Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Touching base

I recently received email messages bringing me up to date on the families of two of my school friends. It was very interesting reading, and good to know what everyone was doing, where they were, etc. Rather than responding directly, I decided to post the information here.

My sisters and I are somewhat scattered, but (with few exceptions) all along Alberta Highways 2, 3 and 4 and the I-15 corridor.

As for me, I have found and married the love of my life, Sara Anne, and live in an "empty nest" in Salt Lake City (you can find a picture of where we live in this post). We have been happily married for four and a half years. We met in community theater and enjoy sharing that hobby.

Colleen and her husband LeRon live and farm near Grassy Lake, along with their three sons (Michael, Craig, Eric), while two daughters live near Chicago (Heather, Michelle (husband Andy and son Matthew)).

Arlene and husband Michael have a construction/demolition/cleaning business near San Diego, and live near their daughter (Jenna (husband Bob and children)) and son (Lance).

Myrna and husband Bruce live in Orem, with Myrna being a music librarian at B.Y.U. near to most of their children (Kelline (husband Jonathan and children), Abra and children living in Alberta, David, Nancy (husband Andrew and daughter Rachel) living in Egypt(!), Patrick, and Josie).

All of us are college educated, which is quite a remarkable achievement for our parents, who didn't have that opportunity. Our father left us in 2000, and mother followed him three years later. They lived in Raymond, having retired from farming in 1986. Shortly after retirement, they spent a year and a half in Salt Lake City, on a mission in the granite vaults, which they enjoyed greatly.

My first wife Christine (now going by Marie) has been happily married to Philippe for thirty years and has a son Jean-Christophe who is an astrophysicist, all living in France. We had been married for 7 years before the divorce, and lived in Provo until I graduated from B.Y.U. and then in France, first in a suburb of Paris, and later in Brittany near the coast.

My second wife Judy has been happily married to Wally (a widower with 6 children) for many years and lives in Provo. While Christine and I had no children, Judy brought three wonderful step-daughters into my life (Heather (husband Mel and daughter Madeline), Melinda (husband Jim and children), Carlie (husband Mike and boys)). And later we had Elizabeth (married to Cody and living in Rexburg, Idaho) and Andrew who attends UVU in Orem. We had been married for 16 years before divorcing, having lived in Tucson (while I finished a Masters degree), Raymond (where I taught at the University of Lethbridge), and Orem (where I worked for WordPerfect and Novell).

Sara brought six more great step-children into my life (Eli (wife Sadie and son Lucas), Rachel (husband Jason and children), Ben, Ammon, Helaman, Jessica). We have taken many trips together. One of the most memorable was a month spent in Bangalore, India, along with her three youngest and my niece Josie. Jessica has recently left home, and we are contemplating our options for this new phase of life.

Death and facebook revisited

Well, it has happened again. Another dear facebook friend has passed away.

This time it was my cousin, Harold Conrad, who has been ill for over a year. When I learned of his illness, I wrote some memories that I have of growing up with him, in a post entitled "Effects of a great man." After mingling with many of his friends and family recently, I learned that I am not alone in this high opinion of him.

His obituary gives a nice summary of his life, and includes this photo.

In this case, it turned out that all of his facebook friends are family members, so everyone knew of his illness and passing. A look at his facebook wall will show pictures of the time last summer when his brothers and sisters gathered near Taber, and my sisters and I were able to visit with him there as well. It was a great reunion.

This is another case where it would be nice if he could have selected someone to manage his account after his departure. It would have been an ideal place to post information about his funeral service. His friends could have commented on the link, thus enabling their friends to see the comment and spread the knowledge of his passing further into the network of people who knew him.

For example, one of my facebook friends communicated this to me privately.
I was so sorry to hear of Harold's passing. After we got the message from you via Facebook, we looked for his obituary notice in the paper and couldn't find it until today. If it weren't for Facebook, we wouldn't even have known about it. [emphasis added]

If I had shared a link to the obituary in facebook, they would have been able to find the obituary immediately.