Friday, December 26, 2008

More on Braedan...

Braedan is doing awesome in school! He has Chess Club twice a week and is learning the rules very well. In May, the group will get to play students from other schools. His teacher said he is in the top reading group in the class and is also doing great in math.

Above are his first grade photo and a picture taken earlier in the week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My father...David Lee Shields

I've often wondered about my father, where he was, what he was doing, why he had made the choices he made concerning his children. Of all of his children, I may have the most memories of him, good and bad.

Last time I saw my father was in 1982. He came and spent a few days with us to work on my car. For the most part, it was an okay visit, but he wanted what he couldn't have. Too much water under the bridge. Too many years gone by. Too many wrong choices.

I yearned for my father's love. I never felt it, though I have been assured that he did love me. He was heartbroken when my mother took me away. Yet, he could never tell me this. Instead, he would rather dwell on the past, tell me that the stories about him were not true, put down my mother. Thing is, she never spoke a bad word about him. She told me that I would learn for myself what he was like.

Now he's gone. He never knew that I was married, never knew about my son, never knew his parents died. Walked away from everyone, never to be heard from again. We suspected he died long ago, but, one fateful day in July, I get a phone call from my brother, telling me that he passed away on May 11, 2008, in Los Angeles. Whoa....wait a minute! He was alive all these years and contacted no one, not even his mom, whom he adored? I don't get this!

So many unanswered questions. So many years, so many changes. He didn't know any of them.

His death certificate arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. I suspected it was on it's way, the check had cleared just days earlier. Buried, Riverside National Cemetery. Died VA Medical Center, Los Angeles. Cause of death: Pulmunary edema and congestion (hours), recurrent pleural effusion (days), metastatic carcinoma of the lungs (months) with liver metastasis (months). Not an easy way to die.

My father was a lifetime heavy smoker, so lung cancer was not a surprise. He was 64 years and just 1 day shy of 2 months old. His substance abuse problems were part of the reason he was alienated from his family. My heart breaks because of his choices.

My father had been a construction worker. My grandfather had taught all of the boys to work in construction. It proved to be a good skill to them. My father worked building The Inn at Spanish Head and had worked building some of the Sunriver Resort. He also worked to build many houses in the Eugene, Oregon area.

I remember he loved cars, especially fast cars. Mom remembers him drag racing with me in the back seat, scared her because in those days, you didn't seat belt your kids in. Many cars didn't have any seat belts at all.

My father only went to school through the 10th grade, but obtained his GED on 30 December 1982.

He leaves 4 children, myself, my brother Tony, half sister Yvette and half sister Heather.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Summer's over ~ Braedan's first day of First Grade!

Okay, so who was it that said kids have to grow up? Summer is over far too fast, and now Braedan is in the First Grade & lovin it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

and now!

Hard to believe he's growing so very fast! The baby face is nearly gone...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Isn't he just too cute?

Isn't he just the cutest? This is Braedan at age 4... time flies. He still has a kissable little face!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My maternal grandmother, Lucille May Wilford Widener

Trying to be interesting & creative, what can I say about my maternal grandmother? She was first generation American, having been born to immigrants from Belgium and Switzerland. She was the seventh of ten children, twin sibling having been born and died three years before her birth. She had 4 surviving brothers and 3 surviving sisters.

Family was important to my grandmother, but at times I feel her intentions were misunderstood. As an adult, I can look back and see times that she reacted out of desperation, not necessarily wisdom. There are times I wish she was still alive so I could get my questions answered.

What I do know is that my grandmother graduates from Eugene High School. She wanted to be a nurse, but never fulfilled that dream. Instead, she met my grandfather, Wendell Widener, who was older and the divorced father of three children. I can only imagine what went through her parent's minds at the time!

Grandma and Granddad were married on February 28, 1940 in Vancouver, Clark, Washington. They made their first home in Eugene, Lane, Oregon. A few months after their marriage, my mother was born to them. My grandmother, having never been a mother before, had a difficult time transitioning into that role. I think that is the basis for the difficulties in my mother and grandmother's relationship.

When my mother was small, one of her older half brother's came down with a case of rheumatic fever, which at that time was know to be deadly in many cases. My grandmother took care of him as much as she could. At one point, my uncle was up at Oregon Health Sciences University receiving treatment. Several of his doctors had stated that my uncle would not live to see adulthood. My grandmother had the Mormon Missionaries give my uncle a blessing. He not only outlived his doctors, he lived to the age of 69, eleven days shy of his 70th birthday.

When my granddad and his first wife divorced, he got the boys and she took the girl. It was unfortunate because my aunt didn't really have a chance to know her father or half siblings. My oldest Uncle spent most of the time at my granddad's parents who lived in Creswell, Oregon. My other uncle spent more time with my own grandmother. In spite of the fact that he was not her biological mother, my grandmother was more of a mother to him than his own mother was.

