Ross Ashdown Stubbs
Contributor: greatgranny Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
ROSS ASHDOWN STUBBS
Ross Ashdown Stubbs was born on May 16, 1912 in Parowan Utah to Edgar Marion Stubbs and Emily Fannie Ashdown Stubbs.
He is the oldest of four. He remembered living in the same town as his grandparents and talked about going to see them. He also said he was a very picky eater and didn’t get over that until he went into the service. His dad was a part owner in the Parowan Mercantile. They were also involved in the sheep industry. My dad was not much of a people person and he spent much of his youth tending sheep in the Cedar Breaks area. I remember him taking us up to the area where the ski resort is now and telling how his family had owned most of that area. He loved it when he would watch the western movies that were filmed in the areas he used to herd sheep in.
Dad dropped out of high school when he was in eighth grade I believe. He got upset with a teacher and decided he would “show” him. Dad regretted that decision. Once he was out of school he spent many months away from home herding sheep. He also talked about being a prankster at dances and stuff. He never really mentioned much other than alcohol was usually involved. His mother was not happy about that. As we grew up he really never talked about that part of his youth. He wasn’t particularly proud of his youthful actions. He loved his nieces and nephews very much. He was about 34 before he married for the first and only time to my mother.
When World War II broke out my dad was living in Wyoming and working up in the Pryor Mountains with a rancher by the last name of Snyder when he heard that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. He went right to town and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He said he liked the uniform. He was really upset when he found out that you had to buy the Dress Blue Leatherneck Uniform.
Ross went to basic training in Camp Lejune South Carolina. He was not impressed with the people there. He thought it was ridiculous that the black people had to sit in the back of the bus. He said you’d get all dressed up to go on liberty and the people had to climb over you to get to the back. He said you were pretty rumpled by the time you got to town. Back then they would bring their live chickens on the bus to sell in town. I can’t even imagine what that was like. From basic training I think he was in San Diego for a short time until he shipped out to over seas. He didn’t like the ship he was sent over on. It was a converted luxury liner and he said there were a lot of boys that were seasick and the only thing they had to eat was “split pea soup and hard tack”. To his dying day he would not eat split pea soup. He said hard tack was some kind of bread but it was full of weevils.
Dad was stationed in the Marshall Islands, Okinawa and Hawaii plus some other small islands. He said the conditions were harsh and there was very little fresh water to bath in. When it rained they would soap up and then rinse off sometimes in the ocean. He was a gunnery sergeant. He talks about the days with the true Hawaiians and their luaus with real wild pigs. He would tell stories about trying to catch them. I am sure there was alcohol involved there. He was never in the main battles. He was always with the group that came later. He said he never picked up any souvenirs left behind. He had seen buddies loose their lives over things that were left and were booby-trapped. He never had a desire to go back to any of the islands or places he served. It was in the past and that’s were it stayed. He said it wouldn’t be the same. He felt it became too commercialized. We have pictures from his time in the islands and he never really even discussed them. He did tell us about the pictures after the typhoons and some of his buddies. His one big regret was that he learned to smoke in the military. He always threatened us with a beating if we ever picked up the habit. It was a terrible thing to quit and I remember very well when he did. Rita and I were ready to mutiny until Mom told us what he was attempting to do and then we were more supportive. One of the things my dad was really upset about at the end of the war was the waste he saw. He loved his rifle and knew he had to turn it in on the ship back. He said he cleaned it until it shone and then when they were half way home they just started dumping the equipment overboard, including his very clean gun. Of course, we know that it was to help the economy.
At this point Mary Helen has told the story of Dad meeting my mother and the romance there. I have always been impressed with the conditions my mother lived under. A lesser woman would have thrown in the towel. My parents were older when I was born and I think tired of life. My siblings remember stories and things like that. I remember my parents as being tired and depressed by the circumstances they faced.
