Thursday, August 17, 2017

Another Great-great-grandmother

The Life of Sarah Elizabeth Ramsbottom Ashworth
Mormon Pioneer
Written by her granddaughter, Jane Nevada Lund Armitstead of Pleasant Grove, Utah
Edited by Lorna Collins

Sarah Elizabeth Ramsbottom was my grandmother. [She was born on 3 September, 1835 in Oldham, England].

Her parents, William Henry and Mary Sykes Ramsbottom, were very strict with their four daughters, Hannah, Sarah, Mary, and Elizabeth. At the age of eleven, they started working in the textile mills, twelve hours a day. It was here that Hannah overheard the workers telling of the missionaries in their midst preaching a new gospel, telling of miracles and unusual things. On several occasions, Hannah and her mother slipped away to attend meetings where the Latter-Day Saint Elders were preaching. On one occasion, they witnessed a man named “Lord” ask for a sign. At once, his son began to yell and scream as an evil spirit took possession of him. The Elders ministered to him, rebuking the evil spirit. Almost immediately, he quieted down. The father rose to his feet with a strong testimony, and many were greatly impressed

Sometime later, Hannah joined the church. On March 3 1849, Sarah and her half brother, James Ramsbottom, were baptized. (Sarah’s mother died after several years of ill health when her the youngest child was eleven. James was the son of her father’s second wife, Martha Whitehead.)

At the Mormon meeting, Sarah met an attractive young man, William Edward Ashworth, who was baptized 4 Nov. 1852. They were married 16 April 1854. Their first child [Mary Jane] was born in 1855, at which time they were planning to go to the United States to join the saints. However, they did not move until in 1861 when, under the direction of John Forsgren, they sailed from Liverpool, England. [Their second daughter, Eliza Ann, was born in 1859 and died when she was a month old.]

They endured six weeks of stormy weather where waves almost capsized their ship, The Underwriter, several times. They reach Philadelphia weary but safe. In 1862, they traveled to Florence, Nebraska with 53 saints in the group. All were glad to remain there for the winter, as the weather was so cold.

In the spring of 1863, they purchased a wagon, oxen, and a cow. They traveled in the Ira Eldridge Company to Salt Lake City. In their wagon were ten adults and four children, including the Ashworth grandparents [William Henry and Mary Sykes Ramsbottom]. They arrived in June. They soon went on to Lehi and sometime later to Moroni, in Sanpete County. The Indians became troublesome, and the president of the church advised the settlers to go to Gunnison for a while.

Like all the early settlers, they worked to build homes, places of worship and learning, feed, clothe, and care for their families. [Their third daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was botn in 1864.]

Sarah told the story of going to her friend’s home, a few miles from Moroni, to get two quilts she had promised to wash for her. She rode part way with her husband, who was going to the mountains to get firewood. She had not gone far alone when she met some Indians. Great fear overcame her, and she prayed for protection. She was surprised when they told her, in their language, they knew where her husband had gone, and finally went on their way. She continued on, arrived at her friend’s home. [They] visited awhile, and [she] started back. She met the same Indians near the same place. In great fear, she concluded they meant to scalp her. She sat on the quilts as prayers again rose in her heart. Again they were answered. She reached home safely. Later, she learned they were friendly Indians.

In 1883, her husband died, leaving her a widow at age fifty-two. In addition to her two children, she raised two other children: her husband’s nephew, William Baxter, and a girl named Minnie Acord. Her daughter, Mary Jane (mother of Jane Armitstead) died 12 December 1893, leaving twelve children. Sarah raised the youngest son, [George] Willard Lund from the time he was three.

Sarah was a faithful wife, mother, grandmother, friend, neighbor, and servant of the Lord. She died 29 January 1927 at the home of her daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Sears, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sarah Ashworth was buried in Spring City, Utah. Her sister, Hannah Gledhill, lived in Gunison and was buried there.

