THE STORY OF MY LIFE
Gladys Juline Lofgreen Busby
I was born October 27, 1904, at the home of Albert and Bertie Tilton, in the little town of St. David, Cochise County, Arizona. My father is Edward Theodore Lofgreen. He was born December 23, 1878, in Huntsville, Utah. He is the son of Peter A. Lofgreen and his first wife, Johanna Catherine Antonette Sandberg. My grandfather, Peter, was one of the first of his family to come to America, although his father and his brothers also came over. Grandfather was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by missionaries in his home in Sweden, After his marriage to my grandmother, who was born in Denmark, they came to America. (note added by Gladys: they were married in America.)
My mother is Rebecca Pederson. She was born October 13, 1877, in Fairview, Utah. She is the daughter of Niels Pederson and Juline Anderson. My grandfather and grandmother Pederson joined the L.D.S. Church in Norway and came to America for its sake. Grandmother's father, Lars Anderson, came to this country later. Her brother, Lars, also joined the Church but did not come to America.
My parents were married on father's birthday, December 23, 1901, in St. David. Mother had been previously married to Mr. James Smith, not a member of our church, and she had a son, Cecil, at the time of her marriage to my father. She had lost a son, Basil, in infancy. Dad and mother had eleven children, eight girls and three boys. I was next to the oldest child and also next to the oldest girl in the family. I was blessed by my grandfather, Peter Lofgreen, November 6, 1904.
On this date we moved to our little ranch (the place now owned by Cortis Reed). It was about one-fourth mile from the Tilton home. At the age of three years, in 1907, my parents moved to Bisbee, Arizona, where father was employed as a clerk in the Phelps Dodge store. I remember nothing of my childhood while in Bisbee. My brother, Harold, was born while living there and about two years later we moved back to our ranch in St. David.
My first definite memory on our ranch in St. David dates back to the night my sister, Ione, was born (June 29, 1909). We children were routed out of bed in the middle of the night and dad bundled us in the buggy and took us down to Aunt Bert's to stay for the rest of the night. Father left us there and took Aunt Bert back with him. She was almost a second mother to us. She had no children of her own at the time I was born and she seemed to take me right into her heart. The next morning dad came and told us we had a red headed sister. I remember when I asked him where we got her, he said he found her under a mesquite bush when he was going home with Aunt Bert last night. I believed this for many years and always wondered which bush it was she was found under.
My next memory on the ranch is of falling into the small dirt pond. It was not deep and I easily got out by myself, but I was afraid of water for some time after.
Mother started me to school in September just before I was six years old (1910). My father was teaching school but had to leave home early and my sister, Thora, came home two hours later than I did. I had to walk about one and one half miles to school and at the end of the second or third day when I came home crying, mother decided to keep me home another year and then start Agnes and I at the same time. We were only thirteen months apart in age and were almost inseparable. Every one took us for twins as we were of the same complexion and size and mother usually dressed us alike. We liked to play in the irrigation ditch that went past our place. One day Agnes left her doll in the ditch all night and during the night the water came down the ditch and washed her doll away. She always claimed my doll after that and as I was quite easy-going with her, she got her way and my doll too. Mother made me a doll from some old things she had. It was not so pretty as the one Agnes claimed and I can remember how I used to cry at night because Agnes had my doll. But she nearly always had her way.
Because my father was very active in church work as well as teaching school, he was away from home quite a bit of the time in the evenings. Mama usually had a baby too small to take out so we stayed home alone. I remember how we children sensed her fear at being home alone nights even though she tried to hide it from us. This fear seemed to grow on me and I have always been afraid to stay alone at night. I was a young girl before I conquered my fear of the dark.
I remember my half-brother, Cecil, as a very big tease. He was always very good to mother in every way and he has always seemed the same as a full brother to me. He did not seem to get along well with papa. I always felt sorry for him to think he did not know his own father.
Just before I was eight years old we moved up town as we had sold our ranch. We bought a small place up town from Abraham J. Busby (my father-in-law). The house has long (since) burned down and a new one has been erected there by DeMar Merrill. My eighth birthday came on a Sunday and I was baptized by my father in the little pond near our house before Sunday School. I was confirmed the same day by our neighbor, Horace B. Owens. I remember while living there of seeing my first, and so far only, comet. Dad got us up in the middle of the night to see it. Later, we moved into the house of Rose Busby (my husband's grandmother) and I was in constant fear of the deep pond on her place.
In the fall of 1911 or 1912, papa took us all to Phoenix for the annual State Fair. Mother said I humiliated her to death because I talked to any stranger I met. The train to Phoenix was very crowded and I had to sit with an elderly gentleman. Later, mother told me I told the old gentleman all our history and everything else I could think of to tell him. He didn't know anything about what I told him but he pretended that he did. Finally, mama got so ashamed of me that she sent Thora, who was shy, to sit by the old man and moved me by her. I'll always remember that first train ride and some of the things I saw at the fair. Especially I remember the large ostrich and how they hide their heads when anyone came near. Then I remember the flower room. This remains in my memory as one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
In 1912 we moved to Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona, where dad had been offered a better teaching position. For the first few weeks we stayed in a tiny cabin at the home of my father's aunt, Cecilia Thurstenson, in Safford. Her son, Eddie, used cigarettes and one day his sister, Eva, Agnes and myself tried to smoke. I set my dress on fire and was so scared that I never tried it a second time. When school started we moved to Thatcher, renting a house from Mrs. Fuller. At the first rain it leaked so bad that we soon moved to another place. Dad sold our place in St. David and now he bought a little place in Thatcher across from the grammar school.
Of my life in Thatcher I remember so well the picnics we had along the river banks. Dad, Mother, we kids and usually some of the neighbors would pack our lunch and often our supper and spend the day at the river. Especially nice to us were the Simms, the Williams, and the Larsons. At one or more occasions we stayed all night and cooked our breakfast on a campfire. We used to dig holes in the banks and wade in the river. Dad and mother both waded with us and we had the best of times. I can also remember when the river was a raging flood and very dangerous.
I have unpleasant memories of our life in Thatcher, too. It seemed we had every possible disease while living there and in most cases some of us were dangerously ill. We had whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever, diptheria, typhoid-fever, and malaria. After having typhoid my hair came out. It was very pretty and curley and I cried when I had to have my head shaved to make my hair come in again. I wore an old-fashioned dust-cap whenever I left the house so no one would see my bald head. However, the only thing I lost was the curl, because my hair came in very soft and thick and it grew very long. I remember after we had been sick with some disease we had to camp all night out on the river bank while our house was being fumigated. We made an outing from this affair and had a nice time.
One evening Agnes, the Simms girls and I were over to the school grounds playing. I had climbed to the top of the ladder on the slide when the town bully yelled right behind me. I didn't know he was anywhere near and it startled me so much I fell from the top of the ladder. It was several minutes before I could get my breath enough to walk the short distance home and when I got there dad sent for the doctor. I had a misplaced wrist, sprained ankle, and a wrenched back.
My first beau was our neighbor, Orin Williams. He lived on the east side of us, our lots adjoining. We used to play in the Williams barn much of the time. On one occasion I fell from the top of the hay and knocked the breath out of me. One morning mama sent Agnes and I to borrow some sugar from Mrs. Williams. We were walking along and Agnes happened to look back and a skunk was trotting along behind us. Needless to say, we began to run. Whether the skunk was really chasing us or not, I don't know, but to us it seemed like the faster we ran, the faster it ran. We were afraid to stop and open Williams' gate so we just kept running around the block until we came to our own gate. We stopped to open it and turned to look for the skunk and it was still coming. When we got in the house and had regained our breath enough to tell papa what was happening the skunk was no where in sight. They all teased us and said we had just imagined the skunk but I know there was one.
My fifth sister, Edith, was born in our home in Thatcher. Aunt Eva, my father's sister came to help mama at this time. She had a friend, Mr. Bacon, from Safford who used to come to see her. Agnes and I would hide out on the lawn and just when he was about to start hugging her, we'd pop out and soon he'd go home. We surely did deal her a lot of misery. I guess she was glad when it came time for her to return home.
We lived in Thatcher for three years and then the school board in St. David offered dad a raise in salary if he would return, so we moved back there again. But when papa went to sign the contract, they refused him a raise and made all kinds of excuses. They thought that inasmuch as he had given up the school in Thatcher and moved back to St. David that he would teach without the promised raise. Dad refused to sign and so he was left to look for another teaching position. He found a place in Miramonte, a small settlement of refugee saints from Old Mexico. They had all homesteaded about seven miles west of Benson.
We lived that summer in the Barrows home joining the Abe Busby farm. That summer I learned to swim in the Busby tank. Agnes and I used to kick around in the water with the two Busby girls, Rose and Amy. They could both swim and Agnes soon learned, but I had never gotten over my fear of the water and so I was afraid to even try to swim. Thora would never go in the water with us but just watched us. Uncle Dick, mother's brother, used to stay with us a lot. One day he came over when we were in the water. He picked me up and threw me out in the middle of the tank. I began to kick and yell and the next thing I knew I found myself swimming after a fashion. I lost my fear of the water then and it was not long until I learned to swim well and to love it.
It was this summer that I first became conscious of a boy named Melvin. I had known him all my life, but really was not aware of the fact that he lived. He was the eldest son of Brother Busby and a brother to Rose and Amy. He teased me unmercifully, in fact, he made me nearly hate him. He used to chase me when he was horseback and call me his girl, saying that he was going to catch me and kiss me. Of course, he was only teasing me as he was nearly five years older than I and at that time I was too young to be noticed. I will always remember him as I used to see him riding away on an old burro towards his father's ranch in the mountains, whooping and yelling like a wild man. He teased me so much and made me so conscious of it that if I saw him around I would not go near the Busby home.
That fall, 1915, we moved to Miramonte. Dad boarded up two large tents behind the school house and we lived there for the first year. We had to haul water a distance of from one to seven miles, depending on the dryness of the year. I went to my first grown-up dance this first year in Miramonte. Papa and Mama were both very good dancers and had taught all of us to dance as soon as we were large enough to learn, but I had never been allowed to go to an adult dance before. For music we had a harmonica, guitar, and chording on the organ. Mother usually played the organ and Mrs. Bob Jean the harmonica or guitar. Sometimes dad played the harmonica. It wasn't much for music, but we sure had fun. We danced the two-step and waltz and all the old square dances. I can remember when the dance known as the fox-trot first came into popularity. Later the school bought a phonograph and we danced to it.
We had an organ in our home and we used to have dad and mother play and sing and then we'd all sing and always have so much fun. I will always remember our home for the many glorious evenings we had there, just our family. This first year at Miramonte will always stand out in my memory as one of the best in my life, and I will always appreciate the kind people of this little place and love them for their kindness to us while among them. At their parties there was no class distinction, but everyone danced with everyone there and all had a good time. The railroad folks from the nearby station of Mescal joined with us in our parties and became very nice friends of ours. Among them were two men, Mr. Reed and Mr. Marks. They both liked to sing and came to our home a lot. They were always bringing us kids candy and that was novelty for us. Mr. and Mrs. Short, also of Mescal, were very good friends and joined us in our dances. I was always considered a very good dancer and my favorite partner was my dad. It was this year that the Vernon and Irene Castle dances and styles, as bobbed hair for women, swept the country. The World War came then and everything seemed to move too swift for me to keep up. My brother Cecil enlisted and I remember the constant fear for his safety that we all felt.
After the first year, dad bought the relinquishment of an old Dutchman and we moved our two tents onto our new homestead, about one mile west of the school house. There was a 12 by 12 foot lumber shack on the place and this added one more room to our home. We sure needed it as our family now numbered eight children without Cecil, Joe having arrived the first year in Miramonte. That fall dad dug a 12 by 14 foot cellar and put a roof on it from old tin and dirt. We entered the cellar by means of a trap door in the kitchen floor. This dirt room had two windows way up next to the roof about 12 by 24 inches long. It was poorly ventilated, but we three older girls thought we were quite lucky when dad told us it was to be our bedroom. In the summer we slept under a brush shed and in the winter this room was quite warm. We put an old canvass on the floor and some pictures on the dirt walls and were very proud of it. Thora slept in a cot and Agnes and I had a folding couch.
