Mom’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


Our family lived on a dairy farm. There was always an abundance of milk, cream and eggs, so this is one way Mom had of using what was available.  We usually made ice cream on a Sunday afternoon and invited relatives or friends to help us eat it.  There was no refrigeration, so it all had to be eaten at once.

Dad would take a gunny sack (burlap bag) and go pick up a block of ice, while Mom mixed up the ice cream. I remember him crushing the ice by pounding the bag with the flat side of the ax head.  When ready, The freezer can was  placed in the hand-crank freezer and ice and salt packed around it.  (This would have been coarse rock salt, not the fine table salt.)

We all helped with the turning, the youngest first when the crank was easy to turn, and the older children when the ice cream started to freeze and it was harder to turn. Towards the end Dad usually took over and finished the turning, with one of the older kids standing on the freezer to keep it from tipping over. Once it was “done” more ice and salt were packed around the can and the gunny sack with any leftover ice set on atop the freezer it to keep it cold while we had dinner.

Dishing up the ice cream was always a real event. Dad would take the clamp off the top of the freezer and carefully lift the dash out of the freezer can and place it on a plate. We all stood ready with spoons in hand to help lick the dash (paddle) once it was removed. Then we each enjoyed a big dish of ice cream which was always accompanied with soda crackers!

I remember Mom telling about the Steele family summers on the ranch where they milked 30 or 40 cows twice a day and made cheese and butter for the winter which  they brought back to town (Panguitch, Utah) and stored in the “ice house”.  This dugout ice house was filled during the winter with ice taken off nearby lakes or ponds and then covered with hay to keep it from melting.  This ice lasted well into summer, some of which was used to freeze ice cream for family and neighborhood gatherings.   Cheese and butter were often sold or traded for other other necessities as needed. 

Mom’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

3 quarts whole milk
1 quart cream
6 large eggs, beaten
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 Junket tablets (rennet)
1 tablespoon cold water

Combine all ingredients except Junket and water and mix well. Pour into freezer can and place can in a bucket of warm water.

Dissolve Junket in the tablespoon of cold water and stir into the milk mixture. Put in the dash and let this mixture stand until firm, like custard. Do not disturb until ready to freeze or the ice cream may be grainy.

Freeze according to freezer instructions or as above.  Serve with soda crackers.  

Makes about 6 quarts.

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Charlotte Remembers Mamma


Written in October 2000

Always the earliest of my memories is the big appendix thing when I was three. When they finally brought me home I remember Mamma changing my dressing. There was a drain in me, and it smelled bad. She would lay me on the living room floor in the sun coming from the big west window, remove the bandage and let me lay there for several minutes. She believed in the cleansing and healing power of the sun.

When I was 5 Mamma went to work in a local grocery store. Was it Clark’s. It was a real treat when she would bring home old green grapes from the produce department. Better than candy. Mamma was very busy coming and going a lot. I remember once getting the idea that I could play soft ball.  She spent a few minutes pitching to me in the back yard. I suspect that she had played a lot with her siblings etc. when she was young.

Mom was the YWMIA president for a while and she would take me with her to the Dell. I loved it because of all the attention I got from the kids. I remember one night as we crawled into our bed roll Mamma’s feet felt something in the bed and all hell broke loose. Blankets, me and Mamma went flying. I don’t remember if it was a dead mouse or a snake that some of the young men had put in the bed. No one slept very much that night.

Speaking of Mother’s extreme fear of snakes: One time Ira put four or five baby water snakes in my pinafore pocket and told me to go into the house and show Mamma. He made it sound like she would be very interested. She was washing dishes, I moved in close, asked her to look and then carefully removed my hand so she could see. Wow! She side-hopped, grabbed a broom and started yelling, Iraaa! In my mind I can still plainly see her cursing and swinging the broom after Ira as he escaped through the orchard, nearly doubled over in laughter as he ran. I was stunned as I had no idea what the fuss was about.

Mamma believed in prompt straight-forward action in all matters, but especially in matters of health. I was a sickly child and often the recipient of, “prompt action”. Mamma taught me that doctors are very busy and important people, a step above the rest of us and they must have our utmost respect and full obedience. There were rules for doctor visits. No fussing, fighting, screaming, or crying. Disobedience to these rules would surely bring a punishment from Mamma more severe than anything the good Doctor would do. So convinced was I that I became the model patient, to my recollection that is.

Mother also used home remedies. I had tonsillitis or strep throat all the time. The sure cure was one of Mom’s swabs. To make sure she would get all the corners she would wrap her finger in cotton and soak it with a ixture of tannic acid and glycerin. She took her time and did a thorough job. It did relieve the sore throat. I had so many of those swabs that to this day I have no gag reflex. My dentist is impressed. Other sure-fire cures included, enema, Vicks rub and inhale, salt gargle, and the ever-popular onion-mustard plaster. And let’ s not forget paregoric. Also because I was a bit high strung and prone to bouts of hysteria, I got carefully metered doses of asafetida gum cut with good old Jim Beam Whisky. These stopped when I was ten or eleven. It smelled a little like yeast but tasted a lot like dandelion juice. I don’t know if it was effective. I’m still a half-bubble off plum.

Mother loved to ride a good horse. She rode like a fish swims. It looked like a very easy effortless thing when she did it. My fondest memory of horseback was the little trip she, Ileen and I took to the Grand Canyon. We stayed in a small cabin near the North Rim and rented horses for a day. In talking to the man renting the horses we found out he had known Dad when he worked at the Canyon. He volunteered to go with us and show us more of the country. It s fun. We got to see another whole side of Mom then. She out rode us both.

Mamma had a very strong faith and a truly personal relationship with God. She understood the power of prayer and used it. I can’t remember her ever missing night prayers or the blessing on the food. She may have, but it would have only been due to circumstances beyond her control. I’m absolutely, positive, certain that she prayed this child back from the edge of Hell more than once. I now find myself following her example, but I’ve yet to begin to match her faith.

After Daddy died, Mom and I became more like roommates than mother and daughter. I was allowed to voice my opinions more freely. I was loaded with opinions. Like most teenagers I had simple solutions for every thing. We discussed, debated and discussed. She really always won, but she let it be a draw sometimes. And sometimes she even liked my ideas.

Mom was honest to a fault, and she required nothing less of everyone else, especially her children. I think coming home drunk would have caused less repercussion than the telling of lie, stealing or cheating. I wouldn’t have dared test that theory though. Her honesty and fare play won her the respect of all she came in contact with. Not everyone liked her, but they did respect her.

Mother always cheered for the underdog. She took special interest in the less fortunate. I remember her helping a young man learn his lines for a ward play that she directed. He couldn’t read well, but he had one of the leading parts. Without embarrassing him she had him come to the house after school and she worked with him until they were both satisfied with his performance. The play was a success and the young man’s self esteem was much improved. She also had a friend for life. He would have done anything she asked after that.

Mom had many health problems but she didn’t complain very much. She always put on a brave front. I remember the misery she went through with the monthly hemorrhaging before she finally had the hysterectomy. At the same time this was going on, she was working full time and was the president of the employee’ s union at the State Training School. The big issue at the time was equal pay for women. She stirred things up so much that they eventually made her a supervisor. As a supervisor she couldn’t belong to the union. Anyway I wonder. After the hysterectomy she had a terrible time with hormone imbalance. Hormone therapy then was not what it is today. She had to take frequent shots of estrogen. Finding the right dose was purely trial and error. We all lived on the roller coaster. That’s when Hilga taught me how to give shots. There were no disposable needles, so we had to boil both the needles and syringes. The needles weren’t always real sharp. Mom didn’t criticize or complain. Before we got the hormone thing leveled, she would have times when she would go kind of crazy. She cried a lot. Anything and everything would upset her. She said that she felt like her insides were Jell-O. A couple of times she was taken to the hospital and sedated for two or three days. She took tranquilizers for a while. She had a few favorite jokes about tranquilizers and liked to make fun of the situation when an opportunity presented itself. Other health problems included appendectomy and double mastectomy. For a while she kept a suitcase packed, because she never knew when she might have to go to the hospital again. Then there was the auto accident in 1974. Fractured pelvis that left one leg inches shorter than the other but she refused to walk with a limp. I don’t know how she compensated but she did. Her hypertension was diagnosed when she was fifty and she followed her doctors orders to a tee. I remember her making salt free bread. Most things she ate without salt were okay, but the bread was yuk.

Mom’s keen sense of humor carried her through a lot. She always managed to find the humor in every situation. That is how she coped with working with the mentally challenged, “kids” as she called them, for twenty years. The tales she would bring home from work were always fun to listen to. In addition to being funny they were also educational. She pointed out that although these “kids” were retarded in some ways they were super smart in others. One girl was a slight of hand artist. She could almost steal the teeth from your mouth without you knowing where they went. Another girl was an escape artist. She could get out of any restraint that they could legally put her in. Then there was the spastic who had no use of her arms so she learned to knit with her feet. There was another who had no control over her head and limbs, she couldn’t talk to be understood but she sang like a nightingale.

Mamma had the ability to love and respect these “kids”. She always treated them fairly, and they knew it and tried eventually to be good for “Judd.” She told me though that she never let her guard down around them and that there were many she would never turn her back on. Some were harder to win over than others. She was a very strong disciplinarian, she never made a promise she didn’t keep.

Mother loved to entertain. Every year they would have a Halloween Party at the Training School for the “kids”. Mom always dressed up. Her goal was to fool the residents. Her costumes were wonderful works of art. If I hadn’t known it was her in there she could have fooled me. Her witch costume was the best with putty nose, full makeup, sunken eyes and no teeth (her dentures were in her pocket). I went with her to the party but stayed out for as long as it took for someone to recognize her. It took twenty or thirty minutes for the employees to recognize her but the most severely retarded kid there knew her instantly. She laughed about that for years.

She loved to give readings and worked very hard to perfect them. My personal favorite was “The Specialist”. Once I went with her to a Relief Society Social up American Fork Canyon. She had prepared a short reading that was not really in good taste in mixed company. She had wrongly assumed that there would only be sisters attending. When she got up to perform, there was our very bald Bishop in the audience. She swallowed hard, apologized in advance and gave the reading. Watching the Bishop was almost better than the reading. The funnier the reading became the redder the Bishop became, he soon looked like a glowing red light bulb. The reading was entitled “The Passing of the Pot”.

When I was a first year Beehive, about twelve, she embarrassed me. Kids that age are easily embarrassed. It was road show night. There were little skits between shows performed in front of the curtains to allow the next show to set up. The curtains were shut and we were waiting when I hear this shrill voice at the back of the room yelling “Mom, Look, Mom” repeated over and over as my mother dressed like a little girl thundered up the isle to the stage. Once on the stage she whirled around and grinned a big toothless grin and exclaimed, “Look Mom, no cavities!” Once again the teeth were in her pocket. Every one else thought it was funny, I wanted to die.

