CHAPTER VII - YEARS IN UTAH
The next day (after our return from the mission), we went with Con to the hearing about his children. The judge gave us until June to decide what should be done about Michael and Chris. Con and Brenda are to receive special counseling to help them solve their marital problems and be better parents.
We spent a day at Lori and Ron's home visiting with them and catching up on the family news. We had dinner and lunch with them. We went with Craig and Roberta and Jeniann to the Christmas program at Willie's special school for the hearing impaired. The program was precious. The news crew from KSL TV came and taped the program. They showed it on both newscasts that evening, so we were on TV momentarily. Willie was thrilled to see himself on TV.
We stopped at the rest home to visit with Uncle Thell. It is so sad that he has to be there and be so lonesome. We should visit him often.
We went with Roberta and Craig and family to their annual “Bangerter Christmas party." Also on Jennie Loriene's birthday, all the adult members of the family who were here went to celebrate the occasion at the Poor Richard's Restaurant. Then we went up to their home for dessert.
Con and Brenda's bishop called us in to discuss what to do about Michael. They want to put him in the Primary Children's Hospital for tests, which will cost three thousand dollars. We promised to pay a thousand dollars a month for three months. The bishop called us in again and told us that Michael did have serious speech problems, and he should stay at the hospital for three or six months.
We had a lovely Christmas visiting with all our families and seeing the children play with their bountiful supply of toys. We also enjoyed taking Bryan and Stephen down to see the temple square lights with Dorothy. Dale and Kathleen came down just before New Years, so we got to see them also at Dorothy's.
The girls that were living in Clark's home on Winward Drive were going to move out and let us rent it. They hadn't moved out as yet, but we took our stuff over and stored it in the living room on Saturday after New Years day. Clarks were kind and let us rent it for much less than they could have rented it to others. We bought the table and chairs that the girls had in the kitchen, and the bookshelves. Craig let us use Claudius' couch and chair that they brought up from El Paso. Roberta lent us a bed. There was a king size bed in the house. We offered to take Chris until he had a better place to stay. He is a beautiful, red-headed, intelligent child. We kept him off and on for a few months.
Brenda deserted Con, that is she left home without telling him where she was going and stayed away for a long time. When she finally called him in February he told her that he was filing for divorce. She said that was all right with her. Brenda didn't want the children. Conrad wanted to start a new life, and felt that he couldn't do that and keep the children, so he let the Church special services department put them up for adoption. We were told that they had both been adopted by a good Latter-day Saint family. Conrad didn't want any of the family to adopt them because he thought it would cause him problems later on.
We fit right into the Cottonwood Seventh Ward. They asked us to speak in Church, and Dorothy, Ron, Jennie & family came to hear us do it. A couple of months later, they asked Nelle to be a teacher in Relief Society, and me to teach the eight and nine-year-olds in Sunday School. After three or four months, I decided that I was not doing very well, and asked them to release me.
We ate Sunday dinners at our children's homes and they at ours often. We tended their children quite often for short periods of time, so we got well acquainted again. We are so very proud of our families.
The first week of February 1980, I applied at the Translation Division for a job. A little later, they called me and told me to come in. I took a test, and found that accents were no longer used on some words that previously required them. They hired me, and I worked without pay to help them finish the proofreading and index checking on the Spanish Triple Combination.
These scriptures had been extensively revised by Brother Eduardo Balderas, and I had to check every entry in the index to see if the right wording was used. Bother Balderas was asked to make the translation more literal to conform to the English meaning. When the Book was printed a short time later, they made us a present of a copy with our names printed on them.
After Brother Eduardo Balderas finished his revision, a committee of the best Spanish translators in the department went over it to check it. A few little errors were left in so now they are checking it again (1987-1988). They are also preparing the Topical Guide and Index for all the standard works like the new editions in English. I worked on these in 1987, but my work will have to be checked if they make other changes.
As I remember, the Translation Department began to pay me $3.50 an hour for jobs other than the work I did on the Triple Combination. I translated from Spanish to English many contracts, letters, court cases, medical reports for people the authorities in Spanish speaking wards and branches wanted to send to Utah for medical treatment, and other documents that they needed in English. Tony Bentley, one of the attorneys that works for the Church, complimented me on the legal contracts that I translated, he said that they were well done.
Over the years they raised my wages, and in 1986-1987 they paid me by the page. By the page, I earned $8.00 or $9.00 an hour. At the end of 1987, they changed my wage to an hourly rate again and paid me $9.00 an hour. I first worked on the twentieth floor of the beautiful Church Office building at 50 East North Temple Street, and they let me park in the parking areas under the building. After I got my new hip and could walk better, they let me park in a covered parking by the Deseret gymnasium. For the last couple of years I was moved up to the twenty-first floor when the others were moved up. I also did a lot of proof reading. Unfortunately. I was not able to continue working in 1988.
August 30, 1980. The past week has not been too eventful. Conrad has been away on a trip with Ron Esmeyer's Uncle Bob, who is a truck driver, to see if he would like to work driving the big rigs. He has been dissatisfied with his job driving a delivery truck for economy Hardware and Lumber Company.
Yesterday, we decided that Nelle needed a good bed to sleep on, so we went shopping. We went to SEFGO and picked out a Beautyrest. We decided to ask Ron to buy it for us, since he gets a discount as an employee of South East Furniture Go. We also went to Deseret Industries and bought a lamp and a few other knick-knacks. Ron also helped us buy our TVs, chests of drawers, the dining room set and other furniture.
This Sunday evening, Jenny Loriene came in with Steve and Bryan, Erica and Erin. Ron was out interviewing Sunday School teachers, since he is a member of the Presidency.
Roberta also comes often with her children. The first thing the grandchildren want when they come to grandma's house is an ice cream cone or something else good to eat. We very much enjoy having them all come. Jennie Loriene is expecting a new little one in October, so she needs a break occasionally from tending them.
Yesterday, I received my new hearing aid ordered almost a month ago. (They lent me one in the meantime.) I lost the other one I bought before going on our mission. I really feel bad about having to pay so much for a new one. It seems like the hearing aid manufacturers are taking undue advantage of the hard of hearing. A hearing aid small enough to fit in the ear, costs as much as a 19 inch television set. I have never had very sharp hearing. On a turkey hunt, I had a hard time hearing the distant "gobbles " when others could hear them well.
(1980 Christmas letter inserted here).
CHRISTMAS! The joy, the pleasure, the most exquisite emotions that the soul is able to feel and experience; Love in its most beautiful and significant manifestations; hope for improvement, for the realization of fondest goals (including eternal life together), for peace on earth and in our own hearts; charity, the pure love of our Lord Jesus Christ for all; empathy, communication. All these do not come only from joyous memories of childhood Christmases, from gifts and love received, from lovely experiences enjoyed.
No, now that there is a little more understanding, we realize that all these and more are related to the glory of the newly born Jesus, for which the Hosts of Heaven sang "Glory to God"; to His life and His teachings; to His dying for the sins of the world and His resurrection, so that we can repent and receive forgiveness; so that we may learn to follow His example and learn how to live in a Celestial world with Him.
