Look to the Stars
Volume I
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

Title PageTitle Page


Dedication and Copyright

DedicationDedication Volume I & II of my life's story, "Look to the Stars," is affectionately dedicated to my children. They are the golden link between the rich heritage of my past, and the bright hope of the future. My love for them is boundless. May they always see the beauties of this creation, and may their rejoicing ascend to Heaven.

Copyright © 1983-1985 Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

All Rights Reserved.


Web adapatation Copyright © 2010-2018 Trustees of Alice Isom Gubler Stratton



No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the author or her trustees.


INTRODUCTION

Intro 1Intro 1 The little barefoot boy pattered down the street in Rockville. There on the sidewalk was a nickel. Excitedly he picked it up. Further on he found a dime, and then another. Holding the coins in his hand he marveled. Such a lot of money! Walking ahead of him was a stranger.

"Hey mister," the boy called, racing to catch him. The man turned as the boy thrust the coins at him. "Do you have a hole in you pocket? I found these on the sidewalk behind you."

The man put his hand in his pocket. Sure enough there was a hole. Scrutinizing the lad, the man asked, "Are you 's little boy?"

"No. I am Raymond DeMille," came the reply.

"I thought you must be William's son. I didn't know there was anyone left on the earth as honest as he is."

Bishop Raymond DeMille related this incident to me. "Your grandfather, William Crawford had the reputation of being the most honest man alive. When he was bishop of Springdale, and people turned their skinny cattle in for tithing, your grandfather gave his own fat cattle to the church, and kept the skinny ones to fatten up. That's the kind of man he was."

And that's the kind of people my forebears were. They recognized the truth when they heard it, and accepted the gospel. My great-great grandfather Alpheus Gifford baptized Heber C. Kimball, grandfather of Spencer W. Kimball. In a letter, dated September 3, 1975, President Kimball has written:

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE GIFFORD FAMILY

Dear Friends:

As one who is very grateful, may I express the gratitude of the Kimball family that your ancestor, Alpheus Gifford, was so responsible for bringing our ancestor into the Church.

I believe in family reunions and believe that much good can be accomplished by the association of family members to recount the stories of the family and keep them fresh in the memory of the people of the family.

I hope also that the members of your family will keep records of their own lives and the lives of their family members. Such biographies and autobiographies become very precious as time goes on and generations succeed each other.

Please accept my best wishes, and may I express appreciation for the other members of the Kimball family and also for the Church for your faithfulness and devotion and loyalty.

With kindest wishes,

Faithfully yours,

Spencer W. Kimball

President

Heber C. Kimball returned the favor many times over. He baptized our grandparents John Parker Sr. and John Parker Jr. and Ellen Briggs when he took the gospel to England.

Intro 2Intro 2 Great-grandfather Freeborn DeMill was baptized by Hyrum Smith and confirmed by Joseph Smith Jr. at Colesville, Broome County, New York.

Our people came from England, Canada, New York and Illinois, joining the pioneer trek to the Great Salt Lake Valley. From there, Brigham Young sent them on to colonize towns further south. They lived in dugouts and wagon boxes, and ate pigweeds, cane seed and wild berries at first. They became bishops, patriarchs and auxiliary heads in their wards, part of them living in the United Order.

Our father, George Isom, grew up in Virgin, Utah, going on horseback up the river to Oak Creek selling encyclopedia sets. That's where he met our mother, Annie Crawford, the sixth child of William and Carnelia Crawford's family of thirteen children.

According to Aunt Fanny, Papa had to court Mama in the living room where the family was. Fanny was mischievous. She hid behind the kitchen door, where Papa attempted to kiss Mama goodnight. She poked a comb through the crack just before their lips met, and they kissed the comb.


Acknowledgements

AKAK I express my appreciation to my daughter Lolene Gifford for the many hours of proofreading and careful checking of my manuscript, and to my granddaughter Laura Gubler, who came as a lifesaver at the conclusion of the book to do the technical job of indexing, and to my granddaughter Marie Gubler who read for me when eye troubles beset me. Special thanks goes to my husband Ermal, whose patience was tried to the limit with my endless typing, but who endured with good humor. I appreciate my children and grand children who have cheered me on, encouraging me to finish this work. I appreciate my sisters who have helped recall the scenes of my childhood, especially Kate for her work of art in illustrating the place where I was born.

The digital version of this book was created posthumously, after Alice's passing in 2000. The following made significant contributions to bringing Alice's book to the digital realm:


Table of Contents

ToC 1ToC 1 ToC 2ToC 2

Volume I
Title PageTitle PageTitle Page
DedicationDedicationDedication and Copyright
1 Introduction1 IntroductionIntroduction
2 Acknowledgements2 AcknowledgementsAcknowledgements
3 3.. 7 7Chapter 1: Heaven Meets Earth
8 8.. 11 11Chapter 2: The House That Papa Built
11 11.. 14 14Chapter 3: Papa's Feminine World (1915)
14 14.. 17 17Chapter 4: Man Made Marvels (1916)
17 17.. 24 24Chapter 5: Big Things Happen (1917)
25 25.. 35 35Chapter 6: Armistice (1918)
35 35.. 40 40Chapter 7: Papa's Point of View (1919)
40 40.. 44 44Chapter 8: In Which We Get Another Brother (1920)
45 45.. 47 47Chapter 9: Patriarchal Blessing (1921)
48 48.. 54 54Chapter 10: In Which Papa Has Another Son (1922)
54 54.. 61 61Chapter 11: Annie Comes Home (1923)
61 61.. 65 65Chapter 12: Oak Creek Days
65 65.. 72 72Chapter 13: "Goodbye, Grandma" (1924)
72 72.. 82 82Chapter 14: If Birds Can Fly, Why Can't I? (1925)
82 82.. 84 84Chapter 15: Wedding Bells (1926)
84 84.. 87 87Chapter 16: More Wedding Bells (1927)
87 87.. 90 90Chapter 17: Daughter, Beware! (1928)
91 91..106106Chapter 18: College (1929)
106106..114114Chapter 19: So Turns the Tide (1930)
114114..118118Chapter 20: Sing a Song of Six Pence (1931)
119119..125125Chapter 21: The Call of the Canyon (1932)
126126..132132Chapter 22: The New Deal (1933)
132132..134134Chapter 23: Marilyn (1934)
135135..136136Chapter 24: Donkey Shelves (1935)
136136..140140Chapter 25: Norman (1936)
141141..143143Chapter 26: Little Rock School House, Goodbye (1937)
143143..145145Chapter 27: "I Want to Go Wif You" (1938)
145145..152152Chapter 28: DeMar (1939)
152152..157157Chapter 29: A Really, Really Birthday (1940)
157157..160160Chapter 30: Shirley (1941)
161161..198198Chapter 31: War Boom (1942)
199199..201201Chapter 32: Gordon (1943)
201201..202202Chapter 33: Summer (1944)
202202..207207Chapter 34: Terry (1945)
207207..209209Chapter 35: We Can't Eat Flowers (1946)
209209..212212Chapter 36: Lolene (1947)
213213..233233Chapter 37: Clouds on the Horizon (1948)
233233..261261Chapter 38: So Long for Awhile (1949) (INCOMPLETE)
261261..273273Chapter 39: Politics (1950)
274274..302302Chapter 40: County Treasurer (1951) (INCOMPLETE)
302302..321321Chapter 41: Grandma? Who, Me? (1952) (INCOMPLETE)
321321..333333Chapter 42: A Fledgling on the Edge of the Nest (1953) (INCOMPLETE)
333333..340340Chapter 43: The Fledgling Tries His Wings (1954)
340340..346346Chapter 44: The Mesa (1955) (INCOMPLETE)
346346..353353Chapter 45: Goodbye for Now, Papa (1956) (INCOMPLETE)
353353..360360Chapter 46: Another Fledgling Leaves the Nest (1957) (INCOMPLETE)
361361..372372Chapter 47: Arkie Annie (1958) (INCOMPLETE)
372372..379379Chapter 48: A Diamond for Graduation (1959) (INCOMPLETE)
379379..386386Chapter 49: Gordon's Mission Call (1960)
386386..390390Chapter 50: Perry Joins the Clan (1961) (INCOMPLETE)
390390..411411Chapter 51: Crossroads (1962) (INCOMPLETE)
411411..428428Chapter 52: Yakima (1963) (INCOMPLETE)
428428..450450Chapter 53: Deer Park (1964) (INCOMPLETE)
451451..466466Chapter 54: Back to Utah (1965) (INCOMPLETE)
467467..482482Chapter 55: Home, Sweet Home (1966) (INCOMPLETE)
Volume II
The Stratton Years
Title Page (Vol. 2)Title Page (Vol. 2)Title Page (Volume II)
Introduction (Vol. 2)Introduction (Vol. 2)Introduction (Volume II)
483483..492492Chapter 56: Ermal Stratton (1967) (INCOMPLETE)
493493..496496Chapter 57: Occupation: Housewife (1968) (INCOMPLETE)
497497..499499Chapter 58: The 50-50 Farmer (1969) (INCOMPLETE)
499499..522522Chapter 59: The Western States Mission (1970-1971)
522522..531531Chapter 60: Rattlesnake (1972) (INCOMPLETE)
532532..535535Chapter 61: Dear Little Grandson, Goodbye (1973) (INCOMPLETE)
535535..542542Chapter 62: Tornado Ahoy! (1974) (INCOMPLETE)
542542..551551Chapter 63: The Gatcho Rancho (1975) (INCOMPLETE)
552552..559559Chapter 64: Bicentennial (1976) (INCOMPLETE)
559559..569569Chapter 65: The Van (1977) (INCOMPLETE)
570570..588588Chapter 66: A New Revelation (1978) (INCOMPLETE)
588588..615615Chapter 67: Motorcycles and Trains (1979) (INCOMPLETE)
615615..648648Chapter 68: Signs of the Times (1980) (INCOMPLETE)
648648..686686Chapter 69: Mama's Centennial (1981) (INCOMPLETE)
687687..734734Chapter 70: The Trench Diggers Are Coming, A-Ho, A-Ho! (1982) (INCOMPLETE)
735735..796796Chapter 71: O M E G A Ω (1983) (INCOMPLETE)

Online Scanned Pages:

The entire book, complete, can be read online, by viewing scanned images of typewritten pages. All pages were scanned by grandson Kendall Gifford and are available online here:

[ View scanned images of the original book ] https://www.aarongifford.com/alice/looktothestars/view.html

To go directly to a specific chapter, click on one of the small links to the left of the bold "Chapter X" text in the above table of contents.

The Entire Book:

You can read or print the entire book (except for INCOMPLETE) sections all at once by visiting the following web link:

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Work completed: 295 of 848 manuscript pages, or 34.8%

Chapter 1
Heaven Meets Earth
Papa, Annie and Mama
Papa, Annie and Mama

33 While I was still in Heaven, my cousins Iantha and Ianthus Campbell were born. Aunt Mary and Uncle Lew already had five girls and Iantha made six. But Ianthus was a boy! It's easy to guess how tickled Uncle Lew was about that. The twins arrived on August 10, 1909.

Mama and Papa had had four little girls, but my sister Josephine only stayed a little while, then returned to Heaven. That left Annie, who was six and one-half, Kate, not quite five, and the toddler, baby Mildred. Annie decided to ask the Heavenly Father to send twins to our family too. Kate also prayed for twins for awhile, then she decided Mama had enough girls, so she just asked for a little brother. Annie persisted in asking for twins. For eleven months she prayed. She has written:

Finally our prayers were answered! One night in mid July of 1910 when we went to bed, we said our prayers as usual, and when we awoke in the morning, the miracle had happened! Grandma was holding a tiny baby boy in her arms and there in the bed with my mother was a tiny baby girl. How wonderful! Words cannot express our joy. The Lord had answered our prayers by sending the desire of our hearts. Twins! We named them George and Alice for our grandparents. How we loved them!1

The house where I was born. Sketched by my sister Kate.
The house where I was born. Sketched by my sister Kate.
[Lower Kolob area, now a part of Zion National Park, Utah]

We arrived on July 17, 1910, on Aunt Ellen Spendlove's birthday, and on the anniversary of the landing of Noah's ark. (Genesis 8:4) We were born in a little lumber shack at the sawmill on Kolob. Grandma Isom was the doctor and the nurse.

According to an old Chinese tradition, if the first food a child ever tasted was baked apple, the child would become a fine singer. So Grandma baked an apple and scraped a little of it onto each of our tongues. I have no idea what my voice would have sounded like if it hadn't been for that.

My parents had been homesteading on Kolob since 1908, returning to Virgin in the winter time. Recorded in Mama's Memoirs is the following:

In 1911 we closed up the old home at Virgin and came direct from the mountain to Hurricane, where we had built a 12 X 14 granary but the babies took sick and being so cold and crowded, Alice and William Spendlove took us to their home where we could give them better care. … A week after we moved to Spendlove's, George died of inflammation of the bowels and was buried amid one of the most terrible north winds we have known. It was too severe for anyone to go to the graveyard except those that did the burying.

The Hurricane Canal froze over. Water, running over the ice, spilled down the banks, glazing the streets. Mama stayed with me, for I was not expected to live. My sisters wept. Annie remembers lying on the family bedrolls in Aunt Alice's living room, crying bitterly. She could not be comforted. Papa's heartbreak must have been great.

Is it possible that I remember my twin brother? It seems like I do. In my mind is a picture of another baby sitting with me on Papa's lap, while he sang a happy, nonsensical thing like "A chicken went to bed with the whooping cough." We both wore little white dresses. I have had an awareness of my brother George throughout my life, and I have grown to love him dearly.

44 The first five years of my life were my dominant ones. Kolob was Heaven to me. As soon as my sisters were out of school each spring we prepared to return to the ranch. The bustling of cooking and packing was a joyous time to me. I was surprised to learn years later, that the business of moving a family back and forth was just plain hard work for Mama.

We always camped at Sanders's Ranch on our way and one of Uncle Ren Spendlove's boys, either Whit, Ianthus or Cliff came along to help with the team. I loved camping out. I reveled in the smell and the squeak of harness leather and the clinking of buckles and the sounds of the wagon as it sighed and relaxed, cooling off in the night. Stretched out on the family bed spread on the ground, I listened to the horses munching grain in their nose bags, the gentle crackle of the dying campfire, and the stars, the millions of singing stars!

"Mama," I asked, "are all of the stars whirling? Is that what makes them sing?"

Mama listened thoughtfully, then she said, "No, the music you hear is made by the crickets and katydids and night birds in the bushes and trees, and by the water in the creek tumbling over pebbles."

I listened again and realized that the chirping and twittering and gurgling really was ascending up to instead of down from the stars.

Carlyle once said, "Give us, O give us the man who sings at his work. … The very stars are said to make harmony as they revolve in their spheres." The Prophet Job was informed that while the foundations of this earth were being laid "the morning stars sang together." Job 38:7

Well, the last morning star had scarcely faded when we broke camp and were on our way again. We had a long hill to climb before the sun got too hot for the horses. At Lamb Springs we ate breakfast and let the horses rest before their long hard pull through the sand.

We had to walk to lighten the load. I bawled because the sand burned my feet, still I pulled my coat around me.

"You're a ridiculous child," Mama remarked.

"But the wind is cold," I complained, then added, "If the trees would stop fanning then the wind could quit."

"The trees don't fan the wind," Mama explained, "the wind fans the trees."

"What a backwards situation," I thought.

With the deep sand behind us, back in the wagon we rode up around the cinder knoll and on past Mulligan's Point, to Maloney's Ranch and then to the Slick Rocks.

The Slick Rocks was the terrible test to the stubbornness of teamsters and the agonizing willingness of horse flesh. We gladly piled out of the wagon here. Vivid in my mind is the picture of Papa slapping the reigns on the horses' backs and yelling, "Git up Mag! Git up Dick!" Iron wagon tires screeched over steep red sandstone, horses strained muscle and sinew, pulling, pulling, leaning forward until they went to their knees. Terrified, I watched. Mag's and Dick's eyes glared wildly, their ears laid back. Sometimes the wagon started to slip back and Papa cracked the whip and yelled louder. The wagon could roll over the ledge on the right and all would be lost. With Papa's yelling and urging, the stout-hearted team made it over the bad spot, where, breathing hard and their hides shining with sweat, they stopped to rest before going on to the summit. The terror was over.

Sego lilies, Kolob terrace area, Zion National Park, Utah
Sego lilies, Kolob terrace area, Zion National Park, Utah
Photo by Aaron D. Gifford, taken spring 2010 near Alice's birthplace

55 We had made our safe return to Paradise, Kolob. My childhood Kolob was bluebells, wild roses and sego lilies. It was sandstone that could be rubbed into the shape of dolls, and pine bark, thick and soft for Cliff Spendlove to carve into toy horses. It was pollywogs in clear pools in the willows and water snakes that left narrow roads through our dugout playhouses in the sand banks. It was games in the twilight, scurrying through the soft sand and across the meadow calling, "barey ain't out today," while imagining the bear was crouching at the edge of the meadow behind the dark trees, ready to pounce upon us as we dashed into the house. It was the smell of pine and sage and oak, the cackle of the sage hen, the flicker of the bluebird and the hammering of the jay. It was the sight of Rube and Jody Maloney's sheep wagon with its bucket of sourdough hanging on the side, dough dripping down the wheels. It was the cheese house, cool and inviting where squirrels played tag through the rafters. It was the little brown wren that nested under the eaves. It was the crack of lightning and the clap of thunder and pine trees falling in a pillar of fire. It was the howl of the coyote. It was water rising in the damp sand where the shovel sought a water hole. It was Old Tiny, the dog, barking down the trail, bringing the last stray calf in at milking time. It was new milk guzzled from a tin cup at the corral gate, making a thick foam mustache across my upper lip. It was tall cool ferns packed around sweet pounds of butter ready to be sent to the store at Virgin. It was hot corn bread drenched with fresh butter at supper time, and the smell of lamp light on an oil cloth covered table. It was little new potatoes scrabbled from under the vine and sweet garden peas and juicy turnips. It was Paradise!

We moved from "Milwaukie," the sawmill canyon, to "Pinevalley", a mile or so on top, but we often hiked back. We would take a picnic and spend the day, where we gathered iron ore rocks eroded in the shape of peanuts, marbles and little dishes.

Elisha Lee's family came to celebrate one 4th of July with us. Papa put the alphogies2 on the saddle horse, with Edith in one leather pouch and I in the other. We rode around the mountain to the ice cave, where he filled the alphogies with ice. Edith and I rode back home in front of and behind the saddle with Papa. Mama made ice cream in gallon buckets that were set inside galvanized water buckets packed with ice and salt. The ice cream was turned back and forth by the bail. Every little while the lid was pried off the gallon bucket and the frozen cream scraped down from the sides with a knife, a drooling operation. There is nothing in all the world that compares with the ambrosia that came from that bucket.

Mama had a special No. 2 tub that she kept sterilized and shining for cheese making. The dairy thermometer, bobbing in the tub full of milk, fascinated me. I watched her stir in the rennet when the temperature was right, and with a long, thin bladed knife, cut the curd as it set, yellow puddles of whey separating as the curds became more solid. Hungrily we hung around. We loved curd, from the first soft white ones to the final squeaky yellow ones after the whey was drained and the coloring and salt added. Probably none of the cheese would have reached the press if Mama had doled out as much of it as we wanted. Still she was generous.

The sawmill valley 'Milwaukie' where Alice was born
The sawmill valley 'Milwaukie' where Alice was born
Now a part of Zion National Park, Utah
Photo by Aaron D. Gifford, October 2010

The cheese molds were made of pine slats held together with hoops. The press was a log, outside on the shady side of the house, rigged up for a lever. Mama lined the molds with cheesecloth and the sweet curd was packed inside and put under the press. We were eagerly on hand when she unmolded the cheese, for the pressure had 66 squeezed tantalizing little ruffles of it up around the edges of the mold. Patiently we waited as Mama trimmed these off, for we knew she would divide the .trimmings. among us. Next she rubbed the yellow discs of cheese with butter, smoothing and sealing the goodness in, then set them on the swinging shelf in the cheese house behind our cabin to cure.

Mama sometimes sent me to the sand wash with a little lard bucket to fetch water. We never wore shoes in the summertime and the sand often burned our feet. Once it was so hot that I cried. Mildred took her bucket and ran back and forth to the wash, burning her own bare feet to make a puddle path for me. I carried my bucket of water all the way to the house on the wet patches she had made, while she ran back to refill her bucket.

One sad little task was helping Papa take small animals from his traps while he held the steel jaws open with his foot. His hands were too crippled to set the traps, so that was our job too, while he supervised. I grieved for the woodchucks and gophers and other animals.

Uncle Ren Spendlove's boys took turns helping us. When they came from Hurricane they brought fresh fruit. During those years I never saw fruit that wasn't bruised from a rough wagon ride. I thought peaches and apples had to be bruised to be good. These were squashed, brown, oozy and delicious.

The big pine tree where our chicken coop was anchored was struck by lightening one night, which electrocuted our entire flock of chickens as they slept with their heads under their wings.

The only toys we knew were those we made. Our doll houses were dug into the sand bank with a spoon and decorated with lacy, sweet smelling Jerusalem Oak. The dolls were made of flowers with heads of the shiny black berries from the deadly nightshade. Our wagons were the bleached vertebrae of bones of animals found in the sand. Our miniature world was imaginative and happy.

I was five when the folks stopped going to the ranch. I was the one who closed the gate for the last time behind the wagon. In my hand I had a few tiny new potatoes the size of peas and one little golden cheese that had been pressed in a salt shaker lid. These small rations belonged to my rag doll family. I set them down at the foot of the big yellow pine that the gate was hinged on. After closing the gate, I climbed into the wagon. We were miles down the road before I remembered them. I felt badly. Two years later-when I went to Kolob with Aunt Ellen's family I looked, but there was no sign of them.

That was my last trip to Kolob as a child. All that remained to me were cherished memories. We used to climb the Hurricane hill often, my sisters and I, but we never turned around until we could see the white Kolob peaks and the Steamboat mountain. That was the goal of every hike.

My love for our Heavenly Father began at Kolob. I remember kneeling at Mama's knee as she helped me with my prayer. I felt warm and secure, knowing that even in the dark the Heavenly Father watched over me. This realization took the eeriness out of the shadows that moved outside the tent, and gave understanding to the noises of the night. Pine needles falling on canvas had the same lightness as the scampering of squirrel feet and the occasional thump of a falling cone sounded friendly as it rolled off the tent to the ground.

One day Mama let my sisters and me hike down to the sawmill canyon alone. We became so engrossed in gathering fancy rocks and wild flowers that time slipped away. The sun was settling into the grove to the west as we trudged 77 through sand and sage on the last stretch home.

With our arms full of treasures, we raced to the house to show Mama. The tantalizing smell of hot cornbread greeted us, for it was supper time. But the room was strangely empty. Mama was not there. I shot out the back door. Running to the tent where our beds were, I lifted the flap. The setting sun, filtering through canvas, filled the tent with a golden glow. There, kneeling beside her bed, was Mama. In astonished reverence, I waited.

"What were you doing?" I asked timidly as she arose.

"I was asking the Heavenly Father to bring my little girls safely home," she replied tenderly.

"I didn't know you could ask Him for things in the daytime," I marveled. I had supposed that aside from our regular family prayers, we prayed only before tumbling into our beds.

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Mama drew me to her. "We are our Heavenly Father's children," she said. "He loves us and will listen to us anytime."

It was all so clear. Father really meant father. I was really and truly His little girl, and I could call upon Him whenever I needed to! My heart was jubilant.3

We not only draw spiritual dividends from childhood memories, but other blessings as well. As the composer has said .The song is ended, but the melody lingers on,. so Kolob memories are a melody to me.memories that paid my tuition for my first year in college.

In 1928, my English teacher, Mattie Ruesch, without my knowing it, entered one of my compositions in the lyric poem contest at the B.A.C. On College Day I was awarded the Spilsbury Memorial Scholarship for my—

Memories

Polliwog pond
I see you still
With mud pies on your banks.
I hear the toads a croaking
At our foolish, childish pranks.

Old pine log
I love you yet,
The moss grows o'er your sides—
I seem to see the hollow
Where the scolding squirrel hides.

Bluebell bed,
Your fragrance sweet
To me is ever dear.
I see the wind a blowing
Your blossoms far and near.

Childhood days,
You'll ne'er depart.
In memory you'll dwell.
You'll always be my sunshine,
For of happy hours you tell.

—Alice Isom

Poem 'Memories' from the 1928 Hurricane High School Yearbook
Alice's poem, "Memories" was published in the 1928 Hurricane High School Yearbook on page 30. Scans of that book are available online courtesy of Skalooza.com.

Footnotes

  1. Story "Double Blessing" published in Friend, May 1978, p. 2.
  2. Alphogies are leather pouches big enough to hold a child, that hang on each side of a pack horse.
  3. Story "Home Safe" published in Friend, September 1975, p. 48.

Chapter 2
The House That Papa Built

88 Our brick house was built during the sad winter that my little brother died. Mama was tied down with the two of us and couldn't visit the house during construction. Then came the day that Papa took her to see it.

"Welcome to our home, sweetheart," he said as they entered the front door. The winter sun streamed through the windows and the house smelled sweet from new plaster and pine wood. From the spacious living room, Mama thoughtfully walked into the kitchen, visualizing where the stove and cupboard would be. Opening the stair door, papa beckoned her on, pausing on the stairway. Proudly he said "See this closet! It's something extra we hadn't planned." Actually it was a square hole in the wall above the cellar steps, with room to store a couple of quilts. On upstairs he led her through the four cheerful bedrooms. In the master bedroom, the one with the double windows facing the east, Mama hesitated. With a troubled look she asked "Where are the closets?"

"Closets are an unnecessary expense," he explained.

"But we drew them in our plans."

"The carpenters convinced me that this was easier to install, and much cheaper," he said pointing to a board nailed horizontally across one wall. Protruding from it was a row of spike nails. "There's one in each bedroom."

Fury welled up inside Mama. How perfectly horrid the rooms would look with the family's droopy clothes dangling from nails on the wall! Couldn't Papa realize that these were modern times! That they had planned real closets! She bit her tongue to keep from saying what was on her mind. Even her own mother hadn't had to put up with nails. At least her father had provided wooden pegs! Sick at heart, she suddenly realized that every special feature they had planned in the house had been omitted.

Papa's stock answer, as she questioned him was "The carpenters convinced me I didn't need it," or, "It was a foolish frill."

Mama's heart lifted when she saw the ample shelves in the pantry where pans of milk could cool, and she appreciated the cellar, underneath the kitchen, with, its rock walls and dirt floor, and enough shelves for bottled fruit, crocks of preserves and buckets of lard and molasses. In the beams overhead were spike nails for hanging bacon slabs, cured ham and dried herbs.

Papa saved one little surprise for the last. In the northwest bedroom downstairs, was a doll-house sized door. Opening it, Mama saw the rough underside of the stair steps, spike nails protruding from them. If dresses weren't too long, they could hang here. So, in all of this big, eight room house, this little miniature was really her only closet! Airing her disappointment would only have cast a pall of gloom, and this was to be a day of rejoicing. Compared to the drafty granary where they had lived before moving in with Aunt Alice, this was a castle.

The family moved into the new home in January 1912. Although Mama never confessed it to Papa, the absence of closets always rankled in her heart. Years 99 later, at the time Winferd and I were building our home, she related the above incident to me. "Alice," she said, "a woman should be on hand when her home is being built. If she isn't, the carpenters will talk her husband out of every thing she wants."

Winferd's mother, who was with us at the time, said "She's right. I had to be right there to get what I wanted when Hen built our house, and I did get clothes closets. When I insisted on a bathroom, Hen complained 'We're not millionaires.' but I stayed on the job and we got it."

All we had was outdoor plumbing down by the barn.

But our home was a happy one. On winter mornings when we were small, we were awakened by the sound of Mama shaking the ashes down in the kitchen stove. After the kitchen fire was made, she started a fire in the living room stove. Soon there was a warm spot for us to race to after we had dressed in the arctic zone upstairs. It is hard to visualize, unless you've been there, how cold a house can get during the night when the last whisper of heat dies with the dying embers after the family has gone to bed.

Papa couldn't chop wood, so that chore fell mostly to Mama and my older sisters. Try as I would, I could never swing an ax good enough to make the chips fly. And speaking of chips, they were mighty important. Without them, kindling a fire was difficult. Mama claimed to be the world's champion chip sifter.

Flickering firelight lent to the coziness of winter evenings. That, and our one kerosene lamp, furnished our lights. Some of our neighbors were "two-lamp-families."

At supper time, Mama often went to the pantry for more bread or milk, taking the lamp with her. The living room moved with weird shadows as she left, and then was dark. Then the fire in the little heater danced all the more merrily. On nights when there was no fire, we sat in the dark. It was a dark dark. There were no street lights or car lights to filter in from the outside. The only outside lights were stars or moon or lightning. On drizzling nights, nothing. The only way to comprehend real darkness is to crawl into a tunnel and feel your way around the bend. When Mama carried the lamp into the back part of the house the living room was too dark to even talk. We sat around the table smothered in black velvet silence, until the long, funny shadows backed away at her approach.

Shadows were an animated part of winter evenings. With our fingers and hands we made shadow pictures on the walls of dogs, horses, rabbits and cats. With the lamp positioned just right our animals would wiggle their ears, twitch their noses or bark. Actually they were quite classical.

Shadow games were popular at parties. The boys sat in a dark room and the girls were in a room with the lamp. A sheet hung over the doorway in between. Pantomiming in front of the lamplight, the girls cast silent shadows on the sheet. Each boy picked out his partner for the next game by identifying her shadow.

One night Mama and Papa were invited out. It was the only night I can recall being home without them. We actually had a whole, unsupervised evening to ourselves. When Mama and Papa came home, there, boldly traced in charcoal on the white front room walls, were the silhouettes of all of us. Our task the next day was to wash the walls.

1010 The early years in the house that Papa built were probably much the same as that of the first settlers in America. We were on the very tail end of an era. I marvel that I should have been privileged to live the old life style before the world exploded into the new. Hurricane had no electricity, no pipeline, no automobiles and only one telephone. Airplanes, radios, etc. were undreamed of so far as we were concerned.

But Hurricane did have one modern marvel. In March of 1914 Charlie Petty opened a moving picture show hall. It was run by a gasoline motor. When they cranked it up the "putt, putt, putt" could be heard all over town. Mama let me go one night with my sisters Annie, Kate and Mildred. They had to pay a nickel but I was only four, so got in free. The picture trembled and flickered a lot. Men in white overalls were painting a house. Charlie Chaplin, with his funny duck walk, blundered beneath the ladder and a bucket of paint fell upside down over his head. I cried and ran home, but my sisters stayed. They laughed at me when they got home and said I shouldn't have left because no one really got hurt, it was only a picture.

Grandma Isom built her cute little brick house next door to us. Grandma was as much a part of the family as Mama or Papa or any of the rest of us. She had her special rawhide bottomed chair with a cushion on it, and her corner at the table. She cooked on our kitchen stove and ate all of her meals with us, except when she had company, and then she served her guests on her own polished table, on a fine linen cloth set with elegant china, silverware and crystal.

I was her legs, trotting back and forth between houses, carrying the butter dish, pickles or preserves. Her friends were the satin and lace bosomed, talcum faced, kid curler1, kid glove and kid shoe variety, and they called me "little Alice." They usually picked me up, smothered me to their bosoms, kissed me and said "She looks just like Evadna." I hated to be kissed.

"She's a chatter box and has a wild imagination," was Grandma's usual retort.

"Grandma," I asked one time, "do you wish I was an umbrella so you could shut me up?"

"No," she answered. "Now say your little piece then run along home."

My "little piece" was one she had taught me. I recited, "I am a little chatterbox. My name is Alice May. The reason why I talk so much, I have so much to say." The ladies were delighted, mostly because I was going home.

In contrast to Grandma Isom's house of old English finery, the house that Papa built had bare, pine board floors. Mama braided scatter rugs to make it homey. Uncle Jake Crawford made our dining table. It, s the same drop-leaf table that stands in the front room of the old home today. After Uncle Jake sanded, stained and varnished it, it gleamed like a mirror. The lounge, desk and the wash stand where the water bucket and wash basin stood, were made by John Hinton, a furniture maker from England. Our few rawhide bottomed chairs were made by my great grandfather Samuel Kendall Gifford. Our iron bedsteads and other chairs were freighted by team from the railroad depot at Lund, Utah and probably came from Sears & Roebuck. The desk was a two pieced affair, the bottom part standing high enough for me and my sisters to play paper dolls under. The sloped lid covered a bin where catalogs, or anything else we wanted to get out of sight, could be stashed. The top part had doors that concealed pigeonhole compartments, and stood so tall that the whole of it towered above the living room.

1111 One blustery day I climbed upon the lounge to look out the window. A man sauntered down the sidewalk past our white picket fence.

"Mama, who is that man?" I asked.

"I don't know," she replied.

Craning my neck to get another look at him, I thought, "Oh my, he must have come from the other side of the earth. He must be from China." Never before had I seen anyone that Mama didn't know. In Hurricane, everyone knew everyone.

On September 3, 1914 Mama had a cute little baby girl. She was the second baby born in the house that Papa built, but I don't remember anything about when Edith came. She was just there like the rest of my sisters. What puzzled me was that the new baby's birthday was one day earlier than Edith's, still Edith was two years older.

Now Mama and Papa had six girls in a row! Aunt Ellen said it was a shame the new baby couldn't have been a boy. I didn't think so. I knew exactly what the folks should name her: Elva. Elva Crawford was the prettiest person I had ever seen. Her eyes and hair were dark and her skin fair. She was as nice a cousin as a girl could ever have. If Mama and Papa would name our new baby Elva, then she would be pretty and nice. I coaxed them to and they didn't say they wouldn't. At Sacrament Meeting I listened, and when Papa named our baby LaPriel, I scrunched my eyes tight to squeeze back the tears. LaPriel was an ugly, ugly name and I'd never, never call her that. What's more, I'd never tell any of my playmates what her name was. I was embarrassed. Then a funny thing happened to the name. It got nicer every day and before LaPriel even learned to goo, I knew Papa had named her right.

A chill autumn wind was scattering the poplar leaves. Barefoot days were over. Will and Maude Savage of LaVerkin, drove up to our gate in a buckboard and delivered a woven rag carpet to us. We'd never had such a luxury before because it took many rags and many rag bees to tear, sew and wind enough balls for a carpet. This was our one and only. Will's Aunt Adelaide was the weaver, and his mother Mary Ann the rag inspector. Adelaide wouldn't weave anything that might make the carpet lumpy. (Adelaide and Mary Ann had walked all the way from Council Bluff, Iowa to Salt Lake when they were little girls, and their mother Ann pushed a handcart.)

Mama piled wheat straw on the living room floor and the new carpet was stretched tightly over it and tacked down. Edith and I tumbled and bounced upon it. The floor was so springy that I felt like I was walking with bent knees. So let the wind scatter the poplar leaves. The house was snug and cozy.

Footnotes

  1. Kid curlers were made from soft, flexible wire covered with kid skin.

Chapter 3
Papa's Feminine World
(1915)

1111 Papa was a blessed man, surrounded by women! He had always been surrounded by women. He was the only boy in Grandma's family, and his sisters, Ellen, Alice, Mary, Kate, Annie, Evadna and LaVern loved and fussed over him. Now he had Mama and six lovely daughters. (Mama and Papa never told us we were lovely. They simply didn't talk that way, but we knew they thought so anyway.) Our Aunts Ellen, Alice and Mary lived in Hurricane, and they traipsed to our house 1212 real often to see that "George was eating right." They pampered him and he often reminded us with a grin, that he was "the cutest little boy along the river." Just imagine what Mama had to put up with! All that adulation, plus his special little side dishes at the dinner table and all.

Papa took all of the fussing for granted, as though it was his just dessert. He played his role with dignity, and set the rules that our household had to abide by. Although his feet could not run, his voice reached everywhere, giving instructions or laying down the law. He was the disciplinarian. Mama executed his orders.

We got more training at the dinner table than anywhere else. Papa, Grandma and Mama were a trio. Grandma always said, "Now mind your manners," and Papa would say, "Don't take anything on your plate you cannot eat." Mama put the food before us and silently ate.

Once when I couldn't finish the molasses on my plate, Papa said, "It looks like your eyes are bigger than your belly," and Grandma added, "When the pig gets full, the slop gets sour." My plate with its puddle of molasses was set on a pantry shelf, and the next meal it was set before me. Before I could have anything else, I had to clean it up. Eating off a dirty plate was punishment. It never happened again.

If I over-estimated and took too much food, I struggled until it was gone. But it wasn't fair to have to eat what someone else put on my plate, like pig rind. Once when Grandma dished up my beans, there was a wiggling, curled up piece of pig rind floating in my soup. The fat side curled out, half clear, jelly like and slimy. My stomach lurched at the sight of it.

"Now you eat it," Grandma demanded. "If you waste it, there'll come a day you'll wish you had it."

We were always threatened with starvation as a matter of discipline. I couldn't enjoy the beans because I knew I had to eat the rind. I'd rather be thrashed. With Grandma sitting next to me there was nothing to do but cut into the detestable morsel and try. The greasy piece stuck in my throat and I gagged. Tears welled in my eyes. Rubbing them away with my fist, I obediently gulped down all of that horrid rind. I resolved right then to never, never force a child to eat what he didn't take.

There was some conflict in Grandma's philosophy, however. Tough as she was about our cleaning our plates, she would still say, "It is better that food should waste than a belly should burst," when we licked up the last morsel left in a bowl as we cleared the table.

To have Papa and Grandma boss us was an accepted thing, but to have Kate think she could do it too, exasperated me. Just because she was five years older than I didn't give her any authority. Annie didn't boss me; neither did Mildred. They were peaceful. Mildred and I cut out paper dolls together and made little houses under the desk when Kate thought we should be doing something else. Kate was a lot like Papa and Grandma. One day when she hit me, I sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and howled in fury.

"If I bawl loud enough," I thought, "Kate will get slapped!" I yelped a mighty blast, and Mama, walking past, swatted me across my wide open mouth. In shocked surprise I shut up instantly. Without saying a word, Mama had straightened me out.

In the springtime, when the apricot tree was in bloom, our new carpet was taken up. This was part of the spring-cleaning ritual for these were the days 1313 before vacuum cleaners. We swept with a straw broom. On Saturdays, to make the carpet nice for Sunday, the broom was dipped in a bucket of water, then shaken. The damp straw picked up extra dirt and kept the dust down. And now, with sunshine spilling everywhere, the carpet was pulled out and hung over the clothes line to be beaten clean and stored for winter. The straw that had been shiny gold last fall was pulverized to powder, to be swept out and burned. The hush of winter's insulation was gone, and the bright, scrubbed room echoed as merrily as the sparrows in the currant bushes.

The smell of blossoms and the song of the birds put a wanderlust yearning within me. Frank Beatty's family lived kitty-corner across the street from us. Mildred Beatty was my playmate and she had relatives living in Leeds. One Saturday morning I wistfully watched her Pa hitch their team to the wagon.

"Alice, would you like to go to Leeds with us?" Sister Beatty asked.

"Oh yes," I gasped.

"Run and ask your mother," she said.

I ran across the street, but I was afraid Mama would say no. We never went anywhere but to Virgin, Kolob or Springdale. I wanted to go with Beattys more than anything, and couldn't bear the thought of being refused. Slipping into the house, I hid behind the front door with my face to the wall. "Mama," I whispered, "can I go to Leeds with Beattys?" "Yes you can go," I answered softly. Racing back I said, "Mama said I could go."

I should have enjoyed my first view of the other side of the earth, but I didn't. My conscience nagged me. It was dark before we got home. I took my scolding because I knew I deserved it, but the terrible thing was the nightmare I had after I went to bed. All night long the "bad man" chased me in his long legged underwear. He was big and flabby fat, pale and bald headed except for one gray wisp of hair that waved when he ran after me. The whole night through I barely managed to keep out of his reach.

I had tasted the wages of sin and was relieved to see daylight streaming in through our bedroom window and to hear the resounding ring of Papa kissing Mama.

Papa's and Mama's bedroom was down the hall from ours, and always when he awoke in the morning, his kiss reverberated through the upstairs rooms, sounding like the ring of Uncle Lew's hammer on the iron tires of his wagon wheel. Although I couldn't see, I knew exactly how Mama's face looked. Papa wore a big, bushy mustache, and his kiss was much the same as being kissed by a haystack. His lips never met Mama's because she always screwed her mouth away from him, giving him lots of cheek which he smacked with a merry sound.

He also puckered up after every meal and leaned toward her at the table, planting his bristling affection upon her cheek, and we watched with pleasure, because Mama's mouth was drawn half way across her face to the opposite ear.

My sisters and I came in pairs. Annie and Kate were a team and slept in the southwest bedroom, Mildred and I in the northwest bedroom and Edith and LaPriel in the northeast bedroom just off Mama's and Papa's big southeast bedroom. Mama and Papa had a feather tick on top of their shuck tick. When we piled into their bed we almost sunk out of sight. Our beds were crackly corn shucks.

Papa was surrounded by girls, including our playmates. Uncle Lew and Aunt Mary Campbell's family lived in the next house east of us, and Uncle Marion and Aunt Mary Stout's family lived in the next house west of us. Venona Stout and Iantha Campbell were a little older than I but they played with Mildred Beatty and me, and they were very important people in my life.

1414 When strangers came to our house, Edith would crawl back against the wall under the lounge and stay until after they left. Once she stayed there almost all day.

Papa was a loving patriarch. He called the family together daily for family prayer. Our days began and ended with all of us on our knees together.


Chapter 4
Man Made Marvels
(1916)

1414 The desk in the front room was a hazard. It stood on legs high enough for the baby to toddle under without bumping her head, and the cabinet on top teetered precariously when both doors were open, so Mama put the top part on the floor in the north room. It made a cool counter top for the pans of milk in the summer.

This was our first summer in Hurricane, and the upstairs bedrooms were like a furnace compared to Kolob, so we slept downstairs. Edith and LaPriel slept on the floor in front of the desk top. One morning, as they played on their bed, they hung onto the desk doors and it toppled, spilling the milk on them. Looking like drowned rats they spluttered and bawled. Their hair was matted with slathers of cream and their nightgowns were plastered to them. They were a ridiculous sight in their puddle of milk.

It didn't seem right to not be going to the ranch, but summers in Hurricane brought new discoveries. I learned that July fruit is not always bruised. When Uncle Ren's boys brought apricots and peaches to Kolob, the fruit arrived bruised, oozy brown and delicious. I thought it grew that way and I loved the bruises.

Hurricane had been celebrating Peach Day since 1913, but this year was our first time. The fruit was spread under the shade of the trees on tables made of planks. Melons, peaches, apples, plums and grapes were heaped high. People even came from Cedar and St. George in their wagons. Indians pitched their camp north of town. This was a two day celebration. On the afternoon of the second day, the melons were cut and everyone ate the fruit display. How jolly it was! Dozens of wagons. with teams tied to the side of them, were parked on the north end of main street where Marzell Covington lives today. Horseshoe pitching and other sports were in progress, when from somewhere in the direction of LaVerkin, a strange roaring and popping was heard. The horses moved uneasily, snorting and tossing their manes. Then a chugging vehicle appeared, laying a trail of dust, puffing clouds of smoke from its rear. Wild eyed, the horses reared on their hind legs and squealed. Men hung onto the horses halters to calm them. The vehicle came to a stop where the crowd was the thickest.

"It's an automobile, an automobile," some kid shrilled.

Wow! If we'd been on Kolob, I might never, never have seen one! It made a terrible noise, and smelled awful, but it ran without horses. Wagon covers and buggy tops were white, but this vehicle was black topped. The wheels had wooden spokes, were smaller than wagon wheels and had rubber tires.

Mr. Fox owned the car, and he offered to take passengers for 10¢ a mile. Five people could ride at a time. Grandma gave each of us a dime and I sat in the front seat by Mr. Fox. All the way to the flour mill and back I sized up the car's interior. It had isinglass windows rolled up like blinds, and a bristling coco mat on the floor. Mr. Fox had a mole on his right cheek with three hairs sticking out. Maybe that's why they called him Mr. Fox. My, how I wished I had another dime!

1515 In September I went to the Beginners in the same room with the First Grade. My sisters went to school in the Church House and in the Relief Society building, but we were in Robb Stratton's building that was supposed to be a store, on the corner of what is now 112 West and State. You had to be seven to go to the First Grade. My cousin Josephine Spendlove was our teacher.

In the winter we were either too hot or too cold, depending on where we sat from the pot bellied stove. Probably that's why we were dressed like cocoons.

"Guess what?" I piped one evening at supper. "We had a program in school today and I sang a song all by myself."

"You did!" Mama exclaimed.

"What did you sing?" Grandma asked.

"I sang 'Oh that chicken pie, put in lots of spice. How I wish the goodness that I had another slice.'" With a happy sigh, I settled back waiting for the family's praise. Instead, everyone grinned, then someone whispered, "She can't even carry a tune." I was crushed. Later, when Miss Spendlove asked me to sing, I refused.

Coming home from school each day, we walked past the loafers, or what some folks called the Spittin' an' Whittlin' Club. The front of, or the side of Charlie Petty's store, depending on the season, the wind or the sun, was the gathering place for the farmers. After school, we'd pass them, leaning against the store, or squatting on their heels, enjoying the afternoon break before chore time. Some of my playmates used to stop and beg their dads for nickels. Impressed, I decided to try it.

"Papa, can I have a nickel?" I asked, expecting him to say no.

Instead, he dug into his pocket and handed me one. I felt sheepish. I didn't really want the nickel.

Walking into the store, I surveyed the jars of hard tack candy and the packages of gum. I couldn't spend the money on something that would be eaten up and forgotten, so I bought a yard of inch wide, red, white and blue striped ribbon that I took to my room. Occasionally I'd spread it across my lap, or thoughtfully run it between my fingers.

A fun pastime was making up little plays and charging ten pins for the ticket. One afternoon we noticed the door to the wooden church house ajar, an open invitation to go on stage. We'd just cast the parts to Red Riding Hood, when Clark West's frame filled the doorway. He was the janitor. With the terrible voice of authority, he demanded to know why we were there. I was scared. He stood with his feet spread wide and I observed how long his legs were and how much room there was between, so in a sudden longing for freedom I darted between his legs and ran home.

Meat markets and refrigeration didn't exist. Grandma and Papa had cattle "on the range," and when a beef was butchered the word was spread through town. Papa always had his beef animal done in the early morning before the flies awoke, and people came from all over town with their little pans to buy a cut of fresh meat. We usually ended up with the heart and the liver. Mama stuffed the heart. We called it "Yorkshire Pudding" but it was more like sage dressing than a pudding. Trying to eat the liver is what made a vegetarian out of me.

Thanksgiving day, plank and saw-horse tables were set up in the church house and covered with snowy white table cloths. People came in buggies and wagons, 1616 bringing their good food and pretty dishes. We walked through the ankle deep snow. My feet were soaked and my toes ached, but nothing could dim the joy of the only community Thanksgiving I can remember.

Grownups had a good thing going in those days. They expected total respect from young folks, and they seemed to get it. An oft repeated axiom was, "Children should be seen and not heard." This was simply a matter of discipline. Also, it was an accepted custom, that at any large dinner, grownups ate first. Youngsters, out of respect for their elders, must learn patience and wait their turn. So it was with this community Thanksgiving. The grownups ate while we got our shoes still more soggy by trying to make a snowman. When our fingers got purple, we collected around the stove. Our good behavior was rewarded by the full and loving attention of the grownups as they waited on us as we were seated around the second table.

A few days after Thanksgiving, my sisters brought their baking powder cans tinkling with pennies and nickels and dumped them out onto the table to be counted. Wide eyed I watched and listened to their chatter about paying tithing.

I didn't have any nickels or pennies. I didn't even have an empty baking powder can, but I knew a little about tithing. I had seen the loads of tithing hay being hauled to the tithing barn, and I had watched Mama push the firm, yellow butter from the wooden mold onto the wrapper for "tithing butter". And our chickens laid "tithing eggs."1

"Mama, when can I pay tithing?" I asked.

Mama's dough covered hands stopped still in the big pan where she was mixing bread. She looked at me for a long minute then smiled. "My goodness, you are getting to be a big girl, aren't you? Why of course you want to pay tithing."

After the dough was washed from her hands, she said, "Come with me".

I followed her to the chicken runs, where she scattered a little wheat. Greedily, the chickens flocked around her and she slipped her hands over the wings of a young, black rooster.

"Here," she said, handing him to me, "hold him while I tie his legs."

From a bunch of used binding twine that hung on the corral fence she selected a short piece. Securing the rooster's legs she said, "You've been a good girl to help feed the chickens, so you can take this rooster to Bishop Isom for tithing."

My sisters giggled at the rooster squirming in my arms, as I announced I was going to the bishop's with them. I hugged my rooster as we walked the six blocks to his house and the rooster chuckled back at me.

When Bishop Samuel Isom saw us coming through his gate, his front door opened wide. His ample front was made for hugging children and his big mustache made his laugh seem extra jolly.

Seeing the rooster he asked, "Ho, ho, what's this?"

"He's a tithing rooster," I announced.

"Ah, he's a fine one," the bishop said, taking the chicken from me and setting him down on the porch.

1717 The Bishop sat at his roll top desk and my sisters paid him their nickels and pennies and he made out our receipts. As he handed them to us he gave us each a loving pat.

"Will you please read my receipt for me?" I asked, looking up at him.

"Gladly," he replied. Taking it from me he read, "Alice Isom has voluntarily contributed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, one rooster."

I tingled all over. The church was so big and I was so small, still I had contributed to it!

When we got home Mama gave me an empty mentholatum jar. "You can keep your tithing money in this from now on," she said.

The jar was shiny and warm from the scrubbing she had given it, scrubbing off the label. The translucent milk white glass was beautiful to me. I loved that mentholatum jar and used it all through my childhood.2

Footnotes

  1. Eggs were considered a woman's petty cash. Women tended the hens and turned her surplus eggs in to the store for "script." There were "tithing eggs" and "Sunday eggs." The two-roomed, brick Relief Society building in Hurricane, Utah was built with "Sunday Eggs."
  2. Story "The Happy Tithe Payer", originally published in Friend, May 1976, p. 2.

Chapter 5
Big Things Happen
(1917)

1717 ZCMI used to give Grandma a box of creamy, soft, swirly chocolate at Christmas time. The box was big, but so was Grandma's posterity, and I knew one piece was all I'd get. And this piece I licked fondly until there was nothing left but the good smell on my fingers. Sometimes Grandma gave me the empty fluted cups and breathing deeply I'd bury my nose in them. She knew what a rare treat this was to all of us.

One day when we were at Grandma's house with our cousins, she brought out her chocolate box. Breaking the cellophane from the shiny, pink box, she removed the velvet ribbon. Our mouths watered. She lifted the lid and chocolate aroma filled the room. To each child she passed her treasure. Breathlessly I waited and finally she held the box before me.

"Do you want a chocolate, Alice?" she asked.

Trying not to appear too eager I timidly replied, "I don't care."

"Well," she retorted, "If you don't care, I'm certainly not going to waste one on you."

And she didn't. I was crushed. But the lesson she taught me has never been forgotten. I learned that I'd better let it be known that I do care, one way or another, about everything of importance. I also learned to say, "Yes please," or "No thank you."

Grandma's house had plush carpets of red roses and dark green leaves on a rich brown background. Light, filtering through white lace curtains, was reflected in the soft sheen of her polished furniture.

Edith and I were her dusting girls. Sometimes our cousin Virginia Campbell helped. Edith was Grandma's favorite duster because she sat tirelessly under the dining table, working the dust cloth into every curlicue of the carved legs. Her fingers also went round and round through the fancy iron work under the sewing machine. I detested fussy details. Still, Grandma gave me as many lemon drops and peppermints as she did Edith. Edith knew she deserved 1818 more and she and Virginia helped themselves from the shoe box of candy on the marble top table in the parlor. Those frosted lemon drops were as tempting to me as to them, but my nagging conscience held me back. So Edith and Virginia snitched freely and I shared the blame.

Grandma didn't blame gently either. Once she accused me of using all of her black shoe polish.

"Grandma, I didn't do it," I said.

"It's no use for you to tell me that, for I know full well you did," she snapped.

I stood up for myself the best I could, but she said I was being disrespectful and sassy. I was humiliated, because Aunt Mary Campbell was there. I hated being scolded in front of company. One look at my shoes would show that they never had been shined, except with soot, and that rarely.

Tears stung my eyes and my throat ached. I was trying hard not to cry. Aunt Mary put her arm around me. The squeeze of her hand and the look in her eyes told me she knew I was innocent. I resolved that when I became a Grandma I would never tell a grandchild they did something if they said they didn't.

Grandma braided my hair snake-braid. The idea was to weave each lock of hair in so tightly that it couldn't come undone. She wore a thimble as she braided, claiming it helped her do a neater, tighter job. That wasn't the real reason. The thimble was for thumping my head when I wiggled. I had to sit like a statue. She pulled my hair so tight at the temples that she almost braided my skin in too, and slanted the outer corners of my eyes up, and the corners of my mouth as well. A scowl would have been impossible because the muscles were stretched the opposite way. I became so tough headed I could have been hung by my braids without feeling it. But my hair, as Grandma lamented, was like snakes, crawling all of the time. Mama called it wiry. No way could the ends of my braids be fastened so they would stay. Once undone, the braids unraveled like pulling a thread on a knitted sock. That meant more head thumping from Grandma's thimble.

No squirrel ever stored more diligently for winter than Grandma did. In our granary she kept a forty-gallon wooden barrel with grapes pickled in molasses and water, and one for pickling corned beef and one filled with brine for cucumbers. All winter she dipped into these barrels, doling out goodies into her little brass bucket for us to take to her friends. On Saturdays or after school she would send me pattering across town with the shiny little bucket taking her offerings to Grandma Spendlove or Grandma and Grandpa Hinton or to Albert Stratton or Lizzie Lee.

Grandma ate her meals with us except when she had company. Then she cooked on our stove, but served her guests on her own pretty table with her elegant dishes. Once when she was taking currant pies from the oven, she dropped one. It spilled from the plate in a broken heap. I was glad, because she said, "You young ones can have it." No pie ever tasted so good as the one we ate from the kitchen floor. Her daughters used to say, "Ma is so saving, that if a fly lit in the molasses, she'd lick its legs before turning it loose." Papa said she was thrifty.

Even though Grandma and Papa did most of the disciplining, there were times when Mama took a hand, and when she did she made it good. She wouldn't tolerate 1919 our quarreling or fighting. If two of us got into a scrap, she cut three willows, one for each of us and one for herself.

Raising her stick, she'd say, "All right, if you two want to fight you're going to do it right. Now you hit each other or I'll hit you."

My arm would go weak in the elbow. I couldn't begin to lift my stick. Looking at my sisters then back at Mama I'd whimper, "I don't want to fight."

"Do as you're told and hit each other," she would demand.

We'd both be sniveling by now. "We don't want to fight," we'd howl.

"Then kiss each other and behave yourselves."

Kissing each other was the worst punishment of all, but it was either that or the tingling of the willow. Usually it was the latter. But Mama didn't have to use this method on us often. It was drastic enough to make for lasting peace.

But the world wasn't at peace. Grandma digested the Deseret News each evening and we got a review of the news the following day at meal time. Often when I was busting to talk, Papa would say, "Shhh, Grandma is talking."

A war was going on. The Germans, especially Old Kaiser Bill, were the bad guys and the English, with the British Fleet were the good guys and they were scrapping over France. Little Belgium was the stomping ground.

When our stable was cleaned, the manure was always pitched out of the two east windows. The mounds dried and we used to play one mound was Bunker Hill and the other Golden Hill. We wore a powdery trail in between as we ran back and forth. Now these piles became France and Germany and we played "Kaiser Bill went up the hill to kill the king of France. Kaiser Bill came down the hill with bullets in his pants."

As Grandma reported the news, vivid pictures built up in my mind. The British and Germans were deadlocked somewhere in Belgium. Neither side could advance, so they dug trenches for themselves. Parallel lines of trenches ran clear across northern France from Flanders to Switzerland. "No man's land" was the strip between. I pictured the Germans burrowing in their muddy trenches like mean little gophers. Grandma's reports were awful! Millions of lives were lost in those trenches by machine guns, poison gas and liquid fire.

Stories of German submarines filled the news. Grandma was aghast at the news when the Lusitania was sunk, drowning over a thousand people. The Lusitania was a British ship of war, but was carrying just plain people, a lot of them Americans. President Woodrow Wilson let Germany know we didn't like this one bit, but Germany sank eight more American Ships. In a single week they sank eighty-eight ships. (History of the American People by David Saville Muzzey, pages 631-637)

President Wilson said, "It is a fearful thing to lead this great and peaceful people into war … but the right is more precious than peace." (Muzzey, p. 631)

On April 6, 1917 the United States of America declared war on Germany! Our country was involved in World War I. (Muzzy 632)

Fortunately, the world continues to turn, war or no war, and springtime brings sheep shearing time. The Goulds Shearing Corral upon the Hurricane Hill was fast becoming the biggest operation of its kind in the world, so the story goes. Aunt Alice and Uncle Will Spendlove ran one cook shack, cooking for thirty or forty men, and Thad and Lizzy Ballard ran the other cook shack, cooking for the 2020 same number of men. Uncle Will came to Hurricane almost every day for water and supplies, and Thad did too. Thad had a water tank that was as long as the bed of his wagon.

Papa decided it would be a good family outing to go to Goulds so he borrowed Uncle Ren's team and wagon. To ride anywhere was a treat to us. Mama put a denim quilt over a shuck tick in the wagon box for us to sit on and packed the grub box. She sat up front on the spring seat beside Papa.

I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. I thought of the good picnic Mama had prepared and of seeing Aunt Alice and Uncle Will and of watching the men shear sheep.

When Papa slapped the reins, on the horses backs, the wagon creaked and swayed as the horses pulled into the ruts in the road. Going up the Hurricane Hill was scary, because the dugway was narrow and steep, but I savored each turn of the wheels. Once on top, the horses settled into an easy gait and I stretched out on the bed, enjoying the protection of the tightly stretched wagon cover over the bows that the beating sun illuminated but did not penetrate. The horses jogged along and the wagon wheels ground pleasantly in the dirt, lulling me to sleep. When I awoke, we were going down the hill and Papa was pulling back on the brake rope.

"Aren't we going to Goulds?" I asked.

"We have been to Goulds," one of my sisters replied.

"But I haven't," I cried.

"Oh yes you have. You just didn't wake up," someone said.

Crawling over to where Mama sat, I said, "Mama, I haven't been to Goulds, have I!"

She looked at me in surprise and put her arm around me. "Bless you," she said, "I guess we forgot to wake you."

"Oh Mama," I cried, "you didn't have the picnic without me did you?"

She looked stricken. "I'm afraid we did. There were so many people, I guess we didn't notice you were still in the wagon asleep."

I didn't just cry. I howled broken heartedly. How could anyone do that to me! How could they, when we simply never, never went anywhere! "I didn't even get to see the shearing corral," I bawled.

Everyone was sorry, but I knew I would never get to go again, and I didn't.

My disappointment over the Goulds trip was deeper than I can express. It had been so good just to smell a wagon cover again and to hear the clopping of horses. A longing for the annual trek to Kolob was revived, stirring within me almost to the point of obsession. I yearned for the sight of bluebells, pink phlox, squirrels and pine trees.

I'm sure Mama felt very sorry about the slip-up on the Goulds trip too, so when Aunt Ellen and Uncle Ren Spendlove invited me to go to Kolob with them for the summer, Mama and Papa consented to let me go. I was transported with joy. I loved every turn of the road, camping under the open sky, watching the dying embers of the campfire, hearing once more the sound of horses munching grain in their nose bags. With a happy heart I drifted off to sleep.

The early morning climb up the mountain brought us to Heaven! A Heaven of long needle pines, the smell of sage and racing through the meadow with Venice and Velma.

2121 Aunt Ellen made corn bread for supper. She put a piece on my plate with yellow butter melting through it. I took one bite but could not swallow. I looked at the dear faces in the lamplight. WHERE WAS MAMA? WHERE WERE MY SISTERS AND PAPA? My throat tightened. I picked up my plate and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" Aunt Ellen asked.

With a gulp I answered, "I want to eat my corn bread outside."

It was still twilight. I sat with my back against a pine tree, my plate in my lap. I tried to eat but couldn't. Tears were splashing on my dress. Why? Here I was at my very own Kolob, sitting against my favorite tree, with my favorite food on my plate, still I was crying. Digging a hole in the sand, I buried the bread and then I cried hard. In that moment I knew Heaven would never be Heaven without my family.

The next day Lafe and Tennessee Spendlove galloped in on a little buckboard to deliver some things to Aunt Ellen. They were returning to Hurricane that afternoon, and I begged to go with them. Venice and Velma coaxed me to stay, but I would not.

When I got home, Hurricane looked hot, dull and dry. I realized that I had run away from Kolob. This time I fell desperately ill. Heartbroken, a homesick longing as big as the earth and sky seemed almost to crush the life out of me, a longing to bring together the two dearest things on earth to me, my family and Kolob. And this could never be.

It was quarterly conference and the house swarmed with relatives from "up the river." I was on the bed in the northwest bedroom and was going to die. I knew it and I knew Mama and all of the relatives knew it. This was the end. Then I saw the concern on Mama's face and I said, "Mama, if you will get Brother Barber and Brother Jepson to help Papa administer to me I will be better." They came and after the administration I was well instantly.

On June 5th, my cousin Ianthus Campbell died. He was one of the babies that had inspired my sisters to pray for twins. Now Iantha was left without her twin the same as I was.

Ianthus used to play ball in the street with us. Our balls were made of tightly wound carpet rags, stitched on the outside with carpet warp in a honeycomb stitch. Our bats were pieces of board whittled narrow at the handle and wide as a paddle—the wider the better our chance for hitting the ball.

Sometimes Ianthus teased me. Once I got so aggravated I hit him with the garden rake. I couldn't hit him good because the rake was too heavy for me to swing, but I got him good enough to make him run home bawling. Uncle Lew said he was going to take me to Kolob and use me for coyote bait. Now Ianthus was gone and he would never pitch a ball to me again, and I wished I had never hit him.

But Uncle Lew and Aunt Mary still had one boy, Marcus, the same age as Edith. The nearest thing Papa had to being a boy was me. Grandma said I was a Tomboy, and Papa encouraged it. When Sam Pollock came to play checkers, Papa used to get me to shinny up the porch poles. Sam would say, "Ah George, she can climb as good as any boy." I wasn't interested in being "as good as." I wanted to be "better than," so that's when I started climbing to the peak of the barn. When Grandma 2222 saw me walking along, the ridge of the barn roof, she fluttered into the yard screeching, "Aaalliss, come right down before you break your neck!" From my perch she looked wonderfully small down by the woodpile, and I loved her clucking and ruffling her feathers over me. I climbed down, but I knew I would climb up again because I wanted Papa to brag about me. Then there was the mulberry tree in front of Grandma's house. The top limbs were even higher than the barn. When Grandma saw me swaying overhead she went into a most satisfactory dither and I climbed down to please her. Between her spasms and Papa's bragging I felt famous.

We used to sing a song that went something like this:

My sister wears a velvet dress and ostrich feather hat
And white kid gloves and shiny shoes and all such things as that.
She goes to parties, matinees and dances all she can,
But she can never do the things I'll do when I'm a man.

Chorus

A girl can't be a cowboy, or run away to sea,
Or be an Injun fighter, like I intend to be,
So I don't care what she may wear, it never makes me mad,
For I shall run the country when I'm big like Dad.

This song made me wish I was a boy. Sometimes I honestly resented being a girl.

Although it had been years since Grandma had closed her store in Virgin, she could still buy wholesale from ZCMI. In fact, ZCMI not only gave her chocolates every year, but they also gave her a rich looking satin dress piece every summer when she returned to Salt Lake to visit relatives and friends. And always she returned with a big cardboard box filled with white canvas slippers, a pair for each of her granddaughters. She bought them for ten or twenty cents a pair. With each pair she gave us a half-moon shaped piece of chalk to keep them white. We only wore them on the 4th and 24th of July and on Sunday. The rest of the time we went barefooted.

Sometimes we made moccasins out of the backs of old overalls, to protect our feet from the scorching earth and from the grass burs. Our winter shoes—and there was only one pair a year—had high tops that either laced or buttoned. A button-hook hung by the door between the front room and the kitchen. Saturday nights we turned a stove lid upside down and with a rag and spit we rubbed soot on our shoes, blacking them for Sunday.

Frank Beatty traded property with Charlie Workman and moved his family practically off the earth. They moved at least two miles away in the Hurricane fields. That meant that I lost Mildred Beatty for a playmate. But Workmans built a house a half block up the street and I got a new playmate, Eloise. Eloise's sisters Hazel, Flora and Delsey used to read stories to us. When they read the people in the stories came alive, they were so full of expression. Eloise's brothers Carl and Eldon treated us like grown-ups and entertained us, and Sister Workman would put out big glass fruit bowls filled with dried malaga grapes and paper shelled almonds on Sunday afternoon. We loved to visit at Workman's home.

In the fall, a most disgraceful thing happened! When school started they put all of the dumb little six year olds in with us. The "Beginners" was discontinued and the new kids started right out in the first grade! It wasn't fair! 2323 With a wounded, superior air, we looked down on those little "babies" the whole year through. But one thing eased the blow, and that was that it made us kind of distinctive for we were the last of the beginners, and the new little kids were the first, first graders to be only six years old.

The new school building was not quite finished, so we started the first grade in the Relief Society building.

Great things were going on in Hurricane. Tall power poles were being planted down every street. How exciting it was when electricians began wiring our house! My little sisters and I were right underfoot to grab every metal slug the men dropped to the floor. They were the size and color of nickel coins.

The electric power was turned on in Hurricane in September 1917. Every corner had a street light and lights shone from every home. How beautiful it was!

Light globes were delicate, exquisite things of thin, crystal clear glass, with delicate wires inside, glowing first red, then bright yellow when the power was turned on. A globe hung from a drop cord in the center of each room in our house. The front room, kitchen and hall had wall switches—push buttons in a copper plate. In the other rooms the lights were turned on at the globe. We were fascinated with the magic that took place when we pushed the button, but Papa sternly said, "This is no play thing. You will wear out the switches." He made a strict rule that the lights were to be turned on only once each night, and we could take turns at that. When it was my turn, I looked forward with excitement all day for the coming of night. We boasted and bragged to our playmates about the brightness of our lights. To out-do us all, Iantha said their lights were so bright they had to open the door to let a little dark in.

Burned out light globes became treasures. Women crocheted lace coverings for them and used them as ornamental curtain tie-backs.

But electricity was undependable. We didn't put the kerosene lamp away, because with every gusty wind or rain squall, the power went off. Each time Mama lit the lamp, Papa remarked, "Another cow must have stepped in the Santa Clara Creek." That's where our power came from.

On the morning of October 30th Grandma came from Mama's bedroom. "Good morning girls," she said, "the stork brought you a little baby brother in the night."

Papa came into the room with a funny look on his face. It was a grin with tears in it, like he was laughing and crying at the same time.

"Come quietly and you can see your new brother," Grandma said, going into Mama's room ahead of us.

Mama smiled at us and pulled the covers back so we could see the little creature that was bundled beside her. Well! He certainly wasn't any beauty. He was bald headed as a jack-o-lantern. If he had waited one more day he would have been born on Halloween. "If I were Mama," I thought, "I'd stick to girls."

What I couldn't quite figure out was why everyone who came to our house made such a fuss over Papa. All of our Aunts kissed him and said, "Well George, at last you have a fine son," and the corners of Papa's mustache twitched and he batted his eyes like something was in them. Not one soul said, "Well George, you have six lovely daughters!" Except Sam Pollock. When he came to play checkers with Papa he'd sort of say it in a round about way. He'd say, "Ah George, someday the devil will pay you off in sons-in-laws."

Our brother was named William Howard for a whole line of grandfather Williams going back on both sides, and for our Howard ancestry that came from England. 2424 Papa had Howard in his name too, and since George had been given to my twin, our new brother got the Howard part.

During all of the excitement of Hurricane growing, and our family growing, Grandma still kept us posted about the war with Germany. We heard about, saw and felt the effects daily. Every man between the ages of twenty-one and thirty had to register for military service. Looking back, I don't see how our country could have had such a jaunty air about going overseas. Our soldiers joked and laughed and sang, making the war appear to be a romantic adventure. Snatches of their songs went something like this:

Johnny get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on a run, on a run, on a run,
Make your daddy proud of you, and your own red, white and blue.

Over there, over there, send a word, say a prayer,
For the Yanks are coming, their hearts are strumming,
The drums are drumming everywhere.

… We're going over …
And we won't be back till it's over, over there.

In every little church house in every little town farewell parties were held. The entire town gathered for the farewell party when the first soldier boys left Hurricane. Sweethearts and mothers were in tears. I remember Josephine Spendlove, Mattie Segler and Annie Workman, sweethearts of Elmer Wood, Ren Spendlove and Claude Hirschi. The girls were dressed in sheer blouses, and their lacy camisoles with tiny pink or blue ribbon bows showed through. They looked so romantic to me. Through their smiles, they shed just enough tears to make the occasion sweet and sad and I got a lump in my throat. The following two songs were sung and continued to echo in my mind, because we heard them many times afterward:

SMILE AWHILE

Goodbye means the birth of a teardrop.
Hello means the birth of a smile.
Over high garden wall, the sweet echoes fall
As a soldier boy whispers goodbye.

Smile awhile, you kiss me sad adieu.
When the clouds roll by I'll come to you.
Then the skies will seem more blue
Down in lover's lane, my dearie.
Wedding bells will ring so merrily,
Every tear will be a memory.
So wait and pray each night for me
Till we meet again.

SO LONG MOTHER

So long my dear old mother, don't you cry.
Come, kiss your grown up baby boy goodbye.
Somewhere in France I'll be dreaming of you,
You and your dear eyes of blue.

Come, let me see you smile before we part.
I'll throw a kiss to cheer your dear old heart.
There's a tear in your eye, don't you sigh, don't you cry.
So long mother, kiss your boy goodbye.

The following day people gathered on the streets to wave goodbye as our soldiers left town in a Model T Ford, on their way to Camp Lewis.


Chapter 6
Armistice
(1918)

2525 In 1917 the Hurricane and LaVerkin towns bought water rights from Toquerville and both towns began to look something like Northern France. With picks and shovels men dug trenches down every street. But these were not grim trenches like the ones in France. These were happy ones where kids could race, whooping and laughing and hollering, after the workers had gone home for the day. What fun we had, until it was discovered what a lot of dirt we were knocking down for the men to shovel out again, then we were forbidden to play in the trenches anymore.

In the trenches wooden pipes with wire coiled around them were buried, and by January 1918 water flowed through them. We had a tap under the cherry tree close to the kitchen door. Up to this time we drank "cistern" water. Papa owned a cistern in with Uncle Lew and Uncle Marion. It was built just below the canal. It had boards over the top to keep kids and critters from falling in, but every little while it had to be cleaned to get rid of polliwogs, snakes, snails and moss. Cistern water was piped to the corral and the cow's trough was slick and green.

With the new water system, our drinking water was no longer murky, but crystal clear, and the taste took some getting used to. People called it "Toquer-Bloat."

In January the entire school moved into a new school building. In our new class room we sang, "Good morning to you, good morning to you. We're all in our places with bright smiling faces. Oh, this is the way to start a new day." Then before our opening prayer, Miss Moody said, "Today we must give special thanks for this lovely new class room."

The new building was steam heated with silver painted radiators that knocked and banged and sometimes steamed at the valves. On an inside wall in each room was an "air hole" next to the floor, big enough for a kid to crawl into. Oozing plasters hardened between the laths in the air holes, made a beckoning ladder where adventurous boys often vanished.

The bell in the belfry rang exactly thirty minutes before marching time and could be heard clear across town. In the school yard, each grade had an assigned spot to line up in double rows. When the piano started playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever", the littlest grade marched first. We marched, one line at a time, swiveling for a right angle turn, marching up the steps four abreast, stepping on the bottom step with the right foot. The Principal clapped his hands calling, "Left, right, left, right," and we never broke rank until we were in our seats. The names of those who got out of step were jotted down and they marched in the awkward squad after school.

In the spring, the locust trees that lined the sidewalk in front of the schoolhouse hung sweet with clusters of white waxen blossoms. At recess time we greedily munched the flowers. Green groceries in the store did not exist. The locust blossom satisfied a craving, as did watercress.

The pear trees in our front yard were a cloud of blossoms and bees. I loved to sit on the front porch holding our baby brother on my lap. His curls were honey colored, he had a round laughing face and his eyes were blue. I'd pat out the soft folds of his white dress so people passing by would look 2626 over the picket fence and say, "My, what a pretty baby!"

On May Day everyone went a Maying. Happy picnickers gathered with their teams and wagons at Berry Springs, where high swings hung from the cottonwood trees by the pond. Caterpillars, with furry backs rippling, crawled merrily on the limbs, dropping their fat little bodies among the picnickers. Shivering, blue-legged little girls in ringlets and pink, blue, yellow and green mosquito netting dresses braided the colored streamers on the May Pole. May Day was often chilly, but always wonderful.

Now that Hurricane had electricity, we no longer heard the loud popping of the gasoline engine which "ran the dynamo and created the juice" for the operation of the picture show on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Charlie Petty built the new Star Theater, which opened in May 1918.

I was wild about picture shows. Since we seldom had nickels, if I wanted to see a movie, I earned the ticket. I passed handbills whenever Charlie Petty would let me. All of the shows were good, no matter how bad they were. There were the good guys and the bad guys. If the bad guys didn't repent they were punished. Right prevailed. The girls were pretty and the men handsome. Love triumphed. Endings were happy. Never was the audience left with that oh-no-it-can't-end-that-way feeling. Pictures were black and white and silent. When the words were flashed on the screen, grownups could be heard all over the hall reading to the little ones. A melodeon, a cross between a player piano and an organ, rolled out background music during the wild stampedes or gun fights. A woman treaded the pedals as the roll of music played.

In the summer time I took for granted the hard work that Mama and my older sisters did. Mama dug ditches and put in the gardens, doing what Papa would have done if he could have, and Annie and Kate milked the cows. Perched on their three-legged stools, one on each side of the cow, they milked together. Annie scythed the green lucern, raking it in a pile, then plunging the pitch fork into the heavy load, she'd swing it over her shoulders, looking like a moving haystack as she went to the corral. We each had our tasks to do, but play was more fun to me than work.

Playing with Iantha and Vinona was so much fun. Iantha was clever at making rag dolls. Our rag doll families were cute and we had a technique where we could make them without needle or thread, and even without scissors if necessary. We did need scissors for the silk scraps Iantha furnished from Aunt Mary's dressmaking. Aunt Mary Campbell did custom sewing.

It was no sin in my sight to make rag dolls first, then do my dishes afterwards. Neither Kate nor Annie saw it that way. Kate shouted so persistently for me to come downstairs one day that I shouted in exasperation, "You're just old maids. You ought to be married and have kids of your own to boss. When I'm as old as you are, I'll be married." Kate was just thirteen. All the rest of the summer she reminded me that I'd better get busy on my trousseau.

Dirty dishes and bossy sisters can never squelch childhood happiness. My cousins were fun to be with. Eating bread and milk and little green onions up on the canal bank with them was the best kind of picnic.

One day our curiosity about cigarettes spurred Iantha and I into action. Sitting on our woodpile, we rolled up fine cedar bark in catalog paper, sticking it together with spit. Holding a roll in my lips I struck a match and sucked in my breath. The flame went through the bark and the smoke up the 2727 back of my throat behind my nostrils and eyes. Choking and coughing, I struggled for breath. Tears streamed down my cheeks. When I could breathe, I looked at Iantha, and she was choking and coughing and tears streamed down her face, too. Our curiosity was satisfied.

One day, while Will Sanders from LaVerkin visited with Papa in our yard, he took a plug of tobacco from his pocket and bit off a cud. His eyes crinkled with pleasure and he made a sucking sound through his teeth like he was slurping watermelon juice. Expertly he spat in the dust, then chewed some more. Watching his face I thought how wonderfully good chewing tobacco must be. Papa kept a box of "horseshoe" plug tobacco in the granary for sick cattle. When no one was looking, I took the box from the shelf. The tobacco was fresh and moist and biting off a hunk was easy. What a shock! My mouth burned and I spit and spit. I had been deceived!

Street lights added a new dimension to our lives. On summer evenings, after the supper dishes were done, we played barefooted in the squishy dust that was fluffy as talcum in the wagon rutted road. We never played further away than our own corner street light, within the range of Papa's voice when he called us in for family prayer. How good it was to pause in our play and run across the front porch, pressing our faces against the screen door to see Mama and Papa. They were always there. Sometimes Mama chorded on the organ and Papa sang "The Bowery", "Rosy Nell" or "Sweet Birds, Oh Say That My Lover is True."

One evening as Iantha and I played together, a girl from across town came along. "Will you kids walk home with me?" she asked.

"l can't," I answered, "it's too late. It would be dark before we got back home."

"That's why I want you to go with me. It will be dark before I get home and I'm scared."

"Ah, come on," Iantha said, "let's take her home."

"I can't," I protested.

"If both of you go, then you won't have to come back alone," the girl pleaded.

"Nope, I can't," I insisted.

"All right, don't you do it then," she retorted, "but I'll tell you one thing. If you don't, the devil will get you."

"He won't really, will he?" I asked.

"He will really," she affirmed. The girl was two years older than me, so she should know.

Even the mention of the devil's name scared me. I had the urge to run in the house quick but the girl was saying, "The devil will really get you and you won't ever see your Mama again."

That did it. I said. "We'd better hurry and take her home."

Holding hands, the three of us ran. Dusk turned into thick black velvet as we scooted through the tunnel of trees up her lane.

As we got to her gate and said, "Goodnight," she pulled us to her. "Because you had to be coaxed and didn't come with me when I first asked you, the devil is going to get you anyway," she said. "He won't get you until 2828 the first night you sleep away from home. Not unless you tell somebody that I told you this. If you tattle, he'll get you that night." With that expression of gratitude for our protection, she ran into her house, and we sped terrified through the darkness to home.

As I slipped quietly into the welcome light of the living room, Papa said, "This is a fine time to be coming home," then went on jouncing Willie on his knee and singing, "A chicken went to bed but it was no use, roll Jordan roll."

