Thursday, June 30, 2011

Colleen and Donna Reed Paper Dolls

Sometimes you just get inspired. Such was the Christmas of 2007.

For years my family had listened to Colleen (Coke) grumble about how Mom threw away her Donna Reed paper dolls. Now, we all know that paper dolls don't last forever. I'm sure Mom was trying to clean out some of the family clutter, and obviously didn't know how much the Donna Reed paper dolls meant to Coke. 

I went through my "eBay stage" in 2007. I decided that Christmas 2007 should be done via eBay, so I went hunting for things that I thought my family would like. One day, I was inspired to search for Donna Reed paper dolls. Low and behold, I found them -- brand new, never been cut! I solicited the help of other family members, and even Coke's friend, Lana. I got a top money commitment from people and went to work. The more the bidding went up, the more people I got involved. I was absolutely determined that these paper dolls were going to belong to Coke.
Well, it was worth every penny, nickel, dime, quarter, dollar (and hundred(s) dollars) to "get Coke." Well, we got her. She's going to hate me for posting these pictures, but her face says it all! It was one of the best Christmases ever for me, because we definitely got her! I wrapped them in multiple boxes, and she had to pull each box out of a large box, so it took her a while to reach them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two of My Favorite Men

Dick Janes (About 1960)

Lon White (About 1959)
The two men above made an incredible impact on my life.  Dick Janes was my father, and Lon White was my father-in-law.  I've written a great deal on this blog about my dad.  He was a very kind, loving, wonderful man.  He was also the most eccentric person that I've ever met.  I've never written about Lon White.
Like Dad, Lon was one of a kind.  When I met him, he was already retired, but he had been a truck driver for Garrett Freight Lines in Idaho.  He was fun loving, and was always up for a tease.  Lon's life had not been easy, especially during the great depression, but he always managed to land on his feet.  Long before I met him, he was an alcoholic.  It made life difficult for his family for a number of years.  One day, however, he drove through some mailboxes.  A kind man loaned him the money to have the mailboxes replaced on the condition that he never take another drink.  Lon was true to his word.  By the time I met him, he not only was sober, but had been sealed to his wife and two of his sons in the LDS Temple for time and all eternity.  I was young and very impressionable when I met Lon, and that always stuck with me.  The power of repentance is real.  The power of forgiveness is also real.  His family was able to embrace the changes and love him for who he had become.  When I met Lon, I had some issues with forgiveness, and this was a great lesson for me.

The first time I met Lon was quite an experience.  Danny and I had driven from Sacramento to Reno, spent the night with my parents, and then driven to Idaho the next day.  It was an incredibly hot summer day to drive through the desert, and I had a horrible cold.  I suspicioned that Lon and Lois White were about to become my father and mother-in-law.  I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever I expected, did not come to pass.  I was totally surprised.  As I got out of the car in Caldwell, Idaho, Lon greeted me with "Hi, daughter!  Do you want a cheese and onion sandwich?"  I'd never had a cheese and onion sandwich before, but I like cheese, and I like onions, and I like bread -- and this was probably going to be my new father-in-law.  "Sure!"  The two of us sat down and enjoyed sandwiches together -- and we were instant friends forever.

As much as I try not to compare these two men, I can't help but do so.  They were both self-made men.  They both were incredibly honest and trustworthy men.   They both had a great sense of family.   They were both very sensitive men.  In other ways, they were as different as night and day.  As fun loving as Dad was, he was also very reserved in a lot of ways.  Lon just laid it all out there.  The first day I was in Idaho, I remember Lon pinching Lois on the rear.  I had a moment of culture shock.  My parents did those things (I assume) behind closed doors.  They had four children, but public displays of affection were nonexistent in the Janes family.  Lon obviously noticed my embarrassment (I'm sure I was blushing), because he delighted over the years in trying to shock me.

Lon and I had a mutual respect for one another.  I think he respected the fact that I stood up for myself in the White family.  I'm not a pushover in any stretch of the imagination, and Lon liked that.  I admired his strength and tenacity.  I admired his ability to turn his life around and become the man he wanted to be.

