John Albert Bonsteel Autobiography
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My Early Life
My great grandfather, Jacob Bonesteel, was probably the first family member to go to Canada. It was during the Revolutionary War and he was a Loyalist. He came up from New York State, crossing at the narrowest part of the river.
The first home of the family was on a farm in North Hemsworth Township. Grandpa, Albert Montgomery Bonsteel, homesteaded there. He divided his land off to give to his children. We had 200 acres with only 40 acres cleared. When we moved, Dad practically gave his share away for $200.
My dad, Anson LeRoy Bonsteel, was married in Sudbury and brought his wife, Isabella Martin Carmichael home to the farm where the rest of his brothers and sisters lived with their families.
My oldest sister, Marion Idelle was born in North Hemsworth on April 6, 1890. Then my family moved and Dad went back to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, where he had a chance for a job in a copper mill. My sister Mary Charlotte was born there February 24, 1892; I was born there March 30, 1894, and my two brothers were born there, Lyle Herbert on January 30, 1896 and Frederick Rupert on March 30, 1897. We lived in Sudbury for several years. Caroline Elizabeth was born in Wisawasa on September 15, 1899.
Our neighbors in Wisawasa had a black bear chained to a post and when I was born my sister Mary, just older than me, asked Mother to feed me to the bear so she could have her rightful place back as baby of the family.
One time I was so sick with bronchitis I almost died. The doctor said there was nothing he could do to pull me through and he suggested that my Mother try anything she could think of. My grandmother was living with us at that time and they got onions and cooked them up and made poultices to put on the front and back of my chest. They filled stockings with the onions and brought them up to my elbows and put them on my legs. I can remember sitting on my Father’s lap with my little arms and feet sticking out of the socks. I had pneumonia when I was five years old.
Some of the best friends of our family were Indians. The woman was a midwife and assisted in the births of children in our family. Years later the son of the man met me and told me how much he liked Dad.
A log had been laid across the creek near our place so we could go the dairy barn where the cattle were. One day I was crossing the log to go see a man that worked there who gave me candy. My little brother Herbert was following me. I got over, but before Herbert got across he fell off the log. My sister who was following Herbert ran and jumped into the water and got Herbert and brought him to the shore.
Even after that experience I still didn’t have enough water. I guess it fascinated me like it does all kids. One time I was going down to the stream, my uncles were building a house upon the opposite side of the lake, and one of my uncles saw me from the top of the house and jumped off and ran down towards the stream to meet me. The river was full of logs being floated down to the saw mill and when he saw that I was about to fall in ran across the logs and got me before I got to the big river.
We had a well-made log house and it was thoroughly chinked—not drafty at all. It had an upstairs. It didn’t have separate rooms but it had wires along the ceiling which were hung with curtains to separate the different areas. The sleeping quarters was upstairs. A lean-to was built which was roofed over with boards and this was used as a kitchen in the summer. In the winter the cook stove was moved back into the house. We had a heating stove with a chimney going upstairs. We made a drum out of four elbows and two T’s that kept us warm. A drawing knife was used to make shavings from cedar wood and at night the shavings, which would light quickly, were used to make a fire in the stove.
One of my early memories was when my Father took a couple of us in a little sleigh with a rail around it to the barber shop in the wintertime. This was quite an event, and I can remember seeing the barber there with is scissors and comb.
We had a Grandmother, Caroline Hughson that lived in the settlement. She lived by Fathers’ oldest brother, William. The other relations were Uncle “Tone”, Uncle Elph, Aunt Ada Melinda (Aunt Liney), my Fathers’ only sister, and their families. The members of this large family group got along well with each other. My cousins were my best friends.
I had one cousin my age who was going to “trim” me. However, I trimmed him and we were friends before we went the rest of the mile home. The fight was right outside the schoolhouse.
Aunt Liney Martin went to Calendar, four miles out, to live. My Mom and Dad made up a Christmas box and sent to her since her husband was no good. They lived on top of a hill with a ramp going down with 2 X 4’s to step on. Her husband used to beat her up and this time he wasn’t going to let Dad in that house, and he and Dad rolled out of the house and down that ramp and almost into the lake. He never came back to the house after that.
Aunt Liney’s oldest boy died. The next boy bought some of the property 10 years ago by the place his grandfather’s house was located and built a beautiful big home there. It is beautiful country. It is covered with maples so big you can’t get your arms around them. While we were on the farm my Dad was a cook. He used to go out and take a sharp axe and get the bark off the tree and boil it up and use the juice for sweeting.
If any of the men got into trouble with anyone else the whole group would go out and take Dad with them. He was the tough one, trained by his father in wrestling. He wasn’t a big man but he could handle himself. He whipped guys’ way bigger than him. He was usually able to settle the dispute for them. One time a bully who worked with him was going to trim him and they had it out. Dad got the best of him and was the hero because of this.
Dad wasn’t a hunter, Uncle Elph used to do most of the hunting in the family.
One time some people came to town to get jobs in the mill and there was no house for them to live in. The man was sick and he had a family. The only place they could get in a hurry to live in was a slaughter house where cattle had been run in. My Dad and some more men went out with shovels and scraped the slaughter house out and cleaned it and got water. Then some of the women helped scrub the floor.
Dad was always helping someone out. He lost out in the long run because he always gave more than he got.
The school was one mile from our place and there was a little village, Wisawasa, 1 ½ miles away. There was a big sawmill there, a general store, a post office, and a few housed for the people who worked in the mill.
My father used to go up in the winter with them as cook in the camp and he would come down with the log drive. As they came down they made their last stop at the head of the rapids as the river narrowed. They put a bridge across the rapids and they built a chute. They would put the logs down one at a time where they would be carried down to the bottom.
Since Dad was working there we would go up sometimes and have a feed. We ate beans baked in the hot coals in iron kettles with the lid on. They would put it down the afternoon of one day and take them out the next day. They made bread the same way. I’ve never tasted better bread.
My family moved from Sudbury back to the farm in North Hemsworth Township when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I had never lived there. I started my grade schooling up there. We had a man teacher. I went for two or three years.
One time Mother had been helping Dad pick tomatoes off before frost and he was so tired. She said, “You are going to have to get Liney” (Ada Melinda). He said, “Can’t it wait until morning?” He had to go across the other farm to get her. The baby, Caroline Elizabeth, came too fast and Mother ruptured. That caused here to have many problems until she had her operation later in life.
Our neighbors were all relatives except for one family who bought a farm next to my Uncle Elp’s farm.
The only vacations I remember were when a bunch of the family would get together in the summertime and go picking raspberries and blueberries. We would either go in the wagon or take a boat up the lake. We canned enough to take us through the next year. Mother had a 10 or 12 gallon crock. She put blueberries in that crock and put a cloth over it and a board over that and she would dip them out all winter long. We all enjoyed these outing very much.
Our basement was a dugout under the house. The vegetables were stored there. It was so cold where we lived that they would kill a beef and hang a quarter of it out in the shed. We would go out with a saw and knives and get pieces of the suet off. I liked to eat that. The beef would keep during the four month of winter.
Before our garden came in each summer food sometimes got so low that we would have to live on milk and butter. Mother would put sour cream on the table and we would sweeten that and we loved it. We would take buttermilk and do the same thing. Sometimes we would put chunks of dough in buttermilk and cook it into dumplings. We liked that too.
Our social life consisted mostly of family picnics at the lakeshore or square dances which would be held in the various homes. If we went anywhere or did anything it was as a family group.
The children in our family made their own fun. We traveled around the woods and went down to the stream where we swam in the water by the bridge.
We had to work, too. One of my chores was to carry wood to keep the wood box full. I also helped in the garden and got the eggs.
We had to walk to church on Sundays in the summertime. We attended a non-denominational church. In the winter we stayed home and read the Bible because the snow was so deep. In the winter when we had to go to the store my cousins walked in the tracks and they made me walk in the snow in the center of the road.
The village of Calendar was four miles further out. We moved from the farm to the large town or small city of North Bay which was eight miles further out. My father brought a house which was partly built next to my Uncle Elph’s house and with the help of my Uncle, who was a good carpenter; he raised a roof and made rooms in it. It was big, with four bedrooms. We lived in it for a while and then sold it.
I went to grade school in North Bay for three or four years. I was in the third or fourth grade when we moved from North Bay.
Dad acquired some mining interests up north so we moved to Latchford. I finished my grade schooling there. I passed out of grade school and was passed on to high school but never went. We moved that year.
That summer I got my first job at Latchford on the conveyor chain of the sawmill where the refuse come out and gets burned up. My job was to toss the big pieces into a hopper and they would be bailed up for firewood.
In 1910 we moved to Port Arthur, Ontario. We rented a house there. I went to work delivering groceries instead of going on the high school to help take care of the family. Dad had been pretty sick with rheumatism and since I was the third child and the oldest boy I had to help. After that I drove a butter wagon. Then I went to work for what is now the Port Arthur Shipping Company.
Electricity was getting to be the big thing then and I had the idea of taking up electrical work so I got a job at the shipyard as a trainee. I worked there for some years until I went in the army during World War I.
My Service Experience
Instead of being drafted I went to Winnipeg on May 2, 1918 and enlisted in the Canadian Engineer British Expeditionary Forces. This was about a year after the American government became involved in the war. England had already been in the war for some time. I chose that branch of the service because of my interest in electrical work. I thought I might be of some use in that field. My war number was 2502950. I was in “D” Company, 9th Battalion. They just gave us the basics and then shipped us down to the basic training place at Brockford, Ontario. We waited in Halifax for so many days until the American ships that were taking their solders over came up to Halifax from New York and there was a British Battleship that led us across the Atlantic. This made it possible for us to travel in convoy. When we got into the Irish Sea it was safer because we were in convoy. We had seven submarine destroyers join us at this point and escort us into the Irish Sea. We went in at a naval base at Liverpool in England. The Irish Sea was a dangerous place because some boats had been torpedoed there before.
In England they were only giving promotions to those who had experience and I was made Lance Corporal. I felt I was doing my duty and this made my service time a good experience. I tried to be a good soldier.
While I was in the Army I met a young Canadian fellow in England who was training to be a Methodist minister. We took a liking to each other and stayed together most of the time while we were in France and Belgium and back in England again. He was a clean-cut fellow. After we were discharged we corresponded. I got a post card from him saying he was being sent into the Northwestern Provinces for his first preaching assignment. He said he was coming up on the boat and I met the boat and his wife. He had been engaged before he went overseas.
While we were serving in Belgium we used to make waffles and we put lard on them if we didn’t have any butter. Sometimes we would go into the YMCA and get a can of syrup for ourselves and we would give the family we lived with what we didn’t use. We were billeted with a family. The government paid them for keeping us there. They became good friends.
Once we stayed in a barn and German lice drove us out. That was the only time we tried staying in a barn.
I was discharged on March 30, 1919 in Toronto at the age of 25.
My Move to the United States
After the service I couldn’t get my job back because I didn’t have enough time in to qualify as a journeyman, so even though I had quit my job to do my duty and join the army, I was out of work after I got back.
