Christmas Letter, 1963

Written January 7, 1964

Dear ones.

I had good intentions for getting out my yearly dittoed recount of some of the things that happened to me and my family during 1963. However, illnesses of a minor but miserable nature, like colds and flu, moving to a new house–new to me that is–and a houseful of my family changed my plans. I didn’t even get many cards in the mail. And now, even though it is the 7th of January, I thought I would still dash off a communication to you and at the same time wish you a Happy New Year.

1963 was another year of challenges and surprises for me, and also for my family. Each year seems to get better and better. My work has changed a great deal during the past year, and I am enjoying my new assignments very much. More and more I am working with the student government and student activities. As A.W.S. adviser, I accompanied the new officers to Oklahoma City last March for the National Convention. This was an interesting experience, to say the least–both in getting close to the girls wich whom I have worked this year, but also to see new country and observe the students and their advisors in action from all over the United States. This was the first time I had ever been in any of the prairie states where you can look or miles and see only the horizon, no mountains. I had flown over such country, but had never been ‘on the ground.’ I guess I’m a ‘mountaineer’ at heart because I know I would miss the mountains very much if I ever tried to live on a prairie.

During the summer I went to Idaho and Easter Oregon for a five week stretch with an Education Week group. This was a long time to be on the road, but we had many unforgettable experiences. It was a constant challenge to attempt to bring a message of importance to the wonderful people we met in each new area. I was so tired when we arrived home that I took a solemn vow that I would never go again, but the other day when they asked me to go to Northern California next summer I immediately said I would be glad to go.

In August I had one of the most outstanding experiences of my life when I was sent by the University to participate in the National Training Laboratories two week session in Group Dynamics.

(Marilyn: See her description of this following this letter.)

I made two trips to Los Angeles during the summer to visit my family and friends there, but both were all too short and I never get to see half the people I would like and time goes all too fast.

In September I was invited to participate in our Fall Leadership Conference of all out student leaders on campus. For several years they had gone to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for this conference, but this year we decided to take advantage of the new facilities at Aspen Grove, in our own mountains, but for financial reasons and also because of the proximity to the campus. Other than nearly freezing to death at night in the unheated cabins, until I came back to Provo and got my electric blanket, this was a tremendous experience to work with out student leaders for a week, both in sessions of group dynamics and also work sessions concerning plans for the coming year.

Shortly after returning from this conference, school began and we were lunched on another busy year, except that we have more and more students. (15,000 this year), and I somehow feel less and less adequate to cope with the problems the way I would hope to.

It has been a good year so far, however, we are now looking forward to moving to our beautiful 5 1/2 million dollar Y Center (Union Building) about the middle of April. This will make many changes in our working lives and bring more challenges.

Now to some brief news of my family. Linda and Richard and the two boys are still in Provo. Rich expects to finish his master’s at the end of the summer. He has been offered an excellent scholarship under the noted symphony director Thor Johnson, at Northwester, for next year to begin work on his Ph.D., and he is urging Linda to begin working on her doctorate also. Linda, at the present time, is being creative in another way and we are hoping it will be a girl, but she has had some real physical problems in this area in the past year. We are hoping that this time everything is going to go well. The boys are both in School and growing like the proverbial weeds. Linda has been teaching two sections of Freshman English again, and Richard is teaching several music classes.

Joan and Cliff had an exciting opportunity come along which has taken them across the country for a time. Cliff has nearly finished his master’s and was staying on here at school to finish his junior college teaching certificate, but about the first of November he was offered a position as manager of the Wayne State University Reparatory Theatre in Detroit and he accepted the job. Just a few weeks before on September 23rd he and Joan had another baby boy join their family, whom they named Stephen Todd. Because of David’s accident,* they decided that Cliff would take the car and a trailer with their furniture, and go to Detroit and get started on his job and then come back at Christmas for the family. So, Joan, David and baby Todd moved in with me, and I enjoyed having them with me for a few weeks before they left. Cliff returned a few days before Christmas and we put them on the train for Detroit the Friday after Christmas. I miss them very much, but know they will have an exciting and profitable time in hi s new situation.

Last February 26th Marilyn and Chris also had a son join their family of two little girls. He is Douglas and is now almost at the walking stage. He has sparkling brown eyes like his older sister Kathy, and a darling whom we loved on sight. Marilyn had the part of Ado Annie in Wilshire Ward’s production of ’Oklahoma’ last summer and Chris was also in the cast. But, are busy in Church and community affairs.

Steve returned from his mission in October and has been working at three jobs in the Los Angeles area in order to make money for college. He plans to enroll her for the next semester, February 1. He and his sweet Cheryl are making plans for a summer wedding. She is a beautiful and talented girl and already seems a part of our family.

So you can see that it has been a rich, rewarding year for me in every way. Last, and perhaps not least, a week before Christmas I moved into a ‘new’ house. When I get it fixed up, it will be a lovely home. One which I know we will all enjoy in the years to come. I have a large basement which will be inhabited by six students (fellows) at the beginning of the new semester. That was the whole idea in buying the new place. I am still in the same ward, in fact, just about two blocks from my other home.

Enough for now, and until another year rolls around, best wishes for your health and happiness

Sincerely, Klea

*(Joan: A few days before we were scheduled to leave, David was hit in the eye with a belt buckle by a playmate and his eye hemoraged. We rushed him to our doctor who took him to an eye specialist in the building. They wanted to hospitalize him, but we had no insurance and so the specialist sent us home with strict instructions that he was to sit up in bed and have no noise or disruption around him. So, we went to mother’s house where he stayed on her couch for three days with both eyes bandaged. The doctor came every day to the house and checked him. After three days, he removed the bandages and said he was to play quietly for some time and to have him checked in Detroit in a month. Cliff meanwhile had gone on to Detroit and we stayed on until after Christmas. This whole event was indelibly fixed in my mind because on day two of David’s confinement, Linda called and told me to turn on the TV that President Kennedy had been shot and was in the hospital in Dallas. I did turn on the TV very low and listened for a while. David was three and a half when this happened and at his checkup in Detroit, they found no permanent damage.