Mom’s ability to act and pretend must have served her well through childhood and even after. On more than one occasion she advised me, “If the situation is less than perfect just act like, or pretend, that it is perfect; then you will feel better and things will work out.” At the time I rejected the idea but the older I get the clearer I see the wisdom in that advice.

I think that I covet Mamma’s ability to get people to do what she wanted them to do by letting them think it was their own idea. How did she do that anyway?

-o0o-

The Specialist

You’ve heard a lot of pratin’ and pattelin’ about this bein’ the age of specialization. I’m a carpenter by trade. And at one time I could build a house, barn, church, or chicken coop. But I see the need for a specialist in my line, so I stuck to her. I got her; she’s mine. Gentlemen, you are face to face with the champion PRIVY BUILDER OF UTAH COUNTY.

Luke Harkin was my first customer, He heerd about me specializing’ and decided to take a chance. I built for him just the average eight-family three-holer. With that job my reputation was made, and since then I have devoted all my time and thought to that special line. Of course, when business is slack, I do a little paper hanging on the side. But my heart is just in privy building. And when I finish a job I ain’t through, I give all my customers six months PRIVY service for nothin’. I explained this to Luke, and one day he called me up and sez: “Lem, I wish you’d come out here, I’m havin’ PRIVY troubles.

So I gits in my car and drives out to Luke’s place, and hid behind the Baldwins, where I could get a good view of the situation. It was right in the middle of hayin’ time and them hired hands were goin’ in there and stayin’ anywhere from forty minutes to an hour. Think of that.  I sez, “Luke, you sure have got PRIVY troubles.”  So I take out my tools and goes in to examine the structure. First I looked at the catalogues hanging there, thinking it might be that; but it wasn’t even from a rekonized house. Then I looked at the seats proper, and I see what the trouble was. I’d made them holes too durn comfortable. So I get’s out my saw and cuts ‘em square with hard edges. Then I go back and take up my position as before–me here, the Baldwins here, and the PRIVY there–and watched them hired hands goin’ in and out for two hours; and not one of them was stayin’ for more than four minuets. “Luke,” I says, “I’ve solved her.” Now that’s what comes of bein’ a specialist.

‘Twarn’t long after I built that twin job for the school house, and then after that the biggest plant up to date–an eight-holer. Elmer Ridgeway was down and looked her over. And he came to me one day and sez, “Lem, I see that eight-holer job you did down there on the corner, and it sure is a dandy, and figgerin’ as how I’m goin’ to build on the old Robison property, I thought I’d ask you to kind of estimate on a job for me!”  “You’ve come to the right man Elmer,” I sez, “I’ll be out to see you as soon as I get the roof on the two-seater I’m puttin’ up for the Sheriff.”

Couple of days later I drives out to Elmer’s place, gettin’ there about dinner time, so not wishing to disturb them, I just sneaks around to the side door and yells, “Hay, Elmer, here I am; where do you want that PRIVY put?”  Elmer comes out and we got to talkin’ about a good location. He was for puttin’ her along side a jagged path runnin’ along side a big apple tree. “I wouldn’t do it, Elmer,” I said, “and I’ll tell you why. There bein’ near a tree is bad. There ain’t no sound in nature so disconcertin’ as the sound of apples droppin’ on the roof. Then another thing, there’s a crooked path running by that tree, and the soil there ain’t adapted to absorbin’ moisture. During a rainy season she’s likely to be slippery. Take your grandpappy–goin’ out there is about all the recreation he gets. He’ll go out some rainy night with his nitires flappin’ around his legs, and like as not when you come out in the mornin’ you’ll find him prone in the mud, or maybe skidded off one of the curves and wound up in the corn crib.” I sez, “put her in a straight line with the house, and if it’s all the same to you, have her go past the wood pile, and I’ll tell you why.

Take a woman, fer instance–out she goes. On the way back she’ll gather five sticks of wood, and the average woman will make four or five trips a day. There’s twenty sticks of wood, in the wood box, without any trouble. On the other hand, take a timid woman, if she sees any men folks around she’s too bashful to go in, so she goes to the wood-pile picks up some wood, and goes back to the house and watches her chance. The average timid woman–especially a new-hired girl, may be seen to go back before she goes in, regardless. On a good day you’ll have your wood box filled by noon, and right there is a savin’ of time.

“Now about the diggin’ of her. You can’t be too careful about that,” I sez, “Dig her deep and dig her wide. It’s a might sight better to have a little privy over a big hole than to have a big privy over a little hole. Another thing, when you dig her deep you’ve got ‘er dug; and you ain’t got that disconcertin thought stealin’ over you that sooner or later you’ll have to dig again.

“Now when it comes to construction,” I sez, “I can give you joists, or beams. Joists makes a good job.  Beams cost a little bit more, but they’re worth it. Beams, you might say, will last forever.” Course, I could give you joists, but take your Aunt Emma, she ain’t gettin’ a mite lighter, some day she might be out there when the joists gives way and there she’d be–catched. And another thing, you got to figure on Elmer,” is that Odd Fellows Picnic in the fall. Them boys is goin’ to get in fours and sixes, singin’ and drinkin’, and the like, and I want to tell you there’s nothing breaks up an Odd Fellows picnic quicker than a diggin’ party. Beams I sez, every time and rest secure.

Now about her roof,” I sez. “I can give you a lean-to type or a pitch roof. Pitch roofs cost a little more, but some of our best people has lean-to’s. If it was for myself, I’d have a lean-to, and I’ll tell you why.  A lean-to has two less corners for the wasps to build their nests in; and on a hot August afternoon there ain’t nothing so disconcertin’ as a lot of wasps buzzin’ around while you’re sittin’ there doin’ a little readin’, figgerin’ or thinkin’. Another thing, I sez, “a lean-to gives you a higher door. Take that son of yours, shootin’ up like a weed; don’t any of them seem to be turnin’ under. If he was tryin’ to get under a pitch roof door, he’d crack his head every time. Take a leanto, Elmer; they ain’t stylish but the’er practical.

Now about her furnishins. I can give you a nail or a hook for the catalog, and besides, a box for cobs.  You take your pa, for instance; he’s of the old school and naturally he’s prefer the box; so put ‘em both in Elmer. Won’t cost you a bit more for the box and keeps peace in the family.

As for the latch fer her, I can give you a spool and a string, or a hook and eye. The cost of the spool and string is practically nothin’, but they ain’t positive in action. If some body comes out and starts rattlin’ the door either the spool or the string is apt to give way, and there you are. BUT WITH A HOOK AND EYE SHE’S YOURS, you might say for the whole afternoon, if you’er so minded.

Now, I sez, what ‘bout windows; some want ‘um, some don’t they ain’t so popular as they use to be. If it was up to me Elmer, I’d say no windows; and I’ll tell you why.” Take, for instance, somebody comin’ out may be they’re in a hurry and maybe they have waited too long. If the door don’t open right away and you won’ answer them, nine times out of ten they’ll go around and look through the window, and you don’t get the privacy you aught to.

“Now about ventilators or the designs I cut in the door. I can give you stars, diamonds, or crescents–there ain’t much choice–all gives good service. A lot of people like stars, because they throw a ragged shadow. Others like crescents. I do put twin hearts, now and then, for young marrieds, and then bunches of grapes for the newly rich. Them last two designs come under the head of novelties, and I don’t very often suggest them because it takes time and runs money.

Now I sez, “how do you want that door to swing? Openin’ in or swingin’ out?” He said he didn’t know. So I sez, “It should open in. This is the way it works out: place yourself in there. The door openin’ in say about forty-five degrees. This lets the sun beat in on you now, if you hear anybody comin’, you can give it a quick shove with your foot and there you are. But if she swings out, where are you? You can’t run the risk of havin’ her open for air or sun. Because if anyone comes, you can’t get up off that set, reach way around and grab er without gettin’ caught.

Now I sez, “about the paintin’ of her. What color do you want her?” He sez “red.” “Elmer I sez,” I can paint er red, and red makes a beautiful job; or I can paint her a bright green or any one of a dozen colors. They’re all mighty pretty; but they ain’t practical to use a solid color, and I’ll tell you why.  She’s too darn hard to see at night. You need contrast.  Now if I was you, I’d paint her a bright red with white trim–just like your barn. Then she’ll match up nice in the day time and you can spot ‘er easy at night when you ain’t got much time to go scoutin’ around.

There’s a lot of fine points to puttin’ up a first class PRIVY that the average man don’t think about.  It’s no job for an amachoor, take my word for it. There’s a whole lot more to it than you can see by just lookin’ at it. Take a squint at your neighbor’s. Why one of the worst tradigeys around here in years was because old man Clark’s boys thought they knew something about this kind of work, they didn’t.  Here’s what happened. They didn’t anchor theirs, and they painted it solid red–two bad mistakes.  Halloween night came along, darker than pitch; old man Clark was in there. Some of those devlish neighbor boys was out for no good, and they upset ‘er with old man in it. Of course the old man got to callin’ and his boys heard the noise. One of ‘em sez, “What’s the racket? Somebody must be at the chickens.” So they took the lantern and started out to the chicken shed. They didn’t find anything wrong there, so they started back to the house. Then they heard the dog barkin’ and one of the boys sez, “sounds like the barkin’ is over round by the PRIVY.”  It being painted red they couldn’t see she was upset, so they started over there.  In the mean time the old man had gotten so confused that he started to crawl out through the hole, yellin’ for help all the time. The boys reckonized his voice and came a runnin’ but just as they got there, he lost his holt and fell. After that they just called–didn’t go near him. So you see what a tragidy that was; and they tell me he has been practically ostercised from society ever since.

Well, time passed and I finally got Elmer’s job done; and gentlemen, every body sez that next to my eight-holer, it’s the finest piece of construction work in the country.

As I think of my work I’m proud. I heave a sigh of satisfaction, my eyes fill up, and I sez to myself, “THAT’S A MIGHTY, MIGHTY PRETTY PRIVY.”

-o0o-

The Passing of the Pot

As far back in childhood as memory may go
One household vessel greets me that wasn’t meant to show.
Beneath the bed was anchored, where only few could see
But served the entire family with equal privacy.

Some called the critter “Peggy” and some the “thunder mug,”
And others called it “Badges” a few called it “Jug.”
To bring it in on evening was bad enough no doubt
But heaven help the person ghat had to take it out.

Our big one was enormous and would accommodate
A watermelon party comprised of six or eight.
When nights were dark and rainy it was a useful urn,
On icy winter mornings the cold rim seemed to burn.

