Reed LeGrand Rawlins (tape)
. . . . Reed LeGrand Rawlins. I am the fifth boy of a family of eight children of Jasper Alfonso Rawlins and Cora Mae Burbank Rawlins. I was born in Lewiston, November the 20th, 1913 in the old house where Lindsay lives, our grandfather's old homestead.
I think I had quite a free, carefree childhood, enjoyed life very much at a real young age. I never remember when I couldn't ride a horse. Never was a cowboy, couldn't ride bronc. My head was too heavy. But I remember that whenever I wanted to go somewhere even when I was real small, I could go catch the old saddle horse and bridle him, slide down his neck and away we could go. There was a large patch of grass east of the house, some apple trees there and we had a ditch that came down through and watered the garden and the old orchard . We played along that ditch. I guess we got awful dirty but we enjoyed it.
One summer before I started to school Aunt El and her youngest boy spent the summer with us. We had a lot of fun that summer. We had a bummer lamb that we got from Clem Rawlins and someone had a picture of it with Ray and I both riding the lamb. We hooked it on a wagon, it followed us everywhere we went. That fall, Mother, Dad, Mae and I went up to St. Anthony, Ray and his mother had gone, and visited for a week or two I think. Anyway while we were gone Sister Choate, the neighbor lady, cooked for the boys and this lamb, they left the door open one day and he ended upstairs in the bedrooms looking for us kids. The railroad track electric line ran along north of the house. It started down by where Presto Products are now, it used to be a sugar factory. It ran clear down through Lewiston across the river into Trenton, down through Amalga and lower Bensen. It was built to service the sugar factory that was built in Amalga where the Cache Valley Cheese plant now is. On this railroad track there was a little motor car that the repair men rode going up the track. Coming up there one day and this lamb got out on the track and challenged it, ended up with a broken leg. By the time we got back from Idaho they had it half eaten up. I don't think I ate any of it. It felt like the loss of a member of the family.
I think it was the next fall I started to school. I was five years old, lacked a couple of months of being six. I was informed that that morning I was to go to school. So I went out and threw the reins around the old buckskin pony's neck and led him up to the corral fence, and bridled him and slid down his neck and started for school. I came out of the corral with the gate open and there stood my mother. She took my horse and my freedom away from me and sent me up the road afoot to school. I don't know whether that had much of an influence on my perpetual dislike of school or not but I really had a hard time getting along in school. It's too bad, too, because I could certainly have used that knowledge allot of times in my life.
Thinking back on my life, there are two songs that kind of fit the way I've turned out. I'm not particularly proud of them but that's the way they are. One is the song I Did It My Way. I think old Frank Sinatra and Ravaun and - yeah, I can't ever think of his name when I want to say it - the little black entertainer, sang that. The other song is one that's sung by Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry, My Illusive Dreams. That's got some sad lines to it and they fit. (Editors' note: "I know you're tired of following my illusive dreams and schemes for they're only fleeting things - my illusive dreams.") If anybody ever listens to this and wants to take some advice, why - and that's the way your life is going, why be achangin' it.
I got along fairly well in school, had to repeat the third grade. I'm sure it was the teacher's fault. Uh, it came along we had a principal that was - I mean he was mean - and it wasn't just the kid's idea. Thinking back, I'm sure he was. I had a couple of run- ins with him over the years that I went to grade school and I survived them. We ended up as friends in later life.
Uh, in the summertime, Mae worked right along in the field with us thinning and hoeing and sugar beets and hauling hay. In the evening, why we generally had a few mares with colts and breaking those colts to lead was the fun of the evening. That was our television. And we used to race barefooted up the dusty road and Mae could always outrun me. My feet were sore and I'm sure that that's the reason that she could outrun me. My skin is thin and my toes were always cracked underneath and sore and I limped all summer long. That was one thing that ever made my happiness when Fall came, I could put back on a pair of shoes and I could walk.
