MONA'S LIFE STORY
Written on 27 December 1980
As I sit here the thoughts and memories swirling thru' my mind like a Kaleidoscope, hopping from one picture & memory to another. I feel compelled to leave all the work that needs doing & write while the spirit is with me.
Last night Leon had gone with his friends & Nannette had gone to work. Garth & I sat here reading the book that Sandra had put together. The memories & thoughts of Garth, Sandra, Geri, even some old neighbors and friends of ours, Mamma, LoLeta & Lorna & a book Leon had done in school--too bad it didn't have a date on it.
I think that's what started me to thinking. We truly appreciate this gift & words can never express what this means to us.
I visited Allison yesterday. She felt bad she hadn't written. She's been so sick this pregnancy--flu & all and she's alot like me...
Getting back to last night, we shut T.V. off, turned the Christmas tree lights on & the overhead lights off & sat on the couch with the lamp on & played the tape Sandra had made when we were up in Bountiful when Margene came off her mission. Some of it is hard to hear, another tape we listened to was a tape of last Christmas program (1979) that Mrs. Potter had made for me. Daddy's a narrator, and I sang in a duet and a mixed quartet. It was interesting trying to guess who was doing what by their voices. I think we guessed most of them right.
I was going to go sit at the hospital with Golda Carter from 2 A.M. until 6 A.M. so Catherine & Lorraine Woodbury could go to the Temple with Allan Feller & his bride, but Catherine called and said her mother was so restless, she just couldn't stay away from her. Catherine has been a friend for years--back in grade school.
I asked Mama some about when I was born & places we've moved, but she has just about forgotten. Daddy had a job in Salt Lake going out to people's homes to see if they would like their mattresses covered. Later the place he worked for was called Pioneer Mattress Co. Anyway, he'd decided he wasn't going to be a mechanic, so this is where he went to change occupations. We arrived there a month to six weeks before I was born.
I was born in the Holy Cross Hospital. I think I weighed 8 lbs. Mama said after I was born she was still under the influence of the anesthetic, she kept saying, "Oh, Dr., I love you." She didn't want to say it, but couldn't stop. She said the babies were rolled out on racks of 30 or 40, that the nuns were really good to her.
I didn't ever have a nickname because my Dad didn't believe in nicknames or two names for girls.
When I was 3 months old, we moved to Rexburg. It was here they lived in an apt. & I was crying all the time & her landlady, Mrs Bassett told her she was starving me. (I was kept alive on orange juice & sugar water. Mamma didn't know that she didn't have any milk. Mamma took me to the Dr. and he was going to give me a lactic acid, but there wasn't any in town, so meanwhile he put me on Harlecks Malted Milk. I thrived on that, but Mamma to this day can't stand the taste of Malt.
Daddy worked at Madison Auto selling cars. He didn't stay there very long & moved to Idaho Falls. They didn't have a bed for me, so fixed a bed in a drawer of the chest of drawers.
Daddy worked at selling cars for Burnell Auto & in the summer hauling hay. It was terribly cold & we moved back south again. He worked on the Zion Canyon Road--and I think he sheared sheep some. I vaguely remember eating in a shed-like place once with a bunch of men he'd been working with.
We moved to California.
We came back and lived in the upstairs apt. in Grandpa and Grandma [Warren & Mary Etta] Cox's home at that time there was only the rooms downstairs that Grandpa & Grandma lived in and the upstairs.
Daddy worked with Uncle Lee as a mechanic, then for a while as the [Arrowhead] Hotel manager.
They bought the old Whitehead Bldg. and converted it to a garage. I remember the gas pump in front and the big pit where the mechanics climbed down in & the cars drove over them to be worked on.
Grandma waited on some customers once and as they didn't have any money, they left her a wrist watch (small silver face w/diamonds all around it). They left their address or box number where to send it and no one came to claim it, so she got it back.
Another time she got a round watch, which she now has on a chain to wear around her neck, this also was given as collateral on repairs or gas & they couldn't get it back to the people.
Another thing I remember them telling about was a kid working for them & one of the customers came in & told them that the boy couldn't count money, he just handed a handful of change. They checked & found he couldn't count to 10.
During this time, a man & his wife & two children came. They lived in the Arrowhead [Hotel] and I babysat for them. Later I found out it was a common-law marriage, I'd never heard of such a thing--after they moved, we heard they got married and soon after got a divorce.
Going back when I was between 1 & 2, there was a diphtheria scare in town & Daddy said the Drs. gave me a shot with a needle that looked like one they give cows. I went unconscious & stayed that way for two weeks. Mamma said my pupils had rolled back & so all they could see were the whites of my eyes that my back was bowed and my legs were like this [she drew wavy lines] near as I can picture. Five Drs. came to see me. Apparently I had pneumonia, meningitis and what they called Bright's disease--kidney problems. They said if I lived, I wouldn't walk, talk, see or hear. Dr. Reichmann even sent for braces for me, which I never wore--He told Mamma to give me cod-liver oil to straighten my legs. She said I practically drank it for two years, then I wouldn't touch it.
After administering to me I don't know how many times, they finally dedicated me to the Lord. That night the Dr. told them to go to bed and get some rest, which they did & the next morning when he came, he was surprised to see me alive and Mamma said she & Daddy were really upset to think he thot I'd die & told them to sleep.
I had started to walk before this illness, then after, I had to learn all over again. Mamma said I used to walk around the bed hitting at Norman.
[Another paper with added comments:]
When I was two, and five doctors gave me no chance of living and if I did I would not walk, talk, see or hear, My folks dedicated me to the Lord and I was left to fulfill a mission.
MONA & NORMAN'S ESCAPADES
Norman & I were with Clayton and Lou Jean alot. I guess we played with Wayne, Douglas, Jack & Bobby, too, but the times I remember the most were with Clayton & Lou Jean Atkin, Uncle Rudger & Aunt Leona's kids.
Aunt Leona came up to do laundry in the washroom. A little house east of the big house (Grandpa & Grandmas' [Warren Cox] house) the front half used to be Uncle Bill & Aunt Lida's place. The back half was one big room with washers, ironers, big shelves to fold clothes on. I think Mamma said they did the hotel laundry there. Outside of this room on the southwest was an apple tree. I don't believe an apple ever got ripe, we were always eating the green apples & being warned that we'd get stomach aches.
