January 14, 1987

It is a bitter cold January day as I begin writing on my history again and here I am 76 years old last Christmas Eve, but am in good health, in fact, quite phenomenal when I look at many of my friend, so I have decided that I am not going to sit around waiting for Spring, or a trip or anything in the future, but enjoy each day as I go along because while the month of January, after the Christmas joys, is often dull along with being so cold, there is much to be happy for, and I’m going to enjoy it.

At the moment, my most exciting activity is that I’m taking a class from my good friend Max Golightly in play-writing. I have collaborated with him in the past as well as being good friends with the family, and he is a marvelous teacher. One day in talking with him, I said that I was bogged down on the book I was writing on aging. I have been collecting material for it for years and had started writing, but it just wasn’t coming out as I wanted it to. There wasn’t a spark I wanted or the spontaneity. He said, “Well, come and take my play-writing class and write a story on aging as a play.” So I decided to do it and while it may not turn out to be another ‘Our Town’ or ‘[Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’ I am hoping it will have substance, pathos, humor…yes it already has humor…and will be a worthwhile vehicle.

Along with this activity, I’m still on the Board of the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce and still enjoy, but the work o trying to make our community a better place to live, and also the social interaction with so many terrific women and men. I’m teaching the new class in Relief Society, Home and Family, I believe it is and that is a challenge. My newest activity in community service is that I have been asked to be on the Council for the Arts in Provo and this is going to be an interesting activity. They put me on the fund raising committee and while I really don’t feel I am good in that area, at least I can write letters asking for money if the others will find where to write. We are talking about Provo’s needing a concert hall. The largest one in town is the DeJong Concert Hall on the Campus and that only holds 1300. Although when it was built, we thought it was a marvelous improvement over the Smith Auditorium which held I would guess about 700 and that was an improvement over College Hall on the lower campus which probably held 300.

Speaking of College Hall. The Lower Campus was sold some year ago to a group who were going to refurbish it and do something with it but something happened so they sold it to the Allen Group who were going to do great things, but the place just kept going more and more to ‘seed’ and everyone was very worried about it. There were offers to buy it and tear down the building and put such an atrocity as Wendy’s on it. But now, Craig Call, who has been doing such a marvelous job of restoring downtown Provo has bought it, but he is going to need help and I hope that somehow we can give it to him so that it can be restored and some kind of Art program or programs for Provo can happen there.

Provo is still growing and downtown is still being vacated until it is terribly sad. Craig Call has done wonders with the area he is working on, but so many of the building are empty–Penney’s Kresses, etc. along with lots of small firms, but things are looki8ng up and many people are working to get business in. At Christmas time with all the little lights on the trees and with the buildings all outlined with lights, even the Tabernacle, etc., it is a beautiful sight and they have just announced a new set of businesses that are going in and we hope it will help. Provo has lots of business in the area just before going up the diagonal to Orem, and on the other side of this a new Mall is going in and many places around town, but it just isn’t in downtown Provo.

The Nation: We are still in the midst of the scandal about sales of weapons to Iran. I just don’t understand the whole thing, but feel awful about it because it has hurt our image with the World. President Reagan has come in for a terrific amount of criticism and perhaps some of it is warranted, but in spite of all, I think he has been a good President and I hate to see his last years in office tainted by this scandal. The Dow Jones is up, but it seems that our whole country is having problems of a dozen kinds, but we are still THE BEST by a long shot.

(Marilyn: This was toward the end of the summer. Mother wasn‘t specific.)

Then the last week in August Cheryl was here with her kids and her van. Since we were meeting Marilyn and her family in Beaver and traveling to all the beautiful sights in So. Utah and then come back to Provo to put the two boys in the Y. Mark had returned from his mission in Ecuador a few weeks before. Anyway, since there would be plenty of room in the motor home for all of us to come back to Provo, Cheryl and I took the van to Kathy and Mikes and we loaded from top to bottom I had a box of peaches and a big lug of raspberries I had specially picked to take to eat. Then I had gotten sleeping bags and tents from the Wilkinson Center. Mike piled a ton of stuff on the top of the van and we filled the van itself until we barely had room to get inside, and it was raining all while we packed, but we finally got ourselves in and ten or eleven at night we started for Beaver.

