Alice Nelson Edison
I was born on July 11, 1928 in Tooele,Utah. My parents were Daniel (Dan) Nelson and Stella Elkington. I am the youngest of five daughters. The oldest to the youngest are Shirley Maxine, Marjorie Lucille, Vivian Gwen, Earlean Isabell and myself, Alice. I lived at 155 West 3rd South all of my childhood and teenage years until I left home to attend college at Utah State University at Logan.
When I was small, our home was light green trimed with white around the windows and doors. It had a front porch that went half way across the front of the house. There were four rooms and a bath. In the front half of the house there was a living room and a parlor that was connected by a large archway opening. We spent most of our time in the living room. The front door opened into that room. The parlor was for company originally but was converted to a bedroom later for us girls. By then the wall had been filled in and the opening was changed to a regular doorway.
We had a large kitchen behind the living room. To the right of the kitchen was a short hallway that led to the bathroom on the west and to mom and dads' bedroom on the south. As we got older and needed more room, dad built another bedroom on the back of their bedroom and a large enclosed porch on the back of the kitchen. Dad then painted the house white. The house looked like that when I left for college.
Our home was a happy one with parents who put their children first in their interests. We always seem to have had the material things that we needed. My childhood memories are positive. I remember being diciplined when I needed it and remember only one spanking when I went to a friends house after school without permission and neglected to let my mother know where I was. I gave her a great deal of worry which I regret. Ours was a middleclass home. Looking back I realize all of my parents friends were in the same position financially as they our parents were. Mother kept close contact with her relatives. She often visited her cousins and aunts. She would take us kids with her and it was good for us to get to know them better. I learned to love older people during those visits and helped us to bond with our older relatives. Mother had a sister named Ruby Alice. When I was born she asked my parents to name me Alice, after her. I always liked to go to her home in Salt Lake. She lived on Parkway Avenue. We didn't go there often but I remember that it was scary to go in her back yard. The Utah State prison shared her back fence. Sometimes you would see prisoners out working in the fields. She told us that we didn't have to worry as they were "trustees" and would not try to get over the fence. The prison stood where Sugarhouse Park is at this time. Dad usually sent away for baby chickens in the spring. He had a small brooder built up on legs and there he kept the baby chicks until they were big enough to be put in the regular chicken coop. We helped him take care of them by feeding, watering, and keeping the brooder clean. The chickens were raised for eggs and food. Dad kept a pig for our meat as well. We also had a cow that dad would milk. He kept the cow in Uncle Walt's barn which was across the street from where we lived. Dad bought two different horses as we were growing up. We did not live on a farm, so dad kept the horses in the chicken run. By them we did not have chickens. It was great having a horse to ride because my girl friends, Darlene and Beverly Shields had a horse too. We had a lot of fun riding in the fields near our house and on the streets near our home. There was very little traffic in our neighborhood at that time so it was fun to ride horses and bikes without that problem. We had one bicycle among the five of us and so we had to share and take turns. That didn't seem too hard to do. We played a lot in our yard. There were trees to climb and lots of fruit to eat. We had cherries, peaches, apples, pears and currents. We always had a vegetable garden. Among all the things that were planted, my favorite was peas. Mom would always save some raw peas for me because I did not like cooked ones. I always ate potatoes raw too. I would eat cooked ones if they were cooked in a bonfire in our back yard. Dad would build a fire and we would try to wait until the coals were ready for roasting. Much like the charcoal briquets of today. Quiet often we could not wait. We would put the raw potatoes in the fire and they would be blackened by the fire, and we would rub off the black part and eat the wonderful insides. We thought we were in second heaven. It would always be dark and that was half of the fun. Another thing we did as kids was play softball in the middle of the street. All of the neighborhood kids would come out and we would have a great game. We would have to stop the game on occasion to let a car pass. A good memory of dad is when he would take me or one of my sisters to pick up his paycheck, if payday fell on his day off. We would ride the train that took the workers to the Tooele Smelter. It left from the intersection of Main Street and Vine, right in the middle of Tooele. Mother's kitchen was typical of the kitchens of the day. We had a big coal burning stove on one wall. It helped heat the house and mom used it for cooking and baking. It had a baking oven in the bottom and a warming oven near the top, so cooked food could be kept warm until everything was ready to eat. When I was really small our fridge was a rectangular wooden frame with gunny sack sides and a door frame covered with the same thing. On the top was a square metal box that held ice. As the ice melted it would wet the sides and cool the food onside. It was kept outside under a big Boxelder tree just outside the back door. We had a free standing cupboard on one wall and a free standing sink on another. The light