Stoker-Eames Wedding

Elizabeth and the late Thomas Eames are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Emma to William Edward Stoker, son of Thomas Stoker and the late Ann Nightingale Stoker.  William and Emma were married in St. Johns Church of Wembley, Middlesex, England 29 July 1849.

I have not seen the records, but apparently William Edward Stoker was born 9 January 1827 in Crateford, Staffordshire, England.  I am unsure where Crateford exactly is since the online map services do not list it as a town.  I know it is near Brewood, Staffordshire, England and can find the Crateford Road outside of town to the northwest, but I am not sure much more is available without actually visiting the area.  He was baptized/christened 4 February 1827 in Brewood.  His father, Thomas Stoker, worked as a coachman and remained so until he became too old to work.

Emma Eames was baptized/christened 21 February 1830 in St. Mary’s Church of Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, England.  She is the third of at least 5 children we know of.  The only other sibling we know much about is her brother Thomas.  Her father, Thomas Eames, was listed as a wheelwright at the time Emma was born.  By the time Emma married to William her father is listed as a servant.

William and Emma would have five children together (although some have added two more children, but with no documentation). William worked as a saddler, leather-worker, and harness maker throughout his life.  I do not know why the family moved around so much, probably for work, but they do not seem to have been too poor.  Staffordshire, Shropshire, Middlesex, and Berkshire were all homes of the Stoker family.

William Thomas Stoker born 4 June 1850 in Alperton Hollow, Middlesex, England.  He died 21 October 1908 in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  He would end up marrying three times to Fanny Amelia Tucker, Ellen Hemmings, and Callie Oliver.

Alice Stoker born 20 September 1851 back in Brewood.  She died 11 September 1869 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have been unable to tell if she actually married or was just engaged to James England when she died.

Jeanette Stoker born 3 February 1856 in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.  She died 5 February 1941 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Charles David Rogers in 1875.  I posted a picture and quick biography at this link: Jeanette Rogers.

Alfred Stoker born 21 September 1859 in Hendon, Middlesex, England.  He died 3 November 1927 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  He married Elizabeth Branson in 1881.

Mary Ann Stoker born 24 February 1863 in Reading, Berkshire, England.  She died 6 May 1935 in Plain City.  She married Milo Riley Sharp in 1879.  I have written previously about this family at this link: Sharp-Stoker Wedding.

Emma contracted tuberculosis (listed as phthisis on the death certificate) and passed away 28 April 1863 at 18 Albert Street within St. Mary’s Parish after a year struggle with the disease.

Emma joined the LDS church on 7 August 1856.  William Thomas joined 5 December 1860.  William Edward and Alice joined the LDS church 27 May 1863.

The family wasted no time in gathering to Zion.  The Stoker family departed from London on a ship called “Amazon” 4 June 1863.  George Q Cannon dedicated the ship which was entirely of Saints (880+) headed for Zion.  It was this same ship that Charles Dickens wrote that the Mormons were not taking misfits and scoundrels, but the “pick and flower” of England.  Even George Sutherland, future U.S. Supreme Court Justice was on this ship.  Here is a link to the story by Charles Dickens: The Uncommercial Traveller.  The LDS church also tells of the story that day at this link: Amazon Departure.  The ship sailed to Liverpool before finally heading out for America.  Elijah Larkin, who would help found Larkin Mortuary, noted that on the 16th and 20th of June, Thomas Stoker was administered to due to a sickness since leaving Liverpool.

The “Amazon” landed at Castle Gardens, New York, New York on 18 July 1863.  The Saints took rail to Albany, Albany, New York and then to Florence, Douglas, Nebraska through Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  From there they hoofed it on to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory arriving 3 and 4 October 1863 (depending on which of the two companies), just in time for General Conference.  Several of the company wrote of Brigham Young coming out to greet them and giving them advice.

William moved almost immediately to Ogden, Weber, Utah and set up shop working with leather.  William wasted no time in remarrying to Eliza Sinfield in Ogden 18 May 1864.  While Mary Ann is listed as a child for William and Eliza on the 1870 Census, she was actually living with the Musgrave family and Jeanette with the Garner family.  Additionally, the other children from this first marriage were also being raised by other families.  I just cannot tell for sure since the families sometimes listed these children as their own with their own last name.  Family lore indicates that William and Eliza could not afford to raise these older children and farmed them out to families that could afford to take care of them.  Other evidence points that they were not all that poor, but it is not likely we will ever really know.

