Heinrich(Henry) and Lena Zenger - My Grandparents
Contributor: RWhisnant Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
REMEMBRANCES OF GRAMPA & GRANDMA ZENGER
By Lynn A. Zenger, June 8, 2014
I remember as a child visiting my grandparents at their home in Midway, Utah. We lived in Salt Lake City, which was about a 45 minute drive to Midway. In the winter that could be somewhat of a scary drive as we had to go over Parley’s Summit and I recall more than once dad had to get out our his car and put on half chains to navigate the slick roads. Grandpa and Grandma had a small farm that had apparently been constructed many years before using the natural volcanic-looking(at least that is what I would call it) rock of the area for the foundation and fencing in front of the home. That whole area around Midway had a lot of geo-thermal activity, and this type of rock was very prevalent, and I assume free at the time, and so was used for building/fencing materials.
I recall as a youth going to what was called the Hot Pots to swim. This was a natural hot spring-fed swimming pool. The water was naturally warm coming from under ground, and had a kind of sulfur smell. As kids, we thought that was great fun.
Their home was right across the street from the town square where there was their church and other structures, including a town hall, as I recall. Uncle Dean’s house was right next door to the west and Uncle Glen’s house was a block further north. Grandpa had a barn, a chicken coop, and a corral where he kept some cattle and a pig. I seem to recall that there was also an old outhouse out by the chicken coop, which still could be used, even though the house had indoor plumbing. I recall that there were some old Sears catalog pages there that were used for toilet paper.
Every time we would come into the house sitting there on a pedestal right in the entrance way, was a large piece of Iron Pyrite Ore, on display. It was probably 8-10” in diameter. I was always impressed by that rock specimen, and would admire all the facets and surfaces that were shiny gray-silver in color, and wished that I could have it for my own. I don’t remember the history of that sample, although I’m sure dad told me. I seem to recall that it came out of one of the mines in the area.
I remember that grandma’s front bedroom was always cold, as it didn’t have central heat, I think. In fact, I don’t think the house had a furnace. I think it was heated with the kitchen stove. Grandma had her loom in that front bedroom, where she would make handmade rugs from old clothing scraps. I have several of those old rugs still in my home, which we use for throw rugs. Each was different depending on the type of material that grandma had available to use for batting.
Grandma would occasionally made a desert called Seven-Mile Cakes(I think that was the name) which were like fried pieces of thin dough sprinkled with sugar, and she would put them in that cold bedroom to keep until we would have them for a desert. I also remember that grandma would always have a cookie sheet of bread crusts sitting by the coal stove to dry. They would provide the bread for the sacrament each Sunday at church, which I presume grandma would bake, and she would cut off all the crusts and then dry them by her stove for use in other cooking. I think Grandpa was the custodian for either the church or the school, I don’t remember which.
I remember that dad and I would often go to Grandma’s on a Friday night, spend the night and then get up at 4:00am to go fishing up on Snake Creek. Those meadows and fields that we used to fish through are now all gone, as a result of the housing and development that has occurred in the area, has covered them all over. The Midway that I remember as a kid, no longer exists, as so much development has totally changed the face of the area. Just like Park City has also changed. My Aunt Eva and Uncle Charles lived in Park City and when we would go visit them, it was just a sleepy little mining town, with not much going on. Not so today, as it has become totally developed into a very poplar ski and recreation town.
When we would go to Grandma’s for fishing, I would sleep on the couch and dad would wake me at that early hour to leave while it was still dark. We would come back again at around 9-10am, normally with a mess of fish (dad was very good at being able to catch fish out of the smallest holes, but me not so much). It wouldn’t take dad long to have his limit(10 fish, I think) which we would bring home and then cook for dinner, or take home to put in our freezer. We would normally catch Rainbow or Brook Trout. Sometimes we would go down to Deer Creek Reservoir and catch Perch, off the bank, which is a quite boney fish. But Grandma knew how to cook them and they were quite good. Dad was only a stream fisherman, and so we would never go out in a boat.
After fishing, Grandma would fix us breakfast of bacon and eggs and then serve us Postum to drink. I always was suspicious that grandma was serving me something that I shouldn’t be drinking, as it looked so much like coffee, and had an unusual taste, but I drank it anyway. It wasn’t until I got married and found Postum in the store that I looked at the ingredients and discovered that it was just a natural grain drink, and that I shouldn’t have had cause for concern. Had I realized at that young age that my grandma and grandpa were totally dedicated to the gospel, I shouldn’t have had reason for concern.