Grandma was reading the Deseret News and shaking her head and saying, "Tsk, tsk, tsk, what a shame." Mildred was playing with the paper dolls we had cut out of the Montgomery and Sears catalogs, and asked me to play with her. She played with the ones that didn't have any feet, and with the black and white ones and let me play with the slick, colored ones. Things seemed all right as long as the family was around and the lights were on, but after prayers, everyone went to bed. Then the terrifying prediction came back to me and I realized that all the days of my life I would never be able to leave Hurricane because my first night away from home would be my last one on earth. Burying my head under the covers I finally slept.

In the brightness of day I was able to dismiss the grim promise, until one of my sisters mentioned going to Springdale, then the torment within me became intolerable. I hoped Uncle Lewis wouldn't bring his grist to the mill until fall, because if he did, he'd probably invite Mildred and me to return to Springdale with him. But something just as worrisome happened. Papa planned a family vacation to Moccasin to see Aunt LaVern Heaton's family. Moccasin was in Arizona. We'd never been out of Utah. My sisters were as tickled as if Moccasin had streets of pure gold. I wasn't tickled, I was scared.

Mama hummed while she baked mountains of cookies and bread, and everyone was busy and happy helping get ready to go. I helped, but I wasn't happy. Ianthus Spendlove drove to our house in Uncle Ren's wagon and our bedding and grub box were loaded in, I knew that this was the very last day of my life.

I didn't have to go with the family, but if I didn't, I'd have to tell why, and that would be tattling, and that would be the end. I might as well go along and enjoy the remainder of my life.

It was good to be perched upon a pile of bedding with the other kids. We chattered and giggled, guessing what we'd find around each bend of the road. Far across the open stretches, gray forms raced with the wind.

"Are they wolves?" I asked.

"No, they are tumbleweeds," Papa replied.

Later we came to where they were piled high in a barbed wire fence. Ahead was a mountain as blue as Pinevalley Mountain.

"Will we go over that mountain?" I asked.

"Tomorrow," Papa answered.

Oh, dear! If only I were going to be alive tomorrow I could see what the rocks on a blue mountain looked like. They must be made of blue glass. I could gather my lap full of them and take them home to Venona and Iantha. My heart ached with regrets and I became engulfed in a tide of misery.

At sundown Papa said it was time to pitch camp. 2929 Ianthus brought the team to a halt off the side of the road and took off their harnesses, rubbing their sweaty flanks as they snorted with satisfaction.

We ate our supper around the camp fire, then made a wide family bed on a canvas on the ground. After we were all tucked in I lay listening to the contented sounds of the horses and the chirping of crickets. My emotions swung like a pendulum between fleeting surges of happiness and misery. I loved sleeping under the stars and the sounds of the night. Nothing could be more fitting for my last hour on earth. I studied the dark bushes around me and I knew that lurking behind one of them was the bad man, waiting for everyone to go to sleep so he could get me. I felt sorry for the family. They'd never know what had happened to me, and they would be sad as they went on to Moccasin without me.

This was the zero hour!

I might as well tell, because it didn't matter now. I could shout to the hills the whole tale of my misery, and it wouldn't make any difference.

I crawled out of the warm spot between my sisters and snuggled under the covers by Mama. There was no use to tell Papa because he would only say, "That's all a pack of nonsense. Go back to bed and get to sleep." But Mama would listen.

"Mama, the devil is going to get me tonight," I whispered.

"Of course he isn't," she said hugging me.

"Oh, yes he is," I insisted.

"Who told you that?" she asked.

I blurted out the whole miserable tale to her.

She said, "The Heavenly Father doesn't let the devil get little girls. When things trouble you, you should always come to me."

"But that would be tattling."

"It isn't tattling to talk to your mother."

"Do you mean I will still be alive tomorrow and that I can go to Moccasin?"

"Of course. When you go back to your bed say your prayers. Remember, the Heavenly Father will always listen to you and bless you. You must not let foolish things other children say make you miserable. The Heavenly Father wants you to be happy. Now have a good sleep." She pushed back my hair and kissed my forehead.

Oh, my! What a big load had dropped from my shoulders. As I crawled from under the covers a breeze fluttered my nightgown and my heart was light as a feather. A sky full of stars glittered above me. Snuggling down between my sisters I silently thanked the Heavenly Father for my mother who made things seem all right again, and drifted happily to sleep.1

The next day, as the wagon creaked through the silent sand, the mountain that had appeared blue yesterday became the color of dirt. There would be no glass rocks to take home. That's when I learned that even Pinevalley Mountain is not blue, but only appears that way because of the atmosphere in between.

Moccasin was a little town, seeming to cuddle between the low hills, gardens, trees and flowers. Little springs bubbled out of the white sand, blurping like little mouths. Moccasin folks cooled their cans of milk in a springhouse in the hillside and an Indian reservation was nearby. But best 3030 of all was the reservoir with a boat on it. We'd never seen a boat before. We'd never even seen enough water to hold a boat.

Around the reservoir were clumps of water willows. Standing on the bank, I watched the Moccasin boys push out from those willows on planks. Their feet were spread apart, balancing themselves, as they pushed with long, slender poles. Enviously I watched them skim across the water. I knew I could do it too, and I begged them to let me try, but they said I was too little. So I watched my chance, and when everyone was gone, I ran to where the boards lay in the shallow water. Climbing on one, I spread my feet apart and balanced myself as the boys had done, and with a pole, I pushed out onto the pond. There was an ecstatic moment of smooth, glistening water under me as I floated graceful as Hiwatha. Then came a shout from a boat rowing out from the willows. "You'll drown!" The splashing of the oars rocked my plank as the boat pulled alongside.

"Get in," Ianthus Spendlove demanded.

The moment I lifted a foot to step in, the plank scooted from under me, and I went blubbering to the mossy bottom. I knew nothing about swimming, so I didn't even try. Thoughts flashed rapidly through my head. I would drown. Never would I see Hurricane or Venona or Iantha again. They would cry at my funeral. Glurk, glurk, glurk, down, down I went. I was surprised when I bobbed up like a cork and Ianthus caught my skirt, hauling me into the boat. The grace and beauty of my venture had turned to awkward misery as I was dragged toward Aunt LaVern's house, water weeds stringing from my hair and my wet clothes clinging to me. A trail of kids tagged, following me right into Aunt LaVern's kitchen, where she let down the oven door to warm me. Outraged, I stood helplessly shivering as she stripped me naked in front of everyone, boys and all.

After the humiliation, I was showered with such tender affection I felt as though I had returned from the dead. Goodness! Wouldn't I have something to tell my playmates when I got home!

The day Grandma gave me 10¢ so I could ride in a car to the flour mill, I never dreamed that some day there would actually be car owners in Hurricane, but Dr. Wilkinson bought one. And then Walter Stout bought a car and finally Ira Bradshaw, making three cars in Hurricane. Brother Bradshaw said a car couldn't have come to Hurricane until the convicts made a road, taking out the rocks and patching over the sand at the Black Ridge.

Forty convicts with teams had been assigned by the Governor of Utah four years ago to build roads in Washington County. They had finally reached Hurricane, setting up camp below the canal, two blocks north of us. The convicts sold pretty little hand-crafted things. Annie had a pincushion made from a mentholatum jar covered with tiny sea shells. The cushion part was blue velvet.

The day I turned eight years old, Aunt Ellen Spendlove sent me a cup of molasses so I could make some candy. I was born on her birthday. Mama and Uncle Ren climbed the canal bank with me and my sisters and a cluster of playmates followed us through the willows. Uncle Ren baptized me in the canal, then he and Mama went back down the hill and we stayed to swim in our old dresses. The only time Mama let us swim in the canal was on the fourth and twenty-fourth of July and on my birthday.2

We'd splash upstream as far as the bridge where the road crossed the canal.

There we'd flop on our backs, feet downstream, letting the water carry us 3131 around the bend through the sun-splotched shade of the willows, as far as our cistern. Joyfully, we splashed, feeling the security of our rumps bumping along the sandy canal bottom. Or we'd crawl upstream walking on our hands while we kicked a jet stream with our feet. This was the canal version of the "Virgin River Crawl." To us this was real swimming, and could be done in as little as one foot of water.

In August, when the peaches were cut and spread on planks to dry, the pits were saved to make carbon for gas masks. All of our nation's industries were thrown into the war effort. Even our dinner tables were supposed to feel the effects, but the only awareness I had of this was verbal. We were urged to eat less so we could send more to our soldiers. Recipes for eggless, sugarless cakes and for all kinds of substitutions were published. Mama already knew all about substitutions. She could make something out of nothing. Women knitted socks, mittens and sweaters, and all of our wool scraps were made up into quilts to send overseas. We chanted a jingle that came from the Deseret News. I've forgotten the words, but it went something like this:

My beds they are sheetless, my stockings are feetless,
My pants they are seatless today.
My meals they are meatless, my food it is sweetless,
I'm getting more eatless each day.

There were a number of verses, each one ending with "Oh, how I hate the Kaiser!"

The scream of mortar shells became real and telegrams bearing sad news began reaching home. The heart of the nation was reflected in their music, like the plaintive song:

I've heard the prayers of mothers, some of them old and gray.
I've heard the prayers of others, for those who went away.
Oft times a prayer will teach one, the meaning of goodbye.
I've felt the pain of each one, but this one made me cry.

Chorus

Just a baby's prayer at twilight, when lights are low,
Poor baby's years are filled with tears.
There's a mother there at twilight, who's proud to know,
Her precious little tot, is dad's forget-me-not.
After saying, "Goodnight Mama," she climbs up stairs,
Quite unawares and says her prayers:
"Oh, kindly tell my daddy that he must take care."
That's a baby's prayer at twilight, for her daddy "over there."

The wonderful women who went overseas to tend the wounded, inspired the song:

There's a rose that grows in No Man's land,
And it's wonderful to see.
Tho' it's sprayed with tears, it will live for years
In life's garden of memory.
It's the one red rose the soldier knows.
It's the work of a master's hand.
'Mid the war's great curse, stands the Red Cross Nurse.
She's the rose of No Man's land.

The first of September my sisters and I went to the dry farm with Papa and Whit Spendlove to gather corn. Papa drove the wagon down the rows and we pulled the ears and threw them in. At night we slept on the floor of the 3232 little camp house. I was on the outer edge of the bed and the covers didn't reach. The floor was hard, the night cold, and coyotes howled. My aching, freezing bones, the eeriness of the mournful howling, and the weird shadows cast by the moonlight was combined misery, terror, and tingling joy of adventure. In a happy sort of way I suffered.

At home the corn was piled in front of the barn and we shucked it. How good it was to dump last years dilapidated corn husks from our shuck ticks and fill them with fresh ones. The first night sleeping on a newly filled shuck tick is exotic. The crisp shucks crunch and crackle and the sweet aroma of the corn field fills the room, making sleep serene.

I skipped to the first day of school in my new blue dress, and Edith in her pink one. Mama said my eyes were bluer when I wore blue, and Edith's cheeks were pinker when she wore pink. I yearned for a pink dress. Edith was pretty even when she was angry, for then the colored part of her eyes were all pupil, black as coal. Her hair was the color of fresh wheat straw and hung in fat, shining braids over her shoulders.

Bernice Gates was our second grade teacher and she was far above the human race, like an angel. I had disdainfully accepted the younger kids in our class because two of them, Ray Bradshaw and LuWayne Wood, were almost the smartest ones in the room.

Iantha and I were playing upstairs in our northwest bedroom on a Sunday afternoon (22 September 1918). As we dressed our rag dolls, we talked about the Kaiser and the Germans. Then something struck the roof like a gun shot. Startled, we ran to the window. Then came another bang, and another. "The Germans are shooting at us," I cried. As the din became a deafening roar, we saw hail stones as big as peach pits peppering the ground. Because we were so war conscious, even this terrible storm seemed German sent. With the first lull, Iantha ran home. Soon she was back, her face drained of all color.

"Eldon Workman just got killed," she breathlessly exclaimed.

Eldon was Eloise's brother. The sky hung low and gloomy. A melancholy pall settled over me.

"Come and see where he died," Iantha said.

Trembling, I took her hand and we pattered down the muddy street to the tall power pole with the transformer on it, by Petty's store. In the soft, wet dirt at the foot of the pole was the outline where Eldon had fallen. The hail storm had disrupted the power and Eldon had climbed the pole to restore it. In my mind, he too was a World War casualty.

The news reported thousands who were killed in France and thousands more who died of disease or were wounded. Our country was brought to her knees. President Wilson asked the nation to fast and pray for peace. That fast day was the longest day of my life. We had always fasted on fast day, but not so long as this. Mama said we could eat after the sun went down. I was starved, and the setting sun hung for hours just above the peach trees, before it finally sunk out of sight. Not too long after this, the Armistice was signed.

On November 7, the Yankees cut through the Argonne Forest, which had been considered impossible and cut off the enemy's main line of communications. The battle of the Meuse-Argonne was the greatest ever fought by American troops, Two days later, the Kaiser and the Crown Prince signed letters of abdication and fled to Holland. The German delegates signed the armistice in a railroad 3333 car in France, and at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the news that the war was over was flashed around the world. The United States and all of the Allied countries celebrated. In Hurricane the church bell rang continuously for hours, and the few car owners honked and honked their horns. People cheered and whistled shrill glad whistles. Soon after that our soldier boys returned home.

But war leaves its scar. Not all of the boys came home, but all of the ones that I'd seen leave came back. The big scar we felt was the Spanish Influenza. It broke out first in Europe but had reached America by the fall of 1918. By the last of October the Church had closed its temples. The schools, churches, and show halls were closed. The only public gathering in Hurricane was the crowd outside of the post office at Aunt Molly Hall's. After the mail was sorted she handed it out the window as each person stepped forward. Everyone wore gauze masks. Anyone caught on the streets without one was subject to arrest. Mama kept a pan of Lysol water on the back of the kitchen stove, where gauze masks simmered, and she kept a stack of fresh clean ones ready for us to wear when we went down town. The only place we didn't wear masks was around home or when we climbed the hill by ourselves.

The quarantine was long and lonely. In spite of Lysol, isolation and loneliness, our family came down with the flu. We lay sick all over the living room where we could be near the fire. The lounge was pulled out for a double bed and there were beds on the floor. If Mama got sick we didn't know it, because she moved among us constantly, administering water, soup, mustard plasters and a cool hand on hot foreheads. Food was terrible. The taste of death stuck in our throats, and a black dizziness flattened us when we tried to sit up or walk. Many people died. In some towns there were not enough well people to care for the sick. The epidemic was so severe that generally the well didn't dare go among the sick. However, there were many heroic stories of dedicated neighbors who took the risk. Men in Hurricane and LaVerkin chopped the wood, milked and fed the cows and did outside chores for their sick neighbors. In some instances, one man took care of a dozen sick households this way, delivering needed items to their doors. Some women went into homes bathing, feeding and cleaning and they seemed blessed and protected for this very purpose. Papa's cousin Clara Jones, died the last of November, leaving a large family of children.

Mama fixed our food as nice as possible to attract our appetites, but everything tasted like the dogs had dug it up. We were so depleted that it seemed we too must die. Then Mama fixed some hot, stewed tomatoes which cut the dark, deathly taste from the back of our tongues. Tomatoes and toast was the first food that tasted good. As we ate, we recovered.

December 22, 1918, was set aside by the Church as a special fast Sunday "for the arrest and speedy suppression by Divine power of the desolating scourge that is passing over the earth."

This year, because of the influenza, there would be no town Christmas party. So the day before Christmas Santa Claus stopped at every gate in town in a Model T Ford, distributing red and green mosquito netting stockings filled with candied popcorn. I liked him, even though he wore a mask, because his "Ho. ho, ho" was hearty, and he was a man. I didn't like the Santa Clauses at Primary parties because they wore pillow stuffing and had women's voices.3

3434 Christmas Eve, a neighbor left a little pine tree on our front porch. We didn't always have a tree, because we couldn't go after our own. When we did have one it couldn't be decorated until after supper, because it had to be set up in the middle of the table. The decorations were polished apples, strings of popcorn, and small twisty candles clipped to the tips of the branches with metal candle holders. Christmas morning Mama lit the candles. (Pine needles are flammable, and the candles had to be lit with care.) We admired the tree breathlessly and briefly, then the candles were blown out, the tree untrimmed and taken out so we could set the table for breakfast.

Our gifts were never wrapped, but spread out on the lounge like items in a bazaar. usually there was one gift apiece, and spread out this way they looked more abundant. This year I got a doll, the first talking doll I had ever seen. Grandma's silk bosomed friend Alice Therriot from Salt Lake City sent it to me because my name was Alice. The doll had a bisque head, hands and feet on a cloth body. A sound box in her middle made a sound like "mama" when I tipped her forward. Her cheeks were rosy and she wore a mischievous Kewpie grin. Her pink dress was lace trimmed and I loved and adored her. Up to now I had only had a Polly. A Polly was a cloth doll, the features, dress and all stamped on percale, then cut out, sewed and stuffed. Her arms were separate enough to get hold of, and eventually ripped in the armpits and her stuffing oozed out, but usually she lasted until summer.

Santa Claus belonged strictly to the world of make-believe. We were aware of Mama's struggle to get us a gift apiece. Still no one loved playing make-believe more than we did. We enjoyed Christmas as much as our friends did who tightly guarded the secret of Santa.

"The saddest day of my life," Mama once said, "was the Christmas when I was twelve. Father hadn't returned from his peddling trip and Mother was sick. We got up Christmas morning to total bleakness. There was no sign of Christmas not a single evergreen sprig or gift or anything. Heartbroken I went to Mother's room. 'Annie,' she said, 'if you'll look on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, you'll find a few cookies in a tin pail. I intended to make more, but couldn't do it.' Searching, I found a few burned molasses cookies. Mother told us that day who Santa Claus really was, and that he didn't come down from the North Pole with his reindeers. This came as a terrible shock and I grieved for days. I felt as though my dearest friend had died. I resolved right then that I would never do such a thing to a child of mine."

One mystery we could never solve was where the pan of animal cookies came from each Christmas. We knew Mama knew, by the way she smiled. There were more than a dozen kinds of animals, with shapes intricate and perfect, not clumsy ones like ordinary animal cookies. At Aunt Mary Stout's house was also a pan of the same kind of cookies. Still, our searching through both houses never revealed the cookie cutters.4 If Santa wasn't real, at least his elves were.

The element of mystery lent such fascination that Mildred and I decided to create a little mystery of our own. Edith and LaPriel were our gullible victims. In the ceiling above the door to Mama's and Papa's upstairs bedroom, was an open manhole, which was the only entrance to a never used attic. To enter, one had to climb the door.

"Santa Claus can't come down our stovepipe," we told our little sisters, "so he has to come down through this hole."

Skeptically Edith shook her head, but LaPriel's eyes grew wide with excitement.

3535 "Santa has a work shop up there, you'll see," I said.

Concealed in Mildred's pocket were two strips of fleecy flannel, one red and one white. "We'll climb up there and ask Santa Claus to stick his hand out of the hole so you can see it," Mildred said.

Like lizards we climbed the door, hoisting ourselves into the dark manhole. Creeping back on the timbers above the lath and plaster I said, "Hello Santa Claus what are you doing up here?"

Making her voice deep as possible, Mildred replied, "I'm getting ready to pop corn."

Rapidly both of us clapped our hands. "Can you hear the corn popping?" I yelled.

"Yes," LaPriel answered.

The popping stopped because we had to arrange the flannel on Mildred's arm, putting on the red first and then a white cuff around her wrist.

"Santa, reach out your hand so Edith and LaPriel can see you," I said.

Mildred stuck her arm out and LaPriel shouted, "I can see it, I can see it!"

The attic was dark and eerie. We had mystified our sisters, so we were glad to scramble down. LaPriel was charmed but Edith was dubious.

Footnotes

  1. Story "Mama and the Heavenly Father" published in The Relief Society Magazine, July 1962
  2. Story "Baptism is a Family Affair" published in Friend, November 1977, p. 46.
  3. Since my hair has turned to silver I've become more appreciative. The most delightful Santas I have known were women, especially Edna Gubler and Geneva Segler. But they didn't wear masks.
  4. After I was grown I learned that Grandmother Crawford owned the cookie cutters that were passed around to all of her children to use each Christmas season.

Chapter 7
I Try to See from
Papa's Point of View
(1919)

3535 Papa was the water tax collector and the stray pen keeper, and our meals were constantly interrupted with people paying taxes or being mad because someone had put their animals in the stray pen. We ate in the front room and I felt self-conscious about people looking on, because there were so many of us around the big table. I wished we had fancy food to show off like strawberry shortcake. But at least Mama alumys saw to it that we had a fresh white table cloth on, and we set a full table, even if we were only eating bread and gravy.

It undoubtedly wasn't easy for Papa to provide for so many of us, but generally he was cheerful. But when he voiced his frustrations it threw a pall of gloom over me.

"I guess we might as well buy our caskets while we've got the money," he remarked one day. "We could put them in the cellar to store dry beans in."

A chill ran through me. Mama sent me to the cellar to get a bottle of fruit and I stood in the dim light, visualizing ten caskets, including Grandma's, side by side on the dirt floor. I would have to crawl over them all the rest of my life to get the things Mama sent me after. The dry beans we dipped from them would eventually be turned into skeletons—our skeletons!

Another thing that scared me was the terrible song they sang in church about the moon being turned into blood and the waters into gall. Nothing could ruin a Sunday afternoon like that song could.

Sometimes even my dreams would petrify me and I would wake up tingling. Sometimes I wandered in my sleep, bumping into things. Papa slept with both ears wide open. A cat couldn't even sneak through our garden in the night without him 3636 hearing it. With the first touch of my foot to the floor he'd shout, "Alice, get back to bed."

"I am in bed," I'd whimper.

"You are not," he'd yell.

His yelling confused me and I didn't know where my bed was. Agitated, I'd crouch in one of the little windows under the eaves, fumbling at the screens, hoping to get away from the sound of his voice. Mama had seen to it that the screens were solidly nailed in place. After so much shouting Pape finally awoke me, the room came into focus, and I crawled back into bed.

A fun pastime to me was drawing pictures, and I thought I was pretty good. I especially liked my drawing of a fat girl with a butterfly net, so I submitted it to The Juvenile Instructor. When it was published I was practically launched into an artist's career. My prize for the drawing was a beautifully illustrated book "Through the Looking Glass" or "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll. What a thoughtful editor to send me a story of Alice. Often I was called "Alice in Wonderland" and I liked it because it justified my many flights of fancy, like the day Iantha and I found the egg upon the hill.

We were playing among the chaparrals when we found what appeared to be an ordinary looking chicken egg under a bush. Now what would ever possess a chicken to climb the hill to lay an egg?

"Maybe it's a turtle egg," Iantha suggested.

"Or an alligator egg," I said. "Let's take it home and hatch it and see what comes out of it."

Taking turns, we carried our treasure down the hill, and our speculations grew more vivid and exciting each step of the way. We followed the road, for climbing over rocks might break the egg.

"What if it is a dragon egg?" Iantha asked.

"Or it might be a prince that some witch has turned into an egg," I added. "If we break the egg then we'd break the spell, and the Prince would be so happy he'd grant us all our wishes."

We had reached the Lombardy poplar trees at Workman's corner by now. I was holding the egg. My imagination had reached such a pitch that I could stand it no longer.

"I'm going to break the egg," I said firmly.

"No, don't! Little snakes might run out of it." Iantha jumped back as I whacked the egg against a fence post.

I emptied the shell upon the ground. If a genie had spiraled into the sky we would not have been more surprised than we were to see only a firm, yellow yolk surrounded by clear egg white. We came back to reality with a thud!1

In the summertime, suppertime came before sundown, and it was easy to play outside too long. Once when LaPriel came in after the supper table had been cleared, Papa said, "Lapriel, stay out of the pantry." Oh no, I thought, he isn't going to make her go without supper. She had played so hard and must be awfully hungry. I wished I had some little thing to give her, but I didn't. All of our food was kept either in the pantry or the cellar, and the same door led to both. 3737 Holding my breath, I expected her to cry, but instead she turned and went out the kitchen door. Pretty soon she returned with a loaf of bread. Seeing it, Papa shouted, "LaPriel, I told you not to eat. Now put that bread back in the pantry."

"You didn't tell me not to eak," she wailed, "you only told me to stay out of the pantry."

"Then how did you get that bread?" he demanded.

"From Aunt Mary Stout," she replied.

"You march right back to Aunt Mary's with it," he ordered.

Obediently she returned the loaf and went to bed without supper.

Aunt Mary Stout's was the logical place for her to go. We were always as much at home there as we were in our own home. We took Venona and Leah as for granted as though they were our sisters. Aunt Mary treated us like we were her own. When Uncle Marion's wagon trundled down the dusty dugway coming home from Rattlesnake, we ran along with Aunt Mary's children to meet him. We knew there would be biscuits in the wooden grub box fastened to the side of his wagon. Dry biscuits with the exotic flavor of dry farm dust.

Another time when LaPriel came in from play after supper was over, Papa said, "Mama, pack her things and let her go find another place to live. If she wanted to live with us, she'd come in on time."

I don't think Mama wanted to do it, but she always cooperated with Papa. Quietly she tied a little dress and a night gown in a dish towel and handed it to LaPriel. My heart almost broke as LaPriel's little face crumpled with unhappy tears.

"Now go on," Papa ordered.

An aching misery swept through me as I watched her clutching the bundle in her arms and sobbing as her little bare feet trudged out the front gate. Slowly she walked outside the picket fence, her head bowed, then some bushes screened her from my view. I ran across the yard to Grandma Isom's house and up the stairs. From the south bedroom window I could still see her. Near the and of the fence hung a loose picket with only one nail in the top. LaPriel pried it back and crawled through. At the end of the raspberry row was the wooden box our organ had come in, which we used for a playhouse. LaPriel curled up in a corner of it, her face buried in her bundle, crying. I cried too. I don't know what discussion took place between Papa and Mama, but after awhile Mama walked through the raspberry patch, and kneeling down, put her arms around LaPriel. Then taking her by the hand they walked to the house together.

Brother Roundy and his family lived through the block from us. In the spring time when he was plowing, we used to crawl through the fence, racing over the fresh turned soil.

"Tell us a story, Brother Roundy," we would beg. He'd tie the horse's reins to the plow handle and sit in the furrow with us and tell us "injun" stories from the Book of Mormon.

He had other talents too. He could charm a toothache away or buy our warts for a nickel and make them disappear.

After school was out, Mama let Edith and me go to Cedar with Brother Roundy and his boy Karl in their stripped down, topaess Model T. We had never 3838 been to Cedar before. The road over the Black Ridge was narrow, steep and rocky. We were impressed with "dead-man's hollow" and a dream gold mine. Every turn in the road came alive with Brother Roundy by our side. Once over the ridge, the car coughed, sputtered, then died. It was out of gas.

Relieved, Brother Roundy sighed, "I've been praying for the past five miles that we could stop. The gas feed was stuck and I couldn't slow down."

We were probably doing at least twenty miles per hour.

Karl went on foot to a ranch house across a scrub oak flat. A light mist of rain began to fall, so Brother Roundy drew us into his arms and told us "injun" stories. After awhile Karl returned with a quart bottle of gas he had found in a ranch house. Lifting the hood he poured it into the carburetor. The car sputtered and shook, but that was all.

Brother roundy sniffed at the empty bottle. "Coal oil," he said.

Again Karl hiked through the brush. It was dusk when he returned with a white horse. With a rope they hitched it to the car, and the horse pulled us on to Ren Roundy's ranch house. "Ren's playhouse," they called it, because it was so small.

Ren and his sisters Reva, Reba, and Anise were there. They fed us sour dough biscuits and fried mutton and bedded us down. Five of us slept cross-wise on one bed. The night was long, cold and crowded. The next morning the horse pulled the car on to Kanarra.

Brother Roundy's oldest daughter, Sarah Sylvester, fixed breakfast for us and combed Edith's and my long, tangled hair. She kept sending me to the ditch to dip the comb until she got us braided slick for the rest of the journey. The round trip to Cedar took us three days, mostly just chugging along.

In the fall we helped Mama dig the carrots, turnips and parsnips and put them in a straw lined pit covered with boards. She gave us some to sell so we could earn a little money. By peddling to the neighbors, selling my vegetables for 5¢ a bunch, I earned 30¢. Feeling rich, I skipped to the drug store and bought six packages of gum. After I got outside, a feeling of guilt overpowered me. I had squandered my money, not even saving 3¢ for tithing, so I returned the gum.

Fall meant we were back to school again. Jean McAllister was my third grade teacher. What a china doll she was with her ivory skin, black hair and pretty dresses! Considering that a kid had to look at the teacher all day, this was important.

The upstairs room she rented in the Isom Hotel had an east window above the porch roof. One snowy Saturday morning, as I pattered along the sidewalk in front of Petty's store, I saw her looking out of her open window. Below her in the rose garden, Irving Isom scooped up a snowball, hurling it into her window, splattering her with snow. She screamed, and he laughed, and I stood transfixed watching the love scene. Soon all of the third grade knew that Irving loved Jean. She was my romantic ideal until one fateful morning.

After the opening exercises, she said, "Everyone turn to the left and put your feet in the aisle." Pointing at me she boomed, "Alice Isom, there are plenty of shoe buttons, darning needles, and carpet warp in this world. You'd better see that your shoes have all their buttons on by tomorrow morning."

The kids tittered and my eyes smarted with self conscious tears. I tucked my sloppy feet back under my desk. Each saggy shoe top was held up by only two 3939 buttons where there should have been eight. That night I not only sewed on the buttons but turned a stove lid upside down, and with spit and a rag I sooted my shoes. And Miss McAllister became a human being in my sight from that day on.

Threshing time was a highlight of autumn and we hailed with excitement the day it was our turn. Frank Reber had cut our field of wheat and stacked the tied bundles in the barnyard. When we heard the clatter of the the threshing machine coming in at the barnyard gate, my sisters and I raced through the peach orchard to watch. We perched on the woodpile with the neighborhood youngsters who tagged along.

The men on the thresher set the blower so the straw would go under the north shed of the barn. After the shed was filled, the blower was turned to go over the top, where the straw piled higher and higher until it almost buried the barn. How shiny, slick and slidy it looked, a continuous slope from the peak down into the yard, almost to the bellflower apple tree.

After the thresher and its crew had left and Papa had returned to the house, our playmates lingered. What a golden day. Golden sunshine, golden peach trees, golden poplars along the sidewalk, and a shining golden straw stack beckoning with golden opportunity. It was too much. Like soldier ants we crawled in a continuous stream up to the top of the barn. From there we tumbled and slid all the way to the bottom, compacting the airy straw solidly beneath us, creating a slick chute for the endless stream of laughing, shouting youngsters. Exhilarating! It was the epitome of happiness, a happiness too great to endure, for above the squeals of laughter came a loud, discordant voice. Instantly we were hushed as Papa loomed like a giant before us. The last kid silently slid to the bottom of the stack and there we stood in a contrite huddle.

"I won't have you kids wallowing my straw stack down. Get a march on, everyone of you, and come right out of there," he demanded.

The only way out was through the little gate where he stood. One by one we meekly filed past as Papa's heavy hand "tunked" us each on the head. A "tunk" was Papa's version of a thump. It was administered by the end of the three middle fingers coming down with a thud on the top of the head. How mortifying! I couldn't believe Papa would treat our friends the same way he did us.

After we were all out of the enclosure and my friends had scampered home, I looked up at the golden straw stack. How I wished Papa could slide down it, from the top to the apple tree just once. If he knew the thrill of it, he'd ask all of our friends to come back.

Fall was butchering time. The big fat pig that had been slurping our dishwater all summer, and that had greedily climbed up the side of the pen for the ears of corn, had become a personal acquaintance by now. I had no particular love for him but I didn't want him killed, either. When the black tub was steaming over the fire and the boards for scraping the pig were arranged over the saw horses and George Spendlove arrived, Mildred and I figured it was shooting time, so we ran down into the dark cellar and crouched on the floor with our fingers in our ears. We didn't want to hear the fatal shot, but we kept one finger a little loose in one ear so we would know when it was safe to stop not listening.

Our sentimental feelings were pretty much forgotten when the pig was no longer a creature that could look at us out of little mean eyes, but was simply sausage, bacon, head cheese or lard for making pies. Nothing could be better than Mama's bottled sausage seasoned with sage.

As Christmas approached, I rooted through the sacks of scraps and rags Mama had stored upstairs. Rag bags and their doll making possibilities fascinated me. 4040 As I rooted, I ran onto two orange-colored glass bowls that glinted with a transparent golden sheen. Transfixed, I held them up to the light. How beautiful they were. One was rounded in at the top like a crystal ball and the other had a fluted top like a petunia. My eyes were dazzled with their exquisite beauty. Where did they come from, and who did they belong to I wondered. Excitedly I started from the room to show everyone what I had found, when Kate met me in the hall.

"Quick, take them back where you got them from," she whispered.

"But guess where I found them?" I cried.

"I know. Annie and I hid them there," she answered. "We bought them for Mama for Christmas."

The gleam of the colored glass stirred something inside of me. An enchantment akin to what I felt as I read of Aladdin gathering rubies, diamonds, sapphires and amethysts in the underground garden, or of Dorothy and her friends being dazzled by the brilliancy of the Emerald City in the land of Oz. And the enchantment has remained. Always before, Christmas gifts to Mama had been useful, like stockings or an apron. But ornamental glass! What a surprise!2

Footnotes

  1. Story "A Piteous Day" published in The Relief Society Magazine, vol. 56, no. 5, pp. 338-342, May 1969.
  2. Story "The Golden Bowl" published in The Relief Society Magazine, vol. 54, no. 11, pp. 823-828, November 1967.

Chapter 8
In Which We Get
Another Brother
(1920)

4040 Every day Papa walked to Dorty (George) Gibson's barber shop with his checker board rolled up in his back pocket. This checkerboard, made of narrow slats on a canvas back, was a gift from Grandma to him when he was a boy and is a marvel to me to this day for its smoothness and fine finish, considering the years of constant use. Dorty was the town barber and champion story teller. His shop was a social center and Papa was the town's undisputed checker champion. There was a satisfaction in being a champion's daughter.

One day just before sundown. Papa came home to supper. As he sat down to the table he took a pink celluloid bracelet from his pocket.

"Oh Papa," I cried, "where did you get it?"

"I found it on the sidewalk on my way home," he replied.

"Can I have it?" I asked.

"No, it belongs to the person who lost it."

"But we don't know who lost it," I reasoned covetously.

"But we must try and find out."

"If we don't find out, then can I have it?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Some little girl is sad tonight because she lost her bracelet," Mama said.

"I would be sad if it was mine and I lost it," I admitted.

The next morning Papa told the principal of the school about the bracelet. What neither Papa nor Mama knew was that I had taken the bracelet from the cupboard. I didn't own anything pink, and I wanted to wear it for just one day, so 4141 I slid it above my elbow under the long sleeves of my brown dress. I kept touching it through my sleeve during the day, knowing how pretty it was, even though I couldn't see it. After school I put it back in the cupboard just in time, because Stella Campbell came to claim it.

Stella had everything pretty—pink dresses, ribbons and beads. She had all of the things I did not. She even had Sunday shoes. Not many girls in town owned two pair of shoes. But Stella deserved the bracelet, because she missed a lot of fun that the rest of us had. In the summertime when we played in the big ditch under the mulberry trees east of Mae Petty's house, Stella couldn't play in the mud with us.

That ditch was as important to us as the beach is to people who live by the ocean. The clean, white sand from the canal seemed to build up at this one spot, making the best ditch in town for mud houses and for making little roads with spool wagons and for all of those wonderful things. Stella used to stand on the ditch bank silently watching us. She looked like a boudoir doll with her pretty starched skirts ruffled above her lace petticoats, and her crisp white collars and cuffs, and her hair shining like silk. A speck of dirt would not have dared get on her. I felt like she would have liked to crawl in the soft sand with us. Naturally the pink bracelet was much prettier on her arm than stuffed up under my brown sleeve.

Easter morning Mama busied herself helping us get ready for Sunday School, and then she suddenly disappeared. Pretty soon Grandma came into the kitchen and said, "The stork just brought you a new baby brother."

"Grandma," I cried, "why weren't we outside to see the stork?"

Grandma bustled back into Mama's bedroom oblivious to my question.

"Oh dear," I lamented, "we'll never have a chance like this again."

Grandma was a midwife and she delivered babies to lots of mothers. She kept a black leather bag behind the marble-topped table in her parlor that she used to deliver them with. I had a hard time getting this straight in my mind. If Grandma delivered babies in her black bag, what business did the stork have delivering them too? Since she never answered me when I asked, I had to draw my own conclusions. Our third grade reader had a story called "Tom and the Water Babies." There were pictures of dozens of chubby, curly headed babies swimming and playing among the water lilies. The babies with hair must have come from there and Grandma had carried them in her bag. The bald headed ones like Mama had must have been delivered by the stork. I wished I had seen the stork carrying our brother in his beak.

They named the baby Clinton Floyd, and we loved him a lot. In no time at all he learned to laugh and his hair came in shiny and curly.

Mama subscribed for the "Hearth and Home," a magazine filled with love stories, recipes, old time songs and poems and crochet patterns. It cost 35¢ a year. For selling three subscriptions, I could earn a birthstone ring. Getting the subscriptions was no problem to me, but waiting for the ring to come was. I watched the mail every day. Finally the package arrived. In it was a little blue velvet box containing a gold ring that had a sparkling red ruby stone. My heart almost burst as I gazed into its depth. Proudly I wore it, putting it in its case each night. Then somehow, somewhere, I lost my treasure. Promptly I got out and sold three more subscriptions for the magazine, earning a new ring.

4242 My success at getting a second ring impressed me with other luxuries that lay within my grasp. A girl brought a Lee's Manufacturing Catalog to school and at recess a cluster of us pored over the list of premiums. A pretty vanity case with a mirror in the lid was especially appealing. Five of us decided to earn us each one, so we divided up the town, taking orders for dishes, pots and pans.

We sold enough to earn our vanity cases, but we had a problem. The order had to be sent in the name of an adult. We really didn't want to discuss this with our parents for fear they would put a stop to our venture. Finally I volunteered Mama's name, and in our clumsy way, we sent the order off. This time I didn't hail the arrival of our order with joy because I wasn't sure how Mama would take it.

Well, I found out. When Ira Bradshaw came with his freight truck from Lund and unloaded a fifty-gallon barrel in our yard. Mama and Papa were flabbergasted.

"We haven't ordered anything," Mama said when presented with the freight bill.

Scared as I was, I spoke. "Mama, Iantha, Nona and I and some other kids took orders for some dishes. We thought you would like them to come to you."

"You what?" she asked in a tone I'd never heard before. "What did you say?" She was shaking me as she spoke.

"Load the barrel right back in your truck and return it," Papa demanded.

"Please," I begged. "Can't we keep it? There're pretty dishes in it that the people want."

"Who is going to pay the freight?" Papa demanded.

"The people will give us the money and we will pay it," I pleaded.

"But the bill has to be paid right now and we don't have the money." Papa reasoned.

Mama's lips set tight, angry veins stood out on Papa's forehead, and Brother Bradshaw looked embarrassed. "I do have to collect the freight," he said simply.

Silently Mama walked into the house. Since it was safer to stay close to her heels than to be alone with Papa, I followed. She took a little cream pitcher from the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard and dumped out some nickels, dimes and quarters. After counting them out, it took almost all of them.

"You'd better collect for these dishes right away, because this is the money for the light bill," she said.

I ran to tell the other kids the dishes were here. We gathered together our crude records of who had ordered what. Mama helped us take the dishes from the excelsior packing, sorting them into little piles. There was an awful mixup in our bookkeeping and Mama scolded all of us. Usually she was quiet about everything, but this time she was mad as a setting hen. It took her a few days to reconcile our orders and get us out to deliver 4343 and collect.

After it was all over, there was a stack of eight dinner plates and one big vegetable bowl, in an allover pattern of gold lace and pink rosebuds. This was the grand prize for the orders we had taken. I thought Mama would divide them up with the five of us, but she didn't. She said they were hers, that she had paid for them a dozen times over, and I'd better not ever do a thing like that again.

Cloverine Salve, circa 2010
Cloverine Salve, circa 2010 as seen on Amazon.com

After things calmed down, we enjoyed our vanity cases that were like a status symbol to us as we carried them to school. But I had been sufficiently warned not to get involved in any more group business deals. Selling seeds or Cloverine Salve to earn a little bottle of perfume or some talcum powder was the extent of my next business ventures.

On September 15, the first "aeroplane" flew over Hurricane. The roar of the four-winged craft brought people running into the streets. Excitedly I waved my hands and shouted, "Hello, hello." Grandma Dolly Humphries, whose house was just south of Grandma Isom's, was standing by my side.

"Hello, hello, hello," I called. Then I thought I heard a voice from on high. "Grandma Humphries, I heard him. He said hello!"

"Ello, eh?" she chuckled.

The plane landed on the Bench Lake Flat. A short time later Hortense Beatty, on horseback, galloped up to our gate. Breathlessly she said, "I touched it! I touched it. I raced on my horse to the Lake Flat, slid off and touched that aeroplane."

Our eyes were wide with admiration for Hortense.

Nora Barber was our fourth grade teacher, but etched in my memory is her sister Christie who played the piano for us to march in by, and who read "The Little Colonel" books to us. From her I acquired a deep love for the south and negro mammies and little pickaninnies. I loved Christie's dialect as she read. I loved the shine on the lenses of her glasses and the stray locks of hair that curled around her face. Books became dear to me, for through them I visited far away places and people. "The Little Dutch Twins" books created a fascination for Holland within me, and I longed for a pair of wooden shoes.

Halloween was a time for painting funny masks on pieces of old bed sheets with crayons, but we wore them only to Aunt Mary Stout's and Aunt Mary Campbell's. We didn't go out on the streets. Trick-or-treat had not yet been heard of. Halloween was all "trick", and boys played all of the tricks. Papa still sat back and laughed about the tricks he used to pull when he was a boy. Again we heard, between the raucous grating of tick-tacks on our door, about the time the boys at Virgin dismantled the bishop's wagon and reassembled it straddle of the ridge of the church house roof. And about the time they strung a wire from the church bell, through the apple orchard to Brother Beebee's mule's leg, which kept the bell rinqing all night.

The most interesting part of Halloween was the morning after. I could hardly wait to see whose front gate was hanging on the cross bar of a power pole, or how many outhouses were assembled on the school playground, or how 4444 many wagons were piled in a heap on the streets. Outhouses were the choice targets of goblins. The one I loved most was the one parked on a wagon in the dead-end lane by Uncle Lew Campbell's place.

Usually people needed their property and retrieved it the next day, but this little house was unclaimed for days, so Iantha and I moved in. With lye soap, scrubbing brushes and buckets of water we scrubbed every inch of the interior until the lumber took on the yellow of fresh sawed pine. From old magazines and catalogs and a bucket of flour paste, we papered the walls, putting the prettiest pictures in the best places. Aunt Mary let us have some discarded lace curtains that we hung on the wall. Putting a board over the seat, we padded it with an old camp quilt. Two velvet cushions, borrowed without the asking, gave it the homey touch. On the floor was a hooked rug that had been put away for repairs. This little privy became a castle in our eyes. We could hardly wait until school was out each day to go and play. Then we came home one day to find the wagon, the house;and all of our finery gone. We couldn't grieve, because we knew eventually it would happen. We could only imagine how delighted the owner must be to see the transformation.

With the beginning of school a major change came in our family. Grandma Isom moved to St. George to spend the winter doing temple work, and our sister Annie went with her to attend Dixie High. Mildred promptly graduated from sharing my room and moved in with Kate, and Edith moved into my bedroom. The general shifting was like "fruit-basket tipped over." Life took on new dimensions. Mildred had always pampered me by seeing that I was safely in bed before she turned out the light. Things were mighty different now.

Edith was scared of the dark. I had to go to the room first and turn on the light, then Edith came cautiously and looked under the bed. "Nope. Nobody there," she'd say, then leap into bed, burrowing under the covers, and I turned out the light.

This nightly ritual gave me the prickly feeling that eventually we'd find a monster under the bed. In fact, he could suddenly appear after I had turned out the light. He could reach out from under the bed and grab my feet before I pulled them up under the quilts.

Once I decided to beat Edith at this game, so she'd have to turn out the light. I snuggled down in bed, and with a look of fright, she turned out the light and leaped through the air, landing in the middle of the bed with such a jolt that the board slats under the springs clattered to the floor. I had to get up and wave my arms through the dark searching for the drop cord to turn the light on so we could rebuild our bed.

As Christmas drew near. Mama began making a red calico dress, just my size. As she fitted it to me she said, "This dress is for Venona Stout. It's her Christmas present from Aunt Mary, so we must not let her know about it."

I loved the dress, and felt excited as I modeled it. I knew it was for me, and that this was Mama's way of surprising me. And then on Christmas morning, Venona burst into the house to show off her new red dress. I survived the shock, because Mama had been honest.

Dr. Davis rented Grandma Isom's house while she was in St. George. He gave us each a big orange for Christmas. Oh,my!


Chapter 9
Patriarchal Blessing
(1921)

4545 Usually I loved thunder because it reminded me of Kolob. Lightning, at a safe distance, was appealing to me too, but when the very air snapped and my hair prickled, I felt a mite jittery. This particular March night an electric storm was beginning to get unruly. I had gone to my room for something and as I reached to turn out the light, balls of liquid fire spilled from the ceiling down the drop cord and down my arm. Dazed, I crumpled to the floor. I had the sensation of being sucked into a deep, dark cave. From somewhere far, far away, I could hear someone screaming and screaming.

After what seemed ages, dim lights cast weird shadows in my bottomless cavern. Mama appeared, carrying a lantern. Kneeling, she held me in her arms. But that screaming, that detached, far away screaming, would not cease.

Mama brushed my hair back and rubbed my face, saying gently "There, there, you are all right."

Suddenly I realized the screaming was coming from me! How could that be? How could I be screaming and not know it? I tried to stop. Mama held me close and at last my screams turned to sobs, violent, shaking sobs. Try as I would I could not control them for a long time.

At the precice moment that I had reached for the light, lightning struck the transformer on the power pole at the comer of our lot. My sisters said balls of fire raced along the wires down our street. As the house went dark and my screams piercing he air. Papa remarked, "Well, there's one thing we know for sure, Alice is still alive."

The incident left me afraid. I was afraid of night, refusing to even go into the kitchen alone. And then the thing I feared most of all happened. Another electric storm. In the early evening too, the same as the last one!

Right during the thunder, Richard Bradshaw knocked on our door. "Sister Isom, can Alice go sleep with Hortense tonight?" he asked. "Hyrum is away and she's afraid."

Hortense was our cousin and I often slept with her when her husband was away. But this night I held my breath, waiting for Mama's reply. She knew what a coward I had turned out to be. I expected her to say Mildred would go instead, but she didn't. She told Richard I'd be glad to come and he left.

"Oh Mama, I darsen't go in the storm," I wailed.

She put her arm around me and said, "There's nothing to be afraid of. The Heavenly Father doesn't want anything to hurt you. He will protect you. "

My fear left me. As I walked to Hortense's place the lightning and thunder reminded me of Kolob once more, and I loved it. Mama could speak words of assurance that made the heart happy.

4646 There was something about Sacrament Meeting that bothered me. Number one: Meetings were too long. Figeting on a bench for two hours wasn't fun. Number two: The speakers were always so gloomy. Why couldn't they ever come up with a happy talk just for kids? The doleful things they often said really made me squirm. Number three: The only screens on the windows were the coarse kind to protect the glass from basket balls. Flies flitted cheerfully through them, seeming to love to come to church. And the building was hot, extra hot, because we had to sit still.

Mama and Papa never made us go to church. They simply took us. I decided that when I was my own boss I'd quit.

One Sunday afternoon a group of youngsters decided to escape to the river. When they invited me to go along, I swallowed my guilty feelings and went. I felt shabby in my everyday clothes and there was no happiness in the hike. My feet had the worrisome feeling of wanting to turn back and my conscience nagged at me. And the river! Big deal! It wasn't as inviting as I had thought. It was only a trickle.

The Sunday sun had an abnormal glare, making my eyes feel squinty. Gnats buzzed in my ears and a pesky little fly zigged-zagged in front of my face, refusing to be brushed away. Everyone had fun wading in the water but me. I sat in the sand with my back to a boulder and suffered. I'd lots rather be sweltering and shooing flies in church. I longed to be with the rest of the family.

I expected a scolding when I got home. All Papa said was, "Well, did you enjoy the afternoon?"

Shaking my head I said, "No. It was awful. I'd lots rather go to church."1

I had made an important discovery. Sitting in church was actually quite nice. All of the folks I enjoyed most were there. And when I really listened, the speakers were right interesting.

Benjamin Franklin LeBaron lived just below the black knoll coming into Hurricane. In the fall persimmons hung like oranges along his terraced hillside. Flowers and fruits made his place a garden of Eden. He was a sweet, gentle and loving man who attracted children.

Hurricane was mostly orchards. In fact, it was the fruit in our valley that brought the LeBarons. Brother LeBaron was responsible for the Evaporator that was built by his home. It should have been one of the biggest business ventures in our area, for there were tons and tons of peaches that fell to the ground every year for want of a market. Farmers had been using lumber scaffolds on saw horses to dry fruit on, making every effort to save their crops,but it wasn't enough. The Evaparator dried the fruit and extracted juice by power. But for some reason, the business was of short duration, lasting only a season or two. The brick building still stands and is an apartment house today.

We belonged to the St. George Stake, and Brother LeBaron became the first Stake Patriarch in Hurricane. One day, as I was passing LeBaron's, on a sudden impulse I knocked on their door.

"Brother LeBaron, will you give me a patriarchal blessing?" I asked.

4747"Of course," he answered, "come in."

He put his hands on my head and Sister LeBaron acted as scribe. I'll admit that I tried to dictate to the Lord as Brother LeBaron spoke. In Sacrament Meeting, a young woman who had just returned from the mission field, reported her mission. She had a radiance about her that I admired with all my heart. As I listened to her, I knew that someday I too must go on a mission. So I listened hard for our Patriarch to say I would, but he didn't.

He said that my basket would always be filled with plenty. Since we had been warned so many times by Grandma that if we wasted even a crust of bread, the day would come when we wished we had that crust, to have my basket always filled was a comforting thought. When Brother LeBaron promised me that the Tempter should never have power over me, I felt very strong. That promise has sustained me time and again throughout my life. Other things he said have been a guiding light to me as I grew up. Many times when I've been filled with anxiety, I have re-read that blessing and have been strengthened and comforted.

Annie, Kate and Mildred did housework for women who had new babies, took in washings and picked fruit. They bought all of their own clothes, never expecting a penny from Papa or Mama. I wanted to be independent too. I was agile at climbing trees, so I should have a real talent for picking fruit. But being able to swing from the skinniest or highest limb doesn't fill a bucket with fruit. To my dismay, I found out I was actually one of the slowest pickers. I honestly tried. I took every job I could get picking strawberries, cherries or apricots, and each day in the orchard I resolved to beat all of the other kids. But I never did. It gave me an inferiority complex, so much so in fact that I even developed a grudge against mourning doves. Those birds were always in the fields with the crack of dawn, mourning. Such a bleak, tired sound, when a fellow should still be home in bed!

But by my eleventh birthday I had still saved enough to send off to Chicago Mail Order for my winter's supply of long cotton stockings and a pair of shoes. Shoes! New shoes! How I loved them. The shine of new shoes on my own two feet to me was the number one richest blessing!

The fifth grade was an important milestone in my life. We had a man teacher, Kenneth Cannon. Romantic! Any love affair I had had before this was child stuff. Mr. Cannon had a happy sense of humor and school was fun. Except when Freal Stratton, who sat behind me, dipped the ends of my braids in the inkwell. Or worse still, when he removed his inkwell and tied my braids to the desk through the hole. He worked so carefully that I didn't know I was tied down until I went to get up. The yank of my braids almost broke my neck. Sometimes he tied my sashes to the bench and my dress tore when I got up. How embarrassing it must have been to the Lord for having created him.

At Christmas time, I received what was to be my last doll. Although I never played with dolls anymore, my love for them was unchanged. This doll was a beauty, with a "boughten" head, real hair, and a rag body. Mama had dressed her in pink dotted-swiss, and she looked beautiful on my dresser in my room.

Footnotes

  1. Story "I Know He Lives" published in Friend, June 1976, p. 10.

Chapter 10
In Which Papa Has Another Son
(1922)

4848 In the spring of 1922, Kate graduated from the first, Second Year High School Class held in Hurricane. After school was out, she went to Cedar to work for Gwen Matheson. Annie had a summer job working in Zion Canyon at "The Wiley Way."

And Mildred came down with one of the most severe cases of construction fever that ever hit a fourteen-year-old girl. She took it out on the steps outside the kitchen door. Why those steps were as much a part of the house as the roof was, and I would never have dreamed of changing them. But Mildred had visions of a cement porch. From somewhere, she came up with a faded pair of bib overalls that had room enough in them for two of her. (Papa only wore waist overalls held up with galluses.)

Mildred ripped away the wooden steps and hauled wheelbarrow load after load of rocks, filling up a form she had built of boards. Her endurance was uncanny. Just one load of rocks like she hauled, was enough to do me under. But it was her project, and she persisted. Papa provided the cement and she hand-mixed it and dumped it over the rocks. Then I think she wore out, because the porch was never troweled, but had a rustic, rugged, non-skid finish. It was possible to trip, but never to slip on Mildred's dream porch. And it endured for years, a lasting monument to our sister.

It was interesting how attractive Mildred was to the boy who lived through the block, while she slaved away, blistering her hands on rocks and cement. He reclined under the cherry tree next to the house, trying to flirt with her. Boy friends were something new in our family. We figured ourselves to be the shy, spinster type. Papa cautioned Mildred not to take up with any boy that would loll in the shade making sweet talk, while she pushed the wheelbarrow. "He is nothing but a trashy, lazy lot," he warned.

Mildred went to work for Grandma Petty on week days and for Hannah Hall on Saturdays. Every other week, I had to help Mildred carry Petty's washing home. It was packed tight in a No. 1 tub, along with the homemade lye soap. The tub was heavy and we had to set it down often in the two and one-half blocks, to change hands.

Washing took all day. The fire under the black tub had to be built far enough away from the house to avoid the smoke. We had no hose, but carried every bucket of water from the tap by the porch, down the path to the tub. When the water was hot, we poured in a teaspoon of lye and a gray scum of hard-water rose thick to the top. After skimming this off, we carried the hot water up the path, up the steps and into the kitchen to fill the "Easy" washer. Every drop of wash water and rinse water had to be carried in and carried out, bucket full at a time. And the clothesline was beyond the garden by the lucern patch, quite a distance for carrying heavy, half-wrung out baskets of clothes. Sometimes it took the following day for things to dry. By the time they were gathered, folded and hand-carried back in the cumbersome tub, we had earned fifty-cents each. Before the "Easy" washer came into our home, everything had to be 4949 scrubbed on the board. I have no nostalgic longings for the "good old wash days."

And no nostalgic longing for bare, pine board floors. With my sisters away, the Saturday scrubbing fell more often to me. Lye soap and one hour of scrubbing and rinsing made every board look new, but left my water-wrinkled fingers raw with lye holes, my knees red and swollen, and an ache in my back. The woven rag carpet had long since been discarded, hooked and braided scatter rugs taking its place. Linoleum covered the other floors in the house.

By this time I was fairly well trained for scrubbing floors on my hands and knees. Homer and Joe (Josephine) Englestead rented our two north rooms. We loved to tend their little girl Alice, and Joe often flattered me into scrubbing her floors.

While I scrubbed, Joe would say, "Alice, you are a champion floor scrubber. If I were you, I'd ask my mother to let me scrub floors all of my life. No one can do it better than you." And then before I'd groan at the thought, she'd say, "Open your mouth."

Sitting back on my heels, I'd open my mouth and she'd pop a chocolate into it. Ummmm! How good, how good. On and on I'd scrub. When I was finished, she'd pay me a dime. It wasn't the flattery, nor the dime that kept me scrubbing, but the chocolates.

Joe was a story teller. Her quick sense of humor and keen imagination made her a natural. She used to tell us tales about people and places she knew.

"I used to get 'A' in English Class for my compositions," she'd say. "Mine were the best. You have to tell some whoppers to be the best."

She used to tell of a kid named Ed who was tampering with tobacco. His mother suspected it, so she asked him to kiss her goodnight, but he refused. Instead, he clomped outside, climbed the ladder to the attic and crawled into bed without even saying his prayers. His conscience nagged him and he could see his mother's troubled face.

He tumbled and tossed and pretty soon a swarm of little red devils scampered up the ladder into the attic and danced upon his bed. Then he heard a rumbling and bellowing and the old bull lumbered from the pasture and came puffing up the ladder.

Sticking his monstrous fat head in the attic window, he rumbled, "Ed, Ed, get up and say your prayers."

Ed was scared almost to death and he got up and prayed. The little devils left, the bull went back down the ladder and Ed kept himself fit to kiss his mother every night after that.

Edith's and LaPriel's Saturday job was to scrub the wooden chairs and sweep the yard. Sometimes they kept sweeping until little paths went right up to Mama's flower beds, and a broad, impressive path was swept all the way to the barn. We didn't have a lawn, but hard-packed dirt yards, bordered with flowers, pomegranates and grapes.

When the Saturday's cleaning was done, we were free to climb the hill to gather wild flowers. We must have denuded the Hurricane Hill, because 5050 we picked every larkspur, buttercup or sego lily we could find.

One Saturday, I hiked to the river with Retta Humphries, she brought along a frying pan and a couple of trout and we fried them by the river bank. Eating out of that frying pan was a most satisfying adventure. Later I learned that Retta's family was upset over the mysterious disappearance of the fish.

For sometime now I had been Grandma Isom's sleeping companion. I slept in the big folding bed that had a full length mirror underneath. When the bed was folded up against the wall in the daytime, it looked like a polished, hardwood wardrobe. Grandma slept on a spool cot at the foot of my bed. The cot swayed like a hammock at the slightest touch. If Grandma was in bed asleep and someone accidentally bumped into her cot, it sent her into one of her "spells." "Heart spells" is what she called them. Actually it was gas crowding her heart. The pain was terrible and sometimes she screamed in such agony she could be heard as far away as Aunt Mary Campbell's. My job was to rub her back and arms until she got relief. Grandma said I had the right touch. As I rubbed up her arms, and up from the small of her back, the gas began to move and she burped again and again. Then limp and exhausted, she'd fall asleep. These nightly spells came so regularly that I automatically got up and rubbed her in my sleep.

On summer afternoons we often played in the dusty road in the shade of the Lombardy poplars. We played Steal Sticks, Pomp, Pomp, Pull Away or Prisoner's Base. Run, Sheep, Run, the most spine-chilling game of all, had to be played in the dark. This was no game for sissies. It had suspense and daring. The players were divided into two teams, each with a captain. A bonfire or a street light was home base. One team stayed on base while the second team disappeared into the dark to hide and to decide upon their code calls. Then their captain returned to base. The home team began their search and the hidden team's captain continually called out the position of the searchers in code, such as "lizzard", which might mean "We're approaching from the south", or "black bear", which could mean "Lay low, for we're close to you." The hidden team silently crawled through corn patches, grape vinyards and fences, sneaking toward home base, their hearts thumping as they listened for the signals. The searchers moved stealthily, alert for every sound. The squeaking of a gate or the snapping of twigs could send them racing back to base. If the hidden team's captain sensed the danger of them being discovered, or if their position was right, he'd call "Run sheep, run!" and both teams crashed through the fields for home. The first man to arrive on base claimed the victory for his team. This game was thrilling and chilling even in 100° weather.

On the thirteenth of July, our brother Wayne was born. Since we already had two little boys in the family, Wayne's coming was quietly accepted as an added blessing. He was an entertaining little kid, and fit right in with the rest of the family.

Back to school again, Paul Gates was my sixth-grade teacher. In our room were two "tough guys" who had been held back a couple of years. They never opened a book or took part in a discussion. They still thought it was still funny to disappear up the air hole and be brough back to class by a juvenile officer. One recess they stayed out longer than the other students and when they finally swaggered in, their corncob pipes protruding from their shirt pockets, they reeked of tobacco.

5151 "All right you fellows, bring those pipes to my desk," Mr. Gates demanded.

Instantly they leaped upon him, pinning him down. Terrified, we watched the tangle of feet and fists. One of the students darted from the room and returned with the principal, who grabbed the ruffians by their collars. They were expelled from school, never to return.

Karl Larsen was our music teacher. When he taught us to read notes, I became excited about learning to play the organ. Enthusiastically, I studied the organ book that was stored in the music compartment of our treadle organ. After I had mastered "The Mosquito Waltz", I informed one of my classmates that I was going to be a musician.

"Let me look at your hands," he said. Taking my hand in his, he spread out my fingers. "You'll never learn to play," he said flatly.

"Why won't I?" I asked.

"Because your hands aren't shaped right. Your fingers aren't long enough."

What a let down. Foolishly, I believed him and quit trying, except to fiddle out a few tunes by ear, like "Springtime in the Rockies."

In October, when the sweet smell of steaming cane juice wafted across town, we knew Will Wilson's molasses mill was running. After our Saturday's work was through, Mama often let us take our lard bucket to the mill, and Will always filled it with skimmings. The pulp and trash from the cane was in the skimmings, but there was enough syrup underneath the foam to make a batch of candy. If we didn't have almonds, we used peach pits for nuts, which made the candy a little bitter. Eating too much of it made our stomachs ache. Golda Campbell was sick a long time from eating peach pit candy. More than the satisfaction of eating the candy, was the fun of cracking the hard shelled pits and of trekking to the mill, and seeing things on the way, especially the tiny toads no bigger than honey bees.

On winter afternoons when school was through, we played baseball in the street. Even when I hit the ball, I could never beat it to first base. In choosing up teams, they always chose me last. I could have developed a complex, except for the fact that in school when they chose up sides for a spelling match, I was always chosen first.

I don't know whether Papa answered an advertisment, or how the Excelcis representative happened to call at our house, but call he did. And while he subtly hypnotized Papa, my Lee's Manufacturing exploits leaped to Papa's mind and my potential qualities loomed before him, and I was signed up to take the agency. What Papa didn't realize was that my salesman days were over. It had been nothing more than a passing childhood fancy. By now I dearly hated selling. No matter! In one brief hour, I got all twelve lessons on how to mesmerize the housewife, or how to hoodwink her into thinking she couldn't live without what I had to sell.

What a gloomy, sad day! The bold confidence I had felt when I earned my little vanity case, or my ruby birthstone ring, had long since turned to self-consciousness, and I was actually afraid.

But sally forth I must! Filling my hands with little yellow price lists. Papa sent me out into the world to seek my fortune. Timidly 5252 I knocked on the first door, hoping no one would answer, but in those days everyone was at home. When a lady suddenly appeared before me, all of the door approaches the representative had taught me fled from my mind. Timidly, I half whispered, "You don't want to buy any extracts of spices do you?"

"No I don't. We have plenty," she answered.

"I have face powder, coconut pie filling and lemon pie filling," I added.

"Pie filling?" Her eyebrow raised.

"And cake mixes," I added hurridly.

"Tell me about your pie fillings and cake mixes," she asked.

Ready mixes had not yet appeared in grocery stores. I was in business. Curious customers were eager to try my mixes and so was I. I squandered my first month's commission on them. The cake was the crustiest, best morsel I had ever eaten. (Every cake was the best I had ever eaten, the one at the moment that is, because cakes were rare.)

I was a little dubious about pushing cosmetics. Hearing Papa and Grandma talk of the Harlots of the Virgin Oil Boom Days, had given me the idea that only bad women used make-up and perfume. Still I was aware that when Grandma was decked in her satin and lace and the kid curlers unwound from her hair, she smelled of carnations and her skin had the look of velvet. But I was apologetic about selling a sinful thing like face powder and when I told Annie Wright (who was the age of Mama) that the Daughters of Zion shouldn't use such things, she bought some.

Right then I shed my Quaker standards. That's when I started dabbling with my perfume samples, which came in thin glass tubes. One of them broke in my pocket at school during music period one day.

"Phew!" Mr. Larsen exclaimed, "What's that stifling smell?"

"It's Alice," one of the boys piped up.

"Open the windows before we smother. Alice, you may leave the room."

Wafting the aroma of lilacs, I drifted out, knowing I had blessed the room with a breath of spring. It was almost time for school to let out for the day anyway.

Papa was a Republican. In all of the history of Washington County, there had been only one Republican sent to the State Legislature, and that was J. W. Imlay of Hurricane, two years before. At election time we heard a lot ahout politics in our home. This year an interesting race for the State Legislature was putting Hurricane on the map, because both the Democrat and Republican candidates were from our town. David Hirschi, Republican, was running against Charlie Petty, Democrat.

Even as good a Republican as Papa was, he surprised us just before election day by coming in with a wide grin and a flat can of McGown's salmon—a salmon steak, it was, like you never find in a can anymore.

"Where did you get that?" Mama asked.

"Charlie Petty gave it to me," Papa replied.

5353 "You take that right back," she demanded. "Charlie Petty isn't going to buy our votes."

I looked at the can of salmon, my digestive juices flowing with a sudden sensation of total starvation. The room became very tense. Papa put up some kind of plea, but Mama was firm. Papa seemed so meek and Mama so mghty, their roles were completely reversed. Papa was on trial and I so much wanted him to win. This is the only recollection I have of Mama ever opposing Papa.

Then I guess Mama got to thinking how humiliating it would be for Papa to have to return the salmon, and how domineering it would make her appear. She loved Papa, so she let him convince her that Charlie only gave him the salmon as a friendly gesture. So we opened the can and put that beautiful steak on a plate for supper, and David Hirschi won the election.

What a heap of difference there was between our little brothers. Willie was still the top star in Papa's heaven, because he arrived before Clinton and Wayne. At five, he still had a bit of angel shining through his wit and mischief, and knew how to influence people. Clinton, at two and one-half, was already off on exploring expeditions. His interest was not so much in people as it was in places and things. He learner to climb the highest piece of furniture before he could even walk. He had an insatiable curiosity that led him into everything. Fondly we called him "Freckles", not because he had freckles, but because of the song that said, "Freckles was his name. He always used to get the blame, for every broken window pane," etc.

In a letter to Annie, dated November 6, 1922, I wrote: "I'll tell you about the main thing first. That is chasing our cows in every few minutes, or chasing the neighbor's cattle out of our corn and putting the pig in, or taking Clinton off the table and out of the slop bucket and cleaning up preserves which he brakes the bottle of preserves on the floor."

Wayne was still in the age of innocence, a little doll in his dainty, white dresses.

Thanksgiving day, which was normally a day of happy expectancy, dawned forlorn and lonely. Grandma was away, sharing herself with her daughters. Annie was living with Uncle Will and Aunt Kate Palmer and going to school at the B.A.C. in Cedar, and Kate was working in Cedar too. Even Mildred was helping someone else on this particular day, and Mama was sick in bed. This was the first Thanksgiving I could recall when there weren't pies and cakes made ahead, and a suet pudding bubbling in its little cotton sack in a kettle on the stove. Such bleakness was almost crushing.

"Mama," I said going to her bedside. "I wish I knew how to make a cake."

"We haven't rendered out the lard yet," she said.

Vegetable shortening so far as I know, was non-existent.

Mama closed her eyes as if she were thinking, then she said, "Perhaps you can borrow half a cup of lard from Aunt Mary Stout, and I will tell you how to make a cake.

The room suddenly brightened. My feet fairly flew to Aunt Mary's and 5454 and back. In and out of Mama's room I went for step-by-step instructions, and carefully I watched until the cake came out of the oven, a golden-brown beauty. Good things from the cellar made the dinner complete and Mama was able to come to the table. My heart swelled with true thanksgiving for I had discovered the joy of doing things. Everyone enjoyed my cake. It was very good and I knew it, and I had made it myself. 1

Footnotes

  1. Story "The Not-So-Pitiful Thanksgiving" published in Friend, November 1979, p. 2.

Chapter 11
Annie Comes Home
(1923)

5454 In a letter to Annie and Kate, dated January 11, 1923, Mama says:

Dear Girls,

I certainly have a comp for you both. William came in with an egg and said "The hen laid this that has a face like Kate. There's one hen with a face like Annie's and one with a face like Ianthus Spendlove and there's five black hens that have faces like Kate's." I remember the time when things looked that way to me. Even houses had faces with frowns or smiles and usually resembled some member of the family that lived in them.

Wayne has his second tooth and can say "coon" through his nose just like Annie used to sing "coon, coon" and he can say "pop, pop, mom, mom, pop."

Feb. 14—Mildred has gone to a Valentine dance tonight and the others are flying about town and we are sitting here without a fire and it is bed time and as I can think of nothing to write, I think we will hie to bed.

Maybe I had better tell you about Freckles. When Grandma was out, he went in and struck a lot of matches and mixed up some dope, then came home and drank all her pepper sauce, then cried till bed time, thought he was hungry because his stomach burned. Today he made another visit there. She discovered it and brought him home. He broke a bowl, poured all my yeast out and I didn't know it till I was ready to make the bread. I put some kindlings behind the stove for morning and he started to build a fire there. LaPriel bought a valentine. He burned that up. Well, that's nearly a daily program or its equivalent. Love, from Mama.

Clinton's mania for matches kept Mama constantly on guard. He had a fascination for electric outlets too. Instead of plug-in sockets, we had screw-in sockets, which were little wells in the wall. The well was protected with a round copper door hinged onto a wall plate. We all wore high-topped button shoes, so the button hook hung handy-by on the door casing between the living room and kitchen, near our one electric outlet.

On his exploratory rounds, Clinton pushed his chair into the doorway, and climbed after the button hook. The pretty copper wall plate caught his eye. With nimble fingers he opened the little door and caught sight of the shiny copper spot in the center of the well. To touch this with the button hook was the logical thing to do, so he took a jab at it. A sputtering circle of light whipped like a lasso around the room, and with a yelp, Clinton landed on his back on the floor.

5555 Following are parts taken from a letter written by me to Kate and Annie, dated March, 1923:

Self illustration of Alice with bows in her braided hair

Dear Sisters … Clinton says to tell you our turkey layed a egg. Did you feel a breeze up there day before yesterday? Well, it struck us. The ground just flew around in the air. The peddles on the apricot flowers layed on the place where the ground ought to be. Some ground got in a pan where the milk ought to be. The milk got on the floor where the ground ought not to be. My hair flew up in the air where the sunshine ought to be, the sunshine was up in the clouds where the rain ought to be. Some storm.

Kate I heard a comp for you. I heard that you was the most unselfish and best girl ever. Good for you.

Annie I am glad you are looking and feeling so well. I hope you soon ketch up with your work.

Mildred gets the sore throat every Saturday so she can get out of the work. ... When you kids get home I will squeeze you to pieces. Beware!!! … Kate I am the only girl that wears ribbons in my hair. I don't care. Oh yes, Ione Tiffony wears her hair that way too. … I am as ever your loving sister, Alice. OX OX OX OX Two hugs and kisses apiece.

One morning in history class, Karl Larsen said, "Alice, will you ask your Grandma if she'll come and visit our class?"

"Oh yes," I exclaimed. I knew Grandma could hold the class spellbound with her stories.

When I asked her. Grandma said, "I'll be happy to come."

"Mr. Larsen said he'd come for you in his car. Our class is at 10 o'clock," I told her.

Next morning I said, "Mr. Larsen, Grandma will be ready when you call for her."

"Good," he replied, proceeding with the class.

I was so anxious for him to go after her that the class seemed eternal. Finally, slipping up to his desk, I whispered, "Aren't you going after Grandma?"

5656 "Why, I haven't asked her to come yet," he answered in surprise. "I only wanted to know if she would."

I felt horrible. Dashing home at noon I found Grandma waiting and watching out the window for Mr. Larsen's car. She had even curled her hair with irons heated in the lamp chimney. Primly she sat in her black satin dress, the one I loved most of all with the ecru lace dickey and the embroidered red rose.

"Oh Grandma," I cried, "I'm so sorry. Mr. Larsen didn't tell me which day he wanted you to come."

A hurt look flashed across her face, but quickly she smiled and put her arm around me. "It's all right. I'll come when he wants me."

Mr. Larsen never did say when he wanted her, and I struggled with my tottering faith in grownups.

Our bishop died February 2, 1923. He was the only bishop I had ever known. It pleased me when he gave me a pat on the back. Paying tithing had been fun ever since the day I took him my rooster. Bishop Isom's home was beautiful, with a stairway sweeping grandly down into the living room. Before he built his home, he lived in a tent. In those days he kept the tithing and fast offering money in a can in his wheat bin, and when the Church Auditor came to see him, he put a horse blanket around the Auditor to keep him warm.

People paid tithing in cash if they could. If they couldn't, they paid in produce, and the Bishop gave them a receipt. The produce given to the "worthy poor" didn't have to be turned into the Church as cash, but the surplus did. If the Bishop couldn't sell it, he bought it himself. Since he already raised everything he needed, he usually ended up giving the surplus to those who didn't qualify as "the poor." He had always been kind and good to everyone, and the people loved him.

Ira Bradshaw was put in as our new Bishop on May 20, 1923.

I was absent the day our class planned a party for the closing of school, so my invitation came by mail in a pretty pink envelope. It read "Lady Alice, robed in velvet, scarcely deigned to fling a glance, on the coarse home woven cotton, flitting through the rustic dance. Lady Alice will you please me, by coming to the school house bright, very early in the evening at 7:30 Saturday night?" It was signed "Theron Lathum." He had happened to draw my name.

At the party we danced awkwardly together, and then the class played games. Because our house was on the way to his, Theron walked me home after the party, but neither of us said anything. Theron's cheeks were fat and pink. I liked bashful, round-faced boys, and thought of him as my boy friend after that. I saw him cast shy glances in my direction too, but we never did get around to speaking to each other.

Just before school closed, our entire class sneaked off to Gould's Wash, to picnic, including me. I hadn't forgotten my unpopularity on April Fool's Day last year when everyone disappeared but me. Even the teacher looked annoyed when she saw me sitting there alone. The memory of it gave me the 5757 courage to sluff with the rest of the class.

After school was out, a letter from Annie informed us of the day she would be home. Excitedly we watched every car as it came around the bend by Pete Lathum's.

"Annie will be in this car," we'd cry. As the car sped on, we'd say, "Nope. She wasn't in that one. She will be in the next one."

And so the game continued during the anxious waiting hours. As night came. Papa entered the game. Each set of beaming headlights was the one. At last! A car stopped at our gate and Annie got out with her suitcases!

How pretty she was. Her cheeks were round and rosy, an infallible mark of beauty, her eyes sparkled, and her clothes looked like college. With my flair for romance, I was excited to learn that Annie had a boyfriend, too. His name was Rass Matheson. She met him while Kate worked for Rass's sister-in-law Gwen. Instinctively I knew she would marry him, and all of the Mathesons would be our relatives.

Annie was an efficient stenographer, speedy in shorthand and typing, so Charlie Petty hired her. So now, after having been gone for so long, she was finally living home again.

Summer is happy things sandwiched in between work. After school let out, Mildred went to work for Orson Hall in St. George, but she got homesick and I was glad. Together we made a cozy nook with our pillows and an old camp quilt among the willows along the canal bank and settled down to read love stories. My favorite was B. M. Bauer's "Chip of the Flying U." My emotions soared like a bird on the wings of romance. The background music of water racing through the headgate and splashing down the hill, the rustling of the willows, and twittering of the birds helped. Next we read "The Sheik." It was a little more sophisticated, but still we were transported.

The Sheik, on his white horse, dashed across the desert and kidnapped a French girl from the caravan, holding her close to his beating heart under his flying, sweet smelling white robes. They galloped over the moonlit sand to his private tent, apart from his harem. She never knew when he silently slipped away in the night.

Unluckily, Grandma got hold of the book. "Annie," she exclaimed to Mama, "do you know what sort of trash these girls are reading?"

"Grandma, if isn't trash," I said defensively. "It's a good love story."

"It's trash," she insisted.

The book vanished and we never saw it again.

Reading with Mildred on the canal bank was a short-lived joy, for she went to work in the laundry at the Wiley Way in Zion.

Just as sleeping with Edith had had its humor, like her peeking under the bed to see who was there, so she livened up the dish doing. Pointing to some specks on the shade at the kitchen window, she would say, "Each dot represents a hundred-thousand people." Then she'd launch into a Grand Opera performance, mimicking a lady in town who had a penetrating, high vibrato. And so she sang as she washed, while I wiped the dishes.

5858 But Edith did not believe in unnecessary drudgery, especially at her expense. One day, as we cleared the dinner table, Edith gave LaPriel a swat on the head.

"What was that for?" Papa demanded.

"She didn't have to dirty her whole plate," Edith retorted. "She could have put her molasses on just one spot."

Papa did his best to carry on the normal activities of a man, like riding the range. Mama used to carry a chair out in the yard for him to climb upon to mount his horse. He stayed in the saddle all day long, and when he came home at night, she helped him dismount.

One day a bull gored his horse and Papa was thrown off, breaking a couple of ribs. Uncle Ren Spendlove's boys helped him home. That was the last time he ever rode for cattle, but as soon as his ribs mended, he resumed walking to the barbershop every day with his checkerboard.

Across the street from the barbershop, was the Isom Hotel, where the traveling salesmen, or "drummers" put up. They, too, joined in the checker games. One drummer, Mr. Van Horn, came to our home in the evenings and taught Papa the game of chess. When Papa was involved in a game, he was oblivious to everything else.

One evening, Robert Woodbury came to visit him, but he was involved in a chess game with Mr. Van Horn. After visiting with Mama for a spell, Brother Woodbury finally arose. Papa and Van Horn were silently staring at their chessmen. It had been minutes since either one of them had spoken or moved.

Grinning, Brother Woodbury said, "Well, goodnight Annie. Please tell George I've been here to see him."

With Annie clerking in Petty's store, luxuries began to appear on our table, like bananas and pineapple. Annie made wonderful new kinds of pies, too. And more than that, she set our table with beautiful, new dinner plates. They were larger than the ones I got from Lee's Manufacturing Company, and nicer. She bought a generous set, enough for our big table. Lovingly I washed them when it was my turn to do the dishes.

Then it came LaPriel's turn to clear the table. She stacked the plates, and carried them in one load to the kitchen. Somehow they slipped, shattering in fragments on the floor. What a disaster! I think all of us went into shock.

"LaPriel, look what you have done," Papa shouted. "Now you will have to get busy and pay for every one of them."

LaPriel was our littlest sister, scarcely nine! Conscientiously, she saved every penny she earned, then finally Annie and Mama came to her rescue and helped her. Mama never scolded when we broke a dish. She knew how we felt, and that was punishment enough.

Taking out tonsils was a neighborhood affair. When LaPriel had hers removed. Dr. Baker did the mass operations in Will Wilson's home. Now it was time for Willie and Clinton to get their tonsils out. The leaves on our 5959 dining table were opened up for the slaughter. How many youngsters were operated on in our living room, I don't recall, but I do remember that the house was heavy with chloroform, and there were groggy, blood-spitting kids rolled up in blankets lying all about the room.

