I love Aunt Ann very much as well as Uncle Doug and all of their family. I have shared many wonderful times with them especially in my youth.
I remember the time when Mom and Dad went to Calgary for the day. They left me with Aunt Ann knowing that she would take care of me as though I were her own. For reasons I do not remember I was very upset about them leaving me. I climbed up on a tree stump in the Miller's front yard and cried and cried. Aunt Ann tried everything she knew how to do to comfort me and make me happy but I was inconsolable. I knew that she wanted to help me but I didn't want to be helped. As I have thought back many times about this experience I knew that she loved me very much.
I remember many Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays
that were spent together as families. I remember the time Don and I were boxing
each other on Christmas day and we knocked the Christmas tree over. I vaguely
remember the time we played in the coal bin. Most of all I remember sitting,
trying to not be seen, listening to the stories that were told, retold, and
acted out as the adults sat around the kitchen, living room or wherever they
had congregated. I loved to hear Uncle Doug's stories with special emphasis on
the accents. What wonderful times they had, as loving families, passing time
enjoying each other's company.
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In my younger years I remember Uncle Harold as the kissing uncle. He kissed everybody. I remember the story about him giving a big kiss to a woman and then asking another person, "who is that?". Uncle Harold was loving and kind. "Babe" as all his friends and acquaintances called him was a great baseball player and always loved sports. He announced for CJOC radio and CJLH TV.
Of all the times I remember most it was when I was 18 and 19 (just before leaving on my mission) when we (Uncle Doug, Aunt Ann, Mom, Dan and myself) went to San Louis Obispo to visit Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Harold. What wonderful times we had together. Remember his Studebaker? He loved to drive his cars. Aunt Yvonne, you can't say enough wonderful things about her. Her marvelous sense of humor, her laugh, the great love she shows to each of us, the wonderful family she has raised, all of these things and more show us what a fantastic person she is.
On the second visit we visited the Los Angeles Temple and were going to attend a session. We were checking our recommends when Uncle Doug noticed that he did not have Ray Evanson's (the Stake President) signature. He had the interview but Ray had forgotten to sign it. Uncle Harold said no problem, pulled out a pen and signed the recommend with Pres. Evanson's signature. We went to the temple that day and I really don't think the Lord minded.
Uncle Harold, Dad and I took a day to do the amusement park tour in L.A. area. Back then there were only 2 parks and they are close together. Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. We visited Knott's first . We were watching a dummy in a jail cell talk to the visitors. The dummy had a speaker in it's face and the person actually talking was behind a mirror above everybody. We listened to the comments made to the people in front of us and then the dummy said,"Hey you 2, where did you get those horse-shoe hair cuts?" It took me a minute to realize he was talking about their bald heads but dad and Uncle Harold laughed and laughed. A good bit of fun was poked at the brothers for their baldheads but I never saw any of them get upset or angry over it.
When we visited Disneyland we purchased numerous passes in a package deal. By the end of the day we still had tickets left and neither Uncle Harold nor Dad wanted to leave with any tickets left. We rode one ride about 6 times just to get rid of the tickets. I think it was the same one as it there today - are you ready for this - "It's a small, small world". Whoa.
On the way back to San Louis Obispo we had to stop for gas (in the Studebaker). When we pulled back on to the freeway Uncle Harold got mixed up and started back for Los Angeles. Dad tried to persuade him that he was going the wrong way but he was very sure, after all he was the one who lived there. Finally dad thought of a way to convince him. Dad asked Uncle Harold which way the sun set in California. Uncle Harold boldly pronounced,” In the West of course." Dad pointed out over the ocean to the sun, which was there on our right side. Uncle Harold never said a word. He just pulled down through the median, up the other side and back we went in the opposite direction.
While we were visiting with them they showed us a great
time. We visited Hearst's castle, the beaches and went to church with them.
Jean Ann and Lee Forsyth provided a lot of fun and loving care while we were
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I remember many things about Uncle Ira because of the close relationship in farming that he and dad had. They each had separate farms but shared much of the equipment needed to raise and harvest the crops. I remember gospel-centered discussions as we sat around the equipment eating lunch. I remember him reciting scripture as we traveled to and from the dryland together. I remember him sitting on the fender of the tractor as we topped the beets explaining a gospel theory that he had developed. Have you ever heard of a perpetual motion machine? He explained how grandpa (TW) had made one out of wood. When it was started for the trial run they forgot one thing, a governor, and it got going so fast that it threw itself to pieces. I never saw that machine nor any of its pieces but I remember Uncle Ira's version made with steel and roller bearings sitting on the work bench in his garage. Does anybody else remember it?
I guess I will have to tell the story that has been repeated most to me about Uncle Ira and myself. It was the fall that I turned five. We were harvesting the sugar beets. One crisp cold morning the tractor (a Fordson) that was used to whip the excess tops off of the sugar beets wouldn't start. Uncle Ira hooked a chain to its front axle and to the back up his pickup. He told me to get in and give him a pull. He got on the tractor and got ready to start it. I got in his pickup and gently took the slack out of the chain. Little did I know but the tractor started up right away but I was off. I couldn't hear Uncle Ira yelling for me to stop so I headed up the field. I shifted into 2nd gear, got a little more speed and shifted into third. I got to the other end of the field feeling very proud of myself. Dad was running the Keist topper and could see us coming up the field lickity split. He could see the tractor behind the pickup bouncing from beet row to beet row getting a foot of air with each bounce. He knew that the tractor was going to flip over. Uncle Ira was frozen to the seat with fright, struggling to keep the tractor straight behind the pickup. He was very very glad to get off of that tractor. Boy did dad give me an ear full about the what and wherefores of giving a pull to start a tractor.