Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aunt Opal's Memories - Chapter 1 - Part 4

                                           JE'SUS VEGA

Je'sus mother died when he was born. He was mostly raised by Alicia and Anna (sisters). His stepmother was very young and had a baby just eleven months younger than Je'sus. His father died when he was twelve. He lived with Chinto and Juanita and their five children. A neighbor brought the Adventist message and about one half of the children accepted.

He then stayed with Anna and family and went to academy in San Juan. The principle told him about Madison. Chinto helped him some, Alberto gave him an old suit and he arrived at Madison with three dollars. He could read English but couldn't speak it. That's all the help he ever got. He graduated with lab and x-ray credits.

When he returned, I took the train from Oregon where Teresa, David and I had been staying with my parents.  We got to spend a lot of time with Viola and Harley Witt and family. We came before Je'sus did and we visited Bob and Pat. While there David had what the doctor said was an ear ache. We came on to Collegedale and David got worse (he was having seizures by this time and spent two weeks in the hospital with meningitis). We took him to Thompson's Children's Hospital in Chattanooga.


The college told Je'sus he had to take more classes than he thought, David was sick, got better but it took two years to be potty trained, etc. Je'sus was discouraged and we moved to Puerto Rico to be in charge of the lab at the Bella Vista hospital. A doctor there encouraged him to go back to school. He had his GI bill to use so we went to Nashville and he earned a Masters Degree in Biology.

We went back to Madison where he taught at the academy. Theresa started first grade there. Before the year was up they needed him in the lab so he went. The doctor who encouraged him to go to Madison still encouraged Je'sus to go to Loma Linda. He applied and was accepted. We bought a better car loaded all we could in it and took off!  It was 1961 and we had Eric, one year old, Keith, two years old, David, five years old, and Teresa, seven years of age.


While at Loma Linda I finally had to learn to drive. My mother tried to teach me in my teens but I had no interest. With Je'sus in school and all, I had to learn. The Oldsmobile was automatic and that helped a lot. Je'sus rode his bicycle to school. (I hear that Danika and David skateboarded to school and to work!). It is hard to believe they are living where we lived so long ago.

They hadn't completely finished the new hospital when we left. They tore down the old original before we left. Lola Fay took classes in it. We spent eight years there. Four years in medical school and four years internship.

When we arrived a friend was leaving and he could have taken his job at a very good salary by working every weekend but he chose not to work on Sabbath. He could also come home evenings and be with the family. Instead he worked part time as a lab tech and for the first four years he got $200.00 per month from Puerto Rico. That's why we went to Puerto Rico to pay it back. He lost the GI bill by going to Peabody.

Later, Lola Fay and girls came to Loma Linda where Lola took Physical Therapy. We had lots of good times together, us and our four kids and her and her two. In the Oldsmobile, we would go to the desert and camp or to the forests. Twice we went to the mountains for a white Christmas. His niece Ruth from Puerto Rico stayed with us a year. Dino and Fay settled there and we enjoyed them and Gracella came and fell in love and married there.

Je'sus finished in 1969.  We shipped our stuff to Puerto Rico.  We found this used Cadillac, drove to Kansas to visit my family, stopped in Florida and visited Donna and Bill. We stayed in their camper and watched the first shuttle to the moon. Then in our motel in Miami on TV we saw them land.

I am glad we spent time in Puerto Rico as the kids got to know their Spanish heritage and learned to speak the language and to know and love our other family and you know the rest of the story.

To read the rest of the story go to:

Aunt Opal's Memories Chapter 1 Part 1

Aunt Opal's Memories Chapter 1 Part 2

Aunt Opal's Memories Chapter 1 Part 3

Aunt Opal's Memories Website

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And So Did I

My Grandpa Lawry loved to tell stories,and jokes.  He loved to sing songs and recite poetry.  He knew many poems that he could quote from memory including The Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow.  One of the poems that he would often recite was "And So Did I".  In my memory I can still hear him reciting the poem with a twinkle in his eye.

