Saturday, June 29, 2013

Disowned by Family Members

As a small child attending a Polygamist church with my family, and living the polygamy ways, I noticed a few things about family.  Our family of 8 use to always go to my Grandmas house for Thanksgiving, which was about 10 hours away.  We stayed in her house, and ate at her super long table.  I have many  pictures of this happy, annual holiday at her house, pre polygamy.

Once our family converted from Mormons to Polygamist, things changed.  We stopped spending Thanksgiving at my Grandma's, and the only time we went there was for annual family reunions.  We no longer stayed with Grandma or Aunts or Uncles, we didn't hang out at their homes, we camped in the mountains for a week and spent time as a family, and attended the reunions.  I loved these week long camping in the mountain with my family times.  They are fond memories of mine.

Little did I know that the reasons we were camping and not hanging out with her sisters and brothers, was because my mom's mother wanted not much to do with her.  She obviously did not agree with my parents choice of religion.  She still gave us hugs and treated us kids the same, as far as I recall, but apparently there was more.

Thinking about God for a second, he is our father, and he understands that we, his children will make mistakes, but he still loves us and does his best to help us.  I can't imagine my own mother who is still living to right me off as her child.

Many years later and many years after my Grandmothers death, I found out that she left all her kids money and belonging, and my mom was left $1.00.  This still hurts me to think that a mother could love her kids differently.   So differently that she divides her estate between her kids to show it.

My mom never said anything to us kids about this, I just remember her mom passing away and how hurt my mom was.  I thought all her pain came from the fact that she had lost her mom.  But now today, I am still hurt over how the will of my grandmother was written, and how her estate was divided.  Willing her daughter $1 was such a slam from her to my parents, which is exactly what my grandmother was trying to do.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Pet Rabbits

My dad bought the cutest Rex rabbits when I was little.  He built a beautiful hutch for them, and they lived in paradise right under the biggest Sunflower I had ever seen.  Their life was good.  Everyday after school, I remember playing with the rabbits in our yard.  Dad said they were the best rabbits.  Their fur was super soft and they would be worth breeding.

After having them for a few months, we came home from school and went to see them, and they were gone!  Where did they go?  There was a shovel lying up against the hutch, but we thought nothing of it.  When we went inside to ask about the rabbits, Mom said that Dad had killed them for pelts.  I guess dad wanted to sell the rabbit furs. 

In out basement were all the pelts in the process of becoming money in Dad's pocket.  We were all very sad and could not believe our dad would do such a thing.  

Come dinner time, when we asked what was for dinner, my parents didn't say a whole lot.  Finally, I think it was said as a joke, they said we were eating our rabbits.  After all the work my mom had gone through to cook the rabbits, none of us would even taste it.  

Still to this day I don't understand it.  Was our family struggling that much that my dad killed and cooked our pet rabbits for food and a few dollars in the pocket?  Or did my dad really think that the rabbit pelts would be worth enough to make it worth it?  Some things I will never know or understand.  Even when I ask my mom questions about this time in our lives, she doesn't have much to say and claims she doesn't remember.

My mom is a passive, sweet, lady with a heart bigger than any I've ever known.  She doesn't ask many question, she has a heart of gold.  I guess my dad was able to buy and do pretty much as he felt he needed to do, without my mom asking questions.   And for this reason he bought rabbits, and built the amazing rabbit hutch, so we could kill the rabbits and not eat them.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Slurped Milk

I don't know where people learn their manners, but in my house growing up we were taught a lot of things and slurping milk was not one of them.

My parents dropped us kids off at a church members home for the weekend so they could go somewhere.  This family lived on a farm.  They had goats, chickens, a big barn with a swing, and a lot of bails of hay.  But what part of living on a farm means your house needs to smell of sour milk, and stench?  Just being in this house made me not want to be in there.

