Leroy Archibald Autobiography
Contributor: Lona Graham Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
The Life Story Of Leroy Alder Archibald
Typed From A Manuscript Written In His Own Hand
The Life Story of Leroy Alder Archibald born 26 February 1920, the oldest child and only son of LeRoy Archibald and Susan J. Alder. Four sisters were to join the family at intervals.
I am told it was a cold blustery day when I made my entry into this mortal world. My parents at the time were living in a one room house in Dayton, Franklin County, Idaho. Originally the house had been a log cabin. However, my father and his sister’s husband, Henry Thompson, had put a lumber cover over the outside of the house and lath and plaster on the inside. This made it a very comfortable room. In winter we could build a fire in the heater for an hour and the room was comfortable for most of the day. In summer this same log structure made it cool. This was in the days before air conditioning, but I have yet to see an air conditioning system that was as effective.
Of my early childhood I remember very little. Most of the information about this period in my life was been furnished by my mother, who has written incidents about these years.
I do remember a trip to Yellowstone Park; mother says I was about four years old. My father, I have been told, was Scout Master and was taking the scouts to Yellowstone Park. My mother and another woman, Mabel Atkinson, went with them. Thus I became a member of the group. At one point we had stopped to see the bears that were roaming the area free of restriction. I was fascinated by the bears and was standing in front of the truck feeding a piece of bread to the bears. All at once my mother and Sister Atkinson grabbed me, then they ran around the truck and they and I went into the truck. I was furious because I did not understand the danger I was in. It was many years before I understood why they had done what they did.
When I was quite young my father decided to complete his education. He completed his eight grade education by special examination and then entered the Onieda Academy at Preston Idaho. I do remember the latter part of this portion of his education. I am told he would ride a horse the eight miles to school, attended school all day and then ride the eight miles home. In good weather I would stand on a stump in front of our house and watch for him to come home. The road was clearly visible for about 3 miles from my vantage point.
In the fall of 1925 my father decided to continue his education to complete the requirements to become a teacher. We therefore moved to Pocatello Idaho, where my father registered at the Idaho Tech (later to be known as Idaho State University). My memory begins to clear at this time and I remember more of the incidents of my life.
We moved to Pocatello in the fall of 1925. My first sister, LuDean was born that spring. Her birthday was May 21, 1925. She was therefore about 6 months old when we made this move. We first lived over a small grocery store, close to the campus. I remember quite well the white frame store and the stairway at the rear leading to our apartment upstairs.
While living at Lee's store an incident occurred which my mother tells much better than I can. I now make this incident a part of my history. It is included in this writing as my Mother has written it.
When Leroy was between 5 and 6 years old, we spent the winter in Pocatello, Idaho. Dad was attending the university there. LuDean was a baby, just a few months old, and was not doing too well. She refused food and only slept two or three hours out of 24. One of the months in early spring, Dad went to Dayton to attend Uncle Ray's missionary farewell, and the three of us were left alone. Dad left Friday afternoon. Late Saturday night, LuDean's feet and legs began to swell. They became so large I couldn’t span around her leg or hold her little foot in my hand, and the flesh looked transparent. I was horrified. I looked for them to burst any minute. We lived in an apartment over a grocery store and the landlord lived in a house at the back. I asked you to go to their home and see if they would call a doctor. You had to go quite a round-about way to get there, but you did it. You knocked and knocked but got no response and returning said, "Mother, they won't answer and I don't know how to get a doctor." Then I told you to take a pan from the cabinet and go down into the yard and scrape off all the hard crusted snow and get a pan of soft snow. You did this, and I took one leg and foot and packed snow around them, and you did the same with the other. No one can imagine our relief when the flesh commenced to shrink back to normal.
I also remember my father coming home from school one day very excited. He said Sousa's Band was in town. He took me down town with him and I watched John Philip Sousa march his band through downtown Pocatello.
In the latter part of the school year we moved to another house closer to downtown Pocatello. If I remember correctly we were then living close to the railroad yards.
One day when Mother was doing the washing she had put LuDean in a corner and put some chairs around her to keep her there. The washer Mother was using was one that had been converted from hand operated to electric. When I said hand operated I mean that it had a handle on it that would have to be moved in a back and forth motion. This handle had been removed and an electric motor attached. While Mother was out hanging clothes, LuDean crawled through her barricade and got her hand caught in the open gears of the washer. She was wearing coveralls and Mother has said these coveralls probably saved her arm. As it was, she lost three fingers of her right hand. She has always been conscious of this, but she learned to play the piano, and was such an outstanding student in Secretarial Science in College that she was offered a job as Court Reporter.
After LuDean's injury, Mother, LuDean and I returned to Preston, Idaho to stay with Grandmother Alder until Dad had finished school that spring.
Sometime during my early years (I do not know how old I was) I rode my pony to my cousin's house. While I was there my cousin wanted to ride my pony. I told him "No." He then picked up a large rock and threw it at me, hitting me on the knee. I tumbled from the horse in such a way that the men around thought maybe I was dead. I do not remember this myself, but this is the way my Mother tells it.
In the fall of 1926 I started school at Mapleton, Idaho. This is a small farming community about 7 or 8 miles from Preston Idaho, sometimes referred to as Cub River. The name Cub River is taken from the name of the small river running through the area - Cub River eventually empties into Bear River.
The same year I started school, my father started his career as a teacher and administrator in the public schools of Idaho. This career was not to be terminated until my Father retired 34 years later in 1960.
My first year of school was in a two room rock school house. My first teacher was Caroline Olverson. She taught grades one through 4, and my father taught grades 5 through 8.
At that time we lived in part of a home owned by Merlin Perkins. To get from the road to the house it was necessary to cross Cub River. We were at that time driving a model T Ford, and the place where we crossed Cub River was wide and shallow. The water would not probably be more than 6 inches deep. About 100 feet up stream from where we drove the car across the river was a foot bridge. The water at the foot bridge was much deeper. I was to test the peril of this bridge before that winter ended. When the snow made it impractical to drive the car all the way to the house we would park on the side of the road before we crossed the river and then walk across the bridge. This does not sound very perilous until you discover that the bridge was not kept in good repair. The surface of the bridge slanted at about a 45 degree angle. To walk across the bridge it was necessary to walk on the upper edge with the toes and ball of the foot off the bridge in such a way that you were walking on the part of the shoe between the ball of the foot and the heel without letting either the ball of the foot or the heal touch the bridge. You then held tightly to the handrail and went across this bridge in a hand over hand fashion.
But back to the story. One winter morning as my father and I were leaving early to light the fires to heat the school house and prepare the school house for the students we were crossing the bridge. I was in the lead and my father was following me. Each of us carried a lunch and books as well as school supplies. About halfway across the bridge I either dropped part of my load or forgot to follow the rules as given above. Anyway the next I knew I was in the river hollering loud enough to heard all over the valley. Dad jumped in to save me. By the time he got to me we were in ankle deep water and both of us waded out. We then walked almost a half mile to the house to change clothes and try again. Needless to say school started late that morning.
In the side of the old rock school house was a hole in which a swarm of bees had built a hive. We boys had often thought of smoking the bees out and talking the honey. After talking about it for some time the day finally arrived when we decided it was time to do it. Accordingly we made a torch and inserted it into the hole in the wall. Unfortunately it worked. Out came the bees and were they mad. As luck would have it I was the last to try my escape. As a result I received the full charge. Some of the older girls got busy and helped pull the stingers out. This ended my honey harvesting ambitions.
One of the popular sports in spring and summer was top spinning. They took all shapes. Some were operated by round wooden spools equipped with springs which were wound as tight as possible. Then the spindle coming out of the top was pushed from the wooden spool and we would see whose top would spin the longest. One day I let one of the boys talk me into letting him spin his top on my head. It took some of the older students quite a period of time to cut my hair from around the top and then extract the top from my head.
The second year we were in Cub River we moved into a house owned by a Mr. Burbank. This was about a city block down hill from the school house. He had a herd of milk cows and I would sometimes go out and watch him milk the cows. This locality had many skunks and Mr. Burbank trapped some of the critters under his barn and then killed them. Whether this was the reason or not I do not know, but the next school year my father decided not to return to Cub River, but signed a contract with another school board.
During this 2nd year in Cub River the students decided to have a surprise party for my Father on his birthday. The hill from the school to the house where we lived gave a good start for a sled and it was possible to coast for quite a distance. When they went out for the sleighing I went with them. My father and I started down hill on my new sled. About half way down the runners caved in. My father later straightened the runners and supports were fastened in place to hold them, but on that particular night my sleigh riding was ended.
It was during this 2nd year that I was given a special promotion from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. I was not aware of this however. When I started bringing 3rd grade books home my mother asked me if I had been promoted. My reply was "no, she is just letting us use 3rd grade books."
One day while playing ball at school my father sprained his ankle. It was necessary to go the 8 miles to Preston to get the ankle taken care of. It was my responsibility to go with my father to act as a crutch to help him in and out of the car as well as into the doctor’s office. At that time the doctor’s office was on the 2nd floor of the building. I wasn't the best of crutches, but we started out. Fortunately, when we arrived in Preston two young men that knew my father helped him up to the doctor’s office. My father was on crutches for several weeks.
When I was eight years old I was baptized in Cub River. This was on my birthday, Feb. 26. 1928. I remember Dad and I broke the ice as we went into the river for the baptism. I was confirmed in Dayton ward the following Sunday.
It was customary in those years to have a picnic and outing at one of the parks for the closing of school. My father and I went to the closing party and left my mother with her sister Myrtle. When we arrived at Aunt Myrtle's I became aware that something was different as soon as my father stopped the car. Dad finally coaxed me into the house. It was then that I found my sister Nelda had joined the family. The date was April 22, 1927.
We returned to our home in Dayton Idaho that summer, the same as we had done each summer. After all that was home.
During one of these summers my father rented the farm of Emma Callen. Part of the equipment on this farm included a hay barn. This is a building where the cows and other livestock are kept on the ground level and the hay and other feed is stored on the 2nd level. To get the hay up to that level it was necessary to use what was called a Jackson fork. A cable was threaded from the Jackson fork to a track in the top of the barn. This track would be as much as twenty five feet or more above the ground. It was then threaded through the barn and down the other end of the barn to a pulley. The pulleys were about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick with a wheel inside a casing. The wheel turned as the cable was pulled through. The cable was then attached to a single tree and a horse was hitched to the single tree. This was the way the hay was taken into the barn for storage. It should also be stated that a Jackson fork was 4 or 5 feet wide and the tines were about 3 feet long. Thus when the horse pulled a loaded Jackson fork up, the pile of hay would be anywhere from 4 to 6 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep.
One day my father told the boy who was driving what we called the derrick horse to pull the hay into the barn. As the hay was pulled into the barn a splice in the cable caught in the pulley.
I reached down to release the cable just as the horse pulled it through. The result was that my hand was taken through the pulley with the cable. My hand was badly skinned, but luckily no bones were broken. I did lose all the finger nails on my right hand. This was not such a tragedy, I was to discover during the dozen or so times I was to lose finger nails in the years to follow.
We also raised sugar beets on the farm and I enjoyed riding the cultivator with my father. To do this we used a good steady team that would walk between the rows of beets that were about 1 to 1½ feet apart. Some farmers were lucky enough to have mules to do this work. The mules feet were smaller and they were not as likely to step on the beets. The person riding the cultivator would set the knives so the land between the rows were cleared of weeds as well as loosening the ground. The operator would watch one row so he did not cut the beets out and then he know the other 3 rows were alright also. In this way it was possible to cultivate 4 rows of beets at one time.
In the spring it was necessary to thin the beets. This was down by using a short handled hoe to space the beets in the row from 8 to 12 inches apart. Each farmer would have a particular spacing he wanted. Each time you used the hoe to space the beets it was then a must to pull the doubles. This meant pulling all the plants except one beet in each hill. This was done so the beets would grow bigger and produce more sugar. A real good thinner could thin an acre of beets a day. To do this it was necessary to start at daylight and work until almost dark with time out for lunch.
Throughout the summer it was necessary to hoe the beets. This was done for the same reason gardens are hoed. To eliminate the weeds so the beets would grow better.
Beginning about October 1 we would top the beets. This was also done by hand. Each person used a knife about a foot or more long. Each knife had a hook on the end. The hook was used to pick up the beet and then while holding the beet in the hand we used the blade of the knife to cut off the top. The beets were then handed to a dump where they were loaded into a railroad car and taken to the sugar factory where the beet was processed until sugar was produced.
Thinning, hoeing and topping beets were popular ways for young people to earn school and spending money. I started thinning for $2.50 per acre and the last time I thinned I was paid $14.00 per acre. It usually averaged about 1 ton of beets paid for the thinning. A good crop of beets at that time would average 18 to 20 ton per acre. An exceptional crop may go as high as 25 ton. However a 25 ton crop at that time was in need of being proven before being believed.
Besides beets we raised hay and grain. One day while helping my uncle haul hay I was riding the derrick horse. We were using a bay mare that was just a little flighty. Everything made her nervous. We were again putting hay in the barn. When we had pulled the fork loaded with hay as far into the barn as necessary the horse could be returned to the starting position and the man that was operating the Jackson fork could return the fork at his will. Anyway I did not notice that as I turned the mare around I had put her hind foot in the hook of the cable. As I started to pull the fork up again the cable tightened around her leg. As a result she took off running and bucking. I expected to see rack, fork and all go through the roof of the barn. When that didn't happen I was sure it would come through the other end of the barn. To my surprise the cable broke. We spent the rest of the day splicing the cable.
I have told you about how we put hay into a barn. We would also use a derrick to stack hay in the open. This required the person riding the derrick horse to pull the loaded fork up and then hold it there until it was tripped. When the boom pole was over the wagon the horse was slowly backed until the man on the wagon had the Jackson fork in his hands. Usually a young boy was hired for the derrick horse rider and was paid 10 cents per day. When a boy was about twelve he was given the responsibility of driving the empty wagons to the field and the loaded wagons to the yard. In the field he would load the hay as the pitchers put it on the wagon. A good loader would seldom move any hay after the pitchers put it on the wagon. If he needed hay in the middle to tie the load together he would tell the pitchers and they would put it in the middle.
The farmers would work together to put in hay and harvest grain. Each farmer would bring a team and wagon and as many helpers as needed and all would go from one farm to another until each farmer had his hay in.
This same arrangement was used to harvest grain in the fall. This harvest of grain was done in two different ways. We could either bind or head it. If we bound it, the machine would tie the wheat into bundles using a heavy binding twine. These bundles were then piled in shocks in the field. A shock was 5 or 6 bundles standing on end. It was necessary to let the grain stand in the shock for 10 days or more until it had gone through a sweat and dried. It was then taken to a thrasher where the kernels of wheat were extracted from the straw and chaff. The wheat was bagged and the straw and chaff were stacked. The wheat would then be sold for cash or stored as grist at the mill. As grist it was kept by the miller and the farmer would draw flour as needed in payment. 300 lb of wheat or grist would give the farmer 200 lb of flour. The flour could be drawn in any amount at any time, but the amount drawn could not exceed the wheat on grist. When the grist at the mill was exhausted it was necessary for us to haul more wheat to the mill.
The first thresher I remember was a steam powered engine. The thresher was two units. One was the engine and the other was the separator. The separator was put in position according to where the farmer wanted the straw stacked. The wheat was put into the thresher on a conveyor belt called a feeder. The wheat was put into the feeder head first. This was done so that the motion of the thresher would not thresh the wheat before it could be recovered and bagged. The first action was a series of large knives which would chop the wheat and then drop it onto a series of shaker pans. These pans or screens would allow the threshed wheat to drop through and it was then carried by elevator to a shoot that directed it to a bag. One man's job was to keep bags on the bagger. At the lower end the bagger was divided into two openings. As soon as one bag was filled the operator would change the position of a lever and the wheat went into a waiting and empty bag. It was a full time job to keep empty bags on the bagger and sow the full bags so they were completely closed.
Another man was responsible to keep the separator working. He oiled, inspected, and otherwise made sure the separator was operating correctly. He was also responsible for keeping the blower pipe in the correct place so the straw was stacked where the farmer wanted it.
The separator was powered by a long belt that was put on wheels called pulleys, on the engine and also on the separator. Two men went with the thresher all season. The threshing season could last almost two months. Wheat harvest would usually start in mid-July and threshing would start toward the end of July or early August. There was only one or two threshers for a very large area. Thus the thresher went from farm to farm until all wheat was threshed.
One of the men with the thresher was responsible for the separator and the other for the engine. The next day they would probably change jobs.
One fall I was one of the two men that went from farm to farm with the thresher. On this particular day we were threshing wheat that was stacked and my job was to watch the separator. I had just finished oiling and checking the separator when a group of tourists came and wanted to know what we were doing. As I was explaining the process the trap door on top of the separator blew off. We had no way of knowing, but in the stack was small pocket of rust. The rust had caused many stacks to explode. This pocket did not explode until it was in the separator. When the trap door went about 25 feet in the air I let out a yell. The engine man immediately started gearing down the engine while I got on top of the separator to inspect the damage. Before the engine was entirely shut down I could see the danger was passed and passed the signal to the engine man to gear up again. We were back in operation again with hardly a pause. When I was back on the ground I started to look for the tourists again to finish my explanation. I have not seen them since. During the excitement they disappeared.
We always had cows after our return to Dayton. We would milk them by hand. On a cold winter morning it was good to get next to a warm cow while milking. At one time we had a cat I had taught to sit on my shoulders while I milked the cow. I would then feed the cat by squirting milk at her. She seldom missed a drop of milk. Sometimes we milked the cows in the open corral and sometimes we put them in the barn to milk. In the barn each cow had her own stall and when we put them in the barn each cow would go to her own stall. If a cow made a mistake and went into the wrong stall it would cause confusion among the cows until she was put in the proper place.
Milk cows by nature are not usually mean or viscous but they would once in a while get playful. On one occasion when LuDean was quite young she was standing next to the corral fence. Dad liked to build a tight, 5-wire fence. This made it very difficult for a cow to get out of the corral unless the gate was opened to let her out. Anyway, LuDean wanted to show her courage and made the statement that she wasn't afraid. She went through the fence and started toward a young heifer. The heifer stood very still, but she did give out with a subdued bawl. I did not see LuDean turn nor did I see her go through the fence. The next thing I knew she was outside the fence.
My mother has written a few thoughts about school at Dayton. I will include her thoughts here. "At one time I heard you make the remark: "My heart ached to play baseball; so I want to tell you the following incident. Dad was principal in Dayton and had some outstanding ball teams, both boys and girls. He usually won the county championship. You were in the school, but you never played on his team. In fact you never went out to play at all. He was quite upset that you didn't appear for practice, and would come home and chastise me, "I want you to see that he gets out there to play ball." I couldn't see how I was to do that but I did talk to you and tried to encourage you to join in with the group. My efforts failed and finally I asked, "Do the boys threaten you if you go out to play?" You just nodded. I told Dad this. "Aw," he said, "He knows I wouldn't let them hurt him." But he failed to let you know I guess (now we know the teacher's child gets all or nothing)."
"Well, the first game you played, you were about 30 years old. Dad watched and you and Leo played. After the game was over, Nelda and Leo drove back to Logan and Scott Coburn and Wayne Schwartz rode with them. Nelda said all the way to Logan the two boys talked about Leroy and the way he could peg a ball (whatever that is). She said they never let up while they were in the car. Dad came home and said, "I never have seen anyone who could throw a ball like Leroy." He talked about this over and over for many weeks. What a wonderful help you would have been if you had been on his teams. So, whether you played or not, you had the ability."
Until I was about 10 years old we were living in the one room house I described earlier in this history. My parents were trying to get enough money to build a new home. They decided they would build an additional two rooms onto the original house. It was part of my job to help cut through the logs to make a doorway into the two rooms that were to be built on the back of the house. This doorway was more than 18 inches through, but the rooms were build. One was used as a kitchen and the other was a bedroom. The original room was used as a parlor.
After the framework was up on the two new rooms some of my cousins and I decided to put on a show for our families. My uncle William and his family were visiting us so they all came out and made the appropriate oohs and aahs while we boys were climbing around on the rafters. It made us feel brave anyway.
After the two rooms were completed Dad and I dug a trench across the front and down the south side of the house to put the water in the kitchen. Until this was completed I would help carry buckets of water into the house from the hydrant in front of the house. We only installed a cold water tap. Mother had purchased a kitchen stove that had a hot water reservoir on the side. We would put the cold water in the reservoir and the heat from the stove would heat the water. This was our supply of hot water to wash us and the clothes. We did not have a bathroom and every Saturday night we all took a bath in a tin tub we carried into the kitchen. Our sanitary needs were taken care of in the privy in the back yard. It served quite well.
The only time the privy was not available was on Halloween night. On that night each year a favorite trick of the young boys would be to tip over as many privies as they could. Eventually some of the older boys got the idea that after they were tipped over it would be a good trick to haul them by truck to the county seat, 7 or 8 miles away, and stack them on the court house lawn.
About this time I remember my father and I going into the local canyons to bring out the winter supply of wood. At first we would do the chores in the morning, go into the canyon, put as many trees as we could haul on the wagon and then come home that night.
One day while we were at home a neighbor was trying to train a young horse to lead. The pony had recently been brought down from the Fort Hall Indian reservation. She had been running wild on the range and was fighting the procedure of being tied to the back of a wagon. She was holding back and putting up a fight. The man who owned her was afraid of her. As they passed our place Dad jokingly told the man he would trade him a 6 weeks old steer calf for the horse. Without further discussion the man untied the halter rope from the wagon and handed it to Dad who in turn gave it to me with the remark, "She is yours to take care of."
Without any trouble at all I lead her to the barn, put her in a stall, fed and cared for her. In my estimation it was one of the best trades Dad ever made and in his time he had made some very good trades. We kept this pony for several years and she was the most gentle and dependable horse we ever had. My experience of breaking her to ride is another story.
One day I stayed home to do some extra chores while Dad started early for the canyon. It was agreed that I would ride the pony up to the canyon and meet Dad to help with the cutting and loading of the trees. I had a dog that went with me. The dog was walking up on the bank as we were going down a dugway while I was riding the pony on the road. The dog must have decided he was tired of walking because the next thing I knew he had jumped on the horse with me. The horse decided she didn't like that and the result was a good rodeo for a minute or two. That was the last time I remember the dog riding any thing.
This story may sound strange just after my saying the pony was gentle, but you must remember she had never before had a dog on her back.
My training of this pony was quite easy. I fed her in the barn and watered her at the canal about 1/4 miles south of our place. I would lead her to water. One day I thought how foolish it was for me to walk and lead a horse. At this time I was leading her with a neck rope. I put a loop around her nose and got on. It did not enter my mind that she had not been broken to ride. Apparently it didn't enter her mind either because she moved off like she had been ridden for years. I rode her for 3 or 4 months with just the neck rope and the loop around her nose until I finally obtained a bridle. When I did get a bridle we had a hard time putting the bit in her month. She was the best horse I ever had and I hated to sell her, but it was necessary when I went away to college and my family moved with me. The people who bought her did not take very good care of her and she died of neglect.
My father and I soon started going farther away from home to get the wood. We would leave early on Monday morning, sometimes before daylight, and go twenty to twenty five miles to the place where there were dead trees to cut. Some of these trees would be pine, some quaking asp and we would take a week to bring a load home. We would take enough hay for the horses by piling it on the wagon running gears. Dad and I would take our grub in a wooden box we made. In the bottom of the box we put grain for the horses and in the grain we put eggs for ourselves.
The first day we would get to what we called Cottonwood Canyon which was 6 to 7 miles east of Swan Lake, Idaho. By the time we had fed and watered the horses and made camp for ourselves it would be time for supper (dinner to city folk). After supper we would sit around the campfire and listen to stories. Usually another man and son would go with us. It was around these campfires I learned most of what I know about my father. At these times he would relax and tell stories I had not heard before. Most of these stories were about when he was a young boy helping his father (my grandfather) haul lumber from Island Park, Idaho to Saint Anthony, Idaho. When he was 10 years old he could drive 3 or 4 teams in tandem on the same rig. This was something many men had trouble doing. My father told me about one time when his uncle was in charge while grandfather made a trip home to Clarkston Utah. A man was hired to drive the big rig and dad was assigned the single team outfit. Dad started out and expected the man to catch up to him. The wagons were empty as they were going back to the mill for another load. When the large outfit did not catch up, even after dad had waited for it along the trail, he went back to see what the problem was. He found the man still back at the yard so tangled up he could not move at all. At this point dad took charge of the large outfit and gave the man the single team to drive. He only made the one trip if he even completed that.
During the years we went to Cottonwood I learned how to make a camp. I even learned how to make a pine bough bed. If you are careful to lay the tip of the bough toward the head of the bed each time and in such an angle that the bed (head?) is on the tip and not the stem it is one of the most comfortable beds I ever slept in. I also learned other practical camping skills that have been very useful in later years.
We went to the canyon alone in late fall one year and as we made camp dad told me we had better put our clothes where they would stay dry as it was going to storm that night. Instead of putting them in bed with us we could stow them under the bed and use them as pillows. This kept them dry.
Camping in this way was very enjoyable. After we let the campfire die down and we had gone to bed it was a very soothing sound to lie in bed and listen to horses munch hay. Almost a soothing as sitting in a barn milking cows and listen to it rain outside.
It would usually take us the better part of a week to go to the canyon, cut enough timber to make the trip worthwhile, load and bind it and then get home again. This meant one day, going, three days cutting, one half day loading, another half day getting out of the canyon where we would make camp that night and the sixth day to get home. It should be mentioned here that to get out of the canyon we had to go down a dugway (hill) that was quite steep and two or three miles long. On this stretch of road we used the brake. This consisted of a heavy timber that went completely across the running gears of the wagon with heavy blocks from trees in a keeper directly in front of the rear wheels. From this assembly there was a long pole that reached to the top of the wagon. When this was pushed forward the blocks would rub against the rear wheels and hold the wagon back so it would not run over the horses. Without this help the wagon and load would have been too heavy for the horses to hold back and it would probably have broken their backs. At times I was literally hanging from the brake pole beyond the load and had the pole broken I would have narrowly missed the rear wheel. My father always checked the brake carefully before we started down to be sure this would not happen. I was always glad, and tired when we reached the bottom. It was an exciting experience though and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On these excursions I would help cut trees until we had enough cut to make a drag. Then I would drag them down to camp by hooking one of the horses to them. I would then return for another drag.
One night we had just hooked each of the horses to a drag and were going to camp for the night. This was the time the balky mare decided to go on strike. Dad did not argue with her he just hooked her close to the drag and let her stand there. We then took the other horses and returned to camp. Sometime after dark we heard a terrible commotion. Upon investigation we found the strike was ended and old balky had pulled the drag into camp. She was foam from ears to tail, but she arrived at camp with the drag.
The next morning we followed her trail. She had pulled the drag up against almost every stump along the drag trail, but she got loose and came to camp. Needless to say there were no more strikes while in the timbers.
There was one more incident where the team decided they were not going to pull. On this occasion we had gone farther from camp than usual and so we took the wagons to bring back the day's cut. One tree was extremely long. As we arrived at camp we had to cross the creek. In doing so the wagon dropped off the bank not more than a foot. By the time the horses heard the tree hit the ground the tree was at least three feet above the ground. But the horses had made the decision they were hung up. They refused to pull at all. Dad was angry and tried to get them out of the creek, but they refused. By this time dad and I were in a place that if we got off the wagon we were half way to our knees in water.
My uncle went to get his team to double us out. Our team heard the chain rattle and decided to move. We thought for a minute or two we would be back at the ranch before we could stop them. The discussion around the fire was interesting that night.
On another trip we went into another arm of the canyon. There was a place where a forest fire had burned through the canyon the year before. It had burned at a rapid enough pace that all it did was burn most of the brush, leaves and foliage from the trees. The main trunk was blackened only.
Anyway we had made camp for the night and were preparing to start our supper when a neighbor of ours came upon our camp. He was herding sheep in that area and insisted that we make camp with him. The result was that we had a hot mutton supper that night with hot sour dough biscuits. The next morning we had sour dough pancakes. I never did learn how to make sour dough, but those biscuits and pancakes surely tasted good.
After that first night we returned to our own camp and obtained a load of timber to take home. Each year we would take home a load of poles to use in repairing corral fences and gates. This may have been one of those times.
After we had loaded and started home we made camp at the narrows as usual. For supper that night we had chicken. As I write this I do not remember whether it was some chicken my mother had bottled or not, but it still had the bones in it.
After supper as we sat around the campfire we heard a loud "bang" like a shot gun at close range. We boys did not know what it was. Our fathers talked about the sheep herder having said that if we did not have supper with him he was going to take a shot at us. As I look back on it now I remember somewhere along the line it was mentioned that maybe a chicken bone had exploded.
After the wood was hauled home we would get a buzz saw to cut it into stove lengths. A buzz saw was a large circular saw about three feet or more in diameter. This saw was built in a frame which we anchored to the ground. We then jacked up one of the rear wheels on the model T Ford. To the car wheels we attached another wide wheel, but not so large around. We then put a belt on the pulley (this is what we called the wheel we put on the car wheel) and then put it on the saw. With this as the power we would cut all the trees into stove lengths. It was then my job to split the blocks into pieces that would fit into the stove. I would then stack them with a row of neatly stacked sticks of wood as a shield for those I threw into the middle. The outside row was stacked in a circular pattern. This was to protect the wood from the snow in the winter. During the winter it was my responsibility to see that the wood box was full each morning and evening. Since dad was still teaching school he was not there in the daytime to get the wood, my sisters were too young, and I was in school myself. I filled it at night and included enough kindling to start the fires the next morning. This was an uncomplicated life, but I have many fond memories of this time.
It was sometime during these years that Dad was called to the Onieda Stake High Council. I do not remember when this occurred. I have heard Dad tell about it however. He was sitting in stake conference on Sunday when they released several members of the High Council. Dad turned to a member of the Dayton Ward, Abe Dalley, and said, "I wonder who the new High Councilors will be." As soon as he said that Dad's name was read for a sustaining vote. I have heard Dad say many times that he was not sure whether Mr. Dalley believed him or not when he said he had not known anything about his call until then. This was used by our family to show you should pay attention when you vote in church. Dad said that day he could not remember who or what he voted on before his name was read, but he thought he could repeat every name presented after that. He was telling this story several years after the incident occurred.
