Our Family Legacy
Biography of Rex Bent and Mary Ann Larsen
Once upon a time our Heavenly Father sent a little baby boy to the Bent Franklin Larsen and Martha Geneva Day Larsen home on 500 North between University Avenue and 100 West in Provo, Utah. The home where they were living was owned by Judge Booth. The baby who was born May 8, 1909 was named Rex Bent Larsen. Rex was the oldest child in a family of four boys and one girl.
Rex was a sweet little boy much loved by his parents and other family members. He was an active little baby. When he was two years old the family moved to a small adobe house at 733 North 500 West in Provo. This was to be his home for many years. When Rex was two years old on August 12, 1911 another baby boy was born to the couple. He was named Eugene Clarence and he and Rex became close playmates.
Rex was jealous of the baby at first. Here was someone who was taking part of his parent's love and attention. Mother Geneva told how when she had to go out doors for something she would leave the baby in his crib and would take Rex with her to protect the baby. Rex would take something and hit him and she was afraid he would be hurt. But as he got older and was able to play with Rex they were very close. They did nearly everything together.
His folks realized that the home was getting too small for their family and needed to be enlarged and so they decided to add to the home. They added two rooms in addition to the kitchen and living room which was the old home. This gave them room to expand.
Rex’s father did most of the remodeling and Rex and Eugene, who were small boys of two and four years, had to help. Their father made them a small wooden wheelbarrow and they would help haul dirt from where it was dug to a pile in the yard. Rex helped hold lumber for his dad and other things. The boys thought they were big helpers and their father was very patient with them.
The boys had a lot of fun when they were young. They grew up as normal boys. They played trains. They got blocks and made little trails around in the dirt calling them tracks. There was a boy named Mark Richmond who would come over and play with them a lot.
One time Eugene took some rocks up into a box elder tree for birds eggs. He was going to have a birds nest. Rex happened to get under the nest when one of the rocks fell out and hit him on the head and about knocked him out. He was sick for two or three days from that big bump on the head.
When Rex was about five or six years old his father bought a farm down by Monroe. He considered that this was a good investment and also that it would provide summer work for the boys as they grew up. The first summer he took the family down to the farm they lived in a tent on the farm. They would ride horseback from the farm into Monroe to their Grandmother Larsen’s home. This proved not to be what his father had thought it would be and the farm was sold.
When they were young boys they spent part of most summer days over at the Provo river. The river was close to their home to the north and west. There were many trees growing along the river banks and they were called “the woods”. The boys could go to the river there and be secluded from the sight of anyone. There they would go skinny dipping and as they swam they would put their hands up under the bank of the river and catch trout with their hands. The fish were taken home and became a nice fish dinner.
As Rex got older he was very kind and helped his brothers and sister with projects they were having difficulty doing. Celia said he was always willing to do things for them. He could be a tease and make them angry at times, but it was only in fun.
Rex joined the Boy Scouts when he was in the fifth grade. He liked scouting and advanced up through the ranks until he became a Life Scout. He went on and earned most of the merit badges necessary for his Eagle, all except three. He needed swimming, life saving and one other one. At this point he was stopped. He was having problems with his ears. Every time he would go in a swimming pool so that he could prepare to pass the requirements for the two merit badges his ears would become infected. He was allergic to the chlorine in the swimming pool. Doctors told him to stay out of the pools and so he did not get his Eagle at that time.
Rex loved to go on the scouting trips and go out to cook supper. One time on a scouting trip down at Utah Lake the carp had come up into the swamp at the mouth of Provo River. The water was low and the backs of the carp stuck out of the water. The boys stripped off and went into the water after the fish. The fish were big and sometimes it would take two boys to handle one fish. The boys would get a scissors hold on the fish and then work their hands into their gills so they could hold on to those slippery slimy fish.
As a young teenager Rex was very interested in electricity. He was fooling around with electricity most of the time. His mother bought him some batteries and little coils and he would go to the telephone office and they would give him parts of old phones. One day he was fooling with an old Ford coil and he had it hooked up. He took one of the wires from the screen porch where the boys slept and hooked it onto the clothes line and at the other end of the clothes line he hooked another wire and was killing ants with it. All at once he heard an awful yell. He looked up and there was his sister Celia trying to hang wet clothes. She had gotten the full load from the coil. It surely shook her up.
Rex’s parents helped the boys finance getting some young chickens to raise so they could sell eggs and chickens and make some money. Rex wired the chicken coop. He had the chicken coop wire electrified so that any one who came around would get a charge of electricity. He had a little nail that you had to reach down with your foot and touch. It would open a relay that would open the door. If you didn't know the secret of that nail you could not get in the coop.
For the chickens he had an old alarm clock fixed up. It would turn the lights off and on. He fed the chickens at night, but he got so lazy that he got another alarm rigged up so when it went off the alarm key would wind up a string and start an electric fan going. It opened up a little device for the wheat to roll down and the electric fan would throw wheat all over for the chickens to eat.
As a young boy Rex worked for the farmers on the Provo Bench (now known as Orem). He worked in the strawberry patches. Jess Carter gave him a job hoeing strawberries. There were four boys hoeing the berries. They would start at the top of the patch and by the time they got the patch hoed it was time to start over again. The patch was that large. They spent the whole summer long swinging a hoe. One summer he decided to try something different. He fixed his bike with a trailer on the back. He would buy ice-cream bars and take them out to the strawberry patches and sell them to the pickers during their lunch time. This was a more profitable enterprise than hoeing and much easier.
Jess Carter liked Rex as a worker and he hired him to work all summer for him. First, in the strawberries then the cherries and then peaches, etc. When the peaches were all supposedly harvested. Mrs. Carter would get Rex to go through the orchard getting the last peaches off the trees. These last peaches were bigger and riper and had to be handled with care or they would bruise. He would many times go up a tree for one or two peaches and then have to move his ladder to another tree and repeat getting one or two peaches. These were the peaches that Mrs. Carter carefully handled and canned. Then she would enter the jars of peaches in the county and state fairs. They looked really pretty in the glass bottles and won many blue ribbons.
Rex worked for other farmers on the Provo Bench. At the end of one summer one of his employers wrote him a note of recommendation to whoever might be considering hiring him. Rex was a good worker and all of the farmers he worked for liked him.
Letter - Provo 28 August 1929.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have had Rex Larsen work for me two summers, and have found him to be a good stocky hand and would recommend him to anyone having need for a hand. C. L. Riding
Brigham Young University had purchased some property up Provo Canyon on the north side of Mt. Timpanogas. They built dormitories on the property for students as well as a group of cabins for the faculty members to bring their families to for six weeks in the summer as they taught summer school. The women's dorms were on one side of the canyon and the men's dorms on the other side. In between, in the bottom of the canyon they had one building for a kitchen and dining room and another building as a place to hold assemblies, Sunday church services, etc. For classrooms canvas flies were put up and classes were held out under the flies in the open. It was an experience that every student should have availed himself of at least once.
Rex’s father taught art classes at Aspen Grove every summer and the family would spend the summer there, going to school, hiking, and in general having fun. Rex hiked to the top of Mt. Timpanogas twenty-seven times. During the winter the boys would go to Wildwood and then hike from there up to Aspen Grove and spend the week in the Harris Cabin. They did a lot of skiing. One winter there was so much snow, twenty-three feet, that only bits of the roof were sticking out. They had to dig down through the snow to the door of the cabin. They prepared for the week of skiing by taking food up to the cabin before the snow came.
Growing-Up Years of Mary Ann Barton
Four and a half years after Rex was born Heavenly Father sent a little baby girl to the home of Joseph Thomas Barton and Mary Ann Norris Barton. I was born February 17, 1914 in Price, Utah. At that time my father was City Marshall of Price, Utah.
I was the eighth child in a family of four girls and four boys. I am twelve years younger than my youngest brother Edwin James (we called him Jack). The oldest living child, my sister Della was twenty-two years old. The oldest child of the family, Elizabeth Rose Hannah, had died when she was twenty months old. So you see I had four brothers and two sisters to help my father and mother spoil me. My mother was forty-two and a half years old and my father was fourty-six years old when I as born.
My brothers spoiled me so much that I just had to look like I wanted something and I got it. Even when I was married they were still spoiling me. They taught me to coax for things but not to whine or cry. If I started to whine or cry it was all over, I didn't get what I wanted. But by coaxing I finally got what I wanted. One day I coaxed my father for over an hour to take the car to go less than a block away to visit a girl friend. I was a high school student but was still coaxing. After an hour of “Please can't I take the car”. “Why can't I take the car?”, etc., my father threw me the keys and said, “Here take the car.”
My brothers also taught me to be unselfish and share what I had with others. One day when I was seven years old and was on my way home from school. I met a man who was standing on the street outside the ice cream parlor. He told me to wait a minute and he went into the shop. He returned and handed me a sack. I looked in the sack and saw candy bars. I just stared at the candy bars until finally he asked me if there was anything wrong with them. I looked up at him and said, “There are seven of us kids at home and there are only six candy bars.” (At that time my sister Della’s three children were living with us and my sister Maude and her husband and three children had come home to live.) He went back into the shop and got another candy bar. He told my mother about the incident and told her that from that time on there would be enough for me to easily share with all.
My brother Dewey would come home on a Saturday evening and start to get ready for the dance. I would immediately start to put on my best dress and get all fixed up. Dewey would ask me where I was going and I would say, “To the dance.” "Who will take you? “ “You will.” And so Dewey would take me with him to pick up his date for the dance. When we got to the dance he would dance one dance with the girl and then one dance with me and then take me home and come back to the dance. I was satisfied, I had been to the dance and danced.
An unusual thing happened when I was born. I was only a few minutes old when I got sight of the doctor and began to jabber. After fifteen to twenty minutes of my jabbering the doctor said to cover my face so I would quit. But I squirmed and twisted and finally looked at the doctor again, and again began to jabber. The doctor said he had never seen anything like that before.
Years later, after I was married my parents visited me in Provo and stayed at my in-law’s home. They told the Larsens about me jabbering (or talking) at birth. A few months later Mother Larsen came home from a club meeting and said, “Well, I guess your father and mother told the truth about what happened at your birth. Mrs. Cloward, the Doctor's wife, was at the meeting today and I asked her if her husband had ever told her about a baby jabbering at birth.” Mrs. Cloward told me, ‘Yes’, that her husband had come home one day and had told her about the strange happening at a baby's birth.
This was also a verification for me that I had jabbered at birth. A few months after my birth, Dr. Cloward’s wife sued for divorce on grounds of infidelity. Dr. Cloward told my mother that he felt like I had been trying to warn him to correct his ways. If he only could have understood what I was trying to say, maybe he wouldn't have lost his happiness.
My brother Dewey was very excited about having a new little baby sister. He couldn’t believe it at first and he had to keep checking to see that I was real.
Dewey had told mother that he wanted a doll, so for his sixteenth birthday Mother gave him a doll dressed like a boy. Dewey named the doll Jimmy. A few days after I was born Dewey brought the doll into the bedroom and told mother that he would give her Jimmy for me. And so Dewey always claimed that I was his because he had traded Jimmy for me.
Before I was born my mother had always had Dr. Fiske as her doctor. Also she had helped him with his patients when they needed tender loving care. They got it at Mother Barton’s home. When Mother got pregnant with me she went to Dr. Fiske and he told her she was not pregnant, but had a tumor in the uterus and needed an operation. He kept trying to persuade her to have the operation. To avoid his insistence Mother changed doctors.
In the spring after my birth Mother had me down town in a buggy and Dr. Fiske saw me and asked Mother who was in the buggy. Mother said, “This is that tumor you wanted to remove.” This made Dr. Fiske angry and it was some time before he asked my Mother to aid him again with a patient.
When I was one and a half years old my parents decided to move from Price, Utah to Ruby City, Nevada. It was a small dry-farming community in north eastern Nevada. It was nestled on the south side of the Ruby Mountains in what was called Ruby Valley. A land promoter had come to Price and had offered large pieces of property at a low price. It was supposed to be the best land around. It was good land but water was another matter. The ground was so porous that you could run water on it all day and it would still be dry.
May, 1915 found the family out in Ruby City. There was a little store and about twenty-five families in the small community. There were cattle ranches all up and down the Ruby Valley area.
It was while living in Ruby City that I came to despise peanut butter. So my children and family will know why I dislike peanut butter, this is what happened. Mrs. Glen, who lived near us, took a disliking for Me. I didn’t know why. The Glens had a small boy the same age as me and we were the best of friends. There were about five children in the close neighborhood that were at the Glen home playing when Mrs. Glen called us into the house and gave all except me a piece of cake for a snack. But, when she got to me she gave me a piece of bread and peanut butter and sent me out on the porch to eat it all alone. The other children remained in the house. I sat and stared at the bread and peanut butter. To this day I do not like peanut butter and I will not eat it. If I happen to get a cookie or something that has peanut butter in it, and I get a bite in my mouth, it comes back out and is discarded.
I was quite sickly as a small child. Sometimes I would stop eating and my mother would tempt me with what she thought I would like to eat. My mother would take me around to the neighbor’s homes at meal time. The neighbors knew that she was trying to find something that I would eat. They would try their hardest to get me to eat something. They would finally succeed and then I would be all right for awhile.
A few years before I was born mother had a pregnancy that she miscarried. The baby had died quite early and had decayed in her body. Finally she lost the baby. The doctor said her body retained some of the poison and that when she was carrying me I absorbed some of it. That was the reason I was so sickly when I was small.
When I was about nine years old I injured my ankle. One morning when I awoke there was a large black abscess on my ankle. The doctor lanced it. A few weeks after it had healed the cords in the back of my leg under the knee retracted until my heel was up by my hip and I could not straighten my leg. The doctor spent a long time straightening my leg. He would pull it down slightly then release it and then pull it down again. A splint was put on the leg from the bottom of the foot to my hip.
An abscess formed under my knee and had to be lanced. As it was healing a large number of boils came on my leg and other parts of my body. When the boils were healed my health improved.
I have a real fear of hornets. As a small child I was bitten by one that got down my back between my skin and my clothes. It stung me about four or five times before mother could get my dress off and get the hornet off me. Even as a married woman, if a hornet got in the house, I would not lose sight of it until it was killed or back outside again. I would call Rex to come and get rid of the “friend” that was flying around and he knew what I meant by “friend”. I was also allergic to baking soda mixed with water. When I was about four years old I ate a flower and it poisoned me. My mother carried me to a neighboring ranchers home where his wife gave me a strong drink of baking soda dissolved in water. It made me vomit. For many years if I got a drink of baking soda I would become very ill. Sometimes the illness lasted for two or three days. Even after I was married and expecting my first child the doctor gave me a medication for my morning sickness and when I took it it reacted like soda and made me very very ill. The doctor gave me shots every day for a week to counteract the medicine.
Dry farming did not go well and my father got a contract driving stage and mail between Ruby City and Deeth. Deeth was a small railroad town. When I was about five years old my parents decided to move to Deeth.
A short time after they moved to Deeth a drowning took place. It was on one of the first warm spring days. I had gone outside to play. I came running back into the house and told my mother that there were people having a picnic up on the hill behind our house. I told her that there were a lot of people up on the hill. I wanted to go and join the party.
Mother went outside to see what was going on. She immediately recognized that they were searching for someone. She alerted my brothers and they all joined in the search. A small three year old boy, Arthur St. Clair, was lost. He was found in the creek that ran in front of our home. Although they worked for over an hour to revive him he was gone. This made a lasting impression on me and I never forgot it.
The hill where they were searching when I first noticed them was called Indian Hill. A group of Indians lived in shacks on top of the hill. I remember going up there once to watch them dance at one of their pow wows.
Indian Hill was the town coasting hill. We children would take our sleds and trudge up the hill to the top and then get on our sleds and coast down the hill to the creek at the bottom. The creek was always frozen over during the winter. We would ride our sleds out onto the creek, turn and ride down the creek until the sled came to a stop. Then we made the long climb back up the hill for another ride down. The older boys built a fire at the top of the hill and one at the bottom of the hill on the creek bank. Here we could get warm between rides. We spent hours each day sleigh riding on the hill or skating on the creek.
In the summer we young ones fished in the creek. We caught little silver side minnows. Sometimes we did not have a hook so we would use a bent straight pin and tie it to the end of a string and tie the string to the end of a willow pole. We did catch fish with this improvised fishing gear. The fish were almost too small to cook, but mother would cook them and we thought we had caught a whale.
While a young child I learned many things from my mother. I always worked side by side with mother doing the same things she did. When she made a cake, I made a cake. When bread was mixed and baked, I mixed and baked bread also. I made pies, biscuits and anything my mother did. Mother would have her bowl and utensils and I had my bowl and utensils. Of course I made only half a recipe, so mine wasn't as big as Mother's. A fuss was always made over my product and this made me happy.
When I was only four years old I learned to knit. The First World War had ended and people were busy knitting stockings and sweaters for the Belgians. My father and mother were both knitting. I kept asking to learn and finally I was given my own needles and yarn and was taught to knit. At first I made a pair of garters for my doll. Then I made a shawl for my doll. This was just plain knitting, but then I went on to learn to pearl and to make designs in my knitting.
I had been sewing for some time and was making clothes for my doll. When I was only seven years old my mother decided that I was ready to try making a dress for myself. A simple pattern was purchased, material that was easy to sew on was chosen and a dress was started. My mother taught me to fold the cloth, pin the pattern on correctly and carefully so as not to waste material. Then the dress was cut out. Each part was basted together first to be sure it was put together right and then I was able to sew it together on the sewing machine. Finally the dress was completed. Oh, how proud I was to have made a dress I could wear.
When I was only six and a half years old my sister Della died. She had three small children. The oldest was only five years old and the youngest a year and a half. After her funeral my parents offered to take all three children to care for until their father, Ardene Biddle, remarried. So now there were others for me to play with at home. A year later my sister Maude and her husband Paulus Svedin came home to live. They had two small children. Now there were six children in the house. Ardene had been worried about his children growing up not knowing their father because he would be in Utah and they would be in Nevada. I would be calling my parents Mama and Papa and so his children would do the same. Mother told him no, they would know their father. They would be taught to call them Grandma and Grandpa, and would call me Aunt Mary. They would be shown pictures of him and thus know who he was. Maude’s children were also taught to call me Aunt Mary. Even when they were grown they still called me Aunt Mary.
After seven years Ardene remarried and took his children to live with him. This was hard on my mother. She missed them so, but she said they belonged with their father and that is where they would be.
When it was time for Rex to start school he was having trouble with ear infections. His parents decided he should wait a year before he started school. Then when the flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918 hit the area Rex lost almost another year of schooling. Eugene caught up to him and from then on Rex and Eugene were in the same class through elementary, high school, and college.
Rex attended the Brigham Young University Training School for the first five years of his schooling. After that he attended the Timpanogas school and graduated from the Sixth grade there. At that time those in the Seventh grade went to high school. So, Rex attended the Provo High School for six years and graduated when a Senior in 1930.
He entered BYU in 1930 and attended school there until he graduated in 1934. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics and physics.
While he was in high school he played the bass horn in the school band. During his senior year a group of boys formed a dance band and played for dances in the churches in Provo and on the Provo Bench.
He also played for one year in the BYU college band. During the spring of that year the band took a trip through the southern part of Utah. On the way down to St. George they would stop at various schools and present a program. They spent the nights at different places along the route.
During his senior year in high school he was the school photographer for the year book. He often talked about how much fun it was taking pictures of students and group activities, etc.
I started school in January 1921 when I was almost seven years old. I had injured myself the summer before and the injury had become infected. The Doctor would not let me start school in the fall.
After Christmas I was able to start school. I loved school and I worked hard. By spring I was up with the rest of the first graders. The school I attended was a small two room building in Deeth, Nevada. The first four grades were taught in the “Little Room” and the last four grades were taught in the “Big Room”.
When I entered the third grade Mrs. St. Claire was teacher in the Big Room. She had a son Reed who was also in the third grade. He and I were the top pupils in the class. The two teachers in the school decided that they would try to get Reed and I a double promotion. During that year the teacher of the Little Room, Miss Downing, would get Reed and I through the third grade work, but at the same time she would be giving us some fourth grade work and try to get us through about half of the fourth grade. Then the next year Mrs. St. Claire would give us the remainder of the fourth grade work and the entire fifth grade work and then the next year we would both be in the sixth grade.
They accomplished their goal of having us complete the third grade and half of the fourth grade. However, the next year Mrs. St. Claire moved to Elko. Nevada and taught school there. She was the teacher of the fifth grade. So she helped Reed at home to finish the fourth grade and then had him in the fifth grade. He made the three grades in two years. But I was put in the fourth grade and completed only the fourth grade that year.
The next year I was two weeks late getting started in school. My father, who was now working for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a section foreman, was stationed at Holborn. It was a small section town north of Wells, Nevada. There was no school there so arrangements had to be made to have me stay with my sister Maude in Deeth and go to school there. When Maud took me into school she talked to Mrs. Clayson who had been my fourth grade teacher and would be my teacher for that year and suggested that I be put in the sixth grade instead of the fifth grade. Mrs. Clayson was happy when Maude asked her to do it because she said I was capable of doing the sixth grade work and so I had my double promotion also.
I would ride the train from Holborn to Deeth each Sunday afternoon. Then on Saturday morning I would ride the train back to Holborn and spend the weekend with my parents.
One of the comics in the newspapers was “The Gumps.” In this comic strip there was a young boy named Chester Gump. He had a rich Uncle Bim living in Australia. He went to spend the summer visiting his Uncle Bim. While he was there he had a contest. Boys and girls were to write him and tell him what they would like him to bring them from Australia when he returned home. I wrote a letter and told him I would like to have a small bulldog puppy. I told about my having to spend the week with my sister to be able to go to school and then on weekends and in the summer I was with my parents and the only child, with no one to play with.
Mother and I had been in Utah attending a funeral. We were waiting at the depot for the train that we would go home on. There were many people waiting for trains at the depot. A man was reading a newspaper and all of a sudden he exclaimed, “Chester Gump has announced who the winners of his contest are.”
Everyone was interested. He read that there were two boys and two girls who would all get a present from Chester when he returned. The boys would get watches and the girls would get dolls. I was one of the girls who had won.
My mother was very excited when she heard that I was a winner. She immediately let the people in the depot know that I was the girl from Nevada who had won and that I was there in the depot. I was the center of attention until we had to leave to get on the train.
I received a letter from Chester, that he was sending me a baby doll that cried "Mama" and who could walk if I held her hands. The doll also had a cradle to sleep in that could be kept by my bed at night to keep me company. The doll also had five complete changes of clothes, a hood and sweater, and a rack with small hangers to hang the clothes on.
When I was a small girl my four brothers were playing baseball on the local team. Each small town had a baseball team and Sunday afternoon there was always a game being played. My father umpired the games. In the little town of Deeth there was no church of any denomination. Since the nearest branch of the church was thirty-five miles away in Elko the only way to get there was by train. It was not a convenient way because we would have had to go to Elko Saturday afternoon, stay overnight at a hotel and go to church the next day. We would have then had to wait until late at night for a train back to Deeth. So, our Sunday afternoons were spent at the ball park, either playing or watching baseball. I learned to love baseball.
When I went to school the boys would play baseball outside in the school yard before and after school. As I would approach the school they would call to me and tell me to hurry as they had a place on their team for me. The boys always let me play with them because I could catch the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, and run fast. In the summer and on Saturdays I would be playing with dolls with the girls and the boys would go by on their way to play baseball. They would say to me, “Come on and play baseball with us.” I would leave the girls and go with the boys.
During the summer before I started the seventh grade my father was transferred to Ryndon, Nevada. It was a small section town close to Elko. Here there was a tunnel gang who repaired the timbers in the railroad tunnels in the area. There were also several ranchers in the area so there were enough children for there to be a small one room school house there in Ryndon. I attended the seventh and eighth grades there and graduated from the eighth grade in 1927.
I was the only student in each of these two grades and so I was allowed to go as fast as I wanted to.
During the seventh grade the teacher would have me take the first graders outside and have their reading lesson while she worked with the other children. During my eighth grade year we started with four students in the school. There were two in first graders, one in the seventh, and I was in the eighth. During the year one first grader and the seventh grader moved away and so when I graduated from the eighth grade there were only two students in the school.
When it neared the end of my seventh grade the County School Superintendent, Mr. Franklin. came to Ryndon to give me the achievement test in Geography. Students did not study Geography in the eighth grade and so the test was given at the end of the seventh grade and the rest of the achievement tests were given at the end of the eighth grade. When he got ready to give me the test he told the teacher that he was going to give me all the tests just to see what I could do with them. If I got a low score they would throw it out and I would take the tests the next year.
During the summer Mother and I were in Elko shopping and we met Mr. Franklin on the street. He told my mother that I had passed all the achievement tests and had a rating of a person in the 15th grade third month. He told mother that he didn’t care what I did the next year. He said I could go to school, stay home, or whatever but I could not enter High School because I was too young, had been sickly a lot of my school years, and that going from such a small school into high school would be a tax on my nervous system and so he was going to make me wait for another year. So I attended the eighth grade the next year. I liked school very much and never got too much of it.
During my eighth grade my teacher, Miss Olds got some coyote traps from her brother. He was trapping coyotes for the government. Many afternoons after school was dismissed for the day, Miss Olds and I would take her gun and go around through the fields and follow the river around past our home. We would shoot rabbits on the way to bait her traps and would visit the traps. Coyotes were sly creatures and many times they would take the bait from the traps without setting them off. We never caught a coyote all winter but we did catch a badger. We carried the heavy animal home, skinned him and stretched the hide to dry.
I entered the Elko County High School in the fall of 1927. High school thrilled me and I worked enthusiastically on my studies. School work came easy to me and I did very little studying. It was easy for me to memorize and by listening to the teacher while in class I was able to learn the work so I could do it and pass the tests. I joined in a number of the extra cirricular activities including speech club, track team, tumbling team, glee club and when I was a Junior I qualified for the honorary History club De Laureola.
When I was in the eighth grade there was an essay contest held though out the entire nation. Students entered and wrote an essay on Safety. I entered the contest. Being the only one in the eighth grade my essay won in the school and was entered in the county contest. It was judged third best in the county and sent on to the state contest. During my first year in high school I was called out of class to go to the principal’s office. I worried all the way to the office, I didn’t know what I had done to be called to the office. When I got there a strange man was there with the principal. He told me that I had won second place in the state safety contest. I was given a silver medal plus twenty dollars as my prize. My essay was sent on to the national contest but it did not place.
I liked all sports, but as a young girl baseball was my favorite. I played baseball and watched baseball. As I got older and radios were invented I listened to the games on the radio. As I listened I could picture in my mind the baseball diamond and knew where every player was and what was happening. When I entered high school I gradually grew to like other sports, all except boxing. To me boxing was a brutal sport. Its only aim was to hit someone in the jaw and knock them out. I did not call this sporting. I played on the girls basketball team, baseball team, volleyball team, tennis team, and track team.
The Gym teacher took the track team to State competition in Reno, Nevada during my Junior year. I ran the hurdles, the 100 yard dash and was the anchor on the relay team.
At the state tournament each team presented a special number on the program. We Elko High girls did our tumbling routine. At the end of the tumbling we built a pyramid. There were seven of us on the bottom, then six on the second row, five on the third row, four on the fourth row and three on the fifth row, two on the sixth row and I was on the top. I was a small girl so I got the top position. Each girl was on her hands and knees on the shoulders and hips of the two girls under her, one knee and hand on each girl. At a given signal the girls flattened out and the pyramid was lowered. Sometimes I was featured at the end of the pyramid standing on my head. I was able to take a head stand and hold it for at least five minutes. I was limber, and could do the splits very easily and I could place a handkerchief in front of my feet on the floor, bend over backward, bring my head through between my feet and pick up the handkerchief with my teeth and stand back up. Some of the time I was placed in front of the pyramids bent over backwards with the handkerchief in my teeth looking out at the audience.
I lived at the dormitory during my four years of high school. To pay for my room and board, I worked in the dining room and kitchen. There were two girls working at this job. We helped prepare the salads, dish up the desserts, and put the platters of meat and bowls of vegetables on the table. Then after the meal we did the dishes and reset the tables with silverware. There were about 35 boys and girls living at the dormitory. For dinner in the evening there were eight teachers who ate their dinner there. The teachers sat at a table in the center of the room. The boys at tables at one side of the room and the girls on the other end. The two of us took turns clearing the teacher’s table and bringing in their desserts.
I experienced my most embarrassing moment while clearing the teachers table. One evening the dean of women had invited the home economics teacher to have dinner there. I was clearing the table and I picked up the home economic teacher’s plate with her silverware on it. As I transferred the plate from one hand to other the knife slid off the plate and went down between the teacher’s back and her dress. The teacher just stood up and the knife fell through but I was so embarrassed that I could not continue clearing the table, Miss Devereax, the women's dean finished the work for me.
I was in the class play all four years of my high school. I was also in the chorus in the operetta presented by the Glee club.
In the spring of 1931, just a short time before graduation time measles broke out in Elko and many of the students in the high school came down with them. Several of the seniors had the measles. One girl was determined she would not have the measles and not be able to attend graduation. When she discovered that she was breaking out, without telling her mother, she took a cold bath. This drove the measles back in and made her very ill. She died from her experience and instead of going to graduation she was buried.
There were two sisters at the dormitory who were seniors. They both got the measles and I got them also. The sisters were getting better and were very disappointed that they could not attend the graduation. The principal of the high school, Miss Knemeyer came over to the dormitory to console the girls and she did her best but to no avail for the sisters. When she got to my room and told me how sorry she was that I couldn’t be at the graduation, I told her I was so ill that I didn’t care whether I graduated or not. I was one sick girl and was unable to eat anything. Food would not stay down in my stomach.
My mother had had two or three strokes since January of that year and had just undergone an operation so she was in the hospital and would not be able to take care of me when I went home. Miss Devereaux said. “Mary can’t go home, I will stay here at the dormitory and care for her until she is well.” I was moved downstairs into the living room where it would be easier to care for me. It was two weeks before Miss Devereaux would let me go home.
I learned to ski when I was a young girl. At that time we made our own skis. We would purchase a good straight piece of lumber and have it sawed in to two long strips. Then we would soak one end of the strips in hot water until they could be bent. We would bend the strips and tie them in the bent position until they were dry. The skis were varnished or painted and pieces of old tires or inner tubes were put on the skis as toe straps. We got two poles and used them for ski poles and that was our equipment. There were no harnesses, no ski boots, no ski poles with points on the bottom. There were no ski lifts on the mountains. We would take our skis and either hike up the mountain or climb the mountain on our skis and then ski down. This process was repeated until we were tired and ready to go home.
When I was ready for high school my father had been moved to a section closer to Elko. The family now had a Model T Ford pickup truck. We traveled ten miles each Sunday to Elko to attend the small branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During the winter after I had graduated from high school I took my overalls, high school gym sweat suit and skis with me to church. After Sunday School was out I would change into the overalls and put on the sweat suit. When we got out to the outskirts of Elko I would get out of the car and get on my skis, hold on to the end of a rope tied to the car bumper and ski home behind the car on the snow packed roads. This was great fun.
In 1932 I went to Provo, Utah and attended BYU the spring quarter and one term of summer school. I boarded at the home of Mrs. Mullins, a widow with four children. There were seven girls boarding there.
That fall I taught school in Ryndon, the school where I had graduated from the eighth grade. I had twelve pupils in six grades. This was hard, because parents remembered me as a little girl attending school and so discipline was quite difficult.
The next summer I went back to Provo to BYU for summer school.
Rex was raised in a home where there was electricity, running water and a bathroom. The home where I was raised was much different. In Price, Utah we had the conveniences but when we went to Ruby City there was no electricity, no running water, and no bathroom. It was not until I went to Elko to live in the dormitory and go to high school that I had these conveniences.
For lights my family used coal oil lamps. These lamps gave off very little light and it took two or three lamps to make it bright enough to read or sew at night and then you had to have your work right under the light. The lamps were made of brass or glass. They had a base at the bottom where we put the coal oil. A burner was then screwed on top of the base and a wick was put down through the burner into the oil. At night it was lit to give off light. A glass lamp chimney was placed on top of the burner to help reflect the light over a larger area. Every week the wick had to be trimmed, the oil replenished and the lamp chimney washed. If the wick was put up too high it would smoke and then the chimney would get black. The wick had to be trimmed straight across. If it wasn’t it would smoke up the side of the chimney next to the wick.
Our cook stoves were large and black with an area at one side where we built a fire of wood and coal. This made the entire stove hot. There were places on top for cooking food and an oven underneath for baking bread, cakes and pies. In the living room we put in a wood and coal burning heater. In the winter time it was used to heat the living room. Our bedrooms were cold with no heat.
We had nice cold spring water to drink and to use for cooking and other things. It was nice for drinking, but had to be heated on the stove for washing hands, faces, clothes, etc. We got our water from a well or pump outside the house. When we had a pump it was easier to get the water. The well looked much like a wishing well. There was a pulley up in the top shade over the well. A rope was put through the pulley with a bucket secured to each end of the rope. One bucket was down in the well and the other one was set up on the edge of the well. When you wanted a bucket of water you put the bucket that was sitting on top of the well into the well and lowered it down. As the one bucket went down the other bucket came up out of the water and to the top full of water. This was emptied into another bucket and carried in to the house. We had a large water cooler on a bench in our screen porch. The water was poured into the cooler, a block of ice was put in the water to keep it cool and when we wanted a drink a tap at the bottom was turned on and a glass was filled.
Extra buckets of water were brought in and put on a bench in the kitchen to be used for cooking and other purposes. A tea kettle that held about a gallon of water was always kept on the stove so we could have hot water when it was needed for cooking or washing face and hands.
On wash days and bath days a tub was put on the stove, filled with water, and the water was heated and used to wash clothes or to bathe in.
Saturday afternoon or evening was bath day for the entire family. The water was heated and then we brought in the largest wash tub we had. It was put on the floor near the stove with chairs placed around the tub with quilts over the chairs for privacy. Hot water was put in the tub and enough cold water to make the water temperature comfortable for taking a bath. We sat down in the tub with our legs crossed in front so we could fit. After one person was finished bathing the tub was carried outside, emptied and brought back in. This process was repeated until every one in the family had had their bath.
In the summer time the wash tub was forgotten. On Saturday afternoons we would get into our swimming suits, take a towel and soap and head for the Humbolt River. In the summer the river was low but there were several good swimming holes. We would have a good swim then wash our bodies, put the towels around us and go back to the house to dress. As we got older we would sometimes have a daily swim and this was always enjoyed.
Bathroom, what was a bathroom? When we had to go there was a little building in the back yard, quite a distance from the house. It had a built in seat high enough for sitting on, with a hole in the middle that you could sit on. The holes were shaped like our toilet seats are. Sometimes there were two or three holes in the seat. The toilet was placed over a deep hole. Every so often the toilet had to be moved .because the hole would get filled. To keep the toilet smelling right quick lime was poured down the hole to kill the odors. Our toilet paper was pages from the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogue and from old magazines. The walk to the toilet was long and cold on a winter’s day. You didn’t spend much time there before running back to the house to get warm.
Washday and Ironing Day
Doing the laundry was an all day event. A tub of water was put on the stove the night before so that it would be heated when the fire was built in the morning at 4:30AM on wash day. The water was hot and ready to use for washing when we started at 5 or 5:30 in the morning. The sheets were washed first. They were scrubbed on a wash board in a tub of hot water. The washboard was about two feet long with a large piece of corrugated copper on the front. By rubbing the clothes up and down this board the dirt was scrubbed out of the sheets or other clothing. Soap was rubbed on the cloth before it was scrubbed and then it was rinsed out and the sheets were put in the tub of water on the stove to which soap and lye had been added. The clothes were brought to a boil and boiled for about ten minutes and then removed from the water with a long stick and put on a washboard that was laid over the top of the tub so the excess water could drain back into the tub. All of the white clothes were boiled. Colored clothes were just scrubbed on the washboard. After boiling or scrubbing the clothes they were rinsed through three waters. In the first rinse clothes were scrubbed on the board to remove the soap. Then they were rinsed in the second rinse water. In the third rinse bluing was put in the water to make the whites whiter and the colored clothes brighter. Mother took pride in putting a pretty white wash on the line. There were no clothes with tattle tail gray hues on her clothes line.
The clothes had to be hung in a special order on the clothes line. Sheets were hung first, the towels separated in colors, white towels together, then pink towels, then yellow towels, etc. Then shirts were hung all together, dresses, slips, pillow cases, dish towels, wash clothes, overalls and then last the stockings in pairs. How pretty Mother’s wash looked when it was all hanging on the line.
When the clothes were dry they were brought in, folded and put away. Items that had to be ironed were sprinkled with water, rolled up and put in a basket ready for ironing the next day.
After the washing was completed the water left in the tub on the stove was used to scrub the kitchen floor. The floor was wooden and by using the last of the boiler water the soap and lye got the floor pretty and clean. Then the floor was rinsed with clear water and dried with a mop. Usually our wash day work was completed by 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. Mother saw that we children helped where we could with the washing. Julia and I washed the dish towels and wash clothes and got them ready for boiling. We helped to rinse the clothes and hang them out on the line. Mother would wring out the mops and we would mop up the water as the floors were finished.
On wash day and ironing day there was always a pot of beans or soup on the back of stove. They cooked slowly and provided a good supper for the family.
Monday was wash day and Tuesday was ironing day. The work was started early in the morning so it could be completed before it became too hot in the afternoon.
On ironing day irons were put on the stove when the fire was built so they would be hot enough to iron with when the ironing was started. The irons were made of solid metal and shaped like our flat irons of today. Some of the irons had handles built right on them and these were handled with a hot pad to remove them from the stove and iron clothes until they got too cool for ironing and then they were put back on the stove to reheat. Other irons did not have handles on them. We had a wooden handle on a metal frame that fitted down over the iron and clamped on. Then you could take the iron from the stove and iron with it. When it got cool it was put back on the stove and the handle removed.
As we ironed we put clothes that had to be mended or have buttons sewed on in a separate place. On Wednesday the mending was done.
After awhile the family got a washing machine. The machine had a bar that was attached to the side and extended up above the top of the machine. This bar was pushed and pulled back and forth to agitate the dolly that cleaned the clothes. It was the young ones job to push and pull the bar. Two of us would stand on a box and together we would push and pull the bar back and forth. Then the clothes were put through a hand-turned wringer to remove the water and they were ready for boiling or rinsing.
