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Life History of Tammy Felt Williams

Born: September 1, 1963

I am the image of my paternal Grandmother at the same age as she was when she married Ernest William Felt

Daughter of Paul Ernest and Martha Afton Harris Felt

Twin of Tom

My name is Tammy Felt Williams. I was born September 1, 1963 and made my entrance into the world along with my twin brother, Tom Elwood Felt. We were born in Provo, Utah at the Utah Valley Hospital.

    Side Note by Paul Felt, Jr.: To say ‘full term’ is an understatement. Together, the twins weighed in at 16lbs!

My mom carried us full term and we were born on our due date. They were going to name us Thomas and Tamara, and call us Tom and Tammy.

My Grandfather Harris said, “If you are going to call them Tom and Tammy then name them Tom and Tammy.

My parents are Paul Ernest and Martha Afton Harris Felt. My father often said, “Tom and I were the icings on the cake“. My mother said, “Heavenly Father knew she was getting too old to have any more kids so he sent Tom and me together“. I’ve always felt that Tom came down with me to help me as we began this somewhat frightening experience of earth life.

My father was nervously pacing the waiting room floor when a young man calmly reading a magazine asked, “Is this your first baby?” To which my father replied, “No, it is my tenth“.

A few minutes later Dr. Webster who was assisting Dr. Kartchner in caring for my mother called down the hall, “Paul, number #1 is here and it’s a kickin“. Then another long sixteen minutes went by and he again called own the hall, “number #2 is here and it’s a whopper“. (That’s me!)

The doctor would not tell the father the sex of the babies, he felt this was special for the mother to tell. So as the nurse wheeled mother down the hall, he found he was the proud father of a boy and a girl.

My mother had been very ill when she was pregnant with my older brother, Ron. The doctor had told her this baby would probably not live and to plan on not having any more children because of her condition. She was given a blessing that promised her that if she would have the children that the Lord had for her, she would have no further complications with the rest of her children. Jessie, Kathleen, Tom and I followed the birth of Ron with no complications.

I have eleven brothers and sisters… Tom and I being the youngest. I count my blessings daily for the wonderful parents and family I was able to come and be a part of. Following I will record the names and birth dates of my parents and siblings.

Father

Paul Ernest Felt

DOB: 29 Jan 1916

Mother

Martha Afton Harris Felt

DOB:  1 Feb 1923

Paul Jr

Paul Ernest Felt, Jr

DOB:  13 Oct 1944

John Felt

John Martin Felt

DOB:  4 Oct 1946

Yvonne

Yvonne Felt Jordan

DOB:  4 Feb 1948

Marilynn

Marilynn

DOB:  31 Dec 1951

O'Larry

O’Larry Harris Felt
DOB:  13 July 1955

Ron

Ronald Grimshaw Felt

DOB:  19 Aug 1957

Jessie

Jessie Felt Alman

DOB:  1 Nov 1958

Kathleen

Kathleen Felt Covey

DOB:  30 Nov 1960

Tom

Tom Elwood Felt

DOB: 1 Sept 1963

Tammy

Tammy Felt Williams

DOB: 1 Sept 1963

Mildred (Windy)

Windy Felt Stewart

DOB: 12 Jan 1942

(Windy was adopted in 1965 as Mildred Tso and known as Milly after being caught up in a wind storm as a youth and those around referred to her as Windy and the name stuck).

When Tom and I were a few weeks old, BYU was making a production called, “Man Search For Happiness” and they needed a newborn baby. They wanted either Tom or I but decided on Tom because they said I was too fat. So Tom is the movie star of the Felt Family.

My sister Marilynn was in the sixth grade when we were born. She would run home from school everyday to take care of Tom and me She would often ask, “Mom, what have you done all day?” Being twelve years old, she had no idea what work and responsibilities came along with having twelve children. Mom often told me how much she appreciated Marilynn’s help.

When I was four, we started nursery school. Mom and Dad felt it was important for me to go to preschool, for I was very shy and clingy. Mom stayed with me for over a month until I felt comfortable enough to have her leave. The other kids had all fallen in love with her and missed her when she stopped coming. I remember feeling so independent as Tom and I would walk home together from preschool.

It was about this time when I started pulling my hair out. When mother took me to the doctor, he gave her a salve saying it was a fungus. They bought me pretty hats and pretty scarves that I always wore. Mom would keep my head shaved, so I couldn’t pull my hair out. Everybody would compliment me on all my pretty hats-they thought I just liked to wear hats.

At this time, Mom and Dad started to notice my eyes were pulling together. They took me to an eye doctor to have my eyes checked and he said, “If you were seeing the world like she does, you would be pulling your hair out too.” So just before I turned five, I started wearing glasses and my hair started growing in very thick. After getting glasses,

I began to become a little more independent and adventurous, not quite so insecure, but still shy.

I was almost eight when my father was called to be the mission president of the Southwest Indian Mission later called the Holbrook Arizona Mission. We lived there for three years and I attended 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade there. This is about the time when Dad and I began passing notes to each other. My Dad was a strong gentle man.

