Stories of Josephine M. Neeley -- the early days (and then some)
Question: OK, where did these stories come from anyway?
Answer: Well, I 're-discovered' a compilation of life stories deep in the recesses of my 'things' entitled:
Life History and Stories
Parley Rhead Neeley, September 30, 1903 - May 24, 1986
and Josephine Mitchell Neeley, August 31, 1902 - October 21, 1997
compiled by Parley Mitchell Neeley, February 2000
Now, you already have Parley Rhead's Stories (except for a few additions which I will make there after going through this compilation), and even Parley Mitchell's stories, but below are Grandma Neeley's stories -- at least those I thought might be of general interest -- of a young girl growing up in the small Southern Utah town of Parowan.
Note: From this point on, any of my words (additions, notes, paragraph headings, etc.) will be in italics but writing taken directly from the compilation will be in non-italics font. For example;
Dad noted that Grandma was sensitive of her age because she was one year older than Grandpa. Sorry Grandma -- secrets out -- just look at those dates above. :-)
Note: Also be sure to visit: The Dedicatory Prayer for Josephine Mitchell Neeley and Dad's 'Tribute' At Her Funeral
Here are the story headings. Click on them to go to a particular story, or read them top to bottom .
|Grandmother Orton||No Friend At All|
|Grandfather Orton||To Stand By A Friend|
|Grandfather Mitchell||Father At The Head|
|Birth||A First Job|
|A Young Girl's Day||A First Date|
|A Young Girl's Work||Birth Of A Nation|
|The Jokester||Trey Of Hearts|
|Parowan's Earliest Car||To The Big City|
|What We Wore||College|
|The Viewing||When Mother Died|
|The Peeping Tom||The "U"|
|The Bad Word||Parley|
|The Signatures||A Last Story . . . The Honeymoon|
Also, I've added stories from later in life. These may perhaps mean more to family members, but then again, there are some good stories here of love, life and happiness -- you just might enjoy them.
|The Trousseau||Glendive and Douglas' Birth|
|First Apartment||The Church and Missionaries|
|Kamas||Trying to Leave Williston, but Pneumonia Strikes|
|Daniel, then Yuma||Price|
|Pinedale, Tulsa, Green River, and Parker||Spanish Fork|
|Leaving Ogden||At The 50th Wedding Anniversary|
I am the eighth child of a family of twelve, five boys and seven girls, born to William Cooke Mitchell III and Laurette Orton Mitchell.
Dad notes in the margins: Actually 14! You need to add a little boy stillborn, and a little girl, named Lula, who lived only a short time.
William Cooke Mitchell II and Mary Ann Holmes are my paternal grandparents; Alexander and Jane Holmes Orton are my maternal grandparents. All four grandparents were born in England and migrated to the United States for the Gospel's sake.
Grandfather Mitchell came to Utah, with his father, William Cooke Mitchell I, in 1849. They were the first company to settle in Southern Utah, arriving in Parowan January 13, 1851, under the leadership of George A. Smith (See history of Wm. Cooke Mitchell II).
Grandmother Orton pulled a handcart across the plains when she was 15 years old. She came with the Israel Evans Company, arriving in Parowan in 1857. Grandfather Orton came to Utah a year earlier with the Edward Bunker Company, arriving in Salt Lake City in October 1856. He was sent, with supplies, to assist the ill-fated Martin Company to S.L.C., going on to Parowan late the same year.
I'm proud of my ancestry and pioneer heritage. I admire their courage and sacrifices in leaving their homes in England to come to the barren desert, that was Utah at that time, for their religious convictions.
Grandmother Orton, mother of 10, seven girls and three boys, was a short 5 foot 1 inches tall, pleasingly plump little soul with an English accent and a droll sense of humor. When she needed help she'd call "Come Harriet, Jenny, Lizzie, Laura, Rettie, . . .", then in disgust finished with "Ah, shit, hark ye!".
Two of her teen-age grandsons often teased her asking, "What kind or make is your kitchen range?"
"Hacme Ammer", she'd reply.
It was really an Acme-Hammer; the boys liked to hear her put the A's where the H's belonged and vice versa.
Grandpa moved the outhouse, or privy, to a new location facing the side street. A tall board fence supposedly provided a shield from passers-by. But, when a neighbor on horseback trotted along the sidewalk, just as a gust of wind blew the door open, exposing Grandma on the throne, she was "proper blazing". The rider doffed his hat saying, "Good morning, Sister Orton". Of course her voluminous skirts covered all. She was indignant, "Why didn't he pretend not to see me, that would have been more gentlemanly and less embarrassing to me?".
Grandpa kept bees along with farming and a small city job. I can see him yet with his protective screen-wire fastened to the top of his hat, protecting him to his shoulders as he gathered dripping honey combs from the hives. He would reward us with a small piece of comb if we'd been good to stay on the other side of the orchard fence where the hives were kept.
Grandfather Mitchell seemed older and less approachable than Grandpa Orton. He never joked; he'd hold us on his lap and love us with little demonstration of affection. Grandpa Mitchell came to our house nearly every morning to talk over some business and to chat with Mother. Before I started for school, I watched for him at the window. His dark pants, vest, and white shirt could be seen a block and a half away. When I announced his coming, Mother would say, "Clear off a chair and dust it for him to sit on". In the children's haste to get to school they often left every chair in the front room piled with nightgowns, pajamas, etc.
Grandfather Mitchell was one of the earliest pioneers to Southern Utah. He reached Parowan Jan 13, 1851. Grandpa filled important positions in church, community, and state. He was sent by Brigham Young to investigate the Mountain Meadow Massacre. He is credited with making the only list of all those killed (See history of William Cooke II).
I never knew my Grandmother Mitchell. She died when my father was only eight years old. Aunt Deanie, Grandfather's fourth wife, was kind and good to us, but not like a grandmother.
I was born at Parowan, Iron County, Utah, August 31, 1902, in the brick home on Third South between Main and First East Streets, on a Sunday morning. The attending physician was Joseph F. McGregor, a dear friend of our parents. At birth I weighed nine pounds and was Mother's second biggest baby; brother Albert claims to distinction of being the largest. My brothers and sisters in order of birth are: William Warner, Florence Laurette, Rosabelle, Joseph Harold, Kathleen, Mary Ann, Ada, Josephine (myself), Douglas Orton, Laura, Albert Orton, and Karl Orton.
A Young Girl's Day
Being number eight in a family of twelve, neither the oldest, the youngest, the first of my sex, nor the smartest gave me no advantage over the other eleven. I grew up climbing fences, trees, and even the big barn, sometimes inside on mounds of hay and sometimes on the outside to the very top, straddling the cornice. I waded the irrigation ditches, and explored the empty break-water channel looking for matched, smooth rocks for a set of 'jacks'. With my brothers and sisters I explored the nearby Spring Hill, so named for a large cool spring at its base. The pond was on private property; the older boys and their cousins ventured into the pond for a swim. We'd been taught the pond was "off limits" so the boys threatened us if we tattled on them. We hunted pine nuts and pine gum on the Red Hills, always going home by way of the cemetery, meandering through the granite monuments laboriously spelling out the names and epitaphs of those buried beneath. Invariably, we ended up at a grave of a polygamist, Edward Dalton, who was shot by a federal officer. "Murdered in Cold Blood" the inscription read, sending cold chills down our spines and a reminder to be on our way home.
