February 16, 2011 There is a storm coming. Awakening this morning, I looked at my clock.  I thought about the day, and I had nothing on my schedule except to drop by Dr. Hershey’s in the afternoon, go to the store and write birthday cards.  Of course, there are always bills to check on and mail to go through. I like not feeling I have to get up right away.  I have known this storm was coming for a few days.  I am like many other older people and check the weather just to verify that my hurts and pains are on schedule.  I lay in my bed and my body feels comfortable.  I know when I get up and step on the floor, my feet will not bend and they will hurt for a while.  I stretch as I lay and look out my window.  My blinds are always turned at night, so I can see out my window in the morning.  I can see the roof of a house behind me and the tree that sits in the corner of my yard.  I love that tree.  This morning the wind is bending and tossing its empty branches.  When spring comes, I will see the green of the leaves before they turn to red.  I have seen flocks of birds fly past my window, chattering amid their frenzied flight; up they all go then down again to finally land on the roof of the house outside my window.  Clouds have built up in the blue sky, suddenly filling it and blotting out the sunshine. I lay there and remember my youth; it is a good time to quietly think about my past.  I have eighty years of past.    Provo, Utah—Summer of 1940 My dad was a foreman working for Whiting Brothers, a road construction company.  In between road jobs, he would farm.  He got a job building roads up Provo Canyon at the bottom of the Dear Creek Dam.  A decision was made to move to Provo and live with Uncle Mark and Grandma while Daddy was employed.  We probably spent the summer there. I loved Provo. The walks were good enough to roller skate on.  There was a deep ditch that ran in front of Grandma’s sidewalk containing “skeeters”, which we would try and catch.  Uncle Mark would make small boats for us children to sail in the clean, mountain water that ran down shallow or deep ditches at the side or in front of homes.   The trees were big, and there were enough on our street to make great piles of leaves to play in when they fell on lawns and sidewalks.  We would make scooters out of boards nailed together and roller skates nailed to the bottom of the boards.   Off we would go from yard to yard, where we had created imaginary houses and garages by raking the leaves into rooms on the lawns. Summer evenings after dinner, the kids in the neighborhood would gather outside in yards and start their play of “Run, Sheepie Run,” “Tag” and “Kick-the Can.”  We would hide up trees, under bushes, around houses and run in to home as fast and as quietly as we could to keep from being caught!  This would go on until mothers started yelling for us to come in.  One of our neighbors would call her children in at dusk, while the rest of us played hard until after dark.  We always felt sorry for those Richard kids.  It was such fun to play after dark; hiding was more fun, and running to the home base before you were caught would get the heart pounding with excitement! One summer, Jean and I couldn’t find a ball with which to play “anti-I-over” (throwing the ball over the house to each other), so we used an orange.  One of us threw as hard as we could, but the orange disappeared.  We searched and searched.  It didn’t roll off the roof of the house.  We searched the ditch between Uncle Orson’s house and Grandma’s.  We walked all around the house.  It simply disappeared!  We didn’t dare tell anyone about it because oranges might grow on trees, but our parents had to pay for them, and they didn’t appreciate waste!  It became our big mystery. One evening, I got the urge to buy some new paper dolls to play with.  It was getting late, and we were all sitting out on the porch—Uncle Mark, Mother and I don’t remember who else was there.  I begged for fifteen cents to buy the paper dolls.  I was getting panicky because it was getting late.  Everyone said I couldn’t make it to town before the stores closed.  I promised I could if I ran all the way, and if I couldn’t, I would give back the money.  I guess they didn’t believe I could do it.  I ran as fast as I could those nine and a half blocks all the way to town.  I just made it inside the store before they closed and got my paper dolls.  Triumph!!  I loved to run, and I loved to play paper dolls. One day, I was playing dolls and pretending with Doris Richards in one of the ditches at the side of her yard; suddenly, I couldn’t pretend anymore.  It was like my pretending days were over!  It made me so sad. Fifth Grade When school started, I went to the fifth grade at Juaquin School.  (At that time, we were living with Grandma in the old house.)  I was so surprised to find that we had a class called “Library.”  I was amazed to walk into a real library in the school.  