January 10, 1986

Christmas Eve, 1985, I turned 75, and while I don’t feel it, I know that I am really getting up there and there are certain things I want to accomplish with my life before I leave this exciting, problem ridden, and chaotic, wonderful world. One of the reasons I would like to live a couple of hundred years later is to see what happens in the world of Computers. The instruments are such marvelous machines. What we have now is only a start and in the years to come, more marvels will be invented using them. At the moment I am content to have my computer under my fingers and be able to learn about it. I have often said that I couldn’t live long enough to know all the marvelous things it could do, but at least I want to learn a lot more than I know now.

We are having unusual cold January weather, although so far, I don’t feel that the Winter has been as bad as the past three when we had so much snow and cold. We had a very big snow about ten days before Christmas…the third largest for that date in history, and since it was very cold, I knew that it would stay. Then a day or so after I got back from California, we had a bad ice storm, so there isn’t so much snow left, but there are patches of ice everywhere. People still ask me why I don’t move to California now that I’m retired, but I still stay here for the same old reasons. I couldn’t afford a home there and I do enjoy having the room I have here and beds for the family when they come. I also have many activities here that I would not have there…at the Y and elsewhere, and if I could just figure out how to get away and have some place to stay for two months during the worst of the winter, I really enjoy the other seasons here.

January 28, 1986

Today I must write in my history because a tragedy took place this morning that will go down in history. at about 9:30 Mountain Time, the Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The day was beautiful, clear and cloudless. Inside were 7 people, six astronauts and one civilian, a school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, the first time that a civilian had been aboard. The lift-off seemed to be perfect and we could hear the voice of Mission Control in Houston giving directions. At one minute and, I think, about twelve seconds the whole Space Shuttle Exploded into a million pieces and huge fiery and smoke billows were in the air with bits and pieces falling toward the ocean. It was especially sad that the two children and lawyer husband of the school teacher were standing there and I suppose the families of the other astronauts also, and the day was so clear they could see what happened.

It has sent the entire nation into mourning–not only that seven lives were lost, but for many other reasons–the bright minds that went with them, the setback to the space program and the news of a failure by the U.S. that will already be spreading all over the world. But, the space program must go on. There is so much more that can be learned. President Reagan was to have given his State of the Union message tonight, but because of this awful thing happening he has postponed it. But he did come on the air and gave a terse but powerful speech about the loss of the Shuttle and a few well chosen words of comfort to the families of the astronauts. It has been a sad day.

Before Christmas this year (1985) it seemed that all I accomplished was shopping for Christmas gifts. My list gets longer each year and for this I am thankful, but it does make for more buying and wrapping, etc. I love getting gifts for giving, but it gets harder and harder to get quality gifts for the amount I can afford. And, after all the shopping is done and wrapped and put in stacks awaiting Christmas, I always feel that I don’t have much for anyone. But, much love goes with whatever I give.

After Christmas when I returned to Provo the weather was very foggy, gray, cold and dreary. So I decided it was a good time to ‘hole up’ in the den and really get to work on my writing, getting my files organized and in other ways getting my life organized. To some degree, I have succeeded in this. My files, in contrast to the way things were just shoved in any which way, are now all neatness and light. I have sorted and written on my history and done some work on the book on aging. I’m not at all satisfied with the latter. It seems to have no spark, or does not come across in the way I have planned it for so long. I guess it needs more ‘putting the seat of my pants to the seat of the chair’ in front of the computer, and just working and re-working.

Christmas was a great time in California with all the family except Linda’s family, but it was saddened by the news that about ten days before Christmas that Rich had called Linda and said he didn’t want to be married anymore and wanted a separation. It was especially hard on them because Steve was going to Morristown from Connecticut, Kent, Melissa and our darling Sean Patrick were flying in from Iowa City and it would be the first time in many years that their whole family had been together. With the news of the separation, it turned out to be like a morgue, of course. One thing that made it difficult was that all of us had thought that Rich was changing for the better during the last year. He had always been very difficult to live with, but we felt that he was ’mellowing’ this past year…more loving with the children and thoughtful of Linda. Later, he said he had really been trying during the past year, but it just didn’t work and so he wanted out. Linda was devastated, and all the family terribly upset. He was with then for Christmas, but I guess it would have been better had he not been around.