This second year in Miramonte dad bought a team and wagon to haul water and work the place with. We soon learned to ride the horses without a saddle. We used the wagon and team to take us everywhere we wanted to go. We went to dances and parties now at the station in Mescal, and to Benson for our monthly grocery order, and a few times to St. David for a visit. We always loaded the wagon as full of people as we could and had as much fun going to and from places as we did after we got there.
Mr. Reed of Mescal gave us a dog. The first dog I can remember owning. We called him "Carlo" and we kids sure did love him. We took him everywhere we went in the wagon. Mr. Marks, another of our friends at Mescal, not to be outdone, gave us a cat. Just a common gray cat, but we thought him tops. We named him "King" as he always seemed to walk with so much pomp and dignity.
We used to ride horseback up in the hills for picnics and at the right season of the year, we would go acorn hunting. We could gather about 15 or 20 pounds each in a day and dad would take them to Benson where he would trade them for merchandise in the stores. Then he would give us the money for whatever he got out of them. We usually got from 5 to 7 cents a pound for them.
One time I was riding a horse bareback at our neighbor's place (Ethel Skinner's) and she was riding their black stallion. He took after the gelding I was riding and as I only had a piece of wire around his neck I couldn't control him at all. He cut across the field and went down a sand wash, running under the over-hanging branch of a hack-berry tree. The branch caught me across the stomach, and pulled me off the horse, and set me down very hard on a rock in the wash. It knocked the wind out of me and as I lay there the stallion jumped right across me and Ethel jumped from him to see if I was hurt. I didn't seem to be hurt except for the end of my spine bothering me when I walked. It has never proven to be anything serious, but at times gets quite sore and bothersome, otherwile I was not injured.
My sixth sister, Ola, was born while living in Miramonte. She was red headed like Joe and was very pretty. It was while mama was in bed at the time of her birth that Cecil, who was in Camp Kearney, California, came home in uniform to see us. The way things were he expected to have to go overseas any time. The main thing that remains in my memory about the war, other than our fears for Cecil's safety, was the barley and corn bread we had to eat. It seems to me now that we were forced to make many sacrifices in the way of foods during this time.
We stayed at Miramonte long enough to prove up on our homestead and until we three girls were ready for high school. I had my second boyfriend while there, Grant Davis. He was about two years older than I was. He gave me a tiny slipper knife and later after I was married, Melvin, my husband, threw it away. I also had my third sweetheart during our stay on the dry farm, Ray Farnsworth. He was several years my senior. He went back into Old Mexico to help his father try and salvage some of their property. Even though he would be gone a year or longer he said I was to stay his girl. I promptly forgot him after he left.
In the fall of 1918 dad finally got his promised raise in salary at St. David and we moved back there again. We lived for a year in the house on the corner belonging to Scrantons. All three of we older girls started to high school. I worked that year on Saturdays for Mrs. Margaret Goodman, Grandma Goodman, cleaning her house. She would give me 25 cents for a day's work and she kept you working too. She fell and broke her hip and was taken to her daughter's home (Lizzie Merrill). I was asked to stay there and help for two weeks, working nights and mornings before and after school. I never received any pay for this work, except the experience I gained. It was only the second job I had ever had. The first was at Benson working in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Moss. I was supposed to stay with them all the previous summer, but Mrs. Moss accused me of stealing food from her ice box. I knew her boy was doing it so I got mad and quit.
That first year in high school was rather a new experience for us girls. We had gone to school so much of the time with papa as our only teacher that it seemed funny to have so many teachers all the same year. But we liked it and all three of us lead our classes.
The following summer mamma got the contract to feed the men on the road camp on the Tucson-Benson highway then being constructed. We moved out to camp, part of the time living in tents and part of the time living on the Naegle ranch in their vacant home. It was a long, hard summer. Mamma paid us girls a little each for waiting tables and helping her with the cooking. That fall mamma got the contract to feed the men at the new Powder Plant being built about two or three miles west of St. David. It is now known as the Apache Powder Plant. We moved over there, again living in tents, to start our new job. Papa didn't teach school this winter but helped mamma with her work as Glen, the baby, was only a year old and mamma was not so very well.
We went to St. David to school in a bus. I started to learn to play the violin this year. I had taken the money mamma had paid me for my work on the road camp and bought me a violin. I couldn't pay for any lessons and dad could not afford to do it so I got a self-instruction book and went to work determined to learn by myself. I did pretty good too, because by the end of the first semester I was able to start to play in the high school orchestra. Agnes and I made candy bars and sold them to the men at the boarding house. We made quite a little and I saved mine for a new violin bow. Here at the powder plant I became infatuated with a young man from Colorado, Newton Walters, known as K.P. He used to bring me fruit or some other gift every evening when he came for supper. He was a very good dancer and I had lots of fun with him at the dances in St. David. We used to be the first to try every step that ever came out. Dad would not let me go places with K.P., but after we got to the parties and dances we always considered ourselves partners.
That year Thora and I nearly got expelled from school, together with two boys, because we had influenced the entire school to play hooky on April Fool's day. The old principal never forgave us. We finally got out of the mess and made friends with most of the school kids because of it.
At the end of the year the work proved to be too much for mamma and we moved back to St. David and dad went back in the school room. We lived, until after Christmas, in Uncle Font and Aunt Annie's home. It only had two rooms and is now owned by Charles Plumb. This Christmas Cecil and his wife came to see us. It was the first time he had been home since the war and it was the first time we had met his wife. She was very nice and we all liked her so much. After they left we moved into the old rock school house in upper St. David. It has now fallen down, but it stood across from the present home of Jared Trejo. Agnes and I joined the canning club and we won second place with our exhibit at the end of the season.
It was while living here that I got my first real violin lessons. I washed every Tuesday evening for Mrs. Maud Clawson and her husband, George, gave me violin lessons in return. I had lots of fun this year at the dances and parties with the young folks and I always seemed to be quite popular with most of them. We used to have chicken fries in the river and green corn roasts with lots of melon busts. Some of the times the boys stole the things we ate and part of the time we all furnished them.
Foremost among the leaders of the crowd was Ernest Goodman. His father was Bishop at the time and was quite strict, so Ernest broke all the rules to do the things he did. He used to be the first to suggest stealing chickens and then steal them from his own mother, or get apples from her cellar. We all thought that was pretty smart and encouraged him in it. His mother kept a mean dog to keep away the prowlers, but of course he made no fuss when Ernest came around, and his mother could never understand it. He was rather sweet on my sister Agnes so we were always mixed up in anything that went on.
A favorite sport was for the young boys who were working ditch to get fruit or corn or chickens and to ride to town in the evening and gather up the gang for a feed. They used to be pretty bad about stealing the food. My sister Thora was going with a young man from Miramonte, Howard Martineau, and he was working for Brother Tilton through the winter. They would not join in our fun and threatened several times to tell on us, but they never did. Howard came to see Thora at least once a week and Agnes and I and anyone who happened to be around would spy on them and make things as disturbing as we possibly could. I don't know how they ever kept from knocking us down for some of the things we did. Then whenever he would take Thora to a dance at Pomerene or to any other amusement, mamma would always make them take Agnes and I along.
About this time I was lucky enough to have a picture (drawing) of a rose, together with a poem about it published in the Juvenile magazine ("Juvenile Instructor"). A boy by the name of Max Dyer seemed to like it well enough that he wrote to me. It went like this. . . . . . . . . . . Mystery of a Rose.
Tell me love's secrets, Pretty rose,
That I may share with you
The mystery of your blushes deep,
That brighten your glorious hue.
I want to know the story
That gave your petals life,
A tale of wonderous glory
Of love and not of strife.
O tell me rose, love's mystery.
I'll guard the story well.
It will bring me love and happiness.
O pretty rose, please tell.
It sounds silly now, but I guess it was just the expression of most girls of my age. Anyway the Juvenile published it, and Max wrote me. We corresponded for some time and then mamma (who read all my letters) thought he was getting too serious or maybe I should say too foolish, so she made me tell him not to write anymore. Mamma and papa also (I learned later) were keeping K.P.'s letters from me at this time. My, I used to watch the mail to get his promised letters, but they never came and I was not to know until just before my marriage that my parents were having grandfather hold them at the Post Office so they would not be delivered to me.
This year I began to make my own clothes. My sewing teacher, Miss Marion Burroughs, entertained a lot and she used to have me work for her in the evenings after school, cleaning house, helping cook, and I even made her slips and nightgowns. In return she paid me well and gave me extra help on my clothes, pieces of material for dresses, and many of her clothes that she no longer liked. Then she'd help me make them over for me and help me design and fit my new ones. She was very nice to me and I'll always owe her a lot.
While in High School both Agnes and I played on the basketball team. They had girl's competitive games then, and we used to go on trips to other towns to play. As cars were slower then than now, we usually stayed all night wherever we played. The visiting team was always entertained and taken care of by the local team. Miss Burroughs used to loan me many of her nice things for these trips. Most of the time she went along for chaperon, although Mr. A.J. Baker, the principal, was the girl's coach. I played guard and Agnes played forward. I'll never forget our trip to Nogales. Lola Post, the other guard, and I stayed the night at the home of one of the Nogales guards. They were one of the wealthy old families of that city. We hardly knew how to act and I know we made many blunders. Our little hostess and her father took us across the Mexican border into Old Mexico for our breakfast. He saw we were just green kids so he ordered for us. First, we had grapefruit, and it was the first time I had ever eaten it. I didn't like it and in eating it I was as awkward as one of the scenes we now see in picture comedy. I splashed juice in my eye, half of the fruit slipped off my plate to the floor and I could have cried when the waiter brought me another piece to take the place of the one on the floor. I didn't have enough sense to know I didn't have to eat it.
When we were ready to leave Nogales our friends took us to the school to meet our party and bought us all kinds of fruit, candy, and cakes to eat on our way home. Before leaving the city, Mr. Earl Matteson who we were with drove across the Mexican border and bought a lot of sugar cane for us. He knew we could not take it across the border into the U.S. so he hid it under the hood of the engine. We stopped for inspection and they looked under the car seats, in our bags, and every other place but under the hood. As soon as we got out of the city we stopped and got it from its hiding place and ate cane all the way home.
At one of our games in Douglas, I got hurt. The doctor said no more basketball for me, but I finished that season and did not say anything to dad or mother about my injury. As a result of this foolish action I have suffered all my life. Some of my female organs were torn loose as well as the muscles around the spleen. In later years the effects of the injury resulted in an operation. Papa would never allow any other girls to play basketball after he found out about this, and he always blamed the principal for not informing him of the doctors orders for me to play no more. I tried to tell him that it was I who told the principal not to tell him about it.
At the beginning of my third year in high school I began to go out with Melvin. He had returned from his mission in the Central States in the previous June. I had corresponded with him while he was gone on a dare, and now I was going steady with him. It happened like this: In order to fill a certain cell in our Beehive work we had to write a letter to a missionary.. There were only two out from our little town, William Merrill and Melvin Busby. Lena Pederson, my cousin, and I were told to one write to one elder and the other to write to the other elder. Lena knew I disliked Melvin intensely and she wanted to make me write to him. We decided to put the names in a box and to draw for them. She did the writing and I did the drawing. Melvin's was the name I drew. I learned afterwards that his name was on both slips so I would be sure and get it.
At the farewell party given for him when he left for his mission, Melvin had teased me and tried to get me to promise to write to him and to dance the last set with him. I got madder every set he danced with me, and when he gave me a little marble telling me to keep it to remember him by I threw it away as far as I could. Lena knew all this and she was having lots of fun arranging it so I would have to write to him. Anyway, I wrote! I started with the family living farthest away (on Curtis Flat) and wrote something about each family clear down the line to the river. My idea was to make Melvin so disgusted that he wouldn't answer my letter. It was ten pages long, written on both sides. But instead of discouraging him he wrote back that he surely enjoyed it as it made it seem like he was almost home again and he learned things about his friends that his folks had never mentioned in the three months he had been gone. He begged me to write again and give him all the news as it brought all his friends so much closer to him.
