Thursday, November 30, 2006

All the sisters together with Esther

When they all got together things were lively.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Aunt Sadie

The oldest sister and the maker of Devil's Food Cake with brown sugar icing, my favorite. My mother used to say that Sadie kept her kitchen floor so clean that we could eat off it. We always took our shoes off in her house. Her daughter, Essie Mae, had a play house in the back yard that I coveted. It was large and wonderful. A child could have lived in it and had it for a house of their own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mary, my mother

Maybe it is because I had an illness as a child that I clung to my mother. She was over-protective of me. She was a good mother. I think I was a spoiled child. I am extremely grateful for my mother but at the same time I see that she made it difficult for me to become a mature adult. How complex human relationships and experiences can be.

When I was two years old my father was supposed to be watching me while my mother went to have her hair done. He took a nap on the couch. I was playing with the big ringer washing machine, moving it around on its wheels when I pulled it backwards and fell down the basement my father had been excavating in our house. The machine came down on top of me. I had bruised bones but no broken ones. Subsequently I developed osteomyelitis, a disease of the bone. Abcesses would form on my bones in my left arm and on my right hip. My mother said she took me to every doctor in Salt Lake City trying to find what to do for me. One doctor said he needed to amputate my left arm. I'm glad she didn't decide to go to him. She found a doctor who said he would treat the abcesses as they formed by lancing them and letting them drain, the most conservative treatment. That was Dr. Osmond and I went to him for many years from the time I was two until I was 15. That was when antibiotics were being used and they were a boon to me. I was not sick all the time only for a few months out of a year. I was able to go to school and keep up most of the time but when I did have a flare up of infection I was in bed and in pain for weeks. I have felt intensely how difficult it was for my family to deal with an ill child. This was during the depression. My father needed to earn a living. My brother was four years older than I was. It was a time of struggle. My little sister came along when I was seven years old. My condition affected all of us.

I am especially glad for our extended caring family of relatives. We had very good aunties.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nina or is it Edith?

Nina was the sister that I wanted to emulate. She was a child of the roaring 20's. A flapper. Even though she was from a small down in Wyoming when she married my uncle Fred and went to live in San Franciso she began speaking with an English accent. I was impressed. She dressed smartly and was very sophisticated to my young mind. She smoked and that's what I wanted to do. She and Fred would have two martinis and a dividend (what was left in the shaker) before dinner. Once I spent a week with them in San Francisco after I graduated from the University and they took me to the Top of the Mark for cocktails. I loved being with them. Their relationship with each other represented to me what a marriage could be like. They had fun together, lived well, were affectionate with each other and laughed a lot. Of course, they had no children. Later they did have a daughter when Nina was in her 40's.

When Nina was dying with lung cancer I visited her in the hospital in Provo, Utah. She couldn't talk as she was breatheing through a hole in her throat. Fred had died earlier. He had cancer in his arm. It was amputated but that did not save him from metastisis. How very sad. I appreciate having known and loved them.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The oldest sister was Sadie, then Essie, then Ida, then there was a space with some of the babies dying, then my mother, Mary came, then Edith, then Nina. The only son, Carlton came in either before or after Nina. He died in his young manhood from a fatal accident.

I loved all my Aunts. Essie had a regal manner. She was tall and had a beautiful voice. She sang solos in the church choir. She seemed a calm and practical person to me with a good sense of humor. All the aunts were good cooks. Essie was also a seamstress.

With the six sisters family gatherings were a celebration. My grandmother had a large house in Evanston Wyoming. My Aunt Sadie lived a few doors away and Aunt Essie lived a mile or so away. We lived in Salt Lake City about a two hour drive away. Now with the improved road it is a much shorter. Edith lived in Ogden. Nina lived in San Francisco. When the sisters were together there was a lot of talking going on.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Thomas Sisters

This is my Aunt Ida for whom I was named. Her husband Charles Mills went to France in the first world war not long after they were married. He died of influenza. Ida never remarried but took a big interest in all the nieces and nephews. She would spend time with us teaching us songs and dances and giving us wonderful presents. She made many lives more rich with her kindness. She didn't extend her generosity to black people. Once when I was in my early teens I said something to the effect that they were as good as we were. She quickly corrected me. She lived a long life into her 90's, much loved by many people.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Seth Thomas

As a young man my grandfather came from Wales to the United States with his brother. They came to Wyoming as converts to the Mormon church. He had worked as a coal miner in Wales and continued in the mines in Wyoming. My mother spoke very fondly of her Dad. It was her mother who had the temper and did the disciplining. Her father was kind and gentle. His family was musical and he sang the babies to sleep. The one time she remembered his getting angry was when Ida throw sand in a horse's eyes. When we visited as children I remember him sitting in a big chair and smoking White Owl cigars. When he died and was resting in his coffin in the living-room of their house people filed by to say good-by. Mother told me to kiss his forehead. I think I refused.

