Building a Fort!

Living Room fort 12 October 2019

We have a family routine that every Saturday we vacuum all the floors in the house.  Once and a while I get a while hair and decided to move furniture and vacuum beneath them as well.  I have learned with our new hardwood floors and poorly secured carpets, it is better to just tip the couches into the center of the room than it is to try and scoot, drag, push, or pull them around.  Plus it dumps out the couches and also let’s me vacuum the bottom.  The kids were goofing off with the pillows and building a fort so I thought I would help them out.  Thus, you see the couch fort.  I never got something this cool when I was a kid!

Inside the Living Room Fort 12 October 2019

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Logan Temple, June 2019

Aliza and Hiram Ross, Logan Temple

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

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

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

40 Years Old

Gladys, Judy, Caroline, and Milo Ross in 1961

I was reviewing these photographs recently and noticed the August 1961 printing date on the photos.  You never know how long before development the photos were taken, but I presume these are the same year.  It dawned on me, both Grandpa and Grandma were born in 1921, which means Grandpa turned 40 in February 1961, Grandma would turn 40 in September 1961.

I turn 40 this month.  My Grandpa and Grandma Ross both turned 40 once!

I look at the photo below of Grandpa and Grandpa and see the reflection of their backs in the window behind.

Looking back, what do I see.

Were my grandparents really 40 at one point?  All now deceased?  Were my parents really 40?  My father was 36 when I was born, my mother 25.  I remember my Mom turning 40, it was a crazy year in 1994.

I started looking through other photographs of both sets of grandparents, but most photos are undated so trying to peg at exactly 40 is hard to do.

Gladys and Milo Ross in Aug 1961

Here is a picture of Dad in 1982, or 39 years old with our family.

Sandy, Milo, Andra, and Paul Ross in Paul, Idaho

Here is a picture of Mom in about 1994, probably a few months after she turned 40.

Paul, Milo, Sandy, Andra Ross

I don’t really have a photo for my Grandpa and Grandma Jonas than I can pin down to 1964.  The 1960s are almost a lost decade in the photos for my Jonas grandparents.  Jackie seems to jump from 2 years old to 14 in photos, or at least where Grandpa and Grandma are in them.

I have photos for Great Grandparents, but they are usually more distant photos or I don’t know the exact year to get close to 40.

Anyhow, 40 is here.  Since men live to the average age of 72, I am well over half dead.  What will my remaining 32 years possess and what story will be told, lived?

Smith and Morehouse Reservoir

For Labor Day weekend this year, 2019, we went with the Hemsley clan for a Reunion at Smith and Morehouse Campground, in the mountains from Oakley, Summit County, Utah.  I pulled two photos from the bunch to share.

Hiram Ross sitting on the shore of Smith and Morehouse Reservoir with Zach and Alyssa Smart in the background

Yearly Hemsley Reunion with Amanda and her immediate family.  Kids had loads of fun at Smith and Morehouse.

The departing armada of paddelboats and kayaks at Smith and Morehouse Reservoir

Kindergarten, Kiddie Kollege, Paul, Idaho

Back row (l-r): Sandra Berg, Danny Wright, Jim Cueva, Jared Fairchild, Bobie Jones, Erin Zemke, Jodie Larson, Hazel Patterson, Keri Jo King, Judy Moller; Middle row: Marshall Neilson, Deanne Williams, Bayden Neilson, Brandon Rogers, Logan Schenk, Desirae Paoli, Charlyn Maughan, Charlyn Robertson, Robyn Olson; Front row: Jacob Timmons, Benjamin Wilcher, Jesse Jensen, Michael Jurgensmeier, Paul Ross, Jedediah Lewis.

 

I mentioned this before, Bobie (Jones) Story let me scan some of our common school pictures.  All mine were lost in a flood of our basement. I am happy to have copies again.  (I am still missing Ms. Suhr for 3rd grade and Mr. Mendenhall for 6th grade.  If you have a copy, please let me scan!)

This is our Kindergarten class picture from the Kiddie Kollege, Paul, Idaho.  This was the 1984 – 1985 school year.

The Kiddie Kollege building is still there, northwest corner of N Main Street and W Idaho Street in Paul.  It was converted to a laundromat for quite a few years, now being repurposed into some other building.

Normally I organize photos with married names and dates.  Since all are still alive (as far as I know), I will forgo any of the dates.  I have added the married last name for the ones I know.  If you have corrections, please let me know.

Mrs. Sandra Berg

Mrs. Judy Moller

Jim Cueva

Jared Fairchild

Jesse Jensen

Bobie Jones married Story

Michael Jurgensmeier

Keri Jo King

Jodie Larson married Brunson

Jedediah Lewis

Charlyn Maughan (not on the class list but I am pretty sure I recognize her in the photo, an extra girl, missing a boy)

Bayden Neilson

Marshall Neilson

Robyn Olson married Powell

Hazel Patterson

Desirae Paoli

Charlyn Robertson married Darrington

Brandon Rogers

Paul Ross

Logan Schenk

Scott Spaulding (apparently in the picture, but I don’t have an unnamed boy)

Jacob Timmons

Benjamin Wilcher

Deanne Williams married Kennett

Danny Wright

Erin Zemke married McKindree

Goodbye Manti Pageant

Ross Clan at the last Manti Pageant

After the church announced that 2019 would be the last year of the Manti Pageant, at least sponsored by the church generally, we decided we wanted to make sure we made it down with the kids.

