Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Angela!

Having you for a daughter-in-law is amazing.  Living near you has been even better!  You have so many talents that you generously share with everyone and I always feel so honored when I am asked to be part of your creative genius. It has been wonderful to see your talents develop as you first started teaching yourself how to sew.  The costumes you made over the years have been just breathtaking.  Whatever assignment you have been given at Church provided amazing experiences for whoever participated in your activities.  You have made a home that is a show piece of design ingenuity.  Those are just a few of the amazing abilities you have.   You are such a wonderful wife and mother. You bring out the best in your husband.  I don't doubt that each of your children will some day tell their children that you were an amazing mom. Thank you for all you have done for dad and I over the years.  We have been truly blessed because you are in our lives.  Happy Birthday Angela!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I was listening to the Mormon Channel this morning and listened to an interview with a member of the Church named Dave Morris.  Great story of his conversion. Towards the end of the interview he made the comment that his grandchildren were "delightful."  I knew exactly what he meant!  Our grandchildren are delightful and we love them in ways that I never could have imagined.  I still remember the way I felt when I saw Rachel the first time.  I felt that way 19 more times! Even more amazing is that there has been no limit on the amount of love we have felt for each one.  Isn't that delightful?!

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hampshire State Insane Asylum

That was the original name of the state hospital for those who were suffering from various mental disorders in the 1840s.  Here in Concord it is now a much smaller building located a short distance from the original asylum and is now called the New Hampshire Hospital.  When we first moved here I was fascinated by the huge complex that is located in the same area of the State Archives.  I soon found out that it was the original hospital built in 1842 which opened its doors to 96 patients.  Over the next 150 years it housed up to 2,000 people.  Seven more buildings were added to the original building to house female patients away from the male patients, nurses who worked at the asylum, a chapel, a kitchen, a surgery, and other buildings necessary to maintain the program.  From the front the building looks pretty impressive but as I have driven around the area I have seen the less attractive realization of what took place for many people who were brought there.  The area is beautiful with a pond, land for gardening which many of the patients worked in. According to the information I read they produced much of the food that was eaten by the patients and employees.  Another sad aspect I found in my searching for information was that the hospital started a cemetery they named Meadow Cemetery to bury the patients who died but no one ever claimed the body. It was well hidden about a mile and a half away from the hospital about 300 feet back away from the road behind a grove of trees.  This weekend Scott and I visited it and there were several hundred graves which was a sad indication of what often happened once the person was put in the hospital--all ties with their families were severed.

I couldn't find much about what it was like for the patients in Concord but in the mid 1800s a woman named Nellie Bly pretended to have a breakdown and was committed to an insane asylum in New York where she witnessed first hand the horrendous treatment that the mentally ill were receiving.  Joseph Pulitzer made sure that everything she saw and wrote about was published.  This apparently started a reformation but in spite of that I'm sure that being in a mental hospital in the 18th and 19th century was often a nightmare experience.

We have heard so much on the news lately about the affects of mental illness when people are not given the care they need.  Here in Concord it is amazing to see the number of homeless people wandering the streets who have obvious mental health issues. We still are not doing all we should to protect the mentally ill from themselves or the victims who died as the result of the severe psychosis that often manifests itself in tragic ways.

This is the back side of the original building.
It is hard to see but most of the windows have bars on
them still.

I imagine this is where the wagons and eventually
ambulances came to drop off the patients who
were voluntarily or involuntarily committed.

Meadow Cemetery--Out of Sight

The cemetery is well hidden but the number of graves was surprising.  In the area on both sides of the headstones were more graves that had flat markers.
It I hadn't noticed the flags I probably wouldn't have even
noticed the marker for the state hospital cemetery

I was at least grateful to see that their
names were etched in the granite.  Notice the age.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Missionary Moments #47--July 26, 2015