By Florence Smith Woodbury
Our Pioneer Heritage—Courageous Pioneers

In the small village of Lezley Brook, Lancashire, England near the large city of Oldham, Sarah Ramsbottom (Ashworth) was born to William Henry and Mary Sykes Ramsbottom on September 3, 1835. At the age of eleven, Sarah became a weaver in a nearby textile mill where she became proficient in her work and was advanced to the job of thread mending after only a year of service. At an early age, the Ramsbottom children became acquainted with Mormonism through attending meetings, and on March 3, 1849, Sarah was baptized. Her sister, Hannah, and brother, James, were also baptized at about the same date. While attending Latter-day Saints meetings, Sarah was introduced to William Edward Ashworth, born September 18, 1830 at Kelrose, Lancashire, England, the son of John and Jane Diggle Ashworth who had been baptized November 4, 1852. Their acquaintance developed into an everlasting affection for each other, and they were married April 16, 1854, moved to Oldham where they set up housekeeping, and continued to work at the textile mills. Their first child, Mary Jane, was born September 29, 1855, and William’s widowed mother, who lived with them, cared for the baby while Sarah was at work.

[In 1859, their second daughter, Eliza Ann, was born. She died within a month.]

After saving since their marriage in preparation to emigrate to the Valley of the Saints in America, the Ashworth family, which included William’s mother and little Mary Jane, sailed on the Underwriter from Liverpool, England, in the fall of 1861. They remained in Philadelphia for three weeks after landing, and left by train for Florence, Nebraska, as the water routes were held at that time by the Southern Rebels.

In June of 1863, plans were finally complete for the Ashworths to leave Florence in the John R. Murdock company on the final phase of the journey to Zion. Sarah was a neat, orderly housekeeper and excellent cook. Even on the trail, she found time to make bread from the yeast start she had brought from England, and to darn her husband’s socks which created envy in another pioneer whose wife, he complained, pulled the holes together, thus casing his feet to become sore as he walked all day.

In late August of 1863, the Ashworth family arrived in the Valley. After resting in Salt Lake and Lehi, they journeyed to Moroni, Sanpete County, where they began their life in Utah in a dugout with a dirt floor. In a year, they settled in a home which was reputed to have the first board floor in the area. In this home, in 1864, their [third] child, Sarah Elizabeth, was born. Later they moved to Gunnison during an Indian uprising, then finally settled in Spring City.

The Ashworths found conditions in Utah very different from those in England, but, after a time, were able to adjust to rugged pioneer life. Sarah felt pride in the accomplishments and adjustments of her frail English husband and encouraged him to greater proficiency in his rural tasks and labors, but the struggle of building a home in a new, untamed wilderness expended his strength. On October 8, 1883, William Edward Ashworth passed away, leaving Sarah a widow at the age of fifty-two.

Mary Jane, Sarah’s eldest daughter, married Marinus Lund on July 16, 1872, and became the mother of twelve children. When Mary Jane died on December 12, 1893, her mother took the three-year-old boy, [George] Willard, to raise and helped care for the other children. Sarah’s second daughter and only surviving child, Sarah Elizabeth, married George Loren Sears on August 12, 1880.

Sarah and William had adopted two children, William’s nephew, Andrew Baxter, and Minnie Acord, whose mother had died when she was very young. These two children lived with Sarah until their marriages.

Sarah kept her small farm, which she operated with the help of the children; but she leased her herd of sheep on shares. From these two sources, she provided for her needs. When she was eighty years of age, she visited in St. Louis with her sister and returned, alone, after completing her visit.

At eight-five years of age, she regained her “second” eyesight, enjoyed her friends, remained keen of mind, and continued to be blessed with a sense of humor.

On January 29, 1927, at the age of ninety-five, Sarah Elizabeth Ramsbottom Ashworth passed from this life and was buried at Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah, beside her husband, William Edward Ashworth. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Great-great-grandmother

Last week, I wrote about my great-great grandfather. This week, meet his wife.

The Life of Anna Marie Sorenson Larson Lund
Early Utah Pioneer

Written by her grandchild (unknown)
Edited by Lorna Lund Collins
Anna Marie Sorenson Larson, the daughter of Lars Sorenson and Mette Marie Hansen, was born May 29, 1811, in Vinge, Skanderborg (orKandelborg), Denmark, in the countryside.

In 1836, she married Nicolai Hjorring Larson, with whom she had two children: a boy named Soren and a girl named Anna. According to the family story, they both drowned in 1844, along with their father. (They may have had another son, but the records of his life are unclear.)

