(Note: This biography was written about Mom during the year 2007 with the idea of memorializing her life in our minds, her children, along with trying to capture in print some of her lessons and teachings for the benefit of our children, her descendants, who never had the chance to know her during mortality. In addition, for purposes of clarity and continuity, many of Dad’s concurrent activities were co-mingled in the narrative. Based upon personal recollections and supporting material from a variety of sources assembled over many years, the composition was written by a son, W. Bart Christenson, Jr. Editorial suggestions and additional comments were provided by her two daughters, Suzanne C. Tannyhill and Diane C. Keller, and others who knew her. A bibliography of sources appears at the end.)Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Dad and Mom first met in their early twenties while attending meetings in the old Farmers Ward (later McKinley Ward of the Granite Stake), in Salt Lake City, Utah. 1 Indeed, finding themselves in the same neighborhood and ward, from our point of view as their progeny, does not seem to have been mere happenstance. In light of the ensuing events which would unfold in their lives, and ours, too, of course, it was essential.
Our records show that the Howells family had lived in this general area for decades. 2 Grandpa Howells was raised nearby as a boy, and he and Grandma had their reception following their wedding in the Salt Lake Temple, 26 March 1896, at their residence, on “West Temple, between Eleventh and Twelfth South.” 3 They later took up residence at 2017 West Temple, where Mom was born on 20 July 1903, the fourth of six children. 4 She had two older brothers and an older sister (Ed, Evelyn, and Jack), and two younger brothers (Steve and Dan). 5 Subsequently, the family’s permanent home was erected at 1993 South West Temple Street, where the children were then raised to maturity.
We don’t have a lot of information about Mom’s early years, but we do know from her baptismal record that she was baptized at age eight, on 4 November 1911, in the Farmers Ward. We also have a picture of her, in March, 1912 (age 9), with her elementary school class. We know from a diploma and class picture (age 13+) that she graduated from the 8th Grade at the Burton School, in Salt Lake City. 6
Mom’s childhood nickname was Tommy, as in tomboy, because she enjoyed sports and roughhousing with her four active, athletic brothers. Her two older brothers were prominent athletes at the University of Utah. I remember Mom telling us children that Ed was a pitcher on the baseball team and Jack received All-American Honorable Mention Honors in 1926 as a running back on the football team. Her two younger brothers became avid golfers in later life; Steve was a Utah state senior champion.
Mom also loved to play games. Her niece, Nancy N. Froning, reported that Mom would sit on the floor and play games with her and her siblings for hours, laughing and giggling and having a good time, as she had with her own siblings. 7 As an adult, she still loved to play card games with her friends, especially Canasta and Samba—and she liked to win!
With a large house, garden, and orchard to attend to, there were regular family chores, and Grandpa Howells was a real taskmaster. Mom learned her lessons well, for she taught us the same values as we grew up. Beds were to be made first thing every morning, clothes and toys put away, and dishes done after every meal. Chores had to be done well or done over. The twins recall having to redo the bathroom floor more than once. Teaching good work ethics and orderliness to her children was important to her.
Mom attended West High School in Salt Lake City, but according to Sue, her first years there were unhappy and awkward. Mom told her that at age sixteen, she was suffering from a large ovarian tumor the size of a watermelon. This caused her much pain and deep embarrassment before it was operated. People thought that she was pregnant, and the kids teased her. Following the operation, with but one ovary remaining, she had great concern about ever having children. 8
However, following the successful surgery she evidently got along well both socially and academically. Known to have a beautiful contralto voice, she played Countess Marie in a school musical, The Bells of Beaujolais, on 19 May 1923, 9 and received her graduation diploma a few weeks later, on 8 June (age 19+). 10 She then determined to attend the University of Utah in the near future. However, she did not get there for two more years.
We learn in letters from her mother and a girlfriend that she was in New York City during April and May of 1924, enjoying the big, bustling city and all that it had to offer. She was staying with her brother Ed and his wife, Myrtle Gibson (newly weds of five months), residing at 645 W. 174th Street. There would have been frequent shopping jaunts to famous, trendy stores, along with periodic excursions to world renowned museums, historical sites, and entertainment venues—all wonderfully exciting for a young, single girl from rural Utah. 11 From a program found in her personal souvenirs, we can assume that she attended at least one grand opera during her extended stay in “the Big Apple”: on 17 April 1924, she attended Cavalleria Rusticanna,at the Metropolitan Opera House. 12Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
While the Howells family had owned properties in the South West Temple Street neighborhood for many years, the Christenson family did not move into their rented home in the Farmers Ward until 1924, locating at 1879 South Main Street, just one block east of the Howells residence.
The Christenson’s had experienced some remarkable economic times, which had placed them in prosperous circumstances. Grandpa Christenson, a gifted teacher and educator, had received advanced training in Europe. He was a former BYU professor of languages, and also had served as Ricks College President, in Idaho. However, he was a dreamer with lofty entrepreneurial ambitions. Due to unforeseen financial conditions, set backs had recently occurred, lean times had now set in, and significant adjustments had become necessary. A revealing chronicling of these events is found in Lucile C. Tate’s biography of her father, Andrew B. Christenson, Mormon Educational Pioneer, and recounts the staggering financial difficulties resulting from loss of the 1,010 acre Starr Ranch, near Mona, Utah. 13
Additionally, the following excerpts from Dad’s handwritten personal history concerning these traumatic times offer further useful insights:
....I don’t know how father managed. I’m sure he was deeply discouraged and for a time there was little to do except borrow from friends. He was gone a great deal. For a time he took a position as advisor and principal in a school down south, and the money he made pulled us through. We, the older children, began to look for jobs–Sheldon in a restaurant; I, in a mine in Farmington Canyon; Edythe waited on tables, and longed to go east and advance her musical training. We made out. Our affairs improved, and father by some means managed to acquire a big home on South Main Street into which we soon moved, and which would be the most significant home in my life, and I think in our family’s history. It was from this place that Edythe, Sheldon, and I found our life’s companions. It was from the Farmers Ward that first I, and later Sheldon, would go on missions. 14
Once relocated to the new neighborhood, Dad continued the story of his and Mom’s early acquaintanceship in the Farmers Ward, in his brief autobiographical record:
It was while living in Salt Lake City and going to school at the University of Utah that I first met Ann Howells, a popular member of our ward’s younger set. We were in a Mutual play together, and our friendship blossomed into love. I was called on a mission to Germany in 1925, and after my farewell party in the ward, I sat on the porch with Ann while the [ward house] almost burned down. A thief had broken into the chapel hoping to find money donated for my mission expenses, and had dropped a match which started the blaze. 15
Dad received a call to serve in the Swiss/Austrian-German Mission, where he served from 3 July 1925 to 31 January 1928. At his missionary farewell-testimonial on Friday, 19 June 1925 at the McKinley Ward building (formerly Farmers Ward), Mom sang a solo. Dancing followed the program. 16Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
After Dad departed for Germany on his mission, Mom continued to reside at her parents’ home, finally beginning her education at the University of Utah in the autumn of 1925, to become a qualified primary school teacher. With older siblings who had already paved the way on campus before her, she became involved in many social activities, as well. She received a handwritten note with an embossed crest from the Alpha Chi Sorority at the University of Utah inviting her to become a member of its inner circle, which she did. 17 Nonetheless, she was evidently painfully shy. Diane remembers Mom telling her that she took an “F” in one of her university classes rather than get up in front to participate. 18
One sad occurrence at the university is remembered by Sue, who recalls Mom telling her that while taking a beginning swimming class, she broke her nose on the side of the pool. 19 The fracture was evidently not formally set and created a nasal bridge deformity which she was self-conscious about for the rest of her life. As a result of this unfortunate accident, she never learned to swim, because water went up her nose when she put her face in the water. It wasn’t until three decades later, after a swimming pool had been built in the backyard of our San Mateo, California, home that Mom decided to take up water exercise with some regularity—and this was not with great enthusiasm, either, because the pool had been constructed where her prize chrysanthemum bed once stood.
On 8 June 1926 (at age 22+), she was awarded an Associate in Education/ Primary-Kindergarten Diploma from the Junior College of The School of Education, University of Utah 20 and began her three year long, before marriage, teaching career.
We also know from photos taken together at about this time that Mom and Mary Pratt Ure, another Farmers Ward member, were “bosom buddies.” They would later become sisters in law, after Mary married Dad’s younger brother, Sheldon, in 1929.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
To be sure, Mom and Dad wrote one another while he was overseas. This is evidenced by four surviving letters from Dad to Mom, which reveal additional bits of information concerning their backgrounds and aspirations.
In one letter, dated 23 June 1927, he gently chided her for not writing more promptly; also noting that he had just been called as Berlin District President. But, obviously, their relationship was still only budding at the time, as indicated by his closing salutation: With all best wishes, I remain in Berlin, Wendell. PS. I’m going to start counting the days till you answer, WBC. 21
An interesting memory was recorded in Dad’s letter of 1 October 1927. In it, he remarked on Mom’s recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and also recalled his own experiences there. He noted that his first experience was as a boy of twelve, when he spent six weeks with an artist, taking oil painting lessons. The second experience came three years before he left on his mission, when he spent two more months traversing the hinterlands, coming to know about every trail in that 3,600 square miles…hunting for pretty and secluded places, in order to perfect his painting skills. 22
In a letter dated 22 January 1928, he reported on several stimulating, and spiritual missionary conferences in Dresden, as well as the fact that he would be concluding his mission and sailing for home from England in less than a month, on 17 February. 23
Back in Berlin, he sent a follow up letter the next day, 23 January, in which he thanked Mom for sending him homemade candy for Christmas, as well as a report on their celebrations in the capital city over the holidays. He also expressed some glowing and self-revealing words regarding his brother, Sheldon, recently assigned to his district:
…of all the men I have met, I’ve never found one who was more dependable and devoted to doing his best than Sheldon. I surely enjoy his company. Isn’t it wonderful to have brothers and sisters, when you can love and appreciate them? 24
Moreover, it is clear that their relationship had greatly strengthened over the preceding six months of written correspondence. His final salutation in this same letter was now a bit more intimate than before: So, for a short time, goodbye, Always, Wendell.
When Dad arrived back in Salt Lake City during the latter part of February 1928, it must have been only a few weeks before Mom and he announced their betrothal (they were both age 24), because by April, Dad was in California assisting his father with a number of mining enterprises. Then, over the next thirteen months, we have a series of his letters from various work places in California, saved by Mom, which give us glimpses of their courtship planning, current thinking, and recollections of the past.
On 7 April 1928, he wrote from the Morris Hotel, in Los Angeles, to say that he and his youngest brother, Luther (age 16), had just arrived, having driven 40-45 mph the whole way! He was very tired, but loved the beautiful, orange blossom fragrance in the air, wild flowers, and the 85 degree [Fahrenheit] weather. [This was evidently his first visit to Southern California.] He had enjoyed a long talk with his father regarding future, exciting mining possibilities. He was also excited to be serving on his father’s board of directors. He noted that Mom would be finishing her [spring] vacation, and returning to teaching the kiddies. Moreover, he reported, he had shaved off his moustache, so I’m a boy, again. Yours for always, with love, Wendell. 25
On 20 May 1928, he wrote from Azusa, California, where he philosophized about anticipation vs. realization, and avowed that he never wanted to travel alone again after we’re married. They were working and camping in Soledad Canyon: Luther cooked, and Dad did the dishes. He also played his violin at night for relaxation, while their dog, Dempsey, whined and howled. These nocturnal musical recitals caused him to reflect on past memories. He recollected an MIA party where Mom had played Venus, and he had played Hercules. Did you ever dream that we would some day be calling each other ‘Sweetheart,’ he asked? 26
Another letter from Azusa followed only three days later, on 23 May 1928. He must have just received one from Mom, because he commented on several things which she obviously mentioned. He spoke about a weenie roast that Mom and Mary Ure had attended in the McKinley Ward, and how they had protected one another from forward men. Mom evidently had mentioned a school art exhibit, and Dad reflected on the talent some young people manifest very early in life. He gave his thoughts on recent movies he had seen at the Azusa Theater. He liked Lon Chaney in Laugh Clown Laugh, but did not care for the heavily advertised film, Drums of Love. Apparently, both of them liked, The 50-50 Girl. He also observed: It is hot in California. This California weather may be great for flowers and cactuses, but personally I like the cool for a change….I have been out in the light of the moon playing love songs for you tonight, dearest. Hear ‘em? 27
On 27 May 1928, in a letter from Lang, in Los Angeles County, Dad noted having had an instructive conversation with other workers on women and marriage, as well as experiencing continued difficulties in adjusting culturally and language-wise since his mission. He expressed his love for Mom. The men continued to live in tents. 28
The next day, 28 May 1928, in responding to a letter which he had just received, Dad commented on Mom’s disclosure that she was going to a garden party in company with her brother, Steve’s, friend. He thanked her for telling him, and expressed his trust in her. He also anticipated full disclosure and communication with each other after marriage. He also proudly announced the loss of seven pounds, noting, I don’t want you to be reminded of your ‘Sweetie’ when you go to the circus! 29
Continuing the weight issue in a communication two days later, 30 May 1928, Dad talked about preparing a scrumptious meal in camp, to the chagrin of Luther and another worker, along with his concern of gaining unwanted fat. He then challenged Mom to a contest: he promised to lose a pound for every pound that she gained. 30
With Mom free from teaching duties during the summer school break, Dad evidently returned to Salt Lake City to spend time with her, because the next saved correspondence we have, two months later, is a post card mailed from St. George, Utah, on his way back to Southern California—signed, loving you always, Wendell. 31
A subsequent letter in Mom’s collection, now emanating from El Toro, Orange County, was not written for another three months. In this letter, Dad avowed that he wanted to spend his life making Mom happy—in response to Mom’s reference to a nightmare in which she had dreamed about being hurt by him [quarreling]. He stated: If I ever get so far gone as that, I just hope someone who’s a good shot, bangs away in my direction! ….Dear, I think we’re too much in love in the first place to want to quarrel….
Additionally, he announced that he had recently gone to a tailor to have a new suit made for their wedding the following June (a black, double-pin stripe) and included a piece of fabric in the envelope. He promised to wear the suit home for the Christmas holidays. He also went on to comment about the mining work. A government inspector from the Department of Interior had just been sent to investigate the multiple mining claims. He was hostile at first, but became very friendly and impressed after the visit. Dad then continued his comments about working in the San Gabriel Canyon mines:
It is very beautiful here, and the work is going to be very interesting. My salary takes a rise, too, dearest, which is also a help. I’m beginning to take an intense interest in the growth of our finances…. [By the way,] did you ever hear of the young husband who was so innocent that he cut down all the trees around the place, when his wife told him that she wanted a little son? 32
A letter dated 14 November 1928 from El Toro described how he had been busy cleaning out and classifying a mineralogy laboratory, built twenty-five years earlier, and then isolating and smelting metals from crushed, furnace-heated ore fluxes. From four pounds of ore, they had extracted about four ounces of metal. We don’t know what the metal is [yet]. We have to work that out in the laboratory….[But] you have every ounce of my love and you surely monopolize all my thoughts….Forever and ever, yours Wendell. 33
Two weeks later, in an epistle dated 27 November 1928, from El Toro, they had begun planning their wedding dinner and reception. (Dad suggested a German fare.) He expressed his pleasure in their recent telephone conversation. He noted, too, that he had purchased a book on etiquette. As Mom had sounded a bit blue in her recent letter, he proceeded to try and cheer her up, and encouraged her to get as much recreation and out of doors, as possible. He looked forward to being with her over the holidays. 34
On 6 December 1928, two weeks before their planned reunion together in Salt Lake City, he wrote from El Toro about their love and prospects for the future as husband and wife. Said he: Gee, life without my Nancy would just be the essence of a doughnut without the dough. He remarked on the fact that his father had just returned from a business trip to New York City and was coughing a lot from the flu which was menacing the country. (Evidently, Mom had had a touch of it, too.) He also recently had viewed a movie, Compassionate Marriage, which he had enjoyed, but felt that they had [already] received superior training in both homes to prepare them for their upcoming union. 35
He must have spent a number of weeks in Utah over the Christmas holidays, because, the next letter from Dad found in Mom’s collection, written from the Morris Hotel in Los Angeles, on 17 March 1928, noted that he had been back in Southern California from Utah, for [just] one week. As his associates were all away on business matters, and he was alone with the car, the weather is beautiful, and gasoline is only ten cents a gallon, he naturally wished that Mom were with him. He related attending Church services at the Adams Ward, where there were over 100 people in one class. I met many former acquaintances from BYU and the U of U, and enjoyed it very much. There was a wonderful Spirit. I don’t know where you would go for a better Zion, or even Paradise…. Things are absolutely lovely here, now! Gee, dear, you would just sparkle down here. 36
On 30 March 1929, Dad sent Mom an Easter telegram: Sweetheart, on this fairest day of spring when the earth is glad with sunshine and the first flowers, my thoughts go out to wish you happiness and all good things. Lovingly yours, Wence. 37
In a letter three weeks later, 24 April 1929, Dad reminisced about pleasant walks together in Nibley Park and Saltair, suggesting that they might do it again in June. He also related how he and his father had been called on unexpectedly to speak at the Baldwin Hills Branch. He had spoken for twenty minutes. Father then spoke entertainingly for about an hour (making Dad late for his regular telephone call to Mom), but the people enjoyed it very much. They were very busy with their mine work. He wished Mom all blessings and happiness, and as ‘Sheck’ [Sheldon] puts it, ‘I’m going to get busy and try and make it come out that way!’ 38
One of his final two letters in the series, written on 26 April 1929, from the New Hotel Roselyn in Los Angeles, told how they had now hired a chemist/metallurgist, had just met with two investors, had reviewed the new light metal together, and were even then preparing to visit an aircraft company. Enthusiasm was running high to begin their new company. It’s surely a big proposition, dear, and it will be wonderful to belong to something like that and grow up with it. Don’t you think so? He concluded the letter by making mention of Mom’s apparent proposal to have the wedding on June 12th, and thanked her for being true blue, and working and preparing for our home. 39
The last of these letters saved by Mom from Dad was written one month later, on 26 May 1929. It began with the salutation, Tommy dearest, and went on to say how much he missed her. He wondered if his father, who evidently was then visiting in Salt Lake City, had given Mom and Mary a ride in the new ‘Huf’ (? Hufmobile automobile). He expected to be home in fifteen days, and his thoughts were all centered on the ‘Old Mill,’ soft moonlight, perfect music, a dreamy waltz—and the wedding! 40Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Their long-awaited nuptial day finally arrived and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Wednesday, 26 June 1929, by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. The witnesses listed on the marriage certificate were John F. Howells and John Hagman. Why was Dad’s father, Andrew “B,” not a witness? We could assume from the above quoted letters that he might well have been back in California attending to his rapidly unfolding business interests. But certainly two proud mothers and several endowed siblings were there to honor the happy couple. 41
Unfortunately, we have no firm details as to what definitely transpired before the wedding or later at the reception. But, as I was growing up, I vaguely recall Mom talking about how she and Dad were kidnapped by her brothers, were dropped off at Saltair in their wedding clothes, and then spent their wedding night walking back to the city.