The washing machine made wash day easier. Most of the scrubbing was eliminated. But if there was a soiled spot left on the clothes they had to be hand scrubbed to get them clean.
In the winter time when the clothes were hung on the line they froze. At the end of the day when they were brought in from the line they were still stiff and were hung over the back of chairs to thaw out and finish drying
There was no electric refrigerator in our house. We had an ice box. This was piece of furniture about four feet high with a top and a bottom door on the front so you could open just one part of the ice box at a time. On top of these two compartments was a box like place that was lined with tin to make it water proof. A block of ice was put in this top box and as it melted it cooled the food in the bottom compartments. A pipe ran from the ice compartment to the bottom of the fridge and carried the cold water down through the areas where the food was kept and into a pan under the ice box. This pan had to be emptied every day.
Food did not keep too long in the icebox and so only small amounts were bought at a time so they would be used before they spoiled. Sometimes we put meat up in the compartment with the ice so it would keep longer. Milk only stayed sweet for a day or two. Most of our milk was canned milk that would stay sweet longer. Most of our vegetables were canned and only enough for one meal was opened at a time
The ice for the ice box and for our water cooler was frozen in the winter and put in a large ice house. A large area that had been dug about two feet deep was flooded with water to about eighteen inches in depth. When the water was completely frozen the ice was cut into blocks about two feet by eighteen inches The ice blocks were stored in the ice house which was made of railroad ties. It was like a cellar, part of the building was below the ground level and what was above ground was covered with dirt to insulate it. There was a chimney on top of the ice house for ventilation. The blocks of ice were put on top of sawdust and sawdust was put between the blocks and on top of them to keep them from melting. When we wanted ice we went to the icehouse and got a block of ice. Sometimes the block was cut into smaller pieces and then used as needed.
In the summer time we also used ice to freeze ice-cream. Oh what a good treat on a hot summer day. After freezing the ice-cream we would pack it with more ice and put it back in the icehouse and save it for supper.
For the fourth of July my father always ordered watermelons, cantaloupes, and ten or twenty gallons of ice cream shipped out from Ogden. The railroad shipped the produce in a refrigerated car and when the produce arrived at our home it was put in the icehouse to keep frozen or to keep cool. The ice cream was packed in a heavily insulated pack and so it would stay frozen as long as it was kept in the pack and the pack kept in the icehouse.
My sister Maude and her family always came to Ryndon or Osino for the Fourth. We spent the holidays playing games, visiting and eating. My mother had baked pies and cakes, fried chicken and prepared other good things to eat. There was always plenty to eat and clean up was not hard since paper plates and cups were used.
The telephones used when I was a girl living in Ruby City were about the size of pay phones today. They were made of wood. The mouth piece was at the top of the front and could be pointed up and down for tall or short people. On the side of the phone was a handle that could be turned.
Telephone numbers in those days were a series of combinations of long and short rings. If the handle was turned around only once that was a short ring. When the handle was turned two or three times that was a long ring. One family could have a ring of one short and two long rings, another family two long and two short, one long ring, etc. Each family had a different combination of rings.
All the telephones in the area were on the same line. The ranchers in Ruby Valley were all on the same line. When one phone rang they all rang. When the phone rang everyone listened to see whose ring it was and then that person would pick up the phone. After the family who was to receive the call picked up their phone the phones would quit ringing. Usually all the families down the line would pick up their phones, that way everyone knew everyone else's business. There were no secrets from a phone call.
In larger places the phones were on party lines. There were two party lines, four party lines, or eight party lines. Some of the people did have private lines or one party lines. When some one was called only the phones on that line would ring. The charge for the phone service was according to the size of the line.
When we moved so we were next door to Dad and Mother Larsen we were on a two party line and we were lucky. We were on the same line with Dad and Mother Larsen.
Radio and Television
There were no radios when Rex and I were growing up and there were no TVs. Our music was furnished by a phonograph. Rex’s family had a cabinet phonograph that played flat records. My family had an Edison phonograph that played cylinder records. They were only one speed and one volume. They were played a lot and just listened to. Some times the young folks danced to the music.
Rex remembered going to a friend’s home where they had a radio and listening to it. This was a battery powered radio. Only one or two people could listen to it at once because they had to use ear phones that were plugged in. It was not long before Rex was busy building himself a small crystal radio set.
When My family was living in Ryndon, the maintainer who took charge of the block system on the railroad and kept it operating correctly bought a battery operated radio. The radio was placed in the home near a window. A wire was run from the radio out the window and to a large dry cell battery which furnished power for the radio. Here again only two people could listen at a time.
The main program on the radio at that time was Amos and Andy. This was a show about two black men and their friends. It was a comedy show and everyone wanted to listen to it. So, two listened for a few minutes, then two more, etc. until all had had a turn. Later speakers were built in the radio and everyone could hear at one time.
Television was invented when Carolyn and Rayanna were in Junior High. They were all black and white. Color TV came in much later. We did not have a TV for several years.
Movies when Rex and I were small were all black and white and they were silent. We watched the picture on the screen and read the captions at the bottom of the picture that told the story and what the characters were saying. When movies first came out they were on several reels. After each reel was shown they would have to rewind the reel and then run the next one. There were always five to ten minute breaks between reels.
I heard a talking movie for the first time when I was in high school. Mother and I had gone to Ogden to do some shopping. While there we went to the theater. We saw Al Jolson in “Sunny Boy”. Talkies did not come to Elko for several years after that. Most of the first talkies were musicals.
In Elko they had a lot of plays put on by the high school students or the town’s people. The biggest event of the year was the Minstrel show put on by the Elks Club. This was an entertainment of songs and jokes. Four of the men were made up as black men. Two sat on each end of the front row of performers and between musical number they would furnish stories and jokes as the spice of the program.
The show was presented for several nights so everyone in town would have a chance to see it. We always went. It was the best event of the year.
Cars and Airplanes
Automobiles when we were young were made of metal. They were heavy and strong. In front and back they had heavy metal bumpers. When one car hit another car on the bumper with its bumper neither car was damaged. On the sides of the car from the back of the front fender to the back of the back fender there was a running board. The running boards were on the outside of the car about one step down from the bottom of the door.
Roads were mostly gravel or dirt. In stormy weather the cars made ruts in the muddy roads. Cars were built high off the road to avoid hitting the top of the ruts with the bottom of the car. The running boards were needed to step up on from the ground and then step in to the car.
At the time we were married Rex's family had a four door Nash sedan. Rex and Eugene had a Model T Ford truck. My family also had a Model T Ford truck while I was a teenager.
I learned to drive when I was only twelve years old. I had obtained a driver's license at that time. My father had insisted that I learn how to take a tire off the wheel, take the inner tube out of the tire and patch it. Then I had to put the tube back in the tire and pump it part way up. Then I had to put the tire back on the wheel and pump it up until it had enough air in it. In order to get the tire off one had to raise the corner of the car with a jack and take the tire off the wheel. When it was patched and back on the wheel the jack was let down and the car was ready to go.
When I was a junior in high school my father bought a new four door Model A Ford sedan. They only cost $900 at that time.
Rex and my first car was a 1937 Plymouth which we bought second hand in 1948 for $37.00. This car lasted us until 1950 when they bought a Kaiser. We also owned a Chevrolet, a new Ford, and a second hand Ambassador that we bought while on our mission. Our last car was a new 1980 Concord four door sedan.
The first airplanes were single engine two-winged planes. They had two cockpits for a pilot and a copilot. They had a top and a bottom wing with metal rods connecting the two wings.
Planes were only used for taking airmail from one place to another. The only mail was letters that were carried in a locked mail sack. When a plane would fly over a town everyone would run outdoors to watch it.
Everyone was sure airplanes would not last. No one could ever build a plane for commercial use. Sometimes a pilot would put on a show in the air and do stunts or he would fly the plane and another man would walk out on the bottom wing and do stunts.
I had come to Provo, Utah to attend summer school at BYU. I was boarding at the home of Mrs. Mullins again along with six other girls.
The first week of summer school they had a get acquainted dance and the seven of us girls went to the dance. There we met a student, Eugene Larsen, and he danced with each of us. He liked one girl best and he asked her if he could take her home. After that he dated Pearl.
Rex’s father had decided that the family needed a larger home. It was during the depression years and young folks could not find work since so many married men were available for the jobs and were hired first. Rex’s father decided to remodel his home again and he and the boys would do the work. This would give the boys something to do and would make the remodeling cheaper for him.
There was a small mining town in Carbon County where the mine had been closed and the homes were being sold, torn down and moved. Rex’s father bought one of the homes. He sent Rex there to carefully take the home down, save the lumber. It would be brought to Provo and used in the remodeling.
Each summer during the first summer school term the University sponsored a hike up Mt. Timpanogas. Friday evening there would be a pre-hike program held at Aspen Grove and then the hikers would sit around and visit, or some of them would get in a sleeping bag and sleep for a few hours. At about 2 AM Saturday morning a bell would ring to wake sleeping hikers and all would start on the hike. They would hike the rest of the night and part of the day Saturday. It was seven miles from Aspen Grove to the top of the mountain where the school had built a small tin building where all who finished the hike to the top on Saturday and signed their name in a book got a badge.
Rex wrote home to Eugene and asked him if he was going on the hike. If he was and had a date Rex wanted him to get a date for him and he would come home and go. Eugene had asked Pearl to go on the hike with him. Pearl’s roommate at the boarding house was a fellow teacher who had taught school at the same school. Her name was Orlie. Of course, she was the one Pearl asked to go with her and Eugene and Orlie said she would go with them.
Two or three days before the hike Eugene told Pearl that they would be traveling in a Model-T Ford pickup to Aspen Grove as his folks were going and would be using the family car. Pearl came home and told Orlie that she and Rex would have to ride in the back of the pickup. This upset Orlie. It was below her dignity to ride in the back of a truck. The next morning Orlie said she was ill and would not be able to go on the hike. Pearl would have to get another date for Rex. Pearl then asked me and I said that sure, I would go, I would ride in the back of the truck.
Friday morning Orlie’s brother and cousin came to Provo in a nice car and when they came to see Orlie they told her that they were going on the Timp Hike and that she could go with them. She was immediately cured. She could go and one of the other girls would go with them. I offered to let her go with Rex but she said no, she would go with her brother.
The girl that was going with Orlie and her brother was in the pre-hike program and had to be at Aspen Grove earlier than we did. They left before we did. When Eugene, Pearl, Rex and I got about half way from Wildwood to Aspen Grove there at the side of the road was the nice car with four people out looking at a flat tire. We stopped and wanted to know if we could help. The girl who was on the program needed to be at Aspen Grove so she and Orlie got in the Model-T. They ended up in the back with Rex and me and rode the rest of the way to Aspen Grove. After all her getting sick, cured and etc., Orlie had to ride in the back of a Model-T Pickup.
Rex and Eugene had left their jack with the other boys and they changed the tire and came on a little later.
After the program we had something to eat, fixed our lunches for the hike, and a small pack to take with us as well as a cup to get drinks from the water falls along the way. We then goofed off waiting for the time to start the hike. We didn’t wait for the bell to ring that woke up the hikers that were getting a little sleep before starting. About 1 AM the bunch of us that were goofing around together decided to start and so we did.
It is quite a hard hike up the mountain and slow going. We made many stops to rest along the way. A good trail had been made up the mountain and all hikers were instructed to stay on the trail. All along the trail there were small and large waterfalls and most hikers stopped at many of them to get a drink. As we went up over a small rise in the trail there before us was a beautiful little lake nestled in a small valley. The water in the lake looked green and the lake had been named Emerald Lake. Some years the lake was all open and other years much of it was still frozen over.
We got to Emerald Lake while it was still dark and Rex and Eugene didn’t want to start up the glacier that went up from Emerald Lake to the top ridge of the mountain in the dark. So, we all sat down behind a large rock, out of the wind and talked and waited for the sun to start to shine over the valley. Then up the glazier we hiked.
High altitudes makes me ill. I got sick and weak, and it was hard for me to keep going. I hit this point just as we neared the top of the glacier. From that point on I had to have help hiking. When we started along the razor back, (the ridge along the top of the mountain) Rex held one go my arms and Eugene held the other. They helped me across the ridge to where the tin building was and I got my badge.
We sat down by the building for a short time to rest and looked down on the scene below. We could see Provo and the surrounding towns and the mountain ranges around the city. We could see Utah Lake. Then we started the return hike to Aspen Grove. When we got back to the glacier we sat down and slid down the glacier. This was great fun. We slid almost to the lake and then we had to walk the rest of the way. When I got up after the slide the altitude sickness had left me and I was able to go on without help. When we got to the lake we all laid down belly side down. This was because our bottoms had gotten wet as we slid down the glacier and we needed to get dry.
When we got back to Aspen Grove Rex’s mother had a picnic lunch for us. Then she told us that we couldn’t drive back to Provo without a short nap first. She was afraid that the driver might go to sleep and we would have an accident. She told Pearl and me to go in the tent and lay down and have a nap and the boys could take a blanket and sleep under a pine tree.
Pearl and I did go to sleep but we woke up before the boys did. We talked for a while. The afternoon before on the way up Provo Canyon we noticed that there would be a dance at the Week’s place at the mouth of the canyon on Saturday night. Pearl said she wished we could go and I told her that we could. She wanted to know who would take us and I told her to just wait and see. When we got up and went outside the tent the boys were still asleep.
Now Pearl wanted to know what we should do. I told her we would wake the fellows up. She wanted to know if we dared wake them and I told her to just watch me and I would show her how. I walked over to the bench where a bucket of nice cold spring water was setting. I picked up the cup and filled it with water and started for the pine tree where the fellows were sleeping. Pearl was watching and was shocked at what I was going to do. I walked over to the blanket and proceeded to throw the water in Rex’s face. Then I turned and ran. Rex was up and right behind me. Yes, I got my face washed in the creek.
Before we got back to Provo we had a date for the dance that evening. We went dancing and when we got home Rex told Eugene to go on home that he would walk home later.
We were sitting on the porch talking when about a half hour later Eugene came back and told Rex to come on. He was afraid if he went home alone that their mother would be worried that something had happened to Rex. (From what happened the next year after the hike and dance, maybe he needed to worry.) Rex and I were married.
That ended our first date after about thirty hours.
We discovered about a year after we were married that we had met once before our blind date. It was about a year before during a hike. Each year during the first summer school term BYU sponsored a hike to Maple Flat. It is a large flat area nestled on the front of Maple Mountain. To get there you hiked up the Y Mountain to above the block Y and then crossed the ravine between the two mountains and hiked on to the flat. Here in the flat those on the hike built a fire and sat around it singing and telling stories about the mountains.
This hike was taken at night so that the hikers reached Maple Flat about two hours before it began to get light in the morning. At day break the next morning the hikers went out on the edge of the flat to a place called “Mother Looney’s Nose.” Here they sat and watched the sun come up and spread over the towns and valley below. Then it was a hike back the way they had come.
I had gone on the hike with a boy I was dating that summer. His name was Bill Cox. Rex had taken his younger sister Celia and his brother Ronald on the hike. They all sat around the fire talking and singing. Rex and Bill knew one another and they sat together talking. I was there with them. When Rex and I met a year later for the Timp Hike we did not recognize each other. It was not until a year later, when discussing the Maple Flat hike that we discovered that we had both been there at the same time.
After the first term of summer school I went to Aspen Grove to attend the second term. I had a fun time there. The girls all stayed together in one dorm. We ate at the dining hall, and what meals. “Happy”, our cook, was a marvelous cook. Each night after supper we would go to the open area in the center of the camp grounds and have a game of baseball.
There were two teams of boys and girls playing together. All who wanted to play did, even if there were more than nine on the team, and those who didn't want to play would watch. I was always the pitcher on the team where I played. One inning when I was pitching, the batter hit the ball and it came right back at me and hit me in the stomach. As it hit my stomach I clamped my hands over it. I threw the ball to first and thus made a double play. I had caught the ball on the fly and since the fellow on first had been advancing to second and did not get back to first before the ball got there he was out also. It was the third out and the inning was over.
The hit in the stomach must have kind of knocked me out because I was the second one to bat and I was at bat before I fully realized what was going on. After that they made a rule that girls could not pitch. They didn't want the girls to get hurt. From then on I played first base.
One day we had had a school assembly program. When I left the building after the assembly who should be outside waiting for me but Rex Larsen. At that time the scout camp was just a short distance down the canyon from Aspen Grove. Rex was assistant scoutmaster and was at scout camp with the boys and their scoutmaster. Rex had come up to Aspen Grove to see if he could find me.
We spent the afternoon together and before he left he had invited me to go to the campfire program the scouts would be having the next night. I got permission from the dean of women to go with him and stay out late so I accepted the date.
The next night we attended the campfire program. It was a beautiful night with a big full moon shining down through the pine trees, a bonfire, and a program of stories and singing. The boys also were given awards that they had earned during the week. I never see a full moon but that I don’t think of that night. It was a beautiful night and so romantic. That was probably when I first began to think that Rex was a special boy and that I could easily fall in love with him.
After the program he took me back to the dorm, after going with me to the dean’s cabin to report in.
They were having a summer hike to the top of Timpanogas for the summer school students, I invited Rex to go with me and he accepted. On the hike, when we reached the hidden lake circle, he suggested that we leave the rest of the hikers and hike to the top of Eagle Peak instead. We had been to the top of Timp just three weeks before.
Eagle Peak was the peak just above Aspen Grove. From its top we could look down on Aspen Grove and see the country to the north. Since this was some place different to hike we decided to do it and left the group. We did not have a trail to follow up to the top. We found our own way up.
We were sitting at the top looking out over the valley below when what to our surprise should appear but two fellows by the name of Verl Dixon and Verl Johnston. They were two of Rex’s friends from school. They were in the area and had hiked up the front of the peak. They were just as surprised to see us as we were to see them.
The four of us were late starting down because we had spent too much time gabbing. It was almost dark when we got back to the Timp trail and so we finished the hike down the trail to Aspen Grove in the dark. We had only the moon to light the way.
The school was having a watermelon bust after the hike and when we appeared on the scene they were quite surprised and relieved. The dean of women was very worried that I was not back as she didn’t know who I was with. She had gotten a group of fellows to go back up the trail to find us.
The dean, Nettie Smart, was a good friend of the Larsen family. She knew them all. When Rex and I went to her cabin to let her know I was back and she found out who I was with she told me that if she had known that I was with Rex Larsen she wouldn’t have worried. She knew he was a good boy and that he knew the trails on the mountain quite well.
Rex’s father, Prof. Larsen, was not teaching at Aspen Grove that summer. He was busy with house remodeling. The art classes were some of the most popular at Aspen Grove and the last Sunday an art exhibit was held for the students to exhibit their summer’s work. The Larsen family came up for the exhibit. Rex was with them so of course we spent the afternoon together. When they were ready to go home Rex suggested that I go back to Provo with them and go to sacrament meeting with him. Then the next morning he could bring me back in time for my first class. I went to Provo with them. I think Rex was beginning to like me also.
During the afternoon and evening of that Sunday we had talked about what we were going to do the next winter. Rex would be attending BYU as a senior and I was going back to Nevada and teach school for another year and save my money to go on a mission. During our talk Rex discovered that I had saved about half enough money for my mission. He asked me why I didn’t come back to BYU the next year and go another year so I could graduate with a two-year normal diploma and then I could teach and then go on a mission.
When I got back home I talked to my parents about going back to school instead of teaching that year. The decision was made that I would attend BYU that winter. I wrote Rex and told him that I was coming back to school.
When school started, Rex did not look me up. About a month passed before we got together. This meeting was my doing also. Homecoming day was coming up and each social unit in the school and the state clubs, students from the different states, would enter a float in the parade. At the student assembly that week instructions for making the floats and information about the parade was discussed. The students were then divided into their different groups and assigned a room to meet in to plan their float.
I did not go to the meeting with the Nevada students. I went out the door and stood there in the hall waiting for Rex to come out. The Provo students, being the largest group, were meeting in the assembly room. When Rex came out after the meeting of course I was standing there close to the door.
He couldn’t miss me and so he stopped to talk. Before we separated I had a date for the football game the next day.
At the football game a date was made for the pep rally to be held the next Friday night and for the Homecoming parade and the game on Saturday. It wasn’t long until Rex and I were going steady.
There was a dance at the women’s gym every Friday evening all year. Each Friday night Rex and I attended the dance together. A matinee dance was held each Wednesday for an hour starting at 5 PM. Rex and I were both at this dance. Since we each had a class before the matinee dance we met at the dance but Rex took me home. Of course, Friday night it was a date and after the dance we went into the ice cream parlor next to the gym and got a double decker cone to eat on own way back to my boarding house.
These were depression times and there was not much money. Rex’s father gave him and his brothers and sister each $2.50 a week for spending money. This was the amount Rex had to spend for our dates. We did many fun things that year that didn’t take money. The Friday night dances cost twenty-five cents a couple, the matinee dances cost ten cents each, the double decker cones five cents each. and hikes cost nothing. We didn’t have a car so there was no gas to buy. For a special dance, like the junior prom, Rex was able to get his father’s car to take me in. For other dances we walked to and from home.
During the week Rex and I would go to the library every night to study. He would go home after his last class and then after supper he would walk back to my boarding place and together we walked up the hill to the library and studied until it closed at 10 PM. Then it was back to my boarding house. After saying goodnight, Rex had the long walk home. I lived on Third East and Seventh North. Rex’s home was on Fifth West at Seventh North. There was no through street from Rex's home to my boarding house. He had to walk down to Fifth North and then come East to University Avenue, back up to Seventh North and then East again to Third East. It was a distance of over a mile each way.
One night as we stood on the porch after our study time at the library one of us remarked what a beautiful night it was for a hike to the Y. There was a full moon and it was so nice and warm. The other one said, "Let's go". I ran upstairs. put on some hiking shoes and got a flashlight and off to the Y we started. It was quite a walk from my boarding house to the foot of the Y Mountain. It was then over a mile up the mountain to the block Y. We got to the Y and sat down to watch the twinkling lights in Provo. It was a beautiful sight and everything was so quiet and peaceful. We sat there and talked for some time and then came back down the mountain. Rex still had the long walk home from my boarding house.
We hiked together one afternoon up Rock Canyon. We were at Squaw Peak Mountain when Rex wanted a picture of me trying to climb the face of the mountain so I pretended to be climbing and Rex took my picture.
One Saturday during the winter we had a date to go skiing. I fixed a lunch to take with us. Rex borrowed the family car and we drove up Provo Canyon to Wildwood. The road from Wildwood to Aspen Grove was not kept open for traffic and so we had to hike from Wildwood. We took our lunch, got on our skis and up the road we went. When we had hiked about a mile we stopped, built a fire by the creek bank, and I made hot chocolate to drink. I had brought paper cups to put the hot chocolate in. The cups at that time had wax on the outside to make them water proof. The hot chocolate melted the wax and the cups began to leak. We put the cups in the snow to keep the wax hard.
When we finished our lunch we put the fire out and then skied back down to Wildwood and returned to Provo.
In the spring three couples of us decided to take a picnic lunch and hike up Rock Canyon to Devil’s Kitchen, a place in the side of the canyon that was like an open cave. The other girls fixed the lunch, and what a lunch. They were not accustomed to fixing lunches for a hike. They baked a cake, they made potato salad, they made sandwiches and they took canned milk for hot chocolate and canned pork and beans. The three boys had to carry the lunch, quite a load to carry about two miles up a canyon, but it tasted good. Then they had to carry the salad bowl, cake pan, and the pot they made the hot chocolate in back down the canyon. The boys did survive.
It was a fun year. One Friday I did not feel well enough to go dancing. I had been sick. Rex and I were sitting in the living room at the boarding house talking when one suggested that we might go to the show. Rex said he didn’t have his wallet with him because he had not planned on going anywhere where he would need money. I said I thought I could find thirty cents so I went upstairs and came back with the thirty cents. Yes, we could go to the show for fifteen cents each.
As we got near the theater I said that since it was my money, I should be the one to buy the tickets. Rex gave me the money and I went up to the ticket window and purchased the two tickets. Rex was a member of the Mates Social Unit and it so happened that a couple of the boys saw me buy the tickets. The next time they attended a party that the Mates held they teased Rex about me taking him to the show.
When I went home for the Christmas holidays I took the picture that Rex had given me for a Christmas present with me. I showed the picture to my mother and she said that he was a nice looking boy, She thought he was a nice boy for me to go with and it would be all right to marry him if that was what we decided to do. I told her that if I had anything to say about it he would be her next son-in-law.
When I returned for the winter quarter after Christmas we took a class together. It was called “Social Recreation.” It was considered a religion class. It was fun. We learned how to act at social functions.
At that time, Education Week was held every year for people to come and spend a week attending special classes. It was held in February. Each night of the week a social was held at the women’s gym. The people attending the weeks classes were taught how to conduct different kinds of socials and entertainment's. The social Recreation class was divided into committees. One was to give the instructions each night. The group that Rex and I were in was to conduct a get acquainted dance demonstration. We taught the people how to conduct different dances that would get the people all dancing and get them acquainted with one another. It was fun.
The committee had to have name tags for each of the committee members. Each committee was to design their own badge. Rex volunteered to chair the group that would made the badges. Another girl in the class that liked Rex volunteered to help him and said that they could meet at her place. I immediately offered to help also. There were just the three to make the badges.
We met at her home. Of course, Rex had to pick me up and taken me there. During the evening the other girl and I went into the kitchen and left Rex in the living room working on the badges. The girl asked me if I was dating Rex and when I said yes, that I was and that I liked him a lot the other girl immediately backed off and didn’t try any longer to attract Rex to her.
Every Easter morning the various churches in Provo combined to hold an Easter Sunrise Service on the shore of Utah Lake. They would begin the Services at 5 AM just as the sun was peaking over the eastern mountains. The Services lasted about an hour to an hour and a half. Ministers or leaders of the various churches gave short Easter messages and songs were sung, prayers given, etc. It was a very nice way to start Easter.
Rex came to pick me up at about 4 AM then we went back to the Larsen home for the rest of the family, and then on to the lake for the services.
All that year I had been going down to the Third Ward to attend Sunday School with Rex and then after Sunday School to the Larsen home for dinner and to spend the afternoon, then to sacrament meeting in the evening, and then Rex would take me back to my boarding house.
Easter Sunday that year was on April 1. It was also April Fools Day. After Sunday School and fast and testimony meeting we had come to the Larsen home for dinner. After dinner Mother Larsen told us that she thought it would be wise for everyone to either nap or rest for a while. She told me that I could lay down on the cot in the dining room and each of the family could go to their own rooms to rest.
I laid down and it was not long before I was off to sleep. I woke up later and looking down I saw Rex kneeling beside the cot looking at me. When he noticed that I was awake he told me that he had something to say and that it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke either.
Rex then asked me if I would marry him and I said Yes.
I always said, Rex said it wasn't an April Fool’s joke but that I fooled him. I said Yes, and made him stick to it.
For an engagement ring Rex gave me two rings, a heart shaped ring with our initials on it and a “dime and ring”. Some time before this a plane had crashed up Rock Canyon and the plane was totally wrecked. Rex had been to the sight of the crash and had picked up a piece of aluminum tubing. The tubing was square but it could be rounded. He had taken two pieces of the tubing and from one piece he made a ring with a heart on it. The other piece he had fixed and then had taken a dime, bent the dime so it was curved, and had soldered the dime to the ring. The “dime and ring” he gave to me.
We did not tell anyone that we were engaged at that time. We decided to wait until we had set a date and planned a few things. As we planned our wedding we decided we would get married just before the Timp hike that year and would go on the Timp hike for our honeymoon. So with those plans we decided to tell our folks we were engaged.
I wrote to my folks and told them and then on Mother’s Day we told Rex’s folks.
Spring had come early that year. Strawberries were ripe in May. Mother Larsen had put up the strawberry jam for the family before Mother’s Day. The day after the engagement was announced Rex brought me home after school for supper and when we got there his mother and grandmother were busy putting up strawberry jam. I said that I thought they had their jam all done. Mother Larsen told me that they did, but now that Rex and I were getting married we would need some jam and so this was for us.
Mother and Grandma Larsen were busy planning the wedding. In fact they had it all planned. They told us that since Rex would be graduating from college on June 6 we could go to the temple and be married June 7. Then I wouldn’t have to go to Nevada and then back later for the wedding. They had planned a reception for us to be held on Friday.
We decided that since it was all planned we might as well go along with the plans. June 7, 1934 was set as our wedding date. This was less than a month away and many things had to be done. Wedding announcements had to be sent to family members and friends, temple recommends gotten from the bishops, and a wedding dress made. And besides, we had to finish the year’s schooling and prepare for final exams and for graduation.
We got busy. Rex designed our announcements. He had a friend, Marion Poulson who had a small printing set and he printed the invitations. I didn’t have more than enough money left to finish the year on. What would I do about a wedding dress. Rex’s father had sold one of his paintings. He gave Rex $35.00, half of what he got for the painting. This would take care of wedding expenses. Rex gave me $5.00 to buy material for a dress. I bought white organdy, enough for a long dress, also material for a white slip to go under the dress, and a pattern
I used my landlady’s sewing machine and made my dress and slip. Some way everything got finished and we went to the Salt Lake Temple the morning of June 7 and were married. A reception was held for us the next afternoon in the back yard at the Larsen home.
The Larsens gave a bridal shower for Rex and I and we got many lovely gifts. Rex and Eugene owned the Model-T Ford pickup and they had agreed that when one of them got married the other one would inherit the truck. Also, the one who was not getting married would buy the wedding license for the one who was. At the bridal shower there was a present that looked like a loaf of bread. In fact it was a loaf of bread and in the middle was the $2.50 with a note that this would purchase the marriage license.
Eugene was very concerned about where we were going to spend our wedding night, Rex and I kept telling Eugene that he was the one that would have to find another bed, that we were spending the night in Rex and Eugene’s room. This really worried Eugene. When Rex’s parents and the the two of us got back from the temple Eugene informed us that if we were staying in his room we had a job to do. He said that we would find our bed on top of the roof. Sure enough, Eugene had taken the bed apart, carried it up onto the top of the roof, and had put it together again. It was up there straddling the ridge on the roof.
Rex and I calmly went into the house, picked up our suitcase and bedding and put them in the car. As we drove up the driveway we honked and waved to Eugene and yelled “Happy sleeping tonight,” and we were gone. No one ever found out where we had spent our first night for a long time. In fact, it was only a short time ago that I told the kids where we had spent our first night together. We drove up toward Provo Canyon and then turned down into the Carterville area and there by the Provo River, hidden in the cottonwood trees, we parked the car and slept on the back seat .
The Monday after we were married Rex and I went out to Provo Bench and picked cherries. For pay we took cherries home to be canned. We got enough cherries in that one day to bottle a hundred quarts of fruit. Then the next day or two we picked cherries for pay.
The next Friday I received a letter from my father. He told me that he could give Rex a job on the section crew if we could be there by Monday, but he couldn’t wait longer than Monday to hire another helper. Rex and I arrived in Osino, Nevada on the train Monday morning. Rex worked on the railroad until October when they cut the crews back for the winter. Since he was the last man hired he was the first to be terminated.
Rex could have gone into Elko and found a job. He asked me if he should. I told him that it would be all right to work in Elko at that time, but that when we had children ready to start school we would go back to Utah because I didn’t want to raise our family where there weren’t many Mormons. Rex said that it would be easier to make the break now, while there was only the two of us, so we came back to Utah.
Rex’s folks were still busy remodeling and since Rex could not find a job he went to work remodeling. We lived with his folks. His father told him that he could not pay him wages but he would give us a place to live and food to eat and buy clothes for us as he did for the rest of the family and he would give us each the same allowance he gave the other kids in the family. So we lived with the Larsen family for over two years.
Mother Larsen said that since I liked to cook and she didn’t that if I would do the cooking she would do the dishes and other work in the kitchen. So for the time we lived with the Larsens I was the cook.
Rex’s youngest brother, Grant, liked to cook also and so he helped me. On Sundays he always made the salads and set the table fancy. The Larsens had a cow so they had plenty of cream. Grant and I were always fixing something fancy. We would have desserts with whipped cream on them. The cream was always colored some fancy color. One day we decided to color the whipped cream blue. We put some blue food coloring in the cream. Oh what an unappetizing sight. We decided that no one would want to eat that so we discarded the whipped cream and got some more cream to whip and serve.
My mother had never liked Nevada. She didn’t want me to live there. She always talked to me and had me make a promise that I would go to Utah, find a nice Mormon boy and marry him and stay there. That was why I attended BYU in Provo instead of going to the University of Nevada in Reno. There would have been no tuition to pay in Reno. My mother was insistent that I must come to Provo where I would meet a nice Mormon boy and stay in Utah.
My mother had been an invalid since the time I graduated from high school. My father had hired a housekeeper to keep house for them and to care for my mother. When Rex and I had gone out to Osino after we were married so Rex could go to work on the railroad, we lived with My folks and I kept house and took care of my mother. My father gave us board and room.
The year after we were married my parents made a trip to Provo to visit us. My mother wanted to see that I was doing all right and that I would stay in Utah.
When they went back to Elko my mother told a friend that everything was fine with me, that I had a fine Mormon boy for a husband and that my home would be in Utah, that now she could die since I was well taken care of. My mother lived only two weeks longer.
My mother died September 8, 1935 three and half months before our first child was born. She was buried in Kaysville, Utah September 15, 1935. She had finally accomplished what she wanted to do. She had come back to Utah.
From the time Rex and I returned to Provo we had helped with the remodeling. Dad and Mother Larsen were putting in a furnace for central heating. Ducts to carry the heat and ducts to carry cold air to the furnace had to be made under the living room floor. There was only a crawl space under the floor. Rex and I would get on our backs and slide under the floor to where they were putting strips of tin on the floor joists to form the ducts and laying on our backs we would hammer nails into the strips. This was a slow job but we got it finished. We helped with the painting of the inside areas, always working together.
Once in a while Rex would get a job doing something for a neighbor or someone else. This gave us a little extra cash for things that we wanted.
While the remodeling was going on Rex’s folks were using the little house next to their place as a studio for Rex’s father to work in and as their bedroom. It was a small two-room house with no bath or closet, just two rooms.
When the remodeling of their home was completed this little house became our home for several years. We lived there until our fourth child was born.
When we moved into the little house I continued to cook supper over at the big home and the family all had supper together.
We continued to go over to the Larsen’s for the bathroom, to take baths, etc. We spent many hours visiting with the family and joined in most of their activities.
Our little home was fixed up quite nice. The small back room was made into the kitchen. We bought a kitchen cabinet and table and four chairs. There was a sink in this room. The closet was also in this room. It was a wide shelf in one corner with a rod under it where our clothes were hung. A curtain was hung around the shelf and went to the floor. When the folks were remodeling they bought a gas cooking stove for their kitchen and the coal burning kitchen stove was taken out. This stove was put in the kitchen in the little house for me to use. This kept the house very warm in the summer time and so Rex bought a two burner gas plate and fastened it to the outside of the oven off the stove and I did what cooking I did on this gas plate.
In the other room we had a combined bedroom and living room. Our bed was there. We had a couch. Rex made a piece of furniture that was bookcase, dresser, and desk in one piece.
There were two shelves at the top for books, then a desk which was wider than the book shelves, twice as wide. There was a drop leaf that could be put up over the space between the desk top and the shelves and put down and used as a desk. Below this there were two long drawers. The bottom one was deeper than the top one, and under the second drawer were two deeper but narrower drawers that were side by side.. One was used as a toy box for the children. This piece of furniture is still used today in our home in Orem.
There was also a small heating stove in the living room area that heated the house in the winter. This stove was put out in the garage for the summer when we did not need any heat.
The last year we lived in this little house my niece Della lived with us and went to BYU. I was expecting our fourth child so having someone there to help me was a big advantage.
Where did we all sleep? Rex bought a rollaway bed that folded up. I made a cover to go over it when it wasn't being used. During the day time the folded bed stood by the south kitchen window. At night after supper, the dishes were done, the bed was moved out between the stove and the table and put down. This is where Carolyn and Della slept. We had a small crib for Joe who was the baby, to sleep in. And Rayanna, oh yes. Rex had made a small box like bed that went under the crib. The four legs of the crib fit down into two by two posts in the corners of the box and with mattress, sheets, and blankets this is where Rayanna slept.
In the morning the kids had to be up, the rollaway bed folded and put back by the window and the crib and box bed moved into the living room so they could fix and eat breakfast.
In 1939 we decided it was time for us to move into a bigger home. Dad and Mother Larsen wanted us to live near them. There was a piece of property just south of the little house that was big enough to build a home on. The property ran all the way through the block from Fifth to Sixth West. Dad checked and found that he could purchase the entire piece for $500.00 and so he did. He gave Rex and I the half that started on Fifth West.
We drew sketch after sketch of homes we would like. When we finally decided on what we wanted Rex drew up the plans for the home of our dreams. It was approved by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration. This administration would enable us to get a loan at cheaper interest rates and it would ensure that the home would be well built.
Rex and I wanted a large kitchen in our home because I said the kids always wanted to be in the kitchen with me while I was working there. A large kitchen would give them room to play without being right under my feet. At first FHA would not approve the large kitchen, but Rex solved that problem by designating the west end of the area as a dining area. Then it was approved.
FHA had wanted us to enlarge the living room and make it so we would have to go into the living room and then in the hall way to the bedrooms and bathroom. I explained that I didn’t want this as it would mean two doors in one corner of the living room, one going into the kitchen, and one into the hallway. If they had the extra three feet in the kitchen they could go directly from the kitchen either into the living room or into the hallway to the bedrooms and bath. I finally got what I wanted.
We put the plans out for bid and received a bid of $3,300.00 from one builder. This would be the total cost of our home. Rex would subcontract the electrical work and the painting. The contractor would purchase the materials needed and Rex would do the work. This would save some money.
The loan to cover the $3300.00 was secured from the bank and work was started on our new home in the spring of 1940. We watched it progress from the time they started digging the basement until the last nail was put in. I helped Rex with the painting and it was finished just before our fourth child was born. Martha was born December 8, 1940 and we moved into our home January 3, 1941.
The basement was not finished. The only part completed was the south side of the basement. We completed the furnace room. We had a coal burning furnace at first so there was also a coal room at the west end of the furnace room.
