On Friday, February 21, 1964 we, Ruth Blacker and Laron Waite, walked into the Minidoka County court house in Rupert, Idaho, and gave our vital statistics to Geraldine. Laron passed some green bills to her and she gave us a license to marry.
Laron and his parents left Homedale on Thursday, February 27, 1964. They traveled through Arco to Idaho falls. The roads were covered with snow. The snow banks on both sides of the roads were higher than the car they were riding in. They stayed the night in a motel in across the Snake River from the LDS Temple in Idaho Falls, Idaho. That night Ruth attended a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet in Rupert with her parents and her younger brother John.
The next morning, at 7:00am, Friday, February 28, 1964, we met at the Temple. Ruth was wearing her cranberry colored jumper and pink blouse she sewed for her wedding and her new aqua full length coat. Her mother had made her wedding dress which cost $12.00 for the fabric.
We presented our license and temple marriage recommends to the keepers of the records. We went through an endowment session wearing the tags on the right. Ruth was able to wear her wedding dress in the session because it very simple. Then we were taken to sealing room four, where we were married by William Killpack for time and eternity.
We ate lunch in the temple with our parents, then said goodbye to them. Laron's parents rode to Rupert with Ruth's parents. As we had no car, we traveled in Laron's parents' car to Rexburg, Idaho where we had met four years and three months before. We spent the night there in a motel.
The next morning we discovered that Laron's brother Richard, who was attending Ricks College, had decorated the car. We had made arrangements to take him with us to Rupert to attend a reception in our honor at the LDS Rupert First Ward building. The decorations for the reception followed a Valentine theme of red, white and pink. Ruth's wedding veil was loaned to from her sister-in-law Lynn Blacker. Ruth wore a single strand of pearls Laron had given her for a wedding present.
After the reception Laron's brother Gary and his wife Wanda took Laron's parents and many of our presents and left for Homedale. The Interstate was not finished then, so the quickest way to Homedale was to cross the Snake River near Hammett and follow the river. Near Grand View they skidded on the icy road and slid into the barrow pit. As it was late at night and the road was deserted, they had wait for morning for help to get back on the road, so they used some of our new quilts and blankets to keep warm.
We spent the night at Ruth's parents. The next morning we left in the Waite's car with the rest of our presents to drive to Homedale, where Laron had rented an apartment. When we arrived there Laron's parents were there with our presents and some groceries.
Our home was a humble one bedroom, furnished apartment at 220 West Montana Avenue in Homedale that we rented from a Mr. Upton. There were three or four units housed in two old buildings. We lived in the upper level of an old shed-like structure. The couch was homemade and very hard, covered with bright red plastic. It looked terrible.
We entered the apartment by going up stairs and through a door at the top into the kitchen. An open space led into the living room. We had no telephone or TV. We did have small portable radio. We had to borrow sheets from Laron's parents because we received 16 pair of pillow cases as wedding presents, but only one sheet. We received two sets of white Melmac dish sets with pink roses in the center, one from each set of parents. Melmac was the hot item in dish ware at the time because it was unbreakable.
Laron's parents gave us a reception at the LDS Church meetinghouse in Homedale the weekend after we moved into our apartment.
We had no car so we used an International pickup belonging to Laron's folks. It was old, beat-up, light green and much of the time the speedometer would squeal and howl, which was nearly unbearable. Sometimes the noise would stop when we pounded on the dashboard. Once while driving home from Caldwell the squealing started and didn't stop in spite of the pounding. In desperation and driven beyond endurance, Laron kicked at the dashboard, breaking the glass. We were horrified, but the squealing stopped and never began again, nor did the speed odometer work. Laron's father was NOT happy.
Laron was attending the College of Idaho in Caldwell about 16 miles east of Homedale, where he was working on a degree in education. He also worked part-time for his father at the packing plant in Nyssa, Oregon.
We had a part time job cleaning the Homedale meetinghouse and maintaining the coal furnace that paid us $125.00 per month, which helped pay rent and buy food. At first we lived on the wedding cake left over from our receptions. Many times when didn't have enough food we would show up at Laron's parents' place at supper time.
Ruth's parents sent us wedding present of a mattress and box springs on the train. Ruth earned $5.00 babysitting and we went to get the bed. When got to depot we found that the charge was $5.36. We returned home and counted the pennies in the dish on Laron's dresser. There were 37 pennies!
We spent our leisure time together reading and playing games. We read "Lord of the Flies" and "Adam Bede". There was a ping-pong table in the church so sometimes we would play ping-pong when we finished cleaning. Laron was on a bowling team.
There was laundromat about two blocks from the apartment, where Ruth did the laundry. Since Laron needed the pickup to get to school and work, she had to walk that far carrying the laundry and five blocks to get the mail from our box at the post office.
The area south of Homedale is a sagebrush desert. There are a some farms there but most of the land belongs to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or large cattle ranches. There are three creeks running through the area. Succor Creek flows through a large canyon with high, steep rocky sides. Jump Creek is smaller and runs through a very narrow canyon with many different rock formations and over a high waterfall. Farther south into the Owyhee Mountains is an old ghost town called Silver City.
While living in Homedale we made three trips into the hills. Sometime in April of 1964 we went camping for the first time together. We borrowed the International pickup from Laron's parents and went to Jump Creek. Our food consisted of a gallon of root beer, salt and pepper, and a frozen roast. In those days if you took a glass gallon jar, usually a vinegar bottle, to an
A&W Root beer stand, you could buy a gallon of root beer for 50 cents. For camping equipment we had matches, two sleeping bags and a knife. We stopped near the creek and started a fire. Then we cut the roast into small strips and roasted them over the fire on willow branches. The root beer tasted good and the blackened meat was exquisite. We slept in the back of the pickup under the stars. The next day we explored the canyon, drank the rest of the root beer and went home.
In May we went to Succor Creek and Silver City with Laron's family and in June we went camping at Deadwood Reservoir north of Boise.
We were active in the Homedale ward. Ruth taught the Blazer Scouts in Primary. We took them on a hike to a Boy Scout camp on Squaw Creek. Laron taught Sunday School and worked with the Aaronic Priesthood boys. Laron's mother was Relief Society president so Ruth helped her on home making days.
That summer we got a white female kitten from Ted Carson, a local farmer. Laron brought her home in his briefcase. Ruth named her "Cat". She kept a small blue spot on her forehead by rubbing food coloring on it and taught her to lie down and roll over and sit up. She loved to ride on the broom while Ruth was sweeping and would hang tightly with bulging eyes if we swung the broom around. She followed Ruth when she walked through the town to get the mail. On one occasion she became lost. Ruth drew photographs of her complete with blue dot and our telephone number and posted them around the town. The people at a home for Senior Citizens found her and called us.
The lady who lived in the apartment below us had a Siamese cat called Echo. Her husband was in the Navy and she needed to move to the base where he was stationed so she gave Echo to Ruth. Echo was very good at jumping. She could jump from the floor to the top of the refrigerator. She was not an outside cat, always wanting to be in the house. She would jump on the on screen of the kitchen door to try to get in. We tried to break her of it by throwing water on her.
Since Laron was in school we didn't have much money so Ruth looked for a job teaching. She earned $12.50 by substituting one day at the high school. She signed a contract to teach at the elementary school in the fall. However later she discovered that she was pregnant and teachers were not allowed to teach past the fourth month of a pregnancy, so she wasn't able to take the job.
Laron finished the school year in May. After that he drove a school bus each day to and from Nampa taking children to the swimming pool there. He also got a job as a flag man for a spray plane pilot. He usually went to work about 6:00 pm and work until after midnight. Once he was gone all night.
Laron's mother was badly hurt in a car wreck on her way home from Education Week in Boise. She was in Laurel Leavitt's pickup and she and Sister Leavitt were thrown out. We were very worried about her. Some of her ribs were broken and her head was cut. Her recovery was long and she suffered from headaches for many years.
During the summer Ruth's father offered Laron a job as a carpet layer for Home Furniture in Rupert, Idaho. We accepted the job and made plans to move in July. We rented a white duplex apartment #2 at 815 A Street, Rupert. On July 28th we loaded the few things we had, clothes, kitchen ware and two cats into some vehicle, we can't remember which, and traveled to our new home.
Our apartment had a living room, kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom. We bought some furniture and appliances from Ruth's grandfather's second wife Luella Blacker (Aunt Luella).
Laron started working for Home Furniture earning about $350.00 a month. He began learning how to lay carpet and was given a pickup to drive. The pickup was an old red GMC and had a small camper shell on it. It was used to haul carpet and supplies to the carpet installation jobs.
We attended the Rupert First Ward. Ruth was a the teacher trainer and a counselor in Primary, Laron taught 13-14 year old Sunday School class and was a counselor in the Elder's Quorum presidency. The meetinghouse was across the alley from our home.
Laron's brother Gary, his wife Wanda and their two children, Coreen and Kelly lived in Paul. Gary worked for a seed company there. We visited them regularly.
Ruth began to have contractions on the evening of January 22. About 10 pm she felt it was time to go to the hospital. We went to her parents' place so they could help us decide what to do. Laron and Ruth's father administered to her and her mother (Mabel) called Dr. Moellmer. He told us to wait until the contractions were about five minutes apart then take her to the Minidoka County Hospital in Rupert.
About 2:30 am Laron and Ruth's mother took her to the hospital. She was there all night and the baby wasn't born until the next afternoon. Laron had to work on a job laying linoleum in a restaurant the next morning. The baby, a boy, was born at 1:56 in the afternoon. Laron was able to get to the hospital just before he was born.
We named him Adin Laron and he spent the next few months spitting up. It was called pyloric stenosis a forceful vomiting. Another name for this condition is projectile vomiting, which is not just mere spitting up. Most of our clothes were vomited upon. We wore constant "baby corsages". We suffered embarrassment when he vomited on Sister Williams' beautiful black dress in church.
Images of Adin
While we lived in the duplex we were close to everything we needed. Home Furniture was about three blocks away. Ruth could walk to the stores on the square and to her parents home a few blocks away. We spent a lot of time at Ruth's parents place. They provided many good meals for us and helped us with anything we needed.
We didn't have much money, but we always had enough to live on. Ruth recorded in her journal that one week we spent $7.55 for groceries. Laron's monthly salary was raised to $400.00 in March.
Laron played softball, basketball and volleyball on the ward teams. He also bowled with a league team.
In March, 1965 Laron's brother Richard visited us as he traveled from Nyssa to Rexburg. He told us that he was being drafted and would be called up soon so he wanted to sell us his 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. Laron drove the pickup to work and we used it for shopping, but we felt that Ruth needed a car so we decided to buy the Volkswagen. A few days later as Rick came back from Rexburg and Laron went with him to Homedale to drive the car back.
While we lived in the apartment our cat Echo disappeared. We never found her.
We enjoyed living in the apartment, but our neighbors were rowdy and some nights it was hard to sleep. We wanted a more quiet place so we looked for a place in the country to rent.
A Mrs. Brazeal who was a frequent customer at Home Furniture told us of a small place she and her husband wanted to rent. It was part of a farm that they were renting to Shelby Hayden.
In September of 1965 we moved from the duplex to the Brazeal place south of Rupert. The postal address was 100 West, 400 South, Heyburn, Idaho. There was a barn, corrals and garden area on the property.
The first time Ruth's parents came to visit us, her father (Loyn) recognized the home as one that his uncle and aunt William and Ella Blacker had owned. They were living there when Loyn's parents Thomas and Hettie Blacker moved from Star Valley, Wyoming to a farm in Rupert. William who was Thomas' brother picked them up at the Rupert train depot and took to his home until they were able to get to their farm. While living there William and Ella had a baby girl also named Ella who was born June 23, 1927, and died the same day. She is buried in the Heyburn cemetery.
While we lived in the Brazeal house Laron's salary was raised to $600.00 per month. We attended the Heyburn 2nd Ward. Ruth taught the Top Pilots in Primary and later served as the Beehive Advisor and Laron was the Senior Aaronic Priesthood secretary. We were involved with the young married group in the ward. We provided an activity for them where we made fish and chips and showed slides of England and Scotland.