We got there about 3:00 a.m. and found the motor home and all of us went to bed and slept until about 7:090 and began our trip. Doug had to leave his car there, so the motor home had to go back to beaver when our sightseeing was over. We had to leave out a couple of places because the motor home was so slow, but we did see most of the beautiful spots, first to)))), then to Capitol Reef, Hite Crossing over the Colorado River which is beautiful with the red cliff, the very blue Colorado River and marina. Then on to Goblin Valley. Cheryl kept going with us but kept saying that she had to get home to do flowers for jobs that weekend, but it was beautiful that she just couldn’t tear herself away, so she kept on with us.

We went to Canyonlands, and through Moab to the Arches and from there Cheryl had to leave us and the rest went in the motor home on to Beaver where the boys picked up Doug’s car and we all came back to Provo. It was a busy time then getting the boys into school, etc. But on September 1st, Donna, Marilyn, Chris, Julie and Steve’s Jennifer, who stayed with the motor home, left for California.

I had felt that my summer had been especially hectic and hoped that the Fall would settle down some, but it didn’t and hasn’t yet, but I’m thankful for the trip to Europe, my time with Steve’s girls, and the trip with that part of the family in Southern Utah. No, though I am busy with my thoughts turning to Christmas. Kathy is pregnant and expecting December 31st which will probably be in January some time since she always goes overdue.

My plans for this year include going to California for Jana’s wedding to Quinn Kofford in March and then in May, Donna and I are going to Europe along with three cousins and Aunt Dove (Uncle Vernon’s wife). Of course, I always look forward to this and even though we will see the same old places because none of the cousins have been to Europe, it will still be fun to show it to them.

When I rewrite this, I’ll tell about two of the interesting things that happened last year; our Willden Reunion and the Reunion of the Sounds of Freedom at Homecoming time. Other than those two events, which made the year memorable, it was a pretty ordinary year. No long trips; made several short ones to California. I went down earlier than I usually do if I am going to spend Christmas there, because I went down with Kathy, Mike and the kids. We left on the 11th and the next day they flew to Hawaii along with Mike’s entire family to e with his sister when she graduated from BYU Hawaii and then was married three days later. They left the children with the family in Arcadia, and I knew that they would need me to help baby sit. Kathy and Mike‘s darling Kelly was born the end of February so was nine months old. She was a Mama‘s girl, but knew me because they live in Orem and it was a good thing I was there to help. Donna had offered to take them during the day while Marilyn and the family worked, and it would have been terribly hard on her. Kelly clung to me and even if she heard my voice in another room, would cry for me and didn‘t want to go to anyone else. The family finally nicknamed me ’THE CHOSEN’. Kelly is a darling baby and I enjoy having she and Cory, now 5 and going on 6 in Orem so I can see them often. Kathy and Mike returned from Hawaii the Tuesday before Christmas and we all had a wonderful Christmas together.

A quick look at the family. Linda is still in New Jersey and still with Silver Burdett, where she is getting out the 6th grade music book and working about 20 hours a day until she is constantly exhausted and this aging along with the pain he still feels about the separation from Rich as made it very difficult for her. She called about a year ago now in tears and said she needed some help desperately. Actually, she did need help in getting out of that big house which she couldn’t afford, but also she needed assurance that a member of the family could give her, so I flew there on a Thursday. She had been moving for two weeks and I thought there would only be a few things to move out of the house, but there were still literally ‘tons’ of stuff there. We worked night and day and on the weekend Steve and Holly came and Linda, Michelle, Holly and I packed and cleaned while Steve and Sean carried loads of boxes to the storage place and to the apartment they moved to. It was a difficult week of not only hard work, but Linda was so emotionally upset that it was a worry. She is still having a rough time, but I think doing some better.

