TALK GIVEN BY MWTUTTLE on MOTHERS’DAY MAY 1981
EDGEMONT 14th WARD (Outline used as MWT History to be added to:)
MY MOTHER, DORA EDITH BOYCE WHITAKER, was born on Flag Day, 14 June, 1896 in Granite, Utah to John Boyce and Ella Eugenia Despain, on an 80-acre fruit and berry farm, and is next to the youngest daughter of 15 children.
Unless berries were to be picked early in the morning, she would take care of morning duties, then with a book would climb up in a big tree to read undisturbed. Her blond hair, often worn in ringlets, could be seen shining among the branches when her brother was sent to find her.
She was a delightful, happy-go-lucky girl, singing and humming as she worked. She graduated from Jordan High School, on State Street and 9400 South. If she should miss the school wagon, she would have to walk the five miles from her home in Granite, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. (The school is now, 1999, replaced by a huge building complex known as the Jordan Commons, with movie theatres, etc.)
Dora was teaching school in Kanosh, as her first assignment, when she first saw the man who would become her husband. She sat in the audience at Sacrament Meeting in the old meeting house on Main Street, and asked her companion if the man who was singing so beautifully was married to the woman he was singing a duet with. No, she is his sister! And about that same time he was looking down where the sun shone on her hair, making it look as though she were wearing a halo, and wondering who she was.
Wilford Woodruff Whitaker had received a mission call to New Zealand during the summer while he worked on a farm in Brigham City and living with his older brother, Bert and family. Not until he arrived home, had a fine farewell party, and had time to ask Dora to wait for him, and had traveled to Salt Lake City to report in, did he find out that there should have been paper work taken care of, passport and visa obtained, etc. What a disappointment, but he refused to return home to wait for the paperwork to be ready, after such a fine farewell, and said he would go anywhere. He met Elder Melvin J. Ballard, a mission President in the Northwestern States, who put his arm across Elder Whitaker’s shoulders and asked him to serve with him. Wilford served most of his mission in Montana—Billings and Missoula. (I have many of Wilford’s letters to Dora while he served his mission. I just happened to visit him after mother died and saw all these letters she had saved from him, in the fireplace. I retrieved them and they are a tangible proof of their love and his dedication as a missionary)
Wilford returned from his mission in January. They were married in S. L. LDS Temple on 9 July 1919. Dora’s sister, Jean Boyce Clark lived in Morgan, Utah. Their parents had moved there from Granite after John Boyce lost his farm and home to taxes, since none of his boys wanted to remain on the farm. Both Dora and Wilford secured a job teaching at a small school in the town of Croyden, which they reached by taking the train from Morgan to Devil’s Slide, then walking the almost three miles to the town of Croyden. In the winter time Dora hung on to her husband’s belt, walking in his footsteps through deep snow, back to Croyden after a family visit in Morgan.
Marne’ was born in Morgan, Utah, 6 Aug 1920. She weighed just over 5 pounds and the folks in Croyden didn’t realize Dora was expecting when she left there in May. Dora’s mother was there to help and said that this baby is a “child of destiny.” There was a soft film over her face, which seemed to prompt such a statement. Shortly after the birth of their baby and working on the Clark farm during the summer, the family moved to Salt Lake, where her Dad worked at the Magna Smelter.
Ballard Whitaker was born 28 March 1922, in Morgan, Utah. Yvonne Whitaker was born in Morgan, Utah, also, 11 Dec. 1923. Grandpa John Boyce died 23 Dec 1923, just twelve days after birth of Yvonne. I recall sitting by my mother on a leather couch in our apartment in Salt Lake, trying to comfort her and telling her not to cry.
Dad was not happy working inside a hot and smelly foundry, and in 1924 moved to a small adobe home in Kanosh, his home town. Here was where I enticed bees to eat the dandelions I had picked and tried to get them to come out of their hives, by poking a stick in the hole. My screams brought my mother running and she dunked me in the water trough to get the bees off me. Then she doused me with rubbing alcohol. I attend my first three grades in a two-story, red brick school house; (still standing in 1998).
• Friends: Thora Abraham, Arvilla Penney, Lloyd George, (who was teased be-cause he stuttered), Milo Watts (who was teased because he was slow), Grace Stott, etc.
• Memory Snatches: First grade teacher, Mrs. Bird. Little hunched-back girl who sat across from me, was and has been my goad to sit and stand tall all my life. I knew about pruning trees, so my answer to what is a plumber, was one who pruned plum trees. I recall the thrill of pulling on a string to light the bare bulb hanging in the bedroom.