One time Clayton was sitting on the porch very intently doing something. I sat down & watched him--he was dissecting a mouse.
We used to climb all over the barn & house. I remember running across the top & down the sides of the barn and then jumping off. I'll never know why we didn't break our leg or arms.
Mamma said one time we were in the hayloft & had-- she thot a catalogue & tearing pages out and lighting them with a match & letting them float down to the ground. (Norman said into the pig pen.)
I remember we'd watch them kill the pigs & dip them in a big barrel of scalding water, then clean & scrape the hair off the hide.
We used to sit on top of the chicken coop when it was storming & yell, yellow, pink, green, etc. at the lightning & see if it would turn that color--also tell terrible stories of people being struck by lightning.
Mamma said Aunt Lida told her one time that Norman & I were killing the baby chickens & she said we wouldn't do that--then looked out the upstairs window and we were chasing them & stepping on their heads. She raced down the stairs & got some willows & wore two or three out on us.
Another time Daddy had some corn growing between the big house and the wash house and he told us not to run thru' the corn. So one time he was visiting with someone & we thot he wouldn't notice. He did & took the razor strap to us. Norman cried & I didn't. I just laughed at him and said it didn't hurt -- so I got another whipping.
When we had measles we were pretty well kept in bed & the rooms darkened so it wouldn't affect our eyes & a quarantine sign put on the door--we couldn't go anywhere & no one was supposed to come.
I remember getting so tired & one day Daddy took us (after we were pretty well over it) for a ride to Cedar or New Harmony & a car passed us going really fast & Daddy said, "I'll bet he never reaches his destination." Further down the road, he missed a turn. Daddy got out to see if he could help, but even tho we begged, he wouldn't let us go and later told us the man was dead--his head was cut off.
We also were quarantined 3 weeks for Scarlet Fever & never had it. I remember that time of playing in the washroom while the women worked.
Norman & I climbed all over the big house--I wasn't quite as daring as Norman. I remember one time Norman hanging out the east window (upstairs) and reaching for a bird nest in the eaves--I swear he was hanging by his heels. Mamma came out & said, "Come down", & went back in the house for fear she'd cause him to fall.
One day a bunch of us were playing down by the barn & we were chasing a calf around. I was carrying my doll & somehow I got between it and a number 3 tub of oil & fell in. I don't know what the oil was for.
Another time Mamma was worried because we liked to play with fire. She'd read somewhere that if you let kids strike a box of matches, it would cure them, so while she was ironing one day, she sat Norman & I on the floor & gave us each a box & told us to light them. We thot it was great fun. Then Mamma looked at me & I was sitting hunched over with my hair hanging over my face & Mamma said, "Mona, you're going to catch your hair on fire," I quit then & there. Norman struck all of his and the rest of mine & still liked to play with fire.
One time I made him mad at me & he chased me around the house with a board that had a nail in it.
Uncle Bill & Aunt Lida lived in the little house & one time they threw out all their old medicines & Clayton, Lou Jean, Norman & I got them & mixed them & drank it. Our folks called the Dr. & found they were harmless.
Once we were in the blue room jumping off a chest. One side was drawers the other a mirror & two long drawers on the bottom. We'd get on top of the drawers & jump over on to the bed. In our scrambles, we knocked the dresser over and broke the mirror. We were surely scared.
I guess we used to take the dam out of the ditch when Uncle Henderson was watering & he would come down the street. Mamma said she'd run out and put it back. We had some big poplar trees in front & he said they took alot of his water--I guess that's why they were taken out.
Norman & I used to go into the kitchen (we lived downstairs in the East Apt.) The kitchen was on the back of the house & had lots of windows--we'd taste left over things. One time Norman took a taste of what he thot was gravy--it was in the frying pan. It was mustard plaster--another time he took a taste of sugar-only it was granulated soap. I don't remember him tasting anything else after that.
We had a cow that we kept up on the black hill above the second ledge--I remember going with Norman a few times up to get her-- He was telling me sometimes he only had 15 min & he would ride his bike out the street to the bottom of the hill & run up the hill to just under the saddle, milk the cow, run back & bicycle home.
The folks complained about him not getting enough milk--so he started adding water to it, until one time he added too much--
One time as he was coming in the back door, it was locked, so he picked up a chunk of coal & knocked a window out--Then said it done it its own self.
Another time we played around the old garage shop south of the hotel--A tree grew on the southwest side, right against the garage--One time Norman climbed this & started screaming. When they got him down--they found he'd put a vial of acid in his pocket & it had broken.
Norman was accused one time of taking a dollar off the piano at Aunt Lidas' so the folks wouldn't believe him if he said he'd found money. One day we were coming home from school and found 5- $1 bills in the sand to the side of the road. Daddy & Mamma wouldn't believe him, but they did me--I was both aggravated & pleased.
[From HOW DEEP THE WELL by Lida Larkin:] Mona Cox (Barton) cut all Lou Jean Atkin's hair off on the little lawn facing the Tabernacle back of the bank next to the Arrowhead Hotel. Leona had fixed her daughter's hair like Shirley Temple and loved the way it was long and curled. The girls decided to play "barber" and Mona took the clippers and cut the hair from the middle part and then cut it close to Lou Jean's head all on one side. That left one side close cut and the other side long. About that time they went in proudly to show Leona what a good barber Mona had turned out to be. Leona cried when she saw her little girl with half-shorn locks. They had to use the cloppers on the rest of her hair so it would all grow out evenly.
I remember when Joanne died. She was, I believe, 3--she had pneumonia. LoLeta did too, but she got better. Joanne is Uncle Lorraine & Aunt Anna's daughter. They put her in a coffin in the parlor and packed ice around her. She was holding her doll.
When watering time came, Grandpa would flood the big lawn & we'd run in the water & they'd get mad at us and say it would ruin the lawns.