Prevalent at this time was the philosophy that little girls should be seen and not heard. Mother often quoted the maxim:
"Let they voice be low and gentle, 'Tis an ass who brays; A gentlewomen speaks low."
I was somewhat subdued by those older than I and seldom did I have a chance to make my own decisions; they were handed down to me 'ready-made' as were most of my clothes. My brother Al put me in my place by dubbing me the "Ugly Duckling". I must have had some redeeming traits, like patience, for I've heard the incident recounted by family members that I sat at the dinner table asking, "Please give me some lean meat, please." Repeating my request until all the meat was gone and those who could have passed it were gone too.
A Young Girl's Work
There was work for all of us to do. The girls mostly helped in the house, except at harvest time when we helped wherever needed. I winnowed beans, picked corn and husked it, topped carrots, picked sage, and spread the leaves on a sheet to dry, besides picking fruit, apples, peaches, and plums. I helped dry corn, after it was steamed and cut from the cob, we'd spread it on a clean sheet on the roof of the back porch where the sun would hit it most of the day. One balmy September evening Douglas and I climbed the ladder to the roof, huddled under a shawl in a secluded corner, and talked ourselves to sleep. A count taken at bedtime revealed our absence. Our brothers and sisters scoured the neighborhood without success. Mother's calling from the porch below aroused us. I answered, "We're here, Mama". Douglas, still half-asleep, made for the ladder. Screams from me and those below stopped him in time to save a serious fall.
We dried scads of plums -- two or three seamless sacks full were stored in the attic along with other dried fruits. We'd take the salt shaker and help ourselves to the plums and apples. Salt sharpened their flavor.
Mother canned lots of fruit. I helped her by washing the jars and lids and running errands to the cellar and woodpile. Five-hundred quarts of fruit, besides jams and jellies and pickles, were stored for winter use. We also grew a big garden, enough for family, friends, and the indigent. For winter use Father dug pits and lined them with straw, placed the vegetables, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, cabbage, and the beets under a layer of straw, and finally, a wooden lid with sod on top -- making it easy to get the produce during the winter. Potatoes, squash, dry onions, dry beans, and apples were kept in the basement of the granary.
I was not yet in school when Mother sent me to the granary to get a few dry beans. I knew what a 'few' meant for I'd been sent for potatoes earlier and when asked how many were a 'few', Mother said "Eight or nine". As I counted out the beans the amount looked so small in the pan sent to get them, that I added a handful more. Mother could hardly stop laughing when she looked into the pan. In defense I said, "You told me a few was eight or nine when you sent me for potatoes yesterday".
Besides the fruit and vegetables from the orchard and garden, Dad raised wheat which was made into flour and cereal at the local mill just a mile away. We kids loved to go with him, on the wagon, to get a grist of wheat ground. While Dad was busy, we'd scamper around to the various cereal bins and help ourselves to a handful of oatmeal, cracked wheat, or germade until we got caught.
I showed some originality -- carried pails of water from my elbow. It seemed less of a strain on my back as well as less heavy. One of my daily tasks was to empty the night pots, carrying them from the house, across the plowed east lot or cornfield, through the pole fence, over the irrigation ditch, and to the sagebrush patch beyond the road. I made two trips, one with the white enamel slop-pail from the upstairs bedrooms, and another with the with the white porcelain "thunder mug" from Mother's bedroom. One day I rinsed out the pot in the irrigation ditch, stuck a sunflower jauntily through the handle, and wore it on my head back to the house. Mother laughed heartily when she saw my chappo and I'm still being teased about my caprice. A year or so later, when Jake was home from medical school for a vacation, I made a sign reading: "Dr. Bergstrom -- Walk In", and affixed it to the outside door of Florence and Jake's bedroom.
Parowan was a small town; half of its citizens were our relatives. We had plenty of room for work and play under the supervision of our parents. Early as I can remember utility poles lined the center of the streets. Our electrical system was installed in 1907. Aunt Lizzie, Mother's sister, was the first to get electric lights after the commercial houses were supplied -- this because she boarded the installation crew. Her lights were hooked up just in time to have Grandfather and Grandmother Orton's golden wedding reception in her home. A single light bulb hanging from a wire in the center of the living room ceiling with a switch just inside the front door were nothing short of a miracle. Grandmother Orton, looking at the "on" and "off" switch asked:
"When you come 'ome (home) of a dark night, how do you know if it's 'hoff' or 'hon'?"
Hitching posts in front of all the public buildings and in front of the homes of the gentry not only provided a place to tie horses but also 'tricky bars' for the kids to do their acrobatics. Of course they (the hitching posts) disappeared when the automobiles replaced the horse.
Parowan's Earliest Car
By 1915 a few automobiles were seen on Parowan streets. Before that time, about 1909, Alexander Matheson put together some odd pieces of machinery including a single buggy bed, a sulky-plow seat, four metal wheels, an engine powered with kerosene, and a long rod set up for a brake, which worked by hand. Two lanterns were wired on either side of the box, completing the machine. Top speed of this horseless carriage was about 7 miles per hour. As it went 'put-putting' down the street, leaving a plume of blue smoke trailing behind it, on-lookers cheered and marveled over Alexander's ingenuity. In 1916 my brother Warner, then the County Clerk, bought a Model-T Ford; it had side curtains instead of glass windows, a wide running board, narrow hard rubber tires, and had to be cranked to start the motor. Father bought his first car - a Model-A Ford -- in 1925. It was a sedan and had many conveniences not on earlier models including a self starting engine.
Note added 10/01/05: David Neeley, my Uncle, told me a story tonight that Grandma often told him. It seems that a local Parowan Doctor needed to visit Salt Lake City and he and his wife decided to bring the children along, and Grandma too, as a babysitter. Governor Bamberger (Simon Bamberger, Govenor from 1917 to 1921) had paved a single, narrow strip down Main Street of every town from Salt Lake City to Nephi. When the doctor made Nephi, and Nephi's newly paved strip, a new, and at that time, foreign and foreboding, sign met them -- it read "Speed Limit 20" "I don't think we can do it", he said to his wife, and try as he might, he just couldn't get the car up to 20. He had misinterpreted the sign to mean that anyone traveling the strip had to go 20 miles per hour and his new car just didn't have the power to do it.
Water was not yet piped into many homes. We were among the first to have a cold water tap in our kitchen. Before, we carried water from the big ditch, and settled it in a large barrel using ashes to leach out the silt. Our drinking water was filtered through a heavy canvas cone-shaped bag that hung in the shade of the apple tree. Weekly laundry days began early in the morning and lasted until sundown, with Mother and the older girls taking turns scrubbing on a 'Brass King' (metal scrubbing board) with homemade soap. Our first washer was hand powered. Later as models improved we got a gas powered one and finally an electric Maytag. There were no 'wash-n-wear' fabrics, and ironing with sad irons, heated on the kitchen range, was a hard and arduous task. I learned to iron napkins and handkerchiefs this way too.