When she met Paul Dedrich Soltoft Lund, the son of Nicholi Christian Lund and Mette Marie Ferelev, she was a widow with no children. After a time, they became engaged. They married on 12 August 1844.

The couple moved to Aalborg, Denmark, where they began their life together. Three sons were born to them: Lars (or Louis) Peter Nicolai, born 7 February 1845; Nicolai Christian, born 10 June 1847; and Marinus, born 7 May 1849. After they arrived in Spring City, Utah, their fourth son, Joseph Parley, was born on 7 February 1855.

Anna Marie was so short she could walk under the extended arms of her three oldest sons. Her youngest son was not as tall as his brothers. She was plump and wore mostly dark clothing with full skirts, which required several widths of fabric. Her eyes were blue and her hair light brown. She spoke English very well.

When the LDS Missionaries came to Denmark in 1850, she and Paul became interested in attending the meetings conducted by Elder Erastus Snow, George P. Dykes, John E. Forsgren, and Peter O. Hansen, who was a native of Denmark but was converted in America and returned to Denmark. While Elder Erastus Snow journeyed to Sweden, the other elders stayed in Denmark. Elder Snow returned to Denmark and joined the other elders to preach the new Gospel. Brother Peter O. Hansen went along as interpreter. They were well received by the people and made many converts in a short time.
On 27 Sep 1852 in Denmark, Peter and Anna Marie were accepted, baptized, and confirmed in the Church of Latter Day Saints. By this time there were nearly 600 members in Denmark.

Because Anna Marie was from the country and considered a peasant, she was not accepted by his family. The converts learned about America and were anxious to emigrate. Because of their decision, they were disowned by their families. In 1852, 300 converts made arrangements to leave for America. By the end of December, they prepared to say goodbye to their friends, homes, and loved ones.

The family sold and disposed of their property and packed their belongings and the food they would need for the journey. They boarded a small steamship, the Obetrit, with the other converts on 20 Dec 1852. After some delay, due to bad storms, they sailed for Copenhagen. They encountered more delays when they arrived in Copenhagen on 22 Dec 1852. They finally set sail for Kiel and arrived 24 Dec 1852. On Christmas Eve, they boarded the English sailing vessel Lion. On Christmas morning, they sailed for Hamburg, Germany. Upon reaching the North Sea, their progress was hindered by rough weather. On 26 Dec 1852, the ship was tossed in choppy, icy waters. The storm raged for twenty-four hours. Shipwreck threatened, so, many boxes and trunks were thrown overboard. Paul owned some blood stock cattle, and some of these were put over the side of the ship as well as three large chests of merchandise. The sailors almost gave up hope of survival. Many other ships were destroyed during this storm.

The passengers were sent down into the hold of the ship, and the hatches were closed. The hold was a large room with beds and bunks in rows along and against the walls. Here, the 300 passengers crowded together with little comfort.

As the waves rolled, high seas tipped the ship, and water ran down into the hatchway. The passengers were soaked in their beds. One woman had her baby wrapped in a very long piece of material to keep it warm. The baby fell onto the floor. As the ship tipped, the baby rolled across the floor, unwinding this material. By following the material, they located the baby, who was all right. The storm caused a disturbance among the people, with some screaming, crying, and praying.

Elder Forsgren, who was the captain of the company, did his best to quiet them by praying for peace and deliverance.

During this storm, waves swept over the deck, washing away part of the railing around the deck. When the storm ceased, ropes were tied around the deck to replace the broken railing.

When the passengers were allowed on deck, they saw broken barrels and boxes, and apples rolling all over the deck. The children were permitted to gather the apples and eat all they wanted.

The sailors said this was the worst storm they had ever experienced, and the Latter Day Saints had saved the ship.

At last, they landed at Hull, England, then traveled by rail to Liverpool. On New Year’s Eve, they boarded the English freighter ship, Forest Monarch, which would take them to New Orleans, Louisiana in America.

On 16 Jan 1953, they sailed from Liverpool in very nice weather. After a sixteen-day voyage, they encountered trade winds and made better progress.

The food onboard ship consisted of split peas, cooked in large boilers, and hardtack. The drinking water was stored in large barrels, tasted horrible, and smelled worse.

The captain of the company designated certain jobs to the men to keep order among the people.

