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.

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