Stories of Ivan Emile Lauper and Family
[Tape-recorded while on vacation -- October 1975 -- on the Caribbean Sea, aboard the good ship Angelina Lauro, together with wife Helen, Dennis & Helen, and Ralph. Transcribed from tape by V.L. Johnson.]
While I was born on October 28, 1902 in Lehi, Utah, my parents moved to Northern Utah into Bear River County, along the Malad River. During my very early years my remembrances are there at our cottage home on the edge of Bear River. Back of the cottage, down the embankment a bit was a cistern, which is an open water storage facility, a well about the size of a room. This was the source of our household water supply. A very early recollection is of John, when just a little lad, falling into this water and nearly drowning before we found him and fished him out. Later, I had a near-tragic experience of a similar nature in the river flume, where I went under water; and I learned that day I could hold my breath for quite a while. A neighbor lady discovered and rescued me from the flume. As I came 'around' following that incident, I felt no pain, but can still feel how sleepy I was. Jumping from those experiences, it was at that place that I remember my first days in school, walking along, even taking by the hand, our little brother John. I, like many others, remember still my beautiful teacher in this little Bear River School, and of falling in love with her.
|Ivan, John & Serge, 1905|
Dad took us to the beet fields at very early ages --I being between 4 ½ and 5 years of age. The farmer we worked for was an old Danishman, and I remember his broken English dialect. Mother came into the fields with us at that time too. As the children came along, I would sometimes combine my fieldwork with caring for the little ones whenever mother was able to work. I remember later when little Alice, as an infant, was brought along. When she cried too much, I had to get mother from the end of a row to come and attend her.
We moved around many times within those northern counties, and many times we were some distance from school. Although we mostly walked, at one time I do remember we rode a 'hack'. While walking during the severe winter months, in Bear River Valley, we would carry a blanket over our heads to fight against the bitter cold on those three mile hikes to and from school. And then during the harvest season there was always beets, sometimes tomatoes and corn. Dad was in charge and somewhat stern in his assignments. He would leave me in charge of my young brothers, John and Felix, for sometimes one day, or even a week's absence, while he, Dad, was away making arrangements for other work. Then I would have to report of the work accomplished. I dreaded this. As stated, my brothers and I were all working at an early age, I being about 10 or 11 years when I was put in this supervisory charge. I remember how the sunflowers and the weeds would be growing high among the beets, and Dad would leave with the assignment of so much weeding to be done before his return. This was the younger boys first time in the fields and they were supposedly learning to work. This was difficult; they weren't interested, and I didn't understand my problem of how to relate to them. They would want to play, and the sun would be constantly moving toward the end of the day; and I would be watching fearfully in realizing the day would be gone and fewer rows of work completed than was expected. Just toward the end of the day they would sometimes be inclined to speed up a bit, but it was always too late. To aggravate this situation, I made many mistakes. I would do my best to get them to work and we sometimes found ourselves in a row and even wrestling, thus, losing more time. They would both attack me, and I had to take them both on. Even though I can't blame the little fellows, they proved how unsuccessful I was at being straw boss. I always knew it, and I was never able to get them to realize that Dad would ask me to report. When Dad did return I was always embarrassed and depressed. During these early work years, Serge was usually assigned to be horseman; that is, whenever a cultivator was to be driven, or the teams taken somewhere, he was given that job. He was the oldest, and most natural for those assignments, and I was given other jobs inside and out.
Dad was stern, a very hard worker himself, and we did what he told us. In figuring Dad's background, he had no brothers with whom he had worked, not even his father. His father was a Charome, which is a French word for Wheelwright; so he worked with different tools ---a plane a shaper and that sort of thing. Our Dad had not learned this trade, nor did he follow his father's occupation as poultryman (games keeper for the Baron of Rothschild). Now the fact was, our Dad had these several boys, and had no particular training as to how to manage them, other than to keep us all busy. WORK was to be the cure-all. Many times I have said 'work is a blessing in disguise'. I hated it then but have never regretted it since. Some of the work which Dad insisted upon, to the denial of all else, was too much; and yet this was our basic training; and if some of this program would be employed today, it would answer or alleviate many of our society's problems. Farm life is still the best life if it can be diluted with proper education and directed leisure time, but these are the things we did not have.
None of us ever had a full year of school on the farm. We were absent at both the beginning and end of school terms. It was necessary to knock off in the spring to plant sugar beets; and then our frequent moves were also disrupting. By this time we had moved to a Dry Farm in Box Elder County, which Dad homesteaded, taking three years to 'prove up', so-to-speak. One does a certain amount of work and improvement before the place becomes your property ---this is called a homestead. This acreage had been partially proved on by a local resident. We bought his rites and continued on at Penrose, Box Elder County. I remember trudging to school there with little Alice during month of March through three feet of snow ---the highest I ever remember. I had to break trail first by taking two horses, one ahead of the other, pulling a long log in order to make a trail, then taking the little sister to school. It seems this was about two miles from the top of the hill to Penrose School. In those days, after completing eight years of school, we graduated ---receiving a diploma. It was at this place that I graduated; and ended my school career. I did not even have the year of high school, which Serge mentions when he went to Brigham City.
I must here reflect back to an earlier childhood incident. In exchange for mercantile needs, I had to take buckets of eggs on many occasions as well as live springers to the store for trade (springers were live spring chickens). This was way back while we were at Bear River, and the store was about eight miles from where we lived. I remember coming home one night when my wagon broke down. I was only eight years of age and felt very sorry for myself on that dark night alone. It was about eight p.m. when I found a farmer and was telling him my sad story and asking for help, and I remember distinctly telling him that this happened to be my eighth birthday.
Father, being an old-country-man, knew the handle, the pitchfork, shovel and hoe. As I before said, since he had no experience with horses, Serge fell into this job, although he had no training, and Serge learned it quite well. I began the fieldwork at a very early age. Serge was only one year older. We did all our own work and then contracted with other farmers. They liked our type of work and we needed their money badly. Always, the most demanding work was stoop labor in potatoes, but mostly sugar beets. Dad would often take us away from home for a week or more at a time, even boarding out. I recall our experience at the Thatcher farm. It was very forlorn and I guess I do not care to even recount at this time.