I can recall recurring dreams that I could fly, and how I learned by jumping off the white picket fence in front of the old Whitaker home we moved to, when Dad’s parents moved to Salt Lake. Soft, feather bed—being tucked in, perhaps by my Grandma Whitaker. Such a feeling of peace and safety.
I recall clearly a Technicolor dream that I was walking to Lloyd George’s home on a clear, sunny day, along the sidewalk from our home. (He later became a General Authority. in the Second Quorum of Seventy and he called me his little sweetheart as he introduced me to his wife). He was very special to me from the first grade until he passed away in 1995 or 6, even though we had very little communication throughout the intervening years.
When I was eight years old, a violin teacher, John Hilgendorf, recently arrived in Utah from Germany, taught me for one year. I really enjoyed learning to play and was to perform at the school the very next day after I punctured my left foot on a nail pounded into a 2x4, while running a race over at the Abraham home. I recall Florence Abraham, Thora’s mother, carrying me in to her house, and after pulling the nail out, soaking my foot in lysol water. I was pulled in a little red wagon to the school, where I was to play the “Minuet in G”. I think I played it, but can’t remember for sure. I still play it almost as well as I did then!! I am more sorry than I can say that I didn’t pursue that desire.
Thomas, the number four child, was born 20 May 1925. John Orson was also born in Kanosh on 28 Feb l927.
The summer of 1927, Dad went into the soft drink business with another fellow, by borrowing $1300 from Bank with his father signing, and thought he would make it big in Omaha, Nebraska. He was gone almost one year, but the summer was wet and cold, and he tried to find odd jobs there to just make a living. Mother was left at home to tend the five children and try to make ends meet there. She milked a cow, we had chickens and a garden and fruit trees. I recall she had terrific headaches. Dad did send her a lovely maroon colored velvet dress for Christmas.
A girl friend, possibly Vilate Kimball, wished a ring on my finger, that Dad would come home within two weeks, and my wish came true as he arrived in Kanosh early in April of 1928.
After horses wrecked his 100 stands of bees * (On a tape by my Dad, he tells how he started as a young boy raising calves, and then turned his interest to bees) on the old Hickerson farm in Hatton, where he was born, Wilf went with his brother, Mose, to sell Maytag washers. He was attracted to a 320 acre hay and cattle ranch in Lamoille, Nevada, which was for lease from Frank Strange, a man who made his own whiskey, as I found out later when running on top of the chicken coop and discovering hidden under the straw long copper tubing and a big copper tub of some sort. Also we discovered behind the heavy locked door on the hillside cellar, long vats of fermenting grains.
Mother taught her four children, Marne, Ballard, Yvonne, Tom and later, John, and three or four neighboring children for two of the three years we lived on the Strange ranch—1929-30, and again in 1931-32. She was my fourth and sixth grade teacher in the small yellow school house with a red roof, across the cow pasture from the ranch house. There was a small artesian well, with sulphur mineral water on the school grounds, which were surrounded by a fence to keep the cattle out.
One evening as some of us children were racing from the home of the Badgers, who lived about ½ mile from our home, I ran into a strand of barbed wire and seriously cut my upper left lip which had to be stitched. After the neighbor helped me home, Ballard rode a horse to the Reinken’s ranch, a couple of miles away, and alerted them. Mr. Reinken came in his car and with Dad drove me to Elko, 25 miles away, as I held a wet towel to my face. As I recall, the Doctor, put merthiolate in the wound and stitched, without any deadening, on the inside, then on the outside of the lip, which had been cut through. I am fortunate and ever thankful, that, even though there is a scar, it did not distort my looks nor my smile. It was painful to smile for quite a while thereafter.
• Bunk houses, School house, Teachers’ small home, outhouses—sketches of same.
• Cooking for hay crew
• Birth of sister, Jean, in SL and wheel coming off car enroute home, Oct. 24, 1930.
• Our first radio (RCA) Amos ‘n Andy Show
Almost tempted to try smoking by couple tending us (Jack and ¿)? My Mom and Dad came home at that very moment from Salt Lake City, with new baby! (wheel came off back of car, fortunate no accident, just a 4-mile walk back to a service station for help). Miss Avis Valencour was the teacher that year—1930-31.
