Rosa Nelson Jonas

Christian & Rosa Andersen

This is another chapter of the Jonas history book compiled by Carvel Jonas.  This chapter relates to Rosa Nelson Jonas.  Reviewing this information in FamilySearch shows some changes and updates to some of the information presented.

The following story was written by Rosa and is typed from a hand-written copy in the possession of her daughter, Verla Jonas Andersen Lythgoe.

“The story of Mrs. Rosa Jonas Andersen.  Miss Rosa Nelson Jonas was born in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, Washington, on 5 Sep 1886, the third daughter of Annie Josephine Nelson Jonas and Joseph Jonas on a farm.

“Being Catholic, when about two months old, mother took me to church to be baptized, which was done by mother holding me in her arms, while the priest poured a few drops of water on my forehead.  (St. Andrew church records this date 26 Sep 1886)  In the meantime two persons stood by her side, one on each side of her, a man and a woman, they are called the God mother and father, they are to become your guardian in case anything happens to your parents.
“When I was about four years old, I followed a cousin of mine to school.  Not understanding the rules of school, I would talk out loud and go from one seat to another, so the teacher asked me if I hadn’t better go home, my mother may need me.  I told him oh, no she has got some more kids home.  I said it so loud the whole room began to laugh.  That got me, I was so hurt at being laughed at I never went back.
“The fall of 1895, we went to Yakima to pick hops.  Although only nine years of age, it was a very interesting trip.  People came from all parts of the country.
“One family in particular which attracted my attention was a family traveling in a covered wagon, which had on the outside “Olympia, Washington or bust.”  While picking hops they turned their chickens loose, and every night they would go to roost in the back of the wagon, they had a place fixed just on the outside of the end gate.  They stayed during the hop season, which lasts about a month or six weeks.
“We were paid one dollar a box and it took four, forty gallon barrels or what they called flour barrels to make a box of hops.  The hops were grown in large fields like we grow beets which was one of the prettiest sights I ever seen, to see the way the hops grew.  The rows were far enough apart to cultivate between with a cultivation horse.  Large poles were even so far apart with strong wire over the top to which a strong cord was tied and fastened to a peg driven in the ground, the hop vine would wrap around this string as it grew.  The hops were between six and nine inches long.  The most interesting part of this occasion was the Indians, whose camp was just across from where we made our camp.
“We were afraid to go too close so we stood off at a distance and watched them put up their tents.  The women or squaws as we call them, did all the work.

