Photo Album for Thanksgiving 2007

The photo album that I just placed up a few hours ago are all photos Lolane Andra took.  She and Donald came down after Thanksgiving and spent a couple of days with us.  We went around and saw a bunch of the sites.  So you will see a pretty good variety of locations.  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Jamestown, Monticello, Confederate White House, Hollywood Cemetery, and who knows what else.  I put most of the pictures up.  Enjoy!  You may recognize a couple of the photos as very common to other photos in other albums that we took.

Report for Thanksgiving

Here is a short update of what has been happening the past few weeks.
Thanksgiving Day we spent at Uncle Don and Lolane Andra’s home in Kensington, Maryland.  We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with them and the rest of the Rock Creek Ward.  We really enjoyed ourselves although we did not get to take home any left overs.  They came down to Richmond that evening and spent Friday through Monday with us.  Amanda took them to Monticello, we went to Jamestown Settlement on Saturday, Sunday we toured some of Richmond, and Monday we went to Shirley Plantation.  The highlight in the whole thing was taking them to church with us and meeting up for lunch with Sister Andra on Monday.  Sister Andra is Donald’s brother’s granddaughter, my second cousin.  It was a new idea for me to be at lunch with three missionaries and they are all related to me!  Please notice the picture I posted of us in the Virginia Living and Andra Family Albums.
Amanda has been a little stressed with finals coming this week.  So there has been a juggling act of sorts here at the Ross apartment.  I put my first application in for law school last night.  We we start the mad rush of applications and then the hurry up and wait game.  I guess I better start putting some more effort into securing employment after the new year.
In other news, I received a message from the detective for mother’s case.  I very much appreciate his goodness and comments.  I did have a few questions to ask of him and I hope he will respond.  Perhaps we can put to rest a few questions I have had lingering over these years.

Mom’s Fall 07 Letter

The last time I talked to the appt atty I asked if anything would be happening this year and he said no.  I got to write him and see if he will tell me anything.  He says my case is rare and he has only found 1 case law in Colorado.  I do not know if I ever sent you the statement Ron sent me that came off the Times News website or not but I will send it to you again.  “Randy Stoker decided the evidence would be so prejudical that he negotiated a plea from murder in the first, possible death penalty to murder 2/25 to life with the possibility of parole after 25.”  I received this in Jan 2005.  I never knew nothing about this.  Stoker sold me out and the whole world knew about it but me.  No one and I mean no one pleas to the max sentence.  The PA knew about it and it only takes 2 for conspiracy Carlson knew about it cause he sentenced me to exactly what Stoker sold me out for.
Burr-Jones flat out told me there is no evidence against me.  Statistics of survey shows 1 out of every 33 people are innocence.  Franz sent me some info on judges and juries and the errors on convictions is in the 80%’s.  I hope you stay as far away from criminal law as possible.  That means politics too.  Larry Craig found out he caint just withdraw your plea anytime you want when he got caught with his dick in his hand.  Politics is all corrupt.  Do not tell me I do not know what I am talking about.  I am twice your age but I am not as stupid as you think.  I have never had anything to do with politics and I never will.  I am anarchist and do not like the corrupt govt and I have seen a lot of it.  That is why I have never voted and never will.  That is why I am Atheist too cause I am strong enough to take my life in my own hands and not need to rely on an imaginary things like deities or the human species like JS and BY who were cold-blood bastards!  I read a book last week called “The Ferry Woman A novel of the John D Lee and The Mountain Meadow Massacre” by Gerald Grimmett.  Put it on your books to read list and check it out.
What about William’s other son Chad?  You know anything about him?  He had 5 boys right?  There was 2 older and 2 younger than Kent my age.  They were all pretty good looking boys so I imagine they all ended up handsome men.  I have never seen any of them since ’68 when we moved to this shit hole.  I believe Marc wrote me when I was first arrested and was at Cassia.  What did he retire from?  He is younger than me and I aint of age to retire yet.  He have health problem or just spent 20-30 yrs with the same co.  He was incarcerated at the time he wrote me.  How many of them more than 1 wife?  Did not you say Edith was in Stockton and that was how you found Kent?  Just trying to remember back.  I guess you know you favor the Andra side of the family.  So does Doug.  The last picture I seen of Doug it looked like he was losing the top of his hair.  I hope you do not lose yours but then I wondered cause you changed your hair style and started to comb it in the lazy man way of combing it forward.  Your hair was so pretty, then you started putting goop on it, now you comb it forward with no style.  How come?
