Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Good Ol' Days

My mom made me a scrapbook for my 16th birthday. I've hung onto it ever since. Elizabeth found it the other day and we spent a good amount of time going through it. I think the kids really enjoyed seeing what Mom was like as a child, as well as seeing pictures of aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc at younger ages. I thought I'd share some of the pictures from yesteryear.

This is my Grandma and Grandpa Cox with me as a baby on my blessing day. They were Flora Larue Harker Cox and Leonard Delaun Cox Jr. Grandma and Grandpa lived in Idaho. We didn't see them very often, and they both died within a few months of each other when I was 7. I don't remember them well. I do know that Grandpa was a farmer. You can see their old house and land from their graves, which is really neat. Grandma had and eventually died of Alzheimer's Disease. Because I was so young, I think this is what prevented us from getting to know each other. I don't think she ever did call me by my name, but instead, called me Jeremy. Although my memories of them are few, I do have some that are very nice. One of my favorites was probably a year or two before they died. We had a big family reunion at their home. I didn't know my cousins at all, so I mostly hung around my brother and sister. But I remember there was a big treasure hunt, and the prize was a big bag of gummy worms for all the kids to share. Grandma and Grandpa were handing them out. I also remember having a water balloon fight, and a fashion show. When Grandpa died, we stayed a few days so my parents could help sort out my grandparents things. I remember playing hide and seek in my grandpa's old potato bins with my cousins.

This is my great-grandmother, Margaret Elizabeth Jensen Bell. This is one of the women that my own daughter, Elizabeth, is named after. She is the only great-grandparent I ever knew. This is actually kind of a neat picture because one of the babies in this picture is me, her great-granddaughter, and the other baby is her great-great-granddaughter. My oldest first cousin's first baby, Brandi, is only 10 months younger than me and we grew up together. My great-grandmother lived in California and I think was in a nursing home for as long as I knew her before she died when I was 4. Being so little and her living so far away, I didn't know her well, and have very few memories. But I vaguely remember visiting her in her nursing home once. It was probably the last time I saw her before she died.

These are my Grandma and Grandpa Bell. Their names are Margery Vilate Hilton Bell, and Veldon Earnest Bell Sr. Grandpa passed away 5 1/2 years ago, just before his 88th birthday. Grandma is still alive. She still has her house in Morgan, where I have probably a million wonderful memories. But she is at the point in her life, where she has to have a little care. So, she spends most of her time with either my mom or her other daughter, my Aunt Lois. Her other two children have passed away, but she still enjoys visits with her daughters-in-law, my Aunt Janet, and Aunt Pauline, as well as her 9 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren. I was probably about 5 in this picture. Most of my memories of grandparents are of them.

One of Grandpa's favorite past times was fishing, and he shared his love of fishing with anyone who would humor him. I remember many fishing trips with Grandpa. My favorite breakfast to this day, is still fried trout with syrup. Mmmmm. I have always thought how fitting it was that Grandpa died doing something he loved -- fishing with his son and his sons-in-law. I wonder if his other son, who died two years before after a long battle with cancer, was there fishing with them in spirit. I like to think that he was.

I enjoyed many camping trips with my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This was possibly my first camping trip. From left to right is my Aunt Lois; my oldest cousin, Cory; her baby, Brandi; my brother, Scott; my grandma; me; my grandpa; and the girl on the bottom is my sister, Nicole.

My parents and grandparents loved to travel, and I was taken along on many excursions. This, in turn, instilled a love for travel in me. I haven't been able to indulge much in the past several years, but I still have a love for seeing new places, and it's something I hope to get back to eventually. This isn't a very good picture, but this was taken on a trip to the Redwoods when I was about 9 or 10. This tree's trunk is so huge, that stretching hand to hand, my dad, my grandpa and I still can't even make it halfway around!

When I was 12, we took a trip to Seattle and Victoria (in British Columbia, Canada). It was my first trip outside the United States and I remember being so excited! It's so funny to me now, because looking back at my excitement, you'd think I was going to France or something! But even if it was just Canada, it was wonderful, and I loved every moment of it. I've been to Canada several times since then, but have never been back to Victoria. I do hope to make it back there someday.

When I was 14, my parents, grandparents, and I went on a cruise to Alaska. It really was the very bast vacation I have ever been on. I highly recommend a cruise to anyone. Everything in Alaska was so beautiful. This was taken at one of the ports we went too. I don't remember which one. We were probably near the glaciers, though, judging by what we were wearing. We went in July, and the weather was perfect. It never gets too hot in Alaska, lol. But the only times it ever got very cold was when we were near the glaciers. While on the cruise I got to see three whales swimming in the water. Two of those were a mother and baby. It was so neat! I also got to see dolphins, otters, and seals!

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