I don't know why, but I wrote again and kept writing and before he came home I had completely lost my heart to him. I remember one of his letters after he had been gone about a year or so, he started it "Dearest Dear." Mama always read all the letters we girls received and by the time she got to the end of this one which was signed, "your loving sweetheart," she was good and mad. She sat down and wrote to Melvin and I guess she must have made it pretty strong from what he told me later. Anyway, he always started his letters after that with "Just Glad" and ended "as ever Mel."
A few weeks later I got a letter from a young man in Louisiana where Melvin was working, who said Elder Busby had given him my letter and asked him to answer it as he was busy. It made me so mad and hurt me so much that I sat right down and wrote Melvin telling him if he did not care to answer my letters himself I was not going to write again as I did not want everyone reading nor answering them for him. I never heard from Melvin again, but after he came home he told me that the young man had asked to read his letter from home and Melvin handed it to him not thinking there was anything in it that would hurt for him to read. He did not say anything after reading the letter but the next day Melvin missed it. Now he believes the boy took it from his room. Melvin said he was so mad to get the letter from me accusing him of something he knew nothing of that he never wrote again. Such is love!
When Melvin got home we started going together and continued to do so all winter while I was a junior in high school. I was still doing washings for Mrs. Clawson in exchange for violin lessons and the night I washed I would stay downtown all night with Aunt Hannah. She was my mother's oldest sister and I stayed with her an awful lot. All her family was either married or away to work and she got so lonesome that I stayed several weeks at a time with her. So I was right at home with her now. I asked her about having Melvin coming there to see me when I was with her and she said it was perfectly all right with her. I usually washed on Tuesday evenings which was Mutual night. Melvin would come get me and walk to Mutual with me and afterwards he would visit with me at Aunt Hannah's.
She always went to bed or else sat in the other room sewing and left us strictly to ourselves. She was always very understanding and I was able to talk to her about Melvin and our problems much easier than I could with my parents who objected very strongly to our plans to marry. In fact, they seemed to object to anyone I went with and seemed to think that there was no one good enough for their daughters. When Melvin came to see me on Friday's at home, dad would make me go to bed at 10 o'clock, but Aunt Hannah never said a word until eleven and then she'd remind me I had to go to school the next day.
When there was not a dance or party Friday evenings Melvin and I would either sit around the house or go walking. He did not have the money to buy gas for his father's car so most of the time he came to see me on a horse. One night while we were sitting on the front step, cans suddenly began to come flying around the corner of the house. At first we could not understand it, and then we heard dad speak to mamma and we knew that it was past time for Melvin to go. In other words, it was after ten.
I continued washing all winter, but Melvin and I made up our minds to marry soon. I lacked only a credit and a half in having enough to graduate at the end of my junior year, but as long as I couldn't make it we decided not to even wait for the end of that year to come, but marry right away. Dad and mother fought the idea of my marriage at all for at least another year. They argued that I should finish school and try to make use of some of the talents I seemed to possess. I had been an "A" student all through my three years of school and showed special gifts in art, music, and designing. They had planned for me to take higher work after high school, but when we finally made them understand that we intended to get married they consented if Melvin would take me to the temple to be married. That meant a trip to Utah as the Arizona Temple was not built at that time.
Melvin told his father of our plans and they made an agreement for Melvin to continue to help his dad on the ranch until April and then his dad was to supply the means for us to go to conference at Salt Lake City and be married then. It was a plan that suited us fine. Melvin could have gone to work with his team on the road and made enough for our trip, but his dad would have had to hire a man as well as another team if he had, therefore this plan was made.
I needed clothes as well as many other things if we were to marry soon. So I started to wash for Mrs. Mimion Christianson who lived quite near us. I wanted to quit school and get a steady job, but mamma said no. They seemed to think Melvin and I would split up before April and then I would regret having quit school, so I continued on with it. One day while washing for Sister Christianson, I put a wool shirt of her husband's in a tub of warm water to soak as it was all greasy and terribly dirty. He came by, and seeing the fire out under the tub (it was the boiling tub with the shirt was in), he built up a big one and went on. I didn't notice this and when I got ready for the shirt it was too late; it was completely ruined. The lye in the soap suds, when heated, had eaten up the wool and left the shirt hard and like a board. I got fired with ten dollars wages due me.. She charged me five dollars for the shirt and asked me to wait for the balance and I'm still waiting for it.
Then I went to work for Cynthia Curtis, but that didn't last either. Mr. Curtis was always coming around where I was cooking and putting salt or sugar into whatever was on the stove until one morning the cereal was double-salted. He blamed me for salting it after he had when I didn't even know he had salted it. It made me mad and when I got up from the table I stumbled over his outstretched legs. He called me lumber-legs. I did up the morning work and quit. I had five dollars due me and he asked me to take it in honey and as papa said he would pay me the value of the honey in cash, I said I would take it. When I got home and we opened the honey it was so black and strong we could not stand to eat it, so I didn't get anything out of that job either.
In the two years past I had done up lots of crocheting, tatting, and knit articles. Now I took them to Benson, Tombstone, and Bisbee and sold most of them for a pretty good price. I got together enough money to buy my first new coat. All others had been either hand-me-downs, or made-over ones. I wanted a new one for our trip to the temple so I got it the first thing. It cost only twelve dollars but I thought it was a lovely thing and was very proud of it. To go with it I got a pair of oxfords the same color. In school I made a serge suit-dress and a matching velvet hat, but my wardrobe was very small for a bride. Mamma tried to get us to postpone our marriage by telling Melvin that I didn't even own a nightgown, and that I couldn't make bread. He said he would make the bread until he could teach me (he never made any) and a day or so later he bought me a piece of blue cotton crepe and a fine piece of unbleached muslin and told me it was for a couple of nightgowns. I hid it from mamma because I knew she would not allow me to keep it if she knew about it and slyly I made the gowns.
This last year in school was a happy one. I was not only thrilled about my coming marriage, but in many ways had swell times. We three older girls sang trios and played at most school, church, and community parties. We also played in our local dance orchestra. In fact our family practically made up the orchestra. Thora played the cornet, Agnes the piano, myself the violin and a school boy the drums. Melvin says that was the trial of his life to come to see me and mamma making him sit and listen to we three play music. He grew to hate the violin and this fact eventually led to my giving it up for good.
I held the position of secretary in the Sunday School at this time and held it for several years after our marriage. We used to have lots of Sunday School parties and Melvin's dad was superintendent so we were always in on them. Melvin used to call me up every noon at his Uncle Lo's store, so I was always there at noon. Then many times he would meet me after school on his horse and I would ride home with him instead of on the bus. He used to plan hay rides and parties for the group and the winter passed very soon.
Our wedding day approached, April the first, and you can imagine the shock when Melvin's father told him that because of some bad luck he was unable to let Melvin have the three hundred dollars he had promised for our trip. He wanted us to postpone our marriage until fall, but Melvin would not give up. He asked his father if he would go on a note with us to borrow the money. He said he would if we could get it, but acted as though that would be impossible. We borrowed fifty dollars from J.N. Curtis for ninety days. Then Melvin borrowed seventy-five dollars from the Relief Society, fifty dollars from Uncle Will Campbell, and twenty-five dollars from Uncle Lo Wright. We gave ninety-day notes for all of these as we expected Melvin's share of the crops to pay them back easily.
I quit school the last of March, but I got my teachers to give me examinations on the full term's work so I could get credits on it. Mamma was expecting a new baby any day so our wedding was very quiet. We were married Saturday morning at 10:30 A.M. April 1st, 1922, in the old rock school house where I was living at the time, by Melvin's uncle, Bishop Wm. G. Goodman. Our immediate families were the only ones there. Melvin's father, his sister Margaret, and his brother John were not there. His father and brother had left the previous evening for California with a train load of Boquillas cattle.
I had made me a white organdy dress for our wedding, with rows and rows of tiny ruffles on the skirt. I had crocheted around each ruffle with white sewing silk and I was very proud of it, but mamma didn't want me to wear it for this wedding as she said the first time I wore it should be in the temple, so I was married in a light green Chambray dress, After the ceremony we had a very nice dinner mamma had prepared and then we left immediately for Benson to catch the train for Salt Lake City. Mamma had also prepared a nice big box of lunch for us to take so we could cut down on expenses on the train. We only had money enough for a chair car ticket.
Uncle Will told us when he had married us that a group of kids were going to waylay us on the road to Benson, and he advised us to leave extra early to avoid them as he realized that if we missed this train we would arrive in Salt Lake too late to go through the temple before it closed for conference and spring clean-up. We got to Benson o.k. and after seeing about our tickets we found that even with the conference rates we would only have only about seventeen dollars left for our trip. I had eight more dollars of my own. We walked out of the ticket office and ran into Uncle Lo Wright and he handed us a ten dollar bill for a wedding present which now brought our total cash to thirty-five dollars. Just as the train pulled in a car load of kids arrived to try and stop us. They had waited along the road for us until they at last realized that we had gone by early. We hurried aboard and just did miss them. We found on the train that Dell Plumb and his wife, Bertha, were also on their way to the temple. They had previously been married for about six months. We were glad to see them on the train.
We arrived in Colton, California the next morning about 6:00 A.M. and we found that because we didn't have pullman tickets we would have to lay over in Colton about twelve hours. It was Sunday and all the stores were closed so we walked down the street to see if we could find anything of interest. I saw my first orange tree and reached over the fence to pick one. It was in a private yard but I got a thrill out of it. We walked on until we came to a drug store. I thought I could get some souvenir postcards to send home so we went in. We had been walking around for quite a while and we were hungry. We had checked our lunch box at the depot so we went to a table in the rear of the store and sat down to eat some breakfast. Melvin took the pepper shaker and put it in his pocket for a keepsake.
When we had finished eating and were just leaving the store, we heard the soft strains of the hymn, "O, My Father," being sung as a duet. We asked the clerk where the music was coming from and he told us there was a stairway just outside the door of the store that led to a hall above where some kind of young men were holding some kind of service. We thanked him and left. We found the stairs and at the top entered a large hall. At the far end by a piano stood two young men singing. Of course we knew by now they were Mormon missionaries. We introduced ourselves as they came forward to meet us. One Elder Farnsworth and I think the other was named Condy. I remember Elder Farnsworth because I soon found out he was a cousin of the Farnsworth family I had known in Miramonte. They were glad to meet us and asked us to stay and help out in the small Sunday School and the services that followed. We were glad to stay, but first we went out and found Dell and Bertha and brought them back.
Melvin and Dell tended the sacrament and both spoke at the services. I led the singing and spoke too, but I was so scared I don't think I said much. Afterward, we were invited to the home of some of the saints there for lunch. Dell, Bertha, and Elder Condy went to one home and Elder Farnsworth, Melvin and myself went to another home. After lunch the other group came over and wanted us to take the bus to San Bernardino. We didn't have the money to spare, and we knew the Elder could not afford to take us, so we excused ourselves and they went on without us. We wandered around Colton until train time.
We traveled all night and all the next day and got into Salt Lake City about 8:00 P.M. Mamma had sent word on ahead to dad's brother, Paul, and he was at the depot when we got off the train. We had intended going to a hotel, go to the temple the next day, stay until our money ran out and use our return tickets home. But Uncle Paul would not hear of it. He said they had an extra room and Aunt Rachel was expecting us so we went home as he wanted us to do with him. Next day we went shopping. I used my own money for underwear and a few little things I needed.
Then, on April 5th, we went through and were married in the temple at the morning session. We were sealed by Apostle George F. Richards. He was then president of the temple.