We certainly didn’t have that in Salina!  I remember walking around the room.  I could choose any book I wanted, and I found a book on the Aztec People.  I sat down in the corner and poured over it. We would play different games out on the field during recess.  There was also a flower show held in the auditorium.  I don’t remember if I brought any flowers, but I do remember the affect it had on me when I walked through that auditorium door.  The whole place was filled with flowers.  The fragrance from those flowers was overwhelming.  I could have cried, it was all so beautiful!! I had to walk about four blocks to school.  When winter came, I would stop at the Richards’ home to walk with the Richards kids.  If I was lucky, I was invited in, and I would quietly walk over to stand on the large, square floor grill where the heat was rising from the furnace.  Ohhh, it felt so warm!  Then off we would go to walk those cold blocks to school.  I know I wore dresses and long, brown stockings.  They were held up by an elastic girdle around the waist with garters to hook onto the stockings.  They were warm but very unattractive! I remember one day standing out on the school ground with other girls and looking at our hands.  I found that my hands were not very pretty compared to some of theirs.  That didn’t stop me from having a suitor.  One of the boys gave me a box of candy one day and asked if he could carry my books and walk home with me after school.  I told my mother that I was so embarrassed to have him do this.  I didn’t want to be mean, but what could I do?  My mother told me, “You never know who you will live by when you get older.  There was a boy in my class that was considered a nerd, but I was always nice to him.  He has been a neighbor of Grandma Foote’s for years now.  I can always look him in the face and know I was kind to him when he was young.”  She was right, of course.  I allowed him to walk me home a few times, and I tried always to be kind.  When I arrived at our 10-year high school reunion, a man ran up to me and gave me a big hug.  It was my suitor from fifth grade.  He said that I was the only reason he had come to the reunion.  He wanted to see me again!  I guess it was all worth it. I was sleeping with Grandma in her feather bed.  There were only two bedrooms in that little house.  At nine o’clock every night, she would listen to Lanny Ross, an Irish tenor, on the radio.  I would know that I had 15 minutes to myself.  I would stand at the bottom of the bed, hold my arms out and fall backwards onto the feather bed, the bed engulfing me with its plump feather mattress as I lay there listening to the music.  I never liked the smell of the bed, but being a little girl, I didn’t have a choice and I did love the music. We had Christmas in Provo that year.  I don’t believe we had a Christmas tree, and I was rather nervous about how it was going to be.  I was nine and Jean was thirteen.  It just wasn’t the same.  I do remember my gift; it came in a big box that had been set on the dining room table.  While I struggled to open the box, everyone stood around and watched.  Lying in that box was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen!  She had big blue eyes and beautiful dark hair.  She was, of course, my last doll.  I knew I was a little old to still be playing with dolls, but I was so in love with her that I didn’t care.  I had one friend my age that would play dolls with me.  We were both rather careful where we played, out of sight from disparaging eyes.  We then returned to Salina. Salina, Utah—January of 1940 We were home again.  Daddy hauled some hay to the barn.   He bought a little cow so we could have our own milk.  He also bought a little pig.  He was happy to be doing chores again.  My dad loved being a farmer and being with his family. I was not happy.  I was in the middle of my fifth grade year, and I was totally lost!  I was worried and depressed; I felt dumb.  I cried myself to sleep for two weeks.  I never told my mother.  I have always kept my hurt and sad feelings to myself.  One school day, while sitting at my desk, I looked up to see my teacher, Mr. Anderson.  He had a very kind look in his eyes.  He asked if I was having problems.  I told him I was.  He asked what we had been learning at school when I was in Provo.  We talked about it.  The curriculum had been totally different.  Mr. Anderson quietly worked with me until I was back on track.  I have always loved Mr. Anderson!  One day we had a test in math.  I finished quickly and looked around the room.  I was the first one finished.  My insides went sick.  I thought, “What have I done wrong?”  When the test was checked, I got a hundred percent.  I was stunned!  I admit, I never had confidence in math. Jean was taking Seminary.  We didn’t have that in Provo.  Jean loved Seminary.  