Rosa Nelson Jonas

“After we had been in camp about a week, while strolling through the bushes we came upon a squaw making a bed for a new baby, she dug a great big place in the ground, put a layer of rocks in it and made a fire on the rocks.  Of course, we didn’t know what she was making but I did know she didn’t want us standing around watching her, and would make motions with her hands for us to go away.  I told Mother and she said for us not to go around there any more, because the poor woman was sick.
“Well, we didn’t but one morning before sun up and the ground was white with frost, my sister and I went down to the river and to our great surprise we saw that same squaw that was sick with a tiny baby.  We watcher her undress her baby and in the cold water she dipped it.  We run home and told mother to come quick that an Indian was drowning her baby.  She laughed and told us she was giving her baby its morning bath.
“Now in the Catholic Church the Sunday School has two classes, one that they call the catechism and the other the Bible.  They are not allowed to go to Communion or partake of what we call the sacrament, until they graduate from the catechism (spelled Katakismn in her story) class.  The day before you go to communion the whole class has to go to confession, which is quite an affair.  I’ll try and describe how it is done.  They is say, a large closet with a partition running through the center making two average sized closets, with dark maroon draperies hanging in each door way.  You go to the right little room, and you’ll find a small bench, to the left, you kneel on it and you find a hole in the partition wall, that comes about to your chin, looking through that you see the Priest sitting in his nice comfortable overstuffed chair waiting to hear you confess your sins, which is done by your saying, “Father forgive me for telling a lie,” or whatever you done that was wrong since you went to confession last.  Your punishment is if you haven’t a rosary to get one.  It has from 25 to 20 beads each having a different design, each bead means a certain prayer.  I had to get one of those beads and say six hail Mary’s every night before retiring and every morning before dressing and two Apostle Creeds so I must have been one of the worst, I thought well, I’ll just show you Priest-I’m not going to freeze my toes saying that while I was kneeling by the bed side, so I’d get up in the center of the bed, cover the quits over my head and bury my face in the pillow and start praying just as fast as I could, sometimes I’d skip a bead and sometimes two, but that did not make any difference because I was covered and no one could see me, and that old Apostle Creed it was too long to say once, say nothing about saying it twice, not me, I didn’t see any sense in learning prayers out of a book when I wanted something because I thought the Lord wouldn’t understand what I wanted.
“Well the next day at Communion all the girls wore white dresses with veils and wreaths on their heads, and boys in black.  Up to the altar or railing covered in white you kneel down, put your hands under this white cover that goes over the railing, close your eyes, put your head back, open your mouth, put out your tongue and the priest will put this Communion on your tongue, don’t let it touch your teeth, close your mouth, bow your head.  When he had given each one in the class a Communion you all arise and go to your seat.  This Communion is about as large as a small sop cracker, I guess that is what it is from what I could see just partly closing my eyes.  I wanted to see what he was going to give me anyway and I did.  He took it out of a goblet with his forefinger and thumb and layed it on my tongue and stood there and drank the wine it was soaked in.
“In the year of 1901 July 3, I came to Utah.  Feb 6, 1902 I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by N[els]. A[ugust]. Nelson who took a pick and broke the ice in the Jordan River in South Jordan, Salt Lake County, and was confirmed the same day by Bishop James P. Jensen.  In the year of 1903 I spent a week in the Salt Lake Temple being baptized for relatives and had my endowments and went through for those I was baptized for and had them sealed.  This made me sixteen years of age when I had my endowments.
In April 1902 I had my patriarchal blessing which (is) a great comfort and help to me because of the wonderful promise of temple work, and of the great relief it would be for those I did work for.  It sure is a great comfort to go and read it and reread it.  The more you read it, the more it means to you.  “So girls, don’t miss getting your Patriarchal Blessing.”
“The following is Rosa’s blessing. 
“A blessing given to Rosa Jonas, daughter of Joseph and Josephine Nelson Jonas born in Ellensburg, Kittitas Co, State of Washington. 
“Sister Jonas in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the priesthood conferred upon me, I confer upon your a patriarchal blessing.  In as much as you desire to know what God requires of you.  If you are faithful you shall never be deceived.  You have a knowledge that God lives and your prayer will be answered in those things that will be for your good.
“You are of Israel and are entitled to the blessings which the gospel imparts, and although young, God will increase your testimony.  If you are humble, your heart will be fully satisfied.  Be careful of the company that you keep.  Be modest and careful in the selection of your companionship or you may be deceived.  There is much for you to do in the Temples of the Lord, and many of your ancestors names will be presented to you and they will bless you for the labor that you performed for them in the flesh.
God will give you judgement to select a man of God for a companion, who will lead you back into the presence of God from whence you came.
