Rodney Waite and Marie Iverson Waite History
This history will cover the lives of Marie Iverson and Rodney Waite from the time of their marriage in 1938 until Marie's death in 2007.
The material is taken from Marie's journals and her attempts to record her history. I have found several handwritten documents that contain portions of her history as she wrote it. Sometimes the documents give different versions of an event. When that happens I have endeavored to blend the material into a cohesive description of the event. On occasions the versions are so different that I have included parts of each version.
I understand enough about the way history unfolds to know that even the best written history cannot be entirely correct.
Laron Waite - 2017
Marie Iverson was born 6 December 1919 in St. George, Utah, the second child of Victor Moses Iverson and Leoma McCain. She attended school grades 1-8 in Mt Trumbull, Arizona, Bloomington and St George, Utah. She attended Virgin Valley High School in Bunkerville, Nevada where she met Rodney Waite. Rodney Waite was born 7 January 1919 in Bunkerville, Nevada, the twelfth child of Herbert William Waite and Mable Lillian Leavitt. He and Marie dated during the years 1936-1938.
They were married in St. George Utah on 3 August 1938. Marie recorded the following about the marriage in her journal.
"After Rodney graduated in May, 1938, we decided to get married. He was 19. I was 18. This was at the end of the Great Depression with very few jobs available. He was working for the school district for $19 a month, but we could go buy a bag of groceries then for $1.
We were married on my mother's birthday at my parent's home in St. George by my bishop, Arthur Kay Hafen.
Grandma Waite and Aunt Vinda came up and brought some beautiful roses for decoration. I didn't have a wedding dress but was married in a yellow chiffon dress, trimmed in white. My Aunt Belle and her daughter Elva were there but it was a real simple, small affair, because times were so hard. My mother had already given me a bridal shower in St. George. Then Rodney's mother gave me a shower in Bunkerville after we were married. We got a few table cloths, towels, etc, that really helped for we had nothing made.
That day Rodney accidentally slammed the car door on my thumb and mashed it. It really hurt me a lot and I cried more on my wedding day than I laughed. My Dad had to finally cut into my nail to relieve the pressure. We didn't even take any wedding pictures. I've always been sorry for that.
We went to Bunkerville to live with Rodney's folks for a while and that night a bunch of our friends shivareed us. We had fun. We had one room to live in and we kept house there for a while. We bought a little unpainted kitchenette table and 4 chairs, and a wood cook stove. There was no electricity in Bunkerville then. Rodney had so many brothers and they were all such kidders that it was hard for me to adjust at first.
My Dad gave us a beautiful Jersey heifer for our wedding that was almost grown. We took it down and put it with his folk's cattle. She was new so they bossed her around. One day she "was run" into a pole on the gate and it hurt her so bad they had to kill her. We really felt bad about that."
Rodney's family and friend had called him Rod so after they were married Marie also called him Rod, however when she wrote his name in her histories she usually used Rodney.
Since there was no electricity in Bunkerville people were still using oil lamps for lights and wood stoves for heating and cooking. They knew that electricity would soon be available so they had their houses wired to used it. While Rod and Marie were living with his parents electricity was brought to Bunkerville on a power line from Boulder Dam.
They marveled at the magic the electricity produced. When the first light switch was turn on they were standing in the living room and were amazed at the light that came from the chandelier that had been installed. After that Rod's parents bought an electric washer and refrigerator. Again they were amazed at how well the food stayed fresh because of the cold refrigerator
Rod's brother Marvin helped him get a job with Lester Mills, a farmer in Logandale, Nevada. Lester wanted them to live in his mother's home and Rod to milk 14 cows and take care of 10,000 turkeys. Both Rod and Marie helped with the killing and shipping of the turkeys.
When Lester Mills took a load of turkeys to Los Angeles they asked him to find a car for them to buy. He came back with a small, blue car for them. They were very pleased with it, but when they drove it to Bunkerville the engine didn't run well. They disappointed and worried but the next time Lester went to Los Angeles he took the car and got their money back.
After the last of turkeys were shipped for the Christmas season Lester didn't much for them to do so moved back to Bunkerville. They moved into a small house owned by Rod's brother, Delbert. The house was located in the southwest side of the town. Only two rooms were completely finished. That Christmas Rod hurt his knee while playing basketball with some friends and was not able work very much.
There were not many jobs available and they were very worried. Rod was able to find several small short term jobs with people in the town. In the summer his brother Marvin, who worked for the Nevada State Highway Department helped him get a job working on the construction of a section of Highway 21 from Glendale, Nevada to the top of Mormon Mesa. The work was hard and the weather hot but the pay was good.
Marie became pregnant with their first child. The only way for Marie to get baby clothes was to make them. Since there was no way to know the gender of the child she made dresses and night gowns that could be used for both boys and girls.
Her body produced too much of a chemical called albumin. The excess albumin was poisoning her kidneys. Her doctor, Wilford Reichman, was worried that if her body continued to produce too much albumin it would kill her. Her condition became serious during the last few months of her pregnancy.
