Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Some closing thoughts for this mission.
This mission was vastly different than the first mission I served over 40 years ago. When I first served, I had only been a member of the church for 5 years and 6 months. Three years and six months of that was spent at Church College of Hawaii. In total, I served 23 out of the 24 months assigned to me to serve in Japan. I have found that over the past 40 years, I have been processing what I learned during the first mission and I expect that I will spend a lot of time processing what happened during this mission. Eternal principles always take a long time to internalize and make them an intrinsic part of our lives.
One of the guiding scriptures in this mission comes from Mosiah 5:13 which says “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” I have made it a priority to read the scriptures more than I did at home in Arizona and to do what I could to draw close to my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. By serving a mission as a records preservationist, I have been given the opportunity to do as Jesus did, and that is to serve my fellow man and the records preservation is the way I have done it. People from all over the world research here in Maine and our efforts will become available to them on the internet free of charge.
It is hard to say goodbye. It seems strange to just get up and leave – seems like I am in the middle of a story and leaving is not like just turning a page. You cannot just get up and leave because thoughts and memories follow you along the new path. When I left Australia in 1966, I left my room as if I was going to come back that night and go to bed in my own bed. When I left the Language Training Mission to fly to Japan, I walked out of the building and got in a bus but the memories of the LTM experience were packed in my suitcase along with my clothes. We babysat for Sara and Jacob when they went on their cruise and I brought home a bunch of memories with me of my grandchildren. So, as I prepare to leave Augusta, my memories are all stuffed into my memory bank and I can take them out from time to time to remember what this experience meant to me.
Our first Sunday they welcomed us from the Pulpit and said “The Markhams will be with us for 3 years”. I looked up and was wondering why they said that and the speaker said, “I was just trying to see if Sr. Markham was listening or not.” On my first Sunday in Maine I met Meredith – she is very special to me and I spent 2 hours with her today. We also re-connected with Alan Barker who had been a missionary in Johnstown when we lived there. That was a really good surprise to meet him again after all these years.
We struggled with the Cradle and digitizing. We froze in the winter and marveled at the beauty of the snow and the diamonds that it produced in the morning sun. I fell in love with a River and took many pictures of it – when it was calm, when it was turbulent, when it was in full tide and when the tide was out. I watched it when fish were jumping in it, and noted the effect of people doing yoga on its banks in the early morning sunshine. I have seen it frozen over and watched it when the wind whipped up whitecaps on its surface. I saw some people lazily paddling canoes on a hot afternoon and heard the put-put of an inboard motor boat making its way up stream. I have felt its power in flood stage and gained respect for what it can do. Still cannot for the life of me see the advantage of having a hole in the ice and sitting in an ice shack fishing……………..what self respecting fish would take a lure on such a cold day?
I have explored the archives and seen the earliest record that they have. I have seen Red Paint People artifacts and worked with humidified records. I have had the privilege of serving this mission and am not saying goodbye to it but rather storing the memories so that I can take them out over and over and over and re-experience this time in Maine. I have fallen in love with Maine and its people, just like I fell in love with Japan and its people. What a great blessing this has been in my life.
This is the end of my blog for my mission in Maine. Today is the 19th of September and this mission began 12 months ago on the 19th September with us entering the Missionary Training Center. It ended today with a party for us at the Archives – one with a cake that had written on it “G’day Mate”. We have had a really good year together here with the staff and I wish I could take them all home with me but our house is too small to accommodate them but the memories can come and stay….and they will.
I am truly grateful that my Heavenly Father trusted me enough with the obligation of serving a mission one more time. This is a period of time that has become precious, a time of growing and learning.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
All over the parking lot these men have painted new cross walks, parking stalls, directional arrows and it seems like they have had a field day.
However, we must not expect too much of the Gum'm'ent workers.
It is good to know that I am not seeing double here - maybe not get new glasses after all.
It appears that they have a new gum'm'ent issue upgraded stencil set that does not match the one they used last time. Aaaahhhh! life is surely a challenge.
Tuesday found us having a hard time getting up. We got up so early yesterday, worked all day and stayed up late…………….we are not invincible I suppose.
Bill is up to 97 folders and only has three more to go to make his goal. I finished off the April 1808 new entries and then the fun began. Art came in and announced that they have archival boxes so it is ok to do more document prep – that sent Jeff down to the basement to humidify some of the April 1808 continued actions cases ready for me to flatten out and then enter……and he will humidify another batch tomorrow morning – even though I could have handled them today.