In 1943, my mother was given a baby sister. In 1947, a brother was born and in 1953, another sister. The family was complete.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Floyd Wilford bio

Written by their eldest daughter, Jo Ann Wilford Klundt
November 2004

Floyd Andrew Wilford was born on October 10, 1914 in Hooper, Weber, Utah, the second son of Louis Joseph Wilford and Jeanne Helene Guignard. His family moved quite a lot as he was growing up and, after completing 8th grade, he went to work to help support his family. Louis had immigrated with his family from Belgium and Jeanne had immigrated with her family from Switzerland.

Florence Barbara Peterson was born on October 21, 1916, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, to Arthur Martin Peterson and Florence Jackson.

As a young man, Floyd moved with his family to Eugene, Lane, Oregon, where he met Florence, who had moved to Eugene to live with an aunt and uncle. They met at a Mutual dance and fell in love. They dated for two years before eloping on September 16, 1935. Floyd did various types of construction work until, in 1938 he was invited by a member of his LDS ward to go to work as a journeyman or apprentice at Riggs Optical (later became Bausch & Lomb Optical Company). He learned that trade and was transferred to the Portland office of B&L Optical. Because of his trade, he was deferred from serving in the military in World War II. B&L Optical made glasses and goggles for the military, a critical industry to the war effort.

Prior to leaving Eugene, Floyd and Florence were blessed with the birth of two daughters. Jo Ann was born on February 11, 1937, and Judy Marie was born on August 28, 1938. Floyd and Florence lived with Floyd’s parents after Jo Ann was born, until they moved to Portland.

Two more children were born to Floyd and Florence in Portland. Karen Lynn was born on October 28, 1946 and Dennis Alan was born on June 1, 1948. When he was just one month old, on July 3, the family moved to Walla Walla, Walla Walla, Washington, where Floyd had been promoted to manager of that B&L office.

Floyd was known as a man of integrity and was a diligent worker. He was known for his skill in the optical business. Shortly after a 5th child, Keith Andrew, was born (December 6, 1951), Floyd was promoted to the position of manager of the B&L office in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Florence and the children stayed in Walla Walla to sell their home. Floyd went on to Salt Lake and purchased a small home there on 7th East, south of Liberty Park.

After Florence and the children joined him, they bought a larger home at 1154 S 1300 East in Salt Lake City. Jo Ann graduated from East High School in 1954 and moved back to Walla Walla on January 1, 1955. In 1956, Floyd was again promoted to become manager of the B&L office in Long Beach. The family moved to Long Beach, Orange, CA where they eventually bought a home at 2114 Kallin Avenue. They lived in that home until 1997, when they bought a condominium in Leisure World in Seal Beach, CA.

It was while they lived in Long Beach, that Floyd and Florence became active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Floyd had been born and raised in the Church. Florence’s mother had died when Florence was 8 years old and, although her parents were members of the LDS Church, Florence was not baptized until she moved to Eugene. She was baptized the month before she and Floyd were married.

In November, 1962, Floyd and Florence were married for time and all eternity in the Los Angeles Temple and Judy, Karen, Dennis and Keith were sealed to them. Jo Ann had married Arthur Klundt in August 1958. Arthur was not a member of the Church. It was 19 years later, on September 1, 1981, that Jo Ann was sealed to her parents.

Floyd worked for B&L until 1961, when he retired. They used his retirement money to buy a wholesale optical dispensing business. They sold that five years later (1966) and Floyd worked then for two opthamologists as an optician for one year. They then bought a retail optical business and ran that successfully for ten years, before selling it and retiring for good from the business world. Although Florence had never worked as a secretary or bookkeeper, she became both in the retail business. In 1976, they sold the business. They had lived frugally all of their lives and, as this is written, they are 90 and 88 years of age and of clear mind and able to take care of each other in the condominium they purchased in 1997.

After selling their business, they found great joy and satisfaction as they served as ordinance workers in the Los Angeles Temple and it was a great sorrow to them to have to give that up in 2001 following surgeries to replace both of Floyd’s knees.

They have always been devoted to family. Until 2003, Floyd and Florence hosted much of their large family for Thanksgiving dinner. In 2004, they realized they could no longer carry on the tradition of “cookie day” in December. Grandchildren have taken over the responsibility for each of these events.

Floyd and Florence have 21 grandchildren and 46 (#47 is expected in 2005) great grandchildren and they take pride in the fact that they know each of them. They remember each person on their birthday, and each family at Christmas, with cards and gifts.

Floyd’s father-in-law taught him to play golf in 1945 and he has continued to enjoy it. He did well, winning some tournaments. At age 90 he continues to golf 2-3 times each week. Shortly before his 90th birthday he won a trophy.

Note from Cassie: Great Aunt Florence passed away on December 21, 2007. Although her family will miss her terribly, she is in a better place.