In November of 1939 Dr. Reichman told her that he feared the baby was dead. He had not felt any movement in her and was not able to hear a heartbeat. In the first few days of December he told her that they could wait no longer. On December 3, 1939 Rod took her to the McGregor Hospital in St. George, Utah where Dr. Reichman gave her medicine to start her labor. The labor was not consistent during that day. She spent that night in the hospital and the next morning Monday, December 4th, the doctor gave her more medicine to start the labor again. Soon the labor pains started and her hand began to jerk. Her body continued to jerk and she felt herself losing conciseness. She heard Rod call for help and then she lost conciseness. The baby, a boy, was born at 9:40 AM, while she was unconscious. She and the baby stayed in the hospital for ten days. Gradually the albumin went back to normal and her kidneys recovered. She and the baby stayed in the hospital 10 days.
They named the child Laron Rodney after Laron Knight, a friend of Rod's from Bunkerville, who was killed.
The next summer was long and hot so they slept outside to get away from the heat of the house. There was an irrigation ditch next to the house that helped cool the place in the night. They could lay in the ditch and get cool. They would also get the top bed sheet wet to help cool themselves.
They were able to spend time with Rod's parents who lived about 1 ½ miles away. Since they had no car they had to walk. They also visited with Rod's brothers who lived in town. His brother Evan and his wife Dorothy had three girls, the youngest was the same age as Laron.
In 1940-41 Marie's brother Grant lived with them while he was a sophomore attending Virgin Valley High School in Bunkerville. He joined the Future Farmers of America and raised frying chickens as his yearly project.
That fall Rod went to Peoche, Nevada with some friends to pick pine nuts. While he was standing in a Pinion tree to shake the nuts out of it the limb broke. When he fell he was knocked unconscious and lay on the ground. When he regained consciousness his head was bleeding from a cut in his forehead and he had a lot of pain in his arm. Apparently he was on the ground for a long time for it was much later in the day. He managed to get up and walk to where his friends were. They took him to a doctor in Peoche where he learned that his arm was broken between the wrist and the elbow. The doctor bandaged the cut on his head and put a cast on the arm. The cost was $10.00. He was supposed to go back to the doctor for a two week checkup, but he took the cast of himself and never went back to the doctor.
While they were living in Bunkerville Rod's brother Leland brought his fiancee, Mary Rose Giardina Bunker to visit them. She was from Los Angeles and had been married to John Merlin Bunker. They had a son named John then divorced while living in Las Vegas. Lee and Mary were married 7 December 1940 in the St. George Temple. They lived in a trailer house in Las Vegas where Lee had a job.
Rod's construction job ended. He was able find a job in Las Vegas delivering ice which meant that he had to travel each week from Bunkerville to Vegas. In Vegas he lived with his cousin Margaret and her husband and went home on the weekends. While he was in Vegas Marie and Laron would sometimes ride the bus to St. George to see her parents.
Rod and Marie wanted to move to Vegas so they could be together. He found what he called a truck house. It was a one room cabin built on a truck bed. There was a door between the truck cab and the cabin. The cabin had a bed in one end and cupboards on the walls. He was able to get a space for the truck in the trailer park next to Lee and Mary.
On 7 December 1941 Rod's brother, Denzel drove Marie and Laron from Bunkerville to Vegas so they could move into the truck house. While they were on their way they heard the announcement of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The next day the United States declared war on Japan and later joined the Allies fighting against the Axis nations.
Rod quit his job delivering ice and he and Lee were working at a plant in Vegas that supplied a magnesium alloy to be used in aircraft components. Many of these components were used by the allies in World War II.
By this time Marie was pregnant with her second child and she had problems with producing too much albumin again. She was attended by Dr. Hardy in Las Vegas. He gave her medication to control the albumin but told that she shouldn't have any more babies. When the time for the baby to be born approached, Mary would visit Marie each day to see if she needed help. When the baby was born Marie recorded his birth in her journal.
On the morning of 25 April 1942, Rodney had gone to work, but he had left a number where he could be reached. As Mary came in she asked if I had any pains yet. I said "Yes, I think they have started", and as I went to get out of bed my water broke. Mary called the doctor and then Rodney. Then she helped me get ready yo go to the hospital.
I think we left Laron with a neighbor we knew, but I can't remember how we got to the hospital, but that we did and the labor pains came hard and fast. They put me right into the labor room and said that the doctor was coming. Mary stayed with me even in the delivery room. The nurse said "Now be sure and don't bear down, wait for the doctor to get here", then she left the room.
Well there was no way I could keep from bearing down and wait for that slow doctor. The baby came and Mary grabbed a towel and caught the baby. It was a good thing that she was there with me because no one else was. Mary called for help and a nurse came and later the doctor.
Mary always did claim Gary as hers because she delivered him. He was my largest baby, over 10 pounds. He was the largest baby in the nursery. Rodney arrived after the baby was born.
At the time General Douglas MacArthur was doing well in the South Pacific against the Japs and he was so popular, so the nurses in the hospital neck named Gary "The General" after him"
As can be seen from the journal entry the baby was a boy and they named him Gary Victor. Victor after Marie's father Victor Iverson.
