Wanda and Walt Cannon
Wanda Mabel Christensen Cannon's Journal
I'm Joan Cannon Rice. This is a portion of my mother's journal – childhood into early marriage. Typing it has been like a little visit with her and quite enjoyable. Much of the journal is about Dad too.
My name is Wanda Mabel Christensen Cannon. I was born in Cardston, Alberta, Canada in a midwife’s home on June 27, 1918.
My mother was Sarah Bevan (better known as Sadie) and my father was Harold Elijah Christensen. Mother called him Lyde.
My mother and father lived in Calgary with my grandmother and grandfather – when my oldest brother Harold was born, my parents moved back to the ranch because there was a World War going on (World War I). Dad started raising cattle and when Dad tried to enlist, he was told to stay home and grow food. Our country needed food more than they needed him. Mother had another son named Joseph. This baby bled to death because Mother only had a midwife and no help for complications. Dad buried this baby on the ranch somewhere – he never was able to find the grave. So when my sister Rose and I were born, Mother insisted on a home where they had medical care.
I don’t remember much about my first few years in Canada. I was born in 1918 at the end of the war. I remember Rose and I getting lost while the family was picking berries. We were crying because this was still pretty wild country and we were afraid of being eaten by bears. I remember riding the old horse “Hoppity Kick” to school with Harold (my big brother). I guess I was visiting. I remember sitting on top of his desk. I was very little but it must have been exciting as I remember it that way.
One story Dad told me about a ten day vacation he and Mother decided to take. I was a baby and they decided to go toWaterton Lakes. They took everything they thought they needed including three kids and a milk cow….as I was a baby and needed a milk cow. They hitched up their wagon and tied the cow to the back; so they couldn’t go faster than the cow could walk.
The team Dad was driving was very gentle. One of the horses was called Nettie and she had a colt about one month old. They finally got to the lake and camped at the east entrance of the park. There were a lot of flies and they were really bothering the cow. So when Dad went to milk the cow, she took off after him and he hid behind a tree and when the cow got to the end of the rope, she broke it and kept going. (My father never saw her again until round up time.) In the meantime, I had to have milk; so Dad tied up the colt and gave me mare’s milk and because it agreed with me, the folks were able to stay the full ten days before they had to head home.
I remember Mother and Dad loading Harold, Rose and I in a buckboard and going quite a distance to a dance held in a schoolhouse. I remember being put to bed in the cloakroom on the floor while they danced up a storm. Mother often played the piano. (Dad said she used to play at the Waterton Lakes Hotel.) She was a beautiful woman and was very sociable. Most everyone had to take their children as they traveled quite a distance for most of their social activities.
My youngest sister, Lillian, was born sixteen months after I was. Mother wanted to have this baby close to her mother who lived in Utah. So Lillian was born in Tooele City, Utah. While in Utah, Dad got a flu that was killing thousands of people, then he got pneumonia, twice, that left him very weak; so he couldn’t do very much. But he could milk cows (even though he was a brick mason-same as his dad). He decided to open the first dairy in Waterton Lakes Park and somehow got by until winter came. Then things got tough. People kept telling Dad how good things were in California and how much brick work there was; so he decided to move to California to where it was warm. Just before Dad died (he passed away at 89 years old) he told me another reason he left Canada was to get his daughters out of Canada. He didn’t want them to marry ranchers and have the hard life he had. Bless him.
Dad was looking for a warm place and he decided to settle in Sacramento. He sent for Mother and us kids (that was about 1924-25, I’m not sure). We moved into an apartment house on 1st Avenue. I guess I was about five years old. I don’t remember much about that part of my life except we were in the Oak Park area which was nice in those days. It had a movie theater and a place called Jayland with a playground. We spent lots of time there with Dad while Mother was at church meetings. I remember Mom and Dad dropping us off at the theater while they did their shopping.
Harold was a boy scout when he came to live with us. (Ma and Dad Christensen – my grandparents – didn’t want him to come to California when we came, so he stayed with them). He was quite a tease. He would jump out from behind doors in long dark hallways and nearly scare us to death.
Lillian was very mischievous and one time made some colored water out of crepe paper and put it in a Nehi bottle (which was one of our favorite soft drinks) and sold it to Rose and me for a few pennies. We both got so sick we thought we were going to die!
Some time Mother and Dad would take us downtown to the Senator Theater for a stage show called Vaudeville. It was always very exciting.
Dad built a little brick house on 20th Avenue in South Sacramento. We lived in the garage while he was building the house so he could be closer to his work.
It was hard as we had no toilet and had to go outdoors and it was awful dark at night. My father was also a big tease. One Christmas I remember while we were still living in the garage, Harold got a b-b gun for Christmas and Dad shot all the ornaments off the tree. Dad with his teasing never let up until one of us kids was in tears. When the brick house was finished we moved in – it seemed wonderful, but we always had a happy warm home. Mother was so sweet and friendly and everyone that knew her loved her. She kept very active in church and made sure we kids were active also. Mother was president of the Relief Society, P.T.A president and helped out in political rallies. We had neighbors with kids our age, so we spent lots of time playing games outdoors. One time we ducked for apples and got lice from the Alvaro kids. The teachers at school notified our mother and we were mortified. We had our heads washed with something that really burned our heads.
Mother and Dad were close friends of the Brown and Gibby families and so every Saturday we would go to the movies while the folks shopped, then the families met at a Chinese restaurant down in China town (now called Old Sacramento). They always had the upstairs ready for us. We kids seemed to have the run of the place. Then the folks would take us home and leave the Brown’s daughter, Edna, with us, as she was an only child. We always had a sack of peanuts that Rose divided (she being the eldest). It seems she always got the full ones and we got the hulls and halves. What silly childhood memories. There was always a good fight over that. We also used to go to the American River to swim and have a picnic on very hot weekends. Most Sacramento families would go there and have picnics and barbecues. When we went down town we would walk up 34th Street – a dirt road leading to 12thAvenue, where we met the bus. Because it was such a long walk, our patent leather shoes got quite dusty. Mother would keep a bag in the branch of a tree so she could dust us off before we got on the bus. Mother always bought us each a “celluloid doll”, cupie dolls they were called. We really loved them. They were so cute. One time there was a terrible disease going around Sacramento. It was called spinal meningitis and was very contagious. Mother warned us to stay away from crowded areas. She and Dad left us with a friend, Montana. She was a very pretty young woman and while we were staying with her, a boyfriend came to see her. He wanted to get rid of us; so he gave each of us 10 cents to go to the show. We went, the worried three, but didn’t say anything to each other. The show was The Sheik with Rudolf Valentino. We no more than got seated when Lillian tapped me and said “How do you feel?” I said “fine” and she started to cry. Lillian always did have a great imagination. She said she felt sick. So Rose and I took her home and Montana and friend weren’t very happy to see us. The boyfriend gave Rose and I another dime and sent us back to the show. We got seated and it wasn’t long before we asked each other how we felt and needless to say we left the theater. We were afraid to go home, so we sat under a signboard in the Oak Park area until the show was over before we went home.
Rose and I used to sing at every event in Sacramento (so it seemed). We sang at the first broadcasting system held in Sacramento. It was in the Oak Park area. We also sang at the State Fair on the first television show. Dad said it looked like someone pulling venetian blinds. Mother always played for us and Lillian always sat on the front row and made faces at us.
Sister Brown was in charge of a variety show called the Troupadors held in the Oak Park Club House . It was a free show and was held every Friday night and it was also up to Edith to have a program ready every week. So she always called Mother and Rose and I would sing or Lillian, Rose and I would dance. Rose sang alto and I sang soprano. Lillian always stole the show with her antics.
Rose and I sang at the California Theater and won first prize. I think I was 5 or 6 and Rose was about 8. Rose and I always performed for company. Mother and Dad were very proud of us. Later on in years, after Mother passed away, Rose and I sang duets, quartets with the Gale brothers, also stake choruses and choirs and a special group called the Conzanetta Chorus. We did road shows. One special production was Show Boat. I did some solos – “My Bill” was one. It was very exciting. We did many shows to help build new churches. It seems we sang for every stake conference, stake dance and funeral held. We (Rose and I) were also in the City Choral Society and the weekly church television show. We also entertained the soldiers at the U.S.O. during World War Two.
In 1930 our baby brother Bobby was born. What a surprise! None of us kids knew we were going to have a new member in our family and were we thrilled. Mother was quite heavy and her pregnancy did not show. There were 10 years difference between Lillian and Bobby. I was 12 years old. I was also the perfect age for babysitting. So you might guess he was the apple of my eye…the greatest thing that could ever happen.
All of us kids went to Jr. Pacific School (my first schooling was in a wooden square building. I was in kindergarten or first grade) that building later became a bar and now I believe it’s a church – location is the corner of 19th Avenue and Franklin Blvd. I remember being a very sensitive child. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Mellon tapped me once on the head (very lightly) for talking. I thought I would rather have been beaten.
My growing years were very good years. We were not a family that moved a lot; so we felt very secure. Our Christmases always stood out in my mind. On Christmas we would drive around Sacramento and look at Christmas decorations. Our Christmases were always exciting. Dad was always threatening to catch Santa, so we would have to put up with all the fuss. Christmas morning he would find an old potato in his sock . The potato was rotten and sprouts hanging out of it. We kids would feel sorry for him and share our candy with him, which of course he planned on.
I was always making homes so I could play house. I used chicken coops, boxes, anything that would give me a place to pretend. Dad says I talked a lot and talked fast. I’d say “plack” instead of “play like” because it was faster. And I usually ran everything. I was always in charge.
We three sisters pretended to be movie stars. It was one of our favorite games. When movies changed from silent films to what was called the talkies (meaning with sound) I was Billie Dove. (She was gorgeous.) Rose was Janet Gaynor. (She was sweet.) Lillian played Clara Bow. (She was the hot mama.) We would get so carried away with our pretending that we once called a radio station – this was way before TV – and we requested a song for Billy Dove, Janet Gaynor and Clara Bow. And boy did we get bawled out over the air for impersonating movie stars! That scared us all. We were sure the police were coming to get us. I remember when radios first came out (of course we couldn’t have one) we girls would walk down the street slowly and stand in front of homes that had radios and listen. It was great. I believe Kate Smith was the first one I heard on this new invention.