Bob Cox was older than I was, & their place was next to ours. The big house was on the West corner, then going east, the wash house or little house, then the barn, then Uncle Henderson's corrals--On the east corner was his blacksmith shop & south of that their home. Bob used to tease me unmercifully whenever he saw me, so I'd try to avoid him--years later I told him & he couldn't remember.
We got the itch when we were quite small and Mamma said she just couldn't get rid of it until she got it, then she really got busy boiling clothes & bathing us in something that smelled like rotten eggs. I believe that was the time she said she hadn't had a new dress in a long time & she had it on (a powder blue) & stood back to pour bleach into the tub & it splashed and took the color out where it hit.
When we lived upstairs we slept on the sleeping porch. Some of my memories were sleeping three in a bed & envying Norman cause he got a bed alone. Mamma & Daddy talking & worrying about the money they owed (thinking we were asleep) & me wishing I could help.
One of the neighbor boys, knowing I was afraid of fire & yelling from down by the fence that he was going to set the house on fire, then setting fire to little patches of grass.
Making beds--it being so hot & cold in the winter--I don't think we slept all winter out there--I think we brot the beds in the house.
Waking up a 5 in the morning to hear Bob Kenworthy practicing on the piano and Ken playing a banjo--Can't remember what Willy did--but sing.
One night Mamma came out & said she was going up to the airport to see Daddy off on the plane--One of his friends was taking him to Salt Lake--they invited her to go and she went without a change of clothes.
I remember the Cox family getting together around the piano & singing & me listening & wishing I could go down and sing with them.
My memories come swirling thru my mind like a Kaleidoscope--no correlation--just different periods of time and I decided I'd better write them down this way because if I tried to get them in sequence, which I can't do, I'd lose them anyway.
I remember Minnie Christian, her husband & two children Dwayne & ________ moving into the little house. She was so nice to us. I can't remember anything she did, but how well I liked her-- Also of going down to play with her nieces. I believe they lived on Main street & playing among the trees. (That was Beulah Smith Graf).
We went to the Presbyterian Church for what we call preschool now. ([The building is] Now...the Catholic Church). Miss Conklin was the teacher and we all loved her--All I remember is her telling us Bible stories & pulling these big pictures down from the ceiling on rollers like maps, singing, and how good she was to us. Seems she gave us a little present every Christmas.
[This history ends here.]
MONA'S MEMORIES OF HER MOTHER
[a loose page of the history of Harriet Hoyt Cox, written by Mona on the back of a page of the list of people to invite to a wedding ceremony--probably Leo & Jeri's because Steve & Marg are invited.:]
... still in grade school. When I was 15, she was operated on for Cancer & Daddy worked in Henderson at the Magnesium plant. I took care of the store & when a problem arose, I ran over to the hospital (Miracle Manor now) to ask her what to do. After she got out of the hospital & came to work each day. (That was in the days when you stayed in bed for weeks.) Everyone that came in told her she was going to kill herself--getting up so soon.
She taught Sunday School. Then when I was in the Beehives [she taught] in MIA--it was a 3 year program, then she followed me the three years. I don't know how long she taught.
She also was in the Primary Presidency when Iris Bentley was President.
She was Relief Society President for 7 or 9 years. She spent many, many hours with the older women in the Ward, along with her duties as Pres.
She worked in the Stake MIA as Stake Secretary for many years & worked seven years as a Temple Worker. She is still a visiting teacher & wishing she could get around better and do more.
[These report cards were not in her letter, but I think they fit here.]
MONA'S REPORT CARDS
Washington County School District report to parents:
Pupil's Name: Cox, Mona Grade First School: Woodward Teacher: Rose Graham
We are submitting this term report for your consideration. We believe that the cultivation and formation of proper habits and attitudes are of more importance than the accumulation of facts. We also believe that, in attempting to measure a student's development, he should be compared to his own abilities to do work and not to his relative standing with other students. No matter what his capacity to learn is he should be expected to work to that capacity, and his work should receive satisfactory recognition only when he does so.
Promotion record May 5, 1933
Mona Cox is promoted to the second grade from the First Grade
[signed] Rose Graham-teacher Vernon Worthen-Principal
First term Nov. 14, 1932
In accordance with the statement appearing on the cover of this card we are submitting this report.
1. Attitude toward school work: Good. Shows interest and enthusiasm.
2. Ability to work in the group: Good. A good group member.
3. Fairness: good
4. Neatness: good
5. Courtesy: good
6. Student's standing: A good student. Work satisfactory. Encourage reading easy library books.
Height 49 Weight 58 1/2 Normal Weight 54 12 per cent deviation is not alarming.
[Second term she raised to #1 on Middle one-half. Comments: Work is very satisfactory. I am pleased with her progress. She is the same height. Weighs 61.
Third term is the same. Comments: A good, strong student. I am proud of her work.]
SECOND GRADE REPORT:
The front cover is the same, but her teacher is La Rue Cox
First Term: November 13, 1933
1. Attitude toward school work She begins work at once and seldom needs suggestions.
2. Ability to work in the group Works and plays with others harmoniously.
3. Fairness Is fair in her work and play.
4. Neatness Is very neat with her work.
5. Courtesy Is courteous to teachers and fellow students.
6. Works to Capacity She has ability and works hard.
7. Student's standing: Mona is an outstanding student in most subjects, but has some difficulty in Arithmetic.
Height 51 in Weight 68 Normal Weight 60 12 percent deviation is not alarming.
Days absent 2 Times tardy 0
Parents please answer the following questions:
1. Does your child do his share of home duties willingly? Yes
2. How does he use his spare time about home? Mona studies most of the time.
3. How do you assist in his use of spare time? I try to have her study Arithmetic instead of reading all the time.
4. How may we be of more assistance to you and your child?
parent's signature Mrs. Melvin Cox
SECOND TERM Jan. 15, 1934
1. Attitude toward school work She is a willing worker and seems to enjoy her school work.
2. Ability to work in the group Co-operates with others in work and play.
3. Fairness Does not take or give unfair help.
4. Neatness Always neat with her work.
5. Courtesy Is thoughtful of others
6. Works to Capacity Mona does good work.
7. Student's standing: Mona's work shows improvement, especially in Arithmetic.
Height 52 1/2 in. Weight 68 lb. Normal Weight 60 lb.
