Sergene Rodeo

Sergene Andra on the front of the Preston Night Rodeo program for 1949 with Trigger Jr.

My Uncle Larry Andra provided these two photos as part of a group of photos.  I hadn’t seen these photos before.  I thought they were interesting enough I would provide them separately.

The first is the front of the 1949 program for “That Famous Preston Night Rodeo.”  The photo has Aunt Sergene along with Roy Rogers’ Trigger Jr.  There is quite a bit of history on the That Famous Preston Night Rodeo, but there is much more history available on the internet of Roy Rogers and Trigger Jr.

This second picture is of Sergene as the Rodeo Queen and stands in the middle between her 1st and 2nd Runner Up.  The horse was owned by Mr. Peterson who lived on the corner of 1200 East and Oneida in Preston.  Sergene ran on a whim and won.  I do not know which year, I assume this is at Preston.


Sergene Andra after winning as Rodeo Queen

Andra Girls

Mary Louise Wanner Andra

This seems an appropriate post for Mother’s Day.  A frame holding a Mom and her four daughters.

I stopped in to visit Larry Andra in Preston on 25 April 2020 while passing through.  I returned a number of photographs to him that were left with me by Twila Andra Lemmons.  In fact, she left me with Golden’s entire family history book which I am still trying to work through and process, along with another 100 or so Ross family photographs.

As I was about to leave, almost as an afterthought, Larry asked me to wait while he pulled a large picture frame from the top of a bookshelf.  In it are pictures of my Great Grandmother and her four daughters, all 8″X10″ pictures.  He said it belonged to his mother, but I don’t recall seeing it when I was a kid.  Not that until she died at age 11 I was taking inventory of what was on the walls of her home.

I photographed them all.  These are all black and white photos that were colored.  As you can see in the photo above, sometimes as whoever is coloring the photo, you lose a number of the details.  Great Grandma’s hair loses quite a bit of detail especially on the right.  The part that captured my attention is I didn’t know the color of my Great Grandma’s hair.  Once color photographs appear, she was already white.  But this gives a dark red.  I do not know how close it was to the original or if she ever dyed her hair, but with two daughters with red hair, it is very likely hers was also red.

Another detail that caught my attention, Great Grandma’s teeth are slightly off-center to the right, her left, from the middle of her lips.  I don’t have a black and white copy of this photo, but as you will notice below, it matches my Grandma too.  This doesn’t bring out the color of her eyes like Sergene’s below, but now I wonder about that detail too.  If anyone updates me, I will update it here.

The photos were arranged with Great Grandma in the middle, and then the girls from oldest to youngest from left to right.

June Andra

This photo of June also gives some of the weaknesses of coloring a photo.  Her hair also takes a hit.  Especially around the outsides.  Here is a copy of a poor black and white copy I have of this same photo.  The part most fascinating to me in this photo is also the reddish color to the hair.  I never knew June but with dark hair, so I am not sure if she colored it most of her life.  I will add a photo of her with much darker hair below.  The brightness of the blue is intriguing too.

June Andra

Unfortunately, this appears to be a copy of an original so the details in the dress are less clear.  It is also pretty worn.  The blue of the eyes is brought out and the lips and teeth also don’t quite line up, but this one is the opposite direction.  But neither photo is clear on whether the coloring is off for location.

Peggy, Keith, Mary Lou, June, and Sharon Johnson

Notice how dark June’s hair is in these photos.  Nearly every photo I have of her is with the dark, dark hair.  I don’t know what her true color was/is over time or if it is just lighting in photos.

Mildred Andra

This photo of Millie is pretty amazing.  I don’t have a related copy of it in black and white, I had not seen this one before.  You can see the photo has had some rub or moisture damage in the frame, they all have had some if you look close.  This one has the scratch across her bridge too.  The highlight of the hazel/green eyes is captivating.  Millie was always a redhead, even though it lightened with the passing of years.