My dad tried farming and hung in there until the very last. We lost the farm in 1959. And that was the second time we had lost our home. The first time was to a fire. It is one of my first memories. We were at church and came home to a house on fire. I had nightmares for years. My parents kept on. We lived in places that should have been condemned. There were holes in the floors and no heat. I remember my mom heating bricks in the gas oven, wrapping them in papers and towels and putting them in our beds to keep us warm. We had so many blankets piled on us we couldn’t move. I love warm bedrooms now. I don’t like to sleep in the cold. One time we woke up to a frozen glass of water beside the bed. Water was also very short in supply. The water in Lovell was very alkaline and there were no wells like there is now. We had a cement cistern and we would borrow a truck with a tank on it to bring the water from town to home. This was after we built our new home that replaced the burned one. Prior to tour new home we didn’t have flushing toilets or electricity. My job was to clean out the kerosene lamps chimneys. I remember being very disturbed about a toilet on the inside of a home. I don’t know why it upset me so because when we went to church we had flushing toilets.
When my parents loss the farm, Dad worked as best he could but there weren’t many jobs around. The area was very depressed. My dad loved the mountains and working with animals. We always had farm animals. I remember the chicken coop that had mean old hens in it.
Not long before we lost the farm my dad was in Cowley on a “fine” Wyoming January day. I don’t know if my dad had participated in the rounding up of the wild mustangs or if he was just there. The ranchers hated the mustangs because they ate up the grazing lands and were very destructive to the land. So, they would round them up and ship them off on the train to be killed for dog food and such. One of the mares had foaled while they were waiting to be shipped. The cowboys were just going to kill it. But, Dad thought it was a good looking horse and asked if he could have it. Well the cowboys thought it wouldn’t make it and said go ahead I guess they didn’t want to waste a bullet. So, my dad brought home a surprise for us. He was concerned it would freeze to death so he put it in the basement of our new home. Part of the basement floor was never finished. It was dirt. So, Dad figured it wouldn’t harm anything. He named the horse Skipper. The colt was fed from a milk bucket that had a ****** on it. The horse thrived. But, the basement smelled of horse.
One day after being gone we came home to the whole house smelling foul. The cold air return for the furnace was located in the basement and it brought the smell in through the warm furnace. Skipper was sent to the chicken coop. He was cold but survived. That horse became a great pet. Dad always believed that tobacco was good for an animal’s coat and also killed worms. So, the butts of his Bull-Durham hand rolled cigarettes and the Camels he smoked were fed to the dogs and Skipper. Skipper really developed a taste for tobacco. It got so he could smell the tobacco in Dads pocket and would pull the string on the tobacco bag out of Dad’s pocket. He even tried to steel the lit cigarettes out of dad’s mouth. It was so funny.
When we left the farm Dad found a place for Skipper out on the winter range with the sheep that were Mr. CA Lewis’s. Skipper would love to tease Dad when he went to check on the herds. He would run full bore up to the pickup and then get in front of it and just lope along. He would also stick his head in the cab looking for cigarettes. One day a group of “hunters” were out there and Skipper came running up to the truck thinking it was Daddy. They thought the horse was crazy so they shot him. Dad never got over that. He really hurt that someone could be so thoughtless and he never even got compensated for Skipper. That along with other things that were going on Dad lost his heart for Wyoming.
My fondest memories are of being on the Big Horn Mountains with Dad in the summer time. We would fish, ride horses, play princesses and stuff on the big rocks and go with Dad to tend the sheepherders. Most of them were lonely men. One was named One Armed Red. He lost his arm in the war. Another one was Pete. He could be ornery. There was Vic, who sent us to California in his pickup to deliver to his sister in Turlock. We used his pick up to move lock, stock and barrel to California in 1963. Many days were spent with Dad riding in his truck over bumpy roads delivering food and mail to these men.
My mom was the only living child of her family and her parents lived in southern California. As things didn’t improve in Wyoming my parents saw the writing on the wall and decided we needed to move. My grandmother was a widow and wanted Mom closer. That was the beginning of many changes for our family.
