Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life is so short at best

Emmett & Leora Fast, Los Angeles
Gene's father's letters were not as newsy as her mother's but more reflective. He was a sweet, gentle man who loved to visit with the adults about politics and search in the grass for 4-leaf clovers with the kids. He was proud of his family heritage and often told the story of his ancestor, Christian Fast, who was captured by the Indians.

January 21, 1954 (1:46 pm)

Dear Gene and family,

Your letter came in the morning mail and how tickled we were to hear from you. It may seem strange, but several days ago, perhaps a week, it came to me I should sit down and write you and bring you up to date on the "doings" of the clan here since Christmas Eve. Your mother, however, tells me she has written you and covered most of this.

It grieves me deeply we are not situated so we can drop in and see you and Perry and the kiddies occasionally. We miss you, every one terribly. Yes, a siege of any of those child diseases is distressing and most wearing on mama and papa. Am glad to hear everyone has had them (measles) and are over that one hurdle all right. Mother says to tell you that you should be careful to see they do not catch cold on top of what they've gone through. I am wondering if you remember when you had the measles? We moved at the time in the "dead" of winter, and I put you in a blanket with the 4 corners tied together, and you came through with flying colors. Never even called a doctor. In fact, never called a doctor when Pierce and Dick (who was in the hospital when he got them) had them either. This happened in 1928 when we were in Marshfield.

Your mother says so many times it leaves a youngster with a bad cough. You never had a cough afterward although Dick did and took several weeks for him to get over it. Well, of all these diseases, whooping cough tops the list, I'd say. Of course, today they have a serum for it which is supposed to make it much easier. I hope your youngsters can keep away from this one. I think they've done well to have disposed of the chickenpox and now the measles.

Fron December 1st to about a week ago, we have had real winter--the earliest and worst we've experienced in the eleven winters we have been here. This season has been the driest also. Had a good rain storm Tuesday the 12th and then last Sunday night it started in and the storm lasted till early yesterday morning the 20th, leaving a little over two inches of rain fall--a little over 4 inches for this season as against 7 inches at this time last year.

I see headlines in the morning paper: 40 degrees below zero in the Midwest. That's pretty severe. Your Aunt Edith [Emmett's older sister] arrived in Los Angeles last Sunday morning at 10:30 am. Kermit met her at the train and she is putting up at their Hotel Vermillion. She called me Tuesday and I talked to her for several minutes. She asked me to spend the day with her next Tuesday the 26th and look forward to a good visit with her. I can hardly realize we are getting to be "old people." Edith celebrated her 78th birthday last December 13th while Rena [Emmett's oldest sister] celebrated her 81st on December 11th and then the twins [here Emmett is referring to himself and his twin brother Byron] came along January 1st and we mark up our 71st. So it goes, and it can't be long now until it will be "exit" for some one of us. [Emmett died December 30, 1955.]

It is hard to believe, yet the years are passing quickly. Our temple here [the Los Angeles Temple] is rapidly nearing completion and in all stakes of Southern California, the people of the wards are being urged to do their genealogy work and be ready to go to the temple. This is a work that should be done earlier in life, or at least it becomes a very difficult task for one of my age when you are not economically independent and can devote so little time to it. I am sorry I did not get to come into the church when I was your age. Life is so short at best.

Last Saturday Dick announced that Betty had asked for baptism. We were quite elated. I told him I'd been praying for her these many months. She had been attending her own church (Lutheran) every Sunday morning and teaching a Sunday school class; although, she has been investigating all along, going to cottage meetings with Dick, attending conferences and Dick has worked hard, reading the Book of Mormon with her and taking up related references in the Bible. Dick has been teaching a Book of Mormon class all this past year and is qualifying himself to do effective missionary work.

He told me how Betty's pastor held several meetings at night for young married couples and engaged couples, which he and Betty attended. Dick posed some questions to him that proved rather embarrassing for him to try to answer. And Dick told him some things of the Book of Mormon and of revelation in these latter days by the Prophet Joseph Smith. He went on to tell him we accept the Bible, but we have the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and D & C which together with the Bible give us the complete gospel, and this is why it was necessary for the gospel to be restored. The minister asked Dick for a copy of our Articles of Faith. Well, anyway, we congratulate him for his faith and energy.

Gene, my health is fair, but I have to watch my step and get plenty of rest. I can not put in as many hours work as I'd like to. I am now studying for a state exam for a life insurance agent's license. It's difficult. I must run along now. Take care of yourself and I hope and pray the kiddies will soon be as well as ever. Love, your Daddy

PS. We spent a very happy New Year's day with Pierce and Mona. Nice dinner and the Rose Bowl game on TV. Little Rebecca is a dear!

