“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
by Edward Sharp
and the Magnetic Zeros
“Home,” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
“Home is whenever I’m with you.”
Beginning where we left off in “Pt 27: More Memories of My Mama Esther LeBaron-McDonald and My Papa Floyd Otto Spencer:”
In early 1947, Pa was lying incapacitated in a Texas hospital. In order to be near him, Ma packed up in a hurry all her belongings, including me and Doris not quite potty-trained, and moved back to the United States — with two stowaways in her belly besides ... Twins!
On April 18, 1947 I turned a year old, “big” sister Doris 2.5 years old, and Ma 25.8 years old … her hands full and her belly too. She was expecting but NOT twins! Nonetheless, June 21st, 1947 they popped out headfirst to greet everyone, ready or not. Fourteen months my juniors, these twins — darling though they were, a novelty, and an attention-getter — quadrupled Ma’s handful during her time of crisis.
To lighten pressures, Pa’s first wife Eva divorced him Oct. 30, 1944 — a month before my parents’ first child Doris was born November 27 (Thanksgiving Day), 1944. Now Pa no longer had to fear being tossed in jail for bigamy. This lightened my parents’ load immensely! No longer polygamists, except in belief, now they lived in the United States without worries of prosecution. It was persecution they had to worry about from then on, being Mormon fundamentalists.
As mentioned earlier, before my parents left Mexico, they turned over to Grandfather and Grandmother LeBaron the land they had bought there in Galeana, Chihuahua — land Pa bought in Ma’s name as she was born in Mexico.
Heretofore unnable to afford to move out of mainstream-Mormon Colonia Juarez, now, thanks to my parents, in 1944 my maternal grandparents were able to finally leave their homestead of 20 years, leaving along with it the many years of rejection they’d suffered and halfway survived in the Mormon colonies.
Settling on Ma and Pa’s “ejido,” my scrabble-farming grandparents and their children who still remained at home began building a whole new life and world. It was indeed a struggle. (You shall hear how they fared in Mexico down past the Rio Grande!) But The Mexico LeBarons (Dayer, Maud, their kids, and extended family) at long last had escaped the rejection and ostracism they’d painfully endured while living in the mainstream Mormon townsites.
Once Mother’s brothers born in Mexico (Ervil, Floren, and Verlan) reached the age they could each own a “parcela” (i.e., government land parcelled out to Mexican citizens to homestead on), they acquired surrounding pieces of property that joined the land my father had bought and registered in American-Mexican Ma’s name. That’s how “Colonia LeBaron” came to be … how it got its start! Many pieces/parcelas came together to make this pie.
By the time my family, “the Spencers,” moved back to Mexico in August 1960, Pa had turned sixty-five, Ma thirty-nine, and I fourteen. Ma’s pa, Grandpa Dayer, died nine years earlier so of Ma’s parents only my Gramma Maud remained. (Born in 1892, Gramma was but three years older than Pa. Just thought you’d like to know!)
Given this bit of backstory, you now know how, when my parents returned to their agrarian Chihuahuan desert home now called Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico, they “landed” on property they already owned. It was within walking distance of Gramma — though Pa and Gramma didn’t get along so we didn’t see much of her at our house. But some of Mother’s brothers and extended family homesteading in Mexico also lived near us, including Uncle’s Joel, Ervil, Floren, Verlan, their wives and children, and my Aunt Lucinda’s three children.
Soon after my Ma’s repatriating to Mexico, the land of her nativity, Ma and Pa bought another piece of property in her name* “The Galeana Springs.” It was located within a few miles of our homestead in Colonia LeBaron and had a natural running spring on it!
Once back in Mexico on her Motherland, Ma shed joyful tears, crying, “It’s so wonderful to finally be back with my family again — back home where I belong in Old Mexico with my kids and Pa … on our own ‘ranchito’ !”
*My pa, being an American, wasn’t allowed to own real estate in Mexico. Ma had dual citizenship, having been born in Mexico in 1921 of American parents; therefore, she could own property in Old Mexico.
- Thanks, cousin Dena McLean, for sending me the YouTube link to this lovely theme song “HOME” !
