J. Howard Nelson memories
Contributor: finnsh Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Recorded by Jan Nelson in 2012 (from a letter he received in 1992)
I was cleaning out my files and found this letter from Dad. It gave me more insight into his attitudes. Read if you like.
"...and what a wonderful thing to have been if I had ever received even one paragraph from my father of counsel or advice, or what I should do etc. He never tightened a bolt for me, never helped me repair my bike, never woke me up in time for school, etc.
One summer I worked for Mons Monson, thinning sugar beets, to earn some money for Strawberry Days - and to buy a fancy shirt and new Levi's to wear. When Mons refused to pay me, and the other boys who had worked for him, the other boys Dads went to Mons and insisted he pay the boys. My Dad would not got o Mons, as he wanted to be friends with everyone, and I never received my pay. I went around Strawberry Days without any clothes or money.
I faced many, many, many heartbreaks after my Mother died. Shows were .15 cents then, and I seldom had the money to go to one. I would walk around town until the streets became pretty much empty, then walk home in the dark past the Cemetery where there was a large mean dog that would come out and sniff my legs and scare me. Then I would go on home, but I'd wait across the street until my Dad came home rather than go into a large cold, empty house alone.
My Dad would usually only buy coal by the sack (.35 cents) and then he would only break off small pieces to start a fire in the kitchen stove. I'd sit with my feet in the oven to get warm.
Our evening meal was often just sweet rolls (buns) and coffee and cows milk. From this diet with very little bulk, my colon shrunk to the size of a pencil across the top, and the Doctor told me I would need to have oil enemas for the rest of my life. (with a catheter)
My father would pass his old shirts down to me when the colars wore thru, and I would have to turn them under to hide the worn part. I was a skinny kid and Dad was a large man, so I had to try to make the shirts fit.
While working at Zion, I would hide the catheter device under the matrass but once the cabin maids found it and did not know what it was. They thought I had some desease and they refused to live in the adjacent areas.
I earned about 9.50 to buy a wooden bodied coaster wagon from J.C. Penny's in American Fork. I can still see it as we brought it out on the lawn, but Dad had no interest in it. And only on one occasion did I have the dime to buy hot soup from the Domestic Kitchen at the High School. They served Tomato Soup - I can still remember how good that tasted.
My Father never went to church after Mother passed away. He always smoked, chewed, and used a pipe.
I charged my books for the first years in High School. I later took my money to Smith Drug and paid for the books even thought I needed money for a thousand other things. I also had charged for a batter for my little radio - I paid for that too.
My father was not responsible, and often did not show up for work. Once I filled in for him to tar the cracks in the road. He did not support my mother like he should. I have suffered throughout my life with my shrunken colon."