The Story of Anna Elizabeth Reber

I stumbled upon this history written about Anna Elizabeth Reber.  Anna was the third spouse to my John Christoph Nuffer.  He married her 28 September 1893 in the Logan Utah Temple after my 3rd Great Grandmother Eva Katharina Greiner died 26 February 1893 in Mapleton, Franklin, Idaho.  I thought it was interesting to review the life of a later spouse for John Christoph Nuffer.  If you would like to review the pdf with pictures and more, it is attached here:  Reber

The Story of Anna Elizabeth Reber

We would like to acknowledge dedicated genealogists who have preserved for decades the oral histories, journals, and handwritten records used in this story.

Faith and Courage

The Story of Anna Elizabeth Reber

By: Christine A. Quinn and Sterling D. Quinn

Graphic design by: Michelle Quinn, Au.D.

2017

Anna Elizabeth Reber

Early Years in Switzerland

1855-1875

 

Frau Reber felt only gratitude that her new baby was alive and had not died as had her last child.  This little girl, born May 17, 1855, would complete their family of three sons and three daughters. They named the child Anna Elizabeth to distinguish her from her older sisters, Anna and Barbara.  Later in life this child would come to be known simply as “Annie.”

The family was settled on the Reber’s ancestral farm in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland where they spoke a unique Bern dialect of Swiss German, or Schwyzertutsch (Luck 1985).  It was a small country village dotted with chalets, settled in the forested and fertile Emmental valley along the Emme and Aare rivers. It has been said, “An who have wandered through such magnificent forests as those of …Emmental, will never forget the berries, the mushrooms, the neatly arranged stacks of firewood, the beautifully colored autumn foliage, and the grey low-hanging mists and frost-decorated conifers of early winter”  (Luck, 1985 p. 470). For hundreds of years in this valley the same industrious group of families had raised cattle for milk and cheese, while nurturing vineyards, orchards and crops.

This was a Switzerland just emerging from the hated status of a vassal state to the French Emperor Napoleon, an indignity thrown off seven years prior.  Hope arose as the impoverished and beleaguered people named the central city of Bern to be the capital of the new Swiss Confederation (Luck) 1985).

The child Annie grew nurtured in the love of her family.  Little girls in Switzerland wew taught the virtues of being clean, neat, punctual, thrifty, independent, and hard working.  There were cows to be milked as well as household chores to be done. Annie would have been taught to knit and sew the linen, silk, and cotton fabrics for which the Swiss were famous.  Education was also encouraged.

Tragedy visited the family when Annie’s 21 year old brother, Jacob, died in the fall of 1861.  This loss left an indelible impression on the six year old girl, enough that many years later she ensured saving ordinances were performed on his behalf in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

 

Marriage and Family

1875-1890

 

How Annie and her future husband, Gottfried Weiermann, met is a mystery,  but Bern did enjoy the reputation of being “more lively and sociable than any other town in Switzerland”.  Men and women came together to amuse themselves with English country dances as well as waltzes (Luck, 1985 p. 255)

The Weiermann family worked the land and raised cattle for many generations in the village of Wynigen, a little over 20 miles northeast of the city of Bern.  Rather than compete with five brothers for farmland, Gottfried decided to try his hand at the ancient profession of stone masonry. At age 23 when he met Annie, he had perhaps finished his apprenticeship and therefore gained some freedom to marry.

The couple were likely wed in the Protestant church in Wynigen on 21 August 1875.  At the time, Annie was only months away from giving birth. The couple affectionately named this child after his father, Gottfried, but he was known as “Fred”.  Although he was a sickly child, Fred would survive to bring his mother much joy and comfort until the end of her life.

Less than two years later the family moved again to Ferenberg where Anne gave birth to twins, Andre and Peter.  They survived only a day, which tragically was not uncommon at that time as one out of every five births in Switzerland ended in death (Luck, 1985).

A year later Gottfried moved his family closer to the city of Bern to Ostermundigen, the largest regional quarry center in Switzerland.  A special train with a cog in the center had been invented six years earlier to haul the thick, soft, and colorful sandstone up from the mines.  Previously this job relied on horse or mule tams. The train made it possible to quarry enough stone for export, while also enabling urban expansion of Bern, which demanded massive amounts of stone for new buildings.  Up to 500 men were working as either quarry men, Steinbrecher, who extracted the stone, or stone masons, Steinhau, who skillfully dressed, shaped, and cut the stone. Of the two, stone masons enjoyed a higher social status.  The stone masons of Bern had an established fraternity in the city since 1321 (Storemyr, 2012). Gottfried, along with other craftsmen, flocked to this bountiful source of work.

Next to the noisy and dusty train yard, families of stone masons resided in multistory slums (Storemyr, 2012).  Laundry hanging between tenements flapped in the wind while the narrow dirty streets teemed with children of all ages.  Families crowded into tiny, tightly packed rooms, sharing limited sanitation facilities. “The wages were exceedingly low and people extremely poor” (Stucki 1888, Nov. 20).  Stomachs were never full. In 1876, Swiss families were spending 60 % of their income on food. “A typical diet for the older children and adults consisted of coffee, black tea, or cocoa water with a little milk, some cheese and bread.  ….The midday meal typically consisted of boiled potatoes, pasta, cheese, and coffee or tea, and wine. The evening meal was usually of cheese and a vegetable soup – the latter being made by boiling together leeks, cabbage, beetroot, potatoes, and pasta” (Luck, 1985, p.p. 249,441).

In the spring of 1878 with the aid of a midwife, 23 year old Annie gave birth to a son, Christian, and in September of the next year to a daughter, Ida.  Like all their neighbors, the family fought for financial survival. Not quite 4 years old, Fred would have been responsible for helping keep his little sister safe and happy as their mother cared for her new infant.  Imagine her efforts in washing cloth diapers and keeping a clean house under those circumstances! Years later Annie’s daughter, Ida, reflected her mother’s standards when she said, “Just because you are poor, you don’t need to be dirty” (Arave, 2017).

The Weiermanns had lived in Ostermundigen at least five years when on 2 August 1883 they welcomed a blonde curly-haired baby boy into their home.  He was named Jacob after his maternal grandfather and deceased uncle.

Two years later Annie was expecting a child for her final time.  Due to unknown circumstances (perhaps poverty or a medical crisis), she traveled an hour to the hospital in Bern on a cold December day in 1885 where she gave birth to a small girl who didn’t survive (Weyerman, G).  They named her Anna.

At this point, the family consisted of Gottfried age 33, Annie age 30, Fred age 10, Christian 7, Ida 6, and Jacob age 2.  Gottfried may have occasionally taken his oldest son to the stone yard to teach him aspects of his craft, because in later years Fred was known as a skilled stone mason (Weyerman G).

Gottfried’s pursued recreation of heavy drinking with the stone mason’s fraternity began to affect the Weiermann family.  Workers bonded over alcohol, and Ostermundigen quarry men became legendary for schnapps consumption (Storemyr, 2012). Unfortunately, Gottfried’s drinking created a fissure in his marriage.  Circumstances only worsened with the death of 10-year-old Christian on 4 June 1887. The cause is unknown; it may have been an accident, or one of the many infectious diseases rampant at that time such as influenza, smallpox, diphtheria, tuberculosis, Typhus fever, or measles (Luck, 1985).

Annie and Gottfried’s marriage soon reached a breaking point and ended in divorce (Weiermann, I. 1955).  Years later in a heart-wrenching remembrance, Fred wrote, “My parents lived financially poor. Conditions brought it about that the family got badly broken up and scattered.  Three of my brothers and one sister was called on the other side. In the year 1887, the rest of my family met the sad experience of the separation of Father and Mother on account of drunkenness” (Weyerman, G).

Desperate to provide for her children, Annie hired out as a seamstress, one of the few professions available to women that would allow her to care for little ones at home (Wheeler, I.).  Wages were notoriously low; a decade later, women making shirts in their homes were earning less than a penny an hour, and often worked more than 12 hours a day (Cadbury, 2011). Bending over and straining to see tiny stitches by the dim light of an oil lamp was exhausting.  “As one of the infamous sweated trades, seamstressing represented the trails of arduous work, miserable working conditions, impossibly long hours, and equally impossibly low wages” (Harris, chap. 2.). The older children most likely helped their mother by doing the chores and mining their siblings; but life soon changed for 11 year old Fred in a way that must have torn at his mother’s heart.