Continued November 20, 2018, “Pt 29: My Ma Esther LeBaron Spencer and My Grandma Maud
Pt 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer
“You can never go home.”
Another variable in the equivocation, as to Mom’s virginity on her wedding night, is the following (Perhaps I’m throwing a hand grenade into the equation): When I was about fourteen, Momma told me how girls she knew, when she was growing up, used things like bananas, carrots, and broomstick handles to put up “the place where babies are born.” Also used these and other devices to try to achieve an abortion.
I barely knew what she was talking about. And didn’t know masturbation or the need for such existed. Don’t know why Mum told me this stuff. I assume she was expounding on thoughts she had at the moment. Or was she suggesting I use the same tools, should the need arise — only don’t tell anyone the idea came from her?
That’s questionable, given part of virginity means an unbroken hyman. I think she was simply telling me some of the “worldly” things she knew “bad girls” used to do — but things she thought I wouldn’t do because I was her girl so “wasn’t worldly.” She believed I was better than they: I was “born a Saint.”
Such are the things my pure, perfect … perfectly-fanatic Mormon mum told me on the sly in moments of weakness and reverie. I suppose they were things too interesting to keep to herself. And I was Mum’s confidant.
Here’s another piece of juicy information Mumma shared with me after I asked her to explain what a “dirty joke” was. A couple of my sixth-grade classmates used the term but laughed at me when I asked what it meant. They said, “Go ask yer mom!” So I did.
At first, Mom told me “Johnny fell in a mud puddle” was an example of a dirty joke. But I was dissatisfied with that answer, so she caved in — but only after securing from me a promise I’d never repeat what she told me! Then she quickly recited the following bawdy rhyme she’d learned as a youngster. I admit I’m breaking my promise for I’m repeating what she said:
“Mary had a little lamb;
It wasn’t worth a Tinker’s damn.
She took it to bed with her to sleep.
The sheep was found to be a ram,
So Mary had a little lamb.
“When Mary had a little lamb,
The doctor was horrified.
But when Old McDonald had a farm,
The doctor almost died!”
Mum had to explain what this “dirty joke” meant, but I had no trouble converting the rhyme to memory.
You get the idea, though: The jury is still out on whether Mumma was indeed a virgin on her wedding night — and it will always be out. So your guess is as good as mine. And my guess is she wasn’t — despite the fact she and Papa had raised me to believe suicide was preferable to losing my virginity. Had I lost my virginity before my wedding night, I would have committed suicide. It was that serious!
But I was raised on triple standards! I didn’t know it then. I know it now. Little ears have big listening capacities. During my growing years, I learned many things my parents had no idea I was picking up on. I recall illicit things I experienced and heard before I could barely babble. But I had the adults fooled. So take my advice: Never assume a baby who can’t talk, can’t understand what YOU are talking about or doing!
Well, I’ve said my piece for now, so peace to you till next week’s blog and “journal jog.” My head’s beginning to nod. ‘Tis time to get some sleep ‘n’ roll some rrrr’s before the sun peeps under my window sill.
Continued October 30, 2018, in “Pt 27: More Memories of My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer”
The following video gives insight into how I was raised and what my blog today depicted concerning virginity and Mormon Fundamentalism.
Pt 25: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy
“Never complain about
what your parents couldn’t give you.
It was probably all they had.”
I left off on “Pt 24: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy.”
Let’s change the topic a bit and go back to when I was twelve and we inquisitive LeBaron-Spencer siblings — 11 of us by then — were once more huddled around our loving, peaceful parents in the living room. Those who could manage to get there first were sitting on the colorful rag-rug Mama had made and spread out in front of our warm fireplace hearth Daddy designed and built.
The periphery of the fireplace was artfully decorated with shades of variegated vermilion petrified-wood — rock-work laid by my artisan father’s own skilled hands. I loved to study its eye-catching splendor while listening to our parents’ religious lessons.
It was Family Home Evening again — our Monday-night Mormon family get-together my parents held sporadically. As was customary in our family during these times, we older children were taking advantage of the time together with our seemingly Godlike mom and pop to pump them for information about their past. After we’d heard about how they met and married, I couldn’t help but interject the all-important question: “Mama, were you a virgin when you married Daddy?”
