thegenealogygirl


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One Last Tether

Rulon and Naomi family, from original

The Family of Rulon Powell Peterson & Naomi Skeen; back l-r: Marilyn Peterson, Ronald Skeen Peterson, Janice Peterson; front l-r: Lowell Skeen Peterson, Rulon Powell Peterson, Wayne Skeen Peterson, Naomi Skeen, Darrell Skeen Peterson.

 

From this wonderful family, only one remains.  One last tether to my Grandpa, his siblings, and his parents.  To living memories of growing up on a cattle ranch, working hard, serving others, helping strengthen a community, and serving God.

We lost Darrell first in 1947 at the tender age of 14.

Naomi followed in 1957.

Rulon in 1985.

Ronald in 1997.

Marilyn in 2013.

Janice in 2016.

And then last Sunday, on the 29th of October, Lowell slipped from this life.

I imagine that was a joyful reunion for this precious family that I love.

On Saturday we honored Uncle Lowell’s remarkable life.  As I sat there mourning with my family, listening to the accomplishments of a life well lived, I was in awe.  Uncle Lowell was a humble and kind man.  For me, he was a gentle reminder of the Grandpa I lost when I was just 20.  His voice, his manner, his movements, echoed those of his oldest brother.  I sat with him many times, sharing family stories, listening to him talk about the Grandpa that I love and miss.  But in all of those conversations, he never spoke about himself.  I always knew he was remarkable, simply for being him.  What I didn’t know was the impact he had on so many.  I could rattle off a list of accomplishments that would impress you, but I think the only one that really matters is that his entire life’s work and love focused on his wife, his 7 children, his 33 grandchildren, and his 12 great-grandchildren.  But for me personally, I will forever be grateful that he always made me feel loved and reminded me of my Grandpa.

And now, there is one last tether to this beloved family.  My Grandpa’s youngest brother, Uncle Wayne.  Like Uncle Lowell, he has a way of making me feel the warmth and love of my Grandpa.  I hope he stays with us for many years to come.

But it must feel so lonely to be the last.

 

 

This beautiful song is one that I have loved for many years.  It also happens to be one of the seven songs Uncle Lowell requested for his funeral.  Very fitting for a farmer and cattle rancher.  It was sung by his lovely granddaughters.  I hope you will enjoy it and be touched by his love for inspiring music.

 

Lyrics:

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

And the sky is clear and red,

When the summer’s ceased its gleaming

When the corn is past its prime,

When adventure’s lost its meaning –

I’ll be homeward bound in time

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

If you find it’s me you’re missing

If you’re hoping I’ll return,

To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,

And in the road I’ll stop and turn

Then the wind will set me racing

As my journey nears its end

And the path I’ll be retracing

When I’m homeward bound again

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

I’ll be homeward bound again.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: On the Cusp of the Great Depression

PETERSON, Rulon, Naomi, Ronald and Janice, 1929 by the car

Rulon, Ronald, Janice, and Naomi Peterson, 1929

This has always been one of my favorite photos.  I love so many things about it!  The car is fantastic.  My cute Grandpa standing on the running board in his overalls is so adorable.  My great-grandmother, Naomi, looks especially beautiful and a little bit fierce.  Her hair is so awesome.  Baby Janice, is just being a baby, totally uninterested.  Great-grandpa Peterson looks so relaxed, dapper, and self-assured.

And yet, here they are, a young family, just beginning and about to endure the Great Depression with the rest of America.  Rulon and Naomi would go on to have four more children during the decade of the 1930s.  Rulon would make some brave and risky employment changes that would pay off and keep his family fed.  Naomi would sell eggs and work hard to be frugal both in expenditures and in efforts to bring in a little money.  They would weather the storm well.

But in the Spring/Summer of 1929, when Great-grandpa was working as a car salesman, and they were a young family of four, Rulon and Naomi had no idea what they were about to face together.

No one did.

 

 


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Family Reunion Bingo Games!

Reunion at Lagoon 1926

Isn’t this photo awesome?!  This Family Reunion photo was taken at Lagoon* in 1926.  The family gathered are the descendants of my 2nd great grandparents Frederick William Ellis and Susan Kaziah Davis.

My family still holds three different reunions today.  They look a little something like this.

14774109640_a783c1edfa_o

Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

I really love family reunions but one of the main challenges is getting everyone talking to each other.  It’s easy for the siblings and first cousins, but second cousins and cousins from different generations?  Not so easy.  Everyone experiences the same silly obstacle – they feel dumb asking people’s names.  We always have name-tags available but hardly anyone puts one on.

Well, last summer I was in charge of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon and Naomi are my great grandparents.  This reunion is held every summer in late July or early August and includes 4 generations of my family.  I love to see and visit with my Grandpa’s younger siblings.  His brothers remind me so much of my Grandpa that it takes my breath away for just a minute, in a good way.

But all those younger cousins, understandably, gravitate to their grandparents, parents, and first cousins.  I wanted to shake that up and get people interacting more and remembering our family members who are no longer with us.

So, I made two bingo games that required asking people questions.  I had good prizes too.  There were lots of little party favor type prizes for Bingos like stretchy frogs, bouncy balls, suckers, lip balm, packs of gum, etc.  Then I had a few big prizes for the first 5 or so people who earned a blackout – a cool water gun, two $10 gift cards for lunch, and a few other items I’ve forgotten.  In all I spent about $90 from the budget.  And every penny was worth it.