The room east of the furnace room on the south side of the basement was also finished. This was Rex’s hobby room. Here he had his work bench with his drill press and jig saw on it. There was also a work area and on the wall behind the work bench was a peg board where he hung his tools. Every tool had a special place and every tool was kept in its place when it was not being used. Rex loved tools and took good care of them. His main Christmas present each year was another tool that he especially wanted.
Rex was an excellent handy man. He could fix anything no matter what was needed. He did electrical work, plumbing, and carpentry work. Anything that was broken got repaired.
One birthday Kenneth got a small wooden bow and arrow. He was really strong and he pulled the bow back so far he broke it in the middle. When I told him he had broken it, he said, “Daddy can fix it.” I told him no, Daddy couldn’t but he insisted that Daddy could. When I was telling the story some years later Rayanna said, “Well, Daddy fixed everything that needed fixing didn’t he!”
This new home was our pride and joy. We lived there for forty-one years before making another move. We had some happy times there.
When we first moved in we had left the north side of the basement unfinished and we put the children’s tricycles and wagon down there for them to ride and play with. It was their play area. Joe was only twenty-one months old and he would go down the stairs. I tried to watch and help him down but sometimes he started down without me knowing it. Usually when he got about half way down he would fall and go down the rest of the stairs stopping with a big bump when he hit the concrete floor at the bottom. It was not long before Rex put a hand rail on the stairway. It was low enough that Joe could easily hold to it as he went down. He never fell after the hand rail was put in.
Heavenly Father sent seven of his choicest spirit children to our home. How often Rex and I said that we were the richest couple. We didn’t have much money but we had what was important. We had seven lovely children that were all active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who had all been married in the temple, and who were trying to teach their children the correct ways to live. We were indeed rich. We had what really counted, the riches we could take with us into the next life.
We had been married for six months and were getting anxious to start our family. Time went on and we still had no baby coming. Then after nine months of marriage we knew that a little one would be coming to our home. Would it be a boy or a girl? Of course, it would be a boy. I had always wanted a boy first so there would be a big brother for his sisters and other brothers. Rex wanted a son first, so of course, it would be a boy.
I was very ill during the first months of my pregnancy. I couldn’t eat anything and keep it down. Even water wouldn’t stay down. I was loosing weight, Mother Larsen became worried, she was afraid that I might die. Gradually I started to get better and could eat again. I began to sew and to croquet and to get ready for the new member of our family.
Then Christmas morning very early, about 3 or 4 o’clock, I began to feel like we would have a Christmas baby. I woke Rex and told him. At about 5 AM we woke Rex’s parents and told them what was happening and they called the doctor. Of course, in those day babies were delivered at home.
Since Rex and I were still living with his family, his parents woke up the rest of the family so they could all see what Santa had brought before the doctor got there.
When the doctor got there and checked me he said that the baby probably would be born sometime in the afternoon and he left.
Early in the afternoon Rex went upstairs to have a nap. About two hours later he came down stairs looking like he had seen a ghost. When he was asked what was the matter, he said he had had a bad dream and had come downstairs to see if I was all right.
Well, the baby did not arrive on Christmas day. She waited until December 27, to put in her appearance. Oh, yes, we didn’t get a son. We got a lovely little daughter. It didn’t take us long to decide that girls were the nicest, not more that five seconds.
Only another mother could know the feeling I felt as this first little bundle was laid in my arms. I held her and marveled at the miracle of birth. And though I would be privileged to have six more bundles of joy placed in my arms each one brought the same joy and happiness to our home. Each one was welcomed with open arms and loved the same as the one before.
Where I had had such a time in the early days of my pregnancy my delivery was quite easy. I only had about an hour and a half of real labor. I had been sitting on the bed playing checkers with Rex at 12:00 noon and the baby was born at 3 PM.
Rex’s mother said that she was a “Merry Christmas Carol” that had come to our home and that she should be named Carol. After trying to decide on a name we decided she should be name Carolyn Mary.
Carolyn was the pride and joy of the Larsen family. She was the first grandchild for the Larsens and was living with them. She was the sparkle in their eye. Her Uncle Grant, who was twelve years old when she was born, thought she was about perfect. If we wanted to go somewhere and needed a baby sitter Grant was happy to take over. Even one night when we all wanted to go to the movie he said, “You folks all go. I will stay and tend Carolyn, I can go some other time.”
Carolyn had a fine sense of music. She would pull herself up to a standing position in her crib and while standing there she would dance in time to the music playing on the radio. She started this when she was only seven or eight months old. She had perfect pitch. She would stand across the room with her back to the piano, her father would play two notes, one at a time, and she would tell him if the second note was higher or lower than the first one. She could even tell the difference between a natural, a flat, or sharp note.
She was also very artistic. She had so many ideas for making special things. She could put colors together and knew what went together best.
On December 21, 1937 at 10:50 AM our second daughter, Rayanna, came to join our family.
This second pregnancy was not quite as difficult as the first one but I was happy to have Mother Larsen next door to help take care of Carolyn during the pregnancy.
When Carolyn was six months old we moved into the little house. Since our second baby would also be born at home, we moved back in with the Larsen’s about a week before Rayanna was due to be born so Mother could take care of me, the new baby, and Carolyn while I was confined.
The morning of December 21, I had the feeling that the baby was on the way. The doctor was called and when he arrived and checked me he said I was ready to have the baby. He thought that things would go like they did with Carolyn. It would probably be a couple of days before the baby would be born.
He said I was ready to have the baby and if we wanted him to he could give me a shot to start labor and I could have the baby that day. We decided to have the him induce labor at that time.
Doctor Stan Clark said he would give me a shot and then would go back to the office and wait for me to call him. He said that he would leave everything ready for the delivery. He told us that in about half an hour I would start false labor, and then about two or three hours later I would begin the real labor and I should call him then.
When babies were delivered at home doctors used chloroform to take the edge off the labor pains. If needed this would put the patient to sleep.
Doctor Stan fixed a glass with cotton in it and put it on the dresser with the bottle of Chloroform by it. He laid out his gloves and gown so everything was ready for the coming birth. He gave me the shot to induce labor and left. He had given me the shot about 10:10 AM.
He hadn’t been gone five minutes when a pain hit me. There wasn’t anything false about the pain. It was hard. Mother called the doctor’s office and told them to send the doctor back. At first the nurse started to say that he wasn’t there when she saw him parking his car. She hurried and told him to go right back to the Larsens.
When the doctor came into the house he looked at me and grabbed the glass and chloroform and gave it to Mother and told her to put it over my nose. He didn’t get his gloves or gown on. Our second daughter was anxious to come. She was born at 10:50 AM. just forty minutes after he had given me the shot.
When Doctor Stan saw her shoulders as she was being born he told Rex that here was his son with nice wide shoulders, but it was a nine and a half pound baby girl.
I wasn’t disappointed to have another daughter. I thought that two little girls would be so cute growing up together. Rex was happy to have another daughter also.
Carolyn loved her baby sister and tried hard to be mother’s little helper. The two girls were so cute together. When they were about a year old I began to dress them alike.
Where Carolyn was quiet and careful about things Rayanna was active and into everything. I don’t know how they managed it but they could play side by side and Carolyn would stay comparatively clean but Rayanna would be dirty all over. Rayanna had to be exploring things all the time.
Rayanna was the little mother of the neighborhood. She would tend little children who were almost as old as she was. As she got old enough to go baby sitting the children all wanted her to be their baby sitter. One girl would ask her mother why she and her husband didn’t go to the show so Rayanna could come and tend her.
Being such an active girl sometimes caused her trouble. One day when when she was seven or eight years old a neighbor came bringing her home, holding her arm and hand. She said that she thought Rayanna had broken her arm. It turned our that her arm was broken. She had climbed up on a small table out by the garage. It had tipped with her and she had fallen on her arm. It was broken just above the elbow.
Another time she was with a group of children at the neighbor’s place pole vaulting. They were using a two by four as a cross bar. Rayanna was in the way and as the bar was knocked off and fell to the ground it struck her on the head. She came home crying and with blood spurting down two sides of the braid in her hair.
I applied pressure on the cut with a dish towel and took her to the doctor. When we upbraided the braid we found that it was only a small cut that required only one stitch to close. The tightness of the braid pulled the cut open and this kept it bleeding.
Rayanna’s ability as a mother carried on as she mothered her eight children. When she went to work outside the home, she continued mothering children in her work at the American Fork Training School.
Rayanna had desired to become a nurse and started at BYU, taking a pre-nursing course of study. She left BYU after one quarter, she had met her husband-to-be and wanted to get ready for their marriage.
Rayanna was only six months old when we knew that another bundle of joy would join our family. Now, this baby had to be a son. We had two daughters and we definitely needed a son.
On the night of March 27, 1939 Rex asked me if he was going to be able to sleep all night. I told him that he would be able to sleep that nothing would happen before morning.
We went to bed about 10 PM As soon as I relaxed I knew that our baby was coming. I told Rex to get up and go get his mother and call the doctor. We wouldn’t be going to sleep for awhile. It was 10:l0 PM when he called the doctor. By 11:00 PM the doctor had been there, given me a shot to induce labor, and our son was born. Yes, a son! Soon the doctor was on his way home and we were ready to go to sleep.
Joe was a sweet little boy weighing just a little over seven pounds.
The next morning when Rex told the girls that they had a little baby brother they were so tickled. They came running in, jumped on the bed, tumbled across me to get to the baby lying in his bed. They became his two little mothers, and loved their baby brother
We had long ago decided on a name for our first son. He was to be named after his two grandfathers and so was called Joseph Bent Larsen.
As Joe grew old enough to handle objects it became quite evident that he would follow after his father and would work with tools. Rex had made a wooden elephant for Carolyn when she was a year old. Carolyn and Rayanna used it as a chair, as a stool to stand on, or whatever. Joe began to use it as a board to hammer nails in. The elephant was soon full of nails.
As Joe grew older he still liked to work with tools. He would help his dad fix things in the home and make things. He later took up drafting and mechanical engineering.
Joe had always been interested in airplanes. He could recognize the different kind of planes as they flew over. He put model planes together. He like everything about planes and decided he wanted to become a pilot.
Joe went on a mission for the Church to the Southern States. When he returned from his mission he entered BYU. He joined the ROTC and intended to become an Air Force pilot. He passed all the tests to be come a commissioned officer in the ROTC. Between his sophomore and junior years he took the physical to qualify as a pilot. It was discovered that he was too short to qualify. He was only five foot three and one half inches, a half inch too short. So he decided to quit ROTC.
Our fourth child was due to be born in December 1940. Carolyn would only be five years old, Rayanna three years old and Joe twenty-one months. My hands were full with three small children. They took all my time and energy. How would I take care of another baby so soon? This concerned me for the entire nine months. But Martha was born and I found time for another baby.
On Sunday morning, December 8, 1940 I got up and told the family that I was not going to church, that I thought I had better stay at home. Rex wanted to stay with me but I told him to go on that I would be all right. We had moved back in with the Larsen family to be there when the baby came.
December 8th was Ronald’s birthday. He told me that if the baby was born that day and was a boy we would have to name him Ronald.
The family went to Sunday School. I baked a birthday cake for Ronald’s birthday and prepared dinner. When they got home just after 12:00 noon dinner was ready to eat. I told them they would have to hurry and eat because I was calling the doctor soon.
Dinner was eaten, dishes done, the doctor had been there, and baby had been born all before 2 PM.
Another daughter had joined our family. Ronald told us that we could still name the baby for him. In French Ronald was Renee. So the baby was named Martha Renee. Martha for her grandmother Larsen and Renee for her uncle Ronald. It wasn’t long after Martha was born that I discovered that I did have time and energy to care for another baby. She was just another added joy to our family.
During the summer of 1940 we had been busy having a new home built just south of the little house where we lived. It was completed in December, when Martha was about a month old. On January 3, 1941 we moved from the folk’s home directly to our new home.
Martha was an active little girl. She was not still a minute. We lived on Fifth West, the main highway through Provo, a very busy street. A ditch of water used for irrigation went right by the front of our house. When our children were small they were tied to a rope when they were outside.
A year after Martha was born, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Women were asked to help fold bandages for the red cross.
One evening when Martha was about one and a half years old I left her tied up outside playing with her older bother and sisters. Her father was watching the kids while I went to fold bandages. A short time after I left, Rex brought Martha into the house to get her ready for bed. He stopped in the kitchen to fix her bottle. Martha went on into the living room and out the front door. Before Rex got things ready to put her to bed the door bell rang and there was a neighbor girl with Martha. She had been on her way to mutual and had found Martha down by the Timpanogas School which was two blocks from home, and it was getting dark.
When Martha was about two years old she got quite ill. I didn’t know what was wrong with her. I called Dr. Stan. He came to our home to check her and he said she had pneumonia. He gave her some sulfa, a new miracle drug just put out on the market (before penicillin). He said he would check her again the next morning and left.
The word “pneumonia” frightened Mother Larsen and she insisted that she be watched all night to be sure nothing happened to her, that she didn’t go into convulsions or something. I sat up the first part of the night and at midnight Mother came over and let me go to bed and she stayed with her the rest of the night. The next morning Martha woke up feeling fine. She was ready to get up and play.
As Martha grew she became a talented seamstress. She took fourth place in the county in the “Make It With Wool” contest. Later she made her husband’s suits, clothes for her children, etc. When she made an article of clothing it had the tailored finish to it.
Martha was only six months old when we knew that another baby was on the way. This time I did not worry about how I would take care of another baby. I had time and room for a fourth, so I would just have to find time for a fifth.
I was not very ill during this pregnancy. I had just a little nausea in the morning and then I was all right for the rest of the day. We did not tell anyone, not even the folks, that we were expecting another baby.
Celia had married Willard Luce and they were living down in Blanding, Utah where Bill was teaching school. Celia was expecting her first child the first of March, 1942. Our baby was due toward the latter part of March.
During the Christmas vacation in 1941 I was putting Mother’s hair in curlers. She said to me, “Aren’t you getting heavy, shouldn’t you do something about it?”
I told her everything was all right, that three or four months would correct everything. Mother looked at me and asked, “Are you pregnant?” I told her that I was. The baby was due the later part of March, just about three weeks after Celia’s baby was due.
Our second son, Kenneth Rex was born March 20, 1942 at about 8:20 PM. Dad Larsen was scheduled to give an illustrated lecture that night at Mutual. He needed Rex to run the slide machine as he explained the slides and gave his lecture. They asked me if it was all right if Rex went and helped Dad. I told them yes, that everything would be fine until they got home.
They had only been gone a short time when I knew Rex needed to come home as soon as possible. I sent my nephew, Walter Svedin, down to the church to find Rex and have him come home. I had Mother call the doctor. It wasn’t long until our son was born.
Kenneth was a very active and inquisitive baby. He climbed with the best of them. You might find him on the kitchen counter starting to climb up the shelves in the upper cupboard. He might be on the top of the piano. He pulled the drawers out in the dresser in his bedroom and used them as a ladder to get to the top of the dresser. After he had pulled the dresser over on him a couple of times we took the dresser out of his room. We finally resorted to tying him to one end of a rope with the other end tied to the bed. The only things in the bedroom were his crib and the bed for the other children. The rope was long enough for him to get out in the hall so he could see me working in the kitchen or living room and he could get to the toys in the bottom drawer of the linen closet.
My father and step mother came to Provo to visit us and Mother thought it was awful to keep him tied. He was happy. He could see people and things and he had plenty of toys to play with.
While they were there visiting I left them with the kids while I went to town. Mother needed some more crochet cotton for her work. When I got home I found my father laughing. I asked him what had happened and he told me that I hadn’t been gone very long when Mother announced that Kenneth wasn’t going to be tied up while she watched him. She had untied him and before she could get from the bedroom to the kitchen she found him on the kitchen cupboard. She took him down and as she followed him into the living room she found him climbing to the top of the piano. It wasn’t long before she took him back in the bedroom and tied him up. She said she guessed we tied him up for his protection.
Kenneth was a youngster with a will of his own. If you told him he couldn’t do something, that was what he would do. He had to prove he could do it.
He was not very old when he learned to stand upright in the middle of the floor. He would stand there with nothing to support him but he wouldn’t take a step. If he wanted to go somewhere he would get back on the floor and crawl. If he had something to carry he could walk any place he wanted to. We had a heavy round piano stool. He would pull it out in the middle of the floor and then stand up and pick it up and put the top against his stomach. Then he would take off across the room.
As he grew he continued to climb. He climbed trees or mountains or anything he got near. This resulted in many falls from the trees which meant broken toes, and arms and cuts and bruises. We took the kids on a vacation trip to Goblin Valley in southern Utah and Kenneth climbed the rock formations.
When the children went outside to play I always cautioned them not to go out in the street. I also told them they couldn’t cross the street alone as, they might get hit by a car. One day I went out in the front yard just in time to see Kenneth coming back from the street. I asked him if he had been out in the street and again cautioned him about the danger. He told me that he could cross the street if he wanted to, because he had done it, but he wouldn’t do it again.
If you could get Kenneth to promise that he would not do something or that he would do something you could depend on him keeping that promise. He would do what he thought was right no matter what the others were doing. He didn’t care if he was the only one going his way he stuck to his convictions.
He was our studious boy. He was in the honors group in college. Zoology was his thing. He enjoyed collecting, bugs, snakes, lizards, etc. The children in the neighborhood liked to gather round him out on the back lawn and watch him dissect a frog. He took the Boy Scouts on their five mile hike for their Second Class award and on the hike they usually were able to catch and kill a porcupine. They would roast it over a bonfire and have it with their lunch. When he took the boys on their hike they didn’t miss anything. He would dip up a cup of water from the river or creek and show them all the things that could be found in it.
For presents we bought Kenneth science kits and dissecting kits. We bought Joe model airplane kits and tools.
Kenneth was gifted in telling stories. He created his own stories and they entertained all ages. Teachers would have Kenneth stand and tell a story to their class when they were finished with the lesson they had prepared. One night the Primary had the program for the sacrament meeting and when I checked to see if the children were ready to come into the church for the meeting I found Kenneth standing on a table telling stories. The kids who were listening to him ranged in ages from four to twelve and they were all anxiously listening to every word.
We now had five children in our family. Carolyn, the oldest was only six years old when Kenneth was born. My hands were full but they were a good bunch of kids and we loved each one very much. We said that five children was a nice sized family and we wouldn’t be too disappointed if this was our family but that if Heavenly Father saw fit to send more of His spirit children to our home we would gladly accept them and love them just as much as we loved the first five.
A little over five years later we found out that we would be having another child join our family. Our fourth daughter and sixth child was born April 5, 1948. My step mother had died that morning and Mary Ann was born about 8:25 PM that evening. I have often thought that they met as they were traveling to their new homes.
Dr. Stanley Clark Sr. had been our family doctor but he had quit delivering babies. His son Dr. Stanley Clark Jr. was now the doctor in the clinic that took care of expectant mothers and delivered the babies.
A hospital had also been built in Provo so this baby would be delivered in the hospital rather than at home. Before the hospital was built babies were delivered at home. After the hospital was built women were still reluctant to go there so the doctors in Provo decided they would not deliver any more babies at home. If the women couldn’t make it to the hospital and the baby was delivered at home mother and baby would be taken in an ambulance to the hospital for the time that they were convalescing. In those days women stayed in bed for ten days after the baby was born before they got up and did any kind of work.
I told Dr. Stan Jr. that I would go to the hospital to have my baby if he would promise me that when I called him and told him I was ready to have my baby that he would meet me at the hospital and not wait for the nurses to call him because they would never call him in time. He promised he would meet me there.
One day I was playing solitaire when I decided it was getting time to have my baby. Rex was working out in the garden. I walked out to the garden where he was and told him I didn’t know whether I should go to Primary first, (I was secretary in the Primary), or whether I should go to the hospital then. He said that if I had those kind of ideas I should go to the hospital and forget Primary. I took my roll cards down to the president’s home and came home and called the doctor.
The doctor said that they were quite busy at the clinic and asked if I could wait until the office closed at 5 o'clock. I told him I could and he then told me to go out to the hospital about 4:30, be admitted, and that he would be there right after 5.
When I arrived at the hospital they asked me how close my pains were. I told them I hadn’t had any pains yet but that I was there to be admitted and as soon as the doctor arrived and gave me a shot I would have the baby.
They admitted me and took me upstairs where they checked me. They told me I wouldn’t have my baby for two or three days yet as I wasn’t ready. I told them I would have the baby that night. Doctor Stan came in at 5 o'clock and asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine and was just waiting for him to induce labor. He told me that they had several women there in labor having their babies and wanted to know if we could wait until after visiting hours at 8 o’clock. I told him we could if I could have supper. He said he would order my supper sent up and would see me at 8 o'clock.
As one of the nurses left at the end of her shift at 7 o'clock she told me she would see me in a couple of days when I came back to have my baby. I told her I would see her the next day and my baby would have been born.
About 8:15 PM the doctor arrived at the hospital and told the nurse to take me into the delivery room. She told him I was not ready to have the baby but he told her to get me in to the delivery room. When he checked me he was not sure that I would have the baby that night. I told him that nothing would happen until he gave me the shot. He told the nurse to give me half the shot.
There had been two nurses in the delivery room when we first went in. They thought it might be some time before my baby came. One said she would go and help on the floor and to ring for her when she was needed.
We were in the delivery room for about ten minutes after the nurse gave me the half shot and doctor said nothing was happening. I said that nothing would happen until they gave me the whole shot. He then told the nurse to give me the rest of the shot. I was given the rest of the shot at about 8:25 PM. At 8:35 the nurse in the hall opened the door and asked how soon she would be needed. I looked up and told her to go tell my husband that we had a little baby girl and that I was fine. When the nurse asked why they hadn’t called her she was told that no one had time to push a button as everything had happened so fast.
Mary Ann was born April 5, 1948. Before she was born we had agreed that Christine would be her name if it was a girl. I told Dr. Stan Jr. that this was the name we had chosen and that Christine was to be put on the birth record that was sent to the department of Vital Statistics to be recorded.
After my step mother died my father came back to Provo to live with us. Rex asked him what we should name the baby and he said that her name should be Mary Ann after her mother and grandmother. Rex agreed so that was her name. We had to change the name on the birth certificate.
Mary Ann was a darling little girl and her two older sisters, Carolyn and Rayanna, decided that she was their baby and that they would take care of her and they did. They bathed her, dressed her, and did everything for her. I made frilly little dresses for her and she looked like a little fashion plate.
I did so little to care for Mary Ann. One day when Carolyn had finished bathing her and before she was dressed she ran into the living room where I was. As I reached out to take hold of her she turned and ran back toward the bathroom. I noticed that there were some sores on her back. I told her to come let me see what was on her back. Carolyn told me that she had some mosquito bites .
When I examined the sores I found out that she had the Chicken Pox. The sores were in the scab stage. She had not been sick. I looked over her entire body and found only a couple of pox on her stomach and one up in her hair. She did not have any on the rest of her body.
Mary Ann was seven years younger than Martha. As she grew older she began to think she was just as old as Martha and wanted to have the same privileges. She once said that Martha was as old fashioned as her mother was.
She was loved and spoiled by all the family. She was the older children’s little baby sister and she was our darling baby daughter.
Mary Ann had a cousin, Loretta Luce, who lived just through the block from our house and a girl friend who lived down the street about three houses. These three girls were inseparable.
Mary Ann, like her sister Martha, was a talented sreamstress. She made suits for her husband and sons. She made levis for her kids and put embroidered motifs on the pockets. She made Western cowboy shirts with embroidered designs on the back. All the embroidery work was done by machine. Mary Ann and Martha’s work would rival any manufacturer’s work.
When Mary Ann was two years old I found out that I was expecting another baby. This pregnancy was different. From the very first, I had a feeling that I would not have this baby. I could not get started to prepare for the baby in any way. During the entire time I carried the baby, I did not make anything for the new arrival.
When I was between four and five months into the pregnancy I told the doctor that I had not felt any movement. I asked him if something was wrong. He assured me that everything was all right and that sometimes women did not feel any movement until after the fifth month.
My doctor at this time was a different doctor. Dr. Stan Jr. had specialized in Eye, Ears, and Throat medicine. Dr. Glen Alan was now taking care of the pregnant women who came to the clinic. He was not like the Doctors Clark. He tried to assure me that everything was all right. The Clarks would have told me that something was not as it should be.
When another month had gone by and there was still no movement I again told Dr. Alan something was wrong. He told me that probably we had counted wrong and I was not as far along as we thought.
Early in September Rex and I went to Strawberry on a fishing trip. When we got home I soon started having labor pains. I called the doctor and since it was Dr. Alan's day out of the office Dr. Stan Sr. came to our home. He checked me and asked me how far along I was. When I told him over six months he told us that the baby had been dead for at least three months and that the baby was only the size of a three-month old. He said that every thing was going along normally and that I would probably deliver that afternoon. He told me to call the office when the pains got regular.
Doctor Clark was correct. The baby came that afternoon. Everything was normal and I soon recovered. We do not know if it was a boy or a girl but it doesn’t make any difference.
I would like my family to know how I feel about this event. I do not know if this little one had lived long enough to have life in the resurrection but this I do know. I do not have to wonder or worry about it. Rex and I were married in the temple for time and all eternity. We will have our children and be a family in the hereafter. If the baby lived long enough to be resurrected we will be able to raise it in the hereafter and if it didn’t that will be all right too. The decision is in the Lord’s hands.
This is one reason why we felt so deeply about our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, etc. being married in the temple. We want our children to be eternal families and we know they can not be without the temple marriage or sealing.
About a year later I discovered I was pregnant again. This time we had our third son, Bart Franklin Larsen, born July 17, 1952. For his first name we shortened my maiden name, Barton, to Bart and added Franklin, which was his Grandfather Larsen’s middle name. He would be a second B. F. Larsen. Bart is very proud of these initials.
When Bart was born I looked up and when I saw him I commented about how blue he was. The doctor immediately moved him out of my sight. The next morning when the doctor came in he asked me how everything was. I told him everything was fine except Bart didn’t want to eat. The doctor said that maybe I wouldn’t want to eat either if I had nearly been choked when I was born.
I asked the doctor if the cord had been around his neck. He said the cord was not only around his neck but that he had gone through a loop in the cord and tied a knot in it. He was born two weeks early and the doctor said this was a lucky thing because in two weeks he would have gained more weight and with the added weight the knot could have been tightened and he would have choked.
Bart was the darling of the whole family. Carolyn and Rayanna were his mothers also. We dressed him real cute. He wore little suits to church and he also had a little hat to wear. He and Mary Ann made a cute two some.
He has always been short, but it didn’t seem to bother him. He was always the leader of his group. Others did what he wanted them to do. He always had one special friend and they always did what he said they should do. These special friends changed from time to time.
Bart’s main interest was math. He was good in that subject. He taught mathematics for a year in a junior high school. He then joined the Air Force and did computer work.
Bart has always had a very keen sense of humor. He could keep a group rolling with laughter at his stories and antics. It would take a book to hold all the stories he told.
Bart completed our family. We now had seven children. Many times Rex and I have said we would have been satisfied with the first five, but oh, how thankful we were that Heavenly Father sent us the last two. They are the topping on our family and we love them very much.
Again, you can see why we say we are rich. We are really the richest couple in the world. We have each other, we have our seven children, and they are all good people. We thank the Lord for the seven special spirits that He sent to our home.
Because the next few chapters contain
personal information about living people,
Within a week after Rex and I were married we traveled to Nevada where Rex went to work for my father as a section gang worker for the Southern Pacific Railroad. This was hard work, but it was depression time and jobs were very difficult to find. We lived with my folks and I cared for my invalid mother and kept house. My father gave us room and board for my work.
Rex had started this work in mid June, 1934. Toward the end of October the section gang had to be cut to size of the winter crew. Since Rex had been the last man hired he was to be the first man laid off.
At that time the area around Elko was not noticing the depression as much as other parts of the country. It would have be quite easy for Rex to go to Elko and find employment. I said we could stay in Elko for a time, but that when we had children and they became old enough to go to school, we would leave Nevada and go back to Utah to raise our family. Nevada was not the place where I wanted to raise our family. Rex said if that was the way I felt we would go back to Utah and find work while there was just two of us. We returned to Provo, Utah and Rex went to work helping his father remodel the family home. He could not find any other employment at that time. Rex and I lived with his family for the next two years.
Occasionally Rex did get a small job doing electrical work for some one but they were only temporary jobs. In the fall of 1936 Rex obtained employment as a teacher in the W. P. A. Adult Night School teaching arts and crafts. He enjoyed this work. He decided to go back to college for a quarter and get his teacher’s certificate so he could teach. He spent one summer term at the Aspen Grove Summer School as a repairman for Brigham Young University. I took our daughter Carolyn and went to Aspen Grove also. We lived in a tent that summer. That fall Rex obtained permanent employment with the Provo School District as a custodian at the Timpanogas School. He worked at this job for eight years until October, 1942 when he obtained employment with U. S. Steel at their Ironton plant as an electrician. Rex was finally working at a job he really enjoyed.
My first employment was as a school teacher. I taught for one year at the Ryndon, Nevada School.
After we were married Rex’s father found a need for a secretary that could help him day or night. He got permission to hire me as a part time secretary even though I was not a student. I worked for Rex’s father for several years.
Professor Larsen, Dad Larsen, was gathering information at that time to write a book about early Utah artists. He visited with their families to get the information he needed. I went with him and would take the notes of the visits in shorthand. We traveled around Utah County, Salt Lake, and other places gathering material for the book. I enjoyed this work very much.
I was employed by BYU for quite a few years. After the work was done for the book, I remained as secretary for Professor Larsen and corrected the journals, papers and exams of his students. I helped at registration time. I also kept the record of what work art students needed to complete so they could graduate.
Rex worked at the U.S. Steel Ironton plant for a year and a half. When the U. S. Steel plant in Orem was completed he was transferred there as the first electrician hired for permanent employment at the plant. He was soon made an instrument technician. Rex was delighted with this new job. He was able to work with the relays and machinery that he had always been interested in.
He submitted several suggestion that would help the company be more efficient. For several of these suggested he received cash remuneration. He worked in most of the areas at the Geneva plant.
Rex retired from U.S. Steel after thirty years on January 31, 1973.
When our last child was three years old we decided that I needed to get employment again. Children were getting ready for college work and the boys were preparing for missions. Rex’s salary would not meet the added expenses.
I obtained employment with Ahlander Hardware Company as an inventory clerk. I worked there for eight years. I was inventory clerk, a secretary, and Pricing Clerk. In fact, I worked at any job in the office where they needed someone.
I left Ahlanders and went to work for BYU as the secretary of married student housing at Wymount Terrace. I worked there for thirteen years and then retired.
From our early youth Rex and I had jobs in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rex held offices in his Aaronic Priesthood quorums and while in college he began his scouting work. He was assistant scoutmaster in the Provo Third Ward. He was soon scoutmaster. When Rex and I went to Nevada he was one of the counselors in the Sunday School superintendancy (presidency).
When we returned to Provo Rex became a Sunday School teacher for the twelve year old boys and girls. In 1944 he was registered as assistant explorer advisor in the Third Ward. When the wards were divided in 1945 Rex was made advisor of the explorer post which included boys from the Third and Rivergrove Wards. This started his many years of scouting.
After Rex retired from U.S. Steel in 1973 he would go to the temple every morning when I went to work. He would do two endowments then I would come to the temple and we would have lunch in the temple cafeteria and I would take Rex home and go back to work.
It wasn’t long until Rex was called to be a worker in the temple. He served as a veil worker until we went on our mission.
When we returned home after our mission Rex went back to the temple and continued working as a veil worker. He and I would do endowments as before. Rex served there until he feet began to give him trouble and he could not stand long periods at a time. I had also retired and we spent several days a week at the temple doing endowments and other ordinances work.
Rex was called to serve as the high priest’s group leader in the Rivergrove First Ward. He held this position until we moved to Orem. Rex worked very hard to be a very good group leader. His son Bart said that he had never seen a high priest’s group directed like his dad directed it. Bart had spent many years in the Air Force and had attended many high priest groups as he was transferred from one base to another.
When Rex and I moved to Orem Rex was again called to work in scouting.
I had begun my church service when I was only a freshman in high school. I was called to be assistant secretary in the Sunday School. The woman who was secretary had asked for a helper. The first Sunday that I began as her assistant she quit coming to Sunday School, so I was called as secretary. held this position for five years until I left for Provo to attend the Brigham Young University. While Sunday School secretary I was also made teacher of the small children. I had the four, five, and six year old children. There were eighteen children in this group. I had an average of sixteen children attending my class each Sunday.
I was given a third calling when I was a junior. I taught the small children in Primary. My family was living in a small branch and a lot of people held several positions. I held three positions at the same time.
While I was attending BYU I started to go to the Third Ward Sunday School so Rex and I could be together. They asked me to teach Sunday School and so I took that position until after we were married and went to Nevada.
When we returned to Provo I was asked to work in Primary as a teacher. I worked at first one position and then another in Primary for over thirty years. I was a teacher, a play leader, a handicraft leader, the secretary and the president of the Primary. I was secretary of the Primary for eight years and president of the Primary in the Rivergrove First Ward for seven years.
The play leader in the Primary taught the boys and girls different games, dancing, and with the help of the chorister many of the Primary songs. I had a different class each week. They had a spring festival every year in Primary. This was an evening entertainment for the parents and older brothers and sisters, and friends. Each class in Primary had a number on the program. The had skits, dances and songs. This was an activity that the children looked forward to participating in.
Primary at that time was only held during the school year. It ran from September to June. Then for three months there was no Primary. Finally the Church decided that the young folks needed Primary and mutual for the teenagers during the summer months also. Primary became a year round activity. The first summer they had summer Primary the nine, ten, and eleven years old boys and girls were taught handicrafts. We taught them to croquet, knit, embroidery, and make things from wood using jig saws. The handicraft leader taught these activities to the older children. The younger children learned games, and dances and listened to stories.
After I was released as Primary president I was made historian of the Primary. This was a new position. A history was to be written about each Primary. The historians were to go back as far as they could find any information on the Primary organization in that ward. Since the Rivergrove Ward had been a new ward formed in 1945 from parts of the Third Ward and the Pioneer Ward I was able to start the Rivergrove history with the first meeting in the Rivergrove Ward.
The Rivergrove Ward had been divided into the First and Second Rivergrove Wards in 1951. I had been president of the Primary in both wards from 1947 to 1955.
I was also called to edit a ward newspaper monthly and to write to the missionaries and service men from the Rivergrove Ward. This I did for five or six years. The Second World War was being fought at that time and there were thirty-three missionaries and service men serving their country and their church from the Rivergrove First Ward.
Each month I gathered news from each organization, news of the missionaries and service men, and other ward news. I also got information about what was going to happen in the ward for the next month. I edited the newspaper and it was delivered to each family in the ward.
I then wrote a letter about news that had happened in the ward. This letter was sent to each missionary and service man along with a letter that was written only to the one it was sent to. That letter let them know how their family was doing and also what was happening in areas they had special interest in. They also received a copy of the ward newsletter.
I became known to the service men and the missionaries as their “Letter-Mom”. I received letters from them almost every month. This gave me the news of what they were doing.
In the fall of 1959 I was called to be a den mother in the cub scouting program. This began my service years in scouting.
I was also called as a teacher of the adult class in Sunday School. I also taught genealogy in the Sunday School. I was called to teach genealogy to the teenage boys and girls so they would get started doing family research while they were young.
From the time we were given our first position in the Church until the last we were busy with some type of church service. We were attending sessions at the temple until Rex became too ill to go.
I was called to type at the Regional Data Processing Center in Orem. I did this for thirteen years until the center was discontinued and the work was taken over by each Stake. Then I continued with the home extraction program typing data in the computer at home.
I became interested in genealogy when I was only twelve years old. I wrote to my mother’s parents to get what information they could give me on their ancestors.
After we were married I began research with a vim. I went to the genealogical library in Salt Lake as often as I could. I helped Rex's Grandmother Larsen with her genealogy work. Grandma Larsen was living with Bent and Geneva Larsen at that time and she was doing research on her family. I would type the material for her and help make the lists for submitting names to have the temple work done.
Rex had been interested in genealogy since he was young. Grandma Larsen had made research interesting to him. Rex supported me in my research work. He would take care of the children on Saturdays while I went to Salt Lake City to the library to work.
I worked on my family genealogy at first and then I started to work on Rex's as well. I worked on both families and soon was obtaining many sheets on both lines.
When I knew more about doing the work I began to help others get started in research. I taught classes in Sunday School to help the people learn how to do research and always was willing to go to the Salt Lake library with someone and help them get started.
The bishop of Rivergrove First Ward had just been released. One Sunday morning he came into the genealogy class, sat down and said, "Now make me interested in doing genealogy." I told him I couldn't do that but I could teach him how to do the work. It would then be his job to get himself interested by doing it.
I had many experiences as I worked on genealogy that were very spiritual. I had the birth date and birth place of my Grandmother Barton but I could never find the entry in any records in England. I knew that my grandmother's parents were Thomas Walley and Jane. But Jane who? I kept looking whenever I went to the library. One time I searched in the records of the English Mission in England. I was able to find my Grandfather Barton's records there but I could not find my Grandmother's records.
Each time I went to the Library I would get the film that had the index of people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints English Mission. I always found two Elizabeth Walley’s listed but when I looked in the film that had the complete entries in it I could not find information about her.
One day Paul had gone to the library with me and we were sitting in an area where there were only three reading machines. I got the two films from the drawers and put the index film on the machine and turned to the listing of the two Elizabeth Walleys. I showed them to Paul and then was going to have him try to find them in the other film when Paul noticed the date of the entries in the index.
Paul told me that these couldn't either one be my Grandmother because the entries had been made after Grandmother had left for America.
I said that she wasn't there and started to rewind the film. Paul left to go get another film and I was left alone in the area. Sometime before that I had discovered that my grandmother had been married before she married my Grandfather Barton. She was married to a man named Cornelius McClean.
As I was rewinding the index film someone spoke very plainly and said, "Look for Elizabeth McClean." I turned to see who it was. No one was there. I turned and went back to the film to look for Elizabeth McClean. I found her. Then going to the other film I found the following entry. "Elizabeth McClean, formerly Walley, born 27 July 1831, baptized 7 April 1857, father Thomas Walley, mother Jane Wright, daughter of John Wright and Elizabeth."
I had found my Grandmother Barton’s record. I now knew who my great grandmother was. I wrote to my researcher in England to tell her. Aubrey Clinch then found the christening records for eight more children of Thomas and Jane Wright Walley. Elizabeth Walley was not an only child as I had been told.
