CHRISTMAS I REMEMBER BEST!
Contributor: ashlin2008 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
December 1945. Four years of hard-fought World War II had been the cause of rationing and hard times in the little town of Hatch in Southern Utah. A small sawmill, operating throughout the war, provided work for those not in the armed services. On July 9, 1939 the prior sawmill at Hatch had burned down—a disaster! But it had been re-organized by different owners in order to provide a living for families. The newly-organized Church Welfare System had helped with the re-organization of the new mill by providing a loan and help with food commodities to be used as payments to workers. Canned goods and food items had been stored in a basement to be withdrawn as wages by the workers. The Mill workers received the food first and the family choose from what war left. Also what were the other commodities?)That was the first time families or workers had seen the large, round cheese blocks available.
In the year 1945 the mill now solvent. The family of one of the new partners, Jesse S. Wilson, met in a December family home evening. Present were the father Jesse, the mother, Lilith, and their nine children, 4 girls and 5 boys: Russell, Virginia, Lloyd, Helen, Marba, Marie, Richard. Wayne. and 11-month old baby Kent. Family members were relieved the war was now over and they had hopes of better economic times to come; but the parents seemed serious and sad.
The meeting was called to order and the children were advised families in Europe were in dire circumstances. War had destroyed homes, cities, and places of work. Little was left for those who remained after the ravages of war. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had sent Elder Ezra Taft Benson and others to Europe to see if help could be supplied and to ascertain what could be done. A request had been issued by Church authorities urging members to help.
Jess and Lilith asked family members if they would agree not to expect Christmas gifts. Money which might have been spent for Christmas would be sent by the Church to those in Europe. Response was slow, anxious, and serious from the children who ranged in age from the oldest at age 14 on down to the 11-month old youngest. It was, however, agreed few, if any, gifts would be exchanged or expected.
Few were the hand-made, well-thought-out gifts made in preparation for Christmas. A nice, fresh tree (easily obtained by a sawmill owner) had been decorated and the house was made inviting and festive On Christmas morning, family members awakened and climbed the basement stairs to the small dining area where a small breakfast was provided. Breakfast had to come before Christmas activities. Also everyone was to be dressed. This was the established rule! Finally, after breakfast, it was time for Christmas, and the door to the living area was opened. But, what a surprise!!!
Next to the wall was a piano with its bench; and against the other wall was a record player! Everyone excitedly examined the new items. Nine-year-old Helen sat one the piano bench as she gazed at the record cabinet, unaware of the bench on which she was sitting or the piano behind her. Christmas had arrived with more gifts that had ever existed and would ever exist for the Wilson family! And those in Europe had been remembered by the Wilson family! There was an album of The Nutcracker phonograph records that came at the same time, I spent many hours listening it them..
It was explained to the family, that the other partner of the sawmill business had withdrawn more than his share of the business earnings; so Jesse had evened up the receipts by withdrawing his share, and on a business trip to Salt Lake he had found the used piano and record player. They had been stored elsewhere until Christmas eve.
During the next few years, new additions to the family were: Hugh, Karl, Carolyn and Robert
written by Virgina Wilson, 2014