until she had to move in with her daughter, Lillian Jonas Talbot (1930-2009), in Layton, Davis, Utah the mid 1980’s.  It still has its original heavy paper frame and original glass.  I took the picture out of the frame to scan it and imagined that it was the photographer who placed it there in the late 1950’s, or more likely, one of my grandparents.  I can imagine the photo carefully located on Great Grandma’s wall and the love that swelled in her breast as she viewed my Mother and my Uncle Doug.  I am sure the scores of other grandchildren hung on the same wall, but these were grandchildren that also lived in Richmond and paid regular visits so there was a personal love as well as that motherly love.

When Great Grandma Lillian moved to Layton, all her photo albums and pictures went with her.  When she passed away in 1987, they fell into the possession of her daughter, Lillian.  It was almost 20 years later when I knocked on the door and wanted to see photographs.  I found the goldmine when she pulled out these albums.  I scanned the photo above in 2006, but after Aunt Lillian passed away in 2009, the family thought to give me this actual photograph.

A copy of this same photograph hung in my Grandmother’s house in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  It sat on a cedar chest in one of the bedrooms.  I do not know what happened to that photo when my Grandmother died, but I have this image in my mind of that photo being in my Grandparent’s possession from the late 1950’s as well.  Tended, loved, and on the wall overlooking the family as they grew through the years.  I know I probably romanticize it as any child does to ignore the pain of their childhood for the faults and inadequacies of their parents.  I know my mother romanticizes her childhood and the relationship with her parents.  I see in this picture a happy smirk and a couple of contented children.  What did my Grandparent’s see in their children?  What did my Great Grandmother see in this picture?  I will not likely know while I am alive.

As I now have a child of my own and feel great love in the features and form of the child, not to mention the personality, I know how I feel looking at pictures of my daughter.  I assume my Grandparents felt the same for their children.  I look at this photo with new eyes, especially where I can sense so many similar features between my daughter Aliza and her Grandmother Sandy (and even a few with her Grand Uncle Doug).

Here is another picture of Mom and Uncle Doug outside their home in Richmond.  Again, I see two cold, but happy, kids playing in the snow outside the home my Grandpa Jonas lovingly built for the family in the late 1940’s.

Here is another photo of Doug and Mom outside the Richmond home near the front sidewalk.

This photo does not look quite so happy.  Mom looks like she is in the same sweater as she was in the first picture above.  My Mom had a pretty mangled right-handed ring finger that had not been removed by this point.  I imagine  she is holding her right hand to hide the the bandages and injury to that finger.  That seems to expand my sympathy for her and the somber look she has on her face.  No three- year-old should have that type of injury and then keep a mangled finger for 5 years when it finally has to be removed due to doctor negligence and improper care.  I think she would have lost it anyway, but the doctor certainly sped things up.

How did my Grandparents view this little girl who was injured?  I am sure they loved her dearly.  I remember one time after asking my Grandma how she felt about my Mom as a little girl and she referred to her as “her little darling girl.”  I am sure it was with heartbreak that this little darling girl now had to live with the pain of a lawnmower almost removing a finger.  I am sure a sigh of relief that only one finger was lost rather than all of them.

Here is another picture.  This was also taken in 1957, the same year that Mom would suffer the severe trauma to her finger.  She still has it in full glory at this point.  This picture was from the Andra Reunion which I believe was held in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

Again, I feel for the family.  I sense a contented nature in this picture.  Grandpa did not have his life increasingly taken over by alcohol by this point.  He looks like a good healthy, strong man.  I love the classic late 1950’s clothing they all sport.  Doug’s ironed shorts, the patterns in Grandma’s pants, the shirt Grandpa wears with the sleeves rolled, and the one piece jumper Mom wears with its pattern.

(l-r): Sandy Jonas, Lola Bruderer, Jane Robinson

Here is a picture of Mom playing with some friends.  This picture was taken or developed in August 1958, at least that is what the side of the photograph said.  Classic wallpaper, carpet, and clothes of the late 1950’s.  I especially love the Crayola crayons box on the table.  I wonder where these other two ladies are now and what their impressions of the photo and others are?