I heard Crabtree fill in butt fucks place after karma got him.  I understand from people here who know of him that he is a pretty fair and decent guy.  No I do not think he belongs to the LDS cult from what I have been told.
I thought you wanted to go to U of V?  How come all of a sudden you are going to come back to this shit hole?  You caint go to USU any more?  They have the Innocence Project at Moscow?
Now before I get into the rest of your letter I want to ask you a question.  A few months ago I asked if you could send me a little money.  You said no but yet you flew cross country, bought a pickup and now plan on going to Europe.  So I will ask you if $50 is going to set you back that much that you caint spare it?  I have been living off my last check of $19 for the month of June.  My last envelope is going to you now.
Since I was not alive in ’46 I caint know what went on.  I only know Dad worked at Sego Milk.  They did wait to have kids.  They build their house and got settled before kids came along.  Dad was sent back east when he came home there was a lot of money put into the factory when they put in the diet line.  A product like Slimfast type stuff.  Then they shut the Richmond factory down and left the Buhl one open.  Then they decided they made a mistake a few years later.  They should of closed the Buhl one and left the Richmond one running.  We moved to Burley and Dad worked for Del Monte.  The water tower is a memorial of Dad cause he made it.  Then he got ran over.  The End of him.  Colleen worked at Del Monte in Smithfield but I do not know how many campaigns and do not care.
Being Grandma Jonas lived in Richmond we could ride our bikes up to her place.  Grandma had chickens and pigs and a good size garden so she pretty much was self sufficient.  Bottled her vegs and had a root cellar.  Grandma was pretty much poor.  Dad came from the wrong side of the tracks.
As far as the Andra’s went my family was the black sheep cause my Dad turned against the fucking religious cult they believed in.  Every time we went up there I always got blamed for everything.  Grandma must not of liked me very much.  Finally Colleen told Grandma to get off my ass that all my life she had rode my ass and to get off it and leave me alone.  As far as I know I was the only one who ever got baby blankets from her.  But spending all my life being got done on by her had its affect.  Grandpa was a farmer.  That was about all I say for them except when Colleen asked about a guy I was running around with from Preston, she told Colleen he was an outlaw so I fit in real well.
You were in Wyoming on the Leefe job the summer of ’79.  You was still in the oven baking.  I had been back in Idaho to start the been campaign 1 week and you were born.  You were up there in ’80 too.  Rode in the loc with me till I got wrote up for having you in there.  I took care of you when I got in the wreck at Max.  Just cause I lost my legs and was bunged up did not mean I did not take care of you.  I still had arms and could drag myself around.  Same way when I cut my arm in half.  Like I said I cut my arm on New Years Eve and had it back in use when I wrecked Feb 10th.  I left in Mar or April to take apps for the Soda job.  You do not seem to understand Paul that I am a surviver and I could not afford to be laid up.  I had a son and needed to support him and myself.  You were mine and I had an obligation in raising you.  I had no help from anyone.  But I did stay at Colleens til I got the little house (’80).  I also squandered $25,000 on some son of a bitch paying his bills while his checks went to a pig he was married to.  And NO Milo never ever had anything to do with you.  He could not even communicate with you.  When you weren’t talking he never even tried.  You and I had our form of communication.  We moved to the 3rd house from Kasota in ’83 and to the 1st house in ’93.
That kinds of answers your questions in your letters.  Hope that is what you were looking for.  Maybe some day I can go in depth face to face with you.  Other people I caint tell you much about.  As a child growing up I was very shy and self-conscious, never said very much.  In the last 9 years I have learned to tell you where the bird at a snap of the fingers.  I do not really give a shit if it hurts your feelings or not.  DO NOT FUCK WITH ME is my attitude.  Good defense mechanism and it works.
