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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Family”

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Given by Leonard J. Arrington, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 9, 1974

Brother James W. Arrington, As patriarch of this family I place my hands on your head to give you a family patriarchal blessing. You come from a proud, independent, and close family. It is a hard-working family, a frugal family, a family which loves justice, which strives to do right. You are intelligent, sensitive, eager to contribute to the lives and enjoyment and understanding of other persons. You have a deep understanding of people and their nature and behavior, and an appreciation of their problems. You have the capacity of touching them in their innermost soul. You have a love of the gospel in the best sense—a love of truth, and beauty, and goodness—and the capacity of using that love in helping others with their problems. Your ability to understand others, plus your readiness to work hard and prepare yourself, have made you a splendid interpreter of people through the medium of the theater arts. This is a magnificent calling, one in which your Heavenly father is pleased. You have other callings as well, and are developing your capacities in those at the same time. Your tireless works are appreciated by your Heavenly Father and he will continue to bless you in all of your labors in righteousness. As you are a fine son and brother, you will also become an exemplary father, for you will marry and your companion will bear lovely children. You will enjoy your work, enjoy those with whom you work. Your Heavenly Father has in store for you many fine opportunities and rewards. Your name will be known for good in many quarters of the land. I bless you with health and strength, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I bless you with success, with happiness, with a continuation of that wonderful enthusiastic spirit which is so contagious and which causes so many to enjoy your association and presence. I bless you with joy and the fulfillment of your noble desires, and I do it by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood which I hold, and in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

[LJA Diary]

Responses to Questions of Scott Kenney

How My Personal life has been Affected by My Appointment as Church Historian

Our personal and family life has changed considerably as the result of our move to Salt Lake City.  Some of this change is simply the result of moving from Logan to Salt Lake City, some is the result of my appointment as Church Historian, and some is the result of the inexorable passage of time. With regard to the latter, my wife and I are both older, more sedate, less athletic, less active. My wife is now in the 60s and I am in the late 50s. We go out less often at night, we attend fewer athletic contests, we invite fewer people to dinner, and so on.

Then there are the changes caused by our children growing up. The appointment came at a time when the children were spending their last years with us. Susan was already a student at Utah State University and wished to remain in Logan. So she did not live with us in Salt Lake City except during the first summer. Then she was married. Carl was on a mission at the time of our move. After his return he stayed with us two quarters while he attended the University of Utah. That was all he could stand of the U of U and he returned to USU where he was much happier with the instruction and the quality of the relationship between faculty and students. He must have had a bad experience at the U of U. Several young professors who had no interest in students or for that matter in the discipline. James went to San Francisco to study acting. So the move to Salt Lake coincided roughly with each of the three children leaving home, to return only for occasional short visits. 

There is also the problem of our mother-in-law who was 78 at the time of the move.  By that time she was too old to make new friends in Salt Lake City.  Whereas she had more or less had an independent social life and personal life in Logan living in an apartment in our house in the basement and just occasionally eating and visiting with us, she now insisted on a room on the main floor and being with us in an intimate way in our lives. That affected the quality of the intimacy between Grace and myself, made privacy impossible, and created a number of psychological problems. They might have happened in Logan as well, although it might have occurred gradually.

Another important consideration was that Grace has not been physically well since we have been in Salt Lake City. She has had to have a hysterectomy, she also fell down the stairs and had a shoulder separation–a very painful thing, her arthritis is more advanced, she has had some stomach troubles; she really has not felt well even half the time. She has felt poorly day after day, week after week to the extent that she could do things she desired to do only perhaps two or three days a week. This might just as well have happened in Logan but it didn’t, which contributed to her depression and sense of hopelessness here, cut down her social and intellectual life, and also made it necessary for me to be home with her more of the time.

Grace describes the move to Salt Lake City from Logan as traumatic for her. We had been in Logan 26 years except for sabbatical and other leaves. Essentially, we had begun our marriage there. All of our children were born there. Over the years we had made friends in the ward, at the university, and in the community. We belonged to three husband-and-wife study groups, all three built around the Church. We had belonged to one of these groups for 25 years and were close intimate friends of all 15 couples who belonged. We were members of two other groups, one of which was 15 years in existence and the other five years, and we were of course intimate friends of them. Grace had been an officer or teacher of the Relief Society of the Tenth Ward for 26 years and had a lot of friends from that relationship. We had always lived in the same ward in Logan. I belonged to the Faculty Men’s Dinner Club for 26 years and had been a member of Logan Rotary for seven years. Grace was a member of Les Amis Women’s Club and also Logan Women’s Study Club; I think also a member of a literary club. Those were all long-standing memberships. I think Les Amis started about 1948.

Over the years I had become very loyal to Utah State University. I had been President of the Faculty Association, also the Social Chairman, also the Chairman of the Professional Relations and Faculty Welfare Committee, also a member of the Faculty Senate. I attempted to attend every single football game–over the years may have missed only two or three because of being away on a professional trip. I had also attended a good share of the basketball games. In moving to Salt Lake City, I was moving to an area where I would have no such loyalties or interest. Certainly. I would never become a supporter of the Utes! Although technically a member of the BYU faculty, I have never been able to develop any loyalty for the Cougars, even though President Oaks has invited me to watch at least one football game per year in his President’s box. We have gone back to Logan each fall for one or two games.

All of this adds up to a number of changes in my personal and family life. Lack of association with students (I had been particularly active in associating with foreign students at USU), lack of intimate association with people in Church and community organizations, lack of close association with faculty, fewer people inviting us to dinner and us inviting fewer people to dinner–far less social life.

In Logan I could walk down the street and almost everyone I passed I knew or they knew me. Almost never in walking down a Salt Lake City street will  I see anyone I know or that knows me.

[LJA Diary, 31 Mar., 1976]

We stayed the night with Susan and Dean and Emily, and the next morning, and ate Sunday dinner there. Then I left Mamma with them and picked up Maureen and Dale and headed for Salt Lake City. Arrived in good shape, and everything fine with Nana. Had a busy week at the office. Quite a lot of reading to do. A biographical appreciation of Brigham Young by Gene England, ready to submit to BYU Press, manuscript of the world-wide church by Spencer Palmer, ready to submit to Deseret Book, and Mamma’s history which I finished editing and splicing together, which is based on the first three tapes. 85 pages typed, believe it or not. It now goes to Becky Cornwall, who will retouch the editing somewhat, Meanwhile, we have received the fourth tape from her and Nedra is typing it. When that is finished, it will be edited and integrated into the history previously finished, and then we’re done. The history will probably run to more than one hundred pages-perhaps as much as 120. When it is all finished to the satisfaction of Becky and myself, then it will he read again by Mamma and she may add, subtract, or change portions of it, then we’ll be through. I suspect that is at least a month away. Then it is up to her when she presents it to you. Her present thought is to give it for Christmas. It is more interesting than my history, and is more of a human story, while mine is more of a “How I have Achieved” kind of story. Anyway, I’m sure she’ll be interested in your reactions after you have read it. You will learn things you did not know, just as there are things I have learned. Very interesting, and I’m sure you’ll have reasons to love her and respect her all the more as the result of it. She’s a great Mamma!

[LJA to Children, 18 Feb., 1977]

I stayed home from work today to complete the editing of Mamma’ s history and to read some other things. Mamma is now re-reading her history, which at present draft is about 120 pages, and so I think I’ll start this. Mamma’s history is just great. Between Becky and myself we have got her to tell an essentially complete history. We have not gotten all the flavor in, because half the charm is in her telling, but we have tried. Essentially, it is in her words, and of course everything that is given is from her lips. There are no documents. So, it’s been an interesting experience that a number of persons must have gone through–no documents and rely entirely on the subject’s words and memory. I’ve enjoyed it and I’m sure Becky has also. Up to now the draft is in Mamma’s words as edited by me-words which she gave to Becky on tape. Becky will now go over the draft and perhaps introduce a phrase here or there which she remembers Mamma saying which isn’t on the tape. We’ve given it a title, divided it into chapters, and supplied sectional headings. Eight chapters of around 15 pages each. I think Mamma is very pleased. As she goes thru my editing she has found a few instances in which I put words in her mouth, for smoothness. If they don’t sound to her like the way she’d say it, she changes it. So it’s authentic, and has good integrity. Last night I went through her account, near the end, of why she became a Mormon, and it was very enlightening. 

[LJA to Children, 25 Feb., 1977]

Second thought for the day comes from the first paper I prepared after my appointment as Church Historian. In it I made a distinction between two types of value systems: the prudential value system, which counts the costs, compares them with the benefits, and decides on that course of action for which the rewards are greatest; and the romantic ethic, which operates primarily from a person’s desire to express his own nature or identity. Amateur sports, military activity, and religion are three areas which operate under this second value system, for each involves experiences and activities which transcend the calculations of human reason. Participation in sports, military campaigns, and religious activity appeal to our spirit of loyalty, patriotism, and idealism.