And So Did I

That long lank dude that sparks our Sue
Was at our house last night
And talk about having fun,
Well I thought I'd die outright!
Laugh, I am laughing yet,
I only have to think and then I go into a fit!
We went to supper and of course,
We had a dandy spread.
Sue trotted out the chocolate cake,
And Ma her fancy bread.
That long lank dude he stuffed himself
With cake, preserves, and pie,
Then drank sixteen cups of tea.
And so did I!

Most folks in love don't eat at all
But Jim ain't one of such.
He says that being in love made him eat
Just twice as much.
Up from his chair he staggered,
You could almost see him swell.
He'd ate so much how he got up
Is more than I can tell.
I saw him beckon Sue
She answered with her eye,
And off into the parlor sneaked,
And so did I!

They made for the old setee
In the corner by the door,
While I crawled in behind to hide
Where oft I'd hid before.
With Sue's steel hat pin in my hand
Ten inches long or more.
I heard him whisper," Sue,
Just let me kiss you once".
Sue cried Jim if you do
I'll get right up and run.
And then she giggled foolish like,
You know how young folks speak.
Before the parlor lamp is lit
And things are kind of dark.
Well Jim kissed her good and hard
And Sue yelled, "Oh! Fi!"
And jabbed her fist into Jim's ribs,
And so did I!

I bobbed down quick, he didn't see
For love you know is blind.
And then I started in with cord
His swell coattails to bind.
He'd on a new "Prince Albert",
For Jim was quite a card,
And for you knew a thing,
I had him tied up good and hard.
Then just as he was kissing Sue,
I jabbed him in his thigh.
He yelled and rolled in fourteen fits,
And so did I.

You must know Jim hit the ceiling
And the settee went there too.
Then round and round he dragged it
Like a mule hitched to a truck.
Til both his coattails tore loose.
Then Jim just cussed his luck.
The neighbors heard the yelling
And come rushing through the door
And stumbled over Sue
Who lay unconscious on the floor!
We soused her too with water
Then an argument arose
As to just what old animal had
Bit Jim through his clothes.
Ma thought it was a snake,
Sue thought it lightening from the sky
But at last they blamed it on the cat.
And so did I!

Monday, August 26, 2013


G is for Gearheads.  This weekend Gearheads from all over came to Mena, Arkansas for the annual Wilhelmina Rod Run.  This years Rod Run marked the 38th anniversary. The Wilhelmina Rod Run is always well received by the local population and is looked forward to each year.  Although the Rod Run is held at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, many of the vehicles are displayed in Mena on Friday and Saturday night. These pictures were taken at the Friday night show held around the restored Mena Depot.

Each year Daddy drives one of his cars to the Friday night show. This year he took his 1963 Chevrolet Impala.

What a great show. I'm looking forward to the Wilhelmina Rod Run again next year.

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Grandpa Reeve by Shannon Welch

This story was written by Shannon Welch and posted on Ancestry .com

My Great Great Grandpa Reeve died when my mom was 17, but I heard a lot about him from my mom. He was tall and very handsome, and he was married to Edith Lewis when they were both very young. She was a maid in a "RICH HOUSE" in Chicago, and he delivered milk there with a horse. Prior to that Grandpa Reeve's parents worked for the railroad and had a boarding house for railroad men. His mom used to make great noodles and pies--and a lot of them.

When he was a kid, she made pies and put them on the pie safe for lunch and she never used to figure how she would have missing pies. The mystery was finally solved when she caught my Grandpa and his friends and cousins stealing pies from the pie safe and running into the woods with them!

As an older man, Grandpa was a little grumpy with the boys. They used to borrow his dominoes and they'd tell him they lost his Double 6 and he would holler and chase them. Since it happened repeatedly, I think he was just having fun with the silly boys. 

Grandpa farmed and worked for the railroad at different times. Grandma and Grandpa got married, moved to Kansas from Illinois, and had eight children who lived and a couple who passed away in infancy.