The person above me is from Burley and she had a picture of Randy Nelson, Carl Lee’s brother.  He is a year older than me.  Randy has been in trouble all his life with drugs and alcohol.  He just got out of the pen in Sept.  He spent 11 years down.  She had a picture of him before he went in and a picture of him after he got out.  He looks like he is 90 years old.  It really blew me away.  That is what incarceration does to people.  Not only does it age you but it ruins your inner self.  For some reason they just do not see what they are doing to a human being.  I guess Carol Lee has cancer again and is as much as dead.
I wrote to Sherry Swiney who has that patrickcrusade website and asked her to please take everything off the website.  I am not sure but I think Franz has the manipulated trial website.  I have asked Franz several times to take everything off so I do not know why he has not.  I mailed Sherry’s letter last Sunday so she is just getting it probably.  Will you check in a couple of weeks and see if it is still there if so will you email her about getting it off?  Also check the other one and see if anything is there if so will you please email Franz and ask him to take it off.  Let me know if and when it is gone, OK.  I want it gone.
I got a letter in the mail box to Sal too.  She sent me a pamphlet about Richmond.  It blew me away.  It has pictures and tells about businesses.  I am not upon the address so some of them I can only guess where they might be.  I want to so bad go down there and see Sal and check the town out.  I am going back one way or another to get residency and get rid of my 1st name.  You do not know how bad I hate that name.  Then I want to go to Norwood, Wyoming and see what that town is like.  If I caint set myself up then I want to head north.  Paul I have made my mind up that I am not coming back to this shit hole.  That means my post conviction is going through.  I caint think any other way.
It is time for me to close this letter so I will sign off.  I just remembered Phillis was Donald’s 2nd wife and Lolane is his 3rd.  Do not know if you knew that or not.  Anyway, you two take care.  Mom

Passing of sand; Mr. E. E.

Today waiting for a stop light, I looked for a number in my cellular phone.  There I noticed a number for a friend who passed away a few months back.  I don’t know any reason to keep it anymore, so I deleted it.  The thought crossed my mind of another friend who had passed away and found his number.  I deleted it as well.  Again I find myself reflecting with the passing of another life.  There seems to have been a number of them lately.  Terry McCombs, David Donaldson, Justin Rose, and now Evan Elliott.
I learned of Evan’s death on Halloween.  Apparently he had a massive heart attack and died at home on the 24th.  There was a pang of guilt for having not written him back two weeks before when I had felt the prompting to do so.  I wrote some others I thought would be easier to write.  I guess I am absolved of the responsibility now.  His graveside service was just a few hours ago.
Once again, I reflect on the influence of another in my life with their passing.  The flood of memories come back.  This is a relationship I don’t know I will fully understand while in this life.
On my left knee, up a few inches and outwards is a scar I carry about an inch in length.  I still remember climbing over the industrial vacuum equipment and slicing it on the corner of duct sheet sitting there.  It was a deep cut and it bled nicely.  I didn’t have stitches but whenever I think of scars it is one of the two which first come to mind on my body.  I must have been only about 6.
I remember the morning I awoke with mom sitting on the bed.  It was downstairs at the old house along the freeway.  I was about 8.  Mom came to tell me that Grandma had found out about some things with Evan and that they would be getting a divorce.  I had no clue what that meant.  But he disappeared.  That is what divorce meant to me for several years.  The tone in which she told me was one of disappointment in Evan.  There were no harsh words of his character or personality which Mom would later spew about him.  I remember not understanding but feeling it would be okay because my Mother told me so.
I remember fishing many times with Evan as a young boy.  I don’t ever remember catching anything.  But it was fun to sit on the shore and fish.  I don’t even know that we ever really even talked.  The most common spots were fishing at the lake near Hwy 27/I84 and the lake near Hwy 30/I-84.  For all I know there are not even fish in those lakes.  I think they are man made.