At times when things were rushing and business extra good
Each took his turn a waiting or did the best he could.
Sometimes when in a hurry to our disgust and shame
We fumbled in the darkness and slightly missed our aim.

The special one for company was decorated well,
But just the same it rendered that old familiar smell.
Today in modernism they believe me not
And only in my vision do I see the family POT.

 

Refrigeration


by Hilga July 23, 2014

How did you keep food cool on the farm when refrigerators were not available???

In the 1930s we did not have refrigeration on the farm, yet the family ran a dairy farm and had to keep milk cold until it was bottled and sold. There was a cement building with two small rooms that was called the milk house. The back room had a trough across the west end that had two levels of depth for water. The north end was deep enough to hold a ten-gallon can of milk. The water covered the can up to it’s neck. The other end of the trough was deep enough for one-gallon cans or bottles. I think there was a shelf above where crocks could be kept for butter or cream, etc. The water was cold all year long because it came from a well deep in the ground. Each night the milk was strained and put in the cans to spend the night in the cold water. It was bottled the next day to be delivered to the folks in town.

The house did not have any refrigeration, so all the food cooked for each meal was eaten, or stored in the milk house. (Most of the time there were no leftovers.) One year Dad built a cooler for Mom to keep vegetables in. It was a box-like structure. There were corner boards and supports around the top and bottom. Chicken wire covered the structure to keep the cats and birds out and the vegetables in. This was then covered with burlap sacks and a method to let water run slowly down over the burlap during the day. It was just a very early swamp cooler for food. It was a lot of trouble to keep the water running just right, and I don’t think it was used more than that one year. The milk house did a better job.

When the family moved to town, we did not have a refrigerator there either. We followed much the same routine, no leftovers. We had a cow and Mom would bottle up each milking and store it in the basement. The basement was under the bath and bedrooms and had only a dirt floor and one very small window for light. It was quite cool down there most of the time. Summers got a little warm. We drank a lot of warm milk. Sometimes we made ice cream on Sunday, but it all had to be eaten before the ice melted, so we always invited company to come and help out.

Hilga graduated from Nurses Training in 1948. When she got her first check from working, she went home for the weekend. The bus stopped at the drug store, and they had a refrigerator on sale. She decided that the family should buy it for their mother. She went home and secured the help of Helen and Ira. They got together enough money for a down payment on the fridge. They made arrangements to have it delivered that night. So much excitement, they could hardly wait for the surprise they had for their mother. I don’t remember how long that fridge lasted, but it was great. Now we had cold milk to drink, ice cubes and cold water. Mom could cook more and have leftovers. Life was looking up. Hilga made payments on the fridge for the next year.

A couple of years later, Helen and Ira arranged to buy an electric stove for Mom. Dad arranged for the wiring and bought a water heater to go with the stove. This family now was modern. Since the house had no furnace, they had used the coal cook stove for heat in the kitchen, and a large Heaterola in the living room to heat the rest of the house. You could open the door to the bedroom and the hall so the heat could go upstairs to the bedrooms. (The bedrooms were very cold in the winter and VERY hot in the summer.) I don’t remember how long before Dad broke down and put in a furnace.  Afterwards he complained that he froze all the time and really missed the stove to back up to when he came in from outside. Modern changes are very hard on the oldest at that time. The older we are the harder it is to adapt.

It is hard for me to realize that I have lived through so many changes. Refrigerators are now huge or tiny according to the need. Now a small family has a huge two-door unit with a freezer on the bottom and two big doors on top. Just think that on a very hot day you could almost climb right in and enjoy the cold air! Thanks to all for refrigeration.

Mom’s Personal History


Written by herself.

Preface

To my grandchildren this history is lovingly dedicated.

Dear Grandchildren:

I am about to embark upon the task of writing for you a history of my life. This shall not be easy; for, as I understand histories, they are supposed to be long and sentimental. For some reason, nothing to me has ever been such.

I have always loved attention; and, since I have never been good looking or talented in music, I found myself greatly lacking. I was not the only one in my family with such a plight. My sister Abbie was also blessed with a voice such as mine, but she had overcome that obstacle by taking what was then called elocution lessons. I remember sitting and listening to her recite long and dramatic poems which she had to render for Professor Maeser. I assure you, what she lacked in sweet music was smothered up with her expression. Many a tear of emotion I have shed while listening to her recite. I didn’t know what the meaning of the poem was, but it certainly sounded as if it was a real reason for tears. As soon as I was able to read, I began to memorize these poems; and, believe me, I gave them all the expressions of Abbie plus a few extra impressions of my own. When I felt the time was ripe, I began to recite these poems in public. To my horror the response from the audience was convulsions of laughter! From that time on everything I did was greeted with laughter. Seldom did I intend for it to be funny; however, it seemed I had gained my objective. I was noticed, and in a family of twelve children, that was something.

And so dear grandchildren, if during my funeral bits of this history should be read and the sniffling silence should be broken with an occasional titter or a downright chuckle, I shall be exceedingly happy.

-oOo-

 

I was born (needless to say) in the year of our Lord 1904, on September 12, in Panguitch, Utah. I was the eighth (8) child and the fourth (4) daughter to grace the home of Mahonri Moriancumer Jr. and Charlotte Moore LeFevre Steele.

I remember very little about my life in Panguitch. On one occasion Fay and Doyle were melting snow on the kitchen stove. Somehow Fay’s dress caught on fire and Doyle grabbed a bucket of water from the wash stand and let her have it full force.

Another thing I remember was playing with Chlora my cousin. Their house was on the same block as ours. We used to play in the dirt and water by the dividing fence. Chlora had to take a nap every day. I was scared to death of Aunt Zephyr, and when she would come out and scream to the top of hr voice, “Chloraaaaaa,” I’d duck under the fence and leave Chlora to her mother’s wrath, which didn’t seem to bother Chlora.

I have a vague remembrance of moving from Panguitch every summer to a ranch called East Fork located east and north of Bryce Canyon. Also I remember sitting on the pole fence at this ranch watching the older boys and girls milk cows.

My earliest recollection is that of the birth of my baby brother Arthello Mahonri September 8, 1908.  He is four years, almost to the day, my junior. Strange as it may seem, there had been no other children to bridge the gap between us. For four long years I had been the baby; and in a family of nine, THAT WAS SOMETHING.

The night Art was born the whole family had gone over to Grandma Steele’s place to sleep. We awakened next morning to a snow-covered world and to the news that I had been dethroned. I now had a baby brother. Excited as I was about the new baby, I couldn’t help but feel deflated. The props had been knocked out from under me and my spirits declined to rock bottom.

Four days later things took a turn for the better. It was my fourth birthday. To celebrate the occasion Winifred Eldridge, a young girl that lived with her father in part of our house, decided to glorify the occasion by making fudge candy for me. The candy didn’t set up, and we had to eat it with a spoon. I remember hanging around all day waiting for her to make the candy; and at the end of the day I ventured to ask when she was going to make it, not knowing that the supposed frosting I had eaten was it.

Some time during my fourth year we moved to a ranch we called the Mitchell Ranch. It was located about halfway between Junction and Circleville, Utah. It was here that life really began to pick up for me. No longer being a baby I was given odd chores to do. My first chore was to mind the calf pen gate. It was the custom of the ranchers at that time to round up all the cows that had had calves that spring and put them in a corral and milk them twice a day for the duration of the summer. Of course, the development of the calves was the first consideration; therefore they had priority over the kids in the milk market. Sometimes there would be as many as fifty cows we were attempting to milk night and morning, which of course entailed fifty calves to be run. One of the milkers would call out, “Turn me out a calf,” and someone would open up the gate to the hungry calf pen and let out one calf–if they were lucky. When the cow had begun to let her milk down, the milker would holler, “Take this calf.” Then Doyle or one of the older kids would take a big stick and wallop the calf on the jaw until it stopped sucking; then he’d grab it by the tail and whip it over and under until he got it back to my calf pen, and I’d open the gate and let it in.

I remember one night being awakened from my sleep and finding myself riding in a wagon along with all the other precious souls of the family–namely all the cats, dogs, chickens, etc. It seems that a flood had come down the creek in the night threatening us. Mother was visiting with Grandmother LeFevre in Panguitch; so Fern, my oldest sister, and Father took over and hauled us all up to the cheese factory on the hill. We spread our blankets on the factory floor and spent the night there. It wouldn’t be exactly honest to say that we slept there.

One of the favorite pastimes on the Mitchell Ranch was to gather bull berries. In order to get to the river where the berries grew, we had to cross a salt grass pasture which necessitated the wearing of shoes. Finding my shoes rather clouded the trip, because I never wore shoes in the summer time, and I seldom knew where they were. To find my shoes was one thing, and to get them on was another, so I went without. Even now when I think of bull berries my feet hurt.

It was while we lived at the Mitchell Ranch that my sister Irene was born February 26, 1910.

From the Mitchell Ranch we moved to Junction, Utah. It was there that I spent my first year of school. I don’t remember anything that I learned that year except that I was left-handed. It was as much of an education for the rest of the family as it was for me. Having so many children in the family, no one had noticed I was left-handed until the teacher sent home a note to ask Mother which hand she would prefer I use.

I don’t think anything ever fascinated me quite like the bow of ribbon my teacher wore on the back of her head. I think I spent most of my time in school trying to figure out how she got so many billowy fluffs in one gorgeous bow.

I remember one afternoon when I came home from school, I found the house deserted. I began to feel sorry for myself. I went out to the south side of the house, and there in the golden autumn sunshine I began to review my life. I remembered my mother once telling me that I had a baby brother that had died at birth, so being in a real sad mood, I began to cry. One of Abbie’s friends came along the sidewalk and heard me crying, so she came in and asked me what was the matter; so I told her my baby brother was dead. She mistook it to be Art; so she rushed out to spread the word to the town folks. By the time Mother and the rest of the family got home, the entire town was there to offer words of sympathy. Needless to say, I got a liberal education from that episode.

Wanda was born while we lived in Junction on April 2, 1911.

From Junction we moved to Circleville. It was here that we lived by the Day family. The family seemed quite odd, and when we really became acquainted with them, we found that most of the family was mentally retarded. The oldest girl, whose name was Eva, seemed to be exceptionally bright. Fay and I played with her. We loved to go to the Day home to play, namely because we could do as we pleased. One day we stayed over there so long that Harold brought our lunch and night gowns over and told us we had to live there. Fay was sure mad. That just about stopped our trips over to the Day house.