I remember on one summer day going to Grandma’s and noticing that Grandma had a big pot of water boiling on the stove. I followed Grandpa into the chicken coop where he caught several large chickens with a long staff with a hook on the end. He held them by their feet upside down and carried them outside into the yard where he had a large tree stump sitting. He took his axe and chopped off their heads and then just threw them on the ground and they ran all over the yard for 10 seconds for so, before they fell over dead. The headless chickens were then put in the big pot of water, which had been brought out to the backyard and mom, dad, and grandma proceeded to pluck all the feathers off the chickens. (Today, you just go to the store, and that is all done for you.)Grandma then proceeded to cook the chickens for dinner. Another time, in the winter, I remember going with Grandpa and dad, who had taken his 22 caliber rifle out of the closet and we went out to the pig pen. There he shot the big pig that he had been raising, right behind the ear and then Grandpa and dad tied the pig’s hind legs to a large tri-pod and hoisted the pig up in the air and then slit its throat and all the blood drained out. They then butchered the pig and prepared the meat for future use.
Behind Grandpa’s chicken coop there was a little irrigation ditch which ran across the adjoining field. I suspect that this field belonged to Grandpa and was part of his farm. I think he raised alfalfa there for feed for the cattle. I recall going to that little stream in the summer, laying down on my stomach and watching the pond skaters glide across the water. I always wondered why they didn’t sink, but they didn’t. They always fascinated me.
I remember that on the ditch banks of many of the irrigation ditches that ran through Midway, peppermint would grow. Often my folks would gather some of that peppermint to dry and make peppermint tea. I never really liked the tea, but I sure did like the pungent aroma of the growing green peppermint.
I remember after Grandpa died that Grandma would come down to our house in Salt Lake City, and sit with mom (sometimes with my Grandma Allred as well) and darn socks and underwear. They would use yarn and create a patch to cover the hole and make it last that much longer. That was kind of the mantra of that era. Use it up – wear it out. No reason to discard something just because it had a hole in it. I think that was the Depression Era mentality. Sometimes they would do that while watching General Conference. After the last session of conference, we would get in the car and go down to Temple Square, where we would meet all the relatives by the Seagull Monument.
In my pre-teen years I recall that one year mom, dad, Carol and I, and Grandmas Zenger and Allred, took a trip to Canada in dad’s 1948 Chevrolet. I think mom must have left Paul with another relative because there were just the 6 of us. Mom was born and raised in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, and we went back to visit some of her family and friends. I recall that we went to a Mennonite Colony where all the adults went in to have a chiropractic adjustment. Apparently the Chiropractor was known far and wide for his healing work. Carol and I stayed in the car. The Mennonites had on common dress, with long sleeve shirts/blouses. I remember they had a common eating hall, with a large triangle chime hanging on the outside to summon members for meals. While in Canada we also went to Cardston to the temple. All the adults went in and Carol and I just stayed outside and played while they participated in a temple session.
When Grandma started to deteriorate in her later years, she was living in an Assisted Living Center in Heber, and one weekend, my family and I had driven to Salt Lake and I had to return to Denver for work, so I left the family in Salt Lake, and drove home by myself. I decided to go through Heber to see Grandma, which I did. Grandma had deteriorated to the point that she didn’t know who I was, which was rather discouraging, but it wasn’t long after that she passed away. She’s in a better place and with Grandpa, so that is good.
In Uncle Dean’s garage, which sat right next to Grandpa’s front yard, he had some animals/birds which he had had stuffed. I assume he had a taxidermist mount them for him. He must have shot them himself. I became enthralled with an owl and a hawk. I asked Uncle Dean if I could borrow them and take them home. Mom and dad agreed to allow this, and so I had the owl and the hawk mounted on the wall in my bedroom for all of my teenage years. I named the owl, Ollie, and the hawk, Herkimer. I returned the birds to Uncle Dean when I started preparing to leave home for my mission.
I remember in Grandma’s house she had an attic bedroom, and I recall going up there one day and looking at some of the old things stored there. Of particular interest was an old gramophone, with the vinyl cylindrical discs for records, and the sound horn that stuck out. I thought that was pretty cool. There were other things there that I don’t seem to remember. As I recall, Uncle Glen bought Grandpa and Grandma’s house and property before they died, and so all of the personal property belonged to him. I am told that he disposed of all the personal effects after Grandma’s death.
My father, Ray H. Zenger, was born and raised in Midway, and there are many other interesting details of life in Midway which he has included in his personal history.