We bought a sorrel mare from the Moncur family who lived about a mile from us. She was called Lady. She was gentle enough that Adin could ride her with one of us leading. We used Laron's saddle on her. We liked to ride her through the fields and along the canal near our home. Laron used her to help Bryce Chugg move cattle from his place to a summer pasture in the hills.
When we lived in the duplex in Rupert we didn't have a telephone. In the Brazeal place we had one that was on a party line. That means we shared a telephone line with at least six other families. If another family was using the phone we had to wait until they were finished. Once another family left their phone off the hook for hours so we couldn't use the line. Ruth shouted into our phone hoping that someone in the other home would hear her but no one did. She finally resorted to blasting away with a toy whistle for a long time before they heard and hung up. On June 13, 1966 we finally were able to have a private line.
We heated the house with a heater in the living room that burned heating oil. The controls didn't work very well so we had a hard time keeping the fire at the correct temperature. Sometimes it would get so hot that the heater would shake. Ruth was afraid that it would explode so she would panic. Once she became so afraid of it that she called Laron to come home then left the house with Adin.
We had many problems with the plumbing and the water from the well. The toilet, tub and clothes washer never drained properly. Many times water flooded over the floors. The drinking water had an oily taste. We thought that maybe some heating oil had leaked into the well. We often pumped water with a hand pump from a well in the corral to drink and wash with. The plumbers came many times and had a hard time finding the problem. They eventually put in a new drain field and the oil taste left the water.
Ruth became pregnant again and we expected our second child in October, 1966. To prepare for the birth Ruth read "Childbirth Without Fear" by Dick Grantly Reid. The book told her that if she could put herself in a relaxed state the birth would be much easier. On October 8th Ruth felt some contractions. The next day the contractions continued, so we called Dr. Moellmer and went to the hospital in Rupert. We left Adin at Ruth's parents' home. The baby was in the posterior position and after a very difficult delivery, our daughter was born on October 9th. We named her Jennifer Ruth. Ruth and Jennifer were in the hospital about three days. Ruth found that putting herself in a relaxed mode during the birth was impossible so the book wasn't very useful.
Images of Jennifer
In January 1967 Laron was released as a Sunday School teacher and Aaronic Priesthood secretary and made Explorer leader. In March Ruth was released from her church assignments and called to be the Beehive leader.
Ruth wanted to earn some money to help pay the bills so she learned how to do re weaving, which is a process that was used to repair clothes with holes in them. The re weaver would cut a small piece of cloth from the garment, then use a special tool to weave the piece into the cloth where the hole was. When the process was completed it was very hard to detect where the hole had been. It was tedious and required a lot of concentration.
Each year we lived at the Brazeal place we planted a garden. The soil was very sandy and the winds very strong. Twice after planting peas we found the wind had blown the soil away and the peas were sitting uncovered on the ground like a string of pearls. However we were eventually able to get the peas and vegetables to grow.
Cat had several batches of kittens. Adin really liked to play with them. We had trouble with stray cats eating Cat's food. Laron had to shoot one.
Laron could tell that he didn't want to lay carpet as a career and felt that wanted to go back to school to get a teaching degree. We talked about it for many months. He was accepted by Boise State for the fall term in 1967 to work toward a degree in elementary education. We planned to move to Boise in August 1967.
On 30 April 1967 we traveled to Nyssa Oregon to visit Laron's family. The next day we went with Laron's mother and brother Richard to Boise to look for houses and a job for Laron. He got a part time job at a new furniture store that T. C. Blacker planned to open in Boise in August. We didn't find a house to rent so we decided to come back later.
The following is a quote from Ruth's journal for Thursday,4 May 1967.
Laron worked in Burley today. Laid 45 yards of carpet! I went to Heyburn to get poster paper for the reverence campaign in the ward. Mailed letters for transcript of credits. Went to State Farm agency filed a claim for our broken windshield. Made bread. Can't get the "pink wash" white, so Laron has 3 pink T-Shirts and 2 pair of violent pink socks. Saw my first butterfly this year... black velvet with white crocheted edges. Adin sing's "Yittle peanut wabbit has a fly up his nose". Jennifer can nod her head. Supper-a disaster. Cheese cutlets!!! Took mattress and carpet to store. Priced carpet tools-$250.00. Went to folks for a while. Came home in rains. Shampooed carpet.
Sometime between 1 June 1967 and 12 June 1967 we went back to Boise to look for a house and a job for Ruth. We found a house at 1816 Yale Court across the street from BSU. It belonged to a lady who taught biological science classes at the school. She had never married and lived by herself next door to the rental. It was very small but we had small family so we felt it would be fine for us.
We also went to elementary schools in the towns around Boise to see if any of them would hire Ruth. Middleton Elementary needed a first grade teacher. Mr. Mabe, the principal told us that he would call us at home by 13 June if he had a position for her. On the 13th Ruth waited all day for him to call. Finally at 4:00 pm she called him. He said another woman had been offered the job. He also said that Ruth could have if the other woman didn't want it. He called on the 19th to say that Ruth had the job.
Since we both had jobs waiting for us and a house to live in we began to feel that we should leave for Boise sometime in August.
Laron's brother Richard came to our place with a truck to help us move. Cat liked to roam in the fields and when it was time to leave we couldn't find her. None of us were happy about leaving her behind. We made the move without any problems.
Our new place was on a small lot with a fenced back yard. There was also a small house at the end of the drive way. It had been converted from a garage to a home which the landlady rented to BSU students. It was rented to Pam Pinn who was a member of the church. She was very nice and was a good neighbor. She did many things with us the two years we were there.
We attended the College Ward which met in the Institute building about a block from our house. We both soon had positions in the ward. Ruth was the literature teacher in Relief Society and Laron was in the Elder's quorum presidency. The ward had a lot of activities and we attended most of them.
Ruth started teaching first grade in Middleton the last week in August. she also had to take a class on "new math" so she could teach in to her students. Her sister, Beth, and her husband Terry were living in Homedale and they agreed to baby sit Adin and Jenny. At the beginning of each week we took them there and picked them up at the weekend. It was very hard on us to have them gone for the week. Jennifer learned to walk at Beth's place. Ruth was very disappointed that she wasn't with us. Terry found a job in Boise so they moved there sometime in September or October. After that Ruth would take the kids to Beth's each day on her way to school.
Laron began delivering furniture and appliances for Blacker's Furniture store in August. He started school the first part of September. He also worked on the school grounds crew.
We enjoyed spending time in Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks on our free time. Julia Davis had a large slide we like to use. We also went to the zoo many times. We purchased bicycles and put seats on the back wheel for the kids. We rode them to many places around Boise with the kids on the back in their seats. We also visited Beth and Terry and Laron's brother Richard and his wife Anita. Richard was also attending Boise State earning an education degree. We had picnics in the Payette River and Rabbit Creek canyons north and east of Boise.
We went to Rupert to celebrate Christmas 1967 with Ruth's family. Ruth's sisters Lois and Beth were there with their husbands and Lois' daughter Kimberly. Mary and John weren't yet married.
We never had much money. Once in a while we would buy large bags of outdated bakery products for a dollar from Eddy's Bakery. However they would smash the bread and cup cakes because it was intended to be used for animal food, but we ate it anyway. Ruth had only two dresses that Mary had made for her to wear to school. In those days women school teachers were not allowed to wear pants to school. The teachers collected money for fabric and one of them made her and Jenny matching dresses. Ruth was embarrassed but grateful.
In the spring of 1968 we went to Rupert to visit Ruth's family. While we were there we went to the Brazeal place to look for Cat. We drove toward the house, as we drove over the canal we saw her in the field near the road. We parked the car and called her. She came running to us. She had spent the winter alone and uncared for. Her ears were frost-bitten and black on the ends. We took her home with us.
The day school finished in the May of 1968 we went to southern Utah with Laron's family. We drove our Volkswagen which didn't have air conditioning. We stayed in St. George with Laron's grandmother, went to Bryce and Zions Canyon national parks and attended an Iverson family reunion held on the Arizona Strip on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We also went to Bunkerville, Logandale and Las Vegas, Nevada. Because of the heat Adin got sick and we had to take him to the emergency room in the St. George hospital.
After the 1967-1968 school year we felt that Middleton was too far for Ruth to drive the fifty mile round trip each day, so she looked for a job closer to Boise. She found one teaching first grade in Eagle just twelve miles west of Boise. She would drop the kids off at Beth's each day. Laron quit working at Blacker's when the 1968-1969 school year began so he could take more classes. He continued to work with the school grounds crew.
The Apollo space program is almost ready to send the first men to the moon. On 21 December 1968 Apollo Eight was launched. It was to be the first one to leave earth orbit and take men around to the other side of the moon. It took three days to get to the moon orbit. On 24 December it went around the moon and as it came from behind the crew read the first ten verses from Genesis. It orbited the moon ten times then began the return trip to earth.
Christmas 1968 was the first we started alone with our children. The following is from Ruth's journal for that day.
Just couldn't sleep last night. Finally talked L. into getting up at 5:45. Went in to get the kids up. Took them into the living room. Jenny saw her blue bike & said, "He came, he came!". Adin got on his bike & it was all we could do to get them off. They were so excited. It was a lovely time. I'll always remember it. J saw her doll in the little pink crib and said, 'Santa Cwaus brung me a dolly.' Then they had to write on their blackboards. They got so many presents from the folks. Beth and Terry gave us a lovely picture of the kids. Laron gave me a yellow dress and a gorgeous expensive blouse and slacks set which was too small. (Called my folks).
We packed up and went over to Homedale to spend the rest of the day with Waites. More presents. They gave us a popcorn popper, the kids some clothes & two little stuffed frogs. Ate a huge dinner. Mom's back really bothers her. Spent the night. L coughed most of it. Woke up too sick to go to work with Dad."
Apollo 8 reached Earth on 27 December. It splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. It was considered a great success and most of us thought that NASA would land men of the moon sometime in 1969.
Laron finished his classes at the end of the spring semester in 1969. He began student teaching sixth grade at the Campus Elementary School in June 1969. He also began looking for a teaching position in the schools in the area. He found an open position for a fifth grade teacher in Emmett, Idaho about 30 miles northwest of Boise. He applied for the job and was hired on the condition that he would finish the classes necessary to get his Elementary teaching certification. We made plans to move to Emmett after the his student teaching was finished.
Emmett is a small agricultural town in a fertile valley created by the Payette River. The river flows from McCall to Horseshoe Bend and goes just north of Emmett on its way to Payette where it joins the Snake River. The farmers in the valley grow hay and grains and fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums. The Boise Cascade Company had a sawmill in Emmett and Horseshoe Bend so logging trucks were on the roads most of the day.
Black Canyon Dam was a few miles northeast up the river toward Sweet, very small farming community along a creek that flowed into the river. There were picnic beaches along the banks of the reservoir. A large butte called Squaw Butte was located north of town.
Beth and Terry moved to Virginia for a few months in the spring of 1969. They asked us to live in their home while they were gone. We must have moved there sometime in June 1969.
The following is a quote from Ruth's journal on July 4, 1969.
Laron's folks came over this morning to spend the day with us. We went to the parade. Laron and Dad commandeered a picnic table to sit on. The rest of us sat up next to the street. Every little old lady sat with Laron and Dad. They looked so glum. Ate at home, went to the parachute jump. That was great
Came home to nap, then drove up on our mountain. What a view. Came back & later went to the fireworks. I love them. Came home. It was late so folks stayed here."
Laron finished student teaching on July 13. On July 14th we went on a fishing trip to Horsethief Reservoir with our friend Steve Beck and his son David, who were in our College Ward. We had a great time fishing. We returned home late the next day. When we got home we found that we had lost the house keys. We had to force our way through a window. We got in just in time to watch the Apollo 11 leave for the moon.
Sunday July 20 was a very hot day. We suffered through church and the ride home, in time to watch the Apollo 11 astronauts land on the moon. The next morning we watched Neil Armstrong become the first human to walk on the moon.
