Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This starts you on the 41st year, doesn't it

Leora, Gene, Dick, Betty & Ricky
February 8, 1961 (Wednesday PM)

Dear Gene,

You're coming up for another birthday and I'm sending a reminder so you won't forget it. But after my next birthday, think I'm going to forget all about the next coming years. Let's see, this starts you on the 41st year, doesn't it, since your arrival in the United States of America. My ancestors migrating to this continent, the English, Scotch-Irish and maybe a little Dutch, anyway the Quakers and some of the German Fasts and the Scotch-Irish Calhouns on Dad's ancestry has made you a genuine United States of America citizen. So they helped back in the founding of this great nation to give us freedom to worship and to live in peace with one another.

I hope we can prove ourselves deserving of all this and to keep our country free in this respect. You arrived on my grandmother's birthday and barely missed coming in on Grandma Fast's birthday (Dad's mother.) She almost reached her 100th birthday, probably would have if she hadn't tried to fix the window curtain, causing her to fall and break her hip. The shock was too much.

So take it easy when you begin to climb up in your later years, and I should take the same advice I suppose for I do quite a bit of climbing and reaching to fix things and to get down some of my belongings. I've always been active. There is an article in the January 1961 Era everyone should read titled, "I sold my Car and Took to My Feet." Well, I never had a car to sell, but I have certainly practiced what this writer tells us, and I bet I've done more walking than she has done so far. And I still walk plenty, but my foot has given me plenty of trouble in these later years and I can't take the walking too long at a time anymore. But I think I walk more than any other woman in our ward. Really get pretty tired and by bedtime, I'm ready to get my feet up to rest. But she is right, we do enjoy more of scenery and what goes on as we walk along. . . .

Yes, I read Hope's story. It was very good too. I think the articles they put in the first pages of the Relief Society Magazine are so very good and very instructive. We all can benefit by reading them. . . . Hope Linda didn't get bored with my letter. I know how she feels. She's at that in-between age. Hope she and Marian can keep up their music. One of the girls should be a singer and the other one accompany her like Aunt Minnie and I only I'd liked to have learned to play also.

I think Ricky is at the age where he gets bored. He seemed very quiet while here. He is such a good person, and those children's lives have been so disturbed in their short years about like mine was when my parents died. Wish they didn't live so far away. I missed my grandma a lot too. She was such a wonderful, good, spiritual person and went through trying pioneering days as a widow, losing so many of her children--all but one died before she passed on.

Well, I intended to close this reminiscing. Won't seem much like a birthday letter to you. Must go and drop this now. It's 5:30 PM. "Happy birthday to you. . ." Love, Mother [Leora]

April 25, 1961

Dear Perry & family,

We just got back from the doctor. A week from today, May 2nd, he says he will do the job for keeps and what a relief that will be for Mother. [To help with the painful neuralgia in Leona's face, the doctor severed a facial nerve in that area.] We saw a lady who had the same trouble for ten years. She had the alcohol injection four different times and then a month ago, Dr. Wright severed the nerve and she just feels fine. She says, "I only wish I had him do it ten years ago."

Dr. Wright told us to wait till next week to make arrangements, but we felt it would be better to do that now, so he got on the phone and that was the earliest date he could make. So Perry, by your birthday your sweet little mother will be home and can write you a nice birthday letter. Love, Father [Elmer]

Pa says he will phone you after the operation. I feel like I will make it all right, but you and your family continue to pray for me that everything will work out all right. I am sure the Lord has blessed me this far. Love, Mother [Leona]

Front row: Genevieve, Leona & Hazel
Back row: Perry, June, Venice & Hope
May 23, 1961

Dear Perry & all,

This is my first day home alone. Genevieve stayed with me until last Thursday night. Pa had his "day off" Friday, and June came and took me out to her place Saturday and yesterday. Everybody has sure been good and thoughtful.

I still don't get around too well, but I cling to a chair, etc. to help me walk. It seems like my head wants to "wobble," and I get a little dizzy. But I am making it fine, if a little slowly. I guess I will just have to remember I am not so young anymore. I promised Elmer I would be real careful and not fall.

It is a beautiful time of year--the shrubs in bloom, the iris so pretty and the grass so green. There was some rain while we were in California, but the future looks like there will be drought. I am glad we took our trip when we did. That was a lovely trip, and to see all of you, and think of all the pleasant things and funny things the children said still makes me smile. The flowers you sent were so beautiful.

I got quite a few "get well" and "Mother's Day" cards, but I really was surprised to get a card from Clyde [Wahlquest] and Helen. He doesn't know I have been in the hospital, but he sent it for Mother's Day, saying I had always been like a mother to him. Imagine! I must write him a thank you note as soon as I can.

I have had some trouble hearing since the operation. My right ear was my best one, and I couldn't hear anything out of that. I complained quite a bit to everybody, the doctor included. He said there couldn't be any possible damage permanently to the ear through the operation. He said, though, "It is just possible that a little blood or water got in because of having to work so close to it." The wound is about four inches long, a little in front of and above the ear. So June and Genevieve took me up to his office last Thursday, and he got out quite a bit of something--made it bleed. Then he stuffed it full of medication of some sort, so I still can't hear. It is awful annoying. I have to go back Thursday.

June said the day I was operated on, in the afternoon, she and Pa were there, and I guess I was still groggy. I said, "I can't understand it, they must have cut off my ear, for I can't hear a thing!" Just shows what foolish things can go through one's head.

I am glad you can have an extra few weeks of teaching, for the sake of income. Hazel is going to teach kindergarten to help pay for her car. Well, this is quite an accomplishment for me. I will go and rest. Love to all, Mother & Dad

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pretty tough way to earn your Christmas money

Gene with her brother, Dick, his wife, Betty
and all the children from both families
December 2, 1960 (Friday)

Dear Gene,

How are you getting along with your sales job at May Company. [Gene took a part-time holiday-season job for a little extra Christmas spending money.] How do you get to work I'm wondering and also back home? Who does the house work or does it take care of itself some way? Pretty tough way to earn your Christmas money, but maybe when we have to earn it the hard way, we'll be more careful how we spend it.

