Saturday, June 29, 2013

Leora and Family History

Family vacation to Vernal, Utah 1966
July 4, 1967

Dear Gene,

This has been an unusual 4th of July to me--so many events have come up since the 1st and that day we went to the temple. It really boosted my spirit to get to go. I was glad we could go to the reception. [Pierce's daughter, Valerie, was married.] Only wish that Linda and Marian could have experienced that for some day we hope they will. But having this chance to see it all experienced by one of the family helps a lot to know what to expect when another of our family will have that experience too if they live the teachings of the church and choose a life companion.

Your dad and I as well as you, Rich and Pierce had to find the church through a depression, a war and other complex situations by meeting some very fine LDS members in Washington DC. I have often wondered since of those two young men, missionaries, that talked to your father in our upper flat where we lived while on Layton Blvd., Milwaukee. I wish I'd gone in and listened to what they had to say. Anyway, the depression finally got us into Maryland. Then a little more depression and war got us into Washington DC.

I meant to bring those books of mine of the temple family records, but you did say you wanted to look them over. There may be some more names to enter. I'm glad I did a lot of that when my eyes were in good shape. Your girls should get interested in this work too. Probably your dad wonders why we don't, so he can get more of the family together over there where he is. But we worry more about our worldly possessions here and things we can't take with us. I feel the Lord only wants a good, clean spirit, and it's all we can take with us.

I thought Valerie's wedding and reception were so beautiful. It took me back to when we all as a family were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple after we came here to California. I was the last one to be baptized and also in Adams Ward Chapel. Pierce got that experience [of baptizing his mother] before he became a missionary. It's good family history to think about. Take good care of my genealogy record books. I have some of Dad's work here when he studied it. Love to all, Mother (Leora)

October 25, 1967

Dear All,

The poor Indians had nearly everything taken from them. In Oklahoma, they were given the part called Indian Territory, which our early settlers thought wasn't much good, but that section of Oklahoma ended up with rich oil wells instead of wheat and grazing lands. My father was one that the land dealers enticed to go there and buy "good wheat land acres." I expect my father and mother would have moved there during those years if my parents hadn't died with that terrible siege of measles and pneumonia (which we kids were exposed to at school.) These days and times we're more or less taken care of by the shots the doctors give us all.

But during those times, the poor Indian races were the ones being pushed around. I can remember seeing quite a few around Tulsa and the oil fields when I visited Brother and Susie. He worked for an oil company for several years. He met Susie, his wife--think she was a Texas girl. Now Pearl (Brother's second wife) has taken her place, and she is a fine person too. I've heard before Susie wanted Pearl to take her place so Brother wouldn't be alone and Pearl would take good care of him and their two children, Lucille and Nixon.

Pearl is really a good person. I should write them oftener. But I wish my eyes were in better shape. I have to have a bright light over me now as I write, but this hot, bright sun is no good. Sometimes I wish I'd rented an apartment on the north side. This sun and hot weather has been terrific this year. I'm wondering if our old earth is nearing the time when it will be destroyed by fire. I think during Noah's time would be the best way to go. I feel it would be the easiest way to die. Anyway, Noah saved enough people to populate the earth again with so many races and getting more wicked too.

I hope none of these terrible fires come near you folks or Pierce's location either. Wonder how the weather is or has been in Utah. Do you hear from any of the relatives? I haven't heard from Rich or any of the family for so long. I should write him and Betty. Wonder if they have any time to do any temple work. Since my eyes have been causing me to have less eye sight, it's taken the joy all out of it for me as to the work of research and temple work. I know there are some of Dad's family group sheets and mine too, I expect, that are neglected and no temple work done.

Some one of our family should do the temple work for your Aunt Harriet and Edith. I haven't gotten their death dates down on the family group sheet yet. I don't know whether Pierce got the dates down or not. He had our books out at their home a good while. I hope they made copies for themselves. My eyes are not capable of doing anymore records or research. If some of us don't do it, we are letting the family down and they will not be recorded or get together on the other side so they can progress. I've written so much on this now. Their spirits surely are trying to urge me to get our family or some of them interested in this very important work of our temple and strengthen our faith in it.

This terrible, bright and hot sun we're having now is very bad for any of our eyes. I have a very dark pair of eye glasses I bought a year ago. I better close. Love, Mother (Leora)

Spring, 1968, Salt Lake City
Gene, Renee and Harriet
October 26, 1967 (Thursday)

Dear Mother,

Your letter and card came today. It was good to hear from you. I wanted to write you sooner but have been so busy and kept thinking I'd come in and visit you soon. I've been sewing like crazy plus being so busy in my Relief society work. I made Harriet a pretty plaid wool suit last week which she modeled in a fashion show at her school.

(Saturday) Here it is Saturday morning. I worked all day yesterday to make Harriet a nightgown to wear at a slumber party last night to her little girlfriend's house. She badly needed the nightgown and the material was given to me several years ago. It turned out real cute but kept me busy all day.

We are planning our stake conference this weekend. Apostle Howard W. Hunter is here this time to reorganize our stake presidency. Our President Peel and his counselors will be released. We will have a new president chosen. Perry was called in this morning for a five-minute interview with the apostle. All of the high councilmen had to be interviewed. We don't know yet who will be chosen. We'll find out tomorrow I guess.