This joy is related to precious relationships with family and loved ones, and our efforts to make them Eternal. "The BEST GIFT OF ALL: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in one another." (R.Digest, Quotable Quotes) But in all this we should remember what someone else has said: "Anyone who is wrapped up in himself makes a very small package".
At Christmas time the latent desire to communicate with our loved ones becomes strong enough to move to action. We wish we could visit you, but will do so just now through these written lines. We hope to receive something similar from you, to learn how things are with you and feel your love. We pray constantly for your welfare, your success and happiness. May you have the richest blessings of the Lord as you celebrate His birth, and may they continue throughout the New Year.
We are well and happy and feel blessed to live in this beautiful city, where we can visit often three of our children and their lovely families (eight grandchildren} and share their joys and sorrows (mostly joys}. We also enjoy Dorothy and her family; and Dale and Kathleen are close enough to enjoy their company occasionally. Dale and Kathleen invited Dorothy and us to spend a glorious week with them at their condominium near Yellowstone Park. The visit and the Park left us with unforgettable Memories.
Many cultural events are rich experiences: Dorothy took Claudette and us to Provo last week to see the B.Y.U. International Folk Dancers, "Christmas Around The World". It was really great. This week we took her to see "Amahl and the Night Visitors". We attended, last night, a special devotional that the First Presidency gives for the Church employees at the Tabernacle. They filled the Tabernacle to overflowing. Features of the program: The Tabernacle Choir singing carols and Christmas anthems, "Mr. Krueger's Christmas" (you'll see it on T.V.) Bruce R. McKonkie, and President Kimball. Many General Authorities attended. We have tickets for the Utah Oratorio Society's "The Messiah".
I have very much enjoyed working nearly full time all year (although employed on a part-time basis) as a proofreader in the Spanish Translation Department on the 2Oth floor of the Church Office Building. In a meeting with the Church Materials and Translation Department heads, they gave each of us a copy of the Spanish Triple Combination just off the press. Brother Eduardo Balderas has done an exceptional work of revision. It is now more literally what the English expresses. We all feel good about this wonderful volume of Scriptures, even though we have found a very few minor imperfections, which will be corrected when a new Spanish edition is published some time in the future, with the new indexes, headigs, etc. that are in preparation to be published soon in English. I have enjoyed reading the Liahonas and many other varied materials that have been and will be published. We have accepted an invitation from Claudius and Marina to spend Christmas with them in Mexico City. We anticipate a joyful time.
Our best experiences during the month of August, was our family reunion. Claudius and Marina and family took advantage of the World conference on Records do come to Provo and Salt Lake City for a Brown Family Reunion also. Eileen and Dick flew up from Phoenix on Friday, August 15th, and stayed until Sunday at 5:00 P.M. We visited and ate delicious meals in all the three homes, and took some pictures.
On Sunday, we took Eileen and Dick, Claudius and Marina, Marcel and Karl to the Tabernacle to hear the Tabernacle Choir broadcast. We all enjoyed it very much. The family reunion was a very special, happy time. On Sunday evening, after seeing Eileen and Dick off at the airport, we went to Roberta and Craig's home to see Claudius' slides of the temple construction and hear him tell us about it. He has been rated superior in the job he is doing there. It will be an exceptionally wonderful building. We feel that our family has been strengthened.
At some time in 1981, I began going to the Salt Lake Temple once a week with my home teaching companion, Del Smith. Most of the time, we would ride the bus. As senior citizens we only had to pay a quarter. We would attend two endowment sessions and return home about noon. We would ride the 6:00 A.M. bus.
On Tuesday, October 13, 1981, after attending the Salt Lake Temple in the morning, I returned and took Nelle out to the Jordan River Temple to go through it during the open house tours. Oh what a beautiful building it is.
I don't remember the date the Jordan River Temple was dedicated, but we attended one of the sessions and took Sister Rita Clark and Dorothy along. This was a very inspirational experience. After the dedication, we went there instead of the Salt Lake Temple.
Before we moved from Winward Drive, it was announced in Church that the Jordan River Temple could still use more ordinance workers, so I applied to work there. The Bishop interviewed me and sent my name in. Some time later, my name was approved and I was called to the Temple for another interview. They accepted me, although in the mean time we had moved two blocks out of the Jordan Temple district. I was set apart and began to work as a Temple ordinance worker around the first of August 1982. The regular ordinance workers direct the endowment sessions and do all the other temple ordinances except baptisms and sealings. Other ordinance workers are especially assigned to those ordinances. Workers in the temples that use the film presentation of the endowment do not have to act out the parts like they do in the Salt Lake Temple and a few others. This relieves us from memorizing so much. It wasn't hard for me to learn the ordinances because I had done so many ordinances as a patron. I worked the early morning sessions every Thursday and the evening sessions Tuesdays. We worked a six or seven hour shift.
I began to get so weak during the last month or so in 1987, that I asked to be excused from the Thursday morning sessions. During the Christmas holiday in 1987, I finally decided that I couldn't continue to work in the temple. This was a very sad decision for me to have to make. I also had to resign from my proofreading, translating job for the Church. More about my illness later.
I had been to see Doctor Gordon Kimball about my hip, and he thought it was time that I had it replaced. Del Smith recommended him to me because he had done such a good job on his brother's hips. He specializes in hips and knee operations, and I was lucky to find such a good surgeon.
On Wednesday, October 14, 1981, Nelle fixed me a special breakfast of cheese fondue. Then I busied myself doing all the chores I could. I vacuumed the rugs, pulled up the tomato plants and took care of the green tomatoes, and mowed the lawn.
Then we went to the Cottonwood Hospital at 2:00 P. M. to have the tests in preparation for my hip replacement operation. The home teachers had given me a blessing, and Craig and Ron also gave me a blessing. It only took an hour to have the tests, then they assigned me to a room to stay the night and have the operation the next morning at 7:30. The other man assigned to the room was Chester Sessions. He and his wife were in the M.T.C. with us preparing to go on a welfare mission in the south seas. He was having a back operation.
I forgot to mention that Dr. Kimball is about the same age as Claudius III. He went on a trip to Mexico with his uncle, President Spencer W. Kimball, and met Dad and Mother who were mission presidents at that time. Dad took them all around the mission, and they became well acquainted. Nelle and Loriene came to the hospital just after they had given me a shot to make me sleepy. The nurses took me into the operating room, and a male nurse or doctor shaved the hair off of my legs.
When I woke up, I was in my room, flat on my back with a brace between my legs to hold the hip in place. I had to sleep with the brace in place and on my back for weeks. Dr. Kimball told Nelle and Loriene that the operation was very successful, but took a little longer because one of my bones was so hard. He said I was in good physical condition and would come through it very well.