I helped my brother-in-law start a dairy farm and then I worked for a season with the railroad fire protection men. I had heard of fellows who had gone to the United States to work in the factories in Detroit so I thought I would try to get a job in the Detroit branch of the shipping company I had worked for in Canada. So I went to Detroit in 1923 with my mother and my brother Fred.
On the way to Detroit I met the foreman in the Maintenance Department of General Motors’ Cadillac factory who said my brother and I looked like a couple of fellows who liked to do a job right. He took my name and address and said he would recommend us to get a job where he worked if we couldn’t find another one. We did have trouble getting a job so we looked him up. This was my first job in the United States.
After a while I left the Cadillac factory and went down to the ship building company to inquire about employment. I got a job right away in the Electrical Department because I had worked for their company in Canada.
The Gospel in My Life
Two missionary’s from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to the old farm and preached there. The folks on the farm hadn’t had much religion because it was so far away from the church and the terrible weather kept them home much of the year. My mother and the wife on one of my uncles and my Uncle Elph all joined the Reorganized Church. When we move to Port Arthur there was a man that was supposed to be a member of the Reorganized Church. He claimed to be a Priest but he was a rascal. Mother didn’t like the Reorganized Church at all. Because she didn’t like him she decided the church wasn’t right.
My Dad was religious by nature and belonged to the Salvation Army. Whenever he was in town he attended the meetings. He read the Bible every night when he was home. My mother went with him to the meetings and took the family but never felt right about that either.
After I came back from the war, two missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came up to Port Arthur. They were the first missionaries to go up there. They were first cousins—the Paxman cousins. They were going around tracking and they came to our place and were invited in. They explained the difference between their church and Mother’s but she didn’t accept the gospel then. My mother’s half-sister lived in Hamilton and my mother and sister went down to Hamilton to visit. Mother was taught the gospel in Hamilton and this time she accepted it. They went over to Toronto to the Mission President’s home and she was baptized there. She remained a faithful member all of her life. She had a lot of faith. Once she became sick and the elders blessed her and she was healed.
Dad told the elders that he had a dream and in the dream he was in swing going back and forth. He grabbed hold of the foot of the tree and hung on. He interpreted this to mean that he should stay with the Salvation Army. He never smoked or drank and only towards the end of his life got to smoking little cigars.
My mother was concerned that she didn’t have a son that would hold the priesthood so she asked the missionaries to come to the house one night and talk to me. When they got to teaching from the Book of Mormon I decided to read it. One of the Elders claimed to represent the true church. He reminded me that it says in Ephesians that the true church had prophets, apostles, teaches, etc., and he named all of the officers of the church. It started to make sense then and when I heard the Joseph Smith story I believed it. I was baptized in 1925 by the Presiding Elder and became a member of the Detroit Branch. I was confirmed by Lucille’s father, Archie Reed Alger. The members of the Detroit Branch were small in number but they were very friendly and this was another reason I wanted to join with them.
When I was working in the factory I ran across men whose parents belonged to the church. These missionaries had converted people all up through Michigan. People in every locality had joined the Church but they were too much alone and became inactive. After the Church got spread out and grew bigger then they were able to get together for their meetings.
In Dryden we were the only ones who were L.D.S. so we had to be careful to set an example. There was one man that kept my car in repair and I paid him a little bit every week. That way I had a car to go to work in. He didn’t belong to the church but you couldn’t ask for any better friend than him.
One time I was looking for a plumber and I went over to the plumber’s house and his wife said he wasn’t at home but that he was down at the beer garden. So I thanked her and went into the beer garden. I sat at his table and talked to him. The bartender asked if I wanted a drink. I said. “No thank you—just wanted to talk.” After I talked to him I left and someone mentioned later they had seen me in the beer garden. That shows how people notice and how careful we have to be.
During the war we were working on a government project making crocks for sewers and I shared my lunch with a man. He had some beer and I didn’t want any. One fellow said, “Hold my glass while I do something,” and someone had to make a remark about me holding the glass. People were very quick to say something in these circumstances I found.
You are never quite sure what your children will do not matter what you have taught them, especially when you are in a little town where thing show up more than in a big place. In a big town no one knows you except your next door neighbor and maybe not then but in a little town everyone knows you.
Marriage and Family
When I first met Lucille I wasn’t a member of the church but since my mother was a member I didn’t have any qualms about Lucille’s religion.
I wasn’t thinking of getting married at all when I met Lucille at Church. She had moved to New York with her family and then returned to Detroit to stay and this is when I met here. We knew each other for five years. Her father was the first Branch President of the L.D.S. Church in Detroit. This was the first branch of the church in Michigan. She was only 17 years old when I met her. She was a nice looking girl with all the characteristics that would make a good partner for me. The Presiding Elder married us.
I was living with my mother and my brother in a rented place and after I was married we continued to live there for a while. Then we move to several different localities always trying to find a place with enough ground so we could raise a garden.
Our first four children, Beverly, Pat, Jewel, and Melvin were born in Detroit. We moved from Detroit to Clawson where we were for two years. Arline and Sandra were born there. In 1937 we moved to the Pontiac Branch.
While we were in Clawson we got our first car—a Model T Ford. A man had driven it from Utah to Detroit so he would have transportation until he could buy a new car. He left it on the outskirts of town and told the Branch President about it. The Branch President said he knew a fellow that didn’t have a car and he gave it to us.
At last we found a vacant farm between Clawson and Birmingham. Some people were renting the property and had moved onto a piece of land next to it so they rented us the house and a good size piece of the ground. Kay, Sharon and Linda were born on the farm.
When we moved to the farm we got ourselves a little tractor to cultivate our garden. We called it the “Doodle Bug”. It was a dodge car with the body taken off and wheels put on the back. This made a tractor so we could plow. Someone had to walk behind and hold up the plow which was pulled by the doddle bug. It was just like having a horse.
We didn’t have newspapers or a radio and TV on the farm. Mamma had her washboard and did her washing on it for three years. We had a washing machine but no electricity to use it. I went down and saw the manager to see if they could put the electricity in the rest of the way to the house. He said they needed poles to put it in. Since the President of the electric company said he was going to bring electricity to the rural districts I went to see him and he said he would run the line in if I would put in the wiring. At first we felt we couldn’t afford the wiring but finally I was able to wire it and they put the lines in and hooked it up. So we finally had electricity for the washing machine. We had a pretty good garden there.
While on the farm I worked part time at the factory and part time for a farmer. This was during the depression.
The depression was rough because much of the time the only work I could get was a little government work—pick and shovel. In 1938 or 1939 I started to work at the auto plant but the depression hit so hard they had to close the factory down and I was laid off. The pick and shovel work only paid $12 to $13 a week. We had 8 to 9 children to feed from that. We did have the garden which was a big help to us. I think I was paying tithing before but I don’t think we paid tithing on that $12 during the depression. I don’t remember. I’ve always believed in tithing. I paid tithing before I joined the Church. But if I didn’t during the depression I don’t think the Lord will hold it against me. A man I was working with on government work gave me a patriarchal blessing. He cautioned me to pay my tithing. When the auto plant started to hire again in 1940 I was rehired. After we got steady work at the factory I got paid by the week. Every week we got a check and every check the tithing was taken out and every Sunday we went to church and turned in our tithing. I paid tithing 52 Sundays of the year and never missed. I was only getting 75 cents an hour when I first started out at the factory. We raised our family, paid our tithing, and I think that’s what helped us get through to the Lord. We also paid our fast offering.
Mother kept the hours and looked after the children and canned the vegetables. Once on the farm the shelves in the dugout basement broke and 100 two-quart bottles were destroyed. The shelves were long and thick and when they gave way, what a mess!
When we were on the old farm a tornado came up ¼ mile away from us. It took the top off barns all around us but we escaped with just the loss of a few shingles.
When the owner of the farm sold the property we had to move. We looked all over for another place to rent but no one would rent a house to a family with nine children. We hunted and hunted for a place we could afford and finally found a house in Dryden, 30 miles to the north. To make some extra money for the down payment we raised chickens. We cleaned and dressed them and I would take them in and sell them at the factory. We still needed $500. The credit union man at the factory said we didn’t have enough collateral to borrow the $500 that I needed but he broke the rules and got it for us so this gave us enough for our down payment and we moved out to Dryden on December 12, 1943.
The farmer I worked for let me borrow a bed truck for moving and what a lot of work it was! Everyone big enough and not sick helped move. Mother was pregnant with Penny and was also ill with the flu, so the move was very hard on her.
Pat stayed at Clawson when I went out for the second-to-the last load of furniture. It took a long time to unload it and when we finally got back to Pat she had been sitting alone in the dark house for long hours waiting to see the pickup come back. I felt so bad about this experience that I let her drive the car. Up to this time Pat had only been allowed to drive the Doodle Bug, so this made her very happy.
Our place in Dryden was five acres. There were 11 rows of grapes, 130 feet long, when we moved there and we had an acre of ground at the house which we used as a garden. After we moved to Dryden we bought a rototiller. This was the year Pat and Clayton were married. Out little garden tractor wasn’t heavy enough to work the clay soil.
During this time we raised several calves and sold them as veal.
I remember the day the United States became involved in World War II. On the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing everyone was excited over the Japanese and one of the foremen who was holding a stapler was telling what he would do the Japs and he whammed the staple into his hand.
We went through the Second World War in Birmingham and at Dryden. While everyone was on rationing coupons we had more than enough coupons. We had more gas coupons than we needed and we used these to pay our way to go to work, giving an occasional gas coupon to the other drivers. Instead of me driving my car we rode with other people in their cars. After we moved to Dryden I was 35 miles from work.
I was working at the factory during World War II and the factory got a tremendous order to produce parts for the war effort. One building was used to make parts for the engines of the submarines, tanks, trucks, etc. They had a sign up at the factory telling of a vehicle which had a motor breakdown in the African desert. They had wanted to fix it up and a mechanic tried to get parts to repair it but since General Motors hadn’t been careful to put the part number on it he couldn’t replace it and the truck was lost. We had to be sure that all parts were carefully numbered.
We were working all the time at the factory. There was a tremendous waste of money during the war. They hired many more men than they needed so they also had a bunch without much to do. I remember going into the lavatory downstairs one day and seeing people jammed into this very large room just as tightly as possible. Other men were up doing work. When they couldn’t get younger fellows they hired older men. There was a lot of manpower in the country. They also had women go to work. Women would package stuff on the line which was on tables 50 to 75 feet long.
When I retired from General Motors I had worked there between 22 and 23 years. When I first began working I worked on the busses. I drove a truck most of the time. I spent a lot of time working in the Sanitation Department, keeping the factory clean.
We had two vacations when we were at Dryden. The first vacation we ever had was when we came to Salt Lake City in 1955. Then again in 1960 we came west and saw Bev and went to California to see Arline in the camper.
