Tuesday, May 31, 2011


6801 29th Street North, Arlington, Virginia

This is the red brick house where I lived a good portion of my youth.  My parents moved into the house in 1950. We lived here until the summer of 1962 when my parents bought a bigger, better, more up to date home.

Looking at this picture, I can visualize just about every room as it was back then.  The front door opened directly into the living room. The large window on the left is the living room.  I'm pretty sure that the living room and dining room were painted a pale green. There may have originally been hardwood floors, but I only remember wall to wall carpeting.  Women of the 1950s were delighted to cover up hardwood floors with wall to wall carpeting.  Hardwood floors were a pain to keep up because they had to be waxed on a regular basis. There were venetian blinds and drapes to the windows.

The living room and dining room were connected in an "L" shape.  We ate all of our family meals in the dining room.  There was usually a tablecloth on the table that was big enough to seat 8 people.  I think the seating arrangement was girls on one side, boys on the other, Mother on the end closest to the kitchen and my Dad at the opposite end.

If you walked straight ahead from the front door, you crossed the living room and could either go directly into the kitchen or turn left and go down a short hall to the bedrooms and bathroom.  The smallest bedroom was the first room on the left.  I seem to remember that it was painted a light lavender.  As kids started to move out or to the basement, the lavender bedroom became my Mother's sewing room. The short bedroom hall opened up in a larger area.  The master bedroom was straight ahead, another bedroom was next to the master bedroom on the right. The only bathroom on the main floor was also off that hall.

Even though I occupied the bedroom on the right of the master, I don't remember what color it was....perhaps a pale pink?  But I certainly remember the bathroom.  It had the basics - sink, toilet and tub.  And really wasn't very big.  The bathroom was tiled in a salmon color tile with maroon accents.  The tile went halfway up the wall.  The tile on the floor was small tiles in salmon and maroon. Very typical of a 1950s bathroom.

The picture above was taken in the early spring of 1983.  My father in law and husband had meetings in Washington DC.  My mother in law and I went along.  I hadn't been back in Northern Virginia since 1969.  We had a rented car and I drove my mother in law all around Arlington and Falls Church to show her where I grew up.

Except for the landscaping, the house looks much like it did back in the fifties.  Some of the houses in the neighborhood had gable ends that were painted different colors.  Ours was always white along with the front door.  However, I think that the window trim was black.

I'm glad that I have this picture because the red brick house is no longer there.  Through a curiosity search on Google maps, I discovered that there was a big, brick two story home at the address of 6801 29th Street North.  The new house looks a little out of place because it is surrounded by the original, smaller ramblers.

It's kind of sad to learn that your childhood home is no more.  But I still have all the memories.  And, I still have a fondness for red brick houses.

Monday, May 30, 2011


While my mother didn't have a problem with me going on dates and riding in cars with a 15 year old driver before I was 16, she had a problem with me wearing make up and doing some other girlie things before I was 16.  I probably started wearing lipstick, occasionally, in the ninth grade.  But that was it.  At some point, I got a hold of some mascara (Linda, could it have been from you?) and started using that as well.  I never said anything to my mother about it.

One day, while riding with her in the car, I started applying mascara.  My mother wasn't too happy about it. I don't remember exactly what she said.  But it was probably something like "You're too young to be wearing that.".  However, she failed to tell me when I would be old enough to start wearing mascara.  It isn't that my mother didn't wear makeup.  She always did - rouge, face powder, lipstick, mascara - the works.  In fact, she never left the house without "her face on".  It could be that she didn't like the idea that her youngest daughter was growing up.

Then there was the time that my sister, Linda, took me aside and told me that it was probably time for me to start shaving my legs.  In a somewhat clandestine meeting in the basement bathroom, she introduced me to the science of leg shaving.  Using her Gillette razor, I soaped up my legs and went to work.  We probably shared a razor for quite a while because of Linda's advice to me..."Don't tell mother that you are shaving your legs.".
It was another one of those things that I knew my mother did, but for some reason it wasn't OK for me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


In the summer of 1961, the Washington DC LDS Stake under took the production of the musical "Promised Valley".  The musical was originally written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the settling of the Salt Lake Valley.