Linda, Marian, Dale, Jan, Renee with Dad
October 20, 1954

Dear Mother,

Got the letter telling of your return trip several days ago. Also the nice anniversary card, which we appreciated very much with the good thoughts from you and Dad too. Also received the packages of cookies, dates, also the articles and magazine clippings, which we most definitely all enjoyed. Thanks so much from us all. Got a lovely card from Aunt Harriet and Edith too. How did they remember?

Guess Dick has written you that Emily and new husband came day after you left here (Sunday.) She called us about noon. Perry and I drove out to Dick's that afternoon to tell him. He and Betty brought the kids in that evening for a short visit. Also visited next evening (Monday) with them at Mabel's house. That was all. They left for east the next morning.

Well, we haven't gotten our rug laid yet. It's taking them longer to get around to us than we expected. I have my new couch cover material though and the fellow will be out to cut it this week. It's a beige, brown with pink and several shades of preen printed in it. I like it. A landscape fellow is coming in the morning to grade down the driveway in back by door. All that dirt and stuff that got piled up outside around the new addition. Then we will be able to put in our sidewalk from front door to driveway, lawn, etc.

Perry and I finally got the utility room cleaned out and the big gas furnace put back in the far corner where it belongs. (I packed all the old useless clothes in a big box--cleaned out the closets too--and had Deseret Industries come after it.

Everybody look at the camera and say "cheese!"
(Sunday, October 24th)

Today was our stake conference. We took the kids to the first session. LeGrand Richards spoke to us. Enjoyed it all so much. I've been going each Thursday evening too to Relief Society singing mother's chorus practice, which I also enjoy so much. We will sing on November 7th. Glad to see you are in it too. Just know how much you will like it.

Have seen two movies since you left. For our anniversary, Perry took me to "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." It was really cute. You would just love it, Mother--so much dancing and pretty music. Then last night we saw "It's a Woman's World." That was good too.

Got a real beautiful brushed rayon (long sleeves) night gown too, which is keeping me nice and warm these cold nights. Yes, our weather has gotten some colder since you left too but still clear and beautiful--that is it was until today--it has been pouring down rain most of today and really chilly too.

Yes the kids (mine anyway) are planning on a big halloween celebration. Our ward Primary puts on a big costume party for them here this week on Wednesday (in fact each year.) They sell candy, cup cakes, popcorn balls, candied apples, etc., give prizes for the best costumes, have games and booths, etc. They really have a good time. Then on Saturday night all the kids get out (after supper) in their funny faces and go up and down the street calling on all the neighbors "Trick-or-Treating." Of course, they bring home bags full of goodies-ha!

Remember when we kids did that in Milwaukee? I let Linda, Marian and Dale do it last year--gosh, how thrilled they were! It was better than Christmas I think. Yes, I could have Dick's kids in, but I wonder if they will be busy with programs of their own out there in Kearns. Well, I can ask Dick. Awfully nice of you to buy the Halloween things for all of them. Surely wish you could be here to enjoy it with them. Kids get such a bang out of little things like that, don't they?

Yes, kids all have had slight head colds--nothing serious, didn't miss any school though. Linda buys a nice hot lunch each day at school now. The baby is growing fast and is still good as gold, smiles and coos so much. [Harriet was born August 3, 1954.] Wish you lived close so you could enjoy her often. All the kids miss you and talk about Grandma Fast often. Jan says, "Is Grandma Fast in California now? Can we go to California and see Grandma?" (Just as though it were somewhere just around the corner-ha!)

Must stop here. Get a lot of good rest now, Mom, and build up your resistance before you start working someplace. Hope this finds you both well. Love from us all, Gene

PS, Do hope they do something about that terrible smog down there.

The following letter is from Emily, a good friend who married Gene's brother, Dick. They later divorced with Dick keeping their 3 children. Dick then married Betty while Emily remarried and moved to the east coast. This letter is in response to the shocking news that Perry's sister June, her husband, Dee, and their child, Kerry Dee, had been in a tragic car accident over the Thanksgiving weekend, and Dee had been killed.

December 22, 1954

My dearest Gene and Perry,

I have just finished reading a letter from Mabel telling of June's tragic loss. What a terrible shock it must have been to all of you. The suddenness of a loss like that leaves us so defenseless. I can't forget the very difficult time I had accepting the sudden death of my roommate last May. She was like a sister to me. But on calm thought, I could see God's hand in her going. She had been baptized and confirmed into the church the week before. She had a congenital heart condition and all of the doctors were amazed that she had lived so long. But she had searched for the gospel all her life and on finding it, was ready to assume duties on the other side.

God's purposes are not always so obvious, but nonetheless, there is a purpose in everything He does and we will eventually understand it. I hope that June's knowledge of that wonderful life waiting for us on the other side will help ease her loss and help all of you who were so close to her husband. I pray the child is getting along well. Where is June now and what are her plans? It has always been that those of us left on earth are the ones who suffer so from a loved one's death. The one who goes is finished with trouble and tragedy and all the things that harry us so. He has peace, happiness and accomplishment to look forward to without any fears of death and disease and loss.