While living at the Levangers we continued to look for a house to rent in Emmett. We finally found an old house with a unkempt but large back yard on 810 East 1st Street. The house was run down but livable. We rented it and planned to move in in August. The house had a refrigerated room in it for storing fruits and vegetables. Terry and Beth returned home about the last of July.
We moved to the house in Emmett as planned in August. We were members of the Emmett First Ward in the Weiser Stake. The stake headquarters were in Weiser about fifty miles west of Emmett.
When we moved Ruth was pregnant with our third child. She usually suffered from morning sickness during her pregnancies and this time was no different. The smell in the refrigerated room really bothered her. The kitchen cupboards smelled like a mixture of Juicy Fruit Gum and cinnamon, which sounds pleasant, but really nauseated her. The house had an air conditioner built into a wall and when it was running the smell nearly drove her out of the house. While we lived there Laron's father brought us a tiny, fuzzy, Pomeranian type dog. We called him Fang.
Laron started teaching fifth grade in Butte View Elementary near the end of August. Ruth helped him prepare with bulletin boards and posters. The school had three or four classes per grade. He had almost thirty students. We lived eight blocks from the school so he walked back and forth each day. He also walked home for lunch when he didn't have lunch duty. We needed a larger car so we traded the Volkswagen for a later model, blue, station wagon.
Ruth continued to have problems with smells in the house so we looked for another place to live. We found a small pink house located at 501 East 7th Street, owned by Louis Johns, a member of our ward. It was smaller but cleaner and didn't have the moldy smells the other one had. We moved into it sometime in the fall of 1969. Laron was called be the Mutual Interest teacher. Ruth's ward job was primary teacher development leader. She also babysat Richard Landers each week day, all day to earn money.
We liked to take long drives after school into the country around town. We went upon and over Squaw Butte. We went to Black Canyon Dam and up the reservoir for picnics. We also went through the hills east of town to see some cattle ranches and down the river through the country roads.
Our car developed problems, the speedometer squealed when we went over fifteen miles and hour and it had an oil leak. It also would stop as we drove and we couldn't restart it. On December 2, 1969 Ruth was driving it to a Relief Society meeting during the day when it stopped. She couldn't start it so she walked home, called a friend for a ride to the meeting. She tried to start the car numerous times during the day, but was never able to get it going again. After school Laron got a friend to tow it home. We couldn't get it started the next day so Laron walked to school. No garage in Emmett was equipped to repair the car, so Ruth arranged to have it in Boise at European Motors the next morning. Later that evening Terry and Beth arrived to tow us to Boise. The kids rode in the warm car with Beth, Terry and Nathan, and we rode in our car with no heat, the speedometer howling the entire thirty miles! Then Terry drove us back home.
While we waited for the car to be repaired, Laron walked to school and Ruth and the kids got rides to meetings and the store. The car was in Boise for a week. On the evening of December ninth, Laron borrowed a pickup from a friend and we went to Boise to get the car. When we arrived, we had to wait for it to be finished before we could go home.
The Levangers went with us on December 13th, to cut Christmas trees. Ruth described our Christmas in this manner.
We took sandwich fixings and drove up past Ola. Laron and Terry went to cut trees. Kids were not well enough to leave the car. Adin got angry. "Why did you bring me up here if you won't let me get out?" Made sandwiches in the car. Laron and Terry came charging down hill dragging three trees.
December 23rd we went to Homedale for an early Christmas with Laron's family. We took our animals Cat, Yellow Cat and Fang with us so Laron's parents could take care of them while went to Rupert. On the 24th we went with Terry and Beth to Rupert for Christmas. Laron, Glen, Bryce, Terry and John went rabbit hunting on Bryce's mother's place on Christmas day. We spent the week in Rupert and Laron laid carpet for Home Furniture. On New Year's Day the men played football in the street in front of Blackers' house. Jenny washed her Christmas doll, Milkfrod's, hair and ruined it. We stayed in Rupert until Sunday, January 4th.
Adin and I were upstairs in my parents house. On the way down, Adin said, "I'll let you go first." I said, "What a nice gentleman!" He replied, "I'm afraid you might step on me."
Laron started a speech class at BSU when got home from Rupert. On January 8th, 1970 we went to Homedale to get our animals, but sadly we found that Fang and Yellow Cat were dead and Cat was missing. Some big dogs had killed Fang. We went home without any of our pets. On January 11th we went back to Homedale to find Cat, but she was still missing.
February 20th we went again to Homedale to find Cat. This time Ruth found her, she had staying with people nearby. Ruth called her and she came. Her ears were almost gone and she was in pain. We took her home. On the 21st we took her to the vet and left her overnight so he could work on her ears.
On March 9th Tom Farnworth, the second counselor in the stake presidency, called Laron to be the Weiser Stake Executive Secretary. The stake house was in Weiser about fifty miles west of Emmett. Laron traveled with President Farnworth to Weiser one or two evenings each week and every Sunday.
The baby was due April 2nd. We were expecting it everyday. Then on April 9th Ruth recorded the following in her journal.
Baby girl born today! One week overdue. Woke up this morning and started having pains nine minutes apart, but decided to ignore them. Made Laron a lunch and got the kids breakfast. I baked bread and cleaned house. Did the washing. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookies after spending over 1/2 hour cracking black walnuts with kids help. Got lunch. Pains came about every 5 minutes. Put Jenny to bed. Called Beth to come after kids. Packed their clothes. They were all excited about the baby coming. Pains started coming every 2 minutes. Called Laron at school to come home. Started after him in the car. Met him on the way. Went to the hospital around 3:00. Had baby at 5:53. Not bad time compared to others. Surely glad it's over. The baby is so cute. She weighs 7lbs 4.1/2oz. and is 21 inches long. She is long and slender and very fair. I think her eyes will be blue.
Images of Amy
We haggled over the name for her. Ruth wanted Heather and Laron, Amy. We named named her Amy Lou. Ruth and Amy came home from the hospital on Sunday, April 12th. Adin, Jenny, Grandma Blacker, Bryce and Mary, Terry and Beth came to the hospital to escort them home. Grandpa and Grandma Waite, Mark and Julie, Pat and her family also came to the house. Our Boise neighbors the Gockleys came. Our house was very small and crowded. Ruth thought she would have a nervous breakdown.
After school was over we went to Rupert for a few days. Laron spent two days laying carpet and earned $61.00. Laron took some summer school education classes for his teaching certification.
Tom Farnworth worked for the FHA (Federal Housing Agency) and invited us to visit him at his office to see if we qualified for a housing loan. We would never have thought that we would qualify without his assurance that we probably would. We applied for a loan and on June, 13, 1970 we received a letter informing us that we qualified for the loan. We still couldn't decide that we wanted to buy a house because we didn't know if we wanted to stay in Emmett.
On June 17, 1970 we began looking for a house to buy and a lot to build a house on. We first looked in the hills on the east of Emmett. Then we went west toward Letha to look at a spot on land owned by Jake Jensen and farmer in Letha. He had offered us land for $600 an acre. We looked at a nice spot on a rise by a small creek.
We spent the last two weeks of June in Homedale at Laron's parents' place to take care of their yard and garden and feed the animals, while they went to Canada. We took our cats, goldfish and gerbils with us. Adin and Jenny did their best to tear the place apart. Cat's frozen ears never healed and caused her to have a lot of pain. While we were in Homedale we decided to we would have to put her out of her misery. She had been such an important part of our lives it really broke our hearts.
Sometime in June Laron was asked to teach an early morning seminary class. The class was to be held at the Emmett meetinghouse. It started in the fall semester of 1970. Sometime during that semester Ruth replaced Laron as the teacher because he had to take another class at Boise State. Ruth was pregnant at the time but was able to finish the rest of the school year, with great difficulty. In February, since Laron was still the director of the seminary class, we were both attending a Seminary Teacher Conference in Boise when Ruth began hemorrhaging and was in severe pain. Laron took her to the emergency room at St. Luke's The doctor told us that she was threatening a miscarriage. He said he would perform a D&C or she go to our own doctor. The next day she went to Dr. Halvorson, who told her that she was losing a fraternal twin, but the other twin was still alive. We found a substitute for the seminary class while she stabilized.
We finally decided to accept the FHA loan and build a new house. We wanted to buy the land Jake Jensen offered us but some people living about a hundred yards down the road didn't want any neighbors and pressured Jake to sell them the land. We decided not put more pressure on Jake, so we looked for another place. We choose some land on Frozen Dog Road about four miles northeast of Emmett next to hills and adjacent to the Triangle Ranch. The owners were an old couple who had lived in the same spot for a long time. They lived in an old house built into the hill and owned about fifty acres in the hills. They agreed to sell us about three acres over the hill from their house, by the road.
We found a contractor who proposed a house plan that he thought we could get a loan for. The plans called for a split level home with a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The basement would be left unfinished except for the framing of two bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry room and the plumbing for a washer and dryer in the laundry room. We accepted the plans with some minor adjustments. The loan was issued and the building began in the spring of 1971. The loan total for the land and the house was $17,000.00. Our monthly payment with a subsidy from the FHA was $58.00. We were anxious for the house to be completed and spent a lot of time that spring at the site watching the progress and working on the land.
After the basement was cemented we decided to spend a night in it. Laron, Adin and Jenny spread their sleeping bags on the floor. Ruth and Amy were in the back of the car. Ruth had a terrible sense of foreboding so she got up in the dark and climbed down into the basement and woke Laron. We worried that something would happen. We finally decided that we should leave so we woke the kids, packed up and went back to the pink house. The next day we learned that a group of Hells Angels from California were riding around in that area during the night.
We painted the entire house and layed the carpet and linoleum that we bought from Home Furniture. The house was finished in July and we moved in on July 13. Ruth was eight months pregnant and the baby was due in August, so it was a hard move for her. Ruth's parents brought us a flowered couch, a love seat, a coffee table, two end tables and two lamps.
We always seemed to have problems with our cars. Our station wagon began to wear out. We repaired it a number of times. However the motor eventually quit and the mechanic told us that he couldn't repair the car without getting a new motor. We had no money, so we borrowed a car from Laron's parents. We finally found an old, cheap American Motors Nash at a garage in Emmett. We really didn't want it but it was all we could afford, so we bought it. Ruth immediately christened it "Brain Fever" because it didn't run well. A short time after we bought it, the cable to the starter solenoid broke so we had to start it by lifting the hood and grounding the solenoid with a screwdriver.
Laron had been asked to speak at a stake Single Adult conference in Weiser on August 11, 1971. He was going to miss his "fantastically interesting" theory class for it. It was to be a fancy affair with a dinner. We were looking forward to it. We had arranged for one of the Heavrin girls to babysit Adin, Jenny and Amy. However, Ruth began to have contractions that afternoon. We thought that it was a false alarm so we started for Weiser. Just west of Emmett we decided this was for real and that the baby would be born soon so we turned back. Laron called the stake Single Adult leader and informed him that we would not be able to be at the conference. We called Larry Heavrin and he and Laron administered to Ruth. So we missed the long-awaited dinner and went to Walter Knox Hospital instead.
Our fourth child a boy was born at 9:58 pm. He weighted 7 lbs 9.5 ounces and was 21 inches long. We named him Ethan David. We had wanted to name our next boy Ethan because Home Furniture carried a line of furniture called Ethan Allen. Ethan Allen was the leader of a group called the Green Mountain Boys. They were a militia group established to protect their area, which later became New Hampshire, against the British in the Revolutionary War.
Images of Ethan
Laron finally finished his teaching certification classes and received his diploma on August 13. He didn't go to the graduation ceremony and Ruth was very disappointed because she had worked very hard to help him through his classes and had really looked forward to seeing Laron walk across the stage in graduation.