As we grew up and through high school we caught the electric train as it came by our house. That was as far as I had to walk to catch the train to go to high school. Mae was a couple of years ahead of me. I got along fine in ag; I participated in the cattle judging, was on the stock judging team - cattle, hogs, and horses . The one animal that I was raised around I didn't rank as high in as I should have and that was the Holstein cow. Went to Ogden the year I was a junior and that was my last official participation in contest because in my sophomore year I got all of my ag in and I was not eligible. You could only do so many state contests in and you had to relinquish it to somebody else. We ranked fairly good at Ogden. The boys that were all the same year as I was and they got on the stock judging team the next year and they won it in Ogden and ended up in Kansas City and I always felt like I must have cheated myself by not doing a better job. But as spring came as I was a senior in high school and we went over to Black and White Days and Amos Bair was my ag teacher. He pushes a cane up the road now. One of the judging team didn't show up and so I took his place and I ranked higher than the other two that had gone to Kansas City the year before so I guess my timing in the life wasn't very good. I had another ag teacher the year I was a freshman, Stanley Richardson. He had taught up in Grace and the school had burned and he had come down and taught two years at North Cache. He was quite a man. He took us for a tour up through Gentile Valley and we visited all the power plants along Bear River, some of the big farms . He told us, "That's was the first electric welder I ever saw was down at that power plant down the Bear River below Grace to the west. " He told us that when he moved up there from Salt Lake that as they crossed the river down south of Thatcher, the river was quite wide and that he could throw a silver dollar across that river with either hand . He just trained himself to do that. I saw him once this winter at the Temple. He still goes to the Temple every day or nearly every day. He's getting pretty much up in years and we talked about the year that I was in his ag class. Quite a man. After graduating from high school I was home on the farm; I think that we got along that winter all right. Owen and I went over to the sugar factory. They piled their extra beets in a big pile and then it was time to put them into the factory. We took a team and wagon, a big old iron tired wagon - the bottom of that beet box was as high as my shoulders and we were paid .15 a ton for all the beets that we could put over that dump in a day. And we worked. We averaged 50 ton a day and when night came Owen had to boost me up into the wagon. I just wasn't as tough as he was. I tried to stay with him and do my part and when night came I'd about had it. We did that for two or three other years at a time before they got their big mechanical equipment in there to move the pile. The next winter Owen and Howard got the mumps and it went down on them and that put them in bed for nearly all winter. Horace and Aerial were married and lived away. We had a couple of colts; one was a Mule colt and the other a horse colt - a little blue guy. His mother was a Hameltolian, his father was a Percheron stallion. And I broke him to drive with the mare that we had there that was real good to break colts with. We'd tied them to the big pole that was lashed to the barn on the west side there and hook them to the sleigh and tie the end of the double tree that was on the colt to where he couldn't get ahead and tie his halter rope over to the heim of the broke horse. And she could push him or pull him any way we wanted to go and we could really take some fast rides. David Last came over and rode with me a number of times and that and we had a great time. Poor dad was locked up in that house. He was crippled so that he couldn't get out but he would stand by that kitchen window and watch me hook up those colts and listen to Owen and Howard grumble and complain that I was going to ruin everything and do it all wrong. I guess by the time night came he'd had a pretty good day of it. I did the same with the mule. After I got the horse colt pulling pretty good I got the mule going to where we could drive him. Then I got brave along about in February and tried to ride him. I tied him to the barn and saddled him up and got on him. That was really quite a frightening experience. He'd get his head down right to the ground and that was all you could see was his ears and the ground. I could guide him enough to get him out in the deep snow and I got him to where I could ride him. By spring he was pretty good to ride. He was a good little guy to work with and ended up putting him on the beet cultivator with that big brown mare of Horace's that walked awful fast. He weighed about 900 lbs. and she about 1500. Seems like an uneven thing but he could walk just as fast on that beet cultivator as she could. We could really cultivate the beets that summer. Someone came along with more money than we thought he was worth and we sold him. We had another mule that winter that we had already broke and worked her one year. We had her and some heifers out in the field and we'd take hay and straw out to them each day. We had what we called a manure boat - a wooden sleigh made. We'd clean the stables from the cows. We had 12 stalls in the barn and it was warm and had drinking cups. We left the cows in all winter long. It