While reading the reflections of the Children of Paul and Afton Felt, enjoy the music of John Barry,
“Somewhere in Time“
House on 700 North
Closest Thing to a Farm in the City
When the Family moved to Provo from Cedar City we came to a large home on 700 North just a few blocks south of the campus. This home had an expansive backyard with a wide stretch of grass that extended out to a three-foot high decorative concrete block fence that marked the beginning of a vegetable garden. The house benefited from pioneer style city planning that allowed irrigation ditches through the rear yards of all the homes in the area and sufficient land to plant fruit trees and vegetables gardens. When water was wanted, a board was slipped into the diversion channel and soon the field was flooded. In the late summertime the corn would grow tall and while the Felt’s were never very successful farmers, a variety of produce made its way to the table.
The yard provided sufficient space to keep a lamb and friends in Cedar City would send one from their flock each year. The Felt children and their neighborhood friends provided the perfect solution to the dilemma of nurturing the offspring of one of their sheep that had either died or rejected its lamb. Mom would fill a large sodapop bottle with milk and, attaching a nipple to the end, it would be offered by the children with great enthusiasm to the lamb who would drink it down. When autumn would arrive, the animal, now with teeth and a need to eat solids, would be taken to the Edmund’s farm in Mapleton where it would enjoy apples fallen from the trees. The fattened, mature sheep would eventually become mutton for our family and the Edmunds.
This backyard was like a giant enclave where the world stretched on and out, complete in itself. All of the entertainment and adventure that we could ever hope for was provided there. A sandbox nestled into the front right corner of the lawn satisfied the younger children with trucks and bulldozers, while giant trees with branches accessible to young arms and legs would see long days pass when old pieces of wood could be wrestled into place to build platforms for elevated forts and hiding places. The willow tree covered its section of the lawn with branches that fell all the way to the ground.
Off to the left, near the wall that separated the garden from the lawn, a child-sized house had been built complete with a front door, windows, a miniature kitchen and dining area. My sisters and their friends in the neighborhood passed hours playing in this life-like little house, sometimes even persuading some of the boys to play the roles of husbands and fathers, but only when they were promised that the entire matter would be kept secret!
Like many homes in that vicinity, a basement apartment had been built into the house which was leased to students; in our case, 12 boys. The rental income would go far to supplement the mortgage payments and often the students would prove to be engaging friends.
The yard could only be fully enjoyed with the addition of Sam, a horse-sized, fawn-colored dog of boxer breed. He was a gentle playmate who would tend the brood of rabbits that joined the backyard collection as if they were his own. Sam would run along beside the family as we rode along the streets on our bicycles. Mom and Dad rode a tandem bike together with Jessie in a child’s seat up front and Ron in another in back while Paul, John, Yvonne and Marilynn would ride along on their bikes with O’Larry hurrying along on his tricycle.
Dad, hoping to teach Paul and John the value of work and self sufficiency, purchased a power roto-tiller with large knobby tires, a Briggs & Stratton 3-horsepower motor and a plowing instrument that trailed behind. In the wintertime a snowplow could be fixed up front that was just wide enough to clear walks and driveways. An ad placed in the local paper and word to the neighbors presented all the work that the two could handle.
An old fog-horn is put to good use
Dinner at Felt’s Began with a Blast
We always had dinner and family prayer together in the evenings and with the great number of children that could be scattered in any number of locations around the neighborhood after school or on summer afternoons, Dad and Mom grew weary of trying to track us down at dinnertime. This problem was solved by Dad’s acquisition of what at first looked like an overgrown bicycle pump with a Mack-truck horn attached. We soon learned that it was a fog horn from a ship that Dad had purchased from the Army/Navy supply store.
The contraption was mounted with wire against the four-by-four post that supported the roof over the back patio. Upon hearing it for the first time we were astounded by the strength of the piercing sound. It wailed with a deafening bass pitch that lasted as long as it took to force the plunger back down to the pump cylinder.
It was understood that whenever we heard the blast of the horn, we were to come directly home.
“Wah-h-h-h-h-h” would sound out from the direction of our house and we would stop to listen. How could it be time already?
“Wah-h-h-h-h-h,” and the second blast served as confirmation and a third blast was usually made for good measure. If one of the younger children carrying out the assignment we might hear, “Wah-h. Wah-h-h. Wah,” as either the plunger was too hard to press forcefully or a moment’s entertainment was being had on the instrument. Everyone in the neighborhood new the meaning of the blast and would offer prod us along if we hesitated too long after the horn’s announcement.
A Motorcycle’s Intoxication
When I was 13, I had a little mini-bike with a 5-horsepower Tecumseh engine that Dad had gotten for me one day in Salt Lake. But this little mini-bike was broken down most of the time, so one day during summer vacation Dad took me to a motorcycle shop across from Provo High School. We soon found something that I liked, and the only thing that remained to close the deal was the question of how much credit we would be given for the mini-bike. The owner of the shop scratched his head and looked at my little mini-bike in the same way a horse-trader might look at a mule that was being passed off as a horse.
“About the most I can give you is seventy-five dollars,” he said.
“Wow, that’d be great,” I said. “That’s more than I thought we’d get–“
Dad poked me and told me to be quiet, and then he began to dicker with the man and I didn’t say anything more. When Dad and I left the shop we had managed to cut a deal on a new Bridgestone Trail 90 that I could pick up as soon as I had paid off the balance from my after school work at the dry cleaners on 5th North.
But this wasn’t easy to do because I only made 70 cents per hour, and as the days and the weeks passed I began to grow despondent. It was summertime, and all I could think about was my Bridgestone Trail 90 sitting in the window of the motorcycle shop across from Provo High School.
Then one day John, who must’ve known how badly I wanted that motorcycle, took me by the arm and pulled me out the front door of the cleaners.
“Come on Finn,” he said. “We’re going to the bank.”
“So we can get some money to get that motorcycle.”
Together we walked down University Avenue to John’s bank, where he took out a small signature loan. Then we went to the motorcycle shop, paid for the motorcycle, and then brought it back to the old BY High School across from the cleaners. Together we started it up, and I’ll never forget the sound of the motor and the smell of the gas and oil mixture that came out of the exhaust. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited as I was at that moment. I spent the entire day riding my new Bridgestone Trail 90 around the grounds of BY High School (the police couldn’t bother me there). I was one happy kid.
Oak Hills II Ward Woven in Our Memories
The Church we attended was just a block north of our house, where Cherry Lane, with a gentle upward slope, ended as it ran into the Church parking lot. This building housed a chapel on its North end and another, the one we attended, on its South end. A gymnasium with a full-sized basketball court lay between the two chapels and their outer foyers. Large doors could be closed in the center of the gymnasium cutting off communication between the sides leaving two independent, self-sufficient meeting houses.
We all loved Bishop Arch Bowden who lived around the corner and down the street from us on Cherry Lane. He knew each of us by name and possessed a gentle, engaging personality. His demeanor and countenance were those of a man who found pleasure in life and felt a sense of awe about the good fortune of living among neighbors he loved and being engaged in a profession that brought satisfaction. While he was Bishop, the Ward was buoyant. The richness of his personality was rivaled by his wife Marge Bowden, a steady and accomplished woman.