The gospel is built on the assumption that people will be motivated both by the economic value system and by the romantic value system. Part of the function of the Church is to help us maintain the two value systems in proper balance–to see the corruptions and dangers of an accounting approach to life, and also the dangers and foolhardiness of untempered idealism.

In recent months I have become more aware of the spontaneous, uncalculated aspect of love. Perhaps it is a consequence of Mamma and I being together and alone much of the time. Perhaps it is a result of having adult children who provide frequent opportunities for spiritual and familial communion. The embracing among family member’s that follows an extended absence, the celebration of a birthday, the blessing of a baby, a splendid artistic or intellectual performance, the sadness of a funeral–these are manifestations of the “sealing” of this love. Our love for each other sometimes demands such a physical communion. Love stimulates a desire to touch and to hold. This is usually done within the family circle, but l have come to appreciate the enthusiasm for occasional hugs, abrazos, kisses, even outside the family circle. I have, on rare occasions, experienced a communion of such intensity as to express itself in a Christianly hug. For such spontaneous manifestations of love, I feel sure that the Lord, who smiled with approval on greetings by a holy kiss, will leap with triumphant joy.

[Thoughts for the day; LJA Diary, 13 Feb., 1980]

The past few days have been tense ones for the family. Nana had developed eye infection early in the week, and the nurses refused to give her any eye medicine without a doctor’s approval. Dr. Bauman had refused to give her eye medicine on his own authority and had referred her to Dr. Reese. Dr. Reese had never been her doctor and didn’t prescribe any, so it went on several days this way. Finally Grace got a friend who used to live in our ward, Dr. Richard Cannon, to telephone in the prescription. In the meantime it had advanced very far.

At the same time, Nana had developed a sore throat or something on that order, and congestion had formed in her chest. By Friday Grace and the nurse at Wasatch Villa felt she had pneumonia; she had a temperature of about 103°. Grace got Richard Cannon to go look at her Thursday night, and he did not think she was in dangerous condition. It got much worse Friday and at Grace’s urging the nurse phoned Dr. Cannon, and Dr. Cannon, on the basis of the nurse’s report, said it looks like she has only another day or two of life. James was here Friday for a performance at the Lion House for the granddaughters and great-granddaughters of Brigham Young, and decided to stay the weekend because of Nana’s condition. Grace telephoned Susan and Dean and suggested that Susan ought to remain here until we had  Nana’s funeral, and then fly back to Connecticut. Susan agreed to do this, and for that purpose Dean was going to bring Susan and children to Salt Lake and then drive the car himself back to Connecticut so they would have the car there.

Grace and I and James had serious conversations about the funeral, and we decided on a program and who we wanted to participate in the various aspects. Grace spent most of the day Friday and all day Saturday sitting with Nana–not that she could do much for her, but she wanted to be there when Nana died. In the meantime, on Friday the woman in the room with Nana died while Grace was present. In fact, Grace was the only person to observe the moment of her death.

Dr. Cannon was to see Nana Saturday morning early, but failed to do so, and said he would see her later in the evening. He failed to see her Saturday evening as well. Sunday morning early–about 6:00 o’clock, he went to see her and telephoned Grace to say that the penicillin he had instructed the nurses to give her had taken effect and that she was getting over the pneumonia and the possibility of death was indefinite. He did not think she would die of this ailment. He furthermore said that she talked with him and nurse, that she wanted breakfast–something to eat and drink. He said that her temperature was almost back to normal.

Grace telephoned Susie immediately and told her she might as well go on with Dean, which she did. James, who had stayed over Saturday night as well, went to priesthood meeting and Sunday School with me, and then in the afternoon returned to Provo. Because of the strain she had been under, Grace did not feel well Sunday and spent most of the day in bed. She was feeling pretty well by late afternoon and fixed a little supper for herself and watched a couple of television shows. She also went out and spent an hour with Nana and verified that Nana was almost back to normal; in fact, Nana sat up for a while talking with her. Her voice isn’t quite normal, and the doctor thinks she may have had a minor stroke in her throat, but nothing critical.

[LJA Diary, 9 Jun., 1980]

Dear Dad, June 13, 1980

4545 N. Canyon Road

Happy Father’s Day!! I certainly enjoyed playing Ping Pong with you last Wednesday. I hope that is something we can keep up. You’re pretty hot after 10 years absence. I’m going to have to go into special training!

With regard to your father’s day request of sending you stories and anecdotes, I would like to send some general and some specific impressions and recollections.

I remember your army boots. I remember every time that something needed to be done that involved manual labor those shoes would come out and we all knew that meant work. I occasionally wonder what kind of shoes you used to wear before you went in the army. I think you still have those shoes today and wouldn’t be surprised that you still use them when you cut the grass. You can say the army didn’t do much for you, but at least it gave you some work shoes to last you for thirty years.

Those shoes bore the scars of thirty years of growing, changing, moving, painting, hiking and family outings. I know I have worn them on occasion and there are two generations served by army shoemakers.

I remember coming home from a play I was in at Utah State-as I recall it was ULpone-about 1972. I had several friends from BYU who had come up to see the performance including Doug Caidon and some of his roommates. As I recall I had a photo session or something that detained me from coming right home. I was anxious to get home for I hadn’t seen anyone. They had gone straight to our house (the new one) after the play. I was a little worried because I knew that none of them were the greatest conversationalists. So I really didn’t know what I’d find when I walked in the door.

Of all the things I could imagine what I found was the last things I ever would have envisioned. I found you singing at the top of your lungs! And what were you singing to these young BYU guests? Why Italian Grand Opera, of course! I can’t remember who was playing for you or if you were singing a capella but I will never forget the shock of seeing all those 21-22 year old BYU students gathered in our lovely living room listening to you sing; and they loved it! They appreciated not only the singing, but the spirit you evoked in them while singing. A feeling of joy and friendship shared through music and the voice many of them told me how much they enjoyed you.

I remember playing “King Lear” in Berkeley, Calif. It was about 1973. It was in an old church right across the street from the campus. It was a very old production-very badly directed, though not as badly cast-if I do say so myself. There were so many things wrong with the show from the very start. Be that as it was, you and Mom managed to get to San Francisco to see me perform it. The costumes were early Hebrew, the lighting was early 19th century, the direction was early Cro Magnon but we were all very serious about our roles and determined to use what we’d learned at ACT to create true characters and tell the story in spite of everything else.

I think that our efforts could reasonably be described as motley, stolid, melodramatic and heavy but when you, Dad, were in the audience I could hear you giggling all the way through the entire play. Reviewers would have left, audiences did. There was not an ounce of humor in the play. But out there I heard my dad’s wheezing, bubbling giggles rising from the audience.

Now some might think I was upset or angered by this lack of respect for a great work or the efforts (however unworthy) at approaching this enormous play. Not me! I understood almost immediately that far from being cruel or insensitive you were simply baffled, pleased, surprised, amazed and confused. Here was your little son that you’d grown up with and taught and spanked etc. and he was portraying King Lear…and not all that badly. How could this be your little boy? He grew up in your house? And yet here he was doing something very serious and dramatic.

I have never forgotten those precious little giggles that escaped you in Berkeley, Calif. They seemed to show me somehow that I was beginning to be my own man in a unique and respected way different from you, and yet, completely acceptable.

More reminiscence I’d like to pass along would be another musical memory. All my young life I can remember the house filled with some kind of sweet music. Generally you would have opera or classical music on the phonograph. I am the only kid I knew at 8 years old who knew the melody and much of the harmony from the Rigoletto Quartet and I still love it.

When we weren’t listening to records I remember you always whistling snatches of this and that. You said you learned to whistle tending the cows when you were little and I suppose that’s why I couldn’t learn-we had no cows. You had that over me.

You had your favorites most of which I never knew the names to, but I remember “My Hat it has Three Corners” was a favorite one. And one day I remember catching you whistling another one of your favorites which you had picked up somewhere. No one could have been any more surprised to find out he was whistling “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles. After you found out you continued to whistle it anyway. It was a good song!

Well, these are some personal memories of you. It’s interesting that the things most precious to me are not big moments like the David O. McKay award or your honorary doctorate, though they are wonderful, but more the commonplace, simple things of life where we show our humanity and vulnerability through the way we live. Thanks for being my Father. I love you, James.

[Father’s Day; James to LJA, file 15 Jun., 1980]

“For Father’s Day”

One characteristic of my father, Leonard Arrington, that I have enjoyed and learned from is his energetic love for life without being overly worried about “what others my think” about the way he exhibits this zest for life.

