BACK TO AUSTIN
We came back to Austin and moved in with Ruth and Ramon and I started baby sitting with Sarah and Timothy while Jeannie worked. She found a job with a company taking telephone calls about cargo for " American Airlines, She only made six dollars an hour to start but got a raise soon. Sarah started to kindergarten and Timothy went to day care so I took care of them only in an emergency. Mandi is there when they come home from school so she takes care of them now. They were staying for after school care in their school, Norman Elementary, but that is very expensive and since Mandi is there it works out fine.
Anlo went to Mexico with a group of youth but he never took a birth certificate or passport. They went on into Belize and he got in, by walking in and not stopping at the immigration, but bad to go to Belize City to get a passport so called to get money which they sent him. The group stayed with Beverly and Fred in Corozal and Anlo sneaked into Guatemala and back into Belize so he would have a stamp on the passport. He has been a very lucky person.
We went to San Marcus river float that the Assembly sponsors every year and Loeva Hockly was there. Baha'is come from all around to the float. Loeva told us about the teaching in Houston in which we had been invited to participate, but after talking to Loeva we decided we couldn't pay our way and couldn't accept the ten- dollar a day stipend because we couldn't go from 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM as they wanted their teachers to do, according to her. We are too old to do that now.
Ruth was sick when we got to Austin and finally decided she must go to the doctor. He told her that she has fibro-mialgia but she ran out of the medication and hated to go back. She was taking prosaic but has discovered that medication doesn't work. She exercises and tries to get enough rest. Her job can be very stressful and that doesn't help. Both Ruth and Ramon were coordinators of the Baha'i Youth Workshop but have stopped that now. Jeannie also worked with the workshop for a while and now Mandi is working with them and she is really good with teaching the youth the steps to take.
Bob and I were responsible for the Community Firesides at the Baha'i Center for a couple years but decided to let someone else do them in 1999. We are both busy doing other things. While we were doing them John and Eleanor Conkling would assist with a Unity Feast once a month but that didn't work out well, They worked at the National Baha'i Center for fourteen years than went to Haifa for that many years working for the Universal House of Justice. They are both in their upper seventies at this time in 1999 and will also celebrate fifty years of marriage in the year 2000. They chose to retire in Austin.
We were always delighted when someone came to the fireside and declared their belief in Baha'u'llah, Farnaz Masumian taught a comparative religion class at Austin Community college and she asked her students to visit the different religious organizations in town so many would come to the Baha'i Center and several of them became Baha'is. Farnaz was always saying how wonderful Bob and I were at the firesides. That is one way that we taught the Baha'i Faith. I feel that I am not doing near enough to teach the Cause. I told Ruth that I would be the 'Wardrobe mistress' for the workshop and that would help her. She was so busy with her schoolwork and the workshop that she couldn't do any more. Ramon decided to help her with the workshop and that really helped.
As I said, our grandchildren have given us moments of pleasure and also days of sorrow. We worry about them as we did our children but can't do much about their actions. My mother told me, "When the children are young they step on your toes, but when they are grown they step on your heart." Now, I find that the grandchildren do the same. I love them all but sometimes get very frustrated with them. When they are young we really get tickled with them and the little things they do such as when Ronny was just a few months old, big enough to sit at the edge of the creek we were in Arkansas having a picnic with the neighborhood club. Dee Dee was in the water playing and ever once in a while she would come over to Ronny amid splash him with the cold, cold water. He would cry because he hated cold water and she would say. "I'm so sorry," Then go right back and do it again. She didn't mind the cold so why should he? She would go out in the creek and pull off her swim suit and Beverly would get her back on the bank and put it back on her and soon she would have it off again. She didn't like to wear it.
When Ronny was two or three years old he was running through the house, playing batman with a tea towel pinned around his nick for his cape. As he went by Dee Dee he called out, "You want to be my bat-wife, Dee Dee. When she said "NO," be was so hurt.
About that same time he wanted me to read to him but I was busy with something at that time, so he asked Dee Dee to read. She said, 'You know I can't read." He said, "Well, hurry up and learn" He did learn toread but has dyslexia so it is hard for him and he gets tired after a little bit. We were studying "The Advent of Divine Justice' when he was living with Bob and me in Belize and after reading two or three pages he would have to stop. Ronny had such a deep spiritual understanding of the Writings. When he was on the National Youth Committee in Belize he would give his opinion about something and the adult who happened to be Judi Behrendt would criticize his thinking but sometimes I think it was because be had a deeper understanding than she did
When Dee Dee was about a year old Beverly brought her over to our house wearing a new dress that she had made. Bob got the camera out and ended up taking a whole role of film of her in her new dress. She got into the posing bit and acted like a model. She wasn't two years old yet, but they learn early sometimes.
After her naming, which is the only one that any of our grandchildren have had, every picture of Dee Dee would show a light that obstructed the view of the person holding her. We don't know what it was but as far as I, know all those pictures have disappeared. Bob had one for many years that he carried in his wallet but it also disappeared. Dee Dee was very active as a Baha'i while she lived in Belize. And we were sorry to see her leave. She went to Corpus Christi to live with Ruth and go to high school but when they found that they would have to pay $3000 tuition because they were not her guardians she went back to Alaska to live with her dad and go to school. She graduated and is now married and has two beautiful children.
Cody was born on my birthday, April 5, 1994. Dee Dee came to Oklahoma and to Austin in 1996 so Beverly came up to see her and Cody. We did enjoy them. Beverly stayed for two weeks although she had planned to stay only one week. Her sisters kept her busy sewing and making things. She helped Ruth decoupage two tables, attended Sunday morning classes at the Baha'i Center with me, sewed a suit for Jeannie, and made all of us want her to be here always.
