Sun Dublan
Life History Of 

Bardell Robinson Bowman--MY LIFE HISTORY


CONTENTS

Section l: The Pre-school years.:1

Section 2: The Grade School Years.:1

Section 3: The High School Years.:3

Section 4: The Mission Years: June 17, 1935 to August 30, 1937.:7

Section 5: College Years.:9

Section 6: The Naval Service Years.:10

Section 7--The Music Teaching Years:30

Sesction 8--The Music Teaching Years in Dixon, Illinois.:40

Section 9--Dad and Mother's Accident in Mexico While We Were Teaching in Dixon.:49

Section 10--Purchasing a home in Dixon and Visits from Family.:52

Section 11--Victor and Brian's University of Michigan and Mission Years.:58

Section 12--Linda Jane's High School and College Years and Victors Teaching in Dixon.:63

Section 13--Victor, Brian and Linda Jane's Service Years in Washington , D.C. and Messiah Performances in Mexico.:66

Section 14--Mother Bowman's Funeral in Mexico, Air Force Band Tours, Grandchildren's , and Claudius and Nelle's Visit, and 1981 Reuinion In Mexico.:68

Section 15--Trip to Seattle, Rickie's Busy Piano Teaching Schedule, and Stake Music .Grandchildren visit and Steve piano.:72

Section 16--Linda Jane' Mission Service In France, Grandchildren' Visit, And Retirement, And Mexico City Temple Dedication.:73

Section 17--Stake Road Show Director Years, and Rickie Stake Relief Society Music and Recreation Director. Trip to France.:75

Section 18-- Our Genalogy Mission Years With Visitors.:79

Section 19--Home Again Years. Victor's Marriage, Linda Jane In Rockford amd Brian's Concert in Des Moines May 9th, 1985.:86

Section 20--Anniversary, Stan and Dolly Williams, Charity Loughe, Victor and Cynthia, Linda Jane and Ed. Temple.:88

Sesction 21--VC 41 Carrier Reunion and Friends Along the Way.:90

Section 22--Linda Jane and Edwards Marriage, Trips and Brian's Concert.:94

Section--23, Aunt Lucille's 100th Birthday. Mexico trip.:96

Section 24--Eric Graduation from High School, Marcel, Violin and Brent to Dixon for High School Quit Rockford Symphony, 1987.:99

Section 25 -Ben Zaugg Died, His wife, Lee, Getting Alzheimer's Disease, Relatives from Germany to Visit. Bob and Norma on Vacation, Brent a Patriarchal Blessing from Brother waite, Grandchildren born.:103

Section 26--Linda Jane Stake Music Direct or In My Place, Brent in Band and Choir,Received Eagle Award, to Washington D. C.Sousa National Band.:105

Section 27--Linda Jane In Starlight Theater and Sail Boat, Brian P. Graduated High School, Brent Mission Call to Honduras, Eric From Japan. Willis and Beverly Mission Africa.:107

Section 28--Messiah and Family Together For Christmas 1991.:108

Section 30--50th Wedding Anniversary, Parade Marshall, Trips to Salt Lake City and Arlington, Shingles, TURP Operation, Gary and Diane Wedding.:113

Section 31--The Years As Bishop, Brian P. Home From Mission.:114

Section 32--Dale and Kathleen Host Brother and Sister Reunion In Yellowstone Park 1994.:118

Section 33--Linda Jane, Ed and Family to ZooThe to Our Home for Christmas With Victor and Family and Cynthia's Parents, Lynn and Hope Hilton.:119

Section 34--Norma Visit, Brian Offered Position Universiy North Texas, President Nelson's Father Died in Salt Lake City, Brian P. Married Juli Milliman, Rachel 8, Baptized.:120

Section 35--Rickie's 80th Birthday.:123

Section 36--Brother Ralph Belnaps Funeral 1996. Rebekah Ruth Smith Born. Family Christmas.:129

Section 37--Juarez Stake Centennial, 1997. President Hinckley, Small Temples.:131

Section 38--Matt Ciembronowicz, Cancer, Funeral.:133

Section 39--Victor, Linda Jane and Families for Christmas. Zachary's Baptism.:134

Section 40--Linda Jane's Family News, Teaching Music and Concert.:134

Section 41--Norma, Cancer of the Pancreas. Strollling Violinist, Quintet for Hospice, Brian solo, Jean Thompson died. Rickie Had Cataracts Removed From Both Eyes. Victor "Music Man", Linda Jane Concert "Pie In the Sky".:136

Section 43--Rickie Hernia Operation. Oren Stocks Mission, Willis and Beverly Visit.Temple.:138

Section 44--Sophie Hong's Wedding. Brian Concert In Rockford, Victor Concert at Temple.:139

Section 45--Rachel's Solo Concert. Dallas and Margaret Ward, Missionaries in Dixon.:140

Section 46--Missionaries, Neighbors Snow Blower, President Nelson Accident, Bill Thompson, Sister wakenlight, Victor Music Teaching Contract, Adult Family Home Evening, Crawford Gates Choral Concert.:142

Section 47--Ernie Seeman Funeral, Rachel's Concert, Cutlas Cierra, Rachel to Play In Sauk Valley College Orchestra, Ward's Farewell Party.:145

Section 48--Trip With Donn To Dedication of Temple In Mexico.:148

Section 49--Interview for "Unsung Heroes" Article, Bill Thompson Breakfast, Recorded Our Love Story, March 22nd 1999, Strolling Violilnist, Victor and Children Visit, March 27th.:150

Section 50--Crawford Gates Concert, Easter, Dean Parry's Birthday, Rachel playing "Orange Blossom Special" Missionary Meeting.:153

Section 51--Brian Accepted Universty of North Texas Teachng Position, Mother's Day Program, Lindas Jane' Piano Recital June 5, 1999.:154

Section 52-- Zachary Bowman's Cancer Years, Brian and Vinette Moving to Denton, Texas, Katherine Well with Shingles, Sister Darnell"s Parents at Farwell.:155

Section 53--"Sound Of Music" In Dixon With Linda Jane Rachel and Rebekah. Zach Feeding Tube.... 165

Section 55--Home From Salt Lake City August 27th, To Arlington Augut 29th to Help With Zack.:173

Secton 56--Home From Arlington Saturday, September 11, 1999, Willis and Beverly Visit, Norma Not Well.:179

Section 57--Linda Jane and Ed to Move to New Home, Norma Needs Help, Rachel playing In Sauk Orchestra, Cynthia's Mother's Funeral, Rickie's Inspiration-Car Trouble.:186

Section 58--Cynthi'a Mother, Hope, Passed Away, Halloween Party. Rickie's Birthday:188

Section 59--Brian's Concerts In Wisconsin, Buying Homes, Zach Better, Rickie played `cello in Qluintet for Festival of Trees, Hymns For Today.:190

Section 60--Johnathon Bowman's Visit.:193

Section 61--Christmas Tree, Rachel's Concerts, Choir and Orchestra, Rebekah's Birthday Party, December 16h, Jennie's Birthday, December 20th. Christmas.:194

Section 62--Herman and Mary's 50th Anniversary January 1st, 2000. Loan to Linda Jane and Ed for Downpayment on Home, Rickie Therapy for Breathing.:196

Section 63--Michael Dowell Resigns, Rickie Having Angina Pains, Norma Suffering February 15th. Music Chairman, Rachel Hughes Popcorn, Norma Passed Away February 27, 2000.:198

Section 64--Buick Quit, Linda Jane to the Rescue, Norma's Funeral Service, Charlie Engle's Funeral, Temple Trip, Bud Forbes Funeral.:200

Section 65-Rickie's Declining Health Years, Leading to Alzheimer's Disease.:202

Section 66--Zachary's Cancer In Remission, Shirley Gonzales, Beverly's Sister Died of Alzheimer's Disease, Ace Ensign In Freeport Hospital with Diabetes, Rickie Appointment With Dr. Stinson, Rockford. Ace Ensign Died, Funeral Service..:204

Section 67--Memorial Concert for Elinor Stanlis, Visited Lydia, February 26th, Rachel 1st In High Jump Event, Brian Visit March 17th, Brian and Linda Jane Concert for Lydia's Nursing Home.:206

Section 68--Willis and Beverly Visit, Temple Work For Norma and Bob, Brian Concert, Linda Jane's Piano Recital june 2nd, Willis And Beverly "Adios", Brian To Home, June 6th.:208

Section 69--Dr. Stinson Recommends Alzheimer's Care Unit for Rickie, To Beloit For Church, Lind Jane's Choir, Smith Family Camping Trip, Victor and Jennie Came July 5th, Met Campers, Linda Janes Car Broke Down on Way to Magic Waters. Victor and Jennie Went Home July 14th.:211

Section 70--Rickie to Hospital, Rickie to P.A. Peterson Center For Health, Alzheimer's unit 3rd Floor, July 27th. August 8th Rickie Walking In Hall For 2 Hours. I was Permitted to Help Take Care of My Sweetheasrt Wife Until She Was Asleep at About 7:30 or 8:00 P.M. Dr. Susan DeGuide to Be Her Doctor.:212

Section 71--Meeting with Head Nurse, Rickie Now Needs Nurses Aids To Help. Rickie Happy to See Visitors, Brent, Tom L'Heureux. Stan and Dolly and of Course Linda Jane and Family, Lsynn Zaugg Brought His Mother's Wheel Chair for Rickie.:214

Section 72--Visitors Rickie's Dear Friends From Sterling, Wants To Go Home.:216

Section 72--Visitors, Stan and Dolly, Linda Jane Planned Birthday Party for Rickie with Cake and Ice Cream For Everyone In the Dining Room, November 9th At 2:00 P.M. Chapel Every Sunday at 10:30, Pastor Olson.:217

Section 73--Rickie attends Music Programs and Church Services by Pastor Olson In Her Wheelchair, Named Resident of the Week. I Was Asked To Play a Hymn Every Sunday For Service.:218

Section 74--Christmas Program In Dining Room, Brian, Vinette, Linda Jane and Family. Home to Linda Jane's For Christmas. Visitors, Gary and Melissa, And Victor. Trip to Dixon .:219

Section 75--Letters From Brian, Linda Jane and Our Christmas Letter, Victor's Letter, and Keith's Letter..:221

Section 76--Dr. DeGuide Caring For Rickie, Estelle Johnson Visits, Maurine passed Away, In February, Donn's Letter, Bishop Theriot and Family Visit, February 10th, Brian in May, Vinette's Letter.:225

Section 77--Helen Schwendimann Passed Away. Kenneth Hull Letter.:228

Section 78--Power of Attorney for Rickie from Lawyer, Wayne Badger, May 28th My Birthday, Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel To Work At Nauvoo Temple Open House May 30th.:229

Secton 79--Repairs on Home by Guy Eckles, Rickie to Evergency Room and Hosital June 19th, Back to Perterson June 24th, 2002, Rickie Swallowing Test July 8th, Puried Food.:229

Section 81--Linda Jane and Ed's Wedding Anniversary August 12th, Visitors--Brenda Meyocks, Relief Society President with a Picture Book And Greetings, Brian and Vinette, Thursday 15th, Vlictor, Jennie and Zachary Sunday 18th.:232

August 12th was Linda Jane and Ed's was Wedding Anniversary so we gave them a congratulatory card with some green paper they could celebrate with. At 10:30 Brend Myocks, our Ward Relief Society President came to see Rickie and brought an album with pictures of the Relief Sociey members doing activities that Rickie used to like to do. Rickie woke up from her nap when Brenda arrived and seemed happy to see her and gave her a hug and looked at the picture book. I read to her the comments about each picture and the good wishes expressed by some. On Wednesday Rickie ate a good breakfast at 8:00 A.M. and then had an hour nap before getting her toe nails trimmed. She stopped eating the evening meal by holding the food in her mouth instead of swallowing it. The nurse and I finally got her to swallow her medication in applesauce. She was tired and got to sleep at 6:45 P.M.:232

Section 82--Rachel's Birthday August 19th, Music Program In Dining Room By Family, Visitors--Julie depuy and Children, Stan and Dolly With Chocolates, Wheel Chair Ride Outside, Tim and Betsy with Flowers From Sterling Ward, Gary and Diane, Friday September 6th to Dixon, September 12th, Outing on Bus to Apple Orchard.:232

Section 83--Brian P. and Julie Parents of Annabelle Lee Born September 9th , 2002, Rickie's Heel Well--No Nap In Bed, Siler Bells Choir Concert October 27th, Halloween Party, October 31st., Rickie's Nap Time Restored, November 9th , Rickie's Birthday Linda Jane Brought Treats And Family Muscial Program, Victor Sent Bouquet. Rachel's RAYSO Concert, Salvation Army Program, November 11th, Thanksgiving Program.:234

Section 84--"Nutcracker Suite Ballet", December 7th. Visitors, Relief Society Friends, Dr. Horsely and wife Diane with Poinsetta Plant, Sister Mary Nelson Brought Primary Children to Give Program of Christmas Carols, Brian on December 18th Before Concert In Chicago Midwest Band Clinic, Lydia's Funeral in Princeton, December 19th, Church Christmas Party, Stan and Dolly with Chocolates, Brian back December 23rd, Printed Out Labels to Send Our Christmas Letter, Visit From Victor, Henrietta and Vera Sauder.:236

Section 85--New Years Party January 1, 2003, Sister Wakenights's Funeral Saturday January 4th, Visit By, Sally, Normas's Daughter and her Daughter, Sarah January 5th, My Violin Program For All Residents and Visitors in the Atrium January 11th at 2:00 P.M.:238

Section 86--Brian's Letter About Violin Program.:240

Section 87--Gary Boyd Visit, Letter From My Brother, Maurice.:244

Section 88--Monthaversary, Rickie to Dentist, March 15, Marcella Smith, Ed's Mothe Operation, March 16th, Linda Jane Played Piano for Pastor Olson's Service. Rachel RAYSO Concert, March 17th St. Patrick's Day Party, March 21st , Spring, President Nelson Vistit Marian Ciembronowicz With Us For Broken Hip, Room 204, President Brent Horsley and wife DeAnn Visit.:245

Section 90--Easter Sunday, Rickie Not Well Thursday April 24th, Friday to Emergeny Room Then Hospital Room 836, Hospice Larger Room 1008, Sunday 27th Brian Came, Monday Rickie to Peterson Private Room #l, Brian' Letter From Plane.:249

Section 91--Rickie's Farewell, Visitation and Funeral Arrangements, Preston Schilling Home in Dixon, Leter from Keith, Beautiful Funeral Service Recorded, Cemetery Service, Fellowship and Meal at Church in Sterling, Program and Obituary, Lynn and Nancy Hilton Letter.:251

Section 92--Family Trip to Nauvoo, Temple Session, Tape of Funeral for Dorothy and Wesley, Beautiful Headstone, Family Departed May 8th, except Brian and Vinette, Friday May 9th, Memorial Of Over $300.00 To Peterson Alzheimer's Unit, Tapes of Fueral Sent to Friends and Relatives.:255

Section 93--Staying For Awhile, Linda Jane and Ed's Christmas Letter, Mother's Day, Memorial for Rickie at Peterson Home By Pastor Olson, Linda Jane Sang, Flowers and Garden Planted, Gary Boyd Dinner Date.:256

Section 94--Trip to Arlington, Sunday, June 1st, Brian P., Juli and Annabelle Lee In Church, Brent for Dinner 5:30 and Father's Day Cards, Cynthia trip to Florida Monday, Jennie and Zach to School, With Victor to School, With Victor to His Schools, Birthday Party for Brent and Brian P. June 4th, Cynthia Home, Victor's Concerts on Wednesday, With Brent to His Mother's Home and to His Condominium. Trip Home June 8th.:257

Section 95--Flight Home, Church, Report of Trip, Funeral for Marian Wednesday June 18th, Ed and I Picked up Willis and Beverly at Midway Airport On 17th. Recorded Beautiful Service.:259

Section 96--Brian Festival at Normal Wednesday June 18th. Thursday to Dixon and Dutch Diner, Brian to Bloomington Airport Friday, Willis and Beverly to Nauvoo Saturday June 20th, Temple, Beverly's Farm Home.:259

Section 97--Rachel Home, Victor, Jennie and Zach Visit 23rd June, Willis and Beverly to Bus 24th, Youth Conference in Kirtland Wednesday, 25th, Victor's Class Reunion In Dixon, Victor and Zack Home 29th, Family Trip to Arlington July 1st, Fun In Arlington. July 4th Celebration, Visited Dean and Virginia Parry, Home July 6th. Power Outage In Rockford On Arrival.:260

Section 98--Girls Camp in Galena Monday July 7th, Brian and Vinette to Lafayette, Vinette's Letter About The Trip Also to Dixon, Flooded Home Tragedy In Texas.:262

Section 99--Vinette's Parents, Dean an Virginia in Brighton Gardens Home, Brian P. Helps:264

Section 100 --Started to Write "My Life History", July 2003, Ed and Linda Jane Refinanced Home 15 Years Instead of 30. Stake Picnic At Crape Park, Freeport, Broadcast of Pioneer Memorial Program, Linda Jane Played Piano Music for Brent Ward's Wedding Recption, Temple Trip July 26th, Dolly Williams Starting Alzheimer' Disease, Sunday 27th, Hymn With Pastor Olson, Choir With Linda Jane.:265

Section 101--To Dixon to Check Home, To Blue Lake Music Camp for Rachel's Orchestra and Harp Concerts, and Trip Home, Harp Lessons At Home, Rachel Accepted for International Touring Orchesra to tour Europe for 3 weeks next Summer.:266

Section 102--Linda Jane and Ed's Wedding Anniversay, August 12th, Vinette's father, Dean, Passed Away, Funeral Friday 15th. Rachel's Birthday Party With Harp Shaped Cake, Girls Auditioned for "Nutcracker Ballet". Temple, August 20th. Rachel toHome School, Large Amana Refridgerator for Kitchen,Super Swimming Pool to Install In Back Yard, Sent Flowers For Dean's Funeral, John Boss Inspirational High Council Speaker in Church:267

Section 103--Monday, August 25th Rebekah's First Day In First Grade, Ed Off Job To Work On Pool, Shopped to get Furniture to Go With Pool, Kimberly Horsley and Mathew Allen's Wedding Reception 269

Section 104--Rachel's First Pool Party September 1st, Automatic Pool Cleaner, Rachel Home Schooling Classes, Wednesday Sept 3rd Scout Court of Honor, New Glasses, Saturday friends Swimming, Sunday Sept 7th, Regional Conference, Wednesday 10th, Youth Presented Dinner and Program, Blessing, Rebekah Group Music Theory and Group Violin Class From 9:35 A.M. to 11:15 Saturdays. Bought Quarter Size Violin for Rebekah and Had Bow Rehaired, Cadillac New Master Cylinder and Climate Control Blower, Bought Nordic Track Recumbent Exercise Bike, Rachel and I Helped Ed Winterize the Pool, Jazz Violinist Concert With Rockford Symphony Orchestra.:269

Section 105--Ed Found a Dodge Dakota Pickup Truck at Family Motors perfect for work, Rachel in Advanced String Group "Measure 5", Stake Road Show October 18th, Another Great Granddaughter for Me Born to Juli and Eric Bowman October 19th 2003 named Camille Elizabeth, Ed's Mother Hospitalized With Blood Clot, Temple Trip October 29th, Linda Jane and Ed Home Improvements, Church Halloween Party, Dinner Invitation From Ken And Marilyn Judson,:272

Section 106--Rachel to Doctor--Sore Throat, Van For Fireplace Wood, Road Shows October 18th, Temple October 29th, Rebekah School Halloween Party, Church Halloween Party, Rachel to Professional Defense Class At Rockford College, November 5th Floors Finished, November 9th Rachel to Music Camp for Orchestra.:272

Section 107--Recital and Dance Rehearsal Conflict Solved.:274

Section 108--First Ward Services to Switch to 10:00 A.M. On November 23rd, Rachel's RAYSO Concert 3:00 P.M., Fireside Chat In the Evening, Trip to Dixon Wednesday November 19th, Wednesday 26 Special Thanksgiving Program at Peterson Home, Thanksgiving with Linda Jane and Ed, Rachel and Rebekah With Ed's Family, Ed and Linda Jane's Birthdays, Adding a Christmas Story to Scripture Reading Every Night.:274

Section 109--Christmas Tree Lighting Program at Peterson Home, Rebekah Invited to Play For Her School Class, Rachel's "Measure 5" Played a Concert at Amcore Bank, Rebekah Party In School Class, Rachel Party In Biology Class, "Nutcracker Ballet Rehearsal Late Hit a Curb Going Home Needed two New Tires, First Performance of "Nutcracker Ballet Friday December 12th, Christmas Tree For Home, Singing Strings Quintet Program t Nursing Home in Sterling December 15th, Ed Printed Out My Christmas Letter, A Touching Poem From Donn.:276

Section 110--Spiritual Comfort From Brian's Funeral Talk, Memories of Grandma, Brian P. Keith Suffering Infection, Linda Jane and Ed Found Table ad Chairs They Liked In Time For Christmas, Family Dinner and Program, Opening Christmas Presents Early December 25th, Visit With Ed's Family At Marsha's Home, Brian P.'s Memories of Grandma, Home Movie "Lord Of the Rings.":278

Section 111--Flight to Salt Lake City With Victor December 27th, Home With Eric From Airport Through Fairyland of Snow, Juli and great grandchildren--Jacob Bardell and Camille Elizabeth Bowman, Jacob Said "Four Bardells", Eric and Victor Took Me To Dorothy's Home, Delicious Dinner Ready At 6:30, Sunday Sacrament Meeting In the Snow, Effie Bowman Rich Good Visit, Eric, Jacob Victor and I Visited Decorated Temple Square, Visited Lynn Hilton and wife, Nancy, Back to Dorothy's for the Night, Monday Visit And Feast At Chucharama with Eric, Dorothy, Dale and Karl, Willis and Beverly; Visit With Glenn Schwendimann in Nursing Home. Adios y Gracias a Dorothy, Spent Night With Eric's Family, Airport at 7:30 Tuesday December 30th. Linda Jane and Ed At O'Hare Airport For Me.:282

Section 112--Linda Jane Invited Solis and Zieman Families for Mexican New Years Eve Dinner, New Year's Day, 2004 Rose Bowl Parade, Rachel Too Much To Do Quit Harp For Awhile, Rebekah Also Has Busy Schedule, Linda Jane and Ed Selected a King Size Tempur Pedic Mattress , A Call for Me to Work In the Family History Center. In Sterling With the Spanish Speaking People, Brian Had Installed Family File 5 containing all our Family Records. I Helped Elvira Molar Garcia Put All The Family History She Has on the Computer. Elvira to get more dates and places to get relatives Temple Ready.:283

Section 113--Putting Rickie's Family Names That Are Qualified on Temple Ready Disk To Get Cards from the Temple to do the work For Them, Sent Temple Cards to Brian And Vinette for Lydia and Walter Meyer, January 25th, Rachel and Rebekah Solo Recital at College, New Stake Center Dedicated January 26th. Rachel Driver's Permit. Valentine Party February 14th, Haines Piccolo Repaired, Rebekah's School Fair, Sterling Family History Center Wednesday the 25th, Recorded Ward Talent Show the 27th, Sunday Choir Sang Beautifully, Played For Barnabas Installation at Peterson Home, Alex Boye Fireside At Stake Center At 7:00 P.M.:285

Section 114--Conclusion of "My Life History" With Report On Family Members.:288


 

Section l: The Pre-school years.

I was born on the 28th of May 1915 at the Shalem ranch, Donna Anna County, New Mexico near Las Cruces. My parents are Claudius Bowman and Jennie Robinson Bowman. I weighed 9 lbs. at birth arriving at 5:30 A. M. My grandfather, Henry Bowman said: "That boy was born just as we are going to work so he will be a good worker all of his life." I was given the name of Bardell Robinson Bowman but my grandfather didn't like the name of Bardell so he called me Bob which became my Nickname. My grandfather and father blessed me on June 2, 1916.

Bardell Bowman as a child

My parents were married for all time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on June 5, 1912 by Brother Anthon R. Lund. They then went back to the Mormon Colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico to live. I owe to it to Pancho Villa that I was born in the United States because the insurrection he led became so threatening in the Colonies that there was a move to El Paso, Texas in railroad cars. My father went to work for the Mathias Wholesale Establishment. Their first child was born in El Paso on March 8, 1913 and was named Claudius Jr. My father his brothers and a cousin, Rob Done, joined the YMCA and played basketball for the Cactus Club and won the championship of the Southwest in 1913. That year they all moved to a farm called Shalom Ranch where I was born as noted. My family then moved back to El Paso where my father formed a partnership with Harvey Taylor to move back to Mexico to work a farm a ranch and a flourmill. The partnership lasted for 34 years without any big disagreements because my father always showed great respect and confidence in his partner. His responsibility was to run the very successful flourmill.

My earliest memory is of wading into a big mud puddle to pull a little crying girl out of it on her tricycle when I was bout 4 years old. Her name was Florine Farnsworth and after High `School she married Mennel Taylor, Harvey Taylor's second son who we considered to be a cousin as we always called his father, Uncle Harvey.

My next memory was an incident when I was five years old two weeks before Christmas. While my Mother was at Relief Society Meeting, my older brother Claudius and my younger sister, Dorothy and I found the Christmas presents in a closet. We put on the beautiful new clothes, took out the whistles and the drum and were parading around the dining room table when Mother came home. "Oh shaw" she said. "Now you've had your "Christmas and laughed at our antics saying how sorry we were. We had a wonderful Christmas anyway because Mother was a very forgiving person and loved us very much. Dorothy was only 3 years old as she was born August 4, 1917.

 

Section 2: The Grade School Years.

During this time additions to our family were: Henry Wesley born on August 29, 1919, Samuel Keith born on November 22, 1921, Donn Seymour born on February 22, 1924, Kathleen born on January 14, 1926 and Maurice Dwight born on July 18, 1928. When I was 8 years old I was baptized in the warm springs by my father on September 1, 1923 and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Moroni L. Abegg. At the age of 12 my Father ordained me a Deacon June 5, 1927.

During this time Bertha Pratt was my teacher and My Aunt Lucille, Mother's sister was the music teacher. I remember that Charlie Pratt and I did very well in mathematics and we walk down the sidewalk after school singing: "We are the arithmetickers, we are the arithmetickers". One of the games that the boys liked to play was marbles for keeps. It seems that I became very adept at this and one day Sister Pratt had me bring in the gallon of marbles I had won to give back to the students. As I brought the jar to the front of the room I happened to drop it and the marbles went all over the room. The students scrambled to pick them up and after school returned them to me.

Aunt Lucille taught us many songs and my favorite was "The Blackbird". She also put on an operetta in which I had to sing: "Goldilocks, Goldilocks wilt thou be mine? Thou shalt not wash dishes nor yet feed the swine, but sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam and feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream".

There were many activities in the town and one of favorites was the Easter Picnic in the grove of trees by the river. We had races, and games and lots of delicious food. The adults had a face-pulling match to see who could make the funniest face. Uncle Loren Taylor usually won this contest. He was the father of Nelle Taylor who later married my brother Claudius.

One night while my parents and brothers were at Church the croup that I was ill with became so bad that I could hardly breathe so my little sister Dorothy ran to the Church to get my parents who quickly came and took care of me. In the spring we boys helped our father plant a big garden. Then it was our responsibility to hoe the weeds every Saturday since there was no school. We learned to drag the hoe 6 to 10 inches so as to get finished quicker so we could go swimming, fishing or play basketball. Our swimming place was a deep hole on the bend of the river about a mile from home. We called it the Cardon hole as it was next to Brother Cardon's farm. We learned to dive off the high bank into the cool water. When we got tired of swimming we would wade down the shallow part of the river to see how many water snakes we could catch and throw out on the bank. We didn't do anything with them but we did catch a number of land turtles that we took home to play with. We drilled holes at the end of the shell and had them pull little tin wagons that we attached with string. When we were swimming and got hungry we picked some sweet corn and roasted it in a fire that we made on the bank of the river. We didn't shuck the corn but put the whole ear in the fire until it was cooked nicely.

Before the people left the Colonies because of the revolution my Grandfather had a big Cooperative Store that even had a special candy factory. He also had a canal dug from the river to the lake about 7 miles away to fill it with extra water for irrigation of farms and lots in Colonia Dublan. He also had a telephone system operating. When my parents returned to Mexico the store and the telephone system were all destroyed. The only thing left was an old long warehouse. With Dad's enthusiasm for basketball, he turned the warehouse into a beautiful gymnasium with a hardwood floor and basketball court. The adults used it and so did we kids with special coaching from our father. The town also had parties there in the wintertime.

The town decided to have a contest to see who could best beautify the grounds around their home. Dad really became enthusiastic and made a beautiful driveway from the street to the garage and planted lawn on both sides of it and all around the house. Also he sculptured a big rose trellis by the south side of the house and planted climbing roses, which bloomed beautifully. Of course we got to water the lawn and garden and mow the lawn. Needless to say dad won the beautification project and was awarded a nice flock of Wyandot chickens. Of course this necessitated building a chicken coop and a fenced in yard. About this time Keith and I had become pals and read a Tarzan of the Apes book. This gave us the idea to make some spears out of iron rods that we found discarded at the mill. After much fun practicing we became quite proficient in hitting our targets. One day we saw one of Dad's prized hens sitting on the fence. Keith said, "Bob, I'll bet you can't hit that chicken". Always ready for a challenge I drew back my spear and let it go. Wow! That chicken fell flopping to the ground pierced through. Now we had a decision to make. We gave it a secret burial under the grape arbor bordering the garden. The tale finally came out later of this exploit. Sometimes Keith thinks that he is the one who threw the spear. Hi!

Dad's enthusiasm to improve our home continued so he built a tennis court next to the barn where we kept our cow that we had to milk morning and night. He was a very good tennis player and taught us to play the game much to our delight.

Section 3: The High School Years.

This was a great time and I felt quite grown up. However the senior students soon took care of that by calling us "greenies" and making us wear a green cap. My brother, Claudius was already in high school so I joined him in riding the bus driven eighteen miles to Colonia Juarez driven by Brother Moroni Abegg. He was the Manual Arts teacher. He taught us many things but the greatest was to build a boat to row on the Dublan Lake. We really had fun with that and gave friends rides when we had watermelon bust parties at the Lake.

A big event was a circus coming to the Mexican town two miles away called Nuevas Casas Grandes. Dad and Mother took us all and we were enthralled. I especially liked the gymnasts and started practicing, especially walking on my hands. When I had accomplished this I offered fifty cents to any one of my brothers who could walk a distance of ten feet on their hands. Keith was the only one who was able to do this so won the prize. We used freshly plowed ground as a mat to land on when we practiced somersaults and handsprings. Later when Keith was the principal of the Dublan schools he used these skills and added to them to teach gymnastics to students in their physical education classes. After my first year of High School I was ordained a Teacher on October 5, 1930 in the Aaronic Priesthood.

In early 1930 my father became very ill throwing up blood. He became so weak that Uncle Harvey, with help, put him on a cot and carried him to the train to go to El Paso, as there were no competent doctors in town. He was immediately put in the hospital and upon examination he had only a small bit of pink fluid for blood. The doctor gave him transfusions but didn't hold out much hope for him. The Ward in El Paso and in Colonia Dublan had a special day of fasting and prayer for him. In a few days the nurse came in and was very surprised to see him sitting up. He said: "I feel fine. `Tomorrow I'm going home". The next day he dressed and while he was waiting he read an article about Ulcers, which was the doctor's diagnosis. He read that he should watch to eat a certain diet and drink a glass of milk at regular intervals. He was very determined and left to treat himself. He was very diligent and completely overcame his ulcer problem, which made us all very grateful and happy.

Then an event happened that shaped my life. I heard some beautiful musical sounding from across the street. I went to see what it was and saw our Spanish American War Veteran, who we called Brother Fowler, playing the violin. Immediately I felt a strong desire to do that so I asked my father to buy a violin for me. Finally he took my pleading seriously and got a violin for me, a saxophone for Claudius and a second hand piano for Dorothy. I took lessons from Brother Fowler and in two years was playing popular music for dances with piano and solos in Church and for school programs. I practiced at every opportunity and Mother worried that on Sunday afternoons I would come home and practice while all the other young people would get together for a social time. On July 3, 1932 I was ordained to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood by my father.

About this time, Dad and Uncle Harvey bought a Ranch out by the Lake and some flat land about a mile east of town that we called the flat. They decided to plant an apple orchard on this land, as there were quite a few flourishing orchards on the fertile land west of town by the river. The Wagner brothers had a large orchard and a packing plant to get the apples ready for shipment and sale to Mexico City. Brother Longhurst had a plant nursery that featured delicious apple trees for planting. So we boys worked with Mexican hired workers to plant all these trees on the flat. We dug holes about a foot in diameter and a foot deep in rows about half a mile long. We didn't have gloves so soon had blisters on our hands that turned to calluses. One day a teacher in high school, Brother Bentley, looked at my hands and said: "How can you play the violin with hands like that?" Uncle Harvey supervised the drilling of a well and installing a diesel engine to pump water to irrigate the orchard. I remember practicing the violin while waiting for the water to go down each row. When the trees got bigger we had to spade the ground about four feet around the trees and I challenged myself to do two rows while the Mexicans did one. There were many jackrabbits in the area and they started eating the tender bark off the trees so our job was to tie a bundle of "sacaton " grass around each tree with strips of cactus for string. This reminds me of the rabbit drives that farmers had down by the river. This was carried out by building a pen that could be closed, with a mile fence on each side funneling into it. Then all the youth in the town and some adults would gather a few miles from the pen in the evening and with closed ranks march making a lot of noise to drive the rabbits into the pen. We thought this was a lot of fun, especially since refreshments were served after the drive.

The Governor of the State of Chihuahua had a ranch near ours and having heard of the very fine well that Uncle Harvey had on his orchard land, hired him to dig some wells on his ranch. Dad decided it would be a good experience for me to take two years out of high school to help Uncle Harvey. So I became the truck driver to go into town to get needed supplies with the title of "chief cook and bottle washer".

One time when the Governor came to check on the progress of the wells, I cooked a dinner of stew with biscuits baked in a Dutch oven to serve to everybody. Then while they ate I was asked to serenade them with violin music, which I loved doing. One time on a trip into town the truck had a flat tire and not having a spare I had to run the seven miles into town to get help from a garage there.

I remember that when I was in grade school I became a slingshot or "flipper" expert and would shoot many birds in the trees. This ended when we were taught a song in Primary that said: "Don't shoot the little birds that sing on bush and tree." Then I changed to a 22 rifle and hunted ducks and rabbits when I became high school age. So when I had some time off from well drilling I would take a horse and ride out to the orchard area to hunt rabbits. One time I remember that I returned to town with six rabbits dangling from the saddle. These were used to feed dogs in town, as they were not good for human consumption.

In 1933 I eagerly went back to school at the same time that my father was called to be the President of the Juarez Stake. He served in this position for 25 rewarding years, and was respected and loved by all. He did take some time to go hunting deer and turkey in the mountains and I remember one trip that I was invited to go along to an area that was called "the blues". I suppose because these mountains looked blue in the distance. One afternoon we got separated and just at dusk I saw a big beautiful buck and was lucky to shoot him. He jumped and ran for a short distance where I found him. I was on foot and he was too heavy to carry, so I marked the spot and started back to where I thought camp was. It was soon dark and I realized that I was lost in the woods. I just about fell over a cliff as I went struggling through the rugged country all the time shouting to see if someone would come to my aid. Finally I saw a campfire flickering in the distance and gratefully trudged into camp. They were a little worried about me but hadn't sent out a searching party yet as they thought I would make it. The next morning Dad and I took some horses and went to pick up the deer. Dad was surprised with the size of the deer and complimented me on bagging him. `That was my first and only deer.

Claudius went to Logan, Utah to live with our Grandfather and Grandmother Bowman and attend college there majoring in horticulture and poultry. Grandfather had a lot of chickens and Claudius was given the responsibility of taking care of them, which was a lot of work. He joined the Men's Glee Club and found out that he had a beautiful high tenor voice that he had never used.

I loved getting back to school and really delved into my studies with "gusto". Spanish class was easy as we spoke it all the time working with Mexicans on the farm. In speech class Brother Bryant R. Clark had us memorize "The Highwayman" and recite it in class. I enjoyed that and decided to try out for the School Play "Peg of My Heart". I was surprised to get the lead and had a great time doing it. Typing class was challenging and fun. The Juarez Stake Academy had a good sports program, which I really got into playing basketball, Tennis and participating in track. In one our speech classes we were called upon to tell an interesting experience so I told about a scout camping trip that our scoutmaster, Chico Jones took us on. When it came time to cook supper Melvin Hardy pulled out a can of sardines and a package of crackers from his pack and ate. So after that he was called "Sardine Hardy". I decided to cook some rice so got out a big kettle put it on the fire full of water to boil. I added quite a bit of rice so everyone could have some and waited for it to boil. Soon the rice swelled and started going over the top of the kettle. I quickly borrowed a kettle and spooned rice into it. To my amazement and chagrin the rice kept swelling until I had every kettle in camp full of rice. Wow! I didn't get a merit badge for cooking but everyone certainly got their fill of rice. Our scoutmaster had a big laugh. I finally wound up getting my Life Scout badge. I had enough merit badges for Eagle Scout but never received that honor.

In the Summer I went back to work on the farm that we called "Recania" located five miles south of Dublan. Uncle Harvey gave his son Lynn, who was my age, and me the responsibility of plowing a big field with horse drawn plows. It was challenging to plow straight furrows. We did this by sighting two points between the horses in head of us. Our crops were mostly wheat, alfalfa and corn and we worked on the harvesting in the summer. In the spring we had the job of irrigating the fields. Before Claudius left for school we were often given this job to do together. One day as we were watching the water I heard a sharp rattling sound and looked at Claudius and there near his bare leg was a big rattle snake poised to strike. Instinctively I threw my shovel at the snake and due to my spear throwing experience, cut the snake right in half. That was a really a terrifying experience, especially for Claudius. He was really an expert in running the mowing machine drawn by horses in cutting the alfalfa. One day he cut a skunk along with the alfalfa and got sprayed royally. Mother wouldn't let him in the house but had him bathe in the laundry room in an outside building. We all had greater respect for a skunk after that. Claudius told the story of the mother skunk that was taking a walk followed by her five little children. They heard a loud bark and cried fearfully, "Mother what should we do?" The mother responded, "Let's pray." He then said he could identify with the poem: "There was a young man from the city who saw what he thought was a kitty. He gave it a pat and soon after that he buried his clothes. What a pity" Hi!

When the hay was dry we raked it up into rows by a horse drawn rake then we used pitchforks to put the hay onto a big sled to take to the bailer. The hay was pitched into the mouth of the bailer and it was compressed and tied into bales to be carted to the barn.

The wheat was cut with a header drawn by four horses. The header had an elevator on it that funneled the wheat into a horse drawn wagon with the right side of the box lower than the left. It took skill to keep the wagon alongside the header to receive the wheat. One of us would drive while another would pitch the wheat to fill the wagon evenly. One day a wild cat came up through the elevator while I was driving and as I grabbed it to throw it off the wagon it bite clear through my hand. That was the end of the workday for me, as I had to walk to the farmhouse to get my hand disinfected and bandaged. The next day I was back on the job taking wheat to the thresher which separated the wheat kernels from the chaff. The chaff went onto the ground and the wheat into a wagon to be hauled the five miles to the mill. I quite enjoyed taking the wheat to the mill and driving on to the scale to have it weighed then emptying the wheat into the mill bin. Sometimes I had to walk home from the farm and since the railroad track ran by the side of the road I practiced walking on the rail until I finally walked the whole five miles without falling off.

Since Dad was now the Stake President it became his responsibility to drive to El Paso to pick up the General Authorities of the Church who would come for stake conference. Mother wanted a nice place for them to stay so Dad went to Chihuahua City to buy some bedroom and dining room furniture. Then he put plumbing in the house with running water for a toilet and a bath. I was elected to go in the crawl space under the house to make the pipe connections, as the space was too small for Dad. Mother considered it a great blessing to have General Authorities stay in our home and she took joy in preparing extra special meals for them. Of course we were able to enjoy them also. The road was rough and like a washboard from the border of the United States so Dad drove fast to make it smoother by hitting the high points. The Authorities considered it a memorable experience and Apostle Ballard said that he especially looked forward to it. He was my favorite visitor as he was an opera singer and always sang a song to begin his talk. His favorite was: "A Mormon boy, a Mormon boy. I am a Mormon boy. I am much happier than a king for I am a Mormon boy." He had such a beautiful powerful voice that he could be heard many blocks away. He bore a strong testimony that he had seen a vision of Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple that really impressed me and had a big influence on my life.

Many of our activities were Church sponsored or related. One that I remember vividly was the Dance Contest conducted by the Mutual Improvement Association. My dancing partner we Blanche Lenore Coon. She choreographed a Spanish tango to the tune of "Señorita Mía" that was dashing and fun to do. We came out first place in the Dublan Ward then won the Stake competition in Juarez. This made us eligible to participate in the District competition in Mesa, Arizona. We won there and went to dance at the Church finals at the Saltair Pavilion in Salt Lake City. We had a very good time there with all the dancers and went home very happy to have participated even though we did not win. Blanche Lenore went on to finish high school and eventually married my cousin Ben Taylor, who was a tall handsome bass singer. Ben, Bertha Farnsworth and I formed a vocal trio singing requests in many programs. A favorite seemed to be "Home on the Range".

Another fun time came to me this summer through my good friend Robert Stell. He was the son of the only doctor in town and had the money to order a pair of roller skates that clamped on to hard-soled shoes. He didn't like them so wanted me to buy them. To get the money I sold delicious rolls that mother baked especially for me to sell to the Mexican soldiers stationed in Nuevas Casas Grandes. I learned to skate in the Gymnasium in Dublan. When Dad took me to El Paso to have a little lump taken out my cheek I took the skates along and skated on the cement sidewalk all the way to the amusement park and back. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a little roadside stand and got a hamburger and a glass of root beer for five cents each. When school started I put on a demonstration on the stage as part of a program for the student body. After doing on the twists and turns that I knew I skated off the four foot high stage into the aisle and zoomed down the aisle and out the auditorium door with the students laughing and cheering since they hadn't seen skating before.

Ashton Longhurst one of my good friends and I were nominated for Student Body President. A group of girls got together to campaign for Ashton as they said I had too many honors already. I was happy that Ashton was elected and he did a good job all year. I was then chosen as Senior Class President. This year Dorothy and I got an apartment in Juarez instead of riding the bus. We took turns cooking and she put up with my violin practicing. One day I decided to make bread like my Mother did and followed her recipe exactly. When I went to class I left the pan of dough on the radiator to rise. When I got home it had really risen and was running all over the radiator on to the floor. I had quite a time cleaning up the mess and it gave Dorothy a big laugh. I think she really did feel sorry for me. This senior year seemed to be more loaded with homework but I still took time for sports playing basketball, tennis and doing some track. I was captain of the basketball team but the real star was a big fellow by the name of Greer Skousen. He was nephew of our wonderful music teacher, Viva Skousen. I didn't have too much competition on the tennis court as Dad had taught me well on our home court. Our track star was Lamar Taylor, a student from El Paso, Texas. He was a great sprinter. The musical put on this year was "HMS Pinafore" (Her Majesty's Ship Pinafore) I auditioned and the part I received had me sing: "I am the captain of the Pinafore and a right good captain too." We all had a great time doing this musical under our teacher's marvelous direction. I was a little sad to see the school year come to an end. In the YearBook I was listed as All-around Athlete and Valedictorian, class of 1935.

 

Section 4: The Mission Years: June 17, 1935 to August 30, 1937.

Immediately after graduation I was ordained an Elder in the Melchizedec Priesthood and called on a Mission to Mexico City for the Church. All my life I had been preparing for this by attending all Church meetings and reading the scriptures but I still felt humble and not prepared. The first step was to buy the needed clothes then go to Salt Lake City to be set apart as a Missionary then attend a two week Missionary Training School. There was no language training so I got some Spanish grammar books and studied to be able to speak more correctly. We had some very inspiring talks from General Authorities and were given instruction as how to best present the principles of the Gospel to the people we would be able to contact.

When I arrived in Mexico City I was met and welcomed by President Harold Pratt and his wife, Sister Anna Pratt. I was taken to the home of Hermano Balderas to live temporarily. He was the President of the little Ermita Branch with sixty members. It was the only one in Mexico City. There had been quite a change in the religious situation in Mexico as the Government confiscated all the Churches declaring that they now belonged to the Government to end the rule that the Catholic Church had over the people. Then the different Churches were given permission to use the Church buildings. We were not allowed to tract by going door to door to teach the people. The Juarez Stake had sent representatives to Mexico City to explain that if our Missionaries were allowed to work in the nation they would be doing an educational and social work. This was accepted so we were to work mostly through the Mutual Improvement Association. So my first assignment was to travel over five states every fifteen days in a little ford car with two Lady Missionaries as companions to find the members in the towns designated as having some members. So each morning we would seek out the members in the town we arrived at and invite them to participate in sports in the afternoon and a social at night. We got a lot of participation from the young people in the afternoon playing baseball and basketball. Then in the evening I would play the violin to help the Lady Missionaries teach them the hymns. Then we would give them a scriptural lesson that would be helpful in their daily living. Next we would teach them some dances with violin music. This activity was loved by all as they loved to dance. After some refreshments the lady Missionaries would go to sleep in some members home and I would sleep in the back seat of the car. Early the next morning we would eat breakfast with a member family and then go on to the next town to repeat our program. All the time we gave special attention to those whom we thought would be able to direct the Mutual Program without us being present. My two companions were Hermana (Sister) Hannah Wood and Hermana LaPriele Bluth who did a great job teaching and winning the hearts of the people. One time a member came with three big plates filled with honey. We had to struggle but did eat it all even though we knew that we would suffer afterwards. It was very impolite not to eat anything that was brought to us as they did it out of love. After a period of nine months we had each Branch MIA (Mejoramiento Mute) organized so they could carry on by themselves.

I was then called into the Mission Office to translate the MIA Handbook, print it and send it out to all the branches to help them have a successful organization. Next I had the responsibility to edit and send out the Mission publication entitled "El Azalea".

My next assignment was to teach the gospel in Monterrey with Fay Johnson as my companion. We had great success there in teaching friends of members that were recommended to us. Many were baptized and attended church faithfully. There is a Temple there now. After a few months I was sent to the border town of Piedras Negras. (Black Rocks) to work with a former classmate D. V. Haws. We walked so much we had to have our shoes repaired every month. We were introduced to goat's milk and actually learned to like it. Some of the members there spoke a little English and urged us to teach them more.

After almost three years, just two weeks before my release I was called back to Mexico City to be the companion of my Brother Claudius who just came into the Mission. As we came to our first country town a large group of people met us to keep the Mormon Missionaries out of their town as instructed by their priest. One of the older men, seeing that I had a violin said: "Tocanos una pieza"(Play us a piece). I asked him what piece he would like me to play and he said, "El Jarabe Tapatío" (which is the Mexican national hat dance). I told him that I would play it if he would dance it. Wow! I played and he danced, and the people clapped and cheered and welcomed us into their town. The violin was a great help to me on my Mission and I was asked to play for some weddings of members. At this time two Elders were allowed to come from the United States and we were asked to introduce them to the members in the Branch at San Pedro Martir, a town near Mexico City. We took them to the home of the District President Juarez whose wife was a very good cook. As was customary we were invited for dinner. The main course was tortillas y frijoles (tortillas and beans). One Elder, feeling well satisfied said: "That was very good. How do I thank her?" We told him to say: "Muchas gracias, mass frijoles." So Sister Juarez immediately brought him another plate of beans. He ate that and said: "Now I'm really stuffed." Still he wanted to express his appreciation so repeated again: "Muchas gracias, mas frijoles." Sister Juarez now overjoyed that the Elder liked her food so much brought him another plate of beans. This time he really struggled to eat it all then just waddled away from the table without saying anything. We were really laughing inwardly but felt sorry for him. When we left he asked: "What did I say?" "We're sorry Elder. You said: " Thank you very much, more beans please". He took it as a good joke and determined that he was really going to learn the language.

My brother Claudius coming into the Mission just as I was leaving became a pattern for all the rest of my brothers and sisters. Then my father was called as the Mexican Mission President with mother as his companion in 1953. Everywhere they went they would hear about what their sons and daughters had done which made them happy that they had given us that opportunity to serve.

 

Section 5: College Years.

I went to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University in 1938. I batched it with George Reimchissel in a little apartment we rented. He also played the violin and we played in the BYU Symphony together that was conducted by Professor LeRoy J. Robertson, a very fine violinist and famous composer. George wanted to become a dentist and achieved his goal and finally set up a very successful practice in Roy, Utah. When I was in the mission field I determined that I would like to have a life of service such as a doctor of medicine or a chiropractor but when I got to school it was clear to me that I should major in music and teach music. To support myself I took the job of cleaning the College Library at 5:00 A.M. and worked in a service station on Saturdays. I began immediately to take private violin lessons and became very good friends with Professor Robertson and his family. In the winter I went ice-skating with them on the Lake. They had two daughters that were still in high school, who very good skaters. I found a room at t he college where I could practice the violin when I found time between my studies and work. At the end of the school year that seemed to go by very rapidly, I went to work for Uncle Harold at his Tourist Camp forty miles from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was called Jacob Lake and I worked there the summers during my college years. My main job was to take care of the service station from 6:00 A.M. until late at night, but I was also called on to help clean cabins and make beds from time to time. The road from Kanab to Jacob Lake was gravel so many tourists came with a flat tire for me to fix. With all the practice I got I was finally able to fix a tire and put it on the wheel of the car in l0 minutes. If I didn't have a customer I would sometimes play my violin. One day a customer came in while I was playing "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" and said, "Playing like that, what are you doing working in a service station?" Sometimes I would go out in the forest and practice for a while at midnight. I had a bar at the station to do chin-ups and got up to fifteen but Wayne, a strong young man working at Jacob Lake, could do a chin-up with one arm. He had lost one arm in a farm accident. Of course he couldn't walk on his hands as I was doing. Aunt Nina was a real taskmaster directing the girls who worked there but Uncle Harold was the ultimate in love and kindness. Sometimes he would slip me an extra ten dollars to help out my low wages and advise me not to tell anyone, especially Aunt Nina. After finishing my second year at BYU I attended the University of Utah and lived with Uncle Harold and Aunt Nina for one Year. I walked to school about a mile away and got along very well having more time to practice, as the housework I did was very little. The violin teacher didn't seem to me to be as good as Professor Robertson so for my Senior Year I went back to the BYU and stayed with My Aunt Eva, who was the widow of Uncle Henry Bowman. I was privileged to play a violin solo at his funeral.

Aunt Eva had six children. Marion, the oldest had finished school and married his cousin, Ireta Pierce from El Paso. Also gone from home was Lorraine who majored in Music and was teaching high school vocal music. The four at home were Melvin, (Mel) Betty, Mary and Jolene. We all got along fine. Mel and Betty worked at Jacob Lake during the summer vacation. Mel played football and demonstrated an amazing feat by jumping in the air and landing on his bottom with his legs outstretched without getting hurt. In addition to academic classes I took gymnastics and a dancing class. The teacher thought I could become a professional dancer but I didn't follow that course. I got on the gymnastic team that presented programs for many high schools in the area. The team also put on a show at half time at football games. To start the show off they had me walk down 132 stadium steps on my hands, which was a little precarious when the aisle wasn't clear. The BYU Symphony Orchestra also presented programs at High Schools. I remember one particular concert where the Principal of school was interrupted in his announcement of the orchestra to the students. He said, "Students I don't think"--and paused just long enough for the students for the students to applaud and cheer. He was a little chagrined and laughed also then finished his introduction of the orchestra beautifully.

I corrected music theory papers of underclassmen for Professor Robertson and enjoyed it. I also took some extra classes including string ensemble, private voice and private piano to round out my program. When I graduated with honors my father and mother came to my graduation and took pictures of me in the traditional gown.

 

Section 6: The Naval Service Years.

At this time graduating students were being drafted rapidly. Since I was an American citizen I looked around for a way to volunteer instead of being drafted. The Ninety-Day Wonder program in the Navy appealed to me so I applied and was notified that I needed sixteen more hours of mathematics to qualify. So I signed up for summer school and took classes in algebra, trigonometry and geometry for six weeks. Then I went to Chicago and was accepted in the program where I could receive the rank of Ensign, as a deck officer, in three months. When I got back home Aunt Eva told me that officers had been there to draft me. I reported to the draft board with my acceptance into the Navy, which of course was accepted.