Because of the family’s poverty and her status as a divorced mother, Annie was legally compelled to register with one of the councils in Ostermundigen responsible to care for the poor and orphans.  If it was believed the children could not be provided for this council had the power to break up the poorest families. Despite Annie’s courageous efforts to support her children, the council forced Fred to enter into foster care, there he became known as a “Verdingkinder”, or literally “discarded child” (Foulkes, 2012).

In this sad circumstance, the amiable and music-loving Fred was taken from his mother and given into the custody of a gentleman who lived in Habstetten, about an hour’s walk from his family.  There, Fred attended school and helped with the chores. He longed for his family, and visited his mother whenever he could obtain permission (Weyerman,G).

 

“Oh! But for one short hour!

A respite however brief!

No Blessed leisure for love or hope,

But in their briny bed

My tears must stop, for every drop

Hiders needle and thread!”

 

With fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,

A woman sat in unwomanly rags,

Plying her needle and thread —

-Thomas Hood

“Song of the Shirt”

 

Within a year after these turbulent events, Annie received an invitation from her neighbor to meet with missionaries, or Elders, from LDS church.  Members of this faith were commonly known as Mormons. After meeting several times, Annie began to take her children along to Sunday School and other meetings (Wheeker, I).  Annie almost immediately recognized the simplicity and truthfulness of the long awaited and newly restored church of Jesus Christ. Her countrymen had been searching for this truth through the Protestant Reformation for over 300 years (Luck, 1985).  One can imagine the gospel of Jesus Christ calming her soul and assuaging her fears at a time of life when it was most needed.

Annie, Ida, and Jacob began a formal study of Mormonism with young Elder Alfred Budge, who taught them the first principles of the gospel (Weyerman, G). Annie may have read the tract, Die Froke Botschaft, (Glad Tidings of Great Joy), or Glaubenskekenntniss, (The Articles of Faith) (Reiser).  In time, she received a witness from the Holy Ghost that Christ’s church had been restored to the earth through the young American prophet, Joseph Smith Jr.  Despite some local persecution, she and Ida were soon converted and baptized by Elder Budge in late October 1888. At this time, Jacob had not yet reached the age of 8 years old required for baptism (Wheeler, I).

Arriving at church on Sundays took an hour of walking into downtown Bern, where Annie and her children wound through cobblestone streets lined with ancient stone houses standing side by side like soldiers at attention.  They knew they were getting close to their destination when they heard the Sabbath bells pealing from the gothic tower of the Bern cathedral. Soon they arrived at the mission office where church services were held. The many families who attended the Bern Branch may have eaten a modest lunch as the fellowshipped between morning and evening meetings.  Every week the congregation took the sacrament and listened to preaching by either Mission President Stucki, the local Branch President, or one of the Elders. A volunteer choir provided uplifting music (Stucki, 1837-1918).

Around this time Fred went to live with another foster family in the closer town of Ittigen, which shortened the walk to see his loved ones.  During Fred’s visits, his mother earnestly shared with him the principles of the new religion she was learning. It was her heart’s desire that he would be baptized and join the church.

 

Swiss/German

Missionaries

1880-1890

 

The Mormon missionaries in the region of Bern were led by John Ulrich Stucki.  A native of Switzerland, Stucki had been living in the territory of Utah at the time of his assignment to serve as the Swiss/German Mission President.  This would be the second time he accepted this weighty responsibility.

Not only would Stucki be responsible for the 13 traveling Elders in the mission; he would also publish the monthly LDS newsletter, “Der Stern”, and he would administer from his office in Bern all the branches of the church in Germany and Switzerland.  Added to these weighty responsibilities was overseeing the twice yearly emigration to Utah made by Swiss and German Mormons. These members wishing to join others of their faith in the building up of “Zion” would leave their homes and travel to the Rocky Mountains of the United States of America (Stucki, 1837-1918).

Accompanying Presiden Stucki to the mission field was 19 year old Alfred Budge, the son of Stucki’s good friend, William Budge.  What thoughts and anticipations might have filled the young elder’s mind as he contemplated his father’s earlier mission to Switzerland in 1854, “when opposition to the church was so violent that within three months he was on thirteen occasions placed under arrest and imprisoned for short periods, and finally was obligated to return to England!” (Budge, W).

When President Stucki and Elder Budge arrived in Switzerland on 15 May 1888 Elder Budge did not speak German (Stucki, 1837-1918).  Five months later he was teaching the Weiermann family in Ostermundigan using their native tongue (Wheeler, I).

Working with Elder Budge was the pleasant-mannered Elder Albert Schneider Reiser from Salt Lake City.  His Swiss parents spoke German at home, so he had the advantage of being familiar with the language.

Seventeen old Albert had been forced to grow up fast after his father, along with many faithful LDS men, was incarcerated by the United States government for the common practice of polygamy.  To support his family, Albert took charge of their clock repair business in downtown Salt Lake. He delivered customers’ clocks to the prison, where his father repaired them. Interestingly, Elder Budge’s father was converted to the LDS faith in Scotland, and Elder Reiser’s in Switzerland; yet they both emigrated to America on the same ship and crossed the plains to Utah in the same wagon train 28 years earlier in 1860 (Reiser).

 

Switzerland to United States

Emigration

1890

 

Elder Reiser arrived in Switzerland just a few days after Annie’s baptism, and began helping to teach the Weiermann family (Stucki 1837-1918).  The missionaries had with them some pictures of Utah. For decades, Mormon converts in Europe had been encouraged by church leaders to gather to “Zion” in the American West.  Surely ideas of emigration were planted by visiting Elders and church officials, but when accused of being an emigration agent, Elder Reiser remarked: “It was not my business to persuade people to emigrate, but to bring them the Gospel….there was only one true church….[I] told them how important it was for mankind to investigate Joseph Smith’s message….”(Reiser).

One late summer morning Fred joined his family on their brisk walk to church.  His mother made an astonishing announcement that she had arranged for them to emigrate to Zion!  Because the children had received an inheritance from the death of their father’s Aunt Isali, they could afford to emigrate.  The family would be reunited and travel together to start a new life with the Saints in Utah. (Weyerman, G.)

After the day’s church services, Annie shared with the mission president some of her worries about Fred’s situation.  President Stucki lovingly took hold of her hands and prophesied, “Fear not, for your son Gottfried. He will be the means of bringing many souls into the church” (Weyerman, G).  Within 10 days, Annie and her three children, led by President Stucki and joined by Elder Budge, began their odyssey to Zion.

The miracle of emigration did not take place without Annie’s heroic effort and faith.  President Stucki promised that if the saints paid their tithing, a way would be opened up for them to join the saints in Zion (Stucki, July 31, 1888).  The children’s inheritance from their great aunt had been put into an untouchable trust. With nerve and steely determination, the slight-built Annie faced authorities and requested they give her the funds to use for emigration to America.  When they refused, she threatened to leave without the children and then the state could raise them! After this ultimatum, they relented and granted her the inheritance of 500 Swiss francs (Weiermann, I., 1955).

Annie delivered the money to President Stucki, who hired agents from the Guion shipping line to purchase train and steamer tickets.  These agents arranged transportation, loding, and food, and also oversaw the moving of luggage from Switzerland to England and then on to America.  President Stucki also took care of details such as procuring bedding, tinware, etc. to be forwarded to the steamer for the transatlantic crossing (Stucki, 1937-1918).

In preparation for the voyage, Annie made some traditional hard dry Swiss bread, then fried it in butter to be their principal diet.  The missionaries taught them how to say “hot water” in English, so they could request some to pour over their bread, thus making it edible (Wheeler, F 1948).  Then the family of four packed all their worldly goods into five pieces of luggage (Mormon Migration). They were now ready to travel over 5,000 miles to join the Saints in Utah.

 

May God Bless Them All and Bring

Them Safely into the Bosom of the

Church and Kingdom of God”

 

This was the fourth and final emigration that President Stucki oversaw during this mission.  He and Elder Budge wew being released from their callings to return home to America with the emigrating saints.  Feelings were tender in the Bern branches the day before departure when President Stucki preached his farewell sermon in Sacrament Meeting.  Since his arrival two years earlier, he served the saints daily while surviving fever and smallpox. At the close of the meeting it is likely they sang the Swiss hymn, “May God Bless Them All and Bring Them Safely in the Bosom of the Church and Kingdom of God” (Stucki, 1837-1918).

The next morning, Monday, 1 September 1890, Annie (35), Fred (14), Ida (10), and Jacob (7) began their pilgrimage by boarding the train in Bern.  Who can know the conflicted feelings that must have been in their hearts? These may have involved jow, excitement, and hope of a new life in America among the Saints of God; mixed with the regret of leaving loved ones and the magnificent country of their birth.  Years later when Fred saw a newsreel about the Alps in Switzerland he sat and wept from homesickness for his native land. He commented, “The beauty of that land could not be found anywhere else”. (Weyerman, G).