When I was twelve years of age, I remember falling madly in love with a movie star/crooner Bing Crosby. He had such a beautiful voice. Oh, I thought he was wonderful. The first time I saw him was in the movie “College Hi” – a neat movie. I even lost weight over him I was a very skinny child anyway and Mother and Dad were constantly worried about me getting TB (tuberculosis). I was rather sickly and had headaches most of my life. I always managed to get car sick which got me up in the front seat between Mother and Dad. That really griped Lillian. I’m sure that made it worthwhile to me. Sometimes Mother and Dad would pay me ten cents to stay home.
I also had nightmares when I was ill. When my temperature went high I got delirious. Then I got cuddled and rocked by my Dad. And sometimes got to sleep with my parents. (As I write this, it sounds like a wonderful attention getter.)
Mother made many trips to Utah by train to be with her mother and sisters and brother and because children under six could travel free, Lillian and I got to go. Mother would always bring things for us to play with among them were children’s scissors attached to a red card. She would cut them ticket size “because the conductor would ask for our tickets” and he would punch them when he went through the cars. We thought Mother was so clever. We usually went to Utah in June for June Conference and my birthday. I always had to share my birthdays with June – my cousin – whose birthday was June 25. (And wouldn’t you know, when I got married my husband’s birthday was June 25.) Anyway, back to my story, we always celebrated on her birthday and the adults would always remind June that it was just as much mine, but June would have me crying because she’d wait until they were gone out of ear shot and then she would say “but it is more mine.” I don’t know why they didn’t think to alternate.
Dad would ask Mother yearly if she’d like new furniture or a trip to Utah in a new car. (He was a sly old fox.) Naturally with her family in Utah she chose the trip and so away we’d go in a new car to Utah. It was always fun. We would all sing “I’m going to Hide-a-Way Far out on that Utah Trail”…that’s the first line of the song – title is Utah Trail. We’d make pictures out of clouds. That was Dad’s game. And in those days, many times we would have to get out of the car and walk with a herd of sheep (as they used the roads we used out in the desert) They weren't paved highways like we have today. One time we were going to Boise, Idaho (Dad's folks lived there.) Dad decided to take a short cut – Bob was one month old. It was a very desolate road and we broke down close to an old farmhouse. Dad asked the owners if he could use the barn for shelter for his family, until he could get help. They said okay. We spent the night sleeping in the straw. Mother always brought food. I remember it was fried chicken and there was a loft that she put Bob in. I remember how excited we kids were not realizing how worried Mom and Dad were. Dad and Mother loved camping, so Dad would find a good spot, spend a weekend with us and then leave us for a week. We stayed at Hampshire Rocks on Highway 99 or Riverton on Highway 50. Then he heard of a good deal on a cabin on government property at Lake Tahoe. He could get a 99 year lease so he leased it and we spent many happy summers there. We collected colored rocks and Dad built a darling fireplace. The place was called Aspen Tract – elevation 7000 feet – about 13 miles from Lake Tahoe.
The depression hit in the 30's and everyone was in trouble. I remember going to school without soles on my shoes and I had to learn to sew and remodel clothes or wear hand-me-downs or both. We always had plenty of food on the table but Dad couldn't supply all the clothing we thought we needed. Maybe that is why I became such a clothes nut! More about the depression later.
I graduated from Jr. Pacific School . We went for 8 years in the same school and then went to Sacramento High. It is fun to note that our grammar school class has had a school reunion and we are planning another. We graduated some 50 years ago. I was in my first year of high school when I met Walt Cannon. I was 14 years old. I was standing in front of the house – the red brick house on 20th Avenue - babysitting Bobby when Walt drove up with his buddy Bill Royston and Ted Smith (Rose's boyfriend). I don't recall meeting Walt but Rose said he wanted to meet me and she told him he couldn't. I think she told him he wasn't good enough for me. He was smoking a pipe. Walt thought Bobby was mine but he didn't seem to care. He decided there and then that I was the girl he was going to marry...even before we met. I guess they call that “love at first sight”. He was a gorgeous looking boy. I remember that, but being only 14 I knew I couldn't date so I didn't pay that much attention. But Walt was very persistent and somehow got Rose and Ted and arranged a double date. I believe Bill Royston was included. He always was. Mother said okay as long as Rose was along. It seems Rose was a chaperone from then on. Walt had only dated one other girl in his whole life. (He was 18 years old at the time we met.) He managed to wangle his way into our family, winning Mother over, of course.
Walt's parents were very old in comparison to mine. Walt's father (Albert Freeman Cannon) had been married before and had 3 sons by his former wife. When he met Mom (Christine Bergheta Sandburg) he was 10 years older than she. So Walt was youngest of a second family. By that time, Pop Cannon was quite old and not much fun for a cute young guy that seemed to enjoy being with a younger family. Walt didn't much like his older brother, Bert, either because he had polio when he was young (Walt had it also) and was crippled from the disease and was spoiled rotten by his parents. So that's another reason Walt escaped from his family into ours. My dating Walt for 4 years before we were married was quite an experience. Walt and Bill were full of practical jokes. They mostly did it to one another, but when I came into the picture, I also became the “goat”. I remember going to a restaurant with them . (We were referred to as the three musketeers.) And as we were leaving they dropped silverware at my feet and with hands on hips looked at me, picked up the silver and apologized and returned it to the owner. I was shy in those days but after meeting these nuts you can be sure after many such experiences like that, I soon got over it. Another time we were in a theater. I guess the guys had seen the movie before, but at perfect timing when a cork was removed from a bottle, one of them popped the cork (using their mouth) and both looked at me. I remember disappearing down into my seat. This next incident was between them. We went to a movie and Bill had stacked some PK gum alternated with Feenamint gum (which was a laxative). Bill knew that if he took the first two pieces, Walt would want the next two, etc. Soon Walt was running .Walt never gave Bill the satisfaction of knowing what happened but next time Walt was on tour with the National Guard he brought some very potent pills used in the army for a laxative (one pill was powerful). So Walt had them along on our next movie date. This time it a was the Capital Theater with an upstairs mens' restroom. On the way to the show we stopped for a hamburger and grape punch. I think they were 10 cents each. Bill ordered a shake and while Bill played the pinball machine, Walt mashed the pills and put them in the shake. Well, needless to say, Bill spent the evening cramping and running up those stairs. This kind of thing went on and on.
At high school (Sac High it was called), Walt and Bill were seniors and I was a sophomore. I would meet Bill every day for our lunch hour. We met in Walt's old touring car with a canvas top. One day Bill looked up and saw a small pin hole in the top. He said, while poking his finger through, Walt's top is falling apart. I said “wow, I'll say” and tore it further. By the time we were through, the top was in ribbons. Walt decided Bill and I were having too much fun on our lunch breaks and so the next thing we knew he had the same lunch hour...we thought! I was thrilled feeling so lucky to have my two best friends in the same lunch hour. Well, when it was time to graduate, Walt wasn't going to get his diploma because he had skipped his gym class for nearly a whole semester. He happened to have his gym teacher's car in school shop. He hid the parts of the car and refused to find them until the coach promised to give him a passing grade - which he did. Pap never forgot Walt. He even recognized him at his 35th school reunion.
Walt and Bill decided to teach me to drive. They told me what to do and then Walt crawled all over the car while I was trying to drive. Bill jumped out and grabbed mail boxes so I wouldn't knock them down. Of course, I was nervous and they felt I would never learn how. One day they took me over to William Land Park where they felt nothing could happen Somehow I threw the car into reverse (which they said is impossible) and backed up right into the duck pond. Another time the mail man asked me if I would push him up to my dad's service station because he was out of gas and couldn't leave his mail. I know this sounds like an old joke but it's true. The joke was a man asked a lady for a push and she said how fast should I go? He said about 30 miles an hour. When he looked through his rear view mirror, here she came 30 miles per hour. Well, that was me. I knew nothing about pushing and I think I hit the poor man about 3 times and he was there! He told Dad, “you shouldn't let your daughter drive.” Well I never did again until I was married with two kids.
When Walt and Bill used to come and get me I always knew which car they had by the horn. Bill's had the door bell and Walt had a ship's bell. It was many, many years before I found out where the ship's bell came from. I was on a tour bus at Lake Tahoe with a group of women that worked for me and the driver was giving us a scenic lecture and mentioned the “Emerald”, a ship owned by a well to do man who lived on Emerald Bay and when he found he was dying he decided to have “the Emerald “ sunk to give her a burial in the bay. I came home excited to tell Walt the story, because we'd spent many summers at Lake Tahoe and I had never heard the story before. He said “I knew that – that's where the ship's bell came from that I had on my car.”
I went with Walt many times before I let him kiss me. It took both Walt and Bill to hold me down so Walt could kiss me. I think Bill kissed me goodnight also.I'm not sure, but I do remember Bill betting me 50 cents he could kiss me without touching me. I bet him, he kissed me and gave me 50 cents. It wasn't until Walt and I were getting ready to go on our honeymoon and Bill offered to go along as our chauffeur that Mother told me that Bill was in love with me. (I sure had to be dumb not to know.) He was such a sweet friend all our lives. He died of a heart attack just a few years ago – 1980.
The neighbors that did business with Dad said “Chris, you are a damn fool for letting your daughter ride with those two lunatics. Dad would try to straighten Walt out, but nothing changed. They both were excellent drivers, just show-offs, I think.
The boys always brought me flowers which at the time I thought with all their craziness they are sweet and thoughtful. Of course, I didn't know then that on the way over every night they had to pass the St. Mary's Cemetery and that's where most of my flowers came from. Bill said later they got the best ones from the priest's circle. So when Bill died., he was 67, and the florist was closed because of Valentine's Day, I told his wife, Penny ,” I couldn't get any flowers”, she said, “Don't worry, Bill would like them better if you borrowed some from another grave for old time's sake.” We haven't yet!!!
Walt was Mother's errand boy. She adored him. He could get away with things that the rest of us couldn't. Such as cutting into cakes, pies, etc. that she had made for Relief Society. He was always there when she needed him. I wondered many times how he found out where we were when he would drive up.
