Saturday, 1 September 2018

A.D. (Allan) Rogers

Son, brother, husband, father, friend, deacon.  Faithful in each of these vocations.



How I always miss this man of God, but especially today on his birthday.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Meet Ann - so beautiful

Ann and I  traveled those 9,500 miles around the U.S. and Canada together in September 1975.

The photo' must have been taken sometime between October 1975  (I had grown my beard during the summer of that year), and July 1976 when I returned to the U.S. to begin my ordained ministry.

I found the photo' in one of those formal folders which suggest it was taken at a wedding or some other celebration, an event of which I have no memory!




Thursday, 30 August 2018

Too much 'bus, then Toronto, Boston and Washington DC




We left Calgary at 8:00 a.m. on  Monday.  We arrived in Toronto at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, all on the same flipping 'bus.  It  was a brutal ride.

Ann suggested that we should break our journey for a restful night in a hotel/motel.  I in my "sweet reasonable dominant male" voice replied that we'd still have to complete the journey by 'bus.  I wish that I had been kinder and more understanding.

I liked the endless Prairie and the Prairie towns,  Ann was not impressed.

We had a break in Regina and ate pizza with another traveler, an Irishwoman named Mary.

We got to Winnipeg at 5:15 a.m. and were turfed off the 'bus so that it could be cleaned and serviced.  We were off the 'bus for over two hours.  It was bitterly cold.  There was not a coffee shop or cafe in sight.  I have never forgiven Winnipeg.



Historic picture of the 'bus station in Winnipeg. It says Greyhound but I suspect that Trailways used the same place.
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As we moved east into Ontario I noted the autumnal beauty, especially in the Lake of the Wood area.



We caught our very first view of one of the Great Lakes  (Superior) at Thunder Bay.



We noted the Sleeping Giant Island.  

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In Thunder Bay we ate a Chinese meal and played the same song over and over again on an old fashioned Juke Box.

"Toronto the Good".  We got there!   We were met by Con, the husband of Ann's friend Pauline.

We feasted with Con and Pauline, had more than enough beer and wine, had lively and funny conversations, and as the night wore on listened to records, with music by Paul Robeson and Edith Piaf.

Con and Pauline (O'Leary)  had cable T.V. with (try to guess) twenty channels.  This was in 1975. We Brits were gobsmacked!  I am not sure if Cable T.V. had reached the U.K. in 1975.

We meandered on by 'bus, to Niagara Falls Canada where it rained all day, to Boston and Marblehead MA, (where my class mate's parents John and Hope Haug treated us like royalty) and in due course to Virginia Theological Seminary  (Alexandria) where we hooked up with some American seminarians who had spent a year or two at my Theological College in England.  (Jay Haug, Peter and Mary Pierson, Phil and Cheryl Tierney). My journal tells me that we had good food, lots of fun and laughter, and some terrific conversations.

Ann and I spent a day in D.C. visiting the sights on a wet and cold day.

Then it was back by 'bus to N.Y.C. from where Ann and I had separate flights to the U.K.

Our "romance" limped on from Oct 1975 until June 1976.  I was excited about my plan to return to the U.S.A. to serve in a parish in Massachusetts.  Ann wanted no part of that.

What was it all about?   I was ten years older than Ann and already ambivalent about my sexuality.  I loved being with her, but I could be a bear and a bossy partner.

I know that Ann was genuinely fond of me, but that she knew that I was totally unsuitable as husband matter  (wise woman).

After my first year in the U.S.A. I returned to Bristol for a holiday in1977.  Ann and I met, saw a movie and had dinner. But whatever spark there had been was gone for ever.   We parted on pleasant terms.

All that was forty three years ago.  

I've worked and also retired in the States.

I believe that Ann married.  By now she must be a grandmother!

In my silly-ass moments I see Ann and I meeting again, rather like a coda in one of Ward Just's books.  But then I remember that when lovers from many years past meet again in one of Just's books one of them dies!

God bless Ann.  Thank you.




Wednesday, 29 August 2018

O Canada and then Eastward Ho!


We  moved on from Bellingham WA to Vancouver BC.

At the borders I declared my occupation as Ordinand (one who plans to be ordained) to the Canadian Immigration agent.  He was confused/bemused/amused.

