Story of My Life: Mabel May Brown Blacker
Compiled by Lois Cobia
You’ve been called to begin your earthly mission. Prepare to leave at once.” I was almost overwhelmed. I’d always known in that great pre-mortal life that some day I’d be called to leave the beautiful, peaceful home, and in many respects had looked forward to it. Now face-to-face with the reality of the call, I began to wonder if I were ready; would I fail to do the things I’d agreed to. I wondered, and fear of the unknown concerned me. I say this, for in this life I’ve always feared and worried. Many of my loved and dear associates had already left. Would I meet them in that new life opening for me?
Questions arose and I asked as to the place of my mission and its duration and would I serve faithfully? I do know I wasn’t give a one way ticket, but I still didn’t know how long I’d be there, or the faithful part.
“We’re sending you to a good home, where you’ll be loved and taught the Gospel, and you’ll have the opportunity to be faithful. Riches and fame may not be yours, but you’ll learn to work and be happy with your blessings. One of your greatest fears will be leaving there when we release you from your mission.
Saying “goodbye” to loved ones and leaving home wasn’t easy. My tears mingled with theirs and that’s why I was crying when I was born 20 May 1908 in my Grandmother Brown’s bedroom in Almy, Uinta County, Wyoming.
What a change birth brings! All at once I was so helpless, small and lost. I couldn’t remember who I was and everything seemed so different. What was I doing in this strange place?
Herbert Brown and Mabel Alice Godber
Then I felt something – a feeling I had always known and looking up into the faces of a lovely woman, and a kind, good man, I knew what that feeling was – it was love! These people loved me and were happy to see me. Two little girls were thrilled and an older woman seemed relieved. I was loved – all was well and I went to sleep. My turn on earth had begun.
Those who welcomed me that day were my earthly parents, Herbert and Mabel Alice Godber Brown, my two sisters Alice and Violet, and my grandmother, Harriet Bower Brown. I had been born in grandmother’s home – in her bedroom that was used only for special occasions. I was special that day!!
My parents’ home was thirty miles from Almy at Hilliard. Dad and Mother spent the winters in Almy where Dad worked in the coal mines. Mother had gone to Grandmother Brown’s for my birth. Grandmother often assisted at births in the community.
We stayed at Grandmother’s and at the coal mine company house where the folks had lived during the winter when Dad was working in the mine until Mother was well enough to make the trip back home. It was spring time and spring work needed to be done on the ranch.
Our home was a two-room log house Dad had built on the property Mother had inherited from her father James Godber. He had died about three years before I was born. A humble home, but one I learned to love and even yet often return to in memory. Here in this home I was taught and learned very important lessons of living, especially to love parents, family and the teachings of the Church. Our lives were plain and simple but, oh, so worthwhile. It was not a fancy modern home and the so-called luxuries we now enjoy were not even imagined by us. However, it was a wonderful home and exists now only in memories of those who lived there.
The next most important episode in my life happened the day I was taken to Church to be blessed and given a name.
The people of the community had been building a meeting house – a place to hold Church services, socials, political and all such gatherings. Most of the people in the place were L.D.S. so the Church meetings were held in it. The building had been completed in the summer of 1908 and the first Church meeting was held on 16 August, 1908, just in time for me to be blessed along with three other babies.
Instead of behaving as decent babies should do and sleeping or at least being quiet, when I was to be blessed I just opened my mouth and cried so loudly everyone thought there was something the matter with me. Mother tried her best to quiet me, but I continued to cry, so she took me outside, followed by nearly all the women in the meeting. I was undressed to see if a pin or something else was hurting me. The sisters all gave advice or counsel, to no avail. I cried until I couldn’t cry any more. Mother was exhausted too. The meeting was closing, so I was carried back into the meeting where, on my mother’s lap, I was given the name of Mabel May. None of the priesthood men were brave enough to pick me up.
I was taken home by a very tired mother and a disgusted father in utter disgrace. I’d had my day in Church! If any one else would have had me, I’m almost sure I’d have been given away. My only justification for my action is: I didn’t want that second name they were giving me. I still don’t!
I was the baby for two years and a week and then Dorothy joined the family –27 May 1910. Aunt Ettie and Uncle Oscar Sessions were living in the old Brown home at the top of the lane and Aunt Ettie and Grandma took care of Mother and Dorothy there – the same house where Dad had been born 33 years before.
The Brown family, as far as I can remember, has loved Codfish gravy. Grandmother made some at this time and I’ve always been told I ate so much I asked Grandma to tie something around me to help my stomach ache. I still like Codfish gravy.
The remains of a mine on a hill east of Almy.
Summers were spent at the ranch, but the family needed money to build and improve the ranch so Dad would work in the mines during the winter. Alice and Violet went to school in Almy.
Several years ago (1977) I visited with a Mrs. Piirainen in Evanston. She had known Mother and Dad and had gone to school with Alice and Violet. All three would walk home together and many times she would stop in and Mother would give them cookies or bread and butter. She mentioned that I was usually in the high chair. She told me how she loved and respected Mother.
I wasn’t always in the high chair where I belonged. According to tradition, one day I wanted something in the cupboard. I pushed the high chair up to it and climbed up. I got the dish I wanted and started to climb down, dropped the dish, lost my balance, and fell on the broken dish. Mother thought at first that I’d cut my eye as I was covered all over with blood. I hadn’t hurt my eye, a miracle for which I’m so thankful, but I still carry the scars on my nose and face. My first battle scars!!
Childhood memories! How I wish I had the ability to relate as vividly on paper as they are written on my memory pages the thoughts, emotions, and actions that were mine during childhood. Only in memory can I go back and be again a little girl with Dad, Mother, Alice, Violet and Dorothy as we lived those days of long ago in our home.
How special were the nights when Dad would play with us on the floor. Dorothy and I would try to ride on his back, and he’d buck us off. We’d laugh and giggle and climb back on again. Many a mile we rode on his foot and he’d sing and whistle. One song I remember, a Scottish song, “If I’d Be Jock Tamson”. Mother would be sewing or mending and Alice and Violet, who already had their turns of being young, were reading or studying. Dad finally became exhausted and we’d be taken to bed. It was wonderful to be young and loved at home.
Living on the ranch we learned about animals and loved them. Exciting news when Dad announced a new calf or lamb had arrived and we could hardly wait to see it.
We always had chickens and Mother would increase the flock by putting eggs under a broodie hen. We’d watch as she’d mark the date on the ten or twelve eggs she’d put the eggs under the hen. We’d help make a place where the hen would be away from the other chickens. She was fed and watered and some times let loose to walk around and we’d be sure and get her back before the eggs got cold. Finally the 21 days were passed and we would go with Mother to see what was happening. Sometimes little chicks would come peeping out; others were in the hatching process. Mother hens most always took good care of their babies, watching over them and cuddling them when the chicks got cold or tired. Three or four setting hens would give us a good supply of chickens. Fried chicken hadn’t yet been added to our menu. The roosters would be saved for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s dinners and were always roasted and filled with dressing. Hens that didn’t produce made chicken soup, especially when one of us was ill. Nothing better than chicken and rice soup – it cured everything. Must have for we all lived.
Wyoming and Hilliard where we lived was a new country – by that I mean for centuries no one had lived there, until Grandpa and Mother had filed and proved up on the land. The whole community had been settled by people, mostly converts of the Church from England, and who, in search of a home and land, had taken advantage of the government’s offer to settle the west. I wonder if the Jaredites or Nephites had farmed the land and made homes. The Indians had wandered over it for many years during the summer months.
According to history, the first company of pioneers lead by Brigham Young camped here Saturday, July 10 and Sunday July 11, 1847. They were amazed to find a sulphur spring which the cattle would drink, a fresh water spring which was excellent to the taste and a black oily spring which they used to oil their gun stocks, shoes and wagin axles. Those three springs were all located within one mile of each other. This site can be reached by taking I-80 Exit 5 at Evanston and turning onto State Highway 150 South. Follow this highway for approximately 7.5 miles to a bridge over the Bear River.
This is the general location for the crossing. A monument commemorating the pioneers is located another mile past the bridge on the left side of the road. Of historical note, parts of the highway are built on the Mormon Pioneer Trail, The Pony Express Trail and the original transcontinental railroad grade from about milepost 9 to milepost 10.
The land was rocky, covered with tall sage brush, inhabited by jack rabbits, mice, ground squirrels and roving wild animals. It wasn’t a very promising place when Grandfather Godber started a home, and it hadn’t changed much when I first came along – but we all loved it, worked together to make the land produce and had a good time.
Grandfather had cleared a little of the ground around his little log house which he built. He had planted a small garden in which he grew radishes, lettuce and such which didn’t freeze too easily. The horseradish he planted is still growing in the hay field. He had also built a barn for his two horses – Prince and Chief.
Dad and Mother took over the process of continuing to clear the land, make ditches, build fences, roads, buildings for their livestock and also built a new home as Grandfather’s was too small for us. This was all in addition to providing for their family and assisting in building the neighborhood. All a blood, sweat and tears process.
Grandfather had started a small log house but never fully completed all of it. One has to admire the early people who came to Hilliard – most of them coal miners from England, and not only strangers to the hard difficult weather conditions, but even more strangers to building homes, pioneering land, caring for horses, cattle, etc. However, in a few years they had built homes, started ranching and had surveyed and made ditches to water their dry thirsty land. A remarkable achievement for them.
Grandfather’s small unfinished log house wasn’t large enough and in time another was started and a well dug. The water wasn’t good to drink so another house was built with logs hauled from the hills. This last house was the one I remember as home. I don’t remember Grandfather’s house before it had been partly torn down and some materials used in the new house. I recall Dorothy and I played in it, especially at haying time, but I guess all the valuable things had been taken to our place, but I’m sure some things I’d love to have had been lost. I cherish Grandmother Godber’s bible, some death cards of the family and a book of the records Grandmother kept of a little store in So. Normanton, Derby., England. Even her signature I treasure. So tragic no pictures of her has blessed either Mother’s or my life. Grandfather Godber’s picture graces our home with his commonplace dignity. Many times I glance at it and wonder if he could see us now, if he’d think his sacrifices were in vain. It will be a great event when life is over to see both of these dear souls that I never knew in this life, and yet have affected me so much.
Back to the sage brush on Dad’s and Mother’s Wyoming ranch. Years and time and hard work were needed before the land was finally cleared. Irrigation seemed to help kill the sage brush. Small pieces of ground were cleared each year. The brush was “grubbed” and piled and burned. The brush cleared, the ground leveled, the rocks hauled away, ditches made to carry the water, then timothy (a type of grass) and clover seed were planted. Natural grasses and the planted seed grew and produced good hay crops.
Years later I’d help Dad haul those rocks, which he and also Grandfather before him had piled in big piles. We’d put them on the wagon and haul them to the mud holes in the road. Load after load would disappear in the mud before we finally had a good solid foundation. Many times previous to this it was almost an impossibility to get through these mud holes in the spring or wet weather. We were road builders.
Many times sage brush was gathered by wagon loads and was hauled to burn in our kitchen stove. It burned fast, was hot, and the delightful aroma of it burning is still a sweet memory. (Nostalgia)
I recall several occasions of burning the sage brush on the ranch. One evening after supper, while still daylight, all of us had gone out to burn what Dad had grubbed and piled. Several fires were started and then Dad would carry a “start of the fire” on his shovel to other piles. Soon a lot of fires in the evening darkness. It was a beautiful sight to my little girl’s eyes. Mother, Alice and Violet helped to rake up the brush so all would burn in each pile. Dorothy and I stayed out of the way.
Another afternoon Dad was working away from home. Mother had taken us to finish burning some piles of brush on that piece of ground between us and our closest neighbors, the Martins. The sky soon darkened and we were aware of an approaching storm. Mother was a brave woman. She wasn’t afraid of the dark or mice, but a thunder and lightening storm was something else. Soon the vivid lightning began to flash, followed by thunder. Quickly Mother gathered us in and in no time we had crawled through the wire fence and were “safe” at the Martins. Mrs. Martin wasn’t afraid of storms.
If Dad were home, mother would go in the bedroom and cover her head with a pillow. We once had a dog that was as afraid of lightning just as Mother was. On these days he could come into the house for comfort. Dad would stand by the door and seemed to enjoy the fireworks. Those electrical storms were to be feared. Many times a cow, horse, or calf was killed not far from the house. I wasn’t as brave as Dad. I was more like Mother, only I was afraid of the dark and mice.
Alice was seven years and Violet five years older than I was, and they were always so good to me and helped me so much – even as they grew older. They helped us all so much. Dad and Mother relied on them. Dorothy and I were the little girls and we played a lot.
Dorothy and I created a world of our own by the magic of childhood. We hadn’t heard of being bored, as there seemed so many things we could do. Rocks, flowers, dirt and water could all be changed by imagination to help in our play houses. Big rocks were the walls and partitions of our house. Little rocks became potatoes, eggs or whatever. Breads, cakes and pies were produced by just adding a little water to plain dirt. The cakes would be “iced” by dandelion flowers, and the little white daisies were the coconut for pies or cakes. Old dishes and pans and cans were gathered for our utensils. Boards and blocks of wood could be made into cupboards, tables or chairs. We were very luxurious in our youth, innocence and imaginations – we were never deprived – what was that? We had the whole world at our fingertips.
We had a piece of our land where willows grew. Dad could make the best whistles for us and by cutting a long willow with a lot of leaves on top, we’d have a good horse. We rode many a mile and wore out many a horse.
Our dear friend and constant companion was our dog “Tige”. He was big and wooly and almost blue in color. I can’t recall not having him; he’d always been with us. He not only watched over us, but fulfilled his dog assignments on the ranch and he was a good playmate.
One winter day, due to old age, Tige left us. He died and we all cried and watched as Dad hauled him away on the feed sleigh. There was not a place in the cold snow-covered ground for a grave. That day one of us died.
We always had horses, that was a necessity, but we loved them. My favorite and I’m sure for all the rest of the family was Dick. He was a beautiful bay horse with a white star in his forehead and several white feet. I can still see him; mane flying in the wind as he ran with his head up and sure footed; a beautiful horse full of life. He had a bad fault. He was balky and nearly drove Dad crazy and a real annoyance to all of us. He was intelligent and knew how to do every job. He was depended on to get us home even in the darkest nights and stormiest weather. We had him for years.
Life was never dull nor unexciting, even though ours was very common and uneventful. There was always something to do – the same things over and over again. We worked together, played together, and did everything together – we were all there was. We enjoyed life over and over again. Summer, winter, fall and spring, each brought problems to be solved, work to be done, joys and sorrows which bound us together as a family.
Winters were severe and we were confined to the house so much because of the cold and the snow. The big stove in the kitchen, which the folks had ordered from either a Sears or Montgomery catalog, was continually fed wood or coal to keep the house warm – many times only the kitchen was warm.
Dad worked hard to keep fuel for the stove. He hauled firewood from the hills and sawed it, chopped it, and carried it into the house. Usually coal was used for the long, cold, winter nights. This he had hauled from the coal mines in Almy over 30 miles away.
Many mornings the windows were frozen thick with ice until the heat from the room inside and the sun from the outside would melt the ice. As a little girl I’d use Mother’s thimble and press it into the ice covered windows, making clusters of grapes on the frozen panes.
Mother would let us play outdoors in the snow on warm days after we were fully dressed with overshoes, leggings, coats, caps and mittens. It was fun to slide down drifts, play fox and geese in the acres of clean white snow, make snowmen, or watch Dad saw and cut wood and carry pieces into the house. Years later we got in on the work part of the process and didn’t just sit and watch Dad.
Winter transportation was sleigh and horses. Blankets or quilts were thrown over the hay Dad had placed in the sleigh box with other quilts to keep us warm. What fun it was as we grew older to ride the sleigh runners and hold on to the back of the sleigh box until we got tired.
Trips were sometimes long – to visit Grandmother Brown in Almy; to Evanston for groceries and supplies more than 20 miles away, or the closer trips to Church, friends and meetings about three miles. Sunny and nice weather the trips were so delightful and enjoyable, but icy cold winds and blizzards – home was the place to stay.
Long trips required extra care for protection – warm clothing, and the usual hot rocks. As if it were but yesterday I can see my Father taking hot rocks from the oven where they had been heating all night and putting them in a gunny sack to carry out to the sleigh. The smell of the burning gunny sack still lingers.
The horrible three-day east blizzards were dreadful to endure specially on men, horses and cattle. We always felt so sorry for Dad as he had to venture out to care of the stock. The howling cold winds, the blinding snow, and the cold had to be endured. He’d look like a snowman when he returned, even though he had dressed as well as he could. He would be nearly frozen and we’d help get frozen clothes off and rub his frozen cold hands and feet. Mother would always have hot food for him.
The storms would always blow themselves out and when the winds were over, we’d look out on a new country. Now there were drifts where none had been before, and the old drifts had been blown away. Houses and barns were plastered with snow. The sun would shine and we were in a world of whiteness and cold beauty.
Mother’s only cousin living in America was Sarah Godber Wheelock. As a little girl Sarah lived with Mother and her father. As they were crossing the ocean Sarah’s mother was involved with another man. Sarah’s parents separated and her father brought Sarah to Grandfather and Mother – a sad story. Mother used to say how Sarah would cry for her mother and as a result, Mother had no good words to say for mothers who would leave their children. Sarah and Mother were like sisters as neither had a mother or any other family member – only fathers. Sarah married when she was really young to Cyrus Wheelock.
Sarah and Cyrus were living in Auburn, Wyoming, in the Star Valley, and invited us to visit them at Christmas. Dad was unable to go because he had the stock to care for, but he sent Mother and us kids. This must have been in 1912.
So little of the trip has remained with me. Dad, no doubt, had taken us to Evanston from the ranch to meet the train. It was winter and night as we waited in the station for the train. Just before the train came, I was given a doll which I had for many years. She had hair and would open and shut her eyes. Then, out of the night came the whistle and the approaching train and down the track with its big headlight showing the way, came the train which we boarded and rode to Granger, Wyoming.
We got off the Union Pacific train at Granger and waited some time for a train from the east to take us to Montpelier (this was an Oregon Shortline train); where we were met by Sarah and Cyrus.
The trip to Auburn was by sleigh, and when night came we stopped at a small camp house, called “half-way house” where we spent the night and then the next day went to Sarah’s home. My big gripe was a big wool scarf Sarah insisted I have around my neck. I’ve always hated wool articles those that scratched.
I’m not sure of the length of the visit or what we did. We made a visit to Afton and I can recall walking down the street and looking in the stores. Cyrus had caught fish during the summer and had salted them and we ate some of them.
An interesting side of this visit is that years later I found out that as we traveled from Auburn to Afton we passed Loyn’s home where he was living with his parents. The half-way house was operated by his uncle and aunt.
The trip home must have duplicated the trip there, but all I can remember is that Mother took us to her friend Sarah Cook’s home and Dad soon came. My first big adventure into the outside world and I recall little of it.
My first really embarrassing moment occurred at a dance in the Church house. The folks had taken us kids – no parents left their children home in those days. They had never heard of baby sitters.
The big long benches in the middle of the room had been placed on the sides to permit dancing. I was sitting by Mother, and Dad was talking to some men close by. I wanted to talk to him so I went over and pulled on the leg of his pants. The man who look down on me wasn’t my Father! I had pulled the leg of the wrong man. To add to my embarrassment, the men all laughed at me. Dad picked me up and said it was alright. Soon I got tired of watching the dancers so Mother put me in the baby bed by Dorothy who was already asleep. The baby bed was two of the long benches placed to face each other and the bed was on the stage out of the dancers’ way. The parents could enjoy themselves and the young children could sleep. Lulled by the music I soon went to sleep – and eased my wounded pride.
The winters were long, but spring time with its wonderful renewing of life, would always come. The drifts and piles of snow would gradually melt in the sun, and the water would gather in the swales, creeks and rivers to begin their journey to the ocean. We stayed and watched Mother Nature turn our white snow country into the beauties of spring. The dry, brown grass almost over night turned to green. The flowers which had slept all winter in the cold frozen ground would soon be beautifying the earth. First came the daring dandelions, followed by the dainty faintly purple lady slippers, the little white daisies with their yellow centers, the yellow crocus who always kept his head to the ground, and the little yellow buttercups. We loved these little gifts of hope and love and would gather them for Mother.
It wasn’t only grass and flowers which gladdened our hearts, but soon we heard the songs of the returning birds. One robin didn’t make a spring, but they gave us hope and soon others came and then came the blue birds, black birds, and others, not forgetting the meadow lark, always telling us “Utah was a pretty little place”. Now that spring was there Wyoming was alright for us.
Two evening sounds I still cherish are the sounds of the chirping birds and the croaking of the frogs in nearby ponds.
Spring gave way to summer, and we’d enjoy the flowers which bloomed among the rocks and sagebrush. Several blue flowers, if they had a name I never knew (Mama had written above this – Larkspurs), but the blue bells we loved, the big yellow sun flowers and the red Indian paint brush, the yellow corn flowers and the clover Dad had planted would bloom and we’d pick the little pink and white blossoms, and the large red clover. The clover flowers had a lovely fragrance, while the wild flowers didn’t. Along the creeks and rivers pink and yellow wild roses and a few other wild flowers bloomed. All these flowers gave beauty to our lives. The fancy flowers like roses, carnations, and the like were enjoyed in the spring seed catalogs, or the fancy paper napkins given at some very special parties.
Two kinds of lilies still seem special: the hardy sego lily, a white flower with a purplish red center and whose roots were edible (but we never ate them); and the other also white but so fragile with the most exotic perfume, and whose life span was a single day. Dad brought them home for Mother. Also there was a rather blue flower that grew in the hay fields at the time of cutting the hay. The pink and white clover flowers and the large red clover blossoms in the hay fields always smelled so sweet.
Mother’s father and Uncle Isaac were buried in the Evanston cemetery. Dad’s loved ones were in Almy. Nearly every year we’d at least get to the Evanston cemetery and the day before we’d gather as many wild flowers as we could and carry them in the buggy in cans to put on the graves.
The trip would start early in the morning – the usual long trip -- and arriving in Evanston the horses were tied to the railings provided for such and Mother would buy Jasmine buds at the florist. We were amazed at their fragile white beauty and the fragrance, then continuing on to the cemetery where the horses were again tied up and we’d enter the cemetery. There was a gate, but for years we entered by walking over the steps (three or four down). We’d put our flowers on Grandpa’s and Uncle Ike’s graves. Not the most lavish offerings, but even the most luxurious wasn’t given with greater love. We became acquainted with our dead relatives we never knew. Seems as if Alice and Violet had been going to school ever since I could remember. I recall going to meet them one day when we were living in Almy. They could read and write, read stories to us, and tell what happened at school and show us their school papers.
The little log house school at Hilliard would have programs and we’d go with Dad and Mother and watch and although it was only a one room, some very good programs were given – of great value to the students.
Dorothy and I each had a little red chair and we’d play school at home. We’d turn one of the big chair’s around and use it for a desk, each taking turns to be the teacher.
This little log school house was the first school I attended in 1914. That was a great day in my life, as I took my new slate and pencil, my lunch in a new lard bucket and started to walk with Alice, Violet and the Martins. We had our usual new dresses made by our mothers, hair braided and a new ribbon and shoes and felt as proud and important as anyone. We didn’t follow the road, we walked through the fields (closer that way), crawled under wire fences, walked through the sage brush and rocks, laughing and talking as we went. A rabbit would sometimes dash out from the sage brush and run away, ground squirrels would run into their holes, and perhaps a sage chicken, hawk or bird would fly away.
My first teacher was Myrtle Beard, and she taught all eight grades. She was not much older than some of the larger boys in the 8th grade.
I’ve often wondered why the people built the school in an empty field – no one lived close by. There was just the school, a coal and wood shed, and two outdoor offices, one for boys and one for girls. Close by the buildings was an irrigation ditch. The ditch provided us a place to eat our lunch and a drink of water, as long as the irrigation water was in the ditch.
The building was heated by a large wood and coal stove which was in the back of the room. The teacher’s desk was in the front and the desks of various sizes were in the middle of the room. The blackboards were back of the teacher’s desk and maps and charts hung on the walls. The bell used to be rung every morning, recesses and noon was on the teacher’s desk. We loved to take our turn in ringing it.
A new world opened up for me in this my first school. Not only was it an educational experience learning to read and write, but I learned to love to learn. Everyday there were new things to learn and as I listened to the older classes tell of words, places, and persons I’d never heard before, I learned to appreciate how wonderful it was to have the world opened to me.