On Sunday mornings we attended Sunday-School at 10 am. The children all met in the Junior Sunday School room which was like a miniature-size chapel with a sacrament table and raised podium where the Primary leaders would sit with a member of the bishopric. We took our turns giving two-and-a-half minute talks and passed the time singing and attending classes.
Following these morning meetings, we would gather at home for a delicious full-course meal, usually consisting of roast beef, potatoes and gravy with vegetables and, of course, whole-wheat bread on the side. Later in the afternoon we would return to Church for Sacrament meeting which would normally last one-and-a-half hours. We did not like it much when the speaker continued on past his allotted time while the minute hand crept past the ninety minute mark.
Those that held the Priesthood would begin their Sunday mornings somewhat earlier, attending an hour-long Priesthood meeting that began at 8:30 am. Following this meeting, owing to the close proximity to the building, many could make a quick trip home for a bite of breakfast before Sunday School started. All together, three trips were made back and forth from the Church on Sundays. Once when I came across two Catholic boys, who later became friends of mine in Junior High School, I was asked why we went to Church three times on Sunday. I didn’t have a very good answer for them as I had supposed that everyone did this.
It was during these Sacrament meetings that we would watch the awkward young men stand to speak in the “Farewell” programs before they would go off on their two or two-and-a-half year missionary assignments. Special bulletins were made for these occasions and handed out by the ushers at the doors to the chapel. They carried a picture of the departing missionary on the front cover. On this day, the family members would wax eloquent in speeches from the pulpit about what a fine boy he had been. We marveled at what some of the parents did not know about their sons.
We watched missionaries go off to several unusual and exotic places. Paul was off to Australia, Steve Clark to Norway, and John to the Northern Indian Mission in the Dakotas.
Upon their return we noted how different many had become from the rambunctious, awkward and inarticulate boys that we had known only two years earlier. We also noted, in contrast, how some of the returning missionaries had hardly seemed to change and we tried figure out the disparate experiences. The transformations–or lack of–made an impression upon us. Each of us was aware that they day would arrive when we would be asked to make a decision about going on a mission.
Arriving home from school on Tuesday afternoons we stopped in at home, then went straight on to the Church where we attended Primary. This was a lot like Sunday School except we would sit in the main chapel for 15 minutes of opening formalities and singing and then adjourn to 45 minutes of classes of gospel instruction.
Bishop Broadbent had very difficult shoes to fill when he was called to follow Bishop Bowden. This task was made even more difficult by the fact that he was a scientist at BYU, a profession not tending to reward gregarious, outgoing personalities. In so many ways, whether it was the thick-framed bike he rode over to campus each day, the suits cut from the style of an earlier era or his plain, deliberate personality, we wondered how he would be able to engage us and lead the Ward. But it did not take long before we were aware of the deep love he had for the Lord. Above all else he was wise and good. These qualities never call attention to themselves and they never did in him but they soon became manifest to us and we revered him.
My Pitching Debut or How The Wind Came Out Of My Sails
We had a Little League association in our area whose home was in the fields to the immediate South of Wasatch Elementary School. I first learned about the league from David Clark who encouraged me to sign up during the summer before I turned eight. The regulations stipulated that players had to be eight prior to August 1st but David had persuaded the coach of his team on my behalf and I was in, playing on his same team. We were sponsored by his grandfather’s company, P.L. Larsen Plumbing and this name was emblazoned on the back of our uniforms.
With David’s encouragement, we took this whole idea of baseball very seriously. Our daily swim in the city pool and later the pool at Helaman Halls was not allowed as this would produce an excessive drain on our bodies and the chlorine in the water would leave our eyes bloodshot–not good for ball players. So while everyone went off swimming, we stayed home.
Hours before the game we would dress in our uniforms, carefully putting on the long white socks under our colored stirrup socks. Simply wearing ordinary white tube socks, like most of the other boys did, was not allowed under David’s tutelage. The black stirrup socks had to be raised high up to accommodate the style that prevailed in the big leagues at the time and consequently this required that we cut the part of the sock that went under the foot and insert a piece of stretch elastic.
Our pants were turned under just below the knees. Under our shirt we wore white jersey shirts with black sleeves that would extend out from under the uniform, the sleeves matching the color of our stirrup socks and the trim on our gray uniforms. These we had to buy with our own savings at Provo Sporting Goods. Most of the other boys didn’t wear the jersey shirt. Last of all we put on our tennis shoes and carried our spiked shoes with the laces tied together through our baseball gloves. That way the plastic spikes would not get worn down along the sidewalks on the trip to the diamond.
Invariably, we would be the first ones to arrive by a great distance of time. After a while the chalkie would come to lay out the first and third base lines, the batting boxes and catcher’s zone and the circles for the warm-up batter. Slowly the coaches and players would arrive and we would begin the warm-up by playing catch along side the dugout that we had been assigned depending on whether we were the home or visiting team.
During the first year, I played right field. The coach could be sure that I wouldn’t see too much action there as it usually took a good left handed batter to place a ball in that direction. I enjoyed the game but recall that I spent a lot of time being nervous. Nervous about seeing a ball rise up in my direction, nervous when I would step up to the plate to face the pitcher. On the other hand, David seemed enthusiastic and confident. He was the pitcher and shortstop, the most respected positions on the field.
Our team won the Northeast Little League Championship and we went on to the All City Tournament held at the fields on 5th North and 5th West. It was a week of hot August weather. I had improved enough that when our second baseman failed to show up for a game, I was brought in from the outfield. I heard one of the boys on the team express a great “Oh no!” when he learned of this. That caused the dread I already felt to deepen even further.
The following year Ed Pinegar was the coach of the team I was assigned to–we were sponsored by Provo Sporting Goods. He decided that I would make a good catcher. I was very happy behind the plate and enjoyed being in charge of the defense, as it were, hollering to the other players and encouraging the pitcher.
In my final year of little league, David Porter took responsibility for our team and he extended great zeal in his coaching efforts. The final game of the season was with P.L. Larsen Plumbing, the best team in the league. The winner would get to go on to the All-City tournament. Jeff Clark, like his brothers before him, pitched for this team.
The game got under way and by the third inning we were behind by a wide margin. A substitute pitcher was put in to no avail. We continued to give up runs. I begged Coach Porter for a chance to pitch and he finally relented even though it was something I had never done it before. We had nothing to lose.
So I took my place at the mound and went through the wind-up–I loved the ritual of the pitcher’s windup. With ball in hand you take one step back towards second base while lifting both hands overhead, then, turning on the right foot towards third base while bringing the left leg around, lifting it high to add momentum and thrust to the throw while the right arm is cocked back. In the follow-through, the ball is released to the target the catcher has set. All very elegant, if you know what you are doing.
With this experience, any confidence I had in my athletic ability was brought into serious question. My pitching debut was a disaster! The few times that I was able to get the ball in the strike zone it was blasted over my head. It became clear to me and to everyone watching that I had an awkward style of throwing the ball. I was humiliated by the jeers from the opposing team, “He throws like a girl!” Coach Porter kindly removed me from the game.
At the close of that season, Jeff Turner and I were voted co-MVPs for our team and each given trophies by Coach Porter. I also received a trophy for having hit the most home-runs. I could have also been awarded, if there had been one, the trophy for the most strikeouts. I was the classic home run hitter: The ball either went over the fence or it went no where.
