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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Childhood”

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Mary Ann Swenson*- Long before she studied midwifery, Mary Ann had served as a nurse in Driggs, Idaho, a community on the western flank of the Teton Mountains where, in a mild winter, the temperature drops to forty degrees below zero.

*The author is indebted to Mrs. Lorinda Phillips, daughter of Mrs. Swenson, for the information concerning her mother.

(The following was typed by LJA: “This is the woman who delivered me on July 2, 1917. LJA.”  The following was handwritten: “Lorinda Phillips was wife JJ. Albert Phillips, who ordained me an Elder in T.F.”)

[LJAD, citing Clair Noall, “Mormon Midwives,” Utah Historical Quarterly, pp. 142-3. X (1942)]

Twin Falls, Idaho

Jan. 8, 1925

Dear Daddy,

We appresiate you are gone.  We are all feeling good.  I am in Louises room.  There is a Mexican in my room.  I am in room 5.  I got a 100 in spelling.  I have a good teacher.  And yesterday I got a hunderd in spelling.  I have got my rubbers they fit me good.  Leroy is was[h]ing bottl[e]s for u[n]cle glen.  I get in the coal and kind[l]ing.  Keneth is feeling good.

Leonard arrington

[LJAD, handwritten letter to his father, who was serving a full-time mission in the Southern States Mission]

Aragon Hotel

Jacksonville, Florida

Sep 20-1926

Dear Leonard:

Your good letter received Saturday glad to hear from one of my Pardners I am wondering if you work for Uncles Grover & Glenn after school.

I suppose that you are a little man looking after Marie when she is away from Mamma.

I suppose that you have all plans made for you and I to go into the chicken buisness.  You wanto figer what kind of chickens we want.  also about how many we should buy to start with.  also what we should feed them in order to get the most eggs.

How are the two little boys getting along?  Mamma says that all of her Pardners are good to her.  

The Elders taken my picture yesterday and I may send home next week.  Love Daddy    

[LJAD, handwritten letter to Leonard from his father, who was serving a full-time mission in the Southern States Mission]

My Diary

In Jan. 1919 I took down with the flue and had it very badly, to add to the grief of my mother I took down with pneumonia at the same time!  I came very near passing away but by the work of the Lord and a dear old nurse named Mrs. Hanna Bowen I lived.  Nearly all the rest of our family were so sick that they couldn’t help me much.

May 5, 1919 my sister Marie was born.

My grandmother Arrington makes a quilt for everyone of her grandchildren and she made me a very pretty one.

I was blessed with a name Sept. 2, 1917 at twin Falls by Elder Wallace Strong.

When about 3 years old I took down with Typhoid fever but not very serious.  I had a few other diseases when I was little too.  In Jan. 1921 I had my tonsils taken out.  It was just after I got well from Typhoid.

I can’t remember any of my early life but when I was 6 years old I started to school.  It was Sept. 1923 that I waved good-bye to mamma and daddy and set forth to school in a wagon, which was driven by daddy.

My teacher was Miss Flynn, she was a very good teacher.  I got very goods and excellents on my report card.  I still have some of my report cards.  My friend that I went around with a lot was Cole Minnick.

On Nov. 10, 1923 Kenneth was born.  He was named Kenneth Richard Arrington.

I passed on excellents from the 1st grade to the 2nd grade.

In August 1924 my brother LeRoy was chasing me around an ash pile when accidentally I stepped in it and burnt my foot clear to the bone.  I still have a large scar left from it.  They changed from having school wagons to Busses.  Our bus was driven by Mr. W. T. Berry.  He says he can remember when daddy carried me out to the bus and I would sit on the tool bench up by him.  He has faithfully been driving it for 6 years.

I must tell you that during these years I went to the Washington School, in Twin Falls. 

In the 2nd grade my teacher was Miss Murray.  She was the only teacher that has ever given me a “shaking up.”  It was for disobedience.  I got Very Goods and Excellents on my report cards there too.  In December 6 we got notice from Salt Lake saying that daddy was to go on a mission.  He was chosen to go to the Southern States mission.  We moved to the outskirts of town, by my uncle, to stay till daddy got back.  My uncles then ran a Dairy.  They helped us out a lot while we were down there.  Daddy left Jan. 7, 1925 for Salt lake enroute to Atlanta, Ga.

This left LeRoy, mamma and me to do the most of the work.  I worked for my uncles Glen, and Grover at the dairy for 35 cents a day.  I delivered milk twice a day and helped wash bottles.  Also in odd times I delivered vegetables for Grandma for a nickel or a dime, which I was very thankful for.  I sometimes think I brought in more money than any one else in the family.  When Uncle Glenn would pay me at the end of a month I would take it in and give it to mamma and say “You can now buy some groceries.”  It was usually $10.35.  I guess I learned how to run fast while delivering milk because I can now almost win any race with children of my own age.

My teacher in the Bickel School in the 2nd grade was Miss Christopher.  She was easy on your work, what I mean she didn’t give you big long lessons to get.  I got mostly excellents from her.  Here I got acquainted with Ralph Miller, who has been my fast friend ever since.

I was also very religious these days.  I went to church every Sunday possible and took a lot of interest in my lessons.  I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ or Mormon Church, by my uncle Elder R. Glenn Arrington July 4, 1925 2 days after my birthday.  I was confirmed the next day at Fast meeting by High Priest Grover N. Arrington.  I was 8 years old.  In Sept. 1925 I started to school in the third grade.  My teacher was Miss Johnson.  On my report card I got all the way from 82 to 97.  I got an average of 92.  At the end of the year she wanted someone to help her clean out her desk.  She figured out that the one in the class that had the highest average would help her.  Louise Krengel and I tied for first place with 92, Louise had to go to a club meeting so I was chosen to help her.  She gave me many things she didn’t want, that I did want.

When in Mrs. Fillmore’s class in Sunday Class in 1925 or 6, Mrs. Snyder a fine old lady of our church sponsored a singing contest.  Students out of 2 classes could participate.  Mrs. Anderson’s class and Mrs. Fillmore’s class.  We had to sing the song, “Joseph Smith’s first dream.”  I learned the whole song.  Margaret Davis and I were chosen out of our class, and my cousin Velma Arrington, and Fred Babbell, were chosen out of the other class.  We had to sing before the whole ward.  Velma took first and got a cup worth $3.00.  Margaret got second and Mr. Babbell gave her $1.00.  Freddie took third and so got $.50 and I took fourth with $.25.

After I graduated from Mrs. Fillmore’s class, I was promoted to Miss Hazel Well’s (now Mrs. Frank Stevens) class.  We had the Book of Mormon as our subject.  She offered a prize to the boy and girl who could pay the most attention so after a few months of good behavior I and Margaret McNeely received prizes.  I received a comb in case, while she received a pair of beads.

On May 10, 1925, while daddy was on his mission Wayne was born.  We wanted to name him Charles Wayne but daddy wrote us that at that time his missionary companion was Asa Merrill so he wanted to name him Asa so we named him Asa Wayne of the Arrington family.  He weighed when born 10 lb. and had an unusually large head.

I was then promoted to the fourth grade.  I can’t remember anything that I did especially during the summer except work for my uncle and Mr. Avant.  

My teacher for the fourth grade was Miss Katherine Bryson.

This year we got A’s, B’s, C’s etc. while the year before we got numbers such as 97, 92, 95, 79, etc.  I got just a little lower grades than my friend Ralph.  My friend who I went with at this time was Gaines Black.  He was a very nice boy.  I always met him at church every Sunday because he lived out in the country about 2 or 3 miles from our place.  I can remember one time in an Arithmetic problem I didn’t know how to do, so I looked back to see how Ralph was doing it.  He went up and told the teacher that I was copying off his work.  She called me up and talked to me, and every since then I don’t believe I’ve ever copied any problem.  

Another interesting event was when we were saying a poem.  Ralph happened to be saying it when he was asked by the teacher to raise his voice.  He could not do it, and she kept trying to make him do it.  He got so disgusted with himself he started crying and went to his seat.  Miss Bryan asked the boys to go up to the front of the room to recite the poem together.  I was standing so straight and saying it so well that she drew a picture of me and passed it around for everybody to look at.  James Chew a Chinese was in our room, and he sure painted pretty pictures.  We received word that daddy was to come home Saturday the day before Christmas Dec. 24, 1926.

I was the first to meet him.  When he come off the train I had a hunch that it was him so I went up and said “Hello Daddy,” he put his arms around me and we went home.  He had a lot of Christmas presents for us that he bought in Florida.  He brought me a baseball and a kicking mule.  

My father had just come back from fulfilling an honorable mission in the Southern States.  He was first a missionary in Virginia then advanced to the office of President of the mission in Virginia.  He was then moved to North Carolina and was Mission President there and also in Florida.  He sent us a lot of pictures from the different places he went to.  He also visited my great grandmother who is to date 97 years old.  She was born in 1834.  He saw many things of interest in Florida which I will not take time to relate now.  

When daddy came home I decided to get a patriarchal blessing.  So on Conference day Mr. Judson I. Tolman gave me a very great blessing.  This was February 27, 1927.

In March daddy said we was to move out to our country home.  Both of these houses I have told you we have moved to are in Twin Falls, Idaho.  

I told my friends goodbye and we came out here.  I was very glad to move out here.

When daddy was on his mission we would write back and forth about chickens we were going to get.  When he came back he bought some Leghorns.  So when we came out here we had a lot more chickens.  During the two years we lived in town Mr. W. I. Sackett our neighbor farmed our place and gave us a percent of all the money taken in.  I had been going to a Religion class for the last year and was practicing for a play when we moved out.  I was a trail-builder.  I could not go after we moved.  

I had been going to the baseball games also.  There was a baseball league, which was called the “Utah Idaho League.”  The year I went to most of the games Twin Falls came in second in the league.  I got in free because I worked for my Uncle Jacob.  I got money for picking up bottles.  I was so interested in baseball, that that was the only thing I did in play.  I collected pictures out of the newspaper of the famous baseball players.  I guess this is what gave me the idea of getting all kinds of pictures.  

The summer after daddy left Marie and Leroy went on the train to Heyburn to see Aunt Sis and her children.  I and mamma had to stay home alone with the exception of little Wayne and Kenneth.  One day on the sale ground a man asked me to help him move some things.  He said he would give me a dime if I would so I did, bought a cantaloupe with the dime.  Mamma and I sure enjoyed it.  

The next summer I went to Aunt Sis’ on the train.  It was the first time I had ever ridden on a train except when I was 5 months old I went to Salt Lake (so I am told.)  I started to get off the train before it stopped but my cousin held me back.  I stayed up there for about one week.  My brother joined the Boy Scout organization when he got 12 years old, but he never got farther than a tenderfoot.  My uncle Jake was Scoutmaster.

That year they had a contest for building birdhouses.  Their troop took first place in the all-around contest because Uncle Jake was such a good carpenter.  LeRoy sold his for $2.50 in cash.

When we moved I went to the Washington School.  My teacher was Miss Mary Webster.  I got in good with her the first few weeks by answering most of the questions.  I got mostly A’s and B’s then.  Sometimes in the afternoon we would go out and play games.  Once we had a footrace.  In the boys race I won by a close margin from Herbert Larson.  In the girls race Betty McClure won by a wide margin.  I played baseball there a lot too, taking the role as catcher.  It was there that I learned how to play football.  Ray Freis was the star player.      

In 1927 I started reading the Book of Mormon through.  I don’t know how long it took me to read it through but I received a general idea of what it was about and so forth.  During this summer Woodrow my cousin from Montpelier came down.  We worked all summer with him.  I raised chickens during the spring.

After finishing the 4th grade I was put in miss Romine’s room.  She was a good teacher.  She was the one that developed my spelling.  I got all A’s and B’s with 1 or 2 C’s.  We had spelling contest between the different rows.  That made us study.  I only missed three words that year.  My school friends in the 5th grade were Edward Bess, Willard Maynard, Norman Cope and Bill Rappeley.  After the 5th grade Norman Cope went with his parents to Hazelton.  He and I kept in touch with each other by writing letters.  My teacher Miss Romaine was a very good teacher for I believe she developed my scholarship ability more than any other teacher I had had so far.

During the three months vacation from school I picked up roots of the apple trees that Mr. Watson and daddy had pulled.  There were about 75 acres of them.  While daddy and the neighbors were threshing our wheat, clover and beans Gerald Askew a neighbor boy of my own age and I would carry water to the men.  I and Charlie and Gerald and Buck.

We started to school in Sept. 1928.  I was now in the sixth grade.  I got to go to the High School building after 1 week of school at Washington.  My teacher there was Miss Norris.  After 1 period there, I was transferred to Miss Helen Grant’s room.  In Miss Norris’es room I got nearly all A’s, and behaved well but in Miss Grant’s room I got less A’s and didn’t behave so well.  

I learned a lot though in Miss Grant’s room.  I got about 3 or 4 A’s one “C” in Drawing and the rest B’s.  I went with Tracy Gipson, Ralph Miller, and Gerald Askew at this time.  The sixth grades had a series of baseball games.  I was chosen captain of our room, playing catcher.  We had lots of fun playing.  At this time I took particular interest in athletics practicing football, baseball, and track events.  I also took interest in spelling getting all “A’s.”  Our class had a spell down near the end of the year.  I stayed up the longest, while a boy we call, “Corky” stayed up second longest.  He missed the word “salad” spelling it “salid”.

During that year we had an achievement test.  I got the highest in spelling in all sixth grades.  

I also took especial interest in History.  We studies Ancient History.  During the summer I worked very hard.  I harrowed, clod-mashed, weeded beans, and many other odd jobs.  In the fall (Sept. Oct. [1929]) Mamma, daddy, and LeRoy went to Oklahoma to visit mamma’s relatives there.  They next went to Arizona to see Aunt Maud then on to California to see Aunt Virgie & Uncle Lawrence.  There LeRoy swam in the ocean.  They came home after being absent 3 weeks.  Lucille McCoy stayed with us kids.  We got along fairly well at home.  In July and August, I started reading the Bible but only got Gen. and Exodus read.

In Sept. [1929] I started school in Junior High School.  I had 9 teachers.  One for each subject.  This began my year of real current events, for things happened in rapid succession.  I missed the honor roll (getting all A’s and B’s) the first time but worked so hard the other periods I made it easily.  I missed it in General Science.  I was put in Mrs. Nunemaker as advisor.  In November we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner.  On Christmas we had a happy time too.  I got nice presents and so did all the rest of our family.  In January [1930] I was promoted to the 7-A grade, The last part of Jan. was spent by me studying spelling for the School Spelling Match.  On March 4, it was held.  I made a desperate struggle for first but because I got stage fright I did not win.  I missed the word “sympathize” Doris Parsons won the match while I took second.  On March 8 the county spelling contest was held.  There were 53 entrants in it.  I stayed up seventh.  March 14 our homeroom had an election for School representative; I was chosen and March 17 the school had an election for School representative.  I was first choice and there were 5 others elected.  We had our pictures taken so we could get our picture in the Coyote, the High School Annual.  One of the most important events in the 7th grade was the track meet.  They divided the school into 3 groups.  The Spartans, Athenians, and Corinthians.  I was a Spartan.  When we had the Spartan tryout, I took first place in the 50-yard dash and 80 yd. dash and 4th place in the broad jump.  

In the track meet I took 3rd place in the 80 yd. dash and was in the Relay and 4th place in the 50 yd dash.  The Spartans won 2nd place in the contest.  Jerry Smith was the high point man with 21 pts. And Zelda Lee was highpoint girl with 21 points.

I was promoted to the 8-B grade in May with very high grades.  We began right in to do our summer work.  We wanted to build a derrick so we made a trip to Shoshone Basin to get some poles.  We went June 3, 1930.  We stayed up there for one day but had lots of fun.

I had to harrow, clod-mash, cultivate potatoes, weed beans and everything else.

Our family had our first real vacation.  We went to Yellowstone National Park.  We left Aug. 13 [1930].  It was 300 miles from here and we got there in 9 hours making an average of 33 ½ miles an hour.  We had a New Ford car.  We stayed there that afternoon and all of the next day and part of the night.  We had lots of fun climbing up Mt. Washburn 10,314 ft. high.  And had fun seeing which one of us would be the first one to see a deer, elk, or moose.  We seen a little cub bear climbing a tree.  We left the park that night and slept outside it.  Sept. 9 [1930] we started to school.  In the 8-B grade I had 7 teachers.  The first period I missed the honor roll with Nature Study.

During all of this time I was still tending to chickens and banties.  Sept. 11 daddy gave me all the banties.  I sure was glad.

I had also been getting more efficient in my church work.  I had come such an efficient deacon so that I was chosen to be first counselor to John Wells president of the quorum.

They had a spelling test in school of hard words.  Anyone missing more than [less than!] 2 words of them were exempt from studying spelling the rest of the year.  I missed one word: “sleight,” and so was the only one in school exempt from spelling.  