It was great to be back at work all week and we were excited to finish a set of boxes which leaves us with only 20 to go to complete our current county. Because of things happening at the archives we ran out of work on Friday so we finished up what we could do and then went and enjoyed a movie in Hooksett.    It has been interesting working on the documents that are in the 1910 period of time. We opened one box and we are sure that either some insects or mice had a nice meal because the whole top of each envelope was basically chewed off. There were no signs of pest droppings or a nasty smell but something definitely damaged them. Much of the work we are capturing at this time is typed which is also different from earlier documents. They are in better condition but still tend to crack apart when we open them to take the pictures. We often spend time putting documents back together like we would find the right pieces in a puzzle.  I am so glad that we have had the chance to preserve these records before any more damage is done.  
We stayed close to home this weekend but plan to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown next Saturday.  We aren't particular sports fans but have heard from several people that the museum is really great so we plan to make the trip to check it out.  I got us a new camera so hopefully we will have some great pictures to share.  Since we didn't head out on any great adventure we decided to go back to the movies on Saturday and we saw Minions. On Friday we saw a show called Mr. Holmes which was excellent and thought-provoking and decided a cartoon would be a fun change of pace.  Not so--terrible waste of time.  Part way through I even thought of asking Scott if he wanted to leave but decided not to. We were hoping to find another movie to send the grandkids for a movie night but we will keep on looking for a fun one!  
The weather here has been so enjoyable and the weatherman said at the end of the week we will have two days in the low 90s which is a first so far.  Believe me I am not complaining!  I mentioned to Scott that when we came here in the middle of September all the leaves were changed to fall colors so I suspect towards the middle of August we will begin to see the oranges, yellows, and reds start to come out.  I will miss all of the beautiful flowers and the gardens that are growing everywhere we go and the cornfields with stalks taller than us.  It won't be long before they are plowed under to rest through the winter. There are farmers markets everywhere which is always fun to visit and there are always people canoeing on the lakes and rivers around the area as well as cyclists and walkers and runners.  People in New England definitely take advantage of the good weather when they get it.  Hope you are all doing well.   Have a great week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Grandkids Gifts--Jane

Janie and I have had many moments together especially while we waited for Duncan to be born and then again when Eden was coming to join the family.  I love Janie for so many reasons.  During our time together I came to realize the special gift that Jane has been given.  It is the gift of enthusiasm.  She just loves life and sees good things in everything she does.  I remember last year when Amy took the kids to see who their teachers were and who was going to be in their classes.  There wasn't any of
Jane's friends from first grade in the class.  Amy's comment at the time was, "I'm not worried about Jane because she will have a room full of friends within a few days--and she did."  Janie loves life and goes after every opportunity that comes her way and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hill Cumorah Pageant

I took this picture from our seats.  We went early and saved them
before we went into Palmyra for lunch.
I'm sorry I lost our camera because I had some great pictures of our day in Palmyra and at the pageant that evening.  Fortunately I had taken three pictures with my cell phone but that is it.  I have been to the Easter Pageant at the Mesa Arizona Temple which is great but this program was truly amazing.  We had lunch in a diner on Main Street and then did the tour of the Grandin Publishing Company.  We drove around to various other sites which we had seen when we visited the first time but much of our day was spent at the pageant area.  We didn't mind that much of the time it was raining because we had a great time visiting with other early occupants of the seats around us.  The local Lion's Club was having a fund raiser and we were able to have a BBQ chicken dinner before the program began.  The food was great.  Once dinner was over the rain began to fall.  We both had rain slickers and our umbrella so we just sat and enjoyed it until the program started.  About an hour before the program the rain stopped and then we just enjoyed the whole experience.  I wish all of you could have come. The program was so well done. The costumes were amazing and just the number of people who were performing was astounding.  

 The program took us through the Book of Mormon highlighting several of the wonderful experiences that are in it.  My favorite was the vision of the Tree of Life and the story of the building of the ship.
Amazing!  The enthusiasm of the cast definitely could be felt by all of us.  We loved visiting with them before the program began.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Next Lego Challenge!

Okay grandkids.  I think this might be a hard challenge but I know you will all do your best.  The assignment this month is to make an animal Lego design.  Judging will take place on August 1.  Get creating!