was a cord with a bulb hanging in the center of the ceiling. We always had a tablecloth made of "oilcloth" much like the plastic tablecloths of today.It could be wiped clean after each meal. Later on mom's kitchen was remodeled and looked like our kitchens of today. She finally got a nice new fridge and an electric stove with a small coal burning stove attached to the right side. It was for heating the water in the hot water heater. Natural gas heat was not available at that time. Until it was available, another small coal heater was part of the living room furnishings and it also helped heat the house during cold days. When I was small, mother would wash clothes with a scrubbing board in a large round tub. She would heat the water on the coal stove in a big oval tub shaped water pot. The clothes then had to be rinsed in another round tub and had to be wrung out by hand before hanging out to dry. That was very hard work, and there were seven members in our family. That caused big washings. Mother eventually got a "wringer washer" and later on, automatic washers became available. On Sunday afternoon we would sometimes go for a ride around town and then park on Main Street and watch people walking by. Sometimes we would be very lucky and dad would let us buy an ice cream cone or some candy at Hanks & Evans. Occasionally we would go to the A & W and get rootbeer. We would sit on the front porch and watch cars go by on our street. Most of those who drove by was someone in town that the family knew. We would lay on our backs on the lawn on a blanket and, watch stars or clouds. That took up some of our play time. We could always find something to do at home. We had no television so we made our oun entertainment. We played hide-and-seek and run-sheep-run with the neighbor kids. Anti-I-over was a great game too. We would throw a ball over the house and soneone on the other side would try to catch it. There were plenty of kids around to play with. The whole family would go to Salt Lake for shopping. It was a real event. After shopping Dad would take all of us to the Capital Theatre for a movie. Before the movie,there would be a vaudeville program. There would be jugglers, acrobats, singers and dancers. Each time we went there would be different acts. Although we didn't go often, it was a real special occasion. Mom and dads big outing was an occasional dance. My dad loved to dance. I don't know if mom did or not but she was willing to go. They would sometimes go to a Thursday night movie. That was was bank night and some lucky person would win a little money or a dish, if it were dish night. We kids looked forward to that night because they would usually bring home a big Mr. Goodbar to share with the family.
Besides having horses, we always had cats who were usually named Mittens. We also had two different small dogs who were named Tiny. We had a lamb. It was an unusual pet for us as we lived on a city lot. One day a large truck loaded with lambs and sheep passed our house. A little lamb fell off of the truck. We brought it in the yard so it would not get run over by a car. Dad tried for weeks to find out to whom the lamb belonged, but was not able to. So the lamb became ours. We naned him Montana, because its baa sounded like that. We fed the lamb with a pop bottle and a nipple that dad bought from the feed store.(A store for farmers and gardners.) Eventually he was able to eat grasses, and grain from a pan. When he got really big we could no longer keep him because we didn't have a proper place for him. Dad decided to slaughter him and use the meat for food. We all felt so sad about it and no one could eat the meat when Mom fixed it. Dad had to give the meat away. Dad had sheared the wool from the lamb and mom cleaned and corded the wool and used it to stuff a quilt. It was made with dark blue flannel. We all loved that quilt and we named it Montana. The friends that I spent most of my time with were, Nancy Griffith, Beverly and Darlene Shields, Carol Halgren, and Norma Rae Bracken. Earlean played with me and my friends a lot of the time. We formed a club and called it the ABCDE club, for the first letter of each of our names. (except Norma Rae, she was too little for our club,(Nancy came to our neighborhood later on) Our clubhouse was an empty coal shed in our back yard. It wasn't elegant but we all thought it was really special. Our family would sometimes go to Settlement Canyon for family suppers. Mother would prepare corn on the cob and chicken or other of our favorite things for our supper, then we would play games together after dinner and have a great time. Another thing we did as a family was to go to the Great Salt Lake. It was fun to float on the water and eat a picnic on the sand. I remember one Memorial Day all of us girls got a new store bought dress. Mine was light blue taffeta and had a full skirt that I could hold out wide on each side. I loved it. Memorial Day was special those days. At the cemetary they had a 21 gun salute and a special program to honor the war dead, then we would decorate the graves of our grandparents and other relatives. Later in the day we would have hotdogs or hamburgers for dinner (that was a special treat those days) and spend the rest of the day playing. The 4th of July was celebrated with a parade downtown and lunch at home and then we went back down town to spend money on what ever we wanted to. We saved our allowance money especially for that day. Christmas was pretty traditional. We would have a sleepless night and get up early to see what Santa brought us. We were always sad because dad would always get a lump of coal in his sock, because he had been bad, so he said. We would always hang up our stockings and when we got up we would find an orange, some nuts in shells, and some good, sticky, hardtack candy.