Our production was complete with orchestra, dancers, chorus and actors..children to adults.  I  was a member of the chorus.  We had hours of rehearsals learning the music.  Then there were additional hours spent putting all the elements of the show together.  I had never been involved in a production the size that this one was and it was pretty exciting. We performed "Promised Valley" for two nights and offered the show to the public for free.  I'm pretty sure that the high school auditorium was packed both nights. 

Besides having a copy of the program of the show, I have a special memento. During either a dress rehearsal or an actual show, I tripped over a piece of scenery back stage.  A nail protruding from the scenery base cut my foot.  There was a lot of blood.  I still have the scar on the top of my right foot.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Youth of the LDS church participate in many organized group activities.  Back in the olden days, there a several activities that I remember fairly well.  Unlike today when you have to be 14 or older to participate in most coed activities, anyone over the age of 12 could go.  The only thing that was age restricted was girls camp.  You had to be a MIA Maid to go to camp.  Go figure.

I remember a stake swimming party that was held at the Congressional Country Club.  Someone in the stake must have had connections to be able to reserve the entire facility for an evening so that a bunch of LDS kids could swim and party.

I also remember an activity where all of the youth stayed overnight at the ward.  I'm not sure if it was a ward or stake activity.  But I certainly remember sleeping on the floor in the gym....guys and girls were in the same room.   It must have been some kind of youth conference.

There was a trip by chartered bus to the Palmyra pageant.  It was at least a three day trip considering the travel time.  I also think that this was one of the few times when I went to the pageant that I didn't get rained on during the pageant.  We also went to the Sacred Grove, the Smith farmhouse and walked up the Hill Cumorah.

When I was in high school, we had a day outing at Andrews Air Force base.  Again, there must have been some connections by a stake member.  We toured the base and ended with a dinner and dance on the base.

We had a youth conference at Galludet College in Washington D.C.  It was an overnight activity where we stayed in the dorms on campus.  I remember swimming and, of course, the big dance the last night.

Our stake had a welfare farm back then.  We had one activity where all the youth from the stake went to the farm to pick feed corn.  We spent most of the day working our way up and down rows and rows of corn.  The corn was loaded into big dump trucks.  Many of us rode back from the fields sitting on top of the corn in the truck.  At the end of that activity, we went swimming in the small lake on the farm.  The lake was more like a large pond with a very, very muddy bottom.  I'm not sure how we all got cleaned up enough to get back in cars to go home.

At Girls Camp, we stayed in log cabins with cots that had mattresses. All we had to do was roll out a sleeping bag.  The camp had a central lodge for group meetings.  A central kitchen with a dining hall.  There were also bathrooms with hot and cold water. There was also a lake on the site. As a child and teenager, Girls Camp was my only exposure to camping.  It wasn't very rough.  It was my only camping experience until at twenty five years later when my husband took our family camping.

Then there were the Roadshows.  Every year, the youth and their leaders were given a general theme for the show.  In each ward, a 10 to 15 minute skit was developed including some original music.  We made our own scenery and costumes and practiced, practiced, practiced.  Back then the Roadshows traveled between ward buildings.  You had a certain amount of time to get on stage, set up your scenery, perform your skit and get back off stage.  Awards were given for various categories.  I think that there was an over all honors award too.  It was pretty competitive.

One year the theme of our ward's Roadshow was "Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?".  I had the role of Mona Lisa.  Most of the action went around me while I posed behind a picture frame as Mona Lisa.  I had the final song of the show.  It was short, but answered the question why the Mona Lisa was smiling.  Here are the words,  "Now my feet can be much chipper since I have these fluffy pink slippers.".  At that point, I showed my feet wearing fluffy pink slippers.  Cheesy, I know.  But that's what roadshows were - definitely cheesy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Notice:  If you are a guy and reading this blog, you may want to skip this post.  It's about female stuff.

Back in the olden days, there were certain things that weren't generally discussed.  The most prevalent "hush, hush" topic was anything to do with "the birds and the bees".  There were no Maturation classes in the fifth grade that students were required attend.  Kids were left to figure it out on their own if the information didn't come from home. I'm sure that some of my friends must have had that conversation with their parents, or at least, their mother.  But at our house, I never had "the talk".

