May 27, 1982

I had just finished my last semester of school in April. It was getting hard to move around. I was glad I didn’t have to do all that walking all over campus. I had to park so far away and it always involved stairs. Being pregnant and going to BYU  is not a very good combination. Factor into that I was already too heavy and 36 years old and chasing a toddler and trying to juggle a large family. I was exhausted.

We went to bed the evening of May 26th I was feeling restless. I couldn’t get comfortable I lay awake with thoughts racing through my head. Finally around 2 am I got up. Maybe a walk would help me to sleep. I put some cloths on over my nightgown and I set off.

I hadn’t gone very far before I realized that this was probably not such a good idea. What if I should fall and couldn’t get up. No one would know I was gone and no one was out side to find me. I could lay in the road for hours before being found. By this time I was several blocks away from home. Nothing to do but get back home. So I kept walking, being careful not to stumble. It was a bright night and there were plenty of street lights and the road was paved and smooth. I made it home.

I got back into bed and managed to sleep a little while. Then I woke up and the contractions had started. I woke my husband and told him it was time to go to the hospital.

Lydia Barbara Bennion was born around 4 am the morning of May 27th 1982. She weighed 9 lb 6oz and was 19 inches long. She had lots of dark hair. More hair than any of my other babies.

She grew from grace to grace. She started walking about eleven months. I observed how quickly children seem to understand what you are saying to them even though they can not communicate themselves vocally until they are about two years old. Lydia was quick to learn and eager to experience each new challenge. She was delighted to see her father come home from work and would run to him with her arms out wide.

As I am writing this thirty years later it makes me sad to realize that our life has taken such a change. I found an old journal that I had started about 1981 and when I describe home life it is tranquil and the children are happy with their Father.

Now thirty years later there are very few happy memories. This is something I am going to have to work through in a later blog. For now it is kind of nice to remember everything was not bad all the time.

The year after Pattie was Born

Pattie was born September 11, 1971. Settling in with a new baby was a challenge. Trying to feed a new baby and control a rambunctious toddler takes a lot of time. David was very curious about his little sister and he was willing to help as best he could. Keeping in mind he was just about eighteen months old.

My neighbor Kay was a huge help. She would take David so Pattie and I could get some sleep and I would go over to her house and Pattie would sleep in her carrier and we would work in our gardens and do canning and play with the kids.

As the days grew shorter and winter started setting in the days got colder and the rains started. Then we actually got snow. That winter the Seattle area got lots of snow. Many businesses  and schools closed. They cancelled Church a couple of times. We lived up on a hill and when it got cold and snowed and then it would warm and then freeze and the road up our little hill was so slick Frank could not get up it to come home. He would have to park at the bottom of the hill and walk up.

Kay and I had lots of fun with the kids. We built snowmen and took the kids for rides on a sled Kay had. We would bundle them up and off we would trek up and down the street. I realized how much I had missed snow.

We looked forward to the Book Mobil. Kay would come with me to Relief Society work meeting sometimes. Her daughter started going to  Sunday School and Primary with me. I didn’t have a regular calling in Primary but every once in a while I would be asked to help.

One day in early Spring the Bishop asked me if I would accept a call to teach a class in Primary. I was very happy to accept. I told him I would have to clear it with Frank but I did not think there would be a problem. I told Frank when I got home that I had been asked to teach in Primary and that I would have to be gone every Thursday afternoon for about two hours. He got very angry and shoved me up against the wall and told me I could not do it. “Who would take care of the kids and who would get his dinner.”

I told him that I would take the kids with me and I would have his dinner made for him before I went. He yelled at me and told me I could not do it. I was flabbergasted. He frightened me. He had never forbid me from doing anything, especially if it involved the Church. I had grown up knowing that if you were asked to do something that you did it. I had never said no.

I was very upset. I must have felt more threatened that I can remember now because I called and made arrangements to fly back to Utah. I packed up the kids and told Frank I was going home. He had calmed down and drove us to the airport. Mom and Dad picked us up in Salt Lake. The flight was horrible. Pattie cried and threw up all the way. Of course she finally fell asleep just about 45 minutes to touch down. I think we stayed overnight with Kathryn and her family. Then we headed to Cedar City.

