Friday, July 3, 2015

Govert Copier 1920-2015

Gov was my Mother's brother. He was a year and a half older than she was.  He and Jan, his older brother, let her play soccer with them, because she was as good as they were.  Gov was 95 and still in his right mind.  Mother died at 81, her mind bombed by Alzheimer's.  The world is not a fair place.

What I learned at his funeral yesterday:

1. He was born on March 1, just missing a leap year birthday.  My sister, Joyce, and my grandson, Maxwell, also have March 1 birthdays.

2. When he came to America, he thought he might go with his Dutch nickname, "Goofy," but some kind administrator told him that wouldn't work in English.

3. He met Tante Freddie in church in Amsterdam.  She was singing with a friend in a little room and he went in and joined them.  He loved singing.  Later, when he asked Freddie to marry him, she said, "I will, but I want twelve children."  He said that was okay.

4.  They had twelve children: seven boys and five girls.

5.  He attended all their games and activities.  This amazed me.  Tom and I usually left town when anything important was going on with our kids.

6. Freddie's wedding gown was made from a silk parachute dropped over Holland during World War II.

7. He saved a child from the Nazis by taking a child the same age, who had identity papers, with him in his truck.  The Nazis let him pass.  Then he came back and said he'd forgotten something.  The third time he did this, he exchanged children and the Nazis just waved him past.

8. He said that Dutch people were not hard-headed but were true to their convictions.

9. He was an excellent chess player and often won the chess puzzles that the Deseret News used to run.

10. In Salt Lake, he was known as the singing painter. (He painted and wallpapered interiors).  His stippling technique was excellent.  This is how he and Emma Lou Thayne, the poet, became friends.  She had him touch up her rooms every year.

11.  He took a six-week conducting course from Spencer Cornwall, who was then conductor of the Tab Choir.

12.  He always carried a baton with him, because "you never know when you might be called on to conduct music."

13. He played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in Community Theater as well as other roles. I remember him singing, "If I Were A Rich Man," at his 90th birthday party.

14.  He said if he ran for office, his slogan would be, "Wooden Shoe vote for me?"

15. He liked to fix things for other people.

16.  God, his family and the Mormon Church were his passions.  When he couldn't go to church anymore, the High Priests met at his house around his hospital bed.  He led the music.

17.  The only time he bought a new car, was when his old car broke down on the way to one of his children's weddings in California.  Evidently, the bishop sold cars and they brokered a deal in Sacrament Meeting.

18.  When asked what his advice to his progeny would be, he said, "Please tell them to be faithful to their spouses."

19.  When his sister, Trintje, died in Opoe's arms, she said, "Oh Mother, how beautiful! How light!"

20.  And I learned that Opoe (my grandmother) was the preferred midwife in Breukelen.  She was shunned for awhile after she joined the church, but they got over it and wanted her back. I didn't know this.

21. Also, Opoe took her name off the Dutch Reformed Church records, much to the embarrassment of her family, and then returned after a year when she had found nothing better.  I didn't know this either.

The Copier family was good, kind, maybe even guileless.  Having read a lot of sad memoirs, I appreciate their goodness more and more as I get older.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Family Ties revisited

Last night I watched several episodes from the first year of Family Ties.  It began in 1982, the year I turned 40.  I realized I was one of those parents.  They made references to the revolutionary sixties, fifties and even songs of the forties.  The phone hung on the wall in the kitchen for all to hear your conversation. You went to it.  It didn't travel with you.

People wore more clothing and were tidier.  Although I had boys and they wore only t-shirts and levis.  Alex, played by the adorable Michael J. Fox, was overdressed.  He was Frasier as a teenager.

I enjoyed the little family tornadoes all resolved in a tidy twenty three minutes.  I looked up the child actors to see if they had imploded in adulthood.  No, they were all working adults, so that's a happy ending all by itself.

I was telling Erica this at breakfast and she reminded me of Skippy, the neighborhood boy, who hung out at the Keatons.  She said they had a kid in their neighborhood who was always at their house, and they called him Skippy after the Family Ties Skippy.  It stuck.  He is known to a whole Provo generation as Skippy.

I think I was probably the Skippy hanging out at someone else's house.  

Tom hung the flag on the porch today, and sheered the bushes.  I stood in barefeet on the sidewalk and cheered him on.  Already a good day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Uvula crisis

Okay, I don't like it when the uvula swells up and drags around the back of your throat.  I always think I'm coming down with something much more serious--like ALS.  Or I have that mysterious disease I heard on a childhood mystery radio program where someone's throat closed and they died.

You can die of throat closing?  I have been terrified ever since.

My uvula has been in crisis for several days now, and so I've gotten online to find out that extended uvulas cause snoring and that there is a procedure where they cut off part of the uvula.

