161161 Again the world was at war. Actually, the twenty years between the signing of the Versailles Treaty and the time Germany invaded Poland was more like an armed truce than a period of peace. World War I was a struggle for empire and power. So was World War II, but it was also a struggle between democracy and fascism. President Roosevelt called it a “war for survival.”
Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, was a megalomaniac, possessing the same kind of world power ideas that Kaiser Bill once had. Isaiah must have witnessed the scenes of World War II when he asked the Lord to close the vision. The most horrible accounts of human torture that can be conceived came out of the Second World War. In this conflict, the different theaters of war affected every ocean and continent. It was a total war. When Germany invaded Russia, reporters commented, “Let dog eat dog.”
Our ward had farewell parties for every departing service man and missionary, with dancing, cake, and freezer ice cream. Big money jobs with Uncle Sam boomed across the land, with wages as high as $60 a week. All it took to become a carpenter for Uncle was a pair of white overalls and the willingness to leave home. There was a general exodus of farmers rushing to Nevada to build barracks and ammunition dumps. Orchards and fields were forsaken. The gold rush was on.
Marilyn turned eight years old in January, and Winferd baptized her in one of the private baths behind the swimming pool. After he pulled the board to let the water out of the bath, we left Marilyn to dress. As I stood outside her door, I heard the water pounding from the spillway into the empty bath. Then came a crash and a scream. Pushing the door open, I peered through the steam. The bench Marilyn had been sitting on had rolled with her into the cement pit below. She lay with the bench on top of her, and the water splashing over her. Poor, bewildered little girl. I gathered her up and soothed her.
The following day, Winferd and I faced the greatest test of our married life—that of parting. He had been a farm hand for Mr. Graff, but now the “gold fever” hit him. Now was the time to make some of the big money so we could finish our home. Six people crowded into our little garage was beginning to be a problem. In our twelve years together, we had never been apart, except for a day or two at a time. Suddenly I felt timid and uncertain of myself. Could I cope with being without him? Then I was buoyed up with the thought that the Lord wouldn’t want me to be a weakling. I’d pray earnestly every day, and we would get along just fine.
Brother Iverson offered to take our milk cow. I had never confessed to Winferd that I knew how to milk, because I didn’t want anyone to expect it of me. But now I said, “Thanks, Brother Iverson. I will take care of the cow myself.”
162162 On January the 12th, Winferd left for Nevada, and I was left with our four children, the cow, and a flock of chickens. With a queer, hollow feeling, I realized Winferd would not be home for supper. He wouldn’t even be home when darkness fell. He wouldn’t be bringing in the bucket of milk for me to strain. I was on my own! My heart trembled. Cry? Who, me? Oh, no, not I. I would think brave, strong thoughts. I walked through our new house. The windows were in, the floors laid, and the doors hung. Exciting projects leaped to my mind. “I’ll clean the putty off the glass. I’ll paint the baseboards, the doors, and the closets. I’ll get the lot plowed and planted, and put in fruit trees and berry bushes.” Projects presented themselves to my mind with exciting rapidity, and mentally were as speedily accomplished. For a full twenty-four hours I felt the strength of Atlas and the speed of light.
Then I listened to my trembling heart and whispered, “I am not big and brave. I’m little and alone.” After the children were asleep, I walked under the stars and wept, “Come back, Winferd. I can’t live without you.” Loneliness stalked every quiet moment. How thankful I was for the children. How blessed, I thought, is the house that is noisy with children.
For two anxious weeks we called at the post office, then finally a letter came from Winferd. He had checked out jobs in different localities and at last had arrived at Hawthorne, Nevada.
Brief excerpts from parts of our letters will pick up our story:
Hawthorne, Nevada, January 22, 1942
Dear Alice and family: Journey’s end for the present. Arrived here about 4:20 yesterday and spent the rest of the time till 9 looking for a place to lay our heads, then Elmer and Leona Hardy opened their davenport for us.
The ride out was uneventful and there is little to see but the same kind of hills with no vegetation except shad and match brush. No trees hardly the whole day. … This morning we went to locate a job and got a place to fix up here in town. The other work is out of town from two to four miles. A Greek is having his bar enlarged and we go to work at noon. The other big job we came up here for is held up for material, so this little town job will tide us to the time the other outfit can use men. … This is just a note to put your mind at ease somewhat. I have been imagining all the fun (?) you’ve been having since I am out of the picture. Still, I hope “distance lends enchantment” to a point where you can still go on thinking a few kind things. When I know where I can change my mind, ways, clothes, or do as I please, I will have a little more to say on the subject, but now I will just leave it to I love you always. Winferd.
LaVerkin, January 24, 1942
Dear Winferd, we’ve had your letter about two hours, but it seems if I write back at once, I may speed the next word from you. Norman brought your letter in while we were at the dinner table. The kids hovered breathlessly over my chair while I opened and read the precious document. I admit I felt somewhat the same as they.
Norman complained that Jane and Dee had letters from their daddy that were all theirs. He and Marilyn wanted to divide your letter.
163163 DeMar cried for you last night. That’s the first time he’s mentioned you. It’s odd, but he’s never thought of saying his prayers until the first night you were away. He listened from his bed to Marilyn and Norman, then he called, “Com’mere Mudder. Mar get up say blessing.” I let him out of his snuggler and he kneeled in his bed while I helped him. Each night since, this has been repeated. I’d say, “...and take good care of Daddy and bring him home to us.” He’d repeat it after me each time, but last night he started to cry when we got to there. He said, “Daddy come home,” over and over.
I suppose you’re overcome with curiosity about me and the “old sot” (the cow). Well, I’ll put your mind at rest. We’re getting along famously. Fact is, the old gal has concluded that I’m quite nice. I lead her to the tap each time and let her carry her own water. While she’s here at the house, we get the milking done, the cow and I. She sniffs the stool each time, trying to make out what it’s for. (Winferd never used a milk stool.) It took me one-half hour the first time I milked. Yield: One gallon. Gradually we’ve increased to nine quarts a milking. I was so elated at first, I could have kissed the cow, but I got over that. My milking muscles that have slumbered all these years, began to groan and creak over the sudden burst of activity. I’m lame up both arms, clear to my ears.
Your dad and Uncle Joe brought a bunch of Wickli names from Switzerland for me to type on family group sheets. They don’t know I’m too lame to plunk a typewriter. My days are crammed to the brim and topsy-turvy. I can only type a little in the evenings. My world is upside down. Everything I do seems but a part of a strange dream. My senses have all suffered a relapse. I do not cry. I could not. I feel nothing of fear, loneliness, anxiety, in fact, I feel nothing, only my arms. I work harder than ever before. I shut you up in my mind and heart and try not to let you out. Otherwise, I would be swept away in a flood of loneliness that I could not endure.
I raked yards most of the morning and turned over a corner of garden for lettuce and fenced it off with chicken wire. Van will plow the lot when it’s dry enough. It’s still too soggy...Goodbye, and lots of love. Alice
P.S. Shirley is sitting on my lap watching the pen with great interest. She’s a perfect darling.
Hawthorne, January 25
…Well, I joined the union, or should I say, paid my first fee to the tune of $10.00. I am supposed to pay a dollar a day for each day I work till my $50 is in, then I get my card good anywhere.…I eat at cafes and sleep in hotels, so it is sure costing plenty, when you think of spending $1.00 a night for bed and an average of 50 cents for regular meals.
This burg harks back to the good old days. I tell you, there is plenty of the same spirit. Gambling bars everywhere. There must be ten places here, or more, big saloon type places (bars) and believe me, the gangs do pile in and toss around the cash. There was supposed to be a dancer at one place last nite. We went down to see her, but it was plenty tame. I think every girl and woman smokes and drinks and they all have the genuine look of the roaring ’50s when these mine towns were booming. This village is about as crumby a place as ever was. Shacks all over with no regard for cleanliness 164164 or anything. Old frame shacks of the old past and no sidewalks to speak of…I pray all is well with my family, and I do look forward to getting a letter. Best wishes and all my love, Winferd.
LaVerkin, January 27
Dear Winferd…I’ve just come in from Mutual. I stood around after it was out, waiting. Suddenly I realized you were not walking home with me. I looked around the hall, and you were not there. I haven’t come to the realization yet that you are really and truly gone. I keep thinking of things to tell you when you come home at night, and then with a queer feeling I remember you are not coming.
Your folks are so nice. Rosalba, Van, and your dad all came Sunday afternoon. Van milked the cow Sunday night and tonight. Your dad staked her out. Kate stayed all day Sunday. I took her home in the flivver at nine at night. I’ve parked it to stay now. It has developed a new complaint. The kids (your kids) have wounded it fatally. That old pitchfork was hanging over the front bumper when I went to use the car, and as I filled the radiator, water spurted like a geyser from the front of the radiator. I suspect the fork on the bumper explains the hole.
Van plowed our place today, and you should see it. It is sticky and boggy. He suggests that I let it dry hard to slack and clods, and then pond it with water, and when it’s dry enough, harrow it. He’s going to come down the last of the week to look at it.
Wednesday, 11 p.m.
Thank you so much. Your letter came today. We were so happy to hear from you. Marilyn brightened when I read in you letter that you were thinking of LasVegas, that you might come home once in awhile.
Sister Church, Sister Thompson, and Sister Stratton were here when Norman brought the mail in. (The Relief Society Presidency. I was a counselor to Sister Church, along with Gretchen Stratton. Kate Thompson was the secretary.) They left at 4:30. They were here two hours. I could hardly wait to open your letter…We are going to knit for the Red Cross in Relief Society, so I suppose I’ll be learning the art…
“All things come to him who waits!” How many times have you aggravated me with that statement? I could not post my letter yesterday because those ladies stayed too late, and anyway, I didn’t want to post it until after I had your package in the mail.
LaPriel and Jimmy went to California for their honeymoon. They were coming back here before he goes in the army. (Cornelius.)
Pop and Clint looked in on us yesterday to see how we were surviving your absence. All of a sudden folks are kind and thoughtful as though there had been a bereavement in the family. The similarity is striking…
There was another letter from you. My, but we did enjoy it…You know, the funniest thing, Sunday during church, the thought came to me, “Winferd was called to speak in Sacrament meeting today.” And sure enough, you were! That’s pretty good, isn’t it!
I’ve checked everywhere. Nobody has a scrap of hay to spare. I stake the cow around, and she does quite well.
165165 January 27
Marilyn dictating: Dear Daddy - The chickens sure wish they could get in the car to lay an egg. They are always jumping up and looking in the window and thinking how nice it would be. They sure wish they could lay an egg. The new yellow chickens are laying now. There is a nest in the basement and there is one under the bridge by the berry bushes. I looked down the ditch bank and behind the currants and i found a rotten egg and I stomped on it and the top blew off and went “plunk” way up in the air. Sure was funny. We sended your parcel too. From Marilyn
Norman dictating: Dear Daddy, my trike seat came off. Marilyn pulled it clear out and I took the pliers and fixed it and then it wouldn’t turn. It would be a good idea to go down to LasVegas and then you could come home some Sundays. Mother saw a bee when she was out washing one day and she told me to bring my cherry plants outside so they could get cherries on. And lots of love X O O X from Norman
… This is the most measly town you’ve ever heard of. Thora says practically everyone in town has measles. Marilyn has come down with them now.
Note: Winferd shares a room with Luther Fuller (Lew). His letters are sprinkled with Lew’s views. Since Lew took possession of the two-foot table for his correspondence, all of Winferd’s letters were penned on his knee as he sat on the edge of the bed. Lew prefers the outside of the bed, so Winferd has to climb over him, mornings and nights. “One day I’m going to have a bed with two outsides.” The Sears Catalog is Winferd’s encyclopedia, which brings forth Lew’s scorn. For three days they debated (argued) over who sold the best tools, Sears or Pennys. Three of Winferd’s letters were filled with the debate. Winferd says Lew was bullheaded. Of course, Winferd wasn’t. He just hung doggedly to his original opinion. The debate was a tie.
LaVerkin, February 3
…Shirley has discovered her feet. She sticks them up in the air all the while she’s awake and watches them. Her booties won’t stay on five minutes. I buttoned those little red doll shoes on her today. That tickled the kids. Norman wanted me to put her down and let her walk. He insisted she could if I’d just let go of her. Marilyn is still in bed with the measles, but she got up to see Shirley. The kids screamed and laughed so much at her that she became as delighted as they were. I wheeled her bed into the front room where the kids could watch her, she was so interested in the shoes.
…You’d feel repaid if you could see how delighted the kids were with the cards you wrote them. They carried them around all afternoon. Norman says, “Daddy sure can write good letters, can’t he.” DeMar has been rigging up a play car today. He says, “Fix a car up and go find Daddy.”
Hawthorne, Nevada, February 4
…This place is going to be the biggest operation Uncle Sam has anywhere before they are through. …I spent an hour or two yesterday and sewed up my coat,. The sleeves and seams were out. I bot some size 16 thread and self threading needles for 20¢ and did the job myself. The shop wanted 50¢ for doing it. …It’s surprising how many things I see every day that reminds me of some phase of home life—kids, wife, house, etc. etc. …Ardella told me that Paul and Clifton Wilson were drafted. …I was just thinking, this is one place where kids don’t 166166 have to be scolded about keeping out of water. No mud, no ditches, no water. …Be writing soon again and between time thinking a lot of lovely things of my family. Hello to all my kids and kiss each one for me.