I have a letter and some pictures for you from Florence Dart (Ralph's wife.) She didn't know your latest address so sent it to me. I'll send the letter to you and bring the pictures later. They are copies of pictures taken of us kids when we were small. Please keep the letter as I would like to write florence too. I want to ask her for copies of the pictures that were collected from Aunt Harriet's things in the old Princeville home--pictures of Daddy's people--the Fast family. You must write her. Hope I can come see you soon. Must run now. Maybe you'll get this Monday. Love, Gene

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Aunt Genevieve dies

Genevieve (age 31) and her young family in 1943
Floyd (10), Gene (8), Alan (6), Afton (2) and Don (5 mos)
March 18, 1967

Dear Perry,

I have one sheet of paper, so I hope I can say all I want to before it gives out. We did appreciate your writing to us, and we were so glad you could come when Genevieve died. [Genevieve died at the relatively young age of 55.] Just to have you here was so comforting. I was so disappointed that I didn't fix a better lunch for you. I had some Christmas fruitcake I meant to put out. It still seems sad without Genevieve. It would be worse when a mother leaves a family of children.

Grant, Hope and Nelson spent Thursday night with us. They brought up a load of "stuff" to put in Allen's garage instead of taking it clear to Juneau. You know they are moving there. It is mainly Grant's idea, but it sounds like it will be better for him. June is much disappointed, but I guess she will make it ok.

We don't hear much from Venice. I know she works too hard, but it seems that Glen is doing fine. I talk occasionally to Hazel on the phone, and she says David is doing fine also. Everybody has so much work to do. We hope your book materializes all right. Strange how they think a book of stories can just come to life like that.

We wanted so much to hear about Dale. Maybe I will call Linda tonight. We have had so many patriarchal blessings to do the last two weeks. It kept me so busy writing and mailing them. Your dad and I were both tired from so much strain. But we have no more scheduled, and it is good to rest.

Last night they had a ward dinner in connection with the Relief Society program, and we went. We paid our $15 monthly payment. This is supposed to finish paying for the chapel and it will be dedicated March 26 (Easter) by Joseph Fielding Smith. I had quite a bout with a cold, but we are both ok again now. Venna Bascom called on us yesterday. It was good to see and talk with her.

Lorin and Floyd and family went to Arizona and saw Afton and husband. They brought back a big supply of Arizona fruit and gave a lot to us. Well, it is raining again, and I must close. Love from Dad and Mother

April 18, 1967

Dear Mom & Dad,

You wouldn't believe what beautiful weather we're having at last! So clear and bright--no smog at all. Every few days it rains and the lawns are a brilliant green. School's fine. I sure do like my English classes. Next fall I get to take practically all English classes because I've finished with all but one of my general education classes. I've decided to take German for my foreign language requirement. French or German are the languages recommended for my major, but German seems the best as it stems from the same Indo-Europea origin as English.

How was Jan's birthday? Did he like the stuff I sent him? Did it get there or didn't I have enough stamps? Dad, you still haven't told me about your latest writing project. What's going on anyway? I can't wait for school to be out so I can come home and see you all again. Are you going to come here on vacation? Will you come late in the summer because you plan to teach summer school, or are you going to bag summer school and spend all your time writing? I may bring one of my roommates home with me. She lives in Salt Lake--the girl I wrote you about whose parents have died. She really is a fun girl and wants to see the beaches, Disneyland, etc.

Oh, I just remembered I found a place to live. It's off campus and will cost about $25 a month. I can pay for my food and necessities of life if you can pay the rent for me. Will you be able to? I love you all and miss you too. Love, Linda

Genevieve & Lorin
April 28, 1967

Dear Mother & Dad,

I sat down last Sunday night to write you a letter but didn't get very far. Then your letter came with the letter from Hope. I felt so sorry for Hope that I sat right down and wrote a letter to her. It's true as she says, "What good things an 8 cent stamp will bring." I surely hope she gets to liking it better [in Juneau, Alaska.] I'm sure she probably will as she gets to know people and gets some friends. Hope is pretty good to adjust.

We have been getting a lot of cold and rain here this last month. I suppose that means cold and snow flurries for you. I hope you are able to keep well and warm. Yes, I enjoy the Deseret News very much. I think that is a very good present that you get me every year. That way I not only get the benefit of the Church news and even Utah news once a week, but I am reminded of you and your birthday gift 52 times a year. I really thank you for it.

I am sorry to hear that Nelson may be drafted. It's too bad that he may have to interrupt his schooling. The times do not look good do they? I didn't know about Glen's accident. Where is he at? If I had known he was in the hospital, I would have gone to see him. I haven't seen him since Christmas time.

I am still writing for the book company on another project now. But I am far, far behind their schedule. I'm afraid they may tell me to forget the whole thing. But I am grateful for what I was able to do and the financial assistance it gave.