I don’t know what prompted me to ask that question. I should’ve “known” Mama was a virgin, given how she strictly instilled within us children that it was a matter of life or death that we be virgins on our wedding night. That was good old Mormon fundamentalist doctrine!
A man could have lots of wives … But the man had to be a virgin too, on his first wedding night, anyway! (After that, he could marry any number of women though he was no longer a virgin. Still, each of his wives had to be a virgin! But there were exceptions to this rule, too, such as in the case of divorce.)
But it was an all-important question to me, given Momma and Papa had so fervently impressed upon me and my siblings that we be chaste virgins when we married. We were not even to kiss a man till we were at the marriage alter! I repeat: We were not to kiss our loved one till we were at the marriage alter!!
Therefore, I was taken aback when Mama flushed then exchanged with Papa an embarrassed equivocal half-grin implying, “Don’t ask; don’t you tell.” Then, having established an unspoken agreement and understanding with Papa, Mama carefully chose her words as she formed her response: “Why … of course, I was a virgin on my wedding night!”
But I sensed the look exchanged between her and Papa suggested a special and personal secret held between the two. It left me with the impression the jury was still out on the Ma-plus-Pa virginity equation.
Given their equivocation, I only wonder: Was Pa on the bottom or the top? And was their “wedding night” in the back of the pickup bouncing toward Ma’s parents’ home? That’s all I want to know! It’s more than I could know at the tender age of twelve … You have to know a little to ask a lot. At that age, I barely knew how babies were begot … wished I knew not if it was what I thought.
But I certainly wanted to believe my parents abided by the chaste rules they taught from the time I was a tot: People must NOT lose their virginity! And, I repeat, Shouldn’t even kiss until they were at the marriage alter!
Older and wiser now, I suspect some of that bouncing of the pickup bed that carried Mommy and Poppy from Mesa, Arizona to Chihuahua, Mexico was created by more than the bumps in the rutted, rugged 1944 roads those many hours the truck sped along at top speed towards Mama’s parents’ home. (Perhaps Uncle Ben was doing his utmost to get these two lovers — my future parents — to his father’s presence while his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law were still “chaste”?)
Oh, well. What the hell! Nature has purposely made the attraction between two people in love too difficult for abstinence — especially when they’re alone and getting to “know each other better” in the back of a secluded pickup. At least, that’s what I surmise. What’s your opinion?
I also suspect (from what I learned when Mother let me read her diary she wrote when she was in her late teens) other activities also had something to do with whether Mother’s hymen was still unbroken. I’ll tell you what I mean in an upcoming blog. Meanwhile, who knows what else may have passed between Ma, Pa, and those five years following the incident she wrote about in her diary!
Continued September 28, 2018: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy — Part 26
“People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a clause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform. Ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
“The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Green, 1998
Taking up where we left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low — Part 20-C:
Other than my Honeymoon, a one-day trip to Chihuahua City, Mexico, and a five-day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico — all with my husband Bill — plus a trip up to the mountain town of Nico Las Bravos, Mexico, to visit relatives, from 1960 till 1967 I was pretty much stuck in the little windswept Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, a secluded Chihuahuan mountain desert enclave if ever there was one. I didn’t know Spanish, had a baby, no money, and couldn’t drive. Had no car if I could’ve.
And there were no means of public transportation. I was lucky if I could hop a ride, now and then, with somebody who lived in the LeBaron colony, to go to Casas Grandes, the small, quite dilapidated — at least in the 1960’s — Mexican town where our colony members usually shopped for most of their groceries and other needs.
In other words, I was cut off from the outside world and its influences. Our small primitive colony had no electricity, telephones, telegraphs, newspapers, magazines, schools, libraries … the list gets longer! So it precluded TVs, or any other news or information source, of course, though a few people had radios — a luxury I could not afford.
But, eight months after I was married, and sharing a home with Bill’s second wife Lolita, thanks to an old box of magazines and books Serendipity and Synchronicity joined hands to leave on my front porch by way of a disgruntled member — an apostate who fled LeBaron — I found myself with informative and investigative things to read — thanks be to God, Goodness, and my Higher Power! I was seventeen years old and no longer under the watchful eye of my parents. But even Bill’s other two wives were careful to report me to him if they caught me reading! I was to spend all my time working!