My father was a very active member of the Stake High Council for many years. When I was old enough to start dating it required a close scheduling to allow me to keep my Sunday afternoon date and for Dad to still fulfill his High Council assignment. I would take Dad to his assignment, go and get my date then return and get Dad. It was a close schedule many times, but we always seemed to accomplish both.
When I was twelve years old I began delivering the Deseret news in our area. My mother has written about this time of my life. I shall include her words at this point in my history.
"At about the age of 12 you took a paper route and with this income was able to pay your own expenses. You wanted to buy us our first over-stuffed sofa and chair. Dad didn't feel we should let you use your money, but I'm sorry we refused, because I think it would have meant a great deal to you. We were operating on a very limited budget at the time. We had never had any electric lights for our Christmas trees, and this Christmas season we were debating if we could afford some. We were in town Christmas Eve and had decided to go home without the lights. As we were getting in the car you said, "Will you wait a minute? I forgot something." You left and returned with a small package. When we got home you produced the first Christmas tree lights we ever had."
Delivering papers meant that I had to get up at 2 A.M. each morning, go down to the railroad station to pick up my papers, and then deliver them. It would usually take 2 to 3 hours to deliver the papers, as the route was several miles long. During the school year I would deliver papers, get home in time to help Dad with the last of the chores, and be on the school bus by 7 A.M. In the winter I rode my Indian pony. When I rode her I could wrap up to be protected from the wind and cold and trust my pony to take me around the paper route. I would stay in my shelter and wait for her to stop. When she stopped I would deliver a paper and we would move on. The pony knew the route as well as I did. I used to tell the family that if they had to take the route for me to ride Fleet (this was the pony's name). They could trust her not to miss a paper.
During good weather, except during the winter, I rode my bicycle. I started with a pressure tired bicycle, but later Dad talked me into buying a new balloon tire bike. I went to Logan, Utah to buy it. I did not have enough money to pay cash and the shop owner let me sign a time payment contract. This was the beginning of my experience with credit buying.
This was the last bicycle I was to buy until I had been married for several years.
After a few months we convinced the Deseret News publishing company in Salt Lake City to deliver the papers to Dayton Idaho by Greyhound bus. This meant we would get the noon edition by 5 P.M. each night. This was easier than getting up at 2 A.M. each morning.
One afternoon as I was waiting at the service station for the bus to come I had a low tire on my bike. I was putting air in the tire and talking to someone at the same time. The result was the balloon tire blew up in my face. It frightened me and injured my pride, but did not hurt me physically.
I continued this paper route for several years and then my sisters delivered the papers for a year or two before we gave up the route completely.
During the paper route year I became a Boy Scout. During these years I was encouraged by my mother to get the awards offered by the scouting program. I achieve the rank of Star Scout before I left the troop. Only one member of the troop, besides the scout master achieved a higher rank. He went all the way to Eagle.
I did participate in many scout camps, and hikes which were fun.
One merit badge I did get was the cycling award. Because of my paper route the short rides were no problem. But came the day when I had to take my 50 mile ride it was decided I would ride my bicycle from Preston, Idaho to Logan, Utah, get my bike adjusted as well as finish paying for it, and then ride it back to Preston. It was decided that if I started soon after daylight, I could ride the bicycle the 27 miles to Logan, get it adjusted, and be back to Preston before dark. As it turned out it took longer than planned and I was not back by dark. Therefore my parents started toward Logan in the car to see what happened. They met me about 2 miles south of Preston. Dad finally convinced me I had ridden the 50 miles and I then got in the car for the rest of the trip.
My bicycle was to become an important part of my travels. I started taking violin lessons in Preston, and each Saturday I would ride it to Preston carrying my violin, take my lesson and then ride home again, often arriving home not much before dark. One day when the ward was having a ward celebration the students from Dayton were excused from Preston High School. However again I rode my bicycle the 8 miles to Preston and went to school for most of the day before riding it home again for the ward celebration.
Each year my father would present an operetta using the students of the eighth grade as the principal characters. He would use students of the seventh grade as needed, but only if there were not enough eighth graders to make a full cast. Thus it was that I had a part in an operetta named "Pickles" when I was in the eight grade. It was a speaking part and is the first time I remember that I participated in a dramatic production. Later I was to take part in other productions, and, in fact was to become aware of one particular girl who was to become my wife. But that is a story for later in my history.
I should digress here to say that on February 2, 1931 a third sister was born. Her health was delicate from the very first and after much care she was relieved of her illness and eleven months later on January 21, 1932 she was called from her earthly life. The winter was very severe that year and the county snow plows had a difficult time plowing a path to our house so we could get to the chapel for the funeral. Automobiles were not permitted to drive to our house and it was necessary for us to walk to the chapel for the funeral. The regular funeral coach was not used, but Mother, Dad, and I sat in the back seat of the car and held the casket on our laps.
When I was about eleven years old I was permitted to receive my patriarchal blessing. Many promises were given me that have since been fulfilled. Two or three of these I will mention here. First, I was told that I would receive not only the Aaronic Priesthood, but the Melchizedek as well.
When I was twelve years old I was ordained a deacon in the Dayton Idaho ward. Shortly after this I was called as quorum secretary. I was to hold this position in all of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums and one of the Melchizedek priesthood quorums. When I was a priest and secretary of the quorum it was said by a member of the bishopric that he would not be afraid to use my record to judge the quorum members. This was the result of training given me by my parents that I should do as near a perfect job as it was possible to do in any calling I accepted. My mother especially would not let me settle for second best.
It was shortly before this we had remodeled our chapel. Until the remodeling we had a high ceilinged chapel that rose to a gable end inside the chapel. Also we had no classrooms in the basement as the basement was not finished. We boys used to dare each other to walk the full length of the basement without getting frightened. We thought it was the best ***** alley in town.
The remodeling finished the basement and gave us classrooms instead of having us march around the chapel, return to our seats and then draw curtains to divide the chapel into classroom space. They also built a Relief Society room on the west end of the chapel and installed an inside bathroom in place of the twin privies we had been using.
When the remodeling was completed President Heber J. Grant came to our stake conference and the night session of stake conference was held in our chapel. That was when the building was dedicated. This was a highlight for we children to have the prophet come to our town. It has given me an insight into how the members in other parts of the world must feel when the prophet visits them.
During the winter our principal pas-times were sleigh riding, and other snow activities. It was a rare winter that the fences did not disappear before thanksgiving. It was common for most families to have a large piece of sheet metal which they turned up in front and fastened it back with tire wire to make a toboggan. Since we lived so close to the foot hills we spent many nights on the hills with our skies and toboggans. We would put 8 or 9 people on a toboggan and the push it over the hill. At one particular place the snow would drift over the edge of the hill and freeze there. This made a very good jump off place. The toboggan would go over the edge and fly for several feet. When fully loaded it would then come gradually to the surface snow again and continue its down hill slide.
Once in awhile however we would conspire to send someone over the edge alone. We would put the victim up front. Then about 6 or 7 persons would get on behind. The last person would give a good push to get the toboggan started and jump on just before it left the snow on its flight. At times however a pre-arranged signal would be given and one person was on the toboggan alone as it started its flight. At these times it would go straight out and then straight down landing with a spine jarring thud. Only ounce was anyone hurt. One girl who was very excitable was sent down alone. Instead of just quietly riding it down she began to twist turn and perform other gymnastics while in flight. The result was that she landed first and the toboggan landed on her breaking her leg. I do not remember that any discussions were held about this, but as I remember the tobogganing came to an abrupt halt.
We also had two teams in town that were trained to shine with bob sleds. This was a process where one horse would pivot in place and the other horse would run in a circle. The result was that as they picked up speed the bob sled was lifted off the ground and went in a circle. It was rare to find a corner in town that had snow more than an inch or two thick. It was quite a shock to be driving a team that had been trained to shine and come to a corner. If you had not taken proper precautions to prevent their shining they would automatically go into their performance at each corner.
These were uncomplicated times when people found it necessary to create their our pleasures as they did not have money enough to buy the pleasures they wanted. I think families were closer together at these times than they have ever been since.
During the school years of 1934-35 and 1935-36 I attended Preston High School. Here I participated in the school chorus, band and other activities. I did not participate in sports such as football and basketball as this required hours of practice after school and since I lived eight miles from school I thought travel home would be a problem. I did not discuss the possibility with my parents although as I look back now I think the transportation problem would have been solved. I did not however feel neglected, as I was busy in other activities.
While at Preston High School I did complete three credits of seminary and thus graduated from the seminary program.
For the school year 1936-37 the Dayton School board transferred us from Preston High School to Weston High School. This was a smaller school and not as many activities to become involved in. Thus rather than get involved in band or other things I spent my time with the courses I was signed for.
I did however take part in the school operetta "H.M.S. Pinafore." Mainly I was a member of the chorus. I did have one solo of about 2 or 3 lines, but not a significant proportion.
At this time I was still playing the violin and did participate publicly at times. This was to almost stop completely when I started college at Utah State University in Logan Utah in the fall of 1937.
My high school years were years of fulfillment in many ways. It was during the time of my life that I began to build more confidence in myself and began to develop my ability to express my thoughts in my own way.
While in a junior English class at Preston High I wrote a theme that was to bring me a small amount of recognition. The teacher, J. Neff Boothe, asked us to write about one of a number of titles on the black board. I chose "A Sunday afternoon ride." This was about a ride one of my friends and I took in the model T Ford.
My father went to General Conference in Salt Lake City, and while there he purchased a 1928 Nash Sedan. He then told me the model T Ford was mine until the gasoline in the tank was used up. Since he had just filled the tank it was good for many a drive.
On this one Sunday afternoon my friend and I started the Ford after Sunday school and started out. Sacrament meeting did not start until 7 P.M. so we had all afternoon to ride around.
Within minutes after we started the ride we met two girls walking down the road. They got in the back seat while my friend and I were in the front seat. We drove about 4 or 5 miles East to Bear River and got out of the car to walk around the golf course. When we were ready to go again we cranked the car to start it, but did not succeed. We finally got it out on the highway and pushed it to get started.
We then went to Clifton, Idaho, about 5 or 6 miles north of Dayton. Here we stopped at the foot of a sand hill. You guessed it we again had to push the car to start it. I was inside the car to operate the pedals, lever and choke while my friend and the two girls pushed. Part way up the hill the choke wire broke and I could not choke the car from inside. My friend lifted the hood and found it necessary to ride on the fender to operate the choke. This left the girls to push the car. We did get it started and drove home.
This is essentially the theme I wrote except I was lavish in my use of adjectives. When all the themes were in he read mine in class. I later found out he read it to all his classes including the seniors. He did not say who wrote it, but unfortunately, one of the girls who was on the ride with us was in my English class and the word was out.
One positive result of this incident was that I was offered the position of humor editor on the school paper the next year. Unfortunately this was the year our town changed high schools and thus the offered humor editor did not materialize.
While at Preston High School I also participated in the Glee Club. This was the name we gave the high school chorus. Our music teacher was Harold C. Christensen, commonly called "Hurry see" Christensen. The nick name was given him because he was always in a hurry. It was not uncommon for him to get a speeding ticket going to or coming from some concert or festival in which the music department had participated.
During my sophomore year in high school I was registered for a shop class. One day I was doing some work in the shop and needed to sharpen one of the tools I was using. The safety goggles were already checked out. As I was wearing glasses and only needed to take about 2 passes across the grinder I decided to go ahead without goggles. I felt something go into my right eye, but thought I had gotten it out.
About 3 weeks later I woke up one morning and my eye was swollen shut. My mother rode to the doctor with me on the school bus.
When Dr. Cutler examined my eye he said he did not dare put a magnet on it to pull the steel out or he would pull the entire eye ball out of its socket. He also said that the steel had to come out immediately. If it stayed in another 24 hours I would definitely lose the sight of my right eye and possibly in both eyes. As it was he would not guarantee I would not lose the sight of one eye anyway.
They put me on the surgery table at the clinic and told me they could not put me to sleep as they needed me awake while they removed the steel. I was also told not to blink. As I remember it took the better part of an hour to remove the steel. This was accomplished by a series of probes and plies with a limber knife. I then kept a bandage over my eye for several weeks. Needless to say this required many explanations. The eye eventually healed and I retained the sight of both eyes, much to my joy, and the doctor was very happy about it also.
I do not remember the name of the operetta we had my junior year of high school, but I do remember that I was a soldier in it. I had borrowed a 30.06 rifle to use in the production. One afternoon while we were practicing in the auditorium one of the fellows asked to see the rifle. I let him take it. What I did not know was he had a blank shell for it. When I was not looking he put the shell in the rifle and shot. The superintendent’s office was directly below the auditorium. Fortunately several teachers were in the auditorium and know what had happened or I may have been expelled from school. As it was the operetta was presented without rifles.
There are many fond memories associated with my high school years. I built interests that were to remain a part of life continuously from that time on. They were also a factor in the choices I made as to activities I participated in. However there comes a time when a person must leave memory-land and go into other phases of life. This seemed to be the time to make my change.
In the fall of 1937 at the age of 17 years I became a freshman at Utah State Agricultural College. The name of the school was later to be changed to Utah State University. There was an active movement even then to have the name changed, but it was destined to take a few years to convince the state government of the need to make such a change. The college was well known for its school of engineering and business and it was felt these units in the college should not be burdened with the word agricultural.
My first quarter in college was almost a disaster. I let myself get registered for physics, college algebra and a physics lab. I wasn't prepared for any of these. I did get through algebra and dropped the physics. It was a hectic time. Aunt Aldora and Uncle Wesly spent many hours trying to give me extra instruction. I was having a very difficult time getting any understanding. However I found that Physics was beyond my capabilities, so the instructor gave me permission to drop that class.
When my first year of college began Dad had gone to Geneva in Bear Lake County to teach so Mother and the girls moved to Logan with me. We rented a house and moved the cow and furniture to Logan Utah.
Mother was quite ill at that time as she had been since my sophomore year in high school. She had a goiter operation and had been very ill since that time. We did not dare leave her out on the farm alone with the girls and did not want to move her to Bear Lake since it was so far from her doctors. For these reasons she moved to Logan, Utah where her sister, Aldora, lived and could help with her care and travel to the doctor.
Mother has written about this time in my life as follows: "Your first year of college, we spent the winter in Logan. My health was very poor. I was still suffering with a bad heart and often felt my life was hanging by a single thread. The feeling was more intense if I was alone. I didn't want anyone to move or speak but just be there. If there was any commotion, I felt the thread would break, and I would be gone. If I felt myself getting faint, I would make my way to the couch and lie down. From here I could watch the kitchen clock. I knew if I could hang on, you would be there at 2 o'clock. You always came at that time without fail. You were considerate enough to sit quiet until I regained my strength."
"This Christmas, our funds were very limited. After paying the rent and other expenses, we figured there would be enough to spend 50¢ apiece on each member of the family. You were getting part time work at the U & I. They called you the day before Christmas to help make some last minute deliveries. It was cold, wet weather. You had no hat, no gloves, no rubbers, no overcoat, but you went. You returned late at night with wet feet and chilled through. Your wages would have been enough to buy some gloves and rubbers, but no. You took a lamp as a Christmas present for me. I can still remember how very cold and wet you were, how unselfish, and I will always treasure it as my special Christmas lamp."
"Another incident that made me very proud of you happened when you were younger and we were in Dayton, Idaho. Two girls from Logan (I believe) and a neighbor boy and pal came and wanted you to direct them to a certain home in Clifton. You gave them directions, but they claimed they couldn't follow the directions. You had the flu, but they said if you would ride with them, they would bring you right back. I thought it was risky, but thinking they would be as good as their word, you went. Well, you did your part, but they refused to bring you home. It was early in the spring, and the ground was covered with slushy snow, and you had no rubbers. It got to be nighttime, and you had not returned. We commenced to worry. Finally you came walking in. It was about 11:00. Your feet were soaked and a drizzling rain had made your clothes very damp. But how glad we were to see you. We hurried and doctored you to prevent a chill, and luckily no bad results followed. The rest of the group didn't return until late afternoon the next day."
By the time I entered college in the fall of 1937 a fourth sister, Yovonne, had joined the family. She was born on January 15, 1934. Thus, by the time we moved to Logan, Utah she was approaching 3 years of age. There were not any small children in the neighborhood and she would entertain herself until some of the rest of us came home from school. One day Mother put her coat on her and let her go outside to play. When she went out to check on her, Yovonne was not in the yard. One of the neighbor girls who was about 10 or 11 came to help find her. When she looked down the street about 2 or 3 blocks she saw a red coat just turning the corner. Had she not seen her when she did it is difficult to say when or how we would have found her.
All through the school year I would bring home one or two gallons of skim milk which mother could use in her cooking. This left the milk from the cow for the family to use. This skim milk could be purchased from the college dairy for either 5 or 10 cents per gallon.
I was not a forward person even at that time and therefore I did not enter into college activity. I did not go to the football games nor other activities because I had never built up a demanding interest in extra curricular programs. I was there to get an education and did not pay much attention to other things. I had not yet learned that the ability to properly participate in social activities was as much a part of my education as my academic subjects. I think one of the valuable lessons I learned this year in college was the need to participate with other people socially.
One class I did take was sociology. The instructor was a woman who we could get started on courtship and marriage without any trouble. As a result we spent most of the quarter listening to her talk about courtship and marriage. But she gave her tests on the book. So if you had not read the book, you lost out.
Toward the end of the quarter the instructor made a statement that has always been in my mind since and I have come to realize it has made the entire course worth the effort. The statement was "the reason there are so many young flames today is that there are too many old bon fires left burning." If you will analyze this statement you will come to understand the tremendous meaning it has.
Because of the depression many students were having a difficult time paying for a college education. For this reason the federal government established the National Youth Administration known as the N.Y.A. This was a program where college students that did not have a source of income could obtain some work through the college to give them some money with which to buy food and clothing.
I was accepted for some of these projects. One day we were putting chicken wire in the college chicken coops. This was a closely manufactured net wire whose holes were only about an inch square. This was put on the ceiling and walls of the chicken coop. Then straw was stuffed between the wire and the sheeting on the roof and the outside lumber on the walls. The chicken wire was stapled to the rafters and studding of the coops. The straw acted as insulation and made the coops warm for the chickens.
Anyway, on the day in question we were putting chicken wire on the rafters of the coops. I would put several small staples between my lips and then keep my teeth closed so I would not swallow them. Late in the morning, just shortly before lunch, I told one of the fellows I was working with that I would not need lunch that day. He asked why and I told him I had swallowed one or more of the staples. We all laughed about it and went on working. At that time and even today I am not sure I didn't. I do know that two or three staples I had put between my lips were missing.
As I left work that day I forgot to tell anyone I would not be to work the next day. I do not remember at this time why. When the foreman asked some of the fellows why I was not at work they told him about my having swallowed at last one of the staples the previous day. Three or four days later I was called out of class and told to report to the college doctors office. I was firmly told to go at once and there was no appeal from those instructions.
Dr. Preston M.D. told me to go directly to one of the downtown hospitals and get some x-rays. I spent 2 or 3 hours getting the x-rays and then reported back to Dr. Preston. When the x-rays were read they saw no evidence of the staples, but I was told that if at any time in my life I had trouble because of the staples that I had a claim against the state of Utah through the college. I have never had any problems from this incident.
I did take lighter courses the rest of the year and my college career became more enjoyable. I even started going to some of the college dances and socials. In fact I was chosen as a member of a committee to sponsor one of the school dances. Each year the non-affiliated students at the college held what was called the "Snow Ball." Two other students and I were given the assignment to go to the LDS eighth ward on the island in Logan to see about decorations. This resulted in my participating in the M.I.A. exhibition dance with the Logan Stake. My dancing partner was the daughter of the chief deputy to the Cache County Sheriff. But that is another story.
When we went to the Logan 8th ward church to see about decorations and other arrangements for the dance we arrived there while they were having dance practice. Ross Epich and I were the only fellows in our group. The 8th ward dancers needed two more men. They asked if we would help them and we agreed. After the practice we each went home to other parts of the city and forgot about it. When we did not go to dance practice the next week the dance director called us and asked why we were not at practice. We were surprised because we did not know our commitment was for more than one night. We were informed the commitment was for the remainder of the dance season until after the stake Gold and Green Ball in the spring. To make sure we did not forget again the dance director come to our homes in her car each week and got us until we finally decided we were in the group to stay and we started going on our own. It was quite enjoyable in a way because we were both away from home and this kept us active in the M.I.A. program.
Early in the spring of 1938 the Gold and Green Ball was held in the Dansante and as for as I know neither of us ever returned to the 8th ward again. At least I know I did not.
During the fall quarter I did join the college choir and rather enjoyed the hour we spent 3 times a week with Walter Welti. I do not remember any special programs we presented, but at the end of the quarter tryouts were held to decide who would go on into winter quarter. The winter quarter was when the opera was presented. I did become a member of the opera chorus.
The opera that year was "Carmen" by Bizet. It required many hours of extra practice, but I did enjoy singing and to be in the opera was an additional thrill.
One evening while practicing in the old main auditorium a large section of plaster fell and cut one girl on the head. She was taken to the hospital where several stitches were required. When talking about this, years later, with Dr. Welti I was informed the college refused to pay the hospital expense. It was necessary therefore to pay the charges from the opera fund.
The practices were not spectacular unless you had a special interest in singing in the opera. Since I had such an interest every practice was special to me. With such an interest I do not know why I did not choose music as my major.
The first night of the production as the first act was closing Carmen pushed Don Juan, as she was supposed to do, except she pushed him harder than she thought. He fell against the steps on the other side of the stage and was knocked unconscious. The 2nd act was delayed about 30 minutes while Don Juan was revived and again able to sing.
In the spring the combined choruses presented an oratorio entitled the "Creation". This was presented at the college amphitheater on Sunday after classes ended and was the final presentation of the school year. I have never enjoyed any activity as much as I did the music programs that year.
Another class I remember was a public speaking class. The instructor taught by having us give various types of prepared speeches as well as extemporaneous talks. He would then have the class criticize them. After the class criticism he would give a constructive summary. This was very valuable to me as I was to go on my mission before I returned to college.
During the summer of 1938 I worked on a farm in college Ward which is about 4 miles south of Logan, Utah on the highway toward Wellsville, Utah. The farmer's name was Cyrus Anderson. When travelling toward Logan I pass his home. It was while working for Mr. Anderson that I had the experience with the thresher lid blowing off. He was a good man and not difficult to work for.
When I started working for him I had my choice of either sleeping in the basement or in the hay loft. I chose the hay loft where I could get the benefit of the night air. It was really quite comfortable. Also I could lay in bed at night when it was raining and listen to the rain on the roof. When the sun came up in the morning it would not shine directly on me as the daylight had already awakened me.
I had cows to milk and a few other chores. Mr. Anderson was allergic to cows so our agreement was that I would feed, milk and care for the cows and he and the boys would do the rest of the chores. He had a milking machine, but it took so much time to keep it repaired that I finally told him if he approved I would milk the 20 or more cows by hand. I could milk them by hand faster than I could repair the milking machine.
The summer was spent in general farm labor - watering hay, grain, and wheat. After the threshing was done he did not need me anymore and I was terminated.
Whenever the family went on an outing, or to a party I was always invited to go along. I did not accept the invitations however as I was not of a nature to consider myself as a member of the family. I was given privileges around the home the same as any other family member, but I was not inclined to accept all the privileges granted me.
During this summer my sister, Yovonne, was taken to the hospital with ruptured appendix. The night she was taken to the hospital Uncle Wesly came out from Logan to get me and take me to Preston. I spent several days in Preston relieving my father at the hospital. Mother was quite worried that she would not live especially since the girl just older than her had died. We made sure a Priesthood member was in her hospital room at all times.
During her illness she had several diseases. The doctor at first left orders that she was to have no liquids by mouth. This order stood for 10 days. She would coax for water as only a 4 year old can coax, but we had to remain firm in our denial. She also suffered with mumps, and Brights Disease. When she was released form the hospital the doctor told my father that medical science had not achieved her cure. It was a power greater than medicine.
It should be stated here that when I went down town the day after she was admitted to the hospital the entire city knew of her illness. Everyone on the street asked but one question, "When did she die?" That she could still be alive was not considered by anyone.
About October 1, 1938 I was hired by Ralph Strubb, the manager of J.C.Penny Co. in Preston Idaho. I was to continue this employment until new years of 1941 when I resigned to accept a call to the Northern States Mission. Several years later after I had returned from the navy after World War II I saw Mr. Strubb while I was working at the Blue Bird in Logan Utah and he loudly proclaimed to the entire group of J.C. Penny managers, "This is the best employee I ever had."
When I first talked to Mr. Strubb about working at J.C. Penny Co. in Preston I do not think he was too keen about my working there. He did not give me a definite no however. As I remember I made my first inquiry on a Saturday. He told me to come in the following Tuesday and he would talk to me. Tuesday morning I was waiting in front of the store when he came to open up. In those days the men employees arrived at the store anytime after 6. A.M. and the store opened at 8 A.M. Thus, I was in front of the store by about 6 A.M. When Mr. Strubb saw me there he took me into the store and told me to look around and see if I liked it.
All morning I was locating the various sections in the store and bringing reserve stock from the stock room to the sales floor. About noon, while I was stocking overalls, a customer came and asked me if I would sell her a pair of overalls. At that time I did not have a sales book so I asked one of the other men if he would sell them. He handed me his sales book and told me to write it up. Mr. Strubb saw me and when he asked why I was writing sales in another persons book I told him it was because I did not have a book of my own. He went immediately to the office and sent me a book of my own. I was never without my own sales book after that during all the years I worked for J. C. Penny Co.
In a very short time I found myself the manager of the stock room. This also included the toy dept. which opened the day after Thanksgiving and remained open through Christmas Eve. I was therefore responsible to keep all the reserve stock properly shelved, get merchandize to the sales floor as needed, check all freight entering the store and be sure we received only the merchandise for which we had invoices, and then keep the invoices properly filed in the office. In my spare time during August and September I would assemble toys to get ready for Christmas shopping which started the day after Thanksgiving. I also sold on the regular sales floor. In my capacity as stock room manager I was the first one in the store to see all merchandise. We also received many sample items. Very few of the sample items ever got to the sale floor. If I did not buy them some of the other help would. It was an indication it would sell and then Mr. Strubb would order a supply. If the employees were willing to let the samples reach the sales floor then we were quite certain it would not sell and we would not order any.
Our usual day would start about 7 A.M. and we would open for business at 8 A.M. We closed at 6 P.M. Monday through Friday. After the store closed we would sweep up and then set up displays, price additional merchandise in the freight chute, and other duties we had not had time to accomplish during the day. On these nights we would leave the store about mid-night. On Saturday we still opened at 8 A.M., but remained open until 8 P.M. after which we swept up and straightened the merchandise displays. We would usually leave the store about 9:30 or 10:00 P.M. on that night.
It should be mentioned here that although the store opened at 8 A.M. the women did not report for work until 10: A.M. Thus the men sold everything in the store for the first two hours. I have sold many corsets, girdles, dresses, piece goods, etc. In fact it often became my specific assignment to do the selling on the women's side of the store until they came and at times if we were extra busy I would be assigned to their side of the store at other hours.
This arrangement caused some humorous incidents at times. One day a man came into the store as soon as we opened. I knew him as Chip Carpenter. He asked how much a 14-inch zipper would cost. I told him the price was 49 cents. He became quite angry at this and asked to see the manager. While he was talking to Mr. Strubb I discovered the price was 39 cents. When I told him this he became more infuriated and demanded that we sell him the zipper for 15 cents. I told him the general offices in New York City were the only ones who could authorize a 15-cent price on zippers. If he would buy a train ticket from Preston, Idaho, to New York City, spend several days getting to see the general manager and then return home he may get permission to buy the zipper for 15 cents.
His remark was "I will buy it, but the d--- thing isn't worth more than 15 cents." Mr. Strubb gave me a grateful look and never mentioned the incident again. In sales you learn real quick to size up your customers to decide whether they intend to buy and you react accordingly. Or course you can make mistakes. As a case in point.
A man in old patched and dirty overalls entered a dealer’s show room one day. The dealer sold Imperial Chryslers. The salesmen all shunned him as not being a customer. Finally, the youngest salesman on the force approached and asked if he could help him. The man said, "Yes, I will buy this car and this car. " He pointed to the two most expensive models on the floor. The salesman reluctantly asked him to step into the office and they would talk financing. The man said that would not be a problem, whereupon he handed the salesman enough cash to pay for both automobiles.
You are more often correct though. I was working close to the front door one day when a woman entered accompanied by her husband, her son, and her daughter. Since I was by the men's hats she started by looking at hats for her husband and son. She then went to men's suits. By this time I suspected I had someone who had no intention of buying and also had no intention of letting me get away until she was through. Every time I tried to get away to help someone else she would start handling expensive merchandise and I decided it was best to stay with her. After playing the game of charade for two hours she said, "I can't waste your time" so she picked up a 5-cent handkerchief and said, "I will buy this." I looked at her in disgust and said, "If you have the nerve to use two hours of my time with no intention of buying I have the nerve to give you that handkerchief." I then turned and walked away.
Another day one of the men had a woman come to him and say, "I want to buy a pair of sox for my husband. The salesman reached under the counter and brought out 4 or 5 pair of sox. She then asked if he had any more. He brought out another 4 or 5 pair. When she asked again if he had anything else he said, "Lady, I have 5 thousand pair of sox. Do you want to see all of them?" She quickly purchased a pair of sox and left. In discussing this incident later we decided she must have been a checker, which is a person hired to enter the store as a customer and test the sales people to see what kind of service they provided.
In all the time I was with J. C. Penny Co. I do not remember a time when I failed to achieve the sales quota given me each day.
I soon found myself being given assignments as window dresser, and setting up displays in the store. Thus while others were sweeping, and straightening stock, Louis and I were setting up window displays. I did not realize it then, but I see now that the manager was training me in all functions of the store. This was valuable to me later as I went into other activities in my life.