On March 17,  the ship was tugged by a steamer into New Orleans. They took another steamer up the Mississippi River until they reached St, Louis. On 21 April 1853, the company divided. Elder Peter Munk took part a group of 120 persons, the Lund family included. They continued up the Mississippi River to Keokuk, Iowa. They went ashore to camp and prepare for the western journey. They purchased wagons, oxen, and provisions.
On 19 May 1853, they began the westward trek by ox team. Many hardships, terrible winds, lightning storms, and danger of attacking Indians threatened their journey.

During their emigration from Liverpool, eleven marriages, nine births, and twenty-six deaths, mostly elderly folks and small children, occurred. Every evening, prayer meetings were held. On Sundays, sermons and testimonies were given by the leaders and members of the company. These meetings gave the party encouragement and counsel.

In September, they arrived in Salt Lake and camped in central part of the city. They found plenty of green corn to eat. But some ate the corn uncooked and became ill.

After resting a few days, President Brigham Young ordered those who had come from cold climates to continue their journey to Sanpete County to assist those who had already arrived to make a success of the settlement.

After short stops along the way at Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Nephi, and Moroni, the Lund family and others arrived tired and happy at “Little Denmark” in Spring City. Others traveled to Fort Ephraim. The Lund family found several dear friends who once had lived in Denmark.

Paul had never farmed but discovered there was no other way to make a living. So, he built a one room house of logs with a cellar. Later on, he added two more rooms of adobe.

He then took up farm land west of town, where he raised corn, potatoes, and grain. He also raised cattle and sheep. The wool was washed and corded for quilts and clothing.

Not long after they arrived in Spring City, the Indians became troublesome, stealing anything of worth. Word was sent to President Brigham Young, and he replied, telling them to move to Fort Ephraim and stay till the problems were settled. While in Ephraim, another son, Joseph Parley, was born on 7 Feb 1855. When it was safe, they moved back to Spring City.

During the latter part of the Blackhawk War, Paul and his two elder sons, Lewis and Nicoli, helped herd the cattle to graze outside of town. They also joined as guards in the militia.
Paul and Anna Marie were baptized a second time in 1883. At this time, Paul was called on a mission to his native country, Denmark. Anna Marie, stayed in Spring City and took care of the family and crops.

As time went on, their sons worked with their father, and one-by-one, they came of age and married. Three sons raised large families. Lewis only had one son who lived to marry.

Anna Marie seemed to enjoy her family and home. She was an accomplished good cook. Her Danish vegetable soup was excellent. So was her pink pudding.

She had many Danish friends living close by who visited back and forth. In her later years, she sat for hours knitting and reading the Bible.

Her husband died 6 Jan 1902 in the old home in Spring City, the same house he’d built when they first came to America.

After her husband died, she only lived eleven months. She spent part of this time in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with her son, Lewis Peter, and daughter-in-law, Susan McArthur Lund. She became homesick and was taken back to her old home, where her son, Marinus, and children cared for her. She died peacefully, without suffering, on 1 February 1903, at the age of 92. She left a large family to honor her name.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Great-great-grandfather

The Life of Paul Diderich Soltoft Lund
Early Utah Pioneer
Written by his grandchild (I have no idea which one.)
Edited by Lorna Lund Collins

Paul Dedrich Soltoft Lund was born 1 August 1817 in the city of North Tranders, Alborg, Denmark. He was the son of Nicholai Christian Lund and Mette Marie Ferelev.

He married Anna Marie Sorenson, the daughter of Lars Lauritz Sorenson and Mette Marie Hansen, on 12 August 1844.

They had three sons: Louis Peter, Nicholai Christian, and Marinus, all born in Aarlborg, Denmark. After they arrived in Spring City, Utah, their fourth son, Joseph, was born on 7 February 1855.

Among Paul’s ancestors were professional people, ministers, and merchants. The Lund family has a coat of arms.
With the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the missionary system was organized. In 1850, the first elders were sent to open a mission in the Scandinavian countries. Elder Erastus Snow, leader of this mission, arrived in Copenhagen on June 14, of that year, accompanied by George P. Sykes, John E. Torsgren, and Peter O. Hanson (the latter, a native of Denmark and a convert in America, returned ahead of the others). He met the rest of the party when they arrived, took them to a hotel, and acted as interpreter. Elder Snow went on to Norway and Sweden.