At 10:30 a.m. the saints were on their way north to the border city of Basel entertaining themselves with singing.  Arriving after noon, the train pulled into Basel to pick up the missionaries as well as 13 members of the faithful Gygi family.  To everyone’s horror Rudolph Gygi, the father, had been stabbed the night before in the face by a mob of hoodlums who thought he was taking his six daughters to be enslaved in polygamy (Gygi).

Through the night and into Tuesday, the travelers continued north by train into Belgium.  It was 2 September, Ida’s 11th birthday. Perhaps she made friends with Anna and Elisa Gygi and helped them watch their younger brothers and sisters.  At the late hour of 11:00 p.m. the weary saints arrived in the port city of Antwerp. The Swiss emigrants were met at the train station by their agent who provided a wagon to transport their luggage and at least seven children under age 10 to a boarding house.  Before retiring, all received refreshment, which could have been soup, meat, vegetables, coffee, and bread (Stucki, J. 1837-1918).

After a night’s rest, the Swiss saints united with about 51 emigrating converts from Germany who spoke German so differently that neither group could understand the other.  Together this made 72 travelers. Once again they loaded their belongings onto a wagon to transport them down to the dock where the shop was moored (Stucki 1937-1918.) There the family had their first glimpse of the vast sea and all the ships and business of the bustling Antwerp harbor.  Searching for words, Ida wrote as an old woman, :The trip across the ocean was quite – I don’t know what you would call it – an experience to us” (Weiermann,I. 1955).

All boarded the steamer, which launched into the North Sea shortly after noon.  Their destination was the port of Hull on England’s eastern shore (Woods & Evans 2002).  For many, this was the first time on the open sea. Spirits were high and the saints passed time with singing hymns of praise, or conversion pleasantly.  President Stucki recorded, “the vessel went steady, sea sickness was therefore very light and confined to but few” (Stucki 1837-1918).

They traveled all night to reach Hull on Thursday at 3:00 in the morning.  The ship could not dock at low tide, so the passengers had to transfer in the dark to a tugboat that took them to shore.  Ida remembered the confusion, “While crossing the North Sea, something went wrong with the ship and we had to change ships.  Somehow we lost a roll of bedding, which we needed very much” (Stucki 1837-1918) (Weiermann, I., 1955). Despite the hassle of getting ashore, the emigrants were met by a kindly agent who examined their luggage to verify it was duty-free.  He also saw that the hungry Saints received something to eat before boarding a train late in the day.

Lulled to sleep by the clicking -clacking rhythm of the steam train’s wheels, the adventures slept most of the six-hour 140 mile journey across England to Liverpool.  They arrived before dawn on Friday morning (Stucki, 1837-1918).

 

September 1890

MON 01    Train: Bern – Basel

TUES 02    Train: Antwerp

WED 03    Boat: Antwerp – Hull

Thurs 04    Train: Hull – Liverpool

FRI 05        Liverpool – Immigration House

SAT 06    Loading of the ship, off at 3pm

SUN 07    Atlantic Crossing Day 1 – Queenstown

MON 08    Atlantic Crossing Day 2 – 294 miles

TUES 09    Atlantic Crossing Day 3 – 300 miles

WED 10    Atlantic Crossing Day 4 – 320 miles

THURS 11    Atlantic Crossing Day 5 – 298 miles

FRI 12     Atlantic Crossing Day 6 – Newfoundland

SAT 13     Atlantic Crossing Day 7 – 314 miles

SUN 14    Atlantic Crossing Day 8 – 320 miles

MON 15    Atlantic Crossing Day 9 – 298 – miles

TUE 16     Atlantic Crossing Day 10 – 308 miles

        Arrival in New York, USA

WED 17    Luggage and Customs

    TRAIN CROSSING TO UTAH & IDAHO

SUN 28    Train: Montpelier, ID

Wagon and Buggy to Paris, ID

Once again, shipping hires by President Stucki greeted the Mormon converts upon their arrival to Liverpool.  This city situated on the western coast of England was considered in the nineteenth century the most active international port of emigration in the world.  It was also home to the British Mission, and served as the administrative headquarters for the LDS church in Europe (Woods & Evans, p.91).

Passengers were not allowed to board their ships until either the day before or the day of departure (Liverpool); thus, the saints were taken to an immigration house to wait, eat, and rest for a day (Stucki, 1837-1918).

Meanwhile, it was LDS church procedure that every emigration company have a Presidency.  They would watch over the saints, conduct Sunday services, and see that everyone reached their destination.  John U. Stucki acted as President, and selected Alfred Budge and C. Meyer as his counselors. The day before departure, they were called and set apart by the British mission president, George Teasdale (Stucki, 1857-1918) (Mormon Migration Database, 1890, Sept. 6).

The sleek 366.2 ft steamer S/S Wisconsin, piloted by Captain Worral, waited patiently at port to receive her passengers (Mormon migration database, 1890, Sept. 6).  She was one of a fleet of 16 ships run by the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company,  known commonly as the “Guion Line.”  For 20 years the company’s ships had been launching twice a week to transport passengers and mail from Liverpool to New York.  A typical trip across the Atlantic took a week. At a time when there was no air travel, they were known as “ocean greyhounds” (Guion) (Miller).

All day Saturday September 6 a steady stream of humanity carting trunks, baskets, bags, and bed rolls trudged up the ramp of the stately steamship with its tall dark smokestack.  Seventy-six first staterooms as well as spacious dining rooms. Thy were joined by 100 intermediate passengers.

Then the Weiermann family joined a mass of 800 impoverished voyagers crowded into the notorious “steerage” section below deck (miller).  Annie, Ida, and Jacob were together in the Port Aft Steerage, while Fred was assigned Fore Steerage, perhaps because he was an older single male (Mormon migration Database, 1890, Sep.6).

It was a cacophony of humanity: men women and children from many countries speaking a babble of languages.  Each passenger was assigned a number on a canvas berth. When not in use the berths could be neatly stowed away making space for tables and  seats during the day. The journey would be no luxury cruise for these steerage passengers. Conditions were cramped, food was poor, and the atmosphere often bad; especially during rough weather when access to the upper deck was restricted. (Solem).

By 3:00 PM the ship’s crew drew up anchor.  All passengers went on deck, waving white handkerchiefs and throwing hats as they watched England slowly shrink into the horizon.  With this fanfare, Annie and her family bid farewell to their old life, and looked with hope to a brighter future in America, the land of opportunity.

As the ship glided into the night, the Swiss converts completed the irs six days of their traveling adventure.  When the sun came up it was a beautiful morning and the sea was as smooth as glass. President Stucki would have liked to conduct Sunday services, but the ship was too crowded and there was nowhere they could meet without disturbing someone.

By Late morning they reached the southern seaport of Ireland’s Queenstown harbor, where they remained for an hour or so to pick up more passengers.  Soon after moving out, they were engulfed in a dense blanket of fog. Everyone listened with suspense to a shrill whistle blow in rapid succession waning other floating vessels of their presence.  Soon all was well as they glided out of the fog into weather as fine as before. Although the steamer was quite steady, some began to get sea sick (Stucki, 1837-1918).

By Monday, several of the women and a baby were pretty sick, which kept President Stucki and his counselors busy.  Ida and her brothers were focused on the adventure and didn’t seem to mind the discomforts of travel. She said, “We used to go up on deck all the time.  The sailors would take us skating across it. We really had a good time – us kids did when we wasn’t sick” (Weiermann, I., 1955).

If the passengers weren’t sick on Monday, many became queasy on the next day when a wind made the sea rough and caused the ship to pitch and roll.

An English convert traveling a few years earlier on the same ship described a similar chaotic event:

“….Towards night the wind began to raise rather rough and the captain shouted out from the upper deck, “Look out for a storm.” The sailors began to run from one end of the ship to the other with large chains and ropes….We was then all ordered down below.  Pots, pans, buckets, and everything that was not fast was rolling about. Old people falling down, young ones laughing at the fun but did not last long. A large rope had been placed all along the water closets for protection. During the time we was standing by this rope waiting to get in the closets, our ship gave another sudden roll and we fell over this rope, old and young, head and tail together, vomiting on each other.  Girls screaming, boys laughing, old men and women grumbling, children crying” (Horsley, S., 1877, September 19-29).

