This is her life story written by herself in December 1967 as a Christmas present to her daughter, Linda.
|1||Table of Contents|
|2a||Birth, Parents, and Sisters|
|2b||Early Childhood Remembrances|
|2d||Stories and Other Remembrances|
|2f||Vacation and Travels|
|2g||Illness and Death of her Sister, Ruth|
|2h||New Home and Summer Activities During Her Youth|
|2i||First Airplane Ride|
|2k||Courtship and Marriage|
|2m||Boarders and Roomers|
|2n||Experiences with Children|
|2o||Conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints|
|2q||Message for Posterity|
|3||Addendum by Her Son|
|5||Genealogy generated data for Helen Isabel Manning Engstrom (1913 - 1991)|
This is the autobiography of Helen Isabel Manning Engstrom. I was born on November 11, 1913 at 6:15 a.m., 415 East 17th Street, in the city of Cheyenne, County of Laramie, and State of Wyoming. Dr. W. A. Wymore was the attending physician.
My father, Emmett McCord Manning, was born July 26, 1886, Oskaloosa, Iowa; the son of James Manning, born in 1864, Kilarney, Limerick, Ireland, and Ruth Anna Wymore, born October 11, 1866, Rose Hill, Iowa. Dad passed away June 30, 1966, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Memorial Hospital.
My mother, Lizzie Vass, was born January 20, 1890, Laramie, Wyoming, daughter of James Vass, born September 17, 1856, Pathhead, New Cumnock, Ayr, Scotland, and Alison Jamieson, July 20, 1862, Inveresk, Midlothian County, Scotland.
My parents were married in a country church - Harmony area - about 20 miles from Laramie, Wyoming, May 2, 1909. They were the only couple married in this church while in the country. Later the church was moved to Laramie.
My parents had three children, Ruth Alice Manning, born May 17, 1910, Cheyenne, Wyoming, passed away January 15, 1929, Cheyenne, Wyoming; myself and Clara Elizabeth Manning Doolittle, born June 25, 1924, 2020 O'Neil Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
My first home that I recall was at 2020 O'Neil Avenue where many good times were had. There were numerous children in the neighborhood and we had fun playing all the usual games. During the summer we would gather on our corner and play kick the can, run sheep run, tag, hide and seek. A couple of winters Dad flooded the backyard and we had our own skating rink. We had a small cellar, I recall the folks having it dug out. It was nice afterwards having a place to play house and school. One weekend when the James' were visiting us from Denver, Margaret and I were down in the basement playing house. Margaret was getting tired of that and wanted to go and visit her Aunt Ann and Aunt Martha. I thought that was a wonderful idea. The only thing we didn't tell our folks. First we went to see Aunt Ann. She lived at the James Hotel on Carey Avenue across from the City and County Building. We had a visit with her, she gave us some money and we went to Woolworth's where we were buying all sorts of things; then we decided to go and see Aunt Martha. She lived on the corner of 18th and Morrie. As we were eating lunch the phone rang - it was our folks wondering if we were there. They were frantic. I can understand now how they must of felt. Anyway when I got home I had one of the worst spankings.
Florence Kantor, Adeline Davis and Nettie Davis and myself would play school, house, jacks, and during certain Jewish holidays we played a game with nuts. Mr. Kantor had a butcher shop and they were always having fresh chickens, and fish around which the rabbi would kill. The first time I saw a big fish in the bathtub I couldn't figure it out until I learned why. They had one of the largest feather quilts I have ever seen. We would jump on it and sink way down.
It was during this period that George Vass lived with us. His parents were divorced and mother took care of him. He was with us for three or four years.
I went to Corlett Grade School. Mr. Goins was one of my teachers in the fourth grade. He was our principal. He taught us geography. He had previously taught in the Philippines and we enjoyed the many stories he would tell us. I went to the Cheyenne Junior High School - 7 and 8 grade - 22nd and Central Avenue. This building, now torn down, at one time was the high school and later the administration building. Mr. Goins was the principal the same time I went to school there. One of my 8th grade teachers - Rosemary Quinn - taught art - later taught Linda in the fourth grade at the Park Addition School. I went to Cheyenne High School for four years. Our class was the last freshman class - in fact we were freshmen for two years. My second year in high school Mr. Goins became principal. I felt he was following me to keep tabs on me. I usually had good grades. In high school I took very few final examinations. If your grades were in the 90's students didn't take finals. Exact grades were given instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, or A, B, C, F, as they do now.
