Baby Andra Ross

I believe this is the earliest photos I have of my sister, Andra Ross.  She will probably not be entirely pleased that I am displaying the earliest photographs I have of her.  At any rate, with the whole baby kick and trying to find similarities at this point in the game, I thought I should post a picture of my full sister.

Andra Ross was born 16 September in the Cassia Memorial Hospital & Medical Center in Burley, Idaho (the same location as me).  She weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce at 19 inches long.  Her parents are my parents, Milo Paul Ross and Sandra Jonas.  My parents were then residing at 108 N. 3rd E. in Paul, Idaho.  I believe the same address my Mom was living at when I was born.  We also were delivered by the same doctor, Dr. A. L. Kircher.  (If anyone knows his first and middle name, I would not mind having it.)  Interestingly, Sandy purchased a 1956 Dodge Coronet from Dr. Kircher on 22 September 1978.  The same “Old Dodge” in my possession, drivable, and will be lovingly restored at some point.

I do not want to give too much commentary on Andra’s life.  I will make a few mentions about the photos above though.  Notice the full head of hair that she was born with.  Honestly, her chubbiness covers up most of the features that distinguish her later in life.  I look at these photos and do not recognize her.  But then again, the trauma of a giving birth does a number on a baby’s head and facial features and head shape change quite drastically over the first few months.  I will say this.  Looking at Andra’s pictures as she grows older, much of the bone structure and facial features remind me of my Grandma Gladys Ross.  As Andra approached adulthood she took on more of Sandy’s characteristics.  I still personally see much of Gladys in there, but so many people comment on how much she looks like my Mom.  I think they are just going from memory and not comparing the actual pictures.  Anyhow, I see no resemblance, except for hair, between little Aliza and my sister Andra.  (I realize we already have too many “A” names in the family; ie. Amanda, Andra, Aliza, Alyssa).

Impending Baby Takeover

With the impending baby in the next few days, I thought I would share a photo of me and a couple of thoughts.

My first thought is, “Who is that?”  Of course I never saw myself in this station of life, or at least I do not remember it.  But as I look at the photo I see familiar features.  Not so much of me, but features that remind me of baby photos of my Mom and Aunt Jackie.  I do not see many features of my Dad that would start to appear throughout childhood.  While I want to deny the photo is me, I know it is.

I was born at 9:08 in the morning.  I weighed in at a whopping 5 pounds 12.5 ounces.  I slid into this world at 18.5 inches in length.  The photo you see above is of me probably within 5 days of birth.  I do have a photo from the same day but you cannot see my features like you can this photo.

Notice that I was born with a full head of hair.  It appears our baby will be born the same.  The ultrasound unfortunately does not give us hair color so we will have to wait and see.  My hair has stayed pretty much the same color since with variations for sun bleaching.

I do not know if I came early or not.  I have no knowledge of an early birth and while I may look a little thin, I spent no extra time in the hospital.  I do believe my Mom smoked through the pregnancy would may account for my light birth weight and potential early delivery.

While my Dad is obviously not in this photo, he kinda is.  Those dual tires and trailer in the background clearly represent him.  I do not know if he was superintendent of Circle A Construction’s Paul, Idaho job at the time (I believe he was), he was still working with these sugar beet trailers.  These tires provided my family’s income at this year and for many years to come.

These wheels tell me much more though.  This photograph was likely taken at the Amalgamated Sugar Company’s factory at Paul, Idaho.  If the photo was taken by my Dad, I am not sure a semi trailer would be so close.  A pickup, office, or something else may have been closer.  This shot was likely taken by my Grandma, because she worked as a dispatcher at the Paul factory for Circle A Construction then.  Those trucks and trailers parked only feet from where the trailer was located.  Furthermore, that trailer was so small that a good first photograph by my Grandma probably would have required a little more space and light.  Hence, my Mom is likely standing outside the trailer, my Grandma taking the shot, looking down at the new mother and baby.  The semi is also parked driving from left to right, which is the same direction those trucks drove and parked.  Dad will probably clarify if it was him who took the shot, but I have a pretty good suspicion it was Grandma.  Not only is Dad in the shot, but Grandma is too.