We had enough time in Vancouver to visit Grouse Mountain and wander Gastown before getting a midnight 'bus to Calgary.  Of course we sat up front and as I think I have said before,  I refused to sleep a wink so that I could  enjoy the Rockies on a moon lit night.

I wrote in my journal of "the unutterable beauty of the Rockies with mountains, steams and lakes...........I wish that I had words to describe the beauty".


Mt. Revelstoke

Crowfoot Mountain and Glacier

And yes, we saw one of those l...o...n...g trains as it snaked its way through the mountain tunnels.



A home awaited us in Calgary.   We stayed with Marilyn D and her husband Dave.   Marilyn and I had attended the same Plymouth Brethren Assembly in Bristol U.K.





(l-r) jmp  (beard now grown), Marilyn and Ann in Calgary.

Once again we were blessed with excellent hospitality and good tour guides.  We saw a lot of Calgary including the touristic Heritage Park.

Dave and Marilyn drive us to Lake Louise 


We climbed through the mountains, passing Mirror Lake

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Lake Agnes

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We stopped at the continental divide   "Stand in two provinces at once on the continental spine of western North America. At this location, the Divide separates two watersheds, two provinces, and two national parks"  (from an official Canadian website)

Oh the beauty,  oh the fresh air after stuffy 'buses,  and oh the fabulous steak barbecue which Dave cooked right near the Continental divide. 

Oh the glorious memories of our days in and around Calgary.

Stay tuned! 

Yet to come.  56 hours and  2,100 miles journey on the same 'bus - from Calgary to Toronto (where we stayed with Ann's good friends), and then even more miles as we went on to Marblehead/Boston MA and Alexandria VA





Monday, 27 August 2018

And then it was Bellingham, WA (and a bit more about Bret our Seattle tour guide).

After our whistle stop tour of Seattle  (thanks to Bret) Ann and I took yet another Trailways 'bus ride, this time to Bellingham, WA.

There we were to be the guests (sight unseen)  of Les and Grace Nelson, upon the recommendation of their daughter Mary Ellen who I knew as a student at my Theological College, St. John's, Nottingham U.K.


Bellingham.

Ann and I were yet again feted with gracious hospitality.

The highpoint was when the Nelsons took us in their little boat to nearby Lummi Island.


What a gorgeous, semi-wild, and (then) unspoiled  place.  We loved it.  Les and Grace made a barbecue one of the Island's wee beaches  (just like the one above).

Ann and I, city folks to the core, could never have imagined a barbecue on a wee island off the coast of the State of Washington.

We savoured our hosts, the food, and the natural beauty.  It was unforgettable.   Oh how blessed and grateful we were.

Back to Bret.  

He and I stayed in touch by mail, the more so when I came back to the U.S.A. in 1976 to serve a parish in Fitchburg, MA.

We thought that we might meet each other again and we did.

Not in the way either of us planned.  In about 1979 he wrote to tell me that he was in Alaska; that he had been working on a fishing boat;  that he'd been caught up in a fight on the boat;   a fight in which he had stabbed and killed another crew member.

Bret had been found guilty of murder (or manslaughter), I cannot remember which.

By 1980 Bret was incarcerated in a Federal Corrections Institution in Englewood, Colorado.


FCI Englewood, CO.

As luck, faith, or God would have it I was in Denver on Church business in 1980.

I was able to visit Bret twice.  It was then a low level security facility so we were able to meet face to face in a large and well lit room with comfortable tables and chairs.  It was easy to talk to Bret and to pray with him.

We lost touch after 1980.  By now he is probably in his late fifties, and has served his time.

I have no way of contacting him thirty eight years on.  I hope that he is free, happy and surrounded by loving and faithful people.

I hope that so much. 

Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and beautiful Oregon

Edited and re-posted from yesterday

Our 1975 Great adventure continues.



My girl friend Ann and I left Flagstaff for the thirteen hour 'bus ride to Salt Lake City.

There we were met by the delightful Eric and Penny (Penny is the sister of my seminary classmate Jay).

Eric and Penny did us proud.

I remember:

Going to a supermarket at about 11:00 p.m.  It was a 24 hour store, quite unlike anything we had seen in England.

The very wide streets which astonished us.  Eric said that they had been planned so that a wagon train could make easy U-turns in the early days of the Mormon settlement.

Visiting the S.L.C. Tabernacle where I signed the guest book. Later that year and back in the U.K. Mormon missionaries visited me at my Theological College.  There's follow up for you!

