David is Born Febuary 28, 1970

Febuary 27, 1970 started as an ordinary day, Frank went to work for his early morning shift. I had to go Visiting Teaching in the afternoon. My partner came and picked me up. We made our visits and I noticed that it was harder getting in and out of the car that day. My back started to hurt a little bit. She took me home and I lay down.

Frank came home from work. We had made plans to meet with some friends that evening to go to dinner. I was not feeling like I could go out. Frank canceled going out but he invited them to our house and he went and got hamburgers and shakes. I was hungry. I really hadn’t eaten much that day.

Our friends came and we visited and laughed. By this time my back was hurting a lot. I put a heating pad on it. They left and we went to bed.

I couldn’t sleep, I just felt restless. Frank said I had indigestion. Soon I started having contractions. They were coming pretty regularly. Frank called the Doctor and his service said to go to the hospital and they would check me out. My due date wasn’t for two weeks. We were not ready for a baby.

We got to the hospital and sure enough I was in labor. Things were getting serious. The hamburger  and shake I had earlier decided they wanted to come back to the light of day. New lesson if you think you might be in labor don’t eat.

This was really happening. I had wanted to be a Mother for years. It was about to happen. But first there was the pain. Finally they gave me the Saddle Block. This numbed everything below my waist.

Then in the early morning hours of February 28, 1970, a healthy baby boy was born. Twenty one inches long, eight pounds 14 ounces. The promise of a tall man. We named him David Francis Mack. The President of the Church David O McKay passed away just a couple of months before. I wanted to name him David after the man who had been President of the Church for most of my life that I could remember.

Later when I moved to Provo we found that there were many boys born that year named David. At one point there were four Davids in our ward, two of them lived on our street, one next door and the other across the street.

We had our baby two weeks early and life would never be the same.

The Day Frank Died

Sunday was warm and sunny that July day in 1972. Frank had worked all night at his security job and he came home and changed and set out again to go to a four wheel drive rally with his buddies. He took the truck so I did not have any transportation of my own.

I called my home teacher and asked if he could pick up me and the kids so that we could go to Sunday School meeting. My neighbor came over and she said her daughter wanted to go to Church with us. So she went home to get her ready. I was sitting in the living room so that I could see the street. A car pulled up into the driveway and my Bishop got out of the car along with another man. I went out to the driveway to meet them, he introduced this other man as a County Coroner and he was a member of our Church. The fact that he was a coroner never fazed me. But that he was a member of our Church. Then right there in the driveway the Bishop told me there had been an accident and that Frank had been killed. Just like that. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Frank was dead. Just then my home teacher pulled up. The Bishop went down to his car and told him and he left. Then the Bishop said he had to get back to the Ward and start Sunday School he told me he would send his wife to be with me.

I didn’t know what to do. My neighbor came over with her daughter and I told her what had happened. She gathered up David and Pattie and took them to her house. I was all alone. I just sat there. What was I supposed to do? What was the protocol? How was I supposed to act? Then the Bishop’s wife came.

“What can I do for you?”

“I don’t know”.

“I guess we should call Frank’s parents in Gardner, Montana. ”

I found the phone number. She tried to dial it. She couldn’t get it right. I didn’t want to talk to them but she couldn’t get it right. I took over the call. It rang through. No caller ID in those days. You just answered the phone. Frank’s Mom answered. I don’t remember what I said but I somehow got out that Frank had been killed in an automobile accident. She started to scream. Frank’s Dad came on the line.

“What happened?”

I tried to tell him what I knew but I realized that I didn’t know hardly any details. Just that he had been killed.

Well that was over. I called my parents. My Dad said he would call me back. I sat there, now what do I do? I felt like my life had just been put on hold. We sat around and looked at each other. My kids were gone. I didn’t know what to do. The bishops wife was nice but I didn’t know her very well. I kind of expected a lot of church members to come by after Sunday School. But no one came. My home teacher came back and my visiting teaching partner. I didn’t cry, I was numb.

