My Life History by Lucinda Chidester
Contributor: Pan Argo Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago
“My Life History by
When I was born down in Notom, Utah my parents told me there was three feet of snow on the level.
The only help mother had was a midwife named Mrs. Woolman. She said I weighed around seven pounds.
Several cattlemen lost their stock because the snow covered all the feed.
The house I was born in only had two rooms, which was the case with most of the houses of that time. It was made of logs with a lean-to kitchen. I saw it once after I was about fifteen. Wish I had paid more attention to it so I could remember it better now.
It had a fireplace in the front room and a cook stove in the kitchen and that was all the heat it had.
My dad was a farmer and had moved down there from Richfield which was a foolish move but he wanted to be near his parents who had moved from Richfield because my grandfather Smith had been called by the church to go settle in Notom because he was such a versatile man, the kind that was useful in pioneer days. He could do most anything from doctoring the sick to making things. He was also a blacksmith and a very inventive man with whatever he had on hand. A tin can became a cup or a strainer or a grater or a pan depending on the size of the can. Nothing was wasted that could be used.
My mother was very skilled also. She was a good seamstress and could do most any kind of handwork there was. She made everything we wore except our shoes and she probably could have done that too with a little practice as her father had been a shoemaker by trade over in Denmark and when she was a little girl he used to let her make doll shoes out of the scraps of leather from the shoes he made, with his supervision of course, and she said they were pretty good.
Her father was a convert to the Mormon church and when he immigrated to Utah all the way from Denmark he had brought his shoe making tools with him. He had brought his first family with him and my grandmother was wife number two, which he married in Utah. She had come here from Denmark also with her parents, the Jeppe Iversons.
Now getting back to my life:
When I was a baby about 8 months old my parents moved from Notom to Thurber (now called Bicknell). They were really on their way back from Richfield where my mother’s folks lived, but my uncle Jim Smith who had a store here offered dad the job of hauling his freight from Richfield so he stayed here and bought a farm down at the “old town” as it was called after most of the people had moved higher up on the trench [?] north, and after living there for a while they too moved to the new town so the children wouldn’t have so far to go to school in the winter. Dad kept on farming but would ride down and back morning and night. Before they left, however, another son was born to them, my brother Arvil and he was the last child they had.
Then when I was about four years old they moved to Torrey. Dad had traded his home in Thurber to a man named Heet Liston. The farm in Torrey was about sixty-four acres and it had a bigger house with an orchard of fruit trees.
But the irrigation water was a small stream from Sand Creek, which came from the mountain on the north. Not long after this the town started to build a canal so they could farm more ground and my dad worked on the canal every summer until it was completed. This was done with pick and shovel plows and scrapers so it took a long time because it was 8 miles long. This water came from the Fremont River.
I can’t remember when we moved to Torrey and that is strange because I can remember a few instances that happened while we lived in Thurber. Once was when the threshers were all seated around the table and I asked mother if they were all my uncles. I remember how they all laughed and one man held me on his lap and said he would be my uncle. This man was John Handcock and he was from Torrey and it turned out that he was our next door neighbor when we moved down there. He and his wife Josie were always so good to us kids and we loved them.
Josie could play the organ and guitar and John the fiddle and they both were good singers and step dancers, or tap dancing as it is now called.
When Josie found out I could sing she taught me songs and saw to it that I had a part in every entertainment that came along.
Josie ran the hotel and once there was a traveling show come to town, which was rare. It consisted of movies and slides. This was a picture show, as we called it. She had me sing for the man so he gave me a job singing while he changed reels. At that time it would take about 10 min. to change the reels and he wanted me to sing while he did it and said I could earn a free ticket. Josie accompanied me on the organ. I enjoyed it and thought I was really a big shot.
Here is an amusing incident connected with the traveling show that I forgot to mention. There was some kind of entertainment coming up where my sister Ada had to sing. Well I had been going with her to practice every time so I had learned the song just by listening. So whether I had run out of songs or why I don’t remember but I sang Ada’s song. Well, Ada was so mad that if Mother and Dad hadn’t been there she would have beaten me good. I guess they and Josie thought it was cute.
The big days in Wayne County were Xmas, the fourth and twenty-fourth of July, and May Day. The committee that was appointed to take care of the programs for the celebrations always included Josie, so I was assured a part as one of the maids of honor to the Goddess of Liberty on the fourth or Miss Utah on the 24th, which generally meant a song by me.