The other thing I did was write “a process” on how to do the flattening out and the entry of writs and get it done the quickest way I have found. Just got it done and sent off to Jeff for him to read and then print off unless there are changes to be made before he brought up the newly humidified records. I am amazed how this all dovetailed.
After work Bill went to Hallowell to get a haircut and I went and played in the quilt shop. I did not buy anything – perhaps no more room in the car – or really, I already have all I need.
We are down to the lasts of food etc. and Bill keeps inspecting the refrigerator to see what is left to eat. I just hope that we are never caught in a famine – he will not do well!
The following is the latest text exchange with David: includes his spelling and punctuation.
Mom: Hi David, they are having a meeting of your team just after we get home. We have a doctor appointment that day in the morning. They plan to discuss your SSI and stuff. Do you want us there even though you are your own guardian?
David’s answer – No No No and No!!! (he loves the exclamation marks)
Mom: I guess that is a “NO” then! I am glad to hear from you. We leave here on Friday Sept 21st.
David: From your mission??? (he likes question marks also)
Mom: Yes it ends on Thursday and on Friday morning we leave for Pennsylvania.
David: Remember if you can get those pictures for me mommy please????
Mom: If we go on Scalp Avenue. We may not be there long enough.
David: If you can I wana see the new station buildings and the new ladder bucket truck that replaced truck 27 mommy!!!! (this in reference to Richland Fire Station)
Mom: What if it is out on a run Or they have the doors closed?
David: Oh well, they have other new equipment that is there that is new and if you knock on the bay doors theres always someone there they’ll open it up for you just explain who you are mommy????
Mom: we have been away from Johnstown for18 years and I doubt if they will remember me.
David: Just tell them you know Bob (heffelfenger). I have talked to bob a couple time on the phone????
Mom: Will see what I can do but we will only have 2 hours and we have to see some people before we go on our way. I cannot promise anything because we are going the other direction than the fire company.
When we lived in Johnstown, David used to go to the fire station each Tuesday night (their practice night) and he even got to wear a Fireman’s outfit and crawl through a ‘smoke’ tunnel. He really thought he was top stuff that night. One night they had a call and he got to go out on a run. It was to a house just outside of Richland and it turns out that it was the home of one of the girls in his class. He was really sober when he came home because her cat died in the fire. It bothered him for quite some time.
I was surprised that he did not want us to be at the meeting of the team, but not surprised really because he does not want us to know how much money he is earning or gets for SSI. I was thinking he would want us to come down since we had just returned from our mission by the time of the meeting.
We feel swamped with ‘end of term’ duties. Bill is registering for the motels we will stay at on our way home and I am trying to figure out how we are going to get all the stuff into the car. We will have to spend the time on Thursday night packing the car and doing laundry and last minute stuff. It is a life in a blender situation to be sure.
When I was a little kid, I used to think that when the sun shone around clouds after the rain and the rays seemed to be split up and falling to earth, that at that time the souls of people who died were ascending to heaven.
Monday, September 17, 2012
We had a big adventure this morning. Yesterday his electric shaver broke and so we had to get up very early this morning, before sun up if you can believe that, and went to Walmart to get him a new shaver. We were supposed to go in and get out quickly, but he stood there for a long time comparing the shavers. I guess men do those kinds of things…………it is a BIG decision to make.
So we got the shaver and the mist had lifted off the bridge and we could see to get home. When we left for the Archives, the sun was up and shining wonderfully on the trees in the front yard and I took a couple of really nice pictures of the event.
6 o’clock Charlie came by this morning but he was trapped between two not too fast moving cars and we could actually see him. I bet he was steamed that he could not tear up the road the way he usually does.
At the archives today I finished off the January 1808 court records for the Court of Common Pleas and have started on the April term papers that seem to be orphaned in the box. The records of this particular county are in disarray and hard to follow. I have to write up how I do it and get it done as quickly as I do so that if anyone comes in they can follow along and help with the flattening out and writing up ready for digitizing. We cannot humidify any more records this week due to the write up and the cataloging of the April term that Jeff humidified last week.
Bill went to the YMCA and I went over to K-mart. That surely is a sorry little store. There is insufficient staff and the merchandise is every which way and poorly displayed. It is amazing that they are still in business. But then, WalMart is up on the hill along with all the rest of the stores and so K-Mart has the downtown all to itself and it does fill a need I suppose.