Looking back on my college years it wasn't all work and no play because I did enter the "dating game". I dated four beautiful, talented girls, one at a time with great pleasure but didn't award the Mrs. Degree to any of them. The first was an enthusiastic girl who worked at Jacob Lake during the summer. After one date she became more serious than I was ready for so it ended there. The second one was a vivacious dancer who was full of fun. I taught her to dance the Mexican National Hat Dance "El Jarabe Tapatio" to do together but we never performed it in public. At the University of Utah I met Ruth Barton who was more accomplished on playing the violin than I was. We played some duets together and she was able to play the music to "El Jarabe Tapatio" very well. Back at BYU I became very good friends with a girl who played the piano very well and accompanied me on solos that I was called on to play in the area. One of these times was on a program at the foot of Mt. Timpanogos the evening before the annual climb. This was not only for students but for adults as well. My Aunt Grace, Uncle Thel's wife was there to climb to the summit the next morning starting at dawn. She was about sixty-five years old and I was surprised at how well she hiked and reached the top with just a little help from me. She passed away a few years later leaving Uncle Thel alone.

My Naval training at Abbott Hall in Chicago was not easy but very interesting. The first week we got a series of immunization shots that incapacitated us to do the strenuous morning exercises for a few days. The next week some of the cadets had such stiff and sore muscles from the exercises that they had to take a few more days off. A big, handsome cadet from Texas with a loud voice was appointed drillmaster. He used such vulgar language, laced with profanity, that he was expelled from the program. In the very interesting class of navigation we were taught to find the latitude and longitude of our position by using a sextant to take star sightings. Of course we had to pass a swimming test and learn how to handle lifeboats including efficient rowing skills. Once a week we would have half a day free to shop around in town or go to a movie. A very memorable event was Thanksgiving when we were all invited out to dinner by different families in the area. My invitation was from Ed and Helen Lethen who lived in Glenview a short trip on the elevated train from Chicago. Ed was an advertising manager and also a member of the Coast Guard so we had something in common. We got along so well that they invited me to come to their home for dinner every Sunday. On December 7, 1941 we heard the tragic news that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This caused the declaration of war on Japan.

At our graduation in January, 1942 about a thousand of us received the rank of Ensign

And declared to be officers and gentlemen in the United States Navy. At the close of the ceremony a Navy Captain arose and announced that as Deck Officers now we were given the opportunity to resign our commission and start all over in flight training, if we qualified, with the guarantee that if we failed in flight training we would be reinstated as deck officers. He said that as aviators we could do even a greater service for our country. Fifty of us volunteered to take the tests to qualify for aviation training which consisted of having an IQ of 125 and a Snider blood pressure test between 12 and 16. The blood pressure was taken before and after exercise. Mine happened to be a sixteen. We were told that if an aviator's Snider fell to 10 or below after a weekend of liberty he wouldn't be able to fly until he recovered, so we were told we have to keep in good physical condition. Out of the 50 who took the tests ten of us qualified to go to New Orleans Naval Station for training. It was called "Elimination Base" because many were "washed out" before getting their "wings".

On one of my visits to the Lethens Helen told me that every sailor ought to have a girl friend so she arranged a date with a college girl who was a champion hockey player. She was very pretty and nice but we had different beliefs and ideals. She belonged to the Christian Science Church and said that she wouldn't call a doctor if I were injured in an accident. I did meet someone on the day that I was leaving Chicago who really fascinated me so much that it was love at first sight. Can you believe it? Here is the story.

The night before I was to take the train to New Orleans for flight training I checked out of Abbott Hall and went to spend the night with Ed and Helen Lethen, as they wanted to take me to the train the next evening. The next morning, bright and early, anyway early, I went to take the elevated train into Chicago to pick up some photographs from the Stone Studio. As I was running up the steps to the platform I caught up with a girl taking the steps two at a time. A train was just passing by when we reached the top and I said: "That isn't our train. It's going the wrong way." Later she told me that she wondered how I knew which way she was going. It was a beautiful cool day with the sun shining brightly on January 19, 1942. As I looked at her balancing on her toes on the platform I thought, Wow! What a pretty girl with a beautiful smile under a big floppy hat. I must speak to her, so I said: "It's a beautiful day isn't it? Here comes our train." I followed her on to the train and since the seat was empty beside her I asked: "Do you mind if I sit here?" She looked around at the people getting on then at me wearing my blue navy raincoat and said: "You are welcome to take this seat." We talked and laughed all the way into Chicago just like we had always known each other. I learned that she was going to visit her Aunt Lydia who had three daughters near her own age. She had just broken off an engagement to a young engineer who was her parent's choice and she lived in West Bend, Iowa and worked as a guide and private secretary to Father Dobberstein at the Grotto of the Redemption that depicted the Life of Christ. Then she told me that she loved music and played the piano. What a joy that was because I was already entranced by her vivaciousness and enthusiasm. I then told her that I had received my degree in music at the Brigham Young University and that my solo instrument was the violin and I thought it would be great if we could play music together. "Oh yes, that would be fun." She said. Then I told her that I was on the way to pick up some pictures in Chicago then that night would be taking the train to New Orleans for flight training to become a Naval Aviator. "You will do very well I'm sure," she said. Then she asked if I would like her to write to me as ladies were encouraged to write to service men to keep up their morale. That would really be great I said and we exchanged addresses. I went about mile past my stop so had to walk back, but I didn't mind that, as I seemed to be walking on air.

I picked up my pictures and when I got back to Lethens I told them all about the beautiful girl I met on the train. I told them that I had her address in Iowa and that I had promised to write to her. Helen said: "Let me see that address." She took it and threw it into the fire. "You really wouldn't want to write to someone you picked up on the "L", she said. They took me to the train about 8:30 that night with my entire luggage and after a fond, grateful goodbye, because we had become such good friends, I boarded the train.

Later Rickie told me that she had me paged at the Union Station at 9:00 P.M. but got no response. Also on the train she told me that her name was Fredericka but her friends called her Rickie. Then I told her that my name was Bardell but my friends called me Bob and we had a good laugh about that. When I checked in at the Naval Base in New Orleans I lamented the fact that I didn't have Rickie's address because she was always in my thoughts and I felt the need to talk to her. Imagine the joy I felt when I received a letter from her about a week later saying: "You probably don't remember the girl you met on the elevated train in Chicago but I promised to write to you so here is my letter hoping that you arrived safely in New Orleans. If I don't hear from you, goodbye and God bless you." She told me later that a couple of days after she got home her mother asked he why she seemed sad. "Well." She said: "I met this real neat fellow on the train in Chicago and I promised to write to him." "Well, go ahead and write because you probably won't hear from him anyway." She said.

As soon as I read her letter I sat right down and answered it telling her how I had lost her address. This started our correspondence that soon escalated into writing every day without waiting for a response. We seemed to be of one mind and our thoughts frequently crossed in the mail. When we had "liberty" (time off) the other fellows would go into town but I spent my free time writing to Rickie who I now called "my Honey". My longest letter was forty pages telling her that I was a Mormon and about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was very receptive so I wrote her a proposal in the form of a poem. (I will copy it here.) I told her that I would call Monday evening to get her answer on August 10th.

Rickie dearest,

FROM ME TO YOU

Emotions they say are like a perfume,

Exuding their sweetness all through their bloom

And like the perfume gently fades as it dries

Our emotions must have their good-byes

 

Thus it may be for emotions but carnal,

But those stirred in me must be greater than normal

For they come in a surge, overpowering and linger

Through daylight and dark retaining their ginger.

Their advent has been a wonder to me,

Gently encircling me `ere I could flee.

`Til now the mere thought that lose them I might

Makes me shiver, gives me strength such to fight.

 

Perhaps, my Darling, you'll never know

How your letters have cheered and thrilled me so,

But this Saturday night, on my cute little bed

My heart's turning over the wonders you've said:

 

"I adore you, my darling, just as you are."

Makes me catch my breath, seats me high on a star.

"You know something! I like you too!"

Puts my heart all aflutter, my eyes shine like dew.

 

"Did you know when you smile your eye closes slightly?

And raises a bit when I pass in my nighty?

And you're with me tonight in my big easy chair

Eager and ready my moments to share."

 

Why Rickie, my darling, you're so lovely to see,

So fresh, so alive, so full of vitality,

That could I but gain a strong place in your favor,

Guarding your happiness there could be no knight braver.

 

Your soft cupid lips lovingly speaking my name

Is for me a choice spot in Heaven the same?

To be near you, the fragrance to breathe of your hair

Would surpass earthy visions of happiness rare.

 

Sweetheart believe me I cannot express

The depth of my feelings if you could say, "Yes"

When I see you and clasp you close to my heart,

And whisper, my darling, may we never part.

 

My joy would be sweet, boundless, eternal,

If we were inscribed as one in God's journal,

To share the silly little things of this life,

Together to vanquish all evil and strife.

So my own little sweetheart, until that day

I bow my head and reverently say:

"God bless you and keep you safe for me!"

Darling, such is my prayer and ever will be!"

Hopefully,

, Bob

I called Monday night and was overcome with joy when I heard a breathless "Yes, yes, I will marry you!" She told me later that her parents were listening and were really amazed and dismayed with her answer. Then our letters really flew thick and fast, even though I. was really being diligent in my training. We got up early and had calisthenics before breakfast. Then we had what they called ground school, learning to send and receive Morse Code, flag signals and all the basic rules of flying. Then in the afternoon we would go up with a flight instructor to learn how to take off, fly patterns and land safely. After ten hours of this actual flight instruction we were to be given either a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" by our instructor. An affirmative rating brought another check from another instructor and a "thumbs up" from him would give us the next step to fly solo. A "thumbs down" from an instructor meant two more checks and if they were not "thumbs up", it meant a "washout" and a return to deck officer duty. Out of the ten who came to training three of us were qualified to go on in the program to get our wings. One of our fellow students was a champion Ping-Pong player with such good coordination that we were sure that he would make it and he did but was afraid to take the plane up solo so was sent back to be a deck officer.

After a lot of practice takes offs and landings we were sent to another field to learn Acrobatics and formation flying that was challenging but a lot of fun. We also had to learn the "manual of arms" with a rifle and do it while we were marching. Our drill master was very demanding and anybody that "doped off' or made a mistake had to march by the side of the platoon. Soon there was more marching by the side than in the platoon. Finally I was the only won left and my face was pretty red when he said in his booming voice "Now there's a man!" We also did some hiking and coming down a rocky slope I walked a hundred yards on my hands and the fellows said: "Wow! You should be a circus." When we got back to the barracks we tried a standing jump up the steps with both feet together. I landed on the sixth step and they had me do it ten times to believe it. Then one of my friends jumped up five steps and in doing so ripped his trousers that brought a good-natured laugh. It was okay as there were no females anywhere around. We also had to run an obstacle course and I was lucky to come in first.

Finally came graduation day and among all those who got their wings were three of us from the Ninety-Day Wonder program. This was the time Rickie and I had been looking forward to so I could go to West Bend to see her and meet her parents. They weren't too happy to have their pride and joy hooked up to a boy from Mexico, who was a weird Mormon and they were also skeptical about the safety of flying those machines in the air.

We had talked about religion and wrote about it very religiously with some of my letters being twelve pages long and the longest was forty pages. Two missionaries came from Sioux City to talk to her and her parents accepted their visit. Rickie was a golden investigator because she was already living the principles of the gospel. She just had to give up coffee to keep the Word of Wisdom.

Rickie had promised her parents that she would go to Seattle to see the man she had been engaged to, Larry Rupel, to give him one more chance before she married me. So our plan was for me to take the train to West Bend when I got my wings in October to see her and meet her folks. Then we would go together to Salt Lake City to meet some of my relatives. From there she would go on to Seattle and I would go to the Air base in Alameda, California. These beautiful plans didn't materialize as when I got my orders they were to proceed immediately to the Air Base in San Diego for seaplane training before going to Alameda. Rickie go up early to meet the train in West Bend and when I wasn't on it she went home thinking that I would be on the next train. There was a telegram waiting there from me that said, "Sorry I can't meet you in West Bend as my orders are to proceed to the Air Base in San Diego. I hope to see you there." I had thought that if she went to San Diego Air Base and asked for Ensign Bowman she would find me immediately, but it seemed to her like a rebuff so since she was all packed she took off immediately for Seattle.

That night I phoned West Bend from San Diego to talk to her and her Mother answered. "Where is your daughter? I want to marry her!" "She's not here and I'm not about to tell you where she is." She said. Thus started many months of heartache for me and also for Rickie, I found out much later, that really put our love to the supreme test. I kept up a steady stream of letters from San Diego then San Francisco but her mother was adamant. Just about every day I had a four-hour patrol flight checking for submarines or anything suspicious off the coast. If the weather were good I would fly over the Golden Gate Bridge and if it were bad I would fly under it. Since I was flying seaplanes I could land on the water in an emergency.

The first test of our love came about two months into our delightful romance through the mail. Classmates, friends and family advised me that if this romance ended in marriage I might leave a sorrowful widow so it would be better to end it now. Of course my folks would rather have me corresponding with a girl who was a member of the Church. With all this pressure I finally wrote her a "goodbye and God bless you letter". I found out later that her parents and friends chided her with: "We told you that it wouldn't last." She kept her faith in me and did not burn my letters or pictures. After two weeks she received a frantic phone call from me saying: "I've stood this as long as I can. How about you?" "Yes, yes!" she exclaimed and our romance was on again better than ever and we made a date to meet in West Bend when I graduated and got "my wings". When this plan was thwarted, as written above, Rickie, feeling deserted went to Seattle to see her former fiancée to please her parents. When she arrived there she went to work as an accountant for the government in the Fiscal Office. The letter of recommendation she had from Father Dobberstein helped her get the job. The next week she was crossing a busy street and was hit by a drunk driver and thrown thirty feet, which gave her numerous bruises and several broken ribs. The people gathered around and were amazed that she was still alive. Her clothing was shredded and she said: "Where is my shoe?" She was put into a taxi and whisked to the hospital where an intern examined her, as there was no doctor available. He released her and she walked to her apartment. The next morning she was in such pain that her landlady took her back to the hospital and the doctor was amazed that she had walked home the night before with three broken ribs. He treated her and taped up her ribs not knowing that she was allergic to adhesive tape. The two young rich lawyers who were assigned to the accident case were surprised and impressed that she wouldn't press charges against the driver even though he was drunk and didn't have driver's license. He was married and had five children and Rickie felt sorry for him. The two lawyers took turns taking her out to dinner and one of them proposed to her but she said she couldn't accept. Larry reported all this to Rickie's mother and she wrote to her daughter asking her what was wrong. Rickie's answer was that she had fallen in love with a naval aviator and would never love anyone else. Then Rickie's Mother, finally accepting her daughters feelings and realizing that her long vigil was over and that she had kept us apart long enough, wrote me a letter saying: "Every cloud has a silver lining. Here is Rickie's address."

I immediately wrote to Rickie expressing my love and the sorrow that I felt at having been separated so long. I asked her if she could come down to "San Francisco to see me as I had orders to go overseas about the eighteenth of May at it was already April. The address on the letter was long and complicated so I penned a little note on it saying: "Postman please be patient with this address, remember the letter to Garcia." Rickie took the letter into her boss, Captain Zack and asked him what he thought of it. He said: "I think this letter is from a man who loves you very much. I will give you time off to go and see him." I sent her gardenias, her favorite flowers and with phone calls and telegrams we made plans to meet in San Francisco at the pier under the big clock in a week. She told me afterwards that she pulled my big picture out of her drawer and put it on her desk and all the girls in the office were anxious to know all about here romance as she had kept it a secret. One girl at a desk near her had tears in her eyes and when Rickie asked her what was wrong she said, "I'm allergic to gardenias". So Rickie put them on the other side of her desk.

My parents, my sister, Dorothy and Aunt Maybeth planned to come to San Francisco to say goodbye before I went overseas so we made a date to meet under the big clock at the pier on the bay the same day and time that Rickie would arrive. Rickie would come on the train from Seattle to Oakland then have to take the ferry over to San Francisco so I decided to surprise her and meet the train in Oakland and ride with her on the ferry to San Francisco. She told me on the phone that she would be wearing a gold suit so I could recognize her easily. She told me later that on the train she kept walking up and down the aisle and everyone knew that she was going to see a naval aviator that she had only seen for a half-hour. When she got off the train we ran into each other's arms, with the tears streaming, but she wouldn't kiss me yet. We had a wonderful trip on the ferry and met my folks under the big clock as planned, a wonderful reunion. Then we walked down through Chinatown and as we walked I told Rickie that I had a little pain in my chest and she said that she had one too. I bought her a little ivory elephant because the elephant is supposed to have such a good memory. Next we went to their hotel to eat dinner and while my family ate Rickie and I went into the ballroom and danced. Finally we had to say good night, as I had to report back to my base. So Rickie spent the night with my folks. My Mother said that she loved her right away because she was so charming and sincere.

The next day I got some time off my duties and we all had a good visit and wound up discussing the future. They all accepted and were happy that we were engaged. Then Dad told us that he thought it would be wise for us to wait until I got back from overseas to get married so that Rickie might not be left a widow. We reluctantly agreed and planned to send Rickie my allowance every month so that she could attend the Brigham Young University to study piano, voice, speech and drama until I got home. Since the allowance would be more than Rickie needed. Dad offered to invest the surplus in his ranch, which would give us a good return by the time we returned and needed the money.

With this plan formulated my folks returned home and Rickie went back to Seattle to get released from her contract so she could go home to West Bend before going to BYU. .

After a week at her job and receiving letters, flowers and phone calls she went to Captain Zack and asked to be released from her contract. He said: "Before you went to San Francisco you were the best accountant we had but since you've returned you haven't been worth a dam." She was released from her contract and accepted my urgent request to come through San Francisco to see me on her way home. Of course it was way out of her way but what a joy to see her again. I got her a room at the Leamington Hotel and we stayed up all-night and talked in the Lobby. The next day we went to Granat Brother's Jewelry and bought a beautiful diamond and it was a thrilling, happy experience to put it on her finger. We decided to go to laboratory on the base to have our blood tests taken just to see if we passed the State's requirement for marriage. Drawing my blood was easy but when I saw the nurse approaching Rickie with that big needle I started to get dizzy so the nurse told me that I had better leave the room. She got through the test just fine and I took her back to the hotel as I had a navigation flight with three other planes to Las Vegas.

We landed at Las Vegas just fine on time and went to a little restaurant for a snack. While eating I thought: "Why should we wait to get married? We could write much better letters if we were married while I'm overseas." When I got back to the base I hurriedly reported the flight and dashed to the Leamington Hotel in Oakland. I greeted Rickie with a big hug and told her that just at noon I had this overwhelming feeling that we should not wait to get married. She said: "That's funny, just at noon I went out and bought a wedding dress." Another time, that though far apart, we were thinking the same thing. So we called up Bishop Nalder in San Francisco and asked for an interview. He said to come to his home at 7:00 P.M. tomorrow night, Tuesday. After my flights on Tuesday I went to the Hotel and Rickie and I again rode the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco then took the streetcar to Bishop Nalder's area. We stopped at a little restaurant and bought one sandwich but were so excited we couldn't finish it. We arrived at Bishop Nalder's home on time and told him and his wife our complete love story. He exclaimed: "How wonderful! After all you have gone through really nothing should keep you apart. How about Wednesday night?" His wife heartily agreed and asked about blood tests. We happily told them that we had the tests on Monday, which would take care of the three-day requirement. These wonderful plans left us feeling like we were walking on air and like we could hardly wait for tomorrow when we could spend the whole half-day together since I was granted one day and a half off duty to get married.

Wednesday noon we ordered a fancy delicious dinner at the Hotel and managed to eat some of it. Rickie was such a sparkling, charming beauty that I could hardly look at the food. She thought she would like to go out on a rowboat on the lake to see what some of my training was like so I got to show off my skill in rowing and handling a boat. We were having so much fun that we cut our time short to go to the courthouse to get our marriage license. When we applied at the Oakland courthouse the clerk asked where we were going to be married. When we told him in San Francisco he told us that we better hurry to the courthouse in San Francisco. We ran out to the taxi stand, gave the driver ten dollars and said please get us to the courthouse on time. He exceeded all speed limits crossing the Bay Bridge and got there in ten minutes. We ran up the stairs and the clerk was just closing the window. We said: "Just one more please!" So he kindly made out our license. Hooray! Bishop Nalder lived right by the Church so we didn't have to walk far after we dressed for the wedding. Sister Nalder helped Rickie dress in her beautiful wedding gown and then brought her to the Church so I wouldn't see her until she came down the aisle to the tune of "Here comes the Bride" played on the organ by Sister Nalder. She was a vision of loveliness coming down the aisle escorted by Bishop Nalder. He had arranged to have two Mormon girls, who lived nearby be the witnesses. Before the ceremony Bishop Nalder gave us a wonderful talk while Sister Nalder played beautiful soft music on the organ. We didn't have a recorder in those days but one thing I'll mention that will always be remembered. "The only rivalry there should be between husband and wife should only be who can do the most for the other. Thus you should give not fifty percent but one hundred percent to each other." We have followed that wise counsel all of our lives. The ceremony was so thrillingly beautiful climaxed by the long awaited words: "You may kiss your bride." Wow! What rapture that was. Right after the wedding Rickie requested me to baptize her in the Church Baptismal font. This was joy upon joy and the Bishop confirmed her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Getting married showed her parents that I would marry her when she wasn't a member of the Church and the baptism right afterwards showed my parents that even though we were married she wanted to become a member of the Church. Bishop and Sister then served us peaches and ice cream while we sat in front of the fireplace to dry Rickie's hair. So it was on May 12, 1943 at 8:00 P.M. that we became the happiest couple alive, we thought, and still feel that way. Then Bishop and Sister Nalder took us in their car across the Bay Bridge to the Leamington Hotel in Oakland. They said they were happy to do it and we were so grateful. We had a date to go to Church Sunday and Rickie was to have her Patriarchal Blessing after Church. The usual procedure was to wait a year after being baptized but during wartime exceptions were made.

Of course the first thing we did when we got to the hotel was to change her room to Mr. and Mrs. Bardell R. Bowman to start our Honeymoon of six days as I was to ship out on the Somelsdike for the South Pacific patrol duty on May 18th. All the time I could get off duty we packed full of the activities we had talked about like going roller skating in the Park, going hiking in the park, going to a musical play etc. On the last night before departure we went to ships service on the base get some food to eat in my little room in the Bachelor Officers Quarters. We enjoyed that and since I didn't have a roommate I persuaded my beautiful sweetheart wife to spend the night with me. She accepted my invitation and I watched that no one would go in the bathroom while she was there. Hi! At 6:00 A.M. when the truck picked us up to take us to the dock to board the ship Rickie stood out on the porch and waved goodbye. My fellow officers wondered how that beautiful girl got out to the base so early. She took a taxi to go down to the pier to see me off. She left so quickly that she left a little pair of brown pumps under the bed. She carried a lot of my stuff, including a very fine violin that I purchased in San Francisco to take to her home in Iowa. I had also purchased a cheaper violin to take overseas with me.

It was very difficult but we waved goodbye with tearful eyes grateful for the wonderful six days we had together as man and wife. She took the train back to West Bend and was welcomed with open arms by her parents. The day before we were married we received letters from our parents giving us their blessing. In her Patriarchal Blessing she was promised that she would have the gift of discernment to be able to tell a friend from a foe and that she would be honored by her children and by the world because of her children. This last promise gave her faith and assurance that I would come back to her safely from the South Pacific. My blessing promised me that I would be able to take my wife to the Temple and be married for all Eternity. So we both had faith for a reunion in a year to fourteen months.

We were passengers on the ship so our duties were light. This gave me time to write a letter or more a day to my sweetheart wife and also to think about her life before I met her in Chicago, as she related it to me in her letters. She was born in Kossuth County on a farm near West Bend on November 9, 1916. She wasn't expected as the doctor told her mother that he thought she had a tumor as she was carrying quite a bit of weight at the time. Bertha and Henry had three boys, Edward, George and Elmer and they had adopted a little girl and named her Lydia. Still Bertha wanted a little daughter of her own. On this night in November her wish was granted and Henry had to deliver their little girl. Since they weren't expecting her they didn't have any clothes for her. So Henry called up Bertha's sister and excitedly said: "Freda bring over some baby clothes. Bertha just had a baby girl." "You're crazy" she said, but brought over some clothes. The doctor came over to take care of things and was truly amazed. They named her Fredericka after her Grandmother and Bertha after her Mother. This was a happy time for them. She was seventeen years younger than her youngest brother was and five years younger than Lydia.

When she went to kindergarten the teacher asked her name and she said: "sweetheart." "No" the teacher said: What is your real name?" "That's all they call me at home," she replied. Well she has been a sweetheart ever since. However the teacher looked on her record and when she saw Fredericka Bertha said: "I'll call you Rickie and that has been her nickname ever since. Rickie walked or ran to school and did very well in her classes and her family really doted on her. When she was in High School she had the lead in a play entitled "The Red Headed Step Child" so had to color her hair. She played violin in the orchestra, played girls basketball and was a cheerleader for the boy's games. She dreamed of playing the piano and wore the varnish off the buffet using it as a piano. She finally took lessons from a nun in West Bend and practiced at the church until her father got her a piano. She learned so rapidly that when she went to Hammond, Indiana to stay with her brother, Elmer she played piano in a restaurant. Then she took a class in speech and dramatics at the Columbia School in Chicago and was featured on a Radio Program telling children's stories entitled: "The Voice with a Smile". After that experience she went back to West Bend and worked as a guide at the famous Grotto of the Redemption. This is now one of the wonders of the world built by Father Dobberstein using precious and semi-precious stones from all over the world and carrara marble from Italy for the beautiful statues depicting the Life of Christ. The story is told that Father Dobberstein was deathly ill and promised the Lord in prayer that if he were healed he would build a sacred monument to His name. A priest came to check all the guides to find someone who could be trusted to be a private secretary and accountant to Father Dobberstein. Rickie was selected for this position and was on a three-day vacation when I met her on the "L" in Chicago. She took care of all the money that was donated and whenever Father Dobberstein needed money he had to come to her. This is why he gave her such a wonderful recommendation as an accountant that got her the job with the Government Fiscal Office in Seattle, Washington. What a wonderful girl I married.

On the ship, Somelsdike, we had pretty good meals but often had to hold on to our plates because of rough weather. One time I spread my bread with what looked like black raspberry jam. It was that reputed delicacy "caviar". Wow! It tasted like fish oil to me and I couldn't eat it. This was really a let down for a man who thought he could eat anything. We were to cross the equator May 28th on my Birthday and it became a most memorable experience. The Royalty was set up on deck consisting of Father Neptune, Davy Jones and Aphrodite to preside over the festivities arranged by the crew with great pleasure for them. They had all kinds of trials set up to turn these officer polliwogs into shellbacks. First we go a big bear hug from Aphrodite with stone breasts. "Ouch!" Then an Ogre told us to say "ah" and squirted the most foul tasting fish oil and caster oil combination into our mouths. Next we came to the make up artists who had big brushes with all kinds of paint to slap on us. I came prepared by wearing only my shorts. Next we had to crawl through a tunnel on our hands and knees against a power steam of water. The last thing was to kiss the baby, which were big lips painted on a seaman's fat tummy. After all this we scrubbed and scrubbed to try to get reasonably presentable "Shellbacks" "Hooray!" they all shouted. Then we were treated to a delicious turkey dinner and I played some violin music with piano accompaniment. The next day the weather was so rough that the piano got loose from the bulkhead and we chased it from one side of the wardroom to the other to secure it then it chased us back. It finally hit against the bulkhead and broke into pieces necessitating throwing it overboard. Everyone was so sad.

On June 7, 1943 we finally arrived at our secret island, which I can now tell you was the Fiji Islands and reported to Lt. Hershey for duty in the VS 67 Squadron for patrol duty flying dive bombers. Rickie soon knew where I was as we had marked on a map the possible places I might be sent to with a code. For example if I wrote, " I would really like some of your delicious fudge." she would know I was on the Fiji Islands. We were assigned planes to fly and keep in shape and immediately started operations flying four to six hours almost every day. We were given turns at being Officer of the Day to schedule all flights and activities under Lt. Hershey's supervision. This included waking up pilots at 04:30 A.M. for the early flight. We also had special assignments such as Personnel Officer, Engineering Officer, Material and Supply Officer. My first assignment was Personnel Officer that included censoring all enlisted men's mail, being available for counseling. Arranging studies and tests for advancement for enlisted personnel, arranging parties and athletic activities for physical fitness. In one letter a seaman wrote to his lady correspondent in answer to her complaint: "Honey, the girls here don't have anything that you don't have but they have it here." The officers were allowed to initial each other's letters without reading them. When we had time in the afternoon we would play volleyball or tennis for exercise. Lt.Tommy Black was an accomplished gymnast so we sometimes worked out together and he taught me a lot so that we put on an acrobatic show with somersaults, handsprings and walking on our hands on the tennis court. He was the engineering officer and had constructed a unicycle, which I was happy to learn to ride just like the performers in a circus. Our officer's volleyball team was very good with Lt. Andrus, six foot three inches tall, as our special spiker enabling us to win all our games with Army Officers. We had a tennis tournament that was difficult to conclude, as matches had to be played between flights. Since I had more experience in tennis I came out the winner.

One day Lt. Hershey received a radio message asking for a Mormon Elder to go to the Hospital in Suva, a town on the other side of the Island that was larger than the town of Nandi near our Air Base. Since I was the only Mormon in our Squadron Lt. Hershey gave me permission to fly to the hospital in Suva to see this Army Officer who was not expected to live. The flight was beautiful as I could see the luxuriant foliage along the coast of the Island and the little bathtub size pools lined with blue coral. I flew into some rainsqualls and had a "rainbow around my shoulder" part of the time. I had some consecrated oil with me so when I arrived at the Hospital I gave this Officer, Lt. Sorenson, a blessing even though he had difficulty in speaking. I returned safely to my squadron happy that I was able to answer that call. Later I received a letter sent to all Service men who had attended the "Y" from Professor Pardoe telling the story of Lt. Sorenson having been blessed by a Mormon Elder in the Hospital in Suva on the Fiji Island and that he recovered quickly and was released from the hospital even though the doctors didn't expect him to live. This was very joyful news for me.

We sometimes had movies in a clearing in the trees that we called our Hollywood Bowl. One night while we were watching a movie our powerful search lights were beaming around and one of our pilots, Lt. Young who was night flying, and crashed into the jungle with his radio man. The sad news had to be sent to both families but they weren't told that the crash was due to pilot error as other pilots had flown in the searchlights without any problem. We never knew exactly what happened but felt very sorrowful and had a Memorial Service for them.

There were Japanese soldiers hiding out on the Island and we found out that some of them would hide in the trees in the wee hours and wait there all day to see the movie the next night. These soldiers caught a young Fijian and hung him in a tree. When his relatives found him dead they became so angry that they organized a group of large Fijians who came crashing through the jungle shouting wielding their big bolo knives. Thus they drove all the Japanese soldiers into the army camp where they were captured.

Our base of operations was moved after six months to Guadalcanal and then to Emira, that was one degree from the equator. The Seabees had hollowed out a big swimming pool in the coral reef that was fifteen feet deep and was protected so that sharks could not get in. It was wonderful to have a cool swim there after a warm four-hour flight. A TBF {torpedo squadron} was based there and I found one of my former classmates there. He played the sweet potato and one night I got out my violin and we had a great time playing music together. The next day, I'm sorry to say he was shot down on a flight over Saipan.

My assignment as Personnel Officer was changed to Supply and Material Officer. This gave me the responsibility of procuring and dispensing all supplies for our planes and personnel except food. On one of my trips to a supply depot, on the Island of Noumea, Isaac Stern, a great artist, privileged me to hear a violin concert. Bad weather delayed my flight back to base so I bought a beautiful little ukulele and learned to play it to accompany some songs. During all this time my greatest joy was to write to and receive letters and gifts from my sweetheart wife, who was studying at Brigham Young University. Her classes were private piano lessons from Professor Fitzroy, drama and play production from Professor T. Earl Pardoe, a dance class for physical education and private voice from Dr. Florence Madsen. She started out living in a room in the Taylor household where I lived my first year there. Then she set up housekeeping with a friend, Joy Barber, in the home of Dr. Madsen, her voice teacher and wife of the choral director at the "Y". Their landlady became Aunt Flossie and they had a wonderful time together. Rickie wrote me the most beautiful letters telling all about her studies and activities and expressing such love and appreciation for which she thought was the "sweetest and best husband in the world." We had a mutual admiration society and I responded that I knew I had the sweetest and most wonderful wife in the world. She made her parents happy by going home for the Christmas Holidays. She sent me a picture of her playing in the snow to cool me off in the South Pacific but it had the opposite effect, as she was so beautiful. While I was at our base on the Fiji Island I spent most of my liberty time shopping in Suva for gifts to send to her. Suva had been a tourist town before the war and had very artistic jewelry such as beads, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and ornaments made out of polished tortoise shell, ivory and silver. When fellow officers saw the beautiful curios I had purchased, they gave me money to buy some for them so my activities as supply officer were considerably expanded. When we were ordered to move to Guadalcanal and then to Emira I had the responsibility of supervising the crating, packing and loading of all our equipment. When we arrived at Emira my assignment was changed to Engineering Officer to make sure all the planes were in good shape and all material was in good operating condition. As time went on our letters were filled with anticipation of my joyful homecoming and plans for the future wondering what my next duty would be. Of course we hoped it would not be overseas again so we could be together.

About this time, in the merry month of May it was decided that we needed a little rehabilitation so were given ten days vacation in Sidney, Australia going two officers and several enlisted men at a time. I didn't think I needed the rehabilitation, as my moral was very high reading Rickie's letters. Orders are orders so I went and had a great time. At the tremendous Zoo I bought a little stuffed koala bear to send to Rickie, as I was always thinking of her. Then I went to the grand opera house to see a performance and took her along with me in spirit. I was awakened one morning, bright and early, anyway early with a street vendor shouting: "Two pies for a Bob." I hurriedly got dressed and went down to the street to collect the pies and found out that a "bob" was twenty-five cents. So I paid it and took the pies for a treat for lunch.

Rickie loved the little Koala bear but said she would much rather has had the mail (male) be her husband. Of course that made me feel good and I responded that July 7,1944 we were scheduled to be back to the "States" to get our new orders and a month's leave. Wow! This news really made her feel good in fact her letter said that she was in "Seventh Heaven." It really became that when I arrived in West Bend. I arrived a little late for the 4th of July celebration but not for our celebration. It was just like we had not been separated as we continued our Honeymoon. It was great to finally meet Rickie's parents in person. We really got along well and had a wonderful time with them and all the family we went to visit. Then we packed a few things got in our little Plymouth coup that we called our "woo" car and drove to Mexico to see my family. We went through Columbus, New Mexico to the border and had a little trouble there as I spoke Spanish to the authorities there and they didn't believe that I could be an American speaking like that. I told them that I was raised in Mexico and that my parents lived in Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua and they finally let me pass. After that experience I no longer spoke Spanish at the border. The road from there to home was a just a dirt road and we felt that we almost went up and down as much as we went forward. I'm sure that I didn't drive as well as Dad did over that road but finally I saw the three windmills and exclaimed: "We're on the right road." "I'm really happy about that." Rickie replied. When we got to about five miles from town Rickie asked me to stop so she could freshen up and change her clothes to look her best when we met my family. When we got there we were welcomed with open arms by Mother and Dad and Mother exclaimed: "My, my, Rickie you look as fresh as a daisy, not like you've traveled for five hours over that dusty road." Rickie just smiled sweetly and said: "Thank you Mother." Then we went around to greet my brothers and sisters, who were all in walking distance. The last place we went to was Keith and Naoma's home. They seemed overjoyed to see us and said: "You must be tired and hungry. Please sit right down and have some hot soup." Wow! That really hit the spot. After a good night's rest we all went up to Juarez the next day for a Stake Day picnic at noon and a dance at night at the Juarez Stake Academy which was the only school still supported by the Church. The food was delicious and we had a marvelous time meeting all the people. Rickie was the "belle of the ball" so to speak, as all my friends wanted to dance with her and talk to her. We got home at midnight and mother and dad had my old room ready for us to sleep in after a most delightful day. The next day we went swimming, played tennis and had a big picnic on the lawn in the evening with a Mariachi Band playing beautiful Mexican music. One sad note was that Rickie got sick eating some hamburger that was accidentally left out all day. I really sympathized with her and was happy that she soon got over it. After a tearful but happy goodbye we left for Sanford, Florida, as my orders were to report to the Air Base there to be a Gunnery Instructor since I had already had combat duty in the South Pacific.

For our first night in Florida we got a room at a nice motel. We carried in what we thought we needed and made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the lunch we had with us. Then we went out for a little walk around the town that would be our home for a long time we hoped. When we got back our sandwiches on the counter were covered with little ants. They ants seemed to be pretty clean so we took the sandwiches outside and blew all the ants off, laughing all the while. I checked in at the Air Base and we decided to move to a good hotel while we looked for an apartment. When we turned down the covers to hop into bed we saw a host of little creatures scurrying off in all directions. We learned later that they were bedbugs and were told that there were lots of all kinds of bugs in Florida. Before teaching I had to go through the gunnery syllabus that included shooting a machine gun at a towed sleeve. Every pilot's bullets were painted a different color so at the end of the flight the colored holes in the sleeve were counted to record the score of each pilot. After duty for the day ended we went out apartment hunting. Rickie always went to the base with me and read or visited in the Ready Room until I was through flying. She always watched me take off and land. We didn't find any apartments in town so we drove out into the country and right by the golf course we knocked on the door of a charming little house to ask for information about a place to live for a few months. A very trim cheerful young lady came to the door and we told her that we were looking for a place to live for a few months. She looked us over and we were ecstatic to hear her say: "We've just been looking for a nice young couple to live in our home while we are gone for about three months on business. Won't you please come in and meet my husband. We had a delightful visit and they wanted to know all about us and about my service in the South Pacific. They showed us around their home orienting us to the things to be done to take care of it. They had a pretty back yard with a hutch full of rabbits and a chicken yard with many chickens. "Now you should eat some of the rabbits or they will get too numerous to fit in the pen," they said with a laugh.

The next day the Bradley's left, only taking what they needed, and we moved in. They even left money on the dresser in the bedroom along with all their precious things. We determined that they would find things, when they returned, just as they left them. It was a wonderful feeling to be so trusted. One day as Rickie was watching our flight come in; one of the planes was coming in at an awkward angle. She knew my plane number so knew that it wasn't me. She told me later that she kept screaming for him to level off. He never did and crashed fatally on the field. We never did know exactly what happened. I was delegated to go to his apartment to tell his wife about his tragic accident. Rickie went with me. When we knocked at the door his beautiful young wife came to the door saying: "Welcome home, darling! Dinner is ready. When she saw us she said: "Oh no! What's wrong?" Rickie embraced her and as gently as we could we told her that her husband had a fatal crash on the field. We tried to comfort her as she told us of the wonderful plans they had to have a family and never for one moment thought this tragedy could happen to them. It was so sad but she determined to carry on as she was pregnant with their first child and would have something of him to love.

My fellow officers thought it was remarkable that we had found a beautiful little home in the country and wanted to see it. They gladly accepted an invitation to bring their wife or girl friend out to dinner Saturday night. Rickie planned to stay home to make preparations so I told her to watch the sky, as I would be doing acrobatics such as loops, slow rolls and snap rolls in the area and that I would wiggle my wings if I saw her in the yard. All went well for she was there waving enthusiastically. The dinner was a great success as Rickie was a marvelous cook. We mixed up the chicken and rabbit on the platter so we wouldn't know for sure what we were eating. Rickie couldn't stand the thought of eating a cute little rabbit. We had quite a conversation on married life and having a family. One officer said: "When I got married I had five theories of how to raise children. Now I have five children and no theories." This gave everyone a good laugh.

We had such a good time together that we decided to have swimming party at Daytona Beach the next Saturday. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day with little waves rippling to the shore. We all brought a lunch and when Rickie went to get ours out of the car she thought I was leaning over in the back seat to hand her the lunch and playfully pinched the exposed bottom." Ouch!" Lt. Crockett said, as he straightened up. "Oh, I'm sorry" Rickie said. "I thought you were my husband." He said, "That's okay!" and they had a good laugh and so did we all when Rickie told us about it during lunch.

When we got to Florida we thought this would be as good time to start our family. When a month had passed and Rickie wasn't pregnant we went to see Lt. Kelly the Flight Surgeon. He was jovial red headed Irishman and said: "Sit down. What can I do for you?" Rickie crying said: "We want to have a baby and I'm not pregnant yet". "How long have you been married?" He asked. "Since May 12, 1943, but my husband was overseas for fourteen months," she answered. Dr. Kelly then laughed hilariously and said; "This is the most refreshing thing that has happened to me in a long time. So many wives have sat in that chair crying because they were pregnant and you are crying because you are not pregnant. Here take one of these little yellow pills a day and keep trying." We were both overjoyed when she became pregnant that month and looked forward to having our baby in Florida. It was not to be for as soon as I finished the syllabus and was to start my teaching career, a dispatch came from the Naval Headquarters saying to send all pilots with serial numbers listed below to the West Coast for carrier training. My number was there so we faced another separation. We decided to drive to Salt Lake City to be married for all Eternity in the Temple there. My Mother's sister, Aunt Martha lived in Salt Lake City and asked us to come and stay with their family and she would make arrangements for the Temple Ceremonies. We made the trip just fine and Aunt Martha and Uncle Irwin welcomed us warmly into their home. It reminded us of the loving warm welcome we received from Keith and Naoma in Mexico. Rickie wanted to know how they seemed to have such a close loving family. So I told her that when Keith came home with news that he was in love with Naoma Haynie and wanted to marry her Dad was a little dubious and told him that he better think it over as she had a different environment being raised in a mountain colony. Keith really thought it over and made the wise decision that she was the girl for him. They were perfectly matched and supported each other in all their activities in work, play and in the Church. Naoma would accompany him whenever possible. When they had their children this togetherness was extended to them until now their loving family includes nine wonderful children. Needless to say that this all made Dad and Mother very happy.

It was wonderful going through the temple with my sweetheart wife and our wedding ceremony was heavenly as we were sealed together for all Eternity by an Apostle of the Lord, J. Rueben Clark. He had been an ambassador to Mexico and was one of Dad's dearest friends. This memorable date was December 4, 1944. We expressed our appreciation to Aunt Martha and Uncle Irwin for all the help they had given us and had to leave the next day for California. I had to take a plane from Salt Lake City to California to be able to report on time so that left Rickie to drive our car alone. She made the trip safely but had an exciting time as the speedometer failed and she just followed the speed of the trains. We had a good laugh about that as she burned out the motor.

Learning to land our F4F Wildcat Fighter planes on a carrier was very interesting, exacting and fun. We had to break some of the safety flying rules that we had learned as we had to fly low and slow downwind parallel to the carrier before making a left turn to approach the rear of the carrier to land. If the speed going downwind was to slow the left turn would further decrease the lift and the plane would crash into the sea. In the turn we had to advance the throttle to keep the plane with the nose up for the proper attitude to see the signalman on the right side of the rear deck of the carrier. The signalman had two flags to indicate whether our approach was too high, too low, or just right for a landing. If we were too low we had to immediately add more throttle to gain altitude, if too high we would get a "wave off" and have to go around again for another trial. If everything were just right the signalman would give us a cut when we were at the rear of the carrier. We would then cut the throttle and dip the nose forward to gain speed so the plane wouldn't stall, then pull back on the stick to make a flat three point landing so that the tail hook which we had lowered would catch one of the hydraulic cables stretched across the deck. Further forward was a barrier of cables about four feet high to catch any plane whose hook didn't catch a cable. This sometimes happened when the weather was rough making the ship pitch and roll.

Since I had already had combat duty in the South Pacific I was attached to the VC41 Squadron commanded by Lt. J. Knudson that had already been training for six months. So I had to fly four extra hours a day to go through the Fighter Pilot Syllabus to catch up in the three months left before our scheduled departure on the Makin Island Carrier for the South Pacific. Our first residence was in a little apartment in the charming small city called "Carmel by the Sea". It was cradled between the ocean and some beautiful mountains. One day one of our pilots didn't return from his flight and it was days before his demolished plane was found in the mountains. He wasn't married but it was a really sad time for his parents when they were notified. We moved from Carmel to Holtville in the desert to train with rockets. The rockets were attached under the wings and our job was to dive at a target circle from ten thousand feet, release the rocket and pull out of the dive gradually enough so we wouldn't "black out" and lose control of the plane. We all became quite proficient at this without any accidents. We lived in a little room in the home of an elderly man and his daughter. The bed was so high off the floor that we had to take a little run to jump into it, but it was comfortable. One day the daughter, Ella, announced that we were going to have chicken and dumplings for dinner so we were really enthusiastically anticipating it. When Ella dipped the ladle into the pot to serve us the chicken, out came a complete leg with the foot attached. Surprise! We both lost our appetite right away.

We went to Church in town and met Dr. Hoyt and his family. They were very kind and hospitable so we had frequent visits. When the time drew near for our Squadron's departure Dr. Hoyt offered to keep Rickie in their home and deliver our baby there. Rickie was really tempted to do this but she had promised her folks that she would come home and have the baby in West Bend. I was able to get time off to take Rickie home in our car then fly back to our Squadron. So the first of March we took off in our little repaired "woo" car and had a good trip to West Bend. While there I hired a private nurse, Juanita, to help take care of Rickie and our coming baby. She was one of Rickie's classmates so Rickie was very happy about it and so were her parents. Dr. Givens was the doctor in town and he promised to take good care of her. Rickie took me to the airport in Sioux City and we had a tearful farewell hoping to be back together in six months. I was really happy when I called from the coast to hear Rickie say that she had made it home without any problem and was feeling fine but lonesome already. I felt the same way. Then our letter writing started again even more fervent than before.

The first leg of our journey to the South Pacific was to stop at Hawaii to train and qualify for carrier night landings. I was glad that I was one of the two who qualified, as I had to make a night landing while we were in the Yellow Sea near Japan. We had a little time to look around Honolulu so I found a pretty little grass skirt to send to Rickie to dress properly to do the hula dance. We had stormy weather on the way to the combat Zone but still managed to get in some flights along the way. The weather was so hot that some of the seamen would take a sleeping bag out on the deck to sleep in the breeze made by the carrier's speed. One night we had a shrill call to General Quarters, which meant that all men should man their guns at battle stations. This awakened one seaman so rudely that he didn't realize where he was and picked up us sleeping bag and ran right off the sixty-foot high deck. We heard his scream and so did a nearby destroyer escort so knew what had happened. The carrier wouldn't stop for fear of being torpedoed but the destroyer was happy to pick him up to transfer him to the carrier. They would do this by throwing a line to the carrier that would then be fastened so that a bucket on a pulley could be sent over with the man in it. They wouldn't return the man until the carrier had passed over ten gallons of ice cream, as the destroyer did not have an ice cream maker. So the destroyers were always hoping that a pilot would land in the "drink" or some one would fall overboard. One day an Ensign got too slow on the downwind leg parallel to the carrier so when he made his left turn his plane plunged into the "drink" so the destroyer had another celebration.

We stopped at Guam and much to our delight picked up a lot of mail, which made us all happy, especially me. It was so wonderful to hear all the news and expressions of love from my sweetheart wife that I couldn't stop reading until far into the night. Rickie had a breast operation on May 26th. We were so thankful that the tumor was not cancerous. She told me how Dr. Givens and arranged to have Dr. Kirsten do the operation in the Fort Dodge Hospital forty miles from West Bend. Juanita was there to attend her and all went well. Dr. Givens assured her that her baby was fine and that he could deliver the baby in West Bend but that it would be better if she went to the Hospital with the thought that I would be happier if she got the best of care. Later she found out that Dr. Givens had arranged for Dr. Kirsten to do a cesarean section as the baby was in a transverse position. In her letter Rickie said that on June 14th she wasn't feeling very well and all of sudden her water broke. Her Mother knew what was going on and immediately called Juanita and she called Dr. Givens. They put her in his car and drove furiously to the Hospital in Fort Dodge. Dr. Givens dropped her off at the entrance in Juanita's care. She asked for Dr. Kirsten and was told that he was on vacation out of town. So Juanita got Dr. Bruce, a good friend of hers, to take care of Rickie. He told her that two months earlier he could have turned the baby but now it was too late. He gave her the choice of taking the baby forcibly that would probably seriously injure the baby but leave her all right or to have a cesarean which would be more difficult for her but would leave the baby strong and healthy. "I want my baby," she said so she was prepared for the operation for the next morning. Juanita stayed right with her all night to make sure that she was given proper care. Dr. Bruce performed the operation the old fashioned way and presented Rickie with a beautiful healthy son weighing five pounds and six and a half ounces. She gave him the name of Victor Bardell Bowman that we had chosen if the baby was a boy. Dr. Bruce told her that she would be in the hospital for ten days and then go home and gain back her strength quickly. I was so overjoyed with this news that couldn't keep from telling everyone: "I'm a father! I have a son! I have a son! My sweetheart wife is doing well and is going to be fine."

Dr. Bruce advised her not to try to nurse the baby because of her two operations. Juanita got all the information needed to prepare the formula and Rickie arranged with her neighbor, Iantha Mikes, to use her refridgerator to keep the formula in. Rickie said that she was loaded with tubes and was very uncomfortable but happy. One day Juanita brought her a milk shake that she was able to sip and keep down and felt a lot better. Her parents, her sister, Lydia and her brother Elmer went down to see her and thought little Victor Bardell was beautiful which made her happy. In Hawaii I had left an order with a florist to send her a lei of beautiful orchids and they arrived on the sixteenth. All the nurses came in to see them and were really complimentary. The last letter in this mailing told me that she was home and getting along fine feeding the baby every two or three hours with her Mother's help. I sent her all my love, as much as words can express and told her also how proud of her I was and so thankful to be married to most wonderful wife and mother in the world.

I couldn't write to her about our combat operations carried on every day the weather would permit but could tell her some of things that were happening on board our carrier. We had a church service every Sunday that was well attended because it was held in the pilot's Ready Room, which was air-conditioned. I was usually called upon by the chaplain to play violin for the hymn singing. One Sunday they had a testimony meeting and our little barber with red hair got up and said: "I know exactly the day and the hour I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior so now I'm saved no matter what I do." Of course this didn't go along with my belief that we will be held responsible for our actions but it really made him feel good. Sometimes when we didn't have a flight we would play volleyball on the deck. It would really feel funny to jump in the air after a ball and have the deck come up to meet you or drop away from you to put you higher in the air. If the weather was too rough we couldn't play but could watch a movie in the evening if it wasn't raining. One morning we were awakened by not being able to stay in our bunks on account of running into a typhoon. The bow of the ship was dipping sixty feet to pick up water. When our little shipboard paper came out the editor wrote: "The weather was so rough the writing fell off the blackboard." He drew a little cartoon to show it. After the typhoon passed we joined a small fleet and began bombing operations on hostile Islands. When we carried bombs the plane was too heavy to take off on it's own power so we had to be catapulted from the forward deck. This procedure was quite complicated. A cable was attached from the catapult to the bottom of the plane. We had to apply the brakes and "rev" up the engine to full throttle making sure that our head was back against the cushion. When the engine roar sounded right the signalman dropped his arm and the catapult shot our plane seventy miles an hour in sixty feet. Sometimes the plane would dip down after leaving the edge of the carrier but quickly attained flying speed so that we didn't crash into the sea. I usually led a flight of three or four planes so would circle the carrier until all joined up. Before taking off we would meet in the ready room to be briefed on the mission. There we would mark the target on our chart and figure the distance, the direction and the speed to reach our target at the designated time. We also had to estimate and plot in the speed and direction of the wind so we wouldn't be blown off course. This was called "dead reckoning navigation." After dropping our bombs on the target we would return to the carrier using the same dead reckoning. We had radio communication to check our navigation if necessary. It always seemed good to see the carrier come into sight even though it looked like a postage stamp from a distance. One flight from a different carrier go lost and ran out of gas so had to land in formation in the sea. A big PBY seaplane landed and picked them up so no pilots were lost. Our gunners were very efficient in shooting down attacking Kamikaze planes but one did get through striking the Sangomon next to us. The attacking plane went right through the flight deck and exploded leaving a big hole in the deck, a lot of damage on the hanger deck below and quite a few casualties. We learned later that these suicide pilots were won with the glory of serving their Emperor and their ancestors. These so-called heroes were then wrapped tightly in silk so that they wouldn't be torn apart if they were hit by antiaircraft fire. When they took to the air the wheels of the plane would detach and stay on the ground so the pilots were committed to try to destroy their target. All of a sudden there seemed to be very few Zeros or suicide planes in the air and we wondered why. The answer to this question came later

On one of our flights one of our pilots had trouble landing on the carrier. As he came in the signalman gave him a "wave off", as he was too high and too fast. On his second pass he got the same signal so went around again. On the third pass even though he got a "wave off" he decided to land anyway. He cut the throttle dipped the nose as he should but since he was so high he missed all the cables and flew over the barrier and bounced from side to side, like a billiard ball, knocking five planes overboard and then bursting into flames. Needless to say he was grounded for disobeying the signalman. This was his second offense as when we were training in the states a farmer came to the squadron complaining that one of our pilots was "buzzing" his cattle causing them to run into the fence. It was determined that an Ensign from Texas was the offender. He was severely reprimanded but allowed to keep on flying. He didn't learn the lesson of obedience, it seems, but we still felt sorry for him losing his flight status.

