Move to Salt Lake, 1927

So life went on and I kept working and saving my money to go away to school. In the spring of 1927, I decided it was time to take the plunge, so I packed up, took my savings out of the bank and headed for Salt Lake City. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but had heard about the McCune School of Music, which had an excellent reputation both in music and drams. One of the piano teachers was Frank Asper, one of the Tabernacle organists. I also considered the University of Utah. BYU never crossed my mind for some reason, and it would have been the best decision by far, but I was in Salt Lake.

I went to the McCune School and talked to Professor Asper and he tried me out on the piano and persuaded me to go there and also study Drama which I was very interested in. He said I could do anything I set my mind on as far as piano was concerned. My schooling became part time at McCune School of Music, but also I had to work. So, I decided to go there and perhaps it was a wrong decision because I believe that had I started at the University of Utah, I am stubborn enough I would have gotten into the swing of things and would have stayed with it until I graduated. But I didn’t.

I lived with my second cousin, Ida Davenport Dean and her husband and paid them for my board and room, but also worked some for them. They were very good to me. I enjoyed it very much–school and everything. In their ward I made friends with a Jeppson girl who was very social and very popular. Why she ever took up with me, I’ll never know, but she did and invited me to parties at their home that were grander dinner parties than I had ever known in my life. She got me dates with prominent fellows and I had a very good time with her. One thing that happened at this time was that Charles Lindberg flew the Atlantic Ocean solo and was the darling of the world. He came to Salt Lake and the Jepson girl got me to be with her and another twenty or so girls to hold flowers at the park as he walked along to the reviewing stand, or something. It was a great day in my romantic young life.

At Easter time while I was at the Dean’s, Ida too the three children and went to Provo to spend the children’s Easter vacation week. I have told about Bertha, her sister, before and she was not at BYU and her folks were living there with her. They had a house on about first East just North of Lower Campus. I stayed in school and cooked for Lawrence. On Sunday we both went to Provo to spend the day and bring Ida and the children back. Ida and Lawrence were a very devoted couple and there was a great deal of love in their home and Lawrence couldn’t wait to get down there to see his family. It was quite a cold morning–as it nearly always is here at Easter–and when we turned off the highway at 5th North or there abouts, we nearly didn’t make the corner and Lawrence said he guessed that his leg had gone to sleep and he couldn’t get it on the brake in time. This seemed a logical conclusion, so I thought nothing of it. We arrived at the Davenports and there was a great reunion between Lawrence and his family. We were all visiting a mile a minute. In the kitchen they had a two burner wood stove beside the gas or electric one and since we were cold, they built a fire in there and Lawrence was sitting holding Ida on his lap and the children hovering nearby when he stiffened out and gave a sort of scream and fell to the floor, having a convulsion. It was a horrible moment and for a few seconds we were all paralyzed with surprise and fear. He was soon over it, but we were all concerned and for the rest of the day we watched that he was okay. I can’t remember whether I drove back to Salt Lake or Ida did or he did. Ida took him to all kinds of doctors and it was diagnosed as epilepsy. They said he would probably have other seizures. We didn’t dare let him drive from that time on and when I wasn’t in school, I would drive him around his territory which he collected insurance payments for Metropolitan Life Insurance. Then Ida would drive him while I was in school.

One day a week or so later, I came bouncing home from school and burst into the house with something I thought was exciting to tell Ida and she hurried to shush me and said that Lawrence was in the bedroom asleep. He had come home because he was seeing spots or whatever they were in front of his eyes he had seen when he had the first seizure. She had barely told me about it when we heard the sounds he would make as he was going into one, so we rushed into the bedroom to care for him. It was a terrible time for all of us. Ida was inconsolable, but, of course, took it well and went on with her work. But, now we knew that he would probably have them intermittently. After the first one we had hoped that this was some sort of a ‘fluke’ and he wouldn’t have more. He continued to have them periodically. I don’t know whether they didn’t know about Dilantan and the other drugs they now use or not, but as I remember they did not give him medication. I understand that he had one in the tabernacle during Conference and had to be carried out. It was a great trial for Ida and the entire family. I used to have nightmares at night that he was going into a seizure and was falling over the foot of my bed.

At this time, I met some distant relatives from Mancos, Colorado. They were Helen and Louie Smith whom we had known all our lives. They had an apartment up on the Avenues and wanted me to move in with them. I talked it over with Ida and she said she felt she needed me, but they also needed the room and that if I wanted to move that was okay. I felt that I should stay with them also, but that I had to go on and live my own life. So I moved.

