Past Pictures: 25 Years Of House Anniversaries

1st year anniversay

1987: 1st year house anniversary. Only four children

Each year in October, on the anniversary of the day we moved into our home, we take photographs of our family on the steps and just the children in front of our tree. Jill’s idea was to build up a collection of photographs to look back on.

4th year anniversary

1990: 4th year house anniversary. Daniel born in 1989

On this the 25th house anniversary year, we collected as many of the photographs as we could find and display here one for each year. Some are temporarily misplaced, so there are gaps in the record. However, we expect to find the missing years eventually.

5th year anniversary

1991: 5th year house anniversary

On the first house anniversary, Jill wrote:

We had a birthday party celebrating the day we moved into our home. Sarah brought the puzzle home from church so we put it together. Steven made the decorations. We all gave a present to the house by picking up all the garbage scattered around outside. Then we took some family pictures on the front porch. Inside we sang “Happy Birthday Dear Home” and celebrated with cake and ice cream.

6th year anniversary

1993: 7th year house anniversary. Using our tree as a backdrop

1987 Journal entry:

Monday 26th October 1987
We had a very fine FHE — the 1st birthday of our home. We even had a cake with one candle for refreshments. We took 2 photos of the family outside the house. The actual birthday is the 15th of October. Jill did the lesson — seems like Jill and I at one time were hard-pressed to come up with a lesson and didn’t like to do it. Now we both don’t like to give up our turn because we see it as a chance to teach the children something that we’re anxious for them to learn. We still have family prayers and read books to them. They like that.

9th year anniversary

1995: 9th year house anniversary. Sunday best

10th year anniversary

1996: 10th year house anniversary. Utah Centennial

11th year anniversary

1997: 11th year house anniversary

12th year anniversary

1998: 12th year house anniversary. Steven made his first million

13th year anniversary

1999: 13th year house anniversary. Cousins Connor and Ashley join in

14th year anniversary

2000: 14th year house anniversary. Five millennials for the new millenium

15th year anniversary

2001: 15th year anniversary. First year using a digital camera

16th year anniversary

2002: 16th year house anniversary. Steven is on his mission in Chile

17th year anniversary

2003: 17th year anniversary. Steven on his mission

18th year anniversary

2004: 18th year house anniversary. Steven returns. Paul on his mission in California

19th year anniversary

2005: 19th year anniversary. Paul on his mission. Derek, Sarah’s husband, center

20th year anniversary

2006: 20th year house anniversary. Paul returns. Jake on his mission in Mexico

21st year anniversary

2007: 21st year house anniversary. Jake on his mission

22nd year anniversary

2008: 22nd year house anniversary. Jake returns. Adelaide, Steven’s wife, far left. First grandchild, Bryson

23rd year anniversary

2009: 23rd year anniversary. Daniel on his mission in Mongolia. First granddaughter, Aurora. Sarah’s family in Texas

24th year anniversary

2010: 24th year house anniversary. Daniel on his mission. Second granddaughter, Cassandra. Jake engaged to Rachel. Sarah’s family returns

25th year anniversary

2011: 25th year house anniversary. Daniel returns. Paul engaged to Megan

2012: 26th year house anniversary. Second grandson, Jameson. Just prior to trick-or-treating.

Updates

Added 2012 photograph.

Rickety signature

Recollections of Edith Andersen Holst

Easter 1959

Easter 1959. Edith center rear and Delores rear far right

My guest writer is Jill Willoughby, oldest grandchild of Edith Andersen Holst.

This is a letter that Dolores Price wrote to me, dated 24 July 1998, where she tells us she could not make the reunion that year as they would be in Denver. She wrote this additional information about her mother, Edith:

Delores Price

As a young teenager she did housework for Norma Lee who lived in a big house on about 2nd North and Main. She was a hard worker and picked fruit to make money so she could give her children a wonderful Xmas. She loved Xmas and enjoyed going from house to house seeing her brothers and families Christmas.