I remember sitting on his knees, giving him bear hugs and writing him love notes. One of the poems I wrote him went like this: (keep in mind that I was only 8)

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I love you, I love you,

I love you, I do!

Here is one of the letters Dad wrote me on Mar. 27,1973:

Dear Tammy,

It has been some time since Daddy wrote you a letter. In fact, I haven’t been receiving many letters from you lately. Your letters are a real joy to your Daddy. I often read them. I believe I have every letter you have ever written to me. As I begin this letter, I realize I have already made a mistake. You always begin your letters with “I love you”. Let me begin again by saying, “I love you “.

Sweet Tammy is a real joy in my life. Whenever I am around you I feel a bit of heaven. No angel was ever sweeter than Tammy. I remember Tammy, one time when we were exchanging letters in sacrament meeting, you began your letter as you always do with, “I love you”. In my answer to you, I began also with “I love you” and your sweet reply is something I shall never forget. You said,

“Daddy, when you tell me that you love me you make me feel so good.”

Tammy, when you tell me that you love me and when your in your daddy’s arms or around him, you certainly make him feel good also.

Heavenly Father certainly gave your mother and I a marvelous gift and blessing when he allowed Tammy and Tom to come into our home and family. Your daddy’s prayer and wish are that Tammy will continue being the sweet, lovable angel that she is. In order to make sure that you keep these angel-like qualities, keep saying your prayers morning and night, bear your testimony often, not only in testimony meetings but to your friends. And sweet Tammy, like her mother, will never stop being an angel.

I love you sweet, Tammy

                                    Sincerely,

                                               Daddy

I was baptized on my birthday, Sept. 1, 1971 in Holbrook, Arizona, by my brother Larry. I remember making a promise to myself that I would never say another lie. The time we spent on the mission with Mom and Dad were happy ones for me. We returned to Provo, my sixth grade year and I attended Wasatch Elementary. I was thrilled to be in Mr. Baggs class, a well­known army sargeant teacher. We had to march down the halls singing, “left two three four, left two three four, left, left… .”. He had a shop class we would go to almost everyday where I made leather wallets, punch rugs, and woodworking items. Actually, I enjoyed it so much that I would go to school early so I could go to the shop room to work on my projects.

Junior High was exciting and fun, on one hand, and hard and troublesome on the other. I was a reserved and soft-spoken girl. I did like to have fun and enjoyed playing church sports such as baseball, volleyball, and basketball. I spent a lot of time with my mutual (church) friends. A few of my friends were always brewing up trouble and feelings were often hurt. As I reflect back on it now, I see that _hey were insecure and trying to make themselves feel better.

My Beehive teacher, Nancy Miller, was one that I really admired. I sat her on a high pedastool and wanted to become just like her. She taught me a lot about accepting and loving-people even if they hurt you. I was the beehive president and so I worked closely with her. She gave me a lot of responsibility and expected me to carry it out. She wrote me a note that I have saved and cherished. She said, “Tammy you are such a sweet, sensitive friend—I want to thank you for the way you bring out the best in all around you… probably because you look of it and help us to see it too. That’s a special talent.”

The last month of my seventh grade year, I became ill with viral menigitis. I had stayed home from school a couple of days believing that I had the flu. About the third night, I awoke with an extreme headache. My head felt like a fifty-pound bowling ball. I was so scared. I called to my sister to get Mom. When Mom saw the state I was in, she immediately woke up my father and my brothers to give me a priesthood blessing.

After the blessing, I fell back to sleep and the pain was minimal. I was taken to Dr. Smith first thing in the morning and it did not take him long to diagnose Viral Menigitis. I was hospitalized for a week and then went home to a two-month recovery. Mom and Dad did not let on the seriousness of my illness until I had fully recovered. Dad then told me of the family members faith, prayers, and fasting that was done in my behalf.

 I avoided boys—I always felt awkward around them. It was much easier to avoid them because then it would save me the embarrasement of feeling awkward. I felt pressure to go to all the school dances because Tom and Kathleen (brother and sister) loved going to them. I thought it would make it obvious that I was a social misfit if didn’t go.

Therefore, I would go and this always seemed to encourage depression to set in, as I would stand for hours not dancing.

I always knew that when I came home from school or other activities that love would abound.

My friends were always welcome at our house.

We were always able to have parties and get togethers at our home. On Sunday mornings,

Mom always made cinnamon rolls and all my friends would come over after church to enjoy them.

I shared a room with Kathleen and Jessie. My brother, Ron had made us this neat bed when he had returned from his mission. I have many fond memories of my relationship with my sisters. Jessie bought me my first pair of “star” jeans. They taught me how to wear makeup and fix my hair.

We were always very close and it was hard for me as she got married and left home. The one perk was I then had my own room.

I was a hard worker and enjoyed earning money. Babysitting seemed like a slow way to earn money. I would get paid about $0.50 an hour. I found that I could earn $4.00 each lawn I mowed. I quickly realized that I could earn a lot more by doing yard work, so I got a few jobs and began saving my money. When I was about 14, my sister, Kathleen got me a job at Academy Cleaners where she worked also. I loved working at the cleaners. Kathleen and I saved up our money and visited Jessie in Hawaii while she was going to BYU-Hawaii.

