I have been told, and accept as fact, that I made my grand entrance into this mortal world on 9 September 1926 at 4:00 a.m. (actually on the official Record of Birth it was 3:55 a.m.). My mother chose to greet me at the Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona, so that is where I was born, weighing in at five pounds, twelve ounces and measuring twenty inches. Mother and I were attended by Dr. R. Ferguson.
Upon leaving the hospital on 11 September 1926, my first home was in Bisbee, Arizona, with my parents, Walter S. and Hazel Adeline (Post) McRae, and an older sister, Barbara Mae, who was then two years old (born 8 September 1924 in Bisbee, Cochise, Arizona). My father was working in the open-pit copper mines in Bisbee at this time.
From "Baby's Days and Baby's Ways" as recorded by my mother, I also submit the following as facts, though I have no recollection of such: blessed on 3 October 1926 by my father, and given the name of June McRae; cut my first tooth 29 April 1927; started creeping 15 May 1927; took my first steps 1 August 1927; and my first word was "Baba" (Barbara).
Since, in a manner of speaking, one is the product of a long line of ancestors, perhaps it would be well to introduce mine. My father, Walter S. McRae, was born 21 November 1902 at St. David, Cochise County, Arizona, the fourth child and eldest son of John Kenneth and Pearl Elizabeth (Sabin) McRae. He had three older sisters who were also born at St. David: Edith Annie, Martha, and Maria Gecoza. He was followed by three brothers and two more sisters in the following order: George Alexander, Helen, Joseph Pratt, Parley Kenneth, and Irene. They were all born in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona, except for Helen and Joseph who were born in South Bisbee.
On my father's side, my ancestors came from England, Scotland and Germany. Grandfather John Kenneth McRae was the second son of Joseph and Maria (Taylor) McRae. He was born in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, on 12 November 1867. He had an older sister, Eunice Ann, who lived less than a month. His older brother was Joseph Alexander and the one who followed him was George Edwin. All of them were born in Salt Lake City. The family moved to Charleston, Wasatch County, Utah where Joseph was farming and where two daughters, Annie Maria and Mary Jane, were born.
When John was eight years old, his father received a "call" at the October Conference (1876) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to take his family and move to the Territory of Arizona. There, with others, the family was to help settle the "waste places" of southern Arizona. Always obedient, Joseph and Maria made preparations as quickly as possible, leaving in time to attend the dedication of the first temple in Utah, the St. George Temple, on 1 January 1877, on their way south to fulfill their calling. The family settled in the area that was to finally be known as St. David in Cochise County, in the southeast corner of the Territory.
In Arizona, four more sons completed the family group: Nymphus Charles who was born in the Huachuca Mountains and reported to be the first white child born in Cochise County; Parley Taylor; Orson Pratt; and Milton. The last three were born in St. David.
I remember my Grandfather McRae very well. He was a large, kindly, somewhat reserved man. His reputation as a completely honorable and honest man I felt was richly deserved. I remember how faithful he was in his attendance at meetings and how he regularly bore a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in fast and testimony meetings. He died 21 August 1957 at my parents' home in St. David, Cochise County, Arizona, and is buried in the St. David Cemetery.
Grandmother Pearl Elizabeth Sabin McRae was a small woman with a quick wit and pleasant personality. I loved to hear the stories she told of her family moving from Utah to Arizona, also in response to a "call" to help in the colonization of Arizona Territory. She was the second child of Parley Pratt Sabin and his second wife, Octavia Jacosa (Sims) Sabin, and was born in Payson, Utah County, Utah on 6 August 1876. Her older sister, Octavia Caroline, was also born in Payson. She died when only three months of age. The younger members of her family were her brother, Parley John (also known as John Parley), and a sister, Florette Mable, both born in Payson, Utah County, Utah. The baby of the family, Irene May, was born in Curtis, Graham County, Arizona.
Grandmother was five years old when her family made the trip to Arizona, and only nine years old when her mother died. She became the "mother" of the house for the younger children, including the nine-month old baby sister. For eighteen months she had little opportunity to enjoy her childhood because of these responsibilities but then her father married Sarah Cecilia Smith on 19 October 1887 and she was relieved of much of the load. Parley Pratt Sabin first settled his family in the Salt River Valley in Arizona. This is where my great grandmother, Octavia Jacosa Sims Sabin, died on 14 March 1886. Later the family lived in the Chiricahua Mountains. When the Apache Indians went on the warpath and some of their neighbors were killed, the family moved to St. David in Cochise County. It was here that Pearl Elizabeth Sabin married John Kenneth McRae on 28 February 1895. She died in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona, at the home of her daughter, Martha Huish, on 27 August 1956, and was buried in St. David, Arizona.
Great grandfather, Joseph McRae, was born on 3 March 1838 in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, during the height of the persecution of the early saints. He was the second son of Alexander and Eunice (Fitzgerald) McRae, and their first child to be born after they had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June of 1837. Alexander McRae, Joseph's father, was imprisoned with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and other church leaders the last day of October, 1838. Great grandfather was taken by his mother to Liberty jail to be given a blessing by his father who was imprisoned there. The Prophet asked permission to bless the infant and gave him his own name, Joseph. Great Grandfather Joseph, with his mother and older brother, John, were driven out of the State of Missouri and found refuge in the State of Illinois where they were joined by Alexander after his escape from prison. Later the family made the trek across the plains with the pioneers, arriving in Salt Lake City in October of 1852, where Joseph hired out to learn the blacksmith trade.
The younger brothers and sisters of Joseph were: Kenneth, born in Clinton, Ripley County, Indiana; Alexander, born in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois; Catherine, born in Clinton, Ripley County, Indiana; Daniel, born in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois; Mary Jane and Martha, born in Kanesville, Pottawattamie County, Iowa; and four who were born in Salt Lake City, Utah: Charles, Eunice, David Fitzgerald, and Sarah Eunice. Joseph McRae died 31 July 1914 in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona.
Maria Taylor McRae, my great grandmother, was born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England, on 17 January 1845, the youngest child of George Edward Grove and Ann (Wicks) Taylor. Her parents heard the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from missionaries and joined the Church when she was seven years old. Her parents separated and she came to America with her mother and sister, Martha. Her older brother, Joseph Edward, came to America first and earned the money to allow them to come. After spending a year in St. Louis where they all worked, Maria walked most of the way as the family made the journey across the plains to Salt Lake City where they arrived 29 October 1855. She hired out for employment until she married Joseph McRae on 5 March 1862 in Salt Lake City. In addition to the two siblings mentioned, she had an older sister, Margaret, who remained in England and came to America later with her father and step-mother and their four children. Maria Taylor McRae died 19 Apr 1901 in Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona.
Great Grandfather Parley Pratt Sabin was born in Clinton County, Illinois on 20 October 1848. His parents, David and Elizabeth (Dorwart) Sabin, had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in November 1843. He was born after the saints were driven out of Nauvoo, Illinois. They joined the westward trek and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 31 December 1850. At a very young age, Parley marched around the campfires in Salt Lake City with the other boys carrying a stick over his shoulder so the spies of Johnston's Army would think the Salt Lake Valley was swarming with soldiers. His father made bullets and guns for the saints during this period of confrontation with the U.S. Army.
Parley's father was born in Cazenovia, Madison County, New York; his mother in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where his six oldest brothers and sisters were also born. They were: Elizabeth, Ambrose, Henry Dorwart, Daniel Dorwart, David Dorwart, and Mary Ann. His sister, Anna Maria, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and the three younger sisters, Sarah Eleanor, Amanda Catherine, and Lydia Deseret, were born in Salt Lake City, Utah. The family later moved to Payson in Utah County, Utah. Parley inherited his father's inventive talents which were passed on to my father, Walter S McRae. Parley died 12 August 1924 in Pomerene, Cochise County, Arizona.
Great grandmother, Octavia Jacosa Sims, was another English lady, having been born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, on 17 Octber 1857. She was the daughter of George and Caroline (Gill) Sims. She came to America after the death of her father with the rest of the family in 1864 on the ship, "Cynosure" ("Synosure"). Her older sister, Martha, had come a year earlier. The family settled in the town of Payson in Utah County. All of her sisters and brothers were born in Gloucestershire, England. Martha was born in Charlton Kings and the others, except for the youngest, in Cheltenham. Lorenzo Obostic was born in Leckhampton after the death of an older brother also named Lorenzo. The others were Mary, Hannah Maria Septima, Samuel John and Priscilla.
Parley Pratt Sabin's first wife, Eliza Jane Bates, died in childbirth with their first child. The baby was never born. Parley Pratt Sabin and Octavia Jacosa Sims were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 16 January 1874. She died in Eden, Graham County, Arizona on 14 March 1886.
In brief summary, all of my "McRae" ancestors joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the very early days after the restoration of the Gospel and the organization of the Church in 1830. They were among those early pioneers who suffered a great deal of persecution and many hardships because of their beliefs. As far as I know, all of them in my direct line remained true to the faith and staunch in their support of the leaders of the Church - a very honorable heritage.
The story is quite different on my mother's side, but no less honorable. All of my ancestors on this side came from England and Germany, at least all who have been identified thus far. None of them joined the Church until the missionaries taught the Gospel to my grandparents, Howard Orville and Tressie May (Evans) Post, when they were a young married couple living in Kansas. Grandmother Post was baptized in 1899 and four years later, after the family had moved to Arizona, my Grandfather Post was also baptized.
My mother, Hazel Adeline Post, was the fifth child of this fine couple. Her older brother, Clarence, and her two older sisters, Alice Irene, and Stella Valetta, were born in Kansas. The next oldest sister, Lola Orvilla, was born in St. David, Cochise County, Arizona. These four were waiting to greet mother's arrival on 29 June 1906, at St. David. All of the other brothers and sisters were also born in St. David. They were: Orville Kelvin, Mildred Adelia, Etta Nadine, John Milton, Ernest Eugene and Frances Marie.
Mother was captivated by the charm of my father, or by his stripped-down Model T Ford, and quit high school to marry him on 27 September 1923. They were married in St. David, Arizona, by William G. Goodman, Bishop of the St. David Ward, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was only seventeen years old and he was twenty-one. As things turned out, I was born when she was twenty years old - a great boon to someone of my mathematical talents because it enables me to remember her age (at least it did in the years when I could remember mine!).
Grandfather Howard Orville Post was born 30 June 1875 in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas. He was the oldest child of his parents, John Milton and Alice L. (Parker) Post. Six years later his only brother, Ernest Lionel, was born, also in Wichita. When he was twelve years old his mother died after the birth of a baby daughter who did not live long. Just over two years later, on 21 November 1889, his father married Adelia Louisa McCollum, who was a real mother to the two boys. She never did have any children of her own.
My Grandfather Post died on 21 November 1932. I didn't know him very well because they had moved from St. David to Tucson, Arizona and trips that far from home were very rare. Also he worked on the highway and was usually away from home when we visited. He was crushed in a dump truck accident while working on the highway near Paulden, Arizona. I remember when he died, but not in a lot of detail, just remember seeing my parents talk very earnestly, my mother crying a lot, etc. Much later my father told me that he had been under the old chapel in St. David on the day Grandfather Post died. He was setting dynamite charges in preparation for putting a basement under the building. He said he had the strangest feeling come over him just as he was lighting the fuse. He was in a very dangerous situation and thought he might be taken in death. Later he strongly felt that someone was needed on the other side of the veil and that it was to be either him or Grandfather Post. I think this was one of the first times the nearness and reality of the spirit world came to me very vividly.
My Aunt Stella Post Nelson has recorded that Grandfather Howard Orville Post used to tell about being with his uncle, Sydney Lykins Post, for the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory in 1893 and the historical land rush which followed.
Great Grandfather John Milton Post was the oldest son of a very active and devout Baptist preacher, John Clark Post, and his wife, Adeline (Whitehead) Post. He was born in Springport, Jackson County, Michigan, on 28 July 1844. He had an older sister, Lucinda W., and two younger brothers, Sydney Lykins and Ansel Howard. John Milton Post was a Union soldier in the Civil War and saw a lot of action as he was involved with General Sherman's "march to the sea." He died 28 March 1920 in Wichita, Kansas and was preceded in death by his youngest son, Ernest Lionel, on 2 September 1908. His second wife, Adelia, lived to the age of 105 years, dying 4 September 1960 also in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas.
