Moving to Utah

Sorry for the long delay since the last post. I have been busy on another web site and the holidays took some time. I think we are getting down to the last of the posts on the history. I will bring things up to date over the next few weeks and then compile all of the information into one document which I hope to have for all of you sometime next year. Maybe that will be next year’s Christmas present. So, on with the story…. 

Sometime during the time I lived in Rochester (about 9 months), David called me and begged to come live with me. I don’t remember the reasons he gave, but I finally agreed and he moved out of Winona and moved to Rochester to live with me. So, when it came time to move we moved together. The moving company actually put my car in the moving van and Dave and I flew to Salt Lake City. We rented a car and got a real estate lady to show us apartments and in a couple days, we were ready to move into the Falls Apartments in Sandy. But since our stuff wasn’t here yet, we stayed with Matt and Stephanie in Spanish Fork. They were taking care of an adult facility for handicap people. I think Matt was still going to school at that time, but maybe not.

It took about a week to get the stuff out here to Utah. I started work and drove back and forth from Spanish Fork to Salt Lake. 

Our furniture finally arrived and we moved into Sandy. I was learning new stuff at HAI and it wasn’t easy. David stayed in the apartment. It was about this time that we started the daily calls. Since he was alone all day, he would call me or I would call him and we’d talk for a few minutes. This has evolved into the system we have today which is three calls a day (most days). He does that with others, also.

That lasted for two years or so and HAI was bought out by a company called Magellan Health.


The Worse Day of My Life

I thought things were back on track and we were OK, but the marriage was broken beyond repair. I am not going to go into details about the breakup in this blog. I think my kids need to know my feelings about this (Karen can write her own feelings, if she desires), but I do not want the world to know these details. When I publish this memoir as a book, I’ll include a chapter about the breakup, but not until then. And that will be for family, only.

I think David was the first one we told. Maybe Katy and Kristy knew first, I’m not sure. But we told him on his birthday, Aug 28, 1994 because that was the first opportunity we had when he was at the house. He was really upset about that and I’m not sure he ever completely forgave us for spoiling his birthday. We told Matt and Kim by phone which really sucked. That’s no way for kids to find out their parents are breaking up.

As you all know, I moved out about October of 1994 and got an apartment in Rochester. I was still working at IBM, fortunately. We sold the house sometime that winter and Karen moved to Orem with the only 2 kids who were still at home, Kristy and Katy.

David was living in an apartment in Winona, Kim had moved west to go to school and Matt was at BYU working on his degree. As I said, I moved into an apartment in Rochester and settled in. When Karen moved, four of my five kids were in Utah, so I decided it was time for me move out there too. I called Matt and asked him to send me the Sunday classifieds from the Salt Lake newspaper every week. So, about Friday of each week, I would get this package of newspaper from him. I studied the want ads for job offerings. I looked for anything that I thought I was qualified to do.

A company called HAI (Human Affairs International) called me and said they would like to interview me over the phone. They wanted someone who knew the AS/400 computer for a new project they starting and I had been working on it for the past 10 years or so. I had a phone interview with the boss and then a second one with a technical guy. He asked me all kinds of technical questions (to see if I really knew the AS/400). I guess I passed because they offered me a job.


A New Las Vegas Trip

I forgot that I have a Las Vegas category and so thought I’d tell you about our little trip to Vegas a couple weeks ago. We stayed at the Hilton where we usually stay. We got a nice room with a tub that has those water jets. Barb likes those.

We went to two shows while we were there. On Monday night, Nov 17, we saw the musical “Jersey Boys”. This won the Tony for best musical when it opened on Broadway a couple years ago. Now it’s playing in Vegas and I really wanted to see it. It was, in a word, great. It tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to fame and then, their ultimate breakup. The language is pretty R-rated, but not overly so. The music was awesome. I love the Four Seasons. They are one of my favorite groups from the 60′. If you ever get a chance to see “Jersey Boys”, don’t miss it.

We also went to see Barry Manilow on Wednesday, Nov 19. Now, I admit, the average age of the audience was about 60. Manilow is considered like elevator music these days, but he still puts on a wonderful show. His new Las Vegas show spotlights all his hits and we really had a good time.

On Tuesday, we drove down to Hoover Dam which is about 1/2 hour from Vegas on the Arizona border. It is, I believe, the largest dam ever built. Anyway, it’s huge. We had picked up a wheel chair at the hotel and Barb had the joy of pushing me all over. We went on a tour that showed how the dam was built and we looked at the turbines. It was cool. We had a good time and since I didn’t have to walk everywhere, I still felt prety good on the way home. What was really cool, was we had a couple places in the tour where the chair had to pushed up an incline and I’m pretty heavy. In both cases, a man we didn’t even know stepped up and asked if he could help and he did the pushing (two different men). So, that helped a lot. I hope to get my own chair or a scooter sometime as it is getting harder and harder to walk.

So, the trip to Vegas was a big success. We had a good time. I didn’t mention that we stopped in St George and saw Matt and Steph and family on the way down, so that was very nice, too.

