John/Doc: My husband, John, although retired for a number of years, is still known as Doc to past students and friends. John is a native of Idaho who grew up in a large Mormon family on a large potato farm. Living the farmer’s life all those years showed him what he didn’t want to do when he grew up. Instead, John followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and got a college education. For 35 years he taught political science and philosophy in Utah and Ohio until he retired, went crazy, and moved into the basement (well sorta). Although he left the Mormon Church in the early 70s, he never lost interest in his family history and its connection to the church. For the past fifteen years he has been turning our basement into a library and has been deeply engaged in historical research and writing. He lives in the 19th century now, has published the book “Island Adventures” with Signature Books even as he continues to work on a 16 volume history entitled “The Search for the New Jerusalem: A Mormon Generational Saga.” https://smile.amazon.com/Island-Adventures-Hawaiian-Mission-1851-1865/dp/1560852429/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477184605&sr=8-1&keywords=island+adventures+hammond
John is in charge of all the garden hardscapes on their two acre property. He built the patio and walkways around my gardens. Occasionally he will get artsy and build something of his own from scratch such as the pergola at the edge of the woods. He also likes to decorate garden beds with rocks and driftwood. Many of the rocks were collected along roadsides on cross country vacations. Remember the movie where Lucille Ball decides to collect rocks from all their stops as she and Desi drive cross country? Yep, it was just like that. John and daughter Amy piled rock after rock onto the floor of our little pop up camper one summer. It’s a wonder the car was powerful enough to tow it home.
Amy: My daughter lives 2 miles away in a big, Victorian house with two sons, two cats and a couple of dogs. Big dog. Big scary dogs – at least in her mother’s mind. Amy earned a degree in Computer Science and then went back to school to get her RN in Nursing. She now does her computer/nursing work at our local hospital. Amy is both an artist and photographer, loves to travel and ride her bicycle every chance she gets.
Caleb: I find it hard to believe but my oldest grandson is 22 years old and he appears to be catching his own travel bug. My favorite saying of Caleb’s is “Grandma, I want to go to Paris someday so that I can see the leaning tower of Pisa!” Granted, he was much (much, much!) younger when he said it but I still think it’s cute.
Michael: A senior in high school, Michael chose to attend A-tech this year which combines traditional classwork with career training. Michael has thrived there in the graphic design department. A complete opposite of his brother, Michael much prefers the indoor world with his art supplies to doing any sort of traveling or hiking.
Our Far-flung: Our Utah kids have grown kids of their own now and aren’t thought of as kids by anyone (except us). Mark, a superb musician, and his beauty of a wife, Kameron, have built a thriving mortgage / real estate business in Salt Lake City. Their wonderful family includes four now grown kids and plenty of cats and dogs to go around.
The parents: Mom and Dad live just 2 miles from me making it easy to check on them throughout the week. It’s a check-in that becomes more and more necessary since having lived so long seems to have convinced them that their super powers make them immune to all evils. Making sure they have all they need and have no reason to leave the house during this pandemic (such as last week’s dire need to run to the store to buy a candy bar) is the latest challenge for all the siblings.
The siblings: Julie and her husband John live in the rural community next door to our own. They have a pretty house shaded by tall trees on a couple of lovely acres with a pond. They too have a big dog and a cat who would likely prefer to be an “only pet.”
Brother Sam and sister-in-law (we really just need to drop that “in law” part) Wendy and their teenaged daugther Asa, recently returned to Ohio after living years in Michigan’s upper penninsula. They bought a beautiful farmhouse – on a real farm – near enough that we can now share holidays and visit throughout the year. Their “pets” are far too many to list but include a dog named Daisy and a duck.
The Cats: And then there were four…
As we ourselves along with our family continue to age, we find that our cat family too is reaching advancing years. Henry, our youngest, is now 10. The oldest, VooDoo is nearly twice his age. The down side of living in a home for senior pussy cats is the inevitable losses that we must live through.
Lost in 2020. Our beautiful 20 year old Molly was taken by old age and handsome Leo at age 16, developed kidney disease. They have been sorely missed these past few weeks.