One Christmas I got some really special gifts. They were English riding boots, a brown and white stripe shirt and some English riding pants called Jodphurs. I really loved those clothes. Other special gifts I had were some china dishes that had Bluebirds on them, and a darling doll with real human hair. Mother made a yellow dress and hat of crochet for that doll. It went over a light green taffeta underslip. Another favorite was a Pinocchio doll that could be undressed and dressed again and a story book of Pinocchio. I still have the dishes, the special doll and Pinocchio. I remember only one big family vacation. When I was about ten years old, we went to Yellowstone Park. It was wonderful. we saw real bears that came right up to the car and nearly scared us to death. We drove all over the park and saw everything that there was to see. Dan did a little fishing on Fishing Bridge. It was a great experience to be together on a special trip like that one was. Dad climbed over the safety railing to take a picture of the Canyon Falls. He slipped and nearly fell into the canyon below. I don't know when I was more frightened. After we left Yellowstone Park, we went to Helena, Montana to see dad's brother, Laurence. We stayed over night and then went to Idaho Falls to visit mother's sister Annie. While we were there, dad took Lucille, Shirley and a cousin to Amon, Idaho to see Uncle Bills' farm. On the way, dads' car was hit and totally demolished. Dad suffered sixteen breaks in one leg. Fourteen breaks above the knee and two compound fractures below the knee. It was a terrible accident but could have been a fatality. The girls had facial cuts but no broken bones. It was a miracle because they were hit by a huge grain truck. Luckily, it was not loaded, or it could have been much worse. As it turned out, dad spent over six months in a body cast, and from that time on, he walked with a limp because the broken leg healed a little shorter than it was before the accident. It was a hard time for dad and for mother too. I didn't have a chance to know any of my grandparents. Dad's father died on December 12, 1924 in Fairview, Utah. His mother died September 19, 1922 in Tooele, Utah. Mom's mother died on Julyt 30, 1928, just nineteen days after I was born. My grandfather Elkington died in February 1933, when I was nearly five years old. Being very small and light, I remember walking on crusted snow that was up to the top of the fence posts on the way to grandpas house. Grandpa died that year. Although I don't remember him specifically, I remember his viewing in the family home. I remember loving to work with dad as he did his chores around the house and yard. I was being taught lots of things as I watched and helped out when I could. I don't remember mother ever raising her voice to us girls, and I know we must have deserved it from time to time. Dad was strict but loving and he was always telling us to take care of what we had and to respect the rights and properties of others. Although my parents were members of the church, neither of them were very active. Mother was a Relief Society visiting teacher and attended Relief Society. Mother told me of a time when she was very ill with a pregnancy. She called the elders in to give her a blessing that healed her almost at once.
Mom always made it possible for me to attend church but I didn't go as often as I should have. Dad was a polygamous child, which he always hated. I am sure that influenced his decision of inactivity. He was a very good example of honor and integrity, as was our mother. I was taught well. I have grown up loving our country and have a strong belief in our Heavenly Father. Only good parents instill that kind of ethics in their children, as well as learning how to work and love doing it. My teen years were typical, with crushes on boys and the usual activities in school. I was a member of the "Pep Club" and our "Homemaking Club" at school. I attended the basket ball games and football games, but was never very interested in sports. Maybe because girls were not encouraged to be sports minded. My dad was not interested and I had no brothers to help me become interested in sports either. When I was thirteen years old, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That is hundreds of miles away from Tooele, but I was very frightened at the prospect of our country going to war. I was afraid that my dad would be called to go but I soon learned that he wouldn't. War had been raging in Europe for about three years but that seemed so far away I felt no concern. However the "war effort" was in full swing making war materials for our Allies in Europe. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It was Sunday. That forced America to be at war with Japan. One week later, Dec. 11, 1941, the USA declared war on the dictators in Europe, so we were involved in war around the world. Young men from all over America were drafted to go to war, including Hal Edison, who enlisted in the paratroops corp, and who I would eventually marry. It was a very patriotic time in America. There was a pride in our country I have not witnessed since that time. We had certain items rationed, like sugar, meat, shoes, gasoline, nylons and other items that were essential to the war effort. Because nylon was rationed, it was not possible to buy nylon stockings, so we would use leg makeup. I knew some girls who painted a line down the back of their legs to make it look like a seam in real stockings. Every person was issued a book of 'ration stamps' that told us how much we could buy of of whatever item was rationed. It took a lot of planing by our parents to make the items that were rationed, available to our needs. While the war was happening, Tooele Army Depot was built. Many people worked there including three of my older sisters. I was working at J.C. Penneys. I was a clerk and waited on customers. But I was also the interior and window display person in the store. That was my primary job. I displayed merchandise in the store windows and on display shelves throughout the store. I also made hand written sign cards for the tables