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Provo Tabernacle memories January 1, 2011

Posted by mom6 in Provo Ricks.
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Early in the morning of December 17, 2010, I learned that the Provo Tabernacle, a historical landmark, was on fire. The cause is still unknown, but those of us who have many memories of this building have shed some tears for this great loss.

Here is the building from the east side as I remember it, stately and beautiful.

Here is an even older photo showing the original tower in the middle that was removed in 1917 for fear it would cause the roof to collapse.

One of my earliest memories at the tabernacle was attending our stake conferences here. I loved going up the round staircases in the corners to reach the balcony. One Sunday I had with me a small booklet, which as I recall, was a special book about Jesus (I’m thinking it had the words that Jesus spoke in the New Testament). I had it in my hand as I held onto the outer curved rail and descended the staircase. Horrors—that precious little book slipped out of my hands and fell down, down into the window well, far beyond my reach.

For several conferences after that fateful day, I would go up that same stairwell and stare down at my book in the window well—until eventually someone cleaned out the accumulation of debris and it was gone forever.

The beautiful balcony around three sides of the tabernacle was a favorite place to sit. When I was 11 years old, I was part of a Primary chorus singing for our stake conference. Pres. Ben Lewis called on me to say the tenth article of faith in front of the congregation (and thanks to some review the night before from my mother—who knew what was coming—I was able to do myself proud).

Here is another view of the interior. I attended many concerts through the years here, many featuring the Utah Valley Symphony.

My father tells of attending a lyceum concert in the tabernacle in 1938 by the famed pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. In the middle of one piece, he broke off when the clanging of the passing train gave competition to his music. He resumed when the train was gone. This historic visit is covered here.

Some years our family braved the cold and attended the live nativity on the north lawn outside the tabernacle.

And in later years, several of us even participated in the Adventsingen Christmas program sponsored by the German department. Rebecca, Jennifer, and I sang in the Frauenchor, and Meagan sang solos of German Christmas songs.

Those of our children who graduated from Meridian School had their commencement services at this grand building—Robert, Jennifer, and Jonathan. These intimate exercises featured the graduates marching up the aisle to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance”; each individual of the small graduating classes was honored.

On occasion funerals were also held at the tabernacle, specifically for those who were famous enough to attract a large audience. Here is the casket carrying the body of scholar Hugh Nibley, whose Collected Works I helped prepare for publication.

I also attended the funeral for Truman Madsen at the tabernacle.

And how can I forget the first funeral I attended at the Provo Tabernacle in 1963 for five Boy Scouts from our stake who were killed in a terrible accident (13 total died). But among the sadness of the day, those of us who attended will never forget the singing by injured friend Ron Clark of the song “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You” . . . “’til we meet again.” To this day I weep when I hear this song. For a moving account, see here.

So with a lifetime of memories of this grand structure, it is not surprising that the residents of Provo are mourning its loss. The flames licked at the structure for hours and days.

This irreplaceable Minerva Teichert painting of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood was lost, as was at least a million dollars’ worth of musical equipment that was there for a planned performance later that day.

Here is Jennifer as junior marshal in front of the Teichert painting.

Even the fire hydrant appears to be weeping on this cold, dreary day.

The interior light shows off this beautiful stained glass window of the tabernacle. I hope that something as beautiful and functional can be built in its place to bring light to our community. Good-bye to the Provo Tabernacle as we knew it!


Family visits–a bit of heaven January 4, 2010

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This group of individuals consists of many Smith cousins (gathered for the funeral of another cousin, Dorine Jesperson).

Here is Cayelle watching me create a reversible trick-or-treat bag for her.

This view of the playing field at the Lavell Edwards Stadium is from inside a loge—we kept warm, but BYU failed to pull out a win against TCU.

My kids are growing up—here is Lora on her 28th birthday!

Four generations (I’m behind the camera). Lora, Jennifer, and I brought lunch over to Summerfield Manor to eat with Grandma Smith.

Here are Sushi Cayelle and Pirate Maya ready to haul in Halloween loot.