LaVerkin, February 4
…When I was introduced to Maud Reid’s mother, Maud said, “This is Mrs. Gubler, Mother.” Her mother said, “Indeed? That is number twenty. I’ve counted them all and you are the twentieth Mrs. Gubler.” …I wanted to tell you how much we want a buggy for Shirley. It has been such wonderful weather. Shirley could have enjoyed it so much if I’d had a buggy for the kids to wheel her about on the square. When I look at the baby laying in her bed, with all this spring weather going to waste, and the kids needing occupation, I mentally take the buggy out of the luxury class and put it down among the necessities.
What is a person supposed to do when the cow gets too affectionate? I just came in from milking. I got a handful of hay and came up the lane with it so she’d follow to water. If I didn’t do that, I’d have to tug and tug on her chain to pull her past the hay. She kept stepping a little faster and stretching her neck a little longer, and I kept stepping faster until finally we were running, and I got scared, so when she grabbed the hay, I let her have it, and we were only to the sand pile by then. I tried to gather some of the hay and come on, but she made awful noises at me. Worse noises than you’ve ever heard her do, and she looked funny, too. When she finally came for a drink, I sat on the stool to milk her and she kept sliding over to me, and I kept hitching my stool back a little further, like she was going to lay down on me, and I was thinking how heavy she’d be. Finally, she turned her head way around and looked at me. I wondered whether she was friend or foe, then she sniffed at my sweater and tried to lick my face. I think she likes me, but I hope she doesn’t expect me to romp with her. When I staked her out, she bucked and took after me. I ran. I was glad she could only go to the end of her chain.
Sugar rationing makes me mad. On one of those defense broadcasts, they said there would be enough for our needs. Well, the store is out of sugar. They’ve used up all of their allotment and won’t be able to get any more for awhile, and when they do, people will have to buy $2.50 worth of groceries for each ten pounds of sugar, and then it costs 75¢ for the sugar. And we don’t even buy groceries. We have all the milk, eggs, butter, etc. we can possibly use, with the fruits and vegetables we grow. As I said before, it makes me mad.
(Note: Times were crazy. Because of the war, building material and everything containing metal was frozen. Metal was reserved for ammunition and building material for barracks and ammunition dumps. Fabrics were reserved for uniforms. For a time, all yard goods disappeared from store shelves. People, in a panic, had begun hoarding. To buy nylons, one had to be on a black market mailing list. For a price, you could get six pair, all of which shot runners at the first wearing. Lines formed at checkout stands in the big stores. When customers saw a lineup, they automatically got in it, knowing that some extinct item was being dispensed at the other end. It didn’t matter what it was. If it was hard to get, everyone wanted it. Meat, sugar, and gas were rationed. People had to register the number in their household before they could receive stamps to buy them.)
167167 Hawthorne, Nevada, February 8
Here it is just after meeting and I still feel the need of visiting with you, Sweetheart. After years of only having Sunday as a day of leisure, working early and late the others, and spending what time I could where you were, I did it this way.
It is such a beautiful day. The lake looks beautiful down the valley and the pure white tops of the mountains west are restful and serene. It would be a pleasure to climb the hill.
Today has been nice for several reasons. The Stake President, Brother Hurst, and Relief Society Stake President, Sister Purdy, were here for meeting. They had to drive 136 miles to get here, so their visit meant quite something. Willard Duncan and Brig Hardy’s son Frank played a duet with accordion and guitar, “O My Father,” and it was nice, too. Brother Hughes, Superintendent of Sunday School, had a heart attack and the doctor gave him up completely. They had the Priesthood in and held prayer circles and feel like the hand of death had been stayed. The doctor said only some magic power saved him.
I wish I could hurry and get my debts off my mind. They’re heavy. I do considerable daydreaming for a man of my age, but then I need some pleasurable time consumer to to keep up my spirits. Our needs are so many and our wants quite a few. I grow impatient. I buy up no more dead horses after the herd is paid for, providing my purchases can be timed to travel alongside the purse. My daydreaming is not always on just financial lines. I spend a lot of time connected with my family and their needs.
How my love goes out to all of you. There is far more pull in your direction than I ever could have known when you were single, much as I loved you then. I think you are a good sport, a brave woman, a lovely pal, and the sweetheart of all my idealism.
Got your clock turned on tonite? Never did see just what good that faster time did for anyone. Makes me peeved. … Oh, my, I’ve been on the go so much and an hour earlier out here that I begin to get my usual Sunday weariness and with only a half rest all day. Guess I’ll join L.C. (Lew) and take my beauty sleep. If I’m up early, I can add a few fresh lines tinted by morning sunshine. Bless you dear for your virtues, and I’ve asked it at the right place for “his” too. Good nite and pleasant dreams. W.
LaVerkin, Sunday February 8
… The one that’s away from home misses out on the fun of the family. The kids are swell. Shirley is the cutest little tyke I’ve ever met. She’s unbelievably good. I’m too busy during week days to hardly look at her, but I’ve been playing with her this afternoon. DeMar is cute, too. Shirley was fussing a while ago, and he took a book to her crib. “Don’t cry, Shirley,” he said, “Mar read a tory.”
Kate slept here Friday night and we talked until one a.m. I was dopey all day, and then last night I was up till midnight. My usual Saturday night jinks. I thought I’d rest today while DeMar napped, but the little scrub lay and hollered, “Wanna gettleup.” He was in that cheesecloth snuggler. When I finally took him out, there was nothing left but the zipper.
Marilyn is broken out with measles again. Dr. McIntire says to keep her down, but she’s bounding all over. Her eyes are awfully red. I’ve carried 168168 a tray of food to her bed each meal until this morning. I decided it was silly. She’s been in here half the time, crawling back in bed when I started to fix a meal. She gets a thrill out of that tray. Man! Has she got galloping consumption! She’s constantly shouting that she's hungry. With elation she counts each dish I put on her tray. She can't comprehend my extravagance with dishes. I put everything on at once to shut her up so I won't have to trot my legs off. Being an invalid is just one big vacation to her.
Hawthorne, February 11, 1942
Yesterday I visited with Leah (my cousin Leah Stout Pearce) for an hour or more. She wanted me to stay longer. First time she has been around anyone who knew the same folks as she. She had a letter from her mother and learned of LaPriel's marriage.
… I trust the kids all got a kick out of the package and the valentines … I keep thinking about my kids. Trying to figure what they would be doing and how they are making out. How long before the others will be down with the measles, etc. You're doing a great and mighty work. Try to keep up the cheer and just kick ole man worry in the seat of the pants. I may be a long way off so you can't hear, but I'm cheering you on in this race. Every nite I ask our Father to keep my family, and I know he will.
LaVerkin, February 12, 1942
We got two letters and the valentines yesterday. The candy came today. The kids were excited and the valentines amusing. That "from the bottom of my heart" one of Norman's made the kids giggle. The "Hi Honey" to Shirley was most appropriate. She is a wonder and a marvel. Never really cries, just fusses when she's uncomfortable. She's a noisy tyke. You should hear how lively she can scold. The kids laugh over that too. Your valentine to me was the nicest of them all. The letter in it made it so. I hope before I'm through with this life I can justify all the good things that come my way … We appreciate your prayers in our behalf. DeMar prays for "Daddy way off to Pok Corn." I can't get him to say Hawthorne.
DeMar climbed upon Shirley's bed and it scooted out from under him, banging his head. I put a cold pack on his forehead. His eyes had a funny, glassy look. That was about 4:00 p.m. He hadn't snapped out of it by milking time. The cow was out and I almost froze before I found her. When I got back, DeMar was whimpering in his rocking chair. He acted like he had an awful headache. I felt so sorry for him.
That old brute of a cow almost gets me down. As I led her across the square, she'd stop every little way and shake her horns at me, jumping stiff legged in little circles. I didn't dare run. Once when I ran, she took after me. All that saved me were the trees I ran behind, where her chain caught. I know she'd ran her horns through me. When she does that wooden legged dance, I stand still, scared to death, hoping my guardian angel is close by. I was so mad at her yesterday I felt like I couldn't stand it at all. She kept at me all the way home. I was weak from fright and anger and when I came in the house, there was DeMar. His head looked bad. Then he got sick to his stomach. I knew I'd never rest until he was administered to, so your Dad and Van came and gave him a good blessing and said he'd be all right. I felt tons better. After they left, I went back to that old hag of a cow. She was ornery about being milked, lifting one 169169 hind leg then the other, way up high, all the while I milked her. I don't know what possesses her. I've been giving her a quart of oats morning and night. Maybe they're making her frisky. Please get rich quick so you can come back home.
Things always happen when I leave the kids alone while I do the outside chores. Last night, instead of taking off his shoes, Norman decided to kick them off. One of them flew through the upper window pane above the sink. I nailed up a pasteboard to match the bedroom window that he broke last week and paddled him good. He said he'd go earn the money to buy new windows. It was dark and cold, but I was so enfuriated I told him to get started. He took off on his tricycle. I called to him that he could sell his tricycle and get enough to pay for the glass. He got almost up to the store three different times and then came pedaling back home, howling all the way, to tell me that all the world knows that any little boy wouldn't like to sell his tricycle that Santa Clause gave him to keep, and besides he could run errands lots faster if he had it and I might be in an awful hurry some day. So I handed him the flashlight and sent him to the basement for coal. Intrigued by the light, Marilyn went with him. She liked to ride the tricycle too, Norman reminded me, so that was another reason why he shouldn't sell it … After I dressed DeMar this morning, he came holding up one foot saying, "Get the cinder out." Taking off his shoe, I discovered it had a marble in it.
Yesterday at dinner, Norman said, "Can I have another doughnut?"
"No, you've had enough," I said.
"Well, can I have another?" he asked.
"I said no."
"Well, can I?"
"What did I tell you?" I was exasperated.
"You said no."
"Do I ever say yes after I've said no?"
"Well, once when Joseph Smith was writing from those gold plates, he asked the Lord if he could take what he'd written and show his folks. The Lord told him no and so he asked again and the Lord told him no and he asked again and the Lord told him yes." A triumphant gleam was in his eyes.
"And what happened to those records?" I asked.
"They were lost, but I wouldn't lose the doughnut. I'd eat it. Can I?"
Somewhat downcast, he said, "I thought you'd be as good as the Lord."
You need to be with your children. They are a joy. DeMar says such amusing things, and Marilyn and Norman are learning to assume responsibilities. Marilyn would take full care of Shirley if I'd let her. Shirley is so cute. She sits up and takes notice of all that goes on. My mother says Shirley is unusually peaceful and sweet because the Lord has honored us for keeping up with our church activities.
170170 Hawthorne, February 20, 1942
You just can't imagine the cash that's in circulation here. Just like gold rush days. Think of guys like Orin and Sheldon working at 75¢ an hour for ten hours a day, getting eleven hours pay, making $8.25. Everybody feels like money is nothing, after the first pinch is over, and four out of five of them just throw it around just like any gold camp. Most people don't want to go into a cabin or housing game, because it costs more for labor than the cabin is worth, and being unable to guess the future, don't do anything but eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, who knows. … I hope your cow trouble is going to be less. I dreamed last night that i was there on the sqaure and feed was knee high, and you were looking well.
Home, Saturday night, 11:20, February 21, 1942
Do you remember those "little moments of eternity" when we could relax at the end of the day? Do you remember how we caught a bit of heaven realizing how much we loved our life together. … You have a beautiful sould which makes itself felt across the miles. I feel your humility, sincerity and kindness in every letter. It is lovely to be Mrs. Winferd Gubler. … I went to see your dad tonight to get a little cow-education. He and Van made merry over my troubles. They said I'd been too good to the cow, that she was trying to show her appreciation. I do get nine quarts of milk every day. They told me not to give her two quarts of oats a day but to cut down a little. That cow has got me hoodooed. She chases after me and bucks every time I come in sight. When I stake her out, she chases me to the end of her chain and then stands and bawls because she can go no further. I led her onto the square tonight and she thundered after me as I went after the peg and hammer. I got over the fence into the field and ran to the house. She bellered and beat me there. I didn't take her back, but hooked her to a post in front and gave her a flake of hay. Your folkscame in the car and Van turned the lights on her. When she tried to follow me into the house, they all laughed and said she was idolizing me. I don't go for this cave man stuff, especially from a cow. I don't know what to make of her. We just don't speak the same language.
I didn't get a letter from you today. Kate says that's good for me, that disappointments strengthen the soul. Well, they don't I want to cry and be cuddled. I get tired of being a brick, of being brave and dependable. I'd enjoy throwing a tantrum. I'd rather be my sinful self and quit trying to be what I'm not. I don't like Hawthorne, Nevada. I don't like war. I don't like concentration camps and the draft and all the farmers wearing carpenter overalls. I'm sick of people grabbing for this and that because they're afraid they can't get any more. I hate newspapers. I'd like to tie a pillow to Hitler's face until he smothers to death. I'd like to sink Japan in the ocean and take a broom and sweep the world clean and tell you to come home where you belong, and let you have your cow back and quarrel with you and kiss and make up and I'd like everything that is not! There! I've got that out of my system. Oh, darling, I love you so. Goodnight.
Hawthorne, February 23, 1942
I hope I see something for Norman's birthday around here. I guess he wouldn't mind what I got him. … I love to write to you for it seems that then I draw close to you, that you ought to talk to me. I love to think about you and dream about and even wonder. Though that usually brings on a great yearning to be with you. I'm trying to keep on the sunny side of life and like a good LDS, go on living for the future 171171 when all things will be restored and brought together. If I am, I'm not on the right sea. Gosh, beautiful, I hope that compensations will be large enough to bribe me for awhile and bring visions of other things to keep the mind obscured from immediate personal desire. I'll go right on loving and caring with all my heart.