A few days after their arrival, the missionaries began preaching about this new religion. Through them, Paul and Anna Marie became interested. They attended meetings for several months, listening to the testimonies. They asked for baptism. On September 1, 1852, they were baptized into the church.

Anna Marie was considered a peasant girl because she came from the countryside. Paul’s family felt she was beneath them socially. When they joined this new and unpopular religion, Paul was disowned. He appears to have been the only one from his family to have joined.
At the time, he was Earl Nicolaisen. He worked as a merchant of fine linen and was interested in blooded cattle.

By 1852, the church numbered 600 in Denmark. Elder Erastus Snow and the others organized three conferences in Copenhagen, Frederica, and Aalborg. Of all the missions organized in Europe, the ones in Scandinavia were the most fruitful. In 1851, Elder Snow published a hymn book. It became so popular and in such demand, he printed it semi-monthly. This book was still being published at the time the original manuscript of this document was written.

Many of the converts desired to emigrate to Zion in the New World—America. Arrangements were made, and by December of 1852, a large party of 300 was ready to say good-bye to their homes and loved ones.

After selling and disposing of their property, packing their belongings, and such food as they could take, Paul and Anna Marie, with their three small boys, boarded the small steamship Obetret. On December 20, 1852, following a delay due to bad storms, they sailed to Copenhagen, where another storm delayed their departure.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, they boarded an English sailing vessel Lion. The next day, they sailed for Hamburg, Germany. On reaching the North Sea, their progress was hindered by rough weather. On December 26, the ship was tossed on choppy, icy waters in a terrible storm. It raged for twenty-four hours. When threatened with a shipwreck, they tossed many boxes and trunks overboard. Paul led some of his blooded cattle to allow them to leave the ship, and three chests of his merchandise went overboard as well.

The sailors nearly gave up hope of survival. The passengers were sent into the hold, and the hatches were closed. The hold was a large room with beds or bunks in rows or tiers of three against the walls. Beds were also arranged on the floor. Here in one room, crowded together with little comfort and no conveniences, the immigrants, mostly Scandinavian with a few Irish and English, rode out the voyage. As waves rolled high, the ship tipped, and water ran down into the hatchway. The people were soaked in their beds.

One woman wrapped her baby in a long piece of cloth and tied the child to her own body. As the ship tossed, the baby fell out of bed and rolled across the room. They located the baby by following the material. The child survived.

People screamed, cried, and prayed throughout the twenty-four hours of the storm.
When they emerged, they saw part of the railing missing. The sailors had used ropes to replace the railing. With their tops broken, barrels and boxes discharged apples onto the deck, where they rolled around. The children were permitted to eat as many as they wanted. The sailors said this had been the most severe storm they had ever experienced. They credited the Mormons on board with saving the ship.

Brother John E. Forsgren, the captain of the company of saints, was a good leader. Every day, prayers weres offered. He gave the people council and advice to keep the commands of the Lord. The converts did much singing to keep up their spirits. They also held dances on the deck.

At last, they landed in Hull, England and traveled by rail to Liverpool.

On New Year’s Eve, they boarded the English freighter Forest Monarch, which would take them to New Orleans, Louisiana in America.

On January 16, 1853, they sailed in nice weather. After sixteen days, they encountered trade winds and made better progress. The food on the voyage consisted of split peas, cooked in large boilers, and hardtack. The drinking water, stored in barrels, tasted bad.

On March 17, the ship was tugged by steamer into New Orleans. On March 19, 1853, the immigrants boarded another steamer for the trip up the Mississippi River. On March 30, they landed in St. Louis, Missouri.

On April 21, the John E. Forsgren company divided. Peter Munk took part of the company, 120 persons including Paul and his family. The contingent traveled on up the Mississippi to Keokuk, Iowa. Here, the saints bought oxen, wagons, and provisions. On May 19, they began their journey westward by wagons pulled by oxen.

During the journey from Liverpool, the group experienced eleven marriages, nine births, and twenty-six deaths—mostly of the elderly and young children.

Each day on the trail, a prayer meeting was held, along with sermon and sacrament meetings.

They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 30 and camped in the central part of the city.

They were able to obtain green corn. Some ate the corn without cooking it and suffered illness as a result.