It seemed a regular occasion we drove to the Paul Cemetery to maintain the long flower box seated on his parents grave.  I assume it is near the place where he and his wife Shirley are buried.  It was on those days I remember playing in the cemetery and enjoying the day.  I remember the day I stumbled on Wes Charles drunk next to a tombstone.  I knew him from Dad’s work and couldn’t understand why he was different.  I think that is the first time I realized people were different when they were drunk.  He was beside himself sobbing.  Evan explained to me that those stones were not just there for looks but were monuments to people who were buried beneath.  That was why Wes was upset, he presumably had family buried beneath.  I think this was my first introduction to understanding death.  Cemeteries horrified me afterward.  It wasn’t until my Great Grandmother’s funeral in 1987 that I saw a dead person and understood more of those people buried beneath the tombstones.  A large tombstone near the entrance of the Paul Cemetery became the image of my nightmares.  I have since made peace with death, but still the image of the large “Duff” tombstone seems to be the epitome of death for me.  It proclaimed the finality of death.  In later years learning the gospel and about the resurrection removed much of the nightmare, but it haunted me for a very long time.  I imagined in my mind the placing of a body into the ground and when nobody was around who remembered, as Evan regularly did, you were forever gone.  While Evan probably had no clue the effect of all this, he played a very real part of it.
There were many, many homes I went with Evan where he did sheetrock work.  Oddly, it is with Evan that I have my first memories of my Aunt Sergene.  We stopped at her and Bert’s place for something.
Growing up, Evan always seemed to be seated in the big leather chair in the family room at Grandma’s.  Somehow, I was oblivious, or he was just always good enough, that every time it seemed I passed the chair, usually at high speed, this arm would appear and scare the daylights out of me.  I guess he was just always in the chair enough that he became a part of the chair.  Perhaps it was such a rare thing he was in it that it scared me, I don’t know.  It was a good scare, not a bad scare.
Evan grew up in a home that was on the same property that Grandma’s house was.  I don’t remember the house standing, but I seem to remember the day it burned down.  The old barn out back of Grandma’s, the little tar paper shack, the hayrake were all part of what was once his childhood.  I felt a connection to it as he did.  I remember filling in what was left of the foundation years later and feeling the sadness of what passed with the house.  There was some debate that somebody burned it down, I don’t remember who was the one accused.  There were tombstones on the other side of the canal I remember Evan taking me to in the trees.  There was a tombstone there by the barn which would move around through the years.  I don’t know if they had anything to do with Evan’s ancestry, but he knew their location and felt enough to watch over them.
There were the occasional day when he would appear at our house along the freeway to visit.  Mother did not make him welcome from what I remember.  He longed to see us.  I always felt he favored “Sissy” over me but that was okay.  I knew he loved us.
I always remember keeping him at a distance.  I remember seeing Grandma crying a few times and she would tell me how much she felt betrayed and hurt by Evan.  Add that to Mom’s sharp denouncements and I locked my heart to him.  I remember one time seeing him at the house along the freeway and nobody was there but Andra and me.  We went up to him and Andra hugged him but I refused.  I remember the tears he shed that day.  I do not know if he understood what was in my heart and thoughts that day.  I have never been able to overcome that emotional block.  I do remember he came to visit less and less over the years.  Christmas and birthday cards were about all that remained.  He remarried about two years later to his highschool sweetheart.
Due to the nature of him leaving our lives I always called him Mr. E. E. in the present of Grandma and other family members.  Mother had other choice words.  I don’t remember Grandma being harsh on his memory, just more disappointed.
My next memory has him at my missionary farewell.  He came for all of the church service and gave me a monetary gift and said he was not staying to not cause concern with Grandma and the rest of my family.  I do not know if he stayed for the farewell or not.  I tend to think he did.  I do know he was there at my missionary homecoming two years later.  Grandma had passed away and he sat in the overflow section.  He lingered after the homecoming crowd of well wishers had dispersed and I walked him to his Buick in the north parking lot.  He had a cane at the time.  We visited for a moment and he shed some tears then.  He told me my Grandmother would be proud.  I don’t remember holding ill will, but a bit annoyed that he came to the homecoming.
Since that time we have kept in contact via mail.  We responded through letters several times a year until the past year it has increased in number.  Mostly because he collected spoons and I was a traveling maniac with Amanda.  We purchased spoons for him in nearly all the places we would go and would send them to him.  He repaid us for all of them.  I don’t know I would have done it just out of the kindness of my heart or at least so many.