My mother, Dora, spent about 6 weeks at normal school in Reno, returning home to find me scrubbing out dirty diapers for my blonde, blue-eyed baby sister, age 8 months, on a Sunday afternoon July, 1931. Mom wore a pretty yellow dress and matching hat. I was so embarrassed, but happy to see her. She was brought out from Elko to the ranch, by the Law couple. I was in charge of lighting and tending the fire for a roast in oven, peeling potatoes, etc., and for mixing and baking the bread, while Dad was with the hay crew.
One of the workers needed to sleep in the Teacher’s little home, and I was eager to clean it up. One afternoon I was there sweeping, and the fellow put his arm around my shoulders and touched my newly developing breasts. I remember that we were standing on the west side of the yellow school house, with the sun shining in my face. I felt very uncomfortable and made a hurried excuse that my mother was calling, and ran home. He called after me, “Don’t tell your mom!” It so happened that Dad was in town and I slept with my mother, and thank goodness, I told her what that man had done. I awoke in my own bed and learned that Dad had fired him, in no uncertain terms. He stole Dad’s good saddle and bridle, missing when the horse he rode away on returned home. Dad did say it was worth it to have that kind of a worker gone from the ranch.
THE GREAT RUNAWAY!
Sometime in August, 1930, we five children eagerly rode out to gather sagebrush as wood for our winter supply. Ballard drove the team, old Tom and Prince, hitched to a flatbed wagon. Ballard and Yvonne had gotten off the wagon to open the gate at the top of the long lane, almost one mile from the home. Tom and John, ages about five and three, stayed with the wagon, and I was to drive the team through the gate. Our Dad was in the field, near by, hunting jackrabbits.
About the time they dragged the wire gate open, there came a noisy black car over the hill and right up to our big gate. Meanwhile, I had pulled the wagon (team) to the right so the car could pass, but the team turned on around and started running back down the road toward the house. I was unable to hang on to anything and was bounced off quickly, with the wheels running over my left ankle. The folks in the car picked me up, after picking up Ballard and Yvonne (¿) and raced after the runaway team. The noise of the big engine made the horses run even faster! The commotion caused my Dad to run back toward the house. Fortunately, the team followed the road over a narrow bridge and finally turned at the top of the hill to the left and raced toward and headed into the big round corral, where they were stopped abruptly because the wide wagon bed could not enter the gate.
Mom heard the commotion as she stepped outside to throw out some water, and dropping everything, she hurried up the hill. She was close to eight months pregnant and almost fainted when she saw her youngest son hanging on to boards in the wagon floor, with his back directly in front of the front wheel, the only wheel with no protective box over it.
Tom, was on his knees, and had clutched onto a crack in the wagon boards and was unhurt, but John received bruises and scrapes from the wagon wheel grazing his back. How fortunate he did not let go, or wheels would have run over his body. Dad took his fear and frustrations out on the two horses, until his anger and fright were exhausted. We were all so thankful that nothing more than a sprained ankle was the result of something that could have been more serious. I was taken to Elko, checked for breakage and given crutches, which I tried to manage the next day while attending a Circus in town. I don’t recall much of the circus because of pain in trying to hobble with the crutches.
I have visions of Dad skinning a drowned skunk, that revived during the process; placing poisoned wheat in squirrel holes; a poisoned dog, with black blood pouring out of cutoff tail, saving his life because of Dad’s quick action; a large animal bone pile used for building Roman cities by Marne’ and a little help from sister Yvonne..
A big, fat sow, Old Scoop Jaw, who ate baby chicks, was not mourned when she got a bone crosswise in her throat and had to be slaughtered. Other Memories: Santa’s visit (by plane), A school play, (I in squirrel costume, Ballard as donkey, Yvonne as a kitten, I believe.. (We have a picture showing some of us.) Dad trying to teach me arithmetic; and the large pot-bellied stove in the school house that had to be fired each morning to heat the one-room school..
• Miss Avis Vallencour, teacher for my 5th grade class who lived in our home in 1930-31
• riding palomino pony through fields to Lamoille for 4H class.
• Clear stream, quick sand, fences and cattle crossing.
The drought hit about the time the lease had run out in the Fall of 1932, and we moved to Elko, Nevada, where I have very few good memories. The depression years hit us hard there, where it was almost impossible for my Dad to find work. At least on the ranch, we had a garden, milk, meat, eggs and chickens and didn’t go hungry. Even though we didn’t go hungry in Elko, our living conditions were minimal and we were glad for beans and potatoes, fixed in every conceivable way by my enterprising mother. No bathroom. nor running water in the first house. Few friends. What to wear was a worry that carried over into my dreams even after I was married. (Check Cassette tape #2 in a series of three of WWW telling his attempts to earn money while in Elko. Carol H. L. made copies of these).