When indoor plumbing was installed, the grass soon covered the barren path through the orchard to the outhouse -- a three holer, with places for papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear. I had my turn cleaning every Saturday, scrubbing the seat and the floor, and pouring ashes into the deposit receptacle.
What We Wore
Appropriate winter wearing apparel for boys or girls were long-legged, fleece lined union suits with trap doors. I wore a dark outing flannel petticoat and a panty-waist with side garters to hold up my long, black, heavy ribbed stockings. I wore either laced or buttoned shoes, ankle high. Trying to get the underwear neatly tucked in my stockings along with having my hair braided and looking for the button-hook was a threat to my getting to school on time. My brothers wore blue denim overalls to school, and tweed knickerbockers and long black stockings and shoes for best. Long trousers for pre-teenagers did not become popular until about 1920.
There was no mortuary in our town; the deceased were prepared for burial in the home. The Relief Society did the washing of the body and sewed burial clothing. Usually, family members took care of the hair and small details. Cloths wrung out of a strong solution of formaldehyde and vinegar plus ice, when it could be obtained, were used to keep the corpse from darkening. I teased to go with my sisters, Mary Ann and Ada, when I was six years old, to view Grandma Brown (no relation). The stench of vinegar and formaldehyde greeted us as we entered. Grandma reposed on a long slab, covered with a sheet, in the center of the room. Two points at one end designated her feet, while one sharp point near the other end, marked her nose. I knew Grandma Brown had a long nose, but it seemed to have elongated under the sheet. It was ghastly; terrifying. I hurried out never to try viewing again until I was older.
The Peeping Tom
John, Grandma Brown's son, took care of his aged mother and had earned the title of "Peeping Tom". When we children were rough-housing at bedtime, throwing pillows and dancing 'the dance of the seven veils' in our nightgowns, one had only to exclaim, "John Browns peeping through the window!" and a scramble for bed and an abrupt silence followed. As many as four of us would pile in the same bed, cover our heads, many times sleeping through the night that way, not daring to seek our own beds.
I was eight years old when Father baptized me in a cold mountain stream which ran in front of our place, July 2, 1911, and that same afternoon, Simon A. Matheson confirmed me a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Attending Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, Primary, and later Mutual Improvement Association were established habits for me and my brothers and sisters. I recalled saving tithing pennies in a match box, and fasting once a month to contribute to the welfare of the poor. We were taught to pray as soon as we could talk, and to give the family prayer as soon as we were baptized.
I was not always reverent in church; little things tickled my funny bone and I'd start a whole row of kids twittering, making it necessary for Mother to sit between me and my fellow disturbers.
We drank from a silver communal sacrament cup at the handle to avoid drinking where an old, black-bearded man drank, then found that he was doing the same. Seminary was not in existence but we stayed after school once a week for Religion Class.
I still remember the large picture, in our Sunday School room, depicting a winged angel, perhaps Moroni. The wings were feathered and fastened to the shoulder blades; I had a hard time to reconcile feathers on a human man.
The Bad Word
Laura was sent to the store to get thread, size 50, color white. She was about 6 years old. The manager, Arthur Joseph, liked to tease kids, especially bashful ones. He greeted her, "Good morning, little girl. Does your father still say 'Son-of-a-bitch'"? She must have felt like she'd been punched in the solar-plexus. She knew not what to say, but recovered enough to say she'd come for white thread, size 50, plunked down her dime, and hurried home. When Daddy came she said, "Everybody knows you say 'Son-of-a-bitch'. You'd better stop." Innocently, Dad asked, "Do I say that bad word"? Laura answered, "Yes, when you have to work with the pigs."
From a note later in life: The only time I saw Dad really angry was when he was loading the pigs in the wagon to take them to the ranch. He had the help of some of the older grandchildren. They'd drive the pigs up the plank and finally all were accounted for excepting one old boar, who had evaded the kids and their big sticks. All of us held our breaths as Dad got the boar started up the plank, following close behind and prodding him along. Just as the pig was ready to step into the wagon box, Rosemary, Belle's six year old, who had climbed upon the front wheel, threw her arms up and gave a wild TARZAN YELL. The boar whirled, and started down the plank with Dad riding backwards on top of the pig. It was a funny sight and we all laughed, but Dad . . . well, he was "proper blazing". (Note: See this story from one of the grandchildren's perspective here.)
The neighbors newly whitewashed house had one whole side without a door or a window. The broad expanse tempted Mary Ann and she dared me to write our names clear across the smooth white surface. She had a large green crayon and proceeded, telling me to write under her with a piece of crayon she had broken off. Half way through I made an error, and without anything to erase with I snatched a handful of grass and rubbed vigorously, leaving a big ugly green stain. Mary Ann was cross at me for spoiling her neat lettering. She then discovered she had not centered her name -- needing another letter or two to even it up. She quickly added an 'A', making her name Mary Anna.
There was no doubt who had spoiled the new, white surface. We had left our signatures.
Two paydays a year kept our family going. Farm harvest in the Autumn, hay, grain, wheat, and beside garden products, fat lambs, born in the year, plus the ewes that were too old to lamb again and withers, etc. The Spring payday was less, comprising the sheep's wool, fat yearling steers, and a few heifers fattened during the Winter. The years Dad imported pure bred, pedigreed shorthorn bulls, from Kansas, he received good money; these were sold mostly in the Spring.
It was often necessary to borrow from the bank to see us through to harvest time again. Both the banks in Cedar City and the local Bank of Iron County were willing lenders with only Dad's signature on the transaction. Anyone could borrow from the local bank with Dad's signature; he helped many in need. Only once was he left 'holding a sack'. A salaried man, in our community, needed a small loan -- I recall it was less than $100 -- and asked Dad to sign with him, which Dad did. The fellow never paid; avoiding meeting Dad thereafter.
No Friend At All
The one and only time Dad was refused a bank loan was in the early twenties. A man he knew came wanting to sell his entire herd of about 5,000 sheep. Dad had wanted to increase his flock, he had plenty of mountain range, meadow land in the valley, and rights to run his sheep on government range in the winter. The man came late in the afternoon and after talking over the proposition, Dad agreed to buy the entire flock if the bank would loan him the money. The seller left thinking he'd made a shrewd bargain.
Dad was at the bank as soon as it opened next morning. The loan officer denied his request. It seemed the bottom had dropped out of the sheep business the day before. Since there was no TV or even radio, and our Deseret News came semi-weekly and a day late, Dad had not known of the fall in the sheep market. The anger of the seller was at a high pitch when he came for his answer. He called Dad some unrepeatable, uncomplimentary names. It seems he had know of the market slump, tried to sell to others, and Dad was his last hope (victim?). It hurt us children to hear the tirade of angry terms at our Daddy -- honest and dependable Daddy!
