After MarJean turned twelve there weren’t many birthday celebrations and if there was they were very simple. Maybe a simple cake and a small needed item as a gift. Early in the year, MarJean had started talking about how she would like her funeral to have family members celebrating and showcasing their talent.
Remembering that MarJean hadn’t really had a birthday since she was a child we decided it would be an excellent excuse for the family to perform while she is alive. We decided we would throw her a mock 16th birthday and have everyone showcase their talents at it. Celebrate instead of wait.
The day of the party MarJean had not been feeling well and had been in bed but her daughter, Lisa said that Karie’s computer wasn’t working so she was at the church library scanning pictures and needed her to identify some of the pictures to use in her book asap.
MarJean agreed to go but was going to go in her pajamas. This family is really easy going and not judgemental so Lisa didn’t think twice about saying ok and letting her go in her pajamas.
MarJean thought better about it knowing they were going to the church so she decided to change. Lisa led her into a darkened gym in the church where she could see people all on one side of the room all quiet and waiting for someone. A family member happened to notice and inform the family to turn around where we all yelled “Surprise.” It took MarJean a minute to realize the surprise was for her. The surprise was actually on us and her as she had come in the wrong way. But that’s the way we roll.
The family dressed as if in the 50’s and decorated the room to try to simulate what MarJeans 16th birthday may have been like if she had been an average sixteen-year-old growing up in the average American home.
We played all the hits of the 50’s with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny B Good, the hand jiving and all the old time greats.
Here MarJean dancing with a grandson.
We put together a photo booth. Which was real fun to see the kids play around with different poses.
The grandkids sang happy birthday to MarJean and then a few shared their talents with tumbling, dancing, and singing.
It was a great night of celebrating. It’s always a joy when family get’s together and enjoys each other.
Family Picture Time
You know how hard it is to take a picture of the family? Well, it’s really hard but so worth it!
June 26, 2017 one of my sister wives passed. Even though life was tough sharing a husband and the years after leaving polygamy we weren’t close there is a certain bond that sister wives share. One that is meaningful and that I will reflect on fondly.
Sylvias oldest daughter called me with the news and my heart broke for all the kids and my heart was heavy. I had lost a friend/ a sister. My mind went to the fond memories we had with each other. We were truly there for each other and she was a great strength.
When we were living polygamy often it was just me and Sylvia left to survive. Sylvia made sure we were taken care of. We were a team more so than with our husband.
I admired her willpower to stand up to Homer. When he didn’t have money for us she would firmly stand her ground that the family needed to be cared for and she was going to go to work and do that. My job was to watch the kids and she would go provide for us. I am so thankful that she did this as I didn’t have the courage to go out and work and I would have much rather been taking care of the children.
We complimented each other with the children. I was great with the babies and she was great with the teenage kids.
Sylvia was an excellent cook and when she made up her mind about something she went after it with a full force of energy and power.
She would work really hard and then come home for what she called a “power nap.” Then we would go clean houses together or load all the children up and go to the park for a getaway.
One time she took us to Vallarta where a cruise ship had docked. It looked like we had a little nursery school so she did her brilliant talk and convinced the worker to let us all on to explore the ship. Other times we would go watch as the airplanes came in and giggle at the type of clothes that the people would wear.
Another time we went to Tapeak for school clothes. Mexico is not known for the safety of lone women traveling so when the car had a flat we needed to get out of sight. Sylvia skillfully guided the car off the highway and the 50 foot drop so we could camp for the night until daylight when she would walk to get a tire. We laid blankets on the ground and in the back of the car. We both grabbed a hammer and a wrench to keep by our heads as we slept. We heard men walk by and one man came up and asked if we needed any help and offered to take us to his house. We were smarter than that and turned him down. A few minutes later the man came back with his pregnant wife. We decided it was safe enough, so we stayed in their small house made out of small sticks, mud, and straw with dirt floors but we felt safe for the night. In the morning this humble man and his wife fed us, probably everything they had left in the house. We offered to pay them but they said no, they were just excited because they were sure to be the talk of the town because they had taken in some American people and what a treat that was.
When we left polygamy and moved to the states Sylvia used her talents to open up a furniture store where she painted and designed custom furniture and she started painting.
Here are a few of her many talents
It was a lovely service, but such a shame that the family doesn’t get together more often for pleasant activities. It was beautiful to hear her life story and a few of the grandchildren sing. There is now about 82 total at my last count.