I had my usual friends again—Betty Lee Christensen (the one with the ringlets in second grade), Cheryl Larsen, Jewel Anderson and a new friend, Jean Marie Sorensen.  A movie had come out with Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, both great singers.  A song from the movie, “When I’m Calling You,” became very popular.  I remember one day when Jean Marie’s cousin, Dan, and some of his friends were at Jean Marie’s.  We climbed trees and sang the song, “When I’m Calling You” to each other, from one tree to the other.  It seemed very romantic at the time. Salina, Utah—1941 “My parents have bought a refrigerator!”  I will never forget the day the refrigerator was brought into the house.  We were going to move back to Provo, and the refrigerator was going with us.  The first thing Mother did was to make apricot ice cream.  She filled the ice trays with that luscious ice cream!  Closing my eyes, I can still taste that creamy apricot flavor. Provo, Utah—Summer of 1941   The apartment in Provo was in the upstairs of a house on 8th East and 2nd North.  Both Jean and I can only remember the kitchen and the bathroom.  Actually, the kitchen was also our living room.  We don’t know if there were two bedrooms or if we slept on the couch in the living room. Obviously, we were impressed with the kitchen; there was an electric stove, and with our new refrigerator, it was better than we had ever had it.  I can remember looking at the stove and being impressed.  The bathroom was another big plus!  There was a window in the bathroom that looked south over roofs toward Memorial Park.  One experience I remember was taking a bath with my cousin, Shirley, and peaking out the window towards the park. Mother was taking care of Aunt Fronnie Twelves, Uncle Orson’s wife; she was 87 years old and had fallen.  She passed away on August 1, 1941.  Mother then took a case working nights for a little boy who was very sick.  When he got worse, they took him to the hospital where Mother would go to be with him at night.  He did pass away.  Mother would get home and be very tired.  Daddy was working up Provo Canyon in Charleston.  (I’m not quite sure where that is.)  He would get very lonesome for the family, since he didn’t have a car to drive home to visit during the weekends.  It makes me sad to think of it.  We lived just a few blocks from Grandma Foote’s home.  I remember going over there often. Picture this: It is a warm summer day. The year is 1941.  Maude is home from California for a visit.  Venice, Maude’s sister, and Alma Dawn, Venice’s daughter, walk to Grandmother Foote’s home from their little apartment on 8th East and 2nd North to have lunch. After lunch, dishes are cleared away from the round kitchen table.  As the dishes are being washed and dried, poetry, learned long ago at the old Parker school, is recited and songs are sung.  After dishes are done, aprons are flung off onto a chair or folded and put into the old chest sitting next to the east window. An armful of gladiolas has been placed in a big vase and set on the bookcase in the living room.  The fan, facing the couch, is ready to be turned on in case Mark or Keith, the sisters’ bachelor brothers, enter the room.  On the north side of the room, a shelf hangs on the wall.  A mirror hangs over the shelf.  A clock with an isinglass fireplace front also sits on the shelf.  It gives the appearance of a soft fire glowing.  The front screened door and east window are open to gather any breezes that might be drifting by. Next to the Foote home on the east lives Frank and Dee Alexander.  Their yards are separated by a shallow ditch with grass growing through it.  Dee Alexander is often a visitor at the Foote home.  Sometimes Dee’s older daughter, Dee Lilly, accompanies her. Sitting at the kitchen table, Grandma says, “Maude, call Dee and see if Dee Lilly is home, and we’ll have a game of ‘Hearts’ and a little tea.” On the shady east side of the house, a card table and chairs are set up.  It is a warm summer afternoon.  The huge lilac bush standing near the empty hose faucet delivers the fragrance desired.  The drip from the faucet, falling into the little cement bowl, which was made to keep mud from gathering around, becomes the background music for the visiting women. A moment in time is remembered by me as I hear, “Alma Dawn, run down to the store and get some coffee cakes.”  I run all the way down the two blocks and all the way back.  (I love coffee cakes.)  I love sitting on the lawn, hearing the laughter from aunt, mother, grandmother and neighbors, as Dee Lilly reads fortunes from the empty tea cups. A happy childhood day that is seared in my memory! Many happy memories were had by me at Grandma Foote’s home and the neighborhood she lived in.  My grandfather, William Charles Foote, was born in Williamsburg, Ohio, April 9, 1858 and had passed away on May 11, 1922, so my grandmother had been without him many years. Grandma, Emma Jemima Twelves, was born in Provo, Utah on July 15, 1858.  