I put a photo of an ultrasound into Dad’s coffin on February 27.  The viewing before his funeral hadn’t started yet, and no one was watching.   The ultrasound was of the fetus who is still becoming Olive Aisley Wagstaff, my next granddaughter, my father’s fourth great granddaughter.  On February 18, the day before Dad died, I told him that Julie, my baby girl, had heard her baby’s heartbeat.  Dad said a typically “Dad” thing.  “That’s wonderful!” That little conversation happened… Read more

A Linguist’s Perspective on Things Beyond Understanding I don’t think that the universe with its billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and planets, and a huge assortment of other objects and phenomena, together with the laws that govern their precise movements, came about by accident. Many scientists conjecture that it all came out of an infinitesimally tiny speck so dense that it contained all that was to become the elements of matter. That out of that submicroscopic particle came all… Read more

I talked with my father about death quite often.  I was always with him at the end of dialysis, which was sometimes a scary time.  I would sit him up slowly, knowing that if it was too fast, he would faint.  He did faint many times, and I simply rubbed his calves and said, “Dad?  Are you with me?  Can you come back?” Eventually, he would regain consciousness.  He said sometimes that he wondered if he might die during one… Read more

Note: This post includes a photo of Robert Blair’s lifeless body in the last part.  If photos of dead bodies cause you anxiety, please do not continue. I have written the previous obituary segments in third person.  This one will be in first person.   In 2005, Mom and Dad were in China, where they had taught English for five years. Dad had lost most of the function in one kidney.  Now, the second kidney failed. All of us Blairs… Read more

Embedded in this post is a youtube link to my father’s funeral.  This is something I would want everyone studying the Latter-day Saint faith to listen to as an example of what a Mormon life is or can be. My father, Robert W. Blair, was born Mormon, but was planted deep into his faith through associations with many religions and cultures.  His earliest experience of devotion happened after he viewed the Catholic film Bernadette, and, on his way home from the… Read more

Robert Blair’s first mission call from the LDS Church sent him to Finland, a land far removed in every way from his home in Santa Barbara, California.  He became well acquainted with winter. When he arrived in Helsinki, he could look across the Baltic Sea and gaze at the somber lights of Estonia, which was now part of the USSR‘s expanse.  Russian was spoken there (though the Estonians resisted it), but Estonia was a world away.  No missionaries would be… Read more

The title for Robert Blair’s PhD dissertation could compete in “Most Impressive.” The title was Yucatec Maya Noun and Verb Morpho-Syntax. He himself forgot the title in his later years, and said, “What on earth does that mean?” when his daughter reminded him of it. Robert got his BA at BYU in English. He did not realize it at the time, but he was already headed into linguistics when he pursued his MA—again in English, but with a twist. He… Read more

Robert Wallace Blair passed away in his sleep on February 19, 2016 at age 85. Robert was born on September 25, 1930 to Wallace and Gladys Marguerite Green Blair in Santa Barbara, California. He joined his sister, Carolyn, in that family and lived a childhood filled with disciplined freedom. He trotted through Mission Oaks Lane on his horse (Jupiter), with his dog (Trixy) running beside him, and his goat (Bambi) bawling by her pen. He was Bobby in those years,… Read more

When I publish anything about Black LDS pioneer Jane Elizabeth Manning James, people from around the world express a desire to know more about her. Last night, I recorded her life story as she dictated it to Elizabeth J.D. Roundy. I have included photos from the last production of my play I Am Jane. It would have been nice to have one of Jane’s descendants do this recording, or to have a black voice artist. Since I have no money… Read more

We have frequent resurrections in my family. My brother Bobby suffered a hip-pulverizing injury in 1982 when a stadium gate fell on his pelvis. The doctors did not think he would survive, and my mother called my dad from the ER waiting room: “Bobby is dying.” Dad ran to the hospital and into the room where his semi-conscious son lay. From the ganglia of tubes and wires, Bobby reached his arms out to Dad. “Hug!” he said. That was the… Read more

Follow Us!



Browse Our Archives