Chapter 8 Salina Utah  Junior/Sophomore High School Years 1944-1946 California The summer before we moved back to Salina was a memorable one. Uncle Mark, Mother, Aunt Lurline, Aunt Maude and I were going for a drive down to Provo Lake.  This was not unusual.  We would see if the lake had risen or if anything interesting was happening along the way, while enjoying a nice ride.  (There was no freeway at that time.) I wondered why we turned onto Geneva Road instead of heading for the lake. I thought that perhaps we were going to make a tour around through American Fork and back to Provo.  As we kept on driving, I wondered what was going on.  Mother, noticing my confusion, finally told me: They were taking me to Salt Lake City to buy me new clothes for my trip to CALIFORNIA!!  What!?  I was going to California!! Uncle Mark and I were going on the bus to visit my aunts in Los Angeles!  Going to Salt Lake City was a treat for me and the farthest I had ever been from home.  I was now going to ride on a bus with Uncle Mark and spend a week with Aunt Alice and Shirley and Ritchie, my cousins.  We would also visit with Aunt Bess, Uncle Horace and my cousins Roger, Paul and Bill.  It was like a dream.  I could hardly believe it, I was so excited! Riding the bus to California was something I had wanted to do since I was a little girl, sitting on a curb near the highway in Salina, watching the busses pass by me, reading the signs on front of the busses stating, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, etc.  Now I was on that bus going through Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California!! The Trip The bus ride was long, and I fell asleep when it got dark.  Uncle Mark woke me up to see the huge cactus plants.  They filled my eyes with wonder, never having seen anything like them before.  Everything was new to me.  As we neared Los Angeles, I could see stands where fresh orange juice was sold.  My mouth watered.  Imagine, fresh orange juice sold by the side of the road!!  I saw fields of orange groves with big houses on the edge of the fields.  It was just like the movies! My Aunt Alice lived in a small house, surrounded by similar small houses, on a street that seemed to be tipping down towards other houses and streets.  I remember Aunt Alice taking me shopping near the end of our stay and helping me get some high shoes called Wedges.  My first high heels!  I loved them.  When I wore them around Aunt Alice and my cousin Shirley, it made me feel like a giant; they were both short, and I was taller than they were without my Wedges.  As we would walk down that street from their house, I was sure I was going to tip over, while they walked "shortly" at my side.  Aunt Alice loved buying fun things and enjoyed the fact that I was a young innocent and she could be a part of my "growing up." Uncle Mark and I rode on a tram out to see Hollywood.  We walked around, watching, watching, and trying to catch a glimpse of a Hollywood Star.  Suddenly, Uncle Mark poked me to get my attention, and there he was: the Philip Morris Man, all dressed up in his red and black uniform.  We had seen him on TV, advertising cigarettes; now, here he was, in person!  How impressed we were!  He was our One Celebrity.  We never saw another. I wonder now, at our naïveté. Aunt Alice also cooked differently from my mother or other aunts.  She mostly ate salads with avocado and other food items I had never tasted or heard of.  I tried to eat the salads and other "stuff", but I had to be careful, because I would find myself gagging.  I didn’t want to look too "food uninformed." I was always happy when she had some kind of bread on the table; something I could put my teeth into. My cousins, Roger, Richie, Paul and Bill, took me downtown to the movies.  What an experience!  I just knew they were going to lose me, or I them.  They rushed to jump on the tram; I barely made it.  They ran to the theater; I stumbled along on garbage thrown around on the street, amazed at how dirty everything looked.  The buildings were so high!  Inside the theater, we sat up in the balcony.  A man sitting near us was smoking a cigar.  I felt so sick.  It was an eye opener being in the center of a big city.  Somehow, I managed to keep close enough to my cousins not to get lost, but I continually felt panicky.  Please, please don’t lose me in this dirty jungle! While shopping at the local grocery store, I had another shock: they were displaying wines and beer right on the shelves!!!   I felt I had been dropped onto another planet! Our visit was a growing experience for me.  I grew closer to my cousins and aunts.  My eyes were also opened to the outside world…at least I had a peek into it.  I was grateful to Uncle Mark for taking me on that wonderful trip.  He was more like a grandfather to me than an uncle. Salina It is 1944, and I am once more back in Salina, Utah.  I am fourteen years old.  From the perspective of my eighty-one years now, I was then very, very young.  Jean, my sister, had graduated from high school and had been working at the Western Union.  She left Provo and worked for the company in Casper, Wyoming until she got pneumonia.  