I have had many spiritual experiences as I worked on genealogy whether it was while I was researching, typing at the data entry center, or just just looking through my genealogy books. Many times I get the feeling that a sheet is not complete or that something is missing. When research was done on the family group sheet in question something additional was found.
One day I called Paul and asked him if he had the Oyestad, Norway film. He said he did and wanted to know who was bugging me at that time. I told him that it was Bent Madsen and that we had the marriage date and the christenings of the children and the wife, but no christening date or parents for Bent.
Paul went to the Library in Richfield and searched the Oyestad parish. He found the wife's parents and he verified the information that we already had. In addition he found a man and women named Madsen who were also having children there. The witness to some of the entries was Bent Madsen and on the christenings of Bent's children the witness was the other man. This is pretty conclusive evidence that Bent and the other man and women were brothers and sister. Someone wanted their temple work done. They had accepted the Gospel in the spirit world.
On one of Rex's sheets the mother's name was Marthe Andersen. Her parents were unknown and her birth date was estimated. We had not been able to find any information on Marthe. When Paul and I found the Norwegian farm records we found that Marthe was born in Dypvag Parish. We went into the Dypvag Parish records and found the christening record of Marthe. We also found a Kirsten Andersen who was Marthe's sister.
I submitted the two girls' information to have their baptisms and endowments done and to have them sealed to their parents. One day at the temple I was doing the endowment work for Kirsten. During the ceremony Kirsten said to me, "I was married and I had children, find them"
When we left the temple I told Rex about my experience. He asked me what I wanted to do about it and I said go to Richfield and find them. Rex wanted to know when I wanted to go and I said I wanted to go that afternoon. We went home, put some clothes in a suitcase and went to Richfield.
When Paul came home from work I told him that we had to go to the library and find Kirstin's husband and children. Paul wanted to know when, and I told him “right now.” We went to the library and in just a few minutes we had found the marriage and two children. We could not find her husband, Elling Berulsen's christening. I submitted the information we had found and the work for the two children and marriage sealing was done.
Each time I looked through my book for something I would turn to the family's sheet and the impression would come to me that this sheet was not complete, that something was missing. How was I going to find the christening for Elling?
One day I was typing a sheet of one of the families we had found in the farm records and I questioned some information that was on the sheet. I went to the copies of the sheets of the farm books to check. While I was looking for the information I turned one of the pages and a name on page I was looking at came up about ten inches from the page and there as plain as could be was Elling Berulsen, with his birth date, his parents, Kirsten Andersen, his wife and three sons. The third son had died at birth and so all that was given in the records was his death date.
Elling's temple work was completed and the third son was sealed to them. Now I no longer stop at their sheet to wonder what needs to be done. It is complete.
Our home in Orem is just behind a cemetery. We have always said that we had no trouble with the neighbors behind our home. They have always been quiet neighbors.
Paul and Martha's daughter Tracie always said that our home was spooky and she did not like to sleep here over night. We were talking about Tracie saying it was spooky one time when Ann, Tracie’s sister was here. Ann said that our home was haunted because she had often seen people coming in and out of the genealogy room at night when she went down the hall to the bathroom. Ann said that her husband Russel had said that he had seen them also. I said that was fine as it was just ancestors checking on the work to be sure that it was accurate.
When we returned from our mission Paul told us that he and Bart had been up to the genealogical library and had checked in the archives for additional information on the lines that went quite a ways back in time. He said that they had found a lot and had made copies of the sheets. I started to retype them so they would be the same format as the other sheets they had. Rex and I spent many days at the Library getting additional sheets. We checked every line we had.
I would find the sheets we needed in the archive books, put a piece of paper in the book to mark the sheet, Rex would take the books to the desk and have the sheets xeroxed and then put the books back on the shelf.
All the work that was done was typed, printed, punched, and put alphabetically in family books of remembrance. Each child and grandchild was given a book with their name on each sheet and then their relationship as well.
Rex was unable to read the films. His eyes would begin to water and he couldn't see the writing. I did the research, the typing, and the alphabetizing of the sheets. Rex did the punching, stamping the names, and putting the relationship on the sheets. Rex and I were a good team. We worked together to accomplish the task.
We made fifty-one books. Seven for our children and forty-three for our grandchildren. One grandchild, Danny, had died. We made one additional book as a master copy in case we should need to make more books. The original sheets were put in Rex and my books.
Genealogy is a rewarding work and I promise you that if you get started and diligently work at it you will become addicted to it and won't be able to leave it alone. Try it!!!
After we moved to Orem I started to type at the data entry center. The Center received information that had been extracted from thirty-one stakes. This information was typed into a computer by two different typists. The A typist typed in the information and then the B typist retyped the information to make sure no errors were made. Then the data was put on a tape and sent to Salt Lake where it was transferred to the Church's main computer and then sent to the temples to have the ordinance work completed.
You might think that this would be boring work, just typing names and dates, but it isn't. You are typing names of individuals who lived on the earth who need to have their temple work done so they can be members of God's Kingdom. You can experience promptings from the Spirit there also. Many of the typists said that they would be at home doing something and would be prompted that they needed to be over at the data center typing. Some said the prompting was so strong, that they would leave what they were doing and come to the data center to type.
Many times someone would say that they felt someone standing behind them and when they turned to see who it was, no one was there but they still felt the presence.
While I was typing I would get the impression that I should leave the batch I was typing and type on a different batch. I would heed the Spirit and each time I would find an error or something to be added that was needed to make the entry complete.
The Church decided to close the data centers and have each stake type the material that the member in the stake extracted. Some of the members worked in their homes doing home extraction and typing. I became a home typist for the program in my ward.
Rex and I took many short and long trips during our married life. Sometimes we took the children and sometimes we went without them.
While the children were small most of trips were just for the day up the canyon for a picnic or just to see the scenery. As the children got a little older we would go on overnight camping trips. The kids realty enjoyed these camp outs.
For many years the family would go up Provo Canyon to Deer Creek Reservoir to let the children catch perch. Rex would call from Geneva Steel just before he left for home and tell me that maybe they should go fishing when he got home. I would stop anything I was doing, call the kids and they would get ready to go fishing. The boys would get the fishing gear and worms ready and in the car, the girls would get a coat for each one, the evenings got cool up the canyon. I would go to the store and get the fixings for a picnic supper and by the time that Rex got home, we would be ready to get in the car and go.
The kids always caught some perch. They would fish until they were getting tired and then we would all get in the car and come back down the canyon to Canyon Glen, a picnic area. There we would stop and have our picnic supper and then come on home.
At least once during the summer we would go camping with the Baker family. The two families would go up Hobble Creek Canyon to one of the camping grounds where there were tables and places to pitch tents. We would camp for Friday night and Saturday. The men and older kids would fish and Elda Baker and I would just visit and watch the small children.
The Larsens and Bakers were like family and we always had such good times together. We spent all the holidays together and went on many fishing trips together. Our children were the same ages and were always at one home or the other during the summer. We spent all the holidays together.
Three Special Camping Trips
We had three camping trips that were special after some of the older children were married. One summer we took a trip to the Arches National Monument down by Moab, Utah. Carolyn was married then and she and Kent went with the family. We camped out in an area close to several large arches. and spent two wonderful days there hiking and seeing the arches.
One Labor Day weekend we traveled to the area known as Goblin Valley. It is now a State Park. We camped in a level area near the San Rafael Mountains in south east Utah. The next morning we traveled to the Goblin Valley area and then hiked to see the rock formations in the valley. The formations had been formed by rain and wind that took the sand off the rocks. The formations resembled goblins standing there keeping watch over the valley. You could see all kinds of figures. One formation resembled the head of a bull, horns and all. There were turtles, anything you wished to imagine,
We took canteens of water with us because there was no water available in the valley. As we hiked the water supply diminished and it was finally all gone and we were getting thirsty. We sent some of the fellows on ahead to get more water from where we had camped and bring it back to those who needed it. Kenneth had caught a lizard on the hike and he was one who went for more water. He put the lizard in an empty canteen. After many of us had drunk from the canteen he remembered the lizard and proceeded to empty the canteen. The poor animal had drowned. There were no ill effects to the hikers.
One summer we took the family and went up Spanish Fork Canyon to Tinney Flats. This is a canyon in Central Utah with a nice stream of water coming down through it. The Forest Service had built a camp ground area there. Several of our children were married and had small children and they all went on the camping trip.
We left home Friday afternoon and spent Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday there and then came home Monday afternoon. Rex had obtained permission from the bishop of our ward to hold family church services Sunday morning. This was a wonderful experience. We met and sang songs, had our prayer, the sacrament and Sunday School classes. Then we had a testimony meeting. Every one, children and all, bore their testimony. It was a very special meeting.
There was a large group of us there, and we had four or five tents around the area with our tables and cooking area in the center. The kids played, they went swimming in the creek and had a wonderful time. With such a big group we were getting a lot of trash and the area looked like a disaster area. The ranger would come through the camp ground checking the area and when he came by our area he just shook his head. You knew he was thinking, what a job we will have getting this camp site cleaned for the next campers.
He did not know our tribe. We were a scouting family and had been taught to leave our camping areas as clean or cleaner than we found them. Before we left Monday afternoon we policed the area and every bit of trash was picked up and put in garbage cans or in garbage bags and placed by the cans. A Ranger came by and made the comment that the area looked cleaner than it ever had.
Yellowstone with the Goldings
During June of 1937 Rex and I took our first big vacation. We left Carolyn with her Grandma Larsen and Aunt Celia. Lawrence and Julia Golding were going to Yellowstone Park and wanted someone to go with them to help with the driving and to help pay the gasoline expense. Julia was my niece.
This was a nice vacation. It was the first trip we had been on without the children and it was my first trip to Yellowstone. We spent the week there seeing the attractions and hiking in the park. Fishing was good and didn't require a license. Rex and Lawrence got up early the next morning after we got there and went fishing. I got up a little later and was busy building a fire when another camper came by and asked me if I wanted some fish. He gave me two large trout.
When the fellows returned from fishing they had not caught anything, but I had fish sizzling in the pan and ready to eat. They had their fish breakfast.
San Francisco World's Fair
In July of 1939 we took our second large vacation. The World's Fair was being held on Treasurer Island, an island in the San Francisco Bay. My father wanted to go to California to visit his sons and see the Fair. He was taking my niece Della Svedin with him. He invited Rex and I to go also. Joe was just three months old and I was nursing him so we thought we would have to take him with us.
Dad and Mother Larsen, Celia and Grant went to the fair in June and when they came home Mother said if there was any way of doing it she would take care of Joe so we wouldn't have to take him. It was so hot and crowded there at the fair. I had to see the doctor and I mentioned that Mother had offered to take care of the baby as well as the two girls if it was possible to leave him.
I told the doctor that I was nursing the baby. He said to leave him if I could. I could use a breast pump while on the trip and thus keep my milk and put Joe back to nursing when we returned. He said, “Besides that if Joe got sick while we were gone he would be there to take care of him.
Rex and I went on the trip and enjoyed it very much. We were gone for two weeks. We visited my brothers Charlie, Jack and Joe in Los Angeles and then went up to Alameda and visited my brother Dewey and stayed there while we went to the fair.
While there I had my first airplane ride. Nellie took us out to see the sights in Berkeley and Oakland. We visited the airport and while there a pilot was taking people up to fly over the fair and see it from above. I was afraid of planes and really didn't want to go but I didn't want Rex to know I was afraid. I used the fact that high altitudes made me ill as an excuse not to go. The pilot changed that. He asked me how high the altitude was in Utah where we lived and when I told him over 4000 feet, he said that they were at sea level there in Oakland and were only going to go up 2000 feet. That wouldn't be too high for me. My excuse was no good. I couldn't get out of going so Rex and I had a flight over the fair. It was a pretty sight with all the buildings and people and the midway.
We wanted to take Della with us but my father wouldn't let her go. He was sure something awful would happen.
Trips to Deeth, Nevada
Every summer I took the children and went out to Deeth for a couple of weeks to visit my sister Maude and family. We had a good time playing with Maude's younger children. I had been out to visit every summer since Carolyn was born and continued to go until Kenneth was about nine years old.
Five Kids in California
When Kenneth was nine years old we took the five children and went to California for a visit. While in Los Angeles we stayed with Jack and Jane, my brother and his wife. Jack had a daughter Deanna who was the same age as Joe. While there my brother Charley took us to see the sights. He took us out to eat and treated us royally. He took us to an amusement park. Deanna went with us. We had a marvelous time.
Another day Charley took us to Mexico. There we went to the shops and bought souvenirs. At the first shop the girls saw a necklace and earring set that they wanted. Charley and I tried to convince them that if they waited they would find the same thing for less money further down the street. The girls were sure if they didn't buy them right then that they wouldn't get them. So they bought the necklaces and earrings. Each girl bought a set.
I wanted a leather purse. I priced the purse in the first shop, but decided that it was too expensive. At the first shop they wanted twenty-five dollars for the one I liked. We went on down the street, stopping at each shop and the purse kept getting cheaper and cheaper. Finally at one shop I found the same purse for five dollars and the salesman offered to give me four leather coin purses for the girls. I bought this purse. The girls got the little coin purses. Much to the girls' dismay the necklace and earring set was less than half the price of the one they bought, the same exact set.
One fellow, selling rings on the street, wanted to sell Kenneth a ring. Kenneth told him he only had a quarter, that he had spent his money already. The man told him to ask his dad or mother for the money, but Kenneth told him he had had all the money he was allowed. The man then asked Kenneth how much money he had and when Kenneth said a quarter, the man said OK he had a ring that only cost that much. He put the ring back in his sack and reached down and brought out a ring and took the quarter. The ring was exactly like the one he had first shown Kenneth
We left Los Angeles and went up to Alameda to visit Dewey and Nellie. Nellie took us to a park where we fed the ducks on a pond. The San Francisco Bay came up by Alameda and was right in back of Dewey's home. Kenneth would go over to the bay and catch little tiny crabs. Nellie had him keep them out in the garage. He got some fresh ones the day before we were leaving and was going to bring them home but he forgot them.
We left Alameda and drove north through the Redwood Forest. The kids delighted in seeing the big trees. Rayanna wanted to know where the big trees were. She hadn't seen one. We told her she had been traveling by the big trees for some time, but she was sure they weren't big. We got to a parking area and Rex took the kids over by one of the trees and told them to take a hold of hands and see how far they could reach around the tree. Rex and I held hands with them. Rex marked how far they had reached. We moved and reached from the mark on around the tree. It took more that two times before we got to the mark where we started. Rayanna decided they were big trees.
We went up the coast to Oregon and saw Crater Lake and then came inland to Idaho and back down to Utah and home.
Five Kids to Yellowstone
Rex and I took the five older children to Yellowstone and we enjoyed the geysers and hot pools and other things very much. We enjoyed seeing the animals. We started to count the bears we saw when we saw the first bear. We had to count quite high before we left the park. We fished in Yellowstone Lake and caught fish. It was a good trip.
We drove around the entire loop in the park. When we got to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone we parked and went out to the edge to look down into the canyon. There were signs all around that said roll up your windows when you park. When we came back to the car there was a car parked close to our car that had the window open. A bear was there crawling into the car. We tried to scare him away, but he had smelled food in the car and he wasn’t about to miss any treat.
The bear finally managed to get through the window in to the front seat. He then crawled over the seat to the back seat and found the food. He got him an apple and then decided it was time to vacate the car. He went back over the front seat and back out the window with the apple in his mouth. He then proceeded to leave the area.
We immediately rolled the window up and left a note to let the family know what had happened.
On the trip home from Yellowstone Rex and I tried to find a motel but couldn't. We kept driving and were getting sleepy. We came to a place where there were scales to weigh trucks at the side of the road. We stopped there and Rex and the two boys took sleeping bags and slept on the scales. The three girls and I lay back in the car seats and slept.
I woke up and noticed that it was getting light. I woke Rex up and said I could drive, so he got the boys in the car and we headed for home.
In 1950, we bought our new Keyser sedan. Rex and I decided to go on a trip all alone, just the two of us. My niece Carry had obtained a divorce and she had a boy who was just two years old. I asked her if she would come to Provo and tend our children for a week while we went on the trip, and she did.
Rex and I left on a Saturday for Mesa Verde National Monument in Colorado. On the way we took a little side trip into the Arches, just a short trip. When we got to Cortez, Colorado we decided to get a motel there for the night and go up the mountain to Mesa Verde the next morning. When we awoke the next morning it was snowing. The ground was all covered and when we looked up toward Mesa Verde we could not see the mountain. We decided to by pass Mesa Verde and go on south into New Mexico.
We visited the town of Albuquerque. It had been snowing and raining there and the streets were muddy. We then traveled west into Arizona and visited the Painted Deseret and the Petrified Forest. The Painted Deseret was rock formations of brilliant colors and the Petrified Forest was petrified trees that had fallen and were laying on the ground in pieces.
We then went south to Globe, Arizona. It was after dark when we got there and on the way down a canyon we saw a bobcat on the road. The first we saw of him was his shining eyes as the light of the headlights hit his eyes. Then as he moved off the road, we saw that it was a large bobcat.
From Globe we traveled through an areas where they were building a tunnel through the mountain so the road over the mountain could be closed. We went on to Mesa, Arizona and went to the Mesa Temple and attended a session. We stayed in Mesa that night and the next morning we went on to Phoenix and saw a beautiful garden there. All kinds of desert flowers and plants were growing in the garden.
We then traveled north to Hoover Dam on the Arizona, Nevada border and toured the dam. We went on toward Las Vegas and then turned north and found a camping area near Lake Mead. The next day we traveled on home and found all well there. We had had a wonderful trip. We said that this trip had been our honeymoon since we didn't have a honeymoon when we were first married. It was wonderful just to go where we wanted to and stop when we wanted to, see what we wanted to see, and do what we wanted to do.
Yellowstone and Canada
One summer we took Martha and Kenneth and went on a trip to Yellowstone, Glazier Park and on to Canada and into Cardston. We wanted to go to the temple there and do a session. We had a goal to attend all the temples of the Church.
In Cardston we got a motel, one with a kitchenette so we could cook our meals. We found a motel and when I went to get my purse to pay for the motel I could not find it. We looked all through the car and all through the rooms in our motel, no purse. We had stopped at a restaurant just before we got to Canada and I called them to see if we had left the purse there but they had not seen it.
We had most of our vacation money in my purse and our temple recommends were also in the purse. What would we do? We went back in the motel to search again and there on the bed lay the purse. Kenneth said he knew we would find it because he had been praying that Heavenly Father would help us find it so we could go to the temple.
We decided that we would go out to eat supper before we went to the temple. When the waitress came to take our order we ordered a supper and I asked her what the drinks were that came with the meal. She had not said anything about the drinks. She then told us that it was coffee or tea. She said, “You don't want either one do you, you are Mormons aren't you.?”
We went to the temple that night and sent the kids to the movies. The next morning we started back to the USA. When we got to the border they asked us if we had any fruit. We said that we had a bag of oranges that we had purchased in Montana the day before. The border personnel told us that we could not take the oranges back into the USA. They said that if we wanted to peel them we could take the peeled oranges with us.
We decided to peel the oranges and put them in our cooler. We sat and peeled the oranges. Then we went to put the peelings in the barrel they had said we should put them in. When we emptied our peelings into the barrel we found that it was almost half full of peelings. We were not the only ones who had peeled oranges there.
We went back down through Glazier Park. We had stopped to see Waterloo Park on the Canadian side of the border. That night we camped in Glazier Park. During the evening program the ranger stopped his story and told us to all sit very still and to carefully slide toward the center of the benches. He said that a bear was coming into the area and would come through the seating area. We sat still and the bear came, walked down the aisle, and then on out in to the woods. Then the ranger proceeded to finish the lecture.
The next day we traveled west out of Glazier Park and across Montana. That night we were in Kalispell, Montana where we got a motel. It was Saturday evening and since we did not travel on Sunday we had taken the motel with a kitchenette for two nights. The motel owner told us that if we were planning on cooking and needed to buy anything we would have to do it that night because nothing was open on Sunday.
We found the number for the Mormon missionaries in the phone book and the next morning we went to church. After we had had our dinner Martha and Kenneth wanted to go to a show. There was nothing to do at the motel but sleep or read. They coaxed for so long time, finally Rex decided that I should take them to the show and he would stay at the motel. We went down town and we found that nothing was open, no stores, no movies, nothing. So we went back to the motel.
We were close to Washington, and the Grand Coulee Dam. We wanted to see it so we traveled on west Monday morning. We toured the dam and that night we camped on the shores of the lake behind the dam. There the kids swam and had a wonderful time. Rex and I just rested.
Then we headed home.
Bart and Mary Ann in Yellowstone
When Bart and Mary Ann were young kids we took them to Yellowstone and let them enjoy the sights and animals in the park. We left the park by the north entrance and then went east past the park to the eastern part of Wyoming. We had heard how good the fishing was in the Windy Mountains of Wyoming and we wanted to try our luck there. When we arrived in the area where we wanted to fish we discovered that it was on an Indian Reservation and a special fishing license was required for each person who fished. Each license cost $10.00. We decided this was too expensive and so we went on south.
The map showed that there was a small lake to the south and showed camp grounds by the lake. We decided this would be a good place to camp and try our luck at fishing there. We headed for the lake.
There was a small town just south of the lake and we stopped at a store to buy some worms for fishing. Rex asked the manager if there was any good fishing near there. He asked how the fishing was at the little lake. The manager asked Rex if we wanted the kids to be able to catch fish. We said we did. He asked if we carried water with us so we could make a dry camp. We told him we did. He asked us if we minded hiking about three fourths of a mile over a small hill to a creek. We said we didn't. He then told us how to get to the camp site and where to hike to find the creek and good fishing. He told us to take bread, butter, a frying pan and fishing gear and hike to the creek. He said that we would catch plenty of fish. They would be small, but all legal size and very good eating.
We followed his directions, found the little road leaving the lake and traveled on it until we came to a spot at the side of the road that was near a dry creek bed. There we camped for the night. The next morning we got up and after breakfast we took our fishing gear, frying pan, bread and butter and started our hike. It was an easy hike and we were soon at the creek.
We put our lines in and soon had a few fish. Then we moved up the creek. We came to a beaver dam and in the pool behind the dam we could see fish swimming. There must have been nearly a hundred fish in the little pool. When we dropped our hooks into the water we could watch the fish come and take the bait. All four of us were catching fish, one after another. We caught our limits in no time. Rex built a fire by the creek side, cleaned the fish and I started frying fish. As soon as I got one pan full done, Bart and Mary Ann started eating them. I put some more fish in the pan to cook. We ate fish and bread and butter until we were all full.
We then went on up the creek and caught more fish which we took back to camp. Just before we started back to camp we met another fisherman. He told us that an easy way to go from there was to follow the little used road from the creek back to the camping area. This we did and were soon back at camp. The next morning we had a fish breakfast and then started home.
We Pick Up Joe from His Mission
In 1961 we traveled east to pick up Joe after he completed his mission in the Southern States. We took Dad and Mother Larsen with us. The first day we traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico and stayed there that night. We then visited the old Catholic Mission there and then went on to Carlsbad Caverns and toured the cave.
The next day we started the long trip across Texas. What a big state! We spent one night in Texas and the next day we traveled into Mississippi where we stopped to visit an artist friend of Dad and Mother Larsen by the name of Marie Hull. We spent the night at her place. Dad and Mother were going to stay and visit with her for a time and then go north to Chicago and then home.
The next morning Rex and I went on east across Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to Atlanta, Georgia where the mission home was. When we got to Atlanta we had no idea how to get to the mission home. We stopped at a service station and got a map of the city. We then called the mission home and asked how to get there. The mission president gave us detailed instructions on how to get to the mission home and as he gave the instructions to me, I told Rex and he marked the way on the map. When he finished giving the instruction Rex had our way all marked. I told the president we would see them in about a half hour. He told me it would take longer than a half hour.
Rex was a good navigator and while I drove he watched the map and told me where to turn and which way to turn. About a half hour later the Mission president told Joe that it was about time for our second call. He said that all the parents who came to get their missionaries would call for instructions and then about a half hour later they would call again because they were lost. He said after two or three calls he would tell the parents to stay where they were, that someone would come and get them.
While he was talking to Joe they heard a car drive into the yard and came out to see who it was. There we were. The mission president was surprised and asked us how we had done it after only one call. I told him Rex was a good navigator and had brought us right to the right place.
That night we spent at the mission home, the president told us that we would sleep in the room where prophets had slept. He said that when the General Authorities visited the mission they always slept in that room.
The next morning we traveled on east and south into Florida. Joe was anxious to show us where he had served his mission. We had brought our camping equipment and intended to camp but Joe said he wasn't camping on the ground in the south. We stopped by the Swannee River. The river that inspired Stephen Foster's song. When we got out of the car Joe walked off the road and stomped his foot on the grass. Bugs ran in every direction. He told us that was why he didn't want to sleep on the ground as he wouldn't like his bed partners. We decided he was right.
We traveled down the east coast of Florida to the Everglades and across Florida to Miami. We got a motel in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami. When we asked the manager the cost of a double motel for the three of us with a kitchenette he quoted a price that was higher than we thought we could afford. We said that was too high, especially since we would need it for three or four nights. Immediately he told us that he had another cabin that he could let us have for eight dollars a night. He showed us a very nice cabin with two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and the bathroom. There was a television and everything was furnished. even cooking utensils, dishes, dish towels, everything.
We spent four nights there and we were the only ones in the area all that time. He had given us a price we couldn't turn down when he discovered we would be there for several nights.
While we were there we went on south to Key West. It was a beautiful drive along the Keys. There was ocean on both sides of the road and palm trees along the way. Bridges took us across the water between the Keys. We then came back north. One day we spent deep sea fishing. We went out on a commercial fishing boat for the day's fishing. There were about ten or twelve people on the trip. The fishing gear and bait were furnished. When the pilot of the boat got out where he wanted to have us fish he dropped anchor, fixed our poles and showed us how to cast in to the ocean. Some of us were catching small fish but nothing big.
I had a bite and when I reeled it in and as it broke water the pilot came out of the cabin real fast and hollered for no one to touch the fish that it was poisonous. It was a brilliantly colored fish, very beautiful. Rex wanted a picture of it so he got his camera and took a picture while it was still hanging from the line out over the water. Then the pilot brought the fish in, cut the line above the fish and let it drop in to a bucket. After the fish had died he threw it back in the water.
We traveled up the east coast of Florida to Cape Canaveral and toured the area and saw where they launched the space ships. We went on north to Daytona Beach. We spent one night there and had a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. We walked the beach where they held the Daytona car races.
Then we traveled on north to South Carolina and went to the home of Bill and Margery Allen. They were members who Joe had known while he was there during his mission. Bill had told Joe that if he would bring us to visit them he would take us out for some good fishing. Bill was a game warden and he knew where the good fishing was. Many of the ponds were privately owned and were stocked by their owners.
The next morning we set out for our fishing trip. We were taken to a beautiful area where there was a pond surrounded by trees. There was a black man fishing there. He was an older man. When we got our lines in the water Rex started a conversation with the man and had an interesting time talking to him. He told Rex that when he had got too old to work his owner had given him a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and he could fish all he wanted to. He said that if he got ill he was taken to a doctor. He was satisfied that he had a very good deal, no worries.
Rex caught two or three small bass but no one else caught anything. Finally the black man caught something. He was sure he had a large fish as it was pulling so hard on his line. When he reeled it in he discovered that he had caught a snapping turtle. He was surely excited. He was afraid it would grab his finger. He cut his line up above the turtle and let it crawl off in the grass. At least we had some excitement for a few minutes.
Bill Allen felt so sorry that we had not had better fishing. We told him not to worry we had enjoyed the day and were satisfied.
We then traveled north to Washington, D. C. and climbed to the top of the Washington Monument. We visited the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. We toured the White House, visited the Capitol building and the Smithsonian Museum.
We went up through Pennsylvania to the Hale farm on the Susquehanna River where Joseph Smith translated part of the Book of Mormon. We visited the place on the river where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized and where they they received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist. We also visited the place where it is thought that the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored by Peter, James, and John. This started our trip following the Mormon Pioneer Trail to Utah.
We went on north through New York to Palmyra. We visited the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith received the first vision when he saw the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and where Joseph was told that none of the churches of that time had the true gospel, but that he would be the one to restore the truth.
We visited Joseph Smith's home there in Palmyra and went to the Hill Cumorah, walked to the top and saw the statue of Moroni, the angel who gave the golden plates to Joseph Smith from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
We then started west. We visited Niagara Falls, took the voyage on the Maid of the Mist up by the falls, and then went along the lake to Ohio.
We visited Kirtland, Ohio where the Saints settled and built the first temple. We were able to visit the temple and go inside. When we first got there, there was no one around but it was open so we went in and took several pictures of the inside of the bottom room. A tour guide came in and told us we were not allowed to take pictures. He did not know that we already had taken some. He took us up to the second floor to see the room there and said that he would take us to the third floor and then when we went outside he would point out areas where the early leaders of the church lived.
As we left the second floor he asked us to sign the register that was there by the door. Another couple had come in while we were in the room on the second floor and they signed the register also. The guide looked at the register and saw that we were Utah Mormons. His attitude changed and as we started up to the third floor he said that only members could go to that floor. The temple was owned by the Reorganized Church. We went back down stairs and waited for him to come down. When he came down stairs we mentioned that he had promised to point out the places where the early leaders lived but he said he didn't have time.
We went over to the Eli Whitney store where Joseph Smith had an office above the store and where Joseph Smith received many of his revelations.
From Kirtland we went south to the Johnson Farm where Joseph Smith stayed for some time and received many revelations.
We then traveled on west through Indiana and to Carthage Jail in Illinois. We toured the jail and saw the room where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot and killed. We saw the blood stain on the floor and the window that Joseph fell from when he was shot.
The next place of interest was Nauvoo. There we visited the Nauvoo Temple site and the place where Joseph Smith had his store. We toured the Mansion House and the Nauvoo House. The Mansion House was one of the homes of Joseph and Emma Smith. It is a beautiful building. Rex's great grandmother, Flora Clarinda Gleason Wasburn lived there for a time after Joseph Smith was martyred.
Flora was relief society president in the community just north of Nauvoo when Joseph asked the relief society to fashion an undergarment to be worn in the temple when they did ordinance work. Flora told Rex's grandmother, Lorena Washburn Larsen, how they decided to make the garment. She told her that in those days underclothing was made with long legs and sleeves and a small collar. Buttons were hard to get so they were saved for trimming on dresses and outer clothing. The undergarments had strings of material sewed at intervals down the front on both sides and were tied to hold the garment together. So this was the pattern they used for the garment.
The long sleeves and long legs were not a problem because all the clothing, even dresses were all made with long sleeves and the length was to the ankle. In the early 1920's the style was changed and the garments had short sleeves and short legs.
In Nauvoo we also visited the log house that was the Smith home when they first settled Nauvoo. It was in the garden outside this home where Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma are buried.
The Reorganized Church owns the Mansion House, Nauvoo House, and the log home. The guide here in Nauvoo was very nice and showed us everything. We also visited many of the homes of the early residents. We were able to visit the area where Great Grandfather Abraham Washburn had his tannery there in Nauvoo.
There was a Catholic high school there in Nauvoo and they were holding their graduation and parents from all around the area had come to Nauvoo for graduation. We could not find a motel in the area. We had to cross the Mississippi River and go to Montrose, Iowa to find a motel.
The next day we travelled west. We visited Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove, places where the pioneers had stopped to plant gardens to provide food for the pioneers who would be following them. We traveled south to Independence, Missouri and visited the Mormon visitor’s center there and the building that was built by the Reorganized Church. We stood at the spot where Joseph Smith stood and dedicated the site for the building of a temple there in Independence.
We visited Adam-ondi-ahman where it is believed the Garden of Eden was and where Adam will call his posterity together to receive their reports. This is an interesting place. There is a tree growing at the top of the hill that overlooks a large valley. It is large enough to hold a multitude of people and would be like an amphitheater where many could hear someone standing on the hill and talking to them. We also visited Far West where the saints lived for a time and where they laid the corner stones for a temple there.
We went north to Council Bluffs, known as Winter Quarters by the Pioneers. This was another starting point for the saints coming west. It is here that they lost many of their babies and small children. A monument of a young couple standing and looking down in to an open grave is placed in the cemetery there and in the area where the small children were buried. There is an area with names of as many as they could find carved around the statue. My aunt Ellen Barton who died there is buried in this area.
We travelled across Nebraska following the North Platte River and visited all the interesting places on the Mormon Trail. In Wyoming we visited Register Cliff where pioneers carved their names. We saw the place where the many wagons made deep ruts in the rock. We saw the place where the Pioneer and Oregon Trails split, one going north and the other on west. We visited Independence Rock, a noted landmark on the Pioneers trail.
We saw Chimney Rock and Fort Bridger. We visited Martin's Hollow where the Handcart company camped when they were caught by a severe snow storm and where they were when Brigham Young sent men with wagons to bring them to Salt Lake City. Many of the Pioneers had perished there. Rex's Great Grandmother Staker was in the company and had her two small children with her.
When we came down Echo Canyon we went to Hennifer and came down over Big Mountain to the “This Is The Place” monument overlooking the Salt Lake Valley and on to the Salt Lake Temple where we took our last pictures of the trip.
Joe had missed the mountains while he was on his mission and he was anxious to get home. When it was his turn to drive he hated to stop. Coming across Nebraska where it was just wide open spaces with nothing to see he traveled as fast as he could. They were curing alfalfa in large plants. They used heat to cure the alfalfa and oh what a smell. We were trying to locate a motel for the night and as we approached a town we would tell Joe to try and find a motel there. As we got closer the smell from the alfalfa would get so strong and the plant was always located in the town so Joe would keep going to get out of the smell.
New York World's Fair
When Bart was twelve years old we decided to go east to New York and see the world's fair that was being held in New York City. We wanted to take Mary Ann and Bart with us. Kenneth was on his mission and all the older kids were married. Mary Ann did not want to go. She had a boy friend and wanted to stay home. Paul and Martha were spending the summer at BYU and were living in Wymount Terrace. They agreed to let Mary Ann stay with them. Mary Ann said she could stay home alone but we said no, she would stay with Paul and Martha.
Rex, Bart and I started on our trip. We traveled east through Denver and then on to Kansas. They had been having floods through Kansas and Missouri. In Kansas we went through areas that were in devastation from the flood. At one place we saw a house down by the river, in fact half of the house was in the river. It was setting at a peculiar angle. It had been washed off it’s foundation and brought down the river by the flood waters and left there.
We went through a town where the flood had been and we saw a Laundromat on the main street that had been flooded. There had been enough water inside the building to take the washers and dryers from where they were installed and left them at different angles in the room.
We camped at a roadside camp ground one night, put up our tent and went to bed. The mosquitoes were there in droves. They decided we would provide a good lunch. We couldn't stay in our sleeping bags because it was so warm and we couldn't stay out of the sleeping bags because of misquitos. The next morning we started on our way. We soon came to a small town. I went into a store and bought three sheets. I had decided that we would have a light covering if we got in a situation like that again.
We stopped at Hannibal, Missouri and visited the museum where items of Mark Twain were displayed. We visited the cave where Tom Sawyers and Becky Thatcher were supposedly lost. We then headed north and went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Here we visited the homes and businesses of the early Mormon pioneers.
From Nauvoo we headed east toward Chicago. Rex did not like to travel through large cities and he wanted to by pass Chicago. Bart and I wanted to see it.
Rex and I always took turns driving for fifty miles at a time. Bart and I got out the map the night we stayed in Nauvoo. We figured out who would have to start driving the next morning in order for me to be driving when we came to the turnoff to Chicago.
The next morning Rex had been driving and had given the wheel to me. He went to sleep before we reached the turnoff. I went off the freeway and proceeded toward Chicago. We arrived at Chicago just at rush hour. People were on their way to work. This slowed us down. It was bumper to bumper traffic, three lanes on a freeway over the top of the houses in Chicago. As we slowed almost to a stand still Rex woke up and wanted to know what was the matter. We told him there was nothing the matter, just slow traffic through Chicago. Bart and I had been able to see Chicago from above.
We drove straight through Chicago to the lake and then around Lake Michigan. We traveled through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. We went up the edge of New York to Niagara Falls. Here we viewed the falls, took a trip on the boat,” Maid of The Mist.” It went up the river to the falls and back to the observation tower.
Then we traveled to Palmyra where we got a camping spot on a farm of a lady there. It was time for the Hill Cumorah Pageant there in Palmyra and we wanted to see it. The lady had a large farm and each summer she would prepare her farm to accommodate campers. This was her means of supporting herself.
Rex and I drove up to the house and told her we wanted to rent a place to camp. She said we could camp wherever we wanted to, out on the open field or across the field in the trees. There was a large tree near the house and Rex asked her if we could camp under that tree. She said we could.
We parked by the tree and started to take camping items out of the trunk. We took out a cooler, a camp stove, a card table and chairs, a tent, sleeping bags, and our suitcases. The women watched and then she came over and asked us how we got all those items in a sedan. She said when she looked in the car and didn't see any camping equipment between the seats she thought we were just going to sleep in the car.
There was a trailer parked near the back entrance of the house. She said two ladies owned the trailer, and that they were out seeing the sights in the area. She said that they were afraid to travel at night and did all their sight seeing in the daylight hours. She asked Rex if our family was going to see the pageant and when he said we were she asked him if we would mind taking the two ladies with us so they would be able to see the pageant.
We were happy to take them. When we asked them if they would like to go with us they gladly accepted the invitation.
Monday evening we took the two ladies and went over to the Hill Cumorah where the pageant would be held. It was held on the hillside. It was the story of the Book of Mormon. Chairs were set up on the ground at the foot of the hill where the audience sat and viewed the pageant. They could accommodate about four or five thousand spectators each night. The darkness formed the curtain for changing scenes.
On the way from the camp ground to the pageant we had talked about going north to the St. Lawrence River that flowed into the Great Lakes. We wanted to see the locks that aided the ships and boats from the river to the lake and visa versa. The ladies told us that when we got there we should go up on the top of the observation tower because we would get a better view of the proceedings. They said it would cost us something to see it from the top but was worth it.
The ladies were thrilled with the pageant and offered to pay us for taking them, but of course we wouldn't accept anything. We were going anyway and were happy to take them.