Brother Dennis has here asked me to tell of my beet thinning record. In describing a good beet field, one must mention the yield for that makes the difference. In our fields, our personal yields were never more than about 13 to 15 tons per acre; but a good yield is somewhere near 20 tons per acre. Further, a good job of thinning beets in a good-yield-field would be about 1/2 acre thinned per day. That would be a good day of work for an average strong kid. Of course if there are skip rows, or if the beets haven't been planted correctly, then the work would go much faster. Usually, the planting is done with a planter that just indiscriminately lets out a flow of seed. Now ‘germination' had not yet been developed; so one small seed would probably produce half dozen plants, which had to be spaced. The art of thinning is to take a small handled hoe, cut a bare space of twelve inches about, and then make sure there was no more than one plant left within space of twelve inches apart. It could be pretty easy to leave a double plant by mistake in one’s effort to move along fast. This would result in a smaller and punier beet in that spot. This was the whole 'art'. One had to get on your knees to do it correctly. Sometimes Dad would make the twelve-inch spaces with a long-handled hoe, and we boys would follow behind to thin the plants with our fingers. Our fingers were always, and I do mean always, blackened and stained, as well as sore until they became calloused. Likewise, the knees and back were always sore and breaking. This was stoop labor.
Since our personal harvests were never productive enough, we were forever working for other farmers to get some cash money. The word had gotten around that we were pretty good workers. Dad did a thorough training job. It bothered me to hear him talking and bargaining with others as to how much should be done within a given time ---always expecting the maximum amount of work within a very limited time. Actually, I often wished some of those farmers didn't like us and our work so well, hoping they wouldn't be back for us; but they came, and moreover, Dad would leave to 'go and make the contract'. It was on one of these farms where we were called back year after year, and where we usually camped away from home while doing the work ---the Lyman White farm. He had good ground and his beets yielded twenty tons per acre or more ---no alkali there. Good work had to be performed for he was very particular. Japanese workers were very prevalent in that area. Dad looked across the area toward some neighboring field one evening watching some of these Japanese work. Although we always got into the fields in the early morning, it seemed these Japanese were always there as early as we. The word had also gotten out that some of these Orientals did an acre of thinning within one day, although to this day I’ve not seen it proven. Among our family we had achieved, some of us, some times, as much as 3/4 acre in a day ---this was not the usual. Dad said, "I wish sometime one of my sons could do an acre", and he repeated it. Then he said "I would give twenty dollars if one of my sons could do an acre". Well that made me angry, for I knew we were already doing a lot and it angered me that he would ask more; but when he put out that challenge, I couldn't let it fall unheeded. I must comment that there is an easy way of knowing how much is an acre, for it took exactly twenty rows of 80 rods to make up an acre. Brother Serge had returned from Brigham City, having partially finished a year of high school, and I believe he had the whole sum of two silver dollars from unused tuition money. He hadn't worked that year with us, but was there that day and when he heard me say 'I'll do that acre!” Serge said, "I'll bet you a dollar you can't". Well the 'gauntlet' was down. As a usual routine, Dad would trot us out early in the morning; but I started preparation the night before for an even earlier rising. I made a poor little lunch, consisting mostly of two lumpy slices of bread; and without losing time the next morning, I was able to sneak out before anyone heard me. We were camping in a granary, upstairs, but I slipped down the steps and was out in the field ahead of even the Japs that morning. I had two rows completed when the others came out, and by noon I had twelve rows done --eight to go. Serge conceded and gave me his dollar. Then the race with the sun was on. All eyes were on me and mind you, I had to do perfect work. I knew how much was required and although my back was bothering me, I was not suffering too badly; however, it was the timing that really mattered now. As darkness approached, the mosquitoes were coming, and the darkness really fell on that last one-third of a row. Dad and the rest had, of course, already quit but Dad came walking by me and I can well remember him saying. “Well son, I would like to help you, but you know how it is". He knew and I knew that I had it whipped. Actually, at noontime, I knew I would make it.
But I finished my acre and then all those farmers, including White, looked hard to see if they could find signs of doubles, or if I'd skipped or killed a beet, or for any type of flaw. I played to a large crowd that day. A wisp of a boy doing an acre in as heavy a stand of beets as anyone ever saw in that country. I didn't try for that record anymore. Like President Grant said he played on the winning baseball team until he won and then he quit!
On these trips away from home we lived on dry bread and cheese, cereal with some canned milk, if we could get it. When we could get home on the weekends it was a real pleasure. These were experiences not only during beet thinning, but also during hoeing and topping of beets. Some of those weeds, which we hoed out for about $2.00 per acre, would grow pretty large ---and fast.
During the winter season, Dad usually went into the mines to work. One season he was working at Bingham Mines when he asked that we market the turkeys during his absence. I remember getting fifty - sixty turkeys hung up in a line around the barn, heads down; and doing what was considered the humane butchery of cutting into their throats, then allowing them to bleed. All this as we were told to do --and then we put them into a barrel and shipped them to Bingham. Dad was having a rough time himself, down there, working as a strikebreaker. During one incident he almost lost his life. In a small cabin, he was guard; and in regulating the heat to suit several, one of the foreign workers became infuriated and jumped on Dad with a knife. Until this man was disarmed, Dad's life was truly in jeopardy. Mother received letters from Dad during those days, usually written in French. She understood them, would read and interpret to the pleasure of all of us.
One of Dad's trips, looking for better ground or more suitable work, took him down into Delta, Millard County, where we subsequently moved. With the proceeds from the sale of the homestead at Penrose, Dad negotiated for 80 acres of ground in the Sugarville/Delta area; a place on which the family stayed for several years -----the younger ones much longer than I. Soon it was discovered there was too much alkali in the ground for good harvests of beets, grain, or anything. We all learned what this dreadful white and brown/black alkali was all about, a hateful thing for raising crops. The sub-surface water comes to the top; but would not drain off sufficiently to remove the salt; thus killing anything growing. We fought this problem with everything known but the soil would be hot in this alkali condition and either kill or leave nubbins for roots.
A large Company from Minnesota came in to drain the soil, for an astronomical sum of money ----$20.00 per acre; which broke many of the farmers, (we included). Only the very hardiest of people stayed, mostly members of the Mormon Church. Many moved into California; where Serge and I later went to seek our fortunes. It seemed that those who survived, and were later successful, had to resort to cattle raising to supplement farming, for eventually, even the huge beet factory was removed from Delta. That project which had been built at great cost was abandoned. I must comment upon the very successful artesian well, which we as a family, drilled on that Sugarville farm. This was quite a feat to develop, but a necessity; having pumped for personal use as well as to take care of all livestock, for many years. The water was so refreshing and satisfying that John was inspired to fix up an attractive sign to hang on the barn, reading Bon Eau Ranch (French words for Good Water). It flowed six gallons of cold satisfying water per minute; and was perhaps our richest farm asset.
