Autobiographical sketch, by Lillie Ingaborg Jensen Memmott. Minor editing added by Guy L. Black.
Surrounded by blue mountains in the background, and white rolling sand hills close by, is nestled a small farming district called Christianberg, Utah. In one of these ranch houses I was born on a beautiful spring evening, 12 May 1899. This ranching district lies between Mayfield and Gunnison, Utah. I am the sixth child of Jens Peter Jensen and Inga Lisa Johannesson Jensen.
It was late in the evening of a spring Friday night that I opened my eyes into this new earth home. My father had to take the midwife back to Gunnison, Utah. While he was gone, a cold wind came up. The window at the foot of Mother’s bed was open. Mother tried to wake the hired girl, but couldn’t. She took a chill, which followed her all through her life.
I had brown eyes and brown hair. I was a plump baby, which I never outgrew. Mother said I was admired by many people.
The home I was born in was made of adobe. It was small, but very homey and comfortable—my mother saw to that. The farm on which this house stood was a large farm and cattle ranch, operated by my father and hired help.
When I was but a few days old, my oldest brother, William, went down to the San Pitch River, which ran in back of our yard. There he picked a large bouquet of water lilies and brought them to Mother, who was ill in bed. He stated he wanted to name the new baby after those water lilies. That is how I got my first name, Lillie.
Mother took care of three Swedish girls on the ship to America. They wouldn’t let girls under eighteen travel alone on a ship to a new country unless they had a guardian, so Mother was appointed to be their guardian while on the ship. One of those girls was name Ingaborg. She was very good to Mother. Mother told her if she ever got another daughter she would name the daughter after her, because she had been so good to care for Mother when she was so seasick. I was the next girl Mother had, so I got the name of Ingaborg.
When I was about three years old, I came up missing one day. Father was irrigating the farm. He came home for dinner, and when he left to go back to the farm, I followed him without him knowing it. As he could walk faster that me, he was soon out of sight. I kept walking until I came to the San Pitch River, which ran through the farm. I got one of my hair braids caught in a sage brush, so I could go no farther.
Mother missed me shortly after Father left. She hunted all over the yard for me, and then she heard me screaming. She said I was screaming at the top of my voice because I couldn’t get my hair braid loose. Mother ran towards the sound and found me on the bank of the river. If I hadn’t caught my hair on the brush, I would probably have drowned. She unfastened my hair and thanked God for my safety.
My brother Edwin was also born at this place. Mother said it was an enjoyable place to live. There were many trees shading the house.
The railroad track was about ¼ mile from the house. Many tramps came and asked for food. Mother always fed them. Twice she was visited by two mean-looking characters.
One day about 11:00 a.m., a knock came at her door. Mother opened the door. A cruel-looking man stood there. A pistol hung from his belt. Mother was frightened as there were no men around.
He asked her in a most ignorant way to hurry and get him something to eat. She hurriedly fried meat and eggs, made coffee, and set the table for him. While she was preparing the meal, he, without asking, went to the wash basin, washed his face and hands, and combed his hair with our family comb.
He was seated at the table before Mother had the food ready. Mother said when she placed the platter of meat and eggs on the table, he grabbed the platter, dumped all of it on his plate, and ate like an animal. He called for three cups of coffee.
When he got through eating, he picked up his dirty hat, slumped out of the house, and started back to the railroad tracks. Mother had been so afraid he would harm the children or her; but evidently all he cared about was food (for which she was grateful).
One morning at 4:00 a.m., a tramp knocked on our bedroom window. He wanted to get in and get warm. Father got up and let him in. Mother cooked a good breakfast. He ate with them, then went in on the couch and slept.
Father had to haul a load of hay to Manti that day, so when he got ready to leave, he woke the guy and asked him if he could give him a lift to Manti. The man went with him, but after they had traveled four miles, he wanted Father to stop and let him off.
Father asked him what he planned to do. He answered he had just changed his mind about going North. He wanted to go back the way he had come.
Father really got worried. He was afraid the tramp would go back where Mother was, as he knew she was alone with her small children; but he didn’t go back there.
I walked when I was eleven month’s old. I talked when I was about twenty months. My first memory of Santa Clause coming into our home was at the age of three years. I screamed with fright, but Daddy held me close in his arms; then everything was fine. My favorite toys were spoons, spools, potato mashers, clothes pins, etc.
I enjoyed sitting on Mother’s lap while she milked the cows. It was a real treat to watch the big cows while Mother pressed a stream of white milk from them.
When I was five years old we moved from Christianberg to a small farm in Gunnison, Utah, which Father had bought. The house was five miles from Gunnison town and one mile from Gunnison Depot. I really liked that place. I had a lot of fun while living there. Father built a granary, stables, corrals, and a large fruit cellar.
Mother made the four-bedroom house nice and cozy to live in. She made the loft into a nice bedroom for the boys. Hulda and I slept downstairs in one bedroom, and Father and Mother slept in the other bedroom. The rooms consisted of a large living room, large kitchen, two bedrooms downstairs, and two small bedrooms upstairs. Altogether, with the upstairs and downstairs, there were seven doors, and eight windows facing in three directions: East, West, and North.
Our heat was supplied from wood stoves. We cooked on a range stove. Our lighting was by coal oil lamps.
The furniture was quite nice. Father bought an overstuffed sofa, six plush-cushioned chairs, and a new organ (which Hulda played at the time).
We had nice home-spun carpets, padded with fresh straw from our straw stacks. We also had a nice table and chair set in the living room. That was our nice room, as Mother called it. We had to be very careful when we were in there so it would be kept looking nice.
In the kitchen we had new linoleum, a cupboard, table and chairs, a wash stand, and a large brown barrel or bin of flour, in which Father stored our winter’s supply of flour.
Every spring and fall Mother would have us lift out our bed straw ticks. We would empty the straw and refill them with fresh straw from the straw stacks. My, it felt good to lie on those fresh straw ticks. Mattresses were unheard of in those days.
Dad brought home a beautiful red hassock. I laid claim on it. Every time we gathered in our front room, I would go for the hassock. No one else could sit on it (selfish).
One day we were all alarmed, as the well from which we drew our water caved in. None of the men dared to get up on the box platform and get the pulley out of the rope. So Mother, who was pregnant with Harold, got up on that shaky platform, which swayed back and forth, and unfastened the pulley and unfastened the rope. I’ll never forget how frightened I was to see my Mother up there swaying back and forth with the walls of the well all caved in—but that’s my Mom. She never gave up until she accomplished what she set out to do. Oh, how I prayed for the Lord to protect her, and He did.
Out on our road, bushes and bushes of goldenrod flowers were growing. It was so pretty while they were in bloom. Mother would take us for a hike after the evening meal. As we walked up the road she sang a song about the goldenrod. It was so pretty. It was so pretty in the evening sun.
In those days they held Danish meetings in the homes of the Danish people. Many Sunday mornings they met at our house and held their meetings in Danish. I really enjoyed those meetings. I was then able to understand the Danish language, as we always talked Danish until we started school. Father and Mother talked Danish, so that is what we learned.
Mother would clean the house, the older ones would go to Sunday School in Gunnison Ward, and the smaller ones would stay home and attend Danish meetings. Mother said if we would be quiet we could stay in the room where they held the meeting. We promised to be quiet, and we were.
Mother put a clean starched dress on me and combed my hair very neat in long braids, with pretty hair ribbons tied at the end of each braid. I always managed to possess the red velvet hassock. I got to thinking it was really mine. I even had to kneel by it when I said my night prayers before going to bed. My brothers didn’t seem to care for it, so I had full rights.
It seems I was full of mischief, but I meant only good by it. Mother had some little chicks. I thought a lot of them. One night in October it turned really cold about sundown. I thought I would be good to those little chicks so they wouldn’t freeze. I took them one by one and put them in the tool box in the mower machine and closed the lid down, thinking they would stay nice and warm there until morning, when I would take them out again.
Several days went by before I thought of them. Edwin, Arthur, Harold, and I held a funeral for them. We sang the loneliest songs we could make up. We gathered wild flowers, weeds, and whatever was handy, and put them on their graves. We went all out and buried them in real style. We shed tears. Of course, that wasn’t hard for me to do, as I had caused their deaths. I really felt badly.
Every cat, dog, bird, or whatever died in the animal family, we kids held a funeral for each. Our yard back of the corral was a big cemetery. These funerals were quite an event during our childhood days. No wonder I hate funerals now. I had too many to worry about in my childhood.
We kids had to make our own fun. After our evening meal, which was always before sundown, we would play train. We gathered on the lawn and chose one of use to be the engine. The rest of us would get behind the engine as cars. We would follow the engine down the dirt road. As we went along we would all say, “Tuca, Tuca,” pretending to make a train noise.
When we got to a turn in the road, we would all stop; then the one in back of the engine would take his turn to be the engine—until every one had a turn. We would travel for miles. We had dirt roads and very little traffic, as no cars existed then. So we were safe. We would be so very tired when we got home. Childhood days in the country were happy days.
One day, when we lived at this place, my father let my brother Ed and I ride in the wagon with him up the road, where he was putting in a new fence. A roll of barbed wired was in the wagon with us. Father had a young colt hitched to the wagon, which he was trying to break.
A man came by in a wagon and stopped and talked to Father. When he got ready to leave, he yelled, “get up” in a loud voice. Father’s horses ran down the road (spooked). Edwin and I were sitting in the back of the wagon, and the bolt of barbed wire was dancing all around us.
The horses ran until they came to our gate, and then turned into our yard. Mother came running out from the house and tried to stop them, but couldn’t. They didn’t stop until their feet landed in the manger in the stable.
I was crying because I had lost the beautiful bonnet Mother had made me. I thought more of that bonnet than anything I owned. Someone in the family ran back up the road and brought back my wonderful bonnet, and then I stopped crying. That was a swift and scary ride.
I remember we had so many cows to milk. Mother would be out every evening with a baby on her lap, sitting on a stool and milking cows.
From this place we moved to Parker’s Ranch, west of Centerfield, Utah. That was a large farm, so father hired two or three men to help in the fields, and a girl to help mother in the kitchen to cook for the men. Her name was Esther Follett, and she later married my oldest brother, William.
For the 4th of July, Esther and my sister, Hulda, bought enough material to make them each a new dress. The material was a pretty yellow background crepe with a small blue flower in it. It was very dainty and pretty.
They sewed their dresses and had them all ready to wear for the 4th the next morning. The evening before they were to wear them, I opened the clothes closet door, and saw those two beautiful dresses hanging there. I had my scissors ready, and cut a generous piece out of Hulda’s skirt, to make me a doll dress; then I ran upstairs and hid it under my bed.
The next morning the girls went to dress for the celebration. Hulda came screaming into the kitchen where Mother and I were. She was carrying the dress. They all knew who the guilty party was. So did I, after a powerful whipping I got from Dad, and also a good one from my mother. The worst part was that it hurt me to see poor Hulda crying and feeling so bad because she could not go with Esther and celebrate, as she had planned so much to do. I felt bad then. I was six years old and should have known better; but I thought my doll sure would enjoy a dress like that too, and there was so much material in the skirt.
One day, my brother Harold came up missing. We had a large irrigation ditch in front of our house. We all thought he was in the ditch, so it was raked and raked. I ran towards the corral. I planned to go to the field and get my Dad.
When I got to the corral, there was Harold, our year-old toddler, kneeling, looking down into the well from which the men watered their stock. I sneaked up behind him and grabbed him.
Mother was so happy to see her baby alive. We were all so thankful for his safety. Father remembered after that day to put the lid back down on that watering well.
One day, Mother left me to watch my three younger brothers, while she and Hulda went to Gunnison to shop. I was around eight or nine years old. After they left it began to rain. It thundered, and the lightning flashed. It scared us kids nearly to death.
I told my brothers to kneel down with me and we would pray. So we prayed. Shortly after, the storm was over and the sun was shining, and we were happy because our prayers had been answered.
We had a neighbor living across the field. They had a girl my age. We became good pals. After I married and moved to Scipio, Utah, I found she had also married a Scipio man and was living there; so we renewed our friendship.
I went to Centerfield public school from Parker’s Ranch. The schoolhouse was on the same lot as the church house. I went to religion class after school once a week. I learned a lot in this organization, and loved the classed very much. This class was something like Primary. We had only one teacher, however, to teach all the children of different ages; but she was a good teacher, and the class was good. She was a faithful teacher.
While I lived on Parker’s Ranch, I got red measles. At the same time I had an infection in my finger. I was really sick for a while. Nothing helped the infection in my finger until one night father came in with some tobacco and put it on thick over the wound, and bandaged it up good. The next morning it was nearly healed, so he bathed it and put more on. In a day or so after, it was healed. While I was so ill, Mother moved me out in the living room on the couch. This was much cozier as I had the family around me.
We only had one Christmas at this place, but it was a happy one. We children were very happy and thankful for what we got, which consisted of a bush bowl full of hard-tack candy.
That night, Mother put a large milk pan full of candy on the table, and our hired man, who had a sense of humor, danced around the table singing a Danish song which we all understood. It had reference to the pan of candy, how he was going to enjoy himself over that pan of candy. It was so much fun for us small kids to see him act so silly. He really could act it out. He was out to entertain, and that he really did.
We had one hired man who cried when he left our Ranch. He was seventeen years old. He told Mother he thought as much of her as he did his own mother. He also had quite a case on my sister Hulda, who was sixteen. He was a very good boy. His name was Gilbert Jansen.
We moved from this place to a brick home in Centerfield, Utah. We lived just one-half mile from the school, the church, a store and the post office. I was baptized while we lived here. Father and Mother took me to the Manti Temple, and I was baptized there April 14, 1908. We traveled from Centerfield by horse and buggy. I was a thrilling experience I shall never forget.
After we left the temple, we went to visit some of my father and mother’s old acquaintances. They drank coffee, as did my folks at that time. The lady placed a cup of black coffee by my plate. It was really a great temptation, as my folks had let me drink coffee everyday up until that day. I pushed the cup away.
The lady noticed it, and asked if I didn’t like coffee. I told her I had just been baptized and I had quit drinking it. She smiled and brought me a glass of cold milk and said I was a good girl. I never touched coffee after my baptism.
From this place we moved to a small home my father bought. Later a cemetery was started right by the fence of our home. Today in this cemetery lie my sister Hulda, her husband Niels, my oldest brother, William, and William’s children.
After the move, we lived about three miles from town. I walked to town from home, and enjoyed the walk. Our home was a small, three-room adobe house. We walked everywhere we went. We had no other transportation.
One night, just before sundown, Mother sent me to the store to get groceries. On my way home I lost the box of yeast cakes. I went back but couldn’t find them. It was getting dark, and I was getting further away from home.
I kneeled down right on dusty, dirt road and prayed for the Lord to help me find them. When I opened my eyes, there laid the box of yeast cakes right before me in the road. I had looked that area over before I prayed, but could not see any yeast cake package. I grabbed it and ran for home. I knew my prayer had again been answered in a most marvelous way. I felt like I had a Friend who could hear me and help me when I needed him: My Everlasting Friend.
I was in a school play when I lived here. I had to have a green dress and red slippers. I really thought I was pretty in this outfit. Niels was courting Hulda at this time. He sure liked to tease me. I was twelve years old. I remember Hulda would play the organ and sing for Niels. The song she sang was “I once did know a dark complicated boy; all my thoughts were bent on him.” He was dark, so it was a really encouraging song for him.
One night William, who lived one-fourth of a mile from us, dropped in to see us. We didn’t know he and his wife, Esther, had been quarreling when he came in and brought his mandolin with him. Hulda said she would play the organ if he would play his mandolin.
Father brought out his accordion, and Kimball brought out his harmonica. They all played and we sang and were having a very good program going.
When we stopped playing and singing we heard terrible screams outside. Father and William ran out to see who it was. Across our narrow foot bridge laid Esther screaming to the top of her voice. William asked if she was hurt. She jumped up and came at him like one possessed. He tried to quiet her down. Father and Mother invited her to come into the house, but she wouldn’t come, so William took her home. Just another family squabble.
One day while Niels was at our place, Arthur and Harold were playing at the wood pile with the axe. By accident, Arthur cut Harold in the head with the axe. It looked like he would bleed to death. Mother took him in the house and washed the wound. She poured consecrated oil on it and prayer over him.