He kept a roll of toilet paper on the dash board marked “Especially for Sadie” because when she would say “turn here” - if they weren't at a corner yet he would turn anyway. When she'd say “Walt, please be more careful”, he would stop at each railroad track, get out and look both ways to be sure nothing was coming. What a nut.
During my teen years I was a Gleaner Girl and the church had a Gold and Green Ball every year. It was a very important formal affair. They always had a big band and decorations with a lovely theme. The ball was put on by the MIA – Mutual Improvement Association. They held a contest dance which my brother, Harold, always won and a queen of the ball (each ward or branch throughout the different stakes selected their queen and they voted at the dance. My branch selected me. I was so thrilled, nothing could have been more exciting because all the girls that tried out were so popular. But panic set in when my father said there was no way he could afford a dress for me. He felt terrible, but that's the way things were. Food and a roof over our heads were the priorities. It was depression time and things were bad all over. I'm sure Mother was broken hearted because she knew how excited I was. I'm sure she prayed about it and I did also. I remember she wouldn't let me tell anyone I couldn't run for queen yet. Wait, she said!! One day my school principal (Agnes Piper) called Mother and said, “Sadie, I'd love to help you and Wanda get a dress for the dance.” She said she had seen my picture in the paper and had always wanted a daughter of her own and never had one. So could she help? Mother cried, she was so thrilled and knew Heavenly Father answered her prayers. Mrs. Piper bought everything – the dress was perfect. It was green taffeta with small gold checks in it. It had bow sleeves and a big wide gold belt. It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. Walt was my escort. The queens were introduced three times throughout the evening. The ballots were counted and I won. Talk about nervous; but I had nothing on Walt because this was eternity to him. The orchestra played and he escorted me to the throne shaking every inch of the way. They presented me with a dozen red roses. I remember Lillian hanging around. She was so proud. She wanted everyone to know she was my sister. (She told me that after I came home.) When I did come home, my family had the sofa decorated with flowers because that was my bed for the night. Well, that was the last year they had a queen for the Gold and Green Ball. Also that was the last of the contest dances. I believe there were many hurt feelings. The Ball seemed to lose something after that. But it made me know the feeling of importance and I'm glad it happened to me. I also learned to believe in the power of prayer. I'm sure the Lord had more important things to take care of, but I was a good girl and to me, nothing was more important. And I'm sure Heavenly Father knew it.
The depression hit in the 30's and everyone was in trouble. There was no brick work and so my dad had to find another way to make a living. Dad moved us to a place not far from our home called The Tree Garage. It was a terrible place. I don't know why the whole family moved. I can't remember the brick house ever being rented. We girls used to stop there on the way home from school. It was our rest stop as we walked several miles a day to and from school.
The Tree Garage was a feed and fuel and service station. Dad sold wood, ice and feed for farmers' animals. He also had a small grocery store. I remember the place was old and had lots of cockroaches, but in an old place like that you couldn't keep bugs out. They didn't have companies to rid you of such things in those days. Walt was never afraid of Dad. Most of the boyfriends that came around Dad could scare off; but not Walt. I remember Walt was working for Dad in the service station He was a good mechanic but this particular day, Walt wasn't feeling well and didn't come to work. So Dad said, “If you can't work, you can't take Wanda out.” But Walt did come to take me out because he was feeling better. I think the two nearly came to blows. Mother settled it. I went with Walt and I think Dad respected Walt for standing up to him. Dad was a fighter and never had much respect for anyone who couldn't stand up and fight for what he wanted.
Dad was finally able to build a service station on the corner of 21st Avenue and Franklin Boulevard and we were able to move back to our little red brick house at 3401 20th Avenue.
Walt was not a Mormon. He had never learned to dance. Bill, being a perfect dancer, spent most of the time on the dance floor with me, whileWalt sat or stood in doorways being very jealous. (I would have rather danced than eat in those days and would attend at least two dances a week.) Walt finally decided if I would go with him where no one knew us, he would try to learn – which he did! And we were a threesome once again. When we would go to San Francisco, we would take Rose with us. She and Bill would pair off. We went almost every weekend. Bill had joined the navy and was stationed in the Bay Area. And his folks lived there; so we always had a place to stay. We would go dancing at the El Patio and dance with the big bands. Tommy Tucker's orchestra was a favorite. Those were fun times.
Walt was with the National Guard and so while he was away – two weeks at a time – Bill would take care of me for Walt and then write him all about the romantic boat rides and dances we would go to. He'd even tell Walt that Mother would let him keep me out after midnight (which wasn't true, of course). Bill invited me to go the movies while Walt was gone; so I agreed as long as it wasn't a dance, because Walt was getting very jealous. It was a movie with Clark Gable who I adored and Jeanette McDonald. When Bill picked me up, he drove to the front of the theater, said “There's the movie” and drove on to the dance. We had a good time, but I pretended to be mad for a while.
Walt decided to be baptized December 6, 1936 – not because he had a testimony of the gospel, but because he liked the Mormon kids we ran with and he really wanted to please Mother. I believe he liked what he saw and knew, but didn't quit smoking and so I really didn't want him to join until he was really, really ready...but he did it anyway. Now, many years later I am glad he was baptized because it's so nice having all of us belonging to the same church.
Walt and I went to have our patriarchal blessings given by Brother Prince. Mine was special. It told me if I lived righteously, my rewards would come through my children. They would stand before people and be praised. Walt's was most interesting. The patriarch hesitated while giving his blessing and then told him he was from the tribe of Dan, which is most unusual. There are not many “Dans” around.
Walt and I were married February 25, 1937. I never thought it would happen I fought with him so much, but being such a persistent guy, he never gave up and kept coming back. We did break up for about two weeks and I met him at a dance (I'm sure he knew I'd be there because he wasn't that fond of dancing). He asked me to make up – we did and didn't fight anymore.
We went together for four years and were finally married at my Aunt Mable's and Uncle Irv's home. Uncle Irv was my dad's brother. The depression was still being felt and so there was no money for a wedding dress or a fancy wedding. It seems like every time there was a special occasion there was never any money for clothes. Clothes were so important to me. That's probably why I learned to sew; so I wouldn't feel so deprived. I chose a grey flannel suit for my wedding because it could also serve as a going away outfit and we had to be practical.
Walt just read what I had written so far and inserted this thought!!
I know Walt loves me because he told me he did and if he changed his mind he'd tell me.
Back to the wedding. I had my best friend be my maid of honor. Laila Hamilton was a darling friend, but if I were giving advice, I would always suggest your sister be chosen. I wish someone would have told me, because I haven't seen Laila for years but Rose has always been such a big part of my life. Rose and Lillian have been my best friends, female that is, Walt is my best friend.
Bill Royston was our best man. It was a very simple wedding with just family. Bishop Herman Steinagel married us. We were his second wedding. I think Harold and Norma were his first couple. Walt told the bishop he didn't think the wedding took and kept telling him that for 46 years. When we were in the Salt Lake temple, we saw Bishop Steinagel. and he said to Walt – you can't tell me your marriage didn't take any more now that you and Wanda have been sealed in the temple.
Walt and I went on our honeymoon with $18. Walt had saved and saved but could never get enough ahead. So after several postponements we got married anyway. We went to San Francisco. I remember it was a very cold, rainy, windy night and we went into the city on the ferry. The Golden Gate Bridge wasn't finished yet. The ferry crossing was very rough, but it was fun. We couldn't afford a hotel for three nights; so we stayed in the car our first night. It was about 3:00 AM and we didn't want to waste a night's stay. We stayed in the Golden Gate Park which is a no-no now and probably was not too smart then.
When it was daylight we found us a hotel called the Cosmos. We didn't have much money, but we had a wonderful time. Weeks before we were married, Walt and I worked on our first little home, getting it ready to live in. When we first saw it, we thought it would be impossible to fix. We didn't have much money to buy it anyway. It was $75 down and $12.50 a month. Walt's father gave $75 to us for a wedding present. We worked steady fixing it by steaming off layers of old wallpaper and putting in new boards where there were holes in the walls. Walt built closets, put in light fixtures and we painted and put in new wallpaper. When we were through it was a doll house; so the lovebirds moved in.
The next few years were fun and exciting. Walt and I traveled wherever his work took him. I remember going with him to Battle Mountain. We drove up to an old Victorian house. There was was an old lady sitting at the table with a candle for her light. It looked plenty spooky to me. She was thrilled to have us for the night. We had a feather bed and I thought she would never leave. (I guess she was lonesome but she looked like a witch to me.) I felt scared to be left, so I got up and went to work with Walt and we got a one room cabin later that day. There wasn't much action in that town – lots of Indians and they took an interest in me because I had a little dog called Patches. Walt brought her home to me one day when I was ill . Anyway, they thought her name was Apache!
Walt's boyfriends hung around a lot and when he was gone, they would take me shopping. Our best friends were Walt and Louise Prince. We went lots of places together. They would come over and play cards or pick-up sticks. We went to dances together. We really enjoyed them. Walt got a motorcycle and we ran around on that a lot- picnics, etc.
One day I was baking a cake. It was Mother's devil's food with seven minute icing. Bill Royston came by. The cake was done and it was perfect. Bill offered to help me with the frosting. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon baking powder and Bill made a 4 out of the 1 and I didn't know the recipe enough to notice. Well, needless to say, we took turns beating the icing because it was so fluffy and so much of it. I put it all on with no idea what he had done. That night when I started to cut the cake, you couldn't cut it with an axe. It was like plaster. I should have known something was wrong when Bill offered to help.
The neighbors called me Orphan Annie because I was alone a lot. Walt worked for a construction company. One of the jobs was in San Francisco, building exhibits at Treasure Island. That was what they called the World's Fair. It was interesting to me that only people born in San Francisco could work on Treasure Island. Walt and Bert were born there and Pop Cannon was the supervisor. So because Walt's father and brother were also working that job I went with them and took care of them. It was hard because Bert expected to be pampered and I refused and Pop wanted to boss us around. But Walt wouldn't let me be used so it worked out okay. Bill Royston's mother still lived in San Francisco so she shopped with me and helped me in the strange town. We were living there when the Golden Gate Bridge was finished and everyone turned out in western attire. Walt grew a beard. I made him a vest and he got a western hat. I made me western culottes (they call them split skirts today), a vest and had boots and a cowboy hat. We went out and celebrated. It was fun with dancing, parades, you name it.
