Dorothy Rawlins History.
Bellevue, WA, 1987
I'm trying to write my history by telling it on the tape. Since I don't know who's listening I don't know whether to put Grandmother, Mother or Friend, but I hope you'll enjoy it.
Years ago I wrote a history and it's somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe I'll just have to do this, because as soon as I get this tape finished I'll probably find my other one. It's something I really have treasured and I know I had no reason to lose it. It must be somewhere.
Anyway, this is about the fourth day of August, in 1987 and I'm in Bellevue, Washington. Today I happen to be alone because my husband went over to Mt. Vernon with our son Bruce. It's a three hour drive from here, and since Dad has hardly been out of the house for three weeks, he wanted to go. I thought it was nice that he could. I didn't go with them because I planned to go to the templ know exactly when I was born. Mother said I was born premature, and she figured I know exactly when I was born. Mother said I was born premature, and she figured I was about six months along. When I was born they didn't bother to weigh me until I was three weeks old because I was too little. At that time I weighed two pounds and a half. I was born at home and they didn't have such things as incubators then, or at least not where we were. The doctor said, "oh, you can't do anything with that" and pushed me off to the side of the bed. That gets a mother's dander up, so she decided she was going to do the best she could for me. She got a shoe box, lined it with cotton, put me in it and fed me with an eye dropper. She must have prayed a lot about this because she seemed to have help and got me through. She told me that I didn't make a sound until I was six months old. I think I've been making a lot of it ever since then. But, anyway, she used to put me out in the buggy (perambulator) to catch any little ray of sunshine that came though and I think probably there's not a whole lot of that in the winter months anyway. But, she used to put me out there with a little dog, who was very faithful to me. Mother said she felt that I was safer with him than with anybody else, so she would leave that little dog out there to watch me when she couldn't be with me. She wanted to give me every chance to get what sunshine I could. So, anyway, I survived.
The first thing I can remember was when I went to school with Tommy when I was three years old. I guess Tommy was five. That was the age that they entered school. Since mother didn't have anybody to leave me with when she took him to school, I went along. The teacher said Mother told her that Tommy was really going to miss me because I think I kind of bossed him around or something and he liked it. So the teacher said, "Well why don't you leave her?" And mother said, "Well she isn't old enough, she's only three." The teacher said , "Well she can stay if you'd like her to." There were some little chairs that we sat on that had a wire in front with little colored beads on it. By pushing those beads along I learned colors and to count. I liked being there. It was kind of fun for me. And so, that's when I began school, at three years of age.
I remember this one incident. I wish I could forget it; but it stays with me as though I never will forget it. It's probably the very first lie I ever told. At least the very first really serious one. Mother used take us to the store with her and buy some little cookies. Tommy and I both went and she would pick out the cookies. This one morning I guess we went without her. Apparently she didn't have time and gave me the money to buy them. She thought I could buy the cookies. Of course, when I went in and I had my choice I decided to buy something different than mother usually ordered. She used to buy something really nourishing where she could get the most for her money. I looked at the chocolate covered marshmallow cookies and I thought they'd be better, so I decided to buy those. Instead of getting about six like we used to, I only got three. Well, I didn't know how I was going to divide three among two of us. My mathematics wasn't that good. So I decided to eat one, and then I decided it was so good that I'd eat another one and then finally I decided I'd eat all three of them and I didn't take any back to school for Tommy like I was supposed to. I think this little bakery was right near to the school.
So anyway I thought, well, I better go home, because I didn't have any cookies for Tom. I thought, well, I'll just have to tell mother that I was sick and the teacher sent me. So, one lie added to another one. I think mother had a sneaking' idea that there was something wrong, but anyway she told me that if I was sick I needed to go to bed. So she put me in the bed. And there I laid and suffered and realized what a wicked thing I had done. I knew it was wrong for me to eat all the cookies. And it was probably wrong for me to buy the fancy kind, but I did that. And Tommy didn't get any of them. And then to lie and say that the teacher sent me home, because I was sick. I remember lying there feeling that I was down in the depths, and that the Lord would never forgive me. I'd have to go to Hell because of that awful lie that I told. I remember what an impression it made on me, and it has lasted until this day. So, it's one of the first things I could remember. It's wicked and I know it was. Well, anyway, I survived that!
Another thing I remember about going to school was when we needed to go to the bathroom. We had to raise our hand up and the teacher would call us up to the front. We'd have to roll our sleeve up and she would and slap us on our arm just as hard as she could slap. I think the teachers felt that if we really didn't have to go we wouldn't go up and be slapped for the picnic! I didn't think it was such a good idea; but anyway, I remember a lot of little kids had to go, and they didn't want to be slapped, so there were a lot of puddles there on the floor which I felt the teachers were to blame for. That's another thing I remember!
After that I remember mostly how we joined the Church, and how thrilling it was. We went to a big church which was called Deseret. It was an old show house or a hotel or something. We have one picture of it in the English album. You can see that was an old brick building. Mother had met the missionaries, had gone to listen to them and was impressed with the idea that people didn't have to drink. Well Mother and Dad were never drunkards but they used to go after they got the paycheck every week up to a little pub, as they called it, and they'd go in and have a drink. They enjoyed their friends. That was something they used to do and they didn't think there was anything very wrong with it. I'm not sure there was except that the missionaries explained to them that they didn't have to do that. That they could put the money that they used to drink every week into a little teapot and eventually it was surprising what they could do. They could probably take the children to the seaside. One thing we had never done, was to go to the seaside. But the seaside's not very far in England, you know, and if you have a little money, you could go. So Mother and Dad decided that's what they'd do with this money. They did take us to the seaside and I remember being there with our little pails and how we used to build houses and all sorts of things in the damp sand. It was beautiful. It was so much fun for us to go to the seaside.
Then as they became members of the Church, they realized another thing that was expected of them and that was to pay tithing. This was something they hadn't thought of doing and didn't know how in the world they were going to manage. Dad had a family of five children plus Claude and Daisy, who were teenagers from the first family (and were baptized). He worked in a clothing store where he made just enough for us to get by on. He was wondering how in the world he could pay tithing. But the missionaries assured him that if he had faith and would pay the tithing it would come out all right. Dad had the faith and he paid the tithing.
The next thing he thought of was coming to America. That was another thing that people did in that time when they joined the Church. They wanted to come to Utah. Dad thought of that and thought how out of the question that was. But someone, one of the members or one of the missionaries told him that if he had the faith, he could come to Utah if he really wanted to. He could come first and probably earn the money and send back for his family. Well, that was such a ridiculous idea for father. He couldn't believe it, and, yet, he wanted to have the faith. He didhave the faith to try it. At that time he was past fifty years of age -- an age when a lot of people at that time were retiring. But he and mother together made up their mind that that was the thing they were going to do. And so, with a lot of strength and character and courage, they decided to do it.
Father was a very special family man; I'm sure it must have broken his heart to leave us and come away to America where he knew no one. I was going to say he couldn't even speak the language! He had always worked in a clothing store or other jobs like that, and so it was hard for him to come over here and just pick up anything he could find to do. He was so determined to do it that no matter what kind of a job they offered him he would accept it. And mother had courage too, to stay there with us and to keep us living. Dad sent her money and she saved as much as she could. She knew that if she could save any at all, we could be over here with Daddy more quickly. I remember she had a little sugar bowl where she would keep every extra cent that she could find. I'm sure she fed us enough to keep us well. We did not have very many luxuries. I don't think we had any more than a chocolate covered raisin. That was the one extravagancmy memories of England we never did have a car or anything like that. English peomy memories of England we never did have a car or anything like that. English people always walked wherever they were going, and so did we. Mother used to take us to a kind of a park. She called it Chingford. I seem to remember there were little boats -- rowboats that we could go in. And there were beautiful flowers and a lot of people on bicycles. It was all a very special occasion when we could go to Chingford.
Then, of course, when Dad left to come to America it was a sad time for all of us. We hated to think that he was going to be gone from us, for how long we didn't know. And going so far away from me I remember I thought I would probably never see my Dad again. It was pretty upsetting for me.
I remember Frank saying that his Daddy was a great big man. Now Frank was at that time only about two years old so he probably couldn't even remember, but he always said his Daddy was a big man. George says, "No, he isn't, he's just a little short man!" Now, Frank wouldn't believe that. His Daddy was as big as any of those policemen out there and that's all he would ever talk about.
Anyway, Dad was gone about a year and a half before we were able to come over with him. He sent over what money he could, and then mother sold her furniture, one piece at a time. We had a piano. I think that was the only luxury we had. But we had beds and chairs and tables and things like that. Mother sold them right down to the last one, so that she could get as much money as she could for them. We came with just what we had in our suitcases.
I can remember going shopping before leaving England. Kate had given me a schilling, which I think at that time was worth about a quarter. I bought a ribbon and a pair of gloves. Let's see you do that now with a quarter! Anyway, it was interesting and now I had that to remember Aunt Kate by. She was Dad's only sister and used to be very close to us. We loved her and she loved us. It was sad for her when we left, and it was sad for us to leave her.
Anyway, I remember leaving the house where we lived and coming in some kind of a conveyance. I remember especially that it was pouring rain. I suppose we were going out to catch a train to take us to Liverpool where we boarded the ship that brought us to America. It's all a little bit vague. I was only seven and can remember only what a seven year old can remember. I remember that we were part way to the train when we had to go back, because Charlie had left something behind. By the way, I had better tell you that Charles was thirteen years old, Thomas was nine, I was seven, George was four and Frank was about two and a half. So if you can imagine, taking a trip to America, coming to a place where you knew no one, leaving all the things you ever had and, probably knowing that you'd never go back to see them. It took a lot of courage and I am just so proud of them for what they were able to do. I just wonder if it had been me if I would have had that kind of courage.
Anyway, we got on the ship. I should tell you something else too. It was nearly Christmas just before we left. Mother had bought a Christmas tree and we decorated it all up. She bought some jelly candies, kind of like gumdrops, only they were shaped in the form of animals. We had little horses and cows and chickens and all sorts of things. We sat up and decorated that Christmas tree and put the lights on it and I remember what a beautiful thing it was. Mother said that would be our last Christmas in England. I remember even after I went to bed and I could not sleep. The lights out on the street were quite bright and by opening the curtain we could see pretty well. even though the lights in the house were out. The street lights were twinkling and made this Christmas tree especially fantastic. I remember I climbed up on the chair and reached up there -- I must have always been a wicked thing -- and I bit the whole end out of a horse, one of those jelly horses. And then, of course, went to bed innocently. In the morning when mother wanted to know who did that, no one would confess it. The boys wouldn't say they did and she looked at them, knowing that is what boys do. And I was just as innocent too; I didn't know what happened. Well, anyway, she said we were going to take all those decorations off, and she had a little pretty tin box. She said "now we're just going to put these little candies in here and take them off to America with us. When we get there we're going to have another Christmas with our Daddy." Well, we were looking forward to that. It was an exciting thing and I pretty quickly forgot about the poor horse who had been injured.
So anyway, we go on to the train, and I don't remember that that was very fascinating. I was glad to get off the train and on to the ship, because on the ship we had a great time -- all of us except Charlie. Charlie and Mother I think suffered with sea sickness, but the rest of us I'm sure didn't even miss a meal. We just romped around that ship and I'm sure they let us go everywhere. It's interesting as I remember. It seems to me that we had free run of that ship to go anywhere that we wanted to. And yet when we see pictures of the immigrants coming over from England they were all stuffed away in stowage -- kind of stuffed away wherever the luggage went. That's what it shows us on T.V. when we see pictures of them. But I do remember that Charlie was awfully sick. He laid out on the deck on kind of a chair. He had a green blanket over him and I remember thinking that I couldn't tell where the green blanket quit and he began. His face was the same shade as the blanket. But anyway he lay there and suffered with sea sickness.
As I said the rest of us just had a free run of the ship. The sailors were good to us. They'd give us bananas and tell us all kinds of wild stories. We learned to accept them, because then we'd get some more! I remember how much fun they were. There was one -- who called himself Peter Suet and I knew he was pulling my leg. I wouldn't believe him. "OK, if that's your name, I've never heard anybody with that name." And he would tell us stories and oh, we had lots of fun. I think for the rest of us it was a lark, but for Mother it must have been a real pain in the neck, to have to keep track of us and try to teach us what to do.
It was a real special thing for us to be on shipboard for Christmas, because that was something we didn't expect. I really had put it out of my mind that Santa Claus would be there. I didn't suppose he could be on that ship with us, since he hadn't seen us since the Christmas before, and I know he had no way of keeping track of us. I thought he didn't, but he did, because he was there and he brought presents. We had the most beautiful Christmas dinner and I have a menu put away in my safety deposit box. You never heard of anything so full. There were all sorts of good things you know. I remember one thing I got was a little round gadget that had a face with holes where the eyes were and the ears and the teeth and all sorts of things. I was supposed to shake it around and get all those beads in the right place. That was one of the things I got. I don't remember all the things but we just felt like we had a real special Christmas anyway. I think about the ship as nothing but a happy adventure for us. It was really a lot of fun.
Then we got on the train again. We had problem there because we had some "Dagos" sitting right in front of us. as a lot of fun. When Mother realized what was going on she was just frantic, and got hold of the conductor and she insisted that he move us. So we were moved. I think some of the lice went with us because when we got over to Preston, we had lice in our heads, something I'd never had in England.
So that was not such a good experience. The boys got rid of their's quite easily, but with my longer, thick hair, the medicine the Dr. gave us didn't work. I tried Mentholatum, and they left.