Eliza Sinfield was born 24 January 1842 in Eversholt, Bedfordshire, England.  She and William married 18 May 1864 in Ogden.  They lived there the rest of their days.  I cannot tell for sure where they lived.  The 1880 Census puts them on 6th Street, but then this address is near Franklin Street, which is now located 20 blocks or more away.  The next page of the census has the Academy of the Sacred Heart which is also near 25th street in Ogden.  Therefore, another 6th street once existed in Ogden, or the census taker jumped all over town, which is unlikely.  The 1870 Census does not give street addresses, so we have no leads there.  At any rate, William and Eliza had six children.

Emma Stoker born 24 March 1865 in Ogden and died 10 October 1878.

Agnes Stoker born 1 October 1866 in Ogden.  She married George Shields in 1885.  She died 6 September 1921 in Ogden.

Henrietta Stoker born 10 October 1868 in Ogden.  She married Simon Heber Weston in 1885.  She died 10 June 1942.

Eli Benjamin Stoker born 9 July 1870 in Ogden.  He married Sarah Jane Thomas in 1899.  He died 17 May 1952 in Silverton, Shoshone, Idaho.

Albert Stoker born 12 May 1873 in Ogden.  I do not know of a marriage for him.  He died 8 February 1949 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Victoria Stoker born 28 May 1878 in Ogden.  I do not have a marriage for her either.  She died 20 November 1888.

William and Eliza continued to live in Ogden until he passed away 12 April 1899 in Ogden.  He was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, along with most of his already deceased family.  Later family members would also be buried near him.  Eliza died 3 April 1912.  Here is the only other picture we have of William Edward Stoker as a much older man.  You can see the tuft of hair in the middle that has not changed.  The increased bag lines under the eyes and the same man greatly aged.  If you look, you can see some of the resemblance in his sons.

