School Year, 1956-1957

Marilyn and Joan continued their education at BYU. Sometime during this period Joan Started dating a fellow named Kay Baird. He was a speech major and a very nice fellow. Joan met Kay during ‘Keynote’. Then Kay got called on a mission to Sweden. This meant 2 1/2 years then. They had been rather serious but weren’t engaged. They wrote continuously while he was gone and many of his letters sounded like they were engaged. Joan dated a lot of other fellows but each one she would not get serious because she said she had to wait until Kay got back to see what happened between them.

Finally, Kay came home and Joan really had butterflies. On the day he was to arrive in the Fall of 1956, in time to begin school, she asked all of us to leave the house so she could received him alone. I went across to the Snow’s house and we joked and laughed about what might be happening. Well, they started dating, but as time went on it seemed that nothing was happening in the relationship, and about February, they had a serious talk and Joan told him she felt that the relationship was going nowhere and that she wanted to start dating other fellows since it was her last semester at BYU, so they broke up and both started dating others. Towards the end of the school he started making overtures to her and she kept saying that she knew he was going to ask her for a date, and he did, and if I remember correctly, he really actively courted her and said he should never have let her go, but by that time Joan was completely over him and said that she didn’t want to go on with the relationship.

Time went on and Joan was still in school and while not getting straight A’s, she was doing okay, and I could see that she was going to make a wonderful elementary teacher. She never felt that she had much ability until years later when she began working on her master’s degree and got A’s. She went on to make a great teacher. After Linda left, Joan organized a trio and sang with them till she graduated. While Kay was on his mission, she had even been sort of interested in another fellow and went to his home for Christmas, but something happened that cooled this off. I’m putting this in to show that she was footloose and fancy free when she went to teach in San Diego.

Marilyn majored in music and was active in choirs and many musical activities all the time. She got good grades until her senior year since she was taking 18, 19, and 21 hours so she could graduate. She was working part time and sang that year with her quartet along with choir, so her grades slipped slightly.

This was a difficult year for me. Al and I were still just separated and not divorced, but he was constantly urging a divorce. I was unofficially carrying about 20 hours of graduate work each semester and had begun working on my thesis. We still lived on 2nd North across from the Snows and Joan, Marilyn, Chris would get their degrees and I would get my masters. I did very well in my graduate work and loved it, but from the moment I started it, I began being concerned about my orals. The thesis didn’t bother me because I had written so much I knew it would be fairly easy But to sit with all the professors who had become my friends to be grilled about what I knew was terrifying.

As the time came closer and closer the fear didn’t diminish. For my thesis I chose doing a study of the Incomplete Sentences Test on school children, grades 4 through 6. This is a test where only one word or maybe two or three are given and the student finishes the sentence. It is a very good test to pick up problems in children. I sent tests to Linda and she gave them in Los Angeles. I sent them to my cousin Jean Hunt in Enterprise, Utah, an extremely small community outside Cedar City a few miles. Then I went to Salt Lake and gave them to several grades and also in Provo, so I felt I had a cross section of children from rural, very urban and large city and medium sized cities. The interesting thing about my findings was there were no differences, at least not a significant one in finding more students with emotional problems in any of the different locations.

I had taken on quite an assignment because there were about 40 unfinished sentences (which the students finished) on each test and I had given out 600 tests. Each had to be checked against a battery of answers which determined certain percentages, and I put uncounted hours getting the results besides the general writing of the thesis.

As Spring approached, that year, the Counseling Service had an opening for a graduate assistant. I wouldn’t pay as much as I was making as a full-time secretary, but since that was where I wanted to work when I graduated, I knew that even though I had classes from nearly all the professors in the Counseling Service, I knew it would give me a chance to show them what I could do. I talked it over with Dear DeJong and he also felt I should do it. I would be leaving him in any event by the end of the semester.