In 1955 we were sealed in the temple in Salt Lake City. The Pontiac Ward was small then—not very many people. They put on a dinner and asked us to come and bring the family, we went. At that time they were collecting money for the building fund. They had a big bowl on the table and people were throwing money into it. I didn’t have an idea that they were collecting for anything but the building fund until they got up and said they were putting it in for us to go to Salt Lake City. I thought I wanted to do it myself and didn’t want anyone to put in for us and they said, “Don’t you want to go out and see your daughter married?” We did take it. George Romney was Stake President and he gave a check to the fund. All together they collected over $400. Lorraine Modica had drawn a picture of a covered wagon with children sticking out all over it. One fellow in the branch loaned us a new station wagon. Patricia was the only one who could drive then. Bev and Jewel were already in Utah. Arline came out on the bus because she couldn’t get that much time off and she went back with us. When we got out here we had all kinds of places to go and people who wanted us but Fontella and Noel had a good size house with a large garage what was clean and they asked us to stay at their place. We had our meals there on a picnic table. Fontella and Noel gave us their bed and they slept in a tiny room. The kids slept on cots in the garage. We had them all sealed at this time but Melvin who was in the Navy and stationed in Japan. We went through the temple 6 times. Besides our sealing we had a wonderful time, thanks to the good people in the Pontiac Ward. This experience was direct answers to revelation, for my patriarchal blessing said that in a time of need my friends would rise up and help me.
We Move to Utah
We lived at Dryden for 20 years before we moved to Utah. In 1963 we sold our house. We had bought it for $5,000 and sold it for $12,000. We had fixed it up. We painted it before we moved. We had lived with coal heat and had put a new furnace in it. Then we put a stoker in there and piped the heat to all of the rooms. Before we moved we had the furnace reconverted to gas which came into the house from the street. This cost us $500 but made it easier to sell the house.
Russell helped me and we cleaned everything out of the basement. It was just a beautiful big room after we had cleaned it out. We really washed it out and everything else. We fixed the foundation and sealed it all in. That is another thing that helped sell that house.
The children helped a lot in the garden and in the fixing up of the house.
We bought a big truck and arranged the furniture on it and then we drove it to Utah. We had sent for a newspaper and we looked at the ads. After our arrival we stayed at a motel. One day we were driving along the street and we saw this house for sale so we went in and looked it over. The neighbor came out and told us who owned it. As we were looking it over the owner came from his farm and stopped. The owner told us the price and it seemed right so we bought it. Buying it from the owner instead of the real estate man saved us $300. The truck we brought out was taken out to California by Arline’s husband, Monty. We paid quite a bit as down payment on the money for it. We had paid off the house in Dryden and made enough out of our home in Dryden to buy a home out here.
We belonged to the First Ward in St. George during our entire time there. We lived in St. George for 7 years. For four years I was assistant to the president of the High Priest's Quorum. I was cub master for two years. Then the Stake put me down in the Temple Library to work.
You couldn't ask for better friends and neighbors than we had in St. George. They still stop by to see us when they come north.
At the St. George Temple we had our son Melvin sealed to us. All of the children were married in the temple but Patricia and Bernard who were back in Michigan. When we moved out to Utah they came out and were sealed. In 1970 we moved from St. George, Utah, to Orem, Utah.
Influences in My Life
Lucille's Father was a great influence on me. Also important in my life were the examples of the prophets.
While I was in Michigan I was superintendent of the Sunday School and was in the M.I.A. for a while. I was Ward Clerk for nine years. For years Lucille didn't go to church when there were little babies all of the time.
We taught our children how to pray and when they grew up they didn't forget it even when the young girls went to work in California. One time I asked one daughter if she would offer a blessing on the food. She replied that just because they were away from home they hadn't turned heathen. I didn't preach the gospel as strongly to them as some think I did. I think if they all will remember back they will see that their mother was with them more at the time. I worked nights and slept part of the day. However, they seem to have all found that it pays to live right. They are now raising their own families and living right makes it a little easier for them to go ahead with the bringing up of their own families. I am pleased that they are trying to raise their families the best they can. They all seem to be trying their best to live as good as they can. I have never seen a family as closely knit as ours where there is so much love for the parents especially their mother. This pleases me very much.
Another person who was a good influence in my life was Ed Jones. When I was home teaching in the Pontiac Ward we went to one home where the man did not think he was ready to be baptized yet. Ed Jones got to be Bishop and got on him and soon Ed Jones had him in the Church. Ed Jones was the one that got Bernard into the Church. Bernard always loved that man. Ed Jones also gave Melvin a loan which made it possible for Mel to go to Utah to school at the Brigham Young University. Ed Jones talked at Bernard's funeral.
The Ensign magazine means a lot to me. It has such good articles in it. It seems as though living near the headquarters of the church and the prophet make the things I read mean so much more. I never enjoyed the gospel as much as I do now. I think I must have been one of those who was baptized but not converted. I don't know why I haven't done better in my life when there has been such good counsel from the apostles and prophets. As a child I didn't really have and gospel teachings. We went to church when we lived in towns where there was one but that didn't teach the children in the home. I didn’t read the Bible when I was a little kid. Mother and Dad read the Bible but didn’t explain it because they didn't know how. Consequently I did things against the laws of God, The people we associated with felt that anything was alright, So that got into the minds of the older kids and they talked about it to the younger kids. We didn't have anything spiritual to offset it. We don't always have the strength to overcome our temptations, and I just love the words of the Bible. Someone once asked me what I saw in reading it so much. They said, "Once you read a book, that's enough". I find that I get more out of it all the time. When I get read up on my periodicals I get one of the standard works or one of my other books with pictures in them, But I don't find reading dry. I never was much on reading just for the sake of reading, however.
One of the stories that has meant a lot to me is the story of Admiral Perry in the North Pole. In this story it mentions that land birds go up into that fog. I've often wondered if maybe this means the lost tribes are up there. The only reading I do now is Church books.
My favorite song is "O My Father." I also enjoy "Come Come Ye Saints."
I like all food and am not particular as long as we have potatoes and good gravy. From the time of my mother on down we have always had good gravy makers. Mother was a good cook. In those days they used to teach those skills to their children. The only thing I don’t like in the way of food is spinach. I do like Swiss chard, though.
Genealogy is very important to me. I was in the church for 14 years before my mother passed on. She died December 21, 1939 and was buried December 24. Before she died she went down to visit her family and she got a list of her relations from them. After I got interested in genealogy I wrote to my uncles and aunts and got started on our genealogy and information on my father's father. If I hadn't joined the church I don't know how my children would have ever been able to get this genealogical information.
After I moved to St. George I enjoyed doing temple work. I used to go down two to four nights every week. I got an old friend, Will Carter, to go with me. He loved to go to the temple too and since his wife worked at the temple she had the car, so I drove my car and took him along.
Changes I Have Seen
The changes I have seen have come about gradually-not a sudden thing that was noticed but just bit by bit. There has been such advancement in everything--electricity, gasoline, steam engines, and airplanes. Transportation has changed tremendously. I had a car before I left Canada. My brothers and I bought a doctor's used car. Then cars had canvas tops and curtains at the windows. Of course, this has all been done away with.
Electricity has advanced so much since I did electrical work in the shipyard. Things that we used then are so obsolete now. Now people see something that was bought yesterday and think of a little bit of change that will make it better. An inventor can look into the future and see what other people can't see. Each individual perfects everything for someone else.
Food has changed tremendously. Now everything is in boxes and cans.
My father on the farm cut grain with a cradle. He went from a hand sickle to a grain cradle and then to a mower. My dad had a scythe that he cut his hay with. If he had grain left after we got it in the cradle be would cut it by hand, rake it up by hand and pick it up and bring it in. After that they had the mowing machine. Then they got a binding machine and they used to cut the grain in bundles and throw it off to the side. I saw the first binders come up into our country.
My mother and my aunts all wore six to eight petticoats which were always dragging the ground. They left a trail of dust behind when they walked. Only their shoes would show. Now they have got rid of a few of those petticoats. They were always talking about being so hot in later years and I wondered how they ever stood it when they wore all those clothes.
In 1971 I had a stroke. After the stroke everything was taken from my memory and I couldn't even remember the gospel principles. I had always talked to people about the gospel whenever I could—at work or anywhere else. The Lord has answered my prayer to have my memory back by bringing it back bit by bit. Trying to remember so this story of my life could be written has helped to bring back part of my memory. If I can have patience to wait I think it will all come back eventually. I can't yet get up and talk. Things don't come to my mind yet. But the weakest spots are getting stronger. If I am patient and live long enough I will get back to where I was before. I used to do things in the Church—not very much but I could get up and pray anytime they asked me to. It is coming a little bit.
I was with my first home teacher the night I got sick. This last year I have been going out home teaching again. Reading is my only hobby and for a long time. After I was sick I couldn't read. Now I read and if it sometimes doesn't seem right to me I go back. It is coming a lot better now.
John Albert Bonsteel Oral Genealogy
The earliest Bonsteel was Jacob (1742). My oldest uncle wrote me a letter, saying he went over to Canada and married a Welch woman who had come from Wales. In the archives of Ottawa I got a record of Jacob Bonsteel (l762) and he also had a son Jacob.
In the United Empire Loyalist Records Jacob Bonesteel of Edwardsburg, Grenville Co., So. Grover, Canada is listed.
His son was Jacob Bonsteel (1791) born in Elizabethtown, Hastings County in Canada. We didn't find that Jacob, Jr. had a child but through Jacob's burial certificate we found that his wife's name was Nancy. We hadn't known this before. Jacob, Jr. was the father of Albert Montgomery Bonsteel. Before four generations can be submitted we need a birth and death date on Jacob, Jr. (1793 or 1791).
Albert Montgomery Bonsteel is my grandfather. I have done his work. We can't seal him to his father because the dates are not complete on the father.
Caroline Hughson's father and brother had two big farms on the outside of Orangeville in Pell County, and when the town started to grow they bought the two farms and incorporated them into the town. Their temple work is all done.
Albert Montgomery's first wife was Adeline Lake. She was from Holton County when they got married. She was born about 1822 in Holton County and died in 1858 in Esquesing Township, Holton County, Ontario, Canada. Albert Montgomery Bonsteel was born May 7, 1819 in Elizabethtown, Canada, and died 17 October 1891 in Rochester, New York.
William Albert is my Uncle Will. Mary Jane Robinson is his wife. He was my father’s eldest brother. He was the one who gave me the information when I left Canada. They had no children.
Ernest Albert Martin married Melinda Bonsteel. They had a big family. The oldest boy grew to be a man and died. I had his work done and the work for one of her daughters done.
Anson LeRoy Bonsteel and Isabella Martin Carmichael were my parents. The work is done for them all. I had Caroline's work done and Fred's work done. Fred died in 1973. I had them done in the Provo temple on 1 November 1974.
Caroline was sealed to my father 18 October 1973. They were also endowed and baptized on 18 October. On 1 November 1974 Fred was baptized, endowed and sealed.
Marion Idelle is my oldest sister. I haven't got them sealed yet. They had got three children who have died. They had a chance to hear the gospel. Now the gospel is taught to investigators in two or three weeks. Then it went on for 10 to 12 years and Satan had time to get to work on them.
Work has been done for Mary Charlotte's family and they are sealed together. Two of the deceased children have been sealed to them.