TV’s and such

It seems to be one of those weeks where there isn’t necessarily a whole lot to tell.  So to make an entry, and anything with a little length, I will offer a smattering of thoughts from all over the spectrum.
A big Happy Birthday to Chris Horsley and Amanda Smith on the 14th.  I sent them both e-mails and wished them the best.  It is my Aunt Jackie’s birthday on the 25th, so Happy Birthday ahead of time.
Tuesday night Amanda and I went to pay a visit to Doris Coley.  She lives over in Laurel Fork area.  Amanda has worked with her for some time at Macy’s.  She lured Amanda over there in pursuit of a free TV and DVD player.  I really don’t care if we own either and would actually prefer not to.  That is just a little more weight I will have to worry about moving in a year and another distraction to take away some of what little time we mortals have been given.  Somehow I had come to believe it was a venture where we would go over and pick up the newly acquired property and head back home.  We made an evening of it.  We chatted about the nice lovely pleasantries of the life at Macy’s.  Conversation turned to life in general and school.  Of course I did a full analysis to see if her Coley line could in any way be related to mine (Hers is several hundreds of years in North Carolina making at least that long of a connection seeing how mine came directly from England).
She had a nice little piano in her living room that also became conversation.  She invited me to play it and before long I was in my own land while the women pondered paths I didn’t care to walk.  Before the night had ended we sang some hymns and even ended in a discussion about religion.  I ended the evening with giving her a copy of the Book of Mormon and basically a first discussion.  Sometimes I feel I am not as bold as I once was.  Honestly, it seems that one relies upon their companion so much to bear testimony and Amanda had no clue of the missionary ways that I think that is the only reason it felt pretty weak.  Sadly, I think both of us relied on trying to convince too much rather than just bearing testimony and letting the Spirit drive it to the heart.  Amanda left thinking we had been too bold and I left thinking we had not been bold enough.  She called us a few days later and made sure we were still planning on coming back.  Either way, we don’t seem to have offended.  I look forward to a return visit and whether or not she read any of the newly introduced sacred scripture.
Tonight I paid a visit to the Family History Library outside my normal working hours.  We had a pretty severe thunderstorm this evening and the two ladies working inside decided to go watch the storm for a minute.  Sadly, they left their keys in the library.  I rushed down thinking I would find two drowned older ladies.  Luckily enough they had only locked themselves out of the library, and not the building.  So I spent some time visiting with them about the Merrick’s of Maine/Massachusetts.  They decided to leave early so I played the piano and practiced some singing until a member of the Stake Presidency appeared to practice basketball.
Tuesday night at the library also proved to be interesting.  For the second week in a row a young man who is a recent convert came into the library to do some research.  He appeared with his laptop last week with PAF newly downloaded.  He started putting in his family.  He is preparing to go to the temple and wanted to do some of his own names for baptisms in about two weeks.  He never even knew who his Dad was last week.  This week he came back with dates and places and interestingly, was able to link him into the Cosby line.  Once we did that we were able to take him back to Jamestowne and even followed the line back 1,000 years.  He comes from a noble line in England.  He was amazed to find ancestors on both of his lines whose temple work had been done.  Some as early as 1932 in the Mesa, Arizona Temple.  I look forward to seeing him this coming Tuesday when we run these names through TempleReady.
Last Sunday we had our Stake Priesthood Meeting.  We were introduced to the new Mission President, President Millburn.  I prefer him much more than the last one.  He seems much more humble and able to connect with an audience.  In addition, he gave a great talk on fishing.  He is an expert at it, that is for sure.  Who else uses a stomach pump on a fish?  President Mullins (who interrupted my singing and playing tonight) gave a talk about various topics.  One was that individuals in the stake are not carrying their weight in fast offerings.  I thought that was interesting.  None of the other talks I remember.  However, the power in the singing was easily felt.
Today I was branded again at work due to a broker’s dishonesty.  A man gave me a complete sob story about why an appraisal was sufficient.  He manipulated my inexperience in working someone else’s loan, added with the other person not recording what they had done, and my not being thorough enough to catch the little red flags has now cost the bank a loan which is considered a risk and investors will not buy it.  Due to my approving of an updated appraisal, that wasn’t really updated, and the bank always standing by their word somebody got away with money that probably would not have been approved.  Like speeding tickets with points, I have now gained my first and hope they will wear off over time…  It is a good thing I no longer have access to that broker’s information for I would surely give him a phone call and let him know how sorely disappointed I am in him.  At any rate, “Let God choose between me and thee and reward thee according to thy deeds.”
Terry McComb’s funeral is going to be this coming Saturday.  I so wish I could be there.  Alas, we can’t do everything we want in life.  His obituary appeared today in the Times News.  I looked at it this morning at work.  I am looking forward to having my own clipping from the newspaper for my records.  I guess I will just have to pay a visit to the cemetery next time I get back to Idaho.  I so planned on spending a day or two in Branson on the way home for a lesson or two.  I guess I won’t now, at least stay for lessons.
We are headed up to Washington, DC again this weekend to attend the temple.  I am very much looking forward to it.  I have very much felt my faith increase this week and my soul feeling greatly nourished after some experiences in the scriptures.  2 Peter 2 and Ether 12 were powerful this week.
We received the Church News today and I read the parts about the new Brazil Temple.  I was thinking how excited President Faust must be to have the temple dedication coming up and realized he had passed away.  I guess he will be there at any rate, but not with a mortal body.  I wonder who will be called next.  I surely hope it is someone independent from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I certainly think tradition and order are a good thing but it is always nice to shake things up from time to time.  Too often people get so rigid about the way things should be done we forget the role of inspiration being mixed in the bag.  I would really like to see a President of the Church not be the most senior Apostle.  How would that be for shaking things up?  We need more John Winder’s, Reuben Clark’s, Jedediah Grant’s, Hyrum Smith’s, and Charles Nibley’s in the world.
Lastly, I will end on a political note.  I haven’t had a political candidate really catch much of the sympathies of my heart.  They seem so canned and stale I can’t stand it.  However, Obama gave a comment this week about opening up government.  Boy, if reading an article ever stopped my heart, that was one of them.  A candidate willing to give full disclosure to the public?  If that becomes his whole purpose in life, I will most certainly vote for that man.  Well, that is only after he drops universal health care.  After my experiences in England,  will never support government ran health care.  But open disclosure?  How refreshing.  That requires more effort.  That requires doing things you know the whole country can be privy to.  Where would Bill Clinton be if he had known that?  How would things be different with Bush?  Either of them?  Watergate?  Iran-Contra?  New Deal?  War?  How would the world be different?