I thought “I need to make arrangements for a funeral. How do I do that?” I was 26 years old. What do I know about these things.? Finally my Dad called back and said they were on their way. It was a long drive from Cedar City, Utah to Marysville, Washington. Frank’s Dad called back and asked when I wanted them to come. I didn’t know what to tell him. I didn’t know what they could do. Looking back I think I was not very nice and considerate to them and their feelings. They had just lost their only son. My heart felt cold as steel.

Somehow I made it through the day. It was getting to be bed time so I sent everyone away.

“ I’m all right. I’ll be alright. Don’t worry about me.”

I went to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep. Then the dogs. One of the dogs in the neighborhood was in heat. We had a big black lab that was tied up in the back. I did not like that dog. I do not like dogs very much and this dog did not make it any easier. All around the house there was barking. That’s all I could hear, Barking, Barking, Barking. I could not get to sleep. Finally I called the police.

“Could they do anything about the dogs? ”

“No”

I guess I must have slept some, it is hard to say.

Next morning one of the Relief Society presidency came over. The President was out of town. This sister was about my age she knew just about as much about arranging a funeral as I did.

“What can I do for you?”

“I don’t know”

She took me down to the Social Security office, she said I should apply for survivor benefits. They looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t  know that it could have waited.

Trying to remember the whole chain of events is hard, some things stand out and some are lost. I don’t know that it is so important to have everything in perfect order only that the events are as true as possible.

I think my parents arrived later that day on Monday. They had driven all night. They stopped in Salt Lake at my sister Kathryn’s house and her husband Jim came with Mom and Dad. Jim was an accountant and he offered to come and help me with my financial affairs. That night I slept. I think just having my parents there was such a relief.

Somehow we made the arrangements for the funeral. Frank’s injuries were mostly to his head. The truck had rolled and even though he had his seat belt on they had taken the roof off the top and as the truck rolled, his head had been crushed. The funeral director told me that it would be better if I did not see his body. We should have a closed casket. We made arrangements to have Frank buried in Willamette National Cemetery, a military cemetery near Portland, Oregon. The VFW would provide a military tribute. Frank had served in Vietnam and had been wounded. I thought maybe his parents would like him close to them but his Dad said no the cemetery in Gardner was just rock pile. He was happy with the one in Oregon.

We arranged for the funeral to be on Friday and the burial to be on Saturday because the drive to Portland was several hours away. There was no viewing so we just showed up at the church for the funeral. I had asked someone to sing “Oh My Father” and the Bishop talked and someone else I don’t remember. When I walked into the church it was the first time I had seen the casket. It was draped in a flag. Frank’s Mother wept the whole time. I was kind of annoyed with her. I think I have many things to seek their forgiveness for when I meet them again on the other side. Maybe they can see the whole picture now and have forgiven me.

After the funeral, I thought something is missing. No one really talked about Frank. I didn’t realize that I needed to make that clear. Or I needed to assign that to someone. I think most of the problem was that we had only been married exactly three years when he died. We had only lived in our house in Marysville two years. We didn’t know very many people and the church members in our ward did not know Frank because he did not come to church. Most of them knew me but not him. There was no one to speak for him. I should have asked his parents or his sister if they wanted to say something but I didn’t.

After the funeral the Relief Society provided a lunch for us but his parents would not come. I thought this was something everyone did. That’s what I had grown up with. His parents were not familiar with Mormon culture. I think they were uncomfortable. I was not very sensitive to their feelings.

One of Franks friends asked me if I wanted them to take care of the dog for a few days I told them they could have it. I didn’t want the stupid thing.

The next day was Saturday and we all made our way to Portland to the cemetery. I talked to Dad about the lack of mention of Frank and his life at the funeral. He said that he would say something at the graveside. The mortician had arranged for the local VFW to do a military tribute. They had an honor guard and played a record of taps and folded up the flag and gave it to me. So surreal. I was numb.

We went back to Marysville and then what. My brother-in-law, Jim had gone through our finances and did what he could to help; then he went home. Dad took him to the airport in Seattle.

One morning I think my Dad was in the shower and my little 3 year old David came running into my room. All excited.

“Frank home?” “Frank home?”

“No honey Franks not home, he is not coming home.”