I surely felt lost that morning and was scared to death. First, I left my purse on the desk where I had registered. Then, when I went back for it, it was gone. I inquired at the office and after certain identification I was finally given my purse. I had lost Bertha in the meantime. She had been on a mission so had been in the temple before and she had promised to go with me, but I couldn't find her. In the dressing room a kind old lady asked me if I was alone and I told her no, my husband was with me. She smiled and said she would take me to some friends who would help me along. I didn't know what it was all about, but she put me in a group with three ladies and two girls. The girls were cousins and their two mothers and the grandmother were with them. They were very nice to me and the grandmother took me in charge. I had been very proud of my wedding dress when I had made it, but when it was beside the beautiful satin gowns of the two girls, I was almost ashamed of it. It looked so cheap and tawdry. Both the girls had a bouquet of flowers (orange blossoms) from their husbands-to-be. They were very nice to me and seemed not to notice my clothes. The dressing rooms were so crowded that some of us dressed around the baptismal font. I hung my clothes on the horns of one of the oxen. The rooms were so crowded I didn't even get a glimpse of Bertha until just as we left for the sealing room. They were the next couple after us.
We attended the three days of conference and the missionary reunion of the Central States Mission. Most of Melvin's companions were present and we surely had a good time. It was fun for me to sit and watch Melvin and the joy that was his as he met each of his companions. They all treated us fine. I met Elders Wride (the tall one), Branch (the short one), Young, Bleau, President Lyman, Mission District President, and others whose names I don't remember.
On the second day of conference we went to Hotel Utah to see if we could see Melvin's Mission President, Samuel O. Bennion. The clerk told us he was not in at present so we sat down in the lobby to rest and wait for his return. Soon Melvin saw him pass the window with another man so he told me to wait there and he'd go catch him. He caught up and went right on past him and then President Bennion called out, "Hey there, you baseball player (refer to Melvin's history) wait a minute." He had remembered the incident in the mission field. Melvin was always glad to know that his President had remembered him. He told him his wife was waiting in the hotel to meet him so he came back to see me. He looked straight at me and it seemed like he could read my very thoughts. He said, "Do you love him?" I blushed and said of course I did or I wouldn't have married him. He smiled, took my hand, and told me to always love him, he was a good boy.
The next day we called upon Melvin's relatives, the Taylors, but we got a very cold reception. We were not even asked to take off our coats so needless to say, we didn't stay long.
The next day we went shopping again. Melvin bought me some pumps, the first ones I'd ever owned, some bedroom slippers, several strings of beads, and some powder, rouge and lipstick. Mother had never allowed me to use makeup of any kind so I didn;t have any. Melvin had always liked a little of it and was tickled to buy it for me.
When we finished shopping we went to look up dad's eldest brother, Herman. I had never seen him, but Uncle Paul gave me his address and papa had asked me to at least call on him. We found him at his automobile accessory store and he seemed very glad to see us. He looked so much like papa that I felt I had always known him. After talking to him a while, he called up his only child, Viola, and told her we were in town. She was nineteen years old. When he called, she asked to talk to me on the phone and she invited us out to the house. When I tried to make excuses, she, together with Uncle Herman, insistd that we come right out and have dinner with them that evening. Melvin and I were quite surprised as Uncle Herman was considered to be quite well off and we rather expected to be shunned as we had been by the Taylors. When we arrived at their house Viola met us at the door. She wore a light blue silk knit sweater, black silk skirt, silk hose and lovely satin house slippers. She said she had been washing her silk undies in the bathtub and hadn't had time to dress yet, and asked us to excuse her appearance. She was dressed much better that I was, but she didn't seem to be stuck up or putting on airs when she said it, but seemed to be very sincere.
Viola showed us their home while waiting for her mother to come down. It was lovely, but seemed a bit large for just three people to be living in. When Aunt Ora did come down she was dressed fit to kill, but like Viola, it seemed to be just an every day thing to them to dress that way. I couldn't help feeling quite conscious of my plain attire.
That afternoon a lady called in to see Aunt Ora and when Viola said she would like to introduce her cousins from Arizona, she looked at us like she expected some kind of freaks. She said, "Oh, I'm so charmed to meet you. Are you really from Arizona? It must be awful to live in such a place. I knew you were brother and sister the minute I
stepped in the room, you look so much alike. Weren't you afraid to travel up here all alone?" I felt like something out of a zoo the way she stared at us, but all of us got a good laugh out of it after she had gone, especially over the brother and sister part. When we had told her we were husband and wife, she threw up both hands and said, "How terrible." I don't know what she meant but we laughed anyway.
At dinner everything was brought in on separate plates and platters, but Melvin took them all and scraped the food on the largest platter and said he felt more at home that way as he could see where to find everything and keep track of it better. Aunt Ora burst into a peal of laughter, and she really could laugh, and Uncle Herman said that was the way he liked it too and then he put all of his food together on one dish. I was very embarrassed but this incident seemed to break the ice and we all enjoyed our dinner a lot.
Aunt Ora said she didn't know when Uncle Herman had eaten so heartily, and he answered saying that he didn't know when he had laughed more or enjoyed dinner so much. It was the maid's night off and she had been allowed to go home as the meal was served, so I helped Viola with the dishes while Melvin kept Uncle Herman and Aunt Ora constantly screaming with laughter in the other room. I never did find out what he said to them but it didn't matter as I could see he had won them over completely. They would not hear of our going back to uncle Paul's that night, but insisted that we stay with them. They said that the next day Melvin must go get our things and we must stay with them a while before going home, but we had already planned to go to Ogden the next day to visit dad's other brother, Louis. We did agree to stay that night though. When we were shown our room a little later, there on the bed was one of Viola's nice silk gowns and a robe with lovely matching pair of slippers on the floor. On the dressing table were comb, brush, a new powder puff, and a box of powder, guest size, with creams of all kinds. On the back of the chair was a pair of Uncle Herman's pajamas. Melvin wouldn't wear them; he said he has never worn pajamas or a night shirt, but he put them in bed with us to wrinkle them so they'd look like they had been worn.
The next day when we returned to Uncle Paul's there was a card from mamma telling me of the birth of a new sister, April 3rd, named Ouida May. That afternoon we took the electric train to Ogden. Uncle Louis and his wife, Beth, treated us as nice as Uncle Paul's and Uncle Herman's families had. They only had a small home but we were made to feel that we were almost one of the family. We stayed about five days. The boys, Grant and Roy, the same ages as Thora and myself, showed us all over the town. They took us to a show and to their church party. When we left, Aunt Beth gave us apples, pickles, jam, and boiled ham to put in our lunch box for on the way home. When we got to the Ogden depot Uncle Louis was there ahead of us and already had our tickets bought.
We got into Salt Lake about noon, went to Uncle Paul's and packed our things to leave for home. They tried to get us to stay longer, at least the rest of the week and when Paul got off work that Saturday they would show us the town. But now that we had begun to think about going home, suddenly we could not get there fast enough. We had been gone three weeks and when we left home we had only expected to be gone a week at the most. We left that evening about six o'clock.
We had spent three weeks having a lovely time and had visited many interesting places, Liberty Park, Utah State Capitol Building , the Temple, the Church Information Bureau, and all things on the temple block. We had seen the Old Salt Lake Theatre, the Bee-Hive House, the Lion House, the Church Offices, and many more things of interest. We had spent Easter morning in Salt Lake City with eleven inches of snow on the ground, that in itself was something for us to see.
On the way home Melvin remembered the pepper shaker he had taken at the drug store in Colton on our way up. He fished it out of his bag to empty the pepper out. We opened a window to shake it out and about four or five seats behind us a man had his window open too. Soon he began to sneeze and sneeze. We were dying with laughing and had to hide our faces to keep him from seeing us. The funniest thing about it was that the porter or no one on the car could figure out what started the sneezing. It spread to several others near him who seemed to have gotten a whiff of the pepper too..
On the way home we were lucky in passing through the country in the daytime that we had passed through at night going up. It was very interesting to me, but it seemed like all Melvin did was sleep day and night. When he wasn't sleeping, he was eating from the lunch box. I don't know what we would have done without it; thanks to Aunt Beth and Aunt Rachel.
We reached Benson, Arizona about 4:00 A.M. and we slept on the bench in the waiting room until we knew Melvin's folks would be up. Then he phoned them to come and get us. We reached home with twenty cents in our pockets to start housekeeping and a debt of about two hundred and fifty dollars hanging over our heads for our trip. But the sky looked clear to us because Melvin had worked hard on the farm all winter and we expected his share to more than clear our debt. We got home just in time for harvest to start and all kinds of work had seemed to pile up for Melvin to do. We stayed the first two days after getting back with dad and mother and told them all about our trip. I was thrilled over everything we had seen and done so I guess I must have talked them to death, but mamma seemed to enjoy it and never stopped asking questions. She seemed awfully happy to have us back and I was tickled over the little new sister.
Before I go on with the story of our life together, I want to write something of Melvin's boyhood days. He is not a hand to talk much of himself, so the following facts about him have been gleaned from what he has said during our past life together and what facts I have been able to get together from his mother. She, like Melvin, does not have much to say, so his story is rather skimpy in places. I hope that some day the things I have written about him may be supplanted with other stories of his life for I know his experiences were many and varied. Perhaps some day he will tell more to one of his children or grandchildren than I have been able to find.
George Melvin Busby was born April 9th, 1900, at St. David, Cochise County, Arizona. His parents were living at the time in a house and lot given them by Aunt Hannah's (Miller) old house and the present time is owned by DeMar Merrill. The house has long since burned down and a new one has been built there. His father is Abraham John Busby who was born January 16th, 1877, in Randolph, Rich County, Utah. He is the son of John James Busby and Rosannah Taylor. His mother is Clara Grove Goodman. She was born 8 February 1877, in Minersville, Utah. She is the daughter of William Nicholas Goodman and Margaret Ann Taylor. The two grandmother's names were both Taylor, but as far as we know, their lines have no connection.
Grandfather Goodman was a carpenter, or wood carver, or cabinet maker; he was called all three. He died shortly after coming to Arizona, leaving Grandmother Goodman with a large family to support. She kept a store and post office and provided well for her family. Melvin's mother was the eldest girl in this family and was often kept from school to help her mother with the work. Melvin's parents had nine children. Melvin was next to the eldest of them, having an older sister, Margaret. He was blessed by Peter A. Lofgreen, my grandfather, June 3rd, at St. David.
His mother says Melvin was a very cranky baby when he was small, but a good natured child as he grew older. His skin was so fair and tender that whenever he had to be taken outside, she had to put a heavy veil over his face to keep it from blistering. His hair was curly and nearly red, but it turned a light brown as he grew older. While he was yet a baby, the family moved up into the Huachuca Mountains where his father worked in a saw mill. Two more girls were born into the home, Rose and Amy.
His parents then made a trip to Salt Lake City to have their endowments in the temple there. They had been sealed by an Apostle, John Henry Smith, on one of his trips through Arizona. This practice was later discontinued as adequate records were not being kept. They went to Utah by train taking the four children with them. They stayed at the home of Joseph Taylor, an uncle to Melvin's mother. He owned and operated a mortuary and funeral home in the city. Either Melvin has heard so much about it or else he faintly recalls incidents that happened while there, because he says it seems like he can still see in his mind some of the most impressive things. He has a vivid memory of a room with dead people in it, seeming to stand along the wall. He recalls his Uncle Joseph, his father, and himself riding in the night in a buggy to bring back some dead man. Melvin has always had a funny feeling about being around the dead, and he wonders if it could not be traced to these experiences. He also remembers the train ride and the big house in the city.
When the family returned from Utah they traded the house and lot in which Melvin was born for the farm home down next to the San Pedro River. This became their permanent home and is still owned by his father (1940). By this time Melvin was old enough to be put to work doing many tasks around the farm. He always had to work very hard for a boy. His mother told me that it seemed to her that Melvin was always expected to work alongside men doing a man's work from the day he was eight years old, if not before.
Melvin was baptized on the 9th of April, 1908, by Levi Nelson. He was confirmed in the same month, also by Brother Nelson. He was baptized in the small dirt pond on their former home where he was born. This is the same pond in which I was later baptized. His father was called to a mission to the Southern States and was away at the time of his baptism.