With the purchase of this ranch came a team of mules; Jack and Jinny, unusually large animals, and tough rascals. Dad was anything but a horseman. He resorted to the catalogs and ordered halters and harnesses for these mules. I remember coming out one morning to see Dad hanging in mid air. Old Jack had decided he didn't like something Dad did and lifted him way up ---Dad dangling from the halter. During the first week or so, Dad thought he liked driving them, and on the first trip into Delta ---12 miles away, I was with Dad in the buckboard and the team of mules. After a mile or two near a farmer's yard, one mule wanted to go inside. Dad pulled, but a little farther on, the other mule pulled in the other direction. We were far from being one-half way to town when Dad grew weary of it and said, "Son, do you want to drive?"
At Delta we had to go out to what we called "the Cedars", some thirty miles Northeast of our home, to get wood and also posts. In between our supply of cedar wood, we had only greasewood to burn for all needs ----never enough for a full winter. This was a project every year.
Another reason to go there, when we could find no other work, was to cut posts for sale, as fence posts. Dad was a pretty good woodchopper and together we could gather a goodly sum for market. Year after year, in mid-winter before daylight, we would be on our way up there toward the Weldon Ranch. We had to carry a few barrels of frozen water for our personal use as well as that for the animals, along with our food provisions. When nearing the area, we would look for a slope of woodland, which would often be a long ways off the main road or general path. One particular year of this trek to the woods stands out in my mind. It was the year of the tragic worldwide Spanish influenza epidemic, which caused so many deaths. We found ourselves up there in the woods, running short of supplies; and soon there was none. The arrangements, which had previously been made for another wagon to bring us food and supplies, had not materialized. No one had come, and finally I was the one elected to go for supplies.
I had never made that full trip alone, but I had to walk it, and I was plenty weak, sick with the dread flu, and suffering badly as I straggled into home. The thought of that flu reminds me of a story, which was part of our Priesthood manual lessons a few years ago. The story pointed up the birth of Welfare ---not the Welfare Program as inaugurated by President Lee in 1936, but this manual story was a true one of a father who lived in Lehi (the place of my birth). This man received a phone call stating that one of his family members was ill; and before the father could do anything the person had died with flu. He went to that area to help, and buried within a few days, his son and a grandchild. Within two days following, he received word of another child's death. In all, he lost four or five family members, claimed by this terrible influenza. The story told of the father heroically building the coffins, making arrangements and burying them in Lehi, Utah. The next day, he finally was able to go into his field, realizing how much had been neglected there. On his way he met one after another, wagons coming from his field, and the drivers each making cheery remarks to him. During all of his tragic experience, he had held up without any breakdown; but when he got to his field and looked around, there were no beets to harvest. His neighbors had banded together and had 'cropped’ his whole acreage. He then did breakdown. Sitting beside his wagon he uttered "Thank God, for the Welfare!'. I somehow could relate to this story; having lived in Lehi, raised sugar beets, and suffered thru the influenza.
In the general Sugarville, Abraham and Sutherland farming areas, the farmers would sometimes have a private sale, which included anything and everything. They would advertise in the local paper; the 'missus' would prepare a lot of food for prospective buyers; a well-known auctioneer would be arranged for; the local banker would be on hand; and the seller would 'go to it'. Mother never enjoyed hearing of these sales for too often Dad was tempted to buy something, which was not a priority need. Jeff Clark, who happened to be the man who had brought us down to the Delta area in the beginning, was the auctioneer and a born salesman. These auctions were interesting. A very large variety of materials and things, inside and out of the house, seemed to get sold. You couldn't go to one of these sales without coming home with something. The purchase I want to refer to on this particular day was a team of horses, whether or not we could afford this team, we certainly needed them. This team of gray horses became our proud possession --a team of mares, which we named Fan & Pet. We were very thrilled later when they foaled; we then had a couple of colts. We lost one of the mares after several seasons, and Dad being impressed with the beautiful coat of hide, decided on answering an ad to have this hide tanned, and dyed black, which he then shipped back East to have made into a coat, with matching hat and gloves. The hat was a visored cap with earflaps. Everyone seeing it was sure this was bear fur, the resemblance was so striking. The heavy coat was worn much and lasted indefinitely.
Dad also walked in from the Cedars one night, in the dead of winter, and suddenly showed up at the door, wearing this heavy black coat, with gloves and cap. Icicles were hanging from his moustache, two to three inches long, and frost all over his coat. He had walked in that severe weather and was exhausted and ill. What a sight! I think of an ill man walking that distance, but also carrying the weight of that heavy coat. I would like to here state that anything I have recounted at anytime, concerning walking or any type of physical accomplishments or feats are dulled and secondary in comparison to feats performed by our father. He had an unusually strong physique; born and raised in the Old Country; he had walked many marathons. He had a terrific shoulder, he could lift many times his own weight, never a weakling in any manner; so it took a pretty tough individual to follow him or do even part of what he could do of anything he knew --which was largely menial, hand labor. Incidentally, the neighboring farmers would always pay him .5O to a dollar more than anyone else in doing shoveling, pitching, or the like.
[A side note about the coat; many years later, Viola had that same heavy black coat cut down into one that she wore. Being horsehide, it was indestructible; and in cutting it down to an attractive size, all worn spots were cut away. Thus, altered, it brought service to her through many cold seasons.]
Before the automobile age, I was quite a horseman and had some interesting experiences. An individual riding pony was hard to come by among us boys. As they were acquired, they would be claimed by the whole. Most often we needed a dual-purpose horse, and so it was really quite pleasant when a good riding horse could be used on the buggy and fill in on such occasions. Such a one was a good roan horse, which we had ridden in from the promitory. This roan fathered a pony with a roan mane and we called the colt "Quince". I tended her when she was just a colt and later 'broke her’ for riding, by getting her along side the fence, jump on her and hang on for dear life until in due time, she became more tame, and developed into a wonderful pony enjoyed by all of us. She became a very very fleet little animal, much admired by even our neighbors; and I found that no one could out-run me --even though there were experienced cowboys and animals in the area. She was always willing for a race, and many times I had to hold her back. One summer on Quince, together with a neighbor friend, we rode out on the range and captured three wild mustangs. We later found one was branded which had to be returned; even so on that venture I acquired another little bay pony, which we raised and which served the family very well. He never grew very large, but was smart and dependable. This one, "Flash", learned to go around the trapping line and to carry home pelts. I know that often a horse would be spooked by a pelt, and would be lost if not handled right. Felix inherited this horse, Flash. He treated him with a lot of respect and fondness, getting a lot of use from that animal. I can picture Felix now coming in from the trap line, carrying a dead animal, tail swinging down.