Sometimes I would be afraid to sing before such a large crowd, but between Josie and Mother and Dad they would talk me in to it and Josie would teach me a new song. I generally had a small flag that I would wave during the song.
The maids of honor and the Goddess of Liberty always wore white dresses with generally ribbon sashes of red white and blue ribbon.
The celebrations on the 4th and 24th consisted of a program in the morning with a children’s dance or “little dance” as we called it in the early afternoon, then horse racing in the afternoon and a “big dance” in the evening.
I forgot to mention about the foot races the children participated in where we always received candy, popcorn, and peanuts.
This paragraph should have been written back a ways in my story. I said I probably would have had a small flag to wave as I sang, especially if it were a patriotic song, which it generally was on the fourth, but on the 24th it would be a pioneer song. One song in particular I remember was:
Roll on in thy beauty, Oh Flag of the Free, The Stars and the stripes shall my song ever be.
What anthem so thrilling is rolling along.
Till millions of free men have learned the glad song.
‘Tis the time honored star spangled banner shall be
In solid triumph firm
The flag of the free.
My sister Ada and I had to wash the dishes and I had to stand on a stool to reach them.
One time just before the fourth some trouble broke out in the choir over something and the members announced they wouldn’t sing. The bishop John Riley Stuart was quite upset about it he said, “What will I do?”
Well Josie said, “Don’t worry, I will get you a choir. So she got us kids together and taught us some patriotic songs. She stood me on a table with a flag in my hand and had me beat time.
I guess it sounded pretty good for after the first song Cutler Behunin jumped to his feet and yelled “Hurrah for the little choir! You old choir sit back and stay back because the little choir has you beat all to peaces.”
Well I wasn’t old enough to remember what the repercussions were about that but I can imagine that the old choir members must have felt pretty silly.
When I think back growing up was fun except I was such a coward. I remember how the coyotes used to howl at night on the edge of town, which always scared me so that I was always home at night unless I was with my folks, who sometimes would go to the neighbors to spend the evening. I also think back that the only other sounds that we heard were when a wagon or a horseman went by. So the town was pretty quiet.
I remember when we used to go up to Thurber to trade at Uncle Jim Smith’s store. How excited we were! Dad and Mother sat in a spring seat with Arvil in between them and Ada and I would sit just back of them on a board stretched across the wagon box. We nearly always had on new dresses made out of checked gingham or some bright calico and we felt so special.
I remember how thick the prairie dogs were on each side of the road and how they would come out of their holes and raise up on their hind feet and chatter as we went by. You don’t see any of them any more I guess the cars have frightened them away. In the fields the farmers used to turn the water down their holes and when they would come up for air they would kill them with their shovels because they did a lot of damage to the grain crops.
We made our own entertainment, which consisted mostly of dances with some town plays that the schools would put on.
My favorite names were Ruby and Sadie so I always had dolls by those names. Ruby was a pretty one with blond curls and sleeping eyes when you laid her down with a kid jointed body. She had brown eyes and was about 15 or 18 inches tall but Sadie’s body was homemade by mother and a very good body it was too with the legs sewn on so she could sit too. Her head was of china with yellow hair and painted features. I loved them both equally and spent many happy hours playing with them and I learned to sew making doll clothes with mother’s help.
My first schoolteacher was Sarah Ann Lasenby, one old maid they called her. I don’t know how old she was but I do remember her hair was turning gray.
I remember the blackboard was higher than I could reach so I had to stand on a stool. I remember writing “cat” and I had to reach so high even on the stool that it came out perpendicular and the kids all laughed. I was embarrassed and vowed to myself I would learn to write straight.
I was frightened of animals, especially horses, cows and dogs, but when my dad was along I lost my fright and really enjoyed going places in the wagon and later on in the white topped buggy dad bought. It had two seats and top made of white canvas with curtains that could be rolled up and tied when the weather was good. I don’t know whatever happened to it. Dad took great pride in his fat horses. I don’t remember ever seeing any of his animals poor and he was disgusted with anyone who starved theirs.
I was always afraid of the dark and when Ada was gone I had to sleep alone so I invented a pal whom I named Sadie Lamb. She was a pillow laid lengthwise beside me. We would talk awhile and I would snuggle up to her, cover my head, and go to sleep. This was in a way like some youngsters today with a favorite blanket or crib quilt.
Nellie Behunin and I liked to climb trees. Just east of their place was the Morril field with some real big trees that we used to climb. I made sure Mother and Dad never knew about this or they would have put a stop to it. I was so small for my age that Dad had always said, “you are too little to do this or that I’m afraid you will get hurt.” So lots of the things I did, I made sure they didn’t know about.