Every few hours she poured more oil on the wound. In a week it was healed. It was a terrible, deep cut. Mother always had a lot of faith in consecrated oil and in her Heavenly Father. She was an outstanding and faithful Mother, who we all loved and admired.
Sometimes Mother would let us walk from Centerfield to Gunnison to shop. I would say it was about four miles. We thought this was fun. Gunnison had larger and better stores than Centerfield.
One day Hulda bought a pretty cream pitcher and sugar bowl for Mother’s birthday. I thought it was the prettiest set I had ever seen. I used to go picking blueberries with Hulda for jelly making. They were large red berries and really made good jelly. Then there were ground cherries growing wild in the ground. They made the best jam.
It was lonely for me when Hulda got married. She was my only sister. We were close, only she was seven years older than me. A circus came to Centerfield and was there two weeks. A friend of mine, Katie May Curtis, and I would stay after school and watch around. We never had money so we couldn’t ride the merry-go-round; but we would stay and listen to the pretty music it played: “Come take a trip in my airship and visit the man in the moon.”
A Danish girl came with her parents from Denmark to live in Centerfield. She talked Danish in school. We laughed and thought it was funny to hear her talk. I must have forgotten how I had been teased when I started school, because I talked Danish. Like her, I had to learn from scratch to speak English. Our teacher would get after us when we laughed. She told us it wasn’t very kind because it made her feel real bad. It didn’t take long for her to read the letters and learn to speak fluent English.
One day I was in Fjieldsted Store with Lillian Woolsey. It was just before Christmas. Many dolls were on display. Lillian took a rubber doll and placed it inside her blouse. She knew I had seen her do it. So when we got outside, she made me cross my heart that I would never tell anyone. She told me if I ever told anyone, I would die.
When I got home I told my mother, then said, “Now I’ll die,” and began to cry. Mother said, “Of course you won’t die. Now you are never to associate with that girl again.” I never did.
Mother and I joined the Centerfield Choir when I was twelve years old. I attended Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting every Sunday. I would bear my testimony every fast day, either in Sunday School class or Sacrament Meeting. The older people would come and praise me after Church. Mother and I walked two miles every Thursday to singing practice. We had no other way to get there but walk.
One day as we were walking to Sacrament Meeting, held at 2:00 p.m., some girls my age, who never went to Church, hailed us. They were playing at the Christensen home. When they saw me coming they came out on the walks, and wanted me to stay and play with them.
They were a bunch of girls who never went to Church. They swore and picked quarrels with girls. I told them I would rather go to Church. They followed Mother and me for several blocks, calling out, “Mother’s little angel.” I never liked those girls, and after that I liked them even less.
They always picked on poor Lucy, so they could hear her mother come out and scold them; then they would say nasty things back at Lucy’s mother, and I would feel embarrassed just to be walking home from school with them. I tried to get ahead of them to get home before they did; but when they saw me ahead, they always ran to catch up with me. Their folks never went to Church and neither did they.
While we lived in this place in Centerfield, I read of lot in the Book of Mormon. I enjoyed reading about Nephi and his great faith. He was my hero. He had great faith, and was always obedient to God and his parents.
Father and Mother worked a lot in the Manti Temple while we lived here. One Sunday morning, as we were getting ready for Sunday School, a man came to our door. He was a preacher of some kind. He tried hard to convert Mother to his faith. My mother said, “We are on our way to our church, would you mind leaving so we won’t be late?” He got up, but said, “I feel so sorry for all of you.”
While we lived here, Hulda got married to Niels P. Nielsen in the Manti Temple. After her marriage she lived about one mile from our place. Some nights, Niels would be out all night irrigating his farm; so Hulda would have me sleep with her. I liked to stay at her house. Everything she had in her house was new and pretty.
From the Centerfield school I received a book entitled “What is Sweeter than Honey.” I was in the fourth grade and I received it for not being absent or tardy for the year. I loved my teacher and I loved school. We would take our lunch from home, and when it was noon hour, we would congregate on a big wood pile which supplied heat for both church and school.
While I was in this school, our teacher, Miss Parshall, taught us to sing a song for the benefit of students who came in late for school. The song went like this, “Oh, you’ve come baby calfie. How you got here I don’t see. Seems to me you are so lazy, that at home you might yet be.” The last day of school this teacher was late, so we kids decided to sing the song to her when she came in late. Well, you never saw such a mad woman in your life. She wasn’t no sport at all.
I had girl friends. We played house in Father’s buggy shed. We kids always went to religion class, which was held right after school.
One day at religion class we had a Brother William Martin visit us from Salt Lake. He preached to us to always be thankful for all God gives us. Then, without warning, he pointed to me and said, “You know, so many people just don’t know how to pray. You come up here and say a prayer on the food.” There wasn’t any food.
Well, I was scared, but I got up and stood by him. I bowed my head and said, “Father in Heaven, bless the food, that it may give us strength to serve thee.” Then I closed in Jesus’ name. I had forgotten to say thanks for the food, and oh how he riled me for it. He really told me off for being so unappreciative. Ever since then I have said thank you; and if I ever hear a prayer on the food where they don’t thank God for it, I really notice it.
One day after school, some girls picked on me and made me crazy. I ran around back of the church house to get away from them. They followed me, and teased me. One girl came up and struck me hard. A kind old man who was the janitor called me over to him. He put his arm around me and gave me some Easter egg candles. He told me the girls should be ashamed of themselves. They left and didn’t bother me any more.
A family by the name of Westover moved into Centerfield. They had a large family of girls. I chased around with two of those lovely girls, Glenna and Vadis. Glenna took sick and died. Vladis married a fine boy from Centerfield later. These girls told me one day as we walked home from school that when I saw a white horse and would stamp it by putting my finger to my mouth, wetting it, then stamp it in my left hand, it would always bring me money. They always did it and would find a nickel or dime; so I tried it. It has brought me money ever since. My family laughs at me; they think I’m queer; but I get money, so I don’t care if they do laugh at me.
I had two more friends that died. Olive Larsen died of a twisted intestine. Dagna Jensen died of Diphtheria. Both were twelve years old, like I was. We, their school class, had to march in front of the caskets as flower girls at their funerals.
As I grew older, I always had my chores around home. I washed dishes, tended Harold, took my turn bringing in the wood and kindling for the next morning, and chased to the store when mother needed anything (which was a two or three mile walk, no matter where we lived).
Mother always had three good meals every day for us, and a warm, clean bed for us to sleep in. Our hair was always combed early in the morning, school or no school.
My parents used to take us to Mayfield in a wagon to visit our friends. We would play hard and always had lots of fun. About ten o’clock at night we would all be bundled up in the wagon to start home to Gunnison, Utah. These girls at Mayfield had a cute playhouse on the bank of a shaded river running through their yard. There were trees on both sides of the river. It was so shady.
Father and Mother would take us to Gunnison Reservoir to fish. This was so much fun. It seems like in those days there was more time to visit or go on trips. I attended school four different places, first Johnstown, a school between Centerfield and Gunnison. When we moved southwest of Centerfield, I attended Centerfield’s school in the old school house. Later they built a new school, so I got to go there too. I attended third and fourth grades in that building; then we moved to Gunnison and I attended the rest of grades there. In those days we didn’t have much chance of attending High School, which I would have loved.
I loved school, and would cry if I had to miss a day. Father used to say he wished the boys were like that. They would be overjoyed to get to stay home. Many mornings when a big snow was on, I would trudge through it five miles to school, while the boys remained at home (it was tough for them). My parents weren’t too persistent to have them go; but nothing kept me home, although I had shoes that leaked terribly. I always had wet feet. That may be why I suffer now with arthritis.
When I was in the fourth grade, I went every day and had wet feet all day long. Mother would try hard to keep me home, but I wanted my schooling. I am glad now I did, because I never got a chance to go to High School.
Every Valentines Day, sure as clock work, I would get a valentine from a boy named Hugh Lund. He was the only boy who ever gave me one. After I moved to Gunnison, I fell madly in love with my Sunday School teacher. He was twenty-six years old and unmarried, and I was fifteen.
After we moved to Gunnison, my brothers owned a sleigh. We went sleigh riding a lot. Sometimes the sleigh would spill us over. We would jump up and start all over again.
One night I went to a surprise party at Tilithy Snow’s home. When it was over, I had to walk home alone about a mile, and it was pitch dark. Between the girl’s home and my home was a deserted place. There was a large corral close to the street. People said the place was haunted, that a man had killed himself there. I had to pass that place, and I ran. I made it home, but I was very frightened. I was around fourteen years old.
Many times our home was filled with music. Father played his accordion; William played his mandolin; Hulda played the organ; and Kimball played the harmonica. We would sing together and Mother would tell Bible stories. We always had family prayer, and at bedtime each child said a prayer when they were small. I read the Book of Mormon twice and the Bible once before I was married.
In Gunnison we lived out five miles from town. Before we moved from Centerfield to Gunnison, Mother was busy bottling fruit, so we children told Mother we would clean the house. My three younger brothers and I went there and cleaned the house. We washed the ceilings, walls, woodwork, and floors. I was fifteen, Edwin was thirteen, Arthur was eleven, and Harold was nine years old.
The first night after we moved there, a group of Indians camped in our yard. They wouldn’t leave, so we had visitors all night in our yard. My Father was in MillardCounty selling Rawleigh goods, but Kimball and Henry were home. They were grown boys, but we still worried because we had no locks on the doors. That night, before dark, the Indians bought hay for their horses and milk for their supper. The next day they left. They were friendly Indians, and paid for what they got.
There were a lot of tramps and hobos who went there for handouts, and Mother fed them all. We had a large orchard, and I liked to sit out there under the trees and read or do embroidery in the shade of the trees.
In Gunnison I made two grades in one term. I went from the fifth to the sixth grade at Christmas, and from the sixth to the seventh grades at the end of term in the spring. When I got in the eighth grade I had a sour puss teacher, Mr. Rasmussen of Ephraim, called Ira. No one liked him.
I was asked to be a Primary secretary when I was living in Gunnison. I was nearly sixteen years old. That was an experience I really enjoyed.
One night, while living in Gunnison, we had a bad electrical storm. Kimball was sitting on the couch and playing his harmonica. Mother and I were doing the dishes when a loud crash was heard. It deafened and frightened all of us. A large hole was left in the wall where the phone had been; and the phone was lying on the floor. Lighting had struck and knocked out the wall and phone.
My three younger brothers and I walked to school and every day, rain or shine. We had many cold blizzards to travel in. We had to cross the San Pitch River on a narrow, sagging bridge; which would always go way under the water as we stepped on it. We always got our feet wet, and they stayed wet all day at school. We were really glad when we got safely across, especially in the Spring when the waters were so high.
That river was a nightmare to me. We lived nearly on its bank. I was so afraid of the roaring water when it would rise in the Spring. In the night it roared so loud I didn’t dare go to sleep for fear we would be flooded before morning. I still remember my fright.
There was a man by the name of Peterson from Manti. He and his young wife took over a nice café, and they hired me to work for them for a while. They were a nice couple, just married. He had just come off a mission. I was sixteen years old. They lived in a small apartment adjoining the café. They had two small bedrooms. They occupied one. I slept in the other.
One evening they wanted to go to a mutual party. Brother Peterson asked me if I could take care of the patrons and cook their food. I said, “Yes, I can; and I feel real good about you trusting me to do it.”
Everything went fine until around 10:00 p.m. when a man came into the café. He looked like a real business man. There were about ten or twelve people in the café eating. The man seated himself at a table. I walked to the table and asked for his order. In those days they didn’t pass out menus to choose from like they do today.
Well, this man said, “I’ll take a bowl of oyster soup.” I walked into the kitchen and wished so much the Petersons were there. No one but my own poor self was there to cook a bowl of oyster soup, which I didn’t know the first thing about.
Guess what I did? I kneed right down on that kitchen floor and asked Heavenly Father to show me how to prepare that soup. I was begging and crying so hard for help. Well, I really got help. When I got on my feet it popped into my head to take a cup of milk, season it with salt and pepper, put into it a well beaten egg, crumb up a few soda crackers in it, then open a can of oysters and dip them into the bowl mixture with a fork and place them in a fry pan in hot grease to brown. Not too hot and not too much grease. Then add one cup of milk with the remaining milk mixture and put the fried oysters in the milk.
I did this; I poured it into a large bowl and walked into the café with it and a bowl of soda crackers. He thanked me and I left, sure hoping it was okay by him.
When I came to get the empty dishes, he smiled at me and said, “Miss, that was the best oyster soup I’ve ever tasted.” I felt like telling him it was the Lord’s recipe.
After he was gone, I picked up the empty bowl; and there under the bowl was a $1.00 bill, my tip. I felt so happy. I was so thankful my prayers had been heard and answered at that time, and in such a way to please the man. I know God is close and hears the prayers of his humble children. I was extremely humble in my petition to God that night.
When the Petersons came home, I told them of my experience. They said to me, “We are so proud of you Miss Jensen, to know what source to take when a problem confronts you.” Then they said they had done the very same thing many times in their lives. They were so faithful and so understanding that I dared to confide in them.
God lives. He hears us when we ask in faith. We should be so thankful to have such a kind, understanding Father to rely on when we need Him. When I went to bed that night, I thanked Him again for his kind help and his care over me. This took place in Gunnison, Utah in 1916.
When we lived in Gunnison, William, my oldest brother, left his wife. He was sick with Diabetes, and his wife didn’t stay home to care for him. He came home and lived with us. His wife was stepping out, and then sued for divorce. She was shortly married after the divorce. When he died he went into a coma. Mother and I were alone with him when he died.
The night before he died, Mother was tucking him in when he looked towards the wall and said, “There is death. He got Tom Kearns last night. Now he wants me.” Mother looked at the wall, and then said: “Oh, that is just my shadow on the wall.” The next morning Father went to Gunnison to do some shopping. William died before he got back. When Father came home he said, “Tom Kearns died last night.”
While Father was in Gunnison, Mother made a large bowl of red mush, a Danish dish William liked. It was his favorite dish. Mother said to me, “We’ll have it ready for your brother when he wakes up.”
Father drove back to Gunnison to get the doctor to see if William was really dead. The doctor came and pronounced him dead. He brought a barber along to shave William. The doctor said he had been looking for William to die for a long time.
William died the day after Thanksgiving. It was so hard on my poor Mother. The day of his funeral we were just leaving our place with his body when a tramp came to the door and asked for a handout. Mother said, “I can’t take time to get you anything now, but go in and help yourself to what food you can find.” The tramp thanked her and told her he felt sorry for her. He appeared to be a very kind man.
Many times when my brothers and I would walk to school we would nearly freeze to death. It was so much colder then than I have ever seen since.
When I graduated, we held our graduation exercises at Moroni, Utah. We attended a nice program in the forenoon, and then the students from Moroni invited the students from out of town to eat dinner at their homes. We and two girls from Fairview had a lovely chicken dinner at one of the girl’s homes. In the afternoon there were horse races, ballgame, etc. At night, they had a dance for the graduates. After the dance we drove in cars back to Gunnison, with a diploma in our possession. In those days we were proud of a diploma from eighth grade; just as proud as anyone is today for a college diploma.
I had two lovely girl friends in Gunnison. I spent many happy hours in their homes. Their names were Elvirda Madsen and Isabel Janson. I slept in either home when I attended school parties or Mutual socials. I lived five miles out of town and had no transportation. Isabel’s mom said she wouldn’t let Isabel run around with any girl but me. I was so glad and proud to have Isabel for a friend. Her parents were such good people from Sweden. Isabel moved North when I moved to Holden, so we kept in touch by mail. She taught school, but died while teaching. She lived in Tremonton, Utah. Elvirda married out of the temple before I left for Holden. She had a crippled girl. Later she married a temple worker from the Salt Lake Temple and has been sealed to him. They came to see me one Sunday afternoon while they lived here. Now they live back East.
In Gunnison, I would ride with Father and the boys when they rode to Priesthood Meetings on Sunday mornings; then I would sit in the buggy until Sunday School time and read scriptures. After Sunday School, we would all ride back home. I loved to give the two and half minute talks, or the prayer. My mother taught me to be obedient in whatever I was asked to do. I wanted to get in the Celestial glory. I think that because I obeyed and listened to my parents, and the teachings they gave me, I may be going in the right direction.