Great Grandmother Alice L. Parker was born 22 February 1854 at Bremen, Marshall County, Indiana. Her father, Joseph Parker, was a shoemaker, and her mother was Francina Amanda (Campbell) Parker. Most of her brothers and sisters were born at Bremen. She had an older sister, Geneva, and younger brothers and sisters as follows: Lawrence James, Asa Franklin, Charles William, Edith Eva, Flora Laretta, and Rosa Francina. The family moved near Fort Scott in Bourbon County, Kansas, and it was here that Alice L. Parker and John Milton Post were married by his father, Reverend John Clark Post of the Baptist Church, on 22 February 1872.
Grandmother Tressie May (Evans) Post was one of my favorite people. I knew her very well, having lived in her home for two summers after graduating from high school. There were also visits with her in the earlier years. She was hard-working, thrifty, kind to everyone and totally without guile - a very special person. Her parents were Willis Sumeral and Elizabeth Ann (Mayberry) Evans. She was next to the youngest of their nine children who were all born in Mahaska County, Iowa except for the youngest one. In order of birth they were: Fred Alvador, Charles Washington, James William, Ida Alice, Thomas LeRoy, Hattie Bell, Cynthia Amanda, then Grandmother Tressie May, born 11 September 1877, and lastly, Ralph Ernest who was born in Sedgwick County, Kansas.
Great Grandmother Elizabeth Ann (Mayberry) Evans had been married before she married my great grandfather. Her first husband was John Kelley whom she married 26 November 1862. They spent just a few days together before he left to serve in the Civil War. He became ill and died in Paducah, Kentucky of typhoid fever. Four years later she married Willis Sumeral Evans who became my great grandfather.
Willis Sumeral Evans was the son of John James Evans and Cynthia (Whitaker) Evans. When his father left to serve in the Civil War, Willis, the oldest child, was left at home to help his mother take care of the younger members of the family. Instead he married the young widow when he was barely eighteen years of age. She was twenty-four. His brothers and sisters were: Amanda Jane, Robert William, Charles Isaac, an infant sister who lived just one day, Hannah Madie, Sarah Elizabeth, Effie Annie and George Perle. All of them were born in Mahaska County, Iowa.
Elizabeth Ann (Mayberry) Evans was the daughter of Richard and Alice (Moore) Mayberry. Her mother died when she was thirteen years old and she was left to take the responsibility for the home and her younger sisters. As a result, she was unable to attend school and used every opportunity later in her life to read hoping to absorb some of the "learning" she had missed. She died on 24 April 1908 in Nickerson, Reno County, Kansas. After her death, Willis Sumeral married Evaline (Lee Whitestine) Feller as her third husband in Greeley, Weld County, Colorado. He died 17 June 1915 in Greeley, Colorado.
Now, as I return to my immediate story, you can understand why my posture is a bit stooped - the weight of so many ancestors! But, very seriously, I am very grateful for them and for the many facets of a wonderful heritage.
On 10 August 1928 a new sister, Nadine, came to live with us in Bisbee, Arizona. We moved to St. David, Arizona on 4 September 1928. My father was now working for the Apache Powder Company whose main business consists of making explosives for the mines. He worked there, except for a few months during the Great Depression, until his retirement at age sixty-five, so the "Apache" and St. David were very much a part of my life for many years.
The first house I remember in St. David was "up" McRae lane as it was called at that time. It was on the homestead property of my grandfather, John Kenneth McRae, and right beside an identical house where my Uncle George and Aunt Gladys McRae lived with their family. My father and Uncle George built both of these houses. For a period of two or three years both families lived in the same house. Uncle George and Aunt Gladys were like second parents to me and their children were our constant playmates. Their son, Neil, and I managed to be in trouble often as we found things to do that were not approved of by the adults in the "clan" such as catching Grandpa's work horses and racing them in the fields riding bareback, but we had fun.
After we had lived in St. David for three years, another sister, Dona Lee, came to live with us. She was born 27 October 1931 in Benson, Cochise County, Arizona.
My formal education began 5 January 1931 when I started attending kindergarten at Mrs. Lawrence's house in St. David. The main thing I remember about this is the large white dog that belonged to the Lawrences and the difficulty I had trying to be brave around it. Also I remember the tarts we had when we learned the poem about "Jack of Hearts." Great education!
I entered first grade in the old white frame schoolhouse in the fall of 1932. Luella Busby was my teacher. It was this year that my Grandfather Post died. Dora Tilton was my second grade teacher. After just two or three weeks in the third grade in 1934, I remember well the pride and the embarrassment of being moved up to the fourth grade where "Aunt Sarah" (Sarah C. McRae, widow of my grandfather's brother, Nymphus Charles McRae) was my teacher. I have always been glad that I was allowed to skip the third grade although I knew nothing about it until it happened, but recognize that one price I paid was never learning the multiplication tables very well because they were taught in third grade. Course, I may have done no better with them if I had remained in third grade all year - and then I wouldn't have any excuse at all!
In the spring of 1934, a new phenomenon was introduced into our family - a brother. Walter Stanley McRae was born in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, on 29 March 1934.
One of the most vivid recollections of my youth is associated with Stanley as he was called by the family. It was in the fall of 1934 or maybe even the spring of the next year - the date I don't remember. Stanley was sitting on the ground in the back yard which was common to both our house and Uncle George's next door. My cousin, Neil, about two years younger than I, was playing with their German Police dog. He had a short length of rope, knotted at both ends, with the dog pulling on one end and he was pulling on the other. The dog was getting quite close to Stanley so I started to go move him out of the way when the dog suddenly turned on me. He got me up against the side of the chicken coop and bit me up and down the arms with one bad bite just above the wrist on my right arm. I really don't remember what caused the dog to let go of me (probably just decided I didn't taste so good after all) but I was so frightened that when he did I ran all the way around the chicken run to get to the house rather than going past him which was a much shorter distance. I also don't remember who picked Stanley up, or if he just sat there unmolested through the whole thing. I had nightmares of that dog's face up in mine (he had been up on his hind legs when I was against the coop) and his foul breath and growling for a long time and can still remember how it was. The fang marks from that experience are still visible on my right wrist and since then I have mostly distrusted and disliked dogs.
My father baptized me on 9 September 1934 and I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The baptism was performed in Cortis Reed's cement water tank and was followed by my confirmation on the same day by my grandfather, John Kenneth McRae. That was a special day for me.
Elementary school continued with Mr. Fry as my fifth grade teacher. I was in fifth grade when my second brother, Lorin Post McRae, was born on 20 February 1936 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. Mr. Elton Harper took on the teaching responsibilities when I was in sixth grade and Mr. Ronald G. Bateman was my teacher in both seventh and eighth grades. On 4 May 1939, I graduated from the eighth grade and elementary school.
Many things come to mind as I recall my grade school days: moving into the new brick school building; walking to school in the early grades through Goodman's field which was a short cut from our home on McRae lane and keeping a wary eye open in case their mean bull was anywhere around; cutting my knee on the barbed-wire fence when I was in a hurry to get out of the field one day and the cut getting infected; having my teeth examined by the people from the University of Arizona at various times (they were studying the effects of the high flouride content of the water in St. David and the more normal amount of flourine in the water on the west side of the river where we lived after I was nine or ten years old); being told that I had "the musical sense of a cow" by my piano teacher (piano lessons were given at the school as part of the curriculum); working hard and winning the next piano contest (as I remember, he had one every month), watching his face as he gave me the $1.00 prize and the fleeting pleasure of telling him that I was quitting (that was a mistake but the hurt from his remark was just too much, especially since it had been made in front of others); games of hop-scotch, jacks, dodge ball, marbles and softball; the challenge of school work, especially in the upper grades; pleasure in being known as a good student; and a "beautiful" (I use the word loosely) black dress with large red buttons down the front worn with long black stockings and black shoes with a flap over the shoestrings. Perhaps I had other dresses, but that is the only one I remember - I came to dislike it immensely, probably more because of the black stockings than anything.
All our clothes and the material for the ones mother made were ordered from the "Wish Book" (Sears & Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogues). One time Mother was ordering new cotton stockings for the winter. This was at the time when those black stockings were the plague of my life. I had complained so much about them that mother was determined to appease me by getting some other color. She told me that she was ordering a color called "gunmetal." Guess what!! "Gunmetal" was just another name for black so I wore black stockings for another year, with plenty of complaining to go along with them.
After I was around ten years old I also started to dislike having my hair cut. My father was the family barber and when our hair started getting straggly, mother would line us up, usually on a Saturday, to have him cut it. We'd have to sit on a high stool with an old shirt pinned tightly about our neck and get another "Prince Julian style" haircut. By the time I was twelve I was quite rebellious about the whole process so I was finally allowed to let my hair grow long with the stipulation that I take care of it. After it was long, mother would sometimes put it in French braids for me at which times she pulled it so tight that I'm sure I looked like an "Oriental" all day. Once when I was quite young, mother curled my hair in rags (she would roll a lock of hair around a strip of cloth and then tie the ends of the cloth together to hold it while the hair was drying). We played outside in the hot sun a lot that day and it really got baked. When she took it down it was in such kinks she could hardly comb it. That was the end of my curls until I could make some for myself.
One of the important things that happened during these grade-school years was that my parents bought ten acres of land from Mr. Orville Oldfather on the west side of the San Pedro River. Our family moved into a little two-room shack with a lean-to kitchen. It seems like it was around 1935 or 1936. We lived there while my father was building our new home. I remember helping make the adobe bricks and doing other things to "help." It was during this time that I began to be aware of how hard my parents worked. Not only hard, but also long hours. Looking back, I am sure the financial demands on them were tremendous. People were just beginning to recover from the big depression of 1929-30. In later years I learned that while my father was working most of the time during the depression, he was supporting two other families besides his own on his salary - Uncle George's and Grandfather and Grandmother McRae and their younger children. Of course, the others were helping all they could by raising gardens and working whenever possible.
It was also during this period of time when I first began to be aware of all the people who came to my father for help. In those days I thought it was mostly to have him fix something (I was convinced he could fix anything from a fine clock to a big piece of farm machinery - and still am) but, in looking back, I am sure he helped some of them financially as well as in other ways.
There were many chores to do after we moved - probably before we moved too, but they didn't seem like quite such a big part of our life. The washing was all done outside so we had to build a fire to heat the water and keep it going as long as necessary. The clothes had to be hung on the line, brought in when dry, sorted and folded and those needing to be ironed had to be sprinkled. The ironing was done with flat irons heated on the stove. There were weeds to pull in the garden and much canning to do all during the summer. It seemed that nearly every summer there was at least one quilt to work on, either to be quilted or tied, and often more than one. Some of those cotton batts and pieced woolen quilts that we had to quilt were so difficult to work on that anything I tried to quilt in later years seemed fairly easy to do. There were also the household chores. Nadine and I got a reputation for being lazy dishwashers (to say nothing of the other chores!) - well deserved, I'm sure. But the jobs I hated most were sweeping any time and spraying for flies in the summer. I probably had reason to dislike these jobs so much (my poor lungs) but at the time no one realized that, including me.
Just before I started my last grade of elementary school another sister joined the family. Elizabeth McRae was born in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, on 6 August 1938. I remember my father coming home from Tucson, telling us that we had a baby sister and that her name was Elizabeth. He made it very clear that we were to call her by her full name, not "Beth" or "Lizzy" or any other nickname.
Sunday School, Primary and sacrament meeting have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Tuesday was Primary day. That day we went directly to the Church from school. I don't remember much about those meetings except that I was very pleased when I finished Primary, and that promotion day in Sunday School was a disaster for me every year - having skipped a grade in school, my friends were a year older than I was but the Sunday School classes were based strictly on age so I was never in the same class as my closest friends. I always thought this was stupid and very unjust and would cry or just get angry, but my parents always reminded me that those were the rules and I should be willing to accept them.
In eighth grade I also had my first "crush" on a boy. Can't remember for sure who it was, but think it was Ronald Ford. It was the tradition at St. David for the 8th graders to have a special day off from school. Everyone was taken on the school bus to a selected place where we played games, hiked around, had a picnic lunch and then returned to the school in the afternoon. It was on this picnic at the end of 8th grade that I was first kissed by a boy, Ernest McCommas, who I knew had a "crush" on me. I couldn't have been less interested in him - or more embarrassed at being kissed.
The fall of 1939 found me starting to St. David High School, to M.I.A. (Mutual Improvement Association) on Tuesday evenings, and to Genealogy classes which were held on Thursday evening. I don't remember being too impressed with the MIA program, but enjoyed the genealogy classes and started copying my parents' genealogical records. Although my interest in genealogy was really kindled at this time, I did very little about it, except sporadically, for nearly twenty years. My time and attention were too full, or so I thought, with getting a "higher education" and a house full of small children.