On the other hand, besides spending time at Yellowstone, I clearly remember her speaking about honeymooning at Jenny’s Lake, in Grand Teton National Park. The park had just been established in February of that same year.
As to what they would do and where they would locate after this initial blissful time together, they must have expended considerable thought. Economically, times were tough and jobs were scarce. Moreover, the promising mining prospects in which Dad had been involved for over a year had not developed to full expectation. Nonetheless, the two of them were evidently convinced that California held superior opportunities:
It was then with youthful hope and determination, in their newly acquired Nash coupe, that they set out along the road of opportunity for Southern California to seek their fortune–at the dawning of the Great Depression. As part of a new generation of pioneers, theirs was a different kind of frontier with which to struggle–unemployment, poverty, and national apathy. Being disappointed initially in the work opportunity that they had been assured before coming to California, they found themselves with a grand-total of ten cents, two potatoes, and one onion. 42
Dad elaborated further on their early history in his short autobiography:
[Following our wedding, we moved] to Los Angeles where we began keeping house in a small apartment, on Portland Street. I was unable to support a wife working for father and soon set out on my own. I got a job selling Christmas cards until the holidays ended, [and] then tried selling real estate. I did fairly well, but was unhappy with the people for whom I worked. [I] was finally able to get a job with the Standard Oil Company at their El Segundo plant as a fireman. [In 1930], I began to sell cooking utensils for the Century Metal Craft Corporation [Club Aluminum/Silver Seal]. I became district manager of Los Angeles and Southern California and continued until 1942. 43
Elaborating on the cooking utensil selling job and other early experiences, the following is recorded in my autobiography:
He and Mom used to put on successful home demonstrations to sell the cooking utensils. Mom states it was a team effort. She wasn't always completely thrilled with her assignment, however. Together they cooked dinner and demonstrated the cook ware. Then, while Dad completed the sale in the front room, Mom completed the dishes in the kitchen. Dad later became District Manager for the Southern California area in the marketing of this cook ware. For their first Christmas together, they gave each other a new back tire for their automobile. Mom also tells the story of debating with herself the following January about whether to splurge the remaining week's food money on buying a birthday card for her father, or not. She did. Then, upon walking out of the post office after sending off the card, she found a dollar bill on the sidewalk. Thanksgiving chicken was enjoyed courtesy of Grandma Howells, after being sent through the mail all the way from Salt Lake City. 44Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
As noted above, their first residence in Los Angeles was a small apartment on Portland Street, near the current main campus of the University of Southern California. As far as I can reconstruct from photos and documents, they must have lived there for about three years, until the latter half of 1932. Because, after my birth on 1 April 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah 45, Dad blessed me in the nearby West Adams Ward Chapel, on 5 June 1932. 46
Our family threesome then evidently moved to larger quarters on Gramercy Place, in Gardena. I have vague recollections of this home:
At Gramercy Place, I had a mongrel dog, part chow, named Rags. He apparently bothered the neighbors so much that he eventually had to be taken elsewhere. Rags and I were bosom buddies, however. One day, I came in insisting that Mom wash out both the dog's and my mouth with soap. When she asked why, my comment was, ‘Rags bit me, so I bit him back!’ I have vague memories of two other events occurring in the Southern California area about this time. One event was an earthquake which occurred while I was asleep upstairs at the Gramercy Place home. I can remember awakening with the bouncing of the bed, and wondering what was happening. The other experience was seeing the usually very dry Los Angeles River swollen and overflowing its concrete encased banks during a flood. Upon its angry, surging currents were pieces of furniture, houses, trees and other flotsam, as I watched in company with Mom and Dad from the safety of a bridge. Having now been trained as an urologist, I was interested to learn from Mom that I had a somewhat difficult time toilet training. Mom recalls that I insisted in leaving my calling cards at favorite places behind the couch and other choice spots. I was finally housebroken, however, and have not left my calling cards around indiscriminately since.
Thus, it would appear that Mom had her hands full raising me as a young child. Moreover, relative to her other involvement at the time, I am aware that the home was always open to friends and relatives, as well. Dad’s sister, Lucile, his brother, Luther, and Mom’s brother, Jack, each boarded with them for a time while furthering their education or seeking to get established in the dynamic and exciting Southern California environment. So, she was certainly kept busy with domestic duties. To be sure, Mom and Dad were more than generous with their time and means.
Additionally, along with close relatives who eventually came to permanently reside in the area, the names of a host of their Southern California friends, near forgotten, also come to mind. And, as Dad and Mom were always outgoing and friendly in their demeanor, these people must have been closely linked to them. I have dim memories of various visits and outings with many of them during these early years: Jack and Josephine Howells, Sheldon and Mary Christenson, Luther and Velda Christenson, Romney and Melba Stewart, George and Irene Stewart, Herschel and Gwen Lund, Merlin and Edna Sant, Wally and Nora Reed, George and Florence Schiess, Rue and Bernice Tyler, Saunders, Sassenes, plus not infrequent visitors from Utah—their parents, siblings, nieces, and cousins—all anxious to experience the wonders of the new, much heralded, sun-drenched, Southern California-Shangri-La.
Indeed, during these early years now under consideration, as well as later, there are fuzzy memories of trips to the beach, to the mountains, to the desert (to see the cacti and wildflowers in bloom), Tijuana, Catalina Island, plus picnics in the parks (Griffith and Elysian) with Dad’s company. Evidently, Dad also participated in the Park View Ward Bishopric, sometime between 1932 and 1934, while living in Gardena. 47 I also faintly recall that our house was robbed one evening while we were away on a visit.
After living in Gardena for about two years, and with a shortage of experienced Church leaders in Southern California, Dad was called to be Bishop of the Santa Monica Ward, in the Hollywood Stake. He was set apart on 28 October 1934, one of the youngest bishops in the Church at the time 48, and received his Bishop’s Certificate, #2387, one month later. 49 As they had been attending another ward previous to this calling and scarcely knew anyone in Santa Monica, the new assignment occasioned some real adjustments—including moving to a new residence, in order to be closer to his flock.
Accordingly, most likely only a short time following being set apart in this new, demanding Church calling, they moved to another residence, at 1647 Carmelina Avenue, in West Los Angeles. (Interestingly, this is near the current UCLA Medical Center and Wadsworth VAH Medical Center, where I undertook my surgical/urological training some thirty years later.) We know about this location, because this is the address listed on Drew’s birth certificate (Andrew Howells Christenson), born 6 April 1936, at the Santa Monica Hospital. 50
As to Mom’s exact activities during this period, we have no record. Certainly, two, active, young sons plus a home to run would have kept her busy enough. However, it is well known by members of the Church that the role of a busy bishop’s wife is very demanding, as well. But, besides all of that, in a letter of recommendation for Dad, from his employer, H. P. Dwyer, President of the Century Metalcraft Corporation, dated 6 October 1942, we learn more facts concerning this particular period in their lives:
…. In the spring of 1936, he was promoted to District Manager in charge of the Branch Office located in Long Beach, California. This position carried the duties of hiring, training and inspiring personnel, along with managerial and administrative work. In July of 1939, he was placed in charge of the Los Angeles Branch Office which operated personnel of approximately one hundred men. This company regarded the Los Angeles Branch Offices as one of its most efficiently operated Districts…. 51
Consequently, in the spring of 1936, besides the other enumerated responsibilities, her duties as the wife of a busy business executive—requiring entertaining, and tight scheduling, etc.—would without doubt have consumed further energy and time. Nonetheless, as Dad’s committed helpmeet, she quietly pursued her supportive, behind the scenes role with loyalty and love, and the family moved forward.
Our next residence was on Redondo Avenue, in Long Beach. We probably moved there during the latter part of 1936. This is based on a set of photos taken at the Redondo Avenue property, which show Drew at about age one year, evidently just learning how to walk.
Thus, with the above statement that in the spring of 1936, he was promoted to District Manager in charge of the Branch Office located in Long Beach, California, it seems reasonable to assume that Dad served as Bishop of the Santa Monica Ward for about eighteen months (from October 1934 to perhaps April 1936) before the move.
Some personal remembrances of our Long Beach interlude are, as follows:
Later on, we moved to Long Beach where I started kindergarten. What a thrill it was to make things with a hammer and saw, play father in the playhouse, and slide down the fire pole. About this time, I received two well remembered lessons in honesty. In browsing through a five and ten cent store after school one day with my friend, I saw a small toy airplane which struck my fancy. Not having the money to pay for it, but not wanting to part with it, I put it in my pocket and left the store. Mom saw me playing with it at home, and asked where I had gotten it. Having reluctantly told her, she marched me back to the store, where much to my embarrassment I told the clerk what I had done and returned the toy. The other experience took place while we lived on Redondo [Avenue] in Long Beach. I had apparently gone to the house in back of us to ask if a friend could play. The front door of this home had glass windows. When I could get no one to respond to my doorbell ringing, I began to knock on the glass door, finally breaking one of the glass window panes. This frightened me and I ran home, thinking perhaps that no one would know who had broken the window. Upon arriving home, Dad saw the drawn expression on my face and asked what the matter was. I told him I needed him to accompany me back to face what I presumed to be the furious occupants of the back house. He said, ’No, this is your doing. You'll have to go yourself and tell the people what you have done.’ And so it was with dragging backside that I returned to face the music. It was a valuable lesson. I have fleeting recollections of other experiences. Our family went to the beach often. One day, as I was playing in the surf in a loose fitting bathing suit on the crowded beach, a large wave knocked me over and washed away my suit. After I had recovered, I came running up to Mom on the beach. Her surprised comment was, ‘Bart, where's your modesty?’ My tear-choked, frustrated, but innocent reply was, ‘The wave washed it away!’ Later on, during beach excursions early in the morning, Drew and I would ride out in the ocean beyond the breakers securely holding on around Dad's neck. It was an early lesson in faith, I suppose, since neither of us knew how to swim at the time. Dad assured us that everything would be alright, stating, ‘All you have to do is hold on tightly!’ At any rate, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. One day shortly before Christmas time, I was playing in Mom's bedroom while she was fixing her hair. I accidentally dropped my ball under the bed, and before she could stop me had reached underneath to retrieve it. In addition to my ball, I found an unwrapped, brand new, red toy car. I'm sure that it was red. I naturally assumed that it was for me for Christmas, but wondered why Santa Claus had put it under Mom's bed before Christmas. The next day, I snuck another look under the bed, and the red car was gone. I was heart broken. My faith in Santa Claus was restored on Christmas Day, however, when Santa left a toy car–blue not red! Either the red one had been for some other little boy, as I thought that Christmas Day; or someone exchanged cars at the store, as I concluded many Christmases later. At about this same time, too, around age seven, I got my pant leg cuff caught in a picket fence which I had climbed in order to fetch my football on the other side. In jumping down, I lost my balance and fell onto my right forearm, fracturing it in two places. I remember the doctor yanking and tugging to get the bones back in place. Also, having my tonsils out, I remember the feeling of losing consciousness under the ether mask and bright lights of surgery. Awakening was tolerable, however, as the doctor had ordered that I might eat all of the ice cream that I wanted. 52
Interestingly, as I was writing this portion of the history, an unexpected DVD arrived from my cousin William H. Nelson, of San Mateo California, a film abridgement of his father’s 16 mm movies showing a Howells family reunion in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the summer of 1937. Along with Grandpa and Grandma Howells and all of Mom’s siblings, their partners, and their families, Mom, Drew, and I were also present. 53 In fact, as her youngest brother, Dan, and his bride, Quata Lindsey, were married 22 June 1937, in Salt Lake City, this family gathering might well have been convened to celebrate that special event.
Evidently, Mom had traveled alone with the two of us to the reunion—perhaps our first trip to Utah—since Dad is not pictured in the movie. Accordingly, one could surmise that he had remained in California to attend to the business and Church responsibilities mentioned previously. Nonetheless, as the youngest daughter in her family, with three older and two younger siblings, I suspect that this get-together was quite important to Mom. I can imagine that having been away from them in California for five years, she now desired to show what had been happening, as it were.
In the movie the three of us are all fashionably attired and looking our best. Along with the other women, Mom apparently has on a new flowered dress and a new hairdo. Drew, age one, the youngest child in the pictures, has curly locks, is cute and cuddly and appears to be the darling of the teenage girl cousins. I am sporting a new “white sidewalls” haircut and am decked out in white short-pants and shirt, with brown and white saddle shoes—a little “dude” from California, to be sure!
Other memories of Long Beach come to mind, as well. Mom was anxious that we stay as healthy as possible, physically, mentally and spiritually, and tried to instill good habits. Thus, I recall that after-school snacks, rather than candy and cookies, usually consisted of raw carrots, quartered lettuce heads, and raisins. (It sounds like healthy rabbit provender, now, but I came to quite enjoy the fare!) In an attempt to develop good eating habits and healthy bodies, she also taught us to eat everything on our dinner plates (Think of the poor starving children in Europe, she would say) plus how to carefully brush our teeth twice a day—to the tunes of Primary songs, such as Little Brother Vegetable and the Tooth Bug Song. As this was before the days of daily vitamins, I also remember regular spoonfuls of castor oil and cod-liver oil. Moreover, she saw to it that we got plenty of outdoor activity. Indeed, she was most diligent in pursuing all the recommended preventive-health measures for her children.
As a former school teacher, she recognized the value of early reading and phonetics, too. Therefore, as a novice scholar at the time (Drew was still a toddler), I remember her reading to us regularly, establishing a home library, frequently taking me to the public library, and stressing the value of phonetics in reading, writing and spelling. When asked how to spell a word, she always said, Sound it out. I am thankful for her energetic insistence and concern.
And as to spiritual growth and exposure, I recall her always encouraging us to be active participants in Primary and Junior Sunday School classes at Church. We learned the songs, read the scriptures, and memorized little talks and verses which were assigned periodically at various meetings. There was never any question about our attendance or involvement. Gratefully, that was what was expected, and that was what we did. Moreover, she taught us to honor our leaders, to love the scriptures, to pay our tithing, to strive for clean language and thoughts, and to serve willingly. To be sure, she was a loving, conscientious wife and mother.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
In 1939, we moved to a home that I recall very well, 5324 Angeles Vista Boulevard in southwest Los Angeles. It was a new type house for the day, with steel wall paneling on the outside, and radiant heating in the floors. We lived there for the next five years. This was an exciting neighborhood for young boys. Next to the house was a vacant lot where we constructed an underground fort. And beyond that was a military academy complete with horses, corral and parade grounds. In back of the house, leading down from the academy, was a steep alley, ideal for racing soap box derby racers. Across the boulevard were acres and acres of rolling hills covered by fields of lima beans which served ideally for exploration. There was also a gully nearby with a small stream, a large, approximately five foot in diameter concrete conduit, which represented further exploration possibilities, and wild licorice plants in the stream bed. About a block down the boulevard lived a man who had several pet chimpanzees which he apparently rented out to the movie studios. He had erected a bleacher gallery and stage, and gave periodic shows for the neighborhood kids wherein his movie star chimps rode bicycles, played house, and performed for the delighted audiences. In the backyard, we placed a bale of hay which served as target for bow and arrow practice. There was also a tetherball standard and horseshoe pit that we constructed. On the side of the house was a nice lawn which made a fine miniature football field or softball diamond. Our cousins, Neil and Richard Christenson, lived only a few blocks away from us at the time, and we used to have some vigorous games with them and other neighborhood friends. 54
I’m sure that this home and locale were a real favorite with Mom, since we remained here for five years—our longest place of residence up until that point. Moreover, as Drew and I got older and became more teachable and accountable, Mom and Dad were now able to expand and accelerate our training. We began to learn the value of work, responsibility, and dependability. We were taught how to make our beds, clean our rooms, and how to attend to chores around the home, such as mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, sweeping the garage, and taking care of an animal. Other lessons were taught, too:
I recall learning the value of money and hard work. I went around to various neighbor's homes, and inquired if I could mow their lawns. When asked how much I charged, on the advice of my parents, I told them, ‘Whatever you think its worth.’ I got several good jobs with this approach. I also had an early morning paper route at 4:30 AM for the Los Angeles Times, which was a good learning experience. We had a blond Pomeranian dog, Sandy, which uncle Luther (Dad's brother, a veterinarian) had obtained for us. I remember that he used to howl whenever Dad would play his violin and we would sing during family nights. But we all loved him dearly. It was one of the saddest days of my young life, on my birthday, my tenth, I think, when the dog was run over by a car out in front. He loved to chase cars and motorcycles. When asked what I wanted for my birthday, with tears streaming down my cheeks and a heavy heart, all that I could think of was my dog, Sandy. Drew and I, especially Drew, learned a valuable lesson in dependability. We apparently had been naughty, and Dad instructed us to go out into the back yard and each choose a willow with which he intended to spank us. I chose a fairly stout switch with which to carry out the sentence. However, Drew apparently thought that he could pull a fast one, and so selected a soft, pulpy specimen. When we came back in, Dad took one look and switched willows. Drew got his spanking with the firm, pliable willow, and I received mine with the soft pulpy one. 55
Other areas important to Mom about which she felt prompted to have me initiated were etiquette and the social graces, plus dancing and music appreciation. Accordingly, she regularly stressed proper table manners and social niceties, such as maintaining a comely appearance with neat attire, opening doors for the gentler sex, and writing thank you notes.