I remember a day when I was a young teenager that my mother came home from grocery shopping and handed me a package of Kotex sanitary pads and a sanitary napkin belt.  All she said when she gave them to me was "You're going to need these some day soon.".  That was it. With that, she just left the room.
Thank goodness for older sisters and friends who had already reached this milestone in their lives or I probably wouldn't have had any idea what these items were for.  As it was, I really wasn't sure HOW they were supposed to be used.  I'm pretty sure that when the time happened, I asked my sister, Linda, for help.  I don't think I ever had a conversation with my mother about all this except to tell her when I needed more.  Linda probably got her information from our oldest sister.  Unless, Mother had "the talk" with Karen, Karen probably had to go some where else to figure it all out.  It's amazing.

As I became more aware of the need for sanitary napkins and, like most girls, really didn't like the time of the month when they had to be used.  I knew that my mother used tampons.  I asked her if I could use them.  I got a resounding "No" from her.  I think that her refusal to buy them for me had something to do with the notion that I would not be a virgin if I used tampons.  It was many years, probably when I was in college, before I made the switch.

When the time came that I finally needed a bra, my mother bought me what was called a training bra. (What I want to know is what were those training bras suppose to be training, anyway?) She never said much about that either.  She may have even just guessed what size I'd need, bought it and gave it to me.  As I needed more than the training bra, I had them.  But I don't remember going shopping with her for them.  Did she give the money to my older sisters and we went together?  I have no idea.

It was a different age back then.  You didn't see advertisements on television for bras or women's personal care items.  There were probably ads in print for these things, but they certainly weren't filling up the pages of women's magazines like they do today.   But advertising and the public had no problem with ads for cigarettes in print and on television.  It really made no sense.

We've come a long way, baby.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


In the spring of my ninth grade year, I went on an overnight outing that included the Explorer post in our ward.  The Explorers were participating in an event with other Explorer posts in the state in which they designed homemade rockets.  It was a competition of sorts to determine which post had the most effective rocket. The event was held at an Army camp, Camp A. P Hill, that was somewhere in south eastern Virginia. I don't remember why girls from the ward were included in the trip.

We stayed in barracks that I described in my personal history as being a mess.  "They looked like they hadn't been cleaned in years.". I remember that it was hot and muggy. But apparently, I still had a lot of fun.  While waiting for and watching the rocket launches, we stood in a log bunker that provided some protection should there be an errant rocket or two. The only bad thing about the trip was that our post's rocket didn't work.

I may have been excited to go on this adventure because I had a real bad crush on Jimmy, my ninth grade prom date. I knew he would be going and it was an opportunity to hang out with him.

Here's that rocket shoot group.  
 Most of the girls in the picture were in the ninth grade. The boys were in the ninth grade and high school. I'm the second girl from the right side.  Norene is standing to my left.  And, the dark haired, handsome young man behind me is Jimmy.  Wow, I had forgotten how good looking he was.

Some interesting things about this group - the boy directly behind Norene is Kenlee.  He and his younger brother were killed in an automobile accident less than a year later.  They were on their way to Priesthood meeting.  Norene married Monte, the first boy on the left.  The marriage ended divorce after only a few years.  I have no idea what happened to the rest of these kids.  Did the dorky looking guys ever out grow their dorkiness?  Did all of the girls end up married and happy? And who is the girl standing directly behind the girl on the left side?  I know it's a girl because you can see the hem of her skirt behind the girl in front of her.

Friday, May 20, 2011


In a personal history that I came across recently, I wrote "Ninth grade was the one that I enjoyed the least."  "The whole year was depressing."  I'm not quite sure why I wrote this because these comments are followed by a recap of some of the fun things that I did during that school year.  The only clue given about my depressing ninth grade year was this "I didn't have as much fun as other years.  I guess I was expecting to much that I didn't get.". I have no recall what those expectations were.
This is what that sad and depressed ninth grader looked like.

She also looked like this.
  I wrote that I had good teachers and that my favorite was Mr. Wood, my geography teacher.  I apparently almost hated my English teacher because was we "just didn't get along".  I was happy that I was made a Musette that year. But it seems as though the highlight of the year was the ninth grade prom.  I must have been on the decorating committee for the dance because in this history I wrote "I helped to make a mural for it.  I was sorta of proud of my first effort of drawing Venus.".  I wonder what the theme of the dance was if it required a mural that included Venus.