The manager also took time to teach me how hats were made. How to brush them and also about materials of all kinds including men's suits. Since I was very interested he spent considerable time with me teaching these things. As a result I really learned about the merchandise in J. C. Penny stores. Even today, almost 40 years later, I can enter into a store and will automatically handle merchandise as Mr. Strubb taught me.
Our freight chute opened onto the sidewalk. It was two iron doors that lifted out of the sidewalk. Each morning one of my first duties was to unlock these doors so the deliverymen could deliver freight to us. They would usually wait for me to be there and check each carton and package to be sure we had the specific package signed for. We did not often have problems as the freight men were very careful.
One day however the freight men dropped two or three truck loads of freight down the chute without my being there to check it. They then brought the freight tickets to me to be signed. I started to the freight chute to check the cartons. They tried to assure me that only the freight listed on the invoices was there. However I had established a system and insisted on continuing with the system.
The first carton I checked was for another store in town, not for J.C. Penny Co. Two hours later the manager, myself, and three freight men were still trying to straighten out the mess. The freight men were insisting I sign the freight bills they presented when we had verified that half the freight they dropped down the chute was not for our store. A major portion of what was left was freight for which we had no billing, while the freight for which the billing was presented was still at the railroad depot. I need not describe the foul mood in which the manager, myself, and the freight men were in.
This was the time the woman who had charge of women's hosiery department came to the stock room to get some hosiery for the sales floor. She was the one member of the staff that even the manager was, at least partially, afraid of. Anyway the Hog set out 2 stacks of hosiery, and ordered, not asked, me to bring it up to the sales floor. Without thinking I told her what she could do with them. I can still see the manager in a frozen position with a foot in the air. Even the freight men were a little terrified of what may happen. No one told Stella Cutler, "no," at any time, and I had gone even beyond that.
Stella whirled around and asked, "What did you say?" I remember thinking "I can only die once,” so I repeated it. Then Stella started to laugh. She then made the request that I bring up the hose as soon as possible, which I agreed to do.
From that moment on Stella was the best friend I had in the store. Besides the manager she was about the only one who openly supported me against all comers.
There was a time later when I was terminated from my employment; with J. C. Penny Co. because another person was hired to do my job, especially in the stock room. My lay off lasted only a very few days however. The new man could not find articles that had been delivered and marked, and neither could anyone else.
The crowning incident was that the high school Pep Club had ordered a special shipment of slips. Everyone in the store knew they had arrived, but no one could find them. The stock room was in such a mess that Stella and the other women got together and told Mr. Strubb that when they came to work the next day they were going to the stock room with their coats on and see who was on duty. If the right person was there they would stay. If not they were leaving the store without any further notice and he could hire a complete new crew of girls.
I am not sure Mr. Strubb had not decided the same thing, but that night I received a call from him to report for work the next morning as stock room manager.
True to their word the girls all came to the stock room the next morning with their coats on. Stella was in the lead. When she saw me she turned to the others and said, "Alright girls, take off your coats and go to work." I had just seen the first threatened labor strike of my life. My position at J. C. Penny Co. was never again threatened.
Mr. Strubb even called a meeting of the girls and asked me to attend. He told them that when I asked them to help mark merchandise they needed no additional authorization from him to leave the sales floor.
I had a large group of girls helping me for several days. We finally got the mess in the stock room straightened out and all the way to the back under one of the tables we found the special order of slips.
If any further proof was needed that you can so easily lose merchandise, the trash truck came back one morning for the second time. This was unheard of before. The driver got out and said, "I do not think you meant to send these over the dump,” and he sent a large carton of chenille bedspreads down the chute. The other driver then returned 6 or 8 cartons of ladies hose. That morning they decided to check the boxes as they went over the dump and found large cartons of merchandise that had never been opened. The manager happened to be there when the merchandise was returned and I know he was thinking, as I was, that if it could happen once it could have happened how many other times.
After I had been working for J. C. Penny Co for a year or a year and a half we moved from the old Larsen building to a new building a half block south. After construction was completed on the new building they would send me down to the new building to set up seats in the shoe department and other fixtures in the store preparatory to our moving merchandise into the new building. I would then spend many hours alone in the new building.
The reason they sent me was that when I was not busy in the stock room I would spend most of my selling time in men's suits, hats, etc, and in the shoe department. I had by this time progressed in display work to where I had been one of two store employees to be assigned to a special sales display at the local ballroom by all the merchants in town to promote more sales for our merchandise.
When moving day arrived we closed the old store completely and we all participated in moving the merchandise from one building to another. It took several days to accomplish this, but it was finally finished. Then came the straightening and final preparation for the grand opening. I was by this time also making display signs for the store.
During all this my father had organized a male quartet for a ward party. As is usual when a quartet does a fair to medium presentation it is in demand on other occasions. Thus I found it necessary in some instances to request time off work to participate with the quartet. While moving into the new building I had to do this on the 24th of July. This was a holiday in town, but because of the rush of moving we were working that day. It should be mentioned here that my pay had been raised to 35 cents per hour and with the number of hours we were working I was one of the higher paid employees of the store. My average gross pay would be about $125.00 per month.
I ask the manager at one time what the chances were of going regular. He told me he could probably get me a contract, but he could only pay me $65.00 per month. Besides as a steady extra I was already getting all the privileges of the regulars. What I did not know at that time was that if I went regular this would put me on the district managers list and if he was as impressed with me as Mr. Strubb I would be subject to transfer. This Mr. Strubb did not want.
On November 26, 1939, while I was working at J. C. Penny Co, I was ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. I must have had an interview with the stake president, but I do not remember it. I do however remember the day I was ordained. I was invited to attend stake priesthood meeting. This is the meeting now known as Priesthood Leadership. I, along with several others, was invited to speak to that body of priesthood for one or two minutes. This was in the old 4th ward chapel in Preston, Idaho.
We were then taken to one of the classrooms in the basement where we were ordained. My father was on the High Council at the time and spent a minute or two getting his section started and then excused himself to come to the unit where I was and ordain me an Elder.
The next week I and another very young Elder were invited to preside at the sacrament table in fast and testimony meeting. In those times the Priests would usually preside at the Sacrament table for Sunday School, and the Elders were assigned for Sacrament Meeting. Also on fast day it was quite common for ward members to bring bottles of olive oil to fast meeting to be consecrated. The Bishop asked us, just a few minutes before Sacrament Meeting, to be at the sacrament table. As an after thought he said, "by the way we have 4 bottles of oil to be consecrated." I told him I did not know how. He spent less than a minute giving me the essentials and then told me I would know how when the time came. If it was not done correctly the Bishop had been known to ask the Elders to do it again. This was proper as Priesthood ordinances should be done right if they were to be done at all. In my case we were not asked to do it again so it must have been reasonably correct.
As I look back on it now I think I was ordained at that time because the Bishop had intentions of sending me on a mission at that time. However I was not to receive my call until a year later.
One afternoon in the fall of 1940 Bishop Schwartz asked me if I was going to be home the following Wednesday night. That was usually a work night for me, but I made arrangement to get off work that night. At the appointed time the entire Bishopric came to the home.
It was at that time I found out that I was being considered for a mission call. It was an intensive interview. Included were questions as to which mission I wanted to go to. My first choice was Norway, but I told them I would go to any mission. Norway was not possible at that time because World War II was underway in Europe, or parts of it, at that time.
About December 1, or possibly the latter part of November, I received my call to the Northern States Mission with headquarters at Chicago Illinois.
The next few weeks were very busy getting all the things I needed to leave on my mission. Finally the last shirt was bought, my suitcase was packed and I was about ready to leave on my mission. Only one detail was left: My farewell testimonial. In those days they had missionary farewells on a week night and it was followed by a dance.
My farewell was held on a Friday night. On the same night they had a welcome home for Allen Richman. I do not know what mission he had been in, but we each had part of the program. The next Sunday was fast and testimony meeting.
I should back track a little at this time and explain that in those days each prospective missionary had an interview with a general authority. The bishop wanted to get me into the mission field and rather than wait for our next quarterly conference he made arrangements for me to be interviewed by the general authority that would visit a neighboring stake, the Franklin Stake. At that time our stake conferences lasted all day and we had a general authority at each conference.
Anyway when I arrived for my interview during the between sessions break I found that the general authority was Samuel O. Bennion, a member of the First Council of Seventy, who was my father's mission president eighteen (18) years earlier. He spent a few minutes talking to my father and then took me aside for my interview. Within 10 days or two weeks I had received my call.
Thus it was that I now came to my last fast and testimony meeting in the Dayton ward prior to going on my mission. I had not planned on talking at testimony meeting that day. However Kendall Balls and Max Dalley, who had both returned from missions, had taken me in tow for the 2 months prior to my leaving, and now kept encouraging me to bear my testimony. I finally did so.
Also in the audience that day was a Sister Jenny Hansen, who had been in the Relief Society with my mother. She had since moved from the ward, but had returned for a visit. As he was closing the meeting the Bishop said there were two people he had hoped to hear from that day. I was one of them and Sister Hansen was the other.
That afternoon and evening many people called at the home to give me farewell wishes. I was due at the mission home on Monday morning by 9 A.M. It was therefore necessary for me to be on the train that came through Dayton about 3 A.M. Walt Thompson and Viola Kirby, a couple I had spent many social evening with, were among those that come to see me off.
I was in the mission home in Salt Lake City until January 15, 1941, on which date I left Salt Lake City by train for Chicago, Illinois to begin two years in the mission field. There were about 11 of us going to Chicago and quite a group going to the North Central States Mission. We were all in a railroad coach together. Only Mormon Missionaries were assigned to that car. We had our study classes, morning and evening prayer, and all other activities in which new missionaries engage. As we were travelling a passenger boarded the train and entered our car. As he sat down the conductor told him he would have to move. We said it was alright for him to stay if he would abide by our procedures. He agreed and the conductor let him stay. However he did not remain in the car long before he picked up his baggage and left.
Just as we were starting the train trip we took up a collection as tip for the porter. The amount collected was between 10 and 12 dollars. For the entire ride to Chicago, two night and one day, we were treated like kings. The porter practically stood guard at the entrance to our car.
We arrived in Chicago about 9 A.M. Friday morning January 17, 1941. We had been given instruction in Salt Lake City as to how to get to the Mission home at 2555 North Sawyer Ave. All the way to Chicago one of the Elders kept telling us he knew his way around Chicago very well as he had been there many times with his father. Since we did not know him very well we decided to let him lead us. After an hour or more trying to find the Logan Square elevated we decided he did not know Chicago any better than we did. We told him to go to the back of the group and we would find our own way. Within fifteen minutes, using the instructions the Church leaders had given us, plus one or two question of people who seemed to know their way around, we were on the Logan Square train. When we left the elevated at the end of the line we started walking in a northwesterly direction to find the mission home. We soon came to a large chapel which was LDS.
I started walking down one side of the building and came to a door that was unlocked - I opened the door and walked into what I found out was the Mission Office. We had arrived a day sooner than they expected us and therefore the Elders assigned to meet our train were not at the train depot.
President Muir was in the office that morning. We were immediately welcomed, signed in and had a very short orientation meeting with President Muir. By that time lunch was ready so we went to the mission home to eat. While we were eating an Elder came in who was on his way home and was driving a car home. He was going to Bloomington Illinois, where Elder Maughan from Lava, Idaho had been assigned. He therefore left his dinner and rode with the Elder to Bloomington Illinois. I was non-officially on my mission. I was at this time just 6 weeks short of my 21st birthday. At this time I cannot help but remember what my grandmother Alder had written me a few years earlier. She had written one of the few letters my mother said she ever wrote. At the time she wrote the letter she had gone to Delta Utah to be with her daughter, Aldora, who had gone there to teach school. Delta is about 200 miles south west of Salt Lake City. Anyway she told me that she hoped that some day I would have the chance to travel somewhere besides Dayton, Preston, and sometimes Logan. This wish had been granted. Nor were my travels yet finished as later history will show.
We stayed in Chicago Friday night and then Saturday we traveled by bus from Chicago to Dayton Ohio where my first assignment as a missionary was.
My first companion was Elder Ray Smith from Logan Utah. We did some tracting, some hospital visiting and some time organizing a quartet. We never did really get the quartet fully established. We did sing for some groups and were presented on the air once or twice, but it did not seem as though the Lord was ready for us to present the gospel by that media in the that area. After I had been there about three months the supervising Elder was released and Elder Shupe was assigned as the supervising Elder.
During those first three months we had another district conference. After the Saturday night session all the missionaries went to the basement of the chapel to watch the local branch members practice the M.I.A. dance in preparation for the Gold and Green Ball.
President Muir was having a meeting with the district leaders. While we were watching the practice I finally reached the point where I could not keep quiet any longer. The dancers were following the instructions explicitly. There was one place where the dance called for a right waltz turn. No matter how you did it you were on the wrong foot for the next sequence. I finally went to Sister Johnson, who was the dance director, and told her if she would change that to a left waltz turn she would be all right. She politely disagreed with me and showed me the instructions. I told her the experience we had at home prior to my coming on my mission. She finally asked me to show her how. I know I was not supposed to dance, but in the interest of saving the M.I.A. floor show I agreed. Just as we were entering the crucial turn President Muir came out of the meeting he was conducting and saw us. He never said a word. I found out Sister Johnson talked to him before he left the chapel and not only told him what happened, but asked for his permission to let me dance the M.I.A. dance. He gave his permission, but did not tell me. Thus when Sister Johnson came a few days later and asked me to come to dance practice I told her I was not allowed to dance. She told he what President Muir had said, but my supervising Elder insisted that we had to have direct word from President Muir. By the time we received that the M.I.A. dance had been cancelled, but not the Gold and Green Ball.
When I received my letter from President Muir he told he that I was authorized to teach and dance the M.I.A. floor show dance at any time my services were needed in that capacity. They were never again needed while I was on my mission.
At another time the Elders went out to a dance hall the Branch had rented to hold the Gold and Green Ball. We were there to help decorate for the dance. One of my duties was to hang the decorations on a beam about 25 feet above the dance floor. I was on an extension ladder, not the tripod kind. One of the boys of scout age had been assigned to hold the bottom of the ladder to make sure it didn't slip and let me fall. He did fine for a while, but then he saw a girl across the hall he wanted to talk to and he started her way. As he left the ladder followed him. I decided I had three choices: lay on the ladder front wise and take a chance that I would be split open, turn over on my back and take a chance on breaking my back, or jump and probably break both legs.
I decided to turn over on my back and ride it down. I landed hard and it took several minutes before I could move. The Elders as well as the Branch members tried to get me to go to the hospital and have my back checked. As bad as it hurt at that time I talked them out of it. I went two years on my mission, nine months at home and twenty-seven months in the United States navy before I found out I had broken a vertebrae in my back that night.
The chewing out the boy got from his parents and the Branch members was bad enough as it was. Had I gone to the hospital and found the broken vertebrae I do not know what more would have been done to him.
The one relaxation we had was going to the home of Brother and Sister Boam each Monday night. There we could go for a home cooked meal, singing and games with the family. This would charge our batteries and we were then good for another week.
We also went to the home of Robert Stewart and his wife, Ora Pate Stewart, on many occasions. Brother Stewart was one of the officers at Patterson Field which was an Air Force base. These also were relaxing times.
We held one of our missionary conference sessions at the Stewart home. Sister Stewart told us we could have the home to ourselves as she and Brother Stewart were going out for the night. She had also given the maid the night off. President Muir conducted the session and it was very spiritual. He gave us many suggestions as to how we could have more conversations in our missionary work. We rode the bus around Dayton, Ohio, and he told us if we would read our Book of Mormon and fall asleep while reading it the person next to us would get curious and start peaking at it. They would then get closer to it so they could see it better. Just as they got right over it if we woke up they would have to say something and we would have our conversation.
Sister Stewart told us she left some food in the fridge for us. Just short of midnight we had our lunch and it was most delicious. We later found we had eaten what she had prepared for the dog.
President Muir was a great story teller. He could tell a story better than anyone I knew up to that time. We also had one of the Elders in our district, John Meredith, who thought he was a good story teller. After our missionary meeting was finished President Muir and Elder Meredith started telling jokes. The only one I can remember is the one about the flea called Johnny. This was told by President Muir.
It seems there was a young man who had a trained flea that he named Johnny. This flea would do whatever he was told. At a party one night he was showing him off. He set him on a table and said, "Johnny, jump backward." The flea jumped backward.
By this time the girls were quite interested. One of them asked if the flea would obey her command. When told he would she got down and said, "Johnny, jump backward." He did right down the front of her dress. The girls got busy and got the flea out and put him on the table. "Johnny, jump forward." Nothing happened. "Johnny, jump sideways." Again, nothing happened. All this time the young man was closely examining the flea. Finally he said, "No! That's not Johnny."
One morning as my companion and I were preparing to leave our room a member of the Branch Presidency came to our place and asked us if we would go out and administer to an elderly lady that had called for an administration. We said we would.
We rode the bus out to the suburbs, past the home of one of the Wright brothers. When we arrived at the house I set my brief case on the porch. I left it on the porch when we went in the house.
During our conversation we found she was staying with her son and daughter-in-law who were not members of the Latter Day Saint Church. The sister had sent her daughter-in-law to town to get some medicine she was supposed to have so the daughter-in-law would not be at the house when we came.
She was afraid if she were there there would be a bit of a scene. Evidently the elderly sister had been told she could stay as long as she wanted, provided she would not talk about her religion and would not invite the Elders to the home.
We gave her a blessing, and as we left the house I picked up my brief case. I did not hear from this sister again until my mission was almost over. The last Christmas I was in the mission field I received a letter from her. She said that her daughter-in-law came home while we were there, but saw my brief case on the porch and went to visit a neighbor until we left. When she saw my brief case gone she knew we had left and she then came home. Incidentally this was two years later and she had new moved to the State of Washington. She said the batch of medicine her daughter-in-law went to get was still unopened.
I think it was sometime in April that Elder Shupe came to Dayton Ohio to be supervising Elder. We did a few days of tracting and then Elder Shupe advised President Muir that he was taking me with him and we would move to Columbus Ohio the next day. This was approved. However the Lord must have had other ideas. We went tracting in the morning and returned to the apartment at 131 Salem Ave for lunch. As I left the house after lunch I received a telegram from President Muir transferring me to the chorus at Detroit, Michigan. The rest of that day was spent getting me ready to move to Detroit.
My check had not arrived from home so the other Elders all chipped in to help me buy my bus ticket and complete the move. However as I was leaving the house next morning I received my check. We split up and went three different ways. One group went to the bus depot to get me signed in, another group went with me to get my check cashed, and the third was acting as liaison between the two.
At about 9 A.M. that morning I left Dayton Ohio and arrived in Detroit Michigan that afternoon about 3:30 or 4 P.M.
When I left Dayton Ohio the elders had told me not to take a taxi from the bus depot in down town Detroit to 570 East Grand Blvd. as it would cost a fortune. They had instructed me to go Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit and then ride the Kerchival car to East Grand Blvd. I was then to walk about 1 1/2 blocks to get to the house where the chorus lived. I spent about an hour trying to find the Kerchival car. Neither I nor a police officer knew where I would board the car. I returned to the bus depot with the intention of taking a taxi to 570 East Grand Blvd. Again I was in trouble. The first four taxi drivers I asked told me there was so such street as East Grand Blvd in Detroit. I told them I knew there was as I had written letters to that address and received answers.
I decided I would ask one more taxi driver and if he did not know where it was I would call President Muir and ask his help in getting to the house. Luckily this driver knew where the address was. Another surprise was that it only cost me $1.50 for the taxi fare. After I had been there a short time I found the house was about a 30 minute walk from downtown. I also found I did not want to walk as it was through the negro section of the city and there was considerable racial unrest.
After arriving at the house I paid the fare and released the taxi. I then found no one was home. I just sat on the porch to wait for them. When I had been sitting there only a few minutes one of the Elders came to get something. The chorus was all at the Detroit West branch to a social. I then found out why they had not met me at the bus depot. They had been away from home all day and had not received my telegram. At last I was transferred.
My association with the Mormon Male Chorus was a different method of doing missionary work. We did not do door-to-door tracting. Our assignment was to appear before clubs and conventions to open the way for the teaching missionaries. The chorus was well known in the Detroit Michigan area.
Besides appearing before clubs and conventions we also appeared before high schools. When our contact man went to one high school in a Detroit Suburb the principal told him he had a difficult time keeping a vacancy in the assembly schedule for us. Some of the high schools were so large we had to stay all day and present 5 or 6 programs. At one such school we had lunch with the faculty. One teacher told me that we had accomplished more toward one of her goals in one day than she had in twenty years. She had been trying to get the students to have old textbooks rebound, but without success. The day we were there they had more requests for book rebinding than they had received for many years. The reason was that as we finished each program in the school we were besieged for autographs. We would sign books, notebooks, or anything else presented.
The statement that we were well known in Detroit will be shown by two incidents. We had just finished a program at a high school and were boarding one of the public buses to return to our residence at 570 East Grand Blvd. As we continued entering the bus one man said, "What are they doing? Going out the back and coming back in again?" Another man next to him said, "You are new in town aren't you?" The man admitted he was, but wanted to know how that was determined. The answer was, "By the question you asked." He then asked me if we were the Mormon Male Chorus. When I assured him we were, he continued his answer to the stranger, "Anytime you see more than one or two clean cut well dressed and polite young men at one place at the same time it can only mean the Mormon Male Chorus is in the area."
Whenever we went to a dinner engagement they would usually have us sit together as a chorus. After the meals were served then the waiters would bring to our table 35 glasses of milk. This could not help, but draw the attention of the other guests. Anyway, two of to Elders who had been members of the chorus were released from their missions to return home. They had agreed to drive automobiles from Detroit to California. From somewhere in Kansas they sent a letter to the Chorus addressed to "Mormon Milk Contingent, Detroit Michigan." The letter was delivered to 570 East Grand Blvd. the next day.
The house where the Chorus lived was next door to a funeral home. One day we were spending a relaxing morning at the house with plans to go to a ball park on Detroit's east side that afternoon for a ball game among ourselves. About mid-morning the funeral director come over to our house and said he had a funeral in one hour and the Pastor had just called to say he could not come. He wanted to know if we could furnish some music and conduct the funeral for him. Elder Carmi H. Campbell was the president of the Chorus at the time so he conducted and preached the funeral sermon. Four of the chorus members formed an impromptu quartet and sang two numbers among which was "Oh, My Father." The funeral director was quite impressed with the rapidity and efficiency with which we prepared such an impressive service.
After this funeral we were frequently called on to conduct funerals for this funeral director, and we became very good friends. When President Muir decided it was time to disband this Chorus this funeral director come to the house with tears in his eyes and said that not only would he miss us because of services we had rendered him, but because we had shown him what it meant to truly be neighbors.
He had demonstrated his neighborliness. After the funeral already described and after the Cortege had left for the cemetery, the Chorus members dressed in grubbies and started for the street car to go to the ball park. One of the partners of the funeral home asked us where we were going. I told him and he wanted to Know how we were going to get there. I told him we were going by street car. He asked why we didn't drive and was told we did not have a car. His reply was "I have three limousines in my garage and they are always full of gas. Take one of them. He then showed us where he kept the keys and told us to help ourselves whenever we needed an automobile. His only request was that we leave a notice of some kind so he would know where the limousine was. This was a standing offer for any hour of the day or night. We greatly appreciated this offer and tried to be very careful that we did not abuse this privilege.
This is but one example of the way the city of Detroit accepted the Chorus and the notoriety of the Chorus in that city.
One day a Methodist minister from the north west section of Detroit called the house and said that in the young peoples class of his church they had been discussing the Book of Mormon and had talked themselves into a corner and did not know how to get out. He wanted to know if some of the Chorus members could come to the church and help get things clarified.
A quartet was assigned to go to the Church to give them some assistance. We had planned that each of us would give a two-minute discourse on the Book of Mormon. When we arrived at the church we discovered they actually had copies of the Book of Mormon. When we had finished our discourses we opened the discussion to questions. This group was well acquainted with the Book of Mormon as their questions established. We had a very active discussion.
During my assignment to the Chorus we went on two extended tours of the mission. Again the Lord prepared the way for us to preach the gospel. At the time we started on the second of the two tours the government had stopped the bus companies from leasing the buses. However when we were ready to go from one city to another we would give the Greyhound Bus Company two days notice and they would schedule a special bus on the regular routing to accommodate us. At one city we were preparing to leave and a third section was scheduled just for us. The first two sections had already left and we were loading so we could leave. A woman came to the bus and started getting on. The driver stopped her and said that was a closed bus. Meaning that only members of our Chorus were allowed on the bus. We told him we had no objection to her being on the bus if she would comply with our rules and regulations. We then explained who we were and that we did not smoke, drink or participate in any improper conduct. She agreed to this after being told by the bus driver that the first time she violated our code of conduct she would be put off the bus and would have to wait for another bus.
Just before we started this second tour we were advised by President Muir that when we returned the Chorus would be disbanded. This was advisable because several of the Chorus members were scheduled for release from their missions and also the United States was at war with both Japan and Germany. Since other young men were being called into the military service, President Muir decided it would be advisable not to display such a large concentration of young and apparently healthy men at one place.
Before leaving Detroit we decided to give a concert as our farewell to Detroit. We contracted for the concert to be at the Detroit Institute of Arts. This was the most exclusive hall in the city. We sponsored ticket sales for what we thought was just enough to cover the cost of the concert. We invited President Muir to be our intermission speaker. We told him he should talk for about 10 minutes. When President Muir was asked to talk for 10 minutes he was more likely to talk for 8 minutes, but under not circumstances would he talk more than 10 minutes. He was a very effective and interesting speaker. I have heard him talk for 1½ hours and hold the audience's attention.
Anyway, at the Detroit Institute of Arts he again told the people of our calling as missionaries, that we were called for two years and were paying our own way. As a result of his talk the management refunded to us $600.00 of the rental price.
When the tour ended we returned to Detroit and again President Muir met with us to officially disband the Chorus and send us to other areas of the mission. The sisters of the south and west branches prepared a very delicious banquet for us. Within an hour after the banquet the Chorus members had left Detroit for other assignments.
Before we started this final tour, however, the Detroit Free Press, the largest newspaper in the state of Michigan, sent one of their photographers and a reporter to spend a day with us. Their assignment was to give an account, by picture and word, of a typical day in the activities of the Chorus. As a result of this we were given a two-page spread in on one of their Sunday editions. I still have my copy of this edition.
One or two incidents of a personal nature would probably not be amiss at this time.
The Chorus members took turns as cooks and housekeepers. There were enough of us that we each paid about $2.50 per week into a fund and one of the Chorus members was appointed as purchasing agent. He arranged with one of the wholesale houses for us to buy our groceries in bulk at wholesale prices. It was quite an experience to sit 35 elders down to the dinner table at one time.
Especially at Breakfast, we had three methods of passing the food: regular deliver, special deliver, and airmail. Regular delivery meant that each person had a chance at the food as it was passed to the person who asked for it. Special delivery meant that every 5th person had such accessibility. Airmail meant just that. It was passed by throwing it through the air. We were so adept at sending it to the right person that a football coach would have been envious.
One day President Muir had breakfast with us. One of the Elders, without thinking said, "Air mail the toasties." Another Elder without hesitation complied. As the Post Toasties were air borne we all remembered who was there. All of us, including President Muir, watched the Elder interrupt the pass and without further comment take what he had asked for. President Muir was an expert at putting people at their ease in difficult situations. This ability did not dessert him then. As the Elder was setting the prepared cereal down President Muir relieved the tension by saying, "Air mail them back." The Elder complied, President Muir caught them, we all laughed and the breakfast continued.
On one of my days in the kitchen we had decided to slice bananas with the breakfast cereal. It was a hot day and I was slicing the bananas with a knife. The thought occurred to me that there was a faster way to slice the bananas. I therefore fed a banana into the electric fan. When we moved out of the house several months later some of the banana stains were still on the kitchen ceiling.
One Christmas I received two large boxes from home. I was certain there was food in them, but since there were "Do not open" stickers all over them the other elders would not let me open the boxes. When they did let me open them on Christmas it was discovered there was a complete chicken dinner for the entire group, but all we could salvage was a chicken sandwich for me.
When the Chorus was disbanded and the elders were dispersed to other areas, a quartet was sent to Indianapolis, Indiana. The members of this quartet were Elder Lloyd Dahl of Syracuse, Utah, Elder David M. Varlow of Santa Monica, California, Elder Lar Mar Eskelson of Salt Lake City, Utah and myself. Elder Tyler Woolley of Salt Lake City, Utah was our business manager.
We were in Indianapolis for about 5 months. In this time we travelled nearly all of the state of Indiana. Our travels took us to Terra Haute, Vincennes, and Laffayette. In addition to this travel we had a weekly radio broadcast over station WIRE in Indianapolis. On two different occasions we finished our program in Vincennes in Southern Indiana at about midnight on Friday night. We then had to travel to Indianapolis and be ready to go on the air at 10:00 A.M. This meant we would drive all night, arrive in Indianapolis at about 6: 00 A.M., sleep for about 2 hours, and then go to the radio studio for our broadcast. Many times we would leave Indianapolis immediately after our broadcast for other areas of Indiana for conferences or scheduled concerts.
We were extremely busy, but happy. As an example of the opportunities offered us the following will give you an insight.
We had been invited to the first Baptist Church in Indianapolis to present part of the program at the men's class. This would correspond to what is known as Priesthood Meeting in the L.D.S. Church. I hesitate to use the word chapel as it looked more like a cathedral.
After we had presented our program the pastor stood and looked at the elders of the church. I would not say these people were wealthy, but they were among the more influential people of the city. Anyway the minister told the elders of the Baptist Church that for 3 years he had been trying to get a vacation and had always been told they were unable to get a replacement for him. Then turning to our quartet he said, "Here are four ministers of the gospel that can take my place for two or three weeks. How about my going on vacation now?" One of the elders asked us if we were willing. I was spokesman for the day and replied we would be happy to do so, but I thought we should be open about the condition we would impose. I told them we were elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly called Mormon, and would preach the doctrines of our church. They accepted this, and then asked what we would want as wages and to what use we would assign the collection. We replied that we did not have a paid ministry in our church and therefore would not accept pay for our services. We also said that we did not pass the collection plate during our church meetings and would prefer that while we were conducting the services there be no collection during the church meeting. Any donations they received would be for them to use any way they saw fit.
