A History of Margaret Irene Porter Pratt
I was born July 5, 1905 in Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico. My father was Edson D. Porter. My mother was Catherine Aurelia Carling Porter.
My mother was a very talented woman. She had a very beautiful singing voice. She sang solos since she was 15 years. She was an accomplished seamstress, including making men’s suits, buckskin gloves, and also helping my father in making shoes. My father was a farmer, tanner, and shoemaker by trade.
In the year of l912, a bandit leader by the name of Salazar, ordered all the white people driven out of Mexico. I was 6 years old at the time. I recall my mother had long tables of peaches out in the sun to dry. A group of bandits came charging on their horses. They whipped all the peaches off the tables onto the ground with long whips, which they carried, stealing too, as they went. All the towns people were ordered to leave their homes with a roll of bedding, which they could carry, and take a freight train, which was on the way to Colonia Dublan, which was to take them to El Paso, Texas.
All the women and children of the town were taken to meet the freight train and board it. We waited for hours before it finally arrived. Everyone climbed in the cattle cars and sat on their rolls of bedding until, after many, many hours they arrived in El Paso. Many families were without money enough to pay for places to stay after they arrived, including my family.
There was a very generous man in El Paso, an owner of a lumberyard. He opened his lumberyard sheds to anyone to stay until they could do better. The city of El Paso provided cook stoves, toilets, food, and dishes, pots and pans, water supply and, showers. I recall one day as I was looking through the slats of the big closed front gate, a cute little girl, accompanied by her parents, came up to the gate and handed me a little mexican doll through the crack of the door. It delighted me greatly.
After camping in the lumberyard for a week or so, my mother, older sister, brother, and I went in with another family to share expenses in renting a house. A month later we left El Paso and went to Clearfield, Utah, where my sister Geneva and her family lived. They pitched a tent for us to sleep in.
We lived in Clearfield until it became cold and winter was upon us. My mother and we three children went to Salt Lake City, where we went into an apartment for a month. By this time my father had come out of Mexico and had rented a little house and fruit orchard in Holladay, about 10 miles from Salt Lake. My father had his two families and children, who were still home, go to Holladay. We lived in one house together. I recall it was bitter cold. My father bought a big tin metal cook stove and we cooked and were heated by the same stove. I recall how red hot it became in order for us to get enough warmth from it.
People from the Holladay Ward brought furniture, bedding and food. After they left, my mother would sit down and have a good cry, to think she had to accept charity.
Christmas afternoon I went out to watch the neighbor kids slide down the hills with their new sleds. A young teenager came up to me and ask what Santa Claus brought me, I asked, “Who is Santa Claus?” She just went off giggling. My mother had always taught us that we were celebrating the birth of baby Jesus and had never told us about a Santa Claus. I remember Christmas morning we always found a plate on the table for each of us, my brother Evan, sister Winnie and me. On each plate there was an orange, a banana, some nuts, and candy. There was always a new wool winter dress hanging over the back of my chair. My mother always bought the best fabrics she could afford, usually a remnant, which was marked down and was a good buy. She sewed so beautifully so my dresses were always very lovely and beautifully made. Christmas was the only time we ever saw an orange or banana. I recall one Christmas my half brother, Francis, gave me a doll with blond hair, blue eyes, and would go to sleep when I laid her down. This was the only time I ever had a toy given to me for Christmas.
The summers in Holladay were very beautiful. There were nature walk paths built all through the trees close to our house, little bridges built across small streams of water, wild flowers, and lush green everywhere. One day Neta and I went home with an armful of beautiful red leaves only to find it was poison ivy. We were stripped of our clothes and scrubbed with yellow Fels Naptha soap. We had no bad effects from poison ivy or the soap.
When spring came my mother and her three children moved into another small house nearby. When the fruit and berries were ready to harvest, they didn’t produce enough to keep my father’s families. My Aunt Phoebe and her family moved to Bingham with her two sons and worked in the smelter. My father found work in the mines in Barstow, California. That left the fruit and berries left for my mother and her children to care for. She hired boys and girls to harvest them. She would take the produce to Salt Lake to sell at the city market. I recall going with her and my brother Evan in a little buggy full of fruit. We would start out early enough to arrive at the market just at daybreak. There was a man there that took pity on my mother, so he would let her put her horse and buggy in his stall free of charge. What she wasn’t able to sell at the market she would take from door to door to sell. At first she tried to get Evan to go from door to door but he refused, so she did it herself.
The fall after we moved to Holladay, I entered the first grade in Irving School. I was then seven years old and a head taller than anyone else in the class. My teacher’s name was Miss Shepard. I recall she complimented me on some artwork I had done. That was the first time I had been complimented for anything. My mother reprimanded her children’s actions.
Many events happened during the three years my father’s two families were in Holladay on the fruit farm. My father canned green corn, also tomatoes. He canned them in tin cans. The cans were put into a long boiler with water to cover the cans. They were sealed with a small hole left in the top. A fire was built under the boiler and the cans were boiled until the contents were done. Then they were removed and the little hole was soldered closed. My Aunt Phoebe gave birth to another baby boy. My sister Leona married George Andrus, who had a beautiful home in Holladay; his first wife had died. George met Leona while she was visiting the family, and he was looking for a wife. Leona and my sister Clara were then living in Salt Lake taking a dressmaking course in the Kiester College. My half brother, Francis, married a beautiful redhead from Mill Creek and moved to Bingham, Utah and as I said before Aunt Phoebe moved to Bingham with her family. A few months later Clara married Edson Whipple and they moved to Mexico to live.
When I was 10 years old I picked strawberries. I made $10 that summer. I recall I bought a pair of black patent leather slippers and two pairs of long stockings, one pair was pink and the other baby blue.
George and Leona wanted to move to Kamas, Utah for a year. They asked my mother to move into their home to take care of it while they were gone. We lived in their lovely home for that year.
The following year we moved to Sandy, Utah. My sister Delilah and her husband, who were living in Delta, Utah, had purchased a home and a plot of ground in Sandy. They weren’t ready to move, so they asked my mother to live in their home and care for it until they were ready to move. We were in their home for a year. We then moved into a little house until the end of the school year. I was then in the third grade and was promoted to the fourth grade. While I was in the third grade my close friends were all from families who had lovely homes furnished with beautiful furnishings and heated with furnaces. Oh, how comfortable! They invited me to little parties and birthday parties that their parents had for them. I began to dream in my mind of living in a lovely home someday.
During this time my father had come back from working in the mine at Barstow and had taken a large tract of land, with horses, cows, and hogs, on shares to run in Bauer, Utah, five miles from Tooele, and one mile from Stocton. This place was owned by a large mining company. He took my older brothers, Edison, Francis and Ed, who had been living in Bingham, into partners with him. They all moved to Bauer to live. Francis had lost his wife at this time so he was back living at home with Aunt Phoebe. Then my mother moved to Tooele to get settled for the next school year.
After we had moved to Tooele, I heard that the schools in Tooele were a year behind the schools of Salt Lake districts, so I decided I would get into the grade with the kids of my own age. I tore up my report card and skipped the fifth grade and went into the sixth grade. I had no problem with the lessons, in fact they were easier than the third grade lessons. This made my life much happier to be with those of my own age. Again I made many friends, most of who were from wealthy families. They were wealthy compared with our family who had been struggling to get by.
My sister Geneva and family moved from Clearfield to Tooele. My mother and Geneva’s family rented a large house and moved in together to save rent. That year Neta came to live with us to attend school. I recall that Neta was very boy struck, which my mother did not approve of. Then and there I lost a lot of my freedom and was watched carefully in my actions. While we were there in the big house, my sister Geneva took in sewing for other people. She sewed mostly for the wealthy people and their daughters. Here is where I got very interested in beautiful clothes. I recall Geneva made me a beautiful silk dress with a gold beaded georgette top over charmeuse silk, and gave it to me. How I loved it!
