Saturday, November 24, 2012

Roosevelt, Utah Thanksgiving, 1938

[Six years before Perry met Gene, he was a sixteen-year-old enjoying Thanksgiving Day with his parents, twin sisters, and extended family living in Roosevelt, Utah. The following are some letters they exchanged with Perry's sister, Hazel, who was teaching elementary school in Moab, Utah at the time.]

Roosevelt, Utah
Thanksgiving, 1938

Dear Hazel,

The day is spent and the twins [Hope and June] and Perry have gone to a show to finish it off. We have had a fine day. We went to Lind's for dinner and Lucy had a very good dinner. [Elmer's wife, Leona, is Lucy Lind's sister.] I think it would be fine practice for all people to have every day a thanksgiving day.

We went over to Alva Davel's farewell party last Friday night and had a fine time. He fixed up the program himself and had the twins sing, also had his sisters sing. They had fixed one song up themselves and mentioned their love for him. It was sure sweet and touching. Alva is to be in Salt Lake on the 28th.

Perry will sing a solo in our ward conference Sunday. He does very good, you ought to hear him. Then he is taking your place and sings with the twins. His solo will be "Not Understood." Then he has a talk also.

I will leave the pigs and things like that for Perry to tell about. I sure was glad to read your letter. It was full of inspiration. It seems I need it for I still grumble at the best children on earth. I guess I want them better than the best. Love, Father [David Elmer Manwaring]

Leona & Elmer on the farm
Roosevelt, Utah
Thanksgiving evening

My dear Hazel,

We were real glad to get your letter yesterday. Glad also the belated letter reached you. I wish I could forward some "white hyacinths for your soul." We all lack them, and I struggle to keep from getting submerged in the daily grind. Mrs. Wright, I believe, is helping the twins to gather some. They think she is so inspirational. They are not getting any cash though. She came and made another arrangement to get and take them home, furnish all the music material, give them time to practice, etc. It is a nice home. She is kind and considerate and treats them like a daughter.

Elmer, Leona and Hazel by car in
Portland, Oregon where they went to
visit Venice and her new husband, Elvyn
I am glad you had a good trip. You know, last summer I kept saying to myself, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," and that I was going to keep the remembrance of the beauties of the Oregon trip in my mind so nothing could "get me down." Of course, I have failed, but I can still enjoy it in memory.

Did the County pay your expense for institute, and do you think you might get fifty for your summer school last summer? I received my check from the County along with yours, $52.20. Five dollars more than I asked for. I don't know why, but I won't complain. I want a coat and dress, a spread for my bed, and I told the twins I'd try and pay their Logan debt. Then there is the tithing, and the twins would like a Christmas dress, and we all need some blankets, and so it could go on and on.

Our milk has been bringing us about $20 per month, but the cows give less now, it is colder. Did I tell you we were keeping most of the turkeys for Christmas. We lock them up at night as Ollie R. had some of his stolen, so we are not risking it. The twins and Perry have gone to the show. We had one ticket, and Mrs. Wright gave the girls money for two.

Yes, we had a very good inspirational talk from Brother Ballard. He said he didn't fear war so much from Europe, but he did fear trouble from within.

I have bottled some squash, and I must get some more before it freezes harder. Aunt Lucy seemed to appreciate your letter. Mildred is going to the LDS College and is homesick she says, though getting along. Yes, I am glad Venice and Elvyn are making it pretty well, also Lorin and Genevieve.

Our lamp needs filling, so I suppose we will be closing for tonight. You surely are a source of joy to me, Hazel, and I am very thankful for you. Love from Mother [Leora Goodrich Manwaing]

Moab, Utah
November 27, 1938

Dear Dad and Mother,

Your letters came today, and I was surely glad for them. I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. Miss O'Brian and I baked a chicken and had a nice time together. She has never cooked very much and she's the best sport. She helped me clean the chicken and got a real thrill out of it. We've rested a lot and quite enjoyed the holidays.

It's been quite cold here. They say it's frozen more ice here now than it did all last winter. It isn't hard enough to skate on here yet though. There was ice on the Colorado today too. I'm wondering if Perry is skating on the gulch yet. I'm thrilled about his singing and the twins' opportunities.

I've heard from Aunt Lucy. Venice also wrote the other day and I must answer her letter now. We had a very good class in Sunday School this morning. I came home feeling quite good today. I think we've all had enough nice things, such as the Portland trip, to keep us going much longer and better than we do if we'd only call them to mind oftener. Stake Conference was in Blanding today, and Richard R. Lyman will stop here tonight on his way back and talk in our meeting, so I'll tell you about it later.