Home, February 24, 1942
The world is white outside. Norman Fuller just delivered your amazing package. DeMar was enthused over each treasure that was extracted from the box, especially your shirt with the spot of mercurochrome "where Daddy was shot," taking into his own personal possession the bread wrapper and the nail. I speedily put away the rest of the hardware lest Norman G. get hold of it and be as positive as DeMar that it was meant for him. DeMar has concealed the nail in the pages of a Digest, and is unwilling to relinquish it to anyone. It is from Daddy. Was it Ruskin who said, "If a straw tickleth a man, then it is an instrument of happiness?" … I like your wisecrack about how interesting a wife would be if she was as spirited as a cow. Now that you've had your little joke, I'll tell you one. She's been a good cow since she has her new headdress. Does that remind you of a wife? The halter your dad made for her has calmed her right down. Now I'm worried about feed. She has grazed the square bare, and the same with the back lane. And there's no hay to be had. There just isn't any feed. I took her across the road today. There's about two day's feed there. It hurts my pride to have to drag her all over town. Can't we build a shed before another winter, so her hay won't spoil? Oh dear! There goes a big wagon load of hay this minute in front of our window. Let's see! No, it didn't turn up the hill. It went on. I wonder who and where! I've never been so interested in hay before.
Hawthorne, February 24, 1942
After supper tonite we walked up to see if the kids were back with their wives. Yes. They got in about 3 a.m. and Ardella was quite tickled to see us. Willard was moving in an old stove Orin and Sheldon brought out, not half so good a one as we sold for five dollars.
Ardella said you were sitting on your door steps pining your heart out. Oh my! What must I do? Life without the fruits of love, and a world without love are two bad examples of famine I think I should never want to overtake me. … I feel strange being on a big job among total strangers. I get quite a variety of tasks to do - putting on roofing, trimming the outside of the buildings, helping on the planer. … I went to the store and told the lady i wished I could find a spoon for my lunch bucket and she had her boy run in the house and bring me one of their odds and ends. It is a fine enough spoon too. Now I can take me a can of beans along for dinner. … Guess I had best be visiting the sandman. I'm still in love with you and hope you can find a few sparkles of light for your fairy dreams now as I begin to get some pay days. Be good to my best girl and all my kids. W.G.
Hawthorne, February 25, 1942
Sweetheart, hear another heart warmer. Only because I love you do I write, or do a great many other little things in your behalf. But I love everything that brings you near me, and here I am. Only telling is a trifle, and repetition is very sweet when it goes for making sure you never forget for one little moment the fullness of my heart for you. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, when one lives for long with just a sweet bit of heaven for a memory - always forgetting the dross of life - then it is what I call an eternal, unfalterable love. Now I've known the sweet, I have to come away to appreciate my loss the more keenly and you may be sure I couldn't stay away for many moons.
172172 I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning, right out in your direction, and even that took me to memory lane. And I've discovered why it is I like to go to shows. The love scenes can take me over into a reincarnation of mine for you. Then Lew is hardly the right pal to stay with steady, now is he?
The idea of me nearly filling a page without one blush. Now I had expected to start my letter entirely different. I got out the paper and Lew said we had to be going if we saw the show, and the girl in it was so much like you I had to come home and tell you over again.
I'm mailing Norman his birthday card. Also enclosed is a little expense money. I have some to do till Saturday night, then I will see a pay day. They make the weeks end on Thursday night, so I get me about $20 this week. … Just you keep on dreaming and let's make a few of them come true. That's what I'm here for and with the Lord's help, we can't lose. … I'm on the ground floor now on the job, and on the past two days, I'm getting the tempo of the works. I enjoy working with the bunch very much. They are mostly California guys. We work in a big shed (shop) and two of us work on a setup. There are three tables and we make forms on them. We only do three a day and they don't pile up very fast. We will be months getting a bunch ready, then they will use each set about ten times - make ten buildings and then have us tear off the plywood and put on new. It's a big job. They figure on making about two buildings a day, and they have hundreds to make, so unless Japan can get the U.S. taken over sooner, this job here is as long as the war lasts. … I wrote and told Dad I would return to the farm if things turned out that he was left without help.
Don't blame my baby brother for wanting to join the Air Corp. I know very well I'd be just like he is if I took the notion my draft was closing in on me. Now would you afterall? The farm didn't do anything for Don but pile up debts, and the Air Corp pays $75 a month and expenses while you learn and then $250 per while training others. Attractive eh? As compared to $21 to $30 in the draft.
I'm packing my lunch as I told you, and liking it. I get by for so much less and have a good third more to eat for so much less and can get more variety than at the cafe. There it is the identical thing every day. I'm going to buy a bottle of preserves to make my sweet sandwiches and cut down (out) taking a bar each day. … Is your grain up at all yet? Cheers to my little farmer. Yes, we must get a shed up for next year. That's a project. See Ed and find out if he would have some hay to spare. Max had some of Nellies once. He may still hold it for sale.
What has become of your folks? You never say much about them. Have Bill and Clint come out and get some of this easy money. They could go to work the next day after getting out here and make $40 or $50 a week.
Hawthorne - No date.
Surprise again darling. You will get one every day for two days. I just finished my supper a bit late, and now I'm sleepy. Your letter came today and duly enjoyed. The kids art work was great stuff. Give Norman two more years and he will do some pretty good drawing, won't he? … I long for the day when we can begin to lay up our supplies. I live down there with you half the time while I work out here at the job. You play a big role in my little world and I would like to rehearse with you again so the play can go on. Or is it me that's off the state? Well, anyway I still love to think about a bright day in the future when there will be a difference.
173173 Don't go without anything you need. And I'll pay your ticket any time you can find a ride to Hurricane to a show. … Why don't you get yourself a new spring coat? I didn't have your measurements to send for one. But I would like to have you get one. Also a dress so as to make up a snazzy outfit. I'm getting my old gray trousers cleaned and fixed up and I can use them for clean up each evening. … Well, I'll close out today's account and send along a nice big hug and kisses to go with it. I'm a lonesome man, I'll have you know, and all I can do about it is tell you and make you that much more so. But be long suffering, and there'll come a day. My blessings on the little gal, and someday I'll be a pal. W.
Hawthorne, March 2, 1942
… Oh my, but today has been a beauty. Spring fever has me. I sure like one scene here and that is the white peaks up above the pure blue lake, both in sun or moonlight. I took a stroll down the street, drinking in the scene and fresh air and thinking of you. I always come to that and wish a thousand wishes, mostly tied up in our biggest wish of all, that you could be with me. It is funny to think of it being so true with both of us, and yet there is such a little known of what lies ahead, that one instinctively hesitates to take any very costly action to realize the desire. Luther asked me today, as he sat here thinking, (I reading the paper) if there was anything that would keep you from coming out here for two years. Now he has the idea of getting our families our here and just staying on as long as the job lasts. Well, it could be made into something. And a lot of members here are doing the same.
Just before I turn in to do a lot more thinking before the sand man gets me, I want to do just a few lines of the favored song hit, "I Love You Truly." That theme is my great comfort and protection. So much of life that is exotic and enduring comes to life in us only when in turn can both give and receive love. Across the miles I send you a heart full to the brim, and life is only worth the living when you have some measure of it to help carry the load. I don't know how to appreciate all you mean to me or do for me than to more than say, Sweetheart, how I love you. Winferd. P.S. Tell Marilyn and Norman I am going to write to them next, and for them to write back to me. I've looked for notes from them ever since I sent cards before.
LaVerkin, March 1, 1942
… I'm afflicted with the affection of a cow. I haven't tied the old heifer up since milking her this morning - jus gave her full range, but she keeps trotting to the house and stands looking at the windows and bawling. I get so mad at her. I take her back to grass and the old biddy follows me back like a puppy. I took her to the bottom of the lot then came to feed Shirley. Soon there was a lot of squealing outside. Going out, I found Marilyn and Norman and all of their friends up in the apricot tree, holding onto the cow's chain. They practically had her standing on her hind legs. Her nose is so sensitive since Van fixed her halter. They were really hurting her. I scolded the kids and made them get down. After I went back to the baby, I heard shouting and laughing in a new direction. The kids had corralled the cow and were climbing all over the fence, yanking her chain this way and that. I saw red and threatened to whip every one of them. I took the cow up the lane and pegged her out to keep her from following me.
174174 Today is a red letter day for Marilyn. Her duck laid an egg in the straw. She ran all over with the egg, lovingly rubbing it before finally taking it back to the straw. Those ducks have been furnishing their share of occupation lately. The kids dug that hole wider where you got the clay for your mortar. They flood it then they each catch their duck and carry it to water. They herd them there and won't let them get out. The female doesn't mind spending the day in the water, but the male would rather stand outside squeaking his admiration at her.
Marilyn gave Norman a can of viennas for his birthday and DeMar gave him a package of punch powder. Norman was impressed with the idea that he could do with them just as he pleased. The minute dinner was over today, he asked for bread and butter sandwiches and a bottle to make punch in and the kids went up the late for a picnic. They consumed their second dinner before one o'clock.
Hawthorne, March 3, 1942
… My little visit to the bishop tonite netted me a job of ward teaching. They have eleven beats here of four families each. I am to go with a Brother Hughes, a young priest. … By the way, I bought a piece of rock salt for the cow and it was up in Ed's pear orchard by the gate. She needs a taste once in awhile, every week I guess would do. Take Marilyn or Norman along to carry it to her. … I sure did enjoy your letter. I don't take any grains of salt with the nice things you tell me either. … My check for last week's two days was $4.00 more than Lew's. I don't know just how the company did it. But he got $1.25 an hour and I $1.50. It would be great if they kept that up a few weeks. … At present I am with a guy from Denver. He calls me, "Utah" all the time. He is a stocky guy about my age. They keep hiring more men, and boy what a din 20 or 30 men make with pounding and power saws going on all sides. Ten hour days will be something as far as pay is concerned. At $1.25 an hour I will get $13.75 a day for five days and on Saturday I get $18.75. To think of getting $87.50 a week makes me sit right up and almost talk to myself. I do pray we may be able to meet all our urgent needs and get in supplies for that day when.
LaVerkin, March 3, 1942.
Honey child, you all had better not stay away too long, or I may become too efficient running our roost, and you may find that you have nothing left but nuisance value when you come home. What if I get so good at running the ranch alone that I decide you are worth more to us at the sheep herd? Which would you rather have me do, become so efficient that all I needed was a pay check, or would you rather have me still sigh a little each time I start off with the milk pail?
I've just come home from MIA. B. J. took up the time telling about his world travels. A gal sitting behind Ellen and I whispered to us not to believe anything he said. She whispered that he was a wonderous liar. Ellen whispered that the gal ought to know, because she and B. J. probably tried to outdo each other in a liar's contest.
It's a death struggle to rush home from Relief Society and restore the cyclone that the kids have made during my absence, get the milking done, the baby fed, supper over and the kids to bed, then back to MIA on time. But I do enjoy being alternate teacher with Vernon Church. To give every other lesson is just right for me. War time is right! (Daylight Saving time now.) I feel like I've fought a mighty battle if I make it.
175175 Our game chickens are at their prime now and need to be butchered. They're eating their heads off. I'm going to see if Sanders can haul them to California. You are not here to help eat them and I'll never kill one, unless it comes to a choice between that and starvation. I hope to send to Sears for two dozen laying stock. I'm sure that would be more profitable than letting our hens set. We have one that is clucking now. The dud has three eggs in her nest now. They both roost on the eggs at night.
Since it is moonlight, I hear the ducks wandering about in the middle of the night. Last night I looked out the window and they were slAmming in the little pond by the house.
I planted the lettuce again today. When I dug into it, I could see quite a bit that wasn't frozen, but not enough to justify leaving.
Oh my darling, if you could only know the pain and agony it takes for your son to write to you, you would penetrate those cramped marks on his paper and there you would read volumes. It is just after mail time, and the kids are writing to you after hearing your letter. I've spelled words all the while I did the dinner dishes and have had to go to the blackboard with my wet hands a dozen times and make letters on it for Norman. I'll tell you what he's been trying to write you. "Daddy, I found a little plant upon the square and mother told me it has pretty purple flowers on it so I planted it in a can. (Periwinkle). Does it bother you to be away from home? Don't you wish you could come home and stay? If I had a house book I could build lots of furniture while you are gone. If I had some lumber I could make things for our place." That's most of it, but oh how agonizing. I've spelled every word he meant to write, over and over. I've marked in the air, how some of the words should go, and he's labored so hard trying to remember what it was he was going to say, and what word he was on now. You may not believe it, but he has been exactly one hour on what he has written. I finally had to insist that he stop. He wanted to tell you lots more, he said.
Marilyn is getting pretty good at writing and spelling. She went ahead and wrote her letter with very little help. For a little boy who has never been to school, Norman does very good. He can write about half of the alphabet and his and DeMar's names by himself.
LaVerkin, March 4.
Dear Daddy, I would like to see you. But I guess I can't see you. But I surely wish I could. Mother read your letter to us. So we wrote a letter to you. I think your letter will get here first. We have a new boy in our school room. His name is Raymond (Williams). I did get to bring my reader home. And I could study it. From Marilyn.
Hawthorne, March 5.
