Thursday, June 11, 2020

South Chicago Stories

In September 1985 I moved to South Chicago to start my PhD program in geography at the University of Chicago. While I had lived in diverse places like Jakarta, Jerusalem, and suburban Washington DC, living on the famed south side of Chicago was a whole new adventure. I was lucky enough to land in an upstairs apartment in the back of the home of Pete and Charlotte Johnston--long time Utah transplants to Chicago, where he was on the U of C medical school faculty. My Hyde Park roommates were three other single, LDS, graduate students.

Where I lived (5543 S Kenwood) and what I drove (Toyota Tercel).

My three roommates (third year)

Geography grad students and faculty the first year.

During my thee years in Chicago I completed all necessary course work including three years of Arabic, passed the required Arabic exam, completed and defended my Field Paper (lit review for my dissertation), and defended my dissertation proposal making me ABD (all but dissertation) when I left Chicago in July 1988 to head to Nazareth for a year of research.

Hyde Park Ward building. Chapel (with AC) on top floor with spillover broadcast to other rooms in the building.

One of the first people I met at the Hyde Park Ward (the local Mormon congregation) was Cathy Stokes, a Black convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who worked as a health administrator for the State of Illinois. Cathy was serving at the time as the Relief Society president (women's organization) of the congregation. By now Cathy was used to the yearly influx of new graduate students to the Hyde Park ward every September. She therefore took it upon herself to properly orient all of the new comers to South Chicago's culture, cuisine, and peoples at a delightful gathering in her home. The entertainment for the evening was all of us singing Black spirituals around her grand piano. When January rolled around she made sure that on the Sunday before Martin Luther King's birthday, the congregation all sang Lift Every Voice and Sing during sacrament meeting. This stirring "Black National Anthem" is not in the LDS hymnbook, so to have it sung as a congregational hymn was very unusual and moving.

Cathy was recently interviewed for an article in the Salt Lake Tribune by Peggy Fletcher Stack talking about race relations and the LDS Church.

"On 42nd anniversary of end to the priesthood ban, black Latter-day Saints say protests may have finally woken up white members to racism"

At one point in the interview, Cathy quipped that one way the Church could help to foster better race relations was to cut another half hour from our Sunday meetings and then tell members to spend the 30 minutes learning “about people you think you have nothing in common with and who don’t look like you?”

With Cathy's admonition in mind I want to share some stories from my three years in South Chicago that were great learning experiences for me as I came to know and love south Chicagoans who did not look much like me. The one thing we had in common was that we were all members of the same church congregation.

Two days after my arrival in Chicago, a leader in the ward called wanting to speak to my roommate. He wasn't home so instead I was asked if I could make a run to the Bishop's Storehouse in Napperville to pick up a food order for a family in our congregation. Sure I said, having no idea what I was getting in too. I called a grad school friend from Logan to go with me. We got the food and then headed south from Hyde Park to find the address.

One of the first things new students at the University of Chicago learn is that while Hyde Park is an integrated neighborhood, neighborhoods north of 47th street, south of 61st and west of Cottage Grove are almost all 100% Black. For most students new to Chicago, that means they come and go from Hyde Park and the University via Garfield Blvd or Lake Shore Drive without ever venturing into the surroundings of their educational enclave. Not so for the new Mormons. Before they know it they are asked to deliver a food order, go visiting teaching, or to pick up kids for a youth activity anywhere on the south side--all of which was included in the geographical boundaries of the Hyde Park ward and none of which was frequented on a regular basis by most white Chicagoans.

Ethnic patterns in Chicago. Red: Whites; Blue: Blacks; Orange: Hispanics; Green: Asians. Notice mostly red Hyde Park along the Lake Michigan shore surrounded by blue South Chicago.

The Hyde Park LDS Ward 's geographical boundaries covered everything south of the Loop. There was also one Spanish speaking congregation organized on the south side

The food delivery was to family of ten who lived in a home 20 blocks south  and east of where I lived at 55th and Kenwood. To get there meant that we two white Loganites had to drive through what we were led to believe were troubled, dangerous, Black neighborhoods. Come to find out, we came and went without a glitch.

