A Good Day for Flannel!

2015-2-25 Fabric SalesThis is what makes me Happy: Boatloads of flannel, purchased with the very kind donations we receive every week.  This was just one of two stores we visited (and cleaned out!).  After assembling 800 kits last Saturday, we needed to replenish for our next events.  Today flannel was 60% off plus an additional 20% for senior citizens.  We are ready for another month of kit making!  Thanks to all who have helped and who continue to help every day.

I came home from this shopping outing to find another beautiful pile of goods at my door (some of which have already gone out for one of our events tonight).  Jill Lloyd from Highland donated her serger, saying “you can put it to better use than I can.”  Another friend working at a fabric store said they were retiring 5 pair of scissors and asked if we could use them.  The answer is YES.  I  am overwhelmed with joy, every day at the goodness of women around me.2015-2-25 DonationsThis morning I received a call back from a lovely lady named  Gloria in Salt Lake who advertised an industrial cutter on ksl.com yesterday.  It will cut 4″ of fabric at a time.  I’m told it’s a $1000 machine. In a message, I told her what we do and how we’d like to use it.  Today she asked if she could donate not one, but TWO cutters to our Days for Girls cause!  I was thrilled.

There are miracles that surround this work.  If you have not yet gotten involved, you really must.  Your life will never be the same! (and your porch will never be as inviting and beautiful)!  And miracles will follow you wherever you go!2015-2-25 Cutter

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Just Let Go

Just let go

I believe God’s hand is in the unfolding of what happens in our lives.  If we seek to do His will, he will direct us and guide us, and help us to accomplish His purposes.  When we seek our own glory, we fade away or are taken out of the picture.

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Estella Holt Smith b. 1872, d. 22 Feb 1942

Joseph and Estella Holt

As I’ve been looking through my family history records, and doing a bit of research, I came across these photos of Estella Holt “Stella,” daughter of William Alma Pain Holt and Sarah Wardle.  William and Mary Ann Pain Holt were brother and sister.  Mary Ann is my Great Great Grandmother.  Her cousin, Stella died on this day in 1942.  I am thinking about her today.

It intrigued me to look at Stella and Joseph’s wedding portrait above.  They look so calm and serene and hopeful.  I spoke today in church about how our lives unfold, how we are not given to know the ending from the beginning.  What little I know about Stella’s life fascinates me.  There was a good deal of heartache and tragedy.

Estella had 15 children!  Their names were Pearl, George, John, Sarah, Joseph, Alvin, Edna, Alfred, Ferdinand, Lillian, Clifford, Clayton, Leo, Dee and Estella.  Six of these children lived to old age.  Three died as infants, George drowning in an irrigation ditch.  Sarah died in child birth with her infant, leaving 2 more children for Stella to raise.  Ferdinand and Clayton were each 16 years old when they died, Ferdinand died of typhoid fever and Clayton died in a car accident.  Leo died of heart failure when he was 13.  Little Estella was only 7 years old when her father died at age 58.  Stella lived another 16 years.

How I would love to read Stella’s journal, had she written one!  Her story is lost to me.

Smith, Joseph and Estella Holt familySmith, Joseph and Estella Holt family 1

I found an interesting history of Stella’s husband, Joseph Smith, written by Eugene H. Halverson & Jay C. Smith.  How interesting it is to look at faces in a photo, then learn their story.  What adorable children!  What heartache followed the dates on these photos!  How interesting is our perspective of their lives.  They didn’t know what the next day would bring.  We see it all, completely unfolded.  We see where their choices and paths led them. They did and dealt with very hard and often tragic circumstances.

I wonder how my life will continue to unfold, and how it will look to my descendants someday many years from now.  I hope they will learn from what I do and the choices I make.

Below are some excerpts from the history of Joseph’s life.  He was born 6 June 1867 in Ephraim, Utah and died 8 April 1926 in Wattis, Utah.

Joe was 21 years old when he met and married Estella Holt on 25 December, 1888, Estella was born 25 December, 1872 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah. She was a daughter of William Alma Holt and Sarah Wardell. Her father William was one of the very early settlers of Torrey and its first Postmaster. She was a sister of Leo Rolando Holt who married Anna Laurine (Rena) Smith (Joe’s half- sister).