I think everyone should be grateful that we have a home to live in and to be able to get something extra for a nice Christmas dinner that all can enjoy it together. I don't think our Lord expected his birthday to be celebrated in the manner that so many do in this US. The real spirit is lost in the way we celebrate and seems to be more of a selfish one the way so many spend their money for expensive gifts. So commercialized and ends up with so many drinking parties. So few realize the spiritual meaning.

Well, the reason for me writing, I wanted to send you Richard's letter I received this morning so you could see what they're planning on for New Year's week. Do you realize that 1960 is going out just like the end of the year did when Dad passed on? We spent Christmas together at Mona's mother's home on Sunday that year. I roasted the turkey slowly that Saturday night for the dinner. Mrs. Gillet bought it at Von's market--a nice-sized one. I made the dressing and cooked cranberry sauce. We had a nice dinner.

Pierce, Mona and children came, her younger brothers were home. Dad and I did attend Sunday evening services. Pierce took us over to Adams Ward before they left for home. But by New Years, Dad was gone and New Years fell on Sunday that year, same as this one will. And here we are celebrating the same days real soon again with Rich to join us if all goes well for the New Year, 1961.

So hope their car can make the trip. What worries me a little--where will they all sleep? I've thought for quite awhile if they did come, I could keep Ricky, Eric and Carol. Ricky and Eric could sleep on the pull-down bed and Carol and I on my studio couch. I can let it down, you know. Then they can be made up and all put out of the way, covers and all. So wonder if you can take care of Rich and Betty and the 3 smaller ones. Do you think you could borrow a baby bed for their baby? It really should be kept up off the floor all the time so won't be in a draft and so the baby won't be under everyone's feet or stepped on with so many children around. It could get hurt or sick from the cold drafty floor.

So hope you can borrow a bed or did you have one stored in your basement of Harriet Lea's. They'll have to get back to Utah over the next weekend for Rich's work and the children to go back to school. I hope Ricky, Eric and Carol can stay here to watch the parade on my TV. I wish you had Mr. Allen to fix your TV up. He was over here Tuesday evening and fixed my antenna wire that had come loose some way. Maybe the wind pulled the lead in wire from the antenna. I saw it dangling down one evening from the roof. He didn't charge me for doing it, but when he fixed the TV all up for me a year ago, I paid him. He was going to TV school and still is. He and his wife manage a four-story apartment over on Burlington off 6th Street. (Members of the church.)

Anyway, you read Rich's letter and we'll have to plan for them. Maybe I'll get a turkey and roast it so I'll have plenty to eat for them here or bring it out to your place, but I want the older children to see TV New Year's parade for they don't have one. Gene, I'll have to tell Rich I expect to keep the older children. They should take them a lot of lemons and oranges back home. I bought 4 pounds at Vons, also oleo at 10 cents per pound for them, so will save it and give it to them to take home. Should get busy and make cookies and date loaf to have on hand. I made fudge-nut cake squares for our Relief Society work day potluck lunch that we had Tuesday.

Pierce and Mona want me to come out to be there a week--from December 12th to 18th. She will have to work longer day hours now. Then Pierce will be home the next week to be with the children. I was wishing we all could be together for Christmas dinner at your house and maybe I could roast turkey for that day. Only wish Pierce could be with us too. They had a nice ham dinner Thanksgiving. Mona made it and it was so good. She had pumpkin and apple pie. Pierce can't eat eggs, you know.

Well, I must drop this so you'll get it Saturday. Anyway, we've got a lot on our hands ahead of us. I was supposed to sing with Singing Mother's at our Union Meeting December 12th, but if I go to Pierce's, I won't be able to sing with them. Do you work at May's this Saturday? Seems cooler this evening after our little shower last night. Love, Mother [Leora]

[Leora writes, "Received this today from Rich, December 2 already.]

November 30, 1960

Dear Mom,

Got your note the other day. Hope you are ok and that everything is going ok for you. Well we have had a nice snow here a few days ago and it has been slow going. The streets clear off within about a 24-hour period. It kind of gives you the Christmas spirit. The kids are doing pretty well. They got report cards the other day. Carol has been having a bit of a problem adjusting to junior high. I guess it isn't so much a problem as it is just slow adjusting. Rick and Eric too had the same trouble when they first entered junior high.

I took Eric to the UCLA-Utah game last Saturday. Rick was going to go too but went on a hike in the morning and didn't get home in time. We are still planning to come down to see you New Year's week, so don't plan too much for that week. The kids want to take in Disneyland, etc.

Betty's singing group is getting lots of singing engagements now. They are doing quite well. The group I used to sing with has dissolved, so I'm not doing any singing now. We haven't written to the folks in Princeville yet. I hadn't heard about Walt getting married to Lea Delle. I remember her. Isn't she the gal that was out to LA with Aunt Edith a few years ago?

Well, I'd better get this in the mail. I've been writing this at work, and the night crew has come on already and it's starting to go past 12:00, so I'll close. We are all well. Love from all, Dick

[Leora adds another note to Dick's letter: "Maybe I'll be able to spend Christmas day with you all. Hope I don't get the bronchitis and flu like I have the past 2 years or so.]

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The dandelion's a pretty flower

Christmas vacation in Utah
Looks like Dale is about to pull Jan's hat off.
So will Jan then hit him with his double snowball?
June 6, 1960

Dear Perry & Gene,

In Jan's letter, Gene, you added, "More later," and we have sorta' been looking for another. The girls have been planning something for our anniversary, and I believe Genevieve is supposed to write to you telling of the plans, etc. As the day comes on a school day (September 14) that rules out anything on that day, so they thought perhaps something in August might be feasible.