I am not writing all the experiences I had while on my mission, but have written a representative account of the kinds of experiences that were mine. As you can see, my mission was not the traditional tracting but was more selective. In later years the missionary work of the Church was to become more selective and therefore more productive.
As always happens with any mission experience it must eventually end. Our quartet was disbanded and we were sent to various other locations in the mission. I was assigned to Farmer City, Illinois. This was to be the nearest I would get to the traditional mission of door-to-door tracting. However even here this was modified. My companion at this time was Elder Peter Lauritzen of Union, Utah. Union is a suburb of Salt Lake City. Unless you are real knowledgeable about Salt Lake City you could travel through Union and not know it.
Elder Lauritzen was a man about 70 years old and was on his third mission. He was the Branch President in Farmer City, and had been there without a companion for several months. His wife had passed away and he told the bishop that he would like to go on another mission. He was a good man, but because of his age was quite set in his ways and it required a great deal of patience to work with him.
I arrived in Farmer City, Illinois by bus about noon. I had the address of 519 No Main, but was not acquainted with anyone in town. As I left the bus I saw a teen age, red headed girl walking down the street. The thought came to me that I should follow her and she would take me where I wanted to go. I stayed far enough behind her that I hoped I was not causing her too much concern, but close enough to be able to follow her.
Eventually she turned toward a well-kept white house. I went right on past, but before I came to the next house the spirit prompted me that I had gone too far. I was to go to the same house the girl entered. I turned around and started toward the house. Immediately a group of people erupted from the house with Elder Lauritzen in the lead. The girl I had been following was the last to come out. Elder Lauritzen met me half way down the walk and asked, "Are you elder Archibald?" I told him I was and everyone relaxed.
I should explain here that Elder Lauritzen had done a profound work with the branch members in Farmer City. I had been there almost three months before I knew that the members of the branch, with the exception of the Beery Family, were members of one family. They were so divided that they would not speak to each other. Grandpa Turpin, his wife and the daughter at home would come to church and sit in one part of the chapel. His son Fred and family came and sat in another part of the chapel. His other son Elmer and family, Grandpa Turpin's daughter who was married to Jerry Lamb, and her family did not come to church at all.
At that time we met in the odd fellows hall which was upstairs from the bank. Elder Lauritzen and I would get there early on Sunday morning to clean the hall after the Saturday night beer party, and also to light the fire to heat the hall for Sunday School. The first time Elder Lauritzen took me to this place it was very distasteful to me. My opinion of this building did not improve.
That first Sunday Elder Lauritzen was very excited because we had 5 people to Sunday School. He said that already I was a good influence as the prior attendance was very seldom more than 3. I asked him why we didn't meet in a home then, as I thought the home influence would be better than the hall we were meeting in.
Eventually Elder Lauritzen came up with the idea that I had been trying to plant and that was that we should buy a building of our own. We suggested this to President Muir and he told us to select two or three buildings in town as possible chapels and then he would come to Farmer City and help us make the final choice. We started the selection process. Elder Lauritzen and I each selected a large home in town that we thought was suitable and then invited President Muir to evaluate both buildings. He came and looked at both and made his selection. He then instructed us to by-pass his office and go directly to the First Presidency with our proposal.
The First Presidency agreed our need was legitimate and instructed us to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the inside and outside of the home. We were also to hire an architect to draw floor plans of the house. We did not have either within a reasonable distance of Farmer City so I took pictures of the house with my $10.00 camera and then spent many hours each day measuring the inside and outside of the house. I then drew the floor plans as best I could and submitted them to the First Presidency with the explanation as to why they were not prepared by a professional.
We did not receive any comment about the pictures and plans submitted, but we were authorized to begin negotiations for the purchase of the property.
We soon agreed on a price of $3500.00 and started preparing the papers. We were dealing with the local banker as we were buying the property from an estate. Each time we submitted the papers to Salt Lake City offices of the Church they would be returned for technical corrections. Each correction required that the papers be sent to various areas of the United States for signatures. The banker asked me one day if we really intended to buy the property and what kind of a payment plan we expected. I told him we intended to buy the property and that we would complete the purchase when the Church lawyers were convinced that the papers were in legal order to give the Church undisputed ownership. When this occurred we would not want a payment plan as the Church paid cash for all purchases. He then promised to send the papers out again for one more go around if they were returned for another correction the negotiations were cancelled and he would seek another buyer.
Shortly thereafter I received a telegram from the First Presidency authorizing purchase of the property. Instructions were also included to present the telegram to the bank as money was properly deposited to pay the entire purchase price. When I showed the banker the telegram he immediately prepared the receipt and final deed according to instructions of the Church and transferred ownership from the estate to our Church.
We were loaned some chairs by the funeral home until we could purchase some of our own. Thus it was that we now had a respectable place to meet. The branch members responded accordingly.
The first Sunday we met in the new location we had 42 of the 35 members at church. Cash contribution also increased and we very soon had enough money to purchase chairs, drapes and other things needed for our chapel.
Farmer City was a small community of about 1800 people. Everyone in town knew everyone else. However at that first meeting two ladies entered just as the service started. I made a mental note to find out after meeting who they were. After the service closed I started their way to get acquainted, but they had disappeared. None of the branch members knew anything about them. I have not seen them again nor did I ever find out who they were. They seemed to approve of what they observed while at our chapel.
As we started purchasing supplies for the chapel we found it necessary to go to Champagne-Urbana to order our chairs.
When we went to Montgomery ward to place the order for chairs I told Elder Lauritzen that we would be separated. They were not going to let me go in with him to place the order. I also suggested that he pay 10% of the purchase price as a down payment with the agreement that we pay the balance when the chairs were delivered. True to my statement Elder Lauritzen and I were divided and when he signed the order the salesman convinced him he should pay 100% at the time the order was placed.
It soon became apparent to Elder Lauritzen why I had suggested only 10% down. We had been promised delivery in 10 days. Three weeks later we still had not received the chairs. We inquired again about them and the salesman expressed surprise that we had not received the chairs as the factory said they had been shipped as soon as ordered. Both Elder Lauritzen and I became convinced that the store had received the chairs and sold them to someone else. After all they had our money and thought there was nothing we could do about it.
I was talking to the night operator at the railroad tower in Farmer City one night and he told me to give him the numbers of the car in which the chairs were shipped. He said that within 20 minutes he could give me the exact location, within 100 yards, of where the chairs were. I have since been employed by a railroad and had the experience of tracing these cars. So I know he was serious in what he said.
The next time I went to the store I told them I wanted the car number in which the chairs were shipped. They seemed to be surprised, but said they would get the car number for me and send it to me. I had the impression they were trying to put me off again, so I told them I had connections with the railroad. Failure to provide me with the information I requested, when I came to the store at 9 A.M. the next morning would result in a full refund or a visit by the sheriff at 9:30 A.M. I do not know which of my threats they took seriously, but at 7 A.M. the next morning, before I left the house in Farmer City, the chairs were delivered.
We now had our own chapel and could more fully administer the programs of the church. Our attendance at all meetings remained at a high percentage. The increased activity made the expenditure of the purchase money worthwhile. We could also have a more effective Sunday School. Our 2 1/2 minutes talks prior to this time had been stories from magazines, not always church magazines. The one exception to this was the non-member wife of one of the members. She used as her text "The blind shall lead the blind and they shall both fall into the ditch." That day our sacrament meeting was devoted to CBS Church of the Air. Elder David O. McKay, of the quorum of the twelve apostles was the speaker. He had chosen the same text and continued from where Sister Lamb had left off. The smile on her face was a pleasure to see.
In our new chapel I taught the youth class in Sunday School. I did not use the prescribed outline, but made my own lesson outline. I started with faith. 2 weeks later I assigned one of the class members to give the 2-1/2 minute talk in Sunday School. He talked on faith for 5 minutes at which time I told him he could finish his discourse in sacrament Meeting that afternoon. When he returned to Sacrament Meeting he held forth for another 20 minutes and never left the subject of faith.
That fall we started an M.I.A. program. It was decided that we would organize both the young women and the young men. We did not appoint class leaders because our intent was to have M.I.A. as an activity. This was the most rewarding decision we could have made.
In the M.I.A. the age barrier disappeared. Young people, parents and grand parents joined in the games with pleasure. Because of this I saw Sister Lamb again visit her father in his home.
A week after my release from my mission and while I was making my first return appearance at my home ward in Dayton, Idaho, the chapel in Farmer City was being dedicated. I had not performed a baptism or confirmation, but this did not bother me as I was of the opinion I had done the work I was called on my mission to do and had been given an honorable release. I was now ready to enter my next assignment. The date was January 28, 1943.
My return home from my mission caused some reflection on my part. Most of the missionaries as they returned were sent immediately into military service. I anticipated this, but while waiting I decided to go to Ogden, Utah and obtain work. Since the war was in full activity employment was not difficult to find. I allowed myself two weeks to make my reports and prepare to go to Ogden for employment. During those two weeks I was married to Alene Hansen of Hyde Park, Utah. She and I were dating before I left on my mission and because of the war we did what many couples were doing. We were therefore married in the Logan Temple on February 12, 1943. That night we returned to Dayton, Idaho for my welcome home. At this program Bishop Schwartz announced my marriage.
I went immediately to Ogden where I was employed at Hill Air Force Base. My duties were varied and included labor assignments as well as going off base with the moving crew. As a member of the moving crew I helped pack and prepare for shipment the personal belongings of military personnel who were being transferred.
One day we were moving medical supplies from a warehouse onto a low semi truck. As I put one bundle of supplies on the truck I unexpectedly passed out. When I returned to consciousness again I as told to remain very still as an ambulance had been called. I was first taken to the base hospital and then to the Dee Hospital on Harrison Blvd in Ogden. As I left home that morning for work I told Alene that I might go to Omaha and start working for the railroad. If I did not come home that night I was on my way to Omaha. This was a facetious remark, but when I did not return home she accepted the remark as serious.
When I arrived at Dee Hospital it was determined that I had a fractured skull. I had also sustained a complete loss of hearing. It took several days to get the message home to tell them where I was. The nurses were not getting the message to my home and another patient had his wife take the message to my home.
My hearing eventually returned, but the doctor was still quite concerned about my fractured skull. He would not approve my returning to any work for about 6 weeks. He then approved very limited duty.
About June 1, 1943 my father was leaving for San Francisco California to work in the ship yards. He did this each summer when school was not in session. I went with him. We were hired as inside stage rigors at the Marin ship Yards. We worked from midnight to 8 A.M. Since Dad and I were there alone we did not have any social life. The only diversion from work was Sunday School each Sunday and the musicals presented in Gold Gate Park each Sunday afternoon.
Each night we would board the ferry either at the ferry house or at what is now Fisherman's Wharf. The ferry went from San Francisco past Alcatraz Island and docked at each ship yard along the shores of the north bay. The ferry made the round trip once each shift.
The latter part of August 1943 Dad gave notice he was quitting to return to school in Idaho. This would have left me alone in San Francisco which I was not looking forward to with pleasure.
While I was employed in Ogden I had received a notice to appear at an Ogden clinic for a physical. This physical was at the request of my draft board in Preston, Idaho. As a result of this physical I had been given a 4F classification. This meant that in the estimation of my draft board I was not physically qualified for military service. Imagine my surprise to receive a notice to report for induction into military service.
I resigned my employment and returned home to report for induction. From curiosity I asked the local draft board why I had been called for induction and was told the state board at Boise had not accepted my 4F classification. The local board decided to have me report for induction and let the military service turn me down. The up state board could not object to the finding of the military medical board. My physical resulted in some questions as to my physical fitness, but it was decided to accept me and I was given my choice of which military service I wanted. I chose Navy.
Between the two physicals I had fractured my skull and lost my hearing. This was what gave the doctors any question as to whether I should be accepted for military service. Thus on September 21, 1943 I began military service with the U.S. Navy.
I was assigned to take my boot training at Camp Farragut in the Idaho panhandle. My boot training lasted for 8 weeks and was designed to test our powers of physical strength.
Perhaps if I describe one night’s activity you will get some idea of what was expected of us. Our barracks had been assigned as fire company one night. Each man in the barracks had been given an assignment. My particular assignment was on the hand cart crew. We were to run across the grinder (drill field) and get the hand cart to the scene of the fire to give first assistance until the fire truck got there.
We had just gone to bed when the alarm came. We got up, hurriedly dressed, and made up our bunks. After running across the grinder we met the guard who had not been advised we were the fire company. By the time the call was received by the petty officer of the guard and we had the hand cart at the scene of the fire we were too late. We received a good chewing out for being late.
We returned the hand cart to the fire shed, and went back to the barracks and prepared for bed.
No sooner had we gone to bed than we received another fire alert. You can read the preceding paragraph as the results were the same. This continued until 0300 hours (3 A.M.) at which time the chief said, "It is too late to go to bed now so we will go out on the obstacle course until time for breakfast at 0600 hours.
In spite of what we considered harsh, cruel, and unusual punishment we completed boot camp alive, I even gained 20 pounds in weight, and were given our boot leave in time for Thanksgiving.
Following boot leave we returned to Farragut for reassignment. I waited about a week for my assignment and went to San Diego, California to be trained as a hospital corpsman.
While I was still in boot camp the recruit petty officer came into the barracks one night and asked me if there were any Mormons in our barracks. I told him yes and we assembled in the chief’s office for muster. When Sunday came we were all assembled in front of the barracks, mustered, and I was given command of the group to march them to church services at a neighboring camp.
As we were marching through no-mans land between the two camps we passed a commissioned officer. As the petty officer in charge I gave him as snappy a salute as I knew how and he returned the salute. As we continued to pass, the officer gave the command to halt. I did not know what I had done, and thought mine would be the shortest naval career on record. The officer came up to me and Iet me wonder for a minute what I had done. As it turned out he had just received his commission and mine was his first salute. He handed me the traditional dollar for the first salute, gave the command to carry on and walked away. We then continued our journey to church.
While I was enroute to San Diego, California to attend Corps School I became ill. I was ill for 2 or 3 days before I called for sick bay. By the time I did call sick bay, paralysis had set in. It was determined that what I thought was travel sickness was actually Cerebral Spinal Meningitis. Had I turned in as soon as I became sick I would have been in a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. As it was the doctor wired ahead and had an ambulance meet the train at San Diego, California. I was taken directly to the quarantine ward. The nurse told me later she did not expect me to live and even refused to make a bed for me.
I went into a coma as soon as I got to the hospital, and was unconscious for several days, I do not know how many. My condition was such that I could not remember who I was. I knew I had a family, but did not know who they were, nor where they were. Somehow the nurse found out who they were and sent a telegram home.
When the telegram arrived at my parent's home they asked the family doctor, Allen Cutler, to explain it to them. He told them that usually a patient who was that ill did not recover. However he did give me one chance in a million to come through the illness alive. If that one chance should occur I had no chance at all to avoid being a cripple all my life. The best he could offer me was a wheel chair, and probably in bed all my life.
My parents had my name entered on the prayer list in the Logan temple. Also in Dayton, Idaho a couple was visiting at that time who had a daughter and her husband who lived in San Diego. They were asked to keep track of my progress and sent word to my parents.
Eventually I returned to consciousness and was on my way to recovery. After being in the hospital for about 30 days I was sent home for 30 days and returned to duty. I was eventually to go to the Pacific for the remainder of the war.
I entered the U.S. Naval hospital in San Diego sometime during the month of December 1943. I was returned to duty early in February 1944 and was destined to be sent over seas in January 1945.
My assignment to Hospital Corps School was a crash course. I do not remember exactly how long the course lasted, but think it was about 8 weeks. In this time we had to learn enough to be able to take care of a hospital ward with a minimum of supervision. We were taught how to take blood pressure, draw blood samples, give intravenous injections, also sub cutaneous injections, and how to diagnose some of the more common illnesses. It was explained that we could possible go directly from Corps School to the fleet Marines and thus directly into battle where we could be the only medical authority present. We were drilled and lectured on the best methods to accomplish these goals.
When we completed the school the top ten were to be given the rank of Pharmacist mate third class (Ph m3/4). The next ten were given the rank of hospital apprentice first class (HA 1/c) and the rest were changed from seaman second class to (HA 2/c). I was high enough in the class that I came out of school HA 1/c and was given my choice of duty stations. I chose to remain in San Diego and was given an assignment at the Balboa side of the naval hospital. My duty station was building 20, deck 1.
I did not remain at Balboa Park longer than about 3 months. During this time I was given the responsibility of the medication cart. On our ward we had about 200 patients. Some were military men that had been injured in World Ward II and others were World War I Veterans. A few of the cases were so critical it was generally understood by the hospital personnel that they were brought there to die. I remember two such cases. I do not remember the names of the patients but will relate the circumstances. One patient was about 300 lbs and not at all solid. We brought him to the hospital and put him in bed. By the time we had moved into the aisle at the foot of the bed he had settled to the side and rolled out of bed. It finally became necessary to put two corpsmen one at each side of the bed to keep him in bed until the carpenters came and put side board on the bed so he would not fall out. You can imagine what a job it was to bath him, and put him on a bed pan, as I remember he only lived about 10 days or two weeks. He seemed to have lost all interest in living and did not make any effort to live.
Another patient was a double amputee, both legs were amputated. When he came to the hospital the doctor took one look at his legs and was quite angry about the way the amputation was done. The leg bones were extended beyond the leg flesh, by about 3 inches. The doctor never was able to explain why they were left this way. He was in such terrific pain that the navy did not have any drugs that would kill the pain. They sent his wife out to buy the needed drugs on the black market. When he died I really felt sorry for his wife and children. It was very evident they were devoted to him. However, they were also able to understand that death was a blessing to him.
There were other situations similar to these, but the ones given here show the kind of cases I worked with.
The day came however, that I was transferred to the naval repair base. This base was also in San Diego. When I arrived there I signed in, but since it was Friday they did not assign me to a duty station immediately. I therefore had liberty for the weekend.
When I returned on Monday morning I was given duties of polishing floors and general janitorial for a few days. I was then assigned to the brig sick bay. The schedule in the brig sick bay would start at 0800 hours and I would be on duty for 24 hours. Then another man would be on duty for 24 hours. I would go to the main dispensary and work with one of the doctors for a few hours and then go ashore. Our shore leave was not scheduled to start until 1500 hours. But if we did not have any examinations scheduled we would close the office and go ashore early in the day, quite often we went ashore in time for lunch.
The only restriction on going ashore was that navy personnel could not go ashore between 1500 and 1600 hours. The reason for this was to give civilian personnel priority to the buses during that hour. However if we did not get ashore before this there were ways to circumvent the regulation. The doctor would dispatch an ambulance down town and he and I would go along as medical personnel. Even the buses gave way for us.
While in the brig sick bay there were some incidents that were humorous and some that were not. In the sick bay we had 6 beds. One of the inmates came to us with a solid scab the entire length of one leg. We kept him in a sick bay bed to treat the sore. One day the marine Captain, who was the brig warden, came to the sick bay and ordered me to release the prisoner and have him ready for work detail in 15 minutes. I looked at the Captains bars and asked him where his oak leaf cluster was. He wanted to know "What ?!XX" Oak leaf Cluster." MY reply was "you are impersonating a medial officer and you had better have his rank. This patient was admitted to the sick bay by a medical officer and I cannot release him except by order of a medical officer." What I was thinking, but did not say, was that in that sick bay I outranked him because I was the senior medical officer on duty. He got the message and left. However, even though he could not get a reprimand against me, he did deny me a key to the various gates between the front door and the sick bay. To get to or from the sick bay I had to wait for a guard to let me in or out.
I was to take action later that irritated the captain even more. One of the prisoners had been on a bread and water diet for almost 30 days. This also meant that he was in solitary confinement. His cell was in complete darkness and on this particular day he was brought from his cell for a consultation with his lawyer. He was told to come as you are, which he did. When they got him to the bull pen the guard there decided he should be wearing a jumper. So he was returned to his cell to put on a jumper. One the way back to the bull pen the corporal became irritated about something and told the prisoner to duck walk around the brig. Evidently, the prisoner was not getting down as fast as the corporal wanted and after using a few oaths he knocked the prisoner down with three blows across the kidneys with his club.
I brought the prisoner to sick bay and called for a doctor. I also submitted a report to the sergeant of the guard. At the next muster of the guard the corporal, who was scheduled to be advanced to sergeant, was reduced to the rank of private, and transferred from the brig. I later heard he was given a dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps, but I cannot be sure of this. Since the Corporal was a favorite of the captain this did not endear me to the Captain, but he could not do anything to me because all of the regulations were in my favor and gave me the responsibility and authority to do what I did.
On the more humorous side, I was called to the bottle locker by the guard one night. The bottle locker is where the prisoners shaving lotion and other items that contain alcohol were kept. Anyway, the guard had found one of the prisoners in a stupor and called me. If was evident he had been drinking shaving lotion because even I could smell it. We brought him to sick bay and prepared to transfer him to the hospital. I then told the guard we had to find the other prisoner who was involved. We found him in about 5 minutes. Although he denied it we were certain we had the right person. I told the prisoner that when he found the man we wanted he should get him to sick bay at once as we had sent his buddy to the hospital. The prisoner almost got to sick bay ahead of us. I poured out a water glass full of mineral oil and told the guard to have the prisoner drink it. The prisoner needed no urging. Later that night I told the sergeant of the guard what I had done and suggested he keep the prisoner off all work details for a few days.
Another time the Marine guards were lining up for shore leave inspection. At that time I found what I diagnosed as measles on one of the prisoners. I called the doctor and he said the same thing. It was then my sad duty to advice the marines guards they were restricted to the barracks until further notice. The doctor and I then decided to discontinue the patients sulfa pills (see manuscript P.107) By Morning the rash was cleared and I lifted the quarantine. What the marine guards were not aware of is that if the quarantine had been sustained I was quarantined along with them.
While I was working in the brig I could get the prisoner barber to cut my hair for a candy bar, and my washing for a carton of cigarettes.
I remained at the San Diego repair base until December 1944 at which time I was transferred to San Bruno, California. While in San Diego I had been promoted to Pharmacist Third Class (Ph m 3/c). This was the beginning of the petty officer ranks and was the equivalent of Sergeant in the army. It was this rank I held when I was transferred.
The story of how I achieved this rank is rather interesting. I had taken the written test and although I was not sure how I would rate among the 30 or so who took the test with me I was not particularly worried. As I walked to the brig with the doctor he asked me how the test went. I told him I was not worried about the test, but I was not sure about how Lt. Bond, the personnel officer, would rate me. The doctor replied that if he were me he would not worry about Lt. Bond. When the rates were posted I was number 4 among 10 who were to be promoted to Ph m 3/c. I later found out that the doctor a Lt. Commander, went to the medical captain and asked for another 3rd mate in the brig. The captain handed him a list of those already holding that rank and told him to take his pick. The doctor replied that one of the candidates for 3rd mate was already assigned to the brig sick bay and was acquainted with the brig routine. Thus it was that I received my Ph m 3/c rating. Whether the captain issued instructions for me to receive my rating, I do not know, but it did no harm for him to verify my practical requirements. I had been in the navy 11 months.
However, I was talking about my transfer to San Bruno, Calif. We all knew this was the port of departure for overseas duty.
The doctor had just acquired a full surgical kit for the brig sick bay. This included scalpels, sutures, and all. It was a beautiful set. When he brought it to the brig he said, "If I am ever transferred this goes with me." I asked him if I had the same privilege. He replied, "The first one of us to be transferred takes this kit." He brought me my transfer order the next day and reminded me of the promise made.
When the orders were received it was apparent that the group being transferred were going to be at the repair base for at least 10 days. Also all members of the group were within 24 hours from home. Therefore one of the chief petty officers and I went to captain Morrison's office to see about our chances of going home. Captain Morrison was not the medical captain, but was the line officer such as would be in command of an entire ship.
When we made our suggestion to the yeoman, (clerk), we were told it was not possible. I again suggested we be given delayed orders allowing us to go home and report at San Bruno at a specific time on a specific day. I also reminded the captain that he had to feed us, furnish medical facilities, barracks, etc, but he could not legally assign us to any work details. He admitted I was right and instructed the yeoman to prepare our delayed orders immediately as he wanted us off the base before lunch. This was my last visit home prior to going to the South Pacific Islands for the duration of the war. I did not know at that time whether I would ever see home again in this life. As future events occurred it became apparent that my work on earth had not yet ended.
Thus it was that in December of 1944 I reported to San Bruno, California for overseas assignment. As soon as we signed in at San Bruno we were organized into a training company. Our schedule included long hikes under full pack, bayonet training and related training for front line duty. This training continued for about 3 weeks. One day as we were on the bayonet range an officer drew up in a jeep and asked me what group I was with. I told him who I was, my rank and that it was my understanding we were assigned to base hospital 20 on Peleliu in the western Carolina Islands. I will not report some of the language I heard then, but he did say that we were not to have started training at all. We had been scheduled to depart for the South Pacific as soon as we arrived at San Bruno.
This is another instance where I think the Lord had intervened to accomplish his own purposes. During the time we were training I received a telegram that my first son was born in Logan, Utah. Leroy Edwin Archibald as born Jan 1, 1945, and was the new years baby. When that word was received the officers, at San Bruno discovered the scheduling error and we were scheduled for immediate transfer.
While we were preparing to depart for the Islands our orders were changed at least twice. By this I mean the mode of travel. They had us all lined up to be put aboard a troop transport and while we were there the word was passed that we were going aboard the big "E". This ship was the aircraft carrier Enterprise and was the largest and fastest in the U.S. fleet. Before we departed however we were held over one more day and flew to the islands.
I left Alameda, California on the first plane. This plane was equipped for the use of high-ranking officers, and had cushion seats very much like the modern airliners. We had a general with us as far as Hawaii. We were in the air 13 hours between Alameda, and Rogers Field in Hawaii. It took 10 flights for our entire group to get to Hawaii.
I asked one of the petty officers if it would be possible to get to Honolulu. He said, "Yes, but if your draft is called I won't have time to call you back from downtown to go with your group." As a result I did not get to down town. I did see some of the native villages near the base however. Immediately adjacent to the base was a sugar cane field, and I did see the Puffer Billies (little steam engines) which pulled the cars of cane to the factory.
After being in Hawaii for about a week, and attending the movie each night, we had just settled in to watch the Friday night movie when the call came over the intercom, "Draft 25, please report to the M.A. shack immediately with full gear." We were leaving Hawaii for points west.
However as it turned out we just as well have seen the movie. They took us to the terminal and put us aboard the plane. We started to taxi almost immediately. While we were waiting at the end of the runway for clearance to take off it was discovered that the chief who was in charge of our draft had left our records at the terminal. We were instructed to stay where we were and the records would be brought to us. Our pilot however decided to return to the terminal and get them. During the return trip he hit another plane doing some damage to our plane. We then waited at the terminal almost 7 hours for them to prepare another plane for us. We left Hawaii about 0300 hours (3 A.M.) and flew to the Johnson Islands where breakfast was served. I did not eat breakfast as we had a rough flight into the Johnsons, and for the only time in almost 6ooo miles of flying I was airsick.
After breakfast we again resumed our flight that was taking us to the Western Carolina Islands and Peleliu in particular. The flight itself was uneventful until we arrived at Kwajalein about noon and as we began our landing approach one of the men on the opposite side of the plane from me ask what the island looked like. I informed him that there wasn't any island visible to me. He said he couldn't see land either. It gave us a bit of a start. However when we did land the pilot touched down on one side of the island by actually landing in the water and spraying water. We could feel the brakes being applied immediately and he had to make a 90 degree turn on the other side of the island to keep from going out to sea again.
We spent several hours on this island getting the necessary repairs and were airborne just before the evening meal.
During the next part of the flight we flew over Eniwetok Island which was a very sensitive base for the U.S. Navy. The pilot must have forgotten to properly identify himself because all at once we could see puffs of black smoke all around the plane and also heard the explosion from the shells that were being fired at us. The pilot must have repented because the firing stopped as suddenly as it began.
We then flew to Peleliu and then I knew why we had to fly. Thee was a prominent coral reef all around the island. It was impossible to get to the island by boat as the reef was 2 or 3 miles off shore and not even the small craft could get over it. If the airstrip had been bombed so that it was not usable there would have been no transportation neither onto nor from the island.
Peleliu was a small island about 5 miles long and 2 miles wide at the widest part. There was a low ridge down the middle that had some shrubbery on it. Just a few miles away was a large island we called Babelthorpe where scuttlebut said there were about 3500 Japanese. We had them surrounded so their people could not get supplies to them and they were starving I assume. Anyway during low tide they would walk down the reef from their island to ours in search of food. It was rather common for us to go to the movie at night, sit down front for a few minutes and then take a wide swing to each side of the outside theater to a place where we could re-enter the theater from the rear. There were very few times when we did not drive at least one or two Japanese into the theater ahead of us. It was almost as though they wanted to be captured.
I was on Peleliu for about 3 months. During this time I was assigned to the airstrip hospital. The battle to liberate the Philippines was being fought and the wounded would be brought to us for the night. We would take care of them during the night and put them on the plane again the next morning. They were then flown to Biak, somewhere near Australia for more permanent hospitalization.
When the Battle of the Philippines was won our airstrip hospital was closed and I was flown to Guam for reassignment,
The night we arrived on Guam a chief petty officer and I started doing some investigating. We found out we were scheduled for an invasion, but were not successful in finding out which one. We went to bed that night fully expecting to go aboard a troop ship the next morning and start our travel to the invasion.
When morning came I was assigned to the base hospital number 18 on Guam. I was to stay at this base for the rest of the war. I did find out later that I had been scheduled to go ashore on Iwo Jima with the first wave. During the night my orders were changed. It was my understanding that all those that started ashore at Iwo Jima with the first wave were killed. This was one of several times my life was spared. During the remaining months of the war I was scheduled for at least one more invasion, Okinawa, but again my orders were changed. I did not think about it at that time, but have since wondered what work I have to do that my life should be preserved.