The next day as we traveled north toward the lock. Bart asked if we were going to go up on top of the tower. We told him we would wait and see how much it cost and if it was worth it. As we neared the locks Bart told us that we could go up on the tower, that the ladies had given him some money the night before and had told him to take his parents up on the tower.
We enjoyed seeing how they brought a ship in to the lock, closed the gate behind it and then opened the gate in front of the ship and let the water from the lake come in and raise the water in the lock to the level of the lake so the ship could enter the lake. As the large ship moved out of the lock we saw that three or four small boats had come into the lock beside the ship and were going in to the lake also.
We then traveled east through New York to Vermont and visited Sharon, Vermont. This was the birthplace of Joseph Smith. There is a visitor's center and a monument there.
We traveled through New Hampshire and then south through Massachusetts and to Rhode Island, back west into Connecticut and then south to New York City. We had already reserved rooms in a home that had been rented by the Church to provide housing for the members of the church who came to New York to see the World's Fair. It was a large home and many families would spend the night there. We had the room reserved for two nights.
The next day we went out to the fair and saw all the exhibits there. The day after that we took a boat ride around Manhattan Island. When we got back to the dock we asked the captain of the boat how to get to the ferry that would take us out to the Statue of Liberty. The captain said there were three ways to get there. We could go up the street about a half block and get a bus that would take us there, we could go further up the street and take the subway to the ferry or we could go out in front and get a taxi. He told us that since there were three of us it would be just as cheap to take the taxi and the taxi would get us to the ferry in five minutes where the bus or subway would take longer.
We decided to take the taxi. We got in and the driver started down the street. I looked at the speedometer and we were going ninety miles per hour. He was weaving in and out of traffic. Five minutes later he stopped at the ferry building.
We went out to the Statue and after seeing the grounds and the outside of the statue, we climbed the many stairs up to the lady's eyes where we could look out over the country side. It was a thrilling experience.
When we first arrived in New York we had asked the lady who took us to our sleeping room what would we do if we decided we needed to stay an extra night. She said we should just call her and tell her that we were staying another night. Then when we left the next morning we should leave the money for the room in the dresser drawer and the girl who came in to clean the room would pick it up and take it to her. We stayed an extra night.
We then traveled south to Washington D. C. and saw the sights there. We then traveled on south to South Carolina to visit Joe and his family. Joe and Sarah Jean had one baby at that time. Joey was just learning to walk and Bart had a great time with him. Then we traveled home
Canada and Alaska with Bart
We took Bart and went on a trip up through Washington state into Canada and on up to Alaska. This was a fun trip. We first went to Washington and stopped for a night at Eugene and LaPreal's place. We then went on to the coast over by Seattle. We planned to camp near the coast. As we got close to the ocean Bart wanted to know if we could go swimming in there and I told him yes and that I would go with him.
When we arrived at the camp grounds it was beginning to rain and it was getting quite cool. We put up our tent and I tried to get Bart to change his mind about going swimming. He insisted we go so we put on our swimming suits and started down towards the beach. The camp grounds were up on a level about ten feet above the beach.
As soon as we got to the water's edge Bart was in the water and going out to where he could swim. I was a little slower. I had worn my coat and so I took it off, put it on some drift wood up on the beach, and started out for the water. When I stepped in the water it was cold. I slowly walked out and when I was in water up to my hips I called to Bart and told him the water was just too cold and that we had better go back. He agreed with me and so got out of the water. He said now he knew why lobsters were red. It was because they were in such cold water.
Up on the beach there were a group of teenagers building a fort. They were using the drift wood that they picked up along the beach. They were going to have a party and roast wieners and marshmallows. They wanted the fort for a protection from the wind and cold. The tide was coming in and the water got closer and closer to the fort. They tried to build a dike out of sand. They piled it about twelve to fifteen inches high. But the waves would come in and wash the sand away.
The next morning after we had our breakfast we went over to the brow of the hill and looked down to the beach to see if their fort was still there. It wasn't. The tide had washed it down and the drift wood was scattered along the beach as it has been the night before.
We traveled on up the coast to Port Angeles, Washington. Here we took ferry over to Victoria on Vancouver Island. We had purchased a case of cherries while we were in Washington and we had them with us. When the ferry arrived in Victoria the custom officers came aboard and were checking the cars. They asked us if we had any cigarettes or liquor with us. We told him them “no” but that we did have a box of cherries with us. One go the officers said “aren't you lucky.” He looked in our trunk and then told us to proceed to leave the ferry.
Victoria was a beautiful city. All of the motels in the city were located down one street. It was easy to find a place to stay. We got our motel and then went out to see Victoria. We visited the Sunken Gardens. They were on an estate that had been an open ground mine, thus they were about ten feet lower than the surrounding area. There were flowers of every kind and color.
We had planned to take the boat up the inland passageway to Alaska. We were going to take our car with us and then drive down the Alcan Highway back to Canada. When we went to investigate the price of the trip we found that it was very expensive and that the boat was all booked for transporting cars. It would be about ten days before we could schedule a trip. We decided to cross over from Vancouver Island to the main land and drive up through British Columbia to Prince Rupert and take a boat from there for a one day trip to Ketchikan, Alaska.
Our boat trip up to Ketchikan was very interesting. The boat was going up the strait between two mountain ranges with glaziers all along the way. On the way up we had a little excitement on board. A women had an acute attack of appendicitis. They radioed for a helicopter that came out to the boat and took her back to the mainland to a hospital.
When we arrived in Ketchikan we noticed a bus about a block up the street and people were disembarking from another ship and getting on the bus. We decided maybe we could go with them and tour Ketchikan. We went up and asked the bus driver if it would be possible for us to join the group. He directed us to go on the boat and asked the officer in charge. We did and he was happy to let us join the group.
We were able to see much more of Ketchikan than we would have just walking around. We went down the narrow streets and crossed the bridge where we could see salmon coming into the river to go up for spawning. We visited the park where they have gathered a large group of totem poles. We went to a building and saw some dances by some Indians. They had interesting costumes. They were dresses with beautiful designs formed by buttons of different sizes and shapes.
Ketchikan is an interesting small fishing town. It is built on the hill side. You go from one street to another by climbing stairs up the hill. There were very few cars there. They must go all the way down one street and then make a turn and go up the hill to the next street and back along that street.
We had parked our car in a parking lot near the ferry building in Prince Rupert and had left for Ketchikan at 7:30 AM. We had about five hours to see Ketchikan and then board a boat to return to Prince Rupert. We arrived there at 7:00 the next morning.
We then left Prince Rupert and traveled through British Columbia to the Alcan Highway. We traveled about fifty miles up the Alcan Highway and then decided to return and head south.
We went east to Alberta and then south to Calgary and spent the night there. Then we went south to Banff and Jasper Parks there in Alberta. We visited the Columbia ice fields and took a snowmobile bus for a trip out on the ice field. We saw crevices that were very deep and learned just how big the ice fields were.
Jasper and Banff Parks were very interesting. We took a trip out on one of the lakes up to where the water from the glaziers flowed down into the lake. We stopped at a little chalet and had our supper and then went on to a camp ground and put up our tent. It was raining as we put up the tent and was getting colder and colder.
The next morning we discovered that during the night our breath had frozen on the side of the tent and as it melted the next morning it was getting things wet. We took the tent down and went back to the chalet for breakfast. We had noticed when we were there for supper the night before that they had cabins to rent. We were sure that they would be as expensive as places were in Jasper so we didn't want one. After breakfast we asked them what the cost of a cabin for one night would be and they told us eight dollars. We had put up a tent in the rain and cold when we could have been in a warm dry cabin for only eight dollars.
After breakfast we headed south from the parks down through Montana and Wyoming on our way home.
Mexico and Canada
One summer Kenneth took Bart and traveled to Mexico to hunt and catch lizards for Kenneth to study in pursuit of his PhD. Rex and I decided to spend his ten week vacation traveling in Mexico and visiting my brothers in California. We left Provo and went east and south through New Mexico and Texas.
When we got to San Antonio, Texas we went south to Brownsville, Texas. Here we purchased car insurance for the trip to Mexico. We received a detailed map and itinerary for our trip to Mexico from the insurance company. The outline of the trip included details of everything along the way even the bad spots in the road were described. It even named places to eat and sleep.
At the Mexican border we had to go through customs. An officer asked us to open the trunk and then asked us to take everything out. This included or camping gear and luggage. When we got it all out the officer said, “OK put it back.” We found out later that if we had given him five or ten dollars we wouldn't have had to take anything out of the trunk.
We spent the first night in Mexico at a motel. It was a nice place and had a good bed. The next morning we traveled down the east coast of Mexico and then started west to Mexico City. On the way we stopped at a road side stand up on the mountain. We had just crossed a bridge across a ravine when we saw blankets and other items by the roadside. At first no one was in sight but it wasn't long before a man appeared. We purchased a serape from him for five dollars.
We came to a little village where the travel directions indicated there was a small villa that provided good accommodations for travelers. We followed directions through the village to the villa and obtained a room for the night.
When we went in to supper a waiter came to take our order. He stood at the side of the table the entire time we were eating and was there to answer any questions we had. When we were about finished eating he handed us a packet of post cards and said they were for us. They were pictures of the villa and the surrounding area.
The next day we continued on to Mexico City. We tried to get a map of the city but could not find one. We were entering Mexico City on the northeast corner and we wanted to get to the mission home that was in the southwest corner. We had no idea how to get there. We could speak no Spanish and we had no map. How would we find the mission home?
We started down the main street and as long as the street numbers kept getting smaller we decided we were on the right track. Finally the numbers were getting bigger. We stopped by the side of the street and stopped a pedestrian. We showed him the address of the mission home and indicated that was where we wanted to go. The man spoke in Spanish and started to tell us how to get there. He was also giving hand signals to show the way.
We thanked him and drove on. For a while everything was OK Then we again decided we needed help. We stopped again and showed the address to a man and asked for help. Again, he gave us word and hand directions. On we went up an incline and found ourselves on a freeway headed north out of the city. We exited at the next opportunity and as we came off the exit we found ourselves in a police compound. We drove right through and were back on another street.
After several attempts to get to our destination we came to a service station. We stopped and were fortunate to find a man there who could speak English. We showed him the address and he explained how to get there.
We thanked him and went on our way. We came to the street he had indicated but we could not find the mission home. We could not find any addresses on the buildings. We kept looking and about a half hour later we were back at the service station where we had been before.
We again asked for directions and told them our problem. There was a taxi there and we suggested that he tell the taxi driver to lead us there and we would pay him for the service but he said no, we could find it. He told us the addresses were on the curb not up on the houses. We thanked him again and left. This time we managed to find the mission home.
When we knocked on the door a young missionary opened it and invited us in. We told him we were from Utah and wanted to know if they could recommend a good hotel where we could stay for a few days. There were several other missionaries there and they all began to offer suggestions. They asked if we had a map of the city so they could show us how to get to the hotel. We told them we did not have a map. They were surprised. One of the missionaries asked us how we had found the mission home without a map. He said he had been in Mexico City several months and still would not go anywhere without his map.
They told us where to go and we left. Back through the city we went. We couldn't find the hotel they suggested but we did find one the insurance company had said was nice and was reasonably priced. We stopped and engaged a room for several nights.
While in Mexico we engaged a tour guide. We parked our car in a secured parking lot behind the hotel. It had a watchman there at all times. The guide took us to see the places of interest in and around Mexico City.
We drove out of town to different places where there were ruins of old cities. We saw the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. We hiked to the top of the Pyramid of the Moon. I did not go to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. I stayed in the car and Rex hiked up alone.
We visited the city of three hundred and sixty five churches. A church had been built for each day of the year. We visited some of the churches and were able to go inside. The guide stopped at shops along the way and let us do some shopping. He took us to a nice little restaurant for lunch. We saw many things and had a wonderful time.
In Mexico we went to a bull fight. During the fight Rex took pictures and I read the pamphlet that described the fight. I didn't enjoy seeing the cruelty to the bull. I also didn't want to see the matador get injured.
Sunday we had the guide take us to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had two English speaking wards there in Mexico City. We attended Sunday School and sacrament meeting. There was to be a meeting at 2:00 PM. President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Howard W. Hunter would be there and would talk. Their wives were accompanying them.
We had planned on going to a store some place and get something for lunch. When the sacrament meeting was over a lady there in the ward asked us what we were going to do for lunch. We told her we would go out and get lunch. She told us that if we left we would not be able to get a seat when we got back. The place would fill in a short time. She told us she had a picnic lunch with her and there was plenty for us. She said one of us should stay in the building and save our seats and the other one could come with her and have something to eat and then come back in the church and trade places with the other one who could then come out and eat.
We did this and had a lovely meal. Her husband was the building supervisor for the Church in Mexico City. She said we could eat the lettuce she had brought without worrying that it was sanitary as they had their own garden and knew what water was used for watering it.
In Mexico we were advised not to eat raw leafy vegetables or to drink the tap water. Sanitation was poor in Mexico. The insurance brochure gave us eating places where we would be safe. We were told that as we left our room in the morning we should leave a peso on the dresser for the cleaning women and when we returned at night we would find a pitcher of ice water that would be good to drink.
We had been collecting silver pesos so that we would have one for each of our grand children when we got home. One afternoon when we came back to the hotel to rest before going downstairs to have supper in the cafe we were checking our pesos to see how many we had collected. We had about twenty or more. We had put them on the dresser. When we went down to supper we had forgotten the pesos and they were left on the dresser. During the meal we happened to remember what we had done. We knew that every evening while we were eating the maid went into the room and turned the bed down for us and made sure the pitcher was full of water. We were sure the pesos would be gone.
When we got back to the room we checked. The pesos ware still there, all but one. The bed had been turned down and the pitcher refilled. The maid had been there but she had taken only one peso. The next morning when we went downstairs we told the desk clerk what had happened and commented about the honesty of the maid.
In Mexico City we met Kenneth and Bart. We were sure they would come to the meeting and so after we had both had lunch I stood outside watching for them. They finally arrived and I had them come in and sit by us. It was a good thing that I had found them because they were getting short of money and were going to have to cut their trip short so they would be able to get home.
They had been sleeping in their van and had not been able to take showers. Since we did not have transportation back to the hotel and had planned on hiring a taxi to take us back we had them take us there. We engaged a room for them for one night so that they would be able to have a good bed and could take a shower. We took them to supper Sunday evening and to breakfast Monday morning.
After breakfast we took them to the American Express office and transferred some of our travelers checks to them so they would have money to get home.
When President Smith and party came into the church for the meeting the entire congregation stood and started to sing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” I have never before or since heard that song sung with such emotion and sincerity. I was going to sing in English while they sang in Spanish but I soon stopped and listened. President Smith and Elder Hunter both spoke. They both used and interpreter. Then Sister Jessie Evans Smith sang a song she had learned in Spanish. It was a very inspiring meeting.
We left Mexico City and traveled back up the east coat to Brownsville, Texas. We then went across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to California. We crossed the hot desert. It must have been at least 120 in the shade and there was no shade. We stopped to have lunch. We got out of the car and opened the trunk to get our food out of the cooler. The sun was so hot we closed the trunk got back in the car and went on. We kept traveling until we got to the mountains and found a nice picnic spot. Our lunch was delayed until about 3:30 that afternoon. We arrived in Los Angeles that evening and went to Charley and Fern's to stay.
After visiting with Charley and Fern, and Jack and Jane we went north to Alameda and visited with Dewey and Nellie and then on north through the redwoods to Oregon. We went to Crater Lake and then on north to Washington and up to Canada. We visited Banff and Jasper parks in Alberta, Canada and then came back west to British Columbia and south to Washington.
On the way south to Washington we kept passing fruit stands in British Columbia. We stopped and bought some cherries to eat but we remembered peeling oranges that we could not take into the USA so decided to wait until we got to the USA before buying fruit and vegetables to take with us to Eugene and LaPreal's place where we planned to visit for a few days. After we crossed the border we did not see another fruit stand. The border inspectors told us we could have brought as much fruit as we wanted to. There were no restrictions.
We spent a few days at Eugene's and then came on home.
Trip to Europe
In the summer of 1971 Bart received his mission call to serve for two years in Italy. I told Rex this would be our chance to go to Europe. I had always said I would go to England some day and see where my grandparents had lived. We would save our pennies and prepare to go to England, do genealogy for two weeks and then go to Italy and pick Bart up, tour Italy and other countries and then return home. Rex was not sure we would be able to go. I told him I was going and he could go with me if he wanted to.
As the time approached for our trip I went down and ordered passports, got our birth certificates and other necessary things so we could go. We had our shots and inoculations. Rex was now getting excited about the trip also.
We left in July and drove to east to South Carolina and visited Joe and Sarah Jean. We took them and their three oldest children on a trip. They left Evelyn, the baby, with Sarah Jean's mother. We traveled north to Washington D. C. We let the kids enjoy the sights there. They climbed the stairs up through the Washington Monument. We then went north to New York City and took the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. They again climbed the stairs up through the statue to the area where they could see out over the surrounding area.
We left New York City and headed west to Palmyra. It was Hill Cumorah Pageant time and we wanted to see it. In Palmyra we were able to get a camping place in a camp grounds near the Hill Cumorah. We put up our tent and then visited the Sacred Grove and climbed up the Hill Cumorah to see the statue of the Angel Moroni.
That night it rained during the night. We had not been careful in putting the tarp under the tent and instead of the water running off on to the ground it ran into the tent. The next morning our sleeping bags and blankets were all wet. They had to be taken to the laundromat and washed and dried.
We were not the only campers who got wet. When we arrived at the Laundromat we found others there busy washing blankets. We secured two washers and proceeded to wash blankets and sleeping bags. We put them in the dryers to dry. We had a lot of laundry. When we finished our laundry we were the only ones still there at the laundromat. All the washers and dryers were checked to be sure we had not missed anything. In one dryer we found four blankets. I thought they looked like Sarah Jean's blankets and she thought they were mine. So we folded them and took them with us.
When we got back to camp we fixed the tarp under the tent and made our beds for that night. As we finished making the beds we discovered that we had four extra blankets. The four blankets were not ours. What should we do? We went back to the laundromat but no one was there. We decided to take the blankets with us to the pageant and leave them at the information desk and hope that someone would inquire about lost blankets.
We saw the pageant Monday night and the next day we visited the sights around Palmyra and that area and then went to the pageant again Tuesday evening. Wednesday we left and went to Niagara Falls and then headed south to Pennsylvania and to Virginia. We stopped at Ray and Kay Luce's for the night. They had a delicious supper ready for us when we got there. The next morning we headed back for Spartanburg.
We left our car there at Joe and Sarah Jean's and got on the plane for New York City. We had to change planes at Kennedy airport. We were on the plane that night leaving for England. We arrived in London the next morning and took the bus to Victoria Station where we thought we would be able to get a train to Lancaster, Lancashire, England. We stood at the ticket window in line for sometime. Finally, it was our turn and we found out that we had to go to another station across London to get the right train. We went there and bought our tickets for the next day. We then took a bus and went out to the London temple. We were able to secure a room in the home on the temple grounds. We attended a session in the temple and stayed there over night.
The next morning we went back to London and took the train to Lancaster. We were going to stay with Sister Olive Teale. She was the lady who was doing English research for me and she had invited us to come to her home and stay while we were in England. She was to help us with my research and take us to see where my grandparents had lived.
We had a wonderful time in England. We visited Wigan and went to the church where my Grandfather Barton and his first wife Catherine Cuerden were married. We went to Upholland and visited the church where Grandpa and Grandma Barton went. There in the cemetery behind the church we found the headstone of Josiah Barton and his wife Mary Peet and their son Josiah. The minister let us search in old records for some of our ancestors.
We visited Winstanley and found the street where my grandparents lived. The house was gone. Some of the homes we saw had been built in the 600's. The dates were carved over the doors. We visited Manchester and went to the library there but were not successful in finding any information.
I had corresponded with a cousin there in Manchester. He was the son of my father's half sister Alice. He and I had exchanged several letters. We found the address he had given us but he was not there. A neighbor told us he had died but that his brother lived over on another street and she gave us the address. She also told us that the brother was quite deaf and lived alone. We went there and found the home but knock as loud as we could we could not get anyone to answer the door so we did not see him. We went into the area in Manchester where my Grandmother Barton and her family had lived. The homes had all been torn down to make room for apartment buildings.
While we were in Lancaster, Olive Teale's daughter who had been a police woman there took us out to see the sites. She took us to an old church and castle that had been built in 1010. We toured both buildings. In the church we saw some beautiful stained glass windows. The castle was open for touring and there was a guide there to show us the building.
During the tour of the building she took us in to a judge's chamber. While there the doorbell rang and the guide went to see who it was. As she left Sister Teale's daughter told us to hurry she wanted to show us a room. There were stairs going down at the side of the judge’s seat. She told us that when a person was tried and found guilty, if he was sentenced to death, he was taken down the stairs to the room below and there he was hung immediately. The room was empty except of a chair.
We went back upstairs and when the guide returned she took us back down the stairs and then on through the dungeon area of the castle. She turned off the lights to show us how dark it was. There were no lights in the building. We saw the room where they displayed the weapons used to punish prisoners with.
In Lancaster she also took us to a glass building where they had a lot of plants growing and there were many different types of birds among the trees growing in the building. She also took us out toward the sea to see the Moors. This is a swampy area.
We left Lancaster and traveled back to London. We planned on getting a motel room, resting for a short time, and then going out to see London and have our supper. We got the hotel room, but while resting I got very ill. I had diarrhea and was vomiting. I was spending my time in the bathroom. I finally told Rex that I was too ill to go out and that he had better go find a place to eat and then come back. He said he wasn't very hungry and wouldn't leave me. Finally I asked him to administer to me. We always carried oil with us when we went on a trip. He did and I was soon able to go to sleep. I slept all night and the next morning felt much better.
We got up and got a taxi out to the airport and had some breakfast there. We boarded the plane and flew to Italy. Bart and Lloyd Nelson were there at the airport to meet us. Lloyd was Bart's companion. He had gotten permission from his parents and the mission president to tour Italy and Europe with us.
It was easy going through customs there. We just walked through. We exchanged some of our money for Italian money and then we left the airport. We took a taxi to a hotel and engaged a hotel for that night. Then we went to the mission office where the boys were to meet with the president. The president told Bart to not take us south of Rome. There was a cholera scare in Italy at that time. The outbreak was bad down around Naples. He also told Bart to take good care of me. He was to see that I walked on the inside all the time and that I carried my purse on the inside arm.
We went out to the mission home and met the president's wife and saw their three children. We had a nice visit with them and then went out to see a little of Milan. We saw the famed opera house and some of the other places of interest.
That evening Bart had an invite to bring us to a member’s home for supper. When we got there she sat us down at a table and proceeded to serve us spaghetti. She gave Bart a really large serving and when she came to me I told her just a small amount. I ate spaghetti and ate some more. I finally ate it all. Then she took our bowls and as she left to go into the kitchen Bart said “now comes the main course.” I was already full. How would I eat more? She brought in meat, potatoes, vegetables and garnishes. She served each one with a plate full of food. Then she took the plates and as she left Bart said “now the desert course.” Thankfully he said it was only fruit and we could choose what we wanted and how much. I enjoyed the supper and evening visiting with the couple.
I had purchased a book that was entitled Seeing Europe on Five to Ten Dollars a Day. I had read the book and learned that if we would go where the European people went and were willing to stay in the same hotels that the rooms would be quite inexpensive. Also the book said that if we were willing to get a room with several single beds that it was cheaper than getting several rooms. It said that four could stay in one room very cheaply.
I relayed this information to the boys and said that if they agreed and wanted to save money that we could all sleep in the same room. That we could manage. They agreed and so while we were in Europe we got rooms for four people. In Rome, for instance, we were able to get a room with four single beds for four dollars a night. We were there for three nights and so our hotel there only cost us a total of twelve dollars for the three nights.
The next morning we did some more sight seeing and visited a hair dresser who had joined the church. He had a nice place of business. In the room was a bathtub in which he grew a variety of plants. We visited the place where Leonardo daVinci had painted “The Last Supper.” He had painted it on the wall of a church. During World War II the Germans had used the church for a stable and they had cut a place in the middle of the painting for an entrance to take the horses in and out. After the war the piece had been put back in place but you could still see where it had been cut out.
We were planning to rent a car while in Italy so we could go where we wanted to and stop when we wanted to. Bart had discovered that gas was high in Italy. It was over a dollar a gallon and then a seventy cent tax was added to that. If we went over the border into Switzerland to rent the car we could stop at the border on the way back and purchase coupons for gas. We could get enough coupons for a hundred gallons of gas at one dollar a gallon and no tax. We decided to go to Switzerland for the car.
Lloyd had gone to a bank and had cashed a check for two hundred dollars. Both boys gave me most of the money they had with them for safe keeping. I had all our money in my purse except for a little pocket money that Rex and the two boys carried with them. I also had all four passports in my purse. They thought it would be easier to just keep track of one purse. Every few minutes one of the boys would asked me where my purse was.
We took the train and went over the border to the first town in Switzerland. We found out where a car rental place was and went there. We asked for a car for four people and our suitcases. At first they said they didn't have a car at that time and it would be the next day before they would have one available. We said that was too bad because we needed it then. We mentioned that we would be paying for it with an American Express credit card. When they heard that, a man immediately said that he thought they could have a suitable car ready for us in forty-five minutes. He told us we could go and do some site seeing and come back and the car would be ready.
When we returned it was ready for us and was full of gas. We filled out the papers and contract necessary for the rental and left. When we got to the border we stopped at customs and went in and purchased the hundred coupons for gas and then drove back to Genoa, Italy. A member who lived here had invited Bart to bring us and spend the nights there while we were in Genoa.
We went to his place and had to walk up seven flights of stairs since they lived on the seventh floor. There was no elevator in the building. We had to carry our three suitcases up. It was a hard climb.
When we got to his apartment he invited us in and then informed us that his wife had gone with her mother to the mountains and had taken their baby with her. She would not return until the next night. That night he took us out to eat and then we came back to his apartment and visited a while and then went to bed.
I had mentioned that I needed to do some laundry the next day and he showed me where the washer was and how to operate it. The next morning when I got up he was no where in the apartment. I started a load of washing. The water pressure was very low and it took forever to fill the washer. I was glad I only had three loads of laundry.
While the washer was running I went to see what I could find to fix for breakfast. I looked in the refrigerator and all that was there was a half bottle of mineral water. Not another thing. I looked in the cupboards and the only food I could find was a can of pimentos. There was no food of any kind in the house. The fellows were still asleep and so I sat down to read and wait.
A short time later the man of the house returned. He had been out to purchase food for breakfast. He had eggs, bacon, bread, cereal, milk, and fruit. We had a fine breakfast and when we were through the food was all gone. He would have to go out and buy food for lunch. The laundry was finished and it was drying. When it was dry I brought it in and folded it and put it away.
We then went out to see some of the sights in Genoa. We visited the small house where Columbus was born. We visited and toured other places of interest and then went back to the apartment and to bed. During the night the man's wife returned. The next morning she was up early and had been out and bought food for breakfast. She had also purchased food for lunch and supper and milk for the baby.
After breakfast we said our good byes and thanked them for their hospitality. We then left and traveled south to Pisa. We toured the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the baptistery next to the tower. Bart and Lloyd climbed the stairs to the top of the tower. We then continued on to Rome.
The first thing we did in Rome was find a hotel. The boys found us a room with four single beds for four dollars a night. It was a dollar each per night. We engaged it for three days and nights. We were only at the hotel long enough to sleep and eat a little breakfast and then we were out sight seeing. All we needed was a comfortable bed and a clean room.
We drove around Rome to see the places of interest. In Rome we visited the Coliseum, the Appian Way and the Catacombs where early Christians hid to avoid persecution. The first evening we were there we drove up by St. Peter's Cathedral. The street goes in a circle around the gardens in front of the cathedral. There were no cars traveling or parked in the area. The boys finally decided that we were not supposed to be driving a car there either. They decided it must be designated as a walking street only in the evening.
Lloyd was driving and he decided to get out of the area as soon as possible. As we drove out of the area he found a parking place and took it. As we were getting out of the car a policeman walked up and started to talk to the boys in Italian. He was really excited. The boys pretended that they did not understand what he was saying and finally he just threw up his hands and left. When he was out of sight the boys began to laugh. They said he had told them that they had done wrong and had been driving where they shouldn't have. He had noticed the Swiss license plates on the car and thought we were from Switzerland. He asked the boys how they would feel if someone came in to their country and broke the law.
We then walked up through the gardens to the cathedral. The cathedral was closed so all we were able to see was the outside. It is a lovely building and on the roof at the front are statues of the original apostles of Christ.
The next morning we toured the cathedral and saw the places where they say Saint Peter and Saint Paul were buried. We were able to climb the narrow steep stairs to the top of the roof and go out and see the statues close up. We then went back down the stairs and were able to tour the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The Museum houses many paintings and artifacts from the Vatican. Presents that had been presented to the popes are there in the museum. One was a gold replica of a building in the country that presented it to the pope.
We went along a hall past the Vatican and in to the Sistine Chapel. There we were able to see the ceiling that Michael Angelo painted. The entire ceiling is covered with paintings depicting the creation of the earth and the life of Christ. It is beautiful and one marvels at it when they realize Michael Angelo painted it while lying on his back.
We had attended church in Genoa and were able to attend church in Rome. Where ever you attend church you find the same spirit there and the same friendly people.
We visited an old Christian church in Rome that is decorated with human skulls and bones. The people are buried in crypts along the walls and then after years go by the bones are removed and used to decorate the walls and ceiling of the rooms. It was an eire chapel. We also visited a cemetery in Italy. People there believe they have to build large memorials to their dead. Some of the graves have replicas of large buildings erected over them.
From Rome we went north through the vineyards to Florence. It is the great art city in Italy. We toured the art museums there and were able to see many paintings and outstanding pieces of sculpture and art work. We saw the famous statue of David that was done by Michael Angelo.
We had engaged a hotel room in Florence for two nights. The bathrooms in the hotels were out in the hall. If you wanted a bath or shower you had to go down to the desk, pay a fee and then the clerk gave you the handle to the tap so you could turn on the water. You only had a limited time to bathe and then the water would shut off.
The first morning when we woke up the water pressure was down and we were unable to even get water for a drink or to wash our hands and faces. That day we saved our milk cartons and that night we filled them before we went to bed so we would have water to drink the next morning. The next morning to our surprise the water pressure was up and we had water.
The second night that we were in Florence the boys wanted to go out and take pictures. In Florence they have a street intersection that goes in a circle around a statue. The cars all travel the same direction around the circle and take off on streets located all around the circle. The boys wanted to set their cameras and leave them open for ten or fifteen minutes to get a picture of the patterns made by the car lights. Rex's back was bothering him and so he decided to stay and rest at the hotel while the fellows and I went out to take pictures.
We took the pictures and then we walked up the area between two museum buildings. On the way we saw an old big dog laying in a doorway eating a piece of two by four wood. He was actually eating the wood. The boys decided to pet him and as they did they took a hold of his hide and pulled it up. It came up about a foot before they got the dog's attention. A man came down the street carrying a paper sack and eating something. Immediately the dog was up and begging. The man gave him part of what he was eating and started to go on but the dog insisted that he wanted the sack. He was so large that the man was afraid of him and gave him the sack. The dog ate the whole thing, sack and all, and then settled back down in the doorway with his piece of wood.
When we got to the street in front of the museums the boys wanted to go across the narrow street and take pictures of boats on the canal. There was a column there between the two buildings and at the base of the column was a part of the column that was wider than the upper part of the column. It would make a nice chair. I told the boys I would sit there and rest while they were taking pictures. They would be where I could see them at all times.
I sat down to rest and they went across the street. A few minutes later a man came walking up the street. As he passed me he kept looking at me. As he neared the building to the other side of me he turned and nodded his head. I was watching him to make sure where he was going since he had looked at me so intently as he passed me. In a very few minutes I noticed him coming back along the street and again he watched me and then when he reached the front of the other building he again nodded his head.
I finally woke up and realized what was happening. He was trying to pick me up. I immediately got up, crossed the street to where the boys were and told them what had happened. Bart was startled. He told me that I had invited a pickup when I sat down. He had not thought about it at the time. Needless to say I stayed with the boys from then on.
The next morning we left Florence and went east to Bologna. Lloyd had spent part of his mission there so he wanted to show us the town. We then went on to Ravena, a city on the east coast of Italy. Here Bart had contacted a Greek couple and had told them about the church. They were interested but not enough to want to change religions. At Ravena the boys had got a hotel room for just Rex and me. Bart said they would visit a Catholic lady and get permission to sleep in the top of a Catholic Church there.
The next morning Bart took us to visit an old Christian chapel that had been built in Ravena during the second century A. D. Bart had been very much impressed by the art work in the building that was just one long room. The paintings on the walls were all done with mosaic tiles. Up the walls a ways, all around the room, were mosaic tiles that represented curtains. They looked like our kitchen buffet curtains. They were held back in the middle against the dividing pillars and between the pillar and the curtain was the form of a hand.
The next row of mosaic work was pictures of the twelve apostles. Each had a robe on and on the knee of the left side of the robe was a right angle mark. When Bart had served in Ravena he had visited the building and had noticed this mark. He asked the curator of the building if Mosaic work was done with a mirror and he said yes. He wanted to know why Bart had asked. Bart said he was just interested.
Above the row of Apostles were different pictures of events in the life of Christ. The first picture was of the Last Supper. It showed a very low table and Jesus was at the top of the group reclining behind the table. The Apostles next to him was reclining and had his head resting on Jesus' chest. The other apostles were in a row along the table, each in a reclining position. Another picture showed the baptism of Jesus. Jesus and John were standing in the river and John was holding a pitcher in his right hand pouring water over Jesus. Looking at the picture you could see the difference in the color of the mosaic tiles. You could see where tile had been replaced with new tile. It was the area showing the raised hand and the pitcher of water.
Seeing this room made one realize that the early Christians had the true Gospel of Christ. The Christians had come to Ravena to get away from the persecutions. It was near the ocean and could be easily fortified.
From Ravena we traveled north toward Venice, the city of canals.
When we came to the small town just prior to Venice we stopped to get a hotel room for the night. We stopped at one hotel and they informed us that they did not have a room available. After two or three attempts to get a room Lloyd and Bart went into the next hotel. Lloyd stepped up to the desk and said, “I want that room with the four single beds.” The clerk started to say that they did not have a room and again Lloyd said in a demanding voice, “I want that room with the four beds.” The clerk gave him a key and directed him to the room. We had a nice room for the night.
The next morning we went on to Venice. It was raining and the water was coming up into the streets. Instead of the rain water running down in to the man holes it was coming up out of the man holes. On some of the streets the water was a foot or more deep. When we got to the St. Mark’s Cathedral the water in the street was too deep to walk through. With saw horses and lumber they had built a ramp from the street out to the front of the cathedral and then turned and built the ramp to the top of the steps leading to the cathedral. There was a large group of people all along the ramp waiting to go in. We decided we had seen many cathedrals and didn’t need to see the inside of St. Mark’s.
We proceeded down the side walk to the corner and followed the side walk around and down to a store displaying handicraft work in the window. We had to go around instead of going directly over the street because of the water. There was a man there with a furniture dolly on which he had placed a wooden box and he was ferrying people across the street one at a time for a fee. It was faster walking than waiting for the ferry.
When we first arrived in Venice we parked our car because you cannot drive on the streets. We took the boat ride on the Grande Canal. This was interesting. All along the canal were businesses close to the water and water had risen and was entering many of the stores along the shore. On the trip we passed gondolas with the gondoliers maneuvering the craft and singing to the passengers.
When we left Venice we went on north to Switzerland. Our gas coupons had lasted very well. We purchased the last five gallons of gas by paying the high price and tax.
We wanted to see the Matterhorn in Switzerland so we headed that way. We arrived at the small town below the mountain and found the road leading to the town at the base of the mountain. We had noticed as we passed the depot that there were a lot of cars parked in the parking lot there and wondered why?
We traveled on up the road and after about fifteen miles we came to the small town. As we went up the street we passed the depot and the men who were standing out in front of the depot started to call to us and motion us back down the street. Lloyd, who was driving, immediately turned around and started back. He had decided that this was probably just a walking street during the evening hours, and by this time it had gotten dark. We could see the lights of another street over about a block but weren’t sure just how to get there. As we went back down the street Lloyd saw a narrow road going toward the other street. He turned on to it and proceeded along the road. All at once we discovered we were traveling across a wooden area in the street. As we reached the end of the wood the headlights of the car picked up a man and woman sitting in rocking chairs enjoying the nice evening. We had crossed a wooden porch in front of a house. Lloyd put the car in reverse and backed across the porch and out to the street and we proceeded on our way.
We came to a place where we found a parking lot and we parked. There was a large building up on a hill directly in front of the parking lot. The lights were on and we could see men sitting in chairs looking out the window. The fellows left Rex and me in the car and they went up to the building to see if they could find out where to go. When they got in the building they discovered it was a boarding house and the men were from Italy. They had come to Switzerland to work. Bart and Lloyd were in luck. They could converse with the men in Italian.
The men wanted to know how we had got there. They told the boys that there was a hotel up the street but that we would have to leave the car in the parking lot and walk to the hotel. The boys went on up to the hotel and when they got there the desk clerk was very surprised to see them at that time of night. She asked them how they had come to be there so late. She knew there were no trains at that time of night. When they told her that we had driven there in our car and that it was parked down the street she was really surprised. She told them that no unauthorized motor traffic was allowed in the city and that tourists all came to the town by an electric train The people of the town did not want any smoke or pollution in the area to mar the scenery. She said that there was a fifty dollar fine for anyone caught bringing a car into the area. She did give them a room and told them to go back to the car and get Rex and me and to leave the car there and just bring light luggage back to the hotel.
The boys did not tell us what they had found out just that we would have to walk to the hotel. We had a nice room. The next morning when our alarm clock rang the boys were right up and getting dressed. This was the first morning that we had not had a time getting them up and going. They were anxious to get to the area where they could view the Matterhorn. They said we could wait and have breakfast later. They wanted to see the sun rise on the mountain.