Lee and Mary bought an old house in the northwest part of Vegas near her ex-husband's parents John and Eloise Bunker. The house was old and needed a lot of cleaning and repair. Rod and Marie helped them get it ready to move into. After Lee and Mary moved into their home they invited Rod and Marie to move the truck house onto their lot. They also pitched a white tent next to the truck that could be use as another room. During that summer the truck and tent were very hot so they rolled up the sides of the tent to let the air flow through it.
Lee's and Mary's son John spent a lot of time with Laron and Gary. The two families spent time together. Lee had a car with a rumble seat in it and they enjoyed riding in the cool of the evening. They hiked in the mountains and went to Mount Charleston for Christmas trees.
Rod had started working at the magnesium plant as a janitor. The plant was large with many buildings, halls and rooms so the janitorial crew was large. Rod was promoted to supervisor over a crew of 30 men which meant that he was given a raise and was earning what he considered good money.
Rod and Marie decided that they wanted to move away from Vegas. They didn't like the gambling influence and the crime. When Marie would walk down Fremont Street with her children she felt unsafe because of the people hanging around the doorways of the gambling places. They didn't want to raise their sons in that environment.
They also wanted to find a place that wasn't so dry and hot. Rod's uncle, Frank Leavitt, had moved his family to a place in southwest Idaho. They had gone back to Bunkerville and told the people about it. Rod and Marie thought it sounded good so in the fall of 1942 took a trip to Frank's place. They liked the area and decided to move there. They made a second trip there in the spring of 1943 and took Rod's parents and a cousin Laurel Leavitt with them. Rod's mother wanted to visit with her brother Frank Leavitt and his wife Selena.
While there Rod and Marie bought a place in Homedale, Idaho for $4,500.00 from a family whose last name was Nihart. It had 20 acres, a house, a barn and corrals and was located on South 2nd Street East (Highway 95) just south of Homedale near a curve in the road.
They returned to Vegas and made arrangements to move to Idaho. In May of 1943 they paid a man named Harley Adams $100.00 to use his truck and haul their furniture to their new home. They took Marie's brother Keith and a cousin Deward Iverson with them to help with the moving. When they arrived the Nihart family hadn't moved out of the house so they stayed with Frank and Selena for a few days. When they did move in they really liked the place. Keith and Deward stayed with them for a few weeks.
Their land was well watered with a lot of trees, bushes, flowers and a lawn. There was a small orchard with apricots and nectarines. There was also a patch of raspberries. There was a barn with corrals, a smoke house, an underground cellar, a chicken coop and a garage. The house didn't have a bathroom or any plumbing inside. There was a well with a hand pump, which gave sweet cold water. They kept rabbits, chickens, pigs and several cows on the place. They milked the cows, got eggs from the chickens and ate the pigs and rabbits. Most of their property consisted of two fields. One was used as a pasture for their cows. They planted grain in the largest one.
Rod had a hard time finding a good job at first. His job in Las Vegas had paid well but he had to take low paying, menial temporary jobs in Homedale. He felt living there was worth the loss of pay. Both he and Marie hoed onions and sugar beets, picked cherries, peaches and apples to earn money. He worked for a man named Johnny Turner.
His history says that he worked for Johnny only a short while then began working in a packing shed. He didn't give the name of the packing shed. If it was like others in the area it probably packed fresh potatoes, peaches, pears, apples or onions into sacks and shipped them to markets in eastern cities. He was the foreman of the packing crew.
While working there he lost part of the third (ring) finger in his right hand. He was repairing a piece of machinery probably a conveyor belt when some member of his crew turned it on. His finger was caught between the chain and the belt wall. The finger was severed just passed the second joint so that it was the same length as the little (pinky) finger.
The finger became a source of many stories that he would tell him children and grandchildren. Sometimes he said that he sucked it off, other times he didn't like it so he chopped it off, or that a bear or cougar bit it off.
Other members of the family moved to Homedale shortly after they got there. Rod's cousin Laurel Leavitt bought a farm west of Homedale. Rod's brother, Lee bought a farm north of Homedale in an area called Fargo. Another brother, Denzel bought a farm west of a small town called Wilder . Later another brother, Moroni and his family also moved there.
The Homedale Ward members about 1943
The LDS Church had a small branch in Homedale. The Waites and all of their relatives were active in the branch. They held their meetings in an old white wooded building at 121 W Owyhee Avenue. The building had one large room where the meetings were held. The room had a raised platform in the back that served as a stage for those conducting and speaking in the meetings. For meetings such as Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society, Primary and Mutual the room would be divided for the different classes with curtains. Behind the platform was a small room in that served as an office for the branch leaders. Gradually the membership in the branch grew so much that they had to find other places to hold Sunday School and Primary classes. The Seventh-Day Adventists Church, which had a meetinghouse about a block away, loaned them some rooms in their basement. Later they rented a large room in the basement of the Jackson Hotel, which was through the block from the branch building.