I will mention briefly word pictures that can be elaborated on later:
Alice Gardner, high school friend, invited me to help her during two summers at their hay ranch in Ruby Valley in1936 and 1937. We were responsible for getting breakfast, peeling potatoes for hash browns for breakfast and mashed for dinner; cooking beef steaks, hot oatmeal cereal, baking powder biscuits, etc. Peeling potatoes, and some vegetables, for lunch and dinner. We even made Jell-O and pudding a few times, but the Indians didn’t much like it. Put large roast in oven right after breakfast. Her mother made the bread, Alice’s sister did dishes, etc. Her brothers worked in the fields. Watching an Indian woman do the washing by boiling the clothes in an oval copper kettle on a fire outside a small shed, and bouncing them up and down with a big stick, is vivid in my memory. I recall watching her slice pieces from a bar of Fels Naptha-like soap. A not-to-be-forgotten open air shower—cold water, with painful cramps as a result.
While I was there the summer of 1936, Mr. Gardner died while feeding the chickens. I found him lying on his side in the chicken coop. It was a sad time. I tried to tell Alice that she would see him some day again, but I lacked sufficient gospel knowledge to really explain about resurrection and temple marriage.. We slipped out to some dances with neighboring kids to Wells, Nevada a few times.
I remember the depression years as being a gray time. As the oldest, I felt my responsibilities early, and knew it was up to me to “pull myself up by my bootstraps”. I remember tears shed when I wanted to take more violin lessons, but was too proud to work for my teacher for them, at 50 cents per lesson.. As I was just beginning to date, I would ask my mother how I should act, what I should say. She would answer, “Marne’, I trust you. You know what is right. I’m sure you will make the right decisions.” And I would venture out, wrapped securely in her confidence in me.
At home we heard the English language spoken correctly and I learned early from Miss Schultz, my eighth grade teacher, the meaning and usage of a prepositional phrase, and that any form of the verb “to be” always used the nominative case. (It is I, we are they, Joe is he who was wanted, etc). Whenever I hear “Clair de Lune” or “Rustles of Spring” I see my mother sitting at the old up-right piano playing, before arthritis crippled her fingers. As a family our singing together helped over many rough spots and makes for happy memories. “Wise mothers are worth their weight in gold.”
• Your smile is the light in the window of your face
• That tells people that your heart is at home.
When I think of Mother, I think of Father, and to have heard him sing so beautifully, will give you a glimpse of happy family gatherings, where singing was, and is, an enjoyable part of my life. There were times when we did not feel like singing, but with Dad ‘s insistence, singing cleared the air and put us all in a better mood. Mom made very delicious lemon pies, cakes, and she canned fruit by the hundreds in one and two-quart jars, with rubber bands and lead lids lined with white glass. Many bottles could be processed in the oven at once.
We graduated from the gasoline motor-driven Maytag washer to an electric one some time before we moved to the ranch in Ellensburg, but it still required two rinse water tubs and a rubber wringer that would swing from one tub to the other. One summer while I was at the Kittitas ranch, I helped Mom wring out Levi overalls and heavy shirts and pants by hand, because the wringer was worn-out or broken. She was suffering from arthritis in her hands at that time—perhaps in about 1948 or 49. It didn’t take long to get that one repaired—or a new one!
During the winter when I was about 13 years old, (1933) I half-heartedly accompanied mother from Elko to the Airport those dark, cold frosty mornings. As I recall, we had to have the mail out there by 5:00 a.m. Mom would be up earlier, build the fire in the stove. We warmed the old Model A Ford truck by pouring boiling water in the radiator. I would crank it while mother worked the throttle and pulled out the choke. We traveled the back roads and I drove, because Mother was very timid to get behind the wheel. Dad was away on a job with his dump truck during that time.
Birth of Dora Melissa Whitaker, 4 March 1932 was a sad day because she died after about 12 hours. She had dark hair and lovely clear complexion. Dad blamed the hospital nurses, as she was left in a cold room unattended her first night.