A few weeks later, I was called to be the home study seminary teaching for the ward which meant that the high school age youth would do seminary workbooks at home during the week and then we would meet for one hour on Sunday morning before church for a seminary lesson about the week's readings. While the ward was very mixed racially and ethnically, most of the white people were grad students or empty-nesters (including U of C professors) and most of the families with teenagers were Black. On Sunday mornings I would set out by 8:00 am to make a loop through the south side to pick up who ever was able to come and needed a ride (usually 1-4 youth) in time to get back to the church building for 9:00 seminary. Their families would then come for 10:00 church and the youth would go home with their families.

Four of my seminary students

One Sunday in the spring of 1986 when I picked up one of the young women she informed me that her parents were sick and wouldn't be coming to church that day and asked if I could take her home after church. I of course said yes. After our four hours of meetings (!) we headed south along Stony Island Drive in my Utah plated Toyota. Looking back now, I realize we made quite an odd sight--29 year old me in my white shirt and tie with a 16 year old young woman riding shotgun. Somewhere south of 61st street I happened to pull up to a red light and stopped behind a police car. The officer (I'm thinking he was white) was talking out his passenger window to a Black man in a car. I thought nothing of it until the light turned green and the other two lanes started to move, but the police car stood still blocking my way. Then when the light turned yellow, the officer drove out into the intersection, flipped a U-ey, and then pulled up almost bumper to bumper with my car. He spoke on a speaker saying "pull over!" I really wondered if he was talking to me or to one of the cars behind me. I actually pointed to my self and mouthed "me" and he said yes. He then backed up and I proceeded through the intersection and then pulled over to the curb. He pulled up behind us and then came to my window. I showed him my license and registration, which he went to check out in his patrol car. He the returned and asked what we were doing. I explained that I was her Sunday School teacher (it was too complicated to explain home study seminary) and I was giving her a ride home from church because her parents were sick. I offered to have him follow us home and make sure that was the case. He then turned to her and asked what church it was. My heart skipped a beat. She was still in her first year of church membership. Would she remember the whole name? Happily and surprisingly to me, J confidently stated: 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The officer then explained that two stop signs back a man had noticed us--Utah plates, white man, and a Black teenage girl who "looked troubled". Next stop sign, that man pulled up to the police and told him to check us out. Which he understandably did. The officer then said that we could go. As we drove off, I asked J what we should do next time I had to drive her to or from church. She quickly replied: "smile." We both laughed.

A few weeks later I was asked to help drive some of the youth to the Temple in the far north suburbs. By chance J was once again riding shot gun. As we were heading west along 79th Street to the Dan Ryan expressway I pulled up to a stop sign along side another Black male driver. I spoke her name and then with a tilt of the head and cross of my eyes I motioned towards the other driver. Without missing a beat J's "face lit up in a broad smile!" and we both laughed.

During my second year of graduate school I was called to be the new scout master for the LDS troop sponsored by our ward. Here is an excerpt from my submission to the Emmett Family Quarterly, January 1987


The call to be scout master in the Hyde Park ward came as a surprise, so much of a surprise that I laughed when the second counselor extended the call. The ward is full of successful MBA and Law School types who at the age of 13 knew that if they were going to be successful in life they needed to be an eagle scout (it looks good on a resume). I wasn't that success oriented in my youth (I was only a star scout) and so now I'm getting a second chance at scouting while all the eagle scouts in the ward spend their Friday nights filling out resumes for prestigious law and business firms. Maybe I should have payed more attention to scout masters Mel Swenson and Ralph Godfrey back in the 10th ward days.  It seems all I remember about scouting are the knots I learned when mom was the Trecker teacher... Luckily they called an eagle scout now a specializing MD to be my assistant.

January 16 was my big debut. The stake scout leader had said he could probably come and help out, but just in case I spent the day reviewing the scout oath and history of the U.S. flag just in case he couldn't make it. He called at 6:00 pm to say he was on his way with an evenings worth of excitement. So while he headed north from Indiana I headed south into the Black neighborhoods of Chicago to pick up six boys."  The oldest of the bunch [C] I described as "mischievous and semi-rebellious. When he climbed into my car he claimed "his expected place in the front seat. He immediately pulls a few cassettes out of his pocket to play in my new tape player which he is used to using from seminary days. I thought the music was rap music but C used a new term [House] for the type of music inflicting my classical ears....