I had thought of the wonderful work of the Boy scouts at this time and so decided to join them.  I passed my Tenderfoot test Oct. 15 and so was scout from that date.  Mr. Davis is our scoutmaster.  He was a very efficient one too.  Between Oct. 15 and Dec. 9 I was working on my Second Class tests.  On Dec. 9 I correctly past all questions on my work and so received a badge.  Dec. 11 I had a new little brother.  We named him Ralph Marvin Arrington.  We weighed 7 pounds.  I also went on my 14-mile hike with Ward Ritchie.  Christmas I had a happy time.  I receive a baseball catcher’s mitt.  I think every one else had a happy Christmas too.  I tried to start the New Year out right but I don’t know if I did or not.

Jan. 11 [1931] I was appointed president of the deacons after John [wells] had been ordained a deacon [teacher].  June 6, 1930 I had started reading the Bible thru.  I determined to read it every day until it was finished.  I read it every day except July 4.  I finished it eight months later, Feb. 6, 1931.  It was a hard job but I did it.  On Feb. 22 I was set apart as president of the deacons by Bishop Allred.

In school, I was gradually getting my schoolmates confidence.  Feb. 26 I was elected Chairman of the Cub News Advisory.  I had previously joined that advisory.  It issues the Cub News, (the Junior high paper.)  I had been studying my spelling some more.  Feb. 27 the school spelling Bee was held.  I took first place, and Francis Erbland took 2nd place.  Between this time and March 21 I studied spelling very hard.  March 1.   I bore my first testimony in Fast Meeting.  Altho I was very scared I was sincere.

March 6 the Boy Scouts went to Nat Soo Pah a natural sanatorium.  We cooked our own food by the fire and had a nice swim.  Nearly all of the time I was in an organized patrol.  I was patrol leader.  Dale Smith was assistant, Ward scribe, and Bill Rappeley was a member.  March 10 we reorganized and Ward Ritchie was elected Patrol Leader, Dale Smith assistant and I as scribe.

March 18 I was elected captain of our Home Room baseball team.  We did lots of practicing so that we might win our first game.  March 21, the great County Spelling Bee was held.  We spelled 2 ½ hours before a girl from Filer named Helen Williams won.  We spelled 108 words before I missed the wretched word reimburse spelling it “reemberce”.  I had never heard of it before.  I did many other things during this time but they aren’t worth mentioning.  April 24 I was the only boy in 43 in the school to have earned a letter in athletics.  It was very hard to earn it.  

[LJAD, Copied Verbatim from a Diary and History Started by Leonard Arrington in 1927 when he was ten years old.  The following was handwritten:  “Covered the years 1927-1931.”  Includes additions in brackets and corrections as were handwritten.]

I, Leonard James Arrington being born of goodly parents do hereby write a brief history of my life.  I was born July 2, 1917, in Twin Falls, Idaho.  My father’s name being Noah Wesley Arrington and my mother’s maiden name Edna Grace Cirn.  I being third in a family of 10 children.  My eldest brothers name being LeRoy Wesley.  

Sept. 2, 1917 I was blessed with a name by Elder Wallace Strong of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In Jan. 1919, I took down with influenza.  To add to the grief of my mother, I took down with pneumonia a short time afterwards.  I came very near passing away, being only 2 ½ years old.  But through the work of the Lord and a nurse, I lived.

When about 3 years old I took down with Typhoid fever.  But fortunately it was not very serious.  While still very young I had many other diseases but was strong enough to endure the strain.  

When 6 years old I started to school in Twin Falls.  The School Wagon I rode for the first year was driven by my father.  

My teacher in school was Miss Flynn.  She was one of the best teachers I have ever had.  On the report cards I received Very Good’s and Excellents.  The boy I had as my first friend was Cole Minnick.  

On August 1924, LeRoy was chasing me around the place when I stopped into the ash pile and almost burnt my foot to the bone.  This burn left a large scar and was kept in bandage a very long time.

In the second grade I received the only shaking up I have ever received, from my teacher Miss Murray.  In December my father got notice from Salt Lake saying he was to go on a mission to the Southern States.  We moved nearer to town by my grandfather and two of my uncles.  Daddy left Jan. 7, 1925 for Atlanta, Ga.  This left Mamma, LeRoy and I to do most of the work.  I got a position helping my uncle, in the dairy at 35 cents a day.  He paid me monthly.  I received about $10.50 every month.  I went to the Bickel School here.  My teacher for the rest of the second grade being Miss Christopher.  I got very good grades on my report card.  Here I got acquainted with Ralph Miller my lifelong friend.  

I was religious also.  I attended church nearly every Sunday taking an active part in the lesson.  I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by my uncle R. Glenn Arrington an Elder, July 4, 1925.  I was confirmed the next day by High priest Grover N. Arrington.

For my third grade teacher I had Miss Hazel Johnson a very capable teacher.  She it seems knew the heart of every pupil.  My teacher the next year was Miss Kathryn Bryson, a teacher who knew the fundamentals of teaching very well.  It was in her room that I learned not to copy problems in Arithmetic.  

We receive word that daddy was to come home Dec. 24, so I went to the railroad station and was the first one to meet him.  He had just come home from fulfilling an honorable mission.

Feb. 27, 1927, I received a patriarchal blessing from Judson I. Tolman.  

March we moved into the country again.

While in town I went to religion Class and took an active part in the lesson.  I was also in singing contest in church and received fourth place.  The reward was twenty-five cents.  

I had also been going to the baseball games, which were held in Twin Falls.  I had hardly missed a game and enjoyed them.

My teacher in the Washington School, fourth grade, was Miss Mary Webster.  I got about the highest grades here I ever have got in school.  

In Sunday School I received a comb from my teacher Miss Hazel Wells for being the best boy.

In 1927 I started reading the Book of Mormon.  I also finished it that year.  

During my 5th year in school my teacher was Miss Romine.  My friends during this year were Edward Bess, Bill Rappeley, Norman Cope, and Willard Maynard.  I worked very hard that summer.  Weeding Beans and everything else.

During the summer my cousin Woodrow came to help us in our farm work.

My friends in the sixth grade were Ralph Miller

[LJAD, Copied Verbatim from a Diary and History Started by Leonard Arrington in 1927 when he was ten years old.  Covered the years 1927-1931.  Includes additions in brackets and corrections as marked.  The following was handwritten: “Apparently a first draft of the 1927 diary”)

Junior High Who’s Who

The only member of the Seventh Grade to win recognition as a school representative is Leonard Arrington.  He is an all-around student, ranking in scholarship, good citizenship and athletics.  Leonard was awarded second place in the school spelling bee.

[LJAD, From THE COYOTE, Vol. XIX, 1930, published by the Student Body of Twin Falls High School.  Ca. May 1, 1930]

Did I ever tell you that the first money I ever earned was at a ball game?  When Dad went on his mission, Mom & we kids moved to the edge of town next to Grandma & Uncle Glen & Uncle Grover.  I was 8.  There was a Utah-Idaho League of ball.  I’d go to town in the summer to help Grandma sell vegetables & then stop by the ball game.  For every pop bottle I could pick up, I was given 1 penny.  The first game I went to (I slipped in free) I picked up 60 bottles & walked home with 60¢ in my pocket.  Was I a proud lad!  After that, I went to the ball game as often as I could—knew all the T.F. players by name.  Every now & then I’d make an extra nickel picking up gentleman’s hat that he had dropped below the bleachers.

Altho I probably attended only 10 games, it got in my blood & has been there ever since.  At the age of 10 my one & only direction was to become a catcher for the New York Yankees.  Now I can’t watch a game.  It makes me too impatient & nervous.  I want to play.

When we have our farm & home in Boise (if we decide we like it there) we will have a nice level pasture where we can put up a backstop (or softball).  I hope our future son will enjoy playing ball like his future Daddy does.  We’ll let Mother be the umpire (or would she rather be fixing up some nice ice cream and cookies to hand out when the game’s over.

Oh, we’ll have a happy time, darling!  I love you so much for what you are and what you will be for me, our children & our future.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 12 May 1944]

October 15, 1969

Mr. K. Bradley Monson

6-D 380 Wymount Terrace

Provo, Utah 84601

Dear Bradley:

Here are some provisional answers to your questions.  I was born in a one-room, frame house on a farm near Twin Falls, Idaho, on July 2, 1917.  My father was born in Reed Hill, Tennessee—one of a large family of mountain folk.  He and most of his family were converted to Mormonism in the 1890’s and moved to Sweetwater, Tennessee, and later to Rossville, Georgia just across the line from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Then in a later stage of the Sooner Rush (about 1905) they moved to a place in Southern Oklahoma called Faxon where they tried farming part of what later became the Dust Bowl.

My mother was born near Ireland, Jasper County, Indiana, in a family of Methodists that had migrated north from Kentucky.  Her family also moved to Faxon, Oklahoma, to a farm a short distance from where my father’s family lived.

My father and mother fell in love, but there were problems of marriage because my father was a Mormon.  They eloped and were married in Lawton, Oklahoma by a Presbyterian preacher in 1913.  The first child, my brother LeRoy, was born in 1914 near Twin Falls.  My parents had 11 children, two of who died while young.  The nine children who grew to adulthood are all alive and healthy.  

The following is a list of those in the family:  Noah Wesley Arrington, father, 1889-1968, farmer; Edna Corn Arrington, 1894-1963, mother, housewife; LeRoy Wesley, farmer near Twin Falls; Thelma Eileen Arrington, died at age of two; Leonard J. Arrington; Marie Arrington Davidson, husband is a butcher in Burley; Kenneth R. Arrington, farmer near Twin Falls; A. Wayne Arrington, office manager, California Packing Cooperation, Sacramento, California; Doris Arrington Shelley, husband works on farm near Twin Falls; Donald C. Arrington, farmer near Twin Falls; Ralph M. Arrington, civil engineer with Soil Conservation Service at Phoenix, Arizona; Ross L. Arrington, C.P.A. and Lawyer, Professor of Income Tax Law at San Francisco State College; Infant, died at birth.

I grew up on a farm near Twin Falls, attended Washington Grade School in Twin Falls, and graduated from Twin Falls High School with an agriculture major.  I participated in debate and was a member of the Idaho champion debate team, but was most active in Future Farmers of America.  I became Chapter President, then Idaho State President, and ultimately National First Vice-President and was awarded the American Farmer Degree.  My projects consisted of pedigreed Rhode Island laying hens, baby chicks, corn, and calves.  I won the Idaho State FFA original oratory contest and third place in the Region.  I graduated in 1935. . . .


Leonard J. Arrington




P.S.  In reading this dictated draft over, I see a thousand “I’s,” but see no point in redrafting it since you will use it only for information.  Perhaps I should also add that I have sought to play a role in the university and civic community in Logan.  I have served as president of our Faculty Association, as Chairman of our Professional Relationships and Faculty Welfare Committee, and as a member of the Faculty Senate.  I have been (and am) a member of Rotary, and am chairman of a Special Advisory Committee to the Logan Board of Education.  I have believed it part of my responsibility to join good causes, and have thus serve as an officer of Western History Association, Organization of American Historians, Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, Agricultural History Society, and Economic History Association.  I am an Advisory Editor of Dialogue:  A Journal of Mormon Thought, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Institute of Mormon Studies at B.Y.U.  I have been active in the Utah Historical Society and Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, as well as the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

As an active member of my church, I have been a Ward MIA Superintendent, Senior President of the 367th Quorum of Seventy, member of the High Council of Utah State University Stake, and member of the Presidency of Utah State University Stake.

[LJAD, letter written to K. Bradley Monson, BYU History Student, 15 October 1969]


Dictated December 1, 1971 (Wednesday)

For some reason I was thinking last night about the conditions under which I grew up near Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls County, Idaho.  My older brother LeRoy was born in a shack located west of where the Amalgamated Sugar Company has its plant southwest of Twin Falls.  We used to call that the Rock Creek area, as it is near a little canyon, which we called Rock Creek Canyon.  My Father was employed by the Sugar Company at the time LeRoy was born (January 1914).  I was born in July, 1917 in a little one-room shack on land farmed by my Father at the time, approximately three miles east and one half mile north of the Washington School.  The shack was located a little north and a little west of the Sacket home, which is on the west side of the road which goes north toward Shoshone Falls.  The little shack was still standing when I was a small boy.  Part of the time, it was used as a sleeping place for farm workers, and part of the time as a granary.  I was delivered by Anna Swenson, a midwife, a Mormon woman who was more or less a full time midwife delivering Mormon babies in south central and southeastern Idaho.  She had taken a series of lessons from Dr. Ellis Shipp Roberts, whose diary I have cited in my article in Dialogue on Mormon women.  

My Mother and Father both told me that when I was very small I had a surprisingly large number of serious childhood diseases.  According to their recollection, before I was four years old I had been seriously ill with small pox (and I have ever since been immune to small pox vaccination), diphtheria and typhoid fever.  My mother says that I nearly died of the latter, no doubt contracted from the impure irrigation water, which furnished our culinary water.  In addition, when I was three or four I had tonsillitis and our doctor gave me a tonsillectomy, but he apparently did not do a very good job, as several doctors have told me since that part of my tonsils are still there.  However, I seem to have had no more trouble with them, except one time when I was chewing on a piece of grass and swallowed the stem and it lodged in my throat and caused infection. Later, a doctor removed it and successfully treated the infection.

Grace and I were comparing last night the treatments given in our families for various childhood diseases.  She complained particularly of frequent doses of calomel, for whatever ailed her.  My own recollections are:  frequent doses of mustard plasters, which presumably were suppose to remove some kind of germs or something or other.  Anyway, it forced us to lie flat in bed for hours at a time and the plaster was covered over with hot towels and plentiful quilts to keep us very warm—and these applications went on for many days.  It must have been a real trial for my mother, who prepared them and applied them, add nauseam.  My recollection is that it would take her as long as an hour just to prepare and apply them, every time, but maybe it just seemed like an hour to a little boy.  In addition, we had frequent doses of castor oil—my recollection is, many times a year.  I do not remember any asafetida balls* or applications of calomel in our home.  I can remember a number of occasions when we were quarantined; that is, some doctor or supervisor would come to the house, and tack up big placard on each door which said “Quarantined—do not enter!”  I suppose this was done when I had small pox, when we had typhoid fever, diphtheria, and other such diseases.  I remember one time when my little sister Marie had scarlet fever and we were quarantined.  In order for me to go to school I was taken to Grandma Arrington’s to live for the duration of the illness (about three weeks).

*Of Iranian origin—the fetid gum resin of a Persian plant with a strong odor, used in medicine as an antispasmodic.

Once when I was about 10 years old I had yellow jaundice—I really don’t know how I picked it up but I remember being away from school a number of weeks.

I have the feeling that my older sister Eileen, was also delivered in the same shack in which I was delivered.  She died of spinal meningitis induced from a fall from a little red wagon, shortly after I was born.  I surely do not remember her accident and illness, but I seem to remember using the little red wagon from which she fell and being told in the strictest terms to be careful, that my sister had died from an accident with the wagon.  But maybe it was just another red wagon not the actual one.  I also have memories of a goat, which pulled the red wagon and seem to recall being pulled by this nanny goat.  My mother says that we did have a nanny goat to help her provide milk for Eileen, since apparently her milk did not agree with Eileen.  But maybe I only dreamed the story of being pulled by the goat.  Later on, of course, we had goats to provide milk for Dodie, for she also rejected my mother’s milk and I was old enough to milk the goat, which supplied Dodie.  I was so proud to be old enough to milk.  My oldest brother, father, and mother milked the cows, and I wished so much that I was old enough to milk cows.  But they told me that I should start out with goats and work up.  It was many years before I learned that milking cows was much easier than milking goats and that they were giving me the toughest milking job in the household.

Transcribed by RaNae Allen

Corrected 12/9/71 by LJA

[LJAD, LJA Diary, 1 December 1971]

When I was a small child—perhaps two or three years of age according to my mother—I caught the small pox.  That would have been about 1919 or 1920.  My mother says there was an outbreak of smallpox in the Twin Falls area and I was one of those who came down with it.  I have the impression another member of the family also had it, but am not certain.  People were terrified of this disease—so many died of it.  One had to put up huge QUARANTINE signs to let everybody know the plague was there.  People passing by in their buggies put up a blanket to ward off the germs and rushed by.  They turned their faces away from the house, held their breath.  No one dared come to visit a family in quarantine except a family doctor or a midwife.  According to my mother, the midwife, Anna Swenson, came, tended to me, and prayed with my mother over me.  (My mother always mentioned praying with the sister, not my father, which suggests that Dad was also ill—perhaps with the smallpox.)  After I had passed the peak of the small pox and was on the road to recovery, the water in our cistern became contaminated and I came down with typhoid fever.  Again, prayers and nursing and of course survived.  My mother always said that the Lord preserved me to do an important work—she didn’t know what.  Despite problems and indiscretions, she always had faith I would do some important work for the Church because of that time when I was supposed to die, but the Lord preserved me for some purpose of His own.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Saturday, 12 May 1973]

When Carl was home during Thanksgiving, we got to reminiscing about favorite radio and TV programs, and I think it might be interesting to readers of this diary to record this.

