I discovered this history in various file fragments on my mother’s computer after she died. She had written her autobiography in a series of small topical documents. Mom obviously intended to publish a final version of her history, but death caught her before she was able to finish. Because of its original length, I have edited it somewhat for size, content, and grammar, while preserving its significant details and flavor. I also added the final section regarding her death. She novelized her story in certain areas, most notably the story of her birth. For the most part, I have left the imagined scenes in place, trusting that the reader can identify the fiction in those sections.
MY PURPOSE FOR WRITING
Maurice Warshaw, the owner of a Utah supermarket chain, was once quoted as saying, “I have learned that each day you should put something away in your file to remember your life by.” A Chinese saying goes like this: “The strongest memory is weaker than the palest ink.” I know this to be true from experience and, therefore, would like to preserve something to be remembered by when I am no longer here on this earth.
The Book of Mormon prophet, Jacob, suggested to me another reason for writing my history when he told his people, “Now in this thing [I] do rejoice; and [I] labor diligently to [enter] these words upon [my computer], hoping that [my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, etc.] will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their . . . parents.”
“For this intent have [I] written these things, that they may know that [I] knew of Christ, and [I] had a hope of his glory . . . .”
Another Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, also said it this way: “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.”
I too wish to write to persuade those who might read this to believe in Christ. Therefore, throughout my autobiography you may find me bearing testimony of the things that I have learned through the experiences I have had during my turn on earth. This will be a record of my life, written from my own unique perspective, in the hope that my posterity may someday read it and appreciate where I was at and who I was.
I once watched a videotape of a talk given by Sister Sherry Dew. In that talk, Sister Dew said that we, as sisters, are not perfect, but we are spectacular. She believes there is more righteous determination among the sisters in this church than there has ever been among any group of women in the history of the world. She encouraged us to learn to hear the voice of the Spirit, because it is the Spirit who reveals who we are. She encouraged us to ponder who we have always been. During the Savior’s life it was revealed to Him line upon line, precept upon precept, just who he was.
We know that we were there in the council in heaven when the Savior’s plan was presented; and we consented to it. During the ensuing war we chose the side of truth. We know that we stood loyally by God and Jesus; we did not flinch because we were chosen to come to earth.
The greatest of all pre-mortal talents is spirituality. The Lord is testing our faith to see if we will follow Him in the face of the wickedness of the world. Spencer W. Kimball said, “In the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments.”
Sister Dew praised the women of the church as noble and great, faithful and fearless, courageous and determined, when she said “understanding who we have always been can change our lives.” The Lord promises to walk with us and give power to our words. We should cheer each other on rather than compete with one another. Satan knows how spiritually potent this knowledge is. Sister Dew went on to say, “It is no secret to him that a righteous woman is the Lord’s secret weapon. Therefore, he offers an array of sorry substitutes to confuse and distract us.”
“Man looks upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart. Moses knew clearly who he was. We can overcome our mortal identity crisis by discovering who we have always been. The Spirit allows us to pierce the veil and catch a glimpse now and then. If we want the Spirit to be with us, there are things we inherently cannot do. Many are called, but few are chosen. We are the ones that do the choosing.”
People who keep their covenants, look, dress, act, and speak differently than the world. Our objective is to bless the lives of other people. We can become a vast army with enthusiasm for the work. I, along with Sister Dew, issue a call to all to enlist in the Lord’s army. Commit fully and it will explode.
President Hinckley has said, “Woman is God’s supreme creation. Of all the creations of the almighty, there is none more inspiring that a daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so.”
“Rise above the dust of the world. Know that you are a daughter of God and that there is for you a great work to be done which cannot be left to others.”
I personally believe that this talk could have been given both to men and women; and so I wish for my posterity, both sons and daughters, to learn and gain knowledge of just who you are and who you have always been. Remember that you are noble and great! YOU ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE KING! You are of noble heritage, and much is expected of you! May you rise to the occasion during the evil times ahead. I hope that my life will have been lived to show you a righteous example.
My plan to write this history evolved through inspiration. I had written a history in 1978 when we first moved to Connecticut. In 1993, my son-in law, Dan Hanks, scanned this history into the computer and sent me an electronic copy. I decided to write by topics such as parentage, music, genealogy, children, etc. Having the history in electronic form was great because I could just cut and paste into the topic section. This format allowed me to edit, update, and add, as my life continued.
One day, while writing in the genealogy section, I remembered a paragraph from my patriarchal blessing that I wanted to quote; so I dug out my blessing and added that paragraph. In the process, I read in my blessing that the Savior had called me forth before I came to earth and laid his hands upon my head and blessed me with what I would need to fulfill my mission while on earth. I felt impressed that my patriarchal blessing was sort of a mirror of that blessing the Savior gave to me, and that if I have used the directions in the blessing wisely and correctly it should be become a vital part of my life history. Therefore, I began going through the blessing, taking a paragraph here and there and putting it into the different topics. I guess you might say that the blessing is a roadmap that guided me on the pathways I have chosen to take in my life.
“Sister Glenda Joyce Memmott in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, at thy request, I humbly lay my hands upon thy head to give thee a Patriarchal Blessing. It is pleasing to Our Father in Heaven when His children seek blessings from Him. A responsibility Dear one will be upon thy shoulders to live for the fulfillment of the blessings the Lord has for thee.” (First paragraph of my Patriarchal Blessing).
My mother used to keep records of her children in a large ledger-type book about 12 x 15 inches x 1-1/2 inches thick. In this book she copied all of the family member’s patriarchal blessings. She also wrote down important dates and events, such as illnesses, etc. that happened in each of our lives. Sometimes I would sit and read the book. I especially enjoyed reading the patriarchal blessings. This instilled in me, at the young age of eleven, the desire to receive my own blessing. My parents made the appointment with Patriarch Clarence G. Hogan who lived in the neighboring community of Lynndyl, Utah. On a Sunday afternoon, 23 January 1955, I was privileged to have a great experience when I received my own patriarchal blessing. It gave me needed direction in my young life.
Because I desire to testify of the influence of my patriarchal blessing on my life, you will find me quoting it throughout my history. Please humor me as you read.
BORN OF NOBLE PARENTAGE
“Thou art of chosen lineage, dear one, of Joseph through the loins of Ephraim, born of noble parentage. Thy name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life recorded in the chronicles of Our Father in Heaven.” (Quoted from my patriarchal blessing)
It is beyond my ability to imagine how many discomforts and inconveniences so many of my ancestors must have endured, especially during the dark ages of the world’s history. Perhaps they did not realize as they were going through their daily lives what kind of a heritage they were leaving to their descendants. To them, I wish to give praise, honor and much gratitude for going through that period of history and for paving the way for me, that I might have a better life.
As I have spent time compiling some of their histories, I have grown to love and appreciate the contribution each of them has made. I am indeed grateful for being allowed to live on the earth at this time when there are so many wonderful conveniences available to us to assist us in carrying out the work we are here to do. One of the challenges we face today is avoiding the waste of the free time these modern conveniences provide for us. I personally am reminded that I need to make wiser decisions with the time allotted me so that these conveniences will not be wasted on me. I fear that perhaps my ancestors, with their limited resources, did much more with their allotted time than I am presently doing.
My ancestors were people of strong character, convictions, and industry. Most of them lived during a time when the complete truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ were not available to them. I so much appreciate those who, upon being taught by missionaries, quickly recognized the truthfulness of the Gospel and showed great courage in accepting it and entering the waters of baptism. Individually, their decision not only affected each of their lives positively, but also had a tremendous effect in the lives of their posterity, especially mine.
President John Taylor said something I found very interesting in relation to our deceased ancestors. He said, “The work we are engaged in is greater than we can generally conceive of. Our actions and operations now are connected with the past, with the present and with the future . . . . the heavenly hosts are looking down upon us. The Priesthood, which has administered in the various generations and under the various dispensations from the commencement of the world, have their eyes upon us; our brethren, with whom we have been associated here upon the earth and who are now behind the veil, have their eyes upon us. The myriads of dead that have slept in the silent tomb without knowledge of the gospel have their eyes upon us, and they are expecting us to fulfill the duties and responsibilities that devolve upon us to attend to, in which they are interested.”
“All the holy priesthood, the ancient patriarchs, prophets and apostles and men of God who have lived in the different generations are looking upon us and expecting us to fulfill the great and important requirements of Jehovah in regard to the welfare and the redemption of the world; the salvation of the living and dead. God, our Heavenly Father, and his son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, are also looking down upon us, and expect us to be faithful to our covenants.”
“When the Savior chose His jewels from among His faithful daughters thou wert one of them. He called you forth and laid His hands upon thy head and blessed thee and set thee apart for a mission in this life, to bring souls unto Him. You were faithful and obedient to the teachings of Our Father in Heaven in your pre-mortal existence.” (Quoted from my patriarchal blessing).
First and foremost, I am a spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father and Mother. This is a royal lineage that we all enjoy. It is exciting for me to realize that the Savior called me forth, just before I came to this earth, and personally laid His hands upon my head and blessed me and set me apart for the work I am to do here on this life. Sister Sherry Dew told the women of the church in a women’s conference that if we only realized who we were before we came to this earth we would not let the things of the world interfere with our progress. Knowing that Jesus actually set me apart for my mission here is very empowering. Once when I was meditating on this subject, I felt impressed that my patriarchal blessing contains the message of this blessing I received at the Savor’s hands before coming to this earth. My desire is to be faithful and obedient in this mortal state.
“In the heavens above you assisted, with many other chosen and brilliant spirits, in casting out Lucifer and his hosts and looked forward to the day and age when you would come here and tabernacle a body of flesh and bone . . . .” (Quoted from my patriarchal blessing).
I, like Nephi of old, was born of goodly parentage. Being the youngest of my parent’s ten children, I came late in their lives. My father, at age fifty-four, was ten years older than my mother.
It had been a busy October in 1943 for Mom. Most of her garden produce was canned, but on October 11th she had picked several bushes of tomatoes and canned them. Then she cleaned the house and mopped the floors of their very small home. Sixteen year old June, and Berdell, who was not quite fourteen, had been very helpful. As they worked, they talked of my upcoming birth.
Eleven-year-old Melvin asked, “Mommy, what do you think it will be like in the hospital?”
“I don’t really know,” Mom replied. As you know, of all you children, this is the first time I will be in a hospital for a birth. All the rest of you were born at home.”
“Tell us about each of our births,” the children chimed in together.
“Melvin, your birth was very scary because the chord was wrapped around your neck and you were blue when you were born.”
After telling of their births, Mom stopped short in her story as she grimaced in pain. “Melvin, run outside and get your dad quickly.”
A few minutes later Dad came through the back door into the kitchen. By this time Mom had gone to the couch to lie down. “Is it time?” Dad asked.
She nodded, “I think so.” “June, you are in charge of the children; Berdell, you help her,” Dad said.
“Come Lillie, let’s get in the car.” He took her suitcase in one hand and her arm with his other as they left the home to get into their Ford car and drive about ten miles to Delta.
When they pulled up in front of the hospital the contractions stopped. They went into the hospital anyway. After being in the hospital all night and still no baby, doctor Bird said, “Mrs. Memmott, you might as well go home since it doesn’t look like a baby is coming anytime soon.”
During the next day, Tuesday October 12th, the contractions began once again, and Dad drove the distance to the hospital. When he pulled up in front of the hospital the contractions stopped. “Let’s go home,” Mom said.
With the contractions coming intermittently all day, Mom didn’t know what to think. June’s boyfriend, Lane Shurtz, stopped by early in the evening to take June to MIA. Mom pulled herself together enough to begin preparations for a late supper for the family. It was nearly done when she called, “Gene, come quickly. I think my water has broken.”
When Dad walked into the kitchen he could see the puddle of water on the floor underneath Mom. Without saying a word, he went into the bedroom and got a blanket and wrapped it around Mom. “Come Lillie, let’s get you to the hospital.” As he left the house he turned around, “Berdell, it looks like you are the oldest one here so you are in charge of the children until June gets back. Please get them fed and put to bed.”
Dad drove as quickly as he could make that car go. Cars back then did not go as fast, nor were they as reliable as today’s cars. At the Sevier RiverBridge between Sutherland and Delta, sparks began to fly out from under the hood. Dad just kept driving. “I don’t know what that is but I am not going to stop. Hang in there Lillie and I will get you there just as soon as I can.” “Good,” sighed Mom.
It was 10:00 PM when they pulled up in front of the hospital. This time the contractions did not stop, but were coming very close together.
As they opened the front door of the small-town hospital, Mrs., Farris, the nurse, called out, “Dr. Bird, Mrs. Memmott is here again and it looks like she is here to stay this time.”
As Dad helped Mom to the delivery table, the doctor, Myron E. Bird, began to suit up and wash his hands. The nurse began to prepare the instruments that would be necessary. Twenty minutes after getting on the table at 10:30 P.M., I let out my first great cry to let the world know I was happy to finally be here for my allotted time on planet earth. After Mrs. Farris cleaned me up she weighed me. “Well, Mr. And Mrs. Memmott, your beautiful little daughter weighs eight pounds five ounces. She appears to have a healthy set of lungs as well.”
As she laid me in my mother’s arms she said, “She has lots of brown hair and very dark brown eyes to go along with that ruddy complexion.”
That same day another baby girl, Carol Wood, was born in the same hospital. One day when I was hungry and wanted to be fed during the ten-day stay in the hospital, the nurse accidentally took me into Mrs. Wood’s room. Mrs. Wood looked at me and then said, “This is not my baby. Those are not the clothes my baby was wearing.”
Mrs. Farris looked at me and apologized. “I am so sorry, Mrs. Wood. I must have made a mistake. This is Mrs. Memmott’s baby.”
While in the hospital, Mom and I had several visitors. Some neighbors, who were not members of our church, stopped by. They later told June, “We saw your little sister.”
My Uncle Harold and Aunt Grace stopped by and Grace said, “Lillie, that baby just can’t be yours; it’s so cute.”
Mom got all the rest that she needed while Dad, June, and Berdell handled the children at home. One day the entire family came to the hospital to see us. June helped to get them all cleaned up, which was no small job. Then keeping them clean as they all piled into the car, after traipsing through the mud and dirt to get to the car, was not an easy job. The car was quite small, and the older children had to hold the younger children on their laps. It was difficult to keep them clean because the mud from the little children’s shoes would get on the older children’s clothing as they sat on their laps. When they got to the hospital, Mrs. Bird exclaimed, “My, what a lovely family, all dressed up so nice and clean.” June felt very good to realize that she had played an important part in how they looked.
Through this entire time at the hospital Mom thought I was a pretty good baby. She recorded later that “I sure thought that baby was alright. She was so cute. She was my only baby of all my children delivered at the hospital. Before then, the doctor would come to the home and deliver them. It was different, and I got all the rest I needed. I was so very tired from canning that I slept a lot.”
Ten days after my birth, Dad came to take me on my very first automobile trip to our home in Sugarville. Before they released me, nurse Farris weighed me again and I weighed eight pounds, one ounce.
Dad had built a nice big crib for me; but when they got me home, they felt it was too big. So they put my brother Devon in the crib and they cleaned out one of the large dresser drawers and padded it well with blankets. This became my bed until I outgrew it. I have wondered if this might have been one of the original bassinettes, or at least the idea for one.
I was blessed with a father who worthily held the Melchizedek Priesthood and was able to give me a name and a blessing at the Sugarville Ward Sacrament Meeting on 7 November 1943.
My baby book states that at two months I raised my head, smiled and recognized Dad and Mom. I turned over and laughed out loud at four months, sat up at five months, grasped objects at six months, and began to creep at seven months. I stood at nine months, and began walking at one year. I cut my first tooth August 22, 1944, and said “Goodbye” February 23, 1945. My favorite toys included an eggbeater, clothespins, baby shoes, hair curlers, a doll, a bucket, and books. My first gifts were a baby book, two dresses, two blankets, a hood, and a slip.
CHILDHOOD AND GROWING YEARS
I was three months shy of being three years old when I found a pair of my mother’s scissors and took them into my bedroom. I had a good time cutting off one of my long braids. It was so much work that I fell asleep with the scissors in one hand and the braid in the other. When my family found me, they were very upset. My sister was given the job of trying to make my hair look decent, which must have been an impossible task.
During the summer of 1949, for six weeks, Mrs. Dutson drove her car, taking the kindergarten children who lived too far to walk to Hinckley Elementary School. Then she would drive us home again after school. The only thing I recall of kindergarten was that my teacher was very nice and cared a great deal about me.
On September 6, 1949, I was delighted that she was my first grade teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed first grade, and recall it as the best year of my elementary years. We were to perform in a play for our families one evening. The day of the play the weather was very wet. At recess I went out to play and ruined all my pretty ringlets that one of my sisters put in my hair each day. The teacher was very unhappy with me, and this devastated me. I went home from school that day in tears, only to find a loving sister, Inga Mae, willing to redo my hair. She took the metal curling iron, put it into the fire to heat it up, and then painstakingly remade each ringlet. That night, my teacher was most pleasantly surprised, and the play was a success.
That night my childhood sweetheart, Ray Bishop, kissed me back stage. This gave the other children a good excuse to tease us. At this time of my life I was a very carefree and outgoing child. I was happy, and life was wonderful, and I was unafraid to do things.
I started second grade at Hinckley elementary, but my parents moved once again in October of that year to Sugarville. The day of the move, a sibling picked me up at school. I recall not wanting to go with my family because I didn’t have the paper I had done that day. I never returned to that school, and, in the process of moving our possessions along the dusty graveled roads in the horse-drawn hay wagon, my best shoes were lost. Since Mom and Dad had limited resources, they could not get me another pair for two weeks; so I did not attend church or school during those two weeks. In thinking back, I must have gotten off on the wrong foot during that move, and things began to change for me.
The move necessitated a transfer to Sutherland Elementary School, which I attended through the sixth grade. Upon starting school, I discovered an entirely different atmosphere than the one at Hinckley. Never having been cruelly teased, tormented, or ridiculed, I retaliated, adding fuel to the fire and worsening the situation. The school had two classes together under one teacher. I was initially placed in Mrs. Sanford’s 2nd‑3rd grade, but when my cousin Virginia took me around to meet the teachers, Mrs. Chamberlain, who taught 1st‑2nd grade, wanted me to read something for her. I apparently failed her test and was placed back in her class. This was a blow to me.
One day a group of seventh grade girls dragged me down the long hall to the girls’ bathroom and stuffed rough brown paper towels down my throat until I gagged. In addition, each night while waiting for the bus, some of the children unbraided my hair and pulled my hair. From this time until sixth grade, when the perceived ringleader of the trouble moved on to junior high school, I hated elementary school. This experience made me become angry whenever I see similar occurrences. I tried to teach my own children not to belittle others who might be different than them.
My fun at elementary school was derived from collecting old bobby pins from the playground, playing on the tricky bars, and swinging on an old bar that sometimes fell off. Once it fell on me and knocked me unconscious a short while. I enjoyed making false fingernails and necklaces from the long beans that fell from the trees in the schoolyard. Swinging was another favorite activity. I would pump as high as possible, jump as far as I could, then measure the distance to the place I had landed in the sand. The competition with other children made this fun. I also loved to lie back in the swing to watch the cloud formations move slowly by.
My third grade teacher was Mrs. Sanford. I had Mrs. Roberts for fourth grade. Mr. Moody taught me fifth and sixth grades. I received a book as a prize from Mr. Moody for doing the neatest report on China. I also became interested in stamp collecting in Mr. Moody’s class.
To get to school we rode the bus Mel Terry drove. The elementary kids were let off at Sutherland, while the junior and senior high students were taken into Delta. As I got older, many times I would ride the other bus to June’s house, where I tended her children, stayed the night, and went to school from there the next day. I loved going to June’s house, as she always had crackers, cheese, and milk to snack on.
Mom loved to go places, but was always at the mercy of others to take her. As a young woman she was engaged to a man other than Dad, who taught her to drive his car. When she married, because Dad never allowed her the opportunity to drive, she pretty much forgot how. When my brother, Melvin, was home on leave from the Air Force he decided he was going to teach Mom to drive. Melvin, Mom, and all the children still at home piled into the car, and Mom drove very well along the dusty country roads of Sugarville. On the way back home, as we approached our driveway, Mom was driving a little too fast to make the left turn into the driveway. Melvin suggested that she slow down by putting her foot on the brake; but instead of applying the brake pedal Mom accidentally put her foot on the accelerator, and we took off on a very fast turn into the driveway, running over and breaking a glass gallon jar that was sitting beside the driveway. When we were finally stopped, Mom sat in the car for a very long time and vowed that she would never again drive, a promise she kept.
When I was about eight years old, Mr. Lyman, my parents’ landlord, let me drive his tractor. Later, as we helped him work in his fields, he let me drive his jeep. About this time, I also began watching Dad whenever he drove our car to see how he shifted the gears and maneuvered the foot pedals. When the time came that we moved the quarter of a mile north of this house to the house Dad had originally built in Scipio, I helped Dad haul the loads of manure for the garden and lawn he was planting. In return he succumbed to my begging to let me drive the car back and forth. I was so short that whenever he told me I could drive I ran excitedly to the house to get a couple of Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogs on which to sit, so I could see over the steering wheel. I also needed to stretch my legs to their full extent in order to reach the foot pedals.
Once I knew how to drive, I often drove the four to five miles from our home to the Sugarville church house over graveled country roads, where one hardly ever met another car. Sometimes, when Mom needed something from a store, I would drive her to the store in Sutherland, a distance about halfway between Sugarville and Delta, in the other direction from the church. One day Mom needed to go into Delta to a meeting. For some reason Dad could not drive her, so she begged me to be her driver. I hesitantly agreed to do so, but with fear and caution, because I had to drive on paved roads with more traffic, and with the threat that I might meet a policeman.
When I turned 15½ I took the driver education class offered at the high school and got my learners permit 25 May 1959. I drove for a month and then received my driver’s license 22 June 1959. Dad was often so tired, after a long days work in the fields, that he did not want to go anywhere at night. Since Mom did not drive, I became her wheels. After graduating from high school, I moved to Salt Lake City. For a short time, before Mom and Dad moved to SaltLake, it was very hard on Mom. It was very lonely for her. To get away from the house, she hurriedly did her housework early in the morning before Dad left for his work. Then she could go with him for the day to whatever job he was doing. She would sit in the car, crocheting or reading while he worked. At lunch they had a picnic she had prepared.
Cars in those days were not as reliable as those of today. Often, on trips from Delta to Provo, the radiator would overheat. We would have to stop and fill the radiator with the water that was carried in a canvas bag in front of the radiator for just such a purpose. I estimate top speed from those cars was around 45-50 miles per hour, so it took us a long time to get where we were going. I recall one time, while we were traveling to Provo through the EurekaMountains; we were just about over the last hill before going down into the valley when the car began sputtering. We discovered that it was nearly out of gas. Dad kept going, and it came to a near stop at the top of the hill. We all began rocking in unison, which gave the car just enough of a push to get up over the hill; then Dad put the transmission into neutral and we coasted down into the town to a gas station.
Dad could never afford to purchase new tires. He was always having the tires retreaded, or putting a boot in them to make them last longer. Recently, when Richard was telling me that we needed to get new tires for one of our cars, I commented to him about how our parents had traveled with retreads and boots in their tires. He reminded me that they neither traveled the distances nor the speeds that we travel, and that we have a much greater need of good tires for our safety.
When I was about in the fifth grade, Ann Shields and I sat next to each other in church trying to out-sing one another. Someone must have noticed us, as the primary presidency asked me to sing for a Primary program. One day at school they were looking for people to do something for a talent show. I mentioned to a friend, Lorraine Ogden, that I sang for a Primary program. She saw to it that I was on the school program. My cousin Virginia played the piano while I sang “Memories.” I also had a part in an operetta in elementary school.
During my teenage years, I sang at school, church and community functions, both in groups and alone. Mr. Long, the school music teacher, gave me a pin for being the most outstanding music student. I participated in various music contests; one was in Parowan, Utah. I sang, “Still As The Night,” and received a #2 rating and a note from the judge. He told me that with some work I was a potential #1. The next year I participated in a region music festival again and sang “Largo.” I received a #1 rating. I participated in the Delta High School Talent Review, which was broadcast over KSVC radio in Richfield on March 14 and 15, 1959. I sang “Blue Boy” with my cousin, Virginia Jensen.
I especially enjoyed the chorus. I sang under the direction of John Marlow Nielsen, from Salt Lake City. We practiced for eight weeks with him and then sang at a concert. We also sang in the October stake conference that year. My cousin, Virginia, and I, and the boys we were dating at the time, formed a quartet and sang together many places.
When I was sixteen, my mother planned a surprise party, along with my cousin, Virginia Jensen. On my birthday I was sick and almost didn’t go to school. When I got home I changed into my grubby clothes and just hung out. My mom kept suggesting that I might want to stay in my good clothes, but I wouldn’t do it. I wanted to go to bed early, but Mom worked with me to get me to stay up. About 8:00 p.m., as I was working on my homework, I saw a group of cars coming down the country road, where very few cars ever came, and they turned onto our road. As they got near our house, horns began honking. It finally dawned on me that it was a surprise party, so I disappeared into my room to change, and we had a fun party. I received a stuffed animal, which was my first one ever.
As I began to be recognized as an individual, school became more enjoyable. I graduated from Delta Jr. High 23 May 1958. In high school I entered many music festivals, placing quite high. I attended a few dances. I sang at assemblies, and in operettas. My junior year I was the leading lady opposite Anthony Adams in “The Prince of Pi1sen.” We began dating each other. My senior year I tried out, but did not get the lead for “Oklahoma.” As I had been elected chorus president, I conducted an advertising campaign to publicize the show. I wrote letters to radio stations asking for public service spots, sent letters to local Bishops, and placed posters in local businesses. The response was great. For two nights we had standing room only. From that experience I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I also had a minor singing role in the production.
I was on the yearbook staff my senior year. For my high school graduation 26 May 1961, I sang in a double mixed quartet. I participated in a ward play and road shows, and upon moving to Salt Lake City had a part in “Promised Valley” in the Browning Ward. I also participated in the “Days of 47″ pageant at the tabernacle as a choral reader. In addition, I participated in several road shows. The most memorable was the one that I was asked to do the oleo act and dress up like a fat lady and sing “As Long As I Am Fat” to the tune of “As Long As He Needs Me.” That experience helped me lose some of my performance inhibitions.
DATING & MARRIAGE
“You loved a certain noble individual there and he loved you; you chose each other and became sweethearts. In the due time of the Lord thou shalt be lead to him, and he to thee. He will take thee to the altar in the House of the Lord and there you will be sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity.”
“Be prayerful, and humble, and diligent in keeping all the commandments of Our Father in Heaven and thou shalt not make a mistake in the choice of that true servant of the Lord.” (Quoted from my patriarchal blessing).
I received my patriarchal blessing when I was eleven. With such a promise, I just assumed marriage would happen in the due time of the Lord. I didn’t date much in high school. One summer, an older sister in the ward had her two grandsons come for a visit, and they invited me and my cousin, Virginia Jensen, to a drive-in movie. I recall the strong scent of cologne that they apparently had worn. I wondered what smells they were trying to cover up.
I asked a boy who had a scar on his face to go on a ward hayride. In return, he asked me on a couple of dates. On our last date when he walked me to the door he said, “It was a nice evening. Is there anything we have missed?”
Suspecting that he was looking for a kiss, I thought for a second and then said, “No, it was a very nice evening and I can’t think of anything we have missed.” He never asked me out again.
When I was about twelve years old, I went with Mom and others on a trip to the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City. I vaguely recall that a boy in one of my classes at school, Anthony Adams, was one of the people in the car. In my junior year of high school I received the female lead part in the operetta, “The Prince of Pilsen.” The lead male part was played by Anthony. In one scene we were supposed to kiss. During rehearsals we never actually did kiss. Anthony invited me to attend the junior prom with him. Our chauffer, his father, remarked as I got into the car, “A boy must really want to date you to drive all this way to pick you up.” The distance was about 12 miles one way, but in those days that was a long way. After that, Anthony and I became good friends and dated several times, but never actually kissed one another. During the actual performances of the play, when Anthony kissed me, he took full advantage of the opportunity, which brought forth much teasing.
Anthony had an old baby blue Cadillac convertible that he was always fixing, so I spent time hanging out, watching him. He also played the Tuba and marched in the band, which meant that we traveled to music festivals and hung out together with some of our other friends.
We liked to dance together, and created our own original jitterbug step that became an attraction. We were often asked to perform at the intermission of dances around the stake. Anthony took me to the Senior Hop. We double dated quite often. I recall one time the other guy telling me, “Glenda, you are the only girl I know who can act like she is drunk when she’s not.” In my naivety I wondered at the time how he knew what it was like to be drunk, because I assumed, living in a predominantly Mormon community in Utah, that everyone lived the standards of the church.
Halfway through my senior year, Anthony’s family took in an older boy, Glen Bennett, from Holden, who came to Delta to finish his senior year. I began to date him, and since he was the “new boy” I had a false sense of popularity. I recall, just after he moved there, sitting at an assembly between Anthony and Glen and imagining people wondering whom I was really dating. Glen asked me to go steady with him, and, needing the assurance that I was special to someone, I agreed. I later realized that this was a mistake, because all that did was keep other boys from asking me out. In reality I never went out much with Glen unless my parents agreed to pick him up and take him home. Mom seemed to like him and she encouraged me to invite him out on Sundays quite often, but we had to go get him and take him home. He seemed to be jealous of me talking with any other boys, but it was okay for him to talk with other girls. We talked some of marriage, and he went on a mission for the church. I had not agreed to be engaged, but I was sort of waiting for him, with the understanding that I would date.
I moved to Salt Lake City and dated some while he was gone. Mom and Dad moved to SaltLake, and we found a small house on Penney Avenue in the Millcreek Twelfth Ward. Tom Richardson, the Bishop’s son, asked me out. After several dates, we went to a movie and then afterwards walked past all the jewelry shops in downtown Salt Lake City. I heard that his family became aware through the grapevine that I was “waiting” for a missionary. They must have interpreted that as being “engaged.” I assumed that was the reason he never asked me out again. He contracted Hodgkin’s disease and died at a very young age.
I loved to sing and play softball. Because I was still only seventeen when we moved into the Millcreek Twelfth Ward, I participated on the YW softball team, and there I met Karen Black. She played the piano and would accompany me whenever I was asked to sing somewhere. One day she approached me. “Glenda, I have a brother named Richard who is in the army. He is stationed in WashingtonState. Would you write to him?”
Despite my mother’s fear of the “wickedness” that was in the army, I reluctantly agreed to write, reasoning that nothing could happen by just writing. In the meantime Richard became engaged to a girl he met in Washington, so he never wrote. Nearly a year later, in August 1962, he returned home from the service unengaged, and asked Karen to introduce me to him.
The night of our first date, Mom said to me, “Glenda I don’t feel right about you going on a ‘blind’ date with this boy. You have never met him before and you do not know what he is like.”
I objected. “But Mom, he is Karen’s brother. Karen and her family are really nice. Besides, Karen and her date will be going with us.” In the end, I was probably relieved that Mom was concerned about my welfare.
I dialed the phone, and, when a woman answered the phone, I assumed it was Karen, and began speaking immediately. “Karen, this is Glenda. My mom will not allow me to date Richard until she and my dad have met him.”
The woman on the other end of the line said, “Glenda, this is Karen and Richard’s mom. I am so glad your mother will not allow you to date him without meeting him.” Then she gave Karen the phone. We made arrangements for them to come down that evening and meet my parents. Then he asked permission to take me to A&W to get a root beer float. Neither of us was very interested in getting serious right away, so we dated just for the fun of dating. Our dates varied from going to movies, taking my Dad and his wheelchair to church, dancing, going out for tacos and root beer, looking for a washing machine for my parents, and dressing as cave people for the MIA Halloween party.
Before Richard and I met, I had auditioned for the tabernacle choir. Brother Richard P. Condie, the conductor, suggested I take voice lessons. I was taking lessons in the basement of the Tabernacle when I met Richard. Several times Richard waited for me after the lessons and paid for the lessons. When we decided to get married and raise a family, for some reason I felt that I could raise a family and sing in the choir. Now I realize that I could have if I had continued to pursue it.
Not long after we met, Richard invited me to go with him to Lagoon. I really wanted to go, but had promised a girlfriend from work that I would go with her to Provo that night. About ten days elapsed before I saw Richard again, this time quite by accident. For several days, the horn on my parents had been honking every time the steering wheel turned. I hated to turn corners. One day I was driving east on Penney Avenue, at 5th East; when I turned to go left, the car began honking. Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw Richard in a jeep. At first he looked like a boy from Delta, so I said to Mom, “I think that is “Richard Green behind us.”