Next Joan. Her family’s main Christmas present was a wonderful computer. It even has color, etc, and is much more advanced than this one. But, I love mine and am content with it. Reid is now at the Y starting in January. Keith and Kim are both here also, so three of their family are studying. Kim should graduate before too long. He has been the perpetual student. I don’t think I have written that Keith married a darling girl named Sara last Spring and they are both in school doing well. She is an outstanding girl and we all tell him that he ’lucked out.’ Kim hasn’t found anyone yet and we are concerned, but I’m sure he will eventually. Matt is growing fast. Vincent hopes to graduate from high school this Spring and Todd is working as a carpet layer with a friend who is in the business. Joan hoped to teach fulltime this year but didn’t get a school, but she has been substituting and it has worked out almost fulltime. David and Lari bought a home, actually townhouse, in Boulder. He still flies for Aspen Airways, and Lari has a new job in Denver. Lewis is practicing law in a government position in Yucaipa, California. Spencer and his wife are divorcing, but I’m not sure what he is doing work-wise at the moment. His two children by Doreen are with her parents.

Marilyn and family are doing fine. Mark is on his mission in Guayaquil, Ecuador and is on the last 6 months of his mission. He’ll be home in time to register for the Y for Fall semester. Julie is at home and teaching part time at Anokia School, the private school where Steve’s three youngest go. She teaches music. Doug is back at the Y this semester and we hope he’ll find a wife while there. He went to school at Pasadena City College and worked full time at UPS to get money to come back up here. Kathy, of course, is still in Orem thank goodness. I told them not long ago that they could never move from this Valley because they couldn’t take the children away from me. Today is Kelly’s birthday and she is walking around now. She is a darling brown-eyed baby who is growing up much too fast.

February 27, 1987

Over a month has passed since I wrote on this history even though I vowed when I wrote last that I would try and write a few lines every day. Now it is the end of February, and March will soon bring work in the garden and yards. But I can’t work there all day, so I will try and write more. Last night, I sat and sorted history pages. Sorted out all my Christmas letters for nearly 20 years which will be a great help to me in going through the past 20 years. I read a journal which I was required to keep daily in about 1974, for a class we had for all the advisers and the student officers. It is amazing the memories that all of this brought back, and made it even more important that we write our histories.

In my last writing I mentioned the Provo Art’s Council to which I have been appointed a member. We had a meeting Wednesday morning and it was decided that we must raise money for the arts in the Valley and two projects were decided upon. One at Sundance, with Robert Redford as narrator if possible, using the Utah Valley Symphony, etc. and the other was to have a big Gala in the deJong Concert Hall, and there were two dates free during the summer. At this Gala, we would invite all the various groups who ask for money from the Council to perform Utah Valley Symphony, Jazzin (a great dance group), Provo Community Theatre; perhaps present a couple of short vignettes, the Woodward Choral, etc., and much to my surprise, amazement, wonder, terror, etc., they asked me to chairman this event. I pleaded, begged, sobbed and anything else I could think of to get out of it, and didn’t. But all offered to help and if I can find a tremendous publicity person, that will be the key to our success. We will charge as a ’donation’ about $15 per person or $25 per couple. I’ll write later about what happens.

We have had a beautiful February, even though the past week, we have had two snow storms, one a major one, but the snow is melting and the weather quite warm for this time of year.

After I got back from Christmas, Winter was upon us with a vengeance, although it has been mild, for here. I decided that I was not going to wish January and February away. There is always a letdown after Christmas, and then facing the worst winter in months is usually tedious but my one New Year’s resolution this year was to make these two months good ones, and each day to find something enjoyable, enriching, fun and worthwhile. And by golly! It worked. These months have been great. For instance, one morning in mid-January, I got up and looked out my back yard and there were three deer. I didn’t get much done all morning because I had to go to the window every few minutes and see what they were doing, and that wasn’t much. They would lie down or get up and move around a little. Fascinating. So the two months are gone and Sunday is the first of March.