I remember too one time that Frank and George were so hungry, anyway at least Frank was. There too one time that Frank and George were so hungry, anyway at least Frank was. There was something that he wanted, I think it was bread. We had most everything else; we had fruits and other things, but we didn't have bread, and he wanted some. So he just set up a big scream and howled and, of course, irritated everybody. When the conductor came along he had a box with all kinds of goodies and he finally gave us kids some gum, because he thought maybe that would settle it. Now gum was something we had never experienced in England. We didn't know what it was like. But George and Frank were chewing gum and they just chewed it up, and chewed it up and it wouldn't go down. So they got disgusted with that and finally George took some out of his mouth and put it in Frank's hair. Frank had a mop of black hair and we couldn't get it out. Finally mother had to cut it out and for a long time after that Frank had a big bald spot on his black head of hair where we had to cut the gum out. So that was another experience we had.
I was thinking now, when I go back, I have a memory of being on Ellis Island, and yet some of my brothers said we didn't go to Ellis Island. We went though Montreal Canada, and I don't know whether that's true or not. It's kind of vague. But I still have a feeling that we went through Ellis Island because I remember being in line and mother telling us that we had to go past the inspector. I remember seeing that inspector there. He was just like you'd imagine he'd be, firm and he had the eyes that looked right through you, Mother said, "Children, you look as healthy as you can because if we don't get by this we don't get to go to America." And so we were all frightened and trying to look healthy. I remember seeing one girl in line that had a scarf around her neck. And that inspector grabbed her out of line and pulled that scarf off her neck and thought she had some kind of a rash. She was immediately pulled out of line and I just wondered what ever happened to her -- whether she ever was able to get off the ship, or what. I don't know whether she got to go to America or where she was going. It was kind of a frightening thing for me, but we must have looked healthy because we all got through.
But there was another experience and I don't know whether that could have occurred anywhere else other than Ellis Island. It seems to me that we went through Ellis Island, but I might be wrong. There's nobody to argue with me anymore because Charlie and Tom were the only ones older than me and they're gone, and Mother and Dad too. So, I'm not sure about this experience, but when I see the picture called Ellis Island I feel definitely we were there. I seem to remember the bars and things that were along there. It seemed familiar to me. Anyway, we got by and got on the train. When we got into America it seemed to take us an awful long time. It was kind of boring I think. I suppose we were just really getting anxious to see Dad.
Mother must have been exhausted. I remember a mental picture of mother sitting on a bench trying to keep George and Frank under her feet under the bench so they couldn't get at the drinking fountains and spray water on her and others that were trying to get some sleep.
Another story I remember, we were at a station where we had to change from one train to another. Charlie and Mother had gotten off and the rest of us were trying to follow, when the car we were on began to shunt around. We began to panic and so did mother and Charlie, until we learned that the train wasn't leaving.
We had to come clear across the country and finally arrived in Preston, Idaho, where Dad had a little house for us. I'm not sure, but I think Bruce has a picture of that house that he took. It was a little red brick house. Dad had it all fixed up for us as nice as he could. The neighbors were so wonderful. All the people came and brought gifts and made us welcome. In fact, Mother was almost upset about it, because she said, "Well, what do they think we are? Do they think we're paupers?" She had, I guess, never been turned loose with that kind of experience before, you know. It was hard for her to accept, but when she realized they were all doing it because they loved us, and wanted to make us welcome, she accepted it. We certainly did get a lot of lovely things. I remember somebody gave us a sewing machine with a long bobbin on it. I was always interested in sewing, so it didn't take me long to get that thing going. I could sew and oh, it was fantastic, that old long bobbin sewing machine. And other things, just anything that would make a household. I'm sure we felt welcome in Preston.
Now they were a little upset because we had lice. And I think mother finally went to the drug store and got something and rubbed it on our heads and eventually we got rid of them. But it was an awful thing. Mother had never experienced that before. I had a toothache and I guess they were concerned about that. I guess when they saw that we had lice they thought we might have a lot of other things. The toothache had formed a spot just between my mouth and my ear on my face and they were concerned about that. Mother was upset about that, she just felt like they were just trying to find out something wrong with us. Maybe she thought they were going to send us back.
Well, we eventually got through all these things. It was a little difficult, but it was fun too. Now some of these things I might be telling from father's experience; I don't know whether they're all my memories. But I do remember going to school in Preston. I wondered if the teacher thought I was stupid because she made me get up and read every day. I thought, well how come I have to do this, not every student is doing it? I couldn't understand that. Finally I realized it was just because they enjoyed listening to my English accent. So anyway, I got so I could speak American pretty soon, and maybe quicker, because she made me get up every day to read.
We enjoyed ourselves in Preston. People were nice to us; I think in the Church the people are always nice to you wherever you are. We didn't stay in
Preston too long where my Dad was working for Joe Marrom in the men's clothing store.
Well, we're on the other side of the tape now, and I realize that I got a little ahead of myself telling you what I did in school before I tell you how nice it was to meet Dad there in Preston. It was snowing and that was something we rarely saw in England. It was exciting because they came up to the station to pick us up in a sleigh. This was a Brother Johnson who was going to be one of our neighbors, and we were excited when we saw Dad. Charlie said, "There's Dad!!" and we were so excited to just have Dad come and meet us. You can imagine it was a Thanksgiving, and a Christmas and everything. We just felt so thankful to think we'd made it. Mother must have been completely exhausted and we kids were just so full of life, so I don't suppose it bothered us. But we were so excited to get there and to get in that little home of ours that we thought was just precious. That evening we had such a lovely time together. We thanked our Heavenly Father for the safe trip over. We have a friend in Bellevue, who runs the Beehive Book Store, Weldon Sant, who thinks he is a relative of the Sant in Preston who rented Dad the little brick home (our first in America).
I'm sure a lot of anxieties were released at that time. We had arrived after all of the problems we had had and the things that had happened to get us over here. It was such a beautiful experience for us -- something we would always cherish. That night we probably all went to sleep, and then the next morning we got up and had our Christmas. Dad had a Christmas tree for us. Even though this was January, he had a little tree. Mother opened the box of candy that we brought from England, and the first thing I saw was that big old horse with his whole rear end taken out of him. I confessed. I guess I felt ashamed of myself and so I thought I had better confess. This was one wicked thing that I did that I needed to tell about, so I told about it. We all had a good big laugh over it! I was glad had confessed. I felt better and could laugh with the rest of the family. It was fun -- it was just really fun. We loved being in America. Like I said, I got a little ahead of myself and I was telling about us moving to Lewiston. I should have been telling about the reunion with Dad and how itton, because that's where we moved. Dad worked again for Mr. Marrom, who had kind of a branch store from his Preston store. He opened it up again and Dad was working for him. I think he must have worked there for probably a couple of years, and he had a chance to buy a little grocery store. That excited him; he thought that would be fun to have a little store of his own where he could do what he wanted to. Though he knew nothing about grocery stores he still knew about business, and about making people happy. He had a good personality to become a store manager.
I was elected to be his helper. I loved working in the store with Dad and I didn't like housework. I didn't like it a bit and I never could do it to please mother anyway. I thought, "well, why try?", so I would go to the store to work with Dad. He would call on the phone and ask Mother to send me up there (it was three blocks). I would make excuses and say "Oh, do I have to go?" She would say, "Well he needs you and you'd better go; and he wants me to start you an hour early so that you'll have time to visit with all the people on the way," It always took me an hour to get there. I had to visit with all the neighbors on the way. I loved being in the store with Dad. The other boys went out into the fields and worked with all the boys when they were old enough.
So that's the way we did it. I always wondered why they called the store it Walter Last & Sons. They were hardly ever there to do any of the work that came up.
We loved the schools in Lewiston and got along pretty well I think. I think the English students were a little ahead of the Yankees because maybe we took school a little more seriously. Charlie was ahead of the class that he was with in England. We got along fine with no problems, in that respect.
I just remembered something that we used to do when we first went to Lewiston. We moved into a little house right up by the station, the interurban station. The interurban was kind of a little street car that went from Preston, Idaho. We never went much farther than Logan on it, but it did go to Salt Lake. We lived across the street from that. Around the back of the fields there I could find some wild currants that grew all along the fence lines. I thought that was fantastic. Somebody showed me how to make jam out of them. Dad had a lot of little bottles he'd saved. He used to use Vaseline on his hair, he said, because when he was in England his hair was white. They didn't like him to have white hair. That was one reason I think he was glad to get out of England. He was afraid he would have to have white hair and then he would never be able to get a job. Anyway, he saved these little bottles, these nice little Vaseline bottles with a little cap on them. So I got those all scoured out and I learned how to make jam with some sugar and cook it up and put it in these bottles. Oh, that was just such fun. The boys made me a little kitchen cabinet out of an orange crate with some shelves in it. I would put these little bottles of jam in there and I thought that was just so much fun. I just really thought I was a real homemaker. Then the boys would steal them from me. I said, "OK, if you're going to do that, I'm not going to make anymore." Then I said if you want to help me get the currants and help me with the jam, I'll give you some. I'll use them for prizes when you kids do something nice for me. So we kind of figured it out that way. So they just had a lot of jam and I had a lot of fun making it. We would get gooseberries and anything we could find and there were quite a lot of wild thi get gooseberries and anything we could find and there were quite a lot of wild things that grew around there. I remember we used potawatamees one time, a kind of a wild Indian plum that were kind of bitter. I don't know if any amount of sugar could ever make them tasty. But the Indians used to use them, so we tried them too; and it was always fun. That was one of my first experiences in being domestic!
Anyway most of my time, when I was free at all, I was with Dad in the store as I got older. I think I was about ten when I first started, maybe not. It might not have been quite that soon. But anyway I used to help in the store and I loved to do that. As I got a little older we got a little pony. We had to hook it up to a wagon and go up to the interurban station and pick up the freight, and deliver the groceries to all the people. That was a lot of fun. We used to go out to the sugar factory; it was a kind of a boarding house out there and we would take their orders and drive them out. We had little boxes that folded up. We could fill the grocery orders in there and take them out. I remember I thought that it was real exciting that I'd get to do that. Then, also, like I said, go to the interurban station and pick up the freight and bring it back to the store. That was all my job, so I had all kinds of jobs.
The pony was a little Indian pony. He was a funny little guy whose name was Pongo. I remember that one time when I was driving him and taking the groceries around it was hot. I guess he happened to see a little canal there where the fence was broken, and he thought he could get in there and sit down and cool himself off. Well I was scared to death because, oh, I thought, my, the water will come up into that wagon and get into those boxes of groceries. But somehow, I don't know how it happened, he got in there and sat down, but he left the wagon kind of on the bank. I had to just sit there and wait until he got himself cooled off, and then he backed out. I backed him out and we went on with the groceries with no harm done. But believe me, that scared me to the point that I never went on that road again. I went around a different way where he couldn't get into the canal. That was quite an experience. He was a funny little guy; he used to run on the bias. It seemed like he didn't even stand straight in the shaves. He just kind of stood on the bias, but he would go fast and he was a fun pony. We enjoyed him. I used to have to put the harness on him and all those things. Boy I learned so many things all at once. I never thought I would ever be expected to lift up his tail and put on his crupper (The crupper is part of the harness that goes under the horse's tail to keep the harness from going over the horse's head when he backs up.)
We had a nice vegetable garden. The boys and mother put it in. We always had carrots and peas and potatoes and things like that. I think we eventually got a few chickens, and with the grocery store we were pretty busy. We used to have some fascinating times. I remember that Dad used to buy a set of dishes every week, and we would raffle it off. He would give people some little tickets, kind of like theater tickets, and they would get one for every quarter they spent. At the end of the week these tickets would go into a pot. Someone drew a ticket out, and the winner got a whole set of dishes. They were beautiful. I'm sorry that I don't have any of those left, but I gave the last one I had to Bruce. Bruce still has one platter. It is marked on the back, "Walter Last and Sons. I don't know whether they're available now. I know while we were down at the family reunion everybody was asking if anybody had one. They were quite pretty I thought.
Well, then, Dad thought that was nice for one person to get a whole set of dishes and he didn't think it was quite fair because a lot of people spent their money. So he decided he would draw a ticket for one plate, or a cup and saucer or a cereal bowl or a small salad plate or whatever, so that they got divided up among more people. It wasn't nearly as much fun, I'll tell you that. It was quite a fiasco. So Saturday afternoon we had the drawing for the whole set and it was exciting. Everybody would come to the store, you know, for the drawing for those dishes; it was very exciting. I remember those times; that was fun.
I should tell you more about that time in our lives. I suppose I'll have to tell you about the boys. Frank and George haven't had much to say; I don't think they've put it on a tape; they may have histories written, but Janyne happened to be here last night, an apparently she had not seen it. Janyne and her husband were on their way to Canada. They had stopped by to visit with us. It was interesting and they were telling me that they didn't know very much about George. There's not much information. Mother hadn't written anything, and I think George did attempt a tape of some sort but they don't know much about any of the boys, especially George. So I think I'll tell you a few of the things I remember.
Lewiston being the little town that it was, we were all connected with the Church, and most of our activities were Church sponsored. Such things as ball games for the women, the girls and the boys and the dances. There were trips up in the canyon. That was often the way we enjoyed ourselves because at that time not many people had cars. If they did they wouldn't have gotten any farther than Logan probably. We used to go to the canyons and have great times up there, have picnics, sports events and all sorts of things. We looked forward to those things. That's what I remember that we did for pleasure.
The boys worked in the fields all the time, all around the town and they had a name for being good workers. Everybody said if you can get the Last boys to do your beets, you know they'll be done well. They had a good reputation and tried to keep it up. They all worked together. Like I say, I worked in the store with Dad most of the time.
I remember too, that when George graduated from high school he was given a chance for a scholarship. I think because of his athletic ability. He was quite active in that sort of thing. He was debating about whether he should go on to college, and sometimes he regretted that he didn't. He decided to marry Unita Stocks. Those two were going together and I don't think she encouraged him to go to college. I think she wanted to get married. That's what we did at that time. You don't do it anymore, but that's what we did. We used to get married young. I suppose if anyone was twenty years old, a woman at least, and not married she was an old maid.