As the jeep turned the corner to go right, Mom said, “That’s not Richard Green, that’s Richard Black.” It may have been good timing that the horn stuck just then, because later that day he came down to see me and invite me out again. He always has a different story of what happened, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.
One night we went to Tooele to an appliance store open house, hosted by Richard’s brother, Pete. Richard’s parents rode with us. Because his mother gets carsick, she rode in the front with us. Richard kidded me then, and still does, that he had to take his mother along on a date to get me to sit next to him.
When I first met Richard he had a mustache. When he shaved it, it took me nearly the whole evening to notice that it was gone; then, because I had not remarked about it, he said, “Have you noticed anything different about me?” As unobservant as I was then, it took a few seconds to realize what had happened.
After knowing each other only one month, Richard told me I was someone special to him and kissed me goodnight. I was very mixed up about what my real feelings were. That weekend I took a trip to Delta. I was so confused that I was absolutely positive that I never wanted to marry. The next week Glen Bennett’s Bishop called me and wanted to visit with me. He told me that Glen had been having trouble with some problems he had before going on his mission. That visit helped me clarify my real feelings about Glen; but I was not in a position yet to make any decision about Richard.
For my birthday, Richard gave me a beautiful flower and a white triple combination; then he took me to a lovely dinner. That evening he asked me “What would you say if I asked you to marry me?” I could not respond positively.
The following week he said, “What do you say about us putting a ring on your finger?” Each time, I was reluctant to answer his questions, due to my own confusion. We went deer hunting together. After walking all over the mountainside, I became so tired that we sat down in a ravine and just talked. I was able to open up and verbalize to Richard my feelings about him and also about Glen.
Richard had asked that we have prayer on our dates, which was a beautiful experience. We also fasted together several times. He had previously been engaged three times, and each time he had put a ring on the girl’s finger, she had begun having second thoughts. He asked me to never tell him I loved him unless I really meant it, and felt that I could spend eternity with him. I prayed earnestly that I might make the right decision.
One night, Richard invited me to go with him to a pageant, “You and Eternity,” directed by his sister Eva. As he had a part in it, I sat alone in the audience. That evening the spirit touched my spirit. I began to realize that he was a choice spirit of our Heavenly Father and that I could spend eternity with him. When he took me home, I told him I loved him, knowing full well what his next question would be. It came, “Will you be mine eternally?” Of course, by this time, I knew my answer would be “Yes.”
Richard already had the diamond from his previous engagements. We went shopping for a ring that I would like, but it was difficult to find one that appealed to me. Most of them looked very gaudy; but finally we found one that was dainty enough, and would go well with the diamond. Since the ring needed to be sized and the diamond set into the place setting, Richard picked it up two days later. While downtown in SaltLake, he had car trouble. He called me to go get him. Mom wouldn’t think of letting me drive downtown by myself after dark, so she came with me. Upon arriving home, she went into the house and Richard gave me the ring.
When we announced our engagement to our parents their reactions were varied. Because we had known each other only ten weeks, Mom was very surprised. All she said was “Oh no.” It wasn’t that she didn’t like Richard, but she was concerned about what my marriage would mean to her and Dad. I had been living with Mom and Dad, helping with expenses, and giving Dad his insulin shots. Richard’s family seemed rather pleased, and had suspected something.
We immediately began plans for an April 12th wedding. Our goal was to get out of debt and have enough money for the reception and honeymoon. At first, Mom felt that she couldn’t possibly take over what I had been doing; but she progressed very well, and soon learned to give Dad his shots. As time passed, we discovered that our finances would enable us to move up our wedding date six weeks.
The traditional bridal showers and other preparations followed. As our colors were pink and green, I made green ties for all the men and boys in our line, plus the ushers.
Since the Salt Lake Temple was closed for repairs, we traveled to the Manti temple to receive our own endowments on February 16, 1963. We were tempted to get married then, but since many family members had been unable to attend that day, we stayed with our original plans.
On the night before our marriage, Richard and I traveled to Logan, Utah. We stayed the night with our friends, Bob and Donna Webster. Donna and I lay awake much of the night talking, as did Bob and Richard.
Our wedding day, March 1, 1963, was a very stormy day. We went fasting, and arrived at the LoganTemple bright and early. In those days everyone witnessing a marriage usually went on an endowment session before the sealing. Because another couple from the ward was being sealed that day, and because both couples had large families, there were too many people for one endowment session, so it became necessary to divide into two endowment sessions.
The marriage ceremony was very choice to me. It was perfect, representing everything and more than I had ever dreamed. President George Raymond, the temple president, performed the ceremony. Since then, I have witnessed several civil marriages, all of which seemed so very empty and shallow in contrast to the simple but beautiful way the Lord has prescribed.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat at the temple cafeteria, we rushed back to Salt Lake to finish last minute preparations for the reception held at 6th East and 4600 South. Several of our relatives had given of their time in our behalf during the day, helping prepare for the reception.
Richard’s brother, Peter, our best man, at first objected to wearing the green tie I had made him. Before the evening was over, however, he was thankful for it, since it became an icebreaker with the people he didn’t know. We had a dance with a live orchestra and a program. After the wedding waltz of “I Love Your Truly,” we cut the cake, looked at our many gifts, danced a few more dances, and then Richard quickly swept me off the floor and out the side door, where Pete was waiting in his car, which had been decorated. We sped out of the parking lot with Richard at the wheel, and Pete and I hunched down in the back seat out of sight. We thought the vehicle behind us contained two of Richard’s fellow workers. The vehicle was right behind us at full speed. Before long, Richard decided that it wasn’t them, because the vehicle didn’t go over bumps like a truck (which he friends would have been driving). Stopping, we discovered it to be our friends, Kent and Annavon, in their Dodge. Changing into their car, they drove us to the house we had rented at 573 East 3982 South in Salt Lake. As we were taking Richard’s parents’ Valiant on our honeymoon, it was locked in the garage.
We planned on sleeping at our rented home the first night, but didn’t want anyone to know; so we didn’t move a bed to the house previous to getting married. Richard had some horsehair that he used to make a bed on the living room floor. It was the first of March and we hadn’t thought to have the heat turned on before we got married. Luckily there was a fireplace in the living room and some wood, so we had a fire to keep us warm. It didn’t help that we had cleaned the carpets a few days prior, and they had not dried sufficiently because of no heat. We began our learning process really soon. After we returned from our honeymoon, we moved a regular bed in, which worked fine for us until the children began to come. As the number of children grew, they thought they needed to be close to Mommy and Daddy. Many mornings we would find several of them in bed with us. The home was a small, two-bedroom home. Finally we took the larger bedroom and put two double beds together side by side. That way, when the children found their way into our room in the middle of the night we just put them in the extra bed so that we were not crowded out of our bed. Over the years, we remodeled the home, making the garage into a master bedroom and building two bunk beds in one room and one in the other. When the opportunity presented itself to get a king size bed, we jumped at it. Since it was a used one when we got it, it was pretty worn out when we moved to Connecticut, so we left it. After getting to Connecticut, we slept on sleeping bags on the floor for about two months until we could afford to purchase a new king set. When we moved into our new home, we replaced it with our present set, which has been very comfortable. We always appreciate returning to it after we have traveled.
The next morning, we left on our honeymoon trip, visiting the temples in St. George, Mesa, and Los Angeles. Some of the other places we visited along the way were Zion’s Canyon, where we collected colored sand; the polygamist town of Short Creek or Colorado City, Arizona; Knott’s Berry Farm; Disneyland; and Marineland. We also especially enjoyed running along the seashore collecting shells. This was my first major trip. It took nearly two weeks. We had a wonderful time.
My sister June and her husband Gene held an open house for us March 15, at their home in Sugarville, Utah. It was a very nice event, with many of the Delta people dropping in to greet us.
When Richard and I were first married we rented a small little home that we eventually purchased.
I remember little of church as a very young child. I do remember at the Oasis chapel that the deacons would go to the well shed each Sunday morning to fill the sacrament cups. In those days they didn’t have the disposable cups, but glass ones; and I am not sure how sanitary it was to take the sacrament. I remember hanging around there, probably because my older brothers were preparing the sacrament. We met in a large hall with a stage at one end. The Primary put on a program, but I don’t personally recall anything about it except that I am in a picture that was taken on the stage of all the Primary children and their leaders. I am the one sitting on the wagon in front. Some of my siblings are there also. Inga Mae is the one in a white dress in front on the far left. Veola is in the center back holding what looks like a bottle of milk. Devon is in the next row forward to her immediate right.
I recall walking the streets of Oasis with my mother and her visiting teaching companion as they did their visiting teaching. I also remember Berdell and Helen’s wedding reception at this church house in March, 1950. I was six and a half, but felt very grown up while dancing with Evan, a relative of Helen’s, who was also about my age. When we got home after the reception, we found Berdell and Helen hiding behind the sofa in our living room, trying to escape Berdell’s buddies, who wanted to “chivaree” him. June and Lane had taken them to the house.
When we first moved to the Lyman Place in Sugarville I didn’t attend church or school for a couple of weeks because I had lost my good shoes during the move. One day the primary president, Melva Shields, and her counselors came to visit me to invite me to come to Primary. When my parents could finally afford to get me some new shoes I began going to school and Primary. I really looked forward to Primary, as it was a bright spot of my week. It was held on Wednesday afternoons after school. In those days, children from first to twelfth grade rode the bus together to school. There were two school buses that supplied transportation for the children from Sugarville to Sutherland Elementary School, and then on into Delta for the junior high and high school. My family rode the bus driven by Mel Terry. On Primary day those children who went to Primary all got on the bus that went past the chapel. Roy Losee, the bus driver, dropped us off right in front of the church house. On Primary day his bus was very crowded and our regular bus was very empty.
Each week in Primary, while the pianist played music on the piano, everyone who had any pennies would come up front and drop them into a wooden bank that looked like the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Then each February, as part of the Primary Children’s Penny Parade, all the money collected throughout the year was sent to the hospital to help crippled children who went there for treatment.
I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living at the Lyman home in Sugarville, Utah. The baptism took place on October 28, 1951, which was a beautiful, crisp autumn Sunday. Because our chapel in Sugarville was only a big hall, and we did not have a baptismal font, we traveled to Delta to the Second Ward chapel. A young priest from the Sugarville Ward, Alden Shurtz, who later became my brother-in-law, performed the baptism.
After my baptism, we drove back to the Sugarville chapel for Sunday school. That evening, during Sacrament Meeting, I was confirmed a member of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost by my father. After the Sacrament Meeting, there was a visitor who made a point of saying that my father had not said the words of the confirmation prayer exactly as it should have been said. He said that Dad had inserted the word “ye” into the phrase “receive the Holy Ghost.” Later, my parents took me to the Bishop’s home where my father redid the ordinance correctly. I suppose this experience may have put a damper on the day for me; as a child, I felt a little inferior because my confirmation had not been done correctly. Now, as an adult, knowing more about how the church runs, I realize that it was perhaps handled as discreetly as possible so as to avoid embarrassment. Years later, I told Richard about my confirmation. He said that there is nothing he knows of that says inserting “ye” into a confirmation prayer negates the ordinance; but nevertheless it was redone.
My sister, June, and her husband, Gene, took a group of us on a bus to the Manti temple to do baptisms for the dead. In those days, you could do baptisms for the dead after you had been baptized at age eight. Later, they changed the age to twelve, making it an activity of the youth program.
A two-wing addition was added to the Sugarville chapel. I was about eight years old, and enjoyed going there with my family to work on the building project. One wing was a chapel. The other side had the kitchen, Relief Society room, restrooms, and the Bishop’s office. In addition, a front foyer was added. I recall donating some small offering toward the building fund. Back in those days the church had not delegated down as much authority to the stake presidents as they do now, so when the building was completed, Elder Alma Sonne, a general authority, came all the way from Salt Lake City to Sugarville to dedicate it. Later, when they combined the Sugarville and Sutherland wards into the Sutherland building, the building was sold and remodeled as a private dwelling.
I loved Primary. The names of the classes back then were Top Pilot, Lark, Blue Bird, and Sea Gull. I was sad when I graduated 23 October 1955. I had some great teachers and leaders; a feeling of love always radiated there. Melva Shields was one of the teachers who stood out in my memory. She showed great concern for my needs. One day I arrived at Primary not feeling well at all. No one noticed except Sister Shields. Later in life, that little act of kindness, and others she showed, prompted me to write her a thank you note. When I saw her at Mom’s funeral, she came up and thanked me profusely for the note. She said it was the highlight of her year.
Singing time was my favorite time. Our music leader loved to have us sing. I learned many gospel principles through the songs we sang each week. A couple of my favorites were “The Light Divine” and “Beautiful Savior.” When I was about ten years old my friend, Ann Shields, and I decided to see which of us could sing the loudest during singing time and also in Sacrament Meeting. The Primary leaders must have been watching and listening. I think I must have won the contest by singing the loudest, because not long after that the leaders asked me to sing a solo for the Primary program.
I shared with some friends at school who lived in Sutherland that I had sung in this program. Soon after, when the school had a talent show, these friends encouraged me to sing for it. So my cousin, Virginia Jensen, played the piano for me and I sang a popular song of the time called “Memories.” This led me to being asked to be in a school program that was being put on. The one memory I have of that program was of listening to the teachers talking about another girl who had the lead part and how when something had gone wrong during a performance this girl just kept on performing in spite of what was happening. I was indelibly impressed by the praise the teachers were giving this girl. I knew she must have performed very well, but my own self-confidence at the time was so low that I was sure that I never could do anything like that.
The Mutual Improvement Association, our youth program of those days, was a lot of fun. The whole family participated. Mostly, I think they had a class for the parents so they would have something to do while they waited for their children. The young men and young women met separately in their individual classes each Tuesday evening; then for the last half hour of the evening everyone came together for an activity. One week we would sing fun songs from the red recreational songbook. Another week we had dance instruction. Another week we would play games. Sometimes we would go on hayrides or have weenie roasts on the hardpan northwest of Sugarville. We would ride out there on some farmer’s hay wagon pulled by his tractor.
I also remember with fondness the special nights that were held for us, when we were reminded of the standards we should be upholding as members of the church. Each month, for several years, we received a different card imprinted with a value or standard. We had individual awards that we earned for completing certain requirements each year. In our individual classes we had goals to complete. We received recognition if we completed those goals.
I sang for a lot of special events, along with the other girls in my group. I loved MIA. Verla Jensen and Reva Losee were outstanding leaders who were always willing to go the extra mile. Reva knew that I often had transportation issues, so she and Roy would stop by to pick me up for stake events. I enjoyed all the special nights held for the girls. They were inspirational to me, and gave me the incentive to do what I knew I should as an LDS youth. I earned all the awards in each class each year, and received seven individual awards between 1955‑62. I entered speech contests and learned about public speaking. I was in plays, road shows, and softball teams. I helped plan and decorate for the Gold and Green Balls: formal dances each ward held annually.
The names of the YWMIA classes were the same then as now: Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel. In addition, the program extended into young adulthood with the Gleaner for girls and M-Men for boys. Before I turned fourteen, I graduated from the Beehive class and became an “Honor Bee,” the Beehive award. Then I received my “MIA Joy” at the end of my Mia Maid years, and my “Laureate” after completing my Laurel years.
Our Seminary building was across the street from the high school. I completed 3½ years of Seminary, graduating 19 May 1960. Back then we took ½ year of the Book of Mormon in the 8th grade. Then we took three years in high school, and graduated at the end of our junior year. While attending Seminary, I was given the opportunity of giving a talk on a radio program broadcast on KSUV in Richfield on 16 March 1958. Our seminary teacher drove those of us who were doing the program to Richfield, and we actually did it live from the small radio station.
At Seminary graduation, my family, along with Lyndon Callister’s family, received recognition for having nine seminary graduates from each of our families. In addition, to my surprise, I received a small scholarship, the equivalent of tuition for one quarter, at BrighamYoungUniversity. Because I was very short sighted, when the time came for me to leave high school I could not see how I would be able to pay for the other expenses of college. I made the decision to give up my scholarship to the alternate candidate. Thinking back, if someone had just told me I could do it, and given me some encouragement, I might have gone for at least that one quarter of college. Because of my experience, I have tried to let my children know that they can do anything they want, if they just try.
I remember an experience from attendance at Seminary that was both negative and positive. Because I loved the gospel message so much, I must have come on as being overly religious. One boy, Almond, began to tease me incessantly, calling me “prophet.” I didn’t really think too highly of that boy. His teasing made me very angry. Knowing that that it bothered me, he just kept doing it. I still had much to learn about dealing with those who teased me, but I was beginning to learn. Finally, after some time and soul searching, I came to the realization that he was only doing it so he could see the rise he was getting from me. After that, I tried very hard to go along with his little joke, and kid around with him about it, even though I didn’t feel like doing so. It worked. When he realized that I was no longer giving him the satisfaction he sought, he quit teasing me.
The lessons learned in my youth came in very handy when, upon moving to the Salt Lake Millcreek Stake after high school, I was asked to speak in a stake conference for the first time in my life. In addition, the church callings I held before my marriage (YWMIA secretary and chorister, Primary teacher, Jr. Sunday School chorister and secretary, genealogy teacher, and ward choir leader) were preparatory to my growth in the church.
I was called and sustained to serve as the secretary/treasurer to the Sugarville YWMIA while I was still in YWMIA. This was before they had the program where the youth had class presidencies and were taught leadership in their classes. I also led the music in YWMIA. As a youth in the Sugarville Ward, I was also called to be the ward choir director. The members of the choir were very kind and patient with me, as I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. Other callings I held as a youth were the “Stars and Sunbeams” class teacher and the Junior Sunday School secretary and music teacher.
After my marriage, our home at 573 East 3982 South was right near the ward boundary line. We began attending the Millcreek First Ward; although we really belonged to the Second Ward. Years later, when we expressed to our Stake President, James R. Clegg, our willingness to have our records changed to where they belonged, he told us we were needed in the First Ward. When the ward boundaries were changed, he saw to it that our home was included within the First Ward. Later, when ward boundaries were again changed, all our neighbors were placed within the boundaries of the First Ward.
Just after we were married, Richard and I asked Bishop Green if we could serve as stake missionaries. We were called and had some wonderful experiences, and witnessed several people accept the gospel. Because neither of us had served a full time mission, we enjoyed this opportunity. When Richard began selling Baby Mate furniture his nights were busy, and I had just given birth to our first child. It became increasingly difficult for us to fulfill this calling, so were released and called to serve together on the Stake Sunday School Board. The President, Bob Schofield, taught us that when we ran out of material we should close our meeting. President C. Mark Wright set me apart and promised me that most of my posterity would be priesthood holders.
In the middle of my Dad’s final illness and eventual death, in 1964, Richard and I had been assigned to be in charge of the Millcreek First Ward’s Days of ’47 parade float. We did not do very well with this assignment, partially because we were inexperienced in such matters, and also because we did not successfully enlist the help of other ward members (only three members came to help us). After taking three days off to go to Delta for the funeral, we were way behind schedule. We rushed back after the funeral to put the finishing touches on the float.
In September 1964, I was called as a Primary teacher. Thinking back to our early years, we did not fulfill our callings very well; but they served as stepping-stones of learning. By learning from the mistakes we made we have tried to improve and build a stronger foundation upon which to serve. As we have gotten older we have been a little more successful, but we still struggle with getting our hands around a new calling and trying to know how best to magnify that calling the way the Lord would have us do.
About 1965 we felt a need to make Sundays more spiritual so we decided to eliminate watching TV on Sunday. Through the years the children have become accustomed to this, and it has not been a real problem. In fact, they keep each other from watching it. It has been a real help to maintain more spirituality and less of the worldly influence.
Over the years, the lives of our family members have been challenged by the callings that Richard has received; but the blessings received have far outweighed the challenges. Sometime in 1967 we purchased and stored a second-hand desk in our dining room. One Saturday, Richard felt a great urgency to prepare space for the desk, but didn’t know why. The next day he was called as the ward clerk.
The blessings received when Richard has been set apart for callings have included blessings for the family. I recall when Elder Rector set him apart, at the church office building, as First Counselor to Bishop Vance. I was pregnant with Wesley. Elder Rector took the time to ask about the due date of the baby. He told me he could tell when his wife was going to have the baby by something he saw in her. He also claimed he could tell the sex of his children before they were born. He promised Richard that he need not worry about money. As long as Richard served the Lord we would have sufficient for the needs of the large family with which we would be blessed. I can testify that this has been so.
Once when asked by Bishop Hutchings to donate an extra $50 over our regular budget, we thought, “Where will we get the $50?” We were very strapped financially at the time. We called the children together, told them what the Bishop had asked and invited them to participate. Guy was willing to take all of his money from his credit union account, but we encouraged him to save some of it for a mission. He paid $15. The other children donated what they could, and we scraped together the rest. The next Sunday, as a family, we took the money to the Bishop’s office.
Not long after that, Mr. Connor, the man we were buying our home from, offered to purchase a cow for us to milk. He also offered to let us pay only the interest on the mortgage for a year to help us get over the financial slump we were in. We looked at this as a blessing received after exercising faith and works. The Lord works through other people to accomplish His will. We must be willing to help others, that we might be instrumental in helping the Lord.
One Christmas we decided to anonymously share with families that we knew, so we took boxes of items to these families, trying to keep it a secret. The children thoroughly loved this. Within the week we received the blessing. Three people called us wanting to buy a bread mixer or wheat mill, which we were selling at the time. The money we realized from these sales helped us pay for our own Christmas.
As our family grew, we felt that we should be giving the best to the Lord when it came to fast offering funds. To determine the amount we should be paying, we took our family to eat at a restaurant. We then paid toward the fast offering fund at least twice as much as the cost of that meal. As more children joined our family and as they got older we continued to use the restaurant as a gauge to determine how much we should be paying. One Sunday, Richard and I heard a speaker promise us that if we doubled the amount we were then paying for fast offering that the Lord would bless us greatly. He testified that when he had done so his income had doubled. We decided to test this principle. We doubled what we were then paying. We can testify that the Lord fulfilled his end of the promise and that we have received blessings in such great numbers that at times we have not been able to contain them. We have learned that anything paid to the Lord is never lost, since the Lord repays with great dividends. The blessings also seem greater with the greater sacrifice. When something is easy to do we do not recognize or appreciate the blessings as quickly as when we are called upon to sacrifice.
In February of 1972, I was released as Primary Inservice Leader, and sustained as Cub Scout Den Mother. In an attempt to reach all the boys in the ward, I composed and sent a letter to each of them. The first day, I had every boy, a total of twenty-one, between the ages of eight and ten. Even a couple of their friends showed up. I had this large group each week for two months, until a Webelos leader for the older boys was called, and another den was formed. The cubs decorated my dad’s old wagon in a patriotic way for Election Day, and we put the boys in the wagon and drove them around the neighborhoods as a way of encouraging people to get out and vote.
When Richard was released from the Millcreek First Ward Bishopric in 1973, he had a miserable week because he was lost and discouraged. Although the release provided him with more time to spend with the family and to work on projects around the house, he still felt at a great loss with no church calling. His discouragement lasted only a week, thankfully. President Clegg asked to speak to both of us. He called Richard to be an assistant stake clerk in charge of statistics, as well as assistant executive secretary. Those two positions kept him very busy, and filled the void that he was feeling. Later, when Richard was called in March 1974 to serve as an alternate high councilman, I was also called to serve as the stake cultural refinement leader. We were both sustained the following day at stake conference. When I was set apart by President James R. Clegg, I was promised that my spirit would be able to communicate to the spirits of those I was to direct. In the year and a half I held that position, the blessing was fulfilled. The sisters from the wards, through the words they expressed, helped me to realize that this was so, as I did not have the ability on my own to inspire them. But with the Lord’s help, I succeeded. That experience gave me great opportunity to stretch myself and gain much needed growth.
During the summer of 1974 our family held a scripture-reading contest and also instituted family councils in our family. We have struggled off and on in doing this as well as we should.
During February 1975, the family assisted Richard in making preparations for a prospective missionary seminar. Invitations were sent to all the eligible persons in the stake. We met in the assembly hall on Temple Square and we had a very spiritual evening where quite a number of people were encouraged to serve missions.
On our 12th wedding anniversary our plans called for dining out. We received a phone call asking us to be in President Clegg’s office that evening. We stopped on our way to dinner to discover that a singles branch was being organized. Richard was called as first counselor to President Donald Hottinger.
As high councilman, one of Richard’s areas of responsibility had been taking care of the onions at the stake farm. The children and I had spent many an evening at the stake farm while he oversaw the weeding of the onions. As we were leaving President Clegg’s office, I jokingly mentioned that with this new calling Richard would no longer have the onions to worry about. I should have kept my mouth closed because the first assignment given to the branch at the stake farm just happened to be the onions.
For the next two weeks I helped Richard, as time would permit, prepare office space and get things in readiness for the organization of the new branch on Sunday March 16, 1975. This calling brought about some changes in our lives. The children and I continued to attend Sunday school, Primary, MIA, and Relief Society in the First Ward, but we attended Sacrament Meeting at the branch, and also attended the branch activities where possible. This was a great experience to be part of both the singles branch and the ward at the same time, and kept us quite busy.
The branch decorated a float for the Days of ‘47 parade of 1975. The night before the 24th they parked it in front of the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Salt Lake. The children and I rode downtown with Richard to see if they needed any help. We stayed to help until 2:00 a.m. One man came out of the bus depot and asked me what we were doing. I explained that it was a singles branch decorating a float for the parade the next day. He stared at me, puzzled, since I was then seven months pregnant with Patrick, and said, “You’re single?” I was then given the opportunity to explain my part in the Branch. Two years later, the Tenth Branch decorated and entered a float, when we were affiliated with them. During this time I was set apart as Blazer A teacher in the Millcreek First Ward by Henry Gardner, October 17, 1976.
With the help of the family and members of the singles branch, Richard had run successfully and was voted in as a member of the Granite District school board. Just prior to the inauguration meeting, President Clegg called and wanted to see both Richard and me. An appointment was made for 9:30 that evening. In order to make the meeting we left the board meeting early. President Clegg issued a call from President Spencer W. Kimball for Richard to serve as Branch President of the new Millcreek Tenth Singles Branch. Needless to say, that was a very full evening. As part of the blessing given Richard by President Clegg, he was promised the blessing of whatever we needed as a family. It was a very happy and joyful experience. While Richard was Branch President he performed three marriages. I attended two of them with him.
Our experiences with the singles branches will always be cherished. They were some of the most demanding and yet rewarding times of our lives. A finer group of people could not be found anywhere. We have made friendships that we hope will last forever and are grateful for the opportunity that was given us to serve in these branches.
I was released as a Primary teacher June 12, 1977. That summer I also participated in part of the International Women’s’ Year conference at the SaltPalace.
When we made the decision to move to Connecticut in 1978, and after Richard had left to begin work, he continued to serve as the branch president for two months, flying home a couple of times during those two months. I really felt the mantle of the calling on the family and me, as we were left to handle the affairs of getting ready to move. After Richard was released, on May 28, 1978, and went back to Connecticut, I really noticed the loss of that mantle. It was much more difficult for me to deal with what had to be done than it had been the previous two months; but we did our best to make it through. The members of the branch gave us a farewell party, and one of the sisters wrote a song and sang it. It was a very nice evening with expressions of love and appreciation freely offered.
Before we finally moved, plans were announced to build the Jordan River Temple. Because members living in the Salt Lake area had not been privileged to sacrifice for a temple, the local members were asked to donate. We contributed a very small amount. The temple was entirely completed with donations from members.
The years of 1985-86 were a financial drain on our budget. We took the family to Utah in August to remodeled Richard’s parent’s home. In November, we, with our children, returned to SaltLake to Laura and Steve’s wedding. Richard and I traveled back to Utah twice within the space of about six weeks at the beginning of 1986 for both of our mother’s funerals. In addition, we had planned for over a year to visit Guy’s mission in Mexico when he was released. We had free airline tickets; but other expenses were required. During April general conference, Richard and I each felt separately from each other that we should again raise the amount that we were paying for fast offering. This, for me at least, brought some temporary fear, not knowing where the money was going to come from. After discussing our impressions with each other, we made the decision to raise the amount we were paying by $50 per month and to go on faith that the Lord would provide.
Although we never got a raise, and our expenses didn’t decrease, somehow our income was able to meet our needs, and our finances smoothed out. In relation to this experience, I have thought of the time when the early church was struggling with so much persecution, and Joseph Smith was inspired to call the twelve apostles on missions to England. From the viewpoint of the world and the natural man, these actions would seem illogical. However, it is in obeying the inspiration that the blessings come. Likewise, if we follow the directions of the Spirit, we too will be blessed in ways that we may not understand from our limited earthly point of view.
Over the years, I have served in many capacities, some of which are: Junior Sunday School teacher and chorister; MIA chorister; In-service leader; Counselor in Primary presidency; teacher; Relief Society counselor and president; Stake YW counselor; Stake Missionary; Stake Public Affairs Director; Stake Sunday School Board; Stake Relief Society Board; Cub Scout den leader; Primary music director and teacher; Ward choir director; Ward committee to plan open house for new chapel; part of coordinating couple for young single adults; four years as early morning seminary teacher; Relief Society chorister; and Relief Society President. I have been a visiting teacher all my married life with the exception of the time that I taught seminary, and after I was diagnosed with cancer (because it was more than I could handle during those times). Each calling has brought me growth and development.
When Richard was stake president, I was called to serve another stake mission just before they made the call a ward mission. I was able to give some of the new member discussions. I also planned and carried out new member socials which were very successful in having new members meet each other and the stake president. I have tried to give out pass along cards wherever I can.
I have the hope of someday serving a mission with Richard.
ANIMALS AND GARDENING
My dad was a great gardener, and I looked at myself as his sidekick. He had learned gardening at a young age from his dad. I remember him carrying a shovel around the yard. When he saw a weed, he stopped and cut it out with his shovel. As a child I learned by watching him work, as I loved to “help” him outside. I thought I knew everything there was to know, but I soon realized, after I left home, that I knew very little. While living at the Allred Place on Cropper Lane, one of my earliest memories is that of begging Dad and being allowed to ride on top of the old workhorse as it pulled the plow to prepare the soil for the family garden. I always wore dresses back then. Without a saddle, or even a blanket, I would stick to the horse’s back; his hair would stick to my legs from the perspiration.
I much preferred working in the yard to doing housework. Mom realized this. Sometimes, if it were my turn to do the dishes, Mom would say, “Glenda, why don’t you go on out and help your dad and I will finish the dishes.” Part of the reason for this eagerness on her part was also because I was a lot slower at doing dishes than her, and I am sure she must have often become impatient with my dawdling. I would help Dad as he planted corn and other vegetables by dropping the seeds in the holes that he made with the shovel or hoe. I helped him haul manure and white sand to make the soil more workable. I often thought to myself, “How can Dad ever get along without my help?”
Being farmers at heart, both Richard and I have worked at being city farmers. We unsuccessfully planted and tried to raise a garden our first year of marriage. Although I had helped Dad, I didn’t know as much about what was actually being done as I thought I did. He had always put organic fertilizer on his plants by the shovels full. Not having any organic fertilizer, and not knowing any of the properties of commercial fertilizer, we purchased some and proceeded to put as much of it on the tomato plants as I had seen Dad put of the organic fertilizer. Needless to say, the tomato plants all died that year. I realized then that I only thought I knew how to garden, but I had much to learn. Lesson # 1: Manure and commercial fertilizer are not equal ingredients. Since Dad died not long after our marriage, I no longer had him to use as a resource, so I had to learn the many things I needed to know on my own.
Our gardens have become more successful each year as we have experimented. We learned that we could grow many things in the small space we had. Experimenting and trying new things over the years, we eventually filled in every available space on our .20 acre of land in SaltLake. We lived there for the first fifteen years of our lives together. Most of the years, we have grown gardens that have not only helped with providing food for our family, but also have been a vehicle to teach our children to work. We used to pay the children an amount of money for each bucket of rocks they picked out of the ground in preparation for planting gardens.
Richard’s sister and her husband, allowed us to grow a garden on their one-acre plot in West Jordan one year. We even raised some animals. We took Eva and Arnell to Sugarville and got some of Dad’s posts that he had stacked out behind the corrals. A perfectionist at heart, Arnell took those crooked posts and made them appear straight just by the way he put them in the ground.