Papa's enthusiasm about my sales ability with Excelcis was so great that he decided I should cover LaVerkin, too. Because of his desire to help, he walked the two miles down the dugway, across the river and up the other side with me to LaVerkin. The sun was blistering hot. By the time we had canvassed the town as far as Grace Stout's home, my world turned black. Sister Stout said I was having a sun stroke. She had us come in and rest, and she brought us a drink. As we left, she put one of her daughter's pretty straw hats on my head. The hat had blue streamers down the back. A man came along in a wagon and Papa asked if we could ride with him to Hurricane. When the goods arrived from Excelcis, Papa arranged for a car to take us to LaVerkin. I earned about $5.00 a month for taking orders.

One day I sat yearning over a picture of satin pumps in the Chicago Mail Order Catalog. Holding my feet in front of me, I fancied I could see the soft sheen of black satin and the glitter of rhinestone buckles upon them. With a sigh I looked up as Mama came into the room.

"Look how pretty, Mama, and they only cost $2.00. Can I order them?"

"Don't be foolish," she cautioned. "Satin becomes rags. To put those slippers on your feet would be like casting pearls before swine."

What a thing for Mama to say! I knew very well she didn't think of me as a swine. Mulling this over in my mind, I realized that since all I ever had was one pair of shoes at a time, satin pumps wouldn't be so good for climbing upon the hill.

That fall I was in the seventh grade and Karl Larsen was my full-time teacher. I remember Karl mostly for his beautiful art work on the blackboard in colored chalk, for his excellence in teaching music, and for saving Lalif Wood's life. Lalif was so happy about his new necktie that he kept tying and untying it. Once he slipped the knot so tight under his collar that he couldn't loosen it. His face got red, then redder and redder. When his ears turned purple, one of the boys shouted, "Mr. Larsen, look at Lalif!" With a bound Mr. Larsen was down the aisle. Quick as a flash he pulled out his pocket knife and cut Lalif's tie free.

I submitted a second drawing to the Juvenile Instructor. This one was of a boy with a rag wrapped around his stubbed toe. When it was published, I received a Hiawatha Reader "Being Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha" edited by Robert George. In the preface is written, "To teach a child to read, and not teach him what to read, is to put a dangerous weapon into his hands." Then it goes on to say that the Song of Hiawatha is recognized as one of the most fascinating poems in our language. The book is beautifully illustrated and although loved and worn, is still on my book shelf today.

The biggest event each fall was the coming of the Ellison White Chautauqua troupe to Hurricane. For five nights they played on stage in the school house. Posters announcing their coming were up in Judd's and Petty's store windows, and I was always waiting in the school yard as their vans, loaded with stage props, arrived. Every year I passed handbills to earn a season's ticket.

6060 Each night I sat spellbound, as the troupe of actors played their great and moving drama and my tears flowed freely as I lived every line, until one night, during "The Great Divide," Fern Ruesch leaned forward, putting her face in front of mine.

"Alice, you're crying," she giggled.

Embarrassed, I wiped my cheeks. In that moment I resolved to never be caught crying in public again. Now I wish I could shed tears more freely.

At Thanksgiving time, Mama wrote the following letter to Kate, who was working in Cedar.

Hurricane, Utah

26 November 1923

Dear Daughter:

We will send your underware so you can be warmer. Wish you had them now as it is getting colder. There was ice on the step this morning where the spray came from the tap, and I saw a very thin ice in the corral a few mornings ago, the only bit I have seen this fall. The wind is blowing frightfully just like it did twelve years ago tonight when our only little boy left us. The whole of this month has reminded me so much of that one, but I must not think of such things when there are so many things to be thankful for.

I will tell you of some of our friends (friends in need, friends indeed) good acts. Perhaps you remember of Charles Allen hauling our hay last summer and there was so little of it that he would not take pay, then Brother Reber cut the grain and when Papa told him to bring his sacks at threshing time for his pay he did not do it, just laughed and said he could do that much for nothing. James Stanworth put in the fall grain out in the field and when we asked his bill he said "Nothing."

Charles Allen hauled two cords of wood for us and had the town credit one to himself and the other to Uncle Ren, on woodhaulers day for the disabled and widows and Papa got him to put up our last cutting of hay on shares here and when we got after him, he said that was all right, just to let him know any time he could help. And Howard Isom sawed our wood and said their regular price was $5.00, but would only charge us $3.75 Uncle Ren and Uncle Will have both thrown off a few sticks of wood occasionally when passing. When we asked Will Spendlove his price for taking you up there, he said he was glad to do that much to help you.

Well, good night and keep well. Love from Mama.

The dining table was the family social center. When the leaves were up it could seat twelve people. Usually, after the supper dishes were done, we sat around the table with our school books and studied. Sometimes we played games, like "Up Jinks" or "Button, Button," or "Pox and Geese." Our games were all homemade, except, of course, Papa's checkers.

At Christmas time, Annie gave the family a deck of Finch cards. During the holidays we played the game with fascination. Never had we enjoyed a holiday season more. Day after day we played, until the game became an 6161 obsession.

Once, when Papa asked us to set the table for supper, someone said, "In a minute. We are almost finished."

Sternly Papa arose, demanded that we hand him our cards, then he threw them in the fire. We sat in stunned silence. We couldn't believe he would do such a thing to something that had brought so much pleasure. It was like a bereavement. We were each crying bitterly within, but knew better than to show any outward signs. Instead, we quietly set the table.


Chapter 12
From Childhood to Adolescence
Oak Creek Days

6161 Oak Creek, my mother's childhood hometown, was situated inside of what is now Zion National Park, and covered the area from the Park Entrance and on up the canyon, beyond the present site of the Visitor's Center. Grandmother Crawford, and most of my Crawford cousins lived there.

Photo of William Robinson and Carnelia Gifford Crawford
William Robinson and Carnelia Gifford Crawford
From the J. L. Crawford photo collection in the Special Collections at the Val A. Browning Library, Dixie State College of Utah
Alice's grandfather, William R. Crawford, died in 1913 when Alice was much younger. J. L. Crawford, who collected this and many other historic photographs of Southern Utah and Zion National Park, is one of Alice's cousin, son of Alice's Uncle Lewis—William Lewis Crawford.

"Grandmother" meant Grandmother Crawford, and "Grandma" meant Grandma Isom. That's how we distinguished between the two. Grandmother was as homespun as Abe Lincoln and Grandma was as genteel as George Washington. Grandmother's home was as Early American as Grandma's was Old English.

Thoughts of Grandmother bring memories of her spacious living room built onto the old log cabin. The scrubbed pine board floors were brightened with braided scatter-rugs, and the walls were papered with slick magazine pages, fresh and fascinating, and the windows were hung with calico curtains. A hand-carved mantle shelf topped the fireplace, and on it stood the pendulum clock that had ticked away the years, and standing beside the clock was the kerosene lamp. Currier & Ives pictures hung on the wall, their home-made frames intricate with woodcarvings of oak leaves and acorns. Our Great-Grandfather, Samuel Kendall Gifford, was the craftsman who made the Gifford chairs, and these were the kind used in Grandmother's home. The woven, rawhide bottoms were cushioned with crazy patch, embroidered, velvet pillows.

"Grandmother" is a world of memories to me. It is her calico dress and her checkered, gingham apron with the cross stitch border. It is the blue willowware dishes in her kitchen cupboard. It is Grandfather's two broad-brimmed, felt hats above the kitchen door, giving the impression that Grandfather had just barely hung them on their pegs. It is the spinning wheel upstairs, and the affectionate sound of Aunt Emma's voice as she welcomed us each summer, and the sugar cookies, sprinkled with nutmeg in the blue crock, and cold fried chlcken on a plate. It is picking plump, yellow currants and everbearing strawberries in the garden, and gathering big, brown eggs from the clean nests burrowed into the haystack by the speckled hens. It is the bird-of-paradise blooming by her kitchen door. It is everything that sends my blood racing with the happiness of childhood. "Grandmother" and "Oak Creek" are synonymous to me.

When our uncles from Oak Creek brought their grain to the grist mill, we made our garden hoes smoke, because we could go with them to Grandmother's if we got our weeding done. We rode in the wagon with either Uncle Lewis, Uncle Dan, or Uncle Jim, until Uncle Johnny started driving the mail truck. Then we rode with him.

6262 It was a day's journey by team. The dirt roads were rough and deeply rutted. Dust poufed up from the horses' hooves, and squirted from the ruts as the wagon wheels jogged along, settling thick over us and the sacks of "grist."1 The clopping of the horses and the creaking of the wagon lulled us and we learned to sleep, our heads bouncing against a sack of flour or thumping against the bare boards in the bottom of the wagon. By the time we arrived at Grandmother's house we peered from dust-rimmed eyes, like furry racoons. The water bucket with the gray enamel dipper in it, and the wash basin, soap, and towel were ready for us on a bench by the door. After the first night at Grandmother's, our cousins showed up and it was decided who should have the honor of hosting us for the rest of our precious week.

Our Oak Creek and Springdale cousins were not just ordinary people. They were especially created to live in Paradise. (Oak Creek and Springdale.) Oak Creek and Springdale were only two miles apart and we were related to everyone who lived in both places, except the Langston family. Grandmother had thirteen children, and some of her children had eleven, thirteen, and fifteen children. So we had cousins by the dozens, and every one of them was special in a wonderful way.

Our "up-river" cousins can best be explained by saying they were a part of the canyon, a canyon made deep by towering peaks of brilliant hues. Our cousins were as refreshing as the canyon breeze that came every morning, sweet with the scent of boxelder, and as joyous as the river rippling over rocks. How else can I say how much I loved them? I will introduce those nearest my age.

Elva belonged to Uncle Lewis and Aunt Mary Crawford. She was just my age. Aunt Mary came from the south, bringing with her that southern hospitality. She talked and laughed, and listened to Elva and me as thouch we were grownups. She and Uncle Lewis used to take their hoes and shovels to the field and work together, coming in together at meal time. Each summer, when we were there. Aunt Mary packed the picnic basket while Uncle Lewis hitched up the team, and we would spend one day at Raspberry Bend in Zion. Raspberry Bend is the big bend in the river between Weeping Rock and the parking lot in the Narrows. Grandfather used to have a corn patch there and I am of the impression it was he who originally planted the raspberries. Back to their home in the evening. Uncle Lewis used to sit on the front step and play his harmonica under the stars.

Leata was my age, too, and belonged to Uncle Dan and Aunt Sarah Crawford. Usually, I said "Leata and Elva" in one breath, because these two cousins lived close together and we always played together. Leata was the witty one, reminding me of Edith. Aunt Sarah was fastidious, and Leata could not go to play until the house was shiny slick.

Mary Gifford was a year older than I and belonged to Uncle John and Aunt Fanny Gifford. They lived half-way between Oak Creek and Sprinqdale. I loved to show up at their place just before sundown, because I knew either Aunt Fanny, Ida, Inez or Lella would stir up a batch of corn bread for supper. They knew my insatiable appetite for it, and they always had it when I came. Mary and I used to play on the foothills, down by the river, or through the cane fields together, and Uncle John shared his fresh, roasted peanuts with us. Aunt Fanny became as close to me as though she 6363 were my own age. We never talked much, because she was quiet, but she poured out her inner feelings in letters to me, and always sent cards for no occasion especially, except that it was springtime or harvest time. One card I cherished until the edges became soft and frayed was a picture of a rainbow above an apple orchard in full bloom.

Rupert Ruesch belonged to Uncle Walter and Aunt Marilla Ruesch, who lived in Springdale. He was a year older than I and couldn't really be bothered with girl cousins. But Aunt Marilla's scintillating wit and Uncle Walter's colorful language, made visiting at their house something we wouldn't dream of missing.

Heber belonged to Uncle Sammy and Aunt Emmie Crawford. To get to their place, we went over a swinging bridge across the river. Uncle Sammy was a skilled carpenter, and so was Heber. Heber's miniature barns, corrals,and houses in their back yard were the cleverest I had ever seen, and playing with his spool wagons over the winding roads under the shade trees was cool fun.

Reuben belonged to Uncle Jim and Aunt Ellen Crawford, and he was no more interested in playing with girls than Rupert was. Uncle Jim and Aunt Ellen made up for this default. Uncle Jim used to play his wind-up phonograph for us. The records were cylinder shaped and the sound came out of a big, blue petunia-shaped horn. Aunt Ellen fried up heaps of rabbit meat, golden and crusty. It was good, but I couldn't eat it, because I had spent too much time leaning over the rabbit pen, watching the big-eyed, furry soft babies play.

Norman belonged to Uncle Johnny and Aunt Eliza. He was half-way between Mildred and me, and more interested in her. Aunt Eliza, Susan and Lucy made me feel cuddled and loved. Because they lived next door to Grandmother and Aunt Emma, I felt that their household was one and the same.

Besides the Uncles, Aunts and Cousins, there were Grand-Uncles and Aunts. Especially Uncle Freeborn and Aunt Jane, and Uncle Moses and Aunt Airy Gifford. Uncle Freebom and Aunt Jane ran an ice cream parlor in Springdale. Besides ice cream, they sold chocolates, the old fashioned bon-bon kind that came in wooden buckets. It was wonderful to have a granduncle who had these things, because that made them free to us. I figured anyone who owned a store could have anything they wanted for nothing. Aunt Jane always set us down to a big bowl of home-made ice cream and Uncle Freeborn doled out the chocolates. This was before the days of electricity in Springdale, which made summertime ice cream more exotic.

Uncle Freeborn had an ice pond in Oak Creek Canyon. In the winter he ran a thin layer of water into the pond, letting it freeze. On top of this he ran another layer and so on, until he could saw solid blocks of ice from the pond. He hauled these by team and wagon to his shed in Springdale, and packed them in sawdust. The ice lasted all summer in this insulation.

Sometimes in the summertime, his team would pull into our yard in Hurricane. Packed in his wagon, well-wrapped in ice and quilts, was a five gallon freezer of ice cream to share with ours and Aunt Mary Stout's families.

Uncle Moses bought treats from Springdale, too. Those flour sacks, filled with yellow transparent apples in the spring were mighty welcome. 6464 He used to compose songs and poems to sing and recite at parties. They were humorous and he was a fun granduncle, but sometimes I wished he'd leave Aunt Airy (Aranna) home, for often, when he was at his best, she'd say, "Oh, Moses," in such an unflattering way, and then he'd quit.

I saw little of Mildred during our week together at Oak Creek, for she was off with Merle and Myrtle being a butterfly with the older cousins. She felt beautiful, desirable and free as a butterfly, and that everybody loved her. Consequently, everybody did. All the while, I was having a grubby good time, crawling along on Heber's spool wagon roads, or snagging my dresses on bushes and ledges.

Once Uncle Lewis gave Elva, Leata and me a ripe watermelon. We decided to eat it above the ledges below the Watchman. The melon was heavy, so we changed off often, taking turns carrying it up the steep foothills. The last pitch, lugging the melon past the ledges,was almost too much. Finally, we sat panting precariously above a cliff, clutching our treasure. One of us moved, and the melon rolled out of reach, over the edge of the cliff, and smashed to bits down below.

Swimming in the river in old dresses and bloomers, was a popular sport with the Oak Creek and Springdale cousins. The swimming holes were something more than belly-crawling in the Hurricane Canal. I only had to be pulled out twice to realize that I could swim in knee-deep water only.

Finally came a summer when spool wagons, crawling in the dirt, and puddle wading seemed kid stuff to me. Just before I was fourteen came the glorious, three day, Crawford reunion. I discovered that my uncles and older cousins were amused at my wise cracks, which made my blood race and my head feel keen. I discovered also that boys were fun to flirt with. Even uncles teased in a fun-filled way, especially Uncle Jake Crawford, whom we seldom saw, because he and his family were globe-trotters. His boy Earl was about my age, and very polite. I didn't understand why he always said "Sir," or "Mam," but it had a charm, like reading a book. Aunt Effie's deep blue eyes rimmed with thick, dark lashes, and dark hair was very pretty.

The following was recorded in my diary: "Elva, Venona, Leata, Edith and I hiked up in a canyon east of Uncle Sammy's. We came back with our arms full of beautiful wild flowers and our mouths full of wonderful pine gum.… At meal times there were one-hundred and seven hungry stomachs to fill. It was wash, wash, wash dirty dishes and serve, serve, serve hungry people. Leata, Edith and I gathered peppermint and made some tea. We passed a cup of tea down the table and all of the men smelled it and passed it on until it came to Uncle Jake and he said if we would turn our heads he would drink it. When we looked back, the cup was empty. I told him I didn't believe he drank it, so he put his arms around me and marched me to Mama and said, 'Annie, have you ever caught me in a lie?' Mama said, 'Why no.' 'Well, if you can show me the tea, I'll believe you drank it,' I said and everyone laughed. Uncle Jake took Leata and I with him after he drank our tea, and he was as much fun as a kid."

But this reunion! There were long tables in Uncle Johnny's yard, and someone was always setting it or clearing it. Roving crowds were always eating. I never saw Mama during the whole time, except briefly I learned she never got out of the kitchen, and that she was against three-day reunions.

6565 Carl Crawford had a car—and at last, I was young lady enough to go for a ride with my older cousins. I wore the soft royal-blue satin jumper dress that Grandma Isom had made me. I felt as lovely as a movie star. Carl took us to see the new Rockville Bridge. To give us a thrill, he floor-boarded the gas, and going over the bridge, hit a rut. I was in the bade seat, and was thrown against the car top, skinning my nose against the hardwood bow. My face swelled and went black around my eyes. Worse still, the blue satin dress came apart. It was a tiered skirt, and each tier separated, leaving the cording and satin hanging. Like Cinderella, my finery had turned to rags. There was one saving grace; this was the last afternoon of the reunion.

Footnotes

  1. Grist was the flour, bran and cereal made from the grain.

Chapter 13
"Goodbye, Grandma"
(1924)

6565 In the spring, Mildred graduated from the ninth grade. Grandma said school was just a waste of time for Mildred anyway, because she was the "marrying kind". She should have said "romantic kind", because Mildred loved everybody, and took it for granted that everybody loved her. Occasionally someone even referred to her as "the pretty one". Now I wouldn't go so far as to say that. When it came to looks, she really didn't have anything over on the rest of us.

But she had a good disposition. She never got angry, and she was good to everybody. She didn't even have fun indulging in witty sarcasm. She never said smarty things that felt good on the tongue. In fact she never said anything bad about anyone, no matter how funny it might have been. She was simply a happy person, who liked to make other people happy.

So when she went to work for Mattie Ruesch in Fredonia, she promptly made a hit with the Fredonia boys, especially Maurice Judd. When she mentioned him in her letters to home, I knew instantly that this was "love in bloom". Reading between the lines in each of her letters, I sighed with deep satisfaction.

And Rass Matheson was still dating Annie, even bringing his sister and brothers to see us. Just like I figured he should. I liked the idea of getting a lot of in-law relatives.

Kate was working for a Marsh family in Cedar City, and with Mildred away, Annie and I became close companions. My diary entry of June 11, is as follows:

Last Sunday, Annie and I gathered up a stack of old Juveniles, and went upon the hill to read. We found a shady spot in Uncle Lew's pasture just big enough for both of us. we sat down and read a continued love story. Annie can make a love story sound enthralling when she reads. We read until we were tired, then put a big rock on the magazines we had finished, and took the remaining six in our arms and hiked toward Chinatown. We walked and walked over one little gray hill after another. The top of each little hill showed another gray hill ahead. Still there was a fascination that kept us going on. I had a grand feeling all over. I supposed it is because I was off in the wilds of nature.

6666 At last, at the crest of one little hill, our gaze rested upon a semi-circle of beautiful pale blue, pink and white mountains along the eastern horizon. "Look!" I said to Annie. She said "Hurrah! We have been rewarded for our long walk". We could see two white peaks of mountains that sent a thrill of joy and homesick longing through me. It was my mountain home. My Kolob!

We walked on to the Chinatown Wash and sat down and finished our love story. As we turned toward home, a lone coyote trotted in and out among the gray bushes.

"Hi there," Annie called. The gaunt, ragged animal sat upon his haunches, turned his inquisitive nose toward us, pricked up his pointed ears, gave us one inquiring glance, then trotted off, this time faster than before.

We gave a last, longing look at our mountains and turned toward home. We arrived just at chore time.

At the spring closing of Primary, I graduated from the Sea Gull class. Boys graduated from Primary at the age of twelve, because of the Scout program, but girls just grew bigger and bigger for the next two years and stayed in Primary coloring pictures of pioneers until they were fourteen. Aunt Mina Hinton was the Primary President, and had been ever since Hurricane was settled. She also led the singing. Aunt Mina was Primary, and we loved her, but I resented the fact that boys could go to Mutual two years before girls could.

Both Grandma and Papa constantly reminded me that fourteen was plenty young to start going out at nights. I lived for my fourteenth birthday, because on that day I would automatically be grown-up, and would no longer have Grandma hounding me to go to the Primary dances. She had warned me and forewarned me, that if I didn't learn to dance in Primary, I'd be a social failure. But who wanted to dance with those little kids?

Well! What a shock I was in for when I went to my first "grown-up" dance. The other girls my age were swinging about the floor with ease and grace, and I didn't have the least idea of which foot to put where. Bashfully, I sat on the sideline, fearful that someone would ask me to dance. Well, no one did, and fifteen minutes sitting there seemed forever. I remembered a wisecrack about Wall Flowers trying to look like American Beauties, and felt self conscious, so I slipped out the door and ran home.

On August 6, the day before Mama's birthday, Grandma cooked a fine spread and invited our aunts and uncles, and Mama and Papa, to dinner. When it came to cooking. Grandma was the best, and this time she did it up royally.

In the evening, when I went to her house to go to bed, the reminiscing and laughter was still going on. And then. Grandma went into one of her "heart spells". I wanted to massage the pain away, but my aunts said, "Don't worry about Ma, Alice, we'll take care of her."

The night was hot, so I lay down with my quilt and pillow on Grandma's porch, in case they should need me. Grandma always said that no one else could rub her anns and back the way I could. Her cries of distress 6767 were terrible and I knew they should call me, but they didn't. Then I dozed.

Pretty soon Aunt Alice shook me. "Alice, Ma is dead," she said.

"Oh," I groaned, relieved for Grandma, but ashamed of being thankful that it was all over. I had been alone with her in her agony for so long, for so excruciatingly, terribly long, and had pictured myself running at 2:00 a.m. through the dark to our house, to wake Mama and Papa to tell them Grandma was dead.

But it didn't happen that way. She passed away at 10:00 p.m., surrounded by her children, at the age of seventy-six. Grandpa had been gone for thirty-nine years, and now Grandma, who had loved him so dearly, was with him again.

Throughout the years, her children had come to see her as often as possible. Aunt Ellen came daily. Grandma often said, "Oh Ellen, you shouldn't traipse across town just to see me," and Aunt Ellen would kiss her and say, "I had to see that you were well, Ma." Aunt Mary and Aunt Alice also came often, but not every day. And Papa was an absolute Mother- worshipper.

Once, when I complained that I did not like my name because it was too common, Papa's eyes filled with tears and he said, "We gave you the most beautiful name on earth—the name of my mother."

And now Grandma was gone, but her name would live on. Besides Aunt Alice, Grandma had had six grand-daughters named Alice. But I was the only Alice Isom.

Grandma's burial clothes were neatly pressed and folded in a dresser drawer. She had shown them to me, explaining what to do, and she had her funeral planned, too. She said, "I want Kate Spendlove to sing, because she has such a beautiful voice." Kate was Aunt Ellen's daughter. Grandma wanted no speakers—only a testimony meeting, and her wish was granted. She was buried beside Grandpa in the Virgin cemetery. As they lowered her into the grave, the people sang "Nearer My God to Thee".

Grandma had willed her house to Mama and its contents to her daughters. After the funeral, the family stayed to divide her belongings. This shocked me. It was hard to realize that she was really gone.

In the years that followed, I heard Grandma cry out in my dreams and I got up to rub her back. Papa shouted at me until I awoke and went back to bed. Night after night I saw the hurt look on Grandma's face as I dreamed she returned to find her house empty. The emotional strain of taking care of her through these painful "heart spells" had left a scar that only time could erase.

But time can never erase the influence she had upon the lives of all of us. Memories of her will always come crowding back to warm my heart. She was a great lady, and did her best to make a lady out of me.

"Every girl should leam to sew a fine seam by hand," she used to say. "When I was a girl, every stitch I had on, but my shoes, I made myself."

Grandma was skilled at knitting, crocheting, tatting and macrame, and was a one-woman production line. But her big thing was to see that every grand-daughter learned to sew by hand before she touched a sewing machine. So she organized a sewing class, teaching her grand-daughters to make doll dresses. The class stopped when it got to me. I was her private struggle.

6868 Because I slept at her house, my evenings were spent piecing quilt blocks. I hated the sewing, but loved the lamp. The shade was a smooth glass bowl, milk-white underneath and robin-egg blue on the outside. My stitches were crooked and ugly. I filled a cardboard box with miserable blocks, not one of them fit to go into a quilt top. The box, blocks and all were probably burned when Grandma's things were divided, since no one ever confronted me with them.

Grandma either read, or reminisced to me as I struggled with my needle. She loved to remember her courting days. She was the "Belle of the Ball", and in demand for her beautiful singing voice. As she talked, I could see her spinning and weaving and pouring tallow candles, or swirling through a square dance, showing the lace on her many petticoats. Ah, no doubt she was a proud beauty. She boasted that her bosom was so high and firm, that she could set a match-box on top and it would not fall off. I don't doubt it, for she still wore starched ruffles under her dresses that gave her the same high curve. Wasp waists were popular when she was a girl. If the young man who came courting could span the young lady's waist with both hands, hers was a beautiful figure. To her dying day, Grandma was still so tightly laced her waist couldn't expand. She would have fallen apart without her corsets.

Grandma admonished us to never kiss a boy until becoming his wife. "The first time I ever kissed your Grandfather was over the altar," she said, and this was no doubt true. Still, I admired the story the master of ceremonies told on Grandma at an "Old Folks's" party one night.

When Grandpa was courting her, so the story goes, he kissed her goodnight at the gate.

"George! You shouldn't have done that!" she said in exasperation. "No boy has ever kissed me before!"

Just then Albert Stratton and James Jepson jumped out from behind the bushes where they had been hiding.

"Never mind, George," Albert said, "that's what she told us when we kissed her goodnight."

The story impressed me and I regarded Grandma with new interest.

Grandma saved everything. In her upstairs were white flour sacks filled with bits of silk, ribbon and lace. Everything that could possibly be worked into a quilt or a rag rug or made over into dresses, was already done up. These tiny scraps were for making a rose bud for a hat or a bow on a dress. She always tacked a lace medallion or a bow here or there, on the dresses she made for us.

Grandma's world was satin, velvet, fluted crystal, hand painted china and silver—in other words, elegant. Oh, we were going to miss her a- plenty. She had been so much a part of our daily lives, so much a part of the very fiber of our souls. And now, because I was exactly her namesake, I liked the idea that I had a personal representative in Heaven.

Becoming a Bee Hive girl was my next important milestone. The Bee Hive book my teacher Lena Isom gave me, was my prize possession. Upstairs in my room, I pored over the list of things I could do to fill "cells". For the first time, I discovered that I actually enjoyed making 6969 my bed, because I was earning "cells". Ideas for things I could do for my room began to take shape. How intriguing was my sunflower, crystalized in a saltpeter solution, and the hooked rug I made from burlap and worn out wool dresses, and the cushion made from new scraps.

Sometimes Lena had us come to her home for classes. On one of these evenings, a cloud burst came. With the first lull in the storm, we scurried out the door toward home. We were almost to the corner when lightning struck the transformer on the power pole there. We were scared enough at the white light that sputtered and burned, but the black cat that streaked across the sidewalk in front of us made it worse. With a hoarse squawk, Fern Ruesch clutched my arm.

"Come back, come back, don't go over that line," she cried.

And then, down came the rain again. Although it meant walking two blocks further through the downpour, we had to go home another way to avoid stepping over the path of the black cat.

It wasn't that we were superstitious—goodness no! It's just that we couldn't take a chance on a black cat bringing bad luck. Besides that, superstitions are sometimes a lot of fun, like getting a first glimpse of the new moon over your left shoulder and making a wish. Sometimes we had to chisel a little on that one, because until we knew just where the new moon was, we couldn't turn our back to it and look over our left shoulder. But when I got the new moon just right, I always made a wish quickly, before my eyes were diverted. I kept two standard wishes on hand. One was for a house full of gold, or else a golden doll. The other was that I could have every wish granted that I ever wished. I knew I'd never get either, but I wouldn't have felt right about not making them.

I was in the eighth grade now, with Will Woodbury as my teacher. Will had a rich voice, which was wonderful when he gave dramatic readings. He had his gentle and tender moments, but was fiercely stern when the situation required it.

One day, when the class got a little out of hand, he kept us all in, and made us march in the awkward squad. The embarrassing thing was that the Fredonia basketball team had just arrived for the game that night. Maurice Judd, Mildred's boyfriend, was on the team. Mildred had previously brought Maruice to meet the family, and all of us had fallen in love with him. I didn't want Maurice to see me marching in the awkward squad, but I had no choice.

Mr. Woodbury marched us down the hall and outside into lineup formation. Then we marched in again, and out again, into lineup formation, in again, and out again, over and over. He escorted us all the while stomping his left foot, clapping his hands and loudly shouting, "Left, right, left, right." At first, the whole class giggled. The Fredonia team looked on with ill-concealed amusement. Mr. Woodbury's face became a livid red and veins stood out on his forehead. Back and forth we marched until the class sobered up. Mr. Woodbury was thorough and always won his point.

Across from me in our Geography class, sat a girl that I'll call Nellie. To my Quaker standards, she was empty-headed and overpainted Her eyelashes were gobbed together with stuff like black wagon grease, her face caked with powder white as flour and her cheeks painted with round patches 7070 of brilliant red. She never participated in class, but remained silent. The only important thing to me was to be able to get "A's" on my report card, so I regarded Nellie as dull.

When our Geography teacher, Eldon Larsen (Karl's brother) said, "Alice, I want you and Nellie to stay after school," I was in shock. Kids who had to stay in were in trouble.

After the class had filed out, Mr. Larsen flatly stated, "Your examination papers are identical. One of you copied."

Hotly I thought, if one of us copied, he should know which one it was. Didn't our past records speak for us? As I saw it, to cheat was the lowest, the most despicable thing a human could do, and yet I was being accused. "I have never copied anyone's papers in my life!" I spluttered.

"One of you copied," he insisted.

Contemptuously I thought, even if I wanted to cheat, I wouldn't copy from her. Angry tears splashed down my cheeks and Nellie began to bawl too, but her red eyes were hidden behind the brim of her pink felt hat that fit like a bowl over half her face. How I wished I had a hat like hers at that moment!

"You both realize that to let someone copy your paper, is also cheating," Mr. Larsen continued.

"I don't let people copy my papers," I blubbered.

"How about you?" he turned to Nellie.

Black tears streaked her face. "I didn't do it," she sniffled.

Neither of us had handkerchiefs. Mr. Larsen shook his head at our drizzling and sniffling and dismissed us. I suddenly realized that Nellie was far smarter than I had supposed, for how on earth could she copy my paper without my knowing it?

Mr. Larsen never did apologize to me, although I felt that he should. All he did was grade my Geography paper with an "A".

One day, I got a letter from a girl in Cape Town, South Africa. She had found my address in the Instructor. I could hardly contain my excitement, and replied by return mail. The girl's name was Olive, and she sent me pictures and news clippings about Cape Town and told me about the Mormon Church there. Her father was a branch president.

Africa seemed as remote to me as the planet Jupiter, and I cherished everything she sent. And I felt certain that she too would be happy for any little thing from America, so for Christmas, I sent her a little celluloid kewpie doll, that I had dressed with red satin ribbon. The doll was something I personally would have loved to receive. In the meantime. Olive had asked me for a boy pen pal, and I had sent her my cousin's name, Edwin Stout. Little did I dream that she imagined herself deeply in love with him, and that she was making plans to come to the United States to marry him. She laughed at my doll, and wrote Edwin saying that I was a ninny. Many other things she said that should never have been written. Aunt Mary saw the letter and brought it to Mama. They were both upset, and Edwin and I immediately lost our pen pal.

7171 Papa owned the first Holstein animals in Hurricane. He had a registered bull and cow shipped from New York, which he proudly displayed to anyone who would look over our corral fence. Marion, the cow, was a wonderful producer, and people came from all quarters of town with their bottles to buy baby milk. One afternoon, when Wilson Imlay's big red bull heard Papa's Holstein bellowing, he broke out of his corral. Both bulls rumbled back and forth at each other all the while the Imlay animal ambled across town. By the time it reached our place, our bull had broken out into the street where they both met head on, pawing dirt. My sisters and I were in the yard watching. The bulls thundered around the comer to our front fence, where their massive hulks smashed through the pickets as though they were match sticks. We ran into the grainery and peeked out the door.

Hearing the rumbling and bellowing. Uncle Lew came running. "Here here now," he called, waving a spindly little stick.

I expected to see Uncle Lew flattened and trampled, but the animals paid no attention to him. Finally, men on horses came, breaking up the fighta, which seemed a pity, for seldom did we get to see such a spectacle. Mama was relieved. She confessed that she was afraid the bulls would bump into the grainery and it would collapse with us in it.

Papa took a pride in his animals. He subscribed to "The Holstein Frisian World," and eventually bought other Holsteins from New York. Later, of course, he raised his own.

Our cows were trained to be milked from either side. When Edith sat on one side of the cow and I on the other, she made me feel inferior, because she squirted the milk in a steady stream raising a two inch foam on her bucket. Laboriously, I squeezed out thin little squirts so slowly that it cooled and the cream almost raised in my bucket. But I tried. One thing in my favor was that the cows were usually patient. All but old Agnes. She'd stand just so long, then she'd give me a bat on the head with a tail that felt weighted with lead, then she'd either step in the bucket, or kick it over.

Agnes usually worked up to a climax and had to be thrashed once a month. Eacn day she'd gradually get ornier and ornier until she became impossible, then Mama would take a whip to her. The whipping made her contrite for a couple of weeks, then gradually she'd start getting fidgety again.

Once when Kate was helping me milk, Agnes pressed her head against the stable gate.

"Oh, look at the poor thing," Kate bewailed. "She must have a headache."

Old Agnes heaved a sigh and rubbed her head sadly against the top board.

"Poor, poor cow," Kate soothed, "don't you feel good?"

Just then Agnes swatted, wrapping the long hair of her tail around Kate's head. At the same time, she sent the bucket of milk flying. Then she darted for her usual race around the corral, but this time something was different. During the night the water trough had run over, and low temperatures had made a skating rink out of part of the corral. Agnes bolted onto the ice and her feet sprawled out. Wild eyed she stood, unable to move.

7272 My, what a joyful gleam Mama got in her eyes when she surveyed the situation. Always before, when Agnes got her monthly tune up. Mama had had to chase her around inside the corral. This time the cow was trapped. Triumphantly, Mama picked up the whip and gave Agnes her just dues, then left her to think it over until the sunshine softened the ice. Agnes was a contrite cow for a long, long time after that.

When I was younger, it was hard to decide which was the most perfect Christmas gift, new shoes or a doll. New shoes thrilled me clear through, and dolls were a lasting love that could never diminish. But, at the age of fourteen, I discovered a Christmas gift that was greater than either of these when Kate gave me a book. In books one can travel far and meet such interesting people. Kate gave me the book, "Keeper of the Bees" by Gene Stratton Porter. Each afternoon during the holidays, when the sun streamed into my upstairs bedroom, I curled up and read. Ah, such rapture!


Chapter 14
If Birds Can Fly, Why Can't I?
(1925)

7272 April 13. Saturday after scrubbing the front room floor, I put on my overalls and middy and Edith and I went Eastering with Venona Stout, Kate Humphries, Lawrence Stout, and Marcus Campbell. We hiked up the canyon above the Sulphur Springs. The air was sparkly spring and the river a clear trickle After we had eaten our picnic, we hiked back toward the bridge.

"Hey, this is my island," Mark said as he jumped to a little sandbar in the river. With his hands he scooped out a pond in the sand.

"I'll have this peninsula," Edith announced.

We all got landlord fever, and with rocks, weeds, and wet sand dribblinc through our fingers, we built little castles.

From the LaVerkin side of the canyon we heard galloping horses, the clatter or a wagon, and a man frantically yelling, "Woa!"

"It's a runaway!" Mark shouted.

Racing through the shallow water for a better view, we saw a team of horses tearing around the bend, their tails and manes flying.

"Woa, woa," the driver cried, straining on the reins.

The wagon bounced and leaped at the horses' heels as they bolted down the dugway. Instead of making the turn at the bridge, they crashed through the railing. The wagon, with its few bales of hay, literally exploded on the bank below, and the dazed horses clopped out into the water and stood, silently subdued, their broken harnesses and reins dangling. The man had leaped to safety on the bridge.

Suddenly, I realized that Edith was nowhere in sight. When I last saw her, she was running for cover under the bridge. With a sickening sensation, I knew she had not made it. The runaway outfit had come too fast, and she was buried beneath the wreckage, where a cloud of dust still hovered.

7373 Panic seized me. Then I saw a blonde head poking up from behind a boulder. It was Edith! Her face was paper-white and the pupils of her eyes dilated big and black.

During the past winter, Kate lived with Uncle John and Aunt Evadna Hopkins, and attended the Cedar High. While there, she made application for summer work with the Utah Parks and was given a job in Zion Canyon In her brief interlude between school and Zion, she helped Aunt Alice Spendlove. When the time came for her to leave, she attempted to break me in on the job.

The last morning before she left, she took me into Aunt Alice's kitchen to fix breakfast. While I watched, she scooped flour from the bin into the sifter, spooned in some baking powder and added a good sized pinch of salt. Next, she worked in a hunk of shortening and poured in just enough milk to make the dough right for rolling and cutting. When she took the biscuits from the oven, they were golden and puffy, and Uncle Will and Aunt Alice bragged on her.

As we did the dishes together, I pleaded, "Please don't go, Kate. I'm scared. I won't know what to do."

Aunt Alice will tell you. All she needs is someone to keep the house clean and to fix the meals."

"Oh Kate," I wailed, "I daresn't cook for other people. What if it doesn't turn out good?"

"You'll do all right. Don't worry."

The next morning I stood helplessly in Aunt Alice's kitchen. Kate was gone and I was on my own. Through the open door I heard the corral gate creek. Uncle Will had gone to tend the horses and milk the cows. He would expect breakfast to be ready when he came in. I longed for the comforting sounds of our own kitchen.

Standing like a scaredy-cat would get nothing done. Mama always sang while she worked. Perhaps that would help.

Resolutely, I scooped flour into the sifter as Kate had done. When Uncle Will came in with the milk, I was singing "Sweet birds, oh say that my lover is true," and stirring a big batch of something. Flour was spilling around the edge of the pan onto the table.

"Just like your mother, singing while you work," Uncle will remarked. "And to think, I thought you were afraid."

So he thought I was afraid! Well, if he only knew! That quaver in my voice was no operatic vibrato. But I sang, and mixed, and rolled, and cut. My! What a big pan of biscuits—three times as many as Kate had made.

As I popped them into the oven, confidence stirred within me. While the biscuits baked, I put a fresh cloth on the table. After setting the table, I put on the milk and apple butter, then scrambled eggs Scrambling is less fussy than worrying about a perfect yolk. Uncle Will asked the blessing, then I went to the oven for the golden, fluffy biscuits. What I pulled out, were anemic dough gobs.

"Oh!" I cried in dismay.

7474 "Did you burn you?" Aunt Alice called.

"No. I'm all right," I fibbed. A burn would have been mild compared to what I was feeling as I looked at the pan of sodden blobs. What did I do wrong?

"Good. Now hurry with the biscuits, the eggs are getting cold."

Well! There was no use crawling to the table with them, even if I did feel low. Taking a plate from the cupboard, I heaped the biscuits high. At least there were plenty. Setting them in front of Uncle Will, I hurried back to the kitchen, for fear I would cry.

"Aren't you going to eat?" Aunt Alice asked.

"I forgot something," I replied.

"Everything is on. Come eat your breakfast while it's hot."

Might as well face it, I thought, so I slid into my chair.

"Guess I'll go fishing today," Uncle Will said, straining to lift a biscuit.

"Nonsense. You know you never fish," Aunt Alice remarked.

"But with these sinkers I could fish the very bottom of Blue Springs."

My face burned.

Holding a biscuit above the table in his right hand, he let it fall, at the same time bringing his left hand down with a heavy thud. His eyes twinkled and I knew he was teasing.

"Eat your breakfast. Will," Aunt Alice said, "the biscuits are right tasty." She had spread one with apple-butter and was eating it as though it was good.

Uncle Will bit at one with pretended effort. "Ow, ow, I think I broke something," he said grabbing his jaw.

He was funny, and I laughed, in spite of myself, and then buttered a biscuit and took a bite. Tt wasn't bad at all, especially if one was hungry.

Uncle Will ate at least three of them. "A very substantial breakfast," he said, patting my back as he left the room.

As I cleaned the kitchen, I mulled over the problem of disposing of the heap of left-over biscuits. It was no use putting them in the bread box because Uncle Will would tease me every time he saw them. I could sneak them to the pig pen, but those big, fat pigs were used to good sweet corn, and would probably root the biscuits out of the trough along with the corn cobs, and then I'd really get laughed at. If I threw them into the canal, they'd probably float through the headgate and onto the garden. I'd never hear the last of that. I was afraid to take them to our own pig for fear he wouldn't eat them. If Mama saw them in the trough, she'd ask questions.

Since Uncle will was such a torment, the only way I could be certain that I wouldn't get a box of dehydrated biscuits for Christmas was to dispose of them now. I put them in a paper sack and waited until after dark before going home, then I threw a biscuit into the weeds in each lot as I passed. they lasted all the way home. Uncle will and Aunt Alice never did ask what had become of them.

7575 Aunt Alice promised to sew for me, to pay for my help. But the dresses she made for me were a problem. She was a good seamstress, but Grandma had said the difference between Aunt Alice's and Aunt Mary's sewing was that Aunt Mary made clothes to fit now, and Aunt Alice looked to the future. The dresses she made were too big. The Sunday dress she made me was the most beautiful one I had ever seen, of fine, red voile, with puffed sleeves inserted with sheer, flowered material. but it was two sizes too big. The other dress was for school. It was a blue percale, printed with red rings. When it was finished, it hung way below my knees. The style was above the knees.

"Now Alice," she said, "I've made this dress long enough to look nice. I can't stand to see a girl going around showing her knees. Put it on and go show your mother how nice it looks."

I went upstairs to put it on in front of a mirror. Ugh, I thought, I look like I'd walked across the plains. Hastily I started to base up the hem, when Aunt Alice called, "Hurry Alice and show me how it looks." I realized there wasn't a chance, so I pulled the thread out and modeled the dress.

"Now Alice, you look lovely," she said with pride.

Lovely to here, but I felt sick inside, for she was insisting that I wear the dress through town to show Mama. There was no getting out of it, so feeling old fashioned and queer I walked home. Once I hid behind a mulberry clump when a car passed by.

At home I fumed and hemmed the dress where it belonged, hoping Aunt Alice wouldn't notice it. When I got back she peered over her glasses at me and said, "Alice, I didn't know I had made that dress so short. Take it off and I'll let the hem down for you."

"I need to finish my work now," I replied, but I was careful not to wear the dress in front of her anymore.

"Don't you like your new dress?" she asked one day.

"Oh yes, I really like it a lot. I'm saving it for school," I replied.

After Aunt Alice felt better, Uncle Walter Reusch came for me to go to Springdale to help Aunt Marilla. Great Day!!! After three years of peddling Excelcis products, this was reason enough for Papa to consent to let me quit. I had hated the job. I figured people could buy what they wanted at the store, and could get it for less. I developed a great antipathy for door-to-door door salesmen that has never changed. If it hadn't been for three particular women, I could never have stood it. They were Hanna Hall, who always waited, anticipating my call, with her order previously made out, and Lizzy Lee, who sat me down to a cool drink and a friendly visit, and Annie Wright, with her lively good humor. They lightened the burden of my task.

Aunt Marilla was scheduled to go to the hospital and I was to keep house while she was away. Before she left, she told me what to put in Uncle Walter's lunch, and for the next two weeks he got exactly the same thing every day—bottled meat between slices of bread, and a thermos of boiling coffee. I did all of the essential things, like opening a bottle of tomatoes for supper each night, and cooking mush for breakfast, and sweeping and doing the dishes, but someone hinted that when Venona Stout had worked there the summer before, she did things different. Naturally she would. She was a different girl. 7676 Venona washed and scrubbed like she actually enjoyed it. And with some feel- ings of guilt, I suspected she was quite a resourceful cook. But I lulled my conscience with the thought that I could get Reita and Allen to sit quiet longer than she could. The balcony above the front porch was a favorite spot, where we curled up on the mattress in the afternoon shade while I read stories to them.

Almost everyone in Oak Creek and Springdale danced, that is, everyone but me. The sound of dance music made me forlorn, for I knew Grandma had been right. Already I was a social failure. Nevertheless, I went to a Saturday night dance with my cousins. I planned to just sit and watch. But because I was a new girl in town, all of the boys asked me to dance. "I don't know how," was my miserable reply. I suffered, and wanted to run home. One boy, who had called on me at Aunt Marilla's, asked for a dance and I refused. Angrily he said, "No girl ever refuses me a second time." I suffered.

During the evening a stranger swaggered in. "The treat's on me, folks," he said, passing a bag of candy to the crowd.

I remembered a story about a girl who took candy from a stranger, and later on she had an illegitimate baby. I stoutly refused the stranger's candy, and everyone ate it but me.

Occasionally, when my work was through, I walked to Oak Creek to see Grandmother.

"You've got to quit hiking along the highway alone," Uncle Walter warned. "You could be kidnapped by some tourist. Grandmother would think you were with us, and we'd think you were with her, and you could be hundreds of miles away before you were missed."

He made me feel leery, but not leery enough. Sunday after church, I wanted to show Grandmother the dress Kate had given me. It was a filmy, lavender georgette, with rose colored roses, and was trimmed with wide ecru lace. My fat braids were wound in a bun over each ear, and I had a sense of well-being. After I had passed the last shade tree in Springdale, the sun bore down upon me. A couple in a Model T car stopped.

"Would you like a ride?" the man asked.

I really wanted to ride, but I knew by their dark glasses that they were tourists and could be dangerous.

"I'll just stand on the running board, " I said, cautiously stepping on. If he goes to kidnap me, I'll jump, I thought. "I want to get off at the road to the big white house in Oak Creek," I said.

"Fine," the man replied.

As I hung on, I realized how easily I could be kidnapped, when he approached the takeoff to Grandmother's, I imagined he speeded his motor. To be on the safe side, I jumped, skidding in the gravel. The man slammed on the brakes.

"You little fool!" he shouted. "Why did you do that? I was goinq to take you to your Grandmother's door. Now get in."

I was dazed and hurt, my dress riddled, gravel ground into the flesh of my hip, arm, and deep into the palm of my right hand. I was bloody and dirty. 7777 He took me to Grandmother's house, venting his wrath upon me before leaving. Grandmother and Aunt Emma cleaned my wounds with hot water and soap and dug out gravel. Word got to Uncle Walter and he came after me. I was bandaged and left to do the best I could around the house. I hurt. My arm throbbed painfully all night and the next day. By afternoon, dark red veins ran from my wrist to my elbow. The throbbing and pounding was un- bearable. Aunt Marilla's kids had scattered. Uncle Walter was at work and I was alone. Desperately, I walked to Gotfried Ruesch's house. He was sitting under the shade of his mulberry tree.

"What are these streaks on my arm?" I asked.

"Blood poison," he said in alarm. "Ivan, Rowena, come here," he called to his kids. "Go to the river quick and bring me some fresh squaw-bush bark. Hurry!"

Laboriously he arose from his chair. He was a heavy man, and walking wasn't easy. I followed him into his kitchen, where he mixed a concoction of boiling water, corn meal, sticky-gum, and what else, I wish I knew. When the squaw-bush bark was brought, he pounded it to a pulp and added it to the pasty mixture. Digging out more little rocks that were embedded in my festered hand, he spread the poultice on. It was warm and soothing. Gradually, the throbbing subsided, and like mercury in a thermometer, the angry red lines receded and my wound came clean. I know now that I owe my life to Gotfried Raesch. By the time Aunt Marilla came home, I was healed.

Uncle Walter must have said something to Aunt Marilla about the food he had endured. I never saw such a fancy lunch as the first one she packed for him after she got home. His sandwich was a production of diced meat, dressing and pickles, besides the square of freshly baked, thickly iced cake. My face burned, thinking of the awkward, identical lunches I had given him.

In spite of my feelings of inadequacy, I enjoyed working at Aunt Marilla's. She had a player piano and many rolls of music. One roll I especially liked was "The Fate of Floyd Collins", because it made such a lump in my throat. Floyd was a boy who became lost in a cave in Kentucky, and was never found. As we worked the treadles, the music went from roller to roller, and the words appeared so we could sing along. Ah, what sweet sorrow!

Floyd's fate called to mind the heart rending songs of my childhood. There seemed to be a satisfaction in grieving as we sang, "Oh don't you remember, a long time ago, when two little babes, whose names I don't know were lost in the woods, one bright summer day," etc. The babies died in the woods and the robins covered them with leaves.

I would swallow and swallow, to get the ache out of my throat when Grandma or Papa sang, "'Oh what is this?' the policeman he cried. 'Twas poor little Joe. On the ground he had died. No mother to guide him, in the grave she lie low. Cast on the cold street was poor little Joe'," when they sang about the little girl who tried to get her drunk father out of the saloon, because poor Benny was dead. She pleaded, "Come home, come home, oh Father, dear Father, come home." Also many people died of broken hearts in those old songs. Soulfully we sang about the lonesome cowbov who came home to find the newly made mound where his broken-hearted darling was buried. In the song, "Juanita," the Americano died with a dagger in his heart. At every campfire party, we sang about "the night birds crying, the 7878 breezes sighing. Far, oh far, far, away, her brave lies sleeping, while Red Wing's weeping, her heart away," and about the wail of woe in Fallen Leaf's wigwam. There seemed to be something so exquisite in suffering set to music.

Aunt Marilla had lots of happy music, and lots of the very best, but the roll I remember most was about Floyd.

After Aunt Marilla returned home from the hospital, things became more interesting. I was entertained with the exchange of words between her and Uncle Walter. At home, things were never so lively. Papa always called Mama "Sweetheart", and she silently accepted his adoration and that was all there was to it. I had no doubt but what Uncle Walter and Aunt Marilla were just as in love as Papa and Mama, but there always seemed to be some sort of conquest going on.

One morning, Uncle Walter grabbed his lunch bucket, bolted for his pickup and barrelled out like he was leaving forever.

Aunt Marilla said, "I won't be around when he comes home. I'm leaving."

Hastily she stirred up a cake, fried some chicken and made a salad, packing them in a basket.

"We'll just take you and Reet, and go to Mother's and stay. I'm not coming back," she said.

I wondered why she didn't pack any clothes, but didn't ask. As she drove her car toward Oak Creek, she made it quite clear that she was through with Uncle Walter forever. She was so convincing that I knew she would be miserable without him. Just before she got to the turn-off at Grandmother's, Uncle Walter came driving down the road from the Park. He steered his pickup over on her side of the road, forcing her to stop, then he eased his front bumper up against hers. Angrily she bit her lips, glaring at him. He got out of the pickup, walking resolutely around to where she sat under the steering wheel. No western movie, and no Ellison White Chautauqua had ever had half the drama I was witnessing at this moment. Uncle Walter's eyes were narrow slits of steel, and his mouth was set in a firm, straight line. He looked positively romantic. Aunt Marilla proudly held her head high.

"Where do you think you're going?" he said in a firm, level voice.

"To Mother's," she retorted. "I'm leaving you."

"Turn that car around, and go right back home," he ordered, then jumped into his pickup and backed up, leaving her room to turn.

Without one word, she turned the car around, and he followed her home. She set the table with her scrumptious food, and the family ate in total peace. I knew for sure Aunt Marilla was plum in love with Uncle Walter.

After I returned home, Uncle Walter came to pay me, but I refused to take anything. He left fourteen dollars on the table. After it was tithed, it was enough to buy a winter coat from Chicago Mail Order Company, the first pretty coat I had ever owned—a brown one with a fur collar.

How good it was to be home again. In my diary I wrote:

We celebrated by sleeping out in the barn—Katie, Anni and I. We loved it. So did the mosquitos. Mildred came home Sunday, so all four of us slept in the barn. This time, Chess Slack's dog came up in the barn and slept with us. He lay down with me. I told him to go away, but he just yawned, put one arm over me 7979 and licked my face.

July 17 — My birthday. Celebrated it by hiking up the hill with Annie, Kate and Mildred. Kate took her Kodak. We hiked to the third falls I found two cactus apples and we each ate half…We went in swimming in the canal…In the evening Annie and I went to wish Aunt Ellen a happy birthday. I was fifteen today and she was fifty-five. We came home and had a candy pull.

Hiking with my sisters was a favorite pastime. My diary continues:

Annie brought a can of pineapple home from work, and some vienna sausages. I made a jelly roll and we hiked through greaswood, matchbrush, cactus and chaparral. We came to some thimble-berry bushes in the red foothills of Goosberry Mountain. Dusty cedar trees along the way stirred homesick longings for Kolob. From Goosberry, we hiked extra miles to get to the road. Fred Bebee came along and picked us up at Lookoff Point. We were glad for the ride.

Cable riding was the current fad in Hurricane. A number of barns had steel cables strung from the gable end, then across the barnyard, where they were fastened tightly either to a post or a gate. On the cable was a pully with a crossbar from which dangled a rope. Standing on the ground, the "rider" gripped his hands tightly onto the ends of the crossbar, and like flying a kite, another boy ran along the ground, pulling the rope until the "rider" had glided up the cable to the peak of the barn. He then sailed down on his own, which was the next best thing to flying.

Usually only boys rode, but one Sunday afternoon, the girls were invited. It happened to be when the St. George Stake was having quarterly conference in Hurricane. I had attended the morning session with the family, and my conscience nagged loudly for me to return in the afternoon, but never before had I been invited to ride the cable, and I might never be invited again, so the folks left me to choose what I thought was right.

Putting on my bib overalls, I crawled through the fence by our lucerne patch, into John Petty's barnyard. Kids were already sailing up and down the wire squealing and laughing noisily as blackbirds. When my turn came, I hung on, and Les Ashton ran along the ground with the tow rope and I soared through the air. One of the wires on the cross bar worked loose, gouging my hand. It hurt. I tried to wiggle free and lost my grip on the bar. One end of it flipped up, leaving me dangling by just one hand. By now, I had reached the top. I either fell slowly, or my mind raced fast, because in that airborn moment at the peak of the barn, I considered the hazards below. The old irons, plows and the red tractor didn't look good for a landing spot.

Then my lights went out, and I felt nothing. When my lights flickered on, I stood up. I hadn't landed in the machinery at all, but on dirt. But something was queer. John Petty's corn patch slithered up from the ground, hanging upside down, corn tassels dangling from the sky, then the world turned black. The next time I opened my eyes, I was in Ira Millet's bedroom. Mama and Papa were bending over me and Trudy was saying, "We haven't let her go to sleep. We've kept her talking all of the time." I wondered how she could say such a thing. I had neither spoken, nor heard a word.

The next time I awoke, it was Monday afternoon. Very strange, I thought, and closed my eyes again. the family said I talked quite a lot in the days that followed, but I didn't know it. What aggravated me most of all, was to 8080 open one eye and find Kate holding a mirror in front of me, and laughing. My other eye was swollen shut, and my misshapen face was purple and black. It didn't cheer me any, to see how ugly I was. One foot shot pain up my leg when I tried to move. I couldn't see what Kate had to laugh about. She didn't even know whether I was going to live or not, because there wasn't anyone in town who had fallen as far as I had.

Kate's face blurred and the world passed away. For two weeks, I submerged, then surfaced briefly. All I remembered, was seeing people take shape by my bed and then melt in fog, and seeing that maddening mirror.

The saddest part of the whole ordeal was, that every boy had to take his cable down, by order of his parents. I was filled with humility.

I recovered from my fall in time to pack peaches. Hurricane was mostly orchards at that time, and peaches were shipped by the tons. Men and boys did the picking and girls did the packing. If a girl was extra good, she could pack and face fast enough to earn five or six dollars a day. Two-and-a-half a day was my speed, and that was good.

Peaches were dumped by the wagon load onto burlap-topped tables to be sorted and packed. The fuzz built up and clung like nap on velvet. "Goofer feathers", it was called. Sometimes we packed for fifteen hours a day, and were so weary that all night long we dreamed of peaches. I used to dream of sleeping on the packing tables with nothing on but fuzz, while fruit inspectors marched endlessly by.

After the packing shed closed down, our Bee Hive class took a trip to Grand Canyon. This trip filled pages in my diary. I was so in love with life! I marveled over the ponderosa trees, the little pond that we called Jacob's Lake and the ninety-five foot observation tower that I climbed three times. Maggie Petty was our chaperon, and Alma Isom the chauffeur. Alma had a panel truck that screened us in like monkeys in a cage.

On the first lap of the journey, gas fumes made us all car sick. We were glad when a tire blew out above Gallager's Dugway, so we could get out and lay on the sandrocks among the cedars. In those days, blowouts were incidental to every trip. It took Alma four hours to hike to Pipe Springs and back to fix the tire.

Going through VT Park, we draped ourselves on the outside of the car. Alma let us ride on the running boards, lounge on the fenders, perch on tne back end of the truck, and cling like lizards onto the heavy gauge wire paneling—just anywhere to be on the outside. We were togged out in knickers and hiking boots, with red bandannas tied on our heads.

Mildred was one of the girls hanging onto the wire paneling, and when Alma drove through a narrow cut in the forest, everyone was able to jump off but her. She was wedged between a tree and the car, with a limb gouging her side. Our screams stopped Alma, and he let the truck roll back. She could have been killed.

To me, Mildred was the girl that all love stories were written about. Vicariously I lived her romance with Maurice Judd. No doubt, it was her "in love" look that attracted the black-eyed Italian at the service station at VT Park. "your sister is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen," he said. He took our entire Bee Hive class for a ride in his pickup, just to get her to sit in the seat beside him.

"Can I marry her?" he asked me.

8181

"Not,unless you take us both," I retorted.

Well, she wasn't quite that pretty to him.

We slept under four quilts at Grand, and when we were caught in a cloud burst, we found cliff dwellings enough to shelter us all. My closing entry on our Bee Hive trip was, "My heart tugged inside as we ate our last meal before leaving the forest. No one could possibly know how much I longed for just one more day. The truck stopped and I climbed the observation tower and looked over the forest and said goodbye to it. I wish I could live in a forest."

More diary notes:

August 12 — Maurice Judd and Clarence Brooksby came in from Fredonia. Maurice is in love with Mildred and our whole family is in love with him. If Mildred doesn't want him, I'll take him. (Mildred wants him!)

September 10 — Venice and I went to Cedar City with Cliff Spendlove. Venice, Clara and I slept together in the hay loft. We tied our big toes to each other's with strips torn from an old shirt. Clara said it was a way of telling our fortune. The strips were soft, and easy to break. Clara said the one who had the shortest string on in the morning, would be the first to marry. If there was one without any string on at all, they would be an Old Maid. When we woke up in the morning, Clara had a short strip on her big toe. Venice slept in the middle. She had a long strip on each toe, and I had none. That didn't jolt me. I always figured I'd be an Old Maid.

September 12 — Cliff came back from his peddling trip to Beaver, and he brought back a wife! Viola Murdock. And she's no older than I am; Oh my, but she's a beauty! Black hair. Black eyes, and so cute it's' easy to see why he kidnapped her!

September 15 — Hyrum Bradshaw is off hauling wood, and Hortense doesn't like to. sleep alone, so Mama sent me out to stay with her. On my way I met Butch.1 He put his arm around me. Ever since Grandmother Crawford told me about how she kept the boys from being fresh with her, when she was young, I had a mind to try it. This was my first chance.

"Does your arm hurt?" I asked.

"No. Why?"

"Because it's out of place."

If Butch had been like the boys in Grandmother's time, he would have been embarrassed and dropped his arm. But he didn't. He just laughed and hugged me harder and put his face against mine. I kicked his shins until he let me go. Come night, when I said my prayers, I prayed that he would be decent. He's a poor, motherless kid and nothing but a tobacco fiend He smelled like Bull Durham.

December 12, 1925 — Today the entire High School went upon the hill and spent the day building the "H." Anthony Isom was High School President and engineered the building. He formed us into rock brigade lines, fanning us out from the four points of where the "H" was to be built. Rocks were gathered and passed down each line and put into place by those assigned to fill in the block letter. Each line moved, as the rocks became depleted. It was neat and efficient. The "H" was completed and whitewashed before night. It can be seen for miles, when approaching Hurricane. I am glad to be in this history making group.

8282 This was my first year high. Our cousin, Elva Crawford, lived at our house and went to school with me. Tuition was high. It cost $28.00 to enter the ninth grade, so I took a janitorial job.

At Christmas time, Annie and Mildred got boxes of chocolates from their beaus and bosses. The biggest box was a five pound one from Charlie Petty. With all of the homemade candy around, the chocolates remained unopened in their pretty boxes on the dresser in the front room. Christmas night, Kate and I found ourselves alone. Mama and Papa and the younger kids had gone to bed and Annie and Mildred were out with Rass and Maurice.

Mischievously, Kate gravitated to the chocolates. "I wonder what the candy in this box tastes like," she mused.

"I'll bet Annie could tell us."

"But she's not here. Look, the ribbon is loose." She slipped off the bow as she spoke. "Ah," she inhaled, lifting the lid. "I know what! I'll get a paring knife and slice into one piece to see what color it is inside." It was pink.

She closed her eyes in ecstasy as the slice of chocolate melted on her tongue. "Raspberry! Ummmm!"

Then impishly she sliced into another piece. "Maple! I love maple!" And she popped that into her mouth.

I was intrigued at what she was doing, but wasn't quite brave enough to help myself, until she said, "I know what! We'll dump all of the chocolates onto the table and repack them. There'll be plenty left over for us."

The idea of repacking the candy seemed fun, so I helped. When we were finished, the boxes looked full, and we had eaten what we wanted. The next day we confessed to Annie and Mildred what we had done, and they actually seemed pleased at our cleverness.

Footnotes

  1. Butch is not his real name.

Chapter 15
Wedding Bells
(1926)

8282 We knew that eventually our ranks would be broken, but it was good being one of six sisters who were always home for Christmas. Five of us could wear the same size of shoes and dresses. People, meeting any one of us on the street would say, "Hello Kate," or "Hello Mildred," or any one of our six names.

Since Annie started working for Charlie Petty, we had anticipated her coming home each evening. She and I had packed many a lunch and hiked miles together. She had been good to the family too, making payments on the washing machine, cream separator, and sewing machine, and bringing home luxuries the family had never been able to afford. Conscientiously, she had managed to add a little at a time to her trousseau too.

When her wedding day was finally set, she bought a wonderfully beautiful wedding dress. On the l7th of June, she and Rass were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and Cedar City became her new home.

8383 Working in the Parks in the summertime serving bus loads of tourists made Kate sparkle in my eyes. The girls in the Parks serenaded the tourists as the busses arrived, and whenever Kate came home for a short visit, she sang for us her Grand Canyon songs. She enjoyed her job.

During one of Mildred's interludes at home, Mama and Papa took Edith, LaPriel and the boys to Oakcreek to spend a week with Grandmother and Aunt Emma. Mildred and I were left to milk the cows and feed the pig. Never before had we had the whole place to ourselves. To us, it was a vacation. Mildred made a layer cake with cream filling and icing, and we ate cake everyday. Deciding to transform the place, we housecleaned from the upstairs to the cellar. Instead of being work, it was fun and the house looked beautiful. We could not have had a happier vacation.

After the family returned, a blustering wind broke a limb in the mulberry tree. Willie decided to chop out the broken limb. Elton Stout carried the axe and Stirling Isom came along. Clinton started up the tree ahead of them. When Willie demanded that he come down, he refused.

"Shall I chop his toe off?" Elton asked.

"Yaw," Willie replied.

Elton only meant to scare Clinton, when he swung the axe, but instead, he chopped right through his big toe. Horrified, Elton dropped the axe and he and Stirling streaked for home. Willie, white as a ghost, helped his howling, bleeding brother into the kitchen. Mama grabbed Clinton, whose toe was still hanging by the skin, and sat him in a chair, while Willie fell in a dead faint upon the floor. After cleaning Clinton's foot, Mama bound the toe in place, where it healed, but it still has a hump of a scar across the top of it to this day.

Each September brought a particular dawn when we were awakened by the clinking of chains and the clopping of horses, as a caravan of wagons clattered up the Hurricane hill. This was the day the winter's wood was gathered to heat the school and the church building. At night, after the cedar and pine wood was piled high behind the schoolhouse, the town's folks celebrated with a Wood Hauler's Dance. In spite of the fact that I was afraid to dance, there was still a deep longing within me. I was glad to be asked to help serve. I loved the feel of being dressed in viole, and in patent leather slippers. (Childhood days of only one pair of shoes were past.) As I served the cake and cocoa, guests made flattering remarks and I loved being sixteen.

That winter I took a lead part in the school play "The Burglar." In it, I had to scream. I'd never really screamed since the lightning struck me. Now, when I tried, it wasn't clear, beautiful and pierce but mostly a squawk. I wanted to scream pretty, so after the evening milkinq was done, and the hay pitched into the manger, I stayed up in the barn to practice. One night, Howard Isom came running to see who was being murdered. Two days before the performance, I became hoarse.

"Oh no," I moaned, "my first rea1 part in a play, and I'm losing my voice!"

Anxiously, I gargled with salt, listerine, lemon juice, pepper-sauce, soda and aspirin—with anything that anyone suggested. I tried so many remedies that I became sick. The night of the play, I went on stage, forcing my voice to the limit. I squeaked, instead of screamed. After the 8484 final curtain, members of the cast patted my back sympathetically. My head throbbed and I went home to bed. For the next two weeks I couldn't speak. I learned what it was to die trying.


Chapter 16
More Wedding Bells
(1927)

8484 One evening as the family sat at the supper table, Papa noticed Clinton contentedly munching on a slice of cheese.

"Clint," he scolded, "you can't eat your cheese alone! Eat some bread with it."

Instantly tears welled up in Clinton's eyes. "I already ate two slices of bread with nothing on them, so I could eat my cheese alone."

"All right," Papa chuckled, and Clinton was permitted to revel in his luxury.

Mildred worked for Fosters in Cedar, and early in March I received a package from her. Opening it, I beheld a breath-taking creation of pale green and apricot colored georgette. A note read, "I thought you might be going to the Junior Prom."

As I lifted the dress from the package, its delicate filminess gave me the sensation of petals blowing in the breeze. The dress was trimmed with dainty, fluted ruffles. It had a nipped in waist and a flouncy, gathered skirt.

"Oh Mildred, Mildred," I whispered. "This dress must have cost you two weeks of your skimpy salary."

"How can I ever thank you? The dress tickles me to pieces," I wrote.

Elmer Matheson, Pass's brother, replied for her. "If the dress tickles you so much, take the feathers out of it."

I wore the dress to the first Junior From ever held at Hurricane High. The Junior Class had been added to the school just one year before. The class members had spent weeks making paper flowers to decorate the arches and trellises for the "Japanese Gardens", the theme of the Prom. Beyond all doubt, nothing so elegant had ever been put on in Hurricane before. The hall was so beautiful, and I felt so lovely in my Prom Dress, it never occurred to me to worry about the dance. By now, I had acquired a cluster of non-dancing friends, and we mingled happily among the throngs who had come to enjoy the decorations and the floor show.

Another great event in the family was Kate's graduation from the B.A.C. She came home with her Teaching Certificate, and a contract to teach school in Summit the next fall, in Iron County.

On May 20th, Charles A. Lindberg flew across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris, in his aeroplane, the "Spirit of St. Louis". This was the flrst non-stop flight ever to be made across the ocean. He flew 3,600 miles in 33½ hours. His pictures were splashed in every newspaper and he became 8585 a world hero. Lindberg was single and handsome, and girls almost swooned at the mention of his name. Song writers didn't waste a moment in putting to music this big event. The hit song of the day was about the "Lone Eagle."

Chorus:

Lindberg, oh what a wonder boy is he.
Lindberg, his name will live through history.
Over the ocean he flew all alone,
Gambling with fate, and with dangers unknown.
Others may make a trip across the sea,
Upon some future day,
But take your hats off to plucky, lucky Lindberg,
The Eagle of the USA.

Mildred suddenly became a major family concern, she had worked in so many different places, and got attention from so many different people that misunderstandings arose, and she broke off her engagement to Maurice. She became engaged to a man who was much older than she was, and a sad, sad substitute for that darling, sweet Maurice. The family grieved for we knew Mildred was eating her heart out. She cried over every little thine and became a jumpy, nervous wreck.

One week end, a letter came from Maurice, and Mildred ran to her room to read it. As Kate and I went up the stairs, Mildred ran past us and out the kitchen door, weeping. Maurice's open letter lay on the floor at the head of the stairs. I picked it up, and together Kate and I read it, then we went into our room where we both wept. The letter was a heartrending plea for Mildred to do the thing that would bring her the greatest happiness. Each word was one of stabbing pain.

The family's anxiety, and Maurice's unselfish surrender brought Mildred to her senses and she and Maurice were married on the fourteenth of June, in the St. George Temple.

Oh, happy, happy Wedding Day, even if sister Judd (Maurice's mother) did set a hot iron on Maurice's brand new suit and burn a flat-iron shaped hole clear through the sleeve. Maurice was cooler in his shirt sleeves at his reception that night. It was customary for brides to wear their going away clothes at their reception. Mildred's dress was a lovely pink, flat crepe

Maurice had a younger brother Orval, who occasionally dated me. While he worked on Kiabab Mountain, logging for a lumber company, he bought a new Ford Coupe, shiny and black. Orval was a sporty chap who wore his hat at a rakish angle and had a fetching grin. When he drove up in his Coupe and announced that he had come to give me a driving lesson, I was excited. I slid under the wheel and he explained the gears, gas feed and brakes, and cautioned me that a car must go slow for the first five-hundred miles. We crept for the two blocks from our place to Frank Ashton's corner, Orval keeping his hand on the wheel to steady it until after we had made the turn. Then I held the wheel alone. The car wobbled, making crazy tracks in the dust of main street. Giddy with pride, I noted the loafers, perched like starlings on the iron rail in front of John Petty's pool hall. I fancied I could hyear the say, "Well blow me down and call me horizontal, if that isn't Alice Isom driving that car!" The thought of it made the car sweve crazily, but I got it under control. Further down the street were more loafers in 8686 front of Walter Stout's Garage. I wanted everybody to see me drive, so I honked the horn. Then the car really swerved, landing in the ditch. Orval, with the help of the amused onlookers, lifted it out. He didn't chastise me, but patiently told me what not to do, especially not to turn corners at 40 MPH, like I did at Frank Ashton's comer on the way back home. Thus ended my first driving lesson.

When Mary and Walter Stout went away for a week's vacation, they asked me to come each evening and stay over-night with their children. Their oldest girl. Wealthy, was Edith's age, but they felt better having someone older there at nights. Venitta was the girl next younger, and there was a passel of little brothers. Every one of the Stout children were exceptionally good looking—fair skin, blue eyes, blonde, with ready smiles that showed their dimples. They gathered around me each evening with happy chatter, and went all-out to be good to me. At breakfast and suppertime they eagerly urged me to eat more. Their approach tickled me. "If you don't eat it, we'll just have to give it to the pigs," they would say.

Walter Stout owned the first radio in Hurricane. Two years earlier, a group of us went from Mutual to his home on a summer evening, and listened while he turned some buttons in the maze of tubes and wires spread over a table. Through the static, he brought in some distant music, which was a miracle.

On August 14, Mama and Papa became Grandma and Grandpa, and the rest of us became Aunts and Uncles. Annie's and Rass's baby boy, Keith, was born. It was an exciting day when Annie and Rass brought the little bundle to see us. We clustered around Annie when she pulled the fluffy blue blanket back from his funny little face. We laughed heartily when the baby squinted at us, then stuck out his lips like he was trying to say, "You." I think he was trying to ask, "You all my relatives, huh?"

That fall, Hurricane High bought thirty typewriters. They only had four the year before for their first type class. Since no certified teacher was to be had, they hired Bradshaw Chevrolet's secretary, Laura Lund. She was almost as young as her pupils, and so anxious to make good, that she worked hard with each individual student, patiently drilling day after day. By Christmas, most of the class had their thirty-word certificates. By spring, many were doing sixty words-a-minute, and a few were doing seventy. Laura was cute and conscientious, and won the heart of every student.

The school also added Seminary to their curriculum that fall, with seventy-five students enrolled in Old Testament History. Jesse Rich was the instructor and classes were held upstairs in the Sandberg Building. Mr. Rich was badly crippled with arthritis, and came to Hurricane to be near the Hot Springs, where he could soak every day. He was the city attorney for Logan, and hired me to type his legal papers. He allowed no erasures, and paid me $1.00 a page. The training was great. I also did his blackboard work in Seminary.

Mr. Rich became dear to every student and they absorbed the Old Testament eagerly. When the question came up, "Why did Jacob seemingly use so many tricks to get the best of his father-in-law?" or "Why was David pemitted to be a prophet, when he had committed such a serious crime?" Mr. Rich patently reminded the class that the Lord uses the best material 8787 he has. This point was repeatedly emphasized, whenever anyone was prone to criticise.

When Mr. Rich came to Hurricane, he hobbled with a cane in each hand. After nine months in Southern Utah's climate, soaking daily in the Hot Springs, he had discarded both canes.

Seminary was to the school what dessert is to a meal, and Chorus, under Karl Larsen, was like cream on the dessert. Almost all of the students were enrolled in both.


Chapter 17
Daughter, Beware!
(1928)

8787 Papa counseled us more often than Mama did, simply because he was usually there, especially in the mornings and evenings, and Mama was always busy. Since Sam Pollock had repeatedly warned about the devil paying our parents off in sons-in-laws. Papa did his part to see that the devil had nothing to do with it. He didn't take my dating with Orval Judd seriously, because Orval was Maurice's brother, and more like a relative. But when other dates came on the scene, I was lectured about the dangers of going with strangers.

I tolerated the lectures and Papa's anxious counseling, realizing I was also included in his prayers. It was Papa who always called to us from his bed upstairs when we came in at nights. No matter how late we were, he never slept until we were safely home.

One of my girl friends worked at the Bradshaw Hotel, and on Sunday evenings, when she was off-duty, our gang collected there. At the Hotel, we naturally met strangers.

One evening, three of the hotel guests invited three of us to go for a little spin. I had a queer feeling as I got in the front seat of the car with the driver. The other two couples took the back seat. Because I didn't want to be a "wet blanket" I ignored the prompting to not go. I knew Papa would never approve of the stranger at my side.

For awhile, we cruised about town. Pilled with apprehension, I sat speechless, and the other girls seemed tongue-tied too. The driver slowly turned down "lover's lane", a road leading into a thick grove of fig trees, and parked. I was scared.

When he slid toward me, I quickly opened the car door and said, "Shall we walk?"

He was agreeable, and we strolled out from the dark cover of the trees and down the lane. Oh, how I wanted the Lord's protection, but I felt embarrassed to ask him. But in the starlight, opportunity for escape loomed before me. It was the gate to my cousins Burr and Evadna Bradshaw's place.

"Well, it has been nice knowing you," I said, "and now I'll say goodnight. Thanks for walking me home."

Flabbergasted, he said, "This isn't your house is it?"

8888 "Sure," I fibbed.

"Well, I'll be—. Say, you can't go in now. We just got together."

"Sorry, but I've got to go in. The folks will wonder what happened to me."

"Goodnight then." He reached for me, but I sped up the walk.

The house was dark, but I knew I had to go in, so I opened the door and stepped inside. Peering through the screen, I watched as he reluctantly started back up the lane. I was afraid my pounding heart and shaking frame would wake Burr and Evadna.

Would that man ever get far enough away so I could slip back outside? At last, I could see him no more. Flattening myself against the wall, I slid out the screen door and along the porch to the rear of the house. I banged into an old wash tub in the back yard, which almost gave me a heart attack. Crouching, I listened, but could hear no one coming. I knew I had to make time, because when the man got back to the car, he would learn that I had pulled a fast one on him, and the others would come looking for me.

Running through the trees, I scratched myself on the branches. When I came to the big ditch, half the canal, it seemed, was tumbling through its rocky banks. I would be seen if I crossed the foot bridge, so I stepped gingerly from rock to rock. The beam of a spot light bobbed up and down through the orchard. Slipping, I stumbled. Drenched to my knees, I crouched behind a clump of poplar saplings on the bank, just as the car turned its beam on the spot where I had been. I huddled, panting, as the spot light lingered on the saplings, but the thick clump concealed me, and they went on by.

On reaching the street, I ran like a deer. Now the car was coming back toward me. Winded and beat, I dropped to the ground and rolled under a barbed wire fence into the grass. The spot light criss-crossed the road, playing along the fence and lingering on every bush. Secure in the grass, I could get my breath. Back and forth they went, searching the grass where I lay. Knowing I couldn't be far away, they persisted. A bent, dry grass-head gouged my ear, but I didn't dare move. Insects crawled on me, still I lay motionless. At last, the car turned the corner and took off in another direction. They must have supposed I had taken another way home.

I crawled from under the fence, and my feet flew. I just got to Ether Wood's corner when I saw them coming again. Our house was kitty-corner through the block, so I darted through Wood's gate, around their house and through the trees. The spot light played up and down the sidewalk.

I cut through Uncle Marion Stout's corral. The horses snorted and a big red bull came toward me. Caught between a maze of fences and that rumbling bull was more frightening even than the spot light. Terrified, I scrambled through, and at last was on home soil. Panting, I sped up the pathway from the barn, and through the kitchen door.

From upstairs. Papa called,"Is that you Alice?"

"Yes," I answered gratefully.

"This is more like it," he said. "I'm glad you're getting home early."

8989 The spot light played on the front of the house, and I knew in that moment how Peter Rabbit felt when he stumbled gratefully into the rabbit hole after the farmer had chased him.

This episode livened up the party for the others, for the "fox chase" definitely beat parking. My friends realized the folly of our going for a spin in the first place.

