As many of you know, I work in the Superhero business. I know superheros. And Julianne has proven time and again that she is a superhero. In fact, sometimes she is Captain Marvel. Other times she is Wonder Woman. All times she is Supergirl.
One of Julianne’s more impressive qualities is her quiet determination. I have watched her tackle all kinds of tasks and goals over the years and she has always had the chutzpah to accomplish them. Has she been perfect at accomplishing her objectives? No, but who is? But, she has always had the gumption to push through.
I probably can provide a billion examples of how she has tackled a project or a goal and then has worked her way through, solving the challenges, overcoming the obstacles and getting there.
One of the unique examples of this comes from her desire to create a process to make a type of fabric art, which she first called “Photo Fabrications” and then later coined “Photofabrique.” She had a concept in mind…make quilted fabric art out of photos and make them look realistic, like a photo. To accomplish this she first came up with ideas on how to break the photo down. This required her to learn how to use a software product called Photoshop. Back when she first started doing this, Photoshop was still a fairly new software product. So, she learned it and learned how to make five layers from a photo. After many many tries, she finally came up with the concept that worked.
With the success in doing this, and while working as a quilt specialist at Quilter’s Square, others wanted to learn the process. Though she wouldn’t teach the pattern making, she began making the patterns and teaching classes. For a few years she taught classes in numerous states, as far away as Montana, and many in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. It became a venture for her and then introduced more challenges. She had to devise quicker methods. Her determination to do so helped her to learn techniques in Photoshop that would ultimately turn her pattern-making into a “scan and run an applet” type of thing. Her process evolved over a number of years. It was amazing to see her scale this mountain.
When her sister Maren visited on year, Julianne began to learn yoga. Once again, it was a challenge, but she was soon taking yoga classes and still, on occasion, does them today. It was hard for her, but she took on the challenge and learned.
Another big challenge for Julianne was learning Japanese. We lived in Japan as a family from 1987-1991. During that time, Julianne focused on learning to speak the language. By the time we left, she was able to converse freely and, nearly 28 years later she can still speak quite a bit. She never quit and it has stuck with her.
There will be more posts in the next couple of weeks covering other areas where Julianne has shown gumption, determination and guts in accomplishing her objectives. She most certainly knows how to look at the mountain from below and scale it!
“I never dreamed that someday I might be part of something bigger than me
It makes me feel humble, finally I see….All that we have is each other
And that’s all that I’ll ever need” — Joe Walsh, “Family” from his Analog CD
As the week-long celebration of my 35 years with Julianne comes to an end, I would like to close out with a broad-brush overview of our wonderful 35 year journey (thus far!). Yesterday I posted a video that our daughter Marissa compiled that includes dozens of photos from this 35 year journey. If you have not yet seen it, here is the link to that post. We are really no different than any other couple with 35 years behind them. So much can happen. This is a look back out our journey together.
When I look back on my family’s growth and the milestones achieved over a period of 35 years, I really realize that so much has happened. It has been an amazing ride so far! Here are a number of highlights from our 35 years (coupled with photos when appropriate):
From 1979 to 2014:
We had 5 children
We had 9 grandchildren
3 of our children served LDS (Mormon) Missions
o Amaree to Nagoya Japan: January 2001 – July 2002
o Marissa to Bangkok Thailand: September 2002 – February 2004
o Seth to Salt Lake City South: October 2006 to October 2008
Both of our boys attained Eagle Scout
o Seth in March 2005
o Solomon in June 2007
We have lived in 18 locations (including 2 extended motel stays while looking for housing and 3 extended work-related stays for David)
o An apartment in Provo, UT
o 2 Houses in Flagstaff, AZ
o Married Student Housing at NAU in Flagstaff
o 2 Houses and an apartment in Mesa, AZ
o 1 Apartment in Tempe, AZ
o 2 Apartments in Oita, Japan
o 1 House in Frankfort, KY
o 1 House in Nicholasville, KY
o 2 Houses in Lexington, KY
o 1 Apartment in Louisville, KY (David only on extended work contract – 8 months)
o 1 Hotel in Woodstock, ON (David only on extended work contract – 4 months)
o 1 Apartment in Paris, ON (David only on extended work contract – 4 months)
o 1 Hotel in Cebu, Philippines (David only on extended work – 8 weeks)
We had three college graduates (including David)
o David graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Arizona University (History/Geography/Asian Studies) and then a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University (Political Science/Asian Studies)
o Amaree graduated from University of Kentucky (Music Education)
o Seth graduated from University of Kentucky (Engineering)
We have traveled to 6 foreign countries (collectively)
o Oita, Japan (lived in Oita, Japan for 4 ½ years)
o Seoul, South Korea (both went through and stayed overnight on flights)
o Suzhou, China (David spent two weeks on business)
o Ontario, Canada and Cardston, Alberta, Canada (Julianne visited 2 times and David spent 8 months working in Ontario)
o Cozumel, Mexico (David and Julianne took a cruise to Cozumel and visited Tulum)
o Cebu, Philippines (David took two trips and spent a total of 8 weeks in Cebu)
We have traveled all over the United States
Julianne and I, along with our family have been blessed to have traveled all over the United States, from Catalina Island off the coast of California, to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, from the Great Lakes in Michigan and Ohio to the Mississippi Delta in New Orleans. We have traversed the Rocky Mountains, crossed the southern deserts, visited the southeast in Georgia and been to New York. The family has been to 20 or more National Parks and Monuments over the years, has visited the Statue of Liberty, the St. Louis Arch and Mt. Rushmore. We visited Hawaii as a family in 1990 and Julianne and I took a cruise to Alaska in 2004. Marissa spent a summer in France and Amaree toured Europe with a choir. Seth and Holly have visited England and Scotland. These experiences have broadened the horizons of all of us! We have since included grandchildren in many of these trips.