I also recall being enrolled in dancing classes at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Crenshaw Boulevard near our home, where along with other equally uncomfortable young participants, I learned about the waltz, foxtrot, tango and the cha-cha-cha. But I’m quick to admit that her efforts here did not result in big dividends!
Concerning music appreciation:
Music became an important part of my life at this time as well, as I began to learn to play the piano. My first teacher was Gwendolyn Lund (husband Herschel), a friend of my parents. I began eagerly. The first, full piece I learned and committed to memory was Whispering Willows, and I remember being quite pleased with the accomplishment. As Gwen had her students play in recitals, I recall later performing this piece (in truth, a much abbreviated beginning piano student's rendition) with the other students and their parents assembled in her front room. Subsequently, I recall playing more advanced numbers–duets with Gwen on the piano (Kinder Concerto by Beethoven), and also with Dad accompanying on the violin. After a couple of years of practice, Gwen's son, David, and another of our friends, Roger Sant, and I formed a trio. They each played the flute, and I accompanied on the piano. We played around the stake in various capacities, which was quite a thrill for us as pre-teens. 56
Moreover, living in glamorous, radiant Southern California, the movie capital of the world, I also remember several interesting experiences. One was being taken to the glitzy Grumman Chinese Movie Theatre to see a new movie with Mom and Dad, and then standing at the feet of the seven foot tall, uniformed usher—the tallest man I had ever seen—to stare up in awe at his towering head.
On another occasion while out for a family drive one Sunday afternoon, as we came to a stop on Sepulveda Boulevard in West Los Angeles, the car of Shirley Temple and her parents stopped alongside and Shirley waved to us. She evidently recognized Dad, who, as he explained later, had been in their home demonstrating Club Aluminum ware. I was duly impressed by the gesture, since, having already seen a number of her movies, I thought her pretty and attractive.
Likewise, during this same time while pursuing his love of fine automobiles, Dad purchased the former convertible roadster of actress Gloria Graham. As young boys, Drew and I knew next to nothing about Gloria as an actress, but we surely appreciated her taste in sports cars, especially since this one had a rumble seat.
In company with several thousand other cheering spectators, one other encounter with notable people took place on another day as we looked down on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s motorcade slowly moving along the Pacific Coast Highway. Situated on an eminence in a park above the road, we viewed everything from just fifteen feet away.
I recall a final experience, also about this time, occurring at a birthday party being held in my honor, perhaps my ninth or tenth. Mom and Dad had arranged for a festive event at our home, with perhaps a dozen or so of my little friends to celebrate. There were banners, balloons, cake and ice cream, and games—including spanks for me according to the number of birthday years being celebrated.
Mom gently held me while my friends took turns in reminding me of my age. Thinking to be clever and avoid a blow or two, as one of the participants began the spanks, I suddenly stood up—smacking Mom squarely in the nose with my head. It was an innocent gesture without much forethought on my part, but her nose began to bleed profusely. She had to excuse herself from the party. I was very embarrassed and justly remorseful for what happened. The unfortunate incident put a damper on the festivities.
Continuing on with the story, as we consider the Angeles Vista Boulevard era experiences:
The year 1941 was eventful. It was the year that my sisters, Suzanne and Diane, were born on the 24th and 25th of June, twenty [eight] minutes apart. Sue was born just before midnight. 57 Diane was born just afterwards. 58 I remember when Mom and Dad brought them home from the hospital, and how tiny they both appeared to us. Both had birthmarks on top of their heads, and according to the physician's instructions, these were to be frozen off with dry ice. I also recall sitting with the family at Sunday dinner on December 7th, and hearing the announcement of the Pearl Harbor attack which thrust our country into the Second World War. War time brought new experiences as well as restrictions. Sugar, tin cans, rubber, and gasoline, of course, were all rationed. We collected tin cans during scrap metal drives. The tin cans would be compressed, and then made into weapons to fight the war. I had my own victory garden in the back yard, where I first learned how to grow and harvest plants. School was interesting at this time. Periodic air raid practices were held, and we would get under our desks as the buzzer or siren sounded. We also had demonstrations at the school of the new Jeep, the four wheeled car that could climb the outside stairs of the school…. Because of the tire shortage, Dad bought a used 1938 Lincoln chauffeur car with a roll up window separating the front from the back of the car, jump seats, speaker system to the front seat, and many other extras–including brand new heavy duty tires. What fun we had riding in that car. Drew and I had a great time talking through the inner-com system, and saying, "Home James!" It made an ideal car, too, for travel back to Salt Lake City on our yearly summer vacations…. I have some fond remembrances of Grandma and Grandpa Howells at this time. They lived in a stately, old house on West Temple Street. Grandpa was the former Sheriff of Salt Lake County, and in the basement were guns and weapons from the criminals he had apprehended, through which we enjoyed rummaging. Downstairs, too, was a coal furnace with a coal hopper into which we were permitted to shovel coal from time to time. On the main floor were the front room, dining room, parlor, and master bedroom. Especially interesting to us was the fact that they had a large bed which actually rolled into the wall. Above the portion of the wall into which the bed rolled was the master bathroom, complete with high legged bathtub, and commode with attached pull handle. Grandma's kitchen had a big black, coal burning stove. And I remember that Grandpa loved to eat Kellogg's Corn Flakes and cornmeal mush, both of which I came to enjoy as well. Upstairs were several bedrooms, along with a study containing shelves of intriguing books. In the backyard were a barn, and Grandpa's large garden and orchard. The old barn provided great fun while playing hide-and-go-seek, and jumping in the haystacks with our next door cousins (Karen, Jerry, Tim, Dan and Bob Howells) and other neighborhood pals. Grandpa's sisters, Aunt Ann and Aunt Mag, lived across the street. They were always anxious to give us ginger snaps and special treats. In their front yard was a well with a pull bucket and mineral tainted water. In the back yard was an old railroad pump car. I can also remember Grandpa giving us pennies and telling us with a chuckle, ‘Here's a copper for you. Don't spend it all in one place!’ …. The year 1944, when I was twelve, was memorable. Grandpa Howells passed away on April 22nd. 59 Mom went up to Salt Lake City to attend the funeral. On the 30th of the month, I was ordained a deacon in the Arlington Ward, Los Angeles Stake. I have vague memories of helping to build the ward house in company with Dad, Drew and other brethren in the Church. I can also recall President David O. McKay, who was Second Counselor in the First Presidency at the time, coming to dedicate the building. Mom sang a solo, Bless This House, O Lord, at those services. In May, Mom and I received our patriarchal blessings from Patriarch George T. Wride of the Los Angeles Stake. We went to his home, and before the blessings talked for several minutes, during which time we found out about one another. Then the blessings were given. His daughter was the secretary, and took down notes in shorthand to be typed later. I had fasted for the occasion at Mom's suggestion, and upon returning home, being very spiritually touched, knelt down by my bed in gratitude. It was one of my early, inspirational experiences. Since then, I have always tried to use this special blessing as a blueprint by which to pattern my life's goals and activities. 60
In Mom’s blessing given that day, 21 May 1944, are found choice promises, which in retrospect have seen fulfillment in her relationships with us, her children:
Thy influence shall reach afar and thy words dropped unaware shall be likened unto seeds that fall and grow and reproduce again and again unto eternity…. I bless thee with courage to face the future, with constancy to persevere, with the tactfulness of a wise woman and home-maker, with an attraction that draws thy children, and with a firm hold upon their heartstrings that shall shape and guide them unto the ways of safety and happiness…. 61
The Second World War dragged on, and in its wake took many tolls, overseas as well as on the home front. Like many others, our family tried hard to do its part and to lend support. Dad, for example, gave periodic talks at various business enterprises in order to raise money for the war effort through pay roll deductions and war bond purchases 62; while Mom, at home, encouraged a home garden, collected items for scrap drives, and prepared our meals around many rationed food items.
Because of the ongoing war and the resultant lack of raw material, Dad’s employer, the Century Metalcraft Corporation was forced to discontinue its sales activity as of November 15, 1942, for the duration… 63 Their full production was consequently diverted from cooking utensils to military products. And, as a result, after twelve successful years with the company, he was obligated to find other work:
Dad therefore took a job with Occidental Life Insurance Company. He sold with them in Los Angeles for about two years. Then, in short order, he was selected to be assistant manager of the San Francisco New Montgomery Street Office. And so in April 1944, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area. We followed in June. 64
We have only a few details of Mom’s day to day activities during their residence on Angeles Vista Boulevard.
Since Mom did not yet have a driver’s license, she had to walk to the grocery store. She told the story of wheeling the twins down the hill, loading the groceries into the double stroller, and wheeling it several long blocks back up the hill. She said that she felt like a d—n mule!
Another story she also enjoyed telling was about the day the secretary from the military academy behind the house came over and asked her if everything was all right. The faculty had noticed the large number of diapers hanging on the line each day and couldn’t imagine what was going on. Mom explained that every thing was fine, just a little chaotic. She had just had twins!
She also complained that while one twin was in the front of the house making a mess, the other would be in the back doing the same thing. Potty training became a nightmare. When she was working to train one in the bathroom, the other would go behind the couch in the living room. It seems that having twins at nearly thirty-nine years of age was one of her greater challenges.
Finally, one last interesting bit of history concerning that time frame, mainly about Dad, has survived. Immediately prior to Dad’s departure for Northern California in April 1944, the Arlington Ward evidently held a farewell party in his honor. We have a copy of the skit that was presented at the time. The author is unknown. It gives a glimpse of some of his Church activities while living in the ward, as well as, in a humorous way, how the family was perceived and appreciated. The gist of the spoof has Dad and Mom visiting the Arlington Ward six years earlier:Dad is recognized by the Sunday School Superintendent as a former bishop of the Santa Monica Ward, and, with the Arlington Ward bishop’s permission, he asks Dad if he could help them out for a couple of weeks by teaching our adult class in Sunday School. We know you are a very busy man, but it will only be for the next couple of weeks. Dad agrees to help.
The next scene, six years later, on 26 March 1944, shows Dad still teaching the same class—talking about his mission in Germany. A student holds up his hand and asks: How long are you going to teach us, Brother Christenson? Oh, I’m going to be here only a couple of more weeks, Dad responds. They’ve promised to get someone for this class by then.
The narrator then continues: These ‘Arlingtonites’ [also] convinced Wendell to teach a Mutual class and to be a ward leader of the High Priests Quorum in addition to his Sunday School duties. (What could we do…he’s bigger than us?) Then the satire continues on for several scenes about his musical abilities over the years in the ward, playing the violin and singing.
Backtracking in time, the narrator then says: If you will be patient, we shall take you up on Angeles Vista Boulevard and give you a small glimpse of our hero’s home life. This scene, in keeping with [the] precise chronological sequence of this [skit] is set in 1941. It is evening at the Christenson homestead; all is calm; the family has settled down for a quiet evening at home…Bart, age 9, is practicing the piano. (He loves it so—just a chip off the old block.) Drew [age 5] has caught his head in the floor ventilator.
The scene opens to bedlam, with the two boys making most of the noise. Wendell standing before the mirror, primping, says: Do you think I look my usual well-turned-out self tonight, Nance? I’m going to the ward for a meeting. Mom, entering the room in a house apron, wiping her hands, retorts: Oh, so you are going down to that Church again, are you? You are always at Church. You leave me home to take care of these kids night after night. Bart faintly remembers you…and Drew thinks you are some Mormon relative from Utah who doesn’t know what a hotel is. The children don’t even know their own father. I’m telling you, Wendell Christenson, you’ll never have another child as long as this goes on! And then…before we knew it…
The next scene is a simulated waiting room, with Dad pacing up and down, looking anxious and worried. A nurse enters and says: You’re a father, Mr. Christenson. You have twin girls! Dad exclaims, Twins! ...and faints.
Several more scenes depict Dad playing his violin or singing at various ward functions—always on short notice. Then the narrator notes: Then for the longest time, at least a week, we see nothing of our hero at the rostrum…. There is talk of making him chorister. But instead of giving him the job with the honors it entails, he becomes the impromptu chorister and just leads the singing at Sunday School and Mutual and Sacrament Meeting and Primary. It is not possible for him to make Relief Society, because he sleeps late….Of course, we could go on and on with intimate glimpses into the life of our hero and heroine…but they do deserve some little private life. We could tell you that Wendell, like Beethoven, is a long-haired music lover. Nance likes hers kind of bobbed. Wendell paints…not houses… [but] for his own amusement and [to] the amazement of his friends. He is also considered in some circles to be a darn good cook. Why do they say that?
The last scene opens with Dad again teaching the same class: And that’s why Abraham took Isaac up into the hills—to offer him as a sacrifice. But he turned and saw a beef in the thicket…Say, let’s have a picnic at Elysian park…with steaks!
The skit ends with the narrator concluding: And now it comes, as it does to all men, the moment that we must part. The Christenson’s are pioneers. They are assembling all their heavy clothing; they’ve got their passports; they are learning the new language…and they are going to San Francisco.
We wish Wendell our heartiest good wishes. May he have all the success he deserves in his new position…and new life. 65Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Wars cause many disruptions in scores of ways, including economic displacement and relocation. Thus, in our family’s case, Dad’s new career path coupled with our move to the northern part of the state became root causes that significantly influenced all that would transpire in our family thereafter.
Dad left for the San Francisco Bay area in March of 1944. During his initial time away in the new location, he was able to secure a place for us to live, and we joined him three months later.
With the war in full swing, available housing was at a premium all over the country–especially, I would guess, in the San Francisco Bay area. There were no new homes being erected at the time, and there was almost nothing for rent. George Schiess, former counselor to Dad in the Santa Monica Ward Bishopric, and his wife, Florence, and family, graciously opened up their home to us in Millbrae, a few miles down the peninsula from San Francisco. We lived with them for the next nine months. Dad helped remodel the downstairs where we stayed…. After nine months with the Schiess family in Millbrae, for one reason or another, we moved in with Dad's Occidental Life Insurance Company Manager, Burl Blevins, and family at 300 Poet Road in Hillsborough. Hillsborough was a beautiful community, also situated on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. It was nestled in rolling, wooded hills, and was essentially a millionaire's haven, much like Bel Aire in Southern California, or Quaker Heights in Cleveland, Ohio. The Blevins’ home was a huge, several story complex, seemingly ten thousand square feet, built on several acres. Mom apparently took care of their children as well as us during the day. But the arrangement didn't work out too well, and we moved about six weeks later to live with Grandma Howells, on West Temple Street in Salt Lake City. As Dad had now become manager of the insurance agency, he remained in San Francisco, overseeing the construction of our long awaited new home in San Mateo. 66
For Mom, this two year period must have been difficult, even daunting. It required her to manage her four young children alone, without permanent residence and a husband to help. She felt like a burden on her friends and on her family. It wasn’t easy on Dad either. He was forced to embark on the new career path in difficult times alone and without the support of his family around him. Times were hard.
Nonetheless, a decade and a half before, the two of them had committed to one another to pull together and to succeed. Moreover, each came from a long line of forefathers who had done difficult things, as well. After all, as had already been noted by others, they too were pioneers, weren’t they? So they moved forward.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Mom and we four children remained in Salt Lake City, living with Grandma Howells, now widowed, in her West Temple home, from March 1945 to March 1946. To be sure, it was a new and exciting experience for us children—new friends, new schools, new adventures. It was probably pleasant in a way for Mom, too, being able to relive the home, ward, and neighborhood of her youth.
But, being away from her husband for many long months, coping alone with us children—despite regular phone calls, letters, and an occasional visit from Dad—could not have been easy. Nonetheless, wartime demands required it thus. Furthermore, neither she nor Grandma drove a car at this time. Accordingly, we would have been dependent on public conveyances, or others, for transportation.