The children have been extremely supportive and helpful to Linda and now that the initial shock is wearing off, I think that they all feel that it may be better for everyone. We feel that Rich is very upset especially since his career is not going well. He gave his notice that he wanted out o his contract for the Virginia Orchestra at the beginning of last year. Jobs as conductors now are very hard to find and while he has some guest-conducting spots scheduled for next year, this may not go far to further his career and since Linda’s career is blossoming and everything she does seems to turn into a success, I can imagine that this is very hard on him. We are all hoping that he will continue to get counseling help and be able to sort out his life.

Linda flew to California the Sunday after Christmas and the family tried to comfort and build her up as much as possible. Then she drove with Chris, Donna and I to Provo the day after New Years because Marilyn and Chris were coming up to ski and now Donna always comes with anyone who has room for her to travel because her by-word is ’I’M FREE AS A BIRD.’ Marilyn and Julie, with whom I had driven down, drove up New Year’s afternoon because Julie felt she needed to be back to prepare for school.

To go back now in my story. Julie (Marilyn’s second daughter) finished school at the Y after putting herself entirely through for six years. After graduating in Education, she began trying to get a school. At first she wanted to teach in Southern California and then about three weeks before school started she decided to teach in Utah and was very lucky to get a school at that late date. But she had only one week to get the room and all her lesson plans ready and they gave her 6th grade which is hard for any teacher, let alone a new one. She never did get caught up and had several problem students along with their parents and finally was having health problems and problems with her class, so decided it would be best all around if she quit, which she did and flew home to California and is getting some much needed rest and will decide what to do with her life from this point on.

To briefly run through what all the family is doing. In Linda’s family, Steve is still working with computers, very successfully, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and has a girlfriend we like. Kent is working in Cedar Rapids for a large computer company writing materials for computers, but live in Iowa City (about 20 miles away) with his darling wife, Melissa and equally darling son Sean Patrick who will be a year old on March 1. Ian is in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michelle and Sean are with Linda.

In Joan’s family, Keith and Todd are home from their missions and Reid is in the Colorado, Denver mission and doing fine. David and Laurie live in Denver where David is a pilot for Aspen Airline and Laurie works for a group of lawyers. However, the last word I received from them, Laurie who has been in the Army Reserve for several years has been told she must go somewhere in the South for 5 months, and David is trying to get on with a larger airline, so I’m not sure what their immediate future will e. The two older Cope fellows are married. Spencer is in San Bernardino, and Lewis and Kathy and their two children are in Yucaipa. He is a lawyer and is assistant district attorney or something like that. Keith and Kimball are at BYU and Keith is engaged to be married on April 19. Todd is at home working laying carpets and is enrolling at Mt. Sac in a week. Vincent is in high school and little Matt, who will be 9 years old on Sunday is in elementary school.

Dick (Joan’s husband) had a cancer operation about a year ago and we were all very worried about him, but he came through fine and jut had one of his regular checkups and they say he is fine. Joan is teaching first grade. She has been substituting for several years, but with the great expense of missionaries and Dick’s operation, she decided to teach full time. She is a great teacher and doing fine.

Marilyn and Chris are still struggling financially. Chris is still with Dale White Productions Co, but during the past year, he made the plans for a stove which will burn ’pellets’ that are being manufactured by an independent firm. These pellets burn clean and do not pollute the air and evidently only one other company makes the stoves that will burn them and this stove is very ugly and it seems that Chris has attractive stoves, so we hope that this will turn into a very good deal for them. They are working on getting a backer at the present time, but feel that if they can get started manufacturing them, they will have it made. Marilyn meantime is working for a company who sends out temporary help, but she has stayed for months nearly every place she has gone. She is also holding seminars helping girls who go into beauty pageants and she has had good success with her girls. Kathy, Mike and their Cory, who will by 5 at Easter time, live in Orem. Kathy is expecting in a little over two weeks and then she will quit ZCMI where she has been working part time for two years. Mike works at Provo Canyon Boys School which has just been taken over by a large firm and they are making some changes. So far, they have been good ones for Mike. He is also back at BYU and wants to hurry and finish his degree soon.

