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

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