To tell you the truth, Elmer and I would rather not have it be an expense for anyone. Lorin hasn't had work all winter except since Christmas he has $100 per month for work on church house (janitor work). They have had quite an expense for Afton, so I think Floyd has had to keep things going. June is down to bedrock and with a lot of days of sickness. Venice and Elvyn have a house to finish and a boy on a mission. Hazel still with her nerves and doctor bills.

Now they all want to have some appropriate observance, and your father and I very much appreciate it, but we don't want to make it hard for anyone. Just the day by day things they do are appreciated by us. June is so thoughtful and liberal as are Hope and Grant. Genevieve is always doing something like bringing fruit, cake, and aprons for me. Hazel has our welfare at heart and is generous too. So your father asked me this morning to write and tell you not to feel obligated to come if it is against your better judgement. Your car isn't new, and the road is long and hot. It really is risky. I realized that last summer.

We just love to get letters, and the children have written such cute ones. Jan, Renee and Harriet wrote recently. So Perry, you use your good sense and come if you can well do it, but don't be pressured into it. I think Elmer and I will still have quite a few years ahead of us, and we and the family have had a lot of pleasant times together to remember. Those two times we went to your house, and with all the things we did, was enough for several anniversaries.

Alan Mangum and his wife Norma
Genevieve said Alan and Norma reported they had such a good time with you folks. If you could just board a plane and be landed here on our green grass without worrying about that long stretch of desolation in between, that is what I would like. We could make you comfortable here, I think, most of the time, but it is hot here too. But we can always find shade.

Of course Pa will stay on the job as long as they will keep him. He comes home so "all in." I said to him, "Maybe you won't want to wait till they fire you." But we are both well and can rest well at night so good for another day. . . . Your father had his two weeks vacation, and we went to Blue Bell, Roosevelt, Tridell, Vernal and Naples. Visited just a short time with our relatives.

Then we heard that Nelson had quite a hurried operation, and Hope had had quite a lot of worry because she had to make all the decisions in Grant's absence, so we went down there. June drove her car, and Hazel and David went too. Hope and Nelson were real glad for our concern, and we were glad we went.

Elmer and I made the rounds and went to Orem, and while there we hunted up Frank Goodrich and wife as Aunt Lyd has asked us several times if we ever saw Frank. So we saw everybody but you and family. Venice and family came out for the fourth. They really came out here to get Wilda and her things. Elvyn still is driving the mail, and I do hope and pray he can keep it. He looks much better, and Venice feels so hopeful of their future if he can just keep it. If not, then she doesn't know what will happen.

Well, I fear parts of my letter sound discouraging. I did not mean it to sound so. Write and tell us all your plans and how everything is. Love from Mother and Dad [Leona and Elmer]

June 9, 1960

Dear Folks,

It is quite a jump from February to June. Then it was snow, now it is beautiful summer with all the roses at their best and the weather not as hot as it may yet be--so enjoy it while it lasts. "For lo, it is not always" June. . . . Elmer and I can go to the "Old Folks Day" at Liberty Park this June as he will have his vacation beginning next week. There was a really good dinner and program last year--outstanding musical numbers and other things. . . .

I have been trying diligently to rid our lawn of the dandelions, but with its children and grandchildren, well--here is a verse:

The dandelion's a pretty flower
It's sturdy too and bold.
And everyday, at break of day, it lifts
its head of gold--
as if to say, in a saucy way
"I have come to stay."

Persistence is a worthy trait
In this I do not jest,
So emulate it all you can
But please don't be a pest.

Well, I think I better come to a close. It is a bit chilly this morning after a nice shower last night. So I don't have to get out to sprinkle the lawn just yet. I put some poison spray on some dandelions yesterday, but I suppose the rain washed it all off. Please everybody write soon. Love to all, Mother [Leona]

August 12, 1960

Dear Gene and All,

Suppose it's gotten hot where you are the same as here this week. Did cool off a little last week, but it's back in the same groove again. September is usually our hot month but seems this year the whole US weather map has been changed all over. Last weekend I thought a little of coming out to see you all by coming to Pomona in time to go to church with you, but my hair needed fixing, and after talking to you by phone for 10 minutes, I'd used up all my bus fare. It costs too much to talk out of my territory--think talking to you will be $1.10 or little more with tax. So it's cheaper to travel or write--telephones are for the rich.

Leora Edith Young Fast
Finally got my hair fixed yesterday--a perm which I needed. I saw an ad in our mid-weekly advertising a special hairdo over on 6th about 2 blocks west of Vermont not far from Ambassador Hotel. So I walked over there after phoning for an appointment which they set at 12. I took my coupon ad and supposed to get a $12.50 job for $7.50. She did a good job anyway I feel better and think I look better too.  Hated to part with the cash for sure have been squeezing my nickels to make them stretch. So walked over and back but was dead tired to the world last night. . . .

So many have birthdays this month. Didn't I forget Harriet Lea's. Think I did. Becky's is the 18th, then Dale's and my brother in Oklahoma has one the 26th. Wow! Too many in August. Well, I'd better go drop this so you'll get it tomorrow. Becky was with me 3 or 4 days but guess you knew that when Marian was at Valerie's too. Can't reread my letter as time is slipping. May slip in 2 dimes for Harriet Lea for birthday money. Tell her I'm sorry I let it slip by. Lot's of love, Mother [Leora]

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our lawn is beginning to thicken up

Renee, Harriet & Tippy the dog
February 22, 1959

Dear Mother and Dad,

I am trying to get your letter answered before as much time lapses as it did before I answered the last time. This is Sunday and I will be out every night next week so it looks like now or never. I have been out every night for the last ten days except Wednesday and I stayed home that night so Gene could go to a meeting. Next week is booked solid.