was warm. We'd go in there to milk; we milked by hand and hang our coats up and kick our warm boots off. It was real warm in there. But anyway, we'd load that manure in the barn each day and take it out in the field and come and get some feed for the young stock out there and take it down to them. One day I didn't shut the gate and as I was going up through I looked around and that mule was headed for the barnyard. I knew she would cause alot of trouble if she beat me up there so I turned around and started the old mare up the trail after her as hard as we could run. I was hitting her on the tail with a stick and she got right up just about to the side of the mule and I was going to go around it and the mule stubbed its toe and fell down. The old mare jumped over and that manure boat hit that mule in the tail end and I flew just as high as the lines would let me go and lit out there in the snow. I had to repair that manure boat that day. Another time I was whirling it in the yard. We had a big place where we'd hook the team on the sleigh and we'd whirl. That 's really a thrill that people nowadays don't even know about. I was whirling that thing and it hit a bump of some sort and tipped right over on top of me. Just as it did that I hollered "Whoa!" and the old mare stopped and Dad was standing looking out of the kitchen window. He knew where I was but there wasn't much that he could do about it. I finally crawled out from under it. Had to do some more repair work on it that day, too. But all in all we had quite a winter. Too bad those guys got sick but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Come spring we started - four or five of us - going to Preston to the dances and shows and we met some girls up that way and started getting real friendly with 'em and took them to the show and the dance and partied up the canyon and that summer went skipping right along, I'll tell ya. The next summer as I recall I brought this girl that I was going with home to Sunday dinner. I never announced that's what I was going to do. I think they thought I'd gone to church but I went and got her and brought her home to Sunday dinner. That went along fairly smooth. Dad was pretty jovial and he was pretty good conversation piece, I tell ya, and the next morning at breakfast he said, "You know that's a pretty girl. But I 'm sure you don't kiss her or you'd had painter's colic." I'll never forget that. He must have been pretty observant. One other time about that time in life, maybe a year before, a bunch of us went up to Preston to the rodeo - Mae, Howard, and I don't know but there must have been others. And we went over to a friend of ours - a girl that had been raised next door to us - her name was May Wheeler and she married a Rudy Jorgensen up in Preston and he had made some home brew. He brought that out and gosh, I don't know, I guess I thought that it was root beer or something till I took a great big swig of it and it was warm and it wasn't root beer. But anyway the next day we were over across the river fixing fence around a haystack on some land we had rented . It was dry and hot and we had to carry all the milk cans full of water and we'd chip away at that dirt and pour water into that hole and go around and dig on it some more and come back. We had one can that we were using for drinking water and my dad said, "Do you know what you remind me of?" "No, what do I remind you of?" He said, "You remind me of the old woman who said she knew her boy didn't drink on Saturday night cuz that's all they did on Sunday. " Of course I thought of that swig of home brew that I took and I never said a word. I just thought, "Well, you know alot more about life than I do, or at least more than I thought you did." I've always remembered that, too. He must have been pretty observant. I don't know whether I drank more than anybody else or not of the water that day over at the haystack.
We went on parties that one summer and these girls - and we had a lot of fun. We used to pool our money to buy gas and show ticket and dance ticket and made sure that we all got to go. We had a cousin, I'm not going to name him, he used to stand back and fumble until somebody else bought his ticket. And one night we left him standing out on the sidewalk with a girl. I guess he got in. Either that or go home with us. He must have bought his own ticket. Anyway, toward fall - the stormy year we used to top our sugar beets by hand. We'd take on the job of 2 or three guys over in Trenton - er in Cornish - and top their sugar beets and go back and top ours. We'd ended up in the mud every year but we got it done. This girl that I knew - her father had planted alot of beets in red clay land. Along about in the middle of that digging in the mud he got sick and died. And that was quite a sad affair. I think there were about eight or nine of those kids and the oldest one maybe was 20 or 21. Some of those were pretty young and that was pretty sad. When spring came she went to Salt Lake to work. I went down to see her a few times and I went down and brought her home for Christmas the next winter. Gosh, that was my first experience with t he big city and those Christmas lights in Salt Lake City - I've never seen anything that compared with them that winter. I was used to seeing one or two in Lewiston and maybe three or four in Logan but what I saw in Salt Lake sure did impress me. Spring came and too many trips to Salt Lake and we got farther apart and farther apart and finally it was completely clear apart.