Flash suffered a heart attack one day when both Marc and Ralph were riding him. He crumpled under them and died.
Horses were common to us boys (and also the sisters). We learned to ride bareback without saddles. Many times our britches were so burned from riding eight and ten miles that we could hardly walk. I remember the strong races we engaged in while running these wild horses down on the promitory ---jumping sand dunes and the like, to cut the band of wild horses off. There were a lot of wild ones in that country, burros too, and this was some sport. Many people tried to buy Quince, the riding mare, but she remained with our family and I truly hated leaving her when I went away.
I left the family and farm life rather early, taking a job with a railroad in Salt Lake City, and then the Ogden Roundhouse, where I stayed with our friends, the Elswoods, at least part of the time. I worked at various crafts there, and would have probably gone out as a railroad fireman when ad-vancements were offered, but mother discouraged my signing on with this definite 'away-from-home-job'. One experience while working at Salt Lake roundhouse, I helped outfit President Harding's train. He said if we did a good job, he would meet with us, which he did in the Hotel Utah. Then I learned that on his short trip into Northern California, he died. I had then left the railroad, had gone to Bingham Mines, and was there running an air hoist back 2-1/2 miles into the mountain. As we miners received the word of United States President Harding's death, we took off our hats and stood in two or three minutes silence. I was a very young man then among a mature and mixed group of varied nationalities ---the Bohemian type. I knew little or nothing of politics and national affairs. When one of these older men turned to me and asked, "What do you think of this man, Coolidge?", I was obliged to answer that I didn't know much about him. I have reflected many times since as I have become quite involved in politics, as I remember this man turning and shaking his head, saying, "What a pity, no one knows".
It was while working there in Bingham Mines, during fall of 1923, that I also received word of my brother John's death; and as recounted other where in these writings, I left the mines then to return home with the body and stayed home a very short time.
Many other jobs I worked included road construction here and about, and even into the beautiful Ogden canyon where I worked at Hermitage Hotel. I also recall a vivid experience of fire fighting while working on Tremonton farms. This was a sad experience for most of the crop belonging to a poor and older man, a widower with two half-grown children, was destroyed. He had solicited help from the Tremonton Township and one other fellow and myself went back into the mountains to help with his farm. We worked several weeks with this farmer, stacking grain. One day, at noon, looking across the field a long distance away, we sited smoke. We could not really be sure of what we saw; but the farmer was uneasy; so when we finished eating, we went on the buckboard (four of us), taking some shovels and sacks and headed for the site of smoke. If you can picture the rolling hills of dry farm, you see us travel through gulleys, ditches, some fences, etc., over a wide range. We at length arrived at the foot of the hill where we could see the smoke. Now the harvest had been nearly all cropped, and fortunately there was some ploughed ground around the house. One of these four owned the team; and the farmer stayed on his riding horse. The man with the horses would not go on with us, saying he had already lost a team on a similar experience; so even though the others of us thought him ·”chicken", we could not coax him to proceed further. Three of us barely got to the top of the hill when a gust of wind came up, and it seemed a full span of about two miles of fire met us head-on. Without a word being spoken, the three of us turned back as fast as we could go, throwing our shovels to the side. I was tearing down that hill about sixty miles per hour, praying my legs would not give way. When a boulder appeared before me, somehow I found the ability to escape falling. Looking to the side, I could see the rabbits running as fast as I. We reached the bottom of the hill to find the man had turned his team around, which was now raring and jumping. For this we were thankful as we bounded aboard. It seemed ages of running, and with the fire coming so fast, it was a race for our lives. Aboard the buckboard, we were hanging on desperately as the team ran wildly. The heat of the fire could be felt and every once in a while the wind would favor us, the fire would slow a little and we would make a small gain as we raced toward the cottage. The farmer on his own horse had beaten us there and had rescued his daughter and son, along with a cow and calf ---taking them out into the ploughed area. But the lives were all that was saved. Later that evening after sending word into Tremonton, fifty, sixty or more people arrived, and we fought fire most of that night. I can tell you that your breath leaves you and you become parched, but we kept hammering away until the fire was finally extinguished.
I was thus about three years in total away from home, seeking my fortune, tying to get enough money to feel proud enough to return home, but I barely kept even. It was not until John's death that I did return. I stayed home that year from September 1923, until the end of the year, helping with the farming. As much as I disliked the drudgery of beet work, I surprised myself by leasing a piece of ground, and apart from helping Dad, raised a fairly good crop of sugar beets. I even received a small bonus many months later after the saccharin test was made to determine sugar content of the crop.
We lived at the beginning of the automobile age. There were a few cars in the Delta area ---but not many before Serge and I acquired the first for our family. Learning to drive was an experience. Both Serge and I had learned by borrowing and riding with others while working at the Foley Camp on the drain. Learning to use the foot pedals ---to step on the clutch and the brakes at same time, the clutch throwing the auto out of gear, all of this took some doing. We decided we had to have a car. We had to talk Dad into parting with a cow. Then we went into Delta to the Pace Dealer Garage. The sum of this vehicle was $325.00. The old celluloid windows were what was available those days, with an adjustable windshield, also a roll down top; but the side curtains were also of this celluloid isinglass variety, which was never very durable. This was about a 1923-24 model and we were truly proud of it. It is my recollection that we (Serge and I) left for California the first of 1924.
We were sorely tempted to take this car with us; but finally decided through our discussions that Dad and the family needed it worse than we, realizing what a chore it was to get to town of Delta by team and wagon. Dad was not mechanical but we figured he would learn; and he did after a fashion. Before leaving, during that winter, I had learned how the radiator could freeze up, coming for just two or three miles. If you didn't leave the water petcock open, for that distance, before arriving at your destination, you would have to stand in the freezing cold waiting for the water to drain completely, for it must be completely drained while the motor was yet running. So we learned to time it just right, from the main road to the canal, then back into the farm road. The next morning we usually had to use a bit of a torch made up from newspapers to warm the engine in order to get it going. Another unique subject in this connection was that concerning tires. People today think little of having a tire burst, for they seek service from a mechanic immediately. Forgotten is the art of mending a tire and tube. We used to have kits and knowledge of repair. On one of our trips going to Stake Conference in Delta, we were riding, fully loaded, on little old narrow tires, badly worn. I can still remember, and I don't think I am exaggerating if I state that we had an explosion nine or ten times along the way that day; but we would whip out our kits and repair the tube and then pump up with our hand pump. The dust was about six inches deep in the ruts; and I was sick of it! I thought, "How come we are going; what kind of spirit can we have when we get there?" That was my worst experience on that subject! We did have to purchase a new tire in Delta before returning to Sugarville. This problem is forgotten today on the freeways; but then, it was not uncommon for several autos to be stalled along the roadside with tire or other motor problems.