holding merchandise, and for the window displays. The signs showed the items for sale and the price of the items. It was a great job. I went from school directly to the store to work each day. I worked there until I left Tooele to go to college. I was able to save some money to help pay for some of my college expenses. The Penney store was not my first job. I used to baby sit when I was not old enough to have a down town job. I was paid ten cents an hour. After the parents came home they would hand me the money, say thanks and open the door for me to go. I had to walk home alone and at times it would be well over a mile from home and it was always late. One a.m. in the morning would not be unusual. I was much braver then than I am now. I picked strawberries for at least two spring seasons. I would ride over to Coleman street on my bicycle. I would leave home just before dawn, so we could get picking started before the sun became too hot. I was paid one cent a cup. I was fifteen years old I pretended that I was sixteen and asked for a job in a little store (my third job) next to the Strand theatre. It was one of two movie theatres that Tooele had. There I sold popcorn, ice cream cones and candy to the movie goers as well as any one else who came in for treats. I loved that job too. My friend Carol Halgren worked there with me and we had a lot of fun together, joking with the guys that came in. We both pigged out on ice cream and to this day I have little desire for ice cream. Mort Dunn owned that little popcorn shop. I am surprised he didn't fire us for eating up his profits. When the war in Europe ended, there was a big celebration in Europe and across the United States, in every city, large and small, including Tooele. There was a lot of yelling and whistling, and a big dance was held in the middle of the street down town. The same thing happened when the Japanese surrendered, a big dance, the sirens blew and bells rang. Everyone in town was so excited and thankful that the wars were finally over and the young men could come home to their families. During my teen years I saw a lot of movies. Most of my spare money went for buying tickets for admission. Nancy Griffith went with me most of the time and Beverly and Darlene Shields would usually go too. We went on Sundays sometimes and Carol Halgren was not allowed to go then. We had some sleepovers, usually at Shields house when their parents went out for the evening. Essentially, Earlean and I were tending the Shields girls. We would pack picnic lunches and walk to the canyon or to an orchard somewhere and sit in the weeds to eat. It was great. Every Easter my friends and I would hike up to the canyon with a picnic lunch, eat, and play around the canyon picnic area, then hike back home. I didn't attend church regularly, but when I got older, Junior High and High School age, I went to Mutual (MIA) quiet often. I have always been sorry that I did not take advantage of the opportunity that was mine. Since then, I have committed to be active in the church. I know the gospel is true and that by living the principles of the church, I have felt peace and happiness in my life. The gospel has given me direction and helped me raise righteous children. Almost as soon as we graduated from High School, Nancy Griffith got married. Soon after that Darlene Shields married a soldier stationed at Tooele Army Depot. His last name was Seed. After two children, that marriage ended in divorce. Carol Halgren got married after I went to college and she asked me to be her bridesmaid, which I was. Someone told me that I looked like the bride. I can,t remember when Beverly Shields got married. I was in Logan at the time. Earlean got married while I was in college. I tried to get her to come to school with me but she wasn’t interested. I loved being in college. It was the first time I had ever left home more than a few hours and it felt great to be on my own. At that age one wants to be independent. I lived at the freshman dormitory called Lund Hall. It was a lot of fun. The building was three floors high. I lived on the third floor in the last room on the east end. The room had beds for four girls, including myself. Others were Nancy Garrard from Lake Point, Nanette & Norma, whose last names I can not remember. We got along very well and had alot of fun together. We all shared a common bathroom down the hall. There was one huge bathroom on each floor and I can not remember how many girls there were on that one floor sharing the bathroom, but things worked out as we were not all going to school at the same time. Although there was a kitchen in the basement of the dorm, where one could prepare some simple thing to eat, I ate my meals away from the dorm. I always ate my evening meal at the cafeteria on campus. I would buy a meal ticket that would last for a months time and it would be punched each time I would go through the food line. I learned to eat a lot of things that I would not normally eat at home, primarily vegetables that I would not try before. The college library was within a half block of Lund Hall so it was very convenient for any resource I needed. I lived at Lund Hall for the first year of college. During that year I joined a sorority named Theta Upsilon. I lived in the sorority house after that until I got married. I finished my last two quarters after we were married. I became acquainted with a lot of girls and guys in college, most of whom are scattered far and wide. I still get in touch with a few of them once in a while. Some of us sorority members meet at a restaurant monthly to hash over old times and catch up on each others lives. College was a great experience. Everyone should have this opportunity for growth and new visions. I had loads of fun and learned a lot, but mostly I learned how little I know about anything. It is an awakening. Some special things that came my way outside of academia was being nominated for Forestry Queen, a contestant in a bathing beauty contest, riding on a Sigma Nu float in the homecoming parade as Daisy Mae, Lil' Abner's girl friend, and becoming a member of the ROTC Sponsor Corps.