We had our usual chores, such as doing the dishes, help with cleaning the house, our room cleaned and picked up. One Saturday morning as Mom was scrubbing the kitchen floor a man came in the back door which scared me. He handed Mom a piece of paper - which said, "Please give this man a pint." Mom said, "He had the wrong house - the place he wanted was across the street." There was a family that made bootleg liquor, and their place was raided quite frequently. One place, I recall, they hid the liquor was in the window sill.
We always had a dog. Ruth was forever bringing home a dog. They were always getting poisoned or run over. Ruth would build a coffin and we would have a regular funeral. We would haul the dog to Crow Creek in a red wagon, one of the men in the neighborhood was a minister and we had quite a procession with all the children in the area.
I had long blond curls. I wanted to have my hair cut and couldn't persuade the folks to let me get it cut. Betty was a few days old and Aunt Helen and Uncle Bob were visiting us. I talked Uncle Bob into helping me get my hair cut. We stood at the end of the bed, Uncle Bob had the scissors in one hand, part of my hair in the other and when mom said yes he cut my hair before Mom had a chance to change her mind. I was ten years old. It was during this period that I cut my knee while playing kick the can and had to have four stitches. My crutch was an old broom fixed up. Ruth and George had to take me to the doctor in the wagon. One time as we got to 20th and Carey the wagon broke down in the middle of the street. I had to sit on the curb while they got it fixed. They had quite a time. It was on one of the trips to the doctor that we went shopping for firecrackers. We each had $.75 to spend. We went to one store and picked out our fireworks and had them put away, then we were looking at another store - Ingersalls - where we fond we could buy more fireworks for our money. We returned to the first store and asked for our money. We told them we had a new baby sister and so our parents wouldn't let us by any firecrackers this year - then we went to the second store and bought our fireworks.
Isabel and Grandpa lived with us. We would love to have Isabel's boy friends call because they would usually bring her a box of candy. One in particular always brought her Miss Saylor's chocolates. On the 4th of July - the same year Betty was born - Isabel was dating Hap Anderson. They were going on a picnic in Greeley. They asked me to go along because Velma and Leo Herber were taking their sister. This is where I met Marian Carlson Bourne - we became friends immediately and have remained very close friends.
As a child we always went to church and Sunday School. I was baptized at the First Baptist Church on Feb 11, 1923, by Rev. Bruce A. Jackson. It was his last service at the Cheyenne Church. He was called to work in the Mission office in New York City. We all loved Rev. Jackson. He was a wonderful man. He had two daughters - Barbara and I were friends and Betty and Ruth were friends. Isabel was also baptized the same evening. I had two favorite Sunday School teachers - Edith Granger and Mrs. Frank Emerson - her husband was later Governor of Wyoming. We had lots of fun at parties at the Emerson home.
It was the summer after I finished the 8th grade, 1927, that Grandpa, Mom, Isabel, Ruth, Betty and myself went to Canada. What a wonderful summer we had. It was my first real trip outside of going to Laramie or Denver. We drove as far as Granger, Wyoming the first night. Thought we made very good time. At the time Granger was larger than it is today, as I recall - at least it seemed that way. The next evening we stayed in Boise Idaho, the third day we arrived in Portland, Oregon, where we saw the Rose Parade. Then we went to The Dalles, Oregon were we spent the night with Aunt Jessie and George. It seemed good to see George again. The reason for the trip was Grandpa had located a brother he hadn't seen for many years. He had gone to Canada earlier to visit his brother and then wanted Mom and Isabel to get acquainted with Great Uncle Bob's family. We visited one of his daughters in Vancouver and she showed us around. We took the ferry boat to Victoria and drove to Cumberland. While in Cumberland they were celebrating Canada's 60th Jubilee. The main celebration was held on the 4th of July. It as a large fair, and had all sorts of games, races, and a log cutting contest. That evening they held a immense fireworks display. It was they first time I had seen such a display. It was on a larger scale than we have here in Cheyenne. I recall being surprised at seeing so many mixed couples together - Negro with whites, Chinese and Japanese with whites.