I was thirteen years old when the First World War was being fought and the 1918 flu epidemic was rampant. I had two sisters die with this terrible flu, both leaving a family of children. The first to go was my sister Geneva, and the second was my sister Leona. We were then living on the farm in Bauer.
Three of my half brothers joined to help fight the war. Zenos joined the Army and Francis and Ed joined the Navy. With the boys gone, we all had to pitch in and work. Neta and I were put on riding plows to plow the fields; we plowed day after day.
Many people all over the country were rationed on their food stuff, using anything that could be made into flour and mixing what little wheat flour they could obtain with it for bread. We didn’t go through the war wanting for any kind of food. Being on the farm we had our own meat, grain, milk, vegetables, fruit, and eggs. My parents had always stored a years supply of food as long as I can remember.
At the end of the war the three boys came home. The family was so happy they returned alive. My Aunt Phoebe invited my mother and me to come over to their house to watch the boys give the gifts they had brought home with them. They were loaded with gifts for Neta and their mother, but you know, not one of the three boys gave me or my mother one thing. This was something I shall never forget. I grew up with a half sister that was showered with everything she wanted, while I had just the necessities of life.
When I was 14 years old my half sister Aseneth came to visit her mother. Aseneth had two daughters, 9 and 11 years of age. They needed someone to care for them while their mother was in the work force. Aseneth asked me if I would go home with her and care for her daughters that summer, no pay was involved. I went to Ogden where she lived and met the girls, The girls were lovely, well behaved, and obedient. We got along very well, but I couldn’t do anything to please their mother. I ate too much, didn’t eat the green tops of the onions, if I moved even a pair of scissors she had placed just so, I was gotten after about it. One day I was putting the breakfast dishes in the cupboard, some how they fell from the ledge of the cupboard as I was opening the cupboard door. Most of them broke. Aseneth insisted that I buy her a full new set of dishes. I had no money, so I decided I would be better off if I went home. When her friends and relatives heard I was going home they asked if it was because I broke the dishes. They all seemed to know about it.
The year I was in the seventh grade I had a teacher who made a deep impression on me. She was a regular fashion plate. Her dress and manners were impeccable. She would get the girls together and give them lessons on grooming, dressing, caring for the hair, skin and lady like actions. She taught us how we could take one dress and change it with different collars, scarves and ties. She taught us to use the best fabrics and styles that wouldn’t go out.
That summer of 1920 my mother made arrangements with my sister Winnie, then living in Millville, near Logan, Utah, for me to go stay with her while I had an operation performed, having my tonsils and adenoids removed. Winnie took me to the doctor in Logan. She also took me to the Patriarch and he gave me a Patriarchal Blessing before the operation. After the operation the doctor told me to eat something soft and smooth for a few days. Winnie had a box of Grapenuts Cereal, so I said I would soak some in milk and it would be soft. It really tore my throat up. I was very sick in bed for 2 weeks.
Winnie invited me to live with her and her husband to go to school that year. I would be a freshman. I attended South Cache High School in Hyrum, Utah. I went home for Christmas and my mother didn’t want me to go back, so I didn’t return to finish that year.
The Smelting Company in Clarkdale, Arizona wanted someone to go to Clarkdale to show farmers in that area that crops could be grown in that area, in spite of the smelter smoke. My father accepted the offer. We left Stockton, Utah March first 1921, traveled through Opher, Eureka, Nephi, Gunnison, Salina etc.
The following, which I wrote, tells the story:
I was sixteen when my Pa said to my Ma
Let’s move to Arizona. “I’ll go there and do some
I’ll take my wagons, horses and plow.
We will go to a place that we will find charming.”
Then my Pa said to my ma, “You know the wagon I haul
I’ll make a big covered rig, room enough for your
bedstead to be comfy to lay.
Your kitchen range and dish cupboard,
Even your table and chairs we’ll take aboard.
We’ll go over the road we took to Mexico long ago.
Over the Buckskin Mountain, that’s the way we’ll go.
My older brother said he would be on hand to help.
My brother-in-law said, “I’ll go with my two small
sons, and add help.”
My Ma’s sister and her young son went along,
Then my Pa added another covered wagon, so we all
We started on our way the first of March
Clickety clack down the road
A sight to behold we bounced so bold
Until we came to Marysvale, the end of the railroad track.
My Ma was so worn out, she had a heart attack
So my Pa sent her back on the train to my sister’s to stay.
Until we could get to Arizona, some way.
By the time we arrived in Alton, a top of the mountain
All the horses were worn and weak.
There we found a lot of relatives to visit
While my Pa’s horses rested for a week.
My cousin took my Ma’s sister and me,
In a black-top buggy to Orderville to see.
We were related to half the town,
On we went headed for the Buckskin Mountain
My Pa was so anxious to meet.
Just to get off the road so hard on the horse’s feet.
When we went through the town of Hatch it was on a
We stopped at my Ma’s sister to stay over Sunday.
My cousin took me to a dance that night to meet the
cowboys of the town.
They wore Levis and high heeled boots so renowned.
Monday morning again on the road the cars passing us
with their toot toot.
We would miss all this attention we thought so cute.
At last the time came for us get off the hard road.
My Pa headed through the meadows.
For the Buckskin Mountain with the load.
When Pa came to the foot of that mountain he thought so
It wasn’t the same as he left it years ago.
My Pa said, “Hitch up all eight to each wagon, we’ll
make it all right.”
After the wagons were on top, my Pa saw how the rain
and wind had shifted the dirt around, which
was a fright.
But we just went on our way falling off one
bolder after another with a jolt and a sway.
We came upon some cowboys sitting beside the road my Pa
was trying to carve out,
One of them got up and came over to my Pa and said,
“Man are you crazy? What do you think you are about?”
Pa just went on carving out the road
until he came to Lee’s Ferry.
By this time the horses were worn and lean,
the trip hadn’t been merry.
It was like entering into the Garden of Eden beside
a beautiful stream.
Fruit trees, gardens, vegetables, flowers like
My Pa said, “We will rest here until the horses
get back in shape, while we stay.”
This won’t be so dusty and grave until we can again be
on our way.”
Two weeks later my Pa said, “Mr. Johnson is ferrying
us across the river today.”
Then he said, “A flood came down last night
and the river is high, but all is well I say.”
The river was high and swift. It looked like the cable
would snap anytime.
But we got to the other side and all was fine.
Until the big rig was traveling along the dugway.
Mr. Johnson came along to help with a shovel to hold
the wheels from sliding down all the way.
The road along the dugway was three miles.
The rocks against the dugway tore the cover into strips
At the end of the dugway my Pa said, “We’ll take the
cover off and sew these strips together again
then resume our trip.”
We each took a needle and some twine, then sewed and
sewed most of the day away.
Next thing was to find some water before we could
travel far on our way.
All the water we could find were dirty pools by the
side of the road, which we scooped up with a
We gathered some Brigham tea and boiled it with the
water and that was what we drank until we came
to a town. The horses jogged along the smooth road
through the Painted Desert, so wonderful!
It was like entering into another world, we had never
seen so colorful.
While in Flagstaff my Pa bought hay and grain.
Then my Pa said, “We are taking a short cut down Oak
Canyon, then we can get back on the road.”
Down the steep road we traveled with the breaks on
Seven miles to the bottom we endured the fright.
At the bottom of the canyon we stopped.
On, what beauty, we could see fish in the pools go flip flop.
