Monday, June 28, 2010

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa Beatty

Today my cousin Dawn and I drove down to Walsenburg to visit our grandparents. Dawn and I reconnected at the 2010 Beatty reunion in Utah earlier this month - before that we'd only seen each other I think once since high school, even though for a fair chunk of that time we'd lived in the same city. I think we're both pretty excited about making that connection together.

This was one of the nicest visits I've had with grandma and grandpa (Gladys Marie Allison Beatty and Park Forsythe Beatty). We looked at photos and chatted for a good two hours. Dawn showed them pictures from the Utah trip and I brought a few of their photo albums from their Navy days and high school days (I'm holding onto their albums for them because they don't have room in their place) and they looked through the albums and talked about a few things they remembered. One story that comes to mind right now is that Grandma told us about how they got married - they'd met while stationed in San Diego in the Navy, but grandpa got out before grandma and was back in Cedar City, Utah. When grandma got out of the Navy, she stopped in Cedar City on her way home to Fairplay, Colorado. She stayed over at the Escalante for a few days and told grandpa, as she put it, "to either sh** or get off the pot", or rather, told him to marry her or she was going home to find someone else. Well, they just had their 64th anniversary earlier this month. They started out in a basement apartment in Cedar City, but Ernie, grandma's dad, thought no daughter of his should live in a basement, so he set them up at his house in the 500 block (513?) of E.Del Norte, near the Patty Jewett golf course in Colorado Springs. I want to go find that home.

Grandpa claims that he was such a fast runner in his high school days in track that he was actually faster than the current world record but they didn't keep records back then. :) Grandpa also got a kick out of pictures of grandma in her Hawaiian grass skirt and beachwear.

Another story grandma told that was new for me was about how her dad Ernie (Millard Ernest Allison) became a shoe cobbler. He was raised as a farmer/rancher, but his stepdad Ned Lenari trained him to be a shoe cobbler and that's how he made his living in later years. Grandma showed me a picture of her and a Navy girlfriend wearing cowboy boots that Ernie made for them.

I also learned Grandma had a few nicknames in the Navy - she was called "Al" - short for Allison, her last name. Even grandpa called her that. Grandpa said she was also known as Happy Butt because of her first name, Gladys - I'll see if you can figure that one out. :)

They both seemed to be in good spirits. Grandpa has some holes in his memory - he almost completely forgot that he lived in New Mexico for years and had occasional confusion about who we were, but it comes back to him with some time and some prompts to jog the memory now and then. Grandma has a few holes in her memory, too - I've never noticed it before - but she's still very sharp over all. They also seem to be getting more involved in activities available to them where they live. They've been playing Bingo and going to a weekly movie and Sunday church, etc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beatty Family Reunion 2010 Trip

I uploaded lots of pictures on Facebook as well as here, please have a look.

Logan, Sam and I left around 5 a.m. Friday morning heading for Hurricane, Utah and the nearby town of Toquerville, where my great-grandfather Walter Beatty lived and a large amount of family that I'd never met still resides. The kids were asleep and missed the antelope and bison in South Park. We made our first stop in Grand Junction for an early lunch. It had to be Subway, that's what we all wanted. And then the rest of the trip we enjoyed a little game of reading the road signs and seeing all other towns that had Subways - almost all of them did! We stopped at the Colorado/Utah border for pictures, and stopped at one rest stop on I-70, but did not need to stop again for gas. We took pictures of beautiful scenery all the way. We got to our hotel around 5 p.m. and ordered pizza for dinner and went swimming in the hotel pool. We watched America's Funniest Home Videos on the hotel TV until we fell asleep.

The next morning, we enjoyed making our own waffles at the hotel continental breakfast, but we had to wait in line for the machine, testing the kids' patience just a bit. Then we drove the few miles to Toquerville's LDS church for the reunion. We all got shirts representing that we are descended from Walter Beatty; people descended from his siblings had different colored shirts. There were introductions at the reunion, then a tour of my great-grandpa's house two doors down from the church, followed by lunch and entertainment put on by various cousins and family at the reunion. Sammy was inspired by one young girl's recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and decided to recite the Preamble of the Constitution for everyone. Another older girl sang the National Anthem very well - so there was plenty of patriotic sentiment at the reunion. The children were excited by a candy bomb - black powder being used to launch candy across the parking lot for fun. One story that Samantha learned from relatives is about my great-grandmother's wedding ring. Walter was a horse wrangler and guide in Zion National Park and was hired by a famous rich lady to take her to the top of Angel's Landing. When they got there, she was about to throw off her ring, but Walter asked her if he could have it instead to give to his wife Vera, who had a gold wedding band but no diamond. She gave it to him and he of course gave it to Vera. Great-Grandma Vera passed it on to my dad's cousin Vera because she was named after her. Vera has passed it on to her son Ryan's bride, Shay, but the stone is now in a different setting. At the end of the reunion we posed for a group picture, then Logan, Sam and I and some other folks headed over to my dad's cousins Paula and Vera's house to chat. My great-grandpa's saddle was there and Logan and Sam posed for pictures on it. It had hailed during the reunion and the yards looked almost like they were covered in snow. That evening, we went to the movie theater in Hurricane and saw The Karate Kid - which we thoroughly enjoyed. The kids feel asleep to The Toy Story playing on the hotel TV.