I was prepared to stay and call it quits. My Home Teacher called and asked what we needed to do to get our family back together. I told him that I was not happy with Frank working all night. We hardly ever saw each other. He would not come home when he got off work. He would go hang out with his “buddies” and then make his way home in the afternoon and want to sleep. I would have to go over to Kay’s so the house would be quiet. He would never come home and go to Church with us. I felt that we were growing apart.  He said he would talk with Frank. He called back a couple of days latter and said that Frank and agreed to get a day job and make more of an effort to come to Church with us. My Dad encouraged me to go back. So like the obedient daughter I went back. I think we stayed in Cedar about two maybe three weeks.

When I got off the plane in Seattle Frank was not there at the gate to meet us. I was so tiered and I was trying to juggle two little grumpy kids. Finally a lady from Travelers Aid came to my rescue. We were heading toward the baggage claim when Frank finally came. We had miscommunicated and he was upset with me.

We tried to settle into our lives again. He got a job with a company that made Garage Doors. But he continued to work for the Security Company on the weekends and darn he just could not get home in time to go to Church on Sunday Morning. So some things were better but somethings stayed the same. It was nice having him home a little more. He was more help with the kids and spent more time with David. He liked to take him with him and show him off to his friends.

As Summer came we would have cookouts with Kay and her Husband David. We went to the boat races on Lake Washington. That Summer Franks Mom and Dad and Sister Phyllis came to visit. All in all we had a pretty enjoyable summer. We were getting along well and I had resigned myself that Frank would probably never be very active in the Church. I figured if I could stay as active as possible and not push him our life would be a lot smoother.

Two Kittens Named Anastasia and Misha

She was just a little skinny ball of gray fluff running around my car when we stopped at the elementary school to deliver Girl Scout fliers. My little son picked her up and played with her while I went inside to deliver the fliers. I asked the ladies in the office if anyone had lost a little kitten. They said no, they didn’t know anything about it.

I went back to the car, I told Edwin to put the kitten down. He did but she jumped into the car before he could close the door. I guess we had been chosen. We took her home.

I could tell she was very young. Her coat was soft and silky. Her coat was gray with an undercoat of lighter gray. In the right light it had a silvery shin. I thought she looked like the breed Russian Blue.

I took her to the vet to get checked out. He said she was about 6 or 8 weeks old, he gave her the shots she needed and wormed her.

We named her Anastasia after the Russian Princesses. But we called her Anna.

Anna was a very sweet kitten. She cuddled and played and she grew. Then we realized she was going to have kittens. We also had another cat named Misha who was also expecting. They had their kittens almost the same day. They Mothered each others kittens. It was great having so many kittens. But I soon realized this was getting out of hand. We did find homes for all the kittens but somehow we had accumulated more. Stray cats seemed to find their way to our house. Kittens would magically appear on our door step. I am embarrassed to say how many we had. Just know there were a lot of cats at our house.

I was the “Crazy Cat Lady”.

Once the kittens were gone, we took the ladies back to the vet and there would be no more kittens.

Misha, was a Manx, her coloring was a lot like a Siamese, another one of my favorite breeds. Manx cats are born without or very little tail. Their hind legs are sometimes longer than a normal cats. They can have a kind of funny gate. Sometimes they can look like a rabbit, kind of running and hopping.  But Misha did not have any of these imperfections except she only had about a one inch tail. It was funny to watch her when she was stalking something, she would hunch down and her little tail would look like an airplane propeller going round and round. If she got startled it would become a little ball of fluff. She was also very affectionate. She was not shy with strangers and wanted to come a see everyone who came to visit. Some of our visitors were not as thrilled to see her as she would make herself at home on laps if invited or not.

Anna and Misha became good friends. They groomed each other, chased each  other and slept together. If one climbed up on my lap the other would soon follow.