The first job Dad had in California was shoeing horses. He hated to see beautiful animals living in tiny corrals. They were status symbols. Dad believed animals needed a job just like a man needs a job to feel good about ones self. Through the horse shoeing Dad met a man named Tate who was the supervisor of a plant. He talked to Dad and was impressed with him and his work ethics and hired Dad. Dad worked his way from cleaning the burrs off metal parts and washing them to being a machinist. He worked hard. He liked his job except for the union. He felt they were living off the men who worked hard. He felt striking for a nickel and hour wasn’t worth the money you lost by not working while the union was on strike. It was while he was working there that the greatest changes in his life occurred.
Rita was always the spiritual one. She always went to church in Lovell. She loved the Lord. That didn’t change when we moved to Rosemead. She insisted on going to church and even though my dad and mom didn’t go they always made it available to us. When I was baptized in Wyoming I asked my dad to baptize me. He told me no, he wasn’t worthy and he also said if he ever stepped inside a church the roof would cave in. I didn’t appreciate it then. I threw a fit because I wanted him to baptize me. But, later I knew he did the right thing and I was glad he did. He taught me an important lesson.
One Sunday Dad and I went to pick up Rita from the ward house in Rosemead. We sat in the car and waited. I remember as if it were yesterday. Dad was smoking one of his Camel cigarettes when Rita comes out of the ward with a member of the Bishopric. He wanted to meet the father of such a lovely young lady. He invited Dad to come to church with his daughter. Dad said I smoke. The good brother said it’s okay. Well, it wasn’t long before Dad went to church. He felt that it was a good man that would still care about him even though he was smoking. He got very active in church after that and that’s when Rita and I noticed we were living with a grouch. Mom told us he was trying to quit smoking so he could take us to the temple and be sealed. There were times when he was so bad to live with I was ready to buy him some cigarettes. It was worth it in the long run. I believe it was a great point in our lives. I remember when he got his patriarchal blessing. He was so humbled because he was told his sins had been forgiven. That brought him much peace.
The last few days of his life was filled with many spiritual experiences. He taught us lessons even then. When he was in a tremendous amount of pain he wanted to pray. We felt like he should just lie in his bed and pray. No, he wouldn’t have any part of that. He got down on his knees and prayed the sweetest of prayers. My dad was a good man and the Lord took him home the next day.
Added by Maryhelen:
I first met daddy in California at the age of two. He came home on leave, from the Marine Corp, to see Uncle Keith and Aunt Esther. They were living in a motel that Grandpa and Grandma Hasting ran. My mom, Avis, was in the middle of a divorce and when Ross came to see Uncle Keith, the story goes, she looked at him and thought, "This could be my last chance"; he looked at her and thought, "This could be my first chance." Anyway they went out while he was there and when he left they wrote to each other. Daddy got discharged and moved back to Wyoming. They kept up their correspondence and he said in one of his letters, “If you are ever in Wyoming, look me up.” He said the next thing he knew she was there, lock, stock and barrel, with Grandma and Grandpa Hasting, Jim and Maryhelen. Well, it was about the 1st of July when they got there. Mom’s divorce was final the beginning of June. So on July 3rd it rained and Daddy couldn’t put hay up so he said, “Lets go to Billings and get married.” What I remember is Momma, Grandma and Grandpa Hastings getting into the car with Grandma and Grandpa Stubbs and them driving off and leaving Jim and me there at Grandma Stubbs’ house. I was carrying on something fierce, bawling and screaming at her to come back, and Jim, all he did was throw rocks at the chicken coop. Finally this lady said, “That’s enough.” Well, I shut up right off because I thought she was going to take care of me forever. Turned out to be my new Aunt Ruth who used to love me and fix my hair and play with me like I was a doll. She had 4 boys by that time and she wanted a little girl, so mom would let me go with her for long periods of time (hours). Boy, was I mad when Marsha came along and Aunt Ruth didn’t want to play anymore!!!