Rex and I wanted to window shop as we went down the street but they just hurried on their way. When we were getting close to the mountain they were on their way back and wanted us to turn around and go with them. They said they had taken plenty of pictures of the mountain and that we could see the pictures we didn’t need to go on up the mountainous path. But Rex and I said that we wanted to see it as it was and would go on. They went back with us and kept trying to hurry us along. We saw the mountain and took our pictures and then went back to the hotel. The boys were in a hurry to get our suitcase and get back to the car. Going back down the road from the little town they didn’t spare the gas. They were in a hurry. When we drove out of the little road into the street in the town they stopped and turned to look up the road. There on the side of the street was the sign that warned motorists that there was no traveling beyond that point. We had made it back down the road without being seen by any other motorist. We continue on down the road from the town until we came to a picnic area and there we stopped and had our breakfast. We traveled on west through Switzerland. We crossed the mountain passes and at one place there was a chair lift taking people to the top of the mountain range to see the view. I didn’t want to go. The trip cost five dollars per person. The three fellows went and I stayed in the car and read and watched the people coming and going. When they returned they ware all excited. When they got to the top of the chair lift they had transferred to another lift that took them on up another mountain. They said the view from there was really something.
While in Switzerland we visited the Swiss Temple. It was not open when we were there. It was closed for cleaning. But we had gone up to the temple and were looking through the glass doors. We could see the lobby area and some of the paintings on the wall. While we were there a lady came up to us and informed us that she and her husband were missionaries there and that the temple was closed and would be for two weeks. We told her we were aware of that but were just having a look inside. We told her we were Mormons and we all had temple recommends. We told her the boys had just be released from their missions in Italy and we were on our way home. She opened the door and we went into the lobby and had a look around but didn’t get to see any more of the inside.
We spent another night in Switzerland. We got a room in a small home that had rooms for tourists. We had a lovely breakfast there the next morning. Throughout Europe most of the places that had room for rent served a breakfast the next morning.
From Switzerland we traveled through a small corner of Austria and then up the Rhine River a short distance and then east across France to Paris. As we entered Paris we drove up the main street past the Eiffel Tower to the Arch of Triumph and then back down the street to find a hotel for the night. It was getting late and we were hungry and tired.
We were not able to find a room with four single beds. It was just a small hotel and all the rooms were small. They had one double bed and a dresser and chair in each room so we had to take two rooms. When we went to the rooms we discovered that the bed was raised at the top. You were sleeping almost in a sitting position. I could not get to sleep. I was accustomed to my head being almost level with my body. I got to investigating and found that under the top of the mattress they had placed a wedge that tilted the mattress up. I woke Rex up and he got up and we removed the wedge and then were able to sleep comfortably.
We were supposed to turn our car in the next day at noon. We would turn it in at a hotel in the center of town. We drove to the Eiffel Tower during the morning and went up in the elevator to the observation deck in the top. From there we could see all over Paris. We walked up under the Arch of Triumph and viewed the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also visited the Louve and saw the famous Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo. Then Rex went back to the hotel to rest. The boys and I went to turn the car in.
When we got to the hotel we could not find a parking place so Lloyd sat in the car double parked and Bart and I went in the hotel to the car rental desk. No one was there. There was a note by the phone that said they were out to lunch but we should call a certain number. We dialed and a young girl answered. I told her what we wanted and she asked how we were paying for the rental and I told her by American Express card and that we had rented the car in Switzerland. She told me to wait a minute and I heard her telephone and talk to someone in Dutch. When she came back to me she told me to leave her copy of the contract on the desk and to leave the car keys with it. She said to leave the car where it was and she would take care of it when she got back to the hotel. I reminded her that the car was double parked but she said that that was all right and to just leave it and everything would be fine.
After we left the hotel we hurried down the street and visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We then started back to our hotel. On the way back the boys spotted a wrapper from a McDonald’s hamburger. They started to look around and say, where? We finally found McDonald’s back in an entrance to a store and the boys had a hamburger, fries and a malt. You would have thought they had found a million dollars.
When we got back to our hotel we got our luggage and we all took a taxi to the airport where we boarded the plane and flew across the English Channel to London, England. We got us a nice room at a boarding house there in London. We told the lady that we would not need the breakfast the next morning as we would be getting up early to go out to the London Temple and would be leaving before anyone else was up. But the next morning when we got up, she was there with hard boiled eggs, toast and milk for us.
We went out to the temple. When we got there Lloyd could not find his recommend. He looked through his wallet two or three times and through all his suit pockets, no recommend. We called Italy and tried to get the mission president but couldn’t. We decided that Bart, Rex and I would still do a session and Lloyd would sit and read. After the session we wanted to have lunch there in the cafeteria. They said Lloyd could go down to eat with us.
We then went out on the grounds and took some pictures of the temple and spent some time there. Then we took the bus back to our room in London.
It was September and was beginning to get rather cool in England. We needed heat in our room. There was a gas heater in the room but it was not on. We discovered that if you wanted heat you paid for it. The heater took quarters. We put in quarters and got comfortable. In the bathroom if you wanted a warm shower you put a quarter in the water heater and could have a nice warm shower if you didn’t take too long.
The next morning the boys and I went out to see London. Rex was again having problems with his back and decided to stay in the room and rest. We took a bus to the center of the city and started down the street toward Buckingham Palace. We wanted to see the changing of the guards. On the way down we met a man who stopped and greeted us. He was a Scotsman. He told us how lucky we were that morning. The band that played was the Scotch Bagpipe Band (The National Band of Scotland.) He told us to go on down to the castle gate and there we would see a mound of dirt that had been made there and grass planted on it. He said we should get on top of the mound facing the palace. He said not to go up by the fence because we wouldn’t be able to see much if we did. We could see everything much better from the top of the mound. He said that after the Changing of the Guard was over the band would march back up the street to their barracks and we were to follow right behind them. He told us not to stop when they entered the barracks gate but to follow them in. Then we could see them dismissed.
We followed his instructions and found everything as he told us. When we followed the band back we followed them into the barrack area. There they stood at attention for their dismissal. The band members were all wearing large dress parade head gear. At a given command they each vigorously nodded their heads and the head gear came off their heads, turned upside down and landed in a circle of their arm in front of their bodies. Then another command and they broke ranks and went to the barracks. There were several guards stationed at several points in the area. They were standing very straight and tall and quiet, not moving a muscle not even an eye lid. Bart decided to see if he could get one of them to move a little. He stared at him, smiled, made faces, but to no avail. The guard remained as if he was a statue.
We went back to the room at noon to get Rex to go with us and have lunch and then do a little touring. After lunch we went out to the Tower of London. We were able to tour the Tower. Down in the basement area we saw the room where the crown jewels of England are kept. They are in heavy glass cases. There we saw the crowns of the various kings and queens. Even the crowns of the present monarchs are there. They are kept there for safety and only removed when they will be worn at some special occasion.
The scepters and other items are also kept there. They are all adorned with beautiful large jewels. There were several armed guards in the room. One is not allowed to take pictures inside the room but you could purchase slides or pictures of the crown jewels.
The Tower is near the River Thames and the London Bridge is right there. We also visited Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben Tower. We went to the famed Square in London and fed the pigeons. We visited Picadilly Square.
In London the boys eyes again saw evidence of food. This time it was a container from Kentucky Fried Chicken. We found the place and had chicken for supper.
The next morning we took a taxi to the airport, boarded the plane and flew to the good old USA. When the pilot announced that we were approaching New Foundland and would fly south over New York City and on to Washington, D. C. all on the plane got excited and anxious to see the shore line. We watched and soon we saw a green statue below us. It was the Statue of Liberty. How good it looked. It was not long until we were landing in Washington D. C. We left the plane and started down a long tunnel towards Customs. As we neared the end of the tunnel it made a turn to the right and there before us was the flag of the United States. Never has the flag looked so glorious to me. I got goose bumps on my arms. I was home.
As we entered the Customs area we approached the inspection table. There was a woman in front of us and they were searching her suitcase item by item. They even had a ceramic elephant taken to another area to be x-rayed to see if anything was concealed inside the elephant. We stood there for about a half hour as they searched her one suitcase.
Then it was our turn. There were four of us and we had four bags. We would be there for hours. As we stepped up to the table I handed the lady our four passports. She asked if we were all one family. I told her that Lloyd was a friend traveling with us. She said, “Well I will check him first and the other three together.” I handed her his passport and when she asked for his bag I said our luggage was all packed together, that it was not separate. Then she said she would take us all as one. I handed her the other three passports and Bart started to put one bag up on the counter. She looked at me then handed the passports back and said. “You are all right, go on.” It had taken us only about five minutes to clear customs.
Bart and Lloyd had decided that they wanted to spend the day seeing Washington D. C. Rex and I wanted to go on to Spartanburg, South Carolina. We had seen Washington D. C. several times. So the boys left us to go sight seeing and told us they would call Joe’s place when they got in Spartanburg. They they would come down on the bus. After they left we went to get a plane for Spartanburg. We called Joe and when we got there they were at the airport to meet us. The boys arrived two nights later.
We stayed in Spartanburg over Sunday and were able to go out to Sarah Jean’s folks’ place for Sunday dinner. It was always a big family dinner. Sister White always froze corn during the summer. It was a mix of white and yellow corn. How good it was. Bart thought there was nothing like it.
The fellows had decided that we should take a side trip down to Florida and see Disney World before we started home. So, Monday morning we left in our car that we had left at Joe’s while we went to Europe. We headed south. We arrived at Disney World that afternoon. In the wilderness area there they have camp grounds so that is where we headed since we had our camping equipment with us. We obtained a camping spot and proceeded to put up our tent.
There was a large motor home in the spot next to us. We hadn’t been there long when a man came out of the motor home and sat down to watch what we were doing. He soon went back in the motor home and got his wife to come and see what we were doing. He told her to come and see someone putting up a tent. He finally asked us where we were going to sleep. We told him we would sleep in the tent in our sleeping bags on air mattresses on the ground. He thought that was the funniest thing he had ever seen, a tent and people were actually going to sleep in it. We showed him our beds when we got them all laid out. We also put our camp stove out on the picnic table that was there and got our cooler out of the car and proceeded to cook our supper.
The man said he had always lived in a large city and that this was the first time they had ever been camping. Their son had purchased the motor home and had offered to take them on a trip. Their home was in Philadelphia. We told him there were several other tents around the circle where we were camped. We had seen them when we came into the area.
In the wilderness area there was a recreational area. Every night they showed a Disney movie. Near the movie area there was a lake and during the showing of the movie there was a parade of decorated boats on the lake. The boats were decorated with various colored lights. The lights were placed to make different designs. The parade lasted for about a half hour and everyone from the movie went down to the lake shore to watch. The movie was stopped while we were gone and then after the parade the people came back and the movie continued. After the movie we took a leisurely walk back to our tent. On the way we passed deer. There was one little fawn that the boys stopped and petted.
The next morning we were up bright and early. We wanted to spend a full day at the amusement park area. We were getting breakfast when the man came out of the motor home and wanted to know if we had survived the night . We told him yes, we had had a good night’s sleep. He was still shaking his head. Imagine a tent.
We spent the day at the amusement park and went on many of the rides. The first one we headed for was It’s A Small World and then on to the Jungle Cruise. We took the train ride through Frontierland. We took the boat ride on the river. We saw many of the shows, Peter Pan, The Bear Country, The Presidents, etc. In the evening we watched the parade down Main Street and then went back to the camp grounds. We walked out to the lake there and saw the Parade of Boats for the second night and the last part of the movie.
The next morning we headed west for home. We arranged to go through Denver so we could stop and visit Kenneth who was going to school in Boulder, Colorado. We stayed at one of his friend’s homes over night. Kenneth was the representative of the single men and had a meeting to attend that night so he left us with the family while he went. The lady came in the living room to talk to me. She was quite concerned to think that Kenneth would leave us to go to a meeting. I told her that was his responsibility and we wouldn’t want him to do anything else. She said her husband was one of the ward clerks but that when they had visitors from out of town he always got some one to do his work for him and they spent the time visiting with the friends.
The next day we left for Provo and arrived in Salt Lake that afternoon in time to put Lloyd on a plane for Washington state to visit his sister before going home to Barstow, California. Rex, Bart and I went on to Provo where the family were all gathered waiting for us to arrive.
Visiting Our Mission
In March, 1980 we went east. We wanted to go back to Florida and visit the people we had been with when we were on our mission there. We traveled east to the top of Florida and then turned south. We first went to Venice, Florida where we visited with the Johnsons, a member family living there. We spent a day there and then went on to Port Charlotte. We went to the Trewiller’s place there and stayed the first night. The next night the members were having their weekly study group and so we went with the Trewillers.
When we went in everyone was surprised. They did not know we were in the area. There were some new members there that we did not know. Sister Jackson, a lady who was baptized by the young missionaries while we were on our mission jumped up when she saw us. She grabbed me and turned to the new members and told them that I was responsible for her staying active in the church after she was baptized. She said that I had taken her to Relief Society and that Rex and I would come to her home and answer questions that she had about things that she was not quite sure of.
The next morning we left Trewiller’s and went to Art and Margaret Myer’s home to stay for a couple of days. They were the couple we had baptized just before leaving the mission field. We spent the next few days visiting people there in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. We went to see one couple that we had taught but had not baptized. Margaret Van Etten had cancer when we met her and she was very ill so we did not push them. Some days when we went to see them she would be feeling good and other days she was very ill. She always had us come in and visit. When we got to the home where they lived when we were there we found that they had moved.
I told Rex that Victor Van Etten had a son living there in Port Charlotte so we looked up his address and went out to his place. As we drove up in front of the house we noticed Victor out by the garage. He saw us and came out to the car and had us come into the house to talk. He told us that Margaret had died just six weeks after we left the mission field. He said she sure loved you folks. I told Victor I thought Margaret would have been baptized if we had pushed her and he said yes, she would have been. He said that he would have been baptized also. I mentioned that he could have the missionaries come and teach him and baptized him. He said that he was coming west that summer or fall and would look us up and let us do the teaching and baptizing. I sent him a Christmas card that year because we had not seen him out west. His son wrote back to us and told us that he had died that summer.
We were able to attend church in Punta Gorda and got to see all who we had not been able to visit. Monday morning we went east to Wauchula to visit the people there. We went to the Bruce’s home and stayed with them while we were there. We had a grand time visiting. We went to Bowling Green to see the folks there and back to Winter Haven to see Cypress Gardens again and watch the ski show.
From Wauchula we went north to Spartanburg, South Carolina to visit Joe and Sarah Jean and family. Bart and Sheri were living in Fairfax, Virginia at the time and Sheri was expecting a baby about the middle of April. We visited at Joe’s place until we got the telephone call from Bart that Sheri had had her baby, We left Spartanburg and went north through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and and on up to Fairfax. We arrived at Bart and Sheri’s the evening of the day that Sheri came home from the hospital with their small son. We stayed there for about ten days and I took care of their two older kids, Sheri and the baby. We were there for Sunday when Bart blessed the baby. He was named Joseph Thomas after my father.
Bart and Sheri took us into Washington D. C. to see the flower gardens. There were beautiful flowers of every kind and color. The Azalea garden was the most spectacular. We again visited the Smithsonian Institute especially to see the airplane exhibit. Bart was in the Air Force and was stationed at the Pentagon in the defense department.
We had left home in March and as we traveled we had spring all the way. Each new place we visited was just beginning their spring season. In Florida we saw the spring flowers. When we got to Spartanburg spring was just starting and the dogwood trees were out in full bloom. Sarah Jean had wanted me to see the dogwood in bloom for a long time. She was right. They are beautiful. When we arrived in Fairfax it was spring was just beginning there. When we left Virginia we went north up through the eastern states all the way to Maine. We had not been there before and wanted to travel through that part go the country. It was spring there to. In fact, it was still a little cool.
From Maine we went west across New York and the central states visiting Wisconsin and Minnesota. We were able to camp in the area where the water forming the Mississippi River comes out of the ground. It was spring there and when we arrived back in Provo spring was just starting at home. We had had continual spring for two months. We had now visited forty-nine of the fifty states. The only one we hadn’t visited was Hawaii. Would we get there? We would have to wait and see.
In 1984 Bart and Sheri went to Hawaii to go to the temple with Sheri’s sister Lori and her husband when they went for the first time. We had taken Lori east with us when we went to see Bart commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. She wanted to do something nice for us. Her husband was in the army and stationed at Scofield Army Barracks on the island of Oahu. She told Bart to tell us to come to Hawaii while they were there and we could stay with them. She would take us around to see the sights. When Bart told us about her offer we thought that it would be a good opportunity. So we planned a trip to Hawaii.
We drove our car to California and visited with my brother Dewey and his wife Stella. We then drove into San Francisco to spend a day or two with Rex’s brother Grant. We then flew to Hawaii. Lori met us at the airport and took us to her home. Her husband was in the Philippines on maneuvers and would not be home while we were there.
We told Lori that if she would take us to see the sights we would keep her car full of gas. Each morning we would fill the car and then go for the day. Lori had a small boy about six months old. We would put him in his car seat and away we would go. We really got to see the the Island. We went up to Diamond Head, an old extinct volcano. We were able to go up and down inside of it. She took us up through Scofield, through the Air Force base just behind Scofied and out to the mountain pass where the Japanese came into Honolulu to bomb Pearl Harbor. Having military ID Lori was able to take us through these areas where most people don’t get to go.
We visited Pearl Harbor and took the boat out to the Arizona monument that is built over the sunken battleship Arizona. It was just about two feet under water there in the harbor. We saw the pineapple plantations and Lori took us to a place called the birthing rocks. This an open area surrounded by rocks that were placed there to be used as chairs. When a noble lady was having her baby she was taken to this area and she sat on one of the rocks. The male leaders of the country gathered there and sat on the other rocks to watch the birth. Time had worn the rocks down until they were indented and made quite a comfortable chairs.
One day we went around the island and were able to go to a beach on the side opposite Honolulu. There we had a swim in the ocean. We also visited a park area and went up on a little train that went to where there was a water fall coming down into a small lake. Here we able to watch a diving show. The divers would dive off above the falls and land in the lake.
We spent one day at the temple and after the session we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center that is sponsored by the Church. We went all around in a little boat and saw the small villages showing the cultures of the different islands. People from the islands were dressed in their native costumes and were doing things that are traditional to the people on the different islands. In the early evening they had a Hawaiian feast. After the meal they had a show given by the people from the different islands. It was made up of dances by the different groups. It was a very interesting show and lasted for about an hour and a half.
When we went to the store on the base to get our tickets for the Cultural Center we said we wanted two guest tickets for Rex and me and a military ticket for Lori. Lori said that she had been there but that she would take us there and then come back and get us after the night show. We said she shouldn’t do that. We wanted her to stay with us and see it all again. When we were on our way back to her place after the show she told us that she was glad she had gone. When she and her husband had gone they had not stayed for the evening meal and entertainment.
We also purchased tickets for Rex and me to take a airplane tour of four islands. By getting the tickets on base Lori was able to get us guest tickets that were reduced in price. We flew to the big island of Hawaii and landed there. They put us on a bus and took us through the main city to see the places of interest, We had lunch there in a nice little cafe. We flew over one island but did not land. We flew all around the island and were able to see the interesting coast line and high mountains coming right down to the water’s edge. There were some lovely large homes nestled in little alcoves in the mountains. The only way to get to the homes was by boat.
From there we flew to Kauai and flew over the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. We landed at a small airport there and they took us by bus to a river where we boarded a boat and sailed up the river to a wedding chapel that was a cave in the mountain side. They brought wedding parties to this place and performed the weddings in the chapel. They had all the couples gather in the chapel area and then the captain of the boat pretended to perform a mass wedding for us all. It was interesting. On the way back down the river we passed a boat with a wedding party on board that were going up to be married.
When we arrived back in Honolulu Lori was there to take us home. We had had an enjoyable trip.
We left Hawaii and flew back to San Francisco. We visited Grant for another day and then drove back to Vacaville and spent a couple of days with Dewey and Stella and then home we came.
After we retired we tried to go east one summer to visit our two married children who lived there and the next year we would go west to California to visit my brother’s and Rex’s brother Grant.
In 1989 Rex was diagnosed as having diabetes. He was spending most of the time on the bed or in an easy chair. On February 9, 1990 Sheri died of cancer. That summer we went east to visit the kids. We went to Bart’s place in Virginia first. Bart had met a fine girl named Lillie Clay. She was just a year younger than Bart and had never been married. Bart liked her quite well. He brought her home to meet us and we were very impressed with her.
We all planned to spend the Fourth of July together. Bart picked up Lillie early in the morning and we went over to the church for a celebration. They had games and races for the kids and then a water melon bust and a musical program. Several members of the ward decided to all go to one of the Army posts and have a picnic supper and then watch the fire works there at night. We fixed our picnic and went out to the post. We had the picnic on the levy that was by the bay. It was a nice grassy spot. One of the women had made some chocolate cup cakes with a lot of icing on them. She passed them around and was offering them to everyone. Rex reached out and said he wanted one. I told him he shouldn’t do it that they contained too much sugar. He insisted so I decided to let him have one.
We sat there and watched the fire works. Most of them exploded right above us and sparks came down toward the bay. It was beautiful to see the fireworks from the underneath side. When we started home we got in a traffic jam. We could not move the car forward or backward. We were there in the middle of things. We finally discovered that there had been an accident five miles down the road at a little town and that was the holdup. The accident was cleared and we were able to get home.
About three in the morning I woke up. Rex was making a very loud noise, I thought he was snoring. I touched him and told him to turn over so he would stop. Instead of turning over, he lifted up his feet, placed them in my back and pushed. He almost pushed me out of bed. I again told him to move over and he again pushed with his feet. I was only half awake. I got up and started for the door I told him he could have the bed as I was going in the front room and sleep on the couch. As I got to the door I realized that I needed to get him turned over so he would quit snoring. I turned on the light and turned around. When I looked at Rex I realized something was wrong. He was staring at the ceiling and making an awful noise. It wasn’t snoring.
I grabbed my house coat and headed for the living room where Bart was sleeping on the couch. I woke him and told him to come quick that something was wrong with his dad and I wanted him administered to. Bart jumped up and grabbed his trousers and as he put them on he ran down the hall to the bedroom. He took one look at his dad and he turned and ran back to the living room. I realized that he was going to call 911. I decided I had better get dressed. I hurried and dressed and by the time Bart had called 911, turned on the porch light, unlocked the door, and come back to the bedroom I was dressed and had the oil out of the suitcase. Bart asked if he should call a neighbor to help him administer to Rex and I said “no,” that he wouldn’t get there in time. Bart administered to him alone.
As Bart said, “Amen” the door bell rang and the door opened. The Paramedics were coming down the hall. I told them that Rex was a diabetic. They immediately reached for his pulse and one asked if he should get a gurney. The other one said “yes“ and he was off. They got him on the stretcher and carried him out to the ambulance. Bart stopped at Christina’s door and woke her up and told her we were on our way to the hospital and that she had the kids to watch.
We found out later that night when the paramedics took his blood sugar it was only 13. Doctor Moody told me that if it had gone much lower he would have been having a long sleep. The paramedics said I could ride in the ambulance if I wanted to but I told them I would come with Bart and that we would follow them. They told Bart not to try to keep up with them. We got in Bart’s car and waited for them to pass us before we started out. When they got to the corner we saw them make the first turn. When we got to the corner they were no where in sight. They were really traveling. We didn’t see the ambulance again until we pulled in to the emergency entrance of the hospital and stopped.
The Paramedics had started a glucose IV and by the time they got to the hospital the blood sugar was up to 31, which was still low. Maybe it was a good thing that he had eaten the cup cake the night before and gotten some sugar in his blood. He was in the hospital for a week.
During that week Bart had asked Lillie to marry him and she had said yes. They were planning a temple wedding for August 24, 1990. We decided to go to South Carolina and visit with Joe and Sarah Jean and then come back to Langley Air Force Base for the marriage. I had helped Bart pick out the rings and was excited about the coming wedding.
We stayed in Spartanburg until a few days before the wedding and then came back to Langley. We drove with Bart and his family to Washington D. C. and attended the marriage ceremony in the temple. We then came back to Langley and the ward there gave them a wedding reception which was nice. We stayed at Bart’s and stayed with the kids while he and Lillie had a short honeymoon. The next weekend we drove with Bart and his family to Abingdon, Virginia where Lillie’s folks lived. We stayed with them and attended the reception they gave for Bart and Lillie. Then we left Abingdon and flew home to Salt Lake City.
Two years later in 1992 we again went east to visit the kids. We visited with Bart and Lillie and then went to Spartanburg to visit Joe and Sarah Jean. Joe is branch president of a little branch in Union, South Carolina. It is twenty-five miles from Spartanburg. We went to church with Joe and Sarah Jean and during the sacrament service Rex seemed to be having another stroke. He kept leaning to one side and I couldn’t get him to sit up straight. When the sacrament was over he got up to go to the bathroom. One of Joe’s counselors immediately got up and handed him his walker and went with him. About five minutes later I heard a thump and thought that Rex had fallen but I thought the fellow who was with him could handle it. A minute or two later the fellow opened the door into the chapel and motioned for Joe to come out. Joe left and in about two minutes the fellow was back and motioned for me to follow him. I went out.
Rex was sitting on the toilet and Joe was standing beside him holding him up and holding a paper towel over his eye. His counselor was busy cleaning up blood off the floor. Rex had fallen off the toilet and had struck his forehead on the door latch. He had cut an area above the his left eye. Joe showed it to me and said he thought he needed stitches. I told him it did. He wanted to know how we could get him to the hospital and I told him we should call an ambulance. He sent his counselor to call the ambulance and when he came back Joe told him that the meeting was his to take care of as he was going to the hospital with us.
When the ambulance arrived we told them we wanted him taken to the Spartanburg hospital. They said they would have to call their dispatcher because Spartanburg was out of their area. They got clearance to go to Spartanburg and we left. This time I was riding in the ambulance with Rex. Joe and Sarah Jean followed in their car.
After stitching up the cut the doctor suggested that they keep Rex at the hospital at least over night and I agreed. He was admitted and after getting him settled we left. When the doctor checked him that evening he ordered a EKG and discovered that he had had a heart attack. He said it had been quite severe. The next morning when we visited Rex we discovered that they were monitoring his heart. He was hooked up so that the monitor readings showed on a screen in the nurses’ station.
Rex was in the hospital there in Spartanburg for ten days. During that time the doctor also told us that he was experiencing some kidney failure. The doctor was reluctant to permit us to travel home but he realized we wanted to get back to Orem. He said we could go if we flew and got on a nonstop flight to Salt Lake City and went straight home. He later told Joe that he didn’t think Rex would live to reach home but he knew how badly he wanted to go.
This was our last trip any distance away from home. For three and a half years Rex only left home when we went to the doctor’s office or some place close. We did take him to one of the neighbor’s places for an ice cream party. They had homemade ice cream and Rex loved ice cream. We took him in a wheelchair and he seemed to enjoy it very much.
In July, 1994 we had a party for my eightieth birthday, Rex’s eighty fifth birthday and our sixtieth wedding anniversary. He seemed to enjoy this party. He enjoyed meeting old friends.
For the last two years we did not leave Rex alone. We were afraid he might fall and hurt himself and wouldn’t be able to get help. We had some one with him at all times. Rayanna and I took turns staying with him on Sunday. One Sunday she would go to sacrament meeting and I would go to Relief Society and the next Sunday we would switch meetings. Rayanna and Terry had moved in with us shortly after we had returned home in 1992.
In November 1995 Rex did fall and bruised his hip which pained him more and more. For a week after the fall he had walked on it and had been coming to the kitchen table for his meals. Finally when it began to hurt more he didn’t want to move his leg. We decided something serious was wrong and he was taken to the hospital. He remained in the hospital for two weeks and then was taken to a rehabilitation center and was there for a week. He gradually declined and got weaker and weaker. On Friday night he was really bad and during the night he left this life, December 9, 1995.
During the summer of 1996 I decided to take a trip and go east to visit Bart and Joe again. I left Salt Lake City June 8 and flew to Chicago where I spent a month with Bart and Lillie. I was there with them when they moved in to their new home in Cary, Illinois. I had a good time there. We visited a large museum in Chicago and went out to a park for a cub scout pack meeting. We watched the boys fly their kites and had a picnic. On July the 8th I flew to Spartanburg and spent a month with Joe and Sarah Jean.
While there we attended two weddings, visited with family and had a good time, I went to church with Joe and Sarah Jean in Union. There I met a man who knows the gospel is true but he smokes and he says he can't quit. He said he would be baptized in a couple of years. I kept trying to get him baptized while I was there but didn't succeed.
I arrived back in Salt Lake City August 10. This is the latest trip I have taken but I don’t think it will be my last. I will do some more traveling in the future.
Holidays have always been kind of special to Rex and me We seemed to do much the same thing each year but we had fun.
The Baker family and our family always spent New Year’s Eve together One year we were at the Baker’s and the next year they were at our place. The entire families were together. We would have a meal and then the adults played card games and the kids played games and played with their toys. When the kids got tired they went to sleep on the floor or a bed and then later we would pick them up, put them in the car, and go home.
On Easter our two families always had a picnic on Saturday. We would hide Easter eggs and let the kids find them. We would play games which usually included a game of softball in which everyone played. We had fun spending the day together.
The Fourth of July was a big day in Provo. The city sponsored a large parade that started at 9:00 AM. It was usually close to noon before we got home. There were over a hundred floats, bands, and other units in the parade. The kids always enjoyed going and we did too. Early on the morning of the Fourth I would get up and take chairs and blankets in the car and drive up to University Avenue. There between Fifth and Sixth North I would spread out the blankets and place the chairs behind them to save a place for our family to watch the parade. Then I would bring the car back to Eighth North and start west and would park on the north side of the street facing west. After the parade we would carry the blankets and chairs to the car and I would drive home and bring whoever wanted to ride with me. It was usually someone with a baby or small child. The others would walk.
When the children were younger, after the parade, we would get in Baker’s pickup truck and drive up Hobble Creek canyon and have a big picnic. After the picnic we would rest for a while and then have a good game of softball and come home. In the evening we would sit out on our front lawn and watch the fireworks that were set off up by the BYU stadium.
The Bakers and our family would use the Labor Day weekend to take trips. One year we decided to go to Schofied and go up the canyon above the town and camp on a little stream there. Martha was just a over a year old. We found a nice camping place but the fishing wasn’t too good. There was a beaver dam on the creek near where we camped and the water had formed a nice pool behind the dam. It was just right for swimming. The kids were enjoying the swimming and we adults thought it looked very inviting but we didn’t have any swim suits with us. Finally Elda and I decided we could improvise and so we took towels and pinned them on our husbands as swim trunks. They looked just like they were wearing baggy diapers. We pinned towels on ourselves and used our bras as tops and we had our swim. Martha appeared to be getting ill but not seriously. She was listless and seemed to be sick to her stomach. She was sleeping most of the time.
The next morning it looked like it was going to rain and rain in the mountains can be quite severe. The road up the canyon was dirt and we knew if it rained very much that the road would get muddy and it might be two or three days before we could travel. We decided to pack up and leave before it rained. As we traveled back down the canyon and got down to a lower altitude Martha started to perk up. She seemed to be getting better. It was then that I decided that she must have been affected by the high altitude. By the time we got near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon she was all right. So we went up Hobble Creek and camped there for that day and night.
When Dan Baker and Martha were babies the families went on a camping trip. We were going to go Sunday afternoon after church and stay Monday and come home Tuesday morning. We got in a hurry and decided to leave Saturday and have an extra day camping. We got up to the camp grounds and got a nice place to camp. We put up our tents, had our supper and played games. Then we went to bed. During the night it started to rain. It rained and rained. Baker’s tent leaked and their bedding got wet. They had a hard time keeping Dan’s bed dry. The next morning it had quit raining and so we put up a rope line between two trees and hung the bedding up to dry. It was just about dry when it started raining again and everything in the tent was getting wet. Elda and I decided it wasn’t going to quit raining and that we might as well pack up and go home.
We had forded the stream to get into the camping area but the rain has increased the flow of water in the creek and it was deeper when we went to leave. We finally managed to get through the creek and out on to the road. We went back home. If we had only waited and gone as we first planned we would have had a nice trip because it had quit raining by the time we arrived home. Monday and Tuesday were nice shiny warm days.
When Kenneth was a year old we took the Labor Day weekend to go on a camping trip up Diamond Fork Canyon. We traveled up Hobble Creek Canyon to the top and crossed over into Diamond Fork Canyon and started down the canyon. We found a nice camping area and stopped. Kenneth was such an active boy and always running away so we had him tied to the end of a rope. As we got out of the truck we tied the rope to the back of the truck. Shirley had just tied a bow knot and Kenneth pulled it loose. Before we knew he was free we saw him go tumbling into the creek. We were glad it was shallow water and he just got wet. We had a good time there that weekend and the kids had a lot of fun playing in the creek and playing games. Elda and I just rested and watched the little ones. Rex and Shirley fished and we had fish to eat.
During the time that the kids were little we did not have a car so all the trips were taken in Shirley’s pickup truck. Shirley and Rex would take the smallest child and ride in the cab. Shirley put side boards on the truck bed and then put a wagon seat in the back. Blankets were laid on the floor of the truck and Elda and I, along with the kids, sat back there with our camping gear and food piled around us. Away we would go. We always had a lot of fun.
One year Bakers had purchased a new red Chevrolet sedan and we had purchased a new green Keyser sedan. We had purchased carry all’s to put on the top of the cars to carry our camping gear and clothes. We decided to take a longer trip on Labor Day and go to Southern Utah. We left Saturday morning and went down to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It was up above Cedar City, Utah. We had stopped along the way for lunch and to see the Manti Temple and grounds. When we got to Cedar Breaks it was getting supper time. We put up our tents and cooked supper. After we had eaten and cleaned up the supper things it was time to go to bed.
The next morning we left Cedar Breaks and went on south to St. George, Utah. We saw the temple there and then came back north and went east to Zion’s National Park. We drove up the Canyon area to a nice place on the river where the kids played in the river and had a good time. From this area we could see the Great White Throne, one of the formations in Zion’s. We came back to the main camping area and had lunch and then traveled up through the Mt. Caramel tunnel and out of the Park. We stopped at the view places in the tunnel. We could look out and see the road below as it made the switch backs coming up the canyon. These areas had been constructed in the tunnel and spots were widened out and large windows were made in the side of the tunnel so people could see the views below.
From Zion’s we traveled north to Bryce Canyon National Park and there we camped for the night. We were able to look from the top down into the canyon that night. We decided we would wait for the next morning to hike down to the bottom. The next morning, which was Monday, we hiked to the bottom of Bryce Canyon around the trail and back up switch backs on the trail to the top. It was quite a hike. We all enjoyed it. The rock formations take the shapes of different objects. When we got back to the top we had our lunch and then came on north and back to Provo.
Thanksgiving was always the day for a big family dinner. During our first years of marriage Thanksgiving dinner was held at Rex’s parents’ home. On Wednesday I baked pies, pumpkin, mince meat, and apple. I made cranberry sauce using a special recipe that we had got from Relief Society. We took two packages of cranberries, washed and ground them. We also ground apples that had been cored and washed, peelings were left on. We ground as many apples as we did cranberries and we ground two peeled oranges. We saved the juice from the fruit and used it to make the Jello. We used two small packages or one large package of cherry Jello. We put four cups of sugar in the fruit mixture and then mixed all ingredients together and put it in the refrigerator to set. The fruit was all left raw.
Wednesday evening I made the stuffing and stuffed the turkey. Thursday morning someone got up about 4:30 AM and turned the oven on and put the turkey in the oven to cook. Thanksgiving morning was always a busy time, peeling potatoes and carrots, washing celery and cutting it in small pieces and then stuffing the pieces with Cheese Whiz. Some years later we also stuffed some of the celery with Emo, a substitute sour cream substance in which we had mixed a package of dry Lipton Onion Soup mix. Tables were set and Grant and I made “turkey salads. ”We took a half of a bottled pear, put it round side up on a piece of lettuce that was on a salad plate. A wedge of apple was stuck in the small end of the pear for the neck with a cherry on top of the apple. A half slice of pineapple was put over the large end of the pear to resemble a tail. Grated cheese was placed at the base of the pineapple. It made a real attractive and delicious salad.
We always had invited guests to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. The more the merrier. The year that Rayanna and Terry were engaged we invited Terry’s mother and father for dinner. They came. When we were through with the main meal we would serve the pie with whipped cream on it. I would go around the table and asked each one what kind of pie he wanted and how much. When I asked Terry what he wanted and how much, he said he wanted a round piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on it. I went in the kitchen and got a whole pumpkin pie and put whipped cream on it. Then I brought the pie in and placed it in front of Terry. Terry’s mother was so embarrassed. She said she had not taught her boy to act like that. We just laughed. Terry ate the whole pie.
After Dad Larsen died we moved the eating place to our home. Rex’s brothers and sisters were getting large families of their own and each one was having their own family dinner. Mother came to our house for Thanksgiving dinner and usually Bill and Celia and two kids came also.
When we came home from our mission our family had grown so large that we had a bunch at our house. It was fun. After we moved to Orem we had a family room where we could put up seven banquet tables. One year we had seventy people seated at tables in the family room. We began to cook two turkeys. We would take one stuffed turkey to Brian and Lynette’s house to cook and we cooked the other one at our house. It is very special to have the family all together for Thanksgiving. It is the holiday for families to gather and spend the day eating, playing games and visiting.
Our first four Christmases were special to Rex and me. When we got engaged Rex could not afford a diamond ring so I didn’t have one. We had ordered a wedding ring from the catalogue. It cost us four dollars. I was to get my diamond for Christmas since Rex now had odd jobs and we had some extra money. We ordered the diamond from the catalogue also. It cost five dollars. No girl ever got a diamond that meant more to her than mine did. I knew that there was a lot of love that came with the ring.
Christmas morning I woke up about 2:00 AM. I nudged Rex and asked him if I could get up and go get my ring. He said to go back to sleep and wait until morning, About a half hour later I asked again if I could go get my ring and again he said for me to go back to sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I wanted my ring so about every half hour I was asking if I could go get it. Finally he said to go get it and then we would be able to sleep. So I climbed out of bed, went in and got the package and came back to bed to open it. He did wake up enough to put the ring on my finger. We slept until the folks got up and everyone went to the tree.
The second Christmas we were still living with the folks and I was expecting my first baby. At 4:00 AM I woke Rex up and told him I thought I was going to have the baby that morning. We laid there for a short time and then he got up and woke his parents. They woke up the other kids and we all went to the tree to see what Santa had brought while we waited for the doctor to get there. Our baby would be delivered at home. Finally the doctor arrived and checked me. He said it would be a while later before we had a baby so he went home. We thought we were going to get a special present. However, Carolyn was not born until December 27.