Anlo was such a self-determined child. When we were in Corpus Christi he was two years old and we took him to the beach. Someone had to watch him at every moment as he would run out and jump
in the water. He still does, only now he has a surf- board with him and we don't watch him. Anlo could throw big fits when he didn't get what he wanted. Once Ruth left him with Grandpa Bob and he
threw himself down and Bob kicked him in the butt and said that he didn't put up with that. The next time they left him he
started to do the same but remembered Grandpa was with him and he jumped backup and straightened out in a hurry. Anlo is a great swimmer and competed many times as a youth but doesn't do it anymore. He has made many trips to Mexico with Mike Peterzack, Auxiliary board Member for Mexico, for teaching projects. Once Will was teaching a class at a Baha'i Winter School for Onlo's age group and he asked them what they would like to do when they got older. Anlo, without hesitation, said that be wanted to be a Baha'i teacher and he has gone a lot of places to teach. He has worked on a lot of videos for the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and also for Mexico.
Jon was such a cute little boy. Of course, he always lived close to us and we could enjoy him all the rime. Roy was his idol and also taught him things. Once when be was at our house be was running
around looking for something and when Jeannie asked him what he was looking for he said, "I have to go to the bathroom and I need something to read." He didn't know how to read but that's what
Uncle Roy did so he though be was supposed to do it too. Jon had to go to the hospital when he was a few months old and his mother was sick and his father was sick and I was sick. We all had the
flu, so had to leave him for the first night by himself. He was allergic to the penicillin and the shot made a rash on his bottom. The next night someone was there with him. He had pneumonia. One
day he was standing out by the fence between us and Packs and the boys were teaching him to box. Jeannie got upset! While he and Mandi were with us in Belize and Jeannie was in the States we would
give them eggs and toast for breakfast and they loved cheese omelets so that's what I cooked for them most of the time. I didn't want them to eat a lot of sugar as they went a little 'ape' when
they did so I would give them peanuts or peanut butter sandwiches for recess
instead of money to buy the sweets from the venders who came by school every day during the recess.
Jon told his mother some things the boys did in Belize when they were very young but I don't think I want to know. We like to think our grandchildren are smarter than we were but now I know better. I wonder why we don't learn from watching our elders instead of having to go through so much ourselves. Read the Baha'i Writings and see what they say. Especially, read the Writings of Shoed Effendi as He tells us exactly what we should be doing. If we are busy doing what the Writings say we don't have time for acting otherwise. The best way to teach is by our example and not by what we say.
Mandi was a cute little girl but she never had any concept of time. When she started to school in Belize we couldn't get her to come home when she got out of school. She would go home with a
fiend sometimes and once she stopped to watch a woman make bread. Jeannie was in the States getting her divorce and that is why the children were staying with Bob and me. I would go up looking for
Mandi when she didn't get home after school. Once we found her sitting on the sea wall looking out at the water. She had a girl friend named Norma and when I asked her if Norma was Hispanic or
Black she said, "O no, she's like me.
Everyone in my room is just like me." A few days later I was at her school and looked in on her class. She was the only white girl in there, but everyone was the same to her. She's still the same way about time and people. So we asked her teacher to keep her in the room until Jon got out about an hour later, so she could walk home with him and that worked.
When Dee Dee was small they lived next door to Ruth and Ramon and Dee Dee loved her Uncle Ramon. She was sitting on his lap one day and noticed Ruth's hand against his skin and she discovered the difference. Ruth's hand was so white and Ramon's skin was so dark. Children usually don't know the difference until someone calls their attention to the difference in the color of people's skin. They should be given the quotes of Baha'u'llah, "You are the flowers of one garden."
Vahideh used to pout when she got mad. Delia always sent her to her room if she acted badly so she would just go marching down the hall if she was corrected. If a roach got in the doorway-dead or alive-she would never pass it, She would stay in that room all day if her Mother didn't rescue her and of course, she always did. After Will's wedding we came back in a pick-up and she would pout if she got mad about something. So her Grandpa told her if she didn't pout anymore he would get her something. She started several times to pout then remembered what he said and would straighten right up, She may be over that now.
Corwin always had a deep voice and it would boom out like a big mans when he talked. He started to school in Belize along with the other kids. The children wore uniforms: white shirts and dark pants for the boys and white blouses with dark jumpers for the girls. One day he came home without a shirt. He said he had taken it off and was dragging it along behind him and didn't know what happened to it. Ruth didn't find it when she went to look. Someone had already picked it up. I think he also lost a pair of shoes.
Jay has that big voice like Cory and uses it. He was such a delightful baby, so good natured and still is. Mary loved to rock him and still claims to have spoiled him while she was in Belize, and its true. He is a very intelligent boy and learned to use the computer when he was three. We had taken an old computer to Belize, the National Spiritual Assembly of Belize didn't want it so Bobby took it and learned to operate it with the books of instruction for programming so he put in programs for the kids to learn from, Now they have a good one and all of them use it. When they came to Florida Jay was put in a gifted children's class because he already knew so much. Children start to school much earlier in Belize than they do here or in Florida. But when Bobby's children started to school in Florida they had to take tests to see how well they knew English because they had a Spanish speaker in the house: Delia. They found that Jay and Vahideh were on a much higher level than their age should have been.
Tahireh was born a doll and still is, Delia got a hammock that she hung over her bed but Jay wouldn't leave her alone. He loved to swing that hammock and it made her cry because she was frightened, so Delia took it down and she had to stay in her bed. But she would sleep in her swing that hung in the doorway and got the breeze from the fan. It was June and very hot in Belize.