She could sew beautifully. I can remember my 1st grade teacher having me stand up to show the class a dress Mother had made. Mother and Dolly Rockwood would make Betty and I pretty dresses and bonnets. We both were bald and they would sew hair in bonnets. I have pictures with hair in my eyes and others bald as a cue ball.

She made all our clothes including coats. I was in 8th grade when I got my first store coat. She worked for many years at the cannery and was the fastest tomato peeler they had. I can remember seeing a huge pan of tomatoes coming around the belts announcing that Mother had reached a large number of peeled pans.

When she went to work at the leather factory she was the fastest and best sewer they had. I think she enjoyed working there and made lots of friends, her best friend was Mildred Snow. She made leather coats for family and friends making leather cowboy coats for her grandchildren.

I (Jill) worked at the same factory that Grandma Edith had been at and knew Mildred. I had several conversations with Mildred about Grandma in the early 1970s. I can relate to the hard work Grandma had to do there and how dirty you would get working with the leather. I used many of the sewing machines and probably used one of the same ones Grandma did.

The letter from Delores continues:

She loved picnics and going to the mountains especially up to Glenn’s and Graces. Grace and Mother would put their feet in the creek with great enjoyment. She was close to her brothers and sisters-in-law. We were the first to get a TV and brothers and friends would come and watch wrestling also they liked to play penny poker.

When I was teaching at Bear River High, I bought the red kitchen set for her birthday as a surprise. When they delivered it she made them take it back because she thought they had the wrong house. The store called me at the school to tell me about it and I told them to redelivery it. She was thrilled!

Terry Draper

I remember my Grandma Edith Holst. She would always hug me and I knew she loved me very much.

She worked as a seamstress and she would sew her grandchildren dresses and coats. She would sew a tag into each garment that said, “Made Especially for you by Edith Holst.”

I was able to stay overnight and sometimes for several weeks in the summer. I stayed with my cousins Jill and Susan who also lived in Brigham City.

I remember my Grandma Holst loved to watch the Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday nights. She made wonderful creamed peas and new potatoes. She was a wonderful cook and many family members would be over to enjoy meals together. I remember many birthday parties and picnics in her back yard. I remember the tire swing in the yard.

Grandma usually always had an apron on when she was at home. I remember that she had red wall paper in her kitchen and I remember that the ironing board was in the wall. I remember the drawer in the kitchen that held crayons and paper dolls and such for the grandkids to use.

I remember when I slept over we would usually sleep on the living room floor. I would stay awake to the sounds of many diesel trucks that passed by. The home was on 678 North Main and this was before the freeway.

My favorite part of Grandma and Grandpa Holst’s yard was the weeping willow tree in the front yard. I loved to run around in the branches that hung down. I also loved the Bing cherry tree in the yard next to the garage. The cherries were the sweetest and biggest cherries I ever tasted. To this day I haven’t found any cherries to match. There were many cherry trees in the back and sometimes I got to help pick. I remember picking raspberries.

I remember that Jill and Susan and Julie and I would climb out the basement window while Grandma was at work. While she was a work she would give us some money to walk to the store down the street and buy triple decker ice cream cones.

Grandma would wear a hat and earring when she went to church or somewhere nice. I remember that her earrings had little cushions in the back of them. When Grandpa and Grandma Holst came to our home in Sandy there was always a present for each of us in her suitcase.

I remember many birthday parties in August for my Mom and my birthday were at Lagoon. I have many wonderful memories of Grandma watching us on the little boats and cars and other kiddie rides. I remember Grandma Holst loved Christmas and she would make clothes for us, and give us many presents. Christmas was wonderful at Grandma’s house.

The main thing I remember of Grandma Holst was that she was so very loving. She died on my 13th birthday and I will never forget her. She was a wonderful wife, Mother and Grandmother and I hear stories that she was a very fun Aunt.

Jill, Edith, and Terry

Jill, Edith, and Terry on Valentines Day

The Series

Posts in the series will be added here as they are published.

Edith Andersen Holst Part 3

Edith's children: Glenna, Dolores, and Robert

Edith's children: Glenna, Dolores, and Robert

My guest writer is Jill Willoughby, oldest grandchild of Edith Andersen Holst.