That fall of 1935 we were topping sugar beets down west of Lewiston, down to the Wiser boys, in November. Sandy ground down there, the mud didn't bother us and we got word that Dad was real sick. He'd been in bed for almost a year, up a little but not much. We came home just as he was sighing his last and my mother cried when he died. I never cried. I never cried. I never cried for months after that. I had seen him suffer so; I always thought alot about that. I just couldn't cry because he was out of that suffering. I felt a little guilty about it but he had suffered so! He should have been a man about my size; he weighed all of maybe 100, 115 pounds. The last few years of his life I used to carry him clear down to the barn to put him in the car to go with me somewhere. He needed to go someplace but it was too far to walk and he was so crippled with that rheumatism and the diabetes and anything else that was working on him. I remember back when in the summers that Mae worked with us in the fields and we'd come in at night and supper was ready. We'd eat supper and then Dad would point his cane at somebody to wash the dishes, and everybody said "Well, that's Mae's job." He said, "Mae worked out in the field all day and its' your job tonight." I don't know whether everybody else washed dishes besides me or not. It seems like I got my turn pretty regular.
She, as I remember it, well, she went to school down to Utah State - she and a neighbor girl, Afton Van Orden and they boarded or stayed in a room in the my aunt's house. Must have been bout 2nd West but I'm sure how far north. Maybe about 4th North or somewhere in there and I went down in the spring of the year to go up to there to a doings up at the university with her and I walked from Aunt Becky's house up to the university with her and Afton and I tell ya, my tongue was hanging out before I got there, my legs ached. Those gals just were hard; they 'd walked that all winter. Couldn't keep up with them. And I'm sure that I'm right, I never checked with Mae on this, but I'm sure I'm right that she helped us finish thinning our sugar beets the spring that she graduated from college. She taught school the next year up in Glendale, Idaho. There isn't anything up there anymore, only a reservoir where they've dammed the creek off and all the old people have moved into town and I think callout? practically are gone. She taught school with a Arva Jorgensen and through that she met Arva's brother, Alan, and they were married at Christmastime. It was the 2nd year that she taught school, I believe anyway and they moved to Huntsville. And they had dog races up there then. Dave Last and I thumbed rides into Ogden and caught a ride with a milkman I knew up in Huntsville. We stayed there a couple of days and watched the dog races and the ski jump in Ogden Canyon. They were having some ski jumps. They don't ski in there anymore, I don't know why. I guess it's too rough.
So we did that and in the Spring of '36 I got a mission call to go to the Southern States Mission. Before this, after Dad died, I had planned to go with a carload of cattle or a trainload of cattle that Dal Lewis was sending to California. I could have gotten a free ride down to there and see if I could find a job in California. But Mother didn't want me to go; she was real upset that I even thought of going so I didn't. She was pretty persistent. I remember when I was about 16 years old and I was given an assignment to give a 2 1/2 minute talk in Sunday School and I was just scared to death. I never had done that. So I got on a saddle horse and headed down that railroad track to the east. I wasn't going to go to Sunday School. I had gone about one/2 a mile and turned around and looked and she was coming up the railroad tracks behind me. I don't know how - what she figured she was going to do but she was pretty tenacious and I got down there about another mile and a half and I would have had to gone down around the other way to cross the river and if I got over then - then what? I thought to myself, "Well, I can't just keep going until she stops. She'll get so far away from home - how's she gonna go back?" So I turned around and came back but I didn't get back in time to give the 2 1/2 minute talk.