Colleen Mary Andra

I think this photo is the best of the five.  You can see the coloring of hair didn’t remove as many of the details.  Although you can see something happened, or so I thought, with the iris of Grandma’s right eye, her left.  As you can tell by the two photos below, it must be in the photo itself, but did not repeat in the other photo below.  The red of her hair is pretty true as well, just like Millie and I assume Great Grandma (Mary).  As I have mentioned in other posts, her teeth seemed to be just off from center line.  Not to knock, just commenting on the details.  This is my Grandmother and I find it captivating how hauntingly familiar she is to me, and beautiful.

This photo obviously has spots on it and has smudges and did not give us the full head of hair.  But you can see how good the coloring is to the photo above it.  Contrast this photo from the same sitting.

Colleen not smiling!

Different angle of the body, different accents without the smile.  Earrings are much more visible at this angle.  But the iris is normal roundness in this photo.  Not sure how that happened.

Sergene Andra

The last picture is of Sergene.  While the baby of the girls, she was 6th of 12 children.  The remaining six were all boys.  I also have not seen this photo before.  Her hair doesn’t look like it colored well at all.  Even her necklace and face seem to have lost details.  But the eyes and mouth have retained their definition and draw the attention.  I always knew Sergene was a blond.  That was one of the characteristics many people mention of her immediately who knew her when she was younger.

As I look at each of these photos, I can see and feel the family resemblance to my own mother and family.  We truly are related.  The characteristics are so familiar.

Too bad there is not a separate frame with the 6 boys that lived to adulthood with similar portrait style pictures, and colored.  There could be some senior pictures or something out there, but I don’t have them.

Friedrich Theodor Andra

Theodor Andra

I had to share this photo.  I was dropped off a copy of a family history book that belonged to Golden Rulon Andra.  It is obviously his book and most of the information and documents are from his own hand.  I just scanned more than 100 photos but haven’t really gotten into the book yet.  As I was skimming the pages, this little 1″ X 1″ photo caught my attention.  I had never seen it before.  It was next to the information for Theodor Andra.  I had to scan that page for this purpose.  I have already uploaded it to FamilySearch.

Here is the photo/picture I had.  What a difference between an photo and a sketch/picture.  The picture is of a fuller Theodor, so I don’t know if that is artistic difference or if it is a different period in time.

I have written previously about Theodor and you can read it here.

Keep looking everyone.  These finds are still out there!

Friedrich Theodor Andra

Regina Nuffer Wanner Photo

Regina Friederike Nuffer Wanner

This is a picture of my Great Great Grandmother Regina Friederike Nuffer Wanner.  I have written a more thorough history of her before.

This large photo is in the possession of Karen Hodges of Preston, Idaho.  My Uncle Larry Andra was able to visit and get some pictures of the large photos.  I have already uploaded this to FamilySearch and linked her properly.  I recommend all go and see the free family history tree and related documents and memories/photos there.

This painted picture does create questions for me.  I assume the photo has the angle to it because of how Larry took the photograph.  Was this portrait on the top of the stack as it appears to have the most damage to it of all the photos in the stack.  Was this photo done about the same time as George’s photo?  What was the occasion?

It isn’t the highest quality of portrait due to time and angle.  But it provides another glimpse into Regina Nuffer.  Here is another picture of her I very much appreciate.

Regina Nuffer and Alma Katherine Scheibel

John George Wanner Jr Photo

John George Wanner Jr

This is a picture of my Great Great Grandfather John George Wanner Jr.  His name in Germany was Johann Georg Wanner.  I have written a more thorough history of him before.  He went by George during his life since he was a Junior.

This large photo is in the possession of Karen Hodges of Preston, Idaho.  My Uncle Larry Andra was able to visit and get some pictures of the large photos.  I have already uploaded this to FamilySearch and linked him properly.  I recommend all go and see the free family history tree and related documents and memories/photos there.

The photo, a painted picture, does create questions for me.  Why is he dressed up?  What was the occasion?  But the more interesting part of the photo is what is found on the back of the photo.