I went to the Prom with Jimmy, a boy from the ward.  We double dated with my best friend, Norene, who also went with a boy from the ward.  Jimmy must have been at least 15 because he had a driver's license and access to a car. Back in those olden dates, you could get your driver's license at 15. My date to the prom was the first date I had where a parent didn't have to do the driving.  I remember Jimmy picked me up in either an Oldsmobile or Buick that was painted two-tone blue and white.  It also had huge fins. I felt pretty grown up. 

Now it may seem shocking that at fourteen and a half, I was allowed to date and go on the date in a car.  Back in those olden days, the church didn't have the hard fast rule that teenagers shouldn't go on a date of any kind until they were sixteen.  I never dated anyone steadily at that tender age.  But Jimmy wasn't my first date as I went to a ward Gold and Green ball with a young man in ward the previous winter. 

I finished up the ninth grade with promotion exercises held in the school gym.  Quoting from my personal history "It was all very formal and saddening.".  "Next step, senior high, YORKTOWN HERE WE COME!!".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I grew up in a family of singers. My parents always sang in ward choirs.  My older brothers and sisters participated in school choruses and Madrigals.  In fact, since my father wasn't much for athletic activities, chorus and Madrigals was about all the was acceptable.

When I started junior high, I took girls chorus.  I wasn't too fond of the teacher, but I loved chorus.  We sang a variety of music and I learned a lot about choral singing.  In the ninth grade, I was a member of an audition only group called the Musettes.  We practiced outside of regular class time and performed for various events in the community.

I continued with school choruses until I graduated.  By the time I was a senior, I was singing with the A Capella choir and was a member of the Madrigals.  Many of my best memories of my teenage years are from chorus.   It was also good training for my adult years.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Back in the early 1960s, a woman named Evelyn Wood developed a speed reading course called The Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics course.  Wood's method involved using a pointer, such as a finger, pencil or pen, to move along a line of text or page patterns.  The pacing of your hand improved reading efficiency.

My ninth grade English teacher must have taken a Reading Dynamics course because she introduced it to us.  I remember spending time for weeks in English class practicing speed reading.  We'd read to ourselves using the method while being timed.  Then we were also tested on what we comprehended.  My ninth grade English teacher was rather intimidating as she would walk around the classroom supervising our speed reading.  Sometimes, I felt like she was going to whip out a ruler and rap my knuckles if I didn't have my pointer in the position and moving it along fast enough.

I must have learned something from this method because I read fairly quickly.  When reading just for facts, it's great to be able to read entire sentences and, sometimes, paragraphs, all at once and still get the facts.  When reading for pleasure, it is sometimes difficult to slow down to relish what's been written.   It's a blessing and a curse.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


In a previous post, I wrote about being vertically challenged.  This series of school class pictures prove it.  I won't be too hard to find if you look for the shortest girl - even if she's kneeling.  These pictures are also a photo history of kid's clothing back in the olden days.  And if you study the pictures, you'll find many of the same kids in my class - year after year.  You'll also notice that this is an extremely white group of children.  There were only Caucasian kids in my school until I was in the 8th grade. It wasn't until the 11th grade that there was an African American student in some of my classes and she was the only one in the entire student body.

Second Grade - 1953
Third Grade - 1954

Fourth Grade - 1955
Fifth Grade - 1956
Eighth Grade - 1960
 Did you find the shrimp in all these pictures?  In the 2nd grade picture, I'm on the back row at the right end.  In the 3rd grade, you'll find me kneeling in the middle row between a boy and a girl.  Look for me in the 4th grade picture on the back row at the right end.   In the 5th grade picture, I'm the one kneeling on the middle row wearing a dress with a white collar.  In the 8th grade picture, once again, I'm on the back row on the right end.

I wonder where all these kids are now.


Every once in awhile when I was a young teenager, my friends and I would organize a party.  It didn't take much to put one together. All we needed was a basement, plenty of snacks, a record player, records, boys and a parent to agree to have the party at their home.

Since the majority of my social life centered around church friends, the party guests were boys and girls from my ward.  My friends and I were always hopeful that the latest boy that we had a crush on would be able to come.  There wasn't much pairing off.  But occasionally, a boy and girl who liked each other would make out when the lights were dimmed.