The Ship continued to roll heavy with water pouring over the deck clear into Wednesday.  Soon even President Stucki and Elder Budge were sick too (Stucki, 1837-1918.) Years later Ida recalled, “When we were sick we would have to go on deck every day no matter how sick you were.  But we got across” (Weiermann, I. 1955).

On Thursday quite a number of suffering women remained in their berths.  Crowded conditions below deck caused the air to become fetid with disagreeable body odors, strange foods, vomit, waste, and ship oil.  Mercifully, the temperatures were quite cool (Stucki, 1837-1918).

By the sixth day at sea the weather improved, the ship steadied, and everyone felt much more cheerful.  Despite the rather chilly stiff breeze most passengers enjoyed a refreshing interlude basking in the sun on deck.  Some excitedly observed an iceberg silhouetted against the horizon about ten miles to the left (Stucki, 1837-1918).

At last after being a sea for a week, the ship entered cal waters off the coast of Newfoundland.  Some of the sick were beginning to feel better; everyone felt happier and more hopeful. In the afternoon, steerage passengers had to pass a routine health inspection, and if necessary receive vaccinations.  This was in the interest of the shipping company to avoid paying a hefty fee for any unhealthy passengers.

Sunday, President Stucki conducted church services in he saloon, or the first class public area of the ship.  The next few days passed without incident. There was some rain, but much to the passengers. President Stucki notes in his journal, “If it had been as warm all the way as the first two days, there would no doubt have been a good deal of sickness; the Lord is overruling all things for good.” (Stucki, 1837-1918).

On Tuesday afternoon, to everyone’s great joy  and anticipation,their destination was sighted!  All the immigrants strained to see the fabled America.  With gratitude and relief for a safe journey, the travelers watched the New York skyline slowly grow into view.  Their hearts certainly swelled at the first glimpse of the magnificent and newly erected Statue of Liberty. Majestically she  lifted her lamp to greet the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. (Lazarus, 1883). They passed Staten or “Quarantine” Island at 5:00 that evening, pulling up to the pier at 7:15 p.m. It was 16 September 1890; the first day of their life in America!

Heavy rain caused some delay the next day, but the baggage was unloaded by Wednesday noon, and an examination made by custom house officers.  Since the Immigration Station on Ellis Island was under construction, new arrivals were taken to the temporary Barge Office located in Castle Clinton at Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan Island (Ellis Island Immigration Museum.)  There all steerage passengers had to pass inspection or be sent back. Ida years later remembered the tense time in this way, “When we arrived at Ellis Island (sic), [mother] did not have the necessary amount of money the government required of those coming into this country, so she showed them a letter of proposal of marriage she had received from a convert who was already in the United States, and let them believe she was coming to marry him” (Weiermann, I. 1955) (Wheeler, F., 1948).

When all was cleared and the immigration process finished President Stucki concluded in a letter, “We are very thankful to our Heavenly Father for the many blessings received thus far, and feel to trust in him for our safe arrival in the land of his choice” (Mormon Migration database 6 Sept. 1890-Sept. 1890.).

It isn’t known for sure which railroad route the Weiermann family and their fellow saints took west.  Nevertheless as they crossed the continent, vast flat prairie lands would seem endless to someone from a tiny country encircled by tall mountains.  It was an adventure with pleasures for wide-eyed travelers. Ida thrilled to see wild horses running with the train (Wheeler, I., 1955). Fred with gratitude recorded, “We had good health and lots of pleasure on our journey both on train and ship”. (Weyerman, G).

Most of the European immigrants were destined for the Utah towns of Salt Lake City, Provo, Payson, Logan, and Nephi.  About 21 of the weary saints stayed on the train to travel northwest into the new state of Idaho. They arrived in the frontier town of Montpelier on 28 September 1890.  Continuing on by wagon and buggy, the Weiermann family, returning missionaries, and others rolled 10 miles south to the tiny town of Paris, Idaho. Fred remembered, “Elders Stucki and Budge were also glad to get home and and had all things arranged for hospitality.”  (Weyerman, G) (Stocker, J).

In Paris, the red sandstone of the newly dedicated tabernacle looked down on the little town.  This recently settled country of small farms was very different from the noisy crowded city the Weiermann’s were used to.  However, for Annie it may have triggered happy memories of her youth growing up in rural Switzerland.

 

Life in America

1890-1893

 

One of the great motivations for Mormon emigration was to be able to reach a temple, considered the “Lord’s house,” where they could receive ordinances necessary for their own salvation and perform them by proxy on behalf of their deceased ancestors.  This was a priority which Annie acted on immediately. It is recorded that her 10 year old son, Christian Weiermnn, three years deceased, was baptized by proxy in the Logan, Utah temple on 25 September 1890, suggesting someone took his name to the temple before the family finished their journey to their new home in Idaho. (Proxy baptisms were not required for her twin sons and daughter, since they died as innocent infants).

Many people who came to the United States chose to change or “americanize” the spelling or their names.  Fred’s Posterity most often spell their name Weyerman, while the family of Ida has most often spelled their name Weiermann.  In various family records the name can be seen in old records; Gottfried was known as “Fred”, his brother Jacob sometimes as “Jake”, and their mother, Anna Elizabeth, came to be known as “Annie” (1900 census).

Soon Annie and her young son Jacob moved into a rented log cabin owned by a Mrs. Herzog.  Annie began earning money taking in sewing. Ida had the opportunity to live with and work for the beloved Stucki family, who were also boarding the local school teacher.  Ida reminisces, “My teacher lived at the Stucky (sic) home and was very good to help me with my lessons” (wheeler,I., 1955). Once again, Fred boarded away from his family when he went to work on a farm.

Paris, Idaho had been colonized by the Latter-day Saints 17 years earlier and had two LDS wards.  What a change after attending the small branch in Bern! It was wonderful to dwell without persecution among people who believed and lived as they did; however, life was not without challenges.  Everyone had to work hard on the frontier for the survival of their family. It wasn’t easy learning a new language and adjusting to the ways of America. For example the young Swiss girl, Elisa Gygi, whom Ida certainly made friends with on the journey to Utah, recalls how at school she was told her name was to be the more familiar Alice instead of Elisa.  The children made fun of her because her shoes and clothes were different. Subsequently, Elisa took turns with her sister wearing to school a nice dress and some shoes someone gave them. In their poverty the Gygi family happily received groceries, clothes, and candy for Christmas from the Bishop of their ward (Gygi). It isn’t hard to imagine the Weiermann family relying on friends in a similar way until they were able to earn money to support themselves.

On 29 December 1890, several months after their arrival in Idaho, Fred received the ordinance of baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Several days later, on New Year’s Day, his younger brother, Jacob, was also baptized. Then, according to the custom at that time for member immigrants arriving in Zion, Annie and her daughter, Idam, were rebaptized.  It was a new year and a new life for the Weiermann family.

Fred traveled 20 miles north to Nounan, Idaho, to work.  There he was also able to procure a log cabin for his mother and brother.  Ida earned money by living in several homes where she helped with chores. Then she said, “Mother got work so I stayed at home the next year.  Then we went back to Paris [Idaho} where mother met Mr Nuffer at a German Conference….” (Wheeler, I. 1955).

 

Family and Marriage

1893-1901

 

A medieval castle overlooks the southern city of [Neuffen], Germany, where 27-year-old Johann Christoph Nuffer married Agnes Barbara Spring early in the year of 1862. Four years later tragedy struck when within 7 months their baby girl and her 26-year -old mother died.  Christoph was now left a widower to raise two sons, John, age 4, and Fred, age 3. (Nuffer, C).

A month later on July 25, 1867, he married Eva Katharina Greiner, who began to raise his sons as her own.  Christoph and Eva were surrounded by their extended family, and were supported by Christopher’s work as a dress goods weaver and a salesman of produce from his vineyard and farm.  Over a span of ten years, they added Regina, Charles, and Adolf to their family. (Nuffer, C).

After listening to the Mormon missionaries, the Nuffer family decided to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They secretly damned a millrace at the rear of the house so the family could be baptized at night, undisturbed by hostile villagers.  To avoid the persecution that immediately followed, they decided to emigrate to Utah as soon as possible. Christoph sold their home and land, and borrowed money from another immigrating family to gather the needed funds.  Notwithstanding all the children catching measles, the family survived the transatlantic crossing in May 1880 on the steamship Wisconsin. (Ironically, the very same ship that in ten years would bring the Weiermann Family to America) (Naef, 1990).

The Nuffers followed many German and Swiss saints who pioneered Providence, Utah, situated just south of Logan.  Like countless others, they started our poor and worked hard to better their circumstances. Thankfully, the older sons Fred and John helped a great deal with the heavy labor.  A year after arriving in Zion, their last child, Mary was born (Naef, 1990).