Looking about we saw huge red cliffs and red hills afar.
But we must be on our way, my Pa must find the ground
he is to farm.
On we went until my Pa came to a man who wanted to get
rid of a mean burro stud.
So my Pa added that to his troop.
He wanted to bite and kick, he was tall and black.
It wasn’t long until we wished the man had him back.
At last after three months our journey ended for sure.
My Pa found the ground to till
By the side of the beautiful Verde River, so secure
Away from fear and harm.
My Pa, at last found the place to farm.
I want to add that while we were in Orderville, waiting for the horses to rest, we visited an Aunt and her family. They were living in my Grandfather Carling’s old home, the home my mother grew up in. My grandfather was an artist and had painted murals in the chapel there. The murals were still on the walls, so we were able to see them, too.
The house on the ranch was a large adobe house with seven large rooms. A screened porch extended across one side. The porch had frayed, torn and ragged canvas curtains, which was used as a sleeping porch. Aunt Phoebe lived in part of the house and my mother, Evan and I, along with my brother-in-law and his two small boys, lived in the other part.
Our first summer in Clarkdale, Dick Porter living in Chino Valley, came over to meet us, having heard there were some Porters living in Clarkdale. He was a relative but I do not know where he fit into the Porter family. Dick took me back to Chino Valley to visit with his wife and baby. I stayed a week with Dick and Gladys. They took me to church and church functions. I met a girl my age by the name of Mable Allen. She invited me to her home for a week. While I was at the Allen’s they took me to Prescott several times. I met Mable’s sister and an older brother in the grocery business. Her brother was the Branch President in Prescott. While we were there, Mable and I were witnesses at a wedding that he performed. I recall he was as scared and nervous as the young bride and groom. The ceremony took place in his office. Dick and Gladys took me back to Clarkdale and stayed a week with us.
In September I enrolled in the Clarkdale High School. I met some very friendly girls. I recall on the first day a girl took me home with her for lunch. Later I met two special girls by the names of Edna and Birdie. I recall I invited them over to our home one Sunday for a chicken dinner. The same day a boy in my typing class got his mother to prepare a picnic lunch for three. Tommy and his mother came while I was preparing the chicken dinner in hopes I would go picnicking with them.
I will go back with my story in the typing class. Tommy knew I was from Utah. He began to kid about me being a Mormon and my father having more than one wife. He had no idea either was the case, but had fun teasing me.
Now back to the farm, while Tommy and his mother were at our house with their picnic lunch. Great flames of fire and billows of smoke came from the burning torn curtains on the porch. The whole house was on fire in minutes. The whole family ran from the house grabbing what we could on the way.
To Tommy’s great surprise he found out that I was a Mormon and my father had two wives.
The house was burned to embers and the girls hadn’t yet arrived for the dinner I had invited them to. There was nothing else to do but go with Tommy and his mother on a picnic. They took me home with them. I stayed that night and went to school the next morning with Tommy. Tommy didn’t have much to say to me after that. The girl that took me home for lunch the first day of school had nothing more to do with me from then on.
The big heavy kitchen stove my Pa brought from Utah in the big rig was burned somewhat, but we could still cook on it. They moved it out in a shed. The smelting company sent food and bedding out and we set up camp under the shed. The smelting company soon began to clean up the burned house and then build a new lumber house for us. In the meantime, my father repaired a small house up on a little hill and moved Aunt Phoebe into that. She lived there from then on. My mother moved into the new house when it was finished. My brother-in-law took his boys to live with him in Clarkdale where he was working. He kept them with him after the fire.
My sister, Clara, in Mexico needed someone to help her when her baby was born. I went to Mexico to be with her when the baby came.
My father wrote to an old friend of his by the name of Mortensen, asking him if he would meet the train when I arrived in El Paso, then take me to Cuidad Juarez across the border where he lived, and help me board the train going to Colonia Dublan where Clara lived. My father told me I would know Brothr Mortensen when I saw him, there was no one else like him. When I arrived in El Paso, he wasn’t there to meet me. I checked in at the Y.W.C.A. and told them who I was and whom I was waiting for. After I had been waiting for some time, there he was, there really was no one else like him. He was the oddest little man. He got my baggage and took it out and put it in a little black topped buggy with a little nervous horse hitched to it. When we got right down in town he stopped in front of a large department store. He said, “I’m going in here, I’ll be just a minute.” Well, five minutes went by then, ten minutes and fifteen minutes. The little horse was backing up, than going forward all this time. By the time Brother Mortensen returned, I was about a nervous wreck. He took me to his home, which was a house with a corral built against one side of it. He had a herd of cows and sold fresh milk by the liter to the Mexicans. When night came Sister Mortensen put some quilts on the floor in a small room and told me to sleep there. Early the next morning I heard someone knocking on a window, which I discovered, was an open place where they sold milk through. I looked up and there was a head of a Mexican man looking in and calling for Leche. Needless to say, as soon as he was taken care of, I got out of bed before anyone else came. (I will add here that the train going to Mexico went twice a week, I had just missed the train so I had to wait three days for the next train.)
When they ate their meals, everything was put on the table in cartons or paper wrappings just as they came from the store. Brother Mortensen wore a little black derby hat and the only time I saw him remove it was when he asked the blessing on the food at mealtime. Then the hat went right back on while he ate. After breakfast Sister Mortensen gathered all the dirty clothes about and heaped them in a pile on the floor then told me to wash them, which I did. She had me scrub her floors and do the ironing. She kept me busy all the time I was there. When it was time for me to go I asked her how much I owed her for my stay there, she seemed very embarrassed and said, “After all the work you did while you were here? I wouldn’t think of charging you anything.” Later I found out the people from the colonies would go there to stay and take advantage of them. She wasn’t about to let me do that, too.
The train trip down to Dublan was very slow; the train stopped many times, for what, I did not find out. Finally when I arrived in Dublan, my brother-in-law, Ed Whipple, was there to meet me with a hayrack and a team of horses. He boosted me up on the wagon with my baggage and off we went to his house.
Clara didn’t give birth to her baby for about a week after I arrived. She had a baby girl and named her Norma. This was her third little girl. Clara had a Mexican women come in to do the washing, ironing and scrubbing the floors and other cleaning. That left the cooking and dish washing, also making the beds, and caring for the two little girls for me. Clara had a midwife deliver her baby and she came in every day for ten days and bathed the baby and took care of Clara.
After I had been there a couple of days, Ed took me to a dance to meet the young people of the town.
I am now 83 1/2 years old. My son, Wayne convinced me I should put my history together. I had written a little poem, which will tell the story well.
Sixty six years ago they met
At a Halloween ball, after sun set.
Simple Simon was his dress
Bare hairy legs for all to witness
A dunce cap on his head
Some white teeth, some blacked out instead.
Not impressing to a new girl in town.
Her reaction was a frown.
The story told above,
Turned out to be one of love.
Have I told you what happened before we wed?
My lover wanted to see me at eight in the morning before he
asked me, he said,
He wanted to know what I looked like so early in the morn
Was my dress wrinkled or torn.
Was my hair combed, had a smile
He was making up his mind all the while.
When he asked me to be his wife,
I laughed and said, I would think about that kind of a life.
It didn’t take him long until I said, ” yes”
He told me he would be good to me, I believed him, I
The day was set, we would start our life out right.
The first day of the year, while it was still light.
All the people of the church were having dinner.
With the bishop we left the celebration a secret to all, we
were a winner.
His Mother, my sister and her husband as witnesses
We stood in solemn attention, as the Bishop pronounced the
After much advice, the time came to say “I do”.
A kiss from my husband, we stood there as man and wife.
Little knowing what was in store for the rest of our life.