Joe and Stella were happy together but had very little money. People in those days did a lot of trading and bartering for the things they needed, no one had any hard cash. The mining camps in Carbon County were paying fairly good wages in those days. So they went to Scofield to live for a few years. This was where their first child was born, Pearline (24 June, 1890). Saving what they could they then moved back to Junction, Piute County (now called Fruita, Wayne County) and bought some land from Gilbert Adams on the south side of the river.

I have no idea how long they kept the land because in only two later they were in Thurber where their next three children were born; George William (11 April, 1892), John Doyle (8 September, 1893) and Sarah Christine (12 February, 1895). George was drowned in Aldridge, Utah.

The miners at Scofield loved to go to the saloons to drink and fight. Joe must have started to drink and fight here. Drinking may have caused him to do things that would eventually cause him a lot of harm. I recently visited one of his nieces who loved and also felt shame because of his temper and drinking.

Smith Family
Joe must have been involved in street fights and did gain quite a reputation as a fighter. In a story written by Clay M. Robison, Jorgen Smith once jokingly declared, in his broken English, supposedly with some pride, “My Yim, he iss der pissness man; My Yoe, he iss der fighter.” Jay C. Smith said, “My grandfather William Smith told me Joe fought like a pit bull, never gave up, and came out victorious in about all his fights. My grandfather admired some of Joe’s fights. When Joe had took on some bully that nobody thought he had a chance with, he trounced the bully good. He made the bully scream in desperation that he had enough. And Joe had many more than just one fight like that.

Joe did get himself in trouble with the law. Joe it seems just did not like King, so, he was not above stealing a few cattle from him. He felt that King could afford it. Joe felt that the King outfit was trying to hog up all the range and squeeze out the little guy. There were some King cattle out on the range and Joe must have noticed how similar their brand was to his so he made some of them his. In the Fall after round-up Joe, Jed Mott and some other friends and relatives gathered their herds together and drove them to market. Low and behold one of the cows died along the way. Not far behind them came the King outfit. King and his cowboys didn’t like the looks of the brand on the dead cow so they skinned it.

The outside said Joe Smith but the other side said King. Joe and his partners were required appear in the Richfield District Court, Joe told the Judge that it was his mistake and that the others were innocent. The day of reckoning had come, Joe was sentenced to a year in jail. At the time the King Livestock Outfit was not a very popular cattle outfit. They were a large and an aggressive livestock company. They wanted as much of the free range as possible for the grazing of their livestock. This caused some resentment from some of the smaller livestock owners. King also rented the school sections and if other cattle were found on it, King would seized the animals and hold them as collateral until the fine was paid. Joe, it seems felt a need to retaliate, So, Joe took one or more of the King cows. The public domain was a free range then and Joe was just the kind of fellow that insisted on having a part of what he believed was his part of the range.

Grandfather really did have a lot of love and admiration for Joe and he felt Joe was a good and likable brother who was more like a Robin Hood than a thief. I must also say, in time King began to be less aggressive and more cooperative with the town’s people. And the town’s people accepted them as neighbors and marriage partners for their children. I have two stories of missing sheep, one when Joe and his brother, Jorgen (Jack) were partners in a herd of sheep. Joe was supposed to be tending them in the mountains when they somehow disappeared and were never found again. Another story tells when Jack and Franklin Haws returned from New Mexico with their cattle they rented 500 sheep. They kept them for years while the herd increased in size. Anyway Joe was blamed for their loss in this story too. (same sheep same loss) Family members talked of this as borrowing.

Sometime in the late 1895 or early 1896 Joe and Stella moved out to Desert Lake in Emery County. This was a long distance from Wayne County and there were family members who tried to keep in contact with them. I don’t have any idea what their home and farm looked like but I would think it would be a hard place to start all over again without the help of family or friends. The soil was very alkaline but was good enough, the sagebrush there (an indicator of good soil), grows six or eight feet high when it gets watered and has good drainage but grows only four to six inches in the dry ground. This being a very arid and desolate area, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Some years they would have water for their stock and crops but there were years when the crops would just whither away and die during the summer.

