The earliest recollections of my life are those of a house full of females–my mother, three sisters and myself. My father worked as herder for various sheep men in the area and was away from home for long periods of time. In fact, shortly after I was born, my father left for the herd and did not return until I was six months old. Mother laughingly told us that she had warned him at that time not to do that again or he need not come home at all. My father, Ernest Burton Christensen(Jense), was the youngest son of Jens Christian Christensen and Johanne Kirstine Pederson. He was twenty years older than my mother, Florence Leona Pierce. He had known her as a child when he was working with her father, Nathaniel, in the mines at Mercur and Mammoth, Utah. After spending several years working in Idaho, Montana and Utah, he returned to Pleasant Grove in 1917. There he met a grown-up Florence at the hotel run by her aunt, Mary Culmer. They were married, he received a call to report for military duty in World War I. Before he was to leave, peace was declared and the Armistice was signed in November, 1918. They bought a small house from Swen Neilsen in Pleasant Grove. It was located on Sixth North and Third East; one street east of “Little Denmark” (or the Second Ward) and one street west of “Monkey Town” (or the Third Ward). All my growing-up years I was teased by adults with comments about us living in “Little Denmark” or “Monkey Town”, or that my name should be Christensen or Larson.
It was all very confusing to me–I didn’t mind the “Little Denmark” so much as the other things. No one ever bothered to explain to me the Patronymic system of naming children that our grandfather brought from Denmark. The name is derived from the father’s name, usually formed by adding a prefix or suffix, as in “Christen son”. It was widely used in Scandinavian countries prior to the laws establishing legal requirements for surnames. Our relatives just didn’t get the message, I suppose. But I am proud of being half Danish, quarter English and quarter Welsh, but all American!
On April 14, 1920, I was born in this little house, as were my three sisters; Stina Lucille, born January 20, 1922; Glida Mae, born January 27, 1924; and Ora June, born June 20, 1928. Dr. Ernest O. Grua was the attending physician and Ora Halsey was the midwife-nurse for my mother. She was a good friend of our family all her life and mother named our baby sister after her. I was named Florence Hannah for my mother and two grandmothers. My mother, and her mother were named Florence and my father’s mother was named Johanne, but called Hannah. I never particularly like my names, except I respected the people for whom I was named. I really disliked the nickname “Flossie” that I was called in order to eliminate confusion between mother (called Florence) and Grandma (called Floss). As I got older, most people called me Florence, but occasionally someone who knew me as a child would slip and call me “Flossie.” I would try to act unconcerned, but I still didn’t like it even at age 64 when Jean Fugal called me that at a B.Y.U. basketball game. I suppose I should be complimented that he still felt so friendly after all the years since our sleigh rides on the long sled belonging to his family, but I didn’t. I really don’t remember too much about our preschool years, except that our mother read to us often. One series of books we all enjoyed was “Mother West Wind Stories” by Thornton W. Burgess. I think we read and reread every one of the series that the public library had. I remember how frightened of electrical storms our mother was. She would make us all get on the bed together because she thought lightening wouldn’t strike us there. It must have been very hard for her to be left alone so much with four small children. However, I think she quite enjoyed the unstructured lifestyle of not having to “do” for a husband. She could sew when she felt the urge, visit friends and relatives when it suited, and etc. One example that I remember of how carefree our lifestyle was happened one day when I was about 7 years old. She got all of us ready for church and we walked the six blocks to attend church in the basement of the Old Stake Tabernacle. There were no other people there. In talking to someone going by, we were told that it was Saturday.
