Saturday, January 5, 2013

How to grow old gracefully?

Emmett & Leora at their favorite restaurant, Cliftons
January 11, 1955
977 W. 42 St., Los Angeles

Dear Gene & Perry,

Thanks for the beautiful birthday remembrance. My how these birthdays seem to come around more often than they used to! We get a little grayer, look older, but feel no older than we did at 25 or 30, yet we darn well know that we can not kid ourselves--old age is upon us. How to grow old gracefully? Seems to come naturally to some, but for me to attempt it, well, it just doesn't appeal to me.

I now have your beautiful card before me. The carnations look so natural, I can almost smell their fragrance, which I admire so much. The verse, "For those born in January, . ." may quite possibly over-estimate our talents; however, we like to think we're that good, ha! I believe I can conscientiously say there are two things in there that are true of me:

(1) "Study," a thing everyone must learn if he goes far in school. I want to refer to what we have been studying in the Melchizedek priesthood quorums for the past three years, "The Divine Church" by John L. Baker. I hope you have been studying it, Perry. It is rather comprehensive and perhaps a little tedious at times, but I have enjoyed it immensely. You have to study it to really get the good out of it. I found most of the members in the high priest quorum at Adams, also in Manchester Ward, where I was the instructor for about a year, did not get down and study these lessons and several didn't take the time to read it even. It is work, mentally, to do these things, and I find unless a man has acquired the habit for reading good literature, he just won't read these manuals.

I have, after studying these manuals, acquired a fair comprehension of what took place down through the centuries to the church that our Savior established and left to his apostles and disciples. There was no authority after the apostles and the theologians interpreted the scriptures without the spirit of revelation. So what could you expect? Schisms arose to cause strife and confusion and man-made doctrines entered into the church. Very interesting. It would be well if all the young people of our church would study this course. It makes quite clear how necessary it was for the gospel to be restored.

(2) "High Standards," I always kept the commandments, with the exception, perhaps, of not always following to the letter the keeping of the Sabbath day. I did play golf one summer on Sundays. I did, however, believe in being honest, morally clean and always did keep the "Word of Wisdom" long before I ever heard of it as we know it in our church. Now, I don't mean to be egotistical. None of us are perfect. I hope I haven't gone too far with this to bore you.

Well, we are getting beautiful weather here now after a heavy shower Sunday night. Clear blue sky today with snow-covered peaks to the north of us and a temperature of about 72 degrees. I hope you are all enjoying good health, and I wish for you all a very happy New Year. I know you must be enjoying your enlarged quarters, and what a fine family. We only wish we could see you occasionally. We have ample room here now, and it would be nice to have you come and see us. It is hard for me to realize that Salt Lake City is almost as far from here as New York City is from Chicago, which to us in the "old days" gone by was a trip to talk about and only made once in a lifetime. How times do change.

Easter 1955 with all six children
Pierce is now a family man and quite busy, so we only see him on Sunday at church. Little Becky is getting cuter every day and in her blue coat and bonnet is quite a picture. Until only recently, I couldn't get near her but what she would scowl and turn away. She is beginning to get used to me now and gives me a big smile, and I can pick her up in my arms. How about some snapshots of those two youngest of yours, Renee and Harriet Lea?

I must run along now. With love and may the Lord bless you with His choices blessing. Your Dad

Excerpt from Leora's letter written July 13, 1955 where she's commenting on the remodeling of Perry and Gene's Salt Lake City house that started out as an old chicken coop at the back of Perry's parent's property and eventually became a comfortable 3-bedroom house that is still standing and occupied to this day.

Summer fun, 1955
Leora writes: "Do hope that carpenter makes your dish cupboards first for you sure need them. Have him fix it so you can stand your plates up in back and have more room. Glad to hear you're having your house finished, but gee? adding more closets too takes extra space from your rooms. Boy! You'll be all in an upheaval like you were when I was there in October. Hope you'll have it all done though before cold weather so you can get your house in order and everything in its place. You know, the Lord says, "My house is a house of order." Wish I could be there to help you put it that way when he gets the work done. You really need a 4-bedroom house too with your family of six.

Excerpt from Emmett's letter written July 13, 1955. Five months later, Emmett died unexpectedly.

Am pleased to hear you are getting the house remodeling finished. How nice it will be! I'm sure you will enjoy your new conveniences. With a family of 8 of you, how necessary it is to have things handy and convenient for "operation" breakfast, dinner and supper, which comes so regularly every day in the week and then "operation" dish washing to say nothing of wash day, ironing, mending, etc. The home becomes a small industrial institution all in itself. While Mother must be general manager, plan and delegate certain responsibilities and tasks to the children to make it a smooth, well-balanced, economical home. Some task! [Emmett graduated from college as a time-study engineer and he spent a lot of time thinking and talking about efficiency and time management as this paragraph illustrates.]

November 15, 1955 (Tuesday)
1149 Elgin Ave., Salt Lake City

Dear Mother & Dad,

Today Dick's and Betty's baby was born about 12:15 AM, I guess. Anyway, Dick called me about 2:00 AM to tell me about it. Ha! After talking to him awhile, I could not get back to sleep. I tossed around a long time--really felt like I was killing time! Betty read my book on "Painless Childbirth" and really tried to follow Dr. Reid's teachings. Her baby came so fast with few labor pains I guess. Dick hardly had enough time to get her to the hospital. The nurses and all were so amazed and could hardly believe it was her first child. Isn't she wonderful!

We've had quite a record snow storm here too for this time of year. It started Sunday night and yesterday it continued--had a blizzard in the afternoon. Last night Dick had fog out his way--had a neighbor drive him and Betty to the hospital.

Dale, Marian, cousin David, and Linda
Perry couldn't make it up the hills to the university yesterday morning in time to make an early class, but when he got there, he found out no one else did either--including the professor. This is really an old-fashioned snow storm like some we used to have back in Milwaukee. Perry sure hates it. Really makes it rough for the ones who have to be out in it. Of course, the kids love it.

(Wednesday) Well, last night and today we've broken some cold winter weather records I guess. The coldest Utah has been for several years. Gosh, it came so all of a sudden! We were having such lovely fall weather--then bang! Dick came in last evening for eggs. He had just been in Murray visiting Betty at the hospital. Guess they don't have much money. She didn't want to go to hospital and talked the doctor into letting her go home today. Do hope she'll be ok. I gave Dick a loaf of bread and some meat for their supper. Will go out to see them Sunday and take some things--eggs, chickens, milk, etc. Guess Dick is staying home this week with his family. He said this weather makes it impossible for any work up there in Ogden.

We got all your packages, letters, etc. Thanks, Mom! The baby is wearing her little "sleepers" and keeping warm. I bought some pjs for Dale and Jan one day in Murray at JC Penney. I also got another little sweater like the white one you gave Linda. It's yellow, and now Marian is happy. Had to get mittens for all too! They all had a very exciting Halloween. They went to the Primary party, also one at their school house.

Guess I didn't tell you, I have my automatic washer now. It surely seems wonderful to be taking care of my dirty clothes while I go about the house doing my other work. Must get this off to you. We're planning to go out to Kearns Sunday afternoon to see the new baby and take her something. Betty's friends out there had a nice baby shower for her one day. I think she got just about everything.

Did I tell you our new bathroom is in working order now--fixtures and all! We also have our front porch and sidewalk in. We keep busy, but we are happy. Hope you are both well. Love from us all, Gene & family

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.