Writing Challenge: day 24

Hawaii 1954Still on day 4 of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. I finished off the letters that my Dad wrote to my Mom in 1956. The story that I forgot about in this batch of letters shows my Dad’s giving nature. There was a couple from church and the husband got into trouble before they moved to Key West, forging checks. His past caught up with him and he was thrown in jail. My Dad was willing to give the wife $100 to help get him out of jail so they could run their business. But it turned out that since he actually broke probation the $100 wasn’t any help. He didn’t really know the husband. The wife was a regular at church and he knew there was a good chance that if he gave the $100 he might never see it again. I have no idea what happened to the couple but it sure shows generosity of spirit for my Dad. Plus doing it with the right attitude that it is a gift that my not be repaid.


Dune’s Graduation

Ashleigh and Dune

It has been more than a week since Dune graduated as a guide dog to Ashleigh! It was so much fun to see her. She looked so happy and healthy. Ashleigh is very good with handling Dune and her energetic personality. The class supervisor called Dune a pistol. She loves guiding and I think she will be a great guide dog for Ashleigh once she adjusts to the heat of Arizona. Yeah Dune! We are so proud of our spunky little girl. Here is a very crazy video of the moment we saw Dune for the first time since February.
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Writing Challenge: day 23

My parents are in town so today I spent some time chatting with my Dad for the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. We talked about his character and values and if they have changed since he was in his 20’s. It was a time of transition for him, I think. He was gaining confidence after being away from a negative home life for several years. He had completed his GED a couple of years before but had failed a test of some kind for a college freshman equivalency. Not sure I understand that. I learned that he and the two other single instructors at the school lived in the barracks with students but in a different area. They felt like brothers to him. His only brother died when he was a year old. These men where older than my Dad and I think they might have been mentors but they certainly where more than just co-workers. One of them died a couple of years later in a drowning accident. He is still bothered by the explanation of what happened to him.

I mentioned to him about the running story I shared yesterday and he remembered a different one where a civilian who was watching my Dad run laps around a block or something decided that he must be tired so he started running with him thinking he would be able to beat him. But he didn’t. My Dad stayed a head of him the whole time. I’m thinking that maybe my competitive side was inherited from my Dad. I didn’t know this about him.

My short-term goal is to start working on a story and try to get a handle on they style of writing that will work for me and for this project. My Dad remembered that a student shared a story in the Underwater Swimmers School newsletter a few years ago about my Dad. He is going to find that. With a short story in good shape we will send it to the UWSS newsletter along with a request for students and instructors memories of my Dad. I don’t think he has a very good understanding of how others viewed him. A few stories could really help me to have a better understanding of his character.

Writing Challenge: day 22

I didn’t do well on my goal of following the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. I got no writing done at all. Just one of those days, I guess. I did spend a couple of hours listening to “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. That counts at least some because it is a memoir of Jeannette’s family. I really amazing book. I’m almost finished. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. If I can handle my Dad’s history with half the grace the Jeannette does, it will be miraculous.

Writing Challenge: day 21

Hawaii 1954

My Dad with his first car in 1954

Today was more of the same from yesterday. I’m still working on Day 4 of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge. I’m about two-thirds of the way through his letters from 1956. I found a few passages in letters that I think will work well in the history. Here is one I really enjoyed.

Hey, let me tell you how I fixed a couple of guys here. Anyway, Friday I checked in and went to work, and these two guys kept bragging about the good time they had made running a one-mile course. And they had been running it every day so they were in condition to do it. So I said let’s go out at noon time and run it for fun. They kept riding me about how they would slow down and not run too fast for me. So I just said to myself I will just show these two birds who will have to slow down. Anyhow, I ran them into the ground and best them both by several hundred yards. No more remarks from them then it was my turn to give them a bad time.

Here are a few things that I gleaned from today’s reading:

  • friends make life fun
  • being busy helps pass the time
  • he had the same pair of loafers for 5 years
  • he likes to buy and listen to records
  • likes miniature rose better than full size roses
  • called is car “old junk” it was built in 1948
  • embarrassed about his childhood nickname
  • reliable
  • responsible
  • realistic
  • private
  • respects others
  • caring
  • helpful
  • service minded
  • needs some solitude
  • likes cold milk
  • desires self-improvement and goal oriented
  • knows his weaknesses
  • his friends tease him too
  • thought of himself as “just a sailor”
  • protective
  • competitive
  • athletic
  • confidence in teamwork
  • learns from experience
  • not very close to his family
  • honest

Writing Challenge: day 20

Hawaii 1954

My Dad with his first car in 1954

Trying to get back on track with daily writing after my vacation. I’m still working on Day 4 of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge, with developing the character of my Dad. While driving this past weekend, it occurred to me that reading my Dad’s letters during his time at Key West might help show more of his character. So that is what I worked on today. I made some notes and copied sections out and put them into Scrivener for future reference. No major revelations in my reading so far. After all, I’m the one who transcribed these letters several years ago. But it gives me more confidence in my perceptions of my Dad and the kind of person he was in 1856. Here are my notes from today’s reading:

  • gratitude
  • lonely
  • longing for a family of his own
  • tender-hearted
  • kind
  • bashful
  • self-doubt in social situations
  • didn’t like Navy housing
  • looking for new experiences
  • love of music
  • frugal and willing to sacrifice for financial reasons
  • lack of confidence in social situations
  • reader
  • good imagination
  • hopeful
  • sense of humor
  • tease
  • willing to ask others for information
  • plans ahead
  • humble
  • challenges with expressing himself
  • enjoyed complements
  • likes to dance
  • bashful with strangers
  • bothered by things that go wrong
  • visual teacher
  • kind-hearted
  • wants to help others who are lonely
  • empathy
  • others saw his worth
  • bad handwriting
  • man of faith
  • observer
  • goal setter
  • self deprecating


Dune: d-day


Tomorrow is the big graduation day!

Dune’s recall was unique for us. Because of timing she was due to return to GDB in February when there is no puppy truck to Utah. We volunteered to drive her and Esme and Felix (two other recall dogs) to campus. We got there a couple of days after a huge snowstorm. It was fun to see campus covered in snow. We took her for a walk around campus before leaving her in the kennel kitchen. Dune was excited to be there and not at all concerned about us. I’m sure she was happy to have new faces to meet and places to explore.

Dune: down


Two more days until Dune’s graduation!

I’m not sure how this started but Dune didn’t learn to do this until she was older. When Dune saw one of us going down the stairs when she was upstairs, she would run around to the railing that overlooks the stairs and wait for you to make the corner. The difference in level puts our head about the same height as the floor above. Dune would squat down and stick her head under the railing and get all excited and want some attention as you walked down the stairs. So cute!

Dune: dropper


Only three days left until Dune is an official guide dog!

Dune invented a game she played with herself. I’m guessing that the first time this happened it was accidental but she decided it was fun and played it regularly.

Step One: take a toy to the top of the stairs.
Step Two: drop the toy and watch it bounce down the stairs.
Step Three: after a short pause, run down the stairs.
Step Four: snatch up the toy and run around with it.

Sometimes she would repeat the game. The funniest thing is that Dune taught this game to Emma.

Dune: delightful


Just 4 days to Dune’s graduation!

Dune has a delightful personality. She delights in everything in life. She delights in new things and as a puppy in training she experienced lots of different places from a week at Girl’s Camp to hiking along the Jordan River to the annual puppy pool party to a trip to a preschool at the YMCA.

She especially delights in showing people how much she enjoys them and in how much they enjoy her too. Dune is very in tune with people’s emotions and she enjoys being loved, even by strangers. To her they aren’t strangers at all.