In my father’s home I saw the sick healed many times through faith, and also in my own home after marriage. I saw the sick healed through faith, prayer and administration. I know He lives. I have had my prayers answered so many times. I know that God can and does hear our prayers. I can bear witness He does hear our prayers. He is very much concerned over each of us. He is happy to favor us, if we will keep His commandments. I saw my father healed through faith and prayers. He was a man so full of faith; we marveled at it. He knew he could be healed if he could get to the Temple, and get a blessing there. He did go and he was healed. I saw my two older brothers carry him out to the buggy, and get him in the buggy. Mother drove him from Gunnison to the MantiTemple, six miles from where we lived.
Mother said when she got to the Temple she had father hold the lines while she went into the Temple to get an ordinance worker to come out and carry father into the Temple. When they carried him in, one of the workers, who knew father, said, “Brother Jensen, you can never be healed.” My father turned to him and said, “I have come here to be healed, and don’t you weaken my faith.”
The men carried father into a side room, seated him in a chair, and then administered to him. As soon as they took their hands off, he got up and walked out of the room, which he hadn’t done for months. When we children saw the buggy coming down the road, we ran to meet our parents. When they drove into the yard and stopped, my father got out of the buggy and started to unhitch the horse. We all stood amazed. We couldn’t believe what we saw. Father never had any more trouble with a hernia, and he lived thirty years after that, a perfectly healthy man. I have seen many healings in my life, which have increased my faith. Alma says, “inasmuch as you shall put your trust in God, even insomuch as you shall be delivered out of your trials, your troubles and afflictions and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” Alma 38:5. Many great things are wrought through prayer. The prayers of the faithful availeth much. Prayer and faith are the two great factors we need in life to make our lives successful. When I was a girl I always wanted my father to bless me when I was sick, because I always got well. He had strong faith. He also had the power of healing. I am so thankful for the great faith of both my parents. They were stalwarts in their beliefs. As a daughter, I value the faith and inspiration my parents gave to me, as well as to my brothers and sister. I hope I will always do the things that will make them proud of me. May I be a great credit to their worthy names. I hope I may always cherish their memories. I feel to honor and respect them for all they taught me. They were two wonderful parents.
In Gunnison I had a sweet friend. I was around six or seven years old. We lived southeast of Gunnison, on a farm. She lived about one mile from me. She walked to my place to play. I had lots of fun playing house. She had a beautiful play house in their granary. She kept it so neat and clean. When it rained it didn’t leak. My play house was under an apple tree. The wind, rain, or kids would root it all up.
This friend lived with her grandpa and grandma. Her grandma had a large clock hanging on her wall. Everything in her house was so orderly, neat, and clean. I would just sit there and relax after a mile’s walk from my home to her home. It was hard to leave the fascinating tick tock clock to go out to the granary to play.
I remember my father and William hauling freight from the Depot to Gunnison stores. They each had their own team and wagon. Later, William got a job working in Caliente, Nevada. He and one of his friends drove out there alone. Mother didn’t get very many letters from him and she worried a lot.
One day Dad bought a record for our old-fashioned talking machine as we called them in those days. This new record was entitled “Where is Your Wandering Boy Tonight?” It was such a touching song that mother would always cry. She had to leave the room, as she thought of William, who was away and didn’t write. She said she never did like that record.
I started school from this place in Gunnison, Utah. I went to a small school between Centerfield and Gunnison. I was in the first grade and had a man teacher, Mr. Embley. He was very strict and had his pets. I was not one of them. This was the first school I went to while we still lived in Gunnison.
Hulda, my sister who was seven years older than me, was a teenager. Father bought her an organ; she took lessons and soon learned to play well. She had a friend who also could play the organ. They would play for hours. It sounded so pretty. I enjoyed music, and would sit very quietly and listen.
We had an old man who lived one-half mile south of us. He had a grandson living with him. One night at midnight, someone knocked at our door. It was the grandson of Mr. Carlson. He said his grandpa had just died. My father drove in his buggy to our neighbor’s home and got him to go with to wash and lay Mr. Carlson out. Mother put the grandson in bed with my brothers. Father told of the time he and his neighbor had washing him. He was so dirty they used warm sudsy water and a scrubbing brush to get him clean. After they had washed and laid him out, they had to sit there ‘til morning until someone else relieved them. It was the custom to sit over the dead. His grandson stayed at our house for a few days until some relatives came and got him. We never saw him again.
In 1916 we moved close to Holden, Millard Co., Utah. We lived on a dry farm in the cedars, eleven miles from Holden. The place we lived in they called Church Springs, as there was a spring there owned by the Church. I was very lonely there. Father homesteaded 640 acres of land so we had to live on it to claim it. This was called “squatters rights.” I learned how to crochet, so I spent much of my time doing that, as well as reading. We were four days traveling with team and wagon to Holden from Gunnison. We camped out one night in SalinaCanyon. The next night we camped on the other side of ScipioLake. The following day we got to our homestead. Edwin and I had to walk and herd the cows by foot from Gunnison to Holden. We walked ahead of the loaded wagons. Everyday we traveled we were very tired. Arthur broke out with Scarlet Fever on the way over.
We pitched our tents after we got to our future home. The men unloaded the furniture onto a piece of ground they had cleared. They dug four post holes in the corners and one in the center, placed posts in the holes and spread mother’s carpet over the top for a roof. This made one large room. That was our home for the time being. It seemed comfortable until we could get lumber to build, which was gotten later from Fillmore.
The next day, Mother cooked a delicious meal, our first out in the cedars, but not the last. Mother said, the day that she and Father came from getting lumber at Fillmore, it looked so pitiful to see us kids, hovering around a campfire to keep warm. It was the first part of March and it was cold. We finally got a large room built during the summer, and moved into it by fall. We also had two boarded-up tents for bedrooms all winter long: one very large one where the boys slept, and one small one in which I slept.
We were lucky it didn’t rain while we were out in the open. We really enjoyed the new room, after living out all summer. I called my boarded-up tent my own little room, and so it was. I had an old rug on the floor, a cot, a trunk, and a chair. Of course, I wasn’t there in the daytime until it came summer, and then I spent much time in my tent room.
I would take many hikes and explore the surroundings. I spent much time in reading, crocheting, and playing our organ. I think I read every book in the Mutual Library in Holden.
I remember about 4:00 p.m. taking a cold hike to the cedars. I saw a man on a horse ride up to our house. I knew him to be Joe Hunter of Holden, who had lost a wife. He had been all over Holden, talking to unmarried girls. Here he was, and there I was sneaking out through the back door, going for the hills to hide. I wanted none of him. He had been turned down in Holden by all the unmarried ladies; now here he was to see if he could grab on to me. He had two daughters who were older than me. One was twenty-two and one was twenty-one; I was only seventeen years old.
After I had been in the cedars a while, I got so cold I sneaked closer to our house to see if his saddle horse was still there. It was. I went to the kitchen door and hid myself behind the cupboard, in a corner. Soon Joe Hunter left the front room and father came to the kitchen. He told us he had quite a time with Mr. Hunter. He had asked my father for me. Said he would make a good husband. I would have a nice home and a piano, etc. Dad told him he knew I would not be interested in marrying a man as old as my father, and who had children older than his wife. He got hot under the collar and left and never came back.
I’ll tell you how I learned to crochet. One day about 10:00 a.m. on a hot, sultry day. A lady in a buggy drove into our yard. We had never seen her before. She was a tall, bony-framed woman, quite on the ugly side. She made me feel like I was looking at a witch. We learned she was the wife of the man that Kimball was working for down at Hawbush, a small settlement west of Holden. She said her husband would be out of town for three days, and she wanted me to go stay with her, day and night, until he got back. I knew Kimball was there working for them or I wouldn’t have dared go.
I went with her. I found she wasn’t as bad as she looked. She was very kind and a good cook. She and her husband had come from back East and bought land in Utah. She served a delicious dinner that day to Kimball and me. She treated Kimball like a king when he came in for his dinner.
When I first went with her into what she called her house, I was so surprised. Her home consisted of two rooms made like a bowery. Her husband had piled cedar boughs between boards for walls, and had piled dirt over cedar boughs on the roof to keep out the rain. She had dirt floors but they looked like cement. They had been swept so clean they were hard and smooth. I helped her do dishes, and then sprinkled her clothes for ironing.
She then invited me to her best room. That room had a bed in it with a clean white bedspread, a dresser, a chest of drawers, and a few rugs thrown around on the dirt floor, which was as clean as the kitchen floor. Everything in those two rooms was as clean and homey as any palace.
The first afternoon she taught me to crochet. She was very patient and persistent in teaching me. She was so determined to teach me how to crochet, and she did. I am so glad she did. She gave me a full spool of crochet cotton and a hook to take home with me. I was so happy to learn how to crochet, as it was so fascinating and so much fun. It helped to pass the long hours in the cedars, and to it was fun to see the pretty dollies I crocheted. It was a feeling of accomplishing something worthwhile. I wasn’t lonely either, as I had something to keep me busy.
In 1920 I went to Oasis to work. I worked at Jake Hawley’s. I liked the place there real well. I also liked the lady I worked for. There were no small children to care for. That sure made a big difference in my work. Nearly every afternoon she told me I could crochet, read, do what I liked to do, or just visit with Sister Hawley. This is the first place I worked where there wasn’t a large family to care for, and Sister Hawley paid me as much as I got when the families were large. She was very nice to be around.
They put me in an organist in the Oasis Ward. I acted as such for several years, before and after my marriage. I started going steady with Hyrum Anderson, a boy from Oasis. I got engaged to him, but never married him. While I went with him, I drove his car to Holden to visit my folks. I drove it all the way to Holden and back to Oasis. Since then, I have never driven, and now I have forgotten how. Once when I was twenty years old, I fell from a running car, but was not injured.
While I lived in Holden, father and I belonged to the Church choir. As a family we hardly ever missed a Sunday School or Sacrament Meeting. Father owned a white-top two-seated buggy and a team of horses. We used to call that kind of buggy a “hack”. A team of horses were hitched to the hack, and we all traveled to Church in this outfit. We also attended all conferences and really enjoyed it.
People of Holden would praise us, as we were the first to Church, but lived the farthest out. I had two Patriarchal Blessings given to me while I lived in Holden, Utah. Those blessings have been a guide and an inspiration to me, and I have lived to see nearly all of them fulfilled.
Mother and Father sang Danish songs around Holden for cottage meetings. They sure sang well together, especially their Danish songs. I learned to sing a few, and learned the meaning of them.
Lillie and a friend sing a song in Danish
Lillie sings another song in Danish
Lillie recites the words to a Danish song and provides an English interpretation
One evening, about sundown, mother and I were washing supper dishes. I happened to look toward the door. I saw a long blow snake hanging from the door. It was crawling up our door. Mother called Sport, our dog. He soon had the snake on the kitchen floor, dead. Mother got a shovel and carried the snake away.
We had a potato pit in which we kept our potatoes. Mother always sent me after the potatoes, as she didn’t dare go down the hole, afraid of snakes (which I knew nothing of until later). One day I was down there. I got the potatoes before I saw the long ding-a-ling approaching me. But I was young, and climbed the ladder fast, and got away from Mr. Snake. I never wanted to go for potatoes any more. So, without the boys knowing about the snakes in the pit, they got to go get the potatoes all the time after that. What you don’t know doesn’t worry you.
In 1917 I went to work for the first time since we moved to Holden. I worked at the home of August Nielsen at Leamington, Utah. They ran a hotel and I was their hired girl. I became so homesick while working there. I had never been that far from home before among all strangers. The country looked very different, and the lady I worked for was not very kind.
One day, when I had a hard time standing it any longer, I wrote a letter to my mother in Holden. I told her how homesick I was. I asked her to write a letter to Mrs. Nielsen, where I was working, telling her she was ill and that she needed me at home to care for her. A few days later, I was called into Mrs. Nielsen’s room. She said, “I got a letter from your mother today. She is sick and she needs you at home to care for her.” The next morning Mr. Nielsen was going to Fillmore, so he took me home; but he made me walk from Oak City road to my home, about five miles. He said he was in a hurry. So I walked home from there, carrying my suit case; but I didn’t mind, I was going home again until I was twenty-one years old; then I worked in Oasis for Enoch Gillen’s wife, who had given birth to a baby girl, Byerl. She is now Byerl Sorenson of Delta, Utah.
They needed an organist in the Oasis Ward, so I was set apart, and acted for several years. I played for Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, Relief Society, and choir practice every Thursday night. I played for two funerals. I could play pretty good at that time. I worked in Oasis from 1921 until 1923, when I got married to Eugene Memmott of Scipio, Utah. We were married in the MantiTemple5 December 1923 by President Lewis Anderson Jr.
One Sunday, shortly before I was married, I got a letter from home from my younger brother, Edwin, stating if I wanted to see my Dad alive I had better hurry home. I got Allen Peterson, a young man from Oasis, to take me home that night. We found Dad very ill. That was Sunday, and my father died the following Thursday. Harold went to a farm west of Holden to tell Ed, who was working there. When Harold drove up, Edwin came out and said to Harold, “You came to tell me that Father is dead.” Harold said, “How did you know?” Ed said he had the loneliest feeling come over him, and he felt and he knew that Father had died.
Arthur left Mother and me alone with father’s dead body. He went to Holden to tell the Bishop and the Relief Society President that father had died, as they were to wash and lay him out in our home. Mother and I were alone there, eleven miles from town, with no neighbors close. We got so lonely we couldn’t stand to be on the place. We walked down the dirt road. Mother said to me, “Lillie, whenever you get married, don’t live this far out from people.”
As we walked along, we saw a buggy coming down the road. It was Brother and Sister Dave Turner from Holden. Arthur was still in town, and he had seen Sister Turner at the Post Office. He told her father was dead. Bless her; she had been my father’s nurse before he died. She hurried right home, and she and her husband came right out.
The Turner’s washed and laid Father out. Mr. Turner sent me out in the yard to find two long boards to lay my Dad out on. I had to knock down one wall of the calf pen to get the boards. I soaked them in the spring running ditch in front of the house then washed all the calf manure off them and scrubbed them with a scrubbing brush. Mr. Turner thanked me and said they were just right.
The Relief Society President and Bishop didn’t come around to wash him until 6:00 p.m. that night. By that time, Father was all washed and laid out by our dear friends, Brother and Sister Turner. They stayed with us until 11:00 p.m. that night, trying to help out. The Bishop and President of the Relief Society left after just a few minutes. It made us feel like they didn’t care too much about us.
In those days the dead bodies had to be laid out in the homes until burial. There were no morticians in those days, so the dead lay in the home until burial. It was a very dreary and lonely after he died. The day after he died, Mother, Edwin Arthur, Harold, and I all left the house and went to the spring ditch. We sat there and talked. We just couldn’t stand to be at the house; it seemed too lonely.
While we were there, Niles, Hulda and her family, Kimball, and Emily all came from Gunnison. They went into the house and found Dad’s dead body. No one around, so when we got back they were all sitting in their cars crying, wondering where we all were.
We buried Father the following Sunday. Father seemed to know he was going to die. He had talked about his new bed; he told us it was just as wide at the bottom as it was at the top. A school teacher in Holden made his casket. When they brought it to our home, it was as father had said, just as wide on both ends.
It was very hard for mother to have me get married. But after my marriage she did have the three boys left: Ed, Arthur, and Harold. As the years went on, Arthur got married. Her son, John, sent for her to go to Tucson to take care of his wife, Phoana. He also sent for Harold, to help him with his carpet work. Harold and Mother stayed in Tucson until John’s wife died. Harold went back to the Holden Ranch and married Grace Wood of Holden, Utah. Shortly after, I married Eugene Memmott, 5 December 1923 in the MantiTemple.
After my marriage, Eugene built a nice home for me in Oasis, Utah. We moved into that home in March, 1924. Alice was born September 22, 1924. Eugene had bought a farm from John Styler. We had it nice in our small home. We bought new carpets, etc. Best of all, we had a lovely sweet baby girl, whom we loved so much.
Shortly after Alice was born, they put me in as Secretary in the Relief Society in Oasis Ward. I was then put in as first counselor over the Oasis Primary, at the same time acting as the Primary Secretary, as they were unable to get one. So, I helped them out. It was fun, but also a lot of work. At the same time I was teaching Sunday School class and raising a family. Harold Eugene was born the following 1 June 1926. He died 2 August 1926. He lived two months, and then died of pneumonia and whooping cough.