On the first of September, Laron resumed his teaching of the fifth grade at Butte View Elementary, and Adin began his first day of school at an old Catholic school, called Sacred Heart which the district was renting for it's first grade classes. He wore his new jeans and new shoes, and was very nervous. In Ruth's journal, she recorded that day, "... Hurried getting Laron ready for school, and drove him there, came home to finish getting ready. Ethan needed fed right when we should have gone. Tore down and took Laron his lunch money and glasses he'd forgotten. Hurried Adin over to his school. Left the girls in the car. Adin was frightened, and my heart just broke for him. His body was stiff, but he acted like a little man. I cried after I left him. He was so little. Picked him up after school, and he acted very wise and knowledgeable. Jenny seemed in awe of him. He talked constantly all evening about school, and Jenny kept asking, "When can I go to school?"
Going to church was very difficult, as we had only one car, "Brain Fever". The only way to start it, was to put up the hood, and ground the starter solenoid with a screwdriver. This was very embarrassing, especially when Ruth would be expecting, which made it very difficult to lean over under the hood. Laron was the stake executive secretary during that time, and the stake presidency would meet in Weiser, forty-five miles away. On Sundays, Ruth would have to get up early, load kids into the car, and drive Laron about ten miles to President. Stiles home, so they could proceed on to Weiser. Then back Ruth would go to get everybody ready for Sunday School, then handle the kids by herself through church. Many times, Laron wouldn't be home until evening, after the repeat trip of the family back to church for Sacrament Meeting. Once, a well-meaning woman congratulated Ruth on being so faithful about attending church with her children even though her husband was inactive!
We spent the 1971 Thanksgiving in McCall, Idaho with Rick and Anita and Laron's parents.
We didn't have enough money so Laron continued laying carpet for Scott's Furniture when he wasn't attending classes or teaching. He was also the loan officer for the Emmett Teachers Credit Union. Since Laron was working for Scott's furniture we were able to get a good price on an avocado colored dishwasher.
Our drive way up the hill was long and steep. It would become muddy and we couldn't drive up it. We couldn't afford gravel, which meant parking the car at the bottom and hauling the kids, groceries, etc.. up to the house.
Laron started having pains in his back on February 23. The pains continued for several days. On February 27 we called the doctor and he said it was probably kidney stones and told him to go to the hospital for a pain shot. We hauled all of the kids down the muddy hill in the wind and the rain and went to the hospital. The pain shot eventually helped and he was able to sleep. The next day on our anniversary the doctor told us to take him to the hospital for an x-ray and tests. On March 1 Laron got another pain shot. The shot wore off at 2:30 in the morning and he started for the hospital
Sometime in the spring of 1972 we were able to get rid of "Brain Fever". We bought a bright yellow GMC Suburban that was about three years old. It ran great and we used it for many years. However again we had to use it so long that it too wore out. We called it "Shivering Elizabeth".
We had no flowers, shrubs or trees on our property. On April 9 1972, Amy's 2nd birthday, Laron's parents brought black cap berry plants, bulbs, iris starts, three trees a stag horn, a maple and good-sized poplar. Later we planted a garden, strawberries and lawn behind the house. Ruth planted petunias in the front of the house, morning glory by the door and zinnias on the south side.
Later in April, Amy cut her face badly when she fell from our bed onto a glass lamp. In May all of the kids had chicken pox and we were ALL miserable.
The 1972 summer was busy. Ruth was called to be Young Womens President. We spent most of the summer in Rupert laying carpet for Home Furniture. We hired the Heavrin boys to water the place. We came home when Laron had stake meetings. We also planted the front lawn. We found out that Ruth was pregnant, she was very sick and tired. While we were in Rupert she had a miscarriage and was hospitalized for a D and C.
In September, Jennifer started first grade. Laron, Adin and Jenny all went to school in the same building. Ethan started talking, crawling and falling. Once he fell down the stairs, but was stopped by the vacuum cord around his neck. He hung there until Ruth rescued him. Adin tried to burn the house down by setting fire to a bale of straw stacked against the north wall.
We spent Christmas at home then went to Rupert for two days. We were back home by December 28 because Ruth was in charge of the Gold and Green Ball and had to prepare for it.
In January 1973, Ruth realized that she was pregnant again. She was concerned that she would lose the baby as she had with Ethan's twin and the miscarriage she had in the summer.
Also in January, Ethan developed a bronchial infection. His temperature reached 106 degrees. He was hospitalized for three days. To reduce the fever the hospital staff tried cold water enemas, alcohol baths, aspirin and three cold water baths. Ruth stayed with him most of the time. She slept on a cot in his room. Laron stayed with him for a while each night after school, while Ruth went home.
Adin was baptized on February 4th. When Ethan saw Laron and Adin in the font he thought they were going to take a bath and yelled, "Baff! Baff!" After the baptism we celebrated with hamburgers from the local drive-in.
In March Ruth was exposed to German measles. Doctor Halvorson felt that at that stage of the pregnancy the baby could be affected with blindness or deafness because of the exposure. He advised her to have an abortion, but we decided against it.
Sometime in the spring, Ruth was released as Young Womens president and called to be the Primary inservice leader. Laron taught summer school for six weeks in June and July. We had a large garden and planted a lawn on the north and west of the house. Ruth planted flowers in the front of the basement windows, but our dog Smokey laid on them so she had a struggle keeping them going. Ruth canned fruit.
We spent the Fourth of July in Boise where we watched a dance festival in Bronco Stadium. It was followed by fireworks.
Laron's mother, Grandmother Iverson, Uncle Grant and Aunt Ina drove to Tennessee to search county records for information about the McCain and Chamberlain families.
We anticipated that the baby would be born on August 11th, Ethan's birthday, but the day came and went with no baby. We continued to expect him or her to be born each day but he delayed.
On September 25, we were supposed to go to the annual stake presidency and high council dinner at the Eastside Cafe in Ontario. However after Ruth had gone to Primary and picked Laron up from school, she began to have labor pains. We made arrangements with Jean and Julie Heavrin to take care of the kids and went to the hospital. Our 5th child, a son, was born about half an hour later. We named him Ryan Paul.
Images of Ryan
When Ryan was two or three weeks old Ruth took him to Dr. Halvorson for a checkup. The doctor spent a long time listening to his chest. Then he said, "I can hear something I haven't heard before." Ruth thought he meant the lungs but, Dr. Halvorson said, "He has a heart murmur." Another baby that Dr. Halvorson delivered also had a heart murmur. Ruth met his mother when she took Ryan to Dr. Halvorson for a check up. After a few weeks that baby died, which caused us great concern for Ryan.
We were to referred to Dr Johnston, a cardiologist, in Boise, who said his heart had a large hole in it. The hole was a grade 4 with 0 being normal and 6 being the worst. That began a long series of visits to cardiac specialists in Boise. We were told to keep Ryan away from crowds and exposure to illness. We would listen to his heart by putting our ears against his chest. It was frightening to hear a whooshing sound rather than a heart beat. Even as an adult, he still has doctors comment on that sound.
In May or June of 1974, Ruth was released as Primary Inservice Leader and sustained as Primary President. She chose Darlene Caroll and Joyce Walnum as her counselors. Laron continued to serve as the Weiser Stake Executive Secretary and a member of the stake High Council.
Sometime in the fall of 1974, the Weiser Stake was divided and a new Emmett Stake created. Laron was called to serve on the High Council of the Emmett Stake. We were glad that we didn't have to go to Weiser any more for stake meetings.
Ruth became pregnant with our sixth child. She again suffered greatly with morning sickness. The baby was due January 23, 1975. Ruth studied and practiced the Lamaze technique that was supposed to make the birth easier. The baby was late as usual. In the evening of January 28th, Ruth began to have labor pains so we went to the hospital. Ruth's friend Barbara Honn was in the labor room with us as a Lamaze coach. In those days, only the husband was allowed in the labor room, but even he was not allowed in the delivery room. This birth was the easiest and soon a little red-headed girl was born. We had heard the name Chelsea on our missions in the British Isles and Laron's mother's given name was Marie. So we named her Chelsea Marie.
Images of Chelsea
Chelsea's sister Amy composed a song just for her, which went:
I love she.
And you know what?
She loves me.
On March 27, 1975 we went to Rupert to attend Ruth's brother John's marriage to Mary Chandler on the 28th. Ruth had made a maroon, long, pleated skirt and vest for the occasion. Ryan had a cold and because of his heart condition we didn't dare leave him, so we stayed home from the wedding to take care of him and the other 18 grandchildren.
When everyone returned from Idaho Falls, we had a family portrait taken. In the portrait, Ruth is wearing her homemade skirt and vest. She removed the sleeves and neck from a large sweater to make Adin's vest. Jenny and Amy are wearing homemade dresses. Ethan and Ryan are wearing homemade pants. Ryan is wearing a homemade vest. Chelsea had an accident all down the front of Ruth's vest and skirt so she placed her right hand to cover the site. After the portrait was taken the wedding reception was held in the garage.
Since we had only one car Ruth would have to take Laron, Adin and Jenny the four miles to school so she could have the car to attend Relief Society or Primary. She was the Primary President. The journal image at the right explains some of the problems this caused.
In April of 1975, Laron borrowed a tractor from a neighbor and leveled more of the land in the garden area. The garden was located in the bottom of the galley near the road. We increased its size so we could have more berries. Also about that time, we purchased a small horse called Blaze for Adin. He was a reddish-brown color with a light mane and tail. He was hard to control so Adin was seldom able to ride him. We decided that since Adin couldn't ride him we would sell him before winter so we didn't need to buy hay. We sold him in the late summer for $45.00 to Mr. Rose, a horse trader.
Since we lived in an area where there were many orchards and the fruit was cheap Ruth canned and froze as much as she could. We could buy cherries for 10-20 cents per pound and peaches for $3.00 per bushel. She also canned apricots, pears and apples. She made prune and grape juice. In the fall we were able to buy fresh apple cider from farmers who had apple presses.
Laron continued laying carpet for Scott's Furniture to earn extra money. Sometimes he took Adin with him. They went as far as Ola, north of Sweet and west as far as New Plymouth.
In the summer of 1975, Sister Hale, the wife of the Sweet Branch president, asked Laron to apply for the position of principal of the Sweet-Montour School. He did apply and was given the position that fall. It was a very small school with grades 1-8 and four teachers. Laron taught grades five and six. He usually rode to the school with another teacher, Mike Hardwick so Ruth could have the car at home. Ruth would have to take Laron to the river so he could meet Mike.
In the last part of 1975, we bought an old Mercury from Art Walnum. It was a large, black, four door sedan and very comfortable to ride in it. However on the side of each front door a large round shield that said "Official American Taxpayer". We thought the shield made the car look like a state police vehicle. Ruth was mortified to drive it but Laron liked it. The cost was low, in fact it was so cheap that it quit running about two weeks after we bought it and we had to take it to be repaired. We waited for more than three months to get it repaired.
Amy started first grade at Butte View in August 1976.
Before October 1976, the two Emmett wards were divided into three. We were moved from the Emmett Second to the Emmett First Ward. Ruth was called to be second counselor in the Relief Society and Laron was released from the High Council to become the second counselor in the bishopric.
That fall we canned more that 750 quarts of fruits and vegetables.
Ruth was pregnant with her seventh child and calculated that the baby would be born February 15, 1977. That day came and went with no baby. On February 23, Laron took the only working car to school. During the day Ruth felt that the baby was on its way, so she became worried about getting to the hospital. Adding to her stress, the electric company told her the power would be off for an hour and two Jehovah Witnesses knocked on the door. Ruth paced and practiced her La Maze breathing. When Laron got home we went to the hospital. That evening our seventh child, Megan Laurie was born. She had dark hair and a low voice.
Images of Megan
When Ruth's parents came to visit us to see Megan her father ask Laron to consider working with John at Home Furniture. At first we decided against it but changed our minds. We were sorry to sell our wonderful new home, but we felt it would be for the best.