But anyway that's what we did and that's what George did. He worked around with the other boys, where they worked. I know George worked for Victor Lewis and decided that he definitely did not want to become a farmer. He just decided that that was too much. Kind of like our boys. They seemed to think that that was the worst kind of life, especially you know if you didn't own a farm, and they paid you as little as they could. Anyway most of them did. George decided not to do that. I think he went to work for Theurers' Store. Theurers was kind of a general store in Lewiston. I know Frank worked there and so did Jimmy.
George went to Gunnison, Utah. He became manager of Christensens Department Store; and ended up owning it. He also was active in politics and civic affairs, and was the mayor. Garth knows more about this part of his life.
I'll tell about his school days in Lewiston. While they were going to school, they were just kids you know. We used to go to school over at North Cache which was about six miles away. We used to travel along on what they call the Toonerville Trolley. It was a little car that went sort of through the back fields. We had a lot of fun on it. That's how we went to North Cache high school. We all went there.
As I was saying, George and Frank both went into business. Frank went down to Spanish Fork, I think, and then George to Gunnison, where, as I said he managed a good general store. He did a good business and raised his whole family. George was awfully good hearted. I remember he would help anybody that he thought needed any help. He loved to do it and he would kind of keep his eye open for opportunities where he could help. He did a lot of this that people knew nothing about. He was a good, kind, gentleman. I remember when I used to go down there and I wondered how they did it. They seemed to have so many more things than we did. I noticed that Unita would take a pair of jeans or something that had a gob of paint on them and put them in the garbage. So I said, "Neet, don't do that. You know we could sure use those kind of things for our kids; they work on the farm anyway. Just put them in a box and mail them to me and I'll send you the postage." I said, "I'll be glad to do that."
So she used to do that. I remember one time too, that she sent a whole box of stuff all stuffed together and she said, these are old carpet rags. Of course we used to make use of everything that we could because we had to. In the box I found a suit of clothes that looked like there was nothing very wrong with it. So I sent it to the cleaners. I did notice that there was one little hole in the leg. I thought, well, when that comes back from the cleaners, if it looks like it's worth it, I'm going to mend that and Bruce can wear it. Bruce wore it. That's the way George and Neet were, and I'm sure he helped his own children. I know he helped Garth along when he was beginning his medical studies and probably has helped all of them because that's just George's personality. I thought he was kind of ornery sometimes, but we all loved him. I visited their home with Claude and Stephen. Claude was about three years old; and after he had been around George a day or two he came to me asking me to "make George quit pulling my face".
We loved to go up in the canyons and go on trips with him because he'd tease everybody. He always did, just teased everybody. Of course, I think all the kids ganged up against him. They thought, "Gee, if we could just get something on George." It was something they wanted to do, you know. And if they did, no one enjoyed it more than George, because it just tickled him. The kids would try to get the best of him. They always enjoyed him a lot.
Frank was more quiet and more gentle than George. In fact I think it was Janyne that said "I wonder why the only ornery ones in the family were George and Aunt Dorothy." I reminded her that George and Aunt Dorothy were still alive and the others were all gone. Not Jimmy though; Jimmy's a sweet one and he's still with us. I really did enjoy my brothers in spite of the fact that they were teasing me all the time. I guess that's what made me survive.
Anyway, it's interesting to remember these things, I wish I could remember more things about the boys.
I guess I haven't said anything about Charlie. He graduated from the academy in Preston, Idaho after we moved to Lewiston. He went back there to school because he wanted to finish there. From there he worked at anything he could find. Charlie especially liked to work in carpentry, and he used to work with some of the carpenters around the area so that he could learn, and he gained a great deal. Then Charlie went to Utah State College in Logan. And he also worked over at the Cornish sugar factory. Then he was gone on a mission. He loved that. He went to England. Dad said he didn't know how he was going to make it; but at that time I think it cost $75 a month to send Charlie on a mission. It seemed that our business in the store increased just enough to take care of that. It's wonderful. Dad was thinking, "well when Charlie comes back we'll have that extra $75 month to do something else with." But you know, that isn't the way it worked. It just seemed to come when we needed it for Charlie, although we did pretty well.
Dad bought a car. I used to have to drive to deliver groceries and to collect the freight at the freight office. I loved to put the stuff up in the store and decorate the windows and things like that. I just felt like that was my job and I loved to do it. We prospered.
Charlie built a house for us. I'm sure he built the house before he went on his mission because I remember writing to him from there. It was a nice home; the nicest home we'd ever had. We loved that. But then came the depression. People were having a hard time and Dad was giving them credit as long as he could. He finally got to the point where he had to cut it off and he hated that. But he had to do it in order to save his own neck. Even then Dad went bankrupt. It was sad. And so we bought another little house right next to us, a little brown house with kind of a lean-to on the back. When Dad went bankrupt we had to move into that. Of course all of us were married by then.
I had married Aerial Rawlins, George had married Unita Stocks, Frank had married Bessie Pitcher and Dave had married Rose Hendricks. They were all people from the vicinity right there. Bessie lived the farthest away. She lived in Cornish, just about four miles west of Lewiston.
So, Dad and Mother and Tom and Jimmy, moved into that little brown house. It was a sad thing. I felt it was. But I was real proud of Dad because in spite of the fact that he gone bankrupt, and there was no real necessity for him to have to pay those bills that he owed, he had a conscience. He used to send David and Jimmy down to Ogden to work for the companies that Dad had purchased things from to pay our debt. He just didn't feel good about leaving that unpaid. I think, if I remember, that Dave got some money for himself while he worked there, but he stayed there a long time and worked off that debt. I guess it wasn't anything that Dad was obligated to do. It was what his conscience told him to do, and I have been really proud of that.
So they moved into the little brown house and the big one was sold. Dad had to give up his store, and he finally moved over to a real small place near the post office where he went on with his grocery store. It was mostly a candy store and that's what the kids remember him for. You go to Lewiston now and they say, "oh, I remember your Dad was the one that had the candy store." That's what everybody remembers him for, the candy store, because he used to have a great time there. I think they used to swipe things from him too, but he overlooked that.
And so those are the interesting things I can tell you about Lewiston. As I said, Charlie went to the agricultural college and then went on a mission. When he came back he married Mildred Leavitt, another neighbor. I think we were all within five miles of each other -- all the people that married into our family. It was nice that Charlie could go on a mission to England. He loved it there and I used to write to him. He said, "When I come home, I think you and I will have to go back to England." So we kind of had that in our minds, thinking that would be a nice thing to do. I had no idea that I'd ever go.
But, things changed. When I married Aerial, it was in the depths of the depression. It was in 1926. It was sad, it was bad. We just survived. The year that Dad went bankrupt they could hardly buy coal to keep warm. None of us could. They asked us to move in with them, and we did, which was a mistake; it just was not the right thing. They didn't like Aerial and they didn't like the way he didn't do things. Aerial finally bought an old house from the sugar factory and he bought a piece of land that Tom had purchased, twenty acres. Tom didn't want it anymore, so he sold it to Aerial. So Aerial put this sugar factory house down there. It was just a shack.
And so we lived there. It was at least two miles from town. They had no electricity there and so we survived without that. At that time Stephen was born. I should say that before that we lived in an old house, down near the Hyer section. Then we moved over to the tiny place that was across the road from Fred Taggart's place, which had been the Church storehouse. It was a big red brick building. We lived there for a while and from there we went to mother's and from there we went down by the sugar factory, which was another mile east from where we lived across from Fred Taggart -- across from Walter and Vella Taggart. Stephen was born there. Bruce was born while we lived in the house across from Fred Taggart's. He was born in Logan in the hospital. Stephen was born in this little shanty that we had, across from Walter and Vella. We used to walk to town. We didn't have a car. I had purchased a washing machine when we were first married, but we had no electricity to run it. So I let Bessie and Frank have that up in there home, in town. We used to have to walk up there and carry our laundry and get it done and then come back. That's the way we survived. It was a rough time.
Tape #3 now! I think I just got married. No, I've been married quite a while because I've got Stephen. And we we're having a rough time. That's when we had to move down on the farm with no electricity. I think that's where I quit on the last tape, so I'd better get on here.
Well, I'm trying to think of something pleasant, because I don't want you to think it was all sad. But we were all having a rough time. That was the time that Dad lost his store and many people were really suffering.
Stephen was born in '32. But you know, he was the sweetest, happiest little guy you ever saw. Bruce was the one that seemed to understand the situation and he suffered along with all the rest of us. Steve was just full of joy and just a pleasure to have around at night. It always made me wonder because before Bruce was born I was so thrilled to think about having a little fellow. I thought he'd just have to be a joy and yet he has been the one that was more, kind of, responsible and more grown up. But Steve was the happy little one and we just had a real good time. Even though it was rough, we were young and it wasn't too hard.
Like I say, it was hard on Mother and Dad, having to lose their home and their store, and having to move over into that little house that was next door. At that time Marva and Floyd Tibbets lived down the road, and their children had grown up to where they had a nice basement bedroom that they weren't using. They offered that to mother and dad to let the boys use. Their little house really was not fit for a big family to live in. So they used to go down there and mother told about how she and Jimmy used to go down there every so often and change the bedding and clean up the bedroom nice so that they could keep it nice for the Tibbets. They were always so nice to let them use it. So that's a nice memory too, they were awfully nice.
We saw the house last May, this May, when we were down there to George's funeral. The Tibbet's house was there. They're no longer living there. I was thinking about the time that they used to go down with the clean bedding to make up the beds and keep things nice. How nice it was of the Tibbets to think about them to that extent. But I think that's what the depression did. It made people more concerned about each other, and about the needs of each other. We kept closer together in those times.
Well, time went on, and things were not better for us. Aerial and I went down to Logan to talk to the man we had borrowed the money from in order to buy this place from Tommy. They said, "Well, we're not interested in closing out on you. You folks do what you can. You just pay what you can and we'll hang on."
We sold anything we could, hay, whatever we could get our hands on, to get some money and we made a payment. As soon as we did that, they foreclosed. I thought that was dirty. They had just taken every cent we had. It was just nasty. And so they foreclosed on the place and Aerial moved the house up onto his Father's yard. I always said we lived between the house and the chicken coop. And so that's where we lived when Claude was born. I never liked living there. We had to carry water from his folks house to do the washing and everything like that. We had a little garden there. But I always felt like we were just in their door yard; that's just the way I felt. I didn't feel at home. I guess it was nice of them to allow us to live there.
Anyway, things were not improving, and one year some salesman came from up here in Washington, and came to our place. I guess he thought he would recruit some Mormons to come up here to Washington, called the "river area". That's when he talked some of them to coming up here to sort of homestead, I guess. There were some houses that the government had given the soldiers from World War I. They were little houses and they were comfortable places and they had a certain acreage which these soldiers were given. I don't know if they were given them outright. But anyway the soldiers lived there and produced fruit because it was a beautiful fruit raising country. But they didn't stay with it, and so those houses were left empty, and the orchards neglected. I think this Mr. Adams, who came from Washington, said, "Well, I bet if we get a group of Mormons up here, they'll make it go." He came down there and talked a lot of them into coming up here to see.
In fact, there were seventeen families that moved from Cache Valley at that time. They were tempted to do something with that White Bluffs area. Of course, Aerial was excited about it, too. He came with his friends I didn't want to come. I thought, oh, we'll never make it. We've nearly starved here where Mother and Dad are, and all of our friends that we know. I didn't know what we'd do if we came up here to Washington.
Well, I guess coming out here was the smartest thing he ever did, because at least then he had no one to rely on. It was up to him to try and make a living. It was a good thing for us, although I certainly came against my better judgment. It bothered me a lot to come clear up here away from Dad. Mother had gone. Mother died in November and then we came the next March out here. Aerial's mother and father had just died and my Dad was the only one that was left. He was alone there. I hated moving then because I felt he needed us.
Anyway, I got a letter from Aerial and he said he had made a down payment on a home for us. I could've died. I think that was the closest I ever came to leaving him. I thought, "He knows I don't want to go up there but he's going to do it anyway." He had got a little money when his father died. I think it was about 500 or 700 dollars. That was enough to make a down payment on this place. He did it, and, oh, I was just acid. That was the nearest I came to just giving up on the whole thing. I didn't know what to do, but, finally I just decided the only thing I could do was to go. So they came with a big old truck and we loaded all our worldly possessions on that. We had a refrigerator at that time and a piano. Mother had given me her piano. And we had a billy goat and some chickens and all of our chairs and table and all our worldly possessions we had on that truck. I said, talk about the hillbillies! We must have looked like the worst ones they ever saw!
But, anyway we came up here. It wasn't very encouraging all the way. I didn't like the looks of it. But when we got to Kennewick I thought, now that's a pretty place. I liked Walla Walla too. We stopped in Walla Walla and I said, "Now why can't we stay here." "Well, we can't afford to buy land here. This land costs too much money. The only thing we can afford is what we've got up there in White Bluffs." When we left Kennewick I thought, "That was nice. I could stand that; that was a nice place." And then we went up the river. We saw more sagebrush and more sand and it got more desolate. I thought we were about ready to go off the end of the world, and I was about ready to jump off the truck.
Anyway, we got to White Bluffs and Aerial showed us the little house that he had bought for us. It was the nicest house we had ever had. I have a picture of it. I'll show it to you when you come over. It had two bedrooms, a nice front room and a kitchen. Nothing was finished. There was a place that was supposed to be a bathroom but it had never been plumbed or anything. In fact there was no water except for a tap that was in the kitchen. A tap of cold water. It was more luxury than we had had for a long time. And the people were so wonderful to us; I couldn't believe it. I thought we'd gone to heaven. In fact that was the one thing that Aerial's mother had always thrown up to him and I don't think he would have come if she had been alive. She says, "You get out there in the world and you're going to find that people are not going to treat you as nice as they do here in Lewiston."