Grandpa Harris, Trips to Strawberry and Dates with Dad
As I was thinking back to my childhood, some of my favorite memories were with Grandpa Harris. I can remember going to Strawberry with Ron and Larry and some of the Clark kids. We would always bring home tad-poles and put them in the planter in the backyard.
I can also remember how I felt when Grandpa passed away and how much it hurt. I remember praying to Heavenly Father and asking him to let me go before anyone else in my family because I didn’t ever want to have to feel that pain again.
Another favorite memory of mine is having Daddy-Daughter dates with Dad and how we each took turns. I would get so excited when my turn came around.
Valentine’s Day was always a favorite of mine–Dad always seemed to surprise us as he’d ring the doorbell and run. I remember one Valentine’s Day when he left me and Kathleen turquoise bracelets.
Pack Meetings were always fun to go to, especially when they held the Pinewood Derby races. It seemed Ron and Larry always had the neatest cars.
The Ward Christmas parties were always fun–eating dinner, singing songs and best of all getting to see Mr. and Mrs. Santa and getting a stocking full of candy.
Neighbors of Generosity & Goodwill
Opposite our home in the cul-de-sac lived the Marian Clark family. She had been a school girl acquaintance of Mom’s and now had eight children ranging in ages close to our own family. Tragically, she had lost her husband only a short time before our arrival in a plane crash. Her father and mother, a great source of strength and support to the family, lived across the next street over from them on Cherry Lane. He was the proprietor of P. L. Larsen Plumbing, a mechanical contracting concern involved in a great share of the larger commercial building projects undertaken in the valley.
The Clark’s lifestyle accommodated a degree of propriety and decorum that was generously moderated by an attitude of good neighborliness. They were a family of the upper middle class, comfortable with the pastimes of the economically secure, be it hunting for deer on horseback–outfitted with the full-range of gear essential to secure the rugged comforts of the mountains–or skiing during the Saturdays of winter with latest technology skis, boots and outerwear. The older Clark boys, along with their cousins, Eric and Steve Larsen, who lived in the third house in the cul-de-sac, belonged to the leading fraternity at Provo High School and counted themselves among the trend-setting and defining social groups.
The care that they took in their surroundings was best illustrated by the Saturday ritual of mowing the lawn. The self-propelled mower, utilizing multiple curving blades mounted horizontally between two wheels, was the first item of importance as it allowed the grass to be cut cleanly against the rotating blades as it lay against a straight edge. They would pass over the lawn first in one direction then turn to the perpendicular for a second pass, leaving a flat even top to the grass. An electric edger would then be used along the sidewalks and curbs and finally all the clippings would be removed with a wide-brush push sweeper. The grounds of the white-sided, two story colonial home–one of the earliest built in the neighborhood–were left looking neat and manicured.
At Christmas time great decorations adorned the lawn. Santa and his reindeer leapt from the rooftop and lights were strung in all the trees. A bay window in the front of the house displayed a beautifully adorned tree, usually flocked white. The house bespoke the American Christmas tradition at its best.
As the outside told, so was the inside. The interior boasted a gracious style where good taste in an understated fashion prevailed. The air of propriety produced by fine furnishings, draperies and carpets was balanced by the warm engaging personality of Marian Clark. Along the wall of the family room she displayed the family’s most precious art: Projects from school that came home authentically amateur but took on the appearance of a family heirloom as they aged on the wall. When any of us would walk up the sidewalk that led to the family room entry, she made sure to greet us with a happy welcome.
Take me Home to Holbrook, AZ
Because a past family letter spoke of my great desire to somehow return to Holbrook, Arizona, I thought it would be appropriate to refer to those years that we were in Holbrook. I was 10 years old when we left and 13 years old when we came home.
I remember well our missionary farewell. I spoke and said, “Since today is Father’s Day I’d like to pay a tribute to my Dad. I think he’s the best Dad in the whole wide world.” (Oh the wisdom of my youth–now I would say I know he’s the best . . .)
I recall walking home from Church that day and thinking about how much everyone was going to miss us. The next day I said something to David Clark about it and he said, “I’ll show you how much I’m going to miss you!” and he proceeded to put my head in the murky water that always collected in the potholes at the entrance to the circle we lived in. I was crushed! How could he do this when we were going to be gone for 3 years?
The years in Arizona were good ones for me: Playing softball the first summer we arrived so I was able to make friends before school started. Attending Zone Conferences with Dad. Realizing there were “other” people in the world apart from Mormons, whites, and Indians. Receiving love notes from Dad that said, “Dear Cadillac” and soon changed to “Dear Mercedes” (he said that a Cadillac was supposed to be the finest car but he knew a Mercedes was, so that’s how I became Mercedes). Driving to Winslow with Mom, Tammy and Jessie so we could go shopping at “Whipples.” John and Jackie coming down and bringing our dog Brandy who I would send outside when John Lacy came by because he was scared of her. Playing racquetball out back. Trying to learn to play basketball so I could live up to Jessie’s M.V.P. ranking the year before. Yvonne and Lamar’s visit when Becky and David sang us songs in their cute southern accents. Walking home from the sand dunes one Saturday because we called Ron “Ronald McDonald” and he got mad and made us walk. (I had bare feet so Jessie and Tammy shared their shoes.) Driving to Utah with Larry listening to loud music and speeding the whole way in the Mercedes. Spending two weeks with Marilynn at B.Y.U. one summer at the Riviera. Wendy coming home from Blanding where she was teaching. She always had cute clothes and would leave some behind so we could wear them. Tom’s stories of how many swats he got that day at school. Tammy’s loyal friendship and unselfishness that was her hallmark even then. Mom giving shots and not only taking care of he own family but also 250 other missionaries.
I’m grateful for the Holbrook years. It was there that my testimony grew and I knew without a doubt that the Church was true. It was there I learned to accept and love people. It was there I had a chance to play sports and realize how fun they were (and I wasn’t labeled a jock). And best of all for me, it was a time I believe we as a family became closer and drew together.
Socializing on the Patio
We are Entertained by a Hobo and a Businessman
Along the patio side of the breezeway wall, between the house and the garage, a table and two side benches had been built into the wall. They could be let down on the hinge where legs made from half-inch steel pipes would be threaded to the outside edge. Dad had arranged to have two more such tables installed further down the wall that were utilized as serving tables.
In the open area of the patio was a round table with a pastel blue top and complementary colored benches, all molded from fiberglass. The benches were joined to the top by two-inch aluminum tubing and the whole affair was shaded by a large umbrella of contrasting color that could be tilted and turned in any direction.
Along the outside edge of the concrete floor Dad had placed a planter made from the thick metal nose cone of a bomber aircraft to which three strong legs had been welded. Flowers would bloom from bulbs that Mom had planted deep in the soil. Along the patio was a small garden spot elevated slightly above the level of the patio with a lovely mock-orange tree, with slender limbs and trunk, rising in the center. In the spring and summer its leaves were quite small and bright red-orange berries would form in clusters at the end of the limbs looking like decorations that had been hung. This tree, along with the walnut and almond trees planted beyond it, provided beautiful adornment to the patio.
With the equipage of tables and the beauty of the gardens, this area became a favorite place for outdoor eating and entertaining and these amenities were well employed. Sunday afternoon meals would frequently be taken here and any important family event was celebrated on the patio with the fold-down tables that Dad had installed being covered with a variety of foods.
