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Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Generations Project- Goshen, Utah

I'd like to introduce you all to the home of Everett and Winona Okelberry of Goshen, Utah.  They are the grandparents of my grandmother Leta Rae Adelman Lauret.  That makes them my great-great grandparents.  Isn't it beautiful?  Well, I'm pretty sure it was more beautiful when they lived in it.

It was at Steve's family's reunion back in June that I noticed that the town of Goshen was only a few miles away from Genola (where the reunion was held).  Goshen?  That's where my ancestors are from!  As a nerd for all things family history, I cooked up a plan to take my family on an adventure to discover the land of my ancestors that weekend.
  
So, first stop was the Okelberry home.  We didn't have an address, but I remembered that it was 200 something and it was on a corner.  That's good enough, right?  Well, in a town as small as Goshen, that's all you really need, so we drove around until we figured out where it was (took us less than 5 minutes).  I recognized the brick home from the pictures I've seen, plus my grandma pointed it out to me in person a few years ago when we were in Goshen for her Aunt Mabel's funeral.
So, anyway, we found the house.  The place was thick with weeds both inside the fence and out, but at least the ones inside the fence were mowed down at some point.  I was leery about knocking on the door and asking if we could take pictures of the house, mostly because a mean old dog was barking like heck at us from the backyard.  I noticed he was tied up, but he was lunging hard enough against his fraying rope that I didn't feel safe at all.  Soon, all the commotion alerted the occupant of the home and I saw a man's face peek out the curtains at us.  Not wanting him to pull a gun on us or call police, I decided I had better knock and explain myself.  Family history shouldn't be this frightening.

So, I opened the iron gate and knocked on the door.  I'm not even sure that front door had been opened in years, the structure of the porch was a little "iffy," and it didn't appear that too many people actually went to the front door (can you blame them with the furious beast tied up in back?), but I ventured anyway.  

It took the man over a minute to open the door, I think he had to move furniture or something, and when he finally opened it, he only cracked it about a foot.  His unshaven face and bare chest had me wondering if he had just thrown on some pants to answer the door, and by the look on his face, I knew I was intruding upon his time and property.  I wondered if he was holding a rifle in his hand behind the door because he had such a distrusting look about him.  

I told him that I was in the area doing family history and wanted to take some outdoor pictures of his house because my grandma was born in it.  He looked at me like he didn't believe me, and asked who my grandma was.  I told him her name.  He said, "No.  I don't think so.  This home has always belonged to the Whites."  

Surely, he doesn't know this family history, I thought.  I responded, "Yes!  The Whites!  That's all a part of the same family.  Again, he shot me a look of disbelief.  I continued, "John Watson White... and the Okelberrys..."  I guess the name Okelberry was the keyword because he nodded his head in agreement and said, "Alright.  Go ahead."  And waved me off.  With that, I thanked him, he closed the door, and that was the end of it! 
 
So, I stood with my girls in front of the iconic iron fence and Steve snapped our pictures.  Below is a photo of my great-greats in front of the same fence, only their backs are to the mountains, not their home.
Winona White Okelberry and Everett J. Okelberry
I must admit that I had hoped that the current occupants of the Okelberry home would find my family history search compelling and invite my family in for a tour and tell me all they knew about the home, maybe even offer the kids some cookies.  However, once I arrived I felt unwelcome and I was just happy to get a few photos of the exterior.

So, like I said before, my grandma was born in this home, although it was actually her grandparent's home.  Her parents were in between homes as they were in the process of moving from Flin Flon, Canada to Dividend, Utah (a few miles from Goshen), and it was at this time that they were staying with "Grandma and Grandpa Okelberry"that my grandma was born.  Shortly after, my grandma's dad got more hours at the mine, and the family moved to the company town of Dividend.