We did have some funny incidents that I wrote to Rickie about. We had jovial seaman on board who dressed up like a wave. Then he would go out on deck standing by a line of ladies undergarments that he had put up and wave at the men on the destroyer near us. They were envious that we had a woman on board. Next one of our pilots, five minutes after take off, frantically radioed the carrier saying: "My plane is on fire. What shall I do?" He heard: "Turn your plane 180 degrees and return to base." He did this and made a good landing on the carrier. The fire crew with all their equipment rushed up to the plane as he staggered out sweating profusely. There was no fire. He had the heater on in the South Pacific. We all had a good laugh about this. He was quite chagrined but took it in good sport.

Our carrier was not only an airport but a small city with a power plant, water system, restaurants, stores, sewage system, barber shop, tailor shop, laundry, church, filling stations, hospital, drug store, library and living compartments. The Captain was the Mayor with no city council so his word was law. The Makin Island was the Flag Ship of the fleet in our area and the Admiral told us that we had the responsibility to protect the ground forces from air attack and to bomb, rocket and strafe the enemy positions a few hundred yards ahead of our advancing troops on the island. Also we were to patrol the whole area for submarines so that our torpedo bombers could demolish them. Sometimes we would have two flights a day, about eight hours in the air. The mechanics would work on the planes at night to keep them in flying shape. The ordnance men had the responsibility to arm our planes with bombs, rockets and ammo for the machine guns according to the mission to be flown. So the whole operation was a team effort and we appreciated the hard working staff that had to feed a thousand hungry men every day. Planes were in the air from dawn to sunset and sometimes later.

About a month before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima our captain, Lt. G. Knudsen led a flight to strafe the enemy installations on an Island. I was flying as his right wingman when anti-aircraft shells hit his plane. He bailed out safely and floated down to the beach while his plane crashed. The Japanese soldiers grabbed him immediately. We lamented that he hadn't landed out in the ocean so that a PBY seaplane could have rescued him. Everyone was so saddened with his capture as he was respected and very well liked by all. He took every precaution to protect his squadron and had the pilots man their planes on deck and respond to different emergencies that might happen so that if they did happen they would take care of the situation without panicking. He wore a vest with all kinds of survival medications.

Our fleet was enlarged and one day a flight leader from a different carrier couldn't spot their carrier so he sent out a radio message to it saying: "Rub a dub dub, where is my tub?" His carrier shot back the message: "Hi diddle, diddle, we're in the middle!"

On August 15, 1945 I was leading a flight in the Yellow Sea, near Japan and received a glorious radio message saying: "Japan has surrendered and peace has been declared. Make a simulated attack on the carrier!" Wow! We circled the carrier in formation then peeled off in sequence and flew screaming over the carrier above all hands on deck waving and cheering. Then we landed joyfully with visions of home and loved ones in our eyes. Then we flew over Japan like we were supporting a troop landing and saw that the atomic bomb had leveled Hiroshima and left it almost like a plowed field. We also saw the answer to the recent decrease in Japanese Zeros in the air for all along the coast were thousands of camouflaged revetments each containing a Kamikaze plane ready to go. Without the atomic bomb these three thousand planes would have attacked the U.S. Fleet with a terrible slaughter. On September 2, 1945 the surrender of Japan and peace terms were formalized on the U.S.S. Missouri with Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu signing for the Emperor and General Douglas MacArthur broadcasting the ceremony.

Then a damper was put on the rejoicing in our Squadron by a package sent from the Island of Cho Shan where Lt. Knudsen was shot down containing a cremation urn with a note saying that the officer had died of burns and was cremated according to their custom. We were sure that he was put to death as his plane was not burning nor was his parachute. We remembered him telling us in the Ready Room that he didn't care how many Zeros we shot down but wanted to get everyone of us back home safely. He accomplished that because he was the only one that was lost. What tragic news to give to his hopefully waiting wife with their little year old son. Many years later at a VC 41 reunion I had the opportunity to tell his son, now a young man, the details of how his father was shot down and died heroically while I was his right wingman. He had never heard the complete story before so was very appreciative.

Instead of sailing directly to Honolulu, as we hoped, we were assigned to search land and sea for two hundred miles for a lost plane that carried an Admiral and a Captain. We found no trace of the plane so it was concluded that it had crashed into the sea. All the prisoners were released from Japan and taken aboard different ships. Some of us, officers and men, were given leave to go ashore at Wakayama for sight seeing. We looked over the interesting shops and shrines and had no trouble at all. On September 16, 1945 I was detached from Squadron duty and given orders to report to the Intake Center in San Francisco then to the Separation Center, after a months leave, either at Great Lakes or at Minneapolis. We were awarded the Victory Medal for World War II. On the voyage to Pearl Harbor we carried on the celebration by playing volleyball on deck land watching an occasional movie. The most entertaining activity was a program our chaplain arranged using all the talent on board that he could muster. It was put on in the evening and was called a "Smoker." I played "Ave Maria" with double stops and "El Jarabe Tapatio" (The Mexican National Hat Dance). At the conclusion of which I was carried off on a stretcher as they said after such a dance I was too tired to walk. Everyone had a good laugh, especially me. On October 26, 1945 we flew our planes to Barber's Point before going into Pearl Harbor to save unloading them manually. On the 29th of October we left for San Francisco. On the 5th of November we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and saw a big white sign on the hill saying "Welcome Home." Letters from my Sweetheart Wife were full of expressions of love for our little son and me with great anticipation for my homecoming. She sent me a pinup picture of her in a bathing suit I sent her showing that she had returned to her beautiful slender figure. She hadn't been getting much sleep, as she had to feed our little son about every two hours besides keeping a batch of formula made up and doing all the washing etc. She was overjoyed when she got my call from San Francisco telling her that I would be on my way to her as soon as I could get transportation.

The Transportation Department that said that there was no air transportation and quoted three to seven days to get a ticket on a train. Getting a ticket as soon as I had finished with the Intake Center was a marvel and a wonder. I called Rickie and told her that I would be in Mason City at 1700 on November 8th, in time for her Birthday on November 9th. Hooray! She left little Victor Bardell with her Mother and met me there. Wow! What a Homecoming! It was even more marvelous than we had imagined. It was a real joy for me to be with Rickie's parents and thank them for the wonderful care they had taken of Rickie and our son. They were pleased with a document I showed them from the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal that said: "All hands of CVE'S are congratulated on the continuous and precise support given the ground troops during this operation. They made 35,00 sorties, expended 64,000 rockets, dropped 400 tons of bombs and sprayed DDT to keep down sickness of our troops." We had a wonderful birthday party on November 9th, and I just couldn't express the joy I felt holding our darling little son, Victor Bardell and my sweet, wonderful wife, Rickie.

Mom and Dad Sauder offered to take care of our little son with Juanita's help if needed, while we drove to Minneapolis to the Separation Center. We had a thrilling honeymoon trip getting there, and on November 15th I was released to Inactive Duty in the Naval Reserve with ninety days leave on pay and the option of joining the Regular Navy. While we were there the weather turned very cold, below Zero, so I purchased a fur coat for Rickie that she thought was beautiful and really kept her warm. On the way home the heater stopped functioning in the car so we had to stop to buy some thick woolen socks for me as the cold came through a hole by the accelerator. We enjoyed stopping on the way home to see Rickie's brother Edward and family. On the way we talked about all the plans we had discussed in our letters and had the feeling that the decision we had made in letters to go ahead with the study of music and a teaching career instead of medicine would bring us greater happiness.

When we got back to West Bend we found Mother and Dad Sauder happy that they had been able to take care of little Victor just fine. His grandpa called him "Bubilee" which meant "my little boy". I called Uncle Harold in Salt Lake City to see if could find an apartment for us to live while I got my Master's Degree in Music at the University of Utah. He wasn't able to find anything as the many returning servicemen had taken all of the available living places. So we set up house keeping with Mom and Dad Sauder for a while until I could find a teaching position. I registered with the Teacher's Placement Agency of Iowa and accepted a teaching job teaching vocal and instrumental music in grade school and high school in Schaller, Iowa to start in December. The lady who was teaching there had a nervous breakdown thus leaving a vacancy. Before we moved we found out that with Rickie's vibrant health and our long awaited thrilling second honeymoon she became pregnant right away without any little yellow pills. We called Dr. Bruce with the news and he said: "It would have been better if you had waited a year but I will be happy to take care of you again."

 

Section 7--The Music Teaching Years

The School Board in Schaller assumed the responsibility to find us a place to live. On the first of March we moved into a cute little upstairs apartment that a couple had remodeled just for us. It had quite a steep outside stairway that we didn't mind climbing at all. One of the first things I did was to take the challenge to walk down it on my hands. The small town was neat and friendly and the school was great with a very helpful administration and attentive and cooperative students. Some Saturdays we would drive back to West Bend to see Mom and Dad Sauder and help out by cleaning house or working in the garden. They just loved to see their little grandson, Victor. In Schaller we put up a clothesline in the back yard to hang up the cloth diapers and got a little washing machine to wash them in. I found that I loved the teaching so accepted the job for the next year. When school was out I accepted the offer to direct the Summer Community Band Concerts. On one of our trips to West Bend we went to Fort Dodge for Rickie to have an examination by Dr. Bruce. He said that the baby's position was good for a normal delivery but strongly recommended a cesarean section. We made an appointment for July 22nd. Rickie wanted her favorite nurse, Juanita to help take care of her and she was really happy to do it. So our second son was born July 22, 1946 and we named him Brian Leslie Bowman. Rickie got a long better this time so in a week we were able to go back to our little apartment. We were happy that this blessed event happened in the summer so I could be there to help take care of our precious little family.

While we were in Fort Dodge I purchased a little movie camera and proudly presented it to my darling sweetheart wife saying that we could take action pictures of our two precious boys as they grew up. By the time school started Rickie was strong enough to take care of both our boys during the day. Of course we had spread the joyful news far and wide so received many carBowman's with Grandma Sauder West Bendds from friends and family. We could hardly believe it when my parents came all the way from Mexico to see their two little grandsons and us. They said that the trip was worth it. We still had our little Plymouth coupe so when we went to West Bend we would make a secure little bed for Brian in the space back of the seats and Victor rode in the seat between us.

Dad standing on hands West Bend We had talked a lot about signing up for the Regular Navy as I loved to fly and the salary was very good and looking better as I was due for a promotion to Lt. Commander. However when Brian came along and I loved the teaching so much and not wanting any more separations we decided to just stay in the Inactive Reserve. This was a wise decision as it gave us a wonderful life together. The school year seemed to speed by with so much activity. I put on a little musical with grade school students entitled "The Inn of the Golden Cheese" that the students really enjoyed and was well received by parents and all those who came to the performance. I took the High School Choir and High School Band to contest and also many vocal and instrumental soloists, which was the first time the school, had participated. We had a very friendly relationship with our landlords living downstairs and took some real interesting movies of them playing with or children. We took movies of Victor rattling the playpen in the yard and Brian in the high chair. We missed him wiggling out of it on to the ground. He was very active and managed to fall off the changing table in the kitchen but didn't cry. When Victor was just two months old Rickie and her parents were having a visit with her brother George and his wife Emma, when they heard a "thump" from the bedroom. Rickie rushed in there and found little Victor lying on the floor. He had squirmed and pulled himself from the middle of a full sized bed. He didn't cry until his Mother picked him up. She said that she thought that maybe he wanted to stay there. We took movies of each other playing with our children. Then Rickie wanted pictures of my skinny body that I came back with from overseas. So I walked down the stair steps and off a table on my hands. My height was 5'9", weight 138 pounds, chest 40" and waist 28". That didn't last long because of Rickie's delicious cooking.

Again I conducted the summer band concerts and we had a very tragic accident during the town's 4th of July celebration. Our outstanding vocal soloist, Harriet Granger, was hit and killed by a rocket from the fireworks while sitting in bleachers at the football field. Her classmates were sitting around her but none were injured by the blast. Though we very much enjoyed our stay in Schaller we had to say Goodbye to take a position in Reinbeck, Iowa where I would teach only instrumental music in Grade School and High School. So we moved into a cute little home about six blocks from the school and started teaching the last week of August 1947. There were two teachers called "Bob" there so I was called by my real name Bardell. When Rickie wrote to our friends in Schaller and said: "Bardell and I did this and that." They wrote back wanting to know whom this Bardell was as her husband's name was Bob. Even though it was a lot further to West Bend we still spent some weekends there as Mom and Dad Sauder doted on their little grandchildren. We have movies of Victor climbing all over his grandfather and of them taking a walk hand in hand with Victor pulling a little wagon and Brian learning to walk

It was interesting to us that the music teacher in Reinbeck quit because he got so nervous that he was fainting. He went into furniture repair work. It was a challenge to build the instrumental department up but I enjoyed it. I also was asked to teach a Spanish class in High School, which of course was "right down my alley." Besides a concert band I developed a marching band with an outstanding drum major and very pretty and talented baton twirlers who really pleased the crowd that watched parades and the band shows on the football field. On one performance we lacked the baritone player, due to illness, so I donned a band uniform and marched in his place. Of course we took movies of most of the performances. They were really fun to watch even though there was no sound. Our little boys loved to play in the snow so Rickie would put their snow suits on them and away they would go jumping and running in the snow. The movies we have of them are choice. When they came in they were wet and cold but rosy with rosy cheeks and happy. The people in town were great and we made many friends not only the parents of my students. One thing I learned in teaching was to never send an unruly student to the principal's office. I did that once to one of my best saxophone players by the name of Giles and it took me about six months to get back a good relationship with him. We were so saddened when our wonderful neighbor next door contracted breast cancer and didn't survive the operation.

We were having a little economic struggle so I turned to selling Volume Library Encyclopedia on the side, hired by Dean Drury of Iowa City. Mr. Stronks in Iowa City was the president of the business so I was asked to go there for a week of concentrated training. I really enjoyed meeting people and explaining to them how the Volume Library could help their children in school. This really helped out because by the end of the second year I was the top salesman in the nation. We drove to Waterloo, about twelve miles, to go to Church. We met in the Odd Fellow's Hall and had to clean it up every Sunday morning before Church. We had only about thirty members to start with the Missionaries were very active and quite a few were baptized and confirmed members of the Church. I enjoyed playing in the Waterloo Symphony under the direction of Otto Jellenick. Of course Rickie attended all the concerts and took Victor along. The people near her were shocked that she would bring a child only three years old but expressed their amazement when little Victor sat through the whole concert very attentively. Rickie having turned on the radio to classical music during his bath every day prepared him. Brian was thirteen months younger so had to stay home with a baby sitter. Both boys enjoyed the Missionaries as we frequently took them home to dinner.

After three enjoyable years in Reinbeck we decided that it would be wise for me to go to college and get my Master's degree in Music. We investigated and found that Drake University in Des Moines Iowa had a very good graduate program in Music. So in August of 1950 we moved to Des Moines and lived in a nice little apartment in Fort Des Moines. I took a part time job teaching instrumental music in the little town of Grimes about ten miles from Des Moines. Again the teacher I followed had to quit because it was too stressful for him. Rickie redecorated our apartment with my help carrying out her ideas. I Had Professor Noyes for violin, Ralph Woodward for voice, Ralph Laycock for flute and clarinet and Professor Pierce for music theory. Victor started kindergarten at the Fort Des Moines School and found quite a few little friends in our neighborhood to play with. One day he came home with the story that his teacher, Miss Stucki, wasn't very nice to the students but was very nice to the man who swept the floor. We rented a little garden plot and planted tomatoes, green beans, squash and bell peppers. Our boys loved to walk down to garden every few days to see how much everything had grown. Later they liked to look for the ripe tomatoes. I practiced my music at school as much as possible so I would have more free time at home. One weekend we accepted the invitation to visit Elmer and Elsie and their two boys in Hammond, Indiana. We enjoyed the visit. They had big tricycle that Victor and Brian loved to ride and a swing set in the back yard that kept them pretty well occupied. Normie was brain damaged and large for his age so was a little difficult. Later they sent him to a special school in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Gary was younger than our boys but was very smart and sociable so they had a good time together. The next week we drove to West Bend and Rickie accepted the request to stay for a week to visit and help out since Victor had vacation for a week from school. When we returned a little black girl, named Norma, was very happy as none of the other children in the neighbor hood would play with her. One day she skinned her knee on the teeter-totter and Victor brought her to his Mother so she could put a Band-Aid on it. Her parents were well educated and very nice and we lived in the same building. The husband was getting his master's Degree in business at Drake so we had some nice discussions and got along very well. Neither one of us had racial prejudices. Ralph and Lucy Laycock were members of the Church and had two cute little girls just a year older than our boys so we often got together for dinners and games. Ralph Woodward was not a member of the Church but his wife Margaret was a voice major and was one of my classmates at BYU. She called one day and said that their little son was very ill in the hospital and asked me to get the elders and come to give him a blessing. I told her that I would be glad to do it and asked her to bring her husband Ralph along so I could talk to him about the administration of oil and blessing we would give his son. Ralph came along and was very attentive to my explanation that through the priesthood we were authorized by God to give a blessing to the sick for their well being according to His will. When we arrived at the room where little Bruce was the doctor was just coming out telling the nurse: "That boy needs a transfusion immediately." We went in and placed our hands on his head and I sealed the anointment that one of the Elders had given him and gave him the blessing. Ralph told us on the way home that he felt like the room was electrified. The doctor came back to check on Bruce and after examining him said: "I don't know what has happened but this boy no longer needs a transfusion." Little Bruce was soon released from the Hospital completely well. As a result of this Ralph investigated and joined the Church and the next year the BYU accepted his application to be the Choral Director. His wife, Margaret also was hired to teach voice there. We had a very small Branch of the Church that met in the living room of a large home. I played first violin in the Drake University Symphony Orchestra and Rickie brought both boys to the concerts.

My last requirement was to play a violin Master's Recital. All my teachers, many classmates and of course my greatest supporter, my sweetheart wife, attended and said that I did very well. Anyway the recital was accepted and I was to receive my Master's Degree at the Graduation Ceremony two weeks after classes ended. Having this free time we decided to accept the invitation to drive to Mexico for a visit with all of our family there. We had traded in our coupe for a Chevrolet sedan so had a good trip down there. Instead of going through Columbus on the dirt road we traveled before, we took the improved highway from El Paso, Texas crossing the border at Ciudad Juarez. It was a delightful trip and Victor and Brian really enjoyed it especially Victor as we stopped to catch a big blow snake by the side of the road. After handling it we let it go but did pick up some land turtles on the way and took them all the way to Mexico. The children down there were quite captivated by the turtles so we let them have them. We received a very warm welcome and felt right at home. The next day a big picnic was scheduled on the High School campus in Juarez and a big alumni program in the evening. I was asked to play a violin solo on the program so Rickie and I decided to play a Spanish Dance. The picnic was wonderful not only because of the good food but because we met so many of my former classmates and friends who were all anxious to meet and talk to my beautiful wife. The program was very varied and delightful and we were able to play our number well despite the excitement of the occasion. We were brought up to date on all that my brothers and sisters were doing and had a family meeting and program with my oldest brother Claudius being the director of it. We all had an opportunity to tell about the experiences that we remembered during our growing up years at home, some of which were quite hilarious. Then we had a talent program with singing and Spanish dances. We played "The Millionaires Hoe Down." The kids stomped in time and said they really liked that. Maurice and Nellie sang the neat duet from "Fiddler on the Roof" "Do You Love Me?" We planned to leave on Tuesday in order to get back for my graduation ceremony but as Dad was President of the Mexican Rotary Club he prevailed on us to stay one more day to present a little program to the Club. He said that Brother Mammoth was going to El Paso leaving at 4:00 A.M. Wednesday and would lead us on a short cut so that we could still make the graduation on time. That sounded good so aiming to please we stayed and played a half-hour program that was well received. Dad was so grateful. It seemed that he was always anxious to show off his children.

Well our easy fast trip turned out to be quite a disaster and we didn't make the graduation ceremony so they sent my diploma in the mail. Wednesday morning started out fine with our parents seeing us off at 4:00 A.M. as planned. We had only traveled about ten miles when it started to rain. Soon it was a veritable down pour. We were to cross the alkali flats bordered by some tall mountains, which was the planned short cut to El Paso. When we got there two trucks were stopped at the beginning of the alkali flats call "El Barrial". When Brother Memmott saw this he said that he was afraid to go on as he had been stuck their once before. I talked to the truckers and they said" "No tenga cuidado nosotros les ayudamos." (Don't have care we will help you.) They went on to assure us that they had traveled through many times and that they would help us get to the highway in an hour and a half. That sounded good to us so we shared our lunch with them and started following them across the barrial. Soon the road led into a lake but they kept right on. Finally they slowed down so much that I decided to pass them and go ahead on our own. This worked fine for a while then we slowed down as our wheels were spinning. So I got out the chains and put them on the wheels in a foot of water. Then we really went zooming along coming to an island of dry ground. The road divided here and we decided to take the one that went straight ahead. In a short distance the road led into another Lake and it was impossible to see where the road was. So I got what I thought was a bright idea to take off my shoes and follow the road with Rickie driving the car behind me. This worked great for about one hundred yards when all of a sudden the rear wheels sank into the mud up to the axle off the road. We were stuck. The sun had just gone down behind the looming mountains on our west and it started to rain again. We looked back but the trucks were nowhere in sight. We decided that the only thing I could do was to go find the trucks tell them where we were stuck and to not pass us in the night. I took off with a flashlight and the boys started to cry. Rickie was comforting them with the last of our lunch saying that I would soon be back. I found the trucks about two miles back and they said that they would pull us out in the morning. When I returned to the car I announced the good news that the truckers would pull us out in the morning and then we tried to get some sleep after a prayer for our safety.

The morning dawned bright and clear and we were happy to see a man on a horse coming towards us. We greeted him and asked if he could help us. He said that he worked at a little Ranch that the other road led to on dry ground and that he would get help from the rancher when he returned from seeing his "novia" (ladylove). After two hours of waiting I took a rope we had in the car and caught a stray horse. Then I rode tithe ranch and told the Rancher, Don Sanches, our predicament and asked if he could help. All he could do was to bring another horse and help us get to his ranch until the truckers were able to pull us out. So Rickie mounted the extra horse and I put Victor and Brian on my horse and led it to the ranch. The ranch was one little adobe building with a blanket flap for a door and holes for windows. Along the ceiling a line was strung for drying meat. There were no toilet facilities except the nearest bush outside. There was a tank of water hanging on the wall with community cup attached. The rancher's wife and daughter were busy preparing some food using the same pan for everything. They invited us to eat breakfast with them. We gratefully accepted even though it was just "tortillas y frijoles" (tortillas and beans) Brian wolfed it down but Victor couldn't eat it. Rickie and I did okay and we tried to wipe off the community cup to drink. Don Sanches agreed that I should go check on the truckers so I took them some lunch. I was glad to take a horse, as my feet were cut and sore from walking barefooted back to find the truckers the night before. I found the trucks on the narrow neck of land that we had crossed and one truck was really bogged in a hole. They were busy unloading the truck so they could get it out. They said they appreciated the lunch very much and promised to pull our car out when they got there. When I got back to the ranch I gave Rickie the news that we would soon be rescued. Then I saw a little plane coming in the distance following the road. I got up on top of a wagon, took off my shirt and waved as it passed over. It circled the area and then flew back the way it had come. Later we learned that when we hadn't called that we were in El Paso, mother got so worried that she had Dad call Harold Turley in El Paso to send a plane to look for us in the barrial. Brother Memmott had returned home and told them that we had gone on with the truckers. We heard later that the pilot hadn't seen our car stuck in the mud or me waving. With that news my folks thought that we had reached El Paso okay and went on without calling.

The first night Victor and Brian slept on a blanket on the floor and Rickie and I shared a little cot. The next morning Brian ate well but Victor was having trouble. The family there felt very sorry for us and gave us all the hospitality they could. Again I took some breakfast to the truckers and found that they were still stuck and having problems. The next night it was that time of the month for Rickie so she wasn't feeling very well but did the very best she could. On the third day the truck got free and was ready to move so we got the horses and made it to our car as they came along side. They looked the situation over and said they didn't think they could pull us out. I got really adamant and told them that I brought them food and that they had promised to get us out so they had to at least try. So they attached a rope to the back of the car and I got in our car ready to go full power in reverse on the signal. The plan worked and our car was hauled back onto the road. We gratefully expressed our thanks. "Muchicimas gracias" and since the road was dry went on ahead. Victor got sick and vomited in a little pan we had. We noticed that our speedometer registered fifty miles since we had hit the barrial though we had only covered ten miles. When the road dipped down into a wash we would speed up to get enough speed to get up the other side. We were rejoicing how well we were doing when we came upon a very sandy road. I had to get out and scoop out the road with our little pan for a distance of fifty feet to get up speed to plow ahead. Finally we got through the sand dunes onto a solid dirt road with clear sailing to the highway, we thought. I looked at the gas gauge and it was just about on empty. So we stopped at a little Mexican farmhouse and knocked on the door and said we would pay double for a little gasoline. The farmer said that he was sorry that they didn't have any. One of the little children was crying so I asked what was the matter. The mother said that her little son was very sick with a temperature. I said: "Yo tengo medicina." (I have some medicine) I went out to the car and got some aspirin. She gave it to her sick son and in a few minutes he stopped crying and seemed to be feeling much better. The farmer thanked me profusely and said that he would see if they had a little gasoline left. He came back with five gallons for which I paid him double as promised and after a grateful goodbye we were on our way again. When we got to the highway leading right to the border it was dusk and when I turned on the lights nothing happened. I checked under the hood and luckily found a loose connection that I quickly fixed. Very soon we were at Customs to be inspected. The inspector came and when he saw our car all splattered with mud he asked: "What in the world happened to you?" "We were stuck in the barrial for three days." I answered.

He called another custom officer out to see our car and they said not to unload anything but to go right on. We thanked them very much and drove into El Paso to the Cardon Motel. Brother Cardon was a good friend of mine who had lived in Mexico. In fact I had dated his daughter Verla, a couple of times when I was in High School. "Brother Cardon was surprised but happy to see us and wouldn't accept any money for our room. We called Mom and Dad in Mexico and they were very happy that we were safe but so sorry that we had such an ordeal in the barrial. We then got some delicious warm soup and Victor ate some and felt better. Next we all had a luxurious warm bath and tumbled into bed after a fervent prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father for our safe arrival. The next morning we had a good breakfast and took off for our home in Des Moines singing along the way. We had a good trip and it was wonderful to be home. We called a doctor that we knew very well and he came and examined Victor. He said that he was very dehydrated and seemed to have typhoid fever so wanted to take him right to the hospital. We asked him to let us keep him that night and have the Elders come to help me give him a blessing. He was a member of the Church so he understood our request and agreed. It was early evening when the Elders came and after the blessing Victor went right to sleep for all night. The next morning his fever was gone and he felt so much better that he didn't need to go to the hospital. We were so thankful for that as I had to go to St. Louis to report in on Monday at Cleveland High School. Ralph and Lucy Laycock offered to take care of Rickie and the boys if they needed anything. Before leaving I purchased a list of groceries that Rickie needed for a week.

I arrived in St. Louis Sunday night the last week in August and got a room at the YMCA. Monday morning I reported to Cleveland High School and the Superintendent seemed happy to see me even though my lips were cracked and swollen. I had a very good week teaching and getting acquainted with students and teachers and two obliging janitors who helped me find and organize the available music equipment. After the teaching day I spent all my time looking for a home to buy. Of course I found some nice homes in the city and in the country but the down payment was so high that we wouldn't be able to buy one. I called Rickie and we decided we had better rent a good place. The next week I found a comfortable downstairs apartment on 1045 California street just five blocks from Cleveland High School and two blocks from the elementary school where Victor and Brian would attend. In the meantime Rickie had been packing to move that weekend. I left Friday after school and was so happy that our family could be together that night. The next morning early I rented a big truck and Ralph and Lucy came out to help us load our furniture and belongings. We expressed our gratitude and said farewell. Rickie took Brian with her in the car and I took Victor with me in the truck. We drove to West Bend that day to pick up the furniture that we had stored there and stayed overnight. The next day driving to St. Louis we got so sleepy that we stopped to sleep at a motel for four hours. We arrived at our apartment at 7:00 A.M. and the two obliging janitors helped me unload the truck so that I could get to school on time. At noon I dashed home. Rickie and the boys were having fun finding a place for things. We had lunch and I turned in the truck and hurried back to school. When I got home after school we set up our beds and found that we would have room for all our things, much to our delight. Victor and Brian really like to play on the lawn in our little back yard that had a nice fence around it. The next morning, Tuesday, September 2, 195l Rickie took our boys to school and registered them. Victor went in first grade and Brian in morning kindergarten. That afternoon when I got home they told me the exciting news that school was fun. Our folks were happy to hear that we had arrived safely and had a nice place to live on California Ave. Rickie was invited to visit our boy's teachers and the principal. She got along so well that she invited the principal and his wife for dinner on Saturday. Rickie prepared a delicious roast beef dinner, that we all enjoyed, and the conversation never lagged, as Rickie was such a vivacious hostess. That was the beginning of a precious friendship. I was happy to get right into teaching. This time the teacher that I followed didn't resign because of illness but was promoted to be the supervisor of all the music in St. Louis schools. The superintendent told me that one of the reasons I was hired was because of my success in starting and teaching beginning students in the grade schools so he asked me to start a program in five grade schools. I was happy to do this even though my time would be limited there because I had a good Concert Band to teach to march in parades and a good sized orchestra that the vocal teacher Miss Mann wanted to play for her musical production that year. She was very cooperative so I promised her that I would direct the orchestra for her. The band did very well learning to march and performed beautifully in a long parade through the city in their very neat white and blue uniforms. Our talented strutting drum major followed by six classy baton twirlers led the band past the applauding crowds along the way. My place to march was on the right side by the first rank of the band so I could take care of any emergency. The band was really happy to rehearse one of John Philip Sousa's famous marches "El Capitan" to play on the parade. In this area the bands didn't put on football shows but had a pep band to play at the games.

I still continued to sell Volume Library in my spare time and found the people very receptive in the area around St. Louis. We were delighted with the outdoor theater in the park that we could take our boys to on Friday or Saturday night. The first production we attended was "The Show Boat." And the next day we heard Victor and Brian trying to sing "Old Man River". They really loved going to the Zoo with all the animals in their natural habitat as much as possible. Victor was enchanted with the reptile house and Brian really like the performing monkeys on the stage going through all kinds of gymnastic tricks. Then one of them, little Pancho would come out to the edge of the stage and wave to the audience. In the wintertime there was an ideal hill in the park for sledding. One of the things we were the most grateful for was a beautiful Church with a large Ward of very friendly members. After the first Sunday we were called to direct the music in the services. We made many friends and were especially close to Wayne and Lucy Mack and family. He was an agent for the F.B.I. and we were sorry that he was transferred to Mesa Arizona. Brother Oscarson was the District President and lived in a big home with his charming wife and talented children. His boys and ours were dressed as shepherds for the Christmas pageant in the Ward at Christmas time. He told us how he started out as a shoe salesman and through diligence worked up to be the president of the shoe company. His son, Don Oscarson later wrote the script and produced the Nauvoo Pageant. "Nauvoo Beautiful". Vera Oscarson gave Rickie a beautiful maroon velvet dress to wear for concerts and dress up occasions.

Cleveland had the tradition of having the whole student body meet to select a queen for the Homecoming. Each candidate was to walk down the aisle to the stage to the music that she selected, to be played by the orchestra. So I had to meet with the candidates and approve the music they selected then rehearse it with the orchestra so they could play it well at the glamorous ceremony. The musical that Miss Mann presented in the spring of the year was "The Babes in Toyland". She asked for our boys to be two of the pages in a royal scene so they had to be dressed in fancy frilly costumes. They had a lot fun doing it and seeing themselves in those costumes in the movies we took. The trouble with the movies then was the lack of sound that we now have with the video cameras. I enjoyed directing the orchestra for the musical and Miss Mann said that the orchestra was the best they had ever had. They were happy to receive this compliment. Soon after I arrived at St. Louis I auditioned for the Symphony there and was accepted in the first violin section. Of course Rickie and both boys enjoyed attending the concerts.

In the spring of the year Mr. John Denning came to see me. He said that he was the District Manager for Compton Pictured Encyclopedia and had heard of my success with Volume Library so wanted to offer me a position as a Manager for Compton. He explained the plan that I would hire and teach salesmen besides selling and that I would make twice as much money as my teacher's salary. It sounded very good to me, as our financial situation was not very good. Rickie and the boys were in West Bend visiting the folks for a couple of weeks so I called her and explained the plan to her and she said that it was up to me and that she would support me if that was what I wanted to do. So I signed the contract to begin at the end of the school year and began to study the sales material to get ready for the change. When I tendered my resignation the superintendent he said that they were very sorry to see me go, as they were very pleased with the work I had done. I told him about this opportunity and he thought it was good so wished me well. The area that I was given was Springfield, Illinois. The members of the Swing Band were especially sorry to see me go as I had organized them to play for school dances and they were very good. All our friends promised to keep in touch and we did hear from them for a few years. So we rented a nice little home on Passfield Avenue on the edge of Springfield in June 1952 with high hopes for a great future.

One of the first things we did was to look up the Church. It was small, attractive and adequate for the small Branch there. The members welcomed us enthusiastically and we were called to take over the music. Rickie played the piano and I directed the singing. Victor and Brian were happy to have a really fine Primary teacher. Rickie and the boys had been spending quite a bit of time with her mother because while we were still in Reinbeck. Her father, Henry, had a stroke and passed away February 15th, 1948. They belonged to the Christian Apostolic Church and they don't have a Relief Society but the women got together to clean her house and help out in every way. Rickie's mother, Bertha was really quite in shock with the loss of her husband because he had always seemed so well and she was the one that was doctoring for heart trouble for years. She was surprised and pleased to receive a letter of condolence from an old school friend, Herman Nuest. She sent him a letter thanking him, which continued the correspondence until he came from Arizona to see her in West Bend. He was about her same age and seemed quit dashing and handsome to her. Feeling lonely, she accepted his proposal of marriage and they were married the next year. It seemed that he was really interested in her home and wanted her to sell it, give him the money and move to Phoenix, Arizona. She didn't want to sell her home so after awhile he went back to Arizona alone. They kept up a correspondence and finally about the same time we moved to Springfield she got so lonesome that she joined him in Phoenix. We talked about it and Rickie thought that now she would be well taken care of.

To start my new work with Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia I decided to concentrate on selling by myself before hiring and training representatives. I found the people in the area very interested in their children and receptive to the great help that Compton's would give them so was even more successful than with Volume Library. Considering this I went out and hired ten people for a training class to be representatives. After a week they all seemed ready and enthusiastic to get started. I told them that I would visit each one to see how they were doing and help as needed. The first one I visited hadn't made a sale and was discouraged and wanted to quit. We went out together and I made the presentation and sold a set on the first trial. "Now I see how it's done so I'll give it another try." He said. He went on and was successful. This happened to all of the ten except one who was successful from the beginning. Mr. Denning came to Springfield to see how I was doing and was very pleased to see that ten people I had hired and trained were working successfully. As a result he gave me a bonus.

When we were settled in Springfield Rickie went to a good doctor for a check up. After his examination he told her that she endometriosis so probably wouldn't become pregnant and if she did she wouldn't be able to carry the child to term. This was very disheartening news because she wanted another baby, maybe a daughter. We were both elated when she became pregnant in March, 1953 and very happy when she didn't have the morning sickness that she had suffered with before. Victor and Brian were doing well in school and the money was rolling in as promised. The boys helped me plant a garden and liked playing in the dirt. We were enjoying life. Then in August Rickie started feeling sick and had to go to bed for awhile. I stayed home to take care of her and the boys until she felt better and was able to move around. Then I hired one of our church members, a German girl by the name of Johanna Meisner, to come and help Rickie during the day so I could go on with my business. The next month Rickie received word from her mother that she was ill and needed someone to come and bring her back from Arizona. Not one of the rest of the family volunteered to go so Rickie gathered up her strength and took the train to Phoenix. It was a very difficult trip for her but she brought her Mother with her to Springfield so she could get her health back When they returned Rickie was sick too so they were both in bed and Johanna had to do double duty. Rickie told me about the shocking conditions that she found when she arrived in Arizona. Herman was neglecting her completely by not getting enough food in the house. He would go out to eat in some restaurant and leave Rickie's mother to fend for herself. She was living mostly on oatmeal and sour milk, as they had no icebox or refrigerator. I called the doctor and after his examinations he put Rickie in the hospital because she was so dangerously dehydrated. After a week she was released from the hospital and felt better. With Johana's help at home I was able continue my sales work. A curious thing happened that changed our life again for when I had sold a set of Compton's to a family and they had someone in the family that played an instrument I would go ahead and give them a free lesson. Though I enjoyed selling I found that I enjoyed teaching more so decided to go back into teaching. I talked to Rickie about it she was very much in favor of it. So I proceeded to tell Mr. Denning about my decision. He said that he was very sorry to lose me but wanted me to be happy doing the thing I liked most. So I started looking for a good teaching position through College Placement, newspaper advertisements and referrals from friends. I found quite a few openings and finally settled on two to choose from. One at East High School in Salt Lake City referred to me by my cousin Lorraine Bowman who was teaching vocal music there and a Grade School position in Dixon, Illinois. Mother Sauder regained her strength and was able to return to her home in West Bend with the promise from her son George that he would take care of her. Then a most wonderful thing happened at a Conference in our little Church. Brother Antone R Ivins, who had roots in the Colonies in Mexico, was the visiting General Authority and he went to the Bishop and said: "I have a blessing for that young lady if she would like to receive it." The Bishop told this to Rickie and she was thrilled to tell him she would like to have the blessing. In the blessing Elder Ivins told her that she would not be sick any more and that she would have the child of her choice. We could hardly believe our ears but knew that the blessing would be carried out. Then Elder Ivins wanted to know something about our plans since he knew my father. We told him that I had a Master's Degree in Music and had been teaching before taking up the sales work that I was now doing but had made the decision to go back to teaching. He asked where I would teach and I told them that I had a good job offer at East High in Salt Lake City and an offer for a Grade School position in Dixon, Illinois. He thought a moment and then told us that he thought Illinois position would be best as we were needed in the Mission Field and that he would like to hear from us. We thanked him very much and said that we would take his advice and write to him when we were settled and our baby was born. When we got home I read my Patriarchal Blessing that said I would be instrumental in building up the Center Stake of Zion so knew that we had made the right choice. The next day I called the superintendent in Dixon and accepted the position to start the last week of August 1953.

 

Section 8--The Music Teaching Years in Dixon, Illinois.

According to the blessing Rickie was not sick anymore and we moved to Dixon in a Downstairs apartment in a beautiful home on the corner of Galena and Third Street. It was three blocks to South Central School where I would have my band rehearsals and two blocks to down town in the other direction. The apartment had three bedrooms, two fireplaces, a kitchen, dining room, living room and music room and a big window facing the street that was shaded by large beautiful trees. As we drove into town on Galena Avenue the trees met over the avenue like a lover's lane. Superintendent Lancaster and his wife were very kind to us and helped us move in so we felt quite at home in Dixon immediately. At the time we had no idea that I would teach there for thirty years. They gave me six years credit on the salary schedule for my years in the Navy so I didn't have to continue my sales work. Also the salary was a thousand dollars more a year than I was offered in Salt Lake City. Grandma Eaton, her daughter and her granddaughter Judy, lived upstairs and we got along beautifully.

The teacher that had this position before me was Theldon Meyers, who was a very fine saxophone player and did some composing. He said that he didn't like working with large groups so resigned to take a job at Miller Music Store and start a Jazz Band to play in the area. There were thirty-five members in the Concert Band so I took the challenge to build up the program. From the small Junior Band I was able to increase the band to fifty members in time to take them to Band Contest in March. I started the program of having all the band members play a solo at contest and participate in an ensemble if possible. This first year the Concert Band played quite well and got a number two rating. Everyone was happy as they hadn't been to contest before but said next year they would work for a first rating. The soloists and ensembles that received a first rating were eligible to go to the State Contest in April. All participants received medals designating their rating so we had a lot of decorated uniforms for our first Spring Concert in May at the High School Auditorium.

We registered the boys at South Central School just three blocks from home. Victor started third grade and Brian second grade. Then I took Rickie to Dr. Charles LeSage for an examination. He said that she was doing fine and that he would do a new half moon operation instead of down the middle, as it was much less invasive and set a time for the last of November. Next we looked for our Church and found the nearest one in Rockford fifty miles away. On Sunday we went and found about 25 members meeting in the YMCA. After two weeks meetings were moved to a nice conference room in the Faust Hotel. In October we received word that a Branch of the Church had been organized in Freeport with meetings in the YWCA. Since Freeport was only twenty-six miles we attended meetings there. Victor and Brian were happy because they had their own class studying "What it means to be Latter-day Saint". Their teacher was Pat Patton who had been a prisoner in Japan and went through the Bataan March on which he went from 176 pounds to 100 pounds. He and his wife Thelma had large food storage, as he said he never wanted to be that hungry again. We became very good friends and got our families together for good food and good times.

On November30, 1953 our blessed event took place for Dr.LeSage, true to his promise, took care of Rickie and brought forth her beautiful, healthy, perfect little girl. She weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was 21 inches long. We named her Linda for "beautiful" and Jane for "gift of God". We wrote to Elder Ivins, who gave her the blessing, and told him that we had the beautiful little girl of our choice and that we named her Linda Jane that means "beautiful gift of God". He was happy to share our joy. Rickie got along really well and was released from the hospital in five days. Our parents were all overjoyed with the wonderful news. Victor and Brian were really happy to have a little sister and went with me to the hospital to bring their mother and little sister home. That was really a thrilling time for me. Rickie was so happy to be home and very pleased that we had everything all ready for her and sweet little Linda Jane. Robert (Bob) L'Heureux was the high school band director and he and his charming wife Norma, came over to see the baby and offered to help in any way they could. We had become friends as soon as we arrived in Dixon. Another couple, Bill and Jeannie Thompson, had welcomed us to Dixon as representatives of the Welcome Wagon so now as special friends were happy to welcome our beautiful little daughter, Linda Jane. We received so many congratulations that we really felt like we had a hometown. We bought a really nice baby buggy before Christmas to take Linda Jane riding around town to see all the decorations and take Victor and Brian to Santa's hut. They told Santa what they wanted for Christmas, and of course we listened. They received some candy and a popcorn ball from Santa. We decorated a real tree and had a wonderful Christmas singing carols, sharing presents and enjoying the Holidays. With the coming of the New Year I auditioned for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and was accepted in the first violin section. Rehearsals were once a week during the school year with an extra rehearsal just before each of the four concerts during the Concert Season. Our conductor was Arthur Zach who presented the standard symphony music literature. At the time I had no idea that I would be playing in that Symphony for thirty years under three different conductors.

The four grade schools I taught were North Central, South Central, Lincoln and Jefferson. Later a new school was built and it was called Washington School instead of North Central. The principals and teachers were very cooperative in letting me make out a schedule to teach all of the music students in classes of like instruments once a week. Miss Barton, the principal of Lincoln school was also on the Park Board and when she heard of my tennis playing skill asked me to take over the summer tennis teaching program as their teacher was retiring on account of illness. This I was very happy to do and enjoyed it for two summers. Emma Hubbs had two children in the program and was a very enthusiastic parent as she was an accomplished tennis player. At the end of the second summer in 1955 I decided to start a summer band program so recommended to Miss Barton that Emma Hubbs be given the tennis job. Emma was so happy to get the job that she told me she would always be grateful to me for recommending her. She taught very successfully for many years and the beautiful tennis courts at the High School were named "The Emma Hubbs Tennis Courts".

In the last month before school was out in 1956 I tried out all the students in fourth and fifth grades in all the schools to learn to play an instrument in the summer. The system I used was to have one class at a time come to the band room to listen as I demonstrated each instrument so they could get an idea of which one they would like to play. Then I would try each student on the instrument of his or her choice first to see if they were physically suited to that instrument especially mouth and teeth formation and body size. They were usually happy with the instrument that I suggested they could be play most successfully. I would then send a letter home with them to their parents indicating the instrument recommend and inviting them to a meeting at the South Central School Auditorium to hear information about renting an instrument from the music store or one from the school if available. Also the small fee for summer lessons that would be held and South Central School for six weeks. In the fall they would then be in the Junior Band that would play in the Spring Concert in May. During the year those students who were most diligent and became proficient enough would be promoted into the Intermediate Band which I had organized in my second year. Victor had taken up the trumpet and was in the Intermediate Band. Brian started on the clarinet but then switched to the baritone horn and was in the Junior Band.

The State Music Contest Association published a list of solos for all instruments according to difficulty I, II and III, to be played at contest in March. I went to the large music store in Chicago, Lyon and Healy, and purchased solos in all three categories for my students to learn. We would select a solo that they liked in the level that they could learn to play with my instruction. Then they would memorize it and practice with a piano accompanist of their choice. If they didn't have a friend or relative to accompany them I would arrange for them to practice with one of our volunteers. Rickie accompanied many of them so in the spring our home would be full of students rehearsing in the evenings. I would listen and write down suggestions for them to work on to improve their performance to do their best. In the spring of 1955 I had only a few who could play a solo in the number I classification. However, the Band was so much improved that they received a First rating at District Contest and a number II at State which was considered very good. The Dixon Telegraph published an account of the Bands performance and listed all the soloists and their ratings according to the article I prepared for them. Mrs. Estella Johnson was our most faithful and proficient accompanist and would spend all day on Saturdays a few weeks before contest playing accompaniments with me writing down suggestions for each student to work on. The Summer Band Program was very successful the first year in 1956 as I started eighty beginners with thirty-five string players to form and orchestra. In three more years I went to Superintendent Lancaster with the request that since we now had so many students in the program I couldn't possibly teach them all so would like to have an assistant Band Director. He was pleased and hired a very fine musician, Jerry Rehberg, to help out. He fit right into the program and we got along very well. His wife Ginny and Rickie also had a good relationship. We organized a Band Parents Association to support the band and to help in fund raising to buy new uniforms. Cledon's Candy Shop offered to let our band students sells boxes of chocolates with a good margin of profit for the band. So we took on that project offering prizes for the top sales people. The next year we sold World's Finest Chocolate bars at a better profit and soon were able to buy 98 beautiful new uniforms each one made to fit a student. At contest Rickie not only accompanied students but carried a little black suitcase containing everything she needed to take care of student emergencies and to make sure they looked their best, whether it was shoes shined or hair trimmed etc. Students really loved her. L'Heureux's offered to take care of little Linda Jane but Victor and Brian went along. The highlight of the summer of 1956 was the visit of my youngest brother Maurice Dwight, who was very talented in music. He attended and helped me in all my Summer Band classes and learned to teach all the instruments. He also learned to tune pianos from my correspondence course in piano tuning. When he went home he was given the position of High School Music Director which he enjoyed and carried out very successfully. After we got our new uniforms I sent him all of our old ones for his band. Now I'm going to include a letter that Rickie wrote from Dixon on May 6, 1958 about school activities.

Dearest Mother, Dad and all the family,

There is so much that I would like to say to each and every one of you that I hardly know where to begin but I'm going to start anyway. HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!

Thanks so much for your wonderful letter that came today, Mother. We're always so happy to hear from you and wish that we would be more diligent is our writing. We also appreciate the swell letters we've received from Salt Lake, Downey, Peru and Dublan and are thrilled to pieces with the new arrivals. CONGRATULATIONS to Nellie and Maurice and Keith and Naoma.

It's been about five weeks since you called us from Salt Lake City. It was the best treat we've had for a long time so we hated to say good bye. Since then things have been happening rather fast so I'll try to go back a few weeks and give you a synopsis of our comings and goings.

Naturally, after winning so many blue ribbons at District Music Contest we had to put our shoulder to the wheel and keep right on working for State Contest so every night that we didn't have an obligation elsewhere we had rehearsals here at the house. I had the ones that I was accompanying from four to seven and Bob had other groups from seven to nine-thirty or ten. Many times we went without supper until they were all gone. With 41 soloists and 14 ensembles going to State Contest he had to utilize every minute and held band rehearsals during vacation as well. The Wednesday after you called he was going down the stairs with a big box of music and the strobotuner in his arms when he missed a step and sprained his ankle terribly. The ligaments were all torn away from the bone but we were thankful that it wasn't broken. He went right on holding Spanish Class and rehearsals that night and all weekend until Tuesday (April 15th). I managed to keep him down long enough to soak it in hot and cold baths so that the swelling went down enough for the doctor to tape it. He played a concert or I should say directed that night at South Central School PTA stocking footed. Hi! Victor and Brian both played their solos for that concert and all the other first place winners from that school played too.

The following Saturday Bob squeezed into a shoe and that night Brother and Sister Farthing came from Chadwick and took us along to the antique and hobby show which was very interesting. Sunday we went to Church as usual and Sunday evening we held the officers and teachers meeting here. We are happy to have a new family in our Branch. Brother and Sister Booth have transferred from the Clinton Branch and Brother Booth is going to be our new branch clerk.

Tuesday, April 22nd, we went to music club at the Beinfang home in Rochelle and John Nelson from Rockford was special guest. He is a very fine singer who goes on tours etc. and he sang for us. It was so inspiring that Bob decided to see if he could take a few vocal lessons from him in Rockford. He runs a Music store there. I don't think I told you that Bob was elected president of the music club for the third consecutive year which is a real honor in that organization.

Speaking of honors, we've come to the week of state Music contest and if you read the paper you would know we had a wonderful day. It started at six o'clock in the morning (April 26th) when we and all 89 Concert Band members loaded in three big busses and rode to Streater, Ill. Our Band was scheduled to play at ten o'clock so we went right to the homeroom and unpacked and had some time to catch our breath before going to the warm up room. We played right on schedule and everything went off without a hitch. They were terrific to the least! From what they wrote on their comment sheets the judges thought so too. It was a thrilling Victory for Bob and the students--and for me too.

We listened to other bands for the rest of the morning and then we went to another building where our soloists and ensemble began performing right after lunch. Of course we didn't take time to eat as Bob stays right in our homeroom and sees to it that each soloist and ensemble is warmed up and that their instruments are working properly and that they have the music in order to give the judges. The students aren't allowed to wear their band uniforms for this competition so that the judges won't be prejudiced if they knew the school. They are given a number for identification and perform in various contest rooms according to the type instrument they play. The Band instructors are not allowed in the contest rooms but I was busy as a beaver all afternoon accompanying and listening to as many others as time permitted. There were 589 soloists and 155 ensembles in all representing 221 schools and Dixon came away with more blue ribbons than any other school so naturally we were overjoyed. Victor and Brian got a 1st in everything except the Trumpet Trio that Victor played in missing it by only one point. We felt that was very good considering that they played "Three Trumpeters" that is college caliber and by far the most difficult trio played at the contest. Out of our 14 ensembles, 12 received a 1st rating and 35 of the 41 soloists won a 1st. We didn't get any 3rd place ratings. So much for the contest. I've gone into more detail than usual but sometimes it is sort of hard to imagine what contest involves so thought I'd give you a little of the inside picture. I'm sure there isn't a band director in the State or anywhere for that matter, that works harder, longer or more prayerfully than Bob does so he deserves the richest rewards.

It was 8 o'clock when the buses got back from Streater that night. We were happy, tired and hungry so we picked Linda Jane up at L'Heureux's (she stayed at their home Friday night and Saturday) and went to a restaurant to eat. When we got home we had to start planning for our Branch conference that was Sunday the 27th. I had to furnish enough salad, cake and beans to serve thirty people and Bob had to give a talk so we didn't have time to relax. We had a nice Conference for a little Branch. President Stratford couldn't be with us but most of the District Officers were there and President Haglund gave a wonderful talk. Starting this Sunday we're going to have our Relief Society lessons and meetings during Priesthood time on Sunday in the hopes that we will have a better attendance than on a week day evening. Practically all of our members except Sister Mendoza and myself work outside the home and they just can't find the time, or the will, to attend. I'm anxious to see if this will help solve some of the problems.

Last Thursday night our family put on a Mexican Program for the Baptist Mother and Daughter Banquet and a good time was had by all. Hi! Linda Jane modeled the little painted skirt and blouse with the little crate on her back. Victor and Brian sang "La Burrita" and helped with the demonstrations and Bob and I talked, and danced the Jarabe Tapatio (The Mexican National Hat Dance) in spite of his sore ankle, which is still pretty tender. The music we used was a recording by a Mexican Mariachi Band.