After his father had been gone a few months another son was born in the family, called John William. Melvin's mother's brother, Uncle Bert, was staying on the farm while his dad was on his mission. He managed the farm and managed the affairs until his return. Melvin had to go do the milking before and after school, and whenever he was needed to help with other work he was kept out of school to do so. He says he can remember some good times with Uncle Bert and can also remember the tormenting he had to take and the many whippings. Melvin was very mischievious and was constantly keeping all around him in hot water from his pranks. Sometimes he was punished severely for these. One time he was teasing his sister, Margaret, and when she took the frying pan after him he took the big butcher knife after her and chased her in the field to where her mother was working. Margaret used to goad him on until she made him so mad he lost control of himself and then she would run to mother. He says he doesn't know whether he would have struck her with the knife or not, but he probably would if he had caught her.
Melvin worked extra hard while his father was gone. He irrigated, plowed, raked hay, hauled and helped bale hay, cultivated, and harrowed, as well as planting and doing his regular morning and evening chores. He says he didn't mind working at day but he certainly hated to irrigate at night, especially the lower field. He said if he could have even a dog or a horse with him he did not mind it so much, but he surely was nervous when he was all alone.
Melvin palled around with the neighbor boy, William "Bill" Merrill. They walked to and from school together, but were always fighting. Bill was a great big tall fellow and Melvin was always short and small for his age. Bill always licked Melvin and this happened so often that Melvin's one ambition was to lick Bill. As he grew older and developed in the art of rough and tumble fighting, the miracle happened, he licked Bill one day. That ended all fights and they have been very fast and loyal friends ever since, even all through their younger days. They were both sent on a mission together, to the same mission, as they became older.
Melvin always hated Sunday School and church. One reason was because he had to wear knee pants. He always said if he could have worn his overalls he would not have minded going. But his mother made him go anyway, as much as she could, but he says he always sneaked out during the class period. He never attended Primary because he had to hurry home from school, walking one mile, to work on the farm. He says if he was not home as soon as he should have been he got whipped. As he grew older he was kept out of school much of the time and only finished the seventh grade.
Melvin was ordained a deacon by his Uncle William G. Goodman, the Bishop who married us. He was ordained June 8th, 1913. By this time Melvin had grown very bashful. He says many times he spent Sunday afternoon down in the shed by the barn rather than face Margaret's girl friends at the house. His mother says he never talked about what went on at school or about anything he did at any time. He still does not like to talk much, sometimes he acts like it is really painful to speak. But he certainly recovered entirely from being bashful. If he ever takes a trip or does anything out of the ordinary, the only way we can get the story is just a piece at a time as days pass and he happens to mention some little thing that happened or that he may have seen. He drops things here and there until finally we can put together the experience. It doesn't do any good to question him as we never find out anything that way.
While a boy, Melvin had the usual children's diseases as mumps, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and small pox. He was very sick with the the latter although very few scars remain from this disease. He was also very ill with typhoid fever, nearly dying with it. His mother says it was only the goodness of God through their faith and prayers that allowed him to live. His fever was so high that his tongue cracked and is still criss-crossed with small cracks as a result. At another time when he was small he fell against a red-hot heating stove burning the side of his face and both hands severely. His mother rubbed the scars with olive oil and in a year or so all traces of the burns were gone. At another time he fell on his head and was unconscious for hours.
At one time a herd of goats went through the valley. Many were too weak to go on and dropped by the way. The owner of the herd watered them in the irrigation ditch by the farm and told Melvin he could follow along a way and pick up the fallen ones. He was very proud of his goats and had built them up to about twenty-five head when one day his father sold them. Melvin never saw any of the money from the sale. At another time he was given some bees. He tried to take some honey from the hive one day and, not having the proper equipment, was stung very badly. He went to his father crying and said, "I guess I'm too young to have bees, you can have them."
About this time, Melvin got his knee and leg very badly injured. It happened on either the Fourth of July or the Twenty-Fourth of July celebration. At that time H.O. Post carried the mail from the old station of St. David to the post office in the little town of St. David. He had just bought one of the very first cars to come to town and was carrying the mail with it. Melvin was riding a skittish horse from town as Mr. Post was coming into town with the mail. He had been racing the horse and it was a trifle nervous. All it needed to completely upset it was the sound and sight of the car coming towards it. Anyway, they crashed together. Melvin's knee was seriously injured and his entire leg was cut and badly bruised. He tells now, and laugh about it, that Mr. Post was not one bit anxious or sorry about his injury but was sure stirred up over the bruises to his car.
Shortly after this incident, Melvin's father decided to try the dairy business. He made a deal for some dairy cows located beyond Bisbee. Melvin went with them to aid in driving them home as trucking cattle was unheard of at that time.. There were about four of them to do the driving. When they reached the city of Bisbee there was no way around nor through except right down the main street. It was hard work to get the cows started, but was very funny as well. The old cows would run snorting at their images in the store windows, and one or two of them even went inside the stores. You can imagine the laughs and the confusion that resulted. It took them several days but they did arrive home without any serious trouble. Melvin had to milk his share of the cows every night and morning as well as continuing to go to school. He says he remembers how he had to get up so very early to do this, hot or cold, wet or dry, rain or shine, it had to be done. He has hated to milk ever since. He says it seems like he nover got any sleep at all.
Melvin's father homesteaded on a section of land in the Whetstone Mountains, west of St. David about seven miles. This was about the year 1917. He had just lost his barn with all his hay and grain in it by fire, and the baby son of the family had died that summer while the family was living at a road camp where father and sons had contracted some road building, near the town of Douglas. Now, father Busby was trying to get ahead again by homesteading and running a few cattle on the land. He also started into the bee business more extensively. It was very hard at first and meant lots of work for all the family. They had to ride all the way back and forth on horseback or in a wagon. Melvin was usually forced to ride a burrow, one of the kind that requires pushing all the way from home and then runs like the blazes all the way when coming back. My family was living in the Farrow place then, next to the Busby farm, and I remember seeing Melvin come as he came whooping and yelling from the ranch, swinging his hat over his head and kicking the already-running burrow. I'll always remember him this way and even though he constantly teased and tormented me, and in spite of the fact that I usually tried to avoid him, I never could resist running out in the yard to look whenever I heard his whoops. Somehow it always seemed to fascinate me.
Besides the ranch in the mountains, father Busby continued to farm his little place and, at certain times of the year, to do more road building and contract jobs. Melvin helped with all this and never had much time for pleasures or other interests aside from work. He drove freight wagons with four and six horses and many times drove with just a jerk line. He followed scrapers on the irrigation ditch and dam, drove freznos on the road jobs or anything else that a man would ordinarily do. His mother says many times he would be so all in and tired at night he wouldn't eat any supper at all or many times he wouldn't even undress, but would throw himself on his bed and never move until aroused at dawn to begin all over again. As he grew older, his father promised him that if he would go to the age of twenty and not take up smoking cigarettes he would give him his best team on his twentieth birthday. He always remembered this and when Melvin's twentieth birthday arrived, even though he was on a mission, his father wrote him that the team was his and was ready for him when he came home. Both horses were his best, two mares called Roxie and May, well worth $500.
About 1918 Melvin worked around until he got a saddle horse and saddle. Then in 1920 he was called on a mission to the Central States. He was ordained an Elder on the 9th of March 1920, by Peter A. Lofgreen and was also given a patriarchal blessing by him. His mother bought him a brown suit with yellow stripes in it, quite loud for a missionary but the best she was able get around there. He left for his mission March 13th. He was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple on the 17th. William Merrill, his old boyhood chum left at the same time and for the same place, so they traveled together. At this time the elders were not trained at the mission home in Salt Lake City, but were sent direct into the field without any training other than what they received at home, also traveling almost entirely without money. Melvin was sent to work in the state of Louisiana under Mission President Samuel O. Bennion. Although Bill and Melvin had both gone out at the same time they were not allowed to remain together after reaching the mission field. However, they were allowed to spend their first Christmas together.
Before leaving for his mission, Melvin had been keeping company with a girl by the name of Stella Parker. She was Catholic and her folks had strongly opposed this courtship. Not knowing that Melvin was to leave soon for a mission, they sent her to a convent in Arkansas. While Melvin was on his mission he had the opportunity to go see her, but he says somehow, he did not care to go. A few months later she married a boy in Arkansas,
At the first District Conference in the mission field, he was standing in the corner with a group of elders and he started jigging a few steps. His president immediately called him down and also bawled him out for the spectacular suit he was wearing, calling him a baseball player and telling him to have another suit before another conference. He had lots to learn, but he learned it well. Although he says he never went without any meals while on his mission, he admits that some of them were a whole day and two days apart. Many nights he and his companion slept out under the trees, and many miles he walked in the soft dirt barefooted to save his shoes, or waded all day up to his waist in the swamps trying to get to the place to which they had been sent. But the Lord blessed him with health to do this and gave him a desire to do his work well, giving him a firm testimony of its truth.
He and his companion were told to go into a parish where the last elders sent there had been run out on a rail. The few saints around them begged them not to go in the district, but Melvin (being the senior elder) said the Lord had called them and their orders were to go, and so they did. They entered the parish and were very successful in the work there.
One of Melvin's missionary companions was Elder Seymour Dillworth Young, from Ogden, now a scout executive there and a grandson of Brigham Young. At a visit to his house several years after our marriage, he told me that he never knew real missionary work until he was given Melvin for a companion. He said he never walked so far or did more work then while he was with him. Other companions were N.O. Yancy, Boyd Rogers of Mesa, Elders Wride, Branch, and District Presidents Lyman and Blau.
Melvin remained in the mission field about fifteen months when he received a letter from his father saying they couldn't keep him out there any longer without mortgaging their home. They had lost all they had when the bank in Tombstone went broke. Melvin sent the letter to his mission president and was immediately released to go home. He reached home on the 16th of June, 1921. Upon his arrival home, he found he was just in time to get in on all the harvest work on the farm. While he was away, his parents had rented the old Sam Curtis place (then owned by Boquillas Land and Cattle Company) and they were living there on his return.
They had put almost the entire farm into grain so Melvin got the job of binding it. He was given his team, Roxie and May, and used them on the binder. As soon as he got home he started taking different girls out. He had dated several girls before he started taking me out. I felt rather second choice at first. Then we went together almost a year. We did most of our courting horseback. He'd meet me after school and I'd ride home with him on the horse. I always called him up at noon from his uncle's store, and his mother told me since that it was almost impossible to get him to work one minute past twelve for fear he would miss my call. He never had any money to spend on me, just barely enough to get dance tickets and refreshments at our church and school parties.
The Christmas before we were married he gave me a comb and a box of candy, and that was a twenty-five cent one. But we had lots of other things to enjoy that the young folks now seem to have lost, hay-rack rides, honey candy pulls, corn roasts, and chicken fries. Father Busby owned an old Dodge car which had a very peculiar jerk horn attachment. When there was gas in it, Melvin would come to see me in the car and would start jerking the whistle a mile or more before he reached the place. I always knew whenever we were going to go anywhere in the car that we would have Rose and Amy and my sisters, Thora and Agnes, with us. When we heard the horn, we grabbed coats and got ready to run because Melvin was always in a hurry when going any place; in fact, he still is, leaves and returns with a rush.
Just before we were married Melvin planned a hay-rack ride and an overnight camping trip to his father's ranch in the mountains. There were about twenty young folks on the wagon, including the principal of the high school, Fish Smith, and a couple of lady teachers. Besides there were several boys on horse-back. We left after school Friday evening and arrived at the windmill above the ranch house about dark. We camped on the grass flats here and prepared our supper. After supper we sat around the fire and told tales and jokes until about midnight. The boys had told us that they were not going to let us sleep but were going to make us sit up all night, but about midnight the girls thought it was time to retire. We had no more that got to bed (with our clothes on, but no shoes) when the boys came and dragged our beds with us in them all around the grass until the quilts were so full of slivers we coundn't sleep in them even if we had wanted to do so. About two in the morning Rose, Amy, Lucille Goodman and my cousin, Lena, went down to the ranch house and went to bed. Melvin took me down and gave me his cot at the ranch. He stayed up all night with the rest of the boys. The next morning we girls at the house cooked biscuits for the gang while they prepared the rest of the breakfast over the campfire. We all hiked all day and came home late that night, a very tired but very jolly group.