Cherish virtue more than your life.  Never allow yourself to step from the paths of truth and virtue for I seal this blessing upon you with all your born blessing and I seal you up unto Eternal Life, promising you that none of these blessings shall fail if humble on your part in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Rosa lived with her Uncle August Nelson and did housework for her room and board.  She wasn’t very tall and some of her children have said she would measure to their arms if their arms were held out horizontal with the ground.  A guess she would be a few inches above five feet tall.  She had thin brown hair and brown eyes.  When she was young she had white hair, until it grew darker as she became a young woman.  All her siblings had white hair when they were children.  Her hair was probably thinned because of the typhoid epidemic which killed her older sister, Mary.  At that time Rosa’s hair fell out by the hand full.  Since Mary died 21 Sep 1899, Rosa would have been 13 years old when she lost her hair.  Rosa was the only left handed sibling.  I am told that Rosa would argue about religious doctrines with her brothers and would hit the stove with a pan to give emphasis to her point of view.  Apparently these siblings would argue and defend their point of view vigorously for a few hours at a time.  However, after their debates they were affectionate with each other and were able to be good friends after any discussions.  They were very loyal to each other.
“A land record in Logan tells us that on the 8 Nov 1905 Rosa and her husband, Christian Andersen, first bought their house in Richmond, Utah.  It was located at 137 East 1st South.  They bought lots 2 and 3 for $500.00.  They lived there until 2 Jun 1920 when they sold their house for $2400.00 and then moved to Thatcher, Idaho.  While they were living in Richmond two of her brothers would live with them from time to time.  William and Joseph would stay at her home when they came back from the Brigham Young College at Logan.  She also lived within about a block of her other brother, John, who had bought a home.  She was very helpful to her brothers by washing their clothes and given them a place to sleep when they came home during the weekends.  Joseph, her youngest brother, often sought her for advise, and often would take the advice of his sister in substitute of the parental advice he missed.  She lived in Thatcher, Idaho, with her two brothers on a far and after a short few years moved back to Richmond, Utah.  Later (about 1922) the family moved to Preston, Idaho at 295 West 4th South, where she died years after.  The following is quoted in the life story of her husband, Christian Andersen, and was written by their daughter, Mabel.
Father met my mother, Rosa Nelson Jonas, about a year before they were married.  One night (Christian) was singing and playing a lively song and mother and Aunt Delia walked into the dance hall and there sat father playing the accordion and singing this song.  Mother took one look at him and said to Aunt Delia, “I should think he would be ashamed of himself.”  She thought him repulsive at first.  But later on in years she rocked his little kids to sleep and he sang these very same songs to us.  Mother did not mind in the least.  Aunt Delia and Grandma Andersen decided that Christian and Rosa were meant for each other, so Aunt Delia gave a party and invited the Andersen boys.  They were a lively bunch and had a good time that night.”
“…Rosa made a nice cream cake with plenty of whipped cream on it.  (Christian) came to see her that evening in his rubber tired buggy so he could eat it, batched by himself…  On the way home father put the cake on the floor of the wagon so it would be safe.  The high spirited horse became frightened and started to run away.  Father pulled back on the lines and raised his foot up and set it down right in the middle of the cream cake!  When he got home he cut around his foot print and ate what he could of the cake.  As a result of these meetings father and mother were married on 29 Jun 1904 in the Salt Lake Temple.”
“Rosa wrote a letter to her oldest sister, Margaret, to apologize for not writing her until after she was married about her marriage.  Joseph Jonas, her father, wrote back and said that Margaret would forgive her because she had died.
Rosa became the mother of Christian’s two children, Pearl and Ivy, who were from Christian’s first marriage.  “Rosa was strict and so was Christian.”
“Rosa and Christian moved into a house in Richmond, Utah.  Christian added one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a bath.  He made a stairway and maintained a “well groomed house and yard.”  “We had a shanty or summer kitchen where “Rosa and her daughters” did the canning of fruit and washing.  The shanty was a couple of rods from the backdoor.  We had a cement sidewalk and a big stone rock for a step…”  Their “home had the first running water in it to come out of the wall hot… We had the first electric light in Richmond.”
Rosa and Christian had six children.  The first five were born in Richmond.  The last was born in Lewiston.  They are the following children: Mabel Rosetta, born 23 Oct 1905; Cyrus Christian, born 21 Dec 1907; Cleone Annetta, born 24 Nov 1909; Merlin Jonas, born 19 Sep 1913; Verla Jonas, born 16 Mar 1917; Arvie Jonas, born 31 May 1921.
“I remember moving from the ranch at Thatcher to Lewiston.  Mother was expecting Arvie and she rode in the back of the wagon on some hay.  The meager furniture was loaded into the wagon drawn by Jupiter and a bay horse named Sailor.  Verla was bundled up in blankets and quilts, also Merlin and I (Mabel).  Snow was on the ground, it was cold.  While we were pulling the dugway by Riverdale where it was icy and slick, ol’ Jupiter fell on his right front shoulder.  This turned the front wheels of the wagon causing it to tip.  But quick as a flash Jupiter was on his feet and gave a lunge throwing the wagon the other way.  Sailor pulled his line and up the dugway we went.  I always felt that I owed my life to Jupiter because if the wagon had gone over it would have dumped the stove on top of me…”  Another night during the trip they stayed at a range house and they fixed breakfast for them.  Joseph Nelson Jonas was driving the wagon.
“Rosa and Christian had one of the most beautiful homes.  (They) had a beautiful garden bed of tulips; and beds of gladiolas…(their) lawns were nice and green with no weeds…In Richmond and Preston they used to have large raspberry patches.  We girl used to get up at four in the morning and pick the berries before it would get too hot.  Then again at five in the afternoon when it was cooler we would again go into the patch and pick berries.  (Rosa) sold many of the berries to people living near.”

