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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Parents

Here are my parents in 1962. Elaine was a baby and I was about 3 yrs old when we went to visit Mom's parents in SC. Dad was a TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) Engineer and we were living in TN so it was a long drive. Here they are in the kitchen. Looks like Mom is about to make slaw to go with that Boston Butt roast.

Look at the surroundings. Behind Dad is the chimney for the woodstove. You can just see the round stove pipe cover. There is a washing machine there now, close to the sink. The new electric stove is behind mother. The cabinets are the old metal ones. There is the vintage tableclothe (although it wasn't "vintage" back then). My Grandmother still had that Jadeite swirl bowl (you can just see it on the table) when she died in 1984. I wonder what the little bottle with the nipple on it is for. Too small to be a baby bottle, isn't it?

My Dad is 6'3" and was very skinny. His crewcut was the fashion back then. I like his thin belt. Mom was wearing the "bowling shirt" that was fashionable then.

Here is Mom's mother, my Grandmoter, Geneva "Ginnie" Margaret Lamb Reese in her kitchen. I don't know if she is looking up a recipe or reading her Bible. Her husband was a Baptist Minister and this house was the parsonage. Anyway, if you look behind her you see the porcelain kitchen sink and the window with the old timey metal blinds. Isn't it funny that we've gone back to large blinds today? I notice how her knives are neatly organized over the sin, her dish towel is drying and her dish drain doesn't have any drying dishes...she's wiped them all dry and put them away. My Grandmother was very particular about things being clean. I probably get that from her. I'm more organized than she was but I'm a cleaner like she was.

Baby Elaine

Baby Elaine playing with our Grandparent's piano. Notice there were no Pampers back then!

The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

How did Charlemagne do so much at such an early date? Did he have help?

In modern times Cotton Malone, a former Justice Dept agent, and twin sisters, Dorothea Oberhauser Lindauer and Christl Oberhauser Falk, are looking for the same thing but for different reasons. Cotton's father and the Oberhauser's father were on a secret nuclear submarine lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. They both want to find out what happened to their fathers. Cotton just wants to know what happened to the crew and the twins want to know what the mission found. The twins' grandfather had come upon clues discovered in Charlemagne's tomb. He thought it would lead them to proof of a master super race of Aryans. The Nazis explored Antarctica in 1938, way before the Americans. Based on documents found by the Americans after the war, they sent this submarine to try and find what the Nazi's had found. But the submarine was lost. Because it was such a secret mission, there was no official search for the crew and they were assumed dead. But there was a 3 man dive team that was sent to look. One, a black man named Langford Ramsey, goes in and then comes back to his two team members with a mysterious bag and no comments. Now there are assassinations, murders, blackmail and it has something to do with Charlemagne, the Antarctica, the submarine, Cotton, Dorothea and Christl.

This book was a typical treasure hunt. It was good but not great. But I could recommend it for anyone over 14 yrs old. It helps to have the biographical information about Charlemagne that I've included below.

Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great) was born 4/2/742 to King Pippin the Short and Bertrada of Laon. He succeeded his father and co-ruled with his brother Carloman I. Carloman and Charlemagne didn't get along, but war was prevented by the sudden death of Carloman in 771.

Charlemagne's golden crown

Charlemagne's iron cross

As King of the Franks from 768 until his death on 1/28/814, Charlemagne continued the policy of his father towards the papacy and became its protector. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800 as a rival of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. He expanded the Frankish kingdoms into a Frankish Empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe.