We spent about a year in Circleville, and then Father felt that he should send Abbie and Fern to high school. So we moved to Beaver where the Murdock Academy was located. The girls were moved to Beaver first, and about a month later the rest of the family was moved. The school was located on an old fort site. In fact, the houses we lived in were the houses the pioneers had lived in. They were made of soft brick and had shutters on the windows through which the pioneers had shot Indians in attack. It was fun getting acquainted with the few kids that were there. I played a lot with Professor Maeser’s daughter.

During the winter, the whole family had the measles. I was the first to have them. Abbie had the measles plus an attack of appendicitis. Sick as I was, I couldn’t attract as much attention as she did.

On February 13, 1913, the winter we lived in Beaver, my baby sister was born. We named her Itha for a girl that lived in the same house that we did.

As soon as school was out the spring of 1913, Father announced that were moving to Delta. It was supposed to be the land of promise. It had only been settled five years, and we were sure to get rich there. Since Mother had so many little children, it was decided that she should take the train from Minersville to Delta, and the rest of us would go on the wagon. Father hired two fellows to drive the teams for us. We had two wagons loaded to the top with all our furniture. There was a large mirror which Mother prized very much that was tied on the back of the lead wagon. At one time during the trip, Harold got to fooling around and drove the back wagon so close to the lead wagon that the tongue of the wagon went right through the mirror. We always blamed all of our bad luck on that accident for the next seven years. We took our milk cows with us to Delta; Harold and Doyle drove them all the way. The trip to Delta took us three days and nights. Fay and I had a lot of fun playing with our paper dolls on the back of the wagon. When things got tiresome, we would get out and tag along behind the wagons or chase the rabbits out in the sagebrush.

We were greatly disappointed in Delta since it didn’t have any trees. The wind blew all day, and the mosquitoes buzzed all night. The home in Delta was a small, two-roomed house with an addition of what we called a black house added to the front of it. This black house was made of lumber stood up on its end for the walls and the same kind of lumber bent over the top for a roof; and then it was covered with tar paper outside and with pink and blue building paper on the inside. I don’t think I have ever seen anything that could get so hot in the summer or so cold in the winter as those black houses did. We lived in this house for about a year.

I spent my third year of school in Delta. Billie Gardner was my school teacher, or at least he was the principal. I was scared to death of him. Whenever he came into our room, I couldn’t even hold the chalk in my hand, let alone do arithmetic. When he would roar at me to get busy and do the problems he had assigned, I would just stand there. Chlora would always come to my defense and say, “She can’t help it because she’s left-handed.” Then Billie would say, “What’s that got to do with her doing arithmetic?”

In July of that year I was baptized by my cousin Arthur Bunker in the irrigation canal. I had so much hair I couldn’t get it dry in time to go to church to be confirmed, so I had to go with it wet.

During the winter while we lived in Delta, Mother became very ill. She had had milk leg when Wanda was born and hadn’t quite gotten over it. She would have large abscesses break out on her legs, but this time they got infection in them. It looked for a while like she was going to die. At least I knew the situation was bad, because Harold sat in the kitchen and cried. Father was real worried and tried hard to get a doctor. Finally he found one that lived in Woodrow about fifteen miles from there. The doctor was a lady. She came to our place and worked with Mother until she finally saved her life. This was a direct answer to our prayers.

As soon as school was out in the spring, we moved out to the little community of Sutherland. Here there was a school house which also served as a church house and a country store that carried everything from soup to nuts.

We lived in another one of those black houses; it set at the foot of a large hill of drift sand. The wind blew so much in that country that one day the sand hill would be on one side of the house and the next day it would all be on the other–that is, all that didn’t lodge in our food and beds as it passed over. I think we must have eaten quite a bit of it, because the hill got smaller as the years went by.

In about five years we slightly out grew the little black house, so we built a lovely big house with five rooms and a clothes closet which was to serve for a bath. Fay and I were real happy, because now we had a room of our own–that is if Abbie wasn’t there. Most of the time she lived in Delta with Grandma. My sister Fern had married the year we lived in Delta, so that left Fay and I the oldest girls at home. Our room was the outlet of all our feelings. We decorated it with pictures of movie queens, etc.; we wore the furniture out moving it around from place to place. The mattress on our bed was a straw tick which we had to empty and fill with new stray every time the wheat was threshed. We had one prized piece of furniture which was a dresser with a real mirror that could be tipped so you could see your feet and the hem of your dress. We saved our money that we got for thinning beets and bought the dresser from Harold and his wife when they stopped keeping house when he went to war in 1918.

I loved that dear old house on the farm. It was here I experienced many joys and heartaches. While we lived there my brother Harold and sister Abbie were married. During the time I lived there, my older brother Lindsay died with the flu. I remember some mighty miserable days spent there when I had the flu myself. It was from this house my brothers Harold and Doyle left to serve their country. Abbie’s first baby was born there. It was while we lived in this house that my brother Harold was killed in an accident on the farm after his return from the service of his country. It was from this house we walked one and three-fourths miles to school. At this time in life all there is left of the dear old house is “just a memory.”

I finished my elementary education in Sutherland. I remember the names of a few of my teachers: Mr. Barney, Mr. Holbrook, Mrs. Keeler, Mr. Pratt and Miss Cropper. I did a lot of reading on the school programs, especially the PTA programs. I took part in school plays, and at one time I sang in a trio. Almost every summer the ward would put on a play, and I managed to get a part in all of them. I guess I should mention that it took everyone in the ward to put on a play.

In the summer of the year I graduated from the eighth grade, I went to Delta to live with my grandparents. Grandma Steele was a sickly person and always had to have someone to help her. Besides that, she had Uncle Parley’s son living with her; his name was Donald. I had quite a sizeable family to take care of. I didn’t have any intentions of going to school past the eighth grade; but since Delta boasted two years of high school, come time for school to start, Grandma decided I could go to school and keep house too. Uncle John’s family lived in the same block that Grandma did, and I renewed my acquaintance with Chlora, and the two of us went to school. We had always been the best of friends, so we hit it off real good.

I really enjoyed my school year. Chlora and I were in all the plays and on all the programs. What she couldn’t think of to do I could. We were often referred to as the “Steele kids,” and to this day, some of my friends still think we were sisters. I finished the first year of high school and was ready to embark on my second when Grandma took seriously ill. Mother and Father felt that it was too much for me to take care of Grandma and go to school, so it was decided that Fay and I should live together and both of us go to school.

Grandpa, Father and Uncle John owned a store, and above the store was a rooming house. Fay and I lived in one of these rooms. We had quite a time to make a go of it. We didn’t have any money to spend, and the folks had none to give us, so I got a job working for Josie Walker on Saturdays. I would do all of Josie’s washing and ironing and clean up her house each Saturday for $1.25. This money kept us going in pin money for the week. Fay would gather up the washing for us and take it out to the ranch and do it and bake the bread. That is how she spent her Saturdays.

It wasn’t long before all the kids at the ranch got the scarlet fever. They were all quarantined, so they could neither bring us any food, and we couldn’t go home to get any. Fay decided she had had it and went back home to stay. But before this happened, I had the scarlet fever, and except for the awful sore throat (which Fay declared I was putting on), I had a very light case. I went to school all the while I had it.

In the mean time Grandmother died. This left Grandpa and Donald alone, so Melba, my cousin, went to stay with them. Melba was Chlora’s older sister. When Fay decided she didn’t want to go to school, it looked as if I would have to go back out to the farm and stay also. I felt very bad about this, so I went to Melba and told her my plight. Melba was getting very tired of staying at Grandpa’s, so she decided to ask Grandpa if I couldn’t come and take her place there. Grandpa finally consented, and I moved in. I stayed there all that winter and the next summer. I didn’t dare go home for fear Grandpa wouldn’t let me come back again the next fall.

In the middle of my junior year I had the misfortune of displeasing Grandpa. He didn’t like to leave the door unlocked when I went to the school parties, etc., so he consented to let me stay with Chlora over night on these occasions. One Sunday morning, after we had been out rather late the night before, I over slept and was late to get Grandpa’s breakfast. When I finally did get over to his house he had had his breakfast and was on his way to Sunday School. He gave me a glassy stare and told me if I was staying there for his benefit, I could just leave. I told Donald what Grandpa had said, and that it looked like there was nothing else for me do. He begged me to stay, but I felt that I couldn’t because I knew Grandpa was right. As I look back now, I wonder how the poor old fellow ever stood what he did. I cleaned the house, did the dishes, and prepared Grandpa’s dinner for him; then I packed all my belongings in a bushel basket and took them down in the lot and hid them in Grandpa’s shop. As soon as I saw Grandpa coming home from church I bid Donald goodbye and left.

I went over to the store where Father was working on his books and told him my story. He said, “Well, I think you had better go out the farm and stay where you belong.” This made me mad, and I said, “Hon Steele, I am not going out the farm and stay. You need someone to cook for you, and you can just fix a place for me upstairs, and I’ll keep house for you!” Well, when I put it that strongly, he said, “Let’s go out to the farm and spend the day, and we’ll see what we can do in the morning.” Come morning we had our plans all made, and by nightfall we were comfortable in two light housekeeping rooms above the store.

From that time on I began to live. I had to do the chamber maid work for the hotel, but I shared handsomely in the profits. When Father was there to rent the rooms out, he took the money from them. But it so happened he liked to go mining on weekends, and when he wasn’t there I got the loot. Oh, once in a while I had to loan him a little money and vice versa.

Before school started the next fall, Father decided to move Mother and all the kids in town off the farm. This was really the year for me. Fay, Art and I were all in high school. Mother shouldered all the responsibilities, and I really lived it up. I was in all the school and church plays; took in all the ball games and went to all the dances. Chlora had quit school her second year and gone to Salt Lake to work, so I had the rest of my high school pretty much to myself. I had plenty of friends both girls and boys, but no special ones. None that you could call my “feller.” I danced considerably with Henry Forester, Andy Schlappy, Ray Boycack, Bill Scott, and of course the Skidmore boys. My girl friends were Mable Foot, Fontella Sampson, Ellimor Lyman, Reva Hutchings, Margie Whicker, Alice Rasmussen, Grace Bunker, Ellen Stephenson, Ila Rawlingson, Francis Gronning and of course many more which I can’t recall at the moment.

In the spring of 1924 I graduated, and I think Father was as proud as anyone when I did. Fay was a big help to me that year. She helped me get my graduation dress by talking Mother out of the money. It seems she held the purse strings that year since we had had a big seed crop. So with Fay’s help I managed.

