Sunday, November 8, 2009

This is why I go to the Youth Sunday School Class...

so, Rick has informed me that nobody really reads my blogs any more. So, I guess I am not writing this for anyone else to read but for myself so that I can remember this event...
it was Sunday School last week. Brother G gave the lesson (actually a 2 part lesson) entitled "The hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers" and Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work. I really enjoyed the lesson that Brother G gave. I think that he prepared the lesson just for me because of the way that it touched my heart.
First, he wrote a bunch of names on the board. Then he proceeded to tell a little bit about each person. Then he wrote his own name on the board and drew lines from each person's name to his own to show how he was related to each person.
Then, he asked the class if they knew all of their grandparents. He called on one girl to answer the question. I don't know anything about her situation other than she is adopted and her parents are "older". I know that she has siblings because she has referred to them before, but i don't think that any of them still live at home. Anyway, she said "no". She does not know her grandparents or even their names. I was a bit shocked. There is another girl in the class who didn't even know how to answer the question. She is 17. She was officially adopted last week, I know this because I attended the court where she was adopted. She has been living with her "new" family since February. So, she hasn't had very long to become familiar with her family tree. Plus, she had a foster family she lived with for 4 years, an adopted family before that, plus her biological family. That's a lot of people to get to know. Clearly these young people have a long way to go in getting to know their ancestors, but this lesson was so encouraging and exciting that I hope they will all feel the Spirit of Elijah and turn their hearts to their ancestors.
One thing I thought about during the lesson was that I had the opportunity to know 3 of my grandparents. I spent A LOT of time with my Dalton Grandparents. I would beg to stay with them in Circleville every summer. As a young child visiting my Grandparents, this is what our days would consist of:
watch a few game shows,
then out to the yard to water and prune (my Grandpa was a maniac with the pruners--especially the electric ones)
gardening--they had a huge garden and my favorite thing to eat was the turnips.
mow the park--they lived next door to the city park and for a long time I just thought that the park was a continuation of their own yard. my Grandpa took great pride in the presentation of the park.
dump--we would take a load of trash to the dump and we would rumage around the trash piles left behind for things to recycle. my Grandpa would take different metals, batteries, bottles, whatever to Richfield to cash in for a few dollars.
and there was the cemetery. if the park was a continuation of their yard, then so was the cemetery. It wasn't just a quick stop either. We would either pack water jugs to the graves or a hose to hook up to the tap. Grandpa always traveled with a shovel, rake and hoe just in case some work needed to be done. I think this was the first "exposure" I had to family history work. I learned never to walk on the gravesite. I learned who was buried in which cemetery and a little story about the people who were buried there. I loved to hear the stories about these people I never knew. One thin that we always did when we went to the Circleville cemetery was walk and walk and walk all the way down to the far Northeast corner. This is where Julia Dalton was buried. That was my Grandpa's Grandmother. We always cleared off a little area next to her grave. One year I learned that the reason my Grandpa cleared off that area is because that is where his brother, Dwight, was buried. I wouldn't have known that if Grandpa hadn't talked about his brother who died in childhood, because there wasn't a headstone or grave marker. I didn't realize the significance of that information until about the year 2000. My mom's cousin, who is also a Dalton, was trying to get all of the Dalton records together. He had located everyone except Dwight. It was a deadend. They couldn't find out anything about this child. Cousin J mentioned this one time when I was present and I said, "I know about Dwight. He died as a child and is buried in Circleville." Nobody had figured that out because there was no grave marker. Cousin J was able to find the cemetery record. Find the birth and death date, and find a death certificate quite easily. Shortly after, Dwight's temple work was done. He had died at age 18 months and was sealed to his parents.
Another cemetery story I have is about a cousin of my mom. She is buried in the world's most ugly cemetery--Junction, Utah. The first cemetery in that community was in a grassy area that became a little swampy as the area was farmed and frequently flooded with irrigation water. So, to combat the sinking graves, they relocated the cemetery to a hill where there is only wind, sage brush, and snakes. The road spirals around the hill until you get to the top and then you spiral back down. Buried in Junction are some of my Grandma Ethel's family. We would find ourselves in Junction quite often to check on those ancestors. My mom had a cousin named LaWanna. LaWanna died when she was 12 years old of a head injury from falling out of the back of a moving pick-up truck. When we were kids and we'd see a pickup truck with kids in back bed of the truck, we'd always ask to ride in the back and we'd always get the same answer, "you cannot ride in the back of the truck. That's how LaWanna died." I thought of that story every time I went to Junction and every time that I see people riding in the back of a pick-up truck. Not too long ago I found myself telling the LaWanna story to my own kids and explaining why we don't ride in the back of a truck.