I took advantage of the “too little” stuff when it meant work and they would make Ada do it. Then some time when we were alone she would beat me because she knew I was faking.
After Leah got married to Will Brinkerhoff she lived in Thurber and when he would go away to work she would have Ada or I come up and stay with her. We enjoyed it and once I went to school the spring quarter, which was held in the old Grants Store.
The teacher was Leona Coleman and I was afraid of her because I saw her slap a boy who was in the eighth grade. He was up reading and got to laughing over something somebody said or did and I remember how red his face got when she hit him.
At the time there was no high school in Wayne County and the school year was only five months, so by the time the students graduated from the eighth grade they were fifteen and sixteen years old. When a student recited they always stood and faced the class.
On Fridays we always had a spelling bee and most of the time I could spell a lot of the kids “down,” including Ada, but she could far outdo me in arithmetic.
Braiding the May Pole is what we always did on the first day of May. The Primary always had a program with the braiding of the May pole as one of the parts. Then there would be a children’s dance after the program. I loved to braid the May Pole and felt so important to be one of the “braiders.”
One time some Indians came to town with a show. I was sure curious and wanted to go real bad, but only if my parents went. They did and I sat between them and really enjoyed the show.
I was the original “second-hand Rose,” but I didn’t mind at all wearing the clothes Ada outgrew and could hardly wait some times to wear some of her things that were passed down to me. Of course some times they would have to be altered a little here and there, but Mother could easily do that. We wore our hair braided only on special occasions when Mother would curl it in ringlets with a curling iron heated in a lamp chimney of a coal oil lamp. She would put a ribbon bow on the side near the top of the head.
In the winter we wore wool stockings knitted by Mother, which meant quite a lot of knitting for that many people – seven children and she and dad. But she was a fast knitter and I can remember how her fingers seemed to fly. Of course each one had just two pair of new ones and when the knees and heels wore out she would knit new ones in. I used to hold the skeins of yarn while she wound them into balls.
As far back as I can remember my playmates that stand out mostly in my mind were Grace Woolsey, Nellie Behunin, and Myrtle Burr.
We were all about the same age give or take a few months and with our dolls and playhouses we had a wonderful time.
Josie taught me all the different chords on the organ and I soon got so I could accompany people when they sang or played the violin and it wasn’t long before I was playing for dances with Bro. Jim Huntsman on the fiddle. He only played in Torrey but Arth Jacobs and Jonny Jacobs also played in Teasdale and Thurber and I went along as the accompanist. I believe my pay at first was 25 cents for a dance then it changed to 50 cents and on up to two dollars.
This went on for quite a long time after I started going with Jim who used to complain about bringing me to the dance and then having me sit and play the piano instead of dancing.
Another man I used to accompany was Jesse Young. He played the clarinet. That was the first time I had ever heard “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” They danced it as a two-step.
When they first started high school they held it in the old rock schoolhouse, which is now torn down. I went. There were only two teachers, Miss Bess Montgomery and Horace H. Higgs. No music teacher or any others. They taught every thing from home ec to animal husbandry. Miss Montgomery taught a class in German. Some of us who took German used to show off around the other students by talking German and we thought we were something because we could converse in another language, although we didn’t know as much as we pretended.
Well I am getting ahead of my story a little.
There was another lady moved here, I didn’t know if she was a school teacher or not, but she could play by note so Mr. Young got her to play the piano so that let me out of the orchestra and it sounded better too.
As I grew up I was just as giggly as any girl at that age – worse than some I suppose, but I was made to feel so special at home and with Josie that I guess I thought I was special with everyone.
When I was about 15 I went to a dance and two guys from Bicknell were there and one of them was Jim Chidester. He had gone with my sister Ada a few times so when he asked if he could take me home I said yes and that was the start of our romance.
Well I only went to high school one year and all that time I was going with Jim. We went together three years before we got married. I was so in love by that time that I knew he was the right one. I had had plenty of other boy friends during that time, but no one quite measured up to him and so we got married on December 27, 1916.
We went up to Loa and got our marriage license then came back to Bicknell to his folk’s place and that evening Bishop Arthur Mecks married us and we lived there with his folks the rest of the winter. I didn’t particularly like living in, but that seemed to be all we could do, as his father had a sawmill out on the Boulder Mountain and he and his brothers, Will and Dewey, worked there. They would come home for the weekend to get supplies and then go back out Monday morning.