During my stay on Guam I was at base 18. I started as night attendant on a surgical ward. My shift would start at 2100 hours (9 P.M.) and continue until 0700 (7A.M.). I had charge of about 50 patients. It was my responsibility to give them medications and all care needed during the night. If I met a situation I could not handle personally I would call the medical officer on duty. I did have to call the medical officer one night. As I made my rounds in the early morning hours, one man, who was in a cast from his feet to his armpits said his bed was wet. When I checked I found that one of his shrapnel wounds under the cast had opened and he was lying in a pool of blood. I pressed two of the ambulatory patients into service and went to get the medical officer. When I went off duty 4 or 5 hours later they were still giving whole blood and trying to stop the bleeding.
One night I instructed the ambulatory patients to take charge of the patients who were confined to bed. This was in case of an enemy air raid. I had organized it so that each two ambulatory patients had charge of one bed patient. In case of air raid they were to take the patients to the side hill close to the hospital ward and stay there till I came to get them.
One night the red alert sounded and this without the usual warning. Just as the lights went out an explosion was heard in one corner of the hospital compound. All patients in the ward were battle seasoned and went into immediate action. Before I could stop them some of the patients had reached the side hill. I was successful in getting all my patients back at once. Some of the wards did not find theirs for two weeks.
The next day we found that the Seabees had set off a 500 lb charge of dynamite just as the alert sounded. This was not planned, but it was a good training opportunity.
Guam is an island about 40 miles long and 15 miles wide. Most of the bases, hospital, etc. were inland from the coast. Near the beach and going around the island was the Marine drive. This was the main highway on Guam. There were feeder roads that joined the Marine drive at intervals that went to the various bases.
There was one range of low Mountains that went down the middle of the island and then rolling foothills that continued almost to the coast. In my home state of Idaho I have seen farms on foothills that were higher and steeper than the ones on Guam.
In these foothills were Japanese soldiers that were still there from before the time the Americans had returned to the island. These soldiers would turn themselves in to American military personnel occasionally. Especially was this true after the Japanese had offered to surrender on August 15. 1945.
One day a patient on the psycho ward had been given permission to go for a walk by himself if he did not leave the compound. While on his walk a Japanese soldier surrendered to him. The patient had no weapon so he picked up a small stick about 6 to 9 inches long and not knowing what to do with him he marched him through the middle of the psycho ward to the nurses station. Needless to say things were quite lively on that ward for a little while.
After the surrender the Americans sent Japanese prisoners into the island interior to let the Japanese still on the island know the war was over. They did bring many of them in, but there were a few who either did not get the word or chose not to surrender. About 3 months after the surrender 21 Japanese soldiers and a geisha girl surrendered to a Marine driving a truck on the Marine drive. When he asked them how they knew the war was over they told him they read it in Time Magazine. The Japanese were good at infiltrating the American supplies, especially since the Americans were not extra alert at guarding them.
While working on the surgical ward I had one patient that was a particular problem. He did have a leg that was turning dark and the doctor was trying to save it. Among other things we made a cradle to put over the leg and installed 200-watt light bulbs that were suspended within inches of the infected leg. We hoped this would start the blood flowing again. WE were not successful and it was necessary to amputate the leg at the hip.
After the amputation the patient because very demanding and difficult. We put up with it until one morning when we admitted a patient that was severely injured. When he was admitted I asked him if he wanted a hypo to kill the pain. He preferred to wait. It finally became apparent that the pain would not subside by itself so I gave him a Hypo. This was about 0200 (2 A.M.). About half an hour later the amputee woke up and found out I had given the other patient a hypo without waking him to give him one also. He proceeded to chastise me in good navy style. When he stopped for breath I told him he was an addict when he came to our hospital and we had decided to correct this. As a result for several months we had been giving him injections of boiled water only. This made him so mad at me that he would not let me do anything for him while I was on the ward. The day crew still pampered him though.
Finally an incident occurred that took me off the ward. One morning about 6:30 the chief M.A. called me and asked where the patient was that was to be evacuated stateside from my ward. I told him I knew nothing about any patient that was to leave. I then asked the patient if he knew and receive a negative reply. Among the patients and crew we found him a shirt, trousers and one shoe that would fit him. I then gave him a pair of crutches to get to the M.A. shack with and he left the ward. As I was going off duty I left a note for the female nurse, a Lieutenant, that I would like to be informed when patients were to be evacuated and it would be nice if clothing were provided.
That morning I rode ambulance to unload a hospital ship and when I returned to the ward to check out about noon, the Lieutenant told me that she did not know about the patient leaving either and that since he was not admitted to our hospital from the front lines he was not entitled to clothing. When I reported for muster that night before going on duty I found I had been relieved of duty.
For the rest of the time I was on active duty with the U.S. navy my assignment was in the post office at base-18 hospital on Guam. This was the easiest duty I had in the navy. I reported for duty at 0800 each morning. If we had mail I went to work. If we had no mail I was free until 1300 hours. At any rate the post office closed at 1600 hours so we never worked beyond that hour.
While working in the post office I saw many church magazines. If the person the magazine was addressed to was at the hospital it was delivered. If not we could not forward the magazine so it was sent to the Red Cross hut.
One of the magazines had a picture of President Heber J. Grant on it with the notation that we should keep God's commandments. One of the men in the post office had been going to camp meetings and was seriously interested in religion. He and I spent many hours talking religion. I do not know whether he ever accepted the Church or not, but the only thing we ever really disagreed about was whether or not man could keep God's commandments. His idea was that only God could do this while I was defending the principle that God's commandments were instructions the Lord gave to man.
On August 15, 1945 the Armed Forces Radio broadcast the announcement that the Japanese had offered to surrender. It was shortly after lights out. The Quonset huts were end to end and each hut was about 40 to 50 feet long. Between the Quonset huts that were end to end was a walkway about 15 to 20 feet wide. Anyway between 2000 and 2030 hours a moderate stage whisper in the Quonset hut that was end to end with the hut I was in advised one of the fellows that the Japanese had surrendered. Immediately the entire base as alive. We listened to the radio long enough to know that it appeared there was some basis to the report, but there had been no confirmation from Washington so we settled down to the routine of military life until the surrender was officially announced by Washington.
The B-29 crews on Guam had been covering all bets that after the German surrender the Japanese war would end within 90 days. They won the wager by about 3 days.
It was also reported that on Okinawa when the surrender was announced the personnel were at the movie. Immediately the anti-air-craft crews manned the guns and sent up such a cross fire that one witness declared he wondered if a mosquito could have gotten through without being injured.
After Washington D.C. confirmed the surrender offer the military people began counting points to determine when each was eligible for discharge.
One Sunday I was hitching a ride the 2 or 3 miles to the Marine drive where a truck would pick me up to take me to church at the north end of the island. I was offered a ride by the driver of a 3/4-ton weapons carrier (this was an oversized pick up.) As soon as I was in I was alerted for trouble. There were in the back of the truck about 9 fellows that had been drinking large quantities of beer and possibly other alcoholic beverages. I also had the impression the driver had been doing his share of the drinking.
I had a prayer in my heart until we were within 100 yards of the Marine drive. At this time we were just approaching a small rise in the road and I guess I decided we were going to make it so I did not continue my prayer. We had just passed a 2 1/2 ton International when the vehicle I was in assumed a position of crossways in the road. We were going over a cliff which was 25 to 35 feet high. Whether the driver of the International could see what was happening and decided to prevent our being thrown over the cliff and the truck on top of us I do not know. The International hit us about on the rear wheels which turned our vehicle enough that it went over the cliff at a 45-degree angle. Thus the truck missed us, but came to rest upside down just a few feet from my neck. Unfortunately the International was pulled over the cliff with us. The result was one driver burned to death, two died at the scene of the crash, one died on the highway waiting for the ambulance and another died later in the hospital with 18 of us hospitalized. I was still a patient at hospital when I went on the list to return to the United States for discharge.
While in the hospital they had done some minor repair to my shoulder and had given extensive attention to my back. They had scheduled surgery for a certain day. The doctor had given permission for me to go to the movie that night, but that I was not to eat or drink anything. As I came back to the hospital ward I found my name at the head of the list to return home for discharge.
The next morning I remained in bed after the other patients were up. The nurse finally came to me and asked why I was still in bed. I told her the doctor had scheduled me for surgery that day. She checked the records and told me the surgery had been postponed.
A few minutes later some of my buddies came and wanted me to go with them and take the physical for coming home. They finally prevailed upon me to go through the physical. All went well until I arrived at the end of the line. That was when I met my doctor. At this time it was about 1130 hours and the time for the physical expired at 1200 hours. He finally agreed that if I could get an X-Ray, have it read and the report back to him that surgery was not advisable, all by 1200 hours, that he would let me come home.
What the good doctor had not taken into account was that before I was a patient at the hospital I was on the ships company at the same hospital.
I reported to X-Ray and explained to the X-Ray technician what the situation was. He took me past a long line of people waiting for X-Rays, took the pictures and convinced the doctor he should read them wet. The outcome was that surgery was not advised. I returned the notices to my doctor with two minutes to spare. I was released to return home for discharge.
Just a few days after thanksgiving of 1945 I was aboard ship ready to depart for the United States. It was the only time in my entire navy career I was aboard ship. The craft that brought me home was a liberty ship. The only boat in the navy that was smaller was a P.T. boat.
When we left Guam the captain had the ship at maximum speed and kept that pace until we arrived at Portland Oregon on about December 9, 1945. The night before we arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River the ships crew told us we would see the river about day light the next morning. Accordingly we set our own watch as we did not want to miss the first distant sight of the United States. Just as day was beginning to break the United States shores were sighted and the word was passed. Within minutes everyone was topside and we stayed there all day until we docked at Portland, Oregon about 5 P.M. that afternoon.
I was at Portland for about a week. During this time we would stay at the barracks on Swan Island until about 3 P.M. If the lists for transfer to discharge centers were not posted by then we would go to downtown Portland for the evening.
One of my shipmates wanted to go to a nightclub one evening. I was not interested and tried to talk him out of it. He still wanted to go so we went to a second story club. We were admitted to the club for 1/2 the cover charge because we were in uniform. We were taken to a table and the waitress came to take our order. We each ordered a large orangeade. The waitress made some very insulting remarks about it because we did not order any liquor. This made me quite angry, but all I told her was "We are guests in this club; if you do not want to serve us what we have requested we will leave. Besides being a personal choice it is also a matter of religion." We then stood up and prepared to leave. She told us to sit down and she would see if she could get our orangeade. We told her not to put herself out, but we did sit down. She brought our orangeade and we drank it quickly and left without waiting for the floorshow. As we were leaving, the doorman asked us why we were leaving before seeing the floorshow. We told him why and then left.
I should go back to the day we docked at Portland Oregon. The captain wanted us off the ship that night and made arrangements for our transfers to Swan Island. Because my name starting with the letter "A" I was one of the first off the ship. At the foot of the gangplank were several girls with trays of coffee. At the very back of the group was one girl with 6 cups of milk. Since I was not a coffee drinker I spotted the milk and sounded off. 2600 men followed me to the milk. One of the men from the dairy said they would furnish all the milk we would drink. Four trucks later we began to slow down.
After being in Portland Oregon for about a week, we were put aboard ship one day and spent the night sailing down the Oregon and California Coast. Although I had seen bright moonlight in the islands of the Pacific, the trip down the California Coast most resembled the scenes I had seen depicted as South Pacific in the movies. The moon was bright, the water calm, almost as if painted on glass. It was a very enjoyable trip. Especially was this true since I had spent two weeks aboard ship in very rough seas.
The next morning we docked at San Francisco at 0800 hours. Buses were waiting for us. We thought we would be taken to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay to await discharge. We were not too happy with that because we knew the waiting list there would result in a 3 months delay. However the buses did not even slow down at Treasure Island. Instead we were taken to Shoemaker California which was some distance inland. As soon as we were off the buses we formed a line to sign up for reservations by train to get home. As we were lining up about 10 A.M. a Chief petty officer came down the line counting. I was the seventh in line. He stepped into line behind me and hollered to someone at the head of the line to hurry it as we were part of a group that had started the discharge procedure that morning and would be officially discharged the next day by noon. They were true to their word.
The only problem was that when a bosin mate and I appeared at the transportation deck to receive our reservations we were told there were no reservations for us. The bosin started sounding off and was told to go to the main transportation office. When we arrived there a wave Lieutenant was talking to us and said they had no vacancies for at least 3 weeks. The fact she was a wave did not placate the bosin at all. He was getting quite hostile and the Lieutenant was getting very angry. Finally a yeoman said he had found two vacancies on Western Pacific out of San Francisco at 6 P.M. that night. We could board the train at Pleasanton. We accepted and at 6 P.M. that night still in uniform, but officially discharged from the U.S. Naval Service I was on my way home to spend Christmas at home for the first time in almost 5 years. Our travel across California and Nevada was almost without difficulty. During the night we were side tracked somewhere in Nevada. The word we received was that the steam engine pulling the train had frozen up and we would have to wait for another engine. However since we were a train load of Veterans home from the war the railroad wired ahead to a sleeper train that they then side tracked, brought the engine back to pull us into Salt Lake City, Utah.
As we approached Salt Lake City the next morning we asked the porter how fast we were going. He did not know, but said, "This engineer has been know to travel 120 miles an hour and he is traveling two hours late." Whether or not this was true, at 11 A.M. the next morning I arrived in Salt Lake City with less than a week to go until Christmas in 1945.
Very soon after I arrived home I went job hunting. Even though I had educational rights through the provisions of the G.I. Bill as a veteran I knew I would need additional income. My sisters LuDean and Nelda were attending school at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and were working at the Bluebird in Logan. They were waitresses and encouraged me to get a job there behind the counter. I applied and was hired. My duties were to serve dinners and serve ice cream and fountain specialties to customers at the counter. I also made these specialties for the five dining rooms in the restaurant. I started work at noon on some days and 5 P.M. on others. There were two of us to work the noon to 9 P.M. shift between us and we would alternate between early and late. This did not last long however as the other fellow quit and I then worked noon to 9 P.M. each day. The restaurant was open for business Monday through Saturday and was closed Sunday.
At school I started by taking general group filling courses. This means I was taking social science courses, English composition, psychology, and general education courses. The college required so many credits from each of these fields to graduate.
Because of my work I did not become active in the social life of the campus, and found it necessary to restrict my off campus social life. This caused somewhat of a strain at home, but we continued with it.
One day I was asked to help with the breakfast shift at the Bluebird because the girl who usually helped with it was ill. Thus I reported for work at 8 A.M. and worked until we closed that night at 9 P.M. About 10 A.M. that morning a fellow came in and asked for a malt. I made the malt and brought it to him. As I was serving him he went into an epileptic seizure. I ran around the end of the counter and asked the fellow working with me to hand me a spoon. He was so terrified I had to ask him three times to hand me a spoon. By the time I had the spoon the victim started to recover from the seizure. As he sat up he asked me how long he had been out. I told him about 15 or 20 seconds. He thanked me and left. Jack was so shaken I thought I was going to have to send him home. I spent most of the morning explaining to him what had happened and why I wanted the spoon.
It was not too long until I was the assistant manager of the fountain. This meant I trained all the new fountain help. One very capable young man was hired and came to me for training. My method of training them was to let them take a customers order and we would then show them how to make it. I considered it too confusing to show them all the fountain items at once.
This same boy asked one customer what he wanted and the conversation went like this, "Give me a Coke and cherry." "Sorry, no Coke." "Then give me a Coke and lemon." "Sorry, no Coke." "Then give me a Coke." At this point the boy turned to me an asked, "What do I do now."
I continued my education at Utah State University during the winter quarter of 1945 and the spring quarter of 1946. I also continued my employment at the Bluebird during this period of time.
I did not go to school during the summer of 1946, but did continue my employment at the Bluebird. During this time we were allowed to try to create new fountain drinks as specialties. I finally came up with an orangeade. This consisted of a small amount of orange syrup mixed with straight tap water rather than the carbonated water usually used. We could also use a little cherry syrup for a cherry orangeade. Soon after I had decided I liked this, one of the ladies from the store came in and said she wanted something different to drink. I asked her if she would trust me to make her a new drink we had just introduced. She said she would try anything once. When I served her the orangeade she was a little skeptical about the plain water, but tried it. To her amazement she liked it and started talking it up around town. Within the hour two thirds or three fourths of the drinks at the fountain were orangeade. At this point in time Mr. Cardon, who owned the Bluebird, came to me and said, "That one drink has paid for all the experimentations you have done these past months! See what else you can create."
During the summer there was a rodeo in town as part of the county fair. One day a waitress served a pair of dinners to two cowboys just as I returned to the counter. I could see at a glance that one of them was "passed out" at the counter and so I took the dinners and set them back on the side board. One of the cowboys, the one who was awake, but obviously drunk, objected. I told him we were not going to serve him and his partner and they were to leave. I also made it clear I would not argue, but would call the police if necessary. After making some threats to meet me after work that night they left. I then apologized to the customers near enough to hear what had happened and business returned to normal. I thought I might be chastised by Mr. Cardon for this as I was sure he had seen it. He never mentioned it. This was another way he had of giving approval.
In September 1946 I again registered for school. However this was not to last very long as Superintendent Simpson from the West Side School District in Idaho, this included Dayton, offered me a position as principal of the Dayton school at $1800 per year.
I accepted and within two weeks I was in Dayton to assume my duties.
During these two weeks my first wife, Alene, filed for divorce. I did not oppose the divorce only the grounds on which she was seeking the divorce. I had become increasingly aware that our marriage was not working out right and was preparing myself for a divorce. One night in prayer I told the Lord, "If the marriage is to continue show me how, if not let it end now. "
The next night when I returned home from work the first papers were served. I took this to mean that the marriage was to terminate, and I prepared to make the move to Dayton alone.
As soon as I arrived in Dayton, my mother prevailed on me to discuss the pending divorce with the Bishop. I already had my answer, but at her insistence I went to Bishop Glen Bingham and presented the problem to him. He asked for a day or two to consider it. When he returned his answer it confirmed what I had already determined, but added I should fight for the boy.
Later when the divorce decree was issued the Bishop had another discussion with me. He advised me that what I had done was alright, but that it was his impression that I should marry again in two years. As things worked out I was married again in two years from the following spring.
The first year in Dayton was a difficult year. Not only was it my first year teaching, but I was taking over a school where the students had been pretty much in control during past years. I knew that if I was to survive I had to curb this immediately. Thus the first year was a constant battle between me and the students. I held on and was given a contract for the following year.
During the fall of 1946 my sister LuDean was called on a mission to Mexico. She left for her mission about Thanksgiving time.
Also during this year I was called as the priest advisor in the ward. We only had about three priests and so it was a situation where I could get personal with each one. Two of these finally went on missions and a third married a wonderful girl that has made a real man of him.
In August of 1947 we took the Aaronic Priesthood and girls of corresponding age on an outing to Lava Hot Springs. It was while we were on this outing that I finally became aware of the girl that was to become my wife. This has proved to me in the years since then that if you will follow the guidance the Lord furnishes he will see that you are where he wants you to be at the time he wants you there.
The girl of whom I speak was at that time named Ardell Griffeth. I have since then added another last name. She was born at Preston, Idaho, but was raised at Inkom, Idaho. Her father sold his ranch in Inkom and moved to Dayton. The reason he gives was to be close to his aged parents. I have a more specific reason which is demonstrated by our both coming to Dayton at nearly the same time so we would be active and meet, that the purposes of the Lord could be realized.
Following the trip to Lava Hot Springs we settled into the winter's routine in the church. Part of this routine included a three act play. Dayton Ward had presented a three act play each year for years. This particular year the title of the play was "What doth it profit."
In this play I was the mean, selfish, slave driving, big brother and strange as it may seem Ardell played the romantic lead opposite me. I still think the Lord had some helpers by the name of Ed and Thelma Hobbs. If so they surely did their work well.
We usually started the three act play rehearsals early in January with the opening night on stage set for early in February. Our first night was nearly always away from home. Then a week later we would bring the play to our own ward. In the production of "What Doth It Profit" I was the eldest son of a widowed mother, and was a real stinker. In the play I was an old bachelor and was at odds with the world and everyone in it. Ardell played the part of a timid, shy, neighbor girl. Sometime between Act I and Act II the dialogue shows we were married. The wedding was on July 4 so we would not have to take any extra time off from the hay harvest. By Act III I had been blinded and was changed from a surly, demanding character to a humble meek person.
As we traveled to various wards throughout Cache Valley the cast members drove their personal cars. This would usually occur about once every 10 days or 3 weeks from February to about May 1. At that time I drove a 1941 Oldsmobile. I did not want to particularly drive my car all the time, but Ed and Thelma Hobbs were the transportation committee. I was always assigned to the last car out. As they were loading the last car they would always find too many people assigned to that car and I would have to drive mine. Then, Ed and Thelma would suddenly discover no one had been assigned to pick up Ardell. Would I be willing to take her with me? Before that winter ended both Ardell and I began to anticipate this shenanigan and would be prepared for it. The result was that by spring romance had blossomed, and a year later we were married. As we talk about it now we realize many indications had been given us as to what the plans were, but we were not suspicious of how far reaching the plans were until later.
In June 1948 Ardell received her endowments in the Logan Temple. She and her mother rode to the temple with me that day. As I was gassing up at Waddoups' Service Station one of the town's people asked me if I was getting married that day. I told them no. The reply was "The h--l you're not. We will get you tonight." Since it was our stake temple day, many members from our ward were there. One car had even called for Ardell's mother. Roger, Ardell's brother told them, "She and Ardell went with Leroy." I can imagine the topic of conversation in that car. When it came time for the prayer circle Ardell went to the prayer circle, but I did not. I expected she would ask them to invite me to the prayer circle with her. However an older man was close to the prayer circle and got there before I did. Had I joined her in the circle we may have been partied that night. The actual wedding was a year away, but I had been warned.
Each week I took my sister, Yovonne, to Logan, Utah for a piano lesson. Since I had been warned about what would happen on the wedding day, I put one or two items in my car each week and stored them in Logan. By the time of the marriage I was moved without attracting any attention.
During our courtship we attended dances, shows, etc. We also went to sessions at the Logan Temple. It finally developed that most of our dancing was square dancing. As the winter proceeded we were finally involved with two square dance clubs. This was possible because of the following.
My father was the leader of the senior Aaronic priesthood program. He always believed you could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Therefore he not only had lively discussions in priesthood meeting, but he also had a very active social program. Part of this program was square dancing each Wednesday evening. I was invited to join the group and would not have been able to do so without Ardell. By this time the entire community was expecting a wedding, but we had not given them a formal announcement yet.
During the Wednesday evening dances we were accepted as equal participants in the social even though most of the other members of the group were several years our senior. Two of these I want to particularly mention. These two people were George and Lottie Coburn. For some reason they took a particular liking to Ardell and I.
George and Lottie were about 40 years older than Ardell and I and had been doing the square dances for many years. Not only on Wednesday evening were they active in the dancing programs, but we often had community dances on Friday evening. It was not unusual for George and Lottie to watch for Ardell and I to arrive at the dance. George would then take Ardell as his partner, Lottie would take me as her partner and we would have all the dancers doing a varsouvianne, schottish, or such dances as we could get going. I had known George and Lottie all my life, but at this time they accepted Ardell and I as equals and we were always part of their group at any dance. This was very helpful to me as I had not yet fully recovered from the effects of my divorce. When my promised bride was so helpful to me in crossing the age barriers, my opinion of myself began to improve.
However I have only told you about one of the two square dance groups I said we were part of. In the learning of square dancing I had started teaching square dancing in the elementary school I had therefore collected quite a large collection of square dance records, some of which I had more than one record of. One evening I received a phone call from Mrs. Donna Noyes in Preston, Idaho. She wanted to trade me one of her records that she had two of for one of mine that I had two of. She invited Ardell and I to dance with them one night. This resulted in our becoming members of their group also. It was with this group that Ardell and I went to the June dance Festival in Salt Lake City in 1948 which was the summer before we were married. Thus we danced on Wednesday night in Dayton, and Saturday night in Preston for one entire winter. The Lord works in wondrous ways to accomplish his purposes. He had chosen my future wife and was convincing me that this was the correct choice. How correct this choice was I was yet to discover.
During all of this Ardell was a worker in the school lunch program where I was a member of the faculty and was also an administrator. Thus at work we were closely associated which enhanced the romantic situation. It was during this time that Bishop Bingham had indicated to Ardell that he wanted to send her on a mission. Ardell's father told her he would support her on her mission, but that if she was interested in becoming my wife she should also give that serious consideration. She decided to stay home and pursue the project of becoming Mrs. Leroy A. Archibald. As far as she was concerned, and me too (except it took me a little longer to come to the realization) the pattern was set for the most momentous occurrence in my life. Before our marriage I asked Ardell how many children she wanted. Without hesitation or smile of making a joke she replied "26." Strange as it may seem I did not disagree with her. This was her way of saying she wanted all the children she could have. With this concept I totally agreed.
On May 26, 1949, we finalized the marriage contract in the Logan L.D.S. Temple. We were the only couple married that day in that temple. I had wanted President ElRay L. Christiansen to perform the ceremony. However during the temple session President Christiansen was called away and the temple workers asked Ardell who she wanted. She asked for Brother Archie D. Egbert, a councilor to President Christiansen in the temple presidency. It was the most impressive marriage ceremony I have ever attended, not only because it was my wedding, but the way in which Brother Egbert conducted the ceremony. As I remember, 41 of the local towns people from Dayton attended the wedding. Ours was the only one that day.
After the wedding we went to my sister Nelda's home in the college prefabs in Logan for lunch. After lunch we went down town for wedding pictures, then back to Nelda's for a few minutes. We then went to the college trailer I had rented where we changed clothes and started traveling south on our honeymoon. By the time the group in Dayton came to my father's home to start the chivorie we were in Provo, Utah. The marriage was officially launched.
Our wedding trip lasted seven or eight days and took us through Manti, Utah, where we attended a temple session, Richfield, Utah, Bryce Canyon, Zion's canyon, St. George, Utah, Las Vegas, Nevada, across Boulder Dan, into Grand Canyon and home.
We arrived at Bryce Canyon in the late afternoon and parked at the north rim. As we looked at some of the formations we decided to go down just a little way to get a closer look. We would then go down a little farther and then farther still. We eventually found ourselves at the bottom of the canyon. We did not have our hiking shoes on, but were still wearing our dancing shoes. We wondered whether we should go all the way through the canyon or return to the top the way we came down. We decided to go all the way through and continued walking. By this time it was almost sun down and Ardell asked me where we came out of the canyon. I pointed to a location at the most ridiculous distance I could find and said, "Probably over there." To my amazement I was correct. That location, I later found out, was known as Angels Landing. We then walked the entire distance around the rim to our car and then started out in search of a motel where we could sleep for the night.
The next day we toured Zion's Canyon and then drove on into St. George, Utah, for the night. As we were driving into St. George, we were spotted by a married couple from Dayton, Idaho, who were vacationing with family and friends in St. George. They honked us down and we sat there talking for a few minutes. While we were talking a man walking along the side walk asked Ardell and I if we wanted a room at a tourist home that night. He assured us the room he was offering us was the last room available in St. George that night as a group was in St. George from Los Angeles to attend the temple the next day and there were not any motel rooms to be had. He was quite offended when I declined his offer and said we would take our chances. We then drove about 1 or 1 1/2 blocks stopped at a motel and the desk clerk told us we could have our pick of several cabins he had vacant.
The next day was Memorial day and we did not think the St. George Temple was going to be open that day. Had we known we could have obtained a recommend for that temple also and attended a session of the temple. Bishop Bingham later told me we could probably have used the recommend he gave us for the Mesa Temple and he could have sent them one for their temple later. As it turned out we did not go to the Mesa Temple anyway and so did not use that recommend anyway.
The tour then took us to Las Vegas, Nevada for the next night and then across Boulder Dam into Arizona and Grand Canyon. We stayed at Grand Canyon one night and rode the mules to the bottom of the canyon the next day. The mules were especially trained for the trail in Grand Canyon. I had been around mules on the ranch, but I never did get used to their stubbornness. When a mule gets it into his mind he wants to do one thing you might as well let him do it because he will do it anyway. Thus it was that I laughed when one of the lady tourists asked the cowboy in charge of the mules if she could turn the mule toward the canyon wall rather than look out over the abyss. The cowboy told her if she could get the mule to turn the other way to go right ahead. The tourist eventually found out what the cowboy and I knew all along. She did not have a chance of accomplishing her desires.
When we came out of the canyon that night we decided to start home rather than spend another night in Grand Canyon. We started driving out of Grand Canyon about 5 P.M. and just at sundown we entered the main highway going to Salt Lake City. Ardell was driving when we passed a soldier hitch hiking. After we passed him I told her I thought we should pick him up. We therefore went back and offered him a ride. He was on emergency leave and was going to Salt Lake City.
We had originally planned on driving all night. However as it approached mid-night both Ardell and I were so tired we could not travel any farther. We offered to get the soldier a room for the night, but He declined. He decided to stay at the Highway Patrol station and see if he could get another ride. When we started out the next morning, he still needed a ride, so we picked him up and brought him into Salt Lake City.
When we arrived in Richfield, Utah, I think he may have had second thoughts. The reason is as follows. Ardell was driving, and as we approached an intersection, a large truck loaded with lumber entered the intersection through a stop sign. Ardell applied the brakes as the lumber truck stopped directly in front of us. However we did not have any brakes. I had been asleep and woke up at just that time. As I reached for the steering wheel Ardell released her control of it and let me spin the wheel. I turned the car quick enough that we traveled east from the intersection and parallel to the load of lumber. I am probably exaggerating, but at the time as we were traveling the length of that truck it seemed as though there was less than the thickness of a coat of paint between us. As I write this over 29 years later I can still see one old gentlemen on the sidewalk in a frozen position with one leg in the air and in the process of raising his hands to his face. As we prepared to turn back to the main highway three blocks later I looked back and neither the truck nor the old gentleman had moved. I think the soldier was glad to get to Salt Lake City.
We spent one night in Ogden with friends and then went to Logan, Utah where we had rented a trailer until one of the Prefab apartments were available. The honeymoon was over and we were settling down to married life. This married, life after 29 years, is at least as exciting if not more so than it was then. I try occasionally to project this into eternity and wonder what new excitement will be available there.