Just think, soon, I’ll retire and I could show up on any of your doorsteps at any time, so be ready.


A Quick Cute Story

Karen sent me this story of something that happened to Kristy when she was little. I can really see her doing this:

There’s a cute story about Kristy taking a nap in her bedroom when a fly came into her room. It probably buzzes by her ear and annoys or even frightens her. So she leaves her room, closes the door, stuffs the crack under the door with various things like a blanket, pillow, clothing so the fly can’t come out. Then she lays down in front of the door to continue her nap. Of course, I confront her, asking why she’s laying outside her room instead of on her bed in her bedroom and she tells me what happened. I may even have a photo of her laying in front of the door in the hallway! She was probably 4 or 5 years old when this happened.


Grandma passes away

Sometime in 1992 or 93, my mother decided that she couldn’t live alone any longer. She talked to my brother Martin and ended up moving to Maine to live with him. I was sad because I knew my mom was dying and now she was almost 1500 miles away, so I knew I wouldn’t see her very often. Somehow, between the time she moved out there and the time she died, we did get to Maine. She was living in a assisted living home and spent almost all of her time in bed. She was in good spirits and glad to see us, but it was hard.

When she first moved to Maine, she lived with Martin and his wife Sue. Things were fine until they came home from work one day to find her laying on the floor. She had fallen and couldn’t get up. (Just like the commercial everybody makes fun of). She had been laying there for several hours without any way of telling anyone of her plight. Martin decided that Mom shouldn’t be on her own anymore and checked her into the assisted living center.

In October of 1993, I got a call from Martin. He said, in effect “If you want to see your mother alive again, you’d better get here as soon as you can.” I was in a panic. I didn’t have any money. I called the airlines (didn’t have internet quite yet) and tried to get a hardship flight to Maine. Those are cheaper because getting a flight on a moments notice can really be expensive. It took me a while to convince someone that this was a hardship case but just as I was about to buy the ticket, Martin called again and said “Don’t bother, she’s gone.” So, the last time I saw my mother alive was when we visited Maine.

Martin took care of everything. Mom was to be buried in Bellevue, Michigan, next to Floyd who had died in the 60’s. Martin had gotten insurance that paid for flying her body back to Michigan to be buried. So, instead of flying to Maine, we all got in the car and drove to Michigan for the funeral. It’s been 15 years since she left us and I still miss her. She and I had a special Mother/son bond that few people have. I am looking forward greatly to seeing her again on the other side.


The Year of School at Winona

In 1993, IBM was falling apart. Sales were down and they were starting to re-access their “no-layoffs” policy. People were leaving and I realized that my job was in jeopardy. I had 27 years with the company which put me just over the line to something they called “bridge to retirement”. Retirement for IBM was 30 years of employment. You had to have 27 years in order to bridge. Bridging meant that they would give you a years salary and then when you hit 30 years, you could retire just like you had actually worked those last three years.

It seemed like I had no choice. I couldn’t take a chance on being laid-off which IBM was doing a lot of in those days. I was eligible for the bridge and so, reluctantly, I retired from IBM. But, here I am, I’m 52 years old. That’s pretty young to retire. We had a years pay in the bank, so I felt like we could afford to train into something new. I decided to try to fulfill a life-long dream of mine to be a teacher. I had always wanted to be a teacher. Thought I would be a good one. I loved math and I thought I could teach it to high school kids. So, I enrolled at Winona State and started taking classes.

I’m not sure Karen ever really approved of this move. Unfortunately, we weren’t talking much in those days and I don’t know what she would have rather me do, but I did go to school for a year. The problem was, the money only lasted for a year. I didn’t work during that year, so no new money was coming in. As the year got closer and closer to an end and I realized I needed at least another year to finish my degree, I realized we were in trouble. I loved going to school. I loved learning math and I really wanted to finish, but there was no way to do that and put food on the table. So after one year at Winona State, I dropped out.

The next few months were some of the most difficult of my life. Maybe of Karen’s, too. Like I said, we weren’t talking much. I joined a temp agency and spent the most horrible three nights of my life stocking food at the local Barlow’s grocery store. I drove taxi for 10 days. In that 10 day period, I earned a grand total of $120. That’s $12 a night for a 10 hour shift. Obviously, I had to do better than that.

Then, my salvation came. I got a call from a contractor company that provided a help desk for IBM. They needed people who knew IBM products and could talk to users about the computers and the software that runs them. So, I went back to work at IBM, this time as a contractor.


Katy’s Special Present

I asked Karen for things she remembered about me and Katy and me and Kristy. Here is a story about Kate. I’m not sure, but I think it was her 13th birthday. (turns out it was her 15th birthday – see Katy’s comment) She had a friend in the ward that she hung out with, so on my way home from work, I stopped and picked up the friend (Sheila Romreil). Katy was curious when I brought home her friend but she had no idea of what was coming.