Mother went to be with her, and because she was very homesick, she quit. Mother brought her home for three weeks.  The management called her and asked her to work for them again.  She went to Tooele, then Price, and finally ended up in Burley, Idaho at the Western Union.  Sometimes railroad cars with boxes of potatoes would get lost, requiring telegrams to locate them.  Jean said you can’t imagine the hundreds of telegrams that were sent back and forth, keeping track of railroad boxes of potatoes. Jean returned to Provo to live with Uncle Mark and Aunt Maude.  Keith (Jean's first husband) sent her a telegram that said, “Dear Bird Brain, Will you marry me?”  She sent one back saying, “Natch.”  She returned to Burley, Idaho and married Keith Conner. Mother, Dad and I, lived on the north end of town, back in Grandpa Anderson’s old home.  When Jean and I were young, we would climb the tree in our back yard and be able to look across the street and beyond the Bird’s yard to see fields and hills and the town of Redmond, which was three miles to the north.  From our home, you couldn’t see east beyond our foothills onto the larger mountains behind; but our valley was wide between the low hills, providing an expansive sky. Many times after mowing our lawn, I would lie on the grass and watch the white, billowy clouds changing shapes as they slowly and gently moved across the vividly blue sky.  The town itself was not memorable to those passing by on the highway.  But I remember the town as a teenager would.  I didn’t see or smell the barnyards with cows and animals and flies.  The flies were a memory of summer on its way when I heard them buzzing on the warm south side of the house.  The smells were the smells of “home.”  I remember reading the book “Dandelion Wine” and loving the little town the young boy, Douglas Spaulding, lived in.  At one point in the book, a man visited the town, which the author had based on the town from his own childhood.  The man was shocked at how old and ugly the town was.  The author, Ray Bradbury, saw the town as he had seen it in his youth.  I, too, see my town now as I saw it in my youth. My dad was home now: farming, working on a road leading to Scipio and being a night watchman.  He always worked so hard.  Mother still did nursing when called.  Money never came easy for my parents.   Dad had fixed up our old home.  We now had a bathroom!  Part of the dining room had been made into the bathroom.  The rest of the room was kept as a dining room, and a beautiful picture window on the north of the room replaced the two big windows, with them having been added to the two large windows in the new living room.  The window in the dining room framed the beautiful lilac tree Grandpa had planted.  I remember seeing those lilacs hanging near a foot in length, light purple and gorgeous.  The lilac tree was later cut down by some renters we had in the house.  I was devastated! My bedroom was upstairs in Jean’s old room.  Now I had a door leading into my room.  No more worries about what was coming up the stairs in the dark of night! I made new friends and renewed old acquaintances.  The first thing I remember was a bunch of kids, girls and boys, coming to my house to take me with them.  We were all stuffed in a car.  (No seat belts then!)  As I recall, we drove around and ended up at the park.  We talked and talked, and when it started to get dark I wanted to go home.  I suddenly felt fear.  I didn’t know some of the boys, and I knew I didn’t want to be with them after dark in the park.  I begged them to take me home.  Finally, they did.  I felt very young and foolish.  I don’t know why that experience has stayed with me.  I never dated a boy from my town.  These were the final years of World War II.   Some of my friends invited me to a wedding shower for a girl who was two years older than me.  She was sixteen.  She had met her husband, a solder, and they had gotten married after three days!  We all thought that was the most romantic thing we had ever heard.  Just think!  Meeting and marrying after just three days!! You can imagine the excitement that filled us as she told her story.  We left the shower talking and talking.  And as we talked, we began to wonder about the lack of judgment the girl had shown.  Maybe it wasn’t as romantic as it sounded. To continue this story: One day, the same girls who had been to the shower had been invited to visit the married girl at her home in Scipio, where she was now living.  (The little town of Scipio is west of Salina through a canyon.  The freeway passes north of it now.)  I can still see the little old house she was living in.  She said she hated the town.  You could not run your vacuum at the same time you were doing anything else that used electricity, or if someone else in town was using their  machines or appliances.  She was grumpy and not happy.  I felt so sorry for her and the situation her hasty decision had put her into.  Married at 16 and living where she hated to be!  LESSON LEARNED! My dad and his siblings were very close.  Dad had received a letter from Uncle Joe. Joe had to have his teeth out and new ones put in.  