During the honeymoon we would eat breakfast and dinner at the restaurant and would buy sandwich material at a grocery store and eat lunch on the road. One day in Arizona we stopped at a store and purchased lunch material. Included in the purchase was a sizeable bag of little yellow tomatoes. Ardell usually put the first piece of fruit, or what ever we had, in my mouth, but this time she decided to take the first one. She has often said later she was glad she did as it was a long walk from Arizona to Logan, Utah. The little yellow tomatoes were the exceptionally hot chili peppers just before they turned red. The first I knew what was wrong was when tears started coming to Ardell's eyes, and it almost seemed I could see smoke coming from her ears and moth. I never did get a chance to taste those yellow tomatoes.
We had not been at home in Logan more than a week or ten days when Ardell became sick. I suspected appendicitis and called Dr. Clyde Daines. He came to the trailer and after a casual examination he confirmed my suspicion. He advised us to keep her packed in ice that night and see what happened by morning.
The next morning I called the doctor about 6 A.M. and reported to the doctor that there was no change. He advised me to admit her to the hospital and he would schedule surgery. He asked me if she had eaten anything. I assured him she had not. Unbeknown to me, while I was talking to the doctor my sisters and my mother were giving
Ardell some grapefruit juice to drink. As a result the nurses and doctors were quite provoked at me.
By this time both Ardell and I had registered for classes at Utah State University. When I went to the history class we had together and told Dr. Ricks what had happened, he gave me strict instructions to not let her return to school until she had completely recovered from the surgery. He also told me not to worry about the grade as he could take care of that too. In just under two weeks after surgery Ardell decided to go to the history class. This class was on the third floor of the library. I drove her to the campus and went to my eight o' clock class. She said she would take her time going the three floors up and would see me in the eleven o'clock class. I have never taken such a chastisement as Dr. Ricks gave me when he saw Ardell in class. He relented quite a bit when I asked him if he was married. He said, "yes." I then asked him if he then understood how much chance a mere husband had of stopping a wife from doing what she had made up her mind to do anyway.
It was much more enjoyable to study when I had my wife studying with me. I could settle down to serious study easier and could retain more of what I read. If there is genuine love, the obstacles to a successful marriage do not seem to be obstacles at all. Especially is that true when the husband and wife have the same goals, and standards. I am very glad that as I returned to school to finish my degree, I returned to school a married man with a wife that understood me and was interested in making a home a happy place to be.
During the summer I was constantly going to the university housing office to get clearance to move into one of the Prefab Apartments. Each time I went there, the housing director wanted me to lease a house he owned north of the campus. He told me how one fellow rented it and furnished board and room to single men at the college for a monthly fee and that he cleared about $20,000.00 during his college career. I kept telling him I came to school to get an education not to kill my wife with work. It took all summer to accomplish the goal, but by the time fall quarter started we had moved into one of the university apartments. Although Ardell never made any complaints about the trailer, I could tell she was happier in the apartment. She could make the apartment more like a home than was possible in the trailer.
I decided I needed more income than the veteran’s benefits allowed if I was to properly provide for the home. I therefore went to the Dean of the College of Education and asked him what the chances were of getting a job with the college. Dean Carlisle told me he could probably get me a teaching fellowship at $800.00 per year, but if I could get a part time teaching job with the Logan City schools they would pay $900.00 for the same period of time. I did apply at the Logan City schools and was accepted.
The Logan School district hired part time teachers for afternoons to relieve the principal for administrative duties part of the day. My assignment was at the Woodrow Wilson school on the Island. This paid $75.00 per month during the school year and the balance at the end of the year. I went to school myself at the university in the morning and taught at the Wilson school in the afternoon. This was a perfect arrangement. It did more or less tie up my evening because I had not only the need to study for myself as a student, but I had lessons plans to prepare for the students I taught. Our social life was therefore very limited, but Ardell did not complain because she had the same goals I did. We therefore arranged our social activities to bit the school schedule and our financial abilities.
The primary relaxation we had was attendance at the Logan Temple. We were often at the temple in the evenings and on school holidays when the temple was open. We also attended some college athletics and lectures. We soon found however that sealing sessions were not possible for Ardell. During the fall she became pregnant and was thus starting the family we both wanted. The kneeling at the altar during sealings was very difficult for her. During one sealing session she passed out while at the altar and the sealer removed her from the proxy list.
One night after a special session at the temple which was especially for college students and their companions we met in the chapel after the session and were given the privilege of asking any questions we wanted to about the temple ordinances, especially the endowment. Some questions were asked, but we were not prepared for such an experience. After we left the temple I could think of dozens of questions I wanted to ask. I vowed that if I was ever again given that opportunity I would be prepared. When the next chance came twenty-nine years later I wasn't any better at asking questions, but others on the session were and it was a more informative session.
My parents often visited us and my sisters who also lived in the College Prefabs. My wife's parents also visited us, but not quite so often. We therefore had a diversity of activity even though we had very little money.
During the fall my brother-in-law and I went to Sear's in Logan, Utah, and offered them $68.00 each for two refrigerators. They accepted as these were the last two models they had in that particular refrigerator. We used that appliance for 29 years. I am not sure it is worn out yet, but just needs some minor repairs, and maybe only some Freon gas. This was a great help to Ardell as she tried to store foods for future use.
It was during this year that a representative of the Jehovah Witnesses came to the apartment selling books. Ardell told him to return when her husband was home. She was hoping she would be there when he returned. As luck would have it she was away from home for a few minutes when he came. He made the mistake of showing me a quotation in one of the books which said the dead live not again. I immediately accepted the challenge and the debate was on. I remembered hearing someone say that if you could get them on the resurrection of Jesus you stood a better chance. I therefore mentioned the resurrection of the Savior as given in the book of Matthew. He did not think much of this so I quickly moved to Job where he said "though skin worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God - - whom I shall see for myself and not another." He wanted to get out of this and put 4 or 5 books on the table and said, "I will take a bottle of fruit as payment for the books." Ardell had canned that fruit for our use and I wasn't about to let him have any of it as payment of some books I did not want. We had a tugging match for a minute or two and he finally left the apartment quite angry. He slammed the door so hard he shook the whole building. He did not get the fruit nor did he take his books. I kept them for a few days wondering if he would return to get them. He didn’t, and I threw them away.
One Friday night I came home from school with all the symptoms of the flu. When I arrived home I told Ardell I wanted a doctor. We did not have a telephone so she talked to my two brothers-in-law, Leo and Vance, and between them they found a doctor Budge that was willing to come to the home. When he arrived he gave me as good an examination as he could. He then stepped back and started to scratch his head saying, "I don't know." My response was, "If you don't I do." He wanted to know what my diagnosis was. I told him it was spinal meningitis. He wanted to know how I Knew. When I told him I had been hospitalized with it before he said I was right, but that we had detected it soon enough that I would recover without the problems I had before. I returned to school the next Monday morning.
That winter I had the privilege of seeing the college opera Faust with the city schools. The college music department always presented a dress rehearsal and they invited the students of the city schools to attend this performance. As a result I did not need to use my ticket obtained by presenting my student activity card. I therefore let Ardell use that and she went to the opera with my sister LuDean.
Early in June of 1950 I received my B.S. degree in education from Utah State University. A week earlier, on May 27, 1950, Ardell gave birth to our first son, Leron. As a result she could not be at the commencement exercises. As a commencement only, the birth of our son was a far greater accomplishment than my achieving my Bachelor of Science degree. However the commencement caused a sensation over a wider area.
While I was in class one day the instructor received a message. He then asked for me. When I identified myself I was told to report to the Deans office immediately after class. Since I was in a class listed with the English Department I assumed I was to report to the Dean of the school of arts, and science rather than the Dean of education, which was the school in which I was doing my major study.
When I went to Dean Culmsie's office he was not there, but his secretary knew why I had been summoned to that office. It seems as though my sisters were walking across the campus with one of the professors and casually mentioned that five members of our family would receive their degrees that year. The Dean's secretary wanted to interview me, but was not sure how to do it. Her only question was, "What do you want to tell me?" I was also a novice at this type of interview and the session was not going too well. Luckily the Dean arrived at that time and asked some more specific questions. Before the day was ended the radio stations were including on their newscast that my father, my two sisters, my brother-in-law, and myself were receiving our degrees from Utah State University that year. The rest of that school year was a little hectic. Photographers and reporters were constantly wanting more information. This was getting on the nerves of some of the directors of the commencement exercises as one photographer delayed the commencement procession while he called the five of us out of the procession so he could get one more picture. This news must have been published nationwide as my father received a letter from one of his teachers he had in the elementary grades. She lived in a distant state. Twenty-eight years later I was again asked if I was one of the five. This was asked by one of my colleagues at work who said he had a copy of the news article.
When Leron was born Ardell's mother was with us. I was following her suggestions as to what we should do when labor started as I had never been present to watch a mother in labor and I thought she would know all the signs. She finally told me she was waiting for me to say when to call the doctor as she had a never had normal labor. As a result we may have waited longer to call the doctor than was wise. About 6 P.M. we kook Ardell to the hospital and admitted her. The doctor examined her shortly after that and said it would all be over before midnight. Thus it was that Ardell spent our first anniversary in the hospital. The doctor came to the hospital early the next morning and was quite concerned that the baby had not yet been born. He therefore forced labor. The boy was born about 1 or 1:30 P.M. on May 27, 1950. As soon as Ardell was released from the hospital I took her to her mothers home in Franklin Idaho and that is where she was on the day of my graduation from college.
I did not attend school during the summer of 1950. Instead we sub-leased the prefab apartment for the summer and moved to the farm in Dayton, Idaho. During this summer I helped on the farm and did other odd jobs to maintain an income with which to support my family.
Toward the end of June 1950 I was called to work for Delmonte Corporation in Franklin, Idaho. I started as a retort (?) helper. My duties were to keep carts by the sealing machines and when cases were properly stacked on the carts there were one thousand canes of peas on each cart. We then put the carts in a cooker that held seven thousand cans of peas. These were then cooled for about an hour after which they were taken to the warehouse and put in cartons.
I had also worked for Delmonte during the summer of 1949, but after two weeks in the warehouse I sprained my wrist and it was very difficult for me to pick up four cans of peas at once and put them in cartons. As a favor to me the company put me in the boxcars inserting empty cans into the elevator which took them to the sealing machines. One day the elevator became clogged by a damaged can. After I had cleared the elevator I stepped back to re-enter the boxcar. As I did so, I stepped on a can and my feet went from under me. As I was falling my arm went across the sharp corner of a piece of steel plating and gouged out part of the flesh from my right arm. I was taken to the nurse’s station where I thought they would apply a bandage and I would return to work. However, the nurse decided stitches were required and I was taken to the hospital at Preston, Idaho. At the hospital the doctor decided to use metal clamps rather than stitches. As the clamps were being applied he told me that if I wanted to swear at him to go right ahead. After the clamps were in place he told me I would not be able to work for at least two weeks. Therefore I did not work for Delmonte again in 1949.
As already stated I was called to work for Delmonte in 1950 as a retort helper. The only incident that is worthy of mention is as follows. At both the sealers and cookers each cart of one thousand cans was secured by a large steel bar through the wheels of the main cart. This was to keep the car from being catapulted across the plant as the smaller cart was being pushed off. This was designed so workers would not be injured or even killed.
One day I had just pushed one of the large carts from the sealer to the cooker. As another worker was preparing to push the smaller cart into the cooker I asked him if the brake was set. He assured me it was, and I was holding onto the front of the large cart. As the small cart was being pushed off the large cart, the front of the large cart was suddenly raised off the floor and me with it. Both the cart and I were then catapulted across the plant in direct line with one of the large sealing machines. Luckily I was in a swinging motion and as the car hit the sealer I was in mid-air and not in a position of being between cart and machine. Had I not been swinging I would have been cut completely in half just below the waist and would have instantly died.
The foreman heard me ask if the brake was set and also heard the answer that they were. Therefore no action was taken against me, but I never again saw the fellow that assured me they were. Whether he was discharged or transferred I do not know.
About midway in the 1950 season the foreman came to me and asked me if I would like to cook. I said I would and he gave me a sheet of instructions to read about how to operate the cooker. In about 30 minutes he came to me and told me to bring up the pressure on one of the cookers. It took about twenty-five minutes to bring up the pressure on one cooker. We then sealed it off and let it cook for twenty-five minutes at full pressure. By that time I was bringing up another cooker to full pressure. At the end of the cooking time another man came along, turned off the steam, and started cooling the cooker and reducing the pressure.
There were always two of us assigned as cooks. We alternated from day to day. One day I would build up the pressure and cook the peas, and he would turn off the steam and reduce the pressure. The next day he would build the pressure and I would reduce it.
On this assignment we were not overly rushed. Thus I could bring up a cooker, watch it during the cooking time and still have time to study. One thing we were always on the alert for was a cooker that would continue to build up pressure after it was supposedly sealed off. Should this happen we had three valves that were to be closed and one opened immediately. This meant that one man would suspend himself in space with another to hold him there and at the same time he would open one valve with one foot, close another valve with the other foot and also close two other valves by operating one with each hand.
One day I had just closed off one cooker for the cooking period and had gone to the next cooker to start bringing it up. All at once we heard an explosion. It is comical now to think about my partner who weighed over 250 lbs. hanging on nothing in mid air while operating all four valves at once. Half way through the emergency procedure we both thought of what the problem was. By that time 7,000 cans of top grade peas were ruined. This was because we had reduced the pressure all at once instead of over a fifteen to twenty minute period of time. This pulled all the juice out of the cans and the peas were ruined. We decided a partially warmed can of peas had rolled from the valves under one of the cookers and over a period of time it swelled and burst. If you want to see what will happen, put a can of vegetables or other food in a bonfire without first opening the can. WOW!
One of the district officials saw the demonstration and all he told us was that he enjoyed the show. We were later told by a member of the office staff that he went in the office and laughed for the better part of an hour.
The next year (1951) I was assigned as foreman of the clean up crew. This meant that after the second shift of the day had gone home, my crew and I would spend the night cleaning all the machinery in preparation for the next day's run. This would take us eight to ten hours during the night.
One night we took a lunch break to listen to the Republican National Convention. About 1 A.M. the convention chose Dwight Eisenhower as their candidate for President of the United States. At this announcement, one of the crew members made the statement that he was willing to bet anyone 20 to 1 that no matter who the democrats nominated they could win the election from Eisenhower. My father-in-law, who was a member of the crew, nudged me and said, "Take $100.00 of that." I didn't do so, but if I had, I would have won $2,000.00. Eisenhower won the election easily by a very comfortable Majority.
During this year our second child, a son, was born. Ardell had traveled to Logan, Utah, 35 miles away, to see the doctor. Because I was working she went alone. As soon as she arrived home it was apparent there was a problem. She was showing signs that labor was beginning. This worried us because she wasn't even near the time when the baby was expected. I immediately called the doctor. He told me to watch her carefully because if the occurrence was the real thing honest labor would begin within 24 hours. As it turned out labor did not start for several weeks.
When the real thing started my mother came with us because I did not want to be alone with Ardell in case we did not arrive at the hospital soon enough. I travelled all the side roads I could so I would not have to fight the traffic on the main highway. I was averaging 65 miles per hour and thought I was doing fine. However my mother was urging me to go faster and she was afraid of speed.
We arrived at the hospital in time and I told the doctor if the child was alive I wanted to know as my wife and I wanted him blessed. As soon as the boy was born the doctor made sure I knew. Before I could get help from the Logan Temple to assist me, and the temple was just across the street, the doctor warned me several times to hurry. It was pitiful to see the child fight for breath. However he was alive and we succeeded in giving him a name and a blessing. Within the hour he died.
My religious belief tells me that he was one of those valiant spirits that entered mortality for the express purpose of getting a body. Having received that and the name Rodney Kay his mission in mortality was completed and he was taken immediately to the next sphere of action. I have felt his presence many times, but have not seen him since the burial. I am firmly convinced he sits in our family councils when important decisions are made and exerts his superior wisdom in our behalf at that time.
In the fall of 1951 we moved to Burley, Idaho, where I had been hired by Cassia County schools to teach 6th grade at the Miller school. I was a teacher there for two years before moving back to the state of Utah.
My official introduction to Burley was in two parts. First, my wife and I went grocery shopping and it happened there was a promotional campaign in progress at the store. The master of ceremonies would ask a question and anyone giving the correct answer won a prize. The question was "Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?" Several answers were given, but none were correct. I was trying to give a young person next to me the answer, but they either did not hear me or did not think I was giving them a serious answer. Anyway the man who asked the question heard me, and we were given a bag of pancake flour. The answer was "at the bottom."
At the first P.T.A. meeting the new members of the faculty were introduced. Arrangements had been made for the director of the local radio station to prepare a play. Each new member of the faculty had a part in the play. We had no prior warning of the play or our part in it. As each entrance was announced, the part and kind of character was given us. As I came on stage it was announced I was the town drunk. I thought to myself, "if you want a drunk, that is what you will get." Immediately my speech became so thick I was not sure anyone could understand me. When I got to the director (Kay Clark) I grabbed his lapels and went hand over hand until my nose was about one inch from his. All this time he was trying to back away from me, but I held on. I then capped my performance with a loud hic-cough. Having achieved this I left the stage without a backward glance. My career in Burley, Idaho, was launched.
I taught sixth grade at Miller school for two years. The classes I taught were not bad classes, in fact they were high average or above. This included their conduct in class as well as in the community.
In all classes there are some students who must try the teacher to see how far they can go before action will be taken. Since these two years will be written about as a unit I will not try to separate the instances into specific years.
While in Burley I was called as scoutmaster of the troop in Burley 1st ward. I did not at that time consider myself an effective scout leader, but I did choose as my assistant scoutmaster a man who could work well with boys. He and I would confer together and then I would let him work with the boys. So successful was this arrangement that I was called to the scout district committee to be one of the instructors at the university of scouting for the Magic Valley. This reminds me of reading the story of the life of Gary Cooper, a movie star. He explained about one scene where he entered a tent, took a bite from a candy bar, threw the bar on the cot and stomped out. Off screen sounds were heard of a plane taking off and crashing in the process. In the tent when he took the bite of the candy bar were two other actors. After telling of the crash he then said, speaking of the other two actors, "What they did to the scene made me a star." In like manner what my assistant scoutmaster accomplished with the troop brought additional recognition to me.
While serving as scoutmaster I was called one night by a member of the stake presidency to accept a call as music representative on the M.I.A. stake board. I was told they specifically wanted me to get a youth choir started in the ward. In this capacity I was serving a dual assignment. I was a member of the M.I.A. stake board and was therefore under the direction of the stake superintendent. However in my capacity as music director I reported directly to the stake presidency. This brought many interesting experiences.
In attempting to organize the youth choir I visited each ward in the stake. One ward plainly told me they would be happy to participate if I would visit every home in the ward and get permission for family members to join the choir, then I personally without any help from the ward officers would pick up each youth at their home, take them to choir practice, and return them to their homes. I was also to purchase all music and then give the music to the ward. Needless to say, I told them the report would be given to the stake presidency that this particular ward chose not to participate. The stake president did not take kindly to this response from ward officers. As it turned out only one ward in the stake cooperated in the choir project.
On another occasion we, as a stake board, visited one of the wards on M.I.A. night. We were sitting in one of the rooms waiting for prayer meeting when the ward superintendent stood up and said, "We have the stake board with us tonight. We have a very good M.I.A. in our ward and we do not need the stake nor Salt Lake City to advise us. We there fore will wait until the stake board leaves before we start our meeting tonight." He then sat down. It soon became apparent to us he was serious, so we left the prayer meeting with intentions of leaving the building.
As we were departing the building we met the bishop who gently advised us where the prayer meeting was. We told him we were well aware of where the prayer meeting was. Our manner must have told him there was trouble because he asked us what was the matter. The stake superintendent was very hesitant to answer his question. I however had no such restrictions so I told him. He then wanted to know what we were going to do. I advised him we were returning to town and would report directly to the stake president. The bishop asked for a few days to clear the problem. We agreed. The following Sunday evening I received a phone call from the bishop advising me that new leadership had been installed in the ward M.I.A. and inviting us to return to visit the ward M.I.A.
In school I had one student who was a member of an itinerant family. This family had come to the area for the potato harvest and expected to move on to other areas when the harvest was complete. This student was a year or so older than the other students. He was not ********, but because of the family moving around so much he had missed considerable school and therefore his education suffered.
One day in school I let the students have a study time. This particular student was a constant annoyance to the other students. I told him to sit down and be quiet. He called me a name I will not repeat here and said, "Make me." After a bit of disturbance I finally twisted his arm behind him and sent for the principal. The next day the boys father brought him to school and let it be know that we had his permission to take any action necessary to maintain discipline. We had no more trouble with this boy at school. He was however a constant source of irritation to the city police and county sheriff.
While all of this was happening the county attorney and I were on the M.I.A. stake board together. We had many conversations about the boy. The county attorney, Norm Nielson, wanted to parole the boy to me as I could handle him at school. I talked him out of this plan, but suggested he may want to consider sending the boy to Boys Town in Nebraska. With the cooperation of the Catholic Priest we accomplished this. I do not know where the boy is now.
After the trouble in the school room I was given permission by the Kiwanias chief in Burley, of which I was a member, to take the boy down town and buy him some new clothes. He had considerable difficulty getting the boy to make his own selections. It finally became necessary for the clerk and I to go to another part of the store until the boy made his selection. After that the boy's entire attitude at school changed.
I have talked at some length about my introduction to Burley, Idaho. However Ardell was just as unusual. We had been in Burley a few days, I am not sure we had been to church yet, when a councilor in the bishopric came to visit us. After some small talk he turned to Ardell and said they wanted her to work in the Primary organization. We assumed it would be as a teacher. After a little more discussion we asked what class she would be teaching. The member of the bishopric said, "I am sorry I didn't make that clear. We want you to be first councilor in the primary presidency." The shock of that call did not wear off for some time.
One day Ardell called me at school and said Leron had disappeared. It finally became necessary to ask help from the police. They finally broadcast the description of Leron and his friend over the air. A woman on the north side of town heard the description and saw the boys. We went over in the car to get them.
When we moved to Burley, Idaho, we rented a basement apartment. The back yard was fenced except for the gateway on the south side of the house. The people upstairs had a boy about Leron's age. To keep their boy in the ward they had put a piece of net wire up to the gateway, but did not bother nailing it in place. When we moved in I not only nailed that wire in place, but put another wire on top of it. The lady upstairs laughed at that. However before the day ended Leron had taught their boy to put a board up to the fence, climb the board to the top of the fence then put the board down the other side and they were out of the yard. The laughing stopped then.
About this time Leron acquired an imaginary friend. This friends name was "Sonny Boy." Ardell had to set a place at the table for Sonny Boy, before Leron would eat. Sonny boy was included in everything we did.
When we went to a show we very seldom saw the entire show together. First Leron wanted to go to the toilet, then he wanted a drink, back to toilet again, etc. Until one of us took him home. One night we went to see Hans Christian Anderson. As soon as we were seated in the theater Leron glued his eyes to the screen and without interruption watched the entire show. We never again had to take him out of the theater during a show.
One other day Leron came up missing. We toured the neighborhood without success. Finally one of the 12 year old girls remembered the first Christian Church was holding a bible class. When she looked in the bible class Leron was there. The next day Ardell got Leron all dressed up and he again went to bible class. A short time later he returned home with the explanation, "I want to go to my own Sunday School."
On January 27, 1953, during our second winter in Burley, our first daughter Rozetta was born. The doctor we had at that time maintained an office in Burley most of the week but on Tuesday and Thursday he went to his office in Oakley, Idaho, about 25 miles south of Burley. When Ardell called me at school and said I should not stay at school that night I had the message. I asked her if I should call the doctor as it was Tuesday, and she replied no. I assumed she had already called him. When we arrived at the hospital it was clear the doctor had not been called. I heard the nurse call him in Oakley, Idaho, and he must have asked how fast he should come. The nurse, said, "If there is a faster way than flying you better take it."
The doctor made it in time, but with very little time to spare.
During the spring months of 1953 I asked the manager of Economy Cash, the store where we bought our groceries, if they had some part time work for me. One day he called me at home and said I could work part time if I wanted to. I worked, part time until school was out and then started working full time.
One day I reported for work and we had a new manager. The old manager had been discharged for some reason. That afternoon the new manager gave me a set of keys to the store and asked me if I would lock up that night. Two or three days later I asked the manager what I was to do with the keys. He told me to keep them. Three weeks later I found I had been assistant manager for almost a month.
While I was the assistant manager of Economy Cash I remained a member of Kiwanis Club. At the noon meeting one day a member of the club advised me to make application for Postmaster of the Burley Idaho Post Office. I did not act on this suggestion and later discovered that had I done so I would have been the only applicant. I am confident I could have passed the Civil Service test for this position. I did not have time to regret my lack of action however.
Late in the summer of 1953 I was transferred to American Falls Idaho by Economy Cash to become assistant manager of the store there. However this was only about 15 miles from the home office at Aberdeen, Idaho. Since the new store was not completed yet I spent more time at Aberdeen than in American Falls even though my residence was in American Falls.
As I look back on this period of time I sometimes think the Lord used this method to get me to move where he actually wanted me. My stay in American Falls was of short duration, probably not more than 2 months. I then became convinced I was on a dead end road and therefore started seeking work in Idaho Falls, which is about 60 miles north. I had a tentative offer of work there with a large grocery chain. They told me to report on a certain date and they would put me to work as soon as possible. However when we actually made the move we turned south and found ourselves in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October 1953 without a place to live and without a job. Ardell stayed with her parents in Franklin, Idaho, while I came to Salt Lake City to seek work and a place to live.
The first day I was in Salt Lake City I was successful in obtaining work with Safeway Stores, a grocery chain and was assigned to a store on 6th Ave and "E" St. I soon located a house close to work and Ardell and the children moved to Salt Lake City.
We were members of the North 20th Ward of the Ensign Stake. The first time we went to church I met one of my missionary companions, James Smyth, who I knew was from Salt Lake City, but did not know what part of the city. He immediately introduced me to Charles Ross, who I think was at that time first councilor in the bishopric. Elder Smyth told him I was one of his missionary companions, and brother Ross said, "We won't hold that against him." I was not sure at that time whether or not he was serious nor am I so sure some 25 1/2 years later.
I was immediately accepted in the ward because I still had my tenor voice and was asked to join the choir. However, Ardell did not feel as welcome and as events developed we again moved in the spring of 1954.
The choir director, I forget his name at the moment, had myself and a Brother Laycock who was on immigrant from England as the main part of the tenor section. As we were practicing one Sunday the director said he would like more power from the tenors and asked us to really open up. Brother Fred Laycock and I winked at each other and opened all stops. We completely drowned out the rest of the choir, and were somewhat of a disturbance to the sacrament meeting in progress in the far part of the building. Bob, the choir director never again made that mistake. He always called us the two black crows after that.
Because I could sing such a high tenor and sustain the high notes I was asked to sing several solos in the ward. I was also asked by the Elder's President, Bob Christensen, to organize an Elder's chorus. We accomplished this and sang one time in a stake priesthood meeting before I moved from the ward.
While in the North 20th Ward I also participated in a stake operetta and started singing with the Chorus of the Salt Lake Oratorio Society that performed Handel's Messiah. I continued this activity for several years.
One day, four of we male members of the ward decided we were going down and audition for the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir the following Thursday. On Wednesday night the First Presidency announced the European tour with Spencer Cornwall as director, and all recruiting for the choir was halted. One of the four later did join the choir. I was never to have this privilege even though other chances were to materialize. I did however have the honor of participating in the Golden Jubilee Choir of Ensign stake with Richard Condie as conductor. Brother Condie was also the assistant conductor of the Tabernacle Choir at the time. I was asked to be the tenor soloist for a special number from the oratorio "The Creation." I was given a copy of the song to study. Since I had no piano at home I felt I was at a disadvantage and more than a little concerned when Brother Condie invited me to his home one Sunday afternoon to sing my part. The Lord was with me because when I sang for Brother Condie, we only practiced the opening phrase for two or three minutes. Brother Condie congratulated me for being so studious and said he would let me know when the trio of soloists would practice together. We never did. The first time this trio was together was in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square the night we sang with a 200-voice choir back of us. At this meeting Brother Richard L. Evans of the First Council of Seventy and President J. Reuben Clark, of the First Presidency, were the speakers, which did not calm me very much. After the program was completed Brother Condie was most profuse in his praise of the trio. Several years later he still remembered me and my tenor voice and because of this one time singing for him I was invited to join the Tabernacle Choir. By this time I was one of the presidents of the 236th quorum of Seventy and could not accept the invitation.
In March 1954 I lost my job with Safeway and not being successful in finding another one soon we moved back to Dayton, Idaho, for the summer. That fall we returned to Salt Lake City schools. We were never again to move from Salt Lake City.
In the fall of 1954 we moved into one of the cottages of the Sutherlands across the street from Nibley Park Golf Course on 5th East south of 27th South in Salt Lake City. This was close to the Columbus School where I was a teacher. I taught fifth grade. There were at least two sections to each grade. I was never really happy in this school because I did not feel I was in a situation similar to other teaching assignments I had been a part of. This was one of those areas where I had the opinion the student, no matter what they did, was always right and the teacher was always wrong.
One of the incidents was when the district art supervisor came to my room during another class period and really chastised me because I was not doing enough in the art field. She advised me in front of all the students that I would henceforth teach arithmetic, reading, and social studies as well as all other subjects by having the students draw pictures, make posters, and by using other art procedures. It was her opinion that you were not teaching anything unless art was involved every minute of the day. I was also berated because I did not have plans for buying expensive materials for each member of the class to make an expensive gift to take home.
Another time the superintendent came to my room just as I was telling one of the students to sit down and be quiet. He did not say anything at that t time, but I received a letter from him the next day saying that my behavior was inexcusable and would not be tolerated. He further said that the only thing that prevented his discharging me on the spot was that it was my first year in the district. If it happened again I would be terminated without notice. I then decided I did not want to remain in Salt Lake City schools another year and submitted my resignation effective as of the close of school June 1, 1955.
Vandalism, and students beating teachers, as well as other abuses have since then been a major problem in the district. I am very glad I did not remain any longer.