David did not understand. I guess I didn’t realize he even missed him. Pattie was only 10 months old. She would never remember her Dad. David today says that he thinks he has some memories of his Dad, but they are very fleeting.

I had nothing to keep me in Washington. Although I really loved our little house and I had made friends with a couple that lived just behind us. Our kids were about the same age and I spent a lot of time with them when Frank was away in the evenings. But my home was in Cedar City, Utah. I wanted to go back to Utah and get my life back on track. I felt disconnected from the Church. Frank would not come with me to meetings and he was not supportive when I had been asked to teach primary. I felt that I needed to be back in an environment I was used to. I was the wild child ready to come home and beg for a place at my parents table.

The Ward organized a crew to come and load up my belongings in a U-Haul trailer that Me and Dad would drive back to Utah. Mother took David and Pattie back on the plane. My neighbors David and Kay took me and their kids and David to Seattle to the Zoo. We left Mom and Dad with Pattie and  with the help of the ward they packed up my house. When we got back that evening the house was bare. It really hit me. My life would forever be altered.  There was no turning back.

We took Mom to the airport and Dad and I headed for Utah. We soon realized that the trailer we were haling was not loaded very well and we had a hard time going over 50 miles an hour. It took us two and a half days to get to Salt Lake. We drove day and night. When they packed they had not left out any clean clothes for me. We stopped at Kathryn’s house and I was able to have a shower and Kathy washed my clothes for me. I was glad to see my kids again. Then we all headed to Cedar City another good 4 hour drive because the trailer would sway and pull at the car.

Finally we arrived and a new life began. I had left behind the first home I had as a married woman. I had left behind a husband. My parents made me leave behind my beautiful cat that Frank and I had as a kitten that we brought from Gardner when we first traveled to Washington. “Clean sweep” my Mother said. I felt I was obligated to bow to their council. It took me quite awhile to find my own voice again. But for now I was grateful to them for their kindness and willingness to take me in along with my kids. I think about that time of my life and I shake my head and wonder what was I thinking. I was young. I guess I did the best I could.

Visit to Texas July 2010

I should have written about this trip last year. A lot happened and I hope I can get the high lights.

The main reason for going was to visit Kim and give her baby a name and a Priesthood Blessing. She had asked her Father to do that for her. I flew to Dallas June 29, 2010, so that I could be there for Rebecca’s thirtieth birthday, July 1st. I had not helped her celebrate her birthday for many years. We took care of that and I hung around for The 4th. On the 3rd we went to see a parade. Reminded me a lot of the parades we had in Cedar. Two farm wagons and a fire-engine.

Becca and I, with Izaiah, found a place to watch some really cool fireworks on the 3rd and then on the 4th we went to another park and watched more fireworks. We went to their favorite Barbecue place for ribs and other good stuff. They also took me to a chocolate shop that has the most amazing chocolate. Each piece looks like a work of art and they taste as good as they look. I talked Becca into taking me back there before I went to Austin to meet Jim. I wanted to take some to him.

Another day we went to a shopping mall that had an outdoor water play area and Jaxon and Izaiah ran through the water. They really had a good time.

About July 8th, Becca drove me to Austin. It is about a four hour drive. We had a nice drive just Becca and Me. We found the Hotel Jim and I were staying in and then we found a Yarn shop. Becca loves to take me to yarn shops because then I buy yarn to make her stuff. I love to make things for my kids. We headed back to the Hotel and then we went to Joe’s Crab Shack for some dinner. She headed back home and I waited for Jim. Kim was going to pick him up at the Airport. He finally came and he was hungry so we went back over to the Crab Shack. It was within walking distance and we did not have a car.

The next few days were spent with Jim’s family. Everyone was there. We had a wonderful dinner at an Indonesian restaurant. There were several family members from Martins family and all three of Jim’s girls and David and Karen. It was a fun evening. Food was brought out on big trays and everyone took from the the trays with their hands and ate with their hands. It was really good food and a fun different experience.

On Saturday one of Kim’s Bishops Counselors and Jim blessed little Tyler. Then on Sunday we went with Kim to Church and after Church Jim borrowed Kim’s car and drove me half way to Dallas and Becca and her boys met us and I went back to Dallas and Jim went back to Austin and he flew back home the next day.