I was invited out for Thanksgiving Dinner, but declined because it was a family of some of my students, and I thought it would be more restful and enjoyable otherwise. I also turned down a fellow to go to the dance the other night and horse-back riding today because he's kinda dumb and crude. He's a good kid and I feel sorry for him, but not too sorry.

All the young girl school teachers were talking about ages the other day. It turned out that I am the youngest teacher in the school, but the kids say I seem older because I am so calm. Imagine that! If that's what it is, I'll look younger when I'm 35 than they will because keeping calm is the best youth and soul preserver I know of. Our neighbors, in part of the house, jangle and swear at each other constantly. They all have hard lives in their faces.

Margaret and I went for a nice walk this afternoon. It has been beautiful. As yet, I haven't received the $10 for Institute, nor the $50 for summer school, but Mrs. Knight said she thought we'd get it. Glad you got yours, Mother. Do get yourself a coat right away. What did you mean by, "I received my check along with yours?"

What did you decide about the fixing of the radio? I still didn't find out about the sale of the pigs, etc. I'm so glad you have a nice car to go places in. It makes me feel good every time I think of it. [Hazel is helping to pay for the car for her parents.] Is it still in good shape? I hope we can pay for it. Have you settled for taxes, interest, etc.?

I feel much better than when I wrote you last. I guess I never should write when I'm tired and despondent because I write so subjectively that it always creeps in. I think I've never lived with quite the feeling of faith (I guess it is) that I have the last six months, that is, I seem to have the deepest assurance that I am really important in the scheme of things, that I am doing a work, though very small, that no one else can do. In fact, I think I've a feeling of doing my part in making a harmonious universe.

Just how I've come to feel it, I don't know, unless it's just a step in soul growth. It seems to me now that I can live in patience and calmness from day to day, knowing that I'll get just what I deserve sometime, and know more happiness now without that spirit of rebellion that comes otherwise. "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform." I really feel that now. It seems strange that I should say just what I have now considering that I've heard hundreds of other people say the same things before and it didn't phase me.

That's why force is such a waste, I guess. People never will grasp a thing until they're ready for it. I think I waste a lot of energy trying to have my boys and girls do things they're not in a state of readiness for. Let's develop our industriousness both temporally and spiritually.

Glad you were so prompt about writing. I surely liked the letters. All of you write next time, and I'll be seeing you in 4 weeks. Love, Hazel

Perry on the farm with one of the twins
Roosevelt, Utah
November 28, 1938

Dear Hazel,

Well, I guess everything up here is as good as they could be expected to be. The nights are getting very cold now and it is really beginning to seem like winter.

We have an increase now of seventeen little pigs. They seem to be pretty nice little piggies. Pa thinks we had better keep them until spring and then put them on the April market.

I have an appointment with the dentist Wednesday. I am surely glad I am going to have my teeth cleaned because I have always been a little bit afraid to open my mouth even to laugh because I am afraid people will see my dirty teeth. I surely hope he doesn't charge me too much.

School is still just fine and I like it a lot. I didn't make the basketball team this year mainly because I didn't try. I explained to you this summer why I didn't want to get on. Clyde W. didn't make it either just for the very same reason I didn't.

I will surely be glad when you come home for Christmas. I am getting sorta lonesome to see you. I believe the most fun I ever had with you was on the Oregon trip, (except when we talk "business.") It was mainly because you acted so happy and jolly and laughed so much, (except twice, I believe.) So be sure and never forget to laugh and smile because I have noticed when you laugh, it seems to be more than just something put on like Mrs. Larsen, but it seems to come right from the inside, something that is genuine that makes others feel happy also.

I had to give a talk in Sunday School conference Sunday and a song in Ward Conference in the afternoon. I received several compliments on my song, but none on my talk. The folks told me my talk was all right however, so I guess maybe it was. Myself, I think it was pretty good considering I just read the information over and then got up and talked about it. I didn't have a sign of a note. I believe that is the way I will do all the time after this because instead of shaking and fidgeting, I didn't even seem a bit afraid.

I believe we can get the radio fixed up for ten dollars. I was looking up the price of batteries last night. It may come to a little more than that, but if it does, it shouldn't be very much, so I think we could pay for the rest of it. It surely would seem good to have a radio again, wouldn't it?

Well, best wishes until you come home for Christmas. Love, Perry

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