Missionary Moments #46--July 19, 2015

What a great week we had with the opportunity to see the Hill Cumorah pageant in Palmyra, New York.  It was nothing like we had seen before and in spite of the rain that fell most of the day the weather cleared in time for us to enjoy a wonderful pageant highlighting the stories of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel.  We headed for Albany, New York on Monday after work where we spent the night before continuing on to Palmyra.  We had been to the area many years ago but I was surprised to see how much it had grown since that time. While there we did a tour of the original Grandin Printing Company where the Book of Mormon was originally printed which was very interesting.  I took pictures to share but unfortunately we lost our camera while in New York.  The pageant had over 700 people performing and the costuming and the stage built in front of the Hill Cumorah was awe inspiring.  It was nice having an opportunity to spend time with Phil and Penny and the girls.  They left for home on Thursday and we got back into our routine at work.  It is amazing to realize we are fast approaching the end of the probate records for Rockingham County.  Last week as I was opening up the files I found one for a John Duncan in Derry and was excited because I thought he might be one of our Duncan relatives.  I wrote all the information down about him and then researched him on Family Search that evening but couldn't find any relationship between our line and his. Yesterday Scott and I went to the Boston Temple.  We took Sister Villalobos with us.  It was her first time to go and she was so excited.  Afterwards we went to lunch at Chili's which is nearby. While we were eating a man brought his two boys over to meet us because they saw our missionary badges and wanted to say hello.  Their family was from North Dakota farther northwest of where Ben and Becky live.  It was nice to talk to them for a few minutes. It is hard to believe that time is moving so quickly and fortunately it has been filled with many wonderful opportunities for which we are grateful.  We were invited to have dinner on Friday with the Knowlton's who live in Northfield, NH which is about 15 minutes northeast of us.  He has been recovering from open heart surgery and some complications afterwards.  It is wonderful to realize that we have friends wherever we go because we have the Church.  I suspect that the Arizona and California Duncan's are getting ready for school to start in a couple of weeks. They don't start here until the end of August and we will be glad because many of our students in Sunday School have been gone for vacation.  We miss them!   Have a great week everyone.

Happy Birthday Andy!

You do everything so well.  I smiled today when I saw a picture on Facebook of an activity at the church and there among the women was my handsome side-burned son fixing a sewing machine.  I recently heard an interview and the man being interviewed said that as parents there comes a time when we must receed and our adult children take the lead in our family.  I have such confidence in you and your brothers and sister in taking the lead.  You are a good man and we are so thankful that you are our son.  Happy Birthday Andy!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Ten Commandments--Still the Best Moral Code

Scott and I love Dennis Prager and when I heard about his book I ordered it right away.  Well worth the money and your time.  I love it when someone else validates what I already know.  I wanted to share a few thoughts that he put in the book.

*  Freedom comes from moral self control.  There is no other way to achieve it.
*Just as faith in God brings people to the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath brings people to faith in God.
*The ten commandments are the greatest list of instructions ever devised for creating a good society.

If you have a chance to read this book your time will be well spent. I loved it and I'm still one of Dennis Pragers biggest fans!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Missionary Moments #45--July 12, 2015

Can't believe we are almost to the middle of July.  Time is flying by here.  It was wonderful to welcome Phil and his family on Thursday and we have been enjoying lots of fun New England countryside since they arrived.  On Friday we went into Boston and were able to take the harbor cruise which I wasn't very excited about after my last trip on a boat to Catalina Island.  All was good and the cruise was calm (no sea sickness for me) and the information was great.  While at the U.S.S. Constitution I stayed on land while Grandpa and the others went aboard the ship. While waiting I started visiting with a man who had knee problems so he was waiting while his wife went aboard as well.  They were here from Buena Vista, California and their trip consisted of visiting national parks from the west coast to the east.  We talked about our mission doing record preservation and he told me that they had visited Nauvoo and loved it.  He said while his wife liked the parks he made a list of strange sites around the country and found a huge peanut with a Jimmy Carter smile on it among other things.  It sounded like a great trip and they were definitely having a good time.  Taking a tour around Boston is always interesting and we went on a different tour line this time which took us a different route than we had gone before.  There is definitely a lot of different things to see in Boston. 