This family was nice, but the smell told me they were gross.  For breakfast we were all sitting at the table eating some slop of some kind, and drinking milk.  Our family is not a big milk drinker, but regardless, we had milk.  My little sister accidentally spilled her milk.  The mom was a little bothered, but by all means that milk would not go to waste.  She leaned over the table, put her lips to the milk, and started slurping it all up.  WOW, what kind of manners was that.  We were all shocked, and wanted to laugh.

I am sure they spent hours milking their cows, or goats to get that milk.  So I guess I can appreciate her not wanting to waste that 8 oz of it, but I have not lived in her shoes, and frankly I would rather not.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Living with Other Kids

All my childhood I remember having the best cat.  She was a beautiful, sweet tempered Calico, with the most beautiful markings.  Not only was she a great cat, but she was very smart too.  She always brought us gifts from the fields and sometimes left them in our shoes.  Sometimes it would be a lizard, but most of the time it was a dead mouse.  She also got around with every other cat in the neighborhood.  My mom would call her a little promiscuous cat.  It sure seemed like she was always pregnant or tending to little ones.  One of her litters included a few orange striped kittens.  They were very cute, as are all kittens.

At this time one of my "Aunts" and her daughter and kids, that must have been single at this time, was living with us.  I never did call this daughter my cousins.  She was much older than I was and had some bratty little kids, with ratty looking hair, and bugger noses.

One of these bratty little kids, probably 3 years old, found some of my moms sharp Gingher scissors, and decided to cut off one of the baby kitten's tails.  We came home from somewhere and found a bloody stump at the bottom of one of these kitten's tails.  I don't recall her getting in trouble or scolded.  She was too small to say much.  But I do remember not liking her for it.  This was a start of a bad living situation.  What kind of a child goes and cuts a tail of an animal off.  Poor kitten.  I don't recall if it lived or died, I just remembering how could this little brat do such a thing.

Living with kids from different home styles is not easy, and then adding in their own kids and a cat.  We had enough going on with my dad marrying two other ladies, and then them living with us, and then their own kids living with us, and then some of their gran kids too.  Busy household.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The "Worldly" Family

As small kids my sisters and I felt like our family was the "worldly" family.  We did not really fit in with most of the other members of the church, nor did we put much effort into it.  There were about 3 other families that we felt were pretty normal.  I think they all joined the church about a year or so before our family.   We dressed in what we felt were normal clothes, we wore tank tops and shorts as weather approved, we acted like normal kids, and we had a happy family.  I don't think that our family stood out as different from society, aside from the fact that our "Aunts" and "Cousins" lived with us.  We were normal, but a bit sheltered from the world.

I am sure we labeled ourselves, but that's how we felt.  Many of the other church members lived away from civilization out in the boonies in double wide trailers, without landscape, using a septic tank, and a one large water tank for all to share.  A big dirty mess from my point of view.  I am guessing their families were "called" to live out there. At least they had a very nice, hardly used, play set.  God bless them for having faith and doing what they were told God wanted them to do (though a self appointed Profit of this church), while my dad's calling was to be a missionary for the church (I think).  I was young and I know my dad worked, but it was never clear what he did.  Either way,  I was perfectly happy living within 10 minutes of a store and feeling normal, even though we all knew we had a little secret that others wouldn't understand.

As the worldly family, or worldly kids we were, I think some kids were told not to play with us, by all means we might rub off on them.  I don't know what we did, but I wasn't really concerned about it either way.  I liked my life just the way it was.  We had a good family, that did a lot together, and we enjoyed being around each other which is more than a lot of families can say.  Family reunions were, and still are fun with no drama.  Worldly or not we are a good family.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teachings From the Home

While Dad was out spreading the gospel for this church, Mom was at home teaching all of us school.  My parents sheltered us from what could have been some hard times, and gave us the privileged to be together in unity and learn from home.  My mom was a super hero to take on all 5 kids, and teach us the life skills we needed and had fun doing it.

During this time in my life the craze was the Cabbage Patch Doll.  We all know how big of a deal these dolls were, parents were pushing and hitting each other to be able to bring one home to their child.  