Monday night Bob went to City Band rehearsal and I had to be one of the hostesses for the Women's Club board meeting. Tuesday I had to go to Peoria to a funeral and that is why this letter has been in the typewriter for four days. I took a lady to Sterling the next morning and Wednesday afternoon our children all took their dancing lessons. They are going to be in a dance recital May 19th so we have to get their costumes etc. Victor and Brian have only had 7 lessons but are taking to it quite naturally so are doing a real cute routine with the intermediate class. Linda Jane is in the ballet group. Mama and Daddy are in the audience. Ha!

Herby and Sara Nichols and Brian played their contest solos for the luncheon of the Illinois Nursing Homes Association held here in the Nachusa Hotel. Mrs. Nichols and I accompanied them. We were all invited to the luncheon so it was a nice experience for the children. Bob was on the program for the convention dinner in the evening as the Dixon Serenader for which he wore his Mexican Charro suit and sang and played requests for 45 minutes. Then he hurried home so we could drive to Rock Island for a Church Conference. President Young was there and gave a wonderful gospel message

Tonight we went o the High School band concert. They played a delightful program of difficult music such as the Finale from Dvorak's New World Symphony. Bob taped the program and was especially thrilled because many of the students in that organization this year are the very first ones he started in music when we came to Dixon almost five years ago. How time flies. It won't be long until our boys are up there.

Besides their dance recital and band activities, Victor and Brian are playing in three piano recitals on June 6th, 11th and 12th. They are playing in two different two piano quartets, one 2 piano duet, two single piano duets and several solos each so our pianos have little time to cool off. They have also been asked to play their horn solos and ensembles for the different recitals so the practicing goes on and on. Our big Spring Concert is next Friday night and Bob's three organizations will perform. We wish you could all come and be in the audience. Victor and Brian also play in the Orchestra and a few months ago Brian came home tooting a big sousaphone so he is also playing that in the Junior Band which has 169 members this year.

We aren't planning any long vacations this year but hope to take in a few sights around here and in Chicago. Miss Worley has given Victor a piano solo (Rondo in B flat by Beethoven) to play in the Chicago land Music Festival August 23rd, which is on the order of a contest and a very outstanding opportunity as only a very few students from each area are chosen to participate. He is working hard and has the first page memorized already.

Going over this letter it sounds like we don't do anything that doesn't pertain to music but we do have fun in other ways too. Brian is a sports enthusiast so he stays after school for track, which is the current sport. He came out first in the wrestling matches at his school this spring. Victor prefers to spend the time fussing with his pets or going fishing or hunting for turtles. Then there is always basketball, croquet, badminton or horseshoes in the back yard. The marble tournaments are on and Victor is winnings so far. His dad coached him. Hi! Something else the boys are looking forward to is the music camp this summer at the University of Illinois. They and two other boys from Dixon, Chris Lazaris and Herby Nichols, will leave June 15th. It is a two-week session of study under the finest college professors. They will live in the dorm and be supervised in all their activities so it should be a fine experience for them.

I received a call from my sister, Lydia, in Edelstein tonight telling me that Mother Sauder is quite ill so we will be making a couple of trips over there this weekend. She wishes to see the boys so I will take them over tomorrow for a few hours while Bob is teaching. Sunday we have our Mother's Day program and the boys have a piano rehearsal in the P.M. so Bob and I and Linda Jane will probably drive over to Edelstein after Church to spend the rest of the day with Mother. She has been with us here in Dixon since last summer and just went to Lydia's home for a visit over Easter. She is 81 and very weak so I am very concerned. This is a long letter but I hope I haven't bored you with all the details of our activities because we love you and enjoy hearing from you so much. Bye, bye now! Rickie, Bob and Family.

On April 24,1955 a Sunday School was organized in Sterling under the direction of District President Custer to meet in the basement of Brother Wallace Taualii's home. Then on November 6, 1955 the Sunday School was organized into the Sterling Branch. Officers were sustained and set a part as follows: Branch President, Wallace Taualii; First Councilor and Sunday School Superintendent, Bardell Bowman; Second Councilor and Branch clerk, Alio Fonoimona; Primary President and organist, Fredericka Bowman; Relief Society President, Lemoa Taualii. The first converts to the Church in this area were the Glenn Padgett family. Sister Emma Padgett frequently was a baby sitter for our children and usually brought a magazine to read. One night Brian handed her a Book of Mormon and asked her if she would like to read something really worthwhile. She took it home and read it and wanted to be baptized. The Missionaries called on the family at their request and after a few months all were baptized: Glenn and Emma. The parents and the children were Emil, Fred, Keith and twin sister Karen. Keith and Karen were born on February 29th, Leap Year. Within a year the membership went up to 42 so meetings were moved to the YMCA

The Concert Band members to wanted to do something special to celebrate their success in contest so we planned a picnic at White Pines Park with a two hour skating party at the White Pines Roller Rink near there after the picnic. We reserved the whole rink for the two hours. Everyone had so much fun that we decided to make it an annual affair.

In 1956 we had long Spring Vacation so decided to make a trip out West to see Yellowstone Park and friends and family along the way. We were all excited to see bears along the road in Yellow Stone Park with some of them coming up to the window begging for food. We saw a mama bear, a papa bear and a baby bear together. Little Linda Jane clapped her hands in glee because she knew the story of the three bears. Victor and Brian liked the bears too but were more interested in the Dragon's mouth that was a gaping hole in the side of a cliff that spewed out water and steam. We all enjoyed watching Old Faithful erupt into the sky. On the way from Yellow Stone to Salt Lake City we stopped at Downy, Idaho to visit my sister Kathleen, her husband Dale and family. A highlight for our children was to take turns riding Dale's horse that he saddled up for them. In the evening we had a musical program with their children and ours playing the piano and singing. The next day we drove to Roy, near Salt Lake City to visit our friends George Reimchissel, his wife Eileen and their family. They had a really nice play yard so the children were busy swinging, sliding and teeter tottering. George had become a dentist after getting out the service and was doing very well as they had a beautiful brick home and were driving a Cadillac. George offered to take care of Rickie's teeth by taking out the removable partials and putting in a permanent bridge that would be trouble free which we really appreciated. Rickie was so charming and vivacious that she and Eileen became friends immediately. Then we went on to Salt Lake City to visit my sister Dorothy, her Husband, Hugh and their family. They had been living in Peru, so we heard their exciting story. We had a wonderful time seeing Temple Square and all the interesting sights like the "This Is the Place" monument. A high light was going to Carnival by the Salt Lake with Ferris Wheels and Merry-go-rounds etc. We went swimming in the Salt Lake and the water was so salty that I could lay on my back with my hands and feet in the air. How about that? We were sorry we couldn't stay longer but had to get back home for school. We had a good trip and talked about the wonderful vacation we enjoyed, and then went back to school with renewed energy.

The next vacation we enjoyed was to Mexico City to visit Mother and Dad Bowman in the Mission Home located in Las Lomas de Chapultepec. We loaded our carrier on the green Oldsmobile and took off after Summer Band on August 1, 1957. Victor and Brian took along their colorful cowboy chaps that Rickie had made for them as special Christmas present and Linda Jane took along her favorite doll to show their grandparents. We had no trouble at customs crossing the border at Laredo, Texas. Brian got a car sick at one point and Victor wasn't too sympathetic until he also got a little sick going around the curves in the mountains. They still enjoyed the trip with so much to see along the way. They wanted to stop to see why a flock of buzzards were flying in a circle over a spot on the mountainside. We stopped and took a picture of a big flock of buzzards eating a dead cow. We explained that the buzzards not only got the food they needed but cleaned up the area. Soon we heard the boys exclaim: "I see the City! I see the City!" It was an awesome sight. The Mission Home was a beautiful building with a tile roof and in a park setting. Mother and Dad and the Missionaries working there greeted us very warmly. They helped us unload our carrier and all our stuff. We then had a great visit to catch up on all that had been going on. Dad felt the people needed education so he established schools in all the churches and a college in Mexico City to train teachers and give all the young people an opportunity to work while going to College. He also had a Mission Training Center to send these young people into the Mission. When they finished their Mission they were prepared to take leadership positions in the Church. Mother and Dad had prepared a list of interesting things for us to see and do as follows:

1.     See the Zocalo, which was the down town square, with interesting shops all around and the large ornate cathedral at one end.

2.     See and climb the pyramid of the sun and the pyramid of the moon and see the Aztec dancers perform there.

3.     Go to the large, marvelous zoo and let the children ride the horses available there.

4.     Go to see the Mexican Folklorico at El Palacio de Bellas Artes that had a glass curtain depicting the two volcanoes, Popocateple and Ixtacuihuatl, lighting up for sunrise and sunset. The professional dancers performed all the famous dances of Mexico in resplendent costumes.

5.     Go to see the glamorous bullfighters (matadores) in the Mexico City Arena.

6.     Go to the beautiful floating gardens at Zochimilco.

7.     Go to the fabulous shop where they hand tooled leather goods.

8.     Go with them to a Church Conference in Puebla where I had started a Mutual Improvement Association in 1936 on my Mission

9.     Believe it or not we had a wonderful time doing all of all of these things and added one more thing which was to go to El Mercado (the market) and buy a lot of treasures, especially Mexican dresses. Dad took us to the fine leather shop where he got us big discount on a complete set of hand tooled ornate leather luggage. On the way to the Conference Dad told us about the very remarkable story the conversion of a whole village to the Church. Dad said that a good looking black man came to see him at the Mission Home with the information that he and all the village had heard and studied the Gospel and wanted to be baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Dad was very surprised and thrilled with this great request but told him that they wouldn't be able to receive the Priesthood. His reply was that none of the other churches even had the Priesthood to give. So the work was done and a very enthusiastic Branch of the Church was organized there. Of course now, because of revelation received, all men who are worthy, are entitled to receive the Priesthood so that Branch, which has since become a Ward, attached to a Stake, is staffed by the members.

The Conference was very inspiring with both Mother and Dad giving wonderful talks. At noon the members served a very elaborate, delicious potluck dinner and Rickie had an opportunity to eat some of the "mole de guajolote" (chile gravy with turkey) that I had talked about. A very good-looking mother came up to me and introduced herself as Lisa Alvares. I called Rickie over to introduce her and tell her that in 1936 I had stayed overnight in her home when she was a little girl. Her Mother was a member of the Church but her Father, who was a professor at the college there, was still investigating the Church. I remember asking her Mother why she didn't ask Lisa to help with the dishes and the housework. Her response was that when Lisa got married her turn would come to do all that work. They insisted that Mother and Dad take some left over chicken and turkey home to eat "otro dia" (another day). Of course I was delighted that they accepted as I really enjoyed the food. On the way home Dad asked us to give a little concert in the Mission Home the next evening for the Missionaries and some invited guests like we had done in Mexico for the Rotary Club. In those days I always carried my violin with some music and me so we were happy to play for them. After our little concert every one was served a desert but I requested some of the chicken they brought back from the Conference. The next morning I was I was very sick with a high fever. Dad called the doctor and he said that I had food poisoning from the chicken that had been left on the counter and it was very serious and wrote out a prescription to be given as soon as possible. Rickie drove down town with two Elders as guides and interpreters to the drug store. In the meantime Dad and two Elders gave me a blessing that I would be restored to health. The Elders were amazed at how well Rickie drove in that heavy Mexico City traffic to bring back the medicine. She said that she was so worried about me that she didn't worry about the traffic. She made sure that I took the medicine faithfully and in two days I was well again so we could pack up for the drive home. With all the things we had purchased, including the beautiful leather luggage, we filled up the whole back of the car level with the top of the front seats. We made a bed on top of all that so that Victor and Brian could slide into that space and ride comfortably lying down. Linda Jane could sit with us in the front seat. When we finished loading our carrier the canvas cover that we had put in the garage was no where to be found. We asked Dad about it and he said: "I didn't know that belonged to you so I let one of our members take it home. I'll ask him to bring it back right away." They asked us to stay one more night and leave early the next morning so we did. We had a good trip home and were happy to have had this great opportunity to see Mother and Dad in the Mission Field. The members called Mother "La Angelita" (The Little Angel) and they respected and loved Dad very much and the children gathered around him to hear stories after meetings.

Rickie's letter told all about teaching and contest so now here is some of our winter fun. The first thing was Linda Jane's birthday party on the 30th of November. All her little friends were around the dining room table with presents at one end and a big beautiful cake in the middle of the table with a gorgeous doll peeping out of it. Rickie led them in a lot of fun games before opening the presents and cutting the cake to be served with fruit punch. Two favorite games were "Ring around the roses" and "London bridges falling down" with Rickie playing the piano in the living room. Of course we took movies of the party. In December was fun in the snow sliding down the hill by the side of our home on sleds. The boys had skating snowshoes that they wore to scoot down the hill. Also they all enjoyed throwing snowballs. In the Park by the High school there was a frozen pond that they loved to skate on. Linda Jane had skates with double runners so she could stand up and skate just fine. She really enjoyed going to Santa's hut this year and giggled when she sat on his lap and told him what she wanted for Christmas. Victor and Brian really took care of her to make sure she had a good time. They helped her play with her Christmas toys.

During the Holidays Bob and Norma L'Heureux and their little girls, Sally and Peggy came over for a fun evening. Norma played the piano for Bob's trombone solos and the little girls had fun crawling under the grand piano and watching Bob pull faces and clown around while playing the trombone. Rickie and I took a turn at playing some Christmas music while everyone sang. The children especially liked "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer". We told them about our trip to Mexico and they asked to see some of the movies we took. We showed them the bullfight where a matador was so daring that he was gored and tossed by the bull. He was carried out of the ring and rushed to the hospital while the crowd cheered. We found out later that he did not survive his injuries. Bob and Norma especially liked our movies of Xochimilco (the floating gardens) where we rode in beautifully decorated chalupas (flat bottom boats) that were pushed along by a captain with a pole. Venders would come along side in little boats offering all kinds of food and one boat had a Mariachi Orchestra that played for us. I asked the violinist to let me join them playing his violin and he handed it to me very graciously. Rickie took pictures as we played "El

Jarabe Tapatio". Of course the children liked the pictures of the zoo the best.

 

Section 9--Dad and Mother's Accident in Mexico while We Were Teaching in Dixon.

Soon after Rickie wrote the letter on May 6, 1958, that was included here, we received the sad news that Mother and Dad had a tragic accident on the highway from Puebla to Mexico City after a conference. Dad died instantly and Mother was severely injured. We immediately made plans to go to Dublan, Mexico for the funeral. Our good friend Bud Nichols came right over and offered his new Chrysler for us to drive to Mexico. We thanked him profusely, as it was a wonderful act of love and kindness but there wasn't time to drive so we would have to fly. Superintendent Lancaster arranged for us to be gone for a week and the High School Band members contributed $70.00 for our trip. Sarah and Bud Nichols offered to keep Victor and Brian while we were gone. Their son, Herby, was our boys best friend. Grandma Eaton, living upstairs, took care of Linda Jane. We arrived safely in Mexico and were met by our loving, grieving family. My brother Claudius wrote a letter to the family telling details about the accident so I will copy part of that letter here.

Dear Family,

A sincere message of love and good will and good wishes from the Bowman Family in Mexico, with a prayer that you may enjoy every good thing that life has to offer.

Bob's and my former Mission President, Harold Pratt, flew here that Monday morning, May 19th in his plane to tell us of tragic accident our parents had suffered the night before. Don, Wesley and I drove to Chihuahua to be sure to catch the afternoon flight to Mexico City. Arriving at the Mission Home, we found that Mother was in a hospital in Puebla very seriously injured, as were Elder Bevan Haycock, (Dad's first counselor) and the two Lady Missionaries who had accompanied them. Dad's body was on the way to the mortuary in Mexico City. We all felt that Mother needed us, so after discussing plans with the Missionaries, and Brothers Farnsworth and Griffin, who were taking care of most of the arrangements, and after a much appreciated telephone visit with Uncle Harold, (who was the president of the Spanish American Mission in El Paso, Texas) we borrowed Brother Farnsworth's car and went to Puebla arriving at about 2:30 A.M. Tuesday morning. When we saw Mother we didn't wonder that they were fearful of losing her too. She was terribly injured. Her right arm was broken just below the shoulder; she had bad bruises over her body and especially on her jaw a face. Her false teeth had badly injured her mouth, but her jaw was not broken, as they had feared. Because of her state of deep shock they had not told her that Dad had passed on. She rallied some when she saw us, and we administered to her with oil. The Lord certainly gave her the blessing we asked for her.

Elder Haycock was terribly bruised ands cut on the body and face and his right leg was painfully broken above the knee. He was the driver of the car. When he saw us he broke down and cried inconsolably. I think we were able to show him, during the week we were there, that we didn't hold any feelings toward him nor blame him in any way. One of the Lady Missionaries was cut quite badly just above the nose, but was feeling pretty well. The other, Sister Bernard was still out with a brain concussion. It took nearly all day Tuesday to get around the red tape and get them transferred from the General Hospital to the Hospital Latino-Americano so that we would have the services of their very fine surgeons and modern equipment. It is a serious crime to have an accident in Mexico. They were holding Elder Haycock criminally responsible, even with a guard, and under the system that the law holds the doctor responsible for the patients entrusted to his care after an accident. None of the patients could be transferred without a court order and a transfer of responsibility to another doctor. It was a legal holiday that week so all the judges were away leaving only the secretaries in charge. It was necessary to pull every possible string and influence to get the transfer which was done with three lawyers, and the most influential man in Puebla.

Mother was transferred to a nice room with two beds. She said, "Oh, good, now they can bring Dad here with us." This was the first opportunity I had to tell her that Dad was gone. She had said a number of times that she couldn't see how Dad could be all right, because she had seen how he was in the car. I reminded her that she knew in her heart that he was gone. Then the force of it hit her. But she is a wonderful, strong character. After a few tender moments in which we were crying together, she was able to control herself and it didn't have the adverse effect on her that they had feared. Wesley and I gave her blood (all three of us had been tested). She was still taking the blood when they took her to surgery to put a plate in her arm. This was so she would not have to have a chest cast, which would be so painful. They have the most modern techniques, including Dramamine with the anesthetic to prevent sickness. She stood the surgery very well, and made rapid recovery, except that it was so difficult for her to take nourishment because of her sore mouth and weak condition.

Thursday we went down to Tecamachalco to get Dad's personal effects from the car. We were blessed to be able to find the Ministerio Publico and the Recaudador de Rentas (both lived out of town) who had the things in the safe. They were both on vacation but just happened to be in town. After proving our identity and waiting for a number of long "actas" to be written up and signed, they finally turned over to us Dad's bloodstained watch, $130.00 dollars, $1452.00 pesos, and a $1000.00 Bolivar bill that Dad carried as a souvenir. They also brought his wallet, papers, a Bible and Book of Mormon. We interviewed the doctor who had performed the official autopsy and had taken care of Dad's body, and also had given first aid to the others. We thanked the Red Cross people who had taken care of them all and gave them a $500.00 donation (which the Church reimbursed us for).

Then we went on to Tehuacan, where they had taken the car and other personal things from the car. The sight of the car gave us a profound emotion. We took some transparencies but haven't made prints yet. The accident happened at about kilometro 211 near Tlacotepec. They had picked up everything so we couldn't find the exact spot. The way the accident happened it was unavoidable. It was raining when it happened about 9:00 P.M. Mother had tried to get them to stop at Fortin de las Flores and at Tehuacan, but they thought it necessary to make the trip that night to meet the schedule the next day. Elder Haycock was driving. They had left Tierra Blanca about 6:00 P.M. after a very nice Conference. They were following a passenger bus, came to a straight road and started to pass. The bus cut quickly in front of them. Elder Haycock pressed hard on the brake but got no response. He didn't want to ram the bus and to the left was the hill so he turned to the right and hit a truck loaded with mangoes parked in the right lane with a broken wheel and no lights. The car went under the truck putting the hood and windshield in their faces. The right doorpost was broken. The front seat came loose and was bent double under the impact of the three ladies sitting in the back seat. Dad was killed instantly. We didn't ever see his face as his head was bandaged completely.

Elder Haycock's strength saved his life as the strength of his arms broke the steering wheel loose from the spokes. His leg was broken from the pressure on the brake and against the bottom of the steering wheel, which was badly bent. They had taken the car to a service station in Tierra Blanca to check the brakes as they were not functioning very well on the trip down. The brake pedal was caught in the down position when we saw the car. So it was just one of those things.

Mother wanted to go home on Friday. When we got ready to go we found that we had to have a court order to take her out. So we went again to Mr. Paul Bunstzler, a German or Swiss-American who is married to the daughter of Jenkins, one of the most influential men in Puebla and who also has a lot of influence in his own right. After a long search riding in his Cadillac with a chauffeur, to find the right people and with one of those blue bank notes, we finally got cleared and left Puebla about 3:00 P.M. Mother stood the trip over that narrow winding road very well.

The good people of Mexico--the Farnsworths, the Griffins, the Larsons, the Hawses and others had started packing all of Mother'' things. W finished the packing and were able to get a little sleep before leaving the Mission Home for the airport about 5:30 P.M. Some little nincompoop of Salubridad Officer tried to prevent our take off and delayed us about an hour until Wilford Farnsworth found out what was going on and told the Airline Officer, "Let's go." They drove the hearse over to the plane. We loaded the casket, and then we all got in the plane and took off for home.

W really appreciate the Church spending over $17,000.00 pesos to send us home by plane and also appreciated all the million other things that were done for us, by the Church, the Missionaries and the good people of Mexico. The presence of family and friends to meet us was a comfort and a joy. We felt keenly the suffering of those who were not able to come. You have heard the funeral proceedings and we feel that it was a blessing of the Lord that Mother could attend.

Love from Claudius and family

Rickie and I were invited to ride with Uncle Harold in his air-conditioned car to meet the plane in Casas Grandes as Claudius has described. It was a time of great mixed emotions of sorrow and joy as we tearfully greeted each other. Mother was so brave as she smiled through her tears, thanking everyone for coming. The funeral was held in the large gymnasium that Dad had helped to build. It was like an auditorium with a stage at one end. Dad was so revered by the Mexican population because of the many services he had rendered them that the attendance was overwhelming. At the entrance there were large wreaths of flowers donated by the Rotary Club and other organizations. Because Dad was a Mission President when he died the First Presidency of the Church sent a General Authority, Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley, to preside and speak at the Funeral. He praised Dad and Mother very highly for the great service they had given not only in the Mission Field but also through out their lives. One sentence that particularly impressed me was: "He died with his boots on." The music was beautiful furnished mostly by the family. Rickie and I played their favorite song "Las Golondrinas". There were many wonderful sentiments expressed and the funeral that was held on May 24, 1958 lasted for two hours because all the talks in English had to be translated into Spanish. I recorded the Funeral for posterity. Mother was so strong and long suffering that she sat through the funeral and also went to the burial ceremony at the Dublan Cemetery. The Ward Relief Society provided a delicious dinner at the church for the family and friends after the burial, which allowed an opportunity to visit. I told the family about a conversation that Rickie and I had with Dad at the Mission Home last year in which he said that when he was in Salt Lake City for a Conference he had a physical examination and that the doctor didn't give him a clean bill of health that could lead to his release. Because of this he was taking extra good care of himself as he wished to spend the rest of his life as Mission President because he loved it so much. Well, he got his wish for after five years of dedicated service the Lord took him to serve in the realm beyond. Now Mother started her twenty years of serving her family here on earth.

We were so glad that we could be a part of this sorrowful, joyous, memorable occasion and were grateful that Mother would be well taken care of. We asked her to come and visit us in Dixon sometime soon when she was completely well from her injuries. She said that she would like to do that. After a very fond farewell to everyone we accepted the invitation of Gerald and Marza Cardon to ride with them to El Paso, Texas. Marza is my brother Don and Maurine's daughter. From El Paso we flew to the Moline Airport where we had our car parked. Moline is only sixty miles from Dixon so we were soon home to pick up our children and finish out the school year. The Nichols said that they enjoyed having Victor and Brian with them and of the course the boys had a great time with their friend Herby after school hours. Grandma Eaton said that Linda Jane was "as good as gold" and gave them no trouble. We expressed our appreciation and were so happy that everything turned out so well and that we were all back together again.

We heard that Mother went to live with Don, Maurine and family in the family home for about two months then moved to Wesley's home to help take care of his four children. His wife Alleen , died in El Paso during an operation for a brain tumor in February,1958. Later Mother moved into a neat little home that Wesley and Alleen had built by the side of the home place where Don and Maurine lived because she wanted to take care of herself. Keith and Naoma helped her sell her sewing machine and use the money to buy some artists supplies to use her natural artistic talents. She took a painting class in watercolors and oils with some other ladies taught by Salomon Chonke who was the art teacher at the Juarez Stake Academy. She was very dedicated and graced all of her children's homes with beautiful paintings. We have the most of her paintings because when she came to visit us we set her up with paints, brushes and canvases instead of mending or sewing.

In November 1959 Wesley went on a Temple excursion to Mesa, Arizona that really changed his life. Alleen's parents advised Wesley to get married again to have a mother for his four little children but he hadn't found anyone that he was interested in until that day in the Arizona Temple. Here is a quotation from Wesley's Life Story. "While sitting in the chapel waiting for the session to begin I noticed a beautiful young woman come in. As I looked at her and watched her during the singing, etc. I had a very strong impression that she was the one I had been looking for and that she would be my wife and the mother to my children. As we formed a line to receive the name of the person to do the work for I was just a few persons behind her. I heard her say in response to the question concerning her marital status. "I am single". After the session I met my mother and told her that I wanted to get the name and address of this certain young woman. With help of the Temple Matron I found out her name was Mary Louise Shumway and that she lived with her brother Dale and his family in Tucson and was teaching school." Wesley wrote to her and finally won her love. He said: "It was very hard for her to think of going to a strange country to take over the responsibilities of four children and a husband." It all worked out and they were married in the Arizona Temple June 30, 1960. He said: "She has been and is a perfect wife, companion and mother. She has also been a big help and asset to the Ward and the community. I am very thankful to the Lord for selecting her for us. She is loved by all who know her." Mary helped raise Wesley's four children and they were blessed with six more children making a wonderful family of ten children.

 

Section 10--Purchasing a home in Dixon and Visits from Family.

In August 1959 we were fortunate to buy a beautiful old home on 606 Peoria Ave. for $14,500.00. (It is now valued at $98,000.00 with the passing of time and the many improvements we made on it.) Rickie's home decorating talent came forward. I called her my idea girl and I carried her ideas out with her help. The heating system had been changed from old fashioned radiators to base board heat but the furnace was still using oil so we had it converted, by Pete Howell, to natural gas to be cleaner and cheaper. Rickie picked out beautiful wallpaper for the different rooms and carpeting and rugs for the floors. We did this work ourselves, but the insulation and shingling of the roof we hired done. There was a little enclosed back porch half the length of the house on the East Side. Rickie thought it would be great to have the room extended the length of the house and enclose it with beautiful windows and have a fireplace in the extended room. We hired two excellent carpenters and they went to work following Rickie's plans. While they were at it we had them build beautiful cabinets for the kitchen. Bud Forbes, a good friend and excellent builder put in the windows and electrical circuits and a new electrical box in the basement, with circuit breakers, to take care of everything. Over the new part they put a flat roof with seven layers of waterproof material. I followed instructions and put up the ceiling tile myself. A friend of mine who was a mason showed me how to lay stone to face the fireplace using cement. We bought beautiful stone in Rockford and Linda Jane and her mother helped decide which stone to put up next. We worked until the wee hours and finished the fireplace and it is beautiful to this day. We did as much of the work as we could to save money and will write more about this later. We heard that Mr. and Mrs. Wolf, who owned the Jewelry store in Dixon, were going to move to New York so were selling their furniture. We went to see them and Rickie was entranced by the dining room furniture, which included a large ornate hand carved oak buffet with matching table and chairs. When Mrs. Wolf saw how much she loved it she said: "I've just been waiting to find someone who loves this set as much as I do, as we brought it from Germany. I want you to have it and it will be half price and you can pay for it as you are able." Bud Nichols brought his farm workers to move it for us as they had moved our fifteen-foot grand piano to our new home.

Contest went even better in the spring of 1959 than in 1958 so all the students and their parents were very happy. At the end of the year we followed our plan to have a picnic in the Park followed by a two-hour skating party for the Concert Band Members and it was really a great success. We added Marching Band to the program in 1959 and marched in the Halloween Parade and the Memorial Day Parade. The Band looked great and Brian did a fabulous job as Drum Major. We had a row of very colorful Majorettes who danced and twirled their batons beautifully. I marched traditionally in my white uniform at the right side of the first rank to take care of any emergencies that might arise. After the Memorial Day Parade and program at the cemetery we had them stop at our home for punch and cookies.

Claudius III came to spend the summer in 1959 to study piano and get acquainted with Victor and Brian. They had marvelous time swimming, roller skating and hiking in the Park. At the end of Summer Band classes we went to see Dean and Joyce Drury in Iowa City. Even though I had quit selling Volume Library we still remained very good friends. They had a daughter, Andrea who was bout the same age, who joined them in playing basketball on the garage driveway. Rickie and Joyce visited and watched while Dean and I played horseshoes. He was very good at it and I managed to only win one game. He wanted me to go golfing with him but I told him I had never done that. "Oh, that's okay. I'll show you how it's done." He said. As a boy I had a lot of fun playing hockey using a curved stick to hit a tin can across the goal line. It really surprised both of us that I beat him in the Golf game, but he was always the winner in the game of horseshoes. Next we went to a stable for the children to ride horses. Linda Jane was really enthusiastic and was given a little pony called "Buckshot ". She was only six years old so Brian led the pony out into the field. All of a sudden Buckshot broke away and ran as fast as he could back to the barn. Linda Jane was holding on for dear life and shouting joyfully. I had the movie camera and took pictures of her unforgettable ride. When we all got back to the barn she was still excited and wanted to do it again. That experience increased her love of horses which has continued through the years.

This was a sad year for Rickie's adopted sister, Lydia as her husband Walter Herman Meyer died of a heart attack on March 9, 1959. He left her with a little daughter, Henrietta, seven years old, an appliance business in Edelstein and many precious memories of their eleven-year marriage. Lydia sold the business and bought a home there near friends and relatives in Edelstein.

Victor and Brian especially enjoyed scouting activities this year as a big Jamboree was held at White Pines Park for the entire Scouting District. They participated in an exciting program where they danced in full Indian Costume. Of course Rickie, Linda Jane and I watched, clapped and took movies of all their activities. Victor felt pretty grown up as he graduated from eighth grade with all the ceremonies at Madison Junior High School. He was dressed in his best suit and looked very handsome and happy. Brian seemed very happy for him but said he could hardly wait to go into High School next year. He was hoping to be the Marching Band Drum Major in High School as he was in the Grade School. This would be more demanding because of the Band Shows at the football games that Bob L'Heureux put on with his band at half-time. I will jump ahead here to say that it really happened in 1960 and he did so well that he continued as Drum Major for all four years of High School and was given a special award when he graduated.

In addition to playing violin in the Rockford Symphony I played in the Sauk Valley String Orchestra under the direction of Max Guinop. He wanted to increase his violin playing experience so was coming to my orchestra rehearsal that was held once a week in the High School band room. Now some of my string students were graduating from Grade School and the High School would not support a string program so I had to close down the string program in the Grade School. I turned over the Intermediate Band direction to my capable assistant, Jerry Rehberg which gave me time to start a Stage Band and a little German Band to play at our Spring Concerts and at school programs.

We enjoyed a nice visit from my brother Maurice and his wife Nellie that brought us up to date on what was going on in Mexico with our family. Maurice helped me put a black metal railing on the deck over our new room so it would be safe for children to play out there and even sleep in sleeping bags in the fresh air. Maurice felt that his band program was going great and appreciated the experience he had here with Summer Band classes in 1956. He said that he was also teaching Art and Ceramics in the High School. My family was a little disappointed that we didn't go to Mexico to live when I was released from the Navy. We did consider it but it was my decision to stay in the United States and establish a Home Town for our children, when we had them, without fear of being separated. Rickie happily agreed with that. Now in the year 2003 there are only three of our family members living in Colonia Dublan. When the children grew up and went on Missions and then to college they got jobs in the U.S. or married someone living there so Claudius, Dorothy and Don moved out to be near their children. Keith and Naoma, Wesley and Mary and Maurice and Nellie made trips to the U.S. to see their children and their families as often as possible.

Dorothy and her husband Hugh D. McClellan had moved to Peru to improve their financial situation and sent their daughter, Claudette to live with us for a year to attend Dixon High School in 1961. She was the oldest grandchild born March 13, 1945, just about three months before our son Victor was born. She did well in school and seemed to have a good time. At Christmas time she and our boys danced around the Christmas tree while opening presents. This was the year that Rickie received her new bicycle. She came to the door and saw Victor and I bringing it in. Victor said: "Oh! Oh! Surprise! She laughed through her tears and thanked us for helping Santa.

This was another lavish joyful Christmas for everyone. We all played Christmas music on our instruments and sang Christmas Carols with Mother playing the piano, Claudette her violin and Linda Jane playing the cymbals.

This was a very busy spring with Victor and Brian playing in the High School German Band, the Concert Band, singing in a male quartet and in the High School Choir. They also participated in the Musical "Promised Valley" that was composed by Brother Crawford Gates. The Rockford Stake put on the production and since I was the Rockford Stake Music Director it was my responsibility to direct the Musical. Janie Landgren complimented by Don Bluth, a Missionary who was the male lead, beautifully did the female lead. Beverly Waite was our marvelous accompanist on the piano. We traveled to different Wards to rehearse the chorus members before combining them. We became very good friends with the Nelson family in Madison, Wisconsin. Their young son Douglas, was quite and athlete and showed us how he could do a lot of "pushups". He had charming twin sisters, Louise and Eloise, about our boy's age. They accepted an invitation from Victor and Brian to go to the Stake Gold and Green Ball. The match that we parents were hoping for didn't happen but we remained friends through the years. Doug Nelson, in the 1990's, became President Nelson of the Rockford Stake and did a marvelous work. Linda Jane was in the second grade doing well even though she started young because her birthday came just before the cut off date. We asked the principal, Miss Barton if we should keep her back a year and she said that she was so advanced for her age that it would be a big mistake to keep her back and she was sure that she could handle being the youngest student in her class. We hosted District Band Contest this year with the help of the band parents and the use of the High School building and facilities. The Dixon Telegraph was very cooperative and published all the news of the contest with pictures of many of the participating bands. Of course everyone was happy that our band received a first rating and our 95 soloists and 35 ensembles did very well also.

In the summer of 1962 Victor took organ lessons from Rachel Hughs, the Methodist Church organist, and did very well. We recorded the music he learned to play for him to keep. The beginning students in Summer Band were mostly fourth grade students with a few fifth grade students who didn't get started during the previous summer. When school started I needed a good bass drummer to keep the rhythm in the Junior Band so I drafted Linda Jane, even though she was in the third grade. She did very well at the Spring Concert and the next summer took up the flute.

Victor's graduation from High School was in the spring of 1963. Both he and Brian had beautiful dates for the big Prom Dance. Victor escorted Pam Johnson and Brian's date was Linda Love, who played flute in the band. Rickie prepared a delicious dinner for them and they had a very memorable time. During the year Victor had been going with our veterinarian, Dr. Collins, to take care of farm animals on Saturdays because of his love for animals. In the year book Victor's statement about his goal was that he had finally decided to be a poor musician instead of a rich veterinarian. At the Spring Concert in addition to featuring two outstanding eighth grade students who won a First at State Contest on their solos, we played music for a talented young group of tap dancers, that included Linda Jane, to dance on the stage in front of the Concert Band. Victor and Brian were both taking music lessons from Chicago Symphony players and their mother took them in the car every week Victor's trumpet teacher was Mr. Herseth and Brian's teacher was 1st trombonist.

Victor and Brian enjoyed the wonderful experience of attending Interlochen Music Camp in the northern tip of Michigan in the summer of 1963. Twin sisters, Leila and Lola, who were members of our Dixon Music Club and who we had taken to some Rockford Symphony Concerts, offered to finance them. The boys were both playing in the Rockford Symphony and these kind ladies thought they deserved this great learning experience. We drove to Interlochen every weekend for their concerts in our black and white Pontiac station wagon staying overnight as we could make a bed in the back for Linda Jane and us. The boys met and enjoyed the many challenges there. Brian was the leader of the euphonium players and Victor was designated as the most musical trumpet player. The boys kept in touch with Lola and Leila with their achievements so they thought it was money very well spent. Victor and Susie Branner became very good friends. They thought that they were in love but couldn't quite get together on their goals and ideals, as she was a devout Quaker. However they did remain friends through the years.

Victor received a music scholarship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. We loaded the things he needed into our station wagon and all made the exciting trip to get him settled in an apartment in Ann Arbor. We met the band director Dr. Revelli and the situation looked so good that Brian said he would like to attend there next year. Victor had a very exciting year there and we drove up there to some of the football games to see him march in the high stepping Michigan Marching Band that performed at half time. Victor met some beautiful, interesting coeds there but was still more interested in Susie Branner, his friend from Interlochen. He was also writing to Penny Padgett, a friend from Dixon High School. We brought him home for Christmas and had a wonderful time. We had great fun at Sinnissipi Park in Sterling going down the hill on a sled that held all of us, that went scooting across a frozen lake. Victor met Kay Prowant, a beautiful, talented girl who played the piano, the french horn and sang beautifully so they had a lot to talk about. Her plan was to go to the University of Illinois to major in music. Her younger sister, Connie, was a contestant in the Illinois Junior Beauty Pageant. We were invited to attend that so met her parents, Arnie and Shirley and a brother, Lonnie. Now when Victor went back to the University of Michigan he had three girls to write to. He could have thought that there was safety in numbers but was probably too busy with his studies to think about that. Brian graduated from High School in the spring of 1963 and was happy to be chosen to go to All State Band in the summer. He had a memorable experience there as first chair euphonium. We sent a recording of his playing to Dr. Revelli and he received a musical scholarship to attend the University of Michigan with Victor in the fall of 1964. In September we loaded the car with all the things they needed for school and to set up housekeeping in an apartment together. We helped them get set up in a nice apartment on Cross Street close to the University and got home in time to begin our school year. We made a lot of trips to Michigan to visit Victor and Brian and see them perform at the football games in that fabulous fast, high stepping band. We took many movies of their performances for them to enjoy in later years. We were all very happy to have them home for Christmas and of course took movies of Christmas morning around the Christmas tree opening packages. Linda Jane was thrilled with her big stuffed collie dog and Victor was ecstatic with his new D trumpet. Kay Prowant was there and was excited to hear him play his new trumpet. The movies show that she was very happy with the presents she received and joined in the fun. This of course included a lot of Christmas Music with her playing the piano.

1965 was a very a very eventful year starting off with Victor and Brian playing in the Michigan Marching Band at the Rose Bowl. Victor said that he was in the movie releasing the balloons. Of course we watched it on television. Sin March Brian was thrilled to play a Mazurka for Leonard Falconi the famous Euphonium artist and teacher. He was very happy to receive finally a fine trombone that we had ordered for him and wrote us a very appreciative letter and said that this was the first Band Contest he had missed in ten years and wished us great success. He received the opportunity to go with a selected Concert Band to tour Mexico in the summer from Mr. Kursh as brass specialist to conduct sectional rehearsals and give counsel with all expenses paid. He was very happy to have our permission and support. He was also happy to become first chair of the euphonium section of the Michigan Concert Band. Victor received a call from the First Presidency of the Church to go on a Mission to Uruguay and to report to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah on September 15, 1965. He had been looking forward to going on a Mission so was happy to receive the call. His first convert to the Church was Kay and they became engaged in October 1965 making him, he said "the happiest man in the world."

Priscilla, my brother Wesley's daughter, came to spend the summer with us to study music. She was the same age as Linda Jane so they had a wonderful time together. Rickie really admired the homes in Florida that had beautiful porches with pillars in front so we decided to change the front of our home. I tore off the old wooden porch in four hours and we hired our good friend Bud Forbes to lay a cement porch the length of the house and six feet wide with beautiful wide cement steps from the sidewalk to the porch that would be four feet high. He did a beautiful job with the walls of the porch having a brick pattern. Then I put up some beautiful white round pillars to support the roof of the porch. It turned out to be exactly what Rickie had envisioned. Then she thought that a couple of pillars by the side door would look very nice supporting an attractive little balcony that I could build. This turned out well also so now our home looked as much like a Southern Mansion as we could make it.

Jerry Rehberg announced that he had been happy here in Dixon but now was ready to take a music teaching position in New Jersey. We were very sorry to see him and his family go but were happy for them. So another assistant Band Director was hired for the fall. His name was James Nelson and this was his first job so he was eager to please and to learn. We made out his schedule of teaching together and he took over the Intermediate Band rehearsals to prepare them for the Spring Concert.

We took Priscilla to the plane to fly back to El Paso where her parents picked her up.

She said she had a great time and would like to come again if possible. Brian went back to Michigan to school and we took Victor to Provo for his Mission Training. Victor wrote that they were really kept busy learning to speak Spanish and memorizing the discussions in Spanish. He was the District Leader of his section and was put in charge of the Music and had an opportunity to play his trumpet. He was asked to play a sacred trumpet solo in the Tabernacle in their farewell meeting. He finished there in December and had an hour lay over in Chicago on his way to Uruguay. We took Kay and Linda Jane and met him there for a very mixed emotions visit on December 16, 1965. He was happy to be going but sad to have to leave us and especially Kay, his bride to be, when he would be home in about two years.

Maurice invited us to go down to Mexico to help out with the Stake performance of the Messiah to be presented December 19, 1965. We went and had a wonderful time. I was listed on the program as Guest Violinist. I played all the Music with Rinda Robinson on piano and Sherry Bluth on organ. My brother Claudius sang the tenor solos very well and Maurice directed the whole performance beautifully. Especially mother Bowman wanted us to stay for Christmas but we decided to go home so Brian could be with us. We had a wonderful Christmas together and felt close to Victor as we received a letter from him telling us that he had arrived safely and that he was getting along fine.

Our Branch of the Church was still meeting in the Sterling YMCA and was called the Sterling Branch with about one hundred members. Rickie and I had been working diligently in our music and teaching callings and now I was called to be the Branch President which position I served in for three years. I had Brother Glenn Padgett for one of my councilors and when Sister Padgett saw the volume of paper work that had to be done she said that if her husband were called to do that she would feel like quitting. Well, just the opposite happened because when I was called to be Branch President of the new Flag Center Branch Brother Padgett was called to be Branch President of the Sterling Branch and she supported him totally.

 

Section 11--Victor and Brian's University of Michigan and Mission Years.

In September 1966 Linda Jane started 8th grade and was chosen Drum Major of the Grade School Marching Band and did very well in the three parades that year, which were the Halloween Parade, the Memorial Day Parade and the Flag Day Parade. Brian was excelling at the University of Michigan and we took Linda Love with us to see him in action in that fast, high stepping Michigan Band performing Michigan Marching Bandan exciting football show. We were all impressed but Linda told Brian that she could hardly believe it and would never forget it. Brian came home for Christmas and received a call to go on a Mission to Sonora, Mexico in June 1967. Victor was permitted to call us at Christmas time and was happy with the news of Brian's Mission Call and told him to be sure to bring his horn as he was playing his trumpet frequently with a Mexican Mariachi Orchestra which opened the way to meet people who became interested in hearing what he and his companion had to say about the Gospel. He also reminded Brian about the stories I had told them about the great help playing the violin was on my Mission to Mexico in 1935.

Our Dixon Music Club was still going strong and this year we had an Ensemble Night Program in which all our members performed. We co-hosted the meeting with Jim Wiltz in our home and I performed a violin and viola duet with William on viola and Rickie accompanist entitled "Sonata in E" by Handel. We recorded the whole program to add to our growing tape library stored in the basement along with the recordings of all our Band Concerts including Contest performances, which we hoped to listen to again some day. We even had recordings of our joyous Christmas mornings to go along with the movies we took of the family opening and admiring presents received.

When Brian was in 8th grade he won the brass division of the Lyon and Healy Instrumental Solo Contest on television in Chicago and said at that time: "I want to put the euphonium on the map." He had already played a solo on tour with the University of Michigan Concert Band and now was going to take his instrument to Mexico. The case was so big and heavy that his Mother got out her sewing machine and fabricated a beautiful, light, soft leather case that he could carry easily. Brian enjoyed his studies at the Mission Training Center in Provo and like his brother, Victor, was asked to play a sacred solo in the Tabernacle in their farewell meeting. He was assigned to go to the town of Navojoa in the State of Sonora, Mexico. He didn't get to see Victor before he left, as Victor wasn't released from his Mission until December 16, 1967. That was a wonderful homecoming. Kay was home from the University of Illinois so they were able to spend Christmas together at our home and make plans for the future. She felt that she should continue her music studies at the university and Victor wanted to study also so we took him right up to Ann Arbor to continue his studies at the University. Dr. Revelli said that he would miss Brian for a couple of years but was happy to have Victor back. Of course Victor and Kay continued their correspondence and Victor played his trumpet for a beautiful selection in one of her Vocal Recitals.

Our three Music Concert Tours of the Mission in Mexico started with a surprise call from Brian in which he asked: "Can you send me instruments, music stands, music and everything else I need in fifteen days to start a fifty piece band?" Wow! He went on to explain that he had played his euphonium in a program for the city and Don Luis Salido, El Presidente Municipal de Navojoa, (the mayor of the city of Navojoa) heard him and asked him if he could start a Boy's Band of High School students and that the City would furnish the money to pay for the things he needed. He responded that he would be happy to do that if he would get President Eugene Olsen's permission. Don Luis Salido then went to President Henderson and told him what a wonderful thing it would be for the youth and for the town to have a good band. President Olsen could see that this would make for good relations with the people, which would help out the Missionary work there, so enthusiastically gave his permission. This was very exciting news and we told Brian that we get right to work on this project. We went to all the music stores in the area and told them the story of our son going to start the first band of high school students in Mexico and asked for a discount on instruments they could provide. We finally bought most of the instruments and equipment in Elkhart, Indiana and the music and stands in Chicago at a bout fifty percent discount. Along with method books for all instruments and suitable music we included the little "Best Band Book" that I used for Junior Band Concerts and that had familiar songs written in two-part harmony that sounded great. One song that students preferred was the Mexican song "Sobre Las Olas" (Over the Waves). By the end of two weeks we had all the equipment at home and spent all night putting everything in big boxes to send to the border at Nogales where Don Luis Salido would arrange to have it taken to Navojoa. Here there was a problem, as the Custom Officials wanted to charge more duty than we had paid for the instruments. Don Salido went to the Governor and other officials to get the charges reduced or canceled since the shipment was for the benefit of the Country. He wasn't successful so he sent his Jefe de Policia (Chief of Police) to the border with a garbage truck. They loaded everything into the truck and drove across the border without paying anything. How about that? We were certainly amazed and elated when Brian wrote to us about it and sent us the money for the instruments and equipment.

Now Brian used all he had learned going through our school system in Dixon about trying out students and getting them started on the right instrument and added innovations of his own. The high schools students were excited and eager to be selected for the band so Brian had many to try out. The city had an old medical clinic, that was very adequate for Brian to use for try outs, lessons and rehearsals. They renamed it the "Clinica de Musica" instead of the "Clinica de Medicina". He had all the students wash their hands before they could touch an instrument and had great success getting an enthusiastic student for each instrument. He had clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, two baritones, four trombones, one sousaphone, one bass drum, snare drums, French horns and flutes. At the end of three months he had a concert in the town square, which was like a park, and sent us a copy of the newspaper with headlines: "El milagro del siglo! Todos los ninos quedaron quietos por una hora." (The miracle of the century. All the children were quiet for one hour.) Of course Don Luis Salido was very happy with this early achievement and labeled Brian the son of Navojoa and gave him a certificate that allowed him and his companion to eat in any restaurant free of charge. President Olsen was pleased also and since he learned about our musical family invited us down to tour the Mission in June 1968, to give concerts in all the Chapels.

We accepted the invitation gladly and were happy that Victor and Kay could go along with us. We planned a program to know what music to take. Then we loaded our instruments and luggage on two carriers on our station wagon and took off. We had a marvelous time and were welcomed and treated royally everywhere we played for ten days. Sometimes we would vary our program as we had a lot to choose from as follows: Brian had a euphonium solo, a trombone solo, "Lassus Trombone", a duet with Victor, "Pedro y Amigos", a trumpet trio with Victor and I, "The Three Trumpeters. Victor added to this with his spectacular solo "La Virgen de la Macarena" which was the bull fight song. Linda Jane sang "Que Lejos Estoy", a very popular Mexican song and played a piano solo, "Clare de Lune". Kay sang the beloved Mexican song: "Estrellita" accompanied by Victor. My violin solos accompanied by my sweetheart wife were "Czardas" by Monti and the famous Mexican goodbye song: "Las Golondrinas". Then we all played the "Mexican Overture" that was a medley of popular Mexican songs. In this group Kay played the French horn and Linda Jane played the flute, Victor played the trumpet, Brian played the euphonium or trombone, I played the violin and Rickie played the piano. For an encore we all sang the beautiful hymn: "'Come, Come Ye Saints" in Spanish. Of course went to one of Brian's rehearsals to hear the band play and were really amazed at how great they sounded. We suggested to Brian that he teach them to march so they could participate in parades. He went right to work on it and trained a drum major right away so they could practice marching down the street. Victor and I helped all we could and Brian appreciated it though he really didn't need it. Don Luis Salido was advised about the marching rehearsal so he sent a water truck to spray the road ahead of the band to keep down the dust then had refrescos (cold drinks) for the band at the end of the rehearsal. Later the Sister City of Navojoa in the United States heard about the band and sent beautiful uniforms for all the members of the Band.

Don Luis Salido was so impressed by our concert in Navojoa that he requested President Henderson to invite us to come down again in December to play in all the same cities but in a concert hall or public building open to the public. We all enjoyed the tour so much that we heartily accepted the invitation. We had a good trip home and had tape recordings of all of our concerts and of a chorus of dogs barking near a motel where we stayed one night. Sometimes we slept in the chapel where we gave the concert and were fed by a potluck dinner prepared by the members of that Branch.

This experience drew Victor and Kay even closer and they decided to get married and set the date for August 16, 1968 in the Freeport Chapel. They wanted me to perform the marriage ceremony so I was authorized by the Mission President to do it. Kay and her parents planned some of the festivities and hired a professional to take pictures. Vinette Parry, a beautiful girl from Arlington, Virginia came to the wedding at Brian's request and our invitation and took care of the guest book. Brian met her at the University of Michigan before going on his Mission and all this time had been corresponding with her in competition with another man by the name of Brion. He learned that in Mexico the man tried to win over the girls mother to help win the daughter so he had been writing to Virginia, Vinette's mother and seemed to be the favored one. We were very happy to meet Brian's chosen one who was not only charming and lovely but also very intelligent and faithful in the Church. All of Kay's family attended and her parents thought the wedding was beautiful. Kay's sister Connie and Victor's sister Linda Jane were bridesmaids and Victor's cousin, Gary Sauder was his Best Man. The Freeport Ward provided a banquet for all the guests. After this Victor and Kay left for their honeymoon before moving to Michigan for Victor to continue his schooling.

Christmas vacation was soon upon us and again we loaded up our station wagon and left for Mexico for our second concert tour. When we arrived at Navojoa there was a banner across main street saying: Gran Festival de Musica por la Familia Musical Mormona Bowman. (A Great Music Festival by Mormon Musical Bowman Family) Then it gave the date and time of our Concert. Don Luis Salido had arranged for us to stay at the Rancho Motel free of charge as our headquarters for the tour. It had a beautiful swimming pool that we all enjoyed. The Radio Station broadcast our first concert in Navojoa and at the end of the Concert we were given a standing ovation and the ladies each received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. In Hermosillo we gave a radio program in the morning to advertise the concert in the evening and were given a recording of the program by the Radio Station. We not only played but also were interviewed about our interest in giving the concerts. Brian was able to tell about his missionary work and about la Banda de Navojoa. All of our concerts went very well until we got to the last one in Mazatlan on the seashore. We had lodging in a beautiful hotel on the beach and enjoyed swimming in the afternoon before our concert, which was scheduled to begin at 7:00 P.M. in the Hotel Conference Room. We were jumping the waves as they came in to the beach when an enormous one came and toppled Linda Jane over. I was near her and was able to grab her and keep her from the undertow going out to sea.