All the young children in the neighborhood remember one event out on the patio particularly well. It was a summer afternoon when the daylight extends well into the evening and Mom and Dad were hosting a party on the patio for the cast of “The People of the Book.” The children had finished their meals while the adults lingered around the tables in conversation. Many of us had gone around to the front yard where we were laughing and playing. To our amazement we saw a shabbily dressed man turn into the cul-de-sac. His jacket was torn and tattered, his trousers worn through in the knees and resting far above his ankles. His shoes, worn without socks, were likewise torn, exposing his toes. With disheveled hair and several days’ beard growth, we stared on in great wonderment. We were actually seeing a fabled hobo!
He proceeded slowly along the edge of our lawn, wobbly on his legs as if he had been drinking. He bent down to pick up an empty can of soda pop and drained the last drop from the bottom into his mouth and placed the can in his pocket. An apple core that was lying a few feet further ahead became his next acquisition and it went directly into his other pocket. We could not believe our eyes and became increasingly concerned as he reached our driveway. This was going to be very awkward for the party goers!
We ran quickly in to alert Dad. He came out with us and after making a few inquiries of the man he led him back to where all the guests were. We were distressed by the awful condition of this weary man and while we were sure that Dad would offer him food we were very surprised to see him carried off to the party. They were really in for something!
How he enjoyed his meal. His plate was piled high and he ate with relish. While his mouth was full of food he would reply with a contorted face and everyone would endeavor to remain appropriately polite when in fact many could hardly keep from laughing out loud, so humorous and engaging were his antics.
“Where have you come from?”
“I came in on the railroad,” he replied while holding the plate of food close by. His side-to-side swaying prompted the bystanders to reach reflexively for his elbows.
Soon he was singing songs and telling stories and all restraint was left off. We sat back in joyous laughter. This continued on for three-quarters of an hour and then he announced that he would have to be getting on with his journey. He agreed to another song and then he bid us all good-bye.
Dad walked him in through the back door of the house and at next glance we saw the two of them standing in the kitchen with Dad opposite and to the side of the unfortunate man with his hand upon his shoulder. The wobbly hobo was now leaning casually against the counter, his arms folded across his chest. There were great smiles on both of their faces and there appeared a sense of good-humor and affection between them. We suddenly realized that this had all been prearranged entertainment! It was Bryce Chamberlain, a highly regarded actor, best known for his role in “Man’s Search for Happiness.”
On another occasion, Joe Ahlander, who lived just across Fir Avenue from us, was a guest at a party attended by several from the neighborhood. He was an older man, of slender build with receding white hair. The children knew him best by the gleaming garage that we caught a glimpse of as he drove in and out in his polished Cadillac. Before the remote-operated garage door closed we would gaze in amazement at the polished floor, the neatly organized workbenches and the cabinets with all the tools neatly in place. We chuckled at the panoramic framed pictures that were hung along the walls.
He was a kind yet disciplined man, the proprietor of a wholesale supply store located on South University near the viaduct. Ahlander’s Wholesale Supply was filled with a seeming haphazard array of goods, recalling the era before specialty houses and sprawling discount stores.
When Dad asked him to sing for us, we felt a twinge of embarrassment, wondering how Dad could put this dignified man on the spot like that. Then to our amazement Joe Ahlander took out a ukulele and began to sing!
“Oh you can’t go to heaven in dirty jeans cause God ain’t got no washin’ machine.
“You can’t go to heaven in a limousine cause God ain’t got no gasoline.”
Then he would add a flourish,
“Oh no! Ain’t got no gasoline.”
And the song continued on for verses I can not recall. He danced a little two-step while singing another and the air was filled with happy contentment.
A Race Track for the Missionaries
I have vivid memories of what Christmas was like living in the Mission Home in Arizona. We included the missionaries in everything and Christmas morning we would sit waiting anxiously in the entry hall singing Christmas carols, waiting for all the missionaries to get up before we could go in and see our presents. Well one year I received probably the nicest and most expensive present I’d ever found under the tree–an AFX slot car track. I soon found out I wasn’t the only one excited about the gift–Ron and one of the missionaries played on it all morning long! Finally, with much reluctance they got up to leave and “CRUNCH!” the missionary stepped on the track, breaking it in several places.
“Oops, sorry!” he said. He tried to offer me 5 bucks but I wasn’t easily consoled. I never even got to play with it on Christmas day! Of course later we got some replacement tracks but it was heartbreaking. I still have the slot cars.
A houseful on Fir Circle
A Day in the Life of the Felt Family
Jessie, Kathleen and Ron shared the room upstairs next to Mom and Dad’s during the early years at the home on Fir Circle. Larry moved downstairs and shared a room with Paul and John while Marilynn and Yvonne shared the room next to them. When Paul Jr. went off to the Coast Guard to fulfill his military commitment before his mission, Ron moved down to the “boy’s” room.
Mom was expecting twins and we were quite excited about all this new twist to our family. They arrived on September 1, 1963 and when we wanted to see them we had to settle for looking up from the parking lot of Utah Valley Hospital and see first one then the other as Mom held them up to the window.
One evening all the children of the family gathered around the kitchen table to discuss preferences for names for the new additions to our family. After proposing several alternatives we came up with Thomas and Tamara and submitted this combination to Mom and Dad. When Grandpa Harris learned of our choices he noted that since we intended to call them Tom and Tammy we ought to just give them these names to start out with. We all agreed with the logic and so it was.
An acquaintance of Mom’s had recently given birth to twins whom she had named Tom and Tammy and upon hearing of our intentions she phoned to protest. Mom replied very simply, “I’m sorry, but I have nothing to say about it. You’ll have to speak to my children.”
So just as Paul Jr. left the home the twins arrived. The house was home to Dad and Mom, John 17, Yvonne 15, Marilynn 12, O’Larry 8, Ronald 6, Jessie 4, Kathleen 3 and the newborn twins. A real houseful.
Owing to Yvonne and Marilynn’s ages, they assumed a great deal of responsibility for this younger half of the family.
Jobs were organized for all us around the house. Dinner dishes were rotated and would normally involve one person in charge of clearing and another responsible for washing. The job wasn’t done until the cupboards were cleared and the floor swept. The dishes were often a source of complaint amongst us as one would disagree with another about whose turn it was. The clearing was much easier than the washing so debates arose over who got to do the clearing.
Dad always took care of the vacuuming, though sometimes earlier in the mornings than we would have liked. All of us remember his regular, consistent vacuuming, his insistence that breakfast and evening dishes be done by the children, that rooms were clean. He knew the value of our learning to do our share around the house but, importantly, he wished to make certain that such tasks were not left for Mom who had more than enough work before her every day without these obligations.
We would arise before 7:00 a.m. and gather around the kitchen table for family scripture study and breakfast, each taking a turn to read several verses of scripture as directed by Dad. Tom had the uncanny ability to sleep while sitting up, waking just seconds before his turn to read. The only problem he faced was knowing which verse to start from and this information was quietly communicated to him by Tammy. Then just as soon as the reading was finished he disappeared back into his darkened room for a few more moments’ sleep and, almost like clockwork, he would be seen bolting up the stairs for a quick shower and then be out the door just in time to catch the carpool for school. He always preferred the shower in Mom and Dad’s bathroom.