Well, now people were awfully nice to us and they were as kind as they are to everybody. But at the same time that didn't make our living, and we found out when we got out here to White Bluffs that the people were just hungry for people to live there. There were a lot of people who had come out there to enjoy the weather and the beautiful farmland and the fruit, which was beautiful when we came in March. Everything was in bloom and it was just beautiful. The whole place was just scented up with apple and peach blossoms.
As I say we were really welcome. There were many people, many cultured people that were there. It kind of surprised me why they were living there. A Mrs. Parkes was a beautiful pianist. And a Mrs., let's see, the postman and his wife, O'Leary. She played beautifully. Just a really nice cultured people and I was surprised. They had a little organization they called Pro Musica. Anyone who played any kind of an instrument, or sang, or had any musical ability at all was welcome to go to that. You were expected to play a number or do something. You could perform when you went. They didn't keep minutes. They didn't want it to be like a club. They all served refreshments and boy, I met some of the best cooks I've ever known. It was just a fun time to get together and perform. I used to play the piano and I could play something for them or a duet with someone else, and it was always fun. We had it at our different homes. I thought that was a lot of fun. We had never been involved in anything like that before. When Dad came to visit he was invited to sing at Pro Musica. He sang "Three White Hens" and "So, Sir, Take Pity on the Poor Italian".
White Bluffs is right on the banks of the Columbia River. We could row a row boat across and the kids loved that. They thought that was just beautiful to be free. When Bruce first looked at the Columbia River he just ran back as far as he could go. He couldn't stand to look at it; it was so huge. He couldn't stand it. And then he got a little closer. Before we left there we couldn't keep him off; he had a friend with a row boat, and he'd go across any time he wanted to. It was beautiful.
Then, we got a mule. Aerial bought a team of mules, Jack and Jenny, from his brother Horace, who got them from a man in Benton City. Bruce and Steve had a buggy they used to hook Jack up to, and boy, I take it they just really enjoyed themselves there in White Bluffs. Bruce, Rollin Morford, the boy who had the boat, and Steve scavenged a number of buggies from abandoned farms in the area.
It was fun and we got acquainted with everybody. Everybody was so nice to you. They'd say, "Now, have you got any cherries? Well, go over to my orchard and just help yourself, because I'm not going to pick them this year." And if you didn't go over and get them, they'd bring them to you. And other people would say, "Have you got tomatoes?" "and peaches?" and, "would you like to go to Pasco to shop?"
On the way to Pasco there was a little butcher shop in Richland, run by a German. As far as I know that building is still there now; it was a big cement block building. This German butcher had the best meat, and everybody that ever went to Pasco stopped at the Richland store to buy meat. They'd want to know if you'd want to go and if not, they could buy some for you? That's just the way it was. They were just really nice people.
I have forgotten to say that we bought a ten acre place along with this little house that we had. It had been an old apple orchard; the stump holes were still there. They had an irrigation company to provide irrigation water around there to irrigate the land. Aerial was trying to put any money he could to get the cement pipes to distribute the water on his land so that we could plant it to fruit trees. That's what we planned to do. There were two big wells on the place. One near the back of the lot and one up near the house. It was a huge thing and very deep. I was afraid of the kids falling into it, but we took care of that. I think we housed it over so that wouldn't happen. At least it didn't while we were there, and I'm glad because it could have been an awful thing. But anyway that's what we did, and, so, we didn't have any income at all after paying for the pipes. Aerial would get work when he could and it was a struggle for us. With people being as friendly and kind as they were, we managed.
I also need to go back and tell you that just before we left Lewiston, mother has been very seriously ill with cancer, something I should have said a long time ago, and she really suffered. In fact, it was during the very worst of the depression. Aerial was gone; he went to Idaho Falls tn that thing; that was a farce, if we ever had one. All he wanted Aerial to do was work night and day for about 35 dollars a month, and so we finally went back to Lewiston; it was better than that.
Mother was sick. She had been seriously sick and so I went down to Logan with her; I said, "We'll have to go down to Logan to the doctor and have him check on you and see what your problem is. She thought it was colitis or something like that. But when we got down there he told us it was cancer. And, oh, you know, that's such a blow to hear that about anybody. I just felt terrible that she had that. She said she'd known it for a long time and she hadn't said anything because she knew that Dad didn't have the money for the operation, and she knew that that's what they'd want to do. So she hadn't said anything. It was in her breast. And so the doctor told us that she had to be operated on. She would die in agony otherwise. So she had the operation and all the family got together and paid for it so she could have that done.
But Mother never really did come out of it after that. She had her breast removed. She lived about 18 months after that diagnosis, and suffered a lot. We had a nurse that would go to her home and stay with her. They kept her under medicine to help with the pain. She lived at that time just a block and a half from me. I'd go over just as much as I could and we'd visit. We got pretty close, in fact, but it was really tragic to have to have Mother die like that.
As I said, Aerial's mother and father had both died in the two years before mother did. We had three deaths in three years. It was pretty tragic. But it was after that Aerial, I guess, decided that he could leave. That was when we went to White Bluffs.
I often thought of Mother when we were in White Bluffs. She would have loved that country with the river and its beautiful scenery. They called it White Bluffs because on the other side, on the east side of the river, across the river from us those bluffs always looked white. They said it was because of the silica in the soil, or something. It was kind of silvery. That's why it was called White Bluffs. Hanford was a little town about 6 miles south of White Bluffs. Richland was between there and Pasco, so there were all three of those little cities that were right along the Columbia River.
Well, we survived. I don't know that we were getting ahead, but we were at least paying our own way and able to eat and do things.
I was just thinking of something. I was also going to tell you that while we were in Lewiston we were so poor. They had what was also going to tell you that while we were in Lewiston we were so poor. They had what you call a WPA. I don't know what that meant, except that you had to work like a dog, and you got nothing for it. They had some sewing projects that I decided I might be able to enter, because I had been sewing for everybody in Lewiston anyway. I would make over old coats for $1.50 and little boys shirts for 35 cents. They had handmade buttonholes, five down the front and one on each cuff. Seven buttonholes and making the shirt for 35 cents. I thought that was about the worst. And then here they came with his WPA project. They paid you 35 cents an hour. Many times I had to wash the clothing because it was so filthy I couldn't have worked on it. It was making over old things. And as I told you, we had to carry over our water from Grandma Rawlins, so that's where we washed and it was really hard work. After we had gotten through the month with all that we had made, they'd send us a check. Well, they wouldn't send it, they'd bring it to us in a truck from Logan. That really upset me. You had to go up there and wait in line like a beggar to get your check. They, also, at that time had a lot of compassion on the poor dear old ladies in Lewiston, so they'd bring them a package of hamburger. And they would have to be out there too.
One day I went to get my check and it was raining. Here came these little old ladies to stand out there in the rain to wait for that truck. I was so mad I said, to Mabel, that was Aerial's aunt, "You tell them when they come that if they haven't got two cents to mail my check, they can keep it! I don't want it." It made me mad, the way they did it. "Oh", she says, "Now, Dorothy, you've earned your money, now you stay here and get it". I said, "I will not, I'm not standing in the rain for that measly little check". And I went home. So when they came by here, they said, "Dorothy Rawlins was here, but she was sick, she had to go home, she just wasn't able to wait." And so they gave Mabel my check, bless their dear hearts! I tell you, I was sick. I was never more sick in my life!
This is not very well organized. I hope you can suffer through all of it. I was going to tell you that Mother suffered. But she was so cheerful through all of it. I heard many people say that they had gone to cheer her up and she cheered them up. Anyway, she died in November, and it was the next March that we decided to go on to Washington.
Like I say, it was a good thing that we did go up there. In White Bluffs Aerial had a few jobs and then he used to go back to Nyssa, Oregon to work in the sugar factory during the winter. He had worked at the sugar factory in Lewiston, and so he'd go back. That made it bad because he was gone all through the winter months. It usually started in November and ended by March, so it wasn't a very long job. But it was through the worst months of the winter. It made it kind of bad for us to be alone up here, and for him to be alone wasn't good either, but anyway that's how we survived. But at least we were surviving, which is what we were doing in Lewiston, but we were much happier there.
I'll tell you about the little group that came out there. I said there were seventeen families that came from Cache Valley. [These are the names of the families Aerial and I can remember coming from Utah to live in White Bluffs: Elmer and Eda Hendricks, Clair Hyer, John and Maude Hyer, Roland and Lucy Holden, Swen and Edna Huttaball, Eric and Eve Jordon, Levitt and Ruth Karen, Purse and Sara Kent, David and Rose Last, Thomas Last, Jack and Sarah Miles, Hill Nelson, James and Luella Nelson, Boyd and Porter, Aerial and Dorothy Rawlins, Alpheus and Mabel Rawlins, Horace and Arvilla Rawlins, Reed and Ethel Rawlins, Elden and Leona Williams, Pat and Verna Smith.]
We were the closest little Church group you ever saw. We rented the grange hall there, and that's where we used to meet. Believe me, if we got there Sunday morning and somebody wasn't there, someone was right out to find out what was the matter with those people; to find out why they weren't there. Everyone felt the need to be there. We loved it. People were so nice. Always in the summer time we'd have a picnic. Some people came from long distance to come to church, from Hanford, Ringold, and also from Cold Creek, where our branch president, John Hyer, who had come from Lewiston, lived. We used to all drag in quite a distance, so we'd all bring lunch and then we'd have a picnic out on the tables at the grange hall. Oh, and that was fun and we had such a close church group. Some of the people that came from Lewiston that we had hardly known there became close to us in White Bluffs. Everybody was concerned about everybody else, and everyone was helping everyone else. It was a beautiful situation. I think we were closer to the Lord than we had ever been.
We still have friends in Lewiston, such as Mr. and Mrs. Eric Jorgensen. I saw her last May when I went down to George's funeral. They have a large family of boys and a couple of girls. They'd gone out to White Bluffs. I had known them in Lewiston, but I don't think they'd ever been in our house or anything like that. But when we got out to White Bluffs, believe me, everybody had been in everybody's house. We just took turns going from one house to another. Nobody had anything special, you know, there was nothing. There were no Joneses to live up to. You had to just get along with what you had. And it was beautiful. I loved it there.
When I think back on it I think of it as the vacation time in our lives, because it was like a vacation. Somebody would call up, "We're going over to Barrett's Island tonight. We're going to go across and have a picnic. I've got some steaks, and they're delicious." Someone else would call. "Come over to the Black Sandbar tonight. Bring what ever you've got. I have a chocolate cake." So you know, we'd all figure out whatever we could take, either a big salad or anything we had. We never went anywhere to buy anything. There was one little store in White Bluffs where you could buy what you needed, but for a very special needs or things like that you had to go to Pasco or Richland. But people were smart enough to have supplies on hand so that we could do things like that, and it didn't have to be fancy. We used to have more fun like that. We'd go swimming or boating or whatever. It was just fun, just to visit togetation with a mutual that used to put on plays. Everybody used to come from miles aroundation with a mutual that used to put on plays. Everybody used to come from miles around because it was too far to go to Pasco or Yakima for any kind of entertainment. So they would just load the house when we would have a show. It was just really a fun time. Like I said, we were accepted with open hearts. We lived like that for about three years. From about 1939 to 1943.
And here comes Mr. DuPont along and says, "You guys have all got to get out of here." He didn't say it just that way but he was definite. They had a big meeting up at the schoolhouse, and we were all told there was to be a big Manhattan project come in there. It was at the time they were preparing to produce the atomic bomb. But of course this was all secret and we did not know that at that time. So, we all had to get out. You can imagine what that was like to get this news in the middle of our dream. To get out, and we had to be out by June, I think, 1943. They would pay us what they wanted to, and when they got around to it. That's about what it meant. One man said, "But what will happen if we don't want to go?" "Oh, you'll go; you'll be glad to go." That's the way they talked to them and, oh, it made me sick. I thought, we're not in Russia, or Germany, this is America! I couldn't believe that they could do that. But they did. Three towns of people were moved out. White Bluffs, Hanford and Richland.
Now for our sakes it was tragic because we hadn't been there long enough to produce anything. It was not as serious for those who had records to show what kind of money they had made the year before, and the year before that. Many of them had been there from the time they were married, and had raised their families there. So they had proof of the amount money they had made and what the government had to pay them. Then there were people like us who just had the land and hadn't really produced anything. We still had put the pipe all around it and the one pump in the well and things like that. And we had planted small peach trees. But they didn't pay any attention to that. They took the pump out and the last we knew, it was rusting on somebody's dooryard. They said, "Oh, you'll be paid for all this when you get the money for your land."
So that was a tragic time for all of us; that was really sad, because everybody just had to get out and go. We kept in touch with many of them for a long time. Many of them went to Sunnyside, Yakima and that area; and some to Pasco, and some went back to Cache Valley. John Hyer did. Aerial's brother Horace and his wife went back too. Well, I thought about it and I said you know, when we came out here and we were in Walla Walla I said, "If we ever have to leave White Bluffs, will you promise me we can come back to Walla Walla." I felt that close to Walla Walla. Aerial said, "Sure!" Because he had no intention of ever leaving White Bluffs. He was going to live there for the rest of his life. This is what happened, and so I reminded him of his promise. And he said, "Well, I guess we'd be as well there as anywhere."
So we got in touch with the county agricultural agent there and he came to visit with us. He said that since the government is putting you out you should be able to stay at the labor camp if you want to until you find something you can buy or rent. So he figured out a way for us to go back to the labor camp. We got a big home on the hill that was supposed to be the managers home, but he didn't have a big family and he didn't want that big home, so he took a smaller one. We lived in the basement. It was kind of like two apartments. But that upper part was already occupied so we went into the basement. It was nice. Very nice, and that's where we stayed for a year, until the government decided what they were going to pay us for our place. We got $1500 dollars out of that. Which, isn't very much for ten acres of land and a fairly nice home. But, we had no choice but to accept.