We found property near Heyburn about 7 miles south of Rupert that we felt would serve our family well. We purchased it on 6 June 1977. It was part of the Sonville Subdivision that was created in September 1962 by Othniel and Cleo Son with land on the western edge of their farm just south of the Heyburn city limits. The subdivision had 17 lots located along South River Drive. Lots A-H were west of the road and each had a front along the Snake River. Lots I-Q were east of the road. Lots A-E were not developed. Lot F was set aside to provide access to the river for the lots east of the road. Lots G and H belonged to Nick Cozakos with lot G into pasture. Lot I belonged to Jim Davis and lot J to Brad Cottom. Lots L and K just north of us belonged to Art and Sharon Rathe and lot K was undeveloped. Our place, lot M was across the road from lot F and was 1.4 acres in size. Lot N south of us belonged to Larry Edwards lot O to Max and Karen Fowler, lot P to Allan and Norma Hardy and lot Q to Vearle and Saundra Taylor. Taylors lived on their farm so lot Q was undeveloped.
The house on our lot was built by Chord Starry sometime in 1963. It was purchased by Donald and Olive Martin in July 1973. When we purchased the property the postal address was Route 2 Box 90, Heyburn, Idaho. Later it changed to 517 South River Drive and again to 606 South River Drive.
As soon as we moved in Laron began working with John in Home Furniture. They sold furniture, blinds and floor covering.
We were members of the Heyburn 2nd Ward, which met in Heyburn. Ray Bailey was the bishop. The meetinghouse located at 1701 J Street had been built in 1936. It was remodeled and added on to many times. The last was in 1983 when Laron was bishop. A new meetinghouse was built in 1995 on land donated by Ray and Irma Bailey The old meetinghouse was sold to the US Postal Service in 1995. They tore it down and built a new post office in it place.
We were not in the ward very long before we received callings. Bishop Bailey asked Ruth to be the Relief Society President. She said yes but when he saw how many children we had he said that he would call someone else. Laron was called to teach the 17-18 year old Sunday school class and assistant to the High Priest Group Leader. Ruth was called to teach the CTR B class in Primary and Spiritual Living lessons in Relief Society.
We spent a lot of the summer cleaning and repairing the house. We put paneling on the south wall of the living room. We slept in the master bedroom upstairs. There were two other bedrooms that Jenny, Amy, Ryan, Chelsea and Megan slept in. The basement was completely unfinished. We cleaned it and put bunk beds in the southeast corner near the bottom of the stairs for Adin and Ethan. We continued to repair and remodel the house through the years. It took us many years to finish the basement with two bedrooms, family, laundry and storage rooms.
We began as soon as we could to clean and change the yard, however like the house it took us many years to landscape it the way we wanted. We started with the lawn and weeds. We had vegetable and flower gardens. We fenced the front and made a pasture that we used for calves and horses through the next 36 years. We removed debris and rocks from the lawn. We made a rock garden and a fish pond on the front slope. We fenced the north side of the back yard, built a barn and corral on the northeast corner of the back yard. Click here to see pictures of our Heyburn home from 1977 to 2013.
That summer we borrowed Bryce's and Mary's camper and went to Salt Lake for three days. We stayed in the Ramada Inn and visited Temple Square, This is the Place Monument and Hoogle Zoo.
Ruth's father and brother had planted a garden for us before we moved in. When Ruth picked to beans she was inspired to write "The Bean and I".
The kids started school 29 August 1977, Adin went to West Minico Junior High and Jenny, Amy and Ethan to Heyburn Elementary.
By September 1977 Laron found that he liked teaching more than selling furniture, so he began looking for a teaching position. Heyburn is in Minidoka County so he thought about applying with the Minidoka School District. However he heard from his friend, Art Walnum, who was the director of special education in the Cassia County School District in Burley that they needed someone to teach a fifth grade class in Declo. In September he applied for the position and was granted the contract. He began teaching about October the first. There were two members of our ward, Sisters Price and Hardy who worked in Declo Elementary so he rode to work with them.
Ruth began to have morning sickness in December 1977, so we knew she was pregnant with our eighth child.
Sometime in early 1978 Laron was released from his callings and made Young Mens First Counselor. So he began to attend MIA with Adin. He also began working at the Burley Family History Center. In May 1978 Ruth was called to serve as 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency.
On June 15, 1978 Laron was in Homedale to attend the funeral of his Uncle Lee's wife Mary. Ethan's tonsils were infected so we had an appointment to have them removed that day. When Ruth took him to the hospital for the surgery the nurse saw that she was pregnant and assumed that she was there for the birth of her baby.
The baby wasn't born until August 11, 1978 on Ethan's seventh birthday. It was a boy and we named him Jarom Edward. Ruth skipped writing in her journal from May to October 1978, so we have no record of the time of his birth.
Images of Jarom
Laron was sustained as the Young Mens President on 16 September 1979 and called to serve on the Stake High Council on 14 May 1980.
In May 1980 Adin was diagnosed with Reiter's Syndrome. His right sacro-iliac joint is swollen, which causes his knees to hurt. The doctor inserted into his right knee and drew fluid out to reduce the pain.
In the summer of 1980 Ruth was an aid in summer school in the Southwest School for half a day for six weeks. Laron also taught at the same time.
On June 21, 1980 our family gave a presentation at the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference. Adin talked about journals, Jenny about an experience of an ancestor, Amy about books of remembrances, Ethan about temple pictures in the home, Laron about family activities and Ruth about temple marriage.
During that summer while Ruth was canning tomatoes and peaches she took time off to have our ninth child, a son. On September 22, 1980 she felt that the baby was starting to come. That night we got all of the children to bed and waited for the birth. Laron went to sleep and about 10:30pm Ruth woke him and they went to the hospital. The baby was born at 2:05am on the twenty-third. It was a boy with red hair who weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces and was 21 inches long. We named him Caleb Sean.
Images of Caleb
On 19 October 1980 Laron was called to serve as the Heyburn Second Ward Bishop.
In 1981 Ruth was pregnant with our 10th child. The baby was due on March 3, 1982. On March 5th, Ruth woke very early thinking that the baby was on the way. About 6:00am we went to the hospital. Another women was also having her 10th baby. Her baby was born but soon Dr. Page sent Ruth home because nothing was happening. At home she paced around until late afternoon then we went to the hospital again. The baby was born at 8:05pm with the doctor barely arriving in time. Laron was able to be in the delivery room. The baby was a boy and we named him Morgan Jacob. That night Ruth missed reading scriptures the first time in two and one half years.
Images of Morgan
Adin graduated from Seminary and Minico High School in May 1983. That summer he went to Palmyra, New York for the Hill Cumorah Pageant, where he was a member of the work crew.
Adin went to BYU in the fall of 1983 where he studied animal science. During the Thanksgiving holiday he received a call to the Columbia, Bogota Mission.
In February 1984 Adin entered the Mission Training Center in Provo. At that time Columbia would not issue anymore visas for missionaries so he was sent to Los Angeles, California to wait for a visa. The visa was never issued so he was sent to the Mexico, Guadalajara Mission.
Jenny graduated from Minico in May 1984 and worked that summer at the Red Steer Drive In. That fall she attended Ricks College that fall.
Laron's father, Rodney, suffered a heart attack day after Thanksgiving 1984, He was taken to St Lukes Hospital in Boise. He died on 25 November and his funeral was held 29 November 1984.
In 1985 Ruth was expecting our 11th child. Laron's mother had come for Thanksgiving on November 28th. We cooked and baked for a big dinner. The next day around noon, Ruth decided the baby was coming. Late in the afternoon we went to the hospital. The ground was covered with snow and the drifts in the driveway were to deep for the cars so had to park on the road. We had to walk down the long driveway through falling snow to get to the car. Our seventh son, Cameron Rodney was born about 7:00pm, one year to the day of his Grandfather Rodney's funeral.
Images of Cameron
Cameron's brother, Adin was on a mission and didn't see him until the end of March, 1986. Adin's first words upon seeing Cameron were, "He is so white".
Amy had many physical problems while in her early teens. She missed a lot of school. She had back surgery in 1987 in Boise where two vertebrae were fused together. She had spondylolisthesis which caused the vertebrae to slip. She also had Myofscia which is inflammation of the lining of the muscles. She missed so much school that she didn't graduate with her class at MINICO.
In 1987 Jarom was diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes in his right thigh bone (ulna), which caused the growth plate to deteriorate so that it wouldn't fit into the hip socket. He had to use crutches to relieve the pressure on his leg until the growth plate recovered. He used the crutches for many months.
In that summer Jenny had surgery to repair a torn ligament in her right ankle.
Jenny began a mission on 4 January 1988 in the Chile, Concepcion Mission and Adin came home from his mission in March.
Adin met Eve Wadsworth at the BYU Block and Bridle Club. They were married 18 August 1988 in the St. George Temple. They lived in Spanish Fork, Utah until they both graduated from BYU.
Amy finished her senior in Burley and graduated from Burley High School in January of 1989.
Ethan graduated from Minico in May 1989. He was going to attend BYU in the fall and work for the school dairy so that summer. He lived on the dairy in Spanish Fork.
Jenny returned from her mission in the summer of 1989. She, Amy and Ethan lived together in Provo that fall. Jenny and Amy were working and Ethan was attending BYU.
The fall of 1989 Ruth began teaching Resource students in Declo Junior High.
Ethan went to Israel in January 1990 on the Study Abroad program. He was there until June. He left for the Venezuela, Caracas Mission in October 1990
Ryan graduated from Minico in May of 1991.
While Jenny was living in Provo she met and dated Craig Stapley, who was attending BYU. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 28 June 1991 and lived in Provo until Craig graduated from BYU.
In July 1991 we took Ryan to Rexburg to get ready for school at Ricks. We traveled through Evanston, Almy and Afton so he could see where Ruth was born.
Amy met Rick Shumway in Provo they were married 1 August 1991 in the Idaho Falls Temple.
Ryan was called to serve in the Russia Moscow Mission in November 1992.
Ethan returned to BYU after his mission to continue his work in Middle Eastern Studies. As part of his studies he traveled to Israel.
Chelsea graduated from Minico in May 1993 and attended BYU that fall.
Megan graduated from Minico in May 1995.
Ryan had dated Marci Heiner in high school. They continued their courtship after his mission and were married 29 December 1995 in the Logan Temple.
Chelsea was called to serve in the Argentina Buenos Aries South Mission in February 1996.
Jarom graduated from Minico in May 1996.
While Megan was living in Provo with Ethan and Jarom she dated Varden Rigby who was a BYU student. They was married March 28, 1997 in the Logan Temple.
Jarom was called to serve in the Venezuela Valencia Mission in October 1997.
Caleb graduated from Minico in May 1998.
After Chelsea returned from her mission she went back to BYU and worked as a Spanish teacher at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. There she met and dated Jason Williams who also taught Spanish at the MTC. They were married August 15, 1998 in the Logan Temple
Caleb was called to serve in the Russia Moscow South Mission in January 2000.
Morgan graduated from Minico in May 2000.
Jarom worked at Prove Craft after his mission. There he met and dated Jenna Christensen. They were married August 3, 2000 in the Mount Timpanogas Temple
Morgan was called to serve in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission in July 2001
After Ethan graduated from BYU he joined the Marine Corps 1 September 2001 and entered the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia in January 2002
After Caleb returned from his mission, he went to LDS Business College in Salt Lake. While there he attended a reunion of the missionaries in his mission. His friend who served a mission in Latvia introduced him to a girl from Latvia who was a nanny for a family in Salt Lake. Her name was Vera Mialenkova. They dated and were married in the Salt Lake Temple 20 September 2002.
Just before Ethan went to Marine OCS he met Georgia Yanque Garcia from Arequipa, Peru. After his OCS graduation he and Georgia were married in North Carolina 8 November 2002. A year later they were sealed in the San Diego Temple.
In 2004 we went to the UK to visit some of the places where our ancestors lived and also the areas where we served our missions. Click here to read the journal we kept on that trip.
Our flight on Jet Blue left Salt Lake late at night Tuesday the 16th. We had a good flight until we landed at JFK Airport in New York at 5:50 the next morning. I have since learned this fact about myself and air flights. I am OK until we have to land. Then something upsets my equilibrium during the descent, and I arrive back on earth nauseated and dizzy. So I was really sick when we got off the plane.