I was pleased to hear about Alan [Genevieve's and Lorin's 3rd son] being called into the bishopric. I am sure his mother is pleased with him and the rest of the family too. She certainly raised some children to be wonderful people. I hope I can do as well. I hope we can write a little oftener. I'm going to leave the rest of this space for Gene. Love, Perry

Dear Folks,

We so enjoyed hearing from you. So glad the kids could all come and visit with you and that you got to meet our bishop and his son. They are wonderful people. Marian tells us they only have a few more weeks of school at BYU to complete this year. They have already found a house off campus to live in for next year. Dale will soon be graduating from high school too and is filling out papers to see if he qualifies for BYU too.

I am very busy in Relief Society work and enjoying being a counselor this year. Perry is very pressured with all of his jobs plus the writing too. We are looking forward to summer and some respite--maybe a trip--we hope! Love, Gene

May 2, 1967 (temperature 78, weather good, sky blue)

Dear Linda,
Linda at Grandma & Grandpa Manwaring's house
Salt Lake City, Utah

I just got through reading your letter dated April 18. I just discovered it yesterday in Mom's purse. Linda, you just can't imagine how much I enjoyed the things you got me for my birthday. I liked the hideous envelope and the beatnik sticker the best. I really had a great birthday. I got your package in the mail right on my birthday. Renee and Harriet got me a wallet. Dad and Mom got me some new dress socks and a pinstripe shirt. Dale got me some track shoes, and Marian and Warren got me some targets.

I don't have my license yet because I have to get better at parallel parking. But I still drive most of the time when Dad and Mom are in the car. About a month ago we started church softball. Dale is 1st base, and I'm pitcher. Now I have a baseball uniform, and so does everyone else on our team.

It was raining practically every day in April except on my birthday it was clear. (I'm not kidding.) So we've been having very miserable weather. One Saturday morning it was cloudy and cold, and I was feeling very miserable, but I soon became very happy because I found a mole run, and I jabbed a mole to death with the point of the shovel. This made my whole day better knowing that I had done something good towards society.

Now I will tell you about my financial condition and the work that I am doing. It is good. I babysit and do yard work. I now have $60 in the bank, and I will soon have $50 more. By the end of this week, I will have $110. But I will not stop there. I will go much farther so that I can get the things that I need.

How do you like BYU? Marian said that school gets out there on May 19th. School gets out here June 16th. Dad doesn't have summer school this year, and even if he wanted it he wouldn't get it because they have to be shareful and let other teachers teach summer school. So Dad is planning (wants) to leave the afternoon school gets out to leave on vacation. Mom reassures Dad that we are going (planning) to spend some time in Las Vegas, but Dad doesn't like bright lights. So he reassures Mom that we are going to spend some time in St. George. But Mom doesn't like the flies in St. George. So maybe we'll do both? Mom also tells Dad that after we go to Utah we will go to Wyoming, then Montana, then Idaho, then Oregon, then California, Sequoia, Yosemite, then home. But all Dad can say is "Maybe."

Now I will tell you about me. I am great! I am eating like a horse. I am growing by leaps and bounds, and I am strong and good. Now I will have to write Marian. Love ya, Jan

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Music Man

January 10, 1967

Dear Linda,

How do you like the picture? I think it's ok, but my smile is snooty and stuck-up and my eyes are skinny. I really miss you guys and time is going so slow! We haven't forgotten your birthday!

How come you never write me? Too much school work?? Same here. Believe it or not, the weather here is very hot and we get to swim in PE. Well, got to go do my homework now! Bye, love, Harriet

PS. How did you like the candy I gave you for the ride home?

January 23, 1967

Dear Mother,

It was good to hear your voice again. You sound well. I do hope you can remain that way. There has been and is so much sickness in our ward here (colds, flu and croup and other afflictions). We are all well now here, but I am worried about Marian. She never gets enough rest and now we are afraid she has mononucleosis. If this is the case, I don't know how she is going to finish her 1st year of college this year! We are just waiting to hear of the doctor's report on her from BYU.

Perry's sister (oldest sister Genevieve) who lived near Provo passed away last Sunday evening, January 15th. Perry went by bus up to the funeral Wednesday and came right back home by Friday afternoon. He said it was a wonderful (typical reunion-type) funeral. Everyone was there, even old friends of his. Even Dick was there. Genevieve and her family were so highly thought of and loved by all. Such high tributes were paid her, Perry says. She has such wonderful children--all such faithful, loyal LDS. All married except Don, the youngest boy (you've met him) who lives at home there now. Guess he'll stay there with his dad.

Perry got to visit with Dick for a short time only after the funeral. He says Ricky came home with a frail girl (she has ulcers) and was married there in Dick's home (like Carol) by the bishop. He doesn't know where Ricky will settle down to live or go to work. They were married a few days after Christmas. This is why we didn't get a greeting or card from Dick and Betty. They were so busy making the wedding plans, etc. Poor kids. I hope they can make a go of it! I must write Dick and Betty.

Perry had a big important meeting with the editors of this book company he is writing for. They want him to write another book. Said they would send him his check this week. He met nearly all day yesterday with them. I hope they mail us the check this week. We need the money badly to keep Linda and Marian in school at BYU. Linda's boyfriend (the bishop's boy) will be home from his mission in March and wants to attend school at BYU too. Linda talks like they will want to get married sometime this year. I just wish they would wait until they've graduated.