The United States was still in war. Marie had two brothers and numerous cousins that were serving either in Europe or the South Pacific. She was very worried that Rod would be drafted. Two of her brothers were in the Navy. Alvin (Bud) had entered on 21 November 1942 and Grant on 12 November 1943. Both were serving in the South Pacific. Her Aunt Mary had two sons, Robert and Arthur that she grew up with. Robert had entered the Army 13 January 1941 was a sargent serving in the Philippines. Arthur was married and had a son when he was drafted. He served in the 407th Army Air Force Bomb Squadron and a tail gunner in a bomber. Marie corresponded regularly with all of them. Many men in Homedale were also being drafted
When Rod lost his finger Marie was hoping that would keep him from being drafted. However in 1944 he received a notice that he had been drafted into the Army and was to report to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah on 25 October 1944. Marie was pregnant with her third child and was terribly afraid of being separated from Rod. She felt that she couldn't stay in Homedale and take care of their small farm and animals. Her cousin Arthur Cromwell was killed 11 September 1944 when his plane was shot down over Germany and that added to he fear. Her parents had invited her to stay with them in St. George. When Rod left she sold the farm, stored the furniture in Lee's and Denzel's places and went to live with Lee and Mary while she waited for her father to take her to St. George.
Her father, Victor, rode a bus to Homedale and took her and her two sons to St. George. She recorded the following about the journey in her journal.
Finally my father came up on the bus so he could help me drive my car back down to Utah. But he was sick by the time he arrived. Riding on a bus always made him sick because of the gas fumes and cigarette smoke. He was terribly sick that night and was even delirious. The next day he was alright and we started out.
Our car was a red Studebaker at the time. I remember as we were traveling along the road in Idaho we met a large herd of sheep and had to just creep along for quite a while. My Dad got pretty upset and said they would never allow this in Utah. The boys and I thought it was a real treat to see all the big sheep up so close. They were so pretty and woolly.
We made it to St. George alright and I tried to settle down and feel home with my folks. They didn't have much room to put us in but we all tried to make adjustments. But I was so restless and lonesome for Rodney and it seemed liked my two little boys were always getting into trouble. It seemed like we just couldn't work things out so I decided to move to Bunkerville and rent a little house down there, which I did.
Rod was sent from Fort Douglas to Forth Worth in Texas for his basic training. The marching exercises caused a lot of pain in the knee he had hurt when he was playing basketball in Bunkerville. He wasn't able to do the marching and hiking so he was transferred into the Army Air Force. After basic training he served as a supply clerk in the places we was sent to. We don't have an official record of the dates and places where he served. However we do know that he served in Great Bend, Kansas, Aberdeen, Maryland and Tampa Florida. He had an outgoing personality and made friends easily. He spent most of his time passing out supplies to the airmen. Some of them tried to influence him to see that they got clothes that would fit or some certain thing that they wanted so he made many friends. He and some friends went to New York and Washington D. C to see the sites. While in Washington D. C. he spent some time with a nephew, Gerald Reber.
While Marie and her sons lived in Bunkerville she spent time with Rod's parents and other members of his family. She drove to St. George each month for a checkup with Dr. Reichman. He was the same doctor that delivered Laron and was also her parents' doctor. As the time drew near for the birth of the child, Dr. Reichman told her that she should stay in St. George. She left her boys in Bunkerville with Rod's parents and went to her parents' place to wait for the birth. In February 1945 the doctor had her enter the hospital so he could give her pitocin to start her into labor. The drug didn't work so the next day she left the hospital and drove to Bunkerville to see her sons. When she arrived in Bunkerville, Rod's mother was horrified to think that she had left St. George. The next morning Rod's brother Moroni drove her, her sons, Rod's mother and sister Dina to St. George in her car. They left her at her parents home and drove the car back to Bunkerville. a few days later she was back in the hospital and this time her labor started. The baby was twisted and the birth was very hard.
On 23 February 1945 Marie gave birth to her third son. She named him Richard Lee and sent a telegram to Rod telling him of the birth. She and Richard stayed in the hospital for 10 days. Rod's mother and Moroni took her and the baby from the hospital to Bunkerville where she stayed with them for several weeks.
While Marie and the boys were living with Rod's parents his father, Herbert, who was 77 years old at the time, became very ill. Because his father was so ill the Red Cross made arrangements for Rod get get a furlough and go to Bunkerville. While he was home they stayed in the house Marie had rented. He immersed himself in the affairs of his family and the community. He gave his new son a blessing in church, he gave a talk in church, he also helped the men of Bunkerville clean the irrigation ditches. His father recovered enough that he could take care of himself. Rod was there for a month, then he had to return to the Army. After he was gone Laron developed tonsillitis and Dr. Reichman removed his tonsils.
On 7 May of 1945 Rod was at a professional baseball game in Philadelphia when the surrender of Germany was announced. Of course that caused great excitement. The war in Europe was over, but the war against Japan continued. Marie was still very afraid of the effects of the war. Her brothers and Robert Cromwell were still at war in the Pacific battle area. She felt restless and was worried about their future.
She and Rod had planned to go back to Homedale when the war was over. Lee and Mary had invited her to come back and live with them, so she decided to do it. Sometime in May or June of 1945, Rod's brother Dan and his wife Fern drove her and the boys to Homedale. Dan and Fern planned to visit with Lee and Mary and other family members while they were there, then ride a bus back to Bunkerville.
When they arrived they found Lee in pain from arthritis. The Homedale Branch had become a ward and he was the Bishop and had a hard time taking care of his farm doing his duty as the bishop. The doctor treating him tried many thing to help him overcome the pain, but it continued. Finally the doctor decided to send him to a mineral health spa in Baker, Oregon. While Lee was gone Mary, John and Marie did what they could to take care of the farm.