In the fall of 1883 the oldest son, John, persuaded his father to sell their home and move into southeastern Idaho to homestead.  Two years later they set up another claim. It was a rough life, but his son Charles recalled, “(We) were happy and thanked the Lord for what we had.  Mother would read a chapter from the Bible, we would have prayer an we would go to bed early….We thanked our Heavenly Father for what we had and lived by faith…a I remember we never got discouraged for we felt the Lord was on our side” (Nuffer, C., 1949).

The Nuffer ranch was located northwest of Mapleton, Idaho.  Their farm was cut in half be the main road. On the east side was the land where their homes, stables, and fruit orchards were located.  On the west side of the road was meadow blanketed in lush grass with a creek running through it. This farm from one end to the other was a beautiful place (Naef, 1990).

In the winter of 1893, Eva, Christoph’s wife of 2 years, developed pneumonia and suddenly died within a week.  Her grieving family buried her in the first grave in the new Preston, Idaho cemetery. Christoph could not bear to be alone in the home where he had so happily lived with his wife, so his sons Charles an Adolf ran the farm, “while there father was away most of the summer at Bear Lake and other places” (Nuffer, C).

While away, Christoph, now known as Christopher, met 38 year old Annie Weierman at a German Conference (Wheeler, I., 1955).  These conferences were an opportunity for German speaking LDS converts to socialize using their native language. Through uplifting sermons, singing and dancing the Conferences offered support for immigrants adjusting to their new lives.

By the end of the summer, Christopher and Annie knew they wanted to get married.  They were sealed for Time and Eternity in the Logan temple a few months later on 26 September 1893 (Reber).

The one photograph we have of Annie was likely taken in Logan, “The Temple City”, at this time.  She serenely gazes out of the image, an attractive women with light-colored deep set eyes, high cheekbones, fair smooth skin, and unusually sculpted lips.  Her brown hair is modestly pulled back to the nape of her neck and wrapped into a bun. She is slightly built, probably no taller than her daughter who grew to about 5 feet 2 inches.  Her newly learned English would have been graced with a lilting Swiss accent. She wears a dark tailored dress, which she may have sewn, that has a high collar and mutton sleeves, the height of fashion in 1893.  It could be imagined the jeweled heart brooch pinned to her collar could have been a wedding gift from her husband.

At age 59, Brother Nuffer was considered “ an old widower” by Annie’s children.  (Weyerman, G). Besides love and companionship, he offered their mother a social status and financial security that she had likely never experienced.  Their stone house surrounded by pastures, orchards, and a garden may have reminded her of her rural youth in Switzerland. Because her new husband had lived in the area for many years, she benefited from the reputation he had in the community as a successful farmer.  The Nuffer name was well known in the surrounding towns as Christopher’s oldest son, John, was a trained architect and stone mason. He helped build the Logan temple, and also designed many of the public buildings in Preston, Idaho; including the opera house, bank, and churches. (Nuffer, J).

Annie and Christopher had many things in common, such as firm testimonies that Joseph Smith had indeed been an instrument in the restoration of Christ’s church, and that they were building up Zion in the American west.  They had both followed the same path of conversion, they both spoke German and understood the ways of the “old country”, and they both followed a strikingly similar emigration path. But like many second marriages, there was the potential for tension and competition for loyalty between their children.  As can be imagined, the children and their mother were very close after weathering so many adversities together. Annie’s marriage to Mr. Nuffer may not have been favored by the children. Fred’s feelings were, “Ida and Jacob remained no longer with mother then, but had to look out for themselves, neither I had any place that I could call my home” (Weyerman, G).

During the next year, Fred Weyerman became engaged to a girl named Sally, but this arrangement ended abruptly when Sally eloped with another man.  This seemingly devastating event turned out to be a blessing when Fred met 20 year old Olena Hoth while they were at a party of a mutual friend. Fred and Olena were married by their bishop two weeks later.  “Lena” was raised in a faithful Latter-day Saint family. She was a loving, loyal, and hardworking woman who would have a special role in the life of her mother-in-law. She and Fred loved each other and eventually had a family of 15 children.  (Weyerman, L).

Two months later the newly married Fred and Lena traveled a distance to the Logan temple to be sealed on 26 September 1894 for Time and Eternity.  In preparation for his temple ordinances, Fred Weyerman was ordained an Elder by their beloved Swiss mission president, John U. Stucki. It was a joyful occasion as Lena and Fred received their endowments and were sealed together. (eyerman, G)  Later that same day, Annie must have glowed with happiness as all her children were sealed to her and Christopher Nuffer (Reber, A).

About this same time Annie’s step son, Charles, recorded she made him temple clothes in preparation for his marriage.  He reminisced that, “His new step mother was helpful to us in many ways as we began our married life” (Nuffer, C., 1949).

In 1895 Fred and Lena welcomed a baby and named her Anna Weyerman.  Fred bargained with his stepfather for forty acres of his farmland in Mapleton, so Annie looked forward to seeing her new granddaughter often.  (Weyerman, G).

Near this time, Christopher’s oldest son, John, left to serve in the German/Swiss mission.  Imagine Annie’s feelings of curiosity and nostalgia as she read letters posted from the mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland.

That winter Ida married David Wheeler.  His father, Calvin Wheeler, was a notable pioneer who settled in the Mapleton area seven years earlier.  David reminisces in his autobiography, “I finally met a girl, Ida Weiermann Nuffer, that I thought just suited me, and finally ask her to marry me.  She wanted me to wait for a while but as I had got a call to go on a mission she finally consented. We married in the Logan Temple on December 4, 1895.  Ida was just a few months past sixteen years of age.” David let six weeks later to serve a mission in the southern states of the USA. Ida supported herself by living with and working for families until he returned two and a half years later (Wheeler, D).

After a year of improving his land, Fred went to make a payment and fix the deeds; however, the sons of “Mr. Christoffer Nuffer would not agree, so [we] had to pull out with empty hands” (Weyerman, G).  It could have been that the sons didn’t know about their father’s deal or agree with it. There was a lot of competition in the area over staking out claims on various parcels of land. Christopher’s sons had also been working the land for years with the hope of ownership.  The emotions raised at that time may have prompted Ida to comment that “We, [Fred, IDa and Jacob], were not welcomed there” (Wheeler, I. 1955).

In the year 1896, Fred and Lena lost a baby named after Fred’s brother, Christian.  In 1898 they also lost a month-old baby girl named Marie Weyerman. That same year Ida’s husband, David, returned from his mission.  Also, Annie’s first husband and father of her children Gottfried Weiermann, died at age 46 in his home town of Wynigen, Switzerland (Wheeler, D.) (Reber,A).

David and Ida moved to the mountains of Western Idaho where David took a contract to cut railroad ties.  On 28 December 1899 Ida gave birth to her first child, Florence, alone in a crude timberland shelter while waiting for a doctor to arrive.  Ida’s only assistance was a blessing from the local missionaries, who afterward sent out into the yard to pray for her (Wheeler, I).

The last years of Annie’s life were marked by marriages, births, harvests, missions, and some deaths.  Mostly it was the day-to-day rhythm of life that generously filled the calendar. After they sold their ranch to the Hull Brothers of Whitney, Christopher and Annie moved to Preston into a two-room frame house near his oldest son, john (Naef, 1990).  The 1900 US Census records the family living in Preston, Idaho, and lists Christopher Nuffer as a farmer, Annie E. as his wife, and Jacob, his single stepson, as a farm laborer. It also notes that Annie can read and write English. Sometime between the 1900 Census and March 1901, Christopher and Annie Nuffer moved to Logan, Utah, which was to be their last home together (Naef, 1990).

By the time, Annie was very ill with “dropsy”, an old term for edema, or fluid retention usually in the feet, ankles and legs (Weyerman, L).  She may have suffered from it for years as it could have been caused by congestive heart failure, diseases of the heart muscle, or some other heart ailment.  As these diseases progress breathing becomes difficult; making walking arduous (Quinn, 2017).

Possibly because Annie needed someone stronger than her aging husband to nurse her, she moved in with her son, Fred.  His wife, Lena, was two months from giving birth. This was a charitable and generous act on Lena’s part, as she was now caring for Annie, a baby and three other children under the age of 5.  (Weyerman, L).

As soon as Annie’s daughter, Ida, recovered enough from the birth of her second child in August 1901, she came to Logan to relieve Lena as her mother’s sole nurse (Wheeler, I. 1955.)    Many Christian virtues were exercised as Lena and Ida worked together to take care of their 6 small children as well as nurse their mother through her last living days. (Weyerman, L).