12 percent deviation is not alarming.
Days absent Times tardy
Parents please answer the following questions:
1. Does your child do his share of home duties willingly? Yes
2. How does he use his spare time about home? Mona reads library books and plays with her dolls.
3. How do you assist in his use of spare time?
4. How may we be of more assistance to you and your child?
parent's signature Mrs. Melvin Cox
THIRD TERM March 18, 1934
1. Attitude toward school work A willing worker and never wastes time.
2. Ability to work in the group Co-operates with others in work and play
3. Fairness Always fair in her work.
4. Neatness Is very neat with her work
5. Courtesy Always courteous to others.
6. Works to Capacity Mona always works hard.
7. Student's standing: [? illegible] -- till her absence from school she was doing splendid work. [I assume one of the times they were quarantined]
Height Weight Normal Weight 12 percent deviation is not alarming.
Days absent 28 Times tardy
Parents please answer the following questions: [Grandma made no comments]
parent's signature Mrs. Melvin Cox
WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOLS St. George Elementary School
Report to parents of progress of Mona Cox Grade 5th School year 1936-37
Ferdinand K. Stucki Teacher Vernon Worthen Principal
Certificate of Promotion: In the judgement of the teacher and principal the pupil whose name appears above should work in the 6th grade during the school year or semester beginning September 7th 1937
[Inside:] To Parents:
This report is sent you in order that you may know the general progress of your child. If you wish further information, please confer with the teacher.
Days present 35 Days absent 0 Times Tardy 2
This child deserves commendation for: She is very good in spelling & drawing. Neat in her work.
We would appreciate your help: She should be advised to pay more attention to class work & her attitude toward her work could be improved.
Days present 38 Days absent 0 Times Tardy 0
This child deserves commendation for: Work in Spelling. Does not waste time like she did. Is fair in rest ["most" crossed out] of her work
We would appreciate your help: Continue to encourage to keep on as she is now doing.
Signature of Parent: Mrs. Melvin Cox
Days present 37 Days absent 3 Times Tardy 0
This child deserves commendation for: She is Honest & sincere Works well, generally to capacity
Signature of Parent: Mrs. Melvin Cox
[page two of an undated history]
I don't remember many of my teachers until the fourth grade and she was Miss Sorenson and we studied about Hawaii. Then in the Fifth grade our teacher was Mr. F. K. Stucki and we studied about pre-historic animals. We were in our new elementary school then, and I remember Mr. Stucki telling us that the big panels above the blackboards were built so that when T. V. came, we would have pictures flashed up there. That was something really unbelievable. Something so fantastic and uncomprehensible.
Mr. Israel Nielson was my sixth grade teacher then.
When I was in the second grade, a new family moved into the neighborhood just across the street and in the middle of the block. There was a girl my age and we finally got together. My it has been a wonderful friendship thru all the years. We went everywhere and did everything together all during our school years. Many a time we'd get mad at each other as we came home from school for lunch, but I'd forget that I wasn't ever going to speak to her and call for her on my way back to school. As the years passed, a few more were added to our gang--Catherine Carter, Thelma Lang, Thelma Cox and Annette Pendleton. We had some really wonderful times together.
In Mutual we had some fun times. I remember a one-act play we put on. Mamma was one of our teachers. And Dr. A. W. McGregor's wife was directing the play. She said she'd only read it once, but she knew practically every part by heart.
We took a trip to Pine Valley and lost the trailer with all of our things while we were going up a hill. We found it. Another time we went to Zion and every little mound we came to, we had to get out and push the car.
(the following is taken from Garth's
In sixth grade, I quite liked Melvin Terry. He lived next door to us. One time when we were studying together, I gave him the mumps.
In high school, I developed a crush on Edward, Helen [Carter's] brother, but she told me he was awfully mean, so I got over that. But when we got chasing around together, I was always paired off with him. One time we were out in Wayne's car, about twelve or fourteen of us, we swerved to miss a cow, but it turned and ran into us and gouged its side. We kept pretty quiet about it.
When I was 16, I started to work at the Big Hand Cafe. Lots of servicemen came in and one, Robert C. Smith came in. He was a Marine, and his folks lived here for a few years. I married him in Spokane, Washington [May 26, 1944] & lived there 10 months, [then she lived in Los Angeles for awhile]. We were married three years and separated after Sandra was six weeks old. [June 1947]
[Another paper with more comments about her marriage to Robert:]
When I was seventeen, I [she wrote forgot, then crossed it out] decided to marry out of the church, thinking it wasn't so important. How wrong I was and soon I found out that the Gospel means everything in our lives.
Even more so when after three years of marriage, I had a daughter and knew that I wanted her raised in a different environment and to have the teachings of the Gospel.
We were divorced and a year later I was married for time & eternity in the Temple.
GARTH & MONA'S COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE
[Mom's & Dad's version of meeting dad, with dad commenting and editing:]
Some time in December Mary Dawn invited me [Garth] to come to supper. I came and brought with me Jesse Jane Gibbons. [The next sentence is Mom's comment crossed out and then tried to be erased by dad] (Sylvia's friend, He said he never remembers going with her, but I know that Sylvia was hoping Garth would marry Jessee.) Meanwhile Norman invited me to the same meal and get together. I don't remember too much about anything except later that night Garth came over to my place with me. (I don't remember what happened to Jessee, whether Garth took her home and came back and he can't remember either.) Anyway we talked for a long, long time and I told him somewhat of my marriage and why the breakup occurred and of course about my baby Sandra.
We started to go together sort of most evenings. He was rather shy about going with a divorced woman (I wasn't really divorced, the proceedings had started but had to wait 6 months for it to be final) so sometimes when I was walking he would pass me in the milk truck going the opposite direction and tell me he was heading for the ice plant to get some ice cream or such.
I was pretty diligent in practicing the organ at the chapel at that time as I had to pass his house coming from work at the Arrowhead.