Farewell to Terry

 

Yesterday early afternoon I received a phone call to notify me of the death of a dear friend.  There is always an interesting surge of emotions with the death of a person, especially one you feel such a kinship with.  Somehow though, I couldn’t help but feel a total sense of relief and release.

Terry McCombs was born in Rupert, Idaho and grew up on the farm outside of Rupert.  He graduated from Minico in probably its most notable time.  He went to school when Minico was known nationally for its band program.  The high school was still under 10 years old and Southern Idaho was in the Post-war boom.  Some of his mentors both in choir and band were to forever influence his life.  There was something about the farm soil and the passion of music that set Terry on his future.

I met Terry for the first time in 1997.  I had been asked to accompany a friend, Elena McBride, on the piano for a vocal number she was doing.  She wanted me to meet her vocal coach, Terry McCombs.  There was a McComb’s in my grade who I knew and one just younger who was in choir and who I knew more through friends.  These both turned out to be Terry’s niece’s.  Our meeting took place in Terry’s childhood home where his mother still lived with Terry’s brother’s family.  We sat there at the piano and I played perhaps a few chords when Terry asked me if I sang.  I confessed that I had no singing talent whatsoever and had never really tried.  He took over at the piano bench and then began to have me try a few exercises.  He attempted for hours to get beyond my modesty (my attempt to cover a poor voice).  After several hours, Elena’s lesson turned into an reworking of my thinking concerning singing.  For the most part of which he was very successful at rewiring.  Afterward I remember Elena being upset that her lesson was all about a lesson for me.

Terry had me commit to come to a lesson with him in a studio apartment he was using within about a mile from his home.  It was a little bedroom in the loft and a little living room below with a couch and piano.  I seem to remember a small kitchen and bathroom in the entry level.  We descended into the little living room about a week later and he sat on the couch and I sat in the chair.  Terry always had it a bit on the cool side but it definitely was cozy.  He then spent about an hour teaching me the doctrine of singing.  I remember him offering a prayer that seemed to turn my heart to complete mush.  I was so overwhelmed at such a powerful experience.  Coming from an inactive LDS home, I had no real clue what it was I was experiencing.  I had prayed before, and even seen prayers answered, but never had I experienced what I did that day.  Heaven literally descended and engulfed us that day.

After teaching me on the doctrines of the restoration of all things and of singing he then went on to teach me what he knew and how he knew it.  He bore powerful testimony of what it was he was teaching that day.  I remember openly weeping for the joy that engulfed my heart and how I recognized my life changing before my very eyes.  My very nature was changing in that room.  We then went to the piano and he began to unravel to me some of my physical nature.  I admit I understood more the nature of my throat, singing, and of life then than at any point in my life, probably even since.  It was interesting how he always framed everything with a view for eternity and the building of Zion.

What came from my mouth, from my very heart, was so beautiful we both wept.  Terry sang a song for me that even today haunts me with how beautiful it was.  He then sang a song from Rigoletto that was simply amazing.  He sat at the piano and I sang a song that day which I have not been able to sing since.  It haunts me how beautifully I sang and it kills me I have not been able to sing like that since.  There was such an outpouring of the Spirit.  I do not know if I can ever share what happened that day.  The gifts of the Spirit were present and angels ministered to us.

We met many, many times again in that little elevator to the heavens.  Sadly, I don’t know what happened after a couple of months.  Whether it was my pride or influences in his life, but it began to falter.  We started meeting again in his parents house and doing lessons there which were interrupted and never of much value.  We then started meeting in his home, the old out garage converted into a studio/living room connected to a trailer.  It was never quite the same.  I really don’t know why to this day.