But, before anyone could see what was in the box, I hastily gathered it up and hid the inflammatory material, magazines, and pamphlets. Though I was supposed to burn the “Godsend,” I secretly devoured its contents. Ever a God-fearing, yet intellectual and curious person — a bookworm — I couldn’t resist the temptation! I was hoping it would have answers to some of my probing questions. I wasn’t disappointed.
One book in the box, “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, was a most influential work in my developing the ability to think for myself and to see through things such as the fallacies of polygamy — though common sense helped me see through that anyway. But Peale’s work created the means of a breakthrough for me.
Along with Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, my husband Bill Tucker’s influence and input, and my own experiences and reasoning, at age 17, Dr. Peale helped me to see through the glittering generalities and other mumbo-jumbo of mind-controlling religions.
He taught me how to put into down-to-earth terms scriptural verses, catchphrases, and other terminologies and clichés religions and cults commonly use to control their followers and keep them brainwashed and fearful.
I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew in this area — threw it out with the bathwater when I flew the coop and fled the cult. So, 55 years later and after the fact, I’m unable right now to come up with a good example of what I’m talking about. Soon as I think of one, I’ll clarify what I mean.
But another wonderful bonus that came from reading Dr. Peale’s book is he taught me how to overcome my worst problems: Shyness and fear of being around people. His book taught me how to face my fears and overcome them! Before his “blessing” arrived on my doorstep, I was a teenager and still unable to go knock on the door of even an aunt I really wanted to visit! And I would even cross the street so I wouldn’t have to say “Hi” to my own cousins! That’s how timid and bashful I was.
But getting back to Colonia LeBaron in 1963 — back to where I was before I sprouted wings and flew over the prison walls that bound me — after four years of watching for my chance, a loophole opened where I could finally escape the LeBaron cult, Mormonism — and all other cults that have presented themselves ever since.
The “cult of doubt and disbelief” is the only one I have not been able to fully escape since then. But after 40 years of “wandering in the wilderness” literally, I’ve finally gathered enough input and Info to know that, among other things, making no choice is also a choice, as is indecision.
So I’ve chosen to “Let go and let God.” That is, some years ago, I finally realized that fear of believing in something (for fear another cult would be able to overtake me) was actually a “cult of fear.” I’m happy to say that now I have at least finally been able to regain a spiritual basis. For example, I now know there is some kind of hereafter. And I firmly believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. And we have probably lived many lifetimes — and will continue on where we leave off in this life.
To my credit, within five months of escaping polygamy and Mormonism in 1967, I realized the philosopher Ayn Rand, herself, was a cult leader! She was my husband Bill Tucker’s new-found philosophical leader, shortly before he died — your philosophy of life being your religion.
Although my husband hadn’t seen it before he died at age 31, I, at age 21, was able to comprehend the above and to also see that Ayn Rand and other atheists had no more proof that God does not exist than religious people have proof that God does exist. Quite a conundrum? I’ll leave you this yummy-gummy gumdrop to chew on till I come up with a new dewdrop containing more oxymorons to gum up your reasoning … and drop you on your head. Just kidding!
Pretty City Chick
By Stephany Spencer
Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat.
But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana.”
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote.”
It needs work,” is my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote,
As I humorously emote:
Pretty City Chick
NOTE: The following is a tongue-in-cheek song I wrote:
Hi! I’m a Hack Who’s
Written a Hit
Called “Pretty City chick,”
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bit o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better or Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Hey, they say I’m a pretty city chick
And Hillbilly music makes some sick;
But my Hillbilly ways are here to stick,
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And that’s pretty hip —
And now I’m a city chick.
I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl —
A Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my gut ’n’ butt;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses
Ain’t my thing.
I’m here for music and to sing!
Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit,
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That‘s my story
And I’m “shitickin” to it!
My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There seemed little he couldn’t do.
Ma was a creative, author,
And artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Trained concert pianist — Whew!
She loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!
