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?

Stepping on toes

It is time I added another update for the blog.  Many interesting things are happening in life.  Last Saturday the car passed 200,000 miles on the way to Washington.  We celebrated by having all the front seals and head gasket replaced on Wednesday.  That put us out a good $400.  Sure has been a good car.  Amanda said one of the mechanics told her about a car that had just come in which had 640,000 miles.  I sure hope this little Camry gets that many miles.  It has been worth the cost so far.
We purchased a vacuum recently.  That is a great thing.  This apartment had just enough fine dust that I was nearly constantly sneezing.  I don’t have allergies, I don’t have problems with dirt, but somehow fine dust blown around by the fan just makes my nose attempt self-destruction.  My record so far is 12 sneezes in a row.  I did not set that this week, but that is my record.  I have no hopes of attempting it again, hence the vacuum.
I received a phone call from a Mr. Frank Overfelt yesterday.  His mother is Vay Amanda Carlisle.  She was born in 1900 and passed away in 1962.  She married more than once, but eventually to Mr. Ira Overfelt.  However, this good man, Frank, went to the Salt Lake Temple to see what he could do in relation to family history for his mother.  The temple told him it had not been done been submitted by a Mr. Paul Ross.  They went on to give him my address and phone number.  It had my Idaho number and they called and visited with Jan.  She gave him my cell phone and he wasted no time in contacting me.  Before I go on, I try to make sure that all those for whom I submit to the temple are within the guidelines.  I admit I let that slide a little bit where I know the descendants are not LDS.  The principle is that if they were born in the last 95 years, you do not do their temple work.  Mrs. Vay was born 107 years ago so I was not too worried about it.  But Mr. Overfelt called wanting to know why his mother’s family history had been done.  Luckily for him, very little had been done on the card and I called the Boise Temple and had it cancelled.  I let him know he should have a free and clear light to go ahead.  Now I just have to hunt down that card, wherever in the world it is!    I surely hope somebody doesn’t try to do another ordinance on it or I will have the temple calling me with a few kind, direct words.  I really enjoy family history, I enjoy seeking people out, but I feel bad when I step on other’s toes.  But I was well within guidelines and Mr. Overfelt should not have waited so many years to do the work.  Interestingly, he sealed his parents in 1979 but did not have his mother’s work completed beforehand.  I hope the temple doesn’t call him wanting an explanation like they did once to me!
Amanda and I received a letter in the mail this week with a check for $10,000 from Capital One.  It was one of those write your own loan scenarios.  With us looking at the purchase of a car, it was a very tempting offer.  We soon realized we could go to the bank and probably get half the interest rate.  It was hard to shred that check for such a large amount.  We continue to pay off our debts and prepare for the future.  Amanda has made enough now she can pay for her $900 pair of glasses for dental hygiene.  Now she just has to make enough for the service trip to Jamaica to help poor people with their teeth (If you wish to donate, I do have a paypal account!  Feel free to send $5 or $50.)
Work continues well.  I am becoming more confortable navigating the tedious screens and pages of 20 year old DOS based program.  But hey, if nobody can come up with a more reliable program, why change?  I do believe there is probably a program out there, but BOA isn’t willing to spend the money on it.  Until then I learn the codes and pages and then do the mortgages on top of it.  I am becoming quite a bit more comfortable there as well.  So much, I went through 25 new loans on Friday.  I think that is quite the achievement.  I will have this mortgage business all sorted out by the time I am done.
Well, it is Sunday, it is naptime, and I am surely in need of it.  I was assigned to teach Family History to the Elder’s Quorum today.  It went alright but I was very short on time.  I generally felt the lesson went well but I didn’t get to drive some of the points home as directly as I would have wanted.  Leave no doubt, they definitely know I feel passionately about the topic and that family history is a requirement for them now in their lives.  I drove around for a half hour handing out new Home Teaching Assignments.  Caught them all home but one and he is my companion so I am covered there.

Rawson Trip to DC

Amanda’s cousin, Jed Rawson, decided he wanted to stop and see Washington.  He made the arrangements to stay with Dennis and Gwen in Springfield.  We went up for Thursday.  We had a busy little day.  We visited the Capitol, Library of Congress, National Archives, Air and Space Smithsonian, Natural History Smithsonian, Washington Temple, FDR Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and I am sure there is something I missed.  Oh we did stop at the White House too.  It was a busy day and you can see that in the photos.