Our first reading book was about “Bow Wow and Mew Mew”, but later on we read stories that were interesting and valuable – no Dick and Jane stories then. Not only did we learn our first grade lessons, but we listened to the older students as they read of people, places, wars and countries and such things.
My one big school problem was the big boys who tormented me and as a result boys for years were an ignored object.
January 23, 1915, was an important day for us. Dad and Mother had their fifth child and first son. He was born in Almy at the home of Uncle Oscar and Aunt Ettie Sessions. The folks had gone the day before, taking Dorothy with them as she was not in school. I didn’t like the idea of staying home, but my objections didn’t amount to much.
Dad had loaded the sleigh with a lot of hay for the horses and the usual hot rocks and quilts and blankets. They took us to school on their way to Almy. I hadn’t been informed of the nature of the trip and didn’t know until Dad returned several days later and told us we had a brother. The baby was named James Herbert. James for Mother’s dad and Herbert for Dad. We always called him Jim and we all loved him.
Several weeks later I went with Dad to bring the family home. He had taken good care of us, but we had missed Mother and it was good to see her, Dorothy and the new baby. Night time came and I had a problem. I didn’t want to sleep in the bedroom just off the room Mother was in. I cried, got my own way, and was soon fast asleep in the bottom of Mother’s bed. Next morning I awoke in the bed I hadn’t wanted to sleep in. Magic???
Spring came in 1915 and I remember it so well. We’d had several warm days which melted the snow, causing the water to gather in swales. Dad had taken us to school in the sleigh that particular morning and we could see the water in the swale held back by the hard snow road.
The swale was not far from the school house, but we had no trouble getting to the school. Dad had just about got across the swale when one side of the snow road gave away and Dick, our favorite horse fell into the cold deep water. School had not yet started for the day and we knew that Dad was in trouble. I started to cry. Some of the older boys ran to help by holding Dick’s head out of the water. There were a dangerous few minutes when we all watched to see what would happen. Both horses were quiet, realizing the danger and knowing they were being helped. Dad unhooked Nell, the other horse from the sleigh and somehow hooked her up to pull Dick out of the water. What a relief to see them all safe – it could easily have been otherwise. The teacher took pictures of the event, but I have always had a very vivid one in my memory. Alice and Violet comforted me as I cried. (Mama crossed this last sentence out.)
Herbert Brown in his sled in Hilliard, Wyoming
I only attended this one room log school house two years. The people of the community decided to combine the two log schools in the valley and build a new two room school close by the building we called the Church, and to provide transportation for all the children.
It was a great day when the new school opened and I began my third year. Dorothy started for the first time. Alice and Violet were in the big room as we called it. The folk’s problem was over,– all they had to do was put us on the school wagon or sleigh. Free transportation was a great gift. The school had two rooms with a hall in between. First four grades in one room – grades five through eight in the other room.
Transportation was a canvas-covered wagon box with boards to sit on on each side. Warm days made it hot inside and no heat was provided so we were cold in winter. Sometimes we’d take a small hot rock to keep our hands warm, played games to clap our hands and stomp our feet to keep the blood flowing. One game we played was “Old Mother Wiggle Waggle is Dead.”
Many mornings the school rooms were no warmer than the “wagon”. The two stoves didn’t keep the rooms warm, and we’d stand by the stove to use every bit of heat. Our lunches were frozen – no microwave to warm them. The fires would finally warm the room and we’d be comfortable. Then the trip back home, and how wonderful it was to be home and Mother would usually have supper for us.
Before going on to school life in the new school and before closing the door on this experience in a one-room log school house, I’d like to pay tribute to my parents. During all the years since Alice and Violet had started to school, Dad and Mother had seen to it that we went to school. Cold weather and wet weather they took us. My folks and the Martins, our closest neighbors, took turns in seeing we got there. This wasn’t just getting in a car and driving a few blocks, but they had to harness a team to a sleigh or wagon, or buggy and have us there on time. A good education for their children seemed to almost a mania with them – we had to go to school and nonsense wasn’t tolerated. I’m grateful for their diligence. They were always so proud of any small achievements.
I always loved school and feared I’d never get the things right – especially arithmetic and spelling. History, reading, geography were my choice classes.
Supper over and our chores done, we’d do our home work. We’d gather around our round table, with its oil cloth cover, the kerosine lamp in the center and prepare our lessons. Alice or Violet would help me with my problems. Dad did if he could, but neither he nor Mother had gone beyond the 5th or 6th grade. No doubt this was the reason they insisted we get a good education. They knew only too well how important it was to us. How I cherish this simple picture of a family teaching and learning and loving one another!
Lessons were important at school, but a side product was the programs prepared and presented. Even in that one small room school house, with the aid of bed sheets and crowded conditions, songs, stories and little plays were presented to the parents.
Looking back now these activities fulfilled at least two important things. People can do very worthwhile things under almost any condition for children’s growth and entertainment of parents and friends. The children prepared well and sang without aid of piano or organ. The new school house was built by the Church and in it was an organ, a stage, curtains, some props and plenty of room. Every child enjoyed a theatrical experience several times a year. Those were thrilling and exciting nights, as we waited for the curtains to part and for us each to do as well as we could the part we had prepared for. We each experienced the thrills and glamour of real theatrical success, and who is to say, but in our small place and time, if ours wasn’t as rewarding and outstanding as professionals!
Christmas and the closing of schools were the most outstanding events, although other programs were sometimes given. Always there was a beautiful Christmas tree which was decorated and stood in all its glory in the corner of the room just at the bottom of the stage. Names of each child had been drawn and we all knew that under that tree was a present for us. Everyone had a part to perform and after the program Santa would come – a sack of candy and an orange – a gift from the community, and our present. A simple Christmas warmed our hearts as we sang the same old Christmas songs.
Afterwards the seats were placed on both sides of the room – the baby bed made on the stage and the music began – usually an organ and a violin – and the dancers began to enjoy themselves. About midnight a lunch was served, provided by the parents – sandwiches, cake and cocoa – more dancing for the dancing ones, the others would gather up their families, and ride home in their sleighs. The horses had waited patiently and long and the sleighs were cold, but as we drove away from the building, the music of the dancing fading gradually away, our hearts were warmed by the love of the Christmas season and two weeks of vacation.
We always had a tree. Dad would get one when he went to the hills for firewood. Years later we’d sometimes go just to get a tree. We’d wander around in the snow going from tree to tree to find the best one, until Dad would call a halt, a decision was made and we’d go back home singing our Christmas songs as we rode along in the sleigh.
Decorations were simple as viewed today, but beautiful to us then. A few cranberries and lots of popped corn were strung on thread and we’d make chains of many colors of paper, cut in small pieces, glued into small circles and bound together. We were happy and thought the tree very beautifully decorated.
A few years later Sears and Montgomery catalogs which came twice a year advertised tinsel and fragile colored balls, candles and candle holders which we bought and our tree was transformed into a thing of beauty.
One year just before Christmas, Mother had bought some dress material and it must have been the first cut off the roll for stuck on it was a small oval silver paper cut out of the Christmas scene of camels following the star. We put it on the top of the tree and used it for years. It had no money value, but I still remember it every year we decorate our tree.
We usually decorated our tree no sooner than several nights before Christmas Eve. Decorating the tree was part of our Christmas. Supper over and the chores done we’d all help. When all was finished and the candles lighted it was beautiful, and we’d watch until the candles burned out and to avoid a fire we’d blow out the rest of the candles and go to bed.
Christmas Eve was the big night; no trouble in getting our chores done and ready for supper. Many times the folks had gone to town several days before for supplies; among other things would be fresh oysters and finn haddie. Seems to have been a Brown tradition to have oyster stew Christmas Eve, and Dad would make it. He’d get the milk boiling on the stove and then he’d pour in the oysters. That and crackers would be the main dish of our supper. I cherish the memory of Dad standing by the stove stirring the soup more than I do the stew – I never did eat the oysters, only the milk and crackers.
The tree would be lighted and then to bed to dream the same dreams of Santa and gifts and such, as children dream still. We weren’t as well blessed then as my children and grandchildren are today, but the joy of Christmas was experienced and real to us.
Christmas breakfast was usually finn haddie – that’s not only a cherished memory, but a still loved food. Christmas dinners were roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, dressing, vegetables, including cabbage, beans and peas, and Mother’s English steamed pudding. She’d also make a Christmas cake and pie.
The tree would remain in the living room for several weeks. One year I remember so well the tree was lighted for the last time – the next day it would be robbed of all its glory and carried out and planted in a snow drift. Sitting in the darkness of the room I imagined the tree felt as badly as I did about what was going to happen to it. The tree brought us joy and happiness then, and I still cherish the memory.
We didn’t have a lot of toys – a doll or so each, a little red chair, whistles made by Dad from the willows which grew in our pasture; some balls made from string which we rolled up as Mother emptied cloth sacks of flour, sugar, salt or cereals. Dad made tops by cutting the spools of thread after Mother had finished with the thread. They were good.
Saturday night was nearly always bath night – important occasions sometimes changed the routine. The baby, when there was one, was bathed every morning by Mother. She performed this ritual very religiously every morning. The doors were closed so as to keep the room warm, the oven door opened so as to warm the baby and the dry clean clothes. Mother always used Cuticura soap special for the baby, and she did a thorough job – a clean newly washed baby was her pride.
Water was carried in from the well or the irrigation ditch which ran close by and heated in the wash boiler, big pans and the reservoir on the back of the stove.
Supper was over, the dishes washed and the weekly ritual began. Two wooden chairs were placed facing each other. The big tub was placed on them and filled with warm water. Mother would start with the youngest of us. I’d had my first turn, but Dorothy moved up to first and I was second. We were washed all over – face, ears, and neck. We were thoroughly washed with a brand Mother used called “Fairy Soap”. When clean we were taken from the tub, dried, hair combed, braided and put in clean clothes. As Mother took care of Dorothy, I’d soak in the warm water, waiting my turn. Many times if Dad was in the house, he’d dry us and put us in clean clothes while Mother combed and braided our hair.
Many times years afterwards, when I bathed my children and grandchildren these memories have flooded over me and in memory I was again in that warm kitchen of yesterday. Mother had usually made bread that day and before we were taken to bed, we’d have a piece of bread and butter with something.
Alice and Violet, then older, had moved up to a special corner and took care of themselves later. Afterward Dad and Mother would have their turns when we’d all gone to bed. It took a lot of water to bathe the whole family and it didn’t come out nice and warm out of a tap into a nice white tub. Regardless, we were all clean for Sunday and the week ahead. The old round laundry tub lasted for many years as our family bath tub.
Sadness came early into my life. Our closest neighbors were the Martins. Our land bordered theirs and we were not too close, but our lives were close to theirs. They had children, some our age, and we all played together. Sarah who was two years or so younger than I became ill, so ill that her parents fearing for her life, took her to a doctor in Evanston, where she died. Her funeral was held in the old red brick L.D.S. Church in Evanston. We attended her funeral and although I was young, I still remember going into the chapel before the services. The railing around the pulpit was all draped in white cloth (a practice of the time, not many flowers) and in front in her little casket lay our dear playmate in her last sleep. During the service I still remember the choir singing (choirs always sang at funerals) “Your Sweet Little Rosebud Has Left You”. The little casket was placed in the white horse-drawn hearse. We followed behind in our buggy with the rest of the family and friends to the cemetery. The Martins and us were sad for a long time. Sarah was about four years old. This seemed to be in the late summer.
I had only one grandparent that I knew. The other three had died before I was born, and my memories of her are very limited. Mostly of her beautiful home, yard and flowers than of her. I thought her home was most lovely and still recall sitting in her living room with a fire burning in her stove, which had a door with glass through which we could see the fire. She had a beautiful hanging lamp with long prisms which glistened in the firelight, and Mother, Dad and us kids were sitting there. One time she visited us at the ranch and I rode back with her in her little one seated buggy with one horse. Dad and Mother rode on ahead in our two horse, two seated buggy. I treasure a post card she sent me. She died in Superior, Wyoming, at the home of Uncle Will and Aunt Nellie. She had gone there for the holidays and suffered a fatal stroke, January 1, 1914. She had suffered with blood pressure problems and strokes for several years. The sadness of Dad, Mother and the family concerned me. I’ve never known the love and care of grandparents.
We didn’t have a lot of toys – a doll each, a little red chair, whistles made by Dad from the willows which grew in our pasture, balls made from string which we’d roll up as Mother emptied cloth sacks of flour, sugar, salt or cereals. Twice a year we’d get a Montgomery and Sears and other several other catalogs and when a new one came we could have the old one. Dorothy and I would cut out the pictures – men, women, girls and boys and these were our paper dolls. We each had a shoe box and we’d play many hours with these, especially in the winter time. Dad made us toys by using one of the spools of thread Mother had used up. He made them so they’d spin really well. The willows that grew in our pasture provided many a stick horse for Dorothy and myself and we rode them many a mile and wore out many a horse.
The family continued to grow so plans were started to add on two new rooms – a bedroom for Dad and Mother and a living room. I wasn’t too old when Dad started the building – doing it in his spare time and doing most of his own work or trading work by neighbors and having them help when Dad was unable to do it himself. Mother did most of painting the woodwork. She and Dad tried to wallpaper, but as I recall it that was one job they couldn’t do together. Dad would usually pick up his hat and walk out and Mother would finish or wait until things cooled.
Hertbert's and Mabel Allice's home in Hilliard
Home was a happy place perhaps more now in memory than it really was. The folks had many problems, like everyone else.
The house was very plain, inside and out. At first it was devoid of flowers, trees and grass. The folks always like it to be nice and as clean as possible.
Mother and Dad would go into the hills and transplant small trees around the house. We had two pine trees in front and six or seven others around the house. We’d carry water for them nearly every day. Some died but were replaced next year.
One year Alice sent to a seed place for pansy seed. Dad made a waterproof box for her to plant them in. When spring came she planted them outside and they grew from year to year. We also planted snap dragons and other hardy flowers and also grass.
Dad had a garden of peas, lettuce, onions, radishes, turnips and potatoes. He was pleased when we had new potatoes and peas.
Dad made many trips to the hills for logs and began to build. This was a hard project for Dad with his crippled hand. Mother and the girls helped, but they couldn’t do it all. He traded labor with friends.
Mother cut rags into strips and we rolled them into balls and the balls were sent to a place where they were made into a rug for the living room. The carpet came and was laid in the living room and we had a small heating stove in it and other things. When Grandma Brown died either Dad inherited or bought a three piece beautiful bedroom set. How we loved it.
Glove knit for Herbert Brown by his mother Harriet
The kitchen floor was hard wood and bare which we scrubbed on our hands and knees; one could pray also while scrubbing! Later on a pantry was added on the other side of the house. We were posh! This wasn’t a one year process.
Our source of water, beside the small irrigation ditch which ran through the yard, was an open well. Dad had dug a hole encasing it with rocks and building a small log shed over it. He made several places in the rock wall to put milk and butter to keep cool during the summer heat, just far enough down in the well that they could be reached. The hole was surrounded by a wooden frame to stop us from falling in the well. We would drop a bucket with a rope on it and pull it back up when filled.
These improvements made us feel very comfortable and rather posh; never ever dreaming of a home with running water, electric lights, with all the modern appliances. There was, however, plenty of love and happiness. Many times I take a memory trip to gain strength for the problems of my life.
Then, as now, money was needed to supply the needs of our family. One early investment I remember was buying a small herd of sheep, keeping them awhile and then selling them, hopefully for a profit. How many sheep, the length of time we kept them, or the amount of profit – if any, I now don’t know. Several incidents of this venture I recall. One was the folk’s concern to keep the sheep safe from coyotes who loved mutton. Once while Dad was eating lunch he lost several.
One summer day I helped drive the sheep out to pasture about a mile from our home. Either Alice or Violet were in charge; I was the helper. Our job was to stop the sheep from straying away and watch out for coyotes. We were kept busy all morning and the exercise and fresh air gave us an appetite. At last Alice or Violet, whichever had stayed at home, came with our lunch. We found a big rock to sit on and there among the sheep and sage brush we ate a most delicious lunch. That was long ago in time and wants and needs. Fried potatoes, bread and butter and H20 was a very satisfying lunch. The sister who had been with me all morning returned home and I stayed on with the other. Night time we drove the sheep back home. I believe the sheep were sold shortly, but no doubt I helped herd them other times.
Another enterprise was baling hay and selling and hauling it either to Evanston or the “tie camp”. The ranchers produced more hay than needed by the stock so Mr. Lym, Mr. Martin and Dad baled hay for each other. I believe all three bought the baler among them. The baler was horse powered by a team going round and round in a circle which gave power to the baler. Mr. Martin would usually be on the hay stack and throw the hay on a platform so Mr. Lym would push the hay into the baler. Dad would put in the blocks which divided the bales and tied the bales with three strands of wire, pull the bales to scales, weigh and stack them. We kids used to climb up and down the bales of hay. I’d cut out little pieces of cardboard just large enough for Dad to write the weight of the bale and put under the middle wire of the bale.
Usually Dad and Mr. Martin and Mr. Lym would load up one day and be ready early the next morning either to take the load of hay to Evanston or the “tie camp”.
Many times we’d bale our own hay without Mr. Lym. Mother and Mrs. Martin would help and also Alice and Violet. These now seem to have been difficult times for the folks. They worked hard to provide a living.
Dad would leave early in the morning while it was still dark. We’d do the chores with Mother and she’d take care of us. As night came on we’d watch and wait for his return which would be after dark. We’d keep going outside to listen, either for the rattle of the wagon wheels, the barking of a neighbor’s dog down the road, or the sound of the sleigh if it were winter time. We were so glad when he’d get home. These trips, especially in winter, were hard on Dad. If he’d taken his load to Evanston he’d usually bring us some candy. He wouldn’t have been able to bring much because he didn’t have room on the wagon or sleigh which was without the box. These were cold trips in winter. The horses would be cared for first and then Dad would have his supper and we’d sometimes snack along with him, listen to his events of the day, tell him ours and then to bed – Dad was home and everything was alright.
During a Christmas play rehearsal in December 1916, Dorothy told me she was so ill she couldn’t stand up. Miss Payne, the teacher, made her a bed on some seats, but it didn’t seem to help much and she was really ill when we got home. Mother, as usual, had supper ready when we arrived. That night, she’d made a rabbit stew and put a crust on it. This was a favorite supper for us, but none of us ate much that night, and Mother never made another one. Once in later years I asked why and she said she knew Dorothy was really ill and she was so concerned she never could make another rabbit pie.
Dorothy continued to get worse all night and the folks knew they had to get medical care. They left early for a doctor in Evanston twenty miles away by sleigh and team.
The house was cold and empty when Alice, Violet and I returned after school. They made a fire and both went out to do the chores and I was left alone to keep the fire going and get the table set for supper. My eyes caught sight of one of Jim’s nightgowns hanging on the wall where Mother had left it. That did it – I began to cry.
Later Aunt Ettie and Uncle Oscar Sessions came to tell us that Dad had called them and they were leaving by train for Salt Lake City as Dorothy had appendicitis and needed an operation. Salt Lake city, hospital, appendicitis, and operations were all new and strange words for me and I was afraid.
We managed to get along with the help of the neighbors and Dad came home as soon as he could, leaving Dorothy, Mother and Jim in the Evanston Hotel where Dorothy could be cared for by Dr. Thompson. What a relief to have Dad home taking charge. As of now, I don’t recall when Dad brought them home, but I believe it was after Christmas.
To me Dorothy was a real special person. She had been beyond our little world and told of train rides, street cars, and what goes on in hospitals. I almost envied her for so many had given her presents – a big coloring book and a box of crayons, and a story book of Jesus sowing seeds. I never had a coloring book, that’s why my children and some grandchildren always got a coloring book for Christmas.
I was always a big baby – I always wanted to be home with Dad, Mother and the family. Uncle Oscar and Aunt Ettie were living in Grandma Brown’s house at the end of the Church and school house lane. Once I wanted to stay with them over the week end and play with cousins George and Frank. It was fun for awhile, but as it began to get dark I thought of home and started to cry. Aunt Ettie tried to comfort me, but the more she tried, the harder I cried. I guess she got desperate for she said, “If you shut up, I’ll give you a box of candy and a blue ribbon”. I shut up, but early the next morning I started up the road to home – a good three miles – but I made it.
A year or so later my friend Florence Cook invited me to stay overnight with her. Soon that same feeling came over me and I just couldn’t stand it. I was home for supper. Homesickness is a terrible sickness, and I’ve battled it all my life – it doesn’t kill but it cripples.
Dad loved to fish and so did a friend of his, George Barker. He and Dad wanted to get away for several days so we went with them. We each took our wagons and started one morning, taking food and bedding with us. Alice and Violet stayed home, so it was Dad, Mother, Dorothy, I, and Jim the baby. George and Ada Barker had their two children, Annie and Bill, same age as Dorothy and I. It seemed a long way as we jogged along in the wagon and it was afternoon when we arrived at one of the forks of the Bear River. Dad and Mr. Barker got the horses fixed and then went fishing. Mother and Mrs. Barker set up camp and we kids played. The fishermen got a good supply of fish which was cooked by the camp fire. The folks sat by the fire talking and we kids played “No Bears Out Tonight”. And Bill was the bear. He scratched in the dirt and growled and waited for one of us girls to leave “our houses”. It was so real and thrilling to be out in the trees, the moon shining down on the camp fire that when it came time to go to bed I was really afraid of bears. Evidently there wasn’t any for next morning we were all alive.
I wish I could have retained the joy and enthusiasm of the little things I once had. My first circus! We’d talked about it as we knew one was to be in town. Finally the day came and we went in the buggy of course. It was a long ride, but we finally got to the top of what we always called “the Asylum hill” and there before us was the big circus tent and a group of smaller tents.
Those were the days when the circus paraded in the street before the main event. Standing on the sidewalk as the parade went by I thought I was in some story book. Beautiful prancing horses, gaily decorated, ridden by girls dressed in dresses that sparked and glistened in the sun; clumsy big elephants what were prodded along by men who walked by their sides; wagons drawn by fancy horses that held cages with bars which held wild animals that either walked slowly around in their cages or else were sound asleep; the funny clowns with weirdly painted faces, the dogs and monkeys all made it so fascinating. Men marched along with balloons of all colors on sticks; others were selling pop corn, candy, soda water. It was all so thrilling, and then the circus inside! The quiet and peace of the ride home in the evening, with the stars shining overhead, I relived that day and had no higher ambition than to grow up and be a beautiful lady and ride a horse in the circus!
Our home was about five or six miles from Hilliard, a railroad ghost town, that once had been an important station for the Union Pacific railroad before the tunnel was built.
A charcoal kiln in Hilliard
The railroad had found lumber in the Uinta hills and had built a flume from Mill Creek to Hilliard to float the logs that were being cut in the hills. The logs were used for railroad ties and also for charcoal. Kilns had been built in Hilliard to make charcoal – a one time source of fuel for the trains before coal was discovered in Rock Springs and Almy, Wyoming.
Later a camp was started in the hills, which employed perhaps hundreds of men which we called the “tie camp”. The men cut the trees, made them into railroad ties, and floated them down the Bear River in high water to Evanston. I can recall the many piles of the “ties” in the river at the Myer’s crossing. It seems most of the men working there were from Sweden.
This business lasted for years and had men and horses to carry on the jobs needed. Supplies were freighted from Evanston. It was here that Dad and Mr. Martin sold the hay they had baled.
Around 1900 the railroad made a tunnel through the hill making a straighter and shorter route to Evanston, thus closing their railroad town of Hilliard and the people going to other places. This took some time. They had two crews, one working at each end of the tunnel and in the middle met each other. When completed the town of Hilliard was no longer needed and people moved away.
A small store was kept in use by Harry Lester which sold groceries, grain, coal and supplies for the ranchers, cattle and sheep men. We’d often go there for supplies instead of the longer trip to Evanston.
One spring day Dad took Dorothy and me there for groceries and some things he needed. On the way home we passed a herd of sheep heading for the summer range. We stopped at the sheep camp and the herder had two lambs whose mothers had died which he gave to Dorothy and me. We held the wiggly little lambs all the way home and learned to feed them on a bottle and care for them. Dorothy’s was white with a black face and she name it Smut; mine was all white and I called it Nan. These lambs were our pride and joy and we loved to care for them.