Farming in the “early days” or pioneer days was hard and there was a limit the amount of land he could cultivate with what he had. It had to be done with horses and worn-out plow shares or other old out-mooed farm equipment, he did what he could. His main supply of money came from the livestock he had and he loved working and caring for them. He had horses, cattle, sheep and a large goat herd.

Two more children were born here; Joseph Oren (16 August, 1896) and Enock Alvin (8 April, 1898). Edna May was born in Castle Dale, Emery County (26 March, 1900). Alfred (27 February, 1902) and Ferdinand (23 July, 1904) were born in Ferron, Emery County.

The next five children were born back on the farm in Desert Lake. Lillian (23 April, 1906); Clifford (17 March, 1908); Clayton (8 April, 1911); Leo (8 July, 1913); and Dee Lavar (20 February, 1915). I have often wondered what caused the deaths of six of their children here, two dying as children, the rest during their teenage years. Water, disease, lack of food, who knows?

They did move away from the farm eventually, up to Wattis, Carbon County, a coal mining camp.. This was where their last child, Estella was born 4 October, 1919. Estella was only seven years old when her father, Joseph Smith died 8 April, 1926. Joe worked hard and struggled all of his life to care for his large family. They found him slumped against a building in Wattis, like he was worn-out and just went to sleep. He was buried in the Elmo Cemetery, (near Desert Lake), Utah. He was only 59 years old but looked much older, like he just worked to hard and worried to much.

I have pictures of Joe and Stella in their younger years, they were a very good looking couple. They both tried to be contented and happy with what they had, they usually seemed happy and have fun. They laughed and always enjoyed each others company. Stella lived to see her remaining children grow up and marry. She died in Price, Carbon County 22 February, 1942 and was buried along side her husband in Elmo, Emery County.

Holt, Estella m. Smith b. 1872 obit

I just found some very interesting memories of Stella from her daughter Pearl’s daughters:


Pearline Smith (Mills) was their oldest child and her daughter Euella Mills (Merchant) remembered that “Grandma Smith” (Estella Holt) would come and stay with them. Mother (Pearline) was the eldest of 15 children. Grandpa (Joseph Smith) rode for the Indians a lot, so he wasn’t home a lot of the time. Marla, called Aunt Wade and asked her to clarify some of the things Mom had written such as names. I put them in Parentheses. Aunt Wade also told me of Grandma’s brother, Doyle (Holt). The Indians took him as a youth. Grandma and Grandpa searched everywhere for him, in vain. Several years passed and when the Indians were forced to send him to school, Grandma was able to trace him, getting him back.

In looking over the family group sheet, Grandma Smith lost George, Enoch Alvin, Edna May, Alfred, Ferdenand, Clayton, Leo and Sara (she left 2 grandchildren for Grandma to raise).

Mother and her brother was herding cows one day. They didn’t have shoes. The sand was hot and the kaulkle burrs were thick, so they waded in the edge of the canal. Mother’s little brother (George) stepped in a hole and went under. Mother ran all the way home which was a mile or more to get Grandma, she ran down there and dove in three times before she could find him. He was caught. She had to carry him all the way back home.

Mother said when she was able to go to school, her one teacher was really mean, if they didn’t do exactly what they were suppose to the teacher would hold there hands out and take a ruler and hit them until they were black and blue.

They had to wrap burlap sacks around there feet to keep them from freezing when they walked to school.

Mothers one brother (Clayton} was killed in a car wreck. He was pinned under the car. Grandma got there before he died, but they couldn’t get him out, so she had to watch him die.

They had to haul all of their water. They had some boards nailed on two poles with a 50 gallon barrel tied on. They hooked a horse to it and pulled it up the hill to town for water.

Mother’s one brother (Leo) came and stayed with us. He had heart trouble. He had his tonsils out the same day I did. He loved to watch bull fights, mother would set him in a chair out in back of the house with a quilt around him and he would watch the neighbors bulls fight. They would go through fences and all over the road. He wanted to go home so bad so one of mother’s other brothers came and took him home on the train. Grandma was there to meet him. He died in her arms at the train station.

Mother’s sister, Aunt Sara had two children, Irene & little George. She stayed with us when I was born. Shortly after that Grandma got word she had died. They never were able to find where she was buried. Grandpa went and checked where she was suppose to be, but there was never any record of her death. They never found out what happened to her.