In other news, Ross Andra had a pretty major heart attach at church last week in Salt Lake City.  I am not sure what doctrine they were teaching but it definitely knocked him over.
I received a phone call last weekend from Iona Mellor in Anaheim, California.  She is my cousin as a daughter of Otto Andra.  It was good to visit with her for more than an hour.  I sent off some group sheets to her so she could return them to me with some more information.  I look forward to hearing back from her.
I posted a blog earlier on the Presidential debate.  Talk about a few people nipping at me since!  Geez.  Relax a little people.
Tomorrow I spend the day working at the National Genealogical Society’s convention here in Richmond.  That should definitely be interesting.  The church made quite a few announcements for it.  They are literally about to move a mountain!  The Granite Mountain!

Visiting Charlottesville

This morning we took a lovely drive for an hour to our west.  Our destination was lovely Charlottesville, Virginia.  Of course, as everyone knows, named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of the least favorite King in America, George III.  It is tied with Monticello, Ashlawn-Highland, and the University of Virginia.  It is also linked with Montpelier.

Our first photos are in relation to Monticello.  This was Amanda’s first trip, my second trip.  This time had much more green for me to see which was a pleasant surprise.  I will tell you now, the gardens are much more beautiful when they have something growing in them!  We parked, purchased our tickets, and headed up the hill.  We chose to walk rather than ride the shuttle.  We arrived first at the Jefferson Cemetery which continues to bury Jefferson descendents.  The next stop was the massive gardens.  The tour manual boasts over 1000 feet of them.  The Garden Pavilion you see in the photos is about half way.  There are some great views from the garden area over the local area.  Really quite beautiful.
We roamed up the hill and around the house.  You can see various pictures from around the property.  The striped fluffy tulips are something to mention.  We even took a picture.  We got some pictures from the well known Nickel view.  We went on the tour at 12:40.  I have always been impressed with Thomas Jefferson.  Nearly everything in my knowledge of Jefferson has been of great influence on me.  His focus of design in homes has been something that has impressed me since I started drafting in about 1992.  I remember almost instantly learning about Jefferson’s views probably in my first month of drafting.  I have been enamored every since.  Anyhow, I won’t do an opinion piece on Jefferson here…  The house is magnificent.
We came out, roamed some more and made our way back down the hill.  We drive just another mile or two away to James and Elizabeth Monroe’s home, Highland.  You will notice in the pictures that there is a yellow house attached to the white house.  The white house is the original Highland.  In later years the Victorian yellow house was added and the plantation came to be known as Ashlawn.  Thomas Jefferson convinced James Monroe to buy a plantation near him which he did.  It is important to mention Monroe owned several.  In his over 50 years of office, he spent only about 4 years all together at Highland.  His wife was frail in later years and they never made it back very often.  Plus towards the end to settle all his debts he sold Highland.  He died in New York City debt free.  There is a massive tree there in the yard I wanted Amanda to go take a picture with.  So we got to see one of her better sides in that photo.
We left our visit at Ashlawn-Highland to head back to Charlottesville.  We stopped at the Thomas Jefferson Museum and then went to the University of Virginia.  After a day at Monticello and hearing so much about it I had to see the original campus.  You can see pictures of the Rotunda which is the focal point of the campus.  You can see pictures from both sides of the Rotunda.  We also took pictures both east and west from The Lawn.  The Old Cabell building is seen to the west from The Lawn.
Lastly, I added a couple of pictures from our trip to Washington in March.  There are some pictures from late one night of the Washington Temple, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial.
It was a busy day.  We even took a cooler of goodies to make ourselves lunch.  Next time we need to pack more water though.

Christmas Greetings

A quick Christmas update for everyone out there. 

Christmas went very well. I can say I am one spoiled boy! I have a wonderful wife with wonderful family. I am fortunate enough to have a comfortable home and a job to provide income. Who could ask for more? I have clothes to cover me, and gained more this Christmas. I have food to fill my belly (that of course does not include all the tasty junk food that comes this time of year).

The weather was in the upper 60’s with an almost continual rainfall all day. It was pretty. It was a nice relaxed day.

I phoned and talked to all my immediate family that I could. It was good to visit with them.

Dad is doing very well. He said for the first time in the last 10 or so years, he does not have swollen ankles. Something the doctors attribute to
the liver and gallbladder problems. He said he is still sore in the tummy, but the water weight is falling off him. In the last week he has squeezed
in his belt 3 notches. He says his breathing capacity is back up to what it was in about 2000. Another thing attributed to his liver and gallbladder.