I remember times when he and I skipped home from Church together. Others looked on smiling or laughing and I was so grateful to have the only Dad in the whole ward who would skip with his daughter.

I recall the evening our family was asked to speak in our Logan 10th Ward Sacrament Meeting just before we moved to Salt Lake City. (June, 1972) As everyone was leaving for home, we walked out and Dad, James & Carl began a spontaneous “chicken fight” on the grass of the church.

Delighted ward members stopped and watched as the Church Historian engaged in some fun & sport with his sons, all in their Sunday suits. Once, Dad was knocked down and lay laughing, red-faced, as everyone enjoyed the scene.

This has been a quality that Dad has taught us, mostly through his example: to enjoy life, to have fun, to relax and be yourself, without worrying or being paranoid about what others may think.

A final story to illustrate this is one that my friends often remind me of. Our home in Logan was on the corner and several of my friends were always coming by to pick me up for Mutual, or Church, or school. Once, when we were out on the sidewalk chatting as teenagers do, we heard this hilarious laughter coming from my Dad’s study window. But it wasn’t my Dad’s laugh. It sounded like a tape of some guy in a fit of laughter.

We slowly crept up to his study window to see Dad holding up a little battery-powered “laughing-machine” that he had bought at the store that had a non-stop tape of a guy laughing. My friends and I loved it and on future visits would ask Dad to get it out so they could laugh all over again over it.

I’m sure today that my Dad was the main reason my friends enjoyed coming to our house so much. Along with the laughing box, Dad was always offering them food and goodies, giving them kisses (the girls), and generally making a fuss over them.

Everyone has enjoyed Dad’s zest for life! 

Susan Arrington Madsen

[Father’s Day; Susan to LJA (17 Jun.), file 15 Jun., 1980]

Dear Children: 

The most important news of the past week is Mamma’s belief that the death of Nana was imminent. Mamma has spent almost all waking hours in a vigil at Nana’s bedside. Each day she has thought that the next would be Nana’s last. Basically, Mamma’s health has been good, but because of the emotional tug she has felt exhausted, run down, not in shape to do anything except watch over Nana. I have argued that she should not stay long hours at the Villa; that she should visit Nana for a half hour every morning, afternoon, and evening, just to be sure she was comfortable and well cared for, and then return home. She has agreed with that intellectually, but when it came to doing it, she hasn’t. She went one afternoon to spend the half hour and spent eight hours! And that’s more or less characteristic. She seems determined to be with Nana when she dies. It’s an obsession that may seem irrational but it’s there. Since I was in Logan when both Mom and Dad died in Twin Falls, I was never under this syndrome; maybe Ken and LeRoy and Don were. Fortunately, Mamma does not have other interests that conflict with this. She does not have to choose whether she will be with Nana or me; Nana or one of you; Nana or be at work. But if Nana lasts until next weekend, she will be presented with such a choice.

Last Friday evening Mamma and I went to dinner with Eldred G. and Hortense Child Smith. It was one of the most interesting evenings we have ever spent. We had some interesting conversation, and stayed until midnight. Eldred showed us many family treasures. He is a descendant of Hyrum Smith by his oldest son by his first wife, Patriarch John Smith. Ha showed us the clothing Hyrum wore when he was murdered, blood still on the shirt. (Mamma wept.) That is, the trousers, shirt, and vest. Hyrum Smith’s temple garment (which he did not wear to the jail). Hyrum’ s rifle, his dress sword he wore with the Nauvoo Legion. His watch. His family Bible. Portion of a missionary diary; an account book of 1835. Lucy Mack Smith’s footstool. The box the gold plates were kept in. A large flag carried by the Nauvoo Legion. And many other things. It was a fascinating evening. 

[LJA to Children, 20 Jun., 1980]

Logan Herald Journal

23 June 1980

Nina Myrtle Haithcock Fort, 88, of Logan and Salt Lake City, died June 21, 1980, in Salt Lake City after a short illness. She was born December 28, 1893, in Granville County, North Carolina, to Edwin and Mollie Ann Crabtree Haithcock. She married John William Fort March 29, 1911, in Wake Forest, N.C. He died Jan. 8, 1964.

She was a member of the Baptist Church and Eastern Star. For many years she was a practicing cosmetologist in Raleigh, N.C. She was a home mother for the Sigma Kappa and Alpha Omicron Pi sororities at Utah State University. Survivors are a daughter, Mrs. Leonard (Grace) J. Arrington, Salt Lake City; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Tuesday noon in the Cranney Mortuary Chapel. Friends may call Tuesday at the Chapel an hour prior to services. Burial will be in the Logan City Cemetery. 

[Obituary clipping from newspaper for Nina Myrtle Haithcock Fort; 23 Jun., 1980]

Grace married Leonard in 1943, but he promptly went overseas with the Army and stayed three years, so Grace and her mother continued in partnership in the Hayes-Barton Beauty Shop. When Leonard returned in 1946, he and Grace, after a few months, left for Utah, where he obtained employment at Utah State University. Grace just gave her share of the shop to Nina as a means of helping her provide for herself. Nina stayed there with her shop for several more years. Grace and Leonard lived in Logan three years and then returned to North Carolina, where Leonard completed a year of course work at University of North Carolina and completed his Ph. D. work. In the meantime, Grace lived with her mother in Raleigh and worked at the beauty shop. During those months Nina indicated to Grace her desire to build her own house, so Grace helped her buy a lot, select a plan, and look after the construction. The house was almost finished by the time Grace and Leonard and children left to return to Utah in the summer of 1950. Again in 1952 Leonard returned for six months to complete his dissertation and take his final oral exams. During those years, Grace and children lived with Nina in her new home in Raleigh.

Six years later, in 1958, Grace and Leonard and family went to Italy for a year in connection with a Fulbright professorship. They invited Nina to go with them, and she joined them at New York and went with them to spend the year in Italy. She went on many tours with Grace, Leonard, and their children as they visited museums , cathedrals, monuments, and other places of interest in Rome, Florence, Perugia, Genoa, Milan, Venice, and elsewhere. That was a great year for her, and she appreciated being able to tag along. She enjoyed good health during all the year.

In the summer of 1959 she returned to her home and shop in Raleigh once more, but in 1960 decided to sell shop and home and move to Logan to be with Grace and Leonard and the children. She bought a new little Studebaker and hired a man to drive her to Logan. She first lived in the Sigma Kappa sorority house as a housemother for two years, and one year as housemother of Alpha Omicron Pi.

In 1963, when Grace and Leonard moved into their new home in Logan, she stayed in a downstairs apartment. With her own car she could be pretty independent. She lived there for nine years–until Grace and Leonard moved, with her, to Salt Lake City. Those were pleasant years for her. By the time she and the Arringtons moved to Salt Lake she was older, got less satisfaction from helping Grace around the house, and could not drive her car anymore. Desiring more the companionship of other older women, in the fall of 1977 she moved to the Sarah Daft Home for elderly women. She remained there until January 1980 when she broke her hip and required hospitalization and nursing care.

Nina Myrtle Fort departed this life at the Wasatch Villa, in South Salt Lake City, on June 21, 1980, when she was in her eighty-seventh year. 

[Funeral Service for Nina Myrtle Haithcock Fort by Carl Arrington; 24 Jun., 1980]


In January of this year Nana, who had been for two or three years in the Sarah Daft home, fell and broke her hip for the third time. Since she would have to be cared for she had to leave Sarah Daft. We placed her in the hospital for a week or more and then upon her discharge placed her in the Wasatch Villa, which is about 33rd South and 22nd East in Salt Lake City. We placed her there because it was the closest nursing home to our home and at the same time it had a reasonably good reputation.

We had the feeling at the time that, considering Nana’s age, 86, she would likely not leave the nursing home, although we of course held out the possibility that she might recover enough to return to Sarah Daft.

As we expected, a series of ailments developed which eventually caused her death on June 21. Two or three weeks after she had been in the Wasatch Villa, she tried to get out of bed and somehow climbed over the protective railing on the side of the bed and fell and broke her collarbone. Sometime later she had a mini-stroke which partly paralyzed one of her legs. Still later she developed what seemed to be pneumonia–or at least symptoms that resembled pneumonia, such as difficulty in breathing, chest congestion, temperature that varied between 102 and 103, and exhaustion. After that seemed to be cleared up she developed kidney infection. Then she had another mini-stroke or two with the result that she could not maneuver her tongue and could not swallow either liquid or food. Eventually all of these played a role in her death. It will be interesting to see what the doctor lists as the cause of her death, since he could list any one of five or six things, all of which might come under the general heading “causes incident to old age.”

