Steve’s Life in School in Provo

Steve was around 13 at the time and in Junior High School.

I suppose I have left out much in between here, but now I want to go to Steve’s life for a while. He did quite well in grade school and fairly well in Farrer Junior High, which is on Center Street and about 6th or 7th East. There were no great problems that developed, but when he went into High School, he became the typical rebellious, angry teen. And he didn’t do at all well scholastically there. When he studied with his friend (when he studied, which was seldom), his friends would tell me how sharp he was and how much quicker he was at grasping concepts than they, and they were both good students.

When he became angry at me, which was often, he would threaten that he was going to California to live with his Dad. I had been advised by my bishop in California and also here that I should not let him do this. There were many times during his high school years when Steve Defied me, and at times I nearly gave up that I would get him through school. Particularly galling was his constant threat that if I didn’t let him do certain things, he would go live with his Dad. Finally he said it one too many times and I’d had it. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Okay, I’ll help you pack.” The strangest look came over his face, and he never again mentioned going to live with his Dad.

Steve finally grew very dissatisfied with Provo High, where he started High School and wanted to transfer to BY High on Lower Campus. I tried to stall him off for some time, feeling that he probably wouldn’t do any better there. But, he was determined so I finally afforded the tuition and put him there. His grades didn’t improve and several times he would tell me before he went to school in the morning that a certain paper was due that morning. I called my office and cancelled my appointment for an hour or so and stayed home and we got his papers written. It was a real struggle to get him to do even a semblance of good school work. And there was a time when I was afraid he was not going to graduate with his class. Years later Steve told us that he always felt like the 5th wheel in the family of women and felt that the girls and their singing was much more important than he was. This stunned all of us because we had loved and cherished him from the moment of his birth, and in spite of any shortcomings, he was our pride and joy. Life is baffling sometimes.

By now he had his driver’s license and was driving my Chevrolet. Several times he hot-rodded it so much that he took the clutch out. I took the car down on 4th South to the Barrett Garage and had it fixed but a year or so later it happened again. I think it was on the third time that I took it to the garage and said that I was beside myself what to do about Steve’s doing this to the car and Bud Barrett stood there with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth and said, “Aw, Mrs. Worsley, he’s really a good kid, and most kids wear out the clutch at least three times before their parents get them grown up.” I decided he might be right so I went ahead and had it fixed.

Steve was dating, and I must say that most of the girls were good girls, from fine families, and his friends were all good kids.

But now came graduation. He got his diploma just by the skin of his teeth, but when it came to the graduating class and teachers planning the graduation, since Steve was a natural born leader, he took the reins and spoke up. He said that Elder Howard Hunter was a friend of the family and he could get him as the graduation speaker. He had been out Stake President in Pasadena Stake in California and was in our special social group. Everyone was in favor of that, so it happened.

Steve invited his Dad to graduation, but Al said that he couldn’t come, but this time I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns, so I wrote Al and told him that he could not make any excuse for not coming and that Steve would feel very bad if he didn’t come. So he did. Graduation night came and the ceremony. Brother Hunter gave a fine talk and everything was very nice, except that Steve ignored me completely. He had his picture taken with Brother Hunter, and his Dad and Brother Hunter, and anyone else handy I guess except me. I was really hurt by it, but didn’t say anything being the original martyr. I supposed it was quite small of me, but when I considered all the sacrifices I had gone through to get my children to where they were, not only the physical work, but the emotional worries and hard times as we went along with the fact that if I hadn’t interceded and prodded and helped, and coaxed, Steve wouldn’t even have been graduating. I wasn’t prepared for what happened.

Whenever Al came, the children fawned over him. “Oh, Dad, do you need a pillow for your back?” “Dad, can I get you something to eat?”, on and on ad nauseum. But, I have worked through that with them. But, at Steve’s graduation I was completely ignored by one and all while Steve had his picture taken with his dad, the girls and friends. He did not ask me to be in one single picture.

And as I said, I was at one side as if I didn’t exist. I know…I know…there are all kinds of rationalizations that can be made, BUT IT HURT!

(Marilyn: I don’t know if my mind is out of whack, but I don’t remember attending Steve’s graduation. I had two little children and was pregnant with my third with very little money. Joan was teaching in San Diego and Linda was at Long Beach State getting her Master’s Degree. Were any of the three of us there? It could be because President Hunter was there that a crowd was around him and Steve was grabbing friends etc. to be in the picture. Also, if I had been mother, I would have stepped up and said, “My turn for a picture with my son,” but I‘m the pushy mother. Also, I recall that Steve had his own car eventually. Did Dad get him one? Also Steve worked at a hamburger place around the corner south on 9th East. He was always good at talking his way into jobs.)