She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
“Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)
Hey, they call me a pretty city chick,
But Hillbilly music is my “shtick,”
And my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit
With this pretty city chick,
‘Cause shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m “shtickin’ ” to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick.”
*The following is an iPhone video of me in 2017 at age 71 performing the above lyrics at the California Writers Club — fifty years after escaping polygamy & Mormon fundamentalism. It’s a standup-comedy song I wrote called “I’m a Hit.” I recently “re-writ” part of it and renamed it “Pretty City-Chick”:
(Continued July 23, 2018: “My Memoir: Ma, Pa, Me — And And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low: — Part 20–E”
Sing your song,
Dance your dance,
Tell your tale.
Author of best-selling classics:
Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, and Teacher Man
They Changed the Name of Our Hometown*
1— They changed the name of our hometown the other day,
But in the hearts of some Short Creek will always stay;
The cliffs so high, the valleys filled with memories —
How can they change a hometown’s name or verse to trees?
2— Oh, I’ve been asked a thousand times or more, I guess,
If from the town Short Creek I came; I answer Yes;
With head erect, I proudly say my hometown’s name;
But, since the change to Colorado City it ain’t the same.
3— When I was ten, my family left my dear hometown;
For Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, we were bound.
But Hurricane, Utah became our four-year camping ground;
Still, throughout the years, I can’t forget Short Creek, I’ve found.
I’ve been asked a thousand times or more,
If from Short Creek I came;
With head held high, I answer Yes,
So proud to say the name;
But since the change to Colorado City,
It’s not the same;
So in my heart, the name Short Creek
Will still remain.
And, in my heart, they’ll never change
My hometown’s name!
*NOTE: Original lyrics by David Stubbs.
~Verse 3, plus line & word changes by Stephany Spencer
~~ Melody borrowed from Joe & Audrey Allison’s Classic Country song:
“He’ll Have to Go” — First line: Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone.
*In the following video, recorded March 3, 2018, I’m performing the above song, “They Changed the Name of Our Hometown,” at the California Writer’s Club. Between nerves and lack of practice, I’ll be the first to say the rendition could use some work. I plan to eventually re-record and repost it. But this video gives an idea of how the melody goes.
Poets for Fred Morrow Plumbing,*
And super-savings on Sewer Sub-Meters:
(He’s installed hundreds of these meter readers!)
First class, first choice
Contractor’s corporation —
In my humble opinion,
Best plumbing Co. in the nation!
I hired Fred Morrow
So I wouldn’t be sorry tomorrow;
Did my homework;
So I don’t repent in sorrow!
On April 4, 2018,
Morrow’s super-plumber Stal
Installed my sewer sub-meter “machine;”
‘Twas some of the best work I’ve ever seen!
If you want a good job done overall,
Fred Morrow Plumbing’s the company to call.
Want to save, all-in-all? Then I say, “Don’t stall”:
Call Fred Morrow services:
You save on dollars plus time
And energy lost on disservices;
Because you can expect to get:
1- The best PRICE in town yet!
2- No scams, shams, nor sharks around:
3- The job done right when they hit your ground!
4- Savings on DWP’s secret sewer-service slam!
5- A no-problem-no-fault City Inspection!
6- On-time arrival, completion, and job perfection!
7- PLUS timely follow-ups from friendly Fred!
Now, with all that said,
Fred Morrow gets an “A”
In my grade book today,
For doing his homework
The old-fashioned way:
His company doesn’t shirk;
They get high marks
for first-class work.
Yes, Fred’s a leader — a keeper;
His work ethics couldn’t be neater!
What’s more, Fred and his men
Are friendly, fit, trim, and thin.
You don’t believe me?
Do your homework on DWP
Sewer Sub-Meter Regulations and see.
And interview the whole Plumbing lot
Recommended for this job on Next Door and Yelp.
Then, like me, you may yell and cry, “Help!!”
Because you’ll get the opposite of what I got
With Fred Morrow’s Plumbing
Whom I ultimately sought.
He started his company in late 1970;
Has around twenty-two employees presently;
I say, “Hire this incredulous hot entity!”
He’s the only plumbing company with high integrity
That I’ve found around in years —
The only one lately that hasn’t left me
With problems, fears, and tears.