The next thing I remember about Wyoming is moving into a house in Deaver. At night I would help with the chores and Daddy would sing to me: “Your hair is red, your eyes are blue. I’d swap my horse and a dog for you. Sioux City Sue, Sioux City Sue.” Daddy had a wonderful voice when he sang. I saw my first coyote there one night when he was singing. That thing howled back at us. I asked what’s that and he said it was a coyote. There it is and pointed towards a full moon rising and there was a silhouette of a coyote against it. The night before was the last night I ever took my brother Jim to the outhouse. After that I was too scared to go alone. Before that, I was the brave one.
As you all know daddy was a very hard worker. When we lived on the farm down by Sage Creek and the Shoshone River life was too tough for much fun. I remember that Ford used to come out and help dad a lot and I can remember Dee and Wendall crossing the river to come and help.
Daddy worked fulltime for Rodney Crosby and fulltime for us. It was nothing for him to be out plowing or planting at 2 am. He was a good horticulturist when he had good land. In California he had a great garden in which he grew Ross'sberries that were great and kumquats mmmm good.
He had quite the sense of humor too. One time we had bran and molasses delivered for the cows (my favorite treat). He got some molasses accidentally dumped on his head so he comes up to the house with this stuff dripping off of him and tells mom the cow kicked him and he was moaning and groaning and carrying on and mom freaks out. She had already been through the mill with me getting my head kicked in by a horse. She finally figures out that it was a big joke so she was pretty mad. Her name Avis means, "little bird" and that’s what she reminded me of when she got mad. She sort of bounces and squawks if you know what I mean. A few weeks later daddy REALLY got kicked by the cow, in the groin, and he was in a whole lot of pain. Mom just looks at him and goes back to what she is doing. She then decides by he really is in trouble. The poor guy couldn't walk for several days.
I remember a couple times that he stopped what he was doing and sat down out in the field with us one night and watched the Northern lights and him and mom explained them to us. We had been hoeing rows of beets until it was too dark so we were glad for the break, and the beautiful lights. Another time he took me over by a creek and showed me a momma bobcat and her two babies. He would never kill wild life unless it was a direct threat to our livestock.
One cool Grandpa
Contributor: greatgranny Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I do not have a lot of memories of my Grandpa; distance and youth were not good elements for building relationships. However, my memories of a hard working, overall wearing, whisker faced, singing and dancing, outdoor man are very cherished.
My greatest memories are witnessing how much he loves my Grandma and his kids. I saw my grandparents dance a few times in our house. Not only dance but sing too! Grandpa and Grandma would sway as he serenade her with with an old Frank Sinatra song, "Hello Dolly". Grandpa always addressed my mom as "Dolly" too.
My Grandpa is a very hardworking man. I rarely saw him sitting idol. There is always something to do. He had the most amazing garden I've ever seen! He is a perfectionist and encouraged me to be one too, starting with a correctly made bed.
My Grandpa is very intelligent and from what I can tell he loved reading. I inherited many of his books. I enjoy reading his hand written notes on the pages. I'd wonder, what was he thinking and why was that important to him at that time? I know he really loved reading and writing. When I challenged him on certain facts he would challenge by by saying, "If you're so smart why don't you write a book about it?" If I did I bet he would read it too.
My Grandpa's hands were as rough as his whiskered face. Rough but gentle enough to hug his grandson, place him on his knee and sing "One little, two little, three little Indians." I still remember his gentle strength.
My last memory is very personal. I was serving a mission in the Philippines; I sensed his presence. He told me he loved me and was proud of me. Grandma told me that was the day Grandpa passed away. Grandpa loved me enough to reach across the veil to comfort me one last time.
I wish I could have told him he is my hero, and I love him more than words can say. If I could be half the man as he I'd consider myself successful.
These are my memories of one cool Grandpa and I'm sticking to it.