After graduation I worked in the store called The Hub for my father, and it was while working there that I had my offer of my first real job. Of course, during my high school days I had held many jobs, tested cream, clerked, made beds and did all kinds of house work. Delta farmers raised a lot of alfalfa seed during those days, and several big companies moved into Delta just for the buying season. My Uncle Alf Bunker knew one of the big bugs of the Western Seed Marketing Company. His name was Mr. Carl G. Bowden. One day he came to see Uncle Alf and told him he was looking for a girl to train to analyze seed. Uncle Alf told him that he knew just the girl for them, and he brought him over and introduced him to me. He offered me $75 per month, and it didn’t take him long to hire me. I told him I would go, and within a few hours I found myself on the way to Salt Lake with two cigar-smoking executives of the Western Seed Marketing Company.

This was my first trip to the big city. I stayed the first two days with my cousin Naomi Crosby Bliss, and after that she found me a place to stay with my father’s Aunt May Cox. She was a half sister to my Grandmother Steel. I enjoyed my stay with Aunt May. She was kindness itself, and she had a whole herd of kids about my age. It didn’t take me long to get acquainted with Salt Lake then.

I stayed in Salt Lake for two weeks and went to work every day. Their office was on the thirteenth story of the Walker Brothers’ Bank Building. Everyone at the office was so nice to me. I learned to analyze seed and went back home and worked for the Company for two years. I quit when I got married.

It was while I was working at the Store in between seed jobs that I met a handsome bachelor; his name was Ray Judd from Fredonia, Arizona. He had come to town with my brother-in-law Ed Henrie. Ed was in the real estate business, and he had brought Ray to Delta to sell him a farm. It seemed as though Ed and Ray had lived neighbors in the town of Fredonia when they were kids, so Ed took Ray to his house to stay with them.

On Sunday Artie Henrie, Ed’s niece, and I were walking home from Sunday School. We had decided to go to Artie’s place, and we had to pass Ed’s and Fern’s place to get there. We could smell Fern’s dinner cooking, so we decided to go in and see if she would invite us to eat. We were surprised to find she had company, but since we figured he was just a married man, and they invited us to stay for dinner, we accepted. Ed got to kidding us about sitting by Mr. Judd. I said I would sit by him and Artie said she would sit by him. We finally wound up drawing cuts. I won him fair and square. We sure did feel silly when we found out that he was a single man.

Ed was trying hard to get him married off, so he could sell him a farm. He kept suggesting different old maids in town, but he just couldn’t interest him. Finally he told Ed he kinda had his eye on me. But Ed told him he figured I was spoken for. So he told Ed in that case he didn’t need to look any farther. Well, Ed sure did need to sell a farm, so he and Fern both began to work on me. To make a long story short, I might state, Ed sold his farm.

Ray and I were married about a year later on the 26th of May, 1926 in the Manti Temple. We moved out to the farm Ed had sold Ray. It was a perfect place for a honeymoon. There wasn’t a neighbor within a half mile. Ray would make fun of my cooking, and I’d get mad and decide to leave him, but before I finished walking the five miles to Delta, Ray would get in his little Ford and overtake me. By that time I was too tired to be mad, so I’d get in with him and away we’d go back to the farm.

Our first child Hilga was born March 25, 1927 in Delta. She was a real pretty baby as long as she had her bonnet on–she didn’t have any hair. But we loved her just the same. We had a terrible time learning how to raise kids. I thought at times I’d never be able to live through it. Hilga wanted to sleep all day and cry all night. But Ray was just the opposite. He wanted to sleep all night, so I didn’t get much help from him.

On April the 26th, 1928 Ira came along, and by that time I was calloused, and I didn’t notice him so much. He seemed to fit just like an old shoe. We had moved to another house in Sutherland by that time. We had found that we had paid too much for the farm and decided to move to a cheaper one. By the time Ira was nine months old, Ray vowed he wouldn’t stay in Delta country any longer. I wouldn’t go to Fredonia with him, so we compromised and moved to Provo. We had five hundred dollars saved up, and we tried to make a down payment on a farm with that. We finally found a man that would sell us a farm for that as a down payment. His name was Mr. Ratcliff. He was an old gentleman in his late eighties. He took quite a liking to Ray and Ray to him, and even though we didn’t have much money he decided to take a chance on us. By the way, he didn’t have much of a farm either.

The best feature about the farm was the flowing well just outside of the door. We had a few milk cows that weren’t too good, but we managed to trade around and within a few years we had us a good herd of cows.

Helen was born on January 16th, 1930, and it was about the time the depression started in earnest. We sold milk in the bottle and delivered it all over town. Some of it we got the money for, and some we traded for doctor bills, dentist bills, permanents, clothing, hay, grain or what have you. Those were trying years, but everyone was in the same boat, so it really didn’t matter.

Jeniel was born on February 28, 1931. By this time we had so many kids that I didn’t get to go anywhere. Ray was busy delivering milk, and I would sometimes go for weeks without seeing anyone except the family. I had a good neighbor, but she lived through the field from me, and in the winter time it was too muddy to get to her place.

When Jeniel was about two years old I decided I had to take a stand or die, so I announced I was going to go to church, which I did–me and all the kids. At times when Ray would forget to come home in time for us to use the car, we would walk. Finally, after he could see he couldn’t stop me, he began to arrange his schedule so the car was available for us to use.

On January 16, 1935 Ileen came to visit us. In fact, she liked us so well she decided to stay. After she got to be about a year old, I started to work in the Primary. I was the play leader for five years. I made a lot of wonderful friends in the Lake View Ward; in fact, when we left Lake View, we felt that we would never find another ward quite like it.

When the War descended upon us in 1942, everyone was restless, including the Judd family. In the mean time Ray had had to sell the cows as his health was filing him, and we were afraid he would never be able to work again. We decided to buy a place that we could pay for no matter what kind of place it was. Mr. Ratcliff told us we could have the cows, or what we got out of them, since we had paid enough into the place to pay for them. So with the three thousand dollars we received for the sale of the cows, we started out to find a place that would cost just that and no more. It wasn’t easy I assure you.

After many days of searching and many sleepless nights, we exchanged three thousand dollars for the deed to the home and property which included one-fourth of the sixth block north in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The home was a nice brick two-storied house. There was just one catch to it. It had only the bottom floor finished. This gave us only three rooms and a bath for a family of seven.

We thoroughly enjoyed the bathroom. It didn’t have a lock on it; so we would knock on the door and count to ten; and if no one screamed, we would decide the coast was clear and go in. We made a bedroom out of the living room, which was just as well we did, since we had no furniture for it anyway. To make matters more congested, we had a new addition to our family in March of that year. Charlotte was born March 19, 1943. She was very small, and as her Dad stated, looked as if she was just an after thought. We loved her very much, and if I do say so, she was one of the best tended babies in town. Anyone wanting to dodge some small task could always take the baby for a walk.

Along with the prosperity of the War years, the Judd family began to prosper. Anyone that had any ambition could get a job. Even our son Ira managed to be hired and fired by every farmer in Pleasant Grove. The girls all picked berries and packed fruit which netted them a considerable amount of money. Commodities were scarce, so money was earned but couldn’t be spent, and it was quite easy for the kids to save their money. They paid their own tuition for school, bought their books, and also their own clothes.

Ray began to take a new lease on life and was able to do a little carpenter work on the side. We had one car, and I was the chauffeur. I was up all hours of the night taking kids to work and bringing them home. I was also the chief cook and dishwasher, laundry lady, scrub woman and baby tender. I managed to raise a few flowers and a garden and also teach a class in Relief Society while I was resting.

Our place was a center of attraction for all the kids in the neighborhood. I used to tell Ira he was the most popular boy in town because he had so many sisters. Of course the girls were rather popular too, they had a handsome brother.

In 1945 Hilga graduated from the Pleasant Grove High School, and joined the Cadet Nurses.

In 1946 Ira graduated from the Pleasant Grove High School, and in the fall of that year joined the Army for 18 months.

In 1948 Helen graduated from Pleasant Grove High School.

Hilga graduated from the LDS Nurses’ School, and Ira returned from Japan where he had been for fourteen months. Helen was attendant to the Strawberry Day Queen that year. I had managed to find a job working for a grocer in the town of Pleasant Grove. Ileen kept house and tended Charlotte. Helen worked at the Wasatch Inn and Jeniel worked for the Kozy Korner Cafe. Hilga went to work in the hospital in cedar City. So you can see that we were all pretty busy.

Helen had injured her back while she was in grade school, and in the winter of 1949 she had to undergo an operation on her back. The operation was called a spinal fusion. This was a long and tedious ordeal. She spent ten days in the LDS Hospital and then had to spend three months in bed here at home. We got her an old hospital bed and her dad put a “monkey bar” on it so she could get help if she had to have it, and left Charlotte to take care of her. I gave her a bath before I left for work and had an hour off at noon to come home and get her some dinner. Time mendeth all things, likewise it mended Helen’s back. We were real happy to have her up and around again.

In the spring of 1949 Jeniel graduated from the Pleasant Grove High School. She already had her eye on a handsome missionary, and so was contented to settle herself down to a job in town while she waited for his return.

Hilga was married to Chester (Chuck) Martin Frier on the 28th of June 1949. I didn’t have much money, but I did the best I could, and had open house for them. It had been some time since Hilga had been home, and it was a good opportunity for her to renew her acquaintance here in town. Hilga had been working at the LDS Hospital since she graduated, except for a few months spent at the hospital in Cedar City. She and Chuck moved into a furnished apartment in Salt Lake, and Hilga continued to work for about two years.

In 1950 Helen had recovered from her operation, and we endeavored to send her to the Henager Business College. It was here she met her husband Melvin (Red) L. Nielsen. The night she met him he took her for a ride on his motorcycle. They met with an accident which resulted in a broken ankle for Helen. Of course, he felt that he should go see her while she was in the hospital, which he did. The romance bloomed, and on October 21, 1950 they were secretly married and didn’t reveal it to us until later on the next spring. By that time I had given a reception for Jeniel and didn’t have any money, so I just had to buy her a wedding present and let it go at that.

In October of 1950 Jeniel’s missionary, Grant K. Fugal had returned, and they were soon making plans to get married. Grant knew he would be called into the service of his country soon, so they set the date for the 4th of January, 1951. They were married in the LDS Temple in Salt Lake, and we had open house for them that night. Even though Grant had his call to the Army, he didn’t leave for three months after.

In October, 1951 Ira was married to Dorothy Gayle Kirk, prior to his departure for the Western States Mission. No one was informed about the marriage, but I remember stating to Ray after seeing Ira off on the train for his mission, “If those two kids aren’t married, I’ll eat my hat.”

Ileen had an operation on her leg shortly after she graduated from high school in 1953, and while she was convalescing she attended Henager Business College. After she was out of school, she worked for a finance company in Salt Lake City. Later she worked as a secretary at the Dugway Proving Grounds. She attended college at the BYU in Provo, and it was here that she met and married Freeman K. Johnson. They left the next day after their marriage for St. Paul, Minnesota where Freeman attended the University of Minnesota.