While I was in high school, all of the church meetings were held at the school as the old chapel was being torn down and a new one built. Since all the labor was donated, or mostly so, and laborers were not overly plentiful, the young people were given many opportunities to help with the construction of the new chapel. I enjoyed this very much, especially when I helped put the shingles on the roof.
My high school days were days of athletic events, school plays, dances, special programs, dinners, etc. mixed in with scholastic pursuits. They were days when war was raging in Europe and when the United States also became immersed in the war effort after the events of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Consequently, along with the usual high school activities which were somewhat affected by gasoline rationing, sugar rationing, etc., we had farewell parties for boys who decided to join the armed forces - some who had already graduated from high school and some who decided to not wait until after graduation to join.
It was at one of these parties held at the Home Economics building at the high school that I was severely burned on the hands and face. We were having a "taffy pull" made possible by several mothers donating a portion of their sugar ration. As one pan of hot taffy was poured onto a platter to cool before being pulled, the platter started to slip off the counter. Without thinking, I caught it. When the hot candy hit my hands, I flipped the platter upwards splattering hot candy on my face too. I ran towards the nearest sink thinking only to get my hands in the cold water to stop the hurting. Lucky for me, someone who saw what had happened stopped me and put my hands in a can of shortening and smeared some of it on my face where it had been burned. Then I was taken home where my parents had to cut my sweater to get it off. My hands were coated with ungentine and bandaged and I spent several days at home recuperating.
The high school band and the drum and bugle corps were scheduled to march in a parade in Tucson shortly after this. I was a member of the bugle corps which was quite ironic since I couldn't blow a note on it (another misfit as I usually was) and wanted to go and participate, but at the same time, I didn't want to go because my hands were still bandaged and very sore. I went. The parade was long, the weather was warm, and I was totally miserable. The ungentine on my hands got so hot it ran out of the bandages and ruined the satin marching outfit I was wearing. That was the end of my career in the bugle corps!
One of my few dates in high school was with Marion Plumb who took me to one of the formal dances. He went into the service after graduation and didn't return from the war. His younger sister, Cynthia, was my good friend. There weren't any strong feelings, just friendship, between Marion and me. He was one of the few I knew personally who was killed in the war. So, in a way, I was quite removed from the war. When your concern is general (for many), it is quite different than having those who were very close to you involved. Of course, I was very aware of the war and of the resulting shortages, rationing, etc. There was also come concern for the Apache Powder Plant because of the explosives they made. Perhaps being only 15 years old when war was declared had something to do with the slight amount, relatively speaking, that it affected my life.
Another vivid memory of my high school days happened after another party for fellows going into the service. My sister, Barbara, and her friend, Ethel Clifford, were hosting this one at the Clifford's house which was just across the river from our place. My younger sister, Nadine, and I were invited, but we were the "flunkies." After the party Barbara left with the older ones to go to Benson or to ride along while some were being taken home. Nadine and I were left to finish washing the dishes and then to take the ones that belonged to mother home. And we had to walk home. Just as we started to cross the river bridge a car approached from the opposite side of the bridge and its lights "blinded" us momentarily. As it went by a couple of fellows came up from underneath the bridge and said, "Hi!," to us. They looked huge and we were really frightened. We started to run but then Nadine got angry and stopped and threw some of mother's dishes at them. I had to coax her to get her running again. We were nearing our lane when another car came towards us from the direction of Benson. We were so shaken and frightened by this time that we crawled through the fence and got into the field to go the rest of the way. I don't suppose I will ever forget the look on my father's face when we got home and he began to hear what had happened. He could tell we were really frightened and assumed the men's intentions were the worst.
The car that passed when we crawled through the fence came to the folks' place after we'd been home a short while. It turned out to be my father's boss at the powder plant, Mr. Hellwig. He had seen us and knew something was wrong so had come to check. Then Barbara and some of the others arrived soon afterwards. It didn't take long for the story to get around town.
We were all convinced that it was probably some hobos who had been under the bridge and heard us walking and talking to each other. They had made no move to follow us. Much later, a year or so later, two of the boys who had attended the party admitted they were the ones on the bridge. They hadn't meant to frighten us and didn't know how to correct the situation after it happened. They also knew that our father was so upset by what had happened that they decided it wasn't wise to confess until feelings had cooled. They were probably wise in the choice they made. I had nightmares for many weeks afterwards and was never again very comfortable walking after dark.
In April of 1941, the folks decided to take Barbara, Nadine and me to General Conference in Salt Lake City. It was really a special trip for me - to see the Salt Lake Temple, the tabernacle and its organ, and to be in the Conference sessions. We even got to see our first snow on our trip home and the folks stopped along the road so we could throw some snowballs and play in the snow a little before going on. We also visited the Roosevelt Dam and went down inside to see all the machinery. Dad was so impressed with the huge turbine (guess that's the kind) engines and was disgusted with me for not being at all impressed by seeing them - probably because I couldn't comprehend their function nor their capacity and didn't really care. As world events happened, there would not have been another time we could possibly have taken such a trip while we were still living at home. I have always been especially thankful for the privilege of having that experience.
I won the scholarship award in the high school (given to a student from any class with the highest grade average) at the end of my freshman year. I was happy but my sister, Barbara, was quite upset that I should have won. She was a grade above me and a very good student. She made sure it didn't happen the next year, which was fine with me as that was probably the low point in my interest in studying.
Reading has always been a pleasure for me. While I was in high school I read nearly every book in the high school library (the only library in town by the way). I only wish that I had retained more of what I read.
In high school I did well in academics and was involved in many activities - school offices, plays, parties, etc. but I was also a wallflower, having very few dates. I seemed to have many friends and in St. David at that time a "date" was not necessary to attend anything - many went solo, or with their parents, to the dances and other events. Often, though, the boys would ask to take a girl home. By whatever standards I measured it, I was a wallflower, at least for the first three years. The hurt of those years was very deep and left me with an extreme sense of inferiority. I am not sure that even now I am completely over those feelings of inferiority, of always being found short in some way - now being nearly forty years later. Other than Marion Plumb, I can only remember having a date with Ernest McCommas and with Buddy Hellwig from Benson.
St. David High School had a very small student body - no more than fifty students when I attended. They still carried on the custom of drawing names and exchanging gifts at Christmas time. There was a price limit on the gifts so no one would try to "out do" another. Just before school was dismissed for the holidays, the students would all assemble in the study hall and the gifts were distributed from under the Christmas tree. My freshman year I was the last one to receive my gift. It was a huge five pound box of chocolates, obviously far more expensive than anything received by the others. I was so embarrassed I wanted to drop through the floor. It seems the young man who gave me my first kiss, Ernest McCommas, was still interested in me. He had traded names until he got mine. I remember having only one date with him and that was to go to the movie in Benson. Guess he finally decided I wasn't worth the effort.
For Christmas one year while I was in high school I received a new flute. Despite having been told in grade school about my poor musical sense, I wanted to be a part of the high school band. It must have been a big sacrifice for my parents to buy a new flute for me. They were undoubtedly trying to help me overcome the effects of my previous musical experience. I was thrilled with it. Although I practiced a lot, at least for a while, I was never very good on the flute because I couldn't learn to blow it right and felt another sense of failure in the field of music. Looking back, I now realize that probably much of my failure with the flute was due to my poor lung capacity, something that no one was aware of at that time. Course that was not the reason for my failure with the piano!! Anyway, the folks' sacrifice was not wasted - years later my brother, Stanley, used my flute. He learned to play very well and used it a lot.
My father was farming the ten acres where we were living plus working full time and also was busy with Church responsibilities while I was in high school. My oldest brother, Stanley, was eight years younger than I. He was too young to help so I became the "tomboy" of the family. I learned to drive the tractor, milked two cows twice a day for nearly two years, did a little plowing and raking hay, learned to use a pitchfork to move hay, etc. It was while we were gathering in hay and stacking it in the barn one afternoon that I had the first real attack of asthma that I can remember. It was a frightening experience although I didn't know for several years just what had happened. Dad didn't know what was happening either. He thought I was having gas pains so bound my middle to force the gas out. That only made the experience worse. I tried to remember to never mention that afternoon when he was around because he felt so bad about it.
I was chosen to play the lead in the school play one year. The only reason for the choice, I'm sure, was the fact that I had long hair. The play was titled, "Pigtails." It was fun but I was not a good actress. I remember a couple of times when the players (me included, or maybe only me) broke down in laughter right during the performance. Oh well, so it goes!
As I started my senior year of high school, there was a new janitor at the school. Mr. Scranton had been the janitor in the early days, then my Uncle George, and then Rusty Merrill, all "old" married men. The new janitor was Glen Lofgreen, recently discharged from the U.S. Army with a 50% disability. He had had rheumatic fever while he was in the army and, after a four-month hospital stay, had been discharged. It was too late for him to go back to the University of Arizona that fall. He had been a student there when he was drafted in the early days of World War II. My best friends in high school were my cousin, Garnet Trejo, and Jeanne Sadler. We ate our lunch on the lawn. The new janitor started dropping by to visit and get a few "hand-outs." Then one day he asked me for a date. I was really surprised.
My parents were not pleased with this new development. After all, he was seven years older than I and had been known by my folks for his hot temper and smart mouth when he was in high school and college. He and my Uncle George, the janitor at the time, had had some problems. Also he had been dating a girl whose reputation was questioned by some and it was rumored they were planning to get married when he returned from the service. My parents told me he was too old for me and that he was just looking for a wife, but they permitted me to go out with him.
So that first evening, just to make sure he had things straight, I told him that I would never marry him. We've had many laughs about that. In spite of that, or because of it, he asked me for other dates. He told me all of the boys at school had never asked me for a date because they were afraid of my father who had a reputation for being very strict, which he was. I tried hard to believe that was the only reason I had been such a wallflower. It helped some but didn't erase all of the hurt and insecurity. Glen went back to the University of Arizona for the spring semester but came home fairly often and we continued to date. He came home and took me to the prom that year - my first real date to such an affair! It was a very special evening for me.
It seemed that this last year of high school found me "locking horns" with my parents more often than ever, especially with my father. I had always been unwilling to accept the fact that I couldn't attend every ball game, party, etc. without first having to nearly beg for permission to go - and not always receiving it. It seemed that many of the "rules" were unreasonable and I was very willing to say so. Consequently, I often felt very alienated from the rest of the family, but stubbornly clung to my stand if I felt it was right and was willing to argue the merits of any situation. Though I loved and respected my parents, I disagreed with them many times. They had never been allowed to express such "disobedience" when they were young. Barbara had never really challenged them. Maybe because I was there to do it for her! I'm sure they felt they had failed to teach me many of the important lessons in life about respect for authority, being obedient, etc. as I said the things I felt I had to say even if my knees were shaking. I have told the younger ones in the family that they were the ones who benefitted from my "softening" the folks. Anyway, it is wonderful what a little time and a greater perspective can do to one's viewpoint. Now I recognize many of the pressures and reasons that lead to the "rules" I resented so much - and am waiting for my own children to reach that vantage point (this was written before any of them had their own families).
The busy, frustrating, joyous and bittersweet days of high school came to an end for me on 13 May 1943 when I was given my diploma and graduated as valedictorian of my class.
The next summer my sister, Barbara, and I lived with my grandmother, Tressie May Evans Post, in Tucson, Arizona. We needed to work to earn some money to help pay our expenses at the University of Arizona. Barbara had completed her first year at the University, and I had been accepted for the fall semester with the stipulation that I make up a deficiency in geometry. I worked at S. H. Kress Co. (a 5 & 10 cent store) as a salesgirl that summer. Many of the evenings were spent making up that deficiency in geometry. Glen was going to school at the University. He would come in the evenings to help me. Mathematics had never been my strong area and it didn't get that way during that summer either. As it turned out, Glen and Barbara worked my geometry problems after they mostly gave up trying to explain the principles to me. I made the punch or fixed other refreshments or just looked on, having no clue what they were doing. I turned the work in that they did to the St. David High School and dreaded the final exam with the little knowledge that I had. Because all of the assignments were done so well, the teacher decided to give me credit without an exam. So - Barbara and Glen had a good review of geometry and I entered the University of Arizona still totally ignorant of its principles.
Getting registered at the university was a traumatic experience for me. Their registration system was confusing and archaic. If it hadn't been for Barbara and Glen's help and their encouragement, I would have quit before I ever got started, but I didn't. For that I am very grateful. I enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, with a major in Nutrition.