One time Garth had the flu and was really sick for several days and with trepidation I went to visit him and see how he was. Back in those days girls just didn't go visit boys. Also I felt that his folks didn't approve of me because I in reality was still married. I think they didn't want him to be hurt as he had with Katie, then he had met a girl in the mission that he got interested in and when he went into the service she married someone else, then they said he had got quite serious about a girl named Utahnna. So how would they know that I wouldn't lead him on and then maybe go back to my former husband.
But I knew what a wonderful guy he was and I wasn't going to let him go if I could possibly help it. It was several months before he would tell me that he loved me, but I was sure he did.
In March he took me to Bryce to show me the Canyon and the trails he used to run up. It was a warm day here in St. George one of those simply beautiful days. (I had told him I'd only seen Bryce once briefly.) When we got there it was snow bound and we couldn't get near there, so we went down the dump to Tropic to visit his sister Elsa. She lived in a little house across the creek a few miles before you got to Tropic.
Understandably she was surprised to see us. She was bathing Karma, just a tiny baby and I thought she was going to freeze her as I thought it was very cold. Elsa just laughed and said that Karma was used to it.
About April Garth asked me to marry him [this next part is crossed out] but my divorce wasn't final. [the next sentence was inserted instead] We decided on a date in May so he said we better not say anything yet.
When we finally did, the next day he received an anonymous letter asking him if he had thot it over (I kept it for a long, long time then lost it-which is probably just as well for it upset me every time I read it)
I remember when he received it he brought it over to the Arrowhead where I was working and handed it to me and asked me what I thot of it. As I read it I was conscious that he was watching me and I was wondering what and how he thot I should react and wondered if I didn't react as he thot I should, if he would drop me.
We never did find out who wrote the note. Anyway, they had his best interests in heart cause they didn't think I would remain faithful and would interfere with his chance of getting to the Celestial Kingdom (maybe I have). I'm glad we never found out who wrote it..
Another experience he had when we announced our engagement was one day while he was delivering mail he went into a Beauty shop to deliver the mail and the owner there said "how come you're marrying her--she's already been married and besides I have a nice girl picked out for you that hasn't been married." Garth said he was so embarrassed as she said it quite loud in front of everybody.
[The next sentence is crossed out:] We were married 3 days after my divorce was final. We were married in the St. George Temple, 20 May 1948. We were married in the evening and as it was the first time thru' the Temple and a pretty exciting day, I was going to remember everything and everybody that was there. I came out not remembering much of anything and having a splitting headache from trying to concentrate, and remember everything.
After the ceremony we left for Orderville, Utah, in a green Studabaker Pickup and stayed that night in Grandma Hoyt's place (she was down here in St. George) We went to Chamberlains store and bought some lunch meat, bread etc. for a light lunch. The lunch meat (bologna), I guess or the excitement made Garth sick so the experience for him wasn't very pleasant.
The next morning Garth felt much better and we went on to Bryce Canyon and enjoyed a wonderful day visiting the points of interest that were so familiar to Garth there. We hiked two or three of the trails, Wall Street and Sunset Point Trail.
[The rest is in dad's handwriting--written on the back of Mom's typewritten one--in light pencil--very difficult to read. A few words were impossible to decipher.]
Some memories of my wedding are: preparation for wedding. Special Day at Temple. We honeymooned at Orderville & Bryce Canyon for 3 days. I was sick at Orderville the first night. O I was mad. The next morning I felt much better & we went on to Bryce Canyon & there injoyed a wonderful day visiting points of interest that were so familiar with me. I suppose I reminisced for some time, as we set there and fed the chipmunks, and looked over the beauty of nature. Mona was a good listener. The trip to Bryce was great. Very exciting Honey moon Huh!
We returned & spent some time at Zion Canyon National Park before returning home to our jobs & other responsibilities.
FROM MONA TO HER FAMILY
26 August 1944
Dearest Mamma Daddy & Kids,
Hello again. I was surely surprised to receive two letters, one right after the other...
I think I ought to start about where Lorna is now. Robert said he couldn't remember telling you that he said I bounced when I danced.
Thelma can't join up can she? I think one is supposed to be 20 with parent's consent and 21 without, of course, I may be wrong. What's her opinion of it or do you know.
I didn't know that LoLeta was taking lessons, too. I imagine Norman would do well to take music. I hope they all practice more than I did. I'm sorry I didn't practice more...
Of course I don't get homesick, not much, just lots. I like it up her, but I do so miss you all. Even the heat & the hills, rocks, sand and all of the people....
I do so wish we could be home for Grandma & Grandpa's Wedding Anniversary. I'm afraid Grandma's going to dislike Robert even more. He just won't stop smoking and I can't talk religion to him cause he's forever asking questions that I can't answer and I don't believe anyone else can either. I get so mad at him at times that I just don't know what to do. I still have hopes tho' that he will see and understand. he said that he'll probably get a recommend because we always pay tithing (he makes sure that I do). and comes to church as often as he can. But he says he wouldn't accept it cause he doesn't deserve it as he still smokes. He said they don't see him often enough to know whether he deserves one or not, and that's certainly true.
Thanks for those Ward teaching slips. I really enjoyed them. I let Bev & Alice read them then I preached all afternoon and told them quite a bit about our church and Alice asked questions I could answer.
Robert said if he were to be let out of the Marine Corps now he'd start working here at the Naval Supply and then each week we'd put away the largest check and live on the other. Then we'd have alot put away. I'm still carrying around $30 to put in the bank. I'm going to have to take an afternoon off so that I can put it in the bank.
I bought a pair of shoes the other day and I forgot my stamp, so we had them put away intending to return the next day with the stamp. Well, I looked and my ration stamp was mission, so-- I don't know. Robert got a letter from the Top Sgt. giving him a recommendation for a stamp, but neither of us get off early enough and we can't make it until next week sometime, even if I take the afternoon off. The formal dance is tonight and of course they gave Robert two days off this week so we can't go. Today is our anniversary and he can't get off this time, Darn it. I think he's going to get Sunday afternoon & Monday off.
We were planning to call you Wednesday, on your Anniversary, but he wasn't here on that night & Thursday I had a permanent & we didn't get home 'til after 12. I hate my permanent as usual. It's a mess and my hair is so coarse and funny. I had a machineless one.