This is the third of three parts of the history of my grandmother, written by her on 21 May 1960. I have included Edith’s handwritten history in the first post.

Edith Andersen Holst, born 25 March 1908, died 10 August 1966, age 58.

In the park (click to enlarge)

Edith and Ross with their children and grandchildren

We have three children, Dolores born January 23, 1928. She married David Price and live in Salt Lake City, Utah. She taught school in Bear River 2 years also after being married she taught at West High also at Hillside Jr. High. She has three children Julie Anne, Cindy Sue & Kenneth David Price.

Robert was born in 3 Oct 1930. He married Janet Joy Jensen they have 4 children Jill Annette, Susan Joy, Scott Robert and Randy Ross Holst. He graduated from High School, joined the National & was called to active duty in the Korean campaign 19 Aug 1950. Received a honorable discharge as Sergeant 20 April 1952, graduated from National School for Radio & T.Y. 1955.

Glenna Ann was born 9 Aug 1932 she married Earl Lynn Andersen they live in Salt Lake City Utah. They both work in the church Lynn just completed a home missionary in 1960. They have 5 children Terry Ann, Michael Lynn, Deborah Kay, Diane Edith and Sandra.

The Edith Series

Posts in the series will be added here as they are published.

A page from the history of Edith's brother Glen showing Edith's children

A page from the history of Edith's brother Glen showing Edith's children

Edith Andersen Holst Part 2

Edith Holst (click to enlarge)My guest writer is Jill Willoughby, oldest grandchild of Edith Andersen Holst.

This is the second of three parts of the history of my grandmother, written by her on 21 May 1960. I have included Edith’s handwritten history in the first post.

Edith Andersen Holst, born 25 March 1908, died 10 August 1966, age 58.

I was married in the Salt Lake court house August the 18, 1927, then married in the Salt Lake Temple, 3rd of October 1928 — before Dolores was born. We first lived in the upstairs of mother’s home for a few months. We then bought a new bedroom set with pink roses painted on it, new grey stove and blue kitchen set. I was so thrilled with it all.

Then we moved down to Gram. Holst till we was able to move in a 2 room apt at Aunt Bell Squires on 7th North Main. We lived there when Dolores was born. I remember when Uncle Dave broke his leg. When Dolores would cry toward morning Uncle Dave would make Aunt Bell get up and come & get her, change & play with her. They both were like angels to us all & we loved them very much.

We then moved to 6th North & Main in a 2 room & a room upstairs. Robert and Glenna was born there. We thought a new one was on the way and we decided to build on. Bill Smith came down and started to dig the foundation in. While we were building we lived with my mother Zina.

I worked in the cannery every season and picked strawberries. Then I went to work at the American Sportswear. I have worked there about 20 years. When I was 17 years old I taught Sunday School with Florence Dunn also after I was married a few years. Ross and I are on the old folks committee, put in 1959.

Coats made by Edith

Coats made by Edith. L-R Rear: Randy, Janet, Lynn, Robert, Glenna. L-R Front: Jill, Susan, Terry, Mike, Scott, Debbie


To be continued.

The Edith Series

Posts in the series will be added here as they are published.

Edith Andersen Holst

Edith with her mother and brothers

Edith with her mother and brothers

My guest writer is Jill Willoughby, oldest grandchild of Edith Andersen Holst.

This is the first of three parts of the history of my grandmother, written by her on 21 May 1960. I have included Edith’s handwritten history in this post.

Edith Andersen Holst, born 25 March 1908, died 10 August 1966, age 58.

Edith Andersen Holst

Edith Andersen Holst

I was born 25 March 1908, in Brigham City, Utah, a second child of Louis and Zina Jensen Andersen. I was raised and lived in Brigham City, Utah all my life.

My first home was in the first ward on 2nd East and 1st South, then we moved to 1st North & Main in a large red brick home. I remember cleaning the long stair case with a nail, brush and rag and taking all day to do it. I attended the Lincoln School for 6 years and it is located on the corner of 1st West and 3rd North. I went to Box Elder Jr. High 2 years and High School three years.