Ray’s health failed him again in 1950, and from that time on he was unable to do much work. While I worked at a grocery store, we soon found that the proceeds from that job were not enough to keep the family going, so I hustled around and found employment at the Utah State Training School. This paid a much better wage, and we were able, with the help of the Lord, to get along. I have always paid my tithing and have taught my children to do likewise. Some of them continue the practice, and some of them don’t.

Since starting to work at the Training School, I have undergone numerous operations. For a while it looked as if there would be no end. But to “every cloud there is a silver lining.” Today I am in good health and working every day.

Ray’s heart finally gave way, and on the 23rd of December, 1957 he died suddenly while working on a remodeling job at the Pleasant Grove Third Ward church house. We were privileged to have the entire family present at his funeral, which would have been his request, I am sure, if he had made one.

During my life I have worked in various church organizations. I taught Sunday School for about seven years, worked in the Primary as play leader for five years, taught Relief Society for two years, was president of the YWMIA for three years and taught the Special Interest Class in MIA for two years. I have also served as Drama Director of the Third Ward and chairman of the ward Educational Committee. I served as President, Vice President and Treasurer of Local 810 AFOSC&ME Union.

Five years have lapsed since Ray’s passing. Charlotte and I have lived here alone until last fall when Charlotte decided it was time to spread her wings, and she moved to Provo to attend the Vocational School. Since Ray died I have been promoted from an attendant at the Training School to a supervisor and have worked in that capacity for three years.

March 10, 1963 finds me with all of my children married with the exceptions of Charlotte, and she is working over time to find her a man. I have 22 grandchildren, a tom cat and a parakeet, an empty cookie jar and a heavy heart. From here on out I think some of my children may be more able than I to complete this history.

Volume II

In 1963 I felt that my life was well over with and didn’t think I would have to finish this history. But in 1977 I feel very much alive and am afraid I will be going strong for at least another fifty years. Most of my older friends are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and while it has been fifty years since I was married, I still didn’t get a celebration. Perhaps I’ll get my picture in the paper when I celebrate my 80th birthday. In case I do, I have had a picture taken when I was 65, and have had one finished up in black and white, so when they put it in the paper it still won’t look like my high school graduation picture, and I won’t look as horrible as I think I am going to look at 80.

Now to continue on with my story. I worked as a supervisor at the Training School until 15 September 1969. At that time I was 65, and I was forced to retire. However, I left a vacancy there that couldn’t be filled with a full-time employee. It was a part-time job as Officer of the Day. I asked for the job, and they were glad to give it to me. I worked Saturday, Sunday and holidays. My pay was reduced considerably, but that didn’t make any difference to me. I had time on my hands and wanted to keep up with the happenings out to the School. Sometimes things got pretty exciting out there, and I needed that to keep me from going stale.

In the mean time, Charlotte was called on a mission to the North Central States, and spent most of her time in Canada. I didn’t know how I was going to send her on a mission, as it took all I made for the two of us to live. But I decided to try, and Bishop Ringger told me that if I couldn’t make it to let him know, he was sure the ward would help me. I told this to the kids, and Grand told Jeniel, “Don’t you dare let your mother go to the Bishop for help.” All the kids promised to help me. It wasn’t long before I got a raise in wages, and it seemed that things just unraveled as it should. The family was good to help me with work that I would otherwise have to pay for, and somehow the money just flowed in, so much so, that I decided to buy me a car with the extra money after she got back.

When Charlotte came home she worked for Dr. Rupper in Provo as a Dental Assistant until she married George K. Small. He was serving in the Army Reserve and had been called to serve a year in Vietnam. They were pretty upset by this, as George wasn’t ready to go to the temple. I advised them to have a civil marriage and to go to the temple later. This way she could go to Fort Leonardwood in Missouri and live with him until he left for Vietnam.

After George was settled there he sent for Charlotte to come and bring his car, which was the apple of his eye. I wouldn’t let her drive there alone, so I took some time off and went with her. The drive was pleasant, and we didn’t have any trouble on the way.

Charlotte came home and wanted to have an apartment of her own, which I thought was a good idea, since George was bound that they would live with his mother. This way, I told her, George would know he wasn’t going back to Mother, and his mother would be reconciled to the fact that her baby boy was not coming back home to live. When George got back he still insisted he wanted to live with Mother, and Charlotte wouldn’t, so they separated.

On June 30, 1972, Charlotte was married to Harold Lee Tracy. He is a rancher in Naf, Idaho. They are doing real well and they are the parents of three little girls ranging from four years to six months.

I was called to be a receptionist in the Salt Lake Temple starting on the 24th of September 1969. Between this work and the job at the Training School, I was kept pretty busy. In fact, with one day a week at Relief Society, I was considered to have a full-time job. The work at the Training School was very pleasant. I was left to keep myself busy on Sundays, and since all the kids were in Church, I decided that was the place for me. I attended Sunday School and Church and helped to keep the kids in line. One little boy, every time I had to correct him would say, “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RETIRE?”

I enjoyed my work at the Temple very much, except that there wasn’t enough for me to do as a receptionist. I caused so much disturbance as a receptionist that by 11 February 1970 I was set apart as an ordinance worker by Selvey J. Boyer and worked in that capacity until I was released 17 December 1971. Since the Provo Temple was soon to open, they wanted us to work there.

Since I had already been an ordinance worker, when the Provo Temple started, I was asked to help the new temple workers to learn their lines. I was the one to help set up the brides’ program, which is carried on today about like I had it. I was set apart for the Provo Temple on 4 November 1971. I worked in the Provo Temple for two and one-half years.

On September 26, 1974, we met with an accident on our way to work. I remember very vividly. We had stopped to cross University Avenue and were having a real time trying to find an opening in the traffic. Jean Fugal was driving and Sister Newman, my sister Irene and I were in the back seat. Evelyn Robbins and Alice Devereaux were in the front seat with Jean. We had waited for some time before Jean could find a break in the traffic. The car in front of us made a break for it giving a left hand signal to turn. When we were in the third lane, the driver of the first car changed her mind and pulled back in front of us. I could see a car coming about a block away, and it showed no signs of stopping. As it got closer to us I whispered to the sisters sitting with me, “We’re going to get it, we can’t help it.” At that moment the car struck us, and I knew no more until they were loading me and Irene in the ambulance. I lay for a while listening to the others groan, then I think to myself, “Somebody must be hurt real bad. I wonder if I dare move.” I moved my left hand and gave a silent prayer of thanks. I could move it. I didn’t have time for anything else, I was being flooded with questions such as who to call, what doctor I wanted; and when I said, “Dr. Thompson,” they said I couldn’t have him and that I would have to have a bone specialist. I told them I didn’t know a bone specialist and they would have to do the best they could for me.

We were rushed to the Utah Valley Hospital, and I had lapses of memory on the trip there. We were ushered into the emergency room, and I don’t remember much from there on. At one time when I came to, Gayle was taking off my skirt, and I felt she was going to pull me in two. Gayle whispered to me that Sister Newman had died. At this moment President Nielsen from the Temple came, and Gayle asked Jean and Brother Nielsen to administer to me. I remember listening to the prayer and I was promised I would be healed completely.

At this point I blacked out, and I don’t remember anything from then on until about three weeks later. I opened my eyes to see President and Sister Clark standing there looking at me. I talked to them and seemed to recognize them. After this they took all the tubes away from me and stopped the oxygen. My room looked like a floral shop. People had been so kind and brought me so many flowers.

Brother Robbins brought Evelyn in to bid me goodbye; they were taking her home. I thought I had been there three days and made the remark that Evelyn must not have been hurt very bad if she could go home so soon.

From that day on I began to make plans. I knew it took six weeks for bones to heal, and I had been there three weeks, surely I could stand it three more weeks. Everyone at the Hospital was so kind to me. All the kids had been there, and I was quite happy. Charlotte came from Idaho, and Ileen from Glyndon, Minnesota. Ira took his vacation, and they all took turns staying with me day and night. Hilga jumped in from the first and acted as a special nurse. She came very three days after I began to get better and gave me my bath and scratched my back until I was able to give myself a bath. When my back began to heal, I itched until I thought I would go crazy. I took so many pills it made me sick to my stomach, and I would vomit every time I saw a food tray coming.

At the end of six weeks I was no nearer out of bed than I was at three. Dr. Bromely came in one day and said he had made arrangements to put me in a rest home. This was the last straw, I vowed I would not go to a Rest Home!!! Grant was there at the time, and he said he wouldn’t let me go to a rest home. So they held a consultation, then they came back and asked if I could go to the American Fork Hospital. It seems they had extended care for patients there. I consented to this, and Jeniel came over and rode with me to the American Fork Hospital. When I left Utah Valley Hospital, I cried, and all the nurses cried; it seemed so much like home to me.

When I got to American Fork Hospital, they were waiting for me. I had been there so many times before that it was a regular homecoming for me. Then started the long wait for recovery, which no one thought I would recover completely. However, they didn’t tell me that, so I thought I had to do it. One day Dr. Bromely told me I could turn over and lay on my stomach, if I could get there. I called a couple of my favorite nurses and told them to help me. They tugged, and they pulled, and they finally rolled me over onto my stomach. No one will ever know how happy I was. Would you believe it, I cried. Partly because I hurt so bad, and partly because I was so happy. We kept this procedure up until I finally could turn myself over.

This was a start, but I couldn’t bend my legs. The therapist took me down and put me in a whirlpool bath, and I got to where I could bend them a little. About three days of this, and I got an awful pain in my right side. I told the doctor about it, and he just brushed it off. So when they came to take my temperature, I read the thermometer and found that I was running a temperature. Next time the doctor came in, I told him I was running a temp. He asked me how I knew, and I told him I was smart enough to read a thermometer. So he told me that I either had Pneumonia or a clot of blood on my lungs. They didn’t have the equipment at the hospital to x-ray my lungs, so they put me in an ambulance and sent me to Provo. Jeniel went with me. It turned out to be pneumonia, and as it is said, they knew how to cure pneumonia, and they did.

Soon the therapist started to work on my legs. He would bend them so far and ask me if they hurt, and when it started to hurt he would quit. Finally one day he asked me if it hurt, and I said, “Yes it does, but go ahead and bend them anyway.”

Come Thanksgiving I wanted to go home for dinner with all the family. The kids got permission, and they brought Grant’s station wagon and put me on a stretcher in the back of it, and I went home for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t stay very long. They got me back okay, but the next time they tried to open the station wagon, they couldn’t get the back open, and they had to pry it open. I can’t help but think how lucky I was that I wasn’t in it then.