… All I have disliked about the work is the fact they smear oil all over the forms and we have to embrace the things so much our clothes look like greasy soaked rags. But I imagine I can stand up to it in the face of the stipend back of it all. Just the thought takes off a lot of curse for the added trouble to get it. All through organized labor. The wages would only be about six dollars a day if it were not organized. Just like it is at home. … Well, this life may be hard to see through, and our nose may be as far as we get, still I vision a better future, in spite of all dire predictions, and we shall all be together to take it. I'm only going around in a daze now, but my heart is banked by a bond of love I can never forget or fail to appreciate. You live so close to me wherever I am, that the old saying that the twain shall 176176 be one is quite surely true. My pattern of life is so woven in by threads of love of yours, and for you, that there is no longer a beginning or end. I'm all for you kid, and you can be safe to bet on that. By law, you're only entitled to one-third, but I send you my all. Even the widow's mite couldn't beat that. Best wishes darling for you and my kids. Tell them hello from me and I'll close out my day with a dream. Winferd.
Home, Midnight, March 5.
It is late, but I'd like to visit with you before going to bed. I've just come from a sweet, witty and beautiful MIA Stake play, "I the Lord am Bound When You Do What I Say." The grand finish brought tears to every eye, and swelled our hearts with gratitude for this wonderful gospel. Ovando, Vernon and Areta Church and Wayne Wilson from our ward were in the cast, and my brother Bill was the main character of last generation. The Seminary teacher, Ivan Barrett, was the head strong boy in the first act, the wise father in the second, and the entertaining grandfather in the last. Fern Starr was his wilful daughter in the second act and Bill was her wayward son in the last.
I noticed this morning, when I was milking, that the almond trees at John Judd's were a cloud of pink and white. The cottonwoods along the canal and down by Church's look like a pale green mist. I welcome spring with open arms. I want the privilege of discarding the kids' underwear before they fall to pieces.
Norman is a problem. He complains constantly that he hasn't anything to do. I do the best I can, but I haven't time to drop everything and help him make things, and I can't think of things he can do by himself. Do you have any suggestions? Today I sent for a book on, "Your bird friends and how to win them," and a catalog on bird houses. Perhaps we can make a bird house.
Van thinks the ducks will have to vamoose. He's been observing how they bore right into the ground for what they want. I don't know what to do. There aren't any pets but what are pests.
Wayne and Pop called to see us yesterday. Pa is always in a hurry to get back, like he had so much to do. I tried to get him to consent to letting Clint dig ditches for me so I can irrigate. He wouldn't. I saw Mom and Pop and Wayne at the play last night. I told Pop I'd a good notion to ask Clint himself to come over. He almost got excited. Mom said, "You're welcome to him if you can get anything out of him," and Pop began mentioning all the things Clint needed to do at home. I guess I'll try to get someone else. I hate to keep bothering Van. However, I've got to get some water, and I nearly wrecked myself yesterday digging.
The chickens keep getting out. They scratched and scratched for oats till it will be a wonder if a blade comes up. I took the hoe and tried to make the rows over again. I turned up the only oats left, I guess, in the process. They had sprouts about an inch long. Marilyn let the whole flock out today and they were making quick work of my efforts when I discovered them. My ribs are sore from digging furrows. Please give me your shoulder, sob, sob.
I had my washing ready to do today, but a blizzard struck us this a.m. while I was out milking. I did put on one tub of water and do that many diapers, but my feet were froze by the time I got them hung out. (Note: Our washing equipment was all outside.)
I lost track of DeMar early this morning. The wind was so strong I had to lean into it when I went to look for him. I met him coming back from the 177177 store with some papers in his hand and he was beaming all over. He handed the folded papers to me and said, "Mar got the letter from Daddy." He was a sight. I'd left him on the toilet when I went out to do the chores. He had fastened his own pants and they were pinned with safety pins down to the very end of his galluses, and his pants were hanging way down, with the bibs below his waist. His shirt was undone and his underware exposed and he wore that ragged coat. He couldn't have looked worse. An extra hard gust of wind swooped up the dirt and DeMar too, and I caught him and carried him to the house. He'd lost his breath. I wondered what he'd have done if I hadn't come along. The little buck is always striking out to catch the bus. He's determined to go to school. To add to my worries, the big ditch at the bottom of the lot has most of the canal rushing through it. If he fell in he'd never get out. He is the cutest little kid, just a baby really.
Shirley coughs a lot and couldn't sleep last night. She has cried most of the day. It's unusual for her. Everytime anyone is under the weather now, we wonder if they're getting the measles. Amelia Squire's baby got them, and she caught them from the baby.
Your most appreciated letter came today. If only I could tell you how very much I love them. You are so sweet. I'd give the world to see you, and yet, I think of our common goal and then it is a little easier to have you away. Oh wonderful day when you come home to stay! More than life itself, I love you. Alice.
P.S. The kids were tickled about the cards. They'll write again when I have the patience.
Way out on the wind swept desert - Sunday March 8. Alone.
Gosh Alice, why don't you hire Vilate Hardy to come for a day and bottle up those chickens? They would be worth more to us than the cash. Or have Don kill one for you once in awhile as long as he is there.
I'm believing you when you say it's a battle to take in all there is on Tuesday. It was hard enough while I was there to milk the cow. … Alone at last. Lew came in just as I started to write. He's been talking all the while, so I've been sitting here quite awhile on one page. When a person writes, it certainly is hard to keep on the thread. About as bad as poor Norman. It was so slow he couldn't keep on the continuity of thought. That poor kid. He has such an obsession for some tools and lumber. I sure wish I had him where I could help out the situation. Nothing would be more to my liking than to give my son a few needed lessons in fundamentals, so his work wouldn 't be all trash. I'm expecting to buy me some decent tools, that will replace my present brace and bits, and the next time I have a chance to obtain that old saw, I wanted to cut it down for Norman. I could do that here fine.
Just between you and me, that tool business is one of my hobbies. I hope to make out a fairly complete chest of tools for him before I come home.
The bosses and all, call me "Utah" now, so the title will be permanent. Every place I ever worked, I've had a different handle. McCulloughs called me Barney.
LaVerkin, March 8.
… Wendell Hall was our speaker in Sacrament Meeting today. They had his welcome home party last night, but Uncle Sam is grabbing him right off. He leaves in three weeks. He says it shall just be 178178 a continuation of his mission. He told of witnessing a miracle in the Cardston Temple. A young missionary had been injured in one of his eyes years ago and the muscles of the eyelid were paralyzed so he could not lift it. It hung over his eye so he couldn't see out of it. He had been to a number of specialists and had had operations to no avail. He came to the Cardston Temple with a group of missionaries, Wendell included. He asked President Woods to give him a blessing. After the missionaries had finished their temple session, President Woods called all of them together for prayer. In this prayer he prayed that if there were any present that desired special blessings, and had sufficient faith, that they would receive it. As the missionaries went outside, the elder in question felt a twitching in that eyelid, and it went up into place like his other eye. He exclaimed that he could see out of it, and they all beheld what had happened. The young man wept with happiness.
Joe Eves says he will give me 18¢ a pound for my hens and 10¢ a pound for the roosters. Your dad thinks it's a shame to let him have them when they are worth 25¢ a pound. The black hens are singing now and I'm sure they will start laying right away, and Norman is begging me not to let Mr. Eves have them. We don't get so many eggs now. Norman says, "I like. eggs so much, and I just couldn't stand it if you sold them."
Looking forward to the time when you come home is the most breathless thing I can think of, but there are small advantages to your being away. I am forced to get more fresh air, and the things I have to do has given me extra horsepower. I have twice the strength I had before. You should see my muscles! My arms are getting hard and brawny. And man alive, do I have an appetite! The kids are getting more self reliant, because I don't have so much time for them, and they have to do more around the place. Marilyn is getting quite capable. Norman needs a dad quite badly.
This morning when DeMar awoke, he noticed the coat to your light suit pulled out of place a little. "Daddy's come, Daddy's come," he squealed. He was let down when Norman told him you were not here. "Daddy build lots of houses, then Daddy come," he said.
Norman woefully tried to squeeze out a few tears this afternoon. He said he was hurt, but it was a great effort for him to cry. I said, "Daddy wouldn't cry if he hurt him. Don't you want to be like Daddy?"
"No," he answered.
"Who do you want to be like?" I asked.
"Marilyn," he whined, "because she cries when she gets hurt."
You mentioned our rayon stockings. My, but these are ugly ones the ladies are getting around here. I"ve been catching snags and sewing up runners, determined I would hold out and send for those interesting looking ones. But I can't hold out. I'll have to get new ones tomorrow.
Thanks for the love you send. Believe me, I hug it close to me. I told DeMar you said to tell him hello. He laughed and laughed.
"Daddy tell Mar hello. Hello Mar."
Forgive me if I seem impatient, but do you think we could send for Shirley's buggy now? She could practically live outdoors on the days the wind isn't blowing. I believe she would get over her cough too. It is spring again today and so beautiful. I could have a buggy come c.o.d. Look 179179 in your catalog on pages 214 and 215. I hate cloth buggies, but would prefer one of them to nothing. I have in mind the $10.98 one on page 214. It is $12.98 in imitation leather, which would be nicer. The entire family would enjoy one so much and it would be so beneficial to your wife and little daughter. I could even wheel her out by the garden when I am working there.
Ben DeMille stopped to tell me the cow was standing in the middle of the highway and wouldn't budge when cars honked at her. I went up and moved the old rip. She was still standing in the highway when I got to her, just as defiant as could be. When I started to lead her, she went on a run ahead of me. I yanked her back, and she made a plunge at me. I tapped her on the nose with the peg, and she backed up. I am sick of leading her all over the country for grass. Sometimes I could just weep, because there's something about it that hurts my pride. I can hear folks say, "Why don't they feed their cow like other folks do!" Then a wave of something goes over me that's almost like hate for that brute. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE HAVE HAY TO SELL?
Hawthorne, March 10.
… One thing I might suggest about the cow— when she starts to get foxy, I just pop her a good flip on the nose, head, or some place with the chain. You know, sort of throw a loop that will smack her one. She will respect you more. She won't like it, but is on the end of the chain and can't do much about it. Oh yes, oats make the cow frisky.
LaVerkin, March 10.
… The place is suffering for water. I spent the morning digging ditch. I uprooted your rock bridge. It was so filled underneath, a trickle of water could never get through it. Heaving those rocks out was almost too much, but now, it's done. I wish I were a man! I've thought about asking George Hardy if he would prune our trees, but I don't know whether he'll feel like he can spare the time or not. Men are feeling pretty important around here. … The oats are coming up and Norman has a nice row of lettuce and peas. I've never been able to capture that one white hen, so she hasn't had her wings clipped yet. I'm afraid for the lettuce row.
We sure do need a baby buggy for Shirley. Did you get my letter about the prices at Graff's? … Marilyn is standing behind me yodeling a glass of grape juice. Distracting. … Look on page 136 of the March Instructor. Your picture is there. … I am grateful for the bits of love and cheer you send us. I love you dearly, now and forever more.
Hawthorne, March 13.
Yes darling, you can have your buggy. I don't deny you anything I can do for you. I'll make up the order tomorrow night after I get home. … About Norman and his urges for something to do—tell him his dad would like him to sort over the keg of nails I sent in, and put the sizes in containers. I'd say not to give the chickens away. I have already expressed myself on the subject. Twenty-cents all around for the birds would be the dead. limit I'd take for young stuff. … Wish I could have been there a day to have pruned the trees. I sure do a lot of thinking about you, planning, dreaming, and at times it seems you come so near to me. You are always dear to me beyond all my poor power to tell you. Love springs up in the heart, and I never want any drouths. I pray for all of you constantly. Yours, Winferd.
Hawthorne, March 15.
I'm sending my check in the amount of $88.62, direct to the bank. If you'd like to take a look at such a handsome figure, I'll let you bank the next check. They're a sight for sore eyes Isn't it 180180 ridiculous to think that amount can be made in one week of six days! The biggest check I ever got before, for working twelve hours a day for six days was $181.00. Don't you think we had better move out to higher wage country? A guy like Bill could certainly do well here contracting. This place would be a gold mine for William Tell too, on his watch repairing. … Money, money. This week I'm going to be a big expense to us. I'll pay the union $20 and then I'll only owe them about $10 more. I sent $15 to Sears for a baby buggy for Shirley. So the money goes.
I'm loving my dear wife so much. Sundays always make me think of you an extra lot. I'm in the habit of having that day to be with you, and I haven't any working responsibility as on week days;,to use up the time. I expected to have more timetand write a big, long letter, but the MIA President (ladies) called me up to talk to the group tonight, just, because they had no program. I stuttered and stammered, and gave MIA a big buildup in general, but not in particular.
I am a weary man. I long for a little relaxation on the beautiful Sabbath, and when I'm on the go all day, and don't get it, I am one big heap put out.
You should get two letters today. One is proof that I'm still loving you, and the other is just a witness. I hate to say goodnight ever. I so like to visit, but midnight is only around the corner. W.
LaVerkin, March 17.
What to Tuesday! Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. The kids played round robin with me all night. I'd just doze, when there'd come a hollering from the occupant of the upper deck. I'd rear up to quiet Marilyn before she woke all of the kids, then drop into bed, when despairing wails came from the lower deck, and then on into the little alley where the two babies are sleeping. DeMar doesn't have bad dreams. He laughs in his sleep, but then he wakes up, and he's got to get up for a little reconditioning. And then naughty Shirley! She's made up in the last few days for all of the crying she didn't used to do. Last night she wouldn't be comforted, so by 4:30 a.m. I shut my eyes and ears as tight as I could, and made a ball of myself down under the covers , and that was all until 7:30, when the war began. We weren't over the hassle of breakfast, before people began coming to see about the Relief Society program for tonight. I didn't get the morning Milking done until 10:30.