I was still acting as Sunday School teacher and social science teacher in Relief Society when June was born 11 June 1927 in Oasis, Utah, just one year and ten days after Harold was born. June was very welcome because of the loss of our baby boy. She filled in in his place. I continued to be the ward organist until we moved to Scipio, Utah in March 1932. Melvin was born in Scipio that month, 13 March 1932. We nearly lost him; the cord was wrapped around his neck three times. He was blue for over a week.
About two weeks after his birth, I found a bed bug in my house. I couldn’t stand bed bugs, so we got gasoline and sprayed the bedding. The fumes were so strong Melvin nearly died. I sent Alice to get a neighbor, Lizzie Monroe, to come over. She ordered the school nurse to come. Melvin had to be put out in the fresh air outside and closely watched for three days. I never saw any more bed bugs, but I nearly killed Melvin trying to kill the bugs.
We lived in the home where Melvin was born until June started to build a new home. Then, our new home was located across the street from the Amusement Hall in Scipio, Utah. The 8th of December 1933 was the day we moved into the new home; it was also Berdell’s fourth birthday. We moved into our warm basement and lived there until we got the upstairs done. We had lived in tents and a camper all the while the house was being built. We were really pioneering it. But it wasn’t my first time. It would rain through our tents, so every day we took our wet bedding and placed it on the line to dry before night came. That went on for weeks, with nothing but rainy nights. We sure were lucky it didn’t rain in the daytime so we could dry our bedding. It was so hard, and so uncomfortable, but we lived through it.
We were really grateful when our basement was finished so we could move into it. The night we moved from the wet tents into our basement, a terrible snow storm came up through the night. When we looked out of the door next morning, we saw our tents had blown down, and lying on the ground covered with snow. We had really been lucky to get moved in before winter set in. It turned out to be such a cold winter that year, but we were all warm in our full basement.
Eugene always planted a large garden on this place—half an acre of garden. During the summer, the children and I picked peas by the bucketful and canned them. We also canned much corn, beets, pickles, etc. All was taken care of. What we couldn’t use, we gave away to neighbors and friends. We had so much filled in our bottles, for winter use. It was so much fun to bottle all that garden produce and fruit. It made us have a good feeling to see all our bottles filled. The storage was well earned by all of us, as everyone had done their part in helping. We had good workers and it helped out so much.
At this time Gene was the chairman over the genealogy in Scipio Ward. He was responsible to get enough people to fill the Temple bus, from Scipio to Manti on our stake days. Some of the people would back out the night before, I felt sorry for Gene, as he got so discouraged. So many times I would go and fill in for someone who said they wouldn’t be going. It seems I always had nursing babies, so I would keep Alice or June out of school and take one of them with us to Manti Temple. They would tend the baby on the lawn, and then between sessions I would nurse the baby. By doing so there would be two empty seats on the bus, filled by us and paid for by us for those who backed out; but we got the blessing.
It seemed like when we lived in Scipio we had every kid’s disease in the book. We always had a red quarantine flag hanging on our gate. Even when we moved away we had chicken pox. As we pulled out we yelled goodbye to the old red flag waving in the breeze.
We had five small children born while we lived in Scipio. Melvin had just been born 13 March 1932 in our rented home. The rest of the five born in Scipio were born after we got into our new home in Scipio. We had it very hard financially while we lived here. Gene couldn’t get too much work. Of course, he worked hard out on his Dad’s farm, but it didn’t bring in anything for our family.
Gene finally got to work on W.P.A., a government project which paid him only $40.00 a month. He was away from home too, camping at Scipio Reservoir. From Scipio school, the three older children would come home for their lunch each day. All I had to give them was clabber milk and bread. It was hard picking at times while we lived in Scipio. It was a horrible place in which to raise a big family. We were sure glad for the summers so we could raise a garden for supplies for storage; but with a large family it didn’t reach.
One day we got a letter from my brother Harold in Sugarville, Utah. He said he was moving to another farm in Delta. He said if we wanted to move to the farm he was leaving, we could move in, as it was open. We moved. We were all so anxious to leave Scipio. We got everything packed and were on our way. Harold, my brother, and Grace, his wife, moved out of the great house home in the morning, and we moved in the afternoon of the same day, very happy.
When Inga Mae was four years old, she fell off a fence onto an empty honey can and smashed her elbow in pieces. She was taken to Fillmore to Doctor Evans. Through faith and prayers her elbow was healed miraculously. The doctor said she would have to have an operation, and it would be serious when she grew older. But, she never complained any more about her elbow, so she never had the operation. Again, our prayers were heard and answered.
Later she took pneumonia and nearly died. She was so very ill. We called the Doctor at midnight, but he couldn’t come. We fasted and prayed for her as a family, and soon she got better. I have found throughout my life that faith and prayers go a long way to help the sick. It also gives comfort and strength to all who care for the sick. They also need help, as well as the sick, from a divine source, to be able to help strengthen the sick through faith and comfort.
Again, when Inga was eight years old, she took pneumonia again, and was so very ill. Through the night Grant and I walked to the neighbors to phone the doctor, but he didn’t come out until noon the next day. We had been putting mustard plasters on her lungs and back every two hours all during the night. The doctor told us we had really done the right thing. He put her on sulfra tablets and soon she was well. A few weeks after that she was baptized.
When Inga Mae was thirteen years old, she swelled all up. We didn’t know she got so swollen throughout her body. We took her to a doctor. He said she had a sever attack of Bright’s Disease (a kidney illness). She was to remain on her back in bed for three months. She mightened even sit up in bed to eat. So I fed her while she was lying down. She was so very ill she passed blood in her urine. It looked like she was passing straight blood. It was very alarming. Well, she wasn’t getting any better, so we called in our stake patriarch to give her a blessing. My husband had gone to work, so our patriarch asked me to place my hands on her head while he administered to her. He said, “You know Sister Memmott our faith combined will make it so much stronger.” He gave her a wonderful blessing. In two weeks we took her back to the doctor. When we brought her into his office, he asked how the girl was who was stricken with Bright’s Disease? I said, well, this girl is she. He couldn’t believe it; all her swelling had gone down, and he did not know her. He examined her and said, “It’s a miracle. This girl is perfectly well.” That was a Saturday, so I asked if she could go back to school the following Monday. He said, “I don’t know why she can’t, there is nothing wrong with her.” So she was back to school in two weeks, as the Patriarch had promised her in the blessing. Does God hear and answer prayers? Yes. When a promise is made through the power of faith and the power of the Priesthood, it is fulfilled.
My family and I have attended Sunday Schools and Sacrament Meetings through the years. I have born my testimony regular to the truthfulness of the Gospel in every ward I have lived in. I never turned down a chance to go to the Temple unless I was ill. Temple work is so essential to our salvation and happiness.
Since my husband has been so ill, there have been times I was not able to attend my meetings, as I was home caring for him. But I go whenever I get someone to stay with him. Richard and Glenda let Victor, their foster Indian son, come and stay with my husband many times, so I could attend Church. My children have been good to sit with him, which he enjoyed so much. Thanks to all of you. I have some very choice children. They are so good to their parents. I know God will bless them abundantly for being so good to us.
In Scipio, my husband cut posts one whole year. He only got fifteen cents a post for large, straight ones. Many days he had only two slices of bare bread, wrapped in newspaper, the best we had, and a jug of water. That was his lunch while he was cutting posts all day. Those were Scipio days.
When we moved from Scipio to Delta, we had no electricity on the farm. So Harold’s wife, Grace and I exchanged washers, and irons. She got my electric washer. I got her washer run by a motor. She got my electric iron; I used her sad irons, which were heated on the stove. She was so happy. I was unhappy, but put up with the trade.
June and Alice worked in Manti, Utah. Alice worked at the Parachute Factory, and June finished her school while living with Alice. June also worked at Barton’s Store on Saturdays, and after school hours. When Glenda was born, June came home from Manti and took care of the family while I was in the hospital. I was sure glad, as she helped out so much in the home. I was proud of her. She washed, ironed, cooked, and kept all the children clean. Alice was also a dear. She mailed me a box of chocolates and $25.00 while I was in the hospital. She was still working at the factory in Manti.
In the fall of 1944 we moved from Sugarville to Oasis, Utah again. We leased a farm there of Charles Williams. We liked it in Oasis. We raised enough hay to feed our stock, and raised a large amount of garden produce, which I put into bottles. I canned 150 quarts of corn, 150 quarts of tomatoes, and many quarts of beets and pickled cucumbers. We also raised many bushels of potatoes and carrots. It supplied our large family through the long, cold winters.
While we lived at this place we had two weddings. Alice married William Frank Adams July 4, 1945 in the MantiTemple. June married Lane Spencer Shurtz June 29, 1946 in the MantiTemple. Berdell started school at Hinckley, Utah and got acquainted with Helen Skeem. They courted all that High School year. During the summer Berdell worked for Val Styler. One night he came home from Val’s with a high fever. I had had experience with pneumonia, and I knew he had it. We sent for the doctor. In the meanwhile, we had the Elder’s administer to him. When Doctor Bird came, he pronounced it pneumonia. Berdell was given sulfra tablets. Berdell soon recovered and was back to school and to his sweetheart Helen.
In 1944 I was set apart as Theology teacher in Oasis Ward Relief Society. I acted until we moved back to Sugarville. My husband was also Sunday School Superintendent in Oasis Ward. Later he was called to be the President over the Mutual.
Glenda got about an inch of her finger cut off in the neighbor’s well. Devon let the lid fall down on her finger accidentally, so she was a stub finger. We moved from Charles Williams’ place to Cropper Lane. We still belonged to Oasis Ward. While we lived on Cropper Lane, Berdell got married to Helen Skeem of Oasis, Utah on March 6, 1950 in the MantiTemple. Glenda got Scarlet Fever while we lived there. All the smaller children had red measles too. Melvin ran a rusty nail up his foot, causing much pain and infection. He finally went to the doctor and had it lanced. He also was healed through administration.
On this place my husband was struck with a bolt of lightening. We nearly lost him. He was in shock, and his feet turned black. His feet were numb for many days. Another time, he nearly went blind. Melvin and Grant administered to him when he was struck with lightening. He went to Hinckley when he thought he had lost his eye sight and had Patriarch Woodbury administer to him. His eye was healed.
While we lived on Cropper Lane, I sure made a lot of homemade soap. I also bottled a lot of fruit. October 1950, we moved to Leo Lyman’s large red-brick home at Sugarville, Utah. We belonged to the Sugarville Ward again. I was asked to be a Sunday School teacher for the Young Married’s Group, by my son-in-law, Lane Shurtz, who was in the Sunday School superintendency. They called it the Junior Adult class. I kept that job in the Sunday School from 1950 until 1961, when we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
After we moved to Sugarville again, I also acted as Relief Society Theology class leader, Relief Society visiting teacher, Primary teacher, Mutual teacher, and Secretary of the Genealogical Society. My husband was asked to be the Chairman of the Genealogy again. I had five jobs in the Church at a time, which lasted a lot of years. It was hard to have so many jobs all at once, but I managed. It kept me busy; but I was happy.
June’s first husband was killed by a tractor January 6, 1952 by his home. That left June alone with two children. She took it like a strong, sensible girl. She was admired by everyone, the way she held up over the terrible blow. I had a girl in my Sunday School class tell me she had always dreaded death, until she saw how calm June was. It changed that girl’s view of death.
One day, while living in Sugarville, there was a letter in the mail for Melvin from Uncle Sam. He left shortly after for the Service. He enlisted in the Air Force for four years. He left home March 11, 1952. He was stationed at Park’s Air Force Base, California. From there he was shipped to Sheppard’s Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas. 10 June 1952, he was awarded a badge. He attended a mechanics school June 1, 1952. He was awarded a badge. He was shipped to Canute Air Force Base, Illinois 8 February 1953. He came home on his first leave, December 20, 1952, and stayed home fourteen days. He went back January 4, 1953. He later got another leave home for fifteen days. It sure seemed good to him, and to all of us.
He was then shipped to Tucson, Arizona. He received a diploma and graduated from mechanics school before leaving for Illinois.
March 13, 1954, his birthday, he was shipped to England. From England he went by plane to Iceland, then to Newfoundland, then back to ArizonaJune 12, 1954. At the end of four years, he came home a fine young man, full of faith and courage. His testimony had been strengthened because he lived his religion and kept himself pure and clean. He is a fine son and brother in our family, so are all my sons and daughters. They are all very choice and noble children.
July 1954, we had our house in Scipio moved to Sugarville, Utah. We got a loan for $1,000.00 so we could fix it to live in. After faith, prayer, and fasting, the Lord helped us out. The agent we got our loan through said my husband didn’t have a steady job. This agent said he wouldn’t give up. He knew our condition, as he had been there and seen our house. The plaster had all been knocked off in the moving. He knew how badly we needed it fixed up.
In the meantime, I was fasting and praying that the loan would go through. About two days after, I had my radio on. It was playing a waltz. Who should dance right into my house, but that agent. He was so excited; he didn’t even knock. He was all smiles, holding out a thousand dollar check. “There,” he said, “You had better appreciate this check because I stayed there hours after the quitting time at the bank in SaltLake. I did nothing but plead and beg and plead some more; and finally, dear lady, the check came through. Here it is.” And he handed it to me. I can testify that God worked thru that good man and answered my prayers. God moved in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
With the money we fixed up the house so it was very comfortable for us. We paid off every payment on the $1,000.00 as it came due, and when it was paid in full, we got a letter from the Continental Bank in Salt Lake praising us and wishing to extend to us another loan.
My husband has what they call a green thumb. Everything he planted grew. He always raised a lovely garden. He planted lawn around the place. He planted trees, bushes, shrubs, flowers, and even fruit trees, until our home in Sugarville looked like a haven of rest. We had beautiful homes and surroundings, both in Scipio and Sugarville, through our hard labor.
August 1955, I was called to Manti to stay with my mother, who was very ill. I stayed there two weeks, and then I went home and canned fruit and got the children ready for school. Veola went to Manti and stayed with mother one week before she started school. We drove back to Manti to get Veola a week after. We also took my sick mother home with us. She stayed one week at her son Arthur’s place, and then they brought her to my home, where she stayed until she died, September 23, 1955. Glenda went with me to Manti when I went over to care for mother before she died. She was a great help to me, running errands, picking raspberries, which I bottled for grandma and me.
The next spring, Inga Mae married Alden Shurtz of Delta, Utah, 20 April 1956 at the Manti Temple. Before Grandma came to live with us, Grant got married to Ruth Benson, of Stockton, Utah, 30 June 1955 in the SaltLakeTemple. Melvin got married June 20, 1958 in the Manti Temple to Nancy Peterson of Salt Lake City, Utah. Veola got married September 19, 1956 to Carroll Hansen in the SaltLakeTemple. There were a total of four marriages and one death between the years 1955 and 1958. It left my home pretty empty and lonely.
As soon as Devon graduated from school, he left and went to Salt Lake to work. Glenda was the only one left home of our ten children. It must have been lonely for her. She kept busy making her own jobs. She compiled a large Book of Records during her spare time, which will be something of great value for her and for all of us who got copies of it. She loved genealogy. The spirit of Elijah worked on her to accomplish so much.
After she graduated from high school in Delta, she also left and went to Salt Lake to work. She worked a while in a candy factory. Later she went to a Switchboard school. Later, she got a good job working for Beneficial Life Insurance Co.
It sure was lonely for me after Glenda left. I got so I hated the old lonesome place. My husband went to work in Hinckley everyday, and got home so late every night. I decided to go along with him when he went to work. So I put up lunch for both of us, and while he worked in the fields at Shurtliff’s farm in Hinckley, I sat in the car, day after day, and crocheted, or read, or mended our clothes. Then at night, when I got home, I would do my washing. The next evening I would do my ironing. That way, I would be free to go with him, and it wasn’t quite as lonesome; but I got tired of it too. It got too hot all day, sitting in a car out in the hot fields; but even at that it was better than sitting at home alone all day long in that lonely place, so far out from people. No one every passed by but the mailman, and I hated that lonely old place. I was so glad when we moved away to Salt Lake City.
Throughout my life I have always had a strong desire to work in the Temple. I persuaded my husband to move to Salt Lake so we could work in the Temple. We moved to Salt Lake October 7, 1961. Glenda, who was already in Salt Lake working, moved home with us in our Salt Lake home. We all rode together each morning to downtown Salt Lake, we to the Temple and she across the street to her work at Beneficial Life. Glenda was our driver, and a good one. She was good to help out. She bought a new washer and paid off all our back bills. All the rest of our children helped us, for which we are so very thankful.