We lived a very uncomplicated life. One memory that has stayed with me all these years relates to one June when we were small. Someone of us had chicken pox, so none of us could go down town for the annual Strawberry Day Celebration. This was the biggest, most exciting thing to happen all year. I remember crying for hours and when Dad left the house, I thought he was just getting away from all the tears. What a happy surprise when he returned! He brought ice cream, candy, soda pop, and other trinkets. Then he set up a play store for us and we spent a happy afternoon. (But, we still missed the parade and merry-go-round.) Dad and mother weren’t the kind of parents who spanked us, but twice I got a good spanking. When I was quite young, our neighbor, Jim Nelson, kept his chickens in our chicken coop. I told my friends, Elizabeth and Bill Told, that I knew how to make a cake and that it required eggs. I got my little blue washtub, gathered all the eggs in the coop, broke them all in the tub, and was beating them vigorously when my parents found me. Another day, my sisters and Elizabeth and Bill and I climbed a six foot wire fence that had been placed at the back of our lot to protect us from a huge irrigation ditch. We then took off our shoes and floated them for boats. Needless to say, some shoes got away and floated on down the ditch. One of our favorite places to play was in the empty hay loft of the barn belonging to our next door neighbor, Jim Nelson. We could swing way out of the upper window on the rope that lifted the hay. We also played house and office up there. Even there my personality was showing. I remember spending all my time cleaning and sweeping so that at the end of the day I would realize that the other kids had played while I worked. That’s a bad trait I’ve had to work on most of my life.
My sister, Glida, once told someone that Florence couldn’t enjoy a family picnic until she had scrubbed all the surrounding tree trunks. Our parents never owned a car. We walked everywhere we went around Pleasant Grove. Many times we walked to our Grandmother Pierce’s home on the foothills above Locust Avenue. When we tired, Mother would tell us to pick out a rock or other object some assistance ahead and keep our eyes on it until we reached it. It surely made the long way seem shorter. When we were quite young, Dad’s boss drove us to where Dad was herding the sheep in summer and we would spend some time with him there. I particularly remember a shallow creek that ran nearby, with yellow violets growing on the banks, and sand to build sand castles. I had all the childhood diseases that were considered standard for that time; chicken pox, measles, whooping cough, and mumps, these I had in High School. After my marriage and two children, I had my tonsils and appendix removed. Still later, after another miscarriage and three more children, it was necessary to perform two diagnostic treatments and finally a complete hysterectomy. Other than some allergy problems, I am quite healthy.
On Sunday, May 6, 1928, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was performed in the basement of the old Tabernacle, and was dark and frightening to a young child. I only remember the single, bare light bulb in all the darkness. That is quite a contrast to the pleasant circumstances that are provided for children now. Lugene Nelson performed the ordinance and I was confirmed the same day by Winfield Clark. I attended Religion Class, Primary and Sunday School in the basement of the Tabernacle as a member of the Pleasant Grove Second Ward. On February 21, 1932, the new Second Ward church at 125 North First East was ready for use and was dedicated in 1935. What a pleasant change. I commenced school on September 7, 1926, at Central School in Pleasant Grove. Children today are amused as I tell about that school. There were three entrances into it. The west door was for girls only, the north door was for teachers only, and the east door was for boys only. The daring students would sometimes enter by the teachers’ door, but not if a teacher was near. But the most daring thing a girl could do was to go in or out of the boy’s door! That was almost as daring as going near the boy’s restroom, also on the east (boy’s) side of the school building, but outside. I loved school and especially enjoyed helping plan and produce plays and programs. I liked history and geography best and loved to read. I really liked most of my teachers all through school. In first grade Daisy Newman Nelson taught. In second grade, it was Thelma West Frampton. In third grade, it was Helen Ramsey Clark. In fourth grade, it was Leone Told, who read wonderful books to us such as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Red Feather, and etc. In fifth grade the teacher was Juana Taylor. In sixth grade there were two teachers, Lucy O. White and Mr. Elwood Baxter, who was also the Principal. My best friends at this time were Elizabeth and Bill Told, our neighbors. We spent many hours picking up potatoes in their grandfather’s field and picking up fallen apples in his yard to feed his pigs. When I was about 10 years old, my special friend was Rex Walker, whose mother taught my Primary class. I still remember a birthday party he had one year. On warm summer evenings all the kids in surrounding houses would gather in the road and play kick-the-can until bedtime. When one of our neighbors, the Neves family, moved to the east part to town near the canal, we would go visit their children and swim in the canal. It was always so frightening to me, and I could hardly stand the feel of moss wrapping around my legs. In winter, there was sleigh riding on Harvey’s hill one block to the north of our house. We also enjoyed the long hill just one block to the south of our house. The Jens Fugal family had a long sled that could hold twelve people. We would walk all the way to the foothills to the east and ride the mile or more down to the cemetery, turning there to the north and along the canyon road. What speed and what a thrill! Cars were so few that crossing intersections was never a problem.