We had a twelve-hour layover there, and had previously talked about Chelsea and Jason driving down to meet us there and going to the Twin Tower site, and even on the ferry to Ellis Island. Going with them had fallen through, but Laron and I still played with the idea. However, it was snowing, blowing and extremely cold in New York that day, and I was so sick, I could hardly walk around. I never got over it until just a few hours before we were to get on Air India at 7:50 that night. We rented a baggage cart, as we couldn't check our luggage until later, and found our way over to the Air India terminal by taking an air train for seemingly miles, and spent the waiting time there.
It was very uncomfortable, as all the seats were very hard and there was no carpet on the floor. We could smell the food from the vendors, which sickened me even more, and though I was hungry, I couldn't bear to even think about food. Finally, out of desperation and weakness, I laid down on the floor like a passed-out drunken sot, behind a row of benches, with my purloined Jet Blue pillow, about 9" by 6", and managed to sleep for about an hour.
Finally, I was able to get down a banana, which cost a dollar, and talked a cafe clerk out of getting me a glass of milk from the milk they used for coffee. Nobody sold milk. I even paid six bucks for a small bottle of Bepto Bismal, which I glugged from. I felt quite a bit better after that, even though all the seats in the area where the shops and cafes were, were stone, which made my bottom indescribably cold. Poor Laron had to endure dragging me around all this time, as well as dragging around our cart with our luggage. Definitely not the glamorous, auspicious beginning to a trip overseas one would hope for.
Finally, we were able to check our luggage, and get rid of dragging that around, and soon we boarded our flight. We had joked that an airline from India would be rather primitive, and that all the passengers would have to hold our arms out the windows and flap, but it was nice, and we had very nice attendants, even if you couldn't understand a whole lot of what they were saying.
We had several snacks, and then supper, which was a choice between chicken and lamb. I chose chicken, and discovered a nice piece of chicken a top yellow rice, with a sort of stuffing of lentils, raisins, pine nuts and a spongy thing I couldn't identify. One bite proved so violently fiery, that I couldn't eat more, so patient Laron traded his lamb for my chicken. The lamb was wonderful, with baby carrots and roasted potatoes.
Each meal also had salad, juice, a roll, and a somewhat strange pudding that tasted as if it had traces of perfume in it. You know how Turkish Delight candy has perfume in it? We hardly see Turkish Delight candy anymore come to think of it. The flight lasted seven hours. Sorry this episode has been so boring, but tomorrow will get better, so stay tuned.
We arrived Thursday the 18th at 6:30 am at Heathrow Airport in London. Laron had slept, and I had dozed on and off because of a bad back ache. Before we could get our luggage, we had to stand in a customs line for about an hour. It was a very, very long line that doubled back and forth upon itself. We made it through that, and then went to pick up our reserved car. It was great to hear the English accents again. Heathrow is absolutely huge; I don't know how many acres. We waited in front of our terminal until a shuttle bus for our car rental agency, Alamo, came by. We stood in another line, which shall henceforth be known as a queue since we were in England.
When we went out to the parking lot to pick up the car we had reserved, we were told all of them had been taken, and we would just have to take one of the larger ones, but at no additional cost. We picked adark blue Ford Focus, a really nice looking car, and loaded our baggage. Then with white knuckles and curled under toes, we started out trying to adjust to the steering wheel on the other side of the car, anddriving on the other side of the road. Laron did a great job, having driven allot on his mission, but we were nervous, especially going right into London traffic. We had to go around the roundabouts a couple of times, trying to get our bearings, and we got honked at once or twice, but we did ok.
We had previously chartered our course, and headed first for Alfreton, where the Clarks came from,South Normanton, where Grandma Brown was born,Heanor where the Englands and Hunts livedand Codnor Park and Somercoates, all places where Mama's family had come from. These towns are just a few miles from each other, and sometimes families lived in more than one of these places. We stopped and got a sandwich (dry)and some milk at a gas station, plus some good Cadbury fruit and nut candy bars. We got on the M1, which is like our interstate, and headed north until we got off at Alfreton. Just to drive into the small town, and see that name we've heard most of our lives, gave me a thrill. The streets of all these little towns were twisted and narrow, with many people now having cars than when I was on my mission. There is simply not room for them all, so it is hard to drive through and find places to park.
It rained off and on, but the sun shone, and we got out and walked down the streets ancestors had walked knowing that many of those old buildings had been there when our people were. We drove around to the other small towns, each with those familiar names. What a feeling! I was trying to follow the map, plus take pictures with the video camera, and my filming efforts were really bad, but I improved. There were daffodils blooming everywhere, and the low, green rolling hills and hedgerows, it was just beautiful. I have never seen so many "daffys" in my life. They are planted all along roadsides for miles, and in yards and beds everywhere.
We got a room at the Travelodge in Alfreton, then went back to get some fish and chips in town. They used to wrap them in newspaper, so when the man didn't, I asked why. He said the government had put a stop to it years ago, due to the lead in the ink of the papers. As a favor to us, he wrapped them first in plain paper, and then found a newspaper and wrapped the whole thing in that. Our poor old digestive tracts aren't what they used to be, and these were especially greasy, so I had to pop Rolaids most of the night, but the taste was delicious.
Since it was cold, I had taken my trusty water bottle with me, and heated up the water in the electric teapot. Thus ended our first day in England.
This morning when went out to our car we found that during the night, something had scratched the side of our back fender. There had been a conference of some sort at the lodge the night before, and there were lots of cars in the parking lot. Laron dinged the left mirror when squeezing through traffic, but left just a tiny scratch on it. I had left the book Mama had written about her ancestors home by mistake, and we had emailed the boys asking for them to send us some info out of it about Alfreton and the church where Grandma Brown was baptized. As I said before, of the seven emails we sent home, the kids only got three, and that wasn't one of them. Mama and Daddy had been there during their missions, and had taken pictures, but remember, that those pictures were all in the suitcase that never made it home.
We left Alfreton area and headed up toward Middlesbrough where a family that Laron had baptized lived. He had baptized Sister Henwood and her three daughters, just teenagers and younger. The father and youngest daughter joined the church later. The parents had died, but the girls all lived in the area. We drove up the M1 highway, passing through beautiful country with road signs to places we would love to go to. Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, Robin Hood country. We tried to find Pontefract Castle for Cam's sake, as Richard the 2nd was murdered there; Cameron is really big into English history. We failed to find the exit, so went on, arriving in Middlesbrough about four in the afternoon. It is a huge industrial city. We called the home of Catherine, and her husband David said he would meet us at the McDonald parking lot, which luckily was right behind where we were parked. He then led us to their home. We were well treated to a nice meal, and met their son Joel, Cameron's age.
Then, we were taken to the house of the son of the branch president of the branch when Laron was there. This guy was just a teenager at the time. He has since been a stake president and the CES director of all the seminaries and institutes in England. Fairly recently, others have been called to take over other divisions. His wife, Barbara, remembered Laron because she came out to the branch when her mother allowed her to, which wasn't often.
They have a relatively nice house compared to most. It isn't one of the council houses that line the streets everywhere. Housing is terrible in England, and many people never are able to own their own homes. We had a nice visit that evening with them, and then they gave us their daughter’s room to sleep in.
We got up at Marshall’s, where we had spent the night, and were given a real English breakfast of sausages, grilled tomatoes, eggs, mushrooms, toast, juices or cold cereal. The Marshal’s have a beautiful conservatory at the back of their house, all glassed in with a glass roof and blinds to make shade from the sun. These are quite popular with the well off people. They also have a very nice kitchen with a dishwasher and a washer\dryer right in the kitchen. Barbara has a nice stove, which they call a cooker, and she keeps everything really organized and clean.
About 10:00, another of the sisters, Jean and her husband Sidney Crawford came by and picked us up to take us around Middlesbrough to visit old places the missionaries used to work around. The wind was really blowing, and it would rain now and then. First we went to a park, where the missionaries would gather kids to play American baseball, opening the way to contact their parents about teaching them. This park is where Laron and his companion first contacted one of the sisters.
We also visited his old apartment (87 Oxford Road), the Henwood’s old home, a building where they used to meet, and the Middlesbrough ward building. Jean and Sid took us to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, and were very careful to lock everything we had in the "boot", or trunk of the car, because of the high rate of crime in England. We were warned to do this everywhere we went. We then went to see an unusual ferry that the missionaries used to cross the River Tees with their van.
Back then each district had a van that the supervising elder used to drive. They would haul the members to meetings, activities and baptisms. This ferry was supported by a huge, metal structure, which is still a very imposing sight. A huge basket hung from the structure, into which several cars would drive, and then be transported across the river. The ferry was closed because of the terrible wind that was blowing that day. It roared through its tall, tall frame.
We drove around to various nearby towns, where Laron had worked, and also to the beach on the North Sea, where they used to hold MIA activities. What a wind!!! We stood on the foundation of a huge gun that defended that area during WW II, and nearly got blown off. We went to Redcar, a resort town right on the North Sea, very touristy, where they bought us each a lemon top, which everybody has to have if you go to Redcar. It is a delicious soft ice cream cone, with sort of a lemon sherbet swirl on top.
We went to a town, Guisbrough, where there are the remains of an absolutely astonishing cathedral and abbey, which Henry the Eighth had torn down when he left the Catholic Church, so he could divorce one wife and marry another. Around it is an ancient stonewall. I picked up a small piece, which had sloughed off and fallen to the ground.
That evening, we arrived back at the Marshall’s, where two more sisters, Frances and Adrienne and their husbands had gathered, and spent a great evening visiting and talking of old times and looking at pictures. Adrienne had recently returned from a mission to Samara, Russia, where Ryan had been. She is nearly fifty, and has only been married a few months, a black man from Nigeria. Each had brought delicious food, which we ate in the candlelit conservatory. It was really delicious, but very rich. It had been a very enjoyable day.
Jean Crawford had told us on Saturday, that she was giving a talk in the Bellingham ward today, and we wanted to hear her. The Marshalls were going to the Redcar ward for a special assignment, so they arranged for another family, the Jusens, to come by and let us follow them to Bellingham. Then we would go to the Middlesbrough ward.
When the Jusens came by, we followed them, and when we arrived at the church, we were thanking them as we were walking into the building. They asked us where we lived, and when we told them, they said they had visited Heyburn for two weeks a year ago!
They said they had stayed with the Whites, from Middlesbrough, who had been living in America. We knew the Whites lived just a few houses down the road from us, and had been called on a mission to New Zealand. In fact, they lived in the Llewellyn house. The Jusens said they had walked past our house every day for the two weeks. Small world!
It was Mothering Day in England, so the Primary children sang the same songs our children sing, but nothing was passed out to the mothers. Right after Sacrament Meeting, we hurried over to the Middlesbrough ward, where Sacrament Meeting was just starting. There is a tall iron fence all around the church due to vandalism, and there had been a problem earlier when some jerks had come in the parking lot and spit on one of the teenage members. The gate was locked, and we had to wait until David came out and unlocked it for us.
After the Sacrament Meeting, which was last, Laron had the joy of meeting with several members of the ward, which were in the original branch when he was there. One of the ladies, that he always called the Vinegar Lady, because she used to drink vinegar for health purposes, was there. She was now called the Toffee Lady, as every week; she makes delicious toffee and brings it in small bags to pass out to everybody. It was really good, as she insists on using the most expensive butter and cream, in spite of her daughter telling her she can’t afford it.
We had a great visit with these people, and then headed back to Catherine’s and David’s for Sunday dinner. We visited with their two older children who were home for Mothering Day. They are very pleasant, well brought up people.
We had a huge Sunday dinner with ham, Yorkshire pudding, rolls, leeks, Swedes, turnips, roasted potatoes, salad and corn. I commented that there was never any corn when we were there before, to which Catherine said, it had only been introduced several years before. I had heard her ask Joel to open two tins of corn. For dessert we had plum crumble with custard sauce. Very filling!
As we were thanking them and leaving, we visited with some Pakistani or Indian kids who lived next door. All of these house are joined together, block after block of them. These kids were very impressed that we were Americans, and willingly talked with us on camera. They have lived in England all of their lives. Lots of people from both of those countries are in England, coming for better lives, like our Hispanic people, usually doing the more menial work.