Carmichael is my mother's family name. I was from the second family. John Worke Carmichael came from Ireland. There is no record on him. I have checked in all the shipping records that came over. I got someone in the library to write a letter to get shipping records. There was nothing, He came over from Ireland and married Janet Russell, That's where mother came into the line,
One child is not sealed--Joseph Worke Carmichael. He is not dead. He came from Sudbury down to North Bay and then out to Latchford. I think I have the notice of his wife's burial. When I last heard of him he was down near Ottawa working in the lumber industry. This was in the 1930's.
Martin Luther Carmichael was not sealed.
All the uncles came over from the United States to Canada and they settled up in Renfrew, Canada in Ontario and went into the lumber business.
Calvin Follett Carmichael had two boys. No dates are available. The work has to be done for them. There is no death date for him. They have not been sealed. They had a child. He died in 1889 and they couldn't have the child sealed to them. They had the work and another child did not have work done for him. He died as a child. This was Harold. There were no sealing’s.
John Worke Carmichael married Mary Charlotte Mcintosh (second wife). I can't get anything on him or on his second wife either. They had four children. The oldest girl got married and had two or three children and lived in Hamilton. I lost her address and was going to write when I took sick. I wanted to get information have the one girl's full married name. No work has been done for them and no work has been done on the dead child. There are no dates for these others here. I know Robert Carmichael is dead. I wrote to his wife about two or three years after she had been up to my sister's to visit and my sister had seen her and they sent me back the letter that she was deceased. She is buried in Shaplo where her husband always worked. He was an engineer on the railroad.
If the children could each take names and help by writing letters it would be nice. We could get this work done. But I can't even write to my children and ask them to do this.
We know the children of Mary Charlotte Carmichael are dead. How would you write to get a certificate of the burial?
Mary Charlotte Carmichael has a daughter (Potolinie?) Violet McLarn. I went over to see my sister in the hospital. We were in her house in Toronto. She was crippled up until she was very small and her husband could pick her up and carry her around. He (Robert Ptotemig) wrote me a letter and said he was just about blind. I got her sister's history and her husband's. Cora McLarn, wife of George Hunter. They had four children.
There is work to be done on the family of Robert McDermid. He was from Caldwell, New Jersey. Mother moved after leaving Detroit.
Life Story of Lucille M Alger
Contributor: dvdmovieking Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
My natural parents were Della E. Young and Ralph Alger who was a brother to my adopted father, Archie Reed Alger. When I was eight years old I went to Detroit to spend the summer with my uncle Archie and my aunt, Minnie Arbelle Backus. During that summer my parents got a divorce. Each of them married again. Ralph Alger married Mable Baker-Chesebro. My natural mother married Lee Roberts who had three children of his own and the two of them had two children after that. Ralph and Mable did not have any children. Mabel’s first husband died and she had two children from the first marriage. Ralph had a farm next to Grandpa Alger’s. We used to see Mabel and Ralph from time to time.
When I was 14 years old I was legally adopted by my Uncle Archie and Aunt Minnie and when I was 19 I was sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple along with Ione and Fontella. Archie and Minnie were also sealed to each other at this time. It was through their efforts that I was baptized when I was 9 years old and raised in the Church. Had I not been adopted I might never have become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Maybe I would have been a member of no church at all, for though my own people were good clean-living people, they were not religious in any sense of the word.
When my adopted father and mother, Archie and Minnie, were married, neither of them were members of the Church. Minnie’s mother and father, John Joseph Morris Backus and Elizabeth Layle, had been converted by missionaries who were passing through Michigan. They were baptized about the time Minnie was 5 years old. She was blessed in the church but was never baptized. They were left all alone—the only church members in that area. Grandpa Backus taught Sunday School in a Baptist church for years after he was baptized a Mormon because there were no Mormon churches in that area. After they were baptized people who had been good friends walked across the street to avoid them. They maintained their testimonies in the face of persecution and taught their children that there was one true church and that one day they would find out for themselves. That was back in pioneer days in Michigan.
Grandma Backus died around the time I first went to Detroit.
I was adopted first, and then my sister Ione who was 1 ¾ years older than me, then after that Fontella was born to Minnie and Archie. Mother had four or five miscarriages.
My father was a wonderful man, a person who was at ease with people of any station of life. He would fit in anywhere. He was born in a little one-story house hear Newaygo in western Michigan. He attended a one-room school house until the age of 12, and then he and his brother went to high school in Newaygo, three miles from their home. He graduated when he was 17 years old.
He became a country school teacher for the fall and winter terms for the next two years, returning to the farm for the spring and summer work.
His high school principal directed him toward the engineering profession because of his mathematical ability and he attended Michigan State College where he received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He taught for the next seven years at Michigan State College and at the University of Illinois. During this time he received another degree and became known as a Civil Engineer.
On September 6, 1905 he married Minnie Backus. Within two weeks of their wedding Minnie decided that if what had been told her parents had told her was true she should find out and tell her husband. Minnie was soon convinced of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but she labored for seven long years to convince here her husband. They were both baptized November 17, 1912 in Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Archie was President of the Detroit Branch of the church for 12 years, President of the East Orange Branch for three years, and President of the Hackensack Branch for two years. When New York Stake was organized he was ordained a member of the Stake High Council by President Heber J. Grant. He later served as a member of the High Council of the Washington Stake. He died of February 8, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Newaygo Michigan on February 11, 1947. President Ernest L. Wilkinson, later to become President of the Brigham Young University, was the main funeral speaker. Minnie Arbell Backus died September 5, 1944 after a long and painful illness.
Among the acquaintances of Archie Alger were many of the general authorities. Among these, especially prized were associations with James. E. Talmadge and Melvin J. Ballard.
Although my relationship with my mother was not a happy one, two of the good things that she gave me were a love of decorating for Christmas and a love of cooking from her. Mother was a very good cook and I got my love of cooking from her.
When I was 20 years old the firm which Dad worked for in Detroit was bought out by a New York company and the whole family moved to New York. I didn’t care for the East, probably because the companion which was to be mine was in Michigan only I didn’t know it at the time. So I moved back to Michigan after about 10 months. I got a job as a telephone operator because that didn’t require a high school diploma. I had known my future husband since I was 17 but of course at that time I didn’t realize that he was to be my one and only. We had corresponded some while I was in the East but nothing serious. However, after I came back to Detroit we started really going together and in about 8 months we were married.
For a while after we were married we lived with Dad’s mother in Detroit. Then we moved to a place on our own.
We had our church meetings downstairs in the Danish Brotherhood Lodge hall. It would get so hot that we would fry in the summer time. They would put a fan over where the speaker was standing. They had a desk there they would use as a podium. Once when the prophet visited the branch he said, “I have talked in a lot of places but I can’t talk with this fan going.” Both George Albert Smith and Melvin J. Ballard had talked at the Detroit Branch. Melvin J. Ballard gave me a mother’s blessing when Mel was about to be born. That is why we named Mel after him.
After we got a car Dad took the older kids to Detroit for Sunday School while I stayed home with the babies. After we were in the Pontiac Ward Dad took the older kids to church in the Model T. We heated bricks to keep their feet warm during the long cold ride.
When we moved on the farm we bought a cow and at this time we also had a nanny goat who had triplets. We butchered her. We had a pig named Jiggs. Dad brought her home one night because the mother had so many. We raised it in the house with a bottle. It was black with white spots all over. We finally butchered it when it reached 200 pounds. When we moved to Dryden we moved the cow and her calf over in the trailer.
While we were still on the farm there was an old car which we used to hold baby chickens. I went out one time to take care of the chickens and surprised a skunk who had been after them. I chase the skunk out of the car and got sprayed directly. I went back into the house but the smell was so strong I ended up burying my clothes.
We had some more excitement one time on the farm when Sharon was helping me burn trash. She got hold of some matches and was helping light the fire and she accidently set the shed on fire.
The Lord blessed us with 12 children for which we are grateful. We had some interesting experiences in rising of the our 12 children.
Grandma Bonsteel died when Sharon was five months old. She lived with Fred and Billie at the time but she would come out and stay with us.
I had every one of the babies at home and never had to have a stitch. Mel was my smallest baby at 5 ¼ pounds.
Russell and Gail were my biggest babies—both weighed nine pounds. Bev weighed 7 pounds, Pat 7 ½, Jewel 8 pounds, Mel 5 ¼ pounds, and Linda 6 pounds. All the rest weighed 7 and 7 ½ pounds.
Our greatest sadness was when Russell was born with a cleft palate.
When he was a month old and they closed his lip by surgical means we were given special nipples. Nine months afterwards they had half of the roof of the mouth done and they closed the rest of the palate soon after.
Russell was blessed when he was three days old. He was the only one of all our 12 babies that wasn’t blessed by Dad. He was afraid that because of his feelings in the matter he would promise something out of his great desire and not necessarily what the Lord had intended.
Russell was a very good child. He was a special blessing to us. He was the one child which never gave us any trouble. He never had to be pushed to study. Even when he got well into his teens he was careful to study before he turned on the T.V. He was the only one of our children who was like this.
We had to take Russell to Ann Arbor for countless trips. We got help from the Children’s Fund of Michigan which had been started by James Cousins. Without this help we could never have handled this big expense. The doctor that did the operating was the chief surgeon in that field. He was a big elderly man with snow white hair and he did a wonderful job.
No speech therapy was available at the school in Dryden. When Russell was between 8 and 11 years old he went to speech camp at Traverse City in the summertime. That did more than anything to help him with his speech.
We went through whooping cough, mumps, and measles with the first four of our children. I had both whooping cough and mumps at the time our first five children had them. We had diseases in sections. Arline had to be taken into our bed when she had whooping cough because we were afraid she would strangle. Pat was five years old at this time and when she started to cough at night we had to run and get her on her feet so she could breathe. Bev was six at the time and could have brought it home to the others from school. Arline was between 1 and 2 months old.
Arline was 7 or 8 months old when we all had mumps. I was sicker with the mumps. Although I was very sick, there were a lot of things I had to do so I just went ahead and did them no matter how bad I felt. You do a lot of things and afterwards you wonder how. Many women in pioneer times and old times have had to do the same things.
One of the outbuildings in Dryden which used to be a chicken coop had been used for a hog pen by the people who were here before us. It was a dirty place. Joe Mitchell had been helping Dad roof the garage and two or three of his children were with them. The kids were all chasing and playing. They went through the old shed and as Kay went through she fell and caught her arm on a rusty old nail. It was a bad wound. Her muscle was badly torn. We called the doctor and took her over to his office. Dad waited out in the other room and he said to me, “Don’t you want to come out in this other room? All that blood!” This was something Dad couldn’t take even though the births hadn’t bothered him at all. That was the only time he became queasy. We finally took Kay to Rochester for the stitching. She had to have inside stitches as well as outside stitches.
When we lived on the farm Jewel wanted a swing. Wild grapes grew along the road so Mel made Jewel a swing by attaching a grape vine to a limb of a huge apple tree growing in the yard. Unfortunately, when Jewel swung on the grape vine it broke and she fell and broke her arm.