On May 3, 1933, Dad had an eight pound tumor removed from his hip. Then on October 3, 1934, major surgery was again performed on him. From this time on, his health was not good, but he was home, so we really got acquainted with our father. He was so good to us. I’m afraid we acted like all children do at times, four girls either giggling or arguing about whose turn it was to do the dishes. It must have been very annoying to him since he didn’t feel very well, as well as being so much older and had been accustomed to the placid life of a sheepherder. We knew it was wise to keep the water kettle on the coal stove full of water at all times, because to find it empty made him very cross. A very special event in our family occurred on June l, 1936. We went to the Salt Lake Temple and Mother and Dad received their endowments and we were sealed together as a family. I attended Pleasant Grove High School in the building one block east of Main Street near the city park for grades seven through twelve. I enjoyed school very much and enjoyed the many friendships that were made there. Many of the students were people I’d known through elementary school, but students from Orem and Lindon also came to Pleasant Grove High School. Special friends were Verna Day and Anna Beth Larson who were also in our Second Ward. We three also belonged to a group of friends who met together for special parties and good times. There were thirteen in the group; Frances Hilton, Mariam Adamson, Lola Jensen, Bette West, Ruth Robbins, Jean Loader, Mary Jo West, Fay Hrienson, Rhea Hooley, and Anna Boren. Some of us formed a comic dance group and performed at school, church, and civic affairs. I was elected secretary for our senior class, and I can never forget the mixup that evolved around the purchase and dispersing of our graduation announcement cards. It was a mess! I also worked as co-editor for the first yearbook the High School had ever published. Bette West was editor and Iona Adams was the other co-editor. It was quite a project. Our chemistry instructor, Harry Richard, did all the photography and we helped develop pictures as well as writing other material. Viola West, our English instructor, guided us, and we came to love her very much. Another fun activity that I enjoyed very much was participating in the Pep Club for three years. A group of girls performed march routine during the half-time of basketball games. We also enjoyed participating in track meets at various schools in the Alpine School District, usually as part of the Posture Parade. During the summer our school band marched in the parades being held as part of various community celebrations and I was asked to be one of the school banner bearers with the band as they went to cities in the area. I was a member of the 4-H Club for five years. This was a national club held in the summer for young people to learn farming, homemaking and etc. I was chosen to represent Pleasant Grove at a special school at Logan, Utah Agricultural College. I also won a scholarship to Brigham Young University for my work in 4-H. During the summer, I picked fruit for farmers around town. At this time the “Great Depression” was very serious and this was about the only work available for young people, as well as older people. I just hated to pick strawberries! Didn’t mind picking raspberries and I quite enjoyed picking red currants and cherries. Four o’clock seemed a terrible time to get up and sometimes the field was cold and muddy from irrigating recently. I also did some baby sitting and earned 25 cents an hour.
Each summer the girls in the Mutual Improvement Association of the Ward would spend three days at the canyon home at Mutual Dell in American Fork Canyon. Since we didn’t own a car and so traveled very little, I looked forward to these trips. Of course, there were some other kinds of fun, too. Dating consisted of double-dating or going in groups of friends. Many fun times were had with Lynn Robinson, Afton Pack, Verna Day, Earl Christensen, Vern Goode, Gladys Makin and many others, we had many picnics and watched many baseball games that the fellows played in. I graduated from L.D.S. Seminary and from Pleasant Grove High School in May; 1938.
The only work I found to do that summer was picking berries and working part-time at the local restaurant. How could I ever earn enough money to get the things I would need for college? I knew my folks could never afford to send me. One Sunday afternoon as I was visiting Verna Day at her home, Mr. Day told me that Ferrin Goode was outside and wanted to talk to me. When I went out, he asked me to go for a ride with him in his new car–a 1935 green Chevrolet coupe. How sporty, so I accepted. As we rode and talked, I came to realize how very much I liked him. We had dated some, but he must have felt somewhat as I did, because we really dated often after that. By the time school was to start in September, I had no desire to go to school. I only wanted to marry Ferrin, so I gave up my scholarship to Lewis Wells, who was the runner-up. And I’ve never regretted my decision.