Charlemagne was engaged in almost constant battle throughout his reign, often at the head of his elite bodyguard squadrons, with his legendary sword, Joyeuse, in hand. After thirty years of Saxon Wars and eighteen battles, he conquered Saxonia. The Saxons were divided into four subgroups in four regions. Nearest to Austrasia was Westphalia and furthest away was Eastphalia. In between these two kingdoms was that of Engria and north of these three, at the base of the Jutland peninsula, was Nordalbingia. He forcefully converted the Saxons to Christianity but they would go back to paganism. In the summer of 779, he again invaded Saxony and reconquered Eastphalia, Engria, and Westphalia. He divided the land into missionary districts and he assisted in several mass baptisms in 780. He then returned to Italy and, for the first time, there was no immediate Saxon revolt. In 780 Charlemagne decreed the death penalty for all Saxons who failed to be baptised, who failed to keep Christian festivals, and who cremated their dead. Saxony had peace from 780 to 782. He returned in 782 to Saxony and instituted a code of law and appointed counts, both Saxon and Frank. Charlemagne allegedly ordered the beheading of 4,500 Saxons who had been caught practising their native paganism after conversion to Christianity, known as the Massacre of Verden. The massacre triggered three years of renewed bloody warfare (783-785). Thereafter, the Saxons maintained the peace for seven years, but in 792 the Westphalians once again rose against their conquerors. The Eastphalians and Nordalbingians joined them in 793, but the insurrection did not catch on and was put down by 794. An Engrian rebellion followed in 796, but Charlemagne's personal presence and the presence of Christian Saxons and Slavs quickly crushed it. The last insurrection of the independence-minded people occurred in 804, more than thirty years after Charlemagne's first campaign against them. But was subdued.

In 813, Charlemagne called Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine, his only surviving legitimate son, to his court. There Charlemagne crowned his son with his own hands as co-emperor and sent him back to Aquitaine. He then spent the autumn hunting before returning to Aachen on 1 November. In January, he fell ill with pleurisy. He died on 1/28/814. He was buried on the day of his death, in Aachen Cathedral.

Aachen, the Imperial Cathedral. Charlemagne began building this cathedral in 792. It was consecrated in 805. This is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens.

Looking into the octagon

Aachen's Emperor's throne

A later story, told by Otho of Lomello, Count of the Palace at Aachen in the time of Otto III, would claim that he and Emperor Otto had discovered Charlemagne's tomb. Charlemagne was seated upon a throne, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre, his flesh almost entirely incorrupt. In 1165, Frederick I re-opened the tomb again, and placed the emperor in a sarcophagus beneath the floor of the cathedral. In 1215 Frederick II would re-inter him in a casket made of gold and silver.

Prophet of Death by Pete Earley

Prophet of Death by Pete Earley

This book was interesting. I like some true crime books. But this one was very sexually graphic and I wouldn't recommend it for most people. Personally, I think it would have been enough to say Lundgren liked perverted sex and forced his wife (and, later, his female followers) to participate without going into such graphic details. Suffice it to say, it was gross. Why Alice or any of the other women would allow someone to do that eludes me. So I didn't feel sorry for them after reading this book. They could have walked away at any time but they voluntarily chose to follow this creep and do the things he demanded no matter how gross, perverted or violent it was. The men also had choices and followed Lundgren and did anything he asked. I know people can be brainwashed and I think this happened to a degree. But I'm not sure people will do things if it goes against their deepest held beliefs. I think these people were getting something they liked out of this weird relationship or they wouldn't have continued it. Although Lundgren kept a gun on him, this book does not indicate that he held them against their wills. Some did leave without reprisal. At the end of this book (copyright 1992), Early quotes a communication Alice Keeler Lundgren had with Jeff Lundgren and she apologizes for having any doubts in him and that she loves him and believes in him. She was sure that he would be out of jail within 2 years and he would rescue her. Jeff gave her a line of bull about how he loved her and she was the only one. They chuckled together about their perverted sex in a nostalgic moment. If this is true, then Alice was still enthralled with Jeff and Jeff was still manipulating her. He married one of the female cult members, Kathy Johnson, in 1992-1993. So he must have gotten over his "love" for Alice pretty quick. Kathy Johnson was still his wife when he was executed and they conceived a child together. Ugh!

Jeffrey Don Lundgren was born in 1950 in Missouri and grew up as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church). Lundgren accused his father of severely abusing him while his mother never protected him. He married Alice Keeler in 1970 when she was pregnant with their first child. Alice also claimed to have been abused by her father. Lundgren joined the U.S. Navy. Alice had a boy and was pregnant again in 1974 with their daughter. He was honorably discharged from the Navy. She said, after the birth of their daughter, Lundgren became abusive to her. In 1980 they had another boy. Lundgren was unsuccessful in all the jobs he held. They had financial problems until he talked cult members into giving him their money.