Wanting to become as self‑sustaining as possible, we purchased a calf, and rented pasture from Mr. Connor. We fattened the calf during the summer, and filled the freezer with meat that fall. We wanted to give the children chores to teach them to work, so we built a small chicken coop for chickens from scrap lumber, as well as a rabbit hutch for rabbits. We even obtained a cat to play with the children.
At one time we entertained the idea of purchasing a farm in Orangeville, Utah. We even took the family on a trip there to possibly purchase a home and some land; but it never materialized.
Mr. Connor, the man from whom we were purchasing the home, was always very understanding and helpful to us over the years. Several times while we were in financial slumps he allowed us to pay interest only, until we could once again make the full payment. One time he purchased a cow for our use, allowing us to use his pasture for free. He even allowed us to fence and till a part of his pasture for a garden. We eventually purchased that cow from him, rented a second cow from him, and were able to pay rent for the pasture space. We raised two calves and several sheep. From the extra milk, we made cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese. From the cream we made butter. By selling the surplus milk, cream, and butter we almost covered the feed bill for the animals. The older children learned to milk the cows. All of the children loved to help their Dad with the animals. These activities realized a substantial food savings for our family, but the camaraderie and work ethic that was created was the real value gained. Many times when Mr. Connor was away, Richard and the children would feed his animals for him. Those experiences not only helped us to better provide food for our growing family, but our children learned the value of work. We believe this had the effect of bringing us closer together as a family. We believe this is one of the many witnesses we had that faith precedes the miracle.
One year we owned a dog named Rags. As he wouldn’t stay in the yard and kept bothering the neighbors, we had to get rid of him. We decided at that time that we just did not have the space for a dog.
To illustrate the schedule we led at that particular time of our lives, I have chosen several days to describe. Our first milk cow was getting old. Having lost a calf, she didn’t appear to be going into heat again. We decided to butcher her and grind the meat into hamburger. As it was summer (June 1977), a way was needed to cool the meat quickly before cutting it up. Scrubbing the bathtub very well, I lined it with a clean sheet. When the animal was slaughtered, we packed many bags of ice around it in the tub. That evening, after Richard’s Branch Presidency meeting at 10:00 p.m., we began cutting, grinding and wrapping until 2:00 a.m. We awoke at 7:00 a.m. and continued. At 10:00 a.m. Richard left for work. The children and I continued grinding and wrapping until 12:00 noon, when we became so tired we were “punchy.” We cleaned up the mess, ate, and took a nap. In the evening, the family went to a cub scout meeting and then to a singles branch activity. Upon returning, we finished the rest of the beef. The following two days were spent nailing sheetrock to the addition of our house. The foregoing describes just a few typical days of our lives, but it is pretty representative of the varied and constant juggling of events we have done throughout our lives together.
Several times, Mr. Connor’s cows made their way under the chain link fence into our yard. When his bull finally did so, he had it killed because he feared what it might do to the children if it ever came through while they were playing in the yard
In 1977, Mr. Connor sold the pasture we were renting to a sub-divider to build duplexes. We were forced to get rid of all our animals in December 1977, giving us more free time, but raising our food bill. The building of the duplexes next door created a terrible mess, as everything was always dusty. We eventually moved to Connecticut, which marked the beginning of a slightly different lifestyle for our family.
When Oliver was a toddler, we went to a tag sale that had baby kittens. Oliver chased the kittens until he caught one. He was not going to leave until the people agreed to let us have her. We named her Goldie. She was a very good cat for our children. I never would have paid a veterinarian for any other cat, but Goldie was different. When she broke a leg we took her and had it fixed.
Wherever we have lived, we have gardened and had animals. At one time on Grace Lane in Portland, Connecticut, we built a goat shed and had goats to milk. I was usually the one to milk them, as Richard traveled a lot at that time. Some of the children also learned to milk, and we enjoyed doing this together; but many times it was a release for me to get away from the pressures. The year Laura got married we had lots of travel scheduled, so we got rid of the goats. Not long afterward, the shed was struck by lightning and burned down. Later, when Patrick took Vocational Agriculture in high school, we helped him build a chicken coop and greenhouse. We raised plants for the garden, chickens for their eggs, and rabbits for their meat. One year we purchased some baby rooster chicks to feed and slaughter for their meat; but we became so busy that we let them go too long. By the time we actually slaughtered them, they were very, very fat and tough.
Many of our children, after starting their own families, have also planted gardens, or at least planted flowers.
When we moved to our new house on Job’s Pond, we planted a much larger garden than we have ever had. Because the deer came and ate the plants, we eventually placed an eight foot high fence around the garden to keep them out.
We learned the value of compost and building the soil. When we found that Lowe’s had bags of mulch, manure, peat moss, etc. for 25-50 cents each, we ordered two semi-trucks delivered. Over the years, we applied all this to our yard and garden. Because we had so much space to landscape, I discovered, and became more knowledgeable about, perennials. I have come to love them because they do not need to be planted each year, and they multiply and spread very quickly. Because of this, they can be divided and placed in other areas of the yard. I love to see the beauty of the varied plants at different times of the year. I have been able to share many of my plants, as well as receive others from people I know.
Just after we purchased the Job’s Pond property, we planted Christmas tree seedlings, and had a mini-tree farm. It was fun to watch the trees grow. Even though pruning them was time consuming, our efforts paid off when we sold them at Christmas time.
While we have had a lot of work to do on the yard, it has been fun to try to tame it. We recognize that this would have been quite difficult without the proper tools, especially the tractor and backhoe. We cleared the area down by the pond, made a picnic area, and had a huge tire swing installed. I believe that my love for tractors and equipment must go back to when I was a young girl and loved to use my brother’s road graders and dump trucks to haul gravel and grade a pathway from the house to the outhouse. When I was only seven or eight years old, I also learned to drive our landlord’s tractor very slowly in the fields.
In 2005, I determined that I was going to go through all the flowerbeds and garden and keep the weeds pulled and the plants deadheaded. I had saved some marigold seeds from the previous year’s plants. I planted those seeds. I determined to get all of those seedlings planted along the edges of the flowerbeds. I succeeded in planting all the marigolds I had not given away. I had weeded and deadheaded along our very long driveway, and was just beginning to do the flower bed in front of the house when I became ill and was diagnosed with cancer.
While I was in the hospital, Richard awoke one morning to hear women’s voices. He was sure he had locked the doors, and couldn’t figure out how anyone had gotten into the house. He hurriedly dressed and, discovering that no one was in the house, looked out the back window. There were several of the sisters from the ward busily weeding my flower beds. Upon further investigation, he found Bishop and Sister Puida on the other side of the house. He went to get the tractor to haul the weeds to the compost pit, and discovered several more sisters in the garden up to their knees in mud and weeds. Their generous act of compassion and kindness brought a lump to my throat when he reported it to me later at the hospital. Sister Joyce Deming took the responsibility to organize groups of people throughout most of the summer to come and weed and harvest produce from the garden. She also processed much of the produce and brought it back in the form of package frozen beans, raspberry jam, etc. In the fall, she organized even more work groups to come and help prepare the flower beds for winter. By then, I was feeling well enough to help pull weeds, and we had good visits together. She even arranged for the young men to come and help get the lawn ready for winter. I am hoping that by next year I will once again be well enough to pursue this hobby.
In 2006 I have had several people who have come and helped me on days that I feel well enough to work, and we have kept most of the weeds under control. One sister, Vi Kemp, has decided to come every Thursday morning for a couple of hours and work, whether or not I feel like helping her. This has been a great lift. The bushes and plants have really grown in the past year.
BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION, AND INVESTMENTS
My sister, June, and her first husband, Lane Shurtz, lived in a basement house. After Lane was killed in a tractor accident, June married Gene Losee. Since between the two families they had three children, and more on the way, Gene decided to build a house on top of the basement. After World War II, the government closed down the Topaz concentration camp and allowed the local residents to get lumber from the camp for their personal use. I loved to go with Gene whenever he went there. We used a sledgehammer to break up the four-inch cement floors, to get to the really good lumber under the cement. My main job was to hammer out the old nails from the boards and help Gene load them. I also spent many days helping Gene build his home.
June had given Mom and Dad forty acres of land just north of the Lyman Place in Sugarville. Mom & Dad made plans for moving the home Dad had built in Scipio over to this piece of land. It was only a quarter of a mile from the Lyman Place to where we were living at the time, so whenever Dad went there to work I was like a shadow. I needed to be with him at all times. I recall helping Dad clear the land of greasewood. We would pile it up and have huge bonfires at night. Mom would prepare food for us to eat. It was always lots of fun for me. After the hole for the basement was dug, I assisted Dad in building the forms for the half basement and the foundation of the rest of the house. We mixed and shoveled all the concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow. After the house was in place, my brother, Berdell, came and helped us install the siding. As usual, I wanted to be there to help as much as I could. When the house was completely in place, I remember helping to dig the trench for the septic system.
The day finally came that we moved in. Then I helped Dad build adobe walls for a chicken coop. He had two long 2×12 boards that he tacked on an upright railroad tie he had placed in the ground. We then mixed mud and straw or weeds, whatever we could get, in the wheelbarrow, and filled up the forms with this mixture. We let it dry a day or two, and then we moved the forms higher until that section of the wall was completed. Then we moved on to the next section, repeating the process until the walls were finished. Next we built the roof and put rolled roofing on it.
I was about eleven years old when Mom wanted some shelves built in the basement. I volunteered to build them, and tried my best. Because she wanted them so badly, she thought they were great. As I think back on them now, they were very crude and shoddy. The lumber was of poor quality, and I lacked the skills and tools to do a desirable job. However, Mom always made me feel like I had done a great job in building them for her.
Richard and I purchased forty acres in Delta from my brother, Devon. We held that property for many years. Finally in May, 1977 we sold that land to a young girl named Marie Sadler. She bought it on contract at eleven percent interest. We realized a 450% return on our original investment, plus we earned interest on it.
A new center for performing arts, called ValleyMusic Hall, sold stock. Richard and I purchased 100 shares. Many fine productions were performed, but because most of Utah’s people were heavily involved in the LDS church during the week, demand for ValleyMusic Hall productions suffered. For this, and many other reasons, the company started losing money. A salesman informed us that the large stockholders were selling out while the stock price was high. He felt the small stockholders should know. We decided to sell, and realized a substantial profit.
After Richard and I were married, we always managed to have some building project going on. Many times we would go to a site that was being demolished and demolish it for all the lumber we wanted. We taught the children how to work by taking out the nails from the lumber so we could use the lumber for our many and varied projects. At first, I just assisted Richard however I could; but later I learned to use the power tools, and could do a few things myself.
The house we purchased just after our marriage only had two bedrooms. As the children continued to join our family, we built in two sets of bunk beds in the children’s room and gathered carpet scraps from the dumpster of a carpet company. Cutting strips of the carpet, we glued them together into a pattern so that there would be a nice warm floor covering for their room.
As our family continued to grow, we looked for ways that we could make room for them. When we were expecting Wesley we built a master bedroom into the area where the garage was. This gave us two bedrooms for the children. Next, we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and put up a half wall with a latticed top between the living room and dining area. Then we completely remodeled the kitchen area. That year, on Thanksgiving Day, we sat down to eat Thanksgiving breakfast. After we cleaned up the dishes, we tore apart the kitchen to install the cabinets for the long three-day weekend. When we finally finished that project, we had a large kitchen/family room where the children could play close by, while I worked in the kitchen.
We poured footings and laid the block for a garage, and a shed behind the garage, in which the cows could be sheltered and milked. We also built a block area for a root cellar, where we could store fruit and vegetables during the wintertime. In addition, we built rabbit pens, a chicken coop, and a playhouse for the children. We built a block wall from the house to the corner of the garage. We built wooden drying racks that we hung from this wall, and used them to dry the fruit that was given to us. Because the garage was now on the opposite side of the house than the original driveway, we tore up that driveway and moved the road base to the other side of the house. This allowed us to drive down the left side of the house to get to the garage. We converted the previous driveway into a garden area.
We replaced the small front porch with a larger one, using wrought iron railings for attractiveness as well as support for the overhang. The driveway changed sides of the yard, and the sidewalk became curved rather than straight. We installed chain link fence and a wooden fence using Dad’s 50-year-old wagon wheels, which helped make the front yard more attractive.
The furnace under the house was flooded in 1972, so we decided to enlarge the home by 1,000 square feet and install a furnace, inside the house, large enough to heat the entire house.
When we decided to add an addition to the back of our home in 1973, we literally built it on faith. We had little money. What little resources we had were used up more quickly than we expected. We had about as much time as we had money; and we often called it our two-hour house, because we built it on the installment plan. Because about the only time we had to work on the project was at night and on weekends, we worked on it at odd hours. I remember being out after dark with a flashlight and a transit helping Richard determine if the trenches for the footings were level the night before the concrete truck arrived to pour the footings.
Winter was coming, and we needed money for a furnace to be installed before winter, as our other furnace had given up. We forged ahead with the framing, having faith that we could get the furnace, but not really knowing where the money was going to come from. Slowly, the frame of this two-story, 1000 square foot addition took shape. The roof and green vinyl siding were completed on the entire house before we ran out of money.
About the time we needed the money for the furnace, Richard’s parents decided to remodel their cleaning shop. They agreed to pay us in advance if we would work on the remodeling job for them. With their help we were able to get the furnace installed before winter.
Four years passed with the inside still unfinished. It did make a great place in which the children could play on bad days, and I did many projects of reupholstering and refinishing furniture.
One day we realized that the children were growing up too quickly and that if we didn’t finish the addition soon that they would be leaving home before we got it done. So we borrowed some money and began to finish it off. We gave each of the older children a budget for decorating, and let them decide how they wanted to decorate their new rooms. It was good education in letting them make their own decisions. All this was not accomplished without a great amount of pressure, as Richard was then serving as the Single Branch President.
The Lord again came to our aid in the form of branch members who volunteered to help us work on completing our addition. One Saturday morning the phone rang and a girl on the other end said, “Sister Black, you don’t know me, but my name in Carol Graff from the singles branch. I wondered if there was something I could do to help you this morning?” As I was planning on staining, I said, “Sure.” With her help, and that of children, we got most of the closet doors stained that day. The branch Elder’s Quorum President, Craig Cosser, came by one evening to see if we had home teachers. He was interested in what we were doing on our home, so I showed it to him. At that time things were moving quite slowly. Seeing a need, he organized a group of Elders. For several Saturdays, and some evenings, we had groups of Elders helping us. Craig personally devoted many hours helping us. We are very grateful for all the help they gave us.
We were nearing completion of the addition when Richard was offered a job in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He accepted, and once again the members of the singles branch came to the rescue by helping us complete the last few items while Richard was away in Connecticut.
Before the job offer, early in 1978, we felt the need to somehow increase our income so that when the time came for the children to fill missions we would be prepared to finance them. We thought of buying homes to rehab, so we looked at several; but this idea never came to fruition at the time. Upon looking back, I feel this wasn’t the right solution, and had we purchased a home then, we wouldn’t have been free to make the decision to move to Connecticut.
Richard found a house in Marlborough, Connecticut that still needed work done on it. I flew back to look at it, but because I was so tired of the building process at that time I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything more or to live in a place that needed work done on it, so I said no to that place, although it would have been a good one. Instead we purchased a house on 12 Overbrook Drive in East Hartford that only needed minor repairs during the short time we lived there.
When we moved to Grace Lane in Portland, a couple of years later, I helped Richard build storage shelves and a laundry box shelf in the basement. Later we built a desk for an office in the basement room that had been the original garage. When the roof needed to be replaced, we hired a roofer to do the two-story house; but Richard, the boys, and I replaced the garage roof.
The front door entrance the Grace Lane house was put together very awkwardly, at least for our large family. Every time the doorbell rang all the children would run to the door at once. There was not enough room to open the door and go into the dining room without closing the front door first. When Laura and Steve became engaged, we began looking for ways to create a greater traffic flow for their open house. Richard and I talked about knocking out the wall between the front hall and the dining room. I thought we had agreed that this is what we would do, so I began tearing out the wall. When Oliver came home from kindergarten that day he helped me. By the time Richard got home we had the wall torn out and the mess cleaned up. When Richard saw what we had done, he had some flashbacks to his childhood, when his mother would have his dad tear out walls. He quickly recovered from the shock, and together we did a pretty good job of making that area much more usable. Since Oliver only had half days of kindergarten, he helped me paint and fix up both the dining room/hall and family room area.
One time I built a bookcase and gave it to Richard for his birthday. Another time, I had the children help me build picnic tables in the back yard over the rock outcroppings. We did this during the week before Father’s day while Richard was out of town, and surprised him for Father’s day that weekend.
We built a goat shed and a run for the goats. While Patrick was in high school, as part of an FFA project, we built a chicken coop, a greenhouse and a fence along the back yard. We also built a woodshed and helped the children build a tree house in a tree in the backyard from scrap lumber.
We added a deck out the back door of the Grace Lane house. There was a huge rock in the way, so we built it in two different heights by making a step up all along the length of the deck. It created a natural little stage that the children readily used to put on their performances.
We assisted Patrick in building a clothes chute from the second floor to the basement. It could also be accessed from the first floor closet in the hallway. This saved a lot of hauling clothes from the second floor to the basement. I only regretted that we had not done it sooner. The clothing dropped into a 55-gallon plastic garbage can and from there I sorted them for doing the laundry. Then I hung or folded the clean clothes, and put the underwear, socks, and grubby clothes in boxes labeled with each child’s name. I designated a spot on a rod overhead where I hung the nicer clothes on hangers. The children were each responsible to take their own clothing to their rooms, but most of them just used the basement as their closet. This decreased my workload of taking the clothes up and down the stairs.
When the rock retaining wall in front of the house fell down, we rearranged how the front steps came into the house, and poured a cement retaining wall. We built a wooden front porch with pressure-treated decking lumber. We framed each of the steps for the sidewalk, and poured concrete between them. Keeping the boards as the frame for the cement, we painted them to match the brown trim of the house. When we began building these steps, Richard began at one end and I began at the other. We built the forms without thinking whether or not they would come together correctly in the middle with the right amount of riser in the center. I am sure that we had help from above because when we met, the space for the final step was exactly the size of the riser of the other steps. Because of each became progressively longer as we climbed them, we called them our Spencer W. Kimball steps, because he had just recently asked us to “lengthen our stride.” We were reminded of his advice each time we climbed these steps.
When Alvin was in high school, he worked for the Carini family. One night, at dinner, he asked Richard questions about how to finish concrete. He was to assist Tom Pasternak the next day in pouring concrete for a foundation for a build-out they were doing for Carini’s kitchen, and also for a slab for a garage for Pasternaks. That morning I felt impressed that Alvin might need help, so I drove to the Carini’s just to see how it was going. Not long after I arrived, the concrete truck arrived, earlier than expected. Tom had not yet arrived, so I pitched in and helped Alvin. At one point I looked up and there were Margaret and Marilyn Carini watching me through their window. I guess it was a sight to behold me, a woman, in my grubby clothes, helping Alvin with the concrete. Before Tom arrived, we had it all poured and leveled out, so I suppose it was a good thing I went.
In addition to doing projects on our homes, we have purchased houses and condos that needed rehabbing. Our first house, on Walnut Street in East Hartford, we loaded the entire family in the van every Saturday morning to travel to this house. We worked for a couple of hours and then stopped to visit the local Ponderosa, a buffet-style restaurant, for breakfast. After breakfast, we returned to the house and worked for several more hours before returning home. At the time Alvin was in high school and he became pretty good at doing the work. Since he needed money for college, he often went there during the week, either by himself, or with one of the other children. I put myself under a lot of pressure because we were paying a mortgage on the property each month, while we were fixing it up; so I personally worked there more time than I probably should have. It created a strain on me personally and I let a lot of things at home go undone in order to work on it. One of the benefits of it was that it provided employment for the children, and an opportunity to teach them to work. We rented it for a year and then, since the housing prices in Connecticut were on an upward swing, we sold it for a nice profit.
As Connecticut’s housing market had risen so high, it was almost impossible to find a profitable Connecticut property to reinvest our profits; but because Utah was going through a recession at that time, we began looking for properties in Utah. We were able to find several that we could get into with little or nothing down. In addition, we had my sister, Alice, and her husband, Frank, convert our house on Delno Drive in Utah into a duplex, and rent it out.
Probably the best thing we did was to travel with the entire family to Utah, and over a two-week period during late summer we completely remodeled Richard’s parent’s home. Every day, we worked long hours in an effort to complete it in the two weeks we had allotted. It was amazing that we were able to do this in such a short time. We not only had assistance from above, but also from other members of the family. Pete and Suzanne fed us, supplied us beds in which to sleep, and lent us a truck to haul materials. Without their help, it could not have been done. Randy and Vanet Jensen and their children, as well as some of the other grandchildren, helped to paint the exterior.
In retrospect, it was very important that we did this. When we were hauling in the materials Richard’s mother said to me, “Glenda, don’t do this.” I was shocked and amazed and said, “It’s too late to tell us not to do this now. We have paid for the materials and flown our family here to do the job.” Her reply was, “We don’t deserve it.”
This brought me up sharp, and I came to realize that she had a problem feeling good about herself. She did not feel worthy to have nice things. Needless to say, we did not stop the project, but went ahead with it and completed it with time to spare so we could spend a weekend playing with the family.
Although Richard’s mother only lived about six months after we finished the remodeling, it was a joy to see how happy she was to share her new home with everyone who came to visit. Previously, she hesitated to have anyone see her house. But afterward, she would gladly take anyone who came to visit completely through it, to show them the nice home she had. We are very happy that we did this, even though she only lived six months after its completion.
The year that Guy got married, we paid him to remodel our kitchen. Although Guy did most of the work, we helped, as time would permit.
Real Estate is cyclical. After several years, the prices of property in Utah began to rise, while Connecticut property values were falling. We slowly began selling the Utah properties, one or two at a time. Richard and I took classes together, and sat for our real estate license exam.
Shortly after obtaining our licenses, we discovered a piece of property for sale in Portland on Job’s pond. After walking the property, we realized that it was the kind of property we had been looking for all our married life. We made an offer and purchased it. At about the same time, our home teacher, Tom Knox, made us aware that his father’s house in South Windsor was going to be sold. We made an offer to purchase this and had the right to go in and clean out the house before we closed on it.
Cleaning Brother Knox’s house was an experience that will probably never be matched. Although we had walked through the house before we agreed to purchase it, I don’t think we really understood the magnitude of what we were undertaking. From the basement to the attic, that house was loaded with stuff. Much of it was good enough to be used, or sold in a tag sale. The yard had at least nine sheds that we had not initially noticed because of the overgrowth. The front door was so overgrown we didn’t even know for sure where it was. Inside the house there was only a narrow walkway from the kitchen porch, through the kitchen, the dining room, and one side of the hall. There was hardly any room in the bedrooms.
The first time we went to clean it out, we took the entire family, and Laura’s family met us there. We had taken our red pickup truck, thinking that we could haul things to the dump in it. After filling it full that night, with just the phone books that were on the porch, we realized that we would need to get a dumpster. I called to have one delivered later in the week. What they brought was one of the smaller ones, so I called to have it exchanged for the largest one they had. By the time we finished we had filled over nine dumpsters, some of them completely full of metal.
That first night we sorted through the good items on the lawn, and were at a loss as to what to with all the good stuff that we personally didn’t want to keep. We determined that it would be counterproductive each time we came to work if we had to keep hauling things in and out of the house. Laura proposed, “Let’s have a tag sale on Saturday. I will run it and you can all sort through things to be put in it.”
The entire neighborhood knew that Mr. Knox was a collector, so when the tag sale signs went up, people came in droves. There were so many people that all of us but Laura were kept busy just bringing the boxes of stuff outside and setting them on the lawn. The people would rummage through boxes and ask Laura the price. She would make an “on the spot decision.” If someone balked at the price, and the item was something that none of us had seen before, and Laura thought we might like it, she told them, “I’ll pay that much for it.” They either took it for her price, or the next person did.
For about the next six or eight weekends we worked simultaneously at going through things and holding very successful tag sales. In addition, during the week, as we could find time, we sorted through boxes, preparing for the weekend tag sale, and taking home the things we wanted to keep for ourselves. Our garage at home began to fill up. Now that the neighbors knew we were selling things, whenever we were there someone would knock on the door to see if they could come in. Sometimes we let them in; sometimes we just didn’t want to be bothered. I am sure there were things that were sold that we might have been able to use, but as it was we hauled truckload after truckload of items home to our garage to be gone through later.
In going through boxes, sometimes a box would look like junk and I would be tempted to just throw the entire box into the dumpster. Then as I began sorting through it I discovered some good items at the bottom. Sometimes we would find parts to a machine in several different places. We saved them, and in the end were able to put them together to make a complete machine. Our chain saw is a good example of this. Many supplies that we eventually used to rehab the house were there. The rubberized paint for the basement walls is a good example of this. Everything we brought home from there had a distinct odor. We instantly knew that it came from the Knox house.
Richard got many tools from there, most notably a nice chainsaw. We also got a canoe and paddles that we have been able to use at the Job’s Pond property.
When we had nearly finished cleaning the house, Laura and Steve approached us with an offer to purchase it from us. They rented their condo in Bloomfield and moved in with us while we finished it. Brother Bohne did the build out of the porch to make a larger kitchen, and we cleaned and painted for weeks. They moved into it just after Christmas. For nearly a year after they closed on the property they continued to find items in the yard and would place 30 or more garbage cans per week at the curbside for the garbage men. Over the years they have made it into a very lovely and comfortable home for their family.
Almost simultaneous to the above purchases, Richard and I went to a HUD auction. The houses we were interested in purchasing to fix up went for much more that we were willing to pay, but we purchased a one bedroom condo at 20 May Street sight unseen for $8,250. After the auction we went to look at it and were pleasantly surprised that it was not in too bad of shape and the building seemed to be a secure one.
Having three properties at once really put a lot of pressure on us. The condo pretty much lay unattended while we worked on the house. Luckily, the Job’s Pond land did not require much work at first, because we didn’t close on it until after we had cleaned out the house. When we turned the house over to Laura and Steve, we then concentrated on getting the condo repaired and rented.
In the meantime, after we closed on the Job’s Pond land, we had Jeff Ganoe clear the trees on the top portion of the land. Tom Pasternak brought his cat and excavator and dug holes and buried the old sheds and stumps. Tom stored his machines there during that winter. One cold, frosty, January morning, when there were eighteen inches of snow on the ground, Jeff Ganoe brought his wood chipper, and we used Tom’s cat to pull it down over the edge of the hill. We spent the morning cutting and chipping the underbrush along the edge of the pond. When we began at 6:00 a.m. that morning we could walk on top of the frozen snow without any difficulty. As the day wore on, the warmth of the sun melted the snow making it more and more difficult to walk. With each step, we sank into the snow about a foot, and had to lift our feet up and out of the snow to make the next step. This soon became very tiresome. When we were exhausted we began looking for a way to take the cat and chipper back up. By then, the snow was so soft we were afraid it might not go up as easily as it had come down. Richard and Jeff Ganoe went exploring, and discovered a place where they thought they could pull it up at a better slope. In pulling the equipment up the hill, we discovered that it was actually a road probably used by the loggers when they took out trees sometime in the past. At first glance when we purchased the property, because it was so overgrown, we had thought that the road was only a ravine where logs had fallen and underbrush grown over. We also discovered another shed down at the water’s edge that we didn’t know existed. This shed was eventually torn down and burned on a bonfire, as we cleared the land. When spring came and the snows melted, we discovered we had a fine stand of eighteen-inch stumps everywhere down at the pond, which we later dug out with the backhoe.
That spring, we purchased an old 9N Ford tractor and a York rake to prepare the cleared ground on top for planting Christmas trees. Because Tom Pasternak estimated he had cleared an about an acre of land, we ordered enough tree seedlings for an acre. The day we planted the seedlings, the ground was so hard we could not dig it with a shovel; so we rented a gas powered auger just to dig the holes. After planting the prepared area, we still had quite a number of seedlings left because, in reality, Tom had only cleared about ½ acre. We planted as many of the seedlings as would fit on the gravel pit side of the property, and gave the rest to members of the ward.
We soon realized that the old Ford tractor was not going to be sufficient to help us tame this piece of property, so we purchased a newer Ford tractor with a front end loader and a detachable backhoe. Over the years, this tractor has been very essential and helpful in clearing and maintaining this property. With the backhoe we were able to dig out many of the stumps and haul things up and down the hill.
Because we now had oars, life jackets, and other supplies from the Knox home that could be used at the pond, we worked with Pat, Jeff and Oliver in building a small shed by the pond that we used to store these items.
Next, with the help of the children and others who came to assist us, we built a 30×36 steel barn, cleared the land of trees and underbrush, and prepared a place for a garden. We grew dried flowers and sold them one year.
Later, after we had completed building our new home and had moved in, we built a chicken coop, and fenced an area for a pasture. The first year we lived here we only planted a small garden and lost most of it to animals. The next year we installed an 8-foot fence with the leftover chain link fence from Graham Road. We buried the chain link about 6 inches deep and covered it over all the way around the garden with trap rock. It did a fair job until 2003, when we noticed that one corner post had been pulled out of the ground. A woodchuck had entered the garden under the fence and dug his hole inside the garden. That year he devastated many of the crops before we found where he was coming in and repaired it. We set traps and caught one woodchuck and two raccoons. That year the raccoons climbed the fence to get to the corn, as evidenced by the corncob that got stuck on the chain link at the top and the corn kernels that had fallen to the ground below.
Meanwhile, back to our Utah investment properties, Guy had been managing our one remaining Utah condo in Provo. One day, just after Wesley had graduated from BYU, Guy called to tell us that our tenant was moving and the condo needed painting. Since several of our children were attending BYU at the time, we offered to pay them to paint it. After seeing it, Wesley liked it and offered to purchase it from us.
In the meantime, the condo on May Street had gotten past that first year of needing to be fed just to keep it alive, and was beginning to realize a positive cash flow. We decided to multiply the effect, and once again visited a HUD auction. This began a process of obtaining Connecticut condos over the next several years. In retrospect, our only regret was in not finding enough money to purchase all the condos that were on the market, since it has been a very good investment and return on our money. The reason we chose condos was because Richard was traveling so much, and a condo did not require outside maintenance. We paid very low prices, from $3,500 to $9,000, with cash, credit card, and borrowed money from family and friends. The prior owners carried contracts on some of the condos. Of course, most of them needed rehabbing before they were ready to rent.
Some family members and friends also purchased some condos and wanted us to take care of them. This spawned the beginning of a small management business. Eventually we began taking on new clients to manage, and suffered some growing pains. It took a lot of my time until Richard took it over. Eventually, Jeff took on all the responsibility of management.
Upon selling our home on Grace Lane, we rented a home in East Hartford for the nine months it took to find a house plan and build our new home on the Job’s Pond property.
Tom Pasternak was the general contractor for our new home. For the most part, he obtained the subcontractors. We paid all the bills directly. Many times we ran to the store to pick up materials that could be purchased at Home Depot and Lowe’s. At Christmas time, Oliver and Wesley came home, and we hired them to help us build the walls in the basement.
Each weekday Melissa needed to be taken to Seminary and school. Most mornings we would drop Melissa off at the church, run to Lowe’s or Home Depot for materials, pick up Melissa and drop her off at the high school, then arrive at the house in time to meet the contractors. Since Richard’s office was on Route 66, when he was in town he would go to the office and work while I went to the house to supervise what was happening. Having taken a class on building energy efficient homes several years earlier, I carefully went around making sure the insulation was where it needed to be before we had the sheet rockers come in. I discovered that the insulation people had forgotten one whole section in the front bedroom by the porch. If we hadn’t found that, we would have lost a lot of heat and that bedroom would have been very cold. In addition, because of this class, we made arrangements with CL&P to do a blower door test to certify that the home was energy efficient. They discovered where the air was coming in and would therefore go out if not repaired. One very large area was in the family room where the indirect lighting was. The sheet rocking crew had not installed the sheetrock all the way down the wall (only to where it showed from below) and there was a vast amount of air coming through. We had them come back and do it correctly.
Richard and I installed the tiles around the two fireplaces, the laundry room and the downstairs bathroom. Then we installed the vinyl linoleum in the other two bathrooms.
Because we were there nearly every day, we were able to make changes as we went along that made the house more to our liking. It was quite an experience, one that gave us confidence that if we ever built another house we could be our own general contractor.