During all of the last several months, she remained sweet and pleasant, and more or less rational all the time. Of course there were times of extended sleep, and near the end she lapsed into sleep every few minutes, and near the end in waking moments she carried on a babble of talking that we could not understand. She may have been saying something or she may have been just emitting sounds. But even the day of her death she did spend a few minutes talking intelligently with Grace.

During all of these months she was in the Villa, Grace was with her much of the time, at first visiting her once or twice a day, two or three hours at a stretch, and then increasingly remaining with her longer so that during the last three weeks Grace was with her perhaps as much as ten or twelve hours a day, and during the last three or four days, as much as fifteen or sixteen hours a day. This was of course very wearing on Grace, both physically and emotionally, and both the nurses and I tried to discourage her from remaining there so long. Grace, however, felt a strong compulsion to be with her mother at the time of her death, and this could have occurred any time, she felt, during the last three weeks of her illness.

During the earlier months she was at the Villa she had the feeling that she would recover and return to Sarah Daft, but within the last month on at least two occasions she told Grace that she thought her time had come. It was in this kind of context that she said she wanted to be buried in her Eastern Star dress and have the Eastern Star perform a little ceremony at her burial. Also in such conversation a number of times she told Grace how much she loved her and what a good daughter she thought she had been and that she, Grace, should have absolutely no regrets or guilt feelings about anything, since she, Nana, recognized that she, Grace, had done and was doing everything she possibly could for her, Nana’s, welfare. This gave much satisfaction to Grace. Nana also remembered the children, asked about them every day, and wanted Grace to be sure to tell them how much she loved and admired them. She said the same to Grace about me, that I had been an ideal son-in-law and she had always admired, respected, and loved me.

On Friday, June 6, her condition had deteriorated so much that Grace was fearful for her, and, not being able to get Dr. Bauman to go see her, managed to get a doctor who used to be in our ward and who is a friend, Richard Cannon, to go see her. He reported that she could go any time. For that reason Susan thought that she would remain here with the children and have Dean drive back to Connecticut alone, and Susan and the children would fly back as soon as there was the funeral. This was Susan’s plan, but Saturday night Nana seemed much better and we told Susan to plan to drive back with Dean to Connecticut. Sunday morning early Dr. Cannon visited Nana and said she was much better, was talking and joking with him, and he thought she would last another week or two. We therefore advised Susan to drive on with Dean, which she did, leaving that very morning, a few minutes after we called.

Friday, June 20, Nana was not good and Grace spent all day with her. However, when Nana went to sleep about 6:00 p.m., Grace came home to have a bite to eat with me. Within an hour the nurse called her up to say that Nana was much worse and would she please come out. Actually Grace felt very uneasy and had induced me to drive her out and we were on the way at the time of the nurse’s call. We remained with Nana for a couple of hours. Her breathing was very difficult, her heartbeat was very slow, but the strength of her gulping for breath persuaded me that she could last another day or two or three. We left after a couple of hours and Grace managed to get a good sleep.

Grace left early Saturday morning, the 21st, and spent all day at the Villa. She returned about 6:30 to fix a bit to eat for me and herself. She felt that Nana was about gone and we telephoned Susan, Carl, and James to tell them not to plan anything for the weekend, that they ought to be available to fly west when Nana died. Each wanted to be here for the funeral, and of course we agreed to put up the money to fly Carl and Susan west for the purpose. We also told each of them that Mamma wanted them to be the speakers at the funeral, and each agreed to do so.

Grace was just ready to put a little supper on the table when the nurse called again to say that Nana was worse and we ought to go out to the Villa. So I drove her out and we remained there for a couple of hours. To me, Nana seemed about the same as she was the night before, perhaps a little worse. After a couple of hours of gasping, the nurse gave her a hypodermic and Nana went off to sleep, and the nurse persuaded Grace to go home. We went home about 9:00. We had a chance to eat a bit and Grace’s cousin Annie telephoned, and Grace had a long chat with her. Just about the time that that conversation was completed, we received a call from the nurse saying that Nana had died. This was about 9:30 Saturday evening. The nurse said not to go to the Villa immediately but to wait a few minutes while they cleaned things up and got some forms prepared. We used those few minutes to call each of the children and inform them. We also telephoned Spencer Cranney of Cranney Mortuary in North Logan to come and pick up the body. He said he would come by our house first to discuss funeral details with us. We then drove out to the hospital [Villa].

When we arrived in Nana’s room the nurse and the male orderly came in to say that they had stayed with Nana virtually all of the time after we left about 9:00 and that after a little while Nana roused up from her sleep, saw the nurse and orderly there, and asked if Grace had gone. The nurse said yes, Grace left just a few minutes ago. Nana them nodded her head as if to say “I’m glad,” smiled a little, turned her head to the side, and died. The nurse and orderly said both of them had the feeling that Nana did not want to die while Grace was there to see it. She was waiting until Grace left to “go.” After telling us this, the nurse and orderly then left. Grace asked me to leave, and she then stayed with Nana for about 20 minutes in a brief communion. She then called me in and said she was ready to go. In the meantime I was signing forms, getting Nana’s clothes packed, and so on. We went home then about 10:15 or 10:30 and waited for Spencer Cranney to come.

Cranney came about midnight, and we went over the program for the funeral that we had worked out some time ago, and he said it was fine. He discussed with us costs, casket, flowers, how to do Nana’s hair, and other matters. Grace was very pleased with his manner. He also secured an obituary to put in the Logan Herald Journal and one of Nana’s last photos to show her face. He also secured from Grace Nana’s Eastern Star dress and pin.

We went to sleep about 1:00 o’clock and then I began the round of telephoning Sunday morning. Susan and Carl decided to fly from Kennedy Sunday evening, arriving about 9:40. Susan was bringing Rebecca and leaving Emily with Dean. James said he would ride back with me from Provo when I went down to give the talk to the Provo Central Stake fireside Sunday evening. We telephoned each of those on the program and each said they were honored and pleased to be able to respond to our invitation to participate in the service. I also took down to the Tribune a copy of the obituary and photo for the Tribune of Monday morning and the Deseret News of Monday evening, which would announce her death and date of the funeral. We also telephoned Lillian and Ann in North Carolina, also Ruth Partridge, and Mary Dare in New York City, also Ken and Dorris, Wayne and Ralph and Virgie, also Alden.

While Grace took a nap and talked with her friends in Logan and Parley’s Ward, I drove to Provo for my talk in the old Provo Tabernacle. The meeting was interesting and the talk was well received. Approximately 1000 persons attended. James and I then drove to the airport, arriving just in time to greet Carl, Susan, and Rebecca. We then drove home and stayed up an hour or two for conversation. We got to sleep by midnight.

Monday we had additional telephone conversations to do and the three children spent a couple of hours preparing their talks, and then we drove to Logan and Hyde Park. We had various errands to do; we went by Fred’s Flowers and picked out a casket wreath that Grace and I ordered with the word “Mother” on it. The children picked out a wreath which had the word “Nana.” We also picked out a corsage for Nana. We also went by to pick up the Herald Journal, and went by the drugstore to get some medicine for Grace, and then to the mortuary. We chose a very nice casket–all of us agreed on it, and attended some other details with Spencer Cranney. We had a number of telephone calls and visitors at Susan’s hone. I should have mentioned that the Parley’s Ward Relief Society brought us some dishes, which we took to Logan for our Monday evening dinner there. We spent the evening talking, and once again the children spent an hour or two or three working on their talks.

Tuesday morning June 24, we went to the mortuary about 10:00 am. We saw Nana and she was perfectly beautiful. Her hair was fixed just right and her expression and face were just beautiful. Grace was very pleased. She said Nana looked like she used to look five or ten years ago. People began coming to the mortuary before 11:00 o’clock, when the viewing was to begin. I had anticipated there would be approximately 25 persons in addition to those on the program, but there were at least 100 who were there to greet us at the viewing and then be present for the program. Esther Apgood was the only one who drove from SLC, but LeRoy and Mary drove from Twin Falls, which surprised us, and Alden and Betty, and also Adrien Keeler came from Ogden, about 10 couples from our Solera Club, and Don and Virginia Rigby from Bancroft; four of Susan’s friends from Hyde Park, and the rest were Logan 10th Warders. There are no more loyal people in the world than the old Tenth Warders.

The flowers were very lovely. In addition to those we ordered there was a nice basket from Ken and Dorris and NWA Farms Corporation; a beautiful rose wreath from Annie and JW in North Carolina; a nice chrysanthemum wreath from the History Division “co-workers;” another nice wreath from Homer and Eudora Durham (he had telephoned us the morning of the service to say that he would not be able to be there). There were also two wreaths from Nana’s Baptist friends in Logan, one of the Eastern Star and one from Baptist Circle friends.