Patrick was a cutey too. He was born in Belize and I went to Jeannie's to take care of him and her. Mike was there but he was at our house sick with the malaria. He had just come from Saudi Arabia so didn't have time to get bitten by a mosquito in Belize. Bob went to the doctor and told him how Mike was doing and Dr. Garcia gave hint the medicine and something for a shot. So Mike slept in our bed and Bob slept in the hammock and I went to care for Jeannie and Patrick. I always had to get up at night as I drank so much and that night was no exception. I went back and held up the hammock and sat down in it and fell right over backwards. The hammock was folded up and I didn't know it. I fell on my ring finger and it swelled up so much that Bob had to cut of my wedding ring. I still don't have it fixed. I had never had it off my finger. Mike was still sick a few days later when he went to Oklahoma and then on back to Saudi Arabia where he was working.
Jeannie came back to Belize when Pat was almost a year old and he would cry if his Mother wasn't there to put him to sleep. I would swing him in the hammock and tell him to listen to the dog, to the cat, and to any other animal I could think of and make a sound like. Each time I made a sound he would shut up, listen and finally go to sleep. He was and is so blonde that the Belizean would just love him and make over him so much. That's the way they were with Mandi and Jon.
Bobby came to the States when Sarah was a tiny baby and he thought at first glance there was something wrong with her as she was so white. He was used to seeing babies that were dark including his own. But he saw that she was blonde like her mother.
Someone asked Jeannie what she thought Sarah would be when she grew up and Jeannie said, "I don't know but whatever it is she will be boss." She does like to boss people around especially Timothy. She used to tell him when he didn't want to play the same thing that she did, "I won't be your friend:' Of course, he is her little brother.
One day I was over at Jeannie's, Timothy came out on the porch and looking up at the sky, saw the wind blowing the clouds. His little mouth fell open and he said, "Grandma, the sky is moving."
It is fun to watch the grandchildren and now the great grandchildren grow up. Especially, since we can watch and not be entirely responsible for them.
A TEACHING STORY
We heard from several people about this story, even from Belize. A woman named Melanie New had become a Baha'i in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and she said that she had always believed that all the Messengers Came from the same God and also would like to know a religion that would accept all people. When she was telling her mother about her beliefs her mother told her to look up the Baha'is. So she did and accepted the Baha'i Faith. Later, she asked her mother where she had heard of the Baha'i Faith, supposing that she had heard about It when she went to college late in her life. She told her that she had heard about it from her neighbor, Mr. Hutchcraft, who lived down the street. He had gone pioneering to Belize fifteen years ago. Melanie wanted to meet him and thank him for herself and her children. They had peace of mind, now. So, when we went to the farm in Maude for a dedication of the Seminole Ceremonial Grounds she was there and we met. She has two adopted daughters who are from different countries. Since then we have received Christmas cards from her and it seems the Faith is her life now. We went by to see her parents and met her father who was not impressed, but who knows?
There is only one Hand of the Cause still living now. Mr. Varqa was in Dallas in 1999, so Mary and I drove up to see him. Ruth and Ramon had gone with the workshop to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a program on Race Unity day and since there was no program for them to do on Sunday they drove back to Dallas. They were all very tired but so pleased to be there. Patrick was disappointed because he never got to shake hands with Mr. Varqa but some people were taking pictures with him and asking for his autograph and Ruth did not think that was appropriate. She thought they should be more respectful of Mr. Varqa and she told Patrick that. I'm sure that Mr. Varqa didn't mind but he was getting older and was probably tired.
Mary and I went in her car and were not exactly sure where to go, as usual. We drove about where we thought the hotel was and went down a street, all at once she turned around and went back. Sure enough, right in front of us was the hotel. We were there!
Ruth and Ramon had taken the workshop to Mexico during the spring break. Ruth and Ramon drove their van and Elizabeth Foster drove some of the kids down to Reynosa in her van and then they caught a bus and went to the mountains in the middle of Mexico for a few days. We were worried about how Ruth would do, but she walked down the mountain and back up again with the kids to do some teaching. They slept with a family on the dirt floor and really loved it, They had their sleeping bags. Then they went to Monterrey on the bus and did six performances in two days. They were able to perform in some colleges that no one else had been able to do. They were able to stay with a wealthy Baha'i in Monterrey and were quite comfortable. Then they took the bus back to Reynosa. Elizabeth went back to get them and they got home in time to go back to school. Patrick and Mandi and Cory went on that trip.
In 1997, Kendra and Jonathan Edwards were married in Zilker Park in Austin and both families were present. There was a feeling of unity among all of them. Jonathan's father would not accept Kendra at first because she was a Baha'i but she won him over with her sweetness and he saw that she was not a 'devil'. They are very nice people. Ruth's first granddaughter was born in August and is a sweetheart and very smart. At two years old she knew all her alphabet, numbers to ten and more and many colors. She doesn't forget what she hears and repeats it very plainly.
We now have eight great-grandchildren, Dee Dee. has two: Cody, born on my birthday, April 5, 1995, and Victoria Emma born July 20, 1999. Jon has a daughter that his girl friend's aunt and uncle adopted. They were in Austin, called Jeannie so they could come to see her and I went with them. She is a lovely girl, Alyssa, born on Mandi's birthday, November 13,1998. They are very good parents for her and are very nice people. It is an open adoption, which means that Jon can see her any time, but they live in California and told Jon that he was welcome to come to see her and them anytime. Ronny has a daughter, Samantha, named after Sammy who died just before she was born, in Alaska. We have only seen her pictures but she is very pretty. Mandi has a darling little boy, Rhone Liar, born June 14, 2001, and Kendra is divorced, married again to a wonderful young man, and has a sweet little boy, Raven. Cory has a little boy. Skylar Dane, born May 24, 2000. With Ali; Kendra's, first that makes eight They are all wonderful. Bob and I thank God that we have lived long enough to see and love our Great-Grandchildren.
