This is the first of a series of posts about spouses. Many thanks to Ken for being such an awesome interview subject.
Kenneth David Moore was born on December 5, 1960 in Macon, Georgia. The son of Howard David and Imogene, Ken is the third in a family of eight children.
When Ken was about two years old, his dad, who worked as an engineer for the US government, accepted a post in Alaska and moved his family to Anchorage.
At 5:36 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 1964, the Moores’ dining room table started shaking. Ken, who describes his dad as an incurable prankster, thought it was a joke. His brother and sister thought so, too. They laughed, thinking they were enjoying a silly moment with their dad. Then, the jar of mayonnaise fell to the floor and broke. Ken also describes his dad as someone who never wastes a thing and that jar of mayonnaise cost 38 cents. That’s when they knew that it was no joke.
It was the Great Alaska Earthquake, as it came to be known, the most powerful recorded earthquake in North American history. A 9.2 on the seismic scale, it was the second most powerful earthquake in recorded history. The earthquake, which was centered near Prince William Sound, 78 miles east of Anchorage, lasted for four minutes and 38 seconds. Thousands of aftershocks were felt for the next three weeks, 11 in the first day alone. Tsunamis produced by the earthquake were noted in over 20 countries, including Peru, New Zealand and Japan. As a result of the earthquake, 139 people died.
While living in Alaska, the Moores took at least one road trip to South Carolina to visit grandparents and relatives living in Columbia. Ken remembers that during the four-day journey his parents would alternate, driving through the night, then staying in a hotel room. Ken also remembers that the roads between Alaska and South Carolina were sometimes not much better than dirt roads.
Early in his childhood, Ken was diagnosed with a rare hip disease. The disease caused the bones in his hip to soften. The treatment, for Ken, was, first, a body cast stretching from his navel to his foot and then a brace, which kept his leg straight at all times. Ken went to see the doctor every six months for xrays. On what was supposed to be the last of the six-month visits, the doctor discovered the disease in Ken’s other hip.
Ken feels that spending so much of his childhood in casts or braces helped him to develop empathy for others. He also remembers how great it was to finally be able to play kickball or to ride a bike.
After about four years in Anchorage, Ken’s dad accepted a new post in Frederick, Maryland. Ken remembers that it was in Maryland that he first heard the Beatles on a friend’s record player.
While the Moores were in Frederick, Ken’s dad helped a builder build a home for the family. From that experience, he was able to gain enough expertise that he built the rest of the family homes from then on.
After Maryland, the Moores moved to Richmond, Virginia. They built a house on a 5-acre wooded lot. It was here that Ken says he smoked for the first time. (It was actually a case of inhaling too much cap gun smoke and feeling the pain of it in his lungs afterward. Ken says he never was tempted to try cigarettes because of that.)
Ken says he had such fond memories of living in Richmond that it seemed like a natural choice when he was looking for a place to raise his own family. After Richmond, the Moores moved to Augusta, Georgia.
Ken was a student at BYU, attending church one Sunday, when he became aware of a girl whom he hadn’t really noticed before. It seems this particular girl went home to Bountiful most weekends. She was there that day, though, and bore her testimony. Ken says he doesn’t really remember what she said, but he does remember thinking, “that’s the kind of girl I could marry.” It was a thought that frightened him. His parents had divorced when Ken was on his mission and the pain of that experience left him doubtful that he would ever want to get married himself. This girl had something special about her, though. Ken and Sam were married on April 22, 1988.
Within a few years, Ken and Sam had moved to St. Louis, Missouri. It was there that Ken participated in what he thinks was his best practical joke ever. An incurable prankster like his dad, (“the apple didn’t roll too far down that hill,”) Ken says the particulars don’t really translate very well, but it involved convincing a fellow researcher, someone Ken describes as “an over-the-top brown noser,” that the perfect birthday gift for their boss would be a jai alai face mask. It wasn’t. To make matters worse, Ken and his buddies had filled the face mask with little bags of a suspicious looking white powder. Ken says the look on the guy’s face was priceless.
After a few years in St. Louis, Ken and Sam moved their little family to Richmond, Virginia. Although they enjoyed Richmond very much, when Ken found himself in need of a job change after about two years, he considered applying in a couple of different cities. It was his wife who suggested that he limit his search to jobs in Richmond. So, they stayed put.
Ken currently lives in Richmond with his two brilliant and beautiful daughters, while missing his two gifted and good-looking boys. Ken also enjoys the company of his two dogs, one of whom (Linus!) is a particularly talented singer.