My Senior year at Minico brought the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  I don’t remember how many lessons before the play I had with Terry but I had such a zeal with singing now I auditioned for the play.  I had been singing in the choir now for a little while.  I totally bombed the audition but somehow I was still put in as one of the brother’s.  Honestly, I did so poorly I didn’t know if they would let me even be a dancer.  That is how badly I auditioned vocally.  I could never translate how I could sing in lessons to doing it in front of other people.  I was terrible when anyone else listened.  Even the State Solo Competition I sang for and did so poorly I didn’t even finish the song.  The choir helped me some.  Good thing it was an open class.

Terry helped a number of us quite a bit with our singing for that play.  I improved considerably under Terry but never could find the voice I had in our lessons on stage.  It drove me completely crazy to know how heavenly it could be and it just never translated outside the studio.  Our lessons continued and I learned a great deal.  We continued to cover the history of music and the mechanics of the voice.  All of which I still feel like I have a pretty good handle since I was learning them from a spiritual perspective.

Minico ended and my whole life had now become engulfed in music.  I had my musical training from band all the way from 6th grade.  I could read and understood basics of music.  I had taught myself a half dozen new instruments in high school and I wrapped up high school putting on finishing touches to play the piano in the mission and learning the master the voice.

I went to Utah State knowing how much I loved music but I would not be pursuing a degree in anything related to it.  It was completely my hobby.  I went home at least every couple of weeks.  Due to situations at home I would either stay with my Grandma or I would stay with Terry.  We often spent all Friday night in a lesson.  It was something about the two of us that somehow we connected and heaven was with us.  I don’t know if he had these experiences with others.  I know he had in the past but I sensed it wasn’t happening with others at the time.  He often expressed his frustration with me at how he wished others wanted to learn just for the sake of learning rather than trying to do it for publicity, pride, or money.  He knew I had nothing to pay him and I wasn’t about to ask my parents for more money since they were helping me through school.  I think that is one thing that changed later.  When his situation got a bit more desperate and he needed money I had nothing to offer and he was required to spend his time teaching paying students.

The time came for the mission and I was prepared.  My own research and experience on my own time had gained me many experiences with the Spirit.  I had come to gain a personal testimony of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Prophets and Apostles, Priesthood, and a bunch more.  I think one thing that was unique is that Terry had opened me up to a very different side of religion.  It wasn’t just the knowledge of it or doctrines, but it was the personal experiences with it.  Through college our lessons moved from the vocal aspects to mostly discussing religion and sharing experiences.  I had obtained many new experiences with heaven and Terry had a wealth of them to share as well.  I think many thought I was a bit crazy with how literally I was experiencing my associations with the other side of the veil but Terry always understood.  I remember my Grandma would get so excited when I told her about some of the experiences.  She would tell me of some of her own.  Mom I instantly recognized was out to kill or denounce anything of which I was experiencing.  She quickly would tell me how it was a cult and I was being brainwashed.  When I would confront her about how literally some of my experiences were she would chalk it up to hallucinating or something else.  Terry and Grandma were two who understood.

It was such an interesting road.  My roommates at college I don’t think knew how to take what was happening.  Some were very understanding at the beginning, others finally warmed to it.  By the end of the school year at Utah State we had all experienced some things together.  The turmoil and emotions of the year were difficult with my parents divorcing and the changing face in so many relations.  The roommates weathered all those and were very understanding.  But the thing I remember most is the little spiritual times I had with each of them and interestingly have bonded each of us together since.  All four of them we continue to feel very closely united even despite distance and time.

Terry offered to have someone provide the musical number for the mission farewell.  He did and I was very grateful.  Surprisingly, he offered some money to help pay for the mission that makes me blush that he would give it to me.  He never wrote a letter, I don’t think I ever wrote him a letter during those two years, but we had communication.  I remember one night I had a dream of a phone call to Terry while I served in Eccles.  It was after my Grandmother had passed away.  We chatted about a few things and I told him of my experiences with Grandma after she passed away.  He told me of some of the experiences he had with his own father after he passed away.  It helped confirm what I was experiencing.  In the dream he told me to get a copy of Parley P Pratt’s Autobiography and to read it.  After I returned home from the mission and had been home a few weeks, Terry called me.  What I had totally passed off as a powerfully spiritual dream came very close to home when he asked if I enjoyed Brother Pratt’s book.  That is just the way Terry was.