Last picture of the childhood of my Mom.  This one is probably my favorite.

This photo is also classic of the time with its painted colors.  This is obviously a couple of years later, probably even into the 1960’s.  Too bad it is slightly blurred, but at least I have it.  Oddly enough, the same photo appeared in black in white just this year with this accompanying side shot.

A happy child lovingly tended to and cared for.  The years fly by until we hit about 1966.  The family’s time in Richmond was slowly drawing to a close.

Although by this time a younger sibling, Jackie, has joined the children.  Here is another picture from about 1968, probably shortly before the move to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Sally (1955-2010) was Mom’s best friend growing up.  Dee is Mom’s first cousin.

Dee Jonas, Sally Johnson, and Sandy Jonas

The family moved to Burley in 1968 when Grandpa secured work on the construction of the new Del Monte plant.  I know Mom was not at all excited about the move.  At this point, I think I will leave Mom’s time in Idaho for another time.  But I have at least documented some of her life from 1954 through 1968.  One last picture of Mom and me around 1980.

Mom with me on Jack

Happy Birthday Mom.

Oh, You Beautiful Dodge!

Notwithstanding applying for jobs, fretting over passing the bar, putting things in place for solo practice, and helping around my Dad’s house, I have made an effort to resurrect my 1956 Dodge from the garage.  Here is how dirty about five years had made her.  She had so much dirt that some of the seams, like around the trunk, were full of dirt.

The battery was dead so I put a new one in.  As a tribute to Dodge, a new battery and the car cranked over and started up after about 30 seconds!  I had absolutely no brakes, but I moved it into the driveway where I could more easily work on it.  I gave her a good bath and washed off more than a few millimeters of dust in several places.  There in the driveway I bled the brakes, vacuumed her out (and her numerous mouse nests, what a heart-breaker), and prepped her for more use.

We still have some of the original marketing materials that came with the car in 1956 and I knew one of the marketing themes was “Oh, You Beautiful Dodge!”  I knew the song was “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” modified for Dodge’s purposes (and with the help of Lawrence Welk).  So that one line I kinda hummed under my breath as I worked through my various tasks.  I decided I would check to see if I could find the commercial.  Viola, YouTube has a version.  Kinda catchy and I am jealous of the singer’s low voice.  There is another interesting commercial about the creation of the Dodge as a piece of art, as an automobile.

Since money is tight, some of the necessary fixes will just have to wait.  I am afraid the master brake cylinder will have to be replaced as well as the cylinders in both back brakes since they grab and both seem to be leaking brake fluid.  One of the valve covers appears to have the gasket completely missing so she throws out a healthy dose of oil when she gets hot.  Additionally, the transmission which slipped even 10 years ago slips worse than ever.  Storage is never good on a vehicle and where the dirt has sat on some of the fenders and a little moister have added some rust bumps in the paint.  She has some cancer in a few areas.  I am afraid she will need a good going through and probably a paint job to restore her to her true colors (white top of the cab, charcoal not grey, and yellow which is pretty close).

Here is a picture of her all cleaned up on the outside, I have not done anything beyond vacuuming inside, with Aliza and me.  I hope we can get her squared away to make her a regular Sunday driver.

Aliza’s Four Generations

Maybe it is a product of our day where people live longer, but Aliza is fortunate to have 3 of her great grandparents living at this time.  For family history purposes, I thought I might post these pictures of Aliza with her great grandparents.  Further, I thought I would post a picture or two that Amanda and I have with our great grandparents.

Here is a picture of Aliza with Amanda’s paternal grandfather, DeLece (“D”) Hemsley. This picture was taken at a party in Kaysville, Utah for Amanda’s brother, Derek, upon coming home from his two-year mission in July.  We took the opportunity for a couple of photos with family.

(l-r): DeAnne, D, and Bryan Hemsley with Aliza and Amanda

This is Amanda’s paternal grandmother, Shanna Thompson.  This photo was also at Derek’s party.