As we were ready to start our Concert at 7:00 P.M. and order came from el Jefe de Policia (the Chief of Police) to stop the concert. His son was there for the concert and was taking lessons from the Missionaries. He told us that his father didn't understand and to wait while he went to talk to the Governor of the State who happened to be in the Hotel that night. We waited and the audience waited patiently until 8:00 when permission was granted to go ahead with the Concert. It turned out to be one of our best Concerts and the audience was very enthusiastic. We were very surprised to see Arthur Zach and his wife there. He had been the Rockford Symphony conductor for years and had just retired to Mexico. They invited us to come to their home after the concert and he made his famous cheese blitz sandwiches for us. We had a wonderful visit before going back to our hotel about midnight. Before leaving Navojoa for home we were again asked to make another tour next June as a farewell to Brian as he would be released from the Mission at that time. Of course we accepted not knowing that Victor and Kay would have their first son, Eric, May 19, 1969 so would not be able to go with us.

In September 1968 Rickie accepted an invitation from Don Luis Salido to fly down to Navojoa for their big Independence Day Celebration on September 16th in which La Banda Junvenile de Navojoa (the Young Band of Navojoa) would march in the big parade and play a concert. He made all the arrangements and paid all her expenses and she had a wonderful time. We were thrilled to hear all about it. The Marching Band had become so well known that they were invited to march in the Inauguration Parade in Mexico City. Brian told us later that the Band did well and had a wonderful experience. He also told us that the Missionaries were having a problem getting to see people to teach because the Priest told them not to let the Mormon Missionaries into their homes. Brian went to the Priest of the Catholic Church there and offered to have the Band play in the Virgin de Guadalupe Parade. He was very pleased and the Missionaries had all the doors opened to them after that.

In the Fall of 1968 Victor had a change in his program because he cut his lip performing in the Marching Band and switched to playing euphonium with Dr. Revelli's approval. This worked very well for him as his lip healed up and he found that he could switch from euphonium to trumpet without any trouble. He graduated with distinction playing a recital on euphonium in the Spring of 1969. His teacher, Professor Glenn Smith, complimented him by saying that he was the only one who had played a recital completely from memory for many years. We were very happy to be there to hear his wonderful recital and were thrilled to have Kay show us our first grandson, Eric. We told them that my assistant, James Nelson was leaving and asked them if they would like to move to Dixon and take over as my assistant Band Director in the September. They decided that they would like to do that. Victor's application for the position was accepted so they purchased a beautiful little home with the help of my signature on the contract.

Before we went to Michigan that Spring Linda Jane entered the Miss Flame contest sponsored by the Fire Department and won a trophy for 1st runner-up and rode on the fire engine with the Queen in the big parade. She was also a star in the program put on by the Physical Education Department doing an outstanding routine on the balance bean and in gymnastics. She loved her horse, Rusticana, that she kept on a farm near Dixon and spent happy hours riding him without a saddle and brushing him. As soon as school was out she was ready to go with her Mother and me to Mexico for our third concert tour.

Dad conducting Navojoa band It seemed like the car knew the way to Navojoa and we had an enjoyable trip eating cinnamon rolls and honey ham along the way. Brian was happy to see us and gave us the good news that a new Missionary, Brent Jones, was a concert pianist and would join us to accompany him on his solos and play some piano solos. Brian had his Band prepared to play a concert so in Navojoa we had a joint concert for a very enthusiastic audience that packed the auditorium. The concert was such a success that the Band was sent with us to play a concert in Hermosillo. The Band played the first half of the Concert and we did the last half. By special request we added a new number with Rickie and I singing the popular Mexican song: "Adios Mi Chaparita, no llores por tu Pancho." I played the song on the violin and then we sang it without accompaniment. After the applause I told the audience

e in Spanish that after mi amada esposa had learned to sing the spanish words of the song, I taught her to say: "Te amo muchicisimo mi querido marido y no paso de hay" (I love you very much my beloved husband and that she did not get beyond that). They really responded to that with laughter and applause.

When we got back to Navojoa we found that a big Farewell Festival had been prepared for Brian to go along with our concert to be given on a stage in the Park. Brian was given a Charro Traje de Lujo (a Mexican Cowboy Dress Suit). He wore it for the concert and it was beautifully adorned with silver and included a big fancy sombrero, also ornamented with silver. In between our numbers were given eloquent speeches of praise and gratitude to Brian for the founding and development of the now famous Banda Juvenil de Navojoa. He responded beautifully thanking everyone and especially Don Luis Salido for their cooperation and support and turned over the direction of the Band to the most qualified musician in the area with the hope that it would continue. After the festivities Don Luis Salido invited us to his beautiful home for a farewell visit. Rickie admired the beautiful embroidered table linen on the table and was overwhelmed when Mrs. Salido folded it up and gave it to her. It has been a treasure in our home through the years. Brian also received a beautiful blanket as a "recuerdo" that was especially made for him. He packed all his belongings and went home with us. We stopped near the border to see the fascinating operations of a glass blowing factory on the way home.

Section 12--Linda Jane's High School and College Years and Victors Teaching in Dixon.

The summer was quite a change for Brian from his busy Missionary schedule but he adjusted to having more free time and played solos with several Municipal Bands in the Area. Linda Jane went to the two week Summer Music Camp at Purdue University and we all attended her final Concert. This was her third camp as she had attended one at the University in Normal, Illinois and another one in at Northern Illinois in Dekalb playing the flute on other years. She also took private flute lessons from the flute teacher there. The next summer, 1970 she attended the Music Camp at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and decided she would like to attend college there when she graduated from High School the next year. So in the fall she started her senior year and took piano lessons from our local Concert Pianist, Ethel Sinow. Brian went back to the University of Michigan and Victor and Kay moved to Dixon with their little son, Eric, to start Victor's teaching career as my Assistant Band Director.

Dr. Revelli was very happy to have Brian back in the band and had him resume his position as leader of the euphonium section and featured him as a soloist on their annual concert tour. We attended one of these concerts and also a football show. He continued his courtship of his chosen one, Vinette Parry, and finally married in the Salt Lake City Temple August 26, 1970.

Victor seemed to be a natural born teacher and fit right into the program beautifully and conducted the Intermediate Band in some very fine music at the Spring Concert. Kay enjoyed being near her parents and family and was kept pretty busy taking care of their little son. Linda Jane was doing very well on the piano. She also sang in the Spring Musical and had a leading role in the drama "The Twelfth Night". We had another successful year at the District and State Contests, a great Spring concert and a very enjoyable band picnic and a skating party at the end of the school year.

BL & VP Wedding serenadeBL & VP Reception Dixon After Summer Band we all went out to Salt Lake City in August 1970 for two weddings. Victor and Kay were married for Eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple on the 25th of August and Eric was sealed to them. We had a very nice reception for them in Uncle Thel's beautiful flowered back yard. Then Brian and Vinette were married in the Temple for Eternity on the 26th of August and had a beautiful reception in Vinette's Uncle Bob's home in Salt Lake with many of our relatives and Vinette's relatives present. We also had a reception in Dixon for them. Then it was back to school for everyone. Brian and Vinette went back to the University of Michigan, Victor and I to teaching in Dixon, and Linda Jane to start her very busy senior year in Dixon. She especially concentrated on piano as her teacher; Ethel Sinow scheduled her to present a Senior Piano Recital at the Loveland Community Building for the public in the summer. In the spring she had a date to the Senior Prom to which she wore a beautiful gown and was escorted by her friend David Herzog who also was dressed elegantly. Of course we took pictures of this memorable occasion and her graduation ceremonies. Linda Jane attended another Senior Prom with Walter Bristow in Savannah about 35 miles from Dixon. She met Walter at a Church Seminary Dance and was attracted to him because of his intelligence. When he graduated from High School he went on a two year Mission for the Church. They corresponded and after about six months he sent her a proposal of marriage which was against Mission Rules. When Walter got home from his Mission to attended the BYU and had several dates with Linda Jane. He was quite devastated when she became engaged to marry Grant Calhoon. He recovered and got married the very next year. We thought a lot of Walter and have remained friends through the years.

On June 4, 197l Victor and Kay's second son was born in Dixon and they named him Brent. Rickie was happy to take care of Eric for awhile. He was now two years old so Kay and Victor appreciated it very much. Another important event that we were very happy about was moving our Church Meetings from the YMCA to our new Church Building at 2709 16th Avenue in Sterling on February 7th, with a membership of 200. Linda Jane's diligent work on the piano really helped her give an outstanding Summer Concert. The capacity audience was very enthusiastic in their applause and praise for her artistic renditions and her teacher was very pleased saying that she was really proud of her great achievement. Her Grandmother Bowman was with us and told Linda Jane that she was thrilled beyond words to express it. Rickie and I felt the same way and so did Victor and Kay. We recorded the program to send a copy to Brian and Vinette. Brian could hardly believe that his little sister was playing that well. Of course Linda Jane was happy about it and now was excited about attending Brigham Young University. We helped her pack up all the things she would need and drove to Provo, Utah in time for her to find a nice apartment with two other girls before registration.

Of course her piano teacher thought that she should major in piano and our good friend Ralph Laycock, who was the Band Director, recommended that she major in flute. When she tried out for the choir, our friend Margaret Woodward found that she had over a two octave vocal range and told her that it would be a shame not to major in voice. So that is what she decided to do. Along with voice lessons and required academic subjects she took piano lessons from an Oriental concert pianist who told her that in New York she was charging $70.00 a lesson. She was happy to come home for Christmas and tell us all about it.

Mother Bowman PaintingMother & son violin & guitar At the time we took Linda Jane to Provo Mother Bowman went on the bus to El Paso then by car with Claudius to home in Colonia Dublan, Mexico. While she was with us in Dixon she painted some beautiful pictures and among them was a special one for Victor of the scene of the Prophet Joseph Smith's Vision in the Grove in Palmyra, New York. We really treasure all her beautiful paintings that grace our home. In 1972 she got an apartment in Mesa, Arizona and did five Temple Sessions a day four days a week all summer. We were really impressed with her great dedication and amazing stamina at her age. She told us that she enjoyed doing the Temple Ordinances so that those who hadn't received the Gospel here on earth could receive it in Heaven. She went back to continue the Temple Work in the summer of 1973 then came to Dixon to spend Christmas with us.

Brian and Vinette came for Christmas bringing their little son, Brian Parry who was born on June 4, 1973. After Brian and Vinette graduated from the University of Michigan, Brian had so many extra credits that he stayed on for the Summer of 1972 to get his Master's Degree. Then he auditioned for a vacancy in the Navy Band in Washington, DC. He was accepted so they moved to Arlington, Virginia where Vinette's parents, Dean and Virginia Parry, lived. Brian weathered the Boot Camp training at Great Lakes Naval Station before playing in the Navy Band. His outstanding ability was soon recognized in the Navy Band and he became the leader of the euphonium section and a soloist on tour.

In 1973 I was replaced as Branch President at Flag Center by Brother Ralph Belnap who asked me to speak at the funeral of a Mexican member who had quite a few family members in the Branch. Then I was called to be on the District High Council to visit all the Branches in the District to give talks and help out with any problem. It was a large District extending clear down to Quincy, Illinois, a four-hour drive. Rickie carried along her yarn and made afghans for all our family members as we made these trips.

After Summer Band in 1973 Rickie and I had a delightful time going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to see Linda Jane perform in a Musical Play. She was very vivacious and seemed to be right in her element singing and dancing. but was confused about a boy friend's plan for them. He wanted her to go to France with him and work as a Nanny there to help him pay for lessons from a world famous flutist there. His name was Grant Cahoon, the son of a Band Director in Canada, attending BYU as a flute major. We accepted her suggestion that she bring him home to Dixon for the Christmas Holidays.

On Christmas Eve we all got out our instruments to form a Family Orchestra and played and sang Christmas carols. Mother Bowman played the guitar, little Eric played the triangle and Brent, just two years old had a tambourine. Linda Jane and Grant played flute, Victor played trumpet, Rickie, Kay and I played violin, Brian played cello for fun and Vinette played the piano. Our home was decorated beautifully under Rickie's direction and the presents were piled high around the Christmas tree. We finally got the children to bed after they hung their stockings up by the fireplace with the promise that they could open presents in the morning after Santa came.

A little too early in the morning, for some, the words rang out: "It's Christmas! Santa's been here!" So everyone hurried down the stairs to see the beautiful Christmas tree aglow with colored blinking and bubbling lights and the glistening presents underneath. Eric was fascinated by a little train zooming around a track and a singing push toy that he joyfully pushed all around the room. Then the custom of opening one present at a time began with exclamations of delight that lasted most of the morning. I took movies and a recording of all the fun activities, especially of the Children for review in the future. Brian P. was only seven months old but got lots of attention. Next came Brent two years older, then Eric two years older than Brent.

At about 1:00 P.M. we had a very delicious Christmas dinner prepared by Rickie with volunteer help that consisted of a big Turkey with all the trimmings including dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, peas, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, milk, water, cake, pie and ice cream. Brian was elected to use his expertise to carve the turkey. Vinette used her organization skills to speedily get the dishes washed and put away. After a little rest and conversation we got out the sleds and all went over to the hill by the tennis courts about a block from our home for a hilarious time sliding and frolicking in the snow. We took more movies of this time to be remembered.

When it came time for Grant and Linda Jane to go back to the BYU to school they asked for counsel so Rickie asked them to each write down what they would expect from the other if they were married. This helped Linda Jane make up her mind that Grant was not for her as among other things he wrote that he would expect her to support him no matter what he did whether it was right or wrong.

After our visiting families departed Victor was called to be President of the Sterling Branch of the Church. He carried out the duties of this demanding calling very well until he moved with his family to Washington, DC in the fall of 1975. He continued doing a great job teaching in Dixon, continued trumpet lessons at Northern Illinois University, in Dekalb and got his Master's Degree in trumpet. He was playing First Trumpet in the Rockford Symphony and was a featured soloist playing "La Virgen de la Macarena" and also playing First Trumpet in the trio "The Three Trumpeters." Kay's application to teach General Music at Washington School was accepted and Rickie took care of Eric and Brent during school hours that year. Kay also sang the leading role in the Musical "Brigadoon" in a neighboring town. This led to her indiscretion of going on dates with Ron Turner who had a beautiful, talented wife and three children. Victor forgave her and they continued their busy life together in Dixon. Victor now decided that he would like to play trumpet professionally so went to Washington D. C. and auditioned for the Navy Band, the Army Band, the Marine Band and the Air Force Band. He was accepted by all of them and chose the Air Force Concert Band. After school was out for the summer they rented a big van and we helped them pack for the move to Washington, DC. They were able to sell their home and we took care of their boys, Eric and Brent until they got settled in a home in Maryland not far from Bolling Air Force Base. Kay auditioned for the Army Chorus and was accepted and became a soloist with the group. We drove up to their home to take the boys and wish them success and happiness in their new life.

 

Section 13--Victor, Brian and Linda Jane's Service Years in Washington, D.C. and Messiah Performances in Mexico.

While in Washington D. C. we attended a Concert with Vinette of the Bi-Centennial Band. This Band was constituted to tour the United States and the membership was selected from all the Service Bands by audition to have the most accomplished musicians. Brian was selected as First Chair of the euphonium section and as a featured soloist. We had a very good visit and he told us that the Band was scheduled to play in every State so during the year he would play a solo in every State. He gave us a schedule so we could attend the concerts in Illinois and neighboring States.

Linda Jane had a very good year at BYU and in the summer of 1974 went on tour to Europe with the Concert Choir conducted by our special friend, Ralph Woodward. This was a marvelous experience for her and she really enjoyed it. She sent us a deluxe feather tick for our bed that was unbelievably light, soft and warm and supposed to last a lifetime. When she went back to school in the fall she had a very demanding schedule and worked so hard that she contracted mononucleosis and had to come home in January to get the rest she needed to get well. When she told Grant she was leaving to go home to recuperate he broke their engagement. Her Mother knew how to take care of her as Brian had the same mononucleosis when he was in grade school. By the Summer Linda Jane was well enough to play tennis, go swimming, play in the City Municipal Band and go on trips to concerts with us to hear Brian and Victor. In September 1995 she went back to BYU for her senior year. She met Ben Johnson, a charming young man who was very attentive to her. They got along so well that she invited him to go to Mexico with her as all of our family was invited by my brother Maurice to come to Dublan for Christmas and provide the orchestra to play for the Messiah that he would be conducting on December 28th. We met Linda Jane and Ben Johnson in El Paso and my brothers met us there to help us get across the border and help provide transportation to Dublan. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with all our families there and were amazed and happy with all the festivities and delicious food provided. We had some very good Messiah rehearsals and the outstanding performance was worth all the effort required. Here is a quotation from "The History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico" "December 28,1975, the "Messiah" by George Frederick Handel was presented in the stake auditorium by the Dublan choir and invited guests. Mary S. Bowman was the choir director. Sharon Taylor was the choir president. Maurice Bowman was the guest director. Michelle Romney was the pianist. Bardell R. Bowman was the violinist. Brian Bowman played the euphonium. Linda Jane Bowman played the flute. Victor Bowman played the trumpet. The soloists were Kay P. Bowman, soprano; Beverly J. Call, alto; Dean L. Castle, tenor; and Marion C. Robinson, bass. After the presentation, which was marvelously done, the audience walked out into a most beautiful snow. It fell in large fluffy flakes, reminding one of fairyland." Before we left for home we were asked to promise that we would come again for a Family Reunion in a few years. On the way to El Paso Ben Johnson told Linda Jane that he really had a good time but felt that perhaps he wouldn't fit into such a musical family but would really like to remain good friends.

We all had plenty to talk about as we went back to continue our work in the happy New Year of 1976. Dennis Speer was hired to be my new assistant Band Director when Victor left in the summer of 1975. Dennis, his wife Jodi and children Angela and Jared were welcomed warmly and quickly made Dixon their home. In fact they stayed until a year after I retired in 1983. Of course I really missed Victor's expert teaching and total support. His students were devoted to him because he made music study fun for them and treated them so kindly that they were sad to see him leave. However, Dennis was enthusiastic, willing to take suggestions and worked into our program very well. He conducted the Intermediate Band in the Spring Concert. He changed the name to Cadet Band. I had the Concert Band, the Stage Band and the German Band that all played in the Spring Concert. Only the Concert Band members participated in District and State Contest and wore uniforms. We continued our program that called for every member of the Concert Band to memorize a solo to play at Contest and participate in an ensemble if possible. This enabled us to take home more medals than any other organization. When the weather was good we had Marching band rehearsals to prepare for all the parades. This included the Halloween Parade, the Memorial Day Parade and the Flag Day Parade.

This year Rickie taught music at St. Ann's Catholic School and presented an outstanding program in May. In the fall she took a leave of absence, as she was a Councilor in the Stake Primary, Music Coordinator and Organist in the Sterling Branch of the Church and Music Director in the Junior Sunday School which required her time and attention. She also went Home Teaching with Bardell who is Branch Mission Leader, Ward Chorister, Sunday School President and Priesthood class teacher.

Niagra Falls In March 1976 Mother Bowman came from the Temple in Mesa, Arizona on a bus to Dixon, and Linda Jane came from BYU so we could all drive to New York to attend Brian's euphonium concert in Carnegie Hall. The concert was a great success and he was happy that we could be there to share this wonderful achievement. On the way home we went to Niagara Falls and had a great time riding a boat in the spray of the waterfall. We also attended the inspiring Book of Mormon Pageant at Palmyra. Crawford Gates who conducts the Rockford and Beloit Symphonies composed the beautiful music of the Pageant. When we got home Mother stayed for a visit and to paint another beautiful picture but Linda Jane had to get right back to school. It was necessary for her to take summer classes to graduate because of the semester she missed. We were very happy to be able to attend her excellent final vocal recital at the BYU. While there we went to hear a choir rehearsal and were surprised that the director, Ralph Woodward asked us to stand up and told the choir that I was the one who gave their son, Chris, the blessing when he was baby that he had told them about. In August Linda Jane graduated Cum Laud from Brigham Young University and immediately accepted a position to teach all music at Roosevelt Junior High School in Roosevelt, Utah, which included vocal and instrumental music starting the last of September. She bought a green Datson Station wagon for transportation.

We accepted Linda Jane's invitation to visit her during our 1997 Spring Break. We were thrilled to see her in a leading role in the patriotic musical "1776" and attend her beautiful Concert of all her organizations which included the Cadet Band, the Swing Singers Chorus, the Stage Band and the Concert Band. In addition to these groups she taught three General Music Classes. After School hours she was the vocalist and organist for a Dance Combo, accompanied the Symphonic Singers who performed in the area, directed the Church Choir and taught private piano, voice and instrumental lessons. She told us that one of the cast members of the Musical asked her to play a game of billiards and that she told him that she had never played it so didn't know how. He told her not to worry that he would teach her. He taught her so well that she won the little tournament they were having. She introduced us to Don Gingel, a fine young man from a large family that she had met there and become engaged to. After this year of teaching she decided that she would like to do something different so took a job as a computer trainee with Vinette in Washington D. C. After six months she auditioned for the Singing Sergeants in the Air Force and was accepted in April 1978. By this time her engagement had come to an end and she went to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for basic training. She was appointed squad leader, became a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps and received the Honor Graduate Award for Excellence of Performance in all areas of training. She rented an apartment in Arlington, Virginia near Bolling Air Force Base and started her singing career performing in the same concerts with Victor and Brian in the Air force Band. She traded her station wagon in on a dependable little red Datson hatchback

Bowmans in Air Force Brian really put the euphonium on the map touring with the Bicentennial Band by playing a solo in every State of the Union. An announcement in the Santa Barbara, California New said: "The U.S. Bicentennial Band will present a concert here on July 28th at 7:30 P.M. The featured soloist will be Brian Bowman of Dixon, Illinois, who has been called "The greatest euphonium soloist in the Nation". At the end of the year he was then given the option of going back into the Navy Band or any other military band. He chose to go into the Air Force Band with his brother, Victor. Both boys became featured soloists at concerts and Linda Jane sang with a special quartet of the Singing Sergeants.

Section 14--Mother Bowman's Funeral in Mexico, Air Force Band Tours, Grandchildren's, and Claudius and Nelle's Visit, and 1981 Reunion in Mexico.

We received a telephone call from Mexico with the sad news that Mother Bowman had a tragic accident. She fell in her little home and hit her head on the sink and passed away April 1, 1978. Here is a quotation from the "History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico." "On April 1, 1978, Jennie R. Bowman passed away. Her funeral services were held April 3, 1978, in the Colonia Dublan chapel. Her son Bob and his wife came from Illinois. They were professional musicians and rendered inspiring instrumental music. Her children and grandchildren gave the entire program, except a talk given by David S. Brown. It was a very impressive service for a very gentle, loving mother, grandmother, and everyone's friend." Also here is a quotation from my brother Wesley's Life Story. "All of her children and many of her grandchildren attended the funeral services. My brother Bob's two sons, Victor and Brian are professional musicians and at the time were members of the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington, D. C. Dressed in their Air force uniforms they played the prelude music, Victor on trumpet and Brian on euphonium. They ended with "O Divine Redeemer". The Bowman brothers sang "O Home Beloved, Where're I wander". Maurice Jr. sang "The 23rd Psalm". Victor and Brian played "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked". My son Chris and Donn's son Harold sang "That wonderful Mother of Mine". My brother Bob and Rickie played "Angel's Serenade" and "La Golondrina" on the violin and piano. The women of the ward choir sang "I know that My Redeemer Lives". Between the musical numbers different grandchildren told about the different periods of her life. The talks were by her brother Daniel Owen Robinson and David S. Brown, our former Stake President. Many people told us it was the most beautiful funeral they had ever attended. "This wasn't the reunion we had been looking forward to but it was good to see all the family there. Mother was 88 years old and had spent the twenty years since Dad had his tragic accident loving and serving her family. She certainly was and is a wonderful Mother and we have faith that we will all be together again sometime.

During this time Wesley's sons, Mike and Eric were attending the Palmer school of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Wesley and Mary came up for their graduation in August and we drove down to visit them there. We took them home with us before graduation to see Dixon and we also took them to the House on the Rock, which is one of the "wonders' of the world. Then we went back to Davenport to enjoy their graduation and stayed over Sunday to attend Church with them. Their daughter, Priscilla, took care of their younger children while they were on this eventful trip. Mike ad Eric helped Wesley found a good motorcycle to take to Mexico for their brother, Paul. Of course this made Paul very happy and grateful when they brought it home to him.

In January of 1979 Rickie taught the Charleston dance to the young women of the Ward to perform in a Stake Talent Show. It turned out to be one of the most spectacular and well-done performances on the program and the young women were very appreciative. She was the President of the Young Women in Mutual. It was a challenge but the girls love her and respected her because she was doing marvelously in it. Our children, Victor, Brian and Linda Jane wee featured in the Air Force Band Spring Tour down the East Coast to the Virgin Islands. Victor and Brian played a duet that was especially written for them and Linda Jane did a special arrangement of "Heliotrope Bouquet" accompanied by her brothers and the Band. She also sang in the "WUSA" Quartet that performed a medley of songs using costumes and dancing. Rickie traveled by bus and met them in Savannah, Georgia and toured with them for four days hearing concerts in Savannah, Jekyll Island, Daytona Beach and Melbourne. Our grandchildren, Eric, Brent and Brian P. came to spend the summer with us. Linda Jane came for two weeks and played flute and sang solos with the Municipal Band that I was conducting. She joined in the fun activities with the grandchildren. Every week day after Summer Band lessons were over at 5:30 we would go into our program of swimming, fishing, roller skating and games. Eric was especially busy as we gave him piano and violin lessons. Rickie gave him a special reading course that required daily practice. Brent was enjoying the piano and Briancito was a whiz with the drum set. We had a World Conference of the Church in Madison, Wisconsin and enjoyed taking our grandchildren. We arrived home just 20 minutes after a tornado struck our town and were appalled to see the gigantic tree in front of our home lying across the street to the west. If it had fallen to the east it would have crushed our home. We felt very thankful for that blessing. Rickie always managed to keep their "tummies" satisfied with good food and treats. They had so much fun that they coaxed their parents to let them come the next summer and it became an annual event. All of our Children and Grandchildren came home for a wonderful Christmas.

Scan084, June 26, 2004 Just before school started we took a trip down to Southern Illinois to visit relatives and get more details on genealogy. Rickie did a lot of counseling on the piano bench and since one of her teen-age students was having emotional problems we took her along and she got a new outlook on life. As soon as we got home we drove to Minnesota and visited with Nellie Sauder and her family and wrote down more family history. The last of November we went in to Chicago to see Linda Jane and hear her solo with the Singing Sergeants for the big 4H Convention at the Conrad Hilton Hotel. She loves to sing and in Washington DC has a part time job delivering s for "National Onion" which is paying for her new little red Datson 510. We also went down to the University of Illinois to spend a day with Brian and hear a recital he played in the Concert Hall there. Our daughters in law are very busy also. Kay is in demand as a vocal soloist with the Army Band and her Army Chorus and directs the choir in her Ward. Vinette is doing a great job as Relief Society President and still works part time as a computer Consultant.

All our family came home for Christmas and Linda Jane brought Steve Peters, her friend from Arlington. He gave us a beautiful bouquet of roses to put on the table. We enjoyed caroling around the neighborhood to all our friends with some of us playing instruments and the rest singing on Christmas Eve. When we got home Rickie served us hot chocolate and homemade sweet rolls. Then we all participated in our family orchestra as we had done on other Christmases before getting the children to bed after hanging up their stockings around the fireplace. Of course Christmas morning was joyful as usual sharing the opening all the presents. This was all climaxed by our delicious traditional dinner with enthusiastic conversation about the activities of each family. Everyone left for their home just in time to miss the big blizzard of 1979 that dumped several feet of snow on us. After shoveling the sidewalk the snow was so high that from our porch we couldn't see the cars passing by on the street.

In 1980 we saw some beautiful cream colored paneling with beautiful nature scenes embossed on it. Rickie thought that it would really look beautiful in our upstairs hallway and stairwell. So I installed it and ceiling tile also. I fell off the ladder in the stairway trying to reach too far and had to go to the chiropractor to get my back adjusted. Luckily I had no bad complications and Rickie's vision was realized and is beautiful to this day.

Steven Bowman We spent our Easter vacation following the Air Force Band through Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee and had a wonderful time. In July our entire family, Vinette's parents and her sister Judy and her two children, 16 in all spent a week at Rehoboth Beach in New Jersey. We all stayed together in a large Beach house that Brian had rented just three blocks from the Ocean. We had great fun sunning on the beach, swimming in the ocean and skating on the streets. To top that off we brought our three grandchildren, Eric 11, Brent 9, Brian 7 and a nephew from old Mexico, Steven 15, back home with us for the rest of the summer. They were excited to help me dig a 6x4 pit by the sidewalk to find a water leak We found it, repaired it and they enjoyed climbing in an out of the big hole. We all worked to cover it up again. This summer we took them skating to the White Pines Roller Rink instead of just on our sidewalk and they had great fun and became quite proficient zooming around the rink. We were invited to swim at Dr. Collin's big swimming pool and to use their big outdoor trampoline. Eric really became expert at that but Brian P. and Brent had just as much fun.

Caludious & nel Dixon May, 20, 1981 Claudius and Nelle came to Dixon to visit us. We took them to Washington D. C. to see the sights and to see and hear Victor, Brian and Linda Jane in a Concert by the Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants. They were trilled with the concert and said that it was certainly worth the trip. Linda Jane invited Claudius to sing a duet with her from the opera "Carmen" at her voice lesson at the Catholic University where she was getting her Master's Degree in Voice. The teacher complimented Claudius on having a natural tenor voice like his own father had. He said that his father, without any training could sing a high "C" easily anytime while he had to really work at it. Claudius asked Linda Jane to sing her recital in Mexico for the Summer Reunion in Mexico and said that he would really be honored to sing the duet with her in the program. She accepted the invitation and said that she would see if her accompanist, Georgia Hurry could make the trip with us.

Before going to Washington DC we took Claudius and Nelle to see the home where President Ronald Reagan lived when he was young. I will quote from the autobiography that Claudius wrote as follows: "Monday was Decoration Day, so we got to see Bob's big band march and play in a parade. They also held a program at the cemetery. We took pictures. The next evening Bob's band gave a concert on his birthday. We celebrated with him. I found an occupation that I very much enjoyed, that of taping Dad's and Mother's funerals and many other interesting tapes and records he had. On Saturday, May 30, 1981, Bob and Rickie drove us over to Carthage and Nauvoo to visit the Church historical sites there. We visited the Visitor's Center and the homes and shops that have been restored, including the blacksmith shop established by the Webbs, our progenitors. We stayed in the evening to see the drama: "Trailing Clouds of Glory" in the Pioneer Cultural Hall. We got back to Dixon at 1:00 A.M. They took us to see relatives and friends, and we also gave a Mexican supper to friends they invited. All of us helped prepare it and they seemed to like it." After this wonderful time together, we took Claudius and Nelle to O'Hare Field on June 10th for their flight back to Salt Lake City so they could get ready to go to Mexico for the Bowman Reunion the first of July.

All our family made the trip to Mexico the first of July for the Reunion and Georgia came with Linda Jane to our home and we drove to Mexico together. We all stayed at Maurice and Knell's beautiful home. Here is a quotation from Claudius: "The Tailors went on a trip and let us use our home to stay in while they were gone. The Mexico Bowmans outdid themselves preparing such delicious food for us. We had a talent show in the Recreation hall of the chapel, and memories session, telling stories about our growing up days and memories of our parents. We also visited each other to our heart's content". On another evening Linda Jane, accompanied by Georgia sang her Master's Recital very beautifully and received many compliments.

Keith showed us his school where he was the principal and illustrated his gymnastics program by having Maurice and Nellie's son, Stephan, show his advanced routine of acrobatics including back flips, a somersault from feet to feet and walking on his hands Keith and I also walked on our hands for him to see. Keith took some of the boys on a trip to the mountains. Brian and Kenny got lost and had to stay away from camp all night. This made them late getting home so on the night they were supposed to arrive Rickie walked the floor all night worried about them. Vinette said that she was going to bed so she would be rested to take care of any emergency in the morning. Well, the next day they all came home safely and said that they had a great time and will always remember it. We were all given a T-shirt that said "Bowman Reunion `81". We all took turns riding horses and had a big picnic party at the Lake about seven miles from town that was great fun. It was difficult to say goodbye but we took the memories home with us expecting to relax for a little while.

Section 15--Trip to Seattle, Rickie's Busy Piano Teaching Schedule, and Stake Music. Grandchildren visit and Steve piano.

Dad with Caddy-redwood When we got home we had a letter waiting for us from Aunt Jane Stark. She was our great Aunt on Mother's side of the family. She said that she had a very precious violin that belonged to her grandfather and wanted a member of the family to have it who played the violin and would appreciate it. She thought that it was too valuable to send in the mail so said that if we came to see her we could have it. This was very happy news for us so in August we bought a 1980 yellow Cadillac for the very low price of $6500.00 and started on our wonderful trip along the coast of California and through the redwood forest to Seattle, Washington. It was really great to meet Aunt Jane and her family and hear the story of her exciting life. This made up for the disappointment of finding that the precious violin was just an ordinary violin in very poor condition. I put strings and a bridge on it and tuned it up to play for Aunt Jane. I had to adjust my fingering a little because the neck had been broken and repaired leaving it shortened one half inch. I didn't let Aunt Jane know that I was disappointed but thanked her very much for her kindness. Our Colonial Yellow Cadillac worked perfectly and we arrived home from this wonderful trip just in time to start school.

When we went to church our Branch President William A. Balagna greeted us as strangers as we had been gone so much. Of course we missed at least one Sunday a month as I was still serving as a District Councilman and was assigned to visit different Branches or wards. In 1982 I was called to be the Stake Music Director and Rickie was called to be a Councilor in the Stake Relief Society so we were kept pretty busy even when we weren't teaching. I taught private instrumental music lessons in our new addition that was surrounded with windows and Rickie taught piano lessons in the living room. She had taken over Marie Worley's students so now she had about sixty students. Parents told us that they not only appreciated the excellent music instruction their children received but also the good influence on their lives.

It was my responsibility to select the music for the Stake Conferences and combine the entire Ward and Branch Choirs to sing at the Conferences. We would sing about four or five hymns for a prelude and a special number in the meeting. I also conducted the congregation singing hymns with Sister Jan Frank as our very capable organist. During our Spring Vacation we had the joy of driving to Washington DC to visit our children. We were happy that they were all well and happy with their advancement in rating that gave them a little more money. Our grandchildren, Eric, Brent and Brian P. were all in school and said they were looking forward to coming to see us in the summer. Linda Jane proudly showed us her beautiful dog, Serge that she had rescued from the pound and nursed back to health. Also we went to the stables to see her ride her prancing horse. In her spare time she worked delivering Singing Telegrams all over town, wearing a special uniform. It was amazing how she could find all the different addresses in that large complicated city. It required a very good sense of direction.

 

Section 16--Linda Jane' Mission Service In France, Grandchildren' Visit, And Retirement, And Mexico City Temple Dedication.

Now after about four years in Service of her country she would go into the Service of her Lord as she was getting a call to go on a Mission for the Church in the fall. When her call came it was to go to the MTC in Provo in November to prepare for a Mission to France for eighteen months. She was happy that we promised to take care of Sergie while she was gone.

Mom, Dad Y BP We had a great summer with our grandchildren here as usual. Brian P. was enchanted with the drums so he would come with me to Summer Band at South Central School some mornings to play the drums. I would put him in a room by himself with the drum set the timpani and the bass drum and he had a blanket to lay down on when he got tired drumming. He especially enjoyed playing the drum set along with Sousa Marches. He got so good at it that I offered to have him play for the residents at Heritage Square at an outdoor picnic. He dressed up in a band uniform and did an excellent job making up an accompaniment for several band recordings. He was pleased with all the applause. Also in the summer, Maurice, Nellie came to take their son, Steve home. We took them all to see the sights and sounds of Nauvoo. Steve spent two summers with us to study piano at Northern Illinois University. He practiced diligently and his teacher thought he could become a concert pianist. He still had time to spend with our grandchildren. Stan Smith had a daughter, Joanna who was the same age as the boys who joined in some of the activities. Stan being a fine musician was interested in Steve and insisted on paying for his piano lessons one summer. Steve was really captivated with Joanna and invited her and her Dad to come to Mexico for Christmas. They accepted the invitation and really had a good time but the romance faded when Steve went to BYU.

In October Linda Jane received her Honorable Discharge from the Air Force and came home to get ready to go on her Mission. Rickie thought that Sergie was awfully big but she loved him because he was a beautiful good dog. In September, we got Linda Jane's passport and helped her pack everything on the list that she needed then took her to the MTC in Provo for Missionary training, especially in the French language. She loved it and did very well. Of course we missed her at Christmas time. She said that we had Sergie, and that she would write to us. Also the rest of the family came for Christmas and we had the usual wonderful Christmas. Before going to the Mission Training Center Linda Jane had sat down at the piano and recorded some beautiful songs for us to hear her voice when we got lonesome. Everyone enjoyed listening to this tape and reading her Christmas card from France. She said that she and her companion used bicycles for transportation and though they wore ponchos they still got wet in this rainy season but still were enjoying meeting the people to tell them about the gospel speaking French.

Our very eventful year of 1983 started off with our new School Superintendent telling me that the previously arranged leave for us to go to France in 1994 had to be canceled because he planned to have me replace the young lady who was the High School band Director as I was experienced in putting on good Band Football Shows. Rickie and I discussed this problem as we did all problems that came to us and decided that it would be a good time for me to retire at the age of 67 instead of waiting until age 70. So before the last number to be played by the Concert Band in the Spring Concert I asked all the 8th grade students to stand who would be going into High School in the Fall. Then I Last parade DGSBasked Miss Mead, the High School Band Director to come to the Stage. She and the band students had been lamenting the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the year. She was an accomplished musician with a major in flute and very well liked. When she came upon the stage I said: "Now Miss Mead I am putting all of these fine students you see standing here, into your capable hands in the Fall because I am Retiring." This was a big surprise for everyone and she was overcome with joy. She said, "Thank you! Thank you!" Then gave me a big hug and left the stage with happy tears streaming down her face. When School was out we had a big farewell picnic grade band marching last paradeand skating party with many band parents attending and we expressed our appreciation for all the help that they had given us through thirty years. The new Superintendent's plan was to economize so he left Dennis Speer to handle the whole Grade School Program. He lasted only one year, as he didn't get along too well with the Administration. He got a job in Kentucky and got along very well there. We've kept in touch with them and have remained good friends. The Dixon Grade School Program was taken over by Mrs. Ruth Johnson who has done very well.

Since I didn't have the Band Classes this summer we took our grandchildren on a trip to West Bend to see Grandma Sauder and the Grotto of the Redemption. We took a tent and camped in the park there. They were really fascinated with the Grotto and we had great time visiting but they were glad to get back to play time in Dixon. They loved the waterslides in the Water Park, the swimming in Dorothy Forbes pool, the go-carts at White Pines Park and the roller skating at the White Pines Roller rink so were reluctant to go back home for school.

visitor;'s center Mexico In September, 1983 we received a letter from my brother Claudius saying that his son Claudius III, who was the Comptroller in the building of the Mexico City Temple, told him that the Temple would be dedicated the first part of December and it would be great to have all the family there to attend the dedication and have a Bowman Family Reunion. This was very exciting news and of course we planned to go. Victor, Brian and Linda Jane couldn't get leave from the Air Force at this time so we flew down to Mexico City alone. We were invited to stay at Marion and Maurine's home where all our family met for our reunion. They had a large comfortable home and their hospitality insured that we all had a wonderful time. We were blessed to get tickets for the whole family for the first Dedication Service that turned out to be a thrilling, inspirational experience. The Juarez Stake Choir provided the music under the direction of our brother Maurice. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, a Counselor in the First Presidency conducted the Session. In his talk he said that there were probably many unseen people present who were allowed to observe these proceedings. He mentioned the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and a few others. We were all moved to tears with his next statement that "surely Claudius and Jennie Bowman would be permitted to attend because of the great work they did in the Mission here." He went on to say that Dad died serving in the Mission and that he had the opportunity to speak at his funeral in Colonia Dublan. This was an unforgettable, thrilling experience for as Claudius wrote in his Autobiography "As we were sitting quietly in the Temple I guess we were all thinking about Mother and Dad and wondering if they had been permitted to attend". President Hinckley gave a beautiful Dedicatory Prayer that was then read in Spanish by Brother Harold Brown. The first counselor, President Ezra Taft Benson led the "Hosanna Shout". Here is another quotation from Claudius showing that their mexican temple dedicationson, Claudius III was honored for his important work in the construction of the Temple. "Claudius and Marina had been sitting with us in the first session, but they sent for them to go into the Celestial Room with the General Authorities and others involved in the temple construction. They were honored in this way. The General Authorities attending were Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Ezra Taft Benson, Richard Scott, Grant Bangeter, Ted Brewerton, Burke Peterson and Howard W. Hunter. Maurice's choir sounded like angels". President Spencer W. Kimball was ill so was not able to attend. We had a very delightful farewell party at Marion and Maurine's home before we all left Mexico City with plans to have another reunion in Colonia Dublan in two or three years.

When we arrived home we immediately went to pick up Sergie from our good friend Stan Smith, who played organ solos in our Dixon Music Club. Since none of our children could come for Christmas this year we invited our very dear musical friends Walter and Mary Whipple and their young son, Timothy, to spend Christmas with us. They both sang beautifully and Walter taught at Rockford College specializing in organ. I succeeded him as Stake Music Director. He had just returned from Poland where he took instruction on violin making. Their plans were to go to BYU as soon as possible

 

Section 17--Stake Road Show Director Years, and Rickie Stake Relief Society Music and Recreation Director. Trip to France.

With the coming of the New Year we were called to be Stake Road Show Directors. We went right to work on this responsibility and February 23, 1984 sent out the following letter.

Dear Bishop and Ward Road Show Director,

1.     The finalized date for the Road Show this year is May 12th at 7:00 P.M.

2.     The Theme approved the Stake Activity Committee and the Stake President is THE STATE OF THE UNION. This Theme offers the opportunity for each Ward to use ingenuity and creativity in developing a Script about the state, condition or status of the unity of the selected situation such as Family, Ward, Mutual, Marriage or any organization of the Church or Country, Team or Committee.

3.     Each Ward should identify immediately the Ward Road Show Director and the ScriptWriter so they can start working right away.

4.     Rules for the Road Shows this year are as follows:

(1) Time for the show will be 8 to 10 minutes. An Olio may be performed. In front of the curtain while the stage is being set.

(2) Participants may be of any age and family participation is encouraged.

(3) Sets and decorations should be simple and movable.

(4) At least one song or musical number should be included to enhance the show.

(5) Solo or group dancing should be included in the show in harmony with the script.

5.     Competent judges will be provided to evaluate the Road Shows to determine

the recipients of the following Awards: (1) Best Script. (2) Best dramatic

performance. (3) Best Musical performance. (4) Best dancing performance

choreography. (5) Best staging including lighting and scenery. (6) Best

Olio. (7) Best Actress. (8) Best Actor.

6.     Posters for this big event are being prepared by Sister Donna Abbot and will

Distributed to each Ward to encourage participation and attendance.

7.     Brother and Sister Bowman will contact you by telephone when they return

From Europe the first part of April to make a date for a meeting with the Ward Road Show Director to get all the information needed to print the program and to plan to help in any way needed. If you should need more information or assistance before the first of April please contact the Stake Activity Chairman Brother Jack D. Ward: 3452 Conover Drive, Rockford, Il. 61111. Telephone: 282-1823.

With best wishes for a joyful activity

Bardell and Fredericka Bowman

Stake Road Show Directors

 

At this time Rickie was also serving as Stake Relief Society Music and Recreation Director and also Ward Music Chairman so we were really immersed in Music. Now we had a change of activity as we had to get ready to meet Linda Jane in France the first of March and bring her home from her eighteenth month Mission. Stan Smith offered to take care of Sergie again while we were gone. We got our passports and packed as little as possible as we knew that Linda Jane would have a lot of luggage to bring home. Our flight took us to Luxembourg where we exchanged some money so we could buy tickets to board the train for Paris to meet Linda Jane. President Crockett sent two missonaries to pick us up at the depot and take us to Linda Jane's apartment. We were greeted with joyous hugs and kisses and an invitation to attend the farewell testimony meeting for departing Missionaries the next night at the Mission Home. We found a good Hotel room and had a great visit talking about Seur Bowman's wonderful mission and plans she had to visit some of her friends to whom she brought the gospel and to see some of the beauties and wonders of Paris.

The Testimony meeting at the Mission Home was very interesting and inspiring and of course we were very happy to hear President Crockett thank and praise Linda Jane for her dedicated service during all of her Mission. He appreciated the little letter she sent with her report each week. Her first assignment was to the Orleans District with Sister Wheatley as her companion. I'm going to copy her first letter here and his response.

Dear President Crockett,

"It is difficult to believe I'm really here. All the Sisters in our apartment are really great. I love my Companion, my bike, my City, the food and the people we've taught. I can see that it is going to take a great deal of commitment and dedication for me to be successful here. I have much to learn and am grateful to have such an able Senior Companion to help me. I am extremely happy to be here. My greatest challenge will be to use every minute of the day wisely so that I can be prepared to teach mentally, physically and spiritually. Many thanks!" Seur Bowman.

"You shall do well. Your positive attitude ensures a delightful harvest. Excellence continues. Orleans is being taught and testified to. His Servants are doing His will. I am delighted." President Crockett. We said we would look forward to hearing and reading all about her Missionary experiences. Here is a letter that Sister Crockett wrote to her for her birthday in 1984.

Dear Sister Bowman,

Have a Happy, Happy Birthday. I know you will. You are one of the neatest Sister Missionaries and I adore you. You are so fantastic and have been blessed in so many ways and because of all your blessings and talents you are able to bless he lives of so many people. You have much enthusiasm and a joy for life. You are always happy and smiling. You are sensitive to the needs of others and always have a helping hand. I remember when you first arrived in the Mission Field how you helped me in the kitchen of the Mission Home although you were tired and in jet lag. On top of your personality traits you have an excellent knowledge of the Gospel and use it in your decision making. Then you have studied and studied and bless so many with your many musical abilities. You are one great total woman. Your apartment is fantastic and much is due to your leadership. Keep up your great missionary work and in all that you do remember you are loved and appreciated by us. Love, Sister Crockett.

Linda Jane was now free from her missionary duties so she took us sight seeing in beautiful Paris. Of course we went to the to the top of the Eiffel Tower for an exciting panoramic view of the whole city. She took us to fascinating shops and in one of them she found some fancy hose that we were happy to purchase for her as special memento. We ate at a delightful sidewalk café that gave us a little taste of life there. We especially enjoyed visiting people to whom she had introduced the gospel. We had a really enjoyable evening with one of her special member families who invited us to have dinner with them at their home. Their two young children were very well behaved while the husband and wife served the meal in courses. First came the salad then vegetables then the meat then the dessert and last of all different kinds of delicious cheese. After each course they would go to the kitchen to prepare and bring the next course so the meal took quite awhile and afforded time for very interesting conversation. It was really neat that they spoke English. We thanked them for such a wonderful time. They said that we really ought to go see a ballet performance at the beautiful, grand Opera House. We took their advice and on March 13th attended the "Soiree de Ballet". The performance was fabulous and the Opera House was elegantly ornate giving us a very exciting, memorable experience. Linda Jane wanted to take ballet lessons when she was young but they weren't available in Dixon so she became a very good tap dancer.

Linda Jane had to bid Paris and France a fond farewell as we had an invitation to spend a day with Willis and Beverly Waite in Switzerland. They were on a Temple Mission in Zolikofen. When we arrived they told us that they had the day free and planned to take us to the top of the Shilthorn Mountain and eat in the 707 restaurant that was named for James Bond, who starred in a Movie filmed in the area. On the train on the way to the base of the mountain we sat by a little old lady who had a pair of skies by her side. We asked her where she was going and she said that she was going to the Shilthorn Mountain to go skiing with her grandson down the steep slopes. We asked her how she could do that at her age and she said that she had grown up with so it was just like walking for her.

When we arrived we all got into an elevator called a "lift" that took us to the top of the snow-covered mountain. The sun was so warm that a young man was lying on a mat in the snow with his shirt off getting a sun tan. When we went into the restaurant we were amazed to see a very large round room with windows all around. When we sat down at a table facing the windows a pretty little maid, dressed in Switzerland attire, told us that the room would revolve 360 degrees in one hour so that while we were eating we would have a beautiful view of all the mountain slopes. The food was very good and we had a wonderful visiting while watching the changing scenes. Willis and Beverly said that they were very happy working in the Temple there and invited us to stay over and do a Temple Session the next morning. We were happy to do that and enjoyed it very much. I was surprised to meet LaPriele Bluth working there, as she had been one of my Missionary Companions in Mexico City in 1936.

We thanked our dear friends, Willis and Beverly for this wonderful experience and took the train to Stuttgart, Germany to visit Rickie's relatives, Otto Schaeffer and his family. They welcomed us warmly and were quite amazed that we actually came to Germany to see them. Every morning Otto would walk to the bakery a few blocks from their home and bring home delicious sweet rolls for breakfast. He was an engineer at the Mercedes Benz automobile plant so took us on an interesting tour. Rickie was really fascinated by a red convertible with every luxury on it. The price was $60,000.00 so we didn't bring it home. Then next day Otto took us in his Mercedes Sedan to see the legendary Black Forrest that included a tour of an old Castle. Of course we invited them to come to visit us in Illinois and they said that they would like to do that, as they also wanted to see their relatives Lee and Ben Zaugg who lived in Rockford. Two years later they came for a Reunion at the Zaugg family home and we were privileged to have them in our home also.

The amount of luggage we had was almost unbelievable but we made it the last of March to the White Side Airport in Sterling, Illinois where Bob and Norma L'Heureux picked us up and took us home to Dixon. They were interested and excited to hear all about our marvelous trip to Europe and were glad to see Linda Jane safely home, well and happy. Linda Jane was really pleased that her beautiful dog Sergie recognized her and jumped for joy when he saw her which helped her to feel right at home.

We had two responsibilities to take care of right away when we arrived home. One was to rehearse the Stake Choir and send a list of the members of it to the Regional Music Coordinator, Brother Sylvan D. Ward who would conduct the 300 voice choir at the Multi-Stake Conference on April 15th at the University of Illinois Chicago Campus Pavilion, 1140 W. Harrison Street, Chicago. I also sent a list of the men who would sing in the Priesthood Chorus on the night of the 14th. The second responsibility we had was to contact the entire Ward and Branch Road Show Directors to insure and help their participation on May 12th at the Rockford Stake Center. This date just happened to be our 41st Wedding Anniversary. We were very happy that these two events proceeded beautifully promoting very good feelings among our Stake members. It was an inspiring experience for us to sing in the 300-voice choir and hear the wonderful talks at the conference. People told us that the Road Shows were exceptionally good this year.

In June Linda Jane attended a Single Adult Conference in Madison, Wisconsin and there met Don Rice who gave her a lot of attention which included a ride with him on his motorcycle, that she thought was great fun. He was divorced and had a home in Freeport. Linda Jane accepted a position to teach Junior High School Music in Galesburg, Illinois to start the last of August. This was near enough for Don to make the trip on his motorcycle to see her. Of course she took her dog, Sergie, with her and bought a horse to ride on weekends.

 

Section 18-- Our Genealogy Mission Years With Visitors.

Elder & sis Bowman MTC Our life changed in June also as we received a call from the First Presidency to go to Mexico City on a Genealogy Mission for the Church. We accepted the call, which was extended to us by the Stake President and received instructions to report to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah the first of September. This gave us time to make needed preparations such as paying someone to check our home every week and send us our first class mail for a year. We were given a suggested list of clothes and things to take on our Mission to help meet any situation that might arise. We planned to take our red station wagon but that was canceled by an accident coming from Rockford to Dixon. After a special meeting with our Stake President we were bringing Walter and Mary Whipple's son, Timothy, home to spend time with our three grandchildren. It was raining and as we came around a sharp curve a car was stopped right in our lane waiting to make a left turn. A car was coming from the other direction so we couldn't pass. Because of the wet highway we skidded into the rear of the parked car. The driver was a young girl who lived just down the lane on the left. Her father heard the crash and came running to see what had happened. He told us that he never stopped to make a left turn but turned around in a lane ahead so that he could turn right into his lane. The police came and an ambulance. No one was blamed or given a ticket for the accident. Our car was totaled and was towed away to the near town of Byron. Fortunately none of us were injured but they insisted on taking us to the hospital in Dixon to be examined. Tim, only ten years old, had a good time telling Eric, Brent and Brian P. about his exciting experience. We called Walter and Mary to tell them what had happened. Of course they were glad that no one was hurt in the accident. The boys had a really busy, fun time before going home to school as they realized this would probably be their last vacation here for mission picutrequite a while.