I first heard of radio at the time the old crystal sets came out about 1933. My brother LeRoy came home with a crystal set and I recall how we huddled about it to hear radio and how amazed we were to hear the voice coming through the earphones. I do not recall that I had even heard of radio before that time. Soon after he brought the set home we acquired a set of our own and it seemed to me only a short time after that we acquired a set which did not require earphones.

The only program which I remember hearing during those first years was Amos and Andy. We all gathered together every evening to listen to Amos and Andy. I recall also listening to the broadcast of a rose bowl football game on New Year’s Day. When I went to the University of Idaho in the fall of 1935, I purchased a little radio from Brown Music Company in Twin Falls which I took with me. I used it primarily to listen to the Richfield news every evening at 10:00 and to play music. I usually listened to Mexican stations partly because I enjoyed their music and partly because I could listen to their programs without any interruption of my thought while studying since they spoke Spanish I didn’t understand anything they said so didn’t have to listen to the commercials. I remember also listening at home during vacations to “One Man’s Family” by Carlton Morse. We listened to it for many years until the members of that family became almost members of our own family, and we identified with them.

After the war and our move to Logan, I recall listening to “The Shadow.” I do not recall other radio programs.

Then in 1954 as I recall we purchased a television set. It was enjoyed particularly by Grace as she raised the children and by the children also. In Logan and in Pasadena I recall listening to the Disneyland program of Mickey Mouse, to Cisco Kid, to Zorro. In the years that followed we enjoyed listening to such really intellectual shows as McHales Navy, Hoggan’s Heroes, My Three Sons, Rawhide, Leave it to Beaver, Have Gun Will Travel. Still later we enjoyed Perry Mason, Cannon, Andy Griffith, Gunsmoke, Beverly Hillbillies, and Bonanza.

By in large our family have not been regular TV watchers. This includes all members of the family. We might watch one program an evening or two particularly at dinnertime when the children were small, but that was about all. 

[LJA Diary, 28 Nov., 1973]

These notes were made by Leonard J. Arrington on Friday night, January 10, 1975 at a session of reminiscence that followed the completion of the annual meeting of stockholders and board of director of N. W. Arrington Farms, Inc. In the evening there were some musical selections and then each of the descendants of N. W. Arrington and Edna Grace Corn Arrington gave reminiscences.

Leonard thought there were three groups of three that grew up in the family with different circumstances and different experiences: Leonard, LeRoy, and Marie in the first group; Kenneth, Wayne and Dodie in the second group, and Don, Ralph, and Ross in the third group. With respect to the first group, Leonard remembered that the principal meal was in the middle of the day and was called dinner. In the evening for supper the family usually had bread and milk or soda crackers and milk or a dish of stewed fruit or stewed fruit over bread or popcorn and sugar and cream or cherries with flour added on bread and butter. LeRoy remembered that we were given some chewing gum on occasions and we would chew it for awhile and then put it up on the shelf and take it down again to chew again and this way a given stick might last for a week or more.

LeRoy remembered Daddy as a hired hand riding off to work on a bicycle. He remembered him going to town to borrow $50 from the bank and put up a cow and a horse, his only possessions, as collateral and under some circumstances the bank might not even lend $50. Leonard remembers Dad driving a sheep wagon–a covered wagon to school taking him and some of the neighboring children. He was paid by the school board to drive these children to school–perhaps as many as ten or fifteen. This was to Washington School. LeRoy remembers Mom placing hot irons on the stove and wrapping them in socks and putting them in the middle of the floor of the sheep wagon so the children, could keep warm as the wagon was driven the four or more miles to school. At that time we lived in a two-room frame house without porch or sleeping porch. The family was not heavily involved in church although Dad was on the high council. The family went to Church in a buggy and Leonard remembers being wrapped up in quilts and lying down in the bottom of the buggy as they drove to Church. Every evening Mom and Dad, LeRoy and Leonard and Marie would sit around the open oven door of the little wood stove range and Dad would tell stories, peel and eat apples, and so on. Leonard remembers that Dad enjoyed and appreciated birds and as they walked from one place to another he would point out this bird and that and would enjoy seeing little birds and pointing them out.

Leonard remembered two big conflicts between Mom and Dad. One of them was over Mom getting a new sewing machine. A traveling salesman came by and using all his powers of persuasion over an hour or two persuaded Mom to buy a sewing machine. She signed the contract for it. When Dad came home in the evening he was very angry. He went to see the sewing machine man and was angry with him. We have the impression he got the price reduced some. Anyway, he let Mom keep the sewing machine. Marie seems to remember that he didn’t talk to Mom for two weeks he was so angry. LeRoy, Marie and Leonard all remember him as being more angry over that episode than at any other time we could remember.

The other conflict Leonard remembers is over Mom getting her hair cut. She had always worn long hair put up with a bun at the back. The other women of the Church did the same thing. Leonard has the impression that this was almost an aspect of religious belief that that is the way modest women should wear their hair–only immodest women cut their hair and dressed it up, At a certain stage Mom decided to have her hair cut and Leonard remembers a certain amount of trauma in the family; everybody thought that if she went modern on hair this was giving up traditional beliefs and practices.

Leonard remembers that when Dad became angry his custom was to spit. Leonard and LeRoy both remember that he never cussed or swore. Wayne, however, seems to remember occasions when he did. LeRoy remembers the first time they brought home a tractor, probably about l930, when they put it in the cellar south of the house and spent several weeks giving it a complete overhaul. It was a used tractor. They obtained their first car, a Model T, in the early 1920s. Mom used to drive it also. In fact, Mom never could get used to the gear shift in the Model A and cars they acquired later, and when that stage came she always had somebody drive her wherever she wanted to go. We all remember that Dad was a fast driver and that he would drive rapidly down the road singing “I Need Thee Every Hour.” LeRoy remembers that he was in the habit of riding the clutch after driving the Model T and when he got the first gear shift type car that he continued to ride the clutch.

Leonard and some of the others remember Mom spending a good deal of time reading to us as we were young and Leonard remembers her spending a good deal of time helping him learn how to spell. Mom was an excellent speller even though she only went to the 11th grade and she used to spend hours helping Leonard prepare for spelling contests. Some of them remember Mom taking the Reader’s Digest and getting much enjoyment and entertainment from reading the jokes and laughing.

All of us remember that we were spanked frequently by Dad and occasionally by Mom as well and also that we were switched with a switch that we were required to go out and get. We all remember times when we did something wrong and were punished or had to make apologies. Kenneth and Wayne were sliding on the ice on the home place farm to the south of the home on the Shoshone Falls Road. The ice covered quite a bit of the field and so they got the brilliant idea of holding onto a cow’s tail and have her pull them across the ice. Then they got the more brilliant idea of attaching a rope to the cow’s tail and make her pull them with the rope. More of them could hold onto the rope. This went on for some time but eventually she got in such a position that they pulled her tail off. She had been my pet jersey heifer when I had gone to the university, so Mom made them sit down and write me a letter of explanation and apology. There was also a time when they were required to clean the chicken house and they left the back vent up all night and the chickens all got cold and half of them died. They also had to write a letter of apology to me for doing that. There went all my chicken profits that were supposed to help me in college.

Leonard remembers when LeRoy was chasing him for some reason or other. This was when Leonard was six years old and Leonard kept running from him and finally decided to dodge him and ran through some hot ashes from an outside fire. This burned the top of Leonard’s foot and he has carried a big scar there ever since. We remember the time when some of us got up in the pigeon roof and broke some of the eggs and killed some of the little pigeons. Dad was very angry on that occasion as well and gave everybody involved a good switching.

Ross remembers taking a trip to Oklahoma in the 1940s with the folks. They drove back in the Lincoln Continental. The generator went down and so Dad sat on the front fender with the flashlight while Ralph drove. It was so scary as they were driving up this mountain that Mom finally got out and refused to go any further.

Ralph remembered Mom ironing a lot and remembered her reading stories out of Childcraft and remembered her teaching him how to count even before he went to school and that he was the only one in his class that could count to 100 the first day of school. He remembers riding horses at work and enjoyed it. He remembers Ken making a little derrick for them which they used in putting up hay.

The older ones remember getting fruit as the principle present at Christmas time—usually an orange, a few nuts, and little hardtack candy. Among the first three that was usually the size of our Christmas. As the family acquired more wealth, others began to receive toys–usually one toy per person per Christmas.

Mom was the baby of a family of eight and was perhaps used to having her own way, so that she was perhaps more easily hurt by Dad’s neglect or parsimony than many women might have been. Dad bought her a new dress every year–usually one dress per year. We all remember the same old black coat which she wore even up to the time when we were fairly prosperous. None of us were ever taken to the dentist. We only had medical care when an operation was necessary. Leonard remembers a tonsillectomy when he was three or four; Marie had an appendectomy; Mom and Dad had their teeth out when they were in their thirties and a set of false teeth; Ken had his arm broken twice; LeRoy got blood poisoning in his hand, but somehow none of us died. Thelma died of spinal meningitis after she fell on her back and infection set in. The other child was stillborn. We all had a succession of diseases. Leonard remembers having typhoid fever when he was about three; Marie had scarlet fever when she was about eight; Leonard had yellow jaundice or hepatitis when he was about nine. We remember when Mom went to the hospital to have a baby and always stayed nine or ten days. During that time Dad did not cook–none of us ever saw him cook. He fed us sardines and hominy and crackers and milk. We got so sick of sardines on these occasions that none of us have been able to stand to eat sardines ever since.

Marie remembers when Dad went to the Salvation Army and got her some clothes. Also for other members of the family. One of the children apparently told neighbor children about these Salvation Army clothes and word got back to Dad, who was a very proud person. He apparently took all the Salvation Army clothes and burned them so that nobody would be able to say anything about it anymore.

We all remember the outdoor toilets. We did not have indoor plumbing until after Leonard went to college in 1935. We remember various ones of us going to the toilet to avoid work–to avoid having to do the dishes or some other chore. We also remember races to the toilet.  Occasionally when we saw that someone needed to go real bad, we would beat him to the toilet, lock the door, and watch him outside pace back and forth. We remember not having a Christmas tree but having presents either in stockings or on plates on the table. We all remember the Saturday night baths.  We all took a bath Saturday afternoon and evening, usually starting with the smallest children in the afternoon and then working up toward the oldest later in the evening. We all remember bathing in the same water one after the other. They would put the tub on top of the old wood stove and heat up the water.

We remember Dad liked watermelons. We remember him also, particularly after he had made some money, being very generous with the Church but being very tight with his own family. He gave to the Church money for organs at a time when we thought he should have bought a piano for the family. He bought land for the Church Welfare Program at a time that we thought he should have fixed up the house, but that is the way he was.

[LJA Diary, 10 Jan., 1975]

During the self-conscious days of my adolescence, I recall looking at myself and deciding I was a Number Two person. I was never the best, but always a second-best. I had participated in the Junior High O1ymics and had taken second in the running broad jump, third in the high jump, and second in the 100-yard dash. I had participated in the selling contest and taken second. I had participated in a Sunday School contest to sing “Oh How Lovely Was the Morning,” and had placed third. I had seldom, if ever, won anything, but had placed high. This worried me for a while–my achievement motive was very high. But upon further reflection, I thought a Number Two record in so many things was, on balance, a Number One record on balance. Few persons had done so well in so many unrelated and diversified activities. I decided that if I went thru life as a Number Two, but kept competing in wider and wider spheres, that really was all that an Idaho farm boy could expect, and was a great compliment. 

[LJA Diary, 29 Mar., 1975]

My Poultry Project

When my father was on his mission to North Carolina, in 1926, he wrote to me (I was eight years old at the tine) that he wanted me to be his “pardner” and that, in particular, when he returned from the mission he would like me to be his “pardner” in the poultry business. And I do remember that the year after his return, that is, in 1928, he purchased an old Rhode Island Red rooster to improve the chickens at the house. We probably had five or ten hens of nondescript varieties. He led me to believe that this was the beginning and that it was my task to take care of the chickens, gradually build up the flock, and gradually improve their quality. I did take over that responsibility, and I think that the sense of importance which this gave me led me at that time to begin keeping my first diary. I named the rooster “Abraham,” which I thought fitted his regal bearing, his old age, and the fact that he was patriarch of the flock and destined to have as many descendants as the sands on the seashore. When that old patriarch died three or four years later I cut off one of his spurs and still have it as a memoir. 

That same year I also recall father helping me get a “setting hen”–a broody hen–from a neighbor. Father must have given 50 cents or a $1.00 for this hen. At any rate, we waited until it was fully dark, went to the neighbors where she was setting on a nest, quietly put her in a gunny sack, and I held her while we drove, home and put her on a nest of 15 eggs which I had prepared for her out of dry grass. I think father had built the next the previous winter–a shelf of 20 or 30 nests. At any rate we put her on the nest. She “took to it” and remained. After 21 days she hatched her chicks–something like 12 from the 15 eggs–and so we raised our first group of chicks. Occasionally, father would intervene long enough to point out things I needed to do. Get delousing powder and apply to this hen and to others. Collect the eggs regularly each evening, provide water in the winter, feed them grain each evening–as much as they would eat in a few minutes, and “read up on” the poultry business.

When I began to take vocational agriculture in the ninth grade (age about 14) I proposed chickens for my project and was the only boy in the class of 25 or 30 to do so. Ample opportunity was provided for me to obtain United States Department of Agriculture Bulletins, farm magazines, and other publications which would instruct one in caring for poultry. I was told not to mix chickens with turkeys, and the reason for this became clear sometime later when my father brought some turkeys home, and the next year many of our pullets and cockerels came down with coccidiosis. I was told also how to build a chicken pen, and with the help of my father and uncles, we built a nice large “modern-style” building that would hold some 400 laying hens. Finally, I had the best information on types of laying mash, feed, and equipment for watering, feeding, roosts, etc. All of these directions were closely followed.

In the meantime, there was a hatchery on the Falls Avenue Road some three miles from our place where I obtained baby chicks from a good Rhode Island Red strain in Missouri. We also purchased some laying hens from there, but they did not do well in our climate and died after a year or two. But the chicks grew into fine pullets and by working with these, within two or three years we had the finest pedigreed Rhode Island Reds in Southern Idaho. I exhibited chickens in the Twin Falls County Fair, winning prizes, and also in the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot where I also won prizes. (I also exhibited there a sheaf of Dicklow wheat, winning first prize, and perhaps one or two other things which I don’t recall.) By my senior year in high school, I had some 400 laying hens, some 2,000 baby chicks–all pedigreed Rhode Island Reds. Also a Jersey calf and 2 ½ acres of corn. This I had to care for in addition to my work on the farm for my father. There was one aspect which I could neither understand nor appreciate. My father insisted that all of the income go to him, and so he did all the financial business. This was perhaps why I never had any developed training or experience in business methods, and, for that matter, developed no interest. It was wrong of my father; he should have worked as my “pardner” in this as he did in other aspects of the chicken business. After I left for the University of Idaho in the fail of 1935, the poultry project deteriorated rapidly, and by the time I came home in the summer of 1936 there was virtually nothing left of the enterprise. From my father I received nothing for the time I had invested and the disposal of the properties. My mother, on the sly, perhaps, sent me 75 during the year. That was the size and substance of their assistance to me during my first year at the University. There was even less in the three years that followed. When I returned to the West in 1946 and set up house, my father assisted me from time to time in various way-s-purchased a typewriter, a filing cabinet, a nice bed, etc.–and I thought this was his way of paying me back for the poultry project. But I later learned that he had assisted my brothers (and to some extent my sister Marie) in similar ways, so that was his way of helping each of us a little–probably at the strong urging of my mother.

When I recall that all of-this took place during the depression of the 1930s when my father and mother had a family of nine children to provide for with very little cash income, I can understand that they really needed the cash income which the sale of eggs, the sale of fryers, and the sale of cull hens provided. It may have been the principal cash income of the farm during the terrible years of 1933 and 1934 when potatoes brought as low as ten cents for a 100-pound bag, My father was too proud a man to admit this, however, and thus could not have been expected to explain it to me.

I enjoyed looking after the chickens; I spent hours with them, doing this and that. It was a real pleasure. I also enjoyed the vocational agriculture class, with C. L. (Chet) Mink as instructor. But I truly enjoyed working with the Future Farmers of America Organization. During the first year  I was a “greenie.” The second year I was elected reporter for the Twin Falls chapter. The next year I was elected chapter president. During the year I was chosen state president and so resigned as chapter president so Howard Annis could become president and thus in a better position to achieve national  honors. I was a delegate to the national convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in the fall of 1934, presented the Idaho State report, was chosen National First Vice President, and received the American Farmer degree. At the same time, I participated in the National FFA Public Speaking contest, winning the Idaho state contest and placing third in the Western Region contest. The next year, when I went back as an officer, I participated in the extempore public speaking contest and placed second.