This will dim your Christmas, I know, but I hope and pray that things will again adjust themselves for June and all of you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. Our prayers are with you. Write us when you can. Love, Emily and Charles (Trenholm)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I have my Christmas present already

Through the years, Gene was the recipient of many of her mother's long, newsy letters--stacks and stacks of them. Here's one example:

June 17, 1952 (Tuesday)

Dear Gene,

Got your little letter yesterday and glad to hear from you. But sorry you are battling the hayfever. I've cut out the page that had the remedy I used for the terrible spell I had at home once at Aunt Bell's. This is out of the old home remedies book she had, which I possess now. I had gone to the doctor and he couldn't or didn't help me so got sick and tired dragging around, feeling miserable. Epsom Salts isn't pleasant, but it isn't as bad as having the hayfever. You can always eat something to take away the unpleasant taste. So try it, Gene. It won't hurt you--only keep your bowels cleaned out, best to take on empty stomach 1/2 hour before meals. Don't eat too many starches and eat lightly or oftener. Yes, I got your check, Gene. Thanks--glad the dresses fit Linda.

Well, Ricky [Dick's oldest son] got the measles all right and for about 2 days he coughed his head off (nearly). Such a terrible bronchial, barking cough! I began to fear it was going into pneumonia. Last Monday night, a week ago, he coughed nearly all night and had such a very high fever--just burning--about wore me out too. Real early morning Tuesday, I gave him 2 aspirins (childs, 5 grams each) to try to break up the fever and knew if it was measles, he would soon break out when he began to sweat after breaking up the fever.

But had to be so careful that he didn't take cold after perspiring--the sheet was wet. I took a cloth and rubbed his back dry under cover. Such fever and sweating is hard on the heart. The room should be kept warm without having to pile on so much cover and keep them sweating after they're broken out. Ricky sure broke out all over. His eyes were so red, lips and face swollen. I kept the shades down. I sure pity you if all your children should come down with them. Ricky didn't eat much--very little until he began to get over the peak.

They are 3 days coming, 3 days stay on and 3 days fading away, and then be careful not to let children out too soon. Our landlady asked her doctor and he said Ricky must stay in until he gets over the hard cough. When he does go out, it must be the middle of day and not to be out in the cool AM's or evenings. Doctor said it was better to be cautious and careful now then have something develop later in life such as weak heart or rheumatic fever.

I'm just telling you these things so you'll know if your children should get measles. They caused death of my father and mother and almost my brother. They went in suddenly on my mother. My father got pneumonia, and your Uncle Edgar went outdoors too soon and took cold. I remember Dick got them in the hospital in Marshfield and then you got them from him and Pierce from you. What a time! Eric and Carol [Dick's second and third children] had the mumps a month ago and are fine now. Ricky never has had them.  Ricky is a good patient.

I believe school is out or will be this week so guess it isn't too bad to miss school on the tail-end of year. Linda will be starting, won't she, next fall, or will she have to wait until next February? Eric started last fall as his birthday was December 22 and was 5 years then. He's a handsome little lad and loves outdoor sports. He loves ballgames and is a good batter.

Last Sunday was Father's Day, but I'd been so busy, I entirely forgot it. I didn't fuss too much for a dinner--fixed table in kitchen to eat--wasn't sure Pierce or Mona would be here to eat or not. But they came and when I set the table, Pierce and Mona pushed a card and gift of a nice tie on you Dad's chair and pushed it under the table. Then I realized it was Father's Day and told them I really forgot it. Had a small meatloaf, potatoes, frozen peas, corn on ear, lime jello with grated carrots on lettuce.

Mrs. Cocke [a neighbor maybe?] brought down a boysenberry pie Saturday evening. She told me earlier she was baking pies and would bring a piece down for Ricky--so a whole pie was the "piece." I told her that sure was a big piece of pie! So got ice cream and had pie al a'mode Saturday evening. I made a date-nut loaf for Sunday dinner, which is so easily made and so good. Everyone likes it. One day Mrs. C. gave me a big bag of nuts (walnuts) she had on hand so am using them up in cookies, etc. I think I wrote you that recipe, but with your family, you should double it. It's easily made. Can you get dates there now?

With hayfever, they say Arizona or New Mexico is the place to live. I expect that's why your cousin Laura Harriet (Fast) lives in Tucson, Arizona. You know she got down with tuberculosis when she taught her first year of school--wasn't too strong. Her father, your Uncle Doc, cared for her. I expect he advised Arizona after she married. She has a new home and two children, I believe, and is fine.

It will soon be Conference in SLC, won't it? They have an excursion train leaving here for all LDS who goes--the streamliner--and the rate is $21 plus tax, which probably is $24. Wish I could have plenty of time and money so I could come up and see you all awhile for that is a reasonable rate and nice way to travel and pretty time of year too.