I never gave a talk until the night of my farewell for my mission. I didn't have a girl friend then to take to the dance; they always had a dance when a missionary was going out so Mother and I were going to Preston a couple of days before that event was to happen. So I went around through Franklin and a sister of the girl that I had gone with was there and I asked her if she'd mind being my girlfriend for that night and she said she sure would be happy to do that. She was, I think, the most popular and pretty girl in that end of Cache Valley. And, I'll tell you, Reed Rawlins was a pretty proud old duck when he brought that girl into that dance that night in Lewiston. And she said, "Now, I'm your girl. They ask you to dance with them." And those boys that had been so popular and had had all the girls and everything. They had to be pretty humble to come over and ask Reed Rawlins if they could dance with his girl and I thoroughly enjoyed that. Anyway - in the mission field - well, I'd better back up. When Mother came down with Lindsay and Howard when I was to leave and she was sick. She'd been awful sick since Dad had died. And she was feeling some better and I got the call and she said to go on and do the mission and she'd be alright. Well, she wasn't alright. I found out later she was chuck full of cancer and she was awful sick. I kissed her goodbye at the train that day, and there were three of us going that direction to the south, a girl from Las Vegas and a young fellow from Bisby, Arizona. He had real white hair, real platinum blonde, and that dirty old train going down south to Chicago, and cinders came through the windows - middle of May. It was warm down there. His old bare skin, scalp through his hair was just a shining with those black cinders. I got quite a kick out of that. And I kissed Mother goodbye and that's the last time I saw her.
This was in May. I landed in Atlanta, Georgia I think in about the 16th of May and was assigned to go into the western part of South Carolina. I never saw so many trees or heard so many birds in my life. And those red clay rolling hills and that was really an experience. And the black people. I had seen a few Negroes in my life before but nothing like that. Some of those little towns in western South Carolina, I'll tell ya on Saturday afternoon there were so many Negroes in there they had to turn the street lights on. It was really thick. My first companion was an Elder Cooley from Gilbert, Arizona. And we were supposed to hold a street meeting once in awhile. And I'm not a very good singer but I can follow the other person if they stay on the tune. But that guy sang every song that he ever sang in the same tune and he had a lot of volume. That sounded pretty awful, I'll tell ya. But we did a lot of tracting and we were in the cotton mill district knocking on doors, gaining people's attention for the privilege of explaining the message of the LDS church to them. We got to a house one day where the man was sitting on the front porch and he had a butcher knife in his hand. He got really excited, I'll tell ya, and I didn't realize how upset he was but he was throwing that knife, sticking it into the porch post that wasn't very far from me and we sat there and talked for quite a long while. Finally I left and my companion was over to another house; we weren't supposed to split up and I don't know why we did on that particular occasion, and he said, "That man was pretty rotten. I wouldn't have stayed there with him if I had been you." I said, "Oh, he didn't mean anything." But I found out that those old Southerners did mean a thing when they got mad. Read in the paper the next morning where somebody got killed about a half a block from here that evening with a shotgun. So I was little more careful after that.
But we used to go tracting and those nice looking women would come to the door in the middle class section. It was hot and humid and they'd have their mouth full of tobacco. I had what we called a kit book. It showed pictures of the Church's various buildings and even the rooms inside of the Salt Lake Temple. And telling them about the Church and they would stand up close to me while we turned that kit book and looked at that and talked . . . The smell of their breath more than once made me sick. I had to go out front and sit on the curb and hold my head in my hands for awhile. That was quite an experience for me. There weren't very many people who were members of the Church in the particular area where we were then. Quite a few Indians from the Catawba Indian tribe and down on the reservation they had a branch. The chief of the tribe was the branch president. I think there was probably never a better man ever lived than that man. He was really a wonderful man. He never went to school. His wife went to school to the third grade. She taught him all that he knew. She would read passages of the Scriptures to him and he would memorize them. He 'd never let go of it or he'd never go to bed until he had that chapter of the Bible memorized. She would read something to him in the morning as he went out to what they called plowing cotton with one horse or one mule on a cultivator between the rows of cotton or corn. They planted it down in a hole - a ditch- and then they would throw the dirt up to it, ridge it up, all summer long. It would keep the weeds down and the rain would come and it would not wash the corn or the cotton away. But I tell you he knew the Scriptures through all those years of rehearsing that and memorizing it. He knew the Treaty that the White Man had made with the Indians, too. And the White Man had reneged on many points of that Treaty and every year when the Legislature in South Carolina met Old Chief Blue would go to the Legislature and he would confound those lawyers and politicians and tell them where they were wrong. That they ought to do what they had agreed to do. He was quite an influential man in that part of the country. He had a couple of sons that lived in town and worked at the cotton mill.
