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Celebration of Life for Vivian Parks

29 Dec

A celebration of my grandmother’s life will be held Saturday, January 4, 2013 @ 1:00 pm at Southern Utah Mortuary (190 N 300 W) in Cedar City, Utah. A viewing will be held one hour prior to the services, also at the mortuary under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. On-line condolences can be made at http://www.sumortuary.com.

Glamour Shot Grandma

Vivian Lorraine Love Parks

25 Dec

My maternal grandmother, Vivian Lorraine Love Parks, passed away at 4:45 a.m. on Christmas Day, 2013, at age 90.

Grandma 1993

She was born on January 5, 1923 in Belvedere, CA to Charles Wainwright Love and Ethel Blassman Love, the first of five children. She lived and attended school in Glendale, CA until age 10 when the family moved to Covina, CA. She graduated from Covina Union High School in June 1939. She married Dennis Leonard Parks on August 26, 1939; they were married 52 years and 4 months until his death on December 15, 1991.

Dennis worked for North American Aviation and Consolidated Airways during World War II, being moved to Fairfield, CA by Consairway to assist with Pacific Island flights. After the war, they established a chicken ranch in Azusa, CA. Vivian retired from the US Forest Service in January 1985.

Vivian loved sports, played catcher on a girl’s softball team, and played tennis and field hockey in High School. In later life, she took up bowling, usually bowling in leagues twice a week until she suffered a stroke in December 2001. She also loved fishing, and her good friend, Bill James, whom she met in 1996, introduced her to ice fishing; they fished twice a week. They also made two trips to Alaska; Bill caught salmon and she didn’t, but they both caught halibut and cod. After digging for clams, she required liniment to her back and shoulder.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Charlie, sister Donna Maeseele, daughters Carol Beverly Parks and Patricia Lorraine Parks, grandson John Johnston II, and her husband. She leaves behind children Lavonne Parks and Randall Parks, sisters Barbara Brown and Evelyn Masters, grandchildren Gary Grewer, Kathryn Cranston, Richard Cranston, Denise Eyre and Shelley Sullivan, great grandchildren Natalie Cranston, Lauren Cranston, Joseph Johnston, John Johnston III, Jason Johnston, Steven Grewer and Stephanie Ann Grewer Foster, and great great grandchildren Jessica Johnston, James Johnston, Joshua Johnston and Aiden Johnston.

Loved by all who knew her for her generosity, determination, perseverance, ingenuity, simplicity, humor and feistiness, she will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

GrandmaRIP

She loved the Jazz and the color pink.

Grandma and the Bucket Hat

11 Dec

A bucket hat is also known as a cloche, a fitted, bell-shaped hat for women that was invented in 1908 and became popular in the 1920’s until about 1933.  Cloche hats were usually made of felt so that they conformed to the head, and were typically designed to be worn low on the forehead, with the wearer’s eyes only slightly below the brim.  The dazzling Clara Bow is an iconic example of a woman wearing this classy headgear.

On Tuesday, December 3rd, Grandma and I had tickets to see The Oak Ridge Boy’s Christmas concert here in Cedar.  And, of course, Old Man Winter chose that day to grace us with a small blizzard.

It took about 45 minutes to make the 10 minute drive, and we were very blessed to have people help us not only get the wheelchair out of the trunk and Grandma into it, a group of ladies took her into the lobby while another lady helped me find a parking space in the driving snow.

We really enjoyed the concert (except for the last 4 songs, which were just weird –an odd mix of gospel, Christmas and unusual lyrics that left us rather puzzled) and got back to the car with a little effort.  There was 8″ of snow to be cleared off the car, and while I had a very good snow brush, before I finished one half of the car, the other half needed to be done again!  And neither Grandma nor I had gloves, scarves or hats (making the -9° temperature just that much worse!) and my thin flannel coat that doesn’t zip or button provided scant warmth.

So the next day I purchased gloves for me, mittens for Grandma, and a black cloche.  It’s really cute and covers the ears without having to wear a knitted “sock” on your head.  Last night I asked Grandma if she would like me to get her one, too, and she wanted to try mine on before deciding.  Her she is wearing the bucket hat and showing off her new teddy bear arm warmers (to keep the nails on her paralyzed hand from cutting up her other arm, a problem we’ve had lately):

Brim Turned Up

Brim Turned Up

Brim Turned Down

Brim Turned Down

How I love my American Rebel Grandma!ClaraBow

Govino, Grandma!

4 Dec

My Grandmother has a hard time grasping objects because her left hand is paralyzed and the fingers of her right hand are numb with very little sensation.