While the photo snapped by Larry cuts off some of the dates, it gives a great copy of his signature.  I don’t have the record of when he was ordained a High Priest, but he served as a missionary to California from 1 December 1933 to 6 April 1934.  He returned at age 63 so I don’t think this photo is of him at the same time, he just wrote the back of the photo over the age of 63.

Back of Picture of John George Wanner

It is nice to have a copy of his handwriting in addition to the photos we have of him.

William Andra Jr

This photo was recently shared with me.  I never really knew William personally, I can remember his presence as a kid at reunions, I knew who he was.  But this photo is one that seems to make him that much more personal to me.

I have written on William previously and shared photos.

William Fredrick Andra Jr (1920 – 1992).

The Couch and Chair

My Grandparents, Norwood Jonas and Colleen Andra, married in 1946.  It is my understanding they were given a number of items for their marriage.  The two main ones I remember are a bedroom set (which my Aunt Jackie still has) and a couch and chair.  My Mom at some point in the past received the couch and chair.  I remember them early on as a child.

I have noticed both in a few pictures over time.

Sandy and Doug Jonas about 1958-59 in chair

In the picture above you can almost see the pattern in the fabric.  I imagine it was a rough, thick fabric.

Norwood and Sandy Jonas on couch about 1957-58

In this one, you can also see the same pattern in the fabric.  Notice the wood accent on the front and carved feet.  Grandpa and Mom are on this couch, you can see Doug on a different chair in the corner.  These pictures are at the Jonas home they built in Richmond, Utah.  In the chair and couch, you can see the back of each with the vertical tucks.

Doug and Sandy cuddled under a blanket with couch to the right.

I know it is only a side shot, but another photo it appears.  It is interesting what other objects appear in pictures.  These two are likely watching the television which is across the room next to the chair.

Doug, Sandy kneeling in front of couch about 1962-63

The picture adds a table, but the couch remains behind with the shag rug.  The chair in the corner disappeared, along with the radio (which I have now), but the side table that matches the coffee table appeared.  This photo shows the pattern much better than the previous pictures.

Sandy and Doug Jonas reading on couch

This one jumps back in time with the radio and chair reappearing.  Some more of the pattern and fabric.

Then the couch and chair disappeared.  Obviously when the family moved to Burley, Idaho in 1968 they made the trip.  But I have limited photos in that home and this couch and chair do not appear in the upstairs living room, so they must have been downstairs.  I will have to ask my Uncle or Aunt more information.

About 1985 the chair and couch reappear, and appear for me.  I do not remember the upholstery on them in the photos above.  I remember picking them up for the first time at the upholstery shop in Paul, Idaho.  I don’t know if it was Frontier Upholstery at that time.  I cannot find a photo of the print or pattern on the couches from 1985 to 2019.  But it was something like this.

Except it was on the same couch with the vertical tucks and feet and wood accents seen above.  Also, the cushions were spring loaded, so they had extra bounce.

Well, they were in storage from about 2010 to 2018.  They were dusty, had a worn smell to them, and had some structural problems from the hot/cold transitions that come with storage.  I brought them to my home with the thought of saving them and using them for my office.  I took them to an upholsterer here in Burley named Jerry Lankford who lives about a mile east of me.

I received them back last fall.  I am in love with them.  I have preserved a part of my heritage and past.  Now they are useful for an office and another generation.

I will have to get a picture of my kids on the couch and chair before they get too much older.  Not bad for a couch and chair that are at least 74 years old!

This is the photo that made think I should go through the pictures and see if I have others of the couch.  This is one I scanned earlier 2019 from a stack of photos Jackie found.

Doug, Sandy, and Norwood Jonas on couch

They don’t make them like they used to.  I grew up with the coffee table and side table, couch, radio, and little round table more than 30 years after these pictures were taken.  The tables were still in great condition.

I also remember my Mom telling me stories of clipping her father’s toenails.  Not sure if that is what she is doing here, but she is obviously doing something with his feet.