Our third Christmas was special. We now had a small child in our home and it was fun watching what she did. When we took Carolyn to the tree and stood her in front of it she took one step toward the tree and then went to the floor. It was her first step and we were excited. However, she didn’t take any more steps for another month.
Our fourth Christmas was again special. We had been living in the little house for a year and a half but we had moved back in with the folks before our second baby was born. Rayanna had been born December 21st. Carolyn was as excited about what we had bought Rayanna as she was about what she got. She was able to unwrap Rayanna’s presents also. The day was nice and warm and Carolyn had gotten a doll and buggy for Christmas. She wanted to take her doll for a buggy ride. She got her grandmother’s overshoes and put them on and then she put on her grandmother’s straw hat that she wore when she did garden work. Then out the door she went, no coat, just overshoes and a hat. She wheeled her doll up and down the walk.
Three Christmases later we had a third daughter added to our family on December 8, 1940. We were again staying at the folk’s place. We also had a son that was twenty-one months old.
Christmas has always been my day. It was our tradition to get up in the morning when the first child stirred. In fact I would be laying awake waiting for the first sound from the basement. When I heard someone I would wake Rex and tell him to come on that the kids were waking up. I would hurry and dress and go to the top of the stairs and call all the kids and tell them Santa had been there. They would come upstairs. They all had to dress, have a breakfast of cereal, milk and a banana, and the dishes had to be done before we could go to the tree. Then we all went in the front room together to see what was there.
The kids always got a lot of small presents. There was usually one large present and then color books, crayons, small cars or what ever. The girls always had a doll. One year Rex had made doll furniture from wooden orange crates. He had made a cradle for each girl and I had made the mattresses, pillows, sheets and quilts for the cradles. The boys got an electric train that year. It was a big Christmas and everyone was excited.
After breakfast I didn’t care what the kids ate. I had prepared salads and chicken the day before so there was plenty to eat in the fridge. There were also desserts, candy and oranges. They could eat what they wanted to. It was my day to play with the kids and have a good time. Usually during the day we would go down to Bakers to see what they got and they would come up to see what we had.
Grandpa and Grandma Larsen were always called while we were having breakfast so they would be there to go in to the tree with us. After Celia and Bill moved to Provo they would come up through the block and be there to see us open our presents. Then we would go down the their place and watch them open their presents. After that we all went to Mother and Dad’s to see what Santa had left under their tree. There was always a present for everyone under each tree.
There were other special days for the Larsens. Each kid’s birthday was special. I gave them a birthday party and invited some of their friends. They played games and had ice cream and birthday cake.
Since there were only six days between Carolyn and Rayanna’s birthdays and since they had the same friends the party would be on Carolyn’s birthday one year and on Rayanna’s the next year. One year the party was supposed to be on Carolyn’s birthday. I decided I would like to give them a surprise party. I arranged with Elda Baker to invite the two girls down to spend the day with Johanna and play with their dolls. When Carolyn got up I didn’t mention her birthday. She didn’t say anything and about 10 o’clock I took the girls down to Bakers for the day. Elda was to bring them back in the early evening. Elda didn’t mention anything to Carolyn about it being her birthday.
About 7 o’clock the girl friends began to arrive. They came in and sat down in the living room. Soon Elda drove in the drive way and drove all the way to the back door so the girls would come in the kitchen door. As Carolyn started through the kitchen she began to sing “Happy Birthday to Me.” She was sure that we had forgotten all about her birthday. As she came to the front room door the girls jumped and called “Surprise”. Was Carolyn surprised, yes, and she was embarrassed to have them hear her sing to herself. Anyway they had a good birthday party and it was a big surprise to her.
One year after we returned from our mission Rex suggested that we start sending birthday cards to the grandkids. I thought it was a good idea and suggested that we put a dollar bill in each card. So we did. I got as new bills as I could. Finally I just went to the bank and bought a hundred new dollar bills at a time. For years it has been a crisp new dollar bill in each card. We also sent cards to our kids and their spouses and when the great grand kids began to arrive they got cards also.
For a long time everyone got a present for Christmas but when there got to be so many and it got difficult for me to go shopping, I started to give each a brand new two dollar bill for Christmas. Each year the ones away from home get theirs in the mail. Those that lived close around and could get home sometime during the holidays came to our house and picked their envelope off the Christmas tree. The tree looked quite neat all decorated with envelopes with two dollar bills in them.
One year we started to give genealogy for Christmas. Each year they got more genealogy. The Christmas we were on our mission they did not get any genealogy and we received letters from some of the older grandkids telling us that they missed getting genealogy for Christmas.
Most of Rex’s time was spent working with scouts. His scouting experience started when he was only twelve years old when he joined the Boy Scouts. He had just started college when he was called to be assistant scout master in the Provo Third Ward. He held this position until after we were married. During the year that we dated I would walk down to the Third Ward for Mutual each Tuesday evening and after Mutual I would go up to the scout room and wait for Rex to finish there and then he would walk me home.
When we went to Nevada after we were married and lived for four or five months Rex was released from his scouting position. When we returned to Utah Rex was put in the Sunday School superintendancy for a couple of years. When exploring was started in the late 1930’s Rex was called as assistant explorer advisor in the Third Ward. When the advisor moved from the Ward Rex was called as the advisor. At that time explorers did not work on the Eagle trail. That was for scouts. The explorers were working toward a Ranger award. The Ranger was equal to an Eagle. Rex was advisor to a fine group of young boys ages sixteen through eighteen. The advisor could also work and get a Ranger award. Rex worked with the boys and at one large Court of Honor in the Third Ward they awarded seven Ranger awards to the boys and one to Rex. The explorer post in the Third Ward was the first Post organized in Provo. There was a senior scout ship there in Provo. The boys were learning sailing and so their group was known as the sea scouts.
When the five wards in the West Utah Stake were divided in November of 1945 Rex was called to continue on as explorer advisor and for a while he had the boys from the Third and Rivergrove Wards in one post. They were together for almost a year when they were separated into two groups. Rex continued on as Explorer Advisor in the Rivergrove Ward. The program had been changed. They no longer worked for the Ranger award but now worked on a Silver award. Rex and his boys started on the new trail. Rex and some of the boys got the Silver award and then the trail was again changed. It was still called the Silver trail but the requirements were different and the badge was a different kind. Rex started with the boys and they work along the new Silver trail. Rex and some of the boys got that award. Then the different awards for explorers were discontinued and they were to work on the Eagle trail if they had not already earned it.
The explorers’ scouting was mostly along specialty lines. The boys were old enough to begin to think about careers and their preference for future work.
Rex took the explorers on many trips. In July, 1947 he was advisor for the explorers in Utah County. They elected to go to Salt Lake City and camp for a week on the Mormon Trail where it crossed the Fort Douglas area. This was a week long encampment celebrating the centennial celebration of the Mormon pioneers coming into the Salt Lake valley. Rex and his Explorers wanted to pitch their tents directly on the trail which was easy to find since nothing was growing there. So many wagons had gone over the trail that it was packed solid and too hard for any plants to grow through. The boys attempted to drive tent pegs in the area and even though they had heavy metal pegs they would not go in but bent. The boys had to settle the problem by putting their tents close beside the trail.
They had a marvelous adventure. On the 24th of July, Pioneer Day, I took our five children and traveled to Salt Lake City to see the big parade. I took them to Fort Douglas to visit Rex and the boys. It was a good experience for them to see what their father did when he was out with the explorers on a trip.
One of his many camping trips was a trip to the high Uintah Mountains for a fishing trip. The scouts traveled by car to Moon Lake and then back packed into a small lake higher in the mountains of north eastern Utah. They camped on the lake and had a wonderful three days fishing. Rex told them not to keep any more fish than they could eat. Each boy was to catch his own supper. Any surplus fish caught were to be turned back into the lake. By cutting the barbs off their hook they could catch fish and release them without injuring them.
When they came back to camp after a days fishing one boy had a full basket of fish. He announced that he had fish enough for all to eat. Rex told him he hoped he was hungry because every boy had caught fish and had all they could eat. This boy didn’t go fishing the next day. He had enough fish for that day also. This was Rex’s method of disciplining the boys.
Another time Rex took his explorers on a trip to Gooseberry Reservoir. This was a small lake down in Sevier County. He told the boys that he didn’t want anyone swimming across the lake. He didn’t want them to get tired and have trouble completing the swim to the other shore. He told them that if any one did try the boys would all pack up and go home. They got their tents up and then all decided to go swimming or fishing. One boy decided he could swim across easily and so he started out. Some of the boys called to him to come back but he kept going. He made it over but when he got there Rex called to him and told him to walk back by walking around the lake. He was not to swim back. Finally a fellow in a boat brought him back.
When he reached shore, Rex told the boys to take the tents down and pack up. They were going home. They knew Rex meant exactly that so they packed up and came home. Rex didn’t have to discipline the boy. The others took care of that.
The Air Force had a camping experience for the explorer boys. They had a survival training area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Nevada. In the summer they would invite the explorer leaders to bring their posts down and participate in a week of survival training. Two different times Rex took his post and went down. They chartered a bus to transport them and their equipment. Each boy was only to take their camping equipment which was what they could carry on their back. When they got to the area they were given army rations to supplement food that they could find or catch on the way. They taught the boys what plants were edible and which were harmful. They dug plants up and ate the bulbs found on the roots. They fished, they found wild berries, and they ate some of the rations. Rex had our oldest son Joe with him on both trips and our second son Kenneth was on one trip. One year Rex’s assistant advisor was Ned Arambula. He was a great boys man also. On the trip he whittled a neckerchief slide for each boy. For Kenneth he made a head of a monkey because he said he was a monkey. He was always climbing on something. For Joe he carved a Indian chief’s head with a headdress and all because he said Joe was a leader among the boys.
Joe told me that Ned helped him to gain a testimony of the gospel more than any one else and that it was his influence that caused him to decide that he was going on a mission.
In 1950 national scouting executives decided to change the age boys could join scouting to eleven instead of twelve. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints thought that eleven was too young for boys to be going out camping for a week and so they decided that they would have a patrol especially for the eleven year old boys. They would have an assistant scoutmaster to lead them and they would be under the direction of the Primary.
I was Primary president at the time and so I met with the boys and their leader several times. They held their patrol meetings on Saturday in the day time. Joe was in the first eleven year old patrol formed in the Rivergrove Ward. This arrangement was carried out for three years and then the Church decided that they would form a guide patrol in Primary. This would be the eleven year old boys and during the year their teacher would help them learn and pass their Tenderfoot and Second Class requirements so that they would all be Second Class Scouts when they graduated from Primary and entered the regular scout troop.
I was still Primary president when the decision was made for the summer of 1953. Kenneth was in this age group along with twelve other boys of the same age. The guide patrol teacher was expecting a baby and so was not going to teach Primary during the summer. I was in charge of the three older boys’ classes and so I took on the task of getting the boys through their requirements. They worked hard. I learned to tie knots, first aid, and other skills right along with the boys. By fall they were all ready to enter the scout troop as Second Class scouts. I was getting more involved with scouting and would be from this time on.
The scoutmaster of the Rivergrove First Ward had moved and the bishop was having difficulty selecting a new scoutmaster. Rex was still explorer advisor and he had a good assistant in James Zufelt who would make a very good Advisor. Rex informed the bishop that James was capable of taking over the explorers and that if the bishop so desired he would transfer and be the scoutmaster because there were thirteen boys coming into the troop. The boys already in the troop needed a strong Scoutmaster who was experienced. The bishop was happy to make the change and so Rex was once again scoutmaster.
He held this position for quite a few years and I supported him in his work. Each year Rex took the boys to the Maple Dell Scout Camp up Spanish Fork Canyon for a weeks camping. At the scout camp the boys had training for several merit badges along with their experience as campers. They learned how to interact with other boys and to work together. Most of his boys earned three merit badges while they were in camp. Rex made sure that they were registered for the merit badges that they needed for advancements and that would be easier to get while at camp.
The boys went to camp Monday morning and left Saturday morning. Friday evening they had a campfire program by the scout lake and gave awards that had been earned during the week. Parents were invited to come up in the late afternoon and spend time with their sons letting them show them the camp and then attend the program in the evening. I talked to the mothers of the boys and organized a supper to take up for the boys and their parents in Rex’s troop for Friday night. This became a yearly event and one that the boys looked forward to because they didn’t have to cook supper on Friday and they had no cleanup to do after the meal was over. Moms took care of that.
At that time it was difficult to get a troop committee that really worked. For several years Rex was on his own with only the boys to help plan the weeks camp. Rex arranged for parents to take the boys to camp and bring them home Saturday. He planned the menus for the week and organized the boys in patrols so that each boy had a responsibility each day. Some built the fire, some cooked, some did dishes, some policed the area, etc. I help Rex in making telephone calls and in arranging the lists and menus. Monday morning I would get up at four o’clock and go to the bakery to pick up bread for the week. Then I was off to the dairy to pick up milk, and to the wholesale grocery warehouse to pick up fruits and vegetables. Then I would go to the church and transfer my load to the truck that was taking the equipment and supplies to camp. I would then take as many boys as the car would handle, about five or six boys, and make a trip to scout camp. I would check them in and then come back home and get ready to go to work. Then Saturday morning I would go to scout camp and pick up a car load of boys. They were usually the last ones to leave and Rex would come with me and we would return the boys to the church where they could pick up their gear and go home. Rex and I would go home and another week of camping was complete.
For several years Rex had twenty to twenty three boys at summer camp and he would be the only leader with them. But he was a good scoutmaster and was able to organize the boys so that he did not have any trouble with them. They all knew their assignments and fulfilled them as they should.
In 1953 Rex was chosen to be the council scoutmaster for the group of scouts from the Utah County area that went to the national jamboree that was held at Irving Ranch in California. He had thirty-three boys in his troop and he also had two assistant scoutmasters. Rex assumed the general leadership and one of his assistants took care of the commissary and the other one helped direct the boys. They had a very successful trip. They were gone for two weeks. One week was spent at Irving Ranch and the other week traveling to and from the area. On the way to Irving Ranch they did some sight seeing. They stopped in Reno, Nevada and saw the gun collection in Harold’s Casino. Rex obtained permission to take the boys to the museum area and they did not go near the gambling areas.
When they arrived in San Francisco they visited Fisherman’s Wharf and had a fish dinner there. Some of the boys got their first view of the Pacific Ocean there in San Francisco.
Rex endeared himself in the boys memories after being with them for only two weeks. Some of the boys he had never met before. Approximately eight years later we received an invitation to a wedding reception for a boy and his bride. We did not know either the boy or the girl. I knew the groom’s mother as we had worked together in Stake Primary. We decided that this was the reason why we had received the invitation. However, we went to the reception anyway. When we entered the church and started down the corridor to where the bridal party was standing the groom left the group and came hurrying to meet us. He grabbed Rex’s hand and said, “I knew my scoutmaster would come, and he wouldn’t disappoint me.” He had known Rex for only the two weeks at the Jamboree.
The boys that Rex lead as their regular scoutmaster loved him very much. When we meet one of the boys they always commented on what a wonderful scoutmaster Rex was. One of his scouts, Tommy Powell, who is now the Chief Executive of the Utah National Parks Council telephoned him from California. He was then an executive scout leader in a Council in California and was preparing a class he was to instruct at their camp. He thought that he should call his old scoutmaster and thank him for all he had done when he was a boy. He called and talked to Rex for about fifteen minutes.
We went to a fiftieth wedding anniversary of a couple and when we shook hands with their youngest son he told his wife that Rex was the best merit badge councilor that he had ever been too. He said Rex had passed him off for the first aid merit badge and that he was really thorough. He said when Rex signed his card he knew first aid better that he had known any material for other merit badges.
Our granddaughter Merlene and her husband Mark Ebert went to Mark’s missionary reunion. It was held at the Ben Lewis home. He was Mark’s mission president and had been a vice President at Brigham Young University. When they were leaving they went to say good bye to President Lewis. He told Merlene that she had a grandfather that she should be very proud of as he had done more for scouting in Provo than any man he knew of. He said her grandfather was a very quiet man but he got so much accomplished and was such a great leader. Merlene said Ben Lewis just kept praising Rex. Merlene said she didn’t know that her grandfather made such an impression on people.
Rex organized his scouts and organized programs for them that the boys helped plan. Then Rex let the boy leaders take over and direct the activity. He was there in the back ground to help if his help was needed. They went on many swimming trips. The boys were working on their swimming and life saving merit badges. Rex always managed to have their activities help them along the advancement trails. In the winter time they had to go to the swimming pool in Salt Lake City. They usually went at night. Rex did not drive at night because the on coming car lights tended to momentarily blind him. I would go with them to do the night driving. Toward the end of their evening I would get the boys who had not been able to swim the required distance to pass their First Class swimming and have them swim with me. I was not a fast swimmer and I would tell the boys they were going to take it easy and that they would make it. When they would say they were getting too tired to go on I would have them turn over on their back and float for a few minutes and then turn back. Before it was over all the boys would make the distance required.
One day the scouts were going to Springville to swim. They had all met at the church. Rex needed to come by the house for something and while he was getting it one of the boys called to me and asked if I wasn’t going with them. When I said I wasn’t going the boy asked how they would have any fun without me. I would always play with the boys, dunking one another and racing across the pool, etc.
Every year during scout week in February the stores in Provo made one of their display windows available to scout groups to put up a Scout display. Rex’s group always participated and put up an outstanding exhibit. It was the work of the entire group. One year Rex’s explorer post made a camping scene. They made a frame work for a mountain using chicken wire. They shaped it like the mountain and then mixed plaster of Paris and covered the wire. Then they painted the mountain. They had canyons and everything. At the base of the mountain was a lake. They used a mirror for the lake and had put twigs from pine trees around the lake to represent trees. They had a small tent on one edge of the lake. They had bought small plastic dolls that had moveable arms and legs. They painted explorer uniforms on the dolls including hats. The dolls were placed around the camping area and the lake. They cut a couple of the dolls off at the waist and glued them to the mirror to represent scouts swimming. Some of the other scout leaders said it was Rex’s work but it wasn’t. The entire group of boys had come to the our home and worked on the project in the basement. It was their work.
Awards were given to the best displays and usually Rex’s group got a blue ribbon. But the experience the boys had in working together and doing something was much more important to Rex than the award.
Rex was a member of the executive board of the Utah National Parks Council and was area commissioner in the West Utah Stake. He was over the LDS scouts, also the scouts of the Catholic, Baptist and Community churches. He would visit the troop meetings and their awards nights and several times was the speaker at scout banquets held by the various groups. He was very faithful in helping the groups and was generous with his time and assistance.
Rex was merit badge counselor for several merit badges. He would instruct the boys on the material needed to be done or learned concerning the merit badge and then when the boys had studied and they decided they were ready to pass off the material he had one or two or three boys meet with him and would test them on the knowledge they had learned. If there was something to make they brought the item with them to have it checked. He was very patient with the boys and never tired of helping them with their advancements. He was merit badge counselor for basketry, electricity, safety, dog care, first aid and many others. He would instruct a large group on the material needed but when it came time to pass them off he didn’t want more than three boys at a time because he wanted to be sure each boy knew the material.
Rex and I took the Red Cross first aid courses, both the standard course and the instructor’s course. Then we taught first aid classes in the community. We felt that first aid was a very important merit badge because it might be the means of saving a life. We made sure each boy knew the material well. We did not hesitate to have a boy do some more studying and then come back to be rechecked. As some boys said, when they passed a first aid merit badge with Rex or me as a counselor the knew they had earned the badge.
In 1953 at the Utah National Park’s Council Awards Banquet Rex received his Silver Beaver Scouter’s Award. This is the highest award that can be given to a scouter on the Council level. Our son Joe was a Scout at the time and the leaders asked him to attend the banquet. He was to be the escort to bring his dad from the table up to the podium to receive the award. Several years later he received the district award given by the Provo District. It was the Provo Peak Scouter’s award. The district had obtained permission from the council to give a district award. The scouters were given a badge an a neckerchief after a citation of their achievements was read. In 1963 I received the Provo Peak award also. For several years Rex was president of the group and I was the Secretary. I was secretary for ten years. Each succeeding president wanted me for the secretary. I was released as we prepared to go on our mission for the Church.
When Bart was a scout he was chosen as Lodge Chief for the Order of the Arrow Lodge. These were outstanding boys and men who had done a lot in camping. One year at Camp Maple Dell Bart was privileged to call his father out to become a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. It was the highest award given in the Lodge. Rex said, “The Silver Beaver and the Vigil Honor awards were two great awards that came to me with my sons participating.”
Rex had not been able to pass the swimming and life saving merit badges so he had never received his Eagle award. When Joe and Kenneth were scouts and working on their Eagle award I suggested to Rex that he should get those two merit badges and get his Eagle at the same time as his sons did. At that time adults could earn the Eagle award. Now the award must be earned before the boy turns eighteen. It was a great thrill to attend the Court of Honor and see Rex and his two sons receive their Eagle awards the same night. His youngest son Bart earned his Eagle award when he became and scout. Joe has been given the Silver Beaver award since he was married. Kenneth and Bart were both Vigil Honor members of the Order of the Arrow.
When cub scouting was embraced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I was Primary president and since cubing was under the Primary sponsorship, I was over cubing. When Bart was nearing his eighth birthday and would become a cub Scout I was called to be a den mother. I had this position for nearly four years, until after Bart received his Weblos award, and went on in to scouts. When Rex was area commissioner he was over cubing also and so he learned the cubing program.
Since the eleven year old boys ware organized in the guide patrol in Primary the women were serving as scout leaders. At first women could not register as a scouters but since there were so many women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involved in the program the national scouting council decided to allow women to register as assistant scout masters. It was later decided that women were doing a great work in scouting and should be given an award on a Council level equal to the Silver Beaver Award given to the men. An award was designated for the women and was named the Silver Fawn award. Sister LaVerne Parmely, the General President of the Primary, was a member of the national council for scouting and when the award was first given she was the first women to receive the award. That same year (1971) at the Utah National Parks Council Awards Banquet I was one of five women in the Council who received the Silver Fawn. Rex and I were the first couple in the nation to have both the Silver Beaver and Silver Fawn awards.
The Silver Fawn award was only presented for five or six years. Then the national council decided that they would give both the men and women the Silver Beaver award and discontinue the Silver Fawn. The women were told that if they desired a Silver Beaver they could turn in the Silver Fawn and receive the Silver Beaver. I said that there was no way that I would give up my Silver Fawn. It would become a collector’s item and in time would mean much more to me than the Silver Beaver would.
The national scout council owned a ranch in northern New Mexico. It was given to them by a Mr. Phillips, an oil man, and is used as a training camp for scouters. The scouts were also given an office building in Oklahoma and the proceeds from the rental of the offices finance the ranch and other scout projects. Philmont Scout Ranch is a place where scouters go for training and they take their families with them for a week’s vacation.
Rex attended the training two different summers. The first year he took explorer advisors’ training and the second year he took cub scout training. The first year we went Bart was just a young Scout. Rex and I took Bart, Mary Ann and Loretta Luce our niece, with us. Kenneth was supposed to go but he was going to school and so couldn’t go. We left for the training a week early because we wanted to take the kids to Carlsbad Caverns before the training started.
We toured the Carlsbad Caverns and then in the evening we stayed and watched the bats leave the cave to fly out in the surrounding area and feast on the mosquitoes and other insects during the night. Then we returned to the cave for the daytime. The next day they went on to El Paso, Texas and crossed over to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. We parked our car in a parking garage in El Paso and took the street car over the border in to Mexico. There we visited an open air market and let the kids buy souvenirs. Rex saw a chess set that he liked and I decided to get it for him. It had a wooden box that became the chess board when it was opened. The chess pieces were carved from onyx. I asked how much it was and the salesman said twenty-five dollars. I told him that was too much and he came down a little but not a lot. It was still too much. Finally, we left the little shop and went on around the store looking at other shops and their merchandise. The market was an open place in the middle with shops all around it. Finally we were back at the shop with the chess set again. The salesman stopped me and offered me the set for less money. I said it was still too much. He came down a little more. We left again and went around again and when we got back the salesman had a lower price to offer. This procedure went on for several more trips around the market. Finally when we reached the shop for another time the salesman said two dollars and fifty cents. When he said this Rex said to buy it. I gave the man two dollars and fifty cents and got the chess set. I told Rex that if we had gone around again I could have bought it for a dollar. Rex said I got it cheap enough.
The family then came back to Santa Fe, New Mexico and saw the places of interest there and then went north to Philmont Scout Ranch. Each family brought their own bedding and other personal items. Tents were furnished by the ranch. They had constructed a group of wooden platforms and had put up tents using the platform as the floor. They had cots in the tents and families were assigned tents. There were programs planned for all age groups for the week. The tiny children from babies to four years of age were taken on a bus each morning to the kiddy corral where they were tended for the day. They were picked up at 9 o’clock in the morning and brought back at 4 in the afternoon. This gave the mothers the whole day to spend in their activities. The children who were five to seven years old were in one group and they were supervised for the day by young people who taught them games, told them stories and sang songs. The girls form eight years to eleven years old were in another group with activities suitable for their ages. The boys of this age group were in a group that were doing cub scout activities. Then the girls of scout age were in a group and the boys of scout age were in a group doing scouting projects. They even completed some merit badge requirements. The sixteen to eighteen year old girls were in a group that were doing things that they would like. They also went on trips to surrounding areas and saw the places of interest. The boys in this age group spent the week hiking in the mountains. They back packed their sleeping bags and personal items as they went. Food was delivered every day at the places they would reach for lunch and supper. They would have a bonfire program and stay there that night. The next morning they had breakfast and then were off on another days hike.
The women had a special program for them. They did handicrafts, visited places of interest, played card games and visited. They were free to participate in whatever they wanted or they could go to their tent and rest. It was a real vacation for the women. There were no worries, no children to look after for the entire day and they could relax because they knew the children were well taken care of.
Meals were served in the dining hall. The families were all together for breakfast and at lunch time the children joined their parents in the dining room. Then they were all together again for supper. The tiny ones had their special lunch and snacks at the kiddy corral. The youngest baby there was only two weeks old.
Monday afternoon the mountain men came in from their week’s hike. That night they had a program which included a number from each age group and after the program the chairs were moved back and they had a dance.
When we planned the trip Mary Ann didn’t know whether she wanted to go or not. She wondered what she would do there with a bunch of scouts. When she got there she soon found out there was plenty to do. The help in the dining room and kitchen were explorer age boys working there for the summer. One evening during the week a dance was held for the young teen age girls and the explorers who worked there. Mary Ann had a great time. One boy kind of took a shine to her and showed her a good time. When we were getting ready to leave Tuesday morning Mary Ann didn’t want to leave. She wanted to stay for another week.
The second year that we went to Philmont, Bart was fourteen and old enough to go on the week long hike. I had been learning about thermal blankets and how they kept you nice and warm. I had been told that one thermal blanket put between a folded sheet and stitched around to hold them together would keep a person warm in freezing weather. Bart had to carry his sleeping bag and he was a small boy. When I told him we could make him a sleeping bag using just one thermal blanket, a sheet and a piece of plastic as a covering under and over the sleeping bag to keep out moisture. He was happy. He had tried it out at home by sleeping outside on a cold night.
When the boys gathered to have their equipment checked before leaving for the hike the leaders wondered about Bart’s sleeping bag because it was so light and they would be in cold weather up on the mountains. I assured them that it would be fine. They were also afraid they would be slowed because Bart was so small and might not be able to keep up with the rest of the boys. They took him anyway.
The first day hiking they decided they had nothing to worry about. Bart could hike with the best of them. They didn’t realize that he spent a lot of his time during the summer hiking in the mountains around Provo and camping out over night. The first night when they were preparing for bed Bart said he looked at his sleeping bag and wondered if he was going to be warm. He thought about wearing his clothes to bed for extra warmth but decided not to. He undressed and crawled in his sleeping bag. The next morning he was nice and warm. He had slept snug as a bug in a rug all night. Other boys were complaining that it had been cold. The leaders had been sure that Bart would get cold and would have to wrap up in a blanket and sit by the camp fire all night. They soon realized that his sleeping bag was plenty warm.
While the women were trying to decide what they would do for their number on the Monday night program I told them that Bart had brought his hoops with him and would be willing to do his Indian hoop dance for our number. They didn’t know about that. Monday morning they came to me and asked if I thought Bart would do the dance. They hadn’t been able to come up with any other number. I said I was sure he would do it.
That night Bart did the Hoop Dance. It took about five minutes. He had twenty-two hoops that he used. He first started with one hoop and then two hoops, etc. until he had all twenty-two hoops placed around his body. He then bowed his body forward and it looked as if he were inside the ball of hoops. He also spread the top hoops that were from finger tip on one hand, up the arm, across the back, down the other arm to the finger tip and in dancing around he looked like a soaring eagle. When he started the last formation the audience began to clap in rhythm to the drum beat and they continued to stand and clap until he finished the dance.
Bart had been trading badges with the boys and men in camp and he had seen two badges that a leader had that he really wanted. The man told Bart he didn’t trade those badges with anyone. After the program was over he told Bart to come to his tent that he had something for him. When Bart got to his tent he gave him the two badges. He told Bart that he had earned them by doing such a fine job dancing. Another leader had an OA neckerchief that Bart liked very much. Everyone was trying to trade for the neckerchief but the man wouldn’t trade. He told them he couldn’t get another one. A small boy came in to the tent where the trading was going on and went up to Bart. He had a paper sack in his hand. He told Bart he wanted to trade a neckerchief slide he had made for one of Bart’s badges. Bart looked in the sack and saw a bunch of plaster of paris slides that the boy had made during the cubing activities of the week. Bart asked him which badge he would like and pulled out a group for him to choose from. The boy picked out the one he wanted. Bart said he needed more than just one so Bart gave him the badge he wanted and two or three other small badges. The boy handed Bart the sack of slides and turned to leave. Bart called him back and asked him which one he wanted Bart to take. The boys said he could have all of them but Bart told him that he would just take one and the boy would have the others to keep.
When the boy left the leader with the coveted neckerchief walked up to Bart and handed the neckerchief to him. He told Bart that if he could treat a boy like that and not try to cheat him he deserved the neckerchief and that it was his.
We had thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks at Philmont. We had learned a lot about scouting and had seen and done many things.
In 1957 or 1958 the national scout council formed what was known as the Women’s Auxiliary. This action would allow the women to register as scouters. They would be a group to assist scoutmasters and explore edvisors with their scouts. It made it possible for the women in the Primary who were working with the eleven year old boys to be registered in scouting. I was the first women in the Provo District to register and the second women in the Utah National Parks Council to be registered in the group.
Rex and I kept our Scouting registration current through the years. He received his fifty year veteran pin and I received my thirty five year veteran pin. Rex was a registered scouter when he died and I am still a registered scouter.
From the time I was a little girl I had talked about going on a mission. As I grew older and was nearing graduation from high school a mission was upper most in my plans. I would go to college so I could teach school. I would save my money and then go on a mission.
I graduated from high school when I was only seventeen years old so I waited until March of the next year, 1932, to go to Provo to attended Brigham Young University. I would attend the Spring Quarter and one term of Summer School. That would give me enough college credit to be eligible to teach school for one year in Nevada. Then I would return to college for the next full summer and I would be eligible to teach for another year. By that time I would have enough money saved to go on a mission.
I taught school for one year and then went back to Brigham Young University for the summer.
Rex was attending the Brigham Young University finishing his junior year the year I completed my first year of teaching.
Mother and Dad Larsen believed that college was all important. It was even more important than a mission. They had two sons already in college and two more children ready to begin college the next year. Since it was depression days money for missions was lacking so Rex had not gone on a mission.
I came back for summer school and during the first term my roommates and I met Eugene Larsen at a school dance. He began to date one of the girls named Pearl. At the end of the first term the University sponsored the annual Timp Hike. Rex was in Sunnyside, Utah taking down a house and bringing the lumber to Provo to use in remodeling his folks’ home. They would add an upstairs and a large room on the north. Rex wrote home and told Eugene to get him a date for the Timp Hike and he would be home to go with him and Pearl.
The story of the Timp Hike is in the chapter where Rex and I met. Suffice it to say that I was the blind date for Rex.
I attended the second summer session at Aspen Grove. During this time Rex came up to Aspen Grove with his parents for the art exhibit. He was also at scout camp near Aspen Grove as the assistant scoutmaster. Needless to say Rex saw me on both occasions.
I told Rex that I was going back to Nevada to teach school for another year and then with what money I had already saved I would have enough money for my mission.
He then suggested that if I had money enough for another year of schooling why didn’t I come back for a full school year and then I would have my two year Normal Teaching certificate. I could then teach for as long as I needed to without coming back for summer school. I decided this might be a good idea. I returned for the next school year. Rex and I continued dating and by the next spring we were engaged. We were married June 7, 1934.
No, I hadn’t forgotten my determination to go on a mission. The day we were married I made the statement, "When the family we will have are all grown, Rex and I will go on a mission together."
Through the years I would often say that when the kids were grown we would go on a mission. The children grew up knowing I still wanted to go on a mission. The family grew and attended school, the boys went on missions and the girls got married.
In September of 1973 Rex and I went to Italy to pick up our youngest son, Bart, at the end of his mission. Soon after they got together in Italy Bart said, “Well, Mom we all have completed our missions and all are married except Kenneth and me. Now it’s time for you and Dad to go on your mission.”
In August of 1974 we told the bishop that we were prepared to go on a mission if we were called. Rex had retired from Geneva Steel and I could get a sabbatical leave from the Brigham Young University. By then Kenneth and Bart had both married.
Papers were filled out and sent to the general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In September we received our mission call.
I had had trouble with my heart and our doctor had told me not to over exert myself in cold weather. The kids asked if I had put on my papers that I should go to a warm place. I said, “No, the Lord knows where I need to go and we will go where He sends us.”
When the calls came they were for the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission in a nice warm climate.
Rex and I got busy getting things ready so we could leave our home for eighteen months. Bart and Sheri were to live in our home and care for it while we were gone and while Bart attended Brigham Young University. It would help him and us.
Rex and I were busy buying books and clothes to last us while we were on our mission. We entered the missionary home in Salt Lake City, Utah December 7, 1974. We were there for five days training and then it was off to Florida by plane to start a most wonderful year and a half.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale in the early afternoon of December 12, 1974. We were met by two young missionaries and taken to the mission home for the night. The next morning we were put on a bus for Wauchula, Florida. It was our first assignment as we started our mission.
We had gone by plane because our car was old and we did not believe it would last through our mission. We intended to rent a mission car. President Hutchings had a different idea. His assistant told us that the president had told him to tell us he didn’t want us to rent a mission car but to buy a car. He asked that we not do anything until he saw us when he returned from Puerto Rico.
When We arrived in Wauchula we were met by Elder and Sister Littleford. They were the couple we would replace. The Littlefords would stay in Wauchula with us until after Christmas to show us around and introduce us to their contacts. We would then continue to teach them.
We had a good two weeks and met many fine people. The Littlefords took us to meet all the members and nonmembers they knew. They showed us how to find our way around the country side and believe me it was some trick. First we got a small detailed map of the county. We obtained the map from the County Information Office. Then we marked the places we wanted to go. We followed the route from where we were to where we wanted to go. We marked every turn and crossroads along the way so we wouldn’t go astray and end up several miles from where we wanted to be. We became quite proficient at map reading and following the roads and signs.
Littlefords received their transfer to Dade City, Florida January 3, 1975 and Rex and I were left alone in Wauchula without a car.
President Hutchings had seen us at our zone conference held just before Christmas. He had asked us if we would like to buy the car he was driving. He said he thought he could get it for us for $1,500.00. It was a 1972 Ambassador with all the modern conveniences. It has only been driven 33,000 miles. We told him we surely would like it. He was getting a new car from Salt Lake City. It took him over a month to get the deal settled with the office in Salt Lake City.
After the Littlefords left for their new field of labor we walked for the last four days of the week. We did not cover much of an area but worked close to our apartment.
The first day we tracted we were knocking on the door of each house and not meeting with much success. It was getting time for lunch and so we decided to go back to the apartment. As we turned to leave we both felt impressed to go across the street to a house and knock on the door before we left the area. We followed the Spirit and went over to the house. When the lady came to the door she immediately invited us in and said she was interested in learning about the gospel but did not have time right then. She was just preparing to leave for a previous appointment. She set a date for us to come back and start the discussions.
When we went back she was not at home. She worked in an office with one of the members of the branch and had become interested. When we asked the member what could have happened she said that they had had a little difficulty in the office and the lady was angry at her and that was probably the reason we couldn’t reach her. Anyway we were unable to see her again.
We went to church Sunday morning and after church Harry English came up to us and said, “I hear you folks are without a car.” When we said, “Yes, that is right” he said, “Well if missionaries will ride in a pickup truck and if they know how to drive one here are the keys to that small Ford pickup out in front and it is yours as long as you need it.”
We asked him if was sure he could get along without it and he said he didn’t need it as he had plenty of transportation. The morning after we took it back to him he was using it. He had lent us the truck as a service to missionaries.
We spent the first nine months of our mission in Wauchula and they were a wonderful nine months. We met many fine, friendly people. Many listened and asked us questions but were not really interested in learning the gospel. Others became interested and were baptized. Some were interested, listened and believed but would not be baptized because of family concerns.
One lady who lived in the same apartment house that we lived in stopped us one day as we came home and asked us if we were missionaries. When we told her we were she said she would like to have us come and talk to her. We made an appointment and when we went to visit her she was very receptive. We introduced the gospel to her and answered questions that she had. We told her about the correct method of baptism. She was Catholic and so her beliefs were different from ours. We read her the story of Jesus’ baptism from the Bible. When we left we had another appointment to come back again.
When we returned the first thing she said after greeting us and having us sit down was, “When you were here before you told me that I was baptized by the wrong method and by someone who did not have the authority, didn’t you?” We told her that was correct. She said that she was sure we were correct because we had showed her where it tells how one should be baptized in the Bible.
We gave her the missionary discussions and she was agreeing with everything we said. She didn’t seem to question anything. When we challenged her to baptism she said that she had a brother who was priest and a sister who was a nun so she couldn’t join the Mormon Church because it would make them unhappy. She said that she would remain a Catholic. She was a school teacher and a lovely person. Before we left Wauchula she gave us a present of a box of assorted soaps and a card with fifty dollars in it. When we objected to the cash gift she said, “You must keep it. It will help you on your trip home and it is a small token of my appreciation for what you have taught me.”