After a few days’ rest, president Brigham Young ordered those who had come from cold countries to continue their journey south to Sanpete County to assist those who had already arrived and make a success of the settlement.

After stops at Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Nephi, and Moroni, the Lund family arrived well and happy at “Little Denmark” (Spring City) where they intended to make their new home among dear friends from Denmark.

Since Paul had to make a living, he bought a small lot on Main Street and built a one-room log cabin. He later added two more rooms made of adobe. He and his sons had made trips to the canyon and brought logs and lumber for saw mills to build the house and outbuildings. He took up land in the lower part of town where he raised corn, potatoes, and grain. He also raised cattle and sheep to make clothes and quilts.
Not long after their arrival in Spring City, the Indians became troublesome. President Young advised them to move to Ephraim Fort, which they did. While living at the fort, their son, Joseph was born on February 1855. They remained there until the Indian troubles were settled. Then they moved back to their home in Spring City.

During the latter part of the Black Hawk War, two of the Lund sons, Lewis and Nicolai, helped herd cattle to put them out to feed. They were also made guards in Militia.

Paul was small in stature at five and a half feet tall, with light brown hair and blue eyes. He was a good man, faithful to the gospel, attending to his duties, and keeping the commandments of the Lord. He spoke English very well.

Some time later, he was called on a mission to his native land of Denmark. While there, he tried to get his inheritance, but he failed. His family believed he had married beneath his rank of Earl, so he was disinherited.

He inquired about the Lund Home, which was supposed to go to the eldest son in the Lund family. If he chose to stay in Denmark, he could have lived there free. However, he refused the offer, and returned to his home and family in America.

While in Denmark, he obtained a printed book of the descendants of his fourth great-grandfather, Jacob Peterson Deishman, as well as additional genealogy. The temple work for these sixty ancestors was completed in 1934 by Mrs. Draper. She had been hired by Lydia B. Lund of Pleasant Grove to undertake this work.

Paul Lund lived to the age of ninety-five. He remained true to his L.D.S. faith. He died on 6 January 1902 in his home in Spring City, Utah. He was survived by his wife and four sons as well as many descendants. Each son was blessed with a large family. He was buried in the Spring City Cemetery.

Anna Marie died thirteen months later on 1 February 1903 and was buried next to her husband.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cowboys in My Family

My grandfather was a cowboy. His grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1853 from Denmark to help settle the Utah Territory with the Mormons. The family arrived in New Orleans by ship and made the arduous journey over the plains. (Their trip was documented, and I received a copy of this hand-written account from my aunt several years ago.)

They settled in Spring City, south of Salt Lake. We visited the town in 2012 on a long road trip. After miles of barren desert, I was amazed to see trees and lots of green as we neared the area.

My great-grandfather, Marinus Lund, settled a farm and raised cattle. He even had his own brand.

It had been pressed into fresh concrete, and years later, one of my great uncles (by marriage) made a rubbing of it. I’d love to know where the original brand is, if it still exists.

My grandfather was one of twenty-three children. His mother died when he was seven, after giving birth to thirteen children. His father married a woman who already had six children, and they had four more together. Only two of the twenty-three died in infancy. The rest went on to live full lives—with many marriages. However, they were not polygamous.

Marinus’s family lived in a cabin on the farm. One of my second cousins made a sketch of it.
I can’t imagine raising twenty-three children in such a small place. We tried to find it when we visited, but apparently, it no longer exists. The town historian found the lot number from old tax records after we left. Maybe we’ll go back sometime and see if we can locate it.

My grandfather was a blacksmith and built a forge in his back yard in California. He used it well into his eighties.

Shortly after his marriage, he moved to Nevada, where my father was born. Two years later, they moved to Alberta, Canada to join his brother, Mariuns DeLoss Lund (known as DeLoss).

During their time in Canada, my aunts were born. For some reason, they decided to move to California.

Because my father died when I was very young, and he and his sisters were raised by other relatives, I never knew the reasons for either move.

DeLoss’s son, Clark Lund, became a professional cowboy, and competed in the Calgary Stampede. He won the All-Around in Calgary in 1939. In 1990, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Clark’s son, DC Lund (Darwin Clark), a veterinarian, also became a professional cowboy. He was named 1965 Southern Alberta Steer Wrestling Champion and was named All-around Champion in 1974. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

His wife, Patty Ivins (Lund), is a Calgary Stampede pioneer. She was one of the first barrel racing champions in 1959 and 1960.