Grandma & Grandpa raised her children. Irene did however find out when she was old enough to investigate it. Sarah died in Idaho from complications in child birth and is buried in Bosie with her son, who died also, in her arms.

Mother’s brother, Alvin got a fish bone caught in his throat. (It killed him). He rode the tail of an airplane strapped in a saddle at a rodeo. (Aunt Wade said that he was the dare devil type and was always doing those type of things.) Irene told me that he died in Wyoming and althought Cliff told Grandma that Alvin died from a fish bone they always felt that he was killed doing something with a rodeo.

I remember Grandma had some kind of sinking spells. She would just black out where ever she was. She fell in some glass one day, when we lived on the farm. She came to the house, her face was all cut and bleeding. She fell on the hot stove and burned her really bad a lot of times. I guess it was caused from the hard life she had had.

Euella Mills Merchant remembered that “Grandma Smith” would come and stay with them. She had what they called ‘sinking spells’, where she would just pass out without any warning. Grandma Mills and the kids would watch her every move. She remembered one time when Grandma Smith was looking for eggs {she loved to watch the chickens and gather eggs}. She found a nest next to the granery and when she began stooping over to get them, she passed out, fell face first into the nest of eggs.

When mother was very small she had a bad ear ache one winter. An old Indian came to the house and told Grandpa to find a red ant bed and get some ants. He said, pound them up and put the juice in mothers ear. Grandpa had to dig down thew the snow to find an ant bed. He found one and did what the Indian said to do. Mother never had any more ear ache all her life. Grandma & Grandpa had a very hard life. They lived in a log cabin with dirt floors. (Aunt Wade said that the two rooms didn’t had an inside entry. The doors were on the outside only)

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Adam and Claire Lewis rally BYU Students to Assemble 800 DfG Kits!

2015-2-21 BYU DfG Event (19)Yesterday we set a new DfG Assembly Record here in Utah!  Yes, I was a very proud Mom.  Claire and Adam have been planning and preparing for this DfG event for weeks.  Yesterday 100s of students, advisors, department leaders and church leaders came to learn about DfG.  In 3 hours, we cut thousands of pieces for kits, then set up a huge assembly line and the kits started flying together.  We expected to make 500.  But the work did not stop there, we continued until we used every single part and piece we brought.  Then we counted:  799 kits.  We scrounged enough pieces to make it an even 800!  Oh My!  What an amazing day on campus.

2015-2-21 BYU DfG Event (18) 2015-2-21 BYU DfG Event (15)

Many of these students are from the BYU Nursing and Public Health Departments, where Claire lives and studies She also invited her student ward.  Adam, who is in a pre-med program, spread the word among all the Life Science Students.  He has also been passing out flyers and information in the Cougar Eat and in all his classes.  These are all good kids, involved in meaningful activities.  They listened intently as I taught them about Days for Girls and the difference we are making in the world.  At least 400 of the kits assembled today will be distributed by BYU student interns this summer.

I am thrilled at the love that flows from heart to heart as we involve others in this project.  We can hardly run fast enough to keep up with the demand for events that come in daily.  We never turn away a group who wants to learn and help.  There are girls waiting for these kits all over the world.  They deserve every kindness we can offer as these kits provide safety, protection, dignity, hope, love, and a new life to each girl who receives one.  We thank everyone who is helping.

If you’d like to chip in, please send a donation to Days for Girls at 24 West 500 South, Orem  UT  84058.  We could use your help replenishing the fabric that flows through hands like those you’ll see below.

Please take a look at these happy faces: 2015-2-21 BYU DfG Event (14)

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Trust in thine own untried capacity

Sea WavesTrust in thine own untried capacity
As thou woulds’t trust in God himself.

Thy soul is but an emanation from the whole.
Thou dost not dream what forces lie in thee.
Vast and unfathomed as the grandest sea.

No man can place a limit on thy strength;
Such triumphs as no mortal ever dreamed may yet be thine,
If thou wilt but believe in thy creator and thyself.

At length some feet shall stand on the heights now attained —
Why not thine own–press on–achieve, achieve!

–Author unknown
(The Miracle of Peraonality, by Sterling W. Sill, p. 12)

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Farewell, Old Friends. 20-year-old sofas retired.