Our family was raised knowing we had everything we needed, and if it was meant to be then it would find a way.  So, being the talented seamstress my mother was, she took us girls to the craft store.  We bought a cabbage patch doll pattern, some skin colored material, movable are and leg things, fake hair, and iron on eyes, and set home to make our own.

We then took our sewing abilities to a new level.  I was probably 9 and my youngest sister was around five.  With guidance from Mom, we cut, sewed, ironed, and stuffed our cute new babies.  We even gave them cute little belly buttons that stuck out.  They were our pride and joy.  I believe we all still have them to this day.

After about 3 years and moving again, my parents were comfortable with us going back into public school.  I would not change this time in my life.  Not only did we learn the curriculum that was given to us, but we learned an important life skill, to get along with our family.  My sisters and brothers were very close then, and still are.   Plus, we can follow a pattern and make our own doll clothes now.  Usually we still call on mom, but it is nice having her there to continue to teach us and be our role model.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Slap From the Sister Wife

I recall one Sunday drive to church very well.  My sisters and I were sitting on the ground in the far back of our huge van.  The back seat was in front of us, and on it sitting was two of the Sister Wives.  They both seemed high strung and easy to push their buttons, now that I am older I completely get it and can see why.  I can only handle a bunch of kids for a short while, and these Sister Wives got to be around us 24/7.  Lucky them.

So, imagine all us kids.  Let's say the youngest was 5 and the oldest sibling to my was probably 17 years old.  Not to mention their kids.  As you can imagine, these ladies were blessed to put up with all of us for so long.

Getting back to The Slap.  So, we are all in the huge van and in the far back us little kids were hot.  The air was stuffy and we wanted some air.  We did not have a window so I opened the side window by the sliding door.  After a few minutes wife #2 closes it.  I complain to my sisters that it is hot again, and send up my little sister to open the window.  Wife #2 tells us she needs it closed because it is messing up her hair, so lone behold it is closed again.  I am guessing I gave it 5 minutes before sending my baby sister to open the window for all of us.

Sweet innocent 5 year old goes and opens the window, and before she knows what happened she is back handed across the face.  Next thing you know my dad slams on the brakes, she flies against the front seat.  My dad orders wife #2 to get out of the van.

Sitting in the van, we could all hear my talking very loud, "Don't EVER hit my children again!"  He told her she could walk.  He got in the van and drove slowly with her walking behind him on the freeway with everyone to see, and us kids to watch quietly in shock.

She got back in, and the van ride was quiet the rest of the trip. I don't recall if the window was open or closed the rest of the trip, but I am sure we were too much in shock to care.  Life went on.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Amazing Father

Today is Fathers Day and I wish my dad were still here so I could hug and kiss him and have him hold me like a baby, like I asked him to do so many times during my childhood, or have him tuck me in at night and tell me stories of when he was little, or rub my face with his soft, gentle hands.

I miss my dad.  My dad who told amazing stories, held me gently, loved his babies, hard worker, good at everything he touched, and a loving husband to my beautiful mom.  We lost our dad to Cancer when I was 15 years old.  Life changed for all of us.  

I remember walking into the kitchen where my mom and dad were cooking dinner and my mom was all teary eyed.  I asked what was wrong, and she made a joke and said my dad made her cry, then she laughed, because he was cutting up the onions.  They hugged and kissed, and I felt the love between them.  My parents loved each other a lot.  They never fought, and if they did it was never in front of us kids.  I never saw any tension, just love.

Dad was always there to help with school projects, draw pictures, of us, draw rings on our fingers with his colored felt pens.  We had diamonds, or heart rings, and felt special that  we always got one on one attention from him.

I dedicate the song, Daddy's Hands, by Holly Dunn.  I listen to it often and tear up. My kids always sing it with me and then think they can ask me what's wrong.  Why would they think I can talk with my throat all tight and tears in my eyes.  