We would kneel in family prayer each morning and when it was Mom’s turn she would express gratitude for “the dawn of this day.” Dad and Mom would both consistently pray for the President of the Church and our Bishop. When Paul and then John left on their missions, not a prayer passed when they weren’t mentioned. Later Dad added a new twist to the morning routine by adding time to the end of family prayers when we would remain kneeling in order to conduct our personal prayers. When the younger children had friends sleeping over we sometimes failed to inform these visitors of this practice and they would be left facing a few moments of confusion.
Breakfast would follow. Most often Mom served hot cream of wheat that had come from our store of whole wheat grain or hot oatmeal. Buttered whole wheat toast baked in our oven was always on the table. The hot cereals would be alternated with poached eggs on toast or, my favorite, waffles and pancakes.
Sunday mornings were the only time that we did not sit for an organized family breakfast and then we would serve ourselves Corn Flakes, Cheerios or Shredded Wheat. After staying overnight at friends houses and having Frosted Flakes or Cap’n Crunch for breakfast Mom often heard us ask if we couldn’t have these also but they never appeared. A family our size would make very short work out of these cereals which were comparatively expensive and tended to be packaged in smaller amounts.
The routine was moved back an hour on Saturday morning but the extra hour’s sleep often had to contend with the sound of the heavy Kirby vacuum plunking sequentially down the stairs.
Each of us had our places at the table where we sat for meals. There wasn’t any design to the location save that the older children sat around the outside places while Dad sat at the head of the table with Mom to his immediate left where she had easy access to the cooking area of the kitchen. Each of us can still recall which spot was our own.
The kitchen was as attractively and thoughtfully designed as the rest of the house. A built-in refrigerator and stove were found on along the wall just past the phone as you entered. Opposite these stood a counter with cabinets above and below. The first drawer of the lower cupboards housed everything and anything that could fit inside. Every home must have a drawer like this.
The lower corner cupboard on the left-hand side extended back deeply and was always filled with canned goods, mostly Campbell’s soups of all kinds. On the countertop above rested the Mixmaster, Osterizer and toaster and to the right, along the windows that looked out to the front of the house, was double sink of stainless aluminum. The sink on the right had a separate cold-water-only tap that was sourced ahead of the water softener to provide drinking water and an Insinkerator disposal was fitted to the drain. A dishwasher, that was idled intermittently through all the years we lived in the house, was found to the right of the sink.
At the right angle from the dishwasher, forming a U-shape to the countertop, one found the range top set into the countertop with a long row of push-button–six small rectangular buttons to each burner. This mechanism bespoke the glories of the “push-button” age.
Above the range was a cabinet that hung from the ceiling, having obscured sliding glass doors on both the side facing the kitchen and on the side facing the dining area, providing an attractive visual barrier. It was designed to allow access from either side. Ingeniously, the column at the end above the range served to hide the duct for the exhaust fan.
The silverware drawer built into this cupboard could also be accessed from either side of the counter. We never worried about having knife, fork and spoon patterns match and Mom found it much easier, while there were so many young children at the table, to use plastic drinking glasses, bowls and plates. As we grew older, the bowls and plates were replaced by stone-ware.
At some point during these years Dad purchased a milk cooler that rested on a cabinet placed at the corner of the dining area. We would purchase three-gallon containers of milk from the B.Y.U. Dairy and could have milk by pulling a lever that released the milk through a small white tube. A few times we replaced the milk with homemade root beer. While picking up milk from the Dairy, a job nearly always undertaken by Dad, he usually bought a three-gallon bucket of ice-cream, sometimes choosing the “surprise” flavor.
The Tradition of Mr. Baggs Carries on in a Farmington Garage
I don’t have many memories before I was four years old. I do remember going to Preschool at Mrs. Wendy’s (Sis. McComber). Mom stayed with me for months until I felt secure. As I have reflected back on my shyness I believe a lot had to do with not seeing very well. Mom got me glasses when I was five and slowly I have overcome my shyness. (At least most of it.)
Mom has often told me how Marilynn would run home from school to take care of Tom and I. You can imagine how Mom appreciated this!
I remember my best friend, Julie Beck. We spent hours together building sand piles and selling lemonade and candy. Her family always went to Church but whenever Stake Conference rolled around, they wouldn’t go on that Sunday. I remember crying and telling Mom and Dad I didn’t want to go to Stake Conference. Well, to my surprise, they said, “Fine,” and walked out and the family left me. I bawled and bawled and regretted my request. I then wiped away my tears and went down to Julie’s house and played and made sure I was home before the family returned. I never did that again.
I remember falling off my bike when I was six. Mom came out and got me and took me in. I remember her holding me on her lap and trying to feed me a hamburger patty. I just kept screaming. She then drove me down to Dr. Smith’s and then to the hospital. My memories of that summer is reading lots of books and getting pretty fast on my crutches.
Tom and I were baptized when Dad was Mission President. Larry baptized us and I remember this day very well.
I remember spending lots of hours downstairs helping the missionaries that worked in the offices put stamps on letters or making photocopies.
When we moved back to Provo I was in 6th Grade. I had the Army Sergeant, Mr. Baggs, and I enjoyed his wood class. I made punch rugs, a leather wallet and woodwork projects.
I remember standing in lots of wedding lines and having the same dress for at least 5 years because Jessie, Kathleen and I would have matching dresses. As I grew out of one dress I would grow into the next dress.
Paul Ernest, Jr.
First Signs of the Felt Work Ethic
I have had some trouble getting my mind around a single memory from my life up to 12 years. So many memories flood in, each of which leave wonderful feelings, that I have had to exercise some discipline to identify one of real importance to me. For example, I remember the long drive from Utah to Canada and returning to BYU when Dad was working on his post-graduate degrees. I remember the visits with Aunt Edith and Uncle Don in Montana on some of these trips. At times I remember something rather significant to me which, when I think of it, brings a flood of secure loving emotions to the surface.
In order to keep peace amongst the waring tribes in the GMC Suburban bus, Mom and Dad would distract us with a variety of games or sing songs. Sometimes, I guess, there was request time. My favorite was to hear Dad sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” Whenever we sing that song in Church now, I still recall sitting in the car and hearing Dad sing. Those were wonderful secure times.
When we were living in Canada, where Marilyn was born, I remember springtime and John going outside with a coat on because it was getting so warm. It was 0o F but for him it was getting warmer! I used to envy John because he didn’t feel the cold like I did.
When we were living in Cedar City, before Ron was born, the family was living in an old rambling two story home. John and I shared a bedroom upstairs which was not heated. We would lay in bed with our arms wrapped around one another, tickling each other’s back for two reasons: We love a tickle (thanks to Grandma Harris who started the whole thing) and we needed to get warm.
However, the memory which has had the most impact during the pre-twelve year period, was likewise in Cedar City. John and I had heard that we could get free passes to the movies by distributing the monthly calendar of movies for the movie theater (there was only one movie house and one drive-in in Cedar City then). The cost to go to the movies was only 15 cents but still too expensive on our family’s budget.
John and I showed up on Saturday to help along with a pile of other kids. We were taken by car to our assigned section and shown how we were supposed to place the leaflets in the post box of each house.