Our lives revolved around home, Church and school, each having an important part of our lives.
The Church programs weren’t as complete as they are today. We perhaps could be called fair weather members for many times because of weather or traveling conditions no meetings were held. Sunday School would commence at 1:00 pm, followed by Sacrament meeting with a few minutes in between meetings. The Church was about three miles from home and travel was by buggy in summer, sleighs in winter; many times Dad would be feeding the cattle and not have time to change from a feeding rack to sleigh box, so we’d go on the rack. The horses were either tied to the fence post or unhooked and tied to the sleigh or buggy. The horses must have hated those days of standing so long getting cold in the winter, and being bothered by the heat and flies in the summer.
The meeting house was one large room with a stage at the back end on which sat the Priesthood and the speakers, the organist and chorister if there was one of either or both. Many times there was none. The Bishop would make a fire in the winter in one big stove, when he arrived, not much earlier than everyone else. The building would be cold and few members attended, so many a meeting was held around the stove and usually just one meeting. The summer attendance would be larger and we’d meet and have both meetings. As a little girl I’d often get tired of the meeting and watch the hands of the big clock on the wall move slowly to 4:00 o’clock when the meeting ended, or watch the big flies climb the window.
An old practice not seen at all now was consecrating bottles of oil. The oil then was used for purposes other than annointing the sick. It was used as an oil in rubs and also given internally to the sick after administration. Some days three or four bottles of olive oil would be on the table (we didn’t have a pulpit) to be consecrated.
The sacrament bread would be on plates and the water in several large glasses (called “The Cup”) for all to drink. The big problem was to look for the cleanest place on the glass before drinking. Years later individual little glasses came into use.
Stake officers from Evanston, Woodruff or Randolph would occasionally visit us and we welcomed the change of speakers. I always thought those people were so much better than we in our small backward community.
John Baxter was the President of the Woodruff Stake for many years. I still remember him telling the story of the little engine trying to get to the top of the steep railroad grade. The little engine said, “I don’t think I can, I don’t think I can, I don’t think I can” and soon the little train as going backward down the track saying “I didn’t think I could, I didn’t think I could”. Another little engine started up the track and he kept saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” and he was soon on top of the hill and going down the other side and he was singing “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could”.
Sunday School was interesting – the songs, the sacrament gem and the concert recitation and the 2 ½ minute talks live only in the memories of those who lived then, but they were vital to our gospel growth. The parents’ class met on the stage and a curtain dropped so as not to disturb them. The other classes would meet in the different corners of the room. One could listen to other classes for whatever was most interesting.
The adult classes often developed into lively discussions. Sometimes the voices became loud and more than once someone would walk out and then go back up again. These were all English and battle lines were drawn, as various opinions were voiced. Mother and Dad would usually tell us of different problems. Some I remember. One believed firmly in becoming a Father Adam and a Mother Eve to other planets. Some believed the dead returned. They were positive of this. People died or had problems because they weren’t living right. Others always had dreams and visions, etc. One brother would never sit with the other brothers, but always sat on the back seat by himself. He’d always attend his meetings, but he’d had his feelings hurt, so he always sat alone. One dear sister always wore a shawl around her shoulders and sat in the same place each Sunday. She’d be the first to rise and bear her testimony. I recall one day she arose and told how her son William had been moved in England with his companion, an Elder Benson from Idaho. She was proud of her son. One sister, a widow, would always walk out crying when “O My Father” was sung. Some members attended only when stake officers attended. The local members didn’t suit them. But I often recall the meetings in this small place for if I didn’t learn the Gospel, I at least got a desire to learn it.
Weather conditions and the climate affected our church attendance. One Sunday we were going home from meetings, the frost had just gone out and the roads were in a terrible condition. I asked Dad which he’d rather have, a shadow by day or a pillar by night. We’d sung that in the meeting. He said he’d just like to have good road.
A Little “Ole White Church: by Terry Lester
I wandered on a country road
On a warm and lazy day.
And I passed our little ‘old white church
Neglected by the way.
I don’t know why, but I turned in
And as I stepped inside the door
Looked at the old heating stove, wooden ceiling,
warped walls and floor,
And I sat upon the little stage,
The benches long since gone,
And remembered this room filled with love,
With prayer and joyful song.
And my children sitting in the first two rows,
Where all the children sat.
And sadness crept like shadows
On my heart and took me back
But I didn’t feel unwelcome
In that musty sun-warmed room.
Dust molts floated on the sunbeams
And melted off my blues.
So I closed my eyes and drifted
In a hazy state of mind
And the atmosphere around me
Seemed comforting and kind.
That’s when I heard the singing
Winging down from days gone by.
Softly sweetly songs of Jesus
Caught by rafters up so high.
I leaned my head against the alter
Hearing whispered words of wise,
“Always heed your prophet’s council–
Listen when he prophesies.”
Is that the Bishop talking?
Bishop John or Lew or Joe?
Or a memoried voice of some
Pioneer who spoke here long ago?
Then I heard lusty country music,
And deep within my trance
Knew the Wagstaffs and the Gilmores
Were playing for a dance.
I felt the old floor swaying
And relaxed in joy complete.
Felt the brush of calicos
Swing past my tapping feet.
So I sat in deep contentment
Eyes still closed, within a dream
But all the happy sounds were fading
As if drifting on a stream.
I stood and whispered in the silence
Please don’t go–it’s been so grand–
Hearing dear and treasured voices
Precious memories in my hand.
But still the silence lingered
So I sadly crossed the floor
And had my hand upon the latch
When the voices came once more.
Happy voices of the children
Reciting each a special part
And the applause of each proud parent
Oh, it touched my mother’s heart.
Perhaps it was a road show or
Perhaps the Christmas play
But the children all were singing
As I closed the door that day.
Now I no longer feel such sadness
As I leave the past behind
For we’re always building memories
in the chapels of our minds.
Alice and Violet graduated from the 8th grade in 1917. Because of school conditions Alice and Violet started school together. Graduation from the 8th grade in those days was an achievement, and the teacher planned an outstanding program.
We in the small grades had been making decorations. We’d gathered big bushy sage brush and tied small pieces of pink crepe paper to appear as flowers. The sage brush was blooming (we used what we had and no doubt the only time anyone ever saw pink flowers on sage brush)! I still have a program of the affair. The building was packed as there were 13 honored students for a three year period. An orchestra had been hired and a program including the class flower (pink carnation), the class prophecy, class colors (pink and green), songs, salutatory by Violet, valedictory by Alice, and an address by one of the Stake Presidency and two solos. It was a very special event and we were proud of Alice and Violet.
World War I began for the United States in 6 April 1917. For three years we had been hearing of the cruelty of the Kaiser to the people of Europe. Finally war was declared by the United States and our peaceful world was never the same. We were afraid Dad would be called to go to war because he had to register, but was never called.
In order to finance the war, U.S. bonds were sold, and to save food for the soldiers we had sugarless, meatless, wheatless and butterless days. To buy flour we also had to buy cornmeal, rice and oatmeal. Many of the young men from the community were called; a few never returned. Dad and Mother would go to Evanston when some of our friends would leave on the trains. I can still see those long lines of troop trains coming in and groups of our young men getting on with the others.
The government horse buyers would often come into the community to buy horses for the army. We’d hear of them in the school and I was so afraid Dad would sell Dick, as whenever Dick provoked Dad he’d always say that when they come again, he’d sell Dick. What a relief to get home and find Dick safe. Now I know Dad would never have sold Dick. We all loved that horse. He lived longer than Dad.
It was a relief when war was finally ended but we had other trouble. The Spanish influenza epidemic brought sickness and death to so many. Schools closed as well as all public meetings. So many people were ill and many died. There wasn’t enough doctors and people had to help each other. Mother was caring for Aunt Ettie and Uncle Oscar who lived four or five miles away on a ranch. Aunt Ettie had a baby boy who died when four or five days old. Uncle Oscar was ill of the flu.
We went over one late afternoon to see Mother. We’d been there awhile when we saw a storm was coming in so we decided to go home. Uncle Oscar’s place was back in a field a mile or more and before we could get to the main road it got dark and a terrible storm started. The horses wouldn’t face the storm and we got lost in the field. We accidently found a haystack and we huddled in it’s shelter while the lightning flashed, the thunder rolled and the rain came down in torrents. We didn’t know where we were in the large field, but we finally found our way back to Uncle Oscars and then the storm was over and we could see our way. It was a relief to get home and out of our wet clothes.
We always had good health – just the usual colds, which were treated by being rubbed with a mixture of oil and turpentine and put to bed. This was before the advent of Vicks or aspirin.
As I remember it was the summer before I entered the seventh grade. Our two big summer celebrations were the 4th and 24th of July. These events ranked next in importance to Christmas and Thanksgiving. These celebrations were a community affair and were well planned and carried out. The whole community was canvassed by a committee for money to purchase candy, nuts and an orange for the kids – lemons to make lemonade, a drink for all as yet there were no soft drinks – and other expenses. Usually a large wash tub was bought, in which the lemonade was made. A bowery would be made for shade and a place to sit for the programs. The gathering would begin to start at 10:30 or 11:00. Those were thrilling mornings – a basket lunch was prepared, with sandwiches, pies, cakes, pickles, pork & beans – and a potato salad with home made dressing and other things one happened to have. At noon each family spread a quilt and table cloth on the ground and ate the lunch they’d prepared. Races and games occupied the rest of the afternoon – a ball game for some, races for the other – from the smallest up, even little kids got a nickle whether they won or lost; the bigger kids just the winners. Several couples had a yearly race to see who was still the fastest. Those were memorable days as the community met and enjoyed not only the occasion, but each other.
Writing this, I can easily ride in our two seated buggy with Dad and Mother, Alice, Violet and Dorothy and Jim. We were happy as we drove down the lane – the hay fields on both sides of the road, yellow corn flowers blooming by the fences and then taking the road to the grove the celebration was to be held – the pretty pink wild roses and other wild flowers in the grove.
A dance would be held at night in the Church.
On July 24th Dorothy and I took home more than we wanted. Two families were there who should have stayed home.
Mother went to Relief Society about ten days later and left us home with Dad. We weren’t sick, but we each started coughing, in fact so much it bothered Dad and he told Mother when she came home how glad he was to see her for we’d coughed all afternoon. Next morning I had a nice red rash which Mother recognized as measles. Dorothy and I were kept in the bedroom in the dark and we sat a lot with our feet in hot mustard water. However Dorothy didn’t get any rash, but she continued to cough.
While Dad was out irrigating he talked with Bishop Martin our neighbor and learned some of their children had coughs and measles. Later we learned one family attending the celebration had a boy with the measles and another family had a baby who had whopping cough. Dorothy always liked babies and had carried this one around, so she had whopping cough. Alice, Violet had had measles, but no whopping cough and Mother hadn’t even had whooping cough so decided to join Dorothy and me. Jim was the baby and the folks were frantic for whooping cough was very serious for children. The folks learned that the doctor could give a vaccination and the children, if they contacted the cough, would only have a light form. So Jim was vaccinated. We were all sick, except for Dad all the rest of the summer.
The measles made me really ill and the heat of the summer was uncomfortable and the measles stunk. I’d lay with my head over the side of the bed, so I couldn’t smell myself – by the time I was over the measles I contacted whopping cough and Dorothy had the measles along with her other problem. We all spent the summer coughing – many times we’d cough until we’d have to go to bed or lie down. I wasn’t able to start school that year for a month or more. My eyes and face were swollen and I wasn’t well.
Our neighbors the Martins had the same problem we had – only there was more of them than us. They had twin little babies –a boy and a girl – Lois and Simeon. We really loved those little children as we didn’t have a baby that small. “Simmie” hadn’t been a strong healthy baby and measles and whooping cough was just too much for him. He finally died late in the fall.
Dad was often called by neighbors to help with the sick and the dead. Dad would have been an excellent doctor. He had great compassion for people. He washed little Simmie and laid him on the bed, his folks went to Evanston, bought some clothes and a little casket. We went up to say goodbye to our little friend. Next morning the Martins had their family prayers and Mr. Martin came and pick up Dad to help him bury the baby in Evanston. That was a cold snowy morning as Mr. Martin and Dad drove away in his buggy with the dead baby.
We had a bed of pansies that were still blooming even though half covered with snow. We picked them all and arranged them in a bouquet for Simmie – the only flowers he had and the only happy faces in both homes that day.
My personal displeasure ever since is people who always have to go out even if sick. I’ve had bad eyes ever since.
I’m not certain, but I’m sure I’d have been a better boy than a girl. I always liked to be outdoors helping Dad. He didn’t have any help and I wasn’t needed inside as Mother had three girls, and I thought I was helping Dad, at least I thought I was.
Dad spent a lot of time in the summer hauling fire wood and poles from the timber. I’d go with him many times. I’d sit on the back part of the wagon. I’d hang on the wagon with one hand and with the other I’d hold our lunch pail. The long miserable dusty bumpy ride finally ended and we came to where a forest fire had destroyed acres of trees. Dad would start loading and I’d help by sawing the big logs in pieces and if not too big pull them to the wagon to be loaded. I’d gather the dried sap from the pine trees to chew for gum. Nothing like pine gum for jaw exercise. When I thought it must be past noon, Dad and I would sit on a fallen tree and eat our lunch and talk, at least I did. Sometimes a squirrel or chipmunk would watch or a bird fly by. The ride home on the top of the load of wood made me so happy to get home.
There was always something to do and it seemed fixing fences seemed to always be an important one. He’d let me drive the horses to stretch the barbed wire and when it was tight enough he’d drive in the staples. Once in awhile I didn’t stop the horses soon enough and the wire would break and then we’d have to splice the wire together. Now I admire Dad’s patience. Not only did I help with fencing, but the ditches on the place either needed to be cleaned out or new ditches dug. I’d rather drive the horses than sit on the plow.
We always had a cow or two to milk – and I thought it would be a great thing to milk a cow, so I begged and pleaded to have a cow to milk. Finally Dad had a tame red cow he wanted to dry and she served the purpose. I learned to milk and also dried her up. My first of many cows.
I can’t remember the first car I ever saw, but I recall how wonderful we thought they were. We weren’'t the first to buy one, but some of our friends bought one, mostly Fords. Fords then were far different than the luxurious Ford of today. The Ford of then was only a skeleton car no heat, no protection from wind, rain or weather and a crank in front to use before the engine would start – not always one or two times. There were, of course, other makes of cars.
As these funny machines first started to appear on the roads, the horses were afraid, and if by chance we’d meet a car we’d get off the road and let it pass, trying to calm the horses. Usually Dick was less afraid so we’d put him closest to the car.
One winter day before Christmas Dad, Mother and I started early to go to Evanston, as we passed a neighbor who owned a car who was just starting to go to town and offered to take us and we put our team in their barn. That was an exciting day! It was a thrill to go faster than a team of horses over the snow-covered roads. Not only was the ride wonderful, but to see the town with its buildings, its stores and its people. It was nearly Christmas and the stores had some interesting Christmas toys and other things for celebrating Christmas. There were boxes of oranges, apples, cranberries, nuts, candy and the like. However, not any anything like the stores of today.
Cups and saucers from set of doll dishes Mabel got for Christmas. They are compared in size to a teaspoon.
One of the first stores we went to was Blyth and Fargo, a store that carried almost everything to be desired. Unlike today the buyers gave orders to the clerks who afterwards gathered up the articles ordered and put them in a box to be picked up later. We went to a drug store and while Mother was getting some needed things, I looked at the Christmas gifts and what attracted my attention was a set of doll dishes –pink flowered and I thought one of the nicest things I’d seen. Mother thought so also when I showed them to her. Imagine the thrill when on Christmas morning I found them under the Christmas tree! I still have them.
The years passed as we lived together, not without problems and concerns, but we worked and played together and now it seems life was wonderful.
This incident is as vivid in my mind and memory as if it were yesterday, although I don’t know how old I was or when it happened.
It was one of those gorgeous autumn days Mother Nature went all out for. Everything was perfect before winter began. The sky was clear, the hills were all so colorful dressed in all the shades of color. There was a faint smell of smoke from a forest fire still lingering in the air.
I was sitting on a log by the wood pile where I’d been chopping wood and taking it into the house to keep the stove burning. I was deeply troubled and concerned for I was wondering what was happening to our once peaceful home. What was the problem?
I did know that Mother and Dad had been to Almy and Evanston the day before and heard about Dad going to work in the coal mine. I had decided we needed more money but for Dad to leave home and work in the mine was terrible. All my life I’d heard of the horrors of coal mines, and was afraid for Dad.
Sitting there on that block of wood, I saw the team tied to a post and Dad and others were putting things in the wagon. Things he would need and we could spare.
Inside the house there was much activity – the aroma of bread baking and meat cooking which Dad would take all smelled so delicious. The folks had brought from Evanston some cauliflower and plums and they added to the aroma. In all, it all smelled so exciting, but there was an empty vacant spot in my stomach which wouldn’t go away.
Finally saying goodby and giving instructions, Dad and Mother drove away, but that terrible feeling of anxiety and emptiness I can still today feel as I watched them drive away. I’ve had this feeling many times when loved ones left.
Whatever the problem, Dad and Mother solved it for they soon came back. There was peace at home once more.
Summer time was most enjoyable, more work to do but the days being longer we could play more. It was cooling on hot days to wade in the clear water in the irrigation ditches; to gather some long dandelion stems, lay on our stomach on the ditch banks and curl the stems. We’d drink the water as it tumbled over the rocks. We’d walk to the hill to get the mail, but would climb and gather the wild flowers and pretty rocks and come back tired but happy. How wonderful to lay on our backs on the green grass and gaze into the blue sky and just think and wonder.
Martins would visit us some evenings or we them and while the parents talked and visited we kids would play games – Run Sheep Run, Steal Sticks, Hide & Seek, and others. Those were exciting nights as we ran and played in the twilight. We were warned not to hide in the clover to mash it down. It was a temptation to hide in the sweet smelling clover. One of our evening chores was to go to the pasture and bring home the milk cows. Some would come down the lane by themselves, but others had to be found in the willows that grew in the pasture. This was a time when I was needed – one to find the cows and get them to the lane and the other to see they didn’t turn around and go back into the willows while the other went in the willows to find one or two more. It wasn’t easy as the willows were thick and so many. Often I’d kneel down and pray for help.
Mother and Dad’s great desire was for us to get a good education, and helped in every way, as did many of the other parents. Not only attendance but behavior and grades was a must. Dad’s and Mother’s disappointment was my worst fear.
Then, as now, getting us to school was the morning’s ritual. We’d have cows to milk and chores to do. One of us would usually watch for the “wagon” (whether sleigh or wagon) and we’d know how much time we had to prepare as the watcher told us the location of the wagon. I can see yet the way it came and even now, years, years afterward, I have nightmares of the need to hurry and can’t find my clothes. What a relief to wake up and find the need had already passed.
One year Dad took Alice, Violet and others to Evanston in the sleigh to see the movie “The Birth of a Nation”. They stayed overnight in a hotel. I wondered then what kind of a play that would be. How could a nation be born?
The first car we had was an Overland. It was in this car I took my first real trip into the world beyond the confines of Evanston. Dad had several uncles living in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, and his Aunt Martha in Soda Springs who we visited. We left home early and passed Evanston, Almy, Woodruff and Randolph and followed the curved and winding road down Bear Lake Canyon. Half way down we stopped by a spring of water by a few trees and ate our lunch. The canyon opened up and there was the lake, blue and glistening in the sun. It was so beautiful and what a thrill to finally find a place where we could take off our shoes and wade in such beauty.
We visited Dad’s uncles in Lava and enjoyed swimming in the Lava pools. We stayed in one and ate salted peanuts. I was ill and since then salted peanuts have never appealed to me. Several nights we went to the indoor pool to watch the swimmers. That fascinated me – the electric lights on the water, the swimmers in the colored suits diving and swimming. This was another world for me. The family was all there, but I got homesick and was so glad to get home.
We’d heard of airplanes all during the war, but had never seen one. One morning while milking Dad and I heard a noise we thought was a car, but Mother and the others said it was an airplane. However, a few minutes later we heard the same noise and rushing out and looking up in the sky saw our first airplane passing over and we watched as it disappeared over the horizon. How wonderful!
This was the beginning air route from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Salt Lake City. Whenever we’d hear the hum of the planes, we’d all rush from school and watch the birdlike machines flying so swiftly across the sky to disappear.
One day a pilot made a forced landing in a field close to our home. The plane was damaged and required several days for repairs. It was a thrill to be able to touch this wonderful thing before it was flown away.
The Church always seemed to have a special something in my life. We had a few books in our home – “Bible Stories for Young People” for one. Learning to read I struggled through it, gaining more from the pictures than the stories. The most I received was a love for the Savior and wondered why He was killed. Mother and Dad helped me with that problem. Another book that helped me with my testimony was “Life of Joseph Smith” by George Q. Cannon. I was just a little girl, but as I read I gained a testimony of Joseph Smith. I went with him into the grove and knew he’d seen the Father and the Son. Grandpa Godber had a French novel – all I recall was girl called Hortense.
The ward would hold a baptism about once a year. There was no font in the building so we’d go to a creek or the Bear River. Sulphur Creek was closer than Bear River and early in the summer had a place for a pond deep enough for baptizing.
June 7, 1919, was the most important day of my life. I was baptized! Reasons unknown to me now I hadn’t been baptized when I was 8 years old. I had passed my 11th birthday and Dorothy her 9th when on that June day we made the trip of several miles in our buggy to Sulphur Creek. It was a lovely spring afternoon and others had already arrived, especially boys who were already swimming in the water. Dorothy and I and several other girls dressed for baptism, being protected by a group of willows growing by the side of the creek. There was a short program, a song and a talk, and then boys were baptized. Our Bishop always insisted boys be first – no matter the occasion – always the boys were first!!
I still feel the wonder of being lead into the waters of baptism and felt the sacredness of the ordinance, and vowing as I rode home in the back of the buggy to prove worthy. Often at baptismal services during the years I’ve felt anew the same feeling.
The next afternoon in Sacrament Meeting I was confirmed a member of the Church and was given the Holy Ghost which has been a guide and protection to me all my life. Seems I’ve known for years the Church was true. Still do.
There seems now to have been times when we’d go to Evanston and stay overnight with Dad’s sister and family. We’d leave the quiet and stillness of our country home and see the town, not large but large to us with it’s streets, stores and people and at nighttime with its electric lights and telephones. It was a marvelous experience for us to go with Aunt Annie and Uncle Julian’s children to a picture show. They were the silent pictures, but the people moved, and even though you couldn’t always read what the actors said, it was wonderful to watch and listen to the person at the piano who played music that suited the picture.
Dad’s sister Aunt Ettie Sessions had an organ – not electric but one that had to be pumped by the feet. She and Uncle Oscar bought a player piano and wanted to sell the organ which the folks bought for Alice and Violet to learn to play and they “took” lessons and Violet loved to play. They showed me a few things, but I didn’t have the touch or whatever one needs that they had. I did learn the notes and tried to play the hymns. I was never a singer, but I learned the words of the songs, and many times the words would flash in my mind, like the scriptures.
May, 1922, was a big day in my life, that was the end of my 8th year in school. Ours was a country school so in order to pass we took examination tests prepared by the state of Wyoming. For weeks we’d been drilled and drilled by our teacher and yet we were a frightened foursome – two boys and two girls who sat down to take the tests. Several weeks later we received our grades. Mine wasn’t too bad. I still have the reports.
For the occasion Mother made me a white dress and bought me a pair of white slippers, and from a catalog Violet and I ordered us a pair of silk hose. Silk – stretching nylons hadn’t been born yet.
I don’t remember the year this happened, but believe it was the year I graduated from the 8th grade at the Hilliard grade school.
It was in the spring of the year. We had endured one of those terrible Wyoming winters. There had been a lot of snow. The road (sleigh) was as high as the fence posts.
Family: Mabel, Alice, Herbert, Violet, Jim, Mabel Alice, Dorothy (Melvin wasn't born yet)
Now spring was coming and the warm sunshine was fastly melting the snow. The water was gathering in the swales, heading for the rivers. Our neighbors, the Martins, lived along this road and had watched the great amount of water gathering in the swale we must pass.
We’d had our annual school program and was still at the Church when Dad and Mr. Martin, the Bishop, thought it best we try and get home. We lived neighbors, and each had all our families in our sleighs. We lived two to three miles from the Church. All went well until we almost got home when we could see our problem. It was one of those nights so clear as day. The big moon shown down on the water and everything was quiet and peaceful. The water was held back by the road and in the moonlight we could hear it lapping against the road and watched it as it was such a beautiful, awesome sight.