To Stand By A Friend
Dad's honor was questioned when he was First Councilor in the bishopric of the Parowan Ward. The bishop was manager of the largest mercantile establishment there. Our bishop was mild-mannered and loved by all. In his third year it was discovered that there was an unaccountable shortage of a few thousand dollars missing from the mercantile's account. Embezzlement, an ugly term, was of course blamed on the store's management -- our bishop. Dad couldn't believe the accusation -- he'd been so close to him and found him strictly honest in his church collections and bookkeeping. Father was so staunch in his defense that bishop X could do no wrong, that suspicion was cast on him also. Investigation cleared Father and found Bishop X had siphoned off money from the store's account to help build his new home. Father was then made the bishop.
Father At The Head
Father was the head of the house, Mother his helpmeet. Mother was never the 'go-between' us children and our father. Decisions were made and solutions worked out by them. We knew better than to expect Mother to give in to some request not yet talked over with Dad. "I'll talk it over with Daddy," was the inevitable response. If there were to be a carnival, race meet, or county fair dance, our friend's mothers would call to see if the Mitchell girls were going. If Dad said "No", we could rest assured that the Marsdens, Lymans, and others likewise refused to let their girls go.
If we failed to get up for breakfast, after a night out, Daddy would climb the stairs to wake us, saying:
"If you hoot with the owls all night, you can't expect to soar with the eagles in the morning."
He often gave advice and counsel to live according to our standards. I recall his making a suggestion to Ada that she not date a fellow newly arrived in town. Ada didn't seem to resent it since it was not a command.
Our parents not only taught us the Gospel but were exemplary in living worthy of emulation. They taught us the cardinal virtues of honesty, integrity, work, responsibility, dependability, and faithfulness. On Winter evenings they managed to find time to read to us if we'd get our school work done early. Sometimes they'd read from the scriptures, a good biography, or a novel with a good moral theme. My favorite was Evangeline . Daddy's voice had a sad quality when he read and I shed tears over this very real love story.
(Probably, The Vicissitudes of Evangeline (1905) by Elinor Glyn. If so, you can get a copy at www.bookfinder.com for less than $1, and read what Grandma loved to hear. There is an outside chance this is Longfellow's poem, Evangeline, but I doubt it).
A First Job
When Ada was 15 and I was 13, we were hired to help clean the schoolhouse -- the three storied, yellow brick one that sat diagonally across the corner at 2nd North and Main. An older woman took it upon herself to be foreman, assigning us the hard jobs like blacking and polishing the chrome on the huge heating stoves, washing the windows, and oiling the blackboards. We knew how to work and, since we could use what we made to buy school clothes, we were enthusiastic workers.
About the 2nd day, our 'foreman' told us we were working too fast, reminding us that we were being paid by the hour, and not by the job; suggesting that we slow down so the work would last longer. This was contrary to our teaching. Come payday, we were paid the same hourly wage as was our 'would be foreman'.
A First Date
I was about 13 when I had my first date. Our doctor's son, Ronald McGregor, sidled up to me after Sunday School and whispered that he'd be around to take me for a buggy ride at three o'clock. He drove his dad's one seater buggy with Old Casper in the shafts. We picked up his friend Alma Webb and my cousin Rowena Benson and drove along the east road toward Paragonah. Turning round to return home we got stuck in the mud and try as hard as the boys could, they couldn't get the rig out of that red mud. Help finally came, but the buggy and the boy's Sunday clothes were plastered with Red Creek mud. Cleaning the buggy and themselves caused the boys to be late for Sacrament Meeting. They were severely chastised; Rowena and I barely made it to the meeting on time.
Birth of a Nation
"The Birth of a Nation" was the first picture shown at our newly opened Rex Theater about 1909. I took eggs to the store to get the 10 cents for my ticket. There was no sound -- written words shown on the screen told what was going on. A local pianist played appropriate tunes, varying them to fit the situation. Cousin Eva Mitchell was the best; she could play anything from ragtime to Bach. Twenty years later I heard my first sound picture in Salt Lake City; Al Jolson starring in "Sonny Boy".
Trey of Hearts
About this time Ada and I saved our nickels and dimes to buy tickets to the sensational movie "Tray of Hearts", a serial shown on Friday night at the local Rex Theater; cost 10 cents for school children. Running concurrently, chapters were printed in the Parowan Times, which we cut out and saved. In order for each of us to have a copy I wrote the entire novel verbatim, taking the book out of the library when a weekly installment was missed. Whatever became of this exciting love story I do not know. It represented long hours in a cold upstairs bedroom, after school, and little snatches of time whenever I could leave my tasks to Ada -- who was more than willing to do my work if I'd keep on writing. I hope I'll not be held accountable for this waste of time.
(Well I know, Grandma. The
Trey of Hearts, a Motion-Picture Melodrama, the printed serial (by
Louis Joseph Vance, 1914), is available for, again, a small price at www.bookfinder.com)
I was a sophomore when Warner offered me a dollar if I'd accept a boy's invitation to the Junior Prom. I refused his dollar but gave in when he doubled the bribe. It was not that the boy was obnoxious in any way, or that he was not popular; most any girl in High School would have jumped at the chance to go out with him. I guess I just hadn't reached the age to desire boys attention.
Ada was always more popular with the boys than I, although I never lacked an escort to school or town functions. She seemed to know just what to say to put them at ease. I was more reticent; to quote from the school paper "Pep":
"Can you imagine Jo Mitchell letting the boys get familiar"
I was on the Student Council, editor of the school newspaper 'Pep' (Personality, Efficiency, and Perseverance), on the year-book staff, sang in the chorus, and had the respect of the teachers, and many, many friends.
About my second year in High School, a group of us, including Ada and good friends, Glenna, Alberta, Leda, and enough boys to go around, decided to drive to Enoch for a dance. Paul Adams, Marion Adams, Cooper Smith, Rex Ward, and Lloyd White were our escorts. As we entered the dance hall a quadrille was in progress. We quickly formed a Virginia Reel and finished the dance. A fast one step was next played and before we got half-way through, three couples of our group had been called off of improper dancing. Marion Adams talked back to the floor manager, saying we were only doing proper dancing, and then the floor manager told him to leave the hall and never come back. "Hoodlums are not welcome!". When we told our parents they merely said that there were other places to dance and not to go back to Enoch again.
To The Big City
Ada's and my first trip to Salt Lake City was with Dad. We went on the Will Green Stage Line. Ada was between 15 and 16 years old, I was two years younger. Dad showed us the sights of the city. We stayed in the Kenyon Hotel between 2nd and 3rd South on Main. We window shopped while Dad did his business, then he took us shopping at good shops, buying each of us a dress and a hat. The dresses were elegant, far more sophisticated than our ages warranted, costing $25 and $29. Mine was two pieced, soft burgundy satin. embroidered in the same color. As I look back, I wonder why I didn't give it to Mother; she would have looked better in it than I. I chose a picturesque hat like I'd seen in the movies. It was black velvet, the broad brim lined with aqua velvet with matching colored feathers around the crown. I imagined I looked like Loretta Young in it. The cost of the hat was an astounding $9, and it made me feel regal as a queen.