All my relatives were praying for me, and they called from Mexico and other places to see how I was getting along. The second day, they had me dangle my legs while sitting on the bed, and the third day they had me walk down the hall with a walker. The next day, they had me walk with crutches. My hip now has a six or seven inch stainless steel spike with a head on it, and the bottom part is inserted into the bone and glued. The socket is nylon or something similar, and is glued to the place where the natural socket was. I traced them from the X-ray pictures.
President Ezra Taft Benson was in the L.D.S. Hospital the same week I was at Cottonwood. I went home at the end of a week, but he stayed two weeks for the same operation. The day I went home, I walked around the yard on crutches, and the next day, I drove the car to the mall and post office. My hip hasn't given me any trouble since the operation, and has even taken a few bad bumps.
Nelle's diary states that we attended the tenth dedicatory session at the Jordan River Temple on November 19, 1981. Rickie was visiting us and having some dental work done in Roy, Utah, so she went with us to the dedication also. She returned to Dixon by train on Saturday October 21, 1981. Nelle's diary has the details of the Temple dedication and many other things.
I must mention our trip to Mexico City to spend Christmas with Claudius and Marina and family in 1980. Ron drove us to the airport on December 18th. We had some large Christmas presents (including a fruit dryer) that Claudius wanted us to bring, and also some presents from Marina's sister Megan (Doris). Jerald and Claudius had suggested that we go as tourists because of all the stuff we were taking. By the time we got to Houston, we decided to do it. We were able to get the tourist visa forms there and fill them out. It was a wise decision, because they just waved through the customs line. Claudius met us at the airport.
This was one of the outstanding Christmases we ever had. The city was so festive with all the Christmas decorations, especially the zocalo, with large billboard size Christmas scenes made of chicken wire and colored lights, which they also had in many other places in the city. There were also lights in the zocalo like giant stars. They had strings of lights over most of the important streets, and the center of the street from Chapultepec Park to downtown was filled with hundreds of thousands of poinsettia plants in full bloom.
We have never been treated more royally. We celebrated with the family at the Ward Christmas activities and programs, at parties, such as the one at the Burton's home. We were taken shopping and to see all the stores with their supply of expensive toys, etc. We went to see the construction of the temple and were amazed at all they had to do to put it on a solid foundation. After Christmas, they took us to San Juan Teotihuacan (the pyramids), and to interesting markets. If I felt better, I would have written more about this never to be forgotten Christmas. Nelle gives more details in her diary .We returned to Salt Lake City on January 1, 1981. There was talk of the possibility that we would not be able to land there. Nelle started to pray about it, and we landed on schedule. We learned that our plane was one of the very few that landed on schedule that day. It was great to be home again and share Christmas over again with our families.
Bob and Rickie had invited us to visit them and take a trip to Washington D.C., so we decided to go. The day before, Nelle was worried about what to do about her hair. Jennie Loriene was kind enough to cut it and give her a permanent in the evening at 8:30.
On Saturday, May 20, 1981, Dorothy offered to take us to the airport at 2:00 p .M. We took the cheaper flight that had a short layover in Denver and a couple of other stops, arriving in Chicago in the evening. Bob and Rickie met us there and drove us back to Dixon, a two hour drive. We visited until late, and got up early to go to church with them. Their daughter, Linda Jane had invited me to sing two duets with her. She was planning to sing a recital at the time of our Family Reunion in Mexico. They were to be sung in French and Italian, so Bob helped me practice at every opportunity, and he also made me a tape of the music.
Monday was Decoration Day, so we got to see Bob's big band march and play in a parade. They also held programs at the cemeteries. We took pictures.
In the afternoon, we stopped by to see the home where President Ronald Reagan lived as a boy. We bought some shingles and put our names on them to help restore the home. They also took us to a park and for many nice rides in the surrounding countryside.
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 Visitors' Centers 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.
We were planning to leave for Washington D.C. on Thursday, June 4th, but didn't get off until 4:25. We stopped for dinner in Gary, Indiana, and then visited Rickie's brother Elmer and his wife Mary. We stopped in Toledo, Ohio, at a motel to sleep three hours, and on to Brian and Vinette's home in time to go to a concert presented by their U.S. Air Force Band, with the audience seated on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.
Brian spent most of the day showing us around Washington, and in the afternoon we attended the baptismal service for Briancito, and I practiced with Linda Jane. My voice wouldn't work well and I was disappointed, as was Linda. Both of Brian Jr.'s grandparents attended his baptism. Vinette prepared a lovely chicken dinner for us.
Sunday, the next day, we attended church with them, and Bob confirmed Briancito a member of the Church, and I stood in the circle with them. On Monday, Brian took us into town with Bob and Rickie to do some sightseeing on our own. We went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the botanical gardens and Library of Congress, etc.
On Tuesday, June 9th, we returned to Chicago arriving about 11:30 P.M., and stayed at a Motel, so they could take us to the plane at 7:30 A.M. the next morning. Jennie Loriene and Jonathan met us in Salt Lake, and Ron came in time to help us with our baggage. The trip was on of the happiest experiences of our lives.
Our Bowman Family Reunion was another similar experience. We started for Mexico on Thursday, July 2, 1981. Brian and Stephen rode with us. We stayed at Albuquerque overnight, and went on home the next day. The Taylors went on a trip and let us use our home to stay in while they were gone. We put a bed in the office and Nelle and I used it so Ron and Loriene could have our room with their children. It was great to be in our old home again.
The Mexico Bowmans outdid themselves preparing such delicious food for us. We had a talent show in the Recreation hall of the chapel, and a memories session, telling stories about our growing up days and memories of our parents. We also visited each other to our heart's content. Our children returned home before we did. We returned to Salt Lake City July 21 and 22.
We met Eileen at the airport at 9:15 on July 24, 1981, and went right downtown to see the parade. The next day, Saturday, Nina gave Loriene a beautiful permanent. Nina and her mother went shopping in the afternoon, and that evening we all went to the Pearl Restaurant for Chinese food. On Sunday, we all had Nelle's delicious chicken at our home. Eileen returned at 8:45 that evening.
July 26, 1981: We started for Safford, Arizona to attend the Lunt Taylor Reunion up on Mount Graham. Before leaving, we went down to the immigration office and Nelle filled out an application for permanent residency for me in the U.S. (They granted it to me as an alien resident even though I could have been a citizen.)
We stopped at Jacob Lake that night and had a nice visit with Effie Dean. We also stopped at Safford to buy groceries and get directions as to how to get to the campground on Mount Graham, thirty miles further up. We finally arrived, following the signs they had put up, and set up our tent. Nelle didn't like sleeping on the floor of the tent.
Almost everyone attended, and we had a great time playing games, visiting, and especially eating. It rained a lot. Everyone was startled and ran for the tents, campers and motor homes when a big black bear wandered near the camp. The family meeting, talent program, and reminiscing session were especially delightful. Bob Cardon's motor home had a large awning that served as a place to eat out of the rain. Groups had been previously assigned to provide and cook the meals.