Marie received a letter telling her of the death of her cousin Robert Cromwell who was killed 22 June 1945 in Luzon, Philippines. Now her Aunt Mary had lost both of her sons and since her husband had been killed in an accident in Salt Lake in June 1944 she was alone.
Lee started to feel better so they felt it was time for him to come home. Marie and Mary started for Baker in Marie's car on 6 August 1945. While on the way they heard an announcement over the radio that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Even though they felt horror at the death and destruction it caused, they were glad because they felt that the war would soon be over. Rod, Marie's brothers and other relatives could soon come home. When they got Lee home he felt much better and was able to do his share of the work.
Marie felt that she was imposing on Lee and Mary by living with them. She also wanted to prepare a home for Rod to come to. She decided to find a place to rent. She found a small three room white house in Homedale owned by a Sister Taylor, a member of the Homedale Ward. The house was located on 101 West Oregon Avenue. Lee and Denzel helped them move in.
Her car broke down and she took it to Carl Rowen's garage. He told her the car needed an new part. Her history does not say which part. Carl tried to find a new part but was not able to because of the war. She had to walk when she needed groceries and other items. She pushed Richard in the baby buggy and Laron and Gary walked. On the way home she would put the items she bought in the buggy with Richard. She had some neighbors that helped her, especially a Mrs. Rainy who lived across the street to the north.
Morrison-Knudsen was a large construction company based in Boise, Idaho. They had projects in many places in the world, including the island of Guam. When the war with Japan began the Morrison-Knudsen employees on Guam were taken as prisoners by the Japanese. Most of them were from southwest Idaho, some from Homedale. They spent all of the war as prisoners and were treated badly. They were starved, beaten and forced to do manual labor. They were released at the end of the war and returned home. One of them was a man named Leo Keech, who was married to Donna Cole a friend of Marie's. When Leo got home he had a terrible time recovering from his wounds and the distress caused by the beatings.
Rod was discharged from the Army while he was in Tampa, Florida on 15 December 1945. He came home by train. All of the servicemen were treated very well after the war. While Rod was on his way each time the train stopped someone would be at the station to give them food and thank them for their service. He stopped in Detroit, Michigan and bought the part that was needed for the car. He and the car part arrived in Caldwell, Idaho in the middle of the night. He hadn't known the exact time of his arrival so Marie wasn't there to pick him up. He couldn't find a taxi. Neither Marie nor Denzel had phones so he started walking the 15-16 miles to Homedale. He was carrying his suitcase and the car part, which was about the size of a football. The weather was cold and frosty and the roads were slick. finally about five miles from Homedale he got a ride.
Marie and the boys were in bed, but she heard Rod's knock and let him in the house. He was very tired and cold but it was 22 December 1945, the war was over and they were all together again. They had Christmas together and enjoyed the New Year holiday. The new part for the car worked and the car was repaired.
Then on 3 January 1946 they got a telegram from Marie's brother Bud (Alvin) saying that her father, Victor, had died of a stroke. They got ready to leave for St. George. They really hadn't had time to check out the car to see if everything worked. The weather was bad with snow on the roads. The Interstate system hadn't been built yet, so they had to travel on the winding, slow state highways that went through each little town. The heater in the car didn't work so they were cold. Richard was about 10 months old and hard to hold. After they went through Mt. Home, Idaho they came to a place called King Hill. The hill wasn't very high but was steep and the snow made it hard for the vehicles to reach the top. Many were stuck in the snow. A busload of servicemen went down the hill. When they got to the bottom they stopped and helped push vehicles to the top, including the Waite family.
After King Hill their travel went smoothly until they got to Cedar City, Utah. It was night and the lights on the car went out. The darkness and the snow on the road made it hard for them to see. A pickup passed them and they were able to follow its tail lights from Cedar City to St. George.
Marie's parents were living in a home on the east end of St. George Boulevard so it was one of the first places they came to as they entered St. George. They arrived at 3:00 AM very tired and sleepy.
Victor had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been working in a gem shop owned by Clarence Force. While he was working he became ill and felt he should go home. He staggered the mile to his home. When he got there he was not able to speak very well. His wife, Leoma, put him to bed and called the doctor. Their son Bud (Alvin) had been home from the Navy since the previous November, so he was there with his fiancee, Heroldene Horne. The doctor confirmed that he had suffered a stroke, but there was nothing they could do for him. He died just after midnight. He and Leoma still had two children living with them Archie Ray age 11 and Sharon Alene age 4.
The funeral for Victor was held in the LDS St. George tabernacle. He was buried in the St. George cemetery.
After the funeral Rod and Marie visited with her relatives in St. George then went to Bunkerville to spend a few days with his parents and family. On the way home to Idaho they got as far as about 15 miles east of Burley, Idaho when the car engine began to misfire. Rod thought that one of the piston rods must have broken. They decided that they couldn't stop on the highway in the cold, so they continued on into Burley and rented a room in a motel. The next morning Rod called Denzel and asked him to come and take them home. They towed the car into a used car lot in Nampa, Idaho, left it there and the went on to Homedale.