We met at a rest stop with yummy pastries, little meat pies and sandwiches. It was really busy. A very popular stop. We purchased a few things and said goodbye to Jim and I went back to Dallas so I could be there for Izaiah’s 5th Birthday party.

One day we went to a state park with a small creek that was set up so that you could go swimming. By the time we got there it was almost dark. But we pressed on and we were determined to swim, so down to the creek we trekked. I thought the water looked kind of dirty but it was a creek after all. We made our way into the water and it was surprisingly warm. We had a good time but it was getting dark so we made our way back up the hill and changed out of our wet suites. Then we headed back home. By the time we got home the kids were asleep and worn out.

Oh I remember something that happened. We had all the kids and Becca’s niece with us and we took the car through the car wash. Then we pulled into the vacuum bay. We all piled out to vacuum the car. Izaiah was helping and then he cried Mom I vacuumed up my Dollar. Rebecca had given him a $20 bill to hold. He had vacuumed up the $20 dollar. Easy come, easy go. He was so sad and he felt so bad.

For Izaiah’s birthday party Beccca and Glynn invited several kids to a bowling ally. They had special equipment for children’s bowling and it was really interesting to watch those little kids roll those big balls down the ally and hit the pins. I was surprised how many kids made strikes. I think they really had a good time.

Then it was time to go home. I hated to leave my kids but I was ready to go home to my own bed and my own pillow and my own chair and my own TV and my own sweet Husband who I was really missing. The plane ride home was without incident. Jim was there to meet me and I was really happy to see him. There is no place like home. There is no place like home. I miss the mountains and the red rocks. And I missed my cat. When ever we are away for a few days he follows me around and jumps on my lap every time I sit down.

I love my kitty.

Frank and I Move to Everett, Washington

Soon after we were married, Frank got a job offer from Boeing Aircraft to start work the first part of September 1969. They would send a mover to help us move. We started to make our plans. We didn’t have much to move but it was fun the have someone else move it for us.

Finally the big day came. I left my little red Volkswagen with Frank’s Dad. It needed new tires and they were hard to find in Montana. Frank had a station wagon so we loaded it up. Frank’s Mom gave us a kitten from one of her cats. We said our good byes and headed across country to Everett, Washington. I had never been to Washington and I was really looking forward to this new adventure. I think we just drove and did not stop over night. I remember when we started across Washington it was very hot. Our little kitten was getting too warm. We kind of panicked. I really don’t think we needed too.

We arrived in Everett and found a motel to stay in for a few days while we looked for an apartment or a house to rent. I can’t remember how long it took to find a place. I remember going to a real estate office and asking if they had any rentals. The man we talked to said they didn’t do that but he had some properties of his own and he would rent us a house. So we found a little house. It was a two story place. It was heated with an oil furnace. There was a gas stove in the kitchen. I had very little experience with a gas stove. My Dad worked for the electric power company. We only had electricity in our house. So it was a challenge to learn to control  gas plates. I soon learned and it turned out to be not hard at all. I kind of liked it. Learning to manage my own home was interesting. I never had full responsibility for a home before. We didn’t have much furniture and we didn’t bring a bed with us. The house had a bed upstairs an attic like room. The stair way was very narrow and steep. But we used it and it was kind of fun.

One night we went to see the movie ‘Planet of the Apes’. Frank got up early to go to work and I was alone in the house. I dreamed that the Apes were coming up the stairs to get me. I woke up in a panic. I was also getting kind of big with my pregnancy and it was getting harder to go up and down those stairs. We moved the bed down to the bedroom on the first floor.

We did a lot of exploring around the Seattle area. We went to Pikes Market and the Space Needle. We took the ferry over to Whitby Island. We tried a lot of the local restaurants. We found the Ward house and got introduced to our local Ward. I was called to work in the Primary and was assigned a visiting teaching partner.

Frank had a way of making friends where ever he was. He started making a circle of friends. I have always had a hard time making close friends. My acquaintances always seem to revolve around the church. That’s OK I guess but when you move or your ward is changed those friends kind of seem to move on.