We've always had a thing for cemeteries in my family. If we were ever driving in certain areas in Southern Utah, my mom would say, "Stop here" and we'd know she was going to go walk though a cemetery. If we drive certain places now, we can say to each other, "Remember when we made Dad stop so we could check out that cemetery?" and then we laugh because we are weird.

I don't know as much about my Robison ancestors. Their longevity isn't quite like the Dalton's. My Grandpa Robison died when he was 56ish. He had 27 grandchildren and died before any of them were born. He died 5 years before I was born. I know that he wasn't very tall. He was blind in one eye for a good part of his life. He had stopped on the road on the South side of Richfield to help change a tire and some how he was hit by another car and lost his eyesight. He was a quiet man who stuttered a bit. he was smart because I remember so many times as I was growing up my dad would use these little quotes or phrases and tell me that it was something his dad used to say. My dad did the same thing. One of his most famous phrases was, "If you're not 5 minutes early, you're late." I loved my dad's little quotes. I wish I had more of them written down. They come back to me from time to time and I will try to write them down as I remember them.
Grandma Robison died when I was 7. Some things I remember about her are that she twittled her thumbs. She could crochet and sew very well. She worked at the Drugstore in Richfield for years and while there became famous for her dipped chocolates called Forsey Bars. She didn't finish high school because she had to quit to go to work. Her family needed the money. Her older sister Jenny was in college to become a teacher, so my grandma quit school to work and support her sister and family.

Anyway, back to the Sunday School lesson. Brother G pointed out that is important to do what we can in our lives to get to know these people who came before us. I think of how many people sacrificed and suffered so that I can be where I am today. That I can live in this country, under these circumstances. Brother G pointed out that even if our family history work is done, what good will that do us when we die and are reunited with these people that we know nothing about. That would be sad. That would be part of the prophesy of the whole earth would be "utterly wasted" at the Lord's coming. For "the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link...between the fathers and the children." D&C 128:18

One more point that was made in the lesson is the significance of technology in facilitating this commandment. Blogs, facebook, the internet in general can be such a time waster. But if we use technology to our advantage, we can all be instrumental in turning the hearts of the children to their fathers.

Look for more posts about cemeteries, family, grandma nan stealing a tractor, pickled beets...


missliss5/Melissa said...

I love it that the church has a worldwide schedule for which lessons are to be taught. Since I've been hearing the same lessons as you, your post meant even more to me since I'd already been thinking about that. I love blogging so much, but I've started my own blog just for me and my more personal/family history type posts that I want to keep and preserve. And it's made me want to ask my parents what family history info they have on my grandparents, great grandparents, etc. so I can learn more about them. So glad you have such great memories.

Hema and Becky said...

I read your blog Kelli! But I am usually trying to be quick so I don't log in and leave comments. I loved learning baout your family. It seems like the older I get, the more important the connections to my ancestors become. I need to write down more of my stories.

Tia and Amara said...

pickled beets :) You know I still love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing all of these memories. I need to write down the memories I have of my great -grandparents too, and even my family. Can we start a club? The write your personal history club?

Jess said...

I read, and love your blog. You know more about Grandma and Grandpa Robison than I do. My dad was only 12 when Grandpa died. He doesn't say much about him or his mom. I need to ask him more. Thanks for the reminder. I remember reading Grandma's journal that you typed up for one of your classes. You are very aware of your ancestors and a great example to me!

Carroll Family said...

Wonderful memories. I've been meaning to read more of family history, but haven't gotten there yet. I was so blessed to know both sets of Grandparents for so long - in fact, my grandfather just passed away nearly 2 years ago. Lots of memories - even my kids have memories of them.

Leslie said...

I still read your blogs too!!! Every one of them. That Rick, he just doesn't know what he is talking about!! I love hearing about my ancestors! And others for that matter! Im lucky to still have my grand parents! :-)

Princess Danell said...

Spirit of Elijah, sister! Keep on writing, if for no other reason than a strange may read and be touched!