Oh, yes, forgot to say, Dick came in Sunday PM just after we had sat down to dinner so put out another plate for him. He slipped in and I heard Ricky say, "Hello, Daddy." Ricky is in front bedroom. He had to leave for camp, though, at about 5 PM, so it was a short stay. He finally got the color film pictures made. They're so expensive, so we don't get any. He let us all see them, so you'll probably get yours soon as he writes you.

Marian, Linda & baby Jan
Evelyn Betts came over to see your pictures as Pierce told her Dick was here and had them. She called over and asked if she could come over and see them. Alden and Pierce went to the Veteran's Hospital after dinner to see someone there, so he was telling Evelyn. She said, "Gene and I keep so busy, we can't write." But she'd love to hear from you. She works from 5 to 11 PM, a bank job at night while Alden is home to stay with their 3 kiddies and do his studying. He is going to school, taking up a medical course, so you see they're busy too, and he does painting jobs on the side. His father is here helping to paint too. Evelyn says, "Gene doesn't change." Evelyn keeps her slender figure too and is active and looks the same. They have one boy and two girls--last one a little younger than Jan. Little Jan looks like the Manwarings, doesn't he, fair and blondy.

I bet Perry keeps his school-boy figure with so many jobs that keep him going all the time. Guess you got my last letter, didn't you? Margaret Mack is in mission home now and will sail for France July 11. Must close. Dad says he wants to eat. Anyway, we're glad we got to see the pictures of you all--all look swell and pretty. Pierce is busy with exams this week. Lots of love to all. Mother

Your dad thinks I've written a book!

Gene & Perry, Salt Lake City
November 11, 1952 (Tuesday)

Dear Folks,

Haven't had any word from your end of the line since Dad's letter of October 30th, which I enjoyed very much. Hope you are all ok. We are all well and though our weather is cooler, it hasn't changed much from what we had when you were here. Dad, there has been no rain. It's the driest spell Utah has ever had. But I'm glad anyway and really enjoying it.

I have my Christmas present already too--Perry got me a Westinghouse automatic electric dryer. Oh, how I shall enjoy using that when we get it connected! It will blow all my diapers and clothes dry for me in no time this winter. No more clothes lines for me-ha!

I am expecting my baby in about three weeks the doctor says December 1st or 2nd. [Renee was born December 8, 1952] Will surely miss your presence around here at that time, Mother. Perry's mother will take a two-week leave of absence from her job to help me out at that time however.

Were you surprised at how the election went? We were though we did vote for Ike. Guess now there will be some changes made in Washington--hope so!!

Keep thinking we will hear from Pierce, but we don't have his address. Do you see him much? I have a wedding gift for them. Mabel called me this morning and we talked for about half an hour. She said she'd like to hear from Dick or Emily and said she might call Dick sometime at your place. Tell Dick I'd like to hear from him once in a while too! Do hope he makes good on that selling job. Think that idea of his about getting a place in the San Fernando Valley a wonderful idea--do hope he can follow through. All of you please write me when you can. I love you and think of you all every day. Love, Gene.

The following is a postcard Gene wrote from Los Angeles. It appears that she got a chance to escape her mothering duties for a short time to visit with her family in California. We can probably assume that she took baby Renee with her.

June 16, 1953

Dear Perry,

Got into Riverside at 7:30 last night (Monday) and Aunt Veda and I took an 8:15 bus to LA. Pierce came in and took us both home. We were of course very tired and worn out. It was so hot coming across the desert--over 100 degrees at Las Vegas and Barstow.

I have taken a nap today and stayed home visiting with Mom and Dad and Dick's kids. Called Evelyn this morning. Will spend part of tomorrow with her. Dick and his girlfriend will take me to dinner tomorrow night then will meet Pierce's wife and visit with them Thursday I think.

Hope everyone and everything is ok with you and family. I think about you and talk about my family all the time-ha! More later. See you soon. Love, Gene

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I love life and being a mother!

1139 Elgin Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah
Marian, Linda and Dale
Oct. 12, 1951 (Friday)

Dear Folks,

Please forgive me for not answering more promptly, but I love you all very much and think of you all the time anyway. As you know, I really keep on the hop around here and find it hard to get a spare minute to sit down and write till night when the kids are asleep and then most of the time, by that time, I just want to drop in my tracks--ha!

The 1951 Mercury was our one-and-only car
for many years after its purchase
Anyway, today on the eve of our seventh wedding anniversary, Perry and I left the kids with a neighbor, (this morning) took baby Jan with us and went downtown. Did some "preview" Christmas shopping, then started shopping for our new car. We tried them all "oh fun." We were offered $200 on trade-in for our little old $90 '36 Chev coupe (which we have only put about $25 repairs on and have used for a year already.) Well, we just couldn't resist. Since Perry is now making $400 per month, which we are only using about $120 for living expenses and groceries, and saving the rest, we figured we could swing it, so have ordered our new car--a Mercury 4-door. We will get it in about three weeks.

