Sunday, April 10, 2011

He's Home!

Just before midnight on Friday, Ed finally returned home from 12 days in Colorado and Wyoming.  It is wonderful to have him back here where he belongs.  I told him he has to take me with him from now on if he expects to be gone for more than a week!

And he brought me a present!  That's Ed's portrait above, taken soon after he joined the Air Force.  He enlisted just a few months before his 20th birthday in 1980.

It's the only picture I've ever seen of Ed when he was a young man.  In fact, until last Christmas I had never seen any pictures taken of him during the first 45 years of his life at all.  I was so excited in December when his mom mailed me one of his elementary school pictures.  Now, at last, I can imagine my husband as he was as a young man.

November 1975- This is how I looked at age 21

Naturally, the next thing I did was drag out my old photo albums to find pictures of myself around the same age.  The one above was taken at a cast party following our final performance of Hello, Dolly!  I portrayed Ernestina Money, the fake heiress Dolly Levi sets up as Horace Vandergelder's blind date.

6 Dec 1980: Here I am as a bridesmaid at age 26.

Of course, since I'm a tad older than Ed, I was actually 25-26 years old when he was a 19-20 year old enlistee.  As it turns out, Ed lived not too far from me when I was posing for the picture above. 

Ed worked at Luke Air Force Base and lived in Chandler, Arizona, from early July to mid-December 1980.  My family moved to Mesa, Arizona, in March 1980.  So Ed and I actually lived about 20 miles apart for almost 6 months in 1980, although we never met.  Besides, at that time he was married to his first wife, with a baby on the way.  The first of his five sons, Drake, was born in January 1981.

I now have many, many pictures from Ed's childhood in my possession.  The last time we visited Ed's mom, Caryl, she gave us permission to bring home two boxes filled with family slides.  That was in December.  It took a couple of months to locate and purchase a good slide scanner, but then I set to work scanning in over 1,000 of Ed's family slides.  I still have 200-300 left to scan.  What a job!

Ed's dad took lots of pictures, but he didn't label very many of the slides, nor did he keep the sets of slides together.  For instance, if a roll of film contained pictures of Christmas, vacation, farm equipment, and trees, he split the slides into 4 different boxes for Christmas pictures, vacation pictures, farm equipment pictures, and tree pictures, alongside similar pictures from several other rolls of film in those same boxes.

In order to determine approximate dates for these slides, I've had to try to reassemble them as each set belonging to the original rolls of film.  Not easy, since the earlier slides weren't even numbered or imprinted with the dates they were developed.  It's been one giant, challenging jigsaw puzzle, as you can see in the very small sample of slides in the photo above.

The biggest mystery, though, is where the rest of the family slides and/or pictures are hiding.  The slides we brought home cover dates ranging from 1950 to 1977 (with some slides missing from most of the sets), but there's not a thing after that.  Caryl and Ed both tell me there should be more family photos for the following years, but Ed was unable to locate any more while he was at his mom's place these past 2 weeks. 

Thus the oldest photo I had of Ed was age 16, until he brought me that Air Force picture from his mom.  Don't worry, once I complete my scanning project, I plan to do some posts featuring some great old Reynolds family pictures!   

9 Apr 2011: Dylan and Ed commence the unloading of the truck.

While in Colorado, Ed drove his mom to her appointments and shopping expeditions, and he helped her with more repairs and improvements around her home and property.  When he came home, he had another big load of equipment, tools, and food storage to keep in our storage unit.

We barely got the truck unloaded when the first big flakes of snow began to fall from the storm that had just rolled in.

9 Apr 2011: Dylan sweeps snow off the car.

Ed bought this old freezer for $50 to transport our meat.

Ed also brought home more than 200 lbs of freshly butchered and ground beef, which we'd ordered from a rancher several months ago.  Last summer I sampled some hamburger from this same ranch, which Caryl had in her freezer, and I must say I never dreamed ground beef could be so lean and delicious!

I drew this bear on the envelope when I sent Ed a "Happy Online Annversary " card
to commemorate our first communique on April 1st.

I'm so happy to have my sweet husband back where he belongs!  Overall, I'd say life is good!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jelly Belly

4 Apr 2011: Elder Carter and Elder Kjar with the senior missionary couple
who took them to the Jelly Belly Factory.

Early yesterday morning, Jacob and his companion, Elder Kjar, started off their P-day by touring the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California.  Soon after that, Jacob got on the computer to read our family emails and to write home. 

He also attached a few photos from their tour of the factory, which I loved.  It's fun to see all the pictures he sends home, but it was extra-special to see the ones that had been snapped that same day, just an hour or two earlier.  It was almost as good as getting to see him in person.  Almost.

Elder Jacob Carter and President Ronald Reagan (made of Jelly Bellies, I assume).

I don't believe these young Elders get to go sight-seeing too much, but once in awhile it is permitted on their P-day.  The only other sight-seeing photos Jacob has sent us were from a Buddhist Monastery in Ukiah, California, called City of 10,000 Buddhas, which he visited back in January.

We hope you enjoyed going along on this little tour with us!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

14 May 2010: Ed and I on the day we met in person.

Ed didn't realize it at the time, but the first time he contacted me on LDS Singles Online was on April 1, 2010, April Fools' Day.

At the time, I was writing to a couple of other men.  Then this message from "wrench25" arrived in my LDSSO message box:

"Hi, The beliefs that I read in your profile belong to the lady I am searching for. However, there is one problem. You surely don't look like you're 55. Have a great day!"

I had recently rewritten my profile and I was pleased by this man's response to what he'd read there.  (To read what Ed saw on my profile, click here.)  I quickly clicked on his profile to check him out.

Ed's profile picture

I don't recall everything I read about him in his profile, but I remember he was 49 years old, with dark brown hair and brown eyes, 6' 1" tall, retired, and divorced.  He also mentioned that he was serving in the Young Men presidency in his ward at church.  He described himself as a neatness freak (he is) and said his friends would describe him as the muscles of the group (he is that, too).  The rest of it is kind of a blur to me now.

He had only one photo on his profile, the one attached and enlarged above.  I found it to be rather disappointing because it was tiny and blurry and I couldn't really get a clear idea of what he looked like.  Now, of course, I know it barely even looks like him at all!

This was my profile picture.

Armed with what little I had gleaned from his profile, I saw no reason not to write back to this pleasant stranger. In my guise as "ElfLady," I sent back this reply the very same day:

"Hello there, flatterer! Yes, sad but true, I really am 55 years old. I've just been blessed with good genes, I guess, because everyone thinks I'm in my early 40s until I tell them otherwise. I guess I can't complain about that!
     "I appreciate your kind words. Here's wishing you a great day, too!"

It's funny to think that our marriage, exactly 50 days later, resulted from such humble beginnings! He wrote back a longer letter the following day, I responded in kind, and we began the process of getting to know each other over the next few weeks by email and by phone.  We wrote pretty much everyday, often more than once a day, until we met face-to-face six-and-a-half weeks later.
And so April Fools' Day has become the anniversary of our meeting, the fateful day we each decided to take another chance on love.  I wish we could celebrate our first online anniversary together, but Ed has been in Wyoming/Colorado since Monday, helping his mom out with repairs and other projects around her home, and he won't be home until sometime late next week.  For now, let me just say:

Happy anniversary, my sweet husband.  Thanks for taking a chance on me.  I love you more than all the emails and blogs in the world can express.  I'm so glad you found me!