2015-2-19 Old Sofas (1)These friends have been beyond thread-bare for a few years.  Our beloved sofas were replaced today.  It was sad to see them taken out–it felt sort of like putting a family pet down.  We have lived on these sofas for a long long time.  I can’t even guess how many times they’ve supported us with comfort through countless family events, parties and gatherings, holidays and Christmas mornings, family home evening lessons, and of course, hours and hours of the boys watching Sports Center on TV.  We’ve napped on these sofas, read books here, stitched quilts here, and watched favorite movies–from Disney to Jane Austin to X-Men.  We’ve had book club gatherings here, ward socials, and funeral meals.  Our lives have been lived on and around these sofas.

It doesn’t seem right to put them out on the street with a “Free For The Taking” sign on them, but that’s what will happen tomorrow if the skies are clear.  No one will know or understand the love that had surrounded these friends these last 20 years.  I am feeling a bit sad, saying good-bye.2015-2-19 Old Sofas (2) 2015-2-19 Old Sofas (4) 2015-2-19 Old Sofas (6) 2015-2-20 Old Sofas going (1) 2015-2-20 Old Sofas going (5)

Farewell, Old Friends, Farewell.

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Happy Birthday Claire Elizabeth Lewis, b. 18 Feb 1994

1996, August 2 (36)

Today is our Claire’s Birthday.  She is 21.  An Adult now.  Oh My.  How did that happen? Below are Claire’s first words, which started when she was 20 months old.  These words pretty much give you a feel for Claire at 21.  She is bright and strong and good and we love her like crazy.  Always have.  Always will.

Claire’s Words

First Sentence: “Ead book Mom.” (20 mos. 10/95)

“I do it.”

In every prayer: “cose yer eyes, Adum”

“Where’s my bink?”

“Snow’s making house wet.”

1996, August (2)

Age 2

“Here ‘y go”

“Anku” “Yer welcome”

“Dad, you hurt my tails.” (Pulling seat belt over pig tails.)

“That tickles my fingernails!” (Hot food)

“Piget is my favorite.” (Piglet)

“I beesy right now. I go shopping (puts purse on shoulder). I just go a one more store.”

At church: “Adam’s sitting on my booful dress.”

1996. October (2)  1996, August (37)

Still at church, putting purse on shoulder: “I gun go far away. I gun go on a missionary. (Walks to back aisle) I come back from my missionary. I gun go on one more missionary.” Later: “I’m not a missionary–I’m just a teeny girl.” “Where’s my booful binkie. I need it.”

Adam: “Claire, come help me.”
Claire: “I can’t. I’m just a teeny girl. (Her favorite excuse.)

At the pool: “Mom, I need lotion. The sun is falling down on my shoulders.”

Coming into the room of friends: “Guys- it’s me!”

Hiding: “Mommy, where are me?”

Most often used phrase: “Yet Me Do It MYSELF!”

“I’m growing into a beeg girl.”

“I hope dey call me on a missionary.”

“Mom, please take the side-ies off my apple.” (Peel it)

Loves to sing: “Book of Mormon Stories” and “Adam was a Prophet.”
(The thought makes her giggle.)

“Wight on schedule.”

1996, June (9)  1996, June (46)

“This diaper is dwiving me cwazy!”

Turned on the gas fireplace for the first time: “Wook Mom! It’s working! The batteries are not dead!”

“I’m plugging my nose because the world is stinky.”

Watching General Conference at Barb’s: “We have the same video on at our house!”

“I can do that by myself.” But still likes to be carried. “Mom, carry me. I can’t carry myself. I’m too heavy.”

1996, August 2 (35) 1996, August (50)

Favorite color: Pink

During power outage: “It’s pinch bwack in here.”

Claire, what do you want for Christmas? “Widdow pink things.”

Dad sings: “The Primary Colors are 1-2-3, Red, Yellow and Blue. . . ”
Claire adds: “And PINK!”

Taking the video tape out and putting it in the rewinder: “I’m kinda gettin’ the hang
of it.”

“It’s vey-ee vey-ee cold.”

Suitcase = ku sake

Favorite movie: Bambi (she can recite every word)

1997, June Beach Carp, SB (9)

Age 3

For her 3rd birthday, Claire wanted “Pink” for dinner. We had pizza and pink heart-shaped cake with pink sprinkles.