David led us in his car, out to the right road to take to get to Scotland, and even helped Laron get a book of maps that was easier to read than our foldout one. We drove in the rain several miles to Durham, (Hey, Chelsea and Jason) and got a motel at Travel Inn for the night.
We were certainly very well treated by these people Laron had worked with. They really loved him for introducing their family to the church, and many temple marriages, and several missionaries have resulted from those baptisms, as well as those people being faithful members all these years.
We headed out at 8:00 without breakfast, going north to Scotland. The main interstate-type roads are like ours, with two or three lanes, with the speed limit about 70 MPH. However, if you get off these, and travel on the regular roads, which you have to do a lot, many are very narrow and the speed is much slower, and you go through every small town.
Each town has the usually narrow, often winding main street, which is often called High Street, with at least one pub, or public house, which is a combination restaurant and bar. The owner of a pub is a publican. Mama told of one of our ancestors who was a publican, but I can't remember who. One of the faults we had, was in not being as prepared as we should have been, as to who came from where, and found out later, that we had missed some really important places to visit because of that ignorance.
I listed the names of many pubs. There were Red Lion, Black Lion, White Lion, as also every color of lion, horse, and swan...etc. A few other names were The Spotted Cow, The Fox and Hounds, The Four Horseshoes, The Pied Calf, The Nag's Head, The Pig and Fiddle, The Drum and Monkey, and my own personal favorite, The Two-headed Man.
We continued to travel through the beautiful, green, rolling hills until the landscape started to change to a more wild, barren appearance, as we got closer to the border between England and Scotland. We got off the main road to look for remnants of Hadrian's Wall, built by the Roman Hadrian trying to keep the Scots out of England. We drove around in a manner that some might describe as
lost. In one instance, we found a tiny muddy road with the sign telling us we could walk to Hadrian's Wall, but with no indication as to how far the walk was, so we thought we would try for a better way. At any rate, we managed to find our way back to the M1/A1, and decided to attempt Hadrian later. There are many Roman features in England and Scotland.
We did finally get to Scotland, and stopped at a small
lay-by which had a fellow who had a small refreshment trailer parked there. You see this often. Dad was really tired, and we hadn't had breakfast, so I gathered up a bunch of money and went to get us something to eat. You have to know that the money has been changed since we were there. They still use pounds, shillings, etc, but I had forgotten, and it is now based differently. Anyhow, I walked over to the little van, and read their extremely sparse menu. The owner was talking to a truck driver who had pulled in ahead of us. I was asked what I wanted, and ordered two sausage rolls, which I remembered with fondness from forty-two years ago.
When he said how much I owed him, I said,
I'm throwing myself on your mercy, and held out a handful of change.
Oh, you're from America then. You'll no doot want coffee wi' tha. After refusing coffee, tea and a jocular offer of whiskey, both men helped pick out the amount of money I owed. I commented on the sad fact that the Scottish rugby team had just lost in the world championship.
Ach! They're 'opeless, absolutely 'opeless!
Then they warned me to be really, really careful parking in Edinburgh, as our car could actually be towed away and we would have to hunt for it and pay lots of money to get it back. With their good wishes, we started on our way, but the sausage rolls were a pitiful disappointment. I remembered the delicious ones made of puff pastry with a sausage in the middle. These were dry hot dog buns with a slice of something like spam in them!
We drove through many places that had special meaning for me, though I had never worked in them, some of them had been in our district. We did get to Edinburgh, and promptly got swallowed up in the large city, driving around in horrible traffic trying to find Prince's Street and the castle rock. The castle is right in the center of the city. It is on a rocky hill, with a ravine around the front, There is a park in the ravine, and then Prince's Street, which is extremely valuable real estate for offices and tourist attractions. It is a really imposing sight. We continued to drive around, and finally saw the castle.
We ended up driving to the back of the hill, and finding quite a few places to park, which we did. We then spent two hours walking down to the ravine and park, which is landscaped beautifully. We visited a very old cemetery on our way across the park to where we could find the road, which leads up to the castle itself. I photographed a statue of a soldier on horseback, which I had photographed before, also Scott's Monument, in honor of Sir Walter Scott, who wrote Ivanhoe and Lady of the Lake. We headed up a street trying to find the Holy Rood. (Road) that leads to the castle. We made a wrong turn somewhere and found ourselves in a narrow twisting street full of very undesirable characters and places.
We beat a hasty retreat and finally found the rest of the Holy Rood, which led us right up to the castle. There, many years ago, after our mission had viewed the Military Tattoo, a wonderful presentation, I met Laron, whose district had been awarded a trip to the Tattoo because of their great missionary efforts. I had no idea he would be there, and suddenly, there he was with his district! To have met in the huge crowd was absolutely amazing. We just visited for a minute at arm's length, and then had to separate.
Laron was really worried about the car, so we didn't take the tour of the castle. When we made it down the back way to the car, there was a red and white envelope under the wipers of most of the cars where we had parked. The car hadn't been towed, but a fine for parking in that area without first buying a pass was $60.00 in US money!!!!! Upon checking more closely, we did see small signs telling about the passes, but certainly not where they were readily seen. Tourist Trap!!!!!
We then licked our wounds and headed back for England. Still smarting from our parking ticket, we left Edinburgh and headed south, back the same road we had come.
We stopped in Jedbrough, that we had driven through before, so that we could to send an email home. We finally found the public library, but the lady in charge was just leaving her supper and said she would be back at 5:30. That left us some time to wander around. It had been raining, but the sun came out quite often. We drove up past one of Mary, queen of Scots' houses, and up onto a hill where we could see around a lot. Down below was the ruins of a cathedral or abbey. Again there were daffodils everywhere. We went back into the town and walked around the cobblestone streets. That part of the town is on a hill, so we were walking up and down hills.
We stopped in at a couple of little shops, looking for items with Scottish tartan (plaid) to buy to take home. We were told they wouldn't be stocked until April for the beginning of the tourist season. That was disappointing. Finally, we went back to the library, where we sent home an email. We found out later, that four of our messages never made it.
We found a motel at Washington, outside of Newcastle, which is a huge town, and was, all lit up in the dark. We discovered we had left our adaptor, probably at the Travel Inn in Durham. I couldn't use my curling iron, and we couldn't re-charge the batteries for Adin and Eve's camera, which was rather discouraging.
I haven't said too much about what and where we ate. At first, we would just pick up food such as sandwiches, fruit and juice at the convenience stores at gas stations. (Petrol, which cost three and a half pounds per gallon, or $7:00) That was too expensive, so we started to go to grocery stores, which they have now, such as Safeways or Tesco. Of course, most of the products are still British; though there are more American products than we ever saw on our missions, which was virtually nothing then. In the towns, there are still the shops, which sell only certain products. There is a bakery, then another store will be a butcher, another fruits and vegetables, and so on. The butchers don't hang the chickens unplucked outside the shops, or the meat displayed uncovered with flies crawling on it anymore. Anyhow, we would usually buy rolls, meat, fruit and a drink of some kind and eat as we went. We never ate in a restaurant.
We found a motel in a place called Washington, and spent the night there. The bedding is a little different in the motels, and was the same in the Marshall's. Instead of a top sheet, there is only a comforter, which has a covering like a huge pillowcase. Each day, that covering is slipped off and a new one put on, which I like, because I know our motels don't change the bedspreads every day. The cases are pretty like a bedspread, but you know they are really clean on both sides. There is also a rack in the bathrooms where the towels hang that is heated, so that the towels are warm. Also all the sinks have two faucets, one hot and one cold, but you can't run both at the same time. The drain has a rubber plug attached to a chain, just like the old days.
This morning, I couldn't curl my hair, which usually didn't matter anyhow, because we were out in the wind and rain so much, that after half an hour my hair looked awful anyhow. As we left Washington we were hopeful that we could go back to the motel near Durham and find the adapter. We stopped in Durham and found that it had been picked up by the maid, and so we were back in the photography and hair styling business.
We traveled on trying to get to Pontefract, which Cameron was so hopeful we would find. He knew Richard II had been killed at the castle there, and hoped we could get pictures. We passed places with great names, such as Gool and Snaith, and arrived at Pontefract about noon. The remains of the castle were on a small hill in the town. What was left was part of the walls around a big center court where a lawn was now growing. We saw the foundation of an Elizabethan chapel, and one for a Norman chapel on one side of the complex. After walking to the other side, we found part of the walls of the tower where Richard II was murdered. I picked up a couple of small rocks that had sloughed off the wall of that room. It was really interesting to see one long, narrow room that had been a bathroom. There was a wooden seat with a hole in it, against an outside wall, and an opening below the seat to the outside.
Toward the center of the courtyard, was the underground battery, where ammunition and arms had been stored. It was a cellar, which we could have gone down into, but the attendant was gone for lunch, and doors going down were locked. There was a sign showing a copy of men's names, scratched into the underground walls, where prisoners had been held. With one name, James, I think, was a date in the 1600s.
Anise plants are grown in the area, and licorice candy has been made there for hundreds of years. Pontefract candy is famous in the British Isles.
We went further into the town and went into a mall of sorts, with small shops. One was piled with stacks and stacks of china plates, cups and saucers, china dogs, swans, cats, pictures. It was really packed full. We could hardly get into it. The lady that owned it, had been there for 34 years, and for 20 years, she had gone to America twice a year and loved it! We bought blue and white plates to take home to the kids, and took her picture. She gave me a china rabbit with flowers painted on it to remember her by.
From Pontefract, we headed for Gosberton, Surfleet, Risegate and Pinchbeck, where Laron's English ancestors came from. It was raining very hard, but the sun would shine periodically, and the daffy's were blooming everywhere. We found the Gosberton church where the Waites had worshipped, very old. As with the old churches of England, there were graves and tombstones all around it. These were really old, with moss growing on them, and the names having been worn completely away. It was a beautiful place.
A man stopped and talked to us, named Peter Caswell. He said he knew of Waites in the area. He said Neb Waite had a farm down the road. It was getting to be evening, and there was no place to stay the night, so we left and went to Grantham, about twenty miles away, hoping we could find a motel that still had a room.
We did, and bought some really expensive sandwiches and drinks at a little shop near the motel. We were still hungry, so decided to get something else cheaper. There was a sign on the door next to the shop that read, Burger King. We went inside, but to get to it, we had to climb some stairs, and walk down a long hall, then turn and walk through a glass enclosed hall that went right across the three-lane M1 interstate, around a corner, down some more stairs, and finally into a small Burger King. Then we repeated the process, kicking ourselves for going so far for so little, that didn't taste that, good after all.
So we ended another adventure.
We left the motel in Grantham at 7:25, planning to go back to Gosberton area. We went into the town of Grantham.
Isaac Newton attended school in Grantham, so there is a big statue of him in a park in the middle of town. We hung around until a mall opened, and found a library there so we emailed the kids. Then we went into a grocery store and got the food for the day. This area is called the Heart of the Fens. It is really flat, with lots of farms where cabbages, leeks, brussel sprouts, potatoes and other vegetables are grown. We went back to Gosberton, area we stopped at a small shop and looked in a phone book for Waite's. The clerk gave us the address of a Waite family, and directions as to how to get there. There were no phones in the motels, so we didn't have ready access to phone books.
It began to pour rain, as we drove to the address, but couldn't even find the house, let alone the family. We had been told no one would probably be home anyway.
We headed for Spalding and ate our lunch of roast beef and Edom cheese sandwiches at the Carlby lay-by.
Leaving the Waite stomping grounds, we began our trip to Tewkesbury to look for Wilkes. On our way, we went through Stamford, Lincolnshire, where the traffic was really bad. We got caught in a lane of traffic, and couldn't turn when we should have, and suddenly, we were in a pedestrian only area, where the road had been blocked so that no vehicles except those that carried freight to the stores, could go. We couldn't go backward, so we slowly drove through all the pedestrians who wondered why we were there. Very embarrassing!