• Birth of Wilford Woodruff Whitaker, Jr. 29 June 1934
Uncle Ben and Aunt Maud Boyce, brought Mother’s mother, Ella Eugenia Despain Boyce, in the fall to live with us. She was very crippled with arthritis. I remember her lovely white hair and her soft voice as she admonished us from her rocker, “Hush, children.” Shortly after Christmas she caught a bad cold that turned to pneumonia and she died in our home in the middle of the night, with Mom at her side on 8 January 1935. Such a valiant, sweet soul to have had to endure our roughness at the end of a long, rewarding, fruitful and dedicated life. She left a posterity which now numbers in the many hundreds.
Our year in Salt Lake, 1936 and 7, without our Dad was not easy. Mom bundled us all up and said, “Elko is no place to raise a family,” and I think Dad drove us to Salt Lake, where we lived in a small apartment on Simons Place, about 448 So. and 801-900 E.. I worked for the Frank McGanney family, taking care of their one son, Buddy, and attended East High School my Junior year, where I took a Spanish class under Miss Boetcher, a German teacher. Didn’t learn about Seminary until the year was almost over. That would have given me greater happiness and gospel knowledge, I’m sure! We all returned to Elko after school was out and I spent the summer at the Gardner ranch in Ruby Valley. It was there Dad found me, near where he was Foreman of a Cricket crew working in the CCC’s, (Civilian Conservation Corps) as he began gathering his family around him in preparation for a migration away from Nevada. (Much more detail can be found in the Boyce and Whitaker books telling of his various jobs to keep his family fed and clothed.
Dad had asked his former Mission President, Melvin J. Ballard, where a fellow with a young family might go to get a start in life. At the suggestion of his President, the decision was made to move the whole family to the Northwest, either to Oregon or Washington.
Gathering Tom from Reinken’s Ranch, and arranging to meet Yvonne and John in Reno as they came by bus (train?) from Morgan, Utah, we pulled out of Elko in a large dump truck (¿) loaded with the piano, Maytag washer, bedsteads, bedding, mattresses, clothing, dishes, utensils, everything we owned that we could load high. We also traveled in a big old Buick touring car. In 1937 there were seven children in our family ranging in ages from 17 to 3. It was adventurous traveling to our future home, sleeping on mattresses in the open, finding scorpions underneath the canvas on the ground as we made up our beds prior to traveling another day; going to swimming pools for showers, eating picnic style.
The terrifying ride down Grant’s Pass, with 15 yr. old Ballard driving the loaded truck and Tom and John with him, ended with everyone safe. The rest of us rode in the old Buick trying to catch up to them. We were a very grateful family and a prayer of thanksgiving was uttered as we found them safely at bottom of that narrow, winding road. When the brakes want out, Ballard attempted to shift down to slow the loaded truck. (de gran golade! French for “swift downward course”). Fortunately he met no oncoming cars!
Dad found a home near Springfield, Oregon, and loaded up the belongings of the squatters who had been living in the home. However, as they were leaving they showed Dad the high water mark on the fireplace, where most every spring the Willamette River flooded over. We promptly unloaded their things, and loaded ours and drove on to Yakima Valley after Dad located a home for sale near Wapato, Washington. To arrive there we picked Hops along the way for a pittance. An agitator for higher wages (I bane come from Minnesota) tried to get all of us to strike for 1& ½ cent per pound, instead of just 1 cent. I don’t remember where we slept while working in the hops— maybe in tents. We did have the truck with us.
While we picked hops, Dad, Ballard and a friend who knew the Yakima Valley area, drove there and found a white frame home for sale. They returned and we migrated on up north and arrived at the home, three miles west of Wapato, at just about dusk. Not very inviting, with no trees and with grass growing high around the house, but a place to call our own for a while. Many of the necessary essentials, like an outhouse, to replace the old one had to be built, and a well with a hand pump had to be repaired to supply water for the house. There was electricity there, and a coal and wood stove. There were two bedrooms upstairs and the front and back-screened porches were used as bedrooms.
I picked apples up until six weeks after school started, and made enough money to buy a new flowered dress and red shoes to enter Wapato High as a Senior. The year was enjoyable. I took shorthand and typing and was able to work part-time for Frank Mitchell, Principal of the school. I became a Monitor on the school bus, which another Senior boy drove, by the name of Vance Setbacken. He was a fine fellow and we became good friends. I made many friends, even had dates, some of which I recall: Henry Wertenburger, Bob Harris, Freddie Calahan, who would have proposed if I had given him any encouragement. (As a side note, when Jean and Lewis Griffin and I rode up to Washington for my 50th year High School Reunion in 1988, I met the brother of Freddie Calahan, Bob, and his wife, Esther. I was amazed that out of about 110 graduates, there were over 70 at the Reunion, and many remembered me. Vance Setbacken was there with his wife and I had to smile when I saw him with a long curved pipe in his mouth. If he had worn an English cap he certainly would have looked the part of an English country gentleman.
