Friday, February 11, 2011

The Old Church

A week ago, I did some work on a church building. This was an older building and it brought back some memories of the church building less than a block from where I grew up.

As I was working, I could hear the clanking of the steam pipes and radiators. It sounded like someone was in another part of the building with a hammer, banging on the pipes. The old building in cottonwood was much older than this building but I can still recall the old steam heat clanking and making a racket.

The old cottonwood building had a distinct personality. It had a long covered stairway to the foyer. This stairway had a steel banister in the middle which provided us with countless hours of entertainment sliding down it.

The foyer branched off to the left to the chapel, strait to the cultural hall which was that and more...It served as an overflow for the chapel and had a stage for cultural experiences...plays and such. If you went to the right from the foyer, there was a bishops and clerk's office and a couple of classrooms and some stairs that went to the lower level that had a primary room and class rooms that extended underneath all of the building.

Next to the bishops office was a small classroom that had a set of stairs that went to a small classroom kind of mid-way up the tower. From that class room there was also a steep set of stairs that went to an even smaller classroom at the top of the tower.

If you went through the cultural hall, there was a door that led to the stake offices. These offices occupied an area on the upper level and the lower level with a steep set of stairs connecting the two.

There was also a set of doors on the other side of the chapel. There was a small foyer that connected to the cultural hall and a set of stairs that led to a landing which took you outside...or to more stairs that went to the lower lever.

The lower level at this point had a drinking fountain. There, was also the restrooms and a sacrament prep. room. The hall jogged a little and met the hall and classrooms mentions above, and also had a hall that extended to classrooms underneath the chapel.

In all my growing up years, this unique old building still holds a place in my heart. I helped my dad wire the swamp coolers that were added to make the chapel more comfortable. (Before we had the coolers, they used to pass out the little fold up fans so we could fan ourselves, and then they would collect them at the end of the services)

Of course with the changing times, remodels and additions added a gym and other rooms. Then about forty years ago they demolished the old building but not the additions. They built an addition to the gym which included new classrooms and a new chapel and classrooms and offices all on one level.

These and countless other memories came to the forefront, just from hearing the sound of those steam pipes. Oh, the years are many and long...where have they gone.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


As I was stopped at a light on the way home from work, I noticed a man in sun glasses and with a white cane feeling his way down the sidewalk.

My thoughts turned to Maxine. I don't remember the first time I met Maxine, Only that she and her husband, Henry, were friends with my parents and lived close bye when I was young. Henry was a contractor and we did work for him from time to time.

Maxine lost her sight at least forty years ago. When they were aged, they moved to Riverton, only about a five minute drive away from where I live. Even though he was old, Henry built a new house on a small lot. The house was a one level space that Maxine could easily learn and walk and feel her way around in.

After a couple of years, Henry passed away and a couple of their granddaughters moved in with Maxine to help her with the tasks that we often take for granted.

It was at this time that I used to visit Maxine. We visited about a lot of things and as time went by, I learned that Maxine loved to do genealogy and used to research her ancestors. She explained that she could still picture her "family tree" in her mind, and that she longed to be able to do the research, but her blindness prevented her from doing so.

At the time, I was spending a lot of time doing research, and I offered to help her by spending part of my research time looking for her ancestors. She was grateful that I would do such a thing for her.

Maxine provided me with some names and dates and I was able to find some interesting things and many names of her ancestors. She had some ancestors in England that the family line ended...they had lost any leads for further research. I learned that the name of Scoffield actually evolved from an old English name of Scoffin. From some reading I had done, I learned that in the old English, fields and meadows were called fins. Because of this, I was able to extend the research a couple of generations.

When I had completed a goodly amount or research, I printed family group sheets and pedigree charts and inserted them in a binder along with a computer disk encompassing the work I had done. Her granddaughters could review what I had found with her. She was elated that I would do such a thing for her.

It wasn't long after that when I got a telephone call from the granddaughters...Maxine had suffered a heart attack and passed away.

I wonder what happened to the binder and the records I researched.

I felt to thank the Lord for her life and that she could now see again.