I got to attend Clara’s tea with the two Clara’s (Meagan and Amanda) for the Nutcracker.

I was with Meagan, Camden, Kaleb, and Cai for several days while Rebecca and Marcus looked for a place to live in the Denver area.

And after my return to Utah, Marc and Sarah brought their boys for a visit. Here is adorable David John.

Five adults and five children (under the age of two) for our visit to the Bean Museum.

Fun activity of feeding the ducks across from my office—Marc and Elijah . . .

Cayelle and Jennifer  . . .

Elijah and Marc (from the front)  . . .

. . . and Sarah and Gabe.

Grandma and Grandpa Smith with Gabe, David John, and Elijah—at the Brick Oven for a family dinner.

Same occasion—Cayelle and Maya (with Ryan).

How is that for a treat—so many family members gathered, the younger generation sporting monkey shirts designed and sewn by Sarah, the miracle worker.

Here’s my chance to be with our Ohio grandsons–we’re so glad they made the effort to visit!

Kittens! November 23, 2009

Posted by Robert in DC Ricks.
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A few weeks ago, we adopted two kittens from a local agency. Nancy researched the options and, after visiting a kitty foster home, we chose these two new friends. Ira is a gray, tuxedo-patterned 4-month-old, and Scout is a 6-month-old black cat. They’ve brought new smells and sounds to our house, but they’re also a lot of fun!

Say hello to Ira!

Waiting for the string

Ira strikes!

Kitty tickles

Scout and Ira playing

Scout, always vigilant

Playing on the zebra chair

Wales and Ireland September 24, 2009

Posted by mom6 in Provo Ricks.
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Dad got to make a presentation at a BASR (British Association for the Study of Religion) conference in Bangor, Wales, in September, so we used that opportunity to plan a “vacation.”

driving in Wales

Driving in Wales was an adventure! Roads were very narrow and had hedges or rock walls right next to the lane. Most of time the we had little or no shoulder. It took Dad a day or two to get used to driving on the “other” side of the road (and car) and me a day or two to get used to feeling like my side of the car was going to run into the hedges or walls.

Offa's Dyke

We walked some along Offa’s Dyke, an eighth-century earthworks delineating the separation of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys. It stretches for 80–150 miles along eastern Wales and was likely built as a political statement. The dirt taken from the ditch on the Welsh side was piled high on the English side. It was up to 8 ft high.


This was outside one of our B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) in Hay-on-Wye, a small town distinguished for its thirty or so bookshops (and, yes, Dad did buy some books here).

fish & chips

We always try some of the local cuisine, this time fish and chips. One order was plenty for both of us. It was hot and tasty but probably not especially good for us.

welsh countryside

The green Welsh countryside was beautiful, with the sheep grazing on the hills.


We made a special point of coming to this northern Welsh town that has one of the longest place names in the world. The Welsh name translates as “The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s of the red cave.”

rainy day

Ok, the car was moving so this picture was out of focus, but it looks look an impressionistic painting to me. This represents the one brief spell of rainy weather that prevented us from riding the train to the top of Mount Snowdon, the high point of Wales and Britain. Dad says that just gives him an excuse to go back to Wales sometime.

Bodnant Gardens

So instead of going up the mountain, we drove a little further, the sun came out, and we had a delightful visit to Bodnant Garden, which spans 80 acres and features a wide range of plants.

Bodnant Gardnens2

We wandered until closing time through the flowers, trees, and estate gardens.

hiking in Ireland

We flew with Ryan Air to Dublin, Ireland. Flying with one carry-on 20x40x55 cm each was an adventure; everything (purse, camera, computer, etc.) had to be inside one bag weighing less than 10 kilos. We made it! A missionary couple, Jim and Colleen Magelsen, picked us up at the airport, so we stayed with them for a couple of days.Here we are among the heather on a peninsula east of Dublin.