I enjoyed the opportunities for training in leadership in FYA. The opportunity to give public talks which I prepared myself, the opportunity to learn and practice the rules of parliamentary procedure, the opportunity to visit in Kansas City and Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. My first published article, an article on my friend Howard Annis who attained the Star Farmer Award the next year, was published during this period in the American Farm Youth–a Danville, Illinois, publication,

There were other things as well. Frequent trips to farms and to agriculturally-oriented businesses, and talks by persons in many fields of agriculture. We were taught how to judge horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry. I did well in these and won a few prizes in livestock judging, both at the local, district, and state levels. I participated in the national contest, but did not win any prize there. I learned how to caponize chickens and put on some demonstrations for the ag boys and for the public, and had a few private jobs caponizing chickens for persons around the Twin Falls area. We also had experience castrating young male sheep (with a razor blade and then pulled out the gonads with our teeth), male shoats (with a razor blade), and young bulls. I learned to

recognize something like fifty varieties of chickens, and hints on raising various kinds of crops, recognizing weeds and the latest techniques in managing a farm.  I am sure that my appreciation for the rural way of life, my belief in what might be called “agricultural fundamentalism,” and my enjoyment of association with farm people and farm-raised people, comes from that experience. I also enjoyed a certain recognition in the community. My name was often in the Twin Falls News, and I was invited to join the local grange. I did attend during the winter of 1934-35, before attending the university, and was a 16th degree granger, duly impressed with all the secret signs and signals and handshakes and passwords, and all the other paraphernalia of that once-secret organization. There must have been a hundred or more members, nearly all of them very active, in the Twin Falls Grange. My principal memory, besides the frequent talks on agricultural policy, was the serving of coffee at the meetings. It seemed to be the principal reason for gathering together, and a regular ritual. I do not recall whether I tried the coffee, but sometime during those years I did try it and decided the taste did not live up to the smell. I still think so. It is my recollection that I was the only Mormon who belonged to the Grange and may   very well have been the first one invited to join that basically anti-Mormon group. At any rate, they were friendly and respectful, considering that I was only a high school student and all the rest were adults. Another recognition was an invitation to serve as judge of the poultry at the Gooding County Fair. The chickens I could judge without difficulty, but what did I know about turkeys, guinea fowl, geese, ducks, bantams, and “show poultry.” Well, anyway, I looked grave, looked long and carefully, made up little speeches, and did a satisfactory job. I think they paid me $20, which was an unprecedented windfall.

High School Debate

Having had experience in FFA Public Speaking contests, and some experience giving talks in church, I “went out” for debate during my last two years in high school. The coach was Loyal I. Perry, who worked effectively with the young people, and was serious enough to instill into us a dedication to good preparation and good delivery. I was a member of the high school team both years, and recall that we did well my junior year. Our question that year was whether the federal government should take over the radio stations and operate them much like the BBC. I must confess that I came out of that reading with a preference for the British system, and have not altered my views on that in the years that have followed. I think American radio (and now TV) are a disgrace to an otherwise educated and enlightened people. The only programs worth listening to and watching are those of public education stations. Very rarely we get the same quality in the commercial stations.

During our second year we debated federal aid to education. My colleagues included Tracy Gibson, Milo Sawyer, Robert Stephan, and Ambrose Evans. All were intelligent, good scholars, and good in delivery. I wanted so much to be able to deliver good speeches, and I recall, over a period of several years, practicing delivery in the cornfields, well away from our home, shouting out to develop my voice, and practicing reading out loud before the cows, chickens, and crops. I read orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, Napoleon and Disraeli, Washington and Lincoln. I also took a speech class in both junior high school and senior high. But my best preparation were in FFA and debate. In our senior year we won the district contest, the state contest, and raised funds to go to the national forensic tournament at Kent State, Ohio. This was in the spring of 1935. We did well there, but failed to win a trophy. It was a great experience, however, driving through the Dust Bowl area, seeing the conditions first hand in the Midwest, seeing towns like Youngstown, Ohio, where the entire town was unemployed because of the closure of the steel mills on which the city depended for its livelihood. Oh this trip also, along with the others, I saw the first burlesque show in Kansas City. I confess I did not previously know such a thing existed. Since I was taking a social science class during the same period from our principal, C. H. Bond, all of these experiences were given meaning and significance. Unquestionably, my speaking practice helped to deepen my voice and make it richer, and also taught me the importance of communicating with the audience and retaining their interest with clever stories and quotations. I debated again at the University of Idaho, and had a number of trips around the West debating other university teams, and won a few contests and trophies here and there for the university. 


My impression of the Twin Falls schools is that they were very good. At least I seem to have been well prepared for the various eventualities which came along. The teachers seem to have been of high quality, and well prepared. Knowing, as I do now, of some of the inadequacies of schools in Utah, I can be grateful I was born and raised in a non-Mormon town. And I do mean this. Not at any time did I have a Mormon teacher in my academic education. By deliberate policy there were no Mormon teachers in Twin Falls, there were only three at the University of Idaho when I was there, and of course there were none at the University of North Carolina nor at North Carolina State College. My present impression is that Mormon communities placed such stress on right thinking and right behavior that they did not always insist upon academic excellence and intellectuality. The people of Twin Falls insisted upon right behavior, perhaps, but did respect training and intellect and obtained some of the finest graduates of colleges and universities. I remember a Miss Johnson in Grade Three, in Washington School; Kathryn Bryson in the Bickel School of Grade Four while my Dad was on his mission; Miss Romine of Fifth Grade, Washington as being just great–challenging, stimulating, insisting upon excellence. I was good at spelling, poor at art work; good in reading, poor in history; good in athletics and sports, poor in the formal study of health. I won the fifth grade spelling contest, also the sixth grade, also the seventh and the eighth, and was excused from spelling in high school because I knew how to spell all the words. In athletics, I enjoyed baseball, football, and track. Because we lived so far from school and had to take the bus back and forth, it was impossible for me to stay after school for any sport, and so my sports were limited to noon hour and resource. In junior high, there was a spring Olympics in which they divided us up into three groups: the Athenians, the Spartans, and the Corinthians. I was one of the Corinthians which, I suspect, was made up of the lesser achieved pupils. At any rate, I did well in dashes, and in the jumps. I was small but fast and quick. In Junior Hi I remember they had an election for a student from Junior Hi to go into the High School Yearbook and I was elected the one Junior Hi representative. Or perhaps the teachers chose me.

In junior high we began to read books, and I remember reading Ivanhoe–too

many big words, Oliver Twist–the same, and some Shakespearean play like perhaps Julius Caesar–a fortiorari the same. In high school I discovered more interesting books and concentrated on those. I remember reading nearly all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books on Sherlock Holmes; Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; and a couple of religious books, Bruce Barton’s Life of Christ, and Russell Bowlers life of Christ, The Master. When I was 13 years of age I determined to read the Bible. It took me eight months. I read some of it every evening, and of course read it the wrong way, namely right through from beginning to end without any introduction or any method other than to get through it. I did not enjoy it, but felt very proud and superior by doing it. Having had that experience, I was ready at the University for some of the modern versions of the Bible, and have concentrated on those since. As a farm boy in Idaho, I have never thought that the King James version was an appropriate version for anything other than oral recitation. It had cadence and ring to it, but I have never known anyone who read it for pleasure or understanding. The principal reading among those I have known has been for proof-text purposes. Hunt for a scripture to make a point. When I was studying at the University of Idaho, George Tanner at the Institute of Religion introduced me to Moffatt’s translation of the New Testament, and I remember the pleasure one Sunday afternoon of reading all the way through the Acts, and how fun it was. From that time, I tended to read in one of the modern editions, and tended to read a whole book at a time. I still enjoy the Moffatt, Goodspeed, and Phillips versions, and now have the Jerusalem Bible.

Life on the Farm

What was it like growing up on the farm in Twin Falls County? To begin with, during the early years of 1920s there were only a few hundred families in the region. A few farms cleared here and there, but lots of sagebrush in between. My father farmed a twenty and did other work besides, such as driving a sheep wagon to take the children of the area to school, working at the beet sugar factory which was set up in 1916, and working on road construction. He was a good worker, and intelligent, but never reached any management position, probably because he gave first emphasis to getting land and keeping his farm going. He didn’t care to work for others; he never thought a man would get ahead by working for wages. He wanted to be a farmer, work for himself, and make money on his own labor and resourcefulness, and frugal living. As he worked, he earned money to buy a cow, then a horse or mule, then a down payment on some land. He continued that pattern throughout his life, so that by his death he had acquired some 500 acres of highly productive irrigated land, and a good deal of machinery. Through ignorance or parsimony he did not think to provide funds to get our teeth fixed, to buy books, to give us good medical care, or to take us to concerts and lectures.

Our primary responsibility was to work–school was secondary–even church. At the very youngest age we were assigned responsibilities for the home. I remember driving horses on a clod masher as early as five years old; having the responsibility of getting kindling wood to start the fire from a similar age; and feeding the horses and cows. I started milking at age six and felt proud to be considered old enough to do it. In some inexplicable way I became the horse man and my brother LeRoy the mechanic and fixit man. A man working with horses hour after hour, day after day has lots of time to think and reflect and dream. I learned to whistle and enjoyed whistling at my work, a habit which my colleagues today probably resent. I also learned to hum at work, with a similar result.  

I was born in a little frame house approximately three miles east of Washington School and three-fourths of a mile north, back approximately a city block from the street. If we had lived on the other side of the road (on the East) we would have been classified for Kimberley schools, an we were glad we were on Twin Falls as we thought those superior. The house had only one room, and, as described to me, was about 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. It was later used as a granary, and later as a tool shed by J. W. Sackett, our neighbor on the south. We soon moved to the home a little to the north and east, which was a two-room frame home, painted pink as I remember, which was perhaps 15 feet by 30 feet. Perhaps smaller. We were pretty much frontier–sagebrush nearby in several directions. I remember coyotes howling at night not far from our home and how scary this was. We had a cow originally which my mother milked, and a mule which pulled the one-horse John Deere plow with which my father dug the furrows on this 20-acre farm. We also acquired a horse and buggy, which took us to church on Sunday. My father was on the Twin Falls High Council from 1919, but I do not remember that church played an important part of our life. He went on trips to give talks and inspect wards from Hollister to Buhl and Castleford, but he left us behind. I remember clearly going to church, but think that we did not go during the worst part of winter, or during the heavy work part of summer. We occasionally worked on Sunday, but not often. We did not go fishing or hunting but occasionally in the summer Dad would take us in buggy or wagon, or later by Model T Ford to one of the south hills where we had a picnic lunch among the pines and hunted for porcupines and birds and rejoiced when we saw a deer. I do not remember my father ever going fishing, though he may have done. I have been fishing one time in my life-when my father was on his mission and I went with my cousin Allen Arrington down to Rock Creek southwest of Twin Falls, and I caught one small sucker. We did not attempt to eat it, but simply threw it back in the stream. A little later in life, about the  age 13, getting a 22 rifle with some egg money–or perhaps I received it for Christmas. I used to shoot sparrows (never robins or meadowlarks or doves) and jackrabbits, and an occasional wild pigeon.

Our jobs on the farm included plowing, discking, harrowing, clod mashing, spreading manure, pulling out corrugates for irrigation, planting, weeding, cultivating, and then harvesting. We grew potatoes, garden beans, corn, wheat, and alfalfa. We were fairly self-sufficient, and obtained cash by growing spuds or potatoes. We were a diversified operation with livestock along with crops, but had the livestock primarily for our own food for the winter. And of course poultry to bring in cash. The harvest was usually done cooperatively with other neighbors. We threshed wheat, and cut and harvested beans all together, we also put up hay together.

My father loved birds and so we grew pigeons, and he always sought to attract birds to our homestead in various ways. We enjoyed a couple of kingbirds which nested on a tree near our house for many seasons. We also watched for hummingbirds, bluebirds, which came in the summer, and always had lots of mourning doves and meadowlarks. Much of my nostalgia for my youth is associated with my wish to hear these expressive and lovely birds. I hope, when our present dog “Josie” dies that we shall have no dogs or cats and thus can attract birds in larger numbers to our yard.

When I was about 13 our ward invited us to form a Boy Scout troop, and I was active for two years. I went through Tenderfoot to Second Class to First Class and to Star Scout within a period of two years. I had to learn to swim to get first class and this was tough since there was no place to swim within walking distance. Finally I went east a quarter of a mile to a large headgate and got into the spillover part, which couldn’t have been larger than about six feet by six feet, and possibly three feet deep. I went up every evening after work for a half hour or so and learned to swim there alone. And  of course this meant simply dog paddle or treading water. That is essentially the stage of swimming I am still in. I had an opportunity of taking a swimming course at the Univ. of Idaho and received a D grade, but improved a little. I got to the point that I could swim 50 yards and could enjoy swimming with others for a little while. Anybody who thinks the farm boys got an advantage in swimming is thinking only of those living near creeks or canals, which was not true in our case.

When I was about 13 my father bought a pony for us. I think it was for my brother LeRoy, who fixed “Charlie” up with saddle, etc. I rode Charlie, but always bareback, and I think he was passed down to me and became “my” horse. At any rate, I was proficient as a bareback rider, but never used a saddle, and still today feel uncomfortable with a saddle. We never got a saddle, I think, because these were years of the depression and could not afford the money to buy one. So we just rode bareback. Why LeRoy’s saddle did not pass down to me, I don’t know. Perhaps he sold it or traded it off. 

[LJA Diary, 30 Mar., 1975]

It is obvious to me now just how isolated we were from normal American families. We were not yet in the consumer economy. My father would go to the store once a week, or every other week, and buy some groceries, such items as salt, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda. My mother seldom went with him. Once a year Dad would buy a new dress for my mother–usually gingham and rather plain. There was no consideration to style or color, but simply something that would cover and last. My mother never complained of this.

We were almost completely self-sufficient. We ate whatever we grew, plus what my mother baked and cooked. We did not have running water, but pumped water from a cistern. We had only outside toilets. When I went to the University I was introduced to milkshakes. Not only had I never consumed one, but had not even heard of them. Similarly, coca cola. I had never heard of a coke. This sounds strange, considering my previous traveling for PFA and debate.

I have already recorded that we did not obtain electricity until 1930. Nor did we hear a radio until 1932. We used for light coal oil lamps in the house and lanterns outside and in the barn. My father did have a model I car beginning about 1924. Before that, only horse-drawn buggies and wagons.

We received new shoes once a year, a new shirt. My first suit was at age 13, cost $13, and we traded a full case of eggs for it. We did not have dental care.  It was an accepted assumption that a person would lose his teeth at about age forty, get a set of false teeth, and wear them the rest of one’s life. 

[LJA Diary, 9 Apr., 1975]

In retrospect, considering my subsequent career, it was an advantage to me that I did not grow up in a Mormon village, but at the same time grew up in a loyal Mormon family. I had a foot in the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture of the nation, or at least the region, and at the same time another foot in the sub-culture of Mormonism. This gave me the opportunity of understanding each and of feeling perfectly free when in either. And it made it easier for me to keep my religion in one pocket, so to speak, and my livelihood in another. I have never felt that I was an alien in either society.

While many Mormon youth had attended only LDS meetings as they grew up, I recall many occasions when I attended other churches in Twin Falls and elsewhere. At no time did my parents seek to dissuade me from attending other churches, nor express other than confidence that I would remain loyal to Mormonism. I recall attending midnight mass at Christmastime in the Twin Falls Catholic Church; attending a service when very young at the local Lutheran Church, although I do not recall why I was there; attending a revivalistic church service of the Followers of Christ to which my friend Howard Annis belonged; attending a Church of God group with some (it seemed to me) weird ceremonies involving speaking in tongues, barking, jerking, rolling on the floor, etc.; attending a Church of the Brethren service at which there was washing of feet and breaking of special homemade bread for celebrating the Last Supper; attending several services conducted by traveling evangelists including women evangelists, and so on. I do not recall attending Methodist and Presbyterian and Baptist services until I went away to college, but must have done so since I felt perfectly at home in those the first times I remember attending.

A corollary matter was that all of my friends as I grew up–or nearly all of

them–were non-LDS. My friend Tracy Gibson was a Baptist and later became a Baptist missionary in India; my friend Milo Sawyer was a liberal Protestant arid later became a splendid minister of a large Cleveland congregation; my friend Ralph Miller was a Lutheran, I think, although I do not recall that  religion played an important role in his life. Howard Annis was a Followers of Christ and when he married became a Methodist. My mother, of course, had been a Methodist, my aunts on her side were mostly Methodists. I remember a girl in our junior high school by the name of Theresa Hardesty who was lovely and vivacious, and had been to Catholic grade school. Everyone recognized her as a Roman Catholic. Just to be clever or witty or something one time I called her “cat-licker’. A fellow who heard me called me down for it; said how would you like to be called “Mormonee?” For the first time, I suppose, I realized that I was considered, as she was, as part of a minority group. I was careful never again to make fun of a person’s religion. Indeed, I had not recognized that I was doing so then. 1 was just trying to be funny.