We were married on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1939. We didn’t tell anyone of our plans until I was ready to leave the house, then I told my parents. I was “of legal age” (18 years), so I felt I didn’t need their consent. I am not very proud of this at all. Maybe we were afraid our parents would say that we just couldn’t afford to be married at this time. The country was still very much in the grips of the Depression. But Ferrin had a job–and many people did not. He tended the mink at the ranch belonging to his brother Harold and Charles Anderson and earned $60 per month. We called for Ferrin’s brother, Vern, and his date, Gladys Makin, who thought they were just going on a Valentine’s date. We needed them for witnesses. After driving back to American Fork from my home in Pleasant Grove, we were married at the home of Clarence Grant, who was the County Clerk and a friend of Ferrin’s family. It was a very stormy night and after taking Vern and Gladys to get his car, Ferrin and I were able to elude them and other pursuing friends as we drove to Salt Lake City. We stayed at the Newhouse Hotel on the corner of Fourth South and Main Street. Large, expensive weddings were not customary, and my parents could not afford one anyway.
Our first home together was the upstairs apartment in the home of Alvin Monson on Main Street in American Fork. It is now torn down, but was the second house west of Center Street. We bought some furniture on credit; a table and chairs, studio couch that opened into a bed, a rocking chair, rug, small radio, and a chest of drawers. These are the only things we ever bought on credit, except a sewing machine to sew DeAnn’s baby clothes, two cars, and our house up to this point in our marriage–1985. Cash for everything!
We lived there for three months, then Gladys Makin’s aunt asked us to move into her vacant house and remodel it. This we did happily, because we could work off the rent. After three months, and the remodeling was almost completed, she sold the house. So we had to move again. An interesting thing then happened. Our newspaper carrier brought us a note from Mrs. Annie Green who had an apartment vacant in her house and asked us to come to talk to her. It seems he’d heard that we were good renters and she was very fussy. She even reduced the rent to us. She didn’t even know that we had to move anyway. Her house was at 53 North First West in American Fork. We lived there for two years. Our daughter, DeAnn was born while living there, on October 29, 1940.
During these times Ferrin taught me to drive our car, because I had to go to Mother’s in Pleasant Grove to wash our clothes each week. When DeAnn was born, we bought a new white washing machine with twin rinse tubs. Because we paid cash for them, the furniture store gave us a set of club aluminum pans, some I’m still using in 1985. In the fall of 1940 the country was on edge because of the war in Europe. Harold Goode and Charles Anderson discontinued their mink ranch, so Ferrin was out of work. In a few days he had secured a job at a feed mill in Murray, Utah. Our rent there was $22.50 per month and our wages were $20 per week, so more than one week’s wage was required to pay our rent. Ferrin was very unhappy in his work at the feed mill.
On December 7, 194l, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States was at war! After going to the military draft board for his physical examination, Ferrin was told he was 4F (exempt from military duty) because of perforated eardrums suffered in an illness as a child. Because of his dislike for the people at the feed mill, Ferrin left his job and went to work as a carpenter on military installations in the area. For the first time in our marriage we earned enough to meet our expenses and start our savings account in the bank. Ferrin loved doing carpenter work, so decided to attend night school at West High School to study drafting and blueprinting. Some of his work required that he live on the job, so baby DeAnn and I were left alone many times. Because of the rationing and restrictions caused by World War II, our only source of amusement was a weekly ride on the street bus to Salt Lake City and back home. Gasoline was rationed, as were shoes, meat, sugar, cheese; and etc. Items long considered necessary were non-existent if not rationed and even if you had money to pay for them, but no ration stamps, you could not buy them. But we didn’t suffer. It all came about gradually and we learned to adjust. Probably the hardest thing about it was not being able to visit our families in Utah County. I taught Primary while we lived in Murray.