I had some rough experiences with the car before leaving but still felt it was in excellent shape as we left it with Dad. Next year in Los Angeles, Serge and I talked it over and decided one of us should go home to help, and since I had been away three years previously, I felt morally obliged to go, so I did. I will never forget getting off that train in Delta. There the family had come to meet me also a girl friend of mine. By some unexplainable reason, I am not now able to define, I was most embarrassed meeting this girl there that day and I remember her wearing galoshes. I still can't explain why it was so upsetting. But ----the most horrible sight to see was what remained of that Model T Ford, of which we had been so proud. Stuffing was bursting from the two seats, nothing was left of either the top or the side curtains, and the windshield was shattered. I have since thought many times, living with nice highways and in fine climates, (today, a car would take ten years of hard solid driving to look like that), but all of this had occurred in one season in that extreme climate and on difficult roads. It looked fifty years old to me! I was thoroughly disappointed. Everything and everyone aged painfully in that area! I didn't stay at home but a few months and upon my return to Southern California I signed on with a firm, which Serge was now working with ---a road construction company. We were working for very modest wages those years --$25.00 per week or something of that nature, and it was sometime along here that I received that small beet bonus check --a real surprise! I worked in various capacities, as warehouseman, and purchasing agent with quite a bit of authority to spend, which was quite an experience for a kid from the farm. Later I became paymaster and carried huge amounts of money and had access to all kinds of check writing. I remember my hard, tough old bass saying, "Old Ivan is the only one who didn't steal from me". I enjoyed my work and wanted to go ahead. The Company was very successful, to prove this I'll state that I witnessed two of the men who were apprehended for stealing $100,000.00, being hauled off to account for theft. John M. Nicholson, a favored man, was a debonair accountant/controller for this Oswald Brothers Contracting. He used to talk with me about Clarence M. Darrow. I later learned he was thinking of this famous Dow as an attorney for himself. John engaged in duplication of checks. When he would go to the bank, he would ask others if they wanted him to cash their checks, this becoming a weekly thing to do for five or six years. About four o'clock one evening the sheriff walked in, saying, "John N. Nicholson, we want you." John never picked up his hat that afternoon, he went out so fast.
Those were booming days in Los Angeles in paving roads, our Company doing a major amount of the work.
It should have been mentioned that shortly after I got on steady at Oswalds, Serge left for his mission, and I, having steady work, was able to contribute toward his stay. Although Serge had received his call from our old Sugarville Ward, we had become quite active and well accepted in the Matthews Ward, Los Angeles Stake; and I continued more so after his leaving. One of the main social activities included the Men's Chorus in which I participated, both singing and as an officer. This was a large group with an ambitious program. Edwin N. LeBaron was in charge, and a Brother Salt was the chorus director with Hortense Steed (Jean Lauper 's sister), as organist. We had a wonderful sophisticated chorus there. In performing, the men wore tuxedos and the women wore white formals. We had plans of singing a schedule that would even include Honolulu (which was then a world away from each of us). We had weekly rehearsals and my task of gathering and caring for the dues money was quite a job. I had accumulated about six thousand dollars in our Hawaiian Fund before we ran into difficulties, making it necessary to cancel and return the money to the various contributors.
In connection with this job I became well acquainted with Stake Pres. Leo J. Muir and others. Following Serge's return from his mission, and after several months had passed, I was asked to fill a mission. I had for a long time felt we should concentrate on helping Dad and the family be-come a little secure; but upon Serge's return, it took a while for him to find work. I was helping him a little; but by this time Alice was established with me and was working and paying her way. Early in year 1929, Dad made a trip to California and fell in love with the growing areas. We couldn't talk him out of buying into some acreage out in Camarillo. Well, I definitely wanted the family down before leaving Los Angeles, so I went home to help sell the farm equipment and anything of value. Dad didn't go back ---it would have been truly hard for him to liquidate his possessions back on the Sugarville farm. He loved it here and said of California, this is the land where I want to die".
My official mission call had not come through but was to be sent to me at Utah home, so I culminated my affairs in Los Angeles before leaving.
It should be stated that before Serge's leaving for his mission, he had invested in a lot. He got a good buy at $2700.00. In those years they had no restraint, commissioner-wise for the State. They hired a man known as Tito Scipio the world's foremost singer, and a Development Company paid him $3,000 to sing at a sunset service to attract people to buy. It was supposed to be oceanfront, which it was not -- it was ocean view. I kept up the payments on this lot during Serge's absence, and I remember how I wore out nearly every girl I could get to drive out with me, trying to locate this property, undeveloped at the time, it was hard to find. It would be worth lots of money today. I recently found myself in Palm Springs talking with a son of the man, McCoy, who had continued selling real estate there. He said his dad couldn't get commissions during the depression. On four occasions he had taken some of these lots (along side Serge's original purchase) in place of his $200.00 commission. This son said his dad sold the four lots for $20,000.00 apiece.
So Serge and I, together, owned this little lot at the time I was leaving in prospect of a mission. I asked for, and got without question, a loan of $1500.00 on the lot. After the banker went and took a look of it, he came immediately and asked if I wanted to sell it; but this we didn't do until some years later after I had returned from England. At any rate that was to be my going away money and served its good stead to get me started in the field. But upon arrival home in Utah, without my official call, mother spoke with the local Stake President, Alonzo A. Hinckley about me. He was a very good friend of the family and particularly fond of mother. Pres Hinckley told me he would be going to Salt Lake within a very few days and arranged that I was to meet him there. So, we held a kind of auction sale, disposing of what we could, and gathering whatever payment we could. True, some of the items were never paid for. A boxcar was loaded with a wagon, a team, a pony, two or three cows, and whatever household goods we could include in there. This railroad car was at a price of $135.00. Brother Marcel elected to accompany the railroad car and our possessions to its California destination. Then we managed to purchase another Model T Ford, which needed some repairs. I went to the garage and got that worked out. At length it was refurbished for the long trip from Delta to Salt Lake, and thence to California.