Happy Fathers Day Dad, you were a great role model and I love you. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sundays in our Home

Sundays were the day of the Lord.  I recall waking up to church music playing from the radio, or listening to the Tabernacle Choir.  I liked the state of mind it put me in.  Sundays always felt like Sunday.  Our family would be in a rush to get dressed so we could get on the road as not to be late for church.  We would all ride in our huge van with all seat taken by adults and us young kids sitting in the far back on the floor.  With two Sister Wives (Aunts), and their kids, we had a full van load.

Once Church was over we always had to stay in our Sunday dress all day.  My dad would say, "If you can't do it in a dress, then don't do it."  With that said, we rode our bikes in our dresses, jumped on the trampoline in our dress, and whatever we wanted to do, mostly to prove a point.  

There was no TV on Sundays.  My dad would sit in his office reading, or studding the scriptures, Book or Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or talking to other church members, while my mom and "Aunt" would either be cooking or relaxing with some cross stitch or knitting stuff.  

Sundays we always ate together at our long table, with Dad sitting at the head of the table and Sister Wives to his sides.  We had some super cool chairs that had a little bench on the back that would fold down, so we could kneel on them for prayer.  I don't recall using them much, it was more of a novelty. 

Mom always covered the table in a white table cloth and the kids helped set the table with our nice china, and crystal glasses ,full of ice water, that my dad bought on his LDS mission in Sweden.  The kids always worked together to set the table.  Knife and spoon on the right, and fork on the left.  Knife by the plate facing inward, and glass placed above the knife by the plate.  

Once all the food was prepared and put in nice serving bowls or on nice platters, it was all placed on the table.  We all sat, prayed and passed the food to the right until everyone had had it.  It was polite to hold the bowl for the person next to you while they dished up, then took it and passed it.  It was never OK to reach across someone's plate.  We always asked to, "please pass the peas".  And don't eat until everyone has food.

Once we were finished eating, it was never OK to just excuse yourself.  We always asked it we could be excused, but usually we all sat at the table and had conversation until most were finished.

I appreciated growing up with family dinners, and learning table etiquette, and how to set a table.  It was important that we have manners, and to know how to set a table.  Chewing with your mouth closed, and not talking with your mouth full, was important to remember. We always ate together, but Sundays we used the china, crystal and table cloth.  Sundays were formal.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Faith Is Not Complacent

I feel like I am always reading or attempting to figure out "WHY".  Why for so many things.  Why am I here.  Why did my life go the way it did.

Anyhow, I am currently reading, Handbook For the Soul, and it seems like so many parts of it resonate with me.  I just read that faith is not complacent and it is ACTION.  At first I didn't really understand what it was saying, until it explained it.  It makes so much sense and confirms many thoughts and feelings.

"Some people use faith as a reason to remain stuck.  They often say, "I have faith, so I'm waiting." is action...When it's time to move in a new direction in order to progress, the right people will come to us."

I feel like when i'm looking and searching for something, people magically come into my life to help.  Everyone comes into our lives for a reason.  Sometimes it's quick just to get us back on the right track.

This year I have been doing a lot of soul searching, and wondering, and trying to figure things out.  And right under my nose were two amazing friends that slowly came out of the shadows and into my life.  They are both very gifted and are helping me understand all my whys.

We came to this world to grow, learn, and experience life.  The last few months I have done a lot of growing and understanding, yet I understand there is so much more for me to learn and experience.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


After joining this church, our family stopped participating in a few holidays.  Halloween being one of them.  I have pictures of me as a little kid dressed up for Halloween, but as far back as I can actually remember, our family did not participate in this "evil" holiday.

I recall our family turning off all lights upstairs, and having games, good snacks, and lots of fun in our basement.   I remember how fun it was to bob for apples, and how my mom taught us to push the apple to the bottom of the bowl to get a good grip on it so we could pull it out faster.  The bowl was huge, and most our heads went under water, but it was fun.  My mom sure knew how to throw a good, memorable party, and always made the best snacks and food.