MET MARRIED AND THEN
We met in October, was married January first.
He was 21 and I was 17 1/2.
Eager to have fun, play the field and laugh.
On our third date, he asked me to be his wife.
I shrugged it off, replying I would think about that kind of life.
Not thinking he meant it, at last when I realized his
I loved him, when I found he loved me, I had no objections.
He took me to live with his widowed mother.
Because we had nothing and no place other,
After three months, we realized our family would be
I was so very ill, couldn’t walk up and down the stairs.
And had to be waited on, he agreed it was time to move to
our own rocking chairs.
For nine months I ate six meals a day loosing three.
But it was worth it when we saw our first baby, I agree.
A beautiful baby girl came to our house to stay,
Needing all the help and care we could employ each day.
Thus ended our first year of married life.
Learning the problems and joys as husband and wife.
Emerson traded a team of black horses to Tom Jones for a small two-room brick house with a lean-to built on one side, which we used as an extra room and storage room. We painted the inside and fixed it up as well as we could with what we had. Emerson got a small sheepherder’s stove with a small oven. I recall soon after we moved into our little home, and hadn’t yet used the oven in the stove, the Ward had a party. They asked me to furnish a cake. I baked a cake and it looked beautiful. After the party I picked up the pan, to my great surprise, the cake was still in the pan. The cake wasn’t baked on the bottom. Oh, I thought the end of the world had come. Oh, so embarrassing! What would people say! But I learned how to bake lovely done cakes in it.
Emerson built a grape arbor. We planted grapes on both sides with swings and a sandbox under the arbor for our little girls to play in. We planted many kinds of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. We really enjoyed this. Our reflections on this little home:
THE TIN TUB
The water came from the pitcher pump.
Primed with water, it came with a plump.
Heated on the wood stove for a bath.
Into a tin tub, scrubbing up for the Sabbath.
There was another tub all black.
Outside on wash days, over the fire on a rack.
Clothes boiled in soapy water until clean.
Then into another tub rinsed until no soap could be seen.
Then there was the tub used to make soap.
Outside over the fire, which was something else to cope.
Cracklings from the hog and a can of lye,
Stir and stir until it turned to syrup to divide.
Poured into pans to harden then cut into bars and dried.
THE MAN I MARRIED
He was tall, six foot three.
Sandy hair, stood straight as a tree.
He was a farm boy.
Strong, firm, and health to enjoy.
Sang in the church choir,
His love songs I didn’t tire.
Stalwart and true was he.
Now it’s been 65 years since he was free.
Sixty five years of negotiating bliss.
I will tell you more about after we wed.
My husband was a farm boy by day
And a play boy by night.
Basketball was the game, but without pay.
For that ball he would run and fight.
All for the pleasure of making a basket.
He was tall and nearly always hit the target.
The team traveled far and wide.
Some they won, some lost, taking it in their stride.
We had three babies born under the basket ball regime.
Six years went by, the years were lean.
We pulled up our roots and moved far away.
To find a place where there was more pay.
I will admit it was so good.
To have a farm boy by day
And a home sweet home boy by night.
Now is a good time to say good bye to our brine pork barrel and our five-gallon can of pork patties, fried brown and stored in lard. We had stored our years supply of hams, bacon and pork patties for years. Somewhere along my life I became afflicted with pork worm or trichinosis, which is incurable as far as the doctors know. I have suffered untold pain with this affliction. The older I become the worse it became. Finally, after going to every kind of doctor I could find, none of them could help me. I am writing about pork, in hopes it might alert anyone reading this, to the danger of pork eating.
In the fall of 1928 we pulled up our roots in Colonia Dublan, Mexico and moved to Mesa, Arizona. Emerson had been farming in Mexico. In the year of 1927 he had purchased a large dry farm, and planted the land to grain. That year we had a very dry year, consequently, the grain burned up and didn’t mature. Emerson couldn’t make the payment on the farm, so he turned the farm back. We sold our home and equipment, furniture, etc. and we headed for a new home. We had gone through Mesa several years previous on our way home from Salt Lake City when we went up to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. As we traveled through this beautiful, peaceful little town of Mesa, we both remarked that if we ever moved from Mexico, this would be the place to move. In the meantime, my sister Clara and her husband and children had moved to Mesa. Also Emerson’s sister Irena and children had moved to Mesa, so we had some help to get us settled.
We bought an old Dodge sedan and packed our belongings and our three little girls, Marjorie, Bobbie, and Glenna and we were on our way. We camped out along the way, and finally a dirty little family drove into Mesa. We stopped for a few days at my sister Clara’s home. My mother was living at the time with Clara so we were able to visit with her. Then we went to Emerson’s sister, Irena’s house and stayed with her for two weeks. During our stay at Irena’s, Emerson purchased a twenty acre farm 1 1/2 miles east of Mesa. He also purchased 20 cows to go into the dairy business on this farm. All of our savings went for the down payment. I remember we had nothing left to live on, so my Mother loaned us $20.00 to tide over for food until we could get milk going into the creamery.
The bank that owned the land, had moved an old building which had been a printing press establishment on to the property. It had two big rooms running the full length of the building, with a small room at one end. One of the big rooms had a partition in it. The building was perched on cement blocks. On the front, a porch extended the full length of the building. On the back, there were windows the full length of the building. This part of the house we used as bedrooms. The building was made of wood siding on the outside and the inside was lined with perpendicular rough lumber boards. We had plenty of floor space but not much division of rooms. We proceeded to try to fix the place up. The floors had an oily substance on them, which we had to remove. We got some wallpaper and covered the unsightly boards. The smaller room we used as a kitchen. The long front room was our dining area and living room. I recall we got a coal oil cook stove for the kitchen and made a small area for a worktable. We got a table and four chairs, unfinished, to eat on. After awhile, we were able to get a wicker love seat and two wicker chairs. Of course, we bought whatever we got on time and made monthly payments from our milk check. There was no electricity and no water except what we hauled from the dairy across the street for drinking and cooking. The rest of the water we used, such as washing, cleaning and bathing, we dipped out of the irrigation ditch which ran by the side of our house, on the other side of a fence.
We had a friendly little two-holer that was perched over a deep dry well. To keep our food from spoiling, we used a burlap-covered evaporative cooler that Emerson made. This consisted of a lumber frame, covered with screen, with shelves and a big pan of water on the top. The burlap was soaked well and the top ends were emerged in the pan of water. The water seeped out onto the burlap and kept things inside cool as long as we always kept the pan full of water. The burlap was on all four sides of the frame.
We belonged to the Mesa Second Ward. Brother Clarance Dana was our Bishop. It wasn’t long until we were set to work in the Ward. I was asked to teach a Sunday School class and Emerson was in the Young Men’s Mutual organization.
As time went by, we got a flock of chickens. At first we would brood the baby chickens in our big living room until they could be put out in the brooding house, which Emerson built in a big tin tank. I recall he dug a tunnel underneath and made a fire in one end and the heat went into the floor where the chicks were.
I saved all the feed sacks that the chicken feed came in. I washed and bleached these sacks and that is where the cloth came from to make our pillow slips, bed sheets, table cloths, curtains, children dresses, which I dyed before making up. I made dish towels, little girl panties and slips. I also dyed the curtains, which I made from the sacks.
During this time Emerson’s mother decided to retire from teaching school and move to Mesa. She built a nice little home on our property. After awhile she found herself like a fish out of water. She had nothing to do to use her time. She lived there a year or two then decided to go back to Mexico to teach again. They wanted her back in the school. Her little house was rented and she never did return. So we decided to take the glassed part of our house and move it over and add it to her house. When we did, the place was a very comfortable home. We had a new kitchen added which was the most beautiful kitchen I had ever seen, I thought. We had water and electricity and inside plumbing. A big bath tub and everything lovely.