We knew we had to cross, but prayed the Lord to hold back the force of the water until we got across. The Bishop was the lead team and as he started over one of the children started to cry. The father “lovingly” said, “Shut up or I’ll throw you in”. There was no other noise except the careful steps of the horses as they walked on the narrow edge of the road. All went well with them and then came our turn. The Lord watched over us also, but what a relief when we were home. During the night the water gained strength to push the road, fences, snow and all, leaving us stranded by the wide place in the road until the snow melted.
September 1922 a teacher was hired to teach 9th and 10th grades, making it possible for children not able or wanting to go to high school to take classes at the school. I was one of – maybe six or eight. We had English, typing, bookkeeping, algebra and ancient history. That was an interesting year. It wasn’t an accredited school. Plans were made for the students to take examinations from Evanston High School. Receiving credit for our year’s work depended on our passing grades.
What an awesome experience that was for all of us! We were a bunch of green country kids and scared to death to compete with city kids who had so many advantages we hadn’t. Arrangements had been made by the school board for Bishop Martin to take us in his white top buggy. It was a cold stormy morning as we left home for the ride to Evanston, laughing on the outside but scared to death and praying on the inside, and trying to keep calm so we could think clearly.
The high school in Evanston seemed such a large and impressive building and I (and all the rest) felt so out of place. Somehow I was able to think and recall answers to the questions and finally it was over and we were told the results of the tests would be mailed to us later.
Finally a letter from the Evanston High School principal came and I hardly dared open it. I’d passed!
Several days later I learned I was the only one who had. I wasn’t very popular to my friends, but I was proud of myself. I had a whole year’s credit. Popularity was never mine. I wasn’t accused of cheating. Next year we took state examinations and passed again. Our school teachers gave the tests that year.
High school in non-accredited school was stopped, so for the next two years we’d have to go away to school. Bill and Alice lived in Kemmerer and offered their home to us so we went and lived with them. We both hated to leave home and though we had good experiences and enjoyed school and loved Alice and Bill, it was only the opportunity to get an education that kept us there. Marion was born while we were there and how we loved that little girl.
We walked to school every morning – crossing the river on a swinging bridge, climbing a steep incline, over the railroads tracks and uphill to the school.
Dad and Mother visited us several times and how we hated to have them leave. We went home for the first Christmas, fully intending not to return. Dad and Mother insisted on taking us to meet the train. We waited in the depot for the train wishing it wouldn’t come and hating to leave the folks.
The school in Kemmerer was mostly Catholic, and least of all, Mormons. My best friend was a Catholic. She was a lively person. Catholism troubled her, but I told her my Church gave me a lot of comfort and peace.
Those two years of high school have been so useful and helpful to me. I always loved to read and study. Miss Carlson, my English teacher for both years, was a plain, not fancy older woman who taught me to appreciate literature, especially English. History, especially ancient, was interesting.
Dorothy and I went to Church all the time. We enjoyed it and that seemed to be the only source of activities especially for our home and perhaps this saved us from trouble. The ward would have been happier, no doubt, for many times we were the only ones in Sunday School and MIA and they had to find teachers. Several young Mormon girls seldom attended. I admired some of the girls in other denominations for the fine girls they were.
It was wonderful to have had this experience in my life, but it was also wonderful to be able to go back home and have another life open up which I loved with Dad, Mother, Jim and Melvin. Alice and Violet had left home for work and marriage before we went to Kemmerer for school. Dorothy was a year behind me in school and went to live with Violet and Oliver in Milford, Utah. She graduated from there. That left me alone with Dad and Mother and the boys.
Mother asked me one day to go to Relief Society with her. Objecting I said, “Not with all those old women”. She soon informed me they weren’t that old and to get ready. I went and found out that there was something there I enjoyed and have loved Relief Society since. It was far different than todays. They quilted all the time while some one gave the lesson. I soon found that although being the youngest I had the most to learn, but also the most to give as none of them had been even to the 8th grade, but they were wise in experience and were wonderful faithful women. I made a quilt top for Violet and Mother and I quilted it for her.
In the summer of 1928 a Mrs. Gibson came to visit her daughter who lived about a mile and half from us. She invited us down one night to have our “fortunes” told as she was supposed to be able to “delve” into the future. Dorothy and I, curious to know what the future held for us, accepted the invitation and rode a horse down to where she was staying. I can’t recall anything much of importance that she told us, and laughed it all off as a joke. After visiting for some time we started home. We were letting the horse take his time and were talking about what we’d heard, when it seemed that some one came up behind us, although we could not see nor hear anyone. It seemed we both felt it and was conscious that the other knew, and instead of talking we exerted our influence to get more speed out of the already overburdened horse. He apparently wasn’t in as much a hurry as we were. As we turned in the gate at home, luckily it was open, this influence seemed to go right on past and down the road. We wasted no time in getting off the horse and left both saddle and bridle by the gate instead of taking them to the barn as we should have done and we let the horse loose in the yard instead of in the pasture. We ran into the house and told Mother. I know it was either his Satanic Majesty or one of his helpers who escorted us home that night. It would be terrible to have to be forever in the presence of and under the control of this fallen son of God.
Once a month the Home Demonstrator would give an all day demonstration on home problems. We’d go early, take our own lunch and enjoy the day. Cooking and food preparation I enjoyed most, using dried foods and what we had in the home.
The County Agent was also the Stake President and saw the need of helping the ranchers become more independent. He suggested those interested to buy dairy cows, to produce cream to sell. Dad and Mother went into this way to improve ourselves financially. The county agent went to Idaho and bought dairy (Jersey) cows. Seems there had been a drought in Idaho and dairymen wanted to sell their cows. I don’t recall how many participated, but as I recall we bought six or seven.
Our life style changed. It was work to care for the cows. Milking, separating, and all things attached to the job, including hard work.
Dorothy was away to school. Dad couldn’t milk too well because of his hand. Jim and Melvin weren’t old enough, although they helped in many ways, especially Jim. I learned to milk cows, to take care of the calves, turn the separator (before electricity) and feed the calves.
It was during this winter that I seemed to get closer to Mother and Dad, especially Dad, as he seemed to need me although he was in pretty good health most of the time. I loved the cows and liked being outdoors, and loved to talk to Dad as we worked.
One day close to Christmas I went to see a friend and it got later than I though and dark. Nearing home I could see two lights, one in the house and the other in the barn. Dad had already started the chores. I unsaddled the horse and entering the barn he said, “Glad you’re back. I was starting to worry about you.” I wonder if Dad is still worrying about me?
One cold winter night there was a dance and when Dad knew I wanted to go he got out of bed, although he was sick, harnessed the horses and we went. I’ve never forgiven myself for letting him do this. I hope he has. It seems to me that I was an unkind, selfish and cruel girl. I’ve never forgotten how good he was.
Our greatest concern was Dad’s health which gradually grew worse as he grew older. Years before as a result of a coal mine accident he nearly lost his life, but was left with a very swollen and disfigured hand. The doctor had warned him the drugs used to save his life might also shorten it. It was a handicap all his life.
The many years in the coal mines with the deadly gases; the hard cold winters on the ranch, and hard work began to show. He didn’t complain but we could see it was harder for him to keep going. We missed his happy whistle and singing as he worked and he didn’t enjoy the social life he once loved so well. He liked to be with people. He was sick a lot and he and Mother would live in Evanston to be close to the doctor. We carried on as best we could at home.
Another cause of his problem was the altitude was too high. He had asthma and the dust of the hay and also the perfume of the clover flowers made him ill. He also had other problems.
His problems started to get worse in 1927 and 1928. Alice and Bill lived in Evanston and he spent time with them and they helped on the ranch especially during haying. Violet and Oliver also helped, but they lived in Nevada and Oliver worked on the railroad. Dad liked to go to Almy and stay with Uncle Lyman. He’d come home feeling better.
The summer of 1928 was especially difficult as we were haying and Dad wasn’t as well as usual. We were nearly finished and Dad insisted he go mowing while we did other things.
I went to see how he was and take him a drink of water. He was glad to see me and asked if I’d mind mowing as he was tired and wanted to rest.
He had stopped when he saw me coming. I told him to go home. I’d be glad to finish for the day. He got off the mower and handed me the reins to the team. I never realized then as I took the reins that he was giving me his responsibilities. That was his last day in the fields. He had worked to the end. I watched him as he slowly walked home.
What were his thoughts that day? I’m sure neither he nor I realized what that day meant to us. For years he had looked upon his land since he first saw it when he came to visit Mother before they were married. It was then uncultivated, all sage brush and rocks. Grandpa Godber and Mother lived in a small log cabin with a small shed for his horses and a small garden and no doubt a well or some source of water. Returning in the spring of 1906 with Mother and two little girls he began to transform the land into the beautiful ranch it was that day. He was then a young man 25 years old, battling his handicapped hand, but with hope and determination to make a home.
Many times during the years he had walked over every inch of this land; sometimes with a shovel over his shoulder, a hoe, a pitchfork – anything needed to use to clear the land, make ditches, fences, burn brush, plant seeds to grow hay for his livestock. Often just a walk after work with his family or a gun to provide food – a sage hen or rabbit.
Looking back at the ranch I call it “sacred ground” blessed by the toil and sacrifices of Dad and Mother as they lived thru the years to make a home for us.
Going home after work that night I could see Dad was really sick. Early the next morning Alice and Mother took him to the doctor. Always before they had come home with good news for his recovery. This time it was sad news. Dad was really ill and with no hope he’d recover.
There was work to do and we began to hope. We finished haying and Dad stayed with Alice and Bill and Uncle Lyman and began to feel better. Mother divided her time with Dad and us.
After haying we had to fence around the hay stacks and prepare for the winter. There was always plenty to do. It was a happy day when we’d take the butter we’d made the day before and went to visit Dad who was feeling better, but we insisted he stay in town.
We’d deliver the butter and buy what we needed and visited with Dad. He’d tell us what to do and it was hard to leave him there and go back home again. Mother stayed mostly with us when Dad was feeling better.
He had two uncles living in Lava that he grew up around. He went there to see them for a while and felt much better. About the middle of October as I recall he wanted to come home. He said there were something he wanted to do to help us. Maybe he wasn’t as well as he put on and wanted to come home. We enjoyed him for a few days but could see he couldn’t stay. He was really sick the last night and Mother and I hurried to get him back. Dorothy, Jim and Melvin were left alone.
As I recall it was 4 November 1928 and election day and he wanted to vote. He and Mother voted and we went on. I had a feeling I was driving my Dad from home and he’d never come back.
They stayed in town and I went back home. We were milking cows and feeding a lot of cows out in the field. It was winter and a lot of snow. Dorothy, Jim and I were alone. Jim and Melvin were going to school.
The morning of the 22nd we got a call saying Dad was worse and we were to go to Lava Hot where Dad and Mother were. Dorothy and I left after the neighbors said they would care for things. Jim and Melvin were in school and we picked them up and drove to Evanston where Alice and Marion were waiting for us. Bill had already gone to be with Mother. We drove to Almy and Uncle Lyman went with us. He drove.
The hospital in Lava Hot Springs where Herbert Brown died
All day we traveled, hoping and praying all would be well. When we arrived in Lava we went to the hospital. Some folks were gathered in the entry and one pointed to a door. I opened it and could see Dad had already gone without saying goodby to us. Dad’s relatives had taken Mother to get something to eat as they hadn’t expected us so early. She felt badly for she wanted to tell us.
An ambulance from Pocatello had been called and we all stood and watched Dad’s body put in and we felt all we had was gone. I stood knowing I had lost one of my best friends and holding on to the other, my Mother. We had Dad’s suitcase and his hat – his worldly possessions, but our memories of him we held sacred in all our hearts. Several of Dad’s uncles lived in Lava. Mother, Dorothy, Jim and Melvin and I went with one of them. Alice, Bill and Uncle Lyman went with the other.
We were tired and all of us slept in one bed. The others were soon asleep. Mother and I talked, wondering what we’d do. She wondered where we could hire some one to help us. I said “No”. If you’ll stay at home and help us, Dorothy and I will do the rest with Jim doing what he could. Neither of us could see any other way.
It was late November (22nd) and already early winter had started. We had about fifty range cattle in the willows that grew on the ranch. We were milking around ten cows which we kept in the barns to care for, some calves, chickens, etc.– besides all the other things needed to be done.
We met Bill and Alice and we all had breakfast. Then we went to the train station for Mother and Bill to go to Pocatello and then take Dad’s body to Evanston arriving about 10 o’clock that night. Seeing them leave, we realized (Dorothy and I) that we were on our own and the road seemed heavy. We paid Dad’s bills and left for home. Yesterday we were full of hope – today we knew we’d have to have strength and courage to face a hard future.
Violet, Oliver and their four children were at Bill and Alice’s getting ready for Dad’s arrival. In those days bodies slept at the home the two or three nights before the funeral. Alice and Bill took over as the train was due at 10 and it was already late and Dad was coming home for the last time. Through the years we had many times waited and listened for some signs of his arrival. This was the last time and his approach was the shrill whistle of the train that cold winter night.
I felt I couldn’t live through the next few minutes. The train bringing Mother and Dad’s body had been met by family and friends. Dad’s body would come in through the front door and his body would lie in the front bedroom. Mother came in through the side door and I was there to meet her. I still see her face, full of sorrow and worry, but no tears!!
We felt then, and I still do, that as Dad’s body came into the house, he came with it, bringing a feeling of peace and comfort we all needed. We were all together, Mother and Dad and us – all the family (14 including Dad). Never in this life would we be all together again.
Preparation for the funeral was a sad job, and then came the time we all met to say our final farewell to Dad. That was a hard thing. I hung on to Dad’s crippled hand, the hand that had guided me all my life, waiting for strength to go on. The funeral and burial are all sacred memories.
Melvin was really sick all night and the doctor said it was a bad case of the flu and he and Mother would have to stay in town. Oliver offered to go with Dorothy, Jim and me for a few days.
That was difficult to go back home and take over. Dad seemed to be every where and yet no where. We came home a few days before Thanksgiving. There didn’t seem much to be thankful for. Our friends Mr. and Mrs. Lym invited us to come for dinner. They had a big family and some friends beside us. They had a big long table and full of food of all kinds. Several times since have I seen such a meal and never before. Roast beef, chickens, pork, vegetables of all kinds, cake, pie, pudding and all good things one could imagine. Oliver said he’d never seen any thing like it.
Oliver had to go back so we were all alone as Melvin still wasn’t well enough to leave the doctor’s care. To help things Dorothy, Jim and I all got the flu and did only what needed to be done. We put in two or three bad days, but lived. Looking back now it all seems a bad dream. However did we manage? The Lord must have helped us.
During this winter a wolf came into the community. Dorothy had told us that on several nights she had heard strange noises that made her afraid, but we laughed at her and told her it was a dog. One night she and I had finished milking and were carrying a ten gallon can of milk between us and each had a bucket on the other hand, when not far behind us I heard a strange noise that I thought was made by Jim as he finished before we had and left the barn. But Dorothy recognized it and in a second we were up and down the drifts as if the can and buckets were empty, and we rushed into the house. Jim was in the house and the dog was at the door and seemed to be afraid of something. We separated the milk and then courageously went out, armed with the lantern, to feed the calves and tend the horses for the night. We were so afraid that at the slightest sound we would have run into the house, but nothing unusual was seen or heard. Afterwards the neighbors saw a wolf on several occasions and many nights we were awakened by its cries.
Jim Brown on the push-rake
It was wonderful when Mother and Melvin came back and we adjusted to the problems as they came day by day and we managed. Mornings were the hardest with getting the fires going and then going out in the cold cruel world regardless of the weather and it was a real hard winter. We’d milk the cows, carry in the milk in eight or ten gallon cans over snow drifts, separate the milk, feed the calves and chickens and tend the horses. We had to water the horses by pulling water out the well. Mother always had breakfast for us and got Jim and Melvin off to school. We’d harness the horses and go out to a hay stack and load up hay for the range cattle which were in the willows. Hay was also needed for the milk cows and calves and horses. At times we’d have to start a new hay stack which was all covered with snow or finish up a stack which sometimes had been drifted in with snow. We dressed warmly but we’d sometimes make a little hay fire to warm our hands. The cows were eagerly waiting for us.
Then it was back to the barn to clean it out and put in new feed in the manger for the milk cows. Dorothy and I made the most of it and had fun. Endeared us to each other. By then it was noon and Mother would have dinner for us. It was a hard winter but we were young and enjoyed it except for not having Dad and although Mother never complained, we knew she was lonely.
Once a week we’d churn the cream and make butter. We had a big wooden churn which we put on a stand and turned it with a handle until butter was made. We’d wash the butter to clear it of buttermilk, salt it and print it in a wooden box. This made one pound. We would then wrap it in a paper which said “Specially made for Mrs. Herbert Brown”. We’d then send the butter to Blyth’s for them to sell. We did this for years. Blyths had regular customers who bought our butter. It was a big job to mail the butter. We lived about half a mile from the road. What a relief to get that over for a week. It usually was a two day job. Hard work, but it paid bills and we could buy nearly everything we needed from Blyths – they were a big store that sold nearly everything and every week we sold our butter. Dorothy and I surely loved to go to Blyth’s. That was a store in a store. We could buy anything. I still wander around it in memory.
Our social life was parties at neighbors’ homes. We went to one and in a few days we heard of a young man dying of diphtheria. Several days later who should have diphtheria? That was a trial. We’d have to sit on the hay stack, cover our heads and breath in warm air and then get up and finish a load or just stop and warm our throats. It was painful. Dorothy had it worse. We put her to bed and Mother helped me. We both got better with the Lord’s help. Jim was a big help all the time.
Lym’s had some hay at our place. They had hired John Martin to come over and get it. John would come at night to visit us and spend the evening. We’d play games as we sat around the big round table with lamps in the middle. We’d play Tic, Tac, Toe, Old Maid, Tiddley Winks, Checkers and such games.
Everything comes to an end. Lym’s hay was all gone, John got another job and at last spring came. We had survived that hard cold winter and looking back now we had enjoyed it.
The grass got green and the cows didn’t need to be fed, only the milk cows in the barn. Then it was irrigating time, ditches to clean and prepare for the summer. I’d helped Dad doing these things so I knew what needed to be done. There were a lot of enjoyable memories of the past which came back to me as I walked over the land we all loved.
Dorothy and John were married in July. We surely missed her and at home there was just Mother, Jim, Melvin and me.
The time to hay arrived. One day I went out to start putting the machinery together and tried to image how to do it and what must be done. Looking at the fields of hay ready to be cut and stacked, I didn’t know how we were going to do it. What were we going to do? I felt so helpless and sat down and started to cry. Mother must have wondered the same as she came and we both cried.
Help came in what seemed a natural way, but it was an answer to our prayers. Our three closest neighbors decided it would be a good idea if all of us shared and worked together to get the hay mowed. Joe Lester was the foreman. Each place where we worked provided dinner for all. Our place was the smallest of the four. I was assigned to the mowing machine. Day after day for weeks I sat on the mower watching the hay drop onto the ground as the blade cut through it. Many and many acres I rode over, round by round.
Mabel about 1926 in Hilliard
We were milking cows. Melvin would get the cows down from the pasture and get things started. Jim would usually get through and start milking and I’d get home as soon as I could and help milk, separate the milk and feed the calves. Mother would have supper ready.
Once a week she’d churn the butter and get it ready to be sent to the store. We’d print it to get it ready. Alice and Bill helped.
I did some thinking that summer. I wasn’t unhappy. I really enjoyed being home with Mother and the boys. I felt needed and wanted. I knew I just couldn’t spend all my life being home. I knew I didn’t want to get married. College I considered, but I’d have to leave home. I did take some home study, and learned a lot. I read so many books I got at the library. Mostly things not too profitable or helpful. I’d almost made up my mind to stay home for the winter and then decide in the spring.
One night John and Dorothy came to see us. While they were there Bishop Martin came and asked Mother if he could send in my name to go on a mission. That was a bolt out of the blue! I had never dreamed of going on a mission. John and Dorothy said they needed a job and they’d help and live with Mother until other plans were made or I returned. Mother agreed that I could go. It all seemed to exciting at first, but as time went on I began to wonder.
I received my mission call from President Heber J. Grant calling me to the Northern States Mission with headquarters in Chicago and to report to the Mission Home in Salt Lake City on Monday, October 14. Date of departure is October 24. The letter from President Grant was dated 11 September 1929.
I don’t believe I shall ever forget going to bed the last night I was home. The moon was as bright and light as to make the room seem as light as day. As I lay in bed, mingled and varied were my thoughts and emotions. It all seemed so peaceful and quiet that I almost wished that I were not going. I wondered if I should ever return; if all would be alright while I was gone; they couldn’t get along without me. What conceit! And many more thoughts, but finally I slept.
Time of preparation passed and then came the morning of October 13, 1929, I had to say “goodbye” to home. Mother had promised Dad the day he died, if he died, she’d be sealed to him. To keep her promise she decided to go to the temple before I left. Violet had been married in the temple. She and Oliver had been many times and done a lot of the names the family had prepared, mostly by Mother, Alice and Dorothy. Violet would meet us in Salt Lake and help us.
John and Dorothy had moved in to take over the work of the ranch. They would take care of it while Mother, Jim, Melvin and I were gone. Alice was expecting Bill (her baby) any day so she couldn’t go.
We left Sunday to be there by Monday morning. It was sad for me for it would be a long time before I returned. I loved the ranch, cows, horses and all. We left by train. I’d been to Ogden before but arriving in Salt Lake was my first view of the temple. The Bishop had made arrangements with the Church that I should go to the temple and then on to the Mission Home to begin my mission.
It was a beautiful October morning as we entered the temple. We were met by an old friend of Mother’s who helped us. The temple has changed since then. We entered the temple by way of the annex, a building close to the temple. We went into a room waiting with others, had a meeting of singing and preaching. Then we went to a long wide row of stairs leading into the temple.
The endowment session seemed long. Mother, Violet and I sat together. I cherish the memory of that day, for us all three being in the temple together. It never happened again. I still think of it whenever I go to the temple.
The endowment session was over and we went to the sealing room where Jim and Melvin were waiting for us. We all kneeled around the sacred alter – a special experience. The sad part Dad wasn’t there. Who can be proxy for a wonderful special father? Important things can be put off too long. We were all wishing Dad were there, but we’re hoping we’ll be able to be all together again.
Other important ordinances were performed that day. Dad hadn’t been sealed to his parents. Violet was proxy for Grandmother Brown in this ordinance. Mother asked me to be proxy for her dear Mother, Alice Hames Godber, so Mother could be sealed to her father and mother. That day was a wonderful experience I shall always cherish.
Then came the hard part. I had to say “goodbye” to Melvin, Jim and Violet. Violet was going to her home. Jim and Melvin were going back home. Mother would come see me off. Violet, Jim and Melvin were special, like all the others. I had already said “goodbye” to Alice, Bill, Marion, Dorothy and John. Jim and Melvin and I had grown especially close during the summer.
I went to the Mission Home to begin my mission. There were a few other girls there. All seemed friendly and capable. It was a wonderful experience to be taught by the apostles. I still remember what a great teacher President David O. McKay was.
Things seemed to be going all right when all of a sudden my old enemy of homesickness hit me and I felt I had to go home. I decided to stay until Mother came and then go back with her. My big problem was how I was going to arrange this.
Our last day came and we were set apart for our missions. This was done by some apostles and some from the seventy. We went to a room where the authorities were all seated on the stand. All our name cards were distributed in groups. As the missionary card and name was called, those called followed the apostles. Seems my card was the last one. Soon all the authorities and missionaries were gone except for five or six of us and J. Golden Kimball. I was glad for I could tell him I wasn’t going. Then all were gone except me and President Kimball. He placed his hands on my head and I’ll never forget the power and influence that came from his hands to my head down to the soles of my feet. Under that power one could die for the church! He also gave me a blessing that all would be well.
Mother came down with some friends and we could stay away from the Home if we had relatives. I spent the night and the next day with her until we had to catch the train late at night. I suggested I’d stay home, or come back if she needed me. Mother said even if she had to sell all the cows I couldn’t come home until released. We enjoyed the day together; had supper with some of Mother’s old friends. They had a wonderful supper – not one drop would go down my throat.