During this family separation period, from a gasoline rationing record (gasoline, along with other necessary war items, was rationed during the duration) we learn that Dad made at least one trip to Salt Lake City, in March 1945, in the 1937/38 Lincoln 12 limousine, purchased earlier in Southern California, perhaps initially transporting us to Grandma Howells’ residence. Moreover, from the same record, it is noted that he apparently resided at 519 Popular, San Mateo, California. 67
With the end of the war and the easing of building restrictions, our new home was being constructed as one of the first postwar homes built by the San Mateo Construction Company. We returned back to Northern California in the spring of l946 by train with Mom, [one of] the first such trip[s] for us children. We had a compartment in one of the Pullman cars, and entertained ourselves on the way playing Old Maid and Pit. It was also a surprise for us to see snow on the ground in the Nevada desert. What a thrill it was to see the new house. It had been built in the hills at the south end of San Mateo. [318 41st Avenue] There were scarcely any other homes in the area at the time, and so we were situated on top of a hill with only about four other dwellings around us. Drew and I had our own bedroom downstairs with an adjoining bathroom. In addition downstairs, there were a large family room, wash room and tool shop. Upstairs were two more bedrooms, [a study], another bathroom, the dining room, living room, kitchen, walkout veranda, and a two car garage. The back yard sloped gently down, approximately seventy-five feet, to a row of giant eucalyptus trees. Beyond that were a large horse pasture, and a large grove of eucalyptus trees several hundred feet further down. In any direction were more hills, oak trees, creeks, and miles and miles of unexplored country–a paradise for inquisitive youngsters. Occasionally, deer would come down in the early morning hours onto our newly planted front lawn. To the west was a large, Chinese owned, chrysanthemum flower growing farm. The hills were full of jackrabbits and quail, and we went wild with our BB and pellet guns. In the row of eucalyptus trees along the back property line, we built our ultimate tree house, which developed into a three story project with secret entrance and ladder. On occasion, we even slept up there in our sleeping bags. At first, building supplies were obtained by scrounging scrap material from the various new home construction projects. However, eventually the friendly builder, who seemed to take an enthusiastic interest in our project, perhaps concluding that it was better to give us supplies than to worry about damage to the new homes, besides donating scrap wood, even kindly volunteered tar paper and nails when we needed them. Moreover, with Dad’s help, at the conclusion of our ambitious project, from a high limb in one of the eucalyptus trees which towered at least forty feet or more in the air, we tied a long, stout rope to make a Tarzan swing. Our back yard was in two levels, with an old rock wall and lawn above. On the lower level, we had an archery practice shooting range, and a horseshoe pit. But in addition, we children had envisioned a family swimming pool. And so, after we moved into the new home, early on, we began imploring Dad and Mom to have one built–even offering to dig the hole by ourselves. 68
Mom must have been delighted with the new dwelling. She had been married now for seventeen years, and this would be the first time they had owned their home. They eagerly set to work decorating and furnishing both upstairs and down inside the house, as well as outside, and fashioned a lovely abode.
Several years later, the long hoped for swimming pool also came into existence, along with an ample bath house and barbecue area. We constructed the latter two additions ourselves. These new backyard attractions brought us all a lot of pleasure and joy…and hot-weather friends. In addition, Mom had vegetable, vine, and flower grow-boxes on the northeast side of the backyard, plus an extensive garden of prize rose bushes in front of the house. Hence, she was able to utilize her green thumb to her hearts content—and we had some regular weeding, irrigation, and yard-maintenance opportunities, in earning our weekly allowances. Later on, Dad also hired Drew and me to saw and chop up wood from the large, felled eucalyptus trees along the back property line. He also allowed us to peddle the results of our efforts around the neighborhood and to pocket the proceeds.
Concerning these outside yard activities, there is one other episode which occurred early on in our move to San Mateo that certainly caused Mom great concern. While rototilling the wet, grassy slope in the backyard, before the upper stone retaining wall was built, Dad’s right foot slipped under the machine, and his pant leg got caught in the blades. The sharp metal tines then ran up his right leg, becoming deeply embedded. The last tine caught in his leather belt, which thankfully shut down the rotation. Our next door neighbor, Vern Dodson, an engineer, heard Dad’s cry for help, and along with Diane, who was helping him mow his back yard, climbed over the redwood stake fence, turned off the motor, and summoned the ambulance. Dad was rushed to the nearby San Mateo Community Hospital, where initially it was thought that he would require a below the knee amputation. This he refused. Fortunately some able surgeons were on duty, and delicate, complicated, multi-hour-long surgery was then performed. We were told that extensive nerve and vessel repairs were needed, requiring hundreds and hundreds of sutures.
Dad was laid up for six weeks and used a cane for a year thereafter. But, coupled with a comforting priesthood blessing, he enjoyed an amazing recovery. He never limped thereafter, and as far as I know suffered no undue pain. Nonetheless, the leg did swell from time to time, probably due to some residual low grade bone infection. Indeed, three and a half decades later while Barbara and I were visiting him and ArLene, during their mission in Israel, he had an untoward flare up requiring antibiotic treatment. 69
Each family member had their own assigned chores, and Saturday mornings were a whiz. We had the house and yard ship-shape by noon every week. We usually had our favorite pancake breakfast for a work break. Drew and I were responsible for vacuuming and cleaning the downstairs once per week, along with keeping our bedroom and bathroom neat and tidy on a daily basis. Additionally, upstairs, on hands and knees, I had the job of scrubbing the kitchen floor every week or so. All of these little tasks didn’t add up to a great deal, I suppose, but like most young people we probably thought that we were quite put upon. Nevertheless, Mom and Dad consistently tried to teach us about work and responsibility.
The teaching of responsibility also flowed over into music, since they felt strongly that we should each learn to play a musical instrument. The twins were too young at the time, but Drew had taken up the violin, and I the piano. When we were younger, it was a bit more appealing. But, as we got older, and other interests captured our attention, it became more of a burden. Nevertheless, in agreement with our music teachers, Mom felt that our practicing for one hour each day was about right. I can recall desperately wanting to be finished at certain times, as outside sports and activities beckoned—perhaps even nudging the clock ahead a bit—and saying: Mom, I’m done! But her quick rejoinder was: You’re done for, young man, unless you get back in there! Finally an understanding was reached when I became a junior in high school, and the piano lessons were terminated. Still, I’m grateful for the musical background and skills I acquired, regardless of how small they are.
In addition to musical appreciation and skills honed through daily practice, family home evenings, concerts, recitals, and participation, we enjoyed other entertainment, too:
A note about home entertainment is in order at this point. Children's radio programs were extremely popular. The stories were very exciting, and as one listened intently, his imagination could wander limitlessly, without confinement by a visual image as is projected by television, for example. We actually looked forward to washing and drying the dishes each Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, because that was the time for the Lone Ranger. Afternoon favorites included Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, Captain Midnight, (we sent away for his secret decoder badge), Terry and the Pirates, Superman, Hop Harrigan, Tom Mix, Sky King, and others. On weekends, we heard Lets Pretend, Jack Benny, and The Phil Harris, Alice Faye Show. There wasn't a kid on the block who ever wanted to miss these radio programs, as their content was often the subject for school conversation the next day. Saturday afternoon movie matinees were also an occasional treat. Besides a patriotic movie or lively musical, we could always count on the continuing adventures of some special childhood hero like Flash Gordon or Gene Autry in serial form. All movies in those days, it seemed, were G-rated and suitable for everyone to view. I also remember when the new magic medium of television first appeared. We were one of the first families in the neighborhood to get our own TV, a super six inch screen, black and white. At first, there was no definite programming, just travelogues and nature films. But what an amazing thing it was to have a live movie in your own home! Later on, special favorites such as Texaco Hour with Milton Berle, and Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca began to appear. Television, even though it started out slowly, certainly changed our lives.70
Mom’s and Dad’s circle of friends expanded greatly while they lived in the San Francisco Bay area for the next nearly thirty years. As always, they were outgoing, met people well, and enjoyed good company. Certainly, the bulk of their associations were within the Church framework, but they were otherwise active in Dad’s business and in some civic affairs, as well.
One of the enjoyable social groups that they helped to establish on the Peninsula was the Debonairs, a dance group which met quarterly, alternating between the Stanford University Garden Court and the Peninsula Country Club. Each of the gala affairs was a formal dress dance featuring a live orchestra, and included refreshments, corsages, and elaborate decorations. They, especially Mom, eagerly looked forward to regularly participating.
Some of the friends from the San Mateo/Hillsborough and the Atherton/Palo Alto areas with whom Mom and Dad shared this pleasant outlet were Lou and Peg Cresta, Bill and Faye Stoker, Ray and Dorothy Nelson, Larry and Cora Burmester, Paul and Velda Fife, Frank and Clora Martin, Gordon and Marcella Ashby, Keith and Marilyn Garner, David and Ruby Haight, Gene and Ruth Kimball, Bill and Jeanette Osmond, Claude and Agnes Lindsey, Ray and Mildred Lindsey, Von and LaVon Croxford (later Charlie and LaVon Pollei), Chatley and Shirley McMurdie, Sid and Francis Badger, David and Elizabeth Hamilton, Ralph and Dorothy Chapin, Wes and Nell Benson. There were about a score of them. 71
They also helped found a fun dinner group, the Merry Go Round Club which met monthly for dinner or overnight outings at one another’s homes or properties. Besides Mom and Dad, there were five other participating couples: the Ray Lindseys, the Claude Lindseys, the Crestas, the Badgers, and the Osmonds.
Another very agreeable, regular outlet for Mom was the Merry Magpie group, of which she was also a co-founder. This was a group of twelve women from the Church, who met together monthly, alternating the location at each others homes in a rotational manner. They evidently met on a Wednesday for two or three hours, from noon until about 3: 00 PM, and enjoyed luncheon/dessert followed by sewing, quilting and talking.
This association, antedating the regular current day, extracurricular activities of Relief Society as it did, was a wonderful outlet for these stalwart pioneering sisters of the Church on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. Included in this group were some of Mom’s closest friends: Peg Cresta, Jeanette Osmond, Clora Martin, Velda Fife, ArLene Hatch Jones, LaVon Croxford, Ruth Kimball, Shirley McMurdie, Cora Burmester, Dorothy Nelson, and Dorothy Chapin. 72
There were other activities for both families and couples—movies, plays, picnics, dinners, occasional day or weekend get-away outings—on a more frequent basis with some of these friends, too. Before I left for college, and later a mission, I fondly remember picnics and dinners with the Osmond’s and family stay over times at the Cresta Brothers Ranch, in Santa Rosa. Moreover, I remember family days in San Francisco (movies, plays, shopping, and not infrequent dinners at the Tonga Room of the Fairmont Hotel) and outings at the San Mateo Memorial Park. I also have indelible memories of our yearly summer trips to Utah and various national parks (Yellowstone, Teton, Glacier, and Yosemite), plus a family motorcar tour of the Pacific Northwest, along the Columbia River Highway, nearly to the Canadian border, designed to acquaint us with new places.
Regarding this latter trip, I know that Mom and Dad were quite disappointed with us children. Obviously, they had gone to a lot of work, expense and planning in trying to introduce us to new vistas. Thus, for example, as we would approach a new site and it would be pointed out, our noses were usually deep in a book or game and we failed to grasp the significance of what was being shown to us. Not unexpectedly, that was the only extended motorcar trip that I can ever recall the family taking. Our modus operandi thus became: reach a destination and then get out and be actively, physically engaged.
Concerning the Church on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula, at the time of our arrival in 1944, the stake extended all the way from San Francisco to San Jose. And as far as a local meeting place in San Mateo was concerned, there were several. I can recall some early Mutual activities being held at the Burlingame Women’s Club. However, most of the Sunday meetings took place at the Masonic Temple, situated above a new car showroom, in Burlingame—until about 1947, when the local congregation determined to erect a new building on property purchased at Alameda de Las Pulgas and about 36th Avenue, just down the hill from our house in San Mateo.
With the ending of the war and an oversupply of unneeded supplies and infrastructure in the military, governmental agencies gave the Church permission to obtain all of the materials—wood, nails, pipes, wires, etcetera—free of charge, from the base chapel at Camp Shoemaker, in Hayward, just north of us, on the other side of the bay across the San Mateo Bridge, if we would simply dismantle the building. What a wonderful financial leg up for the San Mateo Ward this was, since member “sweat labor” was accepted in lieu of cash donations by the Church at the time! Thus, tens of thousands of dollars worth of expensive, difficult to come by materials were ours simply for the taking—after the dismantling, of course.
So, over the next many months, weekly crews of determined members regularly made their way across the bay to dismantle the chapel, load the salvaged material onto trailers and pickup trucks, and transport the sundry items back to the ward building site in San Mateo. Additional activities on both sides of the bay included removing nails from boards and planks, straightening nails, and loading and unloading the transport vehicles. This was work that children, teens and adults could each participate in, and we all did. Moreover, it was a project that created a real esprit de corps among the members. In fact, a number of the less active folks were activated through their involvement.
After the building was finally erected, again with the additional “sweat labor” help of ward members, and the final cash was being raised in order to reach a debt free status thus allowing dedication to take place, some interesting happenings occurred. This transpired after I had already left for college at the BYU, in 1949. ArLene Hatch (Jones), whom Dad married after Mom’s death, tells of selling Christmas cards with another ward member and raising five hundred dollars. Additionally, she and her Young Women’s Presidency were in charge of a huge turkey dinner at the ward, during which time a sum totaling over fifteen hundred dollars was raised. Merv Griffin and a small group provided the entertainment, through the good graces of Bishop Bill Stoker, Merv’s vocal coach. Mom was one of three cooks for the dinner that prepared the turkey and dressing in advance, at home. 73
And, speaking of Mom’s cooking prowess let it be here recorded that she was a wonderful cook. She evidently enjoyed the culinary arts, too, and prepared choice fare. Some of the special dishes that I remember were roast beef, pork chops, meat loaf, creamed-cheese-stuffed prunes with walnuts salad, crisp apple pie, pumpkin chiffon pie, “eggless/milkless” cake, dinner rolls, raisin rolls, and oatmeal cookies. She liked to make homemade ice cream, and her delicious iced grapefruit/pineapple slush entrée was a real winner, too. In addition, she also did well with sewing and dress making, as I recall.
As has already been implied, these San Mateo years, up until the time that they became “empty nesters” after all of us children had married and left home, were pivotal years for Mom and Dad. Consequently, in order to try and better understand the dynamics of the period, I am going to approach some of the ensuing events in subject order, rather than strictly chronologically.
Accordingly, we’ll now look at the following categories: Dad’s business and Church obligations, Mom’s health issues, Mom’s Church participation, Mom’s feelings of unfulfilled potential, challenges in raising the children, and interpersonal disagreements.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
After Dad’s transfer to San Francisco as assistant manager of the branch office of Occidental Life Insurance Company, in March 1944, within a year or so he was made manager. This was followed by rapid expansion of the business, which generated generous overrides and commissions for him. Indeed, before not too many years, he was actually making more money each year than the president of the company.
According to Diane, when the president recognized this fact, he gave instructions that Dad’s salary and commission payments were to be halved, and that, in addition, he be required to work a half day each Saturday. Obviously, all of this was not to Dad’s liking, and he tendered his resignation. This occurred at the beginning of 1954. 74
I left on my fulltime Church mission to West Germany in March the same year (Dad, of course had served a mission in East Germany a quarter century earlier) and I now have in my files the letters and correspondence from home during the 2 ½ year period that I was away. They make interesting reading and illuminate much about what will now be addressed—a decisive time for each of us in our growth and development.
In a letter to me, dated 28 March 1954, Dad and Mom each wrote:
Dad: It was hard to leave Salt Lake and know that we wouldn’t see you for 2 ½ years. However, we are happy and grateful that you have this wonderful opportunity and experience. It is something I have hoped and prayed for since before you were born…. I know that you will make a fine missionary. Just remember to love those people and in humility try to give them the comfort and blessings which come from a knowledge and testimony of the gospel. They have suffered much, and many of them will be bitter because of their lot in life. They deserve patience and kindness and the help of the Lord. Drew has been having quite a time since you left. He has scarcely worn anything of his own and feels that he has now fallen heir to your place in the family with car privileges thrown in. I guess he’s getting to that age. You must write him when you can and encourage him to make best use of his opportunities. The time passes so fast. Young people don’t realize how fast it is gone—never to be repeated.
Mom: Just a line to wish you Happy Birthday, Bon Voyage, and God Speed…. It was a good thing I came home. The brakes had completely given out on the Lincoln, and Drew had been driving it. Daddy had to have fluid put in yesterday. Drew didn’t seem to know the difference…I’m surely happy and proud that you could go on this mission, Bart…. If it hadn’t been for missionaries, you might not be here. For it was through missionary work that Grandma Howells learned of the gospel, and she met Grandpa while he was on a mission in Great Britain. It was also through the missionaries that Daddy’s grandfather and his folks came to Utah. So you see, missionary work has played a big part in your heritage. I surely hope and pray that you’ll be blessed in helping some of the people over there to understand it. 75
Thus, the fact that their oldest son was now going to serve a Church mission was very important to them. Nevertheless, with Dad’s previous healthy income now severed, they, too, were treading new paths. There were definite unknowns and hardships ahead.