Robert and I really don't know what we're going to do. He'd like to buy land up here and farm. He said he thought it would be the most profitable, but he said he just couldn't make plans cause he didn't know, maybe we'd live in St. George but he didn't know.
I took it that you had spent the afternoon in Cedar for the day, from LoLeta's pictures. I'm sorry to hear that Uncle Jose has started smoking again, and I hate to think Grandma has to find out.
I owe Grandma Hoyt a letter, also Milton, Cathy, Anette, Ella May [her sister-in-law], Mr. & Mrs. Smith [my grandparents], also ____ and Homer answered my letter ages ago & I haven't answered those. I haven't even written to Grandma & Grandpa Cox.
I surely wish we could go out to Orderville with you--I miss those trips but then one can't just pick up and leave any time they want, not when they have a husband and a job. Robert still thinks I'm a spoiled brat.
I'm glad you sent my blessing, where on earth did you find it?
So LoLeta & Lorna aren't little kids. If they aren't, then neither am I. Of course I never have minded being called a little kid. Specially at Thanksgiving...
I've about run out of things to say so will close for now. Love to you all Mona & Robert
PS. Bev came & stayed with me and we cooked supper & breakfast. The supper has lasted three meals & maybe more...
LETTER FROM MONA TO HER FAMILY
5 Sept. 1944
How good it seemed to hear from you by phone. I do so wish I could have come, But really this is the worst time of all. As I said, I've had two helpers, Alice & Bev. & Bev. has quit to go to school and Alice has been sick for the last four. I've just been swamped with work and they keep bringing more in every day.
Captain Ball wrote a letter to the effect that all Laborers are to go out of offices and as you know I'm a laborer. But as soon as this is made an order, I'll be known as a stencil girl, but I'll still be doing the same work. I guess that's about as clear as mud, but Mr. Meyer said he didn't want to lose me. I consider that as a compliment, also he doesn't want me to take any time off. I told him you called & wanted me to come home and so I said, "Mr. Meyer, I decided to take a couple of weeks off and go home." He gave me the awfullest glance and said, "Oh, Yeah." That was when you first called. Also, I reminded him of my appointment in Farragut and he said that if Alice wasn't back, I couldn't take it. Everything is so mixed up.
Right now they're sending out letters like the one I'll enclose & advertising over the radio & in the paper for workers. Some days there ares as high as Twenty car loads of stuff shipped out in one day and of course other days there'll only be from eight to ten.
I have to make out 3 copies of cars loaded every day. The car like PRR, Southern, B & O, etc., their no., what was loaded in them & from what Bldg.
And now one of my later duties. I have to make a list of the NP's & SI's (I don't know what it means except the Southern & Northern Routes.) that are being held. There are more of these & I have to look them up to see if they're SI or NP.
Ensign Meier came out to call on me, in my office & he gave me the duty of figuring out the man hours for August. He said little by little he was going to move work from where he is out to us in packing so it sounds as though we'll be even busier.
I had to ask for help today so one of the girls in shipping typed some tags for me.
It's really hot today, altho still not as hot as it gets down there. Did I tell you I used an electric adding machine today. And I think they're going to start on our office, cause they have the plans all drawn out.
Today when I came home, I had letters from Grandma Hoyt, she sent me a no. 2 shoe Ration Stamp... & my allotment check. Robert bought a fifty dollar bond today. He's also out looking for a place. He just called he's found a three-room cottage but we won't know for sure until morning.
I'm going in to meet him then we'll go to a dance. There I was going to write letters & try & answer them all. Anyhow I had good intentions. I hope you are all well and how is school. It'll seem so funny not going back.
Seven Marines have been discharged. Over age. So Robert won't get home so often, I guess. I guess I'd better start getting ready.
Love from Mona & Robert Write soon.
LETTER FROM MONA TO HER PARENTS
21 May 1945 Monday
Dearest Ones, Hello again. I received the check & note Mamma. I'm so glad you like the sachets. I thot they were beautiful I usually don't like lilac scent, but the whiff they gave me of that seemed rather nice.
Norman came in at five min. to four. Cathy & I were there at three fifteen. Were we glad to see him. [He was in the Navy.] I got your letter LoLeta. I'll try & answer it one of these years. Lorna I plan on writing to you sometime, too. Until I started writing, I could think of so many things to write but not now.
Cathy & I went to LB [Long Beach] with Norman, he'll probably tell you about it. Then Sunday when we went back down we had to stand all the way, 16 miles, in high heels, coats & hot & crowded. Our poor feet.
We saw Norman off, then walked around a little & looked out at the ocean, but didn't bother to go down on the beach. Then home we came & I plopped down on the couch (about three). I was dead to the world until six when the kids called me to supper. So I missed meeting also. I didn't want to cause I just love going & specially to the Huntington Park ward.
The dinner was grand. We'd bought a rabbit, so we had fixed rabbits, potatoes & gravy, beets, hot biscuits, salad & rice pudding. Cathy was cook.
I like my job very much. Now I don't get so tired & sore. There for awhile I was worn out & sore all the time.
Today I was all alone with the spot welder. I had to fill the jigs & weld also. I mean alone for two hours. I finished 7 1/2 shells. I figured that was pretty good seeings I hadn't done so very many before that.
Tomorrow night we girls are going to a broadcast. It's a special preview to the "Jack Douglas Show" Then we want to try & get tickets for the Nelson Eddy show Sunday.
I bought me some sun glasses, the glare hurts my eyes.
I haven't heard anything more from Robert. Has Mrs. Smith come back? Have they sold their place? I heard from Mary Jo, they're moving to Idaho, Dr's orders. Buster's to get out of the dust because his lungs are bad... The apple blossoms & tulips are in bloom.
We get along swell considering. & we have lots of fun together. We haven't really gone out so much but we are all going out Saturday to celebrate.