Stephen CS Lewis

I like this shot of Dad peering at the back of the wardrobe, which C. S. Lewis is opening. Bill Geddis took us on a C. S. Lewis tour to various places in the Belfast area that were significant in Lewis’s life. Dad was able to give two firesides in Dublin and one in Belfast. We had a delightful time in the unusually great weather of Wales and Ireland!

Families Are Forever September 24, 2009

Posted by mom6 in Provo Ricks, Uncategorized.
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Bruce, Susan, Dad 99

Bruce and Susan made a special trip to see Grandpa for his 99th birthday open house. Grandpa is extremely pleasant to have around. He turned 99 on 09-09-09. Feature articles about him appeared in the Provo Daily Herald and the online Church News.

Oma &Maya

After my trip back East, I got to hold precious little Maya. I’m now taking Oma days again.visiting fam

We had a chance to get together while Robert was here between Jordan and DC. He and Dad drove back East and saw the Flinders and Marc’s family on the way.

Traveling and Moving August 21, 2009

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Well, let’s see where the last few months have taken our family:

After Jonathan and Tine moved out of Wymount Terrace, they moved into our basement for a short time and convinced me we needed to upgrade our guest bedroom. Best thing about that—they were willing to help!

Guest bedroom2

Then Jonathan and Tine moved to St. Louis (after a trying adventure in getting Tine back from Germany without a green card).

Jonx moving day

Here are Jonathan and Dad taking off with a very full car for St. Louis.

jonx and tine visit

And we had a surprise visit from Jonathan and Tine in August (after they moved to Houston)—they came to participate in the wedding of Jonathan’s long-time friend James Barrett. And we always try to get together when family is in town—Jennifer, Cayelle, and Ryan were able to join us!
Crafts July 09

Jennifer and Ryan haven’t moved, but they did get to Lake Mona—this is a wonderful family picture!

Lora's classroom

Here we are on Wednesday getting Lora’s classroom ready. The next day she and John got the news that a birth mother had selected them to be adoptive parents—and that she was in labor at that moment. How quickly life can change! It’s a good thing Jennifer was willing and able to step into Lora’s classroom for the first week.

Gabe and Elijah on bridge

Gabe and Elijah are peering through a bridge in a Baltimore park on our May trip to see Marc and Sarah.


And here are Gabe, Marc, Elijah, Sarah, and baby David John on their church lawn in the Cleveland area, where Marc is working on his residency in pediatrics.

Nancy&Robert moving

It’s been so fun to have Nancy and Robert near us this past year. They are getting ready to move out of their tiny home in preparation for their summer stay in Jordan, where Robert helped direct the BYU Study Abroad program in Arabic for Spring and Summer Terms.

JordanHaving never made it to Jordan, Dad and I decided this would make a wonderful opportunity to visit Robert and Nancy in that country (their apartment is in the background).

Jerash coliseumOne of our first trips was to the well-preserved Roman ruins at Jerash—we are at the coliseum.

Jerash Jordan R N

Robert and Nancy are walking down the colonaded street at Jerash.

lebanese restaurant

We enjoyed a variety of restaurants and foods while in Jordan. Our taxi driver (to the left) is helping to eat the delicious food at a Lebanese restaurant.

bedouin food

This unassuming restaurant was next door to our hotel in Amman. Mensaf is a Bedouin specialty: lamb on a bed of rice and peanuts (or pine nuts). We poured a tangy sauce of cooked yogurt mixed with fat over the rice. That was very tasty. The other dish we got was kapsa, which was a spicier rice topped with grilled chicken. There was a sort of vegetable soup that we could pour over that.

Yemeni restaurant

This was our second meal at the Yemeni restaurant across the street from Robert’s university office. We broke off pieces of the hot flatbread and wrapped some of the food into it to eat (a chicken dish, a potato dish, and beans)—all very tasty. Note the fancy, disposable tablecloth.

Baptismal site of Jesus

Archaeologists believe this may be close to the actual baptismal site of Jesus. Ruins of five churches are at the end of the marble staircase described in pilgrims’ accounts.

Petra monasteryI’e always wanted to go to Petra. This huge carving in the rocks is known as the monastery and is found at the end of a long hike (note the size of the rocks in comparison with Stephen standing in the front). The more commonly pictured treasury is near the beginning of the ruins.