I also discovered that I was expected to attend training classes every night of the week and on many week ends. I was given to believe that I should refuse involvement in church activities because I was a teacher in the public schools of Salt Lake City. This was too much for me to put up with as I have been available to the church anytime they wanted me and am to this day.
There were more enjoyable experiences though and for the remainder of this history of this period I will try to dwell on those.
One of the happier experiences was when we were studying the heart and it's function. Another teacher in the school had arranged for the public health nurses to bring a beef heart to the classroom and demonstrate the anatomy and function of the heart. Since the other teacher had arranged for the demonstration the opening of the heart was done in her class.
Because I was late starting the project I had to speed the teaching process considerably. I therefore reverted to my experiences as a pharmacist mate in the Navy and used many of the teaching tools we used there.
Many items were available to me: charts, pictures, plaster of paris models etc. I really applied the pressure in the learning process. In this I had the cooperation of the students. Even in the case of the problem students I had complete cooperation. We were successful in achieving our goal of becoming acquainted with the heart to make the nurses demonstration a meaningful experience. The nurse gave me the highest complement I was ever given in the years I was employed in the public schools. She told Mrs. Evans, the principal, she had never been to a class that knew the heart as well as that class did. Had she know how well my class was prepared she would have come to my class first and opened the heart here. During the entire demonstration the class did not ask the nurse any questions and yet they covered the heart more thoroughly and in technical terms than any class the nurses had visited.
In another incident I was playing soccer with the students during the noon hour. I tried to kick the soccer ball once and one of the students kicked it out from under me. I kicked thin air and injured my right ankle. The students helped me into the building where Mrs. Evans and the other teachers convinced me I should see a doctor. I therefore called my wife and she came to the school to take me to the doctor. The doctor determined I had broken my ankle and she, Dr. Lenore Richard, put a cast on my right leg to the knee.
A few nights later I was to teach square dancing to a mutual married group. I tried to teach by explanation because of my cast, but this is not my method of teaching. I therefore had to demonstrate. The result was that I broke my cast around the ankle. It looked as though it had been cut with a knife. I went to the doctor the next day to have the cast repaired. The doctor put on a new cast, but she was not happy about it. She was a very good doctor, but she also knew some very colorful language, all of which she used on me. This time I behaved myself.
When I returned to have the cast officially removed the doctor did remove the cast and then held out a $10.00 green back with the statement, "This is yours if you will walk straight to the door." She watched me put on my sock and shoe then get off the table to walk to the door. My right foot immediately turned to the side. Dr. Richards, laughed, put the $10.00 in her pocket and walked out.
During this same winter I was called to be M.I.A. superintendent in the Grant 1st Ward. This is another story. I was in the chapel talking to Bishop Wells King. He told me the M.I.A. superintendent was moving from the ward. It was jokingly suggested that I take his place. Much to my surprise I was sustained as M.I.A. superintendent, complete with councilors whom I had not been consulted in selecting... This was the only help I received to function in t he M.I.A. for several months.
Later, a former Bishop, Eldred Berguson, who had just been released from the High Council, told the bishop he was available to help in the ward if he was allowed to work with the explorers. I gratefully accepted and we at least had an active explorer program. I had submitted a list of names to the Bishop as officers in the M.I.A. This list was approved, but I did not succeed in having the Bishopric issue the calls. Instead the Bishop instructed me to interview each of these people. Each of them declined the call. When I was released, Bishop Bergeson was called to replace me. He submitted the same list and was successful in having the Bishopric issue the calls. This time they all accepted.
At another time one of the brothers of the ward suggested a banquet each month for the youth of the ward. The banquet was to be served by the ward officers with each officer paying $3.00 per month to pay for the banquet. In a meeting of the executive committee of the ward I opposed the proposal and enough of the executives sided with me to put the idea on the shelf. About a month later we had another meeting on the same idea. This time I had Bishop Bergeson in the meeting with me. When it became my turn to speak I told them my opinion had not changed and therefore I asked permission for Bishop Bergeson to talk in my place. He was even more opposed to the proposal than I was. I never heard of this again. Not long after, I was released, but was soon called to other work.
I was at this time an Elder and had been called by the Elder's presidency to be their representative on the genealogy committee.
Leslie Peck was the chairman of the genealogy committee. He was excellent in the position even though he was severely handicapped with arthritis. At one of the committee meetings the bishopric met with us. We had discussed committee business for some time when Brother Peck let Bishop King take some time. During his remarks the bishop reminded us that Brother Peck had requested his release. This was known to the committee members but we were not anxious for Brother Peck's release. The bishop asked each committee member to give the name of the person they wanted as committee chairman. A wide variety of names were submitted. The person I expected to be called was Brother Alfred Shipman. He was a registered genealogist in England before coming to American and was very knowledgeable about genealogy.
After each committee member had spoken the bishop thanked us and continued, "Each of the persons are good people, but the man that is to be the new chairman is sitting in this meeting." He then presented my name as chairman, then turned to his councilors and said, "I guess that is alright with you brothern?"
As genealogy chairman I inherited an active committee. They were willing to work. I therefore decided to find ways to make the work more effective to more people. One of these teaching tools was visiting each home in the ward to conduct a genealogy and temple survey. This included information as to how much of their own temple clothing they had. I was constantly preaching that when Christ came to his house and sent out t he call for members to assemble at the temple they would not have time to purchase temple clothing, nor could they expect the sisters in the temple to remain behind to rent the needed items. I also asked for a commitment of availability for special calls to the temple for sealings, baptisms, etc. In all I had about seven items I wanted a commitment for.
To supervise all of this I chose sister Mary Orr. She was persistent in her call and did not allow any delay. She also kept me informed as to the progress of the work. By this means I had meaningful information for myself and assistants to take to each of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. At least for a time our work nights with families increased. This in turn came to the attention of the stake genealogy committee and I was invited on several occasions to explain my plans to other wards.
All of this was at a time when the genealogy committee was an independent work under the direction of the bishop, and had not yet been delegated to the High Priests to supervise.
At this time I was also ward chorister, choir director, was assisting in some M.I.A. work, was baptizing at the temple and was also a veil worker at the temple as well as being an usher at General Conference. Other than that I did not have a thing to do.
With the positions I held in the church I was also working nights at the freight house for Union Pacific Railroad.
One day the bishop called me and wanted some information about my membership record. As I recall he wanted some clarification of my divorce from my first wife. I told him I was of the opinion this clearance by the First Presidency was entered on my membership. He said that probably this was the meaning of one item on the membership record.
Not many evenings later I received a call for my wife, Ardell, and I to meet with the stake presidency. As I discussed this with one of the men I worked with he asked me how long the bishop had been in office. I told him that he could be released at any time, but that I was not being called to replace him. The only reply I received was, "We shall see."
When Ardell and I met with President Ludwig and his councilors, President Tames and President Evans, I was asked if I would accept ordination to the office of Seventy. I assured them I would and was invited to be at the next stake conference when I would be presented to the membership of the stake and then ordained. This presented a problem as I was at that time working 4 nights per week and all day Sunday. When I asked the foreman if I could take Sunday off and told him why I wanted permission he granted my request. Thus it was that on January 20 1957 I was ordained a seventy by Elder John Longden, an assistant to the quorum of the twelve apostles. The sustaining vote was taken in the Sunday morning session of stake conference and I was ordained between the sessions. I was given to understand that my work as a seventy would be at home and not abroad. This was true. I was called on a stake mission, but was not sent on a foreign mission.
I went to work on Monday night at midnight as scheduled. I was also scheduled to leave work at 8 A.M. on Tuesday morning. As I was completing my shift one of the tractor drivers told me he was one of the seven presidents of the 236th quorum of seventy and they wanted me as the quorum secretary. I reminded him of my work schedule which of necessity included every Sunday because I did not have seniority enough for any other work. This meant I could never be with them at priesthood meeting nor at the monthly business meeting. He ashed if I would accept under those conditions if called. I told him I would. The next day he came to me and said, "you are called." This was on Wednesday January 23, 1957. On Friday morning the freight agent for Salt Lake City came to me and asked if I wanted off nights. I assured him I did and he told me to punch out at 8 A.M. as usual and then punch back in again to start a new shift. This meant I would work 16 hours that day without a break. However I was off nights and Sundays and have not worked on Sunday since.
I had several assignments with Union Pacific Railroad. I had worked as a dock hand on the freight docks, as a tractor operator, as lift operator, and also as a checker. All these were in the freight dept. My regular assignment was as a laborer on the freight dock, but if the regular operators of tractor, forklift, etc were not there I would be assigned to those duties also. This did not make me any more popular with other workers on the dock, some of whom had waited years for a chance at those assignments.
One day a notice was put on the bulletin board stating a particular woman needed blood. I offered to donate some of mine. I did not know her, but did not hesitate to make the offer. I did donate the blood.
Later a temporary job was put up for bid from the baggage dept. This was as a cream clerk. I submitted a bid, but did not think I would be successful because the person who won the bid would be assigned an "A" date. This would start their seniority for clerical work. When the bid report was issued I was the successful candidate. One man on the freight dock returned from vacation and tried to bump me from the job. His reason was that he was on vacation and did not have a chance to bid on the job. When the union steward told me this I advised him that bid notice had been on display for about 10 days before that particular man left on vacation and he told me he did not want to submit a bid because he did not want to jeopardize his vacation. About 2 hours later the steward came to me and said, "Keep your job."
When I reported to baggage to begin my duties, the man I was to replace asked me if I was the man who donated blood to his mother. I said I did not know, but I had donated blood to a woman I did not know. He then turned to the rest of the crew and said, "Hands off, this man is mine." This was the signal they were to make sure I succeeded on the job. I remained on this job for several months before returning to my regular job at the freight house.
In the fall of 1957 I was again successful bidder for a job as tractor operator in baggage through the Christmas season. On this job I drove the tractor that took the baggage and mail to the trains and returned the baggage from the trains to the baggage room. Since I had worked with this crew before there was no problem. At the end of this assignment was when I was terminated from the railroad. I could have drawn unemployment money until my recall to the railroad, but decided to seek other work if I could find any.
While at the baggage dept I received a call one day from Los Angeles, California advising me that on train number 5 there was a remains to be taken off at Salt Lake City. Number 5 had already cleared Salt Lake City and Ogden and was sealed shut until it arrived at Cheyenne Wyoming. However we called ahead and were successful in having the remains taken off at Rock Springs and returned via the fastest train available. If we lost baggage for a time not much was said, but when we missed a remains we were subject to immediate discharge. However, in this case we had ample proof notice had not been given us to watch for a remains. What happened to the crew on Los Angeles I do not know.
I did have the experience of receiving a remains for shipment to Butte Montana. When the remains were received we had to have two first class tickets. If an escort was accompanying the remains they could use one of the tickets. If there was no escort the remains used both tickets. As soon as I received the remains I called Butte Montana and told them I would send a remains on a particular train and they were to watch for it. When the remains were checked in and was loaded on the baggage cart for delivery to the train I sent a telegram to Butte advising them. After the remains were on the train and the train was in motion we again advised Butte the remains were now in transit. Thus it became Buttes responsibility to see it was taken from the train. This notice had not been given us by Los Angeles.
I also had the opportunity of being the stop car inspector. This meant that when a car load of merchandise was left at a particular business for them to take their portion out of the car and then the rest was to be taken to another location, my responsibility was to inspect the freight car and be sure the load was properly blocked to assure, as much as possible, the cargo would travel without breakage. One day I received a notice that one of the cars at a large glass warehouse was ready to go. I therefore went to their location to inspect the car. I was unable to find the car. I then went to the office to learn from them where the car was. They told me the car I wanted had been pulled out 2 or 3 days earlier. They then instructed me to show on my report "blocking adequate." I told them my report would show, "pulled without inspection." Since the cargo was plate glass I did not want to be responsible. When I returned to the freight office I reported to the chief clerk what had happened. He called Los Angeles, California, first as that was where the remaining glass in the car was to have gone. I started calling from Chicago since the box car belonged to an eastern railroad. We finally found the car in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I happened to call the yard office and asked them about the car. The man said it was passing his office then. I asked him to open the door and check the blocking. He replied, "I don't need to. The car is wide open and there is no blocking." I told him to pull the car out of the train, put in adequate blocking, and return the car to Salt Lake City so we could forward it to Los Angeles. Because of my report showing the car was pulled without inspection the warehouse company authorizing its removal before inspection would not only be responsible for any breakage of the cargo (plate glass), but would have to pay the cost of the railroad pulling the car to Council, Bluffs, turning the car around, blocking the cargo, and then returning the car to Salt Lake City. Needless to say when I went there to inspect another car it was still at their place of business.
Another time I went to a warehouse to inspect a car. I planned on doing that on my way home. I had trouble getting the door open so I could inspect the car. After the inspection I tried to close the door. Again it was stubborn. I finally hooked the mechanical door closer to the door and gave a sudden and hard pull. The door closed, but in the process took my thumb into the flange with the door. Now the door would not open. I tried several methods of releasing my thumb. I finally decided there was a way to do it other than wait almost 10 hours for the train crew to come and pull the car away, and that was to cut off the thumb. Before I found a way to cut off the thumb I decided to brace my foot against the box car and pull. This released the thumb, but badly damaged it. I wrapped the hand in my white handkerchief and drove back to the office. As I passed the chief clerks desk I quietly asked him if anyone wanted to practice first aide. He immediately assigned one of the clerks to take me to the hospital and have the hand taken care of. I spent 2 or 3 hours at the hospital and then drove home, clanged clothed, and went to a ward dinner where my wife and family had preceded me. I was the topic of conversation that night as my hand was wrapped in bandages about twice the normal size of the hand. I reported to work the next morning and the agent assigned one of the girls to write my car reports for me. I had first call as replacement on that job after that. In fact the agent told the regular inspector not to tell him when he would be off the next day until 5 minutes before he left work the night before. This way he would not have time to train someone else and could legally call me to fill the position temporarily.
In January 1958, after my return to the freight house from the baggage department, I found I had been terminated, as my position was abolished and I had nowhere to bump to. I therefore decided to seek other work rather than wait for recall to the railroad. As a result of this work search I started work with the Utah State Department of Employment Security on February 18, 1958 and at this writing am starting my 23-year with that agency.
I was the quorum secretary for about a year and then during a quorum reorganization was called as one of the presidents of the quorum. I was to hold this position four times during my tenure as a seventy. I was called as a president while living in the Grant First Ward in the Salt Lake Grant Stake. About a year later, Elder Mark E. Peterson of the Council of the Twelve Apostles came to our conference and separated the Grant First and Tenth Wards from Grant Stake. We were told that two weeks later we would return to conference to be accepted into the Granite Park Stake.
At the time I was first called into the quorum presidency, the stake president told his first councilor to instruct the bishop I was to be released from all other assignments. At that time the other callings numbered about seven. At the next Sacrament meeting bishop Cox released me from three of the seven and within the next two weeks I was released from the other four.
A humorous incident occurred concerning brother Cox's call as bishop. A friend of ours was in the ward bishopric and had unintentionally let slip that brother Cox was to be the next bishop. This was information I could not reveal, but it was quite a game between me and other quorum members to prevent brother Cox being called to other positions in the quorum, as I knew he was already called as bishop.
This first year in the Seventy Presidency was very educational. As we gave our best efforts to completing the assignments given us I learned much about the responsibility of leadership. Among these I include the process by which the Lord calls his children to particular positions. I also learned why president Leo Mr. Muir said, "inspiration is ninety percent perspiration." The Lord let me as a leader evaluate the quorum members concerning their qualifications for a particular calling. If I had not achieved the result he had in mind he did not tell me to try again, he just failed to accept the choice and let me come to the decision that I must try harder.
As a case in consideration, I had agreed to combine the seventies in the First Ward with the seventies in the Second Ward for presenting the lesson. Neither group was impressive by it's size, but by combining them we had quite a respectable group. Each group had up to that time, called an instructor. However about this time both instructors decided they did not want to continue. As we considered replacements, we decided to use one instructor for both groups. We decided on a man that had a stutter and he was not anxious to speak in public. We promised him that if he would accept this calling his speech problem would not deter him from teaching. He accepted and did a very fine job of teaching. His speech impediment has disappeared to the extent that people who did not know him at that time have a difficult time understanding that he at one time had a speech impediment. I was later to be instrumental in his being called to a leadership position in the ward through which his leadership stopped the disruption of a particular organization in the ward. His leadership has also been influential in many other ways. Thus, it is shone that when the Lord calls leaders in his kingdom it is not a temporary call. Each leader is being prepared for greater responsibility.
Within a few days after my being sustained as a president of the 236 quorum of seventy one of the members of my group came and told me that I was not to pester him if he did not come to priesthood meeting. He also said he would not go to the stake farm. He listed several others things he was not to be asked to do. The first Sunday I was the president he did not come to priesthood meeting. On my way home to bring the family to Sunday School I decided to stop and see him. He was painting his front room. I heard no more about his not coming to priesthood, going to the stake farm or any of the other things he said he would not do.
At another time we had assembled in ward welfare committee meeting and Bishop Cox’s councilors were out of town. I mention to him about being a literal descendent of Aaron, serving without councilors. He said, "Oh no! I am not. I have three councilors." He then pointed to the High Priest group leader, myself as the seventy group leader, and the Elders, quorum president. He also said that since the idea had been mentioned, we were to sit on the stand with him during all meetings that day, and be recognized by the ward for the positions we held. During sacrament meeting, that night he advised the entire ward that we were his councilors until his regular councilors returned. He further explained that should the entire bishopric be taken at once the three of us were the bishopric until the stake presidency came and officially reorganized the bishopric.
At another time president S. Dilworth Young of the First Council of Seventy was talking to the seventy of the stake and was also reorganizing the council of the seventy. We asked him where the 1st quorum was over which the First Council of the Seventy presided. He pointed to the presidents in front of him and said "There they are, and if the government of the Church ever devolved upon the Seventy, you brothern become the general authorities until the First Presidency and other quorum s are established." He went on to explain that we would be assigned to visit and preside at stake conferences throughout the church as well as other duties of the general councils of the church. I had in these two instances been given very definite instruction as to what my position was as president of a priesthood quorum or organization in the church. I was never again to take such callings as not being important.
In the fall of 1958, I was automatically released from the presidency of the; 236th quorum of seventy when the First and Tenth wards were separated from Grant Stake and were added to Granite Park Stake. I thought I was now out of the seventy presidency. However, before I went to stake priesthood meeting in Granite Park Stake I was called to fill a vacancy in the 399th quorum of seventy. In this quorum I had the privilege of accompanying the senior president to interviews with several bishops in the stake to discuss seventy work and assignments. We were in the process of involving each seventy of the quorum in the stake mission and were trying to get the cooperation of the bishops. Some of them cooperated readily, but others were reluctant because the stake was a young stake and they wanted all members available for all assignments. We made considerable progress in the five or so months I was in this quorum.
The senior president, Myron Burgess, was a very methodical man. I had asked the stake president if it was necessary for me to resign from my work in the temple. He said he saw no reason for doing so. However, President Burgess told me in no uncertain terms that my only responsibility was to the seventy quorum and I was to have no other assignments in the church, temple, or anything else, regardless of what the stake president said. For this reason I resigned all assignments in the temple and concentrated on seventy work.
I had asked President Burgess to help me administer to Ardell before I took her to the hospital to have one of the babies she bore me. This was the only time I ever saw his methodical ways desert him. I was very impressed with the idea that we must hurry. Brother Burgess was to seal the anointing. He usually pronounced every letter in the blessing very carefully. This time he did not do so. In fact he hurried so fast we hardly understood him. We, Ardell, myself, and Brother Burgess, made a very fast trip to L.D.S. Hospital. Had we stopped for all red lights, the baby would have been born enroute. As it was everything was fine. Thus, our fourth daughter, Ilona, was born.
In March 1960 we purchased a home in the Grant 2nd Ward, and therefore moved back into Grant Stake. We had been looking at homes for several years, but had not been impressed enough to buy. One of the homes we looked at was a five-bedroom home in Hunter area. The realtor was asking $2,500.00 down and then we assume the mortgage payments of about $60.00 per month. I half-heartedly offered $100.00 down and then assume the payments. A few days later the agent returned and offered to accept the $1000.00 down, then loan me $300.00 down and we assume the mortgage payments. I let the $300.00 stop the purchase.
We then looked at a nearly new brick home in Sandy. This was the home of a Sperry engineer who had been transferred to Maryland. He left the dishes in the cupboard, food in the fridge and all furniture in the house. All went with the house when purchased. When it came to making a firm offer, the real estate agent tried to put pressure on me to offer more that I was prepared to pay. I refused to make the offer he asked me to. A few days later he wanted me to submit my offer again. I told him I had spent my money on another home and was no longer in the market.
The home we purchased is the home we are now living in. It seemed at that time the Lord wanted us to live here, and I have not changed my mind since. The home was being sold by the owner and he had advertised it in the paper. We saw the ad on the first day and came immediately to see it. We liked what we saw and said so. To support our thoughts, Ardell's parents came and we received permission to show them the house. Later that same day my parents came and we showed them the house. Both sets of parents were very favorable and my father urged me to move quickly to buy. Within a week the contract was signed, and four days later we moved. We have lived at 741 East 1920 South since that time.
I was certain I would not be called to the seventy presidency this time as the seventy council had recently been reorganized. I was therefore prepared for a status of no position in the church. I had not yet attended church in the Second Ward when Bishop Pace and his councilor, Brother Ensign, came to the home and asked me to be the ward chorister. This was the result of information that preceded me into the ward, very likely via Bishop Pace's wife, that I was a musician. I am of the opinion their expectations were higher than I was prepared to fulfill. It seems the people from whom I purchased the home were deeply involved in the music program of the ward. I tried to comply with the expectations.
My first project was to get a choir organized. It was apparent to me there was considerable music talent in the ward, and I wanted to put it to work. My first special program was a Christmas Cantata in 1960. The program was a success considering the reluctance of ward members to be members of the choir. At least I had launched a program and established me as the choir leader. Thus, I had been a music director in every ward I had lived in.
Also during this time I was again called to the seventy presidency. The senior president of the 236th quorum had decided to move from Grant Stake and again I was called to fill the vacancy in that council. This was my third call to the seventy presidency. If was at this time I was called to the Grant Stake mission. Stake President Ludwig, in his interview, made it quite clear experienced missionaries were needed in the stake mission. I told him I had never met the housewife at the door. He expressed surprise since I had completed a full time mission. I explained to him what my full time mission activity was. How I had been in the chorus and other musical groups where I met governors, ambassadors, congressmen, etc, on their own territory, but never the housewife. I also accepted the call and said I was willing to get acquainted with the housewife.
I entered this mission with the firm resolve to expend all necessary effort and energy to make a success of this mission. I was fully aware of my responsibility to teach the people and give them the opportunity to accept the gospel or reject it. One of the names Elder Don Leatherman and I were given to visit was a part member family. The husband was the non-member. On our first visit he advised us he did not believe in God and was strong enough in and of himself that he did not need a God. However, he was willing to talk to us any time we wanted to visit. His wife was active in the ward primary to which he did not object. It appeared she was the one that requested the missionaries to visit the home.
After several visits during which we talked a lot of gospel, but made no progress, I told Elder Leatherman as we prepared for another visit that on this visit I was going to go directly into the lesson on the Godhead and would try to get him to accept the existence of God.
When we arrive at the home I requested the privilege of conducting the discussion around the kitchen table. We put our books and displays on the table and started out. As we came to each scripture or quotation that needed to be read I asked the brother to read it. He willingly complied. After each one I asked him if he could accept the truth of that statement. Each time he replied it made sense to him. This went on for almost an hour. We had him accepting the existence of a God. I could read the wife's happiness as she understood what we were doing, and her anticipation of the successful outcome of our venture. After almost an hour I had him reading a passage in Revelations. At one particular part of that scripture (I do not remember now what scripture it was) this brother stopped, looked at me and with a smile on his face said, "Hey, what do you think you are doing?" I explained to him that for an hour he had accepted the existence of God and I wondered why he suddenly changed his mind. The discussion was finished for that night. We were still welcome in the home, but he was always on his guard, and we were never again able to achieve the advantage we had that one visit. I do not want to be a judge in this case, but it is my personal opinion he has had the chance to hear the gospel and refused it. We visited a few times after that, but gradually stopped the visits. I hope someone was eventually successful in converting him as he would be a valuable member of the church.
After being set apart as a missionary my companion and I, Elder Hiller, were given the name of a brother Simmons to visit. We were also told that someone would eventually baptize him into the church, but we may not be around to witness the baptism. After visiting him for about 2 weeks I felt impressed to issue him a direct challenge. I therefore told him that in two visits we had not told him anything he had not heard before and did not already believe. I asked the direct question, "What are you waiting for?" His reply was that he was waiting for his brother-in-law to come from the south to baptize him. I then asked him what if he died before his brother-in-law came to baptize him. He thought for a minute and asked what we thought he should do. We told him it was too late to be baptized the next day, but why not the next week. He accepted the challenge. I do not know who was the most surprised, our district president or the bishopric of Grand 7th Ward, especially since it had only been three weeks since we had been challenged to visit him.
Another man we had been requested to visit was a Catholic man whose wife was L.D.S., but she was not an active member nor was she any help in teaching him the gospel. He was very alert, and receptive to our teachings. We had no trouble convincing him to attend church with us. On three particular Sundays we were successful in having him attend priesthood meeting, Sunday School, and Sacrament meeting. Each time he and we tried to get his wife to attend also. She did not accept the challenge, however, and each time used the excuse that she did not have the children ready. The man told her he was going anyway. We were very encouraged by this man as he quit his smoking, was openly reading the Book of Mormon at home and work and was eagerly discussing it with anyone who would talk about the Book of Mormon with him. His wife at one time asked him what his mother would say if she came and saw the Book of Mormon on the table. His reply was, "I do not care what she thinks. This is my home and I can read anything I want in my own home."
After all this we could not get the same commitment from the wife, who was not willing to quit smoking. We had even arranged with the Relief Society of the ward to assist in his project. They honestly tried, but the wife would not respond. After several weeks, the husband began to cool to our message. His statement to his wife was "If that is all your church means to you I do not see why I should become interested." And we began to lose him.
About this time I was released from the mission so I do not know whether anyone was successful in overcoming this stalemate. Too bad too, as he was another Golden Contact. If only members would accept their responsibility in teaching non-members what a marvelous work could be accomplished.
After my release from the Grant Stake Mission I was sustained as scoutmaster. I think my experience in the public schools had convinced the bishopric I could work with the youth. I was apprehensive about this call as I did not then, nor do I now, consider myself an effective scout leader. I can work with the adults and help them plan an effective program, but for some reason I have difficulty following the plan myself. My major effort was therefore directed at getting experts in various fields to visit our scout meetings and train the boys in the numerous merit badge fields.
I was following a very good scout master who had the boys active in the scout program and the advancement record was superb. I did not want to lose this momentum and honestly tried to keep it going. At the first stake scout court of honor after I became scout master they started a new incentive award. The scout master whose troop had the most advancements and merit badges was to be honored. When the announcement was made that troop 67 had won the award, I was shocked until I remembered this award came to me because of the work the preceding scout master had done.
During my term as scoutmaster each troop was requested to prepare a display for a skills show the council was sponsoring. The boys wanted to prepare a fire prevention display. I gave my permission and prepared to stay in the background completely even during the public presentation. They prepared a wonderful display. They had potential fire hazards in the home depicted such as over loaded electrical circuits, trash collections in storage areas, spontaneous combustion hazards, and other such fire traps. 'They even obtained a film from the county library on fire prevention to finish the display. The day of the skill show the boys organized themselves even so far as to set up a publicity committee to walk around the area and advertise by word of mouth their display. Again, because of the boy’s enthusiasm we won an award. I still feel guilty because my personal efforts were limited to giving the boys approval for the project.
I was released as scout master after about 9 months. The bishop, who was an active scouter, decided I was not as happy in that position as I should have been, and called another man as scout master who was better prepared for the calling.
During this time I experienced some changes in my occupation. The unit I had been working with was to be disbanded and the employees reassigned to other work. I therefore submitted a bid to become a member of the central office adjudication unit. In this unit decisions were made for claimants living outside the Salt Lake, Ogden ,and Provo areas. In these decisions we informed the claimants whether or not they were to receive benefits, and if we were not going to pay then we gave the reasons why we would not pay benefits. From the wording of this statement you have probably guessed I was the successful applicant. I was to continue in this assignment for almost ten years.
Many experiences I had in this work I would not dare write, but I will mention a few. We often wrote letters to claimants requesting additional information to assist us in making our decisions. One such incident was a farmer in the western part of Utah. He had submitted forms showing farm activity. I then wrote and asked him what about the other 100 acres. When his reply came, my supervisor asked me where I obtained information about the other 100 acres. I told him the other acreage was shown on the farm report. His reply was "show me." Three of us went through the record in detail, but found no mention of an additional 100 acres except in the farmer’s reply in which he fully described the additional farmland. I do not know yet how the idea came to me that he had unreported farmland.
We often would let claimants come to our office and pick up benefit checks in person when they had been delayed for reasons beyond the control of the claimant. We also had numerous requests about missing checks. I talked to one man who said he was missing a check from two months ago and he wanted me to write him a check without asking any questions. I was not willing to do this and started asking questions. Question 1: "Why do you think you have not received this check?" Reply: "Because I have no record of it nor does my bank have a record of it, and I always put my checks in the bank." I started to leave the office to get the check in question or to see if it had been returned to our office. The claimant said he was not going to let me leave that particular room until I had given him the check he asked for. I explained to him the need to verify whether the check had been cashed or not. His reply was that he had told me he had not received the check and that was all the information I needed. I went to the records and found the check had been cashed. I then went to the check files and obtained the check. When I went back to the interview room I told him he might take all his check to the bank, but for some reason the bank took the check to Joe's Bar. His wife was with him, and the look on her face told me she would deal with that problem for me. Nothing more was said about not receiving the check.