Somehow, Dad learned that Uncle Joe didn’t have enough money to pay for all of the dental work.  That was how I got my first ride on a train!  Dad and I were to go on the train to Salt Lake City, where Uncle Joe lived; and while there, we were to buy Uncle Joe’s car, giving him enough money to have the dental work done.  Then we would drive the car back home.  It seems Uncle Joe wanted to give Dad something in return for his help: the car, which was a Teraplane. I’m sure I was excited to ride on the train.  It went up through Thistle Canyon.  (Many years later, that area had a huge mud slide that buried houses and out buildings.) While on the train, Dad visited with people; he was always friendly wherever he went.  In between my napping, I heard them talking.  They we're discussing the terrible thing that had occurred that day at the prison camp where the Italian prisoners of war were being kept on the east side of Salina.  While on duty, a soldier in one of the watch towers went "crazy" and started firing down at the prisoners.  He killed and injured several before he was stopped!  It was a terrible tragedy.  The Italian prisoners were known to be model prisoners. The route of the train took us past many orchards, and my allergies became terrible.  I couldn’t even see by the time we arrived in Salt Lake City.  My eyes were so swollen.  Cool cloths were laid over my eyes, giving me some relief.  I remember feeling the disappointment at not being able to do anything because I was so miserable. I drove that Teraplane all around Salina.  One time, Mother and I were driving home from town.  The car stopped right in the middle of the street.  We had no clue as to what to do.  As far back as I can remember, we had never owned a car. Mother said, “What shall we do?” I said, “Let’s say a prayer.”  We did, and when I tried starting it again, IT STARTED!  We sailed on to our home.  I have always had my prayers answered when I have had trouble with a car. I didn’t have a driver’s license at that time.  I’m sure there were a lot of kids who drove without one as Salina was a farming community, and they would have been used to driving tractors and trucks.  I guess we had a policeman in town, but I never remember seeing one. One day I had a few girls in the car with me, and we were being chased by some guys in another car. I was taking all kinds of chances, cutting corners recklessly and speeding.  My heart was pounding.  I finally pulled over and stopped.  I made a pact with myself that I would never do that again.  I did ride in a truck with a guy going a hundred miles an hour between Aurora and Richfield, but I was not at the wheel; I was at his side, scared to death! One Sunday, Mother invited one of the soldiers from the war prison camp to dinner.  I remember being nervous because I didn't know him.  After dinner, he and I were left in the dining room together.  He asked me out for a date.  At the time, I did look older than 14.  I didn’t know what to say.  I told him I would ask my mom and left the room.  I didn’t want to go with him!  But I was too shy to say, no.  Of course my mother told me I couldn’t go.  I was so relieved and a little embarrassed to think he would even ask me.  It is interesting to think back and see memories so clearly in your mind and to experience the same feelings you had at the time.   Think back to your high school days.  Remember how you were concerned with, “What am I going to wear to school?"  "How should I do my hair?"  "Am I going to get a date for the Saturday night dance?”  There were a lot of “I’s” in your thinking.  Worries and concerns did not include those like, "Who is running the government?"  "Are my parents doing alright financially?"  I am sure I was a typical teenager, trying to stay on top of school and an active social life.  I had a secure, wonderful home.  My parents were my models; but I wasn’t always aware of their needs.  I am sorry for that now. After the war, Mother and Dad had been looking at homes in Provo to buy.  I was never in on their discussions about where we should live.  I did know that if we had stayed in Provo, Dad would have had to work out at Geneva Steel Plant.  I’m sure Mother would have rather lived in Provo around her family, but I am also sure she knew that Daddy hated working at that plant.  He loved the farm and wanted to get back to nature.  That understanding is what brought us back to Salina. The money they had put aside to buy a house was then put to use on updating our Salina home.  (My grandfather’s home.)  Daddy did a lot of improvements to the house and yard.  Uncle Mark came down from Provo and made new cupboards for the kitchen.  We no longer had a sink standing alone; it was now encased in those wonderful cupboards.  And for the final touch, Uncle Mark made some cute corner shelves to complete our much improved and modern looking kitchen. Mother and I started thinking about the bedrooms upstairs.  They had gabled roofs, and we dreamed of putting widows in the gables.  We scoured magazines, having fun dreaming of colors for bedspreads and window coverings and wallpaper.  