To become a member of the corp, one had to be nominated by a member of the ROTC. (the guy I was dating at the time, Milt Jones, nominated me) We were then paraded in front of the entire military corps to be judged and selected by the guys in the corps. We each had to stand alone and tell about ourselves and what we were majoring in, where we were from etc. It was really scary but it was exciting. I was selected and I was a member for three plus years that I was in school. I attained the rank of Lt. Colonel. One step below leader of the Sponsor Corps. Being in the military corps exempted me from filling a Physical Education reguirement. That was okay with me, not being athletically inclined. Living in the sorority house was great fun. One had to learn to cooperate and share. We each had a house cleaning duty that was rotated weekly. It was a great place to live and the meals were good. We even had our turn at dishwashing. We had a nice housemother named Vera Miles. She put up with a lot with some of the girls. She also attended some classes at the college. Something was always going on at the Sorority house. So it was lots of fun being there. Every Monday night was chapter meeting. We would make plans for sorority activities and often we would have an exchange social with a fraternity. The guys would come to our house or we would all go to theirs. We were able to meet a lot of guys that way. I went to Hals'fraternity, but at that time I did not know him. Yet, he was the president of his group at the time. Each morning the same cab and cab driver would come to the sorority house and take us all to the campus. We lived far enough away that it was not practical to walk up there in the morning, however we would usually walk home in the afternoon. We would pay the driver a nickle each to pay the cab fare. He did fairly well because up to ten of us would pile in and on top of each other for the ride to campus. Fifty cents a trip was a good fare at that time. I worked at part time jobs while I was going to college. The first job I had was at the college bookstore. I really enjoyed working there. Everyone came in for books and other items they needed for class, so I met a lot of kids that I eventually came to know well. At a later time, I worked at the Lyric theatre in Logan. I was an usherette, and made and sold popcorn, as well as escorting people to their seats. I wore a maroon uniform that was pants and a short fitted jacket. I was very thin and small so I looked pretty good in the uniform. My last job in Logan was at the Low Cost Drug. I lived in the sorority house for two years and one quarter. At that time I was married and was living in our first apartment. I finished going to college after I was married (two quarters) and was graduated in June 1950, with a Bachelors degree. My major was in Elementary Education, with a minor in English. Hal was the manager of Low Cost Drug Store while I was going to college, before and after we were married. I did not know him but he obviously noticed me when I came into the store to buy. As it happened one of his friends, Al Smith, dated a girl from our sorority and I found out that Al was Hals' friend. Al would offer me nickels, (the price of a phone call) and tell me that Hal Edison wanted me to call him. Not knowing who Hal Edison was, I told him "no" several times, and finally said," If Hal Edison wants to talk to me, he can do the calling." Well, he didn't. So I went to the store to see what he looked like. His five o'clock shadow (whiskers) made him look dark and scary, so I didn't pursue it further. That following summer I found it impossible to find work in Tooele, so I went back to Logan to look. I applied in every store and business up and down Logans' main street. I told my friend, Udean Larson, with whom I was living, that I'd work anywhere but Low Cost Drug. Work was hard to find, and the only offer was the drug store, so I took it. I finally met Hal and during the course of the summer, we became better acquainted. He eventually began taking me home,(if I worked nights) and then we began dating. About four months later, we were engaged, October 11, 1949. School had begun again, and I was very busy with school, working part time, and trying to be with Hal as much as possible. We were married on December 25, 1949 in my parents home in Tooele. Did I have great parents to have a wedding on Christmas Day? We had a honeymoon in Sun Valley, Idaho. Allthough neither of us skied, we had a good time just being there, eating good food, seeing all there was to see and do. We spent New Years eve at the Challenger Inn, with the Sun Valley trio orchestra. It was a great time and has been fun to reflect back