Some time in 2004 Evan called me and told me he was heading to Salt Lake to a doctors appointment.  He knew I was spraying lawns for Larry and wanted to know if he swung through Cache Valley if we could do lunch.  I wasn’t particularly interested but was nice and agreed.  We ate lunch at a little Mexican Restaurant in Smithfield.  It was good food and we discussed just the lighter topics.  Nothing of too much interest other than the fact he brought me an envelope of pictures.  I had been mining him for information about Grandma and the family.  He had not been very forthcoming until this day.  I finally quit asking him about Grandma and asked him about him.  He brought photos and I took them and scanned them all for him.  He had very few pictures of him and Grandma, at least that he shared.  You will notice that I have added the Elliott Family Album to my pictures with Evan’s passing.  These are the photos that had only to do with him I kept copies of.
He did finally disclose information on how he met Grandma, some of their courtship, their leaving each other, and their activity in the church.  Some of which comments I believe I have even posted here on the blog.
In reflecting upon his death I have a variety of feelings.  I still feel a sense of betrayal and emotional blockade.  A distancing I maintain for reasons I do not understand nor would I know how to dismantle them.  There is also a pity or sadness I feel.  Evan always seemed like such a lonely soul.  I don’t believe he was depressed or anything like those types of feelings.  He was married three times I know of.  The first two ended in divorce.  The third one was his highschool sweetheart for which he had pictures of from that time.  He had no children.  Even in his death, it was a time before someone found him after his death.  In looking back I see a man longing for belonging and love and I feel some guilt for offering none more than friendship.  He loved us as his own children, he told us that many times.  I feel a sense of release in a commitment that seemed to be a burden.  I have no ill feelings for him and want to weep that I feel a release in his passing.  This doesn’t seem my nature to harbour what appears to be some malice or bondage to another.  I do not understand the array of feelings I feel with Evan’s death or in reflecting on what I know of his life.  I am not sure I will ever truly understand in this life.  I am saddened by his death though and that the relationship we have has been growing and increasing incrementally over the years since the mission.  Perhaps it is the loss of what could have been in the healing of our relationship.  That is certainly a brighter light to look at the scenario, the disappointment of my wanting to mend the broken bridges of the past.
Regardless, I have taken an inventory of my life to a degree.  Are there other people who I can do more in extending love and fellowship to?  Is this a tragedy?  Was he really lonely or my imposed desire for him to be lonely from the betrayal I felt of him in hurting Grandma?  He mentioned his fighting in Korea and how he still often thought of it.  What happened?  Does that explain some of the rest of his life?  I will not know in this life.
Who met him on the other side of the veil?  Has Grandma and him at any point met to bring any more reconciliation they did not find in mortality?  I sense tragedy in the life of Evan’s parents.  Were they present and are they all finding their ‘rest’ from mortal cares?  Tragedy seems somehow to be the word to describe Evan’s life to me.  Tragedy to me or to him?
As I survey the world around me I think how time marches on.  Each and every sand grain falls through the constricted glass.  Each is numbered and recognized in their place even though not every grain is noticed.  How much are our lives the same?  Some more recognized than others.  But each has our part, whether large or small.  “I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.”

Death’s March

As is usually the case, death has come knocking again.  He makes his rounds constantly through the world.  Sometimes with almost greedy insistence on a few individuals and others he spares for what seems a lifetime more.  Interestingly, some view it as a favor and a blessing while others view it as horror and devastation.  He undoubtedly works in both ways as we see manifest all around us.
My paternal Grandmother’s brother, David William Donaldson, passed away on Sunday.  After what seems like a relatively short struggle with prostate cancer, he spent his last weeks in pain and hiding.  It doesn’t sound like too many visitors.  At least more angelic than earthly.  His funeral falls tomorrow and with his age nearing 78 it doesn’t ring in as a great surprise.  The longer one lives the more inevitable it comes that we will pass beyond the veil.  As my Uncle Larry Andra has told at every funeral I have heard him speak, it is like a great ship leaving harbour.  Those standing in the harbour sob and cry and the ships disappears and it is shouted, “there she goes”.  On the other hand, as the ship comes in the shout is raised, “there she comes” and all is merry and joyful.  We witness this in life and we witness the other side at death.  We celebrate the ship coming in at birth and mourn her leaving.  Really we only count ourselves blessed if we are not there for both of the same person.