We went to Line Dance class tonight. This is our last class here in Augusta but we intend to continue with the line dance group in the Community Center. They announced that it was our last night and they had cake etc. for both that and the birthdays for this month. Many people came up to us and said that they will miss us and that they were glad that we came and were a part of them. We are glad that we went to class with them as well. The new line dance class at the high School begins tomorrow night and I would love to go but we have to assemble our stuff so that it is not left to the last minute.
Thursday night is the last of this blog. I will have another blog started but it will be accessed only by invitation. It has been a fun thing to do the blog – a way to jell out what happened or interested me for the day.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
This is our last Sunday in Maine. We got up really early and picked up Meredith and off we went to Westbrook for the General Session of the Augusta Stake conference. We were there early enough for the new member and investigator talks. These were clearly the highlight of the day. We did not have too many people there who were new to the church, but those who were there were spiritually fed by the speakers.
In many places the trees have definitely turned on the fall colors. We saw one maple that was flame red and others that were deep gold. I think we need to have more really cold nights before the rest of them will turn color. I well remember the brilliant colors of the fall in early October in Pennsylvania.
I talked to Meredith about the possibility of her coming to the Archives and doing some of the pressing out and write up of the York county files. We may be able to get a couple of other people to come and help. If we can get the rest of the York writs flattened and written up the digitizers who come after us will have a great time and unimpeded by having to prepare documents.
We went to visit a less active person who lives out by the industrial park but she was not home. The last time we went there a very angry man met us at the door and slammed it in our faces. We were not selling anything – not even vacuum cleaners – and all we needed to know was if the lady still lived there. I guess there are a lot of very unhappy souls in the world and we ran into this one.
I guess we will have to go to the Archives via Walmart tomorrow morning because Bill’s shaver gave out. He bought it when we got here last year – either they are not making shavers to last more than a year or Bill has begun to grow stubble that presents too much of a challenge for the shavers. So we will have to go to Walmart on the way to work so that he can get spiffed up ready for a hard day of digitizing.
We will be planning out our trip home this afternoon and we hope to be able to make each stop viable and to count.
I checked my blog today and find that there have been 6,954 hits since I began it last year.
It is unbelievable that there are many more hits from Russia than from any other country. I do hope that my blog does not contribute to another cold war or something.
Yesterday we drove to Topsham to attend the Saturday meetings of the Stake conference. A Church leader who lives in New York was the main speaker. He talked about how leaders in the various church units of this Stake, should be in very close contact with the members under their care, especially the youth. He told of how some years ago he and another youth leader decided to hold a campout for the young men. They announced it and said that at 6pm on Friday they would be at a certain camp site and they would have a camp out with cooked food over an open fire the first week only 2 boys showed up. As time went on they ended up with over 20 boys showing up and he counts those times with the boys around the camp fire as some of the most remarkable experiences he has had with the youth in the church youth program.
He said that at one time he encountered a few problems and he made it a matter of prayer. He said that he was guided to work with one problem in particular and he found that someone from outside his realm of responsibility stepped in and took care of one other and the third problem just took care of itself. He admonished the leaders to rely heavily on inspiration from prayer to get the job done that they are called to do. Inspiration from God is something we should always seek no matter the problem facing us.
This was the first time Bill and I had driven ourselves to the Topsham church building and even though we had map quest print off the directions we only got lost one time. It’s a shame that we finally are beginning to know our way around and we leave in 5 days. It seems that just about every main road here has a route number attached to it and they seem to radiate from the traffic circles. When we first got here reading the signs that told where each route was going was the most confusing thing to us. It was also really confusing learning how the traffic circles (roundabouts or rotary are two other terms in use here) in Maine work. We have perfected the “yougo-igo” to enter the circle. If the car on our left starts moving, we wait one second and then we go as well – you go, I go – and it seems to work pretty well. We figured that the guy on our left does not want to get creamed by the traffic entering the circle so if he goes, then it is ok for us to go as well. Only 5 more days of trying to figure on this method and we can leave and not have to work with it unless we are asked to come back and do more work here in Maine.
Today we travel to Westbrook for the main conference session. I am really looking forward to it. we are taking Meredith with us. I met her the first week we got here in Augusta.