on during our marriage. Our first apartment was on second East and 411 North in Logan. It was a great little place that was built on the side of a garage. It had four rooms and a bath. Just the right size. Hal's parents loaned us enough furniture to be comfortable, but we did buy two end tables. The first quarter that we were married, I was doing my student teaching. As I was preparing visual aids for my next days lesson, I moved a piano aside (it was top heavy and everyone knew about that but me) and it fell over on my foot. It did a lot of damage to my foot and I spent the next six weeks on crutches. It scooped all of the flesh from the top of my arch down to the top of my toes, just barely missing my tendons. I was very lucky it was not worse. We had been married only six months when Hal's mother died. It was very hard for him, as one would expect. I was sorry she and I had so little time to get acquainted. I was in college up until the month she died. She came to my college graduation service, probably one of the last events she attended. My parents were there as well. Hal was working and couldn't get off to attend. The following August, Hal and I took a train to Detroit, Michigan to pick up a new Hudson car. After picking up the car we vacationed on the way back to Logan. As soon as we got to Logan, we stopped in a gas station to fill the car with gas. Our postman walked up to the car and told Hal that he had delivered a letter that called Hal to active duty for the Korean War. What an awful way to be greeted on our arrival home. I was heartsick, I felt as though my world was ending. But what happened, happened and I had to deal with it. I had to pack up all of our household things in boxes not knowing if or when we would be together again. It was harder than anything I ever had to do up to that time in my life. I arranged with mom and dad that I could come back home and stay while Hal went to war, again. Hal had been in World War II, as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne division. He was now in the inactive reserve. Unfortunately, the inactive reserves were the men that were being called to supplement the draft for the Korean war. After taking me to Tooele, Hal left for Ft. Ord in California, that being a port of embarkation for Korea. Fortunately, he was given an opportunity to take an exam that would qualify him for the Finance Corps. Hal, along with a guy named LeRoy Bensen, scored the highest on the exam and they were sent to Ft. Lawton in Seattle, Washington. I was able finally able to be with him again. Mom and Dad helped me pack up the Hudson, and Mom went with me to Seattle. She took the bus back home to Tooele, and Hal and I looked for an apartment. Our first Seattle apartment was a room in a home owned by a family named Noack. We called it 'Noacks Nook'. Many of the rooms were rented and we shared a common bathroom and kitchen. It wasn't great, but we were together. By then we were expecting Carol Anne. I was seven plus months along. Mrs. Noack was a real grouch and complained about Hal clomping around in his army boots. It was not true as he would put his boots on as he left the door each morning. We left that apartment as soon as we were able. Our next apartment was on the third floor of a big, old house owned by the Shannon family. They were really nice people and we were comfortable and happy there. Carol Anne was due on January 5 1951, so mom arranged to come up to Seattle to help us out when the baby came. She arrived late in December and waited and waited along with us, for the babys' birth. C.A. was born on January 16, 1951, eleven days later than expected. She was born in the army hospital at Ft. Lawton. Mom stayed a couple of days more and then had to leave. I cried when she left because it was scary to be on my own with a new baby but somehow I was able to do it. That baby was the most beautiful one I had ever seen in my life. She was so tiny, with dark brown hair and the cutest little face in the world. We were very happy. It was exciting to carry a baby and experience birth. It was as though she was the first baby ever born and everything she did was like it was happening for the very first time. One day Hal came home from Ft. Lawton and said that he had to go to Indianapolis, Indiana for finance school, and I was not able to go with him. So It was back to Tooele to stay with my parents again. Carol Anne was about six weeks old when Hal left. Mom was working at that time at TOD [Tooele Ordnance Depot] and so I kept house for her and had the evening meal ready when she came home from work. Dad was retired and not in the best of health, so I was able to keep him company and help him when needed.