This was the easy Bingo game:

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

As soon as I explained the game to the first children to arrive, they instantly starting running around asking everyone the answers.  The adults who were trying to remember things, had to talk to each other about it too.  Lots of good family conversations were going on.  After several kiddos exhausted this Bingo board, they moved on to the harder game.  This one was about our deeper family history.  This entire side of my family are LDS, so you will notice that reflected in both games.

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

I really loved the conversations that both Bingo games generated.  We heard some family stories and facts that I had never heard before – and that is saying something!  There was an awesome feeling during this whole reunion as we had dinner and talked, and filled in our Bingo cards.  Our focus was on our family members and we all felt their love and presence with us that night.

After dinner I wrapped things up by sharing that I had recently come into possession of a large collection of family letters including a box of letters written by Naomi.  This is a special treasure for all of us because she died very young, with one child still at home, and left no journals or personal history.  But those five years of letters she wrote to my Grandpa include so much of her heart and life.  I read this little story from one of her letters:

From a letter dated Friday, October 13, 1944, written by Naomi Peterson to Ronald Peterson:

“I must tell you about Janice and Marilyn.  We went in to Lienhardt’s to get the candy last night and when we came home Marilyn’s new robe was over the back of the chair by the telephone.  It looked wet and on further examination I found a pool of water under the chair.  This morning Janice stated to laugh saying she had never seem anything so funny in her life.  Marilyn had filled the bath tub for her bath.  She and Janice were standing by the mirror.  Marilyn says things just to make Janice angry – rather smart you remember.  Janice gave her a disgusted push and sat Marilyn in the tub robe and all.  Her feet were hanging out and her head against the soap dish.  Janice said she went in very gracefully.  Marilyn says there is going to be a big splash one of these times.”

What a treasure.  It was a joy to see everyone’s eyes light up as I told them about the letters and shared this story.  It was a great reunion with a very simple set of activities.

 

If you have a family reunion coming up, I wholeheartedly suggest you consider making your own version of Family Bingo.  Everyone loved it and they were used again at a smaller reunion for one of my Great Uncles and his family.  I also emailed copies to everyone who couldn’t attend including answers for the second Bingo card.

 

If you would like to use my docs as a starting point to make your own, here they are:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

And if you are related to me and are curious about the answers, here is the copy with answers:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingo

 

I will just add one more tip – I did not put a limit on the number of prizes.  I also didn’t worry a lot about the prizes.  The kids knew I had created the game, they would come to me and show me their card and I would send them over to choose their prize.  Some kids made a serious haul, but it kept the conversations going all night.  Plenty of adults and teenagers played too – and took prizes.  I made sure I had a Costco sized bag of High-Chews as backup in case we ran low on prizes, we did use the High-Chews and got very close to running out of everything.

 

Have you ever been in charge of a Family Reunion?  What activities have you enjoyed at Family Reunions?

 

 

*Lagoon is an amusement park here in Utah that started out as a place for bowling, dancing, and eating.  The first thrill ride was added in 1899.

 

Family Reunion Bingo Games

 


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Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection

Utah_St__Livestock_Assn___Booth__John_E___Schramm__Clemm__Peterson__Rulon_P___Shot_4

Yesterday, while reading a post from the NGS blog, I noticed a link to a Utah photo collection that is new to me.  It’s the Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection.  I clicked on over to check it out and discovered this cool photo of my great grandfather.

This photo was taken 1 February 1957.  These fellas were somehow connected to the Utah State Livestock Association.  My great grandpa, Rulon Powell Peterson, is on the right, holding his hat and wearing glasses.  He was a very successful cattle rancher.  The other two men are named as John E Booth and Clemm Schramm, but I don’t know which one is which.

I did a little perusing of the collection and didn’t find anything else related to my family.  The collection is hosted by Utah State History.  They have a few other collections.  If you have any Utah family, you may want to check it out.

And once again, I am so thankful that I quickly read a post listing various online collections.  You just never know what you might find in some obscure online collection.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a surprisingly delightful genealogy discovery today!

 


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Photograph Showcase: A Visit With Grandparents

PETERSON, Rulon, Janice, Ronald and Joseph Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Rulon Powell Peterson, Joseph Skeen; front l-r: Janice Peterson, Ronald Peterson.

PETERSON, Naomi, Marilyn, Janice, Petrina and Evan Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Naomi Skeen holding Marilyn Peterson, Jane Zina Petrina Folkman; Front: Janice Peterson; lying on the ground: Evan Folkman Skeen.

I found these two photos in my Grandmother’s collection.  Rulon and Naomi were the parents of Ronald, Janice, and Marilyn Peterson.  Joseph Skeen and Jane Zina Petrina Folkman were the parents of Naomi and Evan Folkman Skeen.

I am very curious about these groupings.  I wonder who came up with the combinations and what their reasons were?  Either way, I love seeing multi-generational photographs like these.  Such a treasure.

 


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Photograph Showcase: A Cowboy in the Making

PETERSON, Ronald on horse - smaller for FT

That cute little fella is my Grandpa, Ronald Skeen Peterson.  His dad was a cattle rancher.  Grandpa worked on the ranch for many years.  Great Grandpa got him started out riding horses at a young age.  How old would you guess he is here?

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Peterson Home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home with color edits

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home with a few edits

This is the home the Rulon & Naomi Peterson family were living in at the time of Darrell’s death.  It is located in Roy, Weber, Utah.

In the history of Naomi that was compiled by her oldest daughter Janice, Janice captioned photos of this home with this statement, “A lot of good memories were made in this home.”

It looks like a happy, well cared for place.

I tried to bring the colors back to a truer version but this was a close as I could get.

When I come across photos of ancestral homes – even in the recent past – it makes me realize I don’t take photos of my home nearly often enough.

 

Have you photographed your home lately?