Laron Waite and Ruth Blacker Missions Timeline
October 11, 1960 Laron
I traveled with Bishop Howard Bergeson and his wife Ruth to Salt Lake to be interviewed for a mission by Elder Richard L. Evans. He asked me where I wanted to go. I said Australia as one of my friends had gone there. When the call came I was delighted that it was to the Southern Australian Mission.
November 15, 1960 Laron
I received a letter informing me that the Australian Government had set a quota on the number of missionaries that could serve there and that my assignment had been changed to the North British Mission. At first I was disappointed but as I thought about England I became excited to go.
There were two missions in the British Isles. Southern England, Wales and central England were in the British Mission. The North British Mission consisted of northern England, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Ireland. The North British Mission home was in a small town called Hale in the county of Cheshire not far from a much larger city called Manchester, Lancashire.
November 27, 1960 Laron
Ruth and I planned to marry after I had returned from my mission. She was teaching a class of fifth grade students in Rupert and was planning to do that until I returned. She came to my farewell in the Homedale Ward. It was very hard for me to leave to her.
December 4, 1960 Laron
I rode the bus from Caldwell to Salt Lake and got to the mission home late about 6:30pm on Sunday, December 4. It was snowing as I arrived. There were 12 of us going to the North British Mission and almost all of us had been reassigned from the Southern Australian Mission.
My mission training began the next day. My companion in the was Elder Paul Byington. I had known him slightly at Ricks. We spent most of each day in one large group listening to various trainers and General Authorities. They gave all of us general instructions about missionary work. Those who were going to speak a foreign language were to stay longer to get training specific to their language.
December 7, 1960 Laron
Elder LeGrande Richards set me apart as a missionary and I received a certificate stating that I was a missionary and an ordained minister. I was endowed December 9th in the Salt Lake Temple.
December 13, 1960 Laron
My mother and her brother, Uncle Archie spent the afternoon and evening of December 12th with with me. We saw some sights in Salt Lake then they took me to the airport. They stayed with me until my flight left.
I and the other Elders bound for the North British left Salt Lake on a Western Airlines DC7 at 1:30am on December 13th. We arrived in Denver at 3:30am local time, changed planes and went from there to Chicago and then to New York, arriving there 3:55pm local time.
December 15, 1960 Laron
We were supposed to leave at 8:00pm for Manchester but the flight was canceled because of bad weather and our schedule was changed to leave at 6:00am the next morning December 14th for London then from there to Manchester. However the plane going to London needed a new engine installed so we had to stay in New York another day.
BOAC lodged us in a hotel and we spent the 14th seeing some of New York. We finally left for London at 1:00am on the 15th.
December 16, 1960 Laron
We reached England about 9:00am. We couldn't land in London because of bad weather so we continued on to Manchester. However the weather in Manchester was bad so we landed at Prestwick airport near Glasgow, Scotland. Prestwick airport was quite small. In those days planes would park on the runway and lower a set of metal stairs for the passengers to deplane. We missionaries stood there wondering what would come next. The air was cold and the wind from the sea was brisk. We were taken into the terminal. We waited until the weather in Manchester cleared and then flew back to Manchester in an old, somewhat shabby, very small, propeller driven plane. Because of the weather we had to fly very low so I saw Scotland and Northern England from just above the tree tops, well maybe a little higher.
We were met at the airport and taken to the mission home at 118 Park Road, Hale Cheshire where we met our Mission President Bernard Brockbank.
The next morning everyone in the mission traveled by bus to London to attend the temple. We new arrivals had to cart all of our luggage with us, since we had no lodgings or digs to keep it in. We had to walk a long way from the mission home to the bus terminal trying to keep up with the office staff who had no large suitcases.
We were in London two days where we attended the temple and had a testimony meeting.
December 19, 1960 Laron
When we returned from London, I was assigned to serve in the Lake District with Elder Michael Bridge as the Supervising Elder. I was to work in Carlisle, Cumbria with Elder George Mote, who was from Grants Pass, Oregon. We traveled by train from the mission home to Carlisle. We lived in a boarding house at 80 Warnell Road.