Well, enough for the bragging, complaining or excuses. (Take your pick.) I must get this letter written if for no other reason than to send on the letters that the children have written all on their own and without a bit of coaxing from me. I should have sent them sooner, but, well you know how it is--tomorrow is always filled with such lavish possibilities.

Tomorrow is a holiday here in the schools. (Dale says, "I can sleep in peace tonight.") But I am going to run the recreation at one of the schools so it won't be much of a holiday for me.

I intended to mention to you before how pleased I was to get the letter from the Woods in Sioux Falls. [A family Perry taught and baptized when he was on his mission.] I am so pleased that the family is so faithful in the church. The two girls have married in the church and the others are coming along just like a good Latter-day Saint family should. I think it is especially miraculous that Launa has recovered. I thought it was given up as almost hopeless that she would ever recover. I placed her name in the temple several times and I wrote to her once. I received a letter from her, but it seemed so incoherent that I guess I was too inclined to give it up as hopeless. That is a good lesson in faith.

Gene's mother sent this to Perry in one of her letters
We have finally had a break in the dry spell so now it has been raining nearly every day for almost two weeks. It is getting green now. Our lawn is beginning to thicken up and it is difficult to find a break in the weather to get the lawn cut.

The 10th was Gene's birthday. The children had planned to get her an electric mixer which they saw at the Deseret Industries. We got it for $5.00 but we had to buy beaters which cost $2.50, so all in all it was still a good buy. It was a fairly late model one too. We could never have afforded a new one. The children were so tickled and had such a lot of fun keeping the "secret" from Mama which wasn't much of a secret by the time her birthday arrived.

We were actually worried about finding beaters that fit, and when we found some at about the first place we tried, the children were so tickled that they could hardly contain themselves. Later on when we stopped at a store to get some groceries (Gene was in the car with us) Dale said, "Daddy, I'd better come with you. I don't trust myself to be alone with Mama." Meaning of course that he couldn't trust himself from "spilling the beans."

We are going to get a nice gas range to replace the small broken-down one we have been using all these years. It's an O'Keefe & Merritt, fairly recent model, for $40. I have really been surprised at the fine merchandise that Deseret Industries has, particularly in the appliances. If you are interested in some of these "luxuries" that you never could afford, you might go and look there. I saw an automatic Maytag washer for $40.

I haven't been able to get the family letter written. It is bogged down here this time. But tell the others I will get it on its way soon.  I am enclosing a letter from Jan and Dale. I also just found a letter which Linda wrote to David before Christmas. I guess we forgot to mail it. Will you give it to him. It was in answer to one he wrote to her. Must close, Love, Perry

July 3, 1959

Dear Perry & Family,

It was good to get your letter, and it was good to hear Gene's and the children's voices over the phone. It will be better still to see all of you.

As yet we haven't made a definite plan about just how and when we will come. When Hope and Grant were here last, Grant talked of it (I mean going down in his car to see you folks) and I want to mention it again to him. It will cost us about $60 to come on the train, and it would be much less with a car, and all of us could have a trip. We don't want to coax him, or have him do it for our sakes, but we will give him first chance. He says his car uses less gas than anything he has had before. Elmer's vacation starts on the 19th of July and of course that is Sunday.

A Redwoods vacation when a bear
raided the camp. Luckily we were
all sleeping safely in cabins.
I was surprised to hear that you could be eating green beans and tomatoes out of your garden. It seems so early. We had such a good time when we were there and did a lot of traveling to see things that we don't need to take so many trips, and we don't want to make it hard on you. And we will help buy groceries, so don't worry about food. I still enjoy thinking about the trip up in the mountains and our stay at the "three bears" home.

The girls carried my old trunk up from the basement and we found a lot of things (which were lost) including some of yours. I have your school notebook. I believe it was your second year, and I will bring it down. Maybe the children would like to compare it with theirs, and I think you will have a good laugh.

Well, I better get this mailed. Some of my news and scribbling can wait until we get down there. Love to all. Mother & Dad

Monday July 20, 1959

Dear Mother & Dad,

Your last letter came during a surprise weeks visit from my mother. She came in unexpectedly on a Friday evening and stayed all of last week with us. Mona, my sister-in-law brought her out here. When Perry read your letter to us all, of your plans, and the number of you coming, and the date you plan to be here, we all "jumped up and turned to" it seemed. The children screamed for joy.

Mother, with her remarkable "drive" has been all week planning for your visit, helping me "organize" the house. She inspired us all. Linda washed and ironed curtains while Mother washed windows and woodwork. And I have finally finished the drapes for our bedrooms which I have been wanting to make ever since we've moved in.

Mother took the bus in to LA Saturday and took Linda too for a few days. Marian is spending the week also with her cousins at my brother Pierce's home. I want to mention here to you please don't worry about bedding, etc. We are very fortunate to have plenty of space and three or four extra beds in our basement which we are planning to use. I also have table place settings for 16 and an extra table which we can move in to our kitchen. So you need not worry. There is plenty of room and accommodations for at least 16 of us. We are really looking forward with great pleasure to this visit from all of you. See you soon. Love, Gene

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace

January 13, 1959

Dear Mother,

We think so much about you and remember you in our prayers all the time, so I don't know why we have been so slow in our letter writing. I guess we are always waiting for a better time than right now which time never comes. We surely hope and pray that you will soon get some relief from the suffering in your cheek.

We were surely pleased that you had such a nice time with all of the rest of the family at Christmas time. We wanted so dearly to come, but of course such distance and so many children made it impossible. We had a good time though and the children seemed happy and although we spent mostly on clothes, the few toys which they did get, multiplied by the number in the family, made it seem like quite a few. We had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace (you know how I like roaring fires and fireplaces) and it was quite cheery.