I'm wondering if $12.50 a week for bonds is going to work out alright. I'll try it any how. I know I won't spend the money but I won't be able to send as much home. Sometimes only $5. I would like to buy a suit & accessories & another pair of shoes. I can get a stamp here I think. Do you need my ration book for sugar stamps or canning sugar? Goodnight for now. Love always, Mona
LETTER FROM MONA TO HER PARENTS
31 May 1945 Thursday
Dearest Ones, Don't die of shock now it's really me again twice in one day. Maybe I can answer some of the questions you've asked. Thanks for the card & also the lamp. I hope that sometime soon that we'll have a place to put it. I don't know of an apt. near, but I'll try and locate one. I think it would do Lou Jean good. I don't think it'd be much fun looking for work tho. So many are being laid off but there are alot of jobs available. If you can get them to hire you. I'm still on my job, but don't know how much longer it will last. As a matter of fact, everyone is on edge. The Govt. is cancelling contracts and orders so no one knows what's going to happen next. Tell Lou Jean that I'll try & look around.
Anette just sent a letter saying that she's quitting her job & coming. There's no room for her here. We have a chance for another apt. but don't know yet what the people are going to do....
[She asks about the extended family]
I thot I'd write to both Robert & Bill to find out if Bill sent anything.
Norman wrote & said he'd been to Long Beach again, but he didn't have time to come on up. Maybe we wouldn't have been here anyway. He sounds like he's feeling better than he did at first.
We've surely been on the go lately. And I can't seem to think of anything we've done. We went to the show "A Song to Remember." I about howled my head off. Me, can you imagine it. It was the story of Frederic Chopin's life. It was really grand. See it if you can.
We went to the Park Wednesday & Cathy & Thelma went to the show tonight. I stayed home so I could wash & write. Helen's asleep on the couch. Guess what I went to bed at 9:30 last night, or did I tell you? I got up at 20 after 4 this morning tho.
I told you didn't I that I got three letters from Robert? He surely writes grand letters now. He's growing a moustache. I knew that he would. I'm still in hopes that maybe I'll get to see him if I stay here. It may be vain wishing, but if there's the slightest chance, I'm going to take it.
I've just about ruined what was left of my hands. We've been out of gloves for over a week. I wear a pair out in a day. The angles are greasy, too so you can just about imagine.
Goodnight for now. You don't know how good it seemed to hear your voices again. Tell Grandpa & Grandma Hello for me.
Always your Loving Daughter, Mona
LETTER FROM MONA TO HER PARENTS
19 June 1945 Tuesday
How are you all by now? Mamma are you well yet? Has LoLeta gone to Orderville?
Is it as hot there as it is here. Honestly the past two days have been practically unendurable. I roll my slacks up and braid my hair to keep a little cooler, but even then it doesn't help much. I thot after this many years I'd get used to heat, but I guess a person never does.
Sunday I went down to Long Beach to meet Norman and Mary Dawn. Dorothy & Fawn Walter went with me. We had quite a time finding the right busses and then her place. I hadn't brought her address with me and I thot their number was 422 & it was 822. Not afar off was I? We'd probably still be looking yet if they hadn't spotted us and yelled.
If ever a person broke their diet in high style, I did & I've been paying for it ever since. I ate candy, a soda, a hamburger, popcorn, an ice cream sandwich and to top all that off, five fresh donuts. So you see what I mean. My poor stomach just doesn't like me any more. So I swore off my diet until I can keep it, which I can't now and also when I can stand to eat oranges again. I guess I've eaten on the average of ten a day for the past three weeks. Ugh. Of course if a piece of orange was offered me, I'd still eat it. Trust me, I never could resist food.
Last night Anette & Cathy were here for supper. We had a wonderful supper. Broiled Liver, unseasoned. I actually like it. Remember how I used to wouldn't eat liver unless it was smothered with chili sauce or catsup? Then we had peas, corn, salad, toast, butter, cucumber, Butterscotch pudding & milk. I lost half a pound between today and yesterday. I was rather encouraged.
Tonight Anette & Cathy are here too. So I'm not sure what we're going to have but I'll bet its good.
Our spot welder broke so now we've got a new one. It runs much slower than the other, but they don't want us to work too fast. So we try not to. We finished fifty today. Our highest score has been sixty-four.
I'm going to try and get off for Norman's Wedding. I'm sure thrilled but scared for fear something else will prevent it.
I've counted up the letters I've received & haven't answered. Guess how many? 25. I just never get around to writing anyone it seems. I just never seem to get much of anything accomplished. I have been getting more sleep tho and I feel so much better.
This week we start a five day week. Only Friday we have to work ten hours instead of nine and a half.
Will you sent this book & application to the ration board for me? I wasn't sure how to address the envelope and I need shoes badly.
Here's hoping you're all well and that I'll be seeing you soon. Love always, Mona. I got the suits, thanks.
FROM MONA TO HER MOTHER AND FAMILY
October 20, 1950
Just a line I keep going to write but don't--Really keep busy. I just can't keep the sand swept off this floor. Sandra & Geraldine surely have lots of fun-- play from morning till night just as hard as they can.
Sandra surely liked the stationary with the fairies on it. She had to take it out to show all the kids.
There's lots of talk that all fellows with 4 dependents will get out. So maybe we won't have to have the letters from the Dr. as soon as we find out I'll let you know.
I was planning on calling you tonight about seven but they changed Garth's duty. he won't be here until 8:30. We've been here two weeks & it seems lots longer than that. Garth has lots of time off he says I don't know why I want to get out of the Army when I can lay around alot. But I'd lots sooner be down in St. George working. We just got word that the check we got for Garth's eye was the last one. But we get all back pay from time Garth went in service, the last of this month. I'm not sure how much. One thing I like here is being able to listen to the radio all day. I'd go crazy if I couldn't. We took that little blue radio again-- that we've used so much.
I enjoy church too but it surely seems strange to go so far. Next Tues. I have to go to Relief Society 20 miles away. then we're going 6 miles further on to eat lunch at Pres. Cormack's place cause they want me to play in Relief Society Conference next month & the members don't know how to play very well. So I really enjoy it.
We went to study class Thurs. night the kids slept all the way (20 Mi) then woke up when we got there they sure had fun chasing around.
I'll try & write soon but Garth's got to leave soon and I want him to take me to the grocery store and Post office.