Spring was getting closer and I had had about enough of living in, so I wrote to Walter my brother who was herding sheep up in Wyoming and asked him if we could rent his house and farm in Torrey. He said yes so we moved down there.
We had a team and wagon that Grandpa Chidester had given us plus a blacktop buggy. I had an iron bed, steal as they were called then, and had made some quilts. We also had two pillows that Jim’s mother gave us from the feathers of some of the innumerable ducks that Jim had killed. Plus a secondhand range stove, a set of chairs, a cotton carpet for the front room, and a glass-doored cupboard that he got from Pectol’s store for hauling a load of freight from Salima. My folks loaned us a table. We had quite a few dishes and cooking utensils that different ones had given us as wedding gifts.
We also had a cow, and my dad gave us two pigs, and I hatched some chickens.
We lived down there for about two years and that is where my oldest son, Smith, was born. I named him after my dad, William Smith, and as there was already a Will Chidester (Jim’s brother), we called him Smith. It was also popular to give the oldest son his mother’s maiden name at that time and that was another reason.
I am also getting ahead of my story here. They were building a new recreation hall in Bicknell the winter before Smith was born and because there wasn’t any work in Torrey we moved to Bicknell and lived in part of Mandy and Chids house so Jim could work on this building.
He had learned the carpenter trade by working with John Kyle, Ben Brinkerhoff, and Rufe Brown. He was a better plasterer than a carpenter, but he did learn the carpenter trade and got so he could build houses outright, except for making cabinets and the finishing, except he could put in windows and hang doors and case them up. He used to say he “wasn’t a carpenter, just a wood butcher.” Any way he did get good enough at plastering and building that he got quite a lot of work all over the county and some even in Koosharem. I think I would be safe in saying he worked in anyway half the houses from Torrey on up to Loa and several in Grover and got most of his money, but to this day there are a few people who still owe him money and when they get around me they act so uncomfortable like they think maybe I am going to mention it. I surely wouldn’t want to carry guilt around like that for ten or twenty dollars which was quite a lot of money in those day and we needed it badly.
There was always more work up around Bicknell than in Torrey so we kept going back. It was hard for Jim to stay away anyway. He thought there was no place in the world like Bicknell. So we rented a farm and moved up there, bought a house right across the street south of his folks’ place and that is where we were living when our second baby was born. He was premature and only weighed five pounds and a few ounces. But he only lived five weeks because he contracted baby flue, they called it, because so many babies died that year. That was a terrible ordeal to go through. We named him James Collin and he is buried here in the Bicknell Cemetery.
They had his funeral in our home.
Jim’s folks went over into Emery County for the winter and we moved across the street and that is where we were living when Gwen was born just a year lacking a week after Collin. Dr. Nelson was the doctor for Wayne County as he had been for some time, but when I took sick with Collin he was over to Richfield so we had to get Mary Williams, a midwife from Teasdale. She did very well and delivered me with out an anesthetic. Dr. Nelson always used chloroform, and not enough of it either.
When Gwen was about 2 yrs. old, Jims folks had moved from Emery County to Carbon Co. and they sent word to us about how much work there was getting props out for the mines so we went over and lived in a house that belonged to Uncle Charl Chidester all of us in two rooms. Lucy and Harold, Granpa and Grandma Chidester, Dew and Mit. I forgot there was a tent that some of them slept in, until we moved out on the mountain where the timber was where some of us lived in a tent. The men would cut the timber and haul it into town. We stayed there for most of the summer and as it was getting close to fall I decided I had better take my children and come home. So we boarded the train in Clear Creek and came home and Jim stayed on to keep working. He worked about a month longer and then he come home also and his folks went back to Price. I can’t remember if the job ran out or what happened.
That winter Jim’s folks stayed over in Price as his dad wasn’t feeling very well, in fact he hadn’t been feeling well for several years and in December he died. They brought him home for burial.
We had moved back in our own home before that and that is where we were living when Ross was born.
There were some deer hunters came to Bicknell to hunt deer out on Boulder Mountain. They were looking for someone to take them out, and Jim got the job. They were from up around Eureka and Salt Lake. Well, I guess they weren’t very good hunters as Jim ended up killing his own deer and one for each of the others. When they left for home they gave him all the leftover food.
They came back the next year and he took them out again. That was shortly after Ross was born and that was where Ross got his name, after one of the hunters, Len Ross. Of course I had heard the name before and liked it.