Then I tried to make that molasses candy for you, and shouldn't have. The molasses set in the iron skillet, getting darker and darker, for two hours, before I could actually put it on. At least it's full of iron. While I cracked all of those sweet pits, the molasses got as dark as soot, and as strong as a plug of Horseshoe tobacco. But the candy has good cream and sugar in it, too. Norman said it was plenty good to send to Daddy. "Even good enough to send to war," he added. "The guys would sure want to fight if they had that."
Darling Mrs. Gubler, here's that man again. We just got home from work and I've got my face clean. The work's not over till I get that done. The package you sent was appreciated. Tell Norman how nice the molasses candy is. I haven't tasted the fudge yet, but you can tell Marilyn I'm sure glad to get that too. … I'd better go and get my ward teaching visits tonight. I need to work on the lad I'm to take along, and get him to reform and conform. The four places I go are all women who 181181 married out of the church, and it's a big problem. No help at all. I'd like to take every girl whoever thought of marrying out of the church along with me for a few visits. I betcha there would be some eyes opened.
I get so homesick to see you, I have to sing songs and do all kinds of things to get myself out of the mood. I don't appreciate this separation any better than you do. Darling, I'm still your man, now and always, with a boundless love for my woman.
Home, March 19.
My heart swells with gratitude each time you mention your church affiliations out there. You're on the right track. The path you're treading will lead you to the rainbow's end. And please, may I be there too. All our hopes center around the gospel. The more active we are in the church, the more secure we become. I'm sending your Instructors, also The Way to Perfection. You'll need them in the class you teach. The kids have surely used the Instructors. Marilyn has memorized the sacrament gem in every one of them, including the advance months, too. She raises her hand to say them in Sunday School now, and lately they've been calling on her.
Hawthorne Sunday, March 22.
For a busy man, this beautiful day of rest is most anything but. I have to arise at seven to make it to Sunday School by nine, and then Priesthood lasts till twelve. I went to Hughes for that Sunday dinner, and would you believe it, Sister Hughes had the two elders there too. Their field of labor is at Yerington, six hours of good bicycling from here.
The Relief Society gave the Sacrament Meeting program. … I sat so long I grew to the bench. After meeting, the Relief Society took the adults into the high school science room and served a big lunch. Then the priesthood went up to look at a garden plot they are making a project on. Then Ardella had Lew and me up to supper. After we ate, Willard and I went to a singing practice for the Easter Sunrise Service to be held up at the mouth of a nearby canyon next week. Oh, what a day.
The bishop is at me constantly to move my family out. Next Sunday they are going to put me in as first counselor in MIA. Won't that be a big help! I told them I wouldn't be here next fall, but it's now they want help to revive the thing. I gave my first Sunday School lesson and had a big class and they all took part and seemed to enjoy it. I've made dates to see some of my families tomorrow night. I'm getting acquainted here now. Everybody likes me, I believe. There are certainly a lot of new folks keep showing up.
My, how I wanted to get cards out to my kids. I've hoped all day, you were all feeling better, and that by next week end you would be joining Marge, and come out for Easter. Pleasant hopes. …
The Pierces have moved at last, and Leah is looking after the cabins. She told me she would save us the first one empty. … Had four good meals today and still I have a hunger in my heart I cannot satisfy. I find it was a lot easier for me to leave my folks at home, for a mission or elsewhere, and be away indefinitely, than to be away from you for any time at all. Every time I see anybody building, I'm all eyes, and my mind races back to the work left for me to do at home.
182182 How would it be to have Sears or Wards hold certain items for us, say on a down payment, till we could pick them up later, so we'd be sure to get them? You pick out the bath, dining room set, kitchen table, carpet, linoleum, bedroom set, etc., and I'll write and see what they say. You might tell me which things appeal to you most in each book, then I can do an easier job.
I'm looking forward for tomorrow's mail. There should be quite a little for me. I see by the paper, the order to stop house building over $500, would soon be in effect. Elder Whiting read a prophecy tonight of President Wilford Woodruff's, telling about our day, and gave us again the great assurance that our safety lies in the priesthood standing in its place.
I've truly enjoyed the messages of this day. A beautiful day. I'm happy and tired, it's late and I love you all in one breath. There's lots more where the love comes from. I haven't begun to think of the nice things I could tell you. I keep wondering what I ever did that the Lord should keep you for me to make my life so wonderful. You'll never be able to dig to the bottom of it all. This is the dark hour before the dawn of a brighter day for us. Be of good faith ;and keep the courage going strong, for surely the Father above is not going to keep us too long at our present disadvantage. God bless you sweetheart. Winferd.
LaVerkin, March 22.
My dear husband, won't you please hold my hand? Marilyn has the measles again! She looks terrible. This time it is the red measles. It was the German measles before. They were nothing, compared to this. She is enormously hungry. She says everything tastes awful, but she keeps tucking in the food. She says the air tastes nasty too.
Blue Monday was never bluer than this. My whole family is ill. Kids crying with earache, and headache, and bloodshot eyes. I think I've had enough! This is the time for sunshine, and laughter, and swings, and picnics, and little gardens. Not for Vicks , and aspirin, and Kleenex. All I can do is wait on kids. Now I've got to go out and put on the black tub. Everything needs washing. If it's true that the darkest hour is just before the dawn, there must be a beautiful dawn just ahead.
Darling, this is the dawning of a brighter day. Shirley's buggy has arrived! And Marilyn is much, ouch better, as well as the other youngsters. I let Marilyn outside for a little while. She pushed Shirley in her buggy, down to Church's and back. Shirley is asleep outside now. She has been forced to take nap after nap since you sent the buggy to her. Every time she wakes up, one of the kids start to rock her again, and off she goes to slumberland once more. The extra sleep is doing her good, because she is getting much better. Norman said he was going to get up in the middle of the night tonight, andpush the buggy. Marilyn said, "Oh yeah! I'll get up just ahead of you." I thought I was Shirley's mother, but flarilyn has taken full possession.
Verkin, April 6.
I packed a lunch into Shirley's buggy, and took the kids down by the river where it was grassy and warm. We could watch the traffic going over the bridge above us, yet we enjoyed seclusion, and a place for the kids to slide down banks, and run about and play. DeMar kept begging to come home. After I had pushed the buggy up the hill, I let him ride. He went right to sleep as soon as we got home, and Marilyn and Norman spent the rest of the afternoon digging for a gopher they had seen throwing dirt out of its hole. … April 7. They are still digging for that gopher. Norman says the daddy and mother gopher have been teaching their babies to dig. That's why they have tunneled so many different directions.
183183 Hawthorne, April 9.
… Brother Reynolds asked me to be in a debate for the MIA program, Sunday night. He visited until 10:30. You know what! Let's go to the laziest place on earth and rest awhile, where we wouldn't need to work. Just pick fruit off the trees and eat whatever the sea washed up, etc. I'm to debate in favor of a lovin't but slovenly wife, while My opponent is for the crabby and neat one. Well, I think I'd pick the lovin' kind any time. … Oh yes, I received a reply from my questions to Sears. They tell me we have to have a priority certificate from anF.H.A. agent. I don't know of any here, but I believe the bank handles that at Hurricane. These priorities cover plumbing and heating, but not the kitchen cabinet. Sears can furnish us with kitchen sets—chairs and table. Pick out one, if I decide to order. Phone and ask Claud Hirschi about the F.H.A. and who could issue a certificate to get us our furnace and bath, hot water, and sewage needs.
LaVerkin, April 10.
As I write, an announcement came over the radio from the government. They are appealing to everyone to get their next winter's supply of coal. They say there aren't going truck tires enough next winter to deliver coal to people, and there will not be freight cars enough, because they will all be employed in war efforts.
Norman and DeMar have the measles now. … The raspberry bushes and grape vines I ordered have come. The grape roots are almost a yard long. The instructions said to put old bones in the hole. I mentioned it to the kids, and they started collecting. The yard looks like a graveyard. Some of the skeletons look prehistoric. I'll be blessed if I know what kind of creatures they once were. … Our Sears order came. Dellar is wearing his overalls, and is so proud of his pockets.
Hawthorne, April 12.
Brother and Sister Beard have invited me to supper this evening. He was on the team with me in the debate tonight. The neat scolding wife won. … We've decided to come home for a few days in May. The dates are not as yet fixed. I'm still as fond of you as mortal can be. There is a wonderful something about being the proud possessor of a family and having a most charming and loving sweetheart too. I shall never stop patting myself on the back for getting the very right one for me.
LaVerkin, April 14.
… Today I had an appointment with Doc Gibson to dig ou-t a wisdom tooth. I hired Ursula Segler to do the washing and stay with the kids. Norman wheeled Shirley in the buggy all the while I was gone, and Marilyn walked to Hurricane with me. Doc froze my face, then took his chisel and hammer after me. I was surprised when he held the tooth in front of me. After the freezing came out, I had a horrible headache. We walked, facing the wind, all the way home. When we got here, the basement was flooded. Wilford had turned the canal down for my watering turn—three hours of flood. I was mad. I changed my duds, and wallowed in the mud, trying to regulate the stream. The ditches were too little to hold it. The water ripped through my tender young beets and carrots. Wilford was here trying to help. After all my clumping about in your boots, with my bursting headache, to get the water regulated, then he shut it off. It only watered the top of the lot. The oats and alfalfa are dry as a bone, and my strawberries undermined with water. I'm boiling mad! After all my efforts to man ace this lot, all I get is drouth and floods. Aren't garden streams to be small, andrun all day Monday? Last time I dug ditches, I shoveled half a day, until my ribs felt like I'd ripped every muscle loose. Then Grandpa Gubler came along. "Here, let me do that," he said. In less than half an hour 184184 he'd dug more ditch than I had in half a day. It isn't fair! There shouldn't be that much difference between a man and a woman. … The cow is a clown. She makes the funniest noises I've ever heard, when I give her a pan of mash. . … Norman just brought in an armful of asparagus. He asked me if I'd buy it for a penny, because he hadn't had any spending money for so lone. It was a fair deal. … Shirley is screaming, because there's no one to wheel her. She thinks that the only way she can go to sleep now.
Hawthorne, Nevada, April 16.
My dear, I will be home to celebrate my first Christmas, early in May. Love my kids for me, and know that I spend a great deal of my working and my leisure time thinking of all the things we ever wanted, and of how best to care for my brood.
LaVerkin, April 18.
Clifton delivered the beds into our new house, and Van came and put them together. The house looks so good with a little furniture in it. Norman's bed is in the front room, and ours is in the kitchen. The radio table and your chair is there too.
(Note: This was our first purchase of furniture for our new house. Clifton Wilson was working for Graff Mercantile at the time. Our bedrooms were not yet finished.)
Hawthorne, April 29.
… I felt so queer and lonesome going back to work this morning. I'm thoroughly converted to going to either Provo or Vegas now. … Seeing you only touched a responsive chord that swells up into most exquisite satisfaction for knowing you love me so. I thank you most sincerely. … Ardella was thrilled to see me, and have me tell her news from home. I did enjoy my stay most wonderfully. Fact is, I can't think when I ever liked a week better, even though it was the shortest in years.
LaVerkin, April 29.
Here am I, but where are you? Your brief visit with us was between rashes. Today both boys are broke out with measles, and are acting accordingly. I can't do a thing but wait on kids. They have to go to the toilet every fifteen minutes, and have a drink every five, and they imagine they want all kinds of food. I steam custards, fix cereals, open soup, slice potatoes, and juice oranges. We have a bottle of each kind of fruit we own, open. Their trays come back untouched. The chickens enjoy it. There's one thing I can bank on, and that postum. DeMar has had about a gallon of it today. He asks for it about four times a day, and drinks it too. Norman mostly sleeps. As soon as we're all well, we're going to celebrate. I've promised the kids I'd fix a lunch, pack it in Shirley's buggy, and we'd hike somewhere.
Uncle Joe was our ward teacher last night. His topic: Man is that he might have joy. To feel joy, one must know sorrow. (I had the joy of your coming home, and the sorrow of your leaving.) Brigham Young once said, that when folks said they were having a hell of a good time, it was usually just that.
Clifton Wilson delivered the screens for the windows, and I paid him for them. If we want a furnace, we have to write to the War Production Board, Washington, D.C., and tell them our home is ready to occupy, except for the heating plant. We are to tell them we are presently crowded into a small garage, and are in dire need of occupying our new home. The salesman Clifton talked to said to spread it on thick and tell them we are living in a tent. I hardly think that would bear investiaation. The salesman said they would send us a priority certificate from Washington, D.C., then his company would send the furnace right out.
185185 Hawthorne, May 1.
… Happy May Day! Today has been like January rather than May. We've had winter ever since my return—raining and snowing till a big part of the crew stopped work. … Last night I went ward teaching, and the folks I visited told me the place they live in is for sale. It's a five room house, plus another lot and a three room house with a one room cabin, all for $1,200. Why, I could pay for it all in six months. The rent alone would bring me $175 a month. It has me interested. It is by the church property, a block from the court house, and two from the school. … And now to turn the pages back to my return trip. A wild dame, half lit, was coming up this way—in fact there were four ladies (women) on that bus. The woozy one was going to take me over. I had talked with her at the station in Vegas, so I decided to pick my seat, and not leave her room. So I got in first, and she took the seat just behind. … There was a lady, nicely dressed and refined looking. I struck up her acquaintance, and did I enjoy her company. She was really high class. She hated to see me leave. It's funny how friendly travelers feel toward each other. … I love you darling, and since it's time to say it, goodbye and good morning tonight. W.