I quit school and went to work at Andy Pathakis Bakery. Spending most of my money on shoes and pretty hats also presents for Ben who was operated on his face and was very sick for a long time. A spider bit him and he had a tube in his cheek for a long time. He was the baby brother.

I also have 4 brothers and one sister who died when she was about 6 years old from typhoid fever. We had the funeral on the front lawn. My older brother is Edwin Lewis Andersen, Glen Lewis, Raymond Lorenzo and Benjamin Rex Andersen, I was the 2nd child and Alice was the fifth.

Some more photographs of Edith, when she was young.

Edith Andersen Holst life history part 1

Life History part 1

Edith Andersen Holst life history part 2

Life History part 2

 
To be continued.

The Edith Series

Posts in the series will be added here as they are published.

Memories of Childhood

It is interesting to read about people’s childhoods, to see if they were similar to yours, or different. Here are a few snippets of my early years. Do you have pleasant memories of your childhood, or was it difficult? Did your parents stay together? What was life like for you where you lived?

I was born in Cheshire, England. My father was serving at that time with the United States Air Force, stationed in England at Burtonwood, during the Korean War. I was the first of three children—all boys. My grandmother, Florence, liked my father very much and he would tease her and call her “Flo-o-oreee” in his Missouri accent.

Parent's wedding day

My parent's wedding day

New Dad

Father had been transferred back to the United States before my youngest brother was born. Mother was to follow on with the children but she didn’t. Dad had no choice but to start proceedings and eventually they were divorced.

Mother remarried and I had a stepfather. While they dated we boys called him Geoff. Mother told us we will need to be calling him Dad, and I was fine with that.

We lived in a Council house. When I was four I made the coal fire early one morning to please Mother and save Dad some work. This was the only fire in the house. It would go out overnight and had to be started each morning. I overbuilt the fire, choking it of oxygen, and it went out. Still, my parents were positive in their praise, even though it took Dad much more time to completely rebuild it and get it started.

I began school at four years old. For my first day at school Mother took me but thereafter I had to find my own way there. I recall thinking that I must remember how to get to school if I was to find my way again the next day. There was a morning and afternoon playtime (recess). When afternoon playtime came around I thought it was hometime. The teacher, when she saw me leaving, figured I had had enough of school and was going home to Mum—so she let me go. I started walking out the school gates and I wondered why no-one else was leaving. Nevertheless I pressed on.

As I neared home I saw a lot of children playing at the school and thought that they were lucky children, waiting for their mothers to come and collect them. My mother and grandmother were at home. I opened the back door slowly and they thought it was an intruder. When they saw it was me, they were relieved and presumed I didn’t like school and had come home. It was not until years later when I spoke of the incident to my mother that she found out what really happened.

Parents in Blackpool in 1953

Father and Mother in Blackpool in 1953

Name Difficulties

I had to learn to answer my name when the register was called. A boy with a one syllable surname, Keith Flood, had trouble answering “here” when his name was called. I also had trouble answering “Willoughby”—I was only four years old and it is a long name to remember. I felt dumb like Keith Flood. There was even less room to doubt our dumbness when the teacher rebuked us: “Keith Flood and Richard Willoughby will have to learn to answer their names!” I felt really stupid.

A similiar experience occurred when the class was learning to write their names. Derek Farr sat in front of me, and when the teacher saw that I had difficulty writing my name she said, “Derek can write his name, why can’t you?” I thought, “Farr, that’s f-a-r, then add r again, only four letters. There are, hmmm, 1, 2, 3 … 10 letters in my name and which way around does the gh go?” This was my first realization that teachers don’t know everything which placed me on the path to later learning to check important information for reliability. When I was taught the word though it made it easy to write Willoughby, especially as the pronounciation matched.

Reading

I recall learning the alphabet and as soon as I could read a few words I was excited to try out my skills at home in reading whatever book I could find. I spent hours figuring out how to read words out of an adult encyclopedia, which was one of the few books we owned.