So when we got that check we were able to make a down payment with our $1500. We loved the little place we bought. It was so pretty and green, and it had flowers. It was a nice little place. I don't think we've ever been sorry we bought that, because it was a wonderful place to raise kids.
I hope we're going straight this morning. I get kind of confused with this machinery business. I do hope we're on side #4 now, and I've almost forgotten where I left off on side #3, and yet I remember that we were already in Walla Walla, and when I think of that, I think of so many things I should have told you while we were in White Bluffs -- and even in Lewiston.
So, I will try and go on from here and if I have to turn back and tell you things that happened after I've gone past there, you'll just have to accept the fact that that's just the way this story's going to be.
I was thinking, I didn't tell you enough about Mother, when she was so sick, for all that time. We all lived fairly close. I think Tom and Jimmy were always home. The rest of us were all married. I told you about that, and so we had our own homes and lives, but we spent as much time as we could with Mother, and helped her as much as we could. I remember that I had to go to the drug store every so often to get medicine for her, and I think at that time it was mostly morphine. I asked the druggist, "What would this do to mother, if she could get well, how about it?" He said, "Well, if she could possibly get well, it would take years to get this morphine out of her system. "But," he says, "it's the only thing we have now, to make it easier for her, and we have to give it to her hoping that it helps." I remember going there, and I remember that I cried so much during that time that I didn't have any tears left when she was gone. It was sad. Tom was a good one to be there with her to see that she got what she had to have or anything that she needed. And he was good to get it for her.
Because Tom was kind of a loner, he never did have a girl friend that I know of, unless it was just in his mind. He liked some girls, but they didn't give him much of a chance, poor Tommy. He was not the kind that would attract girls. Tommy had a really good heart in him, and he was always anxious to work in the Scout program, and things like that. He was always active in the Church, and if they had a project, like a welfare project or anything like that, Tommy was always there and working at it. Tommy was always, I would say, true to the Church; he always believed in paying tithing and doing his part, whatever he could. But Tommy was really a loner. It was kind of sad for him, because he didn't have many friends, and he used to come over to our house a lot to see Aerial -- I don't know why he didn't marry him, but they didn't get along.
Tommy was the one that Mother felt sorry for. She really did. Jimmy came there to the home one time, and brought his girlfriend who we had met up in Nampa, Idaho, Velma Patterson. He didn't say they were going to be married, but Mother could sense that was what was going to happen. And she was happy for that. She was real happy that Jimmy was going to settle down, knowing that a man gets along a lot better if he's got a wife to look after him and be responsible for him. How much happiness it brings into their lives, at least it should. She said at that time she wondered what would become of poor Tommy. She really was concerned about him as we all were. It wasn't until after Mother died that Tom reall remember, in the shipyards. He just went wherever he wanted to go, and after that it was a little hard to keep track of him. After he left White Bluffs he finally wound up in Alaska. He seemed to like it up there. That's where he really got into trouble, because he had some money. Tommy was one who always saved his money so that he had something. He invested it in a boat, in a big fishing boat up there. He was going to make a lot of money; he could see the fishermen just dragging in the fish and making money, you know. And so he was going to do the same thing. He didn't realize that you should know a lot about those things before you invest your money in them. And so poor Tommy had a really rough time.
That's when his ship went down. They had sent out warnings that the ship should not go out, but Tommy, "Oh weather", you know. Well, that was Tommy, and he went out there. He had a young man with him that he was going to bring back to Seattle. Some boy who had wandered off into Alaska and didn't have the money to get back to Seattle. So Tommy said, "Well, you could come with me, and I'll take you there." So they went out there to fish and to stay; and that's when the storm came. It just wrecked the ship. It went down, and Tommy just barely escaped with his life, probably because the young boy was there to help him. I remember him saying that the boy had dragged him off onto the beach, made him, just forced him to get off the ship; he wasn't going to leave it -- he was going to go down with it, I guess. A big storm came and the boy said he just knew that Tom had to have help. He got him on the beach and he tried to pump the water out of his system. He said he'd left him there thinking maybe that he'd never see him alive again. He went for help, and when he got back, Tommy was O.K. Tommy really did some wild things, but he seemed to have a guardian angel with him. I just don't know how he got through some of the things he got into. But he was just kind of reckless; maybe thinking nobody cared, but that wasn't so. Anyway, he survived that and he brought the boy back to Seattlecared, but that wasn't so. Anyway, he survived that and he brought the boy back to Seattle. They came over to see us at one time. He and his Mother came with him. She thanked Tom for bringing him. Because the boy didn't have a way -- didn't have money to get home. She was thankful that Tom did that for her.
As I was talking about Mother, she really was concerned about Tom because he was the one that didn't have any roots. But I think he did enjoy himself up in Alaska. Then he finally came back and pulled some more money together and he bought some property in Alderwood Manor which is not very far from here. He had wild ideas there too. They were moving a highway, and houses were being sold very cheaply, I mean very cheaply. So Tom bought three houses, I think, and put them on his property. Well, now I figured, let Charlie help him, as Charlie wanted to kind of help him get these things organized and do it right. He might have been able to make some money, but Tom could always do better than the other guy and do it cheaper. And so he did, and the houses were a mess. And he eventually had to sell all of them; he just had the one left that he lived in. He had a lovely piece of property -- we've been up there since, and it was beautiful. Since then it's become quite valuable because of it's location. But Tom, he just always had to do things his way; that was just Tom. And yet I say, he was very good and I tell you, I don't know what Christmas would have been without the presents Tom sent us. In Walla Walla when we first got started we had it rough. And so that was the way it was.
As I said, I didn't mean to neglect mother. In fact we all loved her and we all spent as much time as we could with her. Bessie was in Cornish: that's where Bessie came from. Bessie and Frank though lived in Lewiston. And we were there. Jimmy was there, and David was, I think pretty close by. Charlie would come over from Garland where they lived, and I remember in Evadean's writings, she tells about how much time she spent with mother when mother was so sick that year. I think it was mother's illness that inspired her to go on to nursing. It was very sad when she died, and especially sad for father who had been trying to keep the little candy store going. He was doing that. But he was really broken up by mother's illness. I always said that father was a young man until after mother died. After that, he was really an old man. And it was pretty sad. I had cried so many tears through her illness that I had none left when it came time for the funeral. I don't know what people thought. I couldn't shed a tear. I was just thankful that she was out of her misery. And so that was sad.
Well, I'll get off the sad story now and get on to one of the big events in my life that I haven't even mentioned. That was when Claude was born! He was born in Lewiston while we were living in the little house between the grandparents home and the chicken coop. When Stephen came in 1932, I think he cost $35; he was born at home. When Claude came along in 1935, they must have had a sale, because he was only $25. So I got him. That was the best bargain I ever had! Claude weighed 9 lbs. when he was born. That's a big baby for me. I always felt that he was probably about a month overdue when he came. A month before I had birth pains as strong as I had ever experienced and I was sure he was going to come. They just faded away for another month. Then here came Claude, and he's been a joy to us ever since. He was such a good baby. All he wanted to do was eat, and sleep. Even when he got older and I could feed him at the table I'd say, "OK, Claude, if you can eat everything on your plate, you can go to bed." Oh, how he loved that! To just roll him over in that little crib and let him sleep. That's all the trouble he ever was. He was just a really good baby. And he's been a joy ever since; he's really been a pleasure to all of us. He used to aggravate the other boys because he didn't do what they thought he should. But I suppose that's not all; but it was fun. I remember when Bruce wasn't going to go to a party with Claude if he was going to where those short pants. And I think he was just plain jealous because Claude had awfully cute little legs at that time. Anyway, we got along fine and he loved White Bluffs too. He always was a good, big healthy boy. Well, like all of them; they were a great pleasure to us. They were the joys of our lives.
Then now, I guess we'll get out of Lewiston. I thought, "How can I get out of Lewiston without telling you that I had Bruce and Stephen and Claude?" And then in White Bluffs I forgot to tell you that we had a little girl, which, of course, was the biggest joy, because I had had six brothers, and then three boys and I was really kind of giving up on the idea that we would ever have a girl. I went to the doctor and I said, "Can you tell me whether this is going to be a boy or a girl?" "Well, we never can tell", he said, "but judging from the heart beat, I would say this is a boy." Oh, I thought, this is probably the last chance that we'll ever have to have a girl. I just went home and accepted it that he was going to be a boy. When he came he was a little girl! And oh, I was so happy about that. I could just hardly believe that it could be real. I had wanted a little girl for so long.
I remember when Jimmy was born. I had figured he was my last chance to get a sister. I was so disappointed that I went up to the store to stay while father went home, because at that time all children were born at home and father was there. The doctor came, so I was staying on at the store. I told Dad, "If it's a boy, don't bother to call." Of course, he was as excited as ever and had to call me and tell me I had a little brother. I just cried. I wouldn't even go home to look at him. I went over to the neighbors and sort of poured out my heart. But you know it was a joy too, and at that time I was about fourteen and so just felt like Jimmy was my baby. I just loved him and took care of him. I was his mother, almost. I don't know that I would trade him for any girl in the world. It was just that he has always been a joy to me. We like to do the same sort of things. We used to work on lamps together, any sort of handicraft. Jim seemed to be interested in that, and so was I. We would do a lot of things together, and, so, I thoroughly enjoyed Jimmy. After he married Velma it took us quite a long time to get used to Velma because she was quiet and not loud and boisterous like we were. But we love her. She's a very sweet gal and they live now over in Pilot Rock, Oregon. They come to the temple and we see them about every month. It's such a real joy. They have always been a great addition to my life. So, it's just really nice to remember these things.
Now, wait a minute! Am I still in Lewiston? In White Bluffs I think the boys just thoroughly enjoyed themselves, with the buggy on period of our lives. We didn't thrive too well. We didn't make any money, but we survived.
And certainly, White Bluffs was a good place to survive with all the good people who would bring goodies and share them with you. It was a fine time. I think too, another thing that I haven't mentioned is the fact that in White Bluffs we used to play for dances. We used to go to dances in the Grange Hall, the same place that we went to church. On Saturday nights we would nearly always have a dance if we could find anybody to play. Finally, since I played for the Church all the time, I decided that maybe we could play. Tommy, my brother, had a violin. He was living there, too. I neglected to tell you that. He bought one of those little soldier homes that were being sold at that time and he lived there and raised peaches. He sold his place to Dave and Rose, my brother David and his wife, when they were out there.
But, anyway, Tom played the violin and we had another young man, I remember his name was Tex Arnold, who played the guitar. They would come to our house. We had mother's piano Tex Arnold, who played the guitar. They would come to our house. We had mother's piano at that time. We sure used to make that place rock with our music! We would go and play for dances. We played the Beer Barrel polka and Mexicali Rose. And the people just ate it up. They just loved it. They wanted to know how much we charged and I said, "We don't play well enough to charge, we'll just play because we like to." So when we'd go out and play then they'd pass the hat around. I remember one night I made $40. I could not believe that! I had never made forty dollars a day in my life. Then after the dance we'd have to clean everything up so that we'd be ready for church! It was a wild time. It was fun and we used to have a lot of fun playing. I heard later that this young man Tex went to war and was killed. So we haven't been able to keep track of him. We used to have a lot of fun. We would just practice those songs, anything that we could find that we could play. The people thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just a real fun time.
When I think of White Bluffs it probably was more pleasure than we'd ever had. It was just that everybody was just so good. And it was so sad when we had to break up. I remember probably the last Christmas program we had. It was just before we were going to have to move out. So we decided, instead of each little organization having their own Christmas party that we'd just get together and have a big community Christmas up there. We had it in the school. The Catholic Church had a part and the Lutheran Church had a part on the program and the high school had a part on the program and the grade school. The grade school put on a cute little play; just as cute as it could be. Claude, I think he was the groom and Erma, who was Horace's little girl, was the bride. (Horace was Aerial's brother.) They were dressed up in their little costumes and it was so cute. Then the Catholic group, presented their music. The high school, like I say, and the grade school and the women's club. Every organization that we had around there had a part on the program. It was just one big evening. I was president of the P.T.A. at that time, and I remember we had gotten together and made sacks of candy, with an orange and things like that. We had a Santa Claus and we passed those sacks out to all the children when the party was all over with. Then after all that, the school bus driver took those of us who wanted to go around and visit anyone who was not able to come. There were a few who were too old to get out and participate. It was just really fun to go out and visit them too, and we took them a gift too.
I just thought it was the most beautiful Christmas service I had ever been to. Because the whole town was involved. I don't think we knew at that time that we were going to have to move; I'm not really sure whether we did or not. It was the Christmas before we had to move out in June, so we may have had some idea that that's what might happen. I'm not sure. But anyway it was really sad to leave White Bluffs, because there really was a feeling of love and concern for everybody that was there, no matter who they were, Lutherans, Catholics and Mormons. It was a beautiful experience that all of us who lived there could participate in that thing. If we ever get to see each other, we always remember White Bluffs. It's a beautiful memory for us.
Another thing that I should have mentioned long ago was that when we first lived there we used to have to go over to Yakima; that was kind of like our union meeting as we called it, our stake meeting. We used to have to go over there for information, and lessons and things they wanted, messages that they wanted to carry to each of the little districts. So, because ours was not really a Ward -- it was just kind of like a missionary group -- we didn't have all the organizations. We had a Relief Society and a Primary we held in our homes, and mutual. We didn't really conduct it as mutual, but we did put on the plays and entertainment that we could, for the whole town. They really did appreciate that. So I felt that that was one place that I really hated to leave. Because it wasn't like most places where you leave. If you leave a place you could always go back and visit later. But in this case there was going to be nothing to visit. Everything was moved out. Our home, I think, was taken over to Yakima, but many of them were just deserted. They took ours over to Yakima and sold it.