One day when Melvin and Floyd Curtis were going from the ranch to town in a wagon, Melvin was showing off and jigging in the wagon when his foot slipped and caught in one of the wheels turning his ankle very badly. When they reached our place it was hurting so bad that they stopped. Mamma made him soak it in hot water and then she bandaged it up tightly for him. He stayed at our place while Floyd went on to town. The next day was Sunday and it was also conference. Melvin had to go around all day leaning on my shoulder and, to top it all, one of his mission district presidents, President Blau, showed up with Bill Merrill. They sure teased us all day saying Melvin had done it on purpose for my sympathy and to get to put his arm around me in the daylight.
Another time, Melvin was pulling stumps with his team and got kicked on the forehead just inside the hairline. It knocked him unconscious for a while and he still carries a small scar.
We went together all through the winter. When we had definitely decided we were going to get married Melvin was going to go on the road camp to work to get money to go to the temple in the spring as that was the only way dad would let us marry. But Melvin's father asked him not to go off to work but to stay and help him on the ranch that winter and share the crops to get money for our trip. He worked hard all that winter, but when our wedding date arrived there was no money. His father tried to get us to postpone it and my parents would not allow us to marry out of the temple so we borrowed the money to go on. We were married on the first day of April, 1922, in my home (the old rock school house) by his uncle, Bishop Wm. G. Goodman. . . . . . .Now to continue our story together. . . . . . .
For the first few weeks of our married life we lived with Melvin's folks on the Boquillas Ranch where we were farming. Then we cleaned out an old tin room that had been used for a hay shed and moved in it. It had an old plank floor in it and we added a single window. Grandma Lofgreen had given us a three-quarter bedstead, springs and mattress. Mother Busby gave us two pillows and a heavy overall quilt. Aunt Lizzie Merrill gave us an old stool and an old burnt-out stove. We hunted up an old chair and Melvin made a table; then with the addition of a stand of old boxes and a few added shelves in a corner we started housekeeping. We were as happy as though we were living in a mansion and at least we were by ourselves and I could run the house in my own way. I was very proud of our "flat," adding some four sack curtains made from some dishtowels I had in my hope chest. I put out my pretty lace-edged towels and embroidery work and the two lovely quilts mamma and I had made before my wedding and the white bedspread my parents gave me. The stove smoked and wouldn't bake. The first light bread I made was so nice and light in the pans, but it sat in the oven two hours and still wasn't baked. It was so heavy and soggy when we tried to eat it for supper that Melvin took a loaf and threw it against the ceiling and it mashed flat. I cried, of course, and just about thought mamma had told the truth when she told him that I didn't ever know how to bake bread. After that incident I used mother Busby's stove for baking and had fair results.
One day a horse they were trying to shoe got excited and broke away. He ran against the corner of our house and knocked the stove pipe down together with most of the dishes sitting on the shelves. I cried over that too but Melvin just laughed my tears away. That has been a typical thing in our life together, I cry when things go wrong and he laughs my worry away. I can look back now and be so thankful that he has been able to make things look sunny when I thought they were dark.
At our wedding shower we received mostly dishes, but mother and dad gave us four sheets and a white bedspread. Aunt Violet Scranton gave us a pair of cotton blankets. Melvin had two knives, forks, spoons and one tablespoon of silver that had belonged to each of his grandmothers (one set of each) so we were able to eat without using our fingers, but we had to divide them up when anyone came to see us.
The second weekend we were back from our honeymoon we were spending with dad and mother. We heard that the gang was coming to shivaree us so we didn't say a word to anybody, but quietly got our coats and slipped out the back door. We ran down the road to a sand wash and hid under a low, bushy mesquite tree. The entire group of young people came along in Plumb's school bus. We watched them stop the bus a little distance from dad's home and they got out and sneaked afoot to the house. Melvin and I left the tree and got in the bus and watched the proceedings from there. The gang searched the house, the yard, the wash behind the house, and accused the folks of hiding us. But the family didn't know where we were any more than the young folks did. When we saw them begin to gather we figured they were going to leave so we left the bus and went back under the tree. Several times during the hunt they had looked under that very tree. for us so we knew we were safe there now. When they had driven away and enough time had passed that we felt sure they would not return that night we returned to the house.
A few days later they came up to the ranch to get us. It was about nine o'clock. We were in bed asleep. Melvin had irrigated all the night and day before, and I had sat up with him. We were so tired that we didn't even hear the car drive up, but Melvin's dad wouldn't let them wake us up as he knew Melvin had to irrigate again the next night (we usually had the water for four days), so he told them to come another time. The next week we gave a dance and party so they were satisfied not to chase us anymore.
That summer we had the young folks to the ranch many times for green corn roasts, chicken fries, or honey candy pulls. We had lots of fun all summer and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
All was not fun, however. I worked hard as well as Melvin. I canned all the fruit and vegetables I could, helped mother Busby cook for the farm help, peddled green corn, eggs, etc., in Tombstone and Benson to get money for our groceries; and then, whenever I could I went out in the fields with Melvin. I would sit under a tree and crochet or sew, or sometimes I would ride around the field on the plow, rake, or whatever Melvin was using at the time. I had been quite ill with the flue just before our marriage, being out of bed only a few days, so I was not very strong. I weighed 104 pounds at that time. The work began to tell on me and I got very thin and worried. I was also very nervous and tired all the time. Melvin was working extremely hard and was tired and worn out all the time and my constant illness made it worse for him. As a result of everything put together, Melvin and his father had a quarrel and we packed our belongings and left the ranch. Melvin had an old Ford he had worked and traded for so we packed our things on it and just as we were ready to pull out his mother came out and handed him $5.00. I guess that was all she had and it was also all we had. We never received any other compensation for all Melvin's work in the winter past or the three months we had worked since our marriage.
After leaving the ranch we drove to dad's and left most of our things there. Then we left for Bisbee. Melvin's sister Margaret, and her husband lived there and he got Melvin a job at the mines the very next day. We stayed with them the first week and then Melvin was paid a little and we moved into a small house just a way down the canyon from Margaret. All our loans for our trip to Salt Lake City were now due and we got them all renewed for sixty days. Every pay-day we put away $25.00 toward paying them off. Melvin hated the mines. He said he felt like he was smothered when down in them, but there was nothing else we could do at that time. One day a large rock fell right in front of him killing his partner and grazing his forehead above the eye. He hated them more than ever after that happened.
While in Bisbee, my cousin, Nettie Miller, and our mutual friend, Cleo Judd, came to stay a week with us. Horace Christianson, a St. David boy, came to our place a lot. He used to buy the gas for the old Ford and we'd (Melvin, Horace and I) drive to St. David nearly every Saturday night and stay over Sunday. When I think how we drove over the old divide (not a wide modern highway as now), I can't help but shudder. We never had car lights. They would burn out as soon as we'd get them fixed, and many times it would be black night before we hit the canyon road. There was no highway patrol then as now. Had that been the case we would have to stay home.
There were two missionaries in Bisbee while we were there and they got into an argument with the Elder of the Reorganized Church. Elder Condy, one of the missionaries, asked Melvin to help him in a debate or meeting they had arranged. It was in answer to a challenge by the Reorganite elder. They were to hold it at the home of Melvin's cousin, Bill Campbell. Grace, his wife, was undecided as to whether or not to join the Reorganized Church. The elder of that church got so bothered and so tied up that he got mad and left the house. Grace didn't join his church.
I had lots of time on my hands in Bisbee, so I did lots of tatting, crocheting and embroidery. I had no trouble in selling it and I got orders ahead for work for Christmas. This came in very handy later on that coming winter. We stayed in Bisbee until fall and then Melvin's father sent us word that he was moving from the Boquillas farm and if we wanted to sign a contract with him we could move there for the coming year. Because Melvin hated the mines so much he was glad to do this, so once more we were back on the farm.
We had saved most of our wages in Bisbee and we worked hard that fall and were able to pay off our loans for our trip except the one to the Relief Society. They extended our time until the next spring. We cut cord wood to pay off Uncle Lo Wright and Uncle Will Campbell. We took what we needed of our savings to pay off Dode (Jos. N.) Curtis. The rest of it we used for seed, food, and clothing. All that winter we cut wood and sold it in Tombstone, Fairbanks, or Benson, or anyplace we could and then with the orders for crocheting I had received in Bisbee we were able to get enough money to keep going, Then I made butter and sold it and sold eggs too. We were too poor to run our old Ford so it was set under a tree and we drove "Roxie," Melvin's mare, in a single buggy. We used to go to St. David, seven miles down the river, for dances and always went there for Sunday services.
Melvin was put in as President of the Young Men's M.I.A. (which position he held for several years) and even though it took him about an hour to get to town we seldom missed a meeting or any social activity. He worked hard in this organization and his first counselor, James A. Miller, was an excellent helper. Melvin was president when regular Mutual meeting was changed from Sunday evening to Tuesday evening in order that the Church could work in a greater activity program in the weekly meetings. They had quite a struggle to get the people to change from Sunday to the week night. They were in the habit of going on Sunday and it seemed they could not make up their minds to change. Then, too, they all worked hard on their farms during the day and it was not easy to come in and clean up and then have to go to meeting, but Melvin and Jim stuck it out and finally won.
The young folks gathered at our place many times during that winter, and in spite of hard work we had lots of fun, Our three room adobe house was in a small clearing and was surrounded with a dense growth of mesquite bushes and trees. We used to build a fire in the clearing and the group played games, made honey candy, or had something to roast on the coals. We also went to all their parties in town and had a real swell time.
Our house was only a little way from the old railroad and many tramps (they followed the rails then instead of the highway) came up the wash from the tracks to our place to bum a meal. Many times I have looked up from my work to see a tramp with his face pressed against the screen door. I always kept it locked, but I was afraid to stay at the house alone so I went in the fields with Melvin as much as I could. He got me an automatic and when I was alone I always kept it near where I was working. I learned how to shoot it, too; as well as a shot gun and a 22 rifle. Many times out in the fields I shot rabbits, and several times picked off hawks, on the wing, that were after my chickens. Whenever Melvin had to irrigate at night, I sat up with him or else had one of my sisters come stay with me. So passes the winter of 1922 and 23,
Melvin had to do some ditch work in the spring. It was not new to him as he had worked ditch many times for his father. Only, when a boy, he and the other boys used to steal apples and chickens from the nearby farms and have a little fun in their work. One night they were getting chickens from the Curtis ranch and one of the boys got locked in the coop. But the ditch work Melvin did this spring he sold to other farmers to get money to keep us going until harvest. Prospects looked fairly good for us at this time.
I had set an incubator and had several hundred young chicks and about 150 young turkeys. Then the crops looked fine too. The wheat and barley fields were getting right along and we had the ground all ready for early corn. Melvin's brother, John, stayed with us most of the time to do chores and to help all he could. He rode to school on the bus and worked in the mornings and evenings. On Saturdays Melvin's dad and the two little boys, Dorrity and Vern, came up to help. When at last our wheat was all bound and shocked up in the fields waiting for the thresher to get around to us, and our beans and corn were all planted, a big flood came in the night and washed away nearly all of it into the river. If it had been threshed it would have filled about three hundred sacks. Besides this loss, nearly all my chickens were drowned.
The rain came in the night and as it had never been known to flood in this place before we did not expect such a thing and even slept through all of it. The flood had raced around the ranch house and had left its water marks up on the walls. On arising in the morning all about us was ruin. Lucky for us the house was built about two or three feet from the ground or the water would have come through it. We found chickens and turkeys everywhere half buried in the mud, some few isolated in the tree tops clear away from their pen. One old hen on the small rise in the ground was buried up to her breast in mud, one little chick on her back peeping loudly and afraid to get down. I had been crying over our loss, but I had to laugh at the old hen and her baby. We went through the fields salvaging what grain we could. That which was on ground too high to wash completely away was all full of mud. If it could be threshed at all it would barely pay the cost of harvesting it. Another year gone on the same old farm and not a thing to show for all our work, things surely looked rather black to us. We decided then and there not to try and farm this particular place another year.