Her parents were part of the Martin Handcart pioneers.  The rumor in the family was that Grandma had been the first baby girl born in Provo.  I have never been able to verify that.  Needless to say, they were the early pioneers sent to Provo to settle there.  They first lived in a dugout located at Third East and Second North. My cousins and I meet for lunch sometimes and remember our family.  When talking about Grandma Foote, they remember her playing Hearts with some of her family.  David Schulthess, Aunt Alice’s son, remembers when he was little and would walk past Grandma while she was playing.  If she was winning, she would give him a little pat on his head; but if she was losing, she would ignore him. I remember the bread can and the wonderful smell that wafted up when the lid was lifted.  When I helped her with the dishes, she taught me to never touch the silverware.  I was to hold them with the dishtowel while wiping, and then lay them in their proper order in the drawer.  Her house seemed orderly.  My mother said about her mother that she was as kind to the beggar on the street as she was to the banker.  Her neighbors were always coming to her for advice.  She belonged to a group of ladies who met every two weeks at each others’ homes and played Hearts.  She loved her family and enjoyed being with them.  Grandma had a sense of humor, and all her children were infected with it. Uncle Mark built a brick home across the street from the original home they had built and lived in for many years.  My mother had been born in the original home.  I don’t know how many years they lived in the brick home.  I remember visiting in the summers and being at that home.  At one time, they had two telephones.  Two different companies were vying for business. My cousin, David, says that when they visited in the summer from California, he slept on the back screened porch.  He would hear Uncle Orson, Grandma’s brother who lived next door, open his squeaky, screen door; then he would stretch, making grunting noises, walk down to his garden and then come over to Grandma’s kitchen to sit and visit with her for a while.  My mother said he would tell all kinds of stories, and Grandma would say, “Ors, you know that’s not true.”  And he would laugh.  They all enjoyed Uncle Orson and his stories.  In fact, all the neighborhood kids would sit at Uncle Orson’s feet as he sat in his chair on his lawn in front of the big tree where he had carved a face.  I can remember that scarred face in the tree, and I was fascinated.  I feel privileged to have been a relative of this amazing man who is remembered by not only Jean and me, but by all the neighborhood children.  He is part of their childhood history, too.  He trained for two years to be in the army to fight Indians and protect our valley.  He would tell us of seeing a man that had been scalped by an Indian.  We heard about the Wild West from one who could make history live!   Uncle Orson was 5 years old when he walked across the plains with his parents in the Martin Handcart Company.  He was what you would call a “character.” My grandmother had to move back to the old house because one of the in-laws was to have been paying the taxes, and they had not!  Uncle Mark was living with Grandma during those years.  Uncle Keith would come and go. Aunt Fronnie, Uncle Orson’s wife, died on August 1, 1941.  It must have been soon after that when Uncle Orson passed away.  We moved into Uncle Orson’s home from the little apartment on 8th East.  It gave us more room, and we were closer to Grandma Foote.  When I was young and needed a perm, if we were in Provo, I would be taken next door to Dee Alexander.  She gave perms.  She had this big, electric machine that had rollers connected to the ends of wires.  She would roll your hair on the rollers.  The rollers would be connected until Dee decided, according to your hair, the amount of time needed—hopefully, before it burned your hair.  It was rather a fearful experience.  I remember her telling Mother that I had “fine hair.”  I was pleased.  Luckily, I didn’t understand what that meant for many years.  Sixth Grade, Fall of 1941 Mr. Whatcott was my sixth grade teacher.  I felt that I was liked and that made me work hard.  I do remember being sick at home once and thinking, “I don’t have to do any school work.”  (We didn’t have homework then.)  When I went back to school, Mr. Whatcott told us about one of the girls in the class who had been sick, and she had picked up schoolwork to do while at home.  She was the smartest girl in the class.  I guess I wasn’t. My sister, Jean, had friends of her own.  I can remember her friends being outside in front.  It was dark, and I was curious as to what they were doing; so I peaked out through the curtains, thinking I wouldn’t be seen.  I would quickly close them again and then get my courage up to peak out again.  