I had been working on the Stake Primary Board for several years and about this time Sister Edna Peel wanted me for a Counselor in the Ward Relief Society. I worked in the Relief Society until we moved to Phoenix.
The big depression of 1929 and 1930 was in full swing. Emerson had to sell the cows because butter fat was too low in price to make payments on the farm. He got a job cleaning irrigation ditches. Later, he found a job loading baled hay into box cars to be shipped. Then he was asked to take a job in Phoenix with the Co-op, which was shipping the hay. He worked helping in a feed store in Phoenix. He commuted for several years, until I felt that we must move to Phoenix so we would be closer to his work. I had a hard time convincing him of the idea but finally he said, “I don’t have time to find a home, you will have to find one.”
I should retract my story and tell you that we had another wonderful little girl born to us while we were still living in the big lumber house. We named her Maurine and in another year and a half, we had a little baby boy born to us. We named him Emerson Wayne.
At the time I was to find a home in Phoenix, Wayne was 5 years old and in kindergarten. We had then been living in Mesa eleven years. I got in touch with a realtor. He came from Phoenix and picked me up to find a home for us. Wayne went along too. The realtor took us to a group of houses just being built out north of Phoenix, two blocks west of Central Avenue a few blocks north of Indian School Road. I liked the area and the houses were quite nice, small with two bedrooms. Somewhat small for our five children, but we could be comfortable and later build some on to it. That evening when Emerson came home, I told him that I had found the house. He said, “Well, if that’s what you want, we will buy it and move.” So in the year 1939 we moved to Phoenix. It turned out to be a wonderful move for the whole family. We move into the Phoenix 3rd Ward. Our Bishop was David Stowell, a wonderful man. He made us feel wanted and welcome.
We lived in this home for seven years. During this time we added a glassed-in porch and used it as a bedroom, adding some closets across one side of the room. We added a bedroom, for Wayne, on one side of the garage. Emerson had gone into the feed business, so he built a small hatchery on the property near the house.
While we were in the 3rd Ward, I taught a Sunday School class, was a counselor in the Mutual, and later was Secretary in the Ward Relief Society. I was released from that position and was a called to be secretary on the Relief Society Stake Board.
The three older girls graduated from the North High School. Marjorie was married — also Bobbie was married while we lived there.
Then I decided we needed a new house. We could afford it by selling our little home. Emerson said we could have a new home if I could sell our home, that he didn’t have time to do anything about it. So, I began to think about moving and thinking positive about the matter. One day a man from back east came by and asked if we would consider selling our home. He was looking for a place he could use and build on as rental property. He offered us $16,000.00 for the place. We had paid $3,000 in the beginning. We accepted his offer and sold it to him. Then we were without a place to live, and places to move into were scarce. But a woman who owed Emerson a big bill wanted us to move into her home in order for her to pay the bill. After we moved into her home, we found that she had moved with her two boys into a dark little basement underneath her home, and she and her boys had to share the same bathroom with us.
We proceeded to find some property to build on and to find a builder to build our home. We purchased two acres on East Missouri Avenue and found an excellent builder by the name of Nelson. It took Mr. Nelson five months to build our home. During these five months, Emerson took Maurine and Wayne to North High School every morning on his way to work. I would pick them up after school each day. We were ten miles from school. Now our home was finished and it was lovely — very well built, with the best materials obtainable. Well, the new home called for new furniture. But Emerson said we would have to wait for that. So I had Mr. Nelson make us two end tables and a coffee table of white maple. With the three tables to add to our existing furniture, it didn’t look too bad.
After our move, we were still in the 3rd Ward and the same high school district so our lives went on as usual. Maurine and Wayne graduated from North High, that making all five of our children graduating from the same school.
I will retract a little, while we were yet in our little home, Marjorie gave birth to her first child, a little boy. So we were grandparents. I recall that Emerson belonged to the Rotary Club at the time. The Rotary Club had a big annual party for their families. They gave prizes for different things. I received a prize for being the youngest grandmother.
While we were waiting for our house to be built, Glenna, our 3rd daughter, went to Los Angeles and worked until we moved into our new home. She then came back home and went to school at A.S.U. until she graduated. She then taught school at Madison Grade School until she married.
Maurine went to B.Y.U. one year and three years at A.S.U. in Tempe. She taught school in San Francisco. Then she taught school in Hawaii. While there, she met Max Colgrove who was in the Navy stationed there. They were married in the Hawaiian Temple.
Wayne went to A.S.U. one year and then was called on a mission for the church to Argentina for two years. He returned from his mission and was then drafted in the Army, and was soon sent to Germany. After his stretch in the Army, he came home and then went to B.Y.U. He found his wife during his third year at B.Y.U. She was Myrna Frazer from Boise, Idaho.
It was quite an adjustment to make for Emerson and me after our family left home to make their own homes. But we all got together for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a number of years or until the grandchildren became too numerous to be altogether.
Marjorie’s, husband, Basil Peterson, died, leaving her alone with her six children. So she invited Emerson and me to be with them for Christmas. So for twelve years, we went to Tucson for Christmas Day with them. This year, Christmas of 1978, Marjorie went to be with her daughter Diane to take care of her and the new baby. We were invited to have Christmas dinner with our son, Wayne and his family — the first time we had spent a Christmas Day in their home.
When Wayne was released from his mission, Emerson and I went down to Argentina to meet him. It was a very interesting trip. On our way down, our plane schedule got fouled up. So we were late all the way down. When we arrived in Panama, we telegraphed Wayne that we would be two days late, but Wayne didn’t receive the message. He met every plane until he decided something had happened to us. When we did arrive in Argentina, Wayne wasn’t there to meet us. We had no Argentina money and no bank was open so we got a taxi driver to take us to the Mission home, promising him our son would pay him at that address. He agreed and took us to the Mission home. When we arrived Wayne wasn’t there. The missionaries said Wayne was so worried about his parents he had gone out for a walk. We waited about fifteen minutes and finally Wayne came. He was so glad to see us and to find we were safe and sound.
We had a very wonderful time in Buenas Aires. We met President Moyle and his wife at the Mission home. They were touring the missions for the church. President and Sister Moyle took a group of missionaries along with President and Sister Valentine, the President of the Argentina Mission. We were also invited to go see the opera, Madame Butterfly. We were told the Opera House was one of the largest in the world. It was a beautiful building. The performance was wonderful and beautiful.
After the opera President and Sister Moyle took us all to dinner and, of course, huge Argentina beefsteaks were on every menu. I could eat such a small portion, it could hardly be seen that I had eaten any of it. I was seated next to President Moyle, so I felt embarrassed. I guess he thought I was pretty dumb, but what do you talk about to one of the members of the Presidency of the church? It was one time I was speechless and found nothing to talk about. He wasn’t one to make a person feel comfortable, either.
We traveled to Paraguay, staying there three days. This was on our way to Igasu Falls, but when we arrived we couldn’t get plane passage to the falls. We stayed at a European-type hotel. They served everything in courses, and the food was wonderful.
Then we flew to LaPaz, Bolivia. As we arrived and had gotten off the plane, Emerson and Wayne became sick. They were in bed three days. This was because of the high altitude. After Emerson and Wayne were up and about again, a church member by the name of Sister Hume invited us to dinner at her home, which was enjoyable.
From LaPaz we flew to Lima, Peru. There we contacted Fred Williams. He invited us to their home for dinner. They were holding a mutual meeting the same evening at the Williams home. One of the church members present at the meeting invited us to her home for dinner for the following evening.