Most of the time was spent listening to records, talking and dancing.  The parents were always at home and would make the obligatory visit downstairs to check on things.  It was usually done under the guise of seeing if we needed any more food. 

For the most part, it was just good, wholesome fun with the kids from church.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I did  a lot of things growing up in the olden days that would never happen today.

There weren't seat belts in cars back then.  So I rode around unrestrained in either the front or back seat.  Sometimes on long trips, I would even lay down in the space just below the the rear window behind the back seat.  I often rode standing up in the front seat between my parents.  Most mothers back then had an automatic reflex of throwing their right arm across the child in the front seat if they had to braked suddenly. 

If you happened to have one, the child's car seat would have been a fabric seat attached to two metal hooks that fit over the front seat back.  The car seat usually had a small plastic steering wheel attached to the front.  It really didn't do much to restrain a child. Mothers held babies and children on their laps...in the front seat!

As a child, I routinely ate raw cake batter and cookie dough.  No one ever said anything about raw eggs being bad for you.  There were no warnings on cake mix boxes about not eating uncooked cake batter.  In fact, there were no warnings on any packaged or canned food that something in it might be harmful to your health.

If you bought a soft drink, it was usually in a bottle.  The empty bottle was supposed to be returned to where it was purchased.  If you did, you'd get a bottle deposit back of a few pennies.

And, of course, there were the many hours I spent unsupervised in the neighborhood.  I walked all over and a lot of the time, my mother didn't know where I was.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Back in my olden days as a teenager, just about every teenager became familiar with the latest singers and groups by listening to the radio or watching them perform on American Bandstand.  American Bandstand started locally in Philadelphia and premiered, nationally, in 1957.  Dick Clark was the host and, along with a group of teenage regulars, he showcased the Top 40 records.  Bandstand came on every afternoon.  Regular watchers of The Mickey Mouse Club tuned in Bandstand when they out grew Mickey Mouse.

It was through Bandstand that I got to see Bobby Darrin, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, Connie Francis and many others perform their hit songs. If you wanted your own copy of a current hit song, you purchased a 45 rpm record.  The hit song would be on one side of the record with a second song on the flip side.  I also had a few posters of Fabian and Frankie Avalon in my room.

Bandstand was also where teenagers could keep up to date on the latest dance trends.  I still remember watching Chubby Checker on American Bandstand when he sang his hit song "The Twist"...

"Come On Baby, let's do the Twist.  Come on Baby, let's do the Twist.  Take me by my little hand and go like this." 

My friends and I would get up and dance along, too.  It was through Bandstand that I learned to do the "Mash Potatoes" .  You can be sure that these new kinds of dances weren't being taught at Mutual.  The new dance trends were rather frowned upon by the adults.  They didn't like the movements and certainly didn't like the music.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


To ensure that the almost weekly dance instruction after Mutual didn't go to waste, every month my stake sponsored Cotillion.  Cotillion was the place where we danced the night away while learning proper social etiquette. Boys were expected to ask girls to dance.  I don't think that there was much standing around on the sidelines.  Often, more dance instruction would be given at the beginning of the evening.  Then we would either dance to records or a live dance band.

Our stake covered Washington DC and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. It was through Cotillion that I got to know some of the kids in the Maryland and DC wards.  More than once, I had a crush on a boy in a Maryland ward.  Cotillion was about the only place that I would have any contact with the boy. Even though Cotillion was a semi-formal event a couple of times a year, dates were not required.  We used to go in groups with usually a parent driving. 

Cotillion was a big part of my social life as a teenager.  I went to Cotillion, almost without fail, from the time I was in junior high until I graduated from high school.  These kind of dances, along with the annual Gold and Green Ball, have pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur today.  I think that it's kind of sad that an entire generation has missed out of the non-threatening, wholesome fun environment of church dances.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Back in the olden days, photographers would come to your home to take family pictures. Isn't this a lovely American Gothic photo? Since my younger brother, Alan, is missing, this picture was probably taken sometime between 1950 and 1951.  My father is at the back. My brother, David, is the one with ivy growing out of his ear.  My sister, Linda, is on the left and the only one with a smile.  Next to her is my oldest brother, John.  I'm the pouty girl sitting on my mother's lap. I think that I was afraid of the photographer, or just being contrary.  My oldest sister, Karen, is on the right.