In 1997, Foy and Yvonne Justice invited us to go with them out to West Texas for a vacation so off we went. They have a travel trailer that would sleep us all. We stayed at Balmoray State Park that is close to where Yvonne lived as a child. There is a swimming pool that is fed by cold, cold springs and I just couldn't go in but the rest enjoyed it very much. They went swimming every day and I watched. We went over to see the McDonald observatory and looked at the stars through the telescopes, about four of them. They are beautiful and I recommend that to everyone. We didn't see the Marfa lights but learned all about how they light up at night and no one knows where or why. Every day we played cards and the rest will never let me forget how many times I won. Seems my luck was very good, but isn't so good any more. The people that were the tourist helpers came over the last day we were there and told us there was a complaint that we were the only ones in the park having such a good time. We played cards outside and laughed so much and so loud. We were there for eleven days of great fun and rest.
Clifford and Edna, Jack and Pauline came to stay for a few days with Mary. They went to Sea World in San Antonio but Bob had signs of pneumonia and I as usual had a strange illness so we didn't go with them. We did go to Mary's and played cards. On the last day Mary and I took Jack and Pauline to the State capitol of Texas for a tour. On the way back to Mary's we ran into trouble. A trunk driver had an accident on the interstate and held up traffic for three hours. The truck had chemicals and no one could go by until they were all cleaned up. We were three and a half hours going to Mary's when it usually took thirty minutes. It was hot and I was worried because Pauline had had a stroke a few weeks before and Jack has Parkinson's and I was not too well yet. But we made it and they left for Fort Worth and Dale's house as soon as they could that very day. But while we were stopped on the highway a man in a pick-up truck drove up beside us on the shoulder and motioned to Mary, who was driving her car, to let him get in front of her. We had had several people already doing that and she wouldn't move and he rolled down his window and yelled out that she was going to hit him. So Jack told him that he shouldn't have driven up there and I told him that we were four old people who had been in line for hours and hot and he better get in line like the test of us and I called him a jack rabbit, and I really meant 'jackass' but didn't want to embarrass everyone. He backed up and we never saw him again. I think he was afraid that those old people were going to get out and beat him up. And we felt like It. Clifford and Edna had already left for Fort Worth and Mark's house so missed out on the fun.
In 1997 Bob called Bobby and asked him did he want our Toyota pick-up and he did so we drove out to Florida and I went because I didn't want Bob to drive by himself, I think maybe we don't have many years left and I don't want us to be separated unless its necessary. I was taking care of Jeannie's two children, Sarah and Timothy, because Mandi had gone to Florida to see her Uncles, Aunts and cousins because she needed a change. She, at that time wouldn't go to California to see her Dad but that has changed and she has been to see him as well as he has been here to se his children and grandchildren. The first day of traveling I slept all day and then we stopped at a hotel and I slept all night and all the next morning. Bob said it was like being alone. The starter on the pick-up quit so we drove to Will's as Bob thought he had tools for him to work on the car with. We spent the weekend with Will and Bob fixed the starter before we took it over to Bobby. Will quit his job with the roofing company and is now a supervisor with a company constructing houses. He likes the job building houses but they are too expensive for him to buy. We went with Will and Blanca to a party at his boss' house and met some of the people that he works with,
On Sunday we went to the Baha'i Center in Jacksonville ate lunch together and went on to Bobby's house. They have pear trees and there were many pears on them so the kids peeled them and Bobby put them in a syrup and put them in the freezer, Delia works at Taco Bell and Bobby worked in Green Cove Springs as a foreman of maintenance at a factory that makes roofing material. He now is doing the job of the engineer and makes designs for the plant.
Vahideh was a tall, slim girl of fourteen Jay, a tall. chubby boy of ten, Tahireh, a just right girl of seven. She ate a lot and I worried about her going back to school and starving, as she
can't eat all day then. Bobby rented some videos so we could see "Grumpy Old Men 1 and 2", and also "Twister". We laughed at
Tahireh when she got so excited at "Twister" she yelled "Why don't they just get to hell out of there?"
Bobby took Mandi and Vahideh to the Baha'i Center in Jacksonville on Friday night and on Saturday. Mandi taught them some routines that they did in Austin and Bob watched in awe and astonishment at the way that Mandi taught them so well when he went after them.
We went to Will's so we could be there when he had his surgery on Friday. He had fallen again and hurt his shoulder and now the doctor was going to scrape the bones that were rubbing together and hurting him. It was a painful operation and Will was very nervous afterwards. Jordi ran through the house as usual and jarred the floor. That hurt Will and he told Jordi not to do it but Jordi forgot and went again. There is some sort of magic between Jordi and Bob (Grandpa). It is called 'love'. We tried to help as much as possible. Bob took Will to get the surgery and dressed him and I fed him when he got home.
We had tickets from Jeannie to go to Toronto on American Airlines so Bobby took us to Orlando Airport. We flew to Chicago and from there on to Toronto where we rented a car and drove over to Roy's. They didn't know we were coming so were quite surprised to see us. We were there a week and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. They are all so nice to be around.
In 1997 Ramon had an idea to have a rally and march, not for the unity of any one group but for the unity of mankind. He presented his idea to the Local Spiritual Assembly and they appointed a committee to plan it. The Teaching Committee thought it would be good if different people would go to areas in Texas and talk to the Baha'is about coming for the teaching and the march. There was a teaching plan with the teachers staying with Baha'is in Austin and meeting at the Baha'i Center every morning. The 'march' was held at the same time as the South by Southwest Conference and students were on spring break. We marched from Houston-Tillotson University to Fiesta Gardens about a mile. The teaching was done in that area.
c Bob and I were going to Arizona to be with Lauretta King after the death of her husband, Lynn. We couldn't be there for his funeral but wanted to go while she was still there. So we went out in February of 1998. We stayed in the same hotel as Lauretta and went with her to supper at the home of some Baha'is the very night that we arrived, Her daughter, Laurie, was still there although the boys had all gone back home by the time we reached. Bill was in re-hab and thought he should go back, We met and enjoyed being with several Baha'is while we were there. They were taking good care of Lauretta and giving her lots of support. We stopped at Dody and Sherry's on the way down and went back for a few days. Then went to Dessert Rose Baha'i Institute to meet Lauretta and visit with Margaret Sears who invited us to lunch. The place belonged to William and Margaret Sears and they donated it to the faith. It is a lovely place although far from towns in between Phoenix and Tucson.