It was a very nice group who came to pay their respects at the viewing. Many of Grace’s closest friends, some of Susan’s and Carl’s and James’s, including Laurie Ballam who happened to be in town, some of my friends, including Evan Murray and Mark and Augusta Neuberger, also Shirley Cazier and Elaine Alder; and of course lots of old 10th Warders and Solero people. 

A little before 12:00 I gave the family prayer; in addition to our five there were Alden and Betty, Laurie Ballam. The casket was then closed and we went in to the chapel. In charge of the program was our old neighbor and former bishop George Jaggi, and he did a very fine job. Prelude and postlude music by Faye Stucki, who is one of Grace’s closest friends; she told Grace that instead of giving flowers, she and Leon wanted to take us out to dinner in SLC, which was a very nice gesture. The opening prayer by our old neighbor and friend of many years, Lee Petersen. Then Carl read a life sketch of Nana, brilliantly done. lnez Waldron and Anna Jean Skidmore then sang “In the Garden,” accompanied by Faye Stucki; very appropriate. Then Susan gave a talk about Nana’s personality; very imaginatively done. She decided as a unifying structure to take a kind of tour of Nana’s apartment and as one would observe this or that, she’d tell a story about it that would illustrate Nana’s personality and character. One of the best talks that I have ever heard at a funeral, and well delivered. Then a medley of three Baptist hymns by Faye Stucki on the organ. After this James gave a spiritual message–kind of a mini-sermon which was very appropriate, very well thought out, and very well delivered. Closing prayer by the young minister of the Logan First Baptist Church, Jon Engstrom, who had known Nana for several years when he was a student attending USU. He made a few remarks about Nana before he gave his prayer, which were very appropriate.

We them proceeded to the Logan City Cemetery for the interment. James, as the oldest living descendant of Nana, dedicated the grave, after which there was a brief ceremony of the Eastern Star, in ich an Eastern Star woman with a very heavy German accent read some things from the Bible, followed by a man presumably a Mason, who read some things from the Bible. Very appropriate and fitting, and not very long. We then left to go to Susan’s home in Hyde Park for dinner, which was prepared by the Logan 10th Ward women–President, Gretta Curless. Present there were Alden and Betty, LeRoy and Mary, and of course the five of us. We then went by to pick up Rebecca and to deliver the dishes to Gretta, then by the cemetery to take pictures of the flowers on the grave and see that all was well. Susan also took one of the flowers placed on the grave of Daniel. She and Grace had a tender moment together at the two graves. We then did an errand or two for Susan and then returned to SLC. We had to rush to some extent because James had a performance that evening at the Lion House as Brother Brigham. We stayed up for part of the night to talk. Grace had Susan try on many of Nana’ s dresses and she found that nearly all of then fit her very well. So she will have a whole wardrobe of very nice dresses of various colors and types to wear for the next few years.

The next morning we took Susan and Rebecca to the airport and she flew to Kennedy, then took limousine for New Haven and arrived there at about 8 o’clock their time. All well. We took Carl to the airport at 3:00 in the afternoon and he flew to Los Angeles and will be best man for the wedding of Lance Owens, his buddy from Logan High School, this morning. Carl will remain in the Los Angeles area for three days to do a couple of interviews for Circus. One is Peter Townsend, and I’ve forgotten the other name. They will pay him extra for these interviews, and Carl said “I’ll make sure they pay me plenty!” He feels he was underpaid when he was managing editor of Circus. Carl will fly to Sacramento Monday evening or Tuesday morning to spend all day Tuesday with his Uncle Wayne,’after whom he was named, and who is his godfather. He will then return on July 2 or 3 to New York. He may get a chance to see his cousin Richard in San Francisco.

Grace was very tired last night and went to bed at about 6:00 o’clock, and slept soundly the night through. She awoke this morning at 8:00 a.m. and telephoned a few minutes ago to say that she felt fine and did not have to take a pain pill this morning.

By way of retrospect, Grace was very much pleased with the funeral and in fact with everything connected with her mother’s last days and funeral. She thought her children had paid Nana the best tribute she could have had (I agree), and she thought the music, the flowers, the services, everything was handled with the best taste. I neglected to mention that I had taken Grace to ZCM1 Monday night and bought her a new dress appropriate for the funeral, and she looked lovely and felt lovely. The children were also nicely dressed, and Carl and James looked very handsome in their suits–James in a light blue suit and Carl in a black suit, and Susan dressed in one of Nana’s nice dresses. Grace was so pleased that everything went so perfectly; she felt quite resigned to her mother’s death and felt satisfaction that she had done everything humanly possible to make her last days comfortable and pleasant. 

[About Nana’s death; LJA Diary, 26 Jun., 1980]

Dear Children:

Today is James’s birthday. Mamma and I remember, with the clearest recollection, his birth. We had sought earnestly to have a child after my return from overseas. After a year or more, Dr. Francis, in Wellsville, found that Mamma had a cyst in her ovary. So she had an operation. Several unsuccessful months later, he said that I needed to take some vitamins. Months later Mamma had a miscarriage, after four months. Finally, conception occurred, we nurtured the pregnancy along, and then came the due date. No labor pains. A couple of weeks later, no labor pains. The doctor decided to induce labor. To the hospital we took Mamma on December 16. The second floor of the Cache Valley Hospital, just south of the library. Mamma was a long time in labor. I waited all night in the hospital with her, and a nurse came by about every half hour and checked things out. Finally, about 11:30 she was about ready for delivery. Dr. Francis put me in a room adjoining the delivery room so I could peak through a crack in the door and could thus HEAR everything, and get snatches of view. At twelve noon James was delivered, uttered his first cry. He was truly a beautiful baby, with large blue eyes and a head of black hair. Fair skin and placid expression. Outside were several inches of snow, and the snow began falling in large clusters about 1l:30 and snowed, the most beautiful snowfall, throughout the delivery period and an hour or two afterward. Mamma was lovely, James was lovely, Papa was happy.

It was Friday. I went back to my office at school for a while in the afternoon to tell Evan Murray and other friends. On my way I suddenly realized that it was the custom where I was born to give cigars. So I went by and bought a box. Only box I ever bought. Went up to give them away. Felt very silly because not a one of the people I knew smoked. Yet, wasn’t that what one did when a child was born? How crazy. Everybody laughed, took a cigar, and put it in the pocket. Did they later toss them away, give them to their wives, or give them to a smoking friend? Anyway, what a happy day. Mamma came home from the hospital Christmas Eve, and so we had a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together. A merry Christmas. 

[LJA to Children, 17 Dec., 1981]

Dear Dad,

It is 7:00am on Thursday morning Oct 27. I know it’s almost incredible to think that I might actually be up and functioning by this time. But even more confusing is that I am showered shaved and here at work!?! And, to put the cherry on top, I am writing you a letter. This strange sequence of events must certainly have your head spinning. Well, don’t spin for long, you’ll lose your balance.

Actually, I have been thinking about you all week. I know there is no way you could know that, of course, but I have. My thoughts have gone to you a great deal in the last several months. I have a few things to say, and since these things are so hard for sons and fathers to talk about I thought I’d follow your superb example and write you this letter. We can talk another time.

First, Dad, I just want to say “thanks.” I have many things to thank you for. Foremost: Thanks for being my Dad. I have always been proud of you. I think somewhere along the road I got the message from society that sons and fathers are not supposed to get along. Well, I believed it for some silly reason and I started looking for reasons to have a difficult relationship with you. Now, of course, one eventually finds what ones searches for and I gathered together a few silly little instances to hold against you. (I think I even told you one about yelling at me for reading science fiction, for which I am sorry) Then I went around with this silly little pocket all zippered and locked up thinking I dare not open it for the rancor and pain it would cause. It was scary thinking what might be in there, and that fight also lived in that little pocket which continued to grow over the years until I was almost debilitated have to hide it from you and everyone else. Well, in my behavior class last week I was forced to open that pocket a crack to see what was in there. And guess what? It was a paper tiger all this time.

Dad, it’s not always easy to express my feelings for you. And I fancy it’s just as hard for you to sit and listen to it as it is for me to say it. But nonetheless it should be said. I admire you and respect you tremendously. I want to say thanks for reading to me when I was a kid–they are choice memories. Thanks for playing blind man’s bluff in the living room. Thanks for not spanking me when I went out and got muddy in the garden when the irrigation water came through. Thanks for being patient with me when I used to climb up behind the old chair and brush your hair–while you were trying to read. Thanks for all those trips to Bear Lake with all of your friends in study groups even though you took your book. I have to say I never remember resenting that. To me, that’s what my Dad did. I honestly don’t have any feelings of resentment over such things and can’t now recall any.