As per arrangement, in Salt Lake City, at the foot of the Church Office Building, I met with Pres. A. A. Hinckley. He said, "Now Ivan where do you think you would like to go?" I thought how Mother had always cautioned that no one should select their mission location (although I understand that many do). Somehow I couldn't refrain from stating that "at my age, I think I shouldn't try to learn a foreign language but I would like to go abroad". President Hinckley went upstairs and within fifteen minutes he returned saying, "You're going to England". He told how President Grant had inquired of our finances, and President Hinckley had told him that some of the family back home might go short during this period but, "He'll stay on through".
We visited in Salt Lake a very little, and in Lehi we visited the Phillips cousins, and then set out on our way to California. I was responsible for the driving of course, but I did turn the wheel to the younger ones a few times. As we were approaching St. George, I wearied and turned to Dennis, asking him to drive for a while --he was then just 14 years of age. It was late at night, everyone tired, and the driving strenuous on those roads, but I felt he could handle it for a while. 35 to 40 mph was top speed, but suddenly there was bumping and difficulty in holding the road. Dennis did not recognize the trouble, and not until I was awakened was it discovered we had a flat tire, which had been pretty well ruined by driving on it far too long. This trip was almost five days of travel, from northern Utah, probably to Beaver, then maybe as far as St. George, and one could never get passed Las Vegas without having to put a heavy rear spring on the ford, the most important spring and the most costly. Somehow those old roads would not let you by without this investment. None of us can forget stopping at a place near Las Vegas for gas. In our carload was mother, Dennis, Ralph, Viola and myself. We were all parched. The station man would offer us nothing but a bucket of stale water, stating that warm water was so much better for us than cool. I often grew very sleepy, for our camping at night was very sketchy. We were in the San Bernardino Mountains when I asked Vi to drive. She was willing though had very little experience, and here again I didn't awaken until seconds before saving us from tipping from the ridge. But somehow we made it! Before leaving Los Angeles this time, I gathered whatever resources I could, I helped to buy some used pipes and shipped them out to Camarillo where the family was now located. These pipes were to irrigate dad's 5-acre berry farm. I later heard they were not strong enough, burst all over, etc. and so I can distinctly remember feeling, "I've got a tough-go, Dad, but you've got it worse than I".
Eventually, I was on my way to England, although if it had not been for sister Alice I would never have been able to make the mission. M little sister Alice worked hard at the Goodyear plant, in Los Angeles, and sent money regularly every month. After a certain period of time, Harry Madsen sent me $5.00 and Julius also asked Grandma to contribute something, so I think it was $15.00 she sent once. Once in a while Serge was able to send a little, Aunt Alice Phillips sent something a time or two. Dad wrote with his little expression of, "Sorry I can't help, etc, etc". But during my mission I always managed to have some little money ahead. I never used up all I had, but secretly put away a little in Barclay's Bank. I had a companion with a banker father, another whose father had a lot of cattle, and another a lot of sheep, but my sister kept the money coming regularly to me, and I was able to loan to most of my companions. Alice was the main contributor; and mind you, this was during a tough depression -my mission started in midyear of 1929. The notorious stock market crash took place while I was over there. My companion with a banker father was eating when he heard of the crash, and choked and spilled his food. This was Cyrus W. Greaves, who has remained a close friend to this day. I later helped this man and his wife buy his lot in San Diego, on which he built his home about 8-1/2 years ago at a cost of $50,000. He is now retired from his college position, borrowed money on his home property and is touring Russia. We are very very good friends.
I went over to England on the world's largest ship, Leviathon, and returned on one of America's large ships, The George Washington. The Leviathon was a very large ship, very commodious, and I learned walking around the promenade deck was considered to be a mile and one quarter. It had a crew of 900 and carried 3,000 passengers. It had two swimming pools, a lot of luxury which I had never before experienced. This ship was owned by Germany but the U.S. acquired it during World War I, and I am told that it carried over a full division of soldiers. It contributed toward winning of the War.
We arrived and the Mission President took me into the area where he lived, and within about two weeks a worldwide Scout Jamboree was in session at Birkenhead, a town across the channel from Liverpool, England. They wanted four representatives of the 200 missionaries in the Great Britain mission. (There were then about only 200 Stakes within the Church). I was one of the four our President selected to attend this Jamboree. While on this assignment we worked out of Durham House where Apostle John A. Widstoe was in charge of the European Missions I had dinner with this fine Apostle a couple of times. We met the Prince of Wales, Lord Baden Powell who was the father of Scouting. No less than fifty-three Nations were represented there, and this whole encampment was and is very picturesque in my memory, even though it rained m6st of the time. At tines, we felt inclined to change the name to "Mudderee". We had a wonderful time there in exchanging literature, coins, memoirs, and friendship. The whole purpose was to kindle a feeling of camaraderie to be taken back into the various countries, and to dismiss any thoughts toward future wars! How ironic this has been.
Proselyting, as compared to success of today, was not too good, even though it was not considered too bad for those times. Sum total of my success was three baptisms, two women, plus the daughter of one of these. Part of our success with the mother and daughter was because we Elders lived with them, became friends, and were able to teach them. We had our disappointing times and experiences. We were under fire continuously from Satan’s non-believers. Once in a while we secured a good news release; but not generally. Our tracting was same as anywhere in those days ---60 hours per week, and we held lots of street meetings. Our efforts on the main were valiant; at first we were accused of being too eager. My job was of a heavy nature. Being a little older than the average Elder, I was called to preside over those who got themselves into trouble, those with disagreements, or heavy discouragement. True as always, there were some young Elders who gained more than they gave. We even had a young man, 17 years of age. He was an A-student, ahead of himself in school, so he was called. During this time, I also had an operation which set me back physically for a while, so I was called to be clerk in the District Office for a period. I was then located in Birmingham, the largest city other than London. It was a most beautiful city and likened to Los Angeles. The last seven months I spent in London. Prior to that I spent much time in the worn out areas, opening up and trying to stimulate. At that time the Church owned only three buildings in the whole British Isles, other than the Mission Home. One of those, North Hampton, was totally vacant, due to inactivity. The first assignment, after leaving Birmingham, was to try to find and gather and revitalize what members were left in that area ---most of the valiant members had departed for America. It was there I came close to being whipped by an irate husband. The wife was wonderful, she had kept the spirit going in her household all through the dreadful war, but her husband came by while we were visiting with her and soundly objected; so of course we never went back. We had one other chapel in Kidderminster. The steam pipes burst there and it was a cold place. I remember the Branch President saying, “Why can't you Elders allow us enough money to remedy this and that?" I had to tell him; "Brother 'G', if you look here, you will see the Church is sending you far more support money than you are sending in tithing." There were no women missionaries until toward the end. Then one missionary came with his wife, and that helped allay some of the polygamy suspicion. That was away up to the Northern part of the district and state, at Manchester. That sister was the first lady missionary other than our President's wife and this was good. I’ve mentioned my good friend Cyrus W. Greaves. We were the two companions whose minds met most closely; but of course, we had only a limited time together. We each wished we had been released at the same time for we would have had a glorious trip home. The two Elders I did return with were boys from Idaho, they were reluctant to even spend for a meal, let alone to spend any time or money seeing that which was available, even though they each had access to much more money than I. When we reached Vienna, I was out-walking them at every instance, one was lovesick and they had no interest in seeing the San Sus Palace where later Pres Kennedy and Kruschev met. I said, "I'm going on to see Budapest, etc." They nearly mutinied on me there, but didn't dare travel alone, so we managed to stay together until arrival back to Salt Lake City.