Lundgren and Alice had been very active in the RLDS church but Lundgren began teaching strange things and was dismissed as a lay minister of the RLDS in 1987. Lundgren formed a cult with about 20 members from his classes at the RLDS church, Kirtland Temple. He began his own sect and taught study classes in his home. Cult members moved into a rented farmhouse with Lundgren, calling him dad, giving their paychecks, assets and money to the Lundgrens and attending Jeff's classes. He taught that he was God's prophet and his followers were required to give him all their money and share their wives with him. Lundgren said God commanded him, through interpretation of Scriptures, to kill the Averys, who moved from Missouri in 1987 to follow his teachings. It seems, their backing him and believing in him was not enough. The Avery's became the butt of the other member's jokes. He planned their murder for 2 years and called them “disobedient, lazy, wimpy, and strange.” - Whooo!, the pot calling the kettle black! - The Averys were not invited to live with the Lundgren family and were not invited to all of his study classes. He told the jury the spiritually unclean had to be dealt with and referred to the killings as "pruning the vineyard." He taught that Jesus would return to earth only when the Kirtland Temple (from which he had been dismissed) was recaptured. The men in the group undertook paramilitary training to prepare for a temple assault. In early 1989, Lundgren was stressing the need for his followers to go on a wilderness trip before Zion would be possible. By that time, two early followers had left the group, but Kathryn and Larry Keith Johnson had joined.

Avery family: Dennis, 49; Cheryl, 46, and their daughters, Trina, 15, Rebecca, 13, and 7-year-old Karen

Lundgren was upset by what he thought was the Avery family's lack of faith and arranged a dinner hosted by cult members on April 10, 1989. He had ordered his male followers to prepare a pit in the barn. After dinner together he had the men bring the Avery family into the barn one by one while the female members cleaned up the kitchen. He had the family members bound in tape and then shot each one of them.

The pit in the barn where Lundgren and his male followers buried the Avery family

Recovering the bodies of the Avery family

One disgruntled follower, Larry Keith Johnson, reported the murder to the police. He was upset that Lundgren had designated his wife, Kathy, to be Lundgren's "second wife". Police found the bodies in January, 1990. Lundgren and his wife and 13 followers were caught.

Alice Lundgren was given 150 years for conspiracy, aggravated murder and kidnapping.
Jeffrey Lundgren was given the death penalty and was executed on October 24, 2006 in Ohio.

Jeff and Damon Lundgren

Alice Keeler Lundgren

Damon P. Lundgren - Aggravated Murder (4 counts), Kidnapping (4 counts) - 120 years to Life. He will be eligible for parole in February, 2098. He spoke with his father for about 15 mintues on the day Jeff Lundgren was put to death.

Ronald Luff - Aggravated Murder (5 counts), Kidnapping (5 counts) - 170 years to Life.
Susan Luff - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder and was sentenced to 7-25 years
Ron and Susan Luff, a young Missouri couple who uprooted their two children so that the family might follow Lundgren. the Luffs considered themselves devout Christians, but they and many others like them had grown disenchanted with the church when elders decided to allow women to become top leaders in the faith, an extraordinary move considering that the church had always taught women to be subservient to men. They now live in prisons more than 100 miles apart, haven't communicated since a 1992 letter and were seeking a divorce according to an article written in 1999.

Sharon Bluntschly - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder - 7-25 years.

Deborah Olivarez - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder - 7-25 years. Bluntschly, Luff, Alice Lundgren, and Deborah Olivarez - all live at the same facility (Marysville Prison For Women) where, officials say, they have been model prisoners. They talk but are not close. In 2005, Deborah was a 52-year-old grandmother of eight who worked maintenance and helped train dogs at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio. She says she's learned a lot about what led her to follow a murderer. Olivarez and some other members of the cult decided they would go to authorities about the Avery murders after the holidays in 1989 were over but Larry Keith Johnson, the estranged husband of Lundgren's current wife, Kathryn Johnson, beat them to it.

Daniel Kraft - Aggravated Murder (5 counts), Kidnapping (3 counts) - 50 years to Life.

Gregory Winship - Murder (5 counts), 15 years to Life.

Richard Brand - Murder (5 counts) - 15 years to Life.

Kathryn R. Johnson - Obstructing Justice - 1 year.
Lundgren married Kathryn Johnson (former wife of Keith Johnson, members of the cult) in 1992 or 1993 while he was in prison. Together, they have a 16-year old daughter. He did not communicate with any of his other children. On the day of his death Lundgren got a call from his wife, Kathryn, who already served time for her part in the crime.