When November came around, Fred was preparing to leave his seriously ill mother and family of small children to fulfill a call t the German/Swiss mission,  Under what he called “very hard circumstances”, he departed for Switzerland 25 November 1901. This young father knew he would not see his cherished family for over two years.  (Weyerman, G). It was also likely he would never see his beloved mother again. Indeed, she died 1 December 1901, less than a week after his departure for Switzerland. The grieving family buried 4-year-old Annie E. Nuffer in the Logan City Cemetery (Utah Cemetery Inventory).

For an unknown reason, Annie made made the unusual request before she died to have their family’s temple sealing to her second husband, John Christoph Nuffer, cancelled.  She wanted Fred to go to the LDS authorities and arrange for her to be sealed to her first husband, Gottfried Weiermann, and then to have their seven children sealed to them.  This wish was eventually fulfilled in the Logan LDS temple on 8 March 1905, about a year after Fred returned from his mission. (Ida Christensen Arave witnessed the Church temple records at the family history center in SLC) (Wheeler, I., 1955).

Anna Elizabeth Reber’s family was one of 90,000 known Latter-day Saint immigrants who crossed the oceans to America between 1840-1891.  “They had a most unusual success rate; making about 550 voyages, and losing no vessels crossing the Atlantic….These Mormon immigrants were responding to a call to gather with the righteous in a promised land, which they called Zion” (Woods, 2000 p. 74).  Because of courage to act on her faith, a tenacious 3 year old divorced mother of three changed her family’s course into the future. Annie’s decision to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emigrate to the American west where she could help build the Lord’s kingdom on earth has directly influenced hundreds of her progeny.  Her determination not only lifted her family out of poverty, but more importantly pioneered the way toward salvation for untold numbers of future and past generations. For this act of faith, valor, and love we praise and remember her.

 

EPILOGUE

 

John Christoph Nuffer married for the fourth time four months after Annie’s death.  He lived to age 73, dying 12 April 1908 (Naef, 1990).

Fred Weyerman was suddenly killed 9 March 1935 at age 59 when the bike he was riding slipped on ice and hit a bus.  He left nine surviving children and his widow, who would never remarry. His sister Ida and her family kept in touch with “Aunt Lena” and their cousins for many years after his passing.  (Weyerman, G).

Ida Weierman Wheeler bore 10 children and lived to be 80.  She remained a faithful member of the LDS church through a multitude of trials as her she and her husband, David, worked to eke out a living on the frontier of southeastern Idaho.  Her obituary quoted her friends as saying, “She was a bulwark of strength, patience, and loving kindness to all who knew her” (Wheeler, D) (Olsen, L).

Jacob Weiermann didn’t marry until 1908, when he was 25.  His wife died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.  Their two children, Donald and Martha, went to live with their Aunt Ida and Uncle Dave for a time (Arave, I., 2017). Jacob didn’t marry again.  He worked as a miner in Nevada, and died in Utah of tuberculosis 25 January 1945 at age 61 (Weierman, J., 1945).

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of [Latter-day] Saints in Europe

 

President Joseph F. Smith visited

Zurich, Switzerland in 1906, and predicted:

“The time would come when temples to the Most High would be built in various countries of the world.”

The Bern Switzerland Temple was the first temple built where English was not the main local language.  It was dedicated on 11 September 1955 (Petersen, S., 2013).

 

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TV’s and such

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

Laundry list of escapades and visits

Amanda and I just returned from a 4 day visit to Utah/Idaho.  It was like a breath of fresh air into my life.  It was just what I needed.  Sorry it has taken so long, but here is some of what we did.

We arrived at Norfolk, Virginia airport at 6:00 in the morning to fly out for Salt Lake.  I am seriously considering if it was worth the $150 we saved to have two layovers.  I thought I would die from the trip.  We flew from Norfolk to Detroit, Michigan, then to Minneapolis, Minnesota on to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I think on each flight I became motion sick.  The layover would cause the sickness to subside and then we took off again.  It was a form of torture.  By the time I arrived in SLC I felt sick, weak, and irritable.  We went to bed pretty early to combat jet lag and my feeling sick.

Friday dawned bright and early.  I was up well before everyone else and was ready for the day before 7 AM even thought of rolling around.  We had crepes for breakfast.  The Hemsley family had a new crepe maker and it turned out to be a great purchase.  They were good.  I always liked the feeling of biting into a warm crepe with cold ice cream oozing between your teeth.  We found our way to Salt Lake again to pick up Bryan and attend the Salt Lake Temple.  I was really not feeling well and I ended up with a pair of pants that were far too tight.  I am glad I switched them out.  I am sure I would have passed out if I had kept them and not switched them for a larger waist size.  The session went well and Sherise, Amanda’s cousin, was beautiful.

After the endowment session Amanda and I split up.  Brad picked me up and we headed north for an evening of visiting and fellowship.  I changed at the Hemsley house and went on our way.  Our first stop was Lillian Talbot.  Lillian is my mother’s father’s sister.  I returned the three journals I typed up from 1961, 1962, and 1963.  I was glad to return them.  We visited for a few moments and went on our way.  The next stop was to Lona Jonas.  She is the sister in law to Lillian who we had just left.  We had a good visit with her.  She told us about her operation on her forehead and eye which came from a piece of glass working its way to the surface after 55 years!  Our next step took us closer to the Wasatch Mountains with a visit to Jennie Britzman.  She is my father’s mother’s mother’s daughter’s daughter (1st cousin to my Grandma Ross).  We had an interesting visit.  I discovered she had another husband I never knew about!  Brad turned out to be very interested in learning about Jennie.  He asked all the right questions and so I learned some family history things I hope I have not missed often in other family members.  How in the world did I ever not ask or find out she had another husband?  Brad really found her story fascinating and we enjoyed ourselves with a good laugh.  It doesn’t seem that she is 90 years old.  Her son Richard came home while we were there and we had a good visit with him as well.

We wound up the conversation and made our way to downtown Ogden to visit Mary Coley.  Her relationship to me is two fold.  She was married to my mother’s father’s brother, Irwin Jonas.  He was killed in WWII and she went on to marry Arthur Coley, Irwin’s Uncle.  It was an interesting story.  I knew that I did not have her parents in my family history so I had some questions to pose.  She answered them all with amazing clearness despite her being 89 years old.  She grew up in Minnesota and met Irwin while he was in training for the military there.  They were married and he went off to the war effort.  He wanted her home in Richmond, Utah when he came back so she moved out there.  She lived with Great Grandma Lillian Jonas (Lillian’s mother, Lona’s mother in law, Irwin’s mother).  It was there she lived when Irwin was killed.  At dinner with my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Coley, Art (Arthur) walked in one evening and asked where they had dragged up Mary.  They were married shortly after.  Anyhow, she does not remember her parents but was able to tell me their names.  Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by a foster family.  She also gave me the names of her foster parents.  So I have some research to do but have Mary’s lineage.  She also told us of her conversion story to the church.  That was very interesting as well.

We made our way to the home of Dave and Betty Donaldson after Aunt Mary.  Dave is my Grandma Ross’ brother.  We originally were going to stop at Grandpa’s but there was a man in a ten gallon hat sitting in his living room that we could see from the road.  So we decided to come back.  It wasn’t far since Dave and Betty live next door.  We had a good little visit with Dave and Betty.  Dave just had his knee replaced in the past few months.  He feels more confident and strong in his new knee than he does his other.  Plans are to replace the other probably this fall.  After all, we would not want to miss a perfectly good summer or fishing laid up in bed at home.  Next we found Abe and Caroline Gallegos home.  Caroline, my Dad’s sister, had just stepped out of the shower.  We visited with Abe for a while and Caroline emerged.  We talked about her new found love of family history, viewed photos.  Meanwhile Brad visited with Abe.

The night was running out and we had to be in our best shape for the long haul Saturday.  After the Gallegos home Brad dropped me off at the Hemsley residence and went to stay with our old roommate, Mark Morris, in Salt Lake.

Friday turned out to be a long night.  I had not recovered from whatever it was I had.  I wanted to blame it on the flight, but the usual suspect of a cold sore (which I always get after flying) showed up before I left Richmond.  I felt sick enough Friday evening Bryan made a run to the store for some Pepto Dismal (the correct spelling).  It is the first time I remember in my life having PB and it sure seems to have done the trick.  I awoke up at 1 AM in emergency situations.  I went on to vacate my entire system of any remnants of food.  I panicked after tossing the perfectly good hamburger in the toilet when it came up  all red and pink.  My brain kicked in to tell me it was only the evidence of PB.  Before the night was finished, it felt I had puked every thought of food I had entertained for the past week.  The rest of the system went on to winterize itself.  By the time I went back to bed at 3 after a shower and a cleaning of the throne I was feeling much better about life.  That constant sickness from the flight was gone.