So, there's just another thing that I wanted to say. One time when we were over there and we had gone out to the meetings that we used to attend, one of the Church authorities said he welcomed all the people who had come from Utah at this time. And he said, what a nice thing it was, what a growing experience it was for us, that we were learning many things by coming out here instead of staying in Utah. Aerial's family always had the idea that unless you stayed in Utah, you'd leave the Church. They were just kind of old-fashioned in that respect. But he said that it was when we got out of Utah that we really began to grow -- many of us needed to get out and to realize that the Mormon Church was not a Utah Church. Utah was not the only place for the Mormon's. He told us too, "You people, you think you have come out here to make homes, but that isn't the purpose you came for. You came to help spread the gospel." I thought, what a ridiculous thing to say. That was exactly what we came out for was to make a home. All of us had come for that reason. We planned to make our homes here and I couldn't understand why he said such a thing. I don't know whether he could have known that in the next year we would be moved out -- completely moved out of that area. But he must have understood something that I didn't, because I thought, what does he mean by saying that. That's the main purpose we came out here for. I couldn't understand that. But he probably knew more than I did about this.
So anyway, we're in Walla Walla now, and, we worked at anything we could. I don't know if I told you about the asparagus, but that was one job I hated -- more than anything else. That was because it happened every morning. We used to all go out, even Helen, who was just a tiny baby, but she could kind of play around us while we were working. She'd find butterflies and things. It was kind of a nice thing and we'd take her with us. All the rest of us would cut asparagus. Oh, my bacI think some poor devil had to reach over and cut that!! (chuckling) That's the way I felt about asparagus. I think it's because we made such a little bit for it; we only got a cent and a half a pound for picking it. But we did it every morning and it was the first thing we could find to do when we went to Walla Walla.
Now, I want to tell you that at the labor camp this county agent who really made a special effort to get us there said, he thought since the government had put us out that the government should supply a place for us to live. We lived there for $11 a month, if you can imagine that. So it was just a good place for us to stay until we could get on our feet again, which was about a year later. That's when they paid us for our house, and when we made the down payment on the little home that we lived in for forty years.
It was interesting, cutting the asparagus and living at the labor camp. I used to go over and help at the nursery. They had a nursery there for all of the laborer's children. No one was supposed to stay longer than a year. A lot of people came from the East. The desk boy there thought the government had given them a chance to get them on their feet, with low rent and just given them a chance and try to get started again.
So, when the year was up and we got our money, that's when we bought our place. I wouldn't let a dime of it be spent on anything else because I thought that's the only way we'll have a down payment on a place. I just really wanted something where we could really put down our feet and stay there. I guess that was a good thing.
we could really put down our feet and stay there. I guess that was a good thing.
By this time Dad had purchased an old 1930 Studebaker that used to drive to the asparagus patch. It did not run all of the time, however. We lived seven miles from town, but as I said too, we had Hill Nelson living with us, and he took care of a lot of things that otherwise I don't know how we would have managed. It was probably a good thing for both of us.
Well the kids liked Hill. He was fun. He spoiled Helen to death. He'd buy her anything she wanted. She liked that. She took him up town and they'd go past the root beer stand where they sold root beers and things, the Triple-X or something, I think that's what they called it, the Triple-X. But anyway they'd go past there and she wouldn't let him go past there. She'd put his cap down over his eyes so he couldn't see. He couldn't drive and he said, "I had to stop; she had my cap right down over my eyes." He'd stop and buy ice cream, anything she wanted. Then one time he took her to town with him and I was a little alarmed. They went into a place and she wanted a tricycle. By golly, he bought her that too. I told him, "That is one thing our boys have never had and I certainly don't think Helen needs it. You can't afford to spend that money on her." "Well," he said, "I didn't know what else to do. If I didn't, she'd scream." So that's what Helen was like and he really did spoil her. He bought her the trike and I think he would have bought her anything else he could afford because he really liked Helen. He just really thought she was special.
So, after we cut asparagus I worked over there at the little store, in the labor camp. I worked there even after we moved out on the farm, which was about a mile and a half from the labor camp. I'd go back and work in the Mexican kitchen. We had a lot of Mexicans there and I would help make sandwiches or serve breakfast or serve dinner, whatever it was. I still had to walk back and forth at that time there was no road and I walked along the railroad track, which is also gone now, and that was quite a walk -- that was a mile and a half one way and a mile and a half back. So I was used to walking I suppose.
We loved our little place. It was really a pretty little home. It had two bedrooms, no, let's see, it had one bedroom and we were a able to add two more. We did build onto it and add two more rooms. We made a kitchen out of what was one bedroom and put in a bathroom. We didn't have any facilities there, but we put the room there because we figured we would eventually get it. We liked it and it was a pretty little place, with the stream down the side of it, and the Walla Walla River at the back. There were flowers and it was just nice. There was a garden spot and we thought that was great. Aerial, I think, first put in some lettuce, which did well, but just as it got ripe, we had a railroad strike, and it all spoiled. So finally they put in some beets. It was ten acres. That worked as long as we had the boys there to do the work, but after that he just put it into pasture, of course.
It was in 1944 that we moved onto the place and then Aerial bought a tractor and he used to do the neighbors farming for them. They wouldn't pay him and he wouldn't ask them so that didn't work out too well either. But, one time, I don't know what happened anyway, but he let the thing freeze up and it burst the engine or something, so he sold that and he just got a little bit of money out of that. That just made me sick too, because we put a lot of money into that tractor. I don't know, it just seemed like things didn't go well for us.
Tape 3, side #5
HELLO! I wonder if you can hear what I'm trying to say! I think I got as far as Walla Walla on my last tapes. I'm not sure whether I said anything about Walla, so I think I'll go on from there. I have two other tapes, that my friend has and she's typing them up for me so you'll get to read them if you can't hear this. I hope this is doing what I want it to. I would like to finish this story of mine if I can. It's just something that I need to get at, because some day I might forget all of it, and I'd like to tell you.
Anyway, I remember how nice it was when we first went to Walla Walla, I think I told you on the last tape about moving into the big house up on the hill, at the labor camp. I think the manager there, Mr. Woodmansee, seemed to think we were entitled to the big house because we had the biggest family. The manager had only one daughter and they wanted a smaller home. They didn't want the big house. And the big house that had been built by the manager had already been rented to one large family, who lived in the top floor, and we were to have the bottom floor, or probably, it was a basement.
It was kind of dug into the hill somewhat. It wasn't bad, it wasn't really a basement of the first floor; it was just the bottom floor. It was nice. It was really quite comfortable. We had bedrooms and we had a nice living room and kitchen, and a big area for the laundry with big tubs in it, and a place for our fruit and also a place to keep our mule, Jack. It was the nicest home we'd ever lived in and we enjoyed it. So, as long as we didn't have a home of our own, this was the next best thing. Mr. Woodmansee seemed to think that we deserved that because we had been put out of our home in White Bluffs, and that we were entitled to some place where we could go about making our livelihood.
I went on from here, and when I went back to see what it sounded like, it hadn't been recorded. I realize that I didn't push down the play and the record, I was just listening to the play and I didn't push down the record and so now I'd better go on and do it right so that you can hear what I've said! It's kind of frustrating (chuckling) to find I got all through that and it didn't record. So now I'll try again, and maybe it will come through on the tape!) Let me try and think about the things that happened.
Aerial, he found us a job, cutting asparagus. This was something, one of the first jobs that begin in the spring of the year and the Mexican people come in and they cut asparagus and so he found a place for us. We would go and cut this every morning . There was Bruce and Stephen and Claude and Aerial and me. Of course we took little Helen along. She was only a year and half at that time. But she loved to play along the rows as we cut asparagus. She found little birds and flowers and things. We had to take her with us and so that's what we did, and we had a lot of fun. Then we'd get home and make a fire in the wood burning stove to get breakfast.
Then there'd be a certain amount of water in the tank that was heated by the stove. That was the only way we had to heat it. So, whoever got there first, got the first shower. Well, Bruce usually got the first warm shower -- and the only warm shower. There was only about one at that time of day, unless we had the fire going all day. It depended on the weather. But anyway the two younger boys soon learned that Bruce was the one that got in there and got that warm shower! So they decided they'd fool him. So about the time he went to get into the shower, just a little bit before he went to get in there, they turned the water into the two laundry tubs. When he got into the shower we heard a blood-curdling scream, and we ran for him and it was Bruce thinking he was going to get a warm shower when he didn't get it. Torked at anything we could find to do. The boys worked in the farm and Aerial -- I think he worked at the pea factory. I used to work in the kitchen there at the labor camp where I would help with the Mexican breakfast in the morning and making their lunches for them to take out and then I'd go back in the afternoon, in the evening to help with the supper. To serve and do all the clean-up. So it kind of gave me a morning and an evening job. And in the meantime they had a nursery over there at the center, where Helen could go. They'd take good care of her all day, she was well taken cr, where Helen could go. They'd take good care of her all day, she was well taken care of. So I felt that when I had to be away that she would be well taken care of right there where we were, and that was nice.
So I did all I could there and finally after we had been about a year there, maybe a little longer than that, they finally paid us for our place in White Bluffs, which was $1500. That's not very much for ten acres of land and a home. But we accepted it because we had no other choice. We took it, and I for one, would not let that money be spent for a thing. I said "That's going to be a down payment on our home!" Because I figured that that would be the only chance that we'd ever have to get a lump sum, as people need when they make a payment on their home. We had to have a home. That was the most important thing to us. So we worked and did everything we could to make whatever we could to survive and finally got this payment for the place and we bought -- a little home down in Valley Chapel that we all fell in love with. It was a cute little place. The only thing I didn't like about it, it didn't have any electricity. I wouldn't even go and look at it at first because I just wasn't going to expose myself to going without electricity.
However, we fell in love with it and we bought it anyway, hoping that it wouldn't be too long. That was during the war, during the Second World War, and they were not increasing any electric lines anywhere. They just weren't. So we were just the next house, Page's. Our nearest neighbor had electricity, but we didn't. There was one past us, Smith's, that didn't have any electricity. They weren't too concerned about it, at least the husband, Monroe, wasn't. The wife would have liked it, but the husband didn't want it because when you had electricity you always had squash bugs. That was his philosophy. But anyway, within a year we got it, and thank goodness because I tell you we really missed it after you're used to electricity. We always have had electricity. That is, nearly always.
We had a refrigerator that sat in the kitchen, and the butter ran away. We had a washing machine and we rubbed on the board. That's the sort of thing we put up with for a year. And we had Aladdin lamps and survived like real pioneers. But we did learn to put our milk out in a milk can in the creek. We tied the milk can to a tree and we put our butter and milk and anything that was too perishable we put out there, because the creek was cold and it kept things better than no refrigeration at all. But we were certainly thankful when we finally got electricity because that is a great blessing. I said, I'd never complain about an electric bill. And I haven't done much, but I'm beginning to just a bit now and I shouldn't. I just got our bill today and it was $129, but that's for two months, and it's during the very coldest season of the year. So, I just don't complain. We have a fireplace here, where we are, but we don't use it, because I don't like wood smoke. I'm tired of that; I've had enough of that. I've had that every year of my life since I was born. And I am now, 83.
So life goes on. As we bought the place, we found that we were desperate; we needed two more bedrooms because there was only four rooms in the house. So we hired one of our Church members to do some remodeling for us -- to add on a couple of bedrooms and to change another bedroom into a kitchen, and to make a big kitchen that had been in the house into a smaller bedroom and a bathroom. We didn't plan to put the fixtures into it yet, but at least we had that done while we were doing the changing. It didn't have any fixtures in it for quite a while.
But you see, we had moved there in '44. We bought the place in '44, when we got our payment and made a down payment on it. We got $1500, which was enough to make a down payment on a place the same size we had in White Bluffs. I think the house in White Bluffs was probably even in better condition than this one was. But, still, this was a good, sturdy little house. It was built of cedar and it didn't have any fancy stuff in it, just four rooms. There was a place in it that we could have made an upstairs, but we decided not to; we decided to add on to the west side instead, so it was all on one floor. It really was a good little house all the years that we lived in it. It was good and sturdy and we had a foundation poured under it. We had a bathroom put in, and it's a good, sturdy little house. It will probably last for years and years yet.
Anyway, it was quite an expense for us, quite a thing for us to take on to add on to that house to pay the carpenter and to make payments. Our plan was to make annual payments on the place. But in a very few years after we bought the place Aerial had lost his leg in a farm accident. This was in 1948, just before Christmas. He was running a tractor with a Farmhand loader for a neighbor and for some reason, the road was slick and it tipped him over. It amputated his leg which was an awful shock to all of us, to him especially. He lost his leg below the knee and then found out later that it would have to come off above the knee. It had been mangled too badly below the knee area and it had to come off above the knee. So it was almost like two operations that he had to have and endure.
That was a real shock to him and of course to all of us. We were left without any income at all. We didn't have any insurance. It happened that the state industrial did have an insurance policy that would pay if we went to court and fought it. It took about three years to do that, but we felt like we had to do it because we had no other recourse. We finally got a settlement. I think it was around 7,000 dollars or so. That was a real rough time. We didn't know from one day to the next whether it was ever going to come through, and maybe we'd owe for the whole thing. Of course the hospital bill was monstrous, as you know it is. But we finally got it and we won. It saved us about 7,000 dollars. We paid the hospital bill and had a little left over, and we finished making the payments on the place. I think that was in about 1953. We did that because I knew I was going to have to work and I knew it was going to be all I could do to keep the family going without having to make the payments.