Wanted to pay you right away for the nice warm pjs, Mom, but now can't do it till next month when we can put some money in the bank again. Hope you won't be mad. I really like them and they fit me fine. When I mentioned rayons in my last letter, I was thinking of the "fuzzy" brushed rayon, it's so soft and pretty. But these are ok and I surely do appreciate them. Received the small package today with the little pants and the sox. Thanks a lot!

Enjoyed all the letters from everyone--Emily's, Aunt Edith's, Dad's, Mom's and Pierce's. Say, Pierce, I was real disappointed not getting to have you as a guest during the very wonderful Conference last weekend. We would very much have enjoyed a visit from you. Sorry you couldn't make it. Thought it one of the most inspiring and powerful Conferences I have ever heard. Do read all of the messages from all the Church leaders soon as you can, a lot of timely instruction for us as well as warnings and strong inspiring testimonies.

Was so thrilled to hear and read about the starting of the LA Temple building down there. Were any of you there for the dedication? It's going to be a beautiful structure and in such an elite part of town, huh. We are all well and happy. Our weather is typical fall weather, beautiful. Heard from Dick again. He must have time on his hands--can read and write a lot. Hope he can get home next summer like he plans. How is everyone? Write often as you can. Love from us all, Gene & family

Oct. 22, 1951 (Monday)

Dear Mother,

Enjoyed your nice long newsy letter. It's good to hear about Dick's kids. Glad to know they are getting along so fine. I really hope too that you can have Ricky there for Christmas. Do wish we could drop in on you about that time too in our new car. Perry will have his "vacation" then but don't know if we can afford a trip or not.

Well, guess you'd really enjoy a visit from Aunt Minnie and husband, but I know what Dad means when he said to tell them to bring their own provisions. I think you should too. You know farm people don't have to think of food like you do. They raise so much of their food and have plenty on hand unusually and might not realize how you folks have to do there in the city. Your food bill is much higher of course.

Yes, we would like a garage for our car but that is impossible right now. Perry mentioned getting a tarp cover too, as you did. Think we may have to get one. Yes, Perry is holding down two jobs and works about 16 hours a day 5 days and 12 hours on Saturday. Then he has his bookkeeping church job on Sunday. And of course he milks his cow and feeds her and the calfs every morning. His dad takes care of the night milking.

Yes, we really keep our noses to the grindstone around here, ha! Up by 6:00 am every day, and Perry gets home from his janitors job at the university about 11:00 pm and about 6:00 pm on Saturdays. We realize we can only do this while we are young and have our health, so we are "making hay while the sun shines." Perry likes his work--never thinks of it as drudgery--just plans for the future.

We will pay our car off as quickly as possible and buy some land next year (farm land). Then next summer he plans to build a house beside his dad's place (buy the land) down here and sell it or else sell his dad's old place and let them have and move in to the new one. Then with that money as a downpayment, we hope to get a farm.

Too bad the picture isn't in
color so we could better see the
nice coats Aunt Hope made for us
Yes, Hope is making coats for our kids from coats of ours. She ripped three coats apart and is fitting pattern pieces and piecing to do it. She's really got a big job and is working hard at it. But the material was all good and Hope is a good seamstress and wanted to do it for us. She has been several weeks at it now--has the green one for Linda just about finished I think. Marian's is a dark blue and Dale's will be brown.

Yes, we are making good use of the clothes you sent of Dick's kids. The kids are wearing the jackets and overalls now and the little corduroy hat just fits Dale. He wears the little colored long-sleeved shirts too. Jan is wearing some of the baby things too Yes, Dale wore the shoes of Eric's for awhile, but his feet are big and he soon outgrew them. He has a bigger foot than Marian and even wider than Linda's.

Your gift of the cameo pin surely will make a complete nice set for Aunt Edith. I haven't seen her for years and years but just know she is a very attractive lady and very dignified looking. Daddy's letter came yesterday so will answer his now too. Love, Gene

Oct. 23, 1951 (Tuesday)

Dear Daddy,

Your letter came yesterday. Enjoyed it so much--you always write a wonderful letter, Daddy. Thanks for all the high praise, but Daddy I don't feel that all this were too much of an accomplishment because I only feel that I am living a normal and very complete life, and I am so very thankful for it and so happy just trying to do and accomplish the things on this earth that the good Lord put me here to do, I guess. And oh, I love life and being a mother, so it comes easy!

Yes, I am proud of my heritage and am equally as proud to have married a Manwaring--it is an honorable name--every man in this family who has the name has been and is an honorable man. It is the answer to Perry's great-grandfather's daily prayer that all who would bear this name who came of him would be clean and honorable. My boys, all of them, will be good men, they are chosen to be. Oh, what comfort this gives me, how richly blessed I feel.