Rosa & Christian Andersen

“In the winter when the snow was deep a group of people would get together and decide to have a surprise on some member.  The women would open the door and yell SURPRISE!!!  In they would go and take all the furniture out of their room and take up the rug or carpet and start to dance.  Christian would be there with the accordion.  He would take a chair and sit in the corner and play all night.  About midnight they ladies would give the rest of the people lunch.  They  would eat and dance some more.  After the dance was over the men would carry the furniture back into the house again.”
“The following information was taken from the obituary of Rosa Nelson Jonas.  “Preston-Mrs. Rosa Jonas Andersen, 64, died in a Preston hospital at midnight Tuesday.  She served as president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association in the Preston Sixth Ward, as a Primary teacher, and for eight years was captain of the Hiawatha Camp, Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday noon in the Preston Sixth Ward Chapel by Bishop A.C. Lundgreen.  Friends may call at the family home Friday evening and Sat. until time of the services.  Burial will be in the Ogden Cemetery under the direction of the Webb Mortuary of Preston.”

Glacus Merrill’s Class

Back(l-r): Ira Hillyard, Unknown, Bob Johnson, Junior Petterborg, Irwin Jonas, Unknown, Unknown.  2nd from Back: Unknown, Ruth Rich, Kaye Funk, Anna Lawrence, Joyce Larsen, Ruth Hutchinson, Nadine Johnson, Darrel Smith.  Middle Row: Unknown, Unknown, Eva Kershaw, Lyle Wilding, Unknown, Afton Sorensen, Dorothy Nielson, Unknown, Norwood Jonas.  2nd from Front: Alvin Spackman, Bernice Frandsen, Unknown, Glacus Merrill, Joy Erickson, Unknown, Allen Spackman.  Front: Garr Christensen, Oral Ballam Jr, LaMar Carlson, Unknown, Gail Spackman, Ivan Anderson, Warren Hamp.

This is Glacus Merrill’s class from what I believe is 1936.  He taught class at Park School in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  Several individuals have assisted me to name the individuals I have so far.  There are too many unknowns that I hope to clarify in the future.  If anyone can help, I would certainly appreciate it.  My Grandfather, Norwood, and his brother, Irwin, are both in the photo.  Irwin died in World War II, and I assume some of the rest did as well.

I have listed all the individuals below with some limited information I could find on them.  At the very bottom is Glacus’ obituary.

Ira William Hillyard (1924-2009)

Unknown

Robert “Bob” Jay Johnson (1924-2009)

Junior “Pete” Lee Petterborg (1923-1990)

Irwin John Jonas (1921-1944)

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Ruth Rich

Norma Kaye Funk (1924-2002)

Anna May Lawrence (1924-1988)

Joyce Larsen (1924-1968)

Ruth Hutchinson (1924-2002)

Nadine Johnson (1924-2005)

Darrel Wilmot Smith (1924-2008)

Unknown

Unknown

Eva Kershaw

Lyle Wilding (1924-2002)

Unknown

Mary Afton Sorensen (1923-2008)

Dorothy Nielson (1924-2019)

Unknown

Wilburn Norwood Jonas (1924-1975)

Alvin Chester Spackman (1923-1994)

Bernice Frandsen (1924-2002)

Unknown

Glacus Godfrey Merrill (1905-2002)

Joy Erickson (1924-2010)

Unknown

Allen Elijah Spackman (1923-1997)

Garr Dee Christensen (1923-2002)

Oral Lamb Ballam (1925-2016)

Victor LaMar Carlson (1923-2008)

Unknown

Harold Gail Spackman (1924-1991)

Ivan Carl Anderson (1923-2017)

Warren Thomas Hamp (1924-2009)

Here is a copy of the obituary I found for Glacus.  Wow, I wish my school teachers had been this amazing.