My father, the young man on the left

Arval Daniel Sumsion served a mission in Omaha for the Mormon church. He met my mother there.

Email to my sister today:

Lots of rain this morning. I am hoping we can take a walk along the river if the weather isn't too fierce. Our Thanksgiving buffet is a 2 pm. We will have a quiet day. I hope I can catch up on a lot of things that I've just let go. I admire your ability to keep your house so nice. It must seem very quiet now without the crowd. The funeral program was lovely. It sounds like a good send off.

My mantra now is "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."

Linn is having headaches. He has decided he doesn't need cataract surgery yet but will get a eye test and new glasses.

We watched that Front-line program on PBS on Tuesday about the 'Living Old.' What a bummer! Reality sometimes is. It was about keeping old folks alive with all the new technology and in the end it doesn't turn out very well.

I'm stuck with my blog today. I can't find the photo that I was going to have next. Oh well, I don't have to have any consistency. It is for whatever I want to post not necessarily something serious. What did you mean about finding things you'd repressed? I'd look at that as something to become aware of-----like it tells us about ourselves----maybe not easy to accept but a way to deepen understanding. We are such a mix of emotions and feelings and growing up we go through lots of conflictual experiences. As much as I had so much anger about my father I still remember things I loved about him. I remember our parents fought openly and often without any regard for who was around---like their children. I was embarrassed about it. And yet it gave us a good look at reality and human experience, difficult as it was. At some point in my life I decided I had to be a good parent to myself and with my children I wanted to be the good parent to them that I had a partial model for and the rest I needed to invent.

And we need to know ourselves and forgive ourselves.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Esther Thomas

This is my grandmother, my mother's mother. She was a strong pioneer woman, coming to the west by handcart as a baby with her parents who were Morman converts. She had 12 children, only 7 survived to adulthood. I remember she was a good cook whose bread won prizes at the fair. I remember a dress she made me that had a black velvet bolero. She loved to ride horseback I heard my mother tell and would round up the cattle on their ranch near Evanston, Wyoming. I think she was not always understanding with my mother, maybe because she had so many children and so much to do. In her old age I think she had Alzheimers. Once I visited her and remember her getting very upset and angry because she couldn't find some recipes and she thought her older daughter, Sadie had taken them. Her mind was failing then. My widowed aunt Ida who lived with her took care of her until she died, in her 70's I think .

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Day

Myself at 3 years old, 75 years ago. I think I still carry this child inside. She seems to express some delight at being alive.

I intend to post again on my blog. With this condition I am suffering with---- 'postherpetic neuralgia'--- I haven't had energy enough for doing things. Jane thinks I should write about my life. I'm not sure about that. I like the idea of the blog. It can be anything one chooses. How freeing is that?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


An image from Alaska on wide screen in High Definition. There are some beautiful scenes on the Discovery Channel. I think of Bill tucked safely in the earth now. No more pain. No more sorrow. Earth is our home.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bill Benson

Billed died last night from a brave fight with cancer, first in the esophagus and then after a horrendous surgery the cancer spread to the liver. My sister, Diane, is bereft as are we. We will miss Bill. He loved life and his family. I will always remember the day they spent with us a few years ago at our farm. Bill was reading Garrison Geillor's joke book. He would break into loud enjoyable laughter time after time as he got through the book. He stayed with it all day. I will remember him as one who loved people and loved to laugh.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More horseplay in Camarque

It was a little surprising to find cowboys in France just as macho as any of our western ones.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cowboy games in southern France

I got to hold a little basket with an orange in it. The cowboys would race around the ring and grab the orange.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The New 5th St Market

A black rooster with a white ruff on his head is the mascot for the market. He will no doubt destoy the plantings plus create other havoc. The fountain has been rebuilt. There are two new upscale stores, housewares and a clothing store.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A visitation of sorts

I can't remember who painted this but it is of a woman having some sort of mystical experience.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


This was yesterday. Today it is raining.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006