When returning to Southern California, following my Mission to England, the Depression was over. After difficulty, I secured a job with Pay N' Pakit Grocery at Pomona. In thinking back about Safeway policies, I say, "If it hadn't been for Harold Fair, who was managing a Safeway store in Indio, California, and who wasn't able to balance his records, resulting in my being pulled out of the store in Pomona to go into Indio and oversee and check up on Harold, I would have probably never have met Helen, who became my wife." Harold was a well-liked manager but could never 'make an inventory '. I was sent there to stay at least two years. At this store, Mr. Fair and all his crew were great friends of Helen Burke, a frequent customer. I was presently keeping company with a girl in Pomona, and was all ready to drive over to see her in my little jump seat Ford one evening, when Helen and I stood talking at the store. She tells me now that she deliberately planned to keep me from going back over to Pomona. Helen and I really socialized for the first time at a dance where she was doing some judging in a contest. She herself, was a very good dancer and we both enjoyed this activity. Our first date was when she was to take a group of girl scouts to the Salton Sea for an outing, and I accompanied her. As summer came on, the weather in Indio was extremely hot and I would retreat toward the mountains of Idyllwild on my time off, going with Helen; for her brother had a cabin there. When I was away from that locale, Helen wrote letters, and we kept appointments pretty regularly. It was not too long before we knew what our plans were, and I had asked Mother and Alice to visit, to become acquainted. They came down from Ventura and Helen showed them all around the area and they liked each other. In due time our marriage plans were made and arrangements were also made for a release from our jobs in that locale. Helen had been working as a secretary for a large date grower, known as Shields Gardens. She was very influential there and well thought of, having full charge of rather a large operation in packing and shipping dates. They were reluctant and sorry to have her leave.
The climate at Indio was a 'different world' ---l24 degrees for four successive days at one time, and no air conditioning! I lived with a roommate in what was referred to as a submarine. It consisted of an ordinary house covered with a burlap canopy and water running over the burlap (this was over a tin roof). The water running off it was so hot that if you walked outside (which happened once) and came in contact with this water, you were scalded. It was HOT! Here, one day at work, I experienced my first heat prostration. I would become so warm that I would drink constantly. A fellow worker kept count one day and stated that I had taken ten glasses within one hour. These were large tumblers of very palatable water; and this was too much! We didn't know too much at that time about retaining salt in our bodies. I had felt that a strong headache would indicate the onset of heat prostration, but learned in this instance, it was not always the case. I was sick! The submarine living was stuffy and uncomfortable, and yet the nearest to livable manner we could obtain.
When Helen's and my plans leaned toward marriage, it became necessary for Helen to become a member of the Church, as we had talked only of a Temple marriage. Helen had known something of the Mormons through a former friend back in Kansas City; not a great deal, but enough to give her proper leanings; so it was not too difficult to have her taught and understand the Gospel. In due time she became a convert and I have said often, "She is a much better member than I". On our way to Helen’s baptism at Matthews Ward, Los Angeles, we stayed over night with friend, Cleone Skousen in San Bernardino; and then, within the proper amount of time, we applied for a Temple recommend. Eventually, both of us became released from our jobs and we parted with good recommendations, although it was difficult later to regain an equal earning power. We had Dad come from Ventura to join up with us and Mother and Alice proceeded to Salt Lake on their own to meet us there, for our Temple marriage on June 28, 1934. Mother and Father came through the Temple with us. (I recall with some amusement how Father found himself a few times in situations where the worker said he shouldn't be, and on one occasion was told, 'We’re going to marry you, old man, if you don't move out of here". Father had had few opportunities to attend temple sessions and I can remember some of the difficulties in the dressing routine. The shirt we had purchased for him just prior to our entry that day, was filled with a dozen or so pins, and in the dressing room he muttered, "Of all the times, of all the times". These are memories that stay with me, as with Helen, along with our personal excitement of our wedding day.
We had previous thoughts about going home by looping up through Boise, Idaho, but I discovered our time too short, finances too low, and even though I had purchased some tires before setting out from California, we had a bit too heavy a load on our return (Alice and Mother were with us now); and our tires were showing signs of too much wear. We dispensed with some of our plans ---money was very scarce. I remember walking on the South Temple Street with Dad, when he asked, "Son, do you have a little money?" I gave him a couple of dollars and I always think softly of that request for we still have the little cookie jar which Dad went forth and purchased to give to Helen. After foregoing further tripping, we quickly returned home, and I soon received an assignment as Relief Manager of different stores for Safeway, starting at Riverside, Rialto, and other spots; and finally was assigned as Manager of the Safeway Store in Claremont, California, a town made up of Professional people and school teachers. Four colleges were there. We there, had more friends and belonged to more committees ---and were with less time and money than any place we've ever been since. Helen joined me in working this store and it was rather an uphill job during those depression years. Our store did not fit the area requirements. We had many invitations to clubs, committees, and I became vice-president of Chamber of Commerce, as well as secretary of the Kiwanis Club.