After some weeks had passed John and I, together with the children of the theater owner, were the only ones left distributing the bills–we were assigned one half of the town and his children the other. It seems the Felt boys were the only ones they could rely upon to actually place the calendars in the post boxes. The other boys were dumping the leaflets. I can remember feeling rather proud to be given this responsibility and a free pass to all and any movie we wished to see.
Challenges little brothers, Root Beer at stake
A Champion Wrestler He Was Not
Paul became a part of our games just as if he were one of the kids. We paid a visit to him in San Diego when he was serving in the Coast Guard. I was thrilled with how smart he looked in his Coast Guard whites! His woolen dress blues had to be kept lint free and he showed me how a twist of masking tape, sticky side out, could be used to remove any. Returning home from his mission he carried a wonderful assortment of boomerangs, kangaroo skins and toy koala bears. He also had an assortment of girl friends both before and after his mission. We all formed opinions about the ones that we thought he should marry.
Paul would challenge Larry and I to wrestling matches, the loser having to buy mugs of root beer for all at A&W. Of course Larry and I could never afford to pay for his drink as well as our own, so we took care never to lose! As the years passed these matches continued until Paul realized that this little game with kid brothers had become more than he bargained for.
Name your favorite record : I Heard it on the “Seeburg”
We enjoyed having a pool table in the family room for several years and this attracted many friends from around the neighborhood. The room also boasted a Seeburg record player that the family had acquired some years earlier at great expense. The long rectangular body of the player rested horizontally on four legs about three feet off the ground. Fifty 45 rpm records could be inserted into equally spaced slots across the front, each having a small switch that could be placed in one of four positions designating that side A or B or both be played or that the record be skipped. Behind the row of records, the player would glide along a track until it came upon an order to play, whereupon it would stop and a mechanized arm would lift the record out to be played. We would line the slots with our favorite records and enjoy the music while playing pool or engaging in any number of other activities downstairs. When Mom and Dad purchased the Seeburg it was one of the most expensive pieces of furniture they owned and represented a sizeable portion of their annual income. Music was important to Dad and it was a luxury that they always allowed themselves.
A First Love is Thwarted
In Cedar City we lived next door to my first “girl friend,” I believe her name was Judy Jones. She was the most popular girl in my third grade class and I was “in love.” I was elected as class monitor and one of my duties involved dismissing the class, row-by-row, at the end of the day. The quietest row was allowed to go first. Judy came up to me during recess and told me that it was important that I excuse her row first that day because she was preparing for a party right after school and had to get home quickly. (Her row was consistently the noisiest and she knew that I was intending to excuse her last.)
To give incentive to her proposal she offered a deal, “If you excuse my row first, you can come to my party.” So, can you guess what I did? I never have been one to refuse a good deal and that day I excused her row first despite the fact that they were particularly noisy.
I ran directly home from school to get ready for the party! About 4:30 I walked over to their backyard and found a dozen kids there and one of them came up to me and asked quite matter of factly, “What are you doing here?”
I was happy to declare that Judy had invited me but I watched with trepidation as he ran over to whisper something to Judy. My anxiety was justified and my heart sank as she walked defiantly to where I was and said, “I never invited you. Why don’t you just go home!”
I was devastated! I ran home and went to my room and started to cry. Dad had just come home and, seeing that I was distraught, he came directly to my room. When I explained the problem to him he responded with great encouragement telling me that I was special and that he and Mom loved me. I could see that this was all that mattered. While I cannot recall the exact counsel that Dad offered that afternoon, I do remember feeling good about myself and that I was a special person.
Now as an adult, I can appreciate the many times that Mom and Dad built positive self-esteem in each of us. As we look at the success of each of us in our own lives and careers, a lot of it comes from the confidence and positive self-esteem that was built into each of us during our early childhood. Thanks Mom and Dad, we all appreciate that!
House on 1455 North Fir Circle
An Architect’s Delight, a Family’s Dream: The Orient on Fir Circle
The success of the basement apartment rentals to B.Y.U. students on 700 North encouraged Mom and Dad to consider finding another family home and turning the entire house into student rentals. In the summer of 1960, an opportunity to trade interest that they had in a laundromat for a home on 820 East in North Provo arose and soon the family was situated in a new neighborhood. This was not to be a long stay. After living in the home for less than six weeks, barely having time to settle in, notice was received that an additional $9,000 in lien obligations existed on the house, obligations which had not been revealed at closing. The bank demanded that Mom and Dad acknowledge this debt and commit to its resolution. Not only were the financial demands that this would impose beyond their present capacities but, taken together, the mortgage and liens exceeded the value of the house. An alternative would have to be found.
One Sunday evening while dropping Paul and John off at a fireside at the home of a ward member who lived on Fir Circle, Dad noticed a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard. After walking through the home and the outside grounds, he had only a vague hope that he would be able to negotiate favorable terms. Not only was the home located in one of the newer subdivisions of the city, an area that was beyond the reach of most B.Y.U. faculty, but it was of singular design and construction. He made arrangements to return the next day with Mom to walk through the house and yard.
The home had been custom designed and constructed only three years earlier by the present occupant who had moved from California with his family to practice dentistry. His profession had not proved as lucrative in Provo as it had on the Coast and his wife was anxious to return and accordingly the house had been placed for sale.
The architectural drawings for the home had been privately commissioned and the gardens were designed by the occupant’s father, a landscape professional. Both had utilized a Japanese-inspired theme as the underlayment to their design. These were manifest in the white-washed oak staircase that served as a central feature in the interior and the rock gardens and exotic trees that marked the exterior grounds.
The staircase began at the lowest level of the house, rising in sets of six stairs that turned at right angles from the previous set, interrupted by a landing. The first two sets lead up from the family and laundry-sewing room level to a set of bedrooms and a bathroom. They continued from there up to the main entry, kitchen, dining and living room level. At this point the stairs had turned a full 360 degrees from the point of origin. Beginning again, two sets of stairs, each at 90 degrees to the previous set, rose to the top floor where two rooms and a bathroom were found again.
At the lowest level, the stairs centered around a three-by-five foot planter. From each corner of the planter two columns of two-inch square white-washed oak extended up to the ceiling of the highest level, reaching an opaque skylight which allowed natural light to the stairway and the planter.
Attached to these rising columns, by brass hardware on the inside edge of each set of stairs, where matching hand rails with six-inch wide boards of quarter-inch oak serving as barriers below the handrails and above the stairs. Each was placed vertically, two per set of stairs, with the top and bottom cut at angles to match the rise of the stairs with two small grooves cut one and two inches from either long running edge to amplify the vertical rising and the oriental style of clean straight lines.
The main entry into the home was flooded by light from a four foot wide sheet of heavily textured, obscure glass stretching from the floor to the ceiling adjacent to the front door. Walking straight through the hall brought the living room in view, with its ceiling that sloped up from the common eight-foot height at the near end to twelve feet at the opposite end where walls of glass, reaching from floor to ceiling, each with a large sliding glass door, defined the two outside walls of the room. The metal framing for these windows and doors was of a solid, heavy metal and the glass thick plated so that the opening resembled the sound of a distant train moving along tracks. The inside wall to the left was completely finished in the white-wash oak and a large section was designed to move along runners to close the room off completely from the dining area. The window at the end of the room looked out on a semi-covered patio with a concrete floor poured into borders of three foot squares of redwood with the outside edge curving around a lawn and flower gardens. The wall of windows to the right looked out on a balcony that faced a view of the BYU campus.