Friday, July 30: We put our wet tent in the car with the other stuff, and went to El Paso. We stayed with Hannah, had a good visit and went on to Dublan on Saturday, where we stayed with Jerald and Sharon. We were there for two Sundays, testimony meeting and a farewell service for six missionaries. Besides the lovely meals at our brothers and sisters' homes we attended a birthday party for Floriene F. Taylor and a special dinner at Willa Wagner's. We left Dublan on Wednesday, August 12th, stayed overnight again with Hannah, after visiting with Flora and John, had the car serviced, and came on home,
On August 20, Bob and Rickie came to visit us on the way back from a trip up to Oregon and down the coast. We had a great time with them, but they couldn't stay long because they had to get home to start school.
On November 13, 1981, Nelle, Dorothy and I went to the Promised Valley Playhouse to see The Mikado. We enjoyed it immensely, because it reminded us of when we presented it in the Juarez Stake. I had one of the less important character parts. We also took all the cast to El Paso and presented it in their recreation hall and stage.
We hadn't been home long, when Dee Anne knocked on our door to tell us her father, Bryant R. Clark, was dying. The Clarks had been living in the two-story apartment of their home while we were living in the one-story part of the home. Bryant had a wonderful day with his wife, children and grandchildren. He was tired and decided to retire. Reta Clark stayed downstairs to read the paper a few minutes. When she went upstairs, Bryant wasn't in the bed. She tried to open the small bathroom door. Bryant had fallen against it and she couldn't open it. She called Jean and Dee Anne Whetten, who lived nearby, and the came right over. Jean climbed to the roof and got through the bathroom window, opened the door and immediately began to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. They also called the paramedics, but it was too late, he had already passed away. This was a real shock to all of us. Bryant was perhaps my closest friend. We were co-workers in the poultry business, and he went with us on a number of trips with Norris Bradbury.
Reta didn't want us to leave her alone, so we stayed there talking until 2:00 A.M. At their request, I got some of his former students together, and we sang the quartette, “The Teacher's Work is Done" in the funeral. We had another very happy trip to Phoenix and Mesa to attend Mother LaVetta Taylor's eightieth birthday party. Claudius and Marina and Family had just returned to Mexico City on December 29th 1981, from their trip to spend Christmas with us in Salt Lake. They stayed in the Clark's apartment in their home on Winward Drive. We had a very wonderful time with them and the other children. Dick and Nina came for Christmas also. Perhaps I should have written more detail about this wonderful Christmas.
Christmas 1981 letter inserted here.
Our Heavenly Father, the giver of all good gifts, sent His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him and obeys His laws shall not perish but have everlasting life. After His birth in Bethlehem, the Wise Men from the east brought gifts to the infant Lord. The custom of gift giving is a blessing of Christmas time, as the world celebrates His holy birth. The Lord promises to give to us everything we are willing to receive. (D. & C. 88:32)
It has been said that the only true gifts are those in which we give of ourselves. Mere things may be bought when needed. Another important idea has been expressed, that we have 3 natural obligation to give something to everyone we meet, even if only our friendly, pleasant, happy disposition, our enthusiasm: To be sure that even a few minutes spent together will make the day brighter, everything more worthwhile.
We greatly appreciate all of you, our relatives and dear friends, who give us these priceless gifts of self. You all have done this for us. Our lives are richer and greatly blessed because of you.
The past year has been great because of experiences shared with loved ones. The unforgettable Christmas 1980 with Claudius III, Marina and family in that uniquely decorated "La Capital de Mexico". Our trip to visit Bob and Rickie and family in Dixon, Illinois with side trips to Nauvoo, Carthage, and Washington, D.C. (two national capitals within a few months). The music filled our souls with joy. The Bowman family Reunion in July at Colonia Dublan. We greatly appreciate all you did for us and the royal way you took care of us "visitors". The Lunt-Taylor Reunion at Mount Graham, Arizona in August: Another stimulus to work for exaltation to be eternally with those we love. A lovely "16 de septiembre" celebration sponsored byour "primos Mexicanos". My hip operation October l5th, successful and painless because of the prayers of our family and friends in many areas far and wide, with much appreciated, cheering phone calls and communications from many.
All our immediate family is planning to be here in Salt Lake City for Christmas. Claudius III, Marina and their three children are still helping build the Temple in Mexico. Loriene and Ronald Esmeyer, here in Salt Lake, have five children, the youngest, William Jonathan, born Oct. 23, 1980. Eileen and Dick Johnson, in Phoenix, are both working hard to save enough to buy a nice home. Roberta and Craig Jensen, also in Salt Lake (West Valley City) have four children, the youngest, Sidsie, born April 14, 1981. Conrad and Karen, also in West Valley City, are very happy to have found each other. We all join in expressing these sincere words of cheer to you.
On December 30 (Friday) we were all ready to leave for Phoenix, and we had planned to attend Henry Eyring's funeral, but it started to snow hard, so we decided to get on down the road. The further south we went the less snow there was. We stayed overnight in Kanab. We stopped at Glen Canyon to see their visitors' center. We saw a film about the history of the construction, and then went down the elevator to see the gigantic power generators. We arrived at Dick and Nina's home at about 5:00 P.M. They gave us a very nice dinner and then took us out to see the fabulous homes decorated for Christmas.
Mother Taylor's birthday party was an exceptionally happy occasion. All of the children were present except Gary, LaSelle, and Hannah, and they honored her by recounting her life and how she had been such a great influence in their lives. After the party, we went over to the motel to visit with Flora and John, Elwood and Barbara, and Jerald and Sharon.
We went on down to the Colonies on Monday to take care of some business and get Conrad's school credits, etc. We had a good visit and had a great time. LaSelle and Arletta passed us going out of town (quite a ways out). We didn't see them, and so they turned around and came back to Dublan to see us.
We came back to El Paso on Wednesday and stayed overnight with John and Flora. We started home on Thursday, ran into some snow just before Gallup, but the service station people thought we could get through. The Lord answered our prayers, and we arrived safely after staying overnight in Monticello. It was so cold that the soda pop we had in the car froze and broke, as did a bottle of nose drops we were taking for baby Sidsie.
We had been planning to buy a home here in Salt Lake City, and would sell our home in Dublan to pay for it. Bryant and Reta Clark had offered to sell us their home in which we had been living for two years. The main thing I didn't like about it was that it had the furnace in a crawl space under the floor, and it was necessary to get down under the floor at least once a month to change the filter etc.
At that time, Bob McClellan was working in real estate, and he knew of some houses for sale, one of which was on Olive Drive just a block and a half away from Dorothy's home. We looked at a number of houses, and we liked the one on Olive Drive best, and it was near Dorothy, and that helped decide to buy it. The owners were Willard L. Hansen and his divorced wife Eileen M. Campos. They decided to finance it themselves, with a balloon payment at the end of five years. Ron and Julie Taylor bought our home, and they agreed to pay 12 percent interest monthly, and the balance of $60,000.00 at the end of five years. Ron also agreed to buy Ora Cartton's lot for four thousand dollars, when she could give him a title. It was in Gaius Call's name.
