May 18; Moms and Mountains

May 18. Lots of memories associated with this day, most of mine having to do with mom’s birthday and one birthday in particular when Mount Saint Helens blew her top.

May 18, 1980. It was my moms birthday, and my husband and I were in the old truck with mom and dad driving up in the hills past Trout Lake. We saw the column of Ash, and thought at first that it was a fire, but quickly figured out it wasn’t. We drove up to a place we could see a little bit better and watched for awhile. Then Jerry and I drove back home to La Center, and drove up back roads into the mountains on the south west side. We were sitting on a cliff all night watching it blow and you could feel the ground shake. Red tail hawks and eagles were soaring overhead.

10 days later on May 28, we were up in north eastern Washington seeing ash everywhere. While we were there the mountain blew again, to the south west this time. We couldn’t go home back down I-5, and had to travel through Yakima on the east side of the Cascade mountains back down to the Columbia River gorge and then west along WA-14. When we got to our trailer in La Center, there were several inches of ash piled on the roof.

Mom was fascinated by the mountain blowing in her lifetime, and thought it was a pretty interesting birthday present!

May 18, 2019. This year for Mom’s birthday, she gets another of her children, Roger, joining her in the spirit world. I’m pretty sure she’ll put him to work right away. Roger Black passed on May 16, 2019.

Mom, you are Missed, and Loved forever! I remember you talking about how strange it felt to be almost the last one left of your siblings. Now I understand all too well. You raised us to believe in the afterlife, and family being together forever; gratefulness fills my heart.

Mount St. Helens and me, in recent years. Taken at McClellan Viewpoint in GPNF

This is posting only now because for some reason my mobile app has not been uploading posts like I thought it was.

Advertisements

Hyrum Stevens Homestead

The old homestead built by my Grandfather Hyrum Wallace Stevens in Mount Carmel, Utah is mostly gone now.    Not much left anymore but the old milk house/ grain storage building is still there and very solid, along with many terraced rock walls.  The foundation of the Milk house was a very thick stone wall, built to keep the milk cool in those hot summers of southern Utah.  Later, when I get the photos of the house taken back in the 1930’s from my brother, I will share that as well.   We stopped here briefly on our way to my cousin’s funeral, and got to meet the new owners who have the home to the right now.  Grandpa’s home was on the hill to the left, above  rock walls just out of the first photo.  There are photos below of the homesite as well.

I was so filled with emotion walking around on this land.. thinking of our Mom, Nina Stevens, and how she was raised here as the middle of 11 children.  Her first school bus was a horse drawn sleigh in winter, and wagon in summer.  When the family made a trip to Kanab it took half a day to get there, traveling down the river valley in a buggy or wagon pulled by horses.  They had to watch for some nasty patches of quicksand that could swallow horses and wagons!  Electricity was unheard of and lanterns provided light at night.  Mom took her turn milking cows before school, especially when Grandpa was gone for two years on a mission for the LDS church and Grandma was alone with the kids.  The older boys and girls helped run the farm, milk the cows and take care of the younger children.

So many stories Mom told us or wrote down, I cannot begin to mention them all here, but will try to share some from time to time.

The old homestead built by my Grandfather Hyrum Wallace Stevens in Mount Carmel, Utah.  Sis in law Donetta Black standing in the driveway on October 18, 2014.  Not much left anymore but the old milk house/ grain storage building is still there and very solid, along with many terraced rock walls.

Grandpa Steven’s old home stood here to the left. The old milk house is the only building still standing. Mount Carmel, Utah October 18, 2014.  My sister in law Donetta Black is standing in the driveway.

BREATH OF LIFE

Lewis River, famous for it green color, was a home every summer in my growing up years.  I can feel the presence of my loved ones in this magical place.

Lewis River, famous for it green color, was a home every summer in my growing up years. I can feel the presence of my loved ones in this magical place.

BREATH OF LIFE

Breath of life, wash through my body

as I walk besides this sacred stream…

Father and Mother nearby,

I feel them in the smell of the forest,

in the dark of the deep cave…

they are in the water cascading down the mountainside,

in the fish that leap and glide…

their presence warms my heart

I lay upon the freshly wet forest duff..

Their love wraps itself around me like the softest blanket

as I give my tears to the earth…

and send my prayers on wings to the Creator.

Ancient Cedars carry my heart upwards

as the sap rises in the spring, and oh the smell!

Fresh pine gum fills my mouth with the tangy aroma of life,

as I sense my mother’s presence, she

who taught me to chew the delightful gum.

Sounds of the forest catch my attention,

and I remember my dad teaching me to track thru snow…

be alert, always scanning to the front and back

between quick glances at the ground.

A magical place, a sacred space,

not far from home,

yet in another world.

I follow the creek up over waterfalls

and around boulders and logs.

Rich yellow green mosses carpet rocks and soil

in an enticing paradise,

illuminated by spirit, refreshing the soul.