We took the scrap pieces of sheetrock and finished the food storage room, and built shelves for our food storage. I helped Richard build a desk for my office and the shelves for books and videos in the library room. We have built shelves in the barn and garage to store things. We ordered a greenhouse kit, and Richard and I put it together. We built a wood shed by the basement door in addition to building block retaining walls on both sides of the house. We built forms and poured cement for steps, sidewalk and a patio leading to the basement office door. We have worked every year trying to get the yard landscaped. When the gas station/convenience store was torn down and a new one built in its place, they put a six-foot fence between them and us. Since they did not plan on going all the way to the street we hired their contractor put up the same kind of fence all the way to the street. Then Richard and Oliver built the same kind of fence from their property line across the back end of the antique shop and to our garden fence. It sets off our yard very nicely and keeps us from having to see what is happening at the station and vice versa.
Richard worked on building a Murphy bed during 2003, and I assisted him somewhat on this.
About a year after we moved into the new house at 1086 Portland Cobalt Road in Portland, we purchased a small fixer-upper home on Pinehurst Avenue in New Britain. We decided to have Oliver go in on it with us as part owner. We kept track of hours and each of us received credit for those hours spent. When it was finished we sold it and divided the profit three ways. We were each paid wages for the hours we individually worked. Again, this was a learning experience. The yard was so full of junk that it took some time just getting it cleaned. We obtained some nice bulbs and plants that we moved to our own yard. Oliver learned some skills and became quite good at many jobs. We began using him to do the maintenance on the properties we managed.
In January 2004, we decided that Richard would take on doing rehab of homes as his end of the real estate business. We attended classes, did some networking, and began trying to find properties to remodel. Finding the properties with enough margin of profit has not been easy. We closed on a property at 61 Kelsey Street in New Britain, February 27, 2004. We hired contractors to do most of the work, but did some of it ourselves. One day I went to help Richard with the front door and the closet doors so it would be ready for the painter. While we were there, the painter could not believe that I was actually there working on the house myself. He said, “I wish I could get my wife to do something like that.”
Since Kelsey Street, we have done homes at 250 East High Street, 29 Kenyon Circle, and 11 Laurel Street. We have done a top-notch job on them. As a result, we have not had a problem getting a contract on them immediately after putting them on the market. We sold them all within about three months from the time we purchased them. Fixing them was easy. Finding them was hard. Jeff and Oliver have helped us with them. I have put together a book of before and after pictures which seems to have a theme of “from dark to the light.”
My community service has been somewhat limited. In 1972, when Guy was in second grade, I helped as a parent‑volunteer once a week with his class.
During 1977‑78, I was on the PTA board in charge of several projects. I also served as chairman of the nominating committee. We received the perk of having our pictures taken for free when the children had their pictures taken.
In March 1978, I attended a workshop concerning Title IX, which covers sex discrimination in the schools. It was very enlightening.
In Portland, I served as a parent on the committee to chose a new vice principal. Later, Richard and I both ran for school board, but were unsuccessful. Another year, they asked me to run again, and I was elected. I served for one year, and then submitted my resignation because I had not counted the costs that service would bring to my family and me. There have been several perks from having served in this position, most notably been being able to present both Oliver and Melissa with their diplomas as they graduated from high school. I learned a lot while serving that one year.
EMPLOYMENT AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
Mr. Lyman, the owner of one of the homes my parents rented when I was a child, paid us children fifty cents for each gunnysack of greasewood stumps we gathered from his newly plowed field. He allowed us to keep the stumps for fuel for our stove. He also hired Dad to feed his cattle in the corrals out back. One day when I was in the barn I wondered if manure would burn. I worked at starting some on fire but it never would catch hold. A couple of days later someone discovered the smoldering manure. Luckily, though, no harm was done. I learned that I must never start manure on fire because it will actually smolder even though it does not have a flame.
The summer of 1959 I hoed sunflowers and helped spray the weed called “dotter” for my brother-in-law, Gene Losee. I used the money earned to purchase a long carriage genealogical typewriter from Royal Typewriter Company so I could type genealogical sheets with the data I was collecting.
I babysat for some of the people in the community several times. The summer between my Junior and Senior year, I worked at the Melody Dairy in Delta. I used this money to buy all my own school clothes and to pay for my activity needs during the year.
As soon as I graduated from high school, I went to Salt Lake City and lived that summer with my sister and her husband, Veola and Carroll Hansen. I was hired and worked for only three weeks at Glade’s Candy Company at the wage of a dollar per hour. Because the entire company closed down during July for vacation, and as I had the least seniority, I was laid off at that time. It was then that I decide to enroll in a two‑week course at SaltLake PBX Switchboard School, graduating 28 July 1961. The day I graduated I began interviewing, and was hired to work for Beneficial Life Insurance Co. at 57 West South Temple several days later.
After Richard and I were married and returned from our honeymoon, we moved our personal belongings into the house at 573 East 3982 South, and set up housekeeping; then we both returned to our employment. Richard was employed as a mechanic at Floyd Neff’s garage on 9th East and 3900 South and I was still employed at Beneficial Life Insurance Company.
A few months later I became pregnant, and gave my notice at Beneficial Life. Richard continued to work as a mechanic. That fall, Victor Becente, a fourteen-year old Navaho Indian, moved into our home for the school year. With the added expense of Victor and the birth of our first baby, Guy, we found ourselves falling behind each month in our finances. One night, a salesman came to our door, and we listened to him present the Baby‑Mate line of baby furniture. Like all new parents, we wanted new things for our baby, but had no money. The salesman suggested that Richard sell Baby‑Mate furniture part time to pay for it. In order to do this, Richard was required to purchase a complete set of furniture, plus a 16 mm projector and a film. This amounted to $1,000, which we borrowed on contract. First Richard sold part time, and then went into it full time. Chuck Penrose, who owned the franchise, offered to sell us a franchise that supposedly would give us a larger percentage of profit. We signed a note for $6,000.00, covering the franchise and inventory. In reality, we bought $6,000.00 worth of blue sky, as the inventory was mostly odd pieces that wouldn’t sell very well.
We soon discovered that neither of us were very good salespeople. Also, many sales fell through due to poor credit. We suspected that the franchise was not exactly what we thought it would be, so we asked the President of Baby‑Mate to come to town. We discovered that Chuck Penrose had sold us something he didn’t have the right to sell, but a compromise was worked out and Richard was given the Ogden area. The gasoline for daily trips to Ogden, office costs, phone bills, other expenses, and the payments on the notes, kept mounting. Sales did not increase accordingly. Richard was gone night and day, and even some holidays, trying to make it work.
Then one day we were served a summons. The bank that held the notes for the baby furniture and the franchise was suing us. We consulted an attorney, something that we realize now that we should have done before ever going into this venture. He helped us decide our options. The amount owing, including interest, was overwhelming to us at the time. We even discussed the situation with Bishop Green. Our plans for a large family seemed impossible. Repayment of the debt would require everything both of us could earn for many years.
After much thought, prayer, and counsel, we filed bankruptcy on December 8, 1964. We learned much from this difficult process. It was an educational experience from which we have drawn throughout our lives. When venturing into a new experience, one should check into all the legal ramifications and be very cautious in signing contracts. Trusting someone just because they appear to be honest can be very dangerous, since sometimes people tend to misrepresent things.
Our employment during 1965 was quite skimpy and varied. We worked with Richard’s dad at his cleaning shop, delivering a dry cleaning route, and did odd jobs that came up. Richard helped his brother Pete remodel his home and was paid $200. About this time the Millcreek stake held a fund raising project selling tickets to a movie at $100 donation each. We made the decision to purchase two tickets with the money we had just received. The following Monday morning, Richard was offered a job driving school bus for Granite School District. Although this was only a part time job, it offered insurance benefits and a steady income with security. We are positive this came as a blessing to us for exercising our faith to make the $200 donation, when we had no idea where our next money was coming from.
Over the next five years Richard worked many different jobs trying to make ends meet. In addition to driving school bus, he continued to work at his parents’ cleaning shop, Rite-Way Cleaners. I did clothing repairs for the Cleaners. Richard also did mechanical work part time both at home and for Floyd Neff. In the summertime, he watered school lawns for Granite School District and drove cement truck for Utah Sand and Gravel. During that time, I even ventured to sell some novelty products, but was not too successful at it. I felt I was taking valuable time away from the family while trying to sell.
When Richard received the call to serve as First Counselor to Bishop Leon Vance in the Millcreek First Ward bishopric, he decided that if he was going to lead people he must set a proper example by bettering his own life. After much consideration, he decided to use his G.I. education bill to go to the LDS Business College in the field of computers.
While he attended school, for the next twenty-one months, he carried a very heavy load. He not only drove school bus during the day, but he worked as a computer operator part time, later full time, at night. Through all this he always put his duties to the church assignment first. If a conflict between school and church meetings arose, he attended to church duties first. His schedule was not always pleasant or easy, either for him or for me and our four children. We were expecting our fifth child, Pamela, when he graduated, June 1971, with a 3.75 grade point average. The school agreed to waive one class in public speaking so he could graduate earlier. We both feel that his ability to do all this was greatly improved because he was willing to place the Lord’s work first.
One year before graduating from LDS Business College, Richard was glancing at the help wanted columns when he came across an ad for a job at Beneficial Life Insurance Company. Not really expecting to get the job, because he had finished only eight or nine months of his schooling and had very little on-the-job experience, he applied just for the practice. He was offered the job, to our great surprise, over the other 60 applicants. We know, without any doubt, that once again, the Lord had blessed our family.
In February 1976, Richard was offered and accepted a promotion to the position of staff assistant to Garth Clay at Beneficial Life Insurance. He acted as the go between of the data processing department and the rest of the company. For this he received a raise in salary, which made his wages 2½ times more than when he started 5 ½ years earlier. We recognized that as yet another blessing from the Lord.
While employed by Beneficial Life Insurance Company we were excited each year to attend the annual Christmas dinner at Hotel Utah. Each year the prophet spoke to us. We also had the opportunity to be in the presence of many of the General Authorities who were present. The last year of President Harold B. Lee’s life, there was much strife between Israel and the Arab countries. Ambassador Henry Kissinger was trying to negotiate with them. At the conclusion of President Lee’s speech he asked us to join him in prayer. He then offered one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard. He asked for the Lord’s intervention into the affairs between these countries. There was a great feeling of reverence, with hardly a dry eye at the conclusion of that prayer. We were all greatly shocked when, about one week after that dinner party, President Lee died at a relatively young age (compared to other prophets).
The next year, at the Christmas dinner, President Kimball spoke to us, and then he left his seat early and quietly went to the bottom of the stairs of the old Hotel Utah lobby so that he might be able to shake hands with all the dinner guests as they left for the evening. That was our first opportunity to shake the hand of a prophet, and we can testify that he truly is a prophet of God.
Beneficial Life also provided some local entertainment at their Christmas parties. One of the years, when I was employed there, they had a family, by the name of Osmond, from Ogden who came and performed for us. Four teenage brothers, who were very good, sang in barbershop harmony. They also had a younger brother and sister, Donny and Marie, who sang one number for us. Little did we realize that someday this family would become very famous, and we could say, “We knew them when . . . .”
We signed a contract with Supreme Food Corp. in the spring of 1974, with the stipulation, in writing, that if they couldn’t save us at least l0% on our groceries they would let us out of the contract. We conducted two separate price comparisons finding they were only saving us 3.4%. By the time we paid interest on the money we borrowed to purchase the food, plus the membership fee, we discovered that it was costing us money.
After applying appropriate pressure, because of the signed agreement, we finally were released from paying for the rest of the contract for the membership fee. Not long after this, Supreme closed up the SaltLake operations, which meant anyone who still held a membership was left holding the bag.
In thinking back on the materialistic programs we have either considered or purchased, most of them have now gone by the wayside. Only the spiritual things we accumulated have a lasting value.
In March of 1978, Richard was offered a job in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We felt it would never develop into anything serious, but we agreed to fly there to check out the area and the job. The trip to Connecticut was exciting, especially for me, since it was my first airplane ride. Since I was still nursing Jeffrey, he went with us. After visiting Richard’s sister, Eva, and her husband, Gene, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, they drove us to the Sheraton Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut. The next day, while Richard was being interviewed, the wife of an employee drove me around looking at the area. I was impressed with what I saw, especially in the Glastonbury area. We were taken to dinner that evening, and the following day we were free to look at homes with a realtor.
This decision weighed heavily on our minds. As we discussed the move with those around us, we couldn’t find many reasons for not going. However, we did have many commitments. Richard was serving on the school board and as Branch President. We were involved in our activities with Henry Thomas at the State Prison. We had family in Utah, and we had just finished remodeling our house in Utah. We found we did have reason to stay in SaltLake.
We tried every way possible to find reasons for not making the move. To assist us in making our decision we listened intently to general conference and studied the scriptures with more intent. Everything seemed to point toward first making the decision and then praying about it. After the decision was made to move, every time I prayed about it I felt good, but then all the reasons for staying kept getting in the way and clouding the issue. Each time I revisited the issue in prayer I would receive that peaceful feeling in my heart.
Richard even discussed leaving the Branch with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He told Richard that if the Stake President instructed us not to go, then we should stay; the decision was ours, and the Lord could use us wherever we were. When told of this, President Hutchings would not tell us we should stay, but left the decision up to us.
Even though our salary would be greatly increased (about double the amount of two years before), our figures showed that we would not be that much better off financially, so we determined that the increase in wages was definitely not the real motivating factor in the move. Events began happening which helped us to overcome the obstacles, and we felt that there must be other reasons for us to move.
Breaking all the ties and roots we had made in Utah was a painful and tearful experience, and took much time. Richard finally submitted his letter of resignation to Beneficial Life Insurance April 18, 1978.
Our parents and siblings finally resigned themselves to the fact that we were really going to be moving. On April 22, 1978 we held a combined family party at our home with a total of 81 people there throughout the day. The house handled that many people surprisingly well. Our families went together and gave us a very nice hamper for our new home.
Since Henry Thomas had a home visit that day, we took Henry, Sue, Sue’s mother, our neighbor Viola Coleman, and our four oldest children to the production of III Nephi. It was a very inspirational evening. Henry and Sue moved up their wedding date so we would be able to attend.
Thursday, April 27, the Branch held a farewell party for our family, and invited our parents. That was a beautiful evening, but very tearful. Kary Kelley and Sylvia Willich composed and sang a song dedicated to President Black, which was recorded along with the entire program. A copy was presented to us at the conclusion of the evening. We were asked as a family to sit on the stage. A very nice tribute was presented. Brother McDougall presented Richard with a plaque, and we received a scroll with the branch members’ signatures. I was given a pendant watch. The Branch took up donations and gave Richard over $250, which he used to buy two new suits. Donna Inouye took me to buy 20 yards of expensive fabric.
Richard left Tuesday morning, May 2, 1978, at 7:15 a.m. for Connecticut to begin work for Vantage Computer Systems. Finding a home presented a problem, and for a while it was thought we would have to sell our SaltLake home. Once again, the branch came to the rescue. Between forty and fifty of them rallied around over a 2-week period, helping us fix up, clean up, and paint up the house. The response to our need was overwhelming and much appreciated.
With Richard gone, the children and I began sorting through our belongings, taking back things that belonged to others, throwing or giving away that we were not taking, selling what could be sold, and fixing what needed fixing. I learned a valuable principle through all of this: there needed to be order in what I did to prepare for the move. When I tried doing something before it really needed doing, I became frustrated; so I learned to do only that which needed to be done that day, and then move onto the next item in the order I had determined it needed to be done.
FAMILY TRIPS, VACATIONS & OUTINGS
We have enjoyed taking trips together as a family. Richard was Priest Quorum advisor in May 1967. The family went with the Bishopric and Aaronic Priesthood boys on an overnight outing to Flaming Gorge, Wyoming. It was on this trip that our three year old, Guy, caught his first fish and ran all the way back to camp to show Mommy and Laura just how proud he was of it.
We drove with our four children to San Francisco, California in about thirteen hours, in April 1971, staying with Richard’s sister, Karen, and her husband, Don Bushman. Wesley was only a year and eight months old. About a week before we left, he became very possessive of his daddy. Richard told him that when we went on the trip Daddy could spend all the time with him, a promise that Wesley made sure his daddy kept.
While in San Francisco, we especially enjoyed trips to the seashore, gathering shells to add to our collection. On one trip to the beach, Laura and Alvin were standing on the seashore and a huge wave began to come toward them. Concerned for Alvin, Laura began to pull him away from the ocean; but he didn’t want to cooperate, and they both went down in the force of the wave. For a few moments we thought that the wave and the force of the undercurrent was going to pull them both out into the ocean; but luckily we were able to retrieve them, and all was well. It was during this same trip that Karen and Don’s car broke down at the beach, so they called someone they knew who had a Volkswagen bug to come and get us. Needless to say, that was a very cramped ride back to Karen and Don’s home. In spite of all the excitement, we managed to enjoy the rest of the trip, including a day at the Golden Gate Park and a trip to the Oakland temple grounds.
During the summer of 1972, Bishop Burt let us use his cabin for several days. Before we went there, Richard had been experiencing some chest pains that at first the doctors thought might be tuberculosis; but that was ruled out. There was such a quiet peacefulness while we were there that made us slow down from our very hectic pace, and eventually the pains went away. We enjoyed taking two or three hikes each day. We were awestruck by the beauties that God had created for us to enjoy high in the mountaintops, undisturbed by man.
Beneficial Life sent Richard, in October 1972, to a convention in Denver, Colorado. The children, my mother, and I went along for a vacation. We took food with us and cooked our meals, eating in restaurants only twice on the trip. We saw oil wells, windmills, a Lincoln monument, and a herd of antelope. I was especially intrigued with the sunrise directly on the horizon, as I had lived in the Rocky Mountains all my life, and had only seen the sun rise over the top of a mountain.
We visited a museum, the zoo, a store, the Denver mint, and an art gallery. We purchased an oval mirror and an antique wind-up clock. Alvin, who wasn’t yet in Kindergarten, learned to tell time from listening to the chimes of the clock. He would run to look at the hands of the kitchen clock whenever the wind-up clock chimed. On the way home from this trip we encountered a terrible snow storm. Richard drove through it for hours, until he could just not take it any longer; so we stopped for the night in Vernal, Utah.
Every summer that Richard worked for Beneficial Life we enjoyed the annual family outing at Lagoon. We have also gone as a family on several early morning fishing trips that were never too successful in their goal of catching fish. I personally never really cared for those trips. Usually the youngest children were too little to get near the water or got too cold, or were asleep in the car; so I would stay in the car with them while the others fished. Years later, when visiting our children in Utah, we learned that Guy had discovered the perfect way to fish. He took us to a trout farm, where they provided the poles, the bait, and the hungry fish in the pond. I have always been able to catch fish this way.
Our family took a trip, in July 1974, to the “Mormon Miracle” pageant in Manti, Utah. We stayed overnight so we could visit the temple grounds and visitor center. We also attended a Jensen reunion the next day in Gunnison, where we sang for the program as a family.
After purchasing a 1969 Chrysler station wagon, in May 1975, we combined a vacation with a business trip to San Francisco, California. We stopped at Carson City, Virginia City, SilverCity, and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. As Richard and I both had head colds, the descent from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento, California was hard on us. We stopped over at a motel in Sacramento, and it only cost us $24.00 for the night. Our original plan was to rent a trailer for the week, but we began to wonder if a motel would be more comfortable. When we arrived at San Francisco we checked out the price of motels and found that the Mission Bell motel cost $95.00 per week, less than what we had planned on paying for a small trailer. The accommodations were much nicer than trailer, and included kitchen facilities, television, and a bathroom.
Before going, we wrote to the chamber of commerce, obtaining information about inexpensive places to visit. As Guy described it, “If it costs more than fifty cents for admission, we can’t afford it.” That was about the way it was, as we had very little money to spend; but each day was well planned. We walked out about one-third of the way onto the Golden Gate Bridge. The vibrations from all the cars going across were amazing. We went for a scenic drive, ran along the beach several times, hiked through Muir woods, went to church on Sunday, and visited the Oakland temple grounds. We visited Fisherman’s wharf, rode on a boat out to the Golden Gate Bridge, went to the maritime museum, and toured the chocolate factory at Ghirardelli Square. We also rode on the cable cars and spent some time at the zoo.
When we walked through Chinatown, we were the attraction for the day for the Chinese, with our red-headed children. At the Golden Gate Park we visited the aquarium and the Morrison planetarium. Other places we visited were Mission Dolores, the old mint, pioneer hall, and the Standard Oil display. We also watched a mime imitate people as they walked through Union Square. A large crowd had gathered, and it was very amusing to watch.
For four of the days we were there, Richard attended a school paid for by Beneficial Life. For most of the trip he was not with us. One day when he was actually going to be with us, he had to go to the car to get something, and was gone rather a long time. Pamela asked, “Where is Daddy?” Kimberlee, who wasn’t quite yet two, spoke up immediately. “He’s gone to a meeting.”
We drove to Sweetwater Park on Bear Lake, as guests of Sweetwater, over Thanksgiving weekend in 1975. We enjoyed ourselves greatly, even though we had to travel in a snowstorm both ways. We went swimming in the heated outdoor pool with snow on the ground. All the children, including Patrick, who was the baby at the time, really enjoyed themselves. On our way home, we drove by the Logan temple to show the children where we had been married, and also stopped at a cheese factory. During the summer of 1976, we once again went to Sweetwater. This time my mother went with us to help watch the children.
While associated with the singles branches, we went two different times to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for super activities. At the first campground, we were close together in a small area. Two of the fellows from “Sun Shade ‘N Rain,” Dan Lindstrom and Jeff Gregerson, were with us. One evening while waiting for the time we were to board the bus for a trip into town to a musical production, we gathered around the campfire. Dan played his guitar, and we all sang fun songs and some church songs that created a very special feeling of reverence among the group. Several of the other campers gathered around to listen, and made many favorable comments about the fine manner that such a large group of single adults conducted themselves
The second year, we camped at a different campground. As the two busloads pulled into the campground, Richard jumped out to speak with the owner. The owner seemed very upset that we were even there. He said that his son had taken the reservation, and that had it been him he would have said “No.” When we left two days later, he told us he had been very impressed with our group. With the exception of the extra load on the bathrooms, showers, and Laundromat, the other campers were not even aware that we were there. We felt that the positive influence of a group of LDS young people was being felt in both cases.
The singles branch participated in a collating job to raise money, and also to create fellowship. For the amount of time involved to complete the project, I feel that the fellowshipping was the most successful product realized. That night, after attending a Cub Scout pack meeting, our family went to help them around 9:00 p.m. About 1:00 a.m. Jeffrey and Patrick became fussy, so I went home. Gradually, one or two at a time, the rest of the family came home. Richard came home last. He slept for only a couple of hours before going back to help them finished up about 1:00 p.m. that day. The branch members had come in four‑hour shifts, with the exception of several of them who stayed the entire time.
On two separate occasions, the Tenth Branch Relief Society Presidency tended our children. Once, they tended them while we went to the Beneficial Life Christmas party. The other time, the Branch planned and paid for a night out for Richard and me. They made reservations for dinner at “Hare Hollow” and tickets to the show “Star Wars”. We enjoyed these two very special evenings, for which we were very grateful.
In January of 1978, we began rotating our home evening assignments. It worked very well creating more interest and less possibility for plans to fall through since everyone has a different responsibility each home evening.
Over my lifetime I have learned that I have several interests that I have developed. Ever since receiving my patriarchal blessing, genealogy has been an interest and hobby to me. More about my activities in this area of my life can be found in the chapter on Family History and Temple Experiences. I also discovered at an early age that I could sing. Some of my other hobbies or interests are described below.
My favorite sport, beginning while yet in elementary school, was softball. I could be found playing it during most recesses, when enough other people could be rounded up to play. I am right-handed, but batting left-handed came naturally to me, a fact I never noticed until others brought it to my attention. I tried to bat right-handed a few times, but I discontinued the practice because it gave me such a handicap. I joined the Sugarville Ward girls’ softball team, at age twelve, and found that I enjoyed playing catcher, pitcher, or shortstop, where more of the action was. I didn’t like just standing around in the field. My love for the game continued even after high school. I played with the Browning and Millcreek 12th Ward teams, when I moved to Salt Lake City. Whenever there has been a softball game at a ward outing, I could be found playing softball, even if I was the only woman playing on the team. It has only been in my later years that I have felt myself getting too old to keep up with the game, and have not played as often.
I first became active in 4‑H clubs beginning when I was ten. For four to five years afterward I enjoyed the summer camps in Oak City Canyon. One year I had a pair of leather oxford shoes that were getting a little too small for me, so I took them to camp. I played in the creek while wearing my shoes, then kept them on the rest of the day. By the end of the day they had dried and had stretched to fit my foot. As a result, they were no longer too small, so I got a lot more use out of them.
One year, as a fund-raising project, we painted names on the mailboxes in Sugarville. We also held a slumber party on our front lawn. It was during that slumber party that we saw what looked like a star traveling across the sky from the east to the west at a pretty fast speed for a star. We all speculated that it might be a satellite, because that was about the time the first satellites were being launched. I suppose, looking back from my adult perspective, that it was probably just a jet airplane, something we hadn’t seen much.
My sister Inga Mae was our leader, and she taught us to sew. I worked very hard, the summer I was 14, sewing a Sunday dress. Inga Mae was very exacting, making me redo it if it wasn’t exactly right. Unpicking and re-sewing seemed to be all I knew how to do. My dress, with all its work, received a blue ribbon at the county fair, and was chosen by the judges to be entered in the Utah State Fair, where it received a purple ribbon, or sweepstakes status. I learned a lesson that persistence pays, even when you would rather give up and do something else.
I was very interested in tape recording. With some of my first money I purchased a four-track recorder and did some fun things with it by recording on both sides of the tape. We even taped our wedding reception, but the background noise was very bad. When the eight-track recorders came out, my four-track was becoming obsolete; but then eight-tracks weren’t around long before cassettes made them obsolete. I do not recall what happened to that first recorder or any of the tapes I made, but I think that I may have recorded the good parts of them onto cassettes after we got a cassette recorder. We do have some recordings of the children at different ages. Now, even the cassette player is becoming obsolete with the coming of CD’s. I should make a CD with all the recordings that are on cassettes before the next wonder in the electronic world appears.
I had an old box camera before flashcubes or color film came into being. It had the ability to take time exposure pictures. I remember taking a picture of President David O. McKay by putting the camera on a chair in front of the television during general conference. Fascinated by photography, I took a class in high school, where I learned about developing; but not having any equipment or the place to have a dark room, I never applied the things I learned, and have since forgotten them. I once tried making a camera out of cardboard but don’t recall that it ever worked. I have seen cameras develop from the simple box camera with no flash, to ones with blue flash bulbs that were discarded after each use. There were Polaroid’s that could be developed in a minute or two on the spot. Somewhere in the mix was the 8 mm home video camera and slide film, along with projectors for looking at them on a screen or the wall. When 35 mm cameras were invented, some had built in flash bulbs and automatic settings. For many years, while raising our children, I became very unfamiliar with each of the new cameras mainly because one of the children always expressed a desire to take the pictures. For me it was easier to just let them do it than to take the time to figure out how to make the new camera work. Then one day I was asked to be the girl’s camp historian, and I needed to take pictures. So I sat down and read the manual from cover to cover so that I would know how to do the basics like load and change the film.
I got my very first digital camera, requiring a cord to transfer pictures to the computer, as a premium for some management software we purchased. The pictures were not the best quality, and it was difficult to upload them. We lost most of these pictures when transferring data to a new computer. Oliver purchased some really neat digital cameras. He let me use one with 3-1/2 inch floppy disks. I could transfer pictures to the computer very easily. I recently purchased a Zire palm hand held computer, for use in real estate. It has a really nifty digital camera, although not with the same high picture quality as Oliver’s camera. When a hot sync is done with my desktop the pictures automatically upload to the desktop. I know there are even better and smaller cameras than that, with some installed in cell phones.
Several years ago, I scanned all the pictures of family, with the exception of the slides. I made a CD of all the pictures, complete with a power point presentation, to give each of the children for Christmas. I also made a collage of pictures for each of the older grandchildren, with pictures of them, their parents, and grandparents, taken at similar ages. I titled them “It’s in the Genes.” It was very fun to see the similarities. I continue to collect pictures as much as possible each year. Someday I will do this again for the grandchildren who are now too young to have enough pictures available for making a good collage.
I have always loved to dance. I believe, when I was about five years old, I danced with a boy about my same age at my brother, Berdell’s, wedding. When I became old enough to go to Mutual, once a month after the lessons they spent a half an hour giving dance instruction. My brother-in-law, Gene Losee, was a very good dancer. He often danced with me and taught me how to follow. Now, if I dance with a man who knows how to lead, I can usually follow him quite well. Another brother in the ward, LeAuer Shields, was always willing to dance with us girls. We were wallflowers and didn’t get asked to dance otherwise. Both he and Gene made us feel special just by asking us to dance.
Every year each ward in the Deseret stake sponsored a dance, a “Gold and Green Ball,” decorating the cultural hall with a theme and inviting other wards in the stake to come. I remember helping to decorate for these dances. While I was dating Anthony Adams, he and I developed our own little jitterbug dance step. We must have done it well together, as we were invited to perform during the floorshow for several of these dances.
When Richard and I began dating, we discovered that we enjoyed dancing together. I was very grateful that Richard knew how to lead really well, which made my job of following very easy. The Cottonwood Mall opened up just after we became engaged, so we decided to take June and Gene there one evening about 11:00 P.M. To our delight we discovered the doors to be open and we were the only ones in the mall. Since they were playing danceable music over the speaker, we took advantage of the situation and danced to our hearts content. Over the years together we have loved to go dancing whenever the opportunity has been there. The polka, one of my favorites, is no longer much of an option to us, simply because it requires so much stamina. Because, for a long time, we were not able to dance after Richard broke his ankle, and also because we are getting older, we find that we both tire much more easily than we used to; so when we do go dancing we spend more time sitting than dancing.
In Mutual, when I was young, we would have public speaking events. At first I did not feel very comfortable doing these. I recall that before one of those public speaking events, I had read that an effective way to make a point was to lean into the pulpit. After my speech, the judges criticized me for leaning into the pulpit too much. Too much of a good thing I guess isn’t so good after all.
During my seminary years I was asked to give a speech on the radio station, KSUV, out of Richfield, Utah. After I moved into the Millcreek Stake, as a young single adult, I was asked to speak in stake conference. I have now developed to the point that I do not fear being called upon to speak, and even look forward to it, especially if the topic is one with which I have a certain command of knowledge. Many times, especially with Richard as the Stake President, I have been called to bear my testimony extemporaneously. Sometimes, if I have felt impressed to do so, I have chosen to sing my testimony through a favorite hymn. I have come to realize that, with the Lord’s help, there is nothing that I cannot do if I desire to do it.
My sister Alice taught me how to recover furniture using a small arm chair. We found some older substantial furniture, refinished the wood, and then reupholstered them. To furnish our house, for only $250, I did two rocking chairs, two occasional chairs, two couches, three end tables, and some picture frames. For a while I also did some furniture for other people.
Seven months after our marriage, the LDS Lamanite Placement program moved Victor Becenti into our home. Victor was a thirteen year old Navaho Indian boy from Tohatchi, New Mexico. He lived with us for one school year. Having never been parents before, the year was difficult both for Victor and us. He was not only going through that rather difficult age of around 14, but he was new to the Church and the placement program. Also it didn’t seem to help that, during the year, his parents visited us both at Christmas and Easter. Victor became hard to handle after each visit.
We were able to introduce him to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help him further his education. He took Seminary that year and learned much about the Book of Mormon. When he turned 14, Richard ordained him a Teacher. He performed his duties as a Teacher very faithfully. He received his patriarchal blessing from Patriarch Keith Layton while with us. Although we felt we could not take care of Victor another year, we visited briefly with him at his other foster homes. On occasion he visited us. For several years we lost touch, but one summer day just prior to Wesley’s birth, Victor and his cousin came to visit us. Sometimes we wrote short notes to him, which usually inspired a phone call from him.
In February, 1975, Victor called in the middle of the night, very frightened and mixed up. He said he was in Phoenix, Arizona in a motel room and some people were after him. Richard talked with him for thirty or forty minutes. He suggested to Victor that he pray. Victor told him that he had not prayed since he had lived with us. We called his Branch President. He told us that Victor had been involved in AIM (American Indian Movement), and the church had not been able to reach him. Richard wrote Victor a letter bearing his testimony. Two years passed. Victor called again wanting to get a copy of his patriarchal blessing. We obtained the information he needed to get a copy, and sent it to him. He, at that time, seemed very mixed up. He wanted to live the gospel, and yet still hang onto the traditions and superstitions of his people. He was having a hard time seeing that things needed to be done the Lord’s way.