We stopped in El Paso at the Heydarians: Cyrus and Ruhi, Nossi and children, Behi, and their mother who lives with Cyrus. We spent the night with them and I discovered Mrs. Heydarian and I were exactly the same age having been born on the same day and the same year. We have been friends for many years and never knew that before. A dinner was scheduled with another family for all the Baha'is around so we had the opportunity to tell them all about the rally. Cyrus went to medical school but now runs a salvage yard in El Paso and Behi was running one at that time but has since gone to the World Center to work. Nossi is a podiatrist and lives across the street from Cyrus.
From there we went to Lubbock to see Beverly Sand-Usher and her daughter, Althea. We met with their Assembly and told them about the rally and Beverly and Althea came a few days before the march to help with the teaching. While There Beverly met Larry Alexander and they almost Had a romance but have decided to stay friends. At least we got to see Beverly and Althea several times when she came to visit Larry.
It was a lovely trip and we really enjoyed seeing the Baha'is everywhere. We stayed a couple days with Doty and Sherry and I went with them to see Evis who had gone back into a nursing home.
She had to have her leg cut off because the nursing home she had been in had not taken care of sores on that leg. The girls sued the nursing home and won. The other leg was taken care of by the
nursing home she was in then. She didn't know who I was but was glad to see me especially the second night I went. Sometimes she
would get confused as to which one was Sherry and which was Dody. They went every night to feed her supper. One of her grandsons went at noon. They all loved her very much and she was happy. She passed away in 1999 after being in a coma for two weeks. At her request her body was donated to a University for scientific research. Both Dody and Sherry are Baha'is. They both take care of the shop and live together. I wish that all sisters could be as close as they are. They received an award, I think from the City of Globe, for being such good shop owners.
The Baha'i Center was just not big enough so the Baha'is of Austin decided to buy a bigger place and hope to outgrow it soon. The Assembly offered $300,000 for a building that Conquest Airlines had owned and gone bankrupt. It was accepted so the work of redecorating began. The Baha'is did a lot of the work and had to hire some done but it turned out to be a lovely place. We tore out the old dirty rugs and some walls so there would be a large meeting room and a large social room that had tables and chairs and cabinets and the refrigerator and microwaves were brought from the old center that was sold to a Spanish Church of Christ. There are six more rooms where classes are held and a room for the bookstore. We are very crowded now in the social room when there is an area wide celebration or program going on.
I have trained with Literacy Austin to teach adults to read or speak English as a second language. l taught a couple from Mexico. They were transferred here by his company and had already taken English classes its Mexico. They are a very lovely couple and since have bought a home in. Pflugerville. They are now working for another company. I felt very privileged to teach them. They were college graduates from a college in Mexico City. I have always thought how terrible it would be to not be able to read. The Assembly of Austin gave me permission to teach in the Baha'i Center as long as someone was there so having two people was just right. Yvonne took the training and for over a year taught English to a lady. Jeannie lives in a mobile home park where there are many Mexicans living and for a while taught children's classes and also some English as a second language to some people. But she had to stop. She didn't have room for them all. Then she started to hold the classes in the recreation building in the trailer park but that didn't work out so she isn't having them anymore.
In the summer of 1998 we had our first reunion in Austin. Roy and Family were the only ones that didn't get to come but all our other children attended. Beverly and Fred came up from Belize. Fred was going to stay just a few days but stayed for two weeks. He attended a fireside that Bob gave and afterward at home signed his Baha'i card. He said that he knew people who would pay a thousand dollars for the talk that Bob gave. Bob explained to him that now that he was a Baha'i they needed to get married and they did. We sent his card along with a letter of consent for their marriage and a letter of recommendation to the National Spiritual Assembly of Belize. He felt the love that we all have for him.
Bobby and Delia could only stay a few days and Will and Blanca were also going to Mexico so left too soon.
Dody and Sherry came from Arizona; Clifford and Edna came from Oklahoma; Kay and Kristina Kirtley came from Norman, Oklahoma; Joy and Terry Schmidt and boys, Marin and Nolan came from Fort Worth, Texas. And of course, Foy and Yvonne Justice and their sons, Steve, his wife, Karen and their daughter, Katy came. Mary, Betty and Zackery, Kathy and Heath; Delia's mother was visiting them from Belize so she came; Jerry's girl friend came with Will and Blanca. Ramon's sister, Virginia, also came. Nabil and Nadra and her sisters, the twins, Bayyieh and Tahireh were visiting from Belize so they were there.
We had a potluck picnic at Zilker Park in the same place where Kendra's reception after her wedding was held. The young ones all went swimming in Barton Springs pool. We went early and stayed late and it was hot but no one seemed to mind; we all enjoyed being together. No one wanted to leave so we stayed after dark, talking.
Beverly and Fred were married March 28, 1999. Bob and I planned to go and Bob had talked to Foy about going and they decided to go and drive their van. So we told Mary that she might as well go too. But she had no passport as hers had elapsed. She told Betty and Betty told her, "My friend got one in one day!" On Sunday, Mary and I drove to Houston. Kathy and Nathan were already in Houston visiting a friend so we drove to her friend's house. Kathy took us to a motel that night, came after us the next morning and drove us to the passport office. Mary asked for a passport and was told that they didn't usually give them in a few hours if one was driving but she got hers in about five hours. It cost her $35 extra but it was worth it. We drove back to Austin ready to go! The next morning Foy and Yvonne came by and picked up Mary and me. Bob had taken the pick-up over to their house to leave while we were gone.