(l-r): Mel and Shanna Thompson; Paul, Aliza, and Amanda; Bryan and Jill Hemsley

Lastly, here is my paternal grandfather, Milo Ross.  We took these pictures, the day after at Derek’s homecoming party, at Grandpa’s house in Plain City, Utah.  I will post three pictures because I think they are good photos.  This first one shows a great smile on Grandpa, Aliza, and Amanda.  I also like the profile of Grandpa.

Grandpa’s first sight of Aliza

I like this one because Aliza looks as cute as she always does.  For being 90, Grandpa can sure pick her up and throw her in the air with ease.

Here is one we took of the four generations with my sister, Andra, and her son, Daniel. Grandpa has two of his great grandchildren in this picture (and Dad has two of his grandchildren).

Andra, Milo (Jr), Daniel, Milo (Sr), Paul, Aliza

Fortunately, Aliza has now had her photo taken with all of her living Great Grandparents.  Amanda was also fortunate to have such a photograph with all of her living Grandparents and Great Grandparents.  Even more, ALL great grandparents and grandparents are in the same photo!  Here is that photo from the day of her baby blessing in Kaysville.  LeRoy, D, Shanna, and Clara are all Amanda’s Grandparents.  Belle is D’s mother.  Walter and June are Shanna’s father and step-mother.

Back (l-r): LeRoy Holden, D Hemsley, Bryan, Jill, and Amanda Hemsley, Mel and Shanna Thompson. Front: Clara Holden, Belle Hemsley, June and Walter Hansen.

I had three Great Grandparents who were alive when I was born.  Unfortunately, I do not seem to have a photo in my possession with my Andra Great Grandparents despite the fact that I was 10 and 11 years old when they passed.  Oddly, I have pictures of my Great Grandpa and Grandma Andra that I was present when the photo was taken, like the one below.  This is my mother’s maternal grandparents about 1989.

Mary and Bill Andra

This is my mother’s paternal grandmother and some of the rest of the family at her sister’s funeral, Edna Coley Neilson.  My Great Grandma Lillian Bowcutt (remarried in 1953 after her husband Joseph Jonas died in 1932) is in the center of this photo and is the mother to the two ladies beside her and the four men in front.  I am more of a footnote in the photo, but at least I have one with Great Grandma Bowcutt in the same picture.

Far back (l-r): Unknown, Larry Talbot, Unknown (completely unseen), and Unknown. Middle: Jimmie Jonas, Hilma Jonas, Lillian Talbot, Lillian Bowcutt, LeReta Andersen, Lona Jonas, Colleen Elliott.  Front: Spencer Jonas, Joseph Jonas, Ellis Jonas, Evan Jonas, Paul Ross, Jackie Jonas, Andra Ross.

I graduated once

Since it is the season of graduations and I am fortunate to have just participated in one, I thought I would give a little personal post about some of my earlier formal graduations.  I am sure there are other graduations I probably participated in, but I do not have photos of them, at least that I am aware.  Like graduation from diapers,  which consists of a diaper on the head with a tassel.  Or graduation from elementary school, which would consist of a wedgie (and a tassel!).

Here are my Kindergarten Graduation Pictures.  The Graduation ‘ceremony’ was held in the West Minico Junior High Auditorium in Paul, Idaho.  I can still remember the day, both sets of Grandparents being present, and some of the program.  It was quintessentially the same program that Andra, my sister, would go through two years later and I remember that occasion for her.  I am assuming I graduated Kindergarten in the spring of 1984.

Now we can forward more than a decade to graduation from high school.  I graduated from Minico High School in Rupert, Idaho in the spring of 1997.  I swear there are photos out there of the occasion, I have seen them.  It does not seem my family has any at the actual ceremony, and whatever my Grandmother had is with her stash, wherever that might be since she passed away.  That could be the dump, but I guess it is in a drawer somewhere in Alaska.  Maybe some day…  This is a photo in my Grandmother’s home in Paul, Idaho.  This photo was taken on my Grandma’s birthday and probably taken by her.  I am still pretty thin, excited about life, and wearing that new class bling, I mean ring (that was rudely stolen by a home invader in 2009).