Dennis Patrick - Obstructing Justice - 18 months, sentence suspended and placed on 1 year probation.

Tonya Patrick - Obstructing Justice - 18 months, sentence suspended and placed on 1 year probation

"For my last words I'd like to profess my love for God, my family, my children and my beloved wife. ... I am because you are," Lundgren said just before he was executed


Monday, June 01, 2009

Mom and Me

My Uncle James found a bunch of old negatives from 1957-1963 and had them digitized into digital photos. Here is one we found of my Mother and I. We were "pretending" to be asleep and holding hands. Unfortunately this negative had deteriorated so much that there was a hole in it, but you can still see the photo. I love it!

Our Week In Myrtle Beach, SC

I cannot believe I'm already writing this to say I'm back from the beach. It surely was just yesterday when we were leaving for a week at the beach. Sheesh! We had a good time but I was ready to get home and we even came home a day early so I had the weekend at home to re-transition. I swear, as I get older not only does the time go by faster but transitioning back and forth (home to beach/beach back home) is harder. It's like a time warp occurred and really upsets my inner balance. I feel like the beach trip was just an overnight dream. Weird, weird!

But we did have a good time together. Here are all the ones that got to go:
Stan & I
Eddie & Kathi
Katie & Dustin (Katie's boyfriend)
Evans & Chelsea (Evans' fiance)
Aaron (half the week)
Peggy & Angie (half the week)
Ronnie (half the week)
Jenny & Brett
Luke & Hannah (half the week)

The Harris' rented a 5 bedroom house in Ocean Lakes and we had our 5th wheel RV pulled out in Lakewood. I took 3 of my dogs and Lee and I stayed with the dogs in the camper but we spent our days at the house in Ocean Lakes.

The worst thing that happened was my beef stew. I decided I was going to cook up a big package of beef stew meat with lots of fresh veggies into a huge stew and freeze it for one of our dinners at the beach. Then it was just a warm up and, voila! I spent all one day browning a big bunch of stew meat and prepping the veggies and filled my 8 qt pot up to the top. I simmered it and began to put it in 2 gallon Ziploc freezer baggies. I carefully double bagged and held it on the countertop to reduce the strain. I got the 1st set of baggies filled (1 of 2) and began on the 2nd set (2 of 2) when the double bagged Ziplocs just split (both of them at the same time) and spilt half of my stew in the floor, a BRICK KITCHEN FLOOR! A brick floor is not the easiest to clean and mop. I just cried! My niece and Dad cleaned it up for me because I was past it. Well, I got myself together and decided I would make a smaller pot, you know, stiff upper lip, on with the show and so on. So I spent another afternoon making a 4 qt pot of beef stew with all new meat and veggies. This time it worked and I got it in the freezer. Then I hauled that 8 qt pot and both very heavy bags of stew to the beach. When the family finally decided what night to eat it, it was after lunch so I didn't have time to thaw it normally. So I put it in the 8 qt pot on the stove on a low temp. It was 2 big chunks of stew (too big to fit in the microwave) and the lid didn't fit. I babysat it all afternoon and kept fussing with the temperature and stirring it. Finally it thawed enough to put the lid on it. My bad shoulder kept me from being able to lift the lid and stir so I left it up to Stan to stir it for the last hour. A couple of times I told him, "Stan, I smell something burning, check the stew." Both times he said, "It's something on the burner, not the stew." Finally he said, "Sharon, the stew is scorched!" I just busted out crying all over again. Sure enough, all that stew was ruined. What a waste of money, time, and effort! But, Stan patted me and soothed me and Stan's sister must have told all the young people how upset I was and every one of them ate the stew anyway and complimented me on how good it was. That really touched my heart! So it turned out OK anyway but what a story they will laugh about!