Petra rocks

The beautifully colored rocks at Petra remind me of southern Utah!

Flinders at park2

On our May trip to see the Flinders, we ate lunch at a park in Chicago before going to see the world premier of Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. We spent all day in the museum and particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter stuff—we’re all fans.

Meagan and Cayelle

Meagan has been the big traveler from her family—she spent the month of June in Utah. She and Cayelle were the only girl cousins at this point.

Flinders in Cleveland

Rebecca and Marcus and their family have seen Marc and Sarah’s family in Cleveland a couple of times. I’m so glad they are close enough to get together.

It’s great that we work hard to make paths cross—family is what it is all about!

Graduations, Grandbabies, and Gallavantin’ August 19, 2009

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Wow–how does the time pass so quickly. Lots has happened since I have last posted. First, the graduations!

Tine GradsJonathan and Tine both graduated from BYU in April–at least Jonathan did; Tine was able to walk even though she still needs to complete her student teaching (in Houston, no less).

Marc's grad

In May we were able to drive back East for Marc’s graduation from Johns Hopkins Medical School—that is a real achievement for their family.

The past month has brought two new grandchildren into our family—

David John blessing

David John joined Marc and Sarah’s family on 30 July 2009 and was blessed on 16 August 2009. His older brothers, Gabe and Elijah adore him.

Hulbert family w Maya

And here is darling, tiny Maya Jane with Lora and John—she was born on 13 August 2009 and was able to join her adoptive family on 15 August. She was only 4 lbs. 10 oz. when she was born, but she is a great eater.

6 grandchildren

Here is an unusual opportunity to get pictures of six of our eight grandchildren—in the Cleveland area.
Cayelle on counterHere is Cayelle on my counter—we love her smile and curls.

In the past several months, we’ve traveled a lot, and some of our families have moved. I think I’ll start a new post for the gallavantin’ part!

Recent events for us April 17, 2009

Posted by mom6 in Provo Ricks.
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I haven’t posted for a while, so I need to catch up!


Here I am in one of my last activities as Laurel adviser–youth conference at Aspen Grove!


On March 1 I was sustained and set apart as the Relief Society president of the Edgemont Fifth Ward. My secretary, Maren Mazzeo; education counselor, Becky Callahan; me; enrichment counselor, Elizabeth Crowe.


Another birthday–older and wiser. My first official duty as RS president was to help two families in the ward: a 13-year-old boy in our ward accidentally shot and killed a 16-year-old girl.


A cute girl shot while Rebecca was here!


Five of our six wonderful children together!


St. Patrick’s Day green–after Lora’s class play.


And just days later, here we are at St. Patrick’s grave in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland–almost being blown over in the cold wind.


Here is Dad organizing his book haul from our trip to Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Germany.


John Hancock and Robert ran a 5K on a very cold morning, and some of us cheered them on.


Jen Ballif Moeller with baby and husband, Lezlie and John Ballif, guests to dinner.


Dad dancing an Israeli line dance after a student Passover.


Making tortillas for our family progressive dinner planned by Lora and John.

Lots of love to all!


Winter in April! April 16, 2009

Posted by Robert in Uncategorized.
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For those not in Utah, these pictures give you an idea of the winter wonderland we woke up to this morning. On April 16, mind you!






Bug Bite March 27, 2009

Posted by mandsrix in Baltimore Ricks, Uncategorized.
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After giving the boys a bath yesterday, we noticed this mysterious bite on Gabe’s arm.bite1

Note the strange four on top, three on bottom bite pattern.  We examined the usual suspects to determine who might have given Gabe this bite.


After some high-tech forensics and sleuthing we were able to determine that the bite came from none other than Elijah”Bug” Ricks.bite6

We apprehended the culprit and he had to spend the night behind bars.  Luckily, Gabe seems to have recovered from his wound and is once again enjoying his usual activities such as taking apart the couch in hopes of finding stale food under the cushions.