I had worn glasses since I was five years old. I had become pretty used to them. Kathleen and Jessie kept encouraging me to get contacts. I saved up my money and got contacts. I had a hard time getting used to them, but I did enjoy not having glasses.

I went to Provo High School 1978-1981. The high school was split the year before, resulting in most of my friends going to the other high school. This was a good opportunity to meet a lot of new friends. Near the end of my freshmen year, Tom and I decided to run for sophomore class officers. I could hardly believe I was doing it. I have to admit that I would’ve never attempted it except my brothers and sisters were so keen on the idea.

It made it easy because so many people were running for an office, so it seemed like no big deal to join in on the fun. Tom and I ran together for sophomore class officers and our motto was VOTE TOM AND TAMMY AND “LET YOUR INFLUENCE BE FELT”. Dad used this motto when he ran for BYU student body president and won in 1941. To our surprise, we both made the primary elections and were asked to go down to the principal’s office where he informed us we would give a speech in one hour in front of the student body. I was running against a girl who was very popular and I didn’t think I had much of a chance in winning, but my desire to win became more intense the week the voting was taking place.

Tom and I did win! It was fun being class officers together.

The following summer, I had saved up money to go and visit my sister, Marilynn who was married and living in Texas. This was a special time for me. Marilynn has always been so kind to me and we had a lot of fun together. I returned after two weeks to my waitressing job at Pizza Palace. At the beginning of the summer, I was introduced to my best men_, big brothers mend. He had just graduated ITom high school and was working to save up money for his mission. We dated all summer and continued to date until he went on his mission. This was fun for me and helped me feel more comfortable around guys. I began getting to know more boys at school. I was still shy and reserved. Most of my dates were the school dances. My height of 5′ 11″ was a setback at times, but a lifesaver at others.

We went to Israel on a semester abroad my junior year of high school. Dad was the director of 100 BYU students. This proved to be a valuable experience for me. We lived on a kibbutz in Jerusalem and studied the New Testament along with some other core history classes. My testimony grew and I matured and I become more comfortable with myself. I returned to high school to finish my senior year at Provo High School. I was a Senior Class Senator and was voted to be Hi-Week Royalty along with an attendant as Boys Preference Royalty. I was flattered and enjoyed the many activities of my senior year.

After high school graduation, I lived at home and attended BYU with a partial academic scholarship. I was involved in the Oak Hills Stake Young Adult program. Although, my college experiences were limited because of not living on-campus, I kept busy working and going to school and dating. The summer after my freshmen year at BYU, I spent with my sister and brother-in-law and their family in Texas. I worked as a temporary secretary in downtown Houston. Before I embarked on this new adventure, Dad gave me a Father’s blessing. This is included in my scrapbook/history book.

I will always treasure the many memories I have of this summer. For the first time in my life, I was not known for being Jessie or Kathleen’s little sister. I remember riding to a young adult fireside, I had just arrived in Houston a few days earlier and the other young adults were busy asking me questions and getting to know me. I just remember how weird it was to just be “Tammy Felt”… not Jessie’s, Ron, Larry, or Kathleen’s little sister…I liked it!

There were a lot of tough things about this experience, especially the temporary jobs. Yet, it was such a great growing experience for me. I would work all week and look forward to spending time with my young adult mends. We hung out every weekend. Marilynn and Steve were so kind to me, and their children, Troy and Stephanie were so cute. I really learned a lot ITom this experience.

I returned to BYU and home the fall of 1982. I began taking classes in my major, which was Speech Pathology. I had saved up a lot of money from working all summer. I had decided I would take a break from working for a few months and concentrate on my studies. One day as I was passing the BYU Candy Jar in the Wilkinson Center, I had a strong impression to go and apply for a job. My sister had previously worked their a few years before and it was the “cool” place to work. I recognized the manager and followed my feelings and after saying a little prayer, and walked over to the manager and introduced myself and asked her if she had any job openings. She interviewed me and within a few weeks, I received a call offering me a job.

After working there for a month, Linda, my boss, decided to make some changes in how she ran the department in hopes of building morale. This would also allow her to focus on other areas. She asked, Kirk Williams, the head editor, and projectionist, to cross over and manage the Candy Jar. This was a very welcome change, for Kirk brought enthusiasm and a genuine concern for all of our well-being.

Little did I know, but this change was going to have a major effect on the rest of my life.

Kirk was planning the Candy Jar Christmas party and I offered to help him. I had ulterior motives of wanting to get to know him better. This is when I realized I was “falling in love”. The next few months, Kirk always seemed to show up on my shift. Nobody at work knew that I secretly had a crush on Kirk. This is when Kirk made a bet with me.

Tammy’s Journal Entry March 27, 1983

 “Kirk is my supervisor at work. He brightens and cheers up everybody’s day by his smile and laugh. He is always happy or at least plays the part even when he may not be. I guess that is one of the things that is so impressive to me. I’ve got such a crush on this guy. I’ve never been like this before…Help! Kirk made a bet with me about two weeks ago. He said that if I could grow my fingernails out for one month, he would take me out to dinner… a place of my choice. If that is what I have to do to get a date with this guy, then I’ll do it!”