I’m getting ahead of my story. We went to Cuzco, Peru before we went to Lima. In Cuzco we visited many cathedrals. Most of them were lined with gold leaf. We saw many beautiful jewels on display also. There was 86 Catholic churches in the City of Cuzco. We saw large stones placed together without mortar in Cuzco. We traveled to an Indian Village in the mountains nearby. We attended an Indian Fair where all the different tribes met to bargain and sell their produce and hand made articles.
I should mention that we took a train from LaPaz to Lake Titicaca. We took a boat just as the sun was setting and the next morning at sunrise we arrived on the other side of the lake. Traveling by train all day, we arrived in Cuzco. After our stay in Cuzco we traveled by small rail car to Machu Picchu, traveling high in the mountains along the side of a river. At one point along the way, the driver slowed down to make a curve when the car jumped off the track, barley missing going down the river bank. The axle broke on the little car, so we had to wait until another car was sent out to continue our trip. I should mention the car held about sixteen people. The windows were wide open, traveling about 60 miles an hour up in the snow covered mountains. I can still feel the cold.
At the end of the track we took a bus up through the mountains. The road zig-zagged back and forth all the way up. Some places they had to back up in order to turn the corner. At the top of the mountains we found Machu Picchu, a beautiful fort built by the Indians to protect themselves from their enemy. They grew food on terraces built along the side of the mountain. Looking down the mountain we could see a silver thread winding its way along, which was the river that we had traveled along for so many miles. After leaving Machu Picchu, we returned to Cuzco and then to Lima.
After our stay in Lima we flew to Panama. We stayed at the Panama Hotel which was new, modern, and luxurious. We went to see the locks in the Panama Canal and watched the ships being taken through the waterway. This was very interesting, to see the locks filled with water and lift the ship up to another level and on through to the open sea again. The ships traveling the opposite direction were lowered as the water emptied from the locks. I recall on our way back to the hotel, we stopped and bought 25c worth of mangos from a street vendor. He gave us a large paper bag full. Well, we were so surprised to get so many for the money, we took them to the hotel and feasted on this delicious fruit.
We flew to Guatemala and visited with Kelly Black. Kelly was on a mission there. We went to a cottage meeting to one of the church member’s home. I recall they had a garden of beautiful roses. As we left the meeting, the lady of the house gave me an armful of lovely roses.
The next morning we flew to Merida, Mexico to see the ancient ruins in that area. At our hotel in Merida we met President Harold Lee and President Bowman of the Mexican Mission. Emerson and Wayne had breakfast with them the morning after we arrived. I didn’t go because I was sick with a bad head cold.
Our next flight was to Mexico City. We went to a small newly built hotel. The following morning was Sunday. We found where they were holding church services and attended Sunday School. I recall we wanted to see a bull fight. None of us had seen one. The only time they had a bullfight was on Sunday afternoon. So we went to the bullfight. It was a gory thing. I watched most of it through a camera taking pictures.
Monday morning we found the German taxi driver that Emerson and I had met on our way down to South America. We hired him for the day to take us to all of the points of interest, the churches, ancient ruins, and market places. I recall I started from the hotel wearing pants. The taxi driver wouldn’t take me that way so I had to go back to the hotel and change to a skirt. I was happy about it because I didn’t see another woman wearing pants the whole day we were touring.
The next day we went to see President and Sister Bowman of the Mexican Mission. They were dear friends from our Mexico hometown during our first six years of our marriage. President Bowman and Emerson played on the same basketball team for many years. Their team traveled to many places to compete with other teams, including a trip to Mexico City.
President Bowman insisted that we check out of the hotel we were in and come and stay at the mission home. We were there two days waiting to get a flight to Chihuahua City.
Emerson’s brother Harold and his family lived in Chihuahua so we stayed with them. We had a difficult time getting a plane out of Chihuahua City to get back to Nogales where we had left our car. We were there three days waiting before we were able to travel on. That put us a day late to get to Tucson where our family had gathered together for a surprise family dinner on our return. They had their dinner and had all left for their homes when we arrived.
OUR CARIBBEAN BOAT TRIP
A VACCARO LINE STEAMER OF THE STANDARD FRUIT COMPANY
Our son-in-law, Basil Peterson of Tucson, won a free trip for two. Basil could also invite friends or relatives to join them if they paid their own way. Emerson was selling Purina Products in his business in Phoenix. We went along with Basil and Marjorie, paying our own way. We started from home on March 14, l950. We traveled through Texas and stayed the first night in Orange, Texas. Early the next morning, we crossed the Orange River into Louisiana and into real swamp lands. We saw beautiful Colonial homes and very beautiful vegetation. After arriving in New Orleans, we got a room at the Monte Leon Hotel. Then went to dinner at the famous French restaurant Antone’s. We took a tour of the town the next day and went back to have another French dinner. This dinner we learned what crepe Suzette’s were. (I recall we were the center of attraction for the whole dinning room was watching the chef preparing this at our table with great fan fare.) We didn’t like them; too much rum. The chef was so disappointed in our reaction. (We live and learn, I guess.)
I’ll retract a bit with my story. We drove to El Paso and stayed the first night at the Biltmore. We boarded our ship; our room was very comfortable with portholes we could look through. The first day our Cruise Queen got underway, we started down the Mississippi River, which was in flood stage. The River Pilot had a rough time getting us down the river into the open sea. We had fun getting acquainted with our traveling companions and the ship. Our companions were mostly Purina dealers from all over the United States and Canada, who had won free trips by being top sellers from their areas. There were sixty passengers in all.
The second day we did more of the same and sat on deck getting “our sea legs”. We found plenty to keep us busy. There was dancing on deck in the lounge every night the whole trip, and swimming pools to swim in, and plenty of deck games.
The third day we docked early in Havana. At 8:30 in the morning we took a city and country tour. On this conducted tour we visited several beautiful historical landmarks, including Merced Church, Plaza de Armas, La Fuerza (built in 1538), Tropical Gardens, Havana Club distillery, then we returned to our ship. In the afternoon we visited the capital and did some shopping. That night we took a tour to see Havana after dark. We went to Sloppy Joe’s Bar, China Town, the Jai Alai Game, Sanbs Souci Cabaret, and Tropicana.
Fourth day at 10 A.M. we took a tour to the town of Mariel, 36 miles west of Havana facing the Gulf of Mexico. We saw more landmarks, unusual scenery, and had lunch at the famous Mariel restaurant.
Fifth day at 8:45 we left to tour Morro Castle with many dark, shark infested dungeons. The prisoners went through much persecution. Returning to the ship our “Cruise Queen” was soon on its way to La Ceiba in Honduras.
Sixth day – More shipboard activities.
Seventh day we arrived in La Ceiba, where a waiting train took us through the fascinating land of coconut palms and greenery. At the Salado River we boarded a barge, enjoyed a lazy trip down river to the sea, with natives entertaining us with music all the way. A picnic lunch was served to us in a special pavilion. We were entertained by a group of marimba players, very beautiful music. Some swam in the ocean, some went fishing. I recall Emerson went horseback riding. Marjorie and I watched natives climb up the coconut palms and pick coconuts and we listened to music. We returned on the same train back to the ship. (While we were on all these different trips, the ship was being loaded with bananas.)
Eighth day we headed out for Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, where we took a walking tour and did some shopping.
There were several parties. A masquerade party where everyone competed for the most original costume. Marjorie and Basil won the prize. There were several birthday parties, one anniversary party and then of course the Captains Dinner.
The ninth day we headed back for New Orleans. We arrived back on the 12th day. We were cleared through U.S. Custom house.