Thanks for letting me drive home from Crystal Springs. Oh, and thanks for taking us to Crystal Springs. Thanks for taking me on my paper route on Sunday mornings. What a pain that must have been, and yet you never complained or uttered a word of unhappiness. Thank you for the new house and letting me have my own apartment when I went to college. Thanks for the number of your cars that I have driven (and am still driving) while you carried and paid all the insurance costs.

Oh, and thanks for delighting all my girlfriends over the years. You can’t fool me, Dad, I know you liked most of them and much as I did (some perhaps even more). You were great with them. Dealing out those generational and genealogical amazements and repeating stories about their great-grandfathers and laughing with them, even occasionally sneaking a little hug or kiss. What a delightful Dad. You never pushed me in any direction with a girl (even though I know you were disappointed over some of my choices – like not marrying Laurie.) But you have always let me suffer the consequences of my own folly as well as my own wisdom. I can look at my life now and pretty much say that I own it. It is the life I built and I really can’t blame you for anything-and don’t want to.

And thanks for the encouragement and example in education. I always felt guilty that I didn’t turn into a scholar like you did. I never found the time or ability to pour over the books and keep the facts straight like you did. I didn’t really ever get into it like that as you well know. Perhaps I didn’t see a necessity to “escape” the family farm like you did, because we didn’t have a family farm! No, we actually had a pretty great family and a wonderful house to grow up in and a great neighborhood to live in. There was nothing to escape from, so I concentrated on enjoying it.

Years later when I went to college I still couldn’t summon up the tremendous interest in education and I frankly didn’t see it as very important in my chosen profession. Well, acting education, yes, but the broader part I put up with and joked about and never took seriously. I regard that as a flaw in my thinking as well as my constitution. And I think you never really understood why it wasn’t more important to me. Although you made many gentle suggestions and tried to help a bit, I really never took the bait. Well, okay, so we disagreed, but it certainly never went into any state of conflagration, and look at me today. I work at a University, I have a skilled position. I am looked to for advice and my job is seen as both important and educated. How about that?!

And thank you for always making time to come and see me perform. I wasn’t always great–far from it–but I never knew that from you. It really meant a great deal to me that you were interested and proud. I know that over the years you have been increasingly amazed and delighted at my accomplishments and the work that I do. Oh, you don’t say too much about it, but I know you’re proud of me. I know the work I do seems so drastically removed from yours it must seem a little overwhelming and perhaps even distant. Well, that’s okay. Sometimes your work seems distant to me, too.

I also appreciate you allowing me to take my own direction. Aside from a little effort every now and then to push me toward an academic career, I never felt that you were disgusted with my choices of things to do. I know that even the pushes towards academia were simply your manifestation of care for me and your worry over the “future” of what I had chosen to become interested in. Well, I know Grandpa must have felt the same way about you sometimes, and I know that you don’t resent that. What parent can hold back from worrying over the welfare of his child?

There is really a great deal more I could say, and perhaps will in the future, but the last thing I want to say is that I am increasingly worried about what Carl is conjuring up for you. I tried on this last trip to feel you out about his strange conundrums, but you were typically closemouthed and unrevealing of your feelings. Well, based on my conversations with him I am shocked and a little disgusted at his attitude. If he wants to study his behavior and go inside his head for the whys and wherefores of his existence, that’s fine with me. What I don’t appreciate is him coming to me with some half-baked assertion about me, you, or especially about Mom.

I personally think Carl has not yet come to grips with Mother’s passing and he is trying desperately to explain his personal feelings of guilt. You will remember, of course, that he really took her death very hard. He never really managed to patch up his feelings with her before she died. He had also been away and hadn’t seen her in sometime when she passed. I think he’s been laboring over those feelings all this time.

Now, I don’t know whether he communicated any of this convoluted grief onto you. You might not have recognized it if he did. It might have come out in some other way like insisting that you take responsibility for your feelings or forcing you to explain things that are difficult to explain about your personal behavior now or in the past, for the benefit of his understanding. I hope not. He insisted to me that there was a conspiracy, whether conscious or un-, to deprive mother of dignity in her later years. If this shocks you I’m sorry to have brought it up. But I just cannot and will not allow him to drop his guilt on the rest of us, particularly you. I just cannot accept that.

I’m sure we all have regrets over Mom’s death, things we could have done or said. I can’t imagine a death where this sort of thing isn’t sobering and difficult to accept. I even admit that I harbor a little anger and resentment that mom has not been here to grandmother my children. My children only know her as a picture and a name. But that is a far cry from accepting guilt in some twisted idea to blame us all for her death. Well, this is a difficult thing to write about. I hope it hasn’t upset you.

I just want you to know that I am grateful to have you as my Dad. You’re a great man, a great example, and a great Dad. You are not like anyone else’s Dad I know. You are just mine. I take great pride in the fact that wherever I go in whatever company (particularly the upper crust as in Karl Snow last night at the premiere of the movie) they know you well, appreciate what you do, and compliment me for having such a great father. I always agree wholeheartedly.

I shall always be Happy for the possibilities you provided and the way you have lived your life. No, I don’t agree with everything you do and I don’t think you’re perfect, but then I’m not either…and I don’t agree with everything I do either. So, big deal. I just wanted to say thanks and that I appreciate all you have done for me.

Thanks for twenty years of letters once a week. When I tell people about this wonderful habit of yours they can hardly believe their ears. Well, neither can I…and worse, in that time I have hardly written you at all. I have a sizeable gap in my self-esteem over this inequity. Perhaps I will be better in the future.

Thanks for everything, Dad, and I love you. 

[James to LJA; LJA Diary, 27 Oct., 1988]

When we moved to Salt Lake City in 1972 the family essentially disbanded. Susan stayed in the dorm at USU, Carl was on his mission and after a quarter or two at the U of U went to USU to finish his degree. James was at BYU and San Francisco. You’ve made your homes well away from here; you have followed your bents and we have followed our career here. My greatest pleasure has come from historical and biographical writing, and in seeing you-all occasionally. I miss the earnest talks we used to have, but I do get to see you a few times a year and admire your spouses and children.

[LJA to Children, 7 Jul., 1994]

Some TV and newspaper ads about Father’s Day, which comes up a week from Sunday, have caused me to reflect on my experience with my father and my relationship with my children. The emphasis of my father was always, how to protect and strengthen our source of income; namely, land. Every extra cent, every hour of labor and thought, was directed toward buying land, so as to insure more income to support the family. There was no thought given to providing family entertainment or family consumption or health. The family was there to work and make the most of our property–the land. He never took us fishing, hunting, on boat trips. We did not go ice-skating, roller skating, riding bicycles or even family outings in the parks or great outdoors. Work, work, work. On the land, with the animals. Some of us got recreation, of course, through the Boy Scouts, Deacons Quorum, FFA, school noon-hour sports, and even some neighborhood sports. But most of our “sport” was in the work projects–threshing, haying, cutting beans, digging potatoes, cutting seed potatoes, topping beets.

Obviously, this was my growing-up experience, and it caused me to be a poor father in a village community like Logan. I never took you fishing, hunting, very rarely ice-skating and roller skating, horse riding, and we did very little camping out. No cabin on Bear Lake or in the canyon. No boat. You-all, of course got recreation opportunities through Boy Scouts, Girls Camp, Deacons and Teachers Quorums, school, and some you invented or adopted. If my father’s chief goal was land, mine was attainment as a teacher and writer. If I had an extra $100 I went to an econ. convention; or trip to a historic site.

We had a lot of extra family fun as an accompaniment of my professional work. The year in Southern California when we traveled around each Saturday and Sunday as I wrote Great Basin Kingdom; the year in Italy. The year at Pacific Palisades. We made the most of these years, but they were a by-product of my professional endeavors. We are now in a consumers society. Every emphasis given to family fun. What did I do to help train you for that? First work, then play. First earn, and then eat. Nothing much on cars, clothes, and nothing on a boat. Travel when your way is paid, never just for pleasure.

We did have fun, I think, We did enjoy ourselves, I think. But that was the result, I suspect, of a good church program and good school programs. You were popular, had many friends, and developed things that would be a pleasure. Was I a transition between the work economy of Dad and the consumers economy of today? Was our family successful because of Mamma? If I had been less interested in my work would we have taken more opportunities to do “fun” things?

I am now at the stage where I don’t particularly relish spending $10,000 on a two-week trip to somewhere. If someone would pay my way, I suppose I would go. But then I get pleasure from TV programs of travel and places and sites.

[LJA to Children, 6 Jun., 1997]

Questions from Becky Cornwall to LJA about Utah State University chapter of his biography.