Carlisle is on the England-Scotland border and has a great history, including an old castle. Many battles for the control of Scotland were fought there. It is the western end of Hadrian's wall. The Roman emperor Hadrian built the wall to make it harder for armies from Scotland to invade England.
There was a small branch of the Church in Carlisle. The branch president was a local member, but since there were no other priesthood holders, we served as his counselors. There had been no missionaries in Carlisle for a long time because the people weren't very receptive. We did find one young man about 14 years old who listened to us and joined the Church. Elder Mote was older than I was and he taught me a lot about missionary work. We worked very hard, but the work was slow, so President Brocbank decided to move us in January 1961.
January 30, 1961 Laron
Elder Mote went to Barrow-in-Furness with another Elder and I was transferred to Kendal, Lancashire to serve with Elder William Callister.
Kendal was a small, pretty town in the heart of the Lake District. There were no members of the Church in Kendal and no missionaries had worked there for a long time. We had a hard time finding digs (a place to stay) in Kendal so we had to stay in a hotel for a few days. We finally found a room with an old lady who was a widow. Her house was very nice and our room was on the second story looking out over a pretty view of Kendal and the countryside.
It was hard doing missionary work in Kendal. We had rocks thrown at us and faced many rejections. We became discouraged and were there for only a month then we were both transferred.
March 1, 1961 Laron
I was transferred to 12 Arnside Road, Southport, Lancashire a resort town on the west coast. Southport was in the Preston District. My new companion was Elder Wilford Daynes from Salt Lake City, Utah. The work in Southport went better than in Carlisle or Kendal. There was a branch of the Church with local leaders. We baptized four people while I was there.
Sometime in March 1961 the British and North British missions were divided into the British, Central British, North British and Scottish-Irish missions. President Brocbank became the president of the Scottish-Irish Mission. I was in England, so I was still in the North British Mission. Grant Thorn from Springville, Utah became the president of my mission.
Sometime at the end of March I began to feel weak and wasn't able to eat much. Elder Daynes to me to a National Health clinic, where I was examined and told that I had a condition called jaundice. I was issued a medical card by the Southport Council and told to go to our digs and stay inside. A doctor came each day to examine me. He put me on a special diet and told me to stay in the house. I began to improve but not very quickly, so President Thorn decided to have me move to the mission home.
April 5, 1961 Laron
After I arrived at the the mission home I improved quickly and in about two days was ready to work again. I was ask to work in the publication department with Elder Monte Brough.
We spent a lot of time traveling around the mission creating a district mission program using local people as missionaries. I had the opportunity to speak in most of the branches in the mission.
The four missions in the British Isles and the two in France were grouped together and called the Western European Missions. Nathan Eldon Tanner was the president of the group and was based in London. He came to tour our mission. Elder Brough and I were assigned to go with him and President Thorn. We traveled in President Thorn's Jaguar, spent the nights in hotels and lived the high life. We went to every area in the mission and met with each group of missionaries.
April 25, 1961 Ruth
Both my parents had served missions, and we were taught that missionary service was very important. Laron and I had planned that I would stay home while he as on his mission and continue to teach school, but my bishop called me in to his office and suggested that I turn in my papers to go. It wasn't as common then as now, for girls to go, but I've always been grateful to my bishop of the Rupert 1st Ward, Earl Griffen, who called me, and said he never wanted anyone from his ward to say that they would have gone if they had been called. In those days, missionary could state a preference as to where they would want to go, and since my father had gone to Ireland and England, I asked if I could go there. When my call came and I was called to the Scottish-Irish, mission, I was really thrilled.
May 31, 1961 Laron
When the local missionary program was organized and the lessons prepared I was assigned to the Newcastle District on the east coast, where Elder Heaton was the Supervising Elder. I was to work in South Shields with Elder Wesley Guyman from Provo, Utah. We lived with a family on 47 Westoe Road. The family had a small shop on the street and living space behind and above the shop. Our room was above the shop, where we could look out over the street.
South Shields is a fishing port. We enjoyed going to the docks, where we bought many kinds of fresh sea food.
We had a good thriving branch there with local leaders and lots of youth. Most of our youth were in families that had been members for some time so the branch was strong. Our mission had a girls softball program and we taught the girls how to play. They became very well and won the district tournament. We took them to the mission tournament in Manchester and they became mission champions.