Kirk’s Journal Entry

 “One day at work, I had a brilliant idea. You see, Tammy chewed her nails down to the quick. She was gorgeous tall, (like I like em) thin, (like I like em) cute, and dark brown hair (really like I like em).

Anyway, I told her if she would stop biting her nails, I would take her anywhere she wanted to go in Utah for dinner. If she lost, she had to wash and wax my car. I was hoping she wouldn’t lose.

That was from March Ilh to April 14th.

Kirk’s Journal Entry

“She did it! We went to the Heidleburg restaurant in Farmington behind Lagoon. It was a German restaurant in an old castle.

It was a real gorgeous setting. It was great. I loved it. She looked beautiful that night. When we got back to her house, I walked her up to the door and asked her to keep her nails nice because they really looked good and then I turned around to leave. She stopped me and said she had something inside the house for me. She had a little basket of cookies with a card that said, “One Free Car Wash When Owner is Present.” Then we said goodnight. What

a super girl! Maybe she even liked me a little, because she didn’t have to do that. She did something to me that no other girl had done before. (something inside)

The semester was just about to end and Kirk was planning a vacation with some of his buddies down in Mazatlan. He casually told me I should get some of my friends and come along. I cut out an advertisement from the school newspaper advertising Mazatlan vacations and I talked to some of my friends. We talked to our parents about letting us go down there for spring break between semesters at college. Mom and Dad were adamant that it would not be  safe for just girls. They felt we needed to have a guy with us. Wow… I thought, I had just the guy!

Tammy’s Journal Entry March 27, 1983

“Big News! I am going to Mazatlan. Kirk told me that he and his roommates were going and said just off the top of his head… why don’t you get some friends and come along. This seemed a little far-fetched, but to my surprise everything just fell into place.

Kirk’s buddies flew down to Mazatlan, my mends and myself drove with Kirk in his Datsun B210. On our way down, we stopped at the Grand Canyon and took some pictures.

Kirk’s Journal Entry

“We went to the Grand Canyon. After looking around for a few minutes and taking some pictures, Gaylamarie told Tammy and I to go out on the rock and act romantic. Then she added,

‘Tou should both enjoy that.” My first thought was, “Do you mean it shows that much on my behalf!” I did» ‘t think so, but now I felt dumb. Tammy sure did» ‘t show me that she liked me too much. Maybe Gaylamarie knew something I did ‘to

After our stop at the Grand Canyon, we headed toward our destination of Flagstaff, Arizona, where we would be staying with some relatives of Gaylamarie’s. As I recall, we got a flat tire, so we pulled over to fix it. After we fixed the tire, we were ready to continue on our way. I decided that it was my turn to sit up ftont with Kirk. So Pam, Gay, and May squished in the back seat and I sat in the ftont seat next to Kirk. I don’t remember much of the details except the others fell to sleep in the back seat and Kirk and I were enjoying talking to each other as we were driving toward our destination of Flagstaff. My feet were cold and he said, “Here let me warm your feet”. So, instead of holding hands, he held my feet…it was incredible!!! I was falling in love! !! We stayed in Flagstaff that night. The next day, we traveled to Nogales, Arizona and rode the train to Mazatlan. The train ride cost us each $49 round trip.

We had a blast! We body surfed in the ocean, para-sailed, sailed, and ate at corner Spanish shops and Kirk and I held hands under the table. On one of the days, we went deep sea fishing. I got so seasick so I took some dramamine, this causing me to sleep for half of the day, but I was awake to see the dolphins and to see Kirk catch a marlin and reel it in. On one of the evenings, we went to a disco and had such fun dancing.

Kirk’s Journal Entry

“Tam and I left a few minutes early from the disco and took a walk on the beach. There was a beautiful sunset on a gorgeous sandy beach and here I was with the girl I was hopelessly in love with. It was more than I could handle…the scene was too romantic.

I had to kiss her. I did It was great!

We got back in time from the trip to start spring semester at BYU. Kirk and I continued dating secretly because of he being my boss at work…can’t believe we got away with it, but we did. He was so fun to be with and I started taking him home more often to get to know the family. I loved Kirk’s sense of humor, his tenderness, his kindness and the way he treated others. But 1 was running scared, because he was a lot older than myself and 1 didn’t know if 1 was ready to get married. He assured me that we were far from even considering marriage. This seemed to appease me for the time being.

As I reflect back now on our courtship, 1 can see things more clearly, but then I was confused. My Dad and I had always had a very close relationship. He was very steady and deeply spiritual and more on the serious side. He was a very kind and thoughtful man. Mom was the more spunky of the two of them. She was fun-loving, spontaneous, giggly, very thoughtful and very charitable. They had a great marriage and both adored one another. Here I was falling in love with Kirk whom was fun-loving, kind, always bringing cheerfulness with him where ever he went. Whether I realized it or not, I was comparing him to my father. He didn’t seem as spiritual and this concerned me for I adored my Father and wanted my husband and father of my children to be similar to him. I offered up many prayers asking for Heavenly Father’s guidance.