Terry asked me to come to visit him in Branson, Missouri after I returned from the mission.  I went to visit him in a heartbeat.  Terry wanted to start lessons again and asked me to move to Branson.  I went back home and made arrangements and headed out for Missouri.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience.  I thoroughly loved my time while I was there.  He mentioned that I was there for two purposes: To learn to love in a way unselfishly and to gain some great experience to carry me throughout my life.  He proved to be very prophetic on both accounts.  I learned to love in several ways which hurt terribly.  I definitely learned some lessons there.  I learned some valuable lessons in management, the corporate world, missionary work outside the mission, and family history.

Terry and I both lived under the same roof with several other families the first year I was there.  It turned to be a very wonderful experience.  I had three families I could call my own in the same house.  Each of them taught me some very important lessons.  Without going into details, it proved to be a time I still find myself thankful for in prayer.

I remember one night I had a dream where I had a dream in answer to a prayer.  I woke up afterwards and immediately went to knock on Terry’s door.  At 3:00 AM in the morning I recounted to him my experience and we both wept for joy.  He shared with me an experience where one of his prayers had been answered by dream just nights before.  This was the type of connection I had with Terry.

Interestingly, it is how merciful heaven is in dealing with us.  Terry definitely had a personality.  Some characteristics I will openly admit drove me crazy.  His little antics sometimes were detestable at how he treated others.  Even me a couple of times.  At other times I could not help but feel sorry for him with the struggles he had on so many fronts.  He had a temper.  He had his bias nature.  He had all his imperfections.  He was not a physically beautiful man by any real means.  However, his heart was something different.  I sat in on many lessons and it was interesting how completely different some of them were.  Some of them it seemed he was trying to impress them so he could gain their trust.  Some it seemed he had to debase himself to get the heart.  Others it appeared he had to bully them.  Every lesson was very different.  I never understood if he was catering to the personality of each or what it was.  My lessons were very direct, even almost unspoken at times.  It was not uncommon for a look to communicate everything.

When it came time for my leaving Branson, we both knew.  I only saw Terry a couple of times after that.  In fact, I think it was only twice after.  Once was in Utah and the last time was a year ago as Amanda and I drove on our way to Virginia.  We stopped and spent several hours with him.

I spoke with him on the phone for over an hour just a month or so ago and he was in good spirits.  It was with a bit of shock I received the phone call telling me he had passed the night before.  Somehow though, it seems like it would be the way Terry would do it though.  My first reaction was that little scoundrel did this on purpose.  But then I sensed a peace about the whole thing and it was meant to be.

In looking back, Terry always introduced me to people as the one with a pure soul.  I don’t know if it is true or not, but I always wanted to be a little better with that title.  Terry always had people who either loved or hated him.  People somehow switched those sides often with him.  I never understood why.  But something about the man endeared people and also brought on some of the strongest criticism.  But in the end he usually weathered it well.

I haven’t had any experiences with Terry spiritually for a couple of years now.  Perhaps we just grew apart.  But now that he has passed, I anticipate something small, at least for a temporary good bye.  If not, this is my little pushing off the ship of a good friend.  I will see you later mate.  I love your soul.

Good bye to 2006

Another year has passed. Has it really? It doesn’t feel like it. I don’t feel any older. I don’t think I look any older. What really happened in 2006? Did it really exist? I know it did. I have the memories of it and the evidence. (I won’t be like some nations claiming that you cannot prove the past, like the Holocaust).A former President has died ending the year. I remember meeting President Ford in Twin Falls, Idaho. I must have only been about 10 or
12 at the time. I guess he liked to golf once and a while at the course down in the canyon. (Sad, I don’t even remember the name of it.  (Perhaps I am getting older….)

Who else died this year? I read a few of Milton Friedman’s books. I still sing to myself the music of Malcolm Arnold, especially River Kwai.  I remember joking about what it must be like to be Robert C Baker, but now I would feel bad joking of chicken nuggets. Buck Owens who I saw in Branson passed away. We can’t forget political leaders like President Ford, Senator Stafford, or Congressman Sonny Montgomery. Ed Bradley who I liked to watch. 60 Minutes just won’t be the same anymore without Bradley and Wallace. Who were some not so notable, or infamous, Mr. Lay, Jeff Lundgren, Saddam. It has been a year for deaths! Oh, I about forgot Steve Irwin. It seemed every little kid in England talked of Steve.