Years later when I was in junior high school,  my mom and dad were out of town for something.  Me and my 3 siblings did our best at dressing up in clothes we had in our home so we could go trick or treating.  We were so excited to get out and collect candy at neighbor's homes.  We took pillow cases to fill and went out and had a blast.

Clearly we were too old to be trick or treating, but people were nice and still gave us candy.  That was my last and first memory of trick or treating as a kid.

Today I have little kids and I am now living through their eyes in many ways.  We have fun trick or treating together, but their favorite part is answering the door and giving out the candy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Communal Sacrament Cup

Often our very large family would travel a couple hours to someone's home to a different city so we could attend church.  All the families took turns hosting sacrament meeting every week, so every once in awhile, we held church at our home.

One super fun thing about sacrament meetings in this church, was the communal cup.  Me and my sisters were always grossed out by drinking from the same cup as the other people that happened to be in this church.

Some of my best memories I had about all these sacrament meetings, was when my dad would talk.  He always had the best stories, and knew how to keep everyone's attention and get them to laugh.  My dad was definitely a great story teller, and speaker.  He was a good leader, husband, and father.

I still put my dad on a pedestal today.  My dad could do no wrong, and with all his knowledge and wit, it just made life with him even better.  He could fix anything, and had an imagination that would please any child.  He made the most creative Pine Wood Derby cars with my brothers, and could draw anything.  My dad was an artist, and he always made me proud, even if we did have to drink from the same cup as old men.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Family Meeting

One day after being in this different church for about 3 years, our parents called all us kids to a family meeting.  My dad was good putting a positive spin on everything that could ever happen.  So with this family meeting, he was able to help us see what he saw.

My dad explained how a family no longer had a dad, and they were alone and asked how we felt about helping them.  Obviously, after the way my dad put it, we all wanted to help this poor family that needed a dad.

Next thing we all knew, this new to us family of 5 was now part of our family, and was living in our basement.  They had their own kitchen and living space, but we ate our meals together, and prayed together.  My mom and "Aunt" took turns cooking, we were soon as much like siblings as you could hope.

We fought over waking up first to get the TV first on Saturday mornings, and anything else that normal siblings would fight about.

As far as all our friends and neighbors were concerned, they were our "cousins" and "Aunt" that were living in our basement.

It was hard, and uncomfortable to try to explain, but we managed, and as far as I know all our friends believed it and never asked questions.  Life seemed pretty normal aside from our little secret.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Typical Utah Family

I was raised in the traditional Utah family.  My dad served a mission for the Latter Day Saints church, also known as Mormons, then he met my mom at BYU, and later married in the Salt Lake temple.

My parents had 8 kids,  me being the 6th child.  We went to church every Sunday, said our prayers for every meal and at our bedside before going to bed.  I even recall praying as a family before every road trip, so that we would travel safely with no problems.  Praying comes with all religions, I am just stating that we did it a lot.

When I was still very small, I'm guessing 2nd grade, my parents found another church that they could not prove wrong, so they did what they believed was the right thing to do.  This church practiced and lived the laws of consecration, and polygamy.   This is where all the money you make and all your belongings go into the "pool" with everyone else's belongings.  Then spent as needed.  At least this is the way I understood it.  They also practiced plural marriage.  With all the scriptures my dad knew front and back, he could not find this church to be wrong.  So we all joined.

Our family had a big, new swing set at this time, and it went to live at someone else's home, because they needed it  more, apparently, and we did not need it as much as they did.  We then moved soon after to a city closer to where they wanted us to live.

Life changed for everyone in my family, as you can imagine.  I have so many memories that have made me who I am today.  I still say, "praise the Lord" in my head when something happens, such as the other day when carrying a six pack of soda in from the car, two slipped out and crashed to the ground...since there was no mess or pain involved, I instinctively said, "praise the Lord" with a sigh of relief.

I have so many interesting memories about growing up, and have decided to write my journey though it all.  I write these as memories, not looking for criticism of any kind.