We enjoyed having Hope and Grant down here during the holidays. I suppose Hope will tell you about our house when she sees you. We don't have it fixed up much yet. It was such an expense getting moved in, and then we had to dig up $220 in taxes just before Christmas (an equal amount is due in April less some for veterans exemption.) Then we got behind in tithing which we had to clear off by the first, so as yet we are just holding on. But we are happy with it, and have decided that if we are going to be here the rest of our lives, we may as well spread the work and "fixing" out over some of that time.

Hope mentioned something about the possibility of their coming down again in March and that they might bring you. She says they can make the trip quite inexpensively now with their small car. We would surely like it if you could arrange to come with them at that time. I have spring vacation from 22nd to 28th of March.

I decided not to take the seminary class. The class meets at six-thirty in the morning, and I decided that anybody who taught a group of teenagers at that hour and expected them to return each day had better give more time in preparation than I felt I would be able to give and still keep up my own work and other church work.

I handle a recreation group after school each night, sometimes on Saturday and during the holidays. This I can do without any unusual amount of preparation so I can handle it all right although I do feel rather frustrated for time. Also every other Saturday I take a truck and deliver the welfare commodities for five of the wards. I get a few commodities for us for the work and they really help. I take Dale and Jan with me and they can really help fine.

We enjoy it here and I like my work in the bishopric. There are so many fine people here and more moving in all the time. Four more teachers moved in just this year (school year). I was talking to one of the consultants the other day who does nothing but go around and help new teachers get oriented into the system. She asked me if I knew several different teachers from Utah. (All the ones she named happened to be good LDS.) Then she commented how all of them were of most unusual calibre. She thought it most extraordinary that so many fine people should come from one state. She said, "There must really be something to a state that produces such fine people." I am sure she was sincere in what she said and I was pleased.

Sometimes I wonder how we would man our ward if we didn't have so many fine people moving in all the time. Of course we get our share of the inactive also. For example, we have two of the Stolla boys living in our ward. They are totally inactive and do not live the Word of Wisdom. I spent quite a little time talking with one of them one day. He isn't belligerent at all. He just doesn't care although he does bring his little girl and would like to have her get the LDS training. Can you tell me a clue as to what happened? You remember how faithful Brother and Sister Stolla were in bringing their children to meetings. Obviously they tried to establish a habit but failed to establish faith. However, that doesn't tell me how I can avoid the same mistake with my own children.

It is time for me to go to bishopric meeting now so I must stop. I do hope and pray that this letter will find you feeling better. Please let us know. Love, Perry

Dear Mother,

We think of you all the time. Wish you could come and be with us awhile here--how we would all love waiting on you. Am sending yo some prepared soup mixes. Hope you can enjoy some of this. Love from us all, Gene

ps. We are all fine. Enjoyed a nice visit from Hope and folks.

Grandma Leora
February 9, 1959

Dear Gene,

Well, here is another birthday coming up for you, [Gene's birthday, February 10, 1920] starting another new year for you, and mine will be coming up next month. Wow! Don't like to see them coming and going so fast. My grandma's birthday [Susannah Ellis Johnson] was on February 10, 1829. When I subtract her years from the date or year she died, she was 68 years, and that will be exactly my age when my birthday comes in March. And I don't feel so old--perhaps I look it.

But I remember seeing her when I was five years old. My mother bundled my twin sister and I (rather our clothes were packed in a market basket that had 2 handles. Used to have that kind to use several years ago.) and our father put us on a local passenger train to ride over into Indiana to visit this grandma, Susannah Ellis Johnson (my mother's mother) who was a widow living with her oldest daughter who also was a widow at the time and never did have any children, Aunt Mollie (Mary), the oldest sister of my mother.

Anyway we were put in the care of the conductor until we arrived and had our basket of clothes tucked between us on the seat of the coach. I don't think we moved till we arrived and it wasn't a long distance. But in those days, automobiles weren't thought of. If they did go a long distance with a family, we were loaded into a farm wagon with a lot of straw under us to make it more comfortable sitting. Parents usually sat on the spring seat in front to drive the horses.

Leora's youngest sister, Minnie, on left,
Leora, center, & twin sister, Leola on right
Taken at home of Bell Pierce,
Leora's foster mother, Redmon, IL
We did go that way once to Indiana to some kind of a Baptist reunion and was night when we arrived and we left home around 4:00 am. I think it must have been as far as it is to your home now. It was in the summer after harvest time--warm and dusty. We had our lunch and stopped in a shady place beside some road to eat. But to go on, Leola and I arrived ok from our train ride and seems to me we were there quite a little while during the summer. It was dry and dusty.

Our aunt and grandma used to send us once in awhile on an errand to another aunt's home where she lived on another road. But there was a shortcut. There were more little trees or wild shrubbery along the way and I always was interested in birds and their nests so would find some along our way--peeking in to see if there were any eggs or babies. We'd cross a tiny little stream and briars, weeds and whatnots along this path. I think the aunts sort of exchanged cooking. Sometimes it would be a nice fresh loaf of bread or light biscuits. This other aunt was the youngest sister. Her name was Amanda, but we called her Aunt Min. She was a blond with blue eyes. I think the rest of them that I ever saw were brunettes with brown eyes.

This sister was pretty as I remember and real pleasant. She kept her home so nice and clean, but she didn't live long either. She left two daughters and her youngest, a son. Her husband died of TB so think she must have gotten the germ and died a few years after he did. Anyway I don't remember how Leola and I got back home but suppose we were bundled up, basket and all, and sent back via the train route. I think we were only 5 years for I started to school when I was five and this Grandma Johnson had given me a reader and I had learned to read some of it while there. So I took it to school when I first started and showed the teacher how much I read. Really felt proud of myself.