With all the blessings and promises the hardest thing was to get on the train after saying goodby to Mother, thinking I’d die before morning. I shed all the tears – not one did Mother! Years afterwards friends said she cried all the way home. In a year she had lost Dad and me and Dorothy. Many times Mother wondered what she had done that she was always alone. First all her brothers, sisters, mother, dear aunts, a cousin. She dearly loved her father, Dad, her family, she loved and missed.
There were two older lady missionaries and about five elders who were going to the same mission. The sun came up as usual and after three days on the train we came early in the morning to Chicago. Our train seemed to slowly glide among the many trains on each side until we came to a stop. I was in Chicago!
We rode on the elevated railroad and then finally arrived at the mission home where we were met by President Noah S. Pond the mission president.
Missionaries in Detroit
Next day was Sunday. Monday morning I left by myself for my field of labor – Detroit. I understood I was to be met there. All day long I rode through the beautiful state of Michigan. Night came and it was raining when the train stopped and I went into the depot. No one was there looking for me. I had the address of the chapel and the telephone number as the elders were living there. I didn’t know how to use the telephone and the lady at the information desk told me to get on such a number bus and then get off at a certain place and wait for another bus. I went outside the station and saw things I had never imagined – cars and trucks, street cars, taxis – all going in both directions.
It was raining and dark and most people were going and coming. I was all alone, homesick and wondered if I should go back home. Standing, wondering what to do, a taxi driver stopped and asked if I needed help. I knew I couldn’t stand there all night, so I got in, gave him the address and hoped I’d done right.
I never dreamed Detroit was that big and then began to wonder if I’d get lost like I’d heard other girls had done. We stopped and the driver asked if this was the right place. I saw a church and on the lawn with a light shining on it with the words, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was home although I didn’t know one soul.
Detroit really became my home for nearly a year and still holds memories in my heart. I really believe I was sent to Detroit, not alone for anything I did for the Church, but what Detroit and the Church did for me.
Detroit had a nice new chapel and was a well organized branch of the Church – better than I’d ever been in. The members were very diversified – college graduates, descendants of good Mormon families from Utah – other plain and common people – all helped me and I still recall with pleasure them in my memories. After I had been in Detroit nearly three months my companion, Sister Lund was called to Chicago to work in the office, and I was left alone. I began to think that missionary work meant the making of friends and then having them go. After a month of being alone, Verda Lancaster, of Murray, Utah, was sent to be my companion.
While tracting one morning I knocked at a door which I had knocked on another occasion only to be turned away by a man. But this morning he answered my knock and asked me in. I learned he was a widower and very bitter and lonely. I let him do most of the talking but before leaving I asked if he would read a book if I loaned it to him. He promised to read it, so I left a Book of Mormon. Later when I called on him again, he’d read it and thought it was the most inspiring book he’d ever read. He started attending our meetings and in a few months he asked for baptism. I was thrilled when he told me of his plans, but oh the joy that filled my soul when after he had been baptized and confirmed he came to me, took my hand and with tears in his eyes said, “Sister Brown, thanks for bringing me this happiness.” This helped repay all the tears shed and all my doubts and fears.
Street meetings were the hardest part of missionary work, but after one had started they were interesting. Yet, we were not permitted to hold many for the city officials wouldn’t be persuaded to give us a favorable location.
After I had become accustomed to being away from home and had become interested in my work, I began to appreciate the blessings and privileges that were mine. This was a world beyond the confines of the small community where I had spent my life. A strange and different world to be sure, but one in which lived people like the ones I had known all my life. They had their joys and sorrows, ambitions, desires, fears, troubles, and were searching for the best in life. I learned that fundamentally people are the same whether they live in a palace or a humble home. I saw and appreciated the achievements and beauties of modern science in all its various fields, but the dirt, filth and squalor of the slums always made my heart ache.
In early December of 1930 I was transferred to South Indiana District to labor at Indianapolis. It was nearly as hard to leave Detroit as it was to leave home. During the year I had been in Detroit I had many friends and I realized that many of them I would never see again. One in particular was an old man – an investigator and also a convert, but because of his old age he was afraid to join the Church, fearing the desertion of his family and friends. But he was a true friend to Sister Lancaster and I. His home was always open to us and he’d talk to us for hours. He called us his girls of the golden west. He asked us if we would have the temple work done for he and his wife after he had died.
Indianapolis seemed a small place, but I soon learned to like it. My companion here was Violet Rasmussen and we were together as long as I remained in the mission field. While in Indianapolis I preached at two funerals. It’s a difficult task to try to say something comforting to those mourning for a loved one. In June President Pond was released as mission president and was replaced by George S. Romney. In Indianapolis the missionaries were more active in the auxiliaries of the branch than in Detroit due to a great extent to help because of the inactivity of the members of the Church there. In June we were transferred to Vincennes, an old historical town on the banks of the Wabash. We labored here for three months and here we took charge of all Church problems as there was no one in authority, being a dependent branch. Here I spent the hottest summer of my life and at times it seemed more than could be endured. This was one place where people loved to be preached to and to attend meetings. It seemed they never tired of hearing the Gospel preached. In October we were again transferred. This time to Terra Haute, a larger town than Vincennes and farther north, closer to Indianapolis. Here also we took charge of the branch. We stayed here until I was released in December and Sister Rasmussen was transferred to Decatur, Illinois.
January 1, 1930
So here hath been dawning another blue day.
Think, wilt thou let it slip useless away.
Out of eternity this new day is born.
Into eternity at night will return.
Behold it aforetime? No eye ever did.
Yet soon it forever from all eyes is hid.
So, here hath been dawning another blue day.
Think, wilt thou let it slip useless away?
I resolve to make every day profit and be a step nearer life eternal in 1931.
With a heart full of gratitude I gaze back over 1930. Varied has been the blessings and also numerous. In all I acknowledge the guiding and unerring hand of my Heavenly Father. Truly he has been ever watchful and always near. Every day has been spent in the Mission field, but every one has been full of joy and happiness, even though tears – some of joy and others of disappointment – have been shed. Yet they were every one necessary and I would not have had it otherwise. New friends have been made and the ties of the old ones have been twined closer in my heart. I believe I’ve learned the true value of friendship and hold it more sacred. 1930 has found for me the true worth of life with its joys, sorrows, obligations and blessings. We are in very deed our brother’s keeper and how great that duty is, can never be realized until we give to the world all we have. Learn to know your associates and you learn to love them and real happiness can be found only in unceasing service to all. Above all else I’ve found the “Pearl of Great Price” and learned the value of it. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ and I’m so thankful for all the knowledge and testimony I have concerning it. It is all there to bother about, and yet what truth or good is there that doesn’t come under that heading? I hope that at the end of this year I am more worthy of all my blessings than I am now.
Oh, 1931, what joys, happiness, sorrows, disappointments and trials do you hold in store for me? Oh, that I could more a moment glance through my “untrodden future” and see where and in what conditions I’ll be in when 1932 rolls around!! But alas, I err in my wish, for it is not meet that we should scan to know the future! Sufficient is it that we live every day the best we can. God in His mercy has made the future dark. We could not go on if we knew the conditions ahead. But I hope this year to return to my home in the mountains and meet my loved ones there in peace, health, happiness and joy. However, the parting and leaving dear friends here will be hard, because they are all very dear to me. I also wish to return home feeling that I’ve done my best and want to be what my Mother and dear ones think I am, and also be what my dear Father would have me be.
With the love of dear ones and faith in God and a testimony of the restored Gospel come what may we shall met it undaunted and unafraid!!
January 1, 1931 – I surely was tired this morning. “Merry nights surely make sad days.” Poor way to begin the new year...tired! How’ll I end it??? Got ready after studying the Bible in class for an hour and went to Greeson’s for dinner. The atmosphere in a home where the Gospel is being lived is far different than where it isn’t. They made us welcome and gave us the best they had. We had a real nice dinner – mashed potatoes, carrots, roast beef, peas, corn salad, wilted lettuce, jello and pie. Margaret, Sr. Rasmussen and I went to the “Indians”. Some people surely are foolish, and especially those who have no desire to live even decent. Went to Relief Society meeting at 8 o’clock and enjoyed it very much, especially the testimonies that were borne. Br. & Sr. Sullivan brought us home. I wonder what the folks at home are doing? I wrote my diary and went to bed as I got up – tired. Goodnight!
January 2, Thursday – Sr. Rasmussen isn’t a bit well today so we didn’t tract. After breakfast I cleaned house and studied. I got 2 packages and 4 letters, one package a book from the office and the other a purse from J.J. I feel he shouldn’t have sent it; but I feel I must accept it in the spirit it was sent. He also wrote a real nice letter. It’s the same Elder Jardine as ever. A letter from Alice and Melvin. They are all well supplied with colds at home. Alice has a good one – red nose and all that goes along with it. Brother James got home alright. Bought me a pair of pumps and like them real well. Visited Sr. Barger and had class at Funks. Came home at 9:30 and had bread, butter, cheese and jam for supper. Surely was good. Now I’m going to read and go to bed. It’s one month since I first came to Indianapolis. I feel better than I did a month ago.
January 3 and Saturday at that. Let’s see, it is reports, wash day and whatever else can be done. Two letters: one from Violet and a New Year’s card from Annie Martin, wishing me not all good “breaks” with the men, but several. Thanks, Annie, I may need your good wishes! Sr. R. is sick, so true to my profession here’s to castor oil. But it didn’t stay put. I washed my clothes, hair and self. Decided not to talk about resurrection by modern revelation. Went to bed about 10.
January 4, 1931. First Sunday in the month and also in the year and it surely is a beautiful day. Sr. R. still sick so we didn’t go to Sunday School. First time I’ve missed for over two years. I studied on my sermon and got ready for Church. Wore my blue velvet dress and pearl beads. Waited on every street car but had plenty of time. Everyone wondered why we weren’t at church. We attended Joint Council Meetings and found the organizations are nearly all like the missionaries – broke. I was the first speaker at night, then Joe Miller. Song by Choir: “Jesus Mighty King in Zion”; Brother Farley was the last speaker. Surely a good meeting. Came home with Leavitt’s and had a ham sandwich and some ice cream. First I’ve eaten or drank today. It’s raining a little. Seems more like spring than winter. Wonder what I’d be doing if I were home? Idle wishes, it time you went to bed. Well, ‘goodnight”. It’s striking eleven now.
January 5, 1931 – Sr. Rasmussen better today and I surely feel relieved. It’s still raining and we can’t tract. A letter by Alice, but dictated by Mother. Wants to know if I can go to Pekin, Illinois to see her Uncle Will as he is quite feeble and his wife died last March. I’ll ask Pres. Pond’s opinion and surely hope he consents. Pres. Thurston and Elder Ward are leaving town to visit the District. They will be gone nearly two weeks. The D.P. gave me permission to open his mail – from the office. Called on Anderson’s and enjoyed the visit. I believe she still needs her ideas changed from those Baptist notions to “Mormonism”. “Don’t you understand.” We sang nearly all the songs in the Book, reminded me of the night Sr. Lancaster and I preached and sang the devils out of Sr. Hansen. A nice meeting at Martin’s, although they’re neither hot or cold. It was Article II of Saturday Night Thoughts. Came home and had letters. One a card from Nora – went to every address in Detroit, but finally came here; a real nice letter from Pedan. He surely is nice and would make a “peach of a husband”, but is too old for me. I’d better go easy; but still he’s a wonderful friend. Hence idle thought, read the Bible and then go to bed!! Good advice.
January 6, 1931 – Here it is the 6th. I really can’t keep up with time. Got two letters – one from Ethel and dear Sister Faulkner. Ethel seems to be having a rather gay time – doing lots of things she’d not do if her Mother was alive. She doesn’t seem the same girl. It surely was good to get a letter from Sr. Faulkner. That surely was home to me and always will I hold sacred those happy hours spent there. We got dressed up in our “best” and had our pictures taken. That man would make anyone laugh. I do hope they’re good. We had a real nice class at Ressingers. I haven’t yet decided whether or not she’s interested – only to the extent of company. We had a real nice lunch – bean salad, but it’s good. Made a mad dash for Mutual and arrived – on time. Sr. Adair wants us to give the lesson in Relief Society besides teaching in Sunday School. Came home with Leavitt’s and half a block from home ran out of gas. Read and went to bed early.
January 7, 1931 – Had class and read several chapters in Matthew. If only I could remember all those good things. I got no letters today, but guess they’re all alright. Mercy, it was cold today. I nearly froze to death while I was tracting. One kind Methodist did ask me in to thaw out. She’d been to the Reorganized Church several times and didn’t like it. She seems to me to know immersion is right but won’t let her conscience agree with her judgment. But she’s reasonable enough to read and willing to go to any church. “I can find Jesus wherever I go because I take him with me.” Got our proofs and they’re finally passing. Class at Huffman’s – lesson, Zion. Wonderful people. Also arranged for a primary at (Oh, I can’t think of the name) on Cruft Street. Supper at White’s and am surely hoarse with shouting. Mother used to say I could be heard a block away, but I’m not that loud anymore.
January 8th – Sr. Rasmussen is still sick. I surely am worried about her. She was lying on the bed and I went down stairs and when I came back I thought she was asleep so I put her in bed and she said “I saw a man who asked me to do his temple work.” She scared me to death and so I asked her about it. She didn’t know whether she was asleep or not but there was a woman sitting at a desk looking through some books. She closed it and put it in the drawer and said, “Daddy, nothing’s been done for you in the temple.” She said the old man looked so disappointed and said, “Will you do my temple work for me?” That was all but, of if we only realized the sacredness and seriousness of temple work. I tracted but it seemed useless – so many agents, no would answer. Four letters this morning: Violet, Dorothy, Aunt Ettie and Sr. Hayden. All are well and everything seems alright. It seems as if hard times are commencing at home. Latter Day Saints are going to be tried the upmost. Class at Sullivan’s and I hollered until I couldn’t. It almost seems useless. They want to know about New Years and it’s beginning. Took Sr. Rasmussen to Dr. Barger. I surely am glad it wasn’t I. Had supper at the Church – chicken soup (canned), raisin bread, jelly, apricots and pie. Gave half the lesson in Relief Society – Alma 50-63. Sr. R. Gave Helaman 1-13. Very interesting. Home with Sullivan’s and I believe I’ll go to bed. This has surely been a lovely day – just like spring. I’d like to walk and walk in Wyoming’s lanes. Good Night!!!
January 9, 1931, Friday – Had class and studied chapters 17-21 of St. Matthew. Only one letter today – from Alice. They are all quite well only the Baby and he has a cold. Allie Brown died of a cancer and Joe Haddenham is in a hospital in Denver having his eyes treated. There seems to be so much trouble. Alice and Bill surely are good to us. I believe they’d move out their home. No one can treat us any better than they do – but Violet and Dorothy are the same. Alice sent me a nice cake and some of her candy. It brings tears to my eyes because I miss them so much. Life’s sometimes like that – it’s so sweet it hurts. I copied some pieces in my I.P. book and held class at Funk’s. They will be baptized as soon as the Elders come back. They are wonderful people and will make fine members. I feel I’ve known them all my life.
January 10, Saturday – Washing, reports, letters and a general clean up. Everything in general and a lot of worrying as to what to write to President Pond and Thurston about. I wrote to Mother, Violet and Dorothy. Prepared Sunday School lesson for the New Testament class and went to bed.
January 11. Got ready for Sunday School and left about 9 o’clock. Walked to Rural and met Sullivan’s. Found out my class was Book of Mormon instead of New Testament as I’d studied the wrong lesson, but got along fine. No one asked us to go home with them so we (Sr. R. and me) spent the afternoon in the church alone singing, playing and studying, also keeping up the fire to keep warm. Sr. R. thinks I’ll make a good fireman down below. I’ll surely make it hot for some. Took charge of Primary and taught the little kids. Mercy they’re stubborn – If I ever have any children and they’re that mean, I’ll do something radical. Oh, yes, I know I should go easy but there’s no excuse. We came home with Sullivan’s and I’d talked so much I didn’t care if I ever said another word. I don’t even care to argue.
January 12, Monday – A regular snow storm and surely cold. After class we wrote several letters. Visited Coffey’s and found them nearly all “one leg in the grave and the other on a banana peel”. They treated us real nice and I feel like I’d like to go back again. We were going to listen to the organ recital in S.L. but Sister Sullivan didn’t know where to get it. We had supper and they took us to Martin’s for class. We are studying Saturday Night Thoughts and feel that all the good we do is for ourselves. I’m sure they get little out of it. Sr. Rasmussen went to the doctor and she has heart trouble. Came home and after a good hot bath went to bed.
January 13 – Fifteen months ago today I left my dear home and native state. In some ways it’s ages, so to speak since I was there, and yet it doesn’t seem long. I got a lovely letter from Mother and they’re all well. I surely have the best Mother any girl could ask for. George Bell has had his arm off. I surely feel sorry for him and especially for her. It was too cold to go tracting so we studied and then walked to Schwartz’s. They were well and we had a nice visit. Bought me a pair of gloves at Ayres for .69 cents and tried to get a dress, but couldn’t find one I liked. We had a nice class at Ressinger’s -- Baptism essential to salvation. For supper we had beans and ham, corn bread, cottage cheese, rice pudding and cookies. I surely enjoyed it. Mutual was quite good – if only they’d go at it in the right way. Sr. Farley gave a good reading about a girl who didn’t appreciate her Mother until she learned all her mother’s story. I surely appreciate mine and all I owe her I can never repay. For community singing we had some rounds. Home with Sullivan’s. A letter from Bro. James and one from President Pond saying he can’t give me privilege to go to Pekin. Well, I guess it’s all right. I surely hope that arrangements can be made for me to get to see him.
January 14, 1931 – Sister R. had a real bad sore throat this morning so I made her stay in all day and I went alone. I talked so much I was hoarse. I never saw so many deaf people in my life. At Sullivan’s the class was better than it’s ever been. It was baptism and repentance that we studied. Of course at Huffman’s it’s always good. They surely are wonderful people. From there I walked to the church and nearly froze to death. There was no mail so I took the Prospect car to town. Got our pictures from the National and they were good. Came home and wrote, studied and several other things.
January 15, 1931, Thursday – It’s Daddy’s birthday today. I surely miss him and it seems a shame he had to die so young. He surely was good to me and I love him so much. I surely feel that I am not worthy of their love. Sister Rasmussen was some better this morning. We tracted in the afternoon. I had several real good conversations and nearly froze to death. We went to Leavitt’s and being as it’s Larry’s birthday had a real nice supper. Then we went to Relief Society and they had a brief meeting and made candy to sell to pay for the turkey at Conference. Sister Farley made fudge and together Sr. R. and I made divinity. Ours was real good. Brother Leavitt has bought a new car – Roosevelt. He brought us home. Bed!
January 16, 1931, Friday – Tracted with usual success. Had dinner and went down town to buy me a dress. Went to several places, but finally I went to Lerner’s and got one. Went to Aikin’s for lunch or supper and went to Funk’s for class, but they weren’t home as we came home.
January 17, 1931 – Took our washing to Leavitt’s and had a regular wash day. They went down town but left us home to get dinner. We had potatoes, pork chops and boiled rice. It surely tasted good. Afterwards Bro. Leavitt brought us home in the car. Wrote to Mother and Alice and after making reports, prepared a sermon – or tried to.
January 18, Sunday – Mrs. Scott brought us some fig newtons up for breakfast. We took the street car to town and was early for Sunday School. Sr. R. gave one of the 2 ½ minute talks. My class in Sunday School went fairly well. No one invited us to dinner so we walked down to Fountain Square and had dinner. I tried several talks, but finally decided on the resurrection. I was the first speaker and I talked about 20 minutes. Brothers Oliver and White were the other speakers. We came home with Leavitt’s.
January 19 – It was too cold to go tracting so we studied and Sr. R. went and got our clothes from Leavitt’s. She came home filled with missionary scandal. In the afternoon we went to class at Martin’s; they are well, but hardly seem very interested. He didn’t as much even stop smoking and when he, did went to sleep. Went over to the church and the elders were back. Home and studied Jesus the Christ.
January 20, 1931, Tuesday – Mrs. Rissinger called and said her husband was sick so would we postpone the class. I got a book from Melvin, sent Mother a picture and Jim a scarf for his birthday. We called on Mrs. Hood, but she wasn’t home so we tracted awhile, but was too cold. We posted our packages and then went to church. Had supper with the elders and then Mutual. The gleaner girls are going to make a quilt. We came home with Sullivan’s.
January 21, 1931, Wednesday – We tracted in the morning and then went to classes. At Sullivan’s we had dinner and then class. We studied about the Holy Ghost. They are good people but it takes a good pair of lungs to preach to them. He is surely hard to make hear. My throat is dry every time I leave. At Huffman’s we studied of the Savior’s second coming. They know the gospel is true but just can’t see the necessity of action. They surely treat us nice though. At Sebastian’s we had our first Primary. I took charge and told about Joseph who was sold into Egypt. We walked from there to Volt’s for supper and surely enjoyed it. We had potato salad, pork chops, corn, nut bread, jello and cookies. They treated us real nice, but make too much of themselves. We came home about 10 and I didn’t feel a bit good so went right to bed.
January 22, 1931. It surely was a lovely day today just like spring. We had breakfast and then Leavitt’s called and wanted us to go see Sister Barger and she was sick. So we decided to walk and take pictures as we went. We took several of each other and came to a cement soldier boy. As I was talking Sr. R. besides this man a car drew up and wanted us to let them take our picture by this man to put in the Sunday Morning Star. I didn’t thank it would be proper so objected. They tried to coax us, even trying to tell us we were pretty. What people won’t say or do when they want things. Finally they went and I posed by the man. Sr. R. took my picture and we walked on. Sister Barger was quite sick so we stayed with her until nearly five then we went over to the church for missionary meeting. But Elder Ward and I cook supper first. At Relief Society Sr. Sullivan gave a very interesting literature lesson. Afterwards we came home with Sullivan’s. I got a letter from Dorothy today. They are all well, but John’s father is sick. She wanted to know if I’d found a man yet. I’ll send her a letter and say I have and will send his picture next time and will send it with the stone man – the best kind after all. I surely feel mean tonight.
January 23, 1931, Friday – It’s Jim’s birthday today and he’s 16 years old. Mercy! It doesn’t seem possible that he could be that old. It seems that I should be about that. I don’t feel any older than I ever did – even if I do sense responsibility and worry. I’ve written to him promising that he won’t smoke until he’s 18, I’ll give him a watch or anything else he’d like. We tracted in the morning and worked in our room in the afternoon for awhile. Went to White’s for supper and had to run to class at Funks’s. Came home and a letter from Pres. Child.
Saturday, 24th – 15 months today since I left my Mother in Salt Lake. Well, it won’t be long before I can see her again. I wrote to her and Violet, washed my hair, took a bath and several other things. Got ready and met the elders at the Claypool Hotel at 2. Went to the Indiana and saw “Little Caesar”. Also Lita Grey Chaplin in person. This was the first show this year and I surely got disgusted with them. Had a chicken sandwich at the Apollo and then went to Leavitt’s. Typed a letter for him, had ice cream and cake and walked home and bed.
Sunday, 25th –Went to Sunday School with Sullivan’s and enjoyed it very much. After choir practice we went to dinner at Leavitt’s and had: roast pork, potatoes, corn, gravy and pie. Helped wash the dishes and typed three letters for Bro. Leavitt. Larry was baptized today. I played the piano at the services and surely was frightened. Elder Ward baptized him. We had a very nice Sacrament meeting. The speakers were Bill Schwartz, Elder Ward and President Thurston. We came home with Sullivan’s and were hungry so we had a lunch in the room and then went to bed.
January 26 – Tracted this morning and had some good conversations. Went to Leavitt’s, took some pictures and had lunch. Because of Sunday School officers and teachers meeting, we had our class at Martin’s earlier than usual. The S.S. planned for a program on the 14th. Sr. R., Sr. Leavitt and I are on the program committee. More trouble!
January 27 – We had a real nice class with Mrs. Ressinger and also a nice supper afterwards. Mutual was fine until I had to give the lesson because Sr. Farley was sick. The lesson was on Friendship in the Home between Brothers and Sisters. I can quite easily glean from that field.