Another accident that happened in the family when the children were small was when Sandra was hit by lightning. She was playing on the slanting door leading to the cellar on the old farm. Three of the kids were playing there. A cold lightning bolt struck her. It didn’t touch the other kids. It brought every blood vein to the surface of her back over an area about the size of your hand and down one leg. Dad grabbed her right up and got her to the doctor. In spite of this, Sandra has never been afraid of thunder storms. During the same thunderstorm another man also got hit by a cold bolt.
There were times when things were very skinny in the early years but no one ever went hungry in our family. We might have had biscuits and fruit for supper but there was enough of it. And we sure had a lot of green beans. Some of the kids would just as soon never see a bean because we had so many of them in Dryden. Eight rows of beans were planted in a plot which was an acre square. Beans grew very good there. We would have 7 or 8 bushels of beans to snip at a time. The kids and I used to sit out on the porch and sniped beans and played games like My Grandmother’s Trunk or the state game where you name a state and someone would give the capitol. Or everyone would take a turn singing nursery rhymes and each person would have to sing a different one. Kay hates beans to this day but she grows some now in Arizona because Mike likes them.
When the kids were bad I made them go get their own switches. They usually went out to the lilac bushes and brought back little lilac suckers for me to spank them with. This usually made us all start laughing and the trouble was forgotten.
We often had the missionaries visit us at Dryden. They weren’t supposed to stay at the homes of Latter-day Saints but one time when we had been in Dryden 5 or 6 years an Elder Larson’s lips became severely sunburned during tacking during their first week out in the country. They got as far as our house and Elder Larsen couldn’t go out in the sun any more so we fixed up a room for them to stay. His companion, Elder Anderson, came from a cattle ranch in Utah. He came out and helped the kids pick beans. He declared that when he got back to Utah he would raise enough cattle to buy his beans and would never raise a bean if he had anything to say about it. The missionary would let me do the washing and he would do the ironing because his mother had taught him to do this. They stayed the week until Elder Larson’s lips were better.
When we were still on the old farm Elder Julius Papa was one of the missionaries who were very special to us. He was stationed at Pontiac. He and his companion frequently came to dinner. His companion was a convert and was the only one in the family that belonged to the church. His companion’s folks lived near Owasso on a farm and the whole church went out there and held Sunday School on Sunday. Dad worked in the Sunday School at that time. Elder Papa fell for his companion’s sister and later married her. When Elder Papa was in Italy in the service after his mission he sent us a picture. On his way home he stopped to see us. Linda was just a baby then. It must have been in 1941 or 1942. He was a wonderful missionary and now he is a Regional Representative.
When we lived in Dryden the children never had permission to go further than the school and they didn’t until they were well grown up into their teens. They didn’t run around town. They never went up to the candy shop. I bought two or three bags when I went shopping and doled it out to them so they wouldn’t go up town.
In Dryden some of the girls worked as telephone operators. Pat was the first operator and Linda was the last operator. Bev already knew she wanted to be a nurse and she was working towards that. She learned to milk cows so she could milk for a teacher who had 4 or 5 cows. She paid Bev to milk her cows because she knew Bev wanted to be a nurse.
The first two years of high school Mel got very good grades but after that he didn’t seem to care about school. He did all he could to talk us into signing for him after got out of high school so he could join the Navy. He had been in the Navy for two whole days when he wanted to come back home.
The kids grew into their duties by age. Mel took his turn doing dishes. So did Russell and even after we were in St. George before Gail was married, Gail and Russell would do the dishes for me. After Gail got married I never asked Russell to wash dishes. I have seen the time, after we had a big crowd and everyone had left and the dishes were still there that Russell would go and do the dishes when he knew I was awfully tired. This is when he was 17 or 18 years old.
Russell was 16 when we moved to Utah from Michigan. The kids worked awfully hard to get the house ready to sell before we moved. They also helped a lot when the furnace was installed. Pat helped pour the concrete for the basement floor of the house. She also mixed the concrete. Right about this time when the furnace was being installed rats were able to get into the house because it was torn up. One morning we got up and there was a rat in the old ice box we kept the bread in. Pat and Sharon had sticks and we shut all the doors in the house and opened up the icebox door so the rat could come out. It wanted to go back into the dining room where the register was and Gail, who was about 9 years old, was standing in front of the closed dining room door so the rat ran towards her. She jumped to avoid him and came down right on his head. Sharon finished him off.
Another time in Dryden I came into the bathroom and saw a rat drinking out of the toilet. I happened to have a plunger and I plunged him down the toilet.
Another time we worked pretty hard was when the mill closed out and they sold the stoke coal to Dad. Bernard loaded the coal in the big truck with the tractor scoop and Pat and Gail shoveled it into the basement and Russell and Dad worked in the basement.
I taught all my girls how to cook but the one of my children who now cooks the most like me is Melvin. When he was 11 or 12 years old he would beg to make the gravy. Linda has learned to do a lot of things the way Lorence’s mother does them.
When we move to St. George Gail had just graduated. She worked for the baker first and then went to Hawthorne Tent Factory to work. It was there she met Ellis. They were both short of money so they did their courting around the St. George Temple.
Dad had his stroke after we had moved to Orem. We went to bed and it happened at 11:30 P.M. Within 45 minutes after it happened we had him in the hospital. Bev was working that night. Never before have I been so glad that she was nurse. Dad kept hitting my shoulder and trying to talk and couldn’t say anything. His right arm was hanging off the bed. I finally woke up and tried to put his arm back on the bed. He kept pointing to the clock trying to say something. I called Earl and told him something was the matter. Earl came over and couldn’t get him to talk. He called Bev and she said to call the ambulance. The police came. They couldn’t get the stretcher through the bedroom door so six men carried Dad out. Dad didn’t know anything for a week. He had been home teaching that night in apparent good health. I had my gall bladder out five weeks before the stroke, on March 17. I was in the hospital 20 days. Dad was in the hospital from 28 of April until 31st of May.
The first word Dad said when his speech began to come back was “Beverly.” For a week he didn’t know us. It was touch and go. After he began to get better he gave Bev a bad time in the hospital. He didn’t let them shut the door at night and every time she would go down the hall to the nurse’s station he would call “Beverly!” Of course she went down the hall many times since she was the nursing supervisor.
While we were back in Pontiac Dad’s Patriarchal Blessing was fulfilled through the will of our Heavenly Father and the goodness of the saints of the Pontiac Ward when we were able to go the temple and have 11 of our 12 children sealed to us. At that time Melvin was in the Navy and in Japan. However, even if he had been here he wouldn’t have been active enough to have gone to the temple with us as he was over 21 and would have had to go through for himself in order to have been sealed to us. Also, in the service Mel had picked up some bad habits that would have kept him from the temple. When Mel came home from the service he couldn’t get work and started to run around with a crowd with certainly didn’t help him any. But through Sandra happening to talk with Bishop Johnson when she was in his home once and through Bishop Jonson’s help and the help of the Stake, Mel was able to go west to the B.Y.U. to school. He stayed at Beverly’s home where he was in a completely different environment. Bev’s husband Earl took him Ward Teaching with him and before long had him active and he was advanced in the Priesthood to a Priest. Mel met a girl from Nevada that he fell in love with and he worked hard to be made an Elder so that they might be married in the Manti Temple, for which we are very grateful and Oh so thankful. After we moved to St, George Mel was sealed to us. We are very grateful for all of our children.
I am sure if my early life hadn’t been as it was I might never have had the testimony of the Gospel which I have and I am thankful to my Father in Heaven for my knowledge of the gospel.
Life Story of Linda Bonsteel Carr as written by Lorence Carr
Contributor: dvdmovieking Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Birth and Early Years
Linda Lou Carr, the ninth daughter and child of John and Lucille Bonsteel, was born October 16, 1941 in Troy Township Michigan. She was born at home as was the tradition at that time.
When she was a young child she received and shot for diphtheria and due to an apparent error by the doctor, she was very ill for some time.
The family lived on a small farm in Dryden and all the family had to do their share. Linda specifically remembers having her dad asked her the question if she was afraid of the cow. When she answered in the affirmative he said it there’s no time like the present for her to overcome that fear and therefore taught her to milk the cow.
On the farm the family had a large 1 acre garden where they grew all the vegetables that they would need for their family. They would store extra vegetables in a root cellar for the use later in the year. Linda particularly remembers the large amount of green beans that they had in the garden and the amount of work that it took to pick the beams and to can them. They also had many rolls of Concord grapes.
As a youth she took over her brother’s paper route and deliver newspapers. Later she worked as a telephone operator in the days before dial telephones were introduced. For a period of time she worked for a family in northern Michigan as a nanny and helper in the home.
She attended school at Dryden school in Dryden Michigan. The school was two-story with the lower grades in the bottom and the upper grades on the second floor. She graduated from that school and for her senior trip went on a boat trip to Niagara Falls New York.
The family was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was not a LDS church in Dryden therefore they had to drive 60+ miles into Detroit to attend church. They would go early in the morning because dad had a calling as a Ward clerk. They would take their lunch and stay all day today. One night dad had taken several the girls into Detroit to attend a dance. The weather that night got bad and the leadership of the church told the families to return to their home. Due to the bad weather took several hours to reach their home.
In 1955 the family decided to make a trip to Salt Lake, the nearest temple, and have the family sealed together for all eternity. One weekend the Ward had a family dinner, and as a surprise raised money for the family to go to Salt Lake. One member of the Ward, an owner of a car dealership, loan them a station wagon for the trip. Melvin was in the Navy and two of the girls were already in Utah so that left Mom and Dad with nine children to make the trip to Utah. Mom and Dad had a very special time in the temple. Several years later Melvin was sealed to Mom and Dad.
When Linda was about 18 she moved to California to live with her sister Arlene and her family in Gardena. She was able to get a job at Chevron Oil Company in Los Angeles. While living in Gardena she attended the Gardena Ward and usually attended the Tuesday night Mutual meeting. One night while at Mutual she met a young man by the name of Lorence Carr and at the end of the evening he gave her a ride home. This was an introduction to the man that she was to marry two or three years later.
Linda subsequently moved from Gardena to Alhambra to share an apartment with her sister Kay. She continued to work at Chevron and was able to carpool with some of her fellow workers. She attended the Alhambra Ward and was very active. In October 1965 she went to visit her sister Arlene in Gardena. While attending Sacrament Meeting she became reacquainted with Lorence Carr.
Dating and Courtship
Later that week after obtaining her telephone number from Arlene, Lorence called Linda and set up a date for that weekend. Lorence worked in the Los Angeles Temple Saturday mornings and would drive to Alhambra afterwards to meet with Linda. On their first date they went to dinner and got acquainted. Subsequent dates were; a walk around the grounds of the Los Angeles Temple, movies and a trip to the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day 1966 as examples.
On the second or third date Linda and Lorence talked about marriage, but delayed any final decision due to the fact that Lorence was close to be drafted into the Army because of the conflict in Viet Nam. In February 1966 on a date Lorence decided to ask Linda to marry him, however she was having too much fun would not settle down for a serious discussion. Finally Lorence got down on his knees and Linda started laughing. However the deed got done.
