Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Groundhog's Day Birthday

I've been scanning old slides
which Mike gave to Tom.
This is the earliest one I found --
he's still a teenager in Idaho Falls, about 1960.
He and Collins mowed lawns to buy the bike,
which they shared.
In 1964
Mike was called to serve a mission in Germany.
On this slide he wrote,
"One minute to Dusseldorf."
Mike loved his mission.
He loved Germany.
Please notice the hat.
Some of these pictures need an explanation,
but I don't have any.
Clearly this photo falls into that category.
And this one...
It appears that Mike didn't have an
ironing board in Augsberg.
But he had a typewriter.
In one of Mike's letters,
he wrote about how much he missed corn on the cob.
He missed brushing his teeth with an American toothbrush.
He said when he returned he'd be the best American ever
and pay his taxes with a smile.
Mike once told me a story about meeting Herr Shultz,
a convert who had served aboard an SS submarine
during the war.
The Allies destroyed the submarine,
but the Americans rescued the survivors, which,
in and of itself surprised Mr. Shultz.
He was taken to New York and put on a train to Texas,
where he was supervised by farmers in growing corn.
He had never tasted corn before,
because in Europe it's used for animal feed.
He was treated with kindness by his captors,
and after returning to Germany he was happy to
listen to American missionaries,
and he soon joined the LDS Church.
Most LDS missionaries who served with Mike
heard of similar experiences with German POWs.
Mike did a lot of teaching,
but not any baptisms.
A few years after his mission,
a family he'd taught wrote to
tell him they'd joined the Church.
He was thrilled!
During his mission, Mike got contacts.
He's in Berlin in this photo.
Mike loved Berlin.
He served in Germany for 30 months.
Exactly one year ago he told me that
when he first arrived in Germany he began reading
The Book of Mormon in German.
He couldn't read without his dictionary next to his scriptures.
As he progressed through 1st Nephi, he was able to set
the dictionary aside.
At the end of 2nd Nephi, he felt very confident.
When he started Jacob, he had to get his dictionary out again.
And then he realized why:
Joseph Smith didn't write the Book of Mormon.
Forty-seven years later this was still a testimony to him.
After Mike's mission, he spent time with family.
He climbed the Tetons with Collins,
whose eyes were damaged by the glare from the snow
and was still recovering in this photo.
Nana is on the right.
This picture was taken in Nana's house.
Mike used the timer on his camera.
Grandma Mary is next to me.
Susan, Mary and Mom are on the right.
Our cousins Karen and Douglas were present.
This is the last photo with Mike in contacts.
In those days, they were hard lenses and difficult to wear,
and Mike decided comfort was more important
than vanity.
Mike spent the fall of 1967 at the University of Washington
where he studied engineering.
He came home to Blackfoot for Christmas.
We cut down our own tree that year.
Dad is on the left. Mary is on the right.
I'm waving at the camera behind Mike.In the summer of 1968
Mike had breakfast with Nana on her patio.
It was always like this:
china, silver, and the newspaper.
Mike had been in ROTC for several years,
but in 1968, during the Vietnam War,
he enlisted in the Army
and went to boot camp in Fort Benning.
One of his camp mates was accidentally
shot and killed by a fellow soldier cleaning his gun.
This weighed heavily on Mike.
First, that it could have been him,
and second, that it wasn't him.
No one was more patriotic than Mike,
but Fort Benning was a difficult experience.
The next summer he arrived at basic training in Fort Lewis
and was immediately discharged because of his vision.
He knelt down behind the barracks
and thanked God for his eyes.
Mike was a great water skier.
This photo was taken in the summer of 1969, after Ft. Lewis.
Mike could even start from the dock,
an impressive feat.
In the meantime, Mike had transferred to
the University of Utah
where he met Joani.
They were married on Mom's birthday in 1970.
Joani knew a train cake
would make Mike very happy.Mike knew what would make Joani happy.
A rite of passage in our family
was taking children to visit Nana.
Here, Mike is introducing Tom.
Looks like Tom is getting the best of Mike!
Mike had fun with kids -- his, or anyone's.
Tom is on the table, and niece Gayla is seated.Tom was born in Salt Lake City
where Mike got a Ph.D. in electrical engineering
from the University of Utah.
In truth, Mike was a scientist.
Mike worked for the government labs.
He did spy-stuff.
For example,
Mike is the one who taught satellites
how to read the numbers on your mailbox.
He used the latest technology, too.
Notice the calculator on the left
and the telephone on the right.
This is the pantry of Mike's home in Los Alamos.
Mike often did ordinary things, like make applesauce.
By 1978, Mike and Joani had 3 kids.
In 1981, Mike took his family to England
where he worked for Scotland Yard.
Matt had joined the family by then.
Mom and Dad visited them.
I know exactly what Dad and Mike are talking about --
They are plotting the optimum route for the day.
Trust me,
the same conversation is happening here...
See how the kids love Mike?
They still do.

I miss Mike.

I have 3 more trays of slides.
It makes me melancholy to scan,
but I will finish this, and then share.