My Mom’s look clothing also is indicative of the time.  Yep, I can class my self with a period.  If that does not ring 70′s, I do not know what does.  Those mirrored glasses that she would wear in many of my memories afterward.  The overalls that were so popular at the time.  My Mom is wearing the bracelet that as far as I know, she wore until the day she entered prison.  While I am sure the glasses were replaced over time, I am not sure about the bracelet.

Even the tread on the tires seems like something from the past.  The tread seems to have changed over the years for semi-tractors although I don’t know.

Anyhow, that is enough on this photo.  Is that a cloth diaper?  I must have been just changed or something because my onesie is still open at the bottom, or that was the coolest fashion!  I swear I can smell the sugar factory now.  That sweet, biting taste that smells of money to so many people.

That cute little baby is actually me.  Amanda seems to think the ultrasound photos show a brow and facial features like this photo.  I guess we will just have to wait and see this weekend.

Jeep Wreck in about 1980

I thought I would share this story about my mother and me of when I was a baby.  It is a riveting story I had not heard from this angle before.  I knew my mother had wrecked her jeep, rolled it while drunk, and her dog was killed.  I never knew how I was linked!  Anyhow, I have changed the story some so it reads better for those who are not familiar with the family.

Colleen is my Grandmother, Sandy is my mother, Linda is my Aunt (the author), Doug is my Uncle.  I don’t know exactly when this accident took place, I assume somewhere in 1980.  The wreck was near Max Beet Dump, on Highway 24, near Minidoka, Idaho.

“The initial call from the police came to Grandma’s. Doug answered. Colleen was not there. I was asked about you, the police said there was no baby. I had seen you with [Sandy] prior to her drinking. Sandy was not above leaving you in the car when she would drink. So the police began the search. By the time Doug and I arrived at the wreck, they had found the dog, I think he was under the jeep. It was dark, I remember the field, the tumbleweeds. The shadows cast. The jeep upside down. Sandy was at the ER. The baby carrier that she used had been found, but no Paul. I remember hearing someone say, if you were out there, you were dead. The smell of the blackberry brandy all over the carrier, the inside of the jeep.”

“I remember Doug yelling, “I’m going to kill her.” Typical of the family, he rambled about every single thing she had done wrong in the past. Making himself madder and madder. I was freezing, terrified, my stomach hurt so bad.”

“One of the deputies radioed and we were told that Colleen was at home and that you were with her. Doug was so angry by the time we got to you. He fought with his mom about Sandy. All I could do was hold you and cry. Grandma was concerned about Sandy and Doug did not want her to go to the hospital. Colleen had been spared the emotion that Doug and I had just gone thru. I think Colleen had run into Sandy and had taken you so she would not leave you in the car while she drank. Probably because it was cold. I am curious about Doug’s memory of this. Your mom would probably not remember, she was drunk. I don’t remember anyone but the police and Doug and I looking for you. I believe we looked for a little over an hour before the call. Thing is, you were never missing. No one else really lived the terror, so this would not be a story connected with the rollover. There would/should be something in the police report, we did search for you.”

Now I am interested in getting my hands on the police report.  I wouldn’t know where to find it, even if they have kept it for this many years.  Who knew my life was so interesting at some point?  Does anyone else have a story about me I don’t know about?  I am certainly interested in hearing others’ stories, or even linked to this episode.

willkommen zum Februar

I don’t really feel like there is all that much to write.  A couple of thoughts from the rambling pilgrim.

Last weekend we had dinner with the Stake Patriarch.  After a little conversation, who would have ever thought he farmed in Paul, Idaho!  Kenneth and Karen Hutto.  Moreover, Sister Hutto looked exactly like Sister Hunt out in the Emerson Second Ward.  Come to find out it is her sister!  Bruce Hansen is also her brother.  It was fun to catch up with a person who I never knew about people I haven’t seen often over the past 10 years.  Small world, especially in the church.