But that was the last time I saw that grandma. And her mother's maiden name was Pierce, so I found out after I was married, and you, Richard and Pierce were almost through school--think you and Richard had graduated, but Pierce hadn't. We were living in Riley's house outside of Cumberland, Maryland when I received this letter from Aunt Frances (Fan) Payne from Bloomington, Indiana. She was next to the youngest sister of my mother's, and she was the one that really had written more about my mother's side of the family, the few times we corresponded, or else I'd be having a time now getting what records I do have.

I feel the Lord had me marked to become the Mormon member of the family for all these little records that I've carried around with me in old yellowed pages of letters and little scraps of paper that I wrote a few names or records down in all our travels or wherever we have lived, or living as an orphan away from my own relatives. Just don't see how I got so much or remembered it.

Well, looks like I got off on a tangent writing a birthday letter to you, but guess these dates got me started. I seem to be quite genealogy-minded now and trying to get some of the family group sheets completed for I know it's up to me. . . . Must close. Hope you enjoy your day. Love and best wishes always, Mother

ps. Hope Linda makes your cake and the children let you have first choices.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Next year I want to stick at genealogy

December 1, 1958

Dear Gene & All,

Pierce & Mona, West Covina, CA
Was glad to have the little visit with you all last Thursday evening--even though everyone seemed to get mixed up who would visit who. But hope you and Perry didn't get too far from home that night before you saw us coming to your home. We didn't want to come too early for fear you'd be eating your Thanksgiving dinner and cause confusion. Sorry we kept you from eating your turkey sooner that night though.

Mona's turkey didn't seem to be as done as it should be so put it back in oven after we ate. Guess our temperature wasn't high enough. I told her I believed the reason was she first wrapped it in foil then put it in the deep roasting pan and that kept back the heat from reaching it and made it longer to start roasting. We should have raised the heat. I believe yours should have had foil covering over your turkey, or did you have the lid of pan over it? I think it better to start with the cover of pan over the turkey so it will steam or baste some to keep the moisture in it so meat won't be too dry. We mixed softened oleo with flour and I rubbed it over the fowl.

Gene with her brother Richard's wife, Betty, and children
Sometime I'd like to try a turkey with tenderizer. I have a bottle of it and tried it on some lamb liver one Sunday not long back and it was so nice and tender. Don't have to use salt on meat then. But it must stand awhile to soak in meat before cooking. You can get it at any market. My bottle was 35 cents. Meat cooks quicker. I have a nice meat cookbook for all kinds of meats--even wild meats. I sent one to Betty. It gave good recipes for venison, wild duck, even bear! . . . .

[At this point in the letter Leora takes about 6 pages to describe all about the stake and ward boundary changes. But then she makes the following astute observation:]

Next year I want to stick at genealogy. Someday I'll be gone and the things that have been recorded in my brain of the past will go with me and there will not be much background family history left for all of you to get. And what you try to find will be a tedious job just as I find some of it now. I have some scratched down here and there and tucked away in old letters and notes. I've got to get it in order so it will be a family record to pass on. I've got Dad's records too. I shouldn't do anything else but this. Maybe I can make a good New Year resolution. . . . Love, Mom

December 1, 1958

Dear Family,

Seven days it has been since receiving the unexpected but welcome family letter. Every day for seven days I have said, "Tomorrow I will write something. Tomorrow I must write something good, something worthy of this fine family. I must write something in keeping with the high tenor of these letters." But alas, at the end of each day the net content of my ability measures up to such a small talent that I am wont to go and bury it.

At length I decide that perhaps I should do as Chemish did. (Omni 9) "Now I, Chemish, write what few things I write, in the same book with my brother." His writing only makes one short verse. He then closes abruptly with, "And I make an end."

Therefore at the end of seven days, knowing that I can do no less than Chemish, or even of his son Abinadom, or of his brother Amaron, or even of his father Omni, (after all, they made a place in immortality) I place my typewriter upon the table before me.

I stare at my typewriter. My typewriter stares back at me. My paper is blank. My mind is blank.