San Francisco was where I got pregnant with Joanie. We were so thrilled and my mother could hardly wait for another grandchild. She had Judy (Harold and Norma's daughter.) She was afraid Walt didn't want children. We had been married two years and nothing; so when she was about to give up. Joan was born October 12, 1939. What a beautiful little girl. I was so thrilled I cried. Walt was so sure it was a boy that he called the hospital and asked what the Cannons had?? Well he really fell in love with this beautiful little girl.
I must put down that when Joan was named, I said it would be just Joan. Walt and Mother decided when Walt blessed and named her the name would be Wanda Joan – a real surprise for me!
Walt was so possessive of this child that he would hardly let anyone else hold her. Mother came over to take care of me, but Walt was so involved that Mother felt she wasn't needed. The Cannons had never been around babies (since their own) so this was a real miracle to them. And she was the first girl in their lives. All our boy friends were crazy about Joan. None had children. I remember Joan's first birthday party we had Bill Royston, Bill Gerdner, Johny Snow and Emmett Core. They spoiled her rotten, of course. During the day, the doting aunts and grandparents came by.
When Walt was out of town working, which was a lot, Emmet Core would come over to feed Joan – almost every night. He would take me shopping and one day Joan called Emmet “Daddy” and that finished Walt's working out of town. He quit and worked in a service station and later for Texaco. It was good having him around.
I can continue more of the journal later. Mom tells of her mother's death, taking in Uncle Bob, World War II, the birth of Gary, a miscarriage that led to her Sarah Coventry career and hundreds of pages about her children and grandchildren. I could scan the pages but they are quite difficult to read.
--Joan Cannon Rice
Joan was beginning to want to be up nights and I would get up and try rocking her to sleep, but she didn’t go to sleep. So when Walt started staying home, he put a stop to that. He put her down every time she got up. It took him two nights and she was stubborn; but it finally worked. My family was so crazy about Joan that she could do no wrong and she was a good little girl.
Joan was 14-15 months old when Mother passed away. It was so sudden and I was devastated> I remember going to Utah with Mother and we were at General Conference (fall of 1940) when she had a heart attack. The doctor said it wasn’t severe and not the kind that would kill her. Then on January 1st she died. She was so young – 46 years old and she had so much to live for. She had Bobby who still needed her so much. He was only 10 years old. Lillian was still at home and Rose was within 3 weeks of having her first baby. I was so shocked at her death that I didn’t think I could stand it. An interesting thing happened. I remember the day before Mother died; I mourned all day and didn’t know why. Walt tried everything to cheer me up. This was New Year’s Eve and I didn’t even want to go out. Mother and Dad went out to Chinese dinner. Mother wanted to take care of Joan and let Walt and I go out – but I was too depressed. Mother was gone by 9:00 AM the next morning. Walt was working nights and I was in bed just lying there, crying, all of a sudden, I felt a presence in the room. It was Mother. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. A warmth came over me that I can’t describe. Anyway, I was able to carry on, but it was difficult because I missed her so much in my life and needed her so many times. Before Mother died, (she didn’t know she was going to die) she told Dad everything to do for Rose. It was a premonition I’m sure. Rose had a beautiful little girl she named Jeanne. (So we had Judy, Joan and Jeanne.)
I just remembered something else that happened before Mother died. Milt and Rose were on their way to Mother’s the morning she died so Milt could give her a blessing. His car broke down within a couple of blocks; so he left Rose in the car and ran to Mother. He said the blessing never went beyond the room. He knew Mother wouldn’t make it and it was good that Rose wasn’t there to see her go.
We three sisters grew very close, as if to hold each other up. We have raised our children to be close. Members of the Christensen family are very close.
Dad went to the Salt Lake Temple a few months after Mother died and had Mother, Rose, Bob and me sealed to him. I was 22 and had to have a note from Walt saying it was okay to go to the temple. They don’t allow that anymore.
Dad married Francis Schmidt within 6 months. (We were upset at first, but we decided Dad needed someone.)
Our grandmother (the lady we always called Ma – dad’s mom) moved in with Dad and Bobby and Lillian after Mother died but it wasn’t long before Ma moved out and then Lillian. Our home was always a place that anyone could come and feel free to help themselves. It didn’t take long to see that no one was welcome.
Lillian got in trouble for eating cookies. Walt and I moved her to an apartment. She was much too young, but what could we do? Dad didn’t know what was going on. He was always dumb where women were concerned. We had lots of things going on that were disturbing – such as being accused of taking things, etc. One day a little boyfriend of Bobby’s came by my house and showed me a note sent to him by Bobby wanting him to run away with him. I got hold of Bobby and found out how unhappy he was. He was embarrassed in front of his friends by being searched for links from the dog’s chain. He was fed leftovers. Francis always told Dad Bobby wanted to eat early. I asked him if he wanted to live with Walt and me and he said “yes”. I went over to Dad’s (no one was home) and packed him up bag and baggage. The first time Dad knew anything was wrong was when he came over to confront me. So after filling him in, he agreed to leave Bobby and give us some money to help with the extra cost.
We grew to hate Francis until we found out she had cancer of the brain.
I believe there was a reason Walt and I spent so much of our dating years taking care of Bob. We made sacrifices such as buying him a gun with a marble handle and going without some things we wanted. I always adored Bobby and Walt grew to love him in those early years. So it wasn’t difficult taking him into our home as one of our own.
Lillian was getting into wrong company and going a little astray. She lived alone in Oak Park in an apartment – a little too young to be alone. She was a good girl though and had a strong conscience and turned out okay.
Bill Strebel was pursuing Lillian even before Mother died; but Lillian was feeling sorry for Ray Engel (Harold’s wife Norma’s brother) and Mother was so afraid she would marry Ray. He was not a Mormon and not the man for her. After Mother died Lillian took a second look at Bill Strebel and fell in love with him and married him. World War II was in full scale and Bill was drafted . Lillian spent most of her time letting Joan read to her and wrapping her life up in Joan. Walt built a little house in our back yard for Lillian to live in while Bill was gone. Lillian and I were pregnant with our sons at the same time. I don’t know how Walt stood it; but he did.
I had my adorable baby boy, Gary (Walter Gary Cannon). Such a sweet, happy baby. Joan wanted a little brother; so she prayed every night for her baby brother. And when he was born, (July 29, 1943) she decided she was the mother…and mothered him to death. I had to let her know I was the mother practically every day. And he could work her for anything he wanted
Soon the neighborhood we were living in was getting difficult to raise our family in. Bobby was getting with the wrong kids and Walt and I were getting worried about him. We felt we ‘d better make the move before our little ones got involved.
This part of Mom’s journal is a little bit embarrassing for me to transcribe because she brags about her children. But, I started to paraphrase the words and it wasn’t authentic. So here goes:
I want to say more about my two children. Joanie was a precocious child, always seemed to have an older spirit than mine. She was very bright and always anxious about the feelings of others. She was tops in school and won the spelling bee in elementary school. She was very outstanding in everything she did. She danced and played the piano and has a beautiful voice. She is loved by everyone…spoiled by her Aunt Rose and Aunt Lillian (especially Aunt Lillian). Joan became an elementary school teacher. She loves teaching children. Joan married William C. Rice in 1960. She is the mother of four (Christen Joan, Berrett William, Shannon Lee and Jeremy Cannon) and a grandmother of two, has a wonderful, happy personality, seems to be loved and admired by everyone who knows her. Joan is a joy in my life and a daughter every mother would love to have.
My Gary was such an interesting child. You never knew from one day to the next what or who he was going to be. He was a very happy baby with a wonderful imagination. Gary was a child that was very curious. If he was interested in anything, he was very thorough in finding out everything about it. Gary is very talented both artistically and mechanically. Gary served a mission in Germany, married Carol Woodward, has four children (Aaron Lee, Crystal, Adam Kenneth and Cassie) and is now a clinical psychologist. We are very proud of Gary and his accomplishments and love him very much. He is a very special person and son. I forgot to mention how proud we are of Gary’s ability to hold down a part-time job as a provost. Gary has a great deal of responsibility in this work but they are willing to keep him as part-time rather than find someone for full time. They are that happy with him and his work.
We moved into a lovely little neighborhood on 55th Street. We had neighbors just right for our kids. Gary was just a year old. He took his first steps in the new house. I remember how surprised I was because the floors were hardwood. Joan did not walk as early. She scooted so fast that she didn’t need to walk. Bill and Lillian decided to buy our little house on 22nd Avenue. Before we moved to 55th Street, Rose, Lillian and I would load our babies in buggies and walk to Oak Park to a free clinic for our children. I don’t know how we could have raised our children without Miss Miller. She seemed to know everything about babies. We needed her especially because we didn’t have Mother. But I remember Mother telling me to take Joan to Miss Miller because she said she couldn’t have raised Bobby without her.
Tahoe School was the school Joan and Gary attended. Joan loved school and couldn’t wait for me to leave her the first day. Gary wasn’t so thrilled about his first days. I started him too soon. He wasn’t ready, but I let my friends talk me into sending him and I should have known better. Joan loved music, dancing, reading, etc. Gary was a most interesting child. He had a great imagination. He could make whatever he planned on being that day (armor, space ships, etc.) I remember he was an archer, a chemist, etc.
During World War II, I sang for the USO with the Conzanetta Chorus. One night after singing, I came home and found a police car in front of my house. They asked if I was related to Christensens on 56th Street – that was my brother Harold and his wife Norma and their child, Judy. I said yes and they told me Norma had fallen asleep with a cigarette and burned to death and Judy was crying for me. I went over and got Judy. Walt went out to find Harold. He had gone out to get some medication for Norma. She suffered severely from migraine headaches. When Norma awoke, she was in flames and she screamed for Judy to run outside. We found Norma in a small heap in the bathroom. This was Easter eve. Judy didn’t remember anything but her mother’s hands being on fire. We didn’t tell her anything until after the Easter bunny had come. Harold and Judy moved in with us for the next year. It was hard for me because the house wasn’t that big and every once in a while Francis would kick Dad out and he would stay with us too. Walt was always supportive and that made life a lot easier.