When Ross was about two years old there was a plague, I guess you could call it. It was spinal meningitis hit the county and Wayne County was hit hard and several people died of it. There wasn’t any in Torrey. So I wrote to Buss and Gladys who were living in Richfield to see if we could rent their place in Torrey. It was just east of my dad’s. I can’t remember how much farming land we had, but there was a one-room rock house with a basement.
He said yes, so we moved down there. As near as I can remember it was in the spring. We had some cows, and our team and wagon, chickens, and pigs. There was a small orchard and a good garden spot. By that time, Jim was getting quite a lot of plastering to do so with what we raised we got along pretty well.
We stayed in Torrey about two years this time or maybe it was less. Then I was going to get another baby and as there wasn’t a doctor in Wayne County, except an old horse doctor as they called him, we moved over to Richfield and Jim got a job building boats up at Fish Lake. Buss and Ada both lived there and we rented a house in the northwest part of town.
Bernice was born the 19th of May and we stayed there until some time in June close to the opening of fishing season and Jim just couldn’t stay away from Bicknell any longer so he took Smith and Gwen and headed for home and I stayed with Ada until we could move back. I kept Ross with me.
So we moved back to Bicknell. By that time Jim had bought a different place in Bicknell where Cula Ekker now lives, only at that time there were two rooms and a loft. We lived there until after our twins were born and when they were three years old we moved down into our present home, which Jim built on a lot we got from Leah. It wasn’t finished, and there is still some of it that isn’t finished now, but it far surpasses anything we lived in before. It is paid for and I want to stay in it as long as I live. But I do plan on visiting my family now and then.
I forgot to mention the Great Depression, which started here about 1929 or 30, the year Bernice was born, but it didn’t seem to hit Wayne County then unless I just can’t remember. Nobody had any money and people traded work for food and other things.
Jim and John K____ [?] built a house in Grover for Sid Rimer and took muttons and hay mostly. He paid a little money. We had horses and a cow, so the hay we could use, and the muttons sure helped out with the food. I had always canned lots of fruits and vegetables, so we had plenty to eat.
Then Jim helped build houses for others and took lumber for his work. Some of the men would go and work at the sawmill getting out logs for him in trade for him building their houses. So that’s how we got most of the lumber to build our house.
Smith and Ross joined the CCC Camp and Jim got on the W.P.A. for ten days a month and that’s how we got the windows, and doors, and flooring. Buss and Gladys had moved back to Bicknell in the meantime and he ran a garage here.
In 1938 my mother died. We had moved dad and mother up here as they had gotten quite senile and couldn’t run the farm any longer. Buss moved down to Torrey to run the farm and cattle and they moved here in his home. Buss later bought the farm and gave his home here as a dower payment. This happened in about 1936. The folks had lived here about two years when mother died. They had gotten where they couldn’t live by themselves, so us girls took turns taking care of mother and the boys took care of dad.
In the meantime my family was growing up. Smith was about 20, Gwen 17, Ross about 15, and Gwen wanted to get married. I said no, and she threatened to get married when she was 18. I was down to Torrey helping with my dad who was awful sick, and the next day after she was 18 she went and got married to Frank Rasmussen. I surely felt bad and so did she years later. My dad died on the 15th of December. That is a terrible thing to loose your parents, but in their case they were better off.
Well, Frank went up to Salt Lake where his uncle owned a furniture store and got a job working in the store. He found an apartment for them to live in and they moved up there and that is where Jimmy was born on July 30, 1941. Their oldest son and our first grandson – and we were delighted. He was such a cute dimpled baby with red hair, blue eyes, and a peaches and cream complexion. They named him James Franklin and that pleased grandpa Jim. We always called him Jimmy.
When World War II started, Smith and Ross were both old enough that they would soon be called. Ross was going to school and working in a defense plant in Ogden. At the time he was working there, some army recruiter came to the school and gave them a pep-talk about patriotism and Ross got all fired up to join the air force. He wrote us a letter with a paper for us to sign for our consent. We wouldn’t do it and so he came home to try to talk us into it, but we wouldn’t sign and so he didn’t get to join. We figured he was way to young and have always been glad that we didn’t let him talk us into it. He went in soon enough as it was.
Smith was drafted, but with his bleeding ulcers as soon as he got to eating army food he got sick. They put him in the hospital at Fort Douglas and kept him for a while and then tried him again, but they soon gave him an honorable discharge. He went to defense work for the rest of the time the war was on and later he had an operation that cured him.