June 11, 1961 Ruth
Missionary farewells were much more simple then. I don't remember much ado about my farewell, other than perhaps some aunts of uncles came to the Sac. Meeting that night. There was no big meal or get-together. I just gave my talk and we went home.
June 18, 1961 Ruth
I left for the Missionary Training Home, which was at that time in Salt Lake, in a big, old building up behind the Lion House. I left from home on a Sunday afternoon, when my family drove me to the old Burley Greyhound bus depot which was then across the street from what is now the Chadwick building. I knew my family would be coming to Salt Lake to see me off the next Sunday, so it was just a temporary goodbye. I arrived in Salt Lake at the bus depot there, and walked the several very long Salt Lake blocks, carrying my very heavy suitcase (40 lbs) in one hand, with my very heavy black bag in the other. It was evening, and the streets were nearly deserted. I would walk for awhile, then have to put my suitcase down and rest, or carry it with my other hand. I finally arrived, and went in and registered and was sent upstairs to the sisters rooms, where I was assigned to a companion, Sister Renolfson. We spent the week going to classes, studying, learning how to lead music, which skill I have used ever since, and doing a little shopping. We were given certificates for so much money off of a pair of shoes, if we went to a certain store, which most of us did. I was directed by the salesman to get a pair of really sturdy walking shoes, with a wedge heel, which he assured me would be just the thing for the rough streets and cobblestones in Scotland. Unfortunately, after being in the mission field, I soon had to practically discard the shoes, because of the higher heel, which caused me to nearly sprain my ankles as I navigated those cobblestones.
We would walk down to what was then the Hotel Utah, now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and have our meals in the basement cafeteria. The man in charge was a black gentleman, who had been managing the cafeteria and missionary meals for many years. He bore his testimony on one occasion, to the fact that he wanted the priesthood so badly, that he would allow his skin to be removed from his body, if that would enable him to have the priesthood. It was a very touching experience, as at that time, the black men couldn't hold the priesthood.
After one meal, as some of us were leaving the basement, we passed by a room used as a barber shop, and there was President. McKay, just finishing up having his hair cut. He stepped out and shook our hands as we were passing by. What a thrill!
June 21, 1961 Ruth
I was set apart, but I don't remember who did it.
June 25, 1961 Ruth
At the end of the week, our families arrived, and it was so good to see them again. My family went for a drive to "This is the Place Monument" and had a picnic in Liberty Park. We went to Temple Square for church services in the Assembly Hall. At one point, I had my picture taken with Sis. R. Later that evening, my parents drove me out to the airport, in order to catch our flight at midnight. I was so depressed and scared, and would have gone back home with them, if they had suggested it. Finally, after a heart wrenching goodbye, I boarded the plane.
The plane left for Denver. It was a propeller one, and the ride was very exciting. The pilot announced that since there were missionaries on board that he'd fly around Salt City so we could see it. All of the lights were on, and it was just beautiful, like jewels. I could see the lights of cars on the highways, and wondered if some of them were my family heading all the way back to Rupert that time of night, and having to get up in the morning for work and school.
June 27, 1961 Ruth
We flew over Ireland between 8:00am and 9:00am then landed at Prestwick, Scotland. We were driven to the mission home at Glynhill, 169 Paisley Road, Renfrew.
The mission home was very beautifully situated amid lovely grounds. The front hall was loaded with the luggage of twenty-nine new missionaries' luggage. We were herded into a room where people took our money in exchange for a stack of missionary books. We were all worn out, and one Elder lay down on the floor behind the couch and went to sleep. We were fed dinner, and then went into the Sisters' room to rest for a little while. I fell asleep right away, and when I woke up, I was alone in the room. I had the most dreadful feeling come over me, of terrible homesickness. Everything seemed so awful, and I wished I had never come. I missed my family, and I went to my suitcase and opened it up, as that was the closest I could get to home, because Mama and the girls had re-packed everything for me just before I left, and I kept thinking, "Mama was the last person to touch those shoes, and Daddy put those envelopes there" I'd never felt so alone in my life.