We always spent a week at the Pearson Ranch and a week in Laramie during the summer. One summer while at Pearson's we decided to play Robin Hood. The Pearsons had an old retired circus horse and we had fun riding the horse. We got some of Bertha's old curtains and made our costumes and draped the horse. Ruth was Robin Hood, I was Lady Marian, Helen Anna was my lady-in-waiting, Chuck was Little John and George was Friar. Another time we held a rodeo where Dad got a dislocated knee when he was thrown from the calf he was riding. We also spent a week in Denver.
Ruth had a heart condition. There were lots of things she shouldn't do but you couldn't slow her down. She was a tom boy and was always climbing trees, liked to build toys or doing some kind of carpenter work. Nearly every time we went to Laramie she would faint going over the summit and would scare us.
It was Christmas in 1928 while Ruth was ill and had to stay in bed and I did most of her Christmas shopping. We decided to buy Mom an Eastern Star Ring. I purchased the ring at Christensen's Jewelers. Ruth thought it as a beautiful ring. It was the first time we charged anything. The ring cost $19.00 and we were going to pay 50 cents a week. We each had an allowance of $1.00 per week which was to cover most of our school supplies, movies and treats that we wanted. I worked at the High school cafeteria selling hamburgers and candy during my lunch hour and received a dollar a week. It was Ruth's job and I took her place while she was ill and then just stayed on after her death. After Ruth's death sometimes I would have trouble making the fifty cent payment so I talked to Mr. Christensen. He was very nice and told me to pay when I could; sometimes it was only twenty-five cents.
On January 15, 1929, Dad came and got me out of school - I was in gym class - I could tell there was something wrong. He wouldn't tell me until I got home. It was a real shock to learn that Ruth was gone. There was an emptiness around the house but time does heal all wounds.
That summer we moved into our new home - 106 West 2nd Avenue. I thought we had moved out in the country. I would tell all my friends I lived in the last house on Central Avenue on the left side of the street going out towards the airport. We liked to sit in the breakfast nook and watch the lights at the airport. I also went to a summer camp of the Baptist Young People held at Thermopolis, Wyoming. I had charge of one of the programs and I was pianist for the B.Y.P. at home. The girls dormitory was in the high school gym. We had lots of fun. It was while in Thermopolis another girl and myself were taken on a snipe hunt. We weren't there too long until one of the sponsors came and picked us up.
It was the summer after I graduated from High school, June 1931, that I had my first train ride. Ethel Peterson and myself won a trip to California. It was a trip to see the Olympics in Los Angeles. Clara Powell, a girl who lived across the street from us on O'Neil went along - she said she was our chaperon. Our hotel was at 7th and Vine - across from the Brown Derby. We were on the second floor and would sit and watch the movie stars going in and out of the Derby. The evening that we returned from Catalina Island we had planned to go to a movie and see Back Street, as we were trying to find a bus to get back to Los Angeles, a taxicab driver stopped us and wanted to know if we needed a cab. We told he where we wanted to go and he said he would take us within a block of the theatre. I forgot the amount the fair would be. Anyway we decided to take the cab. When he left us out he told us the theater was a block up one street and the next street, never did figure out at the time why he didn't take us direct to the theater - we walked up and own streets; finally thought maybe he said eight blocks instead of one. Still no theatre around - stopped at a filling station to find the way. The attendant said catch the next bus coming, we were about five miles from the movie. We finally arrived and enjoyed the show very much. John Boles and Irene Dunne were the actors and they were two of out favorite movie stars.
It was on my 17th birthday that I had my first airplane ride. It was an open cockpit - two seater. Ray Johnson of Laramie was the pilot. It was a very windy day - in fact the airport manager was amazed when he found we were flying. We flew over the city, Laramie, and back. There were lots of air pockets - I enjoyed it but was scared - never wanted to fly in an open plane again.