Saturday dawned bright and early.  We were headed off to Salt Lake City for the sealing ceremony.  We were parked found our way through the temple maze for the sealing party and visited with friends and family for a while.  Before long we were ushered up to a sealing room and we waited for the happy couple and sealer to appear.  Travis and Sherise made their way in followed by Elder Bednar.  It was your typical sealing except Elder Bednar gave some very direct advice before the sealing.  Usually it tends to be a rather superfluous group of niceties which are showered on the couple.  He gave the couple, and for those listening in the party, a direct sermon on several topics I don’t think this is the place to disclose.  I do remember coming out of the ceremony thinking, “I wish they would teach that in General Conference.”

We waited outside in the beautiful spring weather for the couple to appear for photos.  I made a few quick expeditions around temple square and even looking at deconstruction and construction sites bordering temple square.  The flowers and grass didn’t look real.  (They were as testing went on to prove)  The couple made their appearance, we spent the next 45 minutes under the loose commands of a photographer and I made my escape.

Brad appeared and we made a quick venture to the Church Museum to see the exhibit on the Tabernacle.  We trekked northward changing clothes at the Hemsley’s and pressing on to Cache Valley.

Our first stop upon arriving at in that blessed valley was in the city of Nibley.  We stopped to visit Larry and Margo Anhder but they decided not to be home.  We visited with Cynthia Farnsworth around the corner who Brad worked with at the city of Nibley.  It was a good visit.

We left Nibley and headed into Logan to visit Sunshine Terrace.  During school Brad and I used to go down and visit all the old luvs who were there.  Brad only had one of hers still living, Thelma Freeman who is now over the 104 mark.  She remembered Brad very well and even asked if he was off to spray lawns in Malad.  It was a good visit with her.  Even thought she is pretty well death and blind, she remembered quite a bit.  She began to give Brad a rundown on all her grandchildren and I excused myself to go see if anyone I used to regularly visit was still alive.  Nope, they were all gone.  Even Eula Waldron who I thought would live for a good while longer had passed away last fall.  Harriet Elison had passed away last summer.  Apparently right after my last visit she passed.  I felt kinda bad knowing every single person I used to visit while at USU was now dead.  Good for them I suppose.  I decided not to start up any new friendships with an old luv as I didn’t know the next time I would be around to visit.  I went back to listen to Brad and Thelma talk about how she wasn’t going to die until Brad was married.  She openly admitted she wants to die but the Lord just doesn’t seem to want her yet, or perhaps it was because Brad wasn’t married yet….

We left and wandered our way around Utah State University.  Fascinating how quickly things can change.  The new library is completed and we wandered its corridors.  Don’t know if I think it was designed very well, but it was certainly interesting.  The Merrill Library was gone with only the stark increase in the size of the Quad to mark its passing.  We paid a visit to Dentist Office #6 to visit with Matt Geddes and Lucas Garcia for a good while.  Justin Siebenhaar also showed up and we were able to visit with him too.  We did not remain long before we headed out.

Ellis and Geri Jonas we found in their van.  Brad and I did not figure out if they were coming and going.  They said they were waiting for someone (who did not appear while we were there) and yet talked about dinner (so were they coming or going?).  It was good to visit with them for a while.  They gave us the scoop on Ron in Afghanistan, BJ in the hospital, Amie a new house, Jennie a nice guy who she might marry, Ryan and his wife, Julie with her leg, Dan and his job, and the whole story that went with the family.  Geri is just so funny in how she tells it.  Brad and I got a good kick out of it.  Ellis seemed to be more with it than I remember him for the past 5 years.  He has thinned down quite a bit which the Dr.’s wanted him to do anyway.

Allen, Marie, Kade, and Kallie Lundgreen were where we spent our next hour.  Richmond, Utah seems like time is treating it well.  Marie told us the entire latest saga for the city.  The city is publishing a new history but nobody seems to like the author except a few who like to stir up trouble in town.  There is a story unfolding about public records from the old North Cache High School that was torn down which now want to be taken back probably only to be destroyed or lost.  We talked about some history and the story inevitably moved towards Mom.  The best part, I offered Marie a Eureka vacuum cleaner from the 1950’s that I have been lugging around for over a year.  I finally remembered to take it, had it where I could take it, and remembered to give it.  All in all, we enjoyed the reunion and laughs.  It was if I had never left.  Brad sure got a kick out of it.  He thinks we are all crazy.

Next we enjoyed the new highway in Southern Idaho from the Utah border to Preston.  How nice.  So totally cruisable now.  We stopped at the home of Larry and Barbara Andra to visit.  They were not home.  Brad and I took a good look and tour of the new facilities Larry has set up and his new ride in delivering lawn spraying services.  Those new guys have it good!  He has a brand new truck with a new trailer and two 500 gallon tanks.  He appears serious about this whole lawn spraying business!

It was as we climbed into the car we realized we really needed to get moving in order to make it to Blackfoot in time to even catch the last 30 minutes of the reception.  We did a little speeding up the old highway past Winder, Banida, Red Rock, Downey, and Virginia.  We had some good conversation.  We decided we both really like Inkom and could live there some day.  We rounded through Pocatello and made our way to Blackfoot in good time.  We arrived 15 minutes before the reception was scheduled to end.  We went through the line, did our hugs, ate some cake, and enjoyed the family meal in the kitchen.  It was the close of a good day.  We started with Travis and Sherise and ended with them too (not to mention frog eye salad!!!).

After the reception, we watched the fireworks and the send off.  I have to admit, I can’t stand some of the cheesy traditions that accompany marriages and receptions.  I am glad Amanda and I left most of them out.  We loaded up some food for the road and made the way across Southern Idaho to Kasota.  On the way Brad read some really good articles from the latest Summit Magazine from Brigham Young University – Idaho.  We both decided that if we were going to school this fall out of high school, we would both choose YofI.

Sunday morning dawned far too early for us.  We arose, had some wonderful country biscuits and gravy and headed to church.  Church was quite enjoyable.  I really enjoyed the completely humble tone in which the meetings took place.  Elder’s Quorum’s lesson was on Testimony by President Kimball.  Every single person shared some thought and all, except one, did it in a completely humble tone and perspective.  I was not only impressed by the tone of those who participated but the fact that all participated.  It was not even encouraged by the teacher.  I don’t ever remember becoming emotional in Elder’s Quorum as it is usually the least spiritual of all the church meetings.  Sunday school was by Sister Crane and she did well.  Ted was totally shocked when he sat with his family to find us sitting with them.  Sacrament was Fast & Testimony Meeting.  I really quite enjoyed it.  President Merrill bore his testimony and I very much enjoyed it.  President King also bore his testimony which was powerful.  I followed President King which was a bit intimidating.

After church we made a quick trip home before making our rounds for the day.  The first stop of the day was at Sergene Jensen’s in Heyburn.  This was Brad’s first meeting of Sergene and he commented that he could definitely tell she was an Andra.  It was the first time I have seen her in probably 5 years.  We had a good visit while there.  Brad talked golf with Neil from Filer while I fixed Sergene’s computer, her cell phone, and chatted about her son Andy.  She had a pacemaker put in last December which was a surprise to me.  But she thinks it was a worthwhile investment as it has drastically improved her golf swing.  Neil says he wants one now.  It was a good visit.

We went to visit my Aunt Jackie afterwards.  We found Willie, Jackie, and Jesse all home for the day.  Willie was just leaving for work but it was a good visit.  I visited with Jackie for a good while.  Brad wasn’t feeling well so he went and took a nap in the car.  We discussed a variety of things, none of which are worth mentioning here.  Pretty much it boils down to she seems like a lost soul who isn’t willing to make the changes necessary to get her life back in order.

We went to visit a friend of Brad’s, Eli Hansen but he was not home.  We did visit with Eli’s mother, Teri for a few minutes.  We then attempted to pay a visit to Scott and Chris Horsley, but they too were not home.  We stopped to visit Brad’s great Aunt Ora Barlow.  We had a good little visit with her.  I guess before she married Woodrow (Woody) she was married to a Jones.  Her son Lenny popped in and visited with us while we were there too.  It was interesting to hear some of the dynamics of another family.