Annie and Rass ran the Flatnose Ranch in Nevada for Uncle John Hopkins. Kate and I took the train from Cedar to Lund, where Rass met us. This was my first train ride. Rass, Annie, and little baby Keith, dressed in his bib overalls and big straw hat, took us in their rattling pickup sight seeing. Kate and I sat in the back and sang, and raised sun blisters on our noses as we jounced along. We visited igloo-shaped lime kilns, mining towns, ranchers and Mexicans.

Back at the ranch was an out-door shower made of a barrel mounted on a platform. We carried water from the creek, and climbing the ladder, poured it into the barrel. Standing beneath it in our bathing suits, we turned on the shower. We had to soap and scrub fast to get clean before the water was all gone.

At the head of the alfalfa field was a reservoir of warm water. Kate was a good swimmer, but that dark, mossy water scared me. As I walked gingerly into the edge of it, fluffy mud swirled about my feet and the icky stuff oozed between my toes. I felt like the water was inhabitated by goggle-eyed, stinger-tailed creatures tangled in the long strings of water weed. I'd rather sit on the bank and watch the overhanging branches of the black willow dip and dimple the water.

With notebook and pencil, I leaned against the tree and scribbled my random thoughts. Mama had requested that I keep a diary during my seventeenth year—and that year was almost over. She said to keep it for a birthday gift to my oldest daughter when she turned seventeen. 1

Vaguely I recall the essense of my scribbling under the willow tree at Flatnose. Seventeen is on the edge of some great thing. At seventeen the grass is taller, the moon bigger, and the world glides in a grander sweep. Seventeen is melodramatic, comic and frivolous, and some of the creepiest boys look like heroes!

On August 26, 1928, the Hurricane Ward was divided into the North and the South. Frank Johnson was put in as our new bishop (of the North ward). Ether Wood was put in as Sunday School Superintendent, and I was called to be Sunday School Secretary, with Freda Fullmer as my asstant. This was my first church calling. How happy I was to be considered worthy!

Kate taught school at Iron Springs until Thanksgiving, then the Iron County School Board closed the school down, and transferred her to Parowan.

I was given the job of cleaning the sewing room and library in the east end of the old Relief Society building, to pay my tuition for my senior year in High School. Anthony Isom had the job of keeping the rest of the building clean. We were both to make our own fires, but Anthony was to carry the fuel. I always ran out of kindlings, so day after day, I groveled for chips behind the school house where little kids played on the teeter totters and swings, and the big boys tossed basket balls at the backboard by the 9090 woodpile. I tried to make myself small and inconspicuous. Picking up chips was humiliating to me. If I had it to do over, I think I would skip and sing as I toted the black coal scuttle after kindlings. I took no joy in pushing the heavy broom over the splintering, oiled wood floor, nor in dusting the shelves and tables with the waxy rags that should have been burned. Attitude makes the difference between Heaven and Hell. My attitude made this job Hades, especially on the dreadful December day when Hurricane shivered in a sixty-mile gale.

I struck half a box of matches that morning, trying to get the fire started. I had only slick magazine pages and damp chips. My teeth chattered and my fingers were numb by the time the fire took hold. The room was bitter cold, so as the fire flamed up, I fed it more and more wood and coal, until the pot-bellied stove glowed red.

Then the twenty-foot stove-pipe collapsed across the sewing tables and over the book shelves. The stove was located on the opposite side of the room from the flue, so more heat would be given off by the long, black pipe wired to the ceiling. Generations of soot, which had collected in the pipe, billowed into the room, blinding and suffocating me. Flames and smoke shot up from the roaring, red hot stove. Anthony, who was working in the next room, came running. I was both angry and terrified. Through the choking, black confusion, he remained calm. Summoning help from the street, he put out the fire, then cleaned up the pipes, anchoring them back in place. We had no vacuum, and the feathery soot swirled like a flurry of mischievous spirits in front of my broom. For days, whisps of soot puffed out to plague me from between the books on the library shelves, until I had been able to deep clean every crevice. Sewing classes were suspended for one day.

Our sewing teacher, Cleone Smith, dispelled the gloom of winter in the sewing room, by ushering in Spring in December. She had her students start on their spring dresses. The room became cheerful with voiles, chiffons and georgette in rainbow colors. Cleone was the beautiful daughter of the Church Patriarch, Hyrum Smith. We were honored to have her as a teacher, and even more honored when she married Alma Isom from Hurricane.

Stella Willis, the world's champion typist, presented a lyceum assembly at Hurricane. She could carry on a normal conversation, and type one hundred and twenty-five words a minute accurately, at the same time. I was dumfounded when she called me to the stage to give me a concentration test. Dazed, I sat down to the spanking new Underwood, with my copy material before me. At the signal to start, the typewriter purred. It was a good machine. As the questions were fired at me, I managed to briefly say "sure", "yes", "no", "of course", and "I don't know". Miss Willis checked my finished sheet and announced that I had accurately typed ninety words a minute. The assembly applauded. I was glad to get off the staoe and melt in with the crowd. I felt certain Miss Willis had exaggerated my ability.

Our first year type teacher, Laura Lund, had married the elementary music teacher, Elvis Bird Terry. June Bunker was the second year teacher. She took a group of us to Cedar to the High School Days at the BAC. There I won a typing scholarship. At the same time, Mrs. Ruesch, our English teacher, had entered my "Polliwog Pond" poem in the lyric poetry contest, and it won. I had to choose between two scholarships, so I accepted the Marlow Spilsbury Memorial Poetry one. I remembered how handsome Marlow was when he dashed on his horse past our place, driving his herd of cattle. He was young and attractive. Not long after that, he died of a sudden illness.

Footnotes

  1. I kept the diary, and re-read it to myself when Marilyn was just fifteen. Embarrassed at my outpouring of sentimental feelings, I burned it. Now I am sorry I did.

Chapter 18
College
(1929)

9191 One day, after the sewing room was cleaned, I sauntered home with my armload of school books. The afternoon sun was warm and the air smelled of spring. Although it was still February, the apricots were in bloom. Papa was anxiously waiting as I came into the house.

"Emil Graff wants to talk to you," he said.

Afraid to hope, I hurried to the store, where Mr. Graff sat me down in the shoe room.

"How would you like to clerk a few hours after school each day?" he asked.

How would I like! How would I like to not pick up chips anymore? How would I like to not be a janitor anymore? How would I like to have the moon? All of the shoe boxes on the shelves looked friendly.

"I would love it," I replied.

Briefly he explained store policy and wages then said, "Be prepared to start work on the first of March."

My feet scarcely touched ground as I flew home. Excitedly I burst through the door. "I'm going to clerk in the store," I announced. Mama smiled and Papa blinked.

How much of what happened next was coincidence, or how much was maneuvered, I wasn't certain, but the first salesman that showed up in the store after I started clerking, was from a correspondence school. It just happened that he had already visited Mr. Moody at the High School, and had been to see Papa. Well, he sold me a course in shorthand and business correspondence, along with a beloved Underwood Typewriter (rebuilt). Now I could clerk all afternoon, and go to school only one-half a day. At nights I studied. Papa dictated shorthand and timed speed tests, and my completed lessons began to fly in the mail to Chicago. The corrected ones, along with my grades, were returned to Milton Moody, the High School Principal.

An Underwood No. 5 typewriter
An Underwood Typewriter Company Underwood No. 5 typewriter in the permanent collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis— perhaps the one Alice bought (rebuilt) was a No. 5, though it could as easily have been a similar-looking No. 3 or No. 4

Photograph is from the Wikimedia Commons, a freely licensed media file repository. Visit this web page for additional copyright, authorship, and license details regarding this photo.

One day, Mr. Moody called me into his office. "You have been chosen to be the Valedictorian at the graduation exercises. We also need your picture for the Year Book." Year book pictures were taken the day we were at the B.A.C., so we missed out.

To make my senior picture special, I got my first beauty parlor appointment for a marcel. Most of the girls had their hair "bobbed off". Cut, that is. Papa wouldn't hear of such a thing. My hair was long, done up in braids, and wound around my ears.

"Be not the first the new to try, nor yet the last to lay the old aside,"("An Essay on Criticism" by A. Pope) Papa often recited, then he would add, "A woman's hair is her crown of glory, and it can't be, if it is cut."

With the help of Isaiah, he kept us in line by quoting, "Therefore, the Lord will smite with a scab, the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion…instead of sweet smell there shall be stink;…and instead of well set hair, baldness."(Isaiah 3:17,24) Each night as I tumbled into bed, with my braids falling across my pillow, I'd think, "Well, at least I still have 9292 my crown of glory." I didn't want to be one of the wanton creatures that fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy. Still, Papa failed to notice that we were the "last to lay the old aside".

My friends harangued me, and now that I was clerking, customers tormented me constantly with the question, "When are you going to cut your hair?" Like water dripping on a rock, it was wearing me down.

As I sat in the beauty parlor chair. Hazel Langston took one fat braid in her hand and asked,"How would you like to have your hair cut, Alice?"

Her assistant, Felma Webb, grabbed the other braid. "Oh Alice, please let us cut your hair."

I didn't believe they were serious. Those braids had been a part of me for eighteen years. Jokingly I said, "Go ahead."

With heavy shears. Hazel whacked off a braid, dangling it before me. A sickening fear swept through me. Gleefully she asked, "Do you still want your hair cut?"

"Sure," I gulped. What else could I say?

Never were two beauty operators more enthusiastic than Hazel and Felma as they worked on me together. They had so much fun they should have paid me, instead of me paying them. When the cutting and marcelling was done, they held a mirror in front of me. What a doll! I felt self-conscious looking so cute. But I didn't dare go home for dinner. I just skipped it, and went to work instead. All afternoon I was heaped with compliments. By quitting time, I felt like a blue-ribbon exhibit.

The news ran ahead of me. As I opened our front door, even before Papa looked at me, he exclaimed in disgust, "You've made a mess of yourself." Nothing more was said. Days later, I heard him confess to Joe Englestead that cut hair was neater than long.

My graduation dress was a pink, fluttery thing that sparkled with rhinestones. It gave me composure. The thoughts for my valedictorian address were triggered by a couple of poems. The first one was "Opportunity" by John James Ingalls:

OPPORTUNITY

Master of human destinies am I!
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace—soon or late
I knock, unbidden, once at every gate!
If sleeping, wake—if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more!

John James Ingalls

This poem sounded so fatalistic, that it would scare a body to ever sleep. The second poem was also titled "Opportunity", by Walter Malone. His philosophy, I wholeheartedly accepted.

9393

OPPORTUNITY

They do me wrong who say I come no more
When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day, I stand outside your door
And bid you wake, and rise to fight and win.

Wail not for precious chances passed away!
Weep not for golden ages on the wane!
Each night I burn the records of the day—
At sunrise every soul is born again!

Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast?
Dost reel from righteous Retribution's blow?
Then turn from blotted archives of the past
And find the future's pages white as snow.

Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell;
Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven;
Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell,
Each night a star to guide thy feet to Heaven.

Laugh like a boy at splendors that have sped,
To vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb;
My judgments seal the dead past with its dead,
But never bind a moment yet to come.

Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep;
I lend my arm to all who say "I can!"
No shame-faced outcast ever sank so deep
But yet might rise and be again a man!

Walter Malone

I felt the exhilaration of weaving my thoughts around those of the great masters. I was a shining star with all eyes upon me. It was too bad I couldn't have stayed at the podium. But, like a meteorite crashing into the forest, I came down onto the floor where benches had been slid back for the dance.

Men from the Pine Creek road camp crowded the dance floor. The Zion tunnel was under construction at this time. Normally, every dance had its row of wallflowers, but not so this night. Every girl was popular. I was trapped. One stranger after another took me onto the floor. The crowd was my only salvation, because if I got out of step, it could be because someone else bumped into me.

That night, I realized that other things in life were as important as getting "A's" in school. I felt like a grub, and longed to be a butterfly.

Mama and Papa weren't at the graduation exercises. They never went out at nights. But in some quiet way, they managed to know what was goinq on. When I came home from work the day after graduation, I noticed the pack of cards that my talk had been written on sticking out of Papa's shirt pocket.

"What are you doing with those?" I asked.

Papa blinked back his tears of pride and grinned. "I took them to the bank for Senator Hirschi to read."

What a tribute! Papa considered Dave Hirschi highly intellectual. If he hadn't liked my talk, he wouldn't have let Dave read it.

9494 With school out, I clerked full time. The "self-service" system didn't exist. Customers asked for each item they wanted, and clerks s'curried about the store to pick them up. It was time consuming. I soon learned why the clerks detested certain customers. The only way to keep from detesting them myself was to make a project of them. Whenever the undesirable, the disagreeable and the ignorant customer came through the door, I stepped from behind the counter as though tickled to see them. Amazing! I discovered that even the grumpiest people were really quite humorous.

Once in awhile, my motives weren't rightly understood, and it brought the wrong kind of company to our home, and some angry lectures from Papa. He worried because I was gullible, naive, and too trusting.

For example; a certain road camp guy hung around the store too much, and no one liked him. He was repugnant to me, but I determined to give him the "glad to see you" routine to see if it worked. It worked. Like a boomerang! He came to our house one night, just after we had finished supper.

"My name is George," he said, shaking Papa's hand.

"My name is George too. Isom, that is. Who are you?"

"George Wickey, and I'm a member of the Church."

"What Church?"

"Baptist."

"Doesn't mean a thing to me."

"Mind if I sit?"

"Don't mind if you do."

"Your daughter Alice is a nice girl."

"Yes. Alice is a nice girl."

George and George sat and visited. They talked about the progress of the Zion tunnel and whether it was going to be a long, hot summer or not. (The summer was getting quite stuffy at this point.)

"Your daughter Alice is a nice girl," George Wickey repeated.

"Yes, Alice is a nice girl," Papa agreed.

"I came to ask if I could take her to the dance tonight."

"I don't like my daughter out in a car with a stranger."

"I'm walking. My friend will pick me up after the dance."

"Well, you've been gentleman enough to ask my consent. I'll expect you to be a gentleman and treat her right and get her home early."

Since I'd started this whole thing of being nice to Wickey, I might as well swallow this bitter pill and go with him. I went to my room and put on my pink organdy. At least he should be safe on foot. Papa's final admonition followed us as we walked out the door.

9595 Well, I thought, if we're going to the dance, we're going as fast as our feet can trot. I had no notion to linger under the stars with George.

"What's your hurry?" he asked.

"We're late. Can't you hear the music?"

"Come on. At least we can hold hands." Clutching one of mine, he slowed me down.

Just before we got to the old shoe shop, he grabbed me in his arms. When I resisted, he backed me up against Will Ruesch's fence, breathing on my neck. "Are you a gold digger?" he asked.

"Do you mean someone who goes prospecting out in the hills?" I asked, pushing him away.

"No. It's a girl who gives a guy something for money," he said, hugging me.

"No I'm not!" I struggled to get away. He tried to kiss me. I'd as soon kiss a toad. Breaking loose, I ran. There were lights and people outside the school house, so I was safe. Once inside, I squeezed through the crowd and hid. Wickey pushed through, craning his neck looking for me. As he edged in, I edged out.

Overhearing a neighbor say, "Should we run home and check on the kids?" I asked, "Can I go with you?"

"Sure thing," was the reply.

I was home earlier than expected, but Mama and Papa were as relieved as I.

"I was wrong to let you go," Papa admitted, "but there's one thing I wish you would remember. You can't be friendly to everyone. Evil men will take advantage of you." He had said this to me a hundred times before. His message was beginning to sink in.

Most of the customers in the store during the morning hours were women bringing in their butter and eggs. We paid for these in store coupons. Coupons were considered "women's money", because she was the one who tended the chickens and who churned the butter. An egg was as good as cash. An egg was a handsome reward to a child for getting his work done. Little kids came to the store daily, exchanging their one egg for a couple of sticks of candy.

In our town, everybody knew everybody else, and poked fun at each other's idiosyncrasies. One family in particular was noted for their tight-hidedness. Of the man it was said that he had just got his horses used to not eating, when they up and died, and that he put green goggles on his cows so they'd think straw was hay. And each morning, he gave his kids a nickel if they'd drink a quart of water before breakfast, and then charge them a nickel for their dinner. When he took his wife out for an automobile ride, she had to lean forward to save gas, and the family had to jump the fence, to save the gate hinges. The fact is, they were very good people and everyone liked them, but the man was more frugal than normal.

9696 On his wife's birthday, he came to the store with a fist full of her egg money. "Shoot," he said, "I've got to get Mariah1 a present. I want to see your enamelware."

Enamelware consisted of cheap metal pots, pans and dishes, glazed with a gray, blue or white porcelain-like finish that chipped like glass. The chipped places rusted. Enamel dishes were used only at the sheep herd, in ranch houses, and for camping out, but not at the dinner table at home.

"I'll take six plates and six cups. Mariah is going to be mad as a hornet, but shoot! We can't afford the way our kids are breaking dishes."

How touching, I thought as I wrapped them, for him to use her egg money, to buy her a gift that was going to make her mad. My mind conjured up a lively scene of Mariah throwing the dishes at him until they were all chipped, and then the family eating off the hideous things the rest of their days.

Another practical man bought a copper boiler for his wife's birthday. A copper boiler was an oval-shaped container made to fit over two holes on the wood stove, to boil white clothes in on wash day. Lifting wet sheets out of the boiling lye water with a stick was back breaking. A copper boiler was a symbol of drudgery. A very sentimental birthday gift. But it tickled me when this man's wife bought him an axe for his birthday so he could keep the wood chopped so she could keep her boiler bubbling.

Only local, homemade butter was sold in the store. After the butter was churned, the excess buttermilk was worked out with a wooden paddle. The butter was then pressed into a mold, then unmolded onto wet parchment that was labled with the woman's name, and neatly wrapped. When customers sorted through the stacks of butter in the store showcase, it was like judgment day. Each woman whose name appeared on the wrapper was discussed, whether her kitchen was clean or not and whether she tied a bandana over her hair when she churned. Some women wore crisp white aprons over their housedresses when they delivered their butter. They advertised their cleanliness, demanded five-cents a pound more for their butter, and got it.

Salley Jones1 had the reputation of accumulating her cream until it reeked. Once a month she'd bring fifteen pounds of butter to the store in her big water bucket. Before the days of refrigeration, that was a lot. Local customers wouldn't touch it, so naturally, we filled sheepherder orders with it. We got a note from one guy out on the Arizona Strip, saying that the butter we sent him was so strong he had to tie a rope around it to keep it in camp.

Ether Wood hauled freight for Mr. Graff. Once when he took his brother Andrew with him, there was only half enough butter in their grub box to last for the trip. So Ether told Andrew that Salley Jones had made the butter. Andrew wouldn't touch it, and Ether enjoyed Myra Lemmon's good sweet cream butter for the entire trip.

Roving gypsy bands occasionally came through Hurricane in the summertime. People called them dirty horse-traders and thieves, but to me they were venturesome, carefree and happy. The women, in their bright scarves and swirling skirts, were beautiful.

9797 It was a midday in June. Walter Eagar, Amelia and Jessie Webb, three of the clerks, had gone home for lunch, when the gypsies arrived. Mr. Graff and Ruby Ruesch were in the back, marking a shipment of new shoes. I was alone in the front part of the store when I saw the gypsies scatter. A dark-eyed girl came swiftly through the door and behind the counter where I was dusting.

"If you'll cross my palm with silver, I'll tell your fortune."

"I'm sorry, but I can't do that," I said uneasily. I knew the red folds of silk that covered her were for more than color. I backed away, but she moved with me, her eyes riveted on mine as she kept talking. She was young, and very pretty. I was both fascinated and frightened. It seemed silly to yell for help, but I wished someone—just anyone, would come into the store.

The girl backed me past a small showcase on top of the counter that had the glass door slid open. Our cash register, a tall, fancy, chrome bedecked four-drawer one, was under repair, and all of the drawers were conspicuously open and empty. In a shoe box, along with the cosmetics in the open showcase, was the currency, silver and checks.

"Cross my palm with just one piece of silver. There are wonderful things in store for you," she said, her face upturned to mine.

Just then, Mr. Graff materialized, and the gypsy fled. Reaching for the shoe box, he found the currency gone. He ran out the front door just in time to see the other gypsies help the girl into the back of their ramshackle truck, which went wheezing down the road. Quickly, he summoned Tom Isom, the town marshal, and a posse of men were gathered, who followed in hot pursuit.

The only way out of town was the road going down around the Sulphur Springs. It was not a swift road for a fleeing band in a rattle-trap truck. The posse blocked their way before they crossed the river. In their swift little visit, the gypsies had looted every business house in town. The marshal and his men relieved them of their merchandise and money, and ordered them never to set foot in Hurricane again.

In a council with his clerks, Mr. Graff firmly told us to shout alarm if ever another gypsy came into the store. But the band that fled from Hurricane that day seemed to be the last of a vanishing race.

One day Mr. Graff said, "Alice, why don't you take my car and run after the mail?"

I had just finished cutting off a slab of bacon for John Sanders.

"I think I'll go with you," John said. "I want to go to Will Sullivan's, so while you're out, maybe you can drop me off at his place."

Neither Mr. Graff nor John knew I had only been behind a steering wheel once. I got into the little sports roadster, and John settled down beside me. Smartly turning around in the back yard, without knocking over the trash can, I came out onto the road. While I tried to recall what Orval Judd had said about stopping the car, the Post Office appeared. Driving alongside, I knocked out a fence post, and the wire mesh stopped us.

John was out of the car like he had been rocket-propelled. "Never mind about taking me to Will's," he said, "I'll walk." He didn't even call for his mail.

9898 I might as well have taken him to Sullivan's. I drove back to the store perfectly fine.

Jessie was more experienced at clerking than the rest of us, except for Walter. She knew everything from the size of horse-shoe nails, to how much cloth it took to make a dress for a six year old. When women asked for ideas for making a dress, without hesitation, she'd assemble material on the counter.

"I think this cloth would be pretty, with these little buttons down here, and ribbon and lace around here," etc., designing the dress right before their eyes. They always bought what she put before them.

One day, when I answered the phone, it was Emma Bradshaw. "Alice," she said, "I want to tie off a comforter this afternoon. Ira is on his way to the store now. Please pick out ten yards of your prettiest cretonne, and send it home with him."

"Jessie," I called, hanging up the phone, "your Aunt Emma wants you to pick out ten yards of cretonne for her."

Mr. Graff overheard me. With a hand on each of my shoulders, he asked, "Who did Mrs. Bradshaw ask to pick out that cloth?"

Ducking my head, I replied, "Me."

"All right. Now go and pick it out."

"But I don't know what she will think is pretty."

"Go right now and look at that cretonne. Decide for yourself which is the prettiest piece, and cut ten yards off from it. Jessie's choice isn't one bit better than yours."

I'd never thought of that. Amazed, I looked at the bolts of flowered material. They were all pretty, but one piece in particular was much the prettiest. Taking it down, I measured it off, and just got it wrapped as Ira came in the door.

A short while later, the phone rang again and I answered it. "Alice, this is Emma. I want to thank you for your picking out such pretty material. It is exactly what I wanted." How pleased I was!

Mr. Graff's home was in LaVerkin, so Walter kept an extra set of keys to the store in case of emergencies. The store carried patent medicines, and every once in awhile, he had to open up in the night for a child choked up with croup, or for some other ailment. Going into the store at night was spooky, because the place was dark.

It was just my luck, the one time Walter left the keys with me, I had to do a lot worse than go after medicine. Mr. Lewis, who was renting the two north rooms in our house, died. The sad weeping of his children, who were at his bedside, awoke me. The family realized they had better travel as far as they could in the cool of the night, to get him to his old home town for the funeral, so they got me up to go after his casket.

If ever I pretended to be brave, it was then. To go into the far end of the dungeon where the caskets were, was one thing I never did. Just the sight of the dusty, pine boxes, conjured up in my mind my childhood imaginings of the ten caskets of beans in our cellar.

9999 Two of Mr. Lewis's sons went with me, and with a dim flashlight, I found the light switch inside the back door. The wooden steps creaked as we went into the basement. When I put my hand out to steady myself, the cement wall was damp and cold. I had seen the black widows suspended above their egg balls on the beams overhead, and imagined spider webs entangling me as I descended. In the dim light, at the far end of the basement, the men selected the casket they needed, and we found help in getting it out. This incident was merely a dress rehearsal for the one that was to follow.

Soon after that, one of our neighbors died. In those days, deceased loved ones were not rushed to a mortuary, but were "laid out" by the Relief Society sisters. Ice was brought from the meat market and packed in fruit jars all around our neighbor to keep her cool until the funeral. She had been washed and dressed in a pretty white dress, and her hair done up in a bun on top of her head. I was asked to sit with her from ten at night, until two a.m.

"Why sit up with someone who is dead?" I asked. "Mattie1 isn't going anywhere is she?"

"There have been cases when people were only thought to be dead. If they gasp for breath, they may need help." Horrified, I looked at the complacent sister who supplied this information. "Then of course, we have to watch for cats," she continued. I groaned. "You don't have to worry. You won't be alone. Her grandson Elmer will sit with you."

Now that was just great! Elmer1 was one of the ruffians with the corncob pipe, that had beat up on our sixth grade teacher, and he was always soused.

When I talked to Mama about sitting with the dead, she said, "It is simply a nice and considerate thing to do. The family will rest better knowing you are there."

Mattie's bedroom windows were open, and the sheer curtains softly billowed out into the room. She lay very still under a white sheet, and an electric fan droned, vacillating back and forth, at the head of the bed The breeze from the fan kept lifting the sheet from her hair, until finally a lock, the size and shape of the tip of a cat's tail, unwound. It waved back and forth, back and forth with the fan. I watched, until I could stand it no longer. I got up and went out on the front porch, where Elmer had passed out, dead drunk, in the casket box. Every time he moved, his heavy shoes clanked against the pine boards with a hollow sound.

Hot as the night was, I was getting chilled from the melancholy drone of the fan, and Elmer's mumbling, groaning and clattering in the casket box. Suddenly a terrible yowling and shattering of glass brought me to my feet in terror.

"Elmer, Elmer, wake up," I cried hysterically, shaking him.

Groggily he arose. "Whassa matter?"

"Something has happened in there," I choked, pointing inside.

I didn't move until he went with me. Switching on the basement lights, we saw broken bits of fruit jars strewn down the cement steps. They ha" been knocked from the ledge above the steps, where they had been stored.

100100 "Blithering cats," Elmer grunted.

Where they came from, or where they went to, I didn't know. Wild horses couldn't have dragged me into the basement to find out. I was ralieved and happy when two women came to replace me, and I could go home.

Since I was practically the only one to occupy the southwest bedroom upstairs, I had free rein in fixing it up. On the floor was a hooked rug of my own, original design, and I had appliqued my pillow cases. The curtains were some old lace ones, but they looked pretty, freshened up. Some of the pictures on the walls were Cloverine salve premiums, and others were slick, colored magazine pages. Neither Mama nor Papa ever looked in my room to say, "How pretty." and everyone else was equally oblivious. I was the lone admirer. It was here that I spent my evenings after work, cramming on my shorthand and business correspondence, to prepare for college. My desk was a shiny, polished table with fancy carved legs, that I had bought from Graff's.

An Oliver model No. 9 typewriter
A No. 9 Oliver Typewriter Company typewriter on display at a museum in Wisconsin—perhaps the one Alice mentions was a No. 9.

Photograph is copyright © 2010 by Royalbroil. It is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Visit this web page for additional copyright, authorship, and license details regarding this photo.

The following incident came as natural as breathing. A business machine salesman came into the store. The cut of his suit, the wave of his hair, the shine of his shoes, the smell of his after-shave lotion, the tone of his voice and the twinkle in his eye gave me to know that this man was a gentleman. Mr. Graff was out, and since I was the one who ran all of his office equipment, which consisted of an antiquated Oliver typewriter, and a hand-crank adding machine, logically I was the one to talk to him. We sat in Mr. Graff's office, which was two chairs by a desk in the shoe room.

The conversation got around to my brilliant future in Civil Service, globe-trotting for Uncle Sam. The handsome salesman seemed interested, throwing out lead questions to let me know that we were kindred spirits. I had no romantic illusions toward him. He was simply part of summer, like new mown hay, or the magazine pictures on my bedroom wall.

I suddenly remembered there was a catch in my typewriter that needed fixing. I asked him if he could do it, and he said he could. "I'll finish my business calls, and be back to pick you up at closing time," he said. Closing time came at dusk, and he was waiting in front as I came out the door.

At home, suppertime was at dusk. For some reason, regardless of the season, the family could never eat supper in daylight. As I came in the door with my friend, there sat the family around the big table in the living room, eating their bread, milk, and fruit. Although the table cloth was fresh and white, suddenly the room, the table and the family looked so— so— —my conscience smarted to even dare think it—so back-woodsy.

Papa always took too lively an interest in anyone we brought home, and heaped them with questions. I hurried the salesman past him as quickly as possible, with only a brief introduction, explaining that he had come to fix my typewriter. I ushered him into the kitchen and up the narrow stairs to my room.

Oh dear! The room that had seemed so charming this morning, now suddenly diminished in my eyes, and looked hicky. The man sat down to my beautiful table to look at Oscar. Oscar was the typewriter. He ran the carriage back and forth, flipped a few levers and said the machine was now in perfect order. He was too kind to say there was nothing wrong with it.

101101 "It just needed a little tuning up," he said.

Just as he leaned back in his chair to visit, Wayne came in and sat on my bed, making a nest in the sagging mattress that I had patted out so carefully. I could tell by his sunburned grin, that showed his front teeth that were too big for his face, that he was settled down to stay. No way could I have a heart-to-heart talk with this magnificent man with this little pest around, so there was nothing left to do but thank him for coming, and lead him back downstairs.

Graciously he said goodnight to the family. Then came the explosion. "It is disgraceful, sinful, and immoral to take a strange man to your bedroom," Papa shouted, his face a livid red.

"There is nothing wrong with taking a repairman to fix my typewriter," I hotly defended.

"I want it understood that when your typewriter needs fixing, you will do it downstairs on this table."

"You know I can't lug that heavy thing down the stairs," I protested.

"You've done it plenty of times," he reminded me.

"But the family was eating supper."

"That doesn't make any difference. He could sit on the lounge and wait until we cleared a place."

Oh sure, sure. I could see it all—what with Papa bombarding him about his morals and religion.

"Only a cheap, loose woman would take a man to her bedroom," he stormed.

"Papa!" I burst into tears.

"This is what Isaiah meant when he talked about the daughters of Zion," he continued, and I knew exactly what he was going to quote.

I ran to my room and plopped onto my face, crying a puddle of tears on Grandmother's crazy-patch quilt. How could a family be so unimaginative and lacking in understanding! Not one of them knew the least thing about how a girl felt.

Softly, Mama came into my room and put her arms around me. "You'd better come and get some supper, Patsy," she said.

"I don't want any," I blubbered.

"Don't feel so bad," she coaxed. "Your father is right. There are so many things that will look differently to you later on. Come on down and be with the family."

I began to feel that Mama did understand. I knew I had to face the family, so I went down with her.

Penitently, Papa said, "I'm sorry I was so harsh." Tears stood in his eyes. "It is because we love you, and we know you are too innocent," he explained.

The next day, when the salesman returned to talk to Mr. Graff, I got so busy with customers that I didn't have to face him.

102102 A certain customer, who always bought laundry soap, really turned my generator on when he entered the store. Even if I was fitting boots on the Prince of Wales, I think I would have left him in the shoe room if Winferd Gubler appeared. But about all the response I ever got from Winferd was his money when he paid for the soap. The rest of the clerks knew I had a crush on him, so they left him for me to wait on.

Winferd managed the swimming pool at the LaVerkin Hot Springs. The soap was to launder the towels and swim suits. I figured if he ever dated a girl, she would have to be a princess, so the most I could hope for was his smile as I bagged up his Fels-Naptha and Crystal White soap.

My dating, for most of the summer, was "gang" dating, which took us often to the swimming pool. I couldn't swim, but usually sat on the steps dangling my feet in the water. Sometimes, I sat on a bench, and if Winferd wasn't busy, he sat and visited with me.

One evening, just before I left for college, he said, "Alice, you're too nice a girl to be running around with this kind of company. You're cheapening yourself, so that the right kind of fellow wouldn't want to date you."

Stunned, I looked at him. He was the one I'd rather date than anyone in the world, but he never condescended to ask me. The kids in the gang always came for me. There was nothing wrong with them, except they had a bottle once in awhile. But they knew better than to offer it to me.

"How kind of you, Mr. Alligator," I retorted.

"Alice, I mean it," he said earnestly. "Don't sell yourself short."

I could see that he did mean it, and somehow I wasn't angry with him. But now, summer was over, and the gang split up. I never saw them again.

Ah College! The Grand Old BAC! Kate was the Fairy Godmother who whisked me there. For the first two weeks, we stayed with Aunt Evadna and Uncle John Hopkins. I planned to become a fine School Teacher, and words of praise would dribble back to Mama and Papa about me, like they did about Kate. But Uncle John changed that.

"Alice, don't register for normal training," he said. "There are too many old-maid school teachers already. You may not even be able to get a contract. And even if you do, you'll spend your life teaching your school mates' little kids. That's no way to catch a husband. Go into business where you'll be working with adults."

He made sense, so I changed my course on registration day. The day before, Kate took me to Henry Berkstrom's exclusive shop, where she bought me an entire wardrobe of beautiful, beautiful dresses. The fabrics were rich and the tailoring superb. Transformed, I was as sharp looking as any co-ed on campus. I blossomed under the touch of her magic wand.

One thing was lacking. I was not transformed into a divine dancer. I was something less than Cinderella at the registration dance. But the Prince was there, in person of Lyle Thomas, the best looking, curly-headed football player at the BAC. As I entered, clipping along in my smart, patent leather slippers, elegant dress, and soft windblown hairdo, he saw me. With the first strains of music, he grandly glided, swirling and 103103 bowing, the full length of the mirror-bright floor, swooping me off my feet. Literally off my feet! Stark terror gripped me, and the room spun. When Lyle almost stumbled with the frozen icicle (me) in his arms, he hastily returned me to my seat. He never looked at me again. The miracle of the incident is that I didn't run home crying. I stayed and watched all evening. Self-consciousness turned to indignation. I resolved to learm to dance.

For the next two weeks. Cedar City lay shivering under wet, black clouds. New clothes, the college campus, school activities—nothing, could stay the longing for home that built up inside of me. All I could think of was how nice and sunny it must be at home. I developed a toothache and needed to see old Doc Gibson. That was reason enough to go home.

Saturday morning, I walked down Cedar Main, with my little suitcase. I couldn't find a soul from home. At Petty Motors I inquired, "Do you happen to have a car going to Hurricane?"

"Can you drive?" Charlie Petty asked.

"Oh yes," I answered. I was homesick enough to drive anything going my way.

"I've just sold a car to Chester1 and Albert1, and they don't drive. Can you chauffeur them?"

"I sure can," I replied.

Chester and Albert were timid bachelors from Rockville.

Looking at the shiny cars, I asked, "Which one is yours?"

"Ours is out back," Chester answered, and I followed him into the garage.

A mechanic was under the hood. Slamming it down as we approached, he said, "Your little jewel is ready for the road."

At my startled look, Albert said, "We got it for twenty-five dollars. We ain't goin' to drive anywhere only around in the field."

The car was a faded blue. The interior resembled a mouse's nest with cotton oozing from splits in the upholstery. I was thankful the mechanic backed it out of the garage, because I'd never driven in reverse.

"Are you ready?" I asked.

"Yep," Chester replied, getting into the front seat.

I slid under the steering wheel and Albert got in the back. I pushed the starter button, the car coughed and puffed a cloud of black smoke, I put it in gear, and we chugged out of town. Every time I gave it the gas, the car shimmied, so I eased it down to a crawl. It was better for me, for I still wasn't used to steering.

Except for the rumble of the motor, we traveled in silence. I looked at Chester. He had gone rigid, with his back stiffened against the seat, his feet pushing against the floorboard, and his eyes glued to the road. When I turned to see how Albert was, he made a startled, choking sound, and sat up tall, to watch the road while I looked at him. I couldn't see why they were so scared. There was no speedometer, but we couldn't possibly 104104 have been doing twenty-five miles per hour. If we had gone faster, the car would have been shaken to pieces.

Well, if they wanted to go into a coma, that was up to them, but this was my first time driving on the open road, and I was going to enjoy it. My tooth didn't ache anymore because I was going home. Happily I hummed, "Mid pleasures and palaces," and the little car jerked and twitched over the Black Ridge, out of the clouds, and down into the sunshine of our little corner of the earth. I knew Albert and Chester were still breathing, for occasionally I heard one or the other gasp.

A new road was under construction between Toquerville and LaVerkin and I almost missed the right-angle turn. When my eye caught the detour, I made it so sudden and sharp that it took the car a few feet to get back on all fours. I had planned on driving clear home, but at the take-off to Rockville, Chester said, "You'd better stop here."

"Stop?" I asked.

"Yes. We don't want to go no further. You get out and we'll take the car home."

Well! Talk about appreciation, after all I'd brought them through. I was still four miles from home!

Mr. Graff came along and stopped just as Albert set my suitcase by the side of the road. For the first time, those old bachelors came alive. I had thought they were dead to any feeling, but with me out of their car they radiated. Enthusiastically they thanked me, over and over, for bringing them this far. Mr. Graff whisked me off for home. As I looked back, Albert and Chester were waving goodbye.

Monday morning, Ether Wood brought me back to school. Ether freighted for Mr. Graff, and waited on all of the college students from Hurricane. He transported them, and brought packages from their mothers, cheerfully and without pay. (He filled Papa's coa1 bin without pay, and always checked to see if there was bottled fruit to be sent to us.)

Our apartment in the Will Simpkins home was ready, and we moved in with our cousins Lula and LaVerna Heaton. Their brother Freddie lived with Aunt Kate and Uncle Will Palmer. Freddie and his friend, Lovell, used to visit us. Since we were all duds at dancing, we set up a class in our living room. Day after day, we danced to the music of Lula's phonograph, until we gained confidence enough to tackle the school dances.

"It's turning that gets me out of step," Freddie confessed. "The easiest way is to bump into someone at each corner of the room, then turn my partner while I'm already out of step."

One night at a school social, I was dancing with Lovell. The floor was slick, and he slipped. Afraid we'd both go down, I let go of him, and he landed on his back. I felt so terribly sorry, because I knew exactly how he felt.

Social prestige on campus came with membership in a sorority or fraternity. Initiation into these clubs was one of the highlights to a "freshie". Initiations ranged from the dangerous to the ridiculous. The Nu Omega Rho Sorority made a bid for me. For the three weeks of my initiation, I carried a brick with "goat" written on it. The brick was heavy, but I was never to lay it down. Each day at school, one of my "superiors" 105105 made a goat out of me. One day I had to wear my graduation dress to school, along with a pair of knee-high hiking boots, and an alarm clock dangling around my neck. The alarm went off during English class, and Mr. Hayward said, "Alice, you may leave the room." So with rhinestones flashing, pink georgette fluttering and heavy boots clopping, I made my "inconspicious" exit. Always, we had to do the mortifying thing requested of us, for we were spied upon by our "superiors".

All of the Nu Omega Rho "goats" had to plead poverty, and beg their way into the movie. We were humiliated and ridiculed by the manager, but finally admitted. (Our tickets had previously been paid for.) Lorna Lowe and I had to order a meal at Lunt's Cafe, then slip out without paying. We were grabbed, and sent to the kitchen to do dishes. We knew this was rigged, because they had saved up mountains of dirty dishes. We washed all afternoon.

After three weeks of embarrassing, humiliating experiences, we were taken to our final court at midnight, blindfolded, and led into a dark room. We were pushed from upper-story windows, burned with red hot pokers and fed gritty, raw oysters. All of this was phony, except the oysters. The power of suggestion was supposed to make us feel we were falling when we were caught in a net, and ice was supposed to feel red-hot. It was a disappointment, because things seemed like what they really were.

But I became a sworn-in Nu Omega Rho, and was given a red silk handkerchief, with the insigne in the corner. This was my first (and last) step up the social ladder. I was too blithe a spirit to be a good Nu Omega Rho. Sophistication bored me.

To gain prestige, the Omegas made a grand splash for Mrs. Jack London, when she came to town. They fixed up the college social hall, renting an upholstered set from Hunter Hardware, along with a crystal punch bowl and other dishes, a polished table and lace cover. They bought "frappe", an exciting new frozen dessert, and cakes. Mrs. London graciously spent an hour with us. The party cost each club member $5.00 apiece, at a time when bread was 5¢ a loaf! Mrs. London never did get her husband to dedicate a book to us, and even after the financial drain, which hurt we scarcely made the news.

The college kept an honor roll posted in the front entrance of Old Main. I was surprised when I saw my name next to the top. That challenged me. Why not get it on the very top? I dug in and made it, but keeping it there was something else. I kept my name on the honor roll all year, but the top spot was shared.

My one diversion from the heavy courses I took, was an art class from Bastow. To help pay expenses, I worked in the combined Creamery and Book Store a couple of hours each afternoon, under Hazen Cooley. My homesickness had vanished.

When we went home for Thanksgiving, I slept with LaPriel. Thanksgiving morning, LaPriel awoke with the mumps!

Back at school, I enrolled in a dancing class under Ballentyne. Joyously, I looked forward to the Christinas dance at home. I had a strong premonition that Winferd Gubler would really see me for the first time. Of all the guys on the college campus, there was no one to compare with Winferd!

106106 Christmas morning, I awoke with the mumps! Fat and ugly. I was too sick to join the family downstairs, and too sick to care. Late that night Edith came home giggling. She had been out with that funny Winferd Gubler. Funny? There was nothing funny about it to me. It was tragic! I would have given the world to be with him. Now, I was really sick. Sick with total frustration!

I spent the entire holidays in bed, barely getting over the mumps in time to return to school. I had lost fifteen pounds.

At quarterly conference held in December, the St. George Stake was divided, and the Zion Park Stake was organized, with Claude Hirschi as Stake President, and James Judd and Russell Swenson as counselors.

Footnotes

  1. Not their real names.

Online Publication Notes

  1. The two poems titled "Opportunity" that Alice quotes in her original typewritten book are slightly different than they appear in The Little Book of American Poets on pages 239 through 241.

    Alice's original manuscript moves a few stanzas of the second poem around. And a few words and punctuation choices differ as well. Alice also attributes the second poem to Robert B. Malone instead of the correct Walter Malone. It could be that her source for both poems was different.

    Perhaps Alice compiled the quotes in her book from her original notes from 1929. No matter what the reason, this note is here to alert readers that the poems have been adapted in this online presentation to match them as they appear in the book The Little Book of American Poets (a version of which was very likely Alice's original source).

    —Aaron Gifford, 25 Jun. 2011

  2. The Marcel Wave hair style:
  3. From "An Essay on Criticism" by Alexander Pope
  4. From the Old Testament, Isaiah chapter 3 verses 17 and 24

    17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

    24And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.


Chapter 19
So Turns the Tide
(1930)

106106 Across the room from me in English class sat the most collegiate looking boy on campus. The name that fit him most was "BAC". From the corner of my eye, I often saw him looking at me. When I returned his glance, he smiled.

"What's the lettering on your pep sweater?" he asked one day.

He knew it was my initials, but I made the most of it. "It's A-1. I am an A-1 Co-ed."

Grinning, he said, "I've been noticing you for a long time, and that's exactly what I've decided you are."

That was the beginning of a romance that made me forget Winferd. "BAC" and I went to the college functions and movies together. I little realized a fellow could be so considerate and nice and still be so much fun.

Cedar City had been blanketed with snow and ice all winter, and when Mama's letter came saying the peach trees were in bloom, I persuaded "BAC" to go with me and see. His sister and her girl friend came with us. After we dropped down from the Black Ridge into Utah's Dixie, we were in another world. Toquerville, LaVerkin and Hurricane were mostly orchards, enveloping the little towns. What a garden of Paradise they were! My college friends, who had never seen springtime in Dixie, marveled at the beauty of it, and I felt so proud of my "homeland".

We visited with the family and enjoyed their hospitality and Mama's good dinner, then went to Papa's field into the pink world of peach blossoms. Bees hummed in every tree, and meadowlarks filled the air with their melody. The sun was golden and warm. If ever I loved Hurricane, it was that day. We gathered arm loads of flowers to take back to Cedar. Looking back across the years, that day still stands out as the most blossom-filled, music-filled, sunshine-filled, "I love life" day that I can recall.

That day, "BAC" made a date with me for the prom. My feet almost skipped to campus and back in the days that followed. And then the college students went to the LaVerkin Hot Springs on a swimming party. The manager 107107 of the resort was the last thing on my mind. As I entered the building with "BAC", Winferd Gubler saw me—really saw me for the first time.

Managing to get me aside, he asked, "How about a date for the college prom?"

What an exasperating moment. A year ago, if he had asked me for a date, I would have accepted so eagerly that it would have frightened him away. But now, I was simply annoyed. "I'm sorry," I answered. "I already have a date."

Unabashed, he asked, "If I come to the prom, will you get me a date?"

"Sure," I replied.

Mary was just his type—intellectual, and pretty too. They'd make a perfect match. Mary was thrilled, and bought an expensive formal, and arrangements were made for Winferd to call at her home.

I got my first floor-length formal, and "BAC" gave me the first corsage I ever wore—pink rose buds. (I pressed the roses in "The Last Days of Pompeii" where they remained for years.) The dance was dreamy, until I saw Mary make a late entrance, accompanied by her parents.

"Where is Winferd?" I asked.

"He didn't come," she answered. Her eyes were red from weeping.

I was furious! That bounder! Here I had played him up to Mary for a big hero, and he had let her down.

Much later, he arrived, full of apologies and explanations about car trouble. Mary danced with him, but refused to let him take her home.

My college romance lasted through the summer, even though "BAC's" visits were infrequent. Papa set his heart on him the same as he had done with Maurice Judd. So far as Papa was concerned, I had arrived. Winferd looked at it differently.

I was back in the store clerking for Mr. Graff, and Winferd made more ticky trips for laundry soap than he'd ever done before. He knew I was dating someone else, and this sparked his interest in me.

One afternoon, it took him an hour to buy four bars of Fels Naptha. To keep busy after I had bagged the soap, I dusted a pencil display rack over and over, taking every one of the one-hundred and fourty-four pencils out of the little holes individually, and polishing around them. Finally after Winferd left, Mr. Graff appeared.

"Well, did you get a date?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"I have a vacant lot between my store in LaVerkin and Gubler's house. It is a fine building spot," he grinned.

It was the enchanted hour between daylight and dark when Winferd's green Chevrolet drove away from our gate. I was the girl sitting beside him. Once, I would have felt as breathless as though riding on a magic carpet, but things were different now. Winferd was no longer the great, unreachable prince.

108108 I had been warned that heart-smashing was his game. Certainly, he was different from anyone I had ever been with. He was suave and polished, with a maturity that made all other dates seem juvenile, still he had a spontaneous good humor that was as refreshing as a breeze.

We stopped to enjoy the last pink and gold that splashed the sky in the west. "I love the twilight," he said, "it is my favorite time of day."

We watched the jagged silhouette of the mountains blend into night, as the car climbed the Rockville hill. By the time we reached the summit, the stars were out. He showed me how to locate the North Star in relation to the big dipper.

"That is the North Star," he said pointing. To make sure I was seeing the right one, he put an arm across my shoulder. I felt a warm radiance at his touch.

He drove around the loop from the Rockville hill, down the Hurricane dugway, and home. Taking me to the door, he kissed me lightly on the tip of my ear, said "Goodnight," and was gone.

Something had happened to me. I thought I had lost all interest in Winferd, but I discovered it was not so. Papa sensed it too, and was concerned.

"I wish you wouldn't go with Winferd," he said. "You'll never find a better man than "BAC!"

"I know I won't. Papa. But you don't need to worry. A girl doesn't marry every fellow she goes with."

"And she never marries a fellow she doesn't go with," he replied.

My heart was troubled.

In the evenings, after the day's work was through, I sometimes wandered through the trees, and down into the lucern patch. I had so much thinking to do. Instinctively I knew that the house I had grown up in would no longer be my home after I returned to college in the fall. Perhaps it would be a career that would take me away, or perhaps—.

I thought of my visit to the dentist last week. Old Doc Gibson had taken it upon himself to counsel me.

"Oh little chick," he said, "eventually you will venture forth upon the sea of matrimony. But you will never. I repeat never have children. Remember, you must not have children."

I didn't bother to ask why. He filled my tooth, I paid him and left, thinking he was weird. And then, of all things, as I walked home from work the following evening, Sister Wood called from her porch.

"Alice, come in and visit with me for a few minutes."

As I sat with her on her porch, she gave me the same counsel. Was this some kind of conspiracy? Why shouldn't I have children? Sister Wood didn't say, but as an afterthought , she added, "Of course, the millenium could come soon. In that case, your children would be all right."

Then the thunderbolt struck, when a Santa Clara Dutchman, who had dated almost every girl in town, decided it was my turn. He relaxed in our front 109109 room, visiting my parents. Singing was his favorite pastime, and Mama and Papa were good listeners. They requested one old-time song after another, and he seemed to know them all. Finally, he asked me to go for a stroll. Walking in the summer evening was pleasant.

After visiting for awhile, he finally said, "I'd marry you, I'd marry you in a minute, if it wasn't for that Parker blood."

Well! Whatever made him think I'd marry him?

"What about that Parker blood?" I asked.

"All of your children will be crippled, like your father," he replied.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"Don't you know?" he quizzed.

"No I don't."

"Well, everybody else does. That's why the boys in Hurricane don't date any of you. Their parents have all forbid them too. Your father has a hereditary disease, and no one wants to marry into it."

I simply didn't believe it!

"Thanks for telling me," I retorted. "And to think, I had planned all along on asking you to marry me!"

How strange. My father's condition had never been discussed in our home. He was crippled as far back as I could remember, and it had never occurred to me to ask why. He was just our father, and that's how he was. No one, absolutely no one, had ever said one thing about it to me before. When I asked Mama if what our Dutchman friend had said was true, she said it was, but not all of my children would be crippled, but perhaps some of them would. Wayne was the only one out of her eleven that showed any signs.

Oh my, what a lot I had to think about as I walked in the lucern patch in the twilight. But for some reason, after the first shock, I did not feel despair. The breeze, the first dim stars, the sleepy twitter in the branches overhead, all spoke peace to me. I could only be grateful that my mother and father had had me and all of my brothers and sisters, because they were my favorite people, and our home had been happy and good. I thought of all of the people I knew who were afflicted like my father, and they were highly intellectual, and they were good, and I knew the Lord loved them. Happiness was inherent. My heart could not be burdened. If other folks wanted to worry about us, let them. Then I stopped. Oh, those poor troubled people. Of course they would worry. I myself wouldn't want my children to marry into infirmities.

Going toward the house, I met Mama coming down the walk. "Mama," I said, "I've been wondering what made you decide to marry Papa when you were young. Did you know what you were doing?"

She smiled. "Yes, I knew full well. I thought it through thoroughly. I have never regretted my choice, because I love your father, and am grateful to have such a fine, eternal companion."

110110 My summer clerking proved to be one of the most interesting assignments I had known. Mr. Graff had a small chain of stores and gas pumps, and I was his vacation-relief clerk. When Alvin Hardy, who managed his Springdale store, took his family on vacation, Mr. Graff sent me there. I stayed with my cousins, Nancy and Squire Crawford, who were precious and dear to me.

One weekend while there, Winferd came to take me to an Indian cave at Antelope. Some years before, when he was there herding sheep, he chased a rabbit, that disappeared into a hole. To Winferd's astonishment, the slanting rays of the sun penetrated the hole, revealing an underground chasm.

He eased down through the hole, and found himself in an auditorium-sized Indian storehouse. Along the rock shelves were rows of moccasins, pottery and grinding stones. Feverish with excitement, he gathered a number of specimens. Later, he took a collection to the B.A.C. and one to the B.Y.U. Both colleges gave him scholarships for the Indian artifacts.

Time had elapsed and Winferd had not returned to the spot until this particular day. Winter storms had taken their toll, and the roof of the chasm that had held for ages, had partly collapsed. Winferd was terribly disappointed. Together we walked inside. Overhead, lime had oozed in giant curlicues on the ceiling, like tooth paste out of a tube. Winferd explained that the pressure of the rain soaked earth, as it settled, had caused this. Tons of earth had covered the rock shelves, but still exposed were many Indian treasures. We brought home a man's size thirteen hemp moccasin. Caked in mud was the print of every toe, and the ball of the foot of the brave who wore it.

After Alvin Hardy returned, Mr. Graff sent me to run the store in Leeds while Walter and Jessie Eager went on vacation. One morning, just after I had unlocked the door, the town drunk staggered in and clutched on to me. Helplessly I struggled to get free. Then to my great relief, a deaf-mute by the name of Horace burst in. He grabbed the drunk by the collar and pitched him out the door. For the rest of the two weeks, Horace took up guard duty staying with me during store hours. Before Jessie and Walter left, Jessie had said, "Horace will watch out for you. Don't worry a minute about him. He is as good as gold." And he was. He swept and dusted and helped in countless ways. He was truly a guardian angel.

Dates with Winferd were different. He always had something special in mind. His portable, hand-crank phonograph and book of records rode around in the back seat of his car. The Zion Tunnel at that time was an inviting place, with its rock finish interior and unrestricted parking space in the wide, open windows. No cement-work inhibited the cars, and traffic was light. Sometimes in the early twilight, Winferd parked his Chevrolet in the biggest window of the tunnel, put waltz music on the phonograph, and we danced. When the light began to fade, we sat on the window ledge, looking down the canyon, and ate the picnic he had packed. Sometimes we went upon the hill for a dutch oven chicken fry with his little brother Donworth, and Donworth's friend Jasper Crawford. They were the comedy feature. Winferd brought them along for the fun of their uproarious wit.

Open-air dancing was the current fad, and we danced at Hidden Lake, Kanarra, New Harmony and Santa Clara. On previous summers, Winferd hauled the drums for the orchestra, along with the "extra ladies" who crowded in beside him. Since he belonged to no one, he seemed to belong to everyone. 111111 And now, even on nights when he had a date with me, the girls who had been used to inviting themselves to the open air dances still piled into the back seat of his car. Winferd was a gregarious fellow and seemed quite happy when surrounded. No doubt, this is how he had preserved his bachelorhood. Dates with "BAC" were far more proper and normal.

Papa's anxiety mounted. "It isn't right for a girl to be dating first one fellow, and then another," he lamented.

"But Papa, what is a girl to do? Blindly make up her mind who she is in love with? How can she make a right choice, if she only dates one person?"

"I think I know your heart far better than you do. This Gubler man is not the marrying kind. You're wasting your time on him. He's been around too much. Besides that, he's too old for you."

Winferd was twelve and one-half years older than I. And he had been around, spending two years in Ohio on a mission for the Church, then attending the B.Y.U., and working in the Eureka mines. He and his missionary companion, Dell Fairboune, had done a lot of double dating, managing to keep themselves quite unentangled.

Winferd's Aunt Josephine, who was our neighbor, warned my parents. "Winferd will only break Alice's heart. He goes with a girl until she falls in love with him, then he drops her. He will never marry."

This caused even Mama, who had let Papa do all of the fretting, to voice her concern. Here I was, past my twentieth birthday, but feeling helplessly confused as a child. When Winferd asked if I could spend Sunday with him at Kanab with his Bowman relatives, I took my parent's counsel, and turned him down. My heart felt like a blob of lead.

I went with Ervil Sanders instead on a Stake Sunday School visit to the Short-Creek, Canebeds Branch. I was the newest board member.

Throughout the week, my not-so-happy heart concerned Mama, so when Winferd asked the following week if I could go to Bryce Canyon with him, she helped pack the sandwiches, handed me my class sweater and said, "Have a happy day." How I loved her for that.

Time passed swiftly, and soon I was back registering for school, and back to my college romance. Obedient to Papa's counsel, I had asked Winferd not to see me anymore. He wept. The test was terrible.

As he said goodbye, he handed me a phonograph record. "I bought this for you. Will you accept it please?"

Shaking my head I said, "I can't."

"Please," he urged. "It's the last thing I can do for you."

I took it and shoved it on the back of a shelf.

The secret of forgetting is to be busy. Back at school, I was caught up in the honor roll scramble, working with the year book staff, and clerking in the bookstore. The fall quarter was over and my college romance had left for the sheep herd. Then one afternoon, I found myself alone at our bachelor quarters. Thoughts of Winferd overpowered me, so I dug out the record he had given me, and played it.

112112 Tenderly the strains of "Moonlight on the River Colorado" filled the room. To me, the voice was Winferd's. Once more I saw the light of the August moon shimmering on the rippling waters of the Virgin River. Together we stood on the bridge that spanned the narrows as he sang this song. Tears coursed down my cheeks. I knew in that moment that the dearest sound on earth was his voice. Hastily I scribbled a note, "Please come back," and mailed it.

The family told me that he had been moping around for weeks, and that no one could cheer him, that when he got my note he ran all the way home from the post office. (One-half block.) Within two hours after he got my letter, he was knocking at our door.

He registered for the winter quarter at the B.A.C. When Ruby Ruesch and Roland Webb sent us an announcement that they were being married on December seventeenth, Winferd said, "Why don't we surprise them and make it a double?"

So Winferd Gubler, the heart-smasher, the confirmed bachelor, was actually proposing marriage!

"How come you didn't get married years ago?" I asked.

"You were too young," he replied. "I had to wait for you to grow up."

Monday and Tuesday we had tests to take at school. It's odd that we were so conscientious we couldn't take time out to prepare for our wedding day. We didn't even warn the folks. Tuesday, after our last class, we came home and broke the news that we were going through the temple the next day.

Exasperated, Mama said, "Don't you ever do a thing like that again!"

Poor mama. She hurried among the relatives, borrowing temple clothing, and pressing them for me, while I went for an interview with Biship Johnson. We went to the Wednesday night temple session and were married in the east sealing room, Ruby and Roland first, and then Winferd and I. I wore Kate Allen's dress. The room was packed with friends and relatives.

After the ceremony, Mama said, "I have but one piece of advice to give you. Don't ever let the sun go down on your wrath."

Winferd's mother said, "He has been raised on bread and milk for supper. Don't spoil him."

It was 3:00 a.m. before we got back to Winferd's dinky apartment in Cedar, but we both reported for our 8:00 classes on Thursday. We had missed just one day of school.

School let out for the holidays Friday night, and I had promised Mr. Graff I'd clerk for him during the Christmas rush, so we hustled back to LaVerkin. We needed the money. Winferd only had fifty dollars when we were married, and he spent eleven of that to buy a dress for me, because he decided we were going to have a wedding reception as soon as Christmas was over.

The dress was a black crepe with a pleated skirt, with white lace collar and cuffs. Kate remarked that it looked like I was going into mourning to wear black to my own wedding receiption. Since street dresses were the vogue (thank goodness) I let her remark pass. The depression of the thirties was setting in, and this in itself produced some practical people.

113113 I clerked for Mr. Graff for five days, while our harrassed parents pooled their efforts to prepare for our reception. They made rows of pumpkin pies and gallons of hand-cranked ice cream. Winferd bought a keg of fresh pressed concord juice from Clyde DeMille, and his orchestra friends furnished the dance music as a gift to us. The recreation hall in the Hurricane school house was packed. The one thing that got the most comment of all was the Concord juice. Although it was fresh and sweet, it had developed a tantalizing zing, and even years afterward, we were occasionally confronted with a grinning question such as, "Do you remember who served wine at their reception?"

Finally with Christmas and the reception over, we found an hour of our own to be together. In my mother's kitchen, I packed a lunch, then we went picnicking in Grassy Valley, south of Hurricane. Winferd ate and ate. After he had slicked up the last crumb of Mama's fruitcake, he said, "The sample was good. When do we eat?"

"We just did," I said.

"We did? I thought that was the appetizer. I mean, when do we really eat?"

Oh no, I thought. The guys were right! Bill Sanders had asked, "How are you going to feed the monster?" and Roland Webb had said, "He eats like a horse." Even his own mother remarked that Winferd really enjoyed food. I eyed him over with astonishment.

Finally he burst into a peal of laughter. "Don't worry. I'm fuller than a hop-toad. I couldn't eat another bite."

It didn't take long to learn that during his bachelor years, Winferd had courted the favor of every woman in town by bragging about her cooking. At ward parties, they heaped extra goodies on his plate, just to see his enthusiasm. He had built a reputation for himself. He was the ward recreation director, and he was the one who made the parties fun.

We strolled through the lengthening shadows of the afternoon, this actually being our first chance to talk since we had conceived the madcap cap idea of trying to beat Ruby and Roland to the altar.

"Winferd, since you knew my family well, why did you marry into it?" I asked.

"Because we were mated in Heaven. If it had not been so, I would have married someone else years ago. It's like I told you, I had to wait for you to grow up."

Thoughtfully, I shook my head. He was evading my question. "Winferd, why did you marry into our family?" I repeated.

Taking my hand in his as we hiked through the chaparrels, he said, "Alice, I thought a great deal about the problem. I tried to ignore you, but couldn't. When I asked Mother about marrying you, she said, 'If you love her, marry her. We do not marry for this life only, but for eternity.'"

Oh, my precious mother-in-law!

114114 We talked of many things, of ideals, hopes and plans, but one thing special remains in my memory. Winferd said, "During my bachelor years, I've noticed one thing in particular about my married friends. Too often a husband makes his wife the butt of his jokes, especially at parties. Or he refers to her as 'the old battle axe', or 'the ball-and-chain', or perhaps they will call one another 'the old man', or 'the old woman'. It sounds disrespectful, and someone always ends up being hurt."

I knew what he meant. More than once I had seen a friend of mine bristle, or sit silently on the verge of tears, while her husband roared with laughter at her idiosyncrasies.

"Let's promise that we'll never belittle one another in front of anyone," Winferd continued.

This promise was easy for both of us to make, and we found it just as easy to keep.


Chapter 20
Sing a Song of Six Pence (1931)

114114 With the holidays behind, I moved my belongings from our bachelor quarters at Vergene Simpkins' home, to Winferd's dinky apartment. Kate had been a second mother to me for a year and a half of college, providing the place to live and the groceries. Kate had fussed over me, loved me, and worried about me. A lifetime of gratitude or good deeds on my part could never repay her for all that she had meant to me. Vergene's apartment would be more serene without me, since there were still three school teachers, Kate, Edna Heaton and Sylvia Jones, living there, and one student, LaVema Heaton. The extra closet space would be appreciated.

Winferd took me to live in the basement laundry room that had been his quarters since starting school. He paid his rent by sweeping snow and making fires for Amy Leigh. The cubby-hole "apartment" was furnished with two built-in, cast iron, laundry tubs, hot and cold running water, and assorted pipes, both large and small, that criss-crossed the ceiling. Winferd had squeezed in his camp cot, folding table and chairs, and his little gas stove. And that was Home Sweet Home.

Surveying our bridal suite, I said, "Shall we fix up the place?"

"You're the lady of the house. Where do we start?"

"Let's put a broom stick across this corner to hang our clothes on, then we can get your shirts and pants down off those pipes. We can use a piece of cretonne for the closet door and to curtain the little window."

The transformation began. An Indian blanket replaced the denim camp quilt on the bed, and a bright flowered cloth covered the metal table. Inspired, Winferd built a couple of shelves for books and dishes, and I made a curtain for them too.

"My, what a difference a woman and a piece of cretonne makes," he grinned.

115115 At the end of the winter quarter, I took a job at Bradshaw Chevrolet, and Winferd stayed in school. That $50.00 a month pay check looked pretty big. The depression was on, and prices hit rock bottom. A three-pound box of soda crackers sold for 18¢, and a not-very-pretty cotton dress could be bought at Penny's for 35¢. People traded labor or bartered as far as possible, but some things demanded cash.

Now that we were rich, we rented an apartment with room to move about in. Before, one of us had to exhale, when the other went by.

We moved into Stephen's Apartments on Main Street. The rooms were big, pretty, and fully furnished. There was a bathroom, too! It was like getting heaven for $10 a month.

Winferd became a victim of a teacher's contract fraud. For a $25.00 fee, a phony firm guaranteed him a contract at the end of the school year. The salesman who took his money did a lively business throughout Utah before being convicted. Winferd was summoned to Salt Lake City to testify in court, so early one Monday morning, I took him to the Union Pacific Depot to catch a train.

Becase we had overslept, there was barely time for him to dress and grab his suitcase, while I slid into my slippers and kimona. The town was just beginning to rouse, so Main Street was deserted.

Stopping the Chevy under the trees by the city park, Winferd turned off the ignition, gave me a big hug and a kiss, then bounded across the street to the Depot. The train pulsated and puffed as it idled on the track. Winferd was the last passenger to climb aboard. The whistle blew, and the wheels began to grind. Fascinated, I watched until the caboose disappeared, then with a sigh, I stepped on the starter of the car. Nothing happened.

"Oh no," I whispered, "It can't be stalled here!" Over and over I tried, but there was not one spark of life.

By now the town was fully awake and Main Street bustled with people. I was a sight! My hair hadn't been combed, my pajamas looked slept in, and the Japanese silk of my kimona fluttered bright as a beacon light. The scuffs on my feet were little better than being barefoot, and our apartment was at the opposite end of Main. What a predicament!

"Please help me," I cried in humiliation to the boy at the corner service station. "My car won't start."

Leaving his gas pump, he looked under the hood of the car, but he was as helpless as I. I wished I could become invisible. Certainly I couldn't march down Main Street looking like this.

I fled to a wash east of the park, and followed its meandering route back of town. My sandals scooped gravel and my feet hurt. what a tortuous detour! Hurrying along the least inhabited alleys, I eventually came to my end of Main, and there I had no choice but to cross.

For once, when I least wanted to be noticed, the man at the service station across from our apartment bubbled with good humor. "Good morning Alice," they called, then one of them added, "Well, well. Did you get up before breakfast?"

116116 "Sure did," I sheepishly grinned.

I couldn't stand at the curb waiting for the traffic to ebb, so I darted through the first gap between cars, and into our apartment house.

Although our apartment had a gas stove and refrigerator, I yearned to acquire something of our own. I went in debt $300 for an electric stove and refrigerator, to be paid at $10 a month. Electric appliances were a luxury, and priced high. Although the new things looked beautiful in our kitchen, still the monster debt nagged me.

When school let out, Winferd got his teaching certificate, but no contract. The depression was so acute there was not a single vacancy. Uncle John had been right when he steered me into business. Winferd returned to the farm in LaVerkin, and I stayed on at Bradshaw's. Then it happened. Business houses in Cedar City that employed married women were boycotted, so I lost my job. My $300 debt might as well have been $3,000. With no job and no money, either amount was impossible to pay.

A poster in the Civil Service office announced examinations to be given. One was for a position in Hawaii. Why not try for it? I could work there at least until we were out of debt.

When Winferd came on Saturday night, I broke the news that I had lost my job. Spreading out the Civil Service literature, I said, "Look, next Monday they're giving an examination for a job in Hawaii. Do you care if I take it?" He was silet for a long time. "I know I can pass. Please let me try. You could get a job in Hawaii too."

"Would you like that?" he asked.

"I think it would be thrilling."

"Why don't you come to LaVerkin with me. The farm is the best place to be right now."

We might as well get some real adventure," I argued. "Please let me try."

After much coaxing, he finally said, "It's up to you."

Sunday evening, before Winferd returned to LaVerkin, we rode up Cedar Canyon. Each weekend since we were married, we had either picnicked or camped there. In the winter when the road was closed, we had driven as far as we could, then pitched our tent in the snow. We were dressed for it, and we did a lot of hiking and climbing. Now this chapter of our lives was coming to a close. Tomorrow, I would take the Civil Service exam, and let our apartment go.

Kissing me goodbye, Winferd said, "Good luck on your exam," and left.

The examination was scheduled for ten the next morning. I was excited as I dressed. Then I discovered my glasses were missing. I searched everywhere. Without them, I wouldn't be able to read a word. Then I remembered. As Winferd kissed me last night, he ahd removed my glasses, putting them in the glove compartment of his car! My heart sank. The vision of palm trees and white-capped waves blurred through my outraged tears.

117117 "This can't happen to me," I cried. grabbing the phone, I dialed. "Operator, give me Medford 2740 in LaVerkin, please." There just might be time for Winferd to run the glasses up to me, if he broke the speed limit.

Hello," Ovando said.

"Van, I've got to talk to Winferd quick."

"Well, he's out in the field somewhere, do you want me to get him?"

"Yes, please. I'll hold the line."?

As I held, minutes dragged into eternity. Finally the operator cut in. "Maam, you've held the line until you've run up $2.00 on your call. Do you want to hold it longer?"

"$2.00," I wailed, "that's all I've got left!" Sorrowfully I hung up. It was no use.

Throwing myself face down on the bed, I howled. With the crying over and my future blighted, I sadly began to pack.

That night, Winferd came in his dad's truck. Handing me my glasses, he said, "I'm sorry, sweetheart," and I buried my face against his shirt and bawled some more.

Patting me tenderly, he said, "I have found a nice place to live in Uncle Willie Hardy's house."

"How will we pay the rent? I blubbered.

"Uncle Willie is grazing his calves in Dad's pasture, and I am working for Dad. That will take care of it."

He was so blooming cheerful as he loaded the truck, that I suspected his taking my glasses was no accident. Somehow it didn't even matter. Happiness oozed through me, and I knew it was going to be fun moving into Uncle Willie's house.

Winferd was right about the farm being the best place to live during a depression. Poor President Hoover! He stoutly resisted the Federal Government being any part of the dole. He maintained that that should be in the hands of the states. But in the cities, thousands of people were struggling to stay alive, and finally, federal loans were made to the states to feed the poor. The American Red Cross distributed wheat and flour throughout the nation. A flatbed truck stopped, and a man lugged one-hundred pounds of wheat to our door. It was not asked for, but delivered none-the-less, throughout town. Later, when loads of flour came in, we requested that they not leave any with us. Undoubltedly it was a life saver to folks in need. The "dole" was set up to feed the people, but it was embarrassing to see many people line up to get their grapefruit, pineapple and corned beef, who were farm folks and far from starvation.

Winferd's work on the farm paid well in milk, eggs and other produce, but not in cash. Being penniless was normal, and trading was good. When the dance orchestra played for produce, we paid our tickets with turnips, and danced to the tune of, "We ain't got a barrel of money". My worn out dress shoes were replaced with a pair of fifty-cent Keds, which gave quite a different look to my junior prom formal.

118118 I take my hat off to song writers, the melodious historians of our country. They have faithfully captured important events and moods, setting them to music. "Side by Side" was a fun dance tune, and the words, as we sang along, had a substantial goodness. the following words are not exactly correct, but they convey the message:

Side by Side
(1927)


Oh we ain't got a barrel of money,
Maybe we're ragged and funny,
But we'll travel along,
Singin' a song,
Side by side.

Don't know what's comin' tomorrow,
Maybe it's trouble and sorrow;
But we'll travel the road,
Sharin' our load
Side by side.

Through all kinds of weather,
What if the skies should fall;
Just as long as we're together,
It doesn't matter at all.

When they've all had their quarrels and parted,
We'll be the same as we started;
Just travellin' along,
Singin' a song,
Side by side.

Gus Kahn (lyrics),
Harry M. Woods (music)

"Side by Side" (1927) as performed by Paul Whitman with the Rhythm Boys (including Bing Crosby)

Once, when the cows went down on their milk, we were without butter for quite a while. Then, one cold winter day, Winferd found a broken crate of bakery bread along the highway. Gathering it up, he brought it home. Bakery bread was like cake to us.

Aunt Eunice Hardy said, "If you'll trade me half of your bread, I'll pay you in butter."

It was a deal! We enjoyed the luxury of buttered toast for quite sometime.

That winter, blackbirds came in clouds to feast on the scattered seed in the cane fields. Winferd and Walter Segler shot into a flock, bringing down 150 of them. After they were gathered and cleaned, Winferd brought me seventy blackbird breasts.

"Let's have blackbird pie for dinner." he said.

After the meat was browned and arranged in a pan for the crust, I turned sick at the thoughts of the seventy lives it took to make one pie! We at it because it would have been sinful not to, but the meat was dark and tough, like eating crow.

"Please," I begged, "don't ever kill anymore blackbirds!"

He never did.

Walter Segler had planted a crop of carrots for the market, but was not able to sell so much as a bushel of them, so he invited us to help ourselves. They were big, crisp and sweet, and we ate them until we were almost carrot color. During December, Winferd got one week's work on a road job at Short Creek. His check came to $17.00. That was all of the cash we had for the rest of the winter.


Chapter 21
The Call of the Canyon
(1932)

119119 How dear the town of LaVerkin had become to me. Farm and ward activities accelerated, but Saturday afternoons were declared a half-holiday, and it was a time to lay down the shovel and the hoe and gather at the town square for fun and games. Also, the All-Church Music Festival was planned for June Conference in Salt Lake City. The Church was small enough then, that there was no restriction on the number of singers a ward could send. Throughout the early spring months, Winferd and I gathered with other young folks around the piano in Graff's living room, in the back of their little store, and LaVerna taught us the festival songs.

Before conference time, Winferd had bid to run the Sulphur Springs, and his bid was accepted. So on the first of June, we moved from Uncle Willie's home into the little house down in the canyon. After two weeks, we left the place in Donworth's care, while we went to the music festival.

Always I had longed to actually see Salt Lake City, and now here we were, breezing along in the sun on hard church benches with eighteen others in the back of Paul Wilson's yellow truck. The men wore hats, pulled tight against the wind. Some of the girls had straw hats, but others tied brown paper sacks, shaped like sunbonnets, on their heads. At Salt Lake, Winferd and I got a room in the Whitehall Hotel, where a home town girl, Ida Isom worked.

"This is our Honeymoon Hotel," he grinned.

This was the first time I had ever stayed in a hotel, and the first time I had been to Salt Lake. "And to think," I marvelled, "we actually came all the way in fifteen hours! What would Grandfather Crawford have thought of that?"

After an early morning practice in the Tabernacle with those who filled the choir seats and the balcony around it, Winferd took me window shopping. Sales signs loomed big in all of the windows. I'd never seen a sale before, and I was afraid I never would again. Goodness, how I wished I could splurge. Winferd bought me a fluttery, filmy blue chiffon dress for $1.66, and a pink suit for $3.47. Such elegant proof of his love. And for 10¢ each, we saw a movie, a "divine musical" called "Honeymoon Lane."

The Saturday night music festival was broadcast over the radio, and as we sang under the inspirational baton of A. Noble Cain, we visualized all of the home folks glued to the radio, listening. We tingled to be a part of this beautiful music, with the hush and the swell of sweet, controlled voices. At home, the broadcast did not come through.

At the Sunday morning session of Conference, President Heber J. Grant promised us that we would never lack for necessities if we paid our honest tithes and offerings. This promise came with great impact. He also warned us against investing in dream mines. At this particular time, there was a rash of dream mines. President Grant also pleaded with us to keep our thoughts and speech clean. He had the entire congregation stand, and with raised right hands, pledge themselves to never tell an off-color story.

120120 Etched in my mind throughout the years, is the picture of myself, standing beside my eternal companion, and taking this pledge before the Prophet of the Lord. Whenever Winferd or I were tempted, in the years that followed, to repeat an off-color funny, we have remembered this pledge and remained silent. (Most of the time.) I repent of the times when an overheard witticism has escaped from my lips, to the surprise of my children. Something within me so loves a hearty laugh. I renew my pledge to President Grant to keep my remarks above question.

Back home from conference, my life in the river canyon really began. The Sulphur Springs was mostly owned by the people of LaVerkin. They had developed the springs, building a swimming pool and five private baths. Three of the baths were directly behind the pool, and two of them were built at the source of the springs. Water in the pool was cooled down for swimming, but a Niagara of hot water pounded into the steaming hot baths. Stockholders received privilege cards of one-hundred baths every spring. Some stockholders owned two or three cards. These free swims made it possible to do a lively business without taking in a dime. There was no such thing as a motel or municipal swimming pool at that time. The warm pool at Veyo, the "boilers" at Washington, and the LaVerkin Hot Springs were the only swimming pools within hundreds of miles. Scout troops came from as far away as Provo to swim at LaVerkin in the wintertime.

Winferd never turned anyone away for lack of money. The mineral water ran in an open ditch about 175 yards from the springs to the pool. Once exposed to the air, the heavy mineral coagulated in ragged gobs along the bank, and unless the ditch was constantly swept, greenish black and yellow jelly-like masses floated like sea monsters into the pool. There was always a sweeping job for anyone who wanted to work for swims.

Winferd took pride in the place, dumping the pool and scrubbing it often. Dumping was done always after the last midnight swimmer had gone. Together, dressed in our swimming suits, we scrubbed the walls of the floor of the pool as the water receded, then whitewashed the interior and turned the water in. When the mineral scum, that had risen to the top like a sheet of ice, was broken and pushed over the spillway, the pool sparkled like a blue-green jewel, beautiful and hot.

Swimming didn't come naturally to me. Kate and Winferd were my tutors.

"Ok. Sit on the steps and let me show you," Winferd said. "Put your feet back like this for the kickoff. Lower your head and extend your arms like this. Inhale, then kick. You'll float to the other side."

Time and again I posed as directed, but I couldn't make that final kick.

"You're a coward," Kate said.

"Don't be a pantywaist," Winferd said.

Words of encouragement, like fraidycat, sissie, boob, chicken, came in a torrent. Finally I became angry. I'd show them! I'd kick off across the pool and drown. With face down, I gave a furious kick and scooted through the water, bumping my head on the opposite side of the pool. Pulling my feet under me, I stood up in surprise. I didn't sink! I floated like they said I would.

121121 They applauded, cheered, and praised me as though I had floated across the Atlantic. From then on I could swim, but I never passed a life-saving test. Whenever I practiced rescuing Winferd, I dragged him, face under water, the full length of the pool. It's a good thing he had extra lung capacity.

By the time we reached the shallow water, he'd come up spluttering. "Look dear, you just drowned me."

Papa gave Annie and Mildred each a Holstein milk cow for a wedding present, and this, he planned on doing for each of the nine of us. Now that Winferd and I were back from school, he gave us our cow, and Winferd grazed it in with his dad's milk cows.

For a wedding gift, Winferd's dad gave us our choice of ground to build a home on. If we selected land that was already under cultivation below the canal, we could have one acre, but if we chose Donkey Hollow, he would give us enough ground to build a ranch. Winferd was taken up with the idea of a ranch.

A small spring of water went with Donkey Hollow. Winferd drew plans for a reservoir, with ducks, trout and water lilies. He drew the house plans, and the plans for the garden and orchards. Then he contacted the Dixie Power Company about getting electricity to the place, and the city about pipeline water. His beautiful plans suddenly appeared to be a millionaire's dream, so he settled for an acre of ground in town.