Don't know if I told you, Dale has been chosen this year to take the leading role in the musical play, The Music Man. He loves to sing and was so thrilled to get the part. Of course we are very proud of him. He is working very hard to be good in it. It will be put on sometime in March. Hope you can plan to come then and see the production. Pierce and Mona will come too I think. I think this is about the only thing that is keeping Dale in school now. He is so anxious to be graduated and out on his own and away from home. My, they are all growing up and all leaving me, but I can't stop them!

Aunt Minnie wrote me again. I must answer her too. She worries about you. Her health isn't good and poor Uncle Arthur is so frail but just keeps working anyway. But I love her and wish I could see her again too.

I am very busy in my Relief Society job but find it very interesting and rewarding though lots of work. I must get busy now and plan some programs for the Relief Society nursery. (We have two of them.)

We were thankful for the rain. More later. Love, Gene

PS. Thank you, Mother, for your offer of the loan being a gift to us, but Perry and I still plan to pay you back that $200. We couldn't think of it any other way.

March 4, 1967

Dear Mother,

Last night was the first performance of the musical play, The Music Man, at the high school here. So we all went to see it. Dale plays the lead and is very good in the part. Jan has a small part in it too. Mother, can you come out next weekend and see it. They will perform again on the 10th and 11th.

We are also having our Relief Society birthday party next Friday night. Why don't you plan to come and spend an interesting weekend with us? Did you have a good time with Flossie? How is she? I just got another short letter from Aunt Minnie. She mentions hearing from Flossie. I really don't think she is very well herself, poor thing.

We hear from Linda and Marian each week. They are studying hard and enjoying BYU very much. Linda has a part-time job typing for the English department. She works 3 hours a day. Her missionary boyfriend is coming home sometime this month. Marian is getting stronger each day she says although she had to drop an art class this semester.

Perry is doing another textbook for the American Book Company. I hope he can finish it soon. Got a short letter from Carol Fast Nelson too. Think she is planning to come down soon for a visit with us all. Have wanted to come in again and visit with you, but we keep so awfully busy here. Hope you are well. Please write and let us know if you can come. Love, Gene

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thanksgiving, 1966

Harriet with one of her many cats
October 1, 1966

Dear Harriet,

I was very glad to get a letter from you even though I did have to wait until you got sick. By the way, I hope you're all better now. I hate to admit it, but I don't even remember what Keaton and Maverick look like, so I'll just have to take your word for it that they're just as cute as ever. I guess cats aren't a very important aspect of my life; although, I do wish I could have seen Mohawk's cats. How many did she have anyway, and what color were they?

Thank you very much for the donation. My roommate thought it was so sweet, we both started crying. I guess you must have reminded her of her younger sister at home. I used it to go see a movie with my roommates. We saw The Group and thought it was really good. Remember, I read the book.

Tell the rest of the family hi for me and I hope I hear from them all soon. Have fun in school but still work as hard as if you weren't. That's what I'm doing and one way or another it seems to be working. I went to our football game last night. It was against Colorado State, and they've beat us twice in the past. Anyway, we beat them this time 27 to 24 and was it ever exciting! I got a nervous stomach at the end because everything was so tense, and I was too sick to go to the after-game dance. What a pain!

My roommate and I are cooking the meals this week. We figured out meals for the whole week and then did the shopping. It was fun but kind of hard--so many crucial decisions and that sort of thing, you know. If you don't hear from me in the next week or so, you'll know I died of food poisoning.

Say hi to your friends back home for me. I love you too, big kid. See you soon. Love, Linda

October 20, 1966

Dear Mother,

Am so busy. Can hardly find time to sit down and write. Aunt Minnie sent me an airmail card last week. Wanted me to write her immediately and tell her how you were. She misses hearing from you. So I sat down and wrote her a quick letter. Told her about Dick's visit and gave her your latest address. So you will probably be hearing from her too. Do hope you are feeling better now. Dick said he had a wonderful visit with you.

Perry and I are so busy. He has five more stories to write for this New York Book company, and I am typing them for him as fast as I can. Our Relief Society opening social was a big success. We got a big crowd of ladies out and served a big luncheon too. My but I'm glad it's over. It was an awful lot of work.

Now that I am on the Relief Society board, I have more meetings to attend and a lot of planning to do for each Relief Society day. Wow! Tomorrow we're attending a seminar for women in the West Covina Stake Center.

We are all fine here. Linda and Marian are enjoying BYU very much which makes us so happy. Must get a wedding gift for Carol. Hope I can come see you one of these days. Love, Gene

October 25, 1966

Dear Mom & Dad,

I'm sorry I haven't written sooner, but I'm having tests in every single one of my classes this week, and I'm going out of my mind. Mom, Renee and Harriet, thanks for the neat care package. The chocolate chip cookies were especially delicious, so were the Halloween cookies. The sweet rolls weren't bad either. I softened them up and ate them for breakfast. Marian called yesterday and told me we had some more goodies down at her dorm, but I haven't had time to go down and get them yet. I'm lucky if we see each other once a week. We try to spend all day Fridays together. I go to her classes and she goes to mine. Then we have lunch together.