March 13, 1987

I have now started another play based somewhat on my experiences several years ago in Cedar City at the National Training Laboratories for Group Dynamics, which I don’t know whether I have written about or not. I must read through my history so I will know what I have left out. These two weeks were two of the best of my life. I am not sticking to it of course, but am using some of the people in my group as characters and will put in quite a lot of things that happened there, but my main character is a fellow from somewhere like Thiokol, and this character is eaten by guilt until he can hardly live with himself because he knew that the seal on one part of a U.S. space ship was faulty and he was afraid he would lose his job if he said anything, or something like that and of course, the space capsule went down with a loss of life. I won’t make it exactly like our own space capsule that we lost over a year ago, but will be based on the same type of thing and during the two weeks with the group, who are very hostile to him at first, he begins to get rid of the guilt. I think it has the makings of an interesting play if I can just get it down right.

Jana’s wedding is going to be interesting. It will be the reception to end all receptions with Steve in his business. however, one thing in his favor is that he doesn’t have to pay rent for the building. It will be the garden and three rooms at THE GRAND. And he gets the food wholesale, but anyway, it is going to cost a lot of money. It will be interesting to be there for it and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. We will leave Monday about noon, I guess.

Kathy and Mike are taking Cory, nearly 6, to Salt Lake to an ear specialist to have the tubes put in his ears again. He is having hearing problems and this helps almost 100%. They must be there at 7:15 in the morning and will be through at 9:00 a.m. or so. So Kathy said today that if they are packed and ready to go, they will come on and pick up Kelly and myself and we’ll go right from here. Kelly is going to stay with me overnight Sunday night because they can’t take her there for the operation.

Last Friday, I went to Salt Lake with a cake and gifts for Wanda because it was her either 70th or 71st birthday. Her Alzheimer’s disease problem is getting worse, and it is so sad for us to have to see her gradually disintegrate in her mind. She doesn’t remember anything five minutes and when we were there with Vera and Bob who came over while I was there and celebrated her birthday together, she several times went on and on about a granddaughter who came and picked up things all over the house and took them home. One thing was her watch, and later Lamont said that they would find her watch somewhere. She probably sort of hid it herself. We all know that she is just imagining all this.

I’ve been so busy writing my play for a class I am taking that I haven’t written on this history for weeks and I was determined to get it finished this winter, and not it is Spring and the year is screaming for me to get out there and get busy. We had a very mild winter this year, thank goodness, and Spring has been nice since March 1, but it is reining and snowing today.

I usually like to put some of the more important world happenings in my history each time I write, but at present there isn’t a great deal happening. Quite a big deal is happening to Provo. For so many years, starting pretty much with the University Mall being built in Orem, downtown Provo has gone from bad to worse. Then a few years ago, Craig Call, a lawyer downtown, got a huge grant from somewhere in Hawaii and started restoring the old buildings on University and Center. He has now gone a half a block in both directions and it is charming. He has taken off the new facades and gone back to the original brick. A month ago at our Board Meeting for the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, Gary Golightly talked to us and told about the new development downtown and it is exciting. A new 7 story building, a big new Smith’s Store, with accompanying drug store north of Sears, and he said he couldn’t announce, but there are several companies looking into the empty J.C. Penney, Kress and Firmage’s downtown and they are the three largest empty spaces. So, things are looking up and for those of you who might read this in ten, twenty or more years can know what has happened downtown.

I finished one play for the class I am taking from Max Golightly. I took his advice and tried to put some o the things I wanted in my book on aging into this play. I feel that I succeeded to a degree, but still feel that the play doesn’t have the depth that I wanted it to have. It is a fun play and would be good for stakes, wards, clubs, etc., to put on, but I wanted it better than that. Guess I’m no Neil Simon, Thorton Wilder, or Shakespeare.

The last time I wrote I found myself giving too much detail about my daily life and this will make this history much too long so I have decided that I will take only significant things that happen and write about them. For instance in thinking of what has happened since January 1, 1987 up until the 20th of March, there wasn’t too much of significance that happened. Melissa was baptized along about the first of March…that week. I thought she was 7 so didn’t even send a card of letter about her baptism because I didn’t know about it until much later.