Within our little Mormon congregation of perhaps twenty families in the early 1920s I recall interesting patterns. We used a goblet for the water of the Sacrament, rather than little individual cups, and I recall my mother instructing me to drink from the area behind the handle, since most people drank from the front. This was to avoid contamination. I recall persons arising during testimony meeting to make confession of their sins. This practice was later discouraged, but there was plenty of it when I was very young. The women all had their hair uncut–it was supposed to be sinful and unbiblical for women to cut their hair, and usually tied up in a bun at the back of the head. Women were not supposed to wear a hat in church, and women with hats were asked to remove them before partaking of the Sacrament. Men blessing the Sacrament were mature men, and they usually kneeled on the floor and raised one knee and a hand as they said the blessing prayer. The men were mostly farmers, working in the open sun all day during the summer, and I recall many of them put olive oil on their faces on Sunday as a kind of skin ointment. There was a certain odor penetrating the church house for this reason. The Sacrament meeting talks were all delivered without preparation and without notes or a papers. My own early talks, perhaps at  the suggestion of my mother, were written out by myself, then memorized and thus delivered as extemporaneously or impromptu. I did not know any of the congregation in any “civilian” capacity, and so have no idea whether they were exemplary citizens–honest, fair and kind. I particularly enjoyed stake quarterly conference when General Authorities came. Their talks, it seemed to me, were exciting and energetically delivered. And loudly as well. Many of our local people were local farmers, very humble, not well educated, so they were not articulate, did not enunciate clearly nor speak with confidence. My favorites among visiting brethren–well, they all were favorites. I remember that brilliant orator B. H. Roberts, although he talked a long, long time. Another brilliant orator was Orson F Whitney, talk, magisterial, an old-fashioned orator of great power. Rulon S. Wells spoke a little too rapidly, but with great enthusiasm. Richard R. Lyman was everybody’s favorite–a big smile, a big voice, a big man–and he gave a popular talk on courtship in which he said he did not kiss his wife until he was engaged, and recommended we all do the same.  In fact, I am not sure but what he recommended not kissing her until we were married. Another popular figure was J. Golden Kimball, tall beanpole of a man with a high pitched voice. Everybody laughed just to see him, and everybody kept on the edge of their seats waiting for a hell or damn. He had a strong testimony and I’m sure kept more persons in the faith than any of the others who were more careful and more intellectual. Melvin J. Ballard was a great speaker and was regarded as particularly spiritual because of his vision of the Savior, and the other spiritual experiences he related. He was a handsome man. I recall David O. McKay coming when I was just a young child. So tall, so handsome, such a big infectious smile, and such interest in young people. He asked all those under ten, as I recall, to come to the stand. There he had us sit on the floor around him. And he stood there and told stories, rather neglecting the audience of adults in front of him. We liked him–he was interested in us. “For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Another I remember was Reed Smoot. This was about 1930. Tall, powerful, commanding, august and solemn. A friend of mine, Freddie Babbell, asked me which I thought would be greatest–to be an apostle or a senator. I replied to be a senator, and Freddie chided me, indicating why it was so much greater to be an apostle. Clearly, on that answer, my foot was more firmly rooted in the dominant culture than in the sub-culture of Mormonism. There were of course others I saw, such as Heber J. Grant, James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, and others, but my memory of them is primarily of a later period in my life, rather than early childhood.

Our church activity was primarily a Sunday service. We must have had Religion Classes at some times, but I recall attending only one or two such classes, and then the teacher was Aunt Annie (Glenn’s wife), and she told pioneer stories. I think it was from her that I heard the only Three Nephite stories of my childhood. My own parents, being converts to the Church from Oklahoma, were not steeped in Mormon lore and so I had little Mormon folklore in my early life. What I have heard has come since we moved west in 1946 and began to study Mormon culture. I do not recall any MIA until I was about 13 and in the Boy Scouts. I do not recall attending very many sacrament meetings as a child–just Sunday School and Quarterly Conference. This was probably because we had to travel by buggy and my parents did not want to travel at night. It might also have been because my father was away many Sundays on High Council business.  We did not learn much doctrine or scripture. I recall studying the Book of Mormon and the Bible and Church history, but more as history than as doctrine or theology. Something must have influenced me to read the Bible when I was 13, and follow it up with the Book of Mormon. I have not read either completely through since them, although I have devoted many hours to reading in them. I did not enjoy reading either, but think I would today. I have appreciated the new translations of the Bible, and wish we had a Book of Mormon which eliminated the “and it came to pass” and other colloquial expressions. I have often thought it would be interesting to read the Book of Mormon in a foreign language so as to get away from [the rest of the sentence is cut off in the microfilm].

[LJA Diary, 26 Apr., 1975]


I was always interested in sports and this may be partly attributable to two early experiences. The first occurred when we lived south of town during my father’s absence on a mission. I recall that my Uncle Jake, who ran a general store in town, invited me to come down when there was a professional baseball game to pick up pop bottles. He would give me a penny for each one I collected. In this way I could make perhaps 20 or 30 cents–perhaps even more. The baseball field was just a block or two west of his store. I recall attending half a dozen or more baseball games. I do not recall the name of the Twin Falls team. I enjoyed the games and enjoyed hunting around for bottles, and learned that one of the referees lived near our home south of town and I remember going to his home to talk with him about baseball and seeing some clippings and posters on the wall of his room, all dealing with baseball. I remember that people mostly drank Orange Crush.

The other early experience was a product of our school class running a race. I don’t recall the occasion, but I think it was the fifth grade; I would have been eleven and my recollection is that I won the race against all the rest of the class. This excited in me the competitive spirit. I remember asking my mother how come I as a very short person could win the race. She said it was because of the experience I had had delivering milk for my two uncles, Grever and Jack. They employed me to deliver milk during the two summers we lived south of town. They ran a dairy and delivered milk to several hundred people. It was my job to run the bottle from the milk wagon and put it on the porch of the house. This gave me experience running. It is also the experience which caused me to be afraid of dogs. A number of dogs ran after me, and I did get a bite or two and from those experiences I have ever since had an abnormal fear of dogs and even today if I am walking down the street and a dog runs out to bark at me, I cross to the other side of the street or freeze in terror.

At any rate, I began playing baseball about the 5th or 6th grade at recess and at noon and usually played the position of catcher. When I was in the 7th grade, we had a junior high Olympics–I think the first one held at Twin Falls Jr. High. They divided us up by rooms into three teams called the Spartans, the Corinthians and the Athenians. I do not recall which we belonged to, perhaps Corinthians, but the rooms that were members of our team tried out. I remember trying out for the 50-yard dash and winning, 100-yard dash and winning, and shot put taking third. The three highest in each contest completed in the final Olympics. In the finals, my recollection is that I won first in the 50-yard and 100-yard dashes and third in the shot put. I think I did not place in the high jump. I do not know how high I jumped, but suppose about 5 feet which was about my height at that time. I was also catcher on our junior high baseball team. I do not know who we played against, perhaps again on the basis of the Olympic team division. We also had a program of individual achievement for athletics arranged by Mr. Lundberg our Physical Education teacher in junior high. We could earn a Chenille letter by piling up a certain number of points in competition with others. This involved an elaborate network of points for achievement. So many points were given for running, jumping, making free throws, going through obstacle courses, and so on. It was a varied program and I did well enough to earn the Chenille “T.” My recollection is that I did well in the dashes, standing broad jump, high jumps and basketball free throw. Since not very many persons earned the Chenille,  I was very proud.

Because I was the champion speller of junior high, a good student, and also a sports champion, I was elected junior high representative to have my picture placed in the high school annual. Apparently they permitted one junior high school student to be included, and I was that person. I do not know whether I was elected by the teachers or by the students; I suppose by the latter.

Then we went into high school, and we had regular varsity teams. I tried out for football, but had to stay after school for practice. The practice lasted a couple of hours after school from 4:00 to 6:00. We had no transportation and staying after school meant that I missed the bus. Thus I had to walk four miles home after the practice. I lasted only about two weeks of this. The practice was hard enough, but walking home four miles was too much. It was fortunate, of course, for my ego, because I certainly could not have made the team being so short and small. We did not have high school teams competing in baseball. I did not try out for track for the same reason as football.

I did have the opportunity to play baseball with the Boy Scouts. I joined the LDS Boy Scout troop when I was thirteen and continued as an active boy scout for at least two years. I went through the tenderfoot and second class very easily. To achieve first class I had to learn how to swim. This required an entire summer swimming in our irrigation canal, but I managed to swim 50 feet which was required, and therefore achieved first class. I obtained five merit badges and became a star scout. I do not recall all five, but one was in poultry raising. Because I never could pass the life saving examination, I did not become a life scout or eagle scout. I was catcher on our troop’s baseball team and we did play a number of other teams. We did reasonably well in competition with other town teams, but one day we went out to play a country team, I think Hansen or Hazelton. We felt pretty confident because we had practiced a great deal and thought we would do well. The country team beat us so badly that we lost all of our confidence, something like 22 to 2.

At the University of Idaho, I registered for PE classes in swimming, softball and fencing. I did poorly in fencing, did poorly in swimming as well and did poorly in softball considering that most of the other students in class were university athletes. In North Carolina, we had a branch softball team that played some other LDS teams two or three times and I enjoyed that. Girls also played. One of those who played at Nahunta and Goldsboro was Ruby Naples who married Gordon Haws who now lives in Logan. Thus, I knew Ruby before I knew Grace. After Grace and I came to Logan in 1946 I played on the 10th Ward softball team and then as my children grew up played a lot of ball with them. We played football, softball, hardball, did running, jumping, and other track events and in this way I lived my youth with them.

All of the children like sports very much and they participated in it until the high school period when their size militated against outstanding achievement. James did play football the first or second year in high school as a substitute but did not receive a letter. James also played on a Little League ball team, but was less than average as a batter and fielder. Carl also participated in baseball and played on a Little League team which I coached consisting of boys in our neighborhood. He did well playing each of four summers. Carl usually played catcher and was a good hitter and catcher. When he started high school in Pacific Palisades, he went out for football and after two or three times hurt his back and the coach suggested he drop out, which he did.

As a family we competed in some community competitions on the 4th and 24th of July. I recall running in the men’s race two or three times on the 4th or 24th of July–I do not recall which, and I remember taking second or third two or three times. The children also won some prizes in the races and other competition.

1 recall that when I was in my teens I also competed in some Twin Falls city 4th of July races and occasionally picked up a dollar or two by placing second or third in the races. One of our neighbors, Gerald Askew and I practiced together in the three-legged race and my recollection is that we won that race a time or two. I also practiced for the sack races and think I placed in that. In the army, of course, we had games occasionally, but it was usually basketball and I was not good at all in basketball, and so was not very excited. I enjoyed very much playing touch football and did well at it. Often games we played as children involved running and so I did well at games like pom-pom-pull-away, Ante-I-Over, and tag.

[LJA Diary, 8 May, 1975]

When I was young, we did not attend church often. Dad was a member of the High Council from the time I was two, and he was gone most Sundays on High Council trips to outlying wards, which usually required all day, or on other High Council assignments. I remember him harnessing the horse early Sunday morning and taking off in a buggy. In the early 1920s he bought a Model T and went in that. Occasionally mother took us with him, but rarely. I do not recall as a young child ever going to Sacrament meeting, but I remember occasionally going to Sunday School. We did not have Primary, or at least I never attended; nor Religion Class, although I remember attending once or twice when Dad was on his mission and we lived in town. I got much out of Sunday School and enjoyed going. I remember being an active participant and reading our lessons and reading the Bible.

After Dad returned from his mission and we were a little older, we did go to Sunday School more often, and occasionally to Sacrament meeting. This was possible because Dad bought another Model T, then other cars as they came along: Modal A, Studebaker, an old Nash, and so on. Still a one-car family, but Did was able to get around to his High Council assignments much faster, and presumably many of them were in Twin Falls during periods we were in Sunday School or Church. I was baptized a deacon on time, was soon serving as a secretary, then counselor, then president.

About the time I was 13, and serving as president of the deacons we had a special Sacrament meeting at which Elder George F. Richards, father of Elder LeGrand Richards, was to be present. I don’t know how this happened. Sometime prior to the meeting I somehow got the feeling that I might be asked to speak. I don’t know what caused me to have the feeling, but I did. I know that I was not assigned to do so or asked in advance, but I had the feeling. After the Sacrament had been passed by all of us Deacons, Elder Richards made some remarks. It was about Deacons and young people. Part of the way through this talk, he asked the bishop to call up the president of the Deacons Quorum. So I went up to the stand. I remember not being surprised, although I had never before been asked to make an impromptu talk. I had of course given several 2 ½ minute talks in Sunday School by this time. Anyway, Elder Richards asked me to talk on the law of the tithe. Fortunately, I had had lessons on this sometime-perhaps Sunday School, perhaps in Deacons Quorum. I did feel that I handled the assignment well, both from the standpoint of content and delivery. Elder Richards made more remarks, very complimentary. After the meeting he came over to me, put his hands on me-possibly my shoulders -and said he had a prediction to make, which was that some day I would be a great leader in the Church. 

[LJA Diary; Recollections, 16 May, 1977]

Notes made by Callie Arrington Ward in preparation for a tape-recorded interview with James Arrington, June 19, 1978. [The notes had to be read by James; though she still can write, Callie is too nearly blind to read.]

Leonard’s mother was my best girlfriend. She lived probably a quarter mile from us and came to see me often. I later discovered it was not I she came to see–it was my brother Noah. Everyone else in the family knew they were to be married but me. She and I had gone to the county seat to enter the normal school for a teachers certificate. My brother took us.

To my sorrow she went with him and they got married. This was in Faxon, Okla.

They moved to Twin Falls, Idaho. We came to Idaho also. This was in 1916.

Leonard was born in 1917. He was a good baby–happy and as he rocked in the wooden cradle he would hum a tune.

When I went out to the farm to visit they always wanted me to stay all night. Which bed I would use was never a question. These children including Leonard would assure me they would stay on the floor and I could have their bed.

This was the greatest thing to me and I have passed it on many times.

As Leonard grew and was in school he was very studious. One thing he did that was and is so admirable was to put his learning into action. He seemed to always have chickens, pigs, calves.

He always had something. This developed into his being a future farmer, and of course he entered debating.

It was Leonard who spoke at family funerals. One time I asked him to talk at my last service. Since, he has been called to serve the whole Church, and I being only one small speck in the whole, have relieved him of that. Anyway, my family say I won’t need a service anyway. Leonard’s great-grandmother mother lived to be 2 days of being 102 years old when she died. His grandfather was 90 and grandmother was 92.

When Leonard was a young graduate he said, “Some day I’ll go to BYU to teach.” And so life goes. We prepare and then opportunity knocks.

When Leonard was on his way to enter the debating contest he stopped at his Aunt Pearl’s home in Leavenworth, Kan. He was complimented on having such an honor. It was no honor to him–it was an opportunity.

Leonard’s parents fulfilled the first commandment given to Adam and Eve. He grew up in a family of 12. The family lived out about five miles. Leonard and his brothers would ride in with anyone who came by. Leonard’s grandfather was not in favor with that. He told the boys to be dependent [independent] and provide their own transportation.

The very most important thing to say of Leonard–he not only was a student of learning, but he used his initiative and leadership qualities to put it into action. As was spoken of Mormon, Leonard grew up as a “sober child,” and the opportunity came to put his learning into action, not only to earn money (as necessary as that is) but to benefit the entire membership of the restored church. As Church historian he cannot do all that is necessary to do, but in his assignment he can direct the work to do and put into action the thing he has prepared himself to do.

It is a very uncommon thing to realize the gospel was carried to his paternal grandparents on 8 July 1893 by young elders of the day. As a result more than 450 family members are now members of the one true church on the earth.

His great-grandfather Silas Arrington has one other great-grandson on a Church assignment for the Church. 

[Notes prepared by Callie Arrington Ward for an interview, 19 June, 1978]

Memo to Maureen about a child’s Christmas: 

Picture an isolated, two-room wooden frame home on a windy prairie in southern Idaho. Coyotes are howling in the distance. Despite wintery weather, the sky is clear and the stars are brilliant. There is a faint trace in the sky of an aurora borealis, or what were commonly referred to as “northern lights.” If one listened intently, he (she) could hear work-horses in a nearby corral breathing heavily, and occasional sounds of munching from two milk cows. There is a family consisting of a father and mother and three children sitting in front of an open oven door. The children consist of LeRoy, age 7; Leonard, age 4; and Marie, age 2. Father, a refugee from the Tennessee hills, is telling about hunting raccoons, possums, and razorback wild hogs. The little mother, red-headed and humming faintly while her black-headed husband tells his stories, occasionally gets up to tend to the popcorn, which she distributes to the family.