Andra is happy and doesn’t have any complaints. She had a Merry Christmas and was looking forward to going out to Dad’s place for the evening. I wonder what she thought of her present.

Amanda’s family continues to do well. They rehearsed all the presents and how their morning had gone. It sounds like Christmas was good for them.

I visited with Rose Byrom from Runcorn for at least an hour over the two days. Who would have thought the housewife of 7 years ago would now be a lecturer at John Moore University and Halton/Riverside University? Neither she nor I would have believed you. She should have her Master’s by the end of 2007. Life changes quickly.

I sat down and did some family history. Ended up with a serious road bump in some of my research. I found the Confederate Record for James A
Meredith. In the 1880 Census my James Thomas Meredith is living with an old man, James Meredith. That old man claimed little James was his son. That just seems implausible. How did he marry Nancy Graham if he was still married? Oh his wife is living with a sick daughter in that same census. So, knowing Nancy married a James Meredith, we always assumed it was old man James’ son, James Jr who was the father of James Thomas Meredith. Well, I found the Confederate record for James’ service. He was killed in Lexington, Virginia in a battle in 1864. Well, that makes it pretty difficult for him to be the father of a boy born 4 years later. Everything points that this confederate soldier, James Anderson Meredith is the same James A Meredith, son of James and Sarah Meredith. Their birth years, even the A for a middle name, and the soldier joined the Confederate Army in Pulaski County. The missing James A Meredith did not add any more children to his family, and his wife is alone and head of household in 1870. So, it all pieces together. So now back to the drawing board. Is old man Meredith really the father of James Thomas? Is that the real reason why he and his wife are living apart, or is it really as the census says, she is ill? Why did Nancy let the boy go to live with the father/grandfather? Where is the marriage record? That is what I really need to verify she married a James. Oh, another piece of evidence, old man James’ history tells he lost two sons in the war. Daniel, and another not named. This could certainly be the James A I have been seeking for such a long time.

On a good note, I found the father my Edith (Edie) Boothe. His name was Daniel Boothe and had quite the family. It took me a good hour just to get everything in relation to his children and wives situated. I also pursued some more on the Martin lines hoping to find something, but nothing yet. Will Virginia yield her secrets to me? I sure hope so.

Tomorrow we are headed back up to Washington. Taylor Duncan’s wedding is at 1:00 and we are planning on attending the temple while we are there. It will be great to see Paul and Kathy again, along with the rest of the family. I wonder who else of the family will be coming out. I have some new temple names to print up while we are there. Should be a good day.

1st Anniversary

Can you believe it? An entire year has passed! At one moment it seems like we were just married, but then it seems like an eternity….like we have
never been otherwise. 

With both of us working, we were able to go out an enjoy a steak dinner. I had a ribeye, Amanda had a top sirloin. Come to think of it, I believe that is the only steak I have had so far this year. Scratch that, I believe that is the only steak I will eat this year! We are either too poor to eat
steak, too lazy to cook steak, or eat too little meat.

Anyhow, we quite enjoyed the meal this evening. We eat out so little! I think it has been months since we even had fast food. We do eat healthy,
and we do have plenty to eat. I don’t want it to sound like we are starving away.

Amazing how time flies isn’t it? Where does it go?

One year down plenty more to go, if I am counting down to something.

This year has been crazy. A move from Washington DC to Utah. A trip to San
Bernardino and Kern Counties in California. Moving to and living in Provo,
Utah. Attending all the temples in Utah (not a small feat). Moving from
Utah to Richmond, Virginia. I worked at Spherion, JC Penney, Meier and
Frank, Macy’s, Lawyer’s Staffing, Combined Insurance, and am moving to GMAC
Model Home Finance. Amanda has worked at Downeast Outfitters, Dillards,
Meier and Frank, and now Macy’s. It has been a busy year in that field. I
loathe entering all the W-2 forms for taxes. I hope the next year is a bit
more relaxed. Yet, there is still so much to do.

 

The family net spreads wide

Wow, do I have a few things to share. With the limited time I am taking to write this, I don’t really have time to do it justice. But I will attempt
to give an overview. 

Sunday I thought I would try and call a distant cousin of mine. My Great Great Grandfather was born in Pulaski County, Virginia. He had a half
brother, who was a few years younger who was born there as well and remained there for his whole life.

