Jul 4, 2012

"Then and Now"

Maxie and Cécile chalking the small animal barn.

When Anthony left, Cécile came. 
 Also French and fulfilling a school internship,
 she was a darling girl and very sweet natured.
She smiled and tried to understand our English and laughed when she couldn't make out what in the world we were talking about.

This is the only picture we have of her when she didn't have her oversized earrings on, even in the barn.
(We told her they would pick up the barn smell, ruining them for future wearings, but she didn't care....).

We looked forward to a happy month having her with us
but a sudden and severe illness put her mother in the hospital back in France.
As the oldest of three children Cécile was needed back home immediately.

She was nervous when she came to tell us about the call from her father.
We said,
"Family First"
and sent her on her way.

We wondered what we would do for the help we needed.
We needn't have worried....

...unbeknownst to us,

The "FAB FOUR" were soon to arrive!
This home...
329 Temple Boulevard, Logan, Utah 84321

       This is the home where my children and I lived for eighteen years in Logan, Utah. 
 It isn't very large and certainly not flashy. 
You might even say it looks ordinary, almost common. 

But the things that happened in this home were anything but common. 
      Four of my six children were married from this home. 
Three of my daughters left to go on missions for our Church from this home - one to France, one to Argentina, one to Nebraska...
and they all came home to this home.
We were living in this home when Grandpa Stevenson passed away.

 We were living in this home when 18 out of 26 grandchildren were born.

Behind the second story window above the front porch was one of two extra-wide window seats that were built,
 (one on the north end and one on the south end)
 so that when the little ones came they could sleep on
 "Granny's window bed"
and look out at the temple on the north or over all of Cache Valley on the south.

 It was magic.
     We had numerous pets that lived and died and brought us happiness and comfort in this home.

 We had wonderful family dinners in the dining room,
and countless songfests at the baby grand piano in the living room. 
 We all squeezed into a tiny TV room that was called
the "smoochie room"
 and watched our favorite videos
and drank hot chocolate
and basked in the glow of the lights from the Temple.
Families of children and grandchildren came at Christmas,
in the summers, and even to stay for months at a time
 in the large upstairs bedroom.

 There was only one bathroom and no one ever seemed to mind.

     The first time we saw this home
 a realtor was putting up a "For Sale" sign on the front lawn. 
We stopped and asked if we could go through it. 
When we walked in the front door my daughter Emilie said,
"This is it Mother...can you feel the wonderful feeling here? 
Let's buy it."
And we did.

We loved the neighbors, we loved the Ward (LDS congregation),
we loved the wide open front porch,
we even loved the squeaky, screechy back door.

     The last time we were in this home was several years ago. 

One beautiful, clear, winter day during that visit,
while walking up the front walk,
 I stopped to look at this home
and had an encompassing feeling of gratitude for all that had occurred while my children and I lived there. 
 At the same time I had an unexpected but reassuring feeling that it had done all that it needed to do for me and for my posterity. 

It was not only time to move forward, it was right to move forward.

     Two years ago this home was sold.

 I don't live there anymore and neither does my family. 
 I live on a beautiful dairy farm in northern Sweden
and my children and their families live in various parts of the world.

 I feel overwhelmed at the blessing of finding a loving and tender husband who is perfect for me in every way,
even more children and grandchildren to love,
 and the richness of my life.

 It is not ordinary or common,
 it is miraculous,
 and it holds the promise of memories to be made
 that are as dear to me as those of the past.

     When the sale of this home was completed
 we were not able to be there.
My brother went into the kitchen to leave a set of keys for the new owner. 

This home that had been filled with so much life
 for so many years
 was empty.

 He stopped for a moment,
and as he stood by the kitchen sink,
he realized that that same wonderful feeling from so long ago,
that had been with us throughout all the years,
 was still present there. 

 I would like to think that it always will be.