When I think on family, the multi-faceted jewel that is the building block
of community, I think first and foremost of my own family, beginning with
the loving parents of us six children; Claude Elias Black and Nina Stevens.
My brothers and sister fill my thoughts. I think of great spiritual
treasures given and received, of lessons taught with love, and even of
special gifts along the way.
Presents of the purchased sort were scarce, but what comes to mind are the
much treasured special ones such as the red and white flannel nightgowns mom
made for Maria and myself one Christmas; the only present we received. I can
almost feel the soft flannel under my fingers..... and it is so full of
love. This is such a fine example of the way they raised us, in simplicity,
seldom more than one or two presents for any occasion, often handmade or
carefully selected to be full of meaning and love, often representing a
sacrifice. Nora remembers the year when there was no money for presents at
all, but she was working that year and carefully spent her hard earned money
buying special presents for her brothers. It may not have been much, but it
followed the thoughtful, loving example set by our parents.
Mom and dad raised us kids with out a TV, and instead of gathering around
that we went for walks, learned to cook, created things from found objects
in nature, or went fishing. There was never time to get bored, we never knew
what that word meant! They would take us on journeys to see family, take us
dancing, and even bowling! Their presence was our present. This was their
Actually the bestest present I ever remember was all the days and weeks and
years camping with family; it was the fresh caught fish from the Lewis river
tossed into the skillet upon arriving back at camp to go with the dutch oven
potatoes, onions, and hamburger and the camp baked dutch oven rolls; it was
the love that filled our nights and days, the appreciation for the beauties
of all creation; it was the songs from a mothers heart; it was the teaching
of a loving father; it was the life lesson learned when the whole hillside
slid down across from the camp when we were adolescents. That was my first
lesson in the impermanence & constant change of the world around us, and
also how in the midst of such massive destruction was the seeds for the
birth of new creation, as we watched new plants & trees begin to grow &
reshape that landslide over the next few years! As I grew I learned that is
true for us in our lives as well. Thus were the gifts expanded upon!
These gifts of the spirit were the greatest as one by one we children grew
strong in the love of family. We filled our hearts with sparkly eyes and
waterfalls, with children of many generations and all ages, and with tears
and laughter. Life was a treasure, we were children of God and each one of
us was worth more than gold. Through hard times and fun times we danced and
cried together, generation after generation. We came together for funerals,
for weddings, and thank goodness we even gather for reunions! Children are
born, grow tall chasing butterflies and picking huckleberries with purple
mouths, laughing and arguing together.
Oh sometimes we like to bicker a bit, sometimes judgments fly for mysterious
reasons, but set them all aside and look to see what a beautiful thing this
family we have truly is. No one is better or worse than any other, we all
have our strengths and our faults, our blind spots and our wisdom. None of
us can truly judge any other in this family or in this life, for to judge we
are hampered by the 2 x 4 in our own eye. Thus were we taught by word and by
example. Look at the beauty of what has come out of this man Claude and this
woman Nina! Oh what a true treasure finer than all the gold in the world!
Multiples of great-grandchildren grace their crowns, and so their robes have
become royal, and their mantle of love has spread itself over all whom they
claim as their own.
June 13, 2005
Claude and Nina Black
Taken by Darlisa in the mid 1970's
1958 family portrait, I am the baby.
Claude and Nina Black's wedding day, St. George, Utah 1932
Playing in the forest, something we were always doing! Mom and Dad, mid 1970's I think
Dad and my brother Sheldon. I never met him in this life, as he died in a hunting accident at age 20 in Sept. 1956, before I was born.
Christmas 1958. Roger, Dennis, and Boyce
Darlisa, Claude, Nina, Nora, and lil David Kyte
Roger and Grandma Stevens in the 1950's, American Fork, Utah
Grandma and Grandma Stevens
Stevens Family. Nina is the next to youngest, and sitting on her daddy's lap.
Nina as a teenager in southern Utah.
This painting that is in an oval frame was Grandmother Stevens' picture. When she passed away, Mom was pregnant with me at age 45. With one girl and 4 boys already, her siblings told her that if this baby was a girl, she could have this picture that she had always loved, and it would be for the child when she grew up.. Guess what? Yep, I have the picture on my wall.
Boyce heading off on a mission, Darlisa, Nina and Claude
Claude Black's parents and siblings