A visit to the Utah State Fair.

A most wonderful visit to the beautiful mountains near Salt Lake City. They were resplendent with wild flowers.  We had a picnic by the side of a sparkling stream.  It was a splendid visit. 


Salt Lake City Tabernacle.

Statue of Brigham Young with the S.L.C. Temple in the background.

The Statue is titled "This is the Place" which is what Brigham Young is supposed to have uttered as he decided that the rag-tag group of early Mormons who were fleeing persecution in Independence, MS should settle in Utah.  The Temple and the Statue came much later.

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From S.L.C to San Francisco, first through the desert and Nevada. ( at the Nevada State Line there was a huge billboard announcing "This is the Place" - advertising gambling - but a naughty riff on Brigham Young's clarion call).

My journal states that we ate dinner in an Casino in Elko -  I have no memory of this!

In San Francisco we stayed with Ann's friends Donna and Debbie.  Donna's parents (the Cronins) hosted a wonderful family dinner for us.  Such wonderful hospitality and great conversations. (We were (almost) strangers but they welcomed us and fed us  -  so very biblical!)

Ann and I had the inevitable squabble or two on this long trip so in San Francisco we took Khalil Gibran's advice to "let there be spaces in your togetherness" and split up for some of our sight seeing.

Forty three years on it is hard to convey my sense of excitement at being in San Francisco.  (It's a long way from Bristol, U.K.)  

 * The Cable Cars -  a must, together with the winding works and museum. 




*  Fisherman's Wharf -  not then touristic. 

* Grace Cathedral where I enjoyed the modern stained glass.

* Union Square where I cashed some Traveler's cheques and bought my NYC - London ticket for the return visit to the U.K.

And much more  -  all on foot or by cable car.

Ann and I joined forces later in the day.  We wandered through Chinatown and were intrigued to see this



The True Sunshine (Chinese) Episcopal Church  - congregation first gathered in 1904.

Read some history  here  http://www.truesunshine.org/historypast1.html

I've been to San Francisco two or three times more but that 1975 trip was "magical".

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The Cronin family (somehow connected with Ann) gave of their best for us in San Francisco but is was time to move on so we left that grand city at 10:00 a.m. bound for Bellingham WA which we would reach at 1:00 p.m. the next day.

We traveled via Oakland and Richmond and in due course joined Interstate 5 for the long tide north.

We noted the great abundance of crops: tomatoes, almonds, honeydew melons, sweet corn, sugar beets, wheat etc.

Our driver Frank  (from Medford, OR) proved to be an excellent tour guide and gave us super descriptions of what we were seeing in beautiful parts of California and Oregon. (The photo's are from the web, not from our trip)


Mount Shasta



Castle Crags
















We marveled at a gorgeous sunset over the Rogue River





















We had time for a good steak dinner in Grants Pass.

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Then Portland OR. visited in the wee hours (and not impressed!).

Our Trailways 'bus took us to Portland late at night, or was it  in the wee hours.  It was a hot and sticky night.  'Bus Stations are not always in the best parts of town.

We were faced with a long layover until a Trailways clerk told us that we could get an earlier 'bus from the Greyhound Depot just down the road, and that Greyhound would honour our Trailways passes.

Down the road we trumped and boarded a very crowded 'bus.  Ann got a seat mid-bus, I was in the very back row.

I was seated next to a young man named Bret who was returning to Seattle where he lived with his Mum, having visited his Dad in Southern CA. We chatted through the night.

We had a long layover in Seattle to wait for our last leg in the U.S.A. (a visit to Bellingham WA)  before crossing the border into Canada.

Bret was in no hurry to get back to his Mum's home so he gave us a whistle stop tour of Seattle ( The Space Needle, the Monorail, the Pike Market). wowee!). Thank you Bret.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Back to 1975. The LDS missionaries. A fine tour guide in Seattle with a man who came to a sad/bad end

My girl friend Ann and I left Flagstaff for the thirteen hour 'bus ride to Salt Lake City.

There we were met by the delightful Eric and Penny (Penny is the sister of my seminary classmate Jay).

Eric and Penny did us proud.

I remember:

* Going to a supermarket at about 11:00 p.m.  It was a 24 hour store, quite unlike anything we had seen in England.