While going to high school I worked at Woolworth's during the Christmas holiday and extra during the summer. One summer I got a job at the magazine booth at the depot. Dad didn't approve of my working there and came and made me leave. Mom and Betty were going to Denver so I went along with them. As we got to Nunn we had car trouble - what a day with nothing to do - couldn't even buy a magazine in town.
After graduation I worked in an insurance office for Mr. Peake - in fact worked the first month free to get some experience and then got $25.00 a month.
It was when I worked for the W.P.A. that I met Darwin. Our office was on the third floor of the Post Office Building and Darwin worked in the office at 20th and Thomes. My boss was Rad Clark and Darwin's boss was Phil Ross. The office force had many good times together. Later they moved the office to the Governor's mansion. Our office was in the garage. Marian Carlson also worked for the W.P.A. My most memorable job was being private secretary to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction - Miss Velma Linford.
Our courtship was brief. We dated a month and a half before we were married. Darwin would bring me home from work and would have dinner with us quite frequently. We would go to movies, take drives, go to parties, spend evenings at home playing games or just talking, and attend showers that were given.
On Friday evening at 8 o'clock December 28, 1934 at our home we were married. It was a very pretty ceremony, the wedding vows were performed by Rev. H. A. Bolle of the First Baptist Church before an improvised alter banked with palms and ferns in the living room. A few friends and relatives witnessed the ceremony. Lloyd Anderson - brother of Hap Anderson - sang "At Dawning" and "I Love You Truly" before the ceremony and Miss Maysie MacKay played the wedding march. Miss Marian Carlson was the maid of honor and Betty Manning and Guinivere Shaw acted as ushers. After a short honeymoon to Denver we moved into our apartment at 215 West 25th Street. We just lived there about three months. The light bill was too high - later we found that the hall light and outside light were on our bill.
On March 24, 1936, we were blessed with a baby boy - Donald Emmett Engstrom. We were planning a dinner party that evening for Diane Baird's birthday. I was to make the nut bread. I walked to town to pick up some nuts for the bread and as the bread was baking the first pain came. Don was born at Memorial Hospital at 10:00 p.m. Diane Baird wanted us to name the baby cord Manning Engstrom after Dad but was happy with the Emmett and especially when the initials spelled Dee - a famous river in Scotland.
On December 13, 1941, Memorial Hospital 10:00 a.m., we were blessed with a baby girl - Linda Louise Engstrom. Linda was slow in arriving - in fact they had me in and out of the hospital several times, walking up and down stairs. The doctor said he hoped we wanted a little girl because nothing else would be so stubborn in arriving - even Pearl Harbor didn't shake her up. I was always sorry we didn't make the middle name Elouise then the initials would spell Lee.
Before Linda was born and during the depression we had some roomers and boarders. It was quite an experience. Since I have always enjoyed cooking I enjoyed fixing the meals - all but packing the lunch. In May, 1941, when we were in Utah for Mother and Dad Engstrom's fiftieth wedding celebration Daddy went home to get rid of the roomers. He got the roomers out but took in another - Bill Harmsen. He tried to find a place to stay and couldn't, so Daddy took him in. He kept asking me if he couldn't find an apartment, could his wife stay with us. I would say no, but when she arrived, we couldn't turn her away - she was pregnant also. They were with us for a couple of months.
When Don was 13 months old he had pneumonia and was in the hospital under an oxygen tent for 10 days with three special nurses around the clock. Our prayers were answered when Don pulled through. Afterwards the doctor told us he wouldn't have put twenty-five cents for Don's chance of pulling through.
When Don was five I took him to Arizona to spend the summer with Aunt Helen and Uncle Bob. He suffered from asthma terribly and we were hoping Arizona would help. I think it did but the doctor advised us against leaving Cheyenne. Daddy came out and spent two weeks - his vacation - we had a grand time and came home by the way of the Carlsbad Caverns which are very impressive - especially when they turn off the lights and sing "The Old Rugged Cross." At the end of the song the lights come on real slow.