Hats off to Fred Morrow Plumbing,
And a BIG round of cheers!!
May this company be around
For many more years!
By Stephany Spencer
*Fred Morrow Plumbing: 818-376-6538
16137 Valerio Street,
Van Nuys, California 91406
NOTE: I found the following book online. Am posting it here because a guy by the name of “Fred Morrow,” who owns “Fred Morrow Plumbing” — an attorney turned plumber — I thought was one of the protagonists in this story.
After buying and reading the book on Kindle, I discovered my Google search had found the names “Fred” and “Morrow” in the novel and had somehow linked them with “Fred Morrow Plumbing,” the company I was doing research on.
But a coincidence: The protagonist in the book IS much like Fred Morrow. However, his name is “Nate Morrow,” he owns his own plumbing company, has high integrity — and the “Fred” in Pemberton’s novel, it turns out, is the protagonist Rita’s uncle!
I’m leaving this Book recommendation on my blog because I think anybody who knows Fred Morrow would find this book a fascinating read, to say the least! See the book’s title and a clip from the novel listed below:
Morrow was supposed to meet her at her apartment, five minutes ago. Couldn’t these people … No point in activating Uncle Fred’s antenna, she told herself, but in the back of her mind, she knew Fred had little to do with it. She didn’t want … Fred wasn’t sitting on the front porch, and neither was the plumber. Suddenly fatigue …
Do You Dig?
To find enlightenment
and better succeed in life’s journey
toward individuation and edification,
We might participate in
an inner archaeological dig.
Workshops to assist are found under
And are offered free at The College of Life
and Hard Knox University.
Do you “dig”?
These workshops include
a certain kind of digging
into our inner archaeological rigging
to discover, then uncover our intrinsic self —
our weaknesses, specialness, and gifts.
We may group these traits together
with other abilities, liabilities, and values
and map a course of action and direction
to weather our outer archaeological dig.
During our life’s exploration —
our search for purpose, meaning, and self —
We’ll often need to go within
to visit our inner “archaeological workshop”
and remove layers of crud,
sediment, and debris
as we make our way through
pursuing our goals to discover,
uncover, and achieve
It’s responsibility and work,
an endeavor I’d like to shirk;
But seems a course worth taking,
a workshop in the making
for avid, tripping, soul-searching
archaeologists like me.
Do you “dig”?
My Memoir, Part 19-C: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And More Perils of Polygamy
“Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man’s character,
give him power.”
I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-B” commenting:
In Homer Babbitt’s kiss
There was no connubial bliss,
Though that was my very first kiss!
And my very first date …
Yet, barely a kiss and barely a date.
Still, Ervil prophesied he was my fate!
And now I wax into half-assed poetry,
Because no matter how “Homely Homer” kissed me,
I would’ve missed marital bliss, believe me,
Because despite Ervil’s wheelings ‘n’ dealings,
I felt no friendly feelings
For this pockmarked Mormon Mister.
He could go marry my sister!!
In reality, my love-sick stomach was reeling:
Because, when it came to my “celestial” sealing,
I longed to be kissing Bill Tucker,
Not this pock-marred, scarred-faced fucker!
Talk about an upcoming frigid Miss
In a marriage devoid of connubial bliss,
Because she was stuck in bed with
A man she couldn’t kiss
And a marriage missing luster,
Thanks to Ervil, the fuckin’ fuck-Buster!
But, to further forward his meddlin’,
While my present and future peddlin’,
Evil Ervil, chief head of “Cult LeBaron,”
Called my parents to a meetin’ wherein
I could secretly slip out the back
To meet my soon-to-be “quack”/spouse
Without my parents about the house
To smell the lousy “louse” trap
Set behind their manipulated back
To catch ‘n’ mate their poor little “mouse,”
And to a polygamist male espouse!
All I remember about my miserable meet-up
With my arranged husband-to-be, in this secret prenup,
Is being surrounded by a desert mesquite-cacti outback,
In homely Homer’s hidden black Cadillac,
And both of us blushing to beat the band
As we self-consciously took each other’s hand —
The first time I’d ever been alone with a man!
And now we were expected to take a stand
And solemnly join our compromised lives …
By telling each other conjured-up lies —
Expected to make our wedding vows …
But I could not my passions arouse.