Temple Square was one of the favorite places with it's formal gardens, well kept lawns and shrubs, with the unique round-topped tabernacle and the awesome white temple in the background. I hoped to be married there when the time came.
The American Theater with its long flight of glass steps, under which water came gushing over a surface resembling a mountain side, was near our hotel. Everything was a land of enchantment to me. I can remember just how small and dingy Parowan looked when we returned home.
The summer of 1922 Harold was home from U.A.C to work with Dad. His fraternity brother, Wallace Parkinson, was doing construction on the new three lane highway from Muley Point to Paragonah. Wally boarded in Parowan at Aunt Mables. For a diversion, Harold and Wally asked Glenna and me to ride with them to Cedar Breaks and other scenic spots nearby. Harold had the horses and equipment; we girls were to take a lunch. Wally claimed he had experience riding horses. Harold put him on his favorite sorrel pony named Kid. Glenna and I had more docile ponies and Harold rode Tobacco, a young chestnut he'd been breaking who was still a little skittish.
We arrived on top, a large pasture-like area spread out before us. Harold suggested we give the horses a rest and then gallop over to the Breaks. We pulled the horses closer together so we could talk; Harold pointing to the various places he wanted to take us later. After a few minutes, Harold said "Lets go". Kid took off like a streak of lightening. Tobacco reared up a couple of times before he settled down and Glenna and I started out at a reasonable gallop. Kid took a cut-off through timber with Wally's legs brushing the undergrowth and his head and shoulders breaking off limbs along the trail. At the rim of the Breaks, Kid stopped abruptly, dropping his burden unceremoniously. By the time Harold caught up Wally was sitting on the ground, pale with fright.
"Why didn't you stop him, all you had to do was pull the reins -- he'd stopped", Harold said.
"I tightened the reins, hollering Halt!, Halt!, but he wouldn't", Wally replied.
It seems the younger boys had been training Kid for the summer races in July. He was swift as a runner and alert to directions, but didn't know "Halt".
In September 1924 I entered Gila College, a Church-owned Junior College in Thatcher, Arizona. I had missed school in 1922 and 1923, having worked in the telephone office awaiting my turn to continue my education. Harold was then teaching at Safford High. I had a stubborn chest infection left after a bout with pneumonia and my parents thought the warm Arizona winter would clear me up. I went to Arizona with Harold and Bertrude in August.
When Mother Died
Mother died on October 24, 1924 at age 53 of a stroke. I didn't return to Gila but stayed to take care of Father. He promised that I could go to the University of Utah the following year
Mother's death was a shock to the entire family. She had just written me saying that she felt better than she had for years. She felt fine the evening before, had even carried little Gordon, Mary Ann's year old baby, out to meet Dad who had been in the canyon for wood. Death came at 4:00 A.M. She seemed to know the end was near and told Father of her love for him and that she'd be waiting for him. She waited 29 years. Father died in March 1953; he was four months under 84 years. They are buried side-by-side in the Parowan cemetery.
Dad kept his promise. I entered the University of Utah in 1925. I lived with Ada and Russell who had just been married three weeks. Through them I became better acquainted with Parley Rhead Neeley, whom I had met the previous Spring when I visited Ada at Coalville where she taught school and lived with the Neeleys. Parley was then a senior in Civil Engineering at the "U".
Parley and I dated 'off' and 'on' the Fall and Winter Quarters and kept steady company throughout the Spring Quarter. His letters sustained me throughout the long, hot, work-filled summer as I canned fruit, cleaned house, and made preparations to go back to the university in September. I hated to leave Father, but he said it would worry him more if I stayed at home. He bought a Model A Ford Sedan, his first, and that should have prepared me for the announcement he made later.
Christmas 1926 Laura and I were both home in Parowan, a few days before Christmas we received almost identical packages, hers from Cedar City, and mine from Salt Lake City. Laura suggested we open them, even though they were labeled "Do not open until Christmas". I told her that I could endure the pangs of suspense, but she kept teasing. Then without my consent she took both packages and went into the parlor. As she closed the door she promised not to tell me what my package contained. We heard a rattling of paper and and excited "Ohh's and Aaws", then she came out, saying as she handed me my package, "I'm not going to tell you what it is, but it must be a good one -- it's still ticking". It was a Bulova inscribed 'Juddy' -- Parl's term of endearment for me then.
As we relaxed by the fire, a coal heated Motorola, Dad said that he had proposed to a fine maiden lady and that they had set the date for January 18th, 1927.
I had mixed feelings -- jealousy at first that Dad could think of an 'old maid' taking the place of Mother. After a day or two I had a more mature outlook. Surely with all of us children marrying, he needed a companion who was near his own age and if she was his choice, we should have nothing to say about it. I knew Parley was serious and my love for him had steadily deepened through the months of our courtship. I didn't expect to live home and came home only for short visits thereafter.
June 1926 Parley graduated from the University of Utah in Civil Engineering. I attended his graduation with his parents. After graduation, Parley worked for the Interior Department on the reclamation project building the Echo Dam. He came to Salt Lake to see me twice a week, his visits were fun-packed and all too short. I kept on at the University.
The following summer Mother Neeley died in Salt Lake following an operation. I was in Parowan when Parl called to tell me, requesting me to go up for the funeral. Not wishing to intrude on the family's privacy, I did not go. Parley seemed hurt. Before Parley finished school he'd taken me to visit his parents over a weekend. I loved his mother from the first. She was kind, generous, easy to converse with; Father Neeley was the silent type. Awesome at first, I felt his watching my every movement. Lawyer-like he was looking over the situation before making an appraisal. By the time I was ready to leave, he was calling me 'Joseph' and there was warmth and approval in his voice. I was 'Joseph' to him the remainder of his life.
Parley came to see me in Parowan soon after his mother's funeral. The second day he went with Dad to the farm, when he returned he hugged and kissed me, before those present, saying that Dad had given him permission to marry me. I told a different story to an inquisitive friend who wanted to know the particulars. I told her Dad had asked Parley., "What are you intentions towards our Nell (Jo)?". Parley then got down on his knees and begged for my hand in marriage; promising to be ever faithful, treat me kindly, and to drag me with him wherever his engineer's career took him.
Before leaving the "U", Parley had "put me on hold" by pinning me with his jeweled "U" pin. I wore it until February 6th, 1928, when he replaced it with a lovely diamond ring.
A Last Story . . . The Honeymoon
The trip to Southern Utah was our only honeymoon. Our Dodge, with its hard rubber tires, and the rough un-surfaced roads, was anything but easy riding. However, we were happy to have it paid for and happier to be together.
By the time we reached Cove Fort we discovered the fallacy or myth that 'we could live on love'. Parley found what he thought would be good eating in a limited gas stop store. He brought back a package of Zwieback Baby Teething Biscuits, and from that day on, it has been 'honeymoon biscuit' making its appearance each December 21st in deceptive wrappings and sizes.