My brother, Ballard, became friends with the Berg family, who lived next door, and he learned to prune trees. He fell in love with Lydia, who was a number of years older than he, and they were married about the time of his 18th birthday. The children came early and quick, and caught an immature father unprepared to make a good living for the family. He worked hard in the orchards, and later at various jobs, but was always struggling. Lydia was a good mother and an excellent cook.
Yvonne, now about 15, would not be content to remain at home and after perhaps one year of school in Wapato, insisted on living with her Aunt Jean in Morgan, where she finished high school. Dad’s history is written elsewhere, but briefly, he learned to farm by working for the Japanese neighbors, at minimal wages. Then leased an Indian farm where he grew crops that began bringing in money, especially during the war years.
In October of 1938, after graduating from High School, I stayed home to tend mother and twin boys who were born 20th and 21st of October, at home with the Doctor, Dad and me assisting. I worked during the summer months packing cherries, sorting potatoes, even picking cherries for a few weeks. I began going steady with Merle Dean Layman from Toppenish. I met him through my girl friend, Dorothy Willis. He was a fine, clean-cut young man and we enjoyed many different activities. He always treated me with respect and at one time I really thought I loved him. However, I’d made a vow early in my life to marry a returned missionary in the temple, like my Mom did, and he didn’t fit. Perhaps I could have converted him to the gospel, if I had tried. His folks were active in the Christian Congregational Church in Toppenish, and were very kind to me.
Many of the graduating seniors decided to take a post-graduate course at the High School and I signed up for Bookkeeping and Chemistry—both challenging subjects for me. I believe I started with the classes in December, after Mother was able to be up and take care of the twins. They each weighed over 7 pounds—we call them Bob and Dick. It cost Dad $35 to have them delivered. It was only $10 more for Bob.
When we first arrived in Wapato, our family made up the Branch my father presided over, with each of us taking turns with the various assignments. After a few months we were able to drive to Toppenish, where a regular Branch was already established. As I recall, the Branch President was a Brother Murdock. Our earlier meetings were held in a building where I.O.O.F. activities took place and it was necessary to sweep and clean the cigarettes, ashtrays and floors before beginning our meetings every Sunday.
This only takes me to the year 1938. Early in 1939 I began working for Dr. and Mrs. Unsell in their home in Wapato. I lived in the home during the week, helped clean, and was a receptionist. I was there one Saturday, while the Unsell’s were at Church—Seventh Day Adventists. A pounding on the door revealed a disheveled man holding a bleeding arm, needing treatment immediately. I had him stand over the sink holding a towel on the wound while I ran to the nearby service station, where a friend of the Unsells was able to notify them. It was a scary time, because I soon realized that that man was rather drunk. Thank goodness, nothing serious happened and the Dr. was able to stitch up the wound, received in a knife fight at the local bar.
The following is written in more detail on CONINUATION OF PERSONAL HISTORY mwt
I found a job in Yakima working for the Currey family for my board and room, who had one young son. While working there, I had an unexpected visit from Willard Gardner, the brother to Alice, with whom I had worked on their Ruby Valley ranch. I was really surprised that he wanted to marry me. I had not the least intention of doing so, but Yvonne and I were able to get a ride back to Utah with him the summer of 1939. I stayed with my Uncle Mose and Aunt Minnie for a couple of months and worked at Kresses, in Salt Lake. While working there, a tall, fine looking man asked if I would consider working in his home and helping with the children. The Smyths lived in a lovely home on about 4th West and 4th North, as I recall. I was glad to move from Uncle Mose’s home to the Smyth home from July 28th to last of Sept. I was very undecided as to what I should do. Mrs. Smyth offered me $5 per week, plus board and room, then upped it to $2 more if I would stay. I guess I wanted to see Dean again. On 5 Sept 1939 I received a special delivery letter from Dean Layman, wanting me to return home. I did have an opportunity to meet with J. Spencer Cornwall, when my cousin, Erma Whitaker, went to audition with him for Tabernacle Choir. While there, he asked if I would let him hear me sing. He said I had a “straight” voice and could sing with the Tabernacle Choir if I would like to. They must really have been in need of singers!