I ran the pool during the daytime and Winferd walked the ditch for the Power Company every morning, going up the canyon to the sand trap. This was applied against the debt I had incurred for appliances, and kept our light bills paid. Then he worked on the farm for his dad, or worked on our one acre, putting in gardens and an orchard. The first tree he planted was a pecan tree which Uncle Joe Gubler had budded for our wedding gift.

Winferd had a hearty appreciation for our garden, which yielded, lush and beautiful. When he brought the first ripe cantaloupes and tomatoes from the garden, I thoughtfully regarded him as he ate.

Finally I said, "Winferd, I read an interesting article in a magazine about how to make your marriage work."

"Did it describe us?"

"Not really. The article had some good pointers in it that might help us though."

"Such as?"

"Well, for one thing, it says we should be as thoughtful about marriage as we are about business. For instance in business the employer periodically interviews the employee."

"In a husband-wife situation then, naturally the wife would do the interviewing, right?"

"Silly. The article says that both of us do lots of little things that irritate each other, and we should talk it out and then it won't irritate us any more."

122122 "Oh, I see. Seems like I read something like that in a book once. I believe it said there are many adjustments to be made in marriage, and that wives are the ones to do the adjusting. Wives are usually younger and smaller than husbands, and naturally more pliable. A husband can't change. He is big and burly and set up like hard clay by the time he gets married."

"Now you're teasing. I'm serious. It stands to reason that I do hundreds of little things that annoy you, but I'm unaware of them. If you pointed them out to me, then I wouldn't do them anymore. On the other side of the coin, I should be able to sensibly call to your attention the things you do that bother me. It's a 'growing to love each other more' period. It sounds reasonable to me." I paused to see if my comments aroused interest.

"I'm game," he said. "Go ahead and shoot. If you have grievances, now's the time to get them out and over with."

"Are you sure you won't be hurt?" I hesitated.

"Positive," he replied. "Since it's your idea, you go first."

My face was beginning to burn already. What if he should take me wrong! "Maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all," I said.

"I'm waiting. You don't mean to let this opportunity pass you by, do you?"

"Well—" I reluctantly started. "I wish you wouldn't always hang your dirty shirts on the door-knob. Wouldn't it be just as easy for you to put it in the dirty clothes hamper in the first place?"

"It's habit, I guess. Subconsciously I enjoy having you wait on me. Go on."

"Right now while we're talking, you're salting your cantaloupe. Just before that, you sugared your tomatoes. Isn't that a little inconsistent?"

"Merely a matter of preference."

"Here's a pencil and paper. Each thing I mention undoubtedly gives you and idea of things you want to point out to me. I'll finish what I have in mind, then it will be your turn."

He began taking notes while I talked. "About your eating habits," I continued, "I guess it shouldn't bother me that you want your toast so brown it is burned, and your egg so raw that I have to look the other way while you eat it, but—." On I went until I had finished my gripes.

Winferd's list was beginning to look pretty long, and I wondered how I ever had the nerve to start this in the first place.

After a pause, I said, "I hope I haven't hurt you. Now I'll be quiet while you read your list."

He regarded me silently. Nervously I arose and put the sugar bowl and salt shaker away. "Go ahead, I'm listening," I urged.

He arose, took me in his arms and said, "I have been writing a list of all the things I adore about you. I wouldn't change a hair of your head."

"Oh," I exclaimed in humiliation. Never had I been so eloquently chastised. I buried my face against him, and he chuckled merrily."1

123123 With a hand puncher, Winferd washed the swim suits and towels in a black tub over the fire, near the corner of the house. The wash water drained down the rocky slopes to the river. Our kitchen scraps were also tossed down the slope, as well as the bouquets of cut flowers, after they had faded. (We grew beautiful zinnias in our garden up town.) The wash water irrigated our garbage, and to our surprise, watermelons, potatoes and zinnias sprang up among the boulders. Some of the melons had to be cut before we could pick them, because they were wedged between black rocks. The potatoes were queer shaped also, but delicious. Our sloping, garbage garden was a real delight to us, and the squirrels and chipmunks share-cropped with us.

In the fall, Winferd gathered grapes and almonds on shares, and spread them on the roof of the house to dry. Often we heard the scampering of little feet of our thieving pets, on the roof. Because they were so cute, I had encouraged them by tossing out tidbits from the table. When I put out the scraps, the big gray squirrels bounded down the hill with a fluid motion, but the little chizzlers darted in from nowhere, performing fancy didoes, clowning the food right from under the gray squirrel's paws.

Early one morning in August, a cloudburst came before Winferd had returned from walking the ditch. A flood roared down the canyon, and the river rose higher and higher until it slapped against the bridge, some of the waves breaking over it. Flood water swelled to the level of the path-walk along the ditch, splashing over it and muddying the pool. The rumbling of boulders being swept along with the flood, and the sight of uprooted trees tossed about like match sticks, filled me with terror. To add to my fright, Will Hinton turned the Hurricane Canal down the hill, and the stream tumbled and churned into the rock-walled ditch at the edge of our house. Because the flood level was higher than the Hurricane Canal intake, Will had to open the headgate above us to keep the canal from breaking. I was trapped between the river and the canal stream. A lashing wind added to the fury of the storm, whipping spray from the waves through our bedroom window.

The only pacing place left for me was between the pool and the house. I paced and watched for Winferd's return, but he did not come. Sinister shapes floated by. A bobbing roll of denim could have been somebody, perhaps Winferd. I began to cry. I prayed and pleaded for his safety. The hours dragged into midday. Our telephone had gone dead. I became hysterical. I knew Winferd had been washed away by the flood.

Late in the afternoon, Wilford Thompson came on horseback and shouted above the sound of the canal stream. "Alice, Winferd is all right. He said to tell you he has a crew of men forking trash off the tunnel screen, to keep the water going through the pipe. The flood is above the sand trap, so he can't turn the water out."

When the flood damage was appraised, we learned that many of the upriver farms had been badly gutted. The people in Springdale and Rockville and Virgin lost corrals, cows, horses, pigs, farm tractors and other equipment. Big fish were washed up on the river bank, and people gathered them by the tubfuls.

124124 Relief Society swimming parties delighted me. Some of the women's suits were of an early vintage, flapping around their knees like skirts, and some wore queer long-legged gray ones. The women used to play "back-out" by running in and out of the pool. Aunt Pearl Webb always managed to be on the end of the line. Everyone ran onto the diving board and plunged in, one at a time. Aunt Pearl froze on the end of the board. Shivering and clowning, she couldn't be coaxed in. When she started to retreat, someone ran toward her, dangling a mouse by the tail. Aunt Pearl screamed and dove, neat as a penguin.

Her screaming was worth going to a lot of effort to hear. Once Winferd even put a tiny red racer in a paper sack, and said, "Here, Auntie, this is for you." She reached in the sack, and her scream sustained Winferd for the rest of the day.

It's a wonder Winferd survived his many little surprises. One day he brought a red racer home in his lunch bucket. When I opened it to get his dirty dishes, the racer ran up the kitchen curtain. I almost knocked Winferd out with his lunch bucket. (Anyway, I would have, if I could have caught him.)

Once, when a mouse got in the house, Winferd grabbed the broom and took after it. "Here, stand by the door, so it can't go into the living room," he ordered.

He poked the broom behind the refrigerator, and the scared little mouse darted out, making a bee-line for me. With a screech, I jumped, landing on the hapless little creature. Shuddering, I covered my face, while Winferd slapped his thighs and roared with laughter.

While attending Dixie College, Winferd's brother Tell fell in love with Audrey Gregerson, and oh my, how Audrey fell in love with him. Winferd's philosophy had always been that when two people discovered they couldn't live without each other, then was the time to get married. This seemed to be the situation with Tell and Audrey.

Secret marriages were a contagion at this particular time. My sister Edith had secretly married Eugene Herman on the sixth of March.

Audrey was only sixteen, so Tell talked Winferd into taking them to Las Vegas to be married. Talking wasn't hard. This was a chance to take a trip with someone else paying for the gas. So on April 15, Audrey and Tell mere married in a bleak, barren, dusty room, by a Justice of the Peace in the Clark County Courthouse. This was my first glimpse of Las Vegas.

Tell's parents were unhappy about him getting married without consulting them, especially his mother. An interesting turn of events was, that on the twenty-third of November, Grandma Gubler was part of a conspiracy in another secret marriage. Winferd's sister, LaVell, had been dating Percy Wittwer of Hurricane. Percy was not yet of legal age, and painfully under his father's thumb. Even at the age of nineteen he had never been permitted to drive a car, and his parents didn't want him to date at all. They had plans for him. Percy was talented in music and had played the lead role in the school opera.

125125 Whenever Percy dated LaVell, he either had to walk to LaVerkin, or catch a ride with someone else. Often he had to hide, because his father came looking for him. Courting became so difficult that marriage seemed the only solution. Grandma Gubler played Cupid, making the arrangements in the Kanab Courthouse, in the forenoon of November 23. On the return trip home, the five of us stopped at Three Lakes, where Grandma spread a wedding dinner on the picnic table, of fried chicken, salad and fruit cake. We had no time to loiter, because Percy had to get home in time to catch the school bus. After a few days, the business of sneaking out at nights to see his wife grew tiresome, so Percy simply gave up and moved.

And then the boom fell! On us, that is. We had retired for the night when there came an angry shouting and pounding upon our door. Winferd arose, and Joseph Wittwer stormed in.

"I'm getting the sheriff after you for kidnapping my son," he shouted. He was so enraged words tumbled in a torrent. We had committed a crime punishable by law in helping a minor to get married. Wittwers had planned a great future for Percy, and now we had blighted them. Their grief, sorrow, and fury would never be abated. On and on for an hour he raged. I felt so sorry for him. Sleep did not come for either of us that night.

Evidently Joseph had spent himself, because we never heard another word about going to jail. Grandpa Gubler felt left out, because he hadn't been included in the planning. But Grandma took a mischievous delight in out-smarting Joseph, who eventually recognized the marriage as a blessing.

The first cold snap of winter froze the exposed pipeline that carried our drinking water from Hurricane, so we had to haul our fresh water. Ruby and Roland, Winferd and I, celebrated our wedding anniversary together each year, and this year it was our turn to be hosts.

I set the table with our beautiful wedding dishes—the hand painted china from Mr. Graff, and the thin blown crystal goblets and fruit dishes from the B.A.C. Faculty. Although there were only four of us, we used mountains of dishes that couldn't be washed until we hauled more water.

"Forget the dishes," Winferd said. "I'll do them while you're in Sunday School in the morning."

We had to take turns going to church. After Sunday School, I came home to find the kitchen slick and clean. Not a dish in sight.

"Yoo hoo, I'm home," I shouted.

No answer. I walked to the swimming pool. There were no swimmers, and no Winferd. I went through the back to the hot baths, and there, above the tumble of the water, I heard the rattle of dishes. I opened the door and looked. Bustling about in his swimming trunks was Winferd, picking up broken bits of glass and china and piling them into the wash tub. I couldn't believe my eyes! He had conceived the idea of an automatic dishwasher, piling our lovely treasures into the tub. He aimed to hold it under the spillway, but hadn't reckoned with the force of the stream, which knocked the tub to the concrete floor. The crash broke everything but the knives and forks, and they were turned black by the sulphur water. Winferd looked humble down in the pit amongst the wreckage. Humiliated and upset, that is. Nothing I could say would change things. It really was a bit of a mess.

Footnotes

  1. Story "Adjustment" published in The Relief Society Magazine, May 1964.

Chapter 22
The New Deal
(1933)
A fresno scraper
Example of a Fresno scraper image from a patent application.

Image is in the public domain.

126126 With the New Year came the snow, which clung stubbornly to the shady slopes of the canyon, and capped the dugway to Hurricane with ice. One morning as we started up the dugway, an old fellow hailed us, so Winferd kindly stopped to pick him up. The grade was too steep and slick. Our car wheels spun, and we skidded into the barpit, stalling three other cars behind us. The drivers all got out to push and help each other, but the old fellow who was the cause of it all, hobbled out of our car and mumbled, "I might as well be walking on." Finally, when all of the cars got traction enough to crawl up the hill, the old man tried to hail a ride again, but no one stopped.

Winter concentrated itself in the canyon, but the snow melted in the sun-swept fields up town. Winferd plowed the garden and excavated a basement for our house. The excavating was done with a fresno (scraper) and a horse. Neighbors traded work for swim cards.

I stayed to tend the business, which was so slow I had time to explore every nook of the shadow-trapped canyon. On the shortest days, the first rays of the sun reached the house at 10:00 a.m. and were gone by 3:00 p.m. Five hours of sunshine was not enough. The pipe line remained frozen, so hauling water became routine.

When the ice finally melted, little green things pushed up through the wet sod and the sun at last traveled above the south rim of the hill. Still, we had no water. Surely no ice could remain in the pipes in such weather, I thought, so I followed along the pipeline to investigate. There, just barely on our side of the meter, was a stream oozing into the ground where the pipe had burst. We could have had water long before, if only we had checked.

When the marshal made his six-month's reading, he gave us a water bill for $110.00.

"But we haven't had a drop of water for three months," I protested.

"That's too bad. The water was delivered to your meter. The bill has got to be paid."

"Look," I cried, "if the town had buried their part of the pipe, we wouldn't have been frozen out."

"Well, if you folks want to sit this out in jail, that's up to you," he said.

Luckily for us, Hurricane changed marshals at this time. Wilson Imlay became the new marshall. He walked along the pipeline with, and then said, "Would you pay $10 for water used?"

Would we! We were happy to. His kindness was greatly appreciated.

Grandmother Crawford passed away on April 13, at the age of eighty-two. I felt that she died of homesickness. Less than two years before, Zion National Park had extended its boundary line to encompass all of Oak Creek. 127127 The house that Grandfather had built, as well as the homes of my uncles and cousins, were torn down. Although Grandfather had been gone for twenty years, Grandmother had kept his memory alive with touches of his personal belongings here and there about the sunny bright home he had built. How she loved and cherished every reminder of him, and now, she had been literally torn away from the one spot on earth that she held most dear. The little new house that was built for her in Springdale was never home to her. It seemed that it would have been a pitifully small thing for the Park Service to have let her remain in her home until her mortal life was through.

One day LaPriel tended the pool, while Winferd and I scouted the Pine Valley foothills in search of building sand.

"A herd of sheep has recently passed this way," Winferd observed.

Just then, we heard a plaintive little cry, so we followed the sound up a wash. There alone, among the scrub oak, was silky white baby goat. Kneeling, I held my hand out coaxingly. I was wearing a white wool sweater, and the little kid quickly saw the resemblance between me and his mother. Dainty-footed he came, nuzzling and whimpering into my sweater.

"Oh, please Winferd, can I have him?" I coaxed.

"You're asking for trouble," he protested.

"Please. We can't leave him here alone," I begged.

The little goat's tail flitted back and forth, as his head bunted and begged.

"Oh, alright," Winferd surrendered. "You're both too much for me."

Well! That little billy goat was the most sociable critter that ever lived at a public swimming pool. He adopted everyone and everything, cars included. No car was too slick or shiny for his prancing hooves. The number of vehicles we had to wash became mortifying.

"We've got to get rid of that goat," Winferd complained.

We had lots of takers, but I couldn't part with him. Early one morning, Winferd announced with a grin, "Billy won't bother us today."

"What happened?" I asked suspiciously.

"He's in a good safe place."

Leading me out the door, he pointed to a ledge above the swimming pool. There on a little shelf, the goat looked down at us, plaintively bleating.

"Oh, Winferd," I exclaimed, "we can't leave him there."

"Why not? It's a good place for him," he laughed.

"Please get him down," I begged.

"It's a perfectly proper place for a goat," he said. "When he gets ready, he'll figure out how to get down, the same way he got up."

128128 Surveying the situation, I could see that if the goat jumped he'd kill himself. While Winferd cleaned the dressing rooms, I climbed above the ledge and let myself down onto the shelf beside the goat. I had intended to get hold of him and boost him on top. Much to my distress, I found the shelf too narrow for me to stoop. I'd fall over the edge if I tried it. The goat was so tickled to have company that he wiggled against me, almost knocking us both off. Digging my fingers in the cracks of the rocks, I screamed for help.

Winferd came out of the building, and seeing our predicament, bounded up the hillside. Standing above the little cliff where we were trapped, he looked down at us. I was so scared I whimpered almost as pitifully as the goat.

"You're a fine pair," Winferd panted.

After pulling me onto safe footing, he reached down and got the goat. His sense of humor was maddening. He chuckled all the way down the hill.

Homer and Joe Englestead came for a swim, and when Joe said, "I'll give you a dime for that goat," Winferd said, "I'll take it."

Tickled over the deal, Joe took the little fellow in her arms as she got in the car to leave. "You precious little darling," she cooed.

Homer started the moter and Joe said, "Oh, oh," raising the goat up from her lap. A steaming puddle glistened on her black satin skirt.

Laughing uproariously as Homer, Joe and the goat drove out of sight, Winferd said, "What shall we do with the dime?"

In the evenings, Winferd drew house plans with as much zeal as if he had money to execute them. Digging a hole for a basement was one thing, but building was another—especially without cash. But optimistically he planned. Our contract to run the pool would soon be up.

The dirt that came out of the basement was sticky, red gumbo, so Winferd conceived the idea of building forms for garage walls, and tamping in the clay. For reinforcement, he strung old barbed wire and scrap iron.

The original settlers in Hurricane and LaVerkin had lived in tents or graineries while they built their permanent homes. With the coming of the automobile, people built garages for their temporary homes. And so our garage sprouted, growing round upon round, as the hole for our basement increased. Window frames and door frames took shape, and finally a roof was shingled, cement floors were poured, and walls plastered. The total cash investment was $100, and we owned a home that was all paid for. True, it was a mud hut, with cracks in the outside walls that had dried too quickly, but all of this would eventually be covered with siding. The mud, like adobes, was excellent insulation, and the little house was cozy.

Whenever I could break away, I'd hike up town. Up on top, the fields were green, and the horizon stretched beyond the orchards to the mountains. I had grown weary of having my view hampered by canyon walls. Up on top, I felt like a bird out of its cage. I wanted to fluff my feathers, flick my wings and warble. Anxiously I counted the days until the first of June. And guess what! We were going to have a baby! Every day I chattered happily about moving and about plans for our baby.

129129 On the last afternoon in May, when we should have been packing, Winferd put his arm around me and said, "We won't be moving tomorrow."

"Why not?" I asked in alarm.

"I have signed a contract to run the place for another year. "

All the happiness I had felt drained from me. "Oh no," I sobbed, "I can't stand this canyon for another year."

"Look, darling," he pleaded, "now that there is a baby coming, we have no choice. I don't know any other way to make a dollar."

After all, he was the provider, so I had to accept his decision.

He did his best to relieve me of "canyon fever." Donworth, LaPriel or Kate often tended the springs on a Sunday afternoon, so we could get out.

One afternoon, as we cruised above Duncan Flat, something across the river caught Winferd's eye. Slowing the car to a crawl, he pointed.

"Look over there, beyond that clump of cottonwoods." Then he gasped, "Look out!"

He had steered in the direction of his pointing, and we were slowly going over the bank. I sized up the pile of Russian thistle trapped below, and knew we would land in it, upside down.

But we didn't. Surprised, we hung as though on a sky hook. The rear of the car was in the air and we were leaning against the windshield. Gingerly, Winferd rolled the glass down and peered out.

"We're caught on the end of a culvert," he announced.

Carefully he crawled out, then after rescuing me, we scrambled up the bank to the road.

"Wait here," he said, "while I go for help."

As I sat on a rock, I mused. We were unharmed. We could have been pinned beneath an upturned car, but we weren't. We weren't even scratched. I thought of the important little person who would soon join our family. It was all quite clear. That little life was not to be snuffed out before it had begun. For our car to come down at exactly the right angle to become firmly balanced on that culvert was no thing of chance. We had been protected.

Winferd hiked to Evan Lee's farm. Oddly enough, drillers from the Virgin Oil Fields were there with a crane. Greasy, black and cheerful, they came to our rescue. With a hook and chain, they hoisted our car onto the road. Total damage: two smashed milk bottles in the back seat.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States in March ofr 1933, estimates of the number of unemployed ran as high as 18,000,000. He made his inaugural address to a badly frightened nation. "All we have to fear, is fear itself," he said.

He had been working on reform measures since he accepted the nomination in 1932, and he immediately called Congress into an extra session, known as "The Hundred Days," although it was actually only ninety-nine 130130 days. Every important measure the President asked for was passed, usually by an overwhelming majority. Franklin D. Roosevelt knew exactly what he wanted and moved swiftly to get it. These measures became known as "The New Deal."

President Roosevelt was a Democrat, and we were Republicans, and there was a definite difference between the two parties in those days. The President had the brilliant idea that we could spend our way to prosperity by getting money into circulation.recklessly, it seemed to me. Even his philosophy about fear scared me. But he seemed to thrill and excite our nation. Certainly he got things going. As always, song writers reflected the spirit of the times. Snatches of two songs, that came daily over the radio, still come to my mind:

Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again,
Let us sing a song of cheer again, happy days are here again.
All together shout it now, there's no one who can doubt it now,
Let us tell the world about it now. Happy days are here again.

From "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics)

And—

There's a new day in view,
There is gold in the blue,
There is hope in the hearts of men.
All the world's on the way
To a sunnier day,
'Cause the road is open again.

From "The Road Is Open Again" by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)

Oh, I'll tell you, to the optimistic, President Roosevelt held a magic wand that would banish all of the ills of the depression. Fearful Republicans could see the beginning of national debts.

One of the first measures that struck close to home, was the setting up of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The radio continuously broadcasted the need for young men to save our natural resources, plant trees, build dams and bridges and fight fires. Thousands of men from coast to coast signed up, and CCC Camps were built, one in LaVerkin, one in Leeds, one in Washington, and one in Zion Canyon, and boys and men in khaki green swarmed the country side. They built picnic tables and made recreation areas such as Oak Grove, and the Pine Valley Campground. Through the CCC's, President Roosevelt was responsible for many romances and quick marriages. Many of our local girls married CCC boys. (In fact, my dear children, that is how you got your Uncle Luther Fuller. He was supervisor over the construction of the LaVerkin CCC Camp.) Missionary work was done on a large scale, and some of our strongest church members were converts from President Roosevelt's "Happy Days Are Here Again" program.

Winferd and Kate, scheming together, planned vacation for Mama and me. Mama needed rest, and I needed to get out of the canyon. Winferd took us to the Pine Vally Campground, which was under construction, pitched our tent and set up our supplies. Kate was to run things at home in Mama's stead. Poor Papa. How he suffered. For thirty-two years Mama had never been out of his sight. This vacation, not planned by him, was total agony to him. After Winferd had made our camp cozy, he returned home.

The first night, after Mama and I had snuggled into bed, we heard something rattling about among our things. Startled, I started to rare up, but Mama pulled me back.

"It's a skunk," she whispered.

131131 During the day, the woods swarmed with CCC boys. Often we had to take cover when they dynamited. Tiny clods and pebbles sprayed down through the trees onto our tent.

Daily, Mama and I hiked seven miles, round trip, to the Pine Valley post office. Usually we were rewarded with letters from home. Papa was so homesick for Mama it was pitiful. At the end of the first week, Winferd brought him to see her. A week later, when it was time to break camp, he brought Wayne and Papa too. They spent the day fishing. Winferd didn't catch a thing, but Wayne caught one fish on his water-willow pole and string. Wayne was so sunburned, his ears were peeling and his red face made his white hair look even whiter. The excitement of catching the only fish in camp stretched his grin across a face that still hadn't grown up to match his two big front teeth.

This vacation was a choice experience.the only time in my life when I had my mother all to myself. But we were both glad to return home.

The LaVerkin Ward boomed with the coming of the CCCs. I first met Luther Fuller when he came to the Springs to get me to type the parts of a three act play. Luther was the Drama Director for the MIA, and we had never had it so good. His performances were some of the most outstanding our area had ever seen. He built all new scenery for the stage, and with his efforts, our church house suddenly spruced up. He was a real blessing to the ward. (He married Winferd's sister Rosalba, 5 July 1934.)

It was during 1933 that all of the banks in the nation were closed for four days. Panic-stricken people had made a run on the banks, withdrawing their money, so President Roosevelt ordered that all banks be closed until they could prove they were on solid footing. Zion's Bank, our one and only stood the test.

Our radio was our most treasured luxury. Grandpa Gubler had won it at a Christmas Eve drawing, two years before, at Graff's store. Grandpa already had a big cabinet radio, so Winferd swapped his phonograph for this table model. We listened regularly to "Amos and Andy," "Lum and Abner," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "George Burns and Gracie Allen," and to "One Man's Family." And we sang along with familiar songs. One of them in particular seemed written for me. Part of the words were, "She may be weary, women do get weary, wearing the same shabby dress, and when she's weary, try a little tenderness. I know she's waiting, just anticipating, things she may never possess, and while she's waiting, try a little tenderness."

I used to sing this, almost with a lump in my throat. I wasn't used to being pregnant. I had just two maternity dresses, and was awfully tired of them both.

Our baby was to be born in January, so at Christmas time I felt quite unglamorous. When I opened my gift from Winferd, it was a glazed cotton dress of blue and white, with a white lace trimmed dickey.

"To wear after the baby comes," he smiled.

132132 I tried it on. It fit. It fit me now, on Christmas Day!

Oh, how weary I had been "wearing that same shabby dress."

"I'm sorry darling," Winferd said. "I got the dress much too big for you to wear after the baby comes."

I hugged and hugged him. Such happiness was mine to wear a new dress on Christmas Day. "You made a wonderful mistake," I assured him.

Online Publication Notes

Online notes provided courtesy of Andrew Gifford, 11 Jul. 2011.

  1. "Happy Days Are Here Again" was first recorded in 1929 as a song for the film Chasing Rainbows in which bootleggers celebrate the upcoming repeal of Prohibition. It was later used by F.D.R.'s campaign, and has since been associated with his "New Deal" politics. See Wikipedia: Happy Days Are Here Again or hear the original song on YouTube
  2. The Road is Open Again (1933) was a short film put out for the National Recovery Administration (NRA) by Warner Brothers. The song, with the same name, was written by Irving Kahal (lyrics) and Sammy Fain (music), and is sung by Dick Powell as the credits play at the beginning. Watch a short film which included the song at the beginning - FDR Presidential Library Internet Archive
  3. Wikipedia: Amos 'n' Andy or listen to a radio episode of Amos 'n Andy on YouTube
  4. Wikipedia: Lum and Abner or listen to a radio episode of Lum and Abner on YouTube
  5. Wikipedia: Fibber McGee and Molly or listen to a radio episode of Fibber McGee and Molley on YouTube
  6. Wikipedia: Burns and Allen or listen to a radio episode of George Burns and Gracie Allen on YouTube
  7. Wikipedia: One Man's Family or listen to a radio episode of One Man's Family on the Bay Area Radio Museum
  8. Try a Little Tenderness
    (1932)

    She may be weary,
    Women do get weary

    Wearing the same shabby dress
    And when she's weary,
    Try a little tenderness.

    You know she's waiting,
    Just anticipating

    Things she may never possess.
    While she's without them,
    Try a little tenderness.

    I'ts not just sentimental,
    She has her grief and care,

    And a word that's soft and gentle,
    Makes it easier to bear.

    You won't regret it,
    Women don't forget it,

    Love is their whole happiness.
    It's all so easy
    Try a little tenderness.

    Irving King (lyrics)
    Harry M. Woods (music)


Chapter 23
Marilyn
(1934)

132132 "Winferd," I called, shaking him out of a deep sleep. "Wake up. You'd better get McIntire quick."

Something had jolted me wide awake, just after midnight on the eleventh of January. Winferd jumped out of bed, ran to the kitchen and vigorously cranked the power company phone. At the power plant, LaVina Brooks answered.

"Sister Brooks, get the doctor quick. Our baby is coming."

Shivering, I huddled in a blanket on our homemade couch, while Winferd built a fire.

When Dr. McIntire arrived, he asked, "Is the baby to be born on the couch?"

"No. We're going to move the bed in here," Winferd replied.

"Well, somebody better move fast."

The doctor and Winferd lugged bedding, mattress and our homemade wooden bed into the front room by the fire. By the time the top sheet was on, our baby had arrived. Sweat poured down Winferd's pale face, but he was grinning.

"Go get your nurse," McIntire instructed. "I'll wait until you get back."

So Winferd awoke Mira Lemmon in the night, and stood over her while she gave the baby an oil bath, and swirled soft curls in her sikly black hair. Sister Lemmon wrapped her in a soft pink blanket and laid her in my arms. Our darling little daughter!

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Winferd gazed tenderly at her. "You know," he said, "I've always thought a baby wasn't worth looking at until it was at least six weeks old. But our baby doesn't look at all like a mud fence. She's beautiful!"

Every morning for two weeks, Winferd went in the car after Sister Lemmon, who bathed the baby and me. My cousin, Hazel Spendlove, was the hired girl who did all of the housework. If I even so much as leaned up on my elbow, someone would say, "Lie down! If you don't lie still, you'll be sorry."

133133 Old ladies frightened me with tales of invalid mothers who either died early, or suffered a lifetime of misery because of their foolishness during the critical two weeks after childbirth. I lay still and suffered. On the fifteenth day I was permitted to sit up a little. My head spun. On the sixteenth day I tried to stand. My feet tingled when they touched the floor. When I tried to walk across the room, I staggered. Hazel left at the end of six weeks, and I almost cried in the dish pan.

Marilyn was fed every four hours, and even if she cried her little eyes out, we didn't futch one minute. She was never picked up when she cried. The Government Bulletin said babies learned to get attention by crying. So she was changed, or picked up only when she was good. She wasn't neglected. She never stayed wet a minute. I washed two dozen diapers every day. But the thing Marilyn protested most was being put to bed after her six o'clock feeding in the evening. She wanted to play. The book said to put her down and leave the room, so I did, and she cried until eight every night.

A germ wouldn't have dared get near her. I wouldn't even take her to Sacrament meeting to be blessed, for fear someone would breathe on her. She was blessed at home.

The baby kept me so preoccupied that I had no time to think about leaving the canyon. But another June was approaching, and with it, the end of our contract. The little mud house in LaVerkin was looking more homey each day, for now it was plumbed, and the kitchen cabinets installed.

As we anticipated moving, I realized that life at the springs had been an adventure. There had been sweet times, like family gatherings at baptisms, and funny times, when we were awakened to the laughing and splashing of swimming parties that came in the night.

We had a system for checking up on spontaneous parties. The light switch to the pool was just inside our kitchen door. One of us, usually Winferd, went to the pool, then the other one flipped the switch, flooding the building with lights.

One night, when the plunging and splashing awoke us, I went ahead, and Winferd turned on the lights. Moonlight, streaming through the doorway, revealed a group playing back-out in and out of the water. As the lights came on, four nudes came racing on the wet cement toward me. Seeing me, three men dove into the water, but the man on lead skidded, landing on his back, with his feet almost touching mine.

Bewildered, he grinned and said, "Hello."

Winferd had arrived by that time, and I retreated.

"We didn't want to disturb you," one of the men said. "We left the money for our swims on the little shelf by your office door."

And they had. They were business men from Cedar, returning home from a convention in Las Vegas.

The next time squealing and splashing awoke us, Winferd went first, and I turned on the lights. Pink bodies, screaching and running, disappeared out the back door. Clothes hung on pegs in the dressing rooms, but no one returned for them until the afternoon of the following day.

134134 Chagrined boys and girls had climbed barefoot and naked, up to the canal, through boulders and brush, and waded home. Some of them lived on the opposite side of Hurricane.

On Easter weekends, there were more people in the pool than water. This was the busiest time of the year—the one time when the money rolled in. Pleasant memories lingered as I recalled the Sunday School classes, Scout Troops, and family gatherings at the pool. I thought of Will and Maria Simpkins, the people we lived with the first year I went to college.

Sister Simkins came to bathe for her arthritis. Will also needed to soak his black and blue face. When asked what happened to him, Will replied, "Maria hit me."

"Honest Will, did she do that?" someone asked.

Sister Simkins' hands were so crippled with arthritis she couldn't have hit anyone. What really happened was that when Will started to hobble his milk cow, she kicked him before he was through, and the loose hobble struck his face.

Their granddaughter Glennis stayed at the springs for two weeks with them. Every afternoon, she and I went in the pool, where I tried to each her to swim. She was such a skinny little kid that she never even learned to float, but trying to teach her was fun.

For the past two years I had been swimming daily, except for the time when Marilyn came. Now I wondered—was I hooked on swimming? Could I stand not to swim? Each time I went to town to look at our little house, and to breathe the smell of fresh plaster and new pine lumber, I had no question where my heart was.

Johnny Larson took over the springs on the first day of June and we moved into our home.

Aside from the stove, refrigerator and radio, the furniture in our home was made by Winferd. The couch was made from old barn boards and car spring seats, firmly padded, and covered with an Indian blanket. He made the Early American cabinet for our books and radio, and he made the table and our bed. Kate painted a wood scene with squirrels and a little boy, on unbleached muslin curtains, that served as a closet door beneath the high fruit shelves. Our new little home was as cleverly and compactly arranged as a sheep wagon, and we loved it.

President Roosevelt had some kind of surplus buying program going, and the government bought our little range cow that Grandpa Gubler had given us, for $14.00. With the money, we bought a crib for Marilyn—our first real purchase since moving to LaVerkin.

My first ward job was to teach Trail Builder boys in Primary. I taught the Blazers, Helen Glendenning the Trekkers, and Aunt Harriet Woodbury the Guides. We planned all of our activites together—kite tournaments, cook-outs, and home coming programs. Day after day, our boys molded clay animals and little farmers from the smooth, sub-soil from our basement. When the little models were cured and dried, they painted them with poster paints and shellacked them. Aunt Harriet designed a farm yard, buildings and all, making tile roofs from corrugated pasteboard. The Home Coming display was cute and clever. Aunt Hattie and Helen were two of the most tireless and devoted Gospel Teachers that have ever touched my life.


Chapter 24
Donkey Shelves
(1935)

135135 Whatever Winferd did, he did it big. Mama once said, "He even has a busy way of stirring molasses candy." His whole body bustled to the rhythm of his whistling while he stirred. He had a busy, important air about everything he did. Nothing was ordinary. Not even an accident. Like the time Marilyn climbed up in her baby buggy, pulling the glass mixing bowl of cream down over hear head. She gasped and blubbered while thick cream rolled down her nightie, onto her blankets and dribbled to the floor.

"Wow!" Winferd exclaimed. Like a streak, he was outside filling the black tub and building a roaring fire under it. By the time he announced there was plenty of hot water, Marilyn had already been bathed, the cream was mopped up and everything was under control.

Winferd's enthusiasm reflected in his work. He had a whistling good time making Marilyn's cute play pen. But he worked ten hours a day, six days a week for Emil Graff, so it seemed necessary that I do a little creating of my own.

I had rooted a dozen cuttings from Mama's pretty geraniums, but I had no window sill. My calculating eye appraised the sunny, south windows of the garage doors. An ideal spot, of only there were shelves. Winferd's sisters were competent carpenters, but not I. I couldn't saw a board straight, or drive a nail all the way in without embedding the head in sidewise. I have always been a bailing wire, adhesive tape type of carpenter. Adhesive tape would never fasten a shelf to a door, let alone hold potted plants.

With spike nails and bailing wire, I hung loops on the doors, and slid slats from orange crates through them. When Winferd came home, I had a row of geraniums potted in the tomato cans lined up on my shelves.

"What's that?" he pointed in dismay.

"Plant shelves," I replied.

"They look like donkey shelves to me."

"I've never heard of a donkey shelf," I said.

"Neither have I," he grinned. "Here, move your plants and I'll help you."

With solid iron brackets and smooth white pine, he built two beautiful shelves.

I discovered a secret that day. If Winferd was too busy to do a job for me, I could do it myself. If it happened to be carpenter work, it usually turned out to be a donkey job. With loving compassion for my awkwardness, he always took over.

One Saturday morning, a regional MIA convention was being held in St. George. Since Winferd was the WMMIA Superintendent, he was supposed to be there.

136136 Whe I got up, I felt terrible. We were going to have another baby, and Dr. McIntire had kept me in bed for a few days because I was threatened with a miscarriage. But now, I was supposed to be up and around.

"Winferd, I'm scared," I said as a sharp pain stabbed me. "Please don't leave me."

With a look of concern he said, "I have to go. I am furnishing transportation for the others."

"But I need you here," I pleaded.

With a hug and a kiss he said, "Darling, you're going to be just fine. Now I have to be about the Lord's errand." And he left.

Holding my middle, I groaned as a hard cramp grabbed me. Tears of self pity coursed down my cheeks. Curling up on the bed, I wept. Wasn't that just like a man! To think things would be fine just because he said so! What if the worst happened? What if I died? One thing for sure, there would be no use dying just before MIA, because he'd have to tend to that first. He always maintained that the Lord blessed you for doing as you were told.

Marilyn played happily with her spool doll in her playpen, but it was time now for her orange juice, so I arose. Then I realized my pains were gone. I felt great! With a spurt of energy, I shined the house and did my baking.

When Winferd returned that evening, he touseled my hair. "I knew you would be fine," he said.

"But how did you know?" I asked.

"Because I asked the Lord to please take care of you, and I received the assurance that he would."

Always his faith was justified.


Chapter 25
Norman
(1936)

136136 In the dark morning hours on the 29th of February, we were up and bustling. This time, the bed was already set up in our front room.

"Doc, can't we wait until tomorrow to have this baby?" I asked.

"Great Scott, why?" he asked.

"Because it's Leap-Year Day. The poor little kid will only get a birthday once every four years."

"That's too bad, but this baby isn't going to wait," he answered.

So scrawny little Murry Norman came, all six pounds of him. After the doctor and the nurse had gone, Winferd kissed me and said, "Now we have a son."

"Look, he isn't breathing," I cried.

Norman's face had turned purple. Winferd grabbed the limp little 137137 fellow, shaking him until he began to breathe. White-faced, Winferd sat holding his little son. Again the baby's face turned dark, and Winferd worked frantically to get him breathing once more. Goodness! Didn't our little boy want to stay with us?

LaPriel was our hired girl. One thing the Government Bulletin had left out was the fact that a child should learn to feed himself. I had never let Marilyn hold her own spoon because she would make a mess. And now, I lay in our combined bedroom, kitchen, dining room, etc., and watched in distress as LaPriel put Marilyn in her high chair and handed her a dish of food and a spoon. I wanted to cry out, "Feed her," but suddenly I was ashamed of my own default—ashamed to admit that although Marilyn was more than two years old, she didn't know what to do with a spoon. LaPriel seemed unaware that she scraped all of Marilyn's frood out for the first few meals. But that was all. Instinct took over. LIke a little pig, Marilyn finally dug in.

Winferd killed a chicken before he went to work one morning, leaving it for LaPriel to clean. The chickens were Marilyn's playmates that she shared her cracker crumbs with. Her eyes grew big at the sight of the liveless one, and when LaPriel started to scaled it over a tub, Marilyn screamed, "Don't. No, no, don't hurt chickie!"

A look of horror came over LaPriel's face. "Alice, I can't stand it."

"Come here, Marilyn," I coaxed.

Reluctantly she came. LaPriel finished scalding the chicken, and started to pluck it.

Breaking away from me, Marilyn screamed, "No, no. Don't take off chickie's clothes."

LaPriel almost wept as she finished the task, and Marilyn sobbed broken-heartedly.

Grandma Gubler was the nurse that came daily for two weeks, bringing with her special treats.

Marilyn took over the baby in every possible way. One morning, when he lay on a blanket on the table ready for his bath, she climbed up on a chair to watch. "Nice baby," she cooed, kissing him on his bare tummy. "Nice baby brudder," kiss, kiss.

"Wah, wah, wah," Norman howled.

Whirling from the sink, I grabbed Marilyn, scooting her down. Tell-tale teeth marks showed red on Norman's soft, pink tummy. Marilyn had loved too deeply.

Another time, when Norman fussed in his basket, Marilyn said, "Brudder wants dinner." And then a choking sound came from the basket. I ran. She had dropped half of a shelled walnut into his mouth.

The excavation in your yard yawned wide, waiting to become a basement. The wind, the sun and the rain took over. Sucker shoots from the Lombardy poplars along the fence sprouted in the clay walls, and were fast becoming long, leafy saplings. Wind borne seeds came to rest in the subsoil, and weeds grew. In the center of the hole, a tamarack grew, a beautiful lacy thing, waving pink plumes.

138138 "Wow isn't that nice," I exclaimed. "We have a flower garden already."

Winferd's brow crinkled. "But I didn't plan this for a sunken garden."

"Sunken garden!" My mind leaped at the words. "Why not? Winferd, we could have fun and really enjoy our basement until we get money enough to build."

With a pained look he said, "That tamarack is growing in the hall outside the bathroom."

"That's all right. We won't be moving in for a few days."

I stood transfixed as the tamarack danced in the breeze. "Boy, oh boy, I can see it all now. Come here!"

Grabbing his hand, I led him into the house. We sat tat the table while I sketched a design for a formal garden.

"Might as well," he conceded.

With tape, hemp string and pegs, we laid out the design on our "basement floor". He wheelbarrowed a thin layer of barnyard litter and sand on the little plots.

"Now it's up to you," he said. "Have fun."

With the tamarack as the focal point, we began with a diamond-shaped patch of lawn. Next came an alyssium border, then a cinder pathwalk. Bordering the outside of the path were nasturtiums, followed by purple petunias. In each corner of the basement was a triangle of zinnias. The garden grew as pretty as planned. Standing on the bank looking down at the flamboyant flower faces was satisfaction. If we'd had money to build, we'd never have known the fun of a sunken garden. Poverty is sometimes elegant.

When Marilyn begged to sleep on the camp cot outside, Winferd said, "Why not?"

Shocked, I said, "A little two-and-one-half year old kid sleeping outside alone?"

"What difference does being little make?"

"She'll get scared in the night."

"There's not a thing out there to hurt her."

So Marilyn slept alone under the pecan tree. She loved outdoors and everything that lived there.

And the chickens loved her. The wire hook that fastened the pen gate was within her reach, and she couldn't resist the fun of the feathered excitement as the flock squawked past her into the garden. The paddling she got seemed worth the pleasure of doing it again and again. And then egg production dropped, in spite of the daily cackling chorus. One afternoon I heard Marilyn giggling above the clucking of the chickens. I found her sitting on the ground in front of the woodpile, the entire flock of fat hens gathering around her. On her lap was a pan of eggs. One by one she was breaking them onto a shingle, where the greedy chickens guzzled them.

"Stop it, Marilyn" I shouted.

139139 "But the chickies like eggs," she replied.

Shooing the flock away, I grabbed the pan from her and turned her over and paddled. but always, the fluttering, cackling and clucking of the chickens pressing against the mesh wire at sight of her was too much. She slipped into the run to drop an occasional egg for them to devour. The wire hook on the gate had to be replaced with a strap buckled through the fence.

The milk cow received the same loving attention from her that the chickens did. Often, when the cow was lying down, Marilyn crawled through the corral fence and climbed onto her back, laying her face against the cow's hairy hide. Oblivious to her, the cow continued to chew her cud.

Grandma Gubler had a skitterish nag that jumped whenever a car went down the street. When she was fastened to the plow, she often jumped sidewise, almost tangling Winferd in the reins. She was dangerous.

One morning when Marilyn had disappeared, I spied her in the field next to the house, her arms lovingly wrapped around the nervous nag's hind leg, her face pressed against its flank. Winferd caught sight of her, too. As he reached my side, he put a finger to his lips, indicating that we must not make a sound. Silently we watched and prayed. Marilyn loved and patted the horse to her heart's content, and it never flinched a muscle until after she walked away and crawled through the fence to safety.

But the animals weren't always so considerate. One Sunday morning when I had dressed Marilyn in a new yellow dress and bonnet, she felt so grand that she walked to where the cow was staked in the grass. Spreading out her skirt, she said, "Hi cow. See pretty dress!"

The cow lowered its head, and with a snort and a bunt, landed Marilyn in a steaming fresh pile of manure. She cried like her heart would break. To try to describe my feelings would be futile!

In June, the County Agent, Anson call, took a bus load of beet seed growers on a tour through Arizona and Southern California, to study methods of harvesting and raising beets. The Beet Seed Industry had been growing in Washington County since 1932. Since Winferd cultivated and tended Grandpa Gubler's beet seed crop, he was asked to take the tour. It was an opportunity for a real vacation for him. He enjoyed the change of pace, and the chance to be with "the boys".

A smorgasbord was spread before them at each stop. Once, when Roland Webb noticed a bowl of what looked like mashed turniips, he exclaimed, "Oh boy, I love buttered turnips," and proceeded to heap his plate. When tears streamed down his face over the first spoon full, someone exclaimed, "Horseradish," and everyone laughed.

In September, Winferd went to Salt Lake as a delegate to the Republican Convention. While there he enjoyed a reunion with some of his missionary companions, Allen Wood, Del Fairbourne, and Royden Mccullough, and attended a Grocer's Convention, where they forecasted a future day when shoppers could actually buy pre-cooked food. Also they forecasted a time when dish washing would be done away with. He ate off a plate that was consumed with his food.

140140 We attended a pageant at the St. George Temple, a dramatizeation of the progress of Utah's Dixie. Two thousand spectators viewed it from the southeast lawn. One of the most thrilling moments was when Dilworth Snow was spotlighted near the top of the temple, singing, "This is the Place, Dear Utah". Earl Bleak accompanied him on the trumpet. Mary McGregor, a feast for the eyes in her Indian costume, sang in a clear, beautiful voice, "Indian Love Call".

When the chill of the nights and the gold of October days reddened and ripened the heavy bunches of cane seed, and turned the blades on the stocks to rattling, rasping swords, then came Molasses Making time in LaVerkin. An unwritten law, which every Molasses Maker's wife understood, was the singleness of purpose in their household—Molasses Making. The cane was cut and topped, then hauled on horse-drawn sleds to the mill, where the green, frothy juice was squeezed out between heavy steel rollers. usually there was one man on the boiler and two on the sleds. The wives of the Molasses Makers waited on their men until the session was over.

When I came into the Gubler Clan, I married a Molasses Maker. Most of the time, Grandpa "boiled" and Winferd and his brothers "hauled and squeezed". Horses hitched to a sweep marched in a circle all day long, turning the mill. Grandma or the girls toted the men's dinners to them in large pails, because neither the boiler nor the mill could be interrupted. The men ate on the job. Even though the cane grew just across the street from the house, dinner was still carried to the field. As the boys married, their wives continued to tote their pails, perpetuating the old custom. Usually, making molasses was a race against oncoming frost. The race lasted from three to six weeks and everyone put in double time.

The dinners were not lunches, but full-course meals of hot, mashed potatoes, gravy, meat, salads, and pies, the same as would have been served at the table, using just as many dishes. This required a huge milk bucket for each man. The bucket was cumbersome and heavy to lug.

So now we found ourselves living just over the fence from the cane field. Dutifully, I neglected my house and babies to prepare the big bucket of hot dishes for my man. Anxiety trailed me across the field, because i never knew what the "old baby" might do to the "new baby" while I lugged my hot and awkward load across the rough furrows and stubble of the cane field. Often I met Winferd in the field and he sat on the sled and ate, while I waited to carry back the dishes.

Rebellion arose within me. "Why should I knock myself out dragging this weary load into the field," I asked myself, "when he drives right by the house? After all, it is easier for him to come into the house and carry his food out in his stomach, than it is for me to fuss and arrange all of those cumbersome bowls."

"Look dear," I said, "from now on, you just hop over that fence and come and sit down to the table. All the world knows a man has to take time out to eat. You're not more than one block away from your own table any of the time during Molasses Making. If it isn't worth your time to come in and eat, it isn't worth my time to take the food to you."

That was it. Winferd came home to eat. The idea caught on. Others took a turn at the boiler, and even Grandpa learned to go home to dinner.


Chapter 26
Little Rock School House, Goodbye
(1937)

141141 Betsy-Wetsy, Marilyn's doll, joined the family Christmas day. What a mess she turned out to be. She left puddles on every chair, but we endured. Then one day, Betsy demanded more than water. When I went to feed the chickens, I overheard Marilyn's voice coming from the corral.

"Stand still cow. Come on cow, stand still. Betsy wants some milk."

Peering through the board fence, I saw Marilyn snuggled underneath the cow, squeezing a teat with one tiny hand and holding Betsy's bottle with the other. Obligingly, the cow let down a trickle that filled the bottle.

When the little rock school house, erected in 1906, settled and cracked, Ed Gubler and I were selected as committe members to go before the County School Board to appeal for a new building. Our pleas were unheeded. The board members informed us that the day of the one room school house was over. (Our building had two rooms, since the lean-to had been added.) We were informed that it was too costly to maintain a little school. Consolidation was the tide that was sweeping the school system from coast to coast. Bus drivers and school busses were more economical than heating and lighting, and employing teachers for little schools. A little school could not be equipped like a consolidated school could. Children in large schools had more educational advantages.

We told of the love of the townspeople for our little school, of the outstanding programs preparted for all special occasions, of the you of having children educated near enough to walk home for dinner, of how our little school was the heart of the community, of how our town would become lifeless without it.

The response was no, no no. LaVerkin could not have a new schoolhouse. So funds were allocated to erect a new Hurricane High School building, which had its grand opening on November 6, 1936. The old building became the Elementary, where eventually the LaVerkin children were to be transported. People grieved. Helen Bradshaw and Bryon taylor were the last ones to teach school in LaVerkin. I substituted two days for Bryon, and the old fever I had once felt for becoming a school teacher momentarily flared again.

After the eight grades gave their final program in the spring of 1937, the little rock schoolhouse was closed. Loren Squire was given the material in the building if he would tear it down and clean up the property. No more would the walls echo the sound of children's voices singing, "Good morning to you, we're all in our places, with bright smiling faces."

Winferd and his brothers and sisters had all attended the elementary grades in the little rock schoolhouse, but our children would never have the privilege of going to grade school in their own home town. When the yellow busses stopped in September to pick up the kindergarten children, it seemed like harsh cradle snatching.

142142 Heavy road equipment carved a highway through LaVerkin fields and orchards, and Hurricane's dream of being on a throughfare was finally to be realized. Up to now, Hurricane had almost been a dead-end street. Although there was an unimproved road between Hurricane and St. George, the main travel went by way of Toquerville and Anderson's Ranch, then down around by Leeds to St. George. There was virtually no travel through the "cutoff."

Road construction began in 1936. Simultaneously, cement was being poured for a new Zion Park Stake and North Ward Chapel, the sugar beet industry was building a new plant in St. George, and the 1.06 mile long Zion Tunnel that had been open to traffic for six years, was being reinforced with cement. In this case, beauty was sacrificed for safety.

On October 15, Hurricane and LaVerkin celebrated the dedication of the largest, one-span bridge in the State of Utah, the bridge that spans the Virgin River between the two towns. Not only was this the state's largest one-span bridge, but the State's highest bridge.

Statistics are sometimes interesting, so I shall quote them. the 194 foot high, 400 foot long bridge, contains 513 tons of steel, and 4,000 sacks of cement. Christensen and Gardner were the contractors, and W. E. johnson, the engineer, and G. P. Holahan, superintendent of construction.

Photo the 1936 bridge being refurbished in 2003 and a second steel bridge being added right next to it
A Second Bridge is Added
Photo taken in November, 2003 by Alice's grandson Aaron D. Gifford
Looking westward down Timpoweap canyon and the Virgin River. Pah Tempe hot springs is at the bottom of the canyon on the lower left (south). The old pony-truss bridge crosses the river at the hot springs, but it is mostly hidden by the Washington County Water Conservancy District pipeline that crosses the river just in front of that bridge. The sharp blind turn Alice mentions is bypassed by the road to Pah Tempe on the left side, very near where the sunlight is backlighting some trees. Across the canyon, the 1936 bridge remains and a new parallel bridge is being constructed. During the construction, the 1936 bridge was refurbished and resurfaced.

I'll not forget the day, when we lived in the canyon, that I had a wreck on the spooky blind point of the dugway as I was returning from Hurricane. (This point has since been chiseled through.) Usually i didn't mind the return trip from Hurricane, because I could hug the hill. On this particular day, as I approached the big point, I snuggled close to the bar pit for fear of meeting another car. Exactly at the sharpest, blindest point, a car appeared, nudging over on my side of the road. We scraped fenders.

Why I should have been endowed with such idiotic sweetness beats me, but by way of saying, "I'm sorry this smashing thing happened to us," I got out, looked at the six frightened women in the other car, and lamented, "Oh dear, look what I've done to your car!" That was my first lesson on what not to do in case of an accident.

I drove my dented Chevrolet on down to the springs, and the women in their bruised vehicle proceeded to Hurricane. Winferd wasn't home when I got there. in shock, I shivered and shook, then I began to cry. Howard Isom came for a swim and I sobbed out my sorry tale.

"I'll never drive again," I wept.

"That is the wrong attitude," he said. "The thing for you to do is get back in your car and drive every day until this fear leaves you."

A few days later, we received a bill for $30 on the other car. When I protested that I had been crowded into the hill, the driver of the other car said, "You admitted before six witnesses that it was your fault." We paid the bill.

143143 No one was more pleased than I to abandon that old dugway. Now I could go see Mama and Papa without having the urge to get out of the car and peek around the spooky point, before driving around it. Oh joy! Now I could breeze along above the river and the ledges. In fact, Hurricane became so suddenly close that I could walk it in minutes if I pleased. that's what I thought, but that was mostly a pipe dream, what with two little youngsters. Be that as it may, to me, amongh the greatest unsung heroes are road builders and bridge builders. Gratefully I salute them!

Winferd and I were both board members of the Stake Sunday School, with Frank Barber as Stake Sunday School Superintendent. Brother Barber's enthusiasm was a constant joy to us. He made each stake visit and each board meeting seem like a delightful social event. My position was a new one, Cradle Class Representative. My job was to get Cradle Classes started in the wards. This assignment brought a lot of fun, working with the women in our ward making rag dolls and stuffed toys. LaVerkin ward was the Pilot Ward in the Stake. Winferd was also serving as a trustee on the LaVerkin Town Board.


Chapter 27
"I Want to Go Wif You"
(1938)

143143 In the wintertime, we cooked on the little camp stove that heated the house. One day, Norman bathed his rubber doll and put it on a cookie sheet in the oven to dry. Not knowing it was there, I built a fire and baked it. When the air turned blue with rubber smoke, I yanked open the oven door. There, looking like a gingerbread man, lay the doll, melted flat and bubbly. Norman cried brokenheartedly.

"You can play with my old doll," Marilyn consoled, "but don't cook it."

Whenever our watering turn came, the ditch became an irresistable lure to Norman. Deliberately he lost his balance whenever he got near it. Constantly I paddled him and changed his duds, but the magnetism of that ditch drew him to it, where he helplessly (?) tumbled in. Then capering into the house, trailing mud, he'd look at me in wide-eyed innocence and say, "Spank Norman. He fall in ditch."

One day, I changed his clothes three times. He was getting down to rock bottom. Mariliyn said, "Little brother can borrow my clothes. He likes to be a girl."

And he did. He grinned proudly as he wore her dress, and managed to stay out of the ditch for the rest of the day.

Thum sucking was Norman's big obsession. By tying his hands in gloves bulky as boxing gloves, I managed to keep his thumb out of his mouth at nights, but he made up for it during the day. Whenever he touched a bit of fur, wool, or cotton, up went his thumb. Anything fuzzy was appealing. If he couldn't enjoy his thumb peacefully in the house, which he never could while I was around, he'd go outside. We had pitched a tent on the lawn in our sunken garden, and Norman would stand in the tent door, hanging on to the frayed edge of the marquisette screen with one hand, and enjoying his thumb with the other. Or he'd crawl through the fence to the 144144 north of the house and get hold of an old deer hide Winferd had stretched out on the wall. Or he would go out on the square and sit down in a meadow of fuzzy foxtails. Every friendly pup that let him hang onto its neck, or cat that brushed him with its tail, inspired his thumb sucking. One day I found him by a mullein clump, rubbing the soft nap of the fuzzy leaves with one hand and joyfully sucking his thumb. Fearful that I would never break him from the habit, I hoped his wife would carry on from where I left off. He could be such a bad example to his children, going around with his thumb in his mouth. It would be like having only one hand. Of course, his wife could announce, "Supper's on." Meal times he loved, and his thumb got a chance to dry off. Often he'd watch as I set the table, and would ask, "Doing Alice, Mudder?"

One night Winferd and I went to a Sunday School Board meeting at Hurricane. Since we couldn't get a baby sitter, we consoled ourselves with the thought that since we were on the Lord's errand, the children would be looked after. (I don't recommend this philosophy to my posterity.) It was a hot July night, and our beds were outside in the tent. We wanted the children to sleep in the house while we were gone, but Norman begged so hard that we lefet him alone in the tent.

Hurrying home from the meeting, I went to check on Norman, while Winferd went to the house to check on Marilyn. Norman was not in the tent. A queer little tremor went through me, but I supposed he must have gon in the house.

"Have you seen Norman?" I called as Winferd came to the door.

"No, he isn't in here," he replied.

I felt again in his bed, and in Marilyn's and in ours. I looked under the beds. There was positively no Norman. Together we searched through the house, the clothes basket, the shower, in the closet and under everything. Still no Norman. Frantically I ran to Vernon Church's, while Winferd called and searched about the lot. Still we could find no trace of Norman. I took the flashlight and Winferd went in the car across the square. I stopped at every tree, looking through the clumps of saplings, and as just going to the church house, when Winferd called, "Here he is."

Breathing a prayer of thanksgiving, I ran to where they were. Winferd had found Norman between the screen door and the wooden door to Graff's store, just sitting, looking out and waiting.

"Norman, what are you doing here?" Winferd asked.

"I wanted to go wif you," was his reply.

Masculine ego begins early. While Norman was so little, he often felt so big. He'd put on his hat and say, "I gotta go to work," and strut out the door, his short legs making time. Everything he did was big and important, just like his dad.

When I'd ask Winferd about some little thing, he'd offer answer, "I didn't notice. I had more weighty matters on my mind."

What a pair! Always thinking big things.

Norman would often march to the door and say, "Goodbye, Alice. I'm going to California."

145145 I would kiss him goodbye, and two minutes later I could hear him imitating the motor of a car as he buzzed around in his sandpile. He built bridges, roads, tunnels and dams, if only I had the imagination to recognize them. But he didn't keep his construction in the sandpile. Every meal he buzzed around his plate with a crust of bread for a car and built bridges with his spoon. Marilyn often followed suit. Occasionally their cars went down a tunnel and were swallowed. We could only take so much, especially when they started having waterfalls from their spoons with their juicy food.

Marilyn and Norman usually cooperated in their ventures. Even when I tied them up for running away, they enjoyed themselves by making a game of it.

Marilyn often had weighty matters on her mind, too. One day she asked, "Mother, will you take care of me when I have my baby? And can my husband and I live in your house while he builds a new house for us?" She shared this same concern about Norman's wife too.

One day she solemnly stated, "If Daddy had known you was going to spank your kids, he wouldn't of let you be his wife."

Another time, she breathlessly reported, "Mother, there's some horses out in Daddy's Mother's Husband's field."

As I stooped to kiss Norman goodnight, at the close of a day when he had been dreamily singing himself to sleep, he said, "Mother, my song says the buttercups say the bright moon is in the tree tops and the birds says it's the bright sun."


Chapter 28
DeMar
(1939)

145145 One February day, Norman sat on a bench outside, his shoes beside him, as he tugged at his stockings.

"You can't go barefooted yet," I said, putting his shoes back on his feet. "When the trees put their green dresses on, then it will be barefoot time."

"Is the leaves the trees' dresses?" he asked.

Later, I undressed him for his nap, and he gathered up his shoes and stockings, putting them in the woodbox.

"Why are you doing that?" I asked. "What if someone should burn them up?"

With a pelased grin he replied, "If somebody thought they was wood and burned them up, then I'd have to go barefooted, wouldn't I?"

One day, as he awkwardly whittled at a stick with my butcher knife, he cut his finger. As I taped up his finger, I lectured him about using my knives. Regarding me with interest, he observed, "If you put that tape on your mouth, then you couldn't even talk."

146146 On April 19,1939, our third child, Merwin DeMar, was born in our garage. He was a chubby, almost nine pound little guy, with a mop of dark hair. Goodness! How glad I was to see him. Never had I been so impatient as I had been for his arrival. McIntire was the doctor and LaVell Hinton the nurse and Wealthy (Tillie) Campbell was our hired girl.

Our washing equipment was set up outside under the grape arbor, which also shaded Winferd's work bench. One day as Tillie was busy getting the fire going under the black tub, Norman climbed upon the work bench and spilled a can of lye. Quickly Tillie boosted him down and sent him to the house, then hurried to fix the fire. Before she had a chance to cleean up the lye, Marilyn came to the work bench to get a can of wheat for the chickens, and Norman tagged. He reached to pull himself upon the work bench, then suddenly screamed and ran into the house. Never had I heard such an agonized cry.

"Norman, come here," I said."

His eyes were scrunched tight, but he fumbled his way to the bed, and as I lifted him up beside me, I could see white powder on his eyelashes and on his cheeks and down the front of his coveralls. Where tears streaked his face, blood pocks began to appear. Putting a speck of the powder to my tongue, I tasted it. It burned like fire.

"Lye!" I exclaimed.

Tillie, who had raced in behind Norman, ran like the wind across the square to call the doctor on the store telephone.

A ghastly picture of my little boy living in darkness all his life flashed before me. "Oh, Norman, Norman," I cried.

The sun sent a shaft of amber light through a bottle on the window sill above me. Consecrated oil! Grabbing it, I unscrewed the cap, pouring the oil into Norman's eyes and on his face. I had to pry to get it into his eyes, and what I saw made my heart turn cold. Even the colored part of his eyes had turned milky white.

"Oh, Heavenly Father," I ipleaded, "please, please don't let my little boy go blind."

Out of breath, Tillie burst through the door. "Where's the vinegar?" she gasped.

I told her and she grabbed the bottle and dashed vinegar into Norman's eyes and over his face and hands. He writhed and screamed with pain.

"The doctor can't come. He said to bring Norman to him," she said.

Winferd was mixing feed for Graff and hard to contact, so Tillie ran back to the store for help. While she was gone, Norman lay whimpering beside me.

"Open your eyes, please," I coaxed.

He finally did. They still were a murky white.

"Can you see me Norman?" I asked.

"No," he answered.

147147 "Try hard. Can't you see Mother?" I begged.

"No," he said.

I waved my hand before his face. "Can't you see my hand?"

"No," he sobbed.

"Shall we ask the Heavenly Father to make your eyes better?"

"Yes."

"Do you want to pray with me?"

"I can't Mother. You pray." His sobbing never ceased.

I rubbed oil on his blistered face. I was so anxious for my prayers to get through that it seemed almost as if my feet were racing to the portals of Heaven and my hands were pushing the curtains wide. "Please, dear Heavenly Father, spare my little boy's eyes. He needs to be able to see to serve Thee."

Tillie returned and carried Norman out to Aunt Mae Gubler's car. Marilyn had gone to find help, too, and she returned with Ovando. He gave me vinegar soaked cloths to wash my arms which were spotted with purple blisters from peeling Norman out of his lye splattered overalls. I had been too concerned over Norman to realize that I was burned. Ardella came and changed the sheets. By then I was burning and itching all over and anxious for a vinegar bath.

Ages later, it seemed, Tillie and Aunt Mae returned, smiling, with Norman. "He's going to be ok," Tillie said. "He has to keep the bandages on his eyes for a week, but he'll be able to see."

With a relieved sigh, I said a silent prayer of thanks.

With a chuckle, Tillie reported, "When the doctor asked what happened, Norman said, 'I got lye in my eyes and on the same day that I fell out of the swing, too.' Then the doctor said, 'There's nothing wrong with your eyes. They are pretty and blue.' Surprised, Norman said, 'Are they?'"

When the bandages were removed, his eyes were pretty and blue. There were only the scars from the lye holes inside his lower lids and on his cheeks. Norman could see! My prayers had been answered.

As our family grew, the house shrunk. With five people sleeping in our wagon-box sided bedroom, it was a squeeze. Winferd built double-decker bunks for Marilyn and Norman and we painted them ivory, decorating them with chubby animal and kid decals. DeMar occupied the crib.

Winferd cast a calculating eye at my sunken garden. "Guess we'll have to grow something besides flowers down there," he said, and ruthlessly scooped the hole clean.

Walls were squared up, footings poured, and a house began to grow. Eagerly, Norman was on the job, constantly underfoot, until Winferd's help began to complain.

"I'd like to help them," Norman muttered, "but they won't let me."

Patting him on the head, Winferd said, "Come on feller. Here's just the job for you."

148148 Elated, Norman scraped cement into the forms with a tablespoon. And so, the walls of the house grew rapidly, with Norman and his spoon on the "off" side, and Winferd and his help pushing wheelbarrows up the ramp on the "on" side. Soon there was a roof overhead. But little did we dram of the long delay befeore we would live under that roof.

In his discourses, Brigham Young said a young man should build him a nest, then put a little bird in it--that he should paint his little cottage and plant flowers around it. While Winferd concentrated on building a house, I turned my thoughts to the little nest that five of us birds were tucked into alread.

When Graff had a paint sale, I realized that Winferd's wages were already gone for building material, but our speckled hens were laying good. So with egg money, I managed a gallon of floor paint. My, how it made our bare cement floors shine. But now the windows suddenly looked bare. Ah! Wide soft ruffles of pale yellow crepe paper was the answer. It tooko away the bare look and complimented the flowers on the window sill.

Mary Bastow, my art teacher from the BAC came to see me. "Oh Alice," she exclaimed. "What a pretty house!" Her eyes swept the room. "Your grouping of living room furniture in this end, and your kitchen appliances in the other, makes two beautiful rooms in one. Would you mind showing me the rest of the house?"

"I'd love to," I said.

She exclaimed over the cute bunk beds, but when she saw the fruit shelves, clothes closet, shower and toilet grouping, she said, "I've never seen space so economically and artistically arranged. Would you mind if I include your place on our economy homes tour list?"

How flattering. I could only reply, "I'd be awfully pleased."

The tour she spoke of never reached LaVerkin, but the thoughts that it might made our little house smile.

Building drained our pockets dry. "It's like pouring gold into a bottomless pit," Winferd remarked. We tried to build and keep out of debt at the same time, turning deaf ears to the critics and free-advice givers, who clamoured, "For Heaven's sake, get a loan, finish your house and enjoy it." We did play "pas-the-button" with the deed to the place with Zions Bank, making only small loans at a time that could be cleared quickly.

Wickley Gubler set up his power saw and cut all the limber for the house. When he and Winferd worked together, the structure echoed with music, for they both whistled and sang as they worked. By summer, the house stood like a skeleton—rough cinder-cement walls, open floor joists, with loose plank paths and empty holes for windows. Winferd's overalls had been patched on top of patches so many times that barely a shred of the original denim could be seen. He was a cheerful, champion patch-wearer.

Norman showed concern for his Daddy in his materialistic prayers. Kneeling in his lower bunk bed, he prayed, "Heavenly Father, please give us more milk and cream and butter, and Heavenly Father, Daddy works so hard on our new house and he needs some glass for the windows."

149149 He was appreciative, too. Seldom did I make cocoa, but I happened to one morning when it was Norman's turn to ask the blessing. He bowed his head and said, "Heavenly Father, thanks for the cocoa, and please bless it. Amen."

One afternoon, a woman tourist dressed only in halter and shorts stopped at our gate to ask directions. Marilyn and Norman eyed her up with fascination.

After she left, Marilyn exclaimed, "Oh my, but wasn't she skinny!"

"She wasn't skinny," I explained, "she was fat."

"She was fat, but she was skinny too. She had lots and lots of skin all over her."

"That's because she drinks skin milk," Norman remarked. "Skin milk is what makes lots of skin."

During the summer, I sewed cute dresses for Marilyn to wear to kindergarten. On the first day of school, Norman watched with admiration when I dressed Marilyn in her crisp blue, pleated skirt and brushed her shining ringlets around my fingers. His eyes shone as she skipped to the bus.

"All of the people will say sister is a pretty girl," he said proudly.

But after she was gone, and there was no one to play with but the baby in his crib, he slumped. Unhappily he began to mutter, " you don't want me to break the light, do you? … You don't want me to cut your dress, do you? … You don't want me to scratch the paint off from the chairs, do you? … What would it do if I banged the buckets on the cement as hard as I could? … Would you like me to spit in the flour bin?" … Etc.

"What makes you think of such things?" I asked.

"Well, I was just thinking you wouldn't want me to."

"I really wouldn't," I replied. "I think it would be more fun if you scrubbed your hands and helped me with my baking."

The bread dough I had mixed was pushing the cover off the pan. Norman opened the cabinet door under the kitchen sink and swung the hinged step in place, that Winferd had built. While he climbed upon it to wash, I set out the cooky sheet, raisins, cinnamon and sugar. He loved to mold "gingerbread" men from bread dough on baking days.

Whenever Marilyn or Norman got out of the range of my voice, I rang a cow bell, and it brought them home. It saved a lot of chasing. I had a really good thing going, until too many wise cracks from well meaning friends made me feel self conscious about it.

Marilyn went to school in the afternoons, and that half-day was endless to Norman. One day he disappeared right after dinner. I rang and rang the bell, to no avail.

"Well, baby," I said, picking DeMar up in my arms, "we're going to make some house calls."

The neighbors hadn't seen Norman. DeMar grew heaver and heavier 150150 as we trudged from door to door, and a dark cloud of worry loomed over me. Finally, Cleone Iverson came by in her car.

"Alice," she called, "Norman is with his Daddy at Graff's feed house."

"Thanks," I called back.

"Winferd, Winferd, how could you do this to me," I whispered to myself. "How could you take that little kid with you without letting me know?"

I was fagged from lugging a two-ton baby. The afternoon was shot, and my monstrous ironing was still undone.

Hours later, when the errant pair returned, I was so glad to see them that I forgot to scold. Norman looked so little, wan and white. Miller's dust had settled on his hair and powdered his coveralls. Crazy black eyebrows and a drooping moustache accentuated his whiteness.

"Where in the world did the stage makeup come from?" I asked.

"He found some tar. It just happened to land in the right places," Winferd explained.

When I told what a bad afternoon I'd had, Winferd said, "I'm sorry."

He hadn't really abducted Norman. It was all innocent enough. Since he was almost late getting back to work, he drove fast, bouncing through the pockets and ruts of the dusty road. He hit one mud puddle that plastered the front of the car. When he reached the end of the bench, Mr. Drennen hailed him.

"Hey, do you know you have a kid hanging in the spare tire on the front of your car?"

Winferd hopped out to investigate.

"You could have knocked my eyes off with a stick when I saw Norman," he related. "He was dripping wet with mud."

"I was hanging on just dandy," Norman added.

I shuddered to think what would have happened if he hadn't hung on "just dandy". Winferd's first reaction at finding Norman was to spank him and make him walk hime, but he was afraid he might not make it, so he kept him with him. When Mrs. Iverson came along, he sent a message to me.

Kindergarten gave a new dimension to our lives. Marilyn announced, "I learned a new game in school today. Norman, get up on the table and I'll show you how to play it."

Kids on the table were scarcely more welcome than cats, but I was curious enough to let her go.

Norman perched upon the table, and she went out the door, picked up a stick and came in chanting, "Every night, when I come home, the monkey's on the table. PIck up a stick—now Norman, when I hit you, jump off—and give him a lick—". She gave him a whack that was more than he expected. Letting out a yelp, he landed on his shoulder on the cement floor. "Pop goes the weasel," she shouted.

151151 Norman lay on the floor crying. He had cracked his collar bone, and wore his arm in a sling for the next three weeks.

One day I sent Marilyn to the store for yeast. A hullabaloo of barking dogs brought me to the door. Instead of coming home on the beaten path across the square, Marilyn meandered through the tall tumbleweeds, her yellow sunbonnet barely showing above them and the busy plumes of dog tails that wagged around her. Like a whirling mass of fur, the dogs milled around her as she scampered through the gate. Laughing, she ran through the open basement door of our unfinished house. The dogs leaped through the window frames and raced with her. Her peal of laughter mingled with the chorus of barking that vibrated and echoed throughout the unplastered rooms.

She loved all things that could creep or crawl. One day she brought a milk snake in the house.

"Get that thing out of here," I shrieked.

Quietly she stroked it. "Mother, look at it," she said, "it's is pretty."

"You get it right out of here," I demanded.

"Please Mother, look at it. It is beautiful."

"Oh Marilyn," I said in desperation, "maybe it is, but I can't see it. Please take it out and turn it loose."

Disappointed, she obeyed.

Winferd was largely responsible for his daughter's attitude toward creatures. As I sat snapping green beans one day, Marilyn dumped a fat, green, tomatoe worm in my lap.

"Daddy sent this to you," she announced.

I jumped and screamed. Just outside the door I heard the burst of Winferd's laughter.

One day Marilyn presented me with a black widow spider. She simply could not resist the gleaming jet marble on legs. She seemed immune to fear, and all creatures respected her.

After the children were tucked in at nights, Winferd often read to me while I mended or ironed. This is the way he prepared his Sunday School lessons, or read from his good books or magazines. One night he read from the Better Homes and Gardens that each one of us goes through life with ome unfulfilled desire, like the little old woman who had always wanted a gold thimble. Her family scoffed at her silly whim and bought her instead, what they thought she should have.

"Do you have an unfulfilled dsire?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered. "I have always wanted one big doll with real eyelashes and deep blue glass eyes."

"And you never got one?"

"No."

"But you did get a doll?"

152152 "Oh yes. I had a Polly that tore at the armpits and her cotton oozed out, and a doll that said "mama" when I tipped her forward. Then one Christmas Midred and I got dolls alike, with painted faces and glued on hair. Mama bought the heads and made cloth bodies. Remember? That's the doll I had when we ran the swimming pool, and our little guests demolished it."

"Do you still wish you had a big doll?"

"Kind of. When I got big enough to pray quietly by myself so no one could hear, I used to ask for a golden doll. I knew I wasn't going to get it, but it was fun asking and a happy way to drift off to sleep."

I thought no more about this conversation until I awoke Christmas morning. There, in Marilyn's rocking chair, was a big doll with my name on it. She was the same size as DeMar. She had real eyelashes and deep blue glass eyes that opened and shut. Over her soft brown curls, she wore a red sunbonnet that matched her dress. Her molded arms and legs were chubby and her fingers lifelike and separate, on pudgy little hands. She was an absolute beauty.

"Oh Winferd!" I exclaimed, "how could you, when you're struggling so hard to build?"

With a hug, he said, "It's Christmas. If I could, I'd put the whole world in your stocking."

"But she must have been terribly expensive," I remonstrated.

"Fear not," he grinned, "I got her at a bargain."

"Thank you," I said, throwing my arms around his neck. "She's adorable."

She was an important doll in the years that followed. To get to rock her was the reward for being good and getting things picked up. Our children literally loved her to pieces. She stayed with us a long time, but eventually, the elastic that held her arms and legs together lost its stretch, and her bisque finish crazed and peeled. Finally, she mysteriously disappeared.


Chapter 29
A Really, Really Birthday
(1940)

152152 Marilyn's school hours were lonely ones fer Norman. He missed her. Most of the time he was good about the little errands we occupied him with, but we didn't give him quite all of the companionship he craved.

"If you don't be careful how you treat folks," he'd say, "someone I know will make an awful racket in this house till it falls down."

When Winferd wouldn't let him saw up the lumber pile, or use his brace and bit, Norman complained, "It will be just too bad when I'm a man. I won't knew how to build bridges and I won't know how to make houses and I won't know how to do anything. I'll just be like a baby. If big folks won't let me learn things when I'm little, I can*t do nothing when I'm a man."

All right, son," Winferd said, "see what you can build from these boards. Here are some nails and a hammer you can use."

Day after day, Norman nailed little boards together, making airplanes. He took each one on a test flight, buzzing loudly as he dragged it around on the end of a string.

153153 At the first of the year Norman announced, "It's 1940, isn't it!" When I replied yes, he said, “1940 is when I will have a really, really birthday, isn't it!"

We marked each day off the calendar. The day before his birthday, he was accidentally poked with a stick in his right eye, so Dr. Mclntyre put a patch on it. While we were in Hurricane, we stopped at Graff's store where Norman tried on hats. As we started to leave without making a purchase, Norman asked, "Aren't you even going to buy a guy I know who's only got one eye, a hat?"

"Can you keep a secret?" I whispered.

His one eye opened wide. "I know a guy who can really keep a secret."

"Ok. We wanted to surprise you for your birthday. That's why we tried on the hats."

"Well," he loudly whispered, “you just take the hat home and I'll sure be surprised."

The long awaited February 29th dawned bright and clear, a perfect spring day for a party. Norman hovered about, excitedly watching with one eye, the cookie and candy making. Eagerly he gathered wood for a "hot-dog cooking fire."

The party was set for 4:00 o'clock. The sun shone until three, when out of the nowhere came dark clouds, and pelting hail fell thick and fast. Suddenly the roar and commotion ceased. As suddenly as it came, so it left. For about five minutes the ground was white, and then spring came again, warm, yet cloudy with the smell of damp earth. The guests arrived and we played the old standbys, "pussy wants a corner," "blind man's bluff," and "pass the button," and roasted weiners. Thunderheads appeared again from behind the hill and the sky darkened, so we passed out animal cookies and fudge and sped the little folks home.

"That was a really, really birthday," Norman said, counting his loot.

Marilyn's kindergarten year goes down in family history as "the year of the plagues." First, she brought home the chicken pox, followed by scarlatina, mumps, and finally whooping cough. We were lucky to get Norman's party over with between plagues.

Marilyn and Norman fared pretty good with the whooping cough, but it was almost too much for DeMar. He wasn't yet a year old, and it hit him hard. He lay in bed, a limp, helpless little fellow, so the doctor put him on sulfa, a new miracle drug. We gave it to him for twelve hours, as directed, then he turned blue, and whimpered a weak little cry, never stopping. The doctor gave him pills to counteract the sulfa. We could have lost him.

Long before DeMar could walk, he climbed on everything he could push a chair up to; the kitchen cabinets, the table, refrigerator, or stove. He understood only one direction, up. Whenever I heard the grating of chair legs on cement, I knew DeMar planned on going up. How to get down, he had no idea. The usual way was for me to grab him, but if I wasn't quick enough, he fell. His head bumped the cement floor often enough it should have pounded in an idea, but it never did.

154154 When he crawled outside, there were new things to climb, like the ladder against the house. Just when he reached the top where he could peek into the attic window, he fell, cracking his skull on an iron tire rim.