He called, in March 1978, with some good news. He had just been appointed director of social services for the Navaho nation. After we moved to Connecticut, we sent him one of our newsletters. We were pleased to once again hear from him in October 1978. He had just been ordained an Elder and was considering filling a stake mission for the church. Small seeds, once planted, often take form and grow. We never know how far reaching our influence will be.
In the spring of 1973 Richard attended a stake priesthood meeting in the Millcreek Stake. Brother Mockli, the high councilman in charge of Social Services, discussed the subject of volunteer home teachers at the Utah State Prison. Richard relaxed, thinking that because he had small children he could not participate. After Brother Mockli sat down, President Clegg informed Brother Mockli that he already had volunteers, and began reading off the names of the brethren who were his “volunteers.” Richard sat up and took special notice, at this part of the meeting, because President Clegg called his name.
At an orientation meeting, we met Heber J. Guerts, a very short man in physical stature but a very tall man in spirit and love. About twenty years previously, while serving as Bishop, two men from his ward were incarcerated in prison. He began visiting them on a regular basis. After his release as Bishop, he, along with Elmer Knowles, felt that these men and others at the prison needed someone to care for and love them. Through the experiences of Heber J. Geurts and Elmer Knowles, in coordination with LDS Social Services and the Prison staff, the Prison Family Home Evening program gradually evolved.
When we joined the program, it worked like this. A worthy priesthood holder and his wife, approved by their Stake President, were assigned as home teachers to one of the prisoners. They and their family, once a month, took their family home evening to prison, attempting to do just as they did at home, with one exception, no treats. At least one other time each month, during regular visiting hours, the priesthood brother was to visit with the inmate to check on his progress.
The rules were:
- Families were not to lend money or co‑sign for a loan for the inmate.
- Families were not to carry items in or out of prison that were not cleared through security.
- Inmates were not to live with the family at any time.
- Children were not to visit inmates unless parents were present, and were not to write letters unless included in one from their parents.
- If the inmates were married, their wives and children were to be friendshipped also.
- Dress was to be modest at all times.
Becoming involved in this program required total commitment. Our relationship was to be ongoing, even after the inmate was released from prison. Richard and I had many reservations. Through discussion and prayer we decided, that with the Lord’s help, we could handle it. Bishop Geurts very prayerfully assigned families to inmates, and we feel that he indeed received inspiration in assigning Henry Thomas, a young twenty-year-old man from Poughkeepsie, New York, for us to visit. Henry loved children, a fact that became evident very quickly. Our children, recognizing this quality, responded to him accordingly. Before long, they were fighting amongst themselves for the privilege of sitting next to Henry.
In the eleven months that Henry had been incarcerated, from January to November 1973, we were his first visitors. Although he knew very little about the LDS church, he decided to enter the program with Bishop Guerts. As each prisoner was required to set goals and attain them before being accepted into the program, one of Henry’s goals was to quit smoking.
Our very apprehensive family drove the seventeen miles to the Utah State Prison through a blizzard for our first meeting with Henry. We were ushered through locked doors, along with eight other families, for our first introductions. We entered the visiting room of medium security, and the steel doors closed behind us and locked with a terrible click. The door would not open again until the prison guard came back for us.
Dividing into family units, within the same room, we held individual family home evenings. We hadn’t planned anything formal, but simply tried to become acquainted with one another. Visiting conditions were rather difficult, as can be imagined, with nine family home evenings going on all at once in a small room. Our baby, Kimberlee, was fussy, and the other five children had short attention spans. Because Henry spoke with a New York accent, and much more rapidly than we were used to hearing, we missed much of what was communicated that evening.
As the months passed, the visits became easier. Eventually we received permission to hold the meetings in the prison chapel. Being able to meet in individual rooms created an environment much more conducive to the proper spirit. We began to enjoy our visits more, and even looked forward to them. Witnessing much progress in Henry’s life, we felt that perhaps we were a small part in striking a responsive chord with Henry. His enthusiasm for the Gospel grew, and he became quite knowledgeable in many areas, as he continued to read scriptures and church history.
The fellows in the home evening program are the “cream of the crop” of the men at the prison. Most of the rest leave something to be desired. I was asked to sing for an All Faiths’ Mother’s Day program. This meeting was open to any inmate who wanted to attend. He could invite his family or friends. Many inmates take advantage of this and use it as just another visiting time during the meeting. One of the speakers mentioned how our mothers love us. The inmate seated behind me scoffed and said, “My mother doesn’t love me.” His message came through loud and clear. Somewhere in his life, communications had broken down, and either the proper messages were not sent, or were not received by this young man.
Henry moved during July 1975, from medium security to minimum security, or “the farm,” as the inmates referred to it. Here he had much more freedom, and shared a room similar to a dormitory with other inmates. Our home evenings were once again held in one large room with the other families. We lost some ground with Henry, at this time, since it was nearly impossible to hear any kind of lesson. Most of the time, we played games or visited. At times it was a real struggle to keep going because the children became distracted easily.
Bishop Guerts eventually obtained permission from the prison officials to hold meetings once again in the chapel. Each month the prisoners were brought into the chapel first, and then the families were escorted in later. We began to see progress in Henry’s life once again. Shortly afterward, the Crescent Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ was assigned Priesthood responsibility for the prison meetings.
Henry began to be allowed home visits. On these visits we took him to the visitor’s center, to church meetings, and to other places. He asked us to go with him before the parole board, January 5, 1977, where his hopes of a two-year release date were shattered. Instead he received a two-year rehearing date.
Perhaps it was fortunate he remained in prison, for during the spring of 1977 Henry met a paramedic, Sue Lynch, who, along with her mother and grandmother, had just recently moved to Utah from Florida. As she was unemployed, she volunteered time to teach a class. Henry took her class. She had been to Temple Square and had received a witness that the church was true, but was not willing to make the commitment needed. When she and Henry began talking, she discovered that he knew quite a bit about the church, even though he was not a member. Through their discussions, Sue finally decided to take the missionary lessons, and was baptized November 18, 1977. Henry was higher than a kite as he obtained a home visit to witness Sue’s baptism. Their romance blossomed, and led to an engagement by Christmas.
The LDS church organized a branch of the church, Sunday, March 19, 1978, at the Utah State Prison, making the blessings of the priesthood directly available to the prisoners. During this history‑making meeting, we sang “We Thank Thee Oh God, For A Prophet.” Indeed we were grateful for a prophet, even Spencer W. Kimball, who reached out to touch the lives of as many of God’s children as possible. That evening was one more step toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to everyone, including those in prison. Joseph Smith prophesied that the prisons would someday become places of learning. His prophecy was assisted toward fulfillment, in part, through the efforts of men like Heber Guerts, and eventually through the power of the Priesthood, at Utah State Prison. It was a great blessing and has added to our testimony to witness many lives being touched as the Gospel was taught to men and women in prison. It is now possible for priesthood courts to be held so that prisoners know where they stand in relationship to the church, thus enabling them to begin turning their lives around. The Priesthood can also work, without limitation, with those who have committed more serious crimes. A new LDS chapel, financed with donations from the community, was eventually built at the prison to meet the needs of the men in minimum security, and also the women inmates.
Henry and Sue were good for each other, and we witnessed great growth in both of them. They were married, May 27, 1978, not too long before we moved to Connecticut. I sang the song “You Light Up My Life” at their wedding, and made up a third verse with these words:
Now we are one, our love is eternal.
We’ll find the way, to make things work right.
God is with us, we’ll call on Him daily,
For His love will guide and show us the way.
Now He’ll light up our lives. He’ll give us hope to carry on.
He’ll light up our day and fill our nights with song.
It can’t be wrong when it feels so right, ‘cause you,
You light up my life.
The following day, May 28, Richard gave Henry and Sue a wonderful blessing. Sue’s mother and her grandmother were able to be there for it.
At the time they were married they were both eagerly looking forward to the time when they could go to the Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Henry, because of the seriousness of the crime he had committed, had to receive permission from the First Presidency before he could be baptized. Before we lost touch with them, Henry wrote us a letter telling us that he had received a letter from the First Presidency granting him his desire to be baptized. Not long after that we lost contact with them, and do not know if they ever made it to the temple.
THE GREATHOUSE PLACE
It seemed to be the custom of the time, or at least my family’s custom, to nickname homes after a prior owner of the home. My mother’s brother, Harold Jensen, and his family lived at the “Greathouse Place” prior to my birth. When Harold had an opportunity to move to another farm not far away, he wrote Mom and Dad, who were living in Scipio Utah, telling them of the opportunity to rent this farm in Sugarville Utah. Although owning the home Dad had built in Scipio, they decided a change might improve their circumstances, because financially they were having an extremely difficult time.
The United States was in the middle of World War II when Mom and Dad moved there sometime in March 1942. Dad farmed the Greathouse farm and also hired out as a laborer to other farmers in the area.
Their large family, with few conveniences and little money, required Mom to keep very busy and labor hard and fast to keep up with her many duties. She scrubbed their laundry on scrubbing boards. Her goal was to keep a clean, straightened house.
Only eight children including myself, the youngest of ten, actually lived here, since two of my siblings no longer lived at home. My eldest sister, Alice, lived and worked in Manti at the parachute factory, helping to make parachutes for World War II. Alice remembers getting a letter from Mom telling her that she was pregnant with me and that the doctor had told her she had a heart problem. Alice was very concerned and sent Mom a box of chocolates and a bed jacket. An older brother, Harold Eugene, had died from whooping cough when he was only two months old. That left June, age 16, and Berdell, not quite 14, who were a great help to Mom and Dad while Mom was in the hospital. The balance of the family included Melvin, 12, Grant, 10, Inga Mae, 8, Veola, not quite 6, and Devon, only 34 months old. As can be imagined, it was quite a tight squeeze for this large family in such a small home.
During my teenage years, when I became interested in family history, I went around to all the houses my family had lived in and took pictures. At that time this home was not lived in and was in great disrepair. Years later I took my children to Delta to visit. June knew the people who had purchased the home, so she took me there to ask if I might see it. They had moved it to another spot and rehabbed it, enlarging it by nearly double its size. As I walked through what would have been the original house (a small kitchen, living room and two bedrooms plus the screened in porch), I marveled that ten people could have lived in such a small space, even though the boys slept on the porch and I slept in a dresser drawer. It makes me think that today we are very spoiled with all the space and conveniences we enjoy.
THE CHARLIE WILLIAMS PLACE
Before her marriage, Mom had worked in Oasis, a small town five or six miles southwest of Delta. She and Dad lived in Oasis during their first few years together. When an opportunity came to rent a home in Oasis from Charlie Williams, they quickly took it.
I was only about five months old, March 1944, when we moved there, so my memory does not recall this place; but the memory of my family supplies the following. My two teenage brothers, Melvin and Grant, herded the cows from Sugarville to Oasis, a distance of perhaps ten to fifteen miles. This was a pivotal time for my parents, since my siblings began leaving home to work and get married. Since we didn’t live here long after my birth, I don’t recall anything about this home except what I have been told. Alice talked Mom and Dad into letting June go to Manti, live with her, and finish her Senior year of high school there. Alice married in June 1945, and loved to take me to her home and sew clothes for me. When she and Frank came to visit, she approached Mom, “Glenda is such a cute little thing. Do you think I could take her home with me and sew her some dresses?” Mom thought for a short while on this, and finally agreed.
Alice had so much fun playing with me, curling my hair and making cute clothes for me before her own first child was born, that she often took me home with her.
At approximately the age of two, I developed a rheumatoid condition in my left leg. This kept me from getting around readily for a while but it soon left me, and I have not had any recurrence.
In June of 1946, June married. She remembers a bathtub in this house, because she took a bath there before she got married.
ALLRED HOME ON CROPPER LANE
It was at the Allred home on Cropper Lane that my first real memories of a house began. My parents moved to this house sometime before January 1947. This home was still in the Oasis ward boundaries, though farther from the church. The home was on a country lane, surrounded by many large trees. I shared a bedroom on the east side of the house with my two older sisters, Inga and Veola. We slept in a double bed with metal springs that sagged badly in the middle. I, being the youngest, drew the short straw, and slept between my sisters, becoming the filling of the sandwich. On cold winter nights I was always warm, but sometimes it was quite crowded. Many times before morning came I would find my way to Mom and Dad’s room. At that young age, I had little control over my bladder, so if I happened to stay in bed with my sisters, many mornings they were very upset at me.
At this frame home there was a huge tree just outside the kitchen door. My brothers and sisters used to climb this tree, and we always had such fun. Below this tree was a well which had a wooden top that must have been at least 8’x8’ square or larger. We used to drop gallon bottles of milk, as well as other items needing refrigeration, into the well from a rope. We did not own a refrigerator in those days.
The kitchen had an old-fashioned pump handle that needed to be primed to bring water into the house from the well. I remember being about five or six years old and standing for what seemed like hours on a chair at the sink “washing” dishes. I don’t think the dishes got very clean, but I got very wet and cold since we had to heat the water on top of the wood stove in order to have hot water.
I recall awakening each morning, in the springtime, to the sound of birds singing outside the bedroom window. When Mom or someone else would come to make the bed in the morning, I would hide under the blankets, pretending not to be there. They would play along with my little game, making it lots of fun for me.
One night Dad was tending Devon and me, while Mom and the older children went to MIA. I was lying in bed having trouble going to sleep because I could see something white in the closet. I let my imagination run away with me and became so frightened that I began to believe it was a ghost. I cried out, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” over and over again; but it was all in vain since he had apparently fallen asleep in the rocking chair. I began to pray that I would be protected, but I was still very much afraid. Eventually when Mom returned home she heard my cries and came into the room and turned on the light showing me the white “ghost” that was only a white shirt hanging in the closet. I do remember saying some mighty prayers for safety that night before Mom got home.
There was a barn where we had some large workhorses for working in the fields and garden. I remember riding on one of the workhorses while it pulled the plow, with Dad behind guiding the plow to turn the ground for our garden. Girls did not wear pants in those days, so I would sit on the broad bare back of the workhorse while wearing a dress, with the insides of my legs exposed. The horse sweated profusely. When Dad was through plowing, he helped me off the horse and the insides of my bare legs were very sore from the perspiration and horsehair that stuck to them. Despite that, I wasn’t deterred from wanting to do outdoor activities.
For as long as I can remember, Dad always grew beautiful flowers and great gardens. It was here at this house that I must have begun my love for gardening, because I loved to play in the yard next to my dad as he worked in the garden. Many times I would watch the pretty lightening as it streaked the skies in the distance. Lightning or rain never bothered me until the day a terrible electrical storm struck. That day I was indoors, but Dad and the boys were outside next to the well under the huge tree. I watched as a bolt of lightning came through the back door traveling along the floor of the kitchen and living room, through doorways, and out the front door. Shortly thereafter, one of my brothers came running into the house shouting, “Daddy’s been struck by lightning.” Fear seized me because everyone was so excited. Someone was quickly dispatched to our closest neighbors to call a doctor. A couple of my brothers carried Dad into the house placing him on his bed. The sight of his purple and black feet remains with me to this day.
Our neighbor, Brother Bishop, came to help give a priesthood blessing to Dad. That was my first recollection of exercising faith in a priesthood blessing. Eventually Dad got better, but I was left with a terrible fear of thunder and lightning storms. Whenever one would come, I would hide on a couch or chair away from the floor, windows, and doors. Eventually, through much prayer, I was able to overcome this fear. I still have a healthy respect for lightning and the power behind it, but I can now make it through an electrical storm without that crippling fear.
Our little dog, Tippy, liked to sit on top of the horses back. We children loved playing with him and the many cats we always had around to help keep the mouse population down.
Whenever Dad and my older brothers milked the cows, I liked taking my cup to the corral to be filled with milk. I would drink it warm. Sometimes my brothers asked me if I wanted to see stars; then they would squirt the milk into my eyes.
Outside this home there was always much fun available for children. My siblings and I loved to play along the irrigation ditch to the west of the house. Getting to that ditch required us to cross a barbed wire fence. On my left ankle I have a three to four-inch scar to prove that I scraped myself while crossing that fence. We liked to wade in the ditch. I remember my siblings catching frogs and roasting them over a bonfire at the ditch bank. Recently, I had the opportunity to sample some frog legs. They were good, but not as tasty as my memories of being five or six years old and eating them as I sat along the ditch bank by the side of a fire.
Crop dusting airplanes flew over the fields spraying insecticide. Sometimes it looked like they were writing things in the sky. After the fields had been irrigated or freshly plowed, flocks of seagulls always gathered, looking for worms.
I could not resist playing with Veola and Inga Mae’s dolls. The dolls and clothes of that day did not do well when they were immersed in water. One day, while the girls were at school, I gave the dolls a bath, and washed all their clothes. I still remember the awful mildew smell, as well as the terrible scolding I received from my sisters. I think it was then that I must have decided to become a tomboy, and play with my brothers’ trucks.
One of my favorite activities each day during the summer months was walking with my siblings as they herded our cows along the road and up to the canal where the swimming hole known as “Thirty Foot” was located. Many times they would go swimming, and I even ventured into the water a few times. At other times we picked currants or asparagus. I am not sure if Mom ever knew that we went swimming; however, the fear of water that she instilled in me kept me from learning to swim at that time. I always stayed close to the edge of the bank where I could touch the bottom. If I ever got beyond that, I became very frightened. One day Mom left and told my older siblings not to go in the water in the ditch while she was gone. I guess the reason I remember this event was that they disobeyed her, and I always felt guilty about it.
My parents had a five-gallon tin of honey. The lid of the honey had been cut off with a knife and could not be closed completely. Apparently a mouse had gotten into it, so they threw the can outside into the back yard. One day, a neighbor child was there playing, and he found the honey can. He dug into it with his fingers and was happily eating the honey, when someone discovered him.
While living at this home, my parents celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and my married siblings had a celebration for them. I was quite young at the time, but I do remember the large crowds of people and the large amount of dishes it created. They had a large cake on the table that they served to the guests. They received a rocking chair and a set of silverware wrapped neatly in a wooden box. I remember we used that set of silverware only for special occasions.
Mom always crocheted doilies to place on tables and furniture. Periodically she washed, starched, and stretched them with pins placed into the cushions of the couch and overstuffed chair; and then she left them there until they dried. One time she had just completed this task, one that I liked to help her do, when the home teachers, or block teachers, as they were called in those days, came to visit. We had to hustle to find enough chairs for everyone to sit, as no one could sit on the couch for that visit.
The winter of 1948-49 was very bad. First it snowed very hard for a very long time, and then the wind blew and blew. Towns and counties did not have the proper snow removal equipment available to them like they do today, and it took a long time to clear the roads. When they were finally cleared, the wind began blowing the snow from the fields back into the roads. It was so bad that the schools were closed; so I had my siblings home to play with me. I believe it was also that winter that Inga Mae suffered from Bright’s disease. She was in bed for a long time, but since I was not in school yet, it was good to have her home.
Some of the games we played and really enjoyed at this house were “Run, Sheepie, Run,” which was kind of a tag game as a team. Another game was “Andy I Over.” For this game you would divide in teams and each team took a side of the house. It required a good arm for throwing a ball, and a small softball that could be thrown a long way. The person who would throw the ball would call as loudly as possible “Andy I Over” and then throw the ball up and over the roof of the house. The team on the other side had no idea which end of the house it was going to come over the top from and they had to catch the ball. If they caught it they would run around quietly to the other side of the house and touch a member of the opposite team.
The game, “Mother, May I” was always fun. One person would be Mother and would tell each person how many steps or scissor hops or whatever they could take forward or backward. They would have to say, “Mother, May I” before doing it, or they would have to go back. Sometimes Mother would turn her back, and at that time the players might try to sneak home to Mother without being caught. The first person to reach Mother then became Mother. “Hide and Seek” was always fun, as well as tag. We also played “Froggie in the Milkpan” and “Steal The Bacon.”
Berdell and Helen’s car was a little Chevy coupe. They took the four youngest children, Inga Mae, Veola, Devon, and me to the big city of SaltLake in this little car. We had a grand time, and even went to a movie. I don’t recall the name or the content of the movie, but I do remember sitting as the last person on the row next to Helen. Sometime during the movie a very fat lady crossed in front of everyone else and began to sit down on the seat where I was. Helen discovered it just in time as she reached out her hand to catch the lady. We had a most wonderful day. On our way home, just as it was getting dark, we stopped to look at a monument by the side of the road at the point of the mountain. The lights of the SaltLakeValley were just beginning to come on, and as we looked back across the valley we saw the “many” city lights of SaltLake. Now, over fifty years later those lights were “few” in comparison.
We moved from this house in October, 1950. I recall being in class when one of my siblings came to get me. They were in a hurry and I remember they wouldn’t wait until I found my papers I had worked on that day, and because that was the last day I had at the HinckleyElementary School I never got my papers. I was devastated and really got off on the wrong foot with that move.
THE LYMAN HOME IN SUGARVILLE
This home was a well-built brick home with a cement porch on the front. The basement had a metal bar, on which I spent many hours climbing and swinging. We stored food and other assorted junk items down there. Sometimes we had trouble with water flooding the basement when the farmers were irrigating.
It was in this house that I began noticing how Dad shifted the gears of the car and how he manipulated the foot pedals when he drove. Later, when we moved the quarter of a mile north of there to the next house, Dad let me drive the car when we hauled loads of manure for the garden and the lawn. Of course, I needed to sit on a couple of Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogs in order to see over the steering wheel.
Other memories of this home include fishing in the summer, and trying to ice skate in the drainage canals with skates that were too large. I once jumped off the bus, missing a step, thereby losing my breath for quite some time. I was probably in a hurry to get off the bus and change my clothing into grubby clothing so I could attack my father’s cantaloupe patch with a sharp knife, spoon, salt and peppershaker, and a hearty appetite.
While living here, I began walking and talking in my sleep. I would get up and turn all the lights on in the house until someone awakened me. I also had a recurring nightmare that had the same little toy that was frightening to me. It would jump all around, and I was very frightened. I remember praying very fervently that I could go back to sleep after this nightmare. After having raised my own children, I came up with my own theory of what was happening. My sleepwalking began while I was seven, just before I was old enough to be baptized. I theorize that Satan realizes that he only has a short while before a child of that age is accountable, and so he uses one of his best tools, fear, to influence children of that age.
My brother, Devon, used to be quite mean to me. I was sort of afraid of the dark, so he would play outside with me until it was dark; then he would run to the house and tell me I was going to be alone and say other scary things to frighten me. Then he would lock the door behind him so that I could not get in. This scared me so badly that I would run to the house after him, screaming to be let in.
My brother, Melvin, joined the Air Force, and was stationed in California. I loved to write to Melvin, and I especially enjoyed receiving letters from him. Mom used to make bread, and invariably there was a piece of bread too small to make into a regular sized loaf, so she would make smaller loaves for Devon and me, and sometimes Veola. We would call it our “California bread” because that was where Melvin was stationed. We had no idea what kind of bread they had in California, we were just fascinated by California (wherever that was), because Melvin was there. That was a very good memory for me.
Later, when Melvin was transferred to Texas, he made a recording and sent us a record of him singing the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” We loved it when Melvin came home on a furlough. At Christmas time he would take us children to Delta so we could shop in the stores. We went to a movie at the theatre and saw Santa come to town on Main Street in a helicopter. He gave each of us a sack of hard candy. That was a very good memory for me.
It was at this home that we got our first electric range, an event that was very exciting. We also had a radio that I remember listening to. When Melvin was home on leave from the Air Force, our little black and white dog, Tippy, was discovered on the front porch one morning with his throat badly mangled. We nursed him, unsuccessfully, for several days, but finally it was agreed that the more humane thing to do was to put him out of his misery by shooting him. Melvin, very reluctantly, took the gun and had the awful task of putting him to death. He had been a very good pet for us for many years, and it was very sad to see him leave us.
The first word I learned to write in cursive, besides my name, was cocoa. I remember writing it as neatly as I could on a piece of paper. I was so proud of it that upon arriving home that afternoon I took it outside to show Daddy and all the men who were working in the hay. They were using an old‑fashioned, horse‑drawn hay lift to stack hay.
I recall the gnats being very bad here. One day I was walking along the road, talking, and several of them flew right into my mouth and down my throat. In addition, mosquitoes were also quite bad here. We lived quite a long distance from any neighbors while living here.
Our family had a weekly activity of going to the neighboring community of Hinckley to a show. For the minimal cost of $1.50 per month per family we could see a movie each week. The Hinckley chapel was like a movie house with a big pull down screen and a projection room. On Sundays they used it as a chapel. I remember returning home after a western show and walking around pretending to be the big hero of the show. That was the one recreation that even Dad enjoyed.
It was while living here that June’s husband, Lane, was cleaning his irrigation ditches with his Ford tractor in Jan 1951, and the tractor tipped over on him and crushed him to death. That was a very sad time for the family. My fifteen-year-old sister, Inga, went to live with June to help with her two little children, Roger and Beverly.
My eyes were very large and dark brown and many people were attracted to me because of them. They often asked me, “Hey, Glenda, where did you get those big beautiful brown eyes?” I replied emphatically, “I bought them down at Emma Day’s store.”
This home was about a block from Emma Day’s store in one direction. The Oasis Ward chapel was a block in the other direction. I believe that it was while living here that the memories I have of walking with my mother to do her visiting teaching took place. I was in a Primary program with my siblings, and I recall the little shed covering the well where the Deacons would go to fill the sacrament trays.
HOME DAD BUILT IN SCIPIO AND MOVED TO SUGARVILLE
Before Lane was killed, June and Lane had given Mom and Dad a 120-acre parcel of land just a quarter of a mile north of this house. We had a half basement dug and I helped Dad mix and pour the cement for the walls and foundations for the other half of the house. With the footings completed, the movers moved the house that Dad had built in Scipio, from Scipio to Sugarville. The house was moved there in July 1952. It was fun to watch as they placed the house on the foundation. Berdell wired the electricity and helped with much of the rest of the work to make the house livable. Finally, in October, 1952, we moved in. I was so excited because I would have my own bedroom, which was the size of a bathroom. I only had enough room for a bed, dresser, and a narrow walk space. My clothes hung above my bed.
After Lane’s death June had married Gene Losee, so Inga Mae came home. She and Veola shared the northwest bedroom. When Inga left home, I shared that room with Veola. Later, when Veola left, I had that room to myself.
Every Saturday we had to clean house before going off to play. This entailed shaking all the throw rugs, which were usually woven with strips of old clothing sewn together and braided into rugs. We would dust the furniture and then mop and wax the linoleum floors. Wall to wall carpet was something I do not remember growing up. Our first home had carpet in the living room but hardwood floors in the bedrooms. Not being able to afford to carpet the floors, but wanting some warmth for our feet, we frequented carpet store dumpsters and brought home the nice larger scraps. Then we placed burlap on the floor and cut strips of carpet with a box knife and glued them together in rows until the floor was completely covered with carpet. It provided color and warmth for the children’s room.
Thinking back on my childhood, we always had wells and septic systems in our homes. I remember helping my dad and older brothers dig the trench from the house in Sugarville going out beyond the row of trees in the back. There we dug a hole for the septic system. We put a pipe in the trench and some large rocks along with some gravel in the septic hole. Then we covered it over, and that was our septic system in those days.
For all of my growing up years, my family had wood or coal stoves to supply heat for the house. This required my dad to arise earlier than the family each morning to clean out the ashes and build a fire. It also required him to spend time obtaining wood wherever he could find it. I used to go with him to the piece of land just east of us that the community seemed to think was a place to dump things. We would often find branches of trees. We took them home and chopped them into smaller pieces with an axe. We always had a woodpile out by the clothes line. One of our chores was to fill the wood bin in the house. We also had a bucket we filled with chips to help start the fire in the morning.
Memories of my childhood and a weekly Saturday night bath are of large pans of water being placed on the kitchen stove and heated. The round washtub (when I was older we got an oblong one) was brought into the kitchen and filled with the hot water. Then everyone had to stay out of the kitchen while the person bathing enjoyed his or her time in the tub.
When I was around sixteen or seventeen, my older siblings pooled their resources and time to help install a hot water heater, tub, toilet, and sink in the small room which had been my bedroom. It was great! No longer did we need to use the chamber pot by the back kitchen door in the middle of the night. Since one of my chores was to empty the full pot each morning, I was delighted. In addition, now I could turn a tap and fill the tub with as much hot water as I wished, and enjoy the water as much as I desired. Before we had this luxury installed in our home, my sister June had an indoor bathroom and I looked forward to visiting her house. I also remember going on Sunday afternoons to visit my friend and close neighbor, Joyce Hill. It was always fascinating and fun to take a shower at her house.
Dad always raised a large garden, and one year we made an even larger one next to the irrigation ditch, so that water was no problem. Mom canned most of the produce that came from the garden, and also went to OakCity in the fall and filled the car with bushels of fruit and vegetables for canning. I especially liked the fresh tomatoes and cantaloupes out of Dad’s garden. I helped him haul white sand from Flowell to spread on the garden. At the time, I thought it had some special qualities, but now I think it was to break up the clay in the soil, and make it more workable.
Our bedrooms were unheated and very cold. On winter nights we warmed our pillows and a blanket over the coal stove and quickly jumped into bed. Later, when the bathroom was plumbed we placed a monkey stove, a narrow wood stove, in the hall to heat the bedrooms and bath.
At this house, I still walked and talked occasionally in my sleep. One night, in the early hours of the morning, Mom discovered me standing on a kitchen chair counting the dishes as I took them out of the cupboard. When she wakened me, I was very surprised.
Dad, always a very hard worker and never idle, carried a shovel with him whenever working in the yard, cutting weeds wherever he went. As a result he had one of the most beautiful yard and some of the best gardens in the area. Living far out away from everyone else, we would notice any car that came down our road. People would drive out to our place and then slow down as they went by our house just to see the results of his labors.
When we lived in Sugarville, my dad would kill a pig or beef in the fall, or get a deer on a hunt in the fall. He would dress it out, cover it with a clean sheet, and hang it from large nails that were pounded into the shady, north side of the house. Whenever we needed a piece of meat, Dad would take the butcher knife or meat saw, uncover the slab of meat, and cut off whatever we needed. He would take it to Mom to cook. That was our deep freezer. We would usually have the meat eaten before spring came.
One afternoon, I stayed at June’s house. I did not own a bike and did not know how to ride. June’s neighbor, Nola Shields, loaned her bike to me for the afternoon. I was determined to learn the art of riding a bike. Before the day was over, I was covered with bruises, but I finally mastered bicycle riding. Someone gave me a bike with no chain, and it remained without a chain. One summer Primary day, the wind was blowing from the south quite hard. I wanted to go to Primary so badly that I decided to ride that bike. I would run as fast as I could alongside the bike, and then jump on and let the wind carry me as far as possible. I kept repeating this action until I made it to Joyce Hill’s home, the nearest neighbor, who lived about 1 ¼ miles north of us. I caught a ride with them; but after primary I had to push the bike into the wind all the way home.
Sometimes, on Sunday afternoons, Devon and I would stay with our cousins, Virginia and Ross Jensen. Sometimes they would stay at our house. One Sunday afternoon, we walked over to the Ivie home, also about 1 ¼ miles. We had just started for home when a terrible downpour of rain began, and we were drenched before we got home. Another Sunday, when it came time to return to Sacrament meeting, our car would not start, so we stayed home and Mom read us magazines and told us stories. Since Mom was a very good storyteller, we all enjoyed this very much. Whenever I would stay at Virginia’s they would let me ride their horse in their field. I loved to gallop the horse through the wind.
I was kind of a pest to my uncle Harold. Sunday afternoons he tried to take a nap in their porch swing. I would take a blade of grass and try to tickle his face. I don’t know if he ever knew I was doing it and was just playing along, or if he thought it was an insect he kept swatting at. Harold was a very good man. Often he would come and pick me up to take me to an activity. He knew we had little money. When I would ask him what I owed him for the ride, he would always say, “A golden quarter.”
My evening chore was bringing in wood and coal, and my morning chore was emptying the “pot.” I did not like this chore. I built a gravel path to the outhouse pretending that I was building a road. I spent many hours helping Dad pick up greasewood stumps and burning greasewood from the 40 acres north of our home. He had plans of cultivating it, but those plans never materialized. I enjoyed wading in the canal ¼ mile north of our home, and visiting the junkyard to our east.
Often I would help Mom wash the laundry with her wringer washer. I would listen to the back and forth rhythm of the washing machine and make up songs to it. The clothes were sent through the wringer into two different tubs of rinse water, and then we hung them on the clothesline to the north of the house. On cold winter days, the clothes froze stiff on the line, making it necessary to bring them into the house to spread around the living room by the stove to unthaw and finish drying.