I learned from my father a great love of God and family.  I learned from Dad to never take blessings for granted.  Dad taught me to be a lady, but one with spunk.  I learned from my father-in-law, that life doesn't end when you make mistakes.  I learned from Lon to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move on.  Lon taught me that life deals the cards, but it's up to me to play the game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Motley Crew

Janes Kids With Spouses Behind
Couples Left to Right:  Cheri and Dave, Rick and Kathy, Laurie and Danny, Colleen and George
June 17 - 19, 2011 marked the Janes Family Reunion.  I think it was the nicest gathering of our family that we have had in many years.  All that being said, I'm exhausted!
Janes Family Reunion 2011
I have to put two group pictures in here because we couldn't get a picture with everyone looking at the camera at the same time.
Janes Family Reunion 2011
This reunion was planned for a full year--and then at the last minute, we had to move to Plan B.  The original plan was to go camping.  Then it kept snowing long into the spring.  A couple of weeks prior to the reunion, we realized there was still three feet of snow at the camp site.  My sister, Colleen, managed to get us last minute reservations at St. Mary's Art Center in Virginia City, Nevada.  (Yes, folks, I finally learned how to add a link inside my blog--baby steps in technology for me--just baby steps!)  The building was originally St. Mary Louise Hospital when Virginia City was in its boom.  It is a beautiful building, and a perfect place for a family reunion!  There is just one little itty bitty problem, however.  It is four stories--with stairs only.  If you take a look at the first picture of all the "senior citizens," and then take a look at the other pictures with all the "little folk" to chase, you can see that some of us are in a world of hurt after the fact.

SOME of the kids
Left to Right:  Kaitlyn, Ella, Haley, Darci, Joey
For the record, Ella is 8 months old, not walking, but learned to climb stairs this weekend.

St. Mary's Art Center, Virginia City, Nevada
This wonderful historic building is now used for several purposes.  It is used as a retreat for artists, where they can come to be inspired and to paint.

View from Front Porch of St. Mary's Art Center
As you can see above, there's plenty of view to inspire artists.

The building is also used for historic public tours.  The third purpose gives it a little extra color.  It is used by ghost hunters to have paranormal experiences.  Wait--don't turn me off now--it gets better.

A few months ago, a few family members went on a ghost tour at the art center.  My family has mixed feelings about the wisdom of dabbling with the paranormal.  Those of us who did not participate in the event, did so for a variety of reasons.  Personally, I did not participate because at the time my calling in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was Relief Society President (the women's organization), and I felt that I should not put myself in the position of possibly being tempted by Satan.  While I have not discussed this with my niece's husband, my guess is that the reason his family did not participate is because he is a Bishop.  There were other family members who did not participate.

This weekend, we decided would strictly be just a family reunion, and that we would not be looking for any paranormal experiences, or discussing these things--especially around the children and adults who are uncomfortable about such things.  We did, however, have an interesting experience.

Saturday morning we were eating breakfast in shifts as people woke up.  My nephew, Josh, came in for his portion of pancakes.  Someone asked him how he slept.  Josh has this wonderful "curmudgeonly" personality on the surface, but he has a heart of gold.  In his best "curmudgeon" voice, he said he hadn't slept at all.  He kept hearing this "cart" going up and down the hallway.  Later, my brother, Rick, (not having spoken with Josh) said he had heard it too.  My sister, Colleen, interviewed them separately, and they both described the experience to be identical.  One of them estimated this went on about two hours, and the other said about an hour and 45 minutes.  This happened somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.  Neither one of them knew what Colleen had privately told me the day before:  People often hear gurneys going up and down the long hallway on the main floor, and describe it as metal wheels on hardwood floors.  The main hall is now carpeted, but that's what they hear.  In the days when the building was a hospital, that long hallway was quite busy, as it took patients from admitting to their rooms.

Coincidentally--or maybe not--my sister Cheri was awake during this same period of time hearing what she described as water dripping, but she could never find any dripping water or leaking pipes.

So what does it all mean?  I don't know, and I don't really care.  It was a fun experience in an old building at a wonderfully fun family reunion.  If you look for evil, you will find surely find evil; but if you look for the good in life, you will find choice experiences.  This weekend was a truly choice experience.
Cheri, George, and Kaitlyn
in "the" hallway
Many thanks to my sister, Colleen; daughter-in-law, Rachel, and cousin, Jim, for taking wonderful pictures this weekend.  I didn't take a single picture with my brand new camera.  I was simply having too much fun to bother.  My hat also goes off to Colleen and Cheri for long hours putting this thing together.  Jodi and Hannah, Josh, and Wayne get my thanks for cooking (as well as everyone for the pot luck).  Mark, thanks for shadowing Rick so that he didn't fall down the stairs or get hurt!  Katie Vick, thanks for organizing all the little kids and making it such a fun time for them!  Thanks to all who participated and made this a really fun family time.  I look forward to next year--on a hopefully more flat surface--and my ankles, legs, back, and butt cheeks will thank you next year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strong Women