Yvonne couldn’t go to East High without a lot of red tape. I advised her to go home, but she decided to go to Morgan for a spell, where she could live with Aunt Jean Clark, then we lost track of her for a while. Working selling magazines later, she somehow ended up in Corpus Christi, Texas, before finally going to live in Chicago with Uncle Dan, mother’s younger brother.
I was fortunate to get a ride home with an acquaintance of Uncle Ben, by mother’s brother, on 26 Sept 1939. I worked at Woolworths in Yakima and Dad helped me pay for tuition at Yakima Business College, which I attended at night. After becoming proficient in Shorthand and Typing and learning some office skills, I got a job at H. R. Spinner & Company, a fruit growers supply firm. I had much to learn and enjoyed working with a Mr. Leslie Tripp, who was either an LDS and/or a fine Christian gentleman. He taught me how to operate a huge old Burroughs Book-keeping machine. Mr. Spinner and Mr. Smith were my bosses. They both smoked big cigars and I developed a bad cough every time I went in to their office to take dictation. They finally installed a fan for ventilation, which helped a great deal. I lived at the YWCA and enjoyed getting acquainted with some of the girls there. It was there that I learned more than I had ever known before about how girls related to and chased after boys.
With money now, making $60 a month, I felt I could purchase some things I had only dreamed of before. My first purchase was a $100 Lane Hope chest, on layaway. I also bought a two-piece luggage set and a bed and dresser. I was able to help pay for the new sink in the kitchen and pay down on the metal shower, which we installed in the dining room, behind a curtain in the old Indian home near Wapato. What a luxury to graduate from the round tub, on the kitchen floor to a shower heated by coils in the cook stove and piped into a hot water tank!
When the family moved to this Indian farm, the ramshackle house needed much repair. The floor in the living room slanted at least 7 inches from one side to the other. There was no sink nor cabinets in the kitchen. Our new stove had a hot water jacket, but was not hooked up to a tank, and there was no shower in the house. The toilet was out behind a little bunk house, and needed repair. All of these things were repaired, with a little help from me, and much encouragement. Dad even built a closet in the girl’s bed-room. I recall a time when I hid in that closet when some folks came to visit from Ellensburg, because I couldn’t find anything to wear. I was found and did come out dressed in something, but it has always been a recurring nightmare that I am out in public either not dressed or not wearing the right clothes.
In August of 1941, after working a little over a year at H. R. Spinners, Dad offered to pay for one year’s tuition of $86.50 at BYU if I would like to go. Would I? It was answer to my prayers. Up until that time, it seemed like I was just drifting, with no real goal in sight. He also gave me $60 for board and room at Aunt Paloma’s home for three months. Mom paid me $25 for the hope chest. I left the bed and dresser, packed up my new suitcases with all I possessed and took the bus to Provo, Utah. My sister Jean inherited my Lane Hope Chest.
I arrived there the third week of Sept. and was met at the bus station by Uncle Jesse Stott, husband to Paloma, my Dad’s sister. I lived with them for three months, and roomed with Wilma Earl from Bunkersville, Nevada. My cousin, DeVere Staples, lived there also, sharing a room with cousin Doug Stott. Paloma was a gourmet cook and after running home from upper campus for a fine lunch, I would rush back up to the hill and invariably go to sleep in Prof. Ralph Britch’s English class. He took pity on me and gave me credit, anyway.
In January Wilma and I found an apartment and enjoyed the next few months getting acquainted with BYU, and all the fine boys, many of whom were returned missionaries. I got a NYA job shortly after arriving in Provo, working for Dean Wesley P. Lloyd filing things at $.35 cents an hour. This did pay for the rent, food and some clothing. I became a member of Lamba Delta Sigma and Y Calcares, a service organization, thus getting acquainted with many fine folks. I had no dream of joining a Sorority, but knew many of the girls who had enjoyed a very different life style than I had.
I must record my first week at BYU. I attended Mutual at the old Fourth Ward in Provo with Wilma. There was an after-Mutual dance where I met Wilma’s brother, Ken Earl, and a missionary from his mission named Ted Tuttle. Ted asked me to dance, and I thought that he was a fine dancer and had a lovely smile. He and Ken had returned from the Northern States Mission just a few months prior. Ted had graduated from Snow College in Ephraim, so returned as a Junior. We didn’t run in the same crowd that first year, but I knew who he was and was aware of his activities.