While we were yet in Delta, Alice, Veola, and Glenda (who were all in Salt Lake) went house-hunting, and found the place on Penney Avenue. It was very nice to come into this clean house when we drove in late from Delta. Our sons, daughters and in-laws were there to carry in the furniture and straighten the house.
We started working in the Temple in Salt Lake October 18, 1961. We worked steady all winter, going every day. Each of us did two sessions each day, and also did many initiatories. March 1962, my husband took pneumonia. He was also a diabetic. After he got better, I went back to the Temple until April. May the 13th we took my husband to the LDSHospital. He was there seventeen days. While he was in the hospital, I worked a few days in the Temple. When Glenda was through with her work, she would get me at the Temple, and we would drive to the hospital and visit him. Two weeks later they closed the Temple to have it remodeled. It was closed until May 1963, when it reopened.
February 1963, my husband was again taken to the hospital to have the big toe on his right foot amputated. This was caused from gangrene. During the month of June, 1963 he was taken back to the LDS Hospital because of sickness caused from Sugar Diabetes. He was dehydrating. He is at present at home, but not doing so well. He can’t walk, and is in a lot of pain.
March 1, 1963 Glenda married Richard Black of Salt Lake City. Devon married Doris Peterson, August 12, 1960. Both were married in the Temple—Glenda in Logan Temple, and Devon in Salt Lake Temple. It was a bad, snowing day for Glenda’s wedding. It was snowing so hard the car was blinded with snow. We pulled off the road and waited a while. We offered a word of prayer for the storm to let up so we would make it in time for the session in Logan. Soon after, we were able to get on our way. It was a nice day when Devon got married.
It was hard for me to have Glenda get married and leave home. She was needed badly, as my husband was so sick, and she was the one who gave him his insulin shots. I found out later that as life goes on we can learn to adjust ourselves to every problem which arises. It takes time, faith and strength. It has been nearly a year since Glenda got married. She is expecting a new arrival February 1964. We are still living in the Millcreek 12th Ward. We moved from Penney Avenue to a home closer to our church, a block from Glenda. We live in a good location, and we are in a good ward. Bishop Thomas VanDenBerghe is a good bishop. All the people in the ward have been so good to us, especially since my husband took sick.
I was asked to be a Sunday school teacher in this ward in October, 1961. I joined the Millcreek 12th Ward choir in 1960. I was also asked to be a Relief Society block teacher in 1961. I was asked to be a Social Relations teacher over all the Relief Society teachers in the ward. I was also going everyday to the Temple doing sealings, initiatories and endowments. I was also a choir member of the Millcreek 12th Ward choir from 1961 until 1979, eighteen years.
After Glenda moved, I found out what a good ward we lived in. I had to be in Sunday school each Sunday morning to teach my class. Well, every Sunday morning the High Priest’s Quorum came to our home to have their lesson for my husband’s benefit, so he could also enjoy the lessons. At the close of this meeting there was always one of the brethren who volunteered to sit with my husband so I could teach my class. They have done this for two years now. This also helped my husband, to have the visits from these fine brethren.
Prayers for my husband are given occasionally in Sunday school and Sacrament meetings. This also shows how fine a people they are, because we never asked them to do it; they do it on their own. I had the privilege of going to the Temple a lot during the year 1963. Our new neighbors from Redmond, Sylvan and Wanda Christensen, take me with them. They go to the Temple once a week, and invite me to ride with them. We are so glad Glenda stays with her Daddy, so I can get away sometimes. She has been very faithful in helping me out. We have some fine children; every one is so willing to help when they can. Children are the greatest treasures we have. I know the Lord will bless each one of them and their companions for their unselfish and devoted help. God bless all of them.
Christmas Eve 1963, my husband became very ill. He remained sick all through the night. The next morning, Christmas Day, he was bad. I called Bishop VanDenBerghe to come and give him a blessing. He came, and brought his father with him. He also brought Brother and Sister Sheppard. Gene felt much better after they had given him a blessing, and visited with him awhile. I am sure if it’s the Lord’s will, he will get better and enjoy health and strength to know God’s ways are best. He knows everything from start to finish. He knows why sickness, sorrows, and troubles come into our lives; it is for a great purpose, to prepare us for Celestial glory. Although to us it looks like a puzzle, it’s a trial necessary for us to pass through as we climb up another round of the ladder of life, which leads to eternal life and glory.
I have had the opportunity to sing in many choirs, in Centerfield Stake, Gunnison Stake, the Deseret Stake, Singing Mothers under the direction of Ladd Cropper, and the 12th Ward in the Millcreek Stake. I have also had the opportunity to sing in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. My two sons, Berdell and Melvin, also sang in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, when the Deseret Choir of Millard County was asked to sing at General Conference. Melvin is a member of the Tabernacle Choir and has been now for twenty-two years. He was released in July, 1982. He has had the privilege to go with the Choir to many parts of the World to sing. His wife Nancy also went with him to England one time. This year, 1982, they went to a different place in Europe. It was quite an experience.
I loved to dance when I was young, but didn’t get to go to too many dances. Once when I was dancing, my garter broke. I didn’t feel it break. I noticed people looking down at my leg, smiling. I looked down and saw my bare leg showing, my stocking was folded over my shoe. Venice Davis of Sugarville had a worse experience. She lost her pants, stepped right out of them, kicked them under a bench, and went right on dancing.
One night, my brothers took me with them to Holden to a dance. As I was sitting on my seat, a tall stranger came up to me and said, “Can I borrow your carcass to struggle with for awhile?” I told him straight out, “NO.” I felt very embarrassed the way he had asked, using the word carcass for a body, etc. He found some one else’s body or carcass to struggle with, and how he did struggle. I was sure glad it wasn’t me up on the floor with him. He was a guy who was working on a road construction; he came to the dance drunk with two more of his buddies. He was out for picking up carcass.
I have worked around in many homes where there were large families: nine, ten or even more children. Some places I got $1.00 a day wages, some places less. I had to wash for these large families on wash boards, bake bread, cook meals, wash dishes, wash diapers, bathe kids, dress and undress kids, scrub floors, iron. Besides this, I cared for a sick mother and a new born baby. One husband was very smart. He slept in the granary with his sons, so I could sleep by his wife; that way he got a full nights rest while I walked the floor with his crying baby. So it was my job through the nights to feed the baby, diaper, it, and walk the floor with it when it cried. At Ray Owens’ home I really worked hard for my $1.00 per day, plus the night. Sometimes I worked just as hard at nights, and for nothing.
My Patriarchal Blessings told me every one of my children was a choice spirit. I don’t think any family has had better children than ours (no brag). We are very thankful for each of them. They are a choice blessing in our home.
During our lives, we learn to know that here are limits within which we can order our lives, and limits beyond which we cannot order them. We learn that each day brings something to be faced, whether it be happiness or sorrow. We learn that peace does not mean there shall be no more struggle. We learn in the hour of despair that time and the goodness of God have a way of erasing all burdens. We learn that after we have done our utmost, in accordance by the wisdom that has been given to us, we must meet life as it comes. We save ourselves much bitterness and remorse when we learn to say, with that faith the Lord has made possible to all his children, “Thy will, Oh Lord, not mine, be done.” As we travel through the years in life, we learn to be patient in afflictions. In Doctrine and Covenants 24:8 it says: “Be patient in afflictions for thou shalt have many of them, but endure them for I am with thee even unto the end of thy days.”
Afflictions are a normal part of life. Experiences can be the basis of great blessings, if you trust in the Lord. You are never at any time nearer to God than when under tribulations, which he permits for the purification and beautifying of your soul. Afflictions are universal. It is the lot of all mankind, although some carry heavier burdens than others. None are called upon to bear their burdens alone if they trust God. Even the Savior, though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.
Afflictions are God’s educators. It is not the afflictions themselves which count, but rather, it is what they do for us. One of the greatest blessings we can enjoy in this life is to have the comforting assurance of God’s spirit and His presence. How wonderful to know, if we put our complete trust in the Lord, he will not forsake us, but will ever be near to uphold us and sustain us. Surely this great promise will support and sustain us in our afflictions, and give us patience and courage to endure them.
I have had many things happen since my husband’s death, which scared me some. One night, I came home from the Temple late. I was so tired I just went in and got ready for bed. It was a hot night, so I arose and opened the window. As I did so, I felt there was no screen on the window; it had been taken off. I became frightened and called Glenda’s and asked if they would come over and get me. Richard came. When I told him the screen had been taken off the window, he said “Oh, you are just imagining things.” He walked to the window and found there was no screen. He said, “Let’s get out of here.” The next morning, when I got home, I went around the house. There, by the side of the window, stood the screen against the wall, all painted. The man who had painted the house on the outside had taken off the screens and painted them too.
Another time, I saw a car pull up in front of my house at 5:00 a.m., and as I was already to go with Orel Greenig to the Temple, and thought it was her, I went out, locked the door, hurried out to the parked car, and opened the back car door. I said, “Good morning all,” thinking it was Orel’s car. I saw the car filled with men, drinking beer. I said, “Oh, I am sorry, I thought it was my ride.” One of them laughed and said, “Oh, you can ride with us sister.” I walked pretty fast back to the house; scared to death they might follow me. I hurried and unlocked the door, and went in and locked the door. They then left.
When Orel came shortly after, I didn’t dare go out. I had no way to see the color of her car. It was too dark, and there were no street lights, like I now have. She came to the door. I told her to honk three times after that, when she came; which she did. One evening, as it was getting dark, a man knocked on my door. I had the screen door hooked. He said, “Let me in.” He was standing there, pulling on my screen door trying to open it. “Let me in,” he said again. I said, “No.” Then he said all he wanted was for me to sign my name on a piece of paper. I told him I never sign my name to anything without knowing what I am signing. Then he used another plan. He said, “Don’t you remember me? I am your old friend Raynard.” I looked him over and said, “I never had a friend named Raynard.” By that time he was getting angry. He said, “Now I know you are slipping. Open this door and sign this paper and I’ll be on my way.” I said, “No I won’t do that.” Well, he kicked at the door several times, and then walked down the steps. He turned around and gave me a dirty, mean look, and then walked towards the church house. When he had gone a short distance, he turned and looked back at my house. He was where he could see my kitchen door on the east side, so he walked over across the lawn and began pounding on the kitchen door. I didn’t answer. I was looking for him to go back to the street, but I never saw him leave. It was dark by then. I called Glenda on the phone to come and get me; she did. I was so afraid to stay there at nights, so I slept at Glenda’s three nights. I never saw any more of the “friend” who called himself Raynard.
In my father’s house, I saw the sick healed many times through faith; and also in my own home after my marriage. I saw the sick healed through faith, prayer, and administration. I know God lives. I have had my prayers answered so many times. I know God can and does hear our prayers, and answers them, if it is his will, and if it is what he can see is good for us. I can bear witness he does hear prayers, and is very much concerned over each of us. He is happy to answer us if we keep his commandments.
20 July 1964, my husband passed away after two hard weeks of suffering. Since his death I have been living alone, and have been going to the Temple at least two or three times a week. After his death, I started going on the bus. I would go to the Temple every day for years. November 7, 1967, I was called to be a receptionist at the SaltLakeTemple. I was called by President McDonald. I acted as such until 1973, in May, when I asked to be released on account of poor health. No greater calling can come to anyone than to do temple work. A strong testimony is received, as well as a secure feeling that you are loved by God. It also gives you a good feeling to have redeemed others.
When I was married, Mother, Hulda, and Niels were the only ones who came to see us married. It was a cold, snowy day outside, but warm and pleasant inside the Temple in Manti, Utah. We had no wedding reception. We lived in Enoch Gillins’ in Oasis, Utah until we got a home of our own. On our way home from the Temple, Hulda, my sister, took us to her home for a nice dinner. We spent the evening and night at my sister’s home. The next day we started for Oasis. We stopped at Gene’s father’s home; he had dinner ready for us. For our wedding gifts we got from Gene’s father a used quilt and two boxes of bottled fruit. Agnes gave us six dish towels and a ¼ of a flour sack of dried corn. Mother gave us a new quilt, which I helped to quilt. She also gave us several boxes of bottled fruit. So we felt rich. We had two quilts, and fruit to last a while. There was one family in Oasis poorer than we were: Laura Olsen. She brought her family up every night for supper. When she went home I would share my fruit with her. Gene built a fruit cellar and potato pit, and we would store our garden produce in it. Laura Olsen had a fine young man named Cleon Olsen, her son. He would come visit us and offer to help Gene around the place. He was a very nice, fine boy. I decided if I ever got another boy I would name him after Cleon, so Melvin got the name.
All our children are married now. After my husband’s death I went with Alden and Inga to Cedar City for a while. It was nice there. They treated me so nice and gave me their bed to sleep in; they slept in one of the children’s beds. I came back after two weeks, and have lived alone ever since. I feel very content and happy to live alone. I am my own boss and can come and go alone whenever I choose. It was a lonely life however to live alone, without a car, and no one to take you places you want to go. A loner lives a lonely life, but it can be done.
After I came back from Cedar City, I thought I must go to the Temple to keep from being bored; but where was I to get money to ride a bus, back and forth, thirty cents each day. Every day was big problem. I prayed about it. I tried to think if I can’t go everyday, I’ll go as often as I can. Well, I did go, and believe me, the Lord was with me. He gave me support. I hardly ever missed a day unless I was so sick I couldn’t go. Sometimes I paid the bus driver the last money I had, and would think, “I’ll have to wait no for awhile until I get more money;” but every time something would happen. When I got home either there was a check or a bill in the mail, or one of the children would come and hand me a $5.00 or $10.00 bill. So I know without a doubt the Lord does provide, especially when we are willing to help him with his work. If we help him, he will really help us. I know the passage of scripture is true which says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all other things will be added to you.” I have been so extremely blessed by working in the temple. It seems like I have always had in my possession enough money to go to the Temple; I think that blessing has come to me by showing obedience in doing God’s work. I love the Lord and I truly know he lives. He gives help and support to us if we are humble and obedient in doing his will. I had the great privilege of working seven years as a receptionist in the Salt Lake Temple. That was a great joy as well as a blessing. I gained many true friends there at that time. It seemed to be one big happy family. Everyone seemed to be so concerned to help someone else, ready to help wherever needed.
When all the workers would go for lunch, which was free for us, we would fill up long tables in the dining rooms. It was a sight to see. I wish I had the health to continue on with that work. It seems like for years I was blessed with good health, but I am still greatly blessed.
I would work at my post as receptionist half a day, and then after dinner I went on a session. Also I did many sealing and initiatories in-between sessions. I accomplished so much in each day for so many years. Again I noticed how the blessings came to me, especially while acting as receptionist. I seemed to be able to do that work, and so much other temple work. I wasn’t idle.
One day, as I was at my post, a lady came by; she said she was so hungry she felt sick. She didn’t have any money. I had my dinner ticket in my pocket, so I handed it to her. I told her to go to the cafeteria in the Temple and get her dinner. It was at Thanksgiving time, so they served her a good dinner. When she came back, she thanked me and said she had really been sized up by the clerks. She said she told them she wanted all the works, the same as the receptionist. No wonder they had looked and wondered; but they let her have it. I fasted my Thanksgiving, but that was okay, as long as I could help someone else who was hungry.
Another time a young man from out of state, about twenty years old, stopped and talked with me. He had come thousands of miles to get his endowments. He asked me how much they charged for dinner at the cafeteria. I told him he could get a good meal for $1.50. He took out a worn purse from his pocket and counted out his money. He only had fifty cents. I‘ll just let the meal pass he said. I told him if he would stay at my post until I came back, I would go to my locker and get a dollar bill. He waited, and I gave him a dollar. He thanked me and went to eat. In a short while he came back, thanking me for a lovely dinner; then he said, “God bless you sister, I really needed that dinner.” Then he shook hands with me and said, “I’ll never forget you as long as I live. You’ll always be in my mind, thank you,” and he left.
I had many inspirational experiences while working there; but also some bad experiences from the supervisors and the matron, who was the President’s wife; but that’s all in the past. I do not have bad feelings now, but it did hurt awful at the time. We receptionists got to know the rest of the workers real well. They were our sisters, and we got to really know and love them all. They were all so king and thoughtful of each other, as we all were in the same boat. We all had to learn to obey what we were told. Sometimes the patrons would get out of sorts with us, as we would tell them as we were ordered to do; these things we hated to do.