Suddenly, one of the boys, who had wound up string on an empty spool, put the spool up to the window, and as soon as I peaked out, he pulled that string.  It made the most horrible noise!!  I screamed and jumped back away from the window.  I couldn’t hear the laughter on the other side, but I could imagine it and I was so embarrassed!  No more peaking! Jean, always trying to put me in my place as the little sister, started calling me the name of a girl in her class who obviously had problems with her cleanliness and actions.  I know my sister would have loved and taken that girl into her heart now; but then, the girl was obviously made fun of by her peers, hopefully not in front of her.  Her name was Elma, (they called her Elmy) Gerber.  Jean and her friends started calling me Elmy Gerber, and then it was shortened to Gerber, then to Gert.  I carried that nickname with both Jean’s and my friends until my senior year at BY High. I never liked living in Uncle Orson’s and Aunt Fronnie’s home.  There didn’t seem to be a good spirit there.  Uncle Orson’s son, Hawk (nickname), was living in a room at the back of the house where he could come and go through an outside door from his room.  Things had been left pretty much the way they were in the house before both Uncle Orson and Aunt Fronnie passed away.  There was a dining room with high shelves around two sides.  On the shelves were plates that were standing, and I remember I had a jar with my tithing in it on one of the shelves.  I remember because I had counted it one day and found I had a dollar in it, which meant I had earned $10.00.  On a side table in the living room stood a large, glass jar filled with rose petals.  There was also an organ in the living room.  I would play it now and then. The house seemed dark to me.  I slept on a big couch in the living room.  Before I could sleep at night, I imagined things under the couch; so I would say my prayers, sitting up in the bed and asking Heavenly Father to please put angels at the four corners of my bed.  I would then be able to sleep. One night there was terrible storm with lightening and thunder so close.   Mother and Dad slept in the bedroom next to the living room.  I remembered Mother telling me that when she was a little girl and it would thunder and lightening, she would climb under the bed.  I wondered if Mother wanted to do that during that big storm.  Just a funny memory. After we moved from that house over to Grandma Foote’s, I tended some children that lived at Uncle Orson’s home.  I always felt very sad for those children.  I would be at their house early enough to feed and put them to bed.  They seemed so thin, and the baby cried a lot.  The husband walked me home one night and tried to put his arm around me.  He had tried before, but I had said I could walk home okay and would run to my house.  I told Mother about his actions, and I never tended there again.  I did feel sorry for the children in that sad house. I have been reviewing a letter my dad sent to Aunt Josephine.  The letter was written January 16, 1941.  Dad hadn’t had work for a while, but Mother was working at the State Hospital in the Insulin and Shock Ward.  Daddy never hesitated doing housework.  He had mopped many a floor, and he also cooked because he had lived alone so much when he was away from home.  He was always very clean.  The letter said: Alma Dawn and I are doing the ironing.  She wrote a letter while I ironed so I am writing while she irons.  She hasn’t been too well this winter.  Has a cold all the time and it keeps her run down.  She is doing very well in school.  Yesterday I took her to a specialist to have him look her over.  He gave her an examination and he said she had some puss [pus] in her head but nothing serious.  She is to go down again tomorrow morning.  Expect she will go to school next week.  (I remember that when I went back to the doctor, he cleaned out my sinus and hit a nerve, which nearly killed me, it hurt so bad.  We were walking home and I was in such pain.  Daddy was holding my hand.  He said, “I will never let them do that to you again.”)  We have sure had a lot of fog here.  You never see the sun bright.  I have been going to do the washings but the clothes won’t dry outside.  I have put two washings out but we have to dry most of them in the house and it makes such a mess.  Jean is here so now we can eat. I do love to be here with my family.  Would go down to Salina for a few days but it leaves so much for Venice.  She is feeling fine.  It makes it so much easier for me to be here. I lay down and took a little nap, when I got up Alma Dawn had the dishes done and was back to the ironing. I am going downtown and meet Venice when she comes from work and go to a show.  Not very often we get to go. Love, all of us.      Just a little picture of my life at that time.   Chapter 6 Fifth and Six Grades I was about ten years old. The apartment house we lived in Grandma Foote and her brother, Orson Twelves