Sacred place,  mystical space….

the burdens of the heart melt deep

into accepting earth,

draining away with my tears into the ground.

Slowly, new life creeps up from the Mother,

infuses the cells of my body with vibrant life energy,

and replaces the pain with joy…

A prayer bursts forth with passion,

Crying to my Father above for release;

a prayer of hope,

a prayer of faith.

As I sit up, reborn from the water of the forest,

I give thanks with all my heart.

The Lord’s Prayer comes to my lips, not as a rote piece,

but full of meaning and life, color and depth…

… each phrase complete

each word from the heart.

I dip my hands into the blessed water

and wash my pain away.

A new life has begun.

~Darlisa~   3/21/05

Mother enjoying her favorite campground where we spent every summer deep in the mountains on the Lewis River ~ Nina Black, born May 18, 1913; died November 7, 2003

Mother enjoying her favorite campground where we spent every summer deep in the mountains on the Lewis River
~ Nina Black, born May 18, 1913; died November 7, 2003

Dedication Memorial In Honor of Loving Parents

Nina Black at Lewis River

Our Mother, Nina Black, was born Nina Stevens on May 18, 1913 in Mt. Carmel, Utah; and died of a stroke, peacefully  in the  home of her son Boyce on November 7, 2003 in White Salmon, Washington, seven years after her husband, Claude Elias Black (May 8, 2008- Thanksgiving Day 1996).   Nina took her last breaths holding hands with Boyce and myself  and surrounded by three generations of her descendants singing her favorite hymns to her as she passed through that veil between worlds. Claude had a quick heart attack after a Thanksgiving Dinner with the large family, and passed away on his own bed with his boots still on, just the way he would have liked.  His last breaths went through me as I did CPR and I knew beyond doubt that he was ready to go, I could feel him so strongly.

As a young girl growing up in southern Utah, Nina remembered her first schoolbus was a horse drawn Sleigh in the winter. A trip to Kanab, 20 some miles away, took half a day travel time down the old creek bed, watching out for quicksand areas. Her Mother, Mabel May Stevens, always had flowers on their piano, and many of her 10 brothers and sisters loved to sing and play music.  Their Father, Hyrum Wallace Stevens was a hard working man with a farm, and several cows.  Life was hard but full of love, fresh garden produce and plenty of milk!

Nina grew into a lovely young woman

Nina as a young girl

Nina as a young girl

and she met a handsome young man

Dad on his Mission to North Carolina

Dad on his Mission to North Carolina

Claude was her School Bus Driver for awhile, and the day after Nina Graduated from High School they headed off to St. George to be married in the LDS Temple, Sadly, the car broke down on the way and by the time Claude got it fixed and they made it to St. George the Temple was closed.  Claude had to be at Sheep camp the next day, so they found the Bishop and some witnesses and arranged a civil marriage.  After the summer working at the camp (Mom cooked, Dad was a Sheep herder), they returned to the Temple and got sealed for eternity.

Claude and Nina on their wedding day April 15, 1932

Claude and Nina on their wedding day April 15, 1932

The next 18 years found them moving around following work during the depression, having each child in a different town and in 4 states.  After living in Utah (Dad was a mechanic in Glendale, Utah), California (Orange Orchards), Arizona, and Idaho, (Mechanic and driver on road construction),  The Depression was hard times, often with so very little food for the family.  One time about all they had was a little flour, and they found a 50 pound bag of onions laying by the road.  They had baked onions, fried onions, onion soup, and were grateful.    Claude brought  the family to Washington in 1950 to help his brother Clell Black with a Service Station in Husum, and it became the home they had been searching for.  Raising their teenage kids here was wonderful.  Dad worked at Hunsaker’s and then at Ford Garage in Bingen, and I am told the house was always full of kids.  Mom said she had to count the sleeping bags on the lawn or the living room floor depending on the season to know how many kids she had that day to cook for.  To this day there are many who call Claude and Nina Mom and Dad, kids who stayed with us or came over for meals often, kids with troubled homes that my folks took under their wings.

I was fortunate to be born and raised in White Salmon, and went with Mom and Dad everywhere.

Mother was the teacher in life who most taught me to “Love one Another” by example, by actions. Love of beauty in nature was her legacy, seeing the Divine in others was her trademark. Humor was a joy shared with Mom and Dad… laughter and hugs filled our home. This amazing woman raised 6 children, and always had time for a hug and love… or cookies and homemade rootbeer,  or homemade icecream.

Mom and me....

Mom and me….

Mom and me

Mom and me

Nina and Darlisa at Long Beach

Nina and Darlisa at Long Beach

n00198 n00209

Daddy and Me

Daddy and Me.  Can you tell I was Daddy’s Girl?  I followed him everywhere, down cliffs, up waterfalls, and  across rivers in search of fish and rocks; and I followed him into the deep woods hunting deer.