I hope my Grandparents approve, I don’t know why they wouldn’t.  In fact, they are probably disappointed I spent good money on reupholstering an old couch and chair, let alone something with sentimental baggage.  Who knows.


20 years of passing

Colleen and her grandson, Paul Ross.

This year on 14 November 2019 marked the 20 year passing of my Grandmother, Colleen Andra Jonas.

I thought about that experience repeatedly on Thursday.  She would have turned 91 earlier this year.  She was falling apart then, so 91 probably would not have treated her well.  She passed away from a botched back surgery that had taken place several days before.  14 November 1999 was a Sunday.

Her passing is important for me for several reasons.  She was probably the person I most loved in my whole universe.  In many ways she had helped raise me and I always felt a very keen affinity and close relationship with her.  We knew each others thoughts, feelings, and how to connect.  I attribute many of my characteristics, humor, ability to communicate and get along with others, and much more to her.  She was a remarkable woman.  She had her faults, we all do, but that innate goodness outshines everything to me.  Her passing I can safely say completely rocked my world.

On the other side of the coin though, her passing marked my first spiritual experience inside of a Temple.  I was serving as missionary in the England Manchester Mission (EMM).  I was then serving in the Eccles Ward, living in Patricroft.  Our preparation day was on Mondays.  On 15 November 1999, I went with a family and our missionary district to the Preston England Temple.  We did a number of baptisms that day.  We intended to take at least one name through baptism, confirmation, initiatory, and endowment.

Somehow I found myself sitting alone outside initiatory.  I have no clue where the other missionaries were, it must have been a shift change or the workers had to go to the veil.  I sat on a padded bench outside initiatory, I suppose the other elders were sitting waiting in the initiatory booths.

Colleen Elliott tending to Paul Ross sitting on her kitchen counter

As I sat there, the smell of Hai Karate came to me.  That was a distinct smell of my grandmother, she wore that.  I knew she had surgery the previous week so I thought of her and prayed for her well-being.  Knowing she had a pretty major surgery coming up, we visited on the telephone the week before.  We talked about our love for each other.  We spent several minutes discussing Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk just the month before at General Conference, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come.”  We were both very moved by that talk and felt it directly related to both of us in our circumstances, especially in light of my mother’s actions the year before.  There was very much to look forward to and be positive about.  We closed that phone call expressing our love, looking forward to reuniting, and knowing Christ as our “High Priest of Good Things to Come.”

It was then in my mind’s eye I was transported to her surgery in Sun Valley, Idaho.  I saw the surgery, the actions of the surgeon, the extent of the invasive nature of the work.  It was during this that I saw the mistake that occurred and that was left.  Then I saw her coalescing in the hospital and the problem being created by the nicked bowel.  I saw the nurses get her up on Sunday morning, I saw the dislodging of the clot that occurred, I saw and felt the panic in her and the nurses.  I saw her slump to the floor in unconsciousness.  I knew she had passed at that moment.

I then saw my Mom, my Uncle, my Sister, my Aunt, and Bud (her husband) and their finding out the news.  My Mom didn’t know yet, but she would find out.  I saw the sadness, desperation, and frustration that came with it.

It was then I came back to myself in Preston, England.  I had just experienced the past week of my grandmother and immediate family in what seemed to me to be a couple of hours, but must have been less than 10 minutes in the Preston England Temple.  I saw there in a sort of out-of-body experience looking at myself sitting there in the 1999 initiatory clothing sitting on a bench outside an initiatory booth.

Then at that moment, in my mind’s eye, my grandmother was there.  I could smell her.  She talked to me, I could hear and feel her talking into my ear as I watched myself sitting there on the bench.  I couldn’t see her.  She told me that she had passed away.  She told me a number of other things I don’t feel to share here.  I am telling you, I was standing there, out of my body, listening to her.  She then went to leave, and the person of me standing there looking at me sitting there, started to cry.  She told me not to.  She hugged me.  Then she departed.

Side profile with grandson Paul Ross, 1979.