So, I took the job, but instead of working just the prescribed four hours per day as most of the graduate assistants did, I usually worked for a full day. There I sat at night at the Fridan Calculator working on my statistics only to find the next day that they were all wrong. Along with this I did the faculty assembly (more about them later). Also, the General Board of the MIA asked me to bring my one-act play ’Mother’s Anniversary’ to June Conference, and as if all this wasn’t enough I had ’The Elephant’ descend on me.

‘The Elephant’ was a very unflattering name we had given a student who was from Nebraska. She was quite bright, but was large, awkward, squinty eyes and in general rather obnoxious. But, everyone felt sorry for her and somehow in her upbringing she had learned how to be a fairly good secretary and was the eternal ’gopher’ for anyone who needed one. At one time she was secretary to the head of the Drama Department and always went to work in messy clothes, bare legs and thongs. He called me and asked if I could call her in and talk to her. While I should have said, “It’s your problem. You talk to her.” I had worked with him and liked him, so I said I would, and I did. She cried and cried and said she couldn’t afford to dress better, but I sent her to Deseret Industries and she did begin looking better after that.

Then someone sent her on a mission to Samoa. (I can imaging that there the bare legs and thongs would fit right in.) I always felt that she was sent there to get rid of her. When it was nearly time for her to come home, she wrote and asked if she could stay with me overnight. It was at this time I was so pressured. I felt that I could take her for OVERNIGHT. Well, OVERNIGHT turned into a week. He finagled a ticket to the Drama Department banquet, and so on and on she would ask me to ferry her around. Finally my patience and emotional health was at a breaking point so I called some girls I knew she had been friends with and asked them to take her in. They point-blank refused at first, but some others reluctantly said she could stay with them, so I told her I had relatives coming for graduation (which was true) and I bundled up her things, put them in the car along with her elephant body and took her to the girls and dumped her off (literally) then took off as fast as the Chevy would ’locomote’.

Even with her gone it was a difficult time for me. I absolutely had no time for studying for my oral exam. At this time Dr. Charles Taylor, my favorite psychology teacher, was the most helpful of anyone. He helped me on what to review on, etc. At one time when we were talking, he said that during my oral exam there would be someone who would make me very angry. I denied that anyone could, but he said that it would happen. I was told who would automatically be at my Orals, but that I should invite the head of the psychology department. I was appalled. I had taken classes from him and enjoyed them, but he was a rather quiet, remote sort of person that I never felt much rapport with. But I marched into his office to invite him to be at the Orals, fervently hoping every second that he would say he was sorry, but was busy that day. But, when I got the invitation out, he said that he would be very happy to be there.

There was another warning to me that was about statistics, which had been my hardest area. It was said that the specialist in statistics, who would be there, would question me to the limit in this area and that as soon as I reached the point where I wasn’t sure of any questions he asked me that I should ask him to stop.

And the dreadful day came. With dread and squirming nerves, I sat in the circle and the questioning began. It developed as I had been told that this professor would start in on statistics, and I did exactly as I had been told. As soon as the time came where I wasn’t sure, I looked at the professor and smiled and said, “That’s it for me, Dr. _____.” And he smiled back and said, “Okay, Klea.” and he didn’t say another word. So much for being forewarned.

As the questioning went on, I felt I was going only fair, and these were my friends besides being teachers, and to make matters worse, at one point I was asked a question and gave a very dumb answer. At this my so-called friend, Dr. Taylor, gave me a withering look of disgust, and turned his chair around from the circle. For a second I was so furious I could hardly sit on the chair, and then it dawned on me that HE was the one who was going to make me angry, and he had known it all the time, so I just sat there as if nothing had happened and the inquisition continued.

Finally it was over and they asked me to leave and wait in an adjoining room which they made their decision. I exited and waited with the thought uppermost in my mind…”I have been working side by side with all of you for two years now. I’ve received mostly A’s in your classes and I have worked with all of you now for months. You know what I know and what I can do, and I DARE YOU TO FAIL ME IN THIS GHASTLY TEST.”