Stories from later in life . . .
Parley was then launched on his life's career but needed a few months to build his bank account. His salary was $1800 a year. I'd been working in ZCMI as a sales lady, first as an extra, after school and on Saturdays, and then fulltime during summer vacation. My top salary was $65 a month. I used my money to good advantage in assembling a trousseau.
I bought a Singer Portable sewing machine by using my entire inheritance from Grandfather Orton's estate, of $40, for a down payment. I made my lingerie, not sparing the expense of silk-crepe, fine lace, and ribbon. Parl gave me a chest of eight Community Silverware in the Grosvenor design and while I have a chest of beautiful sterling silverware, today the Community Plate is still my favorite. Father had a competent woman make me two beautiful quilts which I have used through the years. I had accumulated household necessities and linen besides a beautiful cedar chest. The girls made me a bedspread and blanket.
Invitations were sent to my closest university friends and to my co-workers at ZCMI, besides a few Parowan girls who were living in S.L.C. We did not have an announcement nor a reception. We made our decision to marry the 21st of December, 1928 (Parl has taken a lot of ribbing from his friends over this date). We had barely time to make arrangements for a temple marriage before it closed for the holidays.
Elder George F. Richards, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and also President of the Temple, performed the ceremony. We entered the temple at 7:00 A.M. and didn't get through until 4:00 P.M. We were the 50th couple to be married that day; three more followed us. At that time, the temple president performed all the marriages himself.
Our temple marriage marked the 2nd step toward our goal of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom; baptism being the 1st step. We prayed together that night, thanking our Heavenly Father for his many blessings. We asked him to please guide us in reaching our goal. Since that first night we have never missed saying our prayers together, except when we were temporarily separated.
Our first apartment was in Neeley's upstairs. Two large bedrooms with a bath and a large walk-in closet gave us room to be comfortable. We bought what furniture we needed: a coal burning kitchen range, an oak breakfast table and four chairs, a kitchen cabinet for the kitchen, two comfortable chairs, and a day-bed for the living room. With the loan of a small table for my sewing machine, and a bookcase Parl had made in high school, we were well fixed up.
A small rocker, bought for $16 has served us in the rearing of our four children, twenty-three grandchildren, and to date, 1986, twenty-three great grandchildren. Becky, our granddaughter-in-law has spoken for this rocker when we are ready to give it away.
We hated to leave our cozy apartment when Parl was transferred to build the diversion canal south of Kamas in the Autumn of '29. We were expecting our first baby in February. Parley Mitchell, an eight pounder, was born in the Salt Lake LDS Hospital, February 9th, 1930. Dr. Warren Shepherd delivered him for the modest price of $35; the hospital bill was just under $100 for my stay of two weeks. My friend Mary bragged that she paid only $25 for her baby born three years later. I told her we wanted the best and were willing to pay for it!
Daniel, then Yuma
We stayed in Kamas until Christmas. Parley was needed in the Bureau of Reclamation Office in Coalville for about two weeks, or so they said. We stayed there until July 1931 when Parl was transferred to Daniel, Wyoming, to start preliminary surveys for the Colorado River Storage Project. Our stay in Daniel lasted until October when we were transferred to Yuma, Arizona, to work during the winter. We finally found suitable living quarters at Welton, a small railroad stop forty miles southeast of Yuma. Since we had lived in a log cabin, without modern conveniences, in Daniel, having to carry water from the center of town and with our toilet out behind the garage, it was a real break to be send to sunny Arizona for the winter. Early in our marriage I learned that it wasn't so much where you lived, but who you lived with that mattered.
Pinedale, Tulsa, Green River, and Parker
Springtime, 1931, brought us back to continue work in Pinedale, Wyoming. Late that summer we moved from Pinedale to Tulsa, then on to Green River where we stayed until October, and then moving from there to Parker, Arizona, where Parl worked on the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
An old post office building, without a single partition, and with large windows facing the street was the only place for rent. We shared this old building with the Callans; he was also an employee of the Bureau of Reclamation. They had no children and Pat was nearly three. We partitioned the rooms into two apartments with government flagging; that is cheap, white muslin the surveyors used to mark points. For heat we burned iron wood in a little pot-bellied stove and cooked on a two plate gas camp stove. We had no bathroom -- the toilet was out behind the building. From orange crates we made cupboards, stools, dressing tables, and a card table used for dining.
Pat was a handsome, sturdy boy with brown eyes and brown hair and an avid interest in all about him. Vivid in my memory was our hike to the big Parker Railroad Crossing over the Colorado River and a subsequent ride on a jerry car (railroad maintenance car) which pleased Pat as he had made the arrangements with the crew (who were mostly Mexican).
The winter of 1932-33 we spent at Blythe, California, arriving there the very day that President Roosevelt declared a moratorium closing all banks of the country. We had a combined total of $3.67 in our pockets, we knew not a soul in the town, and our bank account was in Coalville, Utah. A local merchant believed our story and charged groceries to us; the doctor from whom we rented also gave us the rent and the the initial installment on water and lights until Parl's paycheck came.
Our house was spacious and quite cool thanks to the huge pepper and date trees that surrounded it. We spent much time in the open air and delighted in the blooming desert in the late winter and early spring.
In May we went back to Wyoming, living in Lyman in a tiny doll-house rented from an old couple by the name of Boss. The plumbing was all outside, including the cold water tap, and the floor of both kitchen and miniature bedroom were all covered with tar paper.
Parl lucked out. He was next sent to Ogden where the Pineview Dam was under construction. We rented an apartment on Madison Avenue and it was far the nicest place we had ever lived. With all the climbing of stairs and the getting in and out of the car, I started labor a month early.
Our baby girl was born December 11, 1933 in the Dee Memorial Hospital, Ogden, UT. Pat was scrubbed for our homecoming and with his first glance at our darling baby girl said:
"Is that all the big she is?"
He'd expected someone to play with and ran out to join his friends.
Barbara Carol as a little doll; she weighed 5 lbs and 7 ounces at birth, yet she looked finished in every way. Soon after her birth I noticed a small, red pin-prick mark on her lip. I called the doctor's attention to it. He mumbled something about mothers who were always picking their children to pieces, then added, "We'll watch it." Weeks later we noticed a swelling on her right shoulder blade and both it, and the mark on the lip, grew slowly in size. When she was eight months old, Dr. Mills, Utah's foremost authority on the treatment of cancer with radium, put a pack of radium on her shoulder blade, stuck a radium needle in her lip, and warned us not to let the needle stay in longer than one hour, or, it might destroy her tooth buds. She slept in my arms forty-five minutes and then, waking up with a start, pulled the needle out.
I'll always think that the Lord intervened, for the growth was halted and no tooth buds were destroyed. The red, angry lump disappeared from her lip and the shoulder lump was also healed.
David was born July 20th, 1937 in the Dee Memorial Hospital. I got through the birth satisfactorily but contracted pneumonia ten days later. The infection hung on for weeks. Parley was then up for a transfer, but was allowed to remain in Ogden until I was feeling better.