Tonight was the funeral of another friend, Justin Levi Rose.  I don’t know his age, but he must have only been about 25.  I only met him two months ago when he come to visit the Family History Library where I work on Tuesday nights.  A recent convert, he was putting together his family history to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead.  Over the course of several weeks we pieced together several significant portions of his family and he went to the temple with 50 or more family members to do their temple work.  I found out tonight he sailed away last Tuesday of his own accord.
Therein is another interesting part of death.  Some we see it coming and almost expect it.  Others it seems to take completely by surprise.  Yet to those to whom it comes, it seems to sometimes be the opposite.   Uncle Dave just had a new knee and when I visited with him in April seemed like he had a new lease on life.  I don’t think he anticipated death anytime soon just 6 months ago.  Yet I find out that Justin has been living in a state of which they call bi-polar in which he has struggled with wanting death for some time.  Yet in my eyes, I would never have thought either of them were near and certainly not Justin.
One never knows.  In the deepest chambers of the soul we only can understand our path, our destiny, our lives, and our deaths.  Some seem to understand themselves, others ignore.  Others misinterpret, and others walk a path of full knowledge all their days.  Most interestingly, it seems no mortal really knows what battles are being fought in our lives.  Whether they be in the mind or the body they are being fought.  Some lose now, some lose later.  All will die.
The only ray of hope in all this is that we are only in a temporary state.  Death for all is only temporary.  More importantly, the struggles in our souls are also only temporary.  The day will come when all will know as they are known and see as they are seen.  Then will we all rejoice in this great probationary game.  There will of course be some sorrow, but the overwhelming feeling will be one of joy and praise.
Until then, the ships keep coming and going and we watch with sadness and delight.

More of the same; Life

Time keeps ticking by too quickly sometimes.  I have so much to write but not as much time as I would like to do it in.  Such is the limitations in the probationary game.  There are plenty of achievements to report though in the past week or two.
This evening I spoke with Gerald Neuffer in Columbia, Missouri.  In a most random turn of events, I noticed that a Jenna Neuffer became friends with my friend, Kami Lowe on Facebook.  With a name as rare as Neuffer, I knew all odds were in my favor of having a near shared ancestry.  I sent Miss Neuffer a message and asked for her Grandfather’s name and phone number.  Which she supplied.  Come to find out, I even had Gerald already in my family history.  I just had his first name Myron (Gerald is his middle name but he goes by it.  Probably due to remove confusion with his father’s name being Myron).  He knew the Andra’s well and said he remembered Millie, who was just younger than him.  Funny how small a world it is.  He went to get his PhD and never left Columbia after moving there in 1947.  We conversed for a little while he dug for information verifying I was not this total stranger calling for his family history for some other sinister reason.  He sounds like a good guy.  He asked if I was doing genealogy.  I confirmed I was and that I was the family historian.  He then happily related he was basically that for the Neuffer/Nuffer family.  I was definitely glad to hear that.  What is the chances of the Andra historian running into the Nuffer historian in Columbia Missouri?  Very far removed from Preston, Idaho!
I received a phone call from Jacqui yesterday about the Phibbs/Ross/Beachell family.  I tried returning her call and spoke with her mother for a few minutes.  I am glad she finally returned my message.  I only left it in May!  That was before we moved!
In other news, there was an e-mail that found its way to me from Robert in Fresno, California.  A most interesting question.  He asked if I knew of any of the siblings of my Constance Jorgensen.  I always felt Constance most likely had siblings but was never able to find any.  Between her parents marriage and Constance’s birth, there is twelve years.  I was sure there were other siblings.  Olavus and Hanna Mathea Jorgensen immigrated with Constance and settled in Richmond, Utah.  Constance married Ole Christiansen and gave birth to my Great Great Grandmother Martha Christiansen who is the mother of my Lillian Coley.  Constance died in Portland, Oregon while visiting and was buried there.  In the whole episode, I knew some day I would have to do some research in Norway to find the rest of this family.  Well, Robert e-mailed me asking me if his grandmother, Amanda Jorgensen Swensen could be a child of Olavus and Hanna.  He produced a copy of a hand written copy pedigree she had produced in 1935.  Sure enough, everything lined up.  Well, Amanda was born another 12 years after my Constance (24 after the marriage of the parents).  She immigrated to Utah a good 10 years after her parents and sibling came over and settled in Logan, Utah.  By the time she arrived her parents were both deceased and her sister had married.  It seems that she never knew she was only 15 miles from her parent’s graves and her sister.  The exciting news is that Amanda gave us the names of her siblings, none of which made it to America to her knowledge.  We added the 5 siblings.  Don’t know their ages, but definitely gives some more to go from.  That will give us much more to go from when the time for the Norway research begins.