So, my Great Great Grandfather’s half brother had a son whose name is Howard Ross Sr. The only reason I knew all this is back in the 60′s and 70′s he wrote a book on the Ross family and my Grandfather was given a copy for some of his help with the book. I knew Howard was around 81 years old. It just happened a few years ago, I ran upon a missionary who served in the West Virginia mission. I asked if he ever served down around Bluefield, West Virginia and he told me he served in that ward. I asked if he knew a Howard Ross who was about 80. He laughed and confirmed that anyone who lived in Bluefield knew Howard Ross. That missionary was very helpful in securing his address for me. Well, I wrote ole Howard a letter and to my delight he called me one evening in Logan, Utah while at school (about 2004). I was in the middle of a party of sorts, so I told him I would call him back. Somehow I lost his number and could not call him back. Worst of all, I did not have his mailing address either. On top of that, I did not know how to contact the missionary who gave it to me. So I was where I had left off.
The only thing I remembered from that short conversation was that he personally knew my Great Grandfather and my Great Great Grandfather had visited his family when he was still a boy.

Since moving to Virginia, even while in DC last year, I tried to find Howard Ross. Ross is a common name, and there was not a Howard Ross in the phone book anywhere near the area I needed. I ended up calling several dozen Ross numbers in the book in Western Virginia, but not one knew who I was trying to get. So I had decided I would just have to drive out there and ask people on the street of Bluefield. I never got the courage to do so as it is several hours away and if I found him, I was sure he would be out of town.

Sunday, something came over me, and I thought to try and find him again. I went to my family history and tried to find a name I might be able to only have one or two hits on in West Virginia and Virginia. I decided maybe I would look through my file and see if there were some towns which were small and possibly a Ross might be in one. Well, I saw Naoma, West Virginia as the birthplace of a family. I searched it, and a Willie B Ross came up. I had a Willie B Ross in my file, and so I called. It was a little awkward as I had him as dead. I rang the number and I asked for Willie’s wife. Sure enough, it was her. I told her how I was related and she said she did not know as much about that as her husband and that I would have to talk to him.  That was a little awkward knowing he was dead, a little more so when she went to fetch him!

In the conversation with Willie B Ross, he was indeed the person I had in my file (I did not tell him he was dead though). We went through all the
children, dates, birthplaces, and then he gave me his son’s phone number, John Ross. John is a physicians assistant in Beckley, West Virginia and
personally knows ole Howard Ross. Well, I thank them, hung up and called John. It was a good visit with him. He informed me it would have to be
short as his basement was flooding at that moment. He was kind enough to give me Howard Ross’s phone number, and his son, Howard Ross Jr, and his daughter’s number, Sally’s number, and then chatted on and on. I was feeling guilty since his basement was flooding and so I excused myself and let him go.

I then phoned Howard. Number disconnected. I called Howard Jr. Number disconnected. I thought and prayed for Sally to answer. Well, some old man answered and I knew I was at a dead end. I told him my name was Paul Ross.  He asked if I was the son of Milo Paul Ross, grandson of Milo James Ross, great grandson of John William Ross, and great great grandson of James Thomas Meredith-Ross. I knew I must be have hit the mark.

He too was in the middle of a family crisis at the moment and visited with me only for a short 20 minutes. In the meantime, I gleaned this much
information.

My Great Grandfather came to visit in the 1930′s. Howard remembered it because he was missing a finger. He asked what happened. Apparently he had a spider bite and because of what was happening to his finger, he dipped it in acid. Well, the doctor said he saved his life, but was going to have to lose his finger. I thought, what an interesting story. He then asked if I knew anything about my Great Great Grandfather. I said I did not. He told me he also came to visit in the 30′s from out California. Apparently he was a Bishop in Fresno, California. He came to visit the family and was upset they did not have a cow. He asked how they could be self-sufficient without a cow. Apparently he went out and purchased a cow for the family for the time he stayed there. Howard roared with laughter when he said then when he left, he went and sold the cow, and went back out west. We had a good little visit about life and where I was, and what he was doing, and then his crisis brought him back to reality and he excused himself. We set up an appointment for a meeting sometime in the spring, he said only if he lived, he was not going to be there if he was dead. I very much hope I can meet up with him, to learn some stories on the side I know so little about.

After hanging up the phone, I called my Grandfather to confirm and pick his brain a little. Grandpa is usually pretty tightlipped about the family, but he opened up about quite a few things last night. Here is some of what I got (combined with what I already know).

