There sure are a bunch of us..... Where did we come from?
Sunday mornings of my youth I spent on Grandma's bed while Aunt Marlene was back-combing Gramsie's snowy white, feather soft hair into an up-do held firm with a crisp layer of hairspray. Every chance I get I listen to my uncles and aunties tell stories, my questions urging them to get to my favorites.
We are Mormons. We are God's chosen people. We serve God through devotion to the prophet's teachings and having big polygamist families, and we are proud.
This is what I know about myself and my place on the planet. I'm fascinated with Grandma's stories about praying to God that she might marry the handsome returned missionary. Her life was of faith and devotion to him and trusting his moral and spiritual guidance which brought them to BC to serve God with the Fundamentalist Mormons and raise their family.
Grandfather, I am told, was a serious and deeply religious man. He could preach a sermon of hell fire and damnation that would make you shake in your boots. He believed in firm handshake and a good honest days work. He lived by the Word of Wisdom never touching a drop of coffee or alcohol in his life. He was proud of his good strong sons and daughters and being of service to his fellow man. He studied the fundamental teachings of Joseph Smith and tried to live the United Order and Celestial marriage in his life. (Both were practices of the early Mormons.)
It wasn't an easy life, from anything I can gather. Polygamy in the old days was miserable at best. Polygamy and poverty together sounds like it would have been a literal hell. Their small industrious community, true to their pioneer heritage, banned together. They celebrated weddings and births, seed times and harvests. They prospered on their little dairy farm in Lister. There were lots of seats at the dinner table and they never turned anyone away hungry.
My grandfather's legacy is a posterity that numbers in the thousands. We've mostly got pretty good teeth and are not hard on the eyes. He turned his land into a trust which can neither be bought nor sold, and so it is land that his great great grandchildren currently enjoy riding their bikes and horses on.
I know all of this... and still I find myself surprised.