I went downstairs to find out where everybody was, and an Elder dashed in saying that if I were Sister Blacker, to get out to the van. Some of us were to catch a train in Glasgow that was leaving in a few minutes. I grabbed everything that looked familiar and dashed out. I'd left one coat upstairs, but nobody would listen to me. They just kept hurtling around screaming, "Hurry!"
Well, we missed the train, so we went to an Italian restaurant one of the older missionaries knew about, while we were waiting. I still had no idea where I was going, or who my companion would be. When it came time to pay for the meal, I had no idea what money was what, so the Elders had to help me.
We missed two more trains, but at last we caught one. Two Elders and myself climbed aboard and sat down as if we were being sent to Siberia. I watched Scotland slip by the window. It was getting dark and was raining, and everything looked dismal.
We arrived in Ayr, and got off the train to be met by some of the old timers and my companion, Sister Janice Lindsay. She and I caught a bus that took us to where we would be staying at 32 Caledonia Road. I met our landlady, Kathy and her husband, Bill, and their baby, John. I couldn't understand anything they were saying to me, and I was so grateful when it was time to go to bed. I was so very, very tired, that I could hardly stay awake, and this condition lasted for several days. Next morning, we went to town to the Police Department so I could register.
July 1961 Ruth
Sister Lindsay and I were transferred to Kilmarnock. We were sent on the bus, and had so much stuff that we really had a hard time getting it all on the bus. We went to stay with a widow lady, Mrs. Carrick at 13 Ayr Road. She had a nice home and treated us really well. The branch in Kilmarnock, was really just a bunch of kids, mostly under the age of sixteen. There were no adult members except the missionaries, who ran everything. The building we met in was an old, shabby public hall that had to be cleaned up before our meetings, which consisted of a sort of Sunday School and Mutual. Sister Lindsay was sick a lot, and we had a slow start. We tried to get a Relief Society going, but nothing came of it.
August 6, 1961 Ruth
After having really bad stomach pains for several days, a doctor decided I needed to have my appendix removed, which was terrifying for me. I was put in a women's ward afterwards with about twenty beds on each side of the room. In spite of all the other patients, I was all alone, and so miserable.
August 8, 1961 Ruth
I was taken by ambulance to the convalescent home, and in a smaller room with about six other women. They were really kind to me, and always reminded the nurses that I didn't drink coffee or tea. In a few days, I had my metal staples removed, and in a couple of days, was taken back to Mrs. Carrick's by ambulance.
August 13, 1961 Ruth
Elder Cottrell and Elder Shaw drove me to the Mission Home in Renfrew.
I still couldn't stand up straight because of my incision, but leaned to one side, and had great difficulty getting up and down for the family prayers we had with President and Sister Brockbank, the mission staff, and any missionaries as they came and went. I was put to work helping in the office, and asked to illustrate a series of presentations for the Traveling Elders. I was to make four sets of large cards, with each set consisting of forty-five cards. I finished the first set, and was then informed I was going to be out again, but I was to do no tracting for two weeks, but to take the cards and materials with me and finish them.
August 19, 1961 Ruth
I was driven to Danderhall, a few miles east of Edinburgh, in President Brockbank's Jaguar. We picked up my new companion, Sister Cathryn Hunter, at a baptismal service and then we went to where she lived with Mr. and Mrs. Lee, their daughter, Alison, their dog, Ricky and parakeet, Jokie.
For the next two weeks, I worked on the Traveling Elder cards, and after I return them, and two-hundred fifty missionaries will gaze upon my efforts. We did a lot of tracting in this area and had some success with baptisms. A branch was organized in Bonnyrigg not long after. I still have lots of trouble walking very far, but am practically recovered.
August 28, 1961 Laron & Ruth
In August 1961 while I was working in South Shields our district used a personal day and traveled to Scotland. Elder Heaton, our Supervising Elder had received special permission from the mission president for us to make the trip. Each district had a van to transport missionaries and church members in. The whole district rode in the van. We started very early in the morning and traveled a long time, stopping along the way to take pictures.
We toured Stirling Castle and the area around it. We rode in very small boats on Loch Lowman.