We were told to watch and see if we could help anyone dress, if they needed it. One day I noticed an old lady who acted like she needed help. So I said to her, “Can I help you?” Boy! I was sure taken back by her answer. She said, “No you can’t, you old peeping Tom.” I never dared to say a word to anyone who was dressing after that.
One day they asked me to dress a cripple who was in a wheel chair. She couldn’t move out of it. I had to take all her clothes off, to put on the ceremonial garments which they made them wear then to go through the Temple. In that time, no one was allowed to go through a session with the street garment, as they called the new-style garments. While I was dressing her for the session, I never worked so hard in my life. It was so crowded with the wheel chair too. I was wringing wet with sweat when I got through and wheeled her up into the Temple. I had done a days work, a lot harder than to go through two sessions. The supervisors wouldn’t do it.
One day a lady said she had to go to the rest room after she had come in and seated herself in the waiting room, just before you go to the Temple rooms. I told her she would have to take her bundle with her, as we had been told the patrons could not save their seats. Well she went and took her bundle with her, but as she was leaving the room she turned and gave me a dirty look, and said to me, “You shouldn’t have done that.” I told her we only did what we were told to do.
One lady in the locker room was taking an eternity to dress. She was holding up a session, and we workers were responsible to get them on their way. One of the officials came to me and said, “Come with me, we have to get her on her way. She is holding up the session.” We went to her locker and told her if she didn’t hurry a little she would miss the session. Guess what she did? She opened her locker door, and spit out at me, and said, “You make me feel like I never want to enter the Temple doors again. The way you push us is terrible.” Then the official said to her, “Sister we are just concerned about you getting on this session.” She answered, “Don’t you worry or fuss so much, and they’ll wait.” But sometimes they don’t wait, as that poor soul found out. When she was ready she was far too late. The session had been going for some time so she didn’t get on, and she was angry with all of us. We had to take a lot of guff from the patrons.
One day, as I was standing in my locker, I had just come from getting a name to go on the 1:00 p.m. session. I was standing there, reaching to pick up my bundle in the locker, when I got a pinched nerve. I couldn’t move a limb. I was in terrible pain. There happened to be a sister in the locker next to me. I said to her, “I can’t move, please go get someone to help me.” In a short time Mrs. Ferguson, the matron, and another lady, Ruth Hunsaker, were there with a wheelchair. Ruth gave me two aspirins to take for the pain. Ruth was small, and she finally worked herself into my locker; but when she tried to work me out of the locker I yelled with pain, so loud a crowd began to form. Sister Ferguson ordered them all away. When Ruth finally got me out, she and Sister Ferguson placed me in the wheelchair. I screamed with pain. Oh, it was so terrible. When they started to wheel the chair, the pain was so unbearable that I just screamed all the way upstairs. They had to get Glenda’s phone number from me, and phone her; so when they got me up to the entrance, Richard and Glenda were waiting. The two ladies followed us out to the car and helped Richard get me in the car. Then the ladies took the wheelchair back to the Temple. Never have I suffered like I did then. I thought it would kill me. A pinched nerve is something else, almost impossible to bear.
The first thing Richard did was to drive to a place and rent a wheelchair. Then he drove me to a chiropractor. We were in his office for several hours. I was under such extreme tension; I thought it would kill me. I thought I would never walk again. When we left there, Richard and the doctor got me in the wheelchair and wheeled me to the car, and then they took me to Glenda’s place. I was there for three days and nights before I could walk at all. Ruth Hunsaker called me every day, to see how her number one patient was doing. She is a nurse at CottonwoodHospital, as well as a temple worker. When I got back to the temple, Ruth had her husband administer to me. He gave me a wonderful blessing, which helped so much. Soon I was back to normal health. I have been bothered several times with a pinched nerve, but never as bad as that day.
Glenda gave me a new temple robe, and I was to pick it up at the Relief Society Building. So one day, at noon hour, I walked through the tunnel of the Temple to the Relief Society Building, underground by the parking lot. As I came back from the Relief Society Building, I had this long box in front of me, so I didn’t see the step off as I was leaving the elevator to go to the parking lot. I keeled over and fell hard on the pavement of the underground parking lot. Three men came running from their cars. One grabbed the box off the ground, one picked up my glasses, and the other one picked me up. I had blood all over my face and my white dress. My forehead was bleeding terrible. They helped me to the Temple basement door, which leads to the ordinance dressing rooms through the tunnel.
Every sister there was excited over me. I finally found the door that leads to the ordinance room. Sister Blood, a nurse working there, washed all the blood off my face and dress, and then she laid me on a bench. Sister Ferguson, the matron, put ice on my forehead. I laid there about one-half an hour, then I got up, went to the desk, got a name, and went on a session. I felt pretty good after enduring those cold ice packs for one-half an hour. My sensitive head could hardly endure the ice packs, but they helped.
I have slowed down the last five years. I can’t work like I used to do. This makes me aggravated with myself. I am not as good at getting around as I once was. I have visited around with my children all through my lonely years. I am glad to go visit, but also glad to get home again. Isn’t that life for you? Home always is a good place to be, even when you live alone.
Once a year, on my birthday, my children and I go to the Temple and do an endowment each. After that, we go somewhere to eat and visit. It’s a good visit together with the family, and many souls on the other side are made to rejoice by doing their Temple work. I wish we had done this before Gene died. I guess we never thought of it. I have, at present, thirty-eight great-grandchildren, and am expecting more. I have had nine grandchildren on missions and expect one more to go in the fall. I have ten grandchildren married, and I went to all of their weddings. David was killed in a car accident in April 1978 in Nephi, Utah. My living children have all been married in temples, and so far are active in the Church; for this I am very grateful to my Heavenly Father, because unless they are active, it would be so sad for them, and for all of us. I hope we can all endure faithfully to the end.
I just came home from attending Sacrament meeting. The talks were good and inspirational. One man said we are living in a day when great changes are taking place. We are living in a day when great sifting is going on, because people think their way of thinking things out in the Church is better than God’s way of thinking. And when God reveals His way of thinking through his Prophet, such as changes being made in the Church, that men think should not be made, then men begin to pick and find fault with that Prophet of God, who is an instrument of God on earth. As sure as one starts finding fault, he is against himself, and is on the road to apostasy, unless he repents and forsakes the sin.
If we could all be humble and obedient, keep God’s commandments, pay a full tithing, pay fast offerings, and pray continually for help, then we have a chance of better pleasing our Heavenly Father; then he will keep close to us and help us. We need Heavenly Father. If we could obey Him, we would grow closer to Him. Let us not be caught in the web of Satan. He is out to destroy every one of us, if we will let him. We can prevent him from destroying us through obedience to God, and in persistently doing well. It is worth it, to gain eternal life, which gives us the right to live with God and Jesus throughout all the eternities in a Celestial Glory; then we will be out of all danger of Satan, and his temptations. Those who live there, live the law of consecration, which is 100% instead of one tenth of our income. Can we live it? We can, if we set our minds to do it. We can also pay one-tenth of our income as tithing now, if we set our minds to do it. It can be done, and is done by the faithful.
Life is great, the days are so beautiful. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father, who let me be born in this great day and in this great dispensation, when the gospel is here in its fullness. How grateful I am for this great privilege. I hope my children are grateful too. And I hope they will strive to do what is right.
This morning I am sitting here waiting for my friend Lola to take me to the Salt Lake Temple. She is indeed a lovely friend. She lets me ride with her twice a week to the Temple. She will not take a thing for it. She says she needs the blessings. I know she will be blessed for being so kind to me and helping in the Lord’s work. Orel Greenig is another good friend who has taken me back and forth to the Temple for so many years.
Orel and I would go on Reception work in the morning, and then eat our lunch and do ten initiatories; then we’d take a name through a session. Many times, we would come off that session, go get a name, and go on another session. I love temple work, and always have. If I had the health, I would go every day now, as I used to do. I am so glad I did as much as I did while I was able. There is no other way to overcome sorrow or grief than to be busy doing something good for others and forgetting ourselves. Working in the Temple is a glorious work, and has been a good time spent in doing good deeds.
Some of the workers would see me coming off a session; one lady especially would say, as I came down, “Lillie, we can see your Halo. Look out you don’t lose it.” Some would say, “When you get in the celestial glory, wave down at us poor souls.” Orel said they were jealous of us, she and I, as she went as much as I did. Some of the workers would report to our supervisors that Orel and I were going on a session and also doing sealings before we came into our business meeting. Then the supervisor would tell us not to do it, as we would get too tired to do our reception work right. Orel said to me, “Lillie, someone is really jealous of us.” I think they were.
Many mornings before I knew Orel, I would stand out on the street at 5:00 a.m. to catch a bus to take me to the Temple. I traveled six or seven years by bus before I got in and rode with Temple workers. Riding the bus was no fun. I would stand out here on my street for half an hour or so, waiting for delayed buses. In the evening downtown I would also have to stand and wait in rain or cold for delayed buses. My feet would ache and sting from the cold, but I lived through it.
One night, the bus was very late. There was a cold blizzard going on. I was so frozen and wet before I got on the bus that I shivered all the way home. I had seen Richard in the temple, and he asked me if I would go stay with Glenda that night, as she was sick. So when I got off my bus at the Church house at 9:00 p.m., after dark, I ran down the parking lot to keep warm. I was nearly frozen when I got to Glenda’s door. I pounded on it, and then fell. She opened the door and said, “Oh, Mama, have you had an accident?” She got me in the house, wrapped a blanket around me, and turned the heat high. I sat like that over a vent for an hour and just shook. I’ve never been so cold or chilled in all my life.
This day as I write, I am 79 years old. Next year I’ll be in my 80’s. I am surely not a chick any more. I turned out to be an old hen, but I am not going to let old age slow me down, eh? What a laugh. I’ll keep right on going. It’s hard to make my old legs go, but that’s better than being in a wheelchair or bedridden. There’s always something to smile and be happy about, even to know you can be older.
It’s August 2, 1978 in Salt Lake City. It’s a beautiful Sabbath Day. I have been to prayer meeting, Sunday school, and the class I teach. I planned a party for them at my home, before they leave my class. I love al the children in my class and get a kick out of them, teaching at my age. I am the oldest teacher in my ward, but each time I teach, I go right along as if I were 50. What’s the use acting old? The look of me is enough, so I can just as well act as young as the kids. Let them think what they want about my crippled legs. Anyway, we all have fun.
Yesterday I was so sick. I didn’t know what struck me. Today I feel fine. Just a thorn in the flesh, like Paul says he had. We all have thorns, one way or another. Some have rougher, tougher ones than others. I have seen many healings throughout my life. Through the faith of my mother, Kimball, was restored. He had been run over by a wagon full of wheat when two years old. Even though he appeared dying, he was healed, a miracle indeed. The power of the Priesthood is great. I wish more people had faith enough to call in the Elders when sick, and then exercise faith strong enough to receive the blessing. I have had my prayers heard and answered many times. I sometimes wonder if I am worthy of all the blessings I have received from my kind Heavenly Father.
One day when I was in my house alone, as I always am since my husband’s death, I discovered that my deep freeze had not been running for several days. My meat and vegetables were unthawed. I called Richard, Frank, and some of my sons; they were all to work. I knew I must call on Heavenly Father to help me. So I kneeled by my bed, and talked to my true Friend. He heard me, and also answered me. When I got through praying, my deep freeze was running, and I never had any more trouble with it.
Another time, I had trouble with my toilet. When I flushed it, the water ran over on the floor. I had been mopping up water until I was so tired and weak. I got so I was afraid to flush it, for fear the water would flood again, then I remembered I had asked God to cause it to flush normal, so I flushed it and it worked okay. So you and I know, I have really had my prayers answered.
One day a bird got into my house. I was leaving that morning to visit my children in Delta, Utah. I knew I had to get that bird out of my house before I left, or he would die, as I was to be gone three weeks. So I really worked to get the bird out. I had closed the doors which led to the other rooms, and then I opened the outside front door, and also the screen door. With towels in my hands, I set to work to shoo him out, but without success. He just flew around in the ceiling, and it was impossible to get him out, or to make him move from that ceiling. He just wouldn’t go to the door. He could have been blind. I worked until I was giving out, with no results.
Again I made this problem a matter of prayer. When I opened my eyes, that bird flew right down and landed on the floor, by the open door. A large black and white cat walked through the door, picked up the bird, walked out the door, and ate the bird on the lawn. I couldn’t believe what I saw, but it was true. The bird was gone. I closed the door. I had never seen that pretty cat before, and I never saw it since. Now you may not believe these stories, but they are true; they really happened. Alma, in the Book of Mormon, says we should pray. Nothing is considered trifle with the Lord. What he looks at is our faith and if our hearts are clean, then he rewards us accordingly. So remember, He is always close by; we need to call on Him much more than we do.
In July 1979, Berdell, my son, came from Oasis, Utah and took me to his home. I visited them a while, and then visited with my daughter June in Sugarville. They all treat me so lovely. I love each and every one of them so very much for all the kind things they do for me. I know the Lord will bless them all. I also visited with my granddaughter, Beverly, and her husband, Bob Allred.
In August I had an appointment to see Dr. Jeffrey at Provo, Utah, so I left Salt Lake again and went to Provo. I stayed a while with my girl, Veola, and her family, and visited with my son, Devon, and his family at Payson. I attended many sessions at the Temple while I visited there. I got eleven endowments done one week. The next week I stayed at Payson with my son. He and Doris took me to the Provo Temple and I got three more sessions done. Doris took me with her to Salina one evening to bring Debra home, who was working. We got home at 12:30 a.m. Devon took me to the doctor August 14, 1979. Two days later, we all went to the Eugene Memmott Family Reunion at Cottonwood Park in Salt Lake. June came home with me and stayed two days. I enjoyed that so much.
While June was here, Richard and Glenda called me on the phone from Connecticut. June and I visited with them for one hour. June also went with me to Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting.
This week August 20th to 25th I have been real sick with stomach flu, which wasn’t too enjoyable. It has left me so weak, but I’ll get better. I always do.
I still teach Sunday School class, but wonder how long I can keep it up, as I get pretty lame and limpy, as well as older and more blind (1979). On my 80th birthday, May 12, 1979, all my children and I were at Provo Temple to celebrate my 80th birthday. Every one of my living children was there, which made me very happy. We each did an endowment, and then we went out to eat. We also had a family group picture taken, which I value very much because all my living children are in that picture. Glenda came clear from Connecticut to be with us that day. She stayed with me four days, but then she had to go back.
I have done much Temple work. I love it. Up until this day I have done 4,390 endowments, and hope to do more. I have done 34,686 sealings, 51,280 initiatories and 54 baptisms, making a list of 90,410 ordinances in all done up until October 1979. I could have done so much more if my health would allow, and also if I had more chances to get there, as I used to have. But I have taken advantage of every opportunity that came my way. I have been so blessed for it, both in body and mind for so many years.
When we think of all the people in the Spirit World who haven’t had the chance to have their work done, it gives us a thrill to save those poor people, those who have waited for years to have it done. If we can’t get names on our own line, we should do the next best, do work for the names we can get. We are all God’s children, and all must have their work done. By doing this, we may save those who otherwise might have been neglected by us if we stayed away from the Temple. When we do this great and glorious work we feel a rewarding joy of accomplishment, which does increase our faith, and our testimony. Temple work is my life, and if I lived closer to the Temple I would be there every day, as I used to do, if my health would allow it.
October 4, 1979, Carroll and Veola and family moved from Provo, into Richard and Glenda’s home here in Salt Lake. Now I have some members of my family close by again. After Glenda left, I felt quite alone. Now it feels like old times again.
My grandson, Dee Wayne Adams, got a divorce from his wife Chris in 1979. It was a hard blow on me, as I thought they were such a lovely couple, and have such a lovely family. I hope they all will be happy, also the children. When we read books written by authorities of the Church, we learn that divorce is not of the Lord, especially for temple marriages, which is God’s way of marriage. I like to see families try their hardest to stay together, for the children’s sake. They are the ones who suffer. Family life is wonderful, and will be especially so hereafter. It seems like most divorces also have temple annulments, which break eternal marriage rights. More sorrow is caused to such families, especially if temple divorce has taken place. If those children are not sealed again to families in this life, they will be adopted into worthy families on the other side by proxy here in earth life. See what that means? Rights taken way (no family especially of children). You see, when a Temple sealing has been broken, those children will be left for adoption in the world to come, unless they can be sealed to either of their parents again. I am sure that is why the Lord is not pleased with divorce. Read Doctrine of Salvation, Chapter 5 of Volume 2.