13. Was James a feisty baby?

James was not feisty. He was a very active baby, very curious, did not like to be left alone, insisted upon being with people, loved animals and birds,was a happy baby and child, did not like the dark. If you put him out toplay, even with many playthings, he would wander off to where there was someone to play with. Insistently gregarious. Carl, on the other hand, was contentto play by himself as well as with others, was very quiet and reflective, good humored, undemanding. Grace thinks she neglected Carl, just becausehe let her. James would never have permitted anyone to neglect him. Bothwere intelligent and quick to learn. Carl was more awkward, not as beautifulor handsome. Big dreamy eyes and eyelashes, but an unusually big head. Nevertheless, both boys, as grownups, are very similar.

[LJA Diary, 2 Oct., 1976]

As the family grew up, I enjoyed associations with them. When James was10 or-12 he began delivering papers, and I helped him during the winter andduring illnesses. This made for close association between us. He was inBoy Scouts and probably made it to about first class. He went to the National Jamboree in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and it was there that he discovered hewas a “born actor.” All the way back on the bus he and “Howie” (Howard) Smithkept the boys entertained with stories in various accents. Stories they madeup. When they got together for their regional programs, the boys decided to putthem up to do their program. So they won first prize for a fireside program fromthe western region. This was when he was about 14 or 15, about ninth grade.He took seminary in school, but it was a “busy work” kind of training, fillingout notebooks and not intellectually stimulating. He did not like it particularly, although he did not react against it. He was intelligent, but not ascholar in the sense of doing all his assignments if he didn’t enjoy them.When he was a sophomore in high school he ran for a student body office, madefriends easily and quickly and was elected by a large majority. He wouldprobably have been student body president if he had been in Logan for his senioryear. We decided to go to UCLA and he thought long and hard about remainingin Logan with friends, but he finally decided to go with us. He was glad, becausehis experience in Pacific Palisades High gave a great boost to his acting experience and career. He tried out for football his sophomore year and played asassistant quarterback, but was not particularly good and dropped it after oneyear. He was popular with girls. He also played ball with a Little Leagueteam from our ward and the l9th ward, and was not particularly good, butplayed as long as they played. He had many friends among the old 10th wardgang. He was a “good talker” and people enjoyed being around him; he couldtalk people into or out of things they otherwise might have done.

When we returned from California in the fall of 1967, James was readyto enter USU and we encouraged him to live on campus. He lived in CardHall of the David 0. McKay Student Living Center and got along fine, althoughnot much study I suspect. His grades were good in things he liked-acting,music, philosophy, speech, etc. Poor in things he didn’t like-FreshmanEnglish, biology- etc. He was heavily involved in theater. After one year he wanted to go on a mission. He was very pleased about the assignment to go to Brazil. It is our impression that he was a good missionary. He became aclose friend of a number of persons who have remained his good friends, especially Doug Cardon, of Farmington, New Mexico. During the last two months, Jamesand Cardon and two others formed a group and went from town to town puttingon one night stands as an American singing and entertainment group and gettingpeople receptive to the missionaries. James, incidentally, has always preferredto be called “James” or “Jamie.” He does not like “Jim” or “Jimmie.” When hewas a little child we called him “Jimmie” but we had switched to “Jamie” bythe time he was four or five, maybe even three or four.

Carl was a more quiet and introspective boy than James, but still verysocial and gregarious with lots of friends. As he was growing up, he alsotook a job delivering papers and I worked with him and he and I became veryclose. He was always interested in athletics–football, baseball, basketball. He and the boys of the neighborhood formed a Little League baseball team,and I served as coach. I did this for about four years. I was close to theboys and have been close to several of them since. We did well, but werenever champions. We used to practice a day or two each week, and then weplayed once or twice a week. Carl was catcher. I always kept the boyssupplied with mits, gloves, balls, etc. I enjoyed it and so did they. Our group were primarily from the 10th and 19th wards. Carl did well inschool also, but nothing like straight As. Just as James had done, he wentout for debate and was very good. He and his close friend, Richard Daines,were state champions in one category, and the Logan Team won a couple ofsweepstakes when he was with them. He also won a state tournament as the best stump speaker. He (as well as James) often gave talks in SundaySchool and did well. Carl was also a good writer and after one year asa writer, became editor of the Logan Hi paper (James had also worked for the Logan Grizzly. Carl was in Pacific Palisades High School during his first year and tried out for football there. But was too small andhurt his back, and maybe his feelings. Anyway, he gave it up after two or threeweeks. He was interested in his coursework at Pali High and did well. When wereturned to Logan he went into debate and journalism and did extremely well.He was active in Church; took seminary, though he had some teachers hedidn’t like (and who apparently didn’t like him). He had lots of friends andgot along well. He hadn’t been sure that he would want to go on a mission, buthe went to the university his freshman year. As I recall,he remained at our house, though we encouraged him to live on campus. He didvery well. Got As in nearly everything. After the first year he started thesummer going to summer school. After the first session he decided to take ahitchhiking tour of the US and Canada. Starting out with $100, he and afriend hitchhiked north from Logan to Yellowstone Park, then to British Columbia,then across Canada to places like Calgary, Moose Jaw, Ottawa, Montreal, and allthe way to Prince Edward Island. Then down to Maine, New Hampshire, Boston,Washington, D.C., then to Utah. Took him about six weeks. After his returnhe decided to go on a mission, and was jubilant when called to Bolivia. Hisclose friend Richard Daines was already there, and shortly their close friendLance Owens was called there. So without any of the three specifying wherethey would like to go, they all three ended up in Bolivia, and they enjoyed it.Carl was assistant to the mission president during most of the time he wasin Bolivia. He wrote a moving diary and letters about his experiences there.

After his return, he completed his training at USU with a dual major ofpolitical science and journalism. By this time we were in SLC and he tried twoquarters at U of U while he stayed with us. This made it possible for himto get a summer internship with the NEW ERA, and also an internship with aCongressman in Washington, D.C. But he did not like the U of U. Most of hisinstructors were graduate assistants or your instructors who were interestedin “relevance.” Sit in class and chew the bull. He thought the instruction farinferior to USU where he had seasoned instructors who gave solid instruction. He went back to USU for his final year and a half or whatever it was. Hegraduated with high honors in political science and journalism.

I have always wondered why each of our children enjoyed high school debate and did very well, winning trophies, etc. at state and regional contests,and yet none of the three wished to go out for debate in college. James wasfilled up with theater–always in plays. Carl was always busy with writingprojects. I mentioned it was editor of the Logan Grizzly, then just beforehis mission he put out a magazine of college humor, and hehad a regular column in STUDENT LIFE, the USU student newspaper. It waswell-written and interesting and clearly foreshadowed his journalism skills.Susan, also in debate in high school, served as editor of the LDS newspaperon campus and that kept her busy. She was also married during her last yearas a student.

Susan went through grade school during our first years in Logan afterthe return from Italy. Our ward happened to have something like ten girlsabout Susan’s age, and all very nice girls. They formed a group and did allkinds of things together-lots of parties, outings, things going all the time.Susan was in the thick of their activities, and popular with then for hersly jokes and humor, and her pleasant and happy manner. She was the smallest,and ended up as an adult who was not quite five feet tall. This did not seem to bother her; she was the life of the party. She enjoyed seminary-by thistime, we were sufficiently aware of the teachers and their potentials that wearranged for her to get a good experience in seminary, and it worked out well.In high school, she followed Carl’s path in journalism and served as editorof the paper just as Carl had done. She was a good one too, although perhaps not as innovative as Carl. She was followed by her debate partner, JanetDaines. She and Janet won a large cup for a perfect record at the statetournament. 

As she enrolled in the university we encouraged Susan to live on campus,which she did, at Snow Hall, in the David 0. McKay Student Living Center. Shewas popular with the girls, and took music, journalism, and other courses–and lots of courses at the Institute of Religion. She graduated from the latter inher junior year, but continued to edit their paper and work with Lambda DeltaSigma. She married a young professor of music at USU (already with his Ed.D.)Dean Madsen after three years. He is now conductor of bands at USU and weall like him very much. Susan was able to wrangle a summer internshipwith THE FRIEND during the summer before her marriage. She has continued towrite for them. Susan completed her B.A. on schedule during her first yearof marriage. She also graduated with high honors, as I recall. So all threeof our children graduated from USU–all three with BAs: James with a majorin theater, Carl with majors in political science and journalism, and Susanin journalism. For all three, the university experience was pleasant andhappy. I think Susan was the only one to graduate from the Institute ofReligion as well, though James may have done so-I’m not certain.