The bathroom continues to come along.  This week we painted the ceiling and I installed our new light fixture and ventilation cover.  We sanded and worked the plaster on the walls and ceiling forever.  We still totally don’t like the way it came out.  For some reason, thought the paint would hide more of the imperfections.  Don’t get me wrong, there is really nothing wrong in the overall picture, it is just the perfectionist speaking.  This week we will probably paint the walls at some point.  We haven’t figured out what we are going to do with the tub yet.  We may have to swallow the pill and build a pony wall.  Let me rephrase that, I will have to build a pony wall.  Well grounded, sheetrocked, and the whole bit!  We may just have to purchase the tub, install it, and then worry about the wall.  I don’t know if you can do that, I will have to find out.  After the painted walls, we will lay the linoleum probably next week or soon.  I don’t think we will get the shower operational before Donald and Lolane come to visit.  Oh well.

The law school saga continues.  Again, I emphasize, if you haven’t experienced, I am not sure you would ever understand.  This is like nothing I have done before.  I really enjoy it, but it wears you down.  I am really enjoying Property.  I continue to loathe Contracts, more for the professor than the subject.  Criminal Law is very interesting, but I doubt anything I will pursue over the long run.  We will just have to see.  I did receive my grades and I am happy to say that generally, I am an above average student.  I don’t excel in any particular area, according to my grades.  But I am above average, except the class I love.  Honestly, the class I loved the most, is the one I did the worst.  The one I didn’t like the most, is the one I did the best.  How is that for a trip?

Anyhow, life continues on.  I have no complaints.  Plenty more to do, never enough time.  Such is life.