That fall, on my seventeenth birthday, I received my patriarchal blessing from Edward Theodore Lofgreen, Glen's father and the Stake Patriarch. I was blessed thusly:
Book 1, No. 239, St. David, Cochise County, Arizona September 9, 1943."A blessing given by Patriarch Edward Theodore Lofgreen upon the head of June McRae, daughter of Walter S. McRae and Hazel Adeline Post, born September 9, 1926 in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona. "June McRae: As a servant of the Lord I place my hands upon your head and give unto you a patriarchal blessing as I shall be inspired of the Lord. "Great and wondrous is the power of God, and it shall be made manifest through-out your life, for you are one who is highly favored of the Lord. You are entitled to His companionship. "There is a great work ahead of you which will require a preparation on your part, a preparation not only by study, but a spiritual preparation as well. You have been fore-ordained to take a leading place among God's children. You shall be called to teach and instruct in various capacities within the Church. Apply your mind to the study of the scriptures; the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Likewise become acquainted with the teachings of different religions, with governments and with secular history, for in the work which lies ahead of you, you shall have need of this knowledge. "The day of calling has passed and the day of choosing is at hand. God has chosen you for this work. Cultivate the spirit of humility. Let love abound in your heart. Be meek and lowly, then will you obtain the spiritual preparations so necessary to your success as a leader and a director, not only among the people of the church, but to many of your associates in the world, for you shall be an educator, teaching not only in public schools but in Church institutions as well. Through your learning and your sincere devotion unto God and His work, you shall accomplish great good among the children of men. "You are of the House of Israel; the seed of Joseph through the loins of Ephraim, and all the blessings which were promised unto this chosen seed are yours to enjoy. Acquaint yourself with these many blessings and live worthy to receive them. "You shall see perilous times as the judgments of God are poured out upon the world, and those who are proud and haughty shall be brought down low unto the dust. They shall be brought to realize their own weaknesses, and the honest among them shall gladly accept the truth after they have been brought down in humility through much suffering. In these times you shall stand firm as the mountains around you. Your faith shall not be shaken, neither shall you be afraid, for the arm of the Lord shall sustain you. His spirit shall be your guide and companion, and through the strength that comes through clean living, and your love for the truth, you shall minister unto the afflicted. You shall comfort their aching hearts. You shall ease their pains, and shall feed them the bread of life eternal. "It shall be your privilege to associate and enjoy the company of the leaders in Zion. You shall also mingle with men and women of high rank and position in this nation, so be prepared to meet the situations as they shall come into your life. "A companion, one who holds the priesthood of God and honors it, shall select you as a help-meet. He shall assist you in your work. To him you shall be sealed in the temple of the Lord, and you shall be blessed with a family of noble sons and daughters who shall bear your name in honor. You shall be blessed with a peaceful home, one in which love shall abound. The good things of this earth shall be yours and you shall never want for the necessities of life. "You shall see the powers of Satan crushed, and you shall witness the time when peace shall prevail through the whole earth, and each man shall love his neighbor as himself. After the cleansing of the earth and the ushering in of this reign of peace, you shall rest with the people of God secure in the knowledge that you have God's divine approval, for you shall meet the Savior when He shall come on earth to reign, and you shall receive a blessing from His hands. "I seal you up unto eternal life, to glory and immortality in the Celestial Kingdom of God where you shall go on unto perfection, reigning as a goddess in the royal courts of Heaven. "I seal these blessings upon you and promise you in the name of the Lord, that if you give heed to the admonitions herein given and continue in faithfulness, not one jot nor tittle shall fall to the ground unfulfilled. This I do in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Approved, s/Edward T. Lofgreen
At this point I would like to write a few things about my parents. They are very special people. I can join with Nephi and all others who can make the claim that they were born of "goodly parents." I didn't appreciate them and their sacrifices for me enough while I was living at home, but my appreciation has grown steadily through the years since then. They always encouraged me, and the other children, towards excellence in the things which we did. They gave us the desire for education and learning. It was a great sacrifice for them to help the older ones of us to go to the university, but they did it and I never heard them complain. They taught by the example of their lives, the choices they made, their obedience to Church leaders, and their desire for their children to be the best and do the best that was possible. They will always be cherished!
Mother taught me how to crochet, embroider, quilt and sew, as well as the less interesting things like cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, etc. She always cut her own patterns for dresses out of a piece of newspaper just by looking at the picture in the catalog. I remember so well the first time she gave me a piece of material and let me make a dress on my own, also making my own pattern using the newspaper and a catalog. This was probably the summer before I started to high school or thereabouts. The material had a bright green background with a small floral pattern in other colors. I even remember the way it was made - also that it didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but I was proud of it and wore it anyway.
By their example, my parents taught me to work, to be honest, to have concern for others, and to be willing to do the things that were necessary in spite of how I might feel. We always had family prayer in our home. We were taught the principles of the Gospel in the things they said and by their example of obedience and total commitment. For these lessons, and many others, I am very grateful. I have always been proud of my parents, even when I disagreed with them so often about dating and other privileges when I was in high school, and I realize that they have been one of the great blessings of my life.
Well, back to the university! Barbara and I lived together that first year in Maricopa Hall, Room 338 (I think!). We both had to work to help meet expenses. I was a "page" (receptionist of sorts) for the girls' dorm next to the one where we lived. I worked many hours but was able to study "on the job" so it didn't interfere with my schoolwork. We attended church at the LDS Institute building and participated in the social activities there as members of Lambda Delta Sigma. Glen was also attending the university - his senior year. We continued to date and I also had a few (very few) other dates. Gas was still rationed so we could go home only if we went on the Greyhound Bus. Those were the years when I learned to dislike that mode of transportation immensely.
The next summer I was living again with my grandmother in Tucson. Being a year older I was able to get a job as a telephone operator with much better pay than the year before. I also learned, because of the mouthpiece that hung around my neck and rested on a base that hit just below the neck, that one side of my breastbone protruded more than the other (just one more of my abnormalities). It really got sore those first few weeks. Some of my other "deformities" are long arms which bend the wrong way and "hammer toes" (my children call them "curly-toe paralysis" feet).
The end of that summer brought Barbara's marriage to Kenneth Herbert Johns on 22 August 1944 at the Salt Lake Temple. He was in the Civil Air Patrol and was been stationed at an airbase near Tucson teaching cadets to fly. Some of the classes were held on the campus of the University and Kenneth also attended activities at the Institute, which is where they met. Their decision to get married at that time was a sudden one brought on by changes in leaves, assignments or something. The preparations were hectic and fast. Then the folks and Barbara left on the bus for Salt Lake City where she was to be married because the Arizona Temple was closed for the month of August. During all of the frenzy of preparations, Mother said to me, "June, when you decide to get married, I want a year's notice." I flippantly replied, "O.K., so I'm giving you my notice right now." I had no plans for anything of the sort at the time, but it turned out I was right on target.
That fall I went back to the University, back to #338 Maricopa Hall, but with a new roommate, Naomi Foster from Duncan, Arizona. Glen had graduated the previous spring and had been accepted as a graduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Before he left for the East, we had an understanding that we would get married the next summer. Neither of us can remember any great dramatics connected with the decision - it just seemed to evolve on its own. Anyway, I received an engagement ring via the United States Postal Service during the fall - really romantic!!!
Looking back, we have both realized that it was not a wise thing for us to become engaged while we were separated for such a long time. Once again I was in a situation of participating in the social activities at the Institute as a wallflower, which is not what I needed. I was still so very insecure in many ways and this arrangement didn't help that condition.
Anyway, the year passed with the usual course work, paging again, and activities at the Institute. My Zoology teacher asked towards the end of the year if I would be interested in being a laboratory assistant the next school year. I had to decline since my plans did not include another year at the University of Arizona.
That summer found me living at home again, working in the office at the Apache Powder Company, and making preparations for my wedding. Glen didn't get home from New York until later in the summer. We still hadn't set a definite date for our marriage. The Arizona Temple was closed for August and gasoline was still rationed. It appeared that we may have to go to one of the Utah temples. Then Glen found out they were having a special session at the Arizona Temple on August 21, even though the Temple was undergoing repairs on its air-conditioning system while it was closed. So that is the way our wedding date was selected! It just happened to be exactly one week after "V-J" day, the end of World War II.
The night before my wedding, the folks and I stayed with Aunt Martha and Uncle Willard Huish in Mesa. They were temple workers and the events of the day were, in a way, "old hat" to them, but it seemed to me that things were very hectic the next morning and I did not feel like I always thought a bride would feel, kinda special. My hair didn't curl right, things were misplaced, my dress not pressed, etc. We were a little late getting to the temple. Glen was sitting outside in the front of the building. He had almost decided that I wasn't going to show up. Before the day was over, I wasn't too sure I was glad that I did!
The weather in August in Mesa, Arizona is very hot. With no air conditioning in the temple, it was not very pleasant. Every time I moved my clothes were stuck to the seat so it wasn't long before I felt very much in disarray, downhill even from where I started earlier in the day! Later I found out that Glen had a tack in his shoe which gave him some extra misery. Eight couples were being married that day. One of the brides was wearing a beautiful white velvet gown with a train. The dress had to be extremely hot. She was very petulant and demanding of constant attention from the temple workers. This certainly did not add anything very uplifting to the experience. After all was said and done, the one good thing that could be said which, obviously, was far more important than anything else, was the fact that we were married as the Lord would have us be. And we knew we had the approval of our parents - another thing which was very important. Glen's mother, of course, was not with us. She passed away while he was in high school. I felt strongly that she knew about and approved of our temple marriage that day. Perhaps that was because Glen had expressed such a feeling.
The folks loaned us their car and provided some rationed gasoline so we could spend our wedding night in Phoenix. We stayed at the Sea Breeze Motel. The next day we went back to St. David. Our wedding reception was held in the old high school gymnasium. The most memorable thing about it was that the electricity went off and everything was in darkness until Dad went home and brought back his acetylene torch and a tank of fuel which he rigged up for a light. The other thing that I remember is that one of Glen's old girlfriends who was really nice looking came through the line. She told me "Congratulations!" but I don't think she even spoke to Glen, and she had even offered to join the Church to marry him!
Glen and I spent the next two weeks with his sister, Ouida May Matheson, and her two children. Her husband, Mac, was in the Army. She was living in St. David while awaiting his return to civilian life. She was very friendly and pleasant but I really didn't know her well and was very ill at ease while we were there. Ouida May was just younger than Glen. All of his other sisters and brothers were older, some of them were older than my parents so I really had very little in common with them. We were not around any of them very much so many years were to pass before I began to feel comfortable around them and then learn to really and truly enjoy visiting with them. Guess we deny ourselves many blessings by allowing time to slip away and making decisions based on the least effort required without fully appreciating and taking advantage of opportunities which come to us to enrich our lives.
When we left St. David, Glen and I traveled on a train from Tucson, Arizona to Ithaca, New York where we were both going to attend Cornell University. That trip was quite an experience - sleeping in a berth, our layover in Chicago where I couldn't even enjoy a movie for fear we'd miss the train, the many, many people, etc. - a young inexperienced country girl going far from family and hometown, feeling very much up-rooted and even more insecure. In addition there was a mix-up on our tickets which had some right information but some that was wrong. As I remember the tickets for the seats was right, but the ones for the berth were to Los Angeles, California, or something like that. I couldn't relax. I was sure someone was going to show up and claim our seats and we would be put off the train. The train was very crowded with some servicemen.>
Though there was nothing dramatic about our decision to marry and I do not have beautiful memories of my wedding, I know I have been truly blessed in having Glen for my husband. I started depending on him heavily on that trip from Arizona to New York and that has continued. During the many years since 21 August 1945, we have had many experiences, many ups and downs. I feel strongly to thank my Heavenly Father for my wonderful husband - for his strength, for his goodness, that he honors his priesthood, that he has been a good father, that he really cares about me and our children, that he always picked up after himself and helped keep things in order in the house. I have humbly recognized the fact that there have been times when our marriage may not have survived except for the fact that he has been such a strong, sturdy rudder for our "ship" as it sailed through some very rough and treacherous waters. How grateful I am for him; how I love him! I hope to be worthy of him in the eternities.
We did arrive in Ithaca as planned and we started housekeeping in an upstairs apartment at 102 Pearl Street. The family that had been living there, Asahel and Eva Woodruff and their two daughters, bought a house across the street. Glen had made arrangements through them before he went to Arizona to have the apartment saved for us. They had also put in a garden before moving so we enjoyed much of the produce from it. I made some sauerkraut using the hammer handle to tamp it into the jars and canned carrots and corn. Before the year was over we were very happy to have this canned food.
