Monday, December 14, 2015

The Darrel L. and Joanne Hammon 2015 Christmas Letter

The Darrel L. and Joanne Hammon 2015 Christmas Letter

Another year has fled, and we don’t know where it has gone. But what a year we and our family have had.
Anna Rose and Christiaan, Emiline, and William
Anna Rose and Christiaan—The Johnson family still lives in Sandy, Utah. Anna Rose was promoted at Cricut and is enjoying her new position. Emiline began first grade, and William continues to attend the pre-school at the Dancing Mouse, a Montessori School where they both attend. Emiline is reading chapter books, and William can count both in Spanish and English. Plus, he knows several Spanish words that he is learning from his bilingual class. It is wonderful to listen to him speak in his shy voice. Emiline and William have spent several weekends with us this year.

Grandpa and Grandma with Emiline and Willliam at Thanksgiving 2015
We have had a ton of fun with them. Anna Rose, Christiaan, and family try to have dinner or lunch here with us or us with them at their home or our home at least once per week. Sometimes, it has stretched a couple of weeks. While they live just 45 minutes away, it is still a challenge sometimes to see them once per week. We did spend Thanksgiving in Sandy with them and the Johnson family.

Hailey and Joseph with Avonlea and Clark
Hailey and Joseph—This little family continues to grow and develop. In October, Hailey became a reporter for the Concordia newspaper, The Concordia Blade. As you all know, Hailey knows how to put words on a page and has become an instant hit in Concordia for her no-nonsense incredible writing. Some people have stopped her on the streets and have said “how refreshing” her writing is.  
Clark, first day of pre-school
 Clark turned three and is now going to pre-school a couple of times a week. He can count to twenty, say his ABCs (in singing fashion), and loves to watch movies with his dad. Little Avonlea crawls, stands by herself, dances, loves attention, and will be walking by Christmas, maybe even before. Her resplendent blue eyes captivate all of us. Her hair has decided it can grow and is now a beautiful strawberry blonde. She reminds us a lot of Hailey….
Grandma with William and Emiline

Joanne—Joanne continues to work at the BYU Health Center. She works about 28 hours per week and loves being there. She also took three cooking classes—Breads, Spices, and Desserts—from the Utah Valley University (UVU) Professional Continuing Education Department. We all enjoy her final projects and her continuing homework. Yum! Joanne’s fun project this summer was planning for and directing the Young Women’s Camp for our Church. They took 34 young women plus their youth leaders. She had a great time although exhaustive.
Grandpa and Avonlea
Darrel—Darrel continues at UVU and writes for DeseretConnect, publishing several articles, including one that had 1.9 million hits! He also took two different classes from UVU: Pottery and Watercolor. Plus, he taught a creative writing seminar at UVU’s Capitol Reef Station in May. What a great experience that was! He accompanied a group of UVU students to the Dominican Republic where they constructed prosthetic legs for 25 patients in Santo Domingo and La Vega. They worked with the Asociación Dominicana de Rehabilitación (ADR) in completing this great work. We worked with the ADR while on our mission in the Caribbean Area Welfare Office.
Joanne and Darrel at Thanksgiving (Johnson's house in Sandy)
Joanne and Darrel—We continue to volunteer at the Volunteer Care Clinic, a free health clinic for those most in need and without insurance. The majority of the patients are Latinos; so, Darrel gets to practice Spanish. We have an excellent time volunteering there. We also were able to spend nine days with Hailey, Joseph, Clark, and Avonlea in August. We had a great time with them. We helped Hailey paint her entire kitchen and spent some quality time with Clark and Avonlea.
Darrel and Joanne at the Payson Temple open house
We had some firsts this year. We went through the Payson Temple Open House. What a gorgeous and glorious edifice! It is just beautiful. We have gone to several sessions there this year since it is just as close as the Provo Temple and not as busy—yet. empanadas! Bishop and Sister Davies attended and showed us renderings of the new Concepción Temple. What a blessing it was to be able to see and feel the spirit of what is to come in Concepción.
Chile Concepción and Osorno missions
We also attended the Chile Concepción and Osorno Mission reunion. It was the first time so many former Chilean missionaries had come to a reunion in the United States. It was good to see people we hadn’t seen since we all served together. It was fun to have them come from Chile to celebrate with us. What a wonderful time we had! And, yes, we had home-made
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you and your families with health and happiness this coming year!
Keith and Delaina (Hammon) Scholes, Andrew Scholes (RM), Joanne and Darrel Hammon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Great Christmas Tree: Buttons, Earrings, and Anything Sparkly.

The Great Christmas Tree: Buttons, Earrings, and Anything Sparkly

My wife’s mother, Wilma Boltz, was never one for throwing much away. Much of her frugality came from her mother and father who raised three boys and Wilma through the Great Depression. Instead of throwing away a shirt or a pair of pants, the shirts were used for rags to clean around the house and out in the barn. Prior to the shirt becoming a rag, Grandma Andersen, Mother Boltz’s mother, would cut off the buttons and put them in a jar for safe keeping and for using later.

Mother Boltz at her 89th birthday
Earrings were no different. According to Joanne, her Grandmother Andersen always wore earrings even though she lived on a farm in Annis, Idaho. She dressed in the morning, dawned her apron, and put on a pair of earrings, many of them the clip on types so ubiquitous in that generation. Very few women ever had pierced ears back then. Rather, they lived with clip on, fancy in the day but not necessarily now.

John, Joanne, Mother Boltz, Lou Jean, and Kevin--The Boltz Family
Mother Boltz kept up with the tradition, cutting and clipping and saving. Buttons and earrings were kept in an old multi-colored can, with patterns on the outside with a sharp rimmed lip. Joanne doesn’t remember when her mother created the famous button/earring tree. “It was always a part of Christmas,” said Joanne. “In fact, I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t up during Christmas. There used to be two of them. This one and one that was lighted.” 

Lou Jean, Mother Boltz, and Joanne--the Boltz women
Apparently, the two button trees were the same, except one of them had Christmas lights. Mother Boltz poked a hole through the fabric and stuffed colored lights through, following the shape of the natural tree. When the lights came on, they literally caused the buttons and the earrings to just sparkle.
Tree with wood frame
If you look close at the button and earring tree, you can see a definite pattern. The tree is encased in an 18” x 22” wooden frame. The background is black velvet. Mother Boltz placed the sets of earrings and buttons on directly opposite sides, making up the tree’s perfectly shaped edge. In the middle, she glued on various buttons, beads, colored glass, and old earrings of various shapes, sizes, and colors, all sparkly. Pieces and parts of old gold chain weave in and out of the jewelry and make up the “garland” for the tree.

Whole tree on felt
The base of tree is an old sliver pin that she had collected from somewhere.
Bottom of the tree
The star at the top is a small piece, comprised of crystal stones.
Top of the tree
I suspect the button/earring tree will continue to be a part of our family for years to come and then be handed down, never thrown away, especially knowing that all of parts and pieces of this glorious tree were saved and squirreled away for some use in the future.

Anna Rose, our daughter, said, “Even when we lived far away from Grandma, the Christmas tree helped me remember the moments we shared.”
Joanne, Hailey, Anna Rose, Mother Boltz, Shawna--Anna Rose's high school graduation
Now, the tree will be remembered as it should be, not as old buttons, earrings, and pieces of glass. Rather, it will the memories of time past with Mother Boltz, a source of wisdom for saving odds and ends to be used at a later date to make beautiful things.