LaVerkin, May 3, 1942.
… Just think! A week ago today, at this very hour, you were pushing Shirley's buggy as you walked with me. I look back on the happiness of your homecoming, and on the melancholy moment of our parting. In all my life there has never been a goodbye that hurt so much as that one. I hope the pain of it has made me stronger so that it will never be that way again. All week long I've told myself over and over again that we shall not invest in one more thing. We will make the chickens and cow keep us entirely, and every cent you clear will go to debts, and then you can come home to stay. There's nothing in the wide, wide world that can justify this separation. I have no intention of living this way one day longer than necessary. It is true, one cannot live on love alone, but one certainly cannot live without it.
I've reviewed over and over your brief vacation. The weather was cold, but delightful, and didn't time skip by! Wednesday we went to a dance that seemed especially for us, Thursday to a show, Friday Van spent the evening with us, then came Saturday, the most superb day of all, the most carefree Saturday I've known for eight years. It is the first time we've walked together like that. I could not ask for happiness more supreme. And all of that was only a week ago. It seems so long ago I wonder if it really happened, or was it just a dream that made me wake up crying?
I was afraid of the red measles, but the kids are getting along fine. Shirley sits in her buggy now, crowing and scolding, and having a wonderful time. She was cross for two days, then she broke out. She's been the happiest little thing ever since. I've sewed a lot, and rocked her buggy with one foot just to keep her quiet. DeMar still has purple cheeks, and his body is a speckled thing. Norman's body is covered too. I try to keep the boys in bed. They haven't had their shoes on for a week, but they bounce all over the beds.
Hawthorne, May 3.
L.C. wants to go to Vegas to work. I told him to wait till the weekend, and we would see. I feel to stay this month, or at least till the 23rd. … Tonight in Mutual, I gave my Shakespeare piece, Romeo and Juliet. It went over big. … Brother Taylor is in the market for a girl. He writes to a Paxman airl in Washington who is a good looker, and has everything, but his heart don't turn over, and his fingers don't tingle when she is in his arms. Ain't love, is it!
186186 I've been looking at Montgomery's sinks, but since you tell me to write Washington, D.C. for a priority certificate, why not include all our plumbing? We need it as bad as anything. It won't hurt, since asking for the horse, to also get a saddle. Ask and ye shall receive is my motto. Many a good thing lost by not asking. … Willard and Ardella are coming home to show off their new car on the first of June, if Don goes into the Air Force then. … The Sunday School is going to put a Mrs. Larsen in with me as teacher in the Gospel Doctrine class. … Joy of joys, I own a dress hat again. I walked in and asked if they had a hat my size, and the clerk located two, so I bought one. (Class?) Dress shoes are my next need. The heels on these are run over. But again—thinking of my family, don't you think it wise to order about three pair at least of each successive size of shoes for our kids. … I may be able to pick up some washed carpenter pants at the laundry. The lady there has two pair that have been there almost the full time limit, which she is saving for me. The thirty day limit is up Friday. If I can squeeze into them, she'll sell them to me cheap. … I wrote my mom a page to cheer her up. A fellow can't get too open when he knows the hull darn farmbly has a look at all that goes to the house. You simply write to everybody, and put Ma's address on it.
LaVerkin, May 5.
… We have a setting hen. I wanted little chickens, but Marilyn seems to want little ducks worse. She has promised LaVon and LaReta each a duckling. I guess I'll let her set the hen on her duck eggs. I wash my hands of the whole affair. She has made a nest in the basement. Tonight she will put the hen on. I feel like I have no need to scold her about messing with the chickens. If she doesn't get any eggs to hatch, she will know why. If she is successful, more power to her.
Hawthorne, May 8.
Happy Mother's Day, Alice. Wish I could help celebrate it with you. Now for your query about the cow. She just got a fill on grain and glory, and the milk gets yellower. That's vitamins, and good for everything that ails us. … I can't be too sure how long I'll be here. A bunch of men were laid off today. They have the forms built, and when we get them done, there won't be room for all in the field setting them.
Sunday I saw Max, and spoke to him about hay. He runs Nellie's farm, and will have a little, so he may have Uncle haul it in and stop the cow feed worry.
Sure wish you had a chance to come up here and see the country. My, my, here I sit all broken hearted, ought to sleep and haven't started. And when I think of my thirteen hour day tomorrow, put up a double lunch, and eat a bite between. The bishopric wants the men to meet on the site (the building they are to salvage to build a church house from) at 6:00 a.m. and pray when they start, and when they stop. With the Lord with us, who can be against us? Who cares who's against us, if he is with us! I hope and ask that he be very mindful of my loved ones. He's good to me. Again, happy Mother's Day. W.
Hawthorne, May 9.
Enliven your soul on the sight of the enclosed pay check. Ain't it pretty! I'm No. 225—W. Gubler, and work in the carpenter shop. … Ardella brought mail for L.C. this evening, but I had to take my disappointment like a man, and wish till Monday. Fate seems to will me some mighty long waits, every now and then. But I hope I can take it on the chin.
LaVell wrote me a card from Vegas. She said Bill was coming this week, and they would have a room built to live in. She was thrilled thinking 187187 of getting into more space. Poor Max and Tell take most of their meals standing up. She offered to cook for me—fee very small. If I'm let go here, I think I'll co down there closer to home.
LaVerkin, May 8.
I got yours of Tuesday today. I'll never get over how nice to hear from you. I'm glamorous again. Spent the afternoon at the beauty parlor. My folks won't claim me. Pop thinks I look better the old, shaggy way. I put Marilyn, Norman and DeMar on the school bus and sent them to the folks's place. Rosamond, Shirley and I went over with Thora at 1:30. They had my iron head gear on, and had me all hooked up with the electric cords to the permanent wave machine, when Rosamond brought the baby in for her 3:00 o'clock feeding. Shirley was too frightened for words when she saw me. She sat on the edge of my lap like she was trying to get away, and looked wild eyed at that machine. She was almost in a frenzy. She looked about the room for something familiar. Golden Taylor had Margurite Nuttal all covered with lather, and was going wildly at her. Shirley looked from them to me, and then up in the big mirror at my reflection. I talked to her, but could not cheer her. Finally she began to sob. I coaxed and coaxed, but she would not nurse. Finally, I covered her head with a blanket so she could not see, and talked to her, and then she took her dinner. My brother Bill brought us home this evening.
Norman suggested that while we were in hurricane that he go to the dentist. I took him up at it. I was glad to have him wanting to co. Marilyn took him there this afternoon. So nice to have kids big enough to do things for themselves. I went over to pay the bill when I finished at Taylors. Doc Gibson charged me $2.50 for both kids—three silver fillings for Marilyn and two for Norman. He bragged the kids up and kept saying he couldn't imagine where we got such a smart little girl. Heh heh!
Both Doc and Mrs. Gibson did their bit to show the kids a lovely time. They showed them their canary and their deer. They have a buck and two doe. They gave the kids some trinkets—among them, a bottle of nail polish remover. Marilyn gave DeMar a sniff of it after we got home. The kids were outside. I heard a muffled cry, and jumped to see what it was. Marilyn was white as a ghost, and was carrying DeMar to the house. His eyes were bunged out, and he was strangling. I've never been so frightened since Norman aot the lye in his eyes.
Some of the liquid had spilled on the end of DeMar 's nose, and nearly burned the poor little kid up. When he overcame the fumes enough to get his breath, he cried from pain. His breath was heavy with the fumes. I grabbed him and ran to the sink to wash the stuff off. Then something in my head snapped, and I had a blinding headache. Marilyn and Norman both looked like they might faint.
Sunday: DeMar's choking awoke me at the crack of dawn. I jumped out of bed and found him in convulsions. His mouth was covered with foam, and he was thrashing about in his bed. I carried him to the sink and washed his face, but all in vain. I could not bring him too. His head rolled around like he didn't have a bone in him. I awoke Marilyn and questioned her, to no satisfaction, about that polish remover. He quieted down, but I couldn't get a stir out of him, for all of my calling and shaking. I could not bring him to. I put him in bed beside me where I could listen to his breathing, and waited for morning. He slept two hours, then woke up crying. I got your dad and Van to come and administer to him, then he grinned at them and seemed perfectly normal.
188188 Your folks left and he begged for breakfast. I put him in his high chair, and he whined a bit, then began to yell. He stared like some monster was after him, and clenched his fists , yelling in the most awful tones. As I grabbed him, he passed out. He choked, and his lungs sounded full, and streaks of blood ran from his mouth. Marilyn, Norman and I were terrified. Marilyn ran for Bishop Church. He came, and when he saw the blood, he ran for the doctor, but he was in Cedar. Mrs. McIntire sent instructions to aive him an enema, which we did. He slept until two this afternoon, then he ate a tiny serving of oats and drank a cup of postum. Now he sits quietly in his little rocking chair, and seems quite normal. Mrs. McIntire thought it was an after effect of measles. He still has a few on his arms. I dare not leave him for a moment. I keep a continual prayer in my heart.
Darling, at times like these, we need you more than you can ever imagine. I could always get so much strength and comfort from you. I am thankful that I've been taught to pray, and that I know we can depend upon our Maker to come to our rescue in times of distress. It is only this assurance that gives me courage to try. Goodbye. I love you so very much.
LaVerkin, May 10.
I didn't go to church and get the customary rose today. We've had one sick kid or another so long that going to church is just a memory.
The kids had been worried about how they were going to buy me a Nother's Day gift. I overheard them discussing it among themselves. I couldn't hand them the money and say, "Go buy me a gift," so I bought a dozen duck eggs from Marilyn and gave Norman 2( a trip for wheeling Shirley out for her nap. By Saturday morning, he had earned the equivalent of Marilyn's dozen eggs. Marilyn is a money manager. She shopped for a bargain, finding a little tin funnel for 7c That left 3ct for suckers, and she still has a nickle in her purse. I chuckled all over as she proudly related her high financing to me this morning as I unwrapped the beloved gift. She said, "I knew it was just what you've been wanting." She remembered how we filled the root beer bottles last summer. Norman could hardly wait for me to open his gift. He kept saying, "It's awfully pretty. I know you'll be glad to get it." And I am. It is a cut glass bowl with a cover, which can be used for a sugar bowl. What precious little children!
You'll want to hear daily, I'm sure, until I can say DeMar is all right again. He rested good last night, and has been quite happy all day today. He was overjoyed, and could hardly believe it, when I told him he could co outside and swing.
Hawthorne, May 10.
Hi pal, I'm wishing I was present to add my personality to the Mother's Day occasion. They had the usual program here today. The unusual feature was that after the program, the mothers stood in a row, and every member of the Sunday School marched by and shook hands. It went over big. A good many had tears in their eyes. Then is when I wished so much that I was in other parts, holding a nice hand I know of, and telling a mother how perfectly adorable other people's mother can be (is). Not to mention my own mother.
I can give you a lot of news today—startling stuff, sizzling sentences, scandalous skullduggery, stunning, stupendous, still simply screaming headlines. (1) At meeting today Willard Duncan was sustained and set apart as President of the YMNIA. Ardella Duncan was put in as 2nd counselor in the Primary, and Leah Pierce as 1st counselor, and Ann Fuller as secretary. Now ain't that a real story? (2) Another big headline is, they expect to 189189 build a hall here for church use, and will begin by twenty or more of us going out tomorrow night, after work, and work again, tearing up forms for the lumber in them. The church gets it free for the salvaging, and also, they can get anything they want, through one of the big contractors—cement, nails, doors, windows, etc. (3) Another big headline: We got a raise in pay. One-hundred and five per week, less a dollar and five for old age pension. (4) More news. The grocery store across the street is going full blast. Handy, eh what? (5) Another scoop. The biggest store in town, Hawthorne Mercantile, burned to the ground. The hotel back of the Gallo Bar, also went up in smoke. The work I first did, has half of it gone up in flames. About everybody in town watched her burn, but I had been up late, and slept through it all.
Hawthorne, May 12.
Yours of Saturday came today. I got quite excited over' DeMar's ailments. I pray he gets over his troubles very soon—is over them long before you get this. … I'd really love to see you and the new hair do. I dreamed I was home, and Wickley entered the picture, wanting me to do something. It was a very pleasant dream, and I hated to have it stop.
It has been so cold, part of the men had to lay off a day or so. It snowed two or three inches. Last night a group of church men went out and loaded a big load of lumber for the building preparation. It was tough. I nearly froze. I had left my coat home. I took it to work this morning and wore it till nearly noon.
I'm not in need of sugar here, so I'll send my stamp book to you, so you can have more sugar there.
Willard wants me to sing in a quartet Sunday night. He sang a solo last Sunday night.
My prayers are with you in your call for help. I pray for you continually. Be assured my thoughts are with you across the miles. You can feel doubly assured how very much I care. May your troubles all be vanished by now. W.
Hawthorne, May 13.
Your letter of Sunday came today. I'm glad DeMar is showing improvement. I feel like his spells were the aftermath of measles, and just got going, because of the nasty dose he got. When a feller is low, it doesn't take much to touch off the works. … Ardella says mater told her that Don leaves on the 23rd for Salt Lake. Only a week and three days left.