He was born in 1921 to John and Ethel Ross in Plain City. Ethel had been in an accident on the old train line that used to go out to Plain City. She
had received some type of settlement from the railroad (documentation I will have to try and find) and then moved to Paul, Idaho and bought a
confectionary. It was on what is now Idaho Street. Dad has a good stash of checks, paperwork, and other stuff from the old confectionary. It was
there, running the confectionery, that she met Mark Streeter after he returned from military service. I don’t know where or how much he served in WWI, but they were married. I don’t know that either, but they had a daughter, June Streeter who now lives in Adelanto, California. Grandpa said Mark Streeter ran off on her.

She kept busy at the confectionery until she met John William Ross. He and all his family had lived in West Virginia in the 1910 Census. I think his
sister, Fanny Ross Phibbs (her husband was Judge Calvin Dickerson Phibbs in Rupert) was the first one out. I think she came first(between 1912 and 1916), and then convinced the rest of her family to come out. Especially with the opening of the new sugar factory at Paul, and the building of the new city for all the employees. Fanny obviously lived in Rupert, and the rest of her family came out. I don’t know when John met Ethel, but he served in the Army. While he was stationed at Fort Logan, Colorado he was a cook. She went to meet him, and in 1920 they were married at Fort Logan. I assume they had met at some time previous to his military service. I don’t know the dates of his military service, and where all he served. Grandpa said he thought his father had been gassed, but was not sure about that. The 1920 Census has him in Colorado as an army cook.

On a side note, John had been married in 1910 in West Virginia. He had a son in 1911 named Hobart. I will get to some stories about Hobart in a
minute.

Grandpa was born in Plain City in 1921. Paul was born in Paul, Idaho in 1922. Harold in Burley, Idaho in 1923. Then Ethel had Ernest in 1925 in
Plain City. Ernest was born in July, Ethel died in August, and Ernest died in September.

Grandpa does not remember living in Idaho. Of course, he was probably too young. He does remember his mother’s death. He was terribly upset because they would not let him see his mother in the casket. They said he was too young. He said he was old enough to know his mother was dead and wanted to see her.

He remembers his father afterward bundling them up, they went to Ogden, and caught a train to Idaho. They then lived with James and Damey Ross in Rupert, Idaho. He doesn’t remember his father being around during this time. James and Damey contacted the Sharp’s (Ethel’s maiden name) and had them come get the boys. They could not afford to feet them anymore. Sometime in the early spring, he said Os (Oscar) Richardson and Dale Sharp drove up to Rupert in Os’ Hudson and picked them up. He remembers the drive past the poplar trees from the old town outside the Paul factory through Heyburn, over the river bridge there, through Declo, Malta, and all the way back to Plain City. He lived with Ed Sharp, whose wife was an East; Paul lived with Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt, and Harold lived with Delwyn Sharp. Paul in 1922 fell from a barn and died of a concussion a few days later.

From that point on, he never saw his father until 1948. So from 1925 until 1948. Apparently the Sharp’s forbid him from coming to visit. Grandpa has a whole bunch of letters from his father that were sent to Vic Hunt, but they were never given to the boys. Only after she died, did Grandpa and the others find out about the letters. They are actually very tender. Grandpa said his father had told him the reasons why the Sharp’s forbid him from coming to visit, but he did not want to disclose them. He said he was going to say nothing against the Sharp family who were so good to him. (I took that to mean it was not so much John’s fault, but the Sharp’s.)

Grandpa said he got a letter in early June 1948 saying his father was in Livermore Hospital and would only live a few more days. His sons were
requested to come and visit him. Great Grandpa Donaldson, Grandma’s Dad, gave Grandpa the money to go see his father. Harold did not want to go. Grandpa went to Livermore, Alameda County to the hospital. He walked in the building, up the stairs, and right to the room where his father was. He just knew where it was at. He sat down there and saw his Dad in pretty bad shape. This was a veteran’s hospital.

They started to talk. The hospital staff escorted him out because he was to have no visitors. He explained the position, showed them the letter from the Red Cross, and they let him go back in. He stayed there through the night talking with his Dad until he passed away. He said he learned quite a few things. I could tell Grandpa was crying over the phone. He would not tell me most of what he said. He just said he sat there and held his hand while talking through the night.