Marian read me your letter, Dale, and we're both very proud of you. It sounds like you're a real swinging personality around good old CHS [Claremont High School]. That's great. You're even showing us up with your grades--way to hang in there!

Has Jan floated away in his helium-filled balloons yet? My roommate couldn't believe Jan was for real when I read her that part of his letter. I just about died of laughing. Mom, before Jan takes chemistry, will you please write a note to his teacher. It's only fair to worn the poor man!

I still like it here as much as ever before, but I sure do miss you all. Being away from home is making me grow up and be more mature though, so I guess that's good. Well that's all for now. Love, Linda

Perry carving the turkey
November 20, 1966

Dear Mother & Dad,

I wanted to get a letter to you before Thanksgiving. I surely do hope that you are well and that everything is otherwise well with you. Keep warm and keep yourselves safe from falls. What are you going to do for Thanksgiving? We wish we could fly up and see you. Linda and Marian are going to Hope's and Grant's. It is surely wonderful to know that we have such relatives who are so desirous to do nice things for us.

And it is wonderful to get such letters from our daughters who can say how much they appreciate their parents. I never imagined how much of a joy such letters could be. Now, Dad and Mother, if I have never adequately expressed it before, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. You are truly noble souls. And I surely appreciate the sacrifices you have given and made for your children. I only appreciate you more and more as I am called upon to make more and more sacrifices for my children. But because they are our children, and because we love them, they are sacrifices we give willingly. For several weeks this thought has been bothering me. I know how much I appreciate hearing appreciation from my children, and so I owe the same to you.

I believe I am just beginning to get an understanding of how the Lord feels when he says that all the things of the world are made for man's use and in no way do we offend him except when we fail to acknowledge His hand in all things. I believe this is something that only a loving parent--and a sometimes discouraged parent--can understand.

We surely appreciate what you did for Linda and Marian last summer and they appreciated it too. Marian wrote about how she enjoyed visiting you a few weeks ago. She said she just kept trying to figure out why your food tasted so good.

Thanks so much, Mother and Dad, for all that you have done for us. Thanks for being your selfless, loving selves. I love you and appreciate you more than I can adequately express. Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Perry

Dad at the beach with Harriet and Renee
November 21, 1966

Dear Mother,

Glad you are planning to be at Pierce's for Thanksgiving. Tell Pierce we'll stay home for dinner here but will come over for a visit to see all of you in the evening sometime. Our bishop and his family have invited us to spend a day with them at the beach next Friday after Thanksgiving.

Yes, I do keep pretty busy in my Relief Society work, but I am enjoying it. We just had a bake sale downtown Saturday morning. Now we are planning for a white-elephant sale and a ward dinner for December 2nd.

Perry and I are budgeting our finances very closely these days to keep Linda and Marian in school at BYU. They are both enjoying it there so very much, so we think it is all well worth the sacrificing. Perry has finished all of the stories for the textbook company. Now we are revising them all for the New York editors and publishers. We'll be so glad to get the money for these stories, but it will take time. Yes, I guess we won't be getting our inheritance money from Peoria, Illinois till sometime next year too. It all takes time, but my how I could use it!

We are all pretty well now. Jan had a cold several weeks ago that went into pneumonia and we really had to work fast to pull him out of that. Just received the wedding announcement from Carol Fast. Haven't sent her a gift yet but must get something. What are you giving her? Do you hear from Eric Fast? We should write him.

Must close. See you Thanksgiving Day out at Pierce's. Take care of yourself. Love, Gene

December 3, 1966

Dear Linda,

We are all counting off the days (like you) till the holidays when you will be home with us. We want to see you and have us all together again. Daddy is planning some fun activities and things for all of us to do too. My, there is so much to do!

Even Dale (who wants to leave home in the worst way) wants to see you girls for Christmas. He wants to have a good talk and visit with you, Linda. He told me this. I know you will be able to help him. He really respects you and looks up to you.

Take care of yourself and help Marian get well too, honey. More later. Love, Mom

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Linda & Marian Go to College

Linda's first winter at BYU
August 27, 1966

Dear Mom, Dad, Dale, Jan, Renee & Harriet Lea

Greetings and salutations from the crossroads of the west. Everything is fine here. Yesterday Grandma and Grandpa took a nap after breakfast, a nap after lunch and then after they got up, they took another nap before dinner. And every time they took a nap, Marian and I would take one too. Just before we took the 3rd nap, Marian said she was starting to feel like a vegetable, but she went to sleep just the same.

This morning Grandpa gave a patriarchal blessing, so Marian and I walked down to Roosevelt School and walked around the playground and sat on the swings and talked about the "olden days." Then we went to the library across the street and looked at all the new fashion magizines. Then we went to a Mayfair market and bought 25 cents worth of candy bars. We gave Grandma a chocolate bar to share with Grandpa when he got up, and she reminded us of the candy bars Grandpa use to give us.