Monday night we plant tomato sets. We manage to have plenty to do. They want us to help salvage lumber as often as possible. One cannot overdo in the Lord's work. I wish I had access to a temple. I miss that part of my labor very much. There is a big happiness attached to association with people of that class, and a joy in feeling you can turn time into such importance.
I'm always putting in my petition for my family, and I know how good our Maker is. I feel assured of our entire safety, despite the griefs and ills of life. The goal is often won, after much trial or tribulation. On this earth we have to get our lessons the hard way, knowing plenty of bitterness to make us capable of enjoying the sweet. Our separation has made us realize, the hard way, how very much we love each other. We felt that it was so before, but now it is seared deeply by the test of tears , fire and sorrow (burning) (yearning). I implore our Father above to help us soon put an end to this separation. It was never meant to be in the first place. In the meantime, keep your heart glowing with the love I give thee. W.
190190 Hawthorne, May 15.
Today I've been debating what to do with my bedroll. I could never take all my luggage along with me if I move out of here. My tool box is a load in itself, so if I leave by bus, I will have to make two trips to the station. … Tomorrow is the big day again. I wish I could go out and earn this much in six days , and then go home and spend it on things to give me a job right there for awhile until it was gone, and then go out and work for another six days. All this is because I still have those tantalizing little ultra homesick spells, then the feeling passes over. Just like hearing things which make tears come in your eyes , or a lump come up in your throat, and just as soon go away. But all in all, I feel like I do very well out here among stranaers in a churchless (care less) crew. When I consider the great gangs of people who really can't have much to be looking forward to, I get a twinge of deepest compassion, and wonder what they missed that could have changed their lives. The world's deafness to good teachings is alarming, but then they are all fulfilling the words of men who saw this day, and told us what to look for.
Hawthorne, May 17.
Bishop Bowler went to Mesquite, and will be back tonight with 1,000 tomato plants. We will go up tomorrow night to plant them. Imagine a gang going from LaVerkin to Toquerville to work a little garden plot I Of course, no one here has a aarden, or cow, or pig, or chickens to tend, so that could spell a heap of difference. … I didn't get any mail today. I sorta looked for a letter. I begin to get desperate after a few days with no letter. Since Thursday this time, and from then till Monday night is a real spell. I need good news from my family to keep me cheered up. Nothing in the world makes a guy more restless and dissatisfied, than to be so far away, and have things wrong at home. The writing on the knee is aetting tiresome. L.C. always uses the table, and I sit by and use the knee. He always uses the outside of the bed, and I crawl over uncheerfully. One day I'm going to have a bed with two outsides.
If things go as usual, I shall stay here till the first week in June, and then go home for a spell. We'll fix up the flivver and take our family for an outing. … Ardella and Willard are motoring in this Saturday night. They will take my little stick grip and my bedroll.
LaVerkin, May 19.
I took the kids to the clinic today, and they were vaccinated for small pox. Shirley was also inoculated for diptheria. She cried and cried. The doctor thumped Norman all over, and told him to gain another pound. He told him what to eat, and that he must rest during the day. Norman sat with his eyes, ears and mouth open, listening to it all. When we came home, he became kind of high and mighty about the food question. He wanted everything on the table at once, that McIntire had suggested. I let him take a dozen egos to the store, and get a can of salmon. At the dinner table, he delivered a lecture to the family.
"The doctor says what is wrong with America is that people eat too fast. We'd be a bunch of healthy kids if we ate slow and chewed our food good, and rested every day." The minute he finished eating, he went to bed.
Hawthorne May 22.
I'm sending this letter in by Willard and Sis, and you should have it by 10:00 o'clock, instead of mail time. I'm going to have a famine on ways to get home, now that I've let three ways go by the board. Willard would let me join them and the kids, then there was a ride to St. George today with Lavoid Leavitt. But then, I'm set on working till the first Sunday in June, and if nothing happens before, you may know in good time you'll be seeing me than. Just two weeks! Can we take it?
191191 I'm left to my own thoughts for awhile. L.C. went out to buy a file. His wife sent him a box of candy. It would just put me on the rocks to eat as much as he does. He positively can't let the stuff alone.
I went over to the new store and asked about cashing my checks, and he told me it was okey dokey. He said he could tell by the looks. Glad I looked good to him, eh? Saves me blocks of walking.
We're all intensely interested in Van's set up—when and if he's coing into the service. Maybe I'd better come and run the she-bang while the boys are gone. Dad will kill himself off, trying to run the works by himself.
Ardella says it makes her so mad, to think they would take Van in the army. She thinks he has worked so hard for what he has, and has never had any fun out of life. I sure laughed at her plenty. Ardella and Willard came in last night, and Willard cut my hair, then I cut L.C. 's for him.
Since deciding to come home in June, I've had that little piece running through my mind, "What is so rare as a day in June. Then, if ever, come perfect days."
Later: I got my time tonight, ten minutes before quitting time. I'm on my way home. Oh goody! I will hand this letter to you, and save you writing. Love, W.
LaVerkin June 2.
What boundless joy, to have you actually become tangible again—to realize our separations will be broken into shorter intervals. We know it's a long drive for you to come home from LasVegas after working twelve and thirteen hours a day, for six days a week , but oh how wonderful it is to attend Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting as a complete family again!
Your visit with us after church, as we waited for your car to honk out in front, was more precious than emeralds. I am so thankful that you have moved to LasVegas, and that we will be seeing you every week.
Your letters are choice, and I am grateful to have the written proof that you love me. Never would I have possessed such a bundle of love letters, if you had not gone so far away. Letters are something to cherish and reread, when one is alone and needs reassurance. But oh, my darling, to have you gather me in your arms, and to hear you tell me, is like a shower of star dust, moon beams, and sparkling sun all at once, made all the merrier by the clamoring of our children, eager to be in the circle of your arrs. How dear to our hearts are your fleeting visits, and how much greater the resolution to bring you home to stay.
Remember how DeMar mimicked the baby when you were here? Because we laughed when Shirley stuck her toe in her mouth, he figured he should look equally as cute doing it too. Well, he's been on a baby binge ever since, carrying it to the obnoxious point. When he dumped his cereal in his hair, I finally had to spank him. In retaliation, he spit on the floor, so I rubbed his nose in it. He arose with a look of disdain, and with head held high, marched resolutely out the door and spit on the ground. Kneeling, he rubbed his nose in that too, and a gob of wet dirt clung to the end of his nose. He came back into the house, and with eyes snapping above his muddy protusion, announced, "Mar spit again."
Last evening, as we walked home from Grandma Gubler's, Marilyn and Norman were pushing Shirley in her buggy. DeMar looked across the square 192192 toward home, then up at me. "The ground is too big. Mar wants to ride on your back." I sat on my heels and let him put his chubby arms around my neck, and brought him home piggy-back. His head drooped on my shoulder, and he fell asleep. He seems so little and yet so big. When I spanked him today for climbing upon the roof of the house, he lay in the yard and howled. Suddenly the crying stopped, and he came inside and coolly announced, "Mar turned the cry off."
LasVegas, Nevada, June.
Beloved, I always reserve Tuesday night for my letter to you, but yesterday we were kept on the job until 7:30, and it was about dark when I aot home. I was to have been up at 12:30 to be to work by two bells this a.m., but was so tired I slept through the alarm, and it was three when I awoke. We only worked our regular twelve hours today. Monday there were so many headaches and hangovers, that the boss called off at 4:30.
My, but living a week at a time seems good, as compared to long months, and I'm wishing they were only half as long. … Our journey down was without incident. There was a giant fire raging on the mountains south of Mesquite. Ray (Horatio) and I have never even put up the tent yet. Will do well to get it fixed at all this week. Our bedroom is the whole outside. It's getting dark. I can't see a word. I'm just writing by feel. I guess I'm too lazy to go in the house. I'm all ready for bed, as soon as I take my duds off. Be seem' ya soon. I'm thinking so much of you, and hope my prayers reach you. Love, W.
Note: LaVell and Percy Wittwer had an old bus parked on Sam Earl's vacant lot, on the edge of the LasVegas desert. With plywood, they constructed a portable 12x16 foot room alongside the bus, which served as a mess hall for the family and friends who stayed there. For awhile, Ardella and Willard lived there, as well as Winferd, Horatio, Tell, Bill Neilson, Max Woodbury, Donworth, and I'm not certain who else. The sky was the roof over the beds of the boarders.
LasVegas, June 10.
Hello dear. I failed to make the oracle last night. Too big a muddle here. So many to keep up the chatter, I guess 9:30 just came too quick. I'm still on the job at five bells every day. I missed my ride Tuesday a.m. and had to thumb my way. … Max is playing soft ball with J.C. Penny store team, first game tonight. His job doesn't recuire twelve hours labor a day. … I've ridden a bicycle out to meet my ride two days thus far. It is better than a two mile walk to meet the car. … Horatio and Don both got on as painters at $1.25 per hour for ground work, and $1.50 for high steel girders or rigging, like the LaVerkin bridge.
Think I shall have to get our old flivver fixed up. It's awful being afoot, on this, of all the jobs I ever had. Rode to work with Walt Church yesterday a.m. He is now getting $1.00 per hour. Says he is going to try to get on as an electrician's helper. That would get him in the $1.25 class. Sheldon DeMille brought his family down with him yesterday. They will stay the week out and go home. I was surprised yesterday out of all measure to see Lafe Hall out on my job. He was happy, and so was I, for a familiar face. We were put on a job together. I enjoy his company. He is one nice guy.
I met a fellow from Butte, Montana. He said they were talking about me at noon, and decided I was a good Mormon. I had a bottle of milk in my lunch.
LasVegas, June 16.
Hi Pal. Again I make the grade and do You a few lines. Beside me sits Ray, doing likewise for his one and only. We are just one big happy family. DeLoy is tending the kids , while Pa and Ma have 193193 gone to a show. A gang event. Mother included. She enjoys it here with all of her later kids and me. Tomorrow night, the bunch is going to take her to the airport and send her up once.
I'm feeling pretty good, all except in the morning when the alarm rings. I have to get up at three, in order to get on the job by five. After working thirteen hours, I crawl in early. Bill turns in early too. The others can sleep till five. Max goes down early each evening to play ball, and William Tell is a night hawk.
The trip down was slow. Sam drives slow, then there's a long stopover in Mesquite. Dixie guys ought to buy that joint we stop at. Tillie works there. The two girls have three times too many customers to look after… The Vegas weather is like home. I enjoy the covers in the a.m. Wish I could enjoy it longer. Sleeping is sure valuable.
LasVegas, June 23.
I'm just going to do a small one tonight, as I'm to be up and away by 12:30 a.m. I want to roll in as soon as it's dark enough to take off my pants. Hotel de tree is well patronized, and there are several beds close around.
Nothing very exciting happened on the way down. I usually sleep a little, and think over my short stay with you and the kids. I gave Marilyn a dime. Did Norman feel slighted? I made up my mind to give them a little change each week. Ray and I have never put up the tent. I intended to bring a piece of canvas down to use for mending it. … I did so enjoy my visit this week. I feel fed spiritually and have a good feeling left with me. Sure do love my pal, and will be glad when you can come down and see me.
LasVegas, June 30.
Percy just drove in, in a new ford. He has been disgusted with his old red truck for ages, and all that has kept him from buying a new one, was his wife. … I went in to see the awning shop and see what it cost to fix up my tent. They want $12.50. New tents are about $40. I may turn out to be a tent maker myself. … The company has posted notice that there would be no work on the 4th or 5th, so I may have extra time at home this week. … I'm outside doing my writing, and dusk has about shut the door on me.
LaVerkin, the last day of June, and hot!
Been some time since I wrote you. I spent a fun evening filling in as an extra at the women's bridge club, last night. Only the exclusive crowd was there, with the exception of me. I felt extra good. Those card sharks didn't freeze me, or scare me to death, or petrify me, or anything like that. I was as dumb as usual , but smart enough to enjoy it. Our host served heaped up dishes of freezer ice cream, and giant pieces of strawberry shortcake, drizzled over with crushed, fresh berries, smothered in whipped cream. Everybody acted hungry. We visited a lot, and didn't move very fast with our cards. I got the booby prize. Come to think of it, I've often got a prize at bridge, but always the booby prize. "You know who," still leans across the table and says, "Girls, do you want to hear some juicy gossip?" The "girls" lean her way, nodding their anticipation. This always reminds me of the movie, "Barnacle Bill," where the alley cats on the back yard fence impersonate the village gossips. I lean back and chuckle to myself, because I've seen those cats in real life a number of times. Yeow! Who is being catty now?
193193 LasVegas, July 1.
Cloudy and cooler. Here it is letter time, and a mighty little news. The whole crowd got a letter from Donnie boy. He is in Santa Anna, California. Says the Air Force keeps him busy.
Next item: Horatio and I talked over the farm situation. We both agree that there can't be too much revenue from the place. We're going to try and get Van to put off his army life for three months , when we both can be freer. We're going to have a get together and see if we can work it out.
Our bathtub was delivered here yesterday. My, it is a heavy seacook. Takes four men to lift it. I feel like it was a good buy. Now I'm in the market for a freighter to deliver it home. … At present, I'm working in the carpenter shop, and would like to stay here a spell… Ardella and Willard have moved in by themselves. They no longer eat here. Sis was satisfied, but Willard wanted for them to be by themselves. … If you can get Kate or anybody to take over, I'm sure you would enjoy a trip down here. You'd see some sides to life you never saw before. … Bill tells me L.C. is going to spend another week at home. A whole month! That's going good. I'd like nothing better, if I could fix our house up, and have a good visit besides. These weekly aggravations are hard on all of us. But they say, the harder one works for something, the greater the value. That being true, then the visits are priceless.