Going to college as a married woman living off campus was quite different than it had been while I was attending the University of Arizona. Even so, the two years spent at Cornell University hold some special memories. The university is located on a beautiful campus overlooking Cayuga Lake, one of the "finger lakes" of up-state New York. We didn't have a car until just before we left for the west again, so I really learned how to walk. Most of my association with other students was with the graduate students in the Animal Husbandry Department since that is where Glen was spending his time. They were all older than I, but were friendly and pleasant.
We hadn't been in Ithaca very long when we were asked to chaperone a party at the graduate fraternity house where Glen had lived the year before. What a joke! Obviously, it was only a formality because we didn't even have the "persuasion of years" to give any credence to our role of chaperones. But it was in the days when they had to have chaperones for all student activities, even graduate students.
The school of Home Economics at Cornell University was located in a very lovely new building which was part of the upper campus. As I remember, the upper campus consisted of the land-grant colleges and the endowed colleges were located in the lower campus. It was a long walk (run?) to get from a class in lower campus to one in the upper campus in the 10 or 15 minutes between classes, and my class schedule called for such exertion at times.
I still had a fear of walking alone at night which dated back to the time I had been so terribly frightened, so I would never go home alone after dark. Glen knew he could find me in the library of the Home Ec building. In the wintertime it was always quite dark before classes were over. As we walked home, Glen would ask if I would walk a portion of the way by myself if I knew a new car would be waiting for me. Even that was not sufficient incentive.
Once I had to write a paper on aging for a class in the Child Development and Family Relations Department. I didn't want to take a class in that department, but it was required to graduate. Since I spent a lot of time in the library waiting for Glen, I did a lot of reading for that assignment. When I got my paper back, the instructor wrote on the paper that it was outstanding but he questioned if I had actually read the references listed in the bibliography so he was lowering my grade. That was one of the few times I remember going to a teacher to complain about a grade I had been given!
One summer we decided to go swimming in a lake next to the campus, Beebe Lake. I had never learned to swim so Glen and Lorraine Gall, a graduate student, were going to teach me. They got on opposite sides of the fairly narrow inlet into the lake and, after giving me some verbal instructions, told me to swim from one to the other. I started but got tired because I couldn't breathe so decided to stop and rest a minute. To my surprise I just kept going down and down. In a very short moment Glen grabbed me and pulled me back to the surface. They hadn't told me there was a deep channel between them, never expecting me to quit part way across. That was the end of my swimming lessons!P>
Church in Ithaca was quite a different experience - my first time in a small branch. For a while Glen was the District Secretary so we also did some traveling to some of the other small banches in the area - met some nice people and ate some good food. In Ithaca the Sunday meetings were held in a building on campus. I think Glen gave one of the prayers nearly every Sunday we attended! Relief Society meetings were held at the various homes, but were called "Utah Women" meetings! Most of the members were from Utah, but being from Arizona, I surely didn't appreciate the name. I'm sure some of them thought it was more socially acceptable than the ordinary name of Relief Society, and that was important to them. Some of the members of the Church who I remember were Asahel and Eva Woodruff and their girls, Gail and Carolyn, the Dye family, George and Melba Hill, Jack and Reha Loosli and their family (he was also the chairman of Glen's graduate committee), Rhea Gardner, a graduate student in Home Economics, Mildred, another graduate student, who later married Al Hunter and was in Recife, Brazil while we were there, Fred Summers and his wife, Virginia Cutler and her two sons. She was a recent widow doing graduate work and she later became the head of the department at BYU (Home Ec Department, I think!).
While at Cornell, I was elected as a member of two national honorary societies, Omicron Nu and Phi Kappa Phi. In June 1947, I was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. I started my college work in nutrition but after I was married changed to a major in general Home Economics since I had no plans to work outside my home. Barbara and Kenneth brought the folks to New York to attend my graduation from Cornell. It was a most pleasant visit and a wonderful finale to my years of formal education
Some of our very good friends at Cornell were Merle and Della Brinegar from Nebraska. He was also a graduate student in Animal Husbandry and she worked in one of the offices of the Agricultural Economics Department. The summer of 1946 and after I graduated, I worked for Dr. Leland Spencer, a milk marketing specialist, who was also in the Ag Econ Department. We referred to the Brinegars as the "Vanderbilts" and we were always the "Astors" as we were eating our tuna fish sandwiches and other equally elegant fare. They were really fun and even though they did not go to Church, they started having prayer with us and even blessing the food when we ate at their place. Merle accepted a position with a commercial company and they moved to Lake Forest, Illinois where they still live. Della became very involved in marketing interior design products; their home was featured in one of the interior-design type magazines. They had two sons. It didn't take long before they moved "up" in the social world, but we have maintained some contact all of these years.
Just before Glen finished his work at Cornell, we bought a car - a 1942 Buick. What a wonderful "step-up" in the world for us.
After Glen received his Ph.D. in February 1948 - or after he finished the requirements and passed the oral exam (we didn't stay in Ithaca for the graduation ceremony) - we moved to Bozeman, Montana. He had accepted a position with Montana State College. We left Ithaca with all of our belongings in the back seat and trunk of the car. That was a terribly cold winter and storms across the northern states were bad, so we decided to go down the eastern seaboard and then west across the southern states. We were going back to Arizona to visit before we went to Montana. What a trip! We were in ice and snow all of the way until we got to the western part of Texas! We stayed in an old boarding house somewhere in Georgia one night. I couldn't sleep because I was sure someone was going to rob us during the night. Another night we stayed at a motel in Meridian, Mississippi. It wasn't even finished. We had no heat so nearly froze. We couldn't sleep so were going to leave early in the morning. The roads were covered with ice and we slipped on a slight hill just on the outskirts of town and slid into the embankment. With the help of ice cream salt which we carried in the turnk, we got turned around and went back into town to wait for things to warm up a little. The next night we slept in the car - Glen in the front seat and me on top of our things in the back seat sharing one blanket, i.e., we tried to sleep!
It was really wonderful to get back to Arizona again and spend some time visiting our families and friends. We traveled all over the southern part of the state visiting here and there. If I had known then that that was one of the few, or the only, time in our marriage that Glen would be a willing participant in such an activity, I would probably have enjoyed it even more, if possible.
We left Arizona and drove to Provo where we spent a night with my sister, Barbara, and her husband, Kenneth Johns. The weather reports weren't too good, but ignorance is bliss and the next day we drove to Bozeman, Montana via West Yellowstone. We drove for miles and miles without seeing anyone or anything except one dead wolf. The road had been plowed and the banks of snow were much higher than the car on both sides of the road. When we reached the fork in the road at West Yellowstone we had no idea which road to take because all of the road signs were covered by the snow banks. I don't remember if we inquired somewhere or if Glen just used his "homing pigeon" instincts to get us to Bozeman. When the "natives" learned when and how we had come, they couldn't believe we'd had so much nerve. We had no idea we were being brave, or foolish - we were just going where we had to be!
The next morning it was -34 degrees in Bozeman, but the sun was shining brightly. That was so much different from the dismal winter weather in the east where the sun went down in September and didn't appear again until the next spring. The rain just fell in New York - no thunder, no lightning! How I missed them. There is also a different atmosphere in the western states as compared to the east, and to me it is so much more enjoyable.
We found a nice, clean furished house to rent in Bozeman. The one piece of furniture that I remember was an old-fashioned square grand piano. It would have been nice to be able to take it with us when we left. I remember the delicious peas we had in the garden we planted that spring. I don't think that we have ever had any others quite so large nor quite so sweet.
The other thing I remember about living in Bozeman was teaching a primary class - all the boys from age 7-11 - what a challenge! Nearly every week I'd go home in tears vowing I wouldn't go back to teach again. The younger ones couldn't read very well and the older ones were not at all tolerant. It was so discouraging since the interests and abilities of the boys were almost totally incompatible. Once we went on a 5-mile hike - a suggested activity. I got the elders to go with us. I had no idea 5 miles were so long - the younger ones were having as difficult time as I was just trying to walk that far; the older ones were totally impatient. One of the older boys fell off a cliff which was frightening, but he wasn't seriously injured. I was really happy to get home again and then found I had Rocky Mountain ticks embedded in my legs! I had heard if you put a warm needle on them they would withdraw their heads. But I got the needle so hot it killed them before they got their heads out so we had to dig them out.
Glen was not happy with the position at Montana State. They had made promises that he found had no basis in reality. He debated a long time about whether to leave at the end of the quarter, but we finally decided that would be the best thing to do. He was offered a position at Washington State University at Pullman, Washington. So we drove over there for him to have an interview. That trip was through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Glen made no commitment to them while we were there.
Texas A&M and the University of California had also made offers. Glen arranged to meet the head of the Department from Texas in Yellowstone Park where he was vacationing. We loaded our belongings in the car again, drove to Yellowstone Park for that interview and then on to Davis, California for another interview, still not knowing where we would be going. This was in August 1948. My sister, Dona, had come to visit us so she was along for our travels. She and I waited in the "quad" on the Davis campus of the University of California while Glen was being interviewed. Naturally, I was very anxious to learn his reaction to the interview, but was quite surprised when he came back to tell us he had signed a contract. So Davis, California was to be our new home as of 1 September 1948.
We drove on to St. David, Arizona to take Dona home, driving on the highway right along the coast for a good part of the trip to southern California. The road was narrow and crooked and we met quite a few lumber trucks which presented some problems but the scenery was nice and the trip enjoyable. The one night we spent enroute we made a bed on the ground next to the car - it was still safe to do such things in those days. We were all three going to share the same bed. Glen and I really laughed about Dona - she was afraid to sleep on the outside and too embarrassed to sleep between us. When we awakened the next morning our blankets were really wet from the heavy dew. We should have thought of that since we were right on the edge of the ocean, but we didn't.
We didn't stay very long in St. David since we needed to get back to Davis and find a place to live. This time we made the trip right up through the central valleys, the most direct route. It was miserably hot. We had no air conditioning in the car; it was unheard of in those days! I'll always remember how good the "Big Orange" stands looked. They were built in the shape of and painted the color of an orange. They sold cold orange juice, fresh oranges and other such things. We didn't have the time or the money to stop at them, but I was so hot it was tempting.
In Davis we found a small one-bedroom home in what was known as Asbill Court. It was very close to the railroad tracks, old, not well-kept and poorly furnished, but did have one thing in its favor, the cost of renting it. As I remember we started paying around $30.00 per month.
The months we spent there were memorable, mostly because I was pregnant with all of the normal problems of "morning (also afternoon and evening) sickness." We had a constant battle with cockroaches and every time we sprayed around the floorboards, etc. I was totally miserable. Looking back, I'm sure at least part of the problem was my lungs, but we weren't aware of that being a factor. Glen was very patient with me through all of this, often cooking dinner himself when he got home. Another thing I remember about that little home was the stove, two burners with an oven underneath. There was no regulator on the oven so we bought a thermometer and put it inside the oven. It was a gas stove so the oven temperature was regulated by adjusting the gas just the same as the burners were, but we had to open the oven door to see the thermometer. Baking such things as cream puffs took some ingenuity, but we learned to do it! Being so close to the railroad tracks, the train noises became part of our life.
At this time we were members of the Sutter Ward in the Sacramento Stake. There was no unit of the church in Davis. Besides the two of us, the only other active members living in Davis were a few students, some married and others not. Bill and Donna Edwards and Dave and June Carson became our good friends. Dave and Bill were both graduate students. Wally Tyler was one of the single students.
Glen has always been enthusiastic about sports, both as a participant and as a spectator. At this time he started playing basketball in a city league in Sacramento. This gave us a lot of association with another young couple living in Sacramento, Jim and Vivian Franklin, who were also members of the Church. We spent quite a lot of time with them.
And one other friendship started at this time which has continued through all these years - that with Warren and Veloy McCray. They lived in West Sacramento. He was a building contractor. Guess the "chemistry" was right because we associated with each other a great deal over the next few years and still correspond, at least during the holidays.