"You're going to have an epileptic on your hands if this kid bumps his head one more time," Dr. McIntire warned.

"What can I do, keep him on a leash?" I asked in distress.

"Pad his head with rubber sponges," McIntire replied.

"How?"

"If you expect him to be normal, you'd better figure out how." The Doctor was serious.

I got a pretty package of four square sponges, pink, green, yellow, and blue. Stretching a nylong stocking over DeMar's head, I stuffed the sponges inside, arranging them like a football helmet, then turned him loose in his walker. He wheeled his way to the sand pile under the apricot trees, but the sponges slid down over his eyes and ears. No matter how I tied them, they wouldn't stay in place. They got in his way and made him more awkward than ever, so after a week's struggle, I gave up. The first time he found himself free, he scooted out the door in his walker and down the basement steps, banging his head on each one. I almost bawled as I gathered him in my arms. Tenderly I cold-packed his bruised little head and wiped away his tears. The only noticeable effect was the goose egg above one eye.

A heavy plank made a wheelbarrow ramp into our new house. When I saw DeMar crawling up it, I yelled and ran. Giggling, he put on speed, crawling across the rough subfloor. Facing me, he sat on the edge of the yawning hole to the basement. Before I could grab him, he reared over backward and fell. I let myself down through the opening to where he lay motionless. Grabbing him, I shook him. Finally he gasped and then began to cry. Dr. McIntire could find no injury, but DeMar whimpered for the next four months. He was not good, even for a minute. Then one morning he broke out with a bumpy, red rash all over. His crying ceaced and he was a happy little boy after that.

But I despaired of him ever learning to walk. He seemed destined to be a quadraped. The day he was fourteen months old, he had crawled to the grape arbor, where he gingerly got to his feet. Quietly I watched as he stood alone. With a look of exaltation, a grin spread over his face and he took a step. The grin grew bigger and he took another step, and another. I wanted to cheer, but kept silent. Carefully, so very carefully, DeMar walked in my direction, keeping his eyes on the ground. Then he saw my feet, he ran the last few steps and hugged my legs.

"DeMar, you're a big boy," I cried, grabbing him in my arms. "You can walk all alone!"

I kissed and kissed him. From that moment on he was a two-legged creature, never crawling again, except at play.

155155 "I'm going to find me a new mother," Norman announced one morning.

"If you can find a new mother that likes you better than I do, that's just fine," I replied.

"A new mother would know that if a fellow put his shoes in the wood box, that he needed new shoes," he retorted.

"All right young man. You don't burn your shoes just because they have mud on them. You get busy and clean them."

With a wounded air, he put his dirty shoes on, stuffed his pajaes in his little suitcase, and went out the door. There he hesitated, as if he hoped I'd coax him to stay.

"I'm going now." He stood at the door and waited.

"Goodbye," I said, kissing his cheek. "Be nice to your new mother."

He trudged through the lot toward Sister Church's. A short time later, the sun cast his shadow across the floor. Looking up, I saw him standing outside the screen, his face downcast.

"Well," I said in surprise, "I thought you had moved away."

His voice choked. "They didn't want me."

"Well, if you will be good, you can be my boy," I said opening the door.

"Sister Church said, 'Now Norman, you run along home 'cause we got to go to St. George,' and she didn't even ask if I was going to be her boy," he said sorrowfully.

"Here, take this scrubbing brush and knife and scrape all that dried mud from off your shoes."

Setting his suitcase down, he took the proffered tools, and went out to do as he was told.

"My, what a beautiful job you did," I said when he returned.

Beaming, he sat on a chair watching me mix bread. "Mother," he said, "maybe I'll always stay here. Maybe I'll decide not to get married like those men over to Grandpa and Grandma Isom's place." (Meaning my brothers, Bill, Clint, and Wayne.)

"Good. I hope you won't get married for a little while, anyway."

He slide from his chair and went out to play, but every few minutes he came in and asked, "Are you about ready to bake that bread?"

"Why? Are you getting hungry?" I finally asked.

"Oh," he replied, "I was thinking you might bake some pie today."

"I haven't time to stop for pie," I answered.

"Oh my, I was wishing you'd make about five of them so I could eat a whole one."

"I've got to dig carrots for dinner."

"I can dig the carrots and you can stay in the house and bake."

156156 "You're a nuisance," I said, dismissing him.

Presently, I looked out the window and there in the garden, laboring with his dad's shovel, was Norman. The ground was dry, but he worked hard. Soon he came in triumphantly with six big carrots that he had cleaned under the tap.

"Here's your acrrots, he announced expectantly, then ran out to play.

My heart melted. With a chuckle I got out the mixing bowl and rolling pin. Norman had won again. He usually did.

A favorite method of his was to come staggering in, mid-way between meals, with an arm load of wood.

"How nice," I would say.

Arranging it in the wood box, he'd beam at me, then wander about the room with a sigh, and say, "Ho hum, I'm hungry. I'd sure like a cracker."

I'd give him three or four, but when hunger pangs hit him again, the pile in the wood box increased.

One day Norman made an intimate call on a wasp family and as warmly received. Marilyn and her little playmante, LaReta Church, had asked him to get the nest down out of the attic. He completed his mission all right. The nest came down with the first whack, and almost simultaneously, two wasps got him. There was a shriek and Norman came tumbling down. I plastered his stings with wet soda.

In the evening as I sat writing, Norman whined at my side, because he had unwittingly wandered in just at bed time.

"I wouldn't a come in if I knew you waz gonna amke me go to bed." (Whine, wine.) "The sooner ya make me go to bed, the sooner I'll die." (Pause for effect. I continue writing.) "Yep, the sooner I have to go to bed, the sooner I'l die, so it's just up to you."

"Well, everyone must die sometime, so you might as well go on to bed."

"But I don't want to die." Regretfully. "I want to live as long as everyone does."

Winferd diverted my attention momentarily, then I suddenly realized the droning in my left ear had ceaced. Norman had slipped out as quietly as a shadow.

Looking back, I'm chagrined at our laxity in keeping the Sabbath. After we had attended Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting, we still had many daylight hours left of the Sabbath day. The poet who said, "It seemed so then, and it seems so still, that I'm nearer to God on the top of a hill," expressed my feelings exactly. Especially if there were pine trees on top of that hill. With conscience clear (almost) and hearts carefree (almost), we often packed our three youngsters and our picnic basket into the Chevy sedn and chugged up the mountain raod, (almost any mountain road) until we caught the cool, sweet whiff of pine.

On this particular Sunday afternoon, we aimed to picnic at Peter's Leap on Pine Valley Mountain. Winferd stopped the car at the rocky edge of a little meadow, and Marilyn and Norman scampered out. The had only gone a 157157 little way, when Marilyn keeled over in a convulsion. As I reached her, a snake slithered away from her and I was certain she had been bitten. I screamed and Winferd ran to her.

"It feels like mys wallow is coming up in my mouth," Normal whimpered near my elbow. The color had drained from his face.

We examined Marilyn, but could find no sign of a snake bite. She came out of the convulsion and lay limp and white. We laid her on a blanket and nauseated little Norman slumped beside her. When I went to the car for DeMar, I discovered he had vomited on the back seat. All three of our children were sick, possibly from gas fumes. With water from the creek, we cleaned things up, then sitting in the shade beside our three whimpering youngsters, we looked gravely at each other.

"Winferd," I finally ventured, "do you suppose the Lord is trying to tell us something?"

"I've been wondering the same thing," he confessed.

"That worry feeling deep down inside each time we go on a sunday picnic must be a prompting that we've blindly ignored."

"I agree. From now on, we'll stop kidding ourselves," he asserted.

From that time forward, we did things more in keeping with the Sabbath, like reading, visiting, and enjoying good music. Our recreation came on afternoons when Winferd needed a break from his farm work.

"Let's go to Oak Grove and cool off," he often said.

Dutch ovens and food were assembled in minutes. We loved watching evening shadows fall and listening to the music of Leeds Creek as the water trickled and eddied down its steep, rocky course. No longer was there an "almost" in the carefree rejoicing of our hearts as we sought out the pines on top of a hill.


Chapter 30
Shirley
(1941)

157157 The young married folks in LaVerkin enjoyed getting together. If it wasn't Finley Judd's or Wayne Wilson's birthday, we celebrated because it was June or July, or someone had ripe melons, or because the nights were crisp enough for a bonfire. Wherever Winferd was, there were games; and wherever Bill Sanders was, there was singing, especially around a bonfire.

After the last marshmallow had been toasted, and we sat cross-legged on the ground watching the glowing embers, Bill started the singing—"Just a Song at Twilight", "The West, a Nest and You", "Utah Trail", or some other beloved melody. The richness of his voice and the flash of his smile was compelling, and we sang until there was only the starlight to see us home.

And then we came down with a rook-playing fever. Once a month we played cards. Finally one brave soul said, "Sometimes I get the feeling that we could spend our time better than this."

158158 Still another brave soul suggested, "We should be spending this time doing temple work instead of playing cards." Then the rest of the crowd confessed their true feelings, and the card playing stopped.

Winferd had already been spending one night a week in the temple, and now this became a "get-together" night. Cleone and LaFell Iverson were our travel companions and took turns driving. Elzyvee or Ursula Segler tended our kids.

Mr. Graff was very good about letting Winferd off at 4:00 o'clock on Thursday afternoons. Each evening after the temple session was finished, we went to the Whiteway, an ice cream parlor kitty-corner from Penny's store in the center of St. George. The ice cream was homemade from fresh milk and cream. Mixes, synthetic food and drive-ins hadn't yet been invented. A banana, split lengthwise, heaped with ice cream, topped with strawberries or pineapple and nuts, was delectable. I could work cheerfully all week sustained by the happiness of last week's date with Winferd and the Iversons, and with the anticipation of the coming Thursday night. Dressed in our best and radiant from our temple session, with a dozen other young couples, we flocked into the Whiteway, where we surrounded the little tables and delicately savored our ice cream, served in sparkling cut glass boats.

On his second birthday, DeMar was just recovering from the chickenpox that had freckled him for the past week. Winferd was late for dinner, but the table was too pretty for DeMar to resist, so he climbed upon a chair, exclaiming, "Pretty, oooh, pretty, pretty."

As I stepped out of the room momentarily, I heard a crash and a wail, and DeMar lay on the floor crying. In each hand he clutched a tiny birthday candle. As I picked him up, he held out one broken candle.

"Boke, boke," he sobbed.

A fringe of coconut whiskered his mouth. In reaching for the cake, his chair slipped from under him, but he was far more upset about the broken candle than the fall. I carried him outside to meet Daddy. That was always antidote for any ill.

To DeMar, Daddy was a man who came home near the end of the day and let him ride on his shoulder from the gate to the house. Then after the evening meal, took him on some little errand in the car, or pushed him in the swing, or let him carry water to the cow and let him stand by while the milking was done. Daddy never scolded, but treated him like he was a darling little boy. To Mother, DeMar was a two year old boy who could be very naughty at times and had to be spanked. Of course Mother had to kiss him better a dozen times a day, and cuddle and love him. His latest two discoveries were how to kiss, and how to open and shut a door. Opening and shutting the bedroom door was his greatest fascination. Always before, when he shut himself in a room alone, he'd persistently call, "Come in", until the door was opened for him.

By now we had another child on the way. From the first queasy months to the ungainly latter months, I was in the temple each week with Winferd and the Iversons. During that time, Gretchen Stratton and I were counselors in Relief Society to Areta Church. I also taught a genealogical class 159159 on Monday nights. Grandpa Gubler was the ward genealogical representative. Fifth Sundays, in those days, were genealogy Sundays.

One morning when I was busy getting my little ones ready for Sunday School, Victor King, the stake genealogical representative, knocked on our door.

"Sister Gubler," he said, "will you give a talk on genealogy in Rockville this afternoon? Alvin Allred from Springdale will take up most of the time. If you'll take up five minutes, we'll appreciate it."

I gulped. I had never talked in church. Even when I bore my testimony, my heart pounded 'till the building shook. The thoughts of talking in Rockville terrified me. Besides, my baby was almost due and I felt big as Pinevalley Mountain. Helplessly, I looked at Winferd, hoping he'd rescue me. Instead, he gave me his of-course-you-can-do-it smile. His philosophy was to never say no.

My voice quivered, "I'll try."

"That is good enough," Brother King said.

After he left, I plunked down on the couch and howled, "Everybody ought to leave me alone."

"Weeping won't help," Winferd said. "Dry your eyes and get yourself dolled up and go do as you're told."

"Why don't you do it for me?" I wailed.

"You're the one that was asked," he replied.

"You don't want to see your wife lumbering like a hippo up the aisle to stand before an audience, do you?"

He put his arms around me. "You were never more beatiful than now. When you're expecting a baby, your face has the tenderness of an angel. And your blue silk pleated smock with the lace dickie is cute. Come on now and smile. The people will love you."

His mind was made up that I would be a great success. He and the children went with me. Well, at Rockville there must have been at least thirty people in the congregation, but no Alvin Allred. Although I watched anxiously for his form to come through the door, it never did.

After the sacrament, the bishop announced me. With a fluttering heart I arose, clutching my Book of Remembrance. My voice quavered as I said, "Everyone should have a Book of Remembrance." Then I opened mine and told briefly what it should contain, said "Amen" and sat down. I had used the five minutes Victor asked me to do, and now it was up to the bishop to call on someone for the sermon. Instead, he announced the closing song, they prayed and filed out.

Shaking my hand, a little old lady said, "That's the best meeting I've ever been to, because it was so short."

My face burned.

When Victor told his secretary, Aunt Suzie Campbell, that he had sent me to Rockville, she exclaimed, "Sakes alive, couldn't you have let her stay home and have her baby?"

160160 Innocently he replied, "I didn't know she was expecting."

Three weeks later our baby arrived. Shirley was born 20 September, 1941. She was our first child to not be born at home. Maternity homes were the latest thing. Shirley was born in LaVell Hinton's home. LaVell was the full-time nurse, cook, and wash woman. She took total care of the mother and child for two full weeks for $50.00. The doctor charged $50.00 for his few minutes at the time of delivery.

LaVell also took care of DeMar during those two weeks for a small additional fee. Her daughters Shirley, Beverly and Lorna romped and played with DeMar and he had fun running through their house banging doors. His crib was on the opposite side of the room from me. In the nights, I'd awake and tiptoe softly to him to pull his little blankets over him. I was a little fearful of the old wives tales that if I ever so much as sat up in bed within the two weeks, I'd be an invalid for life. But from the third night on, for the full two weeks, I walked to DeMar's bed every night. I felt great. I felt so strong that laying in bed all day seemed silly. On my last day I confessed what I had been doing.

"You should never have done it," LaVell scolded. "I am responsible for you. What if things go wrong? I will be condemned."

I hadn't considered that angle. "But I've always been faint and shaky after two weeks in bed. Now I feel great. I've liked walking in the night."

"You should never have done it without the doctor's permission," she insisted.

When we said goodbye to the Hinton children, as Winferd came to take me home, I looked at their cute faces. "Shirley," I asked, "can we borrow your name for our baby?"

Giggling, she nodded.

Our Shirley was named for Shirley Hinton and for the child star, Shirley Temple. Since our baby had spent the last nine months of her preexistence in the temple, that was a natural.

"Ah, Alice," Sister Church used to say, "Shirley is the lily of your family."

She was an angel of delight. It takes a fourth child before one can begin to really appreciate a baby. The tenseness of sticking to government bulletin rules eases with the fourth baby and relaxed enjoyment sets in.

On Sunday morning, December 7, more than one-hundred Japanese fighting planes, torpedo bombers and dive bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States' largest naval base in the Pacific. When the attack ended one hour and fifty minutes later, five of the American battleships had been sunk and a number of other ships damaged. The American dead included 2,343 sailors, soldiers, and marines. In Tokyo, the Japanese Government declared war on the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. On December 8, Pres. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.


Chapter 31
War Boom
(1942)

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…

Thursday.

“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…

Later.

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

January 29

… 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.

Later:

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.

February 13.

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.

February 17.

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?"

"No!"

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.

Friday:

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."

Monday:

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.

Page 136 from The Instructor, March, 1942 on which a photo of the Zion Park Stake Sunday School Board appears. Winferd Gubler (misspelled as Winford Gubler) is the second man from the left on the back row.
Henry Winferd Gubler
Page 136 from the March 1942 edition of The Instructor on which a photo of the Zion Park Stake Sunday School Board appears. Winferd (misspelled as "Winford") is the second man from the left on the back row. From the archive at archive.org, courtesy Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
See: https://archive.org/details/instructor773dese/page/n17/mode/2up

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."

Hawthorne, March.

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.

Monday:

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.

March 27.

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.

April 11.

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.

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."

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

  1. Hawthorne, Nevada

    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:

    —Andrew Gifford, 9 Jul. 2011

  2. Davenport

    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

  3. Flivver

    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.


Chapter 32
Gordon
(1943)

199199 With the exodus of farmers from our area, our ward suffered a man shortage. The Young Men's Mutual Organization had been dissolved, and Vilate Hardy carried on as Young Women's president, with Geneva Segler and me as her counselors. Although our numbers were few, we had a lot of good times together.

Vilate and her husband, George, were in the turkey business at this time. In the springtime, Vilate asked us to come to her home to an officer's and teacher's meeting, which also included the bishopric. Actually, it was a surprise party for all of us. She had prepared a most extravegant turkey dinner for the crowd.

In April, Bishop Squire and his two counselors attended conference in Salt Lake City. This was a special occasion for Winferd.

Percy and LaVell Wittwer had moved from Las Vegas to Orem, Utah, where Percy worked as an electrician for Geneva Steel. One day in April he was killed in an accident at the roller mills. We were stunned at the news. It seemed impossible that our ranks would ever be broken. LaVell was left with four little children, her baby being only three months old.

Shirley was a cute littler talker by now, but she had one real hang-up. She hated to have her hair combed. It was so curly that it took the two of us to get the job done. Winferd would hold her on his knee while I brushed and wound her shining ringlets around my fingers. Winferd's eyes lit up with admiration as he looked on. Then he'd set her down, and she'd take hold of his hand, and together they'd walk in the yard, Winferd chuckling at her constant chatter. She'd stoop to watch the ants among the leaves, and make little beds for them in the grass.

"There now, nice little bug, go to sleep," she'd purr.

She couldn't pronounce "Gubler," so she called herself, "Shirley Booger." This always brought gales of laughter from the kids, which pleased her, so she'd say it over and over. Even after she learned to say "Gubler," she still referred to herself as a "nice booger."

One day she shut the window on two of her fingers, taking the nail off one. Her crying stopped as she watched me wrap each finger. "Nice dollies," she cooed. "Shirley Booger's nice dollies." She kept the rags on her fingers a day or two longer than necessary, because she loved her "dollies."

And my how she loved DeMar. Although he teased her to tears every day, she always coaxed, "Come on DeMar," when she went out to play.

On July 28, our little boy Gordon was born. When LaVell Hinton placed him in my arms, I felt like all the angels of heaven rejoiced. Cute! Oh my yes! His dark hair hung down over his flannel nightgown, and the quizzical look on his little face let me know he was eager to find out what life was all about. Gordon was born at LaVell Hinton's maternity home, and of course McIntire was our doctor.

200200 When Gordon was a week old, his cousin, Leon Duncan, was born at LaVell's also. Ardella and I had one full week togther there, with our husbands visiting us in the evenings. The event took on a social atmosphere.

The Fruit Grower's Association had imported Japanese help, and peach picking was in full swing when I came home with my baby. John Judd hired a Japanese merchant from San Francisco, who came to pick fruit during his vacation. The man and his wife lived in the northeast basement room of our new home. My cousing, Sylvia Gifford, was our hired girl. She did our cooking and housework, but since it was peach bottling time, there was an extra load.

As I prepared to help, the Japanese lady said, "Oh no! In Japan a mother never puts her hands in water until her baby is one month old."

She stayed right in our kitchen and helped Sylvia until our bottling was all done. Her husband was right at Winferd's side as soon as his day's work in John Judd's orchard was done. Landscaping was the man's hobby. Our garden and yard never got such a grooming as it did at this time. Both the man and Winferd seemed to be having an unusually happy time together. These people were of the very highest calber. So were the four Japanese boys who picked Winferd's fruit. They lived in a tent under the poplar tree on the square.

The Secretary of War had marked off military areas to provide for moving American born Japanese, as well as enemy aliens. Under the office of War Relocation Authority, camps for displaced Japanese were set up, some of them in Utah. This is how the Japanese happened to be working in our area. With their help, the Fruit Grower's Association shipped 107 carloads of fruit from here in 1943. It takes 528 bushel to make one car load.

I was absorbed with bathing the baby, when Bishop Squire entered. He didn't come to see Winferd, as I had supposed, but to see me.

"The Lord has directed us to ask you to be YWMIA president," he said simply.

I gathered my baby in a blanket, and sinking into a chair, gazed silently at the bishop. Was I hearing right? How could I think of MIA with my baby so new? Did the Lord really know about this?

Seeming to read my thoughts, the bishop said, "We discussed this in bishop's meeting, and your husband approves. You will be blessed in the selection of your counselors and will find joy in this calling."

What was there left to say but, "I'll do it."

Belva Sanders and Ellen Woodbury were sustained as my counselors, and Lucille Gubler as secretary. The YMMIA was also organized, with George Sandstrom as YM president, and Horatio Gubler as both counselors, and Walter Church as secretary.

On October 21, Tell's wife, Audrey, died. Her passing was as sudden as Percy's had been. This came as a terrible shock. It seemed incredible that our ranks could be broken again so soon. Audrey left four little 201201 children between the ages of ten and two. Tell was returning from a scout training school in New Jersey. Audrey died from a heart attack in the morning, and he arrived home that afternoon. Since Tell had to be away to earn a living, Grandma Gubler took care of his children.

At the close of 1943, ration stamp books were still in force. Many canned goods were rationed, as well as sugar, meat, butter, fats, oils, gasoline, tires, and building materials. Rents were frozen at the July 1 level. Americans were urged to buy more war bonds and U.S. savings stamps. School children gathered scrap metal and scrap rubber for the war effort. People were urged to turn in all of their bacon drippings and every spoonful of grease. In fact, they were almost made to feel guilty if they used any to cook with. One patriotic woman proclaimed, "It is better to give the fat to our country, than to carry it on our hips." Thus was the state of affairs with the people.

The world itself was restless. This was the year the little spiral of smoke curled up from a Mexican corn field, and the volcano Paricutin, was born. This was the first recorded volcano where man actually witnessed its birth. It built its cone 1,200 feet above the plowed sod.


Chapter 33
Summer
(1944)

201201 With Dixie Harrison as chairman, the ward celebrated an old fashioned May Day, down on Wayne Wilson's Ash Creek farm. Swings were fastened to tall cottonwood trees, game tables were set up in the shade for "checkers" and "fox and geese," an area was cleared for soft ball, and pegs planted for horseshoe pitching, and of course, there was a May pole. A long table, made of planks on saw horses, was set up for the potluck dinner. The day promised to be a perfect one.

Winferd had gone ahead with the older children, while I stayed to care for the baby. As I prepared my salad and casserole, Winferd returned, carrying a glassy eyed little boy into the house.

DeMar was floppy and quiet. Poor little fellow. Usually he was awfully noisy, imagining himself a feed mill with a roaring engine, or an airplane. Now he lay still. As I wrung out cool cloths for his head, I thought how gentle and sweet he was. Could this possibly be the same rowdy rebel of yesterday? Today he appreciated my attention. Yesterday he didn't like my attitude. When I took a cake from the oven, he wanted me to cut it right then.

"No," I replied, "it's for dinner."

He regarded me for a moment, then announced, "I'm going to get me a new wife. I'm tired of my old wife."

202202 "Who is your old wife?" I asked.

"You are." he replied.

He could see no reason why a boy had to sit down to eat with the family at meal times when piecing all day long was easier. He thought boys should not be expected to bathe and get ready for bed when night time came, either.

"I feel like busting down the house. Old drawer," he said to his chest of drawers, "I'm going to break you for holding my sleepers." To his bed, he said, "Old bed, I'm going to burn you up."

But when I put my arm around him and said, "Kneel down now and say your prayers," he earnestly prayed, "Heavenly Father, please help me to be a good boy."

DeMar had hastened Gordon's growing up, too. The other children learned to crawl before they walked, but not Gordon. When Gordon was only ten months old, DeMar came growling across the floor at him.

"I'm a bear and I'm going to eat you up."

Gordon squealed and ran, wrapping his arms around my legs. From that day on, he walked.

The day after May Day, I realized how beautiful DeMar's motor sounded. How relieved I was that he was ok.

In July, Leonard Hardy's family and our family went on a camping trip together at Navajo Lake. One afternoon, as we hiked to the ice cave, Neil and Norman ran ahead, and we lost track of them. We called and called, but our voices were muffled by the trees. An hour passed without our seeing any sign of them, and I became panicky. The sun was dropping behind the trees and it would soon be dark. We might have to call out a searching party. I visualized spotlights and lanterns shining through the trees all night. To make matters worse, someone suggested that there were bears on Cedar Mountain. At the height of my anxiety, Neil and Norman came down the path toward us. They had raced to the ice cave ahead of us, and since we were forever catching up, they had been on an exploring expedition.


Chapter 34
Terry
(1945)

202202 "Shirley," DeMar said, "When I'm a man I'm going to be bigger and stronger than you."

"Will you be fat like I'm going to be?" she asked.

"I'll be so big I can talk a whole lot of ladies down."

"Will you love me?"

"Naw. I'll go way off and marry my own mother. I don't know who she'll be though."

203203 On April 1, our number four son, Terry, was born. Early that Sunday morning he announced his intended arrival, but by the time I was ready with my suitcase, he had changed his mind. After all, this was April Fool's day. Besides, our nurse, LaVell Hinton, was to be out of town until the next day. But "just in case," we made emergency arrangements to go to the Bradshaw Maternity home in Hurricane.

Sunday evening, our baby became serious about coming, so Winferd hustled me and my suitcase into his rattle-trap truck. As he turned onto the highway, the irrestible sight of two hitchhikers greeted him. Winferd could never resist hitchhikers or hobos. Often he presented them at our dinner table, or brought them home for the night. This day was no different. Slamming on the brakes, Winferd squealed the truck to a stop.

"We're only going two miles," he called, "but if you'd like, you may hop aboard."

They hopped up behind the cab.

As he stopped to let them off, Winferd said, "This is where we turn. By the way, where did you say you were from?"

"Shreveport," one of them replied.

"That's green country, isn't it? You're a long way from home." He leaned leisurely back and proceeded to get acquainted.

Heavy pains, like the weight of a landslide, bore down upon me. I dug my fingers into the ragged upholstery of the car seat, clutching onto the bare springs.

"We're going to Phoenix," one of the hitchhikers was saying.

"I used to know a fellow from Phoenix—let's see, his name was—"

"Winferd," I whispered, "hurry!" I was doing my best to appear calm, but this little kid of ours—owe! Are hitchhikers any good at delivering babies, I wondered?

"Guess we'd better be going," Winferd said. "Have a nice trip."

At Bradshaw's, Emma ran to the phone. "Annabelle, we need the doctor quick," she said to Mrs. McIntire.

"He's in LaVerkin. Joe Gubler has had a stroke. I'll try to get him."

"Well," Winferd said, when he got the report, "I'll just run along home and get the kids their supper. I'll be back in plenty of time."

What a serene man!

Breathing shallow and holding a baby back doesn't sound like much. It's about as mild as trying to hold the world together under a bombing attack. Dr. McIntire and Terry both arrived at the same time. By the time Winferd returned, Terry had had his oil bath and I lay on my cool pillow thinking, "Thank Heavens!"

"Uncle Joe is pretty bad," Winferd said.

Uncle Joe Gubler, Grandpa's only brother, died on May 3.

Then came word from Germany that Willard Duncan had been killed by a booby trap on March 26.

"Oh no," I cried as Winferd brought me the news. "How can our family 204204 be hit so hard again so soon? First LaVell loses her companion, then Tell, and now Ardella! Which one will be next?"

I recalled the night the family had had a get-together to bid Willard goodbye as he went into the service. Ardella wept openly. As big tears slid down her cheeks, she sobbed, "I know he'll never come back." We tried to console her in vain. Her premonition had been correct. How sad we were.

While I was at Bradshaw's, Elizabeth Burgess' baby Robert was born there also.

In the afternoons, Bishop Bradshaw would sit by my bedside and read the daily paper to me. On April 12, Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage just 83 days after he had taken office as President of the U.S.A. for the fourth time. Within four hours, Harry S. Truman became the 33rd President. President Roosevelt had said he did not want a 4th term, but he felt that it was his duty to run so there would be no shake-up in leadership in the middle of a great war. Many people were opposed to the idea of one man being president for 16 years, and the Republicans had used this issue in their campaign. F.D.R. was the only president who had presumed to run even for a third term. The Democrats emphasized the danger of "changing horses midstream," and stressed the idea that an experienced man was needed to finish the war and establish lasting peace. President Roosevelt's fourth inaugural address was one of the briefest in American history—15 minutes. He did not live to see the Allied Victory in which he played so great a part.

On the 13th of April, Addie Naegle had a baby girl, Annette. Addie had chuckled about me having a baby on April Fool's Day. Now I chuckled about her having one on Friday the 13th.

On April 28, Italian patriots killed Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy. On May 1, it was announced over a Hamburg radio station that Hitler, "fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism, fell for Germany this afternoon in the Reich Chancellery." British intelligence officers later reported that Hitler had committed suicide on April 30, in the shelter of the Reich Chancellery, a day after his marriage to Eva Braun, who also chose to die by her own hand. However, despite this report, many persons who knew him, continued to believe that Hitler was alive. Whether he was dead or living in hiding, his dreams of a master race had collapsed, and Germany was humbled. The places connected with Hitler's rise to power were either completely destroyed, or left in ruins. Hitler had risen to dictatorship by the so-called "blood purge," in which he executed 1,100 persons. He had the Jews brutally robbed of their property and civil rights, and many hundreds of thousands were murdered. There was no question but what he was Satan's greatest ally.

On May 7, German emissaries entered a schoolhouse in Reims, France, where General Eisenhower had his headquarters. There they signed a surrender document, which was ratified in Berlin the next day. Germany was divided into four zones, occupied by the Soviets, British, French and the United States.

Just one week later, on May 14, President Heber J. Grant passed away. I will always remember President Grant most for his slogan, "That which you persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but the ability to do has increased." He visited our stake often. 205205 The church was smaller in those days, and always at quarterly conference time, we either had visitors from the First Presidency or from the Council of the Twelve. After President Grant's passing, George Albert Smith became the 8th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On August 6, we had a George and Annie Isom family reunion at the old homestead on Kolob. The day was clear and sunny and the children had fun racing in the meadow among the pines. We pitched out tents early in the afternoon, then spent the evening around the campfire. The pine trees began to bend in a rushing wind that swept in with dark clouds, blotting out the stars. We hustled into our tents, and then a downpour came. The cracking of lightning and the clapping thunder made a deafening din, with the pelting rain. Finallly it subsided, leaving only the patter of gentle rain, and we slept. But somewhere in my subconscious, I could hear digging and splashing the whole night through. Morning found ditches dug around every tent. Kate had spent the night shoveling in the rain to keep us all from being washed away. Seems like she would have batted someone she knew over the head with the shovel, but she didn't. She just dug on. What love!

On the afternoon of August 7, Mama's birthday, we returned home. When we turned on the radio to get the 10 o'clock news, we got a ghastly report of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. A United States warplane had dropped an atomic bomb on this city of 343,000 population. Three days later, they dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, a city of about 200,000. 66,000 were killed in Hiroshima and 39,000 killed in Nagasaki. Thousands of others were injured. The reports of devastation were too terrible to think about. As awful as this was, it was still a life-saving effort. The United States figured the war would have lasted at least eighteen more months, with the loss of millions of lives, if this action had not been taken.

On August 15, Emperor Hirohito told the Japanese people, by radio, that Japan has lost the war. On Sept. 2, Tokyo time, the Japanese signed the formal surrender aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Under MacArthur's direction, American troops occupied the Japanese home islands.

My brother William was a Lieutenant in the South Pacific. Ovando had served his time as radio technician and had returned home, and Donworth was still in the Air Force as a bombardier. Rationing was dropped on everything but sugar, after the fighting stopped.

On the home front, we had vacated our little house. We were moved into our new home. Instead of this being one big thrill, it was a culmination of a hundred thrills. Each time a closet was finished and painted, or a book shelf installed, or windows put in, Winferd would say, "Come and see." And we'd celebrate. And now, all of the individually finished parts became one great whole—a home, though admittedly, parts of it had already mellowed. But we didn't owe a cent. It was all ours, built without going into debt, except for tiny piece loans that Winferd paid off immediately.

What fun it was to cook our first meal in our new, sunny kitchen. Marilyn was cute the way she took over. Dishes were promptly done, and lovingly she swept up the crumbs, then thoroughly dusted the house.

Best of all, we had SPACE! Serene, beautiful space! No longer were we bumping into each other. With room to stretch, dispositions became sweet. When we were crowded, people were irritable, and meal time was often a devastating experience, because the whole house had to be cleaned again. 206206 When every inch of a house is lived in every minute of the day, a woman has to be cleaning and setting to rights with every breath she draws. Now, housekeeping was a breeze. It was as though we had burst from our cocoon.

But even a butterfly might possibly look back at the empty cocoon with some degree of tenderness. Often, while I was busy with the baby, Gordon, just barely turned two, would disappear. Usually we found him in the vacated mud house, sitting on the couch, his feet sticking out in front of him. On his solemn little face was a look of homesick longing. Sometimes in the evenings, both Gordon and Winferd vanished. We'd find them sitting together in the old house, listening to the radio that had remained in its forgotten corner.

Gordon was an independent little soul. He never troubled to ask for a drink when he was thirsty, but slid a chair up to the cups, got one, then climbed down, sliding his chair to the tap for his drink, then he'd slide the chair back to the cups and put his away. Whenever he opened a drawer, he shut it. He always put the spoon back that he had been digging in the sand with, dirt and all. At meal times, he slid everyone's chairs up to the table, then he'd go outside and call the others. Sometimes when the kids dawdled over their food, Gordon would say, "Eat, eat, eat."

Winferd had a small, red-handled scythe that was light and easy to swing. One Sunday afternoon, as we sat enjoying the cool shade of our front porch, Gordon took the scythe, swinging it at the weeds along the ditch.

"Look at him," Winferd exclaimed. "He's really cutting them down."

Persistently Gordon worked, the weeds falling under the scythe's sharp blade.

"Ah, he's my boy," Winferd observed. "He is going to be my companion and helper."

I am sure he little realized how prophetic his words were.

Gordon was a picture, in his short, blue linen pants, buttoned onto a blue and white striped shirt. His face glistened with perspiration, and his damp, thick hair curved softly on his forehead.

"He's a handsome one," Winferd said.

Chief Tillehash, of the Shivwit Indian Tribe, brought his family to LaVerkin and pitched camp in Grandpa Gubler's pear orchard at pear picking time. The Tillehash family harvested the crop for Winferd. The little papooses played among the trees, and the babies were laced up in their cradle boards and stood against the tree trunks on the shady side. The little tykes endured the gnats and flies patiently. Only their little hands were free. Indian babies are a marvel to me.

After the fruit was harvested, Winferd bought a second hand piano, and from Marilyn's beginner lesson book, I learned where middle "C" was on the keyboard. Now our house really became a home. We had a fireplace, which is the heart of a home, and now a piano, which is the pulse beat.

At MIA we often lacked a pianist to play the march tune for the classes to reassemble, so I decided to learn one piece, so I could pinch-hit when necessary. Secretly I practiced every time I found myself alone. Diligently I struggled to learn "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and 207207 was quite impressed when I could play it clear through without a mistake. Then the great moment came. Our pianist was absent. Max Woodbury was YMMIA president by now, and both the Young Women's and the Young Men's executives were holding a meeting in the recreation hall during class period. It was my turn to take charge. The time came to sound the chord on the piano. My heart began to pound. I wondered if I dared. Bolstering my courage, I walked to the piano. Pretending to be calm, I sat on the piano bench as if I'd been playing in public all my life. I struck the first chord, which was masterful and beautiful. Out of the side of my eye I saw my counselors suddenly sit up to attention. Then it was time to play. To my horror, the piano keys began to swim. And so did the room! Extreme stage fright gripped me. I could not see one single note on the keyboard. Still, I knew that I knew how to play. Sliding from the bench, I'm not sure whether I walked, or crawled back to the others. The only thing that prevented me from perishing with a stroke was everyone's hearty laughter. I laughed too.

"I've practiced for weeks for this moment," I confessed

"It was a great start," Max assured me.

With the first frost in the fall, I brought my household plants inside. When the plant stand in front of the south windows became crowded, Winferd built me a wire glass greenhouse over the southwest basement windows. From these open windows, I could work inside with perfect ease. Verbenas and geraniums bloomed all winter, filling the basement with their fragrance.

On December 30, Bishop Loren Squire was released, which meant that Winferd and Leonard were also released from the bishopric. Winferd's brother Horatio was sustained as the new bishop with Roland Webb and Carl Church as his counselors.


Chapter 35
We Can't Eat Flowers
(1946)

207207 In the spring, Winferd hooked the truck onto the sagging wire fence across the top of the lot and yanked it out, along with the blackberry bramble. He built a rail fence in its place, and hauled in sand for lawns and flowers.

"I'll leave the fence for you to paint," he said, "and since we can't eat flowers, I'll leave them for you to grow, too."

Our new lawn came up thick, but as the days turned hot, keeping the young grass watered was a problem. Terry was walking by now, and he and Gordon were like a pair of ducks, going everywhere side by side. I had to guard the spray nozzle or they would dig holes in the lawn with it. Like a kangaroo, I constantly leaped up and down the steps to my housework, then back to the lawn sprinkler. If I found it gullying out the lawn, I scolded. Gordon and Terry learned to disappear when I came in sight. Once, when I heard Gordon say, "See Terry, I'm spraying the walk," I charged out the back door and around the house to surprise him. when he saw me coming, he was too startled to put the hose down, but froze, with the spray 208208 nozzle turned full upon me. I gasped and spluttered, charging into the cold, stinging spray. Bewildered, Gordon began to whimper, still aiming the nozzle at me. When I saw the look in his eyes, and heard the unhappy whimper, I cooled off, (to put it mildly), replaced the hose, and took the three of us inside for dry clothes.

One afternoon, I drove to Ruby Webb's house to ask her to give a lesson in MIA on "Safety in the home and on the farm." Gordon rode in the back seat.

"You stay in the car," I said. "I'll only be a minute."

I parked with the gears in reverse, because of the slope. As I entered Ruby's house, she said, "Your car is going." I ran, but the car was gaining speed. It crossed the intersection, bouncing through an abandoned ditch, mowed down a couple of Powell Stratton's fence posts, and came to rest in his pomegranate bushes. Gordon was pitched over the back of the front seat, where he limply hung, wide eyed and white. Ruth Stratton ran from her house, and was there ahead of me.

As I opened the car door, Gordon said in a quivering voice, "I didn't drive it. The car runned away."

I was too shaken to back the vehicle out of its predicament, so Ruth did it for me. I almost didn't have the nerve to tell Ruby why I came.

My mother used to say we should start getting ready for Sunday on Monday. I knew she was right, but it never worked out that way for me. Come Saturday, I usually had a week's work to be done before night. The particular Saturday I speak of was typical. I had cooked, mended, and scrubbed, both house and kids, until I got my usual Saturday sag. Finally, the last child was tucked in, and I collapsed into a chair with a sigh. Oh, for one blissful moment of relaxation! Then, from the basement, the nightly ritual began.

"Motherrrrr, I need a drink."

"Mother, I need to go to the bathroom."

"Make Norman stop hitting me."

"DeMar is pulling my hair."

Like a martyr I arose, responding to each cry.

I felt abused. Then annoyed. Then aggravated. Then exasperated. THEN DOWNRIGHT FURIOUS! I HAD HAD IT! As sounds of unnecessary vitality vibrated from the rooms below, I stormed to the head of the stairs.

"ONE MORE SOUND OUT OF YOU KIDS, AND I'LL COME DOWN THERE AND PITCH ALL OF YOU OUT." (That's not all I said, but that's all I'll admit to.)

Then I turned. Standing in the hall, grinning at me, was Emerald Stout. Behind him was Wilford Leaney and Lafe Hall, the Stake High Priest Presidency. Winferd was their secretary, and they had come to our house for a meeting. The men had let themselves in, because Winferd was momentarily out, and I was yelling too loud to hear their knock. Emerald and Wilford were amused, but as Winferd walked in, Lafe gave him a sad, sympathetic look. The tone of my voice, and my shouted words echoed back in 209209 in my ears, and I stood appalled, hearing myself as others heard me. My face burned.

The Fruit Grower's Association imported a bus load of help from Mexico, when the crops were ready to harvest. Winferd's pears were never more beautiful. He had pruned, sprayed and thinned, and the crop was bounteous. Still, at the packing shed, his pears were culled back, and culled back, because of bruises. Once, he walked into the orchard, instead of driving. That's when he discovered his trouble. His men were in the tree tops, whacking the fruit down with sticks, and filling the baskets from the ground. These men were from Mexico City, and knew nothing about farming. The Association had a bunch of unhappy farmers that year.

In September I was released as WMIA President, and sustained as Stake Special Interest leader.

An example of a vintage Hull Art pottery vase

An example of an art deco Hull Art Mardi Gra vase, of 1940s vintage, perhaps similar to what Alice describes.

Winferd and I were usually involved in setting up the LaVerkin Ward Fruit display at the Hurricane Peach Days each summer. Often, we captured the blue ribbon. This year I also entered my flowers. My garden had been a mass of bloom all summer long, and at the Fair, I took first place. With my prize money, I bought a set of three Hull Art vases, fluted and tinted from a clear pink at the top, fading gradually, like evening clouds, to sky blue at the base. These were absolute luxuries. Normally, we never bought anything but necessities. Then when Winferd went to Salina after a load of coal, he brought me a necklace. That was an absolute luxury, too.

"I saw the necklace in the window of Christensen's store," he said. "The sun was shining on it. I stood glued to the window, fascinated with its jets of colors, and I said to myself, 'Alice has got to have that necklace.'"

It wasn't my birthday, or Christmas, or anything like that. That necklace was a total, thrilling surprise. I had two other necklaces. One was a string of blue glass beads that Winferd had given me on our second date, and the other was of braided seed pearls that he gave me on our first Christmas. That was the year I bought him the white buckskin gloves with the beaded gauntlets. The Indian woman who had made them brought them in to the store to sell, when I was helping with the Christmas rush.


Chapter 36
Lolene
(1947)

209209 Throughout the year of 1947, the Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the saints entering the Salt Lake Valley. As Stake MIA Special Interest leader, I was in charge of the Centennial Dance in March. With feed sacks dyed a pretty blue, I made my centennial dress. The floor length skirt was full and swirly, and the the waist nipped in to a slenderness that I recall with longing. The shell pink lace dickey, fastened around the throat with a beading of black ribbon. Lace ruffled at the wrists of the mutton leg sleeves. I made a swallowtail coat for Winferd from an old dress coat. He wore knee britches, long stockings, and had gold buckles on his shoes. We curtsied, and gracefully swayed through the minuet, in the floor show. This beautiful affair is highly embellished by memory, because Winferd was there, escorting me on his arm, bowing and smiling at me. The camera of my mind undoubtedly took a lovelier picture of the affair than any ordinary camera would have done.

210210 Utah had a state-wide beautification project that year, and I was chairman of the committee in LaVerkin. Opportunity had flung her door wide open to me. When we built our home facing the square, we little realized the complications we were heaping upon ourselves. There was no through road. To get in and out, we had to drive across the square. Every time it rained, the hard packed clay became as sticky as flypaper, and we could neither get in nor out with a car. The Vernon Church family, to the west of us, had to either go around three blocks to get to the church house, or to walk through Uncle Jo Gubler's field on a little footpath along the ditch bank. Town people often cut through our lot to go to Church's. We regretted building our home where there was no road. Checking the original plat for LaVerkin, I found where many of the roads had been closed, and sold to the adjoining land owners, with the stipulation they would be reopened when the need arose. The need was now.

Grandpa Gubler said he would give Winferd the necessary land on the north side of our lot so we would still have an acre of ground, and Wickley Gubler said he would give up the north row of pear trees in his orchard. We would have to sacrifice a row of English walnut trees.

When I presented the plan to the town council, there was some lamenting. "No one will use the road but you," I was told.

"You promised that if I would take this job, I would have your full support," I reminded them.

Image of the foremost of a line of Lombardy poplar trees, Populus nigra, Italica or Lombardy cultivar

A Lombardy poplar

The first (or foremost) in a line of several such trees. (Populus nigra, Italica or Lombardy cultivar)

Public domain image

Reluctantly they agreed to opening up the road. I scheduled a Saturday in March to cut down the poplar trees along the square that were in the middle of the right-of-way. Practically every man in the town came, with axes, saws, chains, and all of the necessary equipment. First, they tore out the old grandstand. This was like a funeral. The ball players grieved openly, and as they looked up at the tall lombardies that had been planted by the first pioneers, they shook their heads.

"Someone is going to be mad at you next summer, " one of them remarked.

"The trees are rotten," I responded. "They break in every wind."

The lombardies in front of our house were an ugly litter of broken branches.

The whine of the saw went through the first tree, and it crashed to the ground. The huge old trunk was nothing but pithy, dry rot, with the exception of a two- or three-inch live section around the outer edge. When the men saw this, there was never another word said. They not only cut down the trees along the right-of-way, but went on around the square, felling all nineteen of the old pioneer sentinels. Like beavers they worked, sawing up the wood, and stacking it behind the church house, and cleaning up the limbs. By sundown, the square was clean.

The people worked diligently to open up the road, clearing away all of the nut and fruit trees, and graveling the surface of the new road. We built new, tight fences. Sanders Brothers had their turkey hatchery in operation above the canal, and trucks began rolling daily down the new road. As long as the hatchery was in operation, this road was the main trunk into town.

211211 The day we went to St. George to buy car licenses, we didn't have money to buy two sets of plates, so we only licenced the sedan. At hay hauling time, Winferd had a problem. He couldn't haul hay in a passenger car. Besides that, he only had one battery and coil between the two outfits. So he parked the car that wore the license plates, and put the battery and coil in the truck.

"I feel like there are phantom cops behind every tree," Winferd confessed. One day at dinner, he announced, "A cop pulled me over today."

"Oh no," I groaned. "License plates are cheaper than fines."

"But I didn't get a ticket," he said. "The cop just yelled, 'Hey mister, get those kids off from your cab. Do it now!' then drove away."

"What on earth were the kids doing on the cab" I asked.

"I thought they were riding on the load of hay, but when that cop pulled me over, there sat Norman and DeMar, perched upon the cab. I was driving fairly fast, too."

"And he didn't get you for not having license plates?"

"I'm sure he would have, but the kids were so conspicuous that he couldn't see anything but them."

"Thank goodness for small favors," I sighed.

After that little brush with the law Winferd didn't push his luck, but took time out to go to St. George to license the truck.

Again the Fruit Grower's Association imported Mexican help, but this time they were not city boys, but farmers. Winferd's four Mexicans lived in our little house. They were destitute. The Mexican government had killed their cattle and burned them in trenches, because of the hoof and mouth disease, and their families were hungry. These men were industrious and faithful. They never went to Hurricane to a movie, or even so much as indulged in a bottle of pop, but sent every possible penny back to their families. At the end of the day, they would sit in our yard and sing. Their voices were mellow and rich, and we enjoyed them. They appreciated fresh loaves of bread from our oven, and loved baked apples heaped with homemade ice cream. They liked our big front room, too. Often, as they sat there, they'd say, "You teach us English. We teach you Spanish." We didn't grab the opportunity as we should have.

One evening after they said goodnight, Winferd remarked, "They're so loveable that they'd almost come in and sit on our laps."

After the pear harvest was over, we packed our camping gear in the truck, ready to take a long-planned vacation. I had baked many kinds of cookies and sealed them up in molasses buckets. I had patched overalls and packed coats, bedding, dishes, and grub boxes, while Winferd tied up loose ends on the farm. The truck was outfitted with a canvas, drawn tightly over wagon bows. We whistled as we hustled with our preparations.

Then Ovando burst through the front door. "Where's Win?" he asked.

"Watering the lucerne."

"Tell him I won't be able to use Donworth this week, so he'd better start cleaning the molasses mill while he has help."

212212 "But we're leaving for Bryce Canyon in the morning," I gasped.

"You can't earn a living by going off on vacation," he said gruffly.

"You sure can't," I snapped. "That isn't earning a living. It's living."

"When you're depending on the farm for a living, the farm comes first. We can't use Don tomorrow, so Win had better use him while he's available. It's a lot of hogwash running off on vacations. When you're working with other people, you had better arrange your affairs to fit theirs."

My eyes were beginning to shoot sparks. "Look, just because you and Horatio can't pick apples tomorrow, you want us to change our plans. The family comes before the farm. If it wasn't for families, who'd need a farm?"

"If you don't take care of the farm, the family can't eat. If Win doesn't get the mill ready, we'll run into frost before the molasses is made."

I couldn't believe him! "Do you think we're going to let our kids down just because of your schedule? We've made plans and promises. Everyone is excited and ready to go."

"Well! If you've made up Win's mind, there's nothing I can do," he huffed, whirling on his heel.

Almost bumping into him, Winferd said, "She didn't make up my mind. I promised the family this trip, and now we're ready to go."

"You'd better get the mill cleaned while Don is free to help. You'll set us back till frost if you don't."

"The mill will be ready before you are," Winferd promised.

With a snort, Van was gone.

Ooh! I wanted to storm after him and smash him.

Putting a strong arm around me, Winferd said, "Calm down dear. Ovando just doesn't understand about wives and kids."

"I'll say he doesn't. I get so mad at him. It burned me up when he scolded you for buying me a winter coat, instead of using the money to buy cabbages and onions to peddle. Forty-seven years without a wife ruins a fellow."

Winferd grinned. "Someday he'll marry, and we'll all get a kick out of what happens to him then."

As I cooled off, I had to admit Ovando was the family pet, and every woman in town was always picking out the perfect wife for him. And we enjoyed him a lot on Saturday nights, when he came to exchange haircuts with Winferd.

We were gone five days on a camping trip to Duck Creek and Bryce Canyon. As Winferd had promised, the mill was cleaned and ready long before anyone was ready to cut the cane.

That November, our precious Lolene was born at LaVell Hinton's home. As I looked at her, I wished that every woman in the world could have a baby girl exactly like her. She was born under the "new order." I DIDN'T HAVE TO LAY IN BED TWO WEEKS. I could even get up and go to the bathroom, and I could sit up to eat. After ten days, I came home happy and strong, and hung a washing on the line. The December sunshine was glorious.

Online Publication Notes

  1. Lombardy Poplar trees

    Alice refers to a cultivar of Populus nigra (or black poplar) trees, or the Italica cultivar, that grows with branches nearly parallel to the main stem, forming a very columnar shape and coming to a narrow crown. Because the cultivar originated in the Mediterranean region, it is adapted to hot, dry summers. It is a male clone with a short lifespan, prone to fungal diseases, which can be blown over in high winds. This matches Alice's narrative. See the Wikipedia article, "Populus nigra" article, the Cultivars section.


Chapter 37
Clouds on the Horizon
(1948)

Resolved: I will consistently keep a journal this year.

The days pass me by. Who can actually keep a journal? But I haven't given up yet.

This morning, the hot water tank ran cold. The pilot light to the oil water heater had snuffed out again. The oil pan was flooded and I was scared. I looked across the field and saw Winferd in the top of a pear tree, pruning. I've got to stop being a baby, I thought, so I threw a lighted match into the puddle. A flame of fire leaped at me with a "boom, boom, boom," and the whole house shook.

Terrified, I ran out the door. "Winferd, Winferd!" I screamed.

He climbed down the ladder. I thought he had heard me, but he picked up his pruning saw, and climbed another tree. I screamed and screamed and he went on pruning. I ran back into the basement. The whole house roared, and the timbers under the bathroom floor were smoking.

Terry, Gordon and Shirley ran down the stairs. "Mother, mother, what's the matter?" they cried. When they saw the heater roaring and puffing, they cried harder. Shirley was supposed to be in bed sick.

"Go back to your bed, Shirley," I demanded. "Gordon, run across the field and get daddy quick, before the house burns down."

Gordon was so frightened he blubbered, "What's the matter! What's the matter!"

"Go," I demanded. "Go quick."

Howling, he stumbled across the field, looking back every little way. I couldn't wait for him. I raced across the square to the store. Like in a nightmare, I felt like I was running in one spot. Lyman Gubler met me at the door.

"Get someone quick that knows about oil heaters," I gasped, and ran back.

My lungs were bursting. I hurried into the basement and grabbed a quilt to beat out the flame, if necessary. The house was full of smoke, and the smell of burning pine. The pipes under the bathroom floor glowed red, and the heater boomed on.

Lyman dashed in, and turned everything there was to turn. "What's this?" he would ask, and give it a turn, and "what's this, and this?" Pointing to the little door to the oil pan, that was shooting fire, he asked, "What's this?"

"That's where I lit the flame. The house might blow up if you shut it."

He shut it anyway. It gave an anary white puff and began to subside. By this time, Winferd and Gordon arrived. Winferd opened the draft in the stove pipe, and the heater became still quieter, having spent itself.

214214 "Mother," Shirley shrieked. "Something is burning in the kitchen."

"Oh no," I groaned, running up the steps.

I had put milk on to scald so I could mix bread. The big coil had been left on high, and the upstair rooms were a black smudge that didn't smell as good as the pine smoke below. I put the charred remains out the door, then plopped onto the bed, pretty well spent. How utterly insignificant and helpless can a person be?

Yellow crocus are blooming in the sun. Winferd, Marilyn, Norman and DeMar came home from quarterly conference thrilled, because they had shaken hands with our prophet, President George Albert Smith. He is here for the dedication of our new bishop's storehouse. Winferd will be away next Sunday, so we had our Easter dinner today. Gordon, Shirley and Terry scrubbed their hands, and from a bowl of mashed potatoes , molded bunnies and chickens to be browned in the oven. As they baked, Terry's rooster drooped his head, and one of the rabbits plopped over sidewise, but the rest were dandies. We had apricot upside down cake too. The family was thrilled with the Easter potatoes, and ate them in much less time than it took to fashion them.

After dinner, I looked with distress at the mountain of dirty dishes.

"Don't worry dear," Winferd said, "the wife is expected to work on Sunday."

"Is that so!" I retorted. "What about the second commandment?"

"Well, what about it

"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work," I quoted.

He raised an eyebrow. "Thou means the husband. It says, 'Thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter,' but it doesn't even mention 'thy wife,'" he teased.

I gulped. He grinned and put on his striped apron. He and the kids did the dishes, while I fed the baby.

Lolene coaxed for attention, but I wanted to finish my work, so I put the metronome on a chair beside her so she could watch it tick. She hushed. After awhile, I looked at her, and her eyes were going back and forth, back and forth with the ticker. She was hypnotized. I grabbed her in my arms to break the spell.

I patched eight pair of bib overalls today for Winferd, and darned his socks. He's going to be a wool jammer for Allie Stout's shearing crew.

I threw a scoop of slack coal onto the glowing coals in the furnace, then went upstairs. The kitchen door burst open and Gordon rushed in.

"Oh, Mother," he shouted, "you're scaring the Heavenly Father."

Going outside with him, I looked up. Well, I wouldn't wonder! From the chimney belched forth a billowing, black, smudgy cloud. In the still air, it spiraled up and up, looming like a monster above the roof.

Winferd has gone to Paw Coon and I'm all alone—I and seven kids. And oh, groan—I've got the flu. I longed for just ten minutes to rest. The baby was asleep, the older kids in school, Gordon playing outside, and Terry peacefully playing with his blocks in the living room. I sagged onto the bed, and was just fading into oblivion, when Terry trotted in.

"I gotta use the toilet Alice. Get up and put on your shoes."

"Oh no," I sighed. "Terry is a big boy. You can go to the toilet all by yourself."

"Terry is too little. Come on Alice."

"Terry is big like daddy," I said hopefully.

There was an insistent tugging at my arm. His voice rose higher and higher. Then there were tears and a runny nose.

"Terry, while you're in the bathroom, wipe your nose too. My, but you're a good boy," I said.

"Ok," he said, and obediently trotted off to the bathroom.

A moment later, Gordon came in with a bent stick that went "bumpety, bumpety, bump," as he pushed it across the floor. Terry scrambled forth to admire it, then they both thought of bread and honey at the same time. Gordon decided that Terry couldn't have any. Terry shed loud tears.

"Gordon, let Terry have some honey," I called.

There was a spell of peace. I dozed. Then the walls of the bathroom 'vibrated.

"You can't drink in here, Terry," Gordon shrieked. "You're making the taps sticky."

Terry howled. Either my bones or the bed creaked as I got up to referee. By the time I reached the kitchen, those little monsters had gone outside and climbed a tree. The house was serene, but my nap time was over.

I iced an aluminum pan and decorated it like a cake for April Fool's dinner. Norman finished eating first, so I told him to cut the cake. He took his butter knife and sawed away.

Bewildered, he said, "It's kinds hard. I'd better get the bread knife."

"For silly," Marilyn said, "I can cut it." So she sawed away. "It's made of cement," she said, then she stood up, and with the point of her knife, bore her weight down in the middle of it.

Norman was back with the bread knife. After one attempt to cut the cake, he turned it over. The kids laughed heartily, then anused themselves peeling off the icing.

Marilyn put Norman's hair up in pin curls, and sent him off to bed with a hairnet on.

I asked Norman to go to the nursery and get some fruit trees to plant, then thought better of it, and asked him not to. So, tonight he came cheerfully home with eleven little trees. He and I chiseled in the red, hard clay to make holes big enough to spread out the roots.

This morning, Arnold Cannon appeared at our door. "Aren't you glad I remembered your trees?" he greeted.

He had eleven more trees for us—a duplicate order. Oh, my aching back!

"We planted eleven trees yesterday," I explained, "but these look pretty nice. We'll take them anyway."

We chiseled out more holes and planted them. The trees sure look better than I feel.

Winferd arrived home, late and exhausted.

Winferd had to leave at 5:00 a.m. this Sunday morning. Some guys would break their necks to get in a full shift on Sunday. He didn't want to go. He loves the Sabbath day. But since he's the only wool jammer on this outfit, the shearers would be pretty mad if they were all forced to rest because of him. Well, they sheared 900 sheep, and the rain came and the sheep got wet, so the men came home. They don't have to be back until noon tomorrow.

How good it was to have Winferd home. He made me some headgates, and turned the water down, and killed that little speckled hen that's always getting out. I've hauled loads of ashes and dirt, building a dike around the run fence to outsmart that little bobtailed chicken.

Winferd kissed me goodbye, and I'm so lonesome I could die!

I thought only cats had nine lives. There is still a little bobtailed, speckled hen scratching in my garden! I'm plugging up more holes with ashes and dirt.

DeMar turned a nest of bagworms loose in the basement. I detest seeing a catepillar ambling down the steps ahead of me. DeMar is supposed to have cleaned them all out, but he isn't too thorough.

I promised the kids lemon chiffon pudding for supper if they'd set out four rows of strawberries after school. Norman played until 6:00 o'clock, then busted a tug to set out his two rows. DeMar played until seven, then dug his plants just at dusk. I made the pudding, but DeMar was still digging when there was no light in the sky but a scrap of a moon. I called him in and gave him a lecture. He promised to set his plants out before breakfast, if I wouldn't send him to bed without supper. All night long my subconscious nagged at me to get up, so he could fulfill his part of the bargain. He has finished and gone to school. The disciplining was harder on me than on him.

DeMar invited thirteen boys and DeLynn Woodbury to his birthday party. She sat on the front porch and played jacks , while the boys imagined they were airplanes. They swarmed through the trees and all over the back yard, making queer noises.

"DeMar," I said, calling him in, "before you pass the cookies, you should play just one honest game."

"Hey fellers," he called, "come here. We're going to play post-office."

DeLynn dashed frantically to my side. "They can't play post-office," she said. "I'm the only girl!"

I rescued her by sending the refreshments out at once.

Norman has been poring over the Farm Journal ads. The appealing post card he has written seems worthy of sharing. It is addressed to "Miller Hatchry, Bloomington, Illinois," and reads, "Dear Mother Miller: How much would you give me to chicks for? I have no money but maby you could let me have 4 or 5 and then when they lay eggs I could take them to the store and get feed, but I wouldn't need to much feed cause there just lots of little bugs they like. Goodby mother Miller, Love, Norman." I'll gladly give him our whole flock of chickens, including that bobtailed, speckled hen!

Norman got his tenderfoot badge this week. He went on an over-night hike Friday. He rode driftwood down the river, and ate pork and beans, and turkey eggs. It was stormy and cold when they left, and I worried. He came back safe and sound, and as I saw him trudging home across the square with his pack on his back, I was glad I had let him go.

I spent yesterday afternoon making a black skirt for Marilyn, out of an old dress of mine. The eighth grade glee club is performing in the concluding day of the Fine Arts week at school. She had to have a white blouse and black skirt.

Twenty years ago, I paid $18.75 for that dress. For six years it was my best dress. (I had married in the meantime.) After twenty years, my daughter wears the skirt. It has come back in style. They call it, "the new look."

I didn't know Norman had ordered a camera from Clint, Texas, until it arrived Saturday, C.O.D. for $1.98. Norman had saved his birthday dimes and nickels, changed them for a silver dollar, then lost the dollar. He earned a quarter chasing foul balls on the square, put it in his shirt pocket, and lost that too.

"Well, Bill Sanders will pay me 25T apiece for making boxes to ship poults in," he said.

So I let him go ask for a job. Bill let him help Dexter rake and burn brush. He paid him 15T and a paper sack full of turkey eggs. I bought the eggs for $1.00, but he had to pay a scout fee with that. So I offered him 25¢ an hour if he'd work in the garden. Monday afternoon I set him to planting corn. He hadn't worked long before he announced he didn't want the camera. He was going to let it go back.

"Daddy doesn't have to work near this hard for his money," he grumbled.

"Whoops," Marilyn shouted, "I'll garden for 25¢ an hour, and get the camera myself."

"Go ahead," I said.

Furious, Norman said, "Boy, if you get that camera, you'll be sorry. I'll tip your doll cupboard over."

Advertisement for Weedone circa 1946
Advertisement for Weedone
circa 1946

Sitting side by side on the kitchen table, their legs dangling, a verbal battle was on. They began to boast of their earning capacity. They were going to be the best strawberry and cherry pickers in town. Marilyn was going to put Weedone out for me the following night. Norman was going to pound on her if she did. She hid the spray and Weedone in the attic so he could not find it. That was Monday. This is Thursday. The Weedone is still in the attic, and Norman has worked for me one hour since then. Now he's begging for me to advance the money so he can get the camera.

218218 The living room floor needed waxing, so today I lit in I scrubbed about half the old wax off, then moved the piano. That did it. My ambition was shot. Gordon took over. Kneeling on the pillow I had on the floor, he enjoyed scrubbing up a pile of soap bubbles around him.

"Oh Gordon,' I exclaimed, " what a wonderful help you are."

He scrubbed, and I mopped. We did the other half of the floor, then scrubbed right on into the kitchen. His little arms were just a going. He sighed two or three times, and I urged him to quit.

"I'm tired," he said, "but work is too much fun to quit."

After scrubbing, he took the hoe and cleaned a strawberry row from the drive, clear down to the bottom of the lot. Not quite five is a wonderful age.

Then DeMar came home from Primary and howled when I asked him to hoe a row of strawberries. His assignment was only a third as long as the row Gordon had done. And he grumbled at it until dark, then finally did it when he realized he couldn't have supper until he did. Laziness sets in at the age of nine. Which reminds me of M. E. Minnick's little poem, "Helping Hands."

Helping Hands

They helped with the dishes and swept the floor
When they were only two and four.
They helped with everything I'd fix,
When they were only four and six.
They helped, with reminders now and then,
When they were only eight and ten.
I miss them now, those helping hands.
I'm sure each mother understands.
This tragedy I had long forseen:
You see now they are twelve and fourteen.

—M. E. Minnick

Today I hoed the garden until it was all clean. I couldn't find a decent shovel or hoe. The kids must have hopefully misplaced them. All I could find was a cane topping hoe with an 18 inch handle, so like a gnome, I stooped through the garden with it. Clean looked so good that I even grubbed out the hollyhocks, cosmos and asparagus. Then I stopped to pack May Day lunches for the kids. The ward was having a celebration on the square. Norman's class went on a school outing to Zion.

My baking dragged into the program hour, because I stayed in the garden too long. From the front door, I watched little girls in yellow crepe paper dresses braid the maypole.

Terry toddled in announcing, "I need a dish." So I fixed him a ham-burger in a napkin. "I don't want that. I want a dish."

He got out one of our best breakfast plates. We only have half a one around.

"Don't take that Terry. Here is a shiny molasses bucket lid." "A lid is not a dish. I want a dish."

You don't argue with Terry, because there's only his side, so to get rid of him, I trusted him with the plate, with his hamburger on it. As he stepped off the front porch he stumbled over a scooter, and away went his 219219 bun and plate. I picked both him and the broken plate up, and taped up his cut thumb. He made a terrible fuss because I wouldn't give him another plate. Finally he settled for a battered blue and white enamel one. I put my last pan of rolls into the oven, and went out to join our children. Terry was seated at Iverson's table.

"What goes on I asked.

"Terry asked if he could eat with us, and we told him he could when the spuds were done," LaFell said.

"The little tramp!" I exclaimed.

"Leave him be," cleone said.

I ran back to my oven. Then in trotted Terry with his plate full of potatoes and sausage. He came for a spoon, then back he went to join the Iversons. Sometime later, he came through the kitchen door with a contented sigh, and a fat cooky.

"Iver give me more potatoes," he said, sliding his dirty dishes into the sink.

Then Gordon came in, weary and happy. "My," he exclaimed, "that was sure lots of fun, Pansy gave me sandwiches and cake."

"Gordon," I cried, "why didn't you come in the house and get your lunch?"

"Because I wanted to see what Pansy's food tasted like," he said.

I had let Norman get his camera out of the post office so he could take pictures on his school outing today. He took sixteen shots, then broke the lens. Then he unloaded the camera while in Zion, and lost the empty spool. I looked the camera over. The shutter doesn't even open. All it is good for is to look at.

When I went to get the dirty dishes out of Norman's lunch kit, there was a bottle with a scorpion in it. He's just like his dad.

I've always wished I could be in the middle of a whirlwind to see what it was like. Today, at a most inauspicious moment, my wish was granted. We were almost to the top of the square on our way to sacrament meeting. Lolene was in my arms, and Terry and Gordon were trudging beside me, when a dirty little whirlwind caught us in its funnel. It was like being sucked up in a vacuum cleaner. I squatted down on my heels, turning the baby's face against me, while the little boys huddled close beside me. Swirling dirt stung our skin, pelting us like buckshot. We were choking for air. Then suddenly, the dust devil whirled on, spending itself in Wilson's field. Brushing off the grit, I combed our hair with my fingers, and we continued on to sacrament meeting.

Terry runs away whenever he can give me the slip. Usually he does not come home on his own, but this evening I did not go after him. The sun was down when he trudged wearily home. "I runned away for twenty hours," he sighed. He dozed off in his high chair before he'd finished eating.

He loves Lolene. "She sure is cute, ain't she," he says.

I lost Terry again today. I searched the yard, and called, then gathered up the other kids and told them where to go looking for him. We were arouped by the little bridge at the front gate.

220220 "Terry," I shouted once more.

"What?" Terry answered, his voice echoing from Under the bridge, where he contentedly lay in the cool, damp sand.

The kids whooped with laughter.

"Terry was laying down," he said with wide eyed innocence.

DeMar presented me with a paper bag of woody carrots that have been in the garden for over a year. Written on the sack was , "To Mother from DeMar and Gordon." Their radiant smiles, as I peeked into the sack, warmed my heart.

"Now we can have carrot pudding for dinner, can't we DeMar beamed.

"If you'll grate the carrots," I answered.

So he did.

I waited all evening for Winferd to come home. He said he would, but he didn't make it.

Winferd came last Monday. He brought me a pink linen suit—the nicest one I have ever had. It is so extravagant. And he needs a dress suit. He hasn't had a new one in twelve years. He doesn't even own a pair of overalls that hasn't been patched time and time again. And now he's gone again. He left for Iron Springs today noon. He hopes he'll be home Sunday night. So do we.

Terry ran down the road screaming after the car when he left. I caught him, and held him tight in my arms, but he squirmed and cried all the harder, asking over and over, "Why didn't you let me go with Daddy?"

The hour grows late, and the house is quiet. The kids have been celebrating the closing of school. Marilyn and Norman and their friends have been making candy and playing the phonograph. The living room is a clutter of bingo cards and phonograph records.

I've just made the rounds, and everyone is asleep. You'd never guess to look at them, that Terry and Gordon had been sent to bed early because they went swimming in the ditch with their clothes on.

With eternities before us, why are we so rushed? Take the strawberries, for instance. They are only on the vines two or three weeks a year. So we drop everything and pick berries and put them up. Then comes the cherries , and so on, the calendar around.

Winferd got through tromping wool and came home, but we hardly see each other. He went right into the haying and planting cane, and now he's helping his dad and Van drive the cattle onto the summer range. They've spent all week trailing to the mountain and back.

Grandpa took Marilyn, Shirley and Terry to Mt. Dell with him Tuesday. When he brought them home, Terry ran in front of the car and was knocked down. A wheel ran over one knee. Now it's blue and swollen.

Terry has been a tyrant about running in front of cars. The kids report that he stopped four cars Sunday afternoon. Grandpa may have saved his life by hitting him. It may make him more cautious.

Wednesday was a red letter day for Marilyn. She went to Primary as a teacher. This is her first real office in the church. She is an assistant to Norma Sanders in the smallest age group.

221221 When Marilyn got ready to go to Primary, Shirley asked, "What's Marilyn going to Primary for?"

In a taken-for-granted-tone, Marilyn replied, "I teach."

Then DeMar came in. "What's Marilyn going to Primary for?" he asked.

Nonchalantly, Marilyn answered, "I teach Primary."

The same thing happened when Norman entered. What an important milestone!

Lolene has two little bottom teeth that show each time she smiles.

They are very exciting teeth. All six of her brothers and sisters have to inspect them, and she laughs at their attention.

It's fantastic how much Norman can get out of a nickel when he spends it on penny post cards , and in his own seclusion, answers ads. Today, a freight truck pulled into our yard.

"Does Norman Gubler live here?" the driver asked.

"Yes he does," I replied.

"Then this freight belongs to him." Grinning, he pulled out a pint-sized package, postpaid from "Old Peachtree Lane, Ind." It had cost the company 60¢ to send it to Cedar. I had to sign papers and dig up another quarter.

The truck driver mused, "They could have mailed the package clear across the United States for a dime."

But the package contained a can of plastic wood and one of solvent. The solvent is flammable.

"Oh boy," Norman said, "now I can make models and sell them. I'm going to start a new business."

He has made a bailing wire form and molded an ostrich onto it.

We've been hounded with dunners from a stamp collecting outfit, for $3.00 to pay for stamps Norman ordered with a penny post card. The stamps, fortunately, never arrived, so I have requested that the dunners stop.

The other day, Norman got a packet of literature on how to remodel his old home into a "dream house." Marilyn and Betty Segler had so much fun over this, that Norman refused to even look at it. Now he's dreaming over a premium catalog, contemplating the treasures that will be his, when he sends another penny post card for seeds to sell.

I mixed food coloring into three pounds of margarine this morning. We've been eating it white for almost a year, because it's too messy to color. (Note: Colored margarine had never appeared on the market up to this time, because of restrictions placed upon it by the Dairy Association.) Shirley has been eating her bread dry, refusing to use a white spread. She padded across the porch in her bare feet, and sat down by me on the step where I was finishing working the color in. Her voice was soft and happy as she said, "I like butter and bread." She ate it each meal today and in between, it has tasted so good to her.

At dinner, all of the kids spread their bread with new interest.

"The only difference between this and margarine is the color," Norman said.

222222 "Oh my! There's as much difference as day and night," Marilyn said. "You could never fool me. This butter is nothing like margarine."

Winferd winked at me. Funny, but it tastes different to me too. It is much better. Really, we eat with our eyes.

Shirley has cried over everything lately. Sometimes I'm beside myself. This morning, she came wailing into the laundry room.

"Shirley," I said, "what would you rather do in the whole world?"

She stopped crying and thought a minute. "I don't know," she said.

"Well, what would you rather do, have a new toy, go to a picture show, go on a picnic, or what?"

"Go on a picnic and eat pork and beans," she said.

"Ok. We'll go on a picnic and eat pork and beans, and have cake too, if you'll not cry for a whole week. Do you think you can go that long without crying?"

Ducking her head, she said with a half grin, "I don't know."

"Well, you'll try, won't you?"

"Yes," she said weakly.

She has taken the teasing of her brothers all the rest of this day without tears.

Norman gave Shirley a trouncing today, but she didn't cry.

Shirley's week is up today, and she still hasn't cried, so we're going to Oak Grove.

Shirley cried twice while we were at Oak Grove. I guess she really needed to. But she told Gordon she couldn't cry at home any more, because we were going on another picnic.

Norman brought a baby pack rat home, planning to raise it on the bottle. The little thing died.

Sarilla Hepworth had asked us to get a program number for the morning. of the 24th.

"How nice," I said to our children. "Marilyn can play the piano, and the rest of you can dramatize the pioneer song, 'No Sir No.'"

For two weeks I struggled with my troops, trying to teach them the song, but they only hung their heads as if afraid. Yesterday, while Marilyn was horseback riding with Ramona Firm, I decided we'd practice without the piano. But I could scarcely get a peep our of the kids. I coaxed and I pleaded, then finally DeMar inhaled, and swelling up like a frog, he blasted, "Tell me one thing, tell me truly, tell me why you scorn me so, etc." I nearly toppled over.

Catching the spirit, Shirley shouted, "No sir, no sir, no sir NO!"

And Norman boomed, "My father was a Spanish merchant, and before he went to sea,"

"Hey kids, not quite so loud," I motioned with my palms.

"First you want us to sing louder, and then you don't," DeMar grumbled.

223223 "Ok, belt her out," I said.

And they did, each in a different time, like singing a round.

Tonight, I lined them up to practice the action. They were tired and touchy. Shirley's chin brushed DeMar's shoulder, so he punched her. Her eyes rolled back in mock agony as she doubled up howling onto a chair. So Norman flipped DeMar on the cheek, and he howled. In despair, I marched them off to bed.

I seemed to have two choices, both of them bad. We could either practice without the piano, while Marilyn was off horseback riding, or practice before her company, which she always had. I chose the latter. So Ramona sat in a corner while we rehearsed. When Marilyn started to play, Shirley ducked her head, so DeMar punched her and she bawled.

"Oh no," he moaned, flopping onto the couch.

Disgusted, Norman pounced on DeMar.

"Ow, ow, ow, you broke both my legs," DeMar howled, going down to his knees on the floor.

With my one free hand, I grabbed Norman by the collar. The baby was perched on my hip, and my other arm was around her. I needed a miracle.

"Ok you guys, it's time for everyone to kiss and make up." Letting go of Norman's collar, I kissed his forehead. He would rather have been clobbered.

"I don't want to kiss old DeMar," he muttered.

DeMar shuddered and looked at Shirley. Ramona sat silently in her corner.

"Here," I said, putting the baby in her lap. Picking up a pencil and paper, I said, "You can each speak just once while we practice. If you speak the second time, you don't get a show ticket tomorrow, so choose your words well."

Marilyn played the piano, and the others marched in with a little waltz step, pretending they were on stage.

"Mother, why don't we do it this way?" Norman asked, demonstrating.

"You've spoken once, Norman."

They danced into place and sang, racing ahead of the piano.

"They don't even try," Marilyn lamented.

"You've spoken once, Marilyn."

They sang some more. They lagged in places, and Marilyn pounded the piano harder.

"Softer, Marilyn," I pleaded.

She bit her lips and glared at the piano. The kids performed like puppets, afraid to speak. They were never with the music. I could see pressure building up. I was afraid Marilyn would explode, so we made the rehearsal short.

Eldon and Edward slept with Norman and DeMar last night. They played until midnight. Marilyn and Ramona tended Elco Orton's kids and didn't get home until 3:00 a.m.

224224 Getting the kids to the church house by 9:00 a.m. was a squeeze. I hurried behind the scenes and pinned on their costumes. They were dressed like a boy on one side and a girl on the other. Norman and Debar wore Marilyn's outgrown dresses. I had just put in the last pin, and started to make Norman one rosy cheek, when their number was announced. We squeezed behind the extra wings and stage props, but I couldn't hear any piano. Panic seized me. We had left Marilyn at home taking bobby pins out of her hair. I visualized her still there in front of the mirror. Then the piano started to play. But I was stuck in the wings. There was only a six inch space back there. The kids made it, but I was just half way through, and couldn't go either way. I had to push the scenery out where the people could see, before I could get free.

The kids were singing, so no one paid attention to me. They turned the boy side to the audience when the boy spoke, and the girl side when she answered. Fortunately, they found someone in the audience to grin at, so they sang out. My agony was vindicated by the hearty applause.

Since I've been in the Relief Society presidency with Belva Sanders and Ruth Nielson, I have to go to the early morning welfare meetings, an hour before Winferd's and Norman's priesthood meeting. This morning, when I called goodbye to the family, Gordon wrapped his arms around my legs so I couldn't walk.

"I wisht you had a awful bad cold so you couldn't ever go," he said affectionately.

Winferd picked over a case of Himalaya berries this morning. "Make a whole row of pies," he said, "so I can eat 'em careless like."

I made five juicy berry pies for him.

Norman and DeMar were supposed to pick berries too. At sundown tonight, we took Terry and Lolene in the cart, and Winferd and I walked up to see how they were getting along. They were getting along fine, playing on Horatio's lawn. (Horatio lived by the briar patch at that time.) When the boys saw us coming, they dove behind the bramble, and began to pick. By the time it was too dark to see, they came home with three cups of berries. Sweat had trickled through the grime on their faces, and their mouths were purple. The only thing that was clean was the whites of their eyes.

"You guys wash up for supper," I said.

Norman darted into the bathroom, turned on the faucet , and darted out again, looking like a racoon. He had rubbed a hole in the dirt around his eyes and mouth.

"Get right back and wash," I demanded.

In half a minute he was back, more racoonish than ever, with the holes a little whiter. I marched him back to the bathroom, and with a clean washcloth, I scrubbed.