Sylvia will be missed. Farewell my friend, my sister. I will remember and cherish the memories we had.
Struck by lightning twice or in Danny’s case struck in a head injury car crash twice.
Danny, my little redhead was in a car accident April 6, 2016. Danny was always known for being in the center of trouble. From the youngest age Danny always had a way of making everybody laugh and yet scaring me to death. He was difficult but always kept us laughing. He filled my life so dread of what next, but so much joy as well.
As a little tyke, Danny got in the car and shifted the gear, driving it down the driveway, bumping over the neighbor’s sidewalk and stopping about two inches from going through the garage door crashing the car.
His first car accident.
We were very lucky Danny had only bumped his chin and it was the only thing bleeding.
Later that year at Christmas Danny was once again at the steering wheel and his older sister, Connie, had just jumped out of the car leaving the door open so another sibling, Larry, could get out. Connie turned and saw the car start to roll so she quickly shoved Larry back inside just as the door hit the brick wall and bent the door. Had Larry been out it would have killed him.
Danny’s second car accident.
Another time Danny had driven the neighbor’s jeep into the river. We had gone to the Serventes ranch in Mohawas, Mexico. We had a lovely day where the kids could see the turtles laying eggs and we would gather some of the eggs and eat them. Angie kept getting bit on the cheek by the Serventes monkey. It was a day filled with lots of fun and laughter.
While we were enjoying our day somehow Danny had slipped away and got in the Serventes jeep and had shifted it into gear and rolled it forward into the lake. Luckily one of the Serventes boys had seen and had jumped in before the jeep went too far into the lake.
By the time Danny was three years old he had already been in five car accidents with him at the wheel so it was no surprise that a car crash would take his life.
At sixteen Danny got in a fatal car accident that killed someone and left Danny with a head injury. After years of rehab and much effort Danny was able to regain the use of his legs…with a drag, talk…with much effort and a stutter, and even speak spanish again.
Danny went didn’t let this stop his sense of humor. Danny had daily challenges now but he still looked on them with laughter and joking.
And in fact, he looked on it with positivity. As an extreme daredevil, the accident might have been the best thing to keep him alive longer and he knew it.
Danny’s brother and sister in law took him in and offered him a great life.
Danny eventually was able to work at his brothers mechanic shop in Lehi and drive a little golf cart all around. He could be seen driving along, stopping to make people laugh and made lifelong friends on the streets of Lehi.
Danny even wrecked his golf cart. One day he backed it up into Darrin Shumways vehicle and ended up becoming best of friends. Darrin was always good to make sure Danny ate, included him in his family activities and really watched out for Danny. It has been a blessing to have special people that would watch out for Danny.
Even though Danny struggled with balance and walking he was a hard worker and a survivor.
One day while out working on his brother’s pool he got real thirsty and grabbed a bottle thinking it was water. He guzzled it down so fast and didn’t realize it was acid.
Back to the hospital for a few weeks to recover. His already difficult breathing and talking increased but he worked through it. The doctors told him no more caffeine, which Danny was known to have the biggest big gulp possible loaded with Dr. Pepper so this was a challenge for him. Needless to say, Danny never gave up his soda and he recovered quite well.
Who else can drink acid and survive? Danny was for sure a survivor.
Over the past few years Danny was slowly declining in speech, balance and his immune system was weakening. Even though he was still a positive joy you could sense he struggled with loneliness. He would say “you know I will probably never get married?” Through it all, he would say it with a smile or turn it into a joke but you could see it was wearing on him.
Last year, on his way home from a dentist appointment. Danny’s car was T-boned on his side. Instantly sending him to the hospital with the same head injury as the first accident. We could all just picture Danny making a joke of getting hit by lightning twice, but instead getting hit by car accident instead.
Danny survived for almost a week when we decided he wouldn’t want to keep going. The best thing for him was to let him go. The family voted and decided to disconnect him from everything.
I will miss my baby boy and while no mother should have to outlive their child I am at peace knowing his body is healed, healthy and out of pain and that he is with a loving Heavenly Father and one day I will see him again. He provided us with lots of love and laughter that to this day will bring us laughter as we remember.
Danny was such a joy that even his funeral went down for fun. We had the typical ceremony and buried him. Then back at the house, we had mariachis play and sing, we ate Danny’s favorite Mexican food and people shared their funny stories of Danny we all went home with laughter in our heart and a gratitude that Danny had brought so much humor and an example of a positive attitude in our life.
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