Family Photo Album
Jesse's Birthday 1994
Seven Years Old

Easter 1994

Jesse Birthday 1994

Halloween 1994

Christmas 1994

Week-end Trips 1994

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The big house was decked out for a big party.

Jesse's seventh birthday party was a watershed event for us leaving Utah and moving to Florida. Up to that point, we had tried everything possible to feel like we fit into to that very exclusionary culture while still retaining the religion of our childhoods.

So as a litmus test, we decided to throw the biggest kid's party ever, to invite almost 40 kids from Jesse's class at Bates elementary, and to carefully watch and scrutinize every action of his little guests. These kids would grow up to be Jesse's high school classmates if we allowed events to continue to unfold. 

A group photo of some of the participants.All children are naturally rambunctious and full of life. That is a delight for us. But these kids demonstrated every characteristic that we had come to believe we needed to shield from Jesse. They suffered from what we called 'large family syndrome', a popular malady in Utah, where false adherence to authority, underhanded sneakiness and blame deflection is raised to an artform with the busy and overly distracted parents.

Also, they suffered from the limited life horizon that comes from being told you are 'chosen' and sent out into the world to 'fix' all those poor members of 'broken' cultures. Many telling stories can be drawn from this party, but the most enlightening was a game we devised of simply picking any city on a push-pin cork-board USA map (to win a small prize). Well over half the native kids present could not name ANY US CITY besides Ogden, Utah. Why should they? Of course, each of the kids from 'our church' could easily list cities of relatives or from television; Disney world, Dallas, the Grand Canyon, New York, etc. We wanted to be a long way from Ogden Utah when Jesse started dating.

Pizza and cake, delivered factory style to the large group.At the end of the day, it was easy for us to state categorically that our family life in Utah was over, or actually never existed in the first place. It became a parent's duty to sell the house and move.

As the last kid left, we in a couple folding chairs and picked at the last of the cake. We told Jesse that life in Utah for us was over and made our vow. Don't tell anybody, but in one year we would be in Florida. We promised that for his next birthday, we would drive our car over and spend it at Walt Disney World. And we did.

Jesse's favorite friend, whose natural kindness and simple love of life was Garrett, seated by Jesse in 'chair number one'. While Jesse wrote Garrett a few notes when we first  moved to Florida, he got involved in his new life and didn't follow up. Garrett, if you read this, drop us an E-Mail.

Before the big party, we had some personal time so Jesse wouldn't lose his big day among all the other kids. He had asked Lyn for a clown cake 'just like when I was little' and she created one for a personal birthday party to open our presents before the big bash.

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Easter 1995

Jesse Birthday 1995

Halloween 1995

Christmas 1995

Week-end Trips 1995

Easter 1994

Jesse Birthday 1994

Halloween 1994

Christmas 1994

Week-end Trips 1994

Easter 1993

Jesse Birthday 1993

Halloween 1993

Christmas 1993

Week-end Trips 1993




Original Web Upload July, 2001
Last Update: July 2, 2001