On the way home, we stopped and talked with Kathleen Caddy and her mother. Kathy is really cute. It was nice talking to her. She's a very casual person. Marian and I are getting along fine. I think it's sort of a case of sink or swim at this point if you see what I mean.

Dad and Mom, I hope everything is working out all right. I'm praying for you. Dale, you're the oldest now. We should have had some sort of ceremony and I could have kissed you on both cheeks and handed over my privileges--whatever they might be. Jan, I want you to concentrate on your eating habits. You're never going to grow up to be bigger than Dale if you don't start putting more food in your mouth then you drop on the floor. Renee, keep up the practice with the curlers, ect. You're turning into a beautiful girl. I'm counting on you to keep things picked up in that big bedroom so you can be proud to bring your friends in. Harriet, well does that "missing people corner" in your stomach feel any better now? I hope so. Keep up the good kitchen work and stuff like that.

I'm signing off now. I miss all of you, but I'm glad for this opportunity. Love, Linda

September 17, 1966

Dear Dale,

I received your undated letter today and was very glad to hear from you. You really had a lot of good news. I like very much the life of a college student so far because I haven't gone to any classes yet and life has been mostly social. I may change my mind after next week though.

I'm sure glad to hear about your job, and I hope you do well with it. You'll want to be able to keep up on your school work too--believe me you will! Right now I have to take an algebra class without credit just so I can get into the math class I will need for my major.

Now Dale's the oldest child at home
Remember how you always used to say you were going to have just a few kids and give them everything so they won't need to struggle like us? Well, last Sunday they passed out a rather appropriate poem that I saved just for you and I am enclosing it so you can write and tell me what you think.

    Good Timber

    by Douglas Malloch

    The tree that never had to fight
    For sun and sky and air and light,
    But stood out in the open plain
    And always got its share of rain,
    Never became a forest king
    But lived and died a scrubby thing.

    The man who never had to toil
    To gain and farm his patch of soil,
    Who never had to win his share
    Of sun and sky and light and air,
    Never became a manly man
    But lived and died as he began.

    Good timber does not grow with ease:
    The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
    The further sky, the greater length;
    The more the storm, the more the strength.
    By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
    In trees and men good timbers grow.

    Where thickest lies the forest growth,
    We find the patriarchs of both.
    And they hold counsel with the stars
    Whose broken branches show the scars
    Of many winds and much of strife.
    This is the common law of life.

I hope you have a good year and school, Dale, and I wish you all the luck in the world. I just asked the 8-ball if you were going to get an A in chemistry and it said, "Don't count on it." We'll hope that means you'll at least get a B-, ok? Write again when the spirit moves you. I enjoy hearing from you. Bye now. Love, Linda

September 19, 1966 (Monday)

Dear Mother,

I've just finished writing to Linda and Marian at BYU. School has started for them this week too. I really miss them but want them to have a good year up there.

Your card came Saturday. I'm so glad you're back at the Joyce Manor. I like that place. Do hope you'll stay. Please do get plenty of rest before you take on any more projects. I'm still typing stories for Perry. He writes in all his "at home" hours and is so pressured with it all. He mailed 5 more of his stories last week and is finishing up two more this week. He has about 10 or 12 more to go. Says he'll be glad when it's all finished. He wants to write another novel then and do it his own way!

Dale has a part-time job in an ice cream parlor near the school--works after school several hours. Wears a white uniform--he's pretty proud of himself. I am enjoying my new Relief Society job but have to ride with another lady now because Perry has to keep the car each day for his work. The kids enjoy being back in school again. We're all well. Love, Gene

Marian in front of her dorm at BYU
October 2, 1966

Dear Mother & Dad,

It was surely wonderful to be up there for a few days. Honestly it was a real thrill just to look at you. We appreciate your taking care of Linda and Marian. I surely hope they weren't a nuisance and a lot of expense. Were they able to help out?

It's quite a job keeping two girls in school. People question us as though we are foolhardy or as though we have a hidden income. But we only go on faith from day to day. I received another $500 check from American Book Company yesterday. It was barely in the nick of time too. We had payments due for the girls' rent plus numerous of our own bills here. This is the second time a check came from American Book like a "ram in the thicket."

I have been reading your Life Stories. They have brought many tears to my eyes. This writing business has surely been difficult. The pressure has been intense and I still have far to go. But I don't know what I would have done without it. Must close now. Much love. We appreciate all that you have done. Love, Perry

October 2, 1966

Dear Linda and Marian,

Since I haven't written you in such a long time, I will tell you what I have been doing. I sent in to New Jersey to get three 8-foot diameter balloons. Charles [Rhodes] and I are going to attach a barometer and a bunch of weather instruments to one of the balloons and fill it with helium. The balloon is made out of heavy black rubber. I've been reading about meteorology, ballooning, etc. Then we will fill all three balloons up with helium, and we will go up in the air. Charles is going to fix a gauge on the balloons to let out some helium so that we can control how far up or down we go. [I'm sure glad my brother, Jan, survived his adolescence.]