A report of a few thoughts

I am not really sure what to write.  My life feels like there is so much going on at the moment I would not know where to start.  I feel like singing a little Johnny Cash and “I’ve been everywhere.”
So more a couple of thoughts on a variety of issues.
I am learning more and more there is only so much some people can be helped.  I have a friend, Kevin, who says he cannot find a job.  I have now given him over 4 different job opportunities and he isn’t willing to do much.  Granted, it might not be the perfect fit, but why not jump in until you find something better.  I guess there is always the benefit of sitting and home and hanging out with the family.  The money doesn’t run forever (at least, for most of us).  I thought he was interested enough in a job that I set up an interview with the two individuals doing the hiring.  He went and brought his wife along for the interview.  Why not bring your mother too?  How far should one go in trying to reach out and provide opportunities to another?
There is another friend, Dustin, who has been tending a car for me for several years now.  He offered and I was happy to have his help while I was away to Virginia, Missouri, and all my other travels.  I went over to take a look today and it broke my heart how terrible of condition it is in.  I know it is free, I appreciate the watchful eye, but I think I may have done better leaving it sitting in my own backward.  Then it would have been more friendly dirt, less rusty water, and mice who belong to the family.  I don’t know if the neglect is what really bothers me but rather the questions I posed of whether or not everything was okay.  Did I need to pay him for some upkeep, did I need to help with expenses.  The answer was always the same, “Nope, everything is taken care of.”
I was visiting with my boss, Doug Kelley, the past few days about the Catholic Religion.  Particularly with the Pope’s visit to the United States and his news noted attempt to try and bring the US Catholic portion in line.  My boss, a self proclaimed “Roman Catholic with a little R” said the real issues he has with Pope Benedict is his apparent desire to undo Vatican II.  Primarily the fact that with Vatican II the church was less authoritarian and the congregations could really take on responsibility and serve on another.  It is always the Father out doing all the good while everyone sat around.  Now the Pope is diverting the church back to the authoritarian mode and he is very frustrated.  My first thought is he should definitely take a look at the LDS.  If he wants a congregation that serves on another, I don’t know of a better church.  We talked some about Mormonism and I even gave him a Book of Mormon.  He was thrilled and said he would read it soon.  I very much hope he does.  The sooner the better.  I won’t be around him for years to finally discuss and talk about it when he does read it.
I have been accepted to Oklahoma City University Law School.  I really like this option.  It takes me back to the center of the country, I get to live in another area I never lived, and in some cases another culture.  We are still waiting to hear from some other law schools for which I may be interested.  There certainly is no rhyme or reason to why schools accept or reject applicants.  I have acceptance to schools better than others that rejected me according to some ranking systems.  We shall wait and see.
In sitting down one morning to breakfast with Marie Lundgreen, she asked me what I thought about the relationship with her and the sister.  This Sister seems to have a relationship which may be similar in many ways with my own full sister.  The giving of great opportunities are not only rejected, they are turned back on you in a negative way as trying to interfere in their life.  Where credit or help is given, not only are they taken, but no recognition or appreciation is given.  In one case with my own sister, my willing to help her out cost me a vehicle and several thousands of dollars.  What is one to do?  Marie and her sister, over a period more than double my sister and me, has been more extreme.  In some instances the help offered cost thousands of dollars, and then it was all rejected part and parcel.  Even after acceptance was agreed upon and all the effort expended, then the gift rejected.  What is one to do?  How much should we extend ourselves to help those, especially family, where it seems to do more harm than good?  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of in any way.  I do think I am magnanimous, but is there a point where you should take your efforts elsewhere?  What happens when you know later the sister is being kind and nice just to get something more?  Forgive but not give the gift?  Is that possible?
Dad and Jan have been called to serve for two years in the Twin Falls Temple when it opens.  This is an exciting opportunity.  It will be a calling close to home, the privilege of officiating in the House of God, and the spiritual blessings that only come from the Temple.  I hope and pray the couple days a week they serve will not cost him his job.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  We are all in the hands of the Lord of the Harvest.  Dad and Jan have been called and they will give their all to serving.  As anyone does so, everything always works out.  We don’t know how, it just does.  The same has been very evident in my life.
I had dinner with Kevin and Jean Gore from Walkden, Lancashire, England.  What a joy it was to meet up with friends from within the England Manchester Mission.  Just like the sons of Alma after meeting up after all those years, nothing has really changed in the relationship.  Why, because we all live the gospel.  As we keep our hearts in tune with the Savior, we cannot help but find ourselves in tune with others who are seeking to do the same.  We enjoyed a great meal and discussed a wide variety of topics.  I thank God for how kind and generous he has been in my life.  There are so many great and noble people I have the privilege of association.
Work continues very well.  There are some things in the pipeline which will do great things in expanding the production of Magnesium Hydroxide at the Paul Plant.  It is just a matter of getting everything lined out and ready to go.  There are a host of equipment opportunities and I am sure there are many more.  We have met with a couple of engineering firms lately all of who are interested in our equipment and services.  There are some tremendous opportunities.  I hope we can get them on line before I possibly leave for law school.
I know this post has been a bit more negative.  I just needed to vent I think and relieve the concerns I have.  The future is so unknown, you try to help others out and they don’t want the help (such a fine line between meddling and genuine service), and the desire to anxiously engaged.  What comes next?

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.”

July Letter from Mom

This is the latest letter.  I edited quite a bit out of it to keep it from being offensive.

Paul,

I just wrote Jill back and sent Alyssa a card in thanks for the picture she drew me of Rojo.

So I take it you are all moved and settled in your place in Richmond. So you got another house?  Or an apartment?

Aint Karma a bitch!  I tried and tried to get that prick Carlson off my case but the bias gutless bastard was not man enough to take himself off my case.  So my 2 good friends Mother Nature and Father Time took care of my problem for me.  Those obits you sent me was a joke.  That is one reason why I will not have one.  What a crock of shit.

Anyhow, I called Dunlap the 9th and he was taking off for somewhere but said he was taking my file with him.  He said he found something else in my paperwork and was investigating it.  He wants everything over and done with by the end of this month so hopefully in a couple of weeks I will leave on transport to Jerome.  Another judge has not been appt yet.  SO I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything turns out for me OK.  Then I can get out of this screwed up state and start over again.  Hopefully I can get Sis to go with me.