With heated and flushing countenance
Completely bathed in moonlight intense,
We couldn’t hide how uncomfortable we felt
As Homer stood near me and then knelt.
Being together alone that night
Simply and completely did not feel right!
Homer was unable to utter a word
In this setting so “utter”-ly absurd:
I, a naïve sixteen-year-old,
But soon a child bride to be;
He a marred-faced American-Mexican
Going on forty-three.
We two didn’t even know each other.
We felt more like sister and brother.
We’d never been together before,
Nor even been introduced afore
That secret evening rendezvous
When this man I never even knew
Suddenly showed up at my door.
… And now I’ll close down; I’ll say no more,
But promise next week more trivia galore!
(Continued in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-D”)
The following video is an excellent depiction of my upbringing in Mormon fundamentalism.
My cousin, the famous Eddie Le Baron
“There’ll be two dates on your tombstone
And all your friends will read ‘em;
But all that’s going to matter-
Is that little dash between ‘em.”
by Stephany Spencer
1- Between the date of birth and death,
There’s always a little dash —
To me, it depicts life’s run-time,
So I call the line “life’s dash.”
This dash mark on a gravestone,
As in football’s forty-yard dash*,
Represents our life’s game,
That’s over in a flash.
2- So ‘Midst the trauma ‘n’ melodrama,
Strum, ‘n’ strife, ‘n’ stress,
Let’s take time, now and then,
To review our life in progress.
During the period of our dash,
Let’s consider our one-act scene;
Are we a human-doing,
Or are we a human being?
3- While busy making our mark in life,
Let’s enjoy our jaunty trip —
Our journey through this cosmic world.
But here’s a timely tip:
There’ll be two dates on our grave plaque
Separated by a dash,
But it’s how we live life’s dash that speaks,
Not silent sod nor ash.
Those we’ve known may forget,
After we’ve done life’s “splash,”
Our date of birth and death,
But not how we lived life’s dash.”
TAG: Don’t forget, they won’t forget
How we lived “life’s dash.”
* Since the following video recording was done, I’ve rewritten part of my “Dash” song I performed at the California Writers Club 11/4/2017 — the day before “All Saints Day.”
Coach Lou Holtz read the following composition
to his players in 1996 at a team meeting:
From “A Teen’s Game Plan for Life”
by Lou Holtz:
“A few years ago Notre Dame went over to Dublin, Ireland to play the Naval Academy in football.
“When we were over there, we went to a twelfth-century cemetery. All we saw was a group of dilapidated walls and huge tombstones. One of our players, Alton Maiden, sat down at this cemetery and wrote the following poem:”
(By Alton Maiden, 1995)
I’ve seen death staring at me with my own eyes
In a way many cannot know.
I’ve seen death take lots of people
But leave me here below.
I’ve heard many mothers’ cries
But death refused to hear.
And in my life, I’ve seen many faces
Filled with many tears.
After death has come and gone
A tombstone sits for us to see.
It’s not more than a symbol
Of a person’s memory.
I read the person’s name,
Read date of birth, see the dash —
And the date the person passed.
Then, thinking about the tombstone,
Realize the important thing is the dash.
Yes, I see the name of the person
But that I might forget.
I read the date of birth and death
But even that may not stick.
But thinking about the person
I can’t help but think of “the dash.”
Because that represents one’s life
And that will always last.
So when you begin to charter your life
Make sure it’s a positive path.
People may forget your birth and death
But always remember:
They’ll never forget your dash.
~ by Alton Maiden, 1995 ~
*Don’t be so quick to judge a player by his 40 time.
- Front Office View
- Published: Feb. 24, 2011 at 02:58 p.m.
- Updated: Aug. 3, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.
- 0 Likes | 0 Comments
|Ben Liebenberg / NFL|
|It’s one thing to run a fast 40-yard dash in shorts on a fast track, but does that speed translate to the football field?|
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul Brown started this whole mess. But I bet the man who invented the use of a 40-yard dash never thought it would become this big.
How big? So big that when I worked with the Oakland Raiders, the 40 dictated everything we did — and I mean everything.