When we got a television in 1959, the first announcement I remember was that Russia had launched Sputnik, their first rocket into space.
At age fifteen my eyes were examined and glasses were prescribed. At 15½ I took driver education and took the driving test to receive my license on 22 June 1959. I did a lot of driving in the family after this.
I remember two or three birthday parties held for me, one of which was a surprise party. When Devon graduated from high school and moved to Salt Lake City, I went to visit there for a week when I was sixteen. Devon was supposed to drive me back home, but there was a huge snowstorm and he didn’t dare drive me home so I rode the train for the first time. It was a fun and exciting experience for me.
We drove from Sugarville to Provo to shop at Reams and would fill the car. Sometimes the clerks would make smart remarks like, “If that isn’t enough we are open again in the morning at 7:00 a.m.”
Living in a home that did not have central heating was most interesting. The bedrooms were closed off from the rest of the house so that only the living room and kitchen needed to be heated. Just before bedtime I would get my pillow and put it on top of the wood stove to get warm and then run to bed and hug my pillow until I warmed the sheets. I always liked sleeping at June’s house because she had flannel sheets that were warmer.
VEOLA & CARROLL & PENNY LANE
I left Sugarville almost immediately after graduation and went to live with Veola and Carroll in a home they were renting in SaltLake. I only lived with them for a few months, because after I left home, Mom became very lonesome. She wanted to move closer to the temple, so we found a small home to rent at 411 Penney Avenue in SaltLake. In October, 1961, Mom, Dad, and I moved into it. I lived with them and tried to help them out as much as possible. They rode with me to work each day and attended the temple until Dad became very ill. Mom still attended the temple whenever she could.
HOME AT 573 EAST 3982 SOUTH
When Richard and I were married, we first rented this home for six months, and decided we would like to buy it. We approached the owner, Park Connor, with the idea. He was less than enthusiastic but his wife, Imogene, talked him into selling it to us on contract. We purchased it for $11,506, with only $300 down and $80 per month payment. At that time it had two bedrooms, a bath, living room, dining room, small kitchen, pantry, and a single car garage. Only the front yard was landscaped.
When we purchased this home in 1963 we felt it would last us perhaps five years. We lived there, instead, fifteen years. We feel this was accomplished through much faith, as we had very little money to work with or the knowledge of where the next money was coming from. We just forged ahead. About the time we needed money to install the furnace, Richard’s parents decided to remodel their cleaning shop. They offered to pay us in advance if we would do the work for them.
Richard went on a business trip to St. Louis, Missouri. While he was gone, I awoke at 3:00 a.m. to a rustling in the bushes outside my bedroom window. Wondering who was in our yard at that hour, I jumped up, found my glasses, and looked out the window. To my surprise it was one of Mr. Connor’s cows. I wakened Guy and Laura to help me, but after several feeble attempts, we could see that the cow was not going to go back into his field with just our help. She was so much bigger than we were, and I was fearful that she would leave our yard by way of the driveway; and then we would have to chase her down the street in the dark. I finally called Mr. Connor, and when he arrived the cow recognized his voice and immediately followed him back into the field.
HOME ON 12 OVERBROOK DRIVE,EAST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
Richard made a deposit on a home in Marlborough, Connecticut. Guy, Jeffrey and I flew back to look at it. Since it needed much work done before we could move in, and would take additional money, as well as time, we decided against that home. I called a realtor, Martha Zawacki, and the next morning while Richard was at work she took Guy, Jeffrey and me looking all day, but we were unable to find a home that both Richard and I could agree on. The next morning we started again. She took us to one in East Hartford that was 1.8 miles from Richard’s work and 4½ miles from the church. It had five bedrooms, a family room, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room and a garage. It didn’t appear to need much work, so we made an offer that was accepted. It took all our money to pay the down payment and closing costs, leaving us with nothing for replacing our furniture. However, we gradually replaced it as time went on. The home, a raised ranch in a ten-year-old subdivision, was not as large as we would have liked, but it was sufficient. We felt ourselves fortunate to get into it without selling the Salt Lake home.
After securing this home, Jeffrey and I flew back to Salt Lake, leaving Guy with Richard. I spent the next very hectic week getting all the last minute preparations completed. The movers came and we cleaned and rented our Salt Lake home. Early Saturday morning, July 1, 1978, we went to the airport with twenty-two pieces of luggage to be checked, and eight carry‑on pieces. The airplane left at 7:10 a.m. It was a fascinating trip, especially for the children. Upon arriving in Connecticut, the porter at the Bradley Field, after three trips on his cart with our luggage, asked if that was all. When I replied, “Yes,” he asked, “Are you sure you remembered the kitchen sink?” We had to laugh at him and ourselves, and what we must have looked like.
Our first two weeks were spent at the Ramada Inn in East Hartford, and then for two weeks we “house sat” for the Ray Boice family in Coventry while they went on vacation.
Because I had seen my Mom and Dad store a 55-gallon barrel of wheat that they never used, I decided that I was not going to store anything that I did not know how to use. So we began a concerted effort to learn how to use the items recommended for storage. We purchased a Magic Mill wheat grinder and a Bosch bread mixer that enabled us to not only grind wheat but to make bread and other foods. Using the whole wheat products on a regular basis while the children were all living at home helped us to be a much more healthy family. I made several large loaves of bread each week for our home teacher’s family, but it was such a lot of work for the amount of money paid us, that I didn’t do it for long. I also learned to sprout wheat and alfalfa seeds.
It seemed that every year while we still had children in the grade schools I went at least once a year to a class room and did a wheat grinding demonstration and made bread dough. Then each of the children was able to form their own scone. We fried them and then they ate them with butter and jam or honey. We also taught the children how to chew wheat to make a gum. I have done demonstrations, throughout the years, at several food fairs or home storage fairs for church. Once I was asked to demonstrate sprouting. I did some research, finding seeds good for sprouting, and came to the conclusion that seeds are one of the best ways of storing food. Not only do they provide you with a source of food that can be planted, but they can be sprouted to use in salads and cooking. Purchasing several kinds of seeds, we planted some in the garden to see if we could grow them. That year, and for several years later, had some very tasty salad greens in the garden since they reseeded themselves and came back in the fall and again in the spring.
At first, since I had not cared much for beans as a child, we never stored or used many beans. In my later years, we have stored them also; I have learned how to better use beans and legumes.
Storing food may not only be for ourselves, but often for others we might need to assist. It doesn’t hurt to store some items that you don’t always eat. After most of our children had left home, we found this to be true; we still had some canned goods on our shelves that we didn’t often eat. When several of our married children and their families returned to live with us for short periods of time, while finding jobs and housing, often they would gladly eat a particular kind of food that was on our shelves. I suppose the most important lesson to be gathered from food storage is to learn to use the things you store. Try to use them on a regular basis so that your family will become familiar with the use of those foods; then when an emergency does come you will use the food rather than starve. We have actually seen this happen with a family member where they had the food storage, and the need, but never used it. Use wisdom in all things.
CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
“I bless thee with the gift of motherhood. Yes, thou shalt give birth to sons and daughters, the greatest responsibility and also the greatest blessing that will come to thee in mortality. I bless thee with mother love, patience, longsuffering and all that will be necessary to rear thy little ones as calves of the stall. From thine offspring will come leaders in Israel; those who will labor for the saving of souls during the Millennial Reign under the direction of Our Beloved Savior.” (Quoted from my Patriarchal Blessing).
Our first eight children were all born at the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. I feel that I had one of the best doctors, Eugene Wood, who assisted the deliveries until he retired. He would say when performing a checkup or test, “Now Glenda this will hurt.” I braced myself for pain, but he was always so gentle that there never was any pain. In those days the doctor gave the anesthesia to the patient, which at that time was called a Para cervical block. The nurses told me that when Doctor Wood gave it they called it the paradisiacal block. Once he shared with me that he felt some doctors liked to see women in pain. There was something that could be given for the pain, but many doctors opted not to give it. In addition to the wonderful counsel from Dr. Wood, Richard and I completed a prenatal course at the LDS hospital just prior to Guy’s birth.
Guy was born February 23, 1964. Dr. Wood had prepared me well. He had told me that when a contraction came I should think of myself as a bowl full of jelly and to just relax as much as I could. This really helped to make the contractions bearable, and most of the time Richard seemed unaware that I was even having one unless I told him so. There were two things I regretted allowing during Guy’s delivery. One was allowing the nurse to take my glasses, as I could not see clearly in the mirror what was happening. The other was that they administered a gas through my nostrils, which kept me from being as alert as I wished to be. To me, being part of the delivery made the nine months of pregnancy worth it. For future births I was careful to make sure I kept my glasses on and that they did not put me out. It was a thrill to be alert enough to know that I was assisting in the birth.
Guy had red hair and everyone kept telling me that he would have a temper. I didn’t buy that, and was sure that red hair did not make anyone have a bad temperament. I tried my best to ensure that he would not be branded with that label just because he had red hair.
Millcreek First Ward chapel on 39th South and 6th East was the location where Richard blessed the first six of our children. I am grateful he has been worthy and willing to do this. Guy’s blessing took place April 12, 1964, when Richard gave him a father’s blessing and the name of Guy Lamoyne Black.
About 21 months later, on a Thursday evening, we went to the hospital for the delivery of our second child. After the initial check up, and being admitted to the hospital, the contractions slowed down, almost to a stop. I think it must have been a slow night at the hospital because the nurses made the decision to allow me to stay where they could watch me. Through the night the contractions kept coming, about two or three per hour. Towards morning they finally prepped me and moved me into the delivery room. I had spent the night reading the paper and wondering why I was in the hospital, since the contractions were few and far between; but I was still fairly inexperienced in these things, and decided the medical people knew best. Laura was born early Friday morning, November 5, 1965. Dr Wood told me she had been pushing all night with her face turned toward to the birth canal rather than the usual way with the back of her head. It had flattened her face and nose until she looked like a Navaho Indian. Luckily, it soon returned to its natural shape. She had dark black hair, and lots of it. She was blessed December 5, 1965, and given the name, Laura Black. Since we had been unemployed or self-employed during most of this pregnancy, we did not have insurance. The cost was considerably less expensive than today’s births, but was pretty costly for us.
One day at work, a friend informed me that she needed to sell her piano. I told her I would check with Richard that evening since I had always wanted one. That same day at Richard’s work, a man brought in a 1954 Lincoln needing some mechanical work. Richard bought the car to repair and resell. Needless to say, I got my piano.
I have grown in my love and appreciation of music throughout my life and have had the opportunity to be part of programs in the church and use music to bless lives. I have sung at many funerals. Our children all have good singing voices, and we have sung as a family for several programs as well as going Christmas caroling together.
Two years later our third child was born November 13. 1967. I awakened that morning and was spotting blood. We called the doctor and he suggested I have someone with me all day. I was told if it got worse to go in. Richard’s sister, Eva, came to stay with me. About 3:00 in the afternoon I went to the doctor’s office. After examining me, he told me to check in at the hospital where they could watch me. They prepped me and then just let me stay there until Dr. Wood arrived after his day at the office. When he manually broke the bag of water, it did not take long to deliver another healthy red-headed son. Since I had not eaten all day long, after the delivery I was starving. I felt great, so they brought me some food to eat for dinner, which I ate with relish. During the night I felt something was wrong, as my sanitary pad was very wet and uncomfortable. I began to feel like I was fading out and becoming less conscious of things around me, so I rang for the nurse. When she finished checking me she very quietly left and called Dr. Wood. When she came back she had some assistants who wheeled me back upstairs to the recovery room and hooked me up to an intravenous bag of blood. They inserted the needle in the bend of my elbow and taped a board on the backside of my elbow so that I could not bend my arm. I was kept in this uncomfortable and painful position for what seemed like an eternity while I was given a blood transfusion, as I was hemorrhaging. Nowadays an intravenous needle is inserted in the wrist, which, by comparison, is wonderful. By the next morning, when Richard called, he had no idea what had happened; but by then I was well on the way to recovery. As we contemplated a name we should give our new son, we looked at him and just felt that he would be a great tease. We contemplated the name of Dennis, but settled on Alvin. He was blessed and given the name Alvin Dale Black, January 7, 1967.
Twenty months later, after having picked and juiced or dried nearly nine bushel of apricots over several days, I gave birth July 17, 1969 to another baby boy. Since I had hemorrhaged with Alvin, I did research during this pregnancy to find some things to help prevent this from happening again. I drank raspberry leaf tea each day. When the baby was born, Dr. Wood commented on the fact that there was very little blood this time, but because of my previous experience he gave the nurses strict orders to watch me very closely in the recovery room. Finally they called him and told him I was doing okay and there was no excessive bleeding. While I was in the hospital this time, I watched the landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong. It was awesome. This son was blessed and given the name, Wesley Earl Black, on August 3, 1969.
Our fifth child was born July 13, 1971. During this pregnancy I had a premonition that the baby would come early and quickly. This was true. Richard was working at Beneficial Life at the time and he was called in to work on a computer problem during the night. He hesitated leaving me, but at the time he left I was doing just great. He had been gone only a short time when I had what I thought was a labor pain. Being unsure if it was just gas or not, I got up and took an enema. This began the labor in earnest about 4:00 A.M. I showered and got my things together. About the time I was ready, Richard arrived home, he called my Mom, and he went to pick her up. When she got there she wanted to talk about her experiences of the previous day. I didn’t wish to be rude, but I wanted to leave for the hospital. We drove there with very frequent hard contractions. The hospital staff quickly wheeled me to the maternity floor while Richard finished checking me into the hospital. By the time he came upstairs, I was in the delivery room. The baby was born at 7:13 A.M., the smallest of any of our children. She had a very small head and shoulders, which accounted for her quick delivery. Dr. Wood did not even have time to completely suit up before she was born. How very grateful I was that we had made it to the hospital in time, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck two times, and it might have been fatal had she been born in the car. On August 1, 1971 she was blessed and given the name, Pamela Black.
In November of 1971, we determined that the children needed a way of earning money, so we obtained several Green Sheet paper routes. Richard delivered the papers from the car while the children folded them. They were paid for each paper they folded.
On March 2, 1972, Richard baptized Guy a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and later confirmed him on 5 March 1972.
Since Pamela had come so quickly, I was fearful of not getting to the hospital in time, and was on edge as the date for the birth of our next baby was nearing. About a week before she was born, I had false labor and Richard drove me to the hospital. The nurse gave me a sleeping pill that knocked me out so badly that by the time we reached our home Richard had to help me into the house because I could hardly stand up. Its effect was so strong that for several days I was not coherent enough to do much. Upon telling the Doctor about this experience, he said to me, “You can tell that you’re not a drug addict.” My body has reacted likewise to medications at other times, such as when my wisdom teeth were pulled. A beautiful dark haired daughter was born July 31, 1973. She was blessed September 2, 1973 and given the name, Kimberlee Black.
Richard baptized Laura 30 November 1973, and confirmed her on December 3, 1973.
During the pregnancy of our next child I did not feel well most of the time. So as not to be idle, I busied myself with putting together a family scrapbook. I placed these items of memory in acetate sheet protectors in loose-leaf binders in their chronological order. This way, when something needed to be added or deleted, it could be done without harming the rest of the book. Through this process I discovered how one little thing brought back a flood of memories. The Saturday, September 27, 1975, that this baby boy was born, I had not felt very good all day long. It was our stake conference and I did not feel well enough to go to the Saturday night meeting. While Richard was gone, I felt that I was in labor so I called Richard’s parents, and they went to the stake center to get Richard. He was our seventh child and fourth son, Patrick Ryan Black. After his birth the boys in the family were bragging to the girls about the baby being a boy. Two-year-old Kimberlee piped up with, “It isn’t a boy and it isn’t a girl, it’s a baby.”
At the time Patrick was born, Richard was serving in the singles branch. The Branch Relief Society brought in dinner every night that I was in the hospital, and a couple of nights afterward. The ward Relief Society presidency also brought a dinner. The Single’s Branch Relief Society made quilts and presented them to me at the births of both Patrick and Jeffrey.
During fast and testimony meeting, held at 4600 South and 6th East in the Millcreek Seventh Singles Branch, Richard blessed Patrick and gave him his name. At the beginning of the meeting, Patrick got passed around and became very cross. He started to cry during the opening song and continued right on through his blessing. He was the first baby we have had that made a fuss during their blessing. After the blessing, I took him out and discovered that I needed a diaper. I sent two year old Kimberlee into the chapel to get me one. She became confused as to how to come back out and began crying “Mommy, Mommy, I want Mommy.” Someone brought her to me. After settling her down, someone brought 4-year-old Pamela. She had fallen asleep and had an accident all over the bench. By this time, my sister Veola had come out with her son Russell, so she agreed to watch Patrick while I took Pamela and Kimberlee home. As we were leaving, Kimberlee pinched her finger in the door. If I hadn’t had to go back for the rest of the family, I would have stayed at home.
Richard baptized Alvin on Thursday December 4, 1975, at the Millcreek Stake Center. Alvin was confirmed December 7.
Sunday, February 29, 1976, Richard ordained Guy a Deacon at the Millcreek First Ward.
Sunday, July 31, 1977, on Kimberlee’s fourth birthday, Wesley was baptized. He was confirmed the following Sunday, August 7, 1977, at the Millcreek chapel.
On Sunday, September 4, 1977, the ward boundaries changed. I felt that the whole spirit of the ward changed for the better. That same evening, Guy was interviewed to become an Eagle Scout at an Eagle Scout Board of Review, conducted by Brother Bryce Smith from the Boy Scouts of America. Several of Guy’s relatives were in attendance as well as the scout committee. Brother Smith made sure that Guy knew his scouting to the point of making Guy nervous. He told interesting stories and emphasized the importance of the Eagle rank and the need for living the right kind of life now that he would be an Eagle. Guy was highly complimented on the many hours spent and the number of people involved in his Eagle project. We had worked as a family many hours on his Eagle service project. That evening was a very spiritual experience. Tuesday, September 13, 1977, at a court of honor in the Millcreek stake, Guy was awarded his Eagle Scout badge. He also received his “On My Honor” award.
Our new ward Relief Society President, Sister Eva Derrick, became very concerned about me. She called me once a day before our eighth child and fifth son was born on October 11, 1977 at 5:06 a.m. This was one day before my thirty-fourth birthday, so I received a slice of cake in the hospital on my birthday. That afternoon Sister Derrick came to the hospital with a little gift and made arrangements for a dinner when I went home. Bishop Jones of the ward called, as did Chris Bott, the Branch Relief Society President. I had never before received so much attention. For the five days I was in the hospital, and for several nights after I came home, the branch supplied dinner for my family. My mother helped me to recover by coming to tend during the daytime so I could rest.
Sunday November 6, 1977, the baby was blessed by Richard at the Millcreek Tenth Branch and given the name, Jeffrey Scott Black.
Richard ordained Guy to the office of a Teacher March 22, 1978 in the Millcreek First Ward building.
Richard baptized Pamela 17 August 1979 in the Manchester, Connecticut Ward.
Richard ordained Alvin to the office of a Deacon 25 November 1979 in the Manchester, Connecticut Ward.
While we were staying in the Ramada Inn Hotel, after moving to Connecticut, another family who was staying there began calling us the “Eight Is Enough” family, after a popular TV show of that name. We actually thought eight might be enough, until that feeling that someone was missing from our family returned. It wasn’t long before we had another son, this time in the Hartford, Connecticut Hospital, on December 9, 1980. A few weeks before he was born, while Richard was out of town on business, I had a trial run to the hospital. Leaving the children in the capable care of fourteen-year-old Laura, I had a different experience when Guy, sixteen, drove me to the hospital. Luckily, the baby was not ready to come just yet, so they sent me home. Later, when the time was finally right, I was at home in bed when my bag of water broke. I knew it would not be long before the birth, so we headed to the hospital again. At first, the nurses were going to send me home, but I would have nothing of it. I began to cry, and was insistent that I would not go home. I suppose that my crying changed their minds, so they checked me into the hospital. Oliver was born at the Hartford Hospital December 9, 1980.
Richard blessed him and gave him the name of Oliver Wade Black 1 February 1981 at the Manchester Connecticut Ward building.
Richard ordained Alvin to the office of a Teacher 22 March 1981 at Middletown, Connecticut Branch. Richard ordained Wesley to the office of Deacon 23 August 1981 in the Middletown Branch. Guy baptized Kimberlee on 13 September 1981 at the Hartford, Connecticut Stake Center.
Richard ordained Guy an Elder 29 August 1982 at the Middletown, Connecticut Branch.
Richard ordained Wesley to office of Teacher 4 September 1983. Richard baptized Patrick 2 October 1983 at the Middletown Branch. Richard Ordained Alvin to the office of Priest 13 November 1983 at the Middletown Branch.
Oliver was twenty-eight months old when Richard’s adopted sister, Susan, gave birth to a baby girl, April 22, 1983, at the Cottonwood Hospital in Murray, Utah. She was blessed and given the name of April Melissa Black by her grandfather, Evan George Black. Susan was living with Richard’s parents when Melissa was born. Susan never really took care of Melissa, and eventually left her in the care of Richard’s parents, so they obtained guardianship for Melissa.
Richard ordained Wesley to the office of Priest 21 July 1985 in the Middletown Branch. Richard baptized Jeffrey 20 October 1985 in the Middletown Branch.
Richard ordained Alvin to the office of Elder 12 January 1986 at the BYU 89th Ward, Provo, Utah.
When Melissa was not quite three years old, Grandma Black died. After the funeral, we brought Melissa home to live with us.
Richard ordained Patrick to the office of Deacon 27 September 1987. Richard ordained Wesley to office of an Elder 27 December 1987 in the Middletown Branch.
We officially adopted Melissa on 8 December 1987 at the probate court in Portland, Connecticut.
Later, when Grandpa Evan Black was able to be here for a visit, and after the appropriate time period of waiting, we took Melissa to the Washington D.C, temple. She was sealed to us on 2 June 1988. Those children who lived close at the time were able to witness the sealing.
Richard baptized Oliver 18 December 1988 in Middletown Ward.
Richard ordained Patrick to office of Teacher 8 October 1989 in Middletown Ward. Richard ordained Jeffrey to the office of a Deacon 29 October 1989.
Steven Robert Gordon baptized Melissa on 5 May 1991 at the Middletown Ward. Richard ordained Patrick to office of Priest 22 October 1991 in Middletown Ward. Richard ordained Jeffrey to the office of Teacher on 22 October 1991 in Middletown.
Richard ordained Oliver to the office of Deacon 12 December 1992 at Middletown Ward.
Richard ordained Patrick to office of Elder 19 October 1993 BYU 120th Ward, Provo, Utah. Richard ordained Jeffrey to the office of a Priest 7 November 1993 in Middletown Ward.
Richard ordained Oliver to the office of Teacher 12 December 1994.
Richard ordained Oliver to office of Priest 29 December 1996 at Middletown Ward.
Richard ordained Oliver to the office of Elder 27 December 1998 at the Middletown Ward.
Richard ordained Patrick to the office of High Priest, and set him apart to serve as 2nd counselor in the Glastonbury Ward Bishopric April 17, 2005.
I am very pleased that Richard has been worthy to bless all our babies. Melissa was the only child he did not bless, as she did not live with us at that time. In addition, he has baptized all of the children with the exception of Kimberlee, who was baptized by Guy, and Melissa, who was baptized by Steve Gordon.
Of our ten children, four have red hair. The others range from light blonde to dark brown. Four of them have blue eyes, and six have varying shades of brown eyes. Richard’s eyes are blue and mine are brown. Our grandchildren also have varying shades of hair color, from very light brown to very black.
JUNIOR SUNDAY SCHOOL AND NURSERY
Our children have begun Junior Sunday School at about 1½ years of age, with the exception of Guy and Pamela. The Junior Sunday School coordinator wouldn’t allow anyone under three to go when Guy was that age; but by the time Laura was 1½ there was a new coordinator. Each Sunday, when dropping Guy off, Laura cried to stay. The coordinator suggested I let her come, if she could be good. This pattern followed through until Pamela. As she was still a little unsure of herself, she didn’t go regularly until age four. The other children resumed the former pattern. Since the three-year-old class in Manchester Ward was large enough to have two classes, they discouraged any child under age three from attending, so Jeffrey was not able to attend. In January 1980, when the church changed the meeting schedules, a nursery was supplied for children eighteen months to three years. Jeffrey was able to attend the nursery, and thoroughly loved to go to his “class” every Sunday morning. Oliver enjoyed nursery and Primary. Melissa was nearly past nursery age when she came to live with us, but she adapted well to Primary.
SINGING AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS
Our children have good singing voices, and some of them have participated in musical activities. Most of the children participated in their school choruses. Laura sang with a group of Primary children with the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus, making a record and tape called “Songs for Young People.” Alvin sang with a group of Primary children at General conference in the Salt Lake Tabernacle April 1978. He was also chosen to attend a semester at the Talcott Mountain Science Center, Avon, Connecticut. Most of the children, at one time or another, have sung with a primary chorus in stake conference. In February 1976, Guy, Laura, Alvin and Wesley participated with Lincoln Elementary School in a bicentennial program that was televised. Guy was one of the narrators. We have sang as a family for community functions as well as in Sacrament meetings, Sunday school, missionary farewells, Eternal Riches series, prison programs, rest homes, and the ward gong show and talent shows.
For several years, while still living in Utah, we began a tradition as a family to cut our own Christmas tree. When we arrived in Connecticut we continued this tradition, and eventually planted some trees in our yard at Grace Lane. When they got large enough, we used them for our Christmas trees. After purchasing the land on Job’s Pond, we planted Christmas trees, and have been able to use them, and also sell some of them to have some extra spending money.
Through the years we have endeavored to have a short program as a family on Christmas Eve. Upon becoming involved in the branches, we realized that some people didn’t go home for Christmas, so in 1975 and thereafter until we moved from Utah, we invited someone to our little program.
In 1976 we were reading the story of the first Christmas. I asked the question of Kimberlee, “What did Mary ride on?” She replied, “She rided on a piece of paper.”
Believing in strong family ties, we have made it a practice to spend New Year’s Eve together as a family. Usually, we have spent the holiday by ourselves, playing games; or we have inviting another family to our home. During the three years that we were involved in the singles branches, the family spent New Year’s Eve with the branch members in their activities.
ACCIDENTS AND SURGERIES
With so many children, we have been most fortunate that we have not had that many major accidents. However, as would be expected, there have been some.
June 18, 1965 ‑ Guy caught his hand in the car door. Fifteen stitches were required.
July 1969 ‑ Alvin stepped on a needle that went straight into his heel and then broke off. It was ex‑rayed and removed.
One day Laura’s started bleeding, and didn’t stop for quite some time. When she finally did stop, we found that the cause of the bleeding was only a small pinhole on her chin.
January 30, 1978 ‑ Kimberlee nearly drowned at a family swimming party.
March 3, 1978 ‑ Guy cut his hand in metals class at school, when he was attacked by another student. Many stitches were required.
When Jeffrey was born, one of his tear ducts was clogged. On April 4, 1978 I took him to a doctor, who performed a procedure to unplug it.
In August 1979 Jeffrey cut a gash in his forehead. No stitches were used, but the Doctor put some “steri‑tape” on it.
When I was a youth, the Sugarville Ward leaders would load any youth and adults interested in going Christmas caroling into a big hay truck with high sides, and someone would drive us around to homes in this small farming community. We would stand in the back of the truck and carol at each family’s house. I greatly enjoyed this activity. When I got married to Richard, and we had children old enough to sing, I suggested to Richard that we take the children caroling to their Sunday school and Primary teachers. He objected at first and said they wouldn’t be able to sing by themselves. I said, “Then we can sing with them to support them.” So we took them, and helped them by singing in the background that first year. The next year their teachers asked if we were coming caroling again. Thus began a tradition that for most of our years together we have continued, with various responses to it. When we first started, we would go to an older couple, Jim and Erma Willden. They always invited us in, made a fuss over the children, and always gave treats to the children. They had a cuckoo clock in their living room that fascinated the children; we could never leave until the cuckoo bird came out and did its little cuckoo.
One year we went caroling to our immediate neighbors on Delno Drive. There was one neighbor that we didn’t personally know very well. We debated whether to stop. In the end we stopped and sang to them. It was a neat experience since it was evident from the moistened eyes that they were visibly touched and very much appreciated our singing.
Upon moving to Connecticut, we asked the missionaries to go caroling with us around our new neighborhood. As we began singing at one house, the door to a house down and across the street would open and someone would peek out to see what was going on. Since the person whose door we were at was not answering, we decided to go across the street to the nice people who had opened their door. Surely they would appreciate our singing. Upon arriving at that door they did not open their door while we sang. This went on all around the block. Finally, we came to the door of neighbors whom we already knew. Telling them of our unusual experience they suggested that perhaps our other neighbors thought we were singing for money.
One year while living in East Hartford, we had a missionary in the ward who spoke Italian. We had him translate the words to “I Am A Child of God” into Italian so that we could sing it for our little Italian neighbor next door. It was fun to see our neighbor’s expression, as he understood what we were singing. He gave us a bottle of his homemade wine that year, but we didn’t have the heart to tell him that we didn’t drink wine.
Years later, while building our new home on Job’s Pond, we were once again living in a rental home in East Hartford. To avoid repeating the previous bad experience, we made up a flyer a few days ahead of time and passed it around to the closer homes in the neighborhood. We told them the night we were coming and why we did caroling. We asked that if they preferred not having us come, to call us and we would not bother them. We only had one call and that was from someone who said they would really like for us to stop, but that they were not going to be home.
While we lived at 16 Grace Lane in Portland we started going caroling in our neighborhood on Christmas Eve. One year we had been all around the block when we stopped at the Tackett’s home. They invited us in and we asked them, “Would you like to join us in singing?” meaning singing with us in their home. They misunderstood and proceeded to get their coats on and went with us a second time around the block. This time we tried to get only the homes where someone had not been home the first time around.
Many times, in addition to our own family, we invited the missionaries and other families in the ward to dinner before going caroling together. One year we had some people who brought an accordion and flute to accompany us. That particular night was the bitterest, coldest night we had ever experienced. After only two or three houses we decided to come back home and sing to each other, because their fingers were freezing so badly they couldn’t play their instruments. Another year, I slipped and fell on some ice. I had Richard give me a blessing, but I was not quite myself for the rest of that evening, having a terrible headache. One year a couple in the ward was going through a divorce, and we thought the father might be alone for Christmas Eve, so we invited him for dinner. To our surprise he brought his three rather rambunctious children. That same evening we had invited the missionaries. One of them was a real tease and instigator, who could get the children riled up easily. As luck would have it, that evening it rained and rained and rained and never stopped. We could not go caroling. So for an after-dinner activity we sat in the family room and sang Christmas Carols. It was a very trying evening, and I thought long and hard after that before inviting people with rowdy children again.
We made a Christmas tablecloth and began a tradition of having everyone who came to dinner that night, and throughout the Christmas season, sign our tablecloth. Each year seemed to bring a different group of people. The year that Jeffrey returned from his mission, Melissa said to me, “Are we going to invite anyone to go caroling with us because there won’t be enough people to go by ourselves.” By then, most of the children were gone from home. We decided to invite all the single people we knew and, of course, the missionaries. That night one of the single sisters in our ward, Stacy Houle, connected with Jeffrey, and within two weeks they were engaged to be married.
Some Christmases we have gone to Utah, but since we were staying at Guy and Maria’s home, Guy informed us that he did not wish for us to carol to his neighbors, so we deferred to his wishes. Many people in the ward have looked forward to us coming back year after year. Sometimes, when we felt inspired to go to a certain home, we have found out later that they really needed to have us come, as it lifted their spirits.
In 2003, when Jeff and Stacy were living with us, we made fruit breads and fruit bags, and gave them all our home and visiting teaching families. We gave most of them out at church, but there were some that we did not catch, so we went out to deliver them and sang a few carols for them. One was a very nice but less active man that Jeff had been assigned to home teach. Perhaps the family that benefited the most was Laura and Megan McClure. They had not been to church for years, but they seemed so happy to see us. I invited them to come and join the choir, but they never came.
The earliest recollection I have of a reunion was with my grandmother, my mother’s siblings, and my cousins, at my Uncle Arthur’s home in Delta. I hardly knew any of my cousins except those that were about my age, Linda, Zelma, and Virginia Jensen. Periodically the reunions were held, and I got to know more of them. Later, I became part of the Jensen organization during the time I was filling out the genealogy sheets for the work my grandmother had done. When the organization hired a researcher to do some more research in Sweden, I was the contact person with the researcher.