LOGAN – Glacus G. Merrill, 96, died of causes incident to age in Logan, Utah on Saturday, February 9, 2002.  He was born May 27, 1905 in Richmond, Utah to Hyrum Willard and Bessie Cluff Merrill.  He is a grandson of Marriner W. Merrill, a pioneer prominent in the settling of Cache Valley, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the first president of the Logan LDS Temple.  He married Constance B. Bernhisel in 1925, and they were later divorced.  He married Marie B. Bailey, March 24, 1945 in Washington D.C.  Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple.

While attending school, he participated in track and football at North Cache and Brigham Young College, where he graduated in 1925.  Glacus graduated from Utah State University in 1935 and also attended the University of Utah and Chico State College in California.  He is a graduate of the REI Radio Engineering School in Sarasota, Florida.  He was the principal of the Richmond Park School for 11 years and served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II.  He served an LDS mission to California from 1954-1955.  While living in the East, he served as President of the West Virginia Farm Bureau and the State Black Angus Association.  He is an honorary Kentucky Colonel.  He also served as President and District Governor of Lions Clubs in Utah and West Virginia, and was a member of the Lions Club for 42 years.  Glacus was Vice President of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, and is a member of the USU Old Main Society.  He established a Scholarship Fund in the Communications Department at USU.  The Montpelier, Idaho Jaycees presented him with their outstanding Citizen’s Award.  He was also a member of the Montpelier Rotary Club, Utah Farm Bureau, VFW and American Legion.  He is a member of the “Around the World Club” having traveled around the world with his son, Gregory.  He and his wife, Marie traveled extensively.  Merrill was a popular Rodeo announcer in his early days.  He authored the book “Up From the Hills” which was finished in 1988 and is available in area libraries.

Honored by the Utah Broadcasters as a pioneer in Radio Broadcasting, Merrill started his broadcasting career in 1938 as part owner and Program Director at KVNU Radio in Logan.  After serving four years in the Navy, he built his first radio station Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He owned and operated 11 other stations in West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Idaho and Utah, including stations in Montpelier, Idaho and Logan, Utah.  He was well known for his frank and outspoken editorials, news and comments on KBLW in Logan.  He has given over 7,000 newscasts and editorials always ending them with the saying, “Have Good Day Neighbor.”  In 56 years of radio broadcasting, he trained several young broadcasters who are now making good.

As a hobby, wherever he lived, he operated a cattle ranch and farm.  He served in many civic and church activities including counselor in the LDS Stake MIA, counselor in the East Central Stake Mission Presidency, 5 years as a Branch President and 11 years as District President in West Virginia.  He also served as Deputy Scout Commissioner in Idaho and for 12 years taught the High Priest Class in the Logan 3rd Ward and served for several years as the High Priest Group Leader.  He was an avid supporter of many missionaries in the area.

His wife, Marie preceded him in death on April 22, 1993, as well as six brothers and one sister.  He is survived by his two daughters, Darla D. (Mrs. Dennis Clark) of Logan; Madge (Mrs. Melvin Meyer) of Smithfield; one son, G. Gregory (Joan) Merrill of Logan; nine grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held at 12 Noon on Thursday, February 14, 2002, at the Logan 3rd Ward Chapel, 250 North 400 West, with Bishop Grant Carling conducting.  Friends and family may call Wednesday evening, February 13th, at the Nelson Funeral Home, 162 East 400 Norther, Logan from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Thursday at the church from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  Interment will be in the Richmond City Cemetery.

The Couch and Chair

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

I have noticed both in a few pictures over time.