I have written about my previous experience with the Manti Pageant and the unfortunate crossing paths with roadkill on the trek home to Logan that night.  While I enjoyed the pageant in 2004, some of the parts were not well done and became distracting.  But the overall spirit of the Pageant was one that I wanted my children to experience.

We went down and attended on Thursday 13 June 2019.  I am glad we went down on a Thursday, we hoped the crowds would be a little less, and they were.  We arrived plenty in advance, got seats, as you can see above, about half way back in the seating.  It was a great location, we got to know our neighbors for the show and I made three trips back to the van to change dirty diapers before the show started.  A good bus driver from Salt Lake City took this photo of us while we waited for the festivities.

The show went on and I was impressed with Aliza and Hiram, they paid particular attention through the entire show.  Most of it is a great review of church history, the restoration, and particular moments the writer thought important to include.  Even afterward Hiram said to me he felt drawn to the pageant and learned some things.  I hope they will never forget we attended the Mormon Miracle Pageant.

One part of the show that struck me was the interaction between Brigham Young and James Allen and the recruiting process.  The Saints were fleeing the country that refused to protect them.  There had even been some suggestions that the Saints would side with a nation willing to defend them.  But President Polk became convinced to try and use some of the Saints to build relationships between the Saints and the United States.  Young quickly jumped on board and sought a battalion to defend the United States and help preserve the moving church.  It proved to be very inspired, not only in the basic enlistment, but in all Young’s promises to the battalion.

As I sat there watching that scene, I was again reminded of our duty to not only build the church and the kingdom, but also of supporting and sustaining the United States.  As I drove home, I once again evaluated whether I could enlist and serve my nation yet.  I am not sure I am in a position to do so, but I am certainly happy to encourage my own children to serve their nation as well as their church.  I am also reminded of James’ baby blessing where he was given certain promises that would seem to include military service.

I am sad the Mormon Miracle Pageant will not occur at least every couple of years.  Even more sad that The Man Who Knew is already gone and that my children will not get to experience the powerful Clarkston Pageant telling the story of Martin Harris.  Even now I get chills when the Spirit confirms to me my witness of the Restoration.

The other powerful part of the Manti Pageant is the testimony of the temple watching over the pageant and the audience in attendance.  The two seem to go well together.  Just like Clarkston is powerful for Martin’s grave nearby, or Hill Cumorah Pageant for the location.

I snapped this photo as we were leaving.  Future visits to Manti will likely be confined to temple attendance for special events.  I wonder how Manti will do losing a major event each year.  Like most towns, they will revamp, revisit, and move forward.  I wonder how I can find other ways as powerful as this to help my children gain testimonies of the Restoration, Revelation, and the beautiful world and plan in which we live.

Manti Temple, Jun 2019, after the Manti Pageant

James Thomas Ross/Meredith

I have written previously on my third great grandfather James Thomas Ross (1869 – 1951) at this post.  You can read about his life and the disputes regarding his name.

Amanda had planned a trip to Southern California and I told her we could go on the condition that we came home through Fresno.  No trip is complete without a cemetery visit!

Our trusty Nissan Quest visiting our road trip cemetery at Belmont Memorial Gardens, Fresno, California

I knew he was buried in Fresno, Fresno, California.  Through the website FindaGrave I was able to find he was buried in Belmont Memorial Gardens.  I was also able to pinpoint the location of his grave in the cemetery through BillionGraves.  We arrived on the evening of 9 May 2019 and located the grave after about 10 minutes.  It was too late for photos so we returned the next morning.  I had never been to his grave.  I don’t get through Fresno that often (never).

Paul, Amanda, Aliza, and Hiram Ross at the grave vicinity of James Thomas Ross

Here we are with the actual grave.

Paul, Aliza, and Hiram Ross at the grave of James Thomas Ross, aka James R Meredith

Here are three descendants of this enigma man.

Grave stone for James R Meredith

James was born 22 September 1869 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia and died 13 April 1951 in Fresno, Fresno, California.  After his wife Damey Catherine Graham passed in Marysville, Yuba, California, he remarried and eventually relocated to Fresno.

While there he remarried to Martha Elnora “Nora” Cackler (1877 – 1974) who was married and known by Brewer.  They were married 14 July 1947 in Fresno.  Her first husband Daniel Gordon Brewer had passed away in 1943.

Grave stone of Martha Elnora Cackler Brewer Meredith

Interestingly, within only feet, her father John Nelson Cackler (1851 – 1934) was buried.

Grave stone of John Nelson Cackler

Also near was her former husband, Daniel Gordon Brewer (1863 – 1943).

Grave stone of Daniel Gordon Brewer

As well as her son Merle Melbourne Brewer (1904 – 1988).

Grave stone of Merle Melbourne Brewer

As well as Merle’s wife Mayme Jones Brewer (1907 – 1997).

Grave stone of Mayme Brewer