Finally in December he left for Glendive, Montana without us to get the Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Project underway. Parley found suitable temporary living quarters and we left Ogden by train, December 21st, arriving in Glendive on the 23rd.
Practically all of the Ninth Ward was at the depot to see us off, each with a box of fruit, candy, or games to entertain the children. Bless them for their kindness; those extra boxes became a hindrance before Parley met us at Billings. Pat was then seven years old, Barbara four, and David was a roly-poly twenty pounder, who neither Pat nor Barbara could handle, nor could I for very long.
Having a stateroom was a big help in caring for the baby. The children's discovery of the call button for the porter gave them a new interest. First Pat, then Barbara, would ring. A black face would appear, "You called Madam?", and then he would hold out his hand until a dollar was dropped in it. This went on and on -- now Barbara, then Pat, then . . . I couldn't seem to control them. Finally I said "You'd better stop, I'm running out of dollars." Barbara reached over me and rang one more time. Promptly the black face appeared. Pushing Barbara toward him I said, "You just have to take her." He tried. There the fun ended.
I was completely worn out. Never was I so glad to see relief in sight as when Parley poked his head in the train door at Billings, two-hundred miles from our destination in Glendive. The temperature was 12 degrees below when we arrived and soon after dipped to -23 degrees F.
Glendive and Douglas' Birth
Our two years in Glendive were pleasant enough, although the winters were extremely cold. Douglas was born September 13, 1939 in the Great Northern Railroad Hospital . . . with all the privacy of a park bench, minus the umbrella (no reflection on the doctor, nor the hospital -- just an over confident nurse who thought she knew more than the doctor). When Parl told her that I was ready to deliver, she said: "I'll make the decision when it's time". Parley said nothing but just rolled me toward the elevator with the nurse close at his heels murmuring "I'm supposed to give her two pills the doctor left".
"Too Late!", Parl said.
On the way, Parley rang the panic button for the doctor and shouted for the interns, who arrived in record time clothed only in pajama pants. They knew the art of 'birthing' and in taking care of the details afterwards. Dr. Shillington showed anger when he arrived 4 minutes later and found the nurse still clutching the two pink pills he'd left to retard the action until he could get there.
When he was two months old, Parley was transferred to Williston, North Dakota, this time as Project Manager, to build the Buford-Trenton Irrigation Project. The project was to take water out of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers to irrigate the dry farmlands around Williston. Parley's laborers were made up of a camp of conscientious objectors, plus a few key men from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (this would furnish interesting material for a complete book, perhaps Parl will tell this in more detail)
We stayed in Williston four years -- long enough to see the drought stricken farmers boosted into prosperity through the irrigation project.
My health was not the best in Williston. Our good friends, the Alvin Bean family, did much to help us, and by finding women to help me with the house and the children. One was a Danish women, about sixty-five, named Amanda Peterson (yes, children, the same that ate the dime in the birthday cake and didn't know it), odd in appearance and speech, but a real mother to the children and they demonstrated their love for her.
One girl, a real lovely eighteen year old named June Ring stayed with us two years. She was from a big family who were poverty stricken until the irrigation project made it possible to get river water to their farm. We paid her $3.50 a week besides board, room, with one afternoon off and evening off besides Sunday. June loved the children and was kind to them, and they returned her love. It took June many days to break the habit of cutting up two loaves of bread for each meal. She had nine working brothers at home so two loaves of bread were normal for such husky appetites.
I learned to ice skate in Williston at the age of forty. Parley, Pat, Barbara Carol, and the missionaries and I went together once or twice a week. If the weather was not colder than 10 degrees below zero, we skated outside in the municipal rink, but if colder, we paid fifty cents each to use the inside rink.
The Church and Missionaries
In both Glendive and Williston we started a branch of the church. At first, we met in our homes, later renting a small hall, and just before we left Williston, a very small and humble, but adequate, church was begun. Brother and Sister Ferroll Anderson, their six children, two missionaries, and our family, comprised our Sunday School in Glendive, with a few investigators now and again.
To get the house ready Sunday morning, for we used every room for classes, and to get dinner in the oven, vegetables ready, and the children properly dressed, was a hassle. The day meetings were to be held at our place was also the day for the missionaries to eat with us. One such morning six big fellows, missionaries, filed into the kitchen from the basement. Without our hearing them they had come the night before and slept with the two elders already staying in our basement. Missionary conference was to be held that afternoon.
Sunday, December 7, 1941, Elders Stucki and Welton were eating with us when the announcement came over the radio that the Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor and that war was officially declared. The children began saying where they would hide in case the Nazis came after them and agreed that the recess behind the swing-cupboard, where the canned goods were kept, was the ideal place. Whenever leaving the house after that I was nervous for fear they would all crawl behind there and smother.
Trying to Leave Williston, but Pneumonia Strikes
When the thirty-seven year olds were registered to do military service, Parl was sent to build a priority project -- the Scofield Dam in Carbon County, Utah. He would have offices in Price where we would also reside. The day before we were to leave Williston, August 4, 1943, Pat came down with viral pneumonia. Our furniture was packed in readiness for the train trip to Utah. Since the house we had lived in in Williston was already rented, I asked permission to put what few things we could get by with in the basement and stay there. Parley had to leave the next day and he took Barbara and David with him; I kept Douglas to care for Pat until he was able to travel.
Pat was in the Good Samaritan Hospital across town. Each evening Doug and I would walk to the hospital to visit him. I can still feel Dougie's little hot hand in mine as we walked home after dark. He would keep saying: "We're not frightened, are we?", as if to reassure himself.
Pat was then fourteen and in the ten days he was hospitalized he grew a dark beard which was the envy of all the missionaries in the district. I 'folded up' the day after Pat came home, with the same disease. Our dear friends, Mary and Chester Wright, who had four children of their own, took Pat and Douglas to care for in my absence.
I didn't mend as quickly as Pat; he went to Utah with a convoy of government trucks a couple of weeks after being released from the hospital the last part of August. Douglas went with the Newmans the first part of September as Lee Newman also transferred to Price. The virus was a stubborn bug. It was the middle of October before I was strong enough to leave Williston. I went by train; stayed in my berth until I reached Butte where Parley was waiting for me. He gave me good care and the next evening we arrived in Salt Lake City where we stayed over night before driving on to Price to the children, who had been left in the care of two of Parley's Aunts, Mayme Goetzman and Parthenia Rhead. Such dear, dear people.
Parley had rented a Spanish type house in the west part of Price. It was a nice house but had twenty white doors, excluding cabinet and clothes closet doors. Just a block away was the main railroad tracks where trainloads of soldiers, equipment, and coal were passing every five minutes. The white doors posed a problem but, more importantly, we needed to get into a better part of town. We built a two bedroom home, with a basement, where we added another bedroom, besides plenty of room for the children to play.
When the Scofield Dam was completed in 1946, we move to Spanish Fork where Parley started preliminary work on the Central Utah Project. This project has lasted beyond his retirement and is still unfinished as I write in 1981. For the first five years we rented a small home on Fifth North, then built a brick home in a new area -- Escalante Drive. Here we have lived thirty years (1981).