I loved finding out that the Okelberry home was a gathering place that brought friends and family together, building bonds and molding memories.  According to my grandma, the whole Okelberry family loved to sing, yet she feels that talent never came naturally to her.  A neighbor of the Okelberrys reminisced that after church on Sundays, the Okelberrys would come home, open up the windows, sing and play the piano, and all the neighbors would gather and sit out on the lawn to listen and sing along and be together.  If I ever get to time travel, I'm going to back to that time and place to witness the unity and friendship that home provided. 

There was an instance when the Okelberry family were entertaining company in the parlor, talking and singing, just having a great time.  Their youngest daughter, 3-year-old Mabel, was one that never wanted to miss out on any of the fun.  She was busily playing on the floor, then she suddenly got up brought her potty pot into the center of the living room (this was before the home had indoor plumbing), dropped her bloomers to her ankles, and with all eyes on her, she did her business in the middle of the party.  Everyone had a good laugh.  I wonder what other stories the walls would tell!

My grandma related to me that Goshen didn't have much in the way of shopping, so they would often travel to Payson to do their shopping.

After Aunty Mabel's funeral in July 2011, I was able to see the following antiques that used to be a part of the Okelberry's daily lives.   They are in the possession of my grandma's cousin, Susan Egan, that lives in Spanish Fork.

The butter stamp Winona used for the butter she made and sold.
This recipe book is a treasure!  I wrote another blogpost about it here.
Winona's handwritten recipe book

A lovely chest.

Their bed and rocking chair.
While at her home, Susan showed me a picture of the old farm that belonged to Everett and Winona.  If this farm was in their backyard, it's sure not there anymore.  But, here's the picture:
At my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary, I interviewed them, and my grandma spoke about her grandparents~
Question: When you were a child, who were the oldest relatives that you knew, and what can you tell us about them? 
Leta: I guess that would be my grandparents, Everett and Winona Okelberry in Goshen, Utah.  Grandpa was a sheepherder, he ran sheep.  It was really exciting to be down to their place when, they take the sheep up in the mountains in the summer and raise them and everything, then they bring them back in the fall for harvest.  And it was really exciting to be there with all the sheep in the barnyard.  I was only 8 or 10 years old, I just watched.  I got to help ___ once in a while.  Grandma she ran the household and Grandpa ran the yard.  They had a, well, if you’re ever in Goshen, if you go up Main Street about 2 blocks and I think it was there around their house, the house is still there, a little older than them.  Big yard for a garden out in the back of the house by the barnyard.  I think at that time my dad was working for Tintic Standard Mining in Dividend, Utah, which is no longer there.

Before we left the Okelberry home, I had Steve take a few pictures of the backyard.  I intended to show it to my grandma when I went to visit her this summer, but I didn't bring the pictures with me.  But, here is what the house looks like now.  I'd like to ask my grandma how things have changed.
Here's the back corner of the property with a shed.
A wider view of the back of the property:
After our photoshoot of the Okelberry Home in Goshen, we went visit the Goshen cemetery to see the burial places of many of my ancestors. 



Before we headed out of town, I snapped a picture of this old building.  Again, I intended to ask my grandma about it, but didn't get the chance. 
Perhaps it was a dancehall or a city building?

It's all boarded up now.

On the main street in Goshen, you see this unattractive apartment. 
But it wasn't always an apartment.  It was a general store run by my great-great-great grandpa, Peter Okelberry, and his family.  I believe the store was known as "Okelberry and Sons."  And it was more than a store, if I remember rightly.  I think he did dentistry and even cut hair, too.  You can kinda see the old advertisements that have been painted over on the side of the building.

Paint peeling on the side of the building

front corner of the store, now an apartment

The store was that 2 story orange building on the right.
As you drive out of Goshen back towards Santaquin, you see the remains of the mining industry on the mountainside. 

Just below this structure on the mountainside,  there are natural pools where my grandma remembers going swimming with her daddy.  He would swim around with her on his back when she was just a little girl. 