Utah is having such a beautiful fall. The leaves are bringing forth their fanciful colors, and the days are so warm and sunny. It cheers our hearts to be alive. Life anyway is so very wonderful, when we realize how Heavenly Father has created such a beautiful world for us to live in. We should be so thankful for all the good things we enjoy in life. I myself feel very grateful. I am also glad to live in this day when the gospel is here in its fullness, and that I have a testimony of the true Church of Jesus Christ. What greater joy could come to anyone?
You know this life story of mine is rather out of order. I keep remembering things that have happened in my life, and which should have been added as I tell my story; but as I now can’t put it where it belongs, I thought it would be better to add it here than not at all. So here comes more news out of order. I started school in a school called Johnstown. I was six years old. It was a small school between Gunnison and Centerfield. I had a man teacher and he had pets, I wasn’t one of them. The weather seemed to me much older and harder in those good old school days. I was tough. I had to be to walk those six miles back and forth to school. I always wore out the soles on my shoes. Dad said he couldn’t keep soles on my feet. Nor could they keep me out of school one day, unless I was too sick to go, I was very determined.
Mother didn’t have a washer. We had to scrub our clothes on a wash board. I begged Mother to let me do my washing in the summer time, when I was out of school. I loved it, and oh, how proud I was to see the lines fill up with white and colored clothes, that I had washed. Most of the colored clothes had to be starched. One day, after hanging out a big wash, we all went a funeral. One of my sister’s friends had died. When we came home we found one the calves had broken out of its pen and had sucked on both sleeves of my Dad’s white Sunday shirt. Sure glad it didn’t ruin any more of the wash on the line.
Hulda, my sister, got married when I was eleven years old. I loved school, and made two grades in one school term. The teacher said I was head of my class. I had a very dear friend, Vesta Pierce. She married a man named Crawford. Since we graduated, I have read many of her stories and poems from the Relief Society Magazines. She lives in SaltLake.
One day at the Salt Lake Temple a new lady came to work as receptionist. Several weeks after she came, she and I were asked to work together at the key desk. She happened to mention she was from Gunnison, and had married a man from Gunnison. I said, “Oh, I am also from Gunnison.” She asked what my maiden name was. I told her, “Lillie Jensen.” She said, “Oh, Lillie, I am Mary Jensen.” We had gone to school together as kids and had been in the same grades. Well we became buddies again. When she was a girl she had long pretty braids. She and I had changed so much we didn’t recognize each other. She quit the Temple before I did, as she had a stroke.
While I lived in Gunnison, I would sometimes take the Bible and go read in our orchard. It was quiet there. While I read I could hear the birds singing; I could hear the water rippling over the rocks in the irrigation ditch. I felt happy spending my leisure time in such a peaceful, quiet place. I was about fifteen years old at that time. Teenagers were different in those days, 1914-1915. I don’t ever remember sassing or making my parents feel bad, like so many teenagers do today. My Mother was my pal. We got along just fine. We never, as I remember, had any quarrels. I was obedient, and I sure liked to work, and I did work. I was always close to Mother, to help her when she had special jobs to do. I wanted to be right in it, if it was housecleaning, making soap, or quilting a quilt. Whatever it was, I was there, especially if it was bottling fruit in canning season. No one could keep me away. I loved that job, next to going to school; and at thirteen, Mother let me can her fruit. She just stood by and gave me orders, and I was in my highest glory. I also loved to pick the fruit off the trees. At my current age, eighty years, I still like to can fruit. It is my greatest ambition. I will hate to see the day when that privilege is taken away from me. I hope I will never get to the point in life when I can’t bottle my own fruit. Sounds real crazy doesn’t it; but that’s the way I feel at this writing.
In 1916 we moved to Holden, Utah. I hated to leave Gunnison, the only valley I had known. It was hard for me in my teenage years to move on a place eleven miles from town. We had no neighbors, and I was living way up in the cedar hills, alone with my family. My father was gone most of the time selling Rawleigh goods, around towns in MillardCounty. The boys went to HoldenSchool. I had graduated in Gunnison. In the summers, my brothers either spent their time in the hills cutting posts to sell, or they were helping farmers in Holden harvest their crops, or they were working on our farm. Mother and I grew much closer, as we were there alone so much together. We had no neighbors to visit with at all.
She and I would go on hikes many times. We would prepare a lunch and take it with us. One day we went to a large hill and found a cave, under a hill. It had many Indian writings, carved with a knife on the rocks. So we knew Indians had once lived close to where we lived. They probably had lived exactly where we lived, as it was by a stream of water.
I spent many lonely hours at that place. If it hadn’t been for Mother I couldn’t have made it. She felt the same way, so we really lived for each other. When I got married and left, she was very lonely, as my father had just died, and Arthur got married shortly after, leaving just Edwin and Harold with her. When they worked in the fields, etc., she would be there all alone, poor Mother. She had it harder than any of us, but she never complained.
Later, my Mother went to Arizona and took care of my brother, John’s, sick wife and three children, when his wife died. Mother brought his three children back to the Holden farm with her, where she cared for them one year. John got married again and came got the children. Mother must have been lonely then. She came to Oasis and lived with us a month. She decided finally to move to Manti and work in the Temple. There she met Brother Lundgreen and married him.
While I lived in the cedars north of Holden, I read a lot. I would borrow books from the Holden Library. I would take two or three books home at a time. So when we got ready to go to Holden for groceries, I had them all read, returned them, and got that many again. I was quite a reader. Some were novels, but most were Church books, like the old “Young Ladies Journals,” which were published by the Church.
I went to Sunday School and Sacrament meeting with my folks every Sunday. We never missed unless the weather was blustery, with too much snow. The people of Holden would compliment our family for being there so early and so often. My father and Mother sang Danish songs in Holden a lot. My father and I sang in the Holden choir in 1918. That same year was an extremely cold, snowy winter. We were right in those cold snowy hills, but we had plenty of wood, and kept the two stoves going full blast. We were cozy and happy.
One day I was home alone. I think Mother was in Holden doing her Relief Society teaching. The boys were gone. It was a sunny day. I went up to the Spring Ditch and sat down by a bush and crocheted. I heard someone coming. I looked up, and there was Brother Christiansen, Cora’s father. He had come to see us, and finding no one home, he came to the head of the ditch. He sat down on the ground and talked. He told me all about his love affairs. He told me he loved a girl back in Denmark, but when he came to America he met Fanny, his wife; but he said it wasn’t Fanny he loved; it was the girl he left behind. He even cried, and I felt so sorry for him.
Sometimes, when I lived so far out, I would wonder why? Why I had to live so far away from young people, and be so isolated? I felt like I just didn’t want to live; and felt like I was wasting precious time. But Mother would say, “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.” I felt like a prisoner and couldn’t see any wonder at that time, but guess it was for my good. I thought I would never get married because no one could find me, hidden in those hills; but when the time came, here he came and found me in those hills.
We planted a garden west of our spring. We raised lovely vegetables. It was fun to have a garden. Father planted a row of trees along the ditch banks, and it was my Father and I who watered all those trees each day. That job was assigned to us. There were twenty trees, ten on each side of the ditch. He and I were responsible to water ten each. He had one side and I had the other side. Each tree got one large bucket full of water each day. I got tired of it, but then Dad would say, “Look how nice it’s going to be when they throw out their shade for us to sit under and enjoy.” Neither he nor I ever sat under their shade while we lived there. In 1980, we had a Jensen Reunion there. That day I did get a chance to sit under the shade of those trees, sixty-four years later. The trees did grow and gave a lot of shade, especially for herds of cattle grazing on the farm after we moved away. I don’t think Mother lived there long enough to enjoy their shade after I left. Edwin and Laurene, Harold and Grace lived there for about two years, they each used two rooms of the house; but they finally sold the place and moved away.
I am grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me choice spirits to raise. My nine living children have been raised and have had the privilege of being married in temples. All are active so far in the Church. I hope they will continue to be active, full of faith in keeping the commandments of God, and in keeping the covenants they have made. God is a just God. His son Jesus is just. He prays continually for each and every one of us. He is interested in all of us, because He gave his life for us. He has done what he can to save us. He has opened the way so we can repent, if we have sinned. This makes it possible for us to repent and be saved in the Kingdom of God. Jesus really suffered to be able to give us a chance to be saved. Should we not do our part to be saved? Repentance is the saving act of God’s children, and God does forgive the repentant soul. So now it’s up to us to do our part. No one can or should expect Jesus to do it all. He has had the harder portion to bear for our sins, so should we not prove to Him that we do appreciate what He has done, and do our part now to make our life a success. We must do our part by repenting and forsaking. It’s the only way out of difficulties and sorrows.
Today I write more in my journal. It is a beautiful, sunny day. On such a day, it gives my heart joy to be alive. The dear old lady in our Relief Society district died. She suffered two years. My partner and I were responsible to arrange for the food for the funeral. It’s 9:00 a.m. and I am ready to go to Relief Society, the last one to be held during the weekdays. The new Church program will commence this following Sunday, April 9, 1980.
I was released from being a Sunday School teacher last Sunday February 24, 1980. I have taught Sunday school in the Millcreek 12th Ward since October 1969, when we moved here. Nineteen years I have taught Sunday School in the Millcreek 12th Ward since October 1969, when we moved here. Nineteen years I have taught Sunday school here. Besides, I have taught Sunday School in Oasis and Sugarville Wards since 1923 as well as Mutual, Primary, and Relief Society. I have been a visiting teacher since 1923, and am still at it (1982) 59 years. Now I have only one job, visiting teacher. I also go to the Temple, so I still keep busy.
I have had my right eye operated on for a cataract. My toe on the left foot was operated on for hammer toe. I have had several bad falls, which has affected my arms, as well as other parts of my body. The legs, knees, and sciatic nerve are bothered with arthritis, but I get along (although I hobble like a worn-out horse); but I can still talk and laugh and crack a joke or two.
October 2nd, 1980, I arose early had all my clothes packed. Alice, Inga, Veola, Mashall, Darla, and Raymond took me to the airport for a long first flight trip to Connecticut. First we went to Chuck-a-Rama to eat. The waitress was so full of wit and fun. She found out from Veola that this was my first flight and how afraid I was, and that I was going on the plane in a wheelchair. So after we had finished eating, the waitress came in with a dishpan full of suckers, waving the pan, singing, tra, la, la, la. She walked straight to where I was sitting. She placed two suckers by my plate, and then she said, “Now when you get in your wheelchair on the plane, take a sucker in each hand. Suck off the one sucker one time, then suck off the other sucker the next time.” I said, “Say if I did that, what do you think the people on the plane will say?” She answered, laughing, and said, “They’ll say, ‘Oh let’s be good to her, she’s really got a problem.’” She was so funny all through the meal. She had all of us laughing all the while.
When we got out by the car, we took off to go to the airport; but instead, Inga Mae drove her car up the Avenues. Mashall was in back of us, driving Alice’s car, so she followed Inga Mae. Then all of a sudden, Inga Mae drove up to the LDS Hospital by the Emergency Entrance and stopped her car. Mashall drove up by her side, and Alice, Darla, Veola, and Raymond were all eyes. They wanted to know what in the world she was doing? Inga Mae in a forlorn voice said, “Poor Mama, she is so scared to go on the airplane that she has had a heart attack so we brought her here. Well, those kids really believed it for a while. Oh, what pranks they played over me and my first airplane ride.
Finally, I was taken to the airport, and wheeled in a wheelchair. We visited a short while, and then a man came and wheeled my wheelchair out to the plane. The stewardess took my ticket and took me to my seat. She seated me on a front seat by a window. She told me I could use the first class restroom. They were so good and so considerate of me.
When we got to Chicago, I had been told to remain in my seat until the passengers were off the plane, as I was in the wheelchair. I wasn’t changing planes, so I just kept the same seat for the next flight. Before the plane filled up, I unfastened my seat belt, and used the restroom, then went back to my seat. Soon the plane was filled, and we were on our way to Connecticut.
I had brought a Book of Mormon with me, and was planning to do some missionary work. So after the plane started off, I took out my Book of Mormon and began to read. There was one man seated by me. He was watching me pretty close. He looked to be around forty-eight or fifty years old. Finally, I said to him, “Are you going to Connecticut?” He said, “Yes, I live there.” I told him I had a daughter living there and I was on my way to see her. He asked me where I was from. I said, “I am from SaltLake.” He sure surprised me by saying, “You are a Mormon?” I said, “Yes, but how did you know that?” Then he said, “Because you look like one.” Then I asked him if he was a Mormon, but he said no he wasn’t. I then showed him the Book of Mormon and told him the Joseph Smith story: that the records from which this book had been translated were delivered to Joseph Smith by an angle called Moroni, and he had taken Joseph Smith to the hill Cummorah and shown Joseph where these records were hidden; I said, “and this is the book that these records contain. They were translated by Joseph Smith; and God the Eternal Father and His son Jesus Christ had appeared and told Joseph that not one of the churches were right. All the churches at that time were wrong and the true church was then not on the earth.” I asked him if he believed that. He said, “Yes I do. Some people laugh at such a thing but I don’t.” I told him this book is a record of ancient people, who came from Jerusalem and lived on this American continent before and after Christ’s birth. I looked up Moroni chapter ten, and asked him to read it. I handed him the book, he read “Book of Mormon,” and then he said, “I have one of these books at home.” He took the book and read the whole chapter. He handed it back to me and said, “That’s good reading.” I told him if he had a Book of Mormon in his home to read it if he wanted to know where the American Indians originated. He said he would. By this time he was getting up to get off the plane. We were in Connecticut. When I got up to leave, I just left the Book of Mormon on the seat I had sat on, hoping someone would get it, read it, and be converted. I saw many beautiful sights out of the plane window. I saw the tops of huge mountains and clouds below me. I saw the Great Lakes. I really enjoyed the plane ride, and we had so much food on the plane. It was dark when we got to Chicago, and it was raining hard. We had a bad electrical storm between Chicago and Connecticut, and it really rocked the plane.
When I got off the plane in Connecticut, a tall, dark, heavy-set man (sure looked like a Negro) wheeled me from the plane into the terminal. It was raining hard. When I saw Laura, Guy, and Glenda, I was so happy. They greeted me with hugs and kisses. I didn’t know Laura; she had grown so tall and beautiful. After they got my luggage, Glenda and Laura started for the car. I was in the wheelchair. Glenda said to the dark man, “I can now push her to the car.” He said, “Oh, no you can’t. Do you want me to lose my job?” Then he whirled the chair around and said to me, “Come on kid, let’s go.” We followed Glenda to the car. He even helped me into the car. We drove twenty-five miles to their home (a long distance from the airport). They have beautiful large home. I had a room by myself, which I enjoyed.
October 4, 1980, Richard’s family took me to Sharon, Vermont to see the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birthplace. It was such a sacred event. The trees in Vermont are so dense, and in October the colors are beautiful. As we drove through the state of Vermont, the birthplace and everything was so sacred and so beautiful. As we opened the car doors, music greeted my ears. It was so soft and heavenly. I thought it was angels singing. It was sacred enough to draw angels down from heaven. Richard told me later the music was a Tabernacle choir tape playing through the trees.
The rock foundation is all that is left of Joseph’s home. They had the fireplace which was in the home taken out of the home and put in the Visitor’s Center, which is close by the place he was born. It is fastened into a wall in the Visitor’s Center. The guide who took us through said, “This is the fireplace that warmed little Joseph Smith, (the prophet) when he first made his appearance into this cold world on December 23, 1805.” And when they say cold, Vermont is the coldest. In the Visitor’s Center we all saw a very sturdy chair that the Prophet made himself when he was a teenager. It was very sturdy to have been made by a young boy. We attended a show in the Visitor’s Center, then went to the park near by and ate a lovely lunch, which Glenda had prepared from home. It was such an inspirational day. We all felt such a good heavenly spirit there. Two Mormon missionaries were assigned to be there to escort us. Richard, Glenda, and family knew them. They had previously been missionaries in Connecticut. I had this trip so strong in my mind for days. It was a most enjoyable and sacred experience.