"Seems like I was four years old again," he giggled. "I remember how I stood on a stool while you washed me."

He was clean when I got through, but complained that the back of his ears felt cold.

Winferd sold some grain for cash today, so now we can go to the Stake Relief Society bazaar in Springdale tonight. I never found time to make a sewed article for it, so I potted a sword fern to take, and asked DeMar to shell me a quart of walnuts, and Norman to pick berries. When DeMar 225225 finished his nuts, he was so pleased, because it took him less than two hours when he had been so sure it would take him a week. Winferd and Norman picked four baskets of berries during the noon hour. When Hilda Bringhurst, the Stake Relief Society President, called for my collection, she thought it was a wonderful one. I felt so good about her feeling so good that I realized I'd never get any reward in Heaven, because I always get it here.

At the bazaar I bought a dress for Lolene, a blouse for Marilyn, and an apron for me. Winferd bought cookies for the kids, dried peaches for DeMar, and some good homemade noodles. He was just a little burned up when he saw the berries that he had picked from the briar patch, go for 12½¢ a basket. They sell in the store for 35¢. I cheered him by reminding him of how good the guy felt who bought them. Like I did about the blouse. It had lots of trimming on it, and was the very latest for style. I suspect some woman resolved to never sew again for a bazaar. Bazaars are nothing but make-work projects for women, whose efforts are sold for a pittance. Bizarre!

I'll have to get Winferd some iron shoes to hold him down. He's been counting his gold for the last five days. The pear market is up—$5.00 a bushel, compared to 40¢ last year. Last year they went as culls. This year they are perfect. Winferd is dreaming of a new car. All I ask is to be out of debt and to see our store house filled.

We got a package from Popcicle Pete today. I had written a letter of exasperation, attached to a package of dirty popcicle bags. I told Pete I was sick of the litter, because my four kids scrounged every filthy popsicle bag they could find from under the grandstand, and out of the weeds along the fences, and were saving them up to get prizes. So I was stomping the mess down inside a big paper sack, 153 of them. We received an entertaining letter from Pete, saying he was sending prizes to all four kids. He sent four yo-yo tops, four singing lariats, four note books, four magnifying glasses, four whistles , and a bundle of crayons. The singing lariats were the most fun of all.

Winferd has seven Navajos camping in the pear orchard. Their little girl, Evelyn, came to the house, and I had her try Marilyn's red coat on. It was just fresh back from the cleaners.

"Oh dear, it's too big for you," I said. Her face fell. "Do you want to keep it until it fits you?" I asked.

Timidly she smiled, "Yes."

She came with her mother to a ward program tonight. Hot as it was, she had the red coat wrapped lovingly around her. It matched the velvet her mother wore.

I went to the orchard to show the Indian women how to dry pears. They were pleased, putting out a real lot of them in one day. They will enjoy them next winter.

Winferd swapped help with my brothers, Bill, Clint and Wayne. They did some tractor work for Winferd, and he is hauling wheat for them from up above Zion. The wheat, hay, and pears are all ready to harvest at the same time.

I was busy washing when a shadow darkened the door of the little house where I worked. There stood Winferd in his patched, faded overalls. His face was rough, because he shaves only on Saturday, unless we're 226226 going somewhere important. He looked kindly at me.

"Forget the washing, and go pack a lunch. The family might as well go with me to Zion. You and the baby can ride in front with me, and the kids can ride on the grain sacks."

The lunch was simple and quick. As we rode, the baby turned round and round on my lap, like a top, or climbed up into my hair. The only time she fussed was when I wouldn't let her eat the stuffing out of the ragged truck seat. The kids hooted and yelled all the way through the tunnel, and Winferd stopped long enough for them to feed some bread to the squirrels.

Bill and Clint were riding the combine when we reached the ranch. Wayne was at the gate. The other guys said he was just a tourist, but Wayne reminded them of all the good he did. The wind blew the chaff back from the combine all over my brothers and I wondered how they could breathe. We jogged in the truck across the furrows to the one shady spot on the further side, to eat our lunch. The wind blew little specks all over our beans so they looked peppered. But they tasted good. Lolene choked on a pine cone. What a pest she was. I had to eat standing up, so I could keep her in the boys' pickup. When Winferd was loaded, we returned home. DeMar stayed to come home with my brothers. He brought a baby jackrabbit home with him, but the wise little thing ran away.

Last night the Indian man, Dan Taylor, came to the house. "When we pick across the street (Ed Gubler's orchard) my wife, she fall out of tree. She sick. You got medicine? She hurt."

I gave him six aspirin. I was afraid to give him more, for fear she'd take them all. "I'll come right over," I said. I was worried.

When I got to their tent, Dan's wife, Nary, was in bed. She was in real pain. I tried to get the doctor, but he was in St. George. Winferd and the boys were on the mountain, so I got Jack Eves to take Dan and Mary to the hot springs. When Winferd got back at 10 p.m. we went down in the canyon to get the Indians. Mary cried with every step she took to the car.

This morning, as I talked to the doctor, I told him how it hurt mary to walk.

"If an Indian woman can walk, she'll get better." He wasn't anxious to see her. "If she doesn't get along, bring her over, but I think she's just badly bruised. The hot springs will help her." I took some apple and blackberry jam over to cheer her, and to see how she was. She was sitting on a canvas cot under a pear tree. Her knee was hurting, and her head ached. She wanted more aspirins.

"Is there anything else?" I asked.

"Cookies," she answered.

What a relief! I knew then that she was aoing to get better. I sent her the cookies , and Winferd took her to the springs again tonight. He said she could walk much better.

Evelyn slept at our house last night. She asked to sleep between white sheets. I fixed a bed on the couch, in front of the open windows. She kicked off her shoes, and piled in with all of her clothes on. This morning she enjoyed washing up in the bathroom, and combing her hair in front of the hall mirror. She ate breakfast with us, and stayed until her mother sent for her.

Clark took the Gubler grandsons fishing on Ashcreek. Norman caught fifteen suckers.

Dan and Mary Taylor came for their pay last night, and to see what size of rug I would like. I felt humble in front of them. Making a rug is so much work.

"Only take three, maybe four days," Dan assured me. 'Ile grow own wool and make own yarn and dye too."

"We make it 2½ feet by 4 feet to go here," Mary said, indicating the couch.

Those people are so poor, I found myself fighting to be able to accept a gift from them. But they wanted to give.

"Ok," I said, "send your little girl over, and let me take measurements so I can make her some school dresses."

This pleased them very much.

While I was in the bathroom giving our slimy little water turtle, Herby, a bath, there came a knocking at our kitchen door. With Herby in his tray, I went to answer.

"Edith!" I exclaimed.

"Ugh!" she greeted, looking at the turtle. I was so glad to see her that I almost forgot how we both hate to be kissed, but she didn't let me get away with it. Her right arm stiffened, and she shook the hand that was dripping with Herby's bath water.

Edith's girls are going to sleep here, and she and Gene will stay with Mom. The Gubler men folks are fishing above Zion.

Our house has been as noisy as a flock of blackbirds. To have new girls in town as pretty as Edith's girls , has been the magnet to draw the neighborhood kids. DeLoy Wittwer is staying with us too. He has taken a shine to Corinne.

Winferd took the girls to Rattlesnake with him after a load of farm machinery for Bill. The baby and I went for a visit at Mom's. Annie and Rass, Mildred and Maurice, Kate and LaPriel and their families were there too. All six of Mom's girls were home for the first time in years.

This is the busiest season of the year. So is spring, with its planting and digging. And summer, with its weeding and watering. And autumn, with its canning and harvesting, and the opening of MIA, Primary, and Relief Society. And winter, with ward functions and socials , and the crowded days of mending and sewing. NOW is always the busiest. Especially this NOW. We've put up peaches, pears, figs, grapes, beans, tomatoes, spinach and corn. There is no end to what our fruit shelves will hold. Winferd keeps coming in, five gallon buckets weighing down each arm, and an aren't-you-glad-I-brought-you-some-fruit expression. I sigh, try to be grateful, and struggle on. Like the ant, I know we have to eat next winter, but oh sorrow! I am a grasshopper at heart.

We sold our sway-backed, sad eyed old cow to Wesley Hafen today for $125.00. Already standing in her place is a young heifer Winferd bought from Alma Flannigan for $125.00. Just like trading.

228228 I named the new cow Elsie because she has the cutest face I've ever seen on a cow. It's easy to imagine her with a bow of ribbon on her head, and a garland of flowers around her neck. Her eyes are big and brown, and she has long, curly eyelashes. She's a very dark red, with black smudges around her nose and eyes that give her a saucy expression. This was love at first sight.

This morning, Alma Flannigan knocked on our door. "Good morning," he said, "I had trouble sleeping last night. That's why I'm here so early. Winferd, I got the best of you on the cow deal. She's only a range cow. She'll never make a good milk cow. She's not worth more than a hundred dollars."

"You didn't set the price," Winferd said. "I offered you $125.00."

"Please come out to the pickup with me," Alma urged.

Winferd went out. Alma opened up some cases of new molasses buckets. "There are $25.00 worth here. Will you please take them so my conscience can rest easy? I want to be able to sleep tonight."

"I need the molasses buckets," Winferd said, "but I prefer to buy, them from you."

"Please accept them," Alma urged. "My peace of mind is worth much more than the money."

No amount of money could have ever impressed us as much as his example of honesty.

Winferd had to deliver pears to an outfit in St. George today, so he took the family along. He took us to the College Cove for milk shakes. When he sat down with the baby in his arms, I took her from him.

"I'm used to eating with her on my lap," I explained.

Winferd put a nickel in the little slot at the table to show the kids how the juke box worked. It obliged with "Carolina Moon." The waitress brought the big glasses of ice cream with straws in them. Lolene stood up on my lap and grabbed. She put her little mouth over my glass, so I let her drink. She wouldn't let go. When they brought the ice water, she climbed across me and tipped Gordon's cup over. The cold water startled her, and she cried. I grabbed all the paper napkins available and began mopping up. Lolene wiggled loose, and pulled my milk shake over on us.

"You said you could handle her easier than I," Winferd chuckled.

Winferd bought the nicest spatted cow and calf from Elmer Hardy, both for $200, and this one produces. We live again!

I churned Monday—the first real butter for over a year. Since Shirley is the one who felt bad about eating margarine, it was appropriate to churn on her birthday. We've been having cream on our cereal, and cream on our fruit, and milk for dinner, instead of water. Winferd thinks two cows are a nuisance, but it worth it.

Winferd made arrangements to take the truck to Fredonia for Maurice Judd to overhaul. Whenever the truck moves out of the lot without Terry, he goes yelping down the road until Winferd stops and picks him up.

"Winferd," I said softly, "would you like to take Terry with you?"

"Do you mean take him to Fredonia?"

229229 "Don't be alarmed. It was only a suggestion," I said.

"He'd only get in the way. He'd get all covered with tar and grease from hanging around where I'll be working."

"Don't worry about it. He can stay and play with Lolene. We like his company," I said.

Winferd kissed me goodbye. When he went out the back door, Terry was patiently sitting in the truck. With round-eyed anticipation, he peered above the door.

"Terry, come here," I called.

"I want to go with Daddy," he said.

"Daddy is going too far. Daddy is going a long way off."

"I'm going a long way off with Daddy too," he said firmly.

Winferd looked helpless. "You'd better get him ready, I guess."

"Come on then Terry, and get clean."

He looked so cute and sweet when I kissed him goodbye. I hope Winferd won't be sorry he took him. And I hope they hurry home to take over the milking. The Hardy cow, Old Maude, is hard to milk. She gives a lot, but it's like filling a bucket with a medicine dropper. I get paralyzed sitting so long. Elsie only gives a couple of quarts, but she gives it easy. She's a pet. She loves to eat apples from my hand and to nuzzle up to me.

I've been released as Stake Special Interest Supervisor, and sustained as manual counselor in the Stake YWMIA,.to Margaret Nuttal. Bessie Judd is the activity counselor. We're attending conferences in all of the wards. Back in my Stake Sunday School days, I once thought I'd never get called on to talk. I was surprised out of this smug complacency enough that I learned to never go without some gem of thought. It's a good thing I did. I've been called on five times in the last two weeks. I'm like a little minnow bobbing up in a whirlpool. I think I've had my cycle. Winferd, Marilyn and I were all on the program Tuesday. He conducted the recreation hour, Marilyn played the preliminary music, and I gave the lesson to the Special Interest group.

This morning I typed seventy notices about our cleanup campaign, while my floors went unswept, and the breakfast dishes dried up in the sink.

Norman has a talent for getting knocked out when he's needed most. He got in a fight over a spit wad Tuesday, and feels miserable/ looking through a purple, swollen eye. And then yesterday, a wasp got him_ when he knocked its nest down. His right hand is swollen shiny tight. He can't shut it to milk.

I got Marilyn to milk the little cow. It is her first time. She put on her newest blouse and best skirt, and carefully put on her lipstick before coming to the corral. I sent her back to the house to get into something more practical. When she finally came back, she hedged around and around the cow, trying to decide where to light and begin.

Finally, she asked, "What is the cow waiting for?"

"The cow isn't waiting. That's you. Sit down and go ahead."

She brought the milk in just before bus time, but I had to give it to the chickens, it was so trashy.

When Winferd and I came home from our shopping, Norman greeted us with a blast from a second-hand trumpet.

"Where did you get that?" Winferd asked.

"From Kent Wilson. He wants $25.00 for it. Mrs. Clifton says it is worth $60.00."

"Then I guess we should be willing to pay that much," Winferd said.

"Mrs. Clifton said my mouth is the right shape for a trumpet."

It must be. That trumpet has been blasting all evening.

The hunting season is on. Winferd is on the mountain with his dad, helping with the roundup. Of course, his gun is on his saddle.

The shadow of sorrow descended upon our home yesterday. The day dawned dark and dripping. Winferd did the milking, and chopped a pile of wood.

"If this storm breaks, we'll have freezing weather," he said. "I'd better pick the beans."

Working fast in the chilly mist, he filled a bushel basket, then doubled up in pain before he could get to the house. I sent for Ovando, who took him to the doctor. At eleven last night, Dr. McIntire and Ovando returned from the Iron County Hospital, where Winferd went into surgery. He was operated on for appendicitis, but that was not the problem. What is wrong, I do not know.

Neighbors and family are good. Ruth and Bill took me to Cedar to see Winferd yesterday. Morris Wilson called to see what farm work was most pressing, so the High Priest's Quorum could help. Aunt Mae Gubler came to let me know she would stay with the family whenever I needed to go to the hospital. Gretchen Stratton sent the same message. Vernon and Greta Church took me to see Winferd today. Winferd was in an oxygen tent, but he smiled at us. Uncle Will Palmer came and helped Brother Church administer to him, then they left us alone with each other.

Sister Church said, "We'll wait downstairs. You stay as long as you can."

I could see Winferd through the windows of the tent. He studied me too much. What was he thinking? Fear gripped me.

"Dear Heavenly Father," I silently prayed, "please forgive me for being so weak."

Trying to gain the strength I needed, in my mind I repeated over and over, "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." The clouds of doubt began to dispel, but still I was sad.

Churches were waiting, when I came down stairs. Oh, my very dear neighbors. How much I loved them.

Bishop Church said, "What would you like to do now Shall we go to a show?"

"This is your night out," Sister Church smiled.

"I hope the kids will be all right," I said.

231231 "We had better just go out for ice cream, then take you home so you won't worry," Brother Church said.

Winferd is getting well. He will come home. I went with his dad and mother to see him last night, and he even laughed and joked with us.

I had been to the polls, with a note signed by Winferd, asking permission for me to vote for him. The judges couldn't accept it. Max Woodbury was there, coaxing them to let him cast Ellen's ballot, but they turned him down too.

Calling Max aside, I asked, "How would Ellen have voted?"

"For Truman," he answered.

"Good. Winferd would have voted for Dewey. That makes it just as good as if both of them had voted."

Winferd chuckled when I told him. He was also pleased that the judges of election had snapped the bushel of beans that he picked, so I could bottle them. Belva Sanders, Myrtle Segler and Sarilla Hepworth were the judges. Cleone Iverson stayed after she voted, and helped too.

I have been memorizing a part in the Stake MIA play. Rhea Wakling, the Stake Drama Director, relieved me of the part.

"I'll do it myself," she said, "and you can tell the cow goodbye."

She thought it funny that I had memorized my part by laying the play book on a newspaper under the cow while I milked. Really, it was my best study time. My face burned a little when Ferra Lemmon walked up to the corral gate once, and caught me reciting to the cow.

Our first wintery blast. The north wind shook all the windows and sent it's icy fingers in through every crack. Even the inside of the house had a frosty breath. All that is left of the coal pile is pulverized powder, and our wood isn't sawed. The weather has been fair, and the wood Winferd chopped has held out until last night. I kept just enough to start the furnace this morning. I kept the baby in bed as late as I could, because we had no heat. When I looked out, I saw that Elsie had crawled through the corral fence, and was under the pearmain tree gorging herself on apples. After I lit the furnace with our last piece of wood, then covered it with smudgy coal dust, I put breakfast on, and routed the kids off to school.

Lolene followed me back and forth in her walker. "Terry, take care of little sister while I milk," I said.

Taking a bucket of dairy mash, I tried to coax Elsie out from under the apple tree. Disdainfully she sniffed at the bucket and began picking more apples. Slipping my hand through her halter, I gently led her toward the corral. At the gate, she shook her head, which plainly meant, "No." We were deadlocked. I pulled and she pulled, and neither of us budged. She barely had her nose in the gate, and I realized she was the biggest. Helplessly, I prayed, "Heavenly Father push her in." There was no one else to call upon.

Well, he didn't push her in, but he helped me use my brains. On the ground close by, lay three feet of rope. Still hanging to the halter, I picked it up and knotted it through the ring at the cow's chin, tying the other end through a knothole inside the corral fence. Then I got behind, 232232 gave Elsie a boot with my foot, and she went in

When I went to the house for hammer and nails to fix the fence, Grandpa Gubler was in the kitchen talking to Terry.

"Should I get Clinton or Walter Segler to come saw the wood?" I asked.

Grandpa looked surprised. "I thought the oil you got Saturday night was for your furnace."

"No, that was for the water heater.'

"My goodness," he said, and went out and picked up our dull old axe.

I rummaged through Winferd's lumber scraps for a board to fix the fence. The ragged overalls of Winferd's that I was wearing were drafty. The seat and knees were gone. Grandpa dropped the axe and followed the board I was dragging.

"Let me fix that fence," he said.

"I can do it."

I trotted around the haystack with my board, but Grandpa picked up my hammer and took the board. I let him. Men have their superior moments. I washed Old Maude off and sat down to milk, and Grandpa fixed the fence and cut a pile of wood. I was on top of the haystack throwing down feed, when he backed out with his car.

"They've got too much hay down there now," he called. "They waste it when you feed too much."

I hesitated a little with the fork, but he was still watching, so I sat on top of the stack, and slid down into the manger. Sliding down the haystack is the part of doing chores that I like.

Norman phoned Max Jepson, and he delivered a load of good, clean coal. Let the wind blow!

Hallelujah! I've just this minute bottled the last quart of anything I've got to bottle. Tomatoes were the final roundup. I've counted the bottles that are filled—1,039 quarts of fruits, vegetables and meats. That's stock on hand—not counting the dozens we've used. There isn't a teaspoon full from last year. This is all fresh. It's over, and I'm glad.

Winferd came home on the 20th of November. We've petted and pampered him and half drove him crazy. He's glad to be back, but he's a peevish old bear. I thought I was being a perfect angel by ministering to him, but he brought me up standing when he said, "You don't seem to think I can do a thing for myself." It all brings home the point that nobody can stand too much sweet.

We're indebted to all of our neighbors, and all of our folks. My sisters and brothers, Winferd's folks, friends and neighbors have tended our kids, given me taxi service to the hospital, did the chores, brought beef roasts, whole turkeys , and endless good things. How greatly we have been blessed by these dear, gentle people!

Bless my soul, we're still stuffing things in bottles. Winferd has been peeling squash, and we've put up 20 auarts today. The crooknecks are fine grained and sugar sweet, and we've had plenty to share with our neighbors.

This is our eighteenth wedding anniversary, and Winferd runs a constant temperature of 102 degrees. Still, he insists we're going to celebrate with Ruby and Roland tonight.

The Webbs took us to Dick's Cafe in St. George last night. I was thrilled to have a dinner date with my husband once more. While waiting for our order, Winferd reached under the table and held my hand. A strange sadness overshadowed me—an impression that this would be our last anniversary together. There was an ethereal tenderness in Winferd's handclasp—something delicate—not of this earth. My heart almost broke. But I struggled to brush the feeling away. I squeezed his hand and returned his smile. After dinner, we went to a crazy King Kong movie.

I had given up all thoughts of Christmas shopping this year, but on the afternoon of the 24th, Winferd dressed up in his brown suit and put on his best hat.

"We're going to have Christmas," he announced.

I was afraid his strength wouldn't hold out, but happy that he wanted to go shopping. We started with shirts, sox and overalls, and added a few toys. We got a fountain pen for Norman, and for Norman and DeMar together, an erector set with an electric motor that had been reduced. LaVerkin Feed had a good buy on a little red wagon, just right for Gordon and Terry. All Shirley wanted was a Kewpie doll and roller skates, and we found them both on a bargain counter in St. George, also a stuffed dog for Lolene. Marilyn needed a jacket, and we found a nice red suede one, and a patent leather purse to go with it. Last summer I had picked up a moonglow necklace and bracelet. I was glad I had them now to wrap up for Marilyn.

When we got home Christmas eve, the kids had the house shining and the tree trimmed, and the neighbors had played Santa Clause From all directions came lovely things, like fresh eggs , mince pies , raisins , ground beef and sausage, nuts, sweaters and skirts for the girls, bath towels, an electric heating pad, cards with money in, and Grandpa Gubler had brought a Check for Winferd's year's work. It was enough to pay all of our debts and to tide us over until Winferd is well again. A Merry Christmas.


Chapter 38
So Long for Awhile
(1949)
UNDER CONSTRUCTION
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Chapter 39
Politics
(1950)

261261 January 3, 1950. The county assessor, Henry Graff, came by today to express his sympathy for my lone and weary lot. Terry bounced through the room.

"Is that child yours?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk," he clicked, mournfully shaking his head.

Gordon appeared.

"Who's child is this?" he asked.

"Mine," I replied.

"Pitiful. Very pitiful," he sadly said.

When Shirley entered, he asked, "Who does she belong to?"

"To me," I answered.

"What a shame, what a shame," he remarked.

All seven of the children put in appearance, one at a time, and seven times he sadly lamented. I understood his meaning, otherwise I would have burst out laughing. Henry's a kind, good man. What he was trying to impart was, "How pitiful to think their father isn't here to help rear them."

Terry is going to have his tonsils out. Dr. McIntire asked to check the clotting ability of his blood, so today, Grandpa took us to Hurricane. Gordon and Lolene were with us. Gordon and Terry amused themselves locking and unlocking the back doors of the car.

"Ok, you two, sit down and leave the doors alone," I said.

Gordon obeyed, but Terry kept fiddling with the lock.

"Terry, you're going to get pitched out if you don't sit down," I warned.

Just then the door flew open and Terry was whipped out, his little black coat flapping like wings. Grandpa was going about fifty miles an hour, but it couldn't have been worse if it had been two-hundred. I felt the pain of 262262 the impact as the little fellow hit the hard highway.

"He's gone, he's gone," I cried over and over, frantically watching the distance stretch between us.

It seemed that Grandpa could never stop the car. Far back on the highway, Terry lay in a lifeless little heap. My heart broke, for I was certain that he was dead. Then I saw a truck bearing down on him. Before it reached him, Terry rolled off the highway onto the gravel.

The truck stopped and Cyrus Gifford got out and gathered Terry into his arms. Gordon raced to him as soon as Grandpa's car stopped, and I followed, carrying Lolene who was crying with fright. Terry's coat was splattered with blood from the gash on his scalp. Grandpa looked terribly stricken. Cyrus kept Terry in his arms and rode with us to the doctor's.

In the waiting room I took Terry in my arms. Lolene sat wide eyed on the couch beside me. She pattered close at my heels as I carried her little brother into the operating room. Her head came just under the operating table. She stood silently, close against me all the while I helped the doctor, as he sewed up Terry's scalp. The doctor had more blood sample than he anticipated, and it clotted good.

(In later years, Terry recalls this same incident. He looked down on his lifeless body, laying on the road, in the path of the oncoming truck. His one thought was, "that little kid is going to get run over if something doesn't happen." Then he saw no more. That is when he rolled out of the way. He was conscious when Cyrus picked him up. He recalls feeling sorry that Cy's white shirt was getting bloody.)

I went to my first town board meeting tonight. Lorin Squire presented us with our certificates of appointment.

Dr. McIntire took Terry's tonsils out today. He's doing fine.

Moroni took Rosemary and me for a trip up Toquer canyon to the head of the pipe-line. He explained to us the work that had been done. I begin to feel like a city father.

Our Stake MIA officers had fun at a dancing party at Virgin last night.

I made Marilyn her first formal—a filmy, pale, yellow one, which she wore to the Gold and Green Ball. I was proud of her, the dress, and of myself, because she looked very pretty. She's been half carrying the torch for Quim ever since their quarrel before Christmas. She was tickled when Neil Hardy asked her to take the dancing course with him from the Church dance director, Mr. Yates. This course has been some of the most wholesome, laughing fun she had for awhile. It's great for her to not be in love, but simply having a good time with the kid that lives down the lane.

Five of my youngsters entered the Quaker's Oats contest, and Gordon, the youngest of the five, was the only prize winner. He received two RCA Victor records, "Lore of the West," by Roy Rogers and Gabby Hays. We've been listening to them morning, noon and night.

Grumble, grumble, little lad,
At times you think the whole world's bad.

Sonnet to DeMar.

263263 DeMar's face looked dark as a thunder cloud all during dinner. "I'm not going to dress up for that old school dance," he growled. "I hate dancing. Nobody likes me. All the girls are stuck up. They always say 'no' to me."

"Maybe they wouldn't say no if you combed your hair so it doesn't look like chicken feathers," Shirley said.

"Tell the girls you can't dance any better than a frog, then they'd all want to teach you how," Norman suggested.

"Well, when I do dance, they whirl me around in an old Virginia reel, and I wish I had spikes in my shoes so I could dig into the floor and stand there. I'm going to grow up like Uncle Bill Nielson and never learn to dance."

"Grow up like Daddy. He liked to dance," I said.

Off he marched to school, looking mighty skeptical.

Ovando said I shouldn't bother farmers about spraying my few fruit trees, or plowing our lot. He says the boys need to learn to work, and they could dig up the garden with a shovel. My, how they would hate the soil if they had to chisel a whole acre of potter's clay that way. We could break our back and blister our hands, and still never dig deep enough to root a squash vine. This lot is total hard pan. I'd give the bottom half to anyone for the next five years, if they'd just tend it.

Walter Segler came to my rescue. He plowed for us. When I tried to pay him, he just grinned and said there was no charge. I hope this will be recorded in Heaven. I am so appreciative of his help.

Once, when Winferd was still here, a peddler came to my door. I didn't want his wares, but his wily words interested and flattered me. Before he left, he had talked me out of a loaf of fresh baked bread, a gallon of good Gubler sorghum, and a paper bag of English walnuts in exchange for an unlabeled glass jug of colored water with a little detergent in it. He called it upholstery shampoo. As Winferd came home to dinner, he met the shyster carrying his loot to his car. I told Winferd what had happened, and he laughed at my being taken in by such flattery. Still, he agreed that the flowery words the peddler had spoken about me were true. I was chagrined at my gullibility. I felt like the crowAesop's Fables: The Fox & the Crow that preened on a limb while the fox ran off with the cheese.

Since the incident had amused Winferd so, I thought it might make a good story, so I wrote it up in detail and sent it to the Farm Journal. Today, the manuscript was returned with a rejection slip.

I am the new city clerk. It pays $75 a year, enough to pay my property taxes. I will have to send out about 80 water notices twice a year. Water taxes have raised from $6.00 to $7.00 every six months. Connection fees are $35.00. The town desk is in our living room. Wherever the desk is, that is the city office. We will have town board meeting here once a month, unless the mayor figures we don't need a meeting. I wrote my first big check of $11,361.83 to pay for the new pipe-line the city is installing.

Lolene talks to herself. Sometimes she kisses her hand and says, "Lolene kissed me," or "I kissed Lolene."

264264 Norman, Brent Hardy and Lynn Gubler have been trapping muskrats. One sunk its teeth into Norman's finger. Although it bled good, his hand swelled and made him sick. Dr. McIntire had to clean out the wound. The Canal Company paid each of the boys $4.00 for their muskrat tails. I hope he earns enough to pay his doctor bill.

The cane seed buyer who carried me up the basement steps last spring came today. He was drunk.

When I saw him coming up the steps, I prayed fast, "Help me, please!"

Terry has this terrible talent of giving all who enter here, a pouncing embrace. I've tried to break him of it, but today, this talent was the answer to my prayer. As soon as the man stepped inside, Terry made a dive, wrapping himself around his legs, almost tripping him. This time I didn't call Terry off, but silently applauded him.

The man dug into his pocket and pulled out a dime. "Here, little feller, I'll give you this dime if you'll run outside and play."

Terry took the coin, then backed up and did one of his favorites, a billy goat act, right into the man's padded middle.

Winded, the guy grabbed Terry. "Little boy, I came to see your mother. Why don't you go hoe some weeds?"

Terry backed away momentarily.

"I thought you might be needing a little loving," the man said, coming toward me.

I backed up to a wooden nut bowl on the desk, and closed my hand around the nut picks. I prayed that I wouldn't have to use them, but the grin on the whiskey reddened face closing in on me gave me a firm grasp. The sharp end of the picks were pointed out. As the man reached for me, Terry lunged for his feet, hobbling him. Just then, the school bus stopped. My older children came whooping across the square.

"I've got to be in Cedar within an hour," the man said, then he ambled out the back door.

Heavens and earth! When that man is sober, he is as good as gold!

Newspaper clipping from The Salt Lake Tribune

From the Sunday, 19 March 1950 edition of
Salt Lake Tribune (page 64)
"Fish Story" by Mrs. Alice Gubler, LaVerkin

Miss Knight brought a flat of stocks for our garden, and Brother and Sister Barber brought flats of pansies, petunias, egg plants and peppers.

Wednesday I got two little checks in the mail. One was from the Deseret News and one from the Tribune for little stories I had submitted for their "It Happened Around Here" columns.

The story for the Tribune is one about George Gibson, Hurricane's barber. It goes like this:

Our barber had a cure for everything, even for the stories of the fish that cot away.

"You used the wrong bait," he'd say. "You can't lose if you use carrots. Get the biggest carrot you can find. Hold it over the side of the boat so the fish can see it. In a few seconds, one will leap. out of the lake to grab it. Quick as a wink, poke the carrot in the hole the 265265 fish jumped through. With the hole plugged up, there's no way for him to get back into the water, so you just pick him up and toss him in the boat."

The story the Deseret News published was an incident that happened to Hilda Hall Bringhurst when she taught school in Springdale, but I didn't know it was her until she called me when the story came out. It goes like this:

Newspaper clipping from Deseret News

From the Sunday, 09 April 1950 edition of
Deseret News (page 95)
"It Happend in the Mountain West" section
"Don't Call Me Names!" by Mrs. Alice Gubler, LaVerkin, Utah

When mother was a child, children sat sedately in their school benches. Teachers were stern and children obeyed. But Springdale's early history boasts of one lad who dared to be different.

It was a frazzled Friday, and the teacher's ire had mounted. In exasperation, she pointed to the lad who had caused so much disturbance. "I warn you not to do that anymore—you—you—you human!"

Bristling, the lad faced the teacher. With quick tears springing to his eyes, he retorted, "I ain't no more human than a pig!"

Yesterday, Emerald Stout came with a message that made my knees wobble. "You're going to be asked to run for the office of county treasurer," he said. "We feel you are the woman for the job, and we can guarantee you all of the votes from the east end of the county. It will pay you $180 a month."

Stunned, I looked at Lolene and Terry standing close beside me. "I can't leave these little ones," I replied, putting my arms around them.

"You've had problems before," Emerald said. "You'll figure this one out."

Left alone to mull this over, I felt awful. Sure, we need the money! But my home, and little ones! I can't leave them.

With little boy enthusiasm, Grandpa Gubler came to confirm the decision of the Republican Central Committee. "I have every reason to believe you can carry the entire county," he said. "You can rent your home and move to St. George."

His exuberance tore me to pieces. After he'd gone, I walked from room to room. Why, this was the only house on earth built to fit us. Winferd had built it! I considered our accumulation, mentally appraising, sorting and discarding. Our furniture is so shabby we'd have to move in the dark.

Then Chauncy Sandberg arrived, the next harbinger of a new beginning. "You'll need to fill out these application papers," he said, "and there will be a filing fee. I had to pay $50.00 to run for State Legislator, but yours won't be so high."

Great. I don't have five cents. The power bill took all I had left.

I'm caught in a whirlwind. Everyone is making my decisions for me. Everyone knows what is best for me, but me! Grandpa came to take me to see the county clerk, Oscar Barrick, before he left for St. George. I shook every piggy bank in the house, and came up with $5.00, which I handed to Oscar.

"The filing fee for county treasurer is $21.50," he said.

I felt like a roof tile had fallen on my head. "Just a minute," I said. My throat tightened. Going to the car, I said, "Grandpa, I don't want to file for office. He wants $21.50. It's like betting on the horse races. If I lose, I don't get my money back. The $5.00 I brought isn't even mine."

266266 "Well—," Grandpa drawled, "I'll pay the fee myself, before I'd let you not file."

Taking his check book from his pocket, he wrote out the needed amount.

"You'll never get that money back in kingdom come," I said.

"I don't care," he grinned. "You'll win."

Newspaper clipping from Washington County News

From the Thursday, 20 April 1950 edition of
Washington County News (page 10)
Republicans Announce Candidates For Election
"... Alice I. Gubler, county treasurer."

My intention to run for County Treasurer has been published in the County News. Free advice and criticism begins to pile deep. Why don't I stop being so stupid, and just stay home and accept county aid. People say I'm an idealist—clinging hopefully to the powers of providence, that I'll come down off my high horse. Well, we aren't starving to death. Sure, the family and neighbors have helped us. I just simply do not want to accept public welfare. So now I'm being harangued, harassed, and harried.

Emil Graff has given Marilyn a job clerking in the store after school each day, and the bishop has given Norman a job watering the shrubs on the church grounds. I'm thankful for that.

I had refused to take students as guests during the school music festival, but I had a change of heart. Yesterday morning I routed the family out at 6:00 a.m.

"I guess we'd better put a couple of girls in your room," I said to Marilyn.

She leaped out of bed. "I'll wash my windows and put up clean curtains." And she did.

The boys finished planting our little trees, while Shirley and I washed woodwork. This morning, Marilyn and Norman kalsomined the hall before school, and Shirley did the dishes as though she enjoyed it. I did the laundry and called the plumber. Ever since Halloween, we've flushed our toilet with a bucket from the bathtub. Tonight the house shines, supper was a success, and the place rings with the laughter of my children and our guests.

Ad from the 1920s for a kalsomine paint or whitewash

An ad from the 1920s for a kalsomine paint or whitewash
See Wikipedia's article on Whitewash.

If it hadn't been for the music festival, I guess we'd have been flushing our toilet forever with a bucket, and have ignored the finger prints on the hall walls.

Lucille Gubler needed to go to St. George today, so she took us to the dentist. Dr. Hutchings checked all of the children.

DeMar, Gordon and Terry went to Pickett's with me to get some new mush dishes. We're always out. I had $1.50 to buy them with.

"Let me carry them, Mother," Terry begged.

"No, I want to," Gordon said.

"No. DeMar will. You kids might break them," I said.

So DeMar took the precious package. We walked down the street to meet our car. As we waited in front of Penny's store, DeMar restlessly hitched the package from one hand to the other. The string came loose and the package crashed to the pavement.

"Oh, DeMar," Gordon shouted.

DeMar fell to his knees and pulled back the brown wrapping. The top dish fell apart in his hand. Down through layer after layer the same thing happened. One dish out of the dozen was not broken. It was only chipped. 267267 Big tears welled up in DeMar's eyes.

Lolene kept repeating loudly, "DeMo boke em. DeMo boke em."

"Now we can't have any new dishes," Terry lamented.

I noticed a young man sitting in his car, his three children climbing over him. Mournfully, he surveyed our little group, shaking his head from side to side. We were creating a scene, so I grabbed up the wreckage, and we moved on.

Newspaper clipping from Washington County News

From the Thursday, 11 May 1950 edition of
Washington County News (page 5)
LaVerkin news by Mrs. Pearl Henroid, Reporter
See the last two paragraphs.

Five days have passed since Doom's Day. At last I'm out of shock enough to make a diary entry.

Vida Duncan took me to Union Meeting at Springdale in her pickup Sunday. I had a notion to take all of my boys, but DeMar and Terry were the only ones on the spot when she honked her horn. Gladly they piled in the back. Well, really, I shouldn't expect the sky to fall in the two hours that I would be gone, and it didn't. But it might as well have.

While DeMar and Terry were having a happy time on the school slides in Springdale, and I sat in church, Norman and his buddies were enlarging their underground house beneath the cherry tree at the bottom of the lot. I've reared a batch of gophers. My youngsters have been grubby with red clay for weeks, as they've burrowed in and out of their diggins. If I had asked them to excavate a basement by hand, they would have rebelled, but the rooms in their underground house were growing to impressive proportions.

Little did I know of the sticks of dynamite that had been concealed in our old house ever since the day the deacons gathered asparagus for the cannery. While scouting the fields, they found some dynamite, so they hid it under the asparagus , then stored it for this momentuous day and hour.

The day was May 7, the hour 4:00 p.m. All of the saints were safely and peacefully home from church, except the extra-milers who were at Union Meeting.

When I got home, the whole town was at our house to greet me. Little kids swarmed like flies, trooping along with me toward the house until I could hardly step.

"Look, look, your house is blowed up," they chorused, pointing to the gaping hole in the ceiling.

Grownups, shaking their heads and clicking their tongues, regarded me with horror and pity. Shirley lay white on the couch. A flying clod had knocked her down. Something terrible had happened. Just what, and how terrible, I did not know, because everyone was talking at once.

I went into shock. I couldn't speak. The day was a hot one, but I was freezing. I shivered and shook, and my chin chattered. Out of the babble, I caught snatches of words, "dynamite," "biggest blast that has ever rocked the town," "scrap iron spewed from the cherry tree," "field showered with flak," "a dozen kids almost mowed down," "Gordon came closest to getting hit with flying iron."

Gordon was standing innocently in front of the little old house, unaware of what the older boys were doing, when a big scrap of iron whizzed by.

268268 Neil Hardy didn't want to be any part of the excavation, so he sat down in our living room with a stack of funny books. When the blast shook the house, he ran to the door. A minute later, a red hot iron, the splintered part of a wagon axel, crashed through the roof, bringing a pile of plaster with it, and landed on the couch in the exact spot where Neil had been.

This episode could have been mass slaughter, but it was not.

"Was anyone hurt?" I finally managed to ask.

"Not that we know of," someone answered. "We haven't seen Norman or Rulon since the blast."

"Oh," I groaned, "they might be dead. We've got to find them."

While the multitude lamented my damaged home, Lyman and Thell Gubler were out on the roundup, accounting for the boys. This is what really mattered. Norman and Rulon had climbed a pear tree in Grandpa's orchard, hiding in fright. Lyman personally let them feel the whack of his shoe.

Now, five days later, Cyrus Gifford and Harris Merrill have mended my roof and plastered the hole in the ceiling. The scar is still there, and the town still feels the tremors of the after-shock. Since our house sits in the center of town, it is quite fitting that we should be the center of attraction. And we are. Crossing our threshold daily are visitors who come to sympathize, lament, complain, condemn, to be horror stricken, to be amused, to laugh and wise crack, and to tell me how to raise kids. I do appreciate Orin Hepworth for taking Norman into his counsel, to explain and to help him understand about explosives. Orin is experienced, and able to give good, honest advice.

The underground house, incidentally, is now a crater.

This evening we spread our supper on an army blanket out on the lawn. Neil Hardy was having supper with us. After the fried chicken was devoured, Marilyn ran in the house for dessert dishes. We had plum cobbler, baked in a large milk pan. With a whoop, Marilyn burst through the front door, and leaped from the porch to the lawn. One foot landed in the middle of the cobbler. She squealed and hopped out, and everyone groaned.

"Oh well," she giggled, debating whether to wipe her shoe on the grass or whether to lick it, "I've never had all of the cobbler I wanted anyway. I'll eat my track."

With a tablespoon she scooped out her track, heaping it onto her plate. Neil turned sick to his stomach and went home. By the time we divided the untouched narrow rim of cobbler that was left around the pan, the servings were small.

Early yesterday morning, as Norman hoed alongside me in the garden, he started to complain.

"My neck pops every time I turn my head. It gives me an awful headache."

That was the introduction. With each swing of the hoe it got worse. He stopped and rubbed the cords of his neck often.

"I need to go to the chiropractor. Something is terribly out of place."

"Chiropractors are a lot of nonsense," I said.

269269 "But I can't do a thing this way," he insisted. "Pansy is taking Paul to St. George this morning and she said Neil and I could go too. I told her my neck was out of place."

Dropping my hoe I said, "I'll go see her."

As I got to her gate, the thought struck me. Of course Norman's neck was out of joint. Neil and Paul were going to St. George and he couldn't go with them. They were already gone, anyway, so Norman and I hoed on.

He concentrated so much on his neck that the pain became real, so I borrowed Grandpa's car and took him to the doctor for a physical.

McIntire checked him thoroughly. "You're fit as a fiddle," he said. "Instead of your mother paying this bill, why don't you stay and hoe for me? I'll pay you 50¢ an hour."

So Norman is hoeing for McIntire—six hours of it, to pay for his $3.00 pain in the neck.

DeMar broke his arm three weeks ago. He was playing with friends upon the hill, when the rock he was on went out from under him, and he fell over a little ledge. Roy Wilson brought him home in his little express wagon. The bone was so badly splintered that Dr. McIntire couldn't set it, so I had to keep the arm in ice packs for a week until the swelling went down. Then we took him to the Iron County Hospital, where Drs. McIntire, Brodbent, Edmunds and Dan Jones worked on it. Sitting in the waiting room seemed an eternity to me. DeMar was mighty sick when he came out of the ether.

A Whiffle McGoof is an eerie creature that wears a witches cape, and climbs fruit picking ladders up to roof tops when mothers are at Stake meetings. A Whiffle McGoof makes little girls and boys afraid to go to their basement bedrooms, until worn out, they finally fall asleep on the living room couch until Mother comes home. I feel very cross about Whiffle McGoofs, especially the ones named Marilyn, Norman and DeMar. Lolene wraps her little arms about my legs until I can hardly walk, whenever I leave the room, and Terry comes crying back into the kitchen after I've sent him to bed, and I keep finding the basement screens pulled off. There is no excuse for scaring little kids!

The latest Whiffle McGoof episode is the trap door built in the top of the living room closet. This has been accomplished while I was away. With much moaning, a terrifying creature partially descends from on high. Until Val Jennings discovered the true identity of a Whiffle McGoof, this act sent him scurrying across the square toward home. I've had to banish all such creatures. I haven't forgotten the cruel torture of being frightened when I was a child.

"Owe, owe, owe," Terry howled, running in through the kitchen door.

"Serves him right," DeMar said. "He should know by now not to shut bees in squash flowers."

"I know it," said Gordon, "because he doesn't know how to hold them without making the bees mad."

270270 Frank Stevens is working for his uncle Elmer Hardy this summer. Whenever his truck, tractor or spray machine comes up our road, it stops, and Frank whistles like a squirrel. My boys stampede to greet him, escorting him to the house like a king with an armed guard. Since there are only seven evenings a week, that's all that he spends in our yard strumming Garn Segler's guitar, which Betty left here three months ago. Both Betty and Marilyn have shared the strumming, singing, the moon and stars, then along comes Frank's dashing uncle Chance Hardy. Chance has been in the navy and seen the world. Chance services Union Pacific Trains, and has money in his pockets. He drives a motorcycle that's as dolled up as Roy Roger's horse. Flashy. Chance is flashy too. He's handsome. He's a lady's man. Frank paced through the house a number of times on the 4th of July, only to learn that Marilyn was off with his uncle. Like a squatter on his homestead, Frank stays.

Chance still has the upper hand. Frank comes to see Norman now days. I wish Marilyn was 20 and safely married to a good man. I'm too tired to be a mother.

Yesterday was my birthday. Among my gifts was a dead beetle from Terry and a firecracker from Betty, a motorcycle ride from Chance and a ride during a thunderstorm with Wayne, Mama, Papa and my littlest children. We went to see the flood over the Third Falls. After Town Board meeting last night, Wayne and I went to see Bob Hope in "The Great Lover." It was funny.

Newspaper clipping from Deseret News

From the Sunday, 04 June 1950 edition of
Deseret News (page 95)
"It Happend in the Mountain West" section
Too Cold by Mrs. Alice Gubler, LaVerkin, Utah

The Deseret News sent me a check for two more little stories. One was a summer day incident when I gave my little niece Elda Judd, an ice cube to lick.

When her fingers became aching and red, she said, "Aunt Alice, isn't there some way you can warm this ice a little?"

The other incident was about a little boy who knocked on my brother Bill's door one morning. "I'm not a baby anymore," he said. "I'm a barn."

"A barn?" Bill asked in surprise.

The little boy nodded. "Mama says I'm her first barn, and my baby brother is her second barn."

The bishop asked our family to clear the tumbleweeds from off the church grounds. Monday we were all busy with our shovels and hoes when Terry struck a yellow jacket's nest. The wasps covered him solid, and he screamed in pain. I grabbed him and ran, swatting off the stinging insects, then they swarmed on me. Swiftly we ran home. I dumped a whole package of soda into the bathtub and plunged Terry into the water. He swelled like a blimp from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He had no eyes, no facial features, no neck. He was one solid hunk of swollen misery. He was so filled with toxin that he could hardly breathe or even cry. He would never have lived if the elders hadn't come and administered to him. How grateful I am for the power of the priesthood.

The wasps didn't sting my face or neck—only my arms and legs. This was pure torture. My limbs were swollen shiny tight. We got udicane—prescription strength—from the drugstore. Applied every four hours, this ointment numbed the flesh so we could endure while the healing took place.

Newspaper clipping from Deseret News

From the Sunday, 27 August 1950 edition of
Deseret News (page 91)
"It Happend in the Mountain West" section
New Title by Mrs. Alice Gubler, LaVerkin, Utah

271271 Tomorrow is the ward fair. We've made cakes , candy, and aprons for the bazaar, and have garden produce ready for the auction. But as usual we're broke.

"Let's stay home tomorrow and can beans," I said to my children, "The booths and side shows are set up to raise money, and we haven't any."

Marilyn and Norman said nothing, but a wail went up from the other kids.

"Please don't go up there and stand around wishing. It's embarrassing if you have nothing to spend."

Shirley ducked into the hall and sobbed, "It wouldn't be like that if Daddy was here."

"But Daddy isn't here. We pay our tithing and do the best we can, and now it's up to the Lord."

Just then Bill Stratton knocked on the kitchen door. "They tell me you have some molasses cans you'd like to get rid of," he said.

"We sure have," I replied, leading him into the old house.

Bill bought $11.00 worth.

Gordon's eyes were big with wonder. "Mother," he exclaimed, "you just said it's up to the Lord and there came that knock at the door."

The children were all smiles. Tomorrow, we will go to the fair.

The political campaign is on. With the other candidates on the Republican ticket, we've knocked on every door in Enterprise, Veyo, Central, Gunlock, PineValley, Ivins, Santa Clara and Hurricane.

I dreamed, the other night, that I was walking along the highway alone. Crowds passing on foot and in cars, pointed at me and laughed. Looking down, I saw that my underpants had fallen around my ankles. Embarrassed, I recalled the jingle, "Oh, it's hard to grin with ease, with your step-ins slipping to your knees."

The next day—and this is no dream—Gordon Clark and I were political tracting in Santa Clara. He took one side of the highway and I the other. At the end of my street was a service station, and then about a quarter of a mile further on was an isolated dwelling. As I hiked alone, streams of red-capped California deer hunters drove by. And then, like in my dream, I felt like people were laughing at me. With a horrified feeling, I realized something was hobbling me. Looking down, I beheld my pink skirt was unzipped, and about a foot of white satin showed between it and my blouse. My purse and armful of literature occupied both hands. Eeeek! What to do!!! The traffic ceased just long enough for me to lay my stuff down on the road and zip up my skirt. As I picked up my load, cars began streaming by again. What a funny parallel to my dream.

Marilyn and Norman went with me to a Democrat rally last night. I enjoyed it, until the chairman, Mr. Miles, introduced Nettie Morris, my opponent.

"We're concerned about the office of County Treasurer," he said. "We feel it is too important an office to turn over to a newcomer just because of our sympathy. Mrs. Morris is capable, experienced, etc. etc. etc. Her opponent should be permitted to remain at home to care for her family. 272272 There are welfare organizations set up to take care of such people.…" On and on he went about that pitiful little widow in LaVerkin.

Marilyn leaned over and said, "Mother, them's fightin' words, ain't they?"

"They sho' is," I whispered back.

I didn't like any more of that rally.

Newspaper clipping from Washington County News

From the Thursday, 09 November 1950 edition of
Washington County News (page 1)
Washington County, Utah Election Results, 1950

I got a little hostile at one of the judges of election, when I went to vote.

"Just what right do you have running for office with a family the size of yours?" she asked. "Don't you know there is such a thing as government relief?"

Look," I said, trying to keep my voice even. "I depend upon someone a little higher up than the government. I've asked my friends not to vote for me. I don't want to leave home. If I'm elected, it won't be because I wanted to be, but because of someone who knows better than I what is best." I'm sick, sick, sick of people trying to push me off onto public welfare.

I voted for myself so my record would look less embarrassing, then went home to make a tub of soap. I like to make soap. It soothes the nerves.

We went to Gordon Clark's home in St. George to keep an all night wake with the rest of the Republican candidates to listen to the election returns. It was beastly tiring, in a fun sort of way. By 2:00 a.m. the courthouse quit taking calls. Gordon Clark lost by 100 votes. I won over Mrs. Morris by 190 votes. The radio this morning said Mrs. Morris got 1630 votes and was unopposed. The folks in this end of the county felt bad because they wanted me to win.

All day I supposed last night's figures were a mistake, that Mrs. Morris had won. This afternoon, Sheriff Prince came to congratulate me, and to tell me they were waiting with open arms for me at the courthouse. And I just stood there, stirring soap in the black tub. My soap making duds, and dirty hands did something to his enthusiasm. He expected to find me jubilant. Instead, to hide my embarrasment, I stooped over Lolene and wiped her runny nose, and he kind of eased out of the place, saying some toneless little speech about always admiring me, and being happy for me.

After he'd gone, realization hit me. Yikes!!! What am I going to do? Just what am I going to do?

Terry came in from school with a boom, boom, boom. That's his natural speaking voice.

"Terry," I shouted, trying to be heard, "there isn't another person in the world who talks as loud as you do."

"Ohhhhhhh yes there is, Mother," he grinned, making half-moons of his eyes.

"Who?" I demanded.

"That old Mrs. Blank that lives across the street from kindergarten. I went by her place and picked a flower that was sticking through her fence. Her window opened and she stuck her head out and yelled, 'YOU BRING THAT 273273 FLOWER IN HERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE.' And so I picked them all and took them in.

"What kind of flowers were they?" I asked.

With a puzzled frown he said, "I don't know. They had a black bottom, and a blue top and green petals."

"Why didn't you bring one home?" Shirley giggled.

Newspaper clipping from Washington County News

From the Thursday, 09 November 1950 edition of
Washington County News (page 9)
Mrs. Alice Isom Gubler defeats Mrs. Nettie K. Morris (encumbant) for County Treasurer

"How could I?" His chest began to swell, and so did his story. "It was too big."

"You could have brought it on the bus," Shirley suggested.

"I could not. The bus doors are too little to get even one flower through."

"Then how did you get it in the lady's house?" Shirley asked.

"Silly. Her house has two doors like a church house, and when she saw me coming, she opened both doors wide so I could get it in."

"But you said you took them all in," Shirley said.

He grinned. "I was just thinking they were bigger than her doors, but they were only this size," making a circle with his arms about the size of a milk pan. Seeing the stern look on my face, he said in a small voice, "Well, really it was only this size." He made a two-inch circle with his fingers.

Everyone wants to know how I'm going to manage my home, my family and my new job. And so do I. I don't have a car. People think Oscar Barrick, the County Clerk, should take me back and forth. He doesn't relish the idea. His wife says, "Why don't you sell out and move to St. George:" That suggestion keeps popping up. I love our home. Today I Kemtoned the living room, washed the windows and brought in new houseplants from the nursery. I don't want to leave this place. What comes next?

Newspaper clipping from Washington County News

Kem-Tone paint ad circa 1951


Chapter 40
County Treasurer
(1951)
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Chapter 41
Grandma? Who, Me?
(1952)
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Chapter 42
A Fledgling on the Edge of the Nest
(1953)

321321 When I stopped to pick Lolene up tonight, Allie said, "I'm not going to sustain you in Stake MIA one more time. It's all nonsense for you to go out on stake work when you've been away from your family all day."

"What are you going to do next Sunday at Stake Conference? Hold up your hand when they say, 'opposed'?"

"You bet I am," he said.

"Good. I really need to be released."

Allie is a bishop, too.

In conference today, the Stake Relief Society, Stake Sunday School, and Stake MIA, both young men, and young women, were released. Guess who they sustained in my place! Kate!

Chucking, I congratulated Allie. In a state of shock, he said, "Your kids have got you now, but I have lost my wife."

When he came to our house this afternoon, I piled my stack of MIA manuals in his lap. "Take these to Kate, please." He just tared at them.

No stake meeting for me tonight. I can't believe it. To stay home on Monday night!! I was in the laundry room merilly singing, "This is the night I iron my clothes, etc.", when the door burst open and Bessie Judd and Margarete Nuttal came laughing in.

"We're lonesome," Margaret said.

Bessie was trying to cushion the shock of our release by clowning. She remembered every funny little thing that had happened while we were together, and dramatized them for us. We planned a party to celebrate our new status, and Bessie outlined a skit. In it, she poked fun at the entire board. Margaret and I laughted until we ached.

Then came a bang on the front door, and Bill Sanders and Wayne Hinton came in. All we needed now was Orvil Minchi, and the six executives would be together again.

Our reminiscing lasted until midnight. A couple of cars cruised in front of the house a time or two. Bessie just knew one of them was Finley. Bill was sure the other one was Norma. When the phone rang, all four of them bolted out my front door. "If it's my wife, tell her I'm coming home."" If it's my husband, I'm on my way." Norma was on the line. She was wondering if we had enough bedding.

A lyric writer, whom I do not know, has fittingly expressed my feelings about our release. "The song is ended, but the melody lingers on." This I know, as one door closes, so another one opens—like Monday nights at home.

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329329 "No. It registers one-half full."

"Well, we'll haul you in and check the car while you're at work." He hooked onto the front bumper with the wrecker. "Don't touch the steering wheel, and keep your feet off the brakes. Let 'er swing free."

The cable pulled the nose of the car up and up. As we rode, the car merrily swayed. Like birds in a nest, Jim and I gently rocked back and forth. The guy driving the wrecker looked back in toothless wonder, and I snickered. Jim put his hand over mine.

"You got heart trouble?" he asked softly.

"No," I answered, surpressing a laugh.

"You lonesome because you don't have to steer?"

"No. I'm going to settle back and enjoy this ride. Might as well. It's going to cost me enough."

I wanted to laugh uproariously. This was funny, swinging back and forth, suspended from a crane, in this old junk heap, with Jim doing his best to comfort me.

As soon as we got to the garage, my passenger began to yell, "Is there anyone who can get me out of here? Somebody, get me( cut of here!"

A mechanic got the door open, and he got out, and walked with me as far as the courthouse.

An hour later, the garage called. "Mrs. Gubler, you were out of gas. The gas gauge doesn't register."

Jim found another way home. Norman met me in the driveway, as I came home. "Mother," he said, "I forgot to tell you there wasn't much gas in the car, and that the gauge didn't work."

Gordon's birthday. Norman promised to make the cookies for his party. Well, he went to Nola's and asked her to make them, so her sister Merlene did. Norman washed the dishes.

When I got home, Terry was as bald as an onion. He got DeMar to shave his head so Shirley couldn't pull his hair. DeMar had a straw hat pulled down over his own ears, that he wouldn't take off. The kids said he had cut his own hair too. At supper time the hat came off. What a mutilated mess. He had had Lolene hold the mirror for him, so he could see to cut the back. The front and sides looked even worse. I offered to crochet little hoods for both boys so we wouldn't have to look at them while their hair grew out. DeMar said he'd keep his hat on. Terry hung his head and looked sad.

Saturday, 1 August. Last Sunday the state of Arizona made a raid on the polygamists at Short Creek, Arizona. However, there was still some mopping up to do on the Utah side, so Washington County officials joined in. The following account is from the Washington County News, dated July 30, 1953:

"Utah officially joined Arizona Wednesday in the breakup of United Effort cultists. … Washington County Sheriff Antone B. Prince and Israel Wade, deputy of St. George, arrested six Short Creek women on Arizona warrants and held warrants on 15 others. … Warrants of six women and 3 men and 12 or 15 other women, all were given to Sheriff Prince by a deputy attorney general of the state of Arizona. Formal extradition

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Last Sunday the state of Arizona made a raid on the polygamists at Short Cree, Arizona. However, there was still some mopping up to do on the Utah side, so Washington County officials joined in. The following account is from the Washington County News, dated July 30, 1953:

Washington County News—July 30, 1953

"Utah officially joined Arizona Wednesday in the breakup of United Effort cultists.… Washington County Sheriff Antone B. Prince and Israel Wade, deputy of St. George, arrested six Short Creek women on Arizona warrants and held warrants on 15 others.… Warrants of six women and 3 men and 12 or 15 other women, all were given to Sheriff Prince by a deputy attorney general of the state of Arizona. Formal extradition 330330 papers had earlier been flown to Utah's Governer, J. Bracken Lee.… Residents believing the raid to be a joint Utah-Arizona break claimed to have stayed in their Utah homes, awaiting state troopers.… Meanwhile $43,000 bail has been raised and posted in Kingman, Arizona for the release of the 34 men and 50 women taken custody there Sunday. Short Creek has been bottled up from all sides and is under surveillance of state patrolmen of Arizona and pilice officers. Only official visitors are allowed to enter."

For days, prior to this raid, the Washington County clerk's office has been haunted by government snoopers from Arizona. They have been searching through marriage license records to learn which of the polygamist wives were lega. The wily "pligs" it seems, have been bleeding Arizona of its welfare funds by filing false claims. When Arizona officials became suspicious, an investigation was made, which ended in Sunday's raid.

"It is illegal for men law officers to sieze women," Antone Prince explained, as he pinned deputy badges on Helen Bleak and me. Since we were the only two women who were elected officials, we were deputized to go on last Wednesday's roundup.

The dust from Antone's car gave the warning signal that we were coming. As we neared the shacks on the Utah side, we saw women, long skirts flapping, fleeing for the cedars. Dividing our ranks, Helen accompanied Isral, and I went with Antone.

Before entering any of their shacks, Antone knocked, then called, then went in. In one place, bread dough was raising over the sides of the mixing pan. In another, fruit boiled in a kettle, waiting to be bottled. In another, a tub of steaming suds held clothes waiting to be scrubbed on the washboard. Everything bore witness of the hurried flight. Much as I detest polygamy and the cowed-down looko on the faces of the women, I suddenly felt very sorry for them.

The only people we found at home were old man Jessop and some of his wives. Antone left me and his car in front of their gate. Handing me a pistol, he ordered me not to let anyone leave the premisis, and showed me how to call on the radio if I needed help, then he took off on foot.

After he lefet, the old man, his scraggly gray beard hanging down over his chest, ambled through the gate. The pistol trembled in my hand.

"Pardon me, Mr. Jessop," I said, "I have orders not to let anyone come out of this gate."

The old man's rheumy, soppy red eyes looked into mine. "I ain't goin' anywhere," he said. His voice quavered, and I wondered at the gallons of tears he must have shed. "I only want to feed the goats."

Looking at the barren goat pen near by, I said, "Ok, but don't go any further." I watched as he pitched a little flake of hay over the fence, then returned to the house.

Later in the afternoon, after they had rounded up all of the refugees possible, court was held in a large government tent set up for this purpose. Reporters from national magazines and newspapers were there, eagerly anticipating the proceedings. One women on the stand was asked, "Don't you even feel jealous, knowing that your husband is making love to another woman?"

331331 "Of course I do," she replied, "but we recognize the fact that a woman loves only one man, and that a man loves all women. It is God's will that women understand this, and adjust to it."

How revolting! It's lecherous old men's will. Nothing more.

A reporter from the Los Angeles Examiner grinned and said, "Why didn't I know about this years ago? This is the life for me."

The whole affair was a long, hot, pitiful, dusty ordeal. One day as a deputy sheriff was enough for me.

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Chapter 43
The Fledgling Tries His Wings
(1954)

333333 Virgil1 left for the mission home last Monday. We said goodbye week ago tonight. I accompanied him as he bid his friends goodbye. It was like dropping valentines. He's a big guy. On all the doors he knocked big, and received big welcomes. People love him. I felt honored to be in tow. He didn't say goodbye to me. He said, "Goodnight. Be happy." After he closed the door, I stood looking into the glowing coals in the fireplace. To myself, I said, "There he goes, out of my life forever."

My prayers and pleadings for Norman have been filled with anguish. Finally I surrendered and signed the papers so he could enlist in the Air Force. He is still 17. I took him to catch the midnight bus in St. George night before last. As we rode, we talked of standards. I wanted him to carry with him the culmination of a lifetime of teachings. His bus pulled in at the Big Hand Cafe just five minutes after we arrived. He kissed me goodbye, and I watched as he climbed aboard and sat down, then I drove away.

At Middleton the bus passed me up. For a few miles I followed, my lights shining on its rear as it carried my son away from home, closing the chapter of his childhood. How I have worried over him, and loved him. Our long talks together have been precious. He's been the guy to man the furnace and get breakfast while I did other necessary chores before going to the office. Seeing the bus taking him away from me was to much. The night was dark and I was alone. No one would hear or see me cry. The road simmered through my tears, as I gripped the steering wheel, crying harder and harder. As the tears streamed down my face, it seemed there should be a hand to slip into mine. I slid one hand onto the empty seat, but no hand reached for mine. I was alone. But wait! Was I really alone? I prayed. I've never prayed harder—asking our Father in Heaven to take special care of the vanishing bus and my boy, and to help him come home whole and clean.

As I passed through Washington, there was a boy thumbing a ride. He was the same size as Norman. Brushing away my tears I stopped, and he ran, opening my car door.

"Where do you want to go?" I asked.

"To Cedar City." he replied.

334334 "Oh, I'm so sorry. I turn off at the Y."

"I'd better stay here," he said.

I really wanted to pick him up. Who else would take him out of the cold at 1:00 a.m? If he had been going my way he could have slept in Norman's bed.

We got our first letter from Norman today. He is stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. He writes:

"It's quite a coincident how I found the LDS branch here. This morning the commander had all the men fall out and go to the portestant services. After the opening song the chaplin stepped up and offered the opening prayer. The minute he started I knew he was a mormon, and immediately after the meeting I visited with him. He is son of the Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson. Talking to him sure gave me a lift. I sure needed it too. His name is Reed.

Tomorrow starts the third week since I left home and I haven't received one letter from anyone yet. I wonder why. I have written so many letters."

Terry has been in the St. George hospital for a few days. He was too sick to enjoy all of the attention he got at first—earache, sore lungs and shots. But the servings day began to look pretty nice, and from there on those bed tables that roll up to any position, with the mirrors underneath, and hidden trays and mysterious compartments, what with molding clay, toys and cheerful nurses, made him feel like a monarch. Now that he's home he gets treated ordinary. He even has to wipe dishes, and he wonders if he came home too soon.

We have a motionless pile of fur at the back door, but it isn't a rug. It's cats. Everyone gives my kids cats. They're real soft to step on when you go out, but it makes you feel a little unsteady. They are silently waiting, yearning for a few scraps to be tossed into their midst. Then they spring to life, snatching and growling. I'm always trying to give them to the neighbor kids, but the trouble is, they've got parents.

Our canal has been pushed out of existence with a bulldozer—trees and all. They've stripped the trees for firewood and hauled us two big loads. Edward Gubler brought them in the dump truck. It looks mighty good to me. They kids are having fun building with the wood. LaVerkin is going to have a new cemented canal.

Lolene awoke and stretched. "Oh my! I had the best dream. I dreamed I climbed a tree and all of the limbs were made of chocolate. I filled my lap with them and when I looked down, the ditch was full of pink and yellow and green lemon drops. There was a kid just going to step on them and I hollered 'don't' and then I woke up."

A few mornings back, Terry came up from his room. "Man! You otta seen what I dreamed Mother. I saw a car come down the hill and it wrecked and splattered all over. It was blue and it just splattered." As each of the kids came up, he'd say, "Man, you otta seen what I dreamed," then he'd repeat his dream. When Bishop Wayne Wilson stopped by, Terry said, "Man you otta seen what I dreamed." The bishop listened, then he related to Terry his own funny dream about flying like a bird.

335335 The newspaper belatedly carried a story about my children. It began, "Alice Gubler's boys were burned when they attempted to start a fire with kerosene." The item concluded that, "they didn't think the boys would recommend starting a fire that way." How trite. When folks inquire about the incident, they invariably remark, "I guess they learned their lesson." I think that kind of interest is impoverished. The whole thing was an accident—the result of a home without parents. How can I warn my children of all of the things they're going to do that are dangerous? I cannot know what they will think of next. It would be silly for me to say, "Don't roll tires off the roof," (which they've been known to do) or "Don't fall out of the top of a tree—or don't fall off a ledge and break your arm—or don't climb a power pole and electrocute yourself." (Norman hung from a power line by the ball park while frozen onlookers watched for the electrocution, but there wasn't a complete circuit.) I can't say, "don't blow the fuses while I'm gone, and don't walk the rails of the bridge across the river." (The boys report their breathtaking exploits, doing just that.) I can chastise them after the deed is done, and counsel them, and try to make them safety minded, to plead with them that they not take foolish chances, but to suggest what not to do, would only plant ideas in their heads. Goodness! All of this soliloquy because of the mundane, unimaginative, lacking-in-understanding statement, "I guess they have learned their lesson."

And now for the kerosene episode, which happened on February 27th. I'm very prejudiced against a cold house. My kids have never cold. Even if the inside temperature was zero, and I asked the boys to make a fire, they'd reply, "It isn't cold." They love fires, but they prefer them out in the yard or down in the tunnel in the garden that they call their underground house. The smoke looks mysterious curling out of a pipe sticking up through the plowed ground. They're always making fires, but not in the furnace. What's more, they don't like to carry coal. Sometimes I have to say, "No fire, no supper." That gets action.

The kerosene incident happened on a bleak Saturday when I had to go to the office. It was one of those dampish cold days that makes you wish spring was more sincere. Mud—cold house—kids full of promises about the things they'll accomplish while you're away. Then the world is all at once interesting and unsupervised, and promises are postponed. After the boys whittle so many little cars, or the gang plays a game of Monopoly there will be time enough to do the things Mother said to do. But time skips a couple of hours here and there, especially during the Monopoly game. And suddenly the accusing hands on the clock remind them that Mother will soon be locking the office door and coming home. Now what was it she said? Oh yes. Have a warm, clean house. Whoops! Somebody let the fire go clear out! My! Mother will scold! Not much time left either. How can we speed things up? Ah, DeMar has the answer. Kerosene. Put fresh coal on the hot ashes. There. Now kerosene. Wow! The smoldering heat has a lot of vitality. More than DeMar expected. Black smoke billows around and around inside the yawning furnace. The kids gather to watch. It begins to behave like a monster that could get out of hand. What to do? If the furnace is shut it might blow the house up.

"I'd better strike a match to it," DeMar said.

Image of KIP cream tube and box

KIP tube and box (from a CollectorsWeekly.com web page)

Shirley was afraid. She coaxed him not to, but somebody had to do something. Terry, Lolene and Shirley decided to clear out. DeMar struck a match and threw it in. There was a boom that shook the house. Flames 336336 enveloped DeMar and Gordon. Gordon was standing well back from the furnace, but the flames took off his eyelashes and the top layer of hair. Demar's arm that threw the match was seared, also his neck, face and head. They saw only the flash but didn't feel the flames at first. "Boy, oh boy," they laughed, running upstairs. And then the burns began to pain. They cried and writhed. The clock said Mother should be coming. But the time passed, dragging painfully now. No Mother. One hour. Why doesn't she come? Shirley was desperate. Someone had to do something. She sent Terry to the store for some "Kip."2 She plastered both boys good, and the pain subsided.

Two hours later I opened the kitchen door. There they were—my five bewildered little kids. DeMar's and Gordon's faces were swollen, and purplish red under the greasy streaks of Kip. DeMar's puffy ears stood out like Mickey Mouse's. Excitedly they told me the story and my heart hurt with a yearning for my little people. I had no need to say anything—only to help them.

The concussion had blown ashes from the fireplace across the living room, and yet there's no connection between the fireplace and the furnace flue. DeMar's face was so bad he missed a couple of weeks of school.

Maurice Judd, the family sweetheart, the one all of us courted for our sister Mildred, was killed last Sunday, March 21st, as he and Arden and Arcola went out on the mountain to tow a car. Strange incidents connected with the accident make it appear that this was no happenstance, but rather that he was called. I stayed with Mildred for a few days. How deeply I do appreciate the gospel of Jesus Christ. The peace of understanding helps ease the hurt.

Lolene pulled one of her baby teeth the other day. I noticed a blank space in her mouth, but was so busy making a ballet costume for Shirley I didn't give it much thought. Yesterday morning she climbed out of bed and hustled up into the attic. Pretty soon she came down with a glass of water. In the bottom lay her little tooth.

"Look," she said disgustedly. "Do you believe in fairies?"

"Sure," I replied.

"Then why didn't this tooth turn into money?"

I had no idea she had put it in the attic. "Maybe it takes time," I answered.

She returned the glass to the attic. In my hustle to get to the office, I forgot the tooth.

This morning she scampered to the attic. "Just look," she said out of patience, displaying the tooth in the glass.

"Doesn't it take quite a few days?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said, taking it back.

Again I forgot. This evening as I was ironing, I saw an empty glass in the laundry room. "DeMar, take that glass in the kitchen for Shirley to wash," I said.

"I found it in the attic with water in it," DeMar said.

"Oh!" I clapped my hand over my mouth.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

337337 "Sh!" I whispered, hurrying into my room.

He followed. "What you doing?"

"Sh!" I looked in my purse. No money. In all the vases. Empty. Through my chest of drawers. Finally, I found one little tarnished dime. Dropping it into the glass, I then filled it with water. "Here, DeMar take it back quick," I said.

Terry had been following us, curious and amused. "Oh," he said, "Lolene put her tooth up there didn't she?"

"Now don't say anything," I whispered.

He and DeMar sauntered into the kitchen where Lolene was wiping dishes for Shirley.

"Hey, Terry," DeMar said, "Do you remember when we used to put a tooth in a glass of water, and the fairies turned it into money?"

"Oh yeah," Lolene spoke up, "they don't."

"How do you know?"

"I tried it. I got a tooth up in the attic now."

"It takes a long time," DeMar said.

"Well, I only look at mine in the mornings."

"But night is the best time."

Unconcerned, she went on wiping dishes. They kept coloring up stories about their luck with fairies. Finally, she climbed down from her chair, and put down her dish towel. She came in where I was ironing, and everybody tagged.

"Night is the best time to look," DeMar kept saying.

"Oh well," she said, "I'm not going to anyway. The attic is dark."

"I'll turn on the lights," Shirley volunteered, running up the steps.

Lolene followed, returning with the glass with the dime in it.

"Just look," DeMar said, "the dime was made the year you were born."

Her eyes danced. There followed a lively discussion of fairies. After the kids had all gone to bed, she snuggled up to me and whispered, "Mother, I don't really believe in fairies. I just made believe I did, because they all liked me to."

The swimming hole above Sheep Bridge at the Virgin narrows is the current rage. Pickups and jalopies loaded with boys make their daily pilgrimage there. I am given to worry. I can vision whirlpools of water pulling little boys under, and all kinds of nightmarish things. So my boys decided there was wisdom in getting me to the swimming hole to see.

"I'm too busy to go." I said.

"If we do all of the work will you go?"

"You never could get enough work done to get me to go," I replied.

Well, they decided to try. When I came home from the office night before last I was overwhelmed. DeMar was blistered and sunburned from 338338 planting corn, and the other youngsters were grubby and sweaty from giving the house a total scrubbing and raking the yards. Speechless, I walked to my room and my troops followed, waiting expectantly.

"All right, all right," I laughed, "let's go swimming."

There was a happy scurry from my room. With the scissors, I whacked the legs off from my old green slacks, and ripped the long sleeves out of an old flowered blouse. Presto! A fine swim suit.

And that swimming hole! How could I ever have missed it? Sand dunes rippled from the ledges and rocks along the river, back to the green brush beyond. The river bottom was caressingly soft beneath the warm water.

"You'd better let me go ahead, Mother," DeMar suggested as we got out of the car. Running before us he shouted, "Women and girls are coming."

A scurry of nude bodies scrambled for the brush. I felt a little cruel to end their fun, but then boys really don't have to go naked.

The sand was warm and good to roll in when we got out to dry off, and there was plenty of driftwood to roast wieners with. I thanked my youngsters for insisting that I go to the swimming hole.

Norman came home on a furlough the last of August. I had worked like a Trojan painting and papering his room. I was Kemtoning3 the hall by the bathroom when he walked in. We were all in a rush getting ready for him. He came a day early and caught us in the upheaval. He looked polished and sharp! What a difference these months with Uncle Sam has made in him.

Norman arrived in time for the County Fair, and to see the excitement of DeMar getting his calf in the calf scramble. DeMar named the calf "Wild Bill." He's the wildest little critter that ever came off the range. Allie Stout delivered him in his truck. He sent me and the little ones into the house while he unloaded him. The calf shot like a bullet out of the back of the truck, leading the boys on a mad chase down the back lane, before he was finally penned in the pasture.

Wild Bill is undoubtedly going to be the star of the livestock show at Cedar a year from now. His formula is as fussy as a baby's. Bill weighed 350 pounds when DeMar got him. DeMar already had a heifer calf, Gazelle, but she lost importance when Bill arrived. She was put out to graze in Donkey Hollow, because we couldn't afford formula for two calves.

Donkey Hollow is pretty. The rabbit brush is bright with golden plumes, and bevies of quail run there. The male quail wears the brightest feathers, but it's his little lady that wears the topknot. I like that.

My boys have burrowed under for the winter. At nights when I come home, I can't see a boy nor hear a sound. I find Lolene cutting paper dolls on my bed, not saying a word, but making an awful litter. Shirley is in the laundry room making her hundredth doll dress and doll bonnet on the sewing machine. But the boys! The only evidence that I even have a boy is the red clay that has to be cleaned out of the house daily. If I wanted a boy, I could call from the back door all day and they'd never hear me. I have to go to a big gopher hole by the bamboo clump and throw my voice down it. Usually, I'm aggravated by this time, and I say, "I'm standing right here until you come out, so hurry." One by one, snake fashion, they slither out—three of mine, and six of somebody else's—a whole string of 339339 them with red dirt in their hair and all over their overalls. This is a deluxe underground house with four apartments in it, two fireplaces, and little recesses for candles. They've dug enough under there to lay a pipeline to the street. If I had asked them to dig that much they would have felt burdened. When they coax me down under, I shiver at the thoughts of all of the little worm eyes that are staring at me from out of the walls.

Shirley is at the height of her boy hating stage. She hates the ones that ask her to dance twice in a row, because DeMar teases her until she cries. Pickle (Dilworth Griffith, or Dill) came in the kitchen as the family sat down to supper Friday night. As he stood in the doorway, he turned to me and asked, "Is Shirley here?" She was sitting all of 16 inches from him.

"Yes, she's here," I answered.

"Do you think she'd like to go to the show with a bunch of us?" His face flushed red underneath the deep tan. It had taken all the courage he could muster to ask for a date in front of a tribe of kids who were smothering their giggles. Shirley was giggling under her breath as she kept her face turned to mine.

"Do you want to go to the show Shirley?" I asked.

"Yes, I'd like to see a show," she answered.

"Well, he's asking you."

The "bunch" included four of the girls in Shirley's crowd, and the boys were DeMar's age—Cookie, Pickle, Hazard and Wes. They had squeezed inside the door behind Pickle to fortify him. They didn't walk when they left, but ran. After the show they ran back to the house. At the door Shirley remembered to shout, "Thanks." I enjoy the way Shirley hates boys.

Election time approaches, and again we are on the campaign trail. Gail Thomas is my opponent. She is a pretty and very much liked young widow.

The Republican candidates went out as a group together. When we knocked on Max McMullin's door in Leeds, he stepped out onto the porch with a cordial grin and shook our hands.

"Yes, I'll vote for you," he said, "I'll vote for everyone of you. That's what I told the Democrats when they came here yesterday too. I always vote for everyone on the ballot. Some I votes to come, and some I votes to go."

Election day is over, and I was voted in for a second term. The office hums today with the activity of a tax run, and people who are congratulating me on the privilege of taking their money for the next four years. I am reminded of a man who came into our office on election day two years ago.

"I'd better pay my taxes while I've got the money," he said. "If Ike Eisenhower goes in, all the banks will be closed, and there will be soldiers marching down the streets a week from today."

"What in the world makes you think that?" I asked.

340340 Sober faced he pointed to the calendar. The following Tuesday was Armistice Day, and sure enough, there would be a parade of heavy artillery and veteran soldiers down the streets of St. George.

Yesterday Israel Wade came to work with sore eyes. He looked real miserable and I felt sorry for him.

"Why don't you wash your eyes with boric acid water?" I asked. "It always makes mine feel better."

"How do you fix it?" he asked.

I told how and this morning he came to work peering out of little slits. His eyelids are as swollen as if a bee had stung each eye. He looks like a frog.

"Israel!" I exclaimed.

"I did what you told me to," he said, sadly shaking his head.

Great Scott! I had no idea anyone could be allergic to boric acid. I'll never dare prescribe again.

My little grandson Darwin has a baby brother born yesterday. I'm twice a grandma!