Once again, it was all about me and my comfort, but the difference was that I was planning and sharing that experience with my mom.  I loved those two years we planned together.  We were never able to complete our dreams, but they were worth it because of the closeness Mother and I shared, while dreaming our impossible dream. Mother and I shared another wonderful experience together.  I will have to go back some to relate how it happened. During one summer, I had been going out every night.  It was a fun summer.  One night I went to an outdoor dance, which was being held in the canyon south of Richfield and Joseph.  I didn’t even know that dance floor existed.  It was a beautiful spot.  A special band was coming through, playing at different dance halls along the way.  An outdoor floor with soft lights, and the trees, bushes and other vegetation surrounding it made for a very romantic place.  (I don’t remember who I went with.) The next night, I went with a different date 40 or 50 miles to the north from the last place I had danced, to a place where my mother and father had danced when they were young.  It was in the hills near Manti, with a lake nearby: Palisades, another outdoor dance floor with this same wonderful band.  (I don’t remember that guy, either!) I was going out every night.  A young man from Salina asked me out for a date.  I was very flattered.  He was a year older than me and quite the nice guy. Some of my friends came by and asked me to go with them that afternoon.  I told them I couldn’t because I had a date for that night.  Jean Marie, my best friend, was with Cecil Sorensen and one of his friends.  (She liked Cece a lot.  In fact, she finally married him.)    They kept pleading with me to go.  I kept saying no.  Cece's friend said, “If you don’t come, I’ll carry you to the car."  Finally, I said I would go for a while, if they would bring me back in time for my date.  They agreed.  Well….they didn’t!  I WAS FURIOUS!  I was embarrassed!!  Before I could contact the guy I had stood up, he sent me a scathing note.  I was mortified!!!  He went off to college.  I didn’t see him again until years later, when I was working at Granite Furniture.  He saw me and stopped in to talk for a minute.  He must have forgotten.  I had not!    Then I got sick.  My allergies flared up.  I got eczema around my mouth and it became infected. My shame and guilty conscience had caused it!  Only I and Heavenly Father knew it.  I had prayed He would forgive me for not being strong and resisting my friends when I knew I should have.  I cried myself to sleep for nights. I was put to bed, and Mother had to give me a shot of penicillin every four hours, day and night, for two weeks.  Mother was so worried.  I heard her cry when she was talking to the doctor.  She knew infection around or in the mouth could be dangerous. Needless to say, I looked terrible!  I couldn’t go anywhere.  I was stuck at home for the remainder of the summer.  This sounds very dramatic, but I cannot explain how badly all this affected me.  My friends (?) felt bad for me and brought me lots of magazines to read.  The magazines, Red Book, True Love, Romance, and others (I have forgotten their names), were magazines we never had in our home!  I didn’t read that kind of magazine!  Holding the pillow up to my face to cover my mouth, I thanked them.  They stayed for a short visit and left, I’m sure feeling repentant and sort of good about themselves. Now, these were the blessings that came from my forced inactivity: I needed to read and answer questions about the Old Testament.  We did not have Seminary in Provo during the ninth grade.  Seminary was held during ninth grade in Salina.  The Seminary teacher let me make up the work during that summer for the year that I had missed so I could graduate with my class in Salina.   Mother and I would sit out under the lilac tree, near the washhouse.  We would sit in our chairs, with a card table at our side to hold the lessons and scriptures.  The flowers that Jean had planted that bordered the walk on the south side of our house were blooming profusely; marigolds mixed with zinnias!  This time of studying the Old Testament with my mother was a memory of love for me.  We read together.  We questioned each other.  We laughed and were sometimes near tears.  I have a great love for the Old Testament that has never left me because of that "corner" of a summer that I shared with my mother. I do remember one beautiful, end-of-the-summer evening.  The carnival had come to our town.  I hadn’t been able to leave my home and the property for a while.  I asked my mom and dad if we could just walk downtown and look at the carnival and watch people having fun.  I didn’t want anyone to see me.  I was still recovering from my bout with eczema.  We walked along the semi-light sidewalk bordering the carnival.  I soaked in the happiness and excitement radiating from the crowd.  I felt a bit melancholy.  I will always, with a kind of sweetness, quietly remember that evening with my mom and dad, walking along the edge of excitement. . This is a similar Teraplane to the one I drove.