A MONTH IN HAWAII
June 19, 1958 we arrived in Honolulu. Maurine, Loree Baker and a girl friend met us at the airport. All three were wearing muu muus, the native dress. Maurine had a rented car for the week. She took us by Pearl Harbor, then to the apartment where she cooked us a wonderful dinner. The next morning we packed a lunch and went to the blowhole and along the beach, then up into the lush green hills with flowering bushes. We circled around one side of the Island, then returned to our apartment. (We rented an apartment for a month on the edge of a beautiful canal of water and close to the beach.)
The 20th we attended a hukilau which is a Pig Bar-B-Que in the ground. The next day we went to Pearl Harbor and went on a Navy boat around the harbor. They told us the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the Japanese. Then we went to a Monkey Pod factory where they made bowls and serving trays of all kinds. We made arrangements to take a tour of the other Islands, then went through a hibiscus garden, then to see a hula dance. We visited Queen Emma’s home, which is now a museum. Our tour through the sugar factory was very interesting. A trip up to the Sacred Falls, about a mile off the highway, was very beautiful.
June 26th we took a plane and flew to Maui, toured Maui, then flew to the big island of Hawaii — very beautiful flowers everywhere. We rented a car and toured the island to the falls gushing from large rocks, then to the large crater 10,000 feet above sea level, to the Rainbow Falls, the 1955 lava flows, hot springs, and black sands. We traveled along a very scenic coast and through the great giant ferns forest, then on to Kona where we traveled through narrow roads for 126 miles. We visited Lauhala where they made all kinds of articles such as hats, purses, tablemats and baskets. We also saw the steam vents in the lava flow. We ran into the Smithsons, friends from Phoenix, on their way to a dance. We took a glass bottom boat, where we looked at the coral and the fish. We went to the bay, where Captain Cook was buried, called Kealakekui.
Our next Island was Kauai, where we stayed at the Coco Palms, and were entertained nightly. One group was a L.D.S. singing and dancing group. We took a riverboat to the cave where the fern grew up side down. (Fern Grotto) We visited the little Grand Canyon of the Pacific and then back to Honolulu.
We went through the L.D.S. Temple, took a tour of the college being built, pineapple fields, pineapple cannery, and we went swimming many times. We enjoyed the whole month going to many places and entertainment, too many to mention.
Saturday July 19th we had a taxi come and pick us up to take us to the airport. We were on our way back home. Maurine, Marlene, Loree, Berneal and Max were there to say their good-byes. Each put a lei around our neck and kissed us good-bye. We also had a good supply of leis to take back home to the family.
July 1966 Emerson and I attended the American Poultry Congress in Minneapolis. While there we saw the play, “The Music Man”, with Bert Parks, at the Theador Worth Park, outside under the stars. We watched the Torch Parade of the Aquotensail, a yearly celebration in Minneapolis.
We flew to Buffalo, and from there we took a bus on a tour to Niagara Falls. We went over to the Canadian side, which was more beautiful. We took a tram trip over the boiling foaming river and also under the falls with raincoats on. Back to Buffalo, we went to church the next day. Monday we visited the Art Gallery, the Natural Science and Art Building then rented a car and drove to Palmyra. There we visited the Joseph Smith home, the Sacred Grove and the Martin Harris home, drove out to the Hill Comorah, and up to the statue of Moroni, then to the information bureau and saw a show, “The Joseph Smith Story”. That night we watched the pageant. We sat in our car and were very comfortable. There must have been 10,000 people there that night. The pageant was a beautiful spectacle.
Back to Buffalo, we took a plane to Rochester and to Chicago, changed planes and went to Souix City, Iowa, and checked into the Sheridan Hotel. The next morning one of the Simonson boys picked us up and took us to Quimby (which was 60 miles out) to pick up a new bulk truck we had purchased from them for our business.
After we arrived, the elder Mr. Simonson wanted to take us on a tour of their operation. He took his wife along also. We toured the machine shop, where they built the body of our new truck, the fertilizer mixing plant, feed mixing plant, rendering plant, where they made meat scrap and tallow for their feeds, and the soybean meal plant. We toured the little town of Quimbly, then went out to see their fields and cattle and the homes of their four sons. He had given each a farm. We returned and picked up our new truck and went back to Sioux City and loaded our new truck with soybean meal to take home. The state of Iowa is very green and beautiful.
We traveled across South Dakota, through the badlands, to Rapid City, then to Black Hills to Mount Rushmore and saw the four U. S. Presidents carved in the mountain. We took a trip in a tram to the top of the mountain — a beautiful view of the country. We traveled on to the Wind Cave and took a tour down 250 feet. The wind blew very strong the first 50 feet going down.
We traveled through Wyoming, the second oil producing state in the United States. This is where the great Tea Pot Dome scandal took place. We traveled back to Phoenix after a very enjoyable trip.
In 1962 Emerson and I were called by President J.R. Price to devote two days a week to the church, working in the Mesa Temple, until such a time we would be released. By the time I had been serving in the temple for eleven years, 1973, my health became such that I could go no longer to attend this duty. Emerson continued two years longer, traveling to Mesa alone, before he was released.
As time went on, my health worsened as more chemical sprays came on the market and more of our neighbors began to use them, such as weed-killer, and insect eradication for flies outside. The air pollution from the cars became worse as Phoenix grew. I found I had to stay indoors much of the time. I found I was very allergic to these.
We decided we would have some remodeling done in our home. We had new rugs put throughout the house, and the kitchen remodeled, new draining-boards, new sinks, new hood and vent over the stove, a built-in dishwasher, and new vinyl covered seats against the two walls around the table. We ate most of our meals there. We put in new lighting and everything was beautiful. But I found that the chemicals used in all of these new improved things were very toxic to me. I wasn’t able to enjoy the outside air, now I had more toxic air inside. Finally, we decided to sell our home and move to the ranch. We thought we had our home sold, so we began to pack our belongings and we took a load to the ranch each week. We asked Ron and Leslie Tanner, our grandson to move in and take care of the place until they moved into their new home.
The more Emerson thought about building a new home, the more he didn’t want to go through that hassle, so he said, “Lets find a house in Wickenburg.” Emerson had the realtor picked out in his mind, but as we came into Wickenburg, he said, “I feel impressed to go in here to the Peterson Real Estate office.” Of course, I knew they had the home we wanted. As we walked in and was asked if they could help us, I blurted out, “Yes, you have a house in Wickenburg waiting for us.” Being surprised, he said, “Well, let’s go find it.” We spent two days looking at all the places he had, but didn’t find what we wanted. As we left to go back to Phoenix, I said, “There is a house waiting in Wickenburg for us, I want you to find it.” In a few days we got a call from Mr. Peterson saying he had found the house waiting for us. The place was just what we needed. It hadn’t been lived in for a year, just waiting for us. We bought it and the title was cleared and we moved in two weeks later, July 1, 1981.
STARTING OVER AT 80
The noisy city streets are left behind.
Smelly smog, backed up cars.
To the country, clear blue skies to find.
Stars shining by night afar,
Sun rises, breath takingly start the day.
A new home to find and to stay,
The rest of our remaining life.
Never to move again, from city strife.
With the same spirit to plant and reap
An orchard was planted, just as days gone by.
The trees took root and headed for the sky.
Soon the birds came and all the fruit took.
A greedy flock leaving nothing before they forsook.
The joy and pleasure then all wasn’t doom,
Spring came and the trees burst into bloom.
OUR WICKENBURG HOME
We love this Wickenburg home of ours, the Lord blessed us
and brought us here, and showed us the way.
We enjoy every minute of our stay.
Our home so dear is spacious too.
There is room for our children, grandchildren, and
great grandchildren too.
It’s a lovely drive for them to come from the city to
The country side views are exquisite.