It seemed eons and someone came out and asked me to return to the circle and they congratulated me and said I had passed.

I had already shed some tears of relief, mixed with exhaustion. Then we went our separate ways and I proceeded to shed a few more gallon of tears. I called home and told them I had passed, but whomever I talked to could tell that it had been a grueling experience for me. I was told that Steve had a scout something or other. The girls all had parties or study groups or something to go to. I felt that I couldn’t go home and be in the house alone, so decided to visit some sick friends and take back some thing I had borrowed or something or other. The evening went by and I didn’t return home until about 10:30 or so. When I went into the living room there were drawings pinned all over the walls about “Mammy Worsley passed”, etc. There was also a note that they were all in bed, and since they had heard the tremor in my voice when I called, they knew it had been a rough time, so they called of all their activities, bought ice cream and cake and stayed home to celebrate with me.

And, no ‘ME’ WAS THERE. But, there was cake and ice cream in the fridge for me. And then I did weep, and felt terrible I had missed the whole thing.

But, I recovered and a few weeks later, Joan, Marilyn and Chris received their bachelor’s and I stumbled across and received my Master’s degree. There was even a picture of the four of us in the newspaper and an article about all four of us graduating together.

Marilyn and Chris, who for the past year had been living in the little apartment the girls lived in when I returned to Provo, and who had really struggled to get through the year, especially financially, moved to Los Angeles where Chris got a job with the Southern Pacific Railway Company in the Land Department and Marilyn a job with Texaco. They had an apartment in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles somewhere and went to Wilshire Ward. They had beautiful dark eyed darling Kathy after about a year in Los Angeles. There were almost no babies born in Wilshire Ward, so Kathy was the sweetheart of the entire ward. Chris was doing well with the Southern Pacific Railroad and Marilyn and Steve, the summer he was there were both in a musical they did in Wilshire Ward called “Meet Me In St. Lewis.” Each year the Ward did a musical and they turned out almost professional and I went down for each one. Still had to follow my children around to their performances, which I loved to do. Along about now also, Marilyn decided she should have minored in drama which would have helped in her musicals. She went to UCLA for a musical theater class and took dancing at the American School of Dance. Along with all the experience she has had, she has turned into a fantastic director/coach and performer.

Joan received a contract to teach an elementary grade in San Diego. Joan went to San Diego with a friend to teach after she graduated from the Y. Her first year teaching the principal was a little leery of her ability, but after a few months he was delighted with her teaching and often brought visitors to observe her classroom, saying, “Here is our fine teacher from Brigham Young University.”

I said earlier that Joan was footloose and fancy free, but not for long. She met a young officer in the Navy there who attended her ward and a very serious romance soon developed. I fact, she called me after she had been there for six weeks and said she was engaged. I couldn’t believe my ears, but she spoke of him in glowing terms and he seemed to be a very fine fellow…which I’m sure he is. However, he was an only child. His father was a stake president in Oxnard or somewhere up that way, whose name oddly enough was Arthur Godfrey (not the famous one). The parents really wanted their son to go on a mission and Joan wanted him to also, but she said she had waited 2 1/2 years for one missionary and she didn’t intend to wait again. It was a sad situation and I could see both sides. So they broke up and Joan was more heartbroken than she had been with either of her other two ‘engagements’. I feel it was this feeling that attracted her to Cliff, who had been watching the other romance and moved in the minute it broke off.