The next week Lorence and his mother went shopping and looked at various rings so that Lorence would have an idea of costs and options. The next Saturday Linda and Lorence went ring shopping and were able to find a set of rings that they liked and was within their budget. A week later they picked up the rings and were officially engaged.
After several discussions they settled on May 21 for a wedding date. However the Army decided to draft Lorence and he was due to appear on May 17 for induction. After some discussion it was decided to change their wedding date and get married on May 14. The only problem was that they had already received their invitations, addressed the envelopes, and sealed them. With the help of a friend they got new envelopes, addressed them and mailed out invitations.
Lorence’s company applied to the draft board for a deferment for Lorence saying that he was essential to the company. The draft board deferred Lorence’s induction until July 20, 1966. The wedding was already set and so everything went forward as planned.
Linda’s mother came down from St. George Utah on the bus and on one weekend made Linda’s wedding dress. And what a beautiful dress it was. The amazing thing was that she was able to get dressed done because all the children that lived in Southern California came to visit her while she was there. She finished the job and return to St. George on Sunday night.
Wedding and Honeymoon
On the night before the wedding all the family gathered a favorite family restaurant and Los Angeles called Rudy’s In. Linda and Lorence, Dad and Mom Bonsteel, Mom and Dad, Nilas, Grandmother Belle, Aunt Pearl and her husband Carl, Larry and his wife, and others enjoyed an evening of great food and wonderful fellowship.
On wedding day Linda and Lorence had to be the Los Angeles Temple early so that Linda could obtain her own endowments. Those that could, attended the Temple session with Linda and Lorence and the sealing session. After the wedding Linda and Lorence and the family went outside and joined those outside for a session of photographs and congratulations. Gail and Russell, Linda’s siblings, had taken the time to decorate Linda and Lorence’s car.
Linda and Lorence returned to Alhambra and the girls went to the beauty shop while Lorence got the car washed and hid it away. Linda had previously put Limburger cheese in her brother in law’s car on his wedding day therefore Linda and Lorence suspected that there would be a return of the favor.
The reception was held in the Alhambra Ward building. Linda and Lorence and decided to go simple and everything was beautiful. There were lots of friends and family there to share the evening and to have good fellowship. After the reception Linda and Lorence went with Don and Penny to retrieve their own car. They then went to their first home, an apartment in Santa Monica. They did not get much rest because they had left their pillows with Linda’s sister Penny along with the rest of the wedding gifts. The next morning Don and Penny came to their apartment, delivered their gifts and retrieved Don’s car keys.
The next day Linda and Lorence started their trip up the coast of California. They traveled slow and enjoyed all the views that were available. The first night was spent at Morro Bay and the next morning they went to visit the famous Hearst Castle. Most of that day was spent viewing all the wonders of this beautiful castle and all the adjoining areas. The trip continued on into the San Francisco Bay and then into Sacramento. Linda was able to go to the DMV and obtain her driver learners permit. Much of the trip was used to help Linda obtain driving experience so that she can obtain her driver’s license. They also took a short trip over the top of the mountains and into Reno Nevada.
On their return to Los Angeles they stopped in Bakersfield to visit Lorence’s cousin, Curt, and Linda’s brother, Mel, and his family in Ridgecrest. They then returned to Los Angeles and the real world. Lorence and Linda returned to work and they settled into married life. Linda took and passed her driver’s license, so she now could get around without depending on others.
Life in the first year of the Army
Lorence was inducted on July 20, 1996 and was put on a bus to Fort Ord California in order attend Basic Training. While basic training Lorence took tests and the Army offered him the opportunity to go to Officer Candidate School. Because of that he was sent to New Jersey at Fort Dix to attend basic training. It was during the plane strike and so he was put on a train to travel to New Jersey. His train stopped in LA and Linda and his parents were able to visit with him. Linda did not see him again until he came home just before Christmas.
During that time Linda decided to move to Gardena to be closer Lorence’s is parents, since she spent a lot of time with them. She was invited to dinner at least once a week and on every excursion they took, whether to the movies or other items.
Linda and Lorence spent most of the Christmas holiday together getting to know each other better. Linda was surprised to see that Lorence was a dark cranberry red from the waist down. This was caused by Lorence having to stand in box holes up to his waist. He was home long enough for Linda to become pregnant. Lorence had to return to the East Coast and got on the airplane New Year’s Eve
In late January Lorence returned to Gardena for two weeks while he waited for his OCS class to start. The only problem was he was working nights to help his and learn funds to support his family. After the two weeks he had to return to Virginia. After spending about 10 weeks in OCS Lorence determined that this was not what he wanted for his future. He resigned and after a couple weeks returned to LA and then went to Fort Ord for his next assignment.
Life at Fort Ord & Monterey
In May Linda quit her job and Lorence moved her to Monterey where they rented a small apartment. Small was the operative word, the rooms were very small but it was home for Linda and Lorence. While living in Monterey Linda and Lorence attended the Seaside Ward which was in the next town. The members of the Seaside Ward were very friendly and half award was military personnel. Linda was called to teach Beehives and enjoyed working with young women. Linda and Lorence took the Beehives on a trip to the snow in the Sierras.
Linda has real shock when she went into the medical center to check on her pregnancy. In the Army you see what ever Dr. is available. Over the time of her pregnancy saw many different doctors. One Saturday Lorence had to go to the Church welfare farm to check on the water pump. Linda went along for the ride. When they return their neighbor was very excited because she assumed that Linda had gone into the hospital to have the baby.
The day she went into labor Linda and Lorence checked in early in the morning and the nurses placed her in a bed. For the rest of the day they basically ignored her. One of the wives of the doctors on staff was in the Ward for a C-section the next day. Since she was a friend nurses talk to her and did nothing for Linda. When Linda’s pains became evident Lorence went to the head nurse and told her that if they did not take care of his wife he was going to the IG’s office immediately. They finally decided she needed care and immediately took her into the delivery. For the next three days Lorence was unable to see Linda or new daughter, Michele, and did not see until Linda and Michelle were released.
Lorence’s mother had come up to Monterey to help Linda during her first days at home. When the nurses brought Linda out of the hospital in a wheelchair and Michele on her lap, the nurses handed Michele to mom. Therefore she got to hold Michele before Lorence did. They all return the apartment in Monterey and Lorence lay down on the couch and a place Michele on his chest. This gave dad a chance to get acquainted with this new daughter. All was well until Michele decided to grab a bunch of hair on Dad’s chest and pull. It is questionable who was more frightened Michele or Dad.
One day as Linda was feeding Michele; Michele lunged forward and hit her head at the left eyebrow on the corner of the wall. It bled profusely and Linda had her neighbor take her into the hospital to have it sewn up. The doctor used very fine stitches and commented that he felt sorry for the doctor that had to take him out. By the luck of the draw he ended up taking him out a couple weeks later. The only scar that was left was in Michele’s eyebrow and not visible under normal circumstances.
A month or so later Lorence had an accident on post and had a cut in his four head. He went to the hospital and again by luck of the draw he ended up with the same doctor. The doctor and Lorence were amazed at the coincidence. Other than these two incidents life at Fort Ord was very calm.
During their time at Fort Ord Lorence served as the secretary for the Elders Quorum and as Mutual (now called Young Men) Superintendent. Just prior to a scheduled Stake Conference Lorence was called in talk to the Stake President. The President issued a call for Lorence to serve as a Seventy in the Church. He then performed missionary and fellowship work.
As Lorence’s time in the Army came close to an end, the Army started requiring him to perform extra duty such as KP and guard duty. Therefore Lorence took Linda and Michele to Gardena and moved them into Mom and Dad’s home. Lorence returned to Fort Ord to complete his service time. When Lorence was discharged they paid him for all the leave here not taken and included the time that he had taken to move Linda and Michele to Gardena. Therefore as a result of their mistake Lorence received added funds. Lorence informed them of their mistake, but they refused to acknowledge their mistake and paid the funds anyway.
Back to Gardena then Lakewood
Lorence returned to work for his old firm, Haas & Haynie, on a construction job near LAX. They lived the mobile home until Mom, Dad and Nilas returned to Gardena. They then moved into an apartment in Lakewood. Lorence change employment to Morris Knudsen for a while and then back to Haas and Haynie working on a hanger at the Long Beach airport.
One day as Lorence was at work is started to rain. He called home and was told by Linda, ”That is good, because I just started my labor”. Lorence rushed home and took Michele to stay with Grandma, and then he and Linda went to Studebaker Hospital in Norwalk for the delivery. Niles was born February 17, 1969 and when the doctor checked his record he said ”There is a mistake, this cannot be a new baby since he has had a heart attack”. They had mixed up Niles’s record with that of his Grandfather who had been in the hospital previously.
The move to El Segundo then Redondo Beach
Lorence continued to work on the project in Long Beach until a new and exciting project opened up at American Airlines at the West End of LAX. Shortly after that Linda and Lorence moved to an apartment in El Segundo. From the front of the apartment building you could see the project Lorence was working on. They lived there during most of the project and then moved into a larger space in a home in Redondo Beach. This was necessary due to the eminent birth of their third child.
One evening as Linda and Lorence were relaxing Linda’s pains began and she sent Lorence to bed to get some rest. She then proceeded complete her ironing while she watched television. Later she woke Lorence up and they took Michele and Niles to Grandma’s house, and then proceeded to Studebaker Hospital. Kimberly Ann Carr was born April 16, 1972.
Shortly after Kym was born Lorence arranged to borrow a truck and camper and the family planned a trip to Utah to visit Mom and Dad Bonsteel. The night before they left they received a phone call informing them that Dad had had a stroke and was in the hospital. They contacted Sandy and she came to the house to go with them. The next morning Lorence drove on their way and stopped in St. George. They called to check on Dad and found out that Mom was also in the hospital. Immediately continued on their trip in the Provo and stopped at the hospital.
Linda and Sandy went inside to visit with her Dad and Mom. Linda soon returned with tears in her eyes because her Dad did not recognize her. Lorence went in to see Dad and when he walked into the room Dad said ”What project are you working on now Lorence”. They stayed in Orem for a short period of time and then returned to California leisurely and saw various sites.
The Texas Experience
As the project was completed Lorence received a call from a contractor in El Paso Texas talking to him offering him a potential job. Lorence flew to El Paso and met with the contractor and returned to LA with a new job with Hunt Building Company (HBC). Lorence and Linda packed up their home, hired a moving company and were soon on their way to a project in Rockwell Texas. They arrived in Dallas, the major city near Rockwell, and started to find a home. On Sunday they attended church and surprise the Bishop’s wife when they told her that they had not found a home as of yet, but still attended church. They subsequently found a home in a Dallas suburb called Garland and they were in the Garland Ward was the fastest growing Ward in the Church that year.
Living in the Dallas area was a new experience, but a very joyful experience. Dallas is in the ”Bible Belt” and most of the people were very courteous and helpful. Linda and Lorence used to laugh and say ”There is a Church of Christ on every corner and a Dairy Queen on the opposite corner”. They would get a call on a regular basis, from one of the churches, inviting them to church or offering to pick up their children and take them to their church. However they were very happy when they were told ”We have a church and they attend regularly”. Another thing that happened was when you would go into the store and asked for something, but if they did not have it they would suggest a location you could find it.