I broke up with Kirk one evening right before fall semester started. He walked me to my front door and said if he wasn’t the one to make me happy, he wanted me to find someone who would make me very happy because he cared so much about me. I walked into the house and started crying, Mom came down the stairs so worried.I told her that 1 had broken up with Kirk. She said, “Why in the world, did you do thatT’ I told her that I had prayed and felt it was the right thing to do. She wrapped her arms around me and said it was going to be hard for the next while, but that I must go back to that feeling that I felt as it would take time to recover from the break up with Kirk.

Letter I Sent to Kirk after the breakup

“Kirk, I have expressed to you before that I felt our relationship was supposed to be, no matter what the outcome. I have felt this so much these past two weeks that I began to question and doubt the decision that I made to break things off so completely. At times, it is hard for me to understand how things can be so right, but also be wrong. Questions have flooded my mind, “Could it be it is not right, just now, but there are future possibilities or could it be that our relationship was for future preparation for both of us in our individual lives.

I have pondered these things and pleaded with the Lord for guidance. I am ashamed that sometimes I must hurt so badly before I feel I need his help so desperately. He has blessed me and comforted me far more than I deserve and re-affirmed that I must be patient. I have a calm feeling that what is best will with time un-fold and then many of my questions will be answered”

ltimately, we did get back together. We started dating very slowly. We fell in love all over __. 1 went up to his family’s house with him for Thanksgiving. After going roller- skating on “)banksgiving and snowmobiling the day after, we came back to Kirk’s grandmother’s house. We got into a deep conversation and before Kirk knew it he said, “Tammy, marry me.” 1 was a bit surprised and not sure if he realized what he had said. 1 said, “Was that a proposalT’ and he said, “Did 1 say thatT’ and 1 said, “Do you want to take it back?” and he said, “No, no. 1 don’t think 1 could say it again.” 1 layed in his arms for a few minutes and then said, “Will you take me back to my Heavenly Father?” and he said, “I .promise you” and 1 then said, “Yes, 1 will marry you.”

We went and woke Kirk’s parents up to tell them we were engaged. 1 think they were shocked that their son was finally going to get married. (Kirk was 28) We went home the following day and told Mom and Dad. After we told them, Mom then told us of an impression she had felt the first time she had shook Kirk’s hand as 1 introduced him to Mom. She said she had felt that this was the man that her daughter was going to marry. We were married on February 25, 1984, in the Provo Temple. My dad, Paul Ernest Felt sealed us for time and all eternity.

After our marriage and honeymoon, we headed up to Rexburg, Idaho, where Kirk was doing an internship for his Masters Degree at BYU in Recreational Management. He worked in the Continuing Education Department. We lived in a small apartment and I got a job as a receptionist at Valley Bank. This was a very boring job, yet it was nice because I could type Kirk’s school papers at work. I1 became pregnant with Chase and spent much of my time running back and forth to the bathroom.

After a lO-month internship, Kirk was offered a full-time position at Ricks College. We enjoyed living in Rexburg and so we decided to make it our home. A position for a head resident in the girls dorm became available. This was a very sought after job. You were paid very well and your housing was also paid for. We applied for the job along with many other married couples, but we were fortunate enough to be chosen for the job.

This was a great opportunity for me to learn about “tough” love as I managed 120 girls. Chase Kirk Williams was born on Feb. 14, 1985, he thrived in this environment and got a lot of attention from all the girls. We always had a babysitter at our beckon call. Travis Felt Williams was born 2 years later, on Apri19, 1984, while we still lived in the dorms. He was my biggest baby weighing in at 9 pounds 4 ounces at birth. We stayed at the dorms for another year and then moved into a small home we had purchased. At this time, Chase was about 3 years old and Travis was about one. Kirk served in a college bishopric and I attended the Rexburg ward. We had a babysitter lined up every Wednesday night when we went to a woodworking class. I loved tole painting and this class made it possible to cut all the wood projects for my tole painting hobby. Kirk and I also made a few pieces of furniture.

Kirk loved working at Ricks College, but we were now expecting our 3rd baby and feeling the financial crunch.  Jenaca Katherina Williams, our third child was born Aug. 24, 1989. We were so excited to have a little girl. She wore lots of pink and lots of bows in her hair. I called her my “doll” baby. John Covey, our brother in law had offered Kirk a job that had the potential to earn twice as much money. It was a very hard decision to leave Ricks College because we did love it so much, but sometimes “money” talks and we left in hopes of making more to support our growing family.

We regretted this decision for many years. Kirk now worked in a much “rougher” environment. We had bought a nice home in Farmington, Utah. (the same place of our first date). We did love our house and we loved our neighbors and neighborhood. He worked for a large distributor in Salt Lake City. It was about 4 years later, when Kirk was offered a job with Shaw Industries as a Sales Representative. Kirk enjoyed this job, although traveling throughout Utah, Idaho and parts of Nevada took him away  from home often. But, I have always appreciated Kirk’s hard work and the way he has supported our family even through difficult jobs.