The prevailing element of design that typified the house was a unity with nature. Light flooded through skylights and expansive windows. Built-in planters brought greenery indoors. The living room best illustrated this with its sloping ceiling that continued past the glass walls, extending outdoors high over the patio garden.
The gardens themselves had been as carefully and painstakingly designed as the home. A wide variety of trees and shrubs had been planted, each justified by the other and by the proximity to the house. A white birch tree stood just to the right of the main entrance with low evergreen shrubs planted below. Taller long-needle evergreen shrubs were planted on the opposite side of the walkway which led from the street. A tall pinion pine anchored the end of the house by the double door garage giving balance to the whole building.
The garage adjoined the house by means of a breezeway that was closed to view from the front of the house by deep red-brown stained panels of redwood veneer and unified to the house by a common roof extending over the breezeway, also serving as shelter to the patio. From the front left corner of the garage began a fence of the same materials and color as the breezeway which ran fifteen feet before turning perpendicular to trace the property line, running past an apple tree to the back where it turned at a right angle again extending along the back edge of the property line.
As the wall extended on along the back, the slope of the backyard, which up until this point had been at the floor level of the main living and dining floor, fell off at an angle steep enough to drop ten feet in roughly ten feet of linear distance. Movement between the levels was facilitated by a set of concrete stairs traveling behind the living room balcony which were bordered by a beautiful rock garden on the opposite side. The sloping ground was covered with unusual stones, none larger than an ordinary child’s kickball, of a wide variety of shapes and colors. A walnut tree was planted in the top section of this garden with an almond tree not far off. Where the slope tapered off, the lawn began once again and a walkway had been laid in the ground of flat sandstones which led past an oval fish pond with edges bordered by more sandstones. Here again, the strong influence of Japanese architecture was manifest.
The house seemed beyond the family’s means and Dad’s peers at the University felt that he was stepping beyond his capacities, but he proceeded with the negotiations at any rate. His position had been weakened by the $4,000 that had been lost on the house on 820 East, but he knew that the Dentist and his family were anxious to find a buyer for the home. It was agreed that Dad and Mom would assume an existing 4% mortgage on the house and sign a second note with the Dentist requiring $100 per month payments for a total purchase price of $35,000. They never dreamed that they would pay so much for a house!
Brothers Refine the Art of Teasing
I remember going fishing with Grandma and Grandpa Harris and Paul and John. One day we were driving up to Fish Lake and John, Paul and I were in the back seat of Grandpa Harris’ big blue car. Paul and John told me when we got out on the boat we would get lifesavers! Wow! I was sure looking forward to getting on the boat and eating some wonderful lifesavers! John and Paul got much pleasure out my disappointment at being given a “life-preserver” to put on. “This is your lifesaver, Yvonne. It could save your life.”
I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa Felt’s home many times. How I loved Grandma Felt’s whole wheat bread!
I recall my first taste of pizza. Mom and Dad had a party at our 7th North home when I was about 11 years old. They kept talking about “pizza pie” that was going to be served. John and I woke up early the next day, hoping to find some leftovers of “pie” in the fridge. Sure enough, there was a big, flat, white box. We opened it and took a piece of cold “pizza pie.” “Yuk!” we both said. What weird tasting pie!
Mom and Dad got a bicycle built for two when I was about 11 years old. I remember getting up early and going for rides with John. I also recall how John and I thought the white bread that we partook of during the sacrament was such a treat. (Mom always made whole wheat bread for all of us.) John and I put our money together and walked up to the store and bought ourselves a loaf of white bread and I do believe we ate the whole loaf!
When I was very young, Paul used to get great pleasure from teasing me. It seemed he could look at me across the dinner table and I would burst out crying. When I was going through my “ugly state” (as Lamar calls it when he sees pictures of me at this age) Paul was in Jr. High School. Several girls had crushes on him. “Tall Paul” was a popular song then. At this time Paul was a great confidence booster for me. He would tell me how pretty I was and he helped me to feel good about myself.
I remember rocking Larry in the rocking chair when mom went to the hospital to give birth to Ron. I remember babysitting Larry, Ron, Jessie and Kathleen a lot! Charlotte Edmunds came to babysit us for a few days while Mom and Dad were away and every time someone’s diaper needed changing, she would call to me and tell me to change the diaper. When Mom and Dad got home they gave her money, but I felt I was the one who should have been paid!
Marilynn was a special sister. She is three years younger than me. I recall her following me around quite a bit in my younger years. Tammy and Tom were born when I was fifteen and I told Mom I was tired of babies. I was ready for “teenage things.” Marilynn was 12 and she loved taking care of babies, so I gladly let her step in!
It was especially nice for me to get an older sister when Wendy came to live with us. We had a fun time sharing a room!
Since I came from a happy, loving family I naively believed everyone came from a family like mine. I’ve since learned differently. What greater gift can parents give a child? I get emotional and teary eyed just thinking of how filled I am with love for my parents and brothers and sisters and my sister Betty whom I will one day meet.
Rise and shout, the Cougars are out!
Sporting Events With a Moderate Fan
On Saturday afternoons Dad often took his children to the BYU football games. When the family first moved to Provo, the games were played where the Richards P.E. Building now stands, the steep hill to the North side providing the natural incline for bleachers. When plans for the present stadium were first undertaken, Dad subscribed to the fundraising drive which allowed him to obtain rights to prime chair seats not far off the 50 yard line. These seats carried a small plaque inscribed with his and Mom’s names. We could easily walk to the stadium from our home and we would find ourselves sitting among many others from our neighborhood.
We also went to the Smith Fieldhouse to watch Cougar Basketball. Our seats here weren’t as privileged as those at the stadium and we could find ourselves in a variety of locations, some better than others. The crowds were lively and intently involved in the games.
After a victory on the court and as we would climb the stairs that led up from the Fieldhouse to upper campus, I would look forward to the peal of the “Y” bell that was hung from an archway at the top of the stairs. When plans were announced to build a new arena, Dad once again became an early subscriber and obtained permanent seats on the front row. The only people with a better view now are the players.
It was always instructive to sit at the games with Dad and note the contrast of his involvement in the game with others around us. When a call by the referee seemed questionable, he would disagree along with everyone else but would keep himself in check while others would beat themselves on the head, raise exclamations of disbelief and provide high pitched analyses of the call to anyone who would listen.
While Dad joined in with the enthusiasm for a victory, his distress over a loss was short-lived and more important topics took center-stage on the walk home. The game was great fun but the true purpose of going was really for the opportunity to spend time with his children. This ritual had its beginning and end with the walk to and from the event and any of us will tell you that we walked along under his arm feeling a great sense of peace and security.
She’ll Trade a Dime for a Nickel
I don’t remember anything until we moved to Cedar City, Utah when I was three years old. My friend in Cedar City was Dennis Sparkman. He was the only friend I had. I would always play with him. He was my same age. I remember when I called him on the phone. We would have to lift the phone up and ask the operator to please get their house. I remember playing outside by the mountains. Our home was across from the mountains. I had a lot of fun playing on the rocks and hiking with Paul, John and Yvonne and my friend Dennis.
