Notes From My Journal – Afton Felt
Notes From My Journal – MA Felt
Over the years, part of our family tradition has been in the keeping of personal and family journals. Each child is expected tD maintain a personal history of each individual family unit, and share that material with other members of the immediate family. From these biographies, books are abridged and distributed to family members. From such material, I have included some of what my Mother wrote about my early childhood.
John Martin Felt was born on October 4, 1946, in Logan, His parents are Paul E. and M. Afton Felt. At the time his birth his parents were in Logan, his father serving Seminary Teacher for the Church at the High School.
An entree from his Mothers Journal, November 10, 1946.
And now we are four. Just six days before Paul Ernest’s Birthday. We are going to call him John Martin. John after his grandfather Harris and Martin after his Grandmother Mae Martin Felt.
Grandfather Harris was so proud he arrived to see him with a beautiful baby buggy. Thoughout the balance of his life his namesake was very special to him.
Other Entrees of my Mothers Journal:
John had curly hair and one day his brother took hold of it and said, “I hate YOU!-. hair”‘, it seems that so many had made the comment about his pretty hair. In order not to have the jealousy develop, his hair was kept short in a butch cut.
His favorite toy was a little red wagon. He would pull it along and sometimes had a passenger in his little friend Dennis Smith or he was the one to get to ride along. He was blessed in the Logan 17th Ward Chapel by his Father, with both of his Grandfathers assisting. He was a happy baby.
His parents were excited over the first tooth, his being able to sit up alone, his crawling and walking. He was chubby and cute.
John has always been a pied piper. He always had many friends and little children gravitated to him. Where you found John there were always little children wanting his attention.
John always had a keen sense of direction. When he was about four years old, the family were at liberty park to an outing. We missed John and were even having him paged over the loud speaking system. Everyone went in opposite directions to find him. Finally his Father returned to the car, surprised to find John was asleep on the back seat. When questioned he just said he was tired so went to the car. (now as we travel
with him in the canyons at Lake Powell, I would wonder how he knew where he was. He would know exactly where to turn to return to the House boat.)
When he was 3 years old the Family moved to Salt lake city.
It was here that he began to learn the meaning and the Joy of Compassionate service. He was close to 5 years old when a neighbor become very ill, and was unable to lift anything. John, His Father and brother Paul would get up early in the morning with their snow shovels and shovel the drive way and walks of this couple. The boys were so excited, for they were sure he didn’t know who it was that was doing all this work.
Grandather Harris took Paul and John up to Stawberry Resorviour fishing. They had another couple with them, and Mr. Snow never forgot John as he lay on the floor getting ready to go to sleep saying, “This is just like the pioneers in their ‘one woom‘ cabin.”
John had many adjustments to make in his early life, for it seemed that every three years the family were moved to another area. He was just to enter the first grade when the move to Edmonton Alberta Canada came. This was a drastic change for him. A move to a new country, to be in the first grade, to be in a place where he was the only Mormon in the class. It was so very cold that the children wore scarfs around their mouths and foreheads. A crack was left open for them to see through. He would go off to school dressed this way and more often than not come home, with scarfs and hat in his hand and with a parka wide open. Here was the first introduction to running shoes. The boots that he wore to school were lined and at school they would have a pair of shoes kept for them to put on, and they were called running shoes.
To us they were just plain gym shoes.
All went well in the school years until spring arrived and the lure of the beautiful outdoors was more interesting than school. The British System was very strict and as John’s mother, I was very upset when he came home from school crying and with welts on his hand. He had got the strap because he had lingered outside after the recess bell had rung. We had stayed in Canada this spring while his father returned to the U.S. to continue his Education. For the University there had let out in April.
The Branch President of the little Branch we attended was N. Eldon Tanner. (later to be called as one of the leaders of the Church) He was a prominent man in Alberta and many doors were opened to the Missionaries because of him.
The following year when Dad went south to school, the family went with him. John was to go to the Wasatch School. As would Yvonne and Paul. This was a lark for them all to not have so much fear of the strap. We were preparing to return to Edmonton when again we were transferred to Cedar City, Utah.
John faced some real challenges in Cedar City. It seemed that to earn your place the bays had to see how good of a fighter you were. There were several fights, one was as we were coming home from primary. John and a larger boy were into a good fight. I had all I could do not to go in and grab the boy fighting him and shaking him. The boys father was also looking on. When it was evident that John was not losing, the Father stepped in. Just at this time John’s primary teacher stepped in, Ellen Edmunds, and had the boys shake hands. While living in this ward the boys stayed clear of fights with John, they could see that he could do to handle himself. However, a move to another house, to another ward and again he had to prove himself. This time little red headed twins took him on. I’m afraid he didn’t do as well. He told his Dad, “I could of licked them one at a time but not both of them at once.”
He was always and still is very special to his brothers and sisters. Kathleen who is 14 years younger than him, would climb upon his lap and find gum in his shirt pocket. He was so special to O’Larry that he wouldn’t go to bed until John took him and let him sleep with him.
While living in Cedar City, the two boys heard that if you went up to the movie theater early on the first Saturday morning of each month, they would choose some boys to pass out a schedule of the shows for the month. The pay was a pass to the show for that month. Many boys would go to get a chance. John and Paul learned if they got there a little early they got to do it. In a few months the theater manager called and invited the boys to come and see him. He would give them a family pass if they would pass the handbills all over Cedar City. Soon the theater manager began to rely on both boys, and found them to be both honest and hard working. It seems that many of the young boys would take the movie flyer’s and “trash” them in the nearest ditch and then return to claim their pay.
It seemed that John and Paul were always the first to arrive and the last to return and he realized that they were the only ones who he could trust.
How great this was for all of us. How proud we were of them. So for the balance of our stay there _we went to many shows. This may be one of the reasons that John loves movies. Once the word got around that John and Paul were trust worthy hard working young men, they were approached by the manager of the local Spudnut Shop. They were hired to go “door’ to dOor-‘” selling Spudnuts.
They had certain customers who expected them each week. They later were able to get a paper route and felt really rich with all the money they earned. They dreamed of an electric train. Here was a lot of careful planning. They worked out a program with their Dad that if they could pay half he would pay half. They were able to get the train of their dreams and were soon dreaming of bigger things.
When we first moved to Provo, John and his brother advertised in the paper’, “BOY TO ROTTO-TILL YOUR GARDENS” We went in with them and purchased a Ro-totiller and they would hire out. This proved to be the thriving business. One day their father answered an ad for a Coin-op Laundry.
While on a family vacation to Southern Utah, we were told the offer made had been accepted and now the two boys had steady and responsible work. John learned and could repair the machines, and in part operate the entire business. From this we went into the coin-op Dry cleaning business. We soon learned that people wanted their clothes pressed. So John learned to press along with all of his other duties. His brother Paul (in later years) was heard to say, John learned all his skills from him, meaning Paul Jr.) John on the other hand would make it clear to anyone who listened, he, John was responsible for Paul Jr’s skills and “was the smarter one of two anyway“.
For he and his brother Paul had the responsibility of the cleaners. He would hurry to work straight from school. He purchased a car, a white 56 Chevy convertible, while in high school. All of the children were willing to work for low wages, to help us build the business. John’s wages were 50 cents an hour. He later sold this car and purchased a Red MG Sports Car.
How he loved this little car.
It made many trips over the canyon and over the hills to Price, Utah to court a little black eyed beauty that had caught his heart.
Editors Note: This “litle black eyed beauty” was in fact she would become his wife, Jackie Felt