I was fascinated by astronomy. I couldn’t grasp the concept of constellations so I focused on the planets. In the first sentence of reading about Jupiter I came across the words aphelion and perihelion. I couldn’t hardly read the words, much less pronounce them. However, in the context of the distances from the Sun, it dawned on me that perihelion was the closest distance that Jupiter came in it’s orbit and aphelion was the furthest. I spent days trying to figure out the math section in the encyclopedia, which was silly of me because it was way beyond my years. I look back on those early school days when I was taught to read with very fond memories. It opened up a world where I could choose what to learn, at a very early age.

Held by my father

Held by my father

East Park

I would go with my brothers to the East Park. We used to take the long walk to the park, rather than take our bicycles, for we feared they would be stolen. We made The Park an all day event, with activities like boating, bowls, soccer, running around the band stand and hide ‘n’ seek. The neighborhood bully asked us how to get to the park—we wouldn’t tell him, and we ran off. The next day, about a third of the way to the park, the bully jumps out from behind a wall. That surprised us and we couldn’t get away but all he wanted was for us to show him the way to The Park. We did and he disappeared for the rest of the day and gave us no trouble.

Another day, my brother and I were returning from the East Park when in the distance we heard a shout behind us, “Come here!” We carried on walking and soon an angry boy, The Big Kid rode up on his bike. He said, “Why didn’t you come when I called you?” My brother said, “It’s a free country!” for which The Big Kid gave him a fist in the face, and a bloody nose flowing freely, spilling onto the footpath.

My brother was out of the fight so I put up my fists, and with resigned trepitation, was ready for the worst. The Big Kid said “That won’t do you any good, you can’t hurt me.” To prove his point, he told me to try something. I punched him in the stomache but it did no good. I turned to my brother and said, “Come on, let’s get him together” but he was understandably still tending to his nose. The Big Kid then said, “Next time, come when I tell you to,” and took off. I diplomatically refrained from making any comments about freedom. I never saw him again.

Prayer

Mother was Catholic and my stepfather never mentioned religion but was a hard worker and was a good influence. If I asked him to do something that he thought I could do for myself he would say, “Use your own initiative.”

We never went to church as a family or individually but when I was very young I recall my mother telling me that there was “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.” She said I can pray to God the Father and ask for what I needed. I could understand asking for what I wanted, a young child knows how to do that. She then said that you have to have faith. I didn’t understand that, I said to myself, what’s faith? But the seeds were sown for my faith later in life.

Girls

One girl that I remember was Jean Tilley. Jean was brilliant at math and I would compete to try and finish before her. I was never able to, she was too smart and too fast and would always finish before everyone else.

One morning, just before the big math test, I turned around to Jean to make a comment. We used fountain pens, every student providing his own, unless you used a school pen which had to be dipped in an ink-well every few seconds. As I turned around I inadvertently knocked Jean’s fountain pen to the floor with the back of my chair. The nib was bent on impact so Mr. Bellfield straightened it with a pair of pliers he kept for that purpose. The weekly Monday morning test started and after a few minutes Jean muttered something. She increasingly got more agitated and frustrated and eventually burst into tears. Mr. Bellfield put her into the storeroom so that she wouldn’t have to be crying in front of the whole class. Nobody could figure out why she was so upset. After the test I noticed Jean’s pen had a small gap in the nib, preventing the ink from flowing freely. Jean had difficulty writing, and wasn’t able to finish first and maintain her record. I thought, “Oh, no, that was my fault!”

Expeditions

My brothers and I used to cycle the country lanes in the summer, our goal being to reach the old church. Not for any religious reason but just because it was a convenient landmark. The grounds around the church were quiet and we liked to feed the ducks in the nearby pond. Sometimes we would get tired and turn around and come home.

Alderly Edge was another place in range of our bicycles. The reward was a magnificent view of the Cheshire plain, seen of course from The Edge. Having sinced lived in the Rockies, that view now seems minor in comparison but Cheshire is flat (except where it meets the Pennies) and to us The Edge seemed quite elevated. Jodrell Bank was another worthwhile destination for a bicycle expedition. Then it was the largest mobile radio telescope in the world. As we would cycle towards it, we would see that it had changed its position since we last looked.