About 5 or 5:30, this limo pulled up in our drive way. I told Katy, this was her ride to Young Women’s that night. She was really excited. I had hired the limo for one hour. It took her all around Rochester and stopped at the home of other friends she had and, I think, picked up some other kids. The limo gave them all a ride to Young Women’s. I think this was one of Katy’s more memorable birthday presents. I think we have pictures of it somewhere, but I haven’t seen them in a long time.

Unfortunately, I only had the limo for the trip in to Young Women’s. I still had to go pick her up since I had the car for just one hour. Still it was a great evening. Kate, if you can add anything to this story, I’d appreciate it.


Matt Goes on a Mission

OK, it’s time to embarass Matt if I can. A day I’ll never forget was the day Matt told me he was going to go on a mission. Hopefully, someday, Matt will write his own story and fill in the details, but I remember sitting in the chapel of the Rochester Ward. We were listening to a young man (don’t remember who) who had just returned from his mission. During the talk, Matt, who was sitting next to me, leaned over and told me he thought he would go on a mission. I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. I croaked out a “When?” and he said as soon as he could. What I wanted to do was jump up and cheer, but I kept my cool and we started to work on his leaving. As you all know, he spent two years in the Vancouver, British Columbia Mission. I was very proud to have a son on a mission. I was proud that he himself decided to go, because it wasn’t a sure thing.

What was amazing about the mission is he really didn’t have much money saved for it. We were always broke as a family and I worried that we wouldn’t be able to pay for it. I think it ran just over $300 a month. I would deliver a check to the bishop each month and somehow, that money got to Matt to support him. We always made that payment. I don’t think we were ever late with it. The money was always there and nothing else really suffered because of it. When he returned home, you’d think we could now have an extra $300 to pay down bills or something, but nothing really changed. We were broke before the mission, we were broke during the mission, except that we paid one extra check and we were broke after the mission. Strange isn’t it. They say the Lord provides when you have a worthy cause and I guess that is true.

Matt got back from his mission, he was much the same, but a lot different. He had turned into a man, didn’t listen to heavy metal music anymore (at least for awhile) and had a testimony of the gospel. I think (and I hope he agrees) that going on a mission was a deciding point in his life. After that he wanted to go into a field where he could help people and that is what he did. We all know where that has taken him.

I hope he knows just how proud we all are of him.


Current: Veteran’s Day

I’ve probably said most of this before, but I got a call this morning from Matt and he said he had been thinking about me and my Dad (grandpa to him) and how we were veterans. So, I’ve been thinking about that all day. I was never too close to my Dad, but I’m proud of the fact that he served in the Army during World War II. You might remember that he spent most of his tour of duty in Italy.

Italy was part of the Axis along with Germany and was definitely our enemy. My Dad spent basic training in Kansas where my mother went to visit him when I was a baby. Then he sent to Italy where he fought until he got shot in the leg by an Italian bullet. Wounded, the war was over for him and after a time in the hospital, he came home. He received a Purple Heart for that bullet.

Unfortunately, when he got home he had decide that he didn’t want to be married anymore. The war had done something to him to make him want to be on his own. So he left and my mother raised me by herself. At least for awhile.

I am technically a veteran, even though I never fought in a war. I was enlisted in the Air Force during a time that is officially considered part of the Vietnam War. Today, I’m considered a veteran for things like VA loans (if I wanted one).

A few weeks ago, I went to a concert at the Church Conference Center. They had patriotic portion of the presentation and they asked everyone in the audience who where in the various services to stand while they played the theme song of that service. When they announced everyone who was in the Air Force, I stood with about 50 other guys while they played “Wild Blue Yonder” which is the Air Force’s theme song. I was really proud to have served my country. I never fired a gun (except on a rifle range), but I did contribute something to the country by my efforts and I’m proud of that.

I really enjoyed the four years I spent in the service. I gave a lot of thought to re-enlisting, but knew that a career in the service wasn’t really in my future.


A Couple Memories of Eyota

One of the highlights of my life in the eighties (and, I think, the rest of the family) was getting cable in Eyota. This was the early eighties and we heard a rumor that cable was coming to Eyota. Boy, were we excited. I determined that the minute they hooked it up in town, we were going to sign up. There was no question about that. I expecially wanted to see MTV. MTV was great in those days. They actually played music, not like today. I was a little disappointed when the cable was first turned on and MTV was not a part of the lineup right away.

We had to wait a couple weeks for the cable company to get that channel programmed. But eventually it came on. I’m pretty sure Karen was not as excited as I was, but I’ve always been a TV watcher and being a music fan, MTV was just about the best that life had to offer. Later, of course, when Mike and I became friends, we spent many a weekend sitting in the basement watching the videos on MTV. Those are still some of my happiest days I can remember.

Another memory I have of Eyota was the picnics we would sometimes have at IBM park. IBM had this area that was just called “the park” and it has picnic tables and places to run around. Every summer, IBM would put on a party for the employees. They would usually have a band come in and play. We could eat and go around and play the games that they set up. It was really cool.

Some of the great times were when Karen would bring the kids into town right after I got off work. I would drive over to the park and meet them at a particular time. We would eat supper on one of the picnic tables and the kids would run around and have fun in the play area. Those were good times.