The kids are awfully good and they've been feeling good. Sandra hasn't had any more trouble with her ear & tonsils. I've had some trouble with my kidneys--you know like you had when your urine burned but I took 1 tsp of soda every hr for almost 2 days & it cleared it up. I believe the reason I had to go so much is cause I have to go so far about the distance from your place to Normans & Mary's.
So Long for now. Love Mona Garth & Girls
FROM MONA TO HER PARENTS
[Early in October, 1950 I don't have the first two pages.]
... But not any more, all I do is stumble over them.
Sandra told Garth that you guys were here last night & do you know she slept with us most of the night & is still running a fever. I don't know whether its homesickness or if her tonsils are bothering her again.
I hope we get home for Christmas. If so, I'd like to get them out. None of the kids have any sign of colds. Diana is really growing & getting fat. I've been putting 4 1/2 to 5 spoons of Dexter Maltose instead of 4. She just never seemed satisfied. I've only done this twice & I suppose it's alright. She eats 2 cans of food a day. So you won't know her when you see her.
I've felt better ever since I talked to you. Golly we surely all miss being down there. But now we're torn between two desires, one to come home & the other to stay here. (for Church)
You see Garth was set apart as 2nd Counselor to the Branch President. The District President was down & he got up and said whether Mr. Barton knew it or not he was called here for a purpose. He said they haven't been able to quite organize the Branch yet. When they tried to move it to Atascadero, things just didn't work out so they could. Garth said the first time he went to church they weren't holding Sac. Meeting, but by the next time, they did. Lt. Maxwell was put in as Superintendent of Sunday School
So now we don't quite know what to think. I told Garth that I believed that if the Lord wants us here that he wouldn't get out of the Service until he wasn't needed here anymore. Since that came up down there, I've wished rather Garth could go on a mission or something. I feel this is the answer.
But both of us don't quite know what to wish. That's the only reason why we'd want to stay here for awhile (not always), just a little while.
It's certainly strange how things turn out. Here they've needed a piano player, too. Some of them play, but evidently can't get to practices or something. Anyway, they want me to play some.
Perhaps tonight we'll find out when the Apt. in town will be finished. So we can move.
Are you still losing weight. I don't have an idea how much I weigh. I gained some at first, but I don't think I am now. I'm trying to eat better again.
Write often. I'll try to write more often. Since I washed the Levi's they won't go around Sandra, so I'll send them soon.
Lots of Love, Mona
FROM MONA TO HER PARENTS
October 24, 1950 San Miguel, California
Dearest Mamma, Daddy & Lorna, Here goes again. I scribbled a note this morning, then while I was writing to LoLeta, Sandra cut out some pictures & glued them on the letter I wrote so--
I made her a mask out of a paper sack, and she was really thrilled with it. Geraldine's half afraid of it. It's really funny to watch. It seems so good to see her [Sandra] feeling good again. I've been keeping her in except to go to Camp for her two penicillin shots. We found out we could on some cases go up there.
There are 3 men doctors & one woman doctor. They were awfully nice, but from reports, we won't have to go back. I hope.
Garth may be out real soon. We'll know more today. So we might be home sooner than we expected or even dared hope. So I guess we won't need any of the letters. I'll have to send cards to the ones I asked to write & tell them not to.
I've got to Atascadero tonight. Garth's going to watch the kids. I'm to practice with the Relief Society women for a funeral Thur. Some boy died and they may want me to play. They're going to try and get a school teacher, if not I can cause Garth will be here to watch the kids.
There's really a feud here in camp between two women over their kids....[She describes the "battle"]... so I started watching & believe me, I've kept my mouth shut about the whole deal. I'm almost glad I was sick & then Sandra, cause that kept my kids clear away...[I'm not going to put in all the details]
The other day when I caught the kids with the baby's best dress, I bawled them out then found out Garth had put it on it [the doll]. So the next day the Mary Ellen dug the dress out of the dirty clothes. I had them outside. & [she] tore one of the ribbons off & then put the dress on the doll. Another day she came in while we were eating & while I stepped into the kitchen, she opened the powder can and threw it in the baby's face, then ran home. I wondered why she left so fast. I was furious.
Ronnie's usually taking to hitting with sticks or throwing rocks. Whenever the kids start arguing, Fae yells out to hers to hit them over the head with a stick or knock them down. So you can see whose side I'm on. I thot Fay was quite nice but she's surely causing alot of trouble in camp. Mary's kids never have been mean to Geraldine or Sandra.
If I go down town to mail this & then come back & wash, I'd better hurry. I'm out of everything. (I mean clothes.) Lots of Love, Mona
I think you will overlook the imperfections in Mom's and Dad's grammar and spelling and my organization and be able to see an overview of just who Mom and Dad are and perhaps some insights as to why they responded to life as they did.
Writing this book has given me a greater appreciation of their mission on this earth. I believe that all things happened as they were supposed to--that we are becoming the people we are supposed to and that we will continue to learn and grow because of who we are.
Unfortunately Dad and Mom didn't live to finish this history, or else the rest of the papers have been lost, but Melody and Nannette can guess what Dad would tell about their births, and what Mom and Dad would tell about all the other weddings, grandchildren, deaths, divorces, trials, etc.!!! All the things that caused Mom and Dad grief and joy...
...all the experiences that "carved our canyons". The following is in my collection of quotes, but Mom and Dad would have loved it because they loved Bryce Canyon and quotes!:
From TO LIVE UNTIL WE SAY GOODBYE by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"To love means not to impose your own powers on your fellowman, but offer him your help. And if he refuses it, to be proud that he can do it on his own strength.
"To love means to live without fear and anxieties about tomorrow.
"To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life: Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.
"I hope this book encourages people to expose themselves to these windstorms, so that at the end of their days, they will be proud to look in the mirror and be pleased with the carvings of their own canyon."
I found that although Mom and Dad weren't perfect--they always loved us and each other. They may have sometimes said and done the wrong things, but often, they were right-- we all learned about life and adapting from those experiences. I truly believe that we each have accomplished much in our lives because of (and in spite of) being part of the Barton family.
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Copyright ©2002 by Sandra Gwilliam
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