I did not think Milo had the guts to answer my note.  I told you he was a gutless wonder.  I sent Doug a card for his birthday and asked him to please put the plot next to Dads in my name.  I said you would probably help if needed.  Will you?

Beings you are working in a bank now are you going to forget about law, lawyering, politics and all the corruption that goes along with it.  I hope so.  The system is broken and too far damaged to ever fix.  Besides DOC is one of the biggest money makers in the country.  Then you have all the parasites that suck the incarcerated for everything with commissary, phones, ect.  I would prefer you stay away from it.  Stick to banking.  That is where the money is.  Pun intended.  You can find out for me how to get off shore accts.

I do not remember you telling me about Ross.  Hope you have fund showing Donald around.  Thanks for the info on the Jonas’.  Does not the death certificate tell the cause of death.  What or why the person died.  Like Grandpa Jonas died of electrocution.  Did you find out anything about autopsy reports.  Are not they public record?  If so then you can get them.  Autopsy reports are used in court which is public.  I know at one time I had the autopsy report of the one who got herself dead in my hands but it made me sick reading what little I did read so that means probably both the attys had a copy.  Check it out or if you run across a lawyer ask and see.  I think Colleen had Dads.  Whatever, if you come up with anything let me know.

I still caint figure out why you want a timeline of my life.  You sure are not going to get it from anybody else.  1st accident happened about 4 days after I graduated from high school.  May 26, ’72 I think.  Doug Taylor and I were up in the mountains above Oakley.  I think we were up where we used to get wood.  We had spent the night up there in his Blazer without the top on.  Doug had been screwing around trying to be cute and found a gog and stuck the Blazer in it.  It took us most of the morning trying to find big rock to put under the tires to get out.  We stopped in Oakley at a little store and got a couple cans of soup and a big can of tomato juice.  Doug did not have a drivers license so we stayed off the main high by taking the road east that ran parallel to the highway.  Doug had one of those small sport steering wheels and the juice can got stuck under the steering wheel and the seat.  Before he could get it out the Blazer drifted to the left and hit a culvert and that had big chunks of cement thrown in it where the force of the water had washed away the dirt.  Doug bounced out 1st thing and only got a scrape on his shoulder.  I rode with the Blazer being thrown back and forth like a rag doll.  The Blazer came to a stop where it hit an uprise where the ground had been cut away.  I was thrown out and the barb wire broke my fall.  I slid along the wire a little ways and ended up upside down hanging by my leg.  When I lifted my head to try and figure out whatever, it was like someone threw a bucket of blood on my arm.  I kicked down and was wedged between the Blazer and the uprise ground.  The wreck crunched the front quarter fender passenger side.  I think there was front end damage.  I busted the back of the seat so it layed flat, took out the dash with my ribs and the windshield and frame with my head.  Then I spent time at U of U Medical Center trying to make my face look like my face again.  Before I got my last operation on my face I got my hand hurt at Del Monte.

Aug 17, 73 I went to Mt. Home Air Force Base to pick up Doug (brother).  When I got back and went to work I was late.  It was break time so I was giving the other workers their breaks.  I was by the buff line squatting down picking up stuff up off the floor.  I started to lose my balance and reached back to steady myself and grabbed the chain right in front of the sprocket which pulled my hand in.  I spent the next 4 years getting my hand rebuilt.  I lived on comp for the first 2 years.  That was when I moved back to Richmond and then Logan.  After they cut me off comp in between operations I worked odd jobs.  I worked as an automotive electrical mechanic in Mt. Home (76), canning kitchen in Rupert (76).  I went to Voc Rehab at CSI (77), was the 2nd to leave and get a job which was at Motor Parts in Burley (77).  I enlisted in the Army in the DEP (delayed entry program) in Dec 77, left in Mar 78 for boot camp at Ft. McClellan Alabama, then to Ft Knox Kentucky for AIT as 63C which is track vehicle mechanic.  Was ½ through my 13 wk training in 2 ½ wks when I said fuck it cause a faggot kept getting me in trouble cause I would not play her game.  I went to my DI (drill instructor), CO (commanding officer), JAG (lawyers), IG (Inspector General) for help and no one would help me so I got out on a medical discharge.  Came back to Colleen’s in Paul and started working for Circle A.