[Reminiscences, Years of 1959-1971; LJA Diary, 10 Oct., 1976]

In the summer of 1966 we moved to Pacific Palisades. We rented our Logan home to Sidney Bingham of Garden Grove, California who was coming to USU for a year to finish a Ph.D. in math. After I had accepted the position at UCLA I talked to various people there and others about agood place to live for a year. Several recommended Santa Monica or PacificPalisades. I had my coming associate at UCLA, Norris Hundley, attempt thruUCLA connections, to find someone on the faculty who would be gone fora year; I also had communication with UCLA housing. Anyway, I heard that a professor of political science, Andrzej Korbonski, would be in Czechoslovakia for a year, I telephoned him, found he would be willing to rent his house on 718 Radcliffe Road, Pacific Palisades, and he described it. Rent $265 per month. I told him I would telephone him by evening. I then telephoned the bishop in Pacific Palisades and asked him to go by and inspect the house and tell me if it waso.k. He did go by (or rather his daughter) and replied I couldn’t go wrong. So I telephoned the professor, and his wife said someone was coming over tolook at it who wanted to rent it. I said I should have priority because ofmy previous call. After a little argument she gave me the o.k., so right there on the telephone w closed the deal. We moved in on August 22. James and Carl were enrolled in Palisades High, which was just three blocks away.

Susan was enrolled in Paul Revere Junior High, which was about seven miles away,but bus connections two blocks away. Susan got along well at this huge juniorhigh, and the boys did well at Pali High, which is one of the best in California.All three had a good experience. The children were from middle to upper middleclass families, mostly with good educations, and the PTAs were active. Lots ofJewish people–perhaps as many as half Jewish at Pali High, which means excellentteachers and training insisted upon. (The Jews believe even more fiercely ineducation than Mormons.) There were drug problems at Pali High,: but this merelyserved to show our boys how bad it was, and what caused and promoted it, etc.

James was outgoing and friendly and soon was in one of the plays; did well,and by the end of the year played Coco-Coco in THE MIKADO, and became a kind ofcampus celebrity. I may have told this elsewhere, but if not will retell. Whenthey had their graduation for the senior class, the ceremony is held in thefootball stadium. Because of the large number of students, they read the names of the graduates as they walk by, and no applause permitted. Butthe students themselves applaud three specific persons as they walked by-a crippled fellow who went by on a ‘wheelchair and who had won hisgraduation by sheer determination; an exchange student from Australia who hadbecome popular with everybody; and James! James perhaps for his friendliness,perhaps for his acting, perhaps for his “straight arrow’ Mormon standards. Atany rate, prolonged applause for this transfer senior from Utah. James wonan acting scholarship to a school of acting, which he attended during the summer of 1967. 

Carl was a sophomore and studied hard , but his relationships were particularlywith Church kids. The Palisades Ward was a relatively small ward, and prettynew. They had no chapel yet; met in the woman’ s club just three blocks fromwhere we lived. They had a good youth program, and James and Carl participated fully. Lots of outings to go swimming, surfing, scuba-diving, boating, hiking camping–all sorts of things. They enjoyed it; they wereboth good swimmers-taught by their mother who is a fine “natural” swimmer. And good water skiers. And good at nearly everything they participated in.They had good teachers in Sunday School and Priesthood, and Church was a goodexperience for them. And for Susan. And for Grace, who was active in ReliefSociety. The sisters asked Grace to take charge of a project of publishinga book of “best recipes” to raise money for building a chapel. She put theproject thru and published a very creditable book which sold out ratherquickly. After we returned to Logan, they asked her to do the same thingin the Logan Tenth Ward, which she did. So she has put out two excellentcookbooks, besides one book review of a book by an Indian LDS woman for the special woman’s issue of Dialogue. My own assignment in Palisades Wardwas to teach the adult class in Sunday School. I enjoyed doing this, althoughI was cautioned two or three times by the bishop to stick to the text, whichwas John A, Widtsoe’s RATIONAL THEOLOGY.

As a family we tried to get as many experiences together as we could.Thus, we went often to different beaches, to different movies (such asDr. Zhivago, one of our favorites), operas (The Man from La Mancha, LaTraviata, etc.), zoos (San Diego, Los Angeles), Sea World, trips here andthere. We went to see the Los Angeles Rams play against the BaltimoreColts, and all the UCLA games played in L,A. We really had a lot offun times together–Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, etc. I took out everySaturday to be with them, and some complete weekends. I also did some church speaking–to sacrament meetings, firesides, study-groups, etc.-maybe once a month. Grace and I were invited to meet with a study group in West LA that metat the home of Mike Grilikhes and Lorraine Day Grilikhes. We enjoyed that.

[Reminiscence, My year to teach at UCLA, 1966-1967; LJA Diary, 10 Oct., 1976]

My diary tells pretty fully the story of my call and of my work as Church

Historian. I’ll say a few things about our move to Salt Lake City and of ourfamily life here. 

After the call was made public, I arranged for my USU classes in a way thatpermitted me to come to Salt Lake City two days per week, Tuesday and Thursday. Met my classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the winter quarter. Duringspring quarter I continued to complete my research projects in Logan on weekends,but lived in Salt Lake City Monday thru Thursday. I think I stayed in a hoteluntil April 1, at which time we bought our present home. But because Susan was in school Grace and Susan remained in Logan until June, at whichtime they moved into our home here. We had to sell the Logan home and, as I recall,didn’t get it sold until June. Essentially, we traded our home in Logan forthis home here. We sold the Logan home to a chiropractor in Lewiston. Webought the home here for a little more from Betty Morgan (Mrs. Nicholas G. Jr.).Carl was on a mission at the time, James was a student at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Our new home was attractive because of the neighborhood, the lovelylawns and homes of the area, the quietness of the area, the lovely tree in ourfront yard, the lovely street–22nd East, and because we were close to buslines and to a freeway system (1-80). On the way to BYU where I knew I wouldhave to go one or two days a week. We were in Parley’s First Ward, Parley’s Stake, and we liked and continue to like the ward, the people, the bishopric, etc. Lovely people, a lovely area. Because of Grace’s health problems, lack of intimate friends, and my work, we have not done much entertaining. Grace hasworked with the Relief Society in various capacities. I have not had anyward assignment except home teaching three families.

Carl came home frost his mission and remained with us while he went to the U of U for two quarters. Susan never did consider going here. She remained in the summer of 1972, then headed for Logan for her continuation at USU. She rented an apartment with some girl friends and got along well there. During the summer of 1973 she worked for Dee’s and McDonald’s. During the summer of 1974 she worked as intern for THE FRIEND and then was married. James remained in San Francisco until a year or so ago when he decided to return to BYU forhis Master’s. I think I have told that story elsewhere.

Because I enjoyed teaching, I have taken advantage of the opportunity ofspeaking before groups in the Salt Lake Valley and elsewhere. For the years1972 thru 1975 I talked almost every Sunday at some ward Sacrament Meeting,and often before firesides and classes and other groups. I cut down on thisconsiderably this year, with two books coming out, and many other things to do.

But I still get in two or three talks a month. Some of these are repeats andsome are new preparations. Richard Jensen serves as my research assistant forthose which involve new preparation, and occasionally these are published, somelisting him as a collaborator. The story of BU1LDING THE. CITY OF GOD is prettywell told, and pretty accurately, in my preface to that book. The story ofFROM QUAKER TO LATTER-DAY SAINT you know yourself, and be very honest aboutyour own role in connection with it. My friends and family are well acquaintedwith your key role and so none of this will be new to any of them. I only wishit had been possible to list you as a collaborator in order to give you the credit you so richly deserve.

I will say that we were not as happy in Salt Lake City as in Logan. For a number of reasons. I had a certain amount of administration, and 1have never craved administrative power or responsibilities. I like to writeand teach and research and talk. Logan was where we began our married life;where all of our children were born; where I had begun my professional career;where we had begun our period of church activity. After 26 years in Logan (1946-1972) we knew almost everyone in town. Not really, of course, but we knew everyone where we did our banking, everyone in the stores where weshopped, all the more permanent faculty, many alumni and student leaders,all the people in the 19th and 10th wards and a large number in each of theother wards, all the city officials, and so on. We had been friends with manypeople for years, so had lots of common memories. Well, it will never be thesane in SLC. I enjoy my work, but it has been tough for Grace who had noequivalent. Add to that the fact that her mother is here like an albatrossand her mother has no friends here. So Grace has to be with her all thetime. While it has been tough, Grace is gradually getting acquainted with people in the ward, with my church associates, with professional associates,with friends of the children, and so on. So she increasingly accepts the SLCmove. Not that she didn’t accept it–she was reconciled to it but stilldidn’t enjoy it as she might have.

[Reminiscence, Our Years in Salt Lake City, 1972-1976; LJA Diary, 10 Oct., 1976]