After she dropped her glass of orange juice and I finished cleaning up the glass, I started the search for something that wouldn’t break.  What I found was flexible, shatterproof, recyclable stemless wine glasses by Govino.  The skinniest version would work best, we thought, and bought 4 stemless champagne flutes.

govino

They have a handy indent for her thumb.  Here she is, enjoying a glass of ice tea.

Govino

This one’s for you, Stephanie!  Mwah!winesign

Our New Grandma-Phone!

4 Sep

Did you know that there are now close-captioned telephones?  It’s true, and now you know!  Here’s what it looks like:

CaptionCall Telephone

CaptionCall Telephone

Last week I went to Grandma Vivian’s hearing specialist to get new batteries for her hearing aids. Fortunately, the young lady at the desk was on the phone, so I took the opportunity to look around at the displays. One of them was this phone.

When she finished her call and saw me looking at the demo phone, she told me they were free! So, with pamphlet (containing a promo code) and new batteries in hand, I headed home to tell Grandma.

At first we were a bit leery; what was the catch? How could this be free? I quickly hopped on the internet to visit their website, and discovered that the promo code would get us free delivery and installation of the hardware, and that the FCC covers all the costs associated with the actual voice-to-text translation.  A half hour later, I was back at the hearing specialist with application in hand, and our new CaptionCall phone will be installed next Thursday, 12 September!

If you, or someone you know, has trouble hearing over the telephone and has a doctor to verify your need, you too can have one of these phones.  There are some extra requirements you need to meet, such as high-speed internet and an existing land line.  Fortunately, I had high-speed, wireless internet installed when I moved here to take care of Grandma, so we’re all set.

And excited?  Wow, are we excited!!!  So give Grandma a call at her regular phone number starting September 13th, and give her (and yourself!) a thrilling treat.grandmaphonesign

The Mysterious Rhoda Derry: Filming a Distant Twig on My Family Tree

30 Apr

Rhoda Derry.  My last name is not Derry, but by marriage I am distantly related to the Derry’s of Adams County, Illinois.

My paternal grandfather’s sister, Betty, married Del Derry, and she’s one of my best friends on Facebook.  In her mid-80’s, Betty not only has a Facebook page, but she also has a blog, and she travels as often as she can between her current home in Arcadia, CA to her hometown of Atlantic, IA (about both of which she has marvelous adventures and stories she writes about on her blog).  She’s cute as a button with a terrific sense of fae humor, and as she says on her Facebook info page, “I now find myself the only sibling left of 13 kids…am open for adoption!”  I get first dibs.

Her latest adventure is the part documentary/part feature film, “The Mysterious Rhoda Derry.”

The life of Rhoda Derry is at once fascinating and horribly tragic, heroic and distressing, real and unbelievable:  a love story tangled up with a witch’s curse.  All the ingredients for a fairytale — the real kind that do not end, “And they all lived happily ever after.”

Aunt Betty has written three posts as of today that contain bits of the odd, outrageous, miraculous and bittersweet history of Rhoda and her family from a book entitled “A Letter from Aunt Ethel” written by “Doc” Derry (a cousin Aunt Betty inherited through her marriage to his distant cousin, Del) that contains The Derry Family Genealogy Report which Joan Brown Derry (another cousin) helped to compile, as well as Aunt Betty’s not inconsiderable newswoman reporting abilities.

The five-minute video below is “a demo version of what will be a full length documentary film. This film chronicles the true story of Rhoda Derry, a severely mentally ill woman who spent 43 years of her life trapped in a box at the Adams County Alms House.  Finally, in 1904, she was discovered and freed by the iconic Dr. George Zeller of the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane.  Her case is one of the most important cases in U.S. history and helped change the face of mental health forever.  Starring: D.Doc Derry, April Cowgur, John Johnson, Patrick Thornton, Dr. Joseph Mehr, and Gary Lisman. Music By Mike Englebrecht.”

This is not Reality’s End Films first film; it will be their second when it is completed.  Here is the first, “Bookbinder” (and which led them to Rhoda’s story), where “the Central Illinois Ghost legend of A. Manual Bookbinder is finally brought to life through the eyes of Dr. Zeller. Based on a true story[, t]his is the film that started it all for [them]. Starring John Johnson, Steve Kurtz, and members of womcproductions.”

What a grand adventure, Aunt Betty!

A Visit with Grandma!

27 May

Here are the photos of my visit with my Grandmother, Vivian.  Pictures taken both by my brother and myself are included, but in no particular order.  I’m extremely ill today, so I’ll have to post the actual details about the visit at a later date, as well as scans of some photographs my Grandmother gave me.  Enjoy!

Visit with Grandma 2009
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