When Kirk and I were in our first year of marriage, I will never forget an argument we were having. I don’t remember what it was about, but I do remember saying to Kirk, “Why didn’t you tell me you had a temper before I married you?” He replied, “Why didn’t you tell me you had a temper before I married you?” I simply and honestly replied, “I didn’t have a temper before I married you.”

This statement stunned both of us and we started giggling.

There were definitely challenges in our marriage, especially as we were learning to understand one another. Kirk learned that when I became sad, gloomy, edgy and impatient that it wasn’t his fault. He learned that if he just treated me with “kid gloves” during this time that I became very “endeared” to him. He would listen to me and hold me instead of lashing out. As so often in my life, Heavenly Father answered a plea to help me and Kirk in our relationship. . . this time through a simple phone call of a dear Mother whom too had similar struggles.

When Jenaca was just a newborn. I took a fall down our stairs while I was holding her. Motherly instincts kicked in and I bounced down a long flight of stairs as I cradled her in my arms. But as I got down to the bottom, my neck fell backwards and my neck cracked loudly. I was curled up on the floor whimpering for I was afraid that my neck injury could be severe and leave me paralyzed. I was so relieved when I was able to stand up and I could move. From that time on I hurt a lot. My neck was always sore and I had headaches often and my body ached. Our fourth child, Spencer Paul Williams was born on Nov. 20, 1992. He was named after my Father, Paul Ernest Felt and President Spencer W. Kimball. We nicknamed, Spencer “barn barn” for he had such strong little legs, changing his diaper was definitely hazardous.

In July of 1995,1 was on my way to a doctor’s appointment for Spencer. As we came out to get in the car, the thoughts went through my mind, “Put Spencer in the front seat”. I thought I was just talking to myself and I thought, “Yea, that way I can hold his hand since he is sick.” Iput him in the front seat of the van with both shoulder and lap seatbelt over him. (There was no air bags in the van). His normal car seat was in the middle seat in the van. The seatbelt was stuck and this caused me to not be able to seatbelt him in tightly. I had gone out earlier that day and when I was strapping him in, I had thought, “Man, if we were to get in a wreck, this would not hold him in.” That afternoon, I ventured out once again to take Spencer to the doctor. But this time, listening to my thoughts, I belted him the in the front seat with both lap and shoulder seat belt on. A few minutes later we were involved in a very high impact car accident. Thank goodness, I had buckled him in the front seat. I was stopped on Hwy 89 waiting to make a left hand turn with another car in front of me. All I remember is a very loud screech of brakes and then a crash. Everything went black and Ifelt like I was flying through space. The thoughts were going through my mind, saying, “I think I am in a wreck… there is nothing I can do about it”. Slowly things became lighter and lighter. I turned to check on Spencer. His eyes were wide open and he had a glazed and shocked look, but was safely buckled in his seat. I said to him, “I think we have been in a wreck.”

This is when I heard police sirens and a gentlemen came to my window asking if I was alright. I was very confused and in shock. He told me I had been hit by a man driving a small pickup truck going about 60 mph. My car had then been pushed into the car in front of me that was also waiting to turn. I was very confused and had a hard time answering the policeman’s questions. We all walked away from the wreck, although all three of the cars were totaled.

Many chronic health conditions followed. I now experienced chronic headaches, neck problems, jaw problems, and my body always ached. I basically felt like I had the flu everyday. Many prayers and blessings were given in my behalf. The blessings have been recorded and are in my scrapbooks. I sought the help of many doctors. I was having a lot of problems with my jaw. I had a hard time chewing without discomfort and often I would wake up and my jaw would be locked and I could not open it very wide. I was taking muscle relaxants at this time, so I would roll over and go back to sleep and when I would awake the second time my jaw would be unlocked. But the fourth time this happened, my jaw never came unstuck. 1 learned to eat soft foods and 1 had a very limited opening. I had gone to a couple of Oral Surgeons for their advice as to how to handle my problem. Their wasn’t much they could do for me unless I decided to take the radical approach and do jaw surgery. Then there was still no guarantee of relief. 1 had heard of so many problems with the jaw surgery that I decided to carry on as I had been doing. I needed dental work done, but dentists did not want to touch me because I my limited opening and problems with my jaw.

At this particular time, we had decided to move to Georgia for a new job venture for Kirk. I was doing some physical therapy, to relax my jaw and neck muscles in hopes of some relief from my severe headaches and body aches. I was having a treatment and the doctor had left the room while I was doing a heat treatment. I was pondering and praying about my dilemna and I had a strong impression—the words literally were there in my mind “Do the surgery now, you have four months”.

I contacted Dr. Blaine Austin, that same afternoon. He was a well renowned Oral Surgeon whom I had previously seen. I did do the surgery before we moved to Georgia. Kirk’s Mom and Dad took the children up in Idaho and my Mom and Kirk cared for me at home. It wa$”R very difficult surgery. It was anticipated to take 3 to 3 1/2 hours, but it ended up taking over 7 hours. The surgeon spent hours picking out the pieces of my TMJ joints that had been shattered in the wreck.