Melvin's sister, Margaret, had a lot in the town of St. David, located about where Goodman's store now stands. She told us we could put up a tent on it if we wanted to. Melvin had fenced it for her before we were married and for pay she had given him a ring with a single pearl in it. It later became an engagement ring. Now, we boarded up our tent and moved into town. We were comfortable if somewhat crowded. We had the sides boarded up, a floor in it, two windows, a wardrobe built in one corner, and a good door. It was sixteen foot square, the walls seven feet high, and with a linoleum on the floor and curtains on the windows we were very cozy. My parents were living on the old John S. Merrill farm. Dad was teaching school so he gave Melvin the chance to farm the place on shares, dad to receive one third of the crop and Melvin to pay all of the expenses.
At this time I was put in as first counselor in the Primary and Melvin was still working in the Mutual Association. That fall the M.I.A. was giving an old folks party and supper. The meal was being prepared in the old Relief Society building across from the church where the Hartsfield home now stands. Melvin, Jim Miller and his wife, mamma and I did most of the cooking. The young ladies had never favored the supper so they were not helping the men to prepare it. They had said the men could not put it over without them and so they were more determined than ever to put it across. We had everything ready and the tables all set when Melvin happened to go outside and discovered the entire kitchen roof ablaze. It was too late to try to put it out so we got what food out we could and got most of the dishes out. I had used my linen cloth, my glasses, and what nice dishes I had on the table right in the back. It was the only table we didn't get the things from before the roof fell in. I've never had any linen cloths or complete sets of dishes since.
Now, the young ladies president actually seemed happy over the turn things had taken. She said that she guessed now they would be glad to call off the supper. This made Melvin and Jim so mad that they took inventory and found there was enough food saved that with a few loaves of bread, a few cans of peas, the supper could go on anyway. We fixed more tables on planks in the church hall, and even though the hour was a little late, the supper was served and was a complete success.
Melvin and I had been married nearly two years now and we were very disappointed because we had not been able to have a family. I went to see Dr. J.N. Mortenson and for four months took treatments from him in an effort to have a baby. I was just about to give up when to our great joy we discovered that the Lord had answered our prayers and we were to be blessed with a little one. I was quite ill for a while and was released from the Primary and from the position of Sunday School secretary, a position I had held for several years.
The winter passed quickly and after the first four months I was extremely well, and even though we had a hard time making ends meet, we managed somehow. The following summer our crops did fairly well. As we were expecting our baby the last of July, mamma wanted us to move in with them so she could care for me. We did this and there was a month of waiting. I was very miserable as the time wore on and it was not until the 14th of August, 1924 that our first child arrived, a girl.
She was born on a Thursday about 2:00 P.M. She was an instrument baby and her head was very badly misshapen and seemed to be injured, so we had her blessed at home, and given the name of Fae. Mother would rub her head with olive oil and through the goodness of the Lord it took a normal shape and the baby and I got along fine. We stayed with my folks until Fae was three weeks old and then moved back to our own little place. Jim Miller got Melvin a job at the Apache Powder Plant and things went nicely for us. I know no one was ever happier than we were.
In the following September, when Fae was a year old, I decided to go back to school and try to get my high school diploma. Melvin was still working at the powder plant and I had all day to myself. Dad had bought Grandpa Lofgreen's old place, right across from the high school, and mother had the post office there. Fae was their only grandchild and they begged me to leave her with them when I went to school. I only needed one and one-half credits to graduate. I had quite a time getting all my records together and had to take several examinations in order to get credit for my last year's work in school before I was married, but finally I got things straightened out and started. I took orchestra in the first period in the morning just to keep up on my violin, and then followed physics, sociology and music harmony. I was through and home by noon. Things went along nicely until the first of the year. Then I started having terrible pains in my left side. Sometimes I could hardly keep going but I was determined not to quit school.
Then on January 29, 1926, as I came home from school at noon, I was met by a man from the powder plant who told me that Melvin had fallen from a painting scaffold at his work and to come quick. He took me to where Melvin was and I found him in great pain. Jim Miller met me and took me in to Melvin. He had fallen about thirty-five feet and had landed sitting down. The fall seemed to have paralyzed him from the waste down. The plant doctor from Benson was there and he thought that most likely the spine was also injured severely. An ambulance had been called from Bisbee and the other two men who had fallen, James Curtis and Johnny Scott, with Melvin, were rushed on their way to the Calumet and Arizona Hospital in Bisbee.
Jim took me home and I pack a few things for the baby and myself and then he took us on to Bisbee in his car. I never will forget how Jim was to me then and later too. I went directly to the hospital, but they told me they wouldn't know anything definite until next morning. Melvin was asleep then under the influence of a sleeping potion. As I could do no good by staying there Jim took me to Melvin's sister, Margaret. Then he went on to St. David.
I lay awake all that night and between tears and prayers the time passed. Jim had administered to Melvin before leaving the night before and that was some comfort to me. The next morning I was up and at the hospital by the time the door was open. Ex-rays showed no broken bones and the pain had subsided somewhat. For five days his bowels were paralyzed and I was very worried. He insisted that I bring Fae to see him every afternoon and as Margaret lived at the foot of the hill near the hospital, I did lots of walking back and forth, up and down the hill, carrying the baby most of the time.
On the sixth day I had another attack of those severe pains in my side and had to have a taxi come to the hospital to take me to Margaret's. That afternoon as I lay on the bed, half asleep Fae slipped my class ring off my finger. I roused and tried to take it away from her, but she put it in her mouth to prevent me from getting it. She was laughing and immediately began to choke as it caught in her throat. I grabbed her and ran into the other room to Margaret. We shook her, and Margaret tried everything to dislodge the ring but she was not able to move it at all. Fae became black, then rigid, then limp.
We ran outside and across the street to where a car was parked, and asked the man in it, a total stranger, to get us to the hospital quickly. All the time Margaret had been carrying Fae by the feet, head down, and just as we were getting in the car the ring fell out on the ground and Fae began to vomit. I'll never forget the awful suspense of the few minutes just passed or the great relief after.
I collapsed and was in bed for two days, my side nearly driving me crazy. I never mentioned the pain and they thought I was just sick because of worry. Then on the next day Margaret drove me to the hospital in the car and I found that the doctor had told Melvin he could go home the next day. He was able to walk a little now, and did not seem to suffer any pain but for one spot on his back.
The next day, Melvin's brother-in-law, Esker, took us home and everything went along nicely. Previously we had bought a motorcycle with a side car for Melvin to go to work in. We had gone all over the country in it. Now, Melvin was unable to work and he was very restless. I couldn't run the motorcycle so we traded it to a friend, Clint Fletcher, for an old model Templar car. For the next few weeks we rode around from one place to another, killing time and burning up gas. I had given up the idea of finishing school as I did not know how long Melvin would be in the present state.
After about six weeks, the doctor told Melvin he was able to go back to work, so I went to see the school principal to see if he thought I could possibly make up my work. He said if I'd take exams the following week and pass them with a 3 grade I could go on. I studied for the rest of that week and then Monday took the examination. I got a grade of 1 in the physics test and a 2 in sociology, so went back to school. In May, 1926, I graduated with a class of ten, and with highest honors. I was chosen to deliver the valedictory address, but I felt the honor of giving it should go to one of the young folks of the class as I did not really belong in their group. So the next highest in scholarship, Harold Wright, gave it.
During this past winter I had been teaching the kindergarten class in Sunday School and also the Literary class in Relief Society. Melvin had been released from Mutual Improvement President and had not held any position for a few months. I had known for about two months that I was going to have another baby but had said nothing as I knew Melvin would not have wanted me to go on to school in that condition, But now, my side was bothering me and I was so miserable that I had to let the secret out. I was released from the Sunday School and temporarily excused from the Relief Society work. We moved on a lot given to Melvin by his father, located near the river across from the present home of Uncle Will Campbell. We moved our tent as it was and then built a little 8 by 10 kitchen onto it.
Our second child, and our first son, George Edward, was born on my twenty-second birthday, October 27, 1926, in our own little home. We now added a ceiling to our tent, and another window, so it was really very comfortable. We were a little crowded but we managed all right.
Melvin was building a new house for his parents after working hours at the plant. The night George arrived mamma had been with me all afternoon. At 4:00 P.M. we flagged Melvin to come home and he took Fae up to dad. There was a big Democratic Rally going on up town and after the baby arrived, about 10:00 P.M. Melvin went up and told everybody about it. I think he was really pleased to have a son. My dad came right down when he heard the news and I remember he said that George was the homeliest baby he'd ever seen and for his first grandson was a runt. I cried about it because he was about the sweetest baby I had ever seen. He had the loveliest red curls and great big blue eyes, and when he was about three months old everyone took him for a girl, saying he was too pretty for a boy.
After his birth I was not at all well, in bed most of the time with the old pains in my side. Two days after Christmas I became so ill that I sent for Melvin to come home from work at the plant. I had suffered terribly the last three days. The doctor from Benson insisting that I had renal cholic caused from getting around too soon after the baby was born. But I knew I had not done this and that he did not know what was the trouble. The day I sent for Melvin I couldn't stand the pain much longer, so he got Jim Miller to drive us to Bisbee to the hospital so I could have proper attention.
I left the two babies with mamma and we got to the hospital about 5:30 P.M. Dr. Bledsoe, the head man there, was on hand to examine me. He pronounced it appendicitis and I was operated on at once. He told Melvin that I may never leave the operating table alive as he was quite sure that the appendix had ruptured and had been in that condition for some time. For four days and nights Melvin was not allowed to leave my bedside. Although I was very ill for some time, the Lord was good to me and permitted me to live. I remained in the hospital for about four weeks and then was taken home where I had to remain in bed for some time. The doctor called on me regularly to check on the drainage and watch for complications. The poison from the bursted appendix seemed to settle in my blood and it resulted in what was called at that time "milk leg." I was taken up to mother's where she nursed me for about six weeks. Doctor Bledsoe came through St. David every week and he never failed to stop and see me for nearly a year.
I was released from all church obligations and was confined to my home for most of that time. When my leg seemed to be nearly well I had acute pains around the section of the gall bladder. When I had stood them as long as I could they took me back to the hospital and x-rays showed small stones in the gall bladder. The doctor said the poison in my blood had thickened the gall and caused the stones. He said it was a common result from such poison. By treatment and diet I did not have to have another operation at that time.
In the year of 1927 Melvin's father bought some bees near Bisbee. He gave Melvin ten colonies to help him move them to his ranch in the mountains. This was our start in the bee industry. When I got able to do so I would take the two babies and go to the ranch with Melvin where He put in all of his spare time.
In July of this year (1927), George became very ill. Doctor Bledsoe happened to stop in one day when passing through and I had him look at the baby. His fever was very high, but the doctor thought it was his teeth coming through that was causing the fever. Soon after he left the baby became worse and that evening we noticed his left arm seemed to be useless. Later his entire left side seemed to be paralyzed. We rushed him to Bisbee and four doctors, after examination, pronounced it Infantile Paralysis. We were quarantined in a room for a few days but they said the contagious period had passed as that was only in the fever stage.
For three days he hovered between life and death, but through the prayers of the good people at home and our faith, he was permitted to live. His entire left side was paralyzed and as I looked at him I would wonder if it would have been better if he had died. Since I have bitterly regretted my ungratefulness to the Lord for preserving his life. All that year we took him to Bisbee regularly, first every two weeks and then every three weeks. The doctors had told us they would use electricity on him soon. Then they told us that there was nothing they could do. They said to just wait and let nature take its course and then when he was older some kind of orthopedic work may be done although it was quite new at that time.
George had, in the meantime, regained the use of his foot and could wriggle the fingers on his hand. His recovery was very slow but he did gradually gain the use of his body until at the age of three years he could walk and the only place seeming to be affected was his left shoulder and arm.
In the month of September, 1928, we had unusually heavy rains, day after day, until the river could not carry its load and one night the bridge over it was carried away in the flood. There was an old crossing in the bed of the river, but it was necessary to go through John Busby's place to get to it, so Melvin and John made a little extra money by pulling cars across with their teams. All local people were pulled across free, but the tourists were made to pay. This same month Melvin lost his job at the powder plant and we were surely glad to have this extra money coming in. They stayed at the river all day and night taking turns at the night work. Sometimes me and the kids took our bed and spread it on the sand and stayed with Melvin. Their principal night work was pulling trucks across and this paid more than any other. Some of them would refuse to let the boys hook onto them saying they could pull it themselves. They would get out in the middle and always get stuck and then it would require two teams to get them out and sometimes it would be necessary to use a block and tackle. Of course, they had to pay more then, so night work was quite profitable for us. They continued this until spring when the bridge was repaired.