While living at mom and dads' home, I had Carol Anne named and blessed in my parents ward, Tooele 4th Ward. E. Wayne Hanks was the bishop and he gave her the blessing. Bishop Hanks is the same person who had married Hal and I in my parents home that Christmas day of 1949. When Carol Anne was six months old, Hal came home from Finance school and I was able to return to Ft. Lawton with him. This time we we able to rent a small apartment on the base in the non-commission officers area. It wasn't wonderful but it was an adventure. We had no furniture except a table, two chairs, and two twin beds. We put one bed in the living area for sitting after dinner while we listened to the radio. The other one was in the bedroom and we slept on it together. The only other piece of furniture was Carol Anne's crib. We did not stay there very long. I met some strange characters in that housing area. Some very worldly types that I was not used to associating with. Mostly older women (older than I was) who were married to career military men. At any rate, it was easy to pack up and leave when the time came. Hal was eligible to get out of the army on points. They were earned according to the length of service and other criteria, so he was able to be discharged on accumulated points. To this day, I'm not sure he really wanted to, but I did and he agreed. When we got back to Utah, Hal applied for a job with a wholesale drug company, McKesson-Robbins in Ogden. During his training we lived in two different motels on the main street in Ogden. The Ranch Motel and the Millstream Motel. That was another adventure, especially with a little baby. His new assignment after his training was in Salt Lake City. That was great news to me. We found a little apartment in a basement of a house on 13th East, 1511 South. The owners were named Spillsbury and they were great people. They had a little five year old boy named Ricky, who liked to come down stairs and play with Carol Anne. We lived there until I went to the hospital to have Margaret. By then, Carol Anne was two years, three months old. While I was in the hospital having Margaret, Hal, with help from some of my famiiy, moved us into our own new home, at 925 Mark Avenue. That home had four rooms and a bath, (kitchen, living room and two bedrooms) and a full basement. It was built of red brick with white mortar. Later one, we had a bath with a shower and an additional bedroom built in the basement. My first washing machine was a tub on legs that had a roller wringer on the top. After washing the clothes I would put the clothes through the wringer to squeeze the soap suds then the clothes would be put through two tubs of rinse water before being hung out side on a clothes line. My dad made a long bench to hold the two tubs of water. I still have that bench down stairs.
Margaret was a darling baby with big brown eyes and enough dark hair to make her especially pretty. She was a very good little baby. When she was four days old, we came home from the hospital to our new house on Mark Avenue. Carol Anne had a great place to play and lots of little kids her age to play with. All of the moms in the neighborhood shared the responsibility of each others children and we all knew they would be safe and secure playing in any yard. We all had the same expectations, morals and standards, so it worked out well for all of us. As Margaret grew, she had a special friend just three weeks older than she was. Her name is Karen Hansen. They were together as much as was possible. Karens' mother was my special friend while we lived in that neighborhood. Other people very special to me were Della Leek, Alice Davis, Evelyn Cope, Beverly Price and others less close, but very important to me. It was in this environment that Hal and I became re-activated in the church. It was at this time that I felt something missing from my life. I am certain it was the Holy Ghost prompting us to be where we should be, to show our children the right way to live. So with the love and support of our neighbors and the hungerin my heart, we became totally involved with the church and we have continued since. My testimony grew there, living among the many good church members, whom we came to love. Our lives have been blessed by our decision to buy our home there. I loved being a homemaker and having our two little girls to take care of. We had a nice, fenced yard for the kids to play in and it was just the right size to take care of. As each of us in the neighborhood would buy something new for our homes we would all celebrate and be happy for each other. We had a real bond in that neighborhood. I feel we were guided by Heavenly Father to move there. We made some very special friendships. While living there, I was active in PTA, after the girls went to school, serving in almost every capacity except president. I was asked to run for president but declined because of my activity in the church and because I had then applied to substitute teach in the elementary schools. My church positions in the Parkview Ward were, 1st Year Beehive teacher, MIA secretary, Primary Counselor to two presidents, Primary President and Relief Society visiting teacher. It was at this time I began substitute teaching in the public schools. We belonged to a study group, studying the scriptures, with seven other couples while we lived on Mark Avenue. They were, Jack and Beverly Price, Del and Mary Kerr, Don and Blanche Koelliker, Bob and Nette Benson, Mick and Dorie Treu, Fay and Wally Hansen and George and Evelyn Cope. We had a great relationship and did many things together socially, for several years. On June 25,1958, just eight and one half years after our civil marriage, we were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity. It was a wonderful experience that we had planned and worked for. Our sweet little girls were brought into the sealing room to be sealed to us. They were dressed in white and looked so beautiful. That was one of the highlights of my life, knowing we would be a forever family. Our neighborhood friends honored us with a wedding cake with a miniature temple on the top, and a lovely greeting card. Those who could attend the Temple were there for us in the sealing room. I was the first of two members of my immediate family to receive my endowments. Mother received hers the same evening. I had Dads work done and was able to be sealed to Mom and Dad as well as my own little family that same day. Early in the year of 1967, we met with Garn