From Loch Lomond we went east toward Edinburgh looking at sites along the way. That evening in Edinburgh we went to the Military Tattoo, which is a concert performed by various military musical groups. All of the missionaries in the Scottish Mission were there that night. After the Tattoo was over Elder Guymon and I stood at the gate and waited for Ruth and her companion, Sister Hunter. When they came out I gave her a 35mm camera I had bought for her. We talked for a few minutes then separated to go to our areas. Elder Guymon and I didn't get back in South Shields until early the next morning.
Aug 28th was a big event we'd been looking forward to, the annual Military Tattoo at Edinburgh castle. Our entire district went, and it was really interesting various branches of the military music and dances. So far, on my mission, I didn't have a camera, and had written back and forth to Laron in England. He was getting a better camera and we decided he would sell me his first one. Because of his district being so successful, they were awarded with a trip to the Tattoo. As we were leaving, suddenly, there he was! He and his companion were standing by the exit looking for me! I was literally stunned! There stood my sweetheart right in front of me, and I could hardly believe it! We only had a couple of minutes to talk, but he had brought the camera which he gave me, and then he hurried off to find his district, and I had to go with mine. For a brief while, I wished we weren't on missions, with the arm's length stuff, and that we wouldn't have to only have a couple of minutes to talk under those conditions. It was very upsetting to just walk away.
September 6, 1961 Laron
I was transferred to to Sheffield to work with Elder Michael Bridge, the Supervising Elder of the district. We lived in a very prosperous area where each house was on a large well groomed lot. Our landlady was a widow who lived with a grown son and daughter at at 57 Southgrove Road. They all worked for companies that paid well and wore nice clothes and drove good cars, while most people in Britain rode bikes or buses to dreary jobs. They listened to American music and were jazz fans, they especially liked Ella Fitzgerald. They were very nice to us and we liked them.
We had a strong branch there with local leaders, so we were able to spend most of our time finding and teaching contacts. One sister in the branch gave us some problems because she believed in communism and tried to get the branch members to espouse her beliefs.
September 27, 1961 Ruth
A telegram arrived this morning with the news that both of us were to be transferred. I was to go to the Falkirk District, but neither of us were happy. We'd worked so hard and I really liked Sis Hunter. Elder Taylor drove us to the train station. My new companion in Falkirk was Sister Helen Ure, who had been out fifteen months. She was a really hard worker, and we got along very well. We lived in Camelon at 27 Ross Crescent, with a large boisterous family, headed by a widow, Mrs. McLeish and several of children, some married, and a few grandchildren and a little dog, Wee Glenn. Lots of opposition to the Church in this area this area. The Church had just purchased an old dance hall there, which is in the process of being remodeled into a chapel upstairs, a cultural hall and baptismal font downstairs. Again, the entire branch is mostly teenagers and younger kids brought in by the baseball program via what we call our MIA. There is one family, and one or two adults, but the branch is struggling with the usual problem we face of people not getting along. Lots of scrappy arguments and quarrels.
We spend our P days helping the building missionary, Brother McDonald, from the USA, with tearing down old wallpaper, cleaning up trash and painting. Did lots of tracting, trying to get a Relief Society going, teaching Sunday School and MIA classes and giving talks. I was recruited to play a terrible old organ.
October 16, 1961 Laron
My experiences in South Shields and Sheffield gave me much more confidence and helped me be a better missionary. I had served as a senior companion in South Shields and had been sent to be a junior companion to Elder Bridge so I could get more leadership experiences. I was called to serve as a Traveling Elder.. The Traveling Elders lived in a house near the mission home. We drove Volkswagen Bugs and went around the mission helping the Supervising Elders with the missionaries in their districts
October 18, 1961 Ruth
Sister Ure left to work in another area. I hated to see her be transferred. Sister Lindsay come to be my companion again for one month, and then she was transferred.
November 13, 1961 Laron
On November 13, 1961 I was called to be the Supervising Elder of the Liverpool District with Elder Wendel Hansen as my companion.
Liverpool is a large port city on the River Mersey and is full of Liverpudlians. Many of our ancestors from England and Scandinavia immigrated to America by sailing from Liverpool to Boston, New York or New Orleans. I enjoyed the exciting pulse of the place. My companion and I taught some boys to place American Football. We had a nice small branch there. The church owned an old building that we met in. It had a room with a water tub that was used for a baptismal font. We were given a van to drive, so we could transport missionaries and members as needed.