All of this at about the time I was taken into the Ontario Ward Bishopric, where I later became Bishop, serving for three years. The demand on our time was quite severe and our money as well. We found it necessary to help many people in the Church. There were only three or four phones in the whole Ward, thus requiring constant travel on Sundays and during evenings. Helen became Relief Society president, which was quite a challenge. I've often wondered how a newly converted member, and a bride, could accept the challenges of these few years. It was quite a strain. Although we were most welcome in the town of Ontario, they were frugal spenders, which didn't help our business. At the same time, to supplement our income and to help Helen's brother, we opened a cafe just across the street from our store. This went on for about 6-1/2 years, at which time I was ambitious enough to want to go further in the Company and kept insisting that I be given a better store or a new one. I was finally granted privilege to locate a new site, and after many hours spent on the weekends, I did center on a new location, which the Company accepted. But somehow by this time, I had lost enthusiasm and spirit for the future of that town. I couldn't see where that area offered a basis for a successful operation so I had the Company dismiss the idea and abandon the site.
I still continued on with the Company but was glad to leave Claremont --where I had found the 'retirement dollar' along with the 'professional dollar' to be the two toughest dollars one can ever get. For a short time I helped out in nearby Pomona, and then I received an assignment to go to a store in Baldwin Park. The manager there was well liked, but again, he couldn't cut the inventory, and he hadn't kept a very clean store, so the Company sent us in there. The business volume was better and I was gaining advancement, but I still wasn't satisfied. I wanted one of their best stores, or even aspired toward being Supervisor. During those years the top district managers were changing positions often, and by the time one became acquainted with one or gained a promise, he would be transferred or otherwise dislocated. I was secure in my position, but the depression added an extra workload. The system required the balancing of payrolls on the weekend and this was mine. The depression allowed for only poor wages -- 40 cents per hour for helpers, until a strike took place at Vultee and then we were able to increase my helper's wages to 50 cents per hour. I had been trained as a meat co-manager and I had pretty good knowledge of the meat business, which I had used in Claremont. That came in good stead here; however, it was at this location that the Pearl Harbor incident occurred. I had already been able to see indications that there was a climax near, when my vegetable man said his truck had been conscripted. We entered that period of war; and one by one, I lost my help. I certified my best man to become a flier and I remember him starting to eat quantities of carrots to assure his 20/20 vision.
In due time I was able to secure a store ---one of the newer ones, with all the latest facilities in Rosemead. By then the war pressure was heavy and I couldn't get sufficient, nor satisfactory, help. I was one of the first of two stores to introduce girl clerks, and this was an entirely new venture. One by one, the men were replaced by girls as the men went either into the service or into defense plants. This was an added burden, and I found myself working harder and longer hours. To keep one girl, I had to raise her salary four times within one month. It was kind of interesting thing, however, not pleasurable, that when I finally made the decision to break --- was a long, hard problem to resolve, but the pressure of the defense plants, when their officers continually tried to recruit me, finally brought this decision on. I finally told Mr. Tanner that I thought I would resign. As he queried me about wanting out, he then began looking for a replacement; and that which I refer to as amazing is the fact that it took him three months to find someone. I recalled when I had started work with this Company, I had seen them check men out over and over within ten and fifteen minutes time, for they reasoned that if the employee were no longer interested, they were untrustworthy to have around. The times, and the manpower, had changed drastically. I left with good relations, but with a great deal of reflection, because I had thought seriously of making this my career.
From there, I went into the Defense Shipyards, and spent nearly two years there, but had decided by then that I would never again work for anyone else. I came out, and spent quite a little time looking for a location for my own store site. I think I probably walked and inventoried ---maybe forty businesses from Long Beach on up North. Eventually, we located in the little town of Willowbrook ---a little 'Mamma and Papa' type store doing a lot of business. We worked hard there for about five years. It was while there the war ended, but our landlord made our decision when he sold the whole area including our store site. We had done well enough to save some money and we left there for Northern California, this being rather a result of Mother's constantly expressed wishes that we could all be closer together. We went into business in the Concord area up North, but we never liked it. It was a different environment, different way of doing business; and even though going ahead, we rather welcomed the decision made for us by the State Highway when they announced plans to 'come through', taking the frontal part of our store. We yet had four units of property held in Southern California so used this as excuse to return South. I had, in the interim, obtained a real estate license and had even practiced a little in Long Beach. This came about as a result of a realtor friend urging me. Having kept my broker's license in force when I returned to Southern California, I looked for investments such as apartments. I carried on with this until at one time, we had accumulated as many as fourteen rentals.
|Helen and Ivan, year?|
As soon as I could, I entered Real Estate, and for the last full twenty-one years, I have operated on Compton Boulevard, in Compton ---the first six years with an older office, but as an independent broker and salesman associates. The years in Real Estate have been good financially; and at times very hectic. The fluctuation of the cost of money and interest rates, along with the National picture affects widely the type of business I am in. However, during the earlier period I found that if you were going to be successful, one had to be real large --or very small in your overhead. With this view in mind I decided it was far better to 'buy and sell' properties whenever you could. I had a partner at first, but he was not aggressive enough; although agreeable. Eventually, I bought his share and have since been entirely on my own. For these many years I have operated as a Realtor-Broker, but my main interest, according to the area, has been in purchasing and selling home equities. As time went on I found it necessary to learn a great deal about the building and rehabilitation of homes. As I progressed I found it better to operate on my own money, to control things, and this in turn, requires quite a demand on ones time and experience.
I have learned that, at some time or other, thirty-two different industries ---from the Title Company, to the Escrow, to the Fence Man, the Plumber, the Carpenter, the Painters, etc., receive a cut from the deal ----not all at one purchase, but there are thirty-two industries which become activated in the deal.
Our home is still in Compton at this writing (1975). It is now 80% integrated with' minority races; in fact, we are now the minority. Most of my friends have sold and left their homes here in this area. The business section is a complete new world, and I am one of the four or five originals remaining in this section. At one time, our Realtor Board had 100 members; I was Chairman and President in 1968, at which time we had about thirty of the original 100 I think today, there are probably only 68 offices here, and I am one of eight or nine remaining members of the original board. I feel I have done rather well, and I give thanks.
The family members, for the most part, reside in Northern California, but Helen and I go very often to join with them for farewells, birthdays, weddings, blessings of the babes, holidays, and various interests. We go up several times through the year, mostly up and back on the same day. But at times, we stay overnite ---most often at the home of Dennis and Helen. Another pleasure, these past few years, has been the taking of other members of the family, couples, with us on our vacations. Dennis and Helen have been with us each time and make our trips even more enjoyable.