And I often think I must keep myself worthy of these blessings. Someday I will be a Grandmother Manwaring who will want the love and respect of all her wonderful grandchildren. Well, I didn't realize I'd say so much! Hope you understand. It's hard to put it in so many words.

Well I guess the Mercury is cheaper here than in LA. The base price here was $2460. With the accessories, radio, heater, etc., we are getting it for $2688.  That's without overdrive though Dad. Yes, we are getting it financed through our bank--will also get your Farmers Insurance if we can. We haven't signed the contract yet--just ordered the car. It's being assembled and shipped from Denver and will be here for us on the 30th (next week.) So can give you more details later.

Glad you can get your rest, Dad, even if it has to be during the day sometimes--that's the thing to do, take it easy now. Surely would love to see you. Wish we could make it for your birthday! Love and God bless you, your loving daughter, Gene

November 8, 1951 (Thursday)

Dear Folks,

We enjoyed your letter, Dad, and all the explanations and had a big laugh as you explained the phone call "mix-up." But anyway, like you say, it was nice to get to hear and talk a bit with you folks.

And now at last we have our car! Just got it yesterday after several delays, have Farmers Insurance the 80% collision too. I was wrong about it coming from Denver. It was assembled there in Los Angeles where the cars are shipped from back east by boat and then delivered here by a big carrier truck. And the reason the cars are cheaper here than LA is because of the "zone" we are in.

Can't write much this time--must hurry back to my work. Did I tell you we got the little coats Hope made. My they are so nice. Hope really did beautiful work on them. They look so pretty on the kids and we are so thrilled with then. Now I will have to get bonnets to match. I'll send you a check for the pjs Saturday, Mother. We are all fine. Love to all, Gene

November 16, 1951 (Friday)

Dear Mother,

Guess you'll think I'm awful. Well, I wrote you a postcard several days ago--then missed the mailman--then Dale picked up the card and now I don't know where it is. Guess I'll find it some day under the rug or in a drawer or some funny place (where a little boy would hide it--ha!)

Anyway, I was trying to apologize for not sending that money I owed you when I promised for the jammies. Am really short on cash. (Downpayment on car came to a few dollars more than we expected) but will surely have it for you this month-end. Perry gets two big paychecks each month end.

We have been having real winter weather this past week--several snowstorms and now real cold--brrr!  Have you heard from Dick lately? Is he in Japan now? And how is Emily? Will she try to come out for Christmas to see her kids? What are everybody's plans, huh?

Guess you are really busy now with your new job as well as housework, etc. Surely hope you are keeping well. Don't overdue yourself. It isn't worth it. How is Pierce? Wish he'd write me too. Tell him I don't care what he's doing, it isn't as much work or exhausting and as everlasting as mine--wow! Please write when you can. Just love to hear from you, all of you. Love, Gene & family

Saturday, December 8, 2012

And then there were four

Perry & Gene with their first three children
Gene did join Perry in Vernal bringing their three small children with her. Vernal was in the Uintah Basin, the area where Perry had grown up. He loved the small, farming community and knew many of the residents. But Gene felt lonely and isolated in their little rented home on the outskirts of town. So after about six months living in Vernal, and with the pregnancy of their forth child, Jan, nearing term, Gene and the children left for Salt Lake City to stay with Perry's parents again. There she was able to get some family assistance with childcare and be closer to the Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City where Jan was born.

The following are a few letters Perry wrote to Gene during this time. They are addressed to 1139 Elgin Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah where Perry's parents, Elmer and Leona Manwaring, lived.

Vernal, Utah
April 15, 1951 (10:30 pm Sunday)

Dearest Gene,

Just got back from Roosevelt. I helped Venice and Elvyn get some sheetrock put up Saturday. We got the ceiling of the front room and the kitchen done. Also one partition to separate the front room from the rest of the house, so it is a little more livable and a little better looking now.

Went to church at Ballard this morning. I surely enjoyed seeing some of the old-timers, and I think they were glad to see me. The bishop insisted I come back and speak at Sacrament meeting. You can tell the folks that our old home burned to the ground yesteday. Jack Rasmussen was burning weeds and the fire caught on to the house. I drove down to look at it this morning. It made me feel rather sick in the pit of my stomach.

Baby Dale
How are you and the children getting along? I don't know how I'm going to wait another week to see you. I thought I had a ride but at the last minute the people changed their minds about going. I would have come on the bus, but didn't have sufficient finances. I will be out this weekend for sure though.

Please give my sweet little children a big hug and a kiss from daddy. I hope your mother is there by now. If so, I shan't worry because I know you are in good care. All my love, Perry

10:30 pm Monday

Dearest Gene

I received your letter just today and was shocked and surprised indeed to hear about your father's illness and the fact that your mother is unable to come. I certainly pray for your well-being and that you will be able to keep managing the children alone ok. Don't hesitate to call on my mother for help. It's mostly in the evening when you need it.