That winter I was put in as chorister in the Sunday School and also resumed my work as Literary Leader in Relief Society, but that spring we moved out to the Busby ranch in the Whetstone Mountains and I had to give up all my Relief Society work. We came down to town on Sundays and Melvin was also working in the Sunday School. John was running a few cattle on his dad's ranch and was working on the state highway, so an agreement was reached in which he was to pay us seventeen dollars a month for our work on the ranch and Melvin's father was to give us ten dollars a month. Twenty-seven dollars was not much but it kept us going. John sometimes came out to stay over Saturday and he would bring out a few extra groceries and likewise Melvin's folks. I did not like this way of living at all, and I was scared stiff all the while I was alone on the ranch. Melvin was gone riding the range from daylight to dark and I was expecting our third baby in the summer. Needless to say, it was not at all pleasant for me. Our dependence on others for everything we had and the terrible fear that constantly hung over me made it very miserable.
The baby was born July16, 1929, another girl and we called her Lois. I had gone down to St. David to be at mamma's during this period. I remained there for three weeks and then went back to the ranch. I had tried to keep from Melvin the fear that was always upon me, and the feeling I had for our dependence on the others, but now it seemed that I couldn't stand it and he soon realized that I was not satisfied. So I told him how I felt about the whole thing and that I wanted to move back to our little home on the river. We had been staying there sometimes on Sunday and nearly all of our own things were there as it had not been necessary to move them to the ranch. We had been at the ranch nearly a year now, so Melvin loaded our things on the old Ford and we went home, May 1930.
As soon as we were settled I was again put in the Relief Society as Literary Leader, and again as chorister in the Sunday School. Melvin had already been sustained as second counselor in the Sunday School with Ira Judd as superintendent and Jared Trejo as first counselor. It was at this time that the California Mission to which our ward belonged started the movement throughout its field to organize Sunday School boards within limited districts throughout the mission. This movement did not seem to meet with the approval of Brother Judd as Sunday School Superintendent and he was released. Jared Trejo was put in as Superintendent and Melvin as first counselor, with Jim Miller as the second counselor. They worked well together and our Sunday School became the top one in the district. We all enjoyed our work more with the supervision of the newly-created Sunday School Board. I'll always appreciate their work.
In the fall of 1930 the three children had the measles and the chicken pox. They were quite ill with the measles, especially Fae, who had taken cold with them. Melvin got a job as carpenter (this was the trade he had worked at under Jim Miller while employed at the powder plant) on the state highway. We started immediately to build us a larger home. When the river bridge and railroad tracks had washed out in 1928, they did not rebuild the one railroad line and Melvin got hold of some fairly good ties. These he used for the walls and plastered them over. We got the walls and the roof and all the partitions, but we could not afford at this time to put in any of the floors except in the two front rooms. So we moved in without them in September 1931.
Our fourth child and third girl, Sheila, was born there 2 October. Melvin was furnishing the horses for the big celebration in Tombstone, The Helldorado, and got two weeks off from the highway work to do it, so he was away from home all the time I was in bed and my sister, Thora, stayed with me. That fall we had much rain again and floods all over. The night before Sheila's birth the temporary bridge they had been using over the river washed away. The doctor had to put on Melvin's rubber boots and wade through flood water nearly to his knees to get into the house. But she was not born until the next afternoon. That same day, Melvin's brother, Vern, left for a mission to the Southern States.
Melvin's work on the highway ended and he was out of work. In November he went out on the round-up with Boquillas Land and Cattle Company. It was a cold and rainy month. Dad and mother and the entire family were to my place for Thanksgiving, but Melvin did not get home. Papa hung a canvas up across the big front room to shut out the cold in one end so I could keep the babies warm in the other. After the roundup, Melvin went to Bakersfield with the cattle when they shipped them on the train.
This winter my health was bad again and I was released from the Sunday School but tried to keep up with my Relief Society work. Melvin had to do lots of work away from home, but it was all he could get, so I was alone much of that winter. It was extremely cold and I don't know how I would have gotten through if it had not been for dad and mother. He had broken his leg on the highway the previous summer and was not working, so they spent lots of their time with me. They would help with the chores and see that I had wood cut. Some days dad would come get me early and take me to their place all day. So the winter passed.
In 1932 Melvin got a little more work on the highway and we were able to fix up another of the rooms in our house, besides we ceiled the two front ones so we would be comfortable the coming winter. My health was better than it had been and I was put in as teacher in the Church History class in the Sunday School. I was sustained in August, and in September was set apart for that work by Glen Goodman.
In March of 1932, we started for Mesa in an old Ford sedan we had traded for. We had dad, mother, Thora, and the babies with us. Mother had been very ill (a stroke) and she had never been sealed to her parents, she wanted to have it done. Thora was going along with us to tend the children while we did some temple work. When we got to the division of the California-Phoenix highway Melvin said, "Who wants to go to California?" Of course I said yes, not dreaming that he was even thinking of such a thing. Then mother said that was one place she would never see as she did not expect to live that long, and she guessed she would never see her two grandsons (Cecil's sons). Melvin asked her if she thought she could stand a trip like that and she said she'd like to have the chance to try it. All this we thought was just a joke, but Melvin turned on the Los Angeles highway and we went there.
We got as far as a little cottage camp near Yuma that night and rented two tiny cottages. We reached Los Angeles about 7:00 P.M. the next night. I lost my voice as soon as we dropped down into the ocean breezes and didn't get it back until we got back from there. We went to my brother, Harold's, home and were they surprised! Dad and mother stayed nights at Cecil's place and the rest of us stayed at Harold's. We spent one day at Long Beach and one day driving along the coastline. Sheila was our baby and less than a year old, but when we first reached the ocean Melvin rushed to the water's edge and put Sheila's bare feet in so we could say she was the first of our family to get wet in the ocean. The water was very cold as March was rather early for bathing, but we wanted to go in anyway. I loved it; riding in on the waves was fun for me. But Melvin did not care for it and was afraid for me to be in it. So we did not stay in long, but the sun and the sand were grand and we had lots of fun. We stayed a week and then left for home, coming home by way of Mesa in order to do the temple work for which we had originally left home.
We had started on March the 7th and got back to St. David on March 19th. We had sold two calves before leaving and had $40.00 with part of which we had intended to buy window and door screens, but we had used it all for the trip so the house fixings had to wait a while longer. Our trip had been worth it. Had we waited until we felt that we could afford a trip we would never have gone at all.
In the early spring of 1933 the District Sunday School Board awarded the banner for the best Sunday School to our
St. David school. Melvin was really proud and it seemed like it increased his interest in the work a great deal. He put in much of his time on Sunday School work and seemed very content with his labors. In the fall of the same year I was put in as adult teacher in the Young Ladies Organization and we were both kept busy.
Melvin worked the bees and was at the ranch most of the week days. We had built our bees to about forty colonies and we had also increased our cattle quite a little. His father depended on him to keep things in shape at the ranch, and as our own cattle were running out there, I was alone much of the time. I had a cow to milk and the chickens to tend, pigs to feed and wood to cut most of the time. Besides, four small children to look after, a vegetable garden to take care of, and had to can our winter's supply of fruits and vegetables I raised. Things were pretty tough for us that year so I started in doing quilting for oher people in my spare time and in the evenings when Melvin was away. I would get on the average $10.00 for quilting an ordinary quilt and it took me about two and a half weeks to quilt one. That sounds like a very little amount, but it was enough to keep us from running a grocery bill. This, with the canned foods, kept us living well, not fancy, but plain solid foods, and sometimes I could squeeze out a pound of butter or an extra dozen eggs to take to the store.
I won the local, then the county, then the state prize on my story about my canning experiences for that year. This contest was sponsored by the Kerr Jar Company. I also won the state canning exhibit consisting of two quarts of each fruit, vegetables, and meat. This, together with the prizes I won at the county and state fair brought in $43.00 and a total of thirteen dozen Kerr fruit jars.
We made our second trip to the Arizona Temple this year and did some temple work on the Busby line. In the fall, Melvin put in a bid and was successful in getting the position of bus driver for one of the school buses at $35.00
per month. This gave him an opportunity he had long desired, going to school again. He had only completed the seventh grade and part of the eighth as a boy. Now he went full time and finished the eighth grade work and part of the ninth. He liked school and got good grades in his work. He particularly liked as a teacher B. Ira Judd. He made many friends with the young people and got along fine. I felt much better as I was not alone and did not have the chores to do and did not have the worry as I had the year before. This small monthly salary was sufficient to feed and to clothe the family and it also allowed for small payments on the many doctor bills that had piled up on us. We put the floor in another of the rooms of the house and were able to fix it up a tiny bit more comfortable. In December of 1933, George broke his paralyzed arm above the elbow. It hung so limp all the time that when he fell it doubled under him and broke. But as a whole, this year was one of the most peaceful and happy of our lives for some time.
In March of 1934 we got William Merrill to drive the bus for Melvin for a couple of weeks and we went to Salt Lake City with Melvin's parents and his brother, Vern, who had just returned from his mission. We took Fae, our oldest child, and I got mamma to keep the other three children for me. Melvin's mission president, Samuel O. Bennion, had been released from this position and put in as one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventies. There was to be a big reception and banquet held for him during conference and all the elders who had ever labored under him, together with their partners, were invited to attend for $2.00 per couple. As soon as Melvin received the invitation to this reunion, he said he was going and had me send in our reservations. That was about two months before time to go so we began to try to save and plan on how we were going to get there.
Vern had just been home a week or two and was very anxious to go, so between him and Melvin they persuaded thsir parents to go. We sold a few calves and got together about $50.00 and Melvin's parents and Vern together had $65.00. Melvin overhauled our car, a 1929 Chevrolet, and we were all set.
We decided to leave a few days early and take our time, stopping whenever we wanted to and where ever we wanted to. Our first stop of interest was the Grand Canyon of Arizona. It is truly named "Grand." I was never so awed in my life as when I first gazed into its mighty depth. We saw it at sunrise when it is at it's best. No words can describe it. One must see it to appreciate its beauty and size. As we stood there I wrote these lines in my notebook. I'm not a poet, don't profess to be, but sometimes I feel like I want to try to put my thoughts in poetry, and this was one of those times.
In reverence now I bow my head
To Him who watches o'er us;
For 'tis His power hath made thee thus -
So grand, so strong, so marvelous.
How small and insignificant I feel
Beside the silent beauty.
Yet, lifted up with strength and power
To a greater sense of duty.
Thy depth lends power to urge me on,
To use my strength for others.
The glorious color of thy walls
Lends warmth to love my brothers.
Men will come, and men will go -
To all you tell a story.
Oh! May I not forget this tale
Nor fail to sense its glory.
From the Grand Canyon we went on to Zion's National Park and Bryce Canyon. It was snowing so bad the day we were at Bryce Canyon that we could not see much. Most of the trip we enjoyed very good weather and were able to camp out along the way, cooking over a camp fire. This lessened the expense of the trip as well as being a means of lots of fun and a good outing.
The pine forests in the northern part of our state were another thing admired very much. They were so quiet and large and yet full of sounds of outdoor life. I just hated to leave them, they were so peaceful. When we reached Lee's Ferry we camped all night a ways from the big bridge and enjoyed ourselves a lot in spite of the fact the air was quite nippy and chilly.
We enjoyed conference a lot and had a swell time. Our only disappointment was that Bob, Melvin's nephew, was so bad off in the General Hospital in Salt Lake. To see him had been one of the main reasons that we had used to persuade Father Busby to make the trip. In spite of the fact that Margaret had taken him to the hospital several months previous, he was still suffering a lot. We stayed at the same rooming house where Margaret was living and we saw Bob every day.