Tomorrow Phil and Penny and the girls are heading to Niagara Falls and we are going back to work.  After work we will leave for Albany, New York where we will spend the night before heading on to Palmyra on Tuesday for the Hill Cumorah pageant.  We can't wait!  We will meet up with them and enjoy the pageant together. 

At work this week I found a 50 page letter written to a judge from the only remaining son.  He was taking issue with his brothers wife whom he wanted the judge to know had taken advantage of his mothers feeble condition in her remaining months and felt like she had manipulated his mother into changing the will.  He was very liberal in his use of the word "wicked."  I don't know if he convinced the judge but I was definitely feeling bad for his mother!  We have not had sister missionary for two weeks and hopefully more will be assigned to our area on Tuesday.  We have missed them and especially in the morning when we would leave for work their cheery "love you" out the windows as they were doing their studying.  The temperatures are inching up a little and we are seeing more consistent weather in the 80s but it is definitely bearable.  The humidity is high and we are having a lot of rain which I love and it isn't like in California and Arizona where the rain stops and the temperature goes right back up. Here the rain definitely cools everything down.  Love it!  Have a great week everyone.  We love hearing from you and were excited to get a card from Perry telling us he was loving college. Thanks for keeping up in your thoughts and prayers.  We love you all!  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Katie!

It is always a treat when I take time to think of Katie. From the time she was tiny she has had the sweetest temperament and I always remember how much I loved watching her interact with her brothers and sisters (oh I see a grandkids gifts coming on).  She is also a really good cook and everyone can count on her when a treat is needed.  If there is a opportunity to hang our with her friends she is there and fortunately her two best friends are her older sisters so she is always in good company and they are too!  Katie has so enjoyed growing up and I think she does a great job of it. Being 15 is not always easy but she will be good at it.  So thankful she is a member of our family and I will continue to enjoy watching her as her journey continues.  Happy Birthday Katie!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Bill!

You are another year older but have always been wiser!  What a great leader you have been in our family.  Your kindness has touched so many lives and your patience always humbles me.  I am proud of the man you are Bill and love the example you have been to all of us.  It will be interesting to see what projects you will work on in the coming year.  Whatever it is I know that you will give your best effort because that is the kind of person you are.  Happy Birthday Bill!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Old Glory

Loved the flag display in Concord for the 4th of July!

Lego Creations #3--Rockets

Here are the latest creations with the Legos.  Thanks for those who were able to participate.  Watch the mail for your treat.  We will let you know what the next challenge is in a few weeks!
Ruth--Grand Prize Winner
Jane--Most Unique

Will--Most Colorful
Abby--Cutest Rocket

Lincoln--Most realistic
Duncan--Most Ready for Takeoff

Bruce--Most Ready for Star Wars!

Our Wedding Anniversary

We loved celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary together in such a wonderful and historic area.  This mission has brought us many blessings and visiting so many amazing places has been great.  After spending the day doing some sightseeing we ended up in the little town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire where we enjoyed a fun dinner and some excellent ice cream.

Two Famous Novelists

Along with the fun history we also found the homes of two novelists--Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Just down the road from these was the home of Henry David Thoreau which we will go back to see later in the summer.
This was where Louis May Alcott lived who wrote
Little Women
This is the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote
The Scarlet Letter

The Minute Man Statue

This is the bridge that needed to be crossed to get
to the statue

The minute man who left his plow and joined
the cause of freedom

 It was fun to listen to the British soldier explain how unnecessary their fight was because the King had only wanted a small amount of taxes from the people!

The Lexington-Concord National Historical Park

On a whim we decided to visit the Lexington and Concord area.  We pass the signs for it when we go to the Temple and so we drove over and actually were amazed at all that was there.  We also went over to Walden Pond which was made famous by Henry David Thoreau but the area was so full that the park service had closed it down.  We will definitely return.  When we got into the National Parks building there was a beautiful mural depicting the battle that was fought in the area and we saw a wonderful film about Paul Revere and the ride he took to warn the militias that the British were on there way.  We both learned a lot of things we hadn't known before.  If you are a hiker, biker, or runner you will love this area because there are miles and miles of trails to explore and we saw people everywhere taking advantage of that.  It was interesting for us because Colonel John Duncan had headed down to the area when they heard that the British were coming so they could help in the fight.  He and the others in his group arrived the day after the battle was fought.  We finished off west of the visitors center where we were able to see the Minute Man statue which had been erected to honor all those who fought in the battle.  Impressive in every way!