Nana Janes (Juanita Clare Janes)
Nana Janes (Juanita Clare Janes)
Nana Janes (Taken on First Date with Grandpa Janes)
Nana Bernard (Eliza DeLone Bernard--She went by DeLone)
Mom (Margaret VeLoy (Bernard) Janes)
I come from a line of strong women.  My siblings give me a hard time about being strong and stubborn, but they are every bit as strong and stubborn as I am.  I was looking at some pictures today of the women in my family.  You can tell by the looks on their faces that nothing gets past them.  They mean business, and they're not taking no for an answer.  On the other hand, they all had the ability to laugh.

Looking at these women, is it any wonder that my sisters and I still seem to be suffragettes?  We come from strong stock.  The women in my family are not weasels, and we don't lie down and die just because some man thinks they know better than we do.  That's not a bad thing, though, in my humble opinion.  I believe that Heavenly Father meant us to be equal to our counterparts, not subservient.  So to the women who preceded me:  Thank you!   Thanks for showing us the way.  Thanks for showing us that it could be done.  Thanks for not being marshmallows to be squished and fired over hot coals.  I salute you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Operation Smile


Kaitlyn (left), Haley (right)
My little granddaughter, Haley, will soon be starting Kindergarten.  I've been thinking about Haley a lot lately, and all the other little Haleys out there who are not as fortunate as our Haley.  Haley was born with a double cleft lip and cleft palate.  Through a lot of prayer and the miracle of modern medicine, Haley is living a totally normal life.  She still has some issues, and will have to have further surgeries as she grows, but you couldn't ask for a more self-assured, spunky kid.

Haley was fortunate enough to have been born in a country with wonderful medical care.  Other children are not so fortunate.  That's where Operation Smile comes in handy.  Operation Smile is a charity organization of medical experts who literally give children smiles by correcting facial deformities.

Many people don't know that the biggest problem for parents of a baby with a cleft palate is being able to feed the baby.  Having seen the process for myself, I can't imagine how children in third world countries survive.  Cleft palates can also be a marker for other problems, such as lung and heart problems.  Haley is very lucky that she is perfectly healthy.

As you can see from the pictures above, Haley's team of doctors have done a superior job in giving her a meaningful life.  I'd like other children to have that same gift.  Will you take a moment, go to the following website, and donate to Operation Smile?  (I'm sorry I'm not technologically savvy enough to shorten the link.)  Haley, I love you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Starry, Starry Night

Margaret & Dick Janes
Surprise 40th Anniversary Party
Dad Christmas 1976
Dad had a business appointment in a client's home one evening.  The client had just remodeled his home.  He showed Dad a room with sparkles on the ceiling.  This must have been the beginning of the "popcorn" ceilings.  Dad was fascinated by the glittery substance on the ceiling, and he said it looked like a star filled desert night.  He told me that someday he was going to have a ceiling like that.

Dad began buying a box of stars each time he went to the store--you know, the kind you put on a first grader's good spelling test.  Those were in the days when you had to lick the back of the stars.  He had a huge amount of stars before he told me his plan.  He said that when he got enough stars, he was going to "surprise" Mom and put them on the ceiling of their mobile home.  Dad was sick, and I knew that he wasn't going to live long enough to actually follow through with this, so I opted to keep my mouth shut about it.  Dad was a dreamer, and what was the harm in a little dream if it made him happy?

One day not long after Dad died, Mom told me about all the stars she had found among Dad's things.  She wondered what on earth he was planning to do with them.  I told her that I knew.  When I told her his plan to "surprise" her, she was furious with me!  "Why didn't you tell me?!  I can't believe you were actually going to let him DO that!"  Hey, Mom, it's not like he could actually follow through with it.  Man, oh man, was she mad at me--and doubly mad at Dad!

My sister, Cheri, was teaching Kindergarten at the time.  I don't know how many years she used those stars, but I'm quite certain that she never had to buy another star.

Apparently, starry nights are all in your perspective.  If you have a great imagination, anything can be a beautiful desert starry night.  Let me tell you, Dad did not lack for imagination.