Our first child, a daughter whom we named Gay, was born 28 April 1949 while we were still members of Sutter Ward. She was born in Woodland, Yolo County, California. Before Gay was born we had moved into a small house at 612 C Street, so this is where we brought her home when we left the hospital. She was a good baby but in perpetual motion almost from the beginning. We took her everywhere - to church, ballgames, picnics, parties - and she adapted to everything very well. Gay was always very outgoing, very sure of herself, full of curiosity, never knowing a stranger. She started talking when she was eight months old and recited short nursery rhymes at one year. There were no other children in our small group of close friends so we didn't even know this was quite unusual. June Carson who had been married eight years but still had no children, became Gay's second mother until she finally had a long-wished for child of her own about a year later.
Gay was about 18 months old when the people in Davis were transferred to Woodland from the ward in Sacramento and that small branch was made into a ward. This began another special phase of our lives. Glen was called as the ward clerk in the new Woodland Ward, a position he held only a short time before being sustained as the second counselor to the Bishop, Melvin West. This was when I had to start tending Gay in church meetings without Glen's help. The pattern continued as long as we had young children.
On 14 August 1951, Carli Lofgreen, our second daughter joined the family. She was also born in Woodland, Yolo County, California and we were still living at 612 C Street in Davis. Where Gay had brown hair and dark eyes, Carli had blue eyes and light hair which took quite a while deciding just what color it would be. She had dark hair when she was born but for at least a year or so you could find blonde, brunette and red in her hair. She was as quiet and reticent as Gay was outgoing. Her first "word" was "dup" which meant anything and everything; her first real word was "scissors." We were always amazed at that. She started walking at nine months, the same age as Gay was when she walked, but Carli went about it very differently. There were not weeks of trial and error; she just waited until she was confident enough and then started walking. We learned very early that children are so very different, that there is no "mold" into which they all fit.
With just the two little girls we still went many places. Glen still played ball in Sacramento and we were very busy and involved in the affairs of the young Woodland Ward. Construction was started on the new chapel in Woodland. In the meantime we met on the third floor of the I.O.O.F. building. There are many memories of meetings, socials, etc. connected with the months that this building was used. We found the people who lived in Woodland, those who had been in the small branch, to be warm and friendly and gracious. Many enduring friendships started at this time.
In May of 1953, on the 25th, we welcomed our third daughter, Kjersti Lofgreen. She was born in the Woodland Memorial Hospital as her older sisters had been. In the early months of this pregnancy I had threatened to have a miscarriage. In fact, the doctor was quite sure it would happen, but not sure just when so for several weeks I had to be extremely careful. Then when it was time for Kjersti to be born, I experienced a pre-mature separation, very indicative of the little girl who was joining our family - one never content to do things just because it was the accepted way; one who wanted to know the "whys" and "wherefores" right from the beginning. She was a real challenge; one that I didn't always feel very capable of handling.
We brought Kjersti home from the hospital when she was about five days old. That same evening President Perry Tingey, the Sacramento Stake President, came to visit us to ask Glen to be the bishop of the Woodland Ward. Glen was very reluctant to take on such a responsibility but we both knew that he must, that we could not turn down a request from the Lord. So, once again, a new phase of our lives began. Glen served as a bishop for the next five years - years that would prove to be rewarding and frustrating, but certainly a time of maturing in the gospel in many ways and coming up short in others.
He was a very good bishop, serving concientiously and well, but some of the very traits that served him well as a
bishop began to cause problems in our relationship. He felt strongly about keeping things pertaining to his call confidential, which was good, except it resulted in less and less conversation between the two of us so our communication deteriorated badly. The time came when we were each going our own way, taking care of our own responsibilities but growing further and further apart because we just didn't talk except as necessity demanded or about trivial things. These were difficult years for me. Looking back on them always leaves me with a feeling of dismay and guilt because of my immaturity and inability to see the situation in a better perspective. Many of my old feelings of inferiority were renewed at this time and would cause some serious problems in our marriage in the next few years. I have always given Glen the credit for our being able to survive this period with our marriage and our testimonies intact. He was the steadying rudder, the anchor. He was patient and kind even though he didn't understand nor realize the extent of my frustration. I am very thankful to the Lord for the blessing of having him for my husband.
With three little girls I began to stay home more. Glen became so busy with his new responsibilities that he gave up playing ball in Sacramento. The group of church members in Davis was growing and there were many activities to keep us busy, both in Woodland and with the group in Davis. The chapel in Woodland was dedicated a few months after Glen became bishop. The Woodland Ward grew quite rapidly with the bulk of the growth coming as members moved into Davis where both the university and the town were expanding.
In December of 1953 we went home to St. David for Christmas for a family reunion. It was the last time all of the family would be together. The following May my oldest brother, Stanley, was killed in an automobile accident as he was returning to Tucson from a Lambda Delta Sigma conference in Flagstaff. He was only twenty years old. I took the girls and went to St. David for his funeral. Dona Lee had already set the date for her wedding in June so I stayed to help. That was a difficult time because the folks were burdened with so much grief over Stanley's death. I made Dona's wedding dress and tried to take care of as many details as I could, even baking and decorating the wedding cake. Glen came down for the wedding and took us home. I was so exhausted that I was actually ill; it took several weeks to get over all of the strain.
We were still in the Woodland Ward when our fourth daughter arrived. Denise Lofgreen joined our family on 16 May 1955, also at the Woodland Memorial Hospital in Woodland, California. She was our blithe spirit, totally dedicated to enjoying herself and the world from the earliest days. Years later I came to the oft-expressed conclusion that the Lord must have had a general "house-cleaning" in 1955, sending many of his children who were "characters" for their turn on earth. We were fortunate to have one of them join our family.
The summer Denise was born with the help of a loan from my parents, we were able to buy a home, our first, at 822 Miller Drive in Davis. We were always grateful to the folks for their generosity and willingness to help us but we did feel much better when that loan was totally repaid with a little interest. We enjoyed this home, added on to it later on and lived in it all the rest of the time we were in Davis.
In 1957, the Woodland Ward was divided and the new Davis Ward was created. Glen was the first bishop. We started holding meetings in a house on B Street that had been remodeled to accommodate church meetings. The Davis Ward had a high percentage of activity and before long the meetings were changed to the I.O.O.F. Hall when the house became inadequate.
On 24 April 1958, our fifth daughter joined the family. Lani Lofgreen was also born in the Woodland Memorial Hospital in Woodland, California. She was much more subdued than her older sister, Denise, but very determined. Only one of the other girls matched her in this department and that was Carli. I always think of Lani's eyes when I remember her early years. They were large and lovely but would become enormous when she didn't feel well which seemed to happen fairly often.
Lani was just a few months old when we left Davis in August of 1958 to spend a year in Hawaii. Glen was on sabbatical leave from the University of California. He had just been released as bishop just prior to our leaving Davis. This year was a blessing in our lives, a time when Glen and I learned to communicate with each other again. I feel strongly that it was a very special gift from the Lord. Glen had wanted to go to Norway and had filed all the necessary papers with the State Department. Some official inadvertently buried them in a pile of papers on his desk and they weren't signed in time to meet the deadline. Kenneth Otagaki, a former graduate student of Glen's, was back in Hawaii working for the State. He had been trying to get Glen to come there for the year so when plans to go to Norway fell through, there were some alternate arrangements made quickly and we were off to Honolulu. Glen always said the events showed the power of prayer. He was praying to go to Norway, the rest of us were praying to go to Hawaii, so he was outnumbered.
In Honolulu we lived right on the campus of the University of Hawaii in half of an old army barracks that had been moved on campus to provide temporary housing. There were four of the buildings with two families in each, a little community of our own. Our children attended Manoa School which was located in Manoa Valley, not far from the campus. We belonged to the Waikiki Ward with Lowell Christensen as bishop. We'd been in the Islands about three weeks when Glen had to return to the mainland for some meetings. He was sustained as a counselor in the bishopric the day he came back to Hawaii, in fact, they held sacrament meeting longer than usual waiting for his plane to land because it was late. This seemed to be quite a burden at the time but proved to be a real blessing. Once again we knew the Lord was mindful of us.
Our year in Hawaii was a real highlight. We were able to relax and enjoy ourselves as a family more than we ever had. The members of the church were open and friendly and it was good to see the "real" side of Hawaii, not just the shallow view seen by most tourists. We were able to attend the temple often. We were in Hawaii when it became a state in 1959, a unique experience. The entire year was rich in blessings of friendships and experiences. We have so many fond memories.
The next year we were back in Davis with Glen on the High Council and teaching early morning seminary in Woodland and me involved in church work and the family. We were once again back in the old familiar "rat race." The big difference was that we were much more capable of coping with it now - or should I say, I was! Things never deteriorated again as they had earlier although we were just as busy, demands were as great, or greater, since our family was larger and in addition to church callings we had the activities of the girls to support as well as our own.
During this period I was called to be the Relief Society president, one of the more demanding positions in the church. Glen was beginning to have to do quite a bit of traveling in connection with his work. Since he was the early-morning seminary teacher, I filled in for him whenever he was out of town. For the first time ever, I began to experience some of the joys of teaching. I had never had a particularly good attitude about teaching because of my earlier experiences and was bothered by what I had been told in my patriarchal blessing. Construction was started on a chapel in Davis. It was still during the time when member participation in the actual construction was encouraged so this took a great deal of time and effort.
I thought I was totally saturated with responsibilities, but the Lord didn't agree. On 13 February 1962, we welcomed the last of our family, our twins, Larry Allen and Laurie. They also greeted us at the Woodland Memorial Hospital, but in a new addition which housed the new maternity ward. We hadn't expected twins. They were delivered by Dr. Pye (he and Dr. Elzey had delivered all of our children) who was very surprised there were two. I was so large and uncomfortable during this pregnancy that very early I thought I was carrying twins but had finally decided I was just getting old and would probably have a huge baby.
All during this pregnancy I had deep phlebitis in my legs. They were swollen and miserable all the time. I had to put my shoes on the first thing in the morning to get my feet into them. I remember having to lift my legs one at a time with my hands to get them into the car and then shedding tears because they hurt so, but I was far too busy and there were too many demands to quit so I just kept going. Just a few hours after the twins were born I started getting very sick. The doctor thought I'd had a heart attack because of the pain in my chest which radiated down my arms. The next day an x-ray showed that I had a blood clot in my right lung. It apparently broke loose from my leg and had gone through my heart before lodging in my lung and blocking the lower lobe of the right lung.
I had always nursed my babies and had always had so much milk (a real cow!) so thought I'd nurse even when there were two. My plans were changed abruptly with this new development. I was not allowed to even hold the babies. I was given heparin injections to thin my blood and was not allowed to sit at all and had to keep moving whenever I was standing. I was really hungry and ate everything in sight but lost four pounds every day (that part wasn't so bad; it hasn't happened since). We spent ten days in the hospital and were allowed to leave then only because a good friend in Davis, Bonnie Huffaker, who was a R.N., was willing to come every day and give me my heparin shot. I weighed 110 pounds when I got home, but that weight has only been a dream since shortly after that time. When we went home I was still supposed to walk or lie down, not sit. That made taking care of the babies quite a chore. Mother had often come to help when the babies were born but we had decided we could manage by ourselves this time, not knowing we would have twins. Glen did all that he could to help but was really getting tired. Mother offered to come and I accepted. I always said that she walked in the front door and Glen walked into the bedroom and slept for twenty-four hours.
When I knew I was pregnant I talked to the bishop, Francis Broadbent, to see if I should be released as the Relief Society president. Not expecting any complications, we decided it wouldn't be necessary so I continued to serve in that capacity until the twins were about fifteen months old. Every day was a challenge. There was no time to worry about how I was going to get things done, I just had to keep going!
Then in the spring of 1963, Glen was put in the Stake Presidency. This made such demands on him that he could no longer teach seminary. The bishop released me as the Relief Society president and asked me to teach seminary. This was Gay's freshman year in high school and her first year in seminary. She couldn't believe that I was going to be the teacher, expressing more than once that I didn't know enough. She was right! The course that year was the Old Testament and all I had was a very superficial knowledge of the book. So the calling required many hours of study and preparation, but what blessings came - a real love of the Old Testament, a stronger testimony of the gospel and a new thrill as I experienced the joys of teaching. I may not have done the students much good but it was a very significant experience for me, another testimony that the Lord is always mindful of us.
The next two years passed rapidly. I continued to teach seminary and Glen to serve in the stake presidency. Carli joined Gay in high school and at seminary. The ward had grown enough that we now had two seminary classes. I taught the juniors and seniors, my choice!