Brown, the former Cleveland Browns head coach and Bengals founder, wanted to determine how fast his players were covering a punt, so he chose 40 yards — the distance most punts traveled — as a measuring stick. Little did he know that a 40 time would become such a huge phenomenon.
|Fastest 40s at combine since 2006 (top five)|
Think about it: What’s the one question every single prospect leaving the NFL Scouting Combine this year will be asked? “What was your forty time?”
Maybe Brown should have patented his idea.
The 40 time has become the measuring tool for most teams and, yes, I have to admit, I relied on knowing the times of each player. And if I was building a team I would want specific requirements of height, weight, and speed for each position. My goal would be to have a big, fast football team — not a track team that forced me to rely solely on the 40-yard dash in shorts.
Back in his day, Brown’s 40-yard test looked vastly different than the one being utilized at the combine today, even though the distance traveled is the same. In today’s 40, players work on their start from an elongated three-point stance — unlike the one used in football — trying to gain yardage with their first step. The runners stay low for the first 10 yards, not raising their head, and finish 10 yards past the end line.
Little did Coach Brown know that agents would one day send their clients to speed camps hoping to improve their 40-yard times and their draft status.
With time comes improvement, so naturally the 40 times have improved as players have gotten stronger, highly trained and in peak condition. But the essential value of this quick dash as a measuring stick has not changed. The most fundamental question that must be asked after knowing a player’s time and what makes the 40 a valued tool: Does he play the game of football with that speed?
For example, Deion Sanders was lightning fast at the combine in New Orleans in 1989. By more than one account, he ran the 40 in 4.19 seconds, thought to be the second-fastest ever run at the combine (Bo Jackson has the fastest verifiable combine 40 time of 4.12 seconds in 1986). And Sanders just kept on running, Forrest Gump-style, right into the locker room. However, the key validation came when Sanders showed he was fast on the football field, as well. His speed translated to his game, which then validated the 40-yard dash.
There have been players that time fast in the 40, but when watching them play football they don’t look nearly as fast. Jets defensive end Vernon Gholston ran extremely well at the combine, but when he was evaluated on tape from Ohio State, his speed never translated to the field. Little wonder he has played three years in the league and has yet to record a sack. He isn’t the only one. There have been countless workout warriors who have shown well at the combine and failed in the NFL.
Some players are fast, but do not play fast, while others time slow, but play fast in pads. And that is the key for finding the right balance when using the 40 times as a measuring stick. Like all things, when evaluating college players, everything falls back to the evaluation of playing the game. Does this player play fast? Can his 40 time be seen when he puts on his pads?
Surfaces can be deceiving, too. When Coach Brown started running his 40s, grass was the only surface he had his players run on. Today, with many different surfaces available, it becomes a challenge to adjust the time correctly. It is widely understood that a player is much faster on a track and turf than grass, but the question remains how much faster. When I worked with the Raiders, and even now, they adjust every time from the combine slower. If a player runs 4.47 at Indy, the Raiders will adjust it to around 4.51. For the Raiders, the 40 is everything, so they make it difficult for prospects to run a great time.
Adjusting the times can create a problem. What happens to a player who runs bad at the combine but improves his time at his campus workout? Does he move up the board? If he does, then why should players even run in Indy? And is the adjustment the right number or a number arbitrarily picked out of a hat?
When I headed the Browns‘ personnel department, we would always use the natural Indy time as our official 40 times. Jim Schwartz, a scout of ours at the time and current head coach of the Detroit Lions, kept a database of times run at Indy and those run at the school’s pro days. Believe it or not, some of the 40 times were actually slower on the home surface than at Indy. We wanted to have some consistency of adjustments.
But even with the consistency of adjustments, all these variables made the 40 time extremely difficult to use as the sole measuring stick. In Cleveland, we knew it was an important tool, but it can’t be the only tool because the playing speed must match the time speed.
When sitting at home this weekend watching the combine, remind yourself of two critical points when making an evaluation. The first, never begin with the end in mind, and secondly, never believe the 40 time unless you can see the speed during a game.
If you follow those two rules to the end, then even from your couch you can pick the right players.
Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.
Another Dash Poem/Song: