2008 Reunion/Party

The year is 2006 and Kim and I are living in Camas, WA. 2 or 3 times a year we would get together with Jim and Karen Dolan. During one of our visits, Jim said “we need to have a party and get some of the old gang back together!” So I got in touch with Mark Sanders and told him that the four of us were going to be in Grass Valley on a certain date. I asked him if we could have a little party at his house with some of our old friends. Mark of course said yes, so I sent out about 14 invitations.

I sent an invitation to Steve Sanders, but I was pretty sure he would not come, because he lived in Utah. To my surprise when Kim and I got to Mark’s house, Steve came out and greeted us at our car! I was shocked but happy that he made the trip out to Grass Valley from Utah! We had a good turnout, 10 guys and most of the spouses showed up! There was lots of good food, but the best part was catching up with everyone! So many old stories were being shared from our past. Some of the stories had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face! Everyone had an excellent time!

Not to long after the party, we got together again.  “That was so much fun” declared Jim, let’s do it again, but on a much bigger scale!” So we came up with a date and a place. We also decided to invite everyone who was from the Grass Valley Ward Congregation that went to Nevada Union High School between 1970 and 1980. The date we picked was June 8th 2008, and that was about 18 months out. We decided that the first of June 2007 we would start organizing the Reunion/Party.

The first of June came, and I called Jim and said it was time to start planning the party! He told me they weren’t going to be able to help with the planning of the party, because he was so busy at work, and he and Karen were in the middle of planning a wedding for their daughter. I was really bummed, I wasn’t sure if I could plan this on my own. Kim believed I could do it, and she offered to help me when she could. So I said let’s do this!

First thing I did was make a list of everyone I could remember, and then upon sending it to the Dolan’s, they added more names to it. Now I had this list of people that was a mile long, and I didn’t know where 95% of them were. I did have a few addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.  At this time I worked the Graveyard shift at Oregon Health & Science University. So after work I would go home and work from 8 AM to Noon sending letters, emails and making phone calls. I slowly started getting addresses and after working on this for five months, I had addresses for almost everyone. I was still missing addresses for about 20 people. I had no idea how I was going to find these 20 people. I got an email from Greg Tierney telling me to call his mom; that she would find the 20 people. So I called Sister Tierney, and she was thrilled to help me. After two weeks she had addresses for 18 of the 20 people. We never did find those last two.

During this time I was sending a message to everyone to send me pictures of their High School days, their wedding, and any photos of their church friends. I wanted to put the Photos on a DVD with music. We got enough Photos to do a 45 minute DVD, which I thought was the right amount of time. So Kim and I put together a 45 minute DVD, and after finishing it, we received a big envelope full of photos!

Now let’s go to the making of the DVD! I bought some pinnacle software to create the DVD, and it was harder to use then we thought. Kim ran the computer, and I sat next to her telling her what Photos to use, where to fade in and out, where to start the music and where to end it. We worked on this for about 4 months. Apparently I got too excited when Kim was trying to work with the software and some of the presentation would suddenly disappear.  I would ask “Why did you do that!” Kim would get so irritated with me that she kicked me out of the office about 10 different times.

The software was really hard to work with, and when we finished the 45 minute DVD, we were both relieved and then the envelope of photos showed up. There were lots of good pictures that we could use. So we decided to add them in to the DVD, and this added an extra 3 or 4 weeks to the task! Now the DVD was about 65 minutes, way longer then we wanted, but there was no way we were going to change it!

After the DVD, in the program, I wanted to hand out awards. Little trophy’s and ribbons for things like “The couple with the most kids, and some silly things like; “The person with the most receded hair”! I needed an MC, someone that could keep everyone entertained. I thought about this for a long time, and one day Evelyn Whitaker Porter popped into my head.  I thought she would be perfect! When I got in touch with her, she didn’t want to do it at first, but after a time, I persuaded her to do it!

After the awards, we wanted live music by the Sanders Brothers. But these same Sanders Brothers threw a wrench into my already planned party! They told me I also needed to get Steamer back together and play 6 or 7 songs. This I did not want to do. I had not played my drums in 28 years, plus Dean our Bass player had passed away. Mad Markus Sanders offered to play Bass in his place! Then there was my brother Stan and John DeLuca, I knew there was no way the two of them would want to play. Those Pesky Sanders brothers kept bugging me about it; so I got the nerve up to call Stan and John, and to my surprise they both said yes!

Kim and I had all the food worked out! I had gotten some good prices from Crystal Dairy and Albertsons. We wanted to have everyone make their own sandwiches! Kim and I were bringing our big food slicer, and we had a crew of people that were going to help us prep all the food. We assigned 15 couples to bring a pie. My mom Jean Cummins and my Aunt Betty Scurr offered to help. Aunt Betty made a large punch bowl of Macaroni Salad, and my mom made a large punch bowl of Potato Salad! Plus I had a crew for setting everything up and a crew to take everything down!

It was the first week of May and I had this huge party all planned out and ready to go! Then my wife Kim had 4 grand mal seizures, and my life completely fell apart. She was in the hospital for a week, and when she was able to come home the doctors didn’t want her to travel to California. I called Jim and Karen and told them I’m probably not going to the party. I was worried about everything, the food mostly and everything else to do with the party. Jim told me he would take care of everything and not to worry. Two weeks before the party Kim’s doctor told her she could go to California! I called the Dolan’s again and told them we were going to the party. Jim said that’s great! But he was taking care of the food. He said, “Kim is coming to the party and will do nothing but enjoy the party!”

June 6th Kim and I loaded our car up, Joel was letting me use his drum set, but he said he didn’t have any cymbals or stands. So I grabbed my cymbals, stands, bass drum pedal, sticks and our luggage, and we were off to California!

June 7th Kim and I were relaxing visiting with my parents, when the phone rang and my mom handed it to me. It was the Lady whom I called six months before, to reserve the building. When I reserved the building, it was for the whole day. She told me they were having a funeral in the building the same day as the party. She said they didn’t want anybody from our party at the building until they were done in the late afternoon. I started to freak out and I went a little postal on this poor lady, because I had a bunch of people coming at 4 PM to start setting everything up! Then she told me she would call me back in an hour. For that 60 minutes I was pretty upset, I even had my mom and Kim telling me to calm down. Boy was I relieved when she called me back and said the funeral would be over at 2 PM.

That evening I drove to Mad Markus Sanders house where Steamer was having their one and only practice! We set everything up and Stan and John said they only wanted to play five songs. So we picked the five songs we wanted to play. John showed Mark what the cords were to each song, then we played the five songs for the first time. When we finished the songs they looked at me, and I said that was awful! “Let’s go thru the five songs again” said Stan, so we played them a second time. They looked at me, and I thought that it was a little better, but it was still pretty bad. “Let’s go thru them again” Stan said, so we played them a third time. This time everything started coming together, I started remembering things I use to play in each of the songs, the vocals came together, and the guitar parts were sounding really good! After we had finished the songs, they looked at me, and I said “that sounded much better. It looks like we are playing tomorrow night!!”

June 8th that morning Kim and I went down to Auburn for Jon Sanders’ open house. It was because he had moved his business “Big Jon’s Little Tractors” from Highway 49 to a site right off of I-80. He had Reps there from the Companies he sold Tractors for, and most important, there was food! “Let’s take one of the quads out for a ride” said Joel, so we took off out into the woods! After a while Joel stopped, and asked if I wanted to drive, so I took the controls and down this trail we went. As we went Joel pointed to a large mound of dirt. I gunned it and we flew over the mound, all four wheels off the ground! And during this whole flight, Joel yelled “Woe Woe Woe!” After the jump I stopped and looked at Joel, I believe he was in shock! “Let’s go back to Jon’s place so I can change my shorts!” He said.  Let’s just say Joel never allows me to drive anymore!

Then Kim and I went to Kim’s parents’ house where we visited. We lost track of time, and we still had a bunch of errands to run. So we did our errands, picked up the two salads at my mom’s house, picked up Karen Dolan at the hotel, and off to the church we went! We got there 15 minutes late, but they had already set all the tables and chairs outside for the dinner and in the gym for the program afterwards!

There was still lots to do! I had people asking me questions, pulling me over here then someone pulling me over there! I was trying to help get the band set up, while trying to get the PA to work, and figure out which tables to place the food on. There were people wanting to know if such and such a person was coming! Things were a little crazy for a while, and I began to become nervous because Jim Dolan was not there with the main course of the dinner!

Dan Gillming and Joel where trying to set the projector up for the DVD; they had the Video working, but there was no sound. They were a little stumped, wondering why there was no sound. Then Eric Zufelt walked over to the wall where the sound system controls were, flipped on the switch, and we had sound!

 “There’s a bat in the hallway” someone yelled. So for the next five minutes we worked at getting the bat to fly out the door! We pretty much had everything set up and ready to go, but there was still no Jim with the food??? Just then Jim and two boys rushed into the gym with trays of food! The trays had sandwiches already made up, and I knew we had gone way over budget. At that point I didn’t really care about the money. The food was there and we were ready to start, so I started to relax a little.

A lot of people had arrived, and we were able to start the party right on time at 6 PM! It was hard for me to eat my meal, I was walking from table to table with a sandwich in my hand, visiting with everybody! There were so many people who wanted to visit with me, that I got a little over whelm. So I walked over to an area where there were no people, and I was able to relax a little. I just stared at all the people that showed up, and I thought WOW this is really happening!

We had a time table we had to go by so right at 7 PM, Me and two other guys got everyone to go into the gym! Dan Gillming started the DVD and the theme of it was “Where Did the Time Go”. Even though it was a little long everyone really enjoyed it! After the DVD Evelyn grabbed the Microphone and started the awards part of the evening! She got together with Jim beforehand and decided which people they would give the awards to! Evelyn did a great job, lots of smiles on everyone’s faces. Next up was Steamer! I was a little nervous about playing, but when we started playing the nervous part went away. I was having fun playing our music once again! I think we played pretty good, everybody seemed to like it. There was one little problem during one of the songs. We were in the middle of a song, and the snares on the snare drum dropped down and all I had was a tom-tom sound and while playing, I was trying to get the snares to pop back up! Then Joel comes running through the gym, he reached up and got the snares to pop back up!

Next up were The Sanders Brothers! They started playing and everyone was dancing. Now I hate dancing, but I was standing there listening to the music and Connie Loewenstein DeAngelo grabbed me and dragged me to the dance floor saying let’s dance! The band played for about an hour and then people started leaving.

Soon the people assigned to help with the take down got busy cleaning. A lot of people helped with the set-up, take-down and cleaning, but there was one couple that was there for both, Arlen and Sue Smith. They were so awesome! We were the last two couples to leave the building and that was at midnight.

When we were finished and ready to go home I was handed a jar full of money. Without my knowledge Jim Dolan had placed it on a table with a sign asking people to donate money to help cover the cost of the party.

I took it to my mom’s house. The next day I sat down and figured out all the expenses, counted the money form the jar, and to my surprise I was $80.00 short from breaking even. I was tickled pink, this made me very happy!

This Reunion/Party was a lot of work! But after seeing everybody at the party, and saw how much fun they had. I feel it was well worth it! I look back at it as one of my fondest memories, and I am so happy we pulled it off!

Mr. Mitchell

“You’re going be playing bass this year” said Mr. Mitchell. During the school year 1970 – 1971, my eighth grade year, I was looking forward to band class. Mitchell was my band teacher during my 6th and 7th grade years and I enjoyed how he could work with a group of kids, teach the parts to each kid so he or she could understand what they were doing. Then he would have them play the parts over and over, and when they got it right, he would praise them. His praises were the kind that would make a kid do anything to get. He always had complete control over his class, and he always made the music fun.

I had fun learning snare drum in 5th grade with Mr. Sanders. My parents bought me a snare drum, which they regretted doing later. I practiced all the time and drove my family and neighbors crazy. I got to be friends with Steve Sanders who was a drummer too, and to this day still walks circles around me when he drums! Playing snare with him during my 7th grade year was a lot of fun. He was always showing me and teaching me, cool things to play, and little tricks here and there. I was thinking this year that Steve and I would be on the snare drums again, and I had my drumsticks ready.

I walked into the classroom, which was up on the stage, with my 2B drumsticks, and let Mitchell know I was ready to play snare! “Put your sticks away, you’re going be playing bass drum this year.” said Mitchell “No way!” I said, “Steve and I were on snare this year!” “Mr. Cummins, you are my bass drummer this year” Mitchell responded smiling. “Not going to happen!” I said, “Get one of those other guys to play bass.” ”Look at the other drummers” Mitchell said pointing at the other guys, “now look at the bass drum.” The bass drum was taller than all the other drummers except Bob Leary. I could see where Mitchell was coming from, we were a marching band and a concert band. When we marched we needed a big guy to carry the bass drum.

“Have Leary play bass” I said. “No, I’ve got something else in mind for Mr. Leary” Mitchell countered. “Mr. Cummins, you’re playing bass because you’re big, and you got the beat.” I was really upset, but when he said I had the beat, I calmed down, and agreed that I would play bass. Mitchell always knew how to pull my strings! I played bass all year, and I had a blast doing it! Mitchell was a great teacher, and I’m so glad I got to play for three years under him!


Story # 21 Mt Timpanogos Caves

In the summer of 2008, Kim and I flew to Utah to visit our two daughters and families! While visiting Inez, my oldest; her family talked me into going through the Mt Timpanogos Caves. I have been through the Carlsbad Caverns; and the Oregon Caves. This should be a lot of fun! I thought. So we made our drive up the canyon. At the Forest Service station, the parking lot was full, so we parked in the lot farther up the road. When I got to the ticket counter, I asked for 6 tickets. “Your hike will be 10 o’clock” the Ranger told me “and you will enter the caves at 11:30”. “We don’t want to go on the hike, we just want to go through the caves” I said. She looked at me and said “You aren’t from around here, are you.” She then pointed to the top of the Mountain and said “you have to hike to the top of that mountain to enter the caves!”

Standing there I took a split second to mentally contemplate what I was expected to do. It was over 100 degrees outside and at the time I weighed 345 pounds! The hike was a mile and a half rising up 1100 feet in elevation. “NO WAY!!!” I said as I looked at my family. After about three minutes of desperate and pitiable begging, I gave in. “how come you didn’t tell me about the hike beforehand!” I asked “because you would have said no.”, they responded, and I knew they were right. I bought a large bottle of water and up the mountain we went! I did pretty well the first quarter-mile then I started getting tired. So every one hundred feet or so, I would stop and rest, then stop and rest and stop and rest. We did this all the way up the Mountain! At about the half-way point, we ran into a Ranger who was coming down the mountain. We talked to him for a minute, then we continued with our hike. I noticed the Ranger was following us, I guess he thought I was going to have a heat stroke or a Heart attack. I have a very strong heart, and I wasn’t worried about heat stroke, it was my legs that really bothered me. During our hike up I was a nervous wreck! I had two very young grandkids with us and they were always getting close to the edge. This trail had no fencing or guard rails, it is hundreds of feet straight down if you fall. We finally made it to the top, and I got to sit down in the shade while we waited for our turn to enter the cave.

It felt so good to enter the cave where the temperature was 45 degrees! The tour was a very thrilling experience, we got to see lots of neat formations and the Ranger seemed very educated and answered all our questions! Each room we went in seemed so different from the one before, it’s incredible to see what thousands of years of running water will do!

As we left the cave, I was thinking this is going to be a piece of cake; it’s downhill all the way! I was feeling pretty good until we got to the half-way point. My legs felt like they were turning into rubber. I had to slow my walk down; this helped, but as we got closer to the ranger station my legs got to where I could hardly stand on them. I finally made it to the end of the trail, however there were still 25 to 30 steps I had to go down. My son-in-law Jerel, had to help me down the steps. At the bottom of the steps was a bench and Jerel sat me down as he left to get the car.

Mark TimpFeeling a bit overwhelmed and even a little proud that I hadn’t died, I hadn’t notice, my family gathering around me. “Grandpa for a job well done we present you with this ribbon!” They said, and then they handed me a red ribbon with the words ‘I survived the climb’

I am now down to 280 pounds, but I have no intentions of ever doing that climb again! Been there, Done that!

Story #20 “My First Camping Trip”

The summer of 1962 I was five years old when I went on my first camping trip! My grandparents John and Madge Cummins loaded me up in their old worn out Chevy car and off we went. Our first stop was in the little town of North San Juan to stretch our legs and grandma bought me a treat. Then grandpa drove us down that long winding road along the beautiful Yuba River and we stopped at the Ranger Station in Downieville. Grandpa visited with the Ranger there for a few minutes, and the Ranger gave grandpa a key. Then it was back in the car and off to where we would be camping for the next five days. We finally arrived, it was a Forest Service Cabin near beautiful Gold Lake! The first thing I noticed was, on the back part of the cabin, there was this large round tube sticking above the cabin. Grandpa told me there was a door at the top of the tube and that’s how the Rangers would enter the cabin in the winter when the snow was up over the roof of the cabin. The thought of fifteen to twenty feet of snow was so over whelming to this little guy!