After we moved to Provo, I was in Kindergarten. I was scared to go in Kindergarten. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Glassgow. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Nielsen. I also got braces in first grade on my two front teeth. I had Mrs. Buckley for 2nd grade. I liked her a lot. I thought I was so neat because just three kids in the entire class got to go out in the hall every day and read to the first graders. I got my braces off at the end of second grade. I have fond memories of Kindergarten, first and second grade. I remember the principal was Mr. Brown. He would go outside at recess and play with us. I remember having snowball fights with him.
We lived at the 7th North house from kindergarten to the beginning of third grade. I have wonderful memories of this house. Some of my friends were Mary Lou, Ann Holbrook and Linda Lou. I named all my dolls Mary Lou and practically everything in the world Mary Lou. I was friends with them even though they were one year older than me.
I remember the fantastic backyard we had. I enjoyed playing in the sandbox, the playhouse and the big cement court. I played in the sandbox somedays for hours. One day I ran into the house yelling, “Mom, the devil’s going to get me! I found him.” Mom came running out to see that I had dug deep and found a stick with hairs on it. Mom had cut John’s hair in the sandbox and that was his hair.
I enjoyed climbing over the fence to Janice Meyland’s house. I remember tagging along and wanting always to play with Yvonne and Janice. They were nice to me most of the time. Yvonne, Janice and I enjoyed making up plays in the summer. We did the “Three Bears” and “Little Red Hood.” We dressed up and had our parents watch us.
Paul and John gave me money to scratch their backs. They enjoyed teasing me. They would often put me in a closet, turn on the vacuum and say, “The vacuum is going to eat you up!” They would also trade money with me. Many times they would say, “Look Marilynn, you have this dime and I have this nickel. You can have the nickel because it’s bigger and I’ll have the dime.” Paul and John called me watermelon. That usually made me mad.
It was always fun going swimming at the Provo pool. I guess I started having fond memories of swimming at an early age.
I was in a school program in kindergarten or first grade. I remember Mom making me a beautiful dress to wear. I was so proud of how beautiful I looked.
I copied everything Yvonne did. Yvonne sucked her four fingers; therefore I did the same. Yvonne fell out of the car when she was six years old. Dad was going seventy miles an hour. When Yvonne was hurt badly, I was jealous; therefore, when I was six years old, I opened the car door while Mom was driving slowly around a corner; I fell out. I was scratched a little.
The many animals we had in the backyard were always fun. The lambs were fun to feed with baby bottles. The ducks were fun to play with. Our dog was also fun. We always seemed to have a dog that we all enjoyed playing with.
I enjoyed Phil Sykes living with us. He gave me a lot of attention. He wrote a cute poem about me that said, “Marilynn or Mary Lou, or Martha or whomever you are . . .” and so forth.
We moved to Rock Canyon home for a short time. I made some good friends. I had fun at this home. I did miss the 7th North backyard. Billy lived with us at this home.
We soon moved to the Fir Circle home. I was in the middle of third grade. I went to Wasatch School. The first day I went I was so scared of the teacher. She was wearing all black and the minute I got into the room she put tape around a boy’s mouth. I went home crying because I was scared. I was quiet all the time because I didn’t want tape on my mouth.
I enjoyed this new beautiful home. I liked living on a circle. I enjoyed playing in the backyard in the sandbox. I enjoyed playing outside in the circle with the Clark children. Liz Clark was my friend. She was one year younger than I. Liz and I had fun cleaning each other’s homes. She would help me clean our house and I would help her clean her house.
I enjoyed playing violin in the orchestra at Wasatch School. We carpooled to Maeser School at 8:00 a.m. and the school bus would take us back to Wasatch School.
Morning scripture study was enjoyable. It brings back many pleasant memories as we sat around the breakfast table eating a delicious breakfast, while we all read the scriptures together. What a great way to start the day out with family scripture study.
I was in the sixth grade when Tom and Tammy were born. I loved having a twin brother and sister. I was always anxious to come home from school to babysit them. I was so proud of them. Paul also went on a mission when I was in sixth grade.
I remember coming home from school with Mom waiting for me with a big hug and usually some hot delicious wheat bread. I was anxious to see her, then I would go off to play. Many times I remember coming home and calling, “Mom, I’m home,” and Mom would say, “I’m downstairs.” She would be ironing or sewing and I would give her a hug and go play. It was a wonderful feeling to be loved and to have Mom’s special hugs which I always loved.
Family trips were a highlight in my life. I have wonderful memories of the numerous family trips we went on. Going to the zoo in Salt Lake and to the “Great Salt Lake” was always fun. A special Christmas I will always remember is going on a bus to the Indian reservation and taking Christmas to the Indians. It was a spiritual experience for me to be able to see how happy the Indians were to see us.
I remember going to Disneyland. Mom was pregnant with Tom and Tammy and she enjoyed watching us play at the beach and on rides at Disneyland. I remember one time saying, “Mom, do you feel bad that you cannot go on rides with us?” Mom said, “I enjoy watching you have fun.” The Matterhorn was so much fun. I remember coming down and getting all wet. Mom watched and laughed. The trip to San Francisco was great. We saw Paul in his navy uniform. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, visited China Town, and rode the trolleys.
I have pleasant memories of my Grandparents. I always enjoyed visiting them. I especially enjoyed fishing with Grandma and Grandpa Harris at Strawberry. One particular time we had been fishing all day. I had not caught a fish yet. They told me we would keep fishing until I got a fish. I finally caught a fish. It was a little one, but boy was I excited! I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa Felt’s house and enjoying the delicious wheat bread.
Mom’s hugs were always appreciated. My troubles ranged from knots in my hair to stomach aches. But, Mom was always there. Her warm hugs helped when my ear ached. Thanks to Mom and Dad for being great parents.
Greeted by a Eight Hundred lb. Cow
We would travel together as a family on assignments that Dad had in connection with his work at BYU. On one such journey as we were driving along a winding two lane road through pasture lands in Central Utah, we came over a dip in the road and were horrified to find an 800 pound cow planted squarely in the path illuminated by the car’s headlights. Traveling 60 mph and being literally upon the animal in the split second after the first sighting, there wasn’t time to swerve to either side.
In those frozen moments when Mom and Dad could see the awful sight of the car crashing head-on to this stationary barrier, they could only visualize calamity falling upon the whole family. It was a moment of great terror.
Dad’s instinctive and immediate reaction was to apply the brakes as forcefully as he could, but to his dismay and dread he could not remove his foot from the accelerator! The car ploughed head-on into the massive heifer.
The car’s force lifted the full 800 pounds up and propelled the animal completely over the top of the car. Suddenly the obstruction was gone. Not understanding how something so grave could be over so quickly and with the air filled with the screams and cries of the young occupants, Dad brought the car to a stop, expecting the worst. With astonishment, he found there was not a single injury among all the family!
Soon the Highway Patrol arrived and the heifer was located. The trooper was utterly amazed when he compared the condition of the car–the front end being collapsed but the windshield intact–with the huge size of the animal. Past experience had taught him that the animal most often is thrust through the windshield or lands on top of the car crushing the roof. He could only deduce that the speed of the car had given the extraordinary lift to the animal and saved the family from serious, perhaps deadly harm. At this moment, the full realization of his foot restrained from applying the brakes came forcefully to Dad and he recognized that a divine care had been exercised on the family’s behalf. We have never left off feeling gratitude for this blessing of protection on that occasion.
Music: Album-“Somewhere in Time” John Barry