Sunday morning we had waffles again and then drove into Springdale to the beautiful place that my Uncle Jack was staying with his daughter Dawn and her family called Cliff Rose Palace, if I recall correctly. Then we followed them in Zion National Park, the entrance being a very short distance away. We explored the Emerald Pools trail, had lunch at Zion Lodge and then walked the Temple of Sinawava trail. Logan and Sam had the opportunity to meet and play with their second cousin Duncan, Dawn's son. We took lots of pictures. I hadn't seen Dawn since her mom's funeral and before that we were probably children, so it was nice to connect with her as well. Jack hospitably took care of us all and planned our route since he was the only one who had been there before and was kind of acting as our patriarch that day. We stopped at the museum to see the large picture of great-grandpa Walter there and then we headed back toward Hurricane. We stopped at a very touristy gift-shop in the town of Virgin where Logan was incredibly excited to find and buy a samurai sword set and Sammy got gifts to take home. We were invited to my second-cousin Richard and his wife Sara's house for dinner, and that was a wonderful highlight and end to the trip. Richard showed everyone how to ride a horse and everyone took a turn. The children showed Logan and Sam the other animals and they played together very well. I think everyone was sad to leave when it was time to go.

Monday morning we were on the road by 4:45 a.m. As on the way out, the kids fell back asleep quickly and it was a beautiful quiet drive through Utah. Finally in Colorado they started keeping me company again. We met a little snow up in the mountains before the Eisenhower tunnel, and some rain we got back to I-25 and home, but we made great time and I dropped the kids off at my brother's house at 3:15 p.m. The car did well and averaged about 43 mpg - yay for that! Thanks to all the family and friends we met, we had a wonderful time. I am so happy to connect with family - what a blessing!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Favorite Poems

These were some of my favorite poems as a kid, and still are, really:

The Jabberwocky and 'The Walrus and the Carpenter' by Lewis Carroll.

The Giving Tree or Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

O Captain my Captain and When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by Walt Whitman.

The Raven and The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe.

maggie and milly and molly and may and 'since feeling is first' by e e cummings.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson.

Let America be America Again and A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes.

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Three Little Kittens by Eliza Lee Follen.

Dutch Lullaby (Winken, Blinken and Nod) by Eugene Field.

Anything by Ogden Nash ( such as: The trouble with a kitten
is that eventually
it becomes a cat.)

The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess.

Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore by William Brighty Rands.

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Tyger by William Blake.

Thanksgiving Day (Over the River and Through the Wood) by Lydia Maria Child.

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Fog by Carl Sandburg.

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.

The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden.

Robert Frost's Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Shakespeare's Sonnett 18 (Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day).

For whom the bell tolls by John Donne.

If and Hiawatha by Rudyard Kipling.

How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

What are your favorites?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fort Logan

This afternoon I drove up to Fort Logan National Cemetery and found the graves of my great-grandfather (dad's mom's dad) and his wife Blanche. Blanche was his second wife, and the poor lady killed herself about a week after Ernie died, so she joined him shortly - at least that's the story I was told; this all happened before I was born. I don't know anything else about her. However, I've often had the distinct feeling that I've met Ernie somehow, sometime. I have a feeling my dad is a lot like him, but I don't know. I'd never been up there before, but although bad traffic made the trip long, it wasn't too hard to find his grave because they were all numbered right on the stones - very helpful - especially because I went after the office closed. The grass was totally dead in the area where my great-grandfather is buried - it looks like they laid down new sod awhile ago and then didn't water it at all, or something.

Then I went to the center up in Denver for Thursday night prayer, etc. It was hard to find - I got a little lost and had to wander around in the middle of nowhere a bit to eventually find it. So, I saw some people I hadn't seen in probably almost a year, which was nice. Got home around 11:30pm - there's a reason I just can't make it up there very often!

I think two of my brother's kids are up for the Beatty reunion, so insha'allah next weekend I'll be driving to Toquerville, UT. Long drive - I hope we'll be safe and have a good time, and meet plenty of cousins we've never met.