With my mother

With my mother

So Sick

A friend, Jan, suffered from asthma and was not a very strong boy. He lived just a few houses from me. Sometimes when he couldn’t breathe too well and had to go home he would send word via another student for me to walk home with him. I would start out, Jan hanging on to me and breathing so heavy. Then a teacher would intervene and say that the headmaster would take him home in his car. I don’t remember why Jan would send for me, he just did.

I used to run home from school, enjoying the thrill of moving along at speed. I may have been weak at sports but I was a good runner with my long legs. One afternoon, when I was seven years old, I didn’t run home from school. I only had the energy to walk home. At home I felt ill and lay on the couch. I told Mother to get a damp cloth to place on my forehead. I was taken to my bed and later that evening an ambulance was called. I thought my Dad would carry me down the stairs to the ambulance but no, the ambulance driver did. I remember the slight feeling of disappointment. I had Meningitis and was hospitalized a month. As I recovered, on one of the visits to the hospital, my parents told me that Jan had died of the same illness.

A Dunce

When I left the hospital I had some time at home. So vivid in my mind still is the day Mother asked me to go and get the milk from the doorstep. I went to the front door, opened it, and couldn’t remember what I had been sent for. I returned to Mother in tears, telling her I couldn’t remember what it was she wanted. The meningitis had affected my memory.

When I returned to school I was put in what the school children called “the dunces class.” It was a class of thirty or so students, drawn from the entire school, who were not able to keep up with their regular lessons for whatever reason. I was not a very bright student to begin with, so after missing more than a month of school, I suppose it was thought prudent to place me straight into this special class. It went well for awhile.

The teacher was a beautiful tall woman, with long flowing hair who had been to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) at one time. Once she read a letter to us from someone from that country. Stars for your work and profusions of praise would be the order of the day, coupled with a relaxed learning atmosphere.

My friends came to visit me one dark rainy day. I showed them some of my good work. They laughed and thought it ridiculous that I would get so many stars for such average results. I was crushed and still can feel the insult in my heart. That was the day I never wanted to feel that way again. Thereafter I worked harder and smarter and was promoted into Junior I. Ages 5, 6, and 7 were Infant I, II and III and ages 8, 9, 10 and 11 were Junior I, II, III and IV. I had a tough time keeping up in Junior I but gradually improved. Memory was still a problem but very early I developed ways to compensate, which in the long run proved to be an asset.

At eight years old.

At eight years old.

Games

At playtime we played King. You need one tennis ball and some boys—girls can’t play (1950’s rules). We stood in as wide a circle as necessary with your two feet two feet apart. Your right foot touches my left foot and your left foot touches his right foot and my right foot against another’s left foot etc. to form the circle. Bounce the ball hard and let it bounce until it goes through someone’s legs. That someone is IT. The unfortunate IT then throws the ball at the rapidly dispersing group to try and get a HIT.

When IT hits someone then he has a partner to help in getting the remaining players, who are now very much scattered. IT and HIT can now pass the ball to each other to get within throwing range. No running with the ball is allowed though running without the ball for the players still unhit is very much encouraged (if not imperative). Steven Wolstenhulme’s tactic was to leap high at the last moment when the ball was thrown whereas mine was to duck low at the last moment. It was surprising how well it worked. As more players are caught, it becomes easier to get the remainder. The last player hit is named King and gets to bounce the ball in the circle, which gives him a slight advantage, at the start of the next game.

We played Wall by kicking a soccer ball against a wall. Each player had only one kick to get the ball back to the wall and maybe have enough velocity to give the next player some difficulty. We had the perfect school wall—no windows and wide and high.

Winter found us making huge slides to run up on at high speed and see how far you could go. In fine weather the girls played hopscotch and seemed to enjoy skipping ropes.