Grandpa moved to Arkansas when my Great Grandmother, Zenella, was 15. They went in a covered wagon with horses from Altoona, Kansas, to near Mena, Arkansas. That was in 1911. According to my Aunt Lola, the whole family would have starved to death if they hadn't killed and roasted wild pigs and other animals. She said Grandma Reeve thought God would rather have them eat pig than starve to death. She was an Adventist, but Grandpa was not.

Grandma Reeve died in 1959 and Grandpa Reeve went to live with his daughter, Alma and her husband, Winfred. Then he attended the SDA Church every week with Alma and seemed to embrace it. He passed away in 1963.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Folk Music

F is for Folk Music. I have always loved folk music. As a young kid in the 60's I grew up listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, Trini Lopez, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie. Some of the earliest records that I owned were by The Wedgwood who were a Christian folk group. I still love to listen to their music. It takes me back to my childhood.

For those of you who have never heard The Wedgwood; here is the song, There's A Light, from their Country Church LP.

For the last few years, my favorite folk music group has been 3 Penny Acre. Their name comes from the fact that the price of the Louisiana Purchase was three cents an acre. 3 Penny Acre is Bayard Blain, Bernice Hembree, and Bryan Hembree. They are all wonderful musicians, vocalists and songwriters. Their sound is acoustic, and has been labled as Folk, Bluegrass, Roots and Americana.

I first heard 3 Penny Acre when they came to Mena, Arkansas and gave a concert at The Ouachita Little Theater. I was curious about them because Bernice Hembree grew up here in Mena. I was blown away by how talented they were. Since then I have tried to attend as many of their concerts as I can.

Recently 3 Penny Acre played the Shreveport House Concert series at Fairfield Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana.  They were touring with The Honey Dewdrops.  Shreveport House Concerts put on small intimate concerts.  It is my favorite place to hear music.

My grand daughter and I sat on the front row where I was able to take photos and get some video.  A highlight of the evening for me was when 3 Penny Acre along with The Honey Dewdrops performed a song that they had written together only two days before. The song is "Back Room" and I was able to video the performance.

Here are some photos from the concert.

Recently 3 Penny Acre released a new album titled Rag and Bone. Like their two previous albums, this album plays to the group’s strengths: the blend of three distinct voices, strongly melodic songs, and their distinctly Ozark musical roots. Trout Fishing in America’s Ezra Idlet helped out in production of the album and provided percussion on many of the tracks.

Here is the title track of the new album as performed at the Shreveport concert.

As the evening came to a close, 3 Penny Acre was joined by The Honey Dewdrops for a performance of the old blues number "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning".  The crowd really enjoyed the collaboration.

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Marching to Zion

This is my article as published in the August 22, 2013 issue of The Mena Star

You have probably heard the term Zion, but what does it mean?  The first time Zion is mentioned in the Bible is in 2 Sam. 5:6,7.  "When the king and his men went to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites who lived there, the Jebusites taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and lame could keep you out!” For the Jebusites thought they were safe.  But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David."

In the New Testament, Zion also refers to New Jerusalem. Heb. 12:22 says,  "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels."

Zion starts out in the Bible referring to a particular rocky outcropping with a fortress on top of it protecting the city of Jerusalem.  It was later used to refer to the entire city of Jerusalem and then the entire nation of Judah.  New Testament writers used Zion to refer to heaven and the New Jerusalem.

Recently my wife has been doing some genealogy research.  In doing so she ran across a fascinating story.  It is the story of her great great grandmother.

Sophia Klauen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on August 17th 1824.  When she was a young girl she married Peter Peterson.  In 1853 he died of a contagious disease.  Sometime after his death, Mormon missionaries from America studied with her.  One thing that they focused on was the faithful gathering in Zion. To them Zion was the new Mormon settlement in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sophie was baptized on December 27, 1855, and later sold her homestead in preparation to go to America.  She trusted two Elders with the money from the sale of her farm but it was never returned to her.  On May 4, 1856, Sophie and her children sailed from Liverpool, England on the ship Thornton.