We drove to Brownsville and stayed the night in a Motel 6 so we could be fresh to start the trip in Mexico early the next morning. So, early the next morning we were on the road in Mexico. We drove to Tuxpan and drove around the gulf tying to find a motel We missed the Chinese restaurant where we liked to eat and drove around and around until we came upon that hotel. We checked in and stayed the night with Mary and I and Foy and Yvonne in one room and Bob staying in the van. We slept okay and left early the next morning and stopped in Villa Hermosa. Same thing happened. We drove around and around and finally found the Hotel George. It was a nice place with a swimming pool. We kept up our custom of playing cards before retiring each night. In fact we played by the swimming pool in our bathing suits. We had no trouble driving through Mexico; it was a nice trip.
Into Belize, no trouble at the border, and up to Beverly's, knocked on the door, and surprised her, as she didn't know we were coming. They had invited a few people to the wedding and Beverly cooked dinner for everyone. Of course, we helped and cleaned up afterwards. Fred and Beverly were very happy. His daughter, Becky, was there with her four girls and her companion, Carlos. Fred's mother lived with them but wasn't well enough to attend. Habib Kar and his adopted son were there, he to represent the National Spiritual Assembly and sign their marriage license. He and Fred have been friends for many years.
We all decided to stay at the Maya Hotel for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but after the wedding, Mary; Bob and I slept on air mattresses that we took with us and Foy and Yvonne slept in their van. We slept out on the back porch that had started out to be a room, but when they lost money with the store they didn't build on and it's a good thing as the floor sank. Beverly and Fred gave their room to his mother and they slept on mattresses that they put down every night in their living room.
We stayed with them for a week and then went around the country to see our old friends. The first place was to San Ignacio in the Western Cayo District. We stayed the first night with our dear friends, the Nablos. Sylvia, their daughter, and husband with two precious little girls were there and some friends from Canada. To see Edna and Ron Nablo was a thrill Then we went over to the Maya Mountain Lodge to see Susie and Bart Mickler and their twins who were in Austin for our family reunion last year. They had extra rooms and no guests so we stayed with them for a couple days so we could go visit with Ms. Lee, Ms. Hortense; Estella and Loyola, the Waight girls; and Art Wegener. Then on to Dangriga to see Simon and Josephine Arana, James Arena, Martin Lorenzo, Aurora and Terese, two sisters; and Ms. Aggie. We stayed in a nice motel by the sea and of course, played cards with the bed substituting as a table.
We left the next morning for Punta Gorda about a hundred miles south. Ms. Dami Martinez was home as usual and we discovered that Trudy had left in the middle of the night and she hadn't
heard from her in
several months. She was fifteen years old. Endira, a Mayan girl that Dami raised, was there with a baby; also Heisy with a baby. Heisy is the daughter of an African-American that went to Honduras, met a
prostitute and ended up with a daughter so brought her to Dami to raise, which she did. Gordon: his mother brought him to Dami when he was a baby as she was a teacher in one of the villages and couldn't take him with her. But she came back a couple of times then just left him for Dami to raise. He also came in to say hello. Dami also had her sister who was not well, to care for, she is now deceased. A Baha'i named Emma came by and a meeting was set up for that night. Helen, also known as Candy, came; Miriam came with her baby and another Baha'i with his daughter. We stopped at the store to see Jesse who is Miriam's aunt and she asked about the Fast. She wondered if she stopped for a reason could she start again. I told her yes, and later wrote a letter to explain about the Fast.
Ludwig Palacio came by and invited us to his house and Yvonne and I went along with Dami down just about a half block. He is a veterinarian and had written a book of poetry he wanted us to see and to meet his wife. I bought his book of poetry and wanted to say them at Expressions but need a Creole accent to do it correctly. His Mother and brothers and sister are all Baha'is but he has never joined as yet. Several years ago I was in Punta Gorda and he was at Dami's talking to us and with his accent as near as possible to mine said, "Ms Emma, I love to hear you talk." His mother is Dami's cousin and he calls her Aunty.
We stayed at a new hotel just across from the sea and Yvonne had to go stick her toe in the water. We hated to leave so quickly but we had only a certain length of time to stay so we left the next morning and went back to San Ignacio to Maya Mountain Lodge to the same rooms we had before. The twins were home and we all went in the swimming pool in the evening. The next day we went once again to see Estella Pott and her sister and then to see Shelton Arena, the son of Simon and Josephine. He has a little lady and two children. When a pioneer artist was in Dangriga Shelton learned to paint landscapes so is selling those paintings to tourists and others and hopes to set up a studio and give lessons to would be artists in the down-stairs part of his house. We drove down to see Mr. and Mrs. McDougal and their daughter, Delia. Their daughter, Molly, lives in Austin. And we also went to Cristo Rey in Cayo to see Marcelo Tzib and his wife.
We stopped again in Belmopan at the Rabbani's and called James Elijio who walked over to Rabbani's and took us back to his home to meet his wife. James is working for the Development Organization of the United Nations, and uses his knowledge of the Baha'i Faith principles in his work. We also went to the hospital to see Lilly's, (one of the Waight girls), husband who was very sick with a kidney decease and has since died from it.
We went on to Belize City where we found Rezvan Ahmadiyeh's home. She and Billy were the only ones there as the other three were in the States going to school. Years ago Dr. Ahmadiyeh bought some property and Rezvan has been able to have a house built on it now. She teaches high school.
We remembered where the National Baha'i Center is and took a trip to see it. It was not finished yet when we left but is very nice now. It had been the home of Ms. Shirley until she died and
then was left to the National Spiritual Assembly. We met the lovely Indian woman who is the caretaker, but missed seeing Terese Elijio who works there, as it was Saturday and she was off someplace.