He found out that he used to take a taxi from Ogden, pick up Betty Booth, and they would ride out to the Sharp farm. John would sit in the taxi while Betty did whatever she was doing there. Grandpa remembers the taxi sitting there by the side of the field and the man and woman waving at him. He never knew that was his father or Betty Booth. Later in life, he said Betty was an old widow who could not take care of herself. Grandpa and Grandma would pay for her coal and Grandpa did repair work for her home. He even reshingled it one year, and Betty’s family made him sign an agreement that she did owe him anything. Her family did not know Grandpa and Grandma were paying for the coal. They thought it was the Maw family, who delivered the coal. Grandpa found it very moving to find out that he had supported the woman who had made it possible for his father to see his children. He thought it was a fitting service.

Grandpa would tell me nothing about what they visited about that night other than his father talked about life. Apparently he married an old widow in California who was wealthy and that took care of him the rest of his days. Grandpa did not know if the widow was still living when his father passed away.

Grandpa then took me through some of his war stories. He dwelt mostly on a recent deal where he had been honored at some stadium for being so decorated during WWII. He said the announcer interviewed him first and this was some of the things he told the announcer.

Those who were decorated during WWII were only the lucky ones who lived through the battle. He said the more that died around you, the more
decorated you became. He said his awards are not for his bravery, but a symbol of how many more died around him and he was fortunate to not have fallen. Grandpa was wounded 4 times during the war. He said they were all part of doing the job just like you smash your thumb once and a while with a hammer while working. He found it terribly disappointing that the longer time goes on, the more we honor the living who made it through the war. He points out that it is the dead who need remembered, not the living. What about those who never had family? Grandpa has a family who will remember him. What of those whose lives were snuffed out and have not family to remember them?

He pointed out to the announcer that a bar of soap was his best friend. He lived for weeks at a time in a foxhole. He even brushed his teeth when he had extra water with a bar of soap. On more than one occasion, a man would jump into his foxhole for cover, and by morning the man was dead. He had spent a couple days with a dead man because they could not get him out. One man he buried there by the foxhole and later told others where he was buried when the battle was over so they could go back for him. He said we don’t understand war. He said do we realize that in a foxhole for days, weeks you have to go to the bathroom. You put some dirt in your helmet, do your duty and set your helmet out of the hole until morning so you could bury it and hope your head was safe uncovered in the meantime. You always hoped you had enough water to rinse out the dust and whatever else so it didn’t stink too bad. The same clothes for weeks at a time, in a very humid, wet environment.

He said his awards for bravery were because he did what needed to be done because he was tired of the foxholes. He wanted to move forward. He was lucky that artillery and others gave enough cover that they were able to take the high ground.

Anyhow, it was a great conversation. I enjoyed the time. He cut it off, said he appreciated the phone call, and to call again some time. He then
hung up. (In usual Ross fashion, we are not much for telephone etiquette)

It was an interesting conversation. A man who never knew his father really, then had a crash course for a day until he died. His mother is only a
memory of younger childhood. Ed Sharp from what I understand was very hard worker and worked his children just as hard. I need to talk to Dean and get some more information about his parents before he gets too old.

Well, that story pretty much ends there. But there is another one that goes with it.

I started looking at applying for University of Virginia Law when I noticed it asked for family members who had gone to UVA. I remembered Evelyn Hoogland (who is a first cousin of my Grandma Ross through the Van Leeuwen family) telling me her daughter graduated from UVA. I needed to know what year she graduated. I called Evelyn and she gave me Kay’s phone number and told me to call her. So I called my cousin, Kay Hoogland. She graduated in 1981 from UVA and I remember Evelyn showing me a magazine or two with Kay on the front page. I knew Kay had made a name for herself. I phoned her at home outside Chicago. We had a wonderful visit and like we were old friends, I enjoyed our talk. She gave me encouragement, offered help, proofreading, even a letter of introduction. I was thrilled. She gave me one professor to contact and get to know who apparently is from Northern Utah. His name is Richard Merrill, and with a name like that, I would assume is related to Marriner Wood Merrill and his family comes from Cache Valley. I guess I could even be related to him! We will have to pursue that end.

It is time to wind down, and I am over my time limit. I learned a whole heap on Sunday. Made some new connections, and I hope opened some doors. I only scored average on the LSAT (only those who were diligent to read this far will get this news) so I am going to need a miracle to get into UVA or any other wonderful law school. Kay could be the unlocking of that miracle. More importantly, I unlocked a great number of doors to my own history and family on Sunday. The Spirit of Elijah is alive and well. An effectual door has been opened, and there are many more yet to come!

Time for rest and FHE. Love to you all. I love you, I know the church is true!