We have celebrated the weddings of four of our children (including 3 daughters’ weddings within a 6 week span in 2005)
o Chelsea married in May 2005
o Amaree married Aaron Matthews in June 2005
o Marissa married Adam Noe in June 2005
o Seth married Holly Walker in December 2009
So much more happened over the years. We had an exchange student from France, Barbara Grandvoinet, who home-stayed with us for about 6 months and then came back for two other shorter visits. She has gone on to become a documentary film producer and we are so proud of her. We also hosted a well known Japanese sculptor/ceramicist, Yukio Yamamoto (from Himeji, Japan), in the 1980s when he came to Arizona. He and his wife stayed with us for a few weeks and we were instrumental in assisting Yukio in building an ancient style Tozan kiln at my alma mater Northern Arizona University in 1985 (see article here – they misspelled my name…). Yukio passed away a few years ago.
There is now a shrine to Yukio at NAU.
There is so much more that has enriched our lives over these years. Many of the children participated in commercial video shoots in Japan (and David was in a national TV Commercial).
Indeed, this 35 years has been amazing! I am looking forward to my 50th in 15 years!!
A little over 40 years ago this year I completed my last semester of high school in 1974 at Murray High School in Murray, Utah. In many respects, it seems like just yesterday, but then there are other pieces that make it seem like it was ages ago. I am amazed at how quickly 40 years has passed!
The year 1974 marked a new direction for me and my life as I took many avenues towards the location where I am now, 40 years later. I had no idea in 1974 what the next five years of my life would bring me and how that five years of my life would have a profound impact on the direction and course that the rest of my life has taken me.
Within a year of my graduation I had gotten a new full-time job and I was traveling quite a bit for Alta Distributing, which was a record and tape rack jobber. This began to fulfill my wanderlust of being able to travel on the road while at the same time fulfilling my joy in music.
During my senior year of high school I had begun learning about the Mormon church. Most of my friends during my senior year were LDS members and all lived in my general neighborhood. They were amazing examples to me and treated me like a brother which was a defining note in terms of my eventually joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in January 1975.
My graduation in May 1974 marked an unusual event for me as it was the only time in all of my school years that both my stepmother Marjorie and my stepfather Joe attended a school event of mine together. One or the other had, on occasion, been to one of my band concerts or other events, but never had both of them shown up together at any of my events until my graduation. The fact that they attended my graduation is absolutely a fond memory for me. I can even remember the steakhouse that they took me out to after graduation that night for my graduation dinner.
Within a year of my graduation I was kicked out of the house for my following the teachings of the Mormon church. Over the years my relationship with my step parents had bounced up and down. Though never terrible, there was never that real close feeling of being part of a truly connected family. I can’t blame either Marjorie or Joe, as they had many troubles in their lives. They had troubles between each other and then they had the challenges of trying to raise a pretty much dysfunctional family.
The year 1974 also created memories in relationship to the music that was popular back then as well as some of the movies during that period. There was a great hit by Bachman Turner Overdrive called “Taking Care of Business” which had become popular in 1974 and has remained one of my theme songs throughout my life. Disco began making its moves in 1974 as well and I was (and continue to be) fond of that music genre to this day.
It was during the spring of 1974 that I had my first dabbling into J.R.R. Tolkien works. I had to read “The Hobbit” in my English class that spring and I don’t believe that I had ever become so engrossed in a book as I did with “The Hobbit” in 1974. Soon thereafter, and also during that semester in school, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Needless to say, I was enthralled by the Lord of the Rings and by J.R.R. Tolkien’s other writings. Even back then, despite the great advances in movie technology, I had to wait over 30 years for the first real Lord of the Rings movie to appear. Interestingly enough, at that time the musical group Chicago had released their sixth album and one of the songs on the album was “Wishing You Were Here“. I listened to that album many many times in 1974 and many of them were down in my deep dark bedroom that had no windows as I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Even today when I hear that song, as I did back then, it makes me think of Bilbo Baggins wishing Gandalf were there in the lonely cave as he was being chased by Gollum.