When I was a teenager, my older siblings decided to organize a family reunion for my parents and their children. We held one nearly every year at a park and always had a genealogy meeting of some sort and a fundraiser.
When we moved to Connecticut we didn’t attend reunions much unless they just happened to fall on the time we might be visiting in Utah.
In 1990, our daughter, Kimberlee, and I decided to work together to plan a reunion at Christmas time for our immediate family. We held it at the Cromwell Ward chapel and had the theme “Return with Honor.” We wrote the theme on a wall hanging and had each one present step with their foot in black tempera paint and then place their footmark on the wall hanging. It hung above our stairs at Grace Lane until we moved from there. It had accumulated much dust over the years. It was ruined when we washed it, so we discarded it. We made black sweatshirts with the theme. We printed the year on the shirts and gave one to each family member. We took lots of pictures, played games, and had a good time. Richard’s sister Ann was here visiting us at the time, so she attended it also. The only grandchildren we had at the time were Amy, Richard Allen, and David.
Six years later in 1996, all the children and the grandchildren came home for Christmas, so we planned another get-together at the chapel. We really didn’t have a theme that year, but we gave everyone a denim shirt to wear. Jeffrey was on his mission, but we had planned to have a family group picture taken anyway. The night of the reunion, when Laura and Steve were on their way to the church, Michael became very ill, so they turned around and went back home so as not to expose everyone. Since we had the photographer coming anyway, we went ahead with the pictures. We had dinner together, and then everyone worked on graham cracker houses and created a village. Dan and Patrick worked on creating a replica of the Nauvoo temple. I suppose it was a pre-cursor to the next reunion we held at Nauvoo. The seven grandchildren we had at this time included Amy, David, Michael, Richard Allen, Sabrina, Nathan and Nicholas.
The year 2003 saw us with the theme of “Uniting Generations.” I began to research our family’s ancestors to see which ones came through the Nauvoo period or shortly thereafter. With the exception of my mother’s parents, who came to Utah in the 1890s, all of our other ancestors joined the church within a few years after it was organized. I spent the entire year compiling these ancestors’ histories from the histories I had, and from information I could find on the Internet. Then I put together a couple of loose-leaf books of histories to take to the reunion. Prior to the reunion, in an effort to build interest in the reunion, we sent e-mail to family members nearly every week with a tidbit about the reunion or one of the histories. Two of our daughters-in-law, Liz and Stacy, helped me to make hats for everyone in the family. We met in Nauvoo, Illinois and rented two separate bed and breakfast homes. We prepared our own meals at one of the homes. Each family was assigned the task of preparing one meal for the entire family. We had a total possibility of thirty-six family members that could have been there, but due to circumstances beyond their control, Laura’s and Patrick’s families were unable to attend, so we only had twenty-six there. The reunion itself was very low-key. We provided everyone with a list of possible activities they could do and then they each did what their family wanted to do. Most evenings everyone attended an activity together. The first one was the event down at the Mississippi River. The second night it was raining, but luckily someone had reserved tickets to the show at the visitor center, so almost everyone attended that show. The Fourth of July was a terribly hot day. We went to an event at the local park, but almost everyone ended back up at the bed-and breakfast where we were staying, and just sat around in the air-conditioned house, visiting. Alvin opened a can of glow sticks and began putting them together and passing them out to everyone present. By the time it was dark enough for the fireworks, we all walked to the hill west of the temple to watch them. Because everyone had so many glow sticks people thought we were selling the glow sticks. Some people asked to buy them. We just gave them away. Before long the hillside was full of children and adults with glow sticks. It entertained everyone until the fireworks began.
Sunday morning we attended church at the ward for the couple missionaries. The entire chapel and cultural hall was full of people, and there were many senior elders who served the sacrament. The rest of the day was spent in taking pictures and just hanging out. Everyone who had not already left to go home left on Monday morning.
In addition to the activities with the family, Richard and I went on a horseback ride with Guy’s family and Kim and Antonio. It began in Nauvoo and went to Carthage. It was somewhat abbreviated from what Joseph Smith would have done since they picked us and the horses up part of way there and took us closer to Carthage and then let us ride into Carthage on the horses. It was very interesting and gave us a feel for what it might have been like for the prophet as he left his home for the last time knowing he would not return. The guide told us that about half way there they met Governor Ford heading toward Nauvoo. Joseph rode back to Nauvoo with the governor to allay the fears of the Nauvoo residents, and then he rode back to Carthage.
We visited the land office where we got copies of files on our ancestors. We added some new information to our ancestors’ histories. It was a very enjoyable time, and we were able to get to know our grandchildren a little better. The names of the ones who were able to attend were: Richard Allen, Sabrina, Nathan, Nicholas, Benjamin, Savannah, Megan, Joseph, Lily, and Alex. The ones not able to attend were: Amy, David, Michael, Jonathan, Jessica, and Glenda.
FAMILY HISTORY AND TEMPLE EXPERIENCES
“Thy mission is not only among the living but among the dead. Thou shalt be known as a Savior on Mt. Zion for thy kindred dead and others whom thou shalt officiate for in the House of the Lord; many things will be revealed unto thee while seeking for thy records, the genealogy of thy progenitors. Joy will come into thy heart through the whisperings of that still small voice revealing truths and beauties of Life Eternal unto thee.” (Quoted from my Patriarchal Blessing).
I received my patriarchal blessing at age eleven and was curious to know what it meant to be a Savior on Mt. Zion. Because of this part of my blessing, I soon became interested in genealogy, and began attending genealogy meetings at the Deseret Stake Center with Mom and Dad. Someone there was writing a book about the history of Millard County, so I volunteered to index the book by going through it and writing down the page numbers on which the names and events were written. It was while doing this that I came across the name Lamoyne. I was very intrigued by this name, and thought it such a nice name. It was then that I decided I would name one of my sons Lamoyne; hence our first son, Guy, was given that as his middle name.
Mom and I went to SaltLake on several occasions, to the old Genealogical Society with a group of people from Deseret Stake. I also traveled to the Manti temple with Mom and Dad when they went to do endowment work. I received permission from the recorder to spend time in the archives of the temple. Here I found information that was exciting to me. I saw that my grandmother had done the work for her ancestors. In addition, I later found that Uncle Arthur and Aunt Ruth had information that had been copied on a long scroll of butcher paper with data from the ordinance work done for ancestors by my grandmother in the Manti temple. I was able to borrow this scroll. During my teenage years I devoted many hours poring over these names, deciphering their relationships to one another, and laboriously copying the names onto family group sheets. I would have a family member help me proofread the information. I purchased a long carriage typewriter with some of the first money I earned, and I typed all those names onto family group and pedigree sheets. I continued working on this project up to and after my marriage.
My first recollection of the temple was shortly after I turned eight years old and had been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In those days children who were eight could go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Mom and Dad and the Sugarville Ward leaders took a group of children from the Primary and some youth from the MIA to the Manti Temple to perform baptisms. Later, when I was fifteen I recall another trip to the Temple where I was able to act as proxy for eight women.
Just after turning fifteen, I was called and sustained as a genealogy home teacher. I was to encourage others in the ward to do their genealogy. Mom and Dad were involved in this, so I went with them. At our Memmott family reunion that year, I was chosen to be the secretary of the organization. The year I graduated from High School, I was elected family genealogist at our family reunion.
After our children began coming, my activity in genealogical work was sporadic, at best, although I attempted to keep a journal and records on myself, my husband, and our children, in the hope that it could to be used for doing what this history will hopefully do, preserve a record of the events in our lives. I have also kept a scrapbook of our family doings.
I continued to attend temple baptism trips while living in the Deseret Stake in Delta. I also remember going to the temple and being on the outside of the temple while several of my siblings were married.
I was elected Secretary, in August of 1959, of the newly formed Eugene Memmott Family Organization.
When I graduated from high school and moved to Salt Lake City, some co-workers and I made arrangements to do baptisms for the dead in the Salt Lake Temple. At the time, I worked for Beneficial Life Insurance in the building just south of the Salt Lake Temple. At times I was called to work in the Vice-President’s office. From his office I had great view of the temple from five stories high. That year they were in the process of sandblasting the exterior of the temple, so I watched the progress as they blasted off the dirt and smoke that had accumulated over the years. It really made a great difference, as I watched the temple become lighter in color over the months.
When Richard and I decided to marry, we desired Elder Harold B. Lee to perform our sealing. We made an appointment to visit with him to extend the invitation, and also to ask some questions that I had about the garments. He answered my questions satisfactorily, but respectfully declined perform the sealing, since the Salt Lake Temple would still be closed for remodeling on the date we had chosen to be married.
We made the decision that for our honeymoon we would like to visit as many of the present temples in use as we possibly could. Since the Salt Lake temple was closed for major renovations, we traveled to the Manti Temple two weeks before our wedding and received our endowments. Then for our wedding we traveled to the Logan Temple, and were sealed by the Temple President George Raymond. On our honeymoon, we were able to visit the St. George, Mesa, and Los Angeles Temples. The St. George is all one level, built for older people who retired to Utah’s Dixie. I loved Mesa and the temple there. The Los Angeles Temple was quite new at the time, and the rooms were very large. I believe it was the first temple to use the film. The session on which we went was in a very large room with only sixteen people in the session.
Later, after the Salt Lake Temple was renovated, Richard and I attended the temple sporadically even thought we only lived about eight miles from the temple. With so many patrons in each session and with a session taking nearly four hours, it was very difficult for me to leave our children with a sitter, especially during the times when we had a nursing baby. Whenever I was pregnant, I sometimes became faint while doing ordinance work.
Our neighbor, Viola Coleman, had a non-member husband who died. A year after his death, we went with her to the Salt Lake Temple, where Richard acted as proxy for her husband, and she was sealed to him. The sealer shared several stories of patrons who had witnessed their dead loved ones being present for the sealing. I really felt that her husband was there with us that evening, and approved of the action.
When we moved to Connecticut, temple attendance required traveling nearly seven hours to Washington D.C. with a busload of saints. How we regretted not having taken advantage of attending the temple more often while living in Utah. We had to leave the children with someone for several days because the bus left the church about 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. We traveled all night to arrive at the temple on Friday morning. We would sleep at a motel that night and then go back Saturday morning until about noon or one o’clock when the bus left for home. Although those trips were very exhausting, we attended numerous sessions, whereas while living in SaltLake we only went on one session each time we went.
Later, Richard and I traveled alone to the WashingtonD.C. temple in our own car, and the time we had together became a great opportunity for us to talk for hours on end, uninterrupted by children or the telephone. We found that we could actually complete a conversation and delve deeply into any subject.
When the Hartford Stake began having annual temple trips, they held a special meeting in the solemn assembly room. A member of the temple presidency spoke to us. The very first time I entered that solemn assembly room the spirit I felt was overpowering. The speaker shared with us his belief that the spirits awaiting their temple ordinances congregate in that room. Each year, when our stake temple choir sang at those meetings, Richard and I participated; and because Richard was in the stake presidency, we sat on the stand. It was always a great experience to be a part of that.
One year, as part of the temple trip, our stake was asked to provide ordinance workers during the all-night Thursday shift. Richard and I did a crash course in preparation to be able to participate in that event. We were privileged to be on the last session of the evening together, he as the presenter and I as the follower. Although it was an exhausting experience, it was great to see so many of the brothers and sisters of the stake on a session together. Many of them were doing family file names.
Just after we completed that temple trip, the church made the policy that members of bishoprics and stake presidencies, and mothers of children under eighteen could no longer be ordinance workers. Because, at that time, both of us fit into that category we were unable to continue to serve as workers.
During a ten-year period I obtained information yearly from my siblings and their children, and compiled a book with updates on what was happening in their lives. When a year came that I only received two orders for the books, and only a few families submitted information, I became so discouraged with the project that I discontinued doing it. Whether the decision was right or wrong, the project was never started again, but for those ten years people who contributed were writing their histories one year at a time.
My mother and mother-in-law died about six weeks apart from each other. I strongly felt their influence on me from the other side of the veil to do genealogical work.
While at my mother’s funeral, Richard and I stayed with my sister, Inga. She showed us Mom’s last journal. I asked if I might take it home and make copies of it for the rest of the family. She agreed, and as Richard and I were sitting in the SaltLakeAirport waiting for our flight home, I took out the journal to leaf through it. As was her custom, Mom had pasted programs and good thoughts throughout the book in various places. I lifted the first one in the very front of the book to discover the following note, written to me.
Tears welled up in me and I could hardly contain myself as I realized that I had been inspired to ask to take the book home with me.
On the way home from that trip, Richard and I stopped in Indianapolis at the home office of Richard’s employer. His boss, on discovering what had happened, offered to let me use the company copy machine to copy the book. While Richard was doing his work I made a master of the book that I later used to make copies for all my brothers and sisters.
A few weeks later, after the death of Richard’s mother, I began researching his ancestors who came to America and settled in Connecticut. Richard and Bishop Walton had previously determined that they were distant cousins. About that time I discovered that Sister Walton, who had died in an auto accident in Mexico, had many volumes of genealogy that had been left in the care of Sister Hamilton. Richard had a copier at his office, and Sister Hamilton allowed me to take the books home to copy. It took many hours to make copies of the family group sheets, most of them from royalty lines. In addition I went to the State Historical Archives, the Godfrey Library in Middletown, and a library in Norwich. I found much information, and tied the information together onto family group sheets. This took years, since I could only work on it in my spare time. Some of the children helped me.
When the church released the software, Personal Ancestry File, some of my children took turns helping me enter and proofread the data we had accumulated over the years. Once again, I felt an urge to get the work done. When Richard’s dad died and family members were beginning to take bits and pieces of genealogy information, I asked that I might be allowed to take it all home and copy it for each of them so that none of it would be lost. Much time was devoted in doing this, and shortly after we finished entering the bulk of the data, I was called as the Middletown Ward Relief Society President, and served there for three years. Needless to say, little or no genealogical work was done during that time.
As a result of all this entered data, it was easy to tell which of the people had their temple work done and which did not. We submitted many names and went to the temple with our children, who did the baptisms. We tried to get the endowments done. Some we sent to other temples for other family members to do and some we eventually had to turn over to the temple to be done.
Because of the patronymic name system in the Scandinavian countries, I wondered about being able to have the last person on each of those lines sealed to their parents. I called the church to ask if this were possible, and was told that it could be done. I then made additional family groups by using the last name of the end person on the pedigree. That became the first name of their parent with a Mrs. (whatever the person’s name was) as his wife. After I had submitted these names and was in the temple doing one of the names, I began to wonder if this was really valid for me to have done this. In response, I received a very strong witness that yes, it was correct, and that those people were very grateful to have their work done, even though at present we did not have their entire family information.
After Melissa’s adoption, we took her, as well as our other children who were living close by at the time, to the temple to have her sealed to us. It was a neat experience to have our natural born children, born under the covenant of marriage and automatically sealed to us, witness the sealing of a sibling in the temple.
We took an interest in fellowshipping John McKinney and his wife and their five-year-old daughter, Mary Ann, when they were investigating the church. Many hours were spent talking to them. I especially listened to his wife as she talked about the struggles she was having accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior. I never fully comprehended just why she was struggling, but I gathered it had something to do with what had happened during the holocaust. I am sure her struggles with this as well as other things were very valid and real in her mind. One Sunday night, when Richard had just left town on a business trip I received a phone call from John. He was beside himself. He had gone to the barn and discovered his wife had hung herself. The police were there and he asked me to come. I made arrangements for the care of our children; then I went to their home and brought Mary Ann home with me for the night. Over the years we continued to be friends with John and Mary Ann. They came to our home, and we went to theirs. Several years after his wife’s death, John was baptized a member of the LDS church. A year after his baptism, he asked if I would act as proxy for his wife’s temple ordinances. I agreed somewhat apprehensively because I knew how she had felt while alive. I felt her spiritual presence, a spirit full of peace and serenity, in the temple that day, as I was baptized for her. While alive, she always seemed so agitated or excited, but that day was different. I was given the impression that she had finally accepted Christ as her Savior, and that she approved and accepted the actions of the day. That same spirit went with me throughout the entire day as I continued to participate for her, by proxy, in the other ordinances of the temple.
Richard was a counselor to President Michael Dudley in the Hartford Connecticut Stake Presidency when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that there would be a temple in Hartford. Over the next few years the Church searched over forty possible temple sites.
As a real estate agent, I located several really nice sites. President Hinckley made several trips here to walk the properties and even though he did not feel really good about any of the sites, the Church paid a sizable amount of money per month as an option on a parcel of land just off I-91 in Middletown. The Saints in White Plains, New York also had a site they were proposing as an alternate site.
On one of President Hinckley’s trips to this area, he had stopped at the White Plains site and the Hartford site. Then he traveled on to a conference being held in Boston. At the break between meetings he was telling the brethren of the Boston Stake about his dilemma in locating the proper site for the HartfordTemple. One of the brethren told President Hinckley that there was a site in Belmont that the Saints in the Boston area had always felt would be a great temple site. The comment caught President Hinckley’s interest, and he asked the brother traveling with him to take care of the afternoon meeting while he and the stake president visited the site. While there, President Hinckley made the decision to build two smaller temples in White Plains, New York and BelmontMassachusetts. We recognized the hand of the Lord in this move, although devastating to the saints in Hartford, when President Hinckley announced that smaller temples would be built, to bring temple worship to more of the members the church, throughout the world.
Richard and I were invited to attend the BostonTemple groundbreaking ceremony with Elder Richard G. Scott. While the temple was being built, Richard and I attended several meetings in the chapel below the temple site, where plans were discussed as to how best to conduct the open house. When the temple was completed in 2000 we had the privilege of assisting in the open house. The day of the dedication, October 1, 2000, we were invited to sit in the Celestial Room during the first session of the dedication services conducted by President Hinckley. It was a wonderful and historical experience to be present at the dedication of the 100th temple.
Patrick, Liz, and Jessica had flown back to visit us that weekend. We stayed in a Boston hotel. While Richard and I were at the temple, they stayed with Melissa at the hotel. We then watched Jessica while Pat, Liz and Melissa went to the Weston chapel to another dedicatory session being broadcast via satellite. Our grandchildren, Michael and David Gordon, were chosen to be part of the group to participate in the placement of the cornerstone with President Hinckley. They, and their family, were then given seats in the temple for the next dedication service.
Because, at the time, Richard was stake president, he and I were invited, along with all the other stake presidents and their wives, to participate in the very first session conducted in the Boston Temple.
Years earlier, when I read the book “Jane Black” by Cheryl Roper I was doing family research in Norwich, Connecticut on some of Richard’s ancestors. I felt impressed at that time that someday I would like to do an historical novel on ancestors. For years, the concept was in the back of my mind. Just before my granddaughter, Lily, was born, I had a strong impression that I should begin research for the novel. I also felt strongly that it should be about my grandparents, Jens Peter and Inga Lisa Jensen, who came from Denmark and Sweden. I have a wonderful book about them and their descendants compiled by some of my cousins. I decided to begin my research with this book. I took it with me while I helped Pamela after Lily’s birth. I worked on extracting information from the book while on the plane and while at Pam’s house. Thus began a labor of love and learning about my grandparent’s lives and their history.
After the dedication of the Boston temple, the first year we attended the temple sporadically. Then at the beginning of 2002 we decided to go more regularly. During one of the sessions early in 2002, I sat pondering and praying as to how best I could obtain needed information for the novel. I had already been gathering background research on the countries of Denmark and Sweden; and I researched my grandparent’s families. But while on that temple session, I felt very strongly that my mother had been preparing things to assist me in this work. At first I questioned why my mother would assist me, and not my grandmother or grandfather. The answer came to me that my mother, while alive, had always collected histories of people in the family. It made sense that she was continuing to do the same after her death.
I had originally thought that a trip to Denmark and Sweden would be several years in the future, if at all. On the trip home from the temple I mentioned this experience to Richard. He suggested that perhaps we needed to make the trip right away. So we began planning the trip, and things began falling in place for us. I prayed to know how I would recognize that my mother was helping me. I was impressed with two distinct messages: I would know what to do, and people would be waiting for us.
Since I belonged to an online bulletin board for people doing research in Denmark and Sweden, I asked if anyone could give me names and addresses of people still living in Rydaholm, Sweden with the same last names of people on my pedigree. Someone sent me a list of sixteen people from the telephone book. I quickly wrote to them and received responses from three. One wrote her response in English, while the other two were in Swedish. Brad Florian, our high councilman who had served his mission in Sweden, was able to translate the letters for me. The woman who wrote in English, Rut, sent me information, some I already knew and some I did not know, about my grandmother. She told me there was more, and to be sure to call her when we got there.
One day, while planning our itinerary, I was thinking about getting the address of the Swedish LDS church. I was impressed, instead, to visit the Lutheran church that my grandmother would have attended during the first 16 years of her life. Upon arrival at our lodgings in Denmark, I called Rut, in Sweden, and asked her what time the Lutheran Church services began and how to find the church. She told us that because she was an invalid she would not be able to go to the service, but that she would call one of the other people to whom I had written and let her know we would be coming.
Getting up early Sunday morning we took the ferry across the Oresund sound at Helsingor and traveled northward to Rydaholm. The terrain of southern Sweden is much like that of Denmark, with rolling hills, large farms and small communities. As we neared Rydaholm I became very much aware that the evergreen forests Inga Lisa mentioned in her history were very much a part of Rydaholm. There are so many evergreens that they log them commercially. The ground is also very rocky.
We arrived just before 11:00 a.m., the time the services were supposed to begin. Rushing to the door of the chapel we hoped it was the correct church. As we opened the door, a man and a woman were standing in the foyer.
I said to them in English, “Is this the old Lutheran Church?” Although neither of them spoke a word of English, the woman had a huge smile on her face as she said, “Glenda?” They had been waiting for us to come. The minister, upon seeing that we were there, came to us and said, “Now we can begin the services.”
It was a very interesting experience, both in the fact that we had never attended a Lutheran church service before, and because it was all in Swedish. As we observed and recorded the music of the service, I pondered on the miracle that had just happened. Both impressions I had earlier received, that I would know what to do and that people would be waiting for us, had just happened. I knew my mother was with us, guiding us through this experience.
After the service, the sexton, who spoke English, translated our conversation with the man and the woman. The woman was one of the other people I had corresponded with. She could not stay that day because she had a family event, but she invited us to have dinner with her on Monday evening. The man, a local historian, knew the spot where Inga Lisa’s brother, Anders Johan Sjodahls, and his son, Carl Sjodahls, were buried. He took us to the plot so we could take pictures. Later, the next day, we went back to the church and the sexton let us copy information about graves. He also told us that at the time when Inga Lisa’s parents died they did not mark the spots where people were buried. It would be difficult to find their graves. We also discovered that the church tower was built in the year 1100, so it is a very old church.
The man made us understand that we were to follow him in his car. He drove us to a place that looked like a restaurant; then he drove off, leaving us wondering what we should do next. Rut had mentioned an inn, but this didn’t look big enough to be anything but a restaurant. We had just figured out that we were to eat there when the man returned with Rut, our interpreter, who helped us to understand that we were to register to stay at this small inn with only four rooms, and we were also to have lunch with them. After a nice lunch we got in the man’s car and he took us on a personal guided tour of Rydaholm and the surrounding hamlets, or torps, where my people would have lived. He knew all about my ancestors and was very informative. We stopped at a small home, one he owned, that was like a museum and would have been the kind of home my grandmother might have live in. It was furnished with period furniture and pictures on the walls of what life might have been like. We took many pictures and recorded as much of the conversation as possible. At times it was difficult because the man and woman would be talking just to each other in Swedish. I wondered if Rut sometimes forgot to interpret what he had said into English, because after a long Swedish conversation with no comment from us Rut would say, “Glenda?” Then she would proceed to tell us something he had said.
We made arrangements for him to take us around the next afternoon. We were a bit apprehensive, not knowing if Rut would come with to interpret. To our great relief she was with him and they once again acted as our personal guides, stopping wherever we wanted so we could take pictures. That evening we went to the other woman’s home for dinner. While in conversation we learned that they had in their possession copies of history books that had information about the area and our ancestors. We purchased several of them and later in one of them I discovered the names of the people in the family that Grandma lived with when she was fourteen and served as their “piga,” or servant. There was even a picture of the large two story house in which they lived.
Then, just about the time we were planning on leaving to return to Denmark, they got on the telephone and called one of the three daughters of Gunnar Sjodahls, named Gunnhild Mortenson. She lived in Gislaved, about sixty kilometers the other direction from Denmark. They told her we were going to go see her that night. They gave us directions, and we embarked on yet another adventure. As we drove up to her house, Gunnhild’s son, Bruno, was standing outside waiting for us so we would know where they lived. He and his wife both spoke English, so we had a delightful visit with them before we had to leave to catch the very last ferry of the evening to Denmark, which we made just in time. We corresponded with them and received genealogical information on the descendants of Anders Johan Sjodahls.
It had been a very enlightening two days. After this experience the rest of the trip seemed calm; but we did visit the Frederiksborg Castle. While there, a tour guide who spoke English seemed to take a special interest in us, and followed us around answering any questions we had. In addition, we heard someone speaking English in an adjoining room, so we went there and discovered that the people were from Rhode Island. They shared some information that later proved to be helpful. We drove to the various communities in which my ancestors had lived, and took pictures, getting the general feel of the landscape. We took the train to Copenhagen and spent a day going to museums and libraries. I got some names from the phone book and later wrote to them and got a couple of replies saying they were descendants of one of Grandma’s sisters.
After exhausting all the Danish places, we went back to Sweden to Ăngelholm, where my grandfather’s mother was born and raised before she moved to Denmark. We went to the church she would have attended while she lived with the minister’s family. Then we went to the local library and a librarian helped us find information about the minister and his family who would have been serving there at the time.
Throughout this trip we felt we were led to the areas visited and received information that has been most beneficial in helping build the storyline of the novel. We gained a feel of the people and the ‘lay of the land’ by taking pictures, eating their foods, speaking impressions into a small tape recorder, and, most of all, benefiting from the hospitality of the Swedish people. I am most grateful for that inspiration received in the temple and am grateful to my mother for helping me to obtain the information.
In January 2003, during the High Priest group meeting, Brother Moore spoke about the temple and what his service there meant to him. He reminded us that women could serve there if all their children were over eighteen. It dawned on me that I was now in that category, so the very next Sunday I spoke with Bishop Dickerson about the possibility of being called to serve as an ordinance worker. Within weeks I received notification from the temple that I was called to serve as an ordinance worker in the BostonTemple, and I went there for training.
I have worked there twice a month, the second and fourth Fridays, ever since. My friend, Sandy Nowlin, and I have been on the same shift, so we drive together. Sometimes others have joined us. As of March 2004, two other ordinance workers, Frieda Gilbert and Brenda Peck, travel to the temple with us. It has been an experience that draws me closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus. I look forward to participating each time I go to the temple. Even though I sometimes feel like I will never be able to completely learn the ordinances, each time it seems to become a little easier. I feel like I am slowly becoming a better person through this experience, and feel that I am slowly drawing closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus through the inspiration and promptings of the Holy Ghost.
The book of Revelation talks about both the mark of the beast and the mark of the Lord. I believe that being worthy of temple attendance and worshipping regularly there will place the mark of the Lord in each of us, so that when the Savior returns we will be caught up to meet him and not be among those who have yielded to the ways of the world (and have the mark of the beast in them). I feel it is very important that we do all that we can to see that our family and loved ones, and other members of the church, avail themselves of the great blessing of temple attendance.
We have been privileged to be present with each of our children as they have been endowed and sealed to their spouses in the temples. Guy was the first to be endowed in the Washington D.C. temple before he left for his mission. Laura was endowed and then sealed later in the Salt Lake Temple. Before Alvin left for his mission he was endowed in the Washington D.C. Temple. When Guy returned from his mission he met Maria Elena and they were married in the Washington D.C. Temple. Wesley was endowed in the Washington D.C. Temple before departing for his mission. Then Alvin married Krystina in the Jordan River Temple. Pamela, Kimberlee, Patrick, and Jeffrey each went to the Washington D.C. Temple to receive their endowments before leaving on their missions. Because Jeff had received his endowments already, he was able to attend the sealing of Dan and Pam in the Salt Lake Temple before leaving for his mission. Patrick married Elizabeth in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, and a week later Jeffrey married Stacy in the Washington D.C. Temple. Wesley married Kristin in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. Kimberlee and Antonio were married in the Louisville, Kentucky Temple. Oliver was endowed and married in the Boston Temple. Each time, as more of the children have been endowed, the experience of having them together in the temple has been greater. It is wonderful to have children who are temple worthy and have the desire to be married in the temples of our God.
“Thou hast a kind disposition to teach others. God has blessed thee with love in thy heart for others and a desire to expound that which is true. Thou shalt go forth teaching and expounding the beauties of Life Eternal, not only within the fold of the Church but thou shalt be called as a missionary to preach the Gospel and cry repentance to the people.
“Thou shalt be instrumental in the saving of many souls in the Kingdom of Our Father in Heaven. Great shall be thy reward and Eternal shall be thy glory. At the time of the Resurrection of the Just many will gather around thee and call thee blessed.” (Quoted from my Patriarchal Blessing).
I feel this part of my blessing is one that I see the least success or signs that it is being fulfilled. I do have a love in my heart for others and desire to expound the truth, but many times I have stepped on others’ toes in my zeal. I once read that whenever we discover a new truth or concept we should share it with those around us. I have tried to do this as much as possible.
I have had a difficult time relating to those who have not as yet been baptized into the church, but I do relate very well to those who have already accepted the Gospel truths. I assume that time will tell if I have indeed been an instrument in saving many souls. I will have to have faith that at the resurrection there will be people who I might have affected positively.
As of 2004, I have only served stake missions, but I have not felt anyone has joined the church because of my efforts; although on Sunday February 8, 2004, I felt impressed in Relief Society to make some comments and teach some things I have been learning. Afterward, an investigator name Joyce came up to me and told me that she had been struggling as to whether or not to be baptized. She had almost decided not to be baptized, but decided to come to church that day. She told me that what I said had helped her make the decision to be baptized. I do not even know what I said to make a difference.
One of the Relief Society lessons given during 1974 was on eliminating self‑defeating behaviors. One idea left an impression on me. When we have the courage to do things we know we should, and get ourselves out of the rut we have gotten into, then blessings begin to flow. This has certainly been true in my own life. God did not give us any self‑defeating behavior. We are sons and daughters of God.
As a family we went to quite a few movies sponsored by the PTA. One time we saw the movie, “Jonathon Livingston Seagull.” A powerful thought came to me at the end of that movie. It was that we are to find out what we do well, do it, and then teach what we know to others.
Many times I have heard speakers say they hoped they would not offend anyone with what they said. I have wondered why anyone would say that. Why should the truth offend? Many times I have seen people become offended where there should not have been offense. In contemplating this, it dawned on me that this must be the reason the speaker did not wish to offend. He hoped that the people would understand what he was trying to tell them by putting it into practice and not becoming hard-hearted.
In my life it seems that just as I have become able to master some job or problem, I have been given something more challenging. I am convinced that this is how the Lord helps us obtain eternal life, line upon line, precept upon precept. He is continually teaching us something new which we will need to know in our climb to exaltation. God expects us to sacrifice all that we have, and dedicate our lives to His service.
I was taught a lesson in one aspect of compassionate service through a neighbor, Viola Coleman. I first met her when she used to push her granddaughter past our house in a stroller. She stopped and talked and seemed to have everything to live for. One day I heard that her husband had become very ill and had died. I made the effort to visit her, expressed my willingness to help her, and extended an invitation for her to come by my home any time she felt like talking. Her life was shattered, as she had built it around her husband. She remembered what I had said, and we spent many days talking for hours at a time.
Some days I was busy and didn’t feel I had time to sit and visit, but the impression kept coming to me to listen, which I did. I learned that one of the best ways we can offer compassionate service is just through listening. She went to the temple for her own endowments, had her husband’s temple work done, and was sealed to him. Richard and I attended, and she was so thrilled that we had come.
Some thoughts gleaned from meetings that have made an impression upon me follow. The art of love is God’s work through you. In order to feel good about ourselves we must put our trust in Jesus rather than the arm of flesh, as man tends to be fickle and sometimes gives us a negative feedback. In these latter days we are to prepare a people righteous enough to meet Christ when he returns. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. He uses the Holy Spirit as a way of communicating to our spirits. We need to be tuned into the right wavelength to receive the message. Also we can receive gifts of the spirit if they are to benefit us and move the work of the Lord along.