So, that's how we did that! I wondered how we ever did! Here we were on that farm, seven miles from town and four miles, at least from the job that I finally got from the Blue Mountain Hospital, where I worked as a nurses aid to start with, and then got the job in the kitchen, which is what I really wanted in the first place. I worked there twenty years, and I can't believe it. I just can't believe when I took that job offer that I would stay there twenty years.
I had the privilege of walking to work every morning, which was four miles. And then, I'd walk back again at night. Sometimes I was lucky enough to get a ride with neighboring, when I first went. Then part of the time I went to work at 10:30 a.m., and got home at 6:00 p.m. Then, quite often I would be able to have a ride with the boys if I went early in the morning before they went to school. They took me and Aerial in the old 1930 Studebaker blunder bus that had been wrecked during the war, and which they finally got going again. It took one or two mechanics to keep it going, so I couldn't have driven it if I wanted to. If I went on the late shift, at 10:30, then they would get me after school. So, part of the time I had a ride, but I really couldn't depend on it because sometimes I had a ride and sometimes I didn't.
I'm sure the Lord was with us all those years. Helen began school the year Aerial lost his leg, so that meant that I could leave. Aerial was at home, so he was there when they got home from school. He just stayed home and took care of himself. The State gave him his first leg, but it was not satisfactory. It didn't help very much. So we finally decided we had better buy a new one. Stephen took Aerial over to Tacoma in my brother Tcided we had better buy a new one. Stephen took Aerial over to Tacoma in my brother Tom's car, which he had left with Steve while he was in Alaska. They got a leg that he could manage. But he never did ever have a job after that, or rarely. He would sometimes run a tractor for the farmers after that, but it wasn't anything we could depend on. It helped.
He did cut wood and he liked to raise a garden and that helped a little too. We practically raised everything that we used. Well, not everything, but I mean much of it; our vegetables, our potatoes and corn, things like that. We canned everything that we had. We had cherry trees on the place and Aerial finally planted some raspberries, and they helped and by doing that, we could at least get our living off the farm. We had cows in the first place, but we eventually got rid of those. We used to raise beets. We did a lot of things on that ten acres. It would really produce anything. Eventually the boys left and we couldn't manage the farm without them and so we leased it to a neighbor, for a pasture, and that's the way it wound up.
We really enjoyed living there, I'd say we did. Our boys grew up there and they learned how to work. It was a nice place to live, with a river at the back; they used to have a lot of fun.
One year, I was able to buy them a rubber raft. It was something that we bought from the government I think, I don't know, a surplus thing. They used to have a great time with that. They used to go as Daniel Boone up and down that river with that raft and that was a lot of fun. All the kids liked to come out there to play on the river, and they could swim in it. It was a fairly nice river when we first moved there, but as time went on they took more water out of it every year for other things, and it was just a little stream going by. It wasn't like a river. But, we've got pictures of it when it was really a fun place for the kids and they could swim and run this boat up and down the river and have a lot of fun.
We went to Canada when Bruce was married, October 10, 1950. He was married in the Canadian temple. That's where we bought a Daniel Boone cap for Claude. It was an Indian fur, with the tail down the back. And then we bought Stephen a Scottish tam O'shanter, and he thought that was fun. That's what they did, they had a lot of fun. Of course we didn't have a car. We couldn't chase around going places and so we had to enjoy the place and we did, And we had lots of friends who came out and helped us enjoy it. We had a lot of parties out there. I remember the soldiers used to like to come out and many of them thought it used to remind them of home because of the Aladdin lamps and things that we had before we had the electricity. They used to love to come out and have supper with us and we always enjoyed that.
ys had a lot of fun on the place and I think that's why it was awfully hard for us to leave. Because, well, we lived there for forty years before we decided we couldn't manage it any more. It was hard to get things done that we couldn't do. Oh we'd go on and do things like that when we were younger and it was hard to get people to do it for us. The boys were all gone.
Bruce married Bonnie Hanson. They lived in Spokane, Washington two years, then traveled for Ex-Cell-O for two years. Laurie and Gregory were added to the family, then they moved to Medford, Oregon. Gregory was born in Walla Walla. They have lived in Medford ever since.
Stephen went to college and that was a great thing too, because we couldn't help him, financially. He went down there and he worked at the mental hospital. He worked nights, taking care of things there. That must have been a struggle for him, but he was able to do some studying at night, along with his work, but I'm sure that's why he got so much out of it. His education has really meant a lot to him, and he's done very well, financially and spiritually in every way. They have seven children.
Bruce has six, Claude has five and Helen has four. So, we've got a great group of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I'm getting way ahead of myself. I shouldn't be telling you all this, but anyway that's how it eventually turned out.
Claude was able to go on a mission. He was our first boy to go on a mission. Bruce wanted to go, but they didn't call him when we felt he could. So he decided to get married. Stephen married a girl that he met down at college -- Carol Carter. He stayed with his college, even after he was married and they had children every two years. It must have been a real struggle for them. They worked hard, but they enjoyed it too. After graduating from B.Y.U., he went to Pullman on a grant where he went ahead and got further education and eventually his Ph D, which meant a lot to him. I know it was a struggle for him and Carol, too. Even though she had all these children she would baby sit other children, and she'd type theses for the graduate students. She'd do anything she could to make money, as people are doing now, when they go to college. It's so expensive, much more now than it was then, but at least they try and they do it. I have all the admiration I can for those children, because when they work like they did for it, I tell you, they really do. They make the most of it if they realize what it's worth to them.
I realize that I've skipped over a lot of years here, telling about how things wound up, but I should go back and tell you about some of the things that happened.
While I was working the boys would do anything that they could in the summertime. They got busy and decided to buy us a new Maytag washing machine, which was something that we really needed. They felt that by buying the Maytag they were getting the very best that they could. I think they were. But we managed to get us a lemon. Now they don't tell you that a Maytag is ever a lemon, but this one was. I don't know what happened, but anyway we worked on that thing for a year and they gave us a new part for something that was supposed to be done but, it just was not what they're cranked up to be. But we struggled along with it.
Then finally we had to buy another one and then the boys they went out and worked in the beets. In fact, Aerial told them they could have the money they got off the beets. So they did, and when the time came he wasn't going to give it to them, but he did, because I told him, "You promised it to them and you told them that if they worked the beets, they could have the money they made from them." "Well", he says, "you need a washing machine." Well the boys had already planned to buy the washing machine before that ever happened. Anyway, we finally got that Maytag, which didn't turn out to be as good as it should have been. I don't know what happened. It was a lemon. I suppose those things happen with all kinds of things that you buy. But, we managed, and, oh I know what the boys wanted to do too, was to put in the bathroom fixtures. That was the thing that they were working for, and they did that. That was another great thing.
I think that the best thing that we ever had was the electric water heater. To be able to get up in the morning and go have a bath without having to go and put the water on the stove and heat it and all that sort of thing and then drain it out, you know. I thought that was probably the biggest luxury we ever had. I thought what a wonderful thing to have a bathroom and hot running water. That was wonderful. I remember too, when we first went down there on the farm, I would always forget that we didn't have hot water and so after supper there I was stuck with no hot water to wash the dishes. So used it as an excuse to leave it until the morning, when we would make the fire again. I didn't like that, because I hated to get up in the morning to do dishes. So Grandma Smith told me, "Dorothy, when you go to start getting supper, put a big pan, or kettle on the stove and get the water hot. Put it on when 'll have hot water for your dishes." So, I realized what a simple thing that was, a'll have hot water for your dishes." So, I realized what a simple thing that was, and I did. I learned to do it, to put that water on there so that I always had water to wash the dishes after supper. Then after we got the electric hot water heater, which, I think, Bruce was responsible for putting that in, then I was still putting this pan of water on the stove, just automatically. It's just habit you get in to. But I just couldn't help but think what a luxury hot water is. Hot running water, just such a luxury, that we'd never had before. Of course when we had the wood stove, there were coals in there where we had had the fire, and that would be good enough for a shower or something like that, but it was not like having running hot water. Oh, that was the biggest luxury and I still feel that it is. It is a wonderful thing, and we do have so many lovely things now that we never used to have and never thought we ever would have. Now, we have everything we need. We are moved to a -- well, I think I'm getting too far ahead here by telling you this.
Claude married Vergie, Vergie Matthews from Pasco. After he came home from his mission he met her. I don't think they were madly in love to start with. They just defied each other. Vergie, I guess it was Bro. Barber who got them together, because Vergie used to work for Bro. Barber and he said he was going to introduce her to a returned missionary. Vergie said, "I don't need any of your eager-beaver return missionaries; I can get my own boyfriend." Claude had somewhat the same attitude, "Well, I don't need to meet your secretaries, your old maid secretaries; I can get my own girlfriend." That was the attitude they had. But they married! And I think they're happy. They've got a lovely family. They were married in Salt Lake City, September 4, 1959, and I was down there to their wedding.
Well, I'm on the other side now, so now maybe I can start tape number 6, which should be the end of this narrative. I hope I can get it all in here now. I keep remembering things that I should have told you about, and then I have to go back and talk it over again. But, it's interesting to go back over this life of ours. It's been such a struggle and yet a lot of fun along with it. We rarely had a chance to go on a vacation. We didn't even think it was necessary. If we could keep food and clothing and shelter and heat, they were the main four things that we were working for. Of course another thing that we always did. I always paid my tithing. That was something I thoroughly believed in, my father taught me that. If we paid that and we tried our best to live according to the commandments that the Lord wants us to live and stayed close to the Church and do all that we can in any sort of an activity that we are asked to help with, that we will make it and that that's the way to do it. That's what my father believed absolutely. And so do I.
I remember one vacation that we took. It was right after we had wallpapered one of our rooms at home, our living area. I was not happy with it because I had been talked into a wallpaper that I didn't really like, but the man of the store had told me, "Oh, have something completely different. You'll just feel like you're in a new world." I had had kind of a pale pink with white dogwoods in it. It was very pretty, but it needed to be recovered. When you have wood stoves, the smoke gets to it and it eventually you have to cover it over and it needed to be done. So he talked me into getting a real dark forest green and it had a spray of pink and a spray of white, and it was quite pretty, and it looked nice in his store, but it sure didn't look nice in my house. Just the minute we got it up there I felt like tearing it out and trying it all over again. It seemed like when I came in the room it just closed in, and it did. It made the room look much smaller on account of it being dark green, when it had been a pale pink. I was sure we'd never get the furniture back in after we'd got the paper on the wall. But anyway, we had worked hard at that. I think Thad Nelson had been over to help and Claude was helping too and we were getting that papering done.
We finally got it done and we decided we were going to take a trip to California. We'd never been there, so we made arrangements. We were all going to go to California. It was just Helen who was home. Thad went with us. It was Thad and Claude and Aerial and I and Helen. So we did. I got few days off work and we just went to California. At that time I was having trouble with my leg. It was hard for me to get any kind of rest anywhere. The trouble was in my back, we finally found out. When we were on this vacation we found out where my trouble was.
So anyway, we went to Portland, and then over to the coast and it was so beautiful and we just had such a nice time. I think we took one of Helen's friends along with us too. Vera Kirchgestner, she was a little gal whose mother had died and she was kind of alone at home, so we talked her Dad into letting her go with Helen, so Helen would have someone to be with. We had a nice time. It was really interesting to see the ocean. We lived real close by the ocean and we could go out and pick up shells and do the other things that you do along the beach. It was fun. Yet I was in pain all the time with this back of mine, As we would go along I would have to stop and I'd have to just get out of the car and walk maybe for a block or two, and kind of get my muscles moving. Otherwise, I just couldn't sit. So Claude says, "We're going to go to Spokane where Bruce is and see what he thinks about going to the doctor there to find out what your trouble is." So far, in Walla Walla they had just said it was probably inward varicose veins. They wanted to go and cut into there, and I said, "No, not unless you know what you're going after, you're not going to cut into my legs." I wouldn't let him do it.
So, we went to Spokane where we went to the Rockford clinic. Bruce took us there in the morning and a doctor went all over me, completely over me and then he told us to go and have some lunch and then come back in the afternoon and we'll have another doctor do the same thing. Then they'll compare notes. Well, we did. They didn't talk where I could hear them. They just tried to keep me from hearing what they were saying, and I heard one of them say, "Well, her mother died of it. She told me her mother died of it." So that was cancer, you know. So I just, I decided that was what it was. I was just sick then. So they said they thought my trouble was in my back and that it was pushing on a nerve in my spine. Something was pushing on a nerve in my spine, and that that's where all my pain down my right leg was coming from. It was real terrific pain. Something like a toothache you know, all the time. I had been trying to work with that thing, and it was really just about to get me. All they could do at the hospital, at the doctor's office was to give me pain pills. I thought that's just covering it up. It's not getting at it. And so I was glad to go to Spokane where they found that problem.
So they gave me a milogram there. A milogram is where they go into the spine with some kind of colored liquid and it shows what's going on in there. From that they found out that I had a ruptured disc on the spine and it was pressing on some nerve that goes down the right leg. The sciatic nerves. The milogram proved that was what it was. It pan and that it's perfectly round until the yoke breaks out of the white or the white breaks out of the edge and it runs out into the pan a little bit. He said that's exactly what happened. This fluid has broken out of the spinal chord and it's hardened and is pushing on that nerve. It seems as though he said neurotic nerve, but I may be wrong. Maybe I was the neurotic one! Anyway, it made sense to me. It really did. He said, "We think the trouble is in that spinal column, and you'll have to have an operation. If you had to have an operation, would you want to have it here?" I operation. If you had to have an operation, would you want to have it here?" I said, "No, if I have to have an operation, I think I would like to go back to Walla Walla." We had a really good surgeon there. He was Dr. Platner. I told him about Dr. Platner and he said, "Oh, you can't beat Dr. Platner. He's famous all over the West here." And so I went back to Dr. Platner and told him. They had all the X-rays and everything for me to take back with me.