This picture was taken before we moved to the red brick house. I'm most likely about three. My mother made the dresses that my sisters and I are wearing. Karen and Linda's dresses were made from pastel taffeta. Mine was a green and white checked dress trimmed with white rick rack. I'm not quite sure why we weren't all matchy, matchy in our attire. We are also sporting the hair dos achieved by using pin curls and bobbie pins.

 This picture was taken at the same time as the picture above.  From left to right are my father, David, Linda, my mother, me on my mother's lap, Karen and John.

This was taken when my oldest sister got married in September of 1959.  Prior to having this family picture taken, I had been outside playing with neighborhood kids.  I guess that my mother had failed to let me know that a photographer was coming to take pictures because I was kind of sweaty and my hair was dirty - thus the slicked back pony tail. I remember that I was called inside and told to hurry up and get changed for the picture.

On the back row, left to right, are John, Linda, David, Me and my sister's new husband, Niels.  On the front row, left to right, are Bobbie Lu, John's wife, who is holding their oldest child, Roy.  Next to her is my grandmother, Isabelle (my Dad's mother).  She had come from Utah to live with us for a while.  She was 81 in this picture.  Next is my Father, then my Mother, Karen and my brother, Alan.

When the proof for this picture came back, my mother was shocked that her skirt and Karen's skirt didn't cover their knees.  The photographer lengthened their skirts somehow....early photoshopping!

I see details in these pictures that kind of bug me.  In the first picture, the photographer should have noticed the ivy growing out of my brother's ear. Everyone should have been more right so that the we were centered against the mantle.  The window blinds on one side are open, while the other side are closed.

In the second picture, we all look pretty good with sweet smiles.  But it bugs me that Linda's socks are pulled up and kind of slouchy, while Karen's are folded down.

The only thing that is a little curious in the third picture is that you can see someone's arm on the stair railing in back.  I have no idea who it is.  I don't think this picture was taken at our home so perhaps it is a member of the family where the picture was taken.  I love it that both of my brothers are in full Boy Scout uniform.

In the fourth picture, the top of John's head is cut off.  The photographer should have raised the camera a little to show less leg and it would have solved the head cut off problem.  Again, one blind is open and the other shut. My brother in law has a candle growing out of his shoulder, while David has some kind of tail looking thing coming out of his shoulder. Alan looks like he's some kid that wandered in off the street and stood at the edge of the photo. At least every one is more or less smiling; well, except for my grandmother who was never very happy about being in Virginia, and...the newlyweds.

And as for me in the last picture, my mother must have been extremely distracted to not give me enough warning to properly get cleaned up for the picture.  She was always one who was keen on looking clean and respectable.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


There was a particularly memorable field trip when I was in junior high.  The movie "Ben Hur" was the much hyped, blockbuster in the early 1960s.  I saw it with my entire school grade (maybe 8th grade?) as a field trip.

I remember the excitement in anticipation of going to a big theater in Washington DC to see a REALLY big movie.   It was such a big deal that the girls were required to wear Sunday best and the boys had to wear jackets and ties.  We were gone from school for most of the day including a lunch somewhere in town.

I don't really remember if we went because the setting of the movie was relevant to a history class or if we went because it was such a hyped movie.  What I find interesting is that hundreds of students were taken on a school sponsored trip to see a movie that had definite religious over tones. In today's world of political correctness, such a field trip would never happen.  If it did, there would have to be parental permission to view the movie and if the parent didn't approve an opt out option would have to be provided.

Back in my olden days, the only thing required from a parent was the standard, generic field trip permission slip and money for lunch.  I think that the cost of seeing "Ben Hur" was paid for by the school.

It was a fun and exciting day.  I still love the movie "Ben Hur".

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Growing up in suburban Washington DC was great.  Even though I usually only went sight seeing in Washington when relatives came to town - which was a rare occasion - I've still seen most of the major tourist sites in and around the city.  Because of the proximity to DC, there were many school field trip into town.

I've been inside the Capitol, climbed all the steps up the Washington Monument, seen the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution in the Library of Congress.

