Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Be Obedient

Here is a three generational picture at my brother's wedding. The yellow haired girl is my Gramma Rae. My Grandpa Hoggan always called her by this name. His Yellow Hair Girlfriend. He still does. Similar to the sun, she was named LeRae by her parents as a bright light in their lives. She was their oldest and only girl.
She loved to dance. She was before her marriage a principal ballerina for the Utah Ballet Company. When she married, she hung up her ballet shoes along with her tap shoes. She decided to be a wife and eventually the mother of 7 children.
As a gift to their children and grandchildren one year they gave their autobiographies. The book is full of beautiful stories of their faith, work ethic, life experiences, and hopes. I want to share some of the experiences that she writes about that have encouraged me as I have struggled.

Marriage to Glen
I married him because he was so respectful and kind to his grandmother. Because he would not whisper or talk to me in Sacrament Meeting or even miss going to Sacrament meeting. He honors his priesthood. I have learned that a man who honors his priesthood will honor his wife.
 When we would visit them after morning prayers he ALWAYS gave her at least 5 kisses and would say, "That should hold you until lunch time." I liked to see them kiss because I knew they liked each other.

Aunt LeRae
Gamma Rae holding Cannon after his birth.
Aunt LeRae lived 23 days. Grandpa Glen named her after her mother. She was their first child.
LeRae had an obtrusion of the small bowel. She was born with the small intestine on the outside of her stomach. After two surgeries, she passed away with mother and father's hands touching her through two small holes in her humid crib.
Every time I read this story I cry. I can't image creating life and having a baby die. I can only image the sorrow and loneliness this caused for my Grandparents.

Through it all, I matured and learned some valuable lessons:
  1. The importance of good health. I never ever cared about the sex of my babies, only if they were well. I developed an appreciation and deep gratitutde to Heavenly Father for good health. I don't take that blessing for granted. Even today I thank Him daily for our good health.
  2. The importance of the Plan of Salvation. I'm grateful to a loving Heavenly Father that will allow me to care for LeRae someday providing I live worthy.For any years I prayed vocally to be worthy of that blessing for I know she is perfect and did not need to come to earth to be tested. With the years, the words have faded from my memory but the thought is always in my heart.
  3. The gift of life and the importance to living life as obediently as possible.
  4. The gift of motherhood and parenthood.
These blessing bring into perspective her faith and desire to be obedient. Her mantra was "Be Obedient." It was said to her children and grandchildren. Often.

5 Generation Picture - Jilli, LeRae, Elmer, Liv, Superman
Fun Story:
Gamma Rae was fun especially with her grandchildren. She made each of us a sleeping bag when we turned 5. That is mostly because we were potty trained by then and we could bring our own bedding to sleep at their home. She loved to cook but didn't like a food-sneaker. If you tried to sneak while she was cooking she would poke your hand with a fork. You never did it twice. I took tap in college, and she would practice with me. The highlight was going to Thoroughly Modern Millie with her. She was all smiles after the show.
Here is one of her own stories:
Learning one's way around a new place takes experience. One evening Glen asked me to pick him up at the Oakland Airport. I piled all the children in the VW and headed toward the airport. I knew I needed to exit on the right, but when I arrived at the Bay Bridge tollgate I was a little confused. I asked the attendant, "How do I get to the Oakland Airport?" He said, "Lady, you will need to turn around." I looked across the twelve-lane freeway at rush hour and said, "How?" He responded, "When I say "GO!" turn left and drive across the lanes, go between those two buildings and get on the freeway heading the other way." He picked up a telephone and all twelve gated lowered across the bridge. He then yelled, "GO!" I put he pedal to metal and putted that bug across the freeway with the children's noses pressed against the window looking at all the stopped cars.

She was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease that later was assumed to be Lewy bodies disease. She died on the eve of Easter. She knew of the resurrection and hoped for the promised blessings.


Casey and Brittny said...

What an incredible heritage of faith you have, Wendy!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I love the last picture in particular. What a wonderful lady, and to have her stories in her own words! Priceless.

Cyndy said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman.

Sue said...

What a lovely woman, in looks and in spirit.


Kris said...

What a wonderful post! It's so great to have their memories in their own words.