I don't want that.  I don't care if it's a fifteen minute procedure.  I don't want it.

I want my uvula to be invisible to me.  I don't want it reminding me of a gag reflex.

So I was surprised to learn that some people have their uvulas pierced for a uvula ring.  See the babe in the picture.

Why, people, why?

Please don't have it be anything to do with sex.

Gag me.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I guess this would be chick lit

I finished Me Before You today by a British writer with the unlikely name, Jojo Moyes. It was a thoroughly satisfying read.  I learned more about quadriplegics than I ever knew and I also had to look up Mauritius yet again.  Best beaches in the world on the Indian Ocean.

It is first and foremost a "heartbreaking" love story.  Does this mean it's like a Nicholas Sparks book?

Anyway, the novel is well written, quirky and smart, but I was annoyed with the reviews at the front of the book which said, I would "weep" with "redemptive tears" and that I would be "crying" when it ended.

Those kinds of predictions have chick lit written all over them.  What man wants to read a book that will make him cry from heartbreak? I hate that labeling.  I don't know why a man wouldn't be as entertained with this novel as I was, but I can't imagine him buying it in a bookstore after those reviews.

It almost turned me off the book myself, except that it was highly recommended by someone I know and trust.  I hate the idea that women are a bunch of sniveling readers always looking for the next good cry.  I don't cry.  Give me a break.

Meanwhile, I'm still listening to Don Quixote, having breakfasts with Erica and eating raspberry chocolate ice cream at night with Thomasius.  I went six months without ice cream.  Why?

Bright and sunny here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Collage Wednesday

For the last several weeks I've been bringing my house in order.  It had turned to chaos--much like my brain--and I can't do any creative work in chaos.  This afternoon, I spent hours on this collage, which was so pleasurable.  It was like being twelve again, only having my own room. (We shared rooms at the orphanage).

Writing and art aren't any fun if they're not intensely personal.  If it's not about me, I don't really care.

It was quite liberating to write that sentence.  I've thought it for years.

While I messed with paint, paper, scissors and glue, I listened to Don Quixote.  A distinguished sounding British man narrates the book and I like to think of him sitting in a leather chair in my study and reading to me while I work/play.

Cervantes is a rock star, the father of the novel. I love any man who can make me laugh, and he does with his unlikely knight and squire and their daily dilemmas.  I'm more than half way through the book and have to suspend my disbelief.  Surely the Man of La Mancha should be dead by now with all the floggings he endures.  He's had all his teeth knocked out of him. He hardly eats or sleeps and still he continues.  He's unbelievably sweet.

No one is home.  Only the refrigerator hums.  Solitude is exulting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Father's Day redux

Our family wearing Tom masks

Our family holding Tom masks

Sarah felt badly that Tom and I had such a disappointing Father's Day on June 14th, so she and Sam threw a swell dinner party on Father's Day, June 21.  There was no doubt about it: it really was Father's Day, and there was no way Tom was going to forget it.

Sam barbecued and we sat around and talked and teased the children. I played Sorry with Louis, Maxwell and Murgatroyd and won!  Take that, you sweet little grandchildren!

Erica teased Sally by removing her binky when she was tired and sent her into a wailing fit, from which she never fully recovered.

Elliot laughed when Charles said, "butt."

Maxwell and Murgatroyd were mad at each other.

I could not post a picture of the family with Sam sitting in my chair, because his hand was positioned in a compromising position.  We need to think about where our hands are when we're having our picture taken.

Dessert was a fabulous peach cobbler from Sam and Sarah's peach tree of last year.

Thank you darlings for being yourselves and making us so happy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

51 years and still counting

A page out of our first photograph album

We were married fifty-one years ago yesterday.  We had a long weekend for a honeymoon and went to Bear Lake.  See the Sterling Motel?  It was six dollars a night.

Obviously, I was not a seven cow wife.

It rained.  We went home early and painted our apartment, (married-student housing at the University of Utah for $42.00 a month).  When the wind blew hard out of the mountains, our drapes would blow into the living room, even though the windows were shut.

Tom was shocked when I drew naked ladies on the wall of the bathroom.

"Something for you to look at when you pee," I said.

Tom used the bedroom as his study and we slept on a hideabed.  We slept on a hideabed for four years, actually. 

My favorite decade?  When I was in my forties.  My ankle went south at 50 and suddenly I was a whole different person: an uncoordinated person.  That was new.  Four operations on the ankle and one operation on a lung.  Fun.

He had a pituitary tumor removed in his early fifties.

Now we sit on our porch on summer evenings and say, "Soon we'll, be dead."  And then, "It was fun wasn't it?"

It was more than fun. It was rich.