Write!" I say to my typewriter.
"But what shall I write?" it says to me.
"Something snappy. Something easy. Perhaps even poetic," I say.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their . . . ."
"No, no, no." I say. "Too hackneyed. Every beginner has heard that one."
"Then perhaps this," it says. "'It is the duty of a man to do me a turn and if he can he will do so.'"
"Shopworn," I exclaim. "Stilted. Trite. Almost worse than nothing. Don't you see? This is going to all the members of my family. This must be something inspiring, original, something profound."
"I have just the thing for you," it answers me. "How about this: 'When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one country to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. . . .'"
"Oh, come now," I say. "Anybody can tell that that is right out of a book. You're not very smart are you?"
"All right," it says. "If you are so smart just tell me what book it's out of."
"Why almost anybody knows that--why, it's, or--it's the Declaration of Something or Other. Yeah, that's it. The Declaration of Impudence."
"Ha," it says back with a sneer. "If anybody knows that, that doesn't say much for you. And besides, it's the Declaration of Independence."
"Yes, of course," I say hurriedly. "That's what I said---I mean what I meant. But don't you see? I've got to have something original."
"How do you like that?" it says. "Just be original," he says. "Just like that you want me to give you something original. Just like that."
"Yes, of course. And while you're at it, stop making so many mistakes."
"Say, you've got your nerve," it answers curtly. "You know, I don't think you are very original."
"I am so. I am very creative."
"When were you ever creative?" it asks.
"I wrote a poem once."
"When did you ever write a poem?"
"When I was in the fifth grade."
"You mean---of, no. You mean about 'Run on Little Brooklet, Run on'---ha ha ha ha. Oh, dear me. Excuse me, but I had to laugh so hard that I almost forgot my margin. Now as for poetry, about a year ago your sister Genevieve wrote a poem that could really be called a poem. And besides, she's composed music too. Now you could never do that, and you call yourself creative."
"Well I am. Anyway, I like music."
"You like music?"
"Of course. I like anything beautiful."
"You do not."
"Now listen here Mr. Typewriter. You're getting pretty impudent. What do you mean I don't like beautiful things?"
"Because it's true. If you liked beautiful things, you'd do something about it."
"Now just what do you mean by that?"
Perry with his sister Hazel, her husband, Walter,
and their son David
"Just what I said. If you really liked beautiful things, you'd fix things up so they really looked beautiful the way your sister Hazel does."
"But I try. The flowers and shrubs just don't grow for me. They just won't mind me at all."
"They'd grow all right if you'd just get out and bend your back a little."
"I do--or--a little--sometimes. But you see I work hard all day and when I come home I'm just too tired."
"You work hard? You? Listen Bub. You don't know what hard work is. Do you know what your sister Venice did? One thousand quarts of fruit! That's one zero zero zero! And you think you work hard."
"But I. . . ."
"Yes, I know. You helped your wife last fall. That is I guess you might say started to help if you stretch the meaning considerably. Before twenty quarts were in the bottles, you were flat on your back asleep on the couch."
"But I'm telling you I was tired. I was. . . ."
"One thousand quarts!"
"But I. . . ."
"One thousand quarts! Plus thirty-two permanents plus two hundred and sixty cuts!"
"But you see. . . ."
"Plus sanding, cleaning and painting."
"Listen here you. If you don't stop being so snotty, I'll trade you in on an Underwood."
"Wouldn't matter. It would tell you the same."
"Then I'll go back to the pen or pencil."
Perry's sister Hope, her husband Grant
and their son Nelson
"Ha! That's a good one. You know that nobody would be able to read your writing. Now if you could write like your sister Hope, I might have something to worry about. But no, I'm afraid you and I are stuck together--as poor a relationship as that is. You can't even afford a new ribbon for me."
"But that takes money!"
"Of course it takes money. But if you just knew how to budget."
"Of course. Your sister Hope knows how to balance the budget and now they have a brand new automobile."
"Yes but balancing the budget in a family our size is a real balancing act indeed."
"No, no, no. Let's just say that the way you do it is more like a juggling act in a three-ring circus."
"True. Let's just face it. You really aren't very clever are you?"
"But I really think I am quite clever. Really, I must be something."
Perry's sister June with her son Kerry Dee
"Something you are, but clever you are not. Now if you were really clever, you would be able to write something to your family like your sister June did. You know your wife said it was about the cleverest thing she had ever seen written. And her friends, when she read it to them, didn't they marvel how clever it was. But does your wife ever say you are clever? Do your friends ever say you are clever? Are you ever clever? Are you? But no. You aren't even clever enough to balance the budget so that I could maybe have a new ribbon and maybe even get my back-space key fixed. But I guess I am just doomed to go without a lot of things just like your poor children have to do."
"But they don't have to go without as many things as I had to when I was a child."
"Oh, how can yo say that?"
"Because it's true. We were poorer than a Ballard church mouse. We had to go without almost everything. We even had to go without a bath."
"Of, blush for shame. Did you ever have to have powdered milk and margarine? Did you ever have to go without fresh pees from the garden, potatoes from the garden, corn on the cob, hayrides, horse rides and an unlimited amount of smog-free air to breath? Did you now? Did you?
Maybe we didn't get hayrides but we did get
some really fun trips to the beach.
"Well. . . ."
"Yes, that's what I thought."
"But you've got to help me. I've got to get that family letter written. I've got to say something clever. won't you help me? Won't you say it for me?"
"You know what?"
"Shall I say what I think it would be best for you to say?"
"Yes, say it. Please say it."
"Very well. Here it is. I MAKE AN END."

December 12, 1958

Dear Perry, Gene and Kiddies,

How are you all? I wish you could get in your car and come and stay during the holidays with us, but of course that is out of the question, or is it? It is still nice weather here, but of course it may snow anytime, and we wouldn't want you stranded in the desert this time of year.

I sent the little bean bag dolls--thought Renee and Harriet Lea would have a laugh or two. We really wish we could send something nice, but our pocket books are quite thin. I really hope we can begin, after the holidays, to catch up a little. We bought a fan for our furnace and that will soon be paid for.

Dick and Betty called one afternoon and he told us you were teaching seminary in the mornings. It must keep you on the go, both teaching and preparing. Pierce also teaches, he told us. Have a good rest during the holidays, Perry. We received a card today from Gene's mother. I thought she looked quite well when she was here.

June certainly had a well-written story of the snow storm, didn't she? We here had just about a foot and it soon melted, but it didn't go so soon out there. Hope came up last weekend with some friends and we went shopping, or they did, but all of us are skimping this Christmas. We took our gold stamps and got a few useful things.

Your father has started telling about my trouble. You remember, Perry, I mentioned it last summer when you were here. The attacks I get lately are very severe, and I am worried as to what causes it and what to do about it. June talked to her doctor and he says it is neuralgia. "Apply heat and take aspirin or anacin." I wondered for a while if it had something to do with my nose where the doctor took out that little cancer. Today I am staying in as there is quite a cold breeze.

I would like to see all of you. I look at the kiddies pictures over and over and as Grandpa said, "Wish they could walk in." Well, have a good time and remember the real Christmas. Love to all, Mother

December 12, 1958

Dear Perry, Gene and all my grandchildren,

Christmas will soon be here and I really hope you all have a good one. It would sure be good too to have each one of you come running in our door telling all about yourselves. It is so long, or seems so long, since you were here.