LaVerkin, July 7.
It is so hot today I'm beginning to curl up on the edges. I'm complaining three degrees worse today than yesterday. It is 97° in the house, and that ain't cold!
We had a Genealogy meeting here last night. The multitude consisted of Ina, Angie, Leonard, Pansy and a host of gnats that came in and stuck to the light. I really kept open house last night, both garage doors wide open, in hopes of catching a whiff from the Arctic, but nary a whiff came by. … I've been afflicted with thoughts of you, ever since you left. Can't get you off my mind. Like the song says, "I've got it bad, and that ain't good." I think it's kind of good though.
Bishop Church mowed our oats yesterday. He was doing some mowing of his own, and he came in the evening and did ours, then drove out, without me getting to talk to him.
We should have taken a picture of the oats, to show the difference between fall and spring plowing. Weren't you impressed with the sharp line down the middle of the patch, showing where you stopped plowing last fall, and where Van took it up this spring? Winter did magic to the upturned sod, mellowing and crumbling the clods. Dry winds, water and heat did nothing to the giant clods that hardened to brick, after spring plowing. The oats on the loamy side, stood like a wall, two feet taller, and a world thicker than on the gumbo side.
I bought more defense stamps to put in the kids' books today. I used my sugar stamps too. I have ninety-one pounds of figs to put up.
Shirley just climbed upon my lap, and you should see her busy fingers at these keys. I can hardly write a word. … I had to put her down. Here she comes again, laughing and coaxing. She's awfully cute.
Don't forget to get DeMar some shoes, 9=z EE. Shirley has scrubbed the soles almost off her shoes, since beinc down on the floor. I'll have to get her a pair so we won't be ashamed to take her to church.
195195 LasVegas July 7.
… I just loaded the tub onto Cleve LeBaron's truck to deliver to vou. … I've spent a lot of today thinking in terms of taking over Dad's farm. I can see plenty of work, at least. I want to iron out a lot of points before I make a decision. I will visit with Dad next Sunday. If I had a truck of some kind, I know I could do ok. We shall see. I would enjoy being in town again, especially to eat and sleep at home. … When are you coming down? Bill would bring you. You could come Wednesday night, and get two or three days.
LasVegas, July 14.
Hi pal, here's hoping you can give me a aood report of yourself. I've been doing a heap of thinking about how you've managed all of your chores, cares and kids. … It's about to rain. Interlude to cover the bed. I soled my old shoes last night. They look quite fine now. … Well, darling, I'm between the devil and the deep blue sea. I've almost gone gray trying to decide which of a list of things to pick up for next Friday's celebration. I'll just tell you happy birthday for now. Haven't been able to think of much else since leaving, but of all the things you are to me—sweetheart, wife, mother, pal, etc. , etc. … Tell took most of the bunch out to see a trailer house he wants to buy. Ray and I stayed home. No mon, no fun, can't even buy a mosquito netting, or the scrim for the tent.
I enjoy my visits with you, and the main purpose of this letter is to keep you fully reminded. I bask in the enjoyment you've been to me, and how fully you filled the need I had for you. Hoping to be always my best and your best. W.
With the prospect of Winferd coming home to run the farm, I concluded that if I ever saw the war boom in action, it had better be now. Kate stayed with the children, and Bill Neilson took me to Las Vegas.
I had seen Las Vegas twice before; first, when we took Tell and Audrey to get married, and second, when we visited Boulder Dam. This was in May, 1936, when they celebrated water going through the spillway tunnel for the first time. Ah, what a moment—to be leaning over the wall with hundreds of other spectators, when the drum gates were opened and the water poured through the tunnels, pounding, furious and white, into the Colorado below. With our two little children, Marilyn and Norman, we went on down the river to Calamity Ranch to visit Winferd's missionary companion, Dell Fairbourne and his wife.
LasVegas was a normal little desert town, in those days. I couldn't believe my eyes! There was nothing normal about what I beheld now! LasVegas had spawned a rag town, that sprawled beyond the city limits in all directions, fluttering and waving like a dingy wash, hung to dry over miles of chaparral. Like swarming ants, men had come from every direction for the war time cold rush. Over night, the town teemed with thousands more people than LI: could house. Transients threw up temporary shelters of tarps, old quilts, sheets, piano boxes7-anything for protection, and sauatted in the desert. Some owned real tents, and others made plywood shacks. What impressed me most was the fluttering and flapping in the ceaseless, scorching wind, of the new Las Vegas.
Winferd took me sight seeing in the evening. We walked down a crowded street in the colored section of town. We squeezed our way through throngs of noisy, laughing Negroes. I tried to imagine all of them as Uncle Remuses and Aunt Jemimas, but since it was my first time to see more than one Negro, I confess I was scared, and clung to Winferd's arm.
196196 If the movie industry did not film the LasVegas of 1942—the living conditions in the desert—it certainly missed one of the strangest epics in history. The wandering of the children of Israel could not have been more spectacular. How glad I was to get home to more than the shade of a mesquite bush.
LaVerkin July 28.
Dearest Winferd, all day I've thought of little else but that you are coming home to stay. There is no greater luxury than your society. If I did not marry for love, money would be the only other consideration. It seems that we have an over abundance of love, so why waste our time in the pursuit of money?
We still have the bird house on our hands. May Heaven rescue me if I ever attempt to help my son do carpenter work again. I haven't the ability of a three year old when it comes to building things. I spent a lot of time trying to help Norman, but to tell the truth, he and Marilyn could do much better without my assistance. We got the queer thing together, but I'm embarrassed about how shoddy it is. There isn't one right angle in it, and there are no two edges that fit. Norman is satisfied with it, but if he's going to be a good carpenter, he shouldn't be satisfied.
Our neighbor to the north and east of us, reported to me that Gene Henroid had applied for a license to sell beer at his fruit stand. She wept as she told me, because she knew what a difference it would make to her own household. Well! I could see no reason to take this sitting down. Since the day was cloudy, with a cool breeze passing through, it seemed like a fine time to take Shirley for a buggy ride. I wrote a petition against selling beer in our town, and left Marilyn in charge at home, while I wheeled the baby all the way from Wilford Thompson's to Grant Button's, collecting signatures. When I presented my petition to the mayor, he grinned and said, "You have the majority of our people. No beer license will be granted." Shirley might become a real vigilante, after having covered the town with a petition so young.
The other youngsters were rewarded for being so good. Marilyn and Norman coaxed me to let them take the little wagon load of cans to the trash dump yesterday. DeMar set up a storm to go too, so I let him. After I finished mopping the floor I packed a lunch and took Shirley in the buggy, and set out after them. I met them by the big stand pipe above Brooks's, and we ate lunch there. You should have seen Shirley. I've never seen her so tickled. She just kept saying, "Ha, ha, ha," in a boisterous, grown up way. She rejoiced to the fullest all the while we were there. Oh, but she cot dirty. She took her berry dish and licked it inside, and stuck it on top of her head, and aot blackberry juice in her hair, and all over her face, and down the front of her slip. I had to take off her slip and mop her up before we could start home. DeMar and Shirley were ready to go to sleep when we got home. …
Abruptly our correspondence came to a halt. Ovando was drafted into the army, and Winferd came home to manage the farm early in August. Ue were a complete family again, eating three meals a day together, and knowing once more the serenity of having Winferd prepare his Gospel Doctrine lessons aloud in the evenings, while I darned socks or ironed. On hot, haying days, when Winferd needed to cool off in the late afternoons, we went to Oak Grove for supper, or we went swimming in the river near Sheep Bridge, below virgin. With a rope, Winferd lowered Shirley's buggy over a little ledge to the sand, where the other children played and splashed in the shallow water. Winferd 197197 swam like a porpoise up and down through the narrows , while I swam near the children. Once, Norman followed me too far in the water. I turned just in time to see him disappear in a water hole. When I tried to swim against the current, the distance widened between us. I screamed, and Winferd came up stream, churning the water like an outboard motor, dove into the hole and came up with a purple little boy. Winferd worked with Norman and got him breathing, but we never took the children to the river again.
At apple picking time, Winferd and I took a vacation together, pedcaing apples. The kids loved it when we hired Onie LeBaron to stay with them, because she was hearty and cheerful and cooked exciting things , like cornmeal hotcakes. But she had a family of her own, and only came when we made short runs. Once we hired a little woman from Hurricane, who brought her violin. As we left in the cool of the evening, we heard the thin, trembling of her violin strings, and her quavering voice singing, "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam." She held the children in such fascination that they didn't even whimper when we left.
We were gone three or four days, and during that time the violin had lost its soothing effect. When we returned, our baby sitter was fit for the booby hatch, and the kids full of "guess whats" and giggles. All about us was the evidence of her deeds of valor. She had done the washing. I found the clothes tightly stuffed into the toy boxes that scooted on rollers under the lounge. Overalls, muddy socks, sheets, towels—everything had been washed, unsorted, in the same load, and everything was the color of wet cement.
"I did your mending,too," she announced.
Had she ever! She had sewn all the rags in the rag drawer together, in crazy patch fashion. The result was a thing big as a tent, with fringed and feathered seams. There wasn't even a rag left for Winferd to wipe the truck's oil stick with. Next, she fixed my cooking utensils. She had pounded the dents out of my thin aluminum pots, and in her diligence, she had pounded the bottom right out of my biggest kettle. Pounding pots was probably her safety valve to preserve her sanity. Next, she invaded the linen closets in our new house. There I had stored a dozen percale sheets, still in the packages. For some strange reason, she opened them all, dumping the sheets in our bathtub, (which had never been used, pending hot water heater, finished room, etc.) flooding them with iron stained water from the new pipes. The sheets were a yellow, soggy mess.
The poor little woman's eyes were red from weeping. The kids said she cried every time the baby did, and she cried when the kids fell in the ditch on purpose. We should have told her about the ditch. It was a shallow thing of mud where the kids played with Marilyn's baby ducks. But our harried baby tender became as upset as the hen that had hatched out the ducks.
We should have told her about kids and trees, too, but we thought she knew. It must have been terrible, her trying to keep them down out of the trees. The kids thought it entertaining.
To make matters worse, we thought anyone would know that three or four days meant four. She thought it meant three. So for twenty-four hours she visualized us turned upside down in some bleak canyon, and herself stuck with our kids forever. But she had hopes enough to have her things all packed, ready for instant flight the minute we got home. We appreciated her far more than she appreciated us, for the kids were well fed, safe and happy.
198198 The living room and kitchen were the only finished rooms in our new house. We were using these as sleeping quarters. A pile of flooring was stacked in the hall. Dangling from an extension cord over the hall door was a walnut sized night light. One morning, DeMar became intrigued by the little white globe, so climbing upon the lumber, he pulled down the cord, and stuffed the bauble in his mouth. He got an electric shock that knocked him to the floor. The inside of his mouth was burned, and his lips swelled until they protruded like a duck's bill. For days he was a pitiful bundle of misery, but luckily alive.
The children were so happy to have a daddy again, that they followed him, riding on every load of hay or load of fruit that came from the field. Once, when I captured Norman long enough to get him to clean the white cylinder of coils that topped our GE refrigerator, he felt so debased that he began droning his melancholy lamentations. As his fingers worked the wash cloth between the circling tubes, his sad dirge ran like this: "Nobody likes me. Nobody ever helps me. Everybody around here just wishes I hadn't been born. When kids come to play with me, they don't stay long at all, and when they go away, they say they'll be right back, and they don't ever come back, and I haven't hardly any playmates or friends, and daddy's and mother's don't play with kids, and they don't do any nice things for their kids. All they ever do for them is give them food and clothes and things like that, that they have to have. Daddy's and mother's aren't a bit of fun. Even when they try to play, their games are kind of workish." And on and on he went, the tremor in his voice increasing until finally tears begin trickling down his cheeks. His misery was so funny, I couldn't resist taking notes, but I was as happy as he was when the job was done. With a whoop and a holler, he took off joyously across the field, his sorrows all forgotten.
Norman ran six inches taller as he raced with his sister to catch the bus on the first day of school. He was eager to enter the halls of learning as a full-fledged first grader. He had been deprived of going to kindergarten, as it had been temporarily discontinued the year before. I was happy for him to go, because his longing had been so great.
Winferd's returning to LaVerkin was timely. On November 22, Bishop Vernon Church and his counselors , LaFell Iverson and Wickley Gubler were released. Loren Squire was sustained as bishop, with Winferd and Leonard Hardy as counselors. This new priesthood assignment came as a special blessing to our home. A warm, sweet feeling of peace accompanied it, a fitting conclusion for a year in which our love and faith had been so deeply tested.
Online Publication Notes
The following links give some background information about the city of Hawthorne, Nevada during the World War II era in 1942, specifically as to why the town had a lot of job opportunities, which was why Winferd went there to work:
- https://www.nevadaweb.com/cnt/pio/hawth/ - See about half-way down the page
—Andrew Gifford, 9 Jul. 2011
It seems that Winferd was referring to a couch that folds out to become a bed, whether made by the A.H. Davenport company or not, as can be implied from the Wikipedia entry for "Davenport (sofa)."
—Andrew Gifford, 9 Jul. 2011
According to Dictionary.com, a flivver is "an automobile, especially one that is small, inexpensive, and old." Also it may refer to "A Model T Ford" automobile.