New Years Eve ’79-’80 I put my arm through the window at the shop, cutting my arm in half and almost bled to death.  DO not know if in 79 or after midnight in 80 when it happened.  Feb 10, ’80 wrecked my jeep out by Max beet dump.  Flipped jeep 7 times end over end and side ways.  My dog is buried at Max.  Everyone standing around said I was dead.  But I am too damn ornery to die.  The picture by the little red car is when I got in the wreck with Doug in ’72.

Does that fill in some of your spaces.  I been bunged up pretty good.  Some still bother me.  In the little house when I was first living in it I walked out the front door and ** Sunday punched me and kicked me in the back right where spind and hip bones come together and ruptured the spinal column.  Between the hematoma and spinal fluid that leaked out I had a lump the size of a soft ball cut in half.  Took about a year for my body to dissolve and absorb it.  One of the war wounds that will bother me til the day I die.

Love,

Mom

Pulaski Roots

Speaking of roots, I had a dental appointment on Friday.  Due to Measles as a baby, I have ameliogenesis imperfecta with several of my teeth.  Basically, some of my teeth have deformities.  One of which is that the nerve in one tooth reaches quite a bit higher than normal.  Also linked with the deformity of the drugs (legal!) I took in the early 80′s, those teeth are weaker and more susceptible to problems.  Many, many years ago I had a filling put in the tooth that touched on that high reaching nerve.  Over the years that nerve touching the filling, in addition to a slight tapping from the tooth having moved (from squash racket trauma about 2000), and just normal advancement of time that root has decided to pass away.  Yes, I am the owner of a slowly dying tooth.  I have been placed on antibiotics to keep the nerve from getting infected as it decays.  In the next few weeks I will experience my first root canal. 

