A Funeral is a Good Place to Start

A funeral is a good place for the past to meet the present. Some of these people remember me when I was in diapers. How do I know this? Because they have all pinched my cheeks and told me so.

The Diaper Years

I was born to Cleone Stark Linford and James LeRoy Linford on August 22, 1959. Mom always told me I was very accommodating right from the beginning. She went into labor right after she had finished her housework and my dad was coming home from work, I was born at 4:22pm. I was the youngest of three children and the middle of five. Born and raised in Ogden Utah, into a Mormon family with strong pioneer roots, five generations of Mormon heritage running deep on both sides.

My ancestors were part of the infamous Willie and Martin handcart company. My great great grandfather lost his life at Sweetwater Wyoming as they were stranded in the cold winter weather, waiting to cross the Sweetwater River. Rations had run low and many of the men had given up their portions to the women and children. Many people, including John Linford, starved to death before ever joining fellow saints in Utah valley.

I remember my father being handsome, smart, and a bit of a scoundrel. My memory of my mother was that she was pretty, hard working, very independent and capable. My parents married during World War II. My father, a drafted army soldier in 1942, was home on leave when they were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on January 19, 1944. Then he was off fighting a war for the first two years of their marriage.

Dad was discharged from the army in February of 1946. My older sister, LeeAnn Linford Kieki, was born August 25, 1949 a few years after my father returned from the war. My brother, James Layne Linford, was born February 3, 1953. And at 36 years old my mother gave birth to me, Jill Linford Searle, in 1959. When I was born my father was a truck driver for Pillsbury, he worked there for 35 years. This sums up my egg and sperm years, as well as my diaper years. I seem to have a vague memory of sitting on the patio in the sprinkler and just having a grand ol’ time.

The first paragraph of my auto-biography

Tell me what you think? What should I title my life's story? What would you title your life's story?

“Goodbye you little shit”, I heard him say. “Goodbye you old fart” I whispered back, as they shut the lid on his silk lined coffin. I turn from my father’s coffin and through blurry eyes I see the faces of family and friends as well as the memories shared with many of them. Across the room, beyond the faces from my past, I see the photo collage including pictures of Suzie and my children, and I realize how many years have passed since I left Utah, how much I’ve changed and how these people, who once knew me so well, know so little about me now. It was one of those profound moments in life where the past collides with the present and you can see where you came from, who you are and where you are headed, it made me laugh out loud.