Eventually we were able to clear out our house of all the excess cats. I love cats but there is a limit. Finally we just had three cats. Anna, Misha and Rocky. Rocky came to us when my daughter picked him up as a stray kitten in Rock Springs, Wyoming on her way home from Denver in 1999. My house hold also changed. The kids were grow and gone. I moved to a condominium in Orem with my three cats.

Then it was just my Husband Jim, the three cats and me.

Fast forward to 2007.

Jim and I had gone away for a couple of days. Our neighbor kids were left in charge of feeding our cats. We got home and all was well. Anna ran outside and I didn’t worry about her, she liked being outside. As it was getting late and dark I called for her to come in. She didn’t respond. She had stayed out all night before so I didn’t worry about her. The next morning I looked out the front door and I could see her laying on my neighbors lawn across the street. I walked over to get her. Normally she would jump up run home. This time she just lay there. I knew something was wrong. I picked her up and she was very limp. I brought her inside. I set her down by the water and she just lay there. We took her to the Vet. He reminded me that she was almost 20 years old. She was very dehydrated, he said we could try to nurse her back but she was very old and maybe it was just her time. I realized it was time to let her go. I held her as the Vet administered the drugs that would put her to sleep.

We went home. The house seemed cold. Misha wandered around the house looking for her. Even Rocky seemed to miss her.

Misha climbed upon my lap and even Rocky who never would share came too. We all missed her.

Then one morning just a few months later I was looking for Misha and found her on the floor of the closet where she liked to sleep but she was not sleeping. She was barely alive. I picked her up and she died in my arms. I buried her in the back yard.

Rocky roamed around the house, he would meow and look in the closet where she used to sleep. He became a lot more affectionate and followed me around the house.

I know that death is a part of life and maybe we shouldn’t let ourselves get so attached to our pets. But on the other hand these two cats had been with me since they were kittens. They showed me affection I watched them birth their kittens. I watched as they mothered them and played with them and love them. I watched as they took care of each other.

I still miss them. They were not the first pets I had lost but they were the only ones I had for so many years. We shared many happy hours together.

Rest in peace: Anastasia and Misha.

Mr. Bauer

Mr. Bauer, was my fourth grade teacher. He had taught for many years. I had heard stories about how “mean” he was. I didn’t want to have him as a teacher. But there it was, My name on his door the first day of school. In those days you went where you were placed. No arguing, no complaining, this was where you were assigned.

I had missed the last three weeks of the third grade because I was ill from a very bad kidney infection. I had not progressed academically, not just because I had been ill, I just didn’t get it. I have wondered as I learned more about learning disorders if maybe I did have a slight dyslexia. I have never been tested but I really struggled with spelling, reading and mathematics. My Mother would quiz me on my spelling words and I would feel so frustrated because the way words were spelled did not match what I was hearing. All those rules and little tricks we were taught were no use to me. I felt stupid and backward.
 
Along came Mr Bauer.

He taught us how to square dance.

He taught us how to play softball.

I could play softball. I loved it. I could hit a home run almost every time I got up to bat. I couldn’t field the ball or pitch. But I could hit. This was the first time I ever felt important.

He assigned different students to help each other drill our times tables. He assigned me to “help” Don Reid. The boy in our class who I considered to be the smartest boy in class, and I was supposed to Help him. But we did as we were told. I found that I could help him and of course in turn he helped me. We even won the times table “spell off”.

Mr. Bauer assigned me to make the class calendar every month. I could make it anyway I wanted. I could use the overhead projector to copy a picture onto the big white sheet. Then I would color it, I could get any of the other kids to help, but I was in charge.

I felt important. I learned to meet a deadline.

He had me come to school early, or stay after school. I would sit next to him at his desk as he worked on school papers and I would read to him. I don’t remember how long that lasted but I do remember feeling safe and I learned that reading was not such a chore. I could sound out the words and they made sense.

I started reading books on my own. Wonder of wonders I liked to read.

I still lived most of my life feeling inadequate and “stupid”. But I look back on Mr. Bauer and thank him for at least giving me a start and the courage to try.