When Smith and Katherine first met, she had come to Bicknell to visit Freeda Bullard. They got acquainted, fell madly in love, and in two weeks they went to Salt Lake and were married. Then they came down here and rented a house, and Smith worked as an electrician for Garkane.
Gwen and Frank moved back to Bicknell when it looked like Frank was going to be drafted. They lived in Vera G___ [?] little house and that is where they were living when he was drafted.
In the meantime Bernice turned 16 and she got acquainted with Merrill Erickson from Koosharem who was home an _____ [?] from the marines and they wanted to get married. We were opposed to it because she was too young, but they won out and we had a big wedding for them here at home and they went down to Camp Pendleton, California where they lived until he was discharged. Then they came back and lived in Loa where his brother, Harold, ran a garage, and that’s where they were living when their first baby, a boy, was born. They named him Lee Merrill. The little fellow was born premature and he only lived a short time, I can’t remember just how long. But he is buried here in Bicknell next to Collin.
Life goes on, and they soon had Judy, who was born in Salina Hospital also. Then they moved to Salt Lake where Kelly was born, then to Las Vegas where Debbie was born, then to California where Willie and Collin were born.
In the meantime Ross had joined the navy and was down in the South Pacific right in the thick of the fighting and maybe you don’t think that was hell to go through. We only had radios then and would sit with our ears glued to it whenever the news was on, hoping and praying that he would come through alright, and when that suicide Japanese bomber hit their deck I was petrified until I heard from him. I didn’t know anyone could stand that much misery and still go on living.
After the war was over, Ross decided to make the navy his career.
When he met Phyllis, he was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. She was from Florida and was visiting her cousin in Norfolk, Virginia and the cousin’s husband was a navy man too, so that’s how she a Ross happened to meet. They were married July 28, 1950.
They were transferred about every three or four years from then on for the next 24 years, and now when he lives in one place for that long he gets itchy feet and wants to move somewhere else and now he has got Phyllis liking it too. Don’t know how long it will go on, but probably until he gets too old to start over.
In the meantime Gwen had developed heart trouble and the doctor advised them to move to California, so I kept her three boys and they moved down there. Neil was just a baby. Frank got a job in the building trade and after they got settled he came up and got me and the boys. By that time Neil had forgotten his mother entirely and so I stayed down there until he got used to her again. They were living in Long Beach, but they soon bought a home in Norwalk and moved into it.
John had graduated from high school and started college in Ephraim, and Jean married Al Griffin under protest. I wanted her to go to college too, but no, she would get married, so we made the best of it. John had decided he wanted to be a lawyer and so he worked in the summer in the timber and saved his money and went to school in the winter. He went to Snow College one year, then onto Utah State if I remember right. Then he was drafted and served a stretch in the army.
About that time Gwen had to have heart surgery and I was down there with her. She came through it all right and seemed to be ____ [?] and it lasted seven years. Then the doctor said they would have to do it again. That was sure a big worry. Well, she underwent open-heart surgery again, but it was too much for her and she died. At that time Jimmy was married. Rossie was in the navy and Neil was only 14 years old. Well I brought Neil home with me after the funeral, but he missed his mother so much that he would only stay a short time and then he would have to go back down there again. Rossie had gotten out of the navy by then and he lived in the old home. I don’t know what Neil would have done if he couldn’t have gone from here to California and then back here again. You never saw such a lonesome little boy in your life. Bernice was awful good to him too, and so was Jimmy who did all he could to get him to go back to school, and so did I try to get him in school here. As time went on he got more used to his mother being gone and when he was seventeen he enlisted in the army and served a year over in Vietnam in city of Saigon. And now he is married to Ethie and doing well working in the carpenter trade with Jimmy.
It has been pretty lonesome since Jim died, but you learn to live with it. I have 21 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren and I’m getting old. In fact, I am 83 years old now and don’t move as fast as I used to. But I plan to yet be around for a while. I enjoy staying home, but I enjoy my family also and visit them once in a while. I don’t always approve of the decisions they make, but it is their lives, not mine. John had open-heart surgery last summer, and that was sure a worry, but he came through aright and Steven is going to be married on May the seventh, and I have just gotten through making him two quilts and one for Jenny who will be married next month. This will be the second time for her. So time goes on and there is nothing we can do about it.
By the way, this is February 1980. The inflation is bad – a gallon of gas is over a dollar – $1.05 or $1.15, I believe.
My neighbors are very nice to me and wait on me as much as I will let them.
I lost Bernice. They found her dead in bed. That was a hard blow.”