For a while Rod didn't have a steady job. He worked for various farmers and packing sheds. Laron attended the first grade in the Homedale Elementary School in September 1946. Rod's brother Moroni and his wife June with their daughters moved to Homedale. The two families bought about 15 acres of land together. It was a mile south of Homedale on Highway 95. They divided the land as can be seen in the images below.
The property south of Homedale
Rod and Marie built a basement house on their land. Rod and some of his friends did most of the work to save money on the construction. They moved into the house November 7, 1946. The property had a small hay field next to the highway. To get to the house they had to travel up a gravel road that ran east and west on the north side of the field. The road ran between the field and a drain ditch. A labor camp was on the other side of the drain ditch. The road crossed the drain ditch where it ran north and south.
Moroni and June built a basement, then moved a small house onto it. They lived there with their girls Kathryn, Dianne, Joyce, Becky and Connie. The families spent a lot of time together.
The road that came from the highway to the house wound around the south side of the house and went southwest to the Watterson and Breashears family farms. The Wattersons had children about the same age as the Waites they spent many hours at each others places playing in the barns and climbing trees. The Breashears lived at the end of the road. Rod's cousin Ernest Leavitt and his wife Marie owned the farm west of the Waites. They had a large family with many boys and the Waite boys spent many hours at their place.
The boys liked to play around the drain ditch east of the house and with the Mexican kids in the labor camp. They would also play in Quintana's sheep camp east of Highway 95 when the sheep were in the mountains.
J. C. Palumbo Paperweight
The spring after they moved into the basement house Rod worked for Archabala's sheep camp during lambing season. They were basque people and he enjoyed working for them.
Finally he got a full time job with a new produce company called J. C. Palumbo Fruit Company. He helped haul used lumber from some deserted houses in an old mining town, Silver City, in the Qwhyee Mountains. Hauling the lumber and building the shed took several months. When it was completed and production started he became the foreman of the production crew. The company packaged and shipped White Rose, Reds and Russet potatoes for farmers in the area to markets in the east. Later they also shipped apples, peaches, pears, prunes and onions. Palumbo also owned and rented land where potatoes, onions and fruit was raised. Rod worked for Palumbo for many years. Year after year he would hire many of the same people during the various production seasons. He usually had two or three people working full time to maintain the machinery and shipped the potatoes and onions that they stored until the market was better.
The eaves of their basement house were about three feet above the ground. All of the rooms had small windows just above the ground. The northwest corner had a gabled roof above the with a door that opened to a set of stairs. The stairs ended at the floor level with a door into the living room and another to the kitchen. They planned to build on top as soon as possible.
The drawing to the right shows the interior layout of the house. The door was on the northwest corner. At the bottom of the stairs a door facing east with fitted glass opened into the living room. Another door facing south opened into the kitchen. The southwest bedroom was for the boys. Rod and Marie in the southeast bedroom and the boys in the west one.
The utility room contained food storage shelves and a wringer style clothes washing machine like the one shown here. The water for the washing had to be carried from the bath and poured into the tub. Marie added soap and blueing to the water then put the clothes in and turned on the agitator. The clothes were agitated for a specific time then run through the wringer to remove the water. The tub was emptied through a plug in the bottom and drained into a pipe in the floor. The tub was refilled with water for rinsing to remove the soap. The clothes were rinsed until all of the soap suds were removed. After the clothes were rinsed they were put through the wringer and hung on a clothes line outside to dry.
Both Marie and Rod liked gardening and working with animals. They had a large vegetable and berry garden. They raised strawberries, black cap and red raspberries, goose berries, boysenberries and blackberries. They also had a small orchard with cherries, apples, peaches and pears in it. They planted a large grape arbor west of the house. Chairs and tables were placed in the shade of the arbor for resting and eating outside. Many meals with relatives and friends were held there.
They milked a few cows by hand and sold the milk to a creamery. They would strain the milk to clean it then placed it in a 10 gallon milk can. After the morning milking it was placed on a stand near the road. A man would come by each morning pick up the can with the milk and take it to the creamery. He would leave a clean can to be filled with milk from the night and next the morning milking. They also raised steers, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. They also got lambs from Quintana's sheep camp to raise. Usually these were lambs whose mother had died that the sheep men couldn't care for. The boys would feed the lambs milk from a bottle until they were able to eat grass and hay. In the next fall the lambs were butchered for meat.
While they were living in the basement house their fourth child a daughter was born in Mercy Hospital in Nampa, on December 15, 1948.
They called her Patsy Kay. Marie was very pleased to have a baby girl after three sons. Apparently this pregnancy was easier for her than the others. Her history does not mention any special problems with it, only the joy of having a girl.
They got their first telephone while they lived in the basement house. They sometimes used them when a other people places and in businesses, but had never had one of their own.
Sometime around 1948-1949 the LDS Church purchased some land at the corner of E Owyhee Avenue and 2nd Street E to build a new meetinghouse for the Homedale Ward. The building was under the direction of a contractor, but the ward members did most of the work. The ward moved into the building as soon as the gymnasium and classrooms were finished. The chapel was finished later.