One day Linda took the kids to Primary and not as a came up the walk Niles said to his mother “I can do it myself””. He then let go to his mother’s hand and immediately tripped over a step and broke a tooth. Linda spent the afternoon in the dentist’s office.
One problem that existed in the Dallas area was the severe weather that occurred at times. One night they had a heavy rain and in one hour period it rained over 8 inches. Another time Lorence was in the process of cleaning up the project in anticipation of the final inspection. It started to rain and he quickly moved his pickup into the garage to protect the items in the back. As returned to the main building a tornado went through and destroyed all the small signage on the building. They were able to clean up the mess and pass their final inspection and next day.
HBC did not have a job for Lorence at that time so he was instructed to stay in Rockwall and help the new building on setting up this business. This went on for a couple weeks and then HBC for Lorence to move to El Paso and work in the main office. They packed up their home and made arrangements for a mover. The night scheduled to pick up their belongings, Lorence received a phone call from the HBC office. He was told to go to Eagle Pass Texas and meet his project manager. When he asked how to get there, he was told “Fly to San Antonio, Rent-A-Car, drive South towards Laredo 65 miles, turn right and drive 99 miles more”.
When Lorence arrived in Eagle Pass and was shown the project told that he was to take over the project as soon as possible. The project was only about three months from completion and there was no appropriate housing available here Eagle Pass, therefore Lorence was told move his family into El Paso and commute to Eagle Pass. Lorence immediately called Linda told her to proceed with the move to El Paso. He returned home that night and after the movers were loaded with family proceeded to El Paso.
As soon as an apartment could be rented and the family settled in, Lorence got into his pickup and traveled to Eagle Pass. One day during the first week of work in Eagle Pass Lorence called the main HBC office and the receptionist told him that his daughter was all right. Since Lorence had not heard about any problem he was rather shocked. It turned out that on the night Lorence left to drive back Eagle Pass Michele was sitting in the little red wagon watching TV. She fell out and broke her arm. Lucky for Linda Lorence had provided her with a telephone number of one of the HBC employees. He and his wife took Linda and the kids to the hospital and watched Niles and Kim while Linda had Michele’s arm fixed.
For the next three months Lorence commuted to Eagle Pass. He would return for the weekend, every two weeks, by driving from Eagle Pass to the San Antonio Airport, flying to El Paso, and a taxi home. One weekend he did not intend to come home but since it was Easter time all his crew had abandoned the job. He was invited to fly with the Architect to El Paso. So he had the opportunity to fly across Southwest Texas to El Paso. Upon arriving at home he found a very tired Linda and their sick children.
Life in Arizona
Once the project in Eagle Pass was completed Lorence was assigned to a project, managed by the Phoenix office, in Flagstaff Arizona at Northern Arizona University. The family packed up and movers moved them to Flagstaff. They arrived in April 1972 and the weather was freezing. The project was on a hill on the campus south of Flagstaff and Lorence had to climb the hill for the first week or so before he could get a road building. There were many problems with the Architect and the Phoenix office.
Living in Flagstaff was enjoyable, though cool, and the family enjoyed a beautiful country and even got to go to the Grand Canyon. Linda’s sister, Penny, and her family came for a visit the whole group went to the Canyon. The Ward was very active and a lot of friends were made while there.
Later that year the HBC Phoenix office decided that Lorence was not capable of handling the project and put them on probation. That afternoon Lorence had received a telephone call from his Dad wanting Lorence to come to Baton Rouge. HBC called back and stated that they had changed her mind Lorence informed them it was too late and that he was leaving. This time Lorence and Linda had to do their own moving in a hired a U-Haul truck and told their station wagon from Flagstaff to Baton Rouge.
Life in Louisiana
The first part of the trip was over major highways and the traveling was fine. However they were soon on the small highways of Louisiana, which were very narrow and very curvy. You could see the bayous and a lot of wildlife alongside the road. It was fun driving with two adults and three children in the cab of the truck. The kids were sometimes restless but the trip went well. They were soon In Baton Rouge they located a home and were soon settled in.
The project Lorence was asked to work on was a thirty two-story high rise office building with a five-story parking garage. Lorence was acting as Project Engineer and was responsible for reviewing, coordinating, and improving material shop drawings. He was also responsible for ordering materials. But his most important duty was to maintain safety on the site. This was a real challenge sense the workman in that area were not used to working in accordance with the Federal OSHA standards.
One of one of the biggest challenges for the Carr family was the conditions in the Baton Rouge Ward. Most of the people were very nice, but were not very versed in the Gospel. The building was almost 20 years old and the local members had not yet paid their part of the construction cost, as required during that time, therefore the building had not been dedicated. Michelle and Niles were Stars in the Primary because they were willing to participate, give talks, and give prayers without any argument.
Linda and Lorence often laugh and say” that the best thing that ever came out of Louisiana was their daughter, Meri”. Meri Kay Carr was born February 10, 1972 in the middle of a snowstorm. Linda woke Lorence up and told him that her pain set started Lorence decided to go into the office and quickly take care of a few items and then returned home. However once he got on the highway he realized that that was not the thing to do since Louisiana drivers could not drive in the snow all. He returned home, they took the kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment and proceeded to the hospital. All went well and little Meri was soon part of the Carr family.
That weekend Lorence had to speak at this Saturday night session of Stake Conference. The next morning Lorence had a meeting with all the Seventys in the Stake with the visiting Authority, Elder Marion D Hanks. At the end of the meeting Elder Hanks asked Lorence where he was from. When he replied that he was from California, Elder Hanks said” I knew you were not from Louisiana, you know too much about the Gospel “.
Dad Carr had been brought to Baton Rouge to manage the job because the previous management was unable to properly manage the job. However as soon as they could they managed to have his company removing the project and return to California. Dad told Lorence that he was needed on the project and should stay. However as soon as Dad was gone, they told Lorence he was no longer needed. Lorence went home until Linda” I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I am going to be laid off”. Linda responded, say ”What is bad about that, are they not leaving?”. So the process of packing up, loading a U-Haul truck and driving to California started. They got out of their home and spent a night in a motel. Lorence received two phone calls from different people offering him a position. He thanked them but said no. The trip started the next morning to California.
The Trip to California and then Nevada
This time Lorence drove the U-Haul and Linda fall behind in the station wagon with the three kids. Driving through Houston, during rush hour, was very interested and they were happy when they reached the other side. Once they were it in El Paso they stopped for lunch. While there Charlie from HBC happened by and asked what happened in Flagstaff. Lorence gave him a summary of what went on and Charlie responded that the project had been a disaster, both in operation and financial.
As Lorence and Linda proceeded on to California they were crossing the southern part of Arizona when Lorence noticed that Linda was not behind him. He stopped and was able to flag down a trucker who told him that he thought Linda was on the side of the road. Lorence turned around went back to find Linda. She had a blowout and was sitting on the side of the road. Lorence put on the spare and they proceeded to the little town of Casa Grande. They got the tire replace but not before they had experienced several hours of +100° temperatures.
Once in California they proceeded to Mom and Dad’s trailer in Carson. Lorence used out as a base while he hunted a new position. After about a week he was able to obtain a position working for a firm called Fouche’. The project was in Reno so they picked up the U-Haul and traveled onto Reno. They were soon settled in a rental home on Kirman Avenue in Reno and Michelle registered in school. The project was a set of luxury apartments situated on a golf course in Southeast Reno. The Project was very difficult due to non-cooperation by the Owner and Architect. Fouche’ was forced to work seven days a week and 12 hours a day even when it rained or snowed. After several months the Bonding Company that supported the project elected to remove their support of the project was shut down. Lorence continued to work on support for the legal team related the project.
Linda and Lorence enjoyed the time they spent in the Mount Rose fourth Ward while in Reno. The Ward was very large and had a great number of very active youth. Lorence was called on to teach the 15 and 16-year-old kids and had of a class of about 40 kids. One Sunday the 13th and 14-year-old teacher was absent and Lorence ended up with over 70 kids. One Saturday night they young man in the Ward won the championship in basketball for their area and were to go to Oakland the next week for the Regional Championship. The youth decided they wanted to have the young women also go to Oakland and therefore they had a fundraiser five days later to raise funds to rent a bus.
There were four wards that met in their building there were meetings from 7 o’clock in the morning until 9 o’clock and night to get all the meetings in for the day. The Stake President was very proactive and kept the process very orderly. They enjoyed their time there very much.
The Reno – Southern California Split
Within a short period of time Lorence was called on by his company to travel to Southern California to help on a project in Leisure World at Laguna Hills. Lorence would work in Laguna Hills for two weeks returned to Reno for a four-day weekend and go back to work. This went on several months and the company decided that Lorence should go home every weekend but only for two days.
On one weekend Linda and Lorence loaded the kids in the car and maybe trip to Orem Utah to visit Linda’s folks. There’s lots of ice on the road and they had to travel very carefully. While there Linda was carrying marry down the stairs and trip and landed on her foot in a bad way. She ended up with a broken foot. After they returned home Lorence had to go back to Southern California and Linda was left on her own with the kids. Thanks to some good friends in the Church she was able to take care of all their needs.
Other night Linda called Lorence to inform him that Michele had appendicitis. Lorence explored the options for getting home, but the quickest he could get home was noon the next day. By then Michele was given an anti-biotic and was much better and therefore he did not come home.
The move back to California
As the project in Laguna Hills began close down Lorence met with the Bonding Company and the agreed to pay his moving expenses to Los Angeles and lieu the continued airfare, hotel and food expenses. Linda and Lorence packed up their home and moved to Cerritos where Lorence had located a home for the family. Michelle was registered in school and the family settled in.
They were now in the Cerritos Second Ward of the Cerritos West Stake. For the next six years they enjoyed the sweet gospel spirit and fellowship of the Cerritos Second. They were able to make many friends, some of which have lasted for decades. There were many opportunities for service both in church callings and service projects. Linda served in many callings in the Primary and Young Women. One night Linda attended a Primary training meeting and when she came home she said ”I have found this a home”.
Lorence and Linda were able to negotiate with the McGraths and they were soon proud owner of a home, in Norwalk, along with the lending company. Lorence change your locks and moved the family positions into the new home. Michelle and Niles were registered in school at Niemes Elementary School. Lorence change some electrical and added a gas service for the clothes dryer and they were soon settled in. Over the next several years Lorence made several changes to the home such as paneling the living room wall, removing a planter wall and adding a bookshelf storage wall. The patio roof had been infected by termites and thus later removed and rebuilt.
The time had come for another addition to the Carr family and on August 16, 1975 Wendy Joy Carr was born. As were her two of her siblings, Wendy was born in the Studebaker hospital in Norwalk. Asked her six week checkup the Doctor detected a problem in one of her hips. It was later determined that her hip joint and not properly formed and there was no socket around the ball. A ”U” type brace was provided in Wendy for that brace during the first five or six months of her life. The treatment was successful and a socket grew around the ball. Later in her 30s Wendy would suffer some pain as a result of this problem.