We attempted another visit to the Horsley home without success and we headed to visit the Orton family.  Kevin, Megan, Ryan, and Kegan were all there.  I wanted to visit with them but had to so I could get a picture with Ryan and Flat Stanley.  As you are aware, I helped with his Flat Stanley project (FS has his own album!).  So chatted about Tran-Systems, Circle A, Ag Express, Washington DC, life in general, the positioning of the stars in the cosmos, and other various lowly conversations.  The actual camera for the photo was at Kevin’s parents so we made the trip to Paul for that.  Brad and I did a quick driving tour of Paul to see what changes have been made.  It is still there, I can verify that.  They are also getting a new city park across from the Stake Center and Harpers are finally subdividing the property next to the Stake Center.  Paul, Idaho is on the boom!

Brad wanted to nap some more so I left him in the car to snooze.  I went in and had even more interesting conversations.  We discussed the lifestyle of the polygamist fundamentalists in Utah.  Wow, I never knew all the ways you could cheat the United States Government!  But the polygamists have it worked out to a ‘T”.  Kevin’s mother became a polygamist and they are sure she is dead but will not report it so they can continue to collect the Social Security Checks.  They mooch the system from the crib to death.  If I didn’t believe in honesty I might be tempted to do the same.  The conversation with Dennis and Derith Orton turned to other subjects until I received a phone call from my Dad wanted to know if I was still planning on dinner.  Yep, the time had arrived and I did not even notice it.  I had to end the conversations rather abruptly and made my way home.

Dad usually is very relaxed about food and eating times but I found out Andra was the instigator.  She was all in an uproar for some reason and wanted to get out of there.  She gave us some reason with Brian needing her somewhere but we could tell it was a lie.  She left in a huff without saying anything for a good bye or even hello.  In addition, she left the present that was intended for her.  I am amazed at how easily people can treat their own family badly and think it is okay.  Perhaps those who are closest to us we can just expect they will understand and we can be as selfish as we want.  That was the extent of any real time with my sister.

Dinner turned out to be very good.  Dad made the t-bone steaks in his usual fashion with the barbeque grill and sugar cure.  It was very good.  Made me wish we could afford a bit more meat to eat on the grill in Virginia.  We had baked potatoes, steaks, salad and plenty more.  It was good to sit down and eat a meal with Dad, Andra who ate only a little bit very quickly, Brad, and Jan.  We talked health, Idaho, family, and a variety of issues.  It was good quality time with the family.  Brad finally decided it was time for him to crash.  He asked for a blessing which we gave him and he crashed despite the fact it was only 8:30 p.m.  I visited with Dad and Jan a little longer before I borrowed Dad’s truck and went to pay a visit to the Tateoka Family.

I roamed up to the top of the hill at Kasota and visited with Ted and Becca.  We lounged around for a while as I told them about the events so far during the weekend.  Ted was quite fascinated with the advice given by Elder Bednar and took the opportunity to pat himself on the back some.  We had a good laugh.  He went with me for a drive to AgExpress (I want to call it Circle A) and we filled up Dad’s pickup for him.  We talked about life in general.  He told me about his struggles in the Bishopric and some of the cases that are before him.  I can sympathize and honestly hope I never serve in that type of capacity.  It sounds like a nightmare in many ways.  I know there are many blessings that come, and Ted openly admits those.  We talked about marriage, women, work, and several other topics.  In the end, he had to be home at a descent hour.  I dropped him off and went home.

Monday again dawned far too bright and early.  Brad arose and was feeling much better after about 11 hours of sleep.  We got ready, loaded the car, said our good byes, and headed out.  Ted wanted us to stop by for breakfast.  We found him at his parent’s place and we had a great breakfast of ham, eggs, toast, and plenty more.  We were stuffed.  We spent some time talking before Ted had to go back to work on the farm.

We went to visit Dustin McClellan at his home.  We found him in the work shop and we took a good look at the Old Dodge.  She was covered in dust and bird droppings but still looked good.  Dustin says he is going to clean her up and get her going again now that spring is here.  Plus he has just finished doing his spring field work and had a week before his next phase.  We visited for a while in his house and we looked around to see what he has done differently.  Next, we stopped by AgExpress and visited with Dad and he introduced me to most of the people in the office.  I knew Michelle and remember Sean.  We said our good bye’s and headed off to Paul and Kathy Duncan’s.

Kathy had forgotten we were coming and we found her in her pajamas still cleaning up after the weekend.  She quickly changed and we visited for a good hour.  She insisted we eat lunch with her and started making food.  Brad and I thought we would both pop if we ate more after a big breakfast.  It turned out to be really good barbeque chicken, salad, and cheesy potatoes.  Brad really liked the desert.  Paul came home and ate with us and we had a good visit about farming, the dairy, and life in general.  Their whole family is doing well and things are good.

We had to get moving once again and we took the old highway 30 out to the Raft River exit.  We took the freeway and got off to head out towards Rockland.  It was a beautiful drive with the stormy clouds, the scenic valley, and the crepuscular drama.  We paid a visit to Leo and Rhea Udy a few miles of Rockland approaching Roy.  It was a really good visit.  I quite enjoyed our conversation.  They have served several church missions.  Two or three of them in helping with engineering projects in the building of temples.  One was with Nauvoo and I think there was one or two more.  They also served in Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  They have known Jack and Janet Duncan since their days in Oregon.  It was also interesting to learn about the Udy history.  This was even more true in light of the Udy Lawn Spraying business my Uncle Larry has.  Rhea is Brad’s great aunt.  We spent our time there and needed to head out in order to be able to pay a visit to Grandpa and make it to Kaysville in time for a party there.

We left the Udy home and took the drive to Malad, Idaho.  We took some time to stop at Twin Springs and a quick drive through Holbrook.  It seemed strange to us to be able to drive through a town literally in the middle of nowhere and know many of the people who live in the homes and much history of the area.  We crossed the pass into Pleasantview and talked about our crazy day recording cemetery tombstone names in Samaria.  We finally arrived in Malad and took a look at all the lots that I am thinking of buying there.  We took some pictures with the phone and left just as the rain was starting to come down again.

We caught I-15 south and got off to drop back into Plain City.  We stopped by Uncle Dave’s again to drop the picture off we neglected to do the first time.  That is another long story, but I have been trying to get that photo back to its owner for a good two years now.  One person takes it, can’t deliver it, and it keeps coming back to me.  At one point, so I would not forget it, I placed it on a desk in Provo so I would always see it.  The weekend I went to take it back I forgot it because Brad, of all people, hid it because he didn’t like it sitting out.  Anyhow, I hope it is the final step to finding its way back to Ed Telford.

We stopped and had a good visit with Grandpa.  He seemed a bit down from the latest waves of death in his circle of friends.  It was still fun to see him and spend some time with him.  In the end he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk much so we said our good byes and headed out.  We made our last stop at the Olive Garden in Layton in order to meet the Hemsley family.  Brad and I discussed our weekend and figured out we really quite enjoyed ourselves.  To top it off, we figured out we had reconnected, visited with, and spent time with at least 43 people since Friday morning together.  That seemed like quite the group of people.  We felt content in our activities.  I came back with 4 pages of family history notes.  Brad was able to see family he had not seen in about 2-8 years.  Best of all, we just enjoyed the company and the sites of Idaho/Utah.

It was Scott Hemsley’s birthday and we ate out at Olive Garden to celebrate the event.  Derek did not join us but it was a good dinner and we had some good laughs.  They are a good family.  I am happy to claim them as family and to have ties with them.  We went back to their home (Brad left for Provo and did not eat with us) and watched The Terminal with Tom Hanks.  It seemed highly fitting since we would again be spending a whole day in traveling by plane.  Amanda’s grandparents came over and we visited with them some.  Finally we crashed since we had to leave at 5 a.m. and felt we needed the rest.

The flights went okay.  I don’t like riding in the very back because sometimes you feel every bit of turbulence.  I think I regained my motion sickness every time we were on descent to the airport.  The winds and tossing just doesn’t do much for my stomach.  The last flight put me under and heater vent or something that blew warm air on me the entire flight.  So I turned on my cold air nozzle to high and suffered with the torments of hot and cold air blowing on me.

We arrived at Norfolk, kissed the ground and went to the Odom home in Newport News.  They fed us some Chinese (which was very nice of them!) and we went home.

There is the end of the narrative of the trip to Utah and Idaho.  I know it became a bit of a laundry list of things we did.  But I did not want to write it by hand in my journal and I type so quickly.  Plus I know some of you would be interested.  So viola, there you go!

Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.