This pond was right next to the visitors center

Captain William Duncan

In Memory of Capt. William Duncan
Earlier we had visited Colonel John Duncan's grave site and so on Friday we went to find his fathers grave in Londonderry New Hampshire. We found him in the Old Hill Graveyard off Hovey Rd.  The headstone was actually in pretty good condition for being over 200 years old.  His wife died a 1804 nine years after him but we weren't able to find her headstone--maybe there was no one left to erect one for her.  The area of Londonderry was breathtaking and could have been called Apple Valley because there were apple orchards everywhere.  We will go back in the fall and see if we can get some apples from the road side stands we saw.

Old Hill Grave Yard in Londonderry, New Hampshire

Catching Some Winks

                                                     I wasn't kidding when I said we spend our evenings snoozing!                                                       I think when we get back home we are going to have to buy ourselves
two recliners because we have been fighting over who gets to the chair first!

Missionary Moments #44--July 5, 2015

I was surprised to realize that I hadn't posted anything on my blog for a week when I got ready to write the Missionary Moments.  I guess we have been kind of boring this week!  Actually we have been really busy and in the evening both of us are snoozing in front of the television until it is late enough to go to bed. Scott and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary on Friday by hitting the road and visiting Londonderry to see the grave site for Captain William Duncan who died in 1795.  With the help of the librarian in Londonderry we found the cemetery and easily located the headstone.  We saw that a son was buried by him but couldn't see any headstone for his wife Naomi Bell although there were Bells buried there.  We then headed to Beverly, MA to look for another relative but never could find the cemetery or the library.  We then decided we wanted to go to the Lexington Concord area to see where one of the first battles of the American Revolution was fought.  What a treat.  We saw a great film telling us all about Paul Revere's ride to warn the people.  We then visited several other interesting places nearby by (check the blog later to see them) and finished at the Minute Man statue.  While there we passed a couple who we heard talking about when a missionary was suppose to return and once we saw the statue we went back and introduced ourselves and visited with them for about 20 minutes.  Such a small world in the Church.  We finished off our day by driving back up a country road back into southern New Hampshire where we had dinner at Kimball Farms.  What a fun place.  There were so many people waiting to order their dinner and then another long line for those coming for the ice cream.  Next to the farm is a small airport and people regularly fly in just to have dinner and ice cream at the farm.  We enjoyed BLT sandwiches and then treated ourselves to some ice cream before we headed back to Concord.  On Saturday we drove to Hookset and enjoyed the movie Jurassic World.  Scott really liked it and I thought it was interesting but I kept having to cover my face because I couldn't stand to see the dinosaur eat another person!  We had planned to go to the church parking lot to watch fireworks but when it got time to go we decided we would just watch the Boston Pops on TV and see their fireworks. After being on the banks of the Charles River several years ago watching the fireworks in Boston and then sitting on Waikiki Beach watching the fire works I guess it was hard to get us excited about seeing the local shows.  We are now getting ready to welcome Phil and Penny and their girls for a visit.  We will be going to the Hill Cumorah pageant which we are excited to see.  

Work at the archives continues to move forward.  We are quickly approaching the end of the Rockingham County project and since we are in the 1910 to 1918 period of time the papers are in pretty good shape.  Much of the information is typed now so we are able to easily read it. In the evenings I have started doing some indexing again.  I decided to spend about an hour each night so I can help with all the work that needs to be done there.  Mostly I have been doing death records and some immigration records.  It had been a while since I did indexing so I'm hoping to get my speed up in the coming months.  It is really amazing to see the records the Church has made available to anyone who is interested in finding their ancestors.  We were sad when we heard that President Packer has passed away on Friday.  I'm sure he has had a wonderful reunion with President Hinckley and Elder Perry!  Have a great week.