That next morning grandma cooked us a big breakfast, and then I was ready to go exploring! Grandpa showed me where the spring was. This was so cool, lots of water running out of the ground, and it had a cedar rail fence built around the spring. Grandpa gave me a tin cup. “Take a drink of the water” he said. The water was so cold, but it was so good! So much better than the Grass Valley water I was used to. I think I sat there for an hour watching this water come up out of the ground, dipping my cup in, and enjoying the wonderful fresh water! Then Grandpa and I walked around and looked at all the huge trees! It was so beautiful and peaceful; I enjoyed walking around with grandpa telling me about the trees and the animals we were seeing! “It’s time to collect some fire wood”, he said. So we walked around, picked up wood and hauled it back to the cabin. The cabin had a nice wood stove that kept us warm at night, and that’s where grandma did all her cooking.

Grandpa asked me if I wanted to go fishing, and of course I said “YES” He found a long straight stick on the ground, he tied about three of four feet of fishing ling on the stick and put a hook on the other end of the line. We walked down to a small stream, he gave me a bottle of worms, and a bottle of salmon eggs. He showed me how to put them on my hook. “Here is a bucket”, he said, “if you catch any fish put them in the bucket, then bring the bucket back to the cabin, and I will clean the fish for you”. As grandpa left, I put a worm on my hook. As the hook touched the water, I had a thirteen inch Brook Trout on the line. In the bucket it went and each time the worm or salmon eggs would touch the water, I had a fish on my line. I filled the bucket to the top with brook trout; however I could not lift the bucket so I dragged it back to the cabin. I said “grandpa look at all the fish I caught!” You should have seen his face! I thought grandpa was going to have a heart attack!

My grandma laughed at grandpa and said you didn’t tell him there was a limit on the number of fish you can catch in a day! So grandpa cleaned all the fish and grandma cooked them up. We had trout for dinner that night and the next night too.  The next day I asked grandpa if I could go fishing again, he said NO! Then he explained to me that I had caught two weeks’ worth of fish in one hour, and that we should leave the fish in the stream for other people to catch. Grandma and grandpa took me camping several more times, but that first camping trip to Gold Lake is still my favorite one!   When I grew up I asked my dad if it would be possible for us to go camping at the cabin up at Gold Lake. He told me that the Forest Service had torn it down. It kind of broke my heart, because I really wanted to take my wife and my two daughters there to experience what I had experienced when I was a young boy.

Story #19 “Batdog”

A year after Kim and I got married Kim brought a dog home, and we named him Murry! Murry was half Dachshund and half Beagle, with the appearance of a large deli roll of meat. When he got excited one ear would stick straight up, the other ear, the bottom half stuck up, but the top half drooped over. I thought he looked like a “Bat” so I called him my “Batdog” That dog went everywhere with us, and believe me he was one spoiled little wiener! Any time I would sit down Murry would be in my lap before my bottom ever touched the cushion! One day he was with Kim and I out at her parents’ house. Kim’s dad Joe had dug a ditch up the hill for an underground power line for the Granny House he was building. The ditch went through a very large patch of Poison Oak. I wasn’t able to help Joe in that section, because all I had to do was look at Poison Oak and my whole body would swell up. So while Joe worked this section of the ditch Murry kept him company, observing from the top of the dirt pile next to the ditch. He stumbled on some loose dirt and rolled right off the edge into the ditch!

Before Joe was able to lift him out, Murry had walked around in the ditch through all the Poison Oak roots where the sap was dripping. During our ride home Kim noticed Murry was breaking out with a rash all over his body. After we got home, that poor dog was looking like a Geographical Relief Map! Kim rushed him to the Veterinary Hospital, where the Vet gave him a shot. The Vet said Murry’s case was pretty severe, that most dogs don’t get poison oak as bad as Murry had. The following days proved to be the most miserable for Murry, but with all things, it finally passed. Whenever we would go over to Kim’s parents’ house; we always made sure Murry didn’t go anywhere near the Poison Oak! He was such a great family dog, and because he was so loved by our family, I believe that is why he lived 17 and a half years! Whenever Joe comes to visit or we go visit them in California, he always brings up the story of a giant Bologna that rolled into the ditch he was working in! I sure miss that old “Batdog”