I dated a number of different young men, but no one special that first year. June 15, 1942, I took a bus home and helped on the farm. Yvonne did come home later that summer. I had encouraged her to return from Chicago, where she ended up at Uncle Dan Boyce’s home after a short-lived career as a magazine salesgirl. She has written her own story, so suffice it to say that she and I roomed with 5 other girls at BYU the fall of 1942. Dad was able to buy a 1939 Plymouth, and I rode to Provo with my folks, Yvonne, my brother, Tom, and with the twins on my lap most of the way, with very few stops for food and rest!
Our roommates were Florence Lindsey (Lovell), Wilma Smith (from Wyoming), Beth Burgon, Beth Bushnell, Ida ---- (Smithson). We had a great year, busy in every way. I returned to Washington for the summer. On returning to BYU I was offered a job as part-time Secretary to President Franklin S. Harris, which gave me a chance to become acquainted with more upper classmen. I began running around in the same crowd that Ted Tuttle was in. We went on steak roasts up under Squaw Peak above where the Temple now stands—never dreaming that one day we would be President and Matron there for 2 years!
I recall a swimming party in Springville with the group and being conscious of Ted looking at me very appraisingly. I dated many different boys, some whose names I do not recall. In the winter months Rulon Bradley began getting serious about my accepting a ring and I just couldn’t feel good about it. I said, “If I don’t see you for a week or so maybe I can think more clearly.” However, prior to this, Ted and I practiced for a Lamba Delta Sigma ballroom dance for a program, he had helped me with a talk. One evening my roommates helped persuade him to stay for supper, as it was my turn to cook. I had a big roast in the oven, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, freshly baked bread, etc. You would think I had set my cap for him. But we did eat well, when I cooked. In other words, I learned later that Ted was now going steady with me, and I didn’t know it. When I mentioned to Ted that I felt I had to get away to the mountains to think things through, he thought he was the one I was concerned about.
I felt bad that I had to tell Rulon that I could not accept his ring, because he was a fine man, with a beautiful speaking voice, was an announcer on radio station KOVO, and had me take a part in a school play he directed. He also played a bass viol beautifully. All this before I knew that Ted was thinking seriously of me.
Other dates with Ted prior to Rulon ring episode were: Lyceums, with George Merrill and his date for banana splits, walking home and I learned later he wondered why I would not let him hold my hand. I also wondered, but I had begun to be aware of his presence and must have felt my interest growing and didn’t want to be disappointed if he were not feeling the same.
One morning early in 1943, after a vocal lesson in the Ed. Building on Lower Campus from Florence Jepperson Madsen, I found George Merrill in the hall waiting to inform me that I was one of the candidates for Dream Girl of Delta Phi. You could have pushed me over with a feather. That was one of the most unexpected, and I felt, undeserved compliments of my whole life. Ted did ask me to go with him to the Delta Phi dance, and I had to tell him I had already accepted an invitation from a fine redhead named Clyde Dixon. I even asked, “Why didn’t you ask me sooner?” I was really disappointed, and all during the lovely evening I was aware of Ted’s laughter, and where he was on the dance floor, enjoying the company of Jean Swensen, (who later married the father of D. Todd Christophersen, born in 1945 and who became a Seventy—years later). The candidate who won as Dream Girl of Delta Phi was Blanche Peterson. President McKay was there to present the crown, and I was one of the attendants along with Elsie McKay.
Spring time, 1943! The most important Spring of my whole life, because then is when I made the decision that has brought me much happiness, when Ted asked if I would wear his Delta Phi pin, and I said, “I’ll wear it tomorrow to see how it feels!” He said he was about to take it back, but must have known I was teasing, but serious. It was graduation day, June 9th, and I sang in the chorus and could look down on the Graduates and Ted would wink at me! I’m sure everyone there could see me blushing! Word spread quickly that we were engaged, but everyone was leaving for home, or for the Service, so not many were around to share my excitement. I roomed with some girls next door, as my apartment was vacated. Janie Thompson was one of the girls there. She was an excellent pianist, singer, composer and majored in programming events at BYU for the rest of her career. She did not marry.
The War years were hard on everyone! There were only about 1300 students on the campus. I am still amazed and thankful that Ted found me, because there were so many more girls on campus than eligible men.
MY MARRIAGE TO A. TED TUTTLE
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