On an interesting note, once Dr. Spitzer saw my x-ray of the teeth he quickly noted how long the roots are on my teeth.  Amanda confirmed to me later that during the freak show discussion that ensued my teeth roots were measured at 25 mm long.  Amanda tells me that the normal individual has roots approximately 15 mm long.  The dentist commented how he may have to order some longer tools to work on the tooth.  Whether it was in jest or not, I have come to appreciate how different I really am.  Deep down inside I always knew I was special.  Now I know it is a good 10 mm deeper why I am special.
So we have frantically tried to figure out how we would pay for what a root canal and crown would cost without insurance.  When in the mail today I received an invitation to join the insurance for my work.  As generous as they are, I will now have dental insurance.  Now I just have to find how long of a waiting period I will have with a tooth that has become highly sensitive to hot and cold with slight throbbing from time to time.
Anyhow, on to the story of Pulaski County, Virginia.  My Ross line left Pulaski County about 1912 and headed to settle in Rupert, Idaho.  The daughter, Fannie had married a Phibbs from Pulaski and Carroll County and moved out previously.  Her husband was the Minidoka County Judge in Rupert.  With the opening of the new Sugar Factory at Paul, the rapid expansion of irrigateable farm land, and an economic downturn in Pulaski it was time to move.  James Thomas Meredith Ross who I have written about before followed his daughter Fannie.  His other three children would follow to the west.  James would later settle in the Vernal area.  The Phibbs would eventually end up north of Sacramento, California.  John would roam for many years marrying in West Virginia, Colorado, and Wyoming.  He would die in Alameda County, California.  Robert we don’t really know what happened to other than he died in California about 1944.
While I have written about all of that previously, James Thomas Meredith Ross would leave behind his half brother William Andrew Ross.  William would marry and move to West Virginia.  He lived in Gary, WV most of his life and raised his family there.  He worked in the mines coal mines.  He and Sarah (Sallie) had 12 children.  The youngest of which is Howard Ross born in 1925.
It was Howard we went to visit this weekend.
Howard is the only remaining individual of his family.  He was born in Thorpe, West Virginia and moved to Bluefield, West Virginia many years ago.  He lives in a home perched on the side of a hill on Essex St.  He had 3 children, and a step child he helped raised.  He worked in or with the mines all his life.  His wife past away a few years back and he lives in the home with his grandson and future granddaughter-in-law.
I knew of Howard because he had spent so much of his life pursuing family history.  Grandpa gave me a copy of one of his books he had written about 1972 on the Ross family.  That is how I knew who he was and that he was related.  By the time I came home from my mission I did not expect him to be alive anymore until one day in Twin Falls I was visiting with a missionary who had served in the West Virginia Mission.  I told him of Howard (I knew he was LDS) and the missionary not only knew of Howard, he had his address and phone number.  He gave it to me and I called Howard.
I have looked forward to meeting Howard for several years and of visiting the famous Pulaski County.  The valleys surrounding Pulaski County had already been home to the Graham and other families for over a hundred years by the time Pulaski County was formed in 1839.  There Meredith, Martin, Booth, Shepherd, and other families were well entrenched.  But my main interest was in going to the area where my family left before heading west.
Friday we drove out to Pulaski County and arrived after dark.  We spent the night in a hotel at Claytor Lake just over the border into the county.  The next morning we drove into Pulaski and just got a feel for the town and then headed for the hour and half drive to Bluefield to see Howard.
Bluefield turned out to be what you would imagine a town 50 years ago.  The little streets, little yards, flags on every house, and a good percentage of people sitting on their porch.  It was a lazy, hazy, day in summer.  We wound through the streets of Bluefield following our directions to Essex St.  Wow, as if we were not impressed.  One side of the street was wood and the other side of the street were homes perched on the side of a hill probably 75 to 100 feet up.  This hillside was probably at a 45 degree angle.  We found the home and climbed the steep stairs to the rickety old porch.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but we had entered what you joke about with rednecks.  These homes sat precariously sitting on the side of this hill and had not had any care in the last 40 years.  There was a hand made 2X4 railing up this terribly steep hike and at the top the porch wood buckled with every step.  Howard met us in the open door and invited us in.  We sat there in a relic of the 1930′s with only the television and sofa to remind us we were actually not in the mid 20th century.
Howard sat there talking with us in a most happy manner with his eye patch and asking for us to repeat often what we said.  Moreover, he spoke with that thick gentleman manner which so permeates the old confederate ideal.  His joking ways were jovial and we had quite the good conversation.
I took him with my computer through all the descendants of William Andrew Ross and he updated quite a bit of my information.  We also showed him a number of pictures I thought he would be interested in from my side of the family.  He then told us a few stories.
Uncle Jim (my great great grandfather who went west) had come to visit in the 1930′s where they lived in Gary, West Virginia.  It was the late 1930′s because the family had all gone to attend a Conference of the church in Grundy County, Tennessee.  One of the speakers that morning was Jim Ross, Howard’s Uncle.  The children did not attend but afterward all these people kept coming to his mother and commenting about how powerful Mr. Ross had been in his preaching.  Howard’s mother had to set them all straight that it was not her husband but her brother-in-law.  Howard remembers the day because it was the day he was baptized.  They would meet for the morning meetings and then have a big meal and baptisms in the middle, and go back to conference in the afternoon.