Online Footnotes

  1. When Alice mentioned Virgil, she was talking of Virgil Goates. Lolene mentioned of him that "he used to give me handfuls of loose change out of his pockets. He had a dry cleaning business in Hurricane. He courted Mother for awhile. He may have gotten scared off by all her kids." (Memory from Lolene Gubler Gifford, 22 April 2018)

    —Andrew Gifford, 22 April 2018

  2. Shirley sent Terry to the store for some "Kip." This was a brand of burn salve or ointment that had wintergreen and other oils in it that was advertised in the 1940s and 1950s. You can see an ad for it here.

    —Andrew Gifford, 22 April 2018

  3. When Alice talked of "Kemtoning the hall" it appears she was talking about painting the walls. Kem-Tone Wall Finish was "the first commercially successful, durable, waterborne interior wall paint" that the Sherwin-Williams Company introduced in 1941. See the ACS.org article.

    —Andrew Gifford, 22 April 2018


Chapter 44
The Mesa
(1955)
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Chapter 45
Goodbye for Now, Papa
(1956)
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Chapter 46
Another Fledgling Leaves the Nest
(1957)
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Chapter 47
Arkie Annie
(1958)
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Chapter 48
A Diamond for Graduation
(1959)
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Chapter 49
Gordon's Mission Call
(1960)

379379 I'm trying to clear away enough of the past to make room for the New Year. Here's a note from Fergie which says, "I drove up to Kolob all by myself just to watch your brother Clinton do some cat work. He is the sweetest man in the world." Yes, Fergie, I agree that at least he is one of the sweetest.

I remember the day after New Years four years ago when I went with Clinton up on Coal Pitts to brand a calf. He built a fire of cedar boughs by a big boulder to heat his branding iron. The day was as cold as a January day could be, so I climbed upon the boulder above the fire. The wind was austy. Clinton shouted at me to move just as a gust of wind whipped the fire over the rock. Flames enveloped me. I leaped down on the opposite side and flung my coat over my head, because I could hear my hair and my eyebrows frying. My eyelashes were melted to beaded blobs that locked every time I blinked my eyes, and my eyebrows crumbled and fell off when I rubbed across them. For a few weeks I had to curl my hair different to hide the bareness around my face. My face was tender for a few days too. But I liked going with Clinton so much. He has been a dear brother to me, and a thoughtful, kind, good uncle to all of my children, taking them with him as often as possible.

Norman and Ann have a brand new little son born this day. Kathleen has a baby brother. (Lloyd).

Ah such luxury. Here I am lounging in a heap of pillows on the cot under the honey locust tree. The tree, sweet with yellow flowers and tender green leaves , is swarming with bees. The sky, the 380380 clouds , the sun, the breeze, the hum of the bees, the chirp of the robin—this is happiness. My cup runneth over. I am privileged to enjoy this day because of the fine group insurance Coleman Engineering has. I'm home from the Dixie Hospital convalescing after a hysterectomy.

Helen Bleak came in the same time I did for the same thing. We were mighty tickled to be with each other. Charles Pickett, the County Attorney, brought orchids to both of us. Just imagine! Each of us got a big orchid in a vase!

Bill Sanders, Carl Staheli, Wendell Hall and my brother Clinton came to my room and sang one quartet after another as I lay misty-eyed on my pillow.

A nurse came to the door and said, "Would you folks please come into the hall and sing:.' Patients are standing by their doors the full length of the hospital."

So they did. After they left, that same nurse came to my room. "Those men will never know how much good they did," she said. "There's an old man across the hall who has not responded to a thing for days. When I went into his room just now he smiled and said, 'I heard the most beautiful music.'"

Terry hasn't missed a day in the past month without saying, "Jay Frazer will sell me a horse for $30, and give me until spring to pay."

He's like Lolene was about a tether ball. Every meal she'd say, "I can hardly eat for thinking about a tether ball." Then she'd awake in the mornings she'd say, "I dreamed I had a tether ball." That went on until Christmas, when she got her tether ball. But Terry isn't going to get a horse for Christmas. Horses eat.

Sunday a red pickup drove into our yard.

"Mother," Lolene whispered, "that's Jay Frazer and I think he has a horse in his pickup."

Terry bolted out the door. Peering out, all I could see in the pickup was an oil drum.

"Mother, come and look," Terry shouted.

Jay was poking at something in the pickup bed. Embarrassed he said, "I can't make it stand up."

Pretty soon it did. There before my eyes was the littlest midget that I've ever seen that could be called a horse.

"It's a mustang," Jay said.

It was all ears and nose. It head was as big as a full grown horse, but it scarcely had a body. It wasn't even leggy. I looked at Terry. Written on his face was adoration and longing. I knew I had but two choices. One was to let Jay unload the critter, and the other was to plan Terry's funeral if I didn't. The horse stayed.

Last night when Richard Beaumont came for Terry to go home teaching, Terry led his little quadruped out for him to see. The family clustered around to pet the little critter. Richard poked him in the ribs.

"Hey, don't," Terry protested.

381381 "How do you make him kick?" Richard asked.

At that moment the little mustang swung a hind leg sidewise and whammed Richard full on the shins. The horse didn't bat an eye or turn his head, but looking straight ahead he had landed the blow accurately. We cracked up laughing.

Grandpa Gubler came to see what we had. Terry had been scrounging rings and leather straps from Grandpa to make a bridle. When Grandpa saw the animal he laughed and laughed. Finally he said, "That horse is stunted. It will never grow. Terry will be an old man before that horse is big enough to ride."

When Ward Wright saw him tied to the pecan tree he shouted, "Alice, it's dangerous to leave that horse tied to that tree!"

"Why?" I asked.

"Because if he runs out to the end of the rope he'll uproot the tree."

Shirley phoned me at the office. "Mother, what shall I do? Two horses are pacing up and down in Ann's garden mashing everything. Ann is going to be sick when she comes home." (Norman and Ann are living on the bottom of the lot in a trailer house).

"Find someone to help you."

The little horse had whinnied until he attracted a couply of strays. They climbed over the boards and tin roofing at the back of the old house, trying to get into the corral. Ovando came to the rescue and let the fence down around the garden so the horses could get out. He said one horse reached over the fence, getting close enough to the mustang to bite him.

This evening Gordon said, "Terry's mustang was caught from a band of wild horses in Hurricane Valley. Grandpa says he wouldn't give 30¢ for him, let alone $30.00."

"Oh well," I said, "Terry isn't really going to buy him. He's smart enough to know the little fellow will never be a riding horse."

Terry gave me a grateful look. "I guess I'd better call Jay and tell him to come and pick up his mustang," he said.

Shirley loves Perry Houston from Mesquite. Perry went to college at Cedar City while Shirley was at Dixie, so maybe she's right about the CSU boys being the cutest.

Shirley spent her summer earnings from Vonda's Cafe on a Singer sewing machine—$488.00—all paid for. Besides paying $100 rent, she still came off with money for clothes. Not bad at all.

But oh, that sewing machine! It stands in the splendor of its newness in our living room, and we give it a wide berth, neither touching it nor breathing on it. But that's ok. Shirley sews cleverly and creates beautiful things on it. Now she has registered for the fall quarter at Dixie and is living with the Harrisons.

Helen and DeMar were married on the 24th of September. DeMar retired early the night before the wedding. I went to his room at 8:30 and found him sound asleep. When I spoke, I got no response. Shaking him, I got only a grunt. The next morning he was up and ready to ao to the temple 382382 by 6:30.

"How in the world did you get to sleep so fast last night?" I asked. "I got so tired of tossing and thinking last night that I wet a handkerchief with some of the choloroform from my chemistry set and inhaled it," he replied.

The wedding was lovely, temple ceremony, reception and all. Theirs was the traditional wedding dance with a live orchestra and a program. At Helen's request, DeMar strummed his guitar and sang, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You." Now he's driving truck for Serret at Cedar City, so that's where they're planning to live.

I had the happiest feeling as I folded Lloyd's nightgowns from off the line today. It set me thinking of the little guy who wears them. Norman's and Ann's six month old son is a darling. Kathie loves her little brother, and talks so cute to him. Grandchildren are grand!

Shirley tints photographs at Durante's studio after school. She's doing twenty-five pictures of Val Jennings who corresponds with twenty-five girls, names he got from a magazine. When a picture of a cute little girl, or baby comes in to the studio, Shirley sandwiches it in for a change. Val walks from Hurricane to St. George to pay the studio $1.00 a week on his pictures and reports on his progress with the girls.

Lolene is sorry she applied for a job at the school lunch room, because she got it. She sprays dishes. They tell her they will let her take turns serving. She will like that.

This evening Lolene was doing the splits on the back porch. One foot was propped up on the bathroom window sill.

"What on earth are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm acting like a teenager. I read all about it in a book, and know how they act. The book says I've a right to a normal adolescense."

We're running out of contracts for tests on the Mesa. Things are so slow that we're urged to do our best to look busy.

Terry is in the limelight again. I just got to work when Shirley phoned. "Mother, Terry has shot himself."

Shocked, I asked, "Is it bad?"

"Yes," she replied, "can't you hear him?"

I went sick all over at the sounds of his agonized groaning. "I'll be right down." Turning to Dorothy I said, "I've got to go. Terry has had an accident."

She called Steve's office. By the time I got to the front door, Harlan James was out in front with the boss's car. We fairly flew down the hill. I didn't know what to expect. I wondered if Shirley could administer first aid to keep him alive until we got there. And then a calm, peaceful feeling came over me, and I knew Terry would be all right.

We found Terry sitting by the kitchen table, ashen white, his eyes a little glazed. He had one boot off, and there was a purple, swollen toe oozing blood onto the floor. The boot had a hole in the middle of it. 383383 Shirley thought he had shot through the-middle of his foot, but the boot was inches too long for Terry's foot, so actually he got it at the base of the second toe on his right foot.

We loaded him in the back seat of the car with pillows under his foot and headed for the hospital.

Terry had been shooting sparrows out of the bamboo with his 22. He rested the muzzle end of the gun on his shoe and cocked it. When he raised it, it blasted birdshot into his foot. The bone of that toe was shattered. By the time we got him to St. George his foot had gone numb, and they didn't have to give him a shot before operating.

The doctor took all kinds of litter out of his foot. There was packing that was in the shell, a bit of leather, a bit of sock and pieces of lead. He opened the hole wide and threaded a strip of rubber through it like you would thread a needle, This was to keep it open so the lead could sluff away. Terry didn't feel a thing. This is his fourth day in the hospital and they still have the rubber in his foot. I don't know whether he will keep his toe or not. So there goes the jitter-bug class he was enthused about starting this week.

Terry is home from the hospital. Shirley says she's going to shoot his other toe so he'll have to go back. Home was peaceful while he was gone.

He has captured a couple of blue jays already since he came home. Yet he is supposed to keep off his foot. He's going to build a cage for them and raise tame ones. Trouble is, both of his birds are flashy males. Gordon has one special thing that is different from his brothers. He likes school. Especially chemistry, seminary and chorus. Mr. Larsen, the new music teacher, is impressed with Gordon's voice, so he is giving him free voice lessons. Walter Segler has started up his molasses mill. Last fall, every time I wondered where Gordon was, I found him at the mill. This year he is working there on Saturdays and after school.

The only girls Gordon is interested in are the ones that Terry discovers first. When Ann's sister Irene went to school in Hurricane, Terry and Gordon constantly competed for her attention. When the family went swimming, Gordon kept dragging Mary Tally's niece into the deep water, leaving her stranded on an inner tube, just to see Terry be the big hero and rescue her. When Terry walks a girl home from NIA, Gordon walks the same girl home the following week.

Gordon J. Gubler
Gordon J. Gubler

Grief is our companion once more. Gordon has been taken from us. He spent his last day at home with me. It was Saturday, and Terry had gone to LasVegas with Marilyn. Gordon and I spent the day cleaning the yards.

"There's something strange about this day," he said. "I can't decide what it is."

Often he gazed across the fields, or sat on a bench looking at the ground pensively.

"Oh come on, snap out of it," I said.

"But mother, I have the strangest feeling about today," he said.

384384 He had been testing the sights of a pistol.

"I wish you'd put that thing away," I remonstrated.

"There's something wrong with it," he replied. "The sights aren't true."

Just before sundown, DeMar drove up. "Gordon, let's go over in the foothills for a little while and look around."

Gordon brightened. "I guess that's what's different about today. Everyone is deer hunting but me." Running for the car, he called back, "I'll see you in a little while, Mother."

A little while? How long, oh how long is a little while? Within half an hour my telephone rang.

"There has been an accident," Lucille Fish said. She told me where to find my boys, and offered me her help.

Who was hurt, or how badly, I did not know. "Oh, Heavenly Father," I prayed, "Please don't let DeMar or Gordon be maimed or crippled for life!"

I phoned Helen's parents, Isabel and Ermal Stratton, then ran to the highway to meet them.

A crowd had gathered by the side of the highway beyond Pintura, and I was told that the younger of my two boys was up in the foothills dead. He had been testing the sights of a pistol. When he looked down the barrel, the gun went off, hitting him between the eyes. A numbness went over me.

"The older boy is crying hysterically by the side of his brother," someone said.

My mind took wings through the dark cedars to my sons, but my feet slowly turned to the car. Alone I sat in the back seat, my head in my hands. Why didn't I climb the hill to DeMar and Gordon? Something restrained me.

Darkness was filling the ravines, still I was aware of a strange burst of light. How can such intense grief and pain be associated with light? A sweet something whispered peace. Peace? Oh my weeping heart! Through the fragments of broken thoughts, one thing came to me clearly. For eleven years I had had our seven youngsters to myself, and now Winferd needed one of them. This thought took the despair out of my grief. Grief can be borne when there is the light of hope at the other end of the road.

Gordon's accident was on the evening of October 22. Isabel was by my side through all of the final arrangements. She became especially dear to me. My family and Winferd's family, our neighbors and friends surrounded us, and our home was filled with love. And Gordon! Gordon, dressed in his beautiful white suit—Gordon, so handsome and tall—six-foot, two! Oh, Gordon, Gordon—goodbye my son. I shall not lose sight of the light of hope.

My week at home writing thank-you cards is over. I am back on the job on the mesa.

385385 Mark Johnson from Holden wrote: "Victory over bereavement comes easier if you will deliberately reenter the field of activity. …by quiet acquiescence, and by deep and undying faith in God. …your good and handsome son tonight is with his own father, and I am most sure that their happiness far surpasses any that you have ever known."

From Bloomington, Indiana, Donworth wrote: "And now it is Winferd's turn to revise his image of his son who was so small when they parted— I say he will revise his because I find it difficult to believe that our loved ones see us any more than we see them. If they were able to see us in our daily activity, they would become so absorbed in what we were doing. …so filled with concern for our mistakes. …that they would not be constructive, productive members of God's heaven. So now, in my imagination I see Winferd showing Gordon about his new surroundings, proudly introducing him to all of his friends and saying, 'Do you see! What I have been telling you about my fine family is true. This one is taller and straighter and finer than even I had imagined.' And he'll feast his eyes on his son with whom he was permitted so little time before, and will say to himself, 'I hope Alice and the other children won't mind too much losing their son and brother. It is so good to have him here—to not be alone anymore.' In no time at all he'll have him enrolled in a heavenly school with others of his age so that he can be developed with all speed in his understanding and love of the Gospel that he may go about the urgent duty of proclaiming the Gospel to the millions who daily die without having heard it.

"Make no mistake, Gordon, young and unexperienced as he is, is far ahead of the great multitudes of his fellows who daily make the transition from earthly to heavenly existence. He will rapidly adjust to the new existence and be grateful to finally make the acquaintence of his wonderful dad. Won't they make a wonderful missionary pair?"

LaRett Stratton wrote: "Be glad that God trusts you with some problem. Thank Him for the compliment. He believes you have what it takes to handle them."

When I talked to President Snow at the temple, he said, "Come and get your son's endowment work done immediately. He needs the Melchizedek Priesthood so he can go with his father to preach the gospel."

Last night, DeMar did Gordon's temple work, and I did Jaunita Fergerson's (Fergie).

It was only a month ago when Gordon presented me with the seminary text, "The Restored Church" by William E. Barrett. "I didn't have to buy this book," he said. "The seminary would let me use one of theirs, but I thought you would like to read this."

Then he talked about preparing to go on a mission. "How will we be able to finance my mission?" he asked.

"Don't worry about that," I replied. "We've got two years to prepare. We'll finance it all right."

Two years? His call came early. He has the Melchizedek Priesthood now. He can go full speed ahead. And little Fergie! When I think how happy she is to have her temple work done I can still feel her arms around me and her wet tears on my cheek.

386386 Last weekend, when Shirley was home from school, she used dry-cleaning fluid to wash her slacks. She got the bright idea of pressing them dry.

"Look at this pretty white cloud," she said to me as she ran the hot iron back and forth.

Like an explosion, flames burst forth. She grabbed a blanket to smother the fire. Black smoke filled the room, banking thick against the ceiling, almost suffocating us. Shirley's slacks, the ironing board cover and pad drizzled puddles of fire onto the floor, burning patches through the floor covering. Soot blackened the walls and curtains, which resembled the pile of velvet. We moved my bed out onto the back porch, where I've been sleeping all week.

Sleeping outside in December isn't bad. I had layers of paper under the matress, and in between the blankets over me. Getting in and out of bed was the cold part. We've spent all of our evenings re-papering and painting the walls and woodwork, and have put down a new floor covering.


Chapter 50
Perry Joins the Clan
(1961)
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Chapter 51
Crossroads
(1962)
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Chapter 52
Yakima
(1963)
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Chapter 53
Deer Park
(1964)
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Chapter 54
Back to Utah
(1965)
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Chapter 55
Home, Sweet Home
(1966)
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Look to the Stars
Volume II
The Stratton Years
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

Title Page (v2)Title Page (v2)


INTRODUCTION
(Volume II)

Intro (v2)Intro (v2)

The Robin

Last week I was watching a robin,
As busy as a bee,
Gathering grass and flowers,
Building her nest in a tree.
Her task was nearly completed,
When a windstorm came that way
And destroyed in only a moment
Her labor of many a day.

But I do admire the robin,
Though mistfortune she has met,
She does not droop in sorrow,
Or brood in vain regret.
But she is working harder than ever
In sunshine and in rain,
And the nest that was ruined a week ago
Is almost built again.

I think she looks to the future.
That's why her song is sweet.
She will not be discouraged,
Or own she has met defeat.
She sings as sweetly as ever
Tho' her loss must have cost her pain,
And the nest that was ruined a week ago
Is almost built again.

I wonder if we as humans
Who brag on how much we know
Can do as well as the robin
And sing as we suffer a blow.
Or don't we much more often
Just kick and growl and whine
And make our loss just double
By wasting precious time?

I hope I have learned my lesson
From the robin and her nest,
And that I may meet discouragement
With new hope in my breast.
FOr I have come to this conclusion,
Tho' we may be six feet tall,
We often haven't as much backbone
As the robin, after all.

Author unknown

This poem is a favorite of Ermal's, and expresses his life's philosophy, as is shown in the following account.


Chapter 56
Ermal Stratton
(1967)
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Chapter 57
Occupation: Housewife
(1968)
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Chapter 58
The 50-50 Farmer
(1969)
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Chapter 59
The Western States Mission
(1970-1971)

499499 (Our Mission Journal is a separate book in itself. We shall touch on it at random here.)

Dell and Corinne had a baby boy today. (Laron Kim Stout).

Shirley and Helen made me a new wardrobe, and we've been in a whirl of parties, and preparation to leave. Big tears slid down Lolene's cheeks when she learned our time of departure would be at the same time her first baby was to be born. We have put our hand to the plow and cannot turn back.

Our testimonial was yesterday. Ermal's daughters sang, "The Lord is Calling You." My children, with their husbands and wives, sang "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You," and also, the rousing Western States Mission song. Gaye Lynne Gubler was their accompanist. She's very special.

500500 How nice it was to have my sisters and brothers in attendance. Even Donworth and Clark came.

Ermal and I were set apart at our home at six in the evening. What a powerful lot of the hands of the priesthood was laid upon my head. My neck had a lot to sustain. Because the thrill of it raced through me so much, I must enumerate the priesthood holders who helped. First was Pres. Leo Reeve, and his counselor Flint Wright, then our bishop Reed Wilson and his counselors Sheldon DeMill and Dick Prince. Then my husband Ermal and his brother Cummon, then my sons, Norman, DeMar and Terry, and our sons-in-law, Darwin Gifford and Dell Stout. So great it was, I wonder how I stood it

President Reeve promised me that our children would be blessed and protected during our absence, and that we could go with peace of mind and give all our strength to the mission. He told me to go and be a peace maker. My soul was filled.

Here we are, setting up housekeeping at 1424 12th Avenue, Sidney, Nebraska. Because of a typing error on our schedule, we're in the field earlier than expected. We had packed our camper with a two year's supply of canned goods, etc., turned off the power, stifled our tears, kissed everyone goodbye, and left home on the 22nd. We were to e nter the mission home on January 25. Well! When we got to Salt Lake, the mission home was closed—not to open until February 7. The man at the church offices said we should co home for a couple of weeks!

After going through all we'd gone through? To me that would be as awful as digging up a casket! We couldn't go back. We'd rolled up the road behind us. Besides that, nobody wanted us back now, not after all of that hugging and kissing and crying. A repeat performance world be impossible. Outside in the dark I bawled and blubbered in Ermal's arms.

Monday morning we laid our papers on Ned Winder's desk in the Church Offices. He took one look, then buried his face in his hands embarrassed, remorseful and upset. Calling Phillip Redd in Denver, he asked if he would receive us immediately. Wheels hummed. We went down elevators, and up elevators like we were being processed for doom's day. After a multitude of handshakes and blessings, we left Salt Lake. The time: 3:00 p.m. The day: January 26.

At the mission home in Denver we were armed with books, pamphlets, recorder, projector, and given a crammed, condensed orientation and dispatched off across the prairie, with the address of the branch president at Sidney, Nebraska. That was all of our missionary training!

And wouldn't you know it! When we called at our one and only address, we learned that the branch president had moved away three months ago. Like lost children, we had no where to go. Ermal stopped a police car and asked if there were any Mormons in Sidney. The officer scowled, rubbed his nose, then guessed that an old fellow named Chandler might be one, and he pointed the way to his house. Sure enough, he was. He called Brother NeVille, who tucked us in for our first night in the mission field—Jan. 28.

501501 Our first word from home came by telephone. Lolene's baby is a boy! (Aaron). Now ain't that sumpin! What a thrilled man Darwin is.

There are 100 members in the Sidney branch. About 30 of them show up on Sunday. The Sunday School Superintendent is a fifteen year old boy from Julesburg, Colorado. The branch president lives thirty miles away.

We spend as high as eleven hours a day studying and memorizing. Our eyes are set in a glaze. I'm scared of tracting. I think of the Jehovah's Witnesses. I can't stand to think of being regarded as such a pest. Ermal says he's going to get a kick out of tracting.

Today we got our first mail from • home—letters from Shirley, Corinne, and Norman. Eagerly we read them, wiped our eyes and hugged each other.

We did our home teaching today. We visited one family in Lodgepole, one somewhere out in a wheat field, one in Julesbure, Colo., and the last one in Brule, Nebraska. Round trip: 155 miles. One woman said she had home teachers a year ago, and she wondered why they came, because she joined the Methodists a year ago. "It ain't as hard to be a Methodist. They didn't even have to baptize me because the Mormons had already done that."

Our D. L. Elder White, and five other missionaries spent Friday and Saturday with us and tracted out Sidney. Elder White tracted with Elder Stratton, and I went with Elder Keith Harper. At our first house, a gorilla of a man with a hairy chest came to the door. Introducing us, Elder Harper asked if we could come in.

Puffing a cloud of smoke at us, the man said, "git down off the porch."

"You mean you don't have a minute to talk about our Savior?" Elder Harper asked.

"Go on, git out of here," the half-naked man bellowed.

Scared, I looked up at Elder Harper, and he grinned. "He is typical."

The next day we traveled together to Cheyenne to quarterly conference. The young elders guided us through the city, darting up one street and down another in their little Hornets. In Exodus 24:28 the Lord said, "And I will send hornets before thee…" Believe me, we were glad he did.

We visited Father Flynn today. He spends his vacation time each year with Mormon friends in Utah. When we bore our testimony to him, he said he knew what we said was true, "but," he added, "it would be hypocritical for me to profess to believe in anything but Catholicism, since that is how I make my living."

This is our "boondocking" day, and we've plonned to check out the oil wells with Clarence and Vada Gheen. Oil pumps dot the wheat fields, their heads bobbing up and down like little donkies browsing stubble.

Part of missionary work is finding the lambs who have strayed. Endlessly we drive, with a pack of pink slips, trying to locate 502502 missing people. So far, we've located five. who have deliberately tried to get lost. They're apostates, and weren't a bit glad to see us.

Yesterday we located the last of the Dalton Gang. She joined the Lutheran Church thirteen years ago, but her name is still on our record. She's big boned, and so strong looking I almost want to hide behind Elder Stratton when she looks at me. Her voice is powerful, and she knows she's right. Elder Stratton is big and powerful and knows he's right too. He doesn't argue. He testifies.

"I joined the Lutheran Church because they don't care whether change my dress or not," the Dalton woman said. "My husband can come to church with mud on his overalls too, and the minister doesn't care. I got rid of one minister because he thought we ought to clean up. I couldn't have done that in the Mormon Church."

"Do you want your name taken off the records of the Mormon Church?" Elder Stratton asked.

"You don't mean they would excommunicate me?" she asked with horror.

"Yes," he answered.

"Oh, no! Don't do that! It would break my dead grandmother's heart. I'd rather be a Lutheran than a Mormon, but don't excommunicate me," she exclaimed.

Our district conference is to be in Scotts Bluff tomorrow. Elder White asked us to write a dramatization of the exodus of the saints from Nauvoo to be acted out by the missionaries at this conference. I borrowed church history books from Brother Chandler and dug in, while Elder Stratton did all of the cooking, dish washing and housework. We got the manuscript in the mail two days ago. Now we're back to tracting.

Elder Stratton honestly does enjoy tracting. I have to confess that even I find it thrilling to bear my testimony on doorsteps. Elder Stratton became so enthusiastic in testifying to a member of the Chursh of Christ, that he had the poor man begging us to please go see his minister so we could be straightened out. I laughed all the way home.

I adore missionaries. The elders were oreat in the Exodus play. Elder Harper was Brigham Young, and had the whole thing memorized to perfection. Elder Weber played the dual role of William Pitts and William Clayton because he's our music man. My! What a brass band! All of the elders played instruments, including Elder Stratton, who was on the drums—pantomime, of course, except vocal sound effects. They played, "Stars and Stripes Forever." Each instrument was so clever that I sat captivated.

After a scrumptious dinner served by the Relief Society, we hiked above the bluffs. The air was crisp and sunny, and we were as happy as the pigeons flying along the face of the cliffs. The wagon ruts of the old Oregon trail are still plain to see.

The first day of spring—six below zero, and eight inches of snow.

503503 After our study period today, I noticed a dangerous look on Elder Stratton's face—a glassy-eyed, hypnotized look. To break the spell we went for a hike in Roland Bigg's pasture. We found a swallow's colony under the ledges, and saw two grasshoppers. Spring will come.

Marvin Ashton toured the mission last week. We met the Scotts Bluff elders at Kimball, and put them in the back of the camper for a four hour bounce to Denver. When I've ridden in the back, all that kept me from going through the top, as the pickup bucked over the railroad tracks, was the stack of blankets over me. The camper is a deep freeze, so we never have to tell the elders to burrow in.

Missionaries stay with members when they go to conferences. We stay with different ones every time. Wow! Such mansions as they live in! Beautiful homes, beautiful children, and furry dogs and cats. Elder Stratton emits bad vibes to dogs and cats. I've seen poodles and cats and pug nosed bull dogs sit at the top of the stairs just outside our door, and I know the way they ogled us, that what they were thinking wasn't good. Elder Stratton has some sleight-of-foot performance, some quicker-than-the-eye gesture that I've never figured out, and the dogs and cats vanish swiftly and silently. I give Elder Stratton a quizzical and disapproving look, and he returns it with an impish grin.

We were in a nine hour fast and testimony meeting in Denver. This included talks by Elder Ashton and President Redd, and a film. Nothing but the power of the priesthood could have alleviated the misery of hard seats and hunger for that many hours. But the Spirit of the Lord was there. The conference the was, "The Sound of Rejoicing." God lives! This is the greatest truth on the face of the earth. God is our Father. We are His children. He is interested in us. We can become like Him.

We were reminded of the meaning of being "set apart." It is to be above and beyond—on a higher plateau. BE HAPPY. Satan has no power over us when we are with our companion. The two of us have more power than Satan. We are not to go off on our own.

We were cautioned not to get up and make a fuss about the good things bestowed upon us in testimony meeting. Appropriate appreciation to the Lord should be in the privacy of our own closets, not in public where it may cause someone else to feel inferior. We are to build one another up, and strengthen each other with our testimonies.

After the Denver conference, we had lunch and took the elders back to Scotts Bluff via Cheyenne, getting back to Sidney at 1:30 a.m. When we awoke it was time to prepare to return to Cheyenne to a youth conference. Elder Stratton went ahead with one of the boys to haul equipment. This was the Friday Wyoming got her great snow blizzard. (April 17). I followed in Bruce Cumming's little sports car with Wes Mueller and Randy Van Cleve. Snow was piling on the ice-glazed highway, and visibility was ten feet. We hadn't gone thirty miles before Bruce's little car spun off into a wheat field. The boys pushed it across the field to a dirt road that led us back to the highway. About five miles further on the car skidded over an embankment into a narrow barrow pit. By now, daylight was obliterated by the storm. Passing cars overhead could not have helped but see our lights, still, no one dared stop.

Before we slid off, a discussion had been going on about human nature. "Everyone has some good in him," Randy said.

"What good is a hippie?" Wes asked.

504504 "Even hippies have some good in them," Randy insisted.

Then skid, spin, slide, and there we sat, helplessly below the crawling traffic that chose to ignore us.

"I hope a bishop is praying for us," Randy said.

"We'll get out all right, because of our prayers before we left," Wes assured him.

Then, a panel wagon and an old beat up car behind it, x?stopped. A giant of a man with hair peroxided and frizzed like a newly hatched yellow chicken stood above us. "Looks like you got troubles," he shouted. "Don't worry. We'll get you out."

Seven other burly, shaggy, disheveled, dirty, wonderful hippies bailed out of the two cars. Big shoulders got under and with a heave and a ho, our little car was literally boosted back onto the highway. Above our shouted thanks, the hippies waved and disappeared into the storm.

"That's what I like about hippies," Randy said.

It took us five and one-half hours to go ninety miles. The crowd at conference had been praying for us, and the girls wept with relief when we arrived. Cheyenne was marooned by the blizzard, so we had to stay two nights, instead of one.

The trees are still bare in Sidney, but the birds and squirrels chatter and sing. Tulips are blooming, and little kids are fishing for bluegills in the city park.

At stake conference in Cheyenne yesterday, one of the speakers was a young girl convert. She said the message of eternal progression thrilled her, but she couldn't swallow the Joseph Smith story. "If Joseph Smith can have a manifestation, so can I," she boasted to the missionaries. So she went out into an overgrown tennis court and kneeled' down. She was sure she would get the manifestation. As she kneeled, an overpowering feeling came over her, and she raised her hands to heaven, and cried out, "Oh Lord, I don't need a manifestation. Please don't! I KNOW it is true," and she fled. She walked five miles to find the missionaries, who raised the floor of a stage, filled the font and baptized her.

A happy phone call from Norman tells us that he and Ann have a new little baby boy. (Scott).

Shirley and Perry walked in on us the other day. How good they looked can never be explained. For two days we took them to every point of interest, Chimney Rock, to the Sidney city park, and of course to Bigg's pasture to see the swallows. After they left I cried, then we dug into our missionary work doubly hard.

Roland Bigg's pasture is our only recreation spot. Once a week, since the swallows returned, we've kept track, watching the hod-carriers deliver mud to the two little masons sitting inside each shell. Hundreds of little beaks, spreading mud, and polishing at the same time, make a squeaking hum. The birds have been oblivious to us as we've watched in fascination. But now that the eggs are laid, and little ones are hatching, they dart at us, chasing us away.

Two downy baby eagles, cream-colored and speckled, cuddle 505505 in the nest on a ledge. They're as big as full grown chickens, but they're still just fuzz balls. Baby mourning doves wobble and flutter in their nests In the buffalo grass. Killdeer eggs lay in open nests in the stubble. Ground squirrels stand tall, gaping, then disappear down their holes as we approach. Lizzards streak over rocks. Cows, gently mooing, call their calves. Wild flowers dot the greening earth. Spring has come to Nebraska.

The wheatland is a sea of waving green. Clouds come up suddenly from the ground, and blue skies become thundering and purple within minutes. Lilacs and yellow roses spill over garden walls. Poppies, iris, foxgloves and painted daisies bloom abundantly. Red squirrels frisk in the tall elms, and wild rabbits graze on people's lawns.

At the missionary conference in P. Collins Friday, Pres. Redd said, "How long will it take you to tie up loose ends in Sidney?"

The question shook us . We thought we were needed forever in Sidney. "The road show is July 17th," I replied.

"Your transfer will come the day after. Train a Sunday School teacher immediately to take your place. We sent you to TRAIN LEADERS, NOT TO DO THEIR WORK!"

Great day! If only we could find someone willing to be trained. We literally beg to get into the homes of the inactive members. "After we finish painting our kitchen we'll call you," or, "I can't see you until the dentist finishes my bridgework," or, "we don't feel like having company now." Tonight, we finally got in to see one couple who has been waiting for good health to set in.

Now that the grain is in the head, farmers will be running their equipment the clock around. No one will have time for the Gospel.

Yesterday at church, we told the members we were being transferred. They regarded us with new interest, and invitations into the homes were heaped upon us. We spent the evening with a spunky little old lady who lives in the middle of an expansive wheatfield. She has a tart tongue, and is wiry and quick.

"I tell you I've suffered," she said. "I moved into the middle of this wheatfield over sixty years ago as a bride—right into this very house with my mother-in-law. I was the only Zormon in a hundred miles. All of my inlaws were pig-headed, hard shelled Baptists. Mean as rattlesnakes, heckling me all the days of their lives. But I got even with every one of them. I outlived them all. Do you know what I did? I took their names to the Salt Lake Temple and had their work done for them. I guess they'll be thinking differently about the Gospel by now."

The day the combines rolled into Nebraska, all else ceased. Rumbling like army tanks they came across the prairie, combining their way from Texas to Canada. Wheat dust fills the sky. Each evening the sun becomes a red ball as it settles into the stubble. Nebraskans love the wheat harvest. "It is so beautiful to stand in the middle of a waving field of gold. It makes the heart sing," Trish Mueller said. Combines work day and night. Church services are run by a skeleton crew. Missionaries : Who has time for them during the wheat harvest?

So we pack our belongings into the camper along with a bundle of mem-ories—the intense struggle to master the discussions—our knocking on doors, our plea to be heard- -and of those who became dear to us. Brother and Sister 506506 Chandler, old and feeble, but deeply entrenched in the gospel, President and Sister Peterson, so beautiful and devoted, the NeVilies, who took us in and helped us find a place to live, Vada and Clarence Gheen, who became our closest and most frequently visited friends—who were totally inactive, but always showered us with their love, and our foursome cookouts, our recreational friends. There are others. Deep in my heart is a spot reserved especially for two non-member families. The Roland Bicgs family were devoted to their own church, but gave us of their friendship, and their pasture. The Hank Bauer family on 1745 Linden, is the one non-member family that invited us back again and again, and always gave full attention to our films and discussions. Sister Bauer set her good fried fish before us, and their little boy followed us to the car, kissed my arm and said, "I love you." Someday perhaps?

Nebraska skies were our delight. Often we drove away from the city lights to watch electric storms. The outstanding heavenly display of my sixty years was seen in Nebraska's sky, when we drove out the airport road in the night to see the great naked-eye Comet Bennett, with its brilliant head and long, luminous tail. This was the biggest heavenly body I've ever seen. I had supposed a comet would streak like a meteorite through the sky, but it was not so. This comet was suspended in the sky, not traveling any faster than the stars. What a leisurely, beautiful surprise.

And now, the rolling terrain of cool Nebraska is three-hundred and fifty miles behind us, and we're in the sticky, sweltering Corn Belt of Kansas. Kansas, where the North and South Winds met, and Dorothy's house which was in the exact center of the cyclone, was whirled away to the Land of Oz.

Hays is a far cry from Sidney. This is a college town. We almost had to enroll in college to get an apartment. We are under the roof of Edgar and Mary Brummit on 505 Ash. Their daughter Emma Lou is LDS , and the rest of the family are Baptists.

When we first saw where the LDS branch meets in Hays , I said, "I don't believe it! It's nothing but a dinky, little chicken coop in a junk yard."

Then the branch president, Harry Barrett and his wife Marilyn came from Paradise to meet us. (They live in Paradise. So do some families of Angels). They took us inside the little church house. It was shiny clean and a sweet spirit permeated it. When we met the branch members on Sunday we were delighted. Actually, the Hays branch is made up of complete families ! In Sidney it was mostly made up of mothers and children. Here we find enough Melchizedek priesthood holders to make things hum.

Perry telephoned that he and Shirley have a baby girl! After four sons, this little girl is an event. (Annie).

Following is part of a letter from Shirley, dated September 28.

Dearest Mother, because you gave me life, because you so dearly love me, only you can understand how I feel as I look at my brand new, fresh from the presence of God, baby daughter. The happiness, joy, peace, love—everything I'm feeling just now has no boundaries. I'm overcome by the goodness of God, the great love he has for His children to also send them children. At one bleak point on the delivery table, I said, "The Lord doesn't love women as much as men. If he did, he wouldn't make them go through this." Now I'm very ashamed of having said that. 507507 It's a privilege to go through that—to be there when that new spirit enters the world—to give it the opportunity to live and breathe. There is no sound as beautiful as the shriek when a baby takes life. Oh, Mother, I'm so thankful I can have babies. I wish I could have you here for a while so I could share with you all I'm feeling just now. I'm nothing but a big throat lump and unshed tear of joy.

Oh, baby daughters. I can see what you meant when you'd try to describe how it was to hold your own tiny daughters. I'm overcome by the wonder and the miracle of the whole thing.

And you should see her. (Her, She, Girl, Daughter, Female. … Strange to hear and say those words in my world of little men). She's just the cutest, red, wrinkled, dark eyed, dainty thing you ever saw. She has the cutest rose bud mouth and snip nose. You'd love her. Ermal would think she just looked red and wrinkled without even too much hair to redeem her. But she is beautiful!

She was born at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27th. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 13½ oz. … I was given a wonderful blessing by Uncle Ovando and Uncle Horatio just an hour before I went into labor and I attribute all my ease in getting her here to the Lord, and am so grateful for the priesthood blessings. … And I think my little girl is so lucky to have four adorable brothers to love her and help spoil her. …

Ricky is a little sad about her sex. He says he wants 13 brothers. He doesn't want any ol' girls around the house. John and Kelly just can't quit grinning and giggling though. I dare say Clayton's nose will be put a little out of joint for a while, but even he will recover. Perry brings me this word.

Norman called Perry at Las Vegas yesterday to tell him the news, and Perry jumped in the jeep and rushed here to the hospital just as fast as he could to see if she really was a she. He really thought Norman was joking. Perry giggled and grinned just like John and Kelly. And he hugged me and kissed me and brought me candy. We're just all beside ourselves with joy. Wish you were here. …

Ann called the hospital before Sunday School and found out about the baby. She passed a note to Aunt Edna in Sunday School telling her the news and before church was out everybody knew. During both visiting hours yesterday my room was packed with LaVerkinite well-wishers. My little gal is a most popular miss. And I'm gobbling it up. Lolene and Noma both cried with the sheer joy of it. Aunt Kate says she knows that this child is one of the Lord's most Choice spirits. I feel that way about her too. But then I feel that way about all my children. …

Lolene just came and brought the most adorable red lacy little outfit. It's covered with little flowers and ribbons. Oh this is fun. She also brought me goodies to eat. She's a fun, sweet sister. I'm so glad you had seven of us. Norman and DeMar and wives have been here too. Love all of them.

Mother, I'm going to quit writing so I can mail you my news. I hope I have brightened your day. I hope everything is as wonderful for you as it is for me here. Thank you for having me, and for being such a wonderful mother ever after. I hope my daughter can love me someday the way I love you. Shirley.

508508 With Hays as the hub, our missionary travels fan out north, 109 miles to Lebanon, south 62 miles to Lammed, east 64 miles to Lucus, and west 73 miles to Grinnell. We are road runners. The corn, wheat and maize are harvested, and the prairie slumbers beneath the rusty, raspy stubble. The bluebird of happiness is our companion.

Yesterday we held our first Sunday School in Phillipsburg. It's amazing how this all came about. Elder Stratton was called to Phillipsburg to conduct the funeral services of Andrew Wayne Edwards , infant son of John and Bonnie Jean Edwards. The flight of this little spirit brought to light 29 inactive LDS members, who felt that Hays was too far away to go to church. Keith Hansen at the Kirwin game preserve holds the Melchizedek priesthood. He and his family supplied excellent leadership, and Roberta Staker donated her home, as well as helping with the music and teaching a class. The Phillipsburg Sunday School is a happy reality!

Next, in our search for a missing convert family, we were led to Leonora, and now we're giving the discussions to Vera Hazlett and her son Ricky. We were looking for Vera's son Ronald and his wife Virginia, who are living in Quintar. They were a precious find. Now we're holding family home evening with them every Monday, and having gospel discussions with their friends and neighbors.

One day at Quintar, we stopped to eat our peanut butter sandwich in the shade of some elm trees. A flock of peacocks attracted us, so we got out to admire them. A quaint little Quaker man, wearing suspenders, and a flat, wide brimmed hat strolled across the grass to visit.

"We have Mormon neighbors on a farm a couple of miles from here," he said.

"Really? Our records show no Mormons here."

And so, because of a peanut butter sandwich and the peacocks, we found Eric and Mary Enstrom. Eric is not a member. Now, on our weekly visits to Quintar, we give the discussions to him. Mary was born in the church and grew up in Wyoming. The Enstroms are like home folks to us.

On one of our trips to Quintar, we detoured into Ellis and left a conference leaflet at a door where no one was at home. After the October conference, we checked back, and a tall, brown-eyed lady accused us of having been put up to that trick by her ?crmon sisters in Denver.

"We know nothing about your sisters," we assured her. "We were simply impressed to leave this at your door."

So she invited us in. She wept when we showed her the film, "Man's Search for Happiness." "`thy didn't you come years ago?" she asked.

So now, we giving the discussions to the Norman Smith family.

In the Hays branch is the Sloan family from Norton, 90 miles away. Howard filled a mission in the Samoan Islands. He and his mother and grandmother are so dedicated to the gospel that they make the 180 mile round trip to church every Sunday. Grandma was 90 years old when she was baptized. The morning she was to make the long trip to the font in Larned, she slipped and broke her arm. That did not stop her. She had the doctor put her arm, cast and all, in a plastic bag, and the baptism was completed. Now we're giving the discussions to a friend of the family in Norton. We 509509 travel far and return home late, stopping at interesting places along the way, like the home of our organic gardening friends, Les and Elsie Prout in Lenora. (They are neighbors to Vera Hazlett).

Les insists there is no personal God, that God is in each handful of loam in his garden, and in the light in his dog's eyes. They crow such beautiful things , and Elsie can set the very most exquisite table. They serve us their good food, load us down with garden stuff, and play their violins and sing to us. We have long gospel discussions with them, and are becoming fast friends , but they don't seriously consider becoming members of the Mormon church.

We love our home at Brummits. Mary and Edgar are as comfortable to be around as a pair of soft slippers. They usually join us for family home evening.

We love the Hays branch. The Barrett and the Somers families from Paradise are enthusiastic and keep things happening. George and Becky and little Mandy Warzeniak, who live in the college dorm, are also part of our family, and are with us every week. George is branch clerk. We have cookouts in the city park where the buffalo herd grazes, or potluck socials at the church house with the members. We feel like we've known these people always. They're keeping us supplied with referrals, and we've never been busier or happier.

We received word that a baby girl was born to Helen and DeMar yesterday. (Rebecca).

On Friday, the 18th, we drove back towards the mountains, excited about seeing something higher than a grain elevator. This was the missionaries Christmas conference in Denver. Friday afternoon and evening was activity-packed with 100 young elders and sisters there. They played volley ball, put on skits (original and very funny) and we had a picture show. Saturday was conference. The families of the Denver West Stake Presidency gave a Christmas dinner for the entire conference. Also, an enlarged Family Home Evening. They had Christmas gifts of popcorn balls , homemade cookies and candies done up in clear plastic, decorated with ribbons and candy canes for every one of us.

Coming home, our necks twisted like owls, admiring the Christmas lights. Each prairie town carries out its own unique theme. They decorate whatever sticks highest up in the sky—grain elevators, water tanks, or oil derricks.

We found an "attempt to deliver" notice hanging on our door, when we aot home, from the Hays florist. When we checked it out, the shop was full of flowers, but there was only one pink azalea. Elder Stratton said, "This is the prettiest of them all." The clerk said, "This is for you." The card said, "To Alice and Ermal from Mother and Wayne." We put the beautiful thing on the table, and surrounded it with packages of candy, cookies and cakes from the branch members.

Christmas morning I opened our one most mysterious package. It was from Kathy, with a flower pin she had made for me to wear—an enamel looking one of lavendar on soft, curled art paper, glittered with gold. She had lovingly created it herself, and my heart was warmed with the gift. Then we listened to the "guaranteed to make you homesick" tape from the Giffords, and heard Aaron's voice for the first time. Phone calls 510510 came from all of our Children. Corinne told us to watch for the converging of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars the day after Christmas. Yesterday morning at 5:30 a.m. we drove outside of Hays, beyond the city lights to see the three morning stars. What an absolutely thrilling sight! They looked like one giant stmr. Excitedly we called the radio station KHAYS. They told us they were watching those stars too, and that we were on "First Call" on the air and would be broadcasted.

On the last day of 1970 we had our first baptisms. Nena Mae and Lisa Lee Staker, members of an LDS family from Phillipsburg, were our first two, and Vera and Ricky Hazlett were convert baptisms.

Sister Hazlett was put to the test before baptism. She has been the custodian for the one and only church house in Lenora for years. Lenora is a tiny town in the middle of wheat fields. It has a post office, a cafe, a little store, and a church house. All other employment is from farming.

When the board of directors of the little church learned that Sister Hazlett was being taught by Mormon missionaries,they issued the ultimatum, "If you join the Mormon church, your job here is finished."

Sister Hazlett is a widow, and her son Ricky is in a wheelchair.

All she owns in the world is her little home in Lenora. This job is her only income. "What shall I do?" she asked. All we could do was lend our faith to hers that she would make a right choice. Finally, she said, "I simply have to be baptized."

Branch members traveled miles to be to the baptism. An inspirational program preceded the baptism. After the confirmation, the tables were spread and our hearts were very happy as we ate together. And now, two weeks later, good news comes from Sister Hazlett. The church board of directors met and decided she would be hard to replace, so she still has her job.

Two months ago, a navy recruiter who was living with his family in Alaska, received orders to transfer to Japan. As they prepared to leave, his orders were suddenly changed, and they were sent to Hays. They are a newly activated Mormon family, Howard and LaRay Spencer, and their two daughters, Sherri and Tammy. They live just around the corner from us, and have become part of our Hays family home evening group.

This morning we received a letter which read, "Bitte senden Sie Nissionare zu: Bitte die moglichst genau Anschrift angeben."

What?

Accompanying the note was a referral card directing us to Hill City, and a letter from Ron Hatfield. "Kay and Robert Stephens are dear friends of mine. We've been in the military in Germany together, and now I'm back, serving a mission for the church. They have written wanting to know about my church. They have a dear little girl named Heather. Please contact them at once and send me the results quickly." The letter was relayed from headquarters at Denver, with a note saying, "This just came in the mail. Looks golden. Good luck."

Jumping In the car, we sped to the address given, and announced that Ron Hatfield had sent us. With squeals of delight and a flood of tears, Kay Stephens hugged us. With an outpouring of love they told us of the 511511 boy from Utah who anticipated being released from the service. "We knew how much it meant to Ron to go home. We couldn't believe it when we got his letter telling us that he was back in Germany filling a two year mission for his church. If Ron would go back, when he was so homesick, We knew his church must have something. And it wasn't salary, because he was there at his own expense. So we decided to investigate," Robert said.

Golden? Why this is the answer to every missionary's prayer!

Terry telephoned that he and Susan have another son. (Sheldon [Shelden]). He said he'd hang up, so Jim could call us, because they're expecting a baby.

Jim called. He and Dana have a baby boy! Ermal 's first grandchild to carry on the Stratton name. (Scott).

Yesterday we baptized the Adams family from Phillipsburg. Pat, the mother, was already LDS. It was sort of like watching a heavenly host, to see a big, husky father like Bill Adams come up out of the water to stand in his dripping white suit above the font as each of his four sons were baptized, taking their places beside him. Then finally Wilma, their one daughter came out of the water. They were all wreathed in smiles.

Teaching this family was a happy experience. Bill was an Oral Roberts fan, and had written, asking him for a blessing. Bill had just opened Roberts' reply when we walked in one day. He was promised that a great blessing would come to him as he received the letter. As he read the letter to us, a said, "How nice. The message we are bringing you today is that blessing."

So, the singing Adams family are members now. They were baptized on Bill's and Pat's thirteenth wedding anniversary. Emma Lou McDaniel, a branch member from LaCrosse who runs a bakery, decorated a wedding cake for them. Such a lovely dinner it was that the branch members brought to the Lamed church house in honor of the occasion.

Satan tried his wily ways to block this baptism. After the day was set, the city police served a subpoena, requesting that Ermal return to Utah as a witness in a murder trial. Well, we decided the baptism would not be delayed. We'd do it without Elder Stratton. Then we got notice that the court date had been changed. So the next trick the adversary played was to have us come down with the flu, both of us and also Pat Adams. The morning we were to fill the font at Lamed, our heads were bursting, but we knew the source of our misery, so we carried on. The font was filled, our sniffles and headaches left, the Adams family arrived, and everyone was well.

We're giving the discussions to Eric Enstrom, the Stephen family, and the Smith family. Again old Nick strudk a blow. Teddy Smith wrote to Billy Graham, asking him what he thought of the Mormons. I fel sorry for Billy to think he'd send such an uninformed reply. Seems he should be smarter than that. Generously he sent a packet of anti-Mormon literature compiled by other blinded souls. Teddy was on the point of withdrawal . We borrowed the literature and phoned President Redd about it. "Vie have so much truth to teach we can't waste time on this kind of stuff," he said. As simple as that. Teddy shoved the literature aside, so again Satan lost that round.

512512 But we don't always score the way we'd like to. We've had an investigator family with us for family nights that has looked promising. The father promised his wife and son he'd bring them to our church on Sundays, but instead, he has driven on by to the Assembly of God church. Finally, he told us he had to stay with the other church a little longer, because he was beginning to make contact with the spirit world. Week after week he held his hands above his head, waving his fingers. There was no air circulation in the building, but little breezes began to waft through his fingers. He couldn't come to the Mormon church until he learned what it was all about. Then one Sunday, after returning home, he suddenly dropped to all fours in his bedroom and began to speak in tongues. For three hours he babbled without ceasing.

"What did you say?" I asked.

"I do not know. I only know I could not quit—that spirits were speaking through me," he replied. "I have finally received the Holy Ghost."

Well, his Holy Ghost is quite a different one from the one we know. He now beats and bruises his wife every time she talks with us. She knows the Book of Mormon is true, and yearns for baptism.

President Redd said, "You can take comfort in the fact that the Father has heard and accepted her testimony, and eventually she will be blessed by becoming a member of the church."

Mary Brumitt took Elder Stratton to the airport at 7:30 this morning. He is returning to Utah to be a witness at a court trial.

When Ermal clerked at Graff's store, he sold a pair of binoculars to a man from Cedar. The man was divorced, and his wife was living with her mother on a little hill outside of town. The man hid himself among the junipers and spied upon them through the binoculars. When his wife came outside, he shot her. Because Ermal had written up the sales slip on the binoculars , he was summoned back to Utah. Attorney Orvil Isom had to go through the general authorities to pull him out of the mission field. (They found the binoculars hanging on a fence amonc the trees).

Raining. Much thunder. No missionary companion. played Christmas tapes from the children and knitted. I played "Blue Heaven" over and over, and sang with Lolene, letting my tears drizzle with the rain. When I called the airport, they reported tornado warnings, saying there would be no flights today. WHERE IS ELDER STRATTON:

Still raining. The tornado watch is over. Elder Stratton is flying back. Brother Spencer drove his car alongside the retaining wall by our door so I could step over the water, and took me to Relief Society. The Brumitts went to the airport to wait.

When I got home I had a missionary companion again. Here he was, EATING MOLASSES CANDY, nonchalant as if he'd never been away. When he opened his suitcase, right on top was a big, beautiful branch of almond blossoms! I swooped them up in my arms and nuzzled my face in them. They were fresh, and fragrant. Almond blossoms! Home! I wanted to run all over storm. ridden Hays and show them to everyone.

At that moment, Marilyn called. She said, "Oh Mother, you should see our place right now. All of the trees are in bloom, and our radishes are almost ready to eat too."

513513 Now wasn't that something for the district court to pay Ermal for five minutes of his time on the witness stand, so he could see the kids at home and bring back some of our bottled fruit that we were starving for? (He took two empty suitcases home with him, with the fruit in mind. He brought back 22 quarts).

We visited all night. Ermal glowed with the memory of our children at the airport in Cedar to meet him.

Chuckling, he said, "1 git a kick out of them little gals smothering me with kisses, and wetting my face with their tears." The little gals were his daughters and mine. Norman, Perry, Dell, Russell and Darwin were all there with their wives. DeMar and Helen came up from Las Vegas to see him the next day. Ermal told me about all of the grandkids.

This morning we spread the bottles of fruit on the floor admiring them like jewels—satsuma plums, heath clings, apricots, elbertas, pears, colorful and gleaming!

We're in the midst of the worst blizzard of the century, so says the news. Schools and stores are closed. The police have asked the people to stay inside. Tornados have touched down in many places.

Hays is in a deadlock. No trains, no planes, no trucks. Mountains of snow.

Elder Stratton got the hiccups. In fact he got them so bad I was afraid it might tear his upholstery apart. "Put your head down between your knees and drink upside down," I said. He did. Red faced, he came up and hiccuped again. And again.

"I think I'll jist git in the shower," he said.

Above the sound of the running water I could hear his jerking hiccups. "Dear me," I thought, "I'd better do something while he is still in one piece."

I drew a pitcher of cold water from the kitchen tap and went into the bathroom. I pulled back the shower curtain, where Ermal was shrouded in a cloud of steam, and threw the water on him. I had no idea a Mormon missionary could yelp like that! With a terrible war whoop, he stormed out of the shower, charging toward me with doubled up fists. In all of the time since I have known him I have never seen such fury. I ran in the kitchen, because suddenly I was afraid of the pink, steaming monster.

"What did you do that for," he roared.

"To cure your hiccups," I said timidly. "See, you're not doing it an

"My #¢@%*&@ woman! Don't ever do that again." Without so much as a single hiccup, he finished his shower.

The roaring overhead has ceased. Like ground squirrels we crawled out of our burrow and walked down town to see the sights. Abandoned cars were buried in the middle of Stop lights flashed red, then green, but there was no traffic. Porch roofs on store fronts had collapsed. Snow drifts completely buried plate glass windows. One supermarket in our area had shoveled out, so we walked inside. The shelves were empty. Realization struck home. These stores depend upon truck and trains running daily. Newsmen are pleading over TV for people to volunteer milk for babies. We see the wisdom of a year's food storage.

514514 A week after the Adams family baptism, a card came from George Huntley in Osborne. "Come and get me and baptize me," it said. When we checked George out, he said, "I watched Bill Adams and his family being baptized, and a voice said to me, 'This is the truth,' so I need to be baptized." We're set up to give him the discussions.

Teddy and Debbie Smith are to be baptized this coming Saturday. They are both down with the flu.

The long rays of the setting sun are slanting across the muddy moat that surrounds our apartment. Elder Stratton has sloshed through it to mail our report to Denver. With a happy "ho hum" I view the past week with satisfaction.

The Smith family had been sick for nine days. Friday, Teddy tried to sit up. "I just can't go to Lamed tomorrow," she said, "I couldn't stand to ride that far."

"We promise you you will be better as soon as you are baptized," Elder Stratton said.

"But I almost faint every time I sit up," Teddy replied.

Then her sisters, Bobby Jean and Jerry, called us from Denver. "Don't tell Teddy," Bobby Jean said, "but we're coming to the baptism. We want to surprise her."

We phoned Norman Smith. "What shall we do? Teddy says she isn't well enough to ride?"

"Let them come. It will do Teddy a world of good," he replied.

Bobby Jean and Jerry left Denver during a snow flurry. Six inches of snow lay on the ground, and more was coming down.

"We knew we HAD to come," Jerry said. 'We knew if Teddy did not get baptized now she never would."

They had a terrible time coming through the snow. When their car stalled almost no one stopped to help. One guy stopped, looked under the hood, and said, "It's probably your carburetor, but it's too cold out here for me." So he got back into his car and drove off.

Bobby Jean buried her face in her arms across the steering wheel and cried, "Oh Heavenly Father, please send help. Just anybody will do."

Presently a car pulled alongside, and a man staggered out. Surveying the situation, he said, "You need help, dontcha? Well, I'm too drunk to do anything except hook onto you and pull you into the next town." And that's what he did.

Twenty-three hours after leaving Denver, they arrived at Ellis. They had just arrived when we phoned Saturday morning. Teddy was still too weak to get out of bed, but her sisters said, "Go to Lamed and fill the font. We'll see that she gets there."

The baptismal was set for 2:00 p.m. At 1:50 the Smith family arrived. I almost wept when I saw Teddy, she was so white and weak. Norman walked with his arm around her.

Trembling and unsteady, Teddy, in her white dress, stepped into the font. Howard Spencer took her hand and led her into the water. When he baptized her, she reeled, and didn't go under. I almost had a heart attack 515515 watching her. Brother Spencer tried again, and this time it was good. I wrapped a wool blanket around her as she came up the steps, and led her to the dressing room as Debbie was being baptized.

After they were dressed, and confirmed, Teddy's strength returned. Color came. into her cheeks, and she was able to laugh, and enjoy the crowd, and the dinner that was prepared. Twenty-seven of the family and branch members were there. That was yesterday. Today she is her normal self again. She came to church with her family from Denver, and from Hastings, Nebraska. The Lord is good.

Last Wednesday we invited a couple to our house for dinner. Five-thirty, the dinner hour, came. No guests. Six-thirty. No guests. Ermal went out in the street to see if they might be searching for our house. No sign of them. WE WERE STOOD UP!

"Let's eat," Elder Stratton said.

"Go to their house first," I suggested.

An hour later he returned.

"They were just sitting watching TV. They said they were not coming. Let's eat."

I thought of all that good food. Enough for a week for us two. "Do like the man in the bible. When his guests wouldn't come to the feast, he sent his servants out onto the streets to bring in the poor people. Go, bring someone in."

Grinning, Elder Stratton went out the door. In a minute he came back with two college girls. We all laughed. The girls said, "We went to the refrigerator to get something to eat, and we realized we hadn't shopped for groceries. There was only a little rice left, so we decided not to eat tonight."

Dinner was fun. We enjoyed telling the girls about the happiness of being Mormons. They want to learn more.

Clinton's wife Lillian, called today. She said Mom fell and hurt herself and is very weak. They're calling all of the family home. I called President Redd. He said we would be blessed for not going home, that my mother would feel honored for us to remain in the field and teach the gospel.

Wayne called at 11:00 a.m. Mom just passed away. She would have been ninety years old in August. Tears course down my cheeks. I cannot imagine home without our mother. In all my life, even as far back as I can remember, she has always been there when I wanted to talk to her

This is the hour of my mother's funeral. Elder Stratton is in Osborne with our district leader interviewing George Huntly for baptism.

Later: The baptismal date for George has been set. When Ermal came from Osborne, he had me telephone home. Mama's house was filled with her children and grandchildren, all except me. A hubbub came over the phone, and I took turns saying hello to a host of them.

After we baptized George Huntly and Vicky Henry we were through. Everyone we had been teaching was either baptized, or phased out. Couldn't quit smoking, or had heard enough. I slumped. It had been two 516516 weeks since we had given a discussion. Then yesterday we made a grand sweep through central Kansas to Plainsville, and Falco, checking out temple referrals, and getting told "no." On our way back through Hill City we visited Kay and Robert. Kay announced she had passed the crisis. She has quit smoking. "Continue to pray for us. Your prayers are being answered," she said.

I read a fascinating magazine article on yoga, and tried the illustrated exercises, especially the one to increase my brain power by standing on my shoulders for ten minutes.

Elder Stratton said, "Don't stand upside down. You'll hurt yourself."

"But it feels so good," I replied, looking at my graceful, nylon-covered legs waving above me.

"You shouldn't do that," he protested.

Suddenly, something in the small of my back came uncoupled. YECXi I hurt something dreadful!

My back is driving me loco. I can't sit. I can't lie down. All I can do is stand up, and walk. But who wants to walk all night?

Later: Elder Stratton called Bro. Howard Spencer to help administer to me. I knew I would be healed instantly, and I was. The agonizing pain was gone by the time they took their hands off my head. Greatful tears filled my eyes. But do you know what . Bro. Spencer said in his blessing? He said I would be blessed according to my obedience to my missionary companion. Oh dear, dear. (Obedience is better than hurting).

Our district leader, Elder Ison, and Elder Fertch had dinner with us, then we went to Hill City to interview Kay Stephens for baptism. Robert is still hung up on a word of wisdom problem, so he has given written consent for Kay to be baptized without him.

When we arrived, Kay ran into the house crying. Bob looked alarmed. "Maybe you can talk to her, Sister Stratton," he said.

I went into the house, and Kay wept on my shoulder. "I can't be baptized without Bob," she sobbed. "If I do, he will never come into the church, and a gap will grow between us. I've got to wait for him." She was right. We went on to Norton to interview Sharyn Van DeWege.

We baptized Sharyn today. Also little Christine Conrad, who just turned eight.

As I sat in the Larned chapel daring the confirmation, I looked through the open door at the lilacs, and tears filled my eyes. The folks sang, "Nearer My God to Thee," and I realized our mission was about over.

Then, as we walked out of the chapel, Nancy Somers said, "Sister Stratton, we want you to come and teach the gospel to our three foster daughters. We have the mother's written consent." We still have work to do.

The Hays branch was reorganized today. Howard Spencer was put in as branch president with Kay Somers and Howard Sloan as counselors. President Spencer and his wife LaRay are planning to be sealed in the temple In July. Our release will come just in time to accompany them.

Tonight we give the first discussion to Kathy, Charlene and Rebecca Anderson in the Somers home in Paradise.

517517 Following is a Mother's Day poem composed by Lolene.

MY MUM-AIN'T SHE GRAND!!

She's got a few wrinkles, a few rolls of fat — (yuk yuk)
And as for her tummy's no longer flat!
There's grey in her hair now. Oh, dear! More than ever!
(But those rinses by Clairol are terribly clever).

She looks in the mirror. Each day brings new changes.
What nature hasn't done to her man re-arranges!
But fret not, my dear mother, there is hope for you yet.
There are marvels of science you've not heard of, I'll bet.

There are steps to be taken. There are things you can do.
So don't settle back with your boo and your hoo!
So tighten that bra strap—struggle into that girdle.
See? Youth has not flown—you're not over the hurdle!

Besides ! We all love you just like you are.
You're comfy. You're cozy! And I'll tell you some more—
You're such a cood sport, such great fun to tease,
Tho' Ermal, I'm sure would much rather squeeze!

If I wrote you a poem of what's in my heart
I'd blubber, I'd bawl—so I'd better not start!
Just know that we love you. We think you're REAL NEAT!
(And out of this trash, believe only the sweet!)

Happy Mother's Day! Darwin, Lolene, Aaron, and little unknown Gifford.

WARNING: Be it known that this is not the kind of poem one reads aloud proudly to friends. It is strictly trashy!

Among some assorted scraps of paper left at the church house by former missionaries, we found a name, "Melba Schwitzer, Osborne," so we checked it out today. What a find! Although she is a member of the Church of Christ, and teaches a bible class, she has more LDS books in her library than anyone we know in Kansas. She doesn't want to hurt her 99 year old mother-in-law by changing churches now.

Stopping at Paradise, we gave the second discussion to the Anderson children. Since they are welfare children, we may never be permitted to baptize them, but we're instructed to teach them.

Back to Osborne. Showed "Plan of Life and Exaltation" to Melba Schwitzer. Will start discussions next week.

Went with Brummits to the "picnic tree" today. The tree is under a creek bank that's overgrown with wild grapes and currants. Edgar mowed a trail through the wild flowers and tall grass, from the farm house to the tree. He cooked thick steaks over charcoal there.

Gave 6th discussion to the Anderson children, then went on to Osborne and gave the first discussion to Melba Schwitzer. She already knows the gospel is true, but is the organist in her church.

President Redd called. "Go ahead and baptize the Anderson children." Then he said, "I seem to be missing some information about them. 518518 Tell me about the family."

"The father has disappeared, and the mother had a nervous breakdown and is in rehabilitation in the Lamed hospital."

"Go teach her too," he said. "May the Lord bless you in this."

Went to Larned and gave the first discussion to Ardith Anderson. We came by appointment with the supervisors at the hospital. They took us to a cell-like room that had only three chairs and a tiny table. But the Spirit of the Lord can penetrate any place. I felt a tingling sensation all during the discussion.

Our district leaders have interviewed the Anderson girls and we're scheduled to baptize them Saturday the 28th.

The baptism is off. The children's grandmother learned what was going on, and went on a rampage. Since the children are charges of the welfare, she stormed into their office and told them the Somers had brainwashed the children. She hotly denounced the Prophet Joseph Smith, saying he was a hoax and a fraud. She denounced us too, because we had brainwashed the little girls. The welfare officials stopped the baptism.

We went to Larned today and gave the second discussion to Ardith and told her the children are not to be baptized.

"After I are baptized, there is nothing the welfare or my mother can do to prohibit my daughters from becoming members of the church," she said.

We discussed the Word of Wisdom and Ardith took a pack of cigarettes from her purse and gave them to Elder Stratton.

Fourth discussion to Ardith. Nothing sweeter. It was a beautiful night for driving back home. Fireflies sparkling.

Elder Stratton turned some fireflies loose in our apartment. They flew around the room, sparkling all night.

We gave the last discussion today to Ardith, then the baptismal font was filled and the three little girls and their mother were baptized. A shaft of light came through the west window, and the water sparkled and danced. The dinner, after the confirmations, and the picture-taking seemed like a missionary farwell.

Our replacement came early—Sidney and Amy Hurst. For our last family home evening, Elder Stratton gave the lessons, and we showed slides of Utah, accompanied by a tape of Lolene singing, "Red Hills of Utah." The Smiths, Warzeniaks, Spencers, Robertson and Hursts were there. Little Tammy and Sherri Spencer sprawled on the floor making goodbye cards for us.

The branch had a "farewell Strattons—welcome Hursts" party in the park tonight. Members came from Phillipsburg, Osborne, Waldo, Paradise, LaCrosse, Ellis and Hays. We have such a deep love for these people it is hard to leave—but, the red hills of Utah are calling us.

Mary and Edgar Brummit got back fromtheir trip to Chicago, and we visited half the night.

519519 Went to conference at Garden City with Hursts. Ardith Anderson and Debbie Smith went with us. They were the "convert" speakers at conference.

Missionary conference until noon. Pres. Redd said our work had been pleasing to the Lord.

Night time, and a phone call from home. A baby boy was born to Lolene and Darwin on my birthday. (Andrew).

We talked in church today. Our farewell and Hursts welcome. Tammy and Sherri sang, "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You." We had dinner with the Somers and Barret is at Paradise.

Bid Hursts goodbye. Left Hays at 10:30 a.m. Our mileage reads 49,547. Visited Norman, Teddy and Debbie Smith at Ellis. Had dinner at Quintar with Eric and Mary Enstrom. Got into Burlington, Colo. at 6 p.m.

At our final interview at the mission home in Denver, President Redd made us feel very happy, and also very humble. The final dinner was magnificant. As we sat around the table after dinner , the elders all bore their testimonies, and then there was a tie cutting ceremony. Elder Donald Weber said, "President Redd, can I be the one to cut off Elder Stratton's tie?" Instead of just whacking the tie off, he petnstakincly snipped out the initials of "Colorado-New Mexico Mission, 1971, Stratton." Love shone on the faces of Elder Stratton and Elder Weber as they stood together for this ceremony.

Leaving Denver at 7 p.m. we drove over Brotherhood pass and camped on a river bank below Grandby.

Jim's and Dana's home in Salt Lake. What an inexpressible feeling to actually be with part of our family again. Ermal visited for the first time his marvelous grandson Scott, the first grandchild to carry on the Stratton name.

Up and off by 5:00 a.m. for the Logan temple to be with our dear ones from Kansas, President and Sister Spencer, and Sherri and Tammy. Also Sister Oma Whitson came with them to get her endowments.

The most celestial thing on earth is to be in the sealing room where parents and children are sealed for all eternity. What a privilege to see our branch president and his family receive this ordinance.

We stayed in Salt Lake to watch the Pioneer Day parade, then headed south, stopping at Orem to visit Emma Lou Brummit and Edith and Gene in Provo, arriving home at 10:00 p.m.

When we first left for our mission our mileage was 15,789. When we arrived home it was 50,807. We traveled 35,018 while on our mission.

Ah home! Sweet, sweet home! How peaceful and beautiful!

Our troops came—our precious troops! For eighteen months they've been so good to write, phone, send flowers, and to present us with grandchildren—1seven new ones to be exact.

Oma Whitson took the Greyhound back to Kansas, and the Spencer family came to LaVerkin. We took them sightseeing to Zion, Kolob, and Bryce Canyon, camping at Duck Creek. We bid them goodbyyesterday and reported our mission to the stake presidency and high council today.

520520 The Barrett family arrived from Kansas this afternoon, and we all went sightseeing to Short Creek.

After spending the day with Barretts on Kolob, Harry and Marilyn, and Jim and LaPriel Cornelius went dancing with us to the music of Perry Asay's orchestra. Cur guests really liked the music for dancing. Harry said, "Elder Stratton has a proud bearing. Dances like a stallion."

We showed Barretts around in Zion, then went through the tunnel, stopping at the pullout viewpoint at Checkerboard Mountain. Barretts thought the mountains were impressive—colorful and spectacular, but Marilyn said, "I feel closed in. I like to see out."

Flatlanders don't realize how much farther one can see from the top of a mountain than from a raise in the plains. I felt unprotected in the plains—no hill for a house to snuggle up to. But I did learn to appreciate the serenity of the vast expanse of earth and sky. Sometimes it was funny to realize, as we drove across the prairie, that a little old fence post was actually the highest thing on that part of the earth. If I am to be the highest thing on earth, I want to be on top of a pinnacle—not by a fence post. (All of this I mulled over in my mind. We did not debate mountains vs. plains).

We had a picnic in the shade of a pine tree, then said goodbye to our delightful Kansas family. Barretts are full of wit and humor, and our heart strings twanged as they drove east and we turned our car west.

Ermal has gone into captivity stocking shelves at Graff's Grocery, and I am bottling peaches. We're civilians again. Tonight we had home evening with Perry's and Shirley's family. Shirley made ice cream.

President Andrew McArthur called us back to the temple as ordinance workers. Also, Bishop Wilson asked us to teach the primary scouts. "You'll have endless fun taking the boys on 5 mile hikes, and teaching them outdoor cooking," he promised. I chuckled to myself, wondering if he had noticed how white my hair was. (I quit using a color rinse while in the mission field. I was a shock to the folks when we got home). Gray hair or not, we've eight lively Blazer B boys to teach.

My grandson Edwin was almost killed in a motorcycle accident. I took the Greyhound to Las Vegas to be with Marilyn until Edwin regained consciousness. He's terribly battered.

As I rode along on the bus, I happened to slip my hand in one of my coat pockets. There I found two notes from Ermal. One of them said, "I miss you." The other one said, "I want you to come home,"

The night of the deer hunter's ball, Maxine and Helen called from the ward hall. "Tell Daddy we'll give him fifteen minutes to get up here. We want to dance with him." Ermal groaned as he pulled himself out of his easy chair, and muttered all the way to the church house. The minute he got inside, and saw the decorations of autumn leaves and bales of hay, and saw all of the men decked out in their red caps, he started kicking up his heels. He stayed until the very last dance.

And now the hunting season is almost over, and all of our men got their deer. I sigh with relief. Deer season is a pain in the neck. There's the bloody business of cleaning up the meat. But worse still is the liver. Everyone plays pass-the-button with the liver, and eventually all of the 521521 livers end up at the most dishonest person's house—the one who won't confess that he's had enough! Namely, Ermal. I have cooked liver and onions day after day—even tasted it a couple of times—and shook my head in disbelief as Ermal has chomped it down. The only reason I hang in there and keep cooking it is because I think of all the starving people in India. Today, Ermal finally pushed back the last piece and said, "You won't need to cook anymore liver this season."

"Oh, you darling," I cried, almost going into a sentimental fit.

"You can say the sweetest things."

Yesterday we took our troop on a five mile hike, and passed them off on their cooking-without-utensils test. We had so much fun we've decided to spend the rest of our lives hiking.

The day before the hike was cold, and a storm threatened. "We'll pray for a good hiking day tomorrow," the boys said. Their prayers were answered. The day was perfect. We hiked from the Berry Springs road, along the Harrisburg creek to the Red Cliff Canyon. The boys examined everything from coyote tracks to tarantulas. They chased a couple of mule deer out of ambush and caught their shirts full of suckers. The cooking was something to raise an eyebrow over, but to pass the test they had to eat what they cooked, be it gritty or raw.

Ermal is no longer shelf-stocker in the grocery store. He decided he wanted to do other things, so he just up and quit.

Yesterday we went on a temple trek, celebrating the centennial for the ground breaking of the St. George Temple. There were 100 cars in the caravan, going up over the Hurricane hill, and over 85 miles of dirt road to Mt. Trumbull, where the big timbers for the temple were cut. Visibility was zero. Talcum fine dust blanketed us, piling so thick on the windshield that it slid down in sheets. The day was hot for November—ideal for the program that was held out on the mountain.

An airplane flew over the mountain during the program, laying a jet streak. Leon, who is just four, asked, "What is that airplane dragging that cloud around for?"

We came back by Bundyville. 'Where is Bundyville?" I asked as we came down the mountain.

"That's it," Ermal said, waving his arm in a grand sweep at the thousands of acres of barren waste below us.

We were awakened last night by the terrifying wail, "Mother―!"

"What's the matter?" I called.

Helen ran into our bedroom, and throwing the baby into my arms, she said, "Take the kids. Our house is on fire!" Ivy and Leon jumped into the middle of our bed. They had all run barefooted, in their nightgowns through the rain. Helen ran back, and Ermal dressed and followed her.

The pear tree outside our bedroom door reflected flashing red light. "The roof is in flames," I thought, leaping up. It was the red flasher from the fire engine. Our lane had filled with cars. Men were all over. The fire had started in the basement in the floor joists underneath the fireplace. The house had filled with smoke, and the little ones began to cough, which woke DeNar just in time to save themselves and the house.

522522 It's almost like lightning striking twice in the same place! Terry's trailer home in Las Vegas was completely destroyed by fire Saturday. He had renters in it. The guy had gone to sleep with his lighted cigarette.

A beautiful Thanksgiving day. We had dinner under the big trees on Shirley's front lawn. This evening my brothers and sisters joined us in our living room, and Clinton showed us his wildflower shots.

I passed my backpacking test today. Clinton took a group of us over in the park boundary at Coal Pitts to show us an ancient oil well. (My guess is that it is well No. 19 mentioned in Grandma Isom's account of the Virgin oil boom days). Clinton showed us an overhanging ledge of dripping ferns. He chipped off pieces of gold flecked chips from a petrified log. In the damp sand along the creek we saw fresh cougar tracks.

Shirley, and her little boys, John and Rick, were with us. Ermal kept up a running commentary about the "beautiful posts." In fancy, he cut down every well- formed juniper in sight. It got so bad that every time John or Rick climbed a tree, Shirley shouted, "Hey vou guys, get down out of Grandpa's posts."

Ermal suffered to see me trudging along with my backpack. Time and again he offered to carry it for me, but I didn't want to flunk the test. Our trail took us almost to the base of Steamboat Mountain. There, we came to big iron wheels and cables that must have been there for 70 years.

Hiking back was fine until the last two miles. Ermal urged me to sit down while he went after the car. Very funny. He would have had to bring the car in by helicopter. The only way out of there was one step at a time. And now I feel a glow of happiness. I hiked the entire eight miles. (I'll settle for five miles from now on).

Online Footnotes

  1. Alice mentions seven grandchildren born while she and Ermal were serving on a mission for 18 months during the years 1970 and 1971. Eight total grandchildren were born during the two years this chapter spans, one (Laron Stout) before Alice & Ermal departed to serve, and the rest throughout the 18-month span while they were serving.

    The grandchildren born in 1970 and 1971 mentioned in this chapter are, in order of birth:

    1. Laron Kim Stout, son of Dell & Corrine Stout, born January, 4, 1970, just before the mission.
    2. Aaron Darwin Gifford, son of Darwin & Lolene Gifford, born on February 6, 1970, shortly after the mission began.
    3. Scott Gubler, son of Norman & Ann Gubler, born May 16, 1970.
    4. Annie Shirley Houston, daughter of Perry & Shirley Houston, born September 27, 1970.
    5. Rebecca Gubler, daughter of DeMar & Helen Gubler, born December 1, 1970.
    6. Shelden Gubler, son of Terry & Susan Gubler, born January 18, 1971.
    7. Scott Stratton, son of Jim & Dana Stratton, born January 28, 1971.
    8. Andrew Gerald Gifford, son of Darwin & Lolene Gifford, born July 17, 1971, on Alice's birtday, not long before the end of their mission.

Chapter 60
Rattlesnake
(1972)
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Chapter 61
Dear Little Grandson, Goodbye
(1973)
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Chapter 62
Tornado Ahoy!
(1974)
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Chapter 63
The Gatcho Rancho
(1975)
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Chapter 64
Bicentennial
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Chapter 65
The Van
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Chapter 66
A New Revelation
(1978)
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Chapter 67
Motorcycles and Trains
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Chapter 68
Signs of the Times
(1980)
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