I want each one from Linda right down to Harriet Lea to ask Heavenly Father to bless Grandma that her face will get well. I will get Grandma to tell you how it hurts her.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It will be good to see all of you again

Leona & Elmer Manwaring
May 20, 1958

Dear Perry & All,

I have been wanting to write ever since we got back from Vernal but had so much to catch up with. Aunt Eva died May 17th. [Elmer's sister] She was out here staying with Venna for awhile and took sick while here. We made several trips to Venna's to see her, and then she died.

Elmer decided to ask for two days off from his work, so we could go to Bluebell and Tridell and see my folks, especially the afflicted ones. Uncle Gard [Albert Gardner Goodrich, Leona's brother] can hardly feed himself now but is real cheerful and was so glad we came to see him. Uncle Parl [Leona's brother Parley Herbert Goodrich] remembered that you came to see him, but it is really depressing to see him so helpless and so confused in his mind. He is not one bit better.

The funeral for Eva was real nice and much good gospel was given by the speakers--Ashel Manwaring and Uncle Byron. I think Marvin will be the most affected by her death. So Marian's birthday escaped our notice entirely. And now I have not handy a dollar bill to send her as I did the boys, but we think just as much of her as we do any of the family, and we do hope she had a real nice day--May 18th. I will try and do better next time. I am sending a belated card which reminds me of her.

We hope you are all well at home there. School is out here, but Hazel will teach kindergarten again. The weather is too hot already, and it keeps us going with the sprinklers, but the roses and iris and peonies are lovely. Love, Mother & Dad

Summer vacation - taking a break along the road to Utah
June 12, 1958

Dear Perry & Family,

We received your letter in regard to the sale of the coops. As Pa had an afternoon off that day, we and Hazel went up and began sorting things out. [The sale of the chicken coop property gave Perry and Gene enough money to put a down-payment on the house in Claremont, California where they lived the rest of their lives.] The realty man told us to go ahead and get everything we wanted out. The buyer is Mr. Painter's son-in-law from Texas who married Thelma. He is buying Painter's too, and I suppose he will put a circle or half circle of homes in back of the Painter home. Anyway, that is what Mrs. Newbold says. The buyer, Mr Johnson, is very nice. He came over and said we could have until the 5th of July to get what we want out.

Visiting our Utah cousins
We are glad you will be coming. Will all of you come? Hazel is hoping the roses will last until you can see them. Pa has his vacation beginning Monday, June 16th, so if you can come right after your school is out, he will be able to visit and help you with whatever you have to do until June 30th. I hope the weather stays a little cool as it is now. It will be good to see all of you again. Love, Mother [Leona]

July 8, 1958

Dear Gene,

Just received your letter and was glad to hear from you. . . . So maybe when you get that place with that room next to what you'd use for a sewing room, you can keep all your writing materials and church work and primary materials, and they won't be scattered all over the house. Then your home will be a house of order too like the Lord tries to teach us. [Leora prided herself on keeping an orderly home, which was not one of Gene's top priorities.] I hope when you get that home, you will be able to teach your children those good traits when they're at the most teachable age.

I believe the Lord is helping you to get such a home and helped you find one like this one is built purposely so each one would have a place to keep his belongings and in order. Do hope you can get it. I surely would have been proud to have been that lucky when all of you were children at home. But I think I did pretty well to do with what we did live in--even though we had to move so often but managed to live in pretty decent homes and neighborhoods even when we had to pay lower rents.

Jan by the orange tree at our new
house in Claremont, California
Dad sometimes complained when he didn't have quite enough room for his work and papers and wished he had a nice big desk. So that's the reason my dining table was covered much of the time with his papers--especially when selling insurance--though I tried to allow him most of the drawer space in my dining rooms wherever we lived. Then when we had company on Sundays, etc., he would have to "clear the deck" as he'd say so I could use the dining table and room.

But that house in Claremont, you or none of you will have any excuse to not know where your things are. It will be a joy to have a place for everything and know where to find it, your linens and bed clothes and towels, etc. You'll have plenty of room without anyone trying to chuck something here and something there and getting all mixed up. Surely will be a home like the Lord would like you to have and also our lives to be orderly too.

That basement room would make a nice playroom, rumpus or recreation. It's a wonder this man didn't have shelves in it too. . . . It would be nice if you could get big congoleum rugs to put down before moving in. It would be lots cheaper than carpet and easier to keep clean and practical. Well enough on this--and bamboo curtains are practical too. . . . Love to all, Mom [Leora]

September 9, 1958

Dear Perry & Gene,

Just a few lines to let you know how things are here. Arthur Manwaring [Elmer's brother] has had several bad heart attacks and died last night in the LDS hospital. Everett [Arthur's son] was here from New Jersey and Enid [Arthur's daughter] from Denver. Both went to their homes Sunday as he seemed much better. Uncle LaVell [another brother] and Ivy are home from the Islands, and they, with Aunt Veda, Ashel and Dee [a sister and two more brothers] came and talked with him a little Sunday morning. He was very weak but glad to see the folks. The funeral will likely be Saturday. Of course you likely wouldn't be able to come, but you should know about it.

Arthur is only 69 and seemed in pretty good health otherwise. We have expected Aunt Veda, Leona and Thelma to go before Arthur, but of course we never know. Dee and Ashel work too hard, and Dee wishes he and Mary could come out here and live. Dee wishes he could do something like your father is doing. [Elmer worked in the laundry department at the hospital for many years.] Hazel told him Pa didn't make much at his wages. Dee said, "Well, I've got to do something." His leg bothers him a lot.

Well, I wish we could talk more. I miss it very much. I could always relieve my mind at Perry's expense. I hope you are well. If we could all try and be more economical, so we wouldn't have to work so hard to keep up with the times, we would all have better nerves and hearts. How did you arrange the transfer of homes? Did you sell the other one? etc. etc. Love, Mother & Dad