The thing that really astonished me was that in those cities the people that worked in the cotton mills weren't as good as the rest of the people. The people in the cotton mills mostly were the ones who had joined the Church earlier in life. Many of them couldn't read nor write. I remember when Social Security came along and they had to sign up for that, I witnessed many an X for those people that were signing up for Social Security. But when we went tracting to the rich people in town it was pretty hard to even get to the lady of the house or the man. They always sent a black servant to the door and she would call back and tell the man who it was at the door, and they'd say, "We have own church. We aren't interested." Sometimes we could get through to a few of them and get them interested but they wouldn't lower themselves to go to church with those people that lived and worked at the mill.
The cotton mill owned all the houses that these people lived in and there was a song a number of years ago that Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing, "I owe my soul to the company store." Well, boy, that was it down there in those cotton mills. They had their own store; these people just, many of them as I said couldn't read nor write, and they would have to go buy what they ate at the company store. They rented from the company for the house to live in and many of them were in real dire circumstances. Many man that were, I guess, in their late fifties and sixties - their health was gone. They'd worked in those cotton mills all their life. They couldn't work and they'd just move in with their son who had just gotten married and he was trying to keep him and his family and his dad and mother from starving to death. And the old man and woman would sit on the porch in a rocking chair and just rockin' their life away. That I thought was a pretty sad situation. The welfare plan came along and I don;'t how all the people heard of it but a lot of them got pretty interested in the church because they were hungry. And some of them joined the Church for no other reason than that. We tried real hard to keep that from happening to us. But we had one branch down there with sixty some odd people on the record and we knew where about 25 of them were. We contacted the rest of them and they said Oh, they weren't Mormons, they belonged to Elder Greiner's Church. They had fallen in love with a couple of missionaries that had super personalities and they didn't really stop to convert those people to the Gospel and it was a sad thing.
LeGrande Richards was my first Mission President and that was a wonderful man. When I got word in February, 1937 that my mother had died and that telegram came that evening and my companion and I knelt in prayer that night I knew when that prayer was over that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. I knew I was doing what Mother wanted me to do, that she was happy that I was in the mission field and I had a pleasing, peaceful feeling inside of me after that prayer that night. There's never been any doubt in my mind about the truthfulness of the Gospel since that time. If there ever was one before I don't recall. But experiences that I had in the mission field of going around behind sign boards and pleading with the Lord to help me catch a ride to the next town and to be able to contact people, be able to explain the Gospel to them. I was out about a year when I was transferred down into Florida. And down at San Mateo, Florida - down below Jacksonville - I don't know - 150 to 200 miles - there was a big cattle ranch there and the man, Brother Tilton, that owned that was building an arena on that ranch and seats, stadium affair. They were going to have a 24th of July Celebration, a rodeo. So we all came in from out in the various parts of the Mission and the District to help build that to be ready for the 24th of July. Well, we got a new Mission President and he came in the day after the rodeo. And I'd raked up a lot of courage and got on one of those half brahmas and I didn't do a very good job and as I went off it skinned the side of my head. Old Brother Tilton poured turpentine down over it (chuckle) and I had a scab there with a little sunburn. And we were sitting on a pole fence when President and Sister Clayson came out to see us. They were appalled at the missionaries that they saw there.
But we soon changed their minds that we knew what we were out there for and we were doing it. The sad part of it was, though, that he was a seminary teacher in high school and he thought everybody was a 16 year old high school kid. He didn't know how to treat young men and it made some bad feelings. One young fellow as a pre-med student and he'd had more college that President Clayson had. They didn't get along and Pres. Clayson did make the statement that he would have sent him home but he had been one of Pres. Richards top missionaries and he knew that that would never go over in Salt Lake and so he didn't do it.
But I spent the other half of my mission in Florida and we'd thumb our ride from Jacksonville to Miami. Some members of the church lived in Daytona Beach and we would make it down to there one day and on down to Miami the next . And that's quite a sight to travel down that highway and look out into the ocean and see those big steamers along there. It was quite a thrill for a land lubber like me to see all that. And Florida is wonderful country. It's altogether a different group of people that live in Florida than up in the Carolinas. Many of the people from up in Florida were from up in the New England area and they weren't particularly interested in religion so it was a different approach there. Had some experience of talking on the radio, the experience of Saturday night street meeting in Jacksonville, Florida and on a Wednesday afternoon a public meeting in the Little Park right in the center of Jacksonvile. That takes a lot of, well, in the New Testament the Apostles of Christ went out. They met people who brought their sick to them and some of them were possessed of devils. They tried to cast them out and they couldn't do it. And Christ said, "That takes much fasting and prayer to do that." Well it took some fasting and prayer to talk on that street corner and to hold that meeting in that park, I'll tell you it took intestinal fortitude and fasting and prayer to do that. But it was an experience that I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. It made a connection with my Father in heaven and I that would never have been made.