We bought the house on February 16, 1982. Our children came and helped us move, a few days later, and we have lived here happily ever since. At the end of five years, Ron was not able to pay anything on the principal, so Bishop Woods, who was the manager of a mortgage company, helped us refinance it with a mortgage. Ron agreed to pay the extra expenses. He has now agreed to pay a thousand dollars a month on the interest and principal, and at least $10,000.00 every year until paid. We are very happy to have this nice home. We paid $75,000.00 for it and were able to pay $20,000.00 down on it. We have now paid the ten thousand Ron paid us in August on it also.
Perhaps I had better write a few comments on our Deep South Plantation and World's Fair tour from April 22 to May 10, 1982.
Ella and Elbert Miller told us about this tour that a lot of senior citizens in Orem were taking, and we decided to go with them. We had a very good tour guide, and this is a very nice way to travel, because they had good program of activities and the reservations made in really nice motels and hotels. I saved the brochure with my recuerdos that gives the complete program of the trip.
We flew from Salt Lake City to New Orleans and stayed there for two nights. It is an interesting city, and they took us on a paddleboat trip on the Mississippi and out into the bayous. It surprised me that the Mississippi river is higher than the surrounding territory, and to go out into the bayous, we had to go through a lock to go down to their level. We traveled in two Trailways buses that they had contracted for the whole trip, and they took us everywhere. We went down through Florida and the keys to Key West. I was surprised at how much of the highway was over water on stilts. These old cities were really interesting to explore, and they showed us the most interesting places.
We spent a day at Disney World, and there are so many things to do and see there that I believe you could stay two weeks and not see them all. I was very glad to have this experience. I can't begin to write about all the interesting places we visited. We took a lot of pictures. We went to the 1982 World's Fair at Knoxville, Tennessee for a day and a half. This was the first World's Fair that we had ever seen, and it was really worth the whole trip. We also visited the Kennedy Space Center and are amazed at the interesting things they have there, and all they are doing.
Ella had to take a whole drugstore of medicines to keep Elbert going. We didn't really realize just how ill he was. But he enjoyed the trip anyway, and was a very good sport.
We returned to New Orleans, and flew home from there. This group of senior citizens were a very nice group to travel with. There was never a dull moment. It was a great trip.
From the middle of 1982, I worked two days a week at the Jordan River Temple, and when we went on a trip, I had to get some other worker to take my shift. We had a two week vacation in August and Christmas time, so we often went on trips at that time. I also worked three days a week in the Translation Department, but they would let go whenever I wanted a vacation.
Someone in the department wrote a tribute to me and gave to my supervisor and he passed it on to me: “I don't know how much we're paying BROTHER BOWMAN, but he is a bargain at any price. All of his jobs are done well. It's a snap to review his translations because he does them right.”
I really enjoyed working in the Translation Department. It kept me busy and from getting rusty in my old age. Many of the things translated were interesting. I proofread a good share of the manuals and other publications the Church published, and also the Liahonas. I also read many passages of scripture while checking the indexes and the Topical Guide.
To say that I enjoyed working in the Temple is the understatement of the year. It would be impossible for me to describe how much I enjoyed this marvelous and so important work. While in the Temple, all worldly cares go away, and you begin to appreciate the really important things in this life and the rest of our eternal lives.
I was not blessed to experience any marvelous manifestation in the Temple, but others did have miracles happen, such as being aware of spirits being present, or being prompted to do something that they would not ordinarily have done, etc. One of the great privileges of working in the temple is the association with the very spiritual and outstanding brethren and sisters who work there. They are really great people.
I did experience the manifestations of the Spirit to confirm and strengthen my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and the importance of the Atonement made by our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Christmas 1982 letter inserted next page.)
Dear Family and Friends:
May the Spirit of Christmas be always in your heart. May it make your New Year and the future more meaningful and bright. May our love £or each other be more often expressed to cheer and gladden the heart. Paul's statement can be applied to the present also, at least to me £or at times I seem to be rather dead: "Even so in CHRIST shall all be made alive". (Can you hear the music of The Messiah?)
Yes in times of stress and suffering His concept of what is important in life, and the knowledge of the future He gives us, can be stimuli to carryon and overcome, and at the same time make our sufferings seem small indeed.
As the beautiful carol sings in our heart: "Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie; Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by. YET IN THY DARK STREETS SHINETH THE EVERLASTING LIGHT; The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."
Many of you are traveling dark streets just now. We empathize and feel with you and for you. But let us permit His light to illuminate and brighten our way, then may we "have life, and...have it more abundantly". For those of you that Nelle’s letrers have not kept in touch, we will write a brief report of our activities and condition:
This has been a year of wonderful experiences for us. We have traveled in the deep southeastern States, seeing the World's Fair, Disney World, cities not before visited by us, with interesting sights and customs, the broad Mississippi, which should have been the subject of an epistle written to you. We have enjoyed our children and grandchildren, who greatly extend our life vicariously. Three live here in Salt Lake: Loriene and Ron Esmeyer, with their five; Roberta and Craig Jensen, also with five (the last one, Taylor Moroni, born October 7); and Conrad and Karen.
Claudius and Marina and their three were here to share the July 24th parade and festivities with us, and Claudius is here just now for medical attention. We are sure he will feel better soon and return to his duties as controller of the Mexico City Temple construction.
Eileen, who lives in Phoenix, was also here for the July reunion, Thanksgiving, and will come for Christmas. She has just moved into a new condominium.
We also moved into our home here last February. Claudius is an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple, and occasionally works at the translation office on the twentieth floor of the Church office building downtown. He enjoys keeping the lot up and other little jobs around the house. He is in good health and doesn't limp any more. Nelle is relatively well, and it would take another epistle to do justice to her varied activities. She is Mother Education Teacher in the Relief Society, and Visiting Teacher; letter writer extraordinaire, best friend to many and light of our life.
Our delightful experiences with friends and relatives are too numerous to detail, but they all contribute to our full life and happiness. Come and visit us when you can. It will be a joy to welcome you. This is a firm and sincere invitation. If you lose our address, we are in the phone book.
With love and best wishes ("FELICIDADES"),
Claudius and Nelle
From 1982 to 1987 most of my daytime hours were occupied by working in the Jordan River Temple as an ordinance worker two days a week, and working three days at the Translation Department on the 20th and later 21st floor of the Church Office Building at 50 East North Temple Street. On Saturdays I would work in the yard and the house to keep things going.
During the first three years, the sessions started at 5:30 A.M. for my Thursday shift, and we had to be dressed and in prayer meeting at 5:00 A.M. I had to get up at 4:20 A.M. to have a bath, get breakfast, and travel to the temple. I would get home about 2:00 P.M. On Tuesdays, prayer meeting was at 2:30 P.M. and I would get home at around 10:30 P .M. On the days I worked at the office building, I would leave home at 7:00 A.M. and get home at about 6:00 P.M. most days.