Up to now our activity in the Church had been nil. I had always been active at home and was a Sunday School Teacher when I was married. Ferrin had not been active and it was easier for me to just let it pass, even though my conscience pricked occasionally. Our baby daughter, Marilyn, was born one very stormy January night, (January 28, 1944) at the Cottonwood Maternity Home in Murray. At about one month of age she became ill with what the doctor called “influenza”–high fever and jaundice. She was never completely well, but was cheerful, loving and a joy to have for the three and one half years she lived. Because the cause for her death was given as acute nephritis, I always wondered if it didn’t all begin with the jaundice at one month. Very little was known about allergies at that time, so her diet and daily life was one experiment after another. Sulfa drugs had come into use during World War II, and she received many doses of this, which also effects the kidneys. In May of 1944 we moved back to American Fork and rented the home of Howard Green at 192 North First West. He was the son of Annie Green from whom we had rented before moving to Murray. Ferrin was building homes for Ohran Construction Co. and enjoying it. But working an eight hour day was unheard of for him. After working all day, he remodeled the home of his mother and his brother Vern, and built pelting boards for many mink ranchers, working until midnight. One year later, May 1945, we moved to the apartment owned by William Baxter at 310 West Main Street in American Fork.
We were very busy and happy. Marilyn’s health problems kept us busy day and night. I was expecting Merlin, who was born November l6, 1945. We had three children, two babies in diapers. Merlin was always so agreeable, calm and cheerful as a small child that sometimes I was afraid I’d neglect him in caring for others. We were back near our families and enjoyed many good times with them. Many Sunday afternoons were spent at Ferrin’s mother’s home. Everyone gathered there on her birthdays, too, and cousins really became friends with each other as they played ball or cowboys in the barn or dress-up in the attic. During the summer canning season we would all get together to can peas, corn and beans from the fields and divide the yield according to our need by the size of our families. We enjoyed picnics up American Fork Canyon together. As each family member had a birthday, the others would come for the evening to play the card game called Five hundred and to visit. We also spent many happy hours with Don and Ruth Gamette and their children as we went on picnics together.
On August 26, 1947, Marilyn died as a result of the kidney problem. I was just devastated and very bitter for a while. I felt that I would never love or become close to anyone again it was just too painful when the parting came, and it would always come! I went to the cemetery every day and when the first snow fell on her grave, I could hardly bear it. But the healing hand of time and the love and concern of others helped me to realize that my main concern should be to get my life in order so that I would be with Marilyn again. I decided it was time to get back into activity in church, and when the Bishop asked me to be a Primary teacher, I accepted so quickly they were surprised. We all attended church regularly thereafter and accepted whatever calling came to us.
On September 17, 1948, Ferrin and I received our endowments in the Salt Lake Temple and our three children, DeAnn, Marilyn, and Merlin were sealed to us. What a happy day! My mother stood as proxy for Marilyn.
Karen was born on April 11, 1950, and thus began another harrowing experience in our lives. From birth she was allergic to everything and required round-the-clock care. I drove her to Salt Lake to a specialist every day for weeks, then every other day, then once a week. Twice she was hospitalized, not expected to live. Once the pharmacy mixed her medication incorrectly and she was drugged almost to death. It was all quite unbelievable for the first year. I was asked by people many times how could I carry on and do what must be done. But I found that a person can do what must be done, you just keep going one day at a time. For four more years it was quite a complicated existence, then we began allergy shots and gama globulin shots three times a week until she was about eight years old. It’s easy to become attached to someone you tend constantly.
During this time, in April, 1951, Ferrin decided to go to work for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. as an agent in the vacancy created when Don Gamette was promoted into management. We moved to Orem, Utah, into a large home at 165 North State Street. While living here, Richard was born on September 22, 1953. He was born in Salt Lake City at Holy Cross Hospital because I had been going to a doctor there. He weighed four and a half pounds, and we were required to leave him at the hospital in an incubator until he weighed five pounds, which took seventeen days. It’s just awful to go home without your baby! After coming home to us, he grew to be healthy and happy and a joy to have. DeAnn, who was 13 years old, bathed, fed, and played with him as if he were her own toy. While living here in Sharon Ward, I taught Primary and served on the Primary Stake Board.
Ferrin decided he liked the insurance business even though he worked every evening except Saturday and Sunday. However, he always kept his carpenter tools waxed, oiled, and in good shape in case it didn’t work out because he knew he liked carpentry and could always go back to it.