Rod and Marie bought a young, half-broken bay gelding horse called Prince for Laron to ride. However Prince was to big and wild for an eight year old, do they sold him. Later they bought a strawberry roan colored mustang mare called Gypsy from a ranch south of Homedale. Later Laron bought a large bay stud called Nipper. They had Gypsy and Nipper for many years. They used them both for riding and packing when they went hunting or hiking.
The whole family liked camping, hunting and fishing. They hunted deer in the Owyhee mountains south of Homedale. They took friends and relatives with them and liked to camp in the same spot year after year. They usually took their horses with them for riding and packing the deer. They also did some deer and elk hunting north of Boise.
Two places the family liked to go were Succor and Jump creeks south of Homedale. Succor Creek wound through a canyon with high steep rock sides. The creek had many places along it for a picnic. There were trails up the canyon sides to hike on. Jump Creek was smaller than Succor Creek but it had a high water falls with a swimming pool at the bottom. It also had places to picnic and hike. Laron and Gary rode their horses to Jump Creek and camped overnight.
One of their favorite fishing places was Lake Lowell a reservoir east of them near Caldwell. They had a boat with a small trolling motor on it. They used to boat to get to the inlets along the shore of the lake where they fished for catfish. In the spring they went to Cow Creek and Jordan Creek in Owyhee County. They also liked to fish north of Boise in places such as Lost Lake, Rabbit Creek, Deadwood Reservoir, the Payette River and Cascade Reservoir. Duck Valley Indian Reservation in the south part of Owyhee County had some small reservoirs on it with great trout fishing. To fish there they had to buy a special license from the tribe. The fishing was done by trolling from the boat and the fish were usually place in a milk can with water in it to keep them fresh.
Leo Keech, Ernie Bales and Rod Waite fishing in 1950
Rod had two friends that worked for him, Leo Keech, who was mentioned earlier as a prisoner of war, and Ernie Bales. The families picnicked, fished and hunted together. However Leo was never able to overcome the effects of the war and took his own life. That was devastating not only to his family but all of his friends. He was well liked in the community.
In 1950 when Gary was eight years old his tonsils became infected. He was taken to the Mercy Hospital in Nampa to have them removed. each of the children grew as normal children with the usual diseases and problems. They all the Homedale Schools form elementary through high school. Most of the time they were bused to school.
As the kids got old enough they helped with the farm chores and garden. When they were teenagers they worked for Rod on the company farms and in the packing shed. Sometimes during the harvest season their work begin shortly after midnight and last all day until the potatoes that had been dug were packaged and shipped.
In 1953 the family to southern Utah and Nevada to visit family members. From there they went to California through Bakersfield and to the Pacific Ocean at Salinas. From there they traveled along to coast to San Francisco then into Oregon. They went home from there. In July 1954 they took a trip through Idaho Falls into Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and back through Island Park, Idaho and the central Idaho Mountains.
Rod and Marie had wanted more land for a long time so they could do more farming. In the spring of 1954 sold their place to Rod's brother Denzel and his wife Iona and bought a 45 acre farm on the north side of the Snake River on Ustick Road. The farm had an old two story house, a large barn, a granary, an unused silo and corrals. The land consisted of two prune orchards, a pasture and three tilled fields. Marie wrote the following about the move.
The J. C. Palumbo Company that Rodney worked for had a farm across the Snake River in the Fargo Area. It was only had 45 acres and 20 acres of that was in prune orchard. The old two-story house was in deplorable condition. Mar. Palumbo and Rodney made a deal that Rodney would buy it.
We started working on the house to fix it up. I would go over every day except Sunday for tow months cleaning, fixing, mending, plastering, sanding, painting and getting that bit house ready to move into, which we did in May 1954. Oh yes was also did some wallpapering in the front room. Mary helped me do a lot of it. Just as I had helped her in Las Vegas. We had helped each other many times over the years.
It was nice when we moved in. There were three bedrooms upstairs. Pat spoke for the east bedroom where the window looked out on the front of the house. Laron took the west bedroom and Gery and Richard had the north one, which was the largest. There was a hallway down the center and a railing along the stairway.
Downstairs there was a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, front room and bedroom. There were two screened porches one off the kitchen and one off the front room. There was also a large dirt floored basement.
We really enjoyed the blossom covered orchard every spring. It was all so beautiful and sweet smelling. There were many birds singing and little bunny rabbits here and there. I enjoyed walking there. There was lots of asparagus each spring and quite a few people came to pick it.
There was a large yard where Marie planted flowers. They raised calves to sell and for meat and had one milk cow for their personal use. They also kept chickens and ducks. Some of the chickens were Banties, a small feisty breed. The Banties roamed free so they could feed on insects in the garden. The ducks spent a lot of time in the canal that went along the west side of the house. They had two tractors, a small four wheeled Ford and a John Deere that they used to work the fields. they also acquired another horse a small bay mare called Babe.
They used the Ford tractor in the orchards to maneuver between the trees. Sometimes smudge pots were used in the early spring to keep the prune blossoms from freezing. The trees were sprayed with insecticide in the spring. Some of the insecticide was powder and some liquid. The spraying was usually done at night when there wasn't much wind.
