Mandy Jo & Dad's Trip to St Louis
Oct 15-17, 2009

 

I decided I'd like to take each of the 3 girls still at home (Mandy Jo, Mal, and Becca) on a business trip with me to spend time with them and so they could see a some different parts of the country. So the first to do this was Mandy Jo, and she said she was pretty excited to go. She flew out to St Louis one afternoon and we spent that evening, all the next day, and half of the following enjoying the sights. We had a really great time.

On Thursday October 15th Mandy Jo's plane touched down in St Louis and she texted me at 2:22pm St Louis time (12:22pm AZ time) saying she had just landed. I was in a meeting in Boeing building 100, room 570 and had been in town since Tuesday. She caught the shuttle to the Airport Hilton and waited for me there in room 653 for a couple of hours. I picked her up out front at about 4:35 and she said she was starving to death, so we at dinner at the Bonanza BBQ a half mile to the NW. Then we headed for Alton, driving East across the river and then North along the Mississippi. I wanted to show her the riverboat lock at Alton, but it was closed when we arrived. We drove South across the Alton Bridge as the sun was setting. The lights were illuminating the tall support cables and Mandy Jo commented on how pretty they were. We took the first right we could and drove along the two lane road toward St Charles. I got to a point where we were just across the Missouri River from the Boeing Leadership Center in Florissant. We stopped there and I showed her through the binoculars the tallest building on the left where I stood on it's balcony looking over the river when I had my last conversation with Granny Jo the evening before she passed away. That evening was April 11, 2006. We were about a half mile from the facility so it was a bit hard to see and was almost dark. It was really cold (about 45 degrees) and intermittently raining lightly. Mandy Jo was really cold and was happy to get back into the warm car.

We drove on in to St Charles and I walked her out to the cement park bench along the riverfront where I sat several years ago and wrote the "4 Little Salt Shakers" poem for her and the other girls. We drove down the cobblestone Main street and she saw the little shops - but it was late and all were closed. She was pretty tired from her trip, so we headed back to the hotel, but stopped at the DQ on Woodson and had a treat before calling it a night.

Friday was a very busy day, and lots of fun. We were out the door (and checked out of the hotel) at 9am.

We had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to beautiful Calvary Cemetery. We first stopped at the Desloge family area, a family whom I respect very much. We were followed by ducks and geese, which MJ got a big kick out of. I then showed her the headstone of 10 year old James Greenan, who tragically drowned after emigrating from Ireland, the only son of his father, Joseph, and mother, Mary. Then, driving through to another area, we decided to stop and view a new location, the walled plot of the Joseph O'Neil family. It had a wonderful tribute to the sacrifice and example of matriarch Catharine O'Neil. We drove to the large mausoleum and walked inside, down the hall to the left. She wanted to go in since Lisa had commented on it from our trip in 2001. We then stopped at Elizabeth Coleman Noble's touching marker, which tells of her loss of her only daughter and only son. I related to Mandy Jo my discovery of this marker as the first that I was intrigued with in Calvary, some 10 or so years ago. I told her that it took several years for me to find Elizabeth's husband. From there we walked the 50 feet westward to the Wells family marker so that I could show her where 12 year old Jane Catherine Wells was resting. We then drove 50 yards North to the Byrne & Haydel family plot on the corner, across from the Kerens crypt. I got a good picture of us there at 10:42am. I also took a picture of her close to where Lisa had stood, next to the Keren's crypt, during our visit there in 2001. We then drove just 40 yards to the West to Joseph and 21 year old Matilda McCullough's area. Their daughter, Maud, is not buried there, and I've yet to find who she married. Their monument is unique in that it contains a colored ceramic photograph of them from about 1869. I think it's great that MJ would be able to help this family. MJ had to make a pit stop at the office on the way out, (her second of the visit) and asked the folks at the counter what IHS meant, since we'd seen it on many monuments, including Joseph Greenan's. They said it was of latin origin and referred to the Savior. Later I researched on the web where I learned that it has no literal latin translation, but has over the ages become a monogram of the name of Jesus Christ. I was glad to learn about that with her. Mandy Jo wanted to drive around the cemetery a bit before we left, so we drove to the South Eastern corner and down the hill to the North, then back up where she saw the top of the house-like crypt there on the crest of the hill. We noted the many extravagant markers for the Catholic priests and reflected on their contrast with the humble markers we'd seen for the nuns. The colors of the trees were beautiful, and Mandy Jo took many pictures of them. I was impressed that she enjoyed the peacefulness and beauty of this wonderful cemetery that I've grown to love and have visited many times.