On August 25, 1983, Nelle had a hysterectomy and repair operation performed by Doctor Howard S. Berk in the Holy Cross Hospital. We took her home on August 31, but she began to have a fever, so we had to take her back the next day for an 8 day stay.
Nelle had her total knee replacement operation performed by Dr. Gordon R. Kimball at the Cottonwood Hospital on September 22, 1984. This was the same doctor that did my hip replacement operation. Our neighbor, Iris, had her knees replaced by the doctor they say is best in performing it, but Iris has had problems with her knees, and Nelle's seems to be very good. While in the hospital after the operation, they put the leg and knee on a machine that flexed her knee down and up about every two to three minutes. Iris had a lot of pain while on this machine, but Nelle didn't seem to have much pain. She has been very grateful for this operation. She has had problems with her back that affect her sciatic nerve and cause pain in her legs. She has tried to keep an exercise program going, including walking, but sometimes the pain in her legs does not permit it. The artificial knee they put in Nelle's knee cost about $2,500.00, and they charged $700.00 dollars for the apparatus they used to install it. We found out that Nelle had Church Insurance that would partially cover the cost of these operations. We applied for it, and we finally received about $8,000.00 dollars, for which we were very grateful. They sent the check to the Academy, and it was delivered to Nellie B. Bowman and Maurice. They brought it up to us. The knee operation cost more than ten thousand dollars.
By November 1983, the Mexico City Temple was finished, and they had an open house period for people to visit, as usual. They gave away thousands of Books of Mormon and received many requests for missionary visits.
All of us, Mother and Dad's children, decided that we would attend the Dedication and have a reunion in Mexico City. This was one of the choice experiences of our lives.
Nelle and I drove our car to El Paso on November 28 and 29, spending the night in Gallup. Flora and John had invited us, LaSelle and Arletta, and Alma and Hannah Jarvis to a lovely banquet in the evening. We hadn't seen LaSelle for two years, so we were grateful that he happened to be in El Paso at that time. We had a great time.
The next morning, Jarvis drove us to the Ciudad Juarez airport, and we flew to Mexico City, arriving before noon. Claudius met us and took us right over to the temple. We met some of the people he has been working with. He took us through the temple, and we met the temple President Harold Brown and his wife Leonor. We also met Forres J. O'Donnal and his wife Carmen. We had seen the temple twice during its construction, and we were very thrilled to see it finished so beautifully.
Claudius had arranged for us to stay at the Robinson's home. He is a Church employee, but we do not think he is related to us. The Browns also came from their mission in Guatemala, so they had both sets of grandparents there. Marion and Maurine Robinson kept most of the others in their big home, and we all met there for a number of meals and to have a reunion meeting.
The next day, I went with Claudius to the temple to take some pictures and to visit with him. We had been looking for tickets so we could all go to the first Session of the Dedication. We went to the hotel where the General Authorities were staying to see if the O'Donnals had extra tickets. He wasn't there, but Elder Scott gave us those that we lacked. He also complimented Claudius III highly for all that he did to promote the temple construction. He said that most people didn't know how much Claudius had contributed to it. Previously we had gone to Bishop John Walser's home, and he gave us some tickets.
Claudius III has a set of slides showing different stages of the temple construction. He has shown them in many places, and he gives a very good talk about all the miracles that contributed to it.
The temple is built on large cement piles that go down more than a hundred feet into the soft earth. It is like it is sitting on a bowl of jello, and they can adjust it if it happens to shift out of level position. The big earthquake a year or two ago didn't hurt it. We went through the temple again when Claudius took the Browns on a tour of it.
All of Mother and Dad's family attended the first Dedicatory Session. We went early to be seated in a good place. We were seated in an ordinance room next to the Celestial Room. The plan of the temple is very similar to the Jordan River Temple on the inside, except the Mexico Temple only has four ordinance rooms and the Jordan Temple has six. They are very different on the outside.
As we were sitting quietly in the Temple, I guess we were all thinking about Mother and Dad, and I began to wonder if they had been permitted to attend. We were all feeling very close to them, as if they were present with us. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Counselor in the First Presidency, presided at the First Session. President Spencer W. Kimball was not able to attend because of poor health. When President Gordon B. Hinckley gave his talk, he mentioned that there were probably many unseen people present. He mentioned the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and a few others, and then he said that Claudious and Jennie Bowman would surely be permitted to attend. He also mentioned the great work they did in the mission, that Dad had died in the mission, and that he had spoken at Dad's funeral. This confirmed our feelings and made us feel very happy.
President Hinckley gave the Dedicatory Prayer in the First Session, and it was also read by Harold Brown in Spanish.
We also went out and watched them install the corner stone before the session began. We also attended the tenth session, when Maurice's choir sang.
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, and local authorities. They were honored in this way. The General Authorities attending were Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Ezra Taft Benson, Richard Scott, Grant Bangerter, Ted Brewerton, Burke Peterson and Howard w. Hunter. Maurice's choir sounded like angels, and the local choirs that sang in the different sessions were very good also.
Claudius took us to different places shopping, and we went on the bus and in taxis with Bob and Rickie, Dorothy and Kathleen. We also visited the excavation of ancient ruins just by the Zocalo.
Claudius had sent his family back to El Paso. The kids had missed two weeks of school. On December 8, 1973, he took us to the airport. Jarvis met us and we stayed with them overnight. We then went to Dublan for a few days. Hannah also had a special dinner for us, John and Flora, Pat and Loren Jarvis, and Marina. At the colony visit we were entertained and fed royally by our brothers and sisters-in-law. We also enjoyed attending church with them.
At home, we arranged to sell our home to Ron and Julie Taylor, and then we spent three days getting all our stuff out of the house and the basement. We gave most of it away. We arrived back in Salt Lake City on Saturday December 17th 1983.
I forgot to mention the flooding in the spring of 1983, including the river running down State Street. The big drain that usually takes the water from City Creek underground clogged up, so they lined the street with sandbags and let it run on the street. It came in on North Temple for a block, turned the corner by the Church office building and down State Street. It was a big stream. I took some pictures of it. They made bridges over it for the cars to pass on the main streets, and also for the pedestrians. There seemed to be more snow than usual, and the creeks in the canyons all flooded. Parts of Salt Lake City were flooded including many houses. Our area was not affected for which we were thankful. They also had big mud slides off the mountains in Bountiful and other places. It covered some homes and made many streets impassable.
At the end of May 1985, we went to the colonies in time to attend the closing and graduation program of the Academy. Nelle's class of 1935 was having their fiftieth anniversary of their graduation, and the students Nelle taught in Kindergarten were graduating. There were 33 graduates in 1935, and nearly half of them were present at the reunion. Nellie Spilsbury Romney and others in Colonia Juarez planned the reunion. They had a very lovely dinner and party at Nellie's home, the big palace on the hill that Donn helped them build. It was really worth the effort to go and be there, because the renewal of such good friendships is wonderful. The graduation program and exercises was May 31, 1985.