January 28 – We tracted this morning and then went to class at Sullivan’s and Huffman’s. Mother used to say she could hear me a mile away – if I only had that lung capacity now!! Bro. Huffman surely has a sense of humor. Told of how they pray saying “Lord, send the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost and fire, and if it started to come they’d be going. We had a nice Primary and then went to Owen’s for supper. They were nearly all sick, but that’s where we should be. Bro. Owens and I talked of work for dead. We came home about ten and went to bed.
Friday – Tracted and went to Leavitt’s to plan for the S.S. program. Maurine was quite sick so we accomplished little. Had supper and then nearly broke our necks to get to class at Funk’s on time. But managed and surely had a wonderful class. The elders carried our cases and we forgot to get them when we got off the street car. We’re going to go to a show tomorrow. Meet them at the Claypool at 2 pm.
Saturday – Monthly reports!! Better than it was last month anyhow. Wrote to Mother and Alice and then went downtown. Elder Ward left my case where we got on the street car. I nearly died when I found it was lost and so did he. No, we didn’t go to the show. They went to try and find it and put an “ad” in the paper. We went to the Church. They never found it, but I tried not to worry. We had a nice supper in the church and then the Mutual program started. It was quite good. They sang to the tune of How Do You Do things about the different members of the Branch. They didn’t forget Pres. Thurston and I.
His went like this.
“If we only had your line of gab
We would ride around in a cab”.
Mine was real nice. I believe they’re almost afraid of me.
“Though you’ve been here just awhile
We think you’re a nice little girl”.
We had a nice time although I am so worried about my case. I shouldn’t be so negligent and careless. Tomorrow is fast day and the first of February. The first month of 1931 has just gone because the clock has just struck 12. January lost my “grief” case, if February will only return it.
Sunday, February 1 – Studied my Sunday School lesson and then got ready and went to S.S. Lawrence Owens and Margaret Volts of my class gave the 2 ½ minute talks and did real well. We stayed at the church and studied. At 6:30 we had choir practice – “Do, La, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do” and so on. We had a wonderful meeting at night. Bro. Sullivan, Sr. Rasmussen and Bro. Jones were the speakers. I was nearly scared to death because if Bro. Jones hadn’t taken up the time I would have had to. But he did. Margaret Gruson brought us a lemon pie, and we ate 1/4 each. It was real good after a day fast. We came home with Sullivan’s and my brief case was on the chair. Some one must have returned it. I know it’s an answer to may prayers and my faith is stronger! “Say not the struggle naught availeth!” I surely am grateful that I have it back.
Monday, February 2 – Usual routine in the morning. Tracted. Went to Leavitt’s and took pictures. Planned the Valentine program. Left early and had class at Martin’s.
Tuesday, February 3 – After tracting we went to town. Sr. R. bought her a band for her watch. Went to class at Rusinger’s and it was very good. Had a nice supper and then to Mutual. Came home with Sullivan’s.
Wednesday – Tracted and then classes and as usual on Wednesday, good and hoarse. Bro. Huffman has a keen sense of humor. Epitaph on head stone: “She’s at rest and so am I.” He wouldn’t be if I were her. Called on the folks who found my case and found them very nice people. Went to Barger’s for the Calendar Club Party. Sr. R. and I had charge of all the games. We played “Singing Handkerchief”, “Spirits”, “Flat Tire” (we all enjoyed that) and then got a good crowing joke on the D.P. Ice cream and cake was the refreshments served and we each got some one else’s valentine. The last game was “Little Brown Mouse”, but not for us. We washed dishes and finished the ice cream and cake. Came home after one, dead tired.
Wednesday, or rather Thursday, Feb 5 – Didn’t have sleep enough to distinguish which was which. After tracting we had to go to Sr. Morris’ for dinner. Mercy I’d hate to line penned up like they do and all that old women’s gossip – Horrors!! I hope I don’t ever get like that. We had a real nice lunch and, of course, beans. We made our adieus early and left. Went to the Circle and saw “Kismet”. It was real good. (Poet’s name for “Fate”) Went to the library and studied our B of M lesson fro Relief Society. It was very good. I gave the last 4 chapters of Helaman. Came home with Sullivan’s and now for sleep. My theme song now is “Please go away and let me sleep.” Goodnight!!
February 7 – Went to Leavitt’s and did my washing. Elsa got her hand in the wringer and nearly killed me with fright. It never hurt her and perhaps teach her a lesson. If I have kids that nosey, I’ll do something drastic. Got ready to go to the lecture and because I’d had onions for dinner had to buy Sen-Sen. For myself give me the onions. I played the piano because Opal wasn’t there. Elder Wright is good and it recalled memories of another lecture in Detroit. I’d like to hear it again. Bed.
Sunday – We made a wild dash this morning to Rural which equaled that of the Light Brigade. We thought we were late and that Sullivan’s had left so we thought we’d better call a taxi. Just dropped in the nickel and we saw them. We had a nice class and Bro. Sullivan praised it very much. We went home with them for dinner and surely enjoyed it. Sr. R. and I washed the dishes and studied while they visited his brother. I prepared a sermon about Abraham Lincoln. Had a lunch of a sandwich and pie ala mode and then head to church. I was the first speaker so I can enjoy the others. They were Joe Miller, Bro. Morris, Sr. Johnston and Bro. Fleming. We came home with Sulllivan’s.
Monday – the mailman even passed the house up this morning. I surely expected a letter from home. Tracted in the morning and at night went to Officers and Teachers Sunday School meeting. Further plans concerning the social materialized. Home with Leavitt’s, stopped on the way and got my clothes. A letter from Bro. James and a Liahona subscription. He is progressing very nicely and I’ve so glad I could show him the way out of darkness and despair into the light of truth.
Tuesday, the 10th – “It isn’t raining rain to me, it’s raining trackless hours”. We spent the time in studying and writing letters, but there was none for me. We went to Bro. Snow’s restaurant for dinner. I never knew him and he never knew who we were. We gave our order and then he asked if we weren’t Mormons. Gave us a nice dinner and talked until he had to go get his wife. He took us to Ressinger’s for class and did we go? We had a nice class about work for the dead. For supper we had chili and cookies. Left at 6:30 for Martin’s class. On the way Sister R. lost her heel. From there we went to Mutual. In the Gleaner class the girls popped corm and afterwards sold it for 5 cents. Bill Swartz gave a brief outline of the Opera (Devil) and Faust. It was real good. Home and bed.
Wednesday – Today was surely a busy one. At the class at Sullivan’s we studied the apostasy. Mr. Sullivan was quite sick I thought. Bro. & Sr. Huffman were the same as ever. Surely lovely people. Sr. R. held Primary and the story was very good. We walked up to Fountain Square and had supper. We went to the Church and met the Elders and walked to Schwartz’s for class. It was real good. Temptations of Jesus and the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount. We walked home and found a message from Sr. Leavitt wanting us to stay with her kids. So we wearily trudged back up to Oxford. I really believe we’ve walked ten miles today.
Thursday, the 12th – We had breakfast and then came home and went tracting. Afterwards I went down town; cashed my check and got my watch and we planned for the program. Supper and R.S. with Sullivan’s. Only a short lesson on colds and also a letter from Sr. Pond saying she’d be here March 10 and wanted the Lady M. to meet her with some one in a car. Well, that’s a month off. The Elders gave us instructions what to do while they were gone. We stayed up until after 10:30 waiting for Bro. Leavitt to call, but he didn’t. Then went to bed, but I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep. Stood by the window and watched it rain, while my thoughts went racing home. I hope they are well. It was surely lovely to get a valentine from Jim and Melvin.
Friday – Still raining. Wrote a letter to Mother and surely poured my heart into it. It stopped raining a little so we walked to Swartz’s and Harold’s. Came home and again it was raining too hard so we went to the Circle to see Cimmaron. Oh, I surely liked it (wild and rough). Had lunch in the Church and went to Funk’s for class. Home and bed.
Saturday, the 14th – This is the day of days and I feel it too. Sr. Leavitt isn’t going. Got a letter from Alice and Jack Martin died Tuesday. I surely feel sorry for them. Sr. Sullivan called and wants us to help her and she’ll fix our baskets. She came to the rescue all right. I helped her while Sr. R. made the baskets. We had cheese and nut sandwiches, meat sandwiches, pies, fruit, potato salad, pickles and cookies. I squeezed three dozen oranges and one dozen lemons for punch, washed dishes for 35 minutes, counted a bottle of beans and helped get supper. The rest I need not write because I’ll never forget. I surely am tired and it’s 12 so goodnight.
Sunday – Mrs. Scott called us this morning and we got up and had to hurry to get ready, but Bro. Sullivan came and got us and I’m glad he did. We had a nice S.S. and also a good lesson in class. It was Building the Ship and Crossing to the Promised Land. We had lunch at Fountain Square and then read and studied. Sr. R, Margaret Greeson and Bro. Farley were the speakers. We came home on the street car.
Monday – A valentine card from Ellen. She’s in California. I guess I’ll have to write to her. Wrote to Alice and mailed it. Oh it surely is raining. Went to see Bro. Smith and they are a little better. Had supper at the Apollo and went to Corwin’s for class. Studied 3-6 sections of Doc. & Cov. They brought us home in the car and invited us for dinner next Monday.
Tuesday – While we were eating breakfast Mrs. Ressinger called asking us not to come today because she was sick. I got a lot of mail today – a nice Valentine from Marion (nearly makes me want to cry), a letter from Mr. Palmer (he surely is a good man and a real friend), a picture and letter from Elder Stratton, (which made me Detroit - Pontiac sick) and the paper Alice sent. In it was the news of Mr. Martin’s death. I tracted on Denny - 1st block, wrote a letter to Mother and walked to Farley’s. Had a nice supper and some good home-made cake, oh yes and sassafras tea. Went to Mutual with them and enjoyed it very much. In the Gleaner class the lesson was about prayer. Opal brought some taffy candy, but it was all stuck together. I read a piece in conjoint call “Pessisim”. Oh, I can’t spell it tonight.
Wednesday – Up; read the Bible, took a bath, got breakfast and went tracting. Every one must have gone to the fair or something. I knocked until I was almost tired. Finally the man on crutches came to my rescue, invited me in and we discussed Mormonism. He has many good, true ideas, conception of God, 3 glories and is very broad mined and willing to read and listen. Left him a B of M and several Liahona’s came home, but no mail, so we went to town for classes. Good classes and I can see added interest and improvement. We didn’t have any dinner so between Sullivan’s and Huffman’s bought some cookies. Had supper at Snow’s Restaurant and walked to Swartz’s for class. Just going to start when Elder Ward, Pres. Thurston and Pres. Wright came in. We studied 6 & 9the chapters of Matthew. Walked home and took exercises until I doubt I’ll ever move again – all to get thin!! Oh vain woman!!
Thursday – After breakfast went to Prayer Meeting with Mrs. Scott. They treated us very nice, prayed for us, asked us to talk and then said they enjoyed it and guessed they did because they asked me to give the lesson next morning. Quite an honor(?). Wrote home to Mother about it. “Might turn Methodist Yet” -- Warning of Brother Sullivan. The Relief Society lesson was real good literature.
Friday – Methodist Prayer Meeting lead by a Mormon Missionary – even Rev. Shake put his appearance on the scene of action. The lady never gave me the “text” until nearly 8:30 – 4th chapter of Timothy – a sure reward. They said they enjoyed it very much. Sr. Rasmussen sewed her dress because it rained and snowed. A letter from Violet and she’s home now and I’m surely glad. Her letters brought tears of memories to my eyes when she mentioned 40 missionaries leaving on the train she came home on. Well, they’ll soon meet a train from the east. Class at Funk’s, a very good one.
Saturday – Made our reports and wrote Mother. It surely was a beautiful day – didn’t feel a bit like washing, but nevertheless, “has to be, has to be”. Then also in regarding “a promise is a promise”, we washed and cleaned Bro. Leavitt’s Marmon. But I promise never to promise again. He brought us home and we got right ready and went to White’s. Had a real nice supper and some good taffy – even if it wasn’t cooked enough. Bro. White can surely “gab” and also does – I yet I like him and her also. Nothing like White’s in Detroit. I’m too tired to write more. Goodnight!!
Sunday – Surely a beautiful morning – Washington’s Birthday. Yesterday we waited for a ride to Sunday School, so we walked down to Leavitt’s. At the last minute I had to give a 2 ½ minute talk in Sunday School. While walking to Sunday School I was impressed by the Flag waving in the breeze so I talked about Patriotism and this the promised land. While giving the lesson in S. School I began to be hoarse. We went to Martin’s for dinner and surely enjoyed the afternoon. I didn’t think they were so nice. But I got so I couldn’t talk and maybe a good think I did for I fear I’d have had to talk. Elder Ward is going to take Elder Orrison’s place. So he talked and I enjoyed it very much.
Monday, February 23 – It was surely raining this morning so we couldn’t go tracting. I got several letters from home. All are well, I am too, but I can’t talk at all. We met Elder Ward down town and went to the Circle to see “Father’s Son”. It was real good and lot in it to remember. Went to the Church and Sr. R. cooked dinner. Pres. Thurston came in in time to eat. We studied and then went to Corwin’s for supper and class. Pres. Thurston never asked me any questions, but I did manage to tell him what I wanted. I surely don’t feel very good.
Tuesday, the 24th – Sr. Rasmussen insisted that I stay in bed and I was willing. I feel that if I don’t get so I can talk I’ll explode. Sr. R. had to go down town and also to Ressinger’s, so she went and stayed until after Mutual. I wrote letters all afternoon; wrote home, Alice, Sr. Lancaster, Sr. Hayden, Elder E., Aunt Ettie, Adin, Mrs. Barker and Edith Hutchinson. This bed’s surely hard. ( A year since I met Sr. Lancaster.)
Wednesday, the 25th – Still hoarse, sick and in bed. President Thurston paid me a royal visit and said I should stay in bed, so here I am, with the cough syrup on one side and the castor oil bottle staring me in the eyes. Sr. R. had the classes on the south side and then came home.
Thursday, the 26th – I got up today, but didn’t go out. I fixed my clothes. Called Sullivan’s and they said they’d come and get us. We went to class at Martin’s and then to Relief Society. I nearly got kicked for going out. I maybe would have been better if I’d stayed home. But I’ll be alright.
Friday, the 27th – We went tracting today and it surely seemed good. Had a good conversation with a man on crutches and loaned him a Book of Mormon. Had a nice class at Funk’s. but it seemed funny without Elder Ward.
Saturday – Last day of February 1931. Made monthly reports and all that goes with it. Just as good as last month’s. Went down town and tried on several dresses, but didn’t buy any. Went to Coffey’s for supper and it surely was a typical Kentucky meal. We had a good visit and walked home. Studied my Sunday School lesson and went to bed.
Sunday – March 1 – We had a real nice lesson in Sunday School. Went with Bro. Jones home for dinner – one of the best since I came here – Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, brown potatoes, peas, salad, dressing, noddles, gravy, and last but no least – butterscotch pie. Afterwards we went to the airport and was it nice. I believe I’d like to go home on an airplane. We to the speedway and drove around Riverside Drive. Came home and tried to study as the D.P. “promised” me I could talk. Had supper – just the same as dinner only it was jello and cake, instead of pie. The car wouldn’t go when we got half way to Church, so one man pushed us, but on every turn he’d get knocked off. Got there just in time to comb my hair and get up to Church. Sat in dire distress and suspense, but Bro. Jones and Pres. Thurston are good speakers so I didn’t have time. Came home and read and now I’m tired.
Tuesday – Brother Jones at Mutual said his car has never stopped since. He got Fred Stienetz to pull him home, but when he got in, tried it, and it has gone ever since. So it must have been us. We had a nice supper at Sister Bair’s tonight and Bro. Bair took us to Mutual in his car. We had a real nice time. I gave the lesson in the Gleaner class. It was “At School”. I surely got a lot of good out of it. Came home on the street care because Sullivan’s weren’t at Mutual.
Wednesday – Sister Rasmussen is sick today so I held the classes alone and was I tired. I’m about tired of going to Sullivan’s and have him chew all the time. I got Sr. R.’s new coat and hurried home. Had supper and went to class at Swartz’s. We had a discussion about “John the Baptist” being least in the Kingdom of Heaven and if there was any difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Stayed with Sr. Leavitt all night as Br. Leavitt was out of town.
Thursday – Got up early and had breakfast and came home. It was surely a beautiful day today – just like spring. Had a nice time tracting and then took some checks to the bank for Leavitt’s. We went to the Circle and saw “Dracula” the most terrible thing I’ve met. We had missionary meeting from 3 to 5 and had supper and then Relief Society.
Friday – President Thurston called and said he’d just heard from Pres. Pond and Elder Ward is D.P. in South Ohio so he is going to Terra Haute to tell him and won’t be at class tonight. Sr. R. didn’t feel very well, so I tracted alone and nearly froze to death. We had a nice class; had a good talk with Carl. He thinks women are terrible.
Saturday – Mercy, talk about rain. It surely did and snow also. We went to town and bought some things we needed after making our reports and writing home to Mother and also answering Oliver’s. we surely have some good folks. We had a real “homey” dinner at Swartz’s – home made biscuits. Elder Ward and Pres. Thurston were there also. I helped wipe the dishes. We came home about 9 and studied.
Sunday – Sullivan’s called to get us this morning, or rather they met us, but not before I’d fallen down on the ice. It’s cold and I’ve never seen it snow so hard in Indiana. Sunday School was real interesting. Went home with Morris’ for dinner while the Elders came on the street car. We certainly had a wonderful dinner. Elder Ward and I tried to study for a sermon, but I was as blank as could be. They showed us all the ex-missionaries pictures and gave us their history – pro and con. I hate to leave for fear of what they’ll say about me. I’m not going to leave a picture, that’s evident. We came to Church about 5:30 on the street car. The suspense was terrible, but there wasn’t time for me to talk. It seems I can’t enjoy the meetings any more for fear of being the next speaker. Came home with Sullivan’s.
Monday – Got up early and dashed down to the station to see Elder Ward before he left, but he’d been up to the train. I guess he didn’t expect us because we were there 5 minutes before the train left. We had breakfast at a café a bought some goods to fix a dress. Came home and had several letters, all fine at home. Went to Leavitt’s and did our washing – oh, it was cold and then stayed for supper. It was Officers & Teachers’ meeting for Sunday School. They have several plans to raise money. The main one is by saving papers. Came home and after studying, went to bed. It seems funny without Elder Ward.
Saturday, the 14th – Reports and general cleaning. I got my dresses all pressed and cleaner. Wrote home and to Alice. Went to White’s for supper and it was surely good. Afterwards we went to Riverside Park to watch them roller skate. It looked fun and my feet itched to try it, but I’m a missionary. We came home about 11 and hadn’t been in 10 minutes (I was nearly undressed) when the doorbell rang. Mrs. Scott answered it and then called me. It was Pres. Thurston and Pres. Fuller of N. Indiana. They had ben trying since 5 to get us. Wanted us to go to a funeral with them at Crawfordsville and be ready at 6. And that isn’t all. I’m supposed to be one of the speakers and also play the piano. Oh mercy!!! I’ve just got all ready to get dressed in a 5 minute rush. It’s one o’clock and I’ve got to get some rest so here goes, trusting to providence I wake in time to be ready.
Sunday, the 15th – A red letter day for sure. I’m dead tired, but really happy. I woke in time and we were ready when Sr. Cadby called with Sr. Elmore and the two D.P.’s. Sr. Rasmussen was the one to be the double decker. Pres. Fuller is a joke and good company, reminds me a lot of Preston B. It started to rain before we left Indianapolis and kept at it all day. It was nearly 50 mines to C. And I held Sr. R. half the way then she sat on Pres. F. Pres. Fuller got the picture she’d got from the D.P. Sims live in the country about two miles from Crawfordsville. I’ll never forget that house and kitchen. But everything was clean. They had a separator like the one of ours and a Majestic range. (I’d give anything to be back home again) we got there about 9 o’clock. The dead man was about 75 and had only been sick several days. His wife felt real badly and so did the children, but they are all grown up. As usual we got all the family history and romance. They went to school together and have always known each other. We had a nice chicken dinner about 11 and at 12 left the house to go to the Funeral Parlor at Crawfordville. The funeral started at one. President Fuller presided and conducted. The piano was upstairs so Pres. F and Sr. Cadby and I were up there. The first song was O, My Father and the 2nd, Rock of Ages. I’d knock them down and then pick them up for future use. While Pres. F. Read the obituary I went down stairs and if I was going down to get married, I wouldn’t have felt any more excited. I was the first speaker and after I got started I never had a bit of fear. The people stood open mouthed and I poured it in. There were about 100 people there and a negro. I talked nearly twenty minutes and then winded my way up the stairs to safety. Pres. F. Talked about half an hour and it was real good. The last song was Beautiful Isle. The cemetery was about 8 miles away. They had our car first in head of the hearse. That’s once I was first. The cemetery was just small, not even large enough to get the cars on and situated on a small hill. Pres. F. Dedicated the grave. We bade goodbye to Sr. Sims and the family and the undertaker said he enjoyed everything and invited us back to see him. We visited an old man (Bro. Hueston) and then came home. Had a light lunch before Church and happed to be the first speaker talked on Salvation for the Dead. Pres. Fuller also talked. I like him very much. Home and bed. I’m surely happy and tired also.
March 19 – Tracted this morning. Violet has gone home now, but is planning to go home again by the 1st of May. I got a letter from Mother and she wants me to stay out as long as I’m needed. That makes me feel good. She is well and happy and she deserves to be too. Got a letter from Preston B. And he sounded the same as ever. Went to the Church for supper and already the Elders from S. Ill. Are coming. Met Elders Provost and Lynn. Went to class at Martin’s but they were all sick so we studied until R.S. started. The lesson was literature and surely interesting. Our new elder is from Cowley, Wyoming.
March 20 – Tracted and tried to prepare a sermon for Conference. Got a card from B.A.C. He’s in New York prior to going home. I washed my hair and went to Sullivan’s she had her hands manicured while I had my hair marcelled. We had a lovely supper and then washed the dishes. They were having dress rehearsal for the contest play so Sullivan’s took us to Funk’s for class. We were about five minutes early but the Elders were there. Elder Thayne and also President Gunderson. He didn’t come up to my expectations of him at all. The class was very good. We walked up to the Church because I wanted to tell Margaret Vock to prepare a 2 ½ talk for S.S. Conference. Met Elder Layton and Elder Phelps. We came home with Sullivan’s.
Saturday, the 21st – Received a letter from Dorothy and Violet. We made our reports and then got ready to go to missionary meeting. Bought us each a pair of hose and then went to Church. Met the Lady M’s from Decateur, also Elder Agren. He’s the same as in Detroit last year – never passed a serious thought. It was nice to see him again. Oh, it was great to see Rebecca. Started at 3 and lasted until 3:30, but it was very good. We had a bowl of soup and a tenderloin and then dashed back to Church to sit another 3 ½ hours. The contest was good and really hard to decide, but So. Ill. Didn’t have 2 musical numbers so we won. We came home with Leavitt’s and Rebecca and I had a nice talk. I’m starting to worry now because it’s our turn to talk.
Sunday – We got up and ready and had breakfast and then Sullivan’s came. I took not of all the speakers so won’t write them here. I was the 2nd speaker in the afternoon. I talked about the Lord and the Devil. We had a nice lunch served by the R.S. We had potato salad, baked beans, chicken sandwiches, pie and cake. I sat between Elder Lynn and Sister Rasmussen. We took some pictures and then attended Mutual Meeting and Primary Meeting. We were not changed very much. Elder Layton was transferred to Chicago and Elder Dahl is coming down here. Rebecca forget her ticket and only had 5 minutes to get down from here. I hope she got there alright – the speed here was great. I’m dead tired so now for some sleep.
Monday – Sr. Cadby called and wanted us to go riding with her and the Lady M’s from S. Ill. We got right ready and went without anything to eat. It was a beautiful morning. We saw some lovely estates, and it may be alright, but I crave mountains snow-capped. The homes in Northern Indypls. are gorgeous. It almost gave me spring fever. We went to the Soldier’s Monument and took some pictures and then before one went to the Indiana. Saw “Honor Among Lovers”. It was better than the majority. Had dinner and went to the train with Sis. Ellsworth and Jenson. Came home and found some mail, a letter from Jim, Alice, the paper and Atlas the “Scandalizer”. While Sr. R. slept I answered it and wrote home to Mother and Violet.