Next we drove to the old LDS church that Grandpa Glen attended, and I think lived at, at various times during his mission in 1923 to 1925 at 5195 Maple Avenue. Then we went on to a new location I'd not yet been to. It is where the Sister missionaries lived in the 1920's... 4871 Fountain Avenue. On the way there we saw a bunch of black guys trying to break into a car with a coat hanger. They looked up at us and yelled something as we drove by, spooking MJ a bit, but there was a lady there and I think they were helping her out.  I had shown MJ a photograph the night before from Elder Lorenzo Jack's personal history of President Heber J Grant sitting on the porch of this home, and also a picture of the sister missionaries in the snow out front. The horse hitching post from the original photograph is still out front. I handled the right-side ring on the post and noted there were no other posts visible along the street. I took a picture of MJ and I with a beautiful yellow leafed oak above us and with the house behind. I picked up a yellow leaf and a red one for MJ to save in her book.

Then on to Forest Park, but on the way was stopped in the neighborhood just a block North of the park and ogled the big homes. Mandy Jo really enjoyed that. At Forest Park I got a shot of MJ and another of us both us both below the Art Museum. Then one of MJ and the statue of St Louis, just as the missionaries had many years before. Then a lady stopped and took a pic of us both, and then I took one. We then headed across the street and into the Art Museum. It was Friday, so all exhibits were free. MJ enjoyed the gallery, but the silverware stuff wasn't that appealing. She thought it was neat that her Great grandmother Josephine Cluff Kimball had certainly been in the museum during the 1904 World's Fair ,where she served as an adult missionary prior to marrying Andrew Kimball. Then we had lunch at Taco Bell South of the park, and then went to the Zoo. MJ really liked the big cats, and the sea lions. She also liked the bears,  the flamingos, the Bird Cage, the fall colored trees, the otters, and the birds. We saw most of the zoo, but missed the Africa area since we had to leave for our new hotel to change for our temple visit.

We checked into the Hilton Frontenac room 2207 and changed for our visit to the St Louis Temple. Mandy Jo was really excited to be able to be there. . She commented on how beautiful the font was, but noted that she liked the Mesa temple even more. We met Joseph Cardwell and his parents there. He is a returned missionary and I have met him for the first time last July, while doing temple work. He had two friends who kindly assisted us, along with his father, a temple worker. They are wonderful people and their help was much appreciated. We had a wonderful time, had a Dairy Queen afterwards, Mandy Jo and I, and then went to the hotel and to sleep.

On Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel at 8:30 and headed to the Gateway Arch. We rode the 'Tram' elevators to the top. They were tiny and held a maximum of 5 people. It was a spectacular view from the top, at 630 feet above the ground, and Mandy Jo really enjoyed it. She took a bunch of pictures from both sides. She was sure cute all the time. We took a picture in the facility before we left, but the flash didn't light much up. Outside I got a picture of Mandy Jo at the top of the steps, at the River Lookout, in the grass, and holding up the arch and saving the lives of thousands. She really liked the tree-lined walkway back to the parking lot. We got a good pic of us both with the arch behind.

Next we drove toward the Budweiser brewery to see the Clydesdale horses they have on their tour. On the way we spotted a Farmer's Market in the suburb of Soulard, so we stopped and walked through it. I bought Mandy Jo a pear and she said it was really delicious. It was really cold and she wanted to quickly get in the car, but yellow oak leaves were falling around her in the breeze, so I tormented her and took a picture before she got in the car. She was always such a good sport about everything. At the brewery we took the tour and she took a pic of the horses outside and inside the stable, where I also got a pic of her next to the carriage the horses pull, and one of us both. That part was fun, but the rest was pretty boring, but MJ was a trooper and never complained.

After leaving the brewery tour, we took a last drive past the Arch, then got lunch at the Rally's drive through on Natural Bridge road next to the airport and pulled into Washington Park Cemetery next door and ate. Then on to return the National rental car and the airport, where I got a final pic of Mandy Jo as we sat across from gate A16 waiting for the plane. She was reading her Twilight book. She was so cute, and so patient with an old guy like me. She said she had a wonderful time, I know that I did. I love you Mandy Jo.

Fall colors from the air, with the Missouri river beyond. Mandy Jo was in seat 2F and I was in 4F, and wrote most of this on the flight home. I hope she remembers this trip for many years to come, I know that I will.

greg.porter@boeing.com