Their son, Corb (Corby) Lund, competed as a child. However, his interest turned to music. He is famous in Canada as a country-western artist. You can find videos of him on YouTube.

When she was little, our daughter, Kim, was obsessed with all things cowboy. For her second birthday, her godfather gave her a cowgirl outfit. She wanted to wear it every day. She mounted her Wonder Horse and rode for hours.

Now she lives in Texas and wears her boots most of the time. She says she always felt at home there. Maybe she comes by her cowboy roots naturally.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why Travel?

This blog should come with a disclaimer: Travel is addictive.

We began making trips early in our marriage, first to places in the US and later farther afield.

Our first major trip, in 1979, was a three-week vacation to Hawaii. I worked for a year to pay for it. We planned with a travel agent and created our own itinerary. Five islands, eight flights, thirteen hotels later, we still hadn’t seen everything. It’s why we keep going back.

We have returned to Hawaii often, several times with good friends. Our last trip was in March of this year for a writing conference.

In 1980, we took a Caribbean cruise at the recommendation of friends. This was not our favorite vacation. I spent the whole week feeling queasy. However, we were one of the last cruise ships to dock in Haiti. This was the most severe poverty I had ever observed. One of the benefits of visiting foreign lands is the reminder of just how blessed we are.

In December of 1984, we had the joy of accompanying Kimberly’s high school choir when they sang in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Afterward, we toured Israel for a week with the group. I recently posted the link to the short video we made of the trip. It is fuzzy, and the sound isn’t perfect, but it still brings back special memories:

In 1993, our friend, Bob Schwenck, did a pulpit exchange in Scotland. Larry was reluctant to take time off work for a trip to visit there, but I finally negotiated for ten days. We visited with the Schwencks for a couple of days, and then split the remainder with my family and traveling a bit. As we boarded the plane for the return flight, Larry said, “We should have stayed longer.” Can you say annoyed?

We learned our lesson. We now take whatever time is required.

Between 1998 and 2001, we lived in Japan and received an in-depth education in the Japanese people and the country. While we were there, we tried to visit a different location each weekend. One of my Japanese coworkers said she thought we’d seen more of the country than she had.

During one holiday weekend in 2001, we had decided to travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. My friend contacted travel agencies and made inquiries. Even though we would only be gone three days, the cost was outrageous. (Earlier, we had made a trip to Okinawa to visit a friend, and it was also expensive.)

As we were investigating the options, the head of HR asked if we would like to take a trip to Beijing. It would be for a week, and it cost less than the trip we had been considering. Of course, we decided to go.

In 2003, right after I learned I was losing my job, an opportunity for a trip to Italy came to us. Rather than my normal caution, this time I decided we were going, no matter what. This country had been on my bucket list for many years. So, we went, and I never regretted a minute!

The following year, we went to Ireland with the same group. What a terrific experience. The highlight was a visit with my mother’s distant cousin, Jean, who invited the entire group to her home for tea.

We have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and many other places, with several more on the bucket list. In 2014, I checked off another when we traveled to France. The country was everything I had imagined and so much more!

When we retired in 2011, we went to San Mateo to visit my aunt and uncle. When we told them we were retiring, each of them said the same thing: “Travel.”

Where have you visited? What was your favorite place?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Descanso (plural descansos)
A memorial placed at the site of a violent, unexpected death, in memoriam. (From the Spanish)

While traveling to and from Prescott, AZ last weekend, we saw many descansos along the road. Today, we spotted another in Dana Point Harbor.

They reminded me of a women’s retreat my friend, Gail Warner, led many years ago.

She described how they are created to memorialize a life lost near where the shrine was erected. They often consist of a cross, flowers, candles, personal items of the person or family members. Sometimes families maintain these for years in memory of their loved ones.

She asked us to write down our own descansos—those incidents, people, or events which represented turning points in our lives. Our results were a revelation.