I'm going to try and get this letter off to you airmail, special delivery and hope you will get it tomorrow. [Tomorrow would be April 17, the day Jan was born. But of course Perry had no way of knowing that as Jan wasn't due for several more days.] I got to thinking that you may not get the letter I wrote last night until Wednesday, and I certainly didn't want you to think I "didn't care" as you hinted you might.

I too miss you all the time and am really counting off the days now till I can be with you again. I'll write a better letter later, but I wanted to send you the $5.00 for Continental. The check was $7.27 so thought I should keep the rest for my own necessities. I'm looking for a ride out but no luck as yet. Can't afford to take the bus on what I have. I'll be out there this weekend for sure though. Hope the baby comes about the 20th or 21st. I love you very, very much. Give all my sweet little kids a kiss for me. God bless you. Perry

(Letter to Linda and Marian on the other side.)

Dear Linda and Marian,

Daddy wants you to listen real carefully while mama reads this letter to you. Daddy sure does miss his two little girls and his little boy. Daddy wishes he could see all of you, but I will see you soon in just three more days. Just this many I I I.

Now daddy would like you to do something for him. Will you do something for daddy? Daddy wants you to help momma all you can. I want you to be real nice to each other and not make each other and Dale cry. Daddy wants you to do what mommy tells you. Go to bed when she tells you and eat when she tells you. Can you pick up all of your toys and clothes so mommy won't have to? You'll want to do all you can to help mommy, won't you?

We loved to play Cowboys and Indians
Jan's riding the horse
If you can do a lot of things to help mommy then I think pretty soon she can go to the hospital and then bring home a pretty little baby brother or baby sister. Wouldn't you like that? Please be real sweet girls so mommy won't have to get a real bad backache or tummy ache, will you? I know you will because you are my little sweethearts. Love and kisses to you. Daddy

Perry missed Jan's actual birth, which was on Tuesday, the day he wrote the above letter. However, in those days, mothers and new babies stayed in the hospital after a birth much longer than they do now. So Perry did get to the hospital a few days later where a nurse at the front desk informed him that he had a little girl. Then, seeing Gene, she insisted that she'd given birth to a boy. Perry then went to the nursery where he found that indeed little Jan was a boy.

The difficulty of getting transportation back and forth must have prompted Perry and Gene to buy a used car as the following short letter seems to imply.

Postmarked April 23, 1951

Dear Gene,

Just a note to let you know I arrived ok and safely. The little car purred along just fine. My generator wasn't working very good so I ran the battery down some. Elvyn worked on it and it charges a little now. I'll probably have to have that worked on next, but I feel quite lucky to have made the trip that well. [From Salt Lake City where Perry's parents lived to Vernal is about 170 miles--a three hour trip for us now, but probably a much longer trek in an older-model car in 1951.] If it can make one more trip over the mountain, that will be all I can expect or hope for, for a long trip.

Hope you're making it ok with Jan. Aunt Leona and Thelma surely didn't like the name (ha!) I had supper with Aunt Mary last night. I'm enclosing a money order for $5.00. Hope you can hold out for a while. Love, Perry

Vernal, Utah
April 25, 1951 (10:00 pm)

Dearest Gene,

I received your letter tonight. It was good to hear from you. You didn't tell me much about the baby. Does he have colic? I certainly hope not.

It doesn't look as though I will be out this weekend. Can't locate anyone who is going out and I certainly can't afford the bus. Good thing I have a place where I can stay because I am virtually penniless. I will be out for certain the next weekend though.

Marian giving Jan a ride in the swing while a
little neighbor girl, Kathleen Caddy, looks on
Surely glad your mother is there to take over. I haven't any feeling of anxiety as I did have. How is she making out with the children? Do they respond for her? Do you feel that you are recuperating? Be sure to obey the doctor's instructions about lifting, etc. Don't even try to stand and hold the baby. Please! We certainly don't want any prolonged complications.

Nearly everyone here inquires about you and asks how you are. Also they remark what a perfectly balanced family we have. Give the children all a kiss for daddy. Love, Perry

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Starting a Family

Perry & Gene with baby Linda
After the war, Perry and Gene moved to Provo, Utah. They used their savings to buy a small home and Perry started working driving a milk truck. It soon became obvious to the young couple, however, that Perry would never have the time or money to finish his college degree unless they sold the house and moved in with Perry's parents who were living in Salt Lake City. There Perry went to school at the University of Utah, graduating in 1950.  By that time Gene had given birth to three children, Linda, born in 1947, Marian in 1948, and Dale in 1949.

The following are excerpts from two letters Gene and Perry received during this time: one from Gene's Aunt Edith and the other from Perry's best friend from his school days, Clyde Wahlquist.

