Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


For most of the past 14 years, there has been a wooded lot directly across from our home. When we moved here in 1996 our neighborhood was only about 6 years old and the area was surrounded by large fields or red clover, hay, and other grass crops. Over the years, the fields have slowly disappeared, replaced by subdivisions, apartment complexes and shopping areas. There are still a number of large fields and farms to the north and west of us since we live on the edge of the Urban Growth Boundary, but the fields directly around our home have been developed.

We had thought the wooded area across from us would remain untouched for some time to come, even though we knew that a major portion of the lot was owned by the Catholic Archdiocese.  About two years ago, though, we noticed surveyors and other workers moving through the trees and orange tape and paint began showing up on the various limbs and trunks.  Shortly after that we were invited to various meetings with the parish as they began to discuss their plans to build a new church on the lot. The church congretation and priest for St. Juan Diego parish were quite good about sharing their plans with us, and Father John, the parish priest came through the neighborhood several times to meet with the residents and to chat with us about the construction plans.

The congregation did some of the initial work of clearing out the brush between the trees during late spring and early summer of 2009, and they had the archbishop bless the construction site before the initial groundbreaking.  The parish children went through and picked out some of the larger trees and named them for various saints. Quite a few of the trees are actually being used in the construction of the church and the larger ones will be used to form the interior support columns in the church proper. In fact, they set some of those interior columns into the ground last week. I'm sure the polished wood will be quite beautiful when the church is finished.

Construction began in earnest in late summer and most of the trees were cleared from the property owned by the archdiocese. They did keep some trees for ambience, but most had to be removed to meet the county requirements for parking. The construction company had to move a lot of dirt fast during the first couple of months of construction since they had to get the area graded, drainage pipes installed, and gravel down before the winter rains set in or they faced delays in trying to work in the inevitable mud pit that would follow. There was a lot of noise during that time, even on the weekends, but once the gravel was down, the construction slowed from a frenzy to a more normal pace.

The parking area is quite large and extends from what used to be a dead end street to near the top of the hill where our house sits. There are still a few trees and bushes directly across from our house, and the church plans to extend the sidewalk that used to end about halfway up the lot all the way around the corner and to connect with the sidewalk one street over.  They also improved the drainage at the lower end of the lot by installing a larger drainage pipe. The plans for the church are quite lovely, and the congregation seems very friendly, It seems that they will be good neighbors to those around them.

I've been sporadically documenting the construction process via photographs since last spring. Today I took a new photo of the building itself and  processed a number of the photos from the previous phases of construction and sent them to Father John so he could share them with his parish he wanted to do so.  The last photo would be much better without the traffic one and the porta-potty in the shot, but there wasn't much I could do about that.

I'm not sure when the construction is scheduled to be complete, but I hope that the church will be a positive addition to the neighborhood. It certainly seems that it will be. Father John has mentioned that the parish hopes to work with the local Parks and Recreation district to improve the undeveloped land adjacent to the church, and it would be nice to have a wooded area with some picnic or meditation spaces in the neighborhood. In any event, we're making the best of it, and I'm actually quite interested to see how things develop.