November 18, 1961 Ruth
Sister Lindsay was transferred and Sister Rollins was sent to be my companion, She was a really great companion, and we got along well. We continued to try and get the branch going. There were lots of problems with the remodeling. The baptismal room was finished with tiles laid on the floor, when the pipes broke in the ceiling, and the dripping water warped the floor, causing Brother McDonald to have to rip out all the tiles and start over. Then, someone set fire to our building, by tearing up hymn books and putting them in front of a heater, which caused the upstairs floor to burn through. It turned out to be some "teddy boys" who had been coming to our Mutual, but had caused lots of problems.
They were arrested, but there we were again, starting over on more cleaning. A new floor had to be installed in the chapel. Then, a couple of weeks later, as Sister Rollins and I were working with some youth, in the building, we heard a terrible sound, with hot water and steam pouring down in an upstairs room. The boiler had over heated, and pipes burst in the ceiling above the cultural hall! Poor Brother McDonald!
January 1962 Ruth
Sister Rollins was transferred and my new companion was Sister Nan Ette Hyde, another great worker. We set up a Primary, and one of the adult men was made branch president, which was a big deal. We struggled on slowly building up the branch. I Came down with bronchitis, which really plagued me for several months. Really became discouraged, as I felt I wasn't pulling my own weight.
January 17, 1962 Laron
I was called to be the Supervising Elder in the Middlesbrough District and instructed to drive my van there. I left Elder Hansen in Liverpool and picked up my new companion Elder Wendell Lynn Cottrell on the way. We arrived in Middlesbrough late at night. It so late that we slept in the van until morning, when we could look for our digs. We lived with a couple and their daughter Jackie at 87 Oxford Road. They had four other boarders and we all ate our meals in large room at the front of the ground floor. Our room was across the hall from the dining room.
The branch was well organized and met in an old council house. We had a lot of youth and some very good adult members.
March 6, 1962 Ruth
Sister Hyde and I were moved three miles down the road to Grangemouth, and got a room there, at 11 Brooke Street, with an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Graham, whom we came to love. They took good care of us. Mrs. Graham was a little spacey. Once she propped up a wobbly frying pan on the gas range, with a book of matches, which, of course, caused a little excitement. She had a ratty, old sick cat named Ginger Tam, who we would hold on her lap while were seated at the table eating. Tam had a dreadful stuffy head, and would sneeze greenish gunk all over the place while Sister Hyde and I tried to hold it all together. At one point, a little black kitten came around and took up residence with the family. We named him McBlackie.
The Church had purchased an old building in Camelon, just out of Falkirk, where our room was located. It had been a dance hall, and we spent quite a bit of time helping with the remodeling. An older couple from the States were serving a building mission, and he managed the work.
We still take the bus on Sundays to the branch in Camelon, and I still play the organ. We also have started a small branch in Grangemouth, so we have two services each Sunday
June, 1962 Laron
Sometime in June Elder Cotrell was transferred and Elder Larry Zaugg became my companion. My time with Elder Zaugg was probably the most productive of my mission. We worked well together and taught some great families, including the Burtons and Henwoods. John and Hilda Burton had two children Leslie and Neil. They immigrated to Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. John and Hilda visited us in Heyburn. Hilda Henwood was a great lady. We had been asked to visit her when some of the other missionaries talked to her daughters, Frances, Jean, Kathryn and Adrianne. When we arrived she accused us us of trying to steal her daughters. However she listened to our message and she and her three oldest daughters were baptized. Adrianne was baptized when she turned eight years old and Brother Henwood was baptized after I left Middlesbrough. We have visited the girls and their families in Middlesbrough. Jean and her husband Sid have visited us in Heyburn. The Burtons and Henwoods are great examples of the good people in England.
I was in Middlesbrough for a long time, had two very good companions there and really enjoyed the area
July 1962 Ruth
I really hated to have Sister Hyde transferred. My new companion was a Scottish girl, Sister Joan Walker, who was really nice and worked hard. We kept carrying on with both branches, though the one in Grangemouth was mostly youth, but that's how many branches start. We got discouraged, but tried to keep slogging along. We still lived with the Grahams at 11 Brooke Street, Grangemouth.