Dr. Platner said, "I can't believe this. I just can't believe this is so because you could stand up on your toes and go back on your heels and it didn't seem to hurt you any! Ordinarily that would just kill you, if that were the case." He just hesitated to do anything, he didn't want to do anything. Yet I was getting so bad that I got to the point that I was at the hospital in the morning and I suppose I went berserk or something because I said, "I just can't stand this any longer!!" I said,"I'm going to go to that doctor and if he can't help me then I'm going to get someone who can, but I just can't take these pain pills any more. They're not doing a thing. They're just making me worse." So I just left the hospital. They said when I drove out of there they thought I'd never make it home because I was driving so erratically. So I called the doctor when I got home and told him exactly what happened. I said, "If you can't do something for me, then I must have somebody that can. I've got to have something done!!" He said, "That's exactly what I've been waiting for you to say." He evidently hesitated to do what he was going to because he wasn't sure about the outcome. I think they're very often not sure about back operations. Well anyway, I said, "I've got to have something done, if it kills me, I've got to have something done!"
So he went in, and he operated, and within three months, I was back on my job again. I wouldn't say it wasn't rough; it was a rough operation. I wouldn't want to have to go through it again. But he found that what the doctors in Spokane had said, was absolutely right.
And I was one of the lucky ones that came out. He told me he wanted me to lay off for another three months. He wanted me to have at least a six month rest period. But I just couldn't do it with the darn kids. They were still eating you know, I couldn't break them of the habit! So he put me in a tight, tight, kind of a corset. I couldn't bend over if I wanted to! It was like being in a cast almost. But, I was able to go back to work and I said I would recover. I'm so thankful I had that done because it took care of my problem. I'm so lucky, because of the many people I knew; there were many people who had back problems and never did recover. So I was so thankful that mine turned out OK.
And so that was another thing that happened. This happened about the time that Steve and Carol were married. I still worked at the hospital and I was surprised and everybody was that I was able to go back to work, but I did.
I think I want to tell you about Helen when she got out of high school. She wanted to go on to college. She had been working in Walla Walla at Gardners' Department store. That was one of the nicest places we had in Walla Walla, and she liked to work there and liked to handle the fancier things they had. It was kind of like a Bon Marche or something like that. But she wanted to go on to college and so when she got out of high school she went to see what kind of a job she could get and about the only thing that was available was a job at the Walla Walla pea canning factory. Everybody worked there, to get along. But it was a problem to get into a good job. You worked for a few days and then they'd lay you off because the peas were not ripening. You'd be off a few days and back on a few days. It was pretty frustrating. Helen came to me one day and she said, "Mother, I'll never get to college if I have to depend on that job, I don't make enough money. I just work a few days and then I'm off a few days. Of course, once you get established then you don't have to do that. It's just the newcomers that have to take those part time jobs.
But anyway, she took it upon herself to go over to the employment office, and they needed a girl to cook in a harvest over on the Snake River. She came home one day and said she'd been offered a job, and she thought she'd take it. I said,"Helen, what are you going to be doing?" She said,"I'm a cook's helper." I asked her how much she was making, and at that time wages were about what they are now. They were going to pay her $15.00 a day and she thought that was great, which of course it was. It was a lot more than she could make at the pea factory. I said, "Helen, I just question whether you're going to be the cook's helper. Perhaps you're going to be the cook." I wasn't at all sure whether she was up to that. I was judging myself. At her age I never could have done it. But she said, "Mother, I want to go." So I said, "Well, I'm going to call up and talk to the man at the employment office." I talked to him and asked if she was going to be the cook, and he said yes. I said, "Well, I think that's a lot of responsibility for a young girl to take. I'm not sure she's up to it." He said, "If she thinks she can do it, you let her go." And so, I thought, well maybe he's right. Maybe I'm just too overprotective. So I talked to her about it and she thought she could handle it. And you know I took her over there near the Snake River, and we kept going out and into the wild a little farther. Oh, I was just sick. I thought, alright, she's probably going to have to pull the water out of the Snake River. I just thought there would be no conveniences.
All at once we came upon a little oasis there, just a beautiful little place where these people had their farm house. And every convenience in the world. Helen would go and live with them, and yet she would live downstairs. She had her own apartment down there and she had her own T.V., everything. This lady had cooked for so long that she just wasn't interested in doing the cooking. She said, "Helen, if you'd like to take over the whole thing, that's what I'd like you to do, but if you need help, I'll be glad to help you. But if you can do it on your own, I'd just as soon get away from it, because I've done it for so many years, I'm just sick of it." So Helen decided to do it, which I thought was pretty brave. She cooked for about 15 men. In the morning she made breakfast and then she made lunches and took them out to them, where they were working out in the field. Then she came home, could rest in the afternoon, and then get supper at night. She'd been down to college enough that she knew quite a lot about cooking. She also knew quite a lot from what she had learned at home.
I forgot to tell you that at home I would make casseroles for her in the morning. Then she would put them in the oven when she came home from school so that they would have supper over with by the time I came home. That was a great help to me, because after I had worked all day long cooking, I just didn't care about coming home and facing it again. And she learned a lot about cooking. In fact I think she had told me, "Mother I think you'd be surprised how many cakes are buried out there in the back yard." If she made something she thought the boys would make fun of, she'd bury it. But she still learned a lot about cooking, just by having to do it. I wasn't there to help her, but I would leave her recipes and she learned a lot of things. At least she had enough confidence to take on that job. And she did it and evidently did a good job. I think the first morning she forgot to make the coffee, which was practically an unpardonable sin. They kidded her about that forever, but she said, "I'll never forget that again!" And she never did; she learned how to make the coffee. And she stayed there through that whole wheat harvest season, and didn't even come home. I'd go over to see her on my day off. She just had things well managed. She had her menus laid out and they bought her anything she wanted in the way of things to cook. I think she had the time of her life there. I really do. And it wasn't too hard. It was a long, long stretch. She stayed there all through the wheat harvest.
When she got all through, the farmer said to Helen, "What will you do now?" He paid her one big check for the whole summer with no deductions at all. She really had more money that she c and see if I can get back on with the pea factory, until it's time to go to school." He said, "Well, how much will you make at the pea factory?" And she said, "Well, maybe eight dollars a day." He said, " You stay here and cook for Elsie and me while we do some painting." They wanted to do some painting in the house. He said, "We'll pay you that, and be glad to do it." So, Helen stayed, right up until the last day that she had to go back to school. It was a beautiful experience for her. She had one big check that was really worthwhile and helped her very much in getting her education. And I was so proud of her to think she would and could do it. I'm sure at her age I never could have done it. I wouldn't have dared try because I didn't know anything about cooking, and I didn't much want to learn! But she did, and I was just really proud of her and they were too, and wanted her to come back again the next year. But the next year she was married, so she went back to college with her husband.
But anyway, they came to her wedding reception and brought her a present. They really did love her. They wouldn't let her wear pants. He said, "No, ladies that work in my place dress like ladies and the men respect them like that." That's the way he felt. He was very protective of her. I felt she was perfectly safe in their home. It was just a real experience for Helen and I was real proud of her. And I still am. I think it gave her a good start in her married life.
Well, let's see. Now the next Christmas, after this fall that she went back to college, Jim Knopf came home from his mission. He'd been on a mission in the East, I think it was the New England or something. I can't remember exactly, but it was in the East, somewhere around New York. And he came home around Christmas time. Of course Helen was real excited and we all were. I had sent her some money to buy a new coat; she needed a new coat. She said, "Mother, would you mind if I used the money that you sent for my Christmas present to come home with Jim." He was going to come home, from his mission through Salt Lake. I felt she needed the coat, but she wanted to come so I said, "Honey, it's your Christmas present, you do what you think is best." So she came home with Jim.
That was a hectic time. It was fog and the planes couldn't land in Walla Walla or Pendleton, and they'd have to go to Portland. It was a nuisance. It just scared us to death. Jim's mother said she would go from Walla Walla to Pendleton to pick them up. We'd get over there to find out that the plane had never landed, that it had gone on to Portland. It was treacherous driving through the Blue mountains, really a terrifying time for both of us. We came home and Jim's mother went home, and I had to go to work the next morning. So, when I got off at 5:30, she came and got me and we drove to Pendleton again. They'd come back from Portland; they'd had to go to Portland and they'd had to spend the night there. And so we brought them home. That was the sort of thing we had run into at Christmas time. But, when they do that, the airlines pay the hotel bill and I said, well I hope you didn't stay in the same room. Jim says, "No, we were in separate rooms, but boy there sure are scratch marks on the wall!"
The next March they went to school. After that Jim got some money. He'd had an accident before he had left and they hadn't settled up with him. They finally did and he was able to buy a kind of a trailer house, or something. It seemed more like a big, old streetcar to me. And he said, "Why don't we just get married now, instea old streetcar to me. And he said, "Why don't we just get married now, instead of waiting until June," (when they planned to be married). "We could both live in this one place and save money." They were doing everything they could to save money. So they decided to do that. They had their announcements all made out for June. And then when they pushed it up, you know what people said, "Oh, well, you know, these things happen; they happen everywhere." And I was just aggravated just to think that they'd think that they were trying to get away with something. But anyway, I think they marked their calendars and if they counted them right, they found out that we were right.
Anyway, so she was married in March and we went down to her wedding. Aerial and I drove down in our car, with Jim's father. He went down with us, so he drove, because I wouldn't have wanted to drive there and back.
And so, we went down there and we went all around the tabernacle and everything. Then when they had to go through the temple, of course Jim's father couldn't go with them because he wasn't a member. He cried and Helen cried. We had a good time crying. Jim says, "Well, that's the way it's going to be in the hereafter, unless Dad gets on the ball." It was beautiful, and it was kind of sad. I really learned to like Jim's father then. I thought he was a very kind and compassionate man. He was good to Helen and Jim. And I thought that was nice.
Anyway, they were married in April and when they came home in June we had the reception and the things we had planned in the first place. But it was a good idea for them to do that. It saved them money. And then Michelle was born the following June, or July and then they went back to school. The next year she was pregnant again, but she still took care of babies. It was just quite a hectic life. And then little John was born. John's a year younger than Michelle. I was down there both times, when Michelle was born and then I went again when John came. Then after that they came back into Walla Walla and from there over to Seattle where I think they managed some apartments for a few years before they got settled over here in Bellevue. I'm not too sure about the times and things there because I wasn't here. I came over when Stephen was born, no I was going to come when Stephen was born, but that's when I had a stroke, which was really inconsiderate of me, because Helen had planned on me taking care of her. And I wanted to come.
But when Stephen was born I was in the hospital with my stroke. This was something that happened to me at work. No, not at work, because that summer, I had retired. My time was up and it was OK for me to retire. I figured up my finances and I would get more, because I had been paying Social Security and also retirement. By the time I figured up my finances I would get more by staying home than by working. By this time they had built a new hospital there. It was far much more work than the old one was. It was new, but they had a lot more things to do. It was hard, well it was always hard, but it seemed like I was used to the old hospital. But anyway in this one we worked and worked and they promised us raises, but the first time that I went to get my check and I didn't get my raise. I said, "Well, if I didn't get it this time I'm not sure I'll get it next time, so I think I'll quit." And I did. I just put in my retirement. I decided that I could make more money by staying home than I could by working. And so, that's when I quit, in July.
It was that December, that I had my stroke. I don't know why I had to wait until December to have a stroke. I think I should have had it while I was working there at the hospital, when I was putting especially hard hours there. When they moved into a new hospital, it was a lot of work. But, I didn't, I waited until December. I think it was the third day of December I had a stroke. And so they took me to the hospital. I was there from the third until they let me out on Christmas day. I had to go back in after Christmas for a checkup. From then on I went to visit with Stephen and Carol in Riverside, California, because they could take me to therapy. See, I was not able to drive after I had my stroke.
By the way I think that I forgot to tell you that I bought a new car. (Oh, no, I didn't do that either. I didn't do that until I'd come back from Stephen's.) But I couldn't drive the car we had when I had my stroke because I wasn't able to. So I went to Stephen's right after Christmas and stayed until March, when they thought I had reached what they called a plateau, and I was doing about as well as I could. They thought it would be good, and I wanted to get back home because Aerial was there and he had been there alone for 3 months. I felt that I should get back with him if I could, so I decided to come back. It was after that I bought a new car. It was a Datsun. I had a Rambler that was doing alright, but I couldn't begin to manage it with my left hand gone. It had a stick shift and I had to have an automatic transmission. So when we came back to Walla Walla we bought our new Datsun. That is the only new car we ever had. By the way I think I didn't even mention that before this, in 1951 Stephen went down to Utah and bought us a used 1949 Oldsmobile 98. It was a great big thing and we liked it. A tree fell on it in a windstorm we had during the spring of the year. The wind just took the trees right over on the car and smashed it. And after that we bought a little pink Chevy and, after that we bought the Rambler that we got from Irving Davenport. He'd gone to Germany on a Church work mission, and he sold us his Rambler and that was a good car. That's the one we had when I had my stroke and the one I couldn't drive after I had my stroke.
Of course I realize that I've left a lot of things out and covered an awful lot of territory in a little while, but I wanted to tell you about being down at Steve's. They were awfully good to take me. Carol would take me to the therapist every day no matter what. I was really her first priority. She would take me, no matter what she had to leave undone, up to this therapy place. And they'd put me in a little kind of a cell, I called it, and I laid my arm.
[Mom, the copy I have on the computer disk just ends here abruptly. I'll check the tapes to see if there is more material there. If not, I hope you will finish the story. This is such an interesting history to read. I do hope you will add to it. I'd like to have much more. I have Dad's tapes we made last year. I'll try to get them transcribed and let him edit his history too. Neither of you could give us a more cherished gift than your history. -- Steve.]