When the children got involved in piano lessons, dancing along with doctor office visits, primary, etc. I got tired of streetcars and buses. So I decided to learn to drive once again. And this time I was successful. Sometime during this time, Francis died of cancer of the brain and six months later Dad married Lou. This was a lovely lady. Dad seemed happy with her. I’m writing this journal at the age of 66 years so it’s difficult to remember exact times and places, but I think this is pretty accurate.
I must insert here about a trip Rose and I took. Our Uncle Frank and Aunt Dora live in Blanding, Utah. Uncle Frank ran river trips on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers. Uncle Frank was taking the Universal Studio people on a trip to pick locations for a movie called “Smoke Signal” with Piper Laurie and Dana Andrews. Uncle Frank asked Rose and I if we would like to do the trip and sing for our supper, which of course we agreed to do.
We went across that desert out in very desolate country, unpaved roads, but two determined gals. Everyone thought we were crazy but it was well worth our while. We saw things that have since been filled with water in order to make a dam. We went for one week in rowboats over rapids, through canyons, through the goosenecks. It was wonderful. We went into music temples, saw Indian writing on the walls. We hiked into Rainbow Bridge, slept on riverbanks and sang for our supper. These Universal Studio people were loners the first few days, but the cameraman was very friendly and eventually they all came around. We finished our trip at Green River and stayed at Green’s Motel run by Indian women. It was wonderful, probably a highlight of my life. The Universal Studio executive asked me if I would stay a little longer and be a stand-in for Piper Laurie. I told him I had to go home. He said they would start shooting in a few days and I said my family will start “shooting tomorrow!” Oh well, one more opportunity for stardom passes me by. Hah! Click here to see a photograph album from this trip.
Bob stayed with us until he was married. He met this lovely girl, Veronica Eve Croff and they went together for about 4 years. He ran around with a sweet guy named Stan Cox whose family moved to Chico and Bob asked if Stan could stay with us for 6 months or a year -----so of course Stan moved in. (I can’t think of where we put everybody, but we managed.)
Bob, Stan, his girlfriend Nona and Veronica were very close. Bob married Veronica and Stan married Nona. Bob and Veronica had 5 children – 4 girls and 1 boy. Becky (Rebecca), Robin, Tana, Paul and Missy. Stan had a boy and a girl – Darryl and Bonnie. Stan and his son were in an automobile accident and both died. (I don’t think Bob has ever gotten over losing his best friend.)
I got pregnant eight years after Gary was born. I carried the baby 5 months, got the flu and lost the baby. It was a little girl. We were going to name her Christine. I got so depressed after the loss of that baby that I didn’t quite know what to do. A man came by to talk to me about working for a company in New York called Sarah Coventry, selling costume jewelry. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to get involved for a few weeks and the job went on for 25 years!
The company was very new and so a few of us pioneered the business and became very successful. I worked my way up and eventually became an area manager with branch managers and unit managers working for me – consisting of about 100 – 300 women. My job was holding training classes, seminars and manager training. I also traveled with the company anywhere they called. Bermuda, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Mexico, New York and many states across the country…we stayed at the nicest hotels and resorts. It was a very sophisticated job with lots of rewards. Sarah Coventry grew to cover not only the United States and Canada, but opened up England and Australia. It was fun helping to build such a successful business. I was asked to move to Australia, but I didn’t want to move my family or ask Walt to leave his job, which I’m sure he would have done. He was always very supportive. It was interesting to see how Sarah treated me, with such respect. At one time they sent Rose (who worked for them also) and I our tickets to New York early because the Mormon Pageant was going to start a few days before our meetings. We loved it. Sarah Coventry offices were just seven miles from Palmyra so I got to go several times. Another time Walt went with me to the home office and we were called while touring the new offices (which I had done before) and told they had a car and driver waiting to take us around Palmyra so Walt could see the Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah. I loved the sacred grove. It was very beautiful and silent except for a few birds chirping. I was able to pray for Gary who was taking tests that very day that would give him his doctorate. The grove is so spiritual and was a real thrill for me.
I became very close to the Sarah Coventry president, Bill Stuart and the vice president, John Joyce and Al Winfrey. They treated me so special. It was interesting that out of 300 people no one could pray but me! The company used to hire a preacher to come in on our banquet night until they decided to ask me – which they did and I was happy to respond. During my time with Sarah, I received many, many trophies, awards, a standing ovation when I received my pioneer pin and many lovely letters and gifts. They were good years, happy years. A few years after those of us who pioneered the business retired, the business went bankrupt and is no more. How sad!
Walt and I decided to move to a new home (a cute red barn type house) on 40th Avenue. It was a good move because Gary seemed to be struggling at Tahoe Elementary following in his sister’s footsteps. The teachers expected him to be like his sister. Well this new school was quite a break for Gary because he and two other boys were the only 6th graders and they were very important. Gary got traffic control and really seemed to come alive in this new school with new teachers. We held the graduation party at our house because the class was so small, but it was fun. The class gave a picture of the Collis P. Huntington train to the school. (That was the name of the school.)
Our home on 40th Avenue was a fun home. The kids had lots of friends. Joan was in high school and going with Norman Gale. He was a good boy and the son of very special friends of ours. Rose and I sang with the Gale brothers. I was still with Sarah Coventry and Walt was back in construction. The war was over and things were looking good.
One thing I wanted to mention about Bob. This happened when we were still living on 55th Street. I believe Bob and Veronica were married and Bob was in the Navy Reserve. He decided he would rather be in the navy if he had to go in the service. The church on 11th Avenue was also being built (It was being built of brick and my dad and Bob were the only Mormon bricklayers available.) It was very interesting that every night that the naval reserve met, everyone around Bob was called – he would come home very worried – Walt kept telling him he wouldn’t go because he was married. (Oh! There we have it, he WAS married.) So all the while the church was being built he was safe from being called up. As soon as the church was completed, Bob was called to go to Japan. (Walt kept saying they would find out he was married and would not take him.)
So as Bob was sailing out of San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge, he kept watching for a helicopter to come and get him. Bob stayed in Japan two years.
His time in Japan was more like a mission he said, because he was called out from the group to plan Sacrament meetings and do whatever the church needed. As I’m writing, I think back over the many church duties I have held. I’ve been in the Primary Presidency while the children were young, Sunday School teacher, Stake Sunday School leader, Mutual Laurel teacher for 7 years, Mutual president and Relief Society Cultural Refinement teacher and now Homemaking leader.
Going back to building the church on 11th Avenue. We held many road shows to make money for the building; but the production of “Show Boat” we put on was wonderful. Excellent talent – both my sisters were in it – plus everyone in our ward that could sing and dance. I sang “My Bill”, my first solo ever, but I did well. We worked for weeks on costumes and I must say, I learned a lot. After Mother died, I found a lady in the church that turned out to be very special to me. Her name was Beth Holt. I think she is the one that taught me to be more aggressive. She was quite a teacher and she made me feel there was nothing you couldn’t do if you wanted to. She is the one who got me to solo, to know what I wanted and to go for it.
I must stop my trend of thoughts and talk about these last four days (starting with June 8, 1985). Walt and I were in the mountains at our family home at Lake Tahoe when we got word my sweet sister, Lillian, (16 months younger that me) had passed away in her sleep. She died from congestive heart failure. What a sad last four days--Lillian was such a close sister. I would say that she was my best friend along with my sister Rose. We three have kept so close, not only did we cling to each other when our mother died, we raised our children together and when they were all grown and out on their own, we have met for lunch and movies and shopping. We loved each other very much. My first grandchild, Christen, went with me to the mortuary and helped and comforted me. Lillian’s daughters, Bobby Jo, Susan and friend Mary Jane Lyons (who was like a daughter to Lillian) all dressed her and did her cosmetics and she looked beautiful in her temple clothes.
We had a full house at the mortuary from 6:00 – 9:00 Sunday night, June 9 and all day June 10. Lillian had so many friends she touched many lives. Her funeral was today. We had a huge crowd and it was a beautiful service. Two ex–bishops (one is now the patriarch) and her son-in-law Arlyn gave talks. Arlyn’s was personal and fun. Susan McClintock sang “Oh, if I were an Angel”- most beautiful voice and singing I’ve heard in a long time. Daughter-in-law Lisa (married to Lillian’s youngest son) sang two songs. “You and Me” from a movie called Victor Victoria and a “honky-tonk song” and every one broke down because besides being such a great people lover (she and Bill were credited with bringing 37 people into the church) she was a great Diamond Lil. Everyone in the place cried because she was a true lover of honky-tonk music and a perfect Diamond Lil. I don’t know how I can stand being without her. We’ve always been so dependent on each other. I know that believing as we do we’ll all be together again in eternity, but how we’ll miss her.
Back to my thoughts. When we were very young, Bob and Veronica were engaged. We were approached by Mrs. Sickles. She owned most of the property up in Phillips Tract in the mountains in Lake Tahoe. She offered Walt and I and Bob and Veronica a double lot up there for $400. This was during the depression and that seemed like more money than we would ever have. However, she said because we had grown up there in my father’s cabin that he had leased for 99 years she knew we loved the mountains and wanted us to have it even if we could only afford 50 cents a month whenever we could send it.
We sure took the property and somehow paid it off and then waited some years before we could begin to build. But now we have a beautiful two story cabin. (Walt says mountain home.) We hope the family will love and appreciate it for many years to come. I might add, the whole family participated in the building and Bob did the fireplace. It’s lovely and everyone’s talents are represented.
We now have grown grandchildren enjoying the cabin and hopefully there will be great grandchildren etc., etc., etc.
Joan was married to Bill Rice and Gary was going to college and anticipating a mission . Walt and I built our dream house in Green Haven. It ‘s a two story colonial. We love it. Our children are grown with families of their own. Joan and Bill have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Christen (their first) is married to John Henry Prueger).