Then came the time for another sabbatical leave. This time we went to Recife, Brazil after spending a few days in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and many new experiences awaited us there. We spent about two weeks in the hotel in Boa Viagem, a suburb of Recife. Each day a driver would come to take me to look at places to rent until I found one. That was quite an experience, the way he drove, the poverty I saw, the beautiful homes and buildings with squalor right next to them, all in addition to the problems of communicating. We did find a nice house to rent in Boa Viagem. Because of the exchange rate, Glen had to take a small suitcase to pay the rent in order to accommodate the large number of cruzerios required. There was so much to learn, how to go about getting groceries, getting to church meetings, the need for a maid and then hiring one and learning to communicate with her, etc. After I got over the early "open wounds" as I called them caused by the things I saw, I really enjoyed the time in Brazil. I studied Portugese with a language teacher, lessons paid for by the Rockefeller Foundation who was sponsoring Glen's sabbatcial leave, but never did become proficient in it. I could read and write and had a fairly good vocabulary on paper, but didn't have the "ear" for speaking it. I was never good with phonetics in English and my ability did not improve when it came to a foreign language.
Church meetings in Brazil were quite an experience, different in many ways but a good experience. The first Sunday we were at the hotel in Boa Viagem, Milton Soares, the branch president, came to pick us up to go to church. We all piled into the jeep-type vehicle he was driving and had no idea where we were going. I didn't understand a word of what was being said except when he spoke in English. After meetings, the members split the family up, putting us in three different vehicles. Finally I understood we were going somewhere to eat. We went to the home of one of the members. The food was strange, the children couldn't understand any more than I could, it was difficult. Since we were the honorees, everyone waited for us to serve ourselves first. Kjersti, who was at a most rebellious stage, refused to eat and made some rude comments about the food and then left the house. I nearly died from embarrassment and concern about where she was, wanting her to come back but dreading it if she did. She did show up later after we had eaten. I still have no idea where she went. Sundays did get better after that initial one and the members seemed to accept us well in spite of it. Before our year was over, I began to be able to understand quite a lot of what was said at meetings. We tried to participate in everything. Glen was assigned a jeep to drive, but I couldn't drive, nor did I want to try. He had to go early to priesthood meeting so the rest of us went to church in taxis. We had to take two because they were mostly small Volkswagens. We had been in Recife a short while when Glen was asked to serve in the branch presidency with Moacyr Soares as the branch president. He learned to speak Portugese quite well and was able to communicate both at church and in his work. He always did have a better "ear" than I did for such things, but he surely had a special blessing to be able to accomplish what he did.
Later, Kelton and Thelma Harris and their family came to Recife. He had come as a construction missionary. Thelma was originally from St. David, a second cousin of mine. This was a real blessing to us as well as to the branch. His assignment was to build a chapel in Recife. We all helped with the construction when there were things we could do, even the twins who were only four years old at the time "helped."
Iraja Soares, the oldest son of Milton and Irene Soares, was on a construction mission when we arrived in Recife. After we had been there quite some time, his father came to talk to us about him. He had been asked to serve a proselyting mission if possible. His father said he could not afford to send him so Glen and I said that we would. It was a privilege, in our opinion, to have a missionary in the field. Iraja went to Chile. He was the first Brazilian to go out of the country on a mission. He later became a bishop, stake president and regional representative. After he returned from his mission, we wrote to Moacyr Soares who was the branch president in Recife (we were back in the United States by then) and said we would like to send another young man on a mission. We suggested Leonardo Araujo. What a disappointment when President Soares wrote back that he was not worthy to go because he had stolen a shirt from a missionary. Whether he had or not, we felt he could have been encouraged to become worthy and it would have been a great blessing in his life, but unfortunately, this is not the way things were done in Recife, at least not at that time. Leo had been in our home many times and was a fine young man.
I learned an important lesson in Brazil about associating with others, which I should have realized earlier. The wife of the head of the group Glen worked with, Lorraine Fulton, an American, used the most profane and vulgar language in her every day conversation. It was most objectionable, but we were in no position to say anything about it and were frequently exposed to it. Unfortunately, after a lot of exposure to such language, I found those words and phrases coming to mind frequently. It was not until after we were home for some time that I was able to free myself of them.
It was good to get back to the United States after our year in Brazil. We flew back to New York where Glen had some "de-briefing" meetings. The Statue of Liberty had more meaning than it ever did. We wished that those who complained about the United States could be required to spend some time in another country so they would learn to appreciate and understand just how blessed the people of this nation are. We spent a few days in New York, saw a Broadway show and some of the sights of the big city, and then flew to Arizona to pick up our car. We had left it with the folks when we went to Brazil. Back in Davis again, we were soon busy with the usual church and school activities. I was asked to teach seminary again and Glen was put on the high council. I thought the next time we left Davis would probably be another sabbatical leave, if Glen decided to take another one. I was wrong!
On New Year's Day in 1967, Glen was trimming the poplar trees in our back yard. He came in and showed me his ankles. They were terribly swollen. He kept getting worse. He thought he may be having another bout of rheumatic fever, but when he went to the doctor the tests for that were not positive. In fact, the doctors had no definite answers. His condition continued to worsen until he could not get out of bed on his own, turn over, walk, or even hold a spoon or fork unless it were put in his hand for him. And he started getting huge red lumps all over his legs which were hard and hot to the touch. The doctors had about decided to put him in the Veterans Hospital to try to find some answers. Glen had had a re-occurrence of rheumatic fever in 1956. At that time, after trying pencillin injections, he had been put on oral penicillin. When we went to Brazil, we thought we had enough medication to last for the year we were there but he ran out about two weeks or so before we left. By the time we got home, got ourselves somewhat organized again, etc., he had been without it for some time. We wondered if this may have had some bearing on the problem. Anyway, at this point, President Crandall, our stake president, and our bishop, Vern Marble, came to the house to give Glen a blessing. He had not asked for one. He maintained he did not have enough faith. It was nothing short of a miracle what happened after that. It still took some time for him to fully recover, but things immediately took a turn for the better. We were greatly blessed once again!
After a short while, Glen was out of bed most of the time but had still not been able to go back to work. At this time Kjersti went to the home of Bonnie and Larry Slade after school on certain days to baby-sit while Bonnie was teaching piano lessons. The Slades had a girl about four years old and a small baby, two or three months old. One day when she was there, she checked the baby and found she had stopped breathing. Kjersti picked her up and took her to Bonnie who grabbed the baby, became hysterical and ran out of the house. Kjersti called me and said, "I killed the baby." I will never forget the feelings I had. I had just put some pies in the oven so asked Glen to take them out, grabbed my purse and ran out the door. Gay and her current boyfriend drove up just then. I motioned for them to follow me but she thought I was just angry and went into the house first. Glen told them to follow me. When I got to the Slades, Kjersti was quite beside herself. I tried to calm her down and then told Gay and Carlyle to take her home where Glen could try to help her. Then I went looking for Bonnie and the baby. They were at one of the neighbor's who had been trying to call the ambulance. It was not available. They called the firemen who came soon afterward. The doctor arrived too. The baby needed to go to the hospital in Woodland so they put her in the back of my station wagon and I drove to the hospital with the doctor and a fireman working on the baby all the way. A police escort picked us up just outside of Woodland and cleared the way to the hospital. That was a trip I will never forget. The baby died, Sudden Death Syndrome. I will always be grateful for Bonnie and Larry. In their grief, they got in touch with Kjersti and assured her there was nothing she could have done to save the baby. The doctor had already told me that, but it really hadn't helped her much until they told her. Even so, it weighed heavy for a long, long time.
As a result of Glen spending nearly four months in bed, another major change came into our lives. He had time to think about his work and to consider many things. This was a time of upheaval on many university campuses. It was bad in Berkeley and was spilling over onto the Davis campus. The attitude of many students was not good. Glen was not enjoying his teaching assignments at all. His satisfaction came in his research. So he decided he would ask to be transferred to the Imperial Valley Field Station. He was a full professor so would not need to buck for promotion and felt he could provide a needed service to the cattlemen of the area. He asked me what I thought about it and naturally I told him that I would go wherever he wanted to go. There have been times when I have wondered about the wisdom of saying that! When he finally convinced the department head that he was serious about going, it was decided that we would move during the semester break the end of January 1968. Hubert Heitman, the department head, told him to not think he would just be able to come back in a few years. Glen said he would leave the university first.
It was very hard for me to leave Davis. My roots were very deep there. We had many good friends and a home and my plans had been to stay there, at least until another sabbactical leave came along, if it did. But we left and found new friends, new challenges, and some rewarding experiences. We lived on the Field Station between El Centro and Holtville. Gay had graduated from Davis High School in 1967 so was in her freshman year at BYU. She spent only a couple of summers with us in the Imperial Valley. The other children attended school in Holtville. Our church meetings, doctors, music lessons, etc. etc. were in El Centro so I started spending a good part of most days driving between Holtville and El Centro, often putting one hundred miles or more on the car in a day.
Rufus D'Albini was the bishop when we started attending El Centro Ward. His wife, Nellie Pederson D'Albini, is Glen's cousin. We hadn't been in the ward long when he talked to me about Primary. I had never enjoyed my experiences in Primary and told him so. He said, "Oh, that's good." His reaction surprised me but I understood a while later when I was asked to be the Stake Primary President; he thought the stake president would change his mind calling me to that position. It was pointed out to me that I wouldn't be dealing with the children, but with adults. It turned out to be quite an eventful and enjoyable call. We were members of the Yuma Arizona Stake which covered a large area from Parker, Arizona on the north to Hyder Branch on the east, Yuma and the Imperial Valley. Primary was held during the week at that time. With my board members, I did a lot of traveling and most of the driving. We had some good times in the car and while visiting the various primary meetings, especially those in the smaller branches. We also traveled to Salt Lake City one year to attend the General Primary Conference which they still held at that time. That was a choice experience, more because of the association with the others on the board than what we learned in the conference.
After the stake primary calling, I worked in the Relief Society and then was asked to teach seminary again which I did for a couple of years and once again had the pleasure and the challenge of teaching. It was during this time that I had to start wearing glasses - and that was a real challenge in my life - no glasses to bifocals in one step!! I almost gave up ever getting used to them, but time passed and I made it!
I had some health problems while we were living in the Imperial Valley. We had not been here long when it became so difficult to breathe that I could not keep going. Glen took me to Dr. Hayworth who sent me to the hospital for a treatment on the "bird machine" and told me I had to have some help to live here because this was not a good place for asthmatics. While we were living in Davis, a doctor had finally told me that I had asthma, that explained why I had never been able to do some things like blow the flute, run very far, etc. Dr. Hayworth suggested that I see Dr. Millman in San Diego, which I did. He was able to give me medication to keep me going after giving up on allergy injections which did not help me at all, but I continued to have some fairly severe problems. Finally he determined that they must be caused by a bacteria because he had ruled out most of the other probable causes. Anyway, he prescribed erthromycin as a general antibiotic to see if it would help. I am allergic to penicillin so he couldn't use it. Guess what! I was also allergic to the erthromycin. I got really sick while I was trying to finish up Kjersti's sewing for college. As soon as I finished I got on the bed without helping her pack. Glen insisted on taking me to the hospital. After some tests, the doctor decided I had a very nervous stomach, was allergic to the antibiotic, and probably needed a hysterectomy. I had been seeing different doctors for various things. This was the first doctor who listened to all of my problems. He was here just a short time working with Dr. Hayworth. He suggested a good gynecologist in San Diego, Dr. Wetzel, who confirmed the diagnosis. When Dr. Millman heard that I was scheduled for surgery, he was quite concerned. He had me come to his office prior to going to the hospital and they ran some tests and prepared some information for me to take to the hospital. He said that they would not have time to do it at the hospital and it was critical. Guess it was a good thing he had done that or I may not have made it because my lungs went into spasms during the surgery. It took a long time for me to regain my strength.
Our four oldest girls were married while we were living in the Imperial Valley. Each of their weddings, receptions, etc. brings back memories, both good, sad and humorous. I spent many hours sewing on dresses for Gay and Kjersti. Denise wanted to buy hers. Carli was not married in the temple so I didn't make one for her. She was sealed after a year. We gave her the material for a temple dress, but she made it. Brent J Slade, Robert Walter Williams, Christopher H Bacon and James Clarence Gollmer joined the family in that order. Having son-in-laws was a new challenge. I'm sure that I have been as much a challenge for them as they have been for me. They have provided a new dimension to our lives, that is for sure.