Another of the outstanding experiences of our lives was our attendance at the Centennial Week commemorating the arrival of the first colonists in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. Jerald Lynn Taylor, Nelle's brother, was stake president, and they assigned committees a number of years ahead to plan and carry out this marvelous celebration. They held Centennial activities during the whole year, but the main events were held during the week of August 5 to 11, 1985. They did a very wonderful job of caring for and entertaining the more than three thousand people who went down to celebrate with those who were still there. The first big event was an outstanding parade. Many families made floats for it and they did a marvelous job.
Donn, Keith, Wesley and Maurice and their families built a Bowman Family float, "FIVE GENERATIONS IN MEXICO" that we would have been proud to enter even in the Salt Lake City 24th of July parade. We got there in time to help put on the finishing touches. They built it over a pickup and a large fruit trailer, and covered it with the type of green rug that is used outside. You must see the picture to really appreciate it. It came out in the September Ensign Magazine. On the highest level in back we had Tracy (I believe) and Patricia dressed to represent Grandfather and Grandmother Henry and Mary Gubler Bowman. On the next level was Bob McClellan and Marza representing Dad and Mother. Their children were on the bottom level standing. We sang a Spanish song, "Soy de Chihuahua Senores" and another. On the next level up toward the front, Maurice had got together an orchestra of the grandchildren that played when we weren't singing. On the highest level were the little great grandchildren. The float had the name in English and Spanish, and was decorated with large flowers. Maurice had painted a representation of grandfather Henry's store and a sack of flour representing Dad's flourmill, that were at the back and sides on the rear level.
After the parade, they fed everybody at a tremendous barbecue with all the trimmings, and they had a large pile of watermelons and cantaloupes, etc.
That night, they had a talent program. I couldn't sing with our quartette because I had lost my singing voice. I didn't know why at that time, but it was because of the disease I have. It was an outstanding program. They held a marathon from Colonia Juarez to Dublan and had a large number participate. I don't remember who won.
The most outstanding event was the pageant they presented giving the history of the early colonies. Floriene Farnsworth Taylor (Mennell's wife) wrote it, including a five verse and chorus special Centennial Song. Ella F. Bentley wrote the music for it.
We have a tape of the Pageant Songs, but do not have the script, which we wanted to get because it was so good. It was held on the side-hill south of the gym and shop, with the audience spread out all over the baseball field on the lawn. They began with a tableau of the First Vision of Joseph Smith over to one side. There is now an orchard there which made it a very good backdrop. They presented the Pageant on Wednesday and Friday in English and on Thursday in Spanish.
They took the singers to El Paso to have a tape made commercially so it would be good. And it was really good. The people who put this program together deserve a lot of credit and honor for its quality.
On Friday, they fed everybody again in Colonia Juarez at a Chuck Wagon Breakfast. We didn't go but they said that it was very good. They also had food available for the visitors every day. In Dublan they put out hook-ups for electricity so people could park their motor homes, etc. in the shade and have lights.
We should really honor our Mexico Pioneers. They began with nothing, made dams in the river dug canals and ditches all over the valley. They made a big canal out to the lakes and a big levee along one side of both lakes, and brought the water into town and to the farms along the river. They built beautiful brick homes, and by the early nineteen hundreds had telephones including a line between Dublan and Colonia Juarez. About 1200 colonists lived in Colonia Dublan before the Exodus. We didn't get telephones until the government put them in some sixty years later.
I mentioned previously that by the time of the Centennial I had lost my singing voice. That is the way my illness started. A little over a year later, I began to have problems eating and swallowing. I went to two ear, nose, and throat specialists. The first one didn't do anything. The second examined my vocal chords with a fiber optic scanner, and said that one side was warped and they didn't close completely. He said that he could repair them by injecting teflon in or near the vocal chords. He said that it wasn't a serious operation.
I went to a cancer specialist and since I had a little round lump on my prostate gland, he sent me to a specialist in urology to have a prostate biopsy. He put me in the hospital and put me out completely for the biopsy, after he had given me some other tests. By this time, I had been to five doctors and each had ordered a series of tests. We were grateful that the biopsy was benign.
Maurice and Nellie were here and they had mentioned my case to Maurice Jr.'s father-in-law Dr. Hubert C. Burton. He is famous for his diagnostic skill and thought he could help me so I went to him for two or three months. He thought I had a form of Parkinson's disease. He sent me to a throat specialist and he put me out again and examined my throat and stomach with a bigger fiber optic scanner, and said that my throat had spasms and closed up when I tried to swallow, and that my stomach was inflamed. I had been taking quite a lot of aspirin, but hadn't felt it hurt me. The cancer specialist also sent me to have a CAT scan of my brain. All the tests were normal or nearly so, and none of the doctors could give me a diagnosis.
I had been having pressure in my head, and my nose would clog up at night so I couldn't breathe well. Dr. Burton gave me a very expensive nose drop and a pill that helped, but after a while the nose drops didn't help. Dr. Burton tried out quite a number of medicines on me, and he gave me a lot of medical samples, that saved a lot of money. He thought that perhaps the teflon operation might help me swallow better, so I went back to the ear, nose, and throat doctor and had him do it. It turned out to be a major operation. He put me in the hospital and also put me out completely. My throat swelled so much that I was gasping for breath even with an oxygen mask on with humidity added. I had to keep it on and stay in the hospital overnight under careful nursing care. The operation didn't help, but it may help keep liquid out of my lungs.
By the middle of 1987, I was starting to feel weak, and would get really tired walking from the parking area to the temple and to the office building. My voice was also being affected. I finally went to a Neurologist, Dr. Nathaniel Nord. He tested my muscles with electric current from a special tester, and told me that I had Lou Gehrig's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
(Two letters to family are inserted the next two pages.)
February 17, 1988
It is really good to hear from family members and friends. We greatly appreciate your interest and your prayers in our behalf. You have really shown us your love and concern, and this makes us feel good, since everyone seems to be interested, I thought I had better write you a report of how we are doing.
I have been diagnosed as having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). The biggest problem is my difficulty in swallowing, and in speaking. Next, is the weakness I am beginning to feel and the fact that I get tired so easily. Because of the difficulty in speaking, I have had to stop working as an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple. I have also stopped working at the Church Translation Division down at the big Church Office Building. However, I try to exercise with dumbbells to keep my arms active, and some on the mini-trampoline every morning, and I go over to the mall to walk a mile every afternoon.
My family wants me to write my life history in a more complete form. I have been gathering letters and other material to reinforce my memory, and perhaps I will get up enough energy to write it. I also want to start going to the temple as a patron. I know this will help me keep in shape.
The Lord is blessing us, and I know that if it is His will, I will get better. The Priesthood blessings I have received have promised me that I will regain my health and be able to serve again. The most recent of these was given by our neighbor, Brother Christensen, who is a counselor in the stake presidency. I go home teaching to their home.