Our granddaughter’s wedding came after many, many weeks of planning, sewing table cloths and flower girl dresses. The day was beautiful and started at 4:30 AM. We had prayer and headed for the Oakland Temple. The trip was 3 hours with two cars. Christen, John and John’s brother Eddie and Christen’s friend Tonya in one car. Joan, Papa and I and the Rice grandparents in the other. We were greeted lovingly when we arrived. Relatives began to arrive and we changed into our temple clothes. Christen wanted an all white wedding. There were about 24 of us family and friends. John and Christen looked beautiful and so sweet and spiritual. John Huber performed the ceremony and both grandfathers were the witnesses. It was so special. Our bride and groom looked so happy. As many as wanted went to lunch at Pipers. It was fun. The bride and groom left for Oakland for a night’s stay and we came back to Fresno to get ready for a reception the next night.
The reception was perfect (full moon, warm night, no mosquitoes). We put lights in trees, doves in some trees also nestled in plants. Bill built a gazebo. There were musicians playing in it. Tables were decorated with purple cloths topped with lace and starched crocheted baskets with fresh flowers. The wedding party was beautiful. Christen’s lace dress was a short tea length and a lace and pearl hat with a big tulle bow and veil. John was in a white tux. The cake was different flavors. The food was prepared for 400 and I believe they served 250 twice. Shannon (13 ½) was the maid of honor and Cassie (Cannon) was a flower girl. Berrett with John’s brother were in gray tuxedos and 6 year old Jeremy was ring bearer. The girls were all in white lace blouses (old fashioned) and purple skirts. Everything was beautiful and I was so proud.
Gary and Carol Woodward have 4 children , 2 boys and 2 girls. Both our children have beautiful homes in Fresno. Bill (Joan’s husband) is a very talented psycho-therapist. Gary is also a psychologist. And they have built a beautiful English Tudor building called The Center for Counseling and Therapy. I’m very proud of their accomplishments and love each of them individually.
Joan has always been a very special and beautiful daughter. She has always been loving and happy. As a small child she had such a sweet sunny disposition and it has never changed. She is a loving wife and mother, very sweet tempered and understanding. I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter.
Gary was always such a good boy. So imaginative, very smart and creative. He always loved his home and wanted to be in it. He loved having his friends come to our house. He is a son we’ve always been proud of, a very loving son, one we wouldn’t have changed in any way.
Bill Rice will be 49 this month (January 5, 1986). He has worked very hard to be the success that he is. He has such good insight on the needs of the people that come into his office. He is a wonderful father, always so tender and loving with his children and a good and loving husband. We love him as our own.
Carol is a special and loving mother. Carol works so very hard at being a good mother and is most successful at it. She keeps a loving happy home and is also very special to Walt and I. We also love her as our own.
Each of our grandchildren are so special. Starting with Joan and Bill’s family. Christen is 22 and is very beautiful, talented and smart. She married John Prueger and they are expecting. We can hardly wait for a great grandchild. Berrett went to Ricks College this past year. He’s always been such a neat kid. We have always enjoyed him. I think he has Papa’s sense of humor. He is planning on a mission in April. Shannon was a spark of sunshine from the minute she was born…always happy and full of smiles. She has a wonderful positive attitude and is a joy to be around. She is turning into a beautiful woman. She will be 16 this month. Jeremy was a surprise package and what fun he has been. I can’t imagine life or that family without that cute red head. He has a beautiful voice and is very smart and a joy.
Gary and Carol’s family are also very special. #1 son Aaron has such a special sense of humor and is a very good boy. He stands up for his rights and is very bright. He has such a neat personality and is a fun person to be around. #2 child is daughter Crystal. She is a sweet, special , beautiful little girl – very enthusiastic and a joy to be around. Crystal looks like her mother and will be a beautiful woman. #3 – second son of Gary– is Adam and what a special little boy. So much like his dad and is like having Gary all over again. It’s really wonderful to be able to relive your own child’s childhood through his son. Adam is a fun child, happy and imaginative. #4 is second daughter, Cassandra. She is so cute and sweet …another Carol, I believe. And too little to know what she will be like, but she is a lot like Crystal.
As you can see I think all the members of my family are the smartest and most special people in the whole world and I am so proud to be so fulfilled.
Christmas 1985 has just passed. We had our extended family Christmas party and it was a fun one watching the children enjoy Santa. It was a wonderful Christmas spent in Fresno with our two families. We had another tragedy a week before Christmas with the death of Rose’s husband Milton Richardson. Milt passed away December 12, 1985. Even though we know Milt is happier where he is, we will miss him. He was such a special man. Again, like Lillian, it was so sudden. Milt died in his sleep, which was wonderful for him; but very hard on the family.
Christen and John have moved to Logan, Utah so John can work on his doctorate. Christen is still pretty sick but that will pass.
This past week was a sad one nationally. (This is the year 1986.) Our country has taken so much for granted with the space program that most of the time we don’t even bother to turn on the television for the blast off any more. This past week there were seven people on board the space shuttle. When it got up about 10 miles in the air and exploded. Of course all seven (including a school teacher who was going to give two classes to her students from space) were consumed. It was devastating. The world was saddened. The news media showed memorials being held for the astronauts this past few days. It’s been a sad week.
I’ve been helping Rose get her home in order these past few days. She needed to change things since Milt is gone. I wanted to help her. It will make things easier for her.
We spent Shannon’s 16th birthday in Fresno. She was so excited. We shopped for her gifts with her because she has such definite ideas of what she likes and wants. She got her driver’s license and was so thrilled. She’s such a fun child….so full of enthusiasm.
Walt and I are planning a trip to Hawaii with our friends Doris and Jack Chadwick and her sister and husband. It will be our 49th wedding anniversary. We will leave February 17. I’ll report when I come back.
We’re back. Our trip was wonderful but while we were gone the floods came and it really caused a lot of problems. Dams broke, levies broke, people were flooded, roads were closed. In fact, it took us 4 hours to drive to San Francisco. If we had left on Tuesday, we wouldn’t have been able to go. Highways were closed right after we went through. We arrived in Hawaii excited and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Walt and I have been to Hawaii several times. We love Kauai (the garden island) the best.
We took tours around the island, went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, went to the Pearl Harbor Memorial (from World War II) went to a luau at Seal Life Park. It was great. Shopped at the Alla Moana Shopping Center, ate lots of coconut ice cream and coconut cream pie – delicious.
Joan called when we got home. Berrett got his mission call to South Africa. Isn’t that exciting? Also Christen and John got to watch their baby on a sonogram and saw it scratch its head, play with its hands, etc. Must have been exciting. They couldn’t see whether it is male or female. The doctors tell Christen that she has two uteruses, which is very unusual; so they will monitor the baby when it’s time to give birth and if there is any stress they will take it caesarean. Hope all will be well.
Today we spent having a birthday lunch for Bob. All his daughters (he’s so proud of), his son, Paul, two sons-in law and Veronica, Walt and I were there. It was a fun day. We lunched at Leatherbys Ice cream Parlor. (Very good, very fattening)
Tomorrow March 5 is Homemaking in Relief Society. I am in charge; so it will be a big tiring day for me.
Homemaking day in Relief Society was successful. Lots of enthusiasm. Next month we will do spring baskets. They are darling.
I’ve been making promised witches this week – one for niece Bobby Jo’s birthday and one for my friend Mona.
0n Friday, Rose, Doris, Peggy (Doris’s daughter) and I went to see “Clan of the Cave Bear”. It was good if you read the book. We had a fun day with lunch at Taco Bell. Saturday Rose, Doris and I went to a fashion show at Hancock’s fabric store. Our friend Len Entz Doneley was the commentator so we wanted to support her.
The news this week “March 86” is watching Haley’s Comet that comes around once every 76 years. We have seen it on television but it’s been very cloudy so I don’t think we will see it with our naked eye. If we were in the mountains in the meadow it would be beautiful. The news is also still discussing the explosion of the Challenger and it doesn’t sound good. However, they haven’t come out with the problem, but the feeling I get is that the date for take-off was more important than the safety of the space craft.
What an exciting time. I can remember when we didn’t have loud speakers, radios, TV and now men have gone to the moon. I remember when I was a little girl and our family would ride over to the airport and park so our family could watch the mail plane come in, throw a bag of mail and take a bag of mail. I can also remember Lindbergh flying the Pacific Ocean alone in a little plane called “The Spirit of St. Louis”. We saw it in the Smithsonian Institute and it looked so little and scary. Later, Walt and I made a point to find his grave on the island of Maui (so quiet and peaceful) by a little old church built in the 1800’s and his grave is on a cliff overlooking the ocean with a little American flag fluttering in the breeze. I placed a flower on his grave. He was a hero in my lifetime.
I will note here that I’m surprised Mom didn’t write about hers and Dad’s temple sealing on their 45th wedding anniversary in 1982. Maybe it will show up later.
On February 12, 1986 we went to the temple. (Bob, Veronica, Walt and I to begin the first ordinances for our own ancestors. We’ve been raising money from the family to have the names (genealogy) found. It’s terribly expensive. What the family hasn’t helped with, Bob, Rose and I have been footing the bill. We may have to slow down. But we won’t quit. We must get the work done.
It was so exciting. We sealed Anders Christensen and his wife Petrine Cecile Halst and child Peter August (a child lost from family records). Bob did Anders – a great, great grandfather. I did wife and a male stood in for son Peter.
Next time we go we can do more. Today (March 10, 1986) Rose and I spent the day with Lillian’s girls, Bobby Jo and Susan. It was Bobby Jo’s birthday, her first since her mom died. So we wanted to make it a good one. We went to lunch and shopping. We had a fun day and they loved it. I made her (B.J.) a witch and Aunt Rose gave her a ceramic chicken. Rose also gave Susan a chicken for her housewarming. After Lillian passed away, we hoped Susan and family would move out by B.J. She and Arlyn did and they seem very happy in their new home.
The news is reporting that NASA has found the Challenger capsule with the seven astronauts in about 100 feet of water. We haven’t heard yet what the conditions are as yet. Family will be notified first…more later.