Daddy taught me how to handle a gun properly at a young age, but I never did shoot a deer... when I finally got my first deer in the scope, I  put the rifle down and Dad asked what I was doing... I said "I'm really not hungry, Dad".  He laughed and said "you will be come winter!"

Daddy taught me how to handle a gun properly at a young age, but I never did shoot a deer… when I finally got my first deer in the scope, I put the rifle down and Dad asked what I was doing… I said “I’m really not hungry, Dad”. He laughed and said “you will be come winter!”

I don't remember many times I was at Mosquito Lake in snow, but here is proof it happened!

I don’t remember many times I was at Mosquito Lake in snow, but here is proof it happened!

Summers often found us going to Utah to see Grandma Black (Sarah Elizabeth Cox). These journeys were full of visits to amazing places and red rock parks, places my parents had not been to growing up in Utah.

Summers often found us going to Utah to see Grandma Black (Sarah Elizabeth Cox). These journeys were full of visits to amazing places and red rock parks, places my parents had not been to growing up in Utah.

My wonderful brothers sadly left home for Navy, Army and College by the time I was 4 and my sister had already gotten married, so at times it was like being an only child, but when they were around they spoiled me rotten.

Our Family after I came along

Our Family after I came along

Claude and Nina lost their oldest son Sheldon in a hunting accident…and then had me 1 1/2 years later. My growing up memories were of a happy mother full of love and joy… willing to wade with me in the creek, throw a snowball at age 75, and kiss away all the pains. I have often wondered in recent years how she did it… and then I know.  It was because of her absolute faith in God and in what comes after death. She knew she would see her son again, he was not really gone… and so the pain was less sharp.  Her faith nourished her Husband, and all her Children; Nora, Sheldon, Dennis, Roger, Boyce, and myself.

My brother I haven't met in this life, Sheldon, with my "adopted" brother Jimmy

My brother I haven’t met in this life, Sheldon (on the right)  with my “adopted” brother Jimmy.  Sheldon was killed in a freak hunting accident at age 20 in September 1956 by Jimmy, and as I grew up Jimmy was the other brother in our house… I remember him throwing me up in the air and laughing. Mother always said that she knew if she said one angry word to him about shooting Sheldon that he would have killed himself, so she simply took him in her arms.

I am always amazed at the strength of my parents… Not long before they lost Sheldon, Grandpa Alvin Black died of a heart attack in Husum where he had come to help his sons build a home for Clell and Allie.  In the spring after losing Sheldon,  Mom and Dad took their first EVER child free weekend trip to the coast, camping at Copalis Beach in Washington.  That is where I was conceived just when they thought they were nearly done raising children.  Mom was 45 and Dad was 50.  Then, while pregnant with me, Mom’s Mom passed away back in Utah and she made the journey for the funeral.  After all of this, still these amazing people said only kind things and raised me with joy and love.

Roger, Darlisa, Dennis, Boyce

Roger, Darlisa, Dennis, Boyce

Sister Nora and her son Gregory Jon

Sister Nora and her son Gregory Jon at the Beach with us

n00107

Nora and Nina were pregnant at the same time, and David and Darlisa were born exactly 2 months apart

Nora and Nina were pregnant at the same time, and David and Darlisa were born exactly 2 months apart

Mom and my Tippy Dog

Mom and my Tippy Dog

Nina loved this land.   Daily she would point out a lovely hat on Mount Hood or Mount Adams, or some lovely flowers blooming along the roads.  Summers were spent wading in the Lewis River, filling our pockets with rocks while Dad filled his bag with fish.  The smallest or largest moments of beauty around us were pointed out and appreciated.

Claude and Nina at Lower Falls

Claude and Nina at Lower Falls

Dad fishing under Upper Falls on the Lewis River

Dad fishing under Upper Falls on the Lewis River

n00115

Up until a week before her 90th birthday, Mom was still sewing patchwork quilts up on her old Singer Treadle sewing machine. Many of those quilts contained memories… as material salvaged from clothing was often used in her quilts.

50th Wedding Anniversary (I think, or 60th?) The Quilt on the wall may have been one of Mom's

50th Wedding Anniversary (I think, or 60th?) The Quilt on the wall may have been one of Mom’s

My friend Debbie, Mom and myself in around 1986

My friend Debbie, Mom and myself in around 1986.  It was during this time that I was a single mother, and Dad became Grandpa Dad to my daughter.

My dad and my daughter

My dad and my daughter

 

n00063 n00201

Frosted Leaves and Mount Adams
Frosted Leaves and Mount Adams.  

Perfect Crystalline Frost on the early morning plants reminds me of my Mother, who taught me to always notice the moments of beauty in all seasons.  In the background on this photo, we see Mt. Adams, one of her favorites… and I see it now as her faith, enduring to the end.

Mother and Father, we love you!!!