Suddenly, I was back sitting on the bench.  I could still smell her.  I didn’t want it to leave.  I looked up wondering what had happened.  In typical mortal fashion, I just thought to myself I had fallen asleep and dreamed it.  It was a dream to me.  I was overwhelmed by the experience but I didn’t believe it.

I must have been pretty somber throughout the rest of the day.  I didn’t really talk after the temple, at dinner that night, I was overwhelmed by the vision/dream.

Tuesday dawned and we went to work.  The day went along but the experience would not leave me.  We got home that night to 24 Lewis Street, Patricroft, England and were getting ready for the night.  It was then a knock came to the door.

I opened the door and there stood President Philip Wightman.  He said he was there to visit with me and I immediately knew why.  That dream/vision I had experienced and did not believe was now true.  I completely broke down sobbing.  He came in and we visited, I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe.  He just held and hugged me.  Finally sitting facing each other on folding chairs I told him of my experience.  Initially he said something like, “Knowing you and your history and that your Grandmother had passed, I came to visit you personally.”  After I shared with him my insight, his comment was along the lines of, “Glad I could confirm what you already knew.  I guess I didn’t need to come personally visit.”  I was very glad he did.  It was funny, a year later he indicated, “That was the night the lights came on in Elder Ross.”  I guess I wasn’t wholly in the work just yet, or along for the ride.  Not sure, I wasn’t a bad missionary, but the gospel became that much more real for me through this experience.

Colleen Jonas Portrait, 1991.

While writing this at this time, I can only think of two other experience I have had with my sweet grandmother since her passing.  One was while I lived in Branson, Missouri and she came bearing an answer to a prayer.  I was actually sleeping at that time and after her departure I awoke.  In the middle of the night I then went to see if my good friend Terry McCombs, who was staying at the same home, was awake.  Sure enough he was.  I shared the experience, the one in the Preston England Temple, and some others I have had.  He shared with me many of his own.  We talked for hours in the middle of the night and the spirit burned in my heart.  I love and miss Terry.  The other experience actually happened during a Priesthood Blessing that was being given to me in Logan, Utah by Dustin McClellan.  I recognized my grandmother’s presence come into the room.  He then announced he was acting voice for her in which he blessed me as if he were her.  Wow, if one wanted to hear a voice from the dead, that is the way to do it!  Even though Dustin spoke, I heard her voice in my ears.

This week marked the 20 year anniversary of one of the most emotional weeks I have ever had in my life.  Both on the emotional from a death, but on the spiritual of an everlasting burning of a memory on my soul.  Even recounting it in writing tonight I felt myself reliving some of it.

It is experiences like this that come to mind when people tell me that nobody can know for sure that God exists, or that his Son did anything for us.  It is moments like this when the spirit world is very real and I view people’s arguments against God as rationalization to make themselves feel better for not knowing.  Those arguments are a whistling in the dark.  For I have no doubt from the experiences recounted above and numerous others that the spirit world is not far away.  These are experiences with my grandmother, but there are others.

14 Sep 1998, Paul Ross, Colleen Lloyd, Paul, Idaho

I know God lives, just as surely as my grandmother still lives spiritually.  I am not aware of her being resurrected at this time, but it will come if it hasn’t already.  Death is not the end, that is my personal experience.  I don’t care for aging and death much, but neither are the end.  We have a work to do and not much time to do it in.

Oh how I miss my grandmother.  I haven’t had an experience with her directly since 2005, 6 years after her death, at least that I can recall now.  How I look forward to seeing her again.  It will be a blessed day.  20 years seems so long, yet so short in how vivid the love and tenderness is.  Years have caused me to forget some of her mannerisms and characteristics, but the connection is as strong as it was ever at any point.  It extends through time and space between us.  But this anniversary shocked me at how long it has been, and yet how fresh it still seems.

Here is a picture of the last day I saw her physically.  The day I met with the Stake President again and to finally go into the Missionary Training Center after many weeks of delay due to my mother’s actions.

The morning to go to the MTC with Milo Ross, Colleen Lloyd, and Jackie Melycher