My first Sunday in Connecticut was one session only, of the General Conference held at Salt Lake. We watched one session in Richard’s home in the forenoon. In the afternoon we went to Sacrament meeting, partook of the Sacrament, and listened to one session of General Conference, by voice only. When we left the Church, Richard and Glenda introduced me to their friends; then we traveled eleven miles to their home. They had taken a crippled girl fourteen years old, to Church; so we took her home after Church. She joined the LDSChurch while I was there. Richard and Glenda converted her through their kind acts. They brought her to Church and took her home every Sunday I was there, wheelchair and all.
I went with Richard and Glenda to a street market, which was interesting. It was a fruit and vegetable market on the street. At 4:00 a.m. the farmers would bring their produce to that street to sell. Most of the time, it was raining hard. People with umbrellas were walking around in the rain. There was no shelter, for either the buyer or seller. That street sale market reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen in magazines where the European people sell their produce on the streets. That’s the custom back in Europe, so they brought their customs with them here. I wish everyone could have seen what I saw on those streets so early in the morning. Vegetables and fruits everywhere you looked, and droopy wet people out buying and selling. They looked like drowned rats, but all I had to do was sit in a dry, warm van and watch.
The Stake Conference in Connecticut was very inspirational. Kurt Loveless came to the conference, found me, and sat by me during the Conference. Guy Black spoke in this conference, and he did very well.
October 13, 1980, Monday, we all got up early and went to see the Atlantic Ocean. It was something to behold. It was extremely cold, but we kept hunting seashells. We saw the big waves coming in. It was so exciting. We also saw one large ship and one freighter coming in from Europe. There were sail boats all over the place. This was an experience I never thought would come my way. I am so glad I got to see the Atlantic, as that is the ocean my parents traveled to get to America.
I got to go through the following states while back in New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York; then I passed by Maryland.
One Sunday, towards evening, Glenda loaded her van, and we all drove to New Haven to a fireside. It was dark when we got back home. We heard a wonderful talk on not being afraid, and also saw slides to that effect. It was so interesting. They served three kinds of delicious cakes and punch, all we could eat.
November 4, 1980, Tuesday, I voted for Ronald Reagan through the mail. In the afternoon, Guy, Laura, Alvin, Wesley, and I went through Mark Twain’s and Harriet Beacher Stowe’s homes. It cost each of us $3.00 a head to see each home. Both of those people were good writers. Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I read all three of those books after I had been through the homes; and I could fancy seeing where each sat as they wrote. There was such a beautiful fountain and spring inside Mark Twain’s home, that when I listened to the ripples of the water, I felt he must have spent much of his time writing there. I saw the little round table Harriett sat while she wrote the story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The guide told us it was her writing table. I even sat on a chair at the table. Her home was much more lively and homey. In Mark Twain’s home they had such dark wallpaper in all their rooms. It made the rooms look so gloomy. I asked, “Why such dark wallpaper?” The guide said each room was built so very large, and Mark’s wife wanted them smaller, so the solution was dark wallpaper, which makes a room look smaller.
November 9, 1980, Sunday, I got a happy surprise. I was alone at Glenda’s in Connecticut, when the phone rang. It was a call from my family, who had all met at Devon’s home in Payson, Utah for Robert’s farewell. He was going on a mission to Australia. They had all been to Church to his farewell services. They all talked with me over the phone. It seemed so good to hear from all of them and to know Robert was going on a mission to Australia.
November 11, 1980, the Richard Black family and I made a trip from Connecticut to New York. It was a very cold and windy day. We left home at 8:30 a.m. It was a lovely drive through the long state of Connecticut. When we came to the New York state line, Richard said, “Now you are in New York.” It wasn’t long until we came to some long, tall buildings. They were the large apartment buildings, as we entered New York. They stood so high and were so narrow. I thought if an earthquake came they would sure go.
As we traveled on, I saw the city. I was amazed at the much taller buildings, scraping the sky. I saw the United Nation’s building, where all nations’ leaders meet to do their business transactions and hold their meetings. That was very interesting. We parked at Battery Park, where we saw ClintonCastle, a barricade used during the War of 1812. The wind was blowing so hard that we went into the building for protection, and also to get warm. We were nearly frozen to death. After getting warm, we picked up some pamphlets concerning that building; then we found some restrooms, which they called comfort rooms. We then walked about ¼ of a mile to the Pier and boarded the Circle Line Ferryboat. We went across the Hudson Bay, which looked like, and is, part of the Atlantic. They said it feeds the ocean. I was very frightened when I saw those huge, strong waves, and the wind blowing harder than any wind I’ve ever seen or felt. We walked about one mile to get to the boat. It was so cold, and the wind was blowing with such a fury, we all nearly blew away. But we finally made it into the boat. There was such a mob of people inside; we could find no place to sit. There were all classes, all colors of people. We all had to stand up and the boat was beginning to move. The boat was packed with people until we felt like packed sardines in a can. I became dizzy. Poor Glenda tried to find me a seat. The boat was swaying and rocking until neither Glenda nor I could stand it. Finally a man got up and gave me his seat. Oh, I was so very grateful to that good man. Soon the lady who sat next to me, supposedly his wife, got up and offered Glenda her seat. We were both so very thankful for a seat. I don’t know which of us needed a seat the worst. Glenda was pregnant, and I was dizzy and crippled. It was so very kind of that couple to help us out. And believe me, we were so very grateful for those seats (life savers). As we sat and watched the waves blowing up so hard and the wind so fierce, I thought if we should drown what a cold death we all would have. It was extremely cold, and we were all very uncomfortable; but we did live through it all. I have no desire to return to the state of New York. I was sure glad I could get away. It never was that cold in Connecticut.
As the boat traveled we could see the “Statue of Liberty” in all its glory through the windows. Finally the boat was up by the banks where the Statue of Liberty was. We all got out and walked about ¾ of a mile to the Statue. The wind was so cold and so strong that we had all we could do to stand on our feet.
We finally got inside the warm building, which we welcomed as heaven. We felt like we really were in heaven, after we got into that building. Richard got a wheelchair and wheeled me through all the building; there were many floors. The Pedestal was forty-two feet. We saw all kinds of pictures concerning the War of 1812, and many other things of great interest. The building was pleasant and very cozy to be in, but when we went out of it to go back to the boat, the wind again was so strong and so fierce it nearly blew people off the ground. A small boy came up to Glenda and me before we left the building, and said, “Don’t go out there, the wind is so strong; it will blow you away. It took me in the air aways, and I weigh 65 lbs.” We laughed, but when we reached the door, we nearly blew off the earth. So Richard went and got the wheelchair, and took me to the boat in it. Then he had to run back to the statue with the wheelchair, and then back to the boat in seven minutes, before it pulled out. He sure must love his mother-in-law. When he came into the boat he was so out of breath, I thought he was going to pass out; but he didn’t. The love for his mother-in-law was so strong it sustained him.
After we all got out of the boat, we nearly blew to where Richard had parked the car. We were fighting the strong wind again, and we were frozen. I was so frozen and so tired, I felt like I never wanted to see New York again. We ate a lunch, which Glenda had been prepared at home, then drove away. We drove uptown. We saw the twin towers of the WorldTradeCenter, the highest building in New York. We drove through downtown and Manhattan. We saw different kinds of people dressed funny. We saw funny-acting people, taxi cabs, and buses that pull right in front of you. Pedestrians would walk right out across the streets, when they shouldn’t. Everyone takes terrible chances.
Most of the stores had their goods out on the sidewalks, like a sidewalk sale. Streets were not very clean. We also saw Ellis Island, where the immigrants from European nations came in the years 1890 to 1955. They were taken off the ships there when they came to America. I suppose my parents got off their ship at this place too, as they came in 1895.
We also saw and drove to the Empire State Building, which used to be the tallest building in New York. We drove by Central Park and saw the horse drawn surreys, which take people for rides through Central Park. If it hadn’t been so cold and windy, we would have taken a good old fashioned buggy ride like I had so many times when I grew up. Buggy rides were our only transportation then. Central Park looked to be about six miles long, and three miles wide, covered densely with trees and bushes. It surely must be the largest and most dangerous park in the world for folks to be walking through, especially alone. I would hate to be alone walking there, day or night. With so many trees and bushes, it was just like a jungle, a good place for hideouts.
We drove through Harlem and saw the burnt-out houses of the ghettos, and also saw burnt-out apartment buildings of the Bronx. In trying to get out of downtown Manhattan we took a wrong road and ended up going across the George Washington Bridge which crosses the Hudson River. We then went a short distance into New Jersey, before turning around and coming back.
We came to a section of New York City where negroes were as thick as lice in Egypt. As we traveled along, Richard yelled, “Lock all the doors;” so we did. There was graffiti written all over the buildings. Everywhere, Negroes were standing in large groups, starring at us, as if ready to pounce on us. It certainly was a slum district of the worst. That was Harlem. Police officers of New York have refused to go to Harlem because it is too dangerous.
We saw electronically powered trains, and we got caught in a traffic jam coming home. A car had rolled completely over and had been on fire. We also drove past Yankee Stadium. We got home to Connecticut at 7:00 p.m., all tuckered out. I told Glenda I would never forget New York, with all its bitter cold winds. The Island of Manhattan, where the largest part of the city is located, is right out in the Atlantic Ocean. New York is one of the largest cities, and also one of the most wicked cities; but it was interesting to travel through to see the sky-high buildings, everywhere in every direction for miles and miles. The streets however, were very dirty, with garbage everywhere and leaves piled up in big piles so thick. I would sure hate to live there. That would be a great tragedy for me to give up dear old Utah.
Connecticut borders New York, but isn’t at all like New York. In New York we saw an old lady with a bag in her hands going through garbage cans on the streets. Every day the streets are filled with old ladies in some part of New York with bags on their backs, looking through people’s garbage to find food to sustain life. Wouldn’t it be just terrible to live in such a place, under such circumstances? Richard has to go to New York often where his work calls him. He gets acquainted with the city. He knew a lot about the city, and took us to the most interesting places; but the most interesting place was the Statue of Liberty.
Friday, November 14, 1980. I went with Richard and Glenda to see the play “Joseph” at their stake house. It was presented by the Chamberlains of Orem, Utah. Richard and Glenda had a non-Mormon couple with them that night. They danced after the program. I met Elder Kurt Loveless there. He is Sheila’s boyfriend. He seemed to be very glad to see me again. I also was glad to see him in far-off New England.
Thursday, November 27, 1980. Today is Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut. It’s nice weather outdoors, not cold. The turkey is in the oven, burning his hide so we can later chew him. Glenda’s family is all busy right now, cleaning house. Each of them has a room to straighten. Guy and Alvin washed the dishes. Each of them cleans his room. Richard vacuumed all the rooms. Glenda swept the kitchen floor. I baked 12 pies. Richard is now peeling squash. Wesley is peeling potatoes, so it looks and smells like Thanksgiving dinner is really in process.
Sunday, November 30, 1980. This last day for me in Connecticut was spent in Church. The Bishop’s counselor is moving to Utah. He and his family spoke in meeting. After Church, they take the plane for SaltLake. I go the next day, Monday. This man, who is leaving for Utah, gave a good talk in Church. He said we should be content with the way God has assigned things for us. We should not grumble, torment, or tease the Lord if things aren’t going as good for us as they may be for our neighbor or a friend; because the things that come into our life, and the things we pass through during our years of mortality are generally what God has assigned; and that is our test, our trial in life. And if we bear it well, without complaint, and take what comes with a cheerful heart, uncomplaining, with a grin, so much more will the blessing be after the trial of our life. If we don’t have money, a nice car, or a comfortable home, as nice as our neighbor, let’s be thankful for what we have, and be grateful. Jesus had no money, no car, nor a comfortable home. Why should we think we are better than he? Be content with what we do have.
Monday, December 1, 1980. Glenda took me to the airport in Connecticut today to leave for Utah. I arrived in Chicago airport at 3:00 p.m. Richard, who was in Chicago working, came to the airport to see me off. He even rented a car to take him to the airport and back to Chicago. I had a lovely trip home and a wonderful surprise when I got home. My children met me at the airport and brought me home to a house they had cleaned and painted. It was so very nice. Then we all went to Veola’s for soup and cake. They made me very happy.
February 9, 1981. I received a phone call of my brother Edwin’s death. He was buried 11 February, 1981 at HoldenCemetery. Now I am the last living child of my father’s family. I am eighty-three, and how long I will be permitted to live is something we’ll have to wait to see. When I get a lot more temple work done, I may consider going. I hope I can get more temple work done because that is the mission we have all been assigned to do by our Heavenly Father before we left our Spirit home. We promised our Heavenly Father then that if we could be born in this dispensation we would redeem and help out in saving souls by doing temple work.
Thursday, September 20, 1984. Yesterday, Sept. 19, I went with Floyd and Barbara to the Jordan Temple and did one session. Barbara came and got me at 4:30 p.m., and I ate a delicious dinner with them, and then went to the temple. It was a glorious evening, which I enjoyed so very much. They brought me home at 10 o’clock p.m. Floyd surprised me. He had left a $10.00 bill on top of my Temple suit-case, which I didn’t see until after he was gone. They are such fine people. They sure treated me royally. Today, Thursday, is a nice day again. I have my work done up, and will read the scriptures today. We are told we should read scriptures every day, to gain spirituality, and faith.
Tonight, Cindy Losee is taking me out to dinner; that’s so sweet of her. She will be leaving Salt Lake soon and going to school at Tray Tech in Provo.
My thought for today is: “Two thousand years ago there lived and died (one) who saw the unseen, who looked at us and saw us clearly, all that we were and all that we could be, and cared enough to die on a lonely hill that we might someday understand. He lived a simple life, nothing that He did not mean. He did not hide himself with words and worldly ways; but drew from the depths of Him. He was never understood, even by those he loved best. Nobody really saw what he saw, or knew what he knew; and he died deserted. Ye here he is, twenty centuries later. His birthday is a universal holiday; his words the truest philosophy of living the world has ever known, a risen Savior of mankind. If you had been there when that great light shown, would you have gone back, unchanged, to your trinkety life? Wouldn’t it have changed your whole life? Shouldn’t it now?
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of Him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him. That he lived. I know that my Redeemer liveth. May God bless us every one.”
After all, what counts is to be faithful to the end, each and all of you. Keep the commandments, obey, be faithful to the end, so we can be a united family in the hereafter, and live with Heavenly Father.
Ho, Ho, I can hear you laugh,
As you rid me of my worn-out trash
Laugh, it’s all in a lifetime
It was valuable, once upon a time
Would make a splendid bonfire, I’d say.
Some may pass for a keepsake,
Or dump into the Great Salt Lake.
Be faithful to the end.
On January 7, 1986, at Doxey Hatch Medical Center, Lillie Ingaborg Jensen departed the earth to return to her Father in Heaven, where she was greeted with open arms and a big smile. Her worn-out body was placed beside her loving husband, in OasisCemetery, Oasis, Utah, where it awaits the morning of the first resurrection.[i]
[i] Vital Records, Cemetery, and Obituary Sources: Birth Certificate: No Name, Birth Certificate, Registration No. 554, Report No. 31, Sanpete County Clerk, Manti, Utah. Copy obtained from Glenda Black, compiler, The Eugene and Lillie Memmott Journal Volume Three 1986 (No publisher, 1987), No page number. Copy available at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Call Number 929.273 M519b. Also available on Microfilm Roll No. 1320823, Item 10. Certificate is in the form of a letter from the Sanpete County Clerk listing the relevant information regarding the birth in a letter to Lillie’s daughter, Alice Adams, on February 26, 1975. Marriage License: Millard County, No License Number, Millard County Clerk’s Office, Fillmore, Utah. Death Certificate: Lillie Ingaborg Jensen Memmott, Death Certificate, Local File No. 18-66, State File Number 145 86 000231. Grave Location and Cemetery Directions: Grave and headstone are located in the Oasis Cemetery, Oasis, 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 next cemetery sign. Cemetery is at the end of the road. Eugene & Lillie’s graves are located on the east side of the cemetery, within one hundred feet of the south end. Obituary: Deseret News, Jan. 8-9, 1986, (136th Year, No. 238) p. 8c. A second obituary was obtained from Millard County Chronicle Progress, Jan. 9, 1986, (Vol. 76, No. 27) p. 11, col. 1.