 
I loved getting to know my ancestors a little better by visiting the town they called home.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know them a little better too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Force Family Reunion 2014- Genola, Utah

Day 2- More Park Play and Variety Show

 
I'm usually pretty good about remembering to take pictures of the food at events because I'm such a foodie, but for some sad reason I didn't have a single pic of food, except for Lily drinking a bright red Fanta.  Gotta love how red her lips got!

I still remember the food well, though.  William and Vernie made us a yummy pancake breakfast, and there were lots and lots of yummy fruits.  I remember the sandwiches with just about every type of making you could want.  I remember Aunt Jane's chicken curry salad and Aunt Miriam's stirfry.  Most importantly I remember enjoying every morsel on my plate and sharing meals with relatives in the shade of the park pavillion.  Nothing beats meals with family in the outdoors.  It's honestly my favorite thing to do.
This picture just screams summer stickiness.
On day 2 of the reunion, we continued with games at the park.  I played a couple rounds of croquet with various family members- and I can't remember if I was last place or second to last. I was glad I wore my sun hat because it was sure warm in the sun, but perfect in the shade.  The girls played more at the playground.
 Uncle Stephen took a turn on the slide
 In the afternoon, we had a variety show. 
 There were entertaining recitations.
 And songs...
 
And a face pulling contest.

 Who would you have voted for?
Squenched-up Face

Crazy Convulser

Sour Drooper

Chipmunk Cheeks

Piggy-Pretty

Eyeless Wonder
My vote was for the crazy convulser.  You really should have seen him in real life.  He shook like he was being electricuted or something and made this creepy-groaning noise.  But my hat goes off to every brave soul who took part.  Bravo!  Good show!

Lily and Amara sang "Love is an Open Door" from "Frozen" after much pleading from Aunt Janice.  They sat on the edge of the stage and Amara agreed to do it only if I sat up there with her.  So that's just what I did.  That's why there is no picture of them (and me).  Amara also showed everyone that she could ride a 2 wheeler bike for her talent, and Lily joined a group that sang "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

We had a great time visiting with aunts, uncles, and cousins that we don't get to see very often.  I loved getting to know everyone a little better and I look forward to the next reunion!  I love being a part of this family!

Force Family Reunion June 2014 - Genola, Utah

Day 1- Reunited Relatives and Visiting the Farm

 
We had all kinds of fun at the Force family reunion this year.  It was held in Genola, Utah, across the street from Aunt Janice's house at the park.  We stayed with my sister in nearby Spanish Fork, but some people camped out at the park.  

Lily and Amara bonded with Marilla Esther.  They were kindred spirits from the get-go.  
 Marilla Esther is only a year older than Lily, and we wish she lived closer because the girls got along so well.  They enjoyed playing at the playground, but they also found a pine tree with tons of moths in it and decided to set up a moth hospital for all the injured moths that were around.  Such creative minds and big hearts these girls have.
 Steve's cousin, Alma, lives in Genola also, and he was giving everyone carriage rides.
 You'll notice that the person riding shotgun, really carries a loaded gun.  It's to fend off the mean and biting dogs that thrash down the street after their horse.  
 We didn't see any dogs on this ride, but we did have a lovely time touring the Genola town center.
 We also got to go to Alma's farm.
 It was beautiful at sunset.
 Then we got to see all his amazing animals.  I snapped this shot of Lily's face just as she turned around to see the really big horse.  She was truly surprised.
 The horse is behind Amara sticking it's head above the fence. 
 The white horse thought Amara smelled good, I guess.
 After we looked at the horses, we got to go to a different part of the farm where more exotic animals were kept.
 Alma keeps pheasants, and he has one that is particularly beautiful and rare.  I don't remember what it's called, but it's as colorful as a parrot.
 He has Emus and reindeer.
 We got to feed the deer.
 And we got to feed the goats.
 The llama wasn't sure he wanted to be the center of attention, but Alma caught it for us to look at.
 The baby goats were precious.
 And the fluffy puppies were so cute!