They went back home after the conference and Uncle Jim came and stayed for a spell.  Howard remembers Uncle Jim taking the wash basin out to the fields and coming back with a huge amount of corn.  He then told Howard’s mother to cook all the corn and they would eat it for dinner.  When Uncle Jim found out they did not have any milk, he went out and purchased a milk cow and brought it back for them to have milk.  (This isn’t necessarily all the same night).  Howard remembers that he was so thoroughly struck by how much Uncle Jim could eat.  Howard swears Uncle Jim must have pushed near 300 pounds and that man could eat.  Howard laughs and laughs about how when Uncle Jim left he went and sold the cow and they didn’t have milk for years afterward.
Howard remembers Uncle Jim was missing a finger.  He doesn’t remember which one, but he did ask how he lost it.  Apparently he had been bitten by a spider and as the finger started to rot and decay he finally just cut it off.  The Dr. apparently told him he had saved his life by taking the finger off.
That was about all he remembered of Uncle Jim.  He knew he moved to California after Idaho and Oregon.  While in Fresno he served as a Bishop of an LDS ward for quite a few years.  Uncle Jim was always a Ross to him even though he took the Meredith name back after moving to California.  The timeline in relation to the name I have told previously.
John Ross, or Jack as he was known, also made a trip out to West Virginia to visit.  He came out after his second wife had passed away (my great grandmother) and tried to convince his first wife to marry him again.  She wasn’t having any of that and Jack left empty handed.  Howard never met Hobart Day, Jack’s oldest child with his first wife.
Howard doesn’t remember ever meeting any of the rest of the family.  Donna Phibbs Beachell came out to visit in the 1970′s and spent quite a bit of time with Howard.  They wrote often over the years, some of which letters I mentioned were sent to me in the papers of Howard from John Ross.
Howard was very interested in what I had found out on the Meredith family and I told him what I was pretty sure to be correct.  He related to me more of the stories of what he believed happened to his grandfather but until further information comes out to prove the James Meredith story of the Harvy Ross story, we still really don’t know for sure.  I think mine is pinpointed quite a bit more firmly than his.
Howard then gave us a bit of the history of the LDS church in West Virginia.  He had us drive him down to the Bluefield Ward Building over the border in Bluefield, Tazewell County, Virginia.  He gave us a tour of the building.  We met the Bishop and a few other people.
We went back to the house and he asked that I give a blessing to his daughter, Sarah who lives next door.  She has MS and various other problems that come with smoking, MS, and the redneck lifestyle.  I will tell you now, I was alarmed that 82 year old Howard regularly climbs and descends those stairs out front.  They were so steep I didn’t feel safe especially with an old man struggling up them.  I gave a blessing to a woman who didn’t want it but whose father insisted.  Talk about a little awkward of a position.  We then went next door where he asked I give his future granddaughter-in-law a blessing.  Not only did he want a blessing for her, but the unborn child as well.  That was my first experience I remember blessing a baby in the womb.  Both turned out to be special events.  I enjoyed them and Howard became choked up after the second of the two.  My oil holder had become cracked and did not stay together any more and so we had to make due with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small glass bowl.  Under the circumstances it was the best we could do and we were richly blessed on the occasion.
Interestingly, the kitchen is exactly how you would have found it in the 1940′s.  The sink, the ironator, cupboards, and more were all of proper vintage.  Sadly, that was probably the last time they were cleaned.  It was quite humbling to see the faith of this man in such humble circumstances.
We left with my promising to do the ordinance work for his son and him after he had passed away.  He joked, part seriously, that through family history he had prepared the way for hundreds to enter heaven despite his own lack of achieving the same goal.
Amanda and I left and wound our way back to Pulaski County.  There we wound our way through the desolate parts of county roads trying to cross the New River.  We found our way across and went through the little towns of Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  All towns of which were heavily populated by those of my ancestry.  It was interesting to drive along and recognize names on mailboxes and say to Amanda, “They are probably related.”
We drove back across the river up to Newbern, past Dublin, and back to Pulaski.  There we enjoyed our dinner, as we had our breakfast, at the Sonic Drive-In with gift cards that had been given to us for helping a lady move into the ward.
Afterward we hit the road to try and make Tennessee for some souvenirs and then across Southern Virginia to other ancestral locations.  We realized we were too far from Tennessee too late in the day to make it so at Rural Retreat (how is that for a name?) we turned and headed east.  We drove through Independence (Grayson County) and crashed for the night in Galax (Carroll County).  Both counties are heavily tied to me as well.  Sunday morning we awoke and made our way to Hillsville (Carroll County Seat), Martinsville (home of the Martins of which I am related), over to Danville, north to Keysville and Farmville, and home to Richmond.
It was a long weekend but very worthwhile.  I really enjoyed getting to see Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  Maybe someday we will get to go back.  Maybe Howard will be around when it comes time for us to head back west in a year.