The department at Davis started asking Glen to return to teach short courses and even suggested that he come back to Davis. He was not interested in doing that at all, not even interested in moving to another research station closer to the campus. I was also "weaned" away from Davis so did not particularly want to go back. When Glen was approached about going to Clayton, New Mexico to work, my only concern was the fact that there was no church in Clayton. Larry and Laurie still had three years of high school to finish so they would have no support from other members in the school. I disliked the heat in the summer so much in the Imperial Valley that I did not mind leaving. We finally made the decision to move. We had two cars at this time so both Glen and I had to drive, with Lani helping. We left the Imperial Valley in July of 1977 and drove to Arizona to visit briefly with the folks and then on to El Paso, Texas where we spent a night with Denise, Jim and Britt. We arrived in Clayton the next evening and spent the night in a motel. Our furniture arrived the next day. While it was being unloaded, the girls and I went into Clayton to buy groceries. Prices were so high that they were a real shock, and we had always thought California was where prices were high!
The office building was not finished so Glen set up an "office" of sorts at the house. Clayton proved to be a difficult move for me. I always said that if I hadn't spent some time in the Imperial Valley, I would never have survived moving directly from Davis to Clayton. After being involved with church callings and other people a lot, I had to learn to know myself because I was by myself a lot. There were no close neighbors. We lived on the Research Center. Jimmy Butt was the only other person who lived there. I had nothing in common with him. In fact, when we first arrived he had informed me that if I left his barn, etc. alone, he'd leave my house alone. I was quite content to stay away from him. I visited with the people at the post office, grocery store and when I was shopping. They were all friendly and became my social contacts. Many of them smoked when we first went to Clayton, in the bank and some of the stores, so I had to be careful because of my allergy to smoke.
The thing that really saved me in Clayton was having Elizabeth and Dale Kartchner in Amarillo. Even though Elizabeth was my sister, I didn't know her well. After all, she was only five years old when I went to the university! I would go to Amarillo and we'd go shopping together or just visit. I really enjoyed all of her family. Later on I stayed with them quite often while trying to help at Miller National, the printing company they bought. Glen was very good about my being gone so much.
Clayton was a small town. Larry and Laurie were involved in the school activities and had good friends in the high school. While they were building the feedmill on the Research Center, a young man from Clayton who had been attending school at Las Cruces worked for the contractor. He started coming to our house quite often; he was interested in Laurie. Dick Lawrence started going to church with us. We were members of Raton Branch, ninety miles from Clayton. I think he first started going to try to figure out why we would drive so far to attend church. He was majoring in wild life at New Mexico State University so wanted to be out enjoying nature on the weekends. We had many gospel discussions. After some time he was converted to the church but there were no missionaries to give him the lessons. When he went back to Las Cruces, he found the missionaries and asked for the lessons and said he wanted to be baptized. He was a "golden" convert; went on a mission (Kjersti and Robert helped us support him), married in the temple and is still active. When I would wonder aloud why we were in Clayton, Dick would always say it was for his benefit.
Talk about putting miles on a car! The thirteen years we lived in Clayton were years of driving long miles to attend our church meetings, to be at Larry's football games, to go to Amarillo to visit or shop, even to go to Clayton for groceries, to see the doctor, to shop, to attend school activities, or whatever. We really got our fill of traveling.
Our two youngest daughters married while we were in Clayton. Their weddings were different than the other girls because they were not followed by receptions in Clayton where we lived. Laurie and Darrell's recpetion was in Salt Lake City where his folks lived. We had an open house at the Kartchner residence in Amarillo for Lani and Sam. After all, Elizabeth had been the one who introduced them so it was only fitting. So two more son-in-laws joined the family: Darrell Thayn Moon and Samuel Gibbs Street. By this time I had had a lot more practice with son-in-laws than they had had with a mother-in-law so I had the upper hand, for a while!
Also during this time, Larry went on his mission to Korea. He had decided that he wanted to be a ski bum after he graduated from high school (spend his time skiing). We said he would have to finance that activity himself and we would not provide him with a car. So he went to BYU where he had accepted a good scholarship, but he really didn't want to be there and found some graphic ways to emphasize that point. The next spring he turned in his mission papers and accepted his mission call. It was a big relief when he finally entered the Mission Training Center. Unfortunately, his mission came at a time when the Church changed the length of missions from two years to one and a half years. Larry had not been out a full year so had no choice other than to come home after eighteen months. While he was on his mission he made some wonderful changes in his outlook on a number of things. We could see the Lord working with him and were so very grateful for another great blessing.
I spent many hours working on family history while we lived in Clayton even though there were no libraries to use or any other facilities other than correspondence and the telephone. I always told Glen he had to pay the high telephone bills as the price for my living in Clayton. He was very good about it. It was a rewarding thing to do (both the research and using the telephone). Having been interested in genealogy for many years, I felt it was a worthwhile use of my time. As a result of my interest, I tried to help some other people who needed information from Clayton and found there were almost no records available. That led to my decision to abstract the vital records from the old newspapers that were stored in the dome of the courthouse. I was given permission to do so and became almost a fixture at the courthouse. The County Clerk approached me after some time about putting all of the marriage records prior to 1987 on the computer so that all of them would be easily accessible. I agreed to do it. As I got acquainted with others one way or the other, they helped me go to many of the cemeteries in the county to read the inscriptions. This gave me the opportunity to see much of the county which I would not have seen otherwise and to know that there were some very beautiful areas not just the grasslands where the Research Center was. I feel this was another special blessing from the Lord.
Glen's severe health problems started while we were living in Clayton. His first heart attack occurred in Las Cruces, New Mexico while we were on our way to Arizona to attend Sabrina Kellis's wedding. Dona and Max came to Las Cruces when they heard what had happened. The doctor who cared for Glen when he was first put in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital left to get married. Communications had broken down for some reason and no other doctor had taken over. Max asked some questions and got that problem resolved. Dona stayed with me. Max and Jill went back to Benson. When Glen was taken out of ICU, Dona and I drove to Benson and kept tabs on him via the telephone. When he was ready to be released from the hospital, Robert Williams flew to Benson to pick me up and then we flew to Las Cruces to get him. He brought us back to Benson where Glen and I were to spend most of the rest of the summer. After some time it was determined that Glen had to have by-pass surgery. It was done in Tucson. When he was released from the hospital, we took him back to Dona and Max's home for him to recuperate until he could make the trip back to Clayton. We didn't get back home until August. Dona drove back with me and Robert flew Glen to Clayton from Benson. His recovery was slow but it was hastened along once we got back to Clayton and he could start getting involved in his work again. We will never be able to repay Dona and Max for their hospitality and all they did for us at that time. It was a time when I was able to get better acquainted with most of their family and that was an added blessing.
When Glen could finally start going back to work, his health started improving. Unfortunately, by Thanksgiving time the doctor had told him he could do anything he wanted to do. That ended up causing more problems. He was doing the feeding on Thanksgiving weekend. We had a very bad ice storm. All the water troughs for the cattle were frozen solid. The ice had to be broken and some of the cattle moved so they could get water. In the process of trying to break up the ice on the water and on the gates, Glen broke the wires that were holding his sternum together. He had to be as immobile as possible for a period of time to allow some healing to take place and that caused arthritis to develop in his shoulders. We were so glad when everything finally seemed to be back to normal again.
It didn't last! Three years later in December of 1986 he had another heart attack. I drove him to the Clayton Hospital in some nasty weather. Dr. Van Wormer came immediately and gave him excellent care but it was determined the next day that he needed to be transferred to Amarillo. I called Elizabeth to tell her what had happened, went to the hospital to pick up his clothes, etc. and then drove to Amarillo. When I arrived, Elizabeth and I went directly to the hospital. Dale had met the ambulance when it arrived from the airport (Glen was flown from Clayton to Amarillo) and had told Elizabeth that the angiogram was scheduled immediately. Once again it was determined that Glen had to have by-pass surgery, just three and one-half years since the first time! His recovery was somewhat better this time. He was released from the hospital and we spent a few days at Elizabeth and Dale's home before going back to Clayton. We were at home in time for Christmas.
Glen seemed to recover from the surgery much better but it wasn't long until he started having a lot of abdominal pain. He saw several doctors about it but no one could determine the cause. Finally it was decided that exploratory surgery would be necessary. The doctor found an aneurysm which he repaired, some adhesions around his spleen which they removed and some gallstones so they removed his gall bladder, but found nothing which would be the cause of the pain. After some more time had passed, it was finally determined that he had neuropathy which was caused by his diabetes. From that time until now Glen's health has been an on-going problem and he has suffered a great deal at times (most of the time).
At this period of time many universities started encouraging early retirement so they would not have to pay the salaries of the full professors. Glen started receiving such commiques from the headquarters of the university in Las Cruces and they were followed by some conversations with various persons who were trying to encourage him in that direction. Glen had no interest in retiring. He loved his work and had no other particular interests in things he wanted to do when he retired so he chose to keep working as long as possible. Congress had passed a law that retirement could not be forced because of age but the universities, and perhaps others, were given five years to implement the law. Glen turned seventy years of age during that five-year period so he had to retire at the end of that fiscal year, 30 June 1990. As it turned out, his health would probably have made him choose to retire at that time anyway, but it would have been his choice and would have made a lot of difference....or I think it would have! After giving his all to the university and having been recognized by many as having done a lot of good work, he felt rejected. Along with his health problems, it was not a good time.
The decision was finally made after many discussions that we would return to the Imperial Valley. Glen thought he would be able to do some limited research with Richard Zinn at the Field Station where he had worked before since he had an emeritus status with the University of California. Research was the thing he loved to do. There was no particular place that I really had my heart set on living and I thought it was important to go where he would be happy, so we came back to the hot country. Once again Robert came to our rescue; he flew to Clayton and brought Glen back to the Valley because we knew the trip would be too hard on him. Kjersti came with him and drove back with me after the moving van had picked up our belongings. And we came back at the worst of times. It was 122 degrees the day our furniture arrived. We have been here over five years now and I am still complaining about the heat!
Since we have been here in the Imperial Valley, Glen's health has continued to deteriorate. The first year was not a good one. The doctors finally decided he needed to go into the pain center at Scripps Hospital to get the help he needed to live with the extreme pain he had. He did not want to go, but I put my foot down pretty hard and he agreed. He was there for seven weeks and it made a difference, for the better. It didn't lessen his pain nor his health problems, but did help him learn to cope with them.
Soon after we came back, President Douglas Hoopes, the stake president asked me to work in the Family History Center as the assistant director. Lillian Decker, a good friend from when we lived here before, was the director and I knew it would be a pleasure to work with her. It has been a challenge at times, but I have really enjoyed the calling. Glen helped me finish the Union County, New Mexico death records which I started collecting in Clayton and get them ready to send to Salt Lake to be microfilmed. That project took most of the first three years we were here, but I felt satisfied that it was worth the effort. Glen and I have both been involved in the extraction program and that has occupied a lot of my time and attention. In addition, we have put all of the family group sheets that I have documented on the computer and I have redone the McRae and Post books which I have kept since mother asked me to take over as historian for the Post family in her place. Now I am hoping to turn a lot of my attention back to doing more research.
Since we have been back in El Centro, our last child took the big step into marriage. Larry married Vikki Lynn Coe in the Manti Temple. What a blessing to have had all of the children married in the temple. We know very well that doesn't mean there will be no problems, but it is indicative that our children are striving to be obedient to the Lord's commandments. We are so very grateful that they are all active in the Church and that they are trying to teach their children properly. We pray daily that our grandchildren will also experience the peace and the blessings of trying to do what is right and of making good decisions.
I find that I don't accomplish as much any more as I used to do. It is a bit distressing, especially when I realize that I probably don't have too much more time in mortality. I have had some serious bouts with cellulitis since we have been here in Clayton, a result of the problems caused by the phlebitis when I carried the twins. I have had to spend a lot of time with my legs elevated which may sound like a blessing, but I think it has helped me to become very lazy. I still have to be careful about my legs to make sure they don't start swelling. I am hoping to avoid any further problems.
The first Christmas we were back in Clayton, all of our family came for a reunion. Everyone was able to be here and it was a very special time for us. We appreciated all of the effort. Next week the family is planning to gather again for another reunion. This is to be a belated celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary which was last August during the heat of the summer when no one wants to celebrate anything in this hot country! Not everyone will be able to come this time, and we surely understand that. We are looking forward to having most everyone here. As I contemplate all of my blessings, I am totally aware that almost all of them are centered in the gospel and in my family. It is a humbling thing to recognize how much I have been blessed when I feel so unworthy much of the time. My great hope is that I will be able to make the necessary progress in repenting and preparing myself so that I will be able to join everyone else in the family in the Celestial Kingdom. Pray for me!