A couple of family members have passed away. Ebertha Lutz of my Van Leeuwen line. Dean Sharp just passed away last week. His funeral is on Thursday up in Pasco, Washington. That doesn’t leave many of the Sharp family around either. I know Grandpa is struggling with his death.  Dad, Jan, and Grandpa are going up to the funeral. I hope when my time comes, it will go as well. He wasn’t feeling well, and went to the hospital. His oxygen was low, so they put him on oxygen and he wanted to go home. He was resting and Lois heard him make a noise and saw his oxygen was off. She went over and he was gone. Quick, painless, and comfortable.

I only visited with Dean two weeks ago. I called him to ask him some family history questions about his parents and recollections of Mary Ann Stoker, aka Lillian Musgrave. He told me characteristics of his parents, Edward Sharp and Lillie East. He always had a cool little laugh when he finished speaking. Don’t know if it was a nervous laugh, something he picked up, but it always made me feel relaxed. He never
knew his grandmother, I had to get that information elsewhere. Good bye Dean.

I received an e-mail from a Terry McHugh in South Carolina. He was searching information on the Stoker line. I filled him on information I
had, and gleaned quite a bit from him. It was good to focus some more on the Stoker line. I still have yet to figure out why my Mary Ann
Stoker (married Sharp) went by Lily (Lillian) Musgrave for a spell.

I called Grandpa and he shared a few memories with me. He said she was fairly tall, I am not sure what that means. Grandpa is not necessarily tall. He used to walk past her house every day on the way to school.  He would stop in on his way home when she was alive. It is the same house my Aunt Caroline lives in now.

She would have him put the hooks in the holes for her shoe laces. She also had him pull the strings on her girdle for her. He used to ask why
she needed the thing; after all she was so skinny. She would just sigh and ask him to pull them just a little tighter. It sounded like it was sweet memories. She had a horn for hearing. She went deafer over the years. Grandpa would ask why she needed that horn and she would say it was because he wasn’t speaking loud enough. It was interesting that June Streeter had memories of Lily, but didn’t know who she was. It wasn’t until a few months back talking with her daughter that I cleared that up in her mind.

Life changed considerably for Amanda and me this year. I again made a move across the country. One thing is for sure, get married and the
physical baggage multiplies! You would think that my trunk full of possessions would only double. Some reason or another, women are not
confined to a Spartan life. But add a marriage to it, and the making of a home, and things grow exponentially. There are ways I would like to
go more Spartan, but Amanda won’t have any of that. Probably a good thing.

Dad had his operation and seems to be back to normal. Indeed, he is better than he has been for the last five years. I am glad he has made
such a recovery, even improvement. Jan had her operation on her back.  For some reason I cannot recall if that was earlier this year or not.
Yes, I think it was, pretty sure it was. She is doing much better. Her progress has not been as quick as Dad’s but she is doing better.

Overall it has been a good year. Even the few dreams I have had have all been good. There is one that repeated some over the year. Have yet no idea what it could possibly mean. I am back living at Kasota Road.  But I have to go to the dentist. I go, and it is Garrison Keillor who
is the dentist. We end up chatting about a few things. By the time the appointment is done, he has split a tooth in half, and pulled it.  Having removed a tooth, I am concerned and discuss my issues with him.  He takes and makes me a new tooth and screws it back into the top of my mouth. I am shocked that I can notice no difference from the old to the new tooth. I am impressed there is no swelling and no pain. He doesn’t even use pain killers. It is his reasoning that makes things work so well despite my little idiosyncrasies. Perhaps it is just that I need
to reason and talk through more things in life. I almost laugh in the mornings when I realize I am dreaming of going to the dentist, spending
the conversation with Keillor, and then arise to find life is great.  Perhaps it is just a happy dream. Don’t know why I find it so ironic that the dentist and Keillor make me happy, but I won’t complain. (Now people will think I am more off my rocker than ever!)

Well, I think I will sign off. I look forward to what 2007 has to bring. I am sure it will have many surprises and interesting things to mention. It will be the first year in a long time that I am planning, for the most part, of staying in the same state. Since graduation I have hopped between states every year.

