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

Pleasant View School 1909-1910

Pleasant View School 1909-1910

This was an interesting find.  This was in a stack of photos I scanned related to the Andra family recently.  The interesting part is that it says Pleasant View School, which I am unable to locate.

In the middle of the photo is William Fredrick Andra (1898 – 1990) with the tie.  I cannot find the school, yet hope to get names of others in the photo.

Here is a snippet from Bill’s autobiography:

“I was baptized in the Elbe River in [16] April 1909; came to the United States in the following month of May.  Upon arriving here, I went to Fairview, Utah to work out my board and room from John R. Anderson, who was a former missionary in Germany.  After being in Fairview for one year, I went back to Salt Lake to meet the rest of the family when they arrived.  We had quite a struggle at first, but we made out when the rest had learned the language.”

I had always thought he meant Fairview, Idaho, which is just west of Franklin, Idaho, south of Preston, Idaho.  Since they spent and lived their lives in the Preston area, I just made that assumption.

However, in further research, there is a Fairview, Utah, in Sanpete County.  He also mentions a John R Anderson who was a missionary that served in Germany.  I found John Rees Anderson (1879 – 1954) who was born in Fairview, Utah, and called as a missionary from Fairview.  John was set apart as a missionary 21 June 1904 and released 20 April 1907.  Which is entirely in the time frames for which the Andra family was taught.  Bill’s mother was baptized 2 November 1906 and could certainly have been one who assisted in Christiana Wilhelmina Knauke Andra’s baptism.

According to Bill’s own record, he would have been in Fairview, Utah from summer 1909 for about a year, which puts this school somewhere near Fairview, Utah.  Guess that is the next step in the search.  If we can find records of the school, the class looks small we might be able to name classmates.

 

 

Dapper Dan

Judy, Dale, Mary, Bill, and Ross Andra

Here is a classy photo developed September 1962.

Bill and Mary Andra, my great grandparents.

On the far left are Judith (“Judy”) and Dale Andra, they were married in June 1962.

On the far right is Ross Andra.

Sounds like this was just going to church, no special occasion.  This is in the yard of the home at 422 E 400 S, Preston, Idaho.

Logan Temple, June 2019

Aliza and Hiram Ross, Logan Temple

In June this year, we had an appointment to meet up with Ross, Dale, and Larry Andra in Preston.  The evening went much longer than anticipated and we still had to drive to Kaysville for the evening.

On the way through, we stopped and took pictures with the Logan Temple, Brigham City Temple, and Ogden Temple.  It was late, they closed the gates right behind us after they shooed us out after this photo.

Beautiful picture of the temple, Hiram has his shoulders back in a bold statement, Aliza is cold.  Beautiful, accomplished children.

1958 Bonneville

Once and a while, something in a photo catches your attention more than what the photo was intended to capture.  This is one such photo.

Doug and Sandy Jonas behind a 1958 Pontiac Bonneville with Phyllis McKinney Andra holding Vickie Andra

This photo is fun as it shows the back of a 1958 Pontiac Bonneville.  This car belonged to my Great Uncle Donald Andra.  Donald’s wife, Phyllis McKinney Andra, stands behind holding Vickie, who was born in September 1958.

Looking at Vickie, she could be pushing a year old, so fall of 1959.  Doug as born in 1952, Mom in 1954, which would put them at 7 and 5 years old at the time.  This is likely when the photo was taken.

Vickie was born in Preston, Idaho and her brother was also born there, this photo was at the Andra home in Preston at 422 East 400 South where Bill and Mary Andra lived and raised their family.  Donald and Phyllis must have been visiting as was Norwood and Colleen Jonas.

The 1958 Pontiac Bonneville was one of the classic space-race inspired, behemoth, beautiful, land yachts that were produced during the chrome infested heyday of flashy cars.

Larry indicates this car has a special lever that you could pull to raise the car so it was less prone to be stuck in snow drifts, or you could get out of them then.

Mom at Poolside

Millie Beck, Colleen Jonas, Sandy Jonas

In the photos scanned earlier this year, this is another one that stood out to me and seemed to catch a glimpse of life.  Most photos are staged and seem to capture less of actual life or living.

Here is a picture of my mother, Sandy Jonas, with her Mom (my Grandma), Colleen Andra Jonas, and to the right of Colleen’s sister, Mildred (Millie) Andra Beck.

I love the fact that there is a guy, unknown, floating in the water in the background.  Just soaking in the water and the sun.

The photo is obviously captured through a fence, something else that tells me it is an impromptu photo.

Aunt Millie looks like I always remember.  Age would give her a few wrinkles, but the facial expression is the same.

Then there is Grandma looking at the picture.  Water on the concrete, big earrings.  I remember Grandma wearing many earrings, Millie also has in a pair for the day at the pool.  The curl in her hair.

I am guessing the photo is the late 1950’s.  Mom looks like she is about 4 or 5 years old, so 1958 or 1959.  Mom tries to block the sun, almost looking like a whine on her face.  Necklace around her neck.  Obvious light blond hair.  She still appears to have her ring finger in the photo.

Here is another one from probably the same date, just with the people more blurry.

Millie, Colleen, Sandy