We traveled much of the state. We spent some time in St. Augustine - headquarters of the Catholic Church for the whole Caribbean area. And that was a rude awakening, too. Some of those young Catholic people said, 'Well, we can't read the Bible. Look at what happened to Martin Luther. He got to reading the Bible and he was wrong. So we wait and we let the priest read it and tell us what it says." And so that was about the gist of our accomplishments with the Catholic people in St. Augustine. Spent part of that winter there and it got cold. That was one of the coldest winters they had in 50 years. I think it got down to 33 above and we lived in a house that belonged to the branch president. We had a wood stove in there, a cook stove, and we'd been out tracting all day and we were about froze. We came home and built a fire in there. About time to go to bed and we were still cold. You know the humidity would be about 80-90 percent and down to almost to freezing. We piled quilts and everything else on the bed so heavy that we couldn't turn over but it was still cold all night. So this cold up in this country is better than that. The only thing is down there it doesn't last as long. Spent some time in Miami and Tampa, FL. There was a whole area over across the bay from Tampa where the '29 crash they built houses and houses and everybody went broke. People came in 10-15 years later and bought those houses for the taxes. Some people that were from Ogden that were members of the Church, he was working down there. And bought that house and It was almost a mansion - beautiful. And the causeway across the bay from Tampa over to St. Pete - we caught a ride one day with the man that had built that causeway. Called it the Davis Causeway. Crossed a lot of real interesting people, catching rides on the highway. A man that gave us a ride, we got out and he handed us a handful money; I don't remember what it was. And I said, "We can't take that." And he said, "Oh, yes, I give it to ya." And I said, "Then you write your name and address on this card and I'll send it into the Mission headquarters and they'll send you a tithing receipt for this money." And so he did. We had some good experiences that way. I hope someday that maybe that bore a little fruit.
When I was released from my Mission down in Jacksonville we had just held a Saturday night street meeting. I was to catch the bus about 10:00 at night for Washington, D.C. Some young members of the Church and my companion and a couple of other missionaries and it was quite a solemn occasion. Sad to leave down there. Beautiful in the spring. Traveled up and stopped in South Carolina and met and visited some of the people I had known and some of the people I had lived with. On up into Washington, D.C. I found out that you can't die from car sickness because I got so sick in that bus going up to Washington, D.C. that I thought I was going to die but didn't.. I spent a day and a half in Washington, D.C. Went through the Chapel there. They Loren F. Wheelwright played the organ there. I sat up by him as he played his noon recital. A couple of girls from the ward there took me for a tour around town. Really quite an experience.
I boarded a train that night for Chicago and got into Chicago the next day. Didn't have very much time lay over there. Rode the elevated train around the Loop to get a look at Chicago and then headed for Kansas City. Into Kansas City and spent some time there. Had a cousin that had been living there but he had just moved away. I spent some time with the Reorganized people and they had built what they called their Tabernacle. It was supposed to have been greater than Brigham Young's Tabernacle in Salt Lake but looked just like a pile of brick to me. In fact it wasn't quite finished. They'd run out of money. They'd appealed to Pres. Grant to help them. And he said, "You all just come get baptized and we'll just take care of that." But they didn't want to do that.
Oh, back up. The spring before I was transferred to Florida Pres. Grant came down and visited the Southern States Mission in Atlanta. It was really quite a to-do. I rode in a car across Atlanta that he was in. And that man had a lot on the ball, I'll tell ya. He could tell good stories from one end of Atlanta to the other. He knew a lot. He said that he had been playing golf not too long before that with the Mayor of Kansas City , Kansas. And he said "I congratulated him on that nice golf course that was built on our land." As the Mormons were driven out of Missouri in that area their land was taken from them. They were never paid for it. Go back and find the original deeds and the names of the people that were driven from the area. I suppose maybe someday it'll all get straightened out.