Tuesday – Studied and wrote to Alice and Dorothy. Left at nine and went to the dentist. Had my took in front filled with gold. He seems to be real nice. Went to Barger’s for dinner and Shaw’s were there. I nearly died while she was telling how sick she had been. She is a dear sweet woman. We washed the dishes and ten talked for awhile. Had a nice class at Ressinger’s. went over to the Church and found dirty dishes for galore. We washed them and all else – even the floor until it shone like a”new nickel just been shined”. Pres. Gunderson came in about six from Fort Wayne. He goes anywhere he likes, seems to me. Pres. Fuller isn’t a bit well. Pres. Thurston came in about 7 from Conference in Evansville. We had a nice Mutual – our lesson was on the Word of Wisdom. During the last half hour we had a song contest. I was in group 4. Our song was Juanita. We tied with No. 2. But it wasn’t my singing that helped any. But it was fun at least. Came home with Leavitt’s.
Wednesday – Had some good conversations while tracting this morning. Went to our classes at Sullivan’s, Huffman’s and Sebastian’s. we’re changing our Primary to Faulding’s so we can get more children. Had supper at Fountain Square and walked to Swartz. On the way we arranged for a Primary at Cowin’s. Pres. Thurston took charge of the class at Swartz. We had a real good discussion about the Parables. The purpose of the Savior’s teaching in parables was that of mercy. Had some good cake and peaches. Sr. Swartz is a regular mother to me. I like her a lot.
Thursday – Got a letter from Alice and she’s worried about me because of a dream she had. She’s a perfect dear. At Missionary Meeting we had 2 - 5 minute talks each and studied about matter, energy and nearly got head-0ver heels in it. We had supper, washed the dishes and went to class at Martin’s. They were better. Only Sr. Leavitt, Amy Frazier, Sr. Smith and us two were at R.S., but we had a real nice class on religion in the home. Came home with Leavitt’s. but Pres. Thurston surely was sick. He has the worst pains in his back. I feel so worried about him being all alone. Well, again pray for him.
Friday – Rain, Rain, Rain all day long. In fact it poured. Pres. Thurston called and said he was feeling better and I’m glad. Got a picture from Elder Johnson and he’s been released at the 1st of the month. We made our monthly reports and they were better than last time. Went to Swartz’s and Harold’s and took the kids to Cowin’s for Primary. We had seven children and had a good class. Taught them a song about a Bee to the tune of “In Our Lovely Deseret”-- we took the kids home and went to Margaret Greeson to supper in honor of the D.P. It being his birthday. He’s 23. We had a lovely supper and then started for class, but it rained too hard to walk all the way, so we came home.
Saturday – Wrote home to Mother and then went to the dentist. He filled four and gave my teeth a good cleaning. Charged me $5 and never hurt me a bit. I walked up to the Church and found Bro. Fleming and Bair cleaning the Church. We rode up town with them and the D.P. took us to a show at the Indiana. Jack Oakie in June Moon. We came home and cooked supper. Studied and went to bed.
Sunday – Had a nice S.S. today. In my class we had a review and practiced a little play we’re giving called “Sherem the Anti Christ”. No one asked us to dinner so we had to stay at the Church. I wrote to Bro. & Sr. Harper, studied and played. Went to Officers and Teachers meeting of the Primary. Sr. Rasmussen was the first speaker in the meeting. She talked for 20 minutes and Br. Farley took up the remainder of the time. Pres. F. Told me to be ready to talk for a few minutes next Sunday. The latest news I’ve heard is that Presidents Harston and Taylor are going to get married, one to a Lady M and the other a Saint. Wish I knew who’s who? We came home with Leavitt’s and had a little lunch before going to bed.
Monday – Oh it’s a beautiful day today. An inspiration to anyone. I got a nice letter from Dorothy and all’s well at home, altho Will Harris and Marv Lamb are very sick. The Mutual gave a party for the contestants at Barr’s tonight and we had a lovely time. Sr. Barr served jello and cake and we played some nice games. Came home with Sullivans.
Tuesday – Last day of March 1931 – The mail man passed us up today just like we wasn’t here at all. We tracted and then went to Leavitt’s to do our washing. Sr. R. sewed my dress while I while I washed. But she couldn’t get it right so I wore one of Sr. Leavitts. Left about as funny as I would in a man’s suit. Had a nice class at Ressinger’s studied about the Sacrament. Went to Volt’s for supper and it was real good. Pres. Thurston was there also. I surely wouldn’t want a home like theirs, where both him and her are opposites. Oh, these married people and their domestic trouble!! If I’d got fooled my pride wouldn’t let me think of talking about it. We had a real nice Mutual – in Gleaner class we studied Tithes and Offerings. Met Elder Dahl who is going to labor in Terra Haute. Came home with Bro. Smith and the Elders. Studied, wrote my ancient history and now I believe I’ll go to bed.
April Fool – Wednesday – At our classes today we had some good gospel talks. Theresa was sick so we never had class there. Oh, but it’s surely raining. Had supper at a café down town. Came to Swartz for class about 6:30. We always have good lessons there. Sr. Swartz fooled Sr. R and D.P, but I stayed clear. That’s strange isn’t it? Came home and all the mail was the paper from Alice. I even digested it all.
Thursday – A very beautiful day today. Got two letters, one from Alice and Violet each. They are all fine although they’re having winter weather. Well, perhaps, it will be better for the crops next summer. We went tracting and few people home. Had missionary meeting and it was very good except the singing. Had supper with Pres. Thurston in the Church. At class at Martin’s we studied about the Dispensations of the gospel. They at R.S. made paper dresses for the party. Stayed with Leavitt’s all night as Bro. Leavitt is away. Four months ago today since I came here. Time is going fast.
Friday –Had breakfast and walked home. A letter from Elder Jardine and two pictures. His is laboring in Flint with Elder Stratton. Again the mail man passed us up. Tracted for awhile and then went to Leavitt’s for dinner. Afterwards we went to Primary at Corwin’s. It was very good attended and the interest shown was commendable. Sr. Corwin felt better and they seem to be getting along somewhat better. On our way to class we stopped at Barr’s to give Opal some music. Sr. Barr was sick in bed but nothing serious. We were at Funk’s before Pres. Thurston – a rare occasion. Class was very good. Came to the Church and made paper dresses for R.S. social until after eleven. Waited on every street car until after one before we got to bed.
Saturday – Got up real earl and went to Krogers for Sr. Leavitt – helped her get breakfast. I wrote a letter to Mother on the typewriter. While Sr. R. went down town I came home and got our things for Sunday. A letter from Sr. Harper and an Easter Card from V. Lancaster. I surely miss her a great deal. Far more than I thought I would. Oh, it was surely a lovely day. I would have like to have stayed out all day, or (well, I won’t say the rest.) I helped get ready for the Social. Bill Swartz got sick at the last moment, but it was pretty good. Served ice cream and cake and that was good. The other day while we sat by in the corner. Came home with Sullivan’s and got to bed about 12. Tired? – No, dead.
Easter Sunday – Up before 5 and went down town to the Sunrise Services by the monument. The morning was beautiful, but we stood so long I got chilled through and altho they were good, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Went to the Church and studied my Sunday School lesson in the Book of Mormon. Gave the opening prayer in S.S. Our class was good and also the Easter Program. Opal gave us a colored egg. Mine had a frog pasted on it and also the S.S. gave everyone an egg. Sr. L. Asked us three to a chicken dinner and as we got there found the chicken had burned up. They’d had their fire trunks out and whatnot. The house surely smelled awful. Went to Sullivans for dinner and had a good one also. Tried to study for a talk but went to sleep instead only to be awakened by Sr. S. That someone wanted me on the telephone. It was Bro. S. She was quite surprised when I told her. They want her to be a counselor in the R.S. and we talked all afternoon on it. Pres. Thurston surely gave splendid talk tonight – the best I’ve ever heard. He was really inspired. Oh, I’m tired, but I can’t help wondering, what next year will bring for me.
April 6 – Birthday of the Church – 101 years old. Today we enjoy the fruits of the labors of those honest God-fearing men and women who gave their all for the Gospel. One hundred years has wrought many changes, but the progress all proves that God is still as he has been – at the helm. From six men it has grown to around seven hundred thousand. Got up early, had breakfast and washed the dishes for Sis. Leavitt and came home. Tracted with usual success until noon. Took the car down town, met the D.P. and the Circle and saw “Skippy” it was exceptionally good... I think all older people should see it. Went to the top of the monument and gazed over the city – got a better idea how it’s laid out, although it’s not nearly by half as high as the Penbscot Building in Detroit. Went to the Church and had supper, walked to Fountain Square with Pres. Thurston and then went to Leavitt’s. Went to bed early.
Tuesday – Normal routine, including tracting. Tried to memorize I Cor. 15:14-26 about the resurrection. Went to Mrs. Ressinger’s for class but she wasn’t home so we went to the Church, practiced some Primary songs and studied. Mutual was quite good – even if Sr. R. got provoked at Pres. Thurston because he let me look on the song book and not her. The Gleaner girls popped corn and sold it afterwards. After Mutual they (Sr. R. & P.L.) Went into a huddle and patched up their troubles. Mighty glad they did...now peace with reign (?) Bed!
Wednesday – Busiest day of the week I believe. Got a letter from Sam and Bill. Both well and happy and doing their best I know. They’re both in N. Illinois. Tracted until noon and went to Sullivan’s. Mr. Sullivan has an apple stand down town and I hope he stays there, with his chewing tobacco also. We had a very good class and lesson about Work for the Dead. Both Mr. Sullivan and Theresa asked some questions. Bro. Huffman was planting onions and how homesick I got. Get behind me all temptation. We had a good class there also. Played games at Primary and then walked to Swartz’s for supper. Class good. Also supper. Bro. L brought us home. Oh its hot today.
She was released from her mission in December 1931.
Below is a poem writen by someone in her mission It was found with her letters. The spelling and format are as they were on the paper. (Lois Blacker Cobia)
Mrs. Herbert Brown,
I want to congratulate you
Mrs. Herbert Brown.
That your daughter
Is home again all safe and sound.
While she was in the mission
Working each day.
God protected her
In his usual way.
A dear friend she was.
Kind hearted and true.
And the tears that was
Shed, when she was through.
Her mission work may be finished.
But her life s work has just begun.
And that she may be a blessing to others.
God's will, not my will, shall be done.
It must of took courage, for you to say
That your daughter may go two years to stay.
And the experience of each day
All of the time that she was away.
And for this you should be rewarded
In this world or in the next.
But we will leave it all to God.
For we know that He knows best.
It was just as hard to leave the mission field as it was to leave home, but after I got on the train the 22nd of December 1931, I could hardly wait for the train to get home. I arrived home about 2:00 p.m. the day before Christmas and was met at the train by Mother, Alice and John. We went as far as Mrs. Martin’s in the car, saw Dorothy, and was met by Jim and Melvin with the sleigh. Violet was home waiting. It was so good to be home once more and yet I missed the activity of the mission field, but was thankful for the privilege of having gone, and resolved to do my best at home.
In October of 1932 I was set apart as secretary to the Relief Society which position I held until 1938. I was Social Service leader of the Relief Society for nearly a year and then Literary leader. In 1934 I was called to be Bluebird advisor of the stake primary board and held this position for nearly four years. While in this position I traveled many miles – 40 miles to attend Board meetings and when Union meetings were held in Kemmerer, a 140 mile trip was necessary. I was also second counselor of the local Primary, organist and Bluebird advisor. In the fall of 1935 I was called to be President of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association which position I held for two years. I was also ward organist from the time I returned home until I moved away from the ward. It was sometimes with much difficulty that these meetings were attended and many cold rides were experienced. To attend any of these meetings a trip of six miles was necessary. Usually I went to Primary on horseback, but more than once on skiis. Nearly always in winter a sleigh was used, but many times I got cold and wet as did the others who lived in the community, but strength comes from trials and hardships. All my Church activities have brought me joy and happiness and no sacrifice has been of no avail, for in the end I have benefitted more than anyone else.
After my return from the mission field I stayed at home and helped in whatever way I could. I enjoyed being home again and being part of a family group once more. In the mission field I shared the joys and problems of the Saints and friends. Families are so worthwhile.
Reading was always a favorite past time of mine. Some “Book Friends” are as much my friends as are the people whom I’ve really known and have wept and laughed with them and senses their emotions very keenly. Several books I have read again and again and still enjoy. It would be impossible to write the names of all books that have affected my life for good, but I shall name a few – The Bible, Book of Mormon – add David Copperfield, Ann of Green Gables, Ann’s House of Dreams, Thelma, The Deepening Stream, The Scarlet Letter, Piney Ridge Cottage, Life of Joseph Smith by George Q. Cannon, and Evangeline. After going into the mission field I started reading Church books and since then have read few novels.
The winter of 1934 had been a very mild one and the snowfall was very light. As a result there was a water shortage the following summer. We worked hard to get the water to cover the fields, but there just wasn’t enough. Day after day went by and the grass became drier and the ground harder. The fields were divided so the cattle would have enough to eat and we cut what hay we could. It was impossible to keep all our cattle so we sold to the market the best ones and the government bought the older cows and small calves. This was true of all the surrounding country. Many were shot because they couldn’t be fed. This was especially true of sheep. Hundreds and hundreds were shot and put in a pile to rot. This at a time when the depression was sweeping the country and many of the animals would have provided food for people. We had some hay left over from the previous year and although we suffered a loss, it wasn’t as hard as it was on others.
I didn’t know when I went to Church that September morning of 1935 that I would meet my future husband that day. Two new school teachers were coming into our community to teach. One of them was Loyn Blacker. Our first meeting was very casual. It wasn’t until several months later, in fact until Christmas time, that we hardly spoke. He was boarding in a home less than a mile away, but our “worlds” seemed to be so far apart. The Church seemed to be our one place of meeting. When he returned to his home in Rupert, Idaho, for the holidays he sent me a card and I was thrilled to know he’d thought enough to send even a card. That was the first time I’d seen his first name. I didn’t send him a card for several reasons. I didn’t want him to think me a designing female. I’d heard he had a girl friend in Rupert and then I didn’t know his name or what exactly his address was.
After his return from the holidays he entered more into the activities of the ward and we became better acquainted. Our first date was a skiing party one Saturday afternoon in January. He stayed for supper and afterwards we played dominoes and checkers. From then on I became more intrigued. His ideals and stands of living and his loyalty to the Church and his activity in it appealed to me, and the more we were together, the more we seemed to have in common. While attending Stake Conference in Evanston in March we decided to get married. He attended the BYU summer school and returned in the fall for another term at teaching. We were married about 10 o’clock on the night of 9th of October 1936.
Our first home was two rooms of a four room house shared with Wayne and Mabel Hanks. He also was teaching school. We borrowed from Mother an old fashioned stove that Dad had discarded years before and had kept instead of throwing away. They didn’t dream they were saving it for me. Alice and Bill loaned us a cupboard and Loyn made a clothes closet for us. With a few articles the landlady rented us we set up housekeeping with fear and trembling. We were poor in worldly goods, but rich in spiritual materials. We had decided before we were married that we should have prayer always in our home and this we have always done. We also both desired to have an ideal Latter Day Saint home. We have paid our tithing and offerings and all dues of the Church regardless of what else we had.
When we were married I was starting out on my second year as President of the Young Ladies Mutual and was also Secretary of the Relief Society, second counselor in the Primary and also Bluebird advisor in the Stake Primary. I also taught Literature in Relief Society and Bluebirds in Primary. Sounds as if I was busy, but I’ve always loved to work in the Church. In December Loyn was called to be first counselor in the bishopric and was also a ward teacher. The Stake Missionary plan as just being started and early in January I was called to be a stake missionary. I also carried on with the same jobs above mentioned.
Loyn had a Ford coupe, but after Christmas we were unable to use it because of the snow, so we walked a great deal. Loyn had a pair of skiis which he used a lot.
Leaving home was hard for me. I always had been a home lover, and during the winter I spent many days home while Loyn was at school.
Spring came. School closed and we stored our things with Mother and went to Rupert for the summer. Loyn’s Dad wanted him to build new corrals and a shed. So we spent the summer doing that. However, before leaving Wyoming, Loyn had secured another job as teacher at the Almy school. This was back to the old homes of my folks and also Loyn’s father’s folks.
We went to Almy in September. There was a little four room house for the teacher to live. They had painted the walls but the roof leaked a little. We had to buy all our furniture now, except a stove. There was an old Majestic Range and that was all. It was fine to cook on, but wouldn’t bake at all. I learned to cook on top of the stove. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. An old pump that had to be primed furnished our water. We bought a bedroom set from Consolidated in Evanston; a davenport and chair from Sterling Furniture in Sugarhouse, Utah; also a table and four chairs. Again we set up housekeeping.
October 18, 1937, was I believe, one of the most important days of my life. This day I became a mother. A son was born to us about 8:20 at night. It was a humble home – we didn’t have electricity, but by a gas lamp’s rays I first gazed on my son. But his coming brought new love and joy to us. As I held him in my arms, I thrilled with sincere joy as I tasted of motherhood for the first time. I had been admitted into that great assembly of elect women who had obeyed the first commandment of the Lord. This mission of motherhood was most sacred and glorious to me. We called our son Paul.
We had our baby problems although Paul was always a good baby and we were never up at nights only on a few slight times when he was ill. His coming curtailed my Church activity to a great extent. But I kept on with my missionary work. Loyn was wonderful in his help. We visited, Helen Nixon was my companion, nearly every home in Almy and also our assigned district in Evanston. I enjoyed this mission very much, although it was at times very difficult. I was released March 26, 1939, serving about 26 months. During this time Loyn had been Stake Sunday School Superintendent.
We lived in Almy for three years and both learned to think a lot of the place. It was always a source of interest to me as it was once a large mining town. I’ve always loved old places. We loved the people and we entered into the community and church activities. I was first counselor in the Primary and also taught the Bluebirds the last year we lived there.
Loyn and I decided to do some genealogical work. This phase of church work had always interested me, but I had done little about it. We had a brother from Idaho to do some research work for us in the Genealogical Library and we sent these names to the Temple. A Genealogical class was started in Almy and Loyn was the teacher. The course studied was very interesting and all in the ward was enthused and we started to make Books of Remembrance. Loyn made a cover out of plywood for Paul and I. My book won the prize. The real prize was my own book I’d promised myself so long I’d make. Loyn was called to the High Council and was given the job of Stake Genealogical Chairman. I was a board member.
In the passing of time another important event occurred, just as big and as thrilling as the one before. A baby girl was born to us May 7, 1940. A baby girl! It didn’t seem true – now I could have a baby to buy a pretty lacy bonnet for! And a sister for Paul. She was born in the same house Paul was, only it was spring and in the morning. I could hear the birds singing outside and the baby crying inside. Loyn was going to call it Jerry, but when it was a girl we called her Ruth May. She was always sweet and nice.
Diary for a Week
Tuesday, February 13, 1940 – Got up about 7:30 a.m. Prepared breakfast and although it seemed a miserable morning I decided to do the washing. Finished it after dinner. In between times I made the beds, cleaned up the bedroom and living room and prepared dinner. After dinner and the washing were done, I washed the dishes, cleaned up the pantry, mopped the pantry and kitchen floors and straightened up the house. Paul had played outdoors all morning and I put him to bed as he was tired out. Loyn brought the mail at recess, which was a letter from Brother Cole in which he enclosed the names he had gathered for us at the Genealogical Library. We each had about 200 names of our dead relations, some of which had lived before 1600. We were thrilled about them. After school was out and we had done the janitor work we went to town. Visited and had supper with Bill and Alice. Came home, put Paul to bed and then we both copied some of the names we’d received today on Baptism and Endowment sheets. Retired about 11:00 p.m. Tired out.
Wednesday, February 14, 1940 – hated like everything to get up this morning, but did about 7:30 a.m. After breakfast was over I got Paul ready to go out to play, even though it was stormy he wouldn’t stay indoors. It made a Devil’s Food Cake for the school party in the afternoon. It was passing fair after dinner and dishes were behind me. I wrote in my Book of Remembrance for awhile, prepared my lesson for Primary and got ready for the party. About two o’clock I woke Paul so he could go to the party. I helped Miss Bowns and Mrs. Williams service ice cream and cake. Paul enjoyed the ice cream very much. Primary followed the party. My lesson was about the obedience to the commandments of the Lord of Abraham and Moses. Only one of the four girls had even heard of either man. For supper we had chili, fruit and cake. Worked on my genealogical work after Paul had gone to bed for nearly two hours, and then went to bed.
Thursday, February 15, 1940 – The usual routine fo family life was followed this morning, after which I did some ironing. Prepared and had dinner, after which I put Paul to bed. He slept for about an hour. During which Loyn had brought the mail. I got a letter from Ethel M. Godber, a relative of mothers in Sharon, Pennsylvania, in answer to one I had written in December regarding the Godber genealogy. Her letter was very kind and interesting and she gave me some valuable information; also the address of a Godber in Florida and two of Godbers in Los Angeles, California. Pictures which we had sent away to be developed were in the mail and they were pretty good, specially the ones of Paul. While I was dressing Paul, Aunts Ettie, Liza and Sadie and Helen came to visit. After janitor work was done we made a hurried trip to Evanston to post an urgent letter of Loyn’s to cancel a photographer’s engagement for Sunday. After supper we went to a cottage meeting at Bown’s. Listened to an electrical transcription of the first of the “Fullness of Time” series. Enjoyed it very much. Came home about ten o’clock and soon afterwards went to bed.
Friday, February 16, 1940 – After breakfast and the morning work was done I finished the ironing. Wrote a little in my Book of Remembrance. Paul visited the school this morning and played in the band. He surely enjoyed it. After dinner was over, Paul went to bed, but not to sleep. He sang and played until I finally let him get up and dressed him. Wrote a little on my life’s story. Helped to the janitor work. Wrote on my story and then went to bed after eleven. Not a very eventful day.
Saturday, February 17, 1940 – The usual morning jobs disposed of, made a cake for Jim and Melvin. Scrubbed, dusted and cleaned, bedroom, living room and kitchen. Received word from Loyn’s folks of the death of Hyrum’s baby. We were dreadfully shocked. Went to town and bought the things we needed. Came home at 5 o’clock and while Loyn helped Rulon Nixon with his chores so they could go to Priesthood meeting in Randolph, while I prepared supper. After the dishes were washed, I bathed Paul and put him to bed. Made a cake which wasn’t as good as I’d have liked it to have been. Commenced the story of the life of my Grandfather Brown. It was after ten o’clock when Loyn came back. We talked for awhile about the meeting. Elder Samuel O. Bennion is the visitor from Salt Lake for Conference. Had a bath and went to bed after eleven.
Sunday, February 18, 1940 – Got up about 7:30 a.m. although I’d have given a lot to stay in bed. Prepared breakfast – grape fruit, corn flakes, bacon, eggs and toast. Bill brought Alice to go to Randolph with us. Made sandwiches, iced the cake and got ready. Left about 9:15. It was snowing quite hard when we left, but we had no trouble and arrived about 10 minutes to ten. Enjoyed meeting very much. At the close of the meeting Loyn along with about a dozen others were requested to meet with the Stake Presidency right after the meeting. He was gone nearly an hour while Alice, Paul and I waited in the assembly. Paul took in all the sights and learned the details of the building. Finally he came. We ate our lunch in the car and learned that the change we had heard might occur was going to. That was the Loyn should be changed from Stake Superintendent of the Sunday Schools to Stake Genealogical Chairman, also of the release of the Stake Relief Society officers. Loyn talked in afternoon meeting and did very well. Had another wait of nearly an hour while the new officers were set apart. Had supper, finished the story of grandfather Brown’s life and went to Genealogical meeting. Went to bed at eleven and was nearly too tired to go to sleep.
Monday, February 19, 1940 – Got up about 7:30 this morning and felt as if I needed about twelve more hours of sleep. Alice stayed with us all night. After breakfast and the dishes were washed I cleaned up the house. Paul slept until 9:30. I dressed him, fed him his breakfast and embroidered a little on pillow cases, of course talking to Alice the time. Paul played outdoors until noon, had his dinner and slept until nearly 3:45. He had a big day yesterday and was tired out. Sewed until school was out. Received a letter from Violet and Dorothy. They are all well. John and Dorothy are planning on leasing his mother’s place with Lew this summer. Did janitor work and took Alice home. Went to the dentist, but he was too busy to fill two teeth of mine. Came home, prepared supper and afterwards cleaned up the kitchen. Wilbur Bown’s and Elwin Sessions came for donations to the new church to be erected in Almy this summer. Loyn promised $25.00. Wrote in my Book of Remembrance until 10:30 and then we went to bed.