She has now gone to
Honduras, married and has a baby girl. Then we drove on to Orange Walk to the Kar's home and spent the night with them. They have a big beautiful house but it is not built for the climate in Belize and is very hot even with the fans going. Ferri has so many problems and they have multiplied with her girls both in the States. I talked with Counselor Miller and explained to her the worries that Ferri has and asked her to see her. Ferri and Habib are now in the States someplace but I don't know where.
We went back to Beverly's to visit three more days. We slept out again but this time there was a lot of wetness so the last night we went to the new hotel in town. One night it rained so we
picked up our
mattresses and went inside for a while. They lived right on the Bay of Corozal but the mud is so thick we couldn't go swimming, even though we tried and got in the mud knee deep. I was disappointed as I love to go into the Bay and did so much when we lived there. Beverly made me a new swim-suit and I really wanted to use it.
Beverly was busy sewing for people, and making crafts. We played cards and talked and ate. Fred said that they should feed us so much we couldn't get through the door and we would have to stay longer. They almost did. Beverly is an excellent cook.
We did go visit people in Corozal District; The Bencomos in Cristo Rey, who loaded us with fruit when we left, as usual; Bernice Sapal, Austin Southerland, and Delia's mother, Orelia Meggs,
in Libertad; and
Yvonne Lammey, and some other Baha'is in Corozal Town.
It was especially nice to see Yvonne Lammey Her daughter, Ebony, was born in our van, as Jeannie was taking her to the hospital. Her husband kept saying, "Stop the van," and Yvonne kept saying, "No, get to the hospital." Jeannie kept going and telling him what to do. Now she has another lovely girl Her son, Harold„ was Jon's friend, and her son Jonathan, was Vahideh's friend and he was 'in love' with her when they were in kindergarten.
Beverly wrote that she is on a Teaching Committee with others in the district and that they have meetings once a month and the first month twenty people came. So, that was good news. They have several new Baha'is. Beverly went over to Chetumal with us and it was very difficult to leave her standing on the sidewalk telling us goodbye. She took the bus back to Corozal. Our next stop was Villa Hermosa in the hotel George. It was very hot that day and we were really tired by the time we got there and if I remember right that was one night we didn't play cards. But the next day was not so hot so we played before going to sleep. We were in a motel on the gulf between Vera Cruz and Tampico where we have stayed several times. It is right on the water. Foy slept in the van because he said Bob was too tall to be comfortable. On to Brownsville and the Motel 6 and back to Austin tired but happy. We had a wonderful time and hope that we can do it again.
While we were at Beverly's Jeannie called from Wendy's. She had gone after the pick-up when her car failed to run (it went wrong) and Bob forgot to leave the key. Rachel, a friend of Beverly's was there from Boston for her wedding so she took the key back to Boston and mailed it special delivery to Jeannie. After we got home she called that she would be in Austin to visit friends and she came by to see us.
In October, 1995, Clifford and Edna, Jack and Pauline, and Mary were going to Las Vegas by way of the Grand Canyon and Debra couldn't go with them so they asked me to go and Bob said
that he would stay with the children if I would go so I did. We stopped to see the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Albuquerque, Dody and Sherry and Family and Evis, Hoover Dam, Rode the paddle
boat on Lake Mead; stayed two days in Las Vegas and by way of Utah to Colorado and the Royal Gorge Canyon where we rode a trolley across the canyon on the longest suspension bridge, went down to
the bottom of the canyon in a rail car, fed deer on the way in to the canyon and stopped to shop in the store and bought a ring or two.
We stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, at Boot Hill Museum and on to home. It was a nice trip but I missed Bob and wished he could have gone. We stayed in some seedy motels and I'll always wonder why we put up with the one that had poopy on the bedspread, and the bathroom leaked and Jack had to turn the water off for us. Mary and I stayed in the room with Jack and Pauline as there were two rooms and two beds. Our bed had a big hole in the sheet and we didn't complain but I did leave a note with everything on it
when we left the key. Mary, Jack and I had been over Hoover Dam in 1942 when we went to California. But then we had to go over with the windows closed even though it was hot because the government was afraid of espionage as it was during World War 2. Jack kept saying, "I'm going to roll the window down." And Dad said, "Don't do it, they will shoot us." So he didn't. This time we went down into the dam and saw all the generators and saw a movie about how it all worked. It was quite different.
In March, 1996, Mary and I drove to Arkansas to attend a birthday party for Perk, Mary's mother-in-law. It was her 90th birthday and the party was held in the senior citizens center in Lincoln,
Arkansas. In July,
Perk came to stay with Mary for a while and we tool her back home.
In June, 1996, Bob, Mary and I went to Florida in Mary's car. We took a tour of the Belingrath home and gardens and a trip on the river. We stayed four days with Bobby and four days with Will. We
all went with Will to Cape Canaveral and took the tour. On Sunday the Ruhes were giving the talk at the Baha'i Center in Jacksonville so we had the pleasure of hearing them. Since Dr. Ruhe is now
on the Universal
House of Justice they are traveling around to many cities. In 1999 they were at the Baha'i Summer School in Texas and then to San Antonio and we went to see them again. Mary, Bob and I went by the Louis
Gregory Institute and Sandy took us on a tour of their organic garden when was lovely.
When we lived in Maude, Oklahoma, on the farm, I took a walk every day but got to feeling like I couldn't breathe very well when I walked fast and I had pressure in my chest. So I told the doctor about it and he immediately called the cardiologist and made me an appointment. Seems women are different from men with their bad hearts. He had me take a stress test and did an angio-gram. I had blockage in my artery. I had angio-plasty on December 15, 1996. My heart stopped when the dye went in but the doctor later said it was not the dye so I have had an angio-gram again for another surgery and it didn't bother me. I said I never saw the light but I wasn't out long enough, only 15 seconds. Later in 1998 I had an artery in my neck `rotor rooted' and have a slight scar. Jack also had the same surgery, what can be done now is almost like a miracle; 'it is!'