Then the next thing that has happened was Jana’s wedding to Quinn Kofford. I went to California with Kathy and Mike and the children on the 16th and the wedding was on Thursday the 19th at the Los Angeles Temple. The ceremony was beautiful. The Temple President, Jack McEwan, married them. He has known both the families for many years. I worked with him in the MIA in Pasadena Stake before I came to Provo. Earlier, when they were younger, he had given both of them their patriarchal blessings. There were about 55 people at the temple ceremony and the fellows had to stand behind the chairs of the women, but President McEwan said that even though they were standing he had to give the talk he wanted to give and he did. It was long, but excellent. Afterwards we went to the North side of the Temple and the President opened the large doors and the bride and groom came out of them. We all took pictures and although it was a sunny day, there was quite a brisk breeze, and very cold.

We then went to the Arcadia House where the Kofford’s hosted the wedding luncheon which was very nice. Steve, of course, did the food or it. There was a program which included slide of both Jana and Quinn from the time they were born to the present, with beautiful music along with them. Jana’s three littlest sisters, Wendy, Melissa, and Elizabeth sang two cute songs and Cheryl’s twin sisters sang a song and Quinn’s older brother was master of ceremonies and was very humorous and good. The parent’s talked briefly and then the bride and groom. It was a very nice affair.

After the luncheon, most of the family went to The Grand, where the reception was to be and we helped set up the tables and then had an assembly line making the bouquets for the tables, etc. Since Christmas, Steve had had a fireplace built in the foyer and it is beautiful, framed entirely in the beautiful oak which matches the rest of the wood in the building. There were over a thousand people who went through the line. All three rooms and the garden were used with buffet tables of the same foods in every room and a beautiful cake decorated with real flowers in every room. The wedding party stood in front of the fireplace and greeted the guests and there were different kinds of live music in each room. The rooms looked stunning with the clear holders for the flowers which were supported by curved pillars so that those eating could see across the table to visit with those present. The menu had first salads of several kinds, then a large carved ice holder filled with large shrimp and bowls of sauce at each side. There were croissants, rolls, bread to be cut and vegetables were snow peas with tiny onions, mixed vegetables and some of the cooks delicious scalloped potatoes and also rice which Steve makes delicious always. There were also entrees of chicken and Baron of Beef with a fellow carving. The food was delicious.

Steve also had a lineup of fellows in white coats out front giving valet service for the cars. Everything was elegant and lovely. After the reception Jana and Quinn left in his car which had been decorated and painted and with the usual tin cans rattling behind as they drove away.

It was a lovely two days and our family all feels that Quinn in a fine young man and we are hoping for great happiness in their marriage. They are going to come in about two weeks and stay with me while they look for jobs, then they will stay in my home while I go to Europe on April 30th.

Briefly, my life is busy as usual. On the 8th is our annual Ex-Bo party in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake. This is the old MIA Board and it is always a nice occasion. This year they are doing a program of sort of ‘memories’ deal and I have been asked to get together a group to do a number from Make Mine Happy (which Moanna Bennett says I wrote, but I can’t remember for sure. This was one of the Stake Parent and Youth shows we wrote and produced every year. I have my group for the show, but we must get together and rehearse. I asked a friend in my ward who was on the speech committee to be in my skit and she said she would if I would be in hers.

June 24, 1987

It is a warm June day, and I really don’t feel like writing on my history, but I must get it finished. On April 30 last, Donna and I and five cousins and Aunt Dover left for Europe. 8 of us all together. We met Betty Lou and Ted in Chicago and all flew KLM to Amsterdam. I have told about the trip through my shorthand notes I always write on a trip so I would go into it until I got through the trips and give a brief telling of them. It was a hard trip and the only place we went that Donna and I hadn’t seen several times before was the Alkmaar Cheese Market in Holland, which wasn’t that much. I guess I was expecting it to be much more than it was, but the rest enjoyed it. Most of the time, especially when we were places Donna and I had seen, and especially in Italy, we stayed with the van while the others saw the sights.

And now I have been home for over a month. May 21 we returned, and summer is here. I’m going to California sometime next week because Linda and Michelle are flying into California on July 1, if their plans materialize, and I want to be there while they are there. Kathy and Mike and the children may be able to leave on the second or third, and I’ll go down with them. Linda has finally decided that she must be out of New Jersey. She is so lonely and depressed and tired all the time. Even though she has a wonderful job, and she works at other things to bring in money, she doesn’t make enough to stay on top because everything is so expensive there, and she needs to be near family, so she is planning on looking around while she is there the first week in July.