Forwarding a few more years, here is a picture of graduation from Utah State University in Logan, Utah on 17 December 2005 with a BS in Law & Constitutional Studies.  By this point I am days away from marriage to Miss Amanda Hemsley so she joined me in the photo, along with future in-laws (my Dad and Jan are in the photo too, to my left).  I even got some fancy cords again!  Two more of my grandparents had passed away by this time and the last one was unwilling to attend.

Now the latest event in my graduation history.  Graduation on 15 May 2011 from Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a Juris Doctor.  Not only is my Dad and in-laws in the picture, my family has been joined by the newest addition of Aliza.  I doubt there are further formal graduations in life, besides death, awaiting in the future.  But at least we have some of these graduations in photograph.

I am such a ham!

Look at the cool hood.

6 months old

Since Aliza is now just over six months old, I thought I would share a picture of her and a couple of pictures of her parents and grandparents when they were each about six months old. This photo of Aliza was taken to celebrate her 6 month mark.

Now, photography and many other things have improved and progressed quite a bit from early 1986, 1980, 1963, and 1961, when these photos below were taken.

First are pictures of me.  Our little family was living in Leefe, Lincoln, Wyoming in a trailer house on a mining job site. Either way, you can take a look at some of my facial features and compare them to Aliza.

As you can see, there are quite a few differences.  I think Aliza is taking more and more features of her mother than me.  However, the blue eyes are coming through.  If there was a feature to pass on, I think that would be it.

Now that you have seen a couple of pictures of me from a similar age, look at this one of Amanda.  You can definitely see more features that are similar with this photo of Amanda.  Aliza does not have those ears though!

We just could not figure out where the shape of Aliza’s head is coming from.  I think I may have figured it out.  Look at this picture of my Dad as an infant probably somewhere around 4 or 5 months old.  Aliza’s round head and the hair line is more reminiscent of my Dad.  The furrows in the brow remind me of my nephew and some other pictures of my Dad, so I think the way Aliza furrows her forehead is from my Dad.  I also think this is where Aliza gets her ears.

Amanda insists that Aliza’s smile comes from her.  At certain times when Aliza smiles though, I see my Aunt Jackie’s smile.  The smile is also my Mom’s, but Mom had facial injuries which have altered her face, so I do not think the smile was as obviously my Mom’s.  But the peaks in her lips when she gets a big smile, and the way her cheeks pull back (no dimple though, Amanda can claim that) are my Mom’s line.

Now, venturing over to Amanda’s side of the family.  Obviously the expressions and looks of her family are not so integrated into my being as to recognize nuances.  I will let you judge for yourself whether you see some resemblances.  Here is a picture of Amanda’s Mom, Jill, at about 6 months.  The overall cheeks and dimples are definitely a family trait to that side.  I even think the shape of the mouth, but like I mentioned, the use and form of the mouth while smiling take on forms I recognize from my Mom’s side.

Lastly, a picture of Amanda’s Dad, Bryan. I think this gives us the origin of Aliza’s nose.  Aliza’s ears definitely do not match these ones either.  I think we also have the culprit for putting fingers in her mouth!  Aliza does not care for her thumb, it is both index fingers in the side of her mouth or two fingers as demonstrated by her grandfather in this picture.  It is interesting to think how much of our mannerisms are genetic or learned behaviour.  I am sure that neither Amanda or I ever taught Aliza how to put her fingers in her mouth, so it is a curious line of thought.

Well, that was fun.  We will have to do something similar when Miss Aliza finds herself at one year old.

My Blood Lineage

Walking and visiting with a professor today, she asked the name of my daughter.  I indicated it was Aliza and she stated, “A good English name.  You definitely look English, is it a family name?”  We chatted a little longer before we separated, but it left me thinking, “Exactly what are my proportions of nationality?”  Well, here they are.  Even though I had always thought I was more German, I was wrong.  I am more British.