I had my first ventures into arena rock concerts in 1974, attending shows such as Loggins and Messina, the Doobie Brothers, America and Billy Joel. That year Elton John released his album Yellow Brick Road and had a tour associated with it, including one stop at the University of Utah’s arena. I was able to attend that show, and it turned out to be one of my most memorable concerts of all time. It was also in 1974 that I saw a group called Steppenwolf perform in Salt Lake City. At that time the lead guitarist was named Bobby Cochran. Little did I know back then that 35 years later I would be friends with that same Bobby Cochran and would be traveling with him as he performed with Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours. I am grateful to be friends with Bobby, who is a guy and an amazing guitarist. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have spent with him in our travels.
As my schooling in 1974 came to an end, I had become a fairly accomplished saxophone player on both the tenor and baritone saxophones. I was taking lessons from a well-known jazz musician at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. I actually had dreams of joining a band very similar to Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears, and practiced my heart out to do so.
But, at that time, little did I know, that my life would change dramatically upon being baptized into the LDS (Mormon) Church. My dreams of becoming a professional rock musician faded away. Within a year from my baptism in January 1975, I was called on a mission and went to serve the church in Nagoya, Japan.
That two years of my life in Japan ultimately changed the entire direction of my life. After serving from 1976 to 1978, and upon my return to the states, I have spent a good part of the last 35 years involved in full-time work with Japanese-related businesses and even returned to Japan for four years with my family in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Indeed, Japan is an integral part of my life now and something that did not even occur to me as a senior in high school 40 years ago.
Upon my return from Japan, I initially attended Brigham Young University and it was there that my met my eternal sweetheart Julianne Bateman. Just a little over five years after my graduation from high school I was married to her and my life once again took a whole new wonderful direction for me as I began a family of my own. In about one month (as I write this) I will celebrate my 35th anniversary with this wonderful woman!
As a senior in high school I had not even had a girlfriend. In fact, I didn’t even have my first kiss until I was already graduated in the summer of 1974. There is no doubt that I had hidden crushes on a couple of cute girls in high school, but between my insecurity in dealing with girls and the fact that I was not a member the Mormon church, I had a few hurdles in front of me that kept me from getting anywhere with any of them. I certainly was not a shy person. I never have been. But I was really scared to death to ask any girls out on a date because I was afraid of rejection. Ironically, in my later years, probably about five years ago, I had occasion to visit Salt Lake City. During that visit I was able to drop by and see one of the girls that I had a crush on and had become friends with through church. She has had a difficult life as she has struggled through a couple of marriages, but is still the sweet girl that I knew back in the mid-1970s. I told her at the time of my visit that I had a crush on her in high school. She told me that she knew that, and wondered why I had never asked her out on a date. She told me that she would have most certainly gone out with me on a date back then. Oh well, we both went our directions and I am very happily married to my wonderful sweetheart and she too seems to be happy in her current situation.
Another major discovery from 1974 was my finding out who my birth father was. That too was a life-changing experience for me. I had been disenfranchised from my natural mother for many years, and as an 18-year-old I had decided that it was time for me to reach out to her. Fortunately for me, in 1975 I was able to contact my real father and speak to him on the phone, which I did a couple of times. I am grateful for that experience as I never got to meet him. When we moved to Kentucky in 1992, I was finally close enough to Cleveland to try, but by the time I had an opportunity, he had already passed away…in fact, it had only been two weeks prior to my plans to go up there. Nonetheless, over the last few years I have grown very close to my Laurienzo sisters and brother in Cleveland as a result. I have also visited my father’s grave.
Finally, as I think back on this 40 years since 1974, I must openly say that I have been very, very blessed. I still have friendships from 40 years ago that mean a great deal to me. During that 40 years I have ventured overseas numerous times, I have had wonderful experiences with jobs, I have met people from all over the world, I have been married and had five wonderful children and now nine grandchildren.
I have been blessed to be able to develop a number of skills that I never imagined I would have back then (indeed, some of them, such as internet work and web design were completely unimaginable since they didn’t yet exist!!). Some of the skills I have acquired over the years include the ability to write, photography, travel, singing and music, the ability to make friends wherever I go. And yes, I have become friends with rock stars and have actually toured with a band (Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours). I still am associated with that band, so even my high school dream of being in a band partially came true.
It is amazing how one’s life can take so many turns and go in a direction that one could never dream of as an 18-year-old graduate of high school.
Life is truly awesome! But it’s only getting better!