Nelle has been suffering from pains in her back. She says that she is getting better. She exercises every day, including riding the stationary bicycle, etc. She does a lot of studying and writes many letters. She also keeps a very interesting journal. She takes very good care of me. The scope of our activities has been narrowed considerably, however, we are happy to be together. We enjoy each other and also our children and grandchildren who visit us often. My grandchildren want me to give them patriarchal blessings. I have not given any patriarchal blessings since I was called to give them in Spanish, because it has been difficult for me to talk and also to feel the spirit strong enough to give a good blessing.
We hope you will not worry about us. Whatever happens will be the will of the Lord, and we will take it as it comes and be happy about it.
With much love,
Claudius and Nelle
March 15, 1988
It has been so good to receive letters from family members and good friends. We appreciate your prayers for our welfare very much, and wish that we deserved all the good things you say about us.
We had a great birthday celebration on my 75th birthday a week ago. Brian Bowman came to Utah to teach and also to play in a concert celebrating 100 years of my alma mater, Utah State University in Logan. He came Monday night and stayed overnight with us. Nelle fixed a nice Mexican food dinner. Brian stayed for it. Dorothy came over, and also Kathleen and Dale. The latter had to come to Salt Lake to get Claud's son, who had chicken pox. Claud, their son couldn't care for him because he had to work. So we had a great time. Of course, Brian played his Euphonium for us that night and on my birthday. He played "Las Mananitas" for me and other Mexican songs. He then went back to Logan for a rehearsal and concert. He was to leave for home that same night. Then in the evening Lori and Ron and family, Roberta and Craig and family came and we had another very nice party. The children had all drawn birthday cards for me. Both families brought a cake.
Nelle has been assigned to go home teaching with me. I guess they lacked a partner to assign to me. LaRee and Verl McCrae came to visit us. They are being assigned to go to South America on a mission, and had been to an interview with Elder Ballard. He had not decided to which country to send them. They are a very happy couple, and are so talented that they will make exceptionally excellent missionaries. He was just released from his calling as bishop in Pine, Arizona. We very much enjoyed their visit.
Denise, Flora and John Lupo's daughter, and Jerald L. Jr. came to visit us on Sunday March 6th. We very much enjoy visiting with our nieces and nephews who are at the Y. Nelle fixed them a nice dinner.
Yesterday we went to Provo for Annie Romney Call's funeral. She is Ara Call's wife. We got to meet their wonderful family, which is very numerous. They presented a lovely program in the funeral. We also got to visit with many other friends we had not seen for a long time. Dorothy went with us, and we had her drive. Annie's sister, Ella Romney Miller, was in intensive care at the hospital. She is Nelle's best friend. They had just been to visit us a few days previously. Her husband, Elbert, needs someone to do almost everything for him, and I guess it has worn Ella out caring for him.
Roberta and Craig's baby, Lee Bowman Jensen, has been bothered all his months of life with breathing congestion. It has gone to his ears. He is totally deaf in one ear and partially in the other. They took him in yesterday to have drainage tubes inserted into his ears. We hope this will restore some of his hearing.
I am not improving in health and strength. I am really getting weaker slowly. Where I could walk two miles a short time ago, I can now walk only about a half mile, and I can do much less on the mini-trampoline. They want me to eat enough to keep my weight up, but this is becoming a problem. I have trouble eating more than two meals a day. I have been looking through all my old letters and other material in order to write my life history, which my children have asked me to write. Mother saved my letters written in Logan while at school, and from my mission. I am sorry to confess that I have not written a journal, except a partial one while on my first mission. I am not suffering pain, for which I am very grateful. This disease is not supposed to affect the brain, another thing for which to be grateful, but I am hoping that I will not be a burden for the family for a long period of time. However, we will take things as they come, a day at a time, and be thankful to the Lord.
Claudius and Nelle
My brothers and sisters have all been to see me with their spouses. When Donn and Keith and Bob and their wives were here the first time, we all went to the temple together and had a great time. Bob has made two special trips from Dixon, Illinois to see me, and says he will come again in the summer. Donn has also been here twice with Maurine. Kathleen has come to see me often, with Dale. Dorothy comes over almost daily, and she takes Nelle shopping and everywhere else she needs to go. Nelle doesn't want me to drive any more. They have all shown me how much they love me and care for me. Dorothy comes to take us to take us to church, and they take me in a wheelchair.
It has been a number of months since I have gotten so weak that I can't exercise any more. I have trouble holding my head up when I walk, and I now use a walker with wheels on it instead of the two canes I was using. The doctor has finally given me oxygen, which I use while sleeping or lying down. This has solved my breathing problem temporarily. It is expensive, and Medicare will not pay for it, because my tests in the daytime show that I have a normal amount of oxygen in my blood.
I am writing this the day after Thanksgiving, November 1988. We had a lovely thanksgiving dinner yesterday at Ron and Loriene's home. Roberta and Nelle helped cook the dinner, but Loriene did a major share of it. They both cooked small turkeys, that is Roberta and Loriene. Nelle invited Jerald Taylor Jr. and Rebecca to come and have Thanksgiving with us. We enjoyed having them. Marcel was planning to come also, but he got a ride to El Paso, and went home instead. They are at the BYU.
I have never had a more delicious dinner nor better company. Of course, I do not talk much because no one can understand me. I have to repeat things over two or three times for even Nelle to understand me. I seem to be having trouble even writing coherently, and I make lots of mistakes.
We finally have a little snow as of a week ago. It has been a very warm, dry fall. We didn't have to pick the green tomatoes until ten days or so ago, because it hadn't got down to freezing yet.
Perhaps I should write about how I feel about my illness. What with all the priesthood blessings I have received, and so many people with great faith praying for me from North to South America, people putting my name on the prayer rolls in a number of temples, and the great faith I have personally, I am sure that the Lord has a reason for me to go through this trial. When Joseph Smith was suffering, and approached the Lord about it, the Lord told him that it would all be for his good.
Perhaps I need to learn humility, or what it means to suffer, or maybe there is some other good reason. If there were not, I am sure that I would have been healed long ago. I have had such good health all my life that it has been a great blessing that has been greatly appreciated. So we will take things a day at a time, and see how far we have to go.
I have not really had much pain so far, except that I have now begun to have headaches. My biggest problem is eating and drinking enough to satisfy my body needs. It is a real problem to swallow without choking. Another problem is to eliminate the body wastes by going to the bathroom, and also to brush my teeth because of the weakness that I have and not being able to hold my head up without balancing it in the upright position. My abdominal muscles are so weak that they will not function. I have lost about fifty pounds, which is almost a third of my previous weight.
My greatest worry is that I may get so weak that I will be a great burden for Nelle and the family. I hope that the Lord will take me before that happens. I am ready to go any time now, and I do not fear dying. It will be a great adventure.
I have had a rich, full life and we have been magnificently blessed. Now the Lord has made it possible for us to have a little social security income, and Medicare. This has helped us greatly. Our hearts are full to overflowing with gratitude to our Lord and Savior and to God our Father in Heaven We are so very grateful to all our relatives and friends for their love and for all the prayers that have been offered in our behalf. The way we are now will make it difficult to show it.