Doug is home from his mission in New York, New York Mission and went back to work for UPS and also going to school in California where it is much less expensive for him, but hopes to get back to the Y before too long. Mark is now in Guayaquil, Ecuador on a mission and having quite the experience. He says they cook the chickens whole (insides and all) there, and I guess the food is quite a problem for him, but I know he is being a good missionary.

Steve had a very bad year last year business wise. His catering business was good, but he an excellent salesman that he found was siphoning off a lot of Steve’s business to his own that he was starting. Even took some of his large accounts by bidding them for less money than Steve quoted. It was a very bad mess for Steve and at one point he was going to sue, but he had all the material he needed to make it very bad for his employee, but decided that he would only put himself on the employee’s level, or something so he didn’t sue and his business is back to being very good as always. However a year or so ago, he went into (invested in a) business in Salt Lake with one of Cheryl’s brothers-in-law and it has been nothing but disaster. He has used all his life savings and lost them and it desperately trying to salvage something from the whole mess so that it isn’t a complete fiasco. The brother-in-law has been dishonest as he could possibly be, I think, and is continuing even to the present to do dishonest things that Steve is paying for. Steve says he has him completely out of the business, but there is still a terrible amount of suing, expense, headaches, etc., going on but things are looking up there a little. Another two things in connections with Steve’s business. He owns a building right next to the Arcadia House, an elegant reception center that is completely booked up all the time. He is the head caterer there and has helped the owners fix the place into an elegant and lovely place for parties and weddings, etc., but now the owners want to sell it and I think that Steve will buy it. Also, he is now branching out into Glendora where he has bought a beautiful, or it will be, building that he is re-doing it into an elegant reception center complete with a lovely garden, plenty of parking, etc. It is exciting to see it take shape. And, they are already booking parties into the one area that they hope will be finished in a couple of months.

Cheryl continues to look 24 and is her usual darling self. She has a hard time getting organized but has so many great qualities that we overlook her lack of organization and she is working hard at being a good mother. Jana (the lucky girl) is in Vienna right now on a BYU semester abroad program and Steve says she is loving it and I’m sure she is. She went to Rick’s College for two years, toured with her Uncle Harry Schultz’s singing and entertainment group and last summer, after touring with the above for 5 or 6 weeks, was asked by the Rick’s Folk Dance group to go to Europe with them as their singer. She did and had a wonderful time.

Michelle is in high school and is a beautiful girl. At the present time she is going through the murderous tortures of being a teenager. She will be 16 before too long, oh happy day, she can date and will love it. She will be a lovely lady before too many moons. Jennifer is still a little girl…no makeup plays with dolls, but is also beautiful, and doing very well on piano. Her only problem there is that she can play something by ear right off the bat and they are struggling to get her to really read notes. She will be a beautiful girl and is a great source of help to the family. Next comes Wendy, who finally got her two front teeth in. She was a very beautiful baby and I’m sure that when she reaches her teenage years will be another beauty in the family. She is an excellent reader and sings and is taking piano. Melissa is our ’character’ with ’gobs’ of personality. About a year ago when someone or other complimented her on her looks, she said, “Some people say I’m pretty.” and she is, in her own way and her personality will always make her a great favorite. She is good at acrobatics but also sings. Then there is our darling baby of the family, and maybe the last one to be such, Elizabeth. For her first few months of life she was such a good baby that we almost wondered if there was something wrong with her. She just slept or smiled and laughed and laid there in bed. But when she was about a year she suddenly became ‘Buffy’ the great. She is very smart and a cute personality and a joy to be around.

Well, I’m babysitting Cory and he says he needs a bath and since it is 8:00 p.m. I’ll let him have one and get into his ‘jamies’ and be ready for bed when his Mother gets home.