Looking back 6 generations, I took each ancestor and assigned them 1/32 of my blood line (obviously).  I then assigned them the nation to which their ancestors came from.  Most of this generation were still in their native country so it was easy.  My “US” line is only those designated that I do not definitively know which mother country they came from because they are so long in Virginia (at least to 1780).  I debated about whether to lump the Saxon, Prussian, and Wuerttemberg lines because I am not lumping the Ireland, Wales, and English lines.  I have provided a separate indication of my “German” and “British” lines.

3/16 – England – Sharp, Bailey, Stoker, Eames, Coley, Rogers

1/8 – Netherlands – Van Leeuwen, Weenig, Janzen, Van der Meij

1/8 – Saxony – Schneider, Andra, Knauke, Richter

1/8 – Wuerttemberg – Wanner, Schmid, Nuffer, Greiner

1/8 – US – Meredith, Shepherd, Graham and Miles lines

1/16 – Ireland – Donaldson, Todd

1/16 – Norway – Christiansen, Jorgensen

1/16 – Prussia – Jonas, Schumacher

1/16 – Sweden – Nelson (Nilsson), Benson (Bengtsson)

1/16 – Wales – Williams, Jordan

All together

5/16 – British

5/16 – German

I am willing to bet all 4 of my US lines were Wales and England.  Therefore, 7/16 would be British.  This is the largest percentage of them all, almost 50% of me is British!  Maybe that is why I served a British mission (although none of my family came from within my mission).

Baby Sandra Jonas

This is the only photograph I have of my mother as a baby.  I am sure there are more out there, but they have not been shared with me.  This photograph was in an album of my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas (Mom’s paternal Grandmother).  It was in an album that had the plastic stick pages and you can see the effects of that and a little moisture on the photograph.  Hopefully some day another version will emerge.  I am sure my Grandmother had some more pictures but nobody seems to know where they went in 1999.

Sandra Jonas was born 16 March 1954 in Logan Hospital in Logan, Utah.  She weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and I do not have a record of how long.  Her parents were Colleen Mary Andra and Wilburn Norwood Jonas.  They resided at the home Grandpa built at 142 N. State Street in Richmond, Utah (someone update me so I can correct this).  I do not know the exact address.  She was delivered by Dr. Willard Goodwin Noble.  An interesting note about her birth certificate, Dr. Noble made out the certificate of birth on the 24th of March and was probably filed the next day, but the certificate says it was filed on the 15th of March, the day before she was born!  L. K. Gates was the Registrar.  That is all from the State Certificate of Birth.  The Logan City Certificate of Birth all states the same except signed by H. R. Pedersen as City Recorder with W. W. Nyman as deputy.

Sandra, who had a strong dislike for the name Sandra, has always gone by Sandy.  Sandra is not a family name and was popular at the time.

Wilburn went by the name of Norwood (or “Nor”) because he did not like Wilburn.  He is shown as a laborer on the birth certificate and worked on and off at various jobs through the years.  The majority of the time he worked for Sego Milk (aka Pet Milk) in Richmond.  When the plant closed in the late ’60’s, that is why the Jonas family moved to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Norwood then began work helping construct the new Del Monte Plant in Burley.  Colleen also worked through the years at various jobs, usually working at the at the pea and other packing plants in Franklin, Idaho and Smithfield, Utah.

Sandy was the second child of Norwood and Colleen, the older being a boy born in 1952, Douglas Norwood.  Mom was later followed in 1960 by Jackie.  Neither Douglas or Jackie are family names and the family appears to used names that suited their fancy than having any tie to ancestry.

As I look at the picture, I see a happy baby.  She continued to grow into a happy little girl.

I look at our new baby, Aliza, and I see much of my mother.  While I never knew my Mom’s real face because it was rebuilt cosmetically after a wreck threw her into some barbed wire than nearly removed her face and her life, I see in this photo many features of Aliza.  Everything from the long hair on the baby, the smile and build of the face, the wrinkles in the skin of the neck, and more.  Little Aliza does not have the ears or the plumpness of this baby.  Perhaps the plumpness will arrive when she is able to sit up as Mom is able to in this photo.  We will just have to wait and see.