I have about 5 topics that I want to catch up on. So I thought I'd just do a few at a time and then I'd be caught up with some important things that have happened in the last few months in my life. I feel like I've talked a lot about deaths lately, but it seemed as though it is something that has happened a lot this year. FIRST.... I want to talk about my Father in law. Ivan J. Walker was born in 1920 on May 31. My dear mother in law passed away last June 4th. I really felt like Larry's dad had stayed through all his pain mostly just to take care of her...so I thought his death after her death would be fairly soon. He shocked us all by making through the summer and into the fall. Then we just didn't know...he might live a lot longer than we thought. Then early winter his mind seemed to be wandering and he would talk about odd things that we knew were not happening. About a month before he passed Larry and I had gone up to visit him and I think that is where we began our mourning for his loss. He was really out of it and didn't know what he was talking about and he was also very weak. We put him to bed and both of us sat there with tears in our eyes. I know that is the moment that Larry knew he really had lost his dad. What a blessing for him that he was able to return to his Father in Heaven on April 21. He was just over a month shy of his 90th birthday. We're happy that he can once again be with Mom Walker and all his brothers and sister and parents. What a grand reunion.
Then after just settling back into the norm....a phone call turned me inside out again. May 5th, I was at school and had just given my kids a needed break after a state test. My kids heard my phone ringing inside my purse. I told them that they knew I didn't answer the phone and that whoever it was would leave a message...so since it was a Wednesday and the kids went home at 1:00, I then went to my phone to see who it had been. I had a message left on my phone. It was from my brother in law, Richard. He said that they had some sad news and that would I please call. I could tell from his voice it wasn't good. I called back right away and they had just reached Grand Junction, Colorado. Richard told me that his oldest son, Dustin, had been killed in a accident early that morning and that they had come to be with Ashley. I was stunned and just sat there in my chair, I didn't know what to say. In fact, I don't really know what I said to him or Georgia, but I felt the pain that they must have felt. Since I lived in Vernal....these kids became very close to my heart. I just want to share some memories that I have of my dear nephew. I moved to Vernal in 1983 to take my first teaching position. I lived with Georgia and Richard for the first few weeks until I found a place of my own to live. That first day of school I got up to get ready and so did Dustin. We started school on the same day. He was 5 and was headed off to his first day of kindergarten and I was off to face my 1st class of 4th graders. We were both nervous and excited. I can still remember his beaming face. I can remember taking care of all the kids when Richard and Georgia would be off to a furniture show somewhere. We'd always work it out so that they'd be taken care of for the day and I'd take care of them at night. Thank goodness Dustin never had one of his accidents during my watch. He seemed to break a few bones here and there. :) I remember one time when a furniture show was in March and Georgia and Richard were going to be gone for Dustin's birthday. They were giving him a basketball back board. I had to keep it hidden...boy was he excited for that. I know I took a picture...but I have no idea where it is. I was living in some apartments across from the tabernacle (now the temple), we went over and had a picnic on the tabernacle lawn. We did that a lot when the kids were at my place. As the years went by, and I had moved into a rental home, I asked Dustin if he would come and mow my lawn for me and I would pay him. We had some good talks when he came to do that. Nothing specific that I can really remember, but we would talk about school and life and how things were going...sometimes he's ask me questions about a problem and I hope that our talks helped a little. I can remember helping him ask a girl out to a dance. Dustin called and asked if I could bring my video camera up and help him. He had put a piece of paper that asked her out in a bowl of water and had frozen it. We would video it melting for awhile and then we stop filming and he'd get out the hair dryer and melt more ice before we taped again until the message finally appeared through the ice. We then set it to some music and made the tape complete. It must of worked because she went with him to the dance. Another great memory was he had just turned 16 and I had been invited to go with families from the Millett neighborhood on a Spring Break vacation to Disneyland. We all had our radios to keep in touch. Dustin came with me in my fairly new White Honda Accord (our handle was "White Lightening") He was a pretty good driver and was getting some Highway experience driving with me. We made a stop in Victorville to see Richard's sister. We were following Richard (Old Fossil) I kept telling Dustin that we were now in city driving and that he needed to not follow so close, because you never know when the vehicle in front of you may need to stop. He said okay...but kept inching closer, so I would remind him again and he'd back up and then inch closer...this happened several times...when all of the sudden Richard put on his breaks and bang right into the hitch my bumper went. He was so upset and cried and cried. There was no use being mad or upset he was already punishing himself enough. I told him not to worry about it and not to let this ruin his vacation. He was always so soft hearted and loving...that's one thing I really loved about him. I never did fix that bumper and then a whole other story Nikole finished that bumper off. Soon after I had married and was living in Stansbury Park with my husband, Larry, we had a lot of the family out to go boating on the lake behind our home. Dustin and Ashley came and Dustin decided to go canoeing. Now here is an Eagle Scout...you'd think they'd know a few things about a canoe. I can't remember if he was just going out or just coming back...but he decides to just stand up in the middle of the canoe. Now even I know that doesn't make a canoe very stable and all of the sudden the canoe began to rock back and forth as he fought to keep his balance. All of the sudden backwards he fell into the lake. Good thing the lake isn't very deep right by the dock. Up he stood with a great smile on his face. I had to find him some sweats to wear while we got his clothes dry. I really laughed at that one. Dustin sometimes seemed quiet to others...but he was really quite the life of the party. Unexpected things would just come out of his mouth...you couldn't help but smile and laugh. His wonderful smile and great personality will truly be missed. He was such a wonderful nephew and I appreciate the time that I had to be with him. I pray for his sweet wife, Ashley and his 4 beautiful children that he loved so much. Some part of me understands what my sister and brother in law are going through...for to me he was just like a son. I love you Dustin and know that someday I'll see you again and can wrap my arms around you and tell you how much I loved being a part of your life.
Thought it would be fun to keep a little journal this way, and I have to get up to speed with my nieces who are blogging. I'm a 4th grade teacher and have enjoyed teaching for 29 years. I'm married to the most wonderful man and have a step family that I love and have become just as much mine as they are Larry's. We have 4 children and 6 terrific grandchildren and there will be 7 in March. By the way...the baby with me in the picture is my beautiful niece Cortni LaDawn. She has my middle name.