Consequently, while reporting on Dad’s recent trips to Fresno and then to Los Angeles, in order to evaluate possible general insurance agency opportunities, Mom expressed one of her major concerns in a letter, dated 24 April 1954: I don’t know what he’ll end up with, but I hope we don’t have to move. 76
Then, again, following a subsequent business trip to New York two weeks later, she quipped: He is really enjoying this ‘no job’ situation! 77 But, as time and expenses rolled on, she well knew that it would be no laughing matter. Eventually, in order to meet ongoing expenses, they would even need to seek short-term monetary loans from Paul and Margie Adams, Dad’s sister and brother in law, who lived across the bay—loved ones, whom they had also gladly helped in various ways throughout the years. 78
Finally, on 29 June 1954, Dad wrote:
Time sure passes by. I’ve been going to write every week, but I have been traveling most of the time and very busy visiting with people in the Life Insurance business in order to find the right sort of job on which to spend the next 15 or 20 years. Last Friday I signed a contract with the Beneficial Standard of Los Angeles for a general agency here in San Francisco. They are a small company, but very progressive and I will have my own business. In the beginning it will be hard work and low income, but as the years go by it should grow into something much better than I had before. At present I am in the process of getting a lease on some office space in the city, remodeling to suit our purposes, and some men lined up to start a sales force. It should be a lot of fun. 79
One month later, sending me a letter on his new office stationery, he mused:
It is quite an adventure to start out on your own. This will be my own agency with all the decisions and responsibilities up to me. With the Lord’s help and a lot of hard work, I expect great success. 80
Without a doubt, it was hard, slow work. Between business and Church work, he was gone twelve hours each day. However he remained optimistic and upbeat. In a letter to me, dated 2 March 1955, he observed:
The business is making progress slowly. It will take a few years to get it to where it is bringing in much money, but after that it ought to roll fast….We think and talk of you always and pray for your success and happiness in your work. 81
Nonetheless, the whole situation was difficult and demanded patience on all sides. One and a half years after the new agency had been launched, Mom wrote:
You know Bart, Daddy’s income was cut in half and he has to pay all the office expenses including telephone (which runs around $200.00 a month alone), so we don’t have the money now for all these extra things. It’s taking a lot to keep Drew in school, too. Getting started in a new business is no joke, and this past year or so has been a struggle. Otherwise, I wouldn’t say a thing about it. 82
Then, two years after the new agency had been started in San Francisco, Mom wrote to inform me of the following (15 June 1956):
Dad has moved his office down to San Mateo. His office is on El Camino, just north of 25th Avenue. I think it will work out better in the long run (expenses much less, and saved time driving, etc.). It’s been hard these last two years trying to work up a business… 83
Even the twins became involved in the new arrangement, although, as might be expected from teenagers during the summer school break, it was not with overwhelming enthusiasm. They each wrote, two months later:
Sue: Di and I are working in Dad’s office now as his one and only secretaries, and is it ever horrible. We get paid a measly 35 cents an hour and we have to sit in an office all day long. The child labor laws are $1.00/ hour! It’s good experience though—so Dad says anyway. He won’t let us quit either. Things are rough all over, huh? Drew was made assistant scoutmaster. Both Sue and Drew had broken up with their steadies. The twins accompanied Mom and Dad to Russian River with the Merry Go Round club for an overnight outing—great fun. They liked high school better than grade school.
Di: She wrote about the recent trip to Salt Lake City. Sue and I are working in Dad’s office again. Crumb! It sure isn’t a very exciting summer. She talked about trying to convert her friend Tom, etc. 84
Indeed, besides the routine record filing and mailings during their perceived onerous office responsibilities, Diane also recalls making “cold calls” on the telephone for Dad, lining up potential sales clients. She remembers the time that she identified a well-heeled, well-placed customer in this manner. The man became a wonderful contact and generated a sizeable commission for Dad—and he accordingly rewarded Diane with a generous bonus for her efforts. 85
Notwithstanding, with faith, enthusiastic optimism, ingenuity, and persistent hard work the business continued to grow—in fact to thrive greatly. Hence, by 1968, Dad was able to record the following in his brief life summary:
In 1958, I added mutual funds to our insurance business, and as our business grew, I became regional manager for Financial Industrial Fund of Denver, Colorado, and continued my insurance business as part of our estate planning service. In 1966, I changed our name to Estate Programs Associates, with our own dealership and an expanded insurance service. In recent months , we have effected a merger with Equity Funding Corporation of America in which I am selling my business for stock in the corporation, and I will continue to run the business as division manager of the San Francisco office. 86
Subsequently, when I started my medical practice in 1969, Dad co-signed on a sizeable physician-start-up loan for me, obtained through a financial institution in Salt Lake City, which, gratefully, I was able to pay off in short order. What is more, at that time he also revealingly shared the results of a number of large and profitable mutual fund stock investments which he had been making, and the very positive results that were being realized. To be sure, it had been a long haul for Mom and Dad, financially and occupationally, but it was all finally paying off handsomely.
Nevertheless, unfortunately, the stresses and strains of this economic growing period in their lives, coupled with other, yet to be detailed factors, as I think we will presently see, levied a heavy toll on Mom.
Concerning his ecclesiastical assignments while living in San Mateo, early on following their arrival on the peninsula, Dad was called as second counselor to President Claude B. Petersen in the Palo Alto Stake Presidency. Following this, he became first counselor to President Henry C. Jorgensen.
On 30 April 1950, he was set apart as Palo Alto Stake President. 87 However, he only served in this capacity for two years. He was released because of a loss of member confidence, evidently occasioned by unwise extra attention which he showered on a female member whom he was counseling during her divorce proceedings. The relationship was purely platonic, but imprudent—and embarrassing and hurtful to Mom.
Moreover, she continued to harp on the issue long after it transpired; and he never adequately acknowledged his injudicious actions to her satisfaction, while continuing to serve in many other Church callings thereafter. Thus, it required many long years before full healing and reconciliation eventually took place between them.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Mom had multiple health issues throughout much of her life. Following an early menarche at age eleven, as already noted she had long standing problems with her reproductive organs, initially losing one of her ovaries to surgical extirpation, about 1920, while still in high school.
Then, came her childbearing years: I was born in 1932, Drew was born in 1936, and Suzanne and Diane were born in 1941. She had one miscarriage between Drew and me, and two more between Drew and the twins. Moreover, the twins had to be induced three weeks early, because she was suffering severe toxemia. 88 Indeed, thereafter, she experienced significant hypertension for the remainder of her life.
As one example of this, in 1956, at the height of their financial problems, she wrote to me in Germany about getting a physical examination from Dr. A. O. Skankey, Barbara’s father, while in the process of qualifying to do substitute teaching:
He nearly flipped his lid because my BP was higher than the last time. He said, ‘Nance, you’ve just got to take things easy. You need a long rest and vacation.’ I nearly laughed in his face. He said he didn’t dare put down my right pressure… or they’d never hire me, so he lowered them both 10 points. 89
On 20 March 1948, she underwent a partial thyroid excision, which showed multiple involutionary nodules and chronic thyroiditis. 90 Then, according to Diane’s recollections, about 1952, she had her remaining ovary removed secondary to another benign tumor, eventually followed by a total abdominal hysterectomy, about 1953. All during this time, she suffered from periodic hot flashes and vaginal bleeding. 91
Thus, from a current-day medical point of view, perhaps not fully appreciated at the time, during the early 1950’s, it appears that Mom was most likely experiencing prolonged and significant symptoms of menopause. Accordingly, many of her behavior patterns exhibited at the time, including mood swings, sudden tears, irritability, feeling ill at ease, bloating, flatulence, and indigestion might well have been exacerbated by this life-altering condition. 92
Moreover, other serious health issues developed later in her life, which will be discussed hereafter.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Regarding her participation in Church assignments, she was a regular attendee at all prescribed meetings and encouraged her offspring to do similarly. But, reviewing the facts in her life’s history, it appears that she did not feel very comfortable in leadership or teaching roles. Indeed, perhaps like her mother, who was born in England where such a wifely model had been quite common, she came to view herself in a more behind the scenes, subservient role—namely, one of support, backup and encouragement for Dad.
Hence, whereas Dad seemed to be usually involved in a major leadership calling during their married years, Mom sang in the choir or taught in the nursery. Nonetheless, she also soloed not infrequently at various Church functions. Concerning her singing, an interesting observation was made by a ward member in a letter to me, as follows:
Last night the choir sang at church. Your Mother sang a solo number. She did very well. I [Dick Bevan] sure enjoyed it. Your Mom has a very rich and mellow voice, very listenable. 93
However, later on, although she did not hold specific leadership roles, she did serve in two stake callings—as a stake missionary and as a stake YWMIA board member. Letter excerpts to this effect now follow: On 12 November 1954, anticipating an early division of the ward, she wrote to say that she had just been set apart as a stake missionary:
I will say that they have a very good training program now, even if they do scare you to death by asking you to bear your testimony etc., first thing. It’s going to take a lot of work and study, but I’m sure I’ll be the one to benefit. If I do nothing more than regain my own faith and trust and get over the hurt that I’ve had, it will all be worth while. No one will ever know what I’ve been through the last three years. I’ve certainly learned there are some things worse than death. 94,95
On 19 January 1955, she wrote again about the missionary work:
[I] have no definite partner—just trying to fit in where I can. If I don’t do anything else, I’ll learn something myself anyway. 96
A week later she reported that their efforts were going slowly because of cancellations due to the flu, but her spirits were still high:
If I don’t convert anybody, I’ll know a little more myself, as I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Hope I can remember just half of it all. But the more you read and study, the more you realize what a wonderful thing our gospel is. I don’t know why everyone can’t see and believe it. 97
But, be that as it may, six months after being called as a stake missionary, she wrote to say that they hadn’t been doing much missionary work, there had been many visitors at the home, she was losing her companion—and she was not feeling well:
Well, Bart, I know you’re not going to like it, but I’ve asked to be released as a missionary. I just couldn’t find the time to study, go on the calls, and do everything I have to do around here. She went on to say that she was going to work on the stake YWMIA board with Peg Cresta. Indeed, she became the Stake Beehive Advisor, which calling she held for some time thereafter. Young girls need help too, and there’s more than one way to do missionary work. 98
Additionally, to her credit, in the non-ecclesiastical arena, it should be noted that Mom served as class mother for the girl’s school classes on several occasions. Moreover, she also worked at Macy’s Department Store and did substitute teaching in the public schools, while Dad was developing his new mutual fund/insurance business and finances were tight.
In December 1955, she wrote about her Macy’s experience in a humorous way:
I’m ashamed for not having written before, but I swear I don’t know where the time goes….As if I didn’t have enough to do, I started working part time at Macy’s Saturday…[at] $1.10/hour. She had planned to pay the girls each $2.50/week to clean the house and get the dinners, but in calculating her earnings, she had determined that it wasn’t worth it. I don’t know why I don’t catch more colds from the big hole in my head, but I guess that’s the way we learn. 99
And finally, concerning the substitute teaching, in September 1956, a month before I returned home, she shared some smoldering fears and concerns:
I’ve been going to school to observe this week…. I finally got my credentials to do it this year. She would need to take extra schooling. Boy, I don’t know if I’ve got the nerve to do it or not. You can forget an awful lot in 28 years. But I’ve decided I’m going to have a life of my own. No one else seems inclined to include me in theirs. 100Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
There certainly seemed to be definite feelings of unfulfilled potential in Mom’s life. Although she functioned delightfully well in small gatherings, as already suggested she was painfully shy in larger forums, i.e., participating in front of a university class, talking, or bearing her testimony. As case in point, she reminisced in a letter, in 1956:
She spoke about attending stake conference with S. Dillworth Young (who had been in school with her siblings, Ed and Evelyn). Mom was in the choir. Several elders’ presidents were called on extemporaneously to bear their testimonies. I sure know what a frightened male looks like. Some of them were three shades paler. But they all did very well and I was proud of them. I know how they felt to a degree, when they called on me at our last ward conference as a mother of a full-time missionary. I was almost sorry you were on a mission. But I guess no one ever really died from such a fright and I realize that we grow through such experiences…. 101
I’ve already mentioned how she shunned swimming following the unfortunate incident in the swimming pool at the University of Utah as a college student. In fact, it wasn’t until a quarter century later, after the pool was built in the back yard of the San Mateo home, that she again began to get back in the water—and this was mainly only while holding onto the side and kicking her feet. Along this line, she wrote in July 1956 that she was taking a Red Cross swimming class at the high school with some other women from the ward and then practicing regularly with them in the pool at home:
I’m not afraid to take my feet off the bottom, now, so maybe in a few years I’ll learn. If I could only coordinate both ends at once and remember to breathe! Ah me, the older you get, the harder it gets. 102
As a matter of fact, besides swimming in the pool, nearly every morning she also liked to do stretching exercising in the front room. But, besides target shooting, both rifle and bow and arrow, she otherwise wasn’t much for participatory sports, as I recall.
Likewise, when I turned sixteen and was eligible to earn a motor vehicle drivers license, Mom qualified for hers, as well. She had hesitated to apply prior to this time. Now, having the license plus increased mobility was a real boost to her self confidence.
Consequently, associated with Mom’s feelings of unfulfilled potential in several areas, there came the desire to help her children avoid similar situations. Thus, having learned that I was playing the piano in various meetings on my mission, she wrote:
I’m sure glad that you’re getting to use your music a little. I guess I wasn’t such a horrible tyrant when I made you practice, was I? I’ve cancelled the twins’ lessons this year. The time was reserved for them, but they put up such a fuss that I just can’t put up with it any more. So they’ll just have to thank themselves if they can’t do anything when they grow up. I know they’ll regret it. I have. 103
[I’m] sure glad that you’re doing as much with your piano as you are, Bart. I told you it would come in handy some day. The twins are going to regret the fact that they’ve given it up, too. 104
However, with motherly determination to spare her children the avoidable pitfalls that she had experienced in her own life, there came an eagerness to warn and convince us, which at times, unfortunately, was perceived as irritating—even as overbearing. But, this was her way of approaching things. I suspect, too, after conversation with several of my Howells cousins, that perhaps this was the way she had been brought up. Her four brothers regularly engaged in noisy and heated arguments on a variety of topics. 105
As a result, I suppose that one could say, as a general rule, Mom didn’t always communicate using delicate discretion, either. To be sure, she enjoyed great gifts of repartee and humor, but her conversations could sometimes be laced with sharpness.
The following excerpt from one of her letters might serve as another case in point (in retrospect, I’m sure that this particular question was not intended to be harsh or offensive, but was just written down quickly, perhaps without much forethought):
Why don’t you ever tell a few things that we’re interested in? I don’t mean we’re not interested in what you do write. But I’d sure like to know something of your living conditions. I guess I couldn’t do much to alter them, but I’d still like to know how you manage…. 106
On the other hand, she could be tender, positive and up building. Two examples from her letters received on my mission now follow:
I sure hope you had a happy birthday, Bart. I’m certainly thankful for a son as fine as you are, Bart, and want you to know how very proud we are of you and hope you’ll continue to bring us as much joy and happiness in the future as you have in the past. 107
And, after speaking with a member in the ward whose son had been in Germany all summer and had attended one of the mission conferences, she wrote:
He said how much he enjoyed the conference, but he also said how highly they praised you at the conference for the good work you had done. He said he was surely proud he knew the family. You’ve always been one of Paul and Dorothy’s favorite people. Janie [Jayne W. Robbins] and her mother also told me, when we were in Salt Lake City, that President Dyer had told them you were the best missionary they had. I’m not saying this to flatter you, Bart, but just to let you know how thankful we are and proud of you that you have done your best. 108
Thus, how grateful I am for Mom’s motherly care and concern, honed through her own experiences and tendered to us, her offspring, in love and hopeful anticipation.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Raising children is never an easy task, especially when they reach the teenage years. Heartache, worry, and even misery are not infrequent consequences. The Lord seems to have inferred as much when discussing the opportunity for Adam and Eve to have children—but only after the Fall had occurred:
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. 2 Nephi 2: 23
Certainly Mom and Dad were not immune to such outcomes. To be sure, over the years, each of us gave them cause for concern and worries—and even a little misery.
In my own case, two of my youthful shortcomings were talking back and sassing Mom, plus being less than punctual in writing letters home and in writing expressions of appreciation to others. Happily, I can report to have improved measurably in both areas. But I greatly regret my smart-mouthing tendency at an earlier age. Still, such is the price of personal progress, I suppose.
Regarding my tardiness in letter writing, however, Mom was quick and persistent in pointing out my derelictions. When I first arrived in the mission field, her reminders to write were regular. Dad even took up the call:
You must be careful to write more often. You should write every Saturday at least a few lines. Mother worries when there is no letter. 109
Thus, when I was tardy in expressing thanks for Christmas remembrances from various friends and relatives, she wrote to say:
I was quite embarrassed….They just think I haven’t trained you very well. 110
And, again, she remonstrated, still concerned that I had been slow to write certain thank you notes, especially to my grandmothers:
I won’t mention this again, Bart, but it’s very humiliating when they ask me if I’ve heard if you received their letters and money. 111
But, interestingly, over time, as I began to alter my careless correspondence ways—and as she became more involved in time-consuming projects—the tone of her letters changed a bit.