Cacti, desert shrubs and trees,
Surrounds our Wickenburg home, swaying in the breeze,
Windows and sliding doors from which we look,
Is just like looking at a picture book.
We see from all directions the lovely view.
Under the clear sky of blue.
The animals are becoming more friendly every day.
Now that they know we have come to stay.
But the rabbits and chipmunks eat everything we plant
We have tried to get rid of them, but we just can’t.
INSIDE LOOKING OUT
Windows on the east, west, south, and north.
We see mountains from every view.
Changing all day to purple hue.
Oh, the handy works of God brought forth.
Our thanks we give to Him, for this pleasure
And the joys we partake of at our leisure
Never lonely when our Lord is so near.
Troubles may come, but why should we fear.
Today on their regular route,
As we cast our eyes about,
The golden eagles are flying high
All four are soaring in the sky.
Up in the clouds they disappear
Then heading for the ground so near,
Flying up, up, up with their prey.
To their nest the food to convey.
Wouldn’t you like to know how many grandchildren we have
Marjorie has Robert, Donna, and Steven, Diane, Doris, and
Carol which makes six even.
Bobbie and John have five you know, Linda, Norman, Shari,
Marilyn and Ronald in a row.
Glenna and Bud have one, that one is Ty.
A wonderful one, we can’t deny.
Maurine and Max have fine you see, Troy, Thad, Calli,
Nathan and Darci.
Wayne and Myrna have ten, Kristin, Audrey, Shelly and
Jillyn, Pamela, Daniel, Spencer, and Melinda.
Add them altogether, which makes twenty seven.
We love all of these lovely spiritual souls,
Who came from our Father in Heaven.
Hey, Am I giving you advice?
I’ll take it back, It’s as bad as having lice.
I said, “I’ll take it back.
I will just give it a whack!
Many enemies I have made.
By doing just that unafraid,
Please forgive me
Oh, thank you, I am free, you see.
THE CHICKEN RANCH
It’s time again for the Tanners to vacation.
For then we begin to plan and pack out two weeks ration.
The ranch is in a fertile mountain surrounded valley of cool
So our ambition is to enjoy what we can of this between the
wear and tare.
Of arising early with the chickens to start our tasks.
Emerson is out opening range chickens while I am preparing
It has been raining the whole night through,
So the feeder must be unclogged and set to running, too.
The rain wasn’t so good for the chickens, so special
medicated water was put in their pen.
When at last time was taken to eat, we felt like it must be
Breakfast over, I wash the dishes and make the beds,
straighten up the house
Before I join Emerson in the egg room, cleaning eggs as
quiet as a mouse.
In a few minutes Emerson is off to gather the eggs newly
By the time the baskets are full from the hen house, I have
You would think there would be time for a wee bit of
But more hens are in there nesting.
So once more the rounds are made to gather the eggs
Then their grain has to be fed, by the looks of the flock
they need retaming.
You know those hens are a wonderful group,
Because the eggs must be gathered again in the coop.
Then we take time out for a bit of supper, so apitizen,
The sun has sunk far behind the horizon.
It’s time to lock the doors of the chickens on the range.
We find that to go to bed with the chickens isn’t hard to
The vegetable garden was something to be remembered, what a
There was corn, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, and
cucumbers on the right.
And cabbage, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, carrots and green
beans were all on the left of the road.
One bright morning bright and early we went to the bean
patch, the vines to unload.
Those young tender beans we cut, blanched and in boxes they
To the deep freeze to be kept until home they were sent.
We gathered the corn in the early morning so rare,
Husked it and washed it and cleaned it with care.
It too was put into freeze,
To use when there wasn’t a summer’s breeze.
Then would be forgotten and past.
The sore and aching limbs when our work was finished at
One Sunday morning when the cattle came for a drink,
Emerson locked them in the coral and took them by surprise,
Calling for me to come see his beef on hoof, so bold.
Then we noticed the screw worms were eating our steak,
before it was cold.
That meant the critter had to be lassoed and tied.
The screw worms killed and the wound cleaned in her side.
Emerson the roped did throw,
With a leap and a beller that cow did go.
He pulled and tussled with all his might,
But that cow really put up a fight.
He twisted her neck the bulldog style.
While I pulled her tail all the while.
Over she went with a bellering flop,
But with the wrong side on top.
On her feet again, to the post she was snubbed and tied.
Once again a twist of her neck down she went on her other
Now the screw worms don’t like dope smear,
Which put an end to them, do not fear.
But what I wondered about the whole deal,
And which seemed so very real
If the cow could live through the fight.
Emerson said, “It’s not the cow, but will I weather alright?”
One of the nicest times on the farm,
Is when we climb the hill with our camera on our arm.
With Tiny, the dog, on our heel,
We arrive on top and what a joy we feel.
Mountains all around we see,
Green and picturesque as can be.
Taking one last look down below,
We see feed tanks and hen houses in a row.
It’s the first of September and homeward we are bound.
Our stay on the farm is over until another summer rolls around.
EMERSON’S NINIETH BIRTHDAY
I remember Emerson had a beautiful singing voice.
He sang solos at weddings and funerals, he was their choice.
He sang in the ward and stake choir,
He sang love songs to me, which I never did tire.
I remember Emerson when he was twenty.
He had sandy hair and had plenty.
I remember him when he was twenty-one,
That was when our courtship had just begun.
I remember he was a fast worker.
He asked me to marry him on our third date
To be his helpmate.
I remember the day we were married.
He went to the farm to change the irrigation water.
He slipped and fell in all over.
I remember I thought I was stood up.
But finally Emerson showed up.
Then we were married by the bishop.
I remember the day he moved my belongings.
The horse ran away with the wagon.
Down the street they wildly ran,
Until a neighbor caught them, which was a blessing.
I remember Emerson, a man of twenty-two.
Our first daughter, Marjorie, was born with beautiful eyes of blue.
I remember when he was twenty-four.
A cute little girl we called Bobbie was born with all her splendor.
I remember Emerson when he was six and twenty.
Glenna, our third lovely girl was born.
Now he had three on his knee.
I remember when he was thirty-one.
Our fourth beautiful little girl was born, we named her Maurine.
She was so much fun.
I remember Emerson when he was thirty-three.
His son, Emerson Wayne, was born.
Now he had a little girl and a littly boy on his knee.
I remember Emerson when all our children had left home,
He thought we could begin to roam.
But then, I remember Emerson when he knew he had to stay home and work.
He found that his duties he must not shirk.
I remember Emerson when he was eighty.
We moved out Wickenburg way,
Where the people are friendly,
Where we can stay.
I remember when he had his ups and downs.
But all was well again by sundown.
I remember Emerson, how happy he could be,
When his family came up and he told the story of the bumblebee.
Now Emerson is ninety.
Just full of interesting stories.
Some when he was a good boy,
And some when he was kind of faulty.
I remember it well, the glint in his eye
As each grandchild and each great-grandchild left heaven,
And from there said good-bye.
I remember how welcome they arrived
To Emerson Pratt’s family alive.
Now Emerson is ninety, a man with integrity and is true.
Happy Ninetieth Birthday to you.
Irene Pratt, your ever-loving wife
Who will be loving you the rest of your life.
We appreciate our family of one hundred twenty-nine.
Especially our in-laws and their families. We appreciate Max and Maurine for making a sacrifice to move to Wickenburg to help us in our hour of need. Thank you, Max. Thank you, Maurine.
—November 26, 1991
My mother, Irene died April 4, 1995 in her home in Wickenburg, Arizona. She died 3 months before her 90th birthday. Emerson died March 12, 2001, just 8 months before his 100th birthday.