My working for pay, other than baby-sitting and messenger service for the telephone company, at 10 to 25 cents a job*, began with assisting the postmaster the summer I was fifteen. The next summer I took a job as a sales lady at the Parowan Mercantile. I worked 'on and off ' as a relief operator for the telephone company during my senior year in high school and as a full-time operator the following summer and winter. My salary was $20 a month. That seemed good all in one piece. This was an eight hour day job, six days a week, with a split shift on Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to Noon, and again from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. (Can you, my grandchildren, imagine being without telephone service practically all of Sunday?)
In 1926 my experience as a sales lady, in the Parowan Merc. paid off when I applied to the Z.C.M.I. and was given $65 per month -- the wage of experience help. Other girls, who had no experience, got $55. From this job I quit to be married, not to work again away from home until years later.
When labor became scarce during World War II, I worked as a sales lady in The Price Trading Company at Price, Utah. Pat, then 14, was employed there as a stock boy and near Christmas time was promoted to salesman. The manager had learned that I had experience and asked me to work. Our youngest child, Douglas, was in kindergarten in the afternoons so I promised to work half a day, but was compelled to work full-time when the Christmas rush started.
After we moved to Spanish Fork and the children were all in school, I worked as 'first extra' at J.C. Penny's. When Pat and Barbara were in college I worked full-time; this I regretted when it came time to pay income tax. My salary, added to Parl's, shifted him into a higher tax bracket, resulting in my working, from early November to the 2nd week in January for nothing. That cured me from working full-time; I worked as 'extra' again until Douglas and his boys, Alan and Kent, came home to live with us the summer of 1962.
*Note added 10/01/05: Uncle Dave told me that Grandma often told him that in early Parowan, only a few businesses, and just a couple of houses had telephones. If you wanted to use the phone you'd have to go to the phone company to do so; more to the point, if a long distance call came in for you, they'd pay a kid a nickel or so to run and find you.
Douglas was accidentally killed July 23, 1966, while hunting with two friends on West Mountain. Doug was driving the jeep and his buddy climbed in the back seat, gun loaded, without his gun on safety. It discharged killing Douglas instantly.
Both Pat and Douglas flew airplanes. Doug was just ready to get his pilot's license. Each time a plane flew low over our neighborhood, little Diane, just three years old, would run outside and cry excitedly: "My Daddy's come back!".
I flew to Cedar City twice with Pat to visit my sister Laura, who was then home-bound with arthritis. Pat was a good pilot, and outside dipping into air pocket over Beaver's mountains, our trips were smooth and enjoyable.
Parley was always a careless writer. His problem was that his thoughts came tumbling out so fast that he couldn't record them legibly. One of the children asked him why he hadn't kept on with his medical training since he apparently knew the writing.
He'd left on a flight to Washington, D.C., promising to send us a card from Chicago. Two days later the postman brought a letter, post-marked Chicago, which needed additional postage. I heard the children reasoning:
"It's sure to be from Dad. Since it is from Chicago, we know he passed through there and since we will not be able to read it anyway, why spend our money on it?"
Old carpentry jobs were Parley's delight. He took a high school adult education class to improve his skill and to make a gun cabinet. It had to be made of pine or walnut, the hardware just right, have shelves, cubby-holes, hooks, etc. It measured 72 inches high, 34 inches wide, and 24 inches thick. After a couple of months it was finished. He cleaned out a corner of the basement in readiness and with the help of three men tried to get it down the stairs. It wouldn't go. Parley quickly made the decision to install it in our bedroom. Now our bedroom was small and already contained a double bed, dressing table, chest of drawers, cedar chest, and a chair. Over my protests the monstrosity was installed in our bedroom.
We were to entertain our dinner club that weekend and I kept wishing that he hadn't cluttered up the bedroom until after it was over. Then I thought of something original; we'd capitalize on that monstrosity, only we'd call it a Privy. Our invitation read:
|You are cordially invited to attend
The Premier Showing of Parley's Privy
At 53 West, 500 North on Saturday, March 14, 1969
Dinner will be served at 7:00 P.M.
To prepare the cabinet to look like a privy we painted half-moons above the door and on the sides. A Sears catalog was chained to the door handle. From the furniture store I got a large sheet of plastic wrap to cover it, and tied a huge red ribbon bow, from a poinsettia plant, across the front. It looked special; it furnished fun for the whole evening, and everybody came. Parley was proud of his work and in time I accepted the fact that a happy husband outweighed the inconvenience of a gun cabinet in our bedroom.
Our mission (to Independence, Missouri) is the golden thread in the tapestry of our lives. To serve the Lord, teach His Gospel, and to be daily working with my husband for the good of others was indeed a choice blessing.
Elder Peterson had written a 17 page script to explain our religion as we toured the five areas on the main floor (of the Visitor Center). With the help of the Lord we memorized it in a remarkably short time. We could use our own words but there were certain messages to be given at each station. I was frightened at first, but having the truth to tell made me adequate and in time not even the 'turn collared' ministers bothered me. I had one beautiful experience showing the nearness of the Lord and his concern for those doing his work:
In my tour group there was an intelligent looking couple, and a minister, of what church I could not tell. The minister said little but looked formidable and as I approached the station telling of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, his look became belligerent and I became tense and frightened. My voice trembled and I felt that I might be overcome and not able to continue the tour. We had a large, 3 x 5 foot, Book of Mormon with paintings of Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem, Abinadi preaching before wicked King Noah, Alma baptizing in the Waters Of Mormon, and Moroni hiding up the records in the earth, to help us with our story. As I pulled the book into an upright position in front of me, I gave, in a few words, a plea for help from the Lord that I might continue telling the story I knew to be true. At that moment, I no longer felt the antagonizing spirit of the minister; passages of scripture from the Bible came to my memory to substantiate my story. I looked him straight in the eye as I finished my tour.
Never again did I let a minister intimidate me.
Temple work, for us, is the capstone of all our church work and we feel that it is a privilege to do this important work for both the living and the dead. It is my daily prayer that I will remain well to continue this beautiful, important work. The third year the Temple President called us, along with others, to attend a weekly Spanish class in order to assist the Spanish speaking Saints in their temple work. I memorized the ordinances and found joy in helping these humble people.
Parley was set apart May 26, 1978, as a temple sealer by President Spencer W. Kimball. I went to Salt Lake City with Parley to receive this blessing. It was a real thrill for Parley and for me to have a Prophet of the Lord lay his hands on Parl's head and give him the high commission to do Sealings.
At The 50th Wedding Anniversary
December 21st, 1978 marked our 50th Wedding Anniversary. In a society where divorce is so prevalent, many 'moderns' ask how one could live in harmony with one man for so many years. Love is the answer. Unselfishness, respect for one another, and choosing wisely in the beginning, are likewise important.
Choosing wisely is perhaps my greatest attainment in life.
In retrospect, I look over the 50 years of our marriage and praise the Lord for blessing us so abundantly.