Years later we found that there had been problems for Cliff even before they were married, but Joan believed his story and when she said she was going to marry him, I felt a little apprehensive, feeling that it was too quick, but she was determined. Actually, all her life, Joan wanted only to grow up, get married and have a family and stay home and cook and clean, and until the last few years this has not been attained. She is now a housewife, but there are other problems. Cliff was from the Hawaiian Islands. His mother was a very proud Portuguese woman and his father was several nationalities, none being Hawaiian. His mother looked down on the Hawaiians and thought they were trashy. They had lived on the Island of Lanai and right across from the LDS Church. Cliff’s family were Catholic, but he went to the Mormon Church to be in scouts and for other activities and eventually wanted to join. His parents wouldn’t let him until he was of age. At that time he was in the Navy, but after he met Joan, he was baptized. They didn’t wait the year to be married in the Temple…which I felt was wise if they were going to be engaged, so for the third time I went to California to get ready for a wedding. By this time, Donna had moved into a house that had a patio and I bought a sort of bamboo fence to go around it to make it private. We decorated, she bought a beautiful wedding dress and we invited friends and they were married on in the las Flores Ward Relief Society roonm and we had the reception on Donna’s patio where we served the usual wedding cake, etc.

I can’t remember whether Cliff had finished his tour of duty with the Navy at this time or not but I believe he had and they went to BYU so he could attend college. While there they had two boys, who had dark brown hair and blue eyes and was a darling loveable little baby and boy. I was especially pleased that they were there because it was the first time I had been around my grandchildren day after day, and I saw them or babysat them often. But, even before Todd was born there were problems, and when Todd was born, they were so short of money that when he was a few months old, Joan left him with a babysitter and went back to teaching. I won’t go into the problems, but things became very tense. They were at the Y while Cliff got both his Bachelors and Master’s degrees, except or a period of nine months or so when he had a different kind of assistantship in Detroit and they moved there. While there, they also had problems, but Joan kept sticking it out hoping things would improve.

They moved to Redlands where they rented and finally bought a house. Cliff was teaching at San Bernardino Valley College there. But things got so bad that Joan finally felt she had to divorce.

A strange experience happened once when I was down in California. When I went down, Joan and Dick didn’t invite me to stay at their home. Usually she was very cordial about staying with her as much time as I could spare from the other families. At first, I thought I was growing paranoid in my old age, but pretty soon I decided that there really must be something because as the days went by, they didn’t ask me to come and stay overnight. They had just moved to Glendora from Redlands and the house was in a mess, but I really wanted to help them get settled. After I had been there for about a week and a half or two weeks, she called me one day and asked if I could come over. The boys would be home after school and she didn’t like to leave them alone. She had to go back to Redlands to the doctor. I was glad to go and since it was Monday night I assumed that they would ask me to stay for Home Night and all night, so I took what I would need to stay overnight. Then she called me from Redlands to say she would be late, she says she asked me to stay for dinner, but I didn’t remember her saying it. I asked if I could start dinner and she said no, for some reason or other…a good one. When she got home, we visited for a few minutes and she didn’t say anything about staying so I finally murmured, “Well, I guess I had better be going.” And she said, she guessed that they wanted me to be for home night with one of the families. I decided I was really getting my walking papers. I went home really quite hurt and upset.

When I got to Marilyn’s it was late and they were eating dinner and Donna was there. They asked if I had eaten and I said no. They said to get a plate and sit down, which I didn’t. In a few minutes I blurted out the whole story and they were all amazed. They said they surely thought it strange, but there must be some reason for it.

A couple of days later Joan came over for some reason and Marilyn was gone, so the two of us were alone. Joan finally said, “Mother, I don’t want to hurt your feelings or anything, but last night Dick and I were talking. We were wondering if you are angry with us or something. You didn’t stay with us the last time you were down and you haven’t stayed this time. We wondered if our house was such a mess that you couldn’t stand to stay, but Marilyn’s place is all torn up in the remodeling, so we didn’t think it would be that because you have stayed at Marilyn’s.”

Well, at that I started to laugh almost hysterically and told her all the whole thing and how I had decided that maybe Dick didn’t like me or want me around, etc. So we set the whole thing straight. Communication is an ephemeral thing.

(Marilyn: When Mother started working in the Counseling Service, she found a small tract home east of 9th East. I don’t know how many years she lived there until she found the home she loved and lived in for the rest of her life on 7th North.)