Sunday, April 7, 2019

Finishing Grandma Markham's Photo Album

This favorite photo of  mine was among the last of the pictures of Grandma Markham's album which I began scanning yesterday.  The occasion was the day of Jeff's blessing.  I'm shaking my head as I explain the suits.  I had made the suits for Dave and Sammie before Jeff's birth.  How did I do that when I was pregnant with a third baby?  I have no idea.  I had the fabric and pattern ready for a blessing outfit for the new baby, because in 1977, only old wive's tales were available to predict gender of the baby before its birth.  When I got home from the hospital, I cut out the fabric and was ready with a little suit for him by the the first Sunday in April, which was quite a few years ago this month.  Bringing this up to date, Jeff blessed his sixth baby four months ago.

This picture was taken at Christmas of 1978.  Jeff is wearing one of his brother's suits from the previous year.  Notice the suit Dave is wearing.  It came from a neighbor boy.  It shows up later.

I took this picture for Christmas of 1979.  I have memories of working hard to dress my little boys nicely for Church meetings.  This was a challenge in Baytown, and I scoured various stores and even the Sears catalog to find matching sweater vests.  I found these at a Ross store.  Davy was in Kindergarten, so I would have shopped with only 2/3rds of my little circus.

In 1980, Ben was transferred to New Jersey.  I remember shopping for a new couch and coming home with a grandfather clock, the time of which I currently monitor with my cell phone. And there is Jeff, wearing Davy's old suit.  Rest assured, those are all clip-on ties.  For another decade I kept a wonderful supply of white shirts, slacks, ties, black socks and shoes.  It has always been important to me for my boys to look nice at Church.  Even now, I will occasionally wash and iron the white shirt of a visiting son or grandson.  Ben freely loans ties, socks and shoes.

I can date this picture to the spring of 1980 simply because of the sweater vest.  Dave would have outgrown this by the next year.

We can actually date me by looking at this picture and the next one.  My little boys wore suits to school on picture day.  I don't think I was an unusual mother -- I believe this was a common practice in the olden days.

Sammie started Kindergarten right after we arrived in New Jersey.  I was going to mention how much he admired his teacher, but I would never want to embarrass him.

Within a year or two I clearly had relaxed about school pictures.  Sammie's hair was golden and it floated when he ran.  It was wonderful.

There is a story about the shirt Jeff is wearing, but I can't quite remember it.  I know it was his favorite.  It might have been a hand-me-down from an older kid down the street whom Jeff liked.

Little Tommy was born the year after we moved to New Jersey.  I used to quip that he carried my bag from the hospital out to the car.  His birth was difficult for me.  He was four months old before I could stand up straight and raise my arms above my head.

This picture also dates me.  I am proud of the fact that I can fold a cloth diaper to fit any size baby, and I know the secret to making a diaper pin slide through the birdseye cotton.  I had quite a ritual around changing diapers.  I used to sing Primary songs to the kids.  It was a bonding time, for sure.

This is a school picture of Tommy, who was still Tommy after we moved back to Texas.  He came with me to the fabric store, chose this print, and I made the shirt.  Mostly just for fun, for both of us.

Armand Bayou was a wonderful elementary school in Clear Lake with a terrific principal, Mrs. Daniels.  Parents flocked to the school events, and even now I remember working hard in a not-so-successful attempt to get a picture of Cori at this program.

After nine years in Clear Lake, we moved back to New Jersey.  By this time, Ben's niece lived in New York City. During one of Grandma Markham's visits in 1994, we met Elizabeth, the daughter the aforementioned niece.

My mother-in-law was very proud of her only son, Ben.  This photograph, taken in 1964 just before Ben's mission to Japan, had its own page in the album.

Ben's companion, Elder Floyd Nielsen, is on the left.  A sister in the branch is holding a bouquet of flowers, and she is standing next to Elder Markham.  They were preparing for the visit of Elder Hinckley and President McKay's counselor, President Hugh B. Brown.

The apostles' plane landed at a US military base near Hiroshima.  Elder Markham, center, as zone leader, was the only missionary allowed past the viewing fence to greet the two Church leaders.   President Brown is visible here receiving the bouquet from the branch sister.  Elder Markham is actually shaking the hand of Elder Hinckley, who is obscured by President Brown.  A missionary new in the field deliberately ignored the instructions that required him to stay behind the fence.  He ran onto the tarmac and took this photograph, which Ida Mar treasured.  It meant a lot to Ben when he saw this picture again today.  There is more to this story, specifically about the errant elder.  Please, ask me later.  Or, for a better story, ask Ben.  It's one of my favorites.

Kelly Crabb, far left, grew up across the street from Ben.  Both of their mothers were widowed when their sons were young, and Kelly and Ben were and still are fast friends.  They served as missionary companions in Japan, and they graduated with Bachelor's degrees in 1971, just a few months before I met them.

I have some random pictures from the album to add.  Grandma Markham saved this drawing by David.  It was at the front of her photo album.

It is clear I was doing my best to have a family Nativity on Christmas Eve in 1979.  The sheep was one of several I cleverly designed and made for a ward Christmas program the week before.  (That's poster board, folks, with a white towel.) The shepherd's crook was part of my vacuum.  The blanket was draped over a laundry basket.  I don't think I had any dolls in those days.  I suspect the baby was a stuffed animal.

I easily recognized the occasion -- Carolyn was a beautiful bride when she married Dave in the DC Temple in 1997.  I met many members of her family at a luncheon after the wedding.  This has to be at that event, which was held at a venue more than 200 years old.  It was actually a tollhouse during the Revolutionary War.  This is not how I remember this place looking, but I can't think of another occasion when I would have been wearing a suit and corsage while Carolyn was in her wedding dress.  A reception that night was in a private home.  In this picture, Ida Mar is in the center.  The wife of Ben's cousin is also in the picture.  All four of us, even now, are called Mrs. Markham.

I was stunned to see this picture.  One of my mantras is, "If you pull rabbit ears for the camera, I will cut you out of my will."  For the record, I have officially cut my mother-in-law out of my will.

Grandma Markham lived in Spanish Fork, close enough that four grandsons at BYU could use her washing machine.  By the time this picture was taken, Ben frequently traveled from our home in New Jersey, to Asia.  He usually arranged for a layover in Salt Lake City so he could visit his mother.  A bonus for about a year was that all four of our sons were at BYU.  I don't know if Carolyn is a wife or a fiance in this picture, but I can tell that everyone was having a great time together.

William was born on the first day of 1999.  I love this picture.

His brother Matt came along 367 days later.  More than a dozen pictures of Will and Matt were included in Grandma Markham's photo album.  Ida Mar passed away when Matt was just 3 months old, so these are the only two of my grandchildren that she knew.  But she had high hopes for more great-grandchildren.  Her album had many more pages, ready for photographs.

Surprise in Front of My Eyes

Steve has been cooking my eggs this week.  I thought I'd better take a quick picture to mark the occasion, since this was our last mea...