Just a couple of thoughts from Veterans Day. . . I was on my way to a playgroup at a McDonald's with both my kids and we stumbled upon a Veterans Day Parade. Disneyland taught Colin to love parades. It seemed shortsighted to go into McDonald's when there was a parade for the people who are sacrificing everything for our country. I took the kids to watch the parade, Jane in a front carrier and Colin on his monkey harness. As I was standing there with my kids I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and just started crying. Maybe it is part postpartum hormones, but I am so thankful for all that we have directly from the sacrifices of so many. Colin was amazed because it was a candy-throwing parade. He collected a lot, which then caused a big tantrum at McDonald's when he only wanted to eat candy. It felt a little ironic to be telling Colin he can’t have any candy until he has eaten some fries and chicken nuggets. It was a great moment of parenting for me.

It made me think of one of my BYU professors, Ray Matheny, who was a POW in WWII. I was in class with him on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and heard his story of the liberation first hand. I had him three semesters in a row and a couple of times we were able to persuade him tell us war stories instead of details of archeology. His accounts always made us realize that the problems we had in our lives were quite small compared to being in a war. I am grateful to Matheny, not only for his national service but because he is how I found my major of Anthropology (I took a socio-cultural route but still had to take his archeology class). Matheny was teaching a History of Civilization class that my older brother had signed up for. Simply to annoy my brother I signed up for the class too. A couple of my closest friend were also in those classes too (I am talking about you Juliet and Kristy).

While in California, we were able to visit another of my old friends who is also a veteran of WWII. I met Bonnie and Arnold Hano while they were in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. I spent the summer right out of high school working on a dental project in Costa Rica. I was alone and barely able to speak Spanish in a small little community in the mountains about an hour outside of San Jose. I spent many very enjoyable hours with them and they helped me find a doctor when I had a very badly injured knee. They have been my somewhat adopted godparents ever since. Bonnie and Arnold are great examples of just being great people. They joined the Peace Corps in their 70’s and are still very politically active and engaged. They were both excited for the upcoming election and Bonnie was telling me how they worked to get African Americans registered to vote in Harlem in the late 1940’s. I felt bad because I had lost touch in the last few years but looked them up and found them home and well. I was so happy to catch up with them. I was so happy they could meet my little family. It was funny because as an 18 year old I would write to them all about this Brian Stucki I was in love with. I was a silly girl. Unfortunately back then I did not fully realize I was corresponding with a great baseball sports writer. (I had an idea because I did check out one of Arnold’s books at the library). A couple years ago a special edition of his book “A Day in the Bleachers” was re-issued. You can read more about Arnold’s writing in the LA Times article. Seeing them made me miss and love them more and I wish we had had days instead of hours.
The title of this blog refers to a letter I wrote to Bonnie and Arnold while they were in Costa Rica that arrived to them with a stamp on it saying the letter had been mis-directed to Vietnam. I had some strange mail in Costa Rica that had been sent to me while I was working there in 1993 but arrived to me while I was working there again in 1995. It felt a little like the Twilight Zone.

Since I forgot to take any photos while at Bonnie and Arnold's last month, here is a photo of them from Costa Rica in 1993. They painted this mural in the local school.

Here is a photo of Arnold from the early 1950's that I found on-line. When I visited the Hano's about 10 years ago they showed me a photo of Bonnie on a camel in Egypt that I wish I had a copy of.
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  1. susan m hinckley said...
    What a cool veteran's day post,Ann. Thanks for sharing it! And you were being a good mom to make Colin eat fries and chicken nuggets before candy, weren't you? Maybe I don't know what real good moms do.
    Anonymous said...
    Yah, I hear you on the McDonald's thing. Just yesterday I took the boys there and Ezra threw a huge fit because I made him eat mcnuggets before french fries (otherwise he won't eat the nuggets at all), and since he hardly ever eats protein I enforced it. I just let him scream his little heart out and ate and fed Micah until he calmed down and everything went fine after that.

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