The grass and weeds between the rows of trees was mowed four or five times in the summer. In September the prunes were harvested. A picking crew, usually men from Mexico came each year. Some of them came year after year. When the men filled their bags with prunes they dumped them in a box built especially for transporting fruit from the orchard to the packing plant. The stock racks from the truck were removed and the truck used to pick up the boxes and haul them to the packing shed. There were three fields not planted with prune trees. The crops on those fields were rotated from potatoes to corn to hay.
From Marie's history:
Patsy was six years old when we moved to the farm in May 1954. She started school that fall. she was such a cute little girl with golden curls. I remember her of her first day of school, she wore a cute lavender dress with a white ruffled collar. all four of the children caught the school bus right out in front of our place. I can still recall how all four of them looked walking out to the bus nice and neat and ready for school, with books in their arms.
They usually waved a hand in my direction and called, "Goodby Mom". Those were special times. Patsy didn't seem a bit afraid that first day of her beginning the long road of school and education.
On June 10, 1956 and new precious baby boy came to us. He was born in Caldwell, Idaho in the hospital and Dr. George Wolff was our family doctor then. We were all happy about our new baby boy. The kids were really thrilled about their new baby brother. We named him Mark Anthony and he was named and blessed by his daddy. Grandma Waite came up and stayed with us for a while that summer. She was with Rodney when he came to take me and the baby home from the hospital. So Grandma held her new grandson on the way home. She really enjoyed him while she was with us.
That summer we got her to go to Brauns Photography Studio the have her picture taken. When I asked her if we could have her picture taken she said, "Oh no I would break the camera". I told her that we would curl her hair and get all ready for it. She finally agreed. she wore a pretty blue and white flowered dress. She was pleased with her picture. She was a special lady. We made many copies of the picture and gave them to her children.
Later Grandma Iverson came to stay with us for a while. Sharon and Archie came with her. She would hold and rock little Mark and hum to him. We also talked her into getting her picture taken. She too looked lovely and we have always been thankful we had it done.
Shortly after Mark was born the family with Lee's and Mary's family took a trip into the Owyhee Mountains to an old mining town called Silver City. Most of the town was deserted. Some families lived there in the summer but went in to Homedale for the winter. There was only one man who lived there year round. Since Silver City was a mining town some wild things happened there. The inscriptions on the headstones in the cemetery recorded the results of those events. There were deaths by mining accidents, murders, Indian raids and family feuds.
Marie recorded the following:
On August 28, 1957 our dear little baby Julie Anne was born. We were so happy to have one more little girl and a little sister for Mark to play with. I always felt that I had one more little daughter up in the spirit world waiting to come to us. She was such a tiny little doll with such a sweet little face and dark eyes and hair.
There is only 14 months between Mark and Julie so it was hard for Mark to have his Mama leave him and go to the hospital. he really missed his Mama and then when she came home and brought another baby he felt awful. He came crying to Mama and tried to push that new baby off of her lap. when that didn't work he came over and hit the little stranger. Finally Mama had enough sense to lay the baby down and take Mark in her arms and love him. When he felt better I told him we had brought him a little baby sister to play with when she was big enough. He was soon laughing and looking at his "Itto baby", he would say "My Baby".
Julie Anne was named after my Grandmother Julianne Johanne Dorthes Christensen Iverson. Julie's daddy named and blessed her in Church.
For many years there were four Waite brothers living in the Homedale area with their families. They spent many hours with each other having dinners, outings at a park, trips to Succor and Jump Creek and watching the 4th of July fireworks in Caldwell. The oldest Lee and Mary had three children John, Herbert and Rosemary. Moroni (Mac) and June had six children, Kathryn, Diane, Joyce, Becky, Connie and Lynn. Denzel and Iona had four children, Dennis, Gail, Nita and Sheila. The youngest Rodney and Marie had five children, Laron, Gary, Richard, Patsy, Mark and Julie.
From Marie's writings about life on the farm:
We used to really work hard on the farm, raising hay, cutting, baling, hauling and stacking it. The older boys were a real big help with this. Everything had to be irrigated including the yard and garden. The prune orchard required a lot of attention, like spraying, pruning, cultivating, picking and shipping. Rodney had a good Mexican friend, Manual, who lived in Homedale and worked for him in the packing shed. Manual, of course, could speak Spanish, so he could run a Mexican crew to pick the prunes. He did a real good job for us and it was always good when the picking was over for the season. But it seemed like our prunes would either freeze or the harvest would be so heavy that the price was too low to make money. We also raised potatoes and had a pastures for the cattle and horses. We also raised steers, pigs, lambs, chickens and rabbits for our own use.
They stayed on the farm for eight years then the price for prunes fell so much that it wasn't worth picking them. They had to use the money they had from the sale of their basement house to make up for the lack of income from the prunes. Rod was working for Palumbo and farming at the same time. The boys helped on the farm and also worked for Rod in the packing shed. Finally in 1961 they decided it was not feasible to keep the farm so they sold it back to Palumbo.
By 1961 Laron had graduated from high school and attended Ricks College for a year and was serving a mission in England. Gary had graduated from high school and married Wanda Friel, a girl he had dated while still in school. They were living in Homedale.
In May 1961 Rod and Marie rented a place from Henry Sweep, southwest of Homedale. The place was just a house and a small yard. They gave up having room for animals and a garden.