Mom & Dad Mission training center quartet Instead of driving to Provo, as we had originally planned, our dear friends, Bob and Norma L'Heureux took us to the O'Hare Airport with all our luggage. Rickie gave them a Book of Mormon and asked them to read it while we were away. They said that they would as a special favor to us. My sister, Dorothy, kindly met us at the Salt Lake City Airport and took us to Provo where we joined about two thousand others for the six-week training session. We became very good friends with some other couples there. We especially enjoyed Arthur and Mary Pierce from El Paso as they were in our Spanish classes preparing to go to Merida, Mexico as Welfare Missionaries. Since I was already fluent in Spanish I concentrated on helping Rickie. She enjoyed speaking Spanish and learned very rapidly. She was chosen to accompany the hymns in our devotional assemblies and we were asked to play violin and piano for some of the programs. The food was cafeteria style and was very good. We were taken to the Salt Lake Genealogy Center for special instruction to help us conduct genealogy seminars when we arrived in Mexico City. When we had some free time we enjoyed visiting Ralph and Lucy Laycock and their family in Orem. Our final Devotional was a very inspirational send off into the Mission Field so we felt really ready to go to work.

We had a good flight to Mexico City and were welcomed by President Quentin Harris and Sister Harris and taken to the Mission Home. This was the beginning of a very harmonious and helpful relationship that lasted throughout our Mission. They took us to see the Temple and the Temple apartments. The Temple complex was enclosed by a wall and included three apartment buildings for people to lodge when they came to the Temple from out of town. Also there was a spacious Stake Center, a beautiful Visitor's Center and a Genealogy Center. Across the street on the West Side of the Temple were enclosed the Temple Apartments for Missionaries to rent. Nellie Romney, one of my High School Classmates, was just released from her Temple Mission so we were allowed to rent the apartment she had which was the largest one and nicely furnished except for a table which we were able to procure from the Temple Supply Office.

We would be working under the supervision of President Harris so we had a meeting to outline our work. We would be teaching genealogy to all the Wards in the eighteen Stakes in the Mission. We were given all the information we needed to find them all. Hermano Gomez and his wife were given the responsibility to drive us in their little Volkswagen to the appointments we would make in the Mexico City area. President Harris arranged for us to check out a car from the motor pool to travel to other States. President Harris suggested that we get all the help we could from the director of the Genealogy Center, Hermano Pacheco. He was very helpful in providing all the material we would need to prepare a Seminario Genealogico (Genealogical Seminar) to use in teaching classes in each Ward. He was very pleased with our finished product as it had instructions how to do research and how to fill out the genealogy forms step by step. He had it printed out for us and said he would continue to make more copies as we needed them so that each person attending a class could have a copy. Finally we were ready to give our first class and chose to go to the Ermita Ward which was the only Branch in Mexico City when I was there on a Mission in 1935. Hermano Gomez and his wife took us to our appointment there and we found the members to be very receptive, enthusiastic and appreciative. Hermano Gomez and his wife could hardly believe the success of the class and said they would be happy to continue taking us to our appointments. He worked as an insurance agent so could make our schedule in the City. Once they took us to Cuernavaca, down in the tropics and enjoyed helping members fill out their work sheet in the Seminario. On the way back to Mexico City Hermano Gomez commented that it would be nice to take a detour to Acapulco. Just then we discovered that we were on the wrong road because there was a big sign saying "Acapulco adelante". (Acapulco straight ahead). We all had a good laugh about that.

The next week we checked out a car from the Motor Pool to drive to Puebla to teach the Wards in that Stake. On the way back to our apartment the lights on the car go dimmer until the car stopped completely. We advised the Mission Home of our dilemma and President Harris sent two Missionaries to pick us up and had the director of the Motor Pool pick up the car. The next morning President Harris let us take the Mission car to drive to Puebla for our teaching appointments. We got along fine and enjoyed seeing some of the people that I had known as youngsters when I was there as a Missionary in 1935-1937.

In January of 1985 President Harris invited us to go along to a District Conference and scheduled an hour for us to give our Genealogy Seminar especially to the leaders in that area of Toluca. On the way home a car passed us going very fast and Rickie said, "There goes a man headed for an accident." As we came around a sharp curve about two miles ahead we saw the car upside down burning in the field. We stopped and went down to investigate. We found that the driver had been thrown from the car and was lying in the grass seriously injured. President Harris was really Doctor Harris but said he could not treat the man because when the police arrive he would be blamed for what happened to injured man. As it was President Harris had to talk very persuasively to get permission to go on our way instead of going to court as witnesses.

A Mission training Center was established in the Temple Complex with Brother David Lingard and his wife Martha as directors. They asked us to give their classes instruction on how to conduct the hymns when they went out to different Wards. We were very happy to do that and prepared an instruction sheet to help them learn to conduct the hymns very well. David and Martha invited us to their apartment for dinner and afterwards taught us to play dominoes, their favorite game. We became very good friends and had many other good times together.

mission apartmentmission appartment mexico Our apartment became a visiting and counseling center for Missionary couples and some members and Rickie always served refreshments. We stayed well because we washed everything we bought at the market in disinfectant, even watermelons, and we drank bottled water that was electrically purified at the Temple. One of our favorite Temple Missionary couples was Willis and Flora Thompson. He was from Jerome, Idaho and she was from Venezuela. When they had a misunderstanding they came over for a little help as he spoke very little Spanish and she spoke a little English. They got together because of Flora's daughter who married a Missionary to Venezuela when he was released from his Mission and they lived in Jerome. The daughter invited her mother, who was divorced from an abusive husband, to visit her in Idaho. She accepted the invitation and loved being with her daughter and her husband in their new home. Soon the daughter said, "Mama, I want to introduce you to Brother Willis Thompson, who lost his wife because he is a very fine member of the Church." "Oh no", she said. I am not interested in any man". The daughter persisted and arranged a date to eat at a fine restaurant. It seems that Willis was captivated by this beautiful lady and at the end of the meal said in brief English, "You and me marry". "Que es esto de Maria" (What is this about Mary?) He replied, "You and me" and in sign language hooked his fingers together. This she understood and having been won over by his charm she answered with the only word she knew in English; "Yes!" So they were married in the Temple and the daughter was overjoyed. They really didn't have any arguments since they couldn't speak each other's language but "lived on love". Flora learned to speak a little English very rapidly and they went to San Diego as Temple Missionaries for a year. They got along so well and enjoyed it so much that they accepted a call to go to the Mexico City Temple. A very lovely and dedicated couple.

Another interesting and delightful Missionary couple, Brother Glenn Wilcox and his wife June lived in our semicircle of temple apartments. They drove a station wagon down to Mexico City as June wanted her own dishes and some of their own furniture to set up their apartment. Their car was a convenience for shopping and sight seeing but with their American License plates they were stopped and fined for minor violations and sometimes even imagined traffic violations. This made us happy that we weren't able to bring a car. They were from Orem, Utah near Provo.

Ursal, a 77-year-old good-looking man with snow-white hair lived next to us. He had a motor home that he felt gave him extra conveniences. He was having trouble hearing the people at veil so I gave him my old hearing aid that went behind the ear and he could hear very well. Next a very unusual thing happened. A very pretty young senorita, Catalina, (young single lady) thought he looked so much like an angel with his white hair and pleasant smile that she promptly fell in love with him. Of course he was very happily surprised and proposed marriage. She readily accepted and they were married in the Temple and continued doing Temple Work together for a year after which they moved to his home in San Diego and far as I know lived happily ever after.

Hermana Ortega and her two daughters, Laura and Reina became very interested in genealogy so we spent extra time in their home. The two girls taught grade school in their school district and the mother baked fancy cakes for weddings and parties. In the spring the school had a Fiesta de Primavera (spring festival) and the girls invited us to come to the festivities. They had a very spectacular parade with decorated floats and cars carrying the children dressed in beautiful costumes and elegant dress clothes. We took a lot of pictures to show our family when we returned home. After the parade they had a program with the children performing songs, dances and reciting dramatic poetry, all on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

mission pyramids The summer of 1985 seemed to be the time for us to have very welcome visitors. Our daughter Linda Jane came down to visit us in June and we were able to spend time with her between our Genealogy Seminars. Ursal and Catalina took us to the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon in their motor home. I thought that was quite remarkable that this 77-year-old man could drive through the heavy Mexico City traffic out to the Pyramids. After all I was only 70 years old. We all climbed to the top of the Pyramids and picked up the tourist brochures to get the full benefit of this experience. We all had worked up quite an appetite so we entered the picturesque restaurant in the Grotto and treated everyone to a very delicious Mexican dinner we offered to pay Ursal for taking us on this beautiful trip but he said that it was his pleasure especially since he appreciated the hearing aid so much that I had given him.

On Wednesday, June 12th, our Month-aversary, we started quite early to take Linda Jane down town to see the Zocalo. (The large city square in the center of the city.) It was surrounded by beautiful buildings and shops and on one side was the great, ornate, picturesque Cathedral. Linda Jane was really impressed with the massiveness of the Cathedral because it was so different from the Cathedrals in France. She loved all the little shops and especially admired a beautiful red dress. Later we went back and bought it to give to her as a memento from Mexico. In the evening we were able to take her to see the Folklorico Dances at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a fabulous building. On the glass curtain of the stage was depicted the two volcanoes, Popocateptl and Icztacihuatl and before it was raised for the performance a scene was shown of the sun rising between them. All the typical dances of the Mexican Nation were performed in beautiful costumes with the typical music. One of the performers was a Mormon young lady, Adela who worked in the Temple Visitor's Center.

On Saturday, since there was no school, Hermana Ortega and her daughters, Laura and Reina took us to Zochimilco (the floating gardens) as they thought Linda Jane should really have the experience of riding in the decorated flat bottom boats that traversed all the waterways of the gardens. Our chalupa (special boat) was decorated with a large wreath of flowers at the front with the name "Alicia" at the top. The captain of our boat stood in the rear and propelled the boat forward with a long pole. As we moved along we admired the many beautiful flowers along the waterway on both sides. We passed by a whole field of blooming roses that Hermana Ortega pointed out. Soon two ladies in canoes hailed us. One was selling tacos and tamales and the other one had paletas (ice cream on a stick) and soft drinks. Of course we bought some to enjoy eating along the way. Then a larger boat came along side with a Mariachi Orchestra offering to play music for us. There were eight members and they charged 600 pesos for each piece. After one delightful number I paid the violinist to let me play his violin and chose to play the Jarabe Tapatio with the orchestra. They really thought that was something so wouldn't take any money for that pieza. When we finished our entertaining boat ride Hermana Ortega bought two plants in the little market there to plant in her flower garden at home. On the way to their home we stopped at the Tlalpan shopping center that had a large bakery. We bought some bread, some ice cream and some cuscos. Linda Jane really liked the fried cuscos as they were like a long donut. We thanked the Ortegas for this wonderful tour and they invited us to come to their home for dinner party the next Monday evening.

When we arrived at the appointed time of 6:00 P.M. none of the other guests the girls had invited were there so Hermana Ortega took us upstairs to see her bake shop. She had just stirred up a fancy cake for the party and put it in the oven. She had a really elaborately decorated wedding cake on the shelf to be delivered the next morning. Six young people arrived about 7:00 P.M dressed beautifully. After warm greetings and lively conversation with some singing accompanied by one of the young men on the guitar, we were served a delicious dinner about 8:00 P.M. Now Linda Jane understood why Mexico is sometimes called the land of "Manana" (tomorrow). They invited us to attend the MIA (Mutual Improvement Association) program by the young men and young women in the Stake Center the next night. Of course we accepted that invitation con mucho gusto. (With much pleasure).

When we arrived at the Stake Center Tuesday night the place was packed with members from all the Wards in the Stake. Each Ward presented songs and dances in beautiful typical costumes and Linda Jane thought that some of them were as good as the professional Folklorico dancers we had seen at El Palacio de Bellas Artes. Two Elders were there from the Mission Home and asked if Linda Jane had seen El Castillo de Chapultepec, the castle where Maximilion and Carlotta lived as Spanish rulers of Mexico. When we told them she hadn't seen it yet they offered to take us there in the morning before taking Linda Jane to the airport for her flight home in the late afternoon with permission of President Harris. We didn't get much sleep that night as Linda Jane had to pack her things and we had so much to talk about. She said that she planned to move to Rockford in August and probably do some substitute teaching.

The Castle of Chapultepec was built on the top of a hill on the south side of Mexico City and from the courtyard we had a panoramic view of the whole City and a breathtaking view of the two volcanoes in the distance to the east. We heard the story that a princess, Icstacihuatl. She was so grieved that her fiancee died in the war that she went up on the mountain side and perished. Then her fiancee, Popocatepetl, returned from the war unharmed and went out to the mountain to keep a vigil for his sweetheart and died by her side. Now the tall mountain bearing his name watches over his sweetheart's mountain that looks like a sleeping lady. We went inside the Castle and found that it was really a Royal Palace that had been turned into a museum that you have to see to believe its grandeur.

We were sad to have to say goodbye to Linda Jane but were very happy that we could arrange time to have this wonderful time with her. Also we told her that it wouldn't be long until we would be together again as our release from the Mission should be in September. We continued our goal to teach all the eighteen Stakes in the Mission. We had to walk a half a mile to the Post Office for our mail and a mile to the market pulling our little cart to shop for groceries. Prices went up as the exchange of pesos went up so we often carried a thousand peso bill to do our shopping.

In July Ralph and Helena Belnap came form Dekalb Illinois for a visit. Ralph was a Professor at Northern Illinois University and he and Willis Waite were Councilors to the Mission President so we had spent time together as I was serving in the District Council. They really enjoyed their vacation seeing the sights and doing many of the things we did with Linda Jane. The extra experience we had with them was to go through the Visitor's Center and the Temple. President Harris renewed our Temple recommends so we could go through an Endowment Session in the Temple with them. The very large picture window of the Visitor's Center faced the six-lane highway that passed on the East Side of the Temple. In the center of this reception room was a large statue of Christ like the one in Temple Square in Salt Lake City. People passing by on the sidewalk would see this figure and come in to see it. There was a circular row of seats in front for people to sit and listen to the meaning of the figure of Jesus Christ and hear an introduction to the tour of the Visitor's Center that dramatized the Gospel Plan. All of us were then directed to a large elevator that had flashing lights that flashed faster as we ascended to the first room that depicted our life in the Spirit World. Here a couple talked about Heavenly Father's plan to send them to earth to have a body and keep all of His Commandments. They expressed their desire and hope to find each other on earth.

The drama continued in the next room that was earth. The couple did meet, got married and had a son to care for. When he was bout six years old he ran into the street to get the ball that he and his father were playing with. His father ran after him and pulled him from in front of an oncoming car. In doing that the father was hit and died. The young mother grieved for her husband but gave thanks to God that her husband had been able to rescue their precious little son.

In the next room we saw the father greeted by his grandparents and other family members who had died before, now all dressed in white, waiting in Paradise for the resurrection through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since they had passed away before receiving the Gospel they were now anxiously waiting for the Temple Work to be done for them on earth. We then saw that the husband was permitted to communicate with his wife to help her get all the genealogical information needed to have their baptism, endowments, marriage and sealings done in the Temple so they could go to the Celestial Kingdom. We next went into the Celestial Room and saw families living together engaged in service. When we returned to the reception room we were given cards to write our name and address and to indicate if we would like the Missionaries to call to teach more about the Gospel Plan. This provided so many referrals that the Missionaries were really pushed to take care of them all. This was the second time we went through the Visitor Center's program as we had also taken Linda Jane through it. Ralph and Helena thought the Temple was very beautiful and the enjoyed going through the Session even though they had to be prompted some in their Spanish responses. They were so happy that they had come to Mexico City for their vacation and said they would always remember the wonderful time we had together.

Early in our Mission we received the sad news from Victor that he and Kay had become completely incompatible and that though they had gone to the Stake Presidency for counsel they decided to get a divorce and go their separate ways. In the settlement of the divorce Victor gave their home and all their property to Kay and custody of their two boys, Eric and Brent with him having visitation privileges. Victor's Bishop advised him that now he was free he could start dating other young women if he so desired. He was now sharing an apartment with a tenor saxophone player in the Air Force Band so was free come and go as he pleased. After dating several beautiful Mormon girls he wrote to us that he had found one that he was falling in love with and wanted to bring her down to Mexico City to get our approval. Her name was Cynthia Hilton and she was working for the Government in Washington DC

When they arrived Victor introduced us and told us that she was so efficient and knowledgeable that she wanted to arrange their transportation. She seemed to be very concerned for Victor's welfare. When we were sight seeing downtown in the Zocalo, doing a lot of walking, Victor was having trouble with his feet so she insisted that we go to a shoe shop and get him some more comfortable shoes. We did that and he had no more pain. They went with us to one of our Genealogy Seminars and afterwards to the home of one of the members for a late dinner. Victor took his trumpet along and at the families request played some Mexican songs for them. Cynthia was concerned that he was getting too tired as it was so late so suggested that we go home to our apartment even though the family wanted to hear more music. When we arrived we planned to have Cynthia sleep in our little guest cot in the living room and Victor on a mattress in our bedroom. She said she wanted him near so asked if he could sleep on the couch in the living room. She won Rickie over when she said; "If our marriage isn't happy like yours I know it wouldn't be Victor's fault but mine." They became engaged and planned to be married in the Washington DC Temple in September when we could be there.

Our next visitor came from Navojoa in August to be sealed in the Temple to his wife. He said that he owed everything to Hermano Bowman (Brian) because he taught him to play the trombone in the Banda Juvenil de Navojoa and Music had become his life as he started a dance band that played many engagements. Also he had become a member of the Church because of Brian and was married to a beautiful Mormon lady. He had a little ocarina with him that he played very well and I got out my violin and we had a very good time playing duets. His name was Daniel Lopez and he called Brian on el dia de los maestros (teachers day) and thanked him for all that he had done for him and gave him the good news that he was now married to his wife for all Eternidad (Eternity).

Also in August President Harris scheduled a Zone Conference for all the Missionaries. One of my brother Keith's sons, Jonathon came over to our apartment to greet us before the Conference started and we had a wonderful visit. He told us that some of his investigators were so receptive to the Gospel that they gave them the baptismal challenge after the first discussion. Rickie invited him to bring some of his friends over after the Conference for a pancake dinner. "Wow!" he said. "That will be awesome." Rickie enlisted my help and we stirred up a big batch of pancakes and made some maple syrup and got the griddle ready and put on the first eight pancakes at 11:30 A.M. Just in time here came Jonathon and six other Elders. After Jonathon blessed the food they started eating and it was a joy to see and hear how much they were enjoying the pancakes with milk to drink. "Oh, Oh" I said, "Honey stir up another batch of pancakes quickly because hear come a dozen more Elders into our courtyard. What a great time we had. It seems that the word leaked out that the Brother and Sister Bowman are serving pancakes in their apartment so they kept coming. Now there wasn't room in the apartment so they had to eat outside. This didn't dampen their enthusiasm at all. They said that they would always remember this treat as one of the highlights of their Mission.

The last week in August while we were out of Mexico City giving Genealogical Seminars in Puebla we heard that a strong earthquake had hit Mexico City causing a lot of damage. We returned to our apartment with trepidation but found no damage. Elder and Sister Wilcox were not so fortunate as a shelf in their kitchen toppled over and many of their precious dishes brought from home were broken. The Temple was not damaged as it rested on pilings driven deep into the soft earth. We were jokingly told that this earthquake might be an objection to us leaving the Mission next week.

On the first of September President Harris called all the Missionaries who were departing at this time to a Farewell Testimonial program at the Mission Home. This was a very inspirational time with mixed emotions. We felt happy to be going home but sad to be leaving the Mission and all the people we had come to love through our work. We were complimented on having taught all the Wards in the eighteen Stakes and the Branches in the Districts. Sister Harris had the tradition of cutting off the necktie of each Elder to make a memory quilt. I wanted to wear a beautiful necktie that Rickie had made for me so I brought along another necktie for her to cut. We were asked to play some music on the program so Rickie accompanied me on the beautiful violin solo "Meditation" from "Thais" by Massenett. President and Sister Harris gave us their home address and telephone number of their home in Utah and asked us to keep in touch with them. We also promised to visit Willis and Flora in Jerome, Idaho and Glenn and June Wilcox in Orem, Utah sometime in the future. So we tearfully said goodbye to all with "Adios! Hasta luego" (God be with you until we meet again). Bob and Norma L'Heureux picked us up at the Whiteside Airport in Sterling and took us home.

Section 19--Home Again Years. Victor's Marriage, Linda Jane in Rockford and Brian's Concert in Des Moines May 9th, 1985.

Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, who were checking on our home, wrote to us that there was some water damage in the basement due to a stopped up rain pipe on the South side of the house but we weren't prepared for what we found. The rug was wet and moldy and had to be thrown out with a lot of other things, but we were thankful that it wasn't worse. It felt really good to be home again and all our friends welcomed us warmly. When we left for our Mission, Bishop William A. Balgna was directing the Ward that had been changed from a Branch in January. He had been the Branch President since August 1978. He was released as Bishop February 3, 1985 and replaced by Brother James E. Baker who welcomed us home with an invitation to speak in Sacrament Meeting. We were also asked to give our report to the Stake Presidency and the High Council members in their meeting the next week. At that time I was called to be the Stake Music Director again. We received Welcome Home calls from Victor and Brian and Linda Jane came down from Rockford to see us right away. We were so happy to see her and asked how her plan to move to Rockford in August worked out. She said that it turned out very well as she was invited by Matt and Marion Ciembronowicz to stay with them until she found an apartment. During this time she looked for a stable to move her horse to from Galesburg. She found a very nice place on Spring Creek Road quite near to the Stake Center. They offered her a job there and a nice little apartment above the stable. She was happy to accept the offer and moved in with her horse and her dog, Sergie. She also got a singing job in King's Hall Dinner Theater at Rockton. With all this we asked her why she seemed so sad. She told us that she thought she was in love with Don Rice and that she was devastated because he just left her to go back to his divorced wife. We then told her that her brother Victor was getting married to Cynthia Hilton in the Washington DC Temple on September the 13th and asked her if she would like to go along. That invitation was just what she needed to feel a little better. We had a very enjoyable trip in the Cadillac that took fourteen and a half hours and received a warm welcome from Victor and Cynthia, her parents Lynn and Hope Hilton, Brian and Vinette and our grandchildren. The Hilton's invited us all to the wedding breakfast at a plush Hotel that was quite elegant and a lot of fun. Cynthia's father, Lynn, told Victor that he admired him for marrying Cynthia as she was quite independent having been taking care of herself for quite awhile. Victor said that he saw something wonderful in her eyes and he was sure everything would work out great. I took movies of everything except the ceremony in the temple. The marriage ceremony was inspiring and beautiful just like ours to be lovingly remembered. They decided to buy a home in Arlington, Virginia, not too far from Bolling Air Force Base. We loaned them thirty two thousand dollars for a down payment so their monthly payment would be less. We assured them that our prayers would be for them to have a very happy marriage and success and joy in their work.

When we got home from this wonderful experience Linda Jane went back to working at the stables and singing in the Dinner Theater at King's Hall. We got busy cleaning our home and yard to get things back in order. We also got right back into Church work with me called to the High Council and Stake Music and Rickie directing the music in the Sterling Ward and teaching the Spiritual Living Lesson in Relief Society. Linda Jane also found the time to sing in Church and attend all the activities. At a dance for single young men and young women she met a tall handsome young man named Edward A. Smith. He told her just to call him Ed and that he had seen her in his Ward in Rockford and really wanted to meet her. He also said that he had served in the Army overseas in the Bankok Area and had joined the Church and was very happy in it.

November 9, 1985 was Rickie's 69th Birthday so I bought a beautifully decorated cake and invited some of our friends in for a little surprise party. She gave me a big hug and a kiss the Birthday Card with a special message I wrote. Just for fun I'm going to copy it here. "Happy Birthday to you my Sweetheart wife, mi querida Riquita!"

"It is difficult to remember life without you because since I met you have been the light of my life. It would be impossible to see a future without you as it would be enveloped with darkness. I love you with all my heart. (Te quiero con todo mi corazon. Ich liebe dich".) In every language now and throughout all Eternity. You are my queen and I adore you. (Te adoro vida mia). Your slightest wish is my command. My greatest joy is to see you happy and since the scriptures say, "Man is that he might have joy." My whole mission is that you, my love, and I might share this joy throughout this life and beyond with each other and our precious family. You remember my promise that you can have anything you want. Right? That's because I love you so. When I'm refinishing or making beams etc. that will be my song without words meaning: Te quiero mucho mi querida esposa! Happy Birthday from your loving husband."

Saturday evening, December 14, 1985 Ed went with us to the Dinner Theater at King's Hall to hear Linda Jane sing. She sang a solo beautifully entitled "Whistle" and played her flute in a Christmas Medley. Ed was really impressed and so were we. The dinner was delicious with bread cheese, soup, barbecued ribs, Cornish hens, vegetables, cake and cider to drink. It was so noisy, with everyone talking that we couldn't understand all the risqué jokes that we didn't want to hear anyway. When we got back to Rockford Ed went to his parent's where he was living temporarily and we stayed overnight with Linda Jane in her little apartment.

The next morning I played a violin obligato written by Linda Jane to "Jesu Bambino" as she sang it for Sacrament Meeting. We received many compliments on the beauty of it. In the evening Ed and Linda Jane took us to eat at the Pizza Hut and Ed insisted on paying for it, which impressed Linda Jane. We spent Christmas together and went caroling to our friends and neighbors. Estella Johnson, who accompanied so many students at contests through the years, her husband Verne, and her family especially, appreciated it, even though we didn't have our whole family with us this year.

Rickie invited some of her piano students over for New Years' Eve. Party. They all had the opportunity to play the piano for their friends and Rickie had baked a big chocolate cake and had punch to go with it as soon as we greeted the New Year with hats and whistles and "Happy New Year!" We all had a very joyous time. Those who participated remembered that evening for a long time as some of have mentioned it in letters.

Our son Brian invited us to come to Des Moines, Iowa on Friday May 9, 1986 to attend his concert at 8:00 P.M. He had a beautiful corsage to pin on his mother. She wasn't feeling very well so we went out for some food and pepto bismo. After this treatment he said that he felt better. He said that he never played unless he prayed so we prayed and he performed his solo beautifully with the University Band. He got so much applause that he obliged by playing an encore. The next morning, Saturday, he held a clinic at 10:00 A.M. to tell, show and demonstrate to the students how they could improve their playing. They received his suggestions enthusiastically, especially how to take bigger breaths to play longer phrases and support a beautiful tone. After the clinic we drove to West Bend, Iowa to see Rickie's brother George, his wife Emma and some of his children. After a delightful visit and some good food we left about 6:30 P.M. and arrived in Dixon at 12:30 A.M. tired but happy.

The next morning Linda Jane and Ed came down for Mother's Day. We all went to Church for a nice program. We came home after sacrament meeting and a delicious meal that Rickie had planned in advance. In the evening we went to the High School Band Concert. I was surprised and sad to see only 32 members in the Band but was happy that they sounded surprisingly good. One of my former cornet students, Tom Whitcomb, who was the French Teacher in High School, had been given the responsibility of the Band. He was very pleased that we came and enjoyed talking to Brian. We took Brian to O'Hare Airfield at 6:00 P.M. for a 7:00 P.M. take off. He called when he got home to let us know that he ad arrived safely and thanked us profusely for a great time.

Section 20--Anniversary, Stan and Dolly Williams, Charity Loughe, Victor and Cynthia, Linda Jane and Ed. Temple.

43rd anniversary stan williams Monday May 12, 1986 was our 43rd Wedding Anniversary. To help us celebrate we invited Stan and Dolly Williams and their grandson Jason for a Belgian Waffle Supper. We served the waffles with Rickie's special homemade maple syrup and they thought that they were the best they had ever tasted. Jason was living with his grandparents because their son Jeff had divorced his wife and married a beautiful Chinese lady who preferred not to take care of Jason. Jeff had introduced the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his parents and asked us to visit them. We did and found them to be wonderful people. They joined the Church and became very active and faithful. Stan worked for a tool and die company and was a very good mechanic and computer operator. They were given responsibilities right away and on November 8, 1987 Stan was called to be the Bishop of the Sterling Ward. He served diligently for five years then was later called to be a Sealer in the Chicago Temple.

On the 21st of May Charity Loughe came from Utah for a week's visit. She had stayed with us for awhile when she was in High School. She and her brother, Andy, were orphans and she wasn't getting along very well with her relatives who were supposed to take care of her. This was surprising because she had such a lovely personality. We had invited Victor and Cynthia to visit us for an open house reception for them at the Church. Victor had been a very beloved Sterling Branch President from April 1972 to June 1974. We met them at the Airport on Saturday the 24th at 9:00 A.M. and drove to the Chicago Temple in the Cadillac to do a Session. Cynthia thought that the Cadillac was new and the most comfortable car she had every ridden in. We go home about 3:30 and had a delicious dinner and a good visit. They liked our new tandem bike so went for a ride on it and Charity took my boy's bike around the town.

Victor was asked to play a trumpet solo in Church the next day so his Mother accompanied him on the beautiful "Sino Nomine". It was announced that there would be an Open House for Victor and Cynthia from 4:00 to 6:30 P.M. in the Cultural Hall and that everyone was invited to come. Victor and Cynthia were delighted with all the people that came and the delicious food Rickie had prepared. There were ham and cheese sandwiches made with on "snow on the mountain rolls", vegetables including carrots, celery, radishes and cauliflower with Rickie's special dip, carrot cake and Texas sheet cake with grape juice to drink. Everyone had a very good time and Cynthia was really impressed by how much everyone thought of Victor.

The next morning, we had Belgian waffles for breakfast and then showed movies of Victor and Cynthia's wedding. Next Cynthia wanted to see some movies of Victor's growing up years. She loved seeing Victor as a little boy and said that he was really cute. We took them to the airport at 5:00 P.M. and they called at 11:00 P.M. and said that they really had a wonderful time and would like to come again. We told them that we would be happy to have them come as often as possible. Charity's brother, Andy, took her to the plane later that night and she called us next morning to say that she had arrived safely and thanked us for our "loving hospitality". She told us confidentially the sad news that the problems in their marriage have brought them to divorce.

The next day we hosted the Dixon Music Club at our home and Rickie was a perfect hostess serving delicious leftovers from the Open House we had for Victor and Cynthia. We played three pieces on the program: "Hungarian Dances #5 and #6" and "The Sleeping Beauty Waltz". All the members performed to present a program that we all enjoyed. Our entertaining continued because the next day May 28th was my Birthday. We invited our dear friends, John and Julie Boss and their three children, Ben, Nick and Jackie over for dinner at 7:00 P.M. John was one of my good clarinet students in the grade school; he served in the Armed Forces, joined the Church and now had a very successful "Boss Carpet" business in Dixon. We had a great time with this wonderful family.

In the meantime Ed had been helping Linda Jane fix up her apartment with new shelves etc., as he was a very handy man. They announced their engagement and said they would like to be married in the Washington DC Temple on August 12, 1986 so Victor and Brian could be with them also. They received their Temple Recommends so Ed could get his endowments in the Chicago Temple before the wedding. I was honored to be Ed's escort in the Temple on May 29th.It was a very inspirational experience and they said they could hardly wait for marriage in August. On the way home we stopped at a little Mexican Restaurant and Ed insisted on paying the bill.

On the 30th we were invited to Rickie's sister Lydia's home for dinner in Edelstein, Illinois. When we arrived we were surprised to find that it was a Birthday dinner for me. We celebrated with Rickie's family Bertie, Herman and Mary. They sent the left over angel food cake and strawberries home with us.

Sunday the 31st, we went to Church in Freeport with our good friends Glenn and Helen Schwendiman then took them to the Open House at the church to introduce the Gospel to all the visitors in an interesting way. Glenn is suffering from Parkinson's Disease and his trembling seems to be getting a little more pronounced but he doesn't let it slow him down so we all had a good time.

Rickie got a phone call fromVincent and Cheryl Gilbert asking if she could do something about a bill for $178.00 they were being charged for phone book advertisement that they had not requested. She called the Telephone Company and got the bill canceled. They really appreciated her help, as it was a great relief for them. Vincent is an organ and piano tuner and repair technician and seems to be happy in the Church and in his second marriage. He had two sons and a daughter from his former wife and they are married and doing well on their own.

Section 21--VC 41 Carrier Reunion and Friends along the Way.

On June 6, 1986 we left home at 5:25 A.M. all neatly packed for a trip to Monterey, California for our VC 41 Naval Squadron reunion on June 15th. We left early so we could stop along the way to see friends and relatives. Our firsts stop was in Oakley, Colorado to see Pat and Thelma Patton at about 8:30 P.M. We exchanged family news and got to bed about 11:30. We saw Pat off to work at 7:30 A.M. and thanked them for their hospitality and left for Orem, Utah to see Ralph and Lucy Laycock. We arrived about 2:00 P.M. in a blinding rainstorm but it didn't dampen our joyous reunion. They told us where Glenn and June Wilcox lived on the Provo Bench as we had promised to visit them when we left the Mission in Mexico City. They were happy to see us and we were happy to see them even though June was confined to her bed. She cried and though she couldn't talk she could understand everything we said. Glenn was taking good care of her and they had their family around them so felt that they were being blessed. Before we left, David and Martha Lingard came to visit them so we had a nice visit with them also.

Monday June the 9th was Ralph and Lucy's 44th wedding Anniversary. They invited us to stay over and celebrate by going out to dinner and to the Utah Art Show with pictures and paintings being posed by live people. We had a wonderful time and Lucy's mother went with us. The performances were superb and very inspiring. I asked Ralph to drive us there in the Cadillac and he was delighted and enjoyed the cornering lights. After breakfast the next morning Ralph the lecture and demonstration of instruments that he was scheduled to give at the Museum tonight. It was very professionally done and I recorded it. Then he expressed appreciation and admiration for the work I had done through the years in the Grade Schools in music which was very kind of him and nice to hear. We left about 1:00 P.M. to go to Salt Lake City to visit Dorothy, Claudius and Nelle.

When we arrived in Salt Lake City and knocked at their doors we got no response so went to the nearby CottonWood Mall to window shop. At 3:00 P.M. we went back and found Claudius home with the news that he and Nelle had just come from Uncle Thel's funeral and that the family would be getting together and eating at Eileens's, Uncle Thel's Home. We went along and had a great visit with all the family there. Claudius told me that they had heard that we would be coming so had put me on the list as a pallbearer and were looking for me to dedicate the grave. We told them that we sorry that we didn't know about Uncle Thel's death and his funeral. Everyone seemed to think that it was a blessing that he could pass away peacefully. We took Aunt Maurine, who was 82 years old to see her sister Aunt Martha who was 86 years old and in a nursing home and had a good visit. Aunt Martha remembered that she had taken us to the Temple when we got married December 4, 1944 and that we stayed at her home overnight.

When we got back to Claudius and Nelle's home we called my long time friend, George Reimchissel and his wife Eileen. She told us that he was in the Hospital, intensive care, with a bacterial infection of the heart, called encarditis with a high temperature and that he wouldn't be able to recognize us. She suggested that we come to see him on our way home from California. We said that we would do that and would hope and pray that he would be a lot better. Dorothy asked if we would like to see the new home that her son Bob is building in Draper. Rickie loves to see new homes so off we went to Draper near Salt Lake City. He drew the plans himself and had the home perfectly framed with the roof on. He planned to get some help on the plumbing and electrical work. We went back to Dorothy's home and she told us that tomorrow a family picnic was planned that would be a lot of fun. Maurice and Nellie were planning to come from Mexico and should be here. They arrived at 7:30 P.M. just as we finished eating but fortunately there was enough food left for them to feast on. Nellie seemed to be overjoyed, as she is very outgoing and expressive. At the table she brought up the subject of them moving to the United States as the situation in Mexico with the high exchange is pretty discouraging. Maurice didn't commit himself one way or he other. After dinner we went for a little demonstration ride in the Cadillac with Maurice driving. Nellie told him that if he moved to Salt Lake City he could drive a car like that. She would like to be near her parents and children and thinks the future looks bleak in Mexico. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

At the family dinner after Uncle Thel's funeral we gladly accepted an invitation Uncle Thel's daughter, Cloris and her Husband Ray Barnes to stay with them a couple of days in Moraga, near San Francisco on our way to Monterey. We left Salt Lake City on Friday the 13th at 7:00 A.M. and were welcomed in Moraga by Cloris and Ray at about 8:30 P.M. They asked about our trip and we were happy to tell them that we had traveled 754 miles that day without any trouble. We ate some delicious California fruit and had a good visit about going into San Francisco to see where we were married May 12, 1943 before going to bed. The next day we went to Oakland and San Francisco on the metro called the BART (Bay Area Rail Transportation) and had a marvelous time going over familiar places. In Oakland we found the Leamington Hotel where we stayed for our six-day honeymoon. It is now an office building so we just took some pictures in front of it. We went to the Leamington Florist shop next door and got a gardenia corsage, Rickie's favorite. When the lady, Marlene, heard our story she insisted on the gardenia corsage being a gift from her. We took her picture and her address and thanked very much. In San Francisco we rode the cable cars and buses for two hours as senior citizens for 15c instead of $2.00. Rickie remembered the address of the Church where we were married as 1647 Hayes Street and we found it. It is now an Emanuel Lutheran Church but we took several pictures and remembered and talked about our beautiful wedding there. Then we went to the embarcadero to take the ferry ride to Oakland that we had done before and found that the ferry was discontinued in 1967. When we got back to Moraga we found a note from Cloris saying that they were at a wedding and to make ourselves at home. We played some music then went around admiring their beautiful home with paintings and artistic things from different countries. Their daughter, Catherine, was getting married soon so we gave her a wedding card with $10.00 when the family got home. She accepted it very graciously.

On June 15th it took us only two hours and fifteen minutes to drive to Monterey. We checked into the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 11:30. After getting settled we went to the Hospitality Room to meet all the gang. Everyone had name tags to help us get reacquainted. It was a wonderful experience to meet old Squadron Mates who had become friends. At 7:00 P.M. we had a banquet to the tune of $21.00 a plate. Afterwards each member of the Squadron arose and gave a short account of his life since leaving VC 41 that was very interesting. The party ended at 10:30. The food wasn't very good but the association was great.

On Monday the 16th breakfast at 8:30 was $8.30 per person. We wanted to take in all the activities. In the afternoon we went to the Monterey aquarium. It was attached to the sea and we really were amazed at the many varieties of fish and sea creatures. In the evening we had a banquet at the Rogue Restaurant at the wharf. We were served prime rib at $17.00 a plate. The price on the board was $9.95 but they included the tip. We went back to the hospitality room for more visiting and received a VC41 cap.

Tuesday morning we got up early, packed our things, ate some fruit and went to the hospitality room to say goodbye and to get the VC 41 Diary. We left about noon and went to the Oakland Temple to do a Session about 4:00 P.M. We then drove to a Motel 6 in Petaluma for the night. The next morning early we took time to enjoy driving through the beautiful redwood forest. We stopped at a Motel in Crescent City and called our friends and family to make a date to see them. Dean and Joyce Drury Thursday night, Loris and Aurelia Stewart in Caldwell, Idaho Friday night, Willis and Flora Thompson in Jerome, Idaho Saturday night and then to Downy, Idaho to visit my sister Kathleen, her husband Dale and family.

On the way to Dean Drury's home we stopped to see Walter Bristow and his family and were invited to eat dinner with them at 5:30. We were happy to hear that Walter was doing well in his law practice and his wife and children were really enjoying playing music together. We left at 7:20 P.M. and arrived at Dean and Joyce's home at 10:30. Joyce had been ill but was feeling much better. We had a good visit talking about old times and catching up on their activities. In the morning after a good breakfast Dean and I had our traditional game of horseshoes and I was happy with him that he won. We finally left at 11:00 A.M. and arrived at Caldwell at about 5:30 P.M. We had a joyous meeting with Loris and Aurelia and they served us a delicious dinner. We then had a great time playing music, Rickie played the piano, Loris the Classic Guitar and I played the violin. Then just Loris and I played the songs we had played for High School programs when we were at BYU. They had a beautiful home and said that they were really enjoying their retirement years. Loris gave us coupon to have our car serviced including a wash job on our way out of Caldwell.

Our next stop was at Jerome, Idaho for our promised visit with Willis and Flora Thompson. We talked about our time in Mexico while eating a delicious dinner. They told us that they had brought Adela home with them and she was going to school at Brigham Young University in Provo. Then they took us to the picturesque Shoshone Falls. We took some pictures to show our family. When we got back to their home we had some delicious watermelon before departing for Downey, Idaho to see Kathleen, Dale and family. We arrived at 7:30 and had that long awaited, enjoyable visit.

Sunday morning we were asked to present a musical number in Sacrament Meeting so we played our favorite for Church "Meditation from Thais" by Massenet. Rickie wasn't feeling very well as she had caught a cold in "Sunny California" but played very well and stayed for the three-hour block of meetings. Kathleen had put a beef roast in the oven so when we got home we had a delicious roast beef dinner with all the trimmings. Two of their sons, Craig and Claud, came to dinner. Craig was helping his father on their farm and raising fighting cocks. Claud was studying to be a physical therapist in a hospital. Kathleen has her hands full making a wedding dress for her daughter Renae. After dinner we played music for all the family including Dale's parents. Claud's little son, five years old, has been staying with them since his parent's divorce and joined right in swinging in the back yard with the other grandchildren.

On Monday June 23rd we went with Kathleen to take her son Karl and Bronson to their swimming lesson at the warm springs swimming pool. This gave us a good opportunity to talk to Kathleen. She said that she was having a problem keeping her boys active in the Church but wasn't giving up. Her son Paul and his wife Sandra were going to bring their children for them to take care of for a week while they went to Mexico City for a Music Convention so they would really have their hands full. After a delicious ham dinner we left for Salt Lake City via Pleasant View and Ogden.

We found my cousin Mel Bowman in Pleasant View and talked about our time working at Jacob Lake together for Uncle Harold. We also visited his daughter Bonnie and her family. Mel told us about his work on the atomic bomb when he was at Indiana University. He said that in that way he had a hand in helping to end the war so I could come home.

Next we drove to the McKay Hospital in Ogden, Utah and Eileen took us in to see her husband George Reimchissel in the Intensive Care Unit. He was having a lot of pain but knew us and thanked us for coming. Our hearts really went out to him as he was so thin and pain racked. The doctors caring for him assured Eileen that he would get well. She wrote us the good news that after a month he was finally home feeling better.

We arrived at my sister Dorothy's home at about 7:00 P.M. and parked in her driveway. We didn't see any lights on in the house so when we knocked and didn't get an answer we walked a few blocks to Claudius and Nelle's home. Nelle's brother Gerald Taylor and his wife were there to start Mission President training the next morning. We had a great visit until 10:00 P.M. before going back to Dorothy's home. Dorothy was very glad to see us when we got there and said that she was probably in the bathroom and didn't hear us knock. She was expecting us to come earlier so had food prepared. She said we could eat the chicken salad tomorrow. Of course we catch up on all the news before going to bed. We were happy that she had such a good attitude about life after all the trials she has and is having. The next day Claudius and Nelle came over for dinner and we all had great time talking about what was going on in our lives.

On Wednesday, June 25th, Dorothy took us out to Draper to see the great progress Bob had made building his home since we were there on the way to California. We complimented him on the beautiful work he was doing and told him we would like to see it when it is finished and they move in. His wife, Peggy was there and they both said they would look forward to another visit next year. That evening were invited to David and Martha Lingard's home for supper at 5:30 P.M. It turned out to be a delicious chicken dinner in their condominium looking out at their glistening swimming pool. We had a great visit and played their favorite game of dominoes. They promised to come to see us in Dixon, Illinois sometime. David told us that his job working for the Church was coordinating business and salaries of Church personnel throughout the world and was enjoying it.

Thursday morning Dorothy had an assignment to do Initiatories in the Temple at 11:00 A.M. She told us that Cliff and Dorothy Erickson, our friends from Freeport, Illinois were working in the new Genealogy Center and would like to see us while she went to the Temple. We were glad to see them and were surprised to see Dorothy's hair completely white. It made her look more angelic and Rickie complimented her on her beauty. We went to the Lion House for lunch and ate at a little table in the garden. They introduced us to Trudy Schenk, a professional genealogist, who charges $12.00 an hour for research. She agreed to search for our ancestors on Rickie's lines when we would send her all the information we have. We were happy about that.

Dorothy took us back to Claudius and Nelle' home and we had a delicious dinner at 2:30 P.M. Then we made a duplicate recording for Claudius of Victor and Brian's duets "Cousins" and "Figaro", using his beautiful Fischer Stereo outfit. Claudius went with us to enjoy doing live Session in the Salt Lake Temple like we did before our Marriage Ceremony December 4, 1944. Claudius took us back to Dorothy's home at 10:30 and we thanked him for a wonderful day.

On June 27th we expressed our thanks to everyone for taking care of us so well and arrived at the Jordan Temple at 10:00 A.M. We were surprised and happy that the floor plan and lay out was almost the same as the Mexico City Temple which made going through a Session all the more enjoyable. We stopped at a Motel in Rawlins, Wyoming that night for a good rest. The next day we drove to Oakley to Visit Pat and Thelma Patton again as promised. They asked us to give their regards to all their friends in Freeport when we got there and tell them they were lonesome to see them. We told them we would be happy to do that and thanked them very much for their hospitality. Our next stop was in Kansas City to see Judy and her husband Jim Mann and their three children, Eric, Brian and Mimi. Judy lived in the apartment above us with her mother and grandmother before she was married so we had become good friends. We had a lot to talk about so we accepted their invitation to stay the night.

The next morning, bright and early we drove out to see Brian's good friend from the Navy and Bicentennial Band, Forrest Philpott and his Mother. He went with us to see the Liberty Jail where the Prophet Joseph Smith was held. Then to see President Truman's home and the Church Visitor's Center in Independence, Missouri. He treated us to dinner at a special pie restaurant before we took him home. He said to be sure to tell Brian "Hello" for him and that he was happy and doing fine. We assured him that we would do that and told him that we really enjoyed being with him. We drove on home that day, the 30th of June and it was really good to be home after 25 days of tripping. We had slept in a lot of nice beds but none seemed as good as our own.

Section 22--Linda Jane and Edward's Marriage, Trips and Brian's Concert.

During the month of July we had a little time to relax but kept quite busy doing the things require after a long trip. On our to do list was to clean the house and the yard, pay the bills, catch up on paper work and letters and take care of our church obligations. Linda Jane and Ed came from Rockford for dinner and to make plans for their wonderful marriage in the Washington DC Temple on August 12th. We offered to take them in our car but they decided to drive their car as they planned to drive to Florida for their honeymoon. They were so excited about it all that they were anxious for the Linda & Eds Weddingtime to come. It seems that nothing is as constant as the passing of time so we soon made the trip safely and all relatives met at Grandpa and Grandma Parry's home in Arlington, Virginia for a wonderful dinner party on the 11th of August. Dean and Virginia Parry are Vinette's parents so Brian and Vinette planned the party and helped make it such a memorable time.

LJ & Ed wedding reception The next morning when we woke up we said, "This is the day!" We all arrived at the Temple at 9:00 A.M. presented our recommends and went to the dressing rooms to dress in white clothing. Next we gathered in the Sealing Room surrounding the beautiful white altar in the center of the room. Linda Jane and Ed were directed to kneel at the altar across from each other and clasp their right hands together on the alter. They were a very handsome couple and Linda Jane looked like an Angel all dressed in white. Elder Mark Henderson performed the beautiful ceremony with many blessings and promises to be realized through faithfulness in the Gospel. Then they were told that they could kiss as husband and wife for all Eternity. There were tears of joy especially from my sentimental, sweetheart wife, Rickie. Next we went to the Visitor's Center Reception Room for a Ring Ceremony in which they would exchange rings after an inspirational talk. Linda Jane asked Victor to play the "Trumpeter's Lullaby" and Brian to play "Danny Boy" on the very inspirational program. We recorded the Ring Ceremony and also took many pictures of the bride and the groom and the family in front of the Temple. After this wonderful experience we all went to Brian and Vinette's home for a delightful Wedding Reception with delicious food and a beautiful wedding cake. Many friends came who were not at the Temple. Linda Jane and Ed were overwhelmed with all that was done for them and were very grateful and happy as they took off in their decorated Newly Wed car for their honeymoon in Florida.

We had a safe trip home to Dixon and began planning for a reception for the newly weds at the church in Rockford when they came home. When they arrived they told us about the marvelous time they had at Disney World, the Epcot Center, and Sea World in Florida. They then moved to Linda Jane's little apartment on above the stable. Ed brought his dog and cat but couldn't give Linda Jane his bird. The next exciting time was their big gala reception. Linda Jane decorated the Cultural Hall with colorful balloons above the dance floor that was lined with a semicircle of tables and chairs for the banquet. The delicious food was catered by Brother Matt Ciembronowicz from Penguin Lockers. Debbie, Ed's sister, made the beautiful wedding cake. Everyone enjoyed dancing to the music of the excellent dance band we hired. The Bride and Groom went home happily laden with gifts. They realized the party was over when they went back to work the next week. Ed to his job with Kirsch Window Coverings and Linda Jane to substitute teaching in the Rockford Schools. The felt that their apartment was a little small so started looking for a home to buy.

As usual I was asked to prepare the Stake Choir to sing about six hymns for a prelude and one special sacred number for the November Stake Conference. This involved having each Ward and District Choir rehearse the music selected then have a combined rehearsal for an hour before the Conference. All the members of each choir did not attend but it seems that the best singers came so it was an inspirational experience for them and for the congregation. We had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving and Christmas with Linda Jane and Ed, as they are so enthusiastic about everything they are doing. They think they have found the house they would like to move into the last of April next year.

We had the joy of picking up our son Brian at the O'Hare Airport on April 24, 1987 for his concert engagement with the Rock Valley Community band in Rockford at 3:00 P.M. April 26th. On the 25th Brian took his Mother and Ed to see Linda Jane's show at the King's Hall Dinner Theater in Rockton, while I conducted the Music in Saturday Stake Conference Meeting. They said that Linda Jane was marvelous. On the morning of the 26th we all went to Stake Conference that was very inspirational with the Stake Choir singing and very fine talks given. Then after a little lunch we went to Brian's Concert at 3:00 P.M. The crowd was small but very appreciative of Brian's fine performance. Linda Jane went with us to take Brian to the Airport and we had a very good visit on the way.

From April 27th to May 1st was moving time for Linda Jane and Ed into their new home on 1806 Ridge Avenue. We were happy that they let us help them pack and move. On Thursday night we moved a van full and on Friday we filled a large U Hall Truck, our Van and Regina's pick up truck and with the help of three Elders got it all moved except the piano. The piano movers called to say that they didn't want to move the piano, as it looked like it would rain. Rickie talked to them on the Phone and convinced them to go ahead and move it. The job was done and everyone was happy though tired. We helped out on their down payment so their monthly payments would be lower. Their home is a very attractive colonial Dutch style with two pillars on a little front porch.

On May 2nd we received a call from my brother Claudius telling us that all the family planned to get together on May 23rd to celebrate Aunt Lucille's 100th birthday. He said they very much wanted us to come and play some appropriate violin and piano music on the program. We had a Symphony Concert scheduled from May 23rd in Dixon. Then a trip on May 28th with Ralph and Lucy Laycock through the Utah Canyons. We called Ralph and Lucy and they suggested that we change the trip with them to August. I decided to get excused from the Symphony Concert so we could leave on May 21st in order to attend the Alumni Meeting and High School Graduation that my brother Maurice was in charge of. We were very fortunate to get round trip tickets to El Paso, Texas for $156.00, which was cheaper than driving.

Section--23, Aunt Lucille's 100th Birthday. Mexico trip.

On May 15th we received a letter to Grandma and Grandpa Bowman from Victor and Cynthia announcing the beginning of a new grandchild. Rickie cried and laughed for joy. We called them to congratulate them and to rejoice with them. We'll see them when we go up for Eric's graduation. Rickie is working feverishly to finish a beautiful afghan for his graduation present. It is a mulberry trimmed with black with his name in black in the center. The total time to make the afghan is about 325 hours. He will appreciate it because he had asked his Grandma to make him one.

Mexico reunion On May 21,1987, our dear friends Bob and Norma L'Heureux took us to the Midway Airport to catch the Southwest flight leaving at 11:10. On the way to take off the slipstream whipped some asphalt against the fuselage so we had to return to the line to have it checked. An hour and a half later we finally took off and arrived at El Paso at 7:50 instead of 4:45. On the flight we were served a glass of juice and a little bag of peanuts. We were happy to see my brother Keith in the Airport waiting to take us to Mexico. We had a delightful visit all the way home interrupted only by a flat tire. Keith drove off the road to put on the spare tire. The jack wouldn't work so I rolled over a large flat stone to drive the car upon so we could raise the jack with no weight on it and slip it under the axle. It worked just fine and with the help of a little key ring flash light that Rickie pulled out of her purse we were soon on our way again. We arrived at Donn and Maurine's about 11:30 P.M. and they had a feast waiting for us of beef stroganoff and fresh garden peas with ice cream and cake for desert. After a tour of their beautiful, spacious home we trundled off to a queen sized bed in a king-sized room with it's own bathroom. This is Donn's dream home that he built with the help of his workmen that is so grand that it defies description so we planned to take pictures.

dad & violin in Mexico Missionmexico 2 May 22nd was very busy as we spent the day visiting Mary and Nellie, going to a young men's basketball championship game at 5:00 P.M. and an award assembly at 8:00 P.M. in Colonia Juarez. Maurice and Nellie's son, Bruce, received the Director's Award. This was the award for the highest all around excellence. Their son, Troy, also received Awards for academic excellence and activities. We complimented them for their achievements.