Arrival in Virginia

We have safely arrived at our home in Glen Allen (Richmond) Virginia.  We have now unloaded the car and are in the process of putting things away.  Here in a while we will venture out to find food, tp (how rude to not leave any!), and find our way around some.  It will surely be an adventure as we have no idea where anything is. 
Today we left from Lexington, Virginia and drove here.
Last night we spent the evening with Evan and Amber Fetters.  They are friends of mine from USU.  They were the ones I visited last year in Baltimore, and we both keep crossing the country.
They took us on a little tour of Lexington.  I have to admit, it is such a beautiful town.  It has its character and maintains it.  I have to admit, I am leaning towards Washington and Lee University just as much as University of Virginia.  I loved it there.
We drove from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky yesterday.  West Virginia was beautiful.  We liked the gold domed capitol building.  Nothing too exciting other than that we jumped off of I-64 to skip the turnpike.  Since we are thrifty we decided we don’t like toll roads.  We took US-60 through some pretty serious back country.  It was very beautiful and added a few hours onto our trip.
The day before we drove for over 11 hours.  We drove from Branson through St. Louis, Illinois, Indiana, and northern Kentucky.  It was beautiful.
Anyhow, time to get back to work.  We have a house to organize.

Moving to Virginia Day #5

Another day of traveling.  Today we left from Branson, Missouri and crossed Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and have come to rest in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.  Here we will be spending the evening for our few hours tomorrow drive to Lexington, Virginia.  There we will spend the rest of our day with Evan and Amber
Fetters and enjoy the fireworks at Washington and Lee University.  Should be an exciting day.

This morning we took our time getting ready.  I called and invited Liarra Bartlett to come and visit for a while.  She came and we visited for about a half hour.  It was sure great to see her again.

We visited with Becky Hughes for a spell and then popped by Ryan and Carina Hughes’ home.  There we got a tour of the home since I had not seen it since helping to fix it up.  We also ate bran muffins which Amanda got the recipe for.  It was good to visit with Cheryl Linton as well.

We headed out towards Virginia.  We saw downtown St. Louis including the Arch.  The rolling hills of southern Illinois, Indiana, and northern Kentucky were all beautiful.  It was a long drive today but we are glad to be getting closer to our destination.

Traveling to Virginia Day #4

The Sabbath has now passed.  So I thought I would share a little update before we get going on the road today.
We ended up staying for sure with Andy and Becky Hughes.  They have been more than kind to us.  Keeping us up, visiting with us, and providing some wonderful food.  Breakfast of waffles and such, with dinner of homemade lasagna.  All very good.

Went to church in the Branson 2nd Ward.  It was good to see so many old friends.  We ran into Gary & Kathy Freeman, Sheila Dutton, Marty & Cindy Hughes, Ryan & Carina Hughes, Gary & Lena Hughes, Adam & Vikki Hughes, Merrill Osmond, Jason & Mara Hughes, Steve Arvig, Doug Lowe, and many others.  It was great to be back in town.  The opening hymn was absolutely powerful.  All the hymns were sang in faith.  What a refresher.  The closing hymn was America the Beautiful, and most of the families have performed this show before so it came out in 6 part harmony in Sacrament Meeting.  It is amazing how music changing the power of a meeting.  It was Testimony Meeting, which was good, despite the usual missionary field-interesting ones.  All of church was great, especially to see so many old friends.

After church we came home and dressed more comfortably and chatted for a while.  We were scheduled for dinner with the Lowe family.  We went over and had a wonderful dinner.  The missionaries were there, one of which Amanda graduated from school with.  Anna Badger, Lee and Korinne Hamblin, and Kayli also had a friend.  Dinner was patriotic and tasteful.  I ate way too much.

After visiting with the family, Kami Lowe, and Anna Badger we headed to visit with Terry McCombs.  We ended up being there for several hours discussing physics, resonance, the build of the vocal instrument, and Zion.  It sure was good to visit with him again.

We returned to Andy and Becky’s, visited for a few hours, and then crashed for the night.

Today we head off to Lexington, Kentucky.  Hopefully all goes well.