By the 20th of December 1974 I was able to walk a little with a walker, so I was released from the hospital, and Jeniel and Grant took me to their place to stay for a while. I managed to live through all their Christmas and New Year’s parties and had begun to get around pretty well. By 11 January 1975 I decided I wanted to go home. Irene was living with me, and we were sure we could get along all right. I managed real well with the walker, and Irene figured I didn’t need her any longer, and she took off for Tulsa, Oklahoma and stayed for a month with her son who lives down there. Ira’s and Jeniel’s kids were taking turns coming down and staying with me at night. One night they got their wires crossed, and no one came, so I stayed by myself. After that I stayed by myself. It was easier than waiting for the older kids to come home, or to get up early in the morning to get the younger kids off to school.

During the long and dreary months ahead, there were two deaths in the family. My best friend Chlora died 18 January 1975. I was unable to attend her funeral; everyone that could went and left me here alone. It was hard, but I know that Chlora would understand. A little later we received word that my sister Abbie was ill and had to have a heart operation. We got a letter from her the day after she died. She said she didn’t want to have this operation but felt she must. She died the 24th of February 1975. Again I stayed home alone while everyone else went to her funeral.

At this writing (August, 1977) I am able to take care of myself and do a few things for someone else. Time healeth all things. I am so grateful that I can walk. I drive my car and get around town pretty lively.

I haven’t been able to go back to the Temple. I am not able to stand for any length of time, and I can’t go through the sessions.

I go to church and Relief Society. I teach the Mother’s Education Class. I intend to go to the church library tomorrow and with this history finished, I will have my genealogy class complete. Believe me I intend to stick with this class until I have my diploma. I have taken this three times, and I want proof, so I won’t have to take it again.

You might not have gotten this last part of my history, except this is one of the requirements for graduation. Now if I make it another ten years, I’ll probably be asked to finish it again, and since it is so hard for me to say no, I’ll do it.

Judge Not


Sacrament Meeting talk by daughter Ileen, July 29, 2012

My passion, as most of you know, is family history. All eight of my great-grandparents joined the Church in its early days and made their way from England, Ireland, Australia, New England and Canada to Utah. Many of these great-grandparents performed temple ordinances for themselves and their ancestors. Consequently, there wasn’t much research left to be done, so I turned my efforts to collecting and publishing details about their lives. When I consider their lives, one thing stands out–they kept going in spite of the hardships, they were committed to the Gospel and answered the call of their leaders to move again and again to help settle the West. I have come to love and appreciate my ancestors. I feel that I know them personally and look forward to meeting them in the next life.

Occasionally, when we come across a “colorful” individual in our family history, we have a tendency to label them as “rascals” or the “black sheep of the family.” One thing I have learned from my family history efforts is to refrain from judging others.

President Monson talked about this in a recent General Conference address. You will remember that he told of a  sister judging a neighbor because her laundry hanging on the line was not clean. Her husband rose early one morning and washed the kitchen window. It wasn’t the laundry that was dirty, it was the kitchen window. President Monson quoted the Savior when he said, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye.” Or, as he paraphrased, “Why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in your own house?”

Learning more about my father and the conditions under which he lived has helped me to understand him better. From my limited view as a child, it was tempting to pass judgment.

  • Most of the time he wore striped bib overalls, a faded-blue long-sleeved shirt and high-top shoes.
  • He was in bed by 9 in the evening and up with the chickens at 5 in the morning. He prepared his coffee and cooked our mush.
  • By 9 o’clock, after working on our 1 3/4-acre lot, he would go to his work as a carpenter.
  • After work he sat in his rocking chair and listened to Gabriel Heator give the news.
  • He rolled his own cigarettes which he smoked–always outside, never in the house–one in the morning and one in the evening.
  • Much to Mother’s dismay, he would not pray with the family nor attend church.
  • I knew my father to always be doing something.
  • I remember him regularly keeping our push lawn mower sharpened and in top working order.
  • He repaired the kitchen chairs and other household items almost before they needed it.
  • More than once, I saw him take his dollar pocket watch apart on the kitchen table and soak it in kerosene to clean it.
  • The clippers Mom used to cut his hair he frequently took apart and sharpened the blades. These were hand clippers, not the electric clippers we have today.

Now I would like to share with you some things I learned about my father through my family history efforts.

Dad’s parents were married in 1886, close to the time when there was much opposition to plural marriage. The manifesto was issued in November 1890, so Grandma, who was the second wife, and her first born, then about 9 months old, were sent to live with Grandpa’s uncle and used an assumed name. Later she moved back to Arizona where she lived in a one-room log cabin, about 14 feet x 12 feet. There was one bed for their parents with a trundle bed underneath. Beds for the rest of the seven children were made on the floor each night and the bedding put away again in the morning.

Dad attended school in the winter when he wasn’t needed on the ranch. Because he couldn’t go all the time, he was behind in the class and older than most of the other students.

He couldn’t find work that was steady, so he raised sheep and cattle on the farm. He tried to save his money so he could go to school, but when he found that his younger sisters and brothers needed shoes and the family had to have flour, he would turn over his earnings to his father and go back to herding sheep.

Even though he could not go to school, he always had a desire for learning. When he was 18 years of age he came back from the mountains and went to the Board of Trustees of the school and asked for special permission to attend school. He was granted this privilege and attended school for six months one winter so he could finish the 6th grade.

My oldest sister Hilga writes, “Reading was his favorite pastime. He read whenever he could, and all subjects available. He seldom read novels or cheap literature; he read on all the political issues and current events, history and church works. He was always on a quest for the knowledge he had been unable to attain as a child and a young man. He was eager to learn from anyone, and although he may not have agreed with your views, he always listened.”

He enlisted in the Army during World War I, but was sent home after three months because of a bad heart due to rheumatic fever as a child. Another sister, Helen, told me that she used to go to work with Dad after school and on Saturdays to help him. Growing up I was never aware of his heart condition. After having had some heart problems of my own, I can understand why he went to bed at 9 pm. He was tired!

As a child, his family was much too poor to pay for a doctor, and instead used home remedies. His maternal grandfather was an herb doctor. At that time tobacco and coffee were used for medicinal purposes. Dad’s morning coffee and twice-daily cigarettes were, I believe, the stimulant he needed to get through the day.

At his funeral a coworker said of him:

“Perhaps you think he didn’t come to church much to know whether he had a testimony of the Gospel or not, but I have been with him when the Church has been challenged, and I have just enjoyed being quiet and listening to what he had to say about it. He could hold his own, perhaps not from a scholarly standpoint. I didn’t find him arguing with anybody, but in no uncertain terms, he gave several people that I knew of the occasion to understand that as far as he was concerned the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was worth while and those that didn’t have it were lacking.

“I have seen him put a floor down in a home I was building, and by the time he’d get through with all the scraps he didn’t waste anything. If you have ever put a hardwood floor down, you know how easy it is to go across the floor til you get to the other side. The last six inches there is no place to pry against the wood, you have a plastered wall. It’s hard to get the nails in, and in some homes next to the wall you’ll see cracks left because it was too hard to put it down right. Just little things like that, Brother Ray Judd took just as much interest in getting the last three boards in the floor just right as he did the first ones. I think that that is the place where you find out what kind of an individual we are. Long as everything is going easy, it’s not too much trouble to do it right, but when it comes to the tight places in life, some people give up.”

Once we become better acquainted with someone we have criticized and can see things from their point of view, our judgment is more forgiving. Through my efforts to learn about my ancestors I have come to appreciate my father more. He worked as hard as he could and was good to us kids, even when I put my foot through the kitchen ceiling while stepping around on the rafters upstairs as he was laying the flooring.

Again, as President Monson said, “There is really no way we can know the heart, intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize.”

Eliza R. Snow wrote the text of Hymn No. 273, “Truth Reflects upon Our Senses.” This hymn
addresses the topic of judging others. I particularly like verses 2 and 5:

Jesus said, Be meek and lowly,
For ’tis high to be a judge;
If I would be pure and holy,
I must love without a grudge.
It requires a constant labor
All his precepts to obey.
If I truly love my neighbor,
I am in the narrow way.

Charity and love are healing,
These will give the clearest sight;
When I saw my brother’s failing,
I was not exactly right.
Now I’ll take no further trouble;
Jesus’ love is all my theme;
Little motes are but a bubble
When I think upon the beam.

-o-O-o-

Personal History of Hilga


Written by herself, November 2001

I was born in Delta, Utah, in 1927. I was the first child of my parents.  I spent the first two years of my life on a small farm in Sutherland, a small farm community near Delta. This was just a few miles west of where my grandparents lived. My brother Ira was born just a year after me, 26 Apr 1928. The family moved to Provo in 1929 to a farm of about 50 acres. The land was only fair-to-poor for raising crops, so Dad bought a small herd of dairy cows and started a door-to-door milk route in Provo. He milked about 20 head (by hand) for about 15 years. Through the years he raised such crops as sugar beets, grain and hay. He even tried celery one year, but it must not have paid off, because he did not try it again the next year. I think it must have been very labor intensive, and he had only some small kids to help him.

My earliest memories seem to be of hay hauling time. I believe I was about seven when it became my duty to help tromp the load. Dad would climb up at intervals to help square up the load for me. As I became older, this job was passed on to Helen and Ira, and I started to help pitch the hay on the load. Dad even found a smaller pitch fork for me, and I still have it. Ira learned to drive the tractor as he got older, but I never mastered the skill. I remember when I was twelve and wanted to drive the car to pull up the hay fork into the barn. Dad finally relented when he got tired of listening to me whine, and took me for a trial run. He told me to back the car up to the middle of the corral, and when I heard the word, I was to gun the car and then let it coast up to the barn. I put my foot down on the gas and did not take it off until I hit the post that held up the shed. Dad did not say a word, but the look on his face indicated that I had failed the test, and should return to the barn and continue to tromp and pitch the hay as it was dumped from the big hay fork. Ira resumed the easy job of driving the car. I decided that I would never be able to drive, so I never asked again.

Beet thinning time was always the worst time of the year for me. It meant long hours of crawling down even longer rows of little sugar beets. Dad would block the row with a hoe, and we would then thin each clump of beets to just one plant. Many were the trousers that had no knees at the end of the day. Burlap sacks were sometimes used to make pads for our poor sore knees. I always managed to tear out more beets by dragging the sac than I did with my fingers. I remember that the four of us, Ira, Helen, Jeniel and I worked for about two years for a bike. (It was still in use in 1955.) Ira laid claim to the bike, and of course the girls all gave into him. It afforded him the transportation that he needed to get him far enough away that he was not always available to help with the chores.