Back at the apartment building made church we meet [up with my assistant and two other scouts] and then stake scouter arrived with the assistant from his ward and their two scouting sons. All four were in full uniform, while the only thing that indicated we were scouts were the cards I gave the boys saying they had registered as scouts last November. After R's two sentence prayer and our meager attempt at the scout oath Brother B dazzled us with a history of the flag complete with 10 different regular sized flags made by scout mothers in his ward. Next stop the second floor kitchen where we tied twine around 5 matches and then dipped it in wax to be used later for starting fires in wet weather. The boys had a great time coating their hands in the wax and lighting matches after B had explained the dangers of burning down the building.

By now C had had it. All the other scouts dutifully moved back in the dining room turned scout room to hear about this year's camping events. C was at the window and exclaimed that someone was breaking into a car. All were up in a flash, especially the out-of-towners from Indiana. C had pulled a good one on us. He kept interrupting so I took him downstairs to explain that he could either cooperate or wait outside or in another room. He chose outside. He dropped a magic marker as he walked out the door. I thought nothing of it, and thew it out to him. He then proceed to leave his mark on the car parked on the street in front of my car. While I was dealing with C, Brother B got the other boys excited about going on the Klondike Derby next month"....When I dropped two of the brothers off, one politely "said thank-you, and C  said 'I ain't comin' next week.' I was delighted to have survived the evening, but scared to know what to do with the boys next week without the help of Bro. B.. I guess I'll teach them the knots...  I can hardly wait for summer camp."

Next morning I had just finished breakfast and cleaning the kitchen when the young men's basketball coach calls. His wife is in labor and he needs someone to pick up [five of the boys] and drive then to Griffith (go to Gary and turn right) Indiana for a noon game....[this time a different scout is at the cassette controls but then C gets in the car and pulls out a cassette.] "This time I properly identify rapping. Some very profound words recorded from speeches of Martin Luther King have been put to rap music. Much better that Jim McMahon and boys doing "We are the Bears". We pass industrial grey Calumet City and Gary and are soon at the Griffith Ward. The Griffith Ward team has about 15 tall and short, 12-18 year old, black and white, member and non-member players with uniform tops. The other driver, who is even less athletic than I am, is late with our height which leaves me with five short, black, un-uniformed members. Once C sees the opposition he exclaims that he "ain't gonna play". The nice opposition coach offers me a forlorn looking boy standing in the corner who came to watch. We ask N if he wanted to help our team. He said, "you wouldn't want me I'd only make things worse," but since C was out N was our only hope so he agreed to play. Just then J arrives with the only two members of our team over 5" 2" and then announces that he and his wife are going to a near-by mall to shop and will be back in an hour. That leaves me who has never played ward ball to do the coaching alone.

I'd like to give a play by play detail but by now it is all a blur. I do remember that after the score reached 20-0 for them the nice coach put in a few of his sort deacons to give us a chance. By half it was 58-8. C finally decided to play the second half which helped a little but that meant I had to keep rotating the shorter boys in and out and endure their incessant demands to be put back in. V only had his glasses knocked off once. Our center J ended up bringing the ball in and down the court most of the time because most of the boys had a hard time dribbling and passing which left no one with any height to get inside and shoot. Their coach also officiated and went over board on calling fouls and traveling on his own team, but nothing he did could help us. The final score was a humiliating 128-14. It was a long ride back to south Chicago for the Hyde Park Hoopsters. But to come to the boys defense, they really tried for a team of short deacons that doesn't have a cultural hall to practice in. Luckily next week is a bye. It was a false labor for the coach's wife, but hopefully she will have the baby before the next game. However, I hate to leave my won-loss coaching record at 0-1 for the rest of my life. Maybe after  my stint as scout master I could put in a request for young men's athletic director. Whole new vistas are beginning to open up for me. "

About a year into my interactions with C, he one day told me "You're not white." I was confused by that statement but then learned that it was intended to be a compliment meaning something along the lines of you don't act white as in you treat blacks differently (ie fairly). I got what he was saying. In my mind I was treating C and the other boys just how I treated everyone else.

The other thing I learned from street smart C is that my Tercel would always be safe on the south side because no black boys would have any interest in such a wimpy car.

Some of my scouts:

Susan Walker with her three grandchildren, including one of my scouts.