By the time Linda was pregnant with Andy, Dr. Gibson and Dr. Grizell had retired and Studebaker Hospital had been bought out was not doing deliveries. Linda had to go to a doctor in La Mirada and Andy was born in the La Mirada Hospital on May 7th 1979.
In 1980 the Cerritos Second Ward along with other Wards in the Stake were realigned and they were now in the Cerritos Fifth Ward. Lorence was ordained a High Priest and was called as the High Priest Group Leader.
In 1996 further realignment of the Wards in their area was done. On one Sunday in May there was a group of meetings and ten Stakes were reorganized into seven and seventeen Ward reorganized into ten. Their Stake, Cerritos California West, was disbanded and all Wards were moved into the Cerritos Stake. Parts of seven wards from both previous Stakes were now in the Norwalk Ward. The original Norwalk Ward had been disbanded many years previously and re organized on that date. Lorence was called as the Assistant Ward Clerk over finances.
The first grandchild that was born was Janalyn Nicole Underhill born to Tom and Meri Carr Underhill on March 22, 1994.
The second grandchild that was born was Amanda Marie Underhill born to Tom and Meri Carr Underhill on February 9, 1996.
The third grandchild that was born was Jonathan Daniel Bolton born to Ken and Michele Carr Bolton on May 1997. Jonathan was born with “Club Feet”. He was operated on within a short time of his birth.
The fourth grandchild that was born was Kathryn Diane Underhill born to Tom and Meri Carr Underhill on March 10. 1999.
The fifth grandchild that was born was Ammon Mathew Underhill born to Tom and Carr Meri Underhill on March 2, 2001.
The sixth grandchild that was born was Rachel Leah Underhill born to Tom and Meri Carr Underhill on October 30, 2003.
The seventh grandchild that was born was Analiese Renee Bolton born to Ken and Michele Carr Bolton on November 6, 2002.
The eighth grandchild that was born was Jay Wilson Carr born to Andy and Julie Carr on May 21, 2004.
The ninth grandchild that was born was Logan Andrew Carr born to Andy and Julie Carr on May 21, 2004.
The tenth Grandchild that was born was Ian Michael Leyva born to Kym Carr Leyva on June 18, 200.
The eleventh grandchild that was born was Ellie Jayne Carr born to Andy and Julie Carr on February 15, 2010
Linda’s Work Experience and Church Service
Linda did not work from the time she was pregnant with Michele until after Andy was in school. She then worked as a noon lunch supervisor at Niemes Elementary School for some time. She later worked as a clerk in a Blueprint and Office Supply Store operated by her friends Walt and Sharon. She also spent some time working at the Alin Party Supply Store working as a clerk, stocking shelves and filling balloons.
When they were at Fort Ord Linda served as a teacher or the MIA. During most of the early years she served as a secretary and or a teacher in the Primary organization. She also served on the Stake Primary Board. She later served in Young Women’s Organization as a teacher and in the Presidency. For a year or so she served as a Stake and Regional Young Adult Advisor. She served in the Relief Society as a Compassionate Service Leader. Her favorite calling was when she was called as the Building Coordinator. She was able to work from home and just coordinate the use of the building and calendaring it.
In January 2011 Linda was called in to the Stake Pres.’s Office and asked to serve as a Part-Time Service Missionary at the Cerritos Institute of religion. Her main duty at the Institute is to prepare lunch for the students on Thursday and for the members of the Leadership Class on Tuesday. She also must shop for food every Wednesday.
The Vacation Trips
The Carr Family took many vacation trips as a family, mainly camping trips. At first the camped in tents and then they found their tent trailer. It was bought used and with some new tire and other minor repair it served them for about ten years. The family camped at Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Camp and Cedar Breaks National Park. They also camped at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Donner Pass State Park, Plumas Eureka State Park, Brannan Island State Park, Big Sur State Park and Malibu Beach State Park. While camping they were able to visit Yosemite National Park, Sacramento and other great sites. Their favorite spots were Calaveras Big Trees and Plumas Eureka.
Another favorite camping spot was the Idyllwild County Park. They camped there several times. It was just a few hours from home and so quiet and beautiful. One time, while there, they were awakened by an earthquake and the sound of falling boulders. Idyllwild was a very quaint and pretty little town.
Linda and Lorence were able to make four trips by themselves that they really enjoyed. The first was about 1998 when they took the Amtrak to Seattle. They had a small compartment but were able to go into the dome top cars to see the countryside between Los Angeles and Seattle. Northern California, Oregon and Washington were very beautiful and the train ride was very enjoyable. They enjoyed the good food and the impeccable service. Once in Seattle they toured the city and even had dinner in the Space Needle. That was fun going around and seeing the City from above.
They took two side trips while in Seattle. The first was to Mount Rainier. The bus ride up and back were great and they saw lots of wonderful country. They saw deer and cowallos (Cow-Buffalo mix). At the Visitor Center it was below freezing but very nice and the Center had great exhibits. The second side trip was to Victoria by boat. They toured the City and went to the Burkhart Gardens. They are amazing and well worth the trip alone.
The second trip was by Amtrak to Orlando Florida in 2000±. This time they had a large compartment and they were spoiled. They could see on both sides of the car from their room and it had a bathroom included. The trip across Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida was fantastic. They saw lots of wildlife and amazing sites. One of the most memorable was the bridge over the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Going east you climb for several miles until you are 250+ feet over the river when you cross it. On the east side you go in a downward spiral to get into New Orleans.
Once in Orland they settled into the tourist mode. They attended all three lands in the Magic Kingdom over four days. They took one day in the middle to rest and do laundry. They also went to dinner at a Dinner-Theater and saw their show. The Magic Kingdom was great, especially the Animal Kingdom. The Safari and the Living Tree were the most memorable. The trip back to California was just as nice and very restful. The dining experience was very different in that they were at a table of four with two people they had never met before. They enjoyed the visiting and had no bad experiences. The food was plentiful, delicious and well prepared. There were always snacks available in between meals.
The next trip was their cruise to Alaska in 2002. They flew to Vancouver British Columbia and took the shuttle to the ship at the harbor. This trip they were in an inside cabin so they spent very little time in their cabin except to sleep. The ship went up the “Inland Passage” and visited several locations. One stop was in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Juneau is built on the side of the mountain alongside the water. They toured the major island across from Juneau, visited the major Glacier (Mendenhall), a Salmon Fishery, and Eagle Exhibit, the State Museum and several points along the way. One of the most interesting was a garden where they take tree trunks, turn them upside down and place them in the ground. They then grow plants in the top among the roots of the original tree.
They also stopped in Ketichan, but it was raining that day so they did not venture out. Their next stop was Skagway. They took a bus tour of the City and the guide was a young lady from Utah. The bus body was old, but the frame, engine and transmission were all new. They got to see the little Mormon Chapel as well as the City’s other churches, the Gold Rush Cemetery and other sites. They went to a period play in their local playhouse “The Days of 98”. This gold rush was the one in the Klondike, not in Alaska, but many of the miners came to Skagway by boat and then went over the mountains to the Yukon. A train line was built latter to cover this path.
Their next stop was in Glacier Bay where they got to see numerous glaciers and watch the “calving” of the glaciers. That is when a piece of the glacier falls off. Their departure point was Anchorage. From there they took a bus to a lodge at the South edge of Denali State Park. After a good night’s sleep, they boarded the dome car train to the center of the park. Once at Denali, they took a bus tour up though the park through the various levels or zones. They saw wildlife and began to understand tundra and other Alaska terms
After the bus trip through the park, they re-boarded the train for the trip to Fairbanks. Along the way they saw evidence of some of the things Dad talked about when he was remembering his time in Alaska. While in Fairbanks they went out to the Alaska Pipeline exhibit, a gold mine where they panned for gold and a trip on a river boat. The river boat trip showed off many of the Local Indian customs and past history. They saw exhibits of various Indian skills. From Fairbanks they flew to Anchorage, Seattle and finally Los Angeles.
In 2004 they again ventured out on the seas, only this time a long way from land. They boarded the ship in Los Angeles Harbor and sailed westward for five days, eventually landing to Hilo, Hawaii. The first three days Lorence slept all day long in his lounge chair on their balcony, only waking up for meals. It was very relaxing and they enjoyed the balcony, so they could be outside and see the area around us. While in Hilo they took a bus tour to the Volcano’s State Park. The site is very desolate as a rule, but some areas are very lush and green.
They returned to the ship and sail to Kona. In Kona they took a bus tour to several beaches and other sites. They even saw the top of the Kona temple. While they were there they saw the athletes practicing for the “Ironman” competition that was to be held the next week.
The next stop was on Honolulu Oahu. They took a bus out to the Polynesian Cultural Center, run by the Church. They were able to see various villages of the many cultures from the Pacific Ocean area. They saw the show on the boats and took the boat ride through the Center. They also took a bus ride to the Hawaii Temple. The temple is simple but very beautiful. They had a terrific Luau dinner and then saw a great production on the cultural history. They got back to the ship very late that night.
Their next stop was at Maui. They got off the ship and had a nice lunch in a beautiful restaurant, but they did not venture out into the countryside. They then sailed back home, a nice relaxing six days of watching the sea go by. They did attend one show while on board. Food was an especially interesting part of the voyage. There was food available 24/7, but the dinner was a grand meal. They would sit at a table with about ten other people and was served an amazing variety of food. It was all too good.
On their last day they were supposed to stop in Ensenada, Mexico. This was required due to a rule that a Non-US owned ship had to stop in at least one port outside of the USA. This is why their ship to Alaska left from Vancouver rather than Seattle. It was raining hard and the wind was blowing when they got close to Ensenada and they could not get into port. The Port of Ensenada sent out a pilot ship with their needed paperwork and they sailed on home to Los Angeles. Probably the best trip they took.
The Golden Years
As Linda often says, “the Golden Years are sometimes very rusty”. Linda had both knees replaced in 2006 and can work much better than before. She has atrial fibulation and must take “warfarin” blood thinner. She has arthritis in her hands and feet.
In mid January 2017 Linda was fighting a cold and cough when one morning she got up to go the bathroom and she fell. She also had a very serious itching problem. In addition her herpes eye virus had come back. In the early morning of January 29th she was standing at the bathroom sink and just crumbled to the floor. We were able to get her into her chair. An hour later we decided to take her to the ER, but she could not walk because of the pain in her hip. We called the paramedics and they decided to take her to a Trauma ER because of her low blood pressure. It was discovered that she had torn a muscle in her hip and broke a blood vessel. The admitted her and gave her blood transfusions.
A test taken by her Primary Care Doctor came back and she was diagnosed with scabies. When I told the hospital they went in the crisis mode and isolated her. They medicated her for the scabies and decided to move her to a rehab. The only problem was it took two days to find one that had room. She was move to a rehab facility near our home. After two days they did an ultrasound and found that the internal bleeding had not dissipated and they took her to another hospital to remove the blood. After 16 days of rehab and rest she came home. She went on home rest with limited activity for the next few months.
In mid June Linda was diagnosed with scabies again and medicated. The itching continue on for several week.
During this whole time Linda was able to consistently perform her volunteer work at the institute which she dearly loves.