Sharon's Huge Pot of Beef Stew

5 lbs+ of beef stew (dredged in flour mixed with dry oregano, salt & pepper, then browned with some oil)
3 big onions, diced and lightly browned in oil
10 large tomatoes, washed and quartered
6 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
Salt & Pepper
6 potatoes, peeled, washed and diced in big chunks
3 fresh green bell peppers, washed and chopped
6 lg fresh yellow squash (aka summer squash or crookneck squash)
6 fresh carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
Optional: 1 head of fresh broccoli, with stems cut off, washed and broken up into fine florets

This will make a BIG pot of stew. After browning meat and onions, place in 8 qt (or bigger) stainless steel pot and put on the burner. Place tomatoes and garlic cloves in Vitamix mixer and liquify and pour in the pot with the meat and onions. Add some water and the seasonings and herbs. Bring to a boil and then cut temperature down to simmer until meat is getting tender. Add the vegetables and cook until they are cooked through. Ready to serve or freeze.

Source: Me! and I just throw things in without actually measuring so the measures are approximate and you can do more or less without hurting it!

Now, I will share all the photos I took throughout the week! Remember you can click on the photo to see photos larger. Here is the house they rented.

Our trailer

Our first evening

We played a game on the beach.

Evans fishing

Jenny feeding Brett prunes before going to bed.

Then she had to give him a bath!

Peggy & Stan making breakfast

Eddie went out everyday to sweep the beaches with his metal detector.

Jenny taking Brett for a walk.

I babysat Brett a lot in the afternoons so he wouldn't be outside too long. And every time I hold him in my arms, he goes to sleep! I'm better than a sleeping pill. Here he is taking a nap on the bed beside me while I read a book. I can't get any sun and I get too hot on the beach so I stay in the house most of the time anyway. My family has skin cancer history, I have had to have places removed and some of my medicines warn you to stay out of the sun while taking it. I get sunburn and sun poisoning too. So, all in all, it's not for me. You don't find me laying out on the beach!

The kids are always in for anything! They have so much energy. They fished, rode banana boats, swam, shopped, built sandcastles, rented a boat to go fishing, etc. Here they are fishing in the little pond that the house was on.

Jenny caught a branch!

Early mornings (of course, any time before noon is considered "early" for everybody but Stan and I).

We went to Nance's for supper one night.

Jenny gives Brett his first taste of Southern hushpuppies with honey butter. (Of course, she just swabbed his lips with the butter, but he loved it!) So cute!

Time for baby Brett to go to bed so Great Aunt Angie rocks him!

Jenny takes Brett for an early walk.

We did a couple of short shopping trips. Here is Lee buying his Dad a present from the beach. He bought something for Melinda and Jenny and Hannah.

It took the golf cart and Stan's truck to carry all the beach paraphernalia to and from the beach.

Some quiet time and conversation during a cloudy afternoon.

Peggy telling a joke!

This photo turned out real fuzzy but it is so sweet I had to use it somehow. Notice how he is grasping and holding on to my shirt even while he is asleep. He would also hold my finger a lot when he napped in my arms or on the bed while I read.

Katie and Chelsea watch Evans and Dustin play ball on the beach.

Notice the reflection of Stan and I in Brett's mirror finish sunglasses!

I believe this little boy loves his Great Aunt Sharon!

Jenny took Brett down to the edge of the water and let him get in some wave time!

Brett's got his confidence now!

Evans and Chelsea tossing the football.

Chelsea looks like she's doing a dance to the sun god, but she's reaching to catch the football!

We had a brief rain shower as they worked on a big sandcastle. Dustin and Luke worked through the rain and then they all got back into it.

Now they decide to cover Dustin up with sand. He's such a good sport!

Even Eddie got in on it! Dustin teased Eddie by saying, "You've been wanting to do this for a long time haven't you?"

Evans tenderly makes sure his friend is comfortable! ROFL!

Then they made Dustin have a child's body.

Katie walks all over Dustin!

Katie rules!

"OK, guys, this is enough!"

Dustin starting to get up. He said it was a real ab workout to pull out of all that damp sand.

He made it!

Peggy wanted to visit Fat Harold's because her boyfriend spent a lot of time there throughout his life. Last week he was voted as a Legend of Fat Harold's.

Family Game Night. We played a game where everyone wrote down 5 words that started with a certain letter of the alphabet. Then we folded them and put them on the coffeetable and mixed them up. We paired with a partner and when it was our turn we grabbed a paper and tried to describe the word. We had 30 seconds until it was the next couple's turn. It was hilarious!

Well, that was our beach trip!

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