It is a joyous family moment, not untypical of every wintery night on that southern Idaho homestead. But there is one difference, and this is what makes this Christmas Eve a special remembrance for the children. Indeed, it is the first Christmas which little, chunky Leonard remembers. The father has just that day brought home his dainty little red-headed wife with a new addition to the family. That little addition, who was later named Kenneth, was m a homemade cradle in the center of this family half-circle. It was a fitting time to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. 

[LJA Diary, 11 Dec., 1979]

I’ve been working the past few days on my life as a teenager. I decided I would have to read a few things by the psychologists on growing up as a teenager, so I read Erik Erikson, John Cohen, Daniel Levinson, and others, but didn’t get anything out of it, though I tried, so I’ve proceeded to write things up on my own. I have a few pages on the period. I am very surprised that so many things that I thought occurred when I was a teenager, actually occurred earlier. My patriarchal blessing at age ten, reading the Book of Mormon through at age nine, reading the Bible through at age twelve, my first letters to people at age nine and ten, my early athletic competition (junior high olympics) at age twelve, first driving of a team for harrow, clodmasher, cultivator, planter, etc., age nine, and so on. First driving of a car, age nine. I used to think that all the important things happened when I was thirteen, but I was wrong. On the farm, at least in our family, the preparation for adulthood started early and was a gradual, continuing process. Oh yes, most important of all, I started my poultry project at age nine, several years before I started taking Vocational Agriculture. Most of the people who write books about pre-adulthood period must have grown up in cities!

[LJA to Children, 17 Aug., 1984]

The Story of My Life—Up to 1935, when I went to college

As told to Bennion Study Group, 28 September 1986, at the home of Jack and Linda Newell

The first important thing that happened that made our life different was the visit of Mormon missionaries to the hill-country where the Arringtons lived in 1896. The missionaries were without purse or scrip, of course, and they needed a place to stay. Some other families in the area refused them, but my grandfather and grandmother invited them in, and also agreed to let them hold a cottage meeting. Several of the family were impressed, the missionaries remained several days, and my grandmother was baptized immediately and the eldest girl joined three years later. The rest of the family, including my father, joined in 1905. He was 16 at the time. From that moment the family considered ways of joining the Saints in the West.

The second thing that happened affecting our family destiny was the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement in the 1880s and 1890s. My mother’s family, the Corns, left Indiana and went there in 1901, locating eventually on a homestead in southern Oklahoma, Comanche County, just east of the Texas Panhandle. Four years later, in 1905, my father’s family moved from Tennessee and located on a farm adjoining that of the Corns. So my father and mother, Noah and Edna, spent their youth on contiguous farms in what was later in the center of the Dust Bowl in southwestern Oklahoma. They raised cotton mostly, but also grain and some fruits and vegetables. Since my mother’s oldest sister was a schoolteacher, my mother received a pretty good education. She had 11 years of schooling, what they regarded as high school education, and was a very good speller and reader. She enjoyed reading the rest of her life. My father had to work most of the time he was growing up, but received a little schooling—enough so he could read and write and figure. Both mother and father were very bright people, and were very good socializers. They fitted in nicely with any group they were in.

My father’s family continued to hold church meetings in their home; they were visited often by missionaries, and they tried to live the gospel, although there was no branch near them that they could attend regularly. My mother’s family, the Corns, were staunch Methodists, and looked down upon the Arringtons, both for their poverty and for their belief in Mormonism.

As you may have anticipated, my black-haired, blue-eyed father and my red-haired, hazel-eyed mother fell in love. Knowing they couldn’t marry without my mother’s parents’ consent, they ran away to get married by a Methodist minister after my mother graduated from high school. They farmed that summer and then in September of 1913 took a freight train for the West–at first to Salt Lake, then north to Rupert, Idaho, then on to Twin Falls.

Keeping in mind the feeling that they wanted to go west, where there were employment opportunities and the Church, three of the Arrington boys had left their Oklahoma home in 1906 to work on the construction of the Salt Lake and Los Angeles Railroad, which later became part of the Union Pacific. They stayed several years, and the oldest son married a girl from Magna–a Presbyterian. The other two visited Magic Valley a few years after it was opened for settlement, and located there, in Twin Falls. My father and mother went there on the recommendation of these brothers, and remained there the rest of their lives. This is how I happened to be born in Idaho.

My father worked as a butcher, as a farm hand, and as a laborer on a road construction crew, and finally was able to get credit to buy 20 acres of land. The farm was on the road from Twin Falls to Shoshone Falls, four miles east and one north of the center of Twin Falls. This is where I was born, in a two-room frame cabin, in 1917, the third child. I was delivered by Mary Ann Swenson, a Mormon midwife. Eventually there were 11 children, all born while we lived there. During the first years Noah and Edna Arrington were there, they were visited by an LDS couple, Arthur and Edna Swenson, son and daughter-in-law of the midwife, and my mother was persuaded to join the Church and my father to become active. This happened after my birth, when I was about four months old. They decided to go to the Salt Lake Temple to get their endowment and to be sealed to each other and to my older brother LeRoy and me. My older sister had died. This was my first trip to Salt Lake City, taken when I was just a baby of four months.

Noah and Edna were active, and when Twin Falls Stake was organized by Melvin J. Ballard in 1919, my father, although he was only 29 years old, was one of the original High Council. He remained one until 1936, when he was made a bishop. He remained a bishop 17 years. During the years I was growing up, he was a High Councilman.

My life as a young boy involved the usual chores: I helped feed the stock, prepared kindling for the stove, helped milk the cows, and at age of 6 went to school. School was four miles away and we rode to school in a sheep wagon driven by my father. In later years, of course, we shifted to an automotive-type school bus. We were the only Mormons in our neighborhood, and during most of the years I went to school I was the only Mormon in my class.

An important family event which affected my life was my father’s call in 1925 to serve a two-year mission in the Southern States. There were four children in the family at the time (LeRoy, 11; Leonard, 7; Marie, 5; and Kenneth, 3). My mother was pregnant, and had a child in May, after he had gone in January. They don’t call people on missions like that today, but apparently, in 1925, President Heber J. Grant called for 1,000 missionaries, at least one from each ward, and Noah was the one called by the Twin Falls bishop. So he went. He returned after two years.

My mother was fully supportive of his mission. We all regarded it as an honor, and for this poor struggling family, any recognition was welcomed. He was a good missionary, became Conference President in Virginia, then North Carolina, then Florida. He wrote home each week and reported his activities. My mother and we children survived by renting the farm to a neighbor, and moving to a cottage in town. LeRoy and I worked at odd jobs we could pick up. I earned money delivering milk and washing bottles for my uncles, who ran a dairy, by mowing lawns, weeding fields, and helping my grandmother deliver fresh vegetables. This gave me the opportunity of getting away from home some, and of exercising a little entrepreneurial ability. Being able to contribute to my mother’s support gave me a feeling of self-importance. I wrote my father letters–the earliest letters I wrote–and, while he was gone, I was baptized by my uncle. When Dad returned home I was 9-1/2.

In letters my Dad wrote to me, he suggested that he and I go into the chicken business after his return home, and I took this suggestion very seriously. So, in the spring of 1927, after his return, he made a deal to buy a setting hen and some eggs from a neighbor. We went up at night, put the hen in a sack and set her on 15 eggs on a nest I had prepared. After 21 days I had a mother hen and 12 chicks. This was my beginning in the chicken business. 

My father’s confidence was greatly increased by his mission experiences, and he bought new land, built additions to our home to hold a larger family, bought a wagon and some farm implements, a new team of horses, built a derrick, and got a sweenied horse for us boys. We began to work in the field. By the time I was ten, I drove a team of horses in the field, drove our old model T on occasion, helped milk the cows, fed the stock, helped build a new chicken house, and felt very important. I got my patriarchal blessing, started reading the Book of Mormon–it took me a year to finish–and we were pretty faithful about going to Sunday School. 

On my 10th birthday, my mother gave me as my birthday present, this notebook, and said I ought to write up the story of my life. So, during the days that followed, I did so, and this is the result. I must say that one incentive was the story of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, the 15 year-old boy Prophet who kept a record of his family’s activities. Another thing that was impressive to me was Apostle David O. McKay, about the time I was 10, visiting our stake and having us come to the stand, where he talked to us before beginning his regular conference message. 

[The Story of My Life—Up to 1935; LJA Diary, 28 Sept., 1986]

Bill & Maureen Rappleye

Dear Bill & Maureen:

What a wonderful book! It came in yesterday’s mail and I immediately sat down to read it and finished it late last night. I enjoyed it immensely. You are an interesting and vivid writer, and you know exactly what a reader would be interested in. Your kids, grandkids, and friends will be eternally grateful that you have done this!

Many things, of course, I already knew. That you came from Wyoming—but I didn’t know your Dad was originally from Arizona. I think I knew you had come to Twin Falls earlier, but I had forgotten that you had lived for a while in Filer area before you moved to Falls Avenue. I remember when you first came to Falls Avenue. You were ten but I was nine, and very soon, I think the first fall of 1926, we did some visiting. You came to our place to stay one Sunday afternoon and my parents had to go some place, so we were left there alone. You were always adventuresome, so you suggested we take a ride in my Dad’s Model T. (If my folks were gone why didn’t they take the Model T.? I don’t know—maybe somebody picked them up to go somewhere.) Anyway, you and I, ages 10 and 9, proceeded to drive the Model T down to the neighbor’s place on the north (named Wilcox), turn around, and go back to our place. We also drove it around and around our front yard. Then we were afraid they’d see the tire tracks, so we took our little wagon and pulled it around and around the front yard so as to cover up the car tracks. We never did tell my folks. My first experience driving a car. Nine years old. Come to think of it, it was early in the spring of 1927 because my Dad was still on his mission in the fall of 1926 and we didn’t move back to our farm until January 1927. I was still 9 and you 10.

[LJA to Bill & Maureen Rappleye; LJA Diary, 17 Dec., 1987]

In the mail this week I received a personal history written by Bill Rappleye. I knew him from the age of nine, when he moved into our neighborhood. I was particularly close to him in Boy Scouts, when I was thirteen. He’s LDS and lost his father when he was sixteen. So my Dad was very helpful to him, and he tells a story or two of my Dad in his history.

Not having a Dad, and having to work (in a non-Mormon environment) from the time he was sixteen, he learned habits that weren’t exactly LDS. My Dad worked with him when he was about to get married; Maureen insisted that she would not marry him unless they could go to the temple. He had to work hard to become eligible for a recommend. He wrote:

“I had pretty well resolved my Word of Wisdom problem and felt I was ready for a temple recommend. I had known Bishop Arrington most of my life, and he had known me quite intimately and helped me work with my problems. He had no objections to my receiving a recommend. He sat down with me and filled out the forms, and then, as if it were an afterthought, he said, “Oh, by the way, you have to be a tithepayer to get a temple recommend. Have you got a couple of bucks on you?” I turned cold. I had been so busy thinking about other problems that I hadn’t even thought of tithing. I took two dollar bills out of my pocket and laid them on the table, and he signed the recommend. I was very impressed that he had that kind of faith in me, and I have always been a tithepayer ever since.”

[LJA to Children, 19 Dec., 1987]

It is curious the things you remember from the time you were very young. I remember my parents getting me a “new suit” when I was three and having some family photos made at Bisbee’s downtown. After we got home and had dinner (noon meal), I went out, still with the suit on, and played in the irrigation ditch that went by our home and got all muddy. I don’t remember what happened, but I don’t recall wearing the suit any more.

When I was about four or five, I remember playing in our yard with Marie, two years younger than me, and we finally made up our minds to go as ward teachers. We knocked on the door of the house. When Mom came to the door, we told her we were ward teachers. She invited us in and we proceeded to talk. The reason this memory is strange is that I have no memory of any ward teachers ever coming to our home, at any time, any year. Maybe we had some, but I don’t recall any. Perhaps, with Dad on the High Council, we were excluded. I don’t know. Need to check with LeRoy to see if he remembers any. Or Marie. And why can’t I remember it if it did happen?

I remember riding in a little red wagon of LeRoy, him pulling; and another time when it was pulled by a goat. We did have a goat when I was little.

I remember riding in the bottom of our buggy to Church. It was cold, and I was bundled up in quilts. Had to be about three, because we got a Model T in 1921 when I was four.

I remember riding about 1921 or 1922 in the Model T to the funeral of a cousin in Heyburn. I suppose Almy Fisher. Seemed like we went very fast, but probably 20 miles an hour. 

I remember when my tonsils were taken out, age four, at the Twin Falls Hospital. Taken home the same day.

Finally, I remember being in our little meetinghouse in Twin Falls before we got the big chapel and tabernacle in 1929, when I was twelve. The little meetinghouse was later bought by the Baptists, I think. Anyway, we had only a small congregation, but we sang loud and energetically and partook of the Sacrament from pitchers placed to our mouths and pieces of bread served in China plates. No wonder we had flu problems!

[Childhood Memories; LJA Diary, 5 Apr., 1988]

I continued to work on the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 in Idaho and Utah and may get a couple of articles out of it. I almost died, which is one reason for working on it; also Harriet’s mother managed an emergency influenza hospital in Ogden, which was her first job after graduating from Nurses Training School.

[LJA to Children, 23 May, 1988]



On my tenth birthday, that is, on July 2, 1927, my mother gave me, as a gift, a little blue tablet, and suggested that I ought to write up my life history. I did so, no doubt with her help, and as I have subsequently reproduced it on the typewriter, this account of my early years amounts to fourteen pages. The very first paragraph of that history was as follows:

In Jan. 1919 I took down with the flu and had it very badly. To add to the grief of my mother I took down with pneumonia at the same time! I came very near passing away but by the work of the Lord and a dear old nurse named Mrs. Hanna Bowen I lived. Nearly all the rest of our family were so sick that they couldn’t help me much.

I had not realized at the time that I had become ill during a general epidemic that killed more than half a million Americans, and approximately twenty-one million persons throughout the world. The epidemic of 1918-1919 was one of the great plagues in world history, surpassed only by the bubonic plague of the 14th century which killed one-third of the population of Europe.

The 1918 epidemic apparently originated in the American Midwest in March 1918, hitting Army camps particularly hard. It migrated to Europe and from there to most parts of the world, and returned to the United States in September 1918. Hitting primarily the populated centers of the East–Boston, New York, Philadelphia–it moved to Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco in October. In October the first cases began to be reported in Twin Falls County. The epidemic ebbed and flowed. Schools were closed, theaters were dark, churches held no meetings, no public gatherings took place, and even pool halls were closed down. There were strict regulations about quarantining, coughing, sneezing, and spitting. People were arrested for not wearing a sanitary gauze to cover their mouth and nose when they were on the streets. The, epidemic continued in Idaho, from October 10 to about the first of February. The only exception to the strict regulations was Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, when thousands of people crowded the streets in unrestrained and riotous enthusiasm for the end of the war. They were sorry for their exuberance when, a few days later, many hundreds came down with the disease.

There were outbreaks around the region as infected soldiers came home from the front. How our family was exposed, I do not know. Perhaps my father caught it from neighbors or from working on a road-building crew.

After migrating from Oklahoma to Twin Falls in September 1913, my parents had lived in a frame cabin west of the Amalgamated Sugar Factory that was owned by a meat butchery. My Dad apparently worked for them for a while. During that winter of 1913-1914 my brother LeRoy was born. Anxious to obtain a farm, Dad moved out three miles east and half a mile north of the Washington School of Twin Falls, on a road that went to Shoshone Falls. Dad worked on farms in that area. In that two-room shack my sister Thelma was born in 1916. A year and a half later, I was born in the same home.

In the fall of 1918, Dad and Mom moved into the home in which we were raised, which was about an eighth of a mile north of the home where Thelma and I were born. We remained in that home until 1939; i.e., until well after I went away to college. We were in that home during the flu epidemic.

In January 1919, then, according to the life history I composed in 1927, we all came down with the flu. That included Dad, Mom (who was pregnant with Marie), LeRoy, and I. Thelma had died the previous winter from spinal meningitis, so of course I do not remember her and she was not part of the family when we moved.

LeRoy, who would have been five years old in January 1919, says he remembers the family getting the flu. He says the home was just one large room, divided into two by a gray curtain with a pink design. He remembers sleeping on a bed on the north side of the east half of the room, and being there for many days. There was a quarantine sign on the house. He still recalls the terrible smell of the fumigation after the sign was taken down.