My mouth was wired shut for 7 weeks. I drank fluid from a syringe being squeezed in my mouth. I slept sitting up in a chair for weeks and I reacted to the pain medicine they gave me. Instead of it making me tired, it ‘wired” me. I became very agitated, nervous, and anxious. I didn’t sleep for 3 days and 3 nights. I just paced the house… time seemed to stand still. The nights lasted forever and I thought I was going “crazy”. I became dehydrated and was taken to the doctor and had an IV given me with fluids. The doctor insisted I take a tranquilizer. Kirk and Mom made me take it and I finally fell to sleep but woke up crying because I just knew the “wire people” were going to kill me.

The third night, I pled with Heavenly Father to ease my anxiety and help me to sleep. I said that I knew he could make me sleep. I prayed that I could feel peace. I didn’t fall to sleep, although, I tried to relax while sitting in the recliner chair. I did feel a peace and a very calming feeling that helped me to relax. Every time I would start drifting off to sleep I would start hallucinating. I think I took 5-6 showers and baths trying to relax. I actually started writing my personal history and I organized my family home evening packets. Heavenly Father did not make my problem all better, but he gave me a calm peaceful

feeling making it possible for me to make the best out of the predicament I was in. It was the fourth night when I finally slept. I had finally rid myself of the medicines that was causing me to be so anxious. I had a long recovery. I could hardly talk the first week and could only have a liquid diet followed by six weeks of soft foods that required no chewing. (applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes… was my favorite)

We moved to Georgia a few months following this surgery. My hopes of feeling better and getting relief from my constant headaches and body aches was not granted at that time. In matter of fact, I was worse. Through all of this, I never regretted doing the surgery because I knew that Heavenly Father had impressed me to do the surgery. I just continued to carry on, following my heart, and relying on my Heavenly Father. My father had also given me many blessings that gave me peace and comfort and I had ultimately been promised that this problem would be resolved, but that often times Heavenly Father uses times like these to strenghthen and teach us.

I’ll never forget when we first moved to Georgia, I was called as Primary president and as I sat in the Bishops office, as he was extending the call to me, I cried and cried. It was very hard for me to share with him the physical pain I felt on a daily basis. I was just sure as I shared with him my pain, that he would realize that this calling was probably not a good idea. I was so bold as to tell him maybe he should consider someone else. He kindly stated, he had felt like I was to be called to this position, but I needed to go and get my confirmation as well. As Kirk and I drove into our garage, coming home from the church, I felt peace and I called the bishop and told him I would accept the calling. As I re-read some of the blessings Dad had given me, he had stated more than once, that as I served my family and served in church service callings that I would be blessed and the Lord would strengthen me.

Before I knew it, Spencer was old enough to go to kindergarten. To top it off, kindergarten here in Georgia was all day. I took this pretty hard, for this was not at all how I had planned my life. I always thought I would have more children, but because of my accidents and the pain I dealt with, I had postponed having another baby. Now, my youngest, was entering kindergarten and all day at that. Along with the physical pain I felt daily, I also often struggled with discouragement. There was so much I wanted to do but was unable. Now, with all my children in school, what was I going to do with my time?

I prayed to Heavenly Father pleading for comfort and peace. The thought came to my mind, “Serve the women in your ward”. My husband gave me a blessing, I had not told him of the thoughts I had felt but as he gave me the blessing he told me to use this time in serving the sisters in the ward. The following week as I served in the primary a sheet was passed around. It was asking for sisters to sign up to visit two particular sisters in the ward whom were home bound. I immediately signed my name to visit both of them. The one particular sister I had never met. I found out that she had been in a car wreck at the age of 17 and had become paralyzed from the waist down. She was around 55 now and lived alone in an apartment. I called her and introduced myself to her and asked ifI could come and visit her. She said, “No, I have a couple of doctors appointments this week and that is all I can handle.” I told her I would call her back the next week. As I hung up the phone, I had a feeling that she was testing me—I don’t think she thought I would call her back. On my calendar, I wrote a reminder to call her the next week. When I called her she said, “Oh, hello Tammy”. She spoke to me as if she knew me well.

I began visiting her a couple times a month. In the beginning, it was actually very depressing. Her apartment was in the basement and it was dark, her curtains were always closed. She had many animals and so her apartment did not smell so good. Sometimes it was hard to know what to talk about. I would ask her a lot of questions and I found out a lot about her life. From the beginning, I would give her a hug when I left. I made her bread, took her donuts, took her a painting project that we did together, took her to the doctor, and picked up her dog from the vet. She was always kind and honest with her feelings. As she began trusting me, she told me of her life. We laughed and we cried.

It had been a few weeks since I had visited with her. I was putting on my makeup and I began reflecting on her. I had this incredible feeling of “love” come over me, as I thought of her. I thought to myself that I needed to make sure that the next time I saw her that I tell her how much I loved her. That same afternoon, I received a phone call telling me that she had passed away. I was devastated. I cried and cried. I wondered ifI should feel bad because it had been weeks since I had seen her. Then I felt this calmness and peaceful feeling as I realized that the sweet feeling I had felt for her that morning had been her visiting me after she had passed on telling me “Thank you” for being her friend.. It was sweet! ‘ She had blessed my life.