I don’t think I was ever able to really thank him in person. His son married my cousin and I have told him how much I loved his father. Years later after my husband died and I moved back to Cedar City, I was in the Temple and Mr. Bauer’s wife was there as a worker. I told her how much he had helped me. He had passed away by that time.

Thank You Mr. Bauer for all your help.

The Men in My Life

There have been many men in my life. My Father, two brothers, and two sons.
My fourth grade teacher who took me under his wing and gave me the confidence to read.
There were two husbands. Each having a profound influence on my life.

Then along came Jim.
The one who stood grinning up at me when I opened the front door.
The man I had never meet.
The man who I had talked to on the phone and emailed.
The man suggested to me by his ex-wife. She thought we would have a lot in common. I reminded her of his Mother. She also thought that since I worked at a computer company and he had worked with computers most of his life, and we both liked plays and concerts that we would enjoy each others company.

Well with that recommendation we took the chance.

That first date, he rang the bell then he stepped off the porch and there he was looking up at me smiling. I could tell he was nervous and so was I. I had not been on a real date for years.
I had been divorced for ten years. All my children were out of the house. He was there to fill that void.

We went to dinner. We talked, small talk about our kids and our lives. I could tell he was smart but not arrogant. He wanted to see me again.

He took me to a Charlie Daniels concert. I watched him as the music played. He was
so intent. I liked that.

We got tickets to see Ray Charles when he came to play with the Utah Symphony. We both knew that this would be the only opportunity to see such a legend of music. It was wonderful.
He had tickets to see Crosby,Stills, Nash and Young.
He had told his son that he would take him but he took me instead.

We went to movies and he started coming to my home more often.
We watched TV and talked and laughed. He always had a book he was reading.
Every time I saw him he had a different book. He consumed them. I had never known anyone who could read so fast.
He knew every song that came on the radio.
He would quiz me.
“Who is that?”
“What song is that?”
“Was it a number one?”
I didn’t know. He always knew. He had a passion for popular music.
He had set a goal of collecting all the “number one” songs of the 20th century.
As a result he had hundreds of record albums, 45′s, 78′s, cassette tapes and CD’s.
He had cassette tapes of music he had recorded of radio shows. You might say he was a bit obsessive.
I thought it was great. If I ever wanted to hear a song from my past he could find it.
He made a set of CD’s of music from the thirties and forties for my Mother.
He made a set of CD’s for my Brothers and Sisters of music that was popular when they were in High School.

The first time he kissed me I tingled from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. He was not a very demonstrative man. He didn’t want to hold hands as we walked. He didn’t reach for my hand as we sat in a movie or church.
Not a “public display of affection” kind of guy. But when he did kiss me I knew I had been kissed. He was gentle and considerate.

He tried to fulfill any desire I might have. I had never been so cared for. I realized I had to be careful not to take advantage or get demanding. I didn’t want to mess up a good thing.

I soon realized that this man, this Jim was the man I had been looking for ever since I knew I wanted a husband and family. When I was with him I had no feelings that there might be someone else out there that I should be with.
With my other husbands I always had a feeling in my mind that this was not quite right. But with Jim I was at peace.
We both felt like our union was blessed in Heaven. We joked that my Dad and his Mother had gotten together up in Heaven and arranged that we should meet.

When he asked me to marry him it was just before Christmas 1999.
We picked the date of February 29, 2000. We had a small ceremony with just our families. As many as could come were there. He had been sealed to his first wife and I had been sealed to my second husband so we could not be sealed and married in the Temple but in our hearts we will be together forever. We are praying that all that will be worked out for us. But for now we live each day thanking our Heavenly Father for every day of this life that we can share
with each other.
We are so comfortable with each other. It is kind of spooky sometimes when we have the same thoughts and suggestions. We often talk about what our lives might have looked like if we had met when we were younger and been able to have our family together. We try to figure out how our paths could have crossed, but we came from different parts of the country. The only time we were even in the same state was when he was going to BYU but he was already married by then.
It was not to be until the appointed time the Lord had set for us.

I think we needed to have the life experiences that we had so that when we did meet, we were ready to accept each other with all our flaws and baggage.

This my loving tribute to my Husband James Lewis Hoag.