Sandy and Doug Jonas about 1958-59 in chair

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

Norwood and Sandy Jonas on couch about 1957-58

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

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

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

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

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

Sandy and Doug Jonas reading on couch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doug, Sandy, and Norwood Jonas on couch

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

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

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

 

Playing in the Snow

Doug & Sandy Jonas on front step of home in Richmond, Utah

I scanned a stack of old photos earlier this year my Aunt Jackie had found.  Here is one of the last two I need to catalogue and that I also wanted to share.  (The other requires me to get a new photo to post about it and I keep forgetting to get that photo)

This picture makes me think of the excitement children feel with snow and the desire to go play in it.  Bundled up to go play, warm enough the snow has melted on the step.  In fact, you cannot see snow in this picture.  But I already had the picture below that is likely the same day.

Sandy and Doug Jonas

It appears Doug still has all of his front teeth, so he is probably 5 or 6 years old, Mom is two years behind him in age, and she could certainly be 3 or 4.  She seems to appear more like 4 than 3.

Doug was born July 1952, Mom March 1954, so this could very well be the winter of 1958-1959.  The house is located at 142 North State Street in Richmond, Utah and is still there.  I have written on this before, but my Grandparents, Norwood & Colleen Jonas, built this home.

Another fun photo of years past.  I quite enjoy the look on Doug and Mom’s face.  The hand on the shoulder, the happy/giddy look, the exuberance of youth!

Lewiston 9th Grade Graduation Class

Lewiston 9th Grade Graduation Class 20 May 1948 (Anderson Studio)

Here is another photo that came from LeReta Jonas Andersen’s family.  She stands second row from the back, middle, with the white flower on her lapel.  I think I recognize Grant Bagley on the front right, but no clue for any of the others.  Anyone have any insight?

Apparently the ceremony took place in the Lewiston, Utah Church Building, I don’t know if the building is still there or not.  I don’t think it is.

Richmond South Ward, Benson Stake Basketball

Richmond South Basketball Team.  Back (l-r): LeReta Andersen, Elaine Bell, Jeannie Spackman, Hope Anderson.  Front: Janet Whitman, Louise Godfrey, Marva Dawn Spackman, Carolyn Spackman, Arlene Alvey.

This photo was shared with me several years ago but I didn’t know who the individuals were in the photo.  Only this past weeks I was given a copy of a newspaper clipping with the same photo in it with a little bit of background.  Here is the language of the newspaper clipping.

“BENSON STAKE CHAMPIONS – Richmonud (sic) South ward girls were undefeated in eight games, which was good enough for stake honors.  The team captain is Arlene Alvey; manager and coach is Marva Dawn Spackman.  Left to right, (front): Janet Whitman, Louise Godfrey, Marva Dawn Spackman, Carolyn Spackman, Arlene Alvey.  (Back): LaReta (sic) Anderson (sic), Elaine Bell, Jeannie Spackman and Hope Anderson.  The Benson stake league has featured some fast girls’ games this season.

Here is the information on the individuals in the photo I could find.

Myrtle Arlene Alvey (1935 – 2017), married Melvin Butterfield.

Hope Anderson (? – ?)

Elaine Bell (? – ?)

Louise Godfrey (? – ?)

LeReta Mary Jonas (1932 – 2018), married Lowell Andersen.

Carolyn Spackman (1935 – 2013), married Leon Fisher, Ray Fiske.

Jeannie Spackman (? – ?)

Marva Dawn Spackman (1932 – 2017), married Gail Alvey.

Janet Whitman (? – ?)

 

 

Sunday Morning Dress

Ready for church, 7 Nov 2019, Aliza, Hiram, Lillian, and James Ross

I didn’t take this photo, but these are my kids in my house!  On Sunday I often find myself at church meetings so I miss the Sunday morning church preparation routine.

But I saw this photo after the fact and thought it represents our beautiful children in so many ways.  Also caught my eye is the pedigree chart in the background, our family portrait from just a few years ago, and Hiram’s tie that my Uncle Doug wore at Hiram’s age in the 1960’s.

Sharp, beautiful children.  They look good here, there is plenty of emotion and drama in the background.  They sure do clean up nice.  They are good children too.

20 years of passing

Colleen and her grandson, Paul Ross.

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

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

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

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

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

Colleen Elliott tending to Paul Ross sitting on her kitchen counter

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

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

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

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

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

Side profile with grandson Paul Ross, 1979.

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

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

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

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

Colleen Jonas Portrait, 1991.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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