I continued to seek out doctors to help me in my quest of regaining my health. A chiropractor specializing in soft tissue helped me tremendously by getting my muscles out of spasms. Although, it was always a constant battle because of the damage that had been done. My jaw was still very temperamental but it was stabilized. My headaches, were still screaming the “loudest”. I went to many doctors including TMJ specialists, physical therapist, chiropractors, and chronic pain specialists. It got very discouraging. A chiropractor I was seeing felt like the mercury in my teeth was a component to my pain. He referred me to a dentist in Florid3. that worked alongside a medical doctor.

I had finally received a settlement from my car accident and after reading many books on the effect of mercury poisoning and offering many prayers requesting Heavenly Father’s guidance. I felt driven to venture down to Florida. I had four root canal teeth pulled and the mercury all taken out of my teeth. Dr. Minkoff, the medical doctor did a new treatment called Prolotherapy which was injections into the back of my head and neck and back to help heal my damaged ligaments. It was a bit painful, but it’s amazing what one can do with the hope of relief from pain. My neck became more stable and my headaches started little by little becoming less and less. I became very endeared to this doctor. He was a very caring man and I could tell he wanted to help me find relief. I went down once a month for almost a year. Dr. Minkoffhelped me detox my body after the mercury removal. They had tested me before I started getting the mercury removed and I tested very high for mercury in my body.

Dad had always assured me in his blessings that he gave to me that my pain would be “resolved, but it may be awhile. He blessed me with a “patient heart, with the continued power to wait upon the Lord, and in waiting, he said to not stop and do nothing but to do all that I could do.” He told me that the Lord would know when the appropriate time would be to give me the blessing I desired. He always assured me that as I would move forward doing what my heart imparts to me by way of caring for my family, discharging my church service callings and looking after my other responsibilities that I would have, that the Lord would in his time give me additional blessings. I did always carry on with the responsibilities of my family and church callings even amidst much pain that was not necessarily visible but very real and very draining. My Heavenly Father did not immediately take away my burdens, but he lightened them and made me’ strong enough to handle them. (Similar to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon who was in bondage to the Lamanites) My headaches now come sometimes but they leave also. They never used to leave!!!.

My kids are growing up too fast. They have thrived living here in Georgia. Kirk really loves his job. He and our brother-in-law, Sam Allman own their own training company. Their largest contract is with Mohawk Industries. Chase graduated: lTom high school and did well academically and also loved playing football. His senior year, he was awarded the “Golden Helmet” award. This is given to only one player a year. Chase was chosen as their team captain and his coach said ifhe could have a son like Chase he would be so proud. He worked for a year and saved up money for his mission and is now serving as full-time missionary in the Peru Lima East mission. I was so proud that way he prepared before his mission. He served as a ward missionary and the Gospel Essential Sunday school teacher. We are still trying to get used to not having him around.

Travis is a junior in High School. He is so fun to have around. He is always happy and very kind, giving and thoughtful. He is enjoying playing football also. Jenaca is a :freshman in high school and enjoys being on the cheerleading squad. We just finished tryouts for next years squad and she made it! She is very quick and good at picking up the cheers and the dances that they do. Definitely did not get this talent: lTom her mother. Jenaca is a sweet and kind girl. She is always aware of others feelings and never wants to do anything to hurt others. Spencer is growing up so fast. He is very tall. I think he will be the tallest of our kids. He loves playing football and basketball, but baseball is his love. He has a pretty darn good pitch, and he is a great hitter and fielder also. He is really concentrating on not being so shy. He is a very good fuend and very trustworthy.

I feel Heavenly Father’s blessings as Kirk and I have strived to raise our children righteously even amongst all of our shortcomings. Kirk and I have been married now for 20 years. Can hardly believe it. We have a very good relationship. He still brings happiness wherever he is. Just expect to hear laughter if he is around. He is an incredible listener and is very conscientious ofletting me talk about all my feelings. In our home there is love, peace, and understanding. I am so grateful for this.

I hope through my writing that my posterity will be able to see and feel the strength I feel f frommy Heavenly Father. My simple testimony is growing in very real ways. Heavenly Father helps and strengthens me to be the best I can be and as I do all I can do then he makes up the difference. I used to be so hard on myself, but I now realize that this is not what Heavenly Father wants me to do, especially when my personality is so susceptible to getting discouraged. He wants me to think positive and just do the best I can… be aware of others and their needs… be kind… be a good example… when called upon serve in church callings and always listen to his promptings.

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The Williams Family

All Is Well

The Girls Gather

Oooops

Wedding Day-Tammy & Kirk

She’s Thinking: “I Got My Man!

He’s Thinking: “Boy, what had work!  All Good”

This Is The Smile I Will Use To Get My Man

Watch me put my skills to work!

I Learned Young To Get What I Want

Dad couldn’t resist this magnificent little girl of his – then even before Tammy realized the slight of hand, Dad handed her over to Kirk

If The Smile Didn't Work, Then This Will

Tammy never did figure out how gorgeous she was (and still is) with end result pulling Kirk into her life.

Christmas 1984

Tammy and Marilynn

Tammy-Marilynn-Martha Afton Harris Felt

1987 Christmas

My MemoriesLife History of Tammy Felt Williams