This was along in the middle of May I got on the train in Kansas City and came on in home. The air got drier and drier and getting off the train in Rock Springs, Wyoming to go get me a bite to eat while it stopped. It was storming a bit. Hurried back onto the train, it was getting dark. I got into Salt Lake City, it was night. About 6 inches of snow and it was still snowing. I called up Lindsay and Howard and told them I was in Salt Lake and would stay in the hotel that night. And they came down the next day. There must have been somebody else with them but I can't remember who it was now, but I know those two came. About 6-8" of snow and I'd just left Florida less than a week before. If I'd had any money I'd of turned around and gone back to Florida. That snow didn't look very inviting. Came on home. And we went over across the river the next day to get a load of hay from the stack over there and the snow all over the ground and the squirrels popping up through that snow! That was quite a sight. And the crops were all in. I guess the snow kind of made sure they all germinated and got going. I had been home a day or two and I went to Preston and stopped and visited with a few old friends.
And I'd been home about two weeks when my time to report my mission. Pres., well he wasn't a member of the first presidency then, but Elder Stephen L. Richards was the visiting authority to Stake Conference. And I had just followed him around the state of Florida as he visited the Southern States Mission. I sat behind him on the stand. He was an eloquent man - quite a vocabulary - but I saw his pant leg shake with knees inside of them that were trembling. And that was a nice learning experience for me and I reported my mission that day in Stake Conference and I mentioned that. And he took ahold of me afterwards and he said, "Yes, anytime that you don't feel that frightened and that humble that you're going to be left on your own and that won't be so good. " But I reported in Stake Conference and a week after that, as I recall, I was asked to talk in the Ward at home. They held meeting in the afternoons then, and we had gone to Sunday School. Howard and Lindsay and I were batching it . Mother and Dad were both gone. And there was a knock on the door and I went to the door and a guy said, "Are you Reed Rawlins?" And I said, "Yes, I am." And he said, "Come on out here. There's somebody out here that wants to talk to you." Oh, boy. And it was the old girlfriend, her baby and her husband. Years later she told Lindsay that it was her husband's idea. I guess it doesn't matter, it was quite an experience anyway. So we started trying to make a living on the farm. Participated in Church, I taught Sunday School class, I was an Explorer leader. I think back I wasn't a very good Explorer leader; I didn't fulfill that obligation as good as I should have. We went up to the Northwest that fall, Lindsay, Howard, and I. Horace had moved up there and Aerial, we visited with them. Those big old apple orchards that had just been let go, we ate two or three of those half frozen apples. We were coming back through the Blue Mountains and I tell you, we had to stop a few times and take care of Mother Nature pretty quick.
And then in the fall, I guess it was, as I recall and I look at things, dates of that fall of 1938 over to Richmond to a Stake MIA drama. And there was a pretty little black headed gal in that play. I thought that was about the prettiest little gal I had ever seen in quite awhile and she was real good in that play. Along after that she showed up over in Lewiston at an MIA dance with a Hyer kid and I introduced myself and danced with her. And we became quite friendly and then we decided that maybe it would be cheaper to live together than have two places going. We got married in January of - let's see - January of 1940. Babies came along; Deanna was born in that year and then Alaine and things were tough. There just wasn't enough farm for all of us so I went to work for the railroad in Pocatello. Ethel moved back over to Richmond with her mother and the two little girls. And that wasn't a very good arrangement. Construction came along for up in Hanford, Washington and I went up there to work and was able to rent one of the old farm houses out in the area there. I took a couple of three days or four off and came down and got her and the two kids in the old car and back we went out there to live out in the wilds where the coyotes sat on the doorstep at night and howled and barked. We traveled clear into another little town - a bunch of us out there who were members of the church. We had a little branch, Sunday School, and Ethel led the singing. Some of the people that played the piano for her couldn't play very good. All at once a Wheelwright kid from Ogden showed up and he was a brother to that Loren F. Wheelwright that was a church organist. I tell ya he could play the piano and Ethel led the singing.