Now I will tell you about American Book. Dad got some more dough (500 dollars.) Oh yeah! Bob Borland is taking me to seminary and to school. Now I get to go to school and seminary with Cathy Borland. I will quit writing now because Dad is going to take us to Betsy Ross. Every time Dad gets his check, we will go to Betsey Ross. Oh yeah. Sincerely, truly with love, Jan

October 15, 1966

Dear Perry & family,

We received your letter, Perry, and I should have answered sooner, but you know how it is. We enjoyed having the girls here, and we were rather lonesome the next week when they were gone. They both wrote good letters. We have been "sorta" looking for them some weekend. I got their room all ready.

I was peeling and cutting some of our apples one day when Venna Bascom  came. She saw what I was doing and said, "Aunt Leona, don't peel one more of those wormy apples. I'll get you some good ones." And away she went and soon came back with two boxes of apples (two kinds) and so I have been canning, etc. They are so good to eat raw too, so very sweet and juicy. I want to send some to the girls and also some I have "put up" also some bottled tomatoes.

So you see how we have been showered with fruit and we hope to get some to the girls. I'll bet you folks miss them. Your dad said, "Linda and Marian get along so well. I haven't heard one cross word of any kind since they have been here." I am really anxious to have them come or for us to go down and see them. We'll have to find a way.

Marian and her goat
We had a real blizzard Thursday with blinding wet snow. It covered all my pretty chrysanthemums with wet snow and last night there was a cold frost, so I guess they are gone--such a short life.

I am glad you got your assignment far enough along that you could get your $500. We will rejoice with you when it is all finished. Marian said Dale had a part-time job. That is good, and I guess you are all busy. All Fall I kept thinking of "Zackary"and wished he was here to eat off our grass. [Marian's pet goat that she got at the farmers' market in downtown LA and left for our parents to deal with when she went away to college.]

Pa hasn't been too well--his legs don't move too easily, but he has been to the temple quite a lot of times and I have been once in September. Genevieve and Lorin came down last week. She feels better all the time, she says, but she still looks rather thin and pale. Her appetite is improving. June seems to be getting along with her job, and Kerry Dee is doing well. Hazel says David is doing well. Well, I will put this up for the mailman and hope all is well with all of you. As ever, Mother & Dad

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Never enough money

Gene with her mother Leora
April 29, 1966 (Friday evening)

Dear Gene,

I've had several surprises in the last 24 hours or more. I'd gone to get my laundry done at laundromat near Venice Square where I used to live at the apartments on Manhattan Place. Walked over and back with my cart, quite a jaunt. When I returned, my neighbor told me I had a visitor, a cousin, whose name used to be Mary Payne--younger daughter of my mother's older sister who lived near Bloomington, Indiana. (We called her Aunt Fan. Her name was Frances Johnson, maiden name, but married name Payne.) Leola and I got to go to Bloomington in our girlhood days and visited Aunt Fan and Uncle Morton Payne and the cousins. They lived on a farm so were busy people. Anyway, I remember Mary as one of the younger ones.

Anyhow, she was in California. I don't know when she (or they) came to Los Angeles. She wrote a note saying, "Hi Leora, I'm visiting one of my husband's friends in Maywood here so thought I'd look you up. We're leaving for Indianapolis tomorrow. Sorry to have missed you." Signed: Your cousin, Mary Payne Graham. Their home address: 5711 Forest St., Hollywood, Florida. I'm really sorry I did miss her short visit just because I'd gone to the laundromat.

So I'll have to write her when I think she'll be home in Florida. She wrote that she'd be in Maywood last night. I forget where that suburb is around here. I believe Martha Dart was living there when we came to California and we went out one Sunday and ate dinner with them--Dad, you, Pierce and I. Your Aunt Rena was living with Martha. Anyway, I'm sorry I missed seeing my cousin Mary Payne Graham who lives in Florida. She should have dropped me a card since my phone is not listed. No one can find my name in directory. I feel that I should have it listed now. She might have told me more about some of her folks if all are living or not. I'm not sure if I have any death dates of her parents. I'm glad she left her home address in Florida. My sister Minnie might have given her my address if she went through Illinois. I'll have to write my sister and find out.

Oh, yes, got a letter from Rich today. I sent the letter on for Pierce to read, but I told him to send it back. Richard was asking me if I could send $200 to finance Eric's trip to Germany. He'll be leaving May 10th and needs the cash by that time. So I wrote Pierce immediately and sent Rich's letter. I'd loaned Pierce some money a year or more ago like I had done for you and Perry sometime back. So I asked Pierce if he could return the $200 so I could send that on to help Eric to start him out on his mission over in Germany. So it seems that I'm the one who finances our family's missionaries. I took care of new mothers and new babies while Pierce was on his mission. Now I'm called on again to help finance another one of our family's missionaries. I'm glad that I can sacrifice for one more missionary in our family. Lots of love to all, Mother [Leora]

May 4, 1966

Dear Mother,

I am so sorry you missed seeing your cousin, Mary Payne--in fact, I can't get it out of my mind and have grieved about it ever since reading your letter. How nice it would have been to renew your acquaintance with her (or friendship) and might have gotten some information for your genealogy. Do you think she will visit your brother in Oklahoma or Aunt Minnie in Illinois? I'm so glad she looked you up though.