Journal Entries Made in Various Notebooks
(No year indicated)
Sunday, June 18 – Paul, Lynn, Laura, Julie, Jeffrey and Jimmy had arrived just before dark the night before. Today is Father’s Day. Paul and Loyn went to Priesthood Meeting. Ruth and Laron didn’t want to come over for dinner because Ethan had his tonsils out Friday. I cook (fried) two chickens and peeled potatoes. Mary and Jon and families said they’d come. Lynn made a cake, some stove top dressing and pork and beans. Mary made ice cream and Vickie helped make a fruit salad. All in all it was all good. I made the gravy. Mary and Bryce and John and Mary had 3 pm Sacrament meeting. Ruth and Laron and family came and visited. They all left the house empty except for memories. We went to Sacrament meeting at 5 pm. Nothing unusual. Merintha called and Sister Hunsaker had died after her operation on her hip. She’s 92.
Monday, June 19 – I’ve been trying to get over this miserable cough I’ve had for nearly two weeks. Didn’t cough too much during the night. When I got up Loyn was watering the front lawn. He didn’t realize our day had been Saturday. After breakfast went over to Afton’s and worked in the garden over there. Didn’t do much all day. Didn’t feel too well. Loyn read from the “Life of Melvin J. Ballard” for home evening. Hope I can sleep without too much coughing.
Tuesday, June 20 – After breakfast we (Loyn) and I went to weed the Stake beets. The ward should go tonight, but we decided to go this morning. I hear there weren’t too many weeds, but potatoes had been raised there the year before, and the volunteer potatoes were almost more than the beets. Those long rows of beets seemed to stretch right off the hill to the hills on the other side of the valley. We took two rows each down and back. Before we got through it was quite hot and I was shattered. Came home; took a bath, washed and curled my hair. We’d had a piece of apple pie in the car after we had the beets done. Hepworths had their 50th wedding anniversary that afternoon and we wanted to go. Enjoyed being with the family. Bill seems quite well. Came home and had to get the county tax in. Got the letter just as they were closing the post office. Fixed a cake to take to Ruby’s and Earl. Went to Bryce’s and Mary for milk bottles. It was Bryce’s birthday so we took him a shirt. They were just finishing eating. I’d intended getting supper after we came back from Earl’s. Loyn complained to Mary I hadn’t given him anything to eat all day so Mary warmed up some food and fed him. Visited Earl and Ruby, came home and then bed.
Wednesday, June 21 – Went to Boise. I drove after we were just past Twin. After Loyn drove, I went to sleep. Woke up feeling worse than when I went to sleep. We’d had two letters from England – one from Mr. Parton – wondering if the Church would buy him a house. He’s having trouble with the neighbor’s children. The other from Jackie Robinson. It seems Stuart and Jackie won’t go on a mission, but get married. They needed money. Now they will buy a bakery and get married. Jackie didn’t know all the details but said Sister Mohammed had died of a heart attack. We got to Beth’s and Terry’s. I was so tired I was sick – went to bed and to sleep after supper. Terry went to Bishop’s meeting. Loyn and Beth visited.
Thursday, June 22 – Got up at 9 am. Beth, Nathan, Erin and Jared had gone to Primary. Beth is the Primary Librarian. Loyn was caring for Paige. Beth and the rest came back about 11:00 am. We got dinner. Terry came home. Paige went to sleep. Nathan stayed to care for her and Loyn stayed for awhile and then went to see Brother Judd in the Veteran’s hospital. Beth, Erin, Jared and I went shopping. We both got tired, came home. I went to sleep. Got up, helped Beth get supper. Terry had a meeting with the stake presidency. He came back and we went see Hyrum Walker and his wife, Loyn’s cousin. They were glad to see us and we signed their 50th wedding anniversary book. Talked until 12:30.
Friday, June 23 – After a nice breakfast, I hung Beth’s washing on the line, gathered up our things and came home. I slept half the way and Loyn slept a little. Went to the store and checked on things. Came home. Went in the bathroom and was pleasantly shocked and could hardly believe my eyes. This wasn’t our bathroom. Those kids had painted, papered and put a new carpet down. It’s beautiful. Visited with Earl and Ruby as we got milk, went to Bryce’s and Mary’s and took their milk. Came home. Loyn read from the Melvin J. Ballard’s book. Went to bed.
Saturday, June 24 – Slept all night without coughing. Melissa and I hung clothes on the line to dry. Loyn was down to the store and came home for lunch right after 10 am. Byrce and Mary took the 12 o’clock lunch hour. Read the Church News – It’s a great church. Temple rededicated in Hawaii. Don’t envy the Church leaders, but they have a lot of grand experiences we common folks never have. Visited with Afton. Had a letter from Sister Ball in Bolton. It seems strange we never get any details about Sister Mohammed’s death.
Sunday, June 25 – The choir in Salt Lake sang one of my favorite hymns -- Rest on the Hillside Rest. I’d like that at my funeral. Slept all night without getting up
January 1, 1979 – Here begins another year. 1978 has passed into history and all we have left is our memories. It’s been a good year – we’ve had enough of good and bad to feel we’ve truly lived. Now we’ll see what’s ahead for another year. Bryce and Mary and the kids, and John and Mary haven’t returned from West Yellowstone. We’ve been concerned ever since they left Saturday in 16 degrees below weather. Laron and Ruth invited us to dinner. We had fried chicken, hot rolls, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, corn and carrot pudding. We had an enjoyable time with them. It’s still cold. We came home and waited to hear the telephone from John and Mary. While waiting Lynn called about 10 and said Jeffrey had chicken pox and was really covered with them. Also said Allison was having trouble breathing. After she had called Bro. Chandler, Mary’s Dad called from Idaho Falls and said Mary had called from St. Anthony and Mary and Bryce would be home about 1 am. She and John would be staying in Idaho Falls with them. They’d had trouble starting their cars, but they were all right. That was a relief for we’d surely worried about them. We went to bed but not to sleep. I got up at 12 and at 12:30 and called, but no answer. At 1:05 I called and Bryce answered. They were home and all well. Loyn and I thanked the Lord for their return.
January 2, 1979. Had d hard time going to sleep. Finally I did. Morning came. Lynn called again. During the night Allison became worse and they had taken her to the Primary Children’s Hospital. She had trouble breathing, but seemed to think she’d be all right. Paul is looking for a new job. John and Mary came back before noon. They seemed to enjoy themselves. Mary called and was sorry we’d been upset. We called Paul at night and Allison seemed better. Border line pneumonia and all seemed well. Went to bed.
Wednesday, January 3 – Today is the Sunday School work shop. John Fennell and I was asked to be responsible for the Gospel Doctrine class. He surely has been a help for he’s called and made the arrangements. Loyn went to the Library and me to the Stake House. Our presentation was really good. Walked home – it was cold. Worked on my R.S. lesson for tomorrow. It’s about Satan and his power and how we can protect ourselves.
January 4 – Went to R.S. and gave the lesson. I learn more than anyone else. Thankful for this privilege of teaching. Took care of Ian in the afternoon. Started to snow today. Some warmer, but not much.
January 5 – Cleaned house. Finished crocheting a crib blanket for Jarom. Went to Jeanine’s wedding reception. Surely was cold. Enjoyed helping at the reception. The Blackers are a grand group of people – a good family. All day I’ve been thinking of the day so long ago that Mother died . During all the years since then, Mother has helped me along ever since she left. She’s always been my help – ever since I was born. Thanks Mother.
January 6 – Still cold – in fact colder. Nothing much happened. Stake Conference. We didn’t have a meeting so tended Ian while John and Mary went.
Sunday, January 7 – Made codfish gravy for breakfast along with the bread I made yesterday. At 11 am walked to Conference. It was cold. Elder D. Harris, regional representative, was present. Also, the Idaho Pocatello mission president. All the talks were inspiring and encouraged us to do our part in the church. Missionary work was stressed. I love missionary work. Wonder if we could go again. Afternoon drove out to see Bill Hepworth. Alice was gone to Sacrament meeting. Dan was with Bill. Came home and went to Sacrament meeting. Still cold and an east wind.
December 31, 1983 – This year brought to an end to the life of our oldest family member – our sister Alice. She died December 27 early in the morning in the Salt Lake rest home where she spent many years of her last illness. She had been ill for about eleven years; difficult years for not only her but for us her family as our hearts ached as we watched her fight her final battle of this life.
The winter day, cold and miserable had not yet dawned when she left this mortal life, with all her problems and aches and pains, and crossed into the light, peace and beauty of that other life. What joy and gladness must have been hers as she left her worm out body and met her loved ones who had gone before – Bill, Marion, Eloise, Dad, Mother, Violet and Jim and a host of other friends and relatives, who had waited for her coming.
We, her loved ones, still here thanked the Lord for her passing. We had prayed for it, for years, as we had watched her illness deprive her of all those wonderful activities which she had used to bless all of us.
Not that her passing didn’t bring an ache and a deep feeling of emptyness in our hearts. Death, even with its blessings, brings a feeling of emptiness. Alice had always been with us all. Always she had been a help and blessing to all of us – she had helped Dad and Mother care for all of us. She often told of our births and many events in our lives. She told me of the day I was born, when the doctor came to Grandma Brown’s in Almy. She was under the impression I was brought in Dr. Wick’s black bag. Many during the years she assisted in births and learned the real birth process. Her attendance at these occasions were always kind and comforting. A new life always made her so grateful. Not only at births but she ministered so kindly at deaths and was aware of others in their problems. She loved to work and her hands were never idle. Because of her disease, her hands were only stilled in death. Her home was always clean and so was her family and herself. She loved nice things and used what she had to the upmost. She was buried today, 31st of December, beside her husband. A wonderful meeting with you lies ahead for all of us.
1 January 1984 – Today was the first of a new year. The last day of 1983 was the burial of Alice in Evanston. Weather conditions and my leg problem made it advisable for us to stay home. Our good judgment overcame our desire to attend the funeral. Melvin called about 5 pm yesterday and said Alice was buried and the funeral had been nice. I noted a sound of sadness in his voice. Bill, Alice’s son, called and told me how nicely the funeral was. He was glad his mother had finally found peace. He was always good to his mother. The sole responsibility of her care had been his. Marion had been dead for years. Today was Sunday and our meetings have been changed from 2 pm to 9 am. I stayed home because of my legs. I can’t stand and I hate to limp around people. I spent the time in reading. Loyn came home right after 12. He had taken my S.S. class. We had dinner, potatoes, some mutton chops, creamed peas and apple sauce. While we were eating Dorothy called. She was tired from the day before funeral, but told me how nice the funeral was and how nicely Bill had buried his mother. She told me that Christmas morning she had seen Mother in her kitchen, how beautiful she looked and the wonderful feeling she brought with her. Dorothy felt either Alice or me would be dying. Dorothy seems to have so many spiritual experiences. While I was washing dishes I looked out the window and saw a squirrel looking for a nut under the snow. He scratched and dug, but went away without one. He was scratching in the wrong place. The squirrels get nuts, climb the tree and eat them and the “crumbs” drop on the ground. Tried to do some genealogical research but finally gave up and sent to bed.
2 January – Didn’t sleep well – my leg bothered me. Today the sun is shining and now its 10 above. My leg still aches, but after breakfast I layed down with my leg over davenport. It seemed to help the ache. Loyn took down the Christmas tree so that’s over. Had a nice Christmas. Wonder where we’ll be next year. Talked to Ruth and Mary, but we’re here by ourselves. Mary and family went to Pocatello for a trip. Adin went to Arizona for his judging contest.
3 January – Slick and icy and cold. Ruth said not to go to their place as the roads are too bad. We went to the library and got back home safely.
January 4 – Sister Taylor called for us to be the librarians from 10 - 1 today. The regular librarians are too old so we were called. We went and had no trouble until we got out to the car – the roads, sidewalks were solid ice, even where the roads were dry. I walked on the grass to the library and then hung on the rails. Did a little research on the Bowers. Came home – took care of some bank business and went to Safeway for groceries. Spent nearly $50. Loyn wanted some germade so we went to Nelsons as Safeway’s didn’t have any. Not much else to report. Wrote to Dorothy and sent some bills.
January 5 – Still cold and foggy and icy. Made germade for breakfast and orange juice. The usual activities. Today is 35 years since Mother died. The lives of our loved ones are so linked with ours that it seems impossible to ever break the links. Mother was a wonderful person and we still cherish her memory, as well as Dad’s, Violet and Jim. Can image they are all enjoying the arrival of Alice. Been living in the past these last few days. Wrote letters to Melvin, Lucille and Bill. Also Paul and Lynn.
January 6 – made arrangements for a permanent and went at 3 pm. She took 2 ½ hours and she had 3 others. Loyn took me and came as the roads are so icy to walk. I filled out several family group sheets. Went to Earl’s and got some milk; Bryce is a at guard. Mary and kids alone. Gave us a picture of Victoria. Those kids are growing up a lot since they were babies. Ruth and family well. John had called while I was at the beauty parlor and said he was coming. He got here at 9 pm. Mary didn’t come as Sean was ill – a bad cold. Good to see Ian and Christie. Went to bed above upstairs alone. A real achievement for them. Good to visit with John.
January 7, a Saturday – Made cod fish gravy for breakfast. Ian and Christie had cold cereal and some ham. John still likes to come home and have cod fish gravy. He went to Larsen’s to see about a trade-in for his car. Then to Mary’s and Ruth’s. I patched two of Ian’s pants. John bought himself a coat at Roper’s and two pairs of pants for Ian. Mary left Sara and Melissa here as she and the girls went up town. I made some spaghetti and Sara and Melissa and I walked to Nelsons. Sara and Melissa helped me – the roads are still slick, but we made it safely. Bought lettuce, carrots, ice cream and a tomato for a salad. Tammy made the salad and we had supper. John and the kids and Mary all left. Paul called – Lynn still not well. We left at 7:20 tp pick up Hilda for the evening session of stake conference. Meeting was nice. Speakers Pres. Duncan, the Boise Idaho Mission president and regional repr. Henderson – Theme: Keeping faithful oaths and covenants. Its now 10:30 and I’m going to bed.
Sunday, January 8 – Prayers, breakfast, bath and dressed for the day. Left at 10:10 am to go to the hospital for the LDS Sacrament Meeting at the geriatric port. Loyn gave the opening prayer and I did the last. That was quite an experience and made one really humble and thankful. Except for the visitors, all were ill in some way. The Priests even put the bread and water in their mouths. Some slept all through the services. Janie Kudske gave a talk about 7-10 minute on prayer. Sr. Bertha Hansen who had been so active in the church many years seemed to appreciate and lifted up by the services. She seemed so happy to see us. All seemed thankful for what we did – so they said, but they did far more for me. Life gives us a lot of tests. We picked up Hilda and went to the stake house for our session of conference at 11:30. Received necessary instructions and urged to keep on. Speakers, Pres. Duncan, Nelson, Moeller and the mission president and Bro. Henderson. Hilda came home with us and I got dinner for us. Fried potatoes, corn, meat, raspberries and fruit cake, bread, cucumbers & chili sauce. Worked on my genealogy – made several family group sheets. Records are far from complete.
January 1, 1985 – Another year came. Loyn and I were alone last evening and went to bed early – the new year came in without us watching. We awoke early and I got up to start dinner for all our families living here. Ruth’s, Laron’s Bryce’s and Mary and Sis. Chugg. I felt well and enjoyed cooking. Made rolls, jello, salad, dressing, etc. Sr. Chugg brought a ham and Mary brought mashed potatoes. Jennifer, Amy and Chelsea came about 11 o’clock to help get the things ready. Was a big help. Loyn had got the tables ready. They all seemed to enjoy the dinner and we enjoyed having them with us. The children are all growing up so fast. Mary and the girls went to K Mart and the others went home. Bryce, Sara and Melissa stayed a while and Loyn and Bryce watched a football game. Loyn took Bryce and the girls home. I took a bath and then went to bed and read a book as Loyn wanted to watch the football game between Oklahoma and Washington. I read “Great Moments in Mormonism” vol I by Terry which I enjoyed so much. Several times Loyn came and told me the score – finally when I’d nearly finished the book and the game had only a few seconds I got up to watch. Washington had won and Oklahoma lost. Maybe the “Y” would be #1. Maybe there were some unseen players on the field. Went to bed, tired but happy.
January 2 – Didn’t do much – had to recuperate. Loyn and I went to Burley to see about a fan to put in the ceiling. We didn’t get one, but came home and read and went to bed.
January 3 – Went to Ruth’s to see Jennifer before she went back to Ricks College. She’s a sweet dear girl and we love her. She and Adin were our grandchildren and we loved them and Cindy and then others came. Kimberly, Victoria, Tamara, Greg and our hearts loved them all – all then we had a whole lot of grandchildren and all are special. Hate to see them all grow up. Lynn called and told us what a beautiful job Julie had done – before the play started – “The Nutcracker Suite”, Julie told her mother with tears in her eyes “Well, Mother, I guess it’s up to me and the Lord.” That touched both Loyn and me. We pray the children will always be guided as they seek guidance. Lois called and said Kevin will be baptized Saturday night. Can’t believe its 8 years since we flew to L.A. when he was born.
January 4 – After breakfast we finished shortening the drapes in the front window. Afton came and visited for awhile. I feel sorry for her but she doesn’t seem able to help herself. Walked up town and paid the usual bills. Got a letter from Millington’s in Bolton. They received their Christmas present. Bolton will go to the old Spinners Hall while the new addition is put on that old dear little branch in Bolton. Loyn has gone home teaching with Nephi Douglas. The house is empty with no one in it. Loyn came home after being gone three hours.
January 5 – A nice day – cloudy but cold but no storm. I baked bread and made cookies by using the cream I bought at Christmas which went sour. Loyn went to Mary’s to get his hair cut and took some bread. I went to town – to Safeway’s. tonight is Stake Conference – in both Rupert and Rupert West. We took Hilda. A nice meeting – on obedience and sacrifice. A large meeting for it was for both stakes. All day I’ve been thinking that it’s 37 years ago since Mother died. She’s been gone all these days but she still lives in my life and has influence me so much. That was a hard time as I wondered what life would be without her. We were in Ontario, Oregon then and waiting for her to come spend the winter with us. Then John Martin called about 2 or 3 in the afternoon telling of her sudden death. When Dorothy and Alice went into her home after her death on the street they saw her footmarks going out of the house – she never returned — if she did her footsteps made no marks. She had her suitcases all filled for her trip to us. She had a trip, but not to us – she went to the other loved ones. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful father and mother. I love them.
January 6 – Stake Conference today. We went at the 10am session, both Rupert and Rupert West stakes both met at our stake house in Rupert at 10. Rupert West at 2 pm. We picked up Hilda and enjoyed the meeting; but not as much as last night’s meeting. The choirs of the two Acequia wards were good. President Duncan spoke on the moral problems in the world; President Harmon on missionary work and Pres. Nelson temple and genealogical work – more temple than research. The Idaho mission president bore his testimony, took about three minutes. Reg. Rep. Martin Zackerson took about 30 minutes. He said, or I think he said, if we’d live right we maybe could see the Savior. We came home. I made shrimp sandwiches and cocoa. Bro. Laverl Bingham, stake SS President, came to borrow my SS manual and we visited nearly two hours. Bryce and Mary’s family and Ruth & Laron who are in the Rupert West stake came and visited us. Bryce and Mary left. Ruth waited for Laron who had some late business. We made tuna fish and deviled ham sandwiches. Also had some cookies. They are good. They left and David Hernandez came and visited, inviting us to his wedding in S.L Friday. Our water hadn’t been good all day, so we went to Earl’s and Ruby’s for some drinking water and had a good visit with them prior to them leaving tomorrow for St. George and other places. It was good to get in a warm bed and go to sleep. During the day I had several times read the D&C. We’re studying the D&C during the year in SS.
January 7&8 – The usual things. The weather cloudy and dull, making one feel the same. Tuesday we went back to the library in Burley after a two week vacation. Christmas and New Years were both on Tuesday, our regular assignment. It was good to get back again and to see those who work there on Tuesday, especially Ernest and Edith Handy. I helped several people and then decided to check the Goobers on the IGI. I was thrilled to find the christenings of Elizabeth and Josiah Godber children of William and Mary Farnsworth Godber. I’d known of these two children, but had been unable to find where they were born. I was surprised that it was Chesterfield for both of them. I was so thrilled for years and years I’d searched for these christenings. It takes time and patience to do genealogical research.
January 9 – It had snowed a little the day before and a little during the night, so after we’d had breakfast Loyn took the snow blower and cleaned the walks. I did a little. It was nice and warm to be out – nicer than usual. Did some research work and the usual around the house. Loyn sent his last Blacker book to his cousin Cumera Miles. I did some shopping Nelsons. Ruth called and said they had received information Ryan would have his heart tested in Boise February 18 and 19. Mary came over for a few minutes. I bought 25 pounds of sugar for $6.69 at Nelsons.
January 10 ----- Date written, but left blank
Sunday, January 1, 1989
Once again I’ve decided to start a journal. Another year has passed. Considering everything it was a good year. The last week was a difficult one. Paul had spent several months in St. Joseph, Missouri, near St. Louis. The family had sold their home in Alpine and would be leaving on the 3rd of January. Paul, Lynn, Laura and Olive Sprague (Lynn’s mother) wanted to come up. There had been a big snow storm and the roads were bad. We tried to stop them by calling, but they had already left. Hours passed and they didn’t come. We surely worried almost gave up when after 2 they came. They hardly made it and only had time to eat and say goodbye as Paul had to get a plane in Salt Lake at 7 that night. More anxious hours of waiting until Laura called after 8 and said they were home and Paul had gone. We surely hate to see them go that far away. Not only hate, but hurt to see them go. After they left we both cried and we knelt down and Loyn prayed. We surely love our children. We pray this venture will be for their best. Last night I couldn’t sleep. Hate those nights and I’ve had so many lately. When I did go to sleep I had such horrible dreams.
Should say the new year came and now it’s 1989. Our meetings started at 8pm under the new plan of S.S. first and 10 minutes of prayer and singing. I’ve been concerned about the lesson – teaching how to develop more spirituality. I need that more than anyone. The lesson went pretty good – hard to say how it went. Didn’t cough like I did in R.S.; started and knew I’d better leave and had a hard spell in the rest room. Didn’t cough in Sacrament Meeting, but nearly went to sleep. Both speakers are quiet and didn’t speak in the microphone and could hear so little. I guess I haven’t started out the new year with my best attitude. See what tomorrow brings.
January 2 – Things look better in the morning. Paul and Lynn left their two cats – Winston, a big black and white one, and Mitzi, a white, orange and brown one. These cats have surely been lost and lonely. All they wanted to do was hide, and didn’t eat for several days. I felt sorry for them as I know what it is to be homesick.
January 3 – Library day. The usual except worrying about Paul and Lynn leaving for Missouri. White at the library Ruth came in and said she wanted us to go upstairs. Megan helped her Grandfather and when we got upstairs the big surprise was Jarom walking without his crutches and doing a good job. We were all crying for we’d prayed for this for a year and a half. Ruth was so thrilled and almost beyond belief for this was something she’d wanted, hoped, and prayed for and yet sure it wouldn’t happen. They’d been to the doctor and he said it was a miracle the bone had grown so much the last three or four months. We were so grateful and prayed when we got home to thank the Lord.
January 4-5 – Lynn, Jeff, Jim and Allison left Utah for Missouri. It’s always hard to break up a home. Homes are such special places. Although they are only a house so much living has gone into it. I thought of the days we helped them move and all the family growth that had gone into it since. The girls and boys had grown and Allison had joined the family. I loved that place – specially the hills in the back. I also recalled all the homes we’d made and left – its hard. The 5th was 40 years since Mother died. We were in Ontario, Oregon then and one of the saddest times – to bury my dear mother and break up her home, a place I’d lived until I was married. Loved that home, and often think of all the wonderful experiences I had there. It still lives in my memory and I often go back and relive my life there. That’s all I can do – I can’t go back.
January 6, 7 and 8 – Seventh and eighth was stake conference. The weather has been cold and snowing. We even wondered it there would be conference. The evening meeting was good. So was the morning. The 7th ward choir sang in the morning. Theme of conference was "“Preparing for the future"”. There was no general authority present. A counselor in the mission presidency spoke at the end to do more missionary work.