Read more about Sister Walker and other early black members of the Hyde Park ward in this Church produced article:

Friday February 27th (Journal)

"Picked up [four boys] for a fun evening at the South Shore YMCA on 71st Street. Carl Snow, Mike and I were the only whites in the pool. No one looked twice. We made good progress helping the boys to swim. Then Carl and I played keep away with the boys and a few other kids who joined in. What a blast. I don't think too many U of C students would venture into the South Shore Y for a game of keep away."

Saturday March 21st (Journal)

"Scout Hike --nine boys and three leaders. We started in China Town (23rd Street) walked down to the Loop where we stopped at the Boy Scout store then across town to the shore and then back south along the shore. We all seemed to have a good time and the boys were pretty well behaved. I enjoyed the warm sun and chance to get out of the library. Near the end the boys all saw a nice red sports car. They leaned against it and wanted me to take their picture. Just as I got my camera out, the alarm went off so we all move on quickly. We hiked about 6 miles."


Excerpt from my submission to the Emmett Family Quarterly, April 1987

"Picked up [some of the young men for a basketball game and stake scouting activity] This time we only lost 63 to 32 to the only other team in the stake [Orland Park ward] without any wins. The afternoon scouting activity [in Chicago Heights] was a bit chaotic. I spent much of my time wrestling with rambunctious R trying to get him to either go outside and learn how to pitch tents or build fires. He challenged me to try and get him outside so I picked him up and carried him. Once outside he joined the other boys in soaking sticks in the gas leaking from Bro. B's scout mobile (old green station wagon stuffed with a never ending supply of scouting equipment) and then throwing the sticks in the fire. Before anyone knows it R had taken his stick from the fire and was soaking up more gas. Luckily the flame had died and R and the car didn't go up in smoke."

After the scout activity I drove six of scouts home dropping them off all over the south side.  After dropping of the next to last scout I turned down a street only to see police cars with lights flashing and officers ahead blocking the street. Someone was being frisked by the police while someone from a second story window was yelling down at the police.  If I remember correctly one of the police had a gun out. Stopped cars in front of me were trying to U-turn just in case the situation worsened. My first thought was to also U-turn, but that was problematic in the midst of other cars trying to do the same thing. Then I spied an easier route--making a left turn into the the mid block ally running between the three story walk-ups. My last passenger was the one white boy in the troop who also lived in Hyde Park and had not ventured into this part of town much. Half way through the block the ally ended! By now both of us were somewhat flustered by it all. I figured I would have to turn around when I noticed a vacant lot at the end of the ally. In a flash I turned into and then across the lot which luckily had a low curb dropping off onto a smooth flowing street. My wide-eyed scout wasn't sure what to make of our wild ride.

Friday April 17th

Photos from our first campout. We went to Indiana Dunes state park. A roommate and some from the Young Men's presidency came along to help. We all had a great time. Luckily Brother B. came with his green mobile with sleeping bags, tents, stoves, wood and more food. The ward has no camping gear and few of the grad student members have much gear either.

Friday May 15, 1987. (Journal). Father and Son campout

"We camped at Indian Dunes State Park. The wooded camp area was wall to wall cars and tents so it seemed as the Mormons invaded. At the camp fire program each ward was supposed to have a skit [no one from our ward knew this before we arrived]. Few did. We hurried and asked if anyone had an idea. S had written the Joseph Smith story in rap music (a kind of sing talk). [as he practiced some of the other boys joined in to do the beat box. I can still hear "There was a man named Joseph Smith......went to the woods.....Lo here, lo there....] He was a hit. I was amazed at how well he did [and how surprised the suburban wards were]. Hyde Park ward sure does stick out. About 10 adult leaders--all white grad students--and 15 black boys."

A week later S and his backup boys gave an encore performance of the Joseph Smith rap at the ward talent show.

August 9-15 the troop spent a week at Camp Owassipi Scout Reservation north of Muskegon Michigan. We were assigned to Camp Blackhawk near Big Blue Lake. To make it happen we had to break a few Mormon scout rules: 1) we had to travel to Michigan on a Sunday so we could be there ready for swim checks and merit badge classes on Monday 2) We allowed the lone 11 year old scout to come with us since our ward didn't have an 11 year old (Blazer) program. Non LDS troops are for boys 11 years and older. To earn money we sold cook-at-home pizzas (made by a Dominoes pizza). Ward members all helped out by ordering some. Delivering them on two Saturdays all over south Chicago was quite an undertaking. David Johnston, whose parents were our landlords and lived downstairs, was a BYU student home for the summer. He was called to be my assistant and so us two single guys took 13 boys--11 black and two white (one from a suburban ward who couldn't attend camp with his ward--he was the only experienced camper in the group). For many of the boys this was their first time out of Chicago and first time in a place where they had ever experienced stars at night.