At a Relief Society meeting one day, Sister Jeannine Acomb presented me with a lovely friendship basket, which greatly surprised and pleased me. The lesson that day concerned the fact that the Lord’s promises will be fulfilled. Sister Olive Pearson related a time in her life when she had received repeated blessings. Elder Mark E. Peterson was called to give her a blessing, and told her to remind the Lord of the blessings she had been given because they are still hers and the Lord needs to be reminded of those blessings. I believe this to be true.
Priesthood is not given to honor man, but rather to engage him in the service of mankind, and thus the service of God. We don’t appreciate the priesthood unless we use it in service.
ACCIDENTS AND DISEASES
I was too young to remember this incident, but I am told that I was playing by a well with my brother Devon. The well had a wooden lid. Devon was lifting it up when I placed my finger under it. Not knowing my finger was there, he dropped the lid and it cut off the tip of my right pointing finger. Quoting from my mother’s history of me she says, “Glenda got the tip of her finger cut off. We had quite a time to keep out the infection that continually would return. I finally had to bath[e] it in hot Epson salts every two hours until it was healed. At the time we lived in Oasis, Utah and I would carry her about a mile to Relief Society and back.” The finger healed over, but it is now about ¼ inch shorter than the one on the left hand, and looks and feels much different than the others. The rough texture underneath the curved nail has always fascinated children, but is very irritating to me when they play with it. When the nail gets snagged it sometimes rips off and is very painful for days, requiring a band-aid to protect it; therefore, I try to keep it short.
I was barely old enough to remember the incident of playing with my sand pail and little metal shovel in the living room of the Allred house on Cropper Lane. As children so often do, I placed the shovel in my mouth. At the same time two of my brothers were throwing a ball back and forth to each other in the living room. The ball hit the end of my shovel and jammed the sharp end into the roof of my mouth, making a huge gash. Our neighbor, Kay Bishop, was called, and I was rushed to the Delta hospital where Dr. Byrd stitched up the roof of my mouth. I remember being on the operating table and being too frightened to tell anyone I needed to use the bathroom; so, of course, I had an accident that really embarrassed me. Dr. Byrd wrote a prescription for my parents to buy me an ice cream cone. I felt very special to be getting my own ice cream cone, since such treats were a rarity, which made it all seem worthwhile.
I loved to assist Mom when she cooked our meals on the coal stove in the kitchen at the Allred home on Cropper Lane. One day, while I was stirring the boiling gravy, I accidentally dropped the spoon into the gravy and dove for it immediately with my right hand. The heat of the gravy made me wince with pain, and I quickly pulled back my hand; but it was too late, for I had severe burns. In those days burns were treated much differently than today. They put a wet baking soda paste on the burn and then wrapped it with a fabric bandage. Nowadays I would attempt to take as much of the burn out as possible with ice or cold water before applying anything. Since I did not have the use of my right hand for a good long period of time someone else had to feed me my meals. I remember sitting in the high chair to be fed.
Toward the end of the school year, while I was in the first grade (May, 1950), I had Red Measles. I got well just in time to return to school on the last day. I have also had Scarlet Fever, Mumps (December, 1950 and into January, 1951), Chicken Pox (1953), Pinkeye (many times as a child), Whooping Cough (Fall, 1955), and German Measles (June, 1959). I had a wart removed from my right index finger, and another from the tip of my nose.
Sometime in my childhood I had a boil on my left leg that Mom nursed until it healed, but it left a scar on my leg. After I was married I slipped on a wooden step and skinned about a six-inch section of skin from the front of my right leg right along the bone. I applied golden seal and other herbs until it healed, but I still carry a scar there.
In Utah, farmers make dikes or levees, rows of small soil embankment every so often in their fields, to control the water while irrigating their crops. When one section of field is completely saturated with water, they close off that section and go on to the next. When I was about ten years old, my brother, Devon, and I were helping my brother in law, Gene Losee, haul hay in his field in Sugarville. While Devon was driving the truck, Gene was loading the hay. I was in the truck on top of the hay doing what we called “stomping the hay” so more hay could be placed in the truck bed before stacking it. Crossing those dikes with a vehicle was tricky, as you needed to cross at an angle instead of straight across them, to minimize the effect of the bump. That day, Devon crossed a levee almost straight across, and perhaps a little too fast. I was thrown up into the air several feet. When I came down, the truck had moved on, so I fell from a height of perhaps twelve feet onto the ground of the hayfield, landing on my right wrist. Although we never went to see a doctor about it, I had apparently sprained it. During the rest of my school years I had a cyst or soft lump about the size of a quarter develop in that wrist. At times it gave me considerable pain, especially if I accidentally bumped it on a desk or chair.
Sometime after developing the cyst, a Dr. finally inserted a huge needle and drew out the white puss that had collected in the cyst. After I graduated from high school and was living on Penney Avenue in SaltLake with my parents, I must have bumped it again because it began giving me much pain and grief. I could hardly hold a pencil to do my work. I went the Bishop Richardson and had the Bishopric administer to me that my right wrist might be healed and that I might have support in it. After the blessing the pain was eased, and by the end of the week it was completely free of pain. I have never had a recurrence of this pain. Once in a while when I forget and participate in an activity such as volleyball, I have felt pain, but it has never returned like it was at that time.
I have raised ten children and taken care of their needs without suffering any pain from this wrist. I am grateful for this very simple but great blessing to me, and know that it was accomplished through the power of the Priesthood and the faith that I was able to exercise.
When I was age fifteen my parents began receiving some sort of government assistance that allowed us medical benefits so we could go to a doctor with health issues. I went to an eye doctor, who prescribed glasses for me. I could then see things more clearly. From that time on I wore glasses. I felt that I was undressed unless I put them on in the morning as soon as I awoke. If for any reason I could not find them, I was lost.
One time on a family vacation I was in the ocean playing with the family when and an unexpected strong wave surprised me and pulled my glasses right off my face. The ocean ate them forever. Luckily for me, I had brought my prescription sunglasses on the trip, but I was in the dark for the rest of the vacation until getting home to order another pair.
Another time, I was traveling by myself on an airplane, and was told that my flight was cancelled. While I was trying to figure out how to get home from New York to Connecticut, I was walking rapidly to another part of the terminal, when one of the lenses fell out of my glasses onto the terminal floor. In the confusion I had a difficult time finding it but when I finally did I discovered the screw that held the lens into the frame was missing. I put the glasses on without the lens in but that was even worse because now my eyes didn’t work together at all. I was so lost without my glasses that I had a difficult time gathering my wits about me as to what I should do, whether to catch a limousine or have someone from home come and get me. Finally, I went into a little shop at the airport to see if they had some tape or something I could use. Luckily, the very helpful clerk had a bobby pin in her hair that she gave me and I was able to twist it together good enough to hold it so that I could see and was once again able think. After thinking about the problem I soon realized that the problem was the airlines, so I just went back to the counter and insisted that they find me a flight back to Connecticut, which is exactly what they did.
At age sixteen I began having recurring chest pains. After an examination the doctor could find nothing wrong with me, but he took a great amount of time talking with me about my life, boyfriends, family, and things in general. He told me he thought the pain might just be a result of the pressure of school and of growing up; sure enough, before long it left me.
I was vaccinated for the dreaded disease, Polio, in August 1957; September 1957; April 1958; and May 1959. Richard and I also received the oral vaccine at a clinic held on March 23, 1963.
The spring of 1978 I began having an itch all over my body, but more especially on my face. The condition worsened until my eyes were nearly swollen shut. The doctor prescribed a medication that made me so sleepy I was not coherent enough to take care of the children. I could only take it when someone older was there with me or at bedtime. Since that medication didn’t alleviate the problem, the doctor had to give me a powerful shot to bring down the swelling. It took at least two weeks for the itching and swelling to subside. Later, when I felt this condition returning, I took garlic enemas and did everything I could think of to cleanse my blood supply. That treatment usually worked and kept it a bay, at least so that it has not become as bad as the first time.
My hair color is auburn brown. My eyes are large dark brown. I have a ruddy complexion. I sat up at five months, started to walk at twelve months, talked at fifteen months, and cut my first tooth at nine months.
At birth I weighed 8 lbs 5 oz. And one week later I only weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. I made up for this when, on 24 May 1962, I weighed 119 lbs and was 5 foot 5-3/4 inches tall.
Since my first prescription pair of glasses in 1959, I wore glasses continually, except while sleeping. After getting tri-focals, for several years it became almost impossible to read anything small. I kept going in for alterations of the prescriptions. Finally, the doctor told me that I had a good-sized cataract growing on the left eye, and that the right had one beginning. Although I was young for cataracts, he told me I could have them operated on then or continue to come in every three months to have a new prescription filled. I opted for the laser cataract operation on both eyes right away. The left eye was done May 22, 2001. The time between the two operations was very difficult. I could not see, even with my glasses. After driving home after dark one night, I refused to drive myself anywhere until the second operation. Many mornings I would awaken and cover my right eye. The ceiling was pure white. Then I covered my left eye, and the ceiling was crème colored.
The second operation was done on my right eye, July 10, 2001 and it took them longer. I was tense, and had to have some anesthesia to relax me. I found that my eyes were super sensitive to light after the operations. We went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant shortly after the second operation, and I thought, “Good, I won’t have to wear sunglasses to watch the pageant because it will be dark.” I was wrong. The bright lights of the pageant made me have to wear them, but because of that experience, I decided that I could wear sunglasses at church to lessen the brightness of the fluorescent lights. I wore them for several months until the light sensitivity became less. The right eye has been a continual source of irritation to me ever since, even though I went back to the doctor in November, and he made an incision to help focus the light better.
When I wear glasses it helps with the astigmatism, but it is impossible to read with glasses, so I only use my glasses for driving or for things that require me to see a long distance. I sit close to the front at church so that I can see faces and still read the hymnbook and scriptures without glasses. Someday I will probably have to get bi-focals or tri-focals again, but I enjoy not wearing glasses so much I will probably not do it for a good long time.
The same year that I had the eye operations I had been having pain in my legs that just wouldn’t go away. I tried support stockings, which helped sometimes. Eventually, I went to a doctor. After a multitude of tests, nothing could be found of the cause. One doctor told me that he could prescribe expensive shoes or I could try the cheap heel supports. I opted by the cheap $6.95 heel supports and it cleared up the problem.
In 2003, I went to a doctor to get a camp physical. Because it had been years since I had had some tests, and because I had never had other tests, he ordered another multitude of tests. They all came out negative.
Melissa had her final wisdom tooth removed Thursday, June 23, 2005. Richard left for a conference in Chicago that afternoon. Melissa stayed at home by herself on Friday while I traveled to the Boston Temple to do my bi-monthly shift. Those who rode with me that day were staying overnight to attend the sealing of some ward members the next day. I dropped them off at their hotel and drove home by myself to be there for Melissa, as I had been unsuccessful in arranging for anyone to stay the night with her. I had arranged for a ride back to the temple with a couple of other sisters on Saturday.
Sometime between retiring on Friday evening and the next morning, I experienced an extremely sharp pain in my belly. Thinking I might be a little constipated, I took some Metamucil. A strong impression that I should not leave home the next day came to me. I thought it was because of Melissa’s teeth, so I called and canceled my ride the next morning. I tinkered in the yard on Saturday and made it my goal to finish planting the rest of the marigolds.
Liz had just given birth to Sarah earlier that week, and Patrick brought the girls and Liz’s mom down to pick in the garden. I was exhausted at the end of the day. Because Melissa was not feeling well Sunday morning, I only went to Sacrament meeting, and then went home to be with her. She slept most of the day, and I worked on genealogy.
During the next week, I did what I had on my schedule, which included a visiting teaching appointment and two real estate closings. Richard came home from Chicago Wednesday night and left for Vermont on Thursday to attend the stake youth conference. Because he was not at home and Melissa hardly ever ate with us, I ate mostly liquids. I was not having regular bowel movements, so I took an enema and still nothing. The pressure in my belly just seemed to be getting worse instead of better, and what little I did eat filled me up very quickly.
Friday, Richard and I met the tub re-glazer at 11 Laurel Street, and then we worked at painting, etc. That was my last day working there. Richard and I went to dinner, but I could not finish my meal, so I brought it home. It spoiled because I never had the appetite to eat.
Sunday, July 3, I went to Sacrament meeting, but I felt so poorly that I asked Jeff and Stacy to bring Melissa home after the rest of the meetings. When I got home I looked up some medical information on bowel obstruction. They said not to fool around with it because it could be very serious. By the time Richard came home I had decided that we needed to make a trip to the emergency room. We called Jeff to come help Dad give me a blessing and then we spent the next seven or eight hours at the Middlesex Hospital Emergency Room having tests taken and being evaluated. Bowel obstruction and appendix were ruled out, but a mass was discovered over my right ovary. I was referred to Dr. Jessica Wei, a gynecologist, in Middletown. The next day being July 4th we had family here. The pressure in my abdomen was miraculously lessened for that day. Although I tried helping to prepare things for lunch, I found that after about a half hour of working I needed to rest for a half hour. Finally I just gave up, got some pictures out, and sat on the couch deciding which ones to put in frames while visiting with family.
The next morning, the gynecologist’s office called to set up an appointment for an ultrasound that morning, and an appointment with the doctor for the following day. When the ultrasound was completed, they had me get dressed and I was ushered into an office where Richard was already waiting for me. I thought, “This does not look good.” It wasn’t. Dr Wei soon came in and recommended we see an oncologist gynecologist. She got on the phone and set up the appointment for the following morning. We took the results of the ultrasound with us.
When we went to see Dr. James Hoffman in New Britain early Wednesday morning, we fully expected that he might operate on me that very day. Since he was leaving town the next day to attend a medical convention and would be gone for the rest of the week, he recommended that the operation be delayed until early Monday morning so that he might be available for post-operation assistance.
My body was in a much weakened condition by now, and I was unable to eat very much. From my chest to my pelvis, my abdomen was distended, and seemed to be expanding more each day. I looked like I was pregnant. I was given several medications for pain and nausea, and was required to do bowel prep several days before the operation.
The shock of my condition hit our family more than it did me. I was only concentrating on receiving some relief from the building pressure. Laura and her boys spent several days prior to the operation cleaning the house and doing whatever I needed to have done. Patrick and Liz were struggling with having to take Sarah back into the hospital because she was jaundiced. Jeff and Stacy were here to help when needed. Kelly came and took me to get a pedicure and manicure the Saturday before the operation. Sunday, the 10th, Sarah was blessed in Glastonbury Ward. All the family who live in Connecticut were there, and we met just before Sacrament meeting and I received a priesthood blessing. It is wonderful to have a worthy husband, sons, and sons-in-law who honor the priesthood. Laura leads the choir in her ward, and she invited those of us in the family who desired to do so to sing with the choir that day. Even though I didn’t feel too well, I sang with them and then went home immediately following the meeting.
Laura asked if I would like her to set up a website that family and friends could access to get updates of my condition. I thought that would be great and would take a lot of pressure off Richard and other family members. She took care of the daily updates and also coordinated through e-mails with family members the things they needed to know. I was surprised at how far reaching the news spread. We received messages and cards from people all over the country, some of whom I hardly knew; but I am sure they knew me because Richard is the stake president. When Richard would bring in the updates to the hospital and read them to me, it was an emotional experience for both of us.
Jeff and Oliver took over doing work on Laurel Street. Kimberlee volunteered to take Melissa to her house for a few weeks, so Melissa flew to Indianapolis just before the operation. All the children who lived out of town were very supportive and made arrangements to come at different times so that we would have help and support for nearly six weeks. The children who lived close filled in the gaps. We decided to have Jeff, Stacy and Alex move into the basement rooms and pay rent and help take care of the household and meals while I recovered and we decided what our future held for us.
But I am getting ahead of the story. I entered the New Britain hospital very early Monday morning July 11, 2005. I don’t recall a lot of what happened after the first half hour or so. I was just glad to be there, knowing that relief was on the way. The anesthesiologist explained the benefits to me of doing an epidural with a button that I could push whenever I felt the need for pain relief. I felt this would be a good choice. I recall being wheeled to the operating room about 7:30 or 8:00 a.m., and being helped onto the operating table. The last thing I recall was being helped to the operating table and noticing the huge light fixtures above us that were not yet turned on. The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room looking at a huge clock on the wall that read 1:10 p.m.
Richard and Laura were there during all that time and were joined by Jeffrey later, when he got off work. I learned from them later that Dr. Hoffman had told us that he knew I had cancer because my CA 125 # in my blood was over 750. Normal in a woman my age should be 15-20. In younger women it would be 36. The operation was over four hours long. They removed eight liters of liquid from me because I was bleeding internally. They gave me four units of blood. Dr. Hoffman told them that it was a sight to behold. I was very malnourished and had to be given intravenous supplements. They placed the opening for the IV just above my heart area so they could change what I was given via the IV easily, and they could also take blood samples from there. This area had to be cleaned and re-bandaged every few days to guard against infection. Because they were giving me mostly sugar water during the first week after surgery, my blood sugar was high; so they also gave me insulin shots. All I was given to eat by mouth that first week were ice chips.
After the operation, my lungs and stomach were filling with liquid, so they gave me some medicine that was supposed to take care of that. Dr. Hoffman was not satisfied with the results, so I had to have a tube put down my nostril for several days that pumped fluid from my chest and stomach. I did not like this as all. Somehow I blocked out my memory of that as much as possible.
I was encouraged to walk the halls the day after surgery by the sweet Polish tech who took such good care of me. At other times family members who were there to stay with me walked with me several times a day down to the family area and back, or to other areas of the hospital. Sunday night, Patrick brought his girls, and Laura brought Jonathan, and we visited in the family area. They sang for me, and finally my granddaughter, Glenda, announced, “I have an idea. The big people sing and the little people dance.” So they did. Jessica said, “When Daddy and Laura sing, it sounds like the organ.” It was fun. I only regret that I was having a difficult time staying warm; yet I was perspiring profusely. I had to cut their visit short and return to my room just to keep warm.
The physical therapist came and took me down to the therapy room, and I used a cane and showed her that I could climb a couple of stairs. I had no problem doing either.
After the catheter was removed, they wanted me to continue using the contraption they had on my lower legs to keep up the circulation in my legs. Each time I needed to go to the bathroom, I had to press the button and have the tech come and take it off. In the time that it took her to get there (about ten minutes) I was struggling to get them off by myself, so I asked that they not be used again. I figured that my legs were getting enough circulation without them, considering that I had to go to the bathroom about every 30-45 minutes.
On Sunday they announced that they were doing a 24 hour urine collection. By the end of the 24 hours they had collected five large bottles full. This seemed to me to be a large quantity of liquid to get rid of in a 24 hour period. Dr. Hoffman was pleased because it meant that my body was flushing all the fluid it had been retaining. He told me that my body had been very malnourished and was retaining all the fluids, just like a starving child whose stomach is swollen. Up to this time I had only been eating ice chips. Because of this malnourishment, Dr Hoffman ordered that I be given via an IV with what we affectionately nicknamed “Gatorade” and “milkshake” supplements. He also allowed me a more nourishing diet than ice chips.
The first day the broth tasted especially good, and I figured they would continue the liquid diet for several days. To my surprise, the next day they brought a full meal. It tasted so good that I ate nearly half of what they sent me. I repeated this action the next day also. By the third day, nothing looked good and I struggled to eat and felt nauseous. Later in the day they gave me some Maalox. All the food I had eaten that day came back up, but it made me feel much better. Dr Hoffman decided to keep me an extra day to make sure I had the nourishment via the IV. He told me not to force the food. In retrospect, I should have known that my stomach would not have been able to handle that much solid food after not having solids for nearly two weeks.
Pam was the first of the out-of-town children to come. She came while I was still in the hospital, and helped take care of Dad and prepare things for my return. The children who live close by also came and helped to clean the house, etc. Along with Richard, they all took turns staying with me during the daytime hours. They would have done so during the night, but I told them I would just be asleep, so they should get some sleep also. It was a time that I was able to spend one-on-one time with the children and their spouses, as they took time to come and assist me in getting to the bathroom, rubbing my feet, singing to me, and having some good talks. They decorated my room with banners and pictures of Christ, and brought books and CDs. I felt very little like reading myself, but on occasion they would read to me. Kristin made a CD of family members living in Utah, and sent it with Pam.
Kim, Antonio, and Melissa sent a teddy bear which gave lots of comfort on more than one occasion, both while in the hospital and upon returning. Many people brought books, but I was not in the mood for reading just yet, and had whoever was visiting read some of the lighter material to me. After getting home I tackled some of the heavier stuff. Kim, Antonio, and Melissa sent me a soft teddy bear. It was a great comfort while at the hospital, and for sometime after.
One night I was very tense and had a tough time relaxing. The hospital had lots of noise in the hallway. I decided to listen to the CDs of hymns, but, because of all the wires I had attached to me, I could not reach the CD player. I called the nurse and asked that she turn on the CD player. When she did, the music helped to calm me down. Somehow, the rest of the hospital seemed to quiet down for the rest of that night. The next day, when Laura, Pam and Jeff came, I made them rearrange the room so that I could access the CD player by myself. They kidded me that “I must be getting better if I am having them rearrange my hospital room.” Having the CD player, pictures, and banner helped me on more than one night, when I must have been hallucinating, thinking that I had been moved to another room. As soon as I recognized the familiar surroundings, I had to admit that they probably would not have moved all my belongings to another room, so I was brought back to reality.
Because of the malnourishment, I was kept in the hospital longer than the usual time, so we decided to start the chemo therapy in the hospital. Dr. Hoffman said it would most likely be a non-event because I wouldn’t know if it was from the chemo or the operation. He was right. It is possible that it contributed some to the nausea I felt.
The day I was released, I stayed until the bag of nutrients was completed before being released, and they finally unhooked me from all the wires. The intern came and took out the IV. After another long wait for the paperwork to be ready, I was finally released to go home, after being in the hospital for eleven days.
I thought for sure the first thing I would do upon getting home was to get a shower, but I was so cold and tired that I climbed into my bed and got warm for about an hour. Then Pam helped me get a shower. How good it felt to have something more than a sponge bath. How good our bed felt. How quickly my appetite returned. Home is a great place to be with family to take care of me and spoil me, and this they did royally.
At the recommendation of several people that shaving all my hair off would be less traumatic, I had Richard give me a buzz cut. That night Laura took me to a class offered by the hospital to show how to apply makeup and tie scarves and wear hats and wigs. I volunteered to be the one they tried scarves and hats and wigs on. They gave me a makeup kit, several scarves and a black wig to take home with me. The wig made me look a lot like my mother. It was quite full, and I didn’t look quite like myself. Richard described it as looking like I was being attacked by a beast.
Pam was still here when Wesley flew in. While he was here we planned a temple trip and went wig shopping. At the first place we walked into we described to the man what my own hair was like. The third wig he brought out looked so much like me that we bought it on the spot. The next day we drove to the Boston temple. I took pillows and blankets and slept on the bench seat in the van on the way up and on the way back. During the session I opted not to stand when everyone else did, and was able to make it through the session. It felt very good to be back at the temple again. When I was not wearing my wig, I wore the many hats people brought me. One Sunday, the grandchildren and I had a blast trying on my hats.
Before Wesley left, Kim and Antonio, Melissa and Victoria came. I went to church that day. We arrived just before the meeting started. Richard and I got up and left during the closing prayer so that I would not have to spend time talking with anyone, since I did not yet feel physically or emotionally well enough. We celebrated Kim’s birthday while she was here, and had all the family who live close down for dinner. When Kim left she took Melissa back with her since the DMR had not found a place for her to go. Alvin came the first week in August. When he went home, I had a few days where the children who lived close by came and spent time with me.
My second chemo treatment was on Monday August 8th at the New Britain Hospital. Richard and I started a tradition of going to the hospital for breakfast before the chemo. They first gave me a bag of Zofran to prevent nausea. The next bag was Benadryl, and I got very sleepy, with my speech becoming slurred; so I sent Richard back to work with instructions to pick me up when it was completed. Tuesday and Wednesday, I felt pretty good. Guy, Maria and Sabrina flew in on Tuesday. By Wednesday night my bones in my legs were aching like I had the flu. I pretty much lay around Thursday and Friday taking naps, and not doing anything else but sleep. Guy had purchased tickets to a play for Friday, so I rested up so I would feel good enough to go. Saturday, Alex had a birthday party at Sears Park in East Hampton, so I rested up and went to it and sat in a chair the whole time, then came home and slept some more. I continued to attend Sacrament meeting each week, but left after talking to only a few people and went home for a nap. The day before Guy and Maria went home they spent time deep cleaning the house and helping to move Richard’s desk into what was Melissa’s room. We had purchased a desk for me that was delivered and set up. It had been determined that Jeff and Stacy would rent the three rooms in the basement from us, and help take care of me as I recovered. Much of the rest of August was spent going through things, putting away, throwing away, giving away and putting the rest in the garage to be sold at a tag sale, which we held the first weekend in September.
I had my last round of chemo on Halloween day. A friend had given me a colorful pair of striped pants with a blouse to match, and some wild slippers and a hat to go with it. Laura got me a clown wig, and I wore it to the hospital for my last chemo. The nurses gave me a certificate when they found out it was my last one. It said I had a sense of humor.
I went for six months and slowly regained my strength from the operation and the chemo, although I still had problems with neuropathy that often would keep me from sleeping well. My hair grew back and it was much thicker, and soft and curly. I took a picture of the top of my head. I thought I was recovering from the cancer.
In April I awoke with a sharp pain between my left leg and my stomach. After three days, it hadn’t gone away, but seemed to be branching out across my stomach, I called the doctor’s office and they suggested I come in for an examination. Dr. Hoffman discovered a growth, took blood work, and ordered a CT scan. We saw him the next week, and he suggested we start chemo right away, since the cancer was fast-growing. Because some of the cancer cells must have been unable to be killed completely by the drugs he gave me last time, he suggested giving me one of the prior drugs combined with a new kind called Gemzar. This treatment required that I be in town two weeks at a time, since one week I received Gemzar alone and the next week I received a combination of Gemzar and Carbo-Platinum. Because of this I had to cancel my trip to Utah to take care of Pam and the family when Lincoln was born. I regretted not being able to help her.
The side effects of this round of chemo have not been too bad. I realized that many of the symptoms I thought were nausea were really acid reflux. I have taken Zantac for that. Also the doctor gave me a prescription for Zymbalta to help with my neuropathy. It has worked wonders. I only take it when I feel that it is going to be more than I can handle. It takes care of the neuropathy very quickly.
I have Zofran and another medicine for nausea, and a sienna pill for preventing constipation. If I take the right pill for the right symptoms, I seem to get along well. I usually have two or three days a week that I am wiped out, unable to do very much. It is not too fun being tied to home two weeks in a row. I do have the third week to recover, and usually begin to feel pretty good by the time the chemo is set to resume. One time my blood platelets were too low, so I had an extra week off, which was really nice. After the third set of treatments, the doctor has ordered another CT scan to see how effective the treatments have been. Then he will determine what will be next. Laura planned a night out at the local glamour shots place, and we were made over and had our pictures taken to preserve the look of my hair. Then she purchased a coupon for Richard and me, and we went and had it done so we would have some nice pictures with my natural hair should I lose it again, although at present it doesn’t seem to be going (perhaps it is just getting a bit thinner). I took another picture two months after the other one. My hair has a little more salt and pepper to it than it did after the first picture.
Many blessings have come as a result of this illness. It has brought Richard and me and the family closer together. It has made it possible for Melissa to be taken care of by the DMR, which has taken a large load off us. The day I was diagnosed with cancer, Richard took me to the store and purchased me a laptop computer and told me he wanted me to spend whatever time I could doing genealogy. This I have been able to do. I have also been able to travel some of the time with Richard to his genealogy conferences. As a result, I have found information that has been most helpful to me in accomplishing some of my goals. Genealogical information has come as me almost faster than I can handle it. I have many projects that I want to complete while I am still alive, so I still have to live a long time.
“I bless thee with health and strength not only in body but in mind also to fill every call made of thee in the service of the Lord and to perform thy daily labors and duties. I bless thee against the powers of Lucifer that thou mayest bear up under all trials, temptations, disappointments and sorrows. In thine afflictions go before Our Father in Heaven in thy secret chamber he will hear and answer thy supplications and bless thee according to thy need and thy desires in righteousness.
I seal thee up to come forth in the morning of the first Resurrection, through thy faithfulness, crowned a Queen and a Priestess to the one who will be given unto thee of the Lord.” (Quoted from my Patriarchal Blessing).
In my later years I have read extensively from the book “Lectures on Faith.” It has given me much to think about and has helped me understand the power of faith. I have been trying to strengthen my faith. There are three things it mentions we need in order to have effectual faith.
First, we need knowledge that God and Jesus Christ live. This I have. I have been gaining that knowledge line upon line, precept on precept, throughout my life. I know they are in charge of what happens in our lives when we turn our lives over to them and desire to do what they would have us do.
Second, we need an accurate knowledge of the true attributes of God and Christ. I believe that this is one of the reasons that we are constantly instructed to read the scriptures, as they tell us of God and Christ’s attributes and characteristics. Once we know them we can try to become like them, and we also know that we can rely on them not to change.
Third, we must know that the path we are taking is the path that God would have us take. This can be accomplished through sacrificing and doing the things we are asked to do until we can receive the witness that we are indeed going on the path he desires.
If we have this kind of faith we can accomplish any righteous desire we might have. I believe I am beginning to understand ever so minutely what this is all about. I hope that before I leave this earth life I will have developed the kind of faith it will take to receive exaltation.
As Glenda’s condition gradually worsened, and it became apparent that she would probably not survive much longer, her greatest desire was to be with her family. It had been many years since all of her children and grandchildren had been together. Richard planned a family reunion for the week beginning on Glenda’s birthday, October 12, 2006.
It looked as though Glenda might not be well enough to participate fully in the reunion, but as the event approached, she gathered her strength and rallied. To those of us who had not seen her poor condition during the week before the reunion, she seemed almost healthy again. To the rest of the family, her strength at the reunion was a minor miracle.
All of the children and grandchildren came to the reunion and spent a happy week together. Glenda was able to be part of all of the events.
Another of Glenda’s greatest desires was to have a picture taken with her husband and all of her children and grandchildren. During the week we spent together in October, the picture was finally taken.
Everyone said their goodbyes at the end of the reunion, not sure if we would ever see our mother and grandmother again.
A few weeks later, Dad called and told us that Mom was weakening and probably would not survive very many more days. All of her children again met at her side and spent another wonderful weekend together, singing, praying, and saying goodbye again. We shared the sacrament with her, and she shared her testimony of the Gospel with us. She rallied again. By the end of the weekend she was up and about, practically running around the house. She was doing so well that we all assumed the end was in a more distant future. Again we said our goodbyes and rushed off to our work and homes.
Most of us gathered again for a third time in November to be with Mom. This time she did not rally. She slipped into unconsciousness shortly after we arrived, and spent the next few days unable to respond to us, never regaining consciousness. We sat with her and spent the last few nights together at her bedside as she gradually slipped away.
Finally, on November 20, 2006, in the early afternoon, she breathed her last breathe. That afternoon she was taken to the mortuary. After the funeral, a few days later, her body was flown to Utah to be buried close to her parents in Oasis, Utah. She was home again.[i]
[i] Vital Records, Cemetery, Obituary Sources: Birth Certificate: Glenda Joyce Memmott, Birth Certificate, State File No. 311, Registrar’s No. 115 (October 12, 1943), Utah Department of Health, Office of Vital Records & Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah. Marriage License: Richard Evan Black and Glenda Joyce Memmott, Marriage License No. 159658, Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office, Salt Lake City, Utah. Death Certificate: Glenda Joyce Black, Death Certificate No. Unknown (2006), State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health. Grave Location and Cemetery Directions: Grave and headstone are located in the Oasis Cemetery, Oasis, Millard County, Utah. To get to cemetery, turn south on Center Street in Delta, Utah, then right at 200 South, then left at 100 West, then right at 2500 South, then left onto Oasis Road (just before the railroad tracks), then left at 2000 West (cemetery sign), then left at 3500 South (another cemetery sign), then another left at the next cemetery sign. The cemetery is at the end of the road. Glenda’s grave is close to the road on the south side of the cemetery. Obituaries: Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 23, 2006. Middletown Press, Middletown, Connecticut, Nov. 22, 2006, p. 13. Obituaries were also printed in the following: Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, Nov. 22, 2006, p. B7 and Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, UtahNov. 23, 2006. An obituary was also printed in the local Delta, Utah newspaper.