Mother, Perry and I owe you $200 and now that I'm working, I'm sure we'll be able to pay it all back to you by the end of this year. We also owe our dentist $600 which we want to clear off this year too. I can't look that man straight in the face anymore because we've owed it to him for so long--dear me!

I hope I can keep this job--I mean have it again next year. It would surely help us get out of debt. Perry hasn't heard yet from that book editor who interviewed him. He will soon though. In the meantime, he is revising his book for the Harper & Row publishers.

Anyway, I am so glad you could help Dick send Eric on his mission. It is the greatest thing that can have happened to Eric. He has so much potential. I know this will help to make a great man out of him for this has been promised to Eric. Ricky also I have a great hope of this and belief. I know you will forever be proud of them and be so glad you invested this money in him now!

I will be in to see you on Mother's Day, I think, and bring you something! I will talk to you then about this little house of my friend who is going to England for the summer. Maybe you would enjoy staying in her place for the summer (3 months.) Don't tell your old age people though because you won't really be moving--just away for a 3-month visit.

Must close. Must make out a special menu for Perry's birthday! We are both on a no sweet, no starch diet! Loosing weight too! But it's kind of hard. Ha! See you soon. Love, Gene

May 4, 1966

Happy Birthday, Perry!

Dear Perry, Gene & All,

We were glad to get Gene's Easter card, and it brought up a question, Perry. Do you teach a Seminary class? We often mention you and wonder what you are all doing and what you will all be doing when school is out.

Elmer went to the temple this morning, but I am going to get rid of some cheatgrass in the lot, do a little ironing, and write this letter. We are having some lovely weather lately, and it is good to see the green grass, flowering shrubs and tulips. Our apple trees, peach and cherry trees are in bloom too. Our apricots froze.

Last Saturday, Hazel came down with her pruning hook and trimmed the shrubs then burned rubbish in the orchard. She doesn't trust me, and she is so afraid of a fire. Then Marie (Dee's daughter) brought her five children, and they dug grass from around the flowers. It does look good around here at present. That was a real welfare contribution!

David's farewell testimonial was good, and quite a crowd went to the home afterward. Helen Wahlquist rushed up to me and said "Hello" before I could think who she was. Clyde said he and Helen both thought that Hazel gave the best missionary mother's talk of any they had heard.

Genevieve is working at the laundry in Provo for awhile to increase her Social Security status. She has invited us to go down with Floyd Saturday evening for a little sociable before Afton and her husband leave for Denver where he has work (but I don't know what.)

Venice and Kent spent a few days with us at conference time. Glenn went with Wilda to Michigan where Norman was transferred. Glenn was interviewed by the bishop there for a mission. So he and Venice and family are hoping it will be a call.

Oh, I meant to say that Grant and all of them were here for David's testimonial and it is sure good to see June looking so much better. She says she feels so much better too. Kerry Dee is doing better there. Jan, I am sorry we missed your birthday, but we think of all of you on all of the days. Love from Mother and Grandmother [Leona]

One of Perry's many school pictures
May 5, 1966

Dear Mother & Dad,

I thank you for the nice Easter card and your remembrance. I have been home from school sick all of this week, so I hope to get a few letters written. Sunday is Mother's Day and the following Saturday is Dad's birthday, so I will make this a special greeting to both of you.

It seems that we get caught in such a whirlpool of activity that we hardly know where to get off. I guess the only way to get off is to get sick and that's where I am right now. Also I am still trying to revise my book for the 4th time (or is it the 10th?) It is very frustrating to be so close and yet so far away.

I received a special airmail letter from the editor-in-chief of the American Book Company, New York. He wanted to meet with me to discuss a project for a new supplementary reader series. I met him at a hotel in Hollywood and after he had dined me sumptuously he explained that he would like me to write a complete supplementary reader for 5th grade. Deadline: Sept. 1, 1966!! I had been recommended to him by one of the professors at the Claremont Graduate School. He wanted to see a sample of my work to take back to New York with him before a final decision is reached. Anyway it sounds so utterly preposterous that it seems more like a crazy dream.

By the way, this book is to be all new, original material! I would not receive any royalty payments until April 1969! And for one who is always in need of money this definitely lacked appeal. I told him I would feel relieved if they should decide for me not to do it. I don't think he liked that very much, but that is my true feelings.

I am enjoying my work as a remedial reading teacher. I guess I talked about that with you before. Gene is working part-time as a teacher's aid at the high school. The pay is small but it helps. I expect to get a raise this year plus extra as a specialist. Someday I may have enough money to make ends meet. I hope I live to enjoy it. I really don't mean for that to sound bitter because I am really thankful.

I am gong to try to get a letter written to all of the girls today. That will be quite an accomplishment. I do hope you are both well. Spring is always so beautiful in Utah. Hope you have a specially happy day Sunday, Mother. And may your day be a pleasant one as well as the whole forthcoming new year. We think of you always, although my lack of correspondence would make you believe otherwise. Much love and God bless you both. Perry

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 44. Dad, I can remember when you were 44. Hope, June and I hid behind the house and then slipped out and spanked you as you went to milk the cows in the morning. Anyway, as Jan used to sing: "Happy Birthday to Me!"