It was also the first time for many of the boys to be carrying their own knife. The first night our boys cut down the tent ropes of a neighboring troop, who then retaliated on some of our tents. The second day while I was out rowing with some of the boys (they couldn't go alone since none of them could swim the required 50 feet to be able to go beyond the beginners area) Ja accidentally cut himself while wood carving. Je and S applied pressure and took him to the office for first aid then David took him to Whitehall for stitches. Then Jer's knee got nicked when C threw a rusty knife he had found on at hike at a tree and it bounced off the tree and hit Jer. Next morning we took him to Whitehall for a tetanus shot--only to find out that his tetanus shot was actually uptodate. Then I hear that V had gotten in a fight with M and threatened him with his knife. That did it. I gathered up all the knives and said they could only get them back once they had passed the tote n' chip course.

J has sand flea bites from an over night horse ride he and four others from the troop participated in.

From the October 1987 Emmett Family Quarterly:

"We were the only integrated [and LDS] troop at camp. There were several other all Black troops and the others were white usually Catholic sponsored troops. One Black scoutmaster had a troop of 25 boys from the projects. He was the only leader and was doing a commendable job. One day while waiting in line at the shooting range some of his boys started to play around. A white 16 year old sr. patrol leader [from anther troop] substituting for the afternoon at the range told the Black leader to calm his boys down. The boys weren't doing anything that bad. Anyhow the white boy finally got fed up and called the Black leader a " N..........". The boy was sent home and after many apologies from the camp staff the Black troop decided to stay. There were a few other minor racial incidents that made me realize that prejudices between black and white are still very strong. I was proud of my boys. They would ignore the subtle chidings by some of the white trash boys. G, who is 15 and quite mature, expressed strong feelings about racism and disgust that color is used as a criteria for determining how one person treats another person. The evening after the big blowout while waiting in line for dinner he was giving the high five to the other boys in the troop and calling them brothers. He got to Dave and me and gave us the high five and called us brothers without even thinking twice.

All in all camp was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. I didn't think I would ever say this but I'd even go again next summer. The lake and woods were beautiful and the boys fairly well behaved and actually fun to be with. We had our first court of honor last week.... "

Emmett Family Quarterly January 1988

"The Hyde Park ward went all out in honor of Martin Luther King's B-day. The Bishop gave a fiery tribute to the ideas and dreams of Dr. King, we sang "Life Every Voice and Sing" which is the unofficial black national anthem, Cathy Stokes, the former RS president, told about growing up black in Mississippi and admonished us all to break down the barriers of race by reaching out and getting to know those we fear, and a white BYU graduate sang a beautiful black spiritual about serving God by helping others. Five year old D climbed up on my lap for the last part of the meeting while Cathy was speaking. I was so glad to have had the opportunity to live and serve in south Chicago and to have the opportunity to get to know some wonderful Blacks. For the first time I was grateful for the dream of Martin Luther King and I understood why we now seek to honor him and what he strove for."

First verse:
Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.

Watch a choir from Ghana sing it:

Watch the Tabernacle Choir sing it:

Watch the Winston-Salem State University Choir sing it:

Soon after being called as scout master, I was informed that a new scout had just moved into the ward. He and his 8 year old brother had recently joined the Church in Naperville and then the family (mother and seven kids) moved into Chicago to live with their grandmother. I started to bring the two boys to church every Sunday. Over the months we were joined by their 5 year old brother D, then their two teenage sisters, then their mom (occasionally) and finally their grandmother and the youngest two siblings-twin boys. Some Sundays I would bring between 7-10 members of the family to church all in my small Toyota. When needed up to four of the boys would ride in the back hatch area. We would always sit on the back row at church where I came prepared with picture books, crayons and paper.

Photos from the second father and son campout.

The five year old D who pestered me for weeks to be able to go on this campout.