I am happy to report I completed the New Testament this evening.  I am one day late.  If I had read the one chapter a day, I would have finished yesterday.  Last weekend put me just off enough that I did not catch up in time.  I completed the Book of Mormon on schedule this year on August 27th.  Now I can go through some General Conference talks and some other reading for the year.  Next year is the Doctrine and Covenants which you can almost read three times in a year.  I think I will just do it twice though.
The ward continues to blossom when it comes to family history.  It seems like people are doing their homework, research, and compiling regularly.  I have e-mails at least once or twice a week for help on something.  That is an indication something is going on.  That is definitely something which is a good thing.
Online the family history work continues to reveal new and interesting things.  I received an e-mail from a Homer Mason.  He was inquiring concerning the Jonas family in Washington State.  Come to find out, Anna Jonas is his Grandmother.  Anna was the daughter of William Jonas who was the brother to my Joseph Jonas; father to my great grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He knows very little so it has been fun introducing him to the family.  I have especially enjoyed his research on a line of the family I have not been able to crack.  It has proved not to be an easy line for him, but with his living in Yakima, he is much closer and capable of doing the work than I can.  I really hope I am accepted to the University of Idaho for Law School.  Then I could work on the Jonas, Ross, and Sharp lines in Washington State.
Stepping back to the Andra family.  This past weekend Amanda and I took a trip to Washington DC for our monthly temple visit.  But a new aspect as emerged.  My Great Uncle and Aunt, Donald and Lolane Andra, are now serving a mission in the temple.  We went up Friday night and stayed with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt in Springfield.  Saturday we picked up Don and Lolane and made our way to Mt. Vernon.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It was the 18th Century Fair so there were masses of people.  Don and Lolane are good and quick on their feet.  Despite being in their 60’s they move well.  Don reminds me so much of my Great Grandpa.  I get a kick out of both of them.  We were limited on time as they had to be to the temple to work later in the afternoon.  We did probably the fastest walking tour of Mt. Vernon I can imagine.  We zoomed all over the grounds, through the fair, and then back up to their apartment to change and attend the temple.
On a side note, as I went into the endowment room, I noticed the officiator’s name was John Whatcott.  I looked at him and asked if he was from Kanosh.  He looked a bit surprised at me and said he grew up there.  I told him of the Whatcott’s I knew.  After the session he asked me to remain in the celestial room so we could visit.  We had a great visit.  Come to find out he knows Don and Lolane from St. George.  Small world.  Don knew which session we were on and waited for us to leave the celestial room.  He walked us down to the next floor and we parted again.  I met Don’s Home Teaching companion, Elder Toronto, while picking up Amanda’s Aunt’s glasses from the temple lost and found.  Funny how interlinked the world is, at least in the church.
I have not made mention of it yet, but I am going from contractor status to full associate status at Bank of America.  Meaning, I will be an employee of Bank of America and not an at will person filling a seat.  Many companies now do the contractor business as they can then hire on employees after they have shown their worth.  I must have done well enough for them to offer me employment starting October 1.  I am excited.  Business has been picking up.  I don’t know if it is from the crunch in the market or what.  Bank of America definitely stands on higher ground than those feeling the squeeze or sinking under the housing market.  One thing is for sure, with this rate cut, we are expecting the next month to be hectic.