A large proportion of the pregnant women who had serious cases of the flu during this epidemic died, and so, of course, there was concern on the part of our family doctor, H. W. Cloucheck. Twin Falls Ward had been organized in 1910, and my mother had been converted in 1916. Mom and Dad had gone to the Salt Lake Temple after my birth to have the family sealed. So they were part of the ward in 1918-1919. There came into the ward in 1918 Hannah (Mrs. John) Bowen. She was from Tooele and was the first of the two wives of John Bowen. Her husband, a native of South Wales, had crossed the Plains in 1862, lived in Salt Lake City for four years, and then went to Tooele where he was a farmer and active in LDS affairs. He married Hannah in 1877, by whom he had eleven children. In 1882 he married as a plural wife Eliza Craner, by whom he had twelve children. Hannah, who was the daughter of Swedish immigrants to Tooele, moved to Twin Falls with four of her younger children, perhaps to look after one of her older sons, Oscar, who had married and settled there. Or perhaps she was on the lookout for land. At any rate, she came to Twin in 1918 and is listed on the ward records as being fifty-seven. Her husband remained in Tooele where he died in 1922. Through some circumstance never related to me, Hannah served as a volunteer nurse when our family were all sick in January 1919.

According to my mother’s story, or at least my memory of it, Sister Bowen was a practical nurse, having had some training in Relief Society classes. As with most LDS midwives she was empowered to “administer” to women who were ill and about to give birth. A regular procedure was followed in these administrations-there were ritualistic prayers, washings, and anointings with oil.

The influenza epidemic was caused by a deadly virus, still unidentified, which produced, in advanced cases, pneumonia, from which as many as 60 percent died. So when Doctor Cloucheck said I had pneumonia, he told my father, also down with the flu, that I would die within twenty-four hours. My father seemed resigned to it (having previously lost Thelma), but my mother was not. She got up from her sick bed, over the strong objections of the doctor, and joined Sister Bowen in anointing me, blessing me, and praying for me. Their blessing was efficacious and of course I survived, as did all of our family. My mother always believed that God had saved me for a special purpose. As I achieved in school and in other activities, she believed I was vindicating God’s saving gift to her.

There was the further complication of my mother’s pregnancy. She had suffered severely from the flu and was weak and listless.

In a short handwritten history of herself written about 1959, Mom wrote of this period as follows:

The Dr. was real worried about me being pregnant, as very few women in that condition pulled thru. I kept getting sicker and sicker and finally asked my husband to get up, he being sick with the flu too, and administer to me. I immediately went to sleep and awoke feeling so much better, and our daughter Marie was born the 5th of May 1919.

Marie says that after Mom’s death in 1960, Bertha Mae Hansen, our only LDS neighbor, told her that she (Bertha Mae) had heard Mom in a testimony meeting tell of the miracle of Marie’s birth. They were more concerned with saving Mom than Marie. But Dad, anxious to save this girl child because Thelma had died, picked her up and blessed her to live.

It is of course, possible that Bertha Mae was confusing this episode with Dad’s blessing of Mom a few weeks earlier; I am inclined to believe that is the case. But it is likely that upon her birth Dad did bless Marie to live; that would have been characteristic. Marie says that she was told by Aunt Callie that the doctor had told Dad and Mom not to get too attached to Marie, as she was not likely to survive, so they hadn’t picked out a name for her. The name on her birth certificate was added later. When Dad went to bless her, according to Aunt Callie, he said, “What shall we name her?” Aunt Callie, who was there, said, “Marie.” So Marie she became.

By the time of Marie’s birth, the flu had subsided. There was another wave during the winter of 1919-1920, but it was much lighter, and few died. Little has been written about the epidemic–almost no history book mentions it–probably because it had its worst impact at the time of our victory over Germany in World War I. The excitement of that enterprise occupied nearly all the space in newspapers of the time, and takes up much space in American history books. Yet more than ten times as many Americans were killed by that savage influenza virus as by German bombs and bullets in the Great War. An enemy far more unremitting and vicious was the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919. 

[My First Adventure with Life; LJA Diary, 30 May, 1988]

October 21-22, 1934

I had gone to Kansas City, Missouri, to attend the annual national convention of the Future Farmers of America and to receive the American Farmer degree. Convention activities did not begin until Monday, October 22, and we had arrived Saturday. We had Sunday free, so one friend agreed to drive us to Independence to go to Church, view the Temple Block, and visit the RLDS Auditorium, which was unfinished. We returned to take a tour of Kansas City.

Late in the afternoon I received a phone call from Aunt Pearl, who lived with Uncle Ray in Leavenworth, Kansas which is 22 miles northwest of Kansas City. They drove to Kansas City and picked me up and we drove back to Leavenworth, where I spent the night in their home. The next morning I took a streetcar to Kansas City in time to participate in FFA affairs that day.

On our way from K. C. to Leavenworth we stopped and went to church in the Kansas City branch. The speaker was a son of the mission president, central States Mission, Asael Woodruff.

Aunt Pearl was 36, Uncle Ray 30. Aunt Pearl had worked for Claude Brown Music Co. in T.F. when I was a child. Sometime in the early 1920s a polygamist persuaded her to go with him to be married. I don’t know any of the details, but my Dad, I think, got wind of it, tracked her down to wherever she was, persuaded her to return with him. She made confession before the high council of T.F. Stake, and I think was given some disciplinary action, perhaps ex-communication and then rebaptism. I don’t know much of all this. Anyway, she went on a mission to the Central States, served under Samuel Bennion. He told her to be on the lookout for a marriage partner. After a while, she chose Uncle Ray. When she was released and returned to T. F., he and she corresponded and eventually he came to T. F. in 1929 and married her and they drove back to Leavenworth to live. He was a carpenter, house painter and decorator, and furniture manufacturer.

When I visited them it was depression time, and Kansas had been particularly hard hit. They lived in a frame house on the edge of town, very simply furnished. I do not recall whether any of the children had been born by that time; they eventually had Naomi and Lloyd (Randy). After several yeas in Leavenworth they moved to Oakland. I visited them once in Oakland, perhaps when I went to S. F. for some convention in the 1950s.

Sometime in the 1950s or 1960s they had real problems with their marriage–I have the impression he “took up” with some Portuguese woman. Anyway, for some years he lived in the basement and Aunt Pearl upstairs. Ultimately, they joined back together. About 1980 they moved to American Fork. Aunt Pearl will now move to Calif. to live with one or both of her children. 

In American Fork Uncle Ray and Aunt Pearl attended church together regularly. He was an active High Priest. At his funeral he was called a “very righteous” man. In Oakland, when she and Uncle Ray had united together, they went regularly to the Oakland Temple. He is said to have set a record of 300 endowments in one month. Unbelievable.

Aunt Pearl has always been interested in genealogy. She is a straight-arrow on Church things–very strict in following authority, would never question a pronouncement of any authority, believes in doing everything one is counseled to do. Her daughter Naomi Allen is an active Church person. Plays the organ beautifully. Her son Randy, I think, is completely inactive, tho he seemed at home in the funeral of his father yesterday, 6 June 1988. 

[October 21-22, 1934; LJA Diary, written 7 Jun., 1988]

When I was young I had smallpox. I do not know what year, but it was after I was three and before I was seven. I will guess it was when I was four or five–before I went to school. That would have been about 1921 or 1922. I remember having it; I remember my mother telling me not to scratch the itchy pox or I would get a sear, and I remember that our house was quarantined. I remember also that sometime later at least one of my brothers and sisters, possibly Marie or Ken, had it. This might have been just after I had it, or maybe I’m remembering chicken pox. I was told by my mother many times that I had had it, and when I have taken vaccinations, as in the Army, they never have “taken,” which means I was immune. I had many such vaccinations and not any time did any of then “take.” I was lucky that I did not end up with scars, but my mother always said that was because I was obedient and did not scratch the pox even though I longed to. Some of my friends had scars, and it was not uncommon to see people with pits or scars on their face. There was no compulsory vaccination when I was a child.

Smallpox produces chills, high temperature, vomiting, aches, and pains, usually beginning ten to fourteen days after exposure. There is a pustular eruption fourteen days after exposure, consisting of blisters which become filled with pus. The disease is highly contagious. From ten percent to thirty percent of those who catch the disease die from it. Smallpox is caused by a virus and sometimes even the vaccination can cause dangerous complications such as meningitis. 

[Smallpox; LJA Diary, 16 Jul., 1988]

When I was about three, according to my mother, I had typhoid fever, an infectious febrile disease that usually comes in summer months, and is often fatal. There is intestinal inflammation and ulceration caused by the typhoid bacillus, which usually enters the body in food or drink. The assumption is that it came in our drinking water, which came from the ditch on the east side of our home lot. The typhoid organisms that are ingested live in the intestine, multiply enormously, and are excreted by the bowels and remain infective for variable periods of time thereafter. Perhaps who have had acute attacks may carry in their intestines great numbers of typhoid bacilli for many months or years after their recovery. These are “carriers” who may give the disease to others by infecting food handled by polluted hands. When carriers invade watersheds, they may infect the water supply and cause epidemics. From an infected person the disease may spread by fingers, food, and flies.

From three to twenty-one days after infection, germs develop in the body, and there is headache, pains all over the body, feeling of exhaustion, chills, and fever. Serious disturbance of the bowels. The person becomes sicker and sicker. Clots form in the blood vessels; rose spots appear on the skin at the end of the first week. Formation of gas in intestines with bloating and sometimes hemorrhages. May also produce delirium. Person remains in bed a long time. 

[Typhoid Fever; LJA Diary, 16 Jul., 1988]

About the time I was twelve years old, that is, during the summer of 1929, I started sleeping each summer in our orchard, partly because there was not room for me to sleep in the house, and partly because it appealed to me to sleep outside and sleep alone. It was a pleasant experience, and I continued to do this until I went to college in the fall of 1935. My bed was in the center of the west orchard. Nearby were pear trees, crab apple, apricot, apple, and perhaps other trees that I do not recall. There were corrugates that led from a ditch at the top of the orchard by each of the trees, and my Dad used to run water through them once a week. There was grass on the ground but not a solid mat of grass as on a lawn.

I went out to the bed each evening after work and chores-perhaps around nine in the evening. I had a book or two that I would read. Originally, it might be something I had to read for school, such as Ivanhoe. Or Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and in the summer of 1930, the Bible, which I read through when I was thirteen. But the book I recall as using most consistently was the Boy Scout Handbook, beginning in 1930. I used it to help me learn the constellations of stars and many other things about wild life. The most exciting book I read parallel with the Boy Scout Handbook was Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton was active in the founding of the Boy Scouts and is probably responsible for downplaying the militaristic aspect that attracted Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. Seton gave Scouting a wildlife emphasis.

In 1930 the central church forced our Twin Falls ward to discontinue its genealogical and family history program. I think it is no coincidence that the ward then began a Boy Scout program, establishing a troop (Troop No. 2) with various patrols. After reading up on Boy Scouts in the summer of 1930, I joined the Boy Scouts as a tenderfoot on October 15, 1930. I was a member of the Beaver Patrol. My membership card, which is in my Diary, indicates that I was 13, was 4 feet 11 inches tall, and weighed 85 pounds. On December 9, 1930, I became a second-class scout. I was chosen to be the patrol leader on November 25, 1930–even before I was a 2nd class Scout. This suggests that there were boys a year younger than I who were just coming into the Scouting program. Early in 1931 I became a First Class Scout and passed merit badges for personal health and poultry keeping in February 1931, and for farm mechanics in December 1931. Eventually, I passed other merit badges-civics, scholarship, horsemanship-and became a Star Scout on 9 May 1933. But I was a poor swimmer, could not pass Life Saving, which was indispensable to higher grades of Scouting so I never did achieve Eagle Scout.

In the meantime, in 1932, I became interested in FFA work and my chicken project, and I just about abandoned scouting. One of the problems was our location approximately four miles from the Church House, and the lack of transportation. I couldn’t get to the meetings because I had to walk four miles to Church and then four miles home when it was over. Just too much.

I did enjoy learning more about the outdoors, and had the opportunity of experiencing it directly by sleeping in the orchard and by going on Scouting trips. My pal in Scouting was Bill Rappleye, who always seemed to feel quite at home in the outdoors. He and I did our 14-mile hike, required for First Class, together. We walked to Twin Falls and back for 8 miles of it, and then walked down to the Shoshone Falls and spent the night and then walked back the next day. We shot a pigeon, found wheat in its craw, made a sort of roux, and fried it for our supper. We may have eaten some wild berries also. Our troop went to Dierke’s lake to swim several times, went to Nat-Soo-Pah, a hot water pool beyond Buhl, a few times, took a trip or two to the South Hills where we saw chipmunks, porcupines, deer, and rock chucks, and lots of birds, and perhaps took other excursions that I don’t recall. We had a baseball team and played some other Scout teams around the country. I was the catcher. We did pretty well in Twin Falls, but we played a country team, maybe Kimberly or Hansen or Murtaugh. Anyway, they beat us, like, 22 to 1. So we weren’t so hot after all. Our Scoutmaster was Charlie Davis, I think a local accountant.

Two Little Savages, which I devoured with such relish and excitement, was the story of Yan and Sam and their experiences in the forest with friendly animals and birds. The book is full of woods lore. How to make this and that, how to survive this and

that catastrophe, how to handle this and that kind of animal, the wonder of woodcraft and wildlife. Little drawings in the margins. A wonderful boys’ book. Associated with Scouting expeditions, with sleeping outdoors, it was all the more real and enchanting.

Sleeping under the stars, and feeling a certain kinship with them since I could not recognize and identify the various constellations; watching the blackbirds fly to their nightly roost in the cattails in Snake River Canyon below the Falls; spotting the mother skunk and her six or seven baby skunks as they moved through the orchard early in the morning; pitting fruits just to munch on as they matured; it all seems idyllic now. Add to that reading the Bible, so much of which is the story of outdoor people wandering here and there in the deserts of the Middle East. I enjoyed being with people, but I also enjoyed being alone.

There is one more Scouting episode that I must relate. In the summer of 1933, when I turned sixteen, although I had been away from Scouting for almost a year, I was asked by the bishop to accompany Fred Babbel, assistant scoutmaster and about two years older than I, as leaders of an LDS Scout group going to Scout camp. I suspect there were a dozen boys, mostly a year or two younger than I. We went to a camp in the Sawtooth Mountains near Ketchum, arriving July 16, 1933, and remaining for a week. It was a large camp, and during the week we were there Scouts from Buhl, Murtaugh, Kimberly, Shoshone, Richfield (Idaho), and four troops from Twin Fans, we there. The Mormons did not rate very high in our district at the time, our troop was not very old, and we had no Scouts with uniforms, and so those in charge assigned us a previously unused portion of the camp. This isolated us somewhat from the others, but it also gave us the opportunity of “pioneering.” We cleared the area, set up our tents, dug a latrine, dug steps into a hill up to the latrine, and otherwise developed the area. We also participated in the general program of getting acquainted with flowers, birds, trees, and hikes to the snow banks.

One day all of the Scouts went to Easley Hot Springs for a swim. All presumably knew how to swim, although some of us were not very expert. My cousin Harold Arrington, age 12 (son of Uncle Grover), was with us. He was one of the first to dive in. When Fred Babbel was about to dive in, he saw a limp form on the bottom of the pool. He made a deep dive and brought Harold to the top. He began to apply artificial respiration, and I suspect that Harold had revived, when suddenly the Scout Commissioner came up out of nowhere and said “Let this Scout apply artificial respiration.” So that Scout, who was a pet of the Commissioner, applied the remedy and Harold’s eyes opened and he was unquestionably revived. We took Harold back to our camp and I stayed with him for several hours to be sure he was o.k.

Later, the pet Scout of the Commissioner was given a medal for saving Harold’s life. Although there was an article about Fred Babbel in the paper, no official recognition was given to him. He was the one who rescued Harold; he is the one, in my judgment, who brought him around and saved his life. This was, to me at that time, an illustration of anti-Mormonism—credit could not be given to a Mormon Scout, but to a prominent boy in the Twin Falls schools. Favoritism of the worst kind which, I hope, I have never been guilty of. At least I was angry and upset over this episode. It left a bad feeling about the Twin Falls Scout Council.

Harold ended up delivering bread for a Twin Falls bakery, married Joyce and they had ten children. Freddie Babbel ended up as an Assistant to Elder Benson during his European trip after World War II, wrote a book about it called ON WINGS OF PRAYER, became Benson’s Assistant when he was Secretary of Agriculture, and has remained as a management consultant in Washington, D.C. He has remained a good friend. We exchange telephone calls occasionally.

There is one more episode at the Scout camp that I recall. After we had been there about three days, officials came around to inspect the different troop camps. We had built a latrine the first day and had used it regularly. Each time we used it, we’d throw on a little dirt, as the handbook instructed us to do. When the inspectors came around, they marked us down because our latrine was half-way filled up. Other troops, who had used the latrines of previous troops the first few days, had dug their latrines just before the inspectors arrived, so they were deep. They were given high marks. Another instance of lack of sense on the part of the inspectors, I decided.