May 23rd was the day for Aunt Lucille's 100th birthday celebration. At 10:00 A.M., I went down to the old Robinson Home to tune the piano. I had to go over it twice as the pitch was half a step low, which took two and a half hours. There were about 150 in attendance at the dinner and program was held outside on the lawn. Most of them were relatives so we had a great time renewing friendships. The program was wonderful with Mother's youngest brother, Owen Robinson, Master of Ceremonies. There were some wonderful talks given telling about Aunt Lucille's wonderful life with great musical numbers in between. Rickie and I received compliments on the music we played; especially on "The Old Refrain" that was Kathleen"s favorite.

The next day was Sunday and we were asked to play a musical number in Sacrament Meeting. We played our favorite solo for Church, which was "Meditation" from "Thais" by Massenett. Rickie also accompanied Marcel and me on a violin duet "Sweet Hour of Prayer". In the evening we had a family get-together. Claudius told us that Nelle's brother, Gerald Taylor, was taking care of their orchard in partnership, since they were now living in Salt Lake City. They said they would like to take us out to see it tomorrow. The trip to the orchard was very interesting as Claudius explained the work required to make it productive. He said that they irrigate every week by a permanent sprinkler system and mow the grass between the trees every week. They hired help to thin the apples, as the trees would be too loaded otherwise. Then every year they had to spray the trees so insects wouldn't damage the apples. We told him that it really takes a lot of work and knowledge to be successful in the orchard business down here. In the evening all the family got together for a big taco dinner on Donn's lawn by the swimming pool and the tennis court. After eating we had a Home Evening program inside the house with a number from each family. We played "Czardas' by Monti and some love songs that everyone joined in singing. We recorded it all to be a treasure.

On May 26th we got up early and went to the ranch with Keith and Naoma. We had a great time riding horseback along the lake shore and over the range to see the land and the cattle. The work required to take care of the ranch is mind boggling. When we returned we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a good rest. Claudius III asked us if their son Marcel, could come to visit us in the summer to study violin. We said that we would be glad to have him come and would arrange for him to take lessons from fine teacher and give him the opportunity to practice three hours a day besides play time. He was the same age as Brent so we were thinking they would have a great time together if Brent comes this summer.

The next day seven of us, Claudius and Nelle, Dale and Kathleen, Dorothy and Rickie and I, had a great time eating at the fancy Palmas Restaurante. The servings were so generous that we had to some "doggie bags" to take some home. When we go back to Donn and Maurine's we were surprised to see the rest of the family there singing "Happy Birthday to You" this was for my birthday. They gave me a valuable book "Stalwarts South of the Border" about the people who established the Mormon Colonies. Also my seven brothers and sisters each contributed $5.00 to buy the biographical book "History of the Colonies" that had many pictures. I was very happy and thrilled with it all. Donn and Maurine then served ice cream and fresh strawberries while we talked about our growing up years with Mother and Dad.

We went with Dale and Kathleen to the rehearsal for the High School Graduation in Juarez, as they had to leave for home before the graduation. Maurice had arranged a medley for an instrumental ensemble that was very beautiful. He also had a double ladies trio and a double male quartet that were very well rehearsed to be on the program. He had rehearsed the graduates to march in and out very precisely. In the evening we went to Keith and Naoma's home for a "cook-out" for everyone. They prepared carnitas, frijoles, salsa, a yierba drink and very good cake. Then we went inside and Claudius showed slides of Mother and Dad going on their Mission and their tragic accident in which Dad lost his life. The pictures of the wrecked car were really gruesome. The picture of mother with her broken jaw, broken arm and ribs getting ready to come home for the funeral was really a poignant experience. She suffered so much but she did it silently and cheerfully.

Today, the real date of my birthday, was the Alumni Program in Colonia Juarez at 8:00 P.M. so Rickie and I rehearsed "Canzonetta" by D'Ambrosio to play on the program. We first went to the Grade School Graduation at 5:00 P.M. where Wesley and Mary's daughter, Sonya, and Keith LaRae and Charlene's son, Justin, graduated. We recorded the music that Mary presented which was very good. The Alumni program was great and I introduced Rickie to a lot of my old classmates. We played our number to the best of our ability and even Maurice complimented us, which he doesn't usually do. When we got home Rickie had a candle on a cake for my birthday and we all had a late night snack. Rickie looked beautiful with her new Mexican permanent, which had turned her hair to a beautiful blond color. The sisters told her to keep that color but she likes it a little darker.

JSA GraduationOn May 29th the High School Graduation was held in Colonia Juarez at 11:00 A.M. We took pictures and recorded the program. The musical numbers that Maurice prepared were beautifully done. The talks were given in English and Spanish, very fluently by both Mexicans and Americans. These young people are really taking advantage of the opportunity to become bilingual. This ability really helps prepare them to be fine Missionaries. After the program a lunch was served on the lawn at 1500 pesos a plate. The exchange was 1250 pesos for $1.00 so that wasn't very much for a sloppy joe hamburger, potato chips, potato salad, vegetable salad, cake and a soft drink. Rickie and I sat on a curb and balanced the paper plate on our laps while we ate. Rickie saved her hamburger and most of her food for Claudius who had to go to Casas Grandes to check on a birth certificate for Aunt Maurine so missed the meal. In the evening we all went to Wesley and Mary's for an outdoor supper where we made our own tortas by putting meat, cheese, tomato, avocado and sauce in a big tortilla and rolling it up. It was very good and everyone had a good time.

The next morning at 8:00 we were invited to Wesley's son's home for breakfast. Chris and his wife had a cleverly printed menu of six different meals we could order. Chris was the Chef and his wife took care of the fruit salad. It sounds like we spent a lot of time eating because we went to Wesley and Mary's for dinner then over to Donn's for a family visit and banana splits.

MexicoOn Saturday, May 30th we went shopping at Nuevas Casas Grandes the Mexican town two miles from Dublan and purchased a lot of things. A beautiful white hand tooled leather purse for Rickie, Jell-O, a gallon of vanilla, two large cans of Hershey chocolate, Knorr chicken cubes and film. In the afternoon Rickie wasn't feeling very well so she stayed home while Dorothy and I went with Wesley to look over his farm. We were simply amazed at how well he was doing. We thought he was in terrible financial straits but found out that he is completely out of debt and that his farm and orchards are beautiful and very productive. He was very happy and had a very fine attitude. When we got back Rickie was feeling better so went with me to take pictures of all our brother's homes. Rickie got the addresses of all the children and we packed up all our things to be ready to leave early in the morning for home.

The next morning we reluctantly told everyone good bye and thanked them for their wonderful hospitality and left with Steve and Trisha Taylor for El Paso at 11:00 A.M. as they live in El Paso. Steve is Floriene and Mennel's son and Trisha (Patricia) is Maurice and Nellie's daughter. We were happy when they offered to take us to their home in El Paso and then to the airport on Monday to take a 1:20 flight home. Before we left Steve Bowman, who spent two summers with us studying piano came home from BYU and we had a good visit. He told us that the first year he studied piano, the second year he majored in accounting like Stan Smith, but now he wanted to study law. This he did and became a very successful lawyer, but has still kept up his piano artistry.

We loaded all our suit cases in the trunk of their beautiful new Marqui and occupied the back seat with their little daughter Megan, about three years old. They had a car seat for their little two month old baby but Trisha held her most of the way. We had a very good visit in the three hours it took to get to the border. Steve is the president of an International Bank and travels to take care of business. We were very impressed with his financial experience and knowledge. It took only seven minutes to get to their beautiful Spanish style home in El Paso and they made us feel right at home. We played music for an hour while they were out shopping. When they came back Steve sang with us "Un Viejo Amor" and "How Great Thou Art". I was very happy to hear him sing so well as the male side of his family wasn't very musical. Trisha told us that he sings solos with the choir in Church and when he was in High School he took the part of the Father in "Sound of Music". Rocky Iman, who was Bishop of the Freeport Ward before they moved to El Paso, and his wife Mary came over at 7:30 for a visit. Steve and Trisha then took the four of us out to the Fancy State Line restaurant for a tremendous Rib Dinner. We were served three giant ribs with potato salad, cole slaw and beans. Rocky seems to be doing well at his job but they said they liked Illinois better. The next morning June 1st, after a delicious breakfast of orange juice, hot cakes and bacon Trisha took us across town to see Lavonne and Lois Cardon at 10:30 A.M. We were glad to see my sister Dorothy there on her way to Salt Lake City. Lois was one of my classmates in High School and was the prettiest girl our class. Their home was even more elegant than Steve and Trisha's and we didn't think that was possible. Lois played a tape of her sister Isabel's five-year-old grandson, Dustin Tedwell, playing a virtuoso piano recital. He is really a little genius. Margaret Cardon and her husband were also there and they asked us to play some music for them. We played about six pieces for them. Lavonne was especially expressive saying that he enjoyed the music more than any he had ever heard and that we really had a great thing going for us. We were sorry that Lavonne is suffering from Parkinson's Disease. Margaret and her husband took us to the airport at 11:20. They helped us get our suitcases checked right away and we got on the plane after thanking very much. We had a good flight and were really happy to see Linda Jane waiting to take us home from Midway Airport. We had time to tell her all about our wonderful trip to Mexico on the way home. We told her that one of the nicest things about a trip is getting home.

 

Section 24--Eric Graduation from High School, Marcel, Violin and Brent to Dixon for High School, Quit Rockford Symphony, 1987.

We turned around twice and drove to Washington DC on Friday June 5th, for Eric's graduation from High School. He was a very handsome graduate and we told him that we were proud of him. He loved the afghan that his grandma made for him which made her happy. After a good visit we drove home to attend three family reunions of Rickie's family. We went to the Rocke Reunion in Cissna Park on June 21st. The big social meal at noon was a potluck dinner and we were assigned to bring potato salad. We had a great time visiting with all of our relatives and got quite a few genealogy sheets filled out. On July 5th we went to Princeville, Ill for the Sauder Reunion hosted by Rickie's brother George's family. The Scheppmann reunion came next on august 30th in Okabena, Minnesota. We were really happy to get a lot of genealogy information there on Rickie's Mother's ancestors. Marcel went with us on this trip as Claudius sent him from El Paso on June 23rd.

First we took Marcel to Freeport to see Ernie Seaman about violin lessons. Ernie said he had a concert coming up and would teach Marcel to play the famous hoe down tune "Orange Blossom". This didn't please Marcel as he wanted to study the "Bruch Violin Concerto". So we took him to Mike Dowell who taught lessons at Sauk Valley College and conducted the orchestras there. Marcel was really excited about that and started right off practicing the "Bruch Concerto". I introduced him as my Grandnephew to Robert Whipple who conducted the Area Symphony, of which I was Concert Master, and he welcomed him into the Symphony. In one Concert Robert had all the first violins stand up and play the flashy violin solo "Czardas" by Monti in unison, accompanied by the Orchestra, so I was glad that I had it memorized and had played it on our three Musical concert tours in the Mexico.

Marcel took another trip with us on July 25th this time toWashington D.C. to take part in Brent's ordination in the Priesthood and to bring him home with us. Victor ordained his son, Brent, to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood and it was a very spiritual experience. Since Marcel hadn't been to Washington D.C. before we took him sight seeing to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Big Museum. He was quite awed by it all. Victor had asked us if could take Brent to live with us to attend the Dixon High School for his last two years. He told us that Kay had married Ralph Willett who was a Councilor in the Stake Presidency when he and Kay had gone to the Stake Presidency for counseling to try to save their marriage

Now it seemed that Brent wasn't getting along well with his stepfather and wasn't doing any homework for school so was in a failing condition. We said that we would be glad to take him. His mother helped him pack as she wanted to be sure that he took all his things that he would need. We were really happy that Brent and Marcel got along really well on the way home to Dixon Brent brought his clarinet along that he played quite well so we introduced him to Bob L'Heureux when we got home as a possible member of his High School Band when school started the last of August. Bob also conducted the Summer City Band Concerts every Thursday night with a rehearsal on Tuesday nights. He asked Brent if he would like to try the Bass Clarinet, as he needed one in the City Band. He was excited about that and did so well on it that he was put right in the City Band. We played in it together as I played the Bb Clarinet in that organization. Marcel and his Aunt Rickie, my Sweetheart wife, listened to the concerts in the Band Shell in the Park on Thursday nights and Marcel practiced the violin while we rehearsed on Tuesday nights. He was enjoying his lesson with Mike Dowell and Mike told me that he was very talented and was doing very well on his Concerto. Then I invited Marcel to play violin with me in the orchestra for the Musicals "Camelot" and "Fiddler on Roof" presented in the Dixon Theater by a Professional Director using local talent.

In August we had the pleasure of taking Rickie's Nephew Gary Sauder, Melissa, his seven-year-old daughter, Brent and Marcel to Nauvoo for the pageant "Nauvoo, City Beautiful". It was a wonderful experience for all of us just before Marcel returned to his home in El Paso and Brent started junior year at Dixon High School.

Marcel wrote to us that in his orchestra auditions the Director told him that he had improved so much and his sight reading was so good that he was promoting him to Concert Master of the Orchestra. Marcel thanked us for getting him such a good teacher, giving him time to practice and the opportunity to play in the musicals to improve his sight-reading. Claudius and Nelle were happy that he had done so well on the violin besides having the experience of going to Washington D.C. and to Nauvoo.

When Brent started School I quit the Rockford Symphony after playing in it for 30 years to be able to spend time helping Brent get started with his home work. After two months he had not missed even one homework assignment and thought it was fun. He received a letter of commendation from the school for this achievement. He started right out playing bass clarinet in the Band. We asked him about joining the choir like his father did but he didn't think he could sing very well. We talked to Jim Wiltz, the Choral Director and a good friend about Brent. He said he would get him the choral room to audition him. He came home from school a couple of days later bubbling over with enthusiasm about his day. He told us that the Mr. Wiltz, the Choral Director saw him in the hall and said, "You look like Victor Bowman are you related." I told him that I was his son and was staying with my grandparents to go to school here this year. He then invited me into the choral room and had me do some singing with him. He told me that I had a very fine bass voice and invited me to sing in the Robbed Choir. At the end of the first quarter Brent was on Academic Honor Roll, enjoyed playing in the Marching Band for football Half Time Shows and loved singing in the Choir. I then started playing in the SaukValley College Orchestra and the Clinton Symphony that didn't take so much time.

We felt that we were now back into school activities, going to concerts, football games, basketball games, back to school nights, and drivers training for Brent. On December 21st we had a date to go back to Washington D.C. for Victor and Cynthia's Blessed Event, the arrival of our new grandson in Arlington, Virginia that borders Washington D.C. As Stake Choir Director I had planned to present a large part of Handel's "Messiah" in Rockford on December 20th so we were very busy having special rehearsals. The Stake Presidency was very pleased with the performance and thought it would be great as an annual event. Linda Jane sang the soprano solo "Rejoice Greatly" very beautifully. Rickie and Brent sang in the chorus, Walter Whipple played the organ and I conducted it. We have been enjoying Brent's his sweet spirit and keen sense of humor. Of course he went with us to Arlington, Virginia and the fifteen hour trip didn't seem so long. When we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and the news that they had a baby girl instead of a boy. She was born a day early on the 20th and they named her Jennie Bryce Bowman. Victor took us to see her and her happy Mother in the Hospital. They asked us to stay for Christmas and promised to come to our home for Christmas next year as Jennie would be a year old. We accepted the invitation. Of course we had a good visit with Brian, Vinette and their son Brian P. and learned that Vinette is still the Computer Consultant at Acacia, Brian, in addition to his duties in the Air Force Band continues to play recitals and give clinics all over the world. He is getting his Doctors Degree on Trombone at the Catholic University as there is not a doctoral program for euphonium. Victor is also in doctoral program on trumpet at the University. Brian P. is a freshman in High School and is excited about playing the drums in his Rock Combo. He gave us a recording of one of their performances and it is really good.

On Wednesday morning, December 23rd, Victor brought little Jennie Bryce and her mother home from the hospital to get ready for Christmas. We took video pictures of their homecoming and Victor giving Jennie her first bath the kitchen sink. He washed her head under the faucet, which was quite a sight to behold. That evening Victor played trumpet for the Stake Messiah sing-a-long and I played violin in the small orchestra. Rickie stayed home with Cynthia and baby Jennie and Brent and Eric were at their Mother's home. Victor played "The Trumpet Shall Sound" beautifully and everyone seemed to have a very good time.

On Christmas morning we were all together at Victor and Cynthia's home for a pancake breakfast that Victor prepared. Then we all gathered around the Christmas tree to open all the presents. Everyone was having so much fun that we video taped all the proceedings. In the evening we had a big Christmas dinner at Brian and Vinette's home. On December 27th we all went to the Stake Center where Victor Ordained Eric an Elder in the Priesthood. Brian and I were in the circle with then for the ordination. Then we went to Victor's home to bless little Jennie Bryce and name her officially. Now that Eric was an Elder he participated in the Circle with Victor giving the blessing. We gave Victor a tape of it so Jennie can see and hear it when she grows up. We attended the New Year's dance and a great time welcoming in the New Year at Midnight. We did manage to get up early enough the next morning, after a wonderful Holiday, to take off for Dixon at 8:00 a.m. Saturday 2nd to get Brent back in school on Monday January 4, 1988. We arrived home safely at 11:00 P.M. happy to be home in our nice warm home.

After Church we called Linda Jane and Ed and were happy to hear that she was pregnant but sad to hear that she wasn't feeling well. Here is a quotation from her Christmas Letter. In January I found out that I was pregnant and promptly became very ill with hyper-emesis (excessive vomiting). Eventually I was hospitalized for dehydration, and found that if I wasn't sick before, being in the hospital was enough to make me ill. Finally it was obvious that I was not thriving or even improving in the hospital so I was released and went to stay with my parents for several months. Gradually I was able to keep some food down and began to recover some of the ten pounds that I had lost. Mom and Dad were very conscientious caregivers, and I was able to return home to Rockford and my lonely husband late in March. I continued to feel sick and nauseous, but the vomiting lessened then completely stopped."

We were very sorry to see Linda Jane so sick but were glad that she could come to stay with us so we could help her as much as possible. Brent continued to do well and enjoy school. He repaired one of his Church friend's radio and tape player so he got quite a reputation and repaired quit a few others. He could have gone into that business but had a goal to become an electrical engineer. Linda Jane decided to sell her horse, Danny, since she wouldn't be able to take care of him for quite a while and found a good new owner for him. The company that Ed worked for closed down and he was fortunate to get job in June at Pfauter-Maag at a higher salary and better working conditions. This company makes cutting tools for gears and Ed enjoyed his work as a machine repairman in the heat-treating department. He also works with the Boy Scouts and the National Guard. They took on the project of refinishing the hardwood floors and redecorating their new home that included getting a room ready for their baby that was due the 1st of September.

Our dear friend Stan Williams became our Bishop in Sterling Ward November 8, 1987 and soon put in a request to Brother Glenn Schwendimann, who was the Stake Physical Facilities Representative, for an addition to the Sterling Church Building. The need was recognized and a plan made that would add four classrooms, a library, two bathrooms and a remodeled kitchen, to be completed by March 1992.

On Sunday, July 24th Brent and I played in the City Band Concert at 2:00 P.M. at Lowell Park that was very well attended. The applause was enthusiastic and Rickie told us that it was a very enjoyable concert. At 4:00 P.M. Bishop Stan Williams, Stan Smith and Glenn Schwendimann and I went to the Church to check the organ. Stan Smith played it and found the volume adequate only on setting #4 and some of the stops didn't work. So Glenn is going to call the technician recommended by Vincent Gilbert to get it put in good shape.

On Monday we took Brent to Sauk Valley College at 10:50 for a math class for special credit. We went shopping at the Mall until time to pick him up at 12:30. He usually rode his bike or drove the green olds for this 14-mile round trip. Brent and I went to City Band rehearsal from 7:15 to 9:15 P.M. Rickie had a snack ready for us when we got home. Brent is quite ambitious and has a summer job three days a week at Hardy's from 5:00 P.M to 11:00 P.M. He is also working to become an Eagle Scout. On Tuesday he got up at 7:00 A.M. to practice his clarinet. He also wanted to learn to play the saxophone so I loaned him my instrument and gave him some lessons on it. He learned very rapidly and when school started Bob L'Heureux put him in the Swing Band playing the Baritone Saxophone.

About 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday we up to Rockford to have a doctor give her some injections in her fingers for arthritis that seem to help some. Then we went over to Linda Jane and Ed's home for a delicious roast beef dinner. After eating we took Linda Jane to a rehearsal and Brent to a Scout meeting at 7:00 P.M. He got his Eagle Project approved by the Scout Master Jack Ward and Ralph Zitelmans, which was to mark the Dixon High School Parking lot. In doing the project he was to demonstrate leadership by having other scouts help him. We let Brent drive home and at an intersection in Oregon his grandma advised him not to turn left on a yellow light but it was too late. He made the turn as light turned red. A Police officer stopped him, took his license and asked him why he didn't obey the signal. I talked to the officer and told him that Brent was really a cautious driver but had underestimated the yellow light. He gave him his license back and gave him a warning instead of a ticket. Brent was really grateful not to get a ticket and have his name in the paper. When we go home we read our chapters in the Book of Mormon as usual. Brent is going to Seminary Class every Sunday and doing very well.

Section 25 -Ben Zaugg Died, His wife, Lee, Getting Alzheimer's Disease, Relatives from Germany to Visit. Bob and Norma on Vacation, Brent a Patriarchal Blessing from Brother Waite, Grandchildren born.

The next day we went over to L'Heureux's home to check their home, put their mail in and water their flowers as we were doing every three days during their three week vacation out West. We had their schedule so we called them at Parowan, Utah and they said they were having a wonderful time going through Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon and the Grand Canyon. They said that they would be home next week on August 2nd. Rickie's cousin, Lee Zaugg, called from Rockford to ask us to take her teen-age cousin, Katja, who was visiting from Germany, for a few days, as she was exhausted taking care of her. Lee's husband, Ben, passed a way this summer making it difficult for her to do everything at home. It seems that she isn't getting much help from her children. So Thursday we did some shopping, took care of L'Heureux's home and went to Rockford to pick up Katja and her cousin Stephen came along also. We took them to the Band concert and they said they liked it.

On Friday the 29th, we helped Brent on his arrangements to do his Eagle Project. The German children enjoyed shopping down town, as it was "Dog Days" with merchandise displayed on the sidewalks and the street. We had pizza for lunch that they thought was quite as treat. At 1:30 I took Brent over to see the High School Principal to make final plans for painting the parking lot on Saturday. Rickie prepared a ham casserole for dinner with Jell-O and lemon pudding that we all enjoyed especially Katja and Stephen. Then we taught them how to play croquet on the back lawn and they said it was a lot of fun. We stayed up quite late watching the movie "Sound of Music" starring Mary Poppins.

On Saturday our two visiting teenagers slept until 10:30 A.M. so we had brunch of pancakes and eggs. The materials weren't ready for Brent to use so he couldn't do his project until next week. Katja and Stephen enjoyed playing Chinese Checkers and a bowling game. They listened to Rickie play the hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer" that she was scheduled to teach the Relief Society Sisters Sunday morning at 8:40 then conduct them from the piano to sling it in Sacrament Meeting. Sunday was a busy day and all things worked out as planned. The Relief Society Sisters sang beautifully with Rickie directing them playing the piano. Rick Baker, who was the same age as Stephan invited them to come to see his home then they would all come to our home for dinner. We invited Stan Smith and his daughter Joanna to come over in the evening for apple pie a-la-mode. Brent preferred to have ice cream without the pie. We talked to Stan about his decision to go into a monastery in Missouri. He said that he just wanted to have peace and a cloistered life. He admitted that he was sort of a loner and not a family man. He said that Joanna would be well taken care of financially and that was all that she really wanted from him.

On Monday, August the 1st we took Katja and Stephan to Rockford at 9:00 A.M. and had a good visit with Lee. She was very grateful that we had taken the children and happy that they said they had a wonderful time. Then we took some sweet corn over to Linda Jane and Ed's home and ate lunch with them. After lunch we took Linda Jane to her doctor's appointment at 1:45 P.M. We were very pleased with the doctor's report of his examination as he told her that everything was fine with her pregnancy. The Baby was growing normally and Linda Jane's blood pressure was normal, 120 over 60. Ed called from his National Guard Camp and said that the place was SNAFU as there was no class for him. He was told that he would have to go to Iowa Camp next Friday for two weeks. Linda Jane was not very good news for Linda Jane. When we got home we found that Brent had gone for a bike ride and had a head on collision with another bike turning a corner at a high speed. As a result he skinned his elbow, threw his shoulder out of place and bruised his hip. He said that the other bike cut right in front of him and that he would be more cautious and take the corners at a slower speed. He said that he felt okay to go to band rehearsal. Afterwards we read scriptures and had a discussion on family love and responsibility and the sacredness of Patriarchal Blessings. He had just received his Patriarchal Blessing from Brother Willis Waite so decided to ask him if it would be all right if he let his good friend Rick Baker read it.

On Tuesday the 2nd Rickie and I went over to L'Heureux's home to clean up the front yard and put a big WELCOME HOME sign on the front door. Then we took Brent to the doctor to get his shoulder taken care of. By this time Bob and Norma L'Heureux were home so we had a great visit. They thanked us for taking care of their home so well. We invited them to come over to our home to eat in a half-hour. Then we hurried home to prepare something that Bob could eat, as his diet was limited since having his 6 Artery by Pass. They brought us a beautiful Indian Pottery Dish made by the Ute Indians. They said that they had a marvelous time but were very happy to home again.

Wednesday Brent had his final exam in his Algebra Course at the College. When he got home he said that he thought he did okay and his shoulder was feeling better. Dorothy Forbes came from Sterling for a visit and brought us a bucket of beautiful tomatoes. She said that she is sad that her divorce from Bud is in the process but feels that is the only solution to their problems. Brent got a letter from his Dad with the news that his mother is pregnant in her new marriage. She said that he didn't feel good about it. Thursday morning we took Brent shopping to find him some Lee jeans for our trip to Arlington next week. We found some that he liked at Farm and Fleet size 30 by 30 that fit him just right. At noon we had a date with Glenn and Helen Schwendiman, our dear friends from Freeport to celebrate their 49th Wedding Anniversary. We told them that we wanted to pay the bill at the Golden Corral but they said they had some coupons that would take care of it. We all had a steak dinner with the great salad bar. The food was delicious and the conversation never lagged. Brent joined in and seemed to be making progress in his maturity. He was able to finish his Eagle Project on the High School parking lot and received a letter of thanks and commendation from the High School Principal. He will receive his Eagle Award in as Court of Honor in January.

On Tuesday August 9th we made the trip to Arlington in the Cadillac to visit Victor and Brian and their families and especially to see our little grand daughter, Jennie Bryce. We snacked on sweet rolls and ham on the way and stopped for Brent's favorite ice cream. We were welcomed warmly by the happy parents, Victor and Cynthia, and got to hold our precious little grand daughter. We enjoyed a great week visiting and heard Victor and Brian play in a very fine Air Force Band Concert. Brent had a good visit with his mother then was ready to go back to Dixon. When School started Brent told us that he would really like to be a member of the Jazz Choir but he didn't know how to dance. We talked to Sharon Wiltz about it as she choreographed for the Jazz Choir and was the wife of Jim Wiltz, the Choral Director. She said that she would be glad to take him to the choral room for a try out with others. She showed them some dance steps used in the Choir for them to try. The result was that she complimented Brent saying: "Brent you have some very good moves you will do well in the Choir. So he became a very valuable member of the Jazz Choir.

The next big event was the birth of another beautiful little grand daughter on August 19,1988. Linda Jane and Ed named her Rachel Elizabeth Smith. She evidently was anxious to come to them, as she didn't wait for the due date of September 1st. We visited Linda Jane in the hospital and she was radiantly happy holding her precious little bundle from heaven. Ed was a very happy proud father and said he could hardly wait to take them home. We came to Rockford often to help out as much as possible. Brent continued doing well in his schoolwork and especially in computers. Linda Jane and Ed have a large album full of beautiful pictures of their darling baby, Rachel in the hospital with her beaming mother and she was so photogenic that we all had to have our picture taken with her. She received many presents from friends and relatives and an especially beautiful dress from her Uncle Claudius and Aunt Nelle. She was blessed and given her name officially by her father in October. On her Grandma's birthday we took her picture with her happy Grandma in front of the birthday cake on November the 9th in Dixon. We also recorded everything on videotape that will be as treasure.

On November 17th, as Stake Music Chairman, I wrote a letter to all the Bishops in the Stake with the suggestion from our Departmental meeting that they start Sunday School right after Sacrament Meeting without a break to keep all the congregation there. Also I sent a suggested list of hymns for the entire Stake to practice in their Sunday School song practice time so we could use them effectively in our Stake Conference. Also in the letter was the announcement that rehearsals for the Messiah presentation would start on Saturday December 3rd. We were happy that the performance of the Messiah was even more inspiring this year than last year.

We enjoyed the most wonderful Christmas in our home in 1988 as all our family came together. Victor and Kay's son Eric was not with us as he had been called to go on a Mission to Japan. Of course little Jennie Bryce and little Rachel Elizabeth were the center of attention. The pictures of Victor holding Jennie and Linda Jane holding Rachel while sitting on the davenport are adorable. Again everyone had to have their picture taken holding the babies and the group pictures of the whole family came out beautifully. As usual we took movies with the video recorder of all the festivities that included our family orchestra playing Christmas Carols and singing. We took time to prepare and enjoy our Christmas feasting under Rickie's able direction. We really enjoyed the True Spirit of Christmas and talked about being able to get together as a family in our next life as well as in this one. We were happy that everyone was able to return home safely to start the New Year.

 

Section 26--Linda Jane Stake Music Direct or In My Place, Brent in Band and hoir, Received Eagle Award, to Washington DC. Sousa National Band.

The start of 1989 New Year was exciting for us as we looked forward to new things happening. The first thing was that it was time for me to be released as Stake Music Chairman so I suggested to the Stake Presidency that Linda Jane was really qualified for that position. They had already chosen her because of her expertise in directing the Relief Society Choir, singing in Community Choirs and having a Master's Degree in Music. She accepted the calling gladly and made plans for the year.

brent eagle scout 2The Scout Court of Honor was very impressive attended by District Scout Troops and parents. Victor came from Arlington, as Brent was one of three to receive the Eagle Award. After posting the colors, the American Flag and the Scout Flag very fine talks were given by Scout Leaders extolling the efforts and dedication the boys had shown in earning merit badges leading to an Eagle Project to receive the prestigious Eagle Award. Jack Ward, the Rockford ScoutMaster, complimented them on their achievement telling them that it would be of benefit to them through their whole life. Mothers were called up to pin the Eagle Badge on the boys wearing their scout uniforms. Since Brent's mother wasn't there his grandmother was given that honor.

Brent PromBrent graduationThis year was very exciting and rewarding for Brent. He played the baritone saxophone in the Jazz Band and had the alto saxophone ready to play the saxophone solos. In the Choral Concert he sang in the Robed Choir, the Jazz Choir and the Madrigal Singers. He was the only bass singer to be chosen to sing in the All State Choir. He played bass clarinet in the Concert Band and was awarded the John Philip Sousa Band Award. He was selected to play Bb Clarinet in the National Sousa Band in Washington D. C. in June joining the other five from Illinois. His father, Victor came for his Graduation and his Mother Kay came to visit her parents in Lanark and attended his graduation also. Afterwards they were invited to come to our home to see a display of all the awards that Brent had received in his school days in Dixon. Rickie had all the awards arranged attractively on the dining room table including an beautiful album of pictures of all his activities including his dates for the Junior and Senior Proms. They were very happy and impressed with their son's accomplishments. I had recorded all of his performances on the video camera and copied them on five six-hour VHS tapes to give to him. Brent was really busy packing up all the things he wanted to take to Arlington as he was now going to live with his Dad and Stepmother, Cynthia while he go ready to go on a Mission.

We had a delightful trip to Washington D.C. in June, for Brent's performance with the National Sousa Band. We were allowed to attend a rehearsal and all the family attended the Concert that was really superb. After the concert Brent's mother whisked him off to a special dinner. He said that he enjoyed it very much. The next trip we made was back to Arlington, Virginia for Thanksgiving with our family at Brian and Vinette's home. Linda Jane, Ed and little Rachel Elizabeth went with us. Linda Jane was able to visit some of her friends there. We were really happy to see our little grandson, Zachary. He was born October 5,1989 and Victor and Cynthia are really happy thankful for his arrival. It seems that we parents are always grateful for our children. Here is a quotation from their Christmas Letter telling about their precious little daughter. "This year has been one of joy and happiness as we watch our sweet Rachel shine brighter each day. She is truly the light of our lives and has wrought wondrous changes in our home. She now walks, runs, climbs, and speaks many words. She is a delightful child, and we are very grateful to have her!" Ed has been enjoying his job as a machine repair technician at Pfauter-Maag and is also taking classes at Rock Valley College. He still has his responsibilities in the National Guard and enjoys fixing things in their home. Linda Jane is still teaching French to the young children in Montessori School and is responsible for developing the curriculum and making all the materials she uses. She did very well in the part of the Strawberry Seller in the production of "Oliver" at the Starlight Theater. She will sing some solos and conduct the Stake presentation of the Messiah this year. Quoting from Linda Jane's letter: "Rachel loves to spend time with her grandparents. Happily, both sets live close by, so they see her often. Grandpa Bowman has recorded about 32 hours of Rachel's cute activities with his video camera. We are delighted to have such a wonderful record of her growth and development."

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving catching up on all the family news and eating the most delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Victor and Cynthia brought their happy family. Their sweet little daughter, Jennie and their happy little son, Zachary. Brian and Vinette's son, Brian P. is a junior in High School this year and is doing very well. Victor and Brian are still enjoying their service in the Air Force Band looking forward to retirement soon. Vinette is still working as a computer consultant and Cynthia is working for the Government.

In December we enjoyed the beautiful and inspiring Christmas Broadcast of the Fist Presidency of the Church from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Then we had a wonderful performance of the Messiah under the inspiring, expert direction of Linda Jane. The rendition of the soloists was very good, especially Linda Jane's, "Rejoice Greatly". Linda Jane, Ed and little Rachel celebrating our Savior's Birth with us this year really gave us a joyous Christmas. Rachel was now 16 months old and we all enjoyed her joyous expressions as she walked in front of the Christmas tree clapping her hands and pointing at the twinkling lights. Of course we took pictures and movies to enjoy again.

Section 27--Linda Jane In Starlight Theater and Sail Boat, Brian P. Graduated High School, Brent Mission Call to Honduras, Eric From Japan. Willis and Beverly Mission Africa.

It seems that every year brings us many memorable occasions and experiences and 1990 followed the same pattern with activities with our children and grand children. This summer we enjoyed seeing Linda Jane take the female lead in the production of "The Student Prince" in the Starlight Theater. We video taped a rehearsal as it was not permitted in a performance. Ed was able to watch Rachel during the five weeks of evening rehearsals. Linda Jane had been taking private voice lessons from Diane Kramer for the last two years so felt confident in the role. Here is a quotation from her Christmas letter. "I had to sing high C's at the end of almost every song in "The Student Prince" and was happy to find that after nine performances in the cool outdoor air, I still had plenty left to give on the closing night. This fall I have been singing with the Rock Valley College Community Chorale and was asked to sing some of the solos on their Concert." We were very happy with her achievements. We were also excited to see Rachel's amazing progress and took movies of her dancing in her special "dance dress' and doing arabesques and somersaults on the living room rug and asking questions.

Brian and Vinette were happy with their son Brian P's graduation from High School in 1991 with Honors. We were happy to be there to congratulate him and also to rejoice with Brent in his Call to serve a two year Mission in Honduras leaving in August, 1990. Brent didn't get to see his brother, Eric, as he hadn't come home from his mission in Japan yet. He came home just in time to enroll in Rick's College in Idaho. This was a very busy and happy summer for Linda Jane and Ed as they bought a sail boat they named "Starwind Sundance" and found time to enjoy sailing it on Fox Lake in Wisconsin. Also they squeezed in time to go camping at Starved Rock.

Our dear friends, Willis and Beverly Waite were called to go on a Mission to the Ivory Coast, Africa. So he ended his 23rd year of teaching at Rock Valley College. He said that he hoped he had touched 12,000 lives for good. They wrote: "The beauty of the country is surpassed only by the beautiful ebony-skinned Ivorines whom we love so very much. Forty three percent of the population read and write French, the official language. The Church is in a pioneer stage only having been here for three years. We have been baptizing about thirty every month. It is thrilling to see them change their lives and commit themselves to living the high standards if the Gospel. We are grateful for the good health we have enjoyed. We are most careful to eat only at home after we have washed all the vegetables and fruits in Clorox water and washing our hands and taking our 16 pills per week and a shot for hepatitis every 2 months. We sent you our love and blessings out of Africa."

Section 28--Messiah and Family Together For Christmas 1991.

Our next event was the Stake Messiah production in December. Here is a quotation from Linda Jane' Christmas Letter about it. "This is may second year conducting the stake production of Handel's Messiah. This is the highlight of my year! It is always such a blessing to work with a church choir and to see the diligence and hard work of those who participate. This year we have added a few more choruses and also a string quartet to play all the choruses with us. Dad was the one who found our strings and will play first violin as usual. Mom and Dad have been a great support to me in all my endeavors this year and are especially good about helping out with Rachel. Rachel gets to see them almost every week. I am teaching French at the Montessori Learning Center again this year and I really enjoy it". I must say that the Messiah performance was the best ever this year and the audience was invited to stand up and join in singing the "Hallelujah Chorus".

The Air Force Band played a Concert at the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago on December the 19th and Victor and Brian were featured playing one of the duets that had been composed especially for them. As much as we have heard them play it was really thrilling to be there for this stellar performance. They accepted our invitation to come home for Christmas and were joined by the rest of the family. Our three little "angels", Jennie, Rachel and Zachary helped us to have a lively, joyous Christmas. They were so excited hanging up their stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve that it was difficult getting them to sleep. They were up bright and early in the morning, dancing around the Christmas tree, and anxious to open their many presents. We were all as delighted as they were, as the movies we took will show.

1991 turned out to be another busy happy year participating in our children's and grand children's activities. We were happy that Ed had a job change to a sister company named American Pfauter that gave him a salary increase and changed his job from repairing machines to assembling them. He also took on an interesting part time job building elaborate birdcages for exotic birds. We enjoyed spending time with Linda Jane and Rachel who is really progressing. Here is a quotation from Linda Jane's Christmas letter about her. "Rachel has made two giant leaps forward in her development, leaving diapers and baby bottles behind. She is making many more decisions for herself now, including deciding to grow out her bangs and wanting to have curly hair. She is getting really used to going to rehearsals and concerts, and often pretends to conduct, or to teach a piano lesson. Her favorite thing is to get up on the stage. She is still enthusiastic about dancing, and now takes both pre-ballet and tap lessons. Many times she will say to me: "Mommie, put some music on, I have to dance!" She turned three this August and is 42 inches tall." Linda Jane has been busy as Stake Music Chairman rehearsing and presenting a beautiful Easter Cantata "My Turn on Earth". She also conducts her Ward Choir and wrote about it in her letter as follows: "My Ward Choir is a source of great joy. We have done some beautiful music this year. One of the highlights was doing "The Promise of Living" from Aaron Copland's "The Tender Land". Some were dubious that we would be able to perform such an ambitious work, but we did it and had wonderful time. I am constantly amazed and buoyed up by the outflow of love I feel for, and from, the members of the choirs I am blessed to work with." In the summer Linda Jane sang the part of Teresita in the Starlight Theater Production of "West Side Story" very beautifully. This was her third year teaching French at the Montessori Learning Center with great success.

Bowman reunion brothers Rickie and I attended a wonderful Bowman Reunion down home in Mexico from the 6th to the 10th of June. We were given a warm Welcome when we drove into town on the 5th with abrazos and a delicious meal and a beautiful room to sleep in at Donn and Maurine's home. We wondered how we were going to get through the long list of activities planned, but we took it one day at a time and the thoroughly enjoyed it. The first on the program was a JSA (Juarez Stake Academy) talent show in Colonia Juarez as a prelude to the High School Graduation Ceremony the next day. Our whole family traveled the 18 miles to Juarez and was royally entertained with songs and dances. There were vocal solos, duets, trios and quartets and solo and group dances including clogging and the Charleston in full appropriate dress. The Graduation Ceremony was long but entertaining and uplifting with talks given by the Honor Students in English and Spanish. The music, both instrumental and vocal by students was very good. After the program a big meal was served on the Campus giving everyone time to congratulate the Graduates. Maurice and Nellie's son, Troy, graduated and I took pictures of all the hugs he got from his parents, and relatives especially is Aunt Rickie. The next day we all went out to the Lakes for a cookout, boat rides, games and a great time visiting. Keith, Wesley and Mary did most of the cooking providing a real feast. An obstacle relay race was a favorite activity of the Children, as they had to step in a series of tires on the track. A favorite for the grownups was the game of horseshoes. The next morning we had a late breakfast outside at Donn and Maurine's home with Keith cooking his famous pancakes, bacon and eggs. This lasted most of the morning as everyone was visiting while eating. Rickie was taking a lot of pictures with her trusty camera and I was taking movies with the video camera of everyone at the different tables and the children jumping on a large trampoline. In the afternoon Maurice took us out to his ranch to see his horses and bring one home in the truck for the children to ride. The next day we all gathered at Wesley and Mary's home for a traditional Mexican dinner that was really good and a lot of fun. In the evening we had the traditional family talent show with each family providing a special number on the Program. Every family did very well with a total of 19 performances. I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies so had the privilege of announcing each number and making some appropriate comment about it. Wesley's Daughter, Priscilla, her husband and four children started the program singing the round "The Three Blind Mice". Then they divided the audience into three sections and asked them to have the fun of singing with them. Then there followed vocal duets, trios and quartets some with guitar and some with piano accompaniment. We listened to very fine flute solos, duets and quartets, and enjoyed a variety of dances from solo cheer leading style, mother and daughters clogging, and a family doing the famous Viejito Dance in costume. Rickie and I played "The Millionaire's Hoe Down" that had people clapping and tapping their feet. On Sunday we all went to Church and enjoyed the services with special music by the Choir conducted by my youngest brother, Maurice. After Church we all went to Maurice and Nellie's home for another delicious dinner. In the evening Kathleen gave a very complete report on the genealogy of the Bowman and Robinson families showing many interesting pictures of our ancestors. She and her husband Dale had prepared a copy their complete genealogy records to give to each family that we appreciated very much. On Monday we told everyone "Adios, Hasta luego" (God be with you until we meet again). We met Donn and Maurine at the border in Ciudad Juarez to go through all the fantastic shops selling beautiful Mexican clothing and artistic artifacts of every description. A Mariachi group of 2 trumpets, one violin and two guitars were playing outside one of the shops so we recorded their fascinating performance. We told Donn that we would send him a copy. Then it was another "Adios" and off for home. We arrived safely and had a long happy tale to tell our family.

In August Linda Jane and Rachel made the trip with us to Arlington for Brian' last Concert with the Air Force Band and his retirement after 21 years of service. The Concert was wonderful with both Victor and Brian performing. Victor has two more years to go before retirement. Brian has received a position at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as a professor, head of the Brass Department. He was an experienced supervisor as he had been the Leading Chief of the Air Force Band where he was responsible for taking care of the band members complaints and requests and working out the details of the itinerary for the Band trips and concerts. He also performed Concerts and Clinics in Germany and Sweden this year. Vinette left her job with Acacia so was free to go along with Brian on this tour. They found a beautiful home high on a hill in Wexford near Pittsburgh to purchase and moved in November. The home was really an estate with many trees, acres of lawn to mow, a large garden plot, a berry patch and a long driveway up the hill to shovel the snow from in the winter. Brian P. didn't get to help shovel the snow as he was attending the University of Indiana majoring in Audio Engineering. He excitedly called his parents to tell them that he had been accepted in the in the Drum Line of the Marching 100.

We enjoyed helping Victor, Jennie and Zachary celebrate Cynthia's Birthday on August 9th with a party and a birthday cake at home. Then Victor and Cynthia took us on a holiday to the great Washington D.C. Zoo for an exciting time. The children really loved it and topped it off with an hour of swimming in a heated pool. When we got back to their home the children had fun riding bicycles in the spacious yard. We invited them all to come to our home for Christmas again. Ed was happy to have his family home again as he had to stay home to work.

In December Linda Jane was happy to have a larger Messiah Chorus of 54 singers and fine singers for the solos. Michael Dowell, the director of the Sauk Valley Orchestra and his wife, Mary, the Concert Master, accepted my invitation to play `cello and violin in our quartet for the Messiah. Linda Jane appreciated their compliments on a very fine performance. We had another wonderful Family Christmas. Cynthia brought all the materials to make a beautiful, delicious Ginger Bread House and had Linda Jane and the children help put it together. The rule was that we couldn't pick on it until the day after Christmas. On Christmas Eve we gathered around the beautiful twinkling Christmas Tree, read the Christmas Story from the Bible and some other Christmas stories and sang and played Christmas carols. Again the children hopefully hung up their Christmas Stockings and reluctantly went to bed. Now the "Santa Clauses" had a good time filling the stockings and putting all the presents around the tree and sprinkling it all with glistening snow flakes before going to bed. Morning came all too soon for the adults but the children were anxious to hear the signal to go downstairs: "Santa Claus has been here." It was really marvelous to see their joyous excitement as they waited to open the presents one at a time which gave us time to take pictures and made the fun last a long time and a time that we will always remember and treasure.

In 1992 Brian continues as chair of the wind instrument department at Duquesne University in addition to his teaching schedule. It is good publicity for the University for him to continue to give Concerts and Clinics around the world as a professor at Duquesne. This year he played in Iowa, Kentucky, Japan, and Taiwan--to name a few. His calling as a Stake High Councilman keeps him very busy traveling and speaking in sacrament meetings in different Wards on Sunday. Vinette many times has to attend their home ward alone and is very busy taking care of her Relief Society responsibilities. Once when Brian attended with her she was asked: "Who is this strange man with you?"

Linda Jane and Ed kept up their busy work schedule, church activities and taking care of Rachel, their pride and joy. Ed has become the Scout Troop Committee Chairman and the secretary in the Stake Young Men's Presidency. A quotation from Linda Jane's letter says: "Rachel turned 4 (going on 12) in August, she's so grown up. She enjoys her dancing and swimming lessons and can write her name backward and frontwards. She goes to school mornings at the Montessori Learning Center where I teach French and music. I love the Montessori learning philosophy: "When I do, I learn."

Section 29--Brian P. Mission call to Ecuador, Rickie Started `Cello, Brent Home from Mission, Lydia's 80th Birthday, 1992. Family Christmas.

Vinette wrote us the news that Brian P. had studied very diligently at the University of Indiana this year and that in May he received a Call from the First Presidency of the Church to go on a Mission to Ecuador in the North Guayaquil Mission and invited us and Linda Jane to come to Pittsburgh for his Farwell Program in August. On February 28th we had the pleasure of congratulating Lydia, Rickie's adopted sister, on her 80th Birthday at her party in Edelstein. Her daughter, Henrietta came from Washington D.C. to help celebrate her Birthday. Henrietta told us that she was enjoying her work with the Fort Worth Mortgage Corporation and her part time job as a Travel Agent. She was doing so well that she purchased a two bedroom Condominium. This made her mother happy as she now had a good place to stay when she visited her.

Scan088, June 26, 2004 At the end of our Sauk Valley Orchestra Concert at as nursing home in Sterling, Rickie told me that she just loved the sound of the `cello and would like to learn to play it. I thought that was great so fixed up our best `cello, bought some beginning books and started teaching her. The experience she had playing the violin in High School really helped her learn the `cello rapidly and soon we were playing duets on the hymns. She played the melody and I played a harmony part on the viola. It was really fun and by the end of the year we played a duet in Church that we were told was beautiful.

In the summer Ed and Linda Jane invited us to go to the Milwaukee Zoo with them as Ed had a little vacation. The Zoo was very large and exciting with every kind of animal, many fowls and reptiles that was made more enjoyable by sharing Rachel's enthusiastic responses to everything. Then we saw what amounted to a fabulous Circus Parade with horse pulled decorated chariots, lavishly dressed riders on their colorful high stepping horses, camel riders wearing appropriate clothing with turbans and elephants ridden by beautifully attired young women smiling and waving to the crowd.

The first of August Linda Jane and Rachel went with us to Brian and Vinette's beautiful home in Wexford, near Pittsburgh, to attend the Missionary Farwell program for Brian P. We were welcomed warmly and taken for a tour around their "Estate". The Farwell Meeting was very impressive with talks given by the Bishop, by Brian P. and his parents. Linda Jane was asked to sing BP before Mission PAwhich she did beautifully accompanied by Brother Brady Allred, who came from Utah to be a professor at Duquesne. Afterwards Brian and Vinette served us a delicious dinner at their Estate and we took pictures of them with their son and also of Linda Jane with her accompanist. This was a thrilling unforgettable experience. Brian P. next move was to go to Provo to the MTC (Mission Training Center) to get ready to go to Ecuador, which included a concentrated study of Spanish even though he already had been preparing. Our move was to go to Victor and Cynthia's home in Arlington to go to the Airport to Welcome Brent home from his mission in Uruguay. This was another exciting time as we took a big sign to the Airport saying: "Welcome Home Elder Brent Bowman". He was quite overcome when he got off the plane and saw us all there holding this sign waiting for him. It was a big thrill to see him so mature and handsome rushing towards us. He gave us all un gran abrazo (a grand hug) and said that his Mission was wonderful but now he was happy to be home. He planned now to attend Junior College in Arlington but promised that he would come with his Dad and his family to our home for Christmas. We stayed an extra day to take the children to the park to have fun on the swings, the slides and the teeter-totters. We were surprised to see Rachel hanging upside down from with her knees over a bar. She is so athletically inclined that Linda Jane said she was going to enroll her in a Gymnastics class.

We have a Halloween picture showing Brian, Linda Jane, Rachel, Gary Sauder and his fiancee, Diane, with us eating at our table. Gary, Rickie's cousin, saw Diane playing violin at one of our Sauk Valley College Orchestra Concerts and admired her so much that we started their relationship by introducing them to each other. We were happy to have Brian come after playing a concert in Illinois. Linda Jane and Rachel came to enjoy the "trick or treat" activity in our neighborhood. Rachel was dressed in a beautiful Princess outfit and Rickie joined in the fun in her clown costume. Rachel was so excited knocking on all the doors and having all kinds of "goodies" put in her bag when she said "Trick of Treat".

In December Linda Jane had another very successful Stake Messiah presentation that really helped us to feel the true Spirit of Christmas. We were happy that Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel came to our home for Christmas and that Victor and his family, including Brent, could join us. Cynthia brought another Gingerbread House to put together since the one last year was so much fun. Brian and Vinette sent us their beautiful Christmas Letter in poetry and called their Christmas Greetings since they couldn't come this year. Victor last year wanted to learn to play the violin so when we went to their home I took him a violin and started him with some lessons. He kept practicing so now this Christmas we had fun playing some duets on Christmas Eve. A highlight was Linda Jane and Victor playing beautiful Christmas music on piano and trumpet and Brent playing Christmas carols on the clarinet. Rickie played "Silent Night" for us on the `cello that she has named "David" and Linda Jane took her picture. Victor said that he would like to learn to play the `cello. Of course the children, Rachel, Jennie and Zachary hung up their stockings with great anticipation before going to bed. The next morning their fondest hopes were realized gleefully opening all their presents. As usual we recorded all the joyful proceedings for the children to see when they grow up. After eating another one of Rickie's delicious Christmas dinners we got the sleds out of the garage and had a great time whizzing down the snow covered hill a block from home. Brent was especially happy to be doing this again and gave Zachary a thrill taking him down the hill. He would walk back up the hill instead of going around like the rest of us.

 

Section 30--50th Wedding Anniversary, Parade Marshall, Trips to Salt Lake City and Arlington, Shingles, TURP Operation, Gary and Diane Wedding.

