Sunday, March 28, 2010

MEMOIRS--Chapter twelve--I look for answers in adult books and God sends an angel to our home


Chapter thirteen

I started to read adult fare in the second grade. I just did not think I could wait any longer to find out if there was anything in books that might explain to me what had happened to my father to cause him to be so different from how fathers and married men were supposed to be. Golda Petersen, my first grade teacher, had further spurred me on by having a story writing contest for the first four grades she taught in the little room. I did not trust myself to write anything but a fairy story, which bore no resemblance to anything that was happening in my real life, but to my surprise Miss Petersen awarded me first prize. I don't know but what my winning while being the youngest child in school caused some of the older students to hate me and think I was a little know it all, but it promptly convinced me I should become a writer.
In the second grade Miss Petersen left and my new teacher, Mrs. Hansen, was quite annoyed when I suggested I might be allowed to go into the big room to look for more interesting books to read. She implied I certainly could not, so I started looking around the house to see if I could not tackle something quite simple my mother and dad were reading. Mother subscribed to as many magazines as she thought my dad would pay for, and I found a story in the Saturday Evening post I thought I might be able to get through, all about Babe and Little Joe. I had no trouble with it, so after that I just read anything they read. I soon did not even read Babe and Little Joe with a lot of interest. Little Babe was just too sweet. Nothing ever happened to her that remotely resembled what went on in my life , either.
I can't tell you what a huge disappointment Zane Grey as an author was to me. Because I did not have anything else to read, I went through every Zane Grey novel I could possibly borrow. Mother refused to buy Zane Grey because she and Daddy thought western novels were beneath them. Hmm, I could see why they did not relate. Nobody in those novels acted remotely like them. Mothers did not spank their kids for nothing at all, and Dads did not get drunk and still ride their horses very well. I did not know where Zane Grey got his information about his wild west, but about all he got right I thought were his descriptions of the canyons and mesas. But descriptions rather bored me. I needed novels with real meat on their bones.
I was doomed to be disappointed quite often in novels about the west, which was why I determined I would have to grow up and write about the real wild west as I lived it. I didn't care if my stories disgusted the religious and horrified the old. I would tell nothing but the truth. All those lovely stories were nothing but lies I thought. Why would writers want to pretty up the truth like that?
I did not get to read a lot in Salt Gulch, I had to work so much, and neither did Mother. But she was my best source of reading material for years. She would do anything to get something to read. For a while we took Grit Magazine and I used to look forward every week to reading the serial in that one. I read Grandma King's relief society magazine stories even and I had to be desperate to do that, those little boys and girls in those stories were so saintly. I wondered if Grandma had ever thought she could pattern her own boys' lives after theirs. She was dreaming if she did.
And now her son had caused my mother to get pregnant again with her fourth child, that she no more wanted than an elephant to raise along with everything else. That was about when Daddy started us saving his dogey calves and every other critter on that place that lost its mother, as if we already didn't have enough to do. We hardly even had time to go to church, but Mother said she loved to go to get away from the work a little while while. I suspected that is why all the ladies in town were such faithful church goers. That was how they for sure got a day off without feeling guilty! I thought they were gluttons for punishment to listen to all that preaching. Daddy would be home nursing a hangover from his Saturday night party. The only time he went to church was when one of his kids were blessed. From certain remarks of his I knew his opinion of the preaching was about the same as mine.
Mother had decided to have her child in Salt Gulch. She had persuaded or maybe even demanded Grandpa and Grandpa come and deliver it. Imagine! She said she could not afford to go to Richfield to have it in a hospital. Grandpa did not want to do it, but he had to or she might have tried to have it by herself and he could not let that happen! She might die. Well, they had the worst time getting that kid born. Grandma described over and over again how Grandpa tried and tried to get it born, for hours, maybe days for all I know, and Grandma finally went in and laid on the bed and had a heart attack.
Grandpa finally coaxed Ann to come out who was the first redhead in the family. That was always her claim to fame. That and having been born in a real log cabin like Abraham Lincoln. Grandpa was so mad over the scare he got he told Mother right then and there he could never deliver one of her babies again, and not to ask him! They promptly called for Ellen Thompson to come over and help with the new baby as Grandma could not lift a finger. Ellen came and stayed for two weeks.
After about a week Mother caught sight of our hair and made us come to her bed and she took a pair of scissors and whacked it off clear above our ears. And then sent us to church. I was mortified about the savage hair cut that amounted to cruelty to helpless animals but happy to report we had a little red headed sister.
Well, you have never seen such a glorious head of hair as gradually appeared on that child. It grew in looking exactly like a halo. Besides that she was one of the sweetest little children ever born. For the first five years of her life she looked and moved like an angel among us. I doubt if she ever even cried. Her hair was an indescribable golden red. It made people stop in their tracks and stare. I am telling you it was a good thing that hair calmed down when she got older and went a little dark or that is all anybody would ever have talked about was her natural hair.
Even after her hair went a little darker, although still gloriously wavy, visiting relatives from afar would want to see the child with the hair everyone talked about. I could see from the sensation this child caused, why people would come from far and wide to see the little Lord Jesus. They could probably see holiness in his eyes. Ann was a real little baby angel and has remained so to this day.
I am sure the Lord saw that if ever a family needed an angel in their midst it was this one. And sent her.

Connie knows about the power of a little child.

4 comments: said...

My Word, now that's a glorified tribute if I ever heard one. Who could ask for more? I was just another little kid, with red hair I know, on a cattle ranch in Southern Utah. I wasn't even let off of one chore! I did try to stop LaRae and Linda from fighting so much. And I lost my lovely red hair! Oh well....

Gerry said...

I thought you would get a kick out of it, especially the comparison to the baby Jesus. But you were a light in that quarreling home since you would not quarrel with anyone. You were very unsatisfactory to quarrel with since all you wanted to do is get the work done and go swimming. said...

Isn't that the truth! Get out of there was my goal and go see some good Zane Gray country...he knew you had to get out in it. That was my fascination with his books as he traveled the west! I loved all the authors you didn't! Wonder why? Maybe I was making my own protest against the complicated.

Connie said...

I have refreshed your page numerous times and very few photos are showing up.Don't know if it's a blogger thing or Connies computer,grrrrr.


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