In Wauchula there was a very lovely older couple who were members of the Church by the name of Grady and Bertella Bruce. They had been members for five years. When we needed a buildup they were the couple we visited. They introduced us to a family by the name of Eugene and Clemie Batt and their children Cecilia and Christopher. The Batts visited the Bruces quite often and the Bruces asked them if they wanted to hear about the Gospel. They said they did. We were introduced to the Batts and taught them the discussions. Eugene, Clemmie and Cecilia were baptized. Christopher was only six years old and would be baptized when he turned eight.
The Batts seemed to be very happy with their decision and appeared to be members who would be very active. There was one problem. Eugene played a harmonica and guitar at the Baptist Church services every Sunday. He had a harness that fit on his head that held the harmonica so he could play both instruments at the same time. When he was baptized he wanted to play a number at our sacrament meeting. The branch president said that they would have him play just the guitar and he could play an appropriate number in sacrament meeting. Eugene did this the Sunday after he was baptized.
The next Sunday Eugene thought he would be playing a piece again and when President Fort told him he wouldn’t play every Sunday he was disappointed. Then the Bruces were preparing to go to the Washington Temple during the summer and have their endowments and be sealed to one another. Eugene thought they would go with them. When he talked to President Fort about going he told him that they would have to wait a year before they could go to the temple. This made Eugene angry. He didn’t see why he couldn’t do what he wanted to.
These two disappointments caused Eugene to decide he didn’t want to be a Mormon any more. He decided he would go back to the Baptist church where he could play his instruments every week. Eugene also said that his wife and daughter would leave the church also and they did.
Crowley and Lucinda Tomlinson lived in Arcadia, a town in the southern part of our district. They had been living in Gainsville, Florida for a while and while there had had a baby. When the baby was born it was discovered that he was a Down’s Syndrome child. He had other problems as well and the doctors did not expect him to survive. Crowley’s parents who lived in Arcadia were members of the Church and Crowley was a member also. They suggested that Crowley and Lucinda have the Mormon missionaries come and administer to the baby. This was done and the baby got better. All the problems except the Down’s Syndrome were gone. When this happened Lucinda decided she wanted the missionaries to teach her and baptize her.
Since their home was in Arcadia we were the missionaries that were to do the teaching. We started to give her the lessons. One day when we were at the parent’s home their grandson Gerald who was twelve years old told us that he wanted to be baptized when Lucinda was. His father was a member and Gerald and his father lived with Gerald’s grandparents.
Since Gerald’s father was a member we asked President Fort about us teaching him the discussions. President Fort said that we should teach him and baptize him just like we would any other investigator. We were sure that Gerald would not attend meetings after he was baptized but President Ford said that didn’t matter.
Lucinda and Gerald were baptized the same night. Rex did the baptisms and the confirmations. Rex was also the one that baptized the Batt family.
We visited many people there in Wauchula and Arcadia and also in Bowling Green and Fort Myers. Some were very interested and were accepting what we taught, but when we got to the baptismal challenge they shied away and were not ready to accept the challenge. Some we visited were not interested in knowing about the gospel but wanted us to come and see them. We also visited some members that were not active and tried to reactivate them.
The Clyde Hunter family were very active. They had a large family and they were all active. Clyde’s parents lived in Bowling Green but were not interested in the Church. They did not want the missionaries to even visit them. One day Barry Hunter, Clyde’s son, who was seventeen years old came to us and asked us if we would go and visit his grandparents. We told him we would be happy to visit them.
On our next trip to Bowling Green we called at the Hunter home. Mr. Hunter came to the door and when he saw our name tags he started to say he was not interesting in meeting us. I broke in and said that his grandson Barry had asked us to come and visit them. Barry was their favorite grandson. Mrs. Hunter had very severe arthritis and was in a wheel chair. Barry also had juvenile arthritis and so they favored him.
When I told Mr. Hunter that Barry had asked us to come visit them he immediately invited us in and took us through the house to the kitchen where Mrs. Hunter was sitting in her wheel chair. He told her that Barry had asked us to come and visit them. She was very cordial also. We sat and visited with them, mostly talking about their son and his family. When we left they invited us back.
We visited them nearly every week and gradually they began to ask us a few questions about the Church. We knew we had to be patient and not rush them if we were going to be able to teach them. We were able to give them a copy of “Meet the Mormons” to read. After they read it they had more questions to ask. We felt we were making some progress.
One day when we were visiting them Mr. Hunter showed me a bottle of strawberry jam that he had made. He was very proud of it. Mrs. Hunter’s arthritis was so severe that he had to do all the house work and take care of her. When we left that day he gave us a bottle of jam to take with us.
In September we were transferred from Wauchula to Punta Gorda, Florida. It is a town on the Gulf of Mexico. We would also be laboring in Port Charlotte and Englewood, Florida. When we were released from our mission we spent one Sunday and Monday in Wauchula saying good bye to the families there. Clyde Hunter told us that his father had asked if we had gone home and had said that he would like to see us again. We told Clyde that we would visit his parents Monday before we left.
Monday we went to Bowling Green and when we went to the Hunter home, Mr. Hunter opened the door and was so happy to see us. He said he had just put his wife down for her nap. We offered to go in the bedroom and speak to her but he said no, he would get her up because she would want to talk to us. We visited with them for about a half hour. When we were leaving Mr. Hunter presented us with another bottle of jam. This time it was apricot jam that he had made.
We had been very patient with the Hunters and were slowly progressing with our teaching but the next couple who replaced us was very impatient. They visited the Hunters and immediately told them that they would give them the discussions and challenge them to be baptized. The Hunters had told them to leave and not to come back.
When we were going with the Littlefords and meeting the members we visited the English home. Harry and Barbara English lived out from the little town of Ona, Florida. They had a grove of citrus fruit. It was just before Christmas and we were invited to come with the Littlefords for Christmas dinner. While we were visiting them Brother English said he kept the missionaries in citrus fruit. He told us that we were to come and get citrus fruit from his grove whenever we needed some. In fact he took us out in the grove and picked us a lot of oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines to take to our apartment with us and told us not to go without citrus fruit.
The water in Wauchula was peculiar tasting and I was unable to drink much of it. One day we were visiting a women, Martha Smith, who another member had introduced us to. She asked us if we would like a drink of water. It was a hot day and we told her that we would. She brought us each a glass of water and when I tasted it I was surprised. What a taste. It was as good as any spring water I had ever tasted. When I emptied the glass she asked me if I wanted another glass and I told her I did. I asked her where she got such good water from and she told me from her pump out in the yard. She said that when she moved in to her trailer just on the outskirts of Wauchula that the city would not connect her to the city water and so she had to have a well dug. When the well was dug the county inspectors came and tested the water. They told her that the water was as pure as any water they had ever tested. Martha told us to come and get our drinking water from her well. She said to bring several jugs at a time and get all the water we wanted. She took us to the pump which was electric. She showed us where the key was kept to turn it on with and how to get the water from the pump. She told us if we came when she wasn’t home to just help ourselves.
When we were transferred to Punta Gorda Brother English told us that the oranges and grapefruit in Punta Gorda were not as good as the ones around Wauchula. He said that since we had one day a week to prepare our things for the next week we should still make a trip to his grove to get our citrus fruit. Martha Smith told us that when we came to get citrus fruit that we should bring our jugs and get water for drinking and cooking. So, once a month we made the trip to Wauchula for supplies of citrus fruit and water.
When we arrived in Punta Gorda we were met by Elder and Sister Ashworth who we would replace. We were to labor in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte and could live in either place. The Ashworths told us that one of the members was away from home and wouldn’t be back for several months. She wanted us to live in her home and house sit until she returned. The Ashworths took us to the home and we moved in. It was a nice place. We were told that there would be two young elders coming to Punta Gorda to labor. They were to live in the home with us until they could find an apartment.
The young elders came and moved in. We were using the guest room and the only other bedroom was the master bedroom so they were using it. We had been there about a week when late one night we were awakened by Stephanie Kitt, the lady of the house. She had come home. She wanted to know who was in her bedroom. When we told her she said she would sleep on the living room couch for the rest of the night and we could change things the next day. The elders were very surprised when they discovered that she had come home.
We took the elders to Punta Gorda the next morning and they went apartment hunting. They found a suitable place and moved in. We went back to Port Charlotte to the house. Stephanie was only going to be there for a couple of days then she was going on an extended cruise and we were to stay in her home while she was gone. She told us that we could continue to live with her when she returned from the cruise. However, when she came home she informed us that she had family coming and would need the guest room so we went apartment hunting. We were able to find a nice apartment in Punta Gorda that was not too far from where the young elders were living. We moved in to the apartment and remained there the remainder of our mission.
While we were in Wauchula one of the members told us that she had a son who was married when she and her three younger children were baptized. He didn’t want to have anything to do with the Church. Her daughter asked us one day if we wouldn’t go and visit her brother. This was the Nuccio family and her brother’s name was Marshall Nuccio. Marshall and his wife and small child lived in a trailer court between Bowling Green and Fort Myers.
One day we went over to see if we could find their trailer. We knew that he worked and we would have to visit them in the evening but we wanted to find the trailer in the day time so we would know where to go. We thought that we could make an appointment with his wife to visit them some evening.
We found the trailer and knocked on the door. When the women came to the door she invited us in. We had decided before we arrived at the trailer that we would just make the appointment and not discuss religion until the couple was together. We had not been there long when their young boy, about two years old, brought a story book to Rex and asked him to read it to him. Rex sat the boy on the couch by him and proceeded to read the book to him. The lady sat down beside me and started to ask questions. Of course I had to answer them. Before we left I had practically given her the first discussion. Before we left we made an appointment to come back in two or three days to visit her and her husband.
Monday night Marshall called. They had decided that they did not want us to come to visit them. They were not interested. We respected their decision and did not go. However, I was sure that the wife was interested in the Gospel. About a year later we received a letter at Christmas time from Marshall’s sister. She told us that Marshall and his wife were now members of the church and that Marshall was a member of the branch presidency. His wife must have won out and got him to investigate the gospel.
A women and her daughter in Punta Gorda were taught by the young missionaries and they were baptized. We had met them when we first arrived in Punta Gorda but when the young elders rented the apartment in Punta Gorda we all decided that they would labor in Punta Gorda since they were riding bicycles and did not have a car. We would labor in Port Charlotte and the area from there to Englewood since we had a car. So even though we had started to teach Pauline Jackson and her daughter Linda Carver when the elders were to work in Punta Gorda they took over teaching Pauline and Linda. So they were the ones who baptized them. But we had made friends with Pauline and she would still invite us to come to her home and visit with her. She told us that when she had a question concerning something about the gospel she could get the most complete answer from Rex and me. So we would go over and visit her. Then I would take her to relief society which was held in the homes of the women in the branch.
When we visited our mission in 1980 Sister Jackson told the study group we attended that we were the ones that kept her active in the Church. We could answer the questions she had and that I was never so busy that I couldn’t take her to relief society.
The Trewilers, one of the families in North Port Charlotte, had a niece, Susan, who was staying with them for the winter. She had taken some of the discussions while she was at home in New York but had not completed them. She wanted us to teach her but she wanted us to start from the beginning. We did and when we challenged her to be baptized she was ready. She said she wanted to be baptized at sunrise in the Gulf of Mexico by her uncle Ted Trewiler. We told her this would be fine.
We set the date for her baptism and informed the branch president that she would be baptized. In church the next Sunday, President Wilson announced that she would be baptized. The members were all invited to attend. There was a nice group that met early one morning on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
Brother Trewiler and Susan walked out in to the water and had to walk quite a ways to get to where the water was deep enough to baptize her. When they started the walk three dolphins appeared on the horizon, they came in right behind Susan and her uncle when they got out far enough. The dolphins would swim by behind them and come out of the water in an arch and back in. Then they would turn and swim back the other way. The dolphins stayed there until Susan was baptized and started back to shore and then they swam away.
We went back to President Wilson’s home where Susan was confirmed a member of the church. Sister Wilson had a breakfast all prepared for the group.
One of the members in Port Charlotte was a nurse in a Catholic hospital and she had met a girl who was a patient. She had been injured in a car accident. The girl, Paula Rash, had told the nurse that she was interested in hearing about the Church. Her ex-husband and his parents were members of the Church. The nurse told us about her and we went to the hospital to visit her.
Paula said that when she was released from the hospital she would be going to stay with her ex-husband’s sister, Sharon Nichols, and that we could visit her there and give her the discussions. We were happy to comply with her wishes.
Sharon’s husband, Jerry Nichols, was not a member of the church. He was a Catholic but was not active in his church. In fact he was dissatisfied with some of the teachings he had heard. He was not interested in hearing about the Mormon Church at that time. Jerry was a policeman and each time we went to the home to give Paula a discussion Jerry always happened to be there and even though he stayed in the next room we could tell he was listening. One day when we got there Jerry was not at home. He had gone to get a hair cut and had not yet returned. We started the lesson and in a short time Jerry came home. When he came in the house he sat down on the couch behind Paula and across the room from Rex and me.
He had not been home long when Paula interrupted the lesson and said, “I have a question.” We asked her what the question was and she said, “There are two men, both good men, one is a Catholic and the other is a Mormon. They both die, you say that the Mormon will go to Heaven but the Catholic won’t because he isn’t a Mormon, Why?”
I was the one giving the lesson at the time so I answered her. I told her that both men, if they were good men, would go to heaven and receive their rewards but that the Catholic would not be able to go in to the kingdom where the Mormon went because he had not been baptized in the right way by one who had authority, but they would both be in Heaven.
When we completed our lesson we got up to leave. Jerry had sat there the whole time. As we shook hands with him and said good bye he said, “If you will check with my wife she will set up an appointment for me. I am ready to hear the lessons.”
We were surprised but happy. We set up the appointment and began to teach Jerry also.
Paula moved back to her home and we were visiting her there when we challenged her to baptism. She had told us that she had a very calm feeling and bore a lovely testimony of how she felt about the gospel. We told her that the calmness came from the Holy Ghost being with her. Paula said she wanted to wait until Christmas time and let her father-in-law baptize her when he came down. We said that would be all right. We continued to visit her, but before Christmas came she told us that she had decided not to be baptized. She was moving to another area and wanted to wait until she had done some of the things she wanted to do before she was baptized. She also told us that she did not have the calm feeling any more. We told her that was because the Holy Ghost had left her when she decided not to be baptized.
We continued teaching Jerry Nichols, but were not getting to him for some reason. When we gave him the lesson on the Word of Wisdom and suggested that he would need to quit drinking coffee and smoking he told us that was impossible. He said smoking was the calming effect he needed as he drove his patrol car and drinking coffee was what kept him awake when he was on the midnight shift.
One day we gave him a discussion called “The Scroll”. It was a discussion about the two sticks, the Stick of Judah (The Bible) and the Stick of Joseph (The Book of Mormon). We told him how Joseph was promised by his father Jacob that he would be a fruitful bough by a well whose branches would run over the wall...unto the bounds of the everlasting hills. We told Jerry that these blessings were fulfilled when Lehi, a descendent of Joseph, was led out of Jerusalem to the Promised Land. That the wall was as a large body of water to be crossed and the land of the everlasting hills was the American Continent where a mountain range ran from Alaska down to the tip of south America.
The next time we came to give Jerry a lesson his wife interrupted us by saying, “Jerry you have something to tell them.” Jerry said,“ What?” Sharon said, “You know.” Jerry said, “Oh you mean, that I am going to be baptized.”
We were startled and wanted to know what had happened. He said that he had often read the Bible and could never find anything about what had happened to the promise made to Joseph by his father Jacob. When we had told him about the Book of Mormon and the answer to this question everything had fallen in place for him and he knew it was true.
I then said that we now had to find some way for him to give up coffee and tobacco. He said that that was all taken care of. He had thrown his pipe out the car window and was now drinking hot chocolate instead of coffee. He wanted his friend Richard Carey to baptize him. He said that Paula’s son, John Polis, who was eight years old would be baptized the same day. They were baptized March 12, 1975 at the home of Allen and Sylvia Hood.
When we went back to visit our mission in 1980 we were told that Jerry was not coming to church and that he had started to smoke again. We went to their home to visit Jerry and Sharon. Jerry was not home when we got there but we were still there when he came in. When Jerry saw us he came right to the chair where I was sitting and leaned down and kissed me on the mouth. I said to myself that Jerry was not smoking, I would have smelled the odor of tobacco when he kissed me and I didn’t.
We received a letter from a young lady in California telling us about her aunt who lived in Port Charlotte. She told us that her aunt, May Shafner, had said that she would like to have us come and teach her the discussions. We went out to visit May and when we knocked at her door no one answered. There were two ladies standing on the steps of the house next door. One of them came toward us and asked us what we wanted. When we told her we wanted to see May. She said she was May. We told her that we were Mormon Missionaries. She invited us in and when we were seated she told us that she had just come home from the cremation of her sister who had died the day before.
She had a lot of questions and we visited with her for some time. Before we left we had appointments to teach her the discussions. She was anxious to be baptized. When we neared the completion of the lessons we set the baptismal date. We wrote to her niece and told her when May would be baptized. The niece’s mother, May’s sister, came from California to attend May’s baptism.
We received a referral from the mission home for a couple who had been to Hawaii and had visited the temple visitor’s Center. They had indicated they were interested in hearing more about the Church. We went out to the home of Art and Margaret Myers in Rotunda West, Florida. It was on the road to Englewood. When we knocked on the door an older lady answered it. When we asked if she was Mrs. Myers she said she wasn’t and that Mrs. Myers was not home. She was out bicycle riding with her husband. She asked us if we would like to come in and wait as they should be home in about ten minutes.
We went in and were seated. When the Myers arrived home we told them who we were. They said that they had their religion and were satisfied. They felt they had had all their questions answered while they were in Hawaii. Since we were in the home they sat and visited with us for a time. Margaret said that someday they wanted to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
We told her that we had a film strip that described the Information Center on Temple Square and that we would be happy to come and show it to them. She made an appointment for us to come the next Wednesday morning and show it to them. Margaret asked us if we didn’t have some literature that we could give them to read. We gave her some pamphlets and a Book of Mormon.
When we came back the next Wednesday we showed them the film strip and visited with them for a time. When we got ready to leave Margaret said that before we left we would have some lunch. We told her we didn’t expect lunch but she said it was all prepared. We went in an had a lovely lunch. Her mother, who was living with them, came from her sitting room and had lunch with us. Margaret told us that they wanted us to come again the next Wednesday and start giving them the discussions.
We went each Wednesday, gave them a discussion, visited with them and had lunch. When we challenged them to be baptized they gladly accepted and we set a date. Before we challenged them we knew they would be baptized. The Holy Ghost had told us they were ready and we also knew that the Holy Ghost had born witness to them that the gospel was true.
The next week when we went and were having lunch her mother did not join us. I asked where she was and Margaret said that her mother was angry with her for accepting the baptismal challenge. We told her we were sorry and that it wasn’t our aim to separate families. Margaret said that she knew she had made the right decision and that was that. Her mother would have to get over her anger. Art said that he would like to be baptized in their swimming pool. Margaret said that was so far for the Branch members to come for a baptism. We told them that it wasn’t any further for the members to come that it would be for them to go to Punta Gorda to the Hood’s home to be baptized in their swimming pool. If Art wanted to be baptized in their pool that was where they should be baptized.
We told President Wilson and he announced the date during sacrament meeting that Sunday. The evening they were baptized there was a large group of members present. After Rex had baptized them and confirmed them members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Wilson welcomed them to the Branch and told Art about Priesthood Meeting being held Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM. Margaret started to say that was quite early for them to get to Punta Gorda. Art interrupted and said that he would be there.
Sunday morning Art and Margaret were there before 9:00 AM. While the men held Priesthood Meeting the women were meeting in one of the class rooms and visiting. They had decided a few Sundays before this that they would work on their genealogy during that hour. The women were bringing their genealogy sheets with them and one of the women was acting as an instructor and helping those who needed help. Sister Betty Morris was the leader. The very first Sunday that Margaret was there Betty decided she needed to know all about how she should do genealogy and so she proceeded to give her the whole class the first morning. I sat and wondered what was going to happen. I was afraid Betty would give Margaret so much that she would just throw her hands up and decided it was too difficult for her. The next Wednesday when we went out to visit with Art and Margaret again Margaret was thrilled about genealogy. She had lost her husband and two sons previous to her marriage to Art Myers.
She asked me about genealogy and I answered her questions. She wanted to know if she didn’t need a family group sheet showing her first marriage and her two sons. I told her she did and we immediately filled out a family group sheet for her. Then Margaret asked me how she went about having their temple work done. I told her the names were sent to Salt Lake to be checked and then were sent to a temple of her choice to have the temple ordinances done. Margaret asked us if she could have the names sent to the Provo Temple and have Rex do the ordinance work. Rex told her this would be fine and that he would be happy to do the work. When he completed the work we sent a completed sheet to Margaret for her records.
A year later Art and Margaret came to Utah and we went with them to the Salt Lake Temple for them to have their endowments and be sealed to one another. This was a thrilling experience for us.
In Punta Gorda we taught a man named Harry Andrews. He was seeing Elsa Cutrubus, a member, and was interested in taking the discussions. He was coming to our apartment every week for a discussion. We had completed all but the last discussion before we were released from our mission. We had an appointment to teach that discussion but he was called out of town on business and didn’t get back until after we had left.
Harry was a manager for a development company that had built a lot of the homes in Port Charlotte. He was selling property for the company and building homes to sell. When the area for Port Charlotte had been laid out they had designated several street corners to be sold to churches to build a church on the corner. One of these corners was in a beautiful area of Port Charlotte and one corner was still vacant. The lots were five acres and the price was reduced for churches. The Church was looking for a place to buy and build a church.
There was one block in Punta Gorda that had only one house on it. The members had been meeting for sacrament meeting in a Social Hall in Punta Gorda and they were ready to buy property and build. They negotiated for the block in Punta Gorda. The city council had to rezone the area for a church but said that would be no problem. The Baptist minister decided this was not a good idea. He visited the families who lived on the streets around the block and told them that the Mormons were a noisy bunch and that they held meetings late a night. Besides that they would build their church on one corner and then black top the rest of the block for a parking lot. He said they would destroy the trees on the block and when it rained the water would run off the black top in to their homes and cause floods. He encouraged the people to get up a petition to have the zone change stopped. They followed his suggestion.
This action helped missionary work instead of hindering it. When we knocked on a door and told the occupant who we were they would immediately invited us in. They wanted to know if we were going to appeal the decision. We told them no, that if the people didn’t want us there we would find property elsewhere and that the Lord would help us.
Harry Andrews had not committed to being baptized before we left. The missionaries that replaced us taught him and he was baptized. When Harry discovered that the members were looking for property to buy he asked them if the property had to be in Punta Gorda or could they purchase property in Port Charlotte. The Branch President told him they could buy in either town if the church sanctioned the property. Harry suggested that they purchase the last remaining piece of property on the church corner in Port Charlotte. The Church building inspectors came out and looked the property over. Five acres were more than they usually bought but they decided that it was a real good price and could be used as a stake center in years to come. So the property in Port Charlotte was purchased.
Harry was very active after he was baptized and it wasn’t long before he became the Branch President.
We had met a couple in Englewood who managed a group of winter cabins for a company. They had us come and teach them the lessons but were not really interested in joining the church. They told us that if we ever wanted to spend some time at Englewood and enjoy the beach that we were welcome to stay in one of their cabins. They said that several of the cabins was designated as the ministers’ cabins and they let clergymen stay there free of charge. We told them we did not have time to spend swimming and had to stay in our apartment.
We were nearing the end of our mission and our son Joe and family were coming from South Carolina to travel back to their place with us. Our daughter Martha and son-in-law, Paul, from Orem were coming to Florida to get us when we were released from our mission. The two fellows had both labored in Florida and wanted to show their wives their mission field. We told the manager of the cabins that when they came we would be happy to come and stay at their cabins and let the children enjoy the water. It would be the summer time and that was the time of year that cabins were available since the people went back north for the summer. It was arranged that we should occupy two double cabins when they got there.
We were released from our mission June 7, 1976 and that evening Paul and Martha, Joe and Sarah Jean and four of Joe’s children knocked on our door. We had arranged with the landlord to put the kids in an empty apartment down stairs for the night. Sunday afternoon we left Punta Gorda and went to Englewood and occupied the cabins there for two days and nights.
The first day we were at the cabins the kids had a grand time swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. The next morning we picked up the Myers, who had packed a lunch for us, and went to Boca Grande, a beach on the Gulf with lots of shells. We had a good time finding shells. As we came back from the island we stopped at the Myer’s home. Margaret told the kids to come on in and get in their swimming pool and get the sand off their clothes. They all came through the house, trailing sand all through the living room, out to the pool and into the water. Margaret said the sand would vacuum up very easily. She had refreshments for them.
Margaret wanted us to come to their place the next day and go with them to an island that came up near Rotunda West and have a picnic and enjoy a day with them, but we could not.
When we left the cabins the next morning we went back to Punta Gorda and took our car out to Papa Motta’s place to leave it while we traveled in the southern part of Florida. We had the car all packed ready to leave for home when we returned from Miami. We all got into Joe’s station wagon and headed towards Winter Haven and Cypress Gardens. We spent the afternoon at Cypress Gardens.
The next day we spent at Disney World and there the kids had a very good time. While we were having our lunch we were entertained by Disney characters. They were on a small stage. Evelyn was only a few years old and I took her up close to the stage where Pluto was greeting the kids, he reached out an took Evelyn’s hand, oh, how excited she got. They also saw Mickey and Minnie.
The next day we went to Sea World so the kids could see the dolphins, whales and seals perform. When we entered the gate at Sea World we were greeted by a walrus. He was talking to the kids. Of course Grandpa had to have a picture of the kids and the walrus. When he just about had them all in place the walrus signaled for me to come and have my picture taken with them. I went over and stood by the walrus. When the picture was taken the walrus leaned down and put his mouth close to my check and made a kissing sound. This really tickled Joey. He still talks about the walrus kissing Grandma.
We traveled on west to Cape Canaveral and saw the rockets that were being made. We were able to see one being taken out to the launch pad.
We then traveled south toward Miami and turned west before Miami and went through the Everglades. Paul and Joe were showing the girls and kids where they had labored while they were on their missions. We were all in Joe’s station wagon but we had a good time together.
We came back to Punta Gorda and picked up our car from Papa Motta’s. Then we headed North. We stopped in Wauchula and picked a few bushel of citrus fruit to eat on our trip north. We had a marvelous trip through Florida.
We went north to Georgia and went to see Okefenokee Swamp. As we were walking along a trail there by the side of the path was a large crocodile asleep. We hiked through the area and climbed the observation tower and then took a boat ride through the swamp to see the animal life there.
When we were ready to head back to South Carolina to Joe and Sarah Jean’s home, Rex and I told the kids to go on. They wanted to travel faster than we did and they wanted to get home that night. We knew it would be late when they got home so we told them to go and we would come a little slower and would stop along the way and get a motel early so we could get a good night’s sleep. Then we would come on to Spartanburg the next morning.
Paul and Martha only stayed two and a half days in Spartanburg. Then they flew home. They had left their kids home. Bart and Sheri were staying out at their house taking care of them.
Bart decided that we needed help to drive home. He got an opportunity to drive a car east for a fellow and come the last short distance by bus to Spartanburg. When we left Spartanburg we went north to Washington D. C. We were to meet the Bruces there and go to the Washington Temple with them as they went to get their endowments. Sarah Jean decided to go with us to Washington, go to the temple, and then fly back to South Carolina.
We did this and we all had a grand time at the temple. It was so thrilling to see Brother and Sister Bruce in the temple. They were like a couple of young kids. The Bruces had reserved rooms for all of us at a hotel close to the temple that catered to Mormons. The Church owned the hotel so as to have some place for the members to stay while at the temple. The hotel manager suggested that we go to a small cafe close by for our meals. He said it was good food and good service.
The first morning we went over to the cafe and the waiter took our orders. He was very particular to get things just like we said we wanted them cooked. The next morning when we went there for breakfast he greeted us and as we sat down he went back and started to prepare our breakfast. He repeated what we had had the morning before and asked if we wanted the same thing.
Bart and I took Sarah Jean to the airport and put her on the plane for Spartanburg. The next morning Bart, Rex, and I started back to Utah. The kids were all waiting in Provo when we arrived. They had banners welcoming us home and it was good to see them all. Except for Joe and Sarah Jean and their family our entire family was there. Thus ended a wonderful eighteen months. We had spent the time together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the entire time. We loved every minute of our mission.
Rex and I started our marriage out on a very happy note. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple June 7, 1934, the place where Heavenly Father had told us we should be married. We loved each other very very much. We had had a good dating period having had lots of fun and enjoying one anothers companionship.
We decided from the very first that we would help one another, work and play together and respect one another’s feelings. We started our marriage as a 75-25 per cent proposition. We would each give 75 per cent and take 25 per cent. That way we would build a reserve and never worry about who got the most.
We were both active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and both had callings in the Church. We would help one another with our church assignments. Church responsibility would be done first before we did other things.
When we had children we would both take responsibility for discipling them and taking care of them. We would love them very much and we would take them with us when we went places. We also decided we would have some time for just the two of us to be together. We would go, just the two of us, and would have baby sitters for the children.
We scuffled a lot through our married life. That continued until we both got arthritis and our bodies hurt when they were held too tight. As I have always said, we fought from the day we met until just a few days before Rex died but we never had a fight. We can truthfully say that we have never said anything to one another that we needed to say we were sorry for or that we shouldn’t have said. We had our differences but we could always calmly talk them out. We never got angry at one another. Sheri, one of our daughter-in-laws once said ours was a perfect marriage.
We had to be careful about when we scuffled when Carolyn was small. She would start to cry and we had to quit before she would stop crying. She thought we were fighting. My mother also thought we were fighting seriously. She often told me that we should stop because now we might think it was just in fun but some day we would decide we meant it.
We loved our children very much. Each one was gladly welcomed as a member of our family. I often said we only ordered our first child. The others just came. We had five children in six years and then our sixth child was six years behind the fifth and the seventh four years after her. I am sure we would have spaced the first five a little further apart if we had been ordering them and the last two would have been nearer the same age as the older ones. We took what our Heavenly Father sent us and at the time He sent them and were very happy to have them. Rex said that one of the biggest thrills he ever got was when he came home from work in the evening and Carolyn would come running and hold out her arms for him to pick her up. When he did she always gave him a big hug and kiss. She always was calling “Daddy, Daddy” as she ran to him.
We had no trouble in disciplining the children. We never interfered with each other when he or she was doing the disciplining. We never went against one another’s decision. If a child came to me and asked for something or to do something I always asked if they had asked their father. If they said they had I would ask them what he had said. When they told me I would say, “Well that is the answer.” Rex followed the same questioning when they went to him. If they hadn’t ask the other one we would tell them to go see what they thought about it.
Bart, our youngest son often said that he never heard us raise our voice at each other unless we were playing. He also said he never heard us tell each other that we thought we were using the wrong discipline.
Rex and I supported one another in our church work. I helped him with his scouting and did not object to him spending so much time with the boys. Rex helped me with my Primary work and never complained about the time I spent doing it. In Primary when I was a Primary worker the children would bring their birthday pennies to be sent to the Primary Children’s Hospital to care for the children. If a child needed medical attention and the family could not afford the cost, the child was taken to the Primary Children’s Hospital at no charge. Doctors donated their services but money was needed for operating expenses.
In Primary, when it was the child’s birthday they brought a penny for each year of their age and other Primary days they would bring a penny or two or a nickel or dime. They had box at Primary that the money was dropped in. While the children were coming up to the stand to drop their money in the box, the other Primary children and teachers sang a song. called the “Primary Penny Song”:
Five Pennies make a nickel,
It’s for the crippled children
So let us be unselfish
Let’s march along and sing our song,
When I was called as Primary president I decided that we needed a new object to drop our money in. They had just built a new Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and the children had donated money to help build it. I mentioned to Rex that it would be nice if we had a box that looked like the new hospital. What did he do? He drew up plans and made a small replica of the hospital. It even had the steeple on it. The place for dropping in the money was in the top of the steeple. The money dropped in to the bottom of the hospital and the bottom would slide open so the money could be taken and sent off.
When we returned from our mission Rex was called to be the high priest’s group leader in the Rivergrove Fist Ward and I began working in Relief Society. It was only a few years before I was called as Relief Society president.
The priesthood holders in the ward were called as home teachers and the women in Relief Society were called as visiting teachers. The men visited the entire family once a month and made sure that everything was going well with the family. They had a message to give each month. The women visited the women of the ward and gave them a message and checked on the welfare of the family. It was the high priest’s responsibility to visit all widows in the ward. The women visited them also.
In the Rivergrove First Ward we had four women and two men who were in rest homes. Rex and I decided that we would go together and visit the six at least once a month and sometimes more often. We visited one lady in the south part of Provo and two ladies in a rest home in Orem. One lady was living with her daughter in the north part of Provo and we went to visit her. One man was in the rest home in Provo and the other one in the rest home in Orem. They looked forward to our visits and we tried to be cheerful so they would have something pleasant to think about.
When Carolyn was a baby I discovered that it was difficult to take her to Sunday School. Her nap time was during the Sunday School hour and Carolyn would not go to sleep in my arms. She had to be laid down in her bed and left to go to sleep. So at Sunday School when she got sleepy I would stand and walk with her at the back of the room. If I sat down she cried. I tried putting her on a blanket on the bench and letting her go to sleep. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. I sometimes did not go to Sunday School but stayed at home with her. Sacrament meeting was at the time when she was awake and so we went to that meeting and took her.
When Rayanna was born Carolyn was getting old enough that she needed to attend the nursery. We wanted her to have this experience and the only way she could was for me to take the two girls to Sunday School. We went and I managed. From that time on we always took our children to church. We never said, “you go to church while I stay home.” One time Carolyn said that it was never, “Are you going to church?” it was, “Who are you going with?” We knew they were going but sometimes if was with a friend, sometimes with the family, and sometimes with a date.
Our children grew up knowing what was right and wrong. They were all active in church and attended their meetings. The boys were all active in scouting. All three earned their Eagle awards and all three were selected to join the Order of the Arrow. Kenneth and Bart became Vigil Honor members in the Order of the Arrow and Joe has his Brotherhood rank. All three boys earned their Duty to God award. Rex earned his Eagle along with the two older boys and was also a Vigil Honor member in the Order of the Arrow. Rex and his son Joe have both been given the Silver Beaver award. I received the Silver Fawn award. The girls were active in mutual also and earned the young women’s awards.
As I often said we are a rich family. We don’t have lots of money but we have what counts. We have each other and we have seven good kids and lots of good grand kids. They are the things we can take with us in to the next life. We are rich. Kenneth once said that he always knew that his dad and mother loved one another very much and that they loved all their kids. There was love in our home.
Rex and I both have a very strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Rex wrote his history in 1981 to be included in the Larsen history he gave the following testimony.
“I have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and want my children and grandchildren and in years to come my great grandchildren to know that I know that the Church is true and that Jesus is our Savior and that He lives.”
I bear the same testimony. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior, that He lives and I know that our Heavenly Father lives, and that They love us. I know that if we endure to the end we can again live with Them in Their home on high.
When I was thirteen years old a patriarch of the Church came out to Elko to give patriarchal blessings to all the members who wanted a blessing. I wanted a blessing and when Patriarch Toone laid his hands on my head to give me the blessing, a feeling just like an electrical shock went from the top of my head to my feet and I could have climbed the highest wall and shouted to all the world that I knew the gospel was true. There was no doubt in my mind. I had not been seeking a testimony. In fact, I don’t think I really knew what a testimony was but I knew it at that instance and I have never doubted the truth of the gospel since then. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of the Lord. When I got my testimony of the Book of Mormon I do not know. It seems as if I have always known it was true.
There is nothing we could give our children or want our children and grandchildren to have that would be more valuable to them than a strong testimony of the gospel. We would hope that each one will gain a strong testimony for themselves. They can not get to eternal life on the strength of someone else’s testimony. I want us all to be there together. Grandpa and I will not be happy if one is missing.
Rex was a very active man. He was always busy doing something. He had a hobby room in the basement where he could go and work out electrical problems and make things. He could do any kind of work. There was nothing in the house that he couldn’t fix if it needed to be repaired. We never had a leaky tap. If one started to leak it was immediately repaired. He could fix anything electrical that went wrong. He did plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, painting (our house got an outside coat of paint every two or three years). He even half soled the children’s shoes. As the kids said, “Dad could fix anything.”
About 1989 Rex began to slow down. One day we went out to get in the car to go some place and he got in on the passenger side. I asked him if he didn’t want to drive and he said he didn’t. He never drove the car after that. A short time later I was glad he had quit because he wanted to and not because I told him he should. He had began to get confused as to where we were going and how we would get there. He would ask me if I know where we were going. When I told him where, he would ask if I knew how to get there. Sometimes he was sure I was going in the wrong direction.
He had taken up craft work and made hooked rugs. He made quite a few. His father had made wooden animals when he was teaching crafts in elementary school and he had patterns for each of the animals. Rex had the patterns and he designed a hooked rug using the patterns for the design on the rug. He had completed half of the rug and was going to do the other half in reverse of the first half. He had all the yarn needed to complete the rug but one day he just quit working on it. It sat in my genealogy room for some time before I took it off the table and put it away.
In January 1990 Rex was diagnosed as having diabetes. This took a lot out of him. He began to spend more and more time sleeping or sitting in his easy chair watching television. He quit reading. Even the funny papers did not tempt him.
During the summer of 1990 we made a trip east to see Bart and Joe and their families. Sheri had died in February and Bart was trying his best to raise their five kids alone. We were in Virginia with Bart and family for the 4th of July. Bart had met a lovely lady, Lillie Clay, who he liked quite well. He was even considering asking her to marry him. She spent the Fourth with us at Bart’s home.
We went to the church for the kids games, a watermelon bust, and a musical concert. In the evening we went out to an Army post for a picnic with other members of the ward and had a good time. One lady had made cup cakes that had thick frosting on them. Rex wanted one and insisted on having it.
NOTE: This is where the story,
as she wrote it, ends.
feel free to contact
me with any questions or comments.