October 20, 1962 Laron
I was called to serve as a Zone Counselor. My companion was Elder Floyd Young. We lived with a family who where members of the Church at 41 Stanley Road in Wakefield, Yorkshire.
October 25, 1962 Ruth
I was called to be a Traveling Sister with Sister Jesse Smith, which I felt was a great honor and responsibility. She was older than the usual missionary, as she had been married, but her husband had been killed in a mining accident. We had a car to drive, a small, light blue Wolselly with a stick shift. This was a challenge, as I hadn't driven very much with a stick shift, along with the difficulty of driving on the opposite side of the car, and the opposite side of the road. I did drive when more out in the country, but always let her drive in heavy traffic. We lived with Mr. and Mrs. Wright at 30 Invercanny Drive, Drumchapel, Glasgow. One son was in jail, and the other was on home on leave from the army. We were to travel around and visit and train the sister missionaries, compose and send out instructions to them and do reports.
November 1, 1962 Ruth
We flew to London for a special conference for the missionary leaders of the West European Missions. We were the only sisters in attendance at the Hyde Park chapel with about six hundred Elders. Laron, as a zone leader was there, and I spent a lot of time looking around for him. We did meet, and it was wonderful to see him. That evening, he with his companions and me with mine, went to a restaurant together, still arm's length. Elder Nathan E Tanner, president of the Western European Missions presided. Elder Hugh B. Brown was there along with Marion D. Hanks, who was the president of the British Mission.
Back to our regular schedule, we found we were both wearing down, and tired most of the time.
December 13, 1962 Ruth
Sister Smith was released. I always grew very fond of most of my companions and hated to see them leave. I was then sent into the mission home, where I worked in the office, copying records until I was released to go home. I was really eager to go home, but realized I would probably never again see the many people we had worked with, and learned to love, especially the members of the Falkirk and Grangemouth branches, where I had spent so much time.
December 13, 1962 Laron
I received my release letter I drove to the mission home on December 13. I was to stay there until the 18th, when I was to fly from Leeds to London and from there to Chicago, Salt Lake and Boise. However for a reason I don't remember my departure was moved up to the 15th.
President Thorn gave me my final interview on December 15 and I traveled by train to London. That night I stayed in a hotel in downtown London. I spent most of the night looking out of the window at the crazy London characters. The next day I took a taxi to Heathrow Airport and flew from there to Chicago. When I got to Chicago I found that my schedule had changed again. A lady stood in the terminal as we left the plane calling for Larson Waite. She told me that I was to go to Denver and from there to Boise. When I arrived in Boise, I had to call my parents because they expected me two days later.
December 23, 1962 Ruth
When I was released Sister Winward and I were to travel home together, as she was from Burley. Though we had never been companions, we had been able to get to know each other. We were both sent home a few days early because of the travel arrangements, so we decided to surprise our families and not tell them we were coming home early. It was a really dumb idea. I had arranged with my brother, Paul, who lived in Salt Lake, to pick me up and drive me to Rupert.
December 24, 1962 Ruth
As it turned out, Paul wasn't able to make it, so had called my folks and told them when I was coming. So, after a really long trip home, with a couple of long waits in airports for connecting flights, we finally landed in Salt Lake. Then it was my turn for a big surprise, as when we walked down the steps onto the tarmac, there was my family standing at the bottom to meet me. I remember seeing my dad, almost push through other waiting people to get to me and hug me. What a wonderful moment! How glad I was that they were there, and they told me that they had looked forward to this trip to the airport for so long, that it would have been a disappointment they hadn't had the experience. We stopped at a cafe near the airport and had something to eat, and then drove home, just in time for Christmas.
Sister Winward's original plans worked out and she surprised her family, walking in the door of the kitchen where her mother was working. She told me later that her mother actually almost fainted and broke out in hives from the shock.
My mission was an extremely important part of my life. Laron's and our shared experiences in the British Isles has brought us many blessings. Our children were raised with missionary experiences, British culture and many Scottish songs.