The first one I recalled was the death of my maternal grandfather. I was only twenty-six months old, yet I have vivid memories of that day: a sea of legs filling my grandmother’s living room, everyone crying and distracted. No one told me what was happening. (They thought I was too little.)
Finally, a neighbor took me to her house and rocked me until I fell asleep. It is the first time I ever recall having been rocked. Ever since, I have related the rocking motion to peace and safety. I’ve always had at least one rocking chair in my home.

My grandfather was the most important person in my life. He read to me every day before bedtime. I always clamored for “just one more,” and he often obliged.

I had a fifty-two word vocabulary at one year old, mostly because of him. He took me around the house and pointed out different objects: picture, radio, table, etc. We always finished in my grandparents’ room where he removed the cover form my grandmother’s powder box. “The Desert Song” played until he replaced the cover. Then he removed it again and handed it to me, but when I put it back, the music went on. He finally showed me the little wire. I became adept at placing the lid so the wire engaged and stopped the music.

Since my grandmother always kept her Coty face powder in the box, the memory of this experience is forever accompanied by its scent.

Several years ago, I gave the powder box to my cousin’s daughter to be passed on to her daughters along with the story of this memory.

The next major descanso in my life occurred five years later with the death of my father.

I went to school in the morning and returned to find lots of cars parked near my house and in the driveway. Again, I can easily recall every minute of the day: my aunts and neighbors packed into the living room, my paternal grandfather with his arm around my mother, who was crying. This seemed strange because they hated each other. (In fact, after Dad’s death, my grandfather all but disappeared from our lives.)

I learned several important life lessons from this one:

1.   Life is short and can end without warning.
2.    Often tell the ones you love that you love them because you may not get another chance.
3.    Life may become difficult, but you can survive.
4.    Losing a parent leaves a large hole in your life. No one else can ever fill it.

Marrying Larry was the next descanso, and this was a wonderful one. In addition to joining my life to the one I loved, I gained an amazing family. His parents embraced me as their own. My mother worked, and after Dad died, she withdrew emotionally. Larry’s mother became the person I could talk to and share my deepest thoughts and concerns with.

She and his dad modeled the kind of relationship I wanted in my marriage—and did so for sixty-seven years. I never doubted they loved each other deeply. Did they disagree? Sure. But we never saw their devotion to one another flag or waiver.

They modeled selfless caring for family and each other until they were separated by death. These are lessons I learned and practice to this day.

Likewise, the day our daughter, Kimberly, was born once again changed my life. I expected a passive baby who slept and cooed. Instead, Kim stayed awake nearly every hour of the day. I required sleep. She did not. (She still doesn’t.) I expected a placid child like her father and me. Nope. She was active and demanding. She wanted her own way and fought for it. Part of me admired this quality, but the mother part found it frustrating. (She got her stubbornness from my mother. At least, that’s my story.)

Somehow, we survived her growing-up years to become good friends. Today I love spending time with her. We laugh together and love to play. I truly miss her company since she moved to Texas, but I also look forward to visiting her or having her come home. She has enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined. We watched her sing with her high school choir in Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1984. And last February, we watched her church choir accompany Michael W. Smith in Carnegie Hall. Peak life moments, and I thank her for providing them.

I could mention other decansos, but perhaps the most significant in recent years was the thirty-one months we lived in Osaka, building the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

We had lived in other states, but this was our first experience living outside the U.S. We were also among the oldest to relocate, and we were the first. The challenges of living in a culture so different from our own, where we knew few people and didn’t understand or speak the language, felt overwhelming.

In order to deal with the frustration, I began sending short essays back to our friends in California. By the end of our stay, my mailing list grew to about 150 people, and some of them forwarded the articles to others.

When we returned, friends urged us to put the experience into a book. After three years, and several complete rewrites, our first book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was born. It began a whole new career for both of us.

What had begun as a frustrating and often difficult time, became the genesis of much of the joy we now experience.

So what are the major lessons these descansos have taught me?
1.     Life is full of surprises. Embrace them.
2.    The worst times of life can led to the best.
3.    People are most important in our lives.
4.    Things are just things.
5.    Everything can change in an instant.
6.    Life is short. Live every day fully.
7.    Trust that God has a plan and that everything will ultimately work out for the best—even though no sign of resolution may be apparent.
8.    Enjoy each and every day as if it might be your last, because it might be.
9.    Never fail to say, “I love you.”
10. Hug those you love often.

What are your descansos? What have you learned from them?