January 29, 1947

Dear Gene and Perry,

Have so wanted to write you ever since your lovely Xmas card came with your snow pictures. We appreciated it so much and here little Linda arrived before I could possibly get to it and thank you. How happy we are for you over her safe arrival. Can never tell you how we'd love to see her, also her proud mother and daddy. Am hoping she is a good baby for even if they are good, they take much care. Wish we were close so we could help look after her for I adore babies. They always grow up far too soon to suit me. . . . Hope the baby has her mamma's beautiful hair and eyes.

Perry, you have quite a charge now with 2 girls to look after but know you are quite capable. May little Linda bring great happiness to you both is my earnest wish. Do drop us a card some time if you can find time and let us know how baby is progressing. Much love to all three of you from us both. Edith

Price, Utah
Feb. 5, 1947

Dear Perry, Gene & baby Linda,

May I extend my hearty congratulations on the arrival of your little pink bundle. I had been waiting quite eagerly for the announcement and must say I surely was happy that all is well and that it was a girl. Now Linda and Carol can play together. There is something about having a baby that renews and cleanses the body and mind. It is very refreshing in that there is never a dull moment around a child. I know Carol Jean is always one-half jump ahead of her daddy and continually looking for new tricks or devices to attract my attention.

Yes sir, Perry, we are both old folks now. I can't quite realize that we are really grown up, married and now both fathers. It seems no time since we combed our hair straight and played little lost puppies on the school steps. However, each new step brings its own added joys and problems and reponsibilities. You have been around children a lot, but I was new and awkward. I thought Carol was going to break in two when I first picked her up. Yet there was such a thrill when her soft little hand first touched me. Carol has a little gift for her new cousin, but she'll bring it in person when we come to Salt Lake. Well, I must close now. Good luck and God bless you and your little precious bundle and give her a hug for me. Love, Clyde, Helen and Carol

After Perry graduated from college, he got a teaching job at an elementary school in Vernal, Utah. The following letter is from Perry to Gene as he had gone ahead to start the new school year and secure a place for them to live. By this time, not only did they have three children, but they had just learned that Gene was pregnant with child number four, Jan, who was born the following spring in 1951.

Perry enjoyed the teaching assignment in Vernal, but Gene felt lonely and isolated in such a small, rural town with no close family around to help out with the children and no means to get out of the house. She felt trapped and lonely. The following year, Perry took a teaching job back in the city and they moved back in to his parent's house for a time until he was able to build their growing family their own house on property behind his parent's home.

At school
Oct. 25, 1950 (3:30 pm)

My Darling Wife,

I was glad to receive your letter last night. I had to go to mutual so I didn't get a chance to answer immediately. I wonder if you will need another frog test now since the score is tied up 50 to 50. Ask your doctor what he thinks. If you are really pregnant, I surely pray you will be able to carry it now the full time. Ask your doctor if this much bleeding could have any harmful affect on the child.

I surely hope you can come soon. It's quite lonely here, but if I can't find a good ride out, I think you had better stay there until my next check. Then you can fly. I am sure that the bus would be too much of an ordeal for you alone with the children even though when I came there were only five passengers. I don't think you had better come that way because I'm afraid it may not be good for you. Coming back, I got somewhat sick myself and that's unusual for me. I didn't feel good for the whole next day.

The cow had her calf just a few hours before I got home. I have to take care of her now. I guess we should have plenty of milk when you come. That will help.


Linda, Marian and baby Dale
At home
Oct. 26, 1950 (9:00 pm)

Dear Honey,

Received your second letter tonight which made me very happy. I certainly hope and pray things start going better for you now. I'll try and get you some money, but I'm afraid I can't send you any for another 8 or 9 days. Maybe it will be that long before you can leave anyway. Don't try to leave until the doctor says it's absolutely all right.

Seems to me the only sensible way for you to travel in your condition and with the children is on the plane. Even if you do have to pay the half fare for Linda, it would be cheaper than my coming out and helping you back on the bus. You could arrange to come on a Saturday and then I could meet you. The only other alternative would be to come with someone who could help with the children, and I don't know who would want to take on that kind of a responsibility or who I would want to ask. 

Linda & Marian at Manwaring grandparents house
1139 Elgin Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah
I think that you would be able to handle the children for the hour or so that it takes (certainly much better than on the bus.) In fact, they might really enjoy it. You would have to explain it to them before you went so they wouldn't be afraid.

How are the children? I do hope we have no more troubles with them. My prayers are constantly with you. Do you really want another boy? How about twins??? I pray everything will go normal from here on. Seems I should get a 5er back on that first frog test or else that they should run the rabbit test for nothing. Seems the doctor would want another now to make sure. Right now the score is tied. What does he say?

Tell Dad the calf is a heifer. Guess I'd better close now. Surely wish you and the kids were here but don't try to come before you should. When I came home tonight, I turned on the radio and it started off playing "Me and My Shadow." Thought it was quite appropriate. Goodnight and Love, Perry