In September, 1954, we moved into the new home we bought at 689 East Eighth South in Orem. It was on the frontage of the seventy five acre Sharon Stake Welfare Farm–all fruit trees. It was a beautiful red brick home, and I began sewing draperies while Ferrin began planting grass in the yards. We lived here for thirteen happy years as our children enjoyed and excelled in schools nearby. We were all active in church and I taught Primary and Relief Society in the Orem l3th Ward as well as serving in the presidencies in both organizations and on Stake Boards in both organizations. We helped to build a new chapel while living here. Ferrin was very successful in his work for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and received several promotions through management and Field Training.
Through the years we were privileged to go on many exciting trips as guests of the Company such as to Palm Springs, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, Denver, Lake Tahoe. We always stayed at the most elegant hotels in the area: the Mark Hopkins, Fairmont, Ambassador, Del Coronado, etc. Through the years it had become the tradition to have all my family – parents, sisters and their families and anyone without a family, to our house for Thanksgiving. It became a crowd, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Also, as the family sizes grew larger, it became tradition for Ferrin’s family to have the big Christmas party at our home. Finally, we even outgrew our house and it became necessary to break into smaller units. But something was lost – cousins forgot cousins, and new ones didn’t get acquainted.
Another adjustment for me was the marriage of our oldest daughter, DeAnn, to Shermin Duane Payne of Provo, Utah on July 18, 1958. I was happy that they chose to be married in Manti Temple, but I felt they were very young. She had just graduated from Orem High School in May, and Shermin had just completed his freshman year at Brigham Young University. We gave her a lovely wedding and hoped they would be as happy as Ferrin and I have been. But mothers do not snip apron strings easily, and this was the second child to leave our home.
In October, 1965, Ferrin was promoted to Manager of the Pocatello, Idaho District Office of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. After getting Merlin into the mission field for the Northern Indian Mission on November l6th (his birthday), the family moved to 339 Fairway Drive, Pocatello, Idaho on December 7, 1965. Our house was about two years old and was the first house built in a new area and thus we enjoyed the dust that was blown about by the persistent Idaho wind during the construction of other homes nearby. The back of the house overlooked the Highland Golf Course and the foothills. We were happy and busy in the church there, and made many close friends. I especially love Vera Caldwell, Mareid Horton, and Carol Wilson, three wonderful neighbors. I taught Primary and was in the Presidency of the Primary, and was in the Relief Society Presidency. Marlene Bosen and I became very close through this work. Ferrin’s district covered many miles, with detached offices in Idaho Falls and Twin Falls and all points in Southeast Idaho, so we also became friends with many lovely people there. Mark and Virginia Cleverley of Rexburg remain special friends to this day. We take trips together and visit in each other’s homes for weekends. When Karen graduated from Highland High School in 1968 and left for Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University, I just ached. I was happy that she’d won a scholarship there and for her to be able to go there, but we were so close and our family was getting so small! Merlin had now returned from the mission field and was back at B.Y.U. also. And we were alone, except for Richard, who was a student at Highland High and had become extremely uncommunicative. We later wondered if Karen and I had dominated the conversations so much that he just hadn’t felt the need to talk. After many hours of tears and prayers, Bishop Grant Brower called me to be the Laurel Class Leader in M.I.A. It was truly an answer to my prayers. They are the girls who were contemporaries of Richard at school and by listening to their comments about school, and by planning many activities together with the Ensigns (boys of that age), I was able to know and talk with him of his activities. When Rick graduated from Highland High in 1971, Ferrin and I took stalk of our situation and decided, for many reasons, to give up his management position and return to our former home in Utah County.
We sold our home in Pocatello, bought a house at 701 East 2730 North in Provo, Utah in November 1972. I have loved and enjoyed being a wife and mother, so Ferrin kept reminding me that we train our children to be independent and self-sufficient so they can be on their own. I slowly learned that they were not exactly gone for good. The family revived the custom of “going to Florence’s for Thanksgiving” and our children and grandchildren came for weekends and special times together. They always made us feel so loved and welcome in their homes.
Karen and new husband Randall Mark Brower came to Utah County to live and go to school. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 24, 1972. Merlin married Shirley Ann Norris in the Provo Temple on September 14, 1973, and lived in Provo as he went on the complete his Master’s degree at B.Y.U. Richard married Patricia Royce Beebe in Elko, Nevada on March 20, 1982 and they chose to live in Pocatello, Idaho. Richard always wanted to be a fireman and to ski–he’s doing both and doing them very well. I wonder if our children know how much they are loved?