For 1993 I am including here a copy of our Christmas letter as follows: "Dear Loved Ones. Once again we come to the beautiful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our dear Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. It has been a very eventful year for us. On May 12th we had our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our sons, Victor and Brian were unable to be with us but our daughter, Linda Jane, had a beautiful surprise party for us at the home of Matt and Marian Ciembronowicz who provided a luscious dinner for us and a few special loved ones. By happy coincidence our sister Dorothy and sister in law, Nelle, from Salt Lake City were able to attend.

On July 4th Bardell had the honor of being the Parade Marshall for the Petunia Festival Parade. I wore a red jacket and Rickie wore a beautiful red dress to wave at the crowd from our seats in an elegant red convertible as we moved along in the parade. Later in July we had a family dinner at Brian and Vinette's country home in Wexford and then Linda Jane and Rachel took us to Arlington, Virginia to spend a week with Victor and his family.

In October we drove to Salt Lake City to hear the Air Force Band play four concerts in Utah with Victor playing a solo in the Concert in Logan. The Concerts with the Tabernacle Choir were especially beautiful. We also heard Linda Jane sing a wonderful concert with the BYU Alumni Choir conducted by RalphWoodward. Victor stayed over a few days to visit his son, Eric and then accompanied us to his home in Arlington. On November 2nd we were back in Dixon after this 6000-mile trip and the next morning Bardell was ill with what the doctor thought it was the flu. He said he could go ahead and play in his string quartet for a Wedding and an Anniversary and on Saturday go to Chicago to see Donny Osmond in the "Coat of Many Colors". He didn't get to see much of the show, as he had to spend time in the bathroom. When they arrived back in Dixon they went to the Emergency Room and the doctor said immediately: "You have the Shingles". Because of late treatment he became numb from the waist down because the virus attacked the spinal nerves. He had to wear a catheter bag for the bladder problem. He went to a specialist in Rockford who told him that the bladder problem was a coincidence and had nothing to do with the numbness so he needed a TURP operation to take care of it. This was done and only the numbness remained.

Needless to say Christmas preparations are moving slowly but we still have so many things for which to be thankful. We have each other, our beautiful children and grandchildren and a multitude of wonderful caring friends as well as family. Most of all we have a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers our prayers. He gave His only Begotten Son that we might have Eternal Life. May your homes and hearts be filled with joy and peace during this Holiday Season and always."

When we were at Brian and Vinette's home in July we had fun helping Brian haul horse manure to fertilize their spacious garden which Vinette loves to plant and harvest. We got the news that their son, Elder Bowman in Ecuador, who is now financial secretary in addition to proselytizing and has become a very expert cook that, makes his companions happy. Vinette is Ward Relief Society President and works part time at Acacia so has plenty to keep her occupied while Brian is off on his concert tours. This year he performed in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Ohio and with the San Francisco Symphony.

While we were in Arlington in July Victor and Cynthia took us all to the Washington D.C. Zoo again and as the children were older they had even a more wonderful time. Victor is continuing to practice the violin and thinks that he might teach it some day. Also he got an introduction to `cello playing that he wants to pursue.

Gary Sauder Wedding When we got home we really enjoyed going to Gary and Diane's elaborate wedding reception in Chicago. They were a handsome couple and seemed to be very happy. Diane had been divorced from her husband who abused her. Since they belonged to the Jehovah Witness Church she was excommunicated because of her divorce and her family disowned her so now she was happy to have someone who really loved her.

When Linda Jane sang in the Alumni Choir in the Provo Tabernacle in October, the occasion was a Reunion of Choir Members and the Concert was followed by a reception to which we were invited. It was good to see Ralph Woodward again and talk about "old times". We also enjoyed visiting Ralph and Lucy Laycock and their family while in Provo.

On December 12th we all participated in the Messiah under Linda Jane's inspiring leadership. It seems like it gets better every year and is very well attended and appreciated. Another Christmas highlight was the Christmas Message of the First Presidency broadcast from the Salt Lake Tabernacle. We did get our home decorated for Christmas with Christmas lights around the front porch and on our Christmas tree in front. Linda Jane thought it was very beautiful when they came for Christmas.

In January 1994 I continued my Church Calling as a Stake High Councilman. My assignment was to supervise Ward and Branch Sunday Schools and help out the President of these organizations when they had problems with appropriate suggestions. Also I was assigned to visit a different Ward each month to bring greetings and council from the Stake Presidency and give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. I was happy that Rickie could go with me on these assignments. She usually knitted afghans along the way for our children and grand children. In March I received a different Calling as explained in our Christmas letter.

 

Section 31--The Years As Bishop, Brian P. Home From Mission.

BP home from mission "On March 20th 1994 Bardell (Bob) was ordained Bishop of the Sterling Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Since then the numbness in his body, resulting from the shingles in 1993 has gradually decreased so that he can minister to the needs of the Ward members and friends. Rickie has several callings in the Church and together we feel richly blessed for the opportunity to spend our "Golden Years" in the service of our Heavenly Father and our fellowmen."

In July we drove to Pittsburgh to celebrate and welcome our Grandson, Brian P. Bowman home from a very successful Mission for the Church in Ecuador, South America. It was very interesting and enjoyable to hear many of the wonderful experiences he had in his two year Mission. In the Fall Brian P. went back to the Indiana University to continue his studies and play snare drum in the Marching Hundred. Brian continues teaching at Duquesne U. and recorded another CD. He counted up that he had given one hundred and two Performances and Clinics. His Church Calling is now in the High Council is to be in charge of the Family History Program. Vinette is very busy doing computer work at PNC Bank and serving as Relief Society President of their Ward.

We also drove on to Arlington, Virginia to spend a few days with our son Victor and his family. We were happy to see Brent and have him tell us that he was now going to attend Virginia Tech. to get a degree in Electrical Engineering. He also told us about a pretty Senorita from Uruguay that he was corresponding with asking him to come back to Uruguay and marry her. We already knew about her as she had written to us as her Abuelos (Grandparents). She was very spiritually minded and a very faithful member of the Church. It probably would have been a good thing if he had taken that path, as I will explain later.

I found the responsibilities of Bishop to be very interesting, demanding and enjoyable especially with the total support of my sweetheart wife and my councilors, Brothers William Balagna and Matthew Howze. Brother Balagna had been Branch President for 6 years, August 1978 to January 1984 and Bishop from January 1984 to February 3, 1985 so had very good council to offer. Brother Howze was a comparatively new member but was very dedicated and enthusiastic. Our Branch Clerk was Gordon Johnson a returned Missionary and Brother Lawrence Slifer was our Executive Secretary and assistant Branch Clerk so Bishops officewe made a good "team". The Stake President, Douglas Nelson, who I knew when he was a young boy in Wisconsin when we presented the pioneer musical "Promised Valley" set me apart and ordained me to the office of Bishop. He announced that I was the oldest new Bishop in the Church. He was a great source of counsel and help to me in this office. I had already been ordained a High Priest in the Melchizedec Priesthood to be a High Councilman. My line of priesthood authority is as follows: Bardell Robinson Bowman was ordained a High Priest by Willis D. Waite who was ordained by Elder Howard W. Hunter, who was ordained by Prophet David O. McKay, who was ordained by Prophet Joseph F. Smith, who was ordained by Prophet Brigham Young, who was ordained by the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, who were ordained by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was ordained by Peter, James and John, who were ordained by Jesus Christ.

In the first meeting with my councilors, called a Bishopric Meeting, we decided to make a schedule of meetings for the rest of the year and plan activities as much as possible. Of course it took more than one meeting to accomplish this. We ended up with a program that would facilitate the operation of the Ward. A Bishopric meeting would be held every Sunday an hour and a half before the three hour block of Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary. Other meetings that would be held after Church once a month were Ward Council, Welfare and Bishops Council with the Youth Leaders of the MIA (Mutual Improvement Association). The regular meeting of the MIA, Young Men and Young Women was held on Wednesday evening as well as most of their activities. The Seminary Program for High School students was held Sunday Morning an hour before sacrament meeting and the students had assignments to read and do for the next week.

We printed a program listing the theme for the talks for each Sunday and which one of the Bishopric would be conducting. The list was subject to change when deemed advisable by the one conducting. A copy of the list was given to the chorister so appropriate hymns could be selected and given to the person responsible for printing the bulletin, this person was also given a list so that the speakers could be included with all the announcements from the auxiliaries, the priesthood quorums, and the Bishopric. The printed bulletins were passed out by an appointed "greeter" to the members when they entered the chapel.

We assigned a list of young people to each member of the Bishopric for a monthly interview. As Bishop it was my responsibility to give all the interviews for a Temple Recommend and to get members an appointment for a Patriarchal Blessing. Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers had the responsibility to report to the Bishop when any of the families they visited need welfare assistance. The Relief Society President, Sister Brenda Druien and I shared the work of taking needy people shopping for groceries or shopping for them from a list they needed. I was authorized to write checks for those who needed money for rent or other needs such as medical assistance.

I set the goal with my sweetheart wife, Rickie, to visit all the families in the Ward, active as well as inactive, which numbered about 120, over 300 members. The expansion on the chapel was finished so we had room and facilities for the needs of the Ward. I will mention our visit to Craig and Brenda Meyocks and their two teen age daughters who lived in the country about twenty miles from Church. They were inactive so when they opened the door we introduced ourselves. They seemed surprised but welcomed us into their home. Craig said: "This is the first time a Bishop has ever come to our home." We had a delightful visit and they told us that they had been using Sundays to ride and display their beautiful horses but that they would come to Church next Sunday. When they arrived at Church they were welcomed very warmly and their attendance continued. Their talents were soon recognized and they were happy to receive callings to serve. Craig in the Priesthood Elders Quorum, Young Men and the Scouting Program and Brenda in the Relief Society and the girls participating in the MIA Program. In August Rickie was sustained as Compassionate Service Coordinator for the Relief Society so we worked closely together helping those in need.

Here is an excerpt from Linda Jane and Ed's Christmas letter 1994. "Rachel is 6, going on 16. She is a precocious child and keeps all of us on our toes. Besides being involved with piano, gymnastics and dance she started playing the violin this past year and is doing very well. For Christmas her grandparents traded in her size violin for a size. She is making the size adjustment well and will be playing in her first solo recital in a couple of weeks. She is enjoying school very much this year and has joined the Girl Scout program as a Brownie. She is heavily into reading, especially since the addition of a bedside light in her room. I have kept the same schedule as last year, teaching both music and French at the Montessori Learning Center and juggling 32 piano students. The biggest change was that our Church Ward was divided so that now we are in Rockford 3rd Ward. Unfortunately the split was the demise of my oversize Ward Choir, but we have a good group in the 3rd Ward even if our numbers are few. For Christmas we had a combined Choir from all 3 Wards that was fun. The Stake Choir did not present "The Messiah" this year as in years past. Instead we did a program of lovely Christmas songs and carols. Ed received a new Calling in our new Ward. He is serving as 1st counselor in the Young Men's Presidency, teaches the priest quorum and is assistant Scout Master.

We received an interesting letter from Nellie saying that her son Claudius III is now living with her. She had been alone most of the time since her husband, my brother, Claudius passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) in1989. She said that she and Claudius went to hear Marcel perform as Concertmaster of the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra. As noted before Marcel spent a summer with us studying violin very successfully, so we were very happy to hear that he had become so accomplished in his chosen field of Music.

We hosted a Fireside Chat at our home on November the 6th to grant President Nelson's request that we tell the youth our WarTime Love Story. Also in November Aaron Stocks received a Mission Call to report to the MTC (Mission Training Center) in Provo, Utah on the 16th. In December the Priesthood and Relief Society Members cooperated in preparing and taking Christmas baskets to those families in need. On December 4th we celebrated the 50th "Anniversary of our Temple Marriage in the Salt Lake Temple as it was such a wonderful experience. In our Christmas letter we wrote, "Dreams do come true". Last year Rickie decided to learn to play the `cello and in the past month has performed in the same organizations with Bardell, the Sauk Valley Orchestra, our Ward String Quartet and the professional Singing Strings Quintet. We really love and appreciate this togetherness." In December I was fortunate to get all the active member families to Tithing Settlement and some of the inactive families. Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel came for the Ward Christmas party then came home for a wonderful Christmas. We counted our many blessings.

In 1995 I had the sad duty to hold a Bishop's Council with my Councilors and the Ward Clerk for four members who had fallen into serious transgression breaking the law of chastity and had to be excommunicated from the Church. They were given the path of repentance to follow to regain their membership by being baptized again. I was very happy and thankful that three of them regained their membership in the Church and have remained faithful. The fourth one elected to live with a widow out of wedlock for financial reasons instead of repenting to return to the Church.

In May we had a very beautiful Mother's Day program and at the end of the program each mother was given a white rose corsage to wear. The youth were assigned to present the flowers to their mother, when possible, that made it all the more meaningful. The next Sunday, after Church, I was given a surprise 80th Birthday party by the ward in the Primary Room with some music and talks a large decorated cake saying: "Happy Birthday Bishop Bowman" to serve everybody with a fruit drink.

My brother Donn sent me a fabulous Memory Book entitled: "A tribute to Bardell Robinson "Bob" Bowman on his 80th Birthday". The booklet had my picture on the front and the back and was filled with letters from all my brothers and sisters and children and many pictures of our family's activities through the years. Perhaps I can include some of it at the end of this "Life History".

Linda Jane decided that her schedule was too "hectic" so resigned her teaching position at Montessori in June. Here is a quotation about it from her Christmas Letter: "I taught at Montessori School where Rachel attended, and after school we went to teach piano lessons. This schedule resulted in us arriving home late in the evening, sometimes not until 8 or 9 o'clock. Trying to do practicing, have dinner, and doing homework at that time of the evening was proving to be an impossible dream. I decided to quit teaching at the school and teach Rachel at home." In the summer she said that they played tennis and Rachel continued with violin and piano and started singing with the Church Choir. "A high point of her summer was taking horse riding lessons. We traded with a family we knew from school by teaching their little girl French for the horse riding lessons on their estate. It was a lovely arrangement." In the summer Ed was sent to the Netherlands to learn how to run a new machine that his company had purchased. He was gone for two weeks and had a good time as he was taken out to dinner and sight seeing by the company there. He brought back a shirt for Rachel from Amsterdam that became her favorite.

Brian was very busy teaching and administrating at Duquesne University but had time to play three solos with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Vinette cut her work down from 5 days to 3 days a week so was able to go with Brian to New York City where he was scheduled to play in the Brassfest. Their son, Brian P. in addition to his studies to become an audio engineer found many paying jobs on an audio crew and became the captain of the drum line in the "Marching Hundred". He also moved from the dorm to an apartment that he called his "pad" that had room for his Mom and Dad to stay overnight. In the Fall Rickie and I went to visit him and enjoyed seeing him perform in the Band in the half time show at the football game.

Victor and Cynthia were very busy taking care of their children, Jennie and Zachary and working at their jobs. Cynthia was still working for the government and Victor after his retirement from the Air Force, became a Real Estate Agent. They said that they would come to Dixon to spent Christmas with us.

Section 32--Dale and Kathleen Host Brother and Sister Reunion in Yellowstone Park 1994.

In July 16th to the 20th we had fantastic Brother and Sister Family Reunion hosted by Kathleen and Dale going through Yellowstone Park in a big van that easily carried all twelve of us and the three coolers of food that Kathleen and Dale had prepared to take along. We all met in Downey, Idaho at their home to start the trip. They had the trip all planned as they had gone through by themselves to record the time it took to go to each wondrous sight to see and a reservation at a large cabin to stay overnight in the Park. We were sorry that Wesley and Mary were not able to come. On the way to Yellowstone Park we stopped at Idaho Falls to see Kathleen's daughter. Renae and her husband Daryn. They invited us to stop on the way back for a lasagna dinner and recommended that we see the river and the beautiful falls before going on. We enjoyed the beautiful view immensely and Donn had his video camera to record all our activities. We went to the Park and had a delicious picnic lunch that Dale and Kathleen had prepared. Maurine used two crutches for short distances and a wheel chair for longer ones. Kathleen was getting along well with a cane. We arrived at our cabin in Yellowstone about dusk and made our sleeping arrangements while visiting and planning for our sightseeing tour the next day. We were up early the next morning and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon before starting our sight seeing tour.

Our first stop was at the Yellowstone Falls. It was a breathtaking scene to see the water rushing to the edge of the falls and then cascading hundreds of feet to the pool below. Those who couldn't stand heights were warned to not get close to the edge of the gorge. Next we walked up a little hill to a pool that exploded every half hour sending water and steam high into the air making different pictures or formations every time. Dale pushed Maurine's wheel chair while Donn used his video camera. We then drove to the mud flats, parked the van and strolled along a boardwalk that had railings on each side. It was fascinating to see the little pools of water bubbling up in different colors. We passed the mud volcano that bubbled and hurled mud into the air that came down with a "plop". When we came to the "Dragon's Mouth" the children watching were very excited because every few minutes this big hole in the side of a cliff would belch forth water and steam with a roar just like their story books. At the end of the day we drove to the "Old Faithful Inn" and rented a cabin for the night. We still had time before dark to join the crowd sitting in semi-circle on benches to watch Old Faithful in one of its magnificent eruptions. A schedule of the time of the eruptions was posted so we could be ready for it. When it came we heard a loud noise like the rushing wind followed by a white geyser of water and steam shooting high in the air. The steam kept going until it joined the clouds above. By this time we were getting pretty hungry so went to our cabin and had a delicious lunch from the three coolers that Kathleen and Dale and brought along. It was really too early for this enthusiastic group to go to bed so we all went to see the famous picturesque Old Faithful Inn. Inside we saw something we had never seen before. All of the beams and supports were trees from the forest that had been skinned and polished. There was a spiraling stairway that led to a walkway near the high ceiling that circled the large decorated reception room below. It was an exciting experience to take that walk. Of course there were all kinds of curios and postcards with scenes of the Park to buy. We got cards with a picture of "Old Faithful" erupting to send to our children and grandchildren. In the morning after a great breakfast we went to see Old Faithful spout off again before starting homeward. Donn took a picture of a cute little hedge hog running around and chirping, while we were waiting for the big show. It was worth waiting for and a person just has to see it to believe it.

Going out of the park we saw elks with large antlers feeding on the plants in a stream of water. They were not frightened at all when we got out of the car to get a closer view and take their picture. We then drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming taking in the view of the beautiful snow capped Teton Mountains. We stayed there overnight in a Motel 6 and saw a Western Show with "gun slingers" acted out in the street. The next morning, July 20th, we took an exhilarating ride in a cable car to the top of the mountain. It was a lot of fun and the view of the mountains and the countryside was fantastic. The promised lasagna dinner at Renae and Daryn's home in Idaho Falls was wonderful and they were as interested in hearing about our experiences in Yellowstone Park as we were about telling about them. Back in Downey we just couldn't thank Kathleen and Dale enough for planning and carrying out this wonderful Reunion. They were happy that it turned out so well and that we all enjoyed it so much. A time to remembered, para siempre. (for all time). Rickie was especially concerned about Maurine and suggested to Donn that he take her to the Mayo Clinic for a complete examination. He thought that was a good thing to do and since there was a Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona he would take her as soon as they got home to Mesa. Later, after we were home we were happy to hear that the Mayo Clinic had prescribed Oral Chemotherapy for her cancer and that she was in remission and able to walk and do Temple Work with Donn in the Arizona Temple. Dale took Kathleen to the Hospital in Salt Lake City and after several examinations and tests she was told that she had Lou Gehrig's Disease just like Claudius had suffered with. This was very sorrowful news for all of us. She said that she was thankful that they had been able to give us this Yellowstone Park Brothers and Sisters Reunion while they were still able to do it.

I was very happy that my counselors had taken such good care of the Ward program while we were gone for the Reunion. We got right back into the swing of things just as though we had never left. Also we were still playing in the Sauk Valley College Community Orchestra and the Singing Strings Quintet for weddings and Anniversaries and the "Festival of Trees". In November Heather Balagna was called on a Mission to New York. Her Farewell was in Sacrament meeting on November 12th and all the family participated. She had special training at the MTC to do sign language to teach the deaf.

Section 33--Linda Jane, Ed and Family to Zoo, At Home for Christmas with Victor and Family and Cynthia's Parents, Lynn and Hope Hilton.

In November Ed had a few days vacation so they went to Indianapolis for a two-day vacation. Here is a quotation from Linda Jane's letter. "We visited the Children's Museum, the Zoo, (which we loved) and a wonderful piano store. Ed and Rachel spent fun hours in the hotel pool. We had a great time then went to my parent's home for Thanksgiving. My brothers and their families are coming home for Christmas, so we are all excited at the prospect of being together. It is the greatest gift that we could give my folks--being together at home." Everything worked out as planned so we had a most wonderful Christmas doing all the traditional things we loved with gratitude in our hearts for our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father for all the many blessings we enjoy. Cynthia's parents, Lynn and Hope Hilton came just in time for Rickie's Special Ham and Turkey Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and we enjoyed the visiting almost as much as the delicious food. Rachel said she liked the Ward Christmas party two days before Christmas because they had Christmas music, Christmas Stories, games and Santa came with his pack with a "Ho, Ho, Ho" and decorated bag of goodies for every child.

The day after Christmas Victor and I went over to Sterling to the Church to get the baptismal font ready for his daughter Jennie's baptism at 5:00 P.M. When we got back home Lynn was excited about the historical significance of Dixon because the Prophet Joseph Smith was arrested and incarcerated here. We took him to see the Nachusa House Hotel, the place where it was thought he was in jail. The place was for sale so Lynn thought it would be a good idea for the Church to purchase it and use it for a Historical Visiting Center. We went to the Library to look up the History and found that Joseph Smith was arrested in 1843 and the Nachusa House was built in 1853 on the site that John Dixon had a tavern in which Joseph Smith was held overnight. So that ended the idea of buying the Nachusa House. We went to see James Dixon, the mayor of Dixon and a friend of mine to ask what he knew about Joseph Smith being held here in the Tavern. He told us that his Great Grandfather who founded the town of Dixon and owned the tavern didn't think that Joseph Smith was guilty of anything and showed us in a history book of Dixon that he had sent two lawyers to Quincy, Illinois to defend Joseph Smith in his proposed trial there. It turned out that the Prophet Joseph Smith was released without a trial. We all went to Jennie's baptism and it was very beautiful with Music and appropriate talks and Victor baptizing her and confirming her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Ed took some beautiful pictures of Jennie and her father and the family to treasure.

The next day we went to see my friend Woody Wasson, who was the Principal of Reagan Middle School, as his grandparents had lived on the Wasson farm in Amboy, about ten miles south of Dixon when Joseph Smith visited there. He told us that his Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Hale was a sister of Emma Hale who married the Prophet Joseph Smith. He extended us an invitation to go visit his parents who now were living on the Wasson farm in Amboy. We followed his directions and had no trouble finding the place, as it was right off the highway near the entrance to the town of Amboy. Woody's mother was home and invited us in when we told her that her son had sent us to find out more about Joseph Smith's visit long ago. She told us that she remembered one story about it if we would like to hear it. Of course we told her we would be delighted. She said that in those days Elizabeth often spread the wet laundry over the high weeds to dry and that when some officers came looking for Joseph Smith she hid him in the weeds under the laundry until they were gone. Lynn took notes of all these things, as he was quite a historian. He and his wife, Hope had traveled Lehi's Trail, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and wrote a book on it that was then used for Sunday School Classes. We then went to see a cemetery that was called the Mormon Cemetery because all those members who left the Church and didn't go West to the Salt Lake Valley were buried there when they died. The cemetery was not taken care of but was interesting to see anyway. When we arrived home that Friday evening we received a call from our boys telling us that they had arrived home safely and thanked us for the wonderful Christmas. The next day, Saturday, Lynn and Hope expressed their appreciation for our invitation to come for Christmas as they had a marvelous time and Lynn said that he would send Woody Wasson some more information on his ancestors as promised. Saturday night I was able to finish up the Tithing Settlement and welcomed in the New Year 1996.

Section 34--Norma's Visit, Brian Offered Position University North Texas, President Nelson's Father Died in Salt Lake City, Brian P. Married Juli Milliman, Rachel 8, Baptized.

We started the New Year by watching the Rose Bowl game and writing the rest of our Christmas Cards. We had Norma L'Heureux over for supper and had fun talking about old times and our children's activities and accomplishments. After New Year's Day we worked to get our home back in order by doing a lot of washing and getting the Christmas tree out and the decorations put a way for next year. One of our single parents who came from California needed an excessive amount of welfare assistance. Every few days I was receiving a letter from him requesting money for dental expenses, car repair or groceries. On some of his requests it was necessary to get approval of our Stake President, Douglas Nelson. He eventually sold his house in Dixon and moved back to California to teach school as he had a Doctor's Degree in English.

On Saturday, January 13th we met Brian at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. He was there to check out new Wilson Euphoniums in the Music Store to make suggestions for improvements. We brought him home and on Sunday he played "Lead Kindly Light" in Sacrament meeting very beautifully. Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel came for dinner so we had a good visit. He was in a quandary as to whether he should resign his teaching position at Duquesne University to teach at the University of North Texas in Denton so asked me to give him a Father's Blessing. Later he said that he felt that he should make the change at the end of the school year. Linda Jane and Ed took Brian to the Airport for his flight home so they could have a good visit on the way.

On Wednesday the 17th I took Rickie to Dr. Gale for tests of her thyroid as she was getting dizzy spells and had lost her sense of taste and smell. He found that her thyroid was low so prescribed medication to take care of it. It helped her dizziness but not her sense of taste or smell. On the Monday the 22nd we went to Freeport for the visitation of our friend, Elvin Koester, in Freeport then went to the funeral and comforted Sister Koester and family as much as we could. When we arrived home we called President Nelson who had just taken his sick father to Salt Lake City. He gave us the sad news that his father had died just ten minutes after reaching the Salt Lake Valley where he wanted to be. The funeral was to be held on Thursday. We were sorry we couldn't be there because he was such a good friend but expressed our love and sympathy to President Nelson.

On Thursday we went to the funeral of Kevin Castle's mother. She had been had been taking care of his financial affairs as he had "Manic Depression" and had been counseling with us for a few months. The next day he came to our home for breakfast and we talked until 2:00 P.M. and recommended that he get some medication from a doctor. He did that and seemed to feel better when he came for dinner the next day. On Sunday we blessed Kevin's daughter, Shelby's baby and invited him and our visiting High Councilman, Brother Winebrenner for dinner after Church.. Brother Winebrenner gave Kevin some good council and I gave him a coat, a pair of boots and a Book of Mormon.

On Thursday I took Rickie to Doctor Gale for tests of her pituitary gland. It was a cold day 15 degrees below zero. On Saturday there was so much snow and cold that I called my counselors and we cancelled church meetings for Sunday by putting an announcement on the radio and having the home teachers call all their families. On the 16th of February we had a car pool to take the youth of our Ward to the Temple to do baptisms for the Dead. As usual we took lunch for everyone to eat in the cafeteria after the baptisms. We rode with Dale and Brenda Druien and the care would not start to go home. We were fortunate that Dale was a good mechanic and was able to fix the trouble while everyone was eating and visiting in the cafeteria. The youth felt very spiritually uplifted by this experience and expressed the desire to come again.

In March Chad Balagna was called on a Mission to Chile Concepcion so we'll have another Spanish speaker when he returns. We heard from Brent that he is at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia and loves it. He has a free room in the Cranwell International Center as a supervisor. He gets along very well with students of different nationalities. He is doing well in his studies but still hasn't come back to activity in the Church. On May 14th Brian P. thought he was the happiest man in the world because he married his special college sweetheart Juli Milliman. We were all happy and especially the parents of both the bride and the groom who gave them a beautiful Reception to start their married life back at school as Brian P. will graduate in 1997.

Brian and Vinette have been very busy as usual this year. Vinette doing her computer job, Relief Society unending duties, gardening and canning. Brian has been doing his extended concertising along with teaching at Duquesne. In January and April he was invited back to solo with the Air Force Band and made a recording. He also made a recording with a College Band in North Carolina. He played in California, Missouri, Washington State and made two concert trips to Japan. When he is home Vinette says that he is the handy man, plumber and mechanic and serves in the Church on the High Council supervising the Temple and Family History programs. Victor is just about as busy as he teaches private lessons, plays for weddings and programs and is getting into Real Estate Sales. Cynthia has her work with the government and they both take care of their children so don't have much leisure time.

Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel are looking forward to a new addition to their family in December and are continuing their other activities. Here is a quotation from Linda Jane's letter. "Rachel and I are in our second year of home schooling. She is doing well in her academic studies and both her piano and violin lessons. She enjoys her gymnastic class and loves to play tennis in the summer. We were very pleased to find a wonderful ballet school, just recently opened by the former artistic director of the Rockford Ballet Company. Rachel takes a class twice a week and really loves it. She loves to create things such as a space rocket to the moon, complete with jet flames. This year marked the passing of her 8th birthday and her baptism, a very special event. Ed continues to work at Pfauter-Maag as "the invaluable fix anything man." He now wears a pager so they can call him anywhere, anytime...and they do! He enjoys teaching the 10 and 11 year old boys in Primary and is currently working on home improvement projects designed to stretch our living space to accommodate our new arrival."

In March Jonette Adamson, one of twelve children in her family married Ryan Geddes who was also from a family of twelve so they have something in common to start with. It will be interesting to see how their family will develop. On the 17th of May we had a beautiful Mother's Day Program and after church the Priesthood members treated all the Mothers to pie and ice cream to show their love and appreciation.

On August 13th we went to Rockford to celebrate Linda Jane and Ed's Wedding Anniversary and they appreciated a car payment as an anniversary present. Rickie helped Linda Jane who was sewing a baptism dress for Rachel as she will be 8 years old on August 19th. Rachel had a gymnastic class at 4:00 P.M. then in the evening we had a delicious sweet corn dinner. On August 19th we drove out to Arlington, VA. For Victor's Retirement Party from the Air Force. It was very impressive with talks praising his years of service and many gifts. We enjoyed hearing him play the trumpet at home and Jennie's demonstration of her gymnastic routine. He had just listed a home for sale in his Real Estate work so was happy about that. We stopped at Wexford on the way home to visit Brian and Vinette. They were excited about moving to Denton, Texas to teach at North Texas University. We listened to audiotapes of the Book of Mormon on the way home so it seemed like the trip was shorter.

On September 5th Matt and Marion Ciembronowicz appreciated us taking them to De Witt, Iowa to have Dan Drayley appraise the violin they brought home from Poland. They were happy that he told them it was a fine, valuable instrument. Two days later we had a beautiful baptism service for Rachel in the Sterling Chapel. Linda Jane played the piano and Rickie conducted the hymns. Ed baptized his daughter and I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost as she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost in her confirmation as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We took pictures afterwards.

On the 13th of September we invited Tim Volker, who had just joined the Church to bring his family to our home for dinner, as they wanted to know more about the Church that their son had joined. We had a wonderful time and the father was especially interested in Navy Escort Carrier scrapbook showing a lot of the action in the South Pacific. The next night we had our home evening families, the Williams and the Oltmanns for dinner to go along with our discussions. This turned out to be a month of entertaining as we had our good friends Dale and Brenda Druien on the 26th. Ingrid Teran, my solo clarinet player was thrilled to have her father come from the Philippines for her wedding and invited us the gala affair. To top off this busy month we went to Rachel's violin recital in Rockford at the Music College. We enjoyed it very much and were very proud of her as she played beautifully. It seems like October was just as busy with more dinners visiting members and having Church Conference. We loaned Linda Jane and Ed the money needed to put a new furnace in their home. Ed did much of the work himself, as he is a very handy man.

 

Section 35--Rickie's 80th Birthday.

As I mentioned before we spent all our spare time getting our home ready for Rickie's Birthday November 9th, as our children all planned to come home to help us celebrate her 80th Birthday. Brian and Vinette came at 10:00 P.M. November the 6th and brought 30 dozen donuts with plans to take over all the festivities for mother. She was so excited but didn't dream of the unbelievably wonderful Birthday Celebration she was to receive and neither did I. Without us knowing it Brian and Vinette had written elaborate invitations to all of my Brothers and Sisters and to Rickie's family to come to our home on the 8th of November or to the Church on the afternoon of the 9th to celebrate Rickie's 80th Birthday. Victor, Linda Jane, Ed and Rachel came on the 8th and just as we sat down to a delicious dinner that Vinette and Brian had prepared, the door bell rang and in came Dale and Kathleen and their son Karl. What a great surprise. Rickie was really thrilled. Kathleen was in a motorized wheel chair so came to the table without assistance. We all sang "Happy Birthday to You dear Rickie". She couldn't keep the tears back so had to wipe her eyes. After dinner Victor a Brian played two duets with Linda Jane accompanying them on the piano. They were "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked" and "Oh Divine Redeemer". Next we enjoyed watching Rickie excitedly opening her presents. After a good visit we got a room for Dale, Kathleen and Karl at the Comfort Inn, as they were pretty tired after their long trip from Downey, Idaho. The next morning after a good breakfast at 8:00 Brian and Vinette said they wanted to go to Sterling to do some shopping. Actually they went to get the Church ready for the party in the afternoon.

When we walked into the Cultural Hall in the Chapel in the afternoon we saw a big banner saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICKIE. Then there was a smaller blue and gold tapestry hanging on the wall near the piano that said, "Happy 80th Birthday, Rickie November 9th, 1996. Rickie was really overcome with joy when she saw practically a room full of relatives and friends waiting to give her a big hug. Her sister, Lydia and her daughter, Henrietta, her cousins: Herman and Mary Baer, Bertie Sauder, Virgil and Mildred Sauder, and Gary Sauder. Dear friends were Bill and Jean Thompson, Matt and Marion Ciembronowicz and Emma Padgett. Brian stood up to the podium at the front of the room and welcomed everyone to the party. Then Rickie, looking beautiful in a red velvet dress and a gardenia corsage stood and thanked everyone warmly for coming. Then we saw a trumpet peeping out of a curtain and heard a dramatic clarion trumpet call announcing the beginning of the program from Victor. Brian then dramatically announced, "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, let the festivities begin." I had our video camera set up and Ed was taking care of it very well to have a record of this memorable occasion. To start Brian called on Rickie's sister, Lydia to tell something she remembered about their growing up together. She told about how Rickie wanted to play the piano so much that she wore the varnish off the buffet pretending it was piano until finally her dad got her a piano and she took lessons from a Catholic Nun and spent all her spare time practicing.

Then Brian announced that in WarTime, Rickie was visiting her aunt in Chicago and met a young man in the Navy whose name was Bardell Bowman on January 19, 1942 and after many letters and passing of time they were married in San Francisco on May 12, 1943. Then Brian called on me to come up and say a few words about it. I said that I had married the most beautiful, vivacious girl I had ever seen. The day after we were married we did many of things we had written about in our letters. We went roller-skating, went to Park, the Zoo and saw a Musical Show. Rickie prepared a picture album for me to take overseas filled with her pictures and love notes for me to look at and treasure, as I had to go overseas 6 days after we were married. I came back after 14 months and she had written me at least one letter everyday. She was a real sweetheart, still is and always will be. It was love at first sight and we believe that we chose each other on the other side before coming to earth. I returned in 1944 and went overseas on a carrier before the year was up and got word, when I was in Guam, from my Darling wife that we had a beautiful little son, Victor. After the war was over we were blessed with Brian and Linda Jane who are a joy to us. After every talk there was applause and smiles.

The next number on the program brought laughter as Victor, Brian and Linda Jane all donned baby hoods and sang "M is for Mother with appropriate words for each letter of the name. Then Brian said that when we moved to 606 Peoria Ave., in Dixon there was music all over this big home because of all the teaching and practicing going on. He said they would demonstrate the result by playing a duet with Linda Jane on the Piano. They played "Bless This House" very beautifully. Then Henrietta, Lydia's daughter came up and said that she remembered the wonderful times we had when they came to Dixon or we went down to Edelstein. Brian then said that it was the children's turn to talk so called Victor to be the first.

Victor said that his Mother always made good use of her time so used the time when she was combing his hair with wave set as a teaching session. She told me that persistence was important and that I should never give up when things didn't turn out as expected. He said that she always supported him in his activities by always being there to see him and hear him perform. Brian stood up to talk next and told an interesting story of how he was given a lecture on not being late that he didn't hear. "Mother and Dad came to pick me up in the car after my lesson at Bob L'Heureux's home as I had an appointment with the doctor. They had to wait as I was held overtime at my lesson. When I came out Mother was in the driver's seat and said, "Hurry Brian, we're late." I opened the back door, put my horn on the seat, closed the door and started walking around the back of the car to get in the other side. Just as I was going to open the back door she drove off leaving me standing there. I ran to catch up but the car turned the corner and they didn't see me. Dad told me later that Mother gave me one of her $50 lectures on being on time for appointments all the way to the doctor's office and that when they got there the doctor was outside and asked, "Where is Brian?" "In the back seat," she said. "I don't see him," was the response. Mother was shocked and whirled the car around and came rushing across the bridge just as I got to it. "I'm sorry Brian," she said and we all had a good laugh on the way back to the doctor's office. Also I remember that when I was in the fourth grade I had done some mischief and the teacher reprimanded me with very strong language. It was enough to make me cry when I got home and told Mother about it. This upset her very much and she sent right up to school, marched into the teacher's room and said, "You can't talk to my son that way. I want an apology." Needless to say she received it. When I was in grade school I had mononucleosis. Mother read that I was supposed to be on complete rest so insisted on carrying me to the bathroom. Thank you Mom!"

At this point came the biggest surprise. Rickie jumped up and could hardly believe her eyes for in walked three of my brothers and their wives who lived in Mexico. They were Donn and Maurine, Keith and Naoma and Maurice and Nellie. Rickie rushed to give them big hugs with tears of joy in her eyes. They told us the sad news that Dorothy, my sister living in Salt Lake City, had planned to meet them at the O'Hare Airport but her plane was cancelled so she couldn't make it. Brian announced that he and Vinette were happy that Mother was so joyfully surprised as they had planed it that way by not letting us know who was coming. He then called on Vinette to tell us something about his Mother. .

Next was Linda Jane's turn and she came up looking very beautiful and very pregnant in a stunning red outfit. "My mother was a rescuer," she said. "She didn't want her children to struggle really hard or have many disappointments. This was especially difficult to achieve with me. For example, one day when I was playing in our big yard the boys next door coaxed me to go down to the little creek close by. When my Mother couldn't see me in the yard she got worried and started calling me. I thought that I had better hurry back up to our yard and make out like I had been lost. She took me up on the porch and gave me one of her 75-dollar lectures about going somewhere without telling her or asking permission. She wasn't angry but told me she was worried about me. I remember that she stayed up all night to make a skirt for me to wear the first day of school. When I was about 8 or 9 years I was invited to a party to play with Barbie Dolls. Mother made a little box for my Barbie doll's bed and a place to hang her clothes so I would be able to take something to play with. When I was 17 and didn't get a part in the High School Musical she went like a ferocious tiger to the music director and asked why I was not given a part. Whenever I was sick she would bring me chicken soup in a little gravy boat with a spout on it so I could drink it. She always put a little green elephant on the tray to keep me company. She also brought my favorite food at that time that was corned beef on bread with her special white sauce on it. When I came home from BYU to recover from mononucleosis she went back to Provo with me to encourage me and standby me as I made up the work I missed. When I moved to Arlington, Virginia and got into some poison sumac she came to take care of me. My first pregnancy was no picnic so I came home and she took care of me and would do anything to alleviate my suffering. She felt strongly about everything as she had strong emotions. Now that I have child of my own I can understand why she did what she did and was such a wonderful Mom. Thank you Mom!"

After the applause Brian asked Vinette to come up to the podium. She was wearing a beautiful green dress and said, "When I first met Brian's mother I was attending the University of Michigan and Brian asked me what I thought of his folks. I told him that his mother was very pretty. "Yes," he responded, then said, "Isn't she gorgeous?" I remember the time the whole family was going into Chicago and Brian's Mother was to ride with me in our little red "bug". I don't like to say it out loud but I didn't feel that I was very musical and here I had married into a musical family. When we started on the trip she suggested that we sing a song along the way. When I protested that I didn't sing very well she said that she would teach me. This was not a woman who gives up easily so we started on the love song: "With Someone Like You a Pal Good and True" I had no difficulty learning the words and to my surprise was singing the entire song by the time we reached Chicago. When I got home I found myself singing it alone, so thank you very much."

Linda Jane's husband Ed was running the movie camera and now Brian called on him to come to the front. He said, "I'm not much for words but can say that when I went to Linda Jane's home for Christmas her mother had their home decorated beautifully, in fact it was gorgeous. She goes out of her way to do good things for people. I'm thankful for all you have done for us, Mom."

Brian then came up and said that we had four grandsons, two granddaughters and one undecided and asked Rachel, 7 years old to come up and show a picture book that she had made of things she had done with her Grandmother. It was very interesting and she did it well then played one of her Grandmother's favorite songs on the piano. "Somewhere My Love." Then she gave her Grandma a big hug.

Brian then announced that Victor's wife Cynthia and the Children, Jennie and Zachary couldn't come so they sent a tape that he would like to play for us. The tape was good of Cynthia playing the piano and the children singing: "I'll Walk With You" from the Primary songbook. Then they sang "Happy Birthday to you, dear Grandma, Happy Birthday to you." Next Brian read a letter that his son Brian P. had written telling about the fantastic memories he had of Grandma Bowman. She said, "She knew I liked big words so she told me not to prevaricate but to always tell the truth. She had lots of grandma clothes for every occasion and lots of toys up in the attic that we could bring down to play with. I told her that I just loved this messy old house and she was pleased and laughed at that. I felt that it was truly a safe place but we had prayers so we wouldn't have bad dreams. She called herself a silly grandma. It was wonderful how she nursed me when I was sick at her house. The memories I have of my "Silly Grandmother have influenced my life for good in many ways. Thank you Grandma."

Next Brian announced that Willis and Beverly Waite were sorry they couldn't be here for the birthday party but sent a tape to wish their beloved Rickie a Happy Birthday so he would like to play some of it for us. The film was delightful showing Willis and Beverly smiling and singing "Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Rickie Happy Birthday to you." Then Willis said, Greetings to you Fredericka, Eureka, the Great and your husband Bardell and to all of you gathered there at the Church. Where else would you find a couple in their 80's that are such marvelous leaders in the Church. We think you are unique as we've said before. Good things should be repeated so we would like to sing your favorite song in French "La Vie En Rose" Beverly played the piano and sang the song while Willis translated it into English using our names in the song. Then they sang it as a duet. It was beautiful and everyone enjoyed it. After the song Willis said, "Many moments of happiness we have spent with you and enjoyed your beautiful music. You have touched the lives of so many. You will be sweethearts forever because of the suffering of our Lord, Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemanee and on the Cross-. We would like to dedicate our next song to you "In The Garden". Beverly didn't even look at the piano keyboard but looked at us the whole time and they sang very beautifully. We surprised to see Matt and Marion come to the piano and sing a quartet with Willis and Beverly "Father In Heaven". The videotape was made in October and they were there visiting. Matt and Marion then sang Happy Birthday to Rickie in Polish that was really great. Then they said that they hoped she lived to be a hundred.

Next Brian said that he would like to show us videotape that Brent, who is working in Washington, D. C. made for his Grandma. On the tape he expressed gratitude for the two years he attended Dixon High School living with us. He said he has tried to make pancakes like his Grandma makes but they never turned out as delicious. He said that he remembered a surprise birthday party that his Grandma carried out that was a lot of fun and that he had many precious memories that he would never forget. Then Brian read a letter from Glenn and Helen Schwendimann saying how much they enjoyed all the activities we did together and especially taking them to Salt Lake City and helping them find just the right home to buy.

Brian then asked all those who were 80 years old or older to come forward as octogenarians and gave his mother a certificate stating that she was now an Octogenarian. Emma Padgett was the oldest being ahead of me by two years. She said that she remembered when she came to our home to baby sit our children that Brian gave her a Book of Mormon to read saying that it was better than a magazine. She said that she read it and asked for the Missionaries to come to her home to explain it to them. When they came, her husband, Glenn told her to give them a couple of dollars and they would go away. She invited them in and after several more visits she, her husband Glenn and their four children, Emil, Keith, Karen and Fred were baptized. Then Emma read a beautiful poem about touching the lives of others as you go on your way saying that Rickie was a good example of that.

Brian then called our dear friends Bill and Jean Thompson to come to the front and say a few words. Jeannie, as Rickie called her, was the first person to welcome us to Dixon as a member of the Welcome Wagon organization. She said that she felt like she had always known Rickie so they became fast friends right away. Bill said that he remembered the wonderful time they had when we took them to Washington D.C. They went to the White House to see his former classmate; President Ronald Reagan and we went to see our family living there. In their home in Dixon they have a room full of memorabilia of President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy.

Norma L'Heureux then came up to the podium and said that she and her husband Bob had appreciated our friendship since we came to Dixon in 1953 as Bob was the High School Band Director and we worked closely together. She said that when her husband died January 4, 1992 that Rickie told her children not to worry about their mother, as she would take care of her. Norma said that she was grateful for that and that Rickie had called her every day. "Thank you Rickie and thank you all for great Birthday party for her." My sister Kathleen then said that when Rickie joined the family she embraced everything and everyone and was a loved member of the family.

After this Brian said that it was time for his mother to say a few words. She came up and said, "I hope as I say a few words I don't cry as I'm so overwhelmed with the joy of having you all come here for my Birthday. I will always treasure this time and never forget it and even thank you when we meet after we leave this life. Thank you all very much for coming for as my mother used to say: "If you can't come to see me when I'm alive don't bother to come to see me when I'm dead." I'm so happy to be alive as I had five close calls from car accidents to walking in a hurricane when I could have been taken. I hope I can complete what the Lord has for me to do and I feel that part of that is loving you." Then Brian called on my brother Keith, who is Patriarch, to offer a prayer and bless the food that had been prepared for everyone.

We were really amazed at how beautiful and inviting the Primary Room looked full of decorated round tables with a long table filled with delicious food, a real banquet. I took over the video camera to take pictures of everyone as they came to the table to fill their plates. Brian and Vinette had prepared this banquet using the Church kitchen. I'm sure that we all will always remember it. After eating, Dale and Kathleen's 10th child, Karl, sang a song dedicated to his Aunt Rickie, "As I Have Loved You" that brought tears to her eyes. Then Brian and Vinette brought in a big candle for mother to blow out. Everyone clapped and sang "Happy Birthday". Next all the people from Mexico and those that knew Spanish including me, sang the Mexican Birthday song "Las Mananitas". This was followed by several other Mexican favorites that everyone enjoyed including "Que Lejos Estoy del Suelo Donde Nacido" (How far I am from the place where I was born.) and "Barca de Oro".

When we got home, my brother Maurice passed out some copies of hymns in Spanish for us to practice to sing at Church tomorrow. Since I was the Bishop in charge I planned to have a generous amount of sacred musical numbers in the Sacrament meeting. The hymns in Spanish were "God of Our Fathers" and "Secret prayer" (Oracion Secreta). Then we had a musical program starting with Victor and Brian playing a duet. Then Brian and Linda Jane playing "Bless This House O Lord I Pray". Rachel followed playing a "Minuet" by Bach and a "Waltz". Linda Jane sang and accompanied herself on the piano. Then she accompanied Victor playing the dramatic bull fight song: "La Virgen de la Macarena". Then we made plans to attend Church tomorrow and took our guests from Mexico and Idaho to the Motel to get a good rest.

The Sacrament Meeting was wonderful in the Chapel in Sterling on the 10th with music between the inspirational talks. Victor and Brian played "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked" accompanied by Linda Jane on the Piano and our chorus sang the two hymns we practiced the night before under the direction of my brother, Maurice. Everyone said the music was beautiful, especially the Spanish members. After Church we all went home to enjoy eating the food left over from the banquet yesterday heated up and served by Brian and Vinette with help from Linda Jane. It was wonderful to have so many of our family together. Wesley and Mary were sorry that they couldn't come due to an operation on Wesley's knee. After dinner we had a good visit to catch up on all the news of each family. The couples from Mexico said they would really like to see Nauvoo and Carthage. Victor he could stay and go along but the rest of the family said they would go home in the morning. We made a copy of the videotape of Rickie's Birthday party for Dale and Kathleen to take to Dorothy and one to go to Mexico for Wesley and Mary.

The next morning we all got up at 6:00 A.M. and got together for a good breakfast before leaving at 7:00 A.M. We arrived at Carthage Jail where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred and heard the whole sad story from the missionaries there who took us through the jail. Rickie, Victor and I had been there before but it was a new emotional experience for the others. We drove over to Nauvoo and saw the historical films in the Visitor's Center of founding of Nauvoo and the experiences of the Members there before the Prophet's martyrdom and the exodus west to the Salt Lake Valley. We were all impressed with the many statues in the Garden that we had read about and seen pictures of them in the Church Magazines. We went to the blacksmith shop and saw a demonstration of preparing a wheel to go on a wagon to make the trek to the west. It was exciting to see the homes of church leaders that had been restored to their former beauty and the Nauvoo Temple site with a miniature replica of the Temple that had been destroyed. Then we did something they couldn't do in Mexico, which was to stop at an ice cream shop and get double dip cones for everyone to eat on the way home. We all had a wonderful time and talked about it all the way home. When we arrived in Dixon we went to the Golden Corral Buffet where everyone could eat what they liked ad as much as they wanted after our long trip. We planned that everyone would check out of their Motel and come to our home for breakfast at 8:00 A.M. before departing for their homes tomorrow November 12th.

Rickie thought that since they would be traveling all day it would be good to serve a full course "brunch". So we had roast beef, potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad, a chicken casserole, Hawaiian bread, ice cream, cookies, milk and orange juice. We had a great time and they all said that they felt well fortified for their trip. We bid them a fond farewell at 9:00 A.M. as they took off in their rented van for the airport. Victor stayed with us and after washing the dishes we took him to Rockford for a physical examination by Dr. Feeny. We were happy that he was given a clean bill of health along with the other bill that we took care of. Then we went to Linda Jane and Ed's home for a visit before going back home. The next morning we had a regular breakfast and our Relief Society President, Brenda Druien went with us to take Victor to the airport for his flight home to Arlington, Virginia. We thanked Victor for coming and helping to make Mother's 80th Birthday party such joyful success. He said he was really happy that he was able to come and would tell Cynthia and his children, Jennie and Zachary all about it.

Brenda came with us to the airport so she could go with us to visit one of our Members, Molly Gosney in a nursing home in Rockford. Molly had diabetes and had to go to dialysis every day. She seemed very happy to see us and told us that she was feeling better since coming to Rockford from Dixon and asked us to tell everyone in the Ward hello for her. Our next appointment was in Schaumburg, Illinois for a Leadership Meeting. Since it was noon we stopped at the Country Buffet in Rockford for a fun time eating together. The Leadership Meeting turned out to be several very informative meetings to help us in our work with our Ward Members, which made Brenda very happy. We arrived in Dixon at 11:45 P.M. and Brenda drove her car home in the country near Rock Falls. We thanked her for coming with us and she said that she really enjoyed the day. When we got up a little later than usual the next morning November 14th we basked in the afterglow of all the festivities we had enjoyed and finally got to work getting our home back in order and getting ready for Christmas.

 

Section 36--Brother Ralph Belnaps Funeral 1996. Rebekah Ruth Smith Born. Family Christmas.

On December 3rd we took a dinner up to Linda Jane and her family in Rockford then went to Dekalb to the funeral home for the visitation of our dear friend, Ralph Belnap. The next day we went to the funeral at 1:00 P.M. and stayed for lunch at the Church and a visit with Helena, Ralph's sweet wife. Then I had a String Quartet Rehearsal at 4:00 P.M. and a Bishopric Meeting at 7:00 P.M. Our Christmas party at the Church was held December 6th with a delicious potluck dinner, of Christmas music and stories and a visit from Santa Claus with presents for all the children. On December 8th we had a Sunday Christmas program and afterwards our string quartet played Christmas music for the Residents of Heritage Square. On December 10th we attended a concert at the Dixon Theater by Myron Floren, the virtuoso accordion player of Lawrence Welk's Band. On the 12th we had a dinner and a rehearsal for the Ward Choir in our Home and everyone said they had a wonderful time. Then we made preparations for the arrival of our new little Granddaughter. Here is a quotation from Linda Jane and Ed's Christmas Letter about it.

This year Christmas has taken on a special meaning for our family as we welcome our own child's birth. Rebekah Ruth Smith was born at 10:01 A.M. on December 16th weighing in at 9 lbs. 9 oz. and measuring 21.5 inches. The baby is well and healthy. Both mother and baby are doing fine. Some of you may remember that my first pregnancy with Rachel was no picnic. This explains why I waited so long to try again, but I had been feeling for quite some time that I needed to show Heavenly Father my willingness to follow His plan for bringing spirits to the earth, so I took a leap of faith. Even though this pregnancy resulted in me being very ill for many months, great blessings have come to my family and me.