It was very funny the day I broke a light bulb and as I was sweeping it up, Linda wouldn't let me throw it away. Save it and daddy will fix it when he gets home. I tried to explain that daddy couldn't fix it. It wasn't until daddy said he couldn't fix it did we get to throw the pieces away. Another experience was when Linda was a little over a year and sitting in a high chair at the table. Linda put her feet up against the table and the chair fell over backward hitting her head against the plaster in the wall which made a dent. We went to the doctor right away to be sure everything was alright. One time when daddy was real sick and we had to have the doctor at the house I had to show him the dent. Linda liked to have the Cradle Song played before she went to sleep.
Every summer we would take our trips to Utah and Denver. We had good times visiting with Mother and Dad Engstrom and all the family. How they loved having Don and Linda come to visit them - typical grandparents.
It was when Don was past two and I was studying the story of Ruth - in the Bible - that I started to check on religions. I had gone to the L.D.S. Church some when daddy would go and would go to the Baptist church. I also had charge of the Japanese Circle at the Baptist Church. I decided we should not be a house divided. Upon studying the Mormon religion, I discovered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God. I was baptized on February 12, 1943, by A. E. Wilde and confirmed at the same time. I taught the BeeHive Class on winter, served as secretary in the Relief Society under the Presidency of Verda Hatch and Catherine Sanetra.
I was a charter member of Job Daughters Bethel No. 8, and held numerous offices in this organization, member of Oakleaf Chapter Eastern Star where I held the station of Martha and Ruth, member of the Daughter's of the Nile and have held the office of Princess Badurah, past president of the Cooperettes - now the LaSertoma Club, past president of the Opti-Mrs., American Business Women's Association, Charter member of X-J.W.C., American Contract Bridge League, Past president of the Cheyenne Unit of ACBL, owner and director of the Grand Slam Duplicate Bridge Club, National Bridge Teachers Association, and was Wyoming's first Life Master.
My hobbies are collecting recipe books, autographed books on the History of Wyoming by Wyoming authors, knitting and playing bridge, and making various art things.
The message I would like to leave is from by favorite quotation and poem - "There is a destiny that makes us brothers - none goes his way alone - all we send into the life of others comes back into our own."
CLIMB TILL YOU DREAM COMES TRUE
by Helen Steiner Rice
|Climb till your dream comes true,|
|Often your task will be many,|
|And more than you think you can do. . .|
|Often the road will be rugged|
|And the hills unsurmountable, too. . .|
|But always remember, the hills ahead|
|Are never as steep as they seem,|
|And with faith in your heart start upward|
|And climb till you reach your dream.|
|For nothing in life that is worthy|
|Is ever too hard to achieve|
|If you have the courage to try it|
|And you have the faith to believe|
|For faith is a force that is greater|
|Than knowledge, or power, or skill|
|And many defeats turn to triumph|
|If you trust in God's wisdom and will|
|For faith is a mover of mountains|
|There's nothing that God cannot do|
|So start today with faith in your heart|
|And climb till your dream comes true.|
Helen worked at several jobs after her children were in school. She worked as a secretary for her husband, Darwin, after he opened his own public accounting firm. In the early 1950's, she and Darwin opened up an ice cream and candy store named the Jolly Rancher. The store had a soda fountain and they always had 33 flavors of ice cream available. The store also served light meals. Some of the featured items were a ranch burger (which was a sloppy joe), a variety of sandwiches, 33 flavors of waffles and a variety of pies. The candies were mostly hand dipped chocolates and came before the hard candies that became well known nationally. She developed a catering business in conjunction with the store for weddings and various parties. She learned how to make roses and other decorations for cakes. She would make wedding cakes as well as other decorated cakes. Her catering business specialized in the cakes, mints, various candies, and hors dourves. She catered for several years with another lady after the store was sold.
After she sold the store she worked as a secretary to Velma Linford who was the Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.
She also loved to travel. She went to many different cities to play in bridge tournaments where she gained many points needed to achieve the Life Master of Duplicate Bridge. Some of her travel included cruises. She started teaching bridge at the local community college and also at a community college in Yuma, Arizona, where they moved after Darwin's retirement. She owned a duplicate bridge club in Cheyenne and also one in Yuma when she moved there.