I think threshing time stands out as the most exciting time of all. The grain would be hauled into the yard and stacked in large round stacks. Threshing was a community effort. Dad would go to the neighbors and help them, and then they would come to help him. The threshing machine would pull into the yard the night before the big day, and it would be set up so that they would get an early start the next day. The crew arrived early, started the big machine, and the straw and chaff would begin to fly. There would be straw chaff all over everything; we kids would be covered thick with it. The fine, nice wheat would pour into the bins in the granary, or into sacks for hauling away. We loved to play in the grain and bury ourselves in the bins. I think that the most impressive thing about the day was the large crowd of men and all the big machinery. Mom would cook a big meal for the menfolk, and it was a wonderful time. When I got older, it was not as much fun, because I would have to stay in the house and help Mom cook the meal, and then wash up the dishes.

I learned to milk cows when I was about eight years old. At first I just milked at night and only one or two cows who were about ready to dry up, so I could not do too much damage to them. Later I had to get up and milk in the morning before I could go to school. Since the bus came about 7:30, that meant EARLY. I hated going to school with my hands smelling like a cow, but I could sure arm wrestle the boys because of my strong hands and arms.

I started school at the age of 6, attending LV Elementary. This was a two-room school, so the first, second and third grades shared one room and one teacher. I spent most of my time listening to what was going on in the other grades. I did very well and was a good student. I would bring my little books home and read to the other kids. The next year LV was closed, and we were bused twelve miles to the Spencer Elementary. The long ride was often hard. In the winter we would have to sit on our feet to keep them warm. We were one of the first to get on the bus and it was cold. We also had to walk about a half mile to catch the bus. Some days in the winter the snow would drift over the road, and we would have a real struggle getting to the bus stop. Sometimes we were wet to our knees by the time the bus got us to the school.

I had measles in the first grade, but managed not to miss a day of school from the second grade to the sixth, even though I had all the regular childhood diseases. I did have to stay home when I had the mumps in the sixth grade. By the time I got back to school, half of the class was out with the mumps. We even managed to give them to Mom. I remember seeing her try to hang wallpaper. She had a rag tied under shin to hold the mumps up, and she would hang one piece of paper and then lay down for a while. We all lay on our beds and watched her.

My close friends were LaRue Paquin who lived with her grandmother in a very small house on the main road and by the Provo River. Jean Jorgensen lived by the beet factory just across the main road at the head of our road. I did not get to visit them much because it was almost a mile to their houses. We did spend a lot of time together at school. We stayed at Spencer until we finished the 8th grade.

Lincoln High School was across the street from Spencer, and I went to the 9th grade there. I sang a solo in the school operetta that year. I don’’t remember the name of the play, only that I sang “Beautiful Dreamer.” I was so afraid when I sang at the matinee that I was so far off key that the piano had to stop and let me go on alone. The next performance was better, that was when my parents came to see me perform. I was not able to participate in after-school activities since we lived so far away, and I had to catch the bus home. I had to get home to wash milk bottles, then milk cows and do other chores. I spent as much time as I was allowed with my nose in a book. I often read about four books a week. I knew every book in the school library, and I always had some checked out. All of this reading helped me with my reading and spelling skills, but I never did do well in math.

About this time in my life Dad had his first heart attack. I don’’t think I even knew that he was sick. He could no longer take the long hours on the milk route and the care of the dairy cows plus the crops, so he sold the cows and turned the barn into a chicken coop. He raised pullets to sell for laying hens. The chickens were hard to raise, and many of them died, so needless to say, he made no money on them. Even the laying hens did not lay enough eggs to pay for their feed. Times were a little rough about then. It was about 1940, and the Government wanted to build a steel plant away from the sea shores. They decided to build it in Vineyard. That was the best farming ground in the county, but it was close to Utah Lake and to the railroad. So the Government bought out those farmers, and they were looking for other farms to buy. Dad was able to sell his equity in the farm for enough to buy a house in PG and have it paid for. Then he could go ahead and die and Mom and the kids would at least have a place to live. There was an acre or more of ground and two large chicken coops on it. We did bring some chickens and a cow with us. I was assigned the task of milking the cow, because I knew how. The other girls never did learn to milk. (When I graduated and left home, Dad sold the cow!!)

I remember the day we moved. The neighbor brought over his large hay wagon, and we loaded everything on it. I think there was also a truck, and a trailer behind the car. Some of us kids wanted to ride on top of the load of furniture. I can just imagine what the neighbors must have thought when they saw us coming. Talk about “Oakies.” We could hardly wait to get down to survey the place. The house was brick and had one bedroom, a kitchen, large living room and a BATHROOM!!! on the main floor. There was a second floor (without a floor) with a small, steep stairway up to it. We all had to try out the toilet; we had never had indoor plumbing like that before.

Well, you might guess that five kids did not fit well into that limited space. The rooms were all large with very high ceilings. Mom and Dad and the baby (Ileen) slept in the bedroom, and the rest of us slept in the front room with all the furniture we did not have room for in the other rooms. Dad had brought some flooring or barn siding from the farm, so it was not too long before he laid down a floor upstairs over the kitchen; that way we would get some heat from the chimney from the coal cook stove in the kitchen. We had a folding bed that he was able to get up the narrow stairway. Jeniel and I were the ones who stayed up there. It was June 1942 when we moved, and it did not take long to find some friends in the neighborhood. Ira met the three Jackson boys whose grandmother lived across the street north of us. Ora Jense became my friend, as she lived across the street to the west of us. Ardell Peterson lived down the street from her, so I had some one to help me get acquainted. Mom took a calling in the MIA and found many friends at church. Dad worked for a short time at the steel plant building some of the buildings. He could not stand the way supplies and materials were wasted, so he quit. He found other work with a carpenter who was building houses on the north edge of town. He was able to work on a contract basis doing finish carpentry. That way he could work when he felt up to it, and to go home if he had any chest pain. He had a good boss, and did very good work, so he was able to do this for several years.

I started tenth grade at Pleasant Grove High School. The kids there were rather clannish, so I did not mix with them socially. I concentrated on my studies, and continued to read lots of books. I maintained an A grade and graduated in the top ten of my class of 80. I had decided that I wanted to be a nurse, so I took all of the science and math classes that I could get so I would qualify for Nurses Training. The War was in full swing, and they needed nurses at the front. The Government was offering the Cadet Nurse Corps, started in 1943, to encourage women to become nurses. The program paid tuition and uniforms, plus a stipend of $10 per month. I was accepted into the program; my good grades had paid off for me in that way. I went into training in June of 1945 and the war ended in August of the same year. I was able to finish my training at the Government’’s expense. That was real lucky for me, because I would never have gotten an education except in that way.

Now back to school days at Pleasant Grove High. My favorite teacher was Estelle Fenton. She taught English and literature. She was single and very heavy, she was also very stern, but you could learn from her if you were willing to study.

During the summers we would work in the fruit. We picked strawberries, raspberries, apricots, beans, tomatoes, peaches and finished up the season with apples. It kept us busy and gave us pocket money for such events as Strawberry Days carnival, movies, ice cream, and finally school clothes. I remember when I bought my first skirt and patent leather shoes with my earnings. I was so proud of myself, and I felt so elegant in those shoes. When I turned sixteen I was able to work in the cannery doing apricots. I made $36 that first check. I was so proud, and I took it right home and asked my Dad if he would build me a room of my own upstairs. I am sure that it cost more than what I had given him to build it, but boy was I glad to have a place of my own. My bed was a mattress on a board over two saw horses. I could now read all night if I wanted to, and Jeniel would not holler at me. Dad then went ahead and finished off the rest of the bedrooms, so we now had three bedrooms upstairs and a cubby hole where extra things could be stored. We were living in class. Dad later moved the door of the bathroom from the kitchen to the rear hall. It was always bad if you were in the bathroom and there was company come to call, and you could be stuck in the bathroom. We always had to make sure that we had that part of getting ready for a date done as soon as possible.

Timeline


Here’s the beginning of a timeline to build our story around. Are there other things that should be included? Please add additions to a comment, and I will revise our timeline to include them.

There are bits and pieces of our history that have already been written, and I will post them soon. We will work them into our history as we go.

Watch for new tabs at the top of the blog. Current tabs are Home, About, and Purpose.

——–———————

1926 MARRIAGE: Ray and Lila married in Manti.

1927 BIRTH: Hilga born, in Sutherland.

1928 BIRTH: Ira born, in Sutherland.

1929 August Great Depression, stock market crash

1930 BIRTH: Helen born at home in LV.

1931 BIRTH: Jeniel born at home in LV.

1935 BIRTH: Ileen born at home in LV.

1939 to 1945 Would War II

1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

1941 November to December 1944 Geneva Steel Plant construction

1942 Move to PG

1943 BIRTH: Charlotte born in AF.

1945  Hilga graduates from Cadet Nursing Program

1946 Ira in Army in Japan during post-war occupation.

1949 Hilga marries.

1950 Helen marries.

1951 Jeniel marries.

1951 Ira marries.

1956  Ileen marries.

1956? Church remodel in PG.  Ira’s fall.

1957 December DEATH: Dad died at PG while working on the church building.

1968  Charlotte marries George

1972  Charlotte marries Harold

1988 DEATH: Mom died at PG.

We’ve Hit A Snag


Well, in spite of my best efforts to demonstrate the usefulness of blogs in writing family history stories, we’ve hit a snag–getting the main participants registered and on board, so all can contribute.

  1. As helpful as blogs are in getting groups of people together without each having to actually be physically present,  they are not without their challenges.  Take, for example, our major participants in this experiment of writing a family history.  These 70- and 80-something-year-old siblings have a perfect knowledge of what life was like “back then,”  but they are lacking in the language to express it.  That’s right, they are lacking in the language of technology.  Not only is it necessary for them to learn new concepts and procedures–those which three- and four-year-old’s absorb with little effort–they also have to unlearn some things and remember others–which is challenging for someone who cannot even remember (or retrieve) a friend’s name or what day of the week it is!
  2. Another challenge is the leader, in this case the blog owner, who is also a newcomer on the technology scene and is struggling to stay one step ahead of her followers.  Like our mother used to say, she knows just enough to be dangerous.
  3. I came face to face with a third challenge as I attempted to help my four siblings register as “followers” of this blog, so the system would recognize them as legitimate participants and not spam.   Well, there is more than one way to register and more than one thing to register for.  As Dad used to say, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”
  4. Furthermore, computers are just getting too smart these days and try to anticipate what you want to do next, ofttimes leading you down the path to an unintended destination.  To add to the confusion of registering, the leader (blog owner) does not see the same thing on her computer screen as a potential follower sees during the registration process, making it difficult to give relevant guidance.

If this all sounds like I am confused, it is because I am.  I think I need to make a personal visit to each of my siblings and see if we can figure out how to get them commenting.

In the meantime I will try to post a few things for you to think about.