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.

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