Since being home, my life has been the same as usual; my garden, the raspberries are now ripening, two weeks earlier than usual because we had such a warm Spring, and I’m taking another class in play-writing from Max Golightly. But to tell the truth I don’t have a lot of energy for anything. I led the pack all the time we were in Europe and seemed to have boundless energy, but since being back I seem to have aged about 20 years in ‘one feld swoop.’ Maybe it is the heat, and I hope so..

I’m enjoying Jana and Quinn being next door in the little basement apartment. They pop over at all hours of the day, but they will be moving the first of August into a little house back of his grandmother’s home in Orem and I’ll miss not seeing them every day. I’m sitting here trying to think of something significant to put in this history, the song suddenly came to me that was written for one of our Parent and Youth conferences…that I wrote, in fact…not the song, the show. It was called ‘Suddenly You’re Older,’ and I wondering if that is what is happening to me.

I still have energy, except lately. I work outside like a fiend and go from morning till night. I am still on the Board of the Women’s Division and am on the planning committee of our annual Aura of Autumn big luncheon at the Excelsior Hotel. I’m now on the board of the Provo Fine Arts Board and that is enjoyable and am still teaching Relief Society. But, I do feel that the years are creeping up, darn it. Actually, I don’t mean that. I’ve had such…

(Marilyn: I couldn’t find where this continued.)

October 13, 1987

It is our first rain of the season, and therefore, a rather dreary day. And I’m wondering if my great-grandchildren should be reading this. What would be interesting to them as to what is happening in the world today. There was a bad earthquake several weeks ago in California. Much of the destruction was in Whittier, several miles from where all my family live, but it was felt strongly in Arcadia and Glendora. Broke dishes in Auntie Donna’s house and broke some windows in Steve building on 1st Avenue, and also there was some damage in the Arcadia house, but other than that, all the family was unscathed.

President Reagan’s popularity has taken a downward spiral in the last year. First of all the scandal about the aid to the Contra’s…which I don’t fully understand yet, and then he has been fighting to get a certain judge named Bork passed by the Senate to be on the Supreme court and all the Democrats are fighting it like mad…and some of the Republicans have turned tail and say they will vote against him. If you want to know more, read your history books. Other than wars and rumors of wars in many places in the world, our country goes along with plenty of food, housing and in most cases the highest type of living in the history of the world. We have homeless, and poor, of course, but the black are continually pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and being accepted more and more and people have more luxuries than ever before in the history of the world. Some countries in the past have had riotous living for the wealthy, but in so many countries now, even the middle class and lower all have televisions, VCR’s washers and dryers, indoor plumbing and much more.

And what’s with my live? More wrinkles, I get tired a little quicker, although I still have more energy than most people I know, and there are times when I know I’m getting up there. But, life still stays busy and rewarding. For one thing, I’m taking a class in oil painting…something I have wanted to do for years and years. I’ve had only three classes so far, and three times have been a complete failure in my daubing of the oil paint on canvas, but I’m going to continue, and besides, I’m learning a lot about what makes good art, how to know it is good, and also to appreciate it. I’m also taking my third class in playwriting since the first of 1987, from my good friend at the Y, Max Golightly. It is good to be back in a classroom again and to be with the eager young students. In January, February and March, I finished a play.

I guess I should tell why I’m taking the classes, at least the first one and now I seem to be hooked. I have been writing on a book on aging for years now and had planned to have it finished long ago, but got to a point where I felt it wasn’t what I had envisioned it to be. I was completely stymied. I met Max somewhere or other about a year ago and he asked what I was writing and I told him. Toward the end of Winter semester, I got another idea for a play and since I had tentatively ended another play, I began on the new one and went to a summer session and am now in a Fall evening class to finish it.

Summer went by in a flurry of activity and work. I grew my usual garden, and about the same success, canned dozens of jars of fruit and froze raspberries from the BYU farm by the bag and worked very hard in my yard to even keep it presentable.