I’m not sure who owes who a letter, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and scribble a few lines. 112
I guess I haven’t heard from you for the same reason you haven’t heard from me—too much to do. [It] seems like a lot of things sure happen at once: next Tuesday night is our stake Bee Hive Swarm Night, and when that’s over, I’ll feel like I can breathe easily for a while. 113
Then, towards the end of my mission, after I had expressed concern in one of my letters that pursuing medicine might consume more time than I felt I should devote to an occupation, Mom was straight forward in expressing her opinions for my best good:
About following medicine, Bart, I don’t want to influence you, because it will be your life to live. She then went on to list examples of people she knew who had done both: Dr. Robinson, their former bishop in Arlington Ward; Uncle Burtis, etc. I don’t like to see you give up something that you’ve worked toward all your life, unless you’re very sure you don’t want it. I know that church and your mission [are] your whole life right now, Bart, and that’s as it should be. But after, you’ll have to work it in with earning a living and supporting a family. It can be done very well, too. 114
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about you and your medical career, Bart, and I sure hate to see you throw everything over now. I’m sure you can find time to work in the church too if that’s what you want…. Of course though, you’ll have to make up your own mind, but right now I think you’re a little inclined to be one-sided. 115
I hope you’ve made up your mind to go on, Bart. Being a doctor won’t keep you from working in the church if you want to. She then told about a young MD in the ward doing a residency at the Community Hospital, who was very active. 116
To be sure, Mom was persistent and thoughtful in the recommendations she wanted me to consider. And, obviously, her good counsel helped me make up my mind.
Drew’s attitude and actions undoubtedly caused Mom and Dad significant concern just after I left for Germany on my mission. Because, coupled with tensions associated with Dad’s building the new business, Drew was getting ready to start his last year in high school—and was seemingly content with a mere dishwashing job. He appeared to lack any direction and ambition. Mom wrote the following, on 10 June 1954:
I told him he had to make his licks count next year in order to get into college, and he said, ‘Who wants to go to college?’ I don’t know what he has on his mind, and I just remembered he hasn’t registered yet and was 18 years old last April. Maybe you could write to him and keep him straight on a few things. He’s like your Dad—never confides. I just have to guess at what goes on in their minds, and I don’t like it. 117
Three months later, Dad wrote to express similar thoughts. He noted that Drew seemed to be just wasting time, driving around in the MG and not studying. Moreover:
It’s too bad young people can’t seem to realize that the time is soon gone and then for a whole lifetime they have to get along with inferior training, when with just a little effort they could have equipped themselves so as to make life much easier. I guess all you can do is point the way and open the doors. The rest is up to them. 118
As the new school year progressed, however, Drew began to solidify his thoughts and decided to attend the Utah State Agricultural College (USAC) with a friend in the ward, if he could qualify. He had also considered joining the Marine Corps, as well. But, unfortunately, during the ensuing summer break, in company with his girl friend, he was in an automobile accident with the MG, and subsequently left for the Lake Tahoe area with the hope of a “sure job” and the chance to earn needed money. Regarding Drew’s status at the time, Dad wrote:
[As to a mission], I am anxious that Drew have the experience as soon as possible. He is growing into a fine young man, and I’m sure he would make a fine missionary. It would be good if he could have two years of college and then go. At present he is up in Tahoe…. Unfortunately, the job fell through. Instead, he was working on the railroad in Nevada. He sold the MG to pay his debts. He planned to study forestry at college. 119
As to Drew’s attitude at the time, Mom included parts of a letter that he had sent them from his work station. She was encouraged:
Don’t worry about me. I’m having the time of my life, and [it] makes you feel you can do something for yourself. 120
With the onset of the new school year in 1955, Drew was able to enter USAC, on probation. And, as the year began and unfolded, Mom kept me posted on his progress:
I surely hope Drew enjoys school, and finds the things he’s been interested in. He needs to find something. He and Ellen sort of broke up. I can’t say I blame her; he never even sent her a post card while he was gone. But then they were too serious….They need to go out with others…I’d like to see them both have some fun before they get serious. Things can sure change after you’re married. 121
But alas, Drew struggled in classes, due to inadequate preparation in high school. I’ll bet that when he gets through with college chemistry and algebra etc., he’ll wish he’d ‘cluttered his brain’ as he called it with them in high school like I wanted him to. I guess its human nature, but it sure seems sad and a waste of time to me that kids won’t take advice. All parents want to do is save their children heartache and hardship, but kids still think parents are ‘moss backs’ and trying to live their lives for them. 122
Be that as it may, however, during his first quarter at the USAC, he studied hard and tried the best he knew how. Mom wrote: I thought you’d like to read Drew’s letter so I sent it along. He’s sure a loveable little character. She then forwarded me the initial letter he had written home to them 123:
Drew described his trip up to Logan, his apartment, and his classes—including military science. It’s surprising how your study habits change when you’re studying subjects that are towards your life’s career. I’ve all of a sudden got a mania to be educated. He talked about studying algebra, and reading English, plus being able to go out and tag elk. Studying hard, he also spoke about being thrown out of the chemistry lab, because they wanted to close up for the evening!
Nonetheless, despite his conscientious efforts to succeed scholastically, Drew was overwhelmed by the college experience. He did very well in his R.O.T.C. course, even being selected as the master sergeant for the group. But other subjects were proving to be too much of a challenge. Thus, when he came home for Christmas break, Mom wrote:
I sure don’t understand Drew at times. He and Ellen broke up before he went away…, and I think he sort of missed her. He never has much to say however, and you just have to guess at what’s eating him…. 124
At last, he decided to drop out of school and to pursue other options. In April 1956, Mom wrote the following:
I haven’t heard from Drew in over two weeks. [According to Rod Pulley], Drew said he was going to join the army this summer. I think he failed in some of his subjects, and has had a hard time getting back in school this quarter. 125
A month later, she forwarded me Drew’s letter to them about what had happened. In it, he stated that his advisors at the USAC had advised him to drop out of college, join the army MPs, and go into law enforcement—what his aptitude supported, evidently. He now had a girl friend from Roosevelt, was going to Institute (to get a little closer to the church), and would be home soon.126
I suspect that Drew never fully recovered from his setback at USAC. He had tried his best, but had not succeeded. Although, a very gifted individual in many respects, school had never been easy for him; indeed, it might well be that he suffered from a form of incompletely diagnosed, learning disability. Moreover, there were high expectations promoted in the family, and this must have been an added burden for him to bear, as well.
At any rate, in June 1956, Mom wrote to say that Drew was home from school and working for a nursery. He was not ambitious, which bothered her, as she felt that he had more capabilities. He was thinking of possible marriage to the girl from Roosevelt, Utah, whom he had met at the USAC. 127
A month later, she observed that Drew was still working at the wholesale nursery, including all day Sunday, missing his meetings, which he needs. He remained interested in the Army and in law enforcement. 128
Drew eventually did join the Army Military Police Force. In fact, the two of us concurrently took our basic military training together at Fort Ord, California, in January 1957. Thereafter, he subsequently served a three year tour of duty in South Korea.
At this point, now that he has passed on (he died 31 October 2000, in Salt Lake City, Utah)129, I’d like to record an additional impression or two about my brother, Andrew.
In his youth, basically a sweet, sensitive, loving boy with an engaging sense of humor and innate sense of musical rhythm (he taught himself to play the guitar, he loved western music, and Mom always held that he should have been born a century earlier), it appears to me that particular circumstances led to major changes in his approach to life.
That is to say, as Drew got older and began experiencing difficulties in school and in unmet familial and social expectations, it seems to me that he began to compensate by taking on an outwardly tough, macho-guy, “I don’t care attitude” persona. He regularly lifted weights, read body building magazines, and became interested in the martial arts. And he actively embraced the supposed signs of toughness, cigarettes and alcohol. Thus, he sought to create an aura of being in control, when in reality he was just trying to find where he could best fit in and realize success and satisfaction, both personal and social.
Nonetheless, deep down, when the veneer dissolved during deep dialogue, he was still the same sweet, sensitive person, who loved the Lord and wanted to do the right thing. He also dearly loved animals, the great out of doors, and God’s creations. He simply, as yet, had not realized the full measure of success and joy he longed to have.
Suzanne and Diane, on the other hand, had no real problems with schoolwork, were always socially engaged, and were consistently chosen as leaders amongst their peers. They were also very hard-working and ambitious. Indeed, in September 1954, Dad noted in a letter:
Sue and Di are doing well as usual... They are very industrious…. 130
Then, two weeks later, Mom happily reported how they had both won posts in their school elections and were preparing to have a victory dinner with their friends at the home. 131
Later, in January 1955, she reported on how the twins were handling their school responsibilities, and enjoying school—as well as giving talks in church. Said she:
Our church certainly offers some valuable training for the young folks. 132
By the summer of 1955, at age fourteen, however, the girls were starting to really mature, they had both had teeth braces placed and removed—plus they were finding boys to be very attractive, as well.
In August, after reporting on Drew’s decision to study at USAC, Dad noted that the twins were growing into very lovely and capable young ladies: they made their own clothes, mowed the lawn at home, and helped paint and decorate their bedroom. 133
However, one month later, Mom noticed another side, too. At home, on the frontline with her maturing, adolescent daughters, she observed:
All they think about is clothes and boys…. I’ll be glad when they get out of this phase. Sometimes I think I’m going daffy. 134
The twins are sure getting difficult lately. I don’t think they have a thing on their minds but boys and clothes. I guess they aren’t so different—every mother I’ve talked to is moaning about the same thing. I hope I can keep my sanity for the next three years, and then maybe I’ll be alright—or just won’t care. 135
In subsequent letters, she reported on how the girls remained boy crazy, were irritated when she said anything about it, had hosted a slumber party, and were going to assist Dad and her in painting the house later on that November. 136
Then, as the New Year began, in January 1956, Mom reported on the twins’ first dates, a double date with two Catholic boys. Moreover, she lamented how many of the teenagers in the ward were dating non-members:
The twins are double-dating tonight. They had their first date with these kids New Year’s Eve, and they’ve practically rushed them off their feet…. Your little sisters are getting to be quite grown up young ladies, Bart… They are both at least one inch taller than I am. 137
With the thought in mind to help the girls learn a bit more about temple marriage, the family drove down to Los Angeles in February, to tour through the temple before its dedication (Mom and Dad subsequently attended one of the dedicatory services, on Sunday, 11 March 1956). They were all impressed with the visit. Mom reported:
She, Dad, and the girls went through the LA Temple (before its dedication); over 500,000 people had already toured. It was a beautiful building; one whole day had been devoted for Jews to tour; she was surprised at the number of Negro people present. She was happy that the twins could go, since so many kids had been marrying Catholics recently…It’s a magnificent building on the outside, and they have used wonderful taste on decorating the interior.... The kids in the ward were dating non-members. Growing up seems to be a very painful process. I sure hope and pray we all get through it okay…. 138
Over the next six months, I received a number of letters from Mom as well as the twins reporting on their activities: during the school year, both of the girls had gone steady, they had both made the cheerleading squad, and they loved high school; during the summer, there had been lots of parties and outings, plus, as already mentioned,they had worked for Dad in his office.
Then, a month prior to my release, after I had innocently suggested that there were some nice toys that I could buy for them in Germany, the true level of the feminine maturation of my sisters was made known to me. Concerning my ill-advised suggestion, Mom clearly explained, in no uncertain terms:
The twins sure hit the ceiling when you mentioned that there were some nice toys to buy…. Di said the only toy she wanted was a boy on a string! 139
To be sure, I no longer had two little sisters...Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Regrettably, there also came a time during these early San Mateo years, especially during the 1950’s, when Mom and Dad experienced a prolonged period of quarreling and contention. Interestingly, it will be recalled that they had discussed the possibility of this very issue in their letters to one another before they married.
In any case, I am sure that the reasons causing this problem were manifold. Moreover, I don’t claim to understand them all, since I was away at school or on my mission during the time that much of the discord transpired. Nevertheless, I am very confident that the causative factors, as is usually the case, were bilateral in their origin.
Accordingly, and without seeking to be judgmental or conclusive, but based on the various categories that we have just examined in this regard, let me list a few of the factors, which I believe were root causes that certainly must have played into the meld:
Dad was probably overly busy and concerned with his business and Church affairs. There were certainly economic worries and concerns. Used to being in the forefront, Dad had difficulty when he was not in the right; so, he did not apologize nor adequately demonstrate remorse to Mom’s satisfaction when in the wrong. Mom did not feel fully appreciated in her role of being a behind the scenes supporter. She suffered feelings of unfulfilled potential; and there was probably some poor behavior modeling in her home while she was growing-up. Mom had contributing health issues, including possible thyroid hormone imbalance and severe menopausal symptoms. There were definite parental concerns and stresses associated with raising us children.
Fortunately, however, as has already been suggested, following a period of many years after they had become “empty nesters” when each of us children had married and left home, healing and reconciliation finally did take place. In fact, while recalling these times, Dad told Diane: We made our peace with each other. 140Nonetheless, during the prolonged process of reaching this full-fledged “empty nesters” status, despite enduring the aforementioned difficulties along the way, it should always be remembered that they continued to provide generous, far-sighted support and counsel for each of us, their children, in order that we might be happy and self sufficient. For, after all is said and done, they never forgot that they were still our parents. Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
And yet, it took a full decade before we were all married and out on our own; and, of course, much transpired during this period of time. But, before detailing these particular events, I’ll first chronologically document our four marriages:
21 June 1957: Wendell Bartholomew Christenson, Jr. married Barbara Jean Skankey, in the Los Angeles Temple, Los Angeles, California. 141
17 July 1965: Suzanne Christenson married Richard John Tannyhill, Jr., in the Los Angeles Temple, Los Angeles, California. 142
26 August 1966: Andrew Howells Christenson married Carol Louise Geyer, in Salt Lake City, Utah. 143 (Marriage sealed posthumously in the Provo Temple, Provo, Utah, on 21 March 2002.) 144
5 August 1967: Diane Christenson married John Clement Budd, in San Mateo, California, 145 divorced 1993. (She subsequently married Joseph Lyle Keller, 11 November 2004, in the Los Angeles Temple, Los Angeles, California.) 146
Next, I’ll chronologically list the birth dates and birth places of Mom’s and Dad’s seventeen ensuing grandchildren, plus any attendant documentation that I currently have:
23 October 1960: Jody Christenson, Provo, Utah. 147
19 March 1962: Jeffrey Bart Christenson, Ogden, Utah. 148
21 December 1963: Jonathan Robert Christenson, Burlingame, California. 149
1 April 1966: Jennifer Ann Christenson, Los Angeles, California. 150
23 April 1966: Richard John Tannyhill II, Fullerton, California.
28 March 1967: Lisa Ann Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah.
25 October 1968: Jill Marie Christenson, Los Angeles, California. 151
1 September 1969: Michelle Lee Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah.
7 January 1970: Linda Suzanne Budd, Redwood City, California.
21 March 1971: Kristen Lee Tannyhill, Fullerton, California.
25 May 1971: Allison Lynn Budd, Walnut Creek, California.
1 September 1971: Michael Andrew Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah.
27 September 1972: Lauren Michelle Budd, Walnut Creek, California.
22 October 1976: John Christenson Budd, Winston Salem, North Carolina.
18 May 1977: Joanne Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah. 152
2 February 1978: John Aaron Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah.
11 May 1980: Daniel Bartholomew Budd, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Moreover, loving her offspring as much as she did, how interesting it is to contemplate that of these seventeen grandchildren only a handful of them were old enough to ever remember Mom before her passing, in 1973. That was difficult for her.
After Barbara and I were married in 1957, our first location was at Dugway Proving Grounds, in Utah, where I was stationed after being drafted into the Army Chemical Corps. Mom and Dad and the twins visited us during our first summer there. Concurrently, Drew was sent to South Korea, to serve a three year tour of duty with the Military Police Force.
We began medical school at the University of Utah in the fall of 1958, purchasing a small home in Salt Lake City, wherein we lived downstairs and rented out the upstairs. We remained in Salt Lake City through June 1963, after completing an internship at the U. of U. Affiliated Hospitals.
Meanwhile, the girls attended Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, from 1959 through 1963. We saw them occasionally during the school year. As a matter of fact, Diane lived with us for a few months during the fall of 1962, when she did student teaching in Salt Lake City at the conclusion of her formal training. Additionally, Drew boarded with us, too, in the spring of 1963, when he relocated from California to Utah.
In addition, we enjoyed occasional visits in Salt Lake City from Mom and Dad during this five year period, usually at General Conference time, but also at Grandma Howells funeral, in December 1959 153, and at the time of my graduation from medical school, in 1962. However, we reciprocated by visiting them in San Mateo, too: first after Jody was born in October, 1960; and then for a whole summer, at the end of my junior year, in 1961. Again, we returned to San Mateo soon after Jeffrey was born. It was special to be with them as they got acquainted with their first two grandchildren.
Then, in 1963, we moved to southern California, where a residency was pursued in urological training at the UCLA Medical Center for the next five years.
While the twins were attending BYU, during their last two summer vacations they worked at Yosemite National Park, and became quite serious with two Peruvian boys. According to Suzanne, Mom and Dad visited them regularly while they worked at the park and were, of course, duly concerned about the possibility of matrimony. She reports that they were very wise, however, and gave us a lot of space. She also recalls Mom telling her later that I was spending half my time on my knees in your behalf! 154 Matters remained in an unresolved status for a couple of years as the girls began their teaching careers. Suzanne began teaching in Imperial Beach, in southern California.