During her later years, she had many surgeries for cataracts, intestinal problems, replace a hip, and other maladies. She never gave up and continued to be active and would not let her health interfere with her bridge and her travels. I believe she told me that she had over 30 surgeries in her life. While recovering from her surgeries, she started making items with plastic canvas and yarn.
They moved to Yuma in the early 1980's to get away from the Wyoming winters. They came back to Cheyenne during the summer for about a month at a time. In Yuma, they first lived in a home that was owned by her cousin, Margaret Carroll. It had a large room where she held her duplicate bridge club. After the home was sold, they bought a mobile home and lived in a mobile home park where they enjoyed social activities at the park. When their health deteriorated, they moved into an assisted living center for a short while. After about a year, their health was worse than what the center could provide services for and so they moved to El Toro to live with their daughter, Linda, who was capable of taking care of them. They lived there for a year, when Darwin died on July 23, 1990 at the age of 81, just the week before his 82nd birthday.
Helen continued to live there but had a hard time going any place because she was on oxygen and with her heart problems, she tired very easily. In December 1991, she seemed to be doing better and was able to go Christmas shopping and mailed out her Christmas cards. On December 22, she took a turn for the worse and had to be taken to the hospital where she died on December 23, 1991 at the age 78 years.
Helen M.Engstrom, 78, of El Toro, Calif., died Monday at Saddleback Hospital there.
She was born Nov. 11, 1913, in Cheyenne and had lived in Cheyenne until 1979.
She married Darwin Engstrom Dec. 28, 1834, in Cheyenne.
She had worked for the Wyoming Department of Education and had owned and operated the Jolly Rancher Ice Cream Store.
She was affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and had been a a 50-year member of Oak Leaf Chapter 6, Order of Eastern star, Daughters of the Nile; Daughters of the American Revolution and a charter member of X-JWC. She taught bridge at Laramie County Community College and A.W.C. and was the first Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League in Wyoming and National Goodwill Ambassador for American Contract Bridge League in Wyoming.
She is survived by a daughter, Linda Rehart of El Toro; a son, Don Engstrom of Orem, Utah; one sister, Betty Doolittle of Cheyenne; an aunt, Isabel Anderson of Cheyenne; numerous nieces and nephews; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Darwin Engstrom on July 23, 1990; her parents, Elizabeth and Cord Manning; and one sister, Ruth Manning.
Services will be at 2:00 p.m. Monday at Schrader chapel with Bishop Doug Fowler officiating.. Pallbearers will be Al Higgins, Richard Brown, Charles Frentheway Sr. and Ralph Richards.
Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery.
Friends who wish may contribute to the charity of their choice.
Helen Isabel Manning was born on 11 Nov 1913 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. She died on 23 Dec 1991 in Laguna Hills, Orange, California, United States. She was buried on 30 Dec 1991 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
Helen married Darwin Engstrom, son of Joseph William Engstrom "Will" and Emeline Anderson, on 28 Dec 1934 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. Darwin was born on 29 Jul 1908 in Huntsville, Weber, Utah, United States. He died on 23 Jul 1990 in El Toro, Orange, California, United States. He was buried on 28 Jul 1990 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
Darwin worked as Public Accountant, Firm: Engstrom and Engstrom in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
They had the following children.
|1||M||Donald Emmett Engstrom was born on 24 Mar 1936 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.|
|Donald married Carolyn Ruth Lyons, daughter of Albert Lewis Lyons Sr. and Mary Cleo Hansen "Cleo", on 14 Feb 1964 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Carolyn was born on 2 Jun 1938 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.|
|2||F||Linda Louise Engstrom was born on 13 Dec 1941 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.|
|Linda married Michael Armstrong Rehart, son of Michael Andrew Rehart and Jeanne Marie Schaefer, on 25 Sep 1970 in Logan, Cache, Utah, United States. Michael was born on 30 Jan 1941 in Alhambra, Los Angeles, California, United States. He died on 17 Dec 1995 in El Toro, Orange, California, United States. He was buried on 24 Dec 1995 in Lake Forest, Orange, California, United States.
Michael worked as Computer programmer and systems representative in Mission Viejo, Orange, California, United States.