On the voyage across the Atlantic her eight year old son Thomas fell from the upper deck and was killed.  He was buried at sea.  Still she was determined to go to the land of Zion and she never lost faith. She believed the Lord would help her reach her destination.

After arriving in New York, she along with hundreds of other converts from Denmark and England traveled by train to Chicago and then to Iowa City which was as far west as the train went in 1856.

There she became a part of the Willie Handcart Company.  Prior to 1856, pioneers traveled to Utah in heavy, expensive wagons.  To save money, Brigham Young came up with the idea of Handcarts that could be pulled by humans rather than animals. The plan was to bring as many people as possible, for as small an amount of money as possible.

Over nineteen hundred European converts signed up to cross the Plains with handcarts in 1856.  The handcarts were designed to serve four or five persons each.  At Iowa City the emigrants were organized into companies of about 100 handcarts each.  Each adult was allowed only 17 pounds of personal belongings.

Sophie and the rest of the Willie Company left Iowa City in August 1856.  There were over 400 people in the company pulling 100 handcarts with 5 support wagons.  From Iowa to Missouri the roads were good and the game was plentiful.

When the Martin Company arrived at Florence, Nebraska a council was held, and they decided to press on, though there were those who advised against it because they felt it was too late in the summer to begin the journey. Three hundred miles later, a herd of buffalo stampeded the Willie Company's oxen and cattle, so the provisions from the stranded wagons were moved to handcarts and much of their possession had to be left behind.

The plans were to replenish their provisions when they reached Fort Laramie in Wyoming, but the Fort either had no food to spare or wouldn't sell it to the Mormon immigrants.  The people lived on mostly flour that was rationed out daily.  The portion of flour for each man was cut from 16 ounces to 10 ounces when they were not able to get provisions at Fort Laramie.

The strenuous work of pulling the handcarts on short rations caused much suffering and a number of deaths.  When a harsh winter storm arrived on October 19, 1856, the exhausted pioneers faced starvation, hypothermia, frozen limbs, and death. Deep snow then made it impossible for them to move forward. On October 20th the group was completely out of food. They did not have adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm.  Their situation was desperate and it looked like everyone would be lost.

In early September, Franklin D. Richards, returning from Europe where he had served as the Church's mission president, passed the Willie handcart company as he was travelling to Salt Lake City. Richards and the 12 returning missionaries who accompanied him were in carriages and light wagons pulled by horses that were able to travel much faster than the handcarts.

On October 4 the Richards party reached Salt Lake City and told the church leaders of the dire circumstances of the handcart company. The next morning the Church was meeting in a general conference, where Young and the other speakers called on the Church members to provide wagons, mules, supplies, and teamsters for a rescue mission. On the morning of October 7 the first rescue party left Salt Lake City with 16 wagon-loads of food and supplies.  Throughout October more wagon trains were assembled, and by the end of the month 250 relief wagons were on the road.

On October 21st the first relief wagons reached the starving company. Although 68 of the 404 emigrants died on the way to Zion, the losses would have been much greater if the relief wagons had not reached them when they did.

Jens Nielsen of the Willie Handcart Company wrote, “No person can describe it, nor could it be comprehended or understood by any human living in this life, but those who were called to pass through it.

Sophie Peterson and her children all made it to Zion.  Through all of the hardships and disappointments she endured, she never lost sight of her goal.  She lost all of her money.  Her son died on the voyage to America.  She endured extreme hardship and hunger on the handcart journey.   Most of the few belongings she was allowed to take on the journey had to be left on the trail when the carts had to be used to haul provisions.

Put yourself in her shoes.  Would you still be focused on reaching Zion, or would you wish you had never started the journey?

Is your life as focused as that of Sophie?  Are you intent on reaching Zion no matter what trials and disappointment come your way?  I think that we can learn a lot from her determination and single mindedness in the face of extreme conditions.

1 Peter 1:4 tells us that, "We have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay."  Are you determined to reach heaven?  You have a priceless inheritance there.

2 Corinthians 5:1 says, "We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a house for us. It will not be a house made by human hands; instead, it will be a home in heaven that will last forever."