In November, 2001, I had a biopsy on the fifteenth that showed I had cancer and had a mastectomy on the 24tb. While recovering from the surgery I had a slight heart attack so had another angio-gram and then surgery for five by-passes. I came through with flying colors as people were praying for me all over the world. The doctor got all the cancer and I didn't have to take any other treatment.
I have been taking re-hab where I exercise on the treadmill and ride a bike and also do some weights. But I need to walk every day and don't. I'm telling this so that whoever reads this will take care of themselves better than I have. In my youth and earlier adult days we didn't know what we know now about healthier diets and exercise. Not that I didn't get a lot of exercise taking care of six children.
This year Bob and I reached our 52nd year together. We had a wonderful reunion for our 50th anniversary and plan to have another reunion this July. It will be on the river in San Marcus and we expect many people to come. I wanted to have this book done for our 50th but didn't get it done. I will have it done for this next reunion.
We have now been in the States for almost ten years and we still miss being in Belize. We loved that country and all the wonderful people.
Last year in May, 2001, the Universal House of Justice held the dedication of the gardens and invited 19 people from each country where there are Baha'is and Beverly and Fred were able to go. The rest of the delegates were old friends of ours so we, Ruth and Ramon, Jeannie and Timothy and Sarah, Foy and Yvonne, and Bob and I went to Houston to meet them as they had a four hour layover before they could go on to Belize. It was great to see them and they were all so excited and elated.
Ruth-and Ramon have bought a house not far from where they rented for so long and we all enjoy the yard and the whole place. Cory and his son, Skylar, and Anlo are also here. We live in Travis County as Austin has not annexed this area. So we belong to the same Baha'i community as Foy and Yvonne and really
enjoy it. They are really our best friends. We have so many wonderful friends and thank God for that. We play cards every week at either their house or Mary's or here and have a great time together. At every Feast we have potluck dinners and at nearly every meeting for anything.
On April 29, 2000, Jeannie married Bill King, who was in Moore when she was young. It didn't work out and they divorced soon after. We were all sorry but Bill is an alcoholic and wouldn't stop drinking and got violent. She couldn't live with that. She works for the State now and is doing fine. Ramon has been diagnosed as having MS but continues to work. He works Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday so does not do any overtime. Ruth is still teaching in Middle school. Only she teaches English not Drama.
I'm sure I have left out some important things and put in some that were not so important, but I'm old!
I left a lot of letters and reports in Belize and they are gone now but I'm just thankful we got our pictures. Beverly went by the Baha'i Center and got them.
Sarah is very talented and here are some of her poems.
THE LOOK OF A STORM
The lightening flashes like car lights,
The thunder booms like the loudest key on the piano, The rain falls like teardrops falling down your checks, You cannot control this,
It's like opening a book but not knowing how to read, This is the look of a storm,
Fear wraps all around your body, Your back burns like fire,
And you take an unpleasant swim, Yes, this is the look of a storm
By Sarah Hutchcraft, third grade,
The class went to the Science center to learn about bats. This was printed in the school paper.
Bats, Bats, Bats.
In the moonlight night, From under a bridge, Bats, Bats, Bats.
Bats, Bats, Bats.
Oh, the noise,
I wish they were toys, Bats, Bats, Bats.
If they were mine,
I would only have nine, Bats, Bats, Bats.
Sarah wrote this at the age of 8 and sang it at a Feast when her Mother was hosting.
I see the stars in the dark night: my hands start to wilt as the moon comes up. Baha'u'llah is coming to see us. Let us celebrate His coming,
Therefore He is the Messenger of God. He loved us a long time ago and He still loves us. He taught us how to be happy and how to love other people in the world. The women run to greet Him.
The children run to meet Him. The men run to see Him.
He is at our gate. He is a Holy Man.
He let our freedom ring to the sound of bells, with its noise we may be set free. He teaches the people.
Bob wrote this when he was in the hospital with the heart surgery.
As I sit here on the edge of my hospital bed
And think of the pioneers in other lands
With their hearts on fire and their trust in God While teaching the Faith to the waiting souls.
I want to get up and go down stairs and get in my car and go To places where teaching the Faith comes first
And harvest the crop of souls from
The seeds that other pioneers have sown.
I know not what my future may bring But this I can tell you true.
Out there somewhere there's a pioneer post that can Only be filled by you.
So, don't hesitate; Mount your steed. Before someday you'll end up like me Sitting on the edge of a hospital bed
With a monitor on your heart and a tube in your nose Getting oxygen to your head. And wondering if Baha'u'llah will accept the little sacrifices I have made. And some day let me ride with the concourse on high and be one of His trusted sons. Until all people have embraced His Faith.
And mankind truly is one.
We have a poetry night at the Baha'i Center once every month on the first Saturday of the month. Bob likes to go and so does Sarah and Jeannie I don't go very often as I get too tired. But it is enjoyable.
I would like very much to start teaching English as a second language and would like to have some other Baha'is join me and use the Baha'i Center as a service to the many Mexican people that are here and do not speak English. I went to the grocery store and felt like I was in Mexico there were so many people speaking Spanish. And I would like to learn Spanish. It seems that we need to take this faith to all of them.
I feel that I have had a very wonderful life, and it's not over yet. So many great things have happened to me and to my family. Bob and I have had a great time together, we enjoyed our children growing up and still do. I thank God every day for all the blessings. We have been privileged to meet and have as friends such wonderful people. I hope that you enjoy reading about some of them. May God bless all of you as much!
Emma Hutchcraft — March 19, 2002
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