* The very wide streets which astonished us.  Eric said that they had been planned so that a wagon train could make easy U-turns in the early days of the Mormon settlement.

* Visiting the S.L.C. Tabernacle where I signed the guest book. Later that year and back in the U.K. Mormon missionaries visited me at my Theological College.  There's follow up for you!

* A visit to the Utah State Fair.

* A most wonderful visit to the beautiful mountains near Salt Lake City. They were resplendent with wild flowers.  We had a picnic by the side of a sparkling stream.  It was a splendid visit. 


Salt Lake City Tabernacle.

Statue of Brigham Young with the S.L.C. Temple in the background.

The Statue is titled "This is the Place" which is what Brigham Young is supposed to have uttered as he decided that the rag-tag group of early Mormons who were fleeing persecution in Independence, MS should settle in Utah.  The Temple and the Statue came much later.

------------------------------------------------

From S.L.C to San Francisco, first through the desert and Nevada. ( at the Nevada State Line there was a huge billboard announcing "This is the Place" - advertising gambling - but a naughty riff on Brigham Young's clarion call).

My journal states that we ate dinner in an Casino in Elko -  I have no memory of this!

In San Francisco we stayed with Ann's friends Donna and Debbie.  Donna's parents (the Cronins) hosted a wonderful family dinner for us.  Such wonderful hospitality and great conversations. (We were (almost) strangers but they welcomed us and fed us  -  so very biblical!)

Ann and I had the inevitable squabble or two on this long trip so in San Francisco we took Khalil Gibran's advice to "let there be spaces in your togetherness" ansd split up for some of our sight seeing.

Forty three years on it is hard to convey my sense of excitement at being in San Francisco.  (It's a long way from Bristol, U.K.)  

 * The Cable Cars -  a must, together with the winding works and museum. 




*  Fisherman's Wharf -  not then touristic. 

* Grace Cathedral where I enjoyed the modern stained glass.

* Union Square where I cashed some Traveler's cheques and bought my NYC - London ticket for the return visit to the U.K.

* And much more  -  all on foot or by cable car.

Ann and I joined forces later in the day.  We wandered through Chinatown and were intrigued to see this



The True Sunshine (Chinese) Episcopal Church  - congregation first gathered in 1904.

Read some history  here  http://www.truesunshine.org/historypast1.html

I've been to San Francisco two or three times more but that 1975 trip was "magical".

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Cronin family (somehow connected with Ann) gave of their best for us in San Francisco but is was time to move on so we left that grand city at 10:00 a.m. bound for Bellingham WA which we would reach at 1:00 p.m. the next day.

We traveled via Oakland and Richmond and in due course joined Interstate 5 for the long tide north.

We noted the great abundance of crops: tomatoes, almonds, honeydew melons, sweet corn, sugar beets, wheat etc.

Our driver Frank  (from Medford, OR) proved to be an excellent tour guide and gave us super descriptions of what we were seeing in beautiful parts of California and Oregon. (The photo's are from the web, not from our trip)


Mount Shasta



Castle Crags
















We marveled at a gorgeous sunset over the Rogue River





















We had time for a good steak dinner in Grants Pass.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Then Portland OR. visited in the wee hours (and not impressed!).

Our Trailways 'bus took us to Portland late at night, or was it  in the wee hours.  It was a hot and sticky night.  'Bus Stations are not always in the best parts of town.

We were faced with a long layover until a Trailways clerk told us that we could get an earlier 'bus from the Greyhound Depot just down the road, and that Greyhound would honour our Trailways passes.

Down the road we trumped and boarded a very crowded 'bus.  Ann got a seat mid-bus, I was in the very back row.

I was seated next to a young man named Bret who was returning to Seattle where he lived with his Mum, having visited his Dad in Southern CA. We chatted through the night.

We had a long layover in Seattle to wait for our last leg in the U.S.A. (a visit to Bellingham WA)  before crossing the border into Canada.

Bret was in no hurry to get back to his Mum's home so he gave us a whistle stop tour of Seattle ( The Space Needle, the Monorail, the Pike Market. wowee!). Thank you Bret.

Later that day we moved on from Seattle to Bellingham WA for a visit with Les and Grace Nelson.  (details soon).

I stayed in touch with Bret.  In 1980 I visited him in  Federal Prison in Colorado,  By then he was a lifer  (details soon)