I've been to both the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mount Vernon, Lee Mansion and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.

My sisters and me in a picture that I think was taken at the Iwo Jima statue. Memorial Bridge and the Jefferson Memorial can barely be seen in the background just to right of the large tree.

I can't forget the hours spent in the Smithsonian Museum and the National Gallery of Art, either.  

There were family trips to Old Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown and Monticello.

I remember the feelings of awe and wonder as I toured these historic places. It really was a privilege to grow up where I did.

Monday, May 2, 2011


There are certain events in history that have such a great impact that people will always remember where they were and what they were doing when it happened.  In my lifetime, there are three or four such days.

When John Glenn first took his first flight in space, I was in the 10th grade.  His son, David Glenn, attended my high school.  As his father went into orbit, the radio commentary was piped through out the entire school.  I listened to the broadcast in the school office where I had a class period as an office aide.  There was a collective cheer through out the entire school when Glenn's space mission ended successfully.  After all, he was OUR astronaut.

When John Kennedy was shot, I was a senior in high school.  I was an officer in the Future Business Leader's of America club.  Our big event for the year was sponsoring the Miss JEB Stuart contest.  During my last period class, English, I had been allowed to go to the stage to do some decorating for the event which was to be held that evening.  The announcement about the President being shot in Dallas came over the loud speaker.  I immediately returned to my English class and listened to the rest of the events that transpired. School was released early and all school events for the next few days were canceled.

When the first lunar landing took place, I was living in a duplex north University Avenue in Provo, Utah.  I had only been married a couple of years.  We had another couple over just to watch the landing with us. But I was also talking on the phone with a girlfriend who had just gotten engaged. I'm pretty sure that I had to make her wait for a minute or two when Neil Armstrong left the lunar module to step on the moon.  

On September 11, 2001, I was living in Salt Lake.  That morning, I had a Church Building Hosting Board Meeting on the 2nd floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  The events on the east coast were just unfolding as I was getting ready to leave for my meeting.  By the the time the meeting started at 9 AM, all the attacks had transpired in New York, and Washington.  Members of the Hosting Board gathered in a Public Affairs conference room where there was television feed.  Our meeting was forgotten. I watched the towers fall with a large group of people from Public Affairs and the Hosting Board.

Last night when news came of bin Laden's death, I was in my son's living room in Denver watching something mindless on television.  My son was upstairs studying for an exam, the grandkids were in bed, and my DIL was upstairs with my son.  She came running downstairs and told me that Osama bin Laden was dead. We watched the news together.


 Back in my olden days, LDS Church buildings didn't have cultural halls.  They all had gyms, complete with basketball hoops and, of course, there was a stage.  I have a lot of memories connected with the gym in the Arlington Ward Chapel.

On the stage of the gym, I performed in ward talent shows with my family. At one show, we sang one of my father's silly songs "Mormon Sunday School".  Each member of the family sang a verse.  Mine was one about David and Goliath.  In another show, I sang the song "Sisters" with my own sister, Linda.  I was also in the annual Mutual Roadshows.  I even had a Sunday School class that met on that stage.

The gym was also the setting every year for the Relief Society Bazaar.  For the bazaar, the women of the ward would spend weeks sewing, crocheting, knitting, baking, or making candy....all to be sold at the bazaar.  This was back in the days  before the standardized ward budget.  Wards had to raise their own money for activities.  It was a fun night for the entire family.

The gym would be transformed for the annual Gold and Green ball and New Year's Eve dance.  Streamers would be hung across the ceiling and there was often a mirrored Disco ball suspended from the ceiling.  The stage would be the place where a live orchestra would set up.  Also, back then any one twelve or over could attend the dance.  Older teenagers sometimes had dates. But whether you had a date wasn't important.  I still usually got a new dress and always looked forward to both dances. It was at the Gold and Green balls and New Year's Eve dances that I had my ballroom dancing skills refined by dancing with my father.

For mutual, we had our regular dance instruction in the gym, including square dancing.  In the summer, there was usually at least one square dance with a professional caller with the dancing being held in the church parking lot that was accessed directly from the gym.

And like most cultural halls, the ward gym saw plenty of men's basketball games and lots of kids who used the room for running off excess energy.