Christensen, a contractor, and made plans for his company to build us a new home. Work began in June and the house was ready the latter part of August. While the house was being built I was again attending college, this time at the University of Utah. My teaching credential had expired and had to be renewed. I earned twelve credit hours necessary for renewal, including a kindergarten proficiency certificate. We moved in just days before I began teaching school on a full time contract. My first assignment was at Roosevelt Elementary, for one year, then at Libbie Edward School, just one mile away from home. I taught kindergarten for six and one half years. Our girls had to start attending different schools, Carol Anne at Skyline High (eleventh) and Margaret at Evergreen Jr. High (ninth). Hal started a new job with McKesson, regional sales manager, traveling twelve different states, Monday through Friday, from the west coast to the Mississippi River. He was working for the Labs Division of McKesson. In November of 1972, Hals’ job with the labs expired, as McKesson had sold the lab division. He was given a sales territory in Reno, Nevada. He moved down right away, living in a motel for six months, while I stayed here to finish the school year. Carol Anne was attending college and Margaret was finishing High School. When the school year was over, I prepared to move to Reno. Margaret had graduated from High School, and Carol Anne had completed her second year at the University of Utah. We had previously taken some trips to Reno to visit Hal and look for a place to live. We had decided to buy a house in a new housing development, because the rentals were not good choices, so we had a place to go. (944 Glen Meadow Dr.) It was a hard to move away from our new home. We sub-let to a man who told me all of the things I wanted to hear, about how they would take such good care of it, etc. Of course, I was to be disappointed. The members of the church in the ward we were assigned to were wonderful people. We met some very nice people and some became good friends. My closest friend was Rosalie Almond. Her children were rather young, and ours were eighteen and twenty years of age. However, Rosalie and her family had us over to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. I'll never forget how that made me feel. It was such a generous thing for her to do. I was very unhappy about having to move from Salt Lake but when I got acquainted with some of the ward members, I began to be comfortable in Reno. The opportunity to live away from the center of the church was a good experience and I learned how close the members are and what a marvelous support they are to each other. Although we lived in the Sparks-Reno area, Hal was working out of the Sacramento division of McKessom. Each month he would have to go to Sacramento to attend sales meeting. During the winter of 1973, on one of the trips, we had a very scary experience. As we neared the summit of Donner Pass, the weather changed and we were driving in a blinding snowstorm. Visibility was near zero. A big truck passed us and Hal decided to drive closely behind assuming that driver could see better than we were able to. The truck began to stop and we soon realized that we were both on the left edge of the road inches away from the guard rail. The truck began to pull away and left us there in the storm. Hal could not get any traction and we were stuck, unable to go forward or backwards. The only thing we could do was to pray. I have never prayed so hard for help in my life. As we sat there terribly frightened, a big tow truck pulled up in front of us. The man jumped out and asked if we wanted to be towed. He asked for more money than we had with us but finally consented to pull us over the summit for the money that we had. Heavenly Father was watching over us and our prayers were answered. When we returned to Reno the following day we found that we had been inches away from a drop of about fifty feet. The Lord was very good to us. I lived in Reno (Sparks) only fifteen months. I had a years leave from teaching in Granite District. I had to return in August '74 to attend school meetings and prepare for the school year, and to keep my tenure in the district. Carol Anne and I planned to go to Reno to spend the Christmas holidays with Margaret and Hal. The day we were to leave I received a call from McKesson in Salt Lake. They told me to come to get a car at McKesson to drive to Reno to bring Hal home. Fortunately, a sales position opened in the Salt Lake McKesson Division and Hal was able to transfer back on January lst, 1975. Margaret chose to stay in Reno to work. She stayed there for another six months with some girlfriends she had met through the church young adult program at the University of Nevada. I had returned to Salt Lake four months ahead of Hal. I found the house in terrible condition, as well the yard. The house had to be completely redecorated and the lawn replanted. The renters left everything in a total mess. It was a bad chapter in my life. After much work and emotional turmoil, the situation was returned to normal. I began teaching school at Stansbury Elementary in West Valley City, Utah in the fall of l974.I remained there until my retirement on January 20,1989. I became acquainted with some great people. We worked well together and became good friends. At Stansbury I taught in first and second grades, seven years on each of the grade levels. During this time many things happened. Carol Anne was living in Centerville, Utah. At that time she was having back trouble and was spending her time flat on her back. Margaret returned home from Reno and began working in a bank near the University of Utah. Hal was happily involved in his Salt Lake territory, and I was getting settled at a different school. Later on, Carol Ann was working as am assistant Folk Arts coordinator for the state of Utah. She later became the Coordinator and is at this time. Our lives were working well and everyone was happy.
While Margaret was working at the bank Near the University she met Jim Greenberg. After dating some special boyfriends she chose the very best one. They have now been married almost sixteen years, and we have two bright, sweet, intelligent granddaughters. We love Jim as much as our own daughters.
To read Alice's husband Hal Edison's autobiography, click here. To view an album of Edison family pictures, click here. To return to the Christensen Family home page, click here.