Of course we had been appraised of the romances, and so in October 1964, after receiving a telephone call from Dick Tannyhill, a former college chum and roommate of mine at BYU and a fledging dentist in the area, I invited him to attend a ward elders quorum party with us—and also invited Suzanne to attend, as well. Fortunately, as they were both coming out of unsatisfactory relationships, they hit it off well and began dating regularly. They were married in the Los Angeles Temple nine months later. 155
After Sue and Dick married in July 1965, Diane decided to accept a new teaching opportunity, in Kitzigen, Germany (near Frankfurt a/M), where she was hired to teach 1st and 2nd graders of United States Army military personnel. Shortly after her arrival, she met her future husband, Jack Budd, an Army captain, who was the personal helicopter pilot for the commanding general. Although not a member of the LDS Church, Jack was a fine, religious person, and he and Diane eventually decided to marry.
They were married by the bishop of the San Mateo Second Ward, on 5 August 1967, and following their honeymoon, subsequently returned to their duties in Germany.
Then, in October, Mom and Dad went to Europe for a three week visit. This was Mom’s first visit to that part of the world, and Diane reports that the two couples had a marvelous time, as they visited parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland together. Diane laughingly recalls that on their visit to the Walker Hotel at Berchtesgaden, in southern Germany, the site of Hitler’s recreational retreat, Mom and Dad were able to occupy a suite usually reserved for generals. The luxurious bath tub was four by eight feet in size, and looked out over the beautiful lake. Mom couldn’t get over it as she took her bathes! 156 Mom and Dad also evidently visited Florence, Italy; Paris, France; and England before returning home.
In December 1967, when Jack was discharged from the service, they decided to settle in northern California, and the two couples grew even closer. We became each others best friends, recalls Diane. After we moved to San Carlos, we ate together nearly every night, shopped together, and went to plays and movies regularly.
Diane also remembers that Dad taught the Gospel to Jack nearly every night around the dinner table. Moreover, the four of them attended Church together on Sundays, where Bud Quist, Dad’s office manager in the San Mateo office, taught the Gospel Essentials class…Jack didn’t have a chance, and soon joined the Church!
Dad also took Jack under his wing in a business sense. His business was booming—the size of a small insurance company—and he would have loved to pass it on to someone in the family. I was a physician; Drew was not inclined in that direction; and so Dad did all he could to groom Jack.
At first, it appeared that Jack would be able to fit right in: he was excited and the income was generous. But, as the months drew on and responsibilities grew heavier, evidently he felt that he did not wish to continue. Thus, Dad eventually ended up fully retiring and selling his remaining stock in the business, in 1969.
Diane also remembers that during the two years that Dad and Jack worked closely in the insurance and estate planning arena, the two couples traveled together extensively, as well: New Jersey and the east coast (including Palmyra, New York, and Niagara Falls); Hawaii; Boulder, Colorado; and Spain/Portugal. They enjoyed many happy times together.
Moreover, she also recollects Mom occasionally talking about two of her other all time favorite trips, taken before Jack joined Dad in 1968, as rewards for Dad’s sales prowess: Banff, Canada; and Mackinac Island, Michigan. 157
Suzanne and Dick remember some happy times with Mom and Dad, too, while Diane was working overseas in Germany before her marriage to Jack. After Jon-Jon (Richard John II) was born in April 1966, the folks came down to southern California every two to three months for a week or two at a time. Dad came down for business purposes and to have dental work at Dick’s hands, and Mom and Sue enjoyed talking, house decorating, and sofa upholstering. Sue remembers the long talks she had with Mom, as an opportunity for Mom to unload and unburden and to come to terms with various issues.
Furthermore, when they came, they loved to eat at Lowry’s Prime Rib Restaurant—and to visit the Santa Anita Racetrack. Dick was part owner of several racehorses and introduced the folks to the world of horseracing. At first, they were reluctant to go, but they eventually got quite caught up in the excitement of the pony runs—especially Mom. One day, Dick recalls asking her: Are you having fun? With a smile on her face, her quick retort was: I haven’t had this much fun since I joined the Church!
Interestingly, Sue also remembers that Jon-Jon was born on the same day, 23 April 1966, that Grandma Christenson died 158; so, being in Salt Lake City at the time, Mom couldn’t be with her when her first child was born. They visited a week later. Additionally a couple of months after that, along with Jon-Jon, Sue also recalls making a short car trip with the folks back to Salt Lake City, where they all met Drew’s fiancée, Carol Louise Geyer, for the first time. The two were married civilly in August. 159
Drew got a real gem in Carol. Quiet and somewhat reserved, she was not a member of the Church when they married, but later converted. What is more, besides holding down a responsible fulltime job throughout their entire thirty-three years of marriage—certainly, with Drew’s incapacitating health issues later on, she ended up being the major breadwinner—she was a true, behind the scenes, spiritual backbone for the family, as well. In fact, she took out her temple endowments barely a month before her passing, from uterine cancer, in July 1999. 160 As already recorded, Drew passed away some fifteen months later, on 31 October 2000.161
Living first in Santa Monica, and then in Granada Hills, our little family saw the folks regularly, too, during their southern California visits. But, being in the midst of our urological training, we couldn’t spend as much time with them as we would have liked. Nevertheless, all of the family in southern California did get together from time to time when they came.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Perhaps remembering the ancient prophecy in Malachi about the heart of the fathers being turned to the children and vice versa 162 relative to eternal, sacred ordinances163, as Dad and Mom made their peace with each other during these “empty nesters” years, I suspect that they desired to make sure that there were secure links in all possible areas between themselves and us children, as well. Thus, they began to more earnestly reach out to us in various ways. I’ve already mentioned the regular and meaningful visits to each of our homes.
Additionally, however, as Dad’s business continued to grow and prosper, they also sought to be favorably remembered and more securely bound to us by sending unexpected gifts. For example, one Christmas, an expensive Magnavox television console was gifted to each family.
What is more, they determined to provide tools whereby their family could gather, interrelate, and be strengthened by one another. Thus, in December 1967, they purchased property in Arnold, Calaveras County, California 164—in the big tree, gold rush/mining region of the state—where they erected a beautiful cabin. This then became an assembly point for many subsequent family gatherings. Diane and Suzanne, living in California, remember regular jaunts to the cabin with Mom and Dad. However, since Drew and his family, and our family lived in Utah, we could not be with them as often. Nevertheless, I vividly recall a family trip there in the spring of 1972: it was then while relaxing at the cabin that I received the call to serve as a new bishop, when we returned to Utah. 165
Furthermore, Mom and Dad utilized family trips as another appropriate means to gather us all together. In August 1968, when I was working as chief resident during my final year of training, they rented tent cabins for a week at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park and invited all of us to attend. It was a wonderful respite. 166
In April 1969, Barbara and I, having decided to set up practice in Salt Lake City that summer, had come back to Utah for a week at General Conference time to find a house and to arrange for office space. While there, we enjoyed several pleasant days with Mom and Dad, who were also there for conference. They assisted us in evaluating various properties. We appreciated their wise input.
Then, the next year, in July 1970, Mom and Dad introduced Drew’s family and our family to the Triangle 2X2 Dude Ranch in Moose, Wyoming. They had been there the year before on an insurance company convention, and were so impressed that they wanted their children and grandchildren to experience it, too. They were right. It was terrific.
It was so good, in fact that we came again for a week with Mom and Dad and the Tannyhill’s, in August 1972. (The Budd’s were unable to participate with us, as they were involved in a new business venture at the time):
However, this trip would prove to be one of the last times that the children would be able to become well acquainted with Mom. She … had not been feeling well… [and] had already experienced significant feelings of fatigue and malaise. As we visited together one afternoon at the ranch, and as she watched her grandchildren playing out on the lawn, putting her head on my shoulder, and with tears on her cheeks, I recall her saying to me, ‘I wish the children didn't have to know me like this!’ [She died six months later.] 167Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
As recorded previously, Mom had been in poor health for some time. Thus, after I began my residency at UCLA, it seemed reasonable to have her undergo a thorough medical workup at the hands of some of the outstanding physicians who practiced there. Accordingly, this was arranged, in December 1965. She was admitted by one of my professors, Joseph J. Kaufman, M.D., who initiated a thorough hypertensive evaluation. Concomitantly, Mom was seen and evaluated by Dr. Morton Maxwell, of the internal medicine department, as well. Excerpts from Dr. Kaufman’s summary now follow:
Mrs. Christenson gave a history of having had labile hypertension for approximately 30 years and having first been noted during her second pregnancy. For the past several months she has had fatigability, occipital headaches and occasional blurred vision…. Her blood pressure has been found to be in the range of 240 systolic and 120 diastolic…. The isotope renograms with hydration and dehydration both showed evidence of impaired renal function on the right…. The intravenous urogram however showed equal appearance time and concentration…. A renal arteriogram…showed a slight stenosis of the origin of the right renal artery and slight irregularities of its two major branches; on the left side the vasculature appeared normal…. In summary then, we have proven that Mrs. Christenson has a renal artery stenosis on the right side of doubtful clinical significance. She has mild diabetes and moderate hypertension. I believe that she should be managed on combination antihypertensive therapy…and should have her diabetes regulated [locally]. 168
Although this evaluation in 1965 included extensive blood and urine screening plus thorough physical examination, it was primarily geared towards evaluating the cause of Mom’s high blood pressure. Hence, other than the mild diabetes and moderate hypertension, no other diagnostic impressions were forthcoming at that time. All the same, despite compliance with the above medical recommendations, coupled with significant improvements in their spousal relationships as noted heretofore, Mom continued to have a number of physical complaints.
In any event, with exacerbation of her high blood pressure, along with new gastrointestinal complaints, she was readmitted to UCLA Hospital in April 1970, for further evaluation. Dr. Kaufman sent a letter informing me of the findings, parts of which now follow:
This is some follow-up information on your mother who was hospitalized…to investigate an exacerbation of her hypertension apparently with poor response to medication. Except for her diabetes and tendency to obesity, we found no significant abnormalities. Her blood pressure in the hospital was within respectable limits with diastolic blood pressures between 90 and 100 and systolic levels between 150 and 160. Repeat intravenous pyelogram and arteriogram studies showed no new findings, but because of some additional complaints of meteorism—“the presence of gas in the abdomen or intestine”—and gastric distress…we performed an upper GI series and gallbladder series both of which were negative. She is being seen again by Maxwell’s group and they are placing her on a trial of propanolol and apresoline. As soon as they feel that they have her hypertension better regulated, she will be discharged. I am pleased that we found no additional problems. I think that she must continue to try to lose weight and if she takes the new medication, I think that her blood pressure will be easily managed…. It was a pleasure to see your mother again and I am happy we found no serious problem. 169
Obviously, however, as subsequent events would demonstrate, there were significant medical problems developing that could not be fully appreciated or elucidated at the time. Indeed, by the early spring of 1971, she was having so much gastric distress that a tentative diagnosis of chronic gallbladder disease was made, and she was operated.
At surgery, an inoperable adenocarcinoma of the bile ducts and gallbladder was identified. She was essentially told that she had two years to live 170, and was referred to the Stanford University Oncology Department for further evaluation and treatment.
Subsequently, in a letter dated 3 March 1971, from Mom’s oncology consultant at Stanford University to her attending physician in San Mateo, the following was recorded:
We have completed our evaluation of Mrs. Christenson… On physical examination she had no abnormalities, save those of residual scleral icterus [yellow discoloration of the eyes] and her T [drainage] tube. [The liver function blood tests were still high, but decreasing from previous elevated levels.] We have repeated her cholangiogram in an effort to define the extent of her disease. In this study the ductile system of the right, middle, and left lobes [of the liver] completely filled, revealing involvement of the entire right and middle lobe ductile systems. Based on these findings, we did not pursue liver scan or search for evidence of distant metastasis, for with this amount of involvement in the liver the radiotherapists were not willing to treat her at this time. As you know, this is most often an aggressive tumor for which there is no established form of effective chemotherapy. However, since this is basically a gastrointestinal carcinoma, I would recommend one of two drug programs to be used to provide palliation for pain or for increasing liver function derangement…given on an outpatient basis. [He then recommended either 5-fluorouricil be given alone, or in combination with several other drugs.] At this time, however, I would not begin therapy, since she feels relatively well and is able to do most of the things she wishes. I would begin therapy at the first indication that her bilirubin begins to rise [a liver enzyme, which if rising, would indicate increased ductile obstruction] or her liver enlarges. 171
On watching her own aged mother suffer and become progressively enfeebled and forgetful, Mom had once mentioned in a letter to me: I don’t think I want to live to be very old. 172 Now, her desires were being realized. And yet, viewing her incurable condition from today’s perspective, it might well be considered to have been a blessing in disguise.
For, besides the soul-healing that had already taken place in Mom and Dad via the multiple avenues referred to previously, I’m convinced that learning to deal with and adjust to Mom’s terminal illness also played a major role in completing full resolution.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
In the afternoon session of General Conference, on Sunday, 7 October 2007, while speaking about his dying mother’s desire to be of service, Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy offered some interesting observations:
In the first place, humorously and yet gratefully speaking about her desire to teach and discipline him as he was growing up, he noted: She was the travel agent for guilt trips! In our own case, we could also lovingly say the same thing about Mom.
Then, he expressed this meaningful insight:
A few years before she passed away, she was diagnosed with cancer, a disease she fought with great courage. As a family we learned, strangely enough, that cancer is a disease of love. It provides opportunities to mend fences, say good-byes, and express love. 173
The same thing could be said of Mom’s and Dad’s relationship, once the diagnosis of cancer was made. The cancer became a tool through which further tender healing took place.
Over the next two years, Dad was given the opportunity to serve and support Mom and to progressively attend to her physical needs when she no longer could. By the same token, Mom was given the opportunity to be the focal point of Dad’s full attention and to experience his love and devotion. Thus together through this disease of love, they were able to mend fences, say their good-byes, express their love, and make their peace with each other.
As a constructive part of this healing process, upon learning of Mom’s terminal disease in early 1971, they decided to sell their home at 318 Forty-first Avenue in San Mateo—with its mixed memories, both good and bad—which they had occupied for the previous twenty-five years, and to move into a spacious, brand-new rambler residence at 1295 Tartan Trail Road, in nearby, upscale Hillsborough. Perhaps, in a way, the new abode became an extension of their mindset at the time, for it certainly became a useful medium through which they could plan, dream new dreams, and work together.
Undoubtedly, as the months wore on and the cancer advanced, it must have been difficult for Mom. The slow, progressive weight loss, weakness, and fatigue of the disease itself, along with overpowering nausea and embarrassing hair loss occasioned by periodic chemotherapy treatments were not easy to bear. (I’ve already mentioned her feelings regarding being remembered by her grandchildren at the Dude Ranch in Wyoming, six months prior to her death.) Nonetheless, she was courageous and resolute in her trial, accepting the Lord’s Will without bitterness.
When she became nearly totally disabled and unresponsive, she was transferred to the Mills Memorial Hospital, where she quietly passed away, at 6:30 PM, on 25 February 1973, with Dad at her side—after nearly forty-four years together. 174 She was buried in the Greenlawn Memorial Park, in Colma, California. Then, after Dad died, she was re-interred on 5 October 1984, to lie at his side in the Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah.175
There were lovely tributes expressed at the funeral. Betty Bartholomew (Dad’s cousin, Dr. Homer Bartholomew’s wife, a younger friend and great admirer of Mom) wrote down her memories of the services, in which the following was recalled:
As tribute was being paid concerning Ann’s marvelous zest for living and her tremendous gift of wit and good humor…speakers recalled how adept she was in chastising Wendell. She played a very important part in his life, for no one else could ‘put him down’ (or in his place) better than his beloved Nance. This rare quality of humor was shared with many and was appreciated by all—but Wendell, perhaps. However, it served a great purpose—that of bringing patience and humility into the life of an already ‘great man.’ (These attributes are most refreshing in a tired world!) How tall she stood as a priestess by his side. Mention was made of her enthusiasm as a grandmother and her love of people in general, yet each person was treated individually and made to feel they were very important in her life. 176Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
To conclude, it is clear from the scriptures and latter-day revelations, including The Family: A Proclamation to the World 177, that we came to earth to receive physical bodies, to learn, and to be tested. During mortality, we play many life-roles, such as child, sibling, spouse, parent, and grandparent. And we continue to function and grow in these multiple roles as we proceed on our life's journey.
Ideally for most of us, our families are the working units in which these needful roles are played out. For, it is only through learning to properly perform our various life-roles in a family setting that we can hope to acquire the celestial attributes of our Savior, including: faith, hope, charity, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, obedience. In fact, to underscore this truth, we are taught in the Gospel Plan that we are not saved and exalted individually, but only in families. Thus families can and should be forever.
Having said all of this, how did Mom do in her family roles during her lifetime?
In looking back through her mortal life as thus recorded, I would submit that she fulfilled the various roles of family life very well (and, for that matter, Dad did, too):
She learned the lessons intended.
She handled and overcame her challenges.
She fulfilled her responsibilities.
She was true to the end.
Therefore, as descendants undergoing our own mortal testing, let us learn from her many fine qualities, splendid attributes, and tenacity…and do the same.Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
Finally, for my part, as I look back on Mom’s life and what she attempted to teach me as her son, I am profoundly grateful for her sacrifices, energy, and persistence. Because, I know that it’s not easy to be a parent, having already had experience in this regard myself. I am now more aware than ever of her selfless love and conscientious effort in my behalf.
And yet, reflecting further, I suspect that it was not until I was serving as a missioinary that I first came to truly grasp her deep love and concern for me. Through her letters, her shared insights, and her confidentiality, it became clear that she not only deeply cared for me, but for each of us in the family.
Later, I began to more fully sense these same attributes as I experienced her interaction with Barbara and me and our children, as we performed in our various life-roles within our own family unit.