We then headed toward North Hampton, down through Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare's hometown. We didn't stop there, as we had both been there on our missions, and it was a tourist trap. We had to stop on our way down the country to take a picture of a bridge that crossed the River Avon. As we started across, we read that it was named the Simon de Monfort Bridge! One of Cameron's English heroes is Simon de Monfort!
We arrived in the general area of Tewkesbury, but couldn't find any signs telling us just how to get there. It was getting dark, so we headed on down the road to Strensham about ten miles, where we were able to find one. Luckily, they had a vacancy.
We left Strensham, got on the wrong road, and went ten miles north before we could get to where we could turn around and head back to Tewkesbury, where our Wilkes ancestors came from.
For more info, read Grandpa Blacker's Wilkes Epic, starting at page 23. What a feeling to drive through those ancient streets and turn a corner to see this ancient abbey. In 715, a monastery was established by two dukes of Mercia, who were actually brothers, named, (I kid you not) Odo and Dodo. It was later enlarged by Benedictine monks.
We parked and paid for a parking ticket, and walked through the gates at the side of the abbey. What a sight. A huge, spreading tree with hundreds of blue blossoms growing through the grass grew near one side. We walked to the front door, and I can't describe the feelings of knowing that I was standing at the very entry into the abbey my great, great grandparents had walked through.
When Daddy had been there Feb, 3, 1930, he had been able to find the headstone not far from the front door, where William Wilkes who died in 1886 at age 83, his wife Elizabeth died Dec 18, 1885, age 84, and their daughter Mary, who died March 18, 1886, age 57, were all buried in the same grave. There is a fuzzy picture of the headstone in Daddy's history, but it wasn't there when we looked. We asked a person who said most of the headstones had been moved years before, and he didn't know where they were put. What a disappointment.
We found headstones close to the outside wall. One had this carved on it.
In memory of John Hart who died January 22, 1800, the sixth descendant from the poet Shakespeare. Aged 54 years.
It was from his wife, Mary, who was later buried there as well.
We went inside the huge, heavy black-with-age doors into the abbey itself. My goodness, it is so impressive inside, with huge pillars and high vaulted ceilings. How in the world people so long ago could build such structures is amazing. We had to buy a ticket in order to film inside, but the gift shop wouldn't be open until after the services were over.
A group of school children came in and sat on wooden chairs, and the service began. It was like a Catholic service, but we guessed it was Church of England, though maybe not. A young man in black robes recited scriptures and at times, the children responded by reciting back certain prayers. It was very cold in the building, and there were two four-foot high black metal heaters called Gurney stoves on one side of the building.
Previously they had burned coal, but had been converted to gas or electricity. In no way did they warm the huge, stone place. Our feet got very cold as we walked slowly around the hall that circled the place where the service was going on. There were small, private chapels on the sides of the hall, where royalty or wealthy people would worship. There were graves under the floor of the hall with the headstones lying flat as part of the floor, some dating back to the sixteen hundreds, and some probably far older, but we couldn't make out the writing.
Also along the hall, were buried people in stone graves, with sculptures of them lying on the top. It was truly fascinating place to see. On many of the old stones that made up the pillars, marks made by the masons were visible still. They would each have a special mark as they would be paid by the stones they carved.
There was a tall, black carved baptismal font, where our ancestors were sprinkled, and of course, they had sat in that cold building worshipping, and had their funeral services conducted there. It was very inspiring.
We felt almost as if we were on sacred ground, and had a special feeling as we left. Modern life rushed back on us, as being hungry, we went to Safeways to buy our lunch and head for Wales.
We backtracked quite a bit, getting on wrong roads, and ate our lunch at a lay-by. We had milk, a pastry and a Cadbury's Dairy candy bar. We eventually did go into Wales, and were really interested in the road signs written in English with the Welsh words right under it. Welsh is a very strange language, and practically impossible to pronounce unless you know it. There will be three or four consonants in a row with no vowels. Very strange. It's a good thing the English words are there, and of course the people speak English.
We went by some absolutely beautiful scenery, with higher hills than the gently rolling ones in England. We were heading east, and went down into sort of a canyon, and then started climbing. When we got to the top of the hill, there was a real change in the scenery. The hills were bare and brown, and very different from what we had seen that far. We went through Merthyr Tidfell, I know I'm not spelling it right, where Pres. McKay always talked as the area his parents, at least his mother came from. It wasn't a very nice place, and there was a lot of road construction that made things look even worse. We were looking for Mountain Ash, Monmouthshire, Wales, where great-grandfather Edward Blacker and his wife , Merintha Althera Loveday had lived before coming to the US. He had been a coal miner.
Daddy had listed the place they had lived as 7 Cliff Street, and had taken a picture the house in 1930. It is in the Blacker Epic. Some other family had lived at 10 Miskin Road.
We arrived in Mountain Ash late in the afternoon. It is built on a hillside, with rows of houses going right up the hill. The town has narrow, winding streets. We parked and got out to walk. We found Number 4 Miskin Road, which turned out to be a fish and chips shop, but it was nearly the last building on Miskin Road. The proprietors had been there for many years, and had never heard of a number 10. We continued to look around, and found that the next street further up the hill, was Miskin terrace, and there was a number 10 there, so we took a picture of it.
We talked to a lady at a bus stop, who said she knew that there were Blackers around the area. We then tried to find 7 Cliff Street, but had no success, until we asked another lady. She said it was further up the hill, above a pub called the Napier Arms, so we trudged up the hill on the very narrow sidewalk. We found the Napier Arms, and the road turned and went uphill further, and then we saw the sign of Cliff Street. These streets and houses were very old. The houses were like most others, built all connected to each other.
We went several houses up, and there it was, & Cliff Street, where the Blackers had lived, and my Grandpa Blacker had been a little boy. He had been born in Ystradyfwg, Glamorganshire, Wales, but was very young when the family moved to Mountain Ash. There was a nice, new door on the house, but basically, it was the same as in Daddy's picture. I knocked, but no one answered. By then it was getting evening, and we drove to the cemetery, which was very large, and there would be no chance of finding the graves Daddy had found with help of relatives living there, other family members, such as a brother of Edward's.
Our time was running out, and it was getting darker, so we took a picture of the cemetery and left. We tried to find Penrhiwceiber, where the brother of Edward had lived, and we drove around in circles, not realizing we had gone through it a couple of times, as it is for all intents and purposes, connected to Mountain Ash. There were no motels in Mountain Ash, so we had to leave and go somewhere where we could find one.
We drove to Newport, which is a huge place, and crossed a bridge over the Bristol channel, or the mouth of the River Severn. We ended up in a really seedy, almost scary area of the city, and spent quite a bit of time trying to get out. By then it was really dark, but Laron came off victorious, and found the way back to the M4, and then to Castleport, where a motel was marked on the map. We were anxious to find it and hoped they still had a vacancy. I was feeling icky, as it had been a very long day of driving, but very exciting.
It was so very wonderful to finally get a room and settle down for our next to the last night of our trip.
We drove to Clutton, to see where the Blackers on our direct line lived. These are the family members that are the first that can be proven to be our direct line. As we drove along the main road, I looked out to the left, as we passed a sign that read,
Blacker Monumental Works, established in 1716 That was the place my dad had gone to in 1930, but found the owner and distant cousin away from home. It had been established by our direct line, but had later gone to others in the family. I was so surprised, that I burst out crying. We had heard about this place all of our lives, and there it was! The owner in 1930, was a Frederick Blacker, who corresponded with Daddy for many years, and helped so much with the genealogy.
We parked down the road and walked back. There appeared to be no one at home then either, but a sign in the office window directed people around the hedge and to the door of the house, but no one answered our knock. We were disappointed, but decided to go to nearby Cameley, and hope that someone would be home later. The drive to Cameley, a very small place, was beautiful, and we found the church where Blackers and Naishes had been married, christened or buried. It was a lovely, very quiet place.
When we drove back to Clutton. Thankfully, Mr. Higgins, the current owner of the business was there. He was very friendly, and showed us through the home, which a William Blacker, one of our direct ancestors had built in 1716. He told us that he had bought the business from the last Blacker to operate it, a Freida Blacker, daughter of Frederick. She had never married, and he had worked for her until she became too old to operate it. It is now not owned by a Blacker, but he keeps the name of the business.
We spent some time there, being shown around, and taking pictures, and then we left to head to London.
In London we looked for a Travel Lodge motel we had the address for. We drove through the area a number of times but couldn't find it. We finally got a room at a large hotel for 70lbs.
We returned our car and flew back to New York on Air India. From there we flew on Jet Blue to Salt Lake. We arrived at 1:00 AM. Caleb and Vera were at the airport to meet us. We stayed with them that night and returned home the next day.
Cameron graduated from Minico in May 2003. In March 2005 he was called to serve in the Peru Lima East Mission in March 2005.
After his mission Morgan worked for a cell phone company in Twin Falls. He moved to Payson, Utah to work in a computer game store. While there he met Trista Barnett. She was living with her parents while attending BYU. They dated and were married in the Mount Timpanogas Temple 20 July 2005.
After Cameron's mission he returned home to Heyburn and lived with us. In 2009 he met Kristele Smith in the singles ward, where she was the Relief Society President and he was the Gospel Doctrine Teacher. They dated that summer and were married in the Draper Temple 27 November 2009. They lived in an apartment in Heyburn.
For much of her life Amy suffered from bad health, her muscles were weak and sore, her back hurt her and she had a hard time breathing. When she was in high school she had two vertebrae fused together and had to wear a body brace. The school district provided home schooling for her. Because of this she graduated a semester late.
Her bad health continued after she was married. By the time she four children, it was so bad that she had a hard time taking care of her home and family. After many incorrect diagnoses she was diagnosed in early 2008 with Idiopathic Arterial Pulmonary Hypertension, a very rare condition which restricts the flow of blood through the lungs. It causes chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. The condition cannot be cured but treatment can improve symptoms and slow progression. She was given three to five years to live.
There were no insurance companies that would pay for her treatment, so her husband, Rick worked in Iraq as a security officer to earn the money to take care of her. She was given a very expensive medication. It had to be pumped into her arm
In 2011 the medication she was receiving caused her liver to fail and she grew very weak. She died March 20, 2011 in the University of Utah hospital.
In 2012 Cameron and Kristele moved into our home in Heyburn to live with us. In May we sold the home to them.
On August 1, 2013, Ruth's sister, Mary, went to Virginia to visit her daughter Victoria and her family. Mary was going to be gone a month and we told her that we would stay in her house on 905 E Street in Rupert, to watch it while she was gone. We went there on Sunday, August 4. Mary was in Virginia longer than expected so we stayed in her place until December.
We decided to find an apartment to live in so we wouldn't have to move back in with Cameron and Kristele. In November we looked at a townhouse being built by Carol Fowler on Hansen Drive in Burley. We liked the apartments so we signed a rental agreement. The apartments were finished in December and we moved in on Saturday, December 21, 2013 and became members of the Burley 9th Ward. Laron taught the Gospel Doctrine Class and Ruth the 12-13 age class. Both of us were Temple and Family History Consultants.
In March 2018 we decided to move back to 606 South River Drive in Heyburn to live with Cameron and Kristele. We gave our 30 day notice to Carol on 19 March. On Wednesday 4 April we spent our first night in our old bedroom. Morgan and Trista helped us move the bed. Morgan, Trista, Cameron and Kristele helped us complete the move by 13 April.
By 2021 many new people were moving into our area. Cameron and Kristele decided that it was getting too crowded so they decided to sell their home and move to another area. They advertised it and within a few days a couple from California contacted them about buying it. That summer they made arrangements for the closing to be completed by the second of September.
We began to look for a place to rent. We looked in our area and Twin Falls. Their were many other people looking for places to live so there weren't many places that fit our needs that we could afford. Kristele found a nice place in Blackfoot that had five bedrooms, a two car garage and a large yard. She went through it and liked it so we applied to rent it.
Within days our application was accepted by the owners, Von and Linda Cornelison. We moved in on 12 August 2021. Cameron and Kristele stayed in Heyburn until the closing was finished then they moved there.