My birthday came and went just like every other day or the year.  I am back to being congratulated for it being my unbirthday.  I received all sorts of e-mails (which will take me a good week to respond to them all), many messages on Facebook, and a couple of cards and gifts.  Amanda and I enjoyed a nice big meal at Chili’s for dinner.  We joked about it being our triannual beef night.  It is birthdays or anniversary that I get to eat a steak.  Monday was a 12 oz Ribeye.  Mmmm, so good.  That is of course not mentioning the Idaho potatos.  Amanda got me a shirt, a jump drive, and something else which slips me at the moment.  I also received a journal, a few checks, and some other random memorabilia.  I honestly don’t feel any different now than I think I did when I was 19.  Except the fact my knee was reconstructed in 2004 and doesn’t give me the issues it did at 19.  So I guess I feel better than at 19.  I have filled out in stature, even added a little padding in the middle,  and perhaps a little wiser.  Life is good.
My blessings continue to flow despite my inept nature.  I continue to be given the little peaceable things of the kingdom from time to time.  They make the living and endurance all worth it.  Line upon line right?  Sometimes I wish it was more page upon page, but alas, I am not the one running the show.  Church goes well.  I feel spiritually well.  Not the muscular behemoth I would like to be spiritually, but I feel strong enough to do what needs to be done and any forseeable adventure.

Andra Effectual Doors

Sometimes when we least expect it is when some of the doors open for us and others.
I have not been spending very much time with family history as late.  I took a breather for a while and I had some other things in my life I wanted to focus on a bit more.  However, I have kept my thumb in the water to see if it was hot.
On the 4th of August is the Andra Reunion scheduled in Lava Hot Springs.  A number of the family were each asking me if I knew more details so I took it upon myself to find out the details.  I then took all the information and assembled it into an e-mail and sent it out to the 40 or so individuals whose e-mails I have who are linked to the Andra family.  As a sneaky little family history person, I placed a chart with all the descendents I have for the Andra family.  I asked that if I was missing any or needed an update, to please let me know.  I also encouraged people to pass on the notice about the reunion to those who did not or may not have received it.
Within a week I received about a dozen e-mails with updates on those directly related.  But then the more exciting e-mails started to appear.
As I have written about earlier, the only real family I have had difficulty in obtaining their information is that of the eldest son, William.  He passed away in the early 90’s and Edith continues to live in Missouri.  She has moved in recently with her son, Marc, and has slowed in her age.  In about 2001 she insisted I would not have their records for privacy and legal reasons.  I met with her son, Kent, the same day and they pretty much insisted on the same.  I left it behind but continued to foster friendship.
Kent passed away in 2003 and my communication with his family opened up.  His wife Mary gave me group sheets with all the information on all of Kent’s family and opened up e-mail communication.  Ever since, I have been updated with every new addition.  But she has insisted she doesn’t have contact with the rest of the family.  In sending out the family reunion e-mail, I don’t know how, but I received an e-mail from 2 of Kent’s brothers inquiring about the family reunion.  It opened communication with those families.  Already, I have added one of those two brother’s information to the family records.  The other one is openly willing to share.
What added to it more is that I was able to ask about the other two brother’s families for whom I did not have any information.  They openly gave me their e-mail addresses and I look forward to e-mailing them.  This was pretty well the final major hole in any of the descendents of the Andra family.  I am very thrilled to have had it fall together so well.  Even if it has been 6 years in banging my head against the wall.
The next bit I would like to add relates to another Andra door.  This is through Donald’s line though.  As I have related before in 2006, I have pursued another line which had been lost to the Andra family.  It was Don’s daughter Lori Kaye.  I finally was able to track her mother’s family down and then her.  It fit nicely that at the time we lived only a few miles away.  At that time they welcomed me in, we became friends, but there was no option of expanding that door to allow Don back in to her life.
Friendship and continued communication with Lori Kaye kept things good.  Then the change came.  Her daughter, Sunny, was getting married.  I received an invitation and invited some of the rest of the family to go in on a gift.  Don also sent Lori Kaye a birthday card, the first one in over 50 years of her life.  Add to that her husband’s call as a Bishop, Don & Lolane’s call for a mission, and everything just came.  Don so earnestly wanted to make some mends in this case and I seem to think the Gleim’s wanted to resolve the difference as well.  Completely unknown to me until after the fact, they met and enjoyed dinner together one night.  In visiting with Don and Lolane later, it was absolutely amazing.  All animosity, if any, was not present.  They enjoyed each other’s company and the night was wonderful.  I really wish every story of estrangement could work out so well.
I look forward to those other doors which I knocked on to open up completely.  I wonder what the next one will be…