Saturday, September 30, 2017

Blast from the Past: Papa Ben's Life

I came across a box labeled "Ben's Baby Book."  I decided to go through it today.  I found this picture of Ben heading to Idaho in his 1968 Firebird.  I've heard about this car but I've never seen a picture before.

This was the type of document I expected to find in this box.  Notice those cute feet.  If I can jest a bit, they seem to be normal-sized feet for a baby who was in utero for 11 months.  With a straight face, numerous older relatives in Ben's family have told me this, clearly believing it to be the truth.

I was pleased to find documents for all of Ben's priesthood ordinations.

His high school diploma was in this box.

This picture was taken two months before I met Ben in 1971.  The location was in New Hampshire, where Ben attended a conference on coal related to his major.

I made the effort to zoom in on Ben so you could see why I became so enamored with him.

Six months later Ben finished his masters and took a job at the world's largest refinery, which was in Baytown, Texas, leaving me at BYU.  I thought I'd never see him again.

I cannot emphasize this clearly enough: Ben loved his job.

Ben drove to back Utah to marry me in 1973.  Why does this picture make me laugh? I was pretty young, in every sense of the word.

This scruffy picture was taken at the end of that year.  I was 6 months pregnant.

David was born in early 1974.  I used cloth diapers before they were fashionable.

I know when this picture was taken.  It was late in a February night in 1977 when the dock at the refinery exploded.  Ask Ben about it sometime.  It's a terrible story.

The refinery was very dependent on the dock on the Houston Ship Channel.  A decision needed to be made in the early hours of the fire as to who would supervise the rebuilding of the dock.

Ben received the phone call in the middle of the night.  As he raced out of the house, he said, "I hope I'm home before the baby is born."  Jeff arrived the next month. The dock was finished much later.

In those days, we owned a Polaroid camera.  In all my scanning, I've been pleased to see how well these pictures have held up.

About this time, Ben was called to serve in a stake presidency.  While scanning in this letter, a memory surfaced which I had almost forgotten.  I was interviewed first, where the stake president told me Ben would need to shave off his mustache.  He and I had a serious discussion about that, and I'm not saying I won, but Ben kept his mustache.

I am so happy Ben took a picture of this moment! You can't tell from the picture, but I made my eyelashes from black construction paper. This is the woman who talked President Hall into letting Ben keep his mustache.

I wrote on the photo that Dave and Sam were trying hard to be "real good & quiet" for this picture in front of the Christmas tree.  Then I wrote that Jeff didn't fold his arms, because every time he did, he sat down.

This is a gathering of Spanish Fork High School graduates.  Ben is on the far left.  He has attended a few reunions, but not many, over the years.

I zoomed in again so we can see him better.

I didn't get to all the pictures in this box today, but I was delighted to scan in this one, which was after Baytown, after New Jersey, and back in Clear Lake.  First of all, Tommy is in the tan scout uniform on the right.  My brain went right there--I struggled to put Steve in the label.  My heart made a little flip when I saw my Astrovan in the background.

Often there are many stories behind a photograph. Notice Ben's sun glasses.  This was years before his cornea transplants.  Decades of struggles over his vision evaporated almost overnight.

I knew exactly what this picture was when I saw it.  Suddenly Ben has grey hair. We were living in Virginia just before Ben retired.  Ben has always been a faithful home teacher, and in this picture, he was moments away from baptizing Samuel Vincent, a little boy whose family Ben home taught.

I don't know how many copies of this picture I have scanned in over the years, but lo and behold, here was another copy.  Ben has a wonderful heritage, with a father who passed on his love for vehicles to his son.

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