One of the sports taught by the school to boys was soccer (no girls allowed, they played Netball — 1950’s rules again) and every player, with the exception of the goalkeepers would chase the ball in one great, mad mob. I decided that was no strategy.

I went to the opposite end of the pitch to wait until the ball was kicked my way. Of course the mob wasn’t into tactics and I didn’t get the ball. Mr. Bellfield stopped the game and pointed at me way down the pitch and said that was a clever position to be in, and to illustrate how easy it would be to score a goal, he kicked the ball to me. I shot wide of the goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. The rest of the players didn’t think it was such a good point of Mr. Bellfield’s but I think he deserved credit for observation.

Groaners

In my last year at primary school I recall trying to sing. Mr. Bellfield walked around the class by each student and singled me out, along with Robert Axon, as groaners. We had to sit away from the rest of the class and weren’t allowed to sing. It wasn’t very encouraging and I dreaded music for the rest of Primary School and all through Secondary School.

I liked to hear people sing and I loved listening to music but I would not sing myself. I recall Pamela Hollingsworth singing Gloria in Exchelsis solo one Christmas season. I thought it was beautiful and a great achievement. I had to go after school to the assembly hall where Mr. Bellfield played notes on a piano and I would have to sing them. I managed four notes but all I wanted to do was to forget about singing forever.

Failure

By age 11, at the time of the 11+ (eleven plus) examinations, my parents were confident that I would pass this crucial test. The 11+ was the exam given in the last year of primary school, at age 11, which determined whether one got a higher standard Grammar school education or went to a Secondary Modern school. The Grammar school taught languages such as French and Latin, dealt with higher level mathematics, and generally was much more advanced academically. The “+” part of the 11+ meant that the exam could be retaken at age 12 and 13, if failing at 11. Years later, when I did so well at Weber State College, the story about me in the Crewe Chronicle began: “For someone who failed his 11+, he’s improved a lot since….”

So what happened? I recall that on the day of the exam, I felt that I really didn’t care about it and I didn’t try very hard. The thought of Grammar School was a little intimidating and I would have to travel to another city. Whatever, I failed and never retook the exam. I was destined for the local Secondary School until my mother stepped in and altered my educational destiny. But that is another post.

Do you have a childhood story of success or failure?

My Faith continued

Yesterday I posted the first part of My Faith. Here is the conclusion:

“Which Church Is Right?“ quoted Bible verses and was methodical and logical in its presentation. It was the first time that I’d thought of a church that way, though I didn’t have any real feeling about it. The prophet’s testimony was different. A paragraph that stood out was:

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. (Joseph Smith—History 23)

I thought it strange too, and identified with Joseph.

Another paragraph:

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament. (Joseph Smith—History 28)

I was impressed that Joseph would admit to “foolish errors”. To me, someone telling a lie would not say this so openly.

I now know that being impressed by these two paragraphs was the Spirit acting upon me. After over thirty years the deep convincing that I felt is still with me.
Elder Vance Burton (left) and Elder David R. Wilson (right) at my baptism

I wrote to the Bishop of the Macclesfield Ward and asked him about the Church and that I wanted to know more. He replied to my letter, inviting me to travel to Macclesfield and meet with the missionaries. I did so, and recall one memory from our first meeting. I was being taught the first discussion and my mind wandered. When I was a child my mother used to say in a kindly way that “I was off wool gathering” when I didn’t pay attention. The missionaries asked me a question about what was being taught and from then on I was attentive. After the first discussion the missionaries told me that there were missionaries in Crewe and that I would be taught by them.

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My Faith

If you have been reading through Paul’s missionary posts last month you may have noticed a reference to my conversion story. Paul asked me several times to write it and I eventually did. Here it is:

The story, to be told correctly, needs some family background. My father was born in Independence, Missouri and was baptized a member of the church at eight years old but was not active as an adult. My father joined the USAF and was stationed at Burtonwood, England during the Korea War. My mother was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, and had three sons by my father before they were divorced. At age four I was raised in England with my mother and new stepfather. I knew nothing about my LDS heritage as I grew up and never came into contact with any members of the church.