Tuesday Rose and I met with friend Mona. (We went all through grammar school together.) We went to lunch and shopped. What a week. Wednesday, Rose and I met with old friend Herdis Hicks (known Herdis since we were in primary classes together). Herdis’ mom and our mom were friends when we were little. Herdis and her sisters Eva and Doris used to put on great shows singing, dancing, great costumes in their basement. I remember them as being wonderful. I think we were 7 or 8. Anyway, Herdis’ sisters passed away a few years ago and Rose and I miss Lillian so very much so it was nice getting together for lunch and chatting about old times. A grammar school friend, Lottie Mugford, found us. It was fun.
World news – President Reagan held a news briefing asking the people to help him get aid for the Contras in Nicaragua. He doesn’t like communistic countries moving in on this country and feels it’s a definite threat to our country!! It looks very threatening to me, but congress doesn’t want to spend the money. Russia, Cuba have moved in and that’s not good. They are helping the communists and unless this situation gets changed (meaning President Reagan can help the freedom fighters) it could become another war!!!
April 7 - Easter has come and gone since I last wrote in my journal. We went to Fresno and stayed with Gary, Carol and family. We had a lovely visit. We shopped, went to the movies and dinner. Joan invited Carol and I to join her at her Stake Relief Society luncheon. They also had a lovely sister that spoke on “Building Self-esteem” which I’m always happy to hear more of…as I’ve been asked to speak on that subject several times in the last couple of years and it helps to hear someone else’s ideas. We also had Easter brunch at Joan and Bill’s home It was very special. Then we all went to our separate wards. Walt and I started home Sunday evening and our car decided to stop on us about the entrance of a little town between Sacramento and Fresno (Atwater was the town). We coasted right into a service station with a motel across the street and with a mechanic on it all the next day, we finally had to have our friend, Jack Chadwick , come for us. We finally had to have the car towed home.
This week Walt has been trying to find the trouble but I think he’s discouraged.
I’ve been helping get Rose ready for her trip to Hawaii with her friend, Mona. Today (Sunday) was general conference so it was a very quiet day.
World news is that Colonel Gaddifi has been attacking America through terrorist groups planting bombs in airports on airplanes because America has been helping the freedom fighters. It’s getting to where Americans are afraid to fly to Europe because of these attacks. It seems the tourists are going to the Hawaiian Islands to spend their vacations.
April 11, 1986
This past week Walt and I bought a new car (Oldsmobile Ciera). It’s very pretty ad makes me feel much happier with a new car, one that has a little more prestige.
Len and I went to Jackson today. She bought me a beautiful antique cheese dish for my birthday (which is not until June 27) but I’m thrilled because I’ve been admiring them for a long time. We had a real fun day with lunch at the old National Hotel. Jackson was very prominent in the 1800’s. It was a gold rush town and is filled with history. We both bought baskets (looks like rope covered calico pieces).
Yesterday I went to a baptism with my friends Len Entz Danley and Doris Johnson Chadwick. The boy baptized was Bill Bill. It all came about by Len inviting her neighbor, Joan Bill, to one of our homemaking classes. Len didn’t know Joan was a Mormon (inactive), but after 8 – 10 years of being inactive and attending church again, she became anxious for her membership to be strong again and she wanted her children baptized before they got away from her. Bill, her 15 year old, was baptized, but her daughter, about 18, is not ready. Joan’s husband is not a member but let us know he is very interested. We never know what will happen even at a homemaking meeting…I had forgotten Joan Bill worked for me when I was managing Sarah Coventry. So that made this experience even more special. Now I must find a way to bring Len into the church. She is such a special person. I’ve also invited my friend, Irene Nelson (also Lillian’s best friend) and her friend Esther to come to Homemaking. Who knows? If it can happen to one, it could happen again.
Walt and I went with Doris and Jack for dinner that night. It was delicious. Today we attended church and viewed a new tape that the church is airing on TV. It seems to be bringing in thousands of referrals. It’s called “Bounce Back”. The church is giving copies free to anyone that sees the commercial and calls in. It’s very upbeat and shows young people so the youth of the world can identify with them. The music is written to words saying – Bounce back if you have troubles. We saw two tapes. The other was pointed to the rest of the people with problems – the farmer’s with their hay, heavy persons trying to lose weight, everyone can “bounce back”. It seems to be very successful so far and Sacramento is being used as an experiment place. Looks good.
Today America attacked Libya because of the terrorism that has been made against America by bombing innocent Americans throughout the world. So President Reagan decided it was time to put a stop to it. (Gaddafi, leader of this small country) is acting like a mad dog. And before things get too far out of hand, the president decided it was time to act. Other countries have supported us – more later!!
I must also report that we are ending another sighting of Haley’s comet. Haley only makes an appearance every 75 years and so our astronomers are really having a thrill being able to not only see it, but write about this wonderful phenomenon.
Veronica and I did our Relief Society shopping today for Homemaking class. (It’s a big job. We bought for 75 people and boy am I tired!)
April 15, ‘86
Today was a special day. John Huber (first counselor in the Oakland Temple presidency) called Walt and asked him to help administer to a little boy who was seriously ill in the hospital. This was a first for Walt and I’m so proud of him for taking that first step. After being married for 49 years, it’s thrilling for me to have the Priesthood in my home.
This past week has been a busy one. I went to see Rose Wednesday (maybe it was Tuesday) after her return from Hawaii. We spent most of that day together. Thursday was Doris Chadwick’s birthday. I took her to lunch and a show that I had already seen, but it was good enough to see again. Florence and John, Doris and Jack, Walt and myself went to dinner Saturday. We had spareribs (they were delicious) then we stopped off at Naomi and Dick Harris’ for dessert. It was a beautiful evening. Sunday Walt wasn’t feeling very good, in fact, he really didn’t feel good Saturday. He kept saying his hair hurt. Jack said it’s a good thing he didn’t have much hair or he’d really be sick. Florence felt so bad when we were at Sacrament meeting because none of us showed enough sympathy for him and didn’t think he was sick. Walt has always said that his grave stone will read “See, I told you I was sick.”
He is such a good man and can’t do enough for me.
I forgot to write about Friday evening. The ward had a dinner and a roadshow. The food was baked potatoes with all the fillings and salad. The roadshow was cute. Nathan (Missy’s boyfriend) was Elvis and did a good job. Missy sang a solo also. I forgot who she was. Missy’s been asked to be the lead in “Saturday’s Warriors”. She will tour this summer and get paid. She’ll need the money for BYU.
The world news is that Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi is still committing terrorism killing as many Americans and British as he can. He’s getting even with our countries for attacking them for all the terrorism they have caused. I’m afraid this could lead to something that no one wants. Libya claims they have found the plane they shot down during the attack.
We spent Mother’s Day in Fresno. We stayed at Joan and Bill’s. It was a quiet one. Joan and I shopped Saturday, buying some clothes for my new little great grandchild. It was fun. Saturday evening we went to a movie – Sweet Liberty with Alan Alda.
Sunday morning Joan made pancakes for her mom. They were delicious and for lunch Bill made a wonderful 4 layer spaghetti dish that was great. Gayle and her fiancé, Bill Weatherby, and the kids were there. Berrett is home for a break before he leaves for his mission to South Africa. Things will start happening in July/August with Berrett leaving and Christen having her baby.
Back to Mother’s Day. Sunday after lunch we went to Gary and Carol’s ward. Gary was the speaker. It was hard because Joan was teaching Relief Society but we wanted time with Gary and his family. Gary’s talk was excellent except they only had 20 minutes left for him and he had to cut his talk up which was difficult. But it was excellent and he got many compliments. After church, Gary’s family and we went for dinner and then we came home.
Our Relief Society last week was a complete success. We prepared for 60 and made lace doilies in hoops – very Victorian with pearls, silk roses, ostrich plumes and ribbon. It was beautiful. We are through for the summer. That will give us time to come up with some new ideas.
On May 19 I had Bill and Carolyn Strebel’s family over for a bar-b-cue. The little boys, Adam and Joseph love to come to our house and because Bill Jr. is really missing his mom (Lillian) and because Billy has always been very special to me, Walt and I had them over. It was very enjoyable and Carolyn is such a beautiful, sweet spirit. Aunt Rose joined us also. It was a special evening.
Rose had me over last Thursday for ice cream, cake and tole painting. We had to finish what we had started. The little black and white kids turned out adorable.
My niece, Robin, is starting a new skin care business so I had a gathering here for her. It was about a $250 show. I think she was pleased.
We went to our Four Seasons Dinner Group Saturday evening. Doris and I made stir-fry. It turned out really good. Walt and Jack painted the gazebo. It’s sure looking cute. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We (Doris, Jack Walt and I) are going to the cabin to see if we can get in.
In the news today – Memorial Day – the United States joined together, lining people up across the entire country joining hands called Hands Across the Nation. The idea was to raise money for the poor and homeless. They raised millions of $$. They weren’t successful with the number of people participating, but the idea was a success.
Just returned from Fresno. (Spent the weekend with Gary and Carol.) We went to see their regional dance festival. It was exciting, heart warming, beautiful. Three of my grandchildren were in it…. Crystal, Aaron and Shannon. I felt very proud they did so well. What a thrill to see 3000 youth on a football field. Such a clean, wholesome, sweet sight to see. I’m so happy we went.
We did go to the cabin for Memorial Day and opened the cabin. It was beautiful up there. We first spent the day and got it ready for the summer. We have so many plans…hope we can squeeze everything in.
The day before Memorial Day, Walt, I and Rose went out to the Camellia Cemetery and put flowers on the graves out there. Also we went to Dad and Mother’s and Walt’s parents. Milt and Lillian’s graves had new gravestones. They were beautiful.
The news this past month was a very sad case where a man and his wife went to a Mormon school in the small community of Cokeville [Wyoming] with a bomb with the intention of blowing up the school with the children in it unless the town came up with 3 million dollars. The man said Mormons were so child-conscious that he knew they would get the money. He gave the bomb to his wife while he went to the bathroom and the bomb went off – killed the wife and he killed himself. I believe it was a miracle because most of the bomb did not explode. The children knew their prayers were answered.
September 16, ‘86
I can’t believe four months have passed since I have written in my journal. Summer has come and gone. We started in July with Joan and family at the cabin. It has narrowed down to Jeremy and Shannon We had Gayle and Bill Weatherby and Bill Rice on the weekends. It was a fun week but we did miss Christen. She couldn’t travel because she was expecting our first great grandchild and the beginning of hers and John’s family.