“Mom, am I still 3? Can I be 2 again?”

“I have 3 favorite colors: Pink, Dark Pink, and Light Pink.”

“Pink is on the edge of red.”

“I like red and white too because they make pink.”

“Don’t, Adam. You’re messing up this mess.”

“I’m huge now. I’m almost as huge as you are. I’m growing huger.”

“I’m saving my donut for last week.”

“That was not how it was at all. Look at ‘em- open your glasses and see ‘em.”

“I like the very colorous one.”

Mom: “How did you get that owie on your nose?”
Claire: “A piece of glass was on the floor and my nose fell on it.”

Dad: “Pooh doesn’t go to the bathroom. Why?”
Claire: “Because he has no pee or bum.”

“Mom- you are as Big as the Couch!”

“Mom, do you wish you weared little underwear like me?”

“Mom, I can’t believe how Huge I am!”

Holding her tickling nose: “I think I’m gonna do a ‘Bless You!’”


Age 4

“I can’t handle it anymore!” (Too tired to get to bed from the bathroom.)

Mom to Claire in bed: “Lie still, Claire.”
Claire: “I can’t. My feelings make me move and I do what my feelings ask me to do.”

“The pillow fell off my bed in the night before this night.”

“Can we get small again?”

“How do we grow?”

“What if we had no bones in our bodies?”

“When do our feet stop growing?”

“How does our skin stick to us?”

Talking gibberish: “I’m just saying that so my mouth is busy doing something.”

Sitting on the porch rocker, Claire asked if the cushion was the chair’s tummy.
“Cause these are the arms, those are the legs, and that’s the back.”

“Why do we have to have houses? Can’t we just live in tents?”

“What does this mean: I’m afraid not?”

“I used to not know how to make cereal.”

Mom: “Run to get your socks very fast.”
Claire: “Was I just like a dot?”

“I don’t see any much cars.”

“Why do we have a chin? To hold our teeth?”

“Skin gets dry really fast, doesn’t it?”

“Worms eat dirt for dessert!”

Mom: “You have a few more dance lessons.”
Claire: “Ten? Or Three?”

German Pancakes = “Cinnamon Hotdogs”

Every night before bed: “Spell with me Mommy.” She could spell before she could read. She spells any 3-letter word, many longer.

“I didn’t go in your bed last night. I was thinking of it, but I didn’t listen to my brain.”

1996, September (11)  1996, June (36)

Trimming toenails: “Agh, Mom- stop! You’re deeping in.”


Tight Shoes: “This is like giving my feet a headache.”

“My teeth are frozen stiff- feel them.”

“All the lick is off of it.” (Stickers)

“Today Haley’s room was Totally like a tornado hit it- it was even messier than mine -like you had to step on toys to even get to her bed!”

“If somebody is really bad and mean, is their brain black?”
“I know what color brains are -Blue.”

Rock ‘n Roll Music playing in car stopped at a light beside us:
“That’s up and down music.”

Sam’s Club = “the cement store with food in it”

“My arm hurts. It feels like a broken muscle.”

“When Adam did that, it felt like there was blood dripping out of a bone.”
(Adam bumped her chin.)

Crying because she bit her tongue:
Mom: “How did you bite it?”
Claire: “I was walking and my teeth fell down on it.”

“Mom, there’s too much mail for my little hands to get it out.”

“That was a yawn. At the end of yawns, I close my mouth fast to get all the
air back in.”

Mom: “Claire, do you smell the roast beef?”
Clarie: “No, I have a too small nose.”

“Stop talking and be quiet. I hear something -like air.”

Photo0221   Photo0222Photo0224   Photo0223

Age 5

And today is Claire’s 5th birthday. Last night, near midnight, I was in bed with her putting her to sleep. I said, “Claire, today is the day we say good bye to Bonny [Aunt Bonny died], and today is the day we say good by to 4-year-old Claire. She’s been so excited to turn 5. But in that context–that of good byes, she got real sad and said, “I don’t want to say good bye to Bonny, and I don’t want to say good by to 4. I want to stay just the way I am. Can’t I have my birthday party and all the presents and all that stuff and still be the same number? Can’t I be 4 all the rest of my life?”



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