We often had people come to the office to discuss overpayment decisions. One such discussion was with a young man who had received an overpayment decision 12 or 13 years before. He insisted he had not been given a chance to give his explanation. When I showed him from the record we had scheduled 5 hearings for him, but he had not attended any of the hearings he changed his battle plan. He then told me the statute of limitations would not let us collect it. I explained that we had initiated a judgment against him several years before and therefore we would collect. He left quite angry. I had not told him we now knew where he was working and the collection officer was issuing a garnishment against his paycheck. The next day the claimant came to my desk and very angrily paid the entire amount owing.
At another time I received on my desk a post card with two $1.00 greenbacks paper clipped to it. The card had been mailed in Los Angeles, California, the day before and in less than 24 hours was on my desk in Salt Lake City, Utah. I held the card between two fingers and ran to the cashier with it. I later asked one of the postal workers why the card came to us so fast. His reply was "That is just the type trick a postal inspector would try to see if the money would get through, and the past office employees were just as afraid of it as I was.
Another time a claimant came in to pick up his last benefit check. The one that exhausted his benefits. I always asked them for identification to be sure I gave the check to the person who should have received it. As he removed his identification I saw a police badge. His explanation was that his father-in-law was an official in one of the towns near Salt Lake City, and that he (the claimant) and his father-in-law had a quarrel and he (the claimant) was discharged from the police force. I did not tell the claimant, but I did not accept this explanation. I knew when an officer was removed from the police force the first thing they asked for was the return of the badge. I knew this because at the time I carried a badge as a part time job. Even though I was licensed as a private detective I was a uniformed officer and knew the regulation concerning the badge.
However back to my story. I prepared and the claimant signed a statement explaining what he had just told me.
As soon as the claimant left I took the statement to the supervisor of the fraud investigation unit. He immediately hurried from the office to investigate. He returned in an hour or two and quitely told he "We will prosecute him." I found a short time later the investigator found the police department whose badge the claimant was carrying had been looking for him so they could recover their badge. In addition it was discovered the claimant had been working full time, each week he had filed a claim for unemployment, at Salt Lake City bus lines. Therefore when he arrived home that night he would have our chief investigator at his doorstep as well as the police chief who wanted to recover the badge, and an official of the Salt Lake City Lines, each of whom was very unhappy with him. The supervisor of the fraud unit wrote a report on this incident with a copy to me and the original to be entered in my personnel file.
I mentioned my carrying a badge as a private detective. I thought it advisable to increase my income a little. I therefore accepted part time work as a security patrolman with Deseret Detective agency. My usual assignment was to drive a radio patrol car on one of three routes we had in the city. I would patrol businesses, private homes etc to be sure the property nor the people were in danger. At times I did stand stationary guard.
One such stationary guard was at ZCMI Dept. store in down town Salt Lake City. It was Christmas time and I was on duty in the toy dept trying to prevent as much shoplifting as possible. One night I felt someone coming up behind me and without turning around I made a grab with my right hand. I just brushed a set of fingers as I did so. I then turned to face what I considered to be an assailant only to find it was an eleven year old boy. Before I had a chance to say anything a woman started berating me for abusing her son and wanted to know what right I had to interfere with what her son wanted to do. I asked the boy what his intentions were and he replied, "I just wanted to see your gun." The gun he wanted to see was a 39 caliber Smith and Wesson police special. I then explained to the mother I could think of no quicker way to get hurt than to reach for a police officer's gun. The mother more calmly asked what I would have done if I had succeeded in getting the boys arm in my grasp. I explained that my intentions were to bend his arm the wrong way at the elbow and probably shatter the elbow. The mother was still scolding the boy as they walked away.
Later that same night as I was guarding the manager of another store as he closed for the night, a teen-ager approached me from the front and said, "Let me see your gun." I slapped her hand and arm so hard I thought it might break it, and told her to keep her hands off. I further explained I did not allow my children to pick up the gun even to hand it to me. One of the other workers started to laugh. The girl asked why he was laughing as her arm and hand hurt. He said he was sure it did, but that my response was exactly like his father who had been a member of the Highway Patrol. The boy said the hardest spanking he ever got was when he picked up the gun to had to his father. His father then explained to him that no-one handled a police officer's gun except the police officer to whom it belonged.
There were some amusing incidents also. As I was attending the closing of a store one night a boy looked at me, and then said to his mother, "Mom, that cop has shot seven men tonight." His mother asked him how he knew. He pointed at my belt where I carried my spare bullets, and said, "There are seven bullets missing." The mother and I laughed and went on about our business.
One morning about 2 A.M. I was waiting for a traffic light to turn green so I could make a left turn and go on about my business. As it turned green I could see a car coming who, I was sure, would run the red light, so I waited. Sure enough he did run the red light. As he did so, someone in his car must have told him I saw him run the light. He traveled about a half block and pulled over to wait for me. I waited another light change and then slowly approached the car. As I passed him I waved and went on down the street. I can imagine the sigh of relief from the driver.
Late one night I received a call from my dispatcher that a man in a trailer home had rifle and was threatening to shoot his girl friend. I asked for county deputies to back me up on this assignment. The girl friend had escaped from the man with the rifle. Thus, as the county deputies and I entered the trailer, we were three against one. The man was obviously drunk which made the situation even more dangerous. The three of us started down the long, narrow hall shoulder to shoulder. If the man had decided to shoot it would have been practically impossible to miss us. One of the deputies kept talking to the man trying to get him to lay the rifle down. The man continued warning us not to come any closer or he would shoot. We told him he may shoot one of us, but we had three guns on him, and he would only get one of us because the other two would shoot him. By this type of strategy we were able to approach him close enough that one final lunge was all we needed to knock the rifle out of his hand. We took him into custody and then saw the loaded shot gun on the bed beside him. It also appeared he had taken three shots with the rifle. It appeared the Lord was guarding me that night.
At one of the homes we patrolled, it was necessary to make voice contact with the elderly lady inside several times a night. I went there one night with intentions of patrolling the entire property on foot. As I left the patrol car, I saw the largest dog I have ever seen in my life. He stood as tall as the car almost, and could have worn a fair size saddle with ease. I decided to walk around the property anyway, which I did. The dog followed me and was wagging his tail as I re-entered the car to leave.
A few nights later one of my sergeants (by this time I was Patrol Sergeant) was patrolling that particular route. As he came to this property he told us he intended to stay there for at least half and hour. As he turned off the car motor and the radio I told the dispatcher to wait 1 1/2 minutes. She wanted to know why, and I said it would not take any longer that that for "Duke" to be back on duty. In just under a minute "Duke" was back on the air with the remark, "This property is all secure." I asked Duke if he had seen "him." He wanted to know, "Seen who.?" I told him he knew who. His only response was, "H--l." We never did explain to the dispatcher who "him" was.
About 1 A.M. one morning I came to a doctor's office and tried the door to be sure it was locked. I almost fell on my face inside the office as the door was not locked. I asked the dispatcher to call the doctor and ask him to come down and lock the door. His response was that he knew the door was locked, and the officer was a liar. I then asked for a city police officer to meet me there as I wanted someone else to know the door was unlocked. When the city officer arrived and found the door open, he had the city dispatcher call the doctor. The city dispatcher received the same reply our dispatcher had. The city officer looked at me and said if I nodded my head enough police officers would go to the doctors home to drag him out of bed and bring him to the office to lock up. My suggestion was to make sure there were no drugs in the doctor's office and then we would leave the office as was. Two police agencies had a report of the door being unlocked. If someone removed all equipment from the office, the doctor had no one to blame but himself. Imagine my surprise to return to duty three days later and find the doctor's office vacated. The landlord, after receiving my report, evicted the doctor and gave him 24 hours to move out.
Some people try to make a police officer's gun a ridiculous toy. I am not sure whether this is an attempt to make children feel there is nothing to fear from police officers or whether they think the police carry toy guns.
One night I had been on special assignment at ZCMI parking terrace where a special promotion program was held. At this program they were selling recordings of a musical group. After the concert was finished I accompanied the lady from ZCMI to the office to deposit the money. As we entered the elevator, a group of woman and children approached the elevator. I told them that particular elevator was closed temporarily to the public, and they stood back from the entrance. The lady from ZCMI waited to let them on the elevator so I let them on, but stood between them and the money. One of the elderly women, probably a grandmother, looked at my gun, and started to laugh. She then said, "What kind of marbles does that shoot." The lady from ZCMI became exasperated at that and told her my revolver was the real thing.
In March 1971 my work assignment at Employment Security changed. I had bid on a job as claims investigator, and was accepted. My supervisor was the chief investigator to whom I had referred the case of the man who was still carrying the police badge. This case was discussed earlier in this history. On this job, I have done considerable travel throughout the state of Utah, and even into border areas of other states.
In the summer or fall of 1972 I was again called to the presidency of the 236th quorum of seventy. This was my fourth time in the presidency. When my wife and I were called to the Stake President's office for the interview, I was told what position they wanted me to accept. President Williams then asked me if I knew any reasons why I should not be called. My response was "I can think of several reasons, but if you, in the spirit of your calling, see fit to sustain me in this position my objections are not valid." President Williams was visibly impressed by this reply.
After I was officially sustained in quorum business meeting, I was given an appointment to go to church headquarters at 47 East South Temple in downtown Salt Lake City to be set apart. I had been instructed to be at headquarters at 9 A.M. on a particular day. When I went to the church offices that morning I was accompanied by my wife, my three sisters, their husbands, and my parents. I then found my appointment was for 2 P.M. that afternoon with Brother Paul H. Dunn of the First Council of the Seventy. However, Brother S. Dilworth Young, the senior president in the First Council of Seventy, decided that since I was there he would set me apart.
While Brother Young was talking to me, he asked if I knew the responsibility of a president in the Seventy. I told him I had some idea as to what was expected of me as that was my fourth call to that position. Three of the calls to the 236th quorum of seventy. Brother Young looked at me for a minute and said, "I don't like this at all." I asked why and was told it was his experience that when stake presidents called a man to the Seventy presidency so many times he was looking for bishops. Nevertheless, he invited my father and three brothers-in-law to assist him in setting me apart. A year later, almost to the day, I was sustained as first councilor in the bishopric.
During this year in the Seventy Presidency there were a few decisions we made that I exhibited my belief in the motto "Do it Now." One such activity was the combining of seventy groups in priesthood classes.
The first councilor in the Stake Presidency and the High Council Representative met with us in our council meeting one night. They suggested we divide the quorum into two classes for priesthood meeting, and meet in a central location for class. None of the groups were impressive by size when they met alone. As we discussed this the opinions were voiced by several of the presidents we would need at least three months to make the change. When they asked my opinion I said it was my opinion we could do it in 1½ weeks. We would make the announcement in priesthood meeting the following Sunday and then call each quorum member at home during the week and the following Sunday we make the change. There were comments of annoyance at my suggestion. The senior president asked the first councilor in the Stake Presidency for his opinion. He stated it was their hope that my plan would be adopted. It was, and the project was much more successful than it was generally thought possible.
Before this change was made, I had one measure of success. One inactive seventy in my ward was being home taught by two good quorum members, but with not much success. To supplement their efforts I started visiting him personally. One evening I visited him at a particularly sensitive time and we finally had a very confidential conversation.
Shortly after this I invited him and his wife to a quorum social. They accepted and my wife and I took them with us. After the social we brought them home and sat in the car talking. I asked him if I could pick him up the next morning and take him to Priesthood meeting. There was hesitancy in his reply. Up to this time he had given the impression his wife would very much object to his going to any church function. However when I invited him to go to priesthood meeting the next morning his hesitation caused his wife to say "he will be ready. After all , that was the agreement when we went to the party tonight. I will see that he is ready." True to the promise he was ready.
There were many surprised priesthood holders that morning. This was the first time he had been to church in over twenty years.
Luckily, Brother Morgan and I were the only Seventies in Priesthood meeting that day. I therefore dispensed with the regular lesson and he and I talked one on one for the entire class period about the importance of families. He seemed to enjoy it and continued to come for quite some time.
After my call to the bishopric he stopped coming for some reason, and we have not been successful in reactivating him.
We as a Seventies Quorum had pledged our support to the First Council Missionary fund. To increase our participation it was decided to sponsor a Choral Program. One such program was a male chorus. We hired the auditorium of one of the Jr. High Schools and sold tickets. The response was terrific. I had been given the assignment to be master of ceremonies.
On the day before the program another man and myself from the office had gone to Southern Utah (Panguitch and Cedar City) to conduct some training sessions. As we were preparing to start the last session at 8 A.M. on Friday morning, I asked the other man what time he thought we would finish. He said we would be through by 11 A.M. and then eat lunch on the way back to Salt Lake City. I mentioned this was alright as it was important that I be in Salt Lake City by 7 P.M. I reminded him of the time limit when we left the training session in Cedar City at 3:15 P.M. that afternoon with 256 miles to drive to get to Salt Lake City by 7 P.M. We made it..
During this time I was also on special assignment at the initiatory department in the Salt Lake Temple. My assignment was to make sure all proxies were properly signed in and given a washing and anointing room in which to do proxy work for the dead. I also was responsible to make sure the brethren coming to the temple for their own endowments had received their washings, anointing and accompanying instructions. I spent a very busy two to three hours on each Wednesday evening. Stakes in the temple district were given assignments to do initiatory work on specific nights. One night when we were ready to start the initiatory work the stake proxies had not arrived. One of the temple workers therefore asked for volunteers. Twenty five brethren volunteered and each was given a full list of names. We therefore had a full quorum of proxies and temple workers.
The supervisor helped me get them started and then left me in charge to see the work was completed. He then went upstairs to fill another assignment. By this time the twenty five stake proxies arrived and I went around the study room and other areas of the temple and succeeded in getting a full group of temple workers to open the rest of the available rooms.
As soon as this was accomplished the bell rang calling the regular temple workers to the veil. I had some difficulty convincing the temple workers not to leave me then, but they finally agreed I needed their help. Then a member of the temple presidency came and asked me if I had heard the signal to send workers to the veil. I agreed I had, but that I thought I also needed the help since I had 50 proxies in attendance. When he saw all available rooms in full use he told me to keep the help and they would make other arrangements at the veil. A very interesting assignment.
One night in Sacrament meeting a member of the High Council came to the ward and announced a change in the bishopric would be accomplished the next Sunday. On Tuesday evening I received my call the Stake Presidency wanted to talk to my wife and I the next evening at 7 P.M. This meant I would have to leave my assignment in the temple early the next night. When I told my supervisor, Brother Page, and also stated there was to be changes in the bishopric he agreed to let me leave early, but he also asked "Are you to be the bishop?" I assured him I was not, but would let him know the outcome. During the interview I was called as first councilor in the bishopric.
We had called an emergency meeting of the 236th quorum presidents for the next Sunday morning to make a final decision about sponsoring a night at the Promised Valley Playhouse as our fund raising project. During the meeting it was suggested that I obtain additional information, and submit it at presidency meeting the next Thursday night. I knew very well I was attending my last meeting as a seventy, but could not make this known to those brethren. Somehow I convinced them the decision needed to be made then and a date entered on the stake calendar. I was given the assignment to talk to the Stake Presidency. I took one other president with me and talked to President Gimlich, first councilor in the stake presidency. He seemed surprised to see me there, as he also knew what was going to happen in a few hours. However he said nothing, but assigned us the date we requested on the stake calendar. I had completed my work as a seventy.
When Ardell and I were interviewed by the Stake Presidency about my call to the bishopric we were advised to inform our family on Saturday night what was to happen in Sacrament meeting the next night. Be it to their credit none of them revealed what they knew even though the youngest was only seven years old. At this time, also, my eldest daughter, Rozetta, let my wife and I know that when the announcement was made the previous week the thought went through her mind "you will sit here next week and sustain your father to the bishopric." During the entire week she had been sure of my pending call even before I was actually called. Thus it was that on August 25, 1973, I became a member of the Grant Second Ward Bishopric. Bishop Kay Worthington was still bishop, I was first councilor and Merlin Smith was 2nd councilor.
I will always be grateful for my experience in the bishopric with Bishop Worthington, and Brother Smith. We were at this time remodeling our chapel and had, at the suggestion of the stake presidency, moved out of our own chapel and had been invited to share chapel space with Grant 5th and 11th ward. Since this was also the stake center, this meant that once each month a representative of each of the three bishoprics and the Stake Presidency met in a planning session to schedule the building for various ward and stake activates.
At our first bishopric meeting, Bishop Worthington asked Merlin Smith to accept the responsibility of completing the remodeling project. If Brother Smith would do this, Bishop Worhtington said he and I would see to the remaining duties in the bishopric. Brother Smith was experienced in construction supervision and the remodeling proceeded at a rapid rate.
One of the sisters came to me one day and asked how they could be certain Bishop Worthington would be at the temple on a particular night. A plan had been proposed that for the Bishop's birthday all temple recommend holders attend a specific temple session that day. Special arrangements had been made with the temple presidency for our ward to all be on the same session. I assured this sister she could proceed with the plan and Brother Smith and I would see the bishop was in the temple at the appointed time.
As time passed, Brother Smith and I had a very difficult time keeping that particular evening free of conflicting activities without Bishop Worthington learning of the temple session that had been in the planning for about three months. The closer we came to the date the more difficult it became to keep other activities from interfering. We as councilors were hard pressed to keep our promise to sister Stout. To keep the temple on the Bishops mind we had planned on attending the temple as a bishopric, but nothing had been said to the bishop about the entire ward being there. One night, in bishopric meeting, Bishop Worthington suggested that instead of going to the temple we organize a work party and complete more of the remodeling project. Brother Smith and I told him we should attend the temple as planned. We further promised him that if we attended the temple as planned the chapel remodeling would be completed on schedule. But if we did not attend the temple the chapel remodeling would be delayed. With a smile the Bishop said, "I was just testing the water." Brother Smith and I were sure he knew all about the secret plans.
Our next challenge came on the Sunday prior to the scheduled temple session. We as councilors wanted to visit each of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, but had no excuse to get out of a meeting with the Bishop to do so. As we entered the Bishop's office after opening exercises of Priesthood meeting, the Bishop suggested we may want to visit the Priesthood quorums to firm up the commitment for work forces at the chapel during the week. I looked at brother Smith and said "I will visit the Elder's quorum if you will go to the High Priest." Without waiting for further comment we left the office and accomplished both purposes. On the night of the temple session, it became very apparent Bishop Worthington had no knowledge of the purposes of the session until he arrived at the temple. Out subterfuge was a success. It should also be mentioned we had all recommend holders of the ward at the temple that night.
As Bishop Worthington and I went around the ward in our assignment I learned a great deal about how to officiate in church administration. To watch the relaxed and calm way Bishop Worthington went about his duties as Bishop gave me a greater understanding of why the ward members had such a high regard for him
When Ardell and I were at the Stake Presidents office for the interview and the call had been issued, President Williams was giving us some advice. Among the things he said one statement stands out in my memory. He said that my acceptance into homes and among ward members would be accompanied by greater respect than I had been used to before. This was brought home to me very forcefully a few days after I was sustained to the Bishopric. The Bishop called and asked me to visit the home of one of the Elders of the ward to see what assistance may be needed. I called Brother William Sears, a councilor in the Elder's quorum, and asked him to accompany me on this visit. This was a home where I had visited many times before and was always greeted with considerable hospitality. This time there was illness in the home. Several of the children were ill and the mother was forcing herself to stay up to care for the family. The father was working out of state and therefore was not available to help her in caring for the family.
However, the greeting I received this time brought clearly to my mind the caution President Williams mentioned as he tried to impress we with the need to be careful what I said and did because my being first councilor in the bishopric fostered greater influence among ward members. As Brother Sears and I entered the home we found family members recovering from their illness and the children were active, not noisy, as children will be. The mother gave but one instruction to the children. She said, "Sit down and be quiet. The Bishopric is here." This impressed more firmly on me the office to which I had been called than any other instruction I had received. After this experience I always entered the homes of the ward a little more cautiously.
One night Bishop Worthington called me about 10:30 P.M. and asked me to take brother "Smith with me and go to the Cottonwood Hospital to give a name and a blessing to a young baby that was not expected to live through the night. One of the young couples of the ward had called the Bishop and requested this blessing as they wanted the child to be given a name before she underwent surgery, which the doctor could not assure the parents the child could survive. There was an obstruction in the throat that interfered with the child's breathing and eating. Without surgery, the doctor advised the parents, the child could not live; with surgery, there was about a twenty percent chance of survival.
Brother Smith and I arrived at the hospital on snow-covered roads, but without the slipping and sliding that usually accompanies travel on such roads. It seemed as though the Lord was telling us to hurry because there was no time to spare. When we entered the room where the baby was in an incubator with breathing equipment and life sustaining fluids being artificially administered, the parents and the doctor were also there. Since I was the member of the Bishopric that was in charge I invited the father to participate in the blessing. He did not accept the invitation and so brother Smith anointed and I sealed the anointing at the same time giving the child a blessing and a name.
During the blessing we promised the baby she would recover and become a mother in Israel. At that time I did not know the nature of the illness. I did not hear the explanation until several months later, when Brother Smith was telling the Stake President about it. Anyway we did promised the child she would recover, but that her recovery may not be miraculous. The rest of the story was told by Brother Smith except for the telephone call from the mother the next morning when she asked me "What do you consider a miracle." I explained that the recovery would not be instantaneous and complete, but it would be sure.
As I learned later the child was transferred from Cottonwood Hospital in Murray, Utah to Primary Children's Hospital on the upper avenues in Salt Lake City, Utah with the expectation of immediate surgery. As soon as the child arrived at the primary children's hospital the doctors there wanted another set of X-Rays. The personnel from Cottonwood Hospital presented their X-Rays. Primary Children's accepted the X-Rays, but still asked for another set to be taken at their hospital. The new X-Rays were taken. When the two sets of X-Rays were compared it was found the obstruction was clearly defined in the X-Rays from Cottonwood, but could not be found in the X-Rays taken at primary children's hospital. In less than an hour the obstruction that had been declared sure death had been completely removed. I am writing this several years later. The child is very healthy and surgery has never been performed.
The Lord tries to prepare us before an actual need occurs. The above incident calls to my mind a promise I was given in my patriarchal blessing when I was told that when I acted within the authority of the Priesthood what ever I did would be just as valid as if the Lord himself was there and did it. In another blessing sometime later by Bishop Worthington, I was told I had the gift of healing.
Inspiration and revelation are constant occurrences within a bishopric when they are united in the Lord's work. One evening as we sat in the Bishops office discussing ward problems we were strongly impressed with the need to visit the home of a particular sister in the ward. We knelt in prayer and without further discussion went to that home. We found there a situation that was serious and needed immediate attention. I do not think I should discuss here the conditions, but we spent several hours in that home. These visits were to continue for several months. In the final analysis there was a happy ending.
At another time we felt a need to reorganize the Sunday School Presidency. Since one of my specific assignments was the Sunday School the Bishop asked me to give consideration to this problem. As I thought about it for a few weeks the name of one particular man continually came to mind. One night as we were beginning Bishops meeting the Bishop asked me if I was prepared to suggest who the new Sunday School President should be. I said, "yes, whenever I think about it I keep thinking of Warren Dunlap." Brother Smith immediately agreed he could support that proposition and Bishop Worthington also agreed. We then called Brother Dunlap and his wife to an interview and the change was made.
I am not attempting to give a detailed description of all my experiences as a member of the Bishopric, but am trying to show several ways in which the Lord directs his church.
We moved into our remodeled chapel for church services on Christmas 1973. There were a few minor projects yet to complete, but we were able to hold services in our own chapel. We then began preparations for the dedication. As we neared the final audit we were advised by the church audit department that we owed $8,000.00 to finish paying the ward's portion of the cost for remodeling. We asked one of the stake finance clerks, who was an accountant, to attend the final audit. As we reviewed our records we reached another amount. At the final audit we discovered that a previous Bishopric had contracted a $3,000.00 expenditure of which we were not aware. This justified the $8,000.00 owing, and we began preparation to collect the money to pay the debt. The Stake Presidency had offered to loan us enough to pay the amount due, but we asked for permission to try and obtain the funds from the ward members.
Our approach to the ward membership was to prepare charts showing details of where the remodel money was spent, and how much we still needed. After Sacrament meeting one Sunday we invited any members of the ward who wanted to see the accounting to remain for another meeting. When we completed our presentation we left it to the discretion of each individual member to decide what amount they would contribute. In one weeks time $10,000.00 were contributed, and the money was still coming in. Thus even at the end of the project we avoided the necessity of setting quotas for donations, nor did we need to borrow money from the stake to accomplish our purposes.
Bishop Worrthington gave me many opportunities to gain experience that I was not aware councilors could participate in. One experience was issuing my first temple recommend. The Bishop had gone to California for several weeks on vacation and left Brother Smith and I in charge of the ward. Not only did I sign the welfare orders, but one woman wanted a temple recommend. I told her the Bishop would be home in 2 or 3 weeks. She said she was to attend a family wedding at the Ogden Temple on Wednesday and needed the recommend now. I called the Stake President and asked him how we obtained a recommend for this sister. He chuckled and said, "I guess you are going to issue a temple recommend." He explained to me that I could issue recommends, but suggested that I sign them as First Councilor and not as Bishop.
During the interview I asked all the questions and was particularly inquisitive about a word of wisdom problem I was aware she had been bothered with. This problem concerned the use of coffee. After considerable questioning I told her I would issue the recommend, but there was a stipulation when the Bishop returned if he did not agree with my issuing the recommend I would ask for it to be returned. I am very sure she was wishing she had not asked. When the Bishop returned I told him what I had done. He laughed, and said we should let it go for a little while. I issued several temple recommends after that, but did not question any others as intensely as I did the first one I issued.
There were several instances when I used the interviewing technique I learned in my work as an investigator. Bishop Worthington asked Brother Smith and I to interview one of the widows of the ward in preparation toward calling her to a position. When we mentioned the position she gave us a flat "no." I asked her why she was so insistent the answer had to be "no." Her reply was that she did not agree with the church practice of men who married a second time choosing a wife who had never been married rather than marrying one of the widows. I then requested her explanation for this. What it all meant was that after her husband died a particular Stake President's wife also died. The sister was of the opinion that since the widow we were interviewing and her husband were special friends of the Stake President and his wife, the Stake President would have married the widow if the church had not forbidden him to do so. I was of the opinion then, and still am, that she was particularly bitter because this Stake President was called as one of the General Authorities and she wanted to be the wife of a General Authority. When we reported back to the Bishop, Brother Smith agreed with this evaluation.
I also had the experience of interviewing many youth. I found some of the young women, especially, who were in disagreement with the Church Correlation Program. They thought the Sunday School and other auxiliaries should teach doctrine which had never been taught in the seminary program. They expected each class to teach new doctrine that had never been taught before. I tried to explain how each teacher would give new insight to topics which had been taught by other instructors. I am not sure how successful I was, but they continued attending church.
We called a young brother as president of the Deacon's quorum. The Bishop conducted the interview, but he asked me if I had anything to say. I explained to the young man that he as quorum president was the presiding officer of that quorum. The adviser to the quorum, councilors in the bishopric, High Councilors, etc. were advisors only. These advisors should be listened to because they came to the quorum by assignment from the Bishop, Stake President or President of the Church, but they did not remove from the quorum president the responsibility to preside. In the final analysis, I explained to him, that his line of authority as president of his Deacons quorum, was from him to the Bishop, to the Stake President, to the President of the Church. I am quite certain this gave added importance to his calling as quorum president.
While I was a member of the bishopric our eldest daughter, Rozetta, was called to serve a mission in the Australia, Sydney, Spanish mission. I remember well the day she received her call. It was delivered by mail about 2 P.M. and one hour later I attended a leadership meeting in connection with our stake conference. I knew as soon as I entered the meeting room that President Williams, our Stake President, was aware of the call. He was as excited about the call as Rozetta, my wife, and myself had been. He leaned across the table and asked me if my daughter had received her call. I replied yes. He then turned to Elder Mark E. Peterson and told him. Two ward members were close by and heard President Williams speak to me and thus the word was out. It should also be mentioned that President Williams was the Church personnel officer and had received a call from the missionary department as soon as they knew Rozetta's call had been issued. She entered the mission home two days before her 22nd birthday. The night before she entered the mission home, Ardell and I took her to see my father who was very ill at my sister's place in Bountiful. As she entered his room he saw her and said, "Missionary." This was the last intelligible word I ever heard my father speak. On February 9, 1975, while Rozetta was still in the language training mission , my father passed away and was buried in the family plot at Dayton Idaho on February 12, 1975.
One June 25, 1975, Bishop Worthington, Brother Smith, and myself were released from the Bishopric and Kenneth W. Hedin was sustained as Bishop with Carlos Gardiner as first councilor and William Pruce as second councilor. The following Thursday I entered the hospital for major surgery. This was to have my hiatal hernia repaired. I was to be off work for almost 6 weeks. Also the Sunday after we were released, Bishop Worthington was on the sick list and Brother Smith was out of town on vacation.
Prior to Rozetta being set apart as a missionary by our new Stake President, Earl G. Maeser, she had asked me for a father's blessing. In this blessing I told her that she would be aware of occurrences at home even before our letters could get to her. When I entered the hospital my wife had considered delaying the news to Rozetta. We however decided to let her know what was happening. Her next letter home said she was glad we sent her the word as I had been on her mind for several days and she was beginning to get concerned.
Shortly after my release from the bishopric, I was called as teacher development director in the ward. A basic course was in progress at that time and I asked Brother Morris, whose place I was taking, to continue until the course was completed. I went to the class with him, but let him continue as instructor. After that particular class ended we were not successful in getting another class organized. Because of this I did not think I was successful as the teacher development director. However I continued in this position for a little over 4 years before I was released and my call as first assistant in the High Priests group in Grant 2nd Ward was issued. During the interval I again became active as a veil worker in the Salt Lake Temple. One of the supervisors tried several times to have me called as an ordinance worker, but that has not as yet been accomplished. Maybe it is not to be at any time.
A year after leaving the bishopric, I again went to the hospital to have my gall bladder removed. Rozetta was not as yet home from her mission, but she was to return before my doctor would release me to return to work. This operation was to accomplish an improvement in my health that must have bothered me for quite some time. The operation went very well, and my recovery was uneventful.
The last Sunday of October 1979, I was sustained as first assistant in the High Priest's group with Brother Worthington as group leader, Arthur Hubbard as Second assistant, and William Sears as Secretary. How long this position will be mine I do not know, but it is a challenge.