My mother was Catholic and my stepfather never mentioned religion but was a hard worker and was a good influence. If I asked him to do something that he thought I could do for myself he would say, “Use your own initiative”. We never went to church as a family but when I was very young I recall my mother telling me that there was “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost”. She said I can pray to God the Father and ask for what I needed. I could understand asking for what I wanted, a young child knows how to do that. She then said that you have to have faith. I didn’t understand that, what’s faith? Fast forward to age twelve and I am having a difficult time at school such that I felt I could not talk to anybody. I lay quietly in bed, tears in my eyes, no-one to turn to. I remembered my mother’s words from years ago and so I prayed as best I could to “God the Father”. In my mind’s eye I pictured Him as a grandfather, a real person. I started the prayer something like this: “God, I don’t know if you exist but please help me…”. It was a somewhat rickety faith but I did have my prayer answered.

I was attending a Catholic school at the time though I wasn’t a member of any church. When I was taught about the Trinity I had difficulty with the concept, it did not seem to align with my experience of praying to Father.

Macclesfield Chapel undergoing renovation in 1984

At age twenty I wanted to meet my father as I had not seen him since I was four. I didn’t know where in America he was living. I was visiting my home town of Macclesfield, where I noticed a church with a strange name—“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. It wasn’t an English church that I knew of so I thought perhaps it was American. I went in and talked to a woman who was cleaning the floor. I told her I was looking for my American father and she took my name and address and told me that someone would contact me. Soon after, I received a letter from the Bishop of the Macclesfield Ward telling me that perhaps I should write to the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City. My mother remembered that my grandmother lived in Utah and that she went by the name of Martha Harrison, after her second husband. I wrote the letter, mentioning my father’s mother’s name.

My grandmother was active LDS, my grandfather RLDS. Grandmother worked for the church at Zion’s Printing in Independence, Missouri. When Zion’s moved to Utah in 1946, she came with her work. When my letter reached the office girl at the Genealogical Society, the girl knew my grandmother and called her. My grandmother wrote to me saying that my father was in England on a 14 week TDY with the Air Force. Richard Sr. wrote to me, and I immediately traveled south to meet him, unannounced. He had married twice more and his third wife, my stepmother, greeted me at the door. I talked with my father and he explained how he had kept out of my “new” family so as to not disrupt it but now things were different. We saw each other a lot until he returned to the United States.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Stake Center where I was baptized

I corresponded with my father and my grandmother. After some months, I asked my grandmother about the church I went into in Macclesfield. She responded by mailing to me two pamphlets: “Which Church is Right?” by Mark E. Peterson and “Joseph Smith’s Testimony”. I did not attend any church but thought there was something to the Bible or else why do so many people have an interest in it? However, I did remember in my childhood when all was despair I had prayed to God the Father and my prayers were answered. I also owned a Bible I had purchased and read portions of it. I especially liked the book of Proverbs and enjoyed many of the wise sayings. I was curious about the Ten Commandments and found them in Exodus and read them several times.

These two pamphlets were my first exposure to the Church. I was not interested in them but I felt obligated to at least glance through the pages because my grandmother had taken the time to send them to me. While lying in bed in January 1974, I read through them very quickly to fulfill my obligation. I put them down and decided to sleep. However, I could not sleep and picked up “Which Church is Right?” and read it cover to cover. I also read “Joseph Smith’s Testimony” in its entirety.

I will post the conclusion of My Faith tomorrow.

Past Pictures: My Parents

Occasionally I will post Past Pictures. In 1985 I was sent to England by my employer Sperry Corporation to upgrade a Voice Information Processing System. While I was there I visited my parents which turned out to be the last time I would see them. Pictured is me with my stepfather Geoffrey Morris and my mother Sadie. Jake, my #3 son, takes Geoffrey’s name as his middle name. Sadie is a nickname for Sarah which was my honor to name my daughter.

I visited with my brothers Ray and Mike and with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I stayed with Ray, Susan, and Michelle for a few days and also with my parents. To be with family that you grew up with felt warm and good.