God has a place for you in Zion.  Are you focused on reaching it?

I hope that after hearing the story of Sophie and her determination to reach Zion you will be able to put into perspective the trial and troubles that come into your life.  Whatever hardships and disappointments come our way, let’s focus on making it to Zion.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Aunt Opal's Memories - Chapter 1 - Part 3

In winter we got books from the library and Mom would read to us in the evening.  Daddy worked at the alfalfa mill. Mom and the boys raised lots of vegetables and we sold them door to door. Mom picked four hundred quarts of wild blackberries one summer; we canned some and sold some. We lived in a tiny two-room house and a screened in back porch. I had my cot there during the summer. That year we lived in the two rooms. Delbert, Bob, and I slept in one bed and Daddy and Mom in the other. I was in the eighth grade. Next year I went to Enterprise Academy with Vera and Viola.

Grandpa Reeve built another room on the house. Daddy worked at the alfalfa mill. We couldn't get the 1933 Pontiac over those muddy roads so had to trade it for another Model A Ford. We didn't have a radio until Delbert bought them a battery operated one in the late forties.

We got electricity just before I was married; in fact Je'sus Vega put in extra outlets for them. We had a pump and an outhouse and a happy childhood!

After academy I worked at the Boulder San in Boulder, Colorado. I worked in the diet kitchen an enjoyed it very much. Then Delbert and Ivan had a problem at EA and left money there that couldn't be taken out so I went back to EA for a year. Mostly because my boyfriend, Clayton, and best girlfriend, Lillian were there. I took sewing, music appreciation, voice and piano. It was all  a very big waste of time and money as I didn't do well in anything.

Then I went to Joplin where Vera was teaching school and stayed with her and looked for work but couldn't find anything. Friends of hers were going to Madison College to visit and let me ride with them. Lillian and Clayton were there. The people I came with got sick and couldn't go back so friends persuaded me to enroll at Madison. It was a self-supporting college so I could work. I took household arts. After two years I met Je'sus Vega. He was taking Lab and X-ray. I changed to nursing. Two years later we became engaged. Je'sus spent that summer colporteuring in Texas and Mexico. (We met some of the same people when he was stationed in the army at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.)

That summer I stayed at home in Kansas. We were married that fall September 14, 1952, at our little church in Thayer, Kansas. Irene and Etta helped me plan the very simple wedding. I borrowed the dress and veil. Someone tore the veil during the wild drive Delbert took us on before going back to the house. Daddy bought a pretty three-tiered cake at the bakery for seven dollars. Daddy gave us one hundred dollars for a gift (we bought a refrigerator with it). Lloyd gave us a set of dishes and someone a table cloth. Vera and Tommy gave us two nights in a motel near them in Carl Junction, which we enjoyed and appreciated very much.

We took the bus back to Madison. Our first home was an expandable army trailer at the trailer court, with one toilet, showers, and a washhouse for all in another trailer.  He was called to the Army and we moved to Fort Bliss, Texas.

We borrowed three hundred dollars from my parents to buy our first car. Neither of us could drive so the man at the car lot drove it to our house. Je'sus had a few lessons from a friend at Madison. Then little by little he learned. We lived there one year and met many wonderful people, some in Mexico. Even watched them make tamales.

David was born while we were at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. From there Je'sus was sent to Germany. Teresa was 1 ½ years old and David was 3 months. I spent the time with my parents who had already planned to spend two years following fruit harvest in Washington and Oregon.  We had many good times with Viola and Harry and their children.

In Germany Je'sus met a doctor from Loma Linda who said he could go to Loma Linda if he went to SMC so his credits from Madison could be accredited. So when he came home we met at Southern Missionary College. He spent one year in Germany.  At SMC Je'sus needed more credits and David got sick.  Je'sus became discouraged and we went to Puerto Rico.

We only stayed one year in Puerto Rico. Keith was born in our Bella Vista Hospital. In those days we couldn't drive all way to Chinto's house. We had to walk about two miles. We also walked to church and caried our good shoes when we visited them.