The Joseph Smith rapper

Emmett Family Quarterly April 1988

"The last few months have been pretty routine. Every Wed. the scouts and varsity scouts would go to a youth center [Elliott Donnelley] for an hour of basketball practice and then an hour of swimming lessons. The b-ball team did much better this year thanks to the weekly practice and the addition of two more young men who have since been baptized. Swimming is a different story. The whole purpose of going to the youth center [and the South Shore YMCA the year before] was so that the scouts could learn enough to be able to swim the 50 yards required for the swimming skill award. So far only one boy has been able to do that. But progress is being made. R will now put his face in the water and hold his breath and most of the others can almost swim one length. Several of the fathers help drive the 14 or so boys. But they don't stay so I am usually the only non-black in the center [which is located very close to the Robert Taylor Homes part of Chicago's infamous Projects] and for miles. Tomorrow night it is back to regular scouting as we work on the first aid merit badge at the church. We have had two pizza sales in the past two months which is almost enough to help those who need help to pay for summer camp. Now if the ward can come up with some adult leaders to go with the boys.

I still pick up the P family every Sunday. The last three weeks the three year old twins have come. What a fiasco. That means putting eight, nine and even ten in my car. The four youngest boys sit in the hatch. The twins are called Squeak and Big Man (the shortest of the two). They have really got the primary jumping. They have no concept of sitting still. The short term solution is to put one in the nursery and one in the moonbeams (or in it sunbeams). The mother hasn't been for months, but grandmother Della has been a faithful attender. She comes with all seven of her grand kids and sometimes brings other grand kids or great-grand kids. Last Sunday she was baptized by yours truly. She came up out of the water praising God and thanking Jesus. She bore a beautiful testimony after her confirmation. It was a unique but wonderful experience."

At church with Della and her seven grandchildren and one other grandchild (the shortest)

D riding in the hatch. I know its illegal, but what else could I do. Luckily the police never pulled us over.

Della's baptism day

Della and five grandsons at a ward picnic at Promontory Point park.

Emmett Family Quarterly July 1988

"Getting back to the Chicago portion of the last three months. I am happy to announce that the five quilts we [mostly mom] made during spring break added $380 to the Hyde Park ward building fund. The ward has almost reached its $100,000 quota so the ground breaking should be sometime this summer. A real church complete with a cultural hall (i.e. basketball court) will certainly be a welcome addition to the growing ward. I had the opportunity to baptize and confirm [Della's two teenage granddaughters]. The ward has a plastic lined wood box baptismal font in the basement of the church. If you are careful you can climb up and then down the plastic covered stairs into the font without slipping or hitting your head on the water pipes. You can always tell when there is going to be a baptism after church because a green hose runs through the priesthood room into the font room.

In appreciation for the weekly rides to church, Della had my Home Teaching companion and me over for a Sunday dinner of cabbage greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, baked chicken, stuffing, roast beef, corn bread, and green beans with pudding and cake for desert. Quite a feast. My only complaint is that too much butter and sugar was used."

Della, Mika and the missionaries for a delicious "southern" meal.

One of the families with scout age boys went through two years of upheaval started by the father being laid off from a steel mill and then a divorce. One of the boys ended up living in a Catholic boys home and school. I maintained contact with him during my last year in Chicago. When eighth grade graduation (a big deal in south Chicago) came around, R invited me. Another U of C graduate student and I were his only "family" for the ceremony and banquet.

With home teacher Paul Cazier (also grew up in Logan) who was in his first year of Medical School.

Charlie and Brad, a young couple in the ward with big hearts.

Siblings Anthony and Lorraine, two good friends from the Hyde Park ward.

Living in South Chicago and attending and serving in the Hyde park ward was an amazing experience for me. I served where called and in the process I got to know so many wonderful people. We all had our own set of problems and challenges. We also shared a love of God and Jesus and, as I grew to find out, an ability to love our neighbors. I'm grateful for three years that helped me to more fully learn that "all are alike unto God".


  1. I just happened upon your post when I searched “lift every voice and sing” with Cathy Stokes!
    We lived in the Hyde park ward from 2003-2007 and have so many memories that are similar. I miss living there!
    Also fun to see your picture of Anthony and Lorraine, they were there when we were too.

  2. I too miss living there. I loved how everyone was accepted and needed. It's not often that a single man would be called to serve as scout master. The Hyde Park ward positively influenced my life in so many ways.