Our darling baby was born August 6, 1986 and how exciting it was. Shea Christine Prueger. Joan could only stay a week this year as she had Berrett (our grandson) leaving for a mission in South Africa and had to go home and get him ready to leave. But while they were all in the mountains, we set a date for Bill and Gayle’s wedding, October 11, 1986, and started making plans. We did all our usual fun things – going to the lake for the 4th of July celebration. Jeremy played with cousins building forts and having a wonderful time.
We all went to Fresno for Berrett’s farewell. It was so neat because all the family presented the program. I opened with prayer, Joan spoke, Jeremy gave a darling talk about his big brother. Shannon sang a beautiful song called “You’re Not alone”. Bill gave a father’s thoughts (oh yes, Joan also read a letter from Christen to her brother) and Uncle Gary closed with prayer. It was a lovely event (but, of course, that’s a grandmother’s point of view.)
Joan went immediately to Logan to await the birth of Shea. We got a phone at the cabin and the first call was telling us about our new little girl (Shea Christine). Walt and I had our usual Four Seasons dinner. We combined groups with Bob and Veronica. It was a large group (36) but they all had fun and Florence and John, Doris and Jack stayed the weekend. Then Walt and I hurried home, packed and went to Utah to see our new great grandchild and visit Berrett for the last time for two years. We hurried back to get back for Rose and her sisters-in-law to visit the cabin…by the end of July, Gary and Carol and kids spent their few days up there. It was Gary’s 43rd birthday. We went to Sparky’s in Gardnerville for dinner and celebrated. The kids had a good time. Gary and Carol came before we went to Logan. We went to Fresno after we returned from Logan to care for the Cannon grandchildren while Gary and Carol went to Washington. Then we headed for the mountains alone. We’ve spent lots of times with our friends Doris and Jack.
Mary Little came up the day after Labor Day and spent a week. We painted (me catching up on back Christmas gifts she had given me three Christmases ago). And she helped me get done. Me doing the painting, she directing. Mary had to prepare her projects for her classes that were starting next week. We met her husband, Bob Little, at the Tahoe Airport and went directly to Harrahs for their dinner show – Mac Davis. It was excellent. Next day we went to Virginia City. It was fun. We went to see the Camel and Ostrich races. We saw sights, stopped at Gardnerville, ate and gambled and came home next day – Sunday. They wanted to watch Bob’s son David Little play National football (Philadelphia Eagles) so they went to a bar called the Goal Post and Walt and I prepared dinner and went over for the last hour of the game. We came home, ate and they left. I was pooped. We had to come home for Relief Society opening dinner and color consultant. Walt and I returned to the mountains. Bob and Babe came up and while we were all in the mountains, Paul Christensen called to say he had a baby boy (Michael Robert). It’s so exciting because he carried the family name on – Paul being the only Christensen grandson. Harold never had a son. However, Veronica said the baby looks somewhat like Harold. That’s nice.
Walt and I cleaned the cabin and got it ready for Aunt Rose, Nelva, Bevan and family.
Walt and I are getting ready to go to the World’s Fair in Canada on Friday, September 19.
Christen, John and Shea are coming through Sacramento on their way to Fresno for vacation. I’m planning on having as many people as I can come by to see our baby while they’re here. I will miss the baby’s blessing, but we didn’t know the plans when we planned the Fair. Christen will stay for the wedding (Gayle’s).
When we get back, we will attend a farewell for Bob. He was released as bishop and then we’ll go to Fresno for Gayle and Bill’s wedding and they will spend their honeymoon at the cabin. We will spend Joan’s birthday with her and then she will go home with Christen to care for Shea (and Christen) while Christen has a gall bladder operation. Walt and I will stay and care for the Rice family.
Joan had a letter from Berrett and he loves South Africa. He has had some shaky moments. We went to the temple with him and Walt was supposed to be his escort and Walt wound up in the overflow. We were very unhappy but it was sweet because Berrett met his grandfather in the celestial room. Berrett has a girlfriend named Jude who is planning her mission in January so she will be home at the same time. Sounds like it’s well planned to me!
I believe Berrett had some scary moments before he left, bad dreams and doubts; but finally a complete change…I’m sure a spiritual blessing and when he left, he was elated.
The summer is gone. I can’t believe how fast things happened and we are now thinking about Thanksgiving.
We went to Canada, spent time in Victoria. Doris and I had tea at the Empress (how fun). The tea was elegant. Walt and Jack went to the Parliament. We went on to Beachant Gardens and Doris and I visited a darling little cottage that looked like one of the elves would build. It’s the second time I’ve seen it – so cute. Then we went on to Vancouver (the World’s Fair). Doris and I loved it. The men weren’t so thrilled. They didn’t like the lines. Anything worth seeing, you stood in line. We saw [the Pharaoh] Ramses II [exhibit]. I was thrilled. Some people were disappointed, but I knew what to expect…not the gold of King Tut.
We came home, went to Bob’s bishop party and went to Fresno (all within 3 days). I was there for Gayles’ shower October 4 and the wedding the following weekend. I helped Bill and Joan get their yard ready. The wedding was lovely. Shea looked gorgeous in her blessing dress sitting on her grandma’s lap. Joan was in white silk, they made a lovely picture. Shea pooed all over her and her grandma! Christen and Shannon sang (they sounded beautiful) and when I looked back at Joan, she was gone and next time I saw her, she and Shea were in new attire. Crystal played the piano. She was darling. Gayle looked lovely, Bill looked handsome. It was all beautiful.
Walt and I immediately headed for the cabin to reopen it for the bride and groom to honeymoon.
Joan, Christen and Shea left for Logan. I and Walt were in charge of the Rice family. (It was a busy two weeks.) While we were in Fresno our sweet dog, Annie died. I felt so bad because we had left her alone for the past month with the exception of the Mamolas and Doris feeding her. I do miss her.
So we’re home now and it seems good.
Berrett is reporting good things from Africa. He loves it and raves about the beauty. Jude just reported that her mission call came and she’s going to Geneva, Switzerland. She wants to meet Berrett in London in 1989. That’s planning ahead!!
We are watching the celebration of Disney World’s 15th birthday on television. Disneyland is 25 years old. Doesn’t seem possible.
I can’t believe Thanksgiving and Halloween have come and gone and we are two weeks away from Christmas. Walt, I, Doris and Jack spent Halloween at the cabin. It was cold, but no snow and there still is no snow. We had fun, we closed for the winter. It always feels sad to close up and it seemed even sadder without Annie and the cat.
We went to Fresno for Thanksgiving. The kids decided not to come to the cabin this year. It was a lovely Thanksgiving but different without Berrett and Christen, John and Shea. We had the newlyweds, Bill and Gayle also Joan’s little housekeeper, Pauline, (who had no place to go). It was very nice. We forgot to serve the yams…that was a laugh because it is one of Joan and my favorite parts of the dinner. We all went to see Star Trek 4. It was wonderful, of course. We loved it.
We had our Relief Society Christmas party last night. It was lovely. It would have been better if I could have eaten all the goodies, but the cholesterol still has to be watched.
Last weekend (December 5, 6. 7) Joan and I went to her Relief Society Christmas party and the next day we went to our annual tour of homes and Christmas boutique (put on for the Fresno Valley Children’s Hospital). Joan takes me every year and we have a wonderful day. One we look forward to every year. Now it’s rush, rush, rush – shopping, wrapping and making things for Christmas. We decorated this week. Our tree is different than usual, I did a lovely Victorian tree. It is beautiful.
Shea and parents arrived in Fresno today for the holidays. Can’t wait to see her. We will spend Christmas with Gary and Carol this year and our Christmas eve with the Rices. It will be fun.
Well! Christmas is over and the New Year is in. Hope this year is a good one. We had a wonderful Christmas with our two Fresno families and we had a wonderful time enjoying our darling great granddaughter. She’s such a doll and so bright. Joan, Christen and I, plus little Shea had our four generation picture taken. It was fun and will be special in years to come.
Christen celebrated her 23rd birthday the 26th of December. We had lunch and did our usual after Christmas shopping – wrapping papers, etc. Bill Rice will turn 50 years old tomorrow. Doesn’t seem possible.
Back to Christmas. We spent Christmas with the Cannons. The kids were so excited and Gary and Carol are so thoughtful of Walt and I. We went to the Rices Christmas Eve and had our usual Christmas Eve with both families. Food, gifts and carols – playing our chimes while we sang. Gayle and Bill Weatherby were with us. Shannon and Crystal planned the program, as usual.
Crystal played the piano, Jeremy played the piano and drums…after the Cannons left we exchanged gifts with Rices and helped get the tree ready for Santa. Then we went back to the Cannons to sleep so we could enjoy the children Christmas morning. Cassie, the youngest, was so excited and so were the others. It was fun ---Then the Rices joined us for Christmas dinner. We really missed Berrett; but I’m sure his experiences will more than make up for missing Christmas at home.
Joan and Bill called Berrett on Christmas day in South Africa. He told Shannon that anyone that says Christmas while on a mission is great ---lies! Berrett told his father a story about a trip he and his companions took boating down a river filled with crocodiles and Rhinos. They were told to hang on tight for a certain area of the river because it becomes shallow and they must move fast to keep from hitting bottom and having to get out and pull the boat. Well, they did get hung up and did have to roll up their pants and pull (very scary with all the critters hanging around).
We came home in time for New Year’s and went to the Fitzpatricks for our “Four Seasons” dinner party.
Tomorrow is the 5th of January and time to take out the Christmas decorations. My tree was Victorian this year and really looked beautiful. I had the Strebel family over New Year’s day. They brought friends and Tillie, Cousin Norm and Billy Bevan dropped by. I served dips, finger sandwiches, cookies, candy, salads (it was a nice day). Oh yes, Irene Nelson came because she loves the Strebels and really enjoyed herself. So on with the new year.
To listen to Rose and Wanda sing, click here.
To listen to Wanda and Rose talk family history for 3 hours, click here.
To look at an album of Wanda's photographs, click here. To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.