Then, as I observed her while she went through her battle with cancer, I came to know even more fully the depth of her love for the Lord and for the entire family.
However, it has only been while compiling her history that I have come most to know and appreciate Mom and what she stood for. Researching and writing this life story has been a choice experience.
How can I ever repay her for what she gave and sacrificed for me as her son?
Seeking personally to emulate the good she taught, and then passing it on to my children and grandchildren as best I can is the only way I have to show my gratitude.
Accordingly, I want to be with my eternal partner and our immediate family, as well as with Mom and Dad, my siblings and their kin, and the rest of the greater family as we journey through eternity together. May there be no empty chairs.
And, as far as Mom is concerned, I have no doubt that the promises pronounced in her behalf in her patriarchal blessing are now in effect and will be fully realized:
Then thou shalt rest at the close of the day and lie down and see the sunset in peace. Thine shall be a beautiful morning of resurrection and Celestial Glory, for thy covenants shall sustain thee, and they shall endure time and its testing. And thou shalt be in the way of perfection and endless lives, because thou hast sought the right—because thou hast looked unto Jesus, the Savior of men, and known the powers of the Priesthood and the New Covenant. 178
Provo, UtahChapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
1. Lucile C. Tate, Andrew B. Christenson, Mormon Educational Pioneer, Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah, 1981, p. 208 (a 252 page biography).
2. Transcription of a letter written by John Francis Howells to his oldest son, Edmund, dated 27 January 1930, Salt Lake City, Utah, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
3. Photocopy of wedding reception invitation for JFH and AMH, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
4. Certificate of Birth; 1903; State of Utah, County of Salt Lake; Registered No 379-14508; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah; born 20 July 1903, in Salt Lake City, Utah, photocopy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
5. Family Group Record for the John Francis Howells and Annie Matilda Hurley family, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
6. Eighth Grade Diploma, 18 May 1917, from Burton School, Salt Lake City, Utah, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
7. From a sibling meeting, 25 February 2007, Fullerton, California (WBC, Jr., SCT, DCK), as per a personal journal entry of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
8. Op. cit.: From a sibling meeting, 25 February 2007…
9. Program for The Bells of Beaujolais, 19 May 1923, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
10. West High School Diploma, Salt Lake City, Utah, 08 June 1923, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
11. Letter from Dorothy Swaner and Annie M. H. Howells dated 15 May 1924, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #1).
12. Program for Cavalleria Rusticana, dated 17 April 1924, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
13. Op. cit.: Lucile C. Tate, Andrew B. Christenson… pp. 189-225.
14. A History of My Father, Andrew “B” Christenson, by Wendell Bartholomew Christenson, Sr., composed in 1967. The twelve page handwritten originals are in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
15. Autobiography: Wendell B. Christenson, Sr., handwritten in several parts, before 1968. The originals are in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
16. Program for the Farewell Testimonial given in honor of Elder Wendell B. Christensen, 19 June 1925, McKinley Ward Chapel. A copy is in the possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
17. University of Utah Alpha Chi Sorority invitation addressed to Miss Ann Howells, inviting her to become a member of its inner circle, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
18. Op. cit.: From a sibling meeting, 25 February 2007...
19. Op. cit.: From a sibling meeting, 25 February 2007...
20. Associate in Education/Primary-Kindergarten Diploma from the Junior College of The School of Education, University of Utah, dated 8 June 1926, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
21. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 23 June 1927, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #2).
22. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 01 October 1927, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #3).
23. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 22 January 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #4).
24. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 23 January 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #5).
25. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 07 April 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #6).
26. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 20 May 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #7).
27. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 23 May 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #8).
28. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 27 May 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #9).
29. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 28 May 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #10).
30. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 30 May 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #11).
31. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 28 July 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #12).
32. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 30 October 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #13).
33. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 14 November1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #14).
34. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 27 November1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #15).
35. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 6 December 1928, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #16).
36. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 17 March 1929, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #17).
37. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 30 March 1929, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #18).
38. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 24 April 1929, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #19).
39. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 26 April 1929, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #20).
40. Letter from WBC, Sr. to AFH, dated 26 May 1929, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah (Letter #21).
41. Marriage Certificate, State of Utah, County of Salt Lake; license issued 24 June 1929; certifies that Wendell Bartholomew Christensen of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Anne Francis Howells of Salt Lake City, Utah were married 26 June 1929 by Joseph Fielding Smith; witnesses were John Hagman and John F. Howells; original document in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
42. A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography by W. Bart. Christenson, Jr., printed in 2005 by Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah, p. 2. (The volume contains 477 narrative pages plus photos, documents, and genealogies.)
43. Op. cit.: Autobiography: Wendell B. Christenson, Sr. ...
44. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography...., p. 2.
45. Birth Certificate; 1932; Utah State Board of Health; File No 1025-623, City File No 813; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah; birth dated. 1 Apr 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah, certified copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
46. Noted in Baby’s Journal of W. Bart. Christenson (“Grandma and Grandpa Howells were present”), in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
47. Church News, Introducing Our Stake Presidents, President W. B. Christensen, Palo Alto Stake, Mid-May 1950, copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
48. Op. cit.: Autobiography: Wendell B. Christenson, Sr.
49. Letter from Bishop Sylvester Q. Cannon, Office of the Presiding Bishopric, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 27 November 1934, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
50. Standard Certificate of Birth; 1936; State of California-Department of Public Health-Vital Statistics; C-623-H-420, District No 1906, 2885-36-0231123, No 209; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; birth dated 6 Apr 1936, at Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, certified copy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
51. Letter of Recommendation for Wendell B. Christenson, from H. P. Dwyer, President, Century Metalcraft Corporation, 6 October 1942, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
52. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 3-4.
53. Nelson & Howells Family Movie—Year: 1937, DVD created by William H. Nelson, 414 Hobart Avenue, San Mateo, California 94402, copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
54. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 4.
55. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 6-7.
56. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 7.
57. Certificate of Live Birth; 1941; State of California, Department of Public Health; C-623-41-061271-3451, District No 1901, Registration No H-420-12332; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; birth dated 24 Jun 1941, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, certified copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
58. Certificate of Live Birth; 1941; State of California, Department of Public Health; C-623-41-061272-3451, District No 1901, Registration No H-420-12332; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; birth dated 25 Jun 1941, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, certified copy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
59. Certificate of Death, 22 April 1944, State of Utah, Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, State File No. 703, Registrar's No. 842; buried 26 Apr 1944, Wasatch Lawn Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo. Utah. (Obituary Notice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, 24 Apr 1944 confirms his birth and death dates.)
60. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 5-7.
61. A Patriarchal Blessing, Ann Howells Christenson, given 21 May 1944, by George T. Wride, Los Angeles Stake Patriarch, #1276:345, copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
62. Letter of appreciation from The American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company, Ramapo Ajax Division, H. W. Renick, Vice-President, dated 18 September 1943, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
63. Op. cit.: Letter of Recommendation for Wendell B. Christenson…
64. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 8.
65. Skit about Wendell and Nance, author unknown, Arlington Ward, March 1944, copy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
66. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 8-9.
67. Mileage Rationing Record, R-534 Stub, United States of America—Office of Price Administration, Serial No. 112346, issued September 1, 1944 to Wendell B. Christenson, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
68. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 10-11.
69. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 186.
70. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 12.
71. Personal interview with ArLene H. Christenson, at her home, 3668 Little Rock Lane, Provo, Utah 84601, 2 September 2007.
72. Op. cit.: Personal interview with ArLene H. Christenson…2 September 2007.
73. Op. cit.: Personal interview with ArLene H. Christenson…2 September 2007.
74. Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007, at home of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah
75. Letters From Home, Volume I, 28 March 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
76. Letters From Home, Volume I, 24 April 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
77. Letters From Home, Volume I, 11 May 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
78. Op. cit.: Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007…
79. Letters From Home, Volume I, 29 June 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
80. Letters From Home, Volume I, 27 July 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
81. Letters From Home, Volume II, 2 March 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
82. Letters From Home, Volume III, 16 November 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
83. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 15 June 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
84. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 29 August 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
85. Op. cit.: Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007…
86. Op. cit.: Autobiography: Wendell B. Christenson, Sr. ..., p. 3.
87. Op. cit.: Autobiography: Wendell B. Christenson, Sr. ..., p. 4.
88. Op. cit.: Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007…
89. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 15 June 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
90. Copy of the report on the gross and microscopic examination of the thyroid surgical specimen of Mrs. Ann Christenson, by Stuart Lindsay, M.D., performed March 20 1948; sent from the office of Henry A. Brown, M.D., San Mateo, California; in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
91. Op. cit.: Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007…
92. http://www.project-aware.org/Experience/symptoms.shtml, The 35 Symptoms of Menopause.
93. Letters From Home, Volume I, 26 December 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
94. Letters From Home, Volume I, 12 November 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
95. Missionary Certificate certifying Ann H. Christenson as a Palo Alto Stake Missionary dated 7 November 1954; signed by E. Kay Hanks, Stake Mission President, and David B. Haight, Stake President; in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
96. Letters From Home, Volume II, 19 January 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
98. Letters From Home, Volume II, 10 May 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
99. Letters From Home, Volume III, 6 December 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
100. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 27 September 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
101. Letters From Home, Volume III, 1 March 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
102. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 8 July 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
103. Letters From Home, Volume I, 17 September 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
104. Letters From Home, Volume II, 15 March 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
105. Audio recording of Howells Cousins Reunion, Stewart Ranch, Woodland, Utah, 25 August 2007, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
106. Letters From Home, Volume III, 22 January 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
107. Letters From Home, Volume II, 29 March 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
108. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 6 September 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
109. Letters From Home, Volume I, 20 September 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
110. Letters From Home, Volume II, 11 February 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
111. Letters From Home, Volume II, 15 March 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
112. Letters From Home, Volume II, 4 November 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
113. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 10 April 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
114. Letters From Home, Volume III, 23 February 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
115. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 3 April 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
116. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 15 June 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
117. Letters From Home, Volume I, 10 June 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
118. Letters From Home, Volume I, 20 September 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
119. Letters From Home, Volume II, 23 August 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
120. Letters From Home, Volume II, 31 August 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
121. Letters From Home, Volume II, 22 September 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
122. Letters From Home, Volume II, 14 October 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
123. Op. cit.: Letters From Home, Volume II, 14 October 1955…
124. Letters From Home, Volume III, 6 January 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
125. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 18 April 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
126. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 10 April 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
127. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 15 June 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
128. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 8 July 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
129. Andrew Howells Christenson funeral service program; died 31 Oct 2000, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah; interred at Redwood Memorial Estates, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, on 4 Nov 2000; copy of program in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
130. Op. cit.: Letters From Home, Volume I, 20 September 1954…
131. Letters From Home, Volume I, 6 October 1954, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
132. Letters From Home, Volume II, 19 January 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
133. Letters From Home, Volume II, 23 August 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
134. Letters From Home, Volume II, 22 September 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
135. Letters From Home, Volume II, 14 October 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
136. Letters From Home, Volume II, 4 November 1955, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
137. Op. cit.: Letters From Home, Volume III, 6 January 1956…
138. Letters From Home, Volume III, 23 February 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
139. Letters From Home, Volume IV, 27 September 1956, in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
140. Op. cit.: Personal interview with Diane C. Keller, 7 September 2007…
141. Marriage Certificate; 1957; State of California, County of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Clerk's Office, Los Angeles, California; married 21 Jun 1957 in the Los Angeles Temple, by Benjamin L. Bowring, original certificate in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
142. Marriage Certificate; 1965; State of California, County of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Clerk's Office, Los Angeles, California; married 17 Jul 1965 in the Los Angeles Temple, photocopy in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
143. Marriage License and Certificate; 1966; State of Utah, Salt Lake County; License No 174001; Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, Salt Lake City, Utah; married 26 Aug 1966, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, photocopy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
144. Sealed 21 March 2002, Provo Temple, Provo, Utah, as documented in a personal journal of same date, in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
145. Abstract of Marriage Record; 1967; Official Custodian Records, Recorder's Office, County of San Mateo, State of California; p 18, Vol. 112, No 4870; San Mateo County Recorder's Office, San Mateo, California; married 5 Aug 1967, in San Mateo, San Mateo, California, photocopy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
146. Sealed 13 November 2004, Los Angeles Temple, Los Angeles, California, as documented in a personal journal of same date, in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
147. Certificate of Live Birth; 1960; State of Utah-Department of Health; State File No 60-252822, Registrar's No 2755; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah; born 23 Oct 1960 at Provo, Utah County, Utah, certified copy of certificate in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
148. Certificate of Live Birth; 1962; State of Utah-Department of Public Health; State File No 63-29-26588; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah; born 19 Mar 1962 at Ogden, Weber County, Utah, photocopy of birth cert in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
149. Certificate of Live Birth; 1963; State of California-Department of Public Health; State File No 63-353695, Local Registration District and Cert No 4100-5884; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; born 21 Dec 1963 at Burlingame, San Mateo County, California, photocopy of true copy of cert in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
150. Certificate of Live Birth; 1966; State of California-Department of Public Health; State File No 66-109772, Local Registration District and Certificate No 7097-038417; Born 1 Apr 1966 at Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, photocopy of certificate in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
151. Certificate of Live Birth; 1968; State of California-Department of Public Health; State File No 104-68-281698, Local Registration District and Certificate No 7097-098770; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; born 25 Oct 1968 at Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, photocopy of true copy certificate in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
152. Certificate of Live Birth; 1977; State of Utah-Department of Health; Birth No 143-77-017168; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah; born 18 May 1977 at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, photocopy of true copy of certificate in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
153. 12 Dec 1959, Certificate of Death, State of Utah, County of Salt Lake, State File No. 59-18-2819, Registrar's No. 252, "'Annie Matilda Hurley' Howells, widowed, white female, age 85, housewife, born 27 Jul 1874 in Sussex, England, to Patrick Hurley and Susan Pearce, died of left cerebral thrombosis/generalized arteriosclerosis and diabetes mellitus"; buried 15 Feb 1959, Wasatch Lawn Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Obituary Notice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, 12 Dec 1959 confirms above birth and death dates. Photocopies in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
154. Extensive telephone conversations with Diane C. Keller (Fullerton, California), and Dick and Suzanne C. Tannyhill (Del Mar, California), 17-18 October 2007.
155. Op. cit.: Extensive telephone conversations…17-18 October 2007.
156. Op. cit.: Extensive telephone conversations…17-18 October 2007.
157. Op. cit.: Extensive telephone conversations…17-18 October 2007.
158. State of Utah Record of Deaths; #2392; Salt Lake City, Utah. 2nd source: Deseret News; 25 Apr 1966; sec. B; p. 12; Salt Lake City, Utah. Photocopies in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah. Burial also verified in the Provo City Cemetery Records.
159. Op. cit.: Extensive telephone conversations…17-18 October 2007.
160. Deseret News Obituaries, 20 Jul 1999; died 19 Jul 1999, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah; copy of obituary notice in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah. Funeral service program; interred at Redwood Memorial Estates, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, on 22 Jul 1999; copy of program in possession of W. Bart. Christenson, Provo, Utah.
161. Op. cit.: Andrew Howells Christenson funeral service program; died 31 Oct 2000
162. Malachi 4:5-6.
163. Doctrine and Covenants 128: 18.
164. State of California, Office of State Controller, Certificate of Release of Inheritance Tax Lien, Calaveras County; issued following the death of Ann H. Christenson, joint tenant, 28 February 1973; dated 25 February 1976, book 412, page 197; document in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
165. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 132.
166. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… pp. 96-97.
167. Op. cit.: A Stitch in Time and Eternity…An Autobiography… p. 123.
168. Medical summary letter from Joseph J. Kaufman, M.D., to Robert M. Hanson. M.D., regarding Ann Christenson, dated 6 December 1965. Copy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
169. Medical summary letter from Joseph J. Kaufman, M.D., to W. Bart Christenson, M.D., regarding Ann Christenson, dated 29 April 1970. Copy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
170. Op. cit.: Extensive telephone conversations…17-18 October 2007.
171. Medical summary letter from Frank E. Stockdale, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, to George T. Kammerer, M.D., San Mateo, California, dated 3 March 1971. Copy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
172. Op. cit.: Letters From Home, Volume IV, 27 September 1956…
173. Ensign, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 2007, p. 102.
174. Certificate of Death; 1973: State of California-Department of Public Health; File No 73-030335, Local Registration District and Certificate No 4100-659; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Sacramento, California; death dated 25 Feb 1973, at Hillsborough, San Mateo, California, buried 28 Feb 1973, Greenlawn Memorial Cemetery, Colma, San Francisco, California, photocopy in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
175. 1984; personal journal entry; 5 Oct 1984; W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah; re-interred from Colma, California to Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah, on 5 Oct 1984, journal in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
176. Excerpts from Funeral Services for Ann Howells Christenson, 28 February 1973, as witnessed and remembered by Betty D. Bartholomew, 1 March 1973. Original handwritten document in possession of W. Bart Christenson, Provo, Utah.
177. Op. cit.: Ensign, ..., November 1995, p. 102.
178. Op. cit.: A Patriarchal Blessing, Ann Howells Christenson…21 May 1944…Chapter Headings | Table of Contents/photographs | Table of Contents/documents | AFH Additional Family History | Website Home | Christenson Line | Howells Line | Contact Me
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