At this time, September 24, 1974, I decided that I needed something else to occupy my mind. So I went to work part-time in Fashion Fabrics store at the University Mall in Orem. When it was sold to Great American Fabrics, I stayed on there. I really enjoyed working with the young college girls and meeting the public. It all began as part-time, but it became more and more hours.
When Ferrin retired from Metropolitan Life in 1981, I decided to quit also, so I would be free to come and go with him as he desired. I also taught Primary and was in the Presidency of the Primary in Pleasant View 4th Ward, Sharon East Stake. I also taught various classes in Relief Society and Sunday School. We came to love our neighbors here, also, and enjoyed many picnics and parties with them. Leo and Reva Ferre live next door and are very special friends. We have always enjoyed watching sporting events and attended all the games our sons were involved in. We have attended all B.Y.U. basketball games for about thirty-five years and even kept our season tickets and attended games in Provo while we lived in Pocatello, even driving back after the game sometimes. Ferrin’s retirement on February 7, 1981, really changed our lives. We spent a great deal of time together. We visited our children and grandchildren, went on impromptu exploring trips around Utah, visited friends in other states, and thoroughly enjoyed life together.
On Saturday evening, November 9, 1985, our lives took on a new perspective. We had attended the annual Pleasant View 4th Ward dinner during the evening. It was a lovely affair with a Mexican Fiesta theme, and we had even stayed later to help clear things up. As we left the church, I had difficulty breathing, but after arriving home things got worse. Ferrin called the ambulance, and then I was “carted” off to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center before the startled eyes of neighbors who were also returning from the Ward supper. Early Sunday morning I had a massive coronary, and open heart surgery was performed to bypass the completely blocked main artery where blood flows into the heart. Then my heart stopped beating and a pump was installed to pump blood through the body, and for four days this kept me alive. I survived the surgery, but was then given less than a ten percent chance of living. But I did live! Thanks to Heavenly Father, and to the many prayers in my behalf, and to the very skilled doctors and nurses. At no time did I feel I might die – “I just can’t go now and leave Ferrin alone!” was a thought that ran through my mind many times. I remained in the Coronary Care Unit for 12 days at $560 per day. After a permanent pacemaker was installed near the right shoulder, I was moved to Intermediate Care for five more days. Ferrin was there with me at all times, night and day. And for the first week our children were there also. Karen came from California, leaving her family and teaching job; Rick left his family and his job as a City Fireman for Poatello, Idaho; DeAnn left her family in Bountiful; and Merlin his work in Salt Lake and were there to support their Father and encourage their Mother. I was able to come home for Thanksgiving, but by early Monday morning I was back in the hospital with congestive heart failure and remained there until December 4. There are no words that adequately express my appreciation for the kindnesses bestowed upon me! Particularly am I grateful to Ferrin in the long days of convalescence at home as I recovered. I am grateful for his patience, for his courage to try housekeeping chores and all else that needed to be done, as well as doing his own work.
By March of 1987 I was feeling fairly good and was able to do more. Then Ferrin broke a rib on the right side as he sneezed. As the rib seemed to heal, his feet and legs began to be numb. After he fell several times and was numb from the waist down, numerous X-rays and tests were made. A myelogram revealed an obstruction at the ninth thoracic vertebra, so on September 23, 1987, a neurosurgeon operated and removed a baseball size malignant tumor from that area. Later tests confirmed multiple myeloma, bone marrow cancer. Then followed weeks of radiation and months of chemotherapy for him. How thankful I am that I was given a “second chance” in this life to be here with him at this time! Again, our children rallied with their help and support. Karen and her family moved back to Utah, and she and DeAnn were a great help with things I was not able to do.
(My grandma passed away on December 30, 1997. She remained very strong and helpful to my Grandpa until he passed away. I truly love and miss them. They are reunited with each other and Marilyn, their daughter. My grandma is the one who instilled in me the GENEALOGY BUG. I used to ride the bus in from Bountiful to Salt Lake and do genealogy work with her at the L.D.S. library when it was still in the Church Office Tower. Thanks Grandma.)