I liked Scouting, wished I had been good enough in swimming to pass the lifesavers test, would have felt good if I could have earned an Eagle like Freddie Babbel. I encouraged Carl Wayne and James to be active in Scouts. Frankly, I do not know how far either of them went. Our year in Pacific Palisades might have interfered with Carl Wayne’s experience. James, I recall, went on several scouting trips–one to Grand Canyon, and he went back to the National Jamboree one year–in Valley Forge, and also toured New York and Washington, D.C. He was a good Scout. As I say, I don’t recall much about Carl’s experience. My principal memories of Carl’s activity during these years is his Little League baseball team, of which I was the adult leader or coach. I enjoyed it very much.

There is one other activity connected with Scouting that I recall. As a part of our qualification for First Class, we had to learn how to send and receive semaphore messages, using flags. Sort of like a signalman on a ship. I did learn the telegraphic code, and could send and receive messages through tapping and also through flags. One Sunday the bishop turned the Sacrament meeting over to the Scouts, and he suggested we illustrate sending messages by flags. After the Sacrament, Freddie Babble was stationed in the rear of the chapel, and I was placed on the stand at the pulpit. The bishop secretly gave a message to Fred and then Fred proceeded to send the message by flag. Took us perhaps ten minutes. I took down the message, letter by letter, and then announced to the astonished congregation that Freddie had just sent to us a piece of scripture, some passage from the Book of Mormon but I do not recall what it was. Anyway, we were all praised for accomplishing in public what we had been taught in private.

[My Experience in Boy Scouts of America; LJA Diary, 31 Jul., 1989]

My Love for Birds

Our father loved birds. He must have grown up with that love in Tennessee, where there were many birds and where the Arringtons lived in a mountains area where there were lots of trees, bushes, wildlife, and birdlife. That love for birds was expressed in many ways–his penchant for having pigeons, guineas, ducks, geese, turkeys, bantams (banties), and chickens. One day he saw a colored drawing of a robin at her nest in a magazine and had it clipped out and framed. It hung in our living room a long time. I think that Ralph or Wayne must have it still.

All of us must have been infected with that feeling toward birds. Wayne has become a birder, but all of us are, in a way, birders. Perhaps even LeRoy, who has built bird houses at each of his homes. I’m not sure about Ross, who came around so much later–after Dad was away from home much of the time.

Anyway, I came by an interest in birds quite naturally, And, by the way, we have seen this summer around our yard the following birds: robins, sparrows, blue jays, mourning doves, snowbirds, swallows, starlings, hummingbirds, chickadees, kingbirds, goldfinches, woodpeckers, flickers, magpies, and of course quails.

My Most Embarrassing Moment

When I was in the Seventh Grade there was a school spelling bee–junior high school. I was known as a baseball catcher, as an athlete who tried hard, as the winner of our 50-yard dash and high jumping, as the captain of one of the three olympic teams for our junior high Olympics. I even received a chenille letter for athletic achievement. I was also reporter for the junior high newspaper.

Anyway, they held a spelling bee in front of the entire assembly, with one from each class, maybe 30 or 40 in all. They went through round after round and anyone who misspelled a word would drop out. Finally, there were just two of us. An 8th-grade girl and myself. We went through round after round. Finally, she missed a word and ran down to her seat in front. But this was not the end, as all of the spellers and teachers knew. The one left had to spell that word correctly and then had to spell another word correctly.

The audience of students did not know this. What they saw was the girl going back to her seat and me left standing there alone. They broke out into spontaneous applause, prolonged applause, hearty applause. I knew this was premature and didn’t know what to do. I drifted over to the wall of the stage and hid my face. Applause continued. Finally, the teacher in charge then asked me to spell the word the girl had missed. I spelled it correctly. Then she gave me a final word, “reimburse.” I had never heard of it and did not spell it correctly–my version was “reemberce.” Anyway, I having failed, the girl was called back to spell that word, was given another, spelled it correctly, and was declared the winner.

It was all very embarrassing, but handled quite correctly. But knowing that the students felt I had been mistreated, the school managed to get the district to accept two from Twin Falls Junior Hi, the girl and me. In the district contest, she fell out pretty quickly, I was one of the final ten contestants, but was the third of these to fall out, and so I took 7th that year. I took second in the 8th grade so could not go to the nationals. The girl who took first did very well in the national contest.

Anyway, my most embarrassing moment.

[LJA to Children, 10 Aug., 1989]

My brush with history is having watched the passing of a disappearing style of life. I was 13 before we had electricity. Before that we had lanterns, candles, kerosene lamps, and the light of the fire in the stove. Until I went to college we had a pump in the kitchen, outdoor privy, a washboard for manual washing of the clothes, and weekly baths in a big galvanized tub. No telephone until I was ten, no radio until I was 15, no automobile until I was four, no refrigerator until I went to college. Clearly, the technological revolution that replaced the cellar, the kitchen pump, the woodstove, the kerosene lamp, the outdoor privy, and the horse, had a greater impact on our everyday life than all the Popes, Generals, and Presidents in our history.

[LJA to Children, 29 Nov., 1989]

I have noted in my illustrated personal history, which I hope Heidi will get to work on soon, that an important year of my life was 1930, when I was thirteen. But in addition to things I listed: I first wore levis, I first was given a gun, I first drove the car, I joined the Boy Scouts, I gave an important talk in church, and so on. In addition to that, we first had electricity. And I neglected to tell of the change that brought about:

1. We got a radio, and listened to Amos and Andy, One Man’s Family, and other programs.

2. My mother got a Maytag washing machine with a ringer, replacing the back-breaking washboard she had used in cleaning clothes.

3. We got lights in the barn so we could see to milk the cows in the dark, replacing the always-present little lantern.

4. We got electricity for our chicken house, providing light to warm up the baby chicks. This permitted us to raise several hundred chicks each spring. And by turning on the lights early we could get the hens to eat more and lay more each day.

5. We had a light in the garage so LeRoy could work on his car in the late evenings. 

6. We had good light in the house for reading and doing school lessons. 

7. We got a refrigerator to replace the old ice-box we had to keep things cool.

Certain things, of course, remained the same: our cistern pump that provided water for the household; our old Majestic coal-burning stove that cooked our meals and kept us warm; we milked by hand, Mom prepared meals by hand, we put up hay and fed the livestock by hand. 

[LJA to Children, 7 Jul., 1994]

I had left a copy of “Growing Up in Twin Falls” with Don and Ken. Don said last night on the phone that he didn’t see anything about my horse Charlie. Well, there is a sentence or two on page 61, but I should have had a whole paragraph. Here is something more.

One day, about 1930, when I was 13, Dad brought home “Charlie.” He had bought him at the Sale Ground. He had a sweeny (atrophy of the shoulder muscles), so he probably paid only a dollar or two. He could not pull, but he could be ridden. His gait was a little different–like a crippled man walking, but he could walk, trot, and gallop. I never had a saddle–no money–so I always rode him bareback. I do not hive a picture of him. A medium sized horse, brown, with white forelock. He was a gelding (castrated horse), and I suspect he was a workhorse until he got the sweeny.

I had Charlie approximately 5 years, 1930 to 1935. Once, when I was away from home in 1935 (or thereabouts) a neighbor wanted to borrow him to pull something, so LeRoy let him do so. He pulled with a big rope, which rubbed against his sides. He got rope burn and so had to be killed. I was not around for any of this. The neighbor should have had more sense. Charlie was a pleasure—rode him to the north fields every morning, back home at noon for lunch, back to the fields, and back home for supper. The same when I worked at the west fields. Rode him for fun on Sundays. It was a source of satisfaction when Susan got Caliph and enjoyed riding him.

[LJA to Children, 14 May, 1997]

I saw an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about women washing clothes. Made me think of my mother. She had a big family, and all but two born before she had a washing machine. As one of her oldest children, I remember her boiling water in a big tub on our wood stove, then we would help her carry the tub outside and she put in soap and bent over to wash everything. This was always done on Monday. Tuesday was for ironing. At some stage she got hand-turned rollers to squeeze out the water. She worked hard with a wooden washboard. I have her old washboard in my garage. The wash was a major undertaking in our family. I don’t remember that we helped her with the wash itself, but I remember turning the rollers, helped her carry the tub and empty it, and Marie helped with the ironing. Dad strung up a line from the porch to the granary where she hung the clothes to dry. Once she was down with something and Dad had to hang up the clothes. He didn’t like it—afraid the neighbors would see him hanging out clothes—but he spat and did it in a hurry. We had old-fashioned clothespins. We never sent out the laundry and never had anyone to do it for Mom. 

In 1929, when I was 12, we got electricity and sometime after that we got a washer. Marie doesn’t think it was a Maytag. She thinks we ordered it thru Montgomery Ward. Then the rollers attached. We think it was kept on our porch.

According to my memory we didn’t have sheets for our beds. We simply had “covers,” which included quilts that Mom had made in Relief Society, and an occasional blanket Dad may have picked up at the Sale Ground. I really don’t remember any blankets at our house until we moved from the old home place to the Wegener place in 1939. Nor sheets. So Mom’s wash consisted of our clothes and maybe quilts occasionally and diapers when we had babies. Just one wash per week. Mom did ironing weekly, with an old iron that she heated on our wood stove. Not very efficient, but she did it anyway.

As I say, she sewed many of our clothes. Marie’s for sure, and Dodie’s. We got clothes secondhand, but I think we looked respectable. An old treadle sewing machine until after 1929 when we got electricity.

[LJA to Children, 6 Sept., 1997]

As I look back on my life, the principal difference between people today and people 70 years ago is their teeth. Nearly everybody had ugly teeth when I was growing up. There was no emphasis on dental care in the schools, dentists were there to pull out teeth that hurt, and people thought it was “natural” to have aching teeth every so often. The same thing was true in Brigham Young’s day. The men assuaged the pain a little by chewing tobacco; the women by taking snuff. I don’t know what caused the tooth revolution, but it took place after the war. In my day many people—all the older ones—had false teeth or no teeth. Today, everyone has to have beautiful white teeth, and a good share of the family budget goes to insure that.

A second difference, of course, is the ever-present automobile. Cars were rare as I was growing up. No student drove a car to Twin Falls High School. They didn’t have a parking place. Some rode horses, but most rode buses. People went to work by walking or on a horse or in a wagon. Our father bought a car in 1921 when I was 4, but he always drove it and he was one of the few in our neighborhood who had a car. It was always breaking down and he was an expert mechanic in fixing it. So was LeRoy trained to be. I don’t know why they never trained me. Maybe Dad and LeRoy was all the mechanics they needed, so they trained me to do other things—look after the horses, the cows, and the chickens. LeRoy picked up Dad’s love for animals by having rabbits. Dozens of them. Dad loved pigeons and we always had them. He loved chickens and he trained me to take care of them. He also had, at various times, geese, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowls, bantams, and he tried to attract birds. Not hawks—he hated them because they killed chickens. We had cats, for mice, and dogs for security.

[LJA to Children, 14 Sept., 1997]

Dear Children:

I just finished reading a piece by Herbert Stein in the Wall Street Journal (Harriet subscribes and reads) and felt impressed to write you some impressions of my life. A lot of history has occurred during the last 80 years: World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the downfall of Communism. Auschwitz, Dresden, Gulag, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia. Plenty of evidence to the evil and cruelty, and folly of man.

But there is also a story of increasing freedom, equality, and material well-being. More progress in the past 80 years than in all previous history to achieve the proposition that men and women of all races, religions, and ethnicities are created equal. 

When I was born women did not have the right to vote, nor did they have equal rights or opportunities in education, employment, and the ownership of property. American blacks could not vote, had to use separate toilets, could not eat in the same restaurants, went to separate schools.

Average incomes are approximately four times as high as in 1917. We, of course, had the depression of the 1930s, when average income about one-fourth lower than when I was born. But we built income during and after World War II and are now far higher than in 1917. And consider the remarkable growth in Japan, Switzerland, even China and India. Think of the achievement of women in their hose, of all of us in teeth, of the increasing age that people live. An important example is personal transportation—the comfort and ease of travel for everyone. In 1917, with a U.S. population of 100 million, there were 3.5 million automobiles. Today, with a population of 260 million there are 125 million cars. An average of about 1.7 per household. The typical American now goes from his (her) air-conditioned office to air-conditioned home in an air-conditioned car.

To me, the most marvelous thing is universal public education, which permits poor farm boys and girls to go to school to develop talents and respond to opportunities that would never have existed in America 100 years ago or in other countries throughout history. People are always complaining about paying taxes. Taxes, above all, provide education for everyone, so I’m grateful. Think of the welfare we wouldn’t have had in 1917, the hospitals, Medicare, social security, workers’ compensation, the construction of highways, the GI Bill, mosquito abatement. A thousand things. I’m glad I pay taxes. Justice Holmes said they are payments for civilization, and he was right.

Well, that’s what I wanted to write. Thanks for reading it.



–an actor–

I’m reminded of the person who was very old and knew he had not long to live. When he attended the funeral of one of his friends he remarked to a person with him, “I believe this is the last time I’ll take part as an amateur.”

[LJA to Children, 21 Oct., 1997]

This letter comes under the heading of personal history.

When my father came home from his mission in December 1926, we immediately set about moving to the farm. I do not remember the move, but know we were there in early 1927, perhaps as early as January. We were strong on the Church, and my father no doubt assured that we had the opportunity of going to Sunday School, if not Sacrament meetings as well Either my mother, father, or Sunday School teacher—or all three—told me that I should get a patriarchal blessing. I found that we had one patriarch in Twin Falls Stake, Judson I. Tolman, and I arranged to have him give me a patriarchal blessing at our little church on Sunday, February 27, 1927. I was nine years old.

Patriarch Tolman blessed me that I should have a strong and healthy body, and would take pleasure in giving my testimony of the Gospel to the world. “You shall have power to control your tongue, so that you will not speak perverse things…You shall also be able to control your thoughts and keep your mind clean and pure.” He blessed me that I would go to the temple and be sealed to my companion and become the father of children. Grace received her patriarchal blessing in March 1977—fifty years after mine—from Parley’s Patriarch, Franklin J. Murdock. It is a beautiful blessing and is in her biography that she and I and Rebecca Cornwall made up and sent to you.

Now a word about Judson I. Tolman, who gave me the blessing. Judson Isaac Tolman was born January 21, 1870, in Tooele, Utah, the son of Cyrus Tolman and Alice Braken. He was baptized in 1888. In 1906, when he was 36, he and Hyrum Pickett, both residents of Marion Ward, Cassia Stake, moved to Murtaugh, Idaho. Cyrus Tolman and the Picketts and others had moved from Tooele in 1881, when Judson was 11. The Tooele people moved to the Goose Creek about that time and founded Oakley, Idaho. Those settling in the Marion area, named their village after Francis Marion Lyman, the Tooele Stake President and a colonizer of the Goose Creek area. In 1884 Marion was organized as a branch with Cyrus Tolman as president. Murtaugh was settled in 1906 when the Milner Dam was completed and the Twin Falls Canal tapped the Snake River about 9 miles east of Murtaugh. The town is 20 miles southeast of Twin Falls, and was made up almost entirely of farmers. The colonizers created Murtaugh Lake as a reservoir.

Murtaugh was created as a branch of Marion Ward in 1916, with Judson I. Tolman as president. I remember the Tolmans, Moyeses, and others that used to come to Twin Falls four times a year for our stake conference. When Patriarch Tolman gave me my blessing he was 57. His daughter Inez was a member of our Solero Club—Inez Waldron. His son Cliff was a counselor to my Dad in the bishopric. Another son, Bion, a graduate of USAC, was a renowned sugarbeet scientist and administrator.

That’s the story for today.

[LJA to Children, 31 Oct., 1997]

I only remember one Halloween as I grew up. When I was about 13 or so we had a neighborhood party at the home of Mel and Ione Jensen on Falls Road. Maybe 30 or 35 there. We had pumpkin pie, cookies, and bobbed for apples. When it was over, some of the older young men gathered outside and headed to do some Halloween “tricks” to people in the neighborhood, especially those not at the party. I just remember two incidents: At one neighbor’s place we opened the gate to his corral so the horses and cows would wander out and he’d have to go looking for them. At another neighbor’s place we took his hayrake and put it on top of his house. Don’t know how we did it nor how he undid it. 

When I was a freshman at the University of Idaho, the class was responsible to provide lumber for a huge homecoming fire. Some fraternity boys hired some trucks and we rode up and down the back streets of Moscow and took outdoor toilets and piled them on the truck and carried them to the bonfire site. Moscow residents complained to the University, they fined the freshman class $5,000, and we each had to pay $10 before we could get our credits. Presumably the money was paid to the people who lost their toilets. 

[LJA to Children, 31 Oct., 1997]