Monday, July 2, 2012

My Dad Bruce

When my dad was born on January 17, 1934 he was named Leslie Abernanthe.  His birth place was Grand Junction, Colorado.  Due to neglect and abuse the Colorado Social Family Services took my father at the age of five and his siblings to an orphanage.  Shortly there after my father was adopted, never to see his brothers and sisters again.

My grandparents, Beatrix and Kenneth Leon Whitney changed my dads name to Bruce Black Whitney.  It was probably quite an adjustment for a small boy to go from extreme poverty to a very comfortable life style.  My grandparents also adopted a young girl after my dad.  I can't remember if her name was changed, but she was known as Jan.
Bruce started piano and violin lessons at a very young age.  He became so successful playing the violin that by the time he was seventeen he was playing first chair with the Community Symphony in Denver, Colorado.

At the age of eighteen my dad joined the Marines.
I remember as a young girl my dad told me that he had gotten injured during the war.  He said a very large black man carried him for many miles in the frozen snow. The conditions in North Korea were terrible and the temperatures plunged as low as -35 F.  My dad never really talked about the war much.  Before we got our camper we always slept in a large army tent. I always thought it was old and ugly.  I tried not to complain because I loved going camping and being in the mountains.

After the war dad was stationed near Ogden, Utah and met my mom at a dance.  He was baptized around the time of their marraige into the mormon faith.  My parents moved to Greely, Colorado where dad went to college to become a Speech Therapist like my Grandfather.  After dad graduated, my parents and older brother moved to Iowa where dad started working.  I was born in Cherokee, Iowa but shortly after my birth we moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa where my parents bought their first home.

That's about the time I started remembering our family life.  There were fire bugs in the summer and we became very close to a few other families in our ward.  The missionaries lived in our house upstairs in a small apartment for a short period of time.  I have many fond memories of Iowa, it was very green.

We moved to Bountiful, Utah when I was around seven years of age. My mom wanted to be closer to her family so dad found a job with the Davis County School District. Dad also found a close friend in Bountiful.  His name was Willard Johansen and they went fishing together on many weekends.  My parents joined a square dancing group called, "The Whitney Whirlers".  We went on some really fun camping trips in the summer with the square dancers families.  One of my most memorable trips was just outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Teton Lodge camp grounds.  My parents would dance at the lodge and while us kids played near a big beautiful lake.

Grandma Trix's 83rd Birthday
Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis while I was serving my mission in Rochester, New York. When I got home he could barely walk.  He suffered a very long illness and died 1996, three months before our third child was born.

These are some of dad's paintings.  He also planted a seed in my heart for gardening.  We always had classical music going on in our house. Dad had the speakers wired every where including outside. That way he could listen to violins while pulling weeds. The song I remember him playing on the piano was, Clair de Lune.  He didn't play it that much but it was so beautiful it will always have a special place in my heart.

I'm sure Bruce is watching my family here on earth.  I hope he is at peace and happy where ever he is.