While still living with Ida and Lawrence a very interesting time of my life happened. I was dating intermittently, but had ’steady’ or was not serious about anything except my career, which at that time I intended to be as a concert pianist. I was practicing very hard on piano and working on the drama assignments. I can’t remember if I said that I was studying both piano and organ from Professor Asper. Anyway, Ida and Lawrence had some good friends two door down the street who were Catholics. They went to dances together at a huge public ballroom that was about 5th or 6th South and either State or Main in Salt Lake. I can’t even remember what the name of it was now, but it might have been the Salt Palace or Crystal Palace (after salt) as I know there was a place called that, but can’t remember if this was the one. Anyway, the two families also visited back and forth, and the neighbors had a young couple who were Catholics that were good friends of theirs. I met the wife and thought she was beautiful and charming and very interesting to talk with, but for some reason or other I never did meet the husband. Well, one day the neighbors told me that the two of them were getting a divorce…the young couple not the neighbors. I just felt terrible about it and that that if there was anything I could do to keep them together, I should try to do it. It seemed that she was a sort of social butterfly who didn’t want to be tied down and didn’t want to make a home or have children, and her husband, Rod, was just the opposite and really wanted children and a stable home. Well, they got divorced and several months later the neighbors and Ida and Lawrence also, kept saying that Rod had heard so much about me and wanted to meet me. I wasn’t too keen on the idea because I felt so bad about their divorce and had no interest in him, but one night they said they were all going to the dance and after school, why didn’t I walk down to the dance hall and meet him. I was in night school taking shorthand, etc., at the LDS Business College by then because I was beginning to run out of money and felt I could earn more quickly by having shorthand as well as typing. It wasn’t a ’date’ with Rod, but just a chance for us to meet. So after school I tromped down there. I guess in those days girls felt safe walking around in a city at night because I never remember being afraid of doing it. Well, I met him and it was instant attraction on both sides. He was a good dancer and handsome, but beside that he was a very fine young man with high ideals and standards. We were together every minute possible from then on. The whole world looked different to me. I can’t even remember what we did; nothing very spectacular except perhaps shows (movies) and dances and walks, but it was a changed world. And poor Ida was beside herself. She was scared to death that my folks would blame her for having introduced me to a Catholic and she could see us getting more and more serious by the minute. I’m sure I could have converted him. He had the high standard and ideals but not a church going Catholic especially, but as luck, or something would have it, he was transferred by his company to Milwaukee. Believe it or not, we both seemed to take our feelings for granted and he had never told me that he loved me until he arrived in Milwaukee and wrote to me. He said he wondered why he hadn’t told me and why he hadn’t settled things between us one and for all. We wrote for some time, but by then I had other interests and finally just stopped writing. End of big romance.

Soon after, I moved in with Louie and Helen Smith. Louie was a nurse who married Harold Koho and for many years they lived in Pocatello, Idaho and I would see her occasionally. However, they now live in California, Lancaster I believe it is. Her husband is ill and I get the feeling that life isn’t terribly pleasant for her. She married him late in life and he has a family with whom she is quite congenial. Helen had a tragic life. Besides the two of them there is a brother John, who is blind, but he married and had several children and tunes pianos for a living. Helen married a man who was quite a ‘klutz.’ He even beat her when she was pregnant with her only child, Jim. She finally divorced him and after I moved to California (I’m going ahead in my story.) she moved there and married a Jewish fellow who was very bright and going to school, but who was quite dictatorial. Poor little Jimmy had to be very quiet all the time in order not to disturb her husband at his studying. I really don’t know whether Helen and her husband were compatible and happy, but I don’t think excessively so. Later she got cancer and when her husband found this out, he threatened to leave her and get a divorce, but Louie went down and told him that Helen only had a short time to live and that he was to stay there with her while she was still alive, and this he did. After Helen’s death, Jimmy sort of wandered and I haven’t heard what became of him.

To go back now to 1928: In the apartment we also had another nurse living with us and Louie and she shared a room and Helen and I another one. It was in a large old house on the Avenues and we had about half the house, which meant quite large room and much space. We all got along very well and I enjoyed living with them. During this time I dated, but again, not anyone special. I joined a folk dancing club in Salt Lake and had a lot of fun with them. I also made several close friends most of whom I’ve lost complete track of.

The summer of either 1927 or 1928, I went home to work in the store to get money to go back to school and to spend the summer at home. At the music store, the other partner was a piano tuner which was a part time business. That summer he had his oldest son who came home for the summer and the minute he came in the store we clashed and sent barbed phrases at each other at every opportunity. This went on for some time and since he was several years older than I (he must have been all of 29) I really never gave him a romantic thought. However, one day we got to talking and found that we sort of like each other and he asked me for a date. After that we were together every night (I think mother meant evening. They didn’t spend the nights together.) and had a wonderful time. He was a great guy, very thoughtful, had enough money for whatever we needed there (on dates) and also liked to do extraordinary things. We spent one whole Saturday with his brother and his girlfriend and other friends on horseback in the mountains above Durango. Something I had never done before. Also, we went to Mesa Verde (which my grandfather helped to discover, but where I had never been. It is only about 50 miles from Durango. This was a fun experience that summer. We talked a lot and got to be very good friends and even sweethearts. However, he was Seventh Day Adventist and very strong in his Church, as I was in mine, and we always knew that it was something which would keep us from getting really serious. But, we got serious in spite of that and before the summer was over we were very attracted to each other. He was a very educated and fine person and since then I have wished I had kept in touch with him so he could maybe be a good friend, but when I returned to Salt Lake at the end of the summer, I just stopped writing to him and have never seen him since. But, I’ll always be grateful for the good time he showed me that summer and for the ideal of what a fine man could be.

In the latter part of 1928 I was still taking lessons, but had gone to work for Deseret News Press in order to earn money. We had many time when there was nothing to do so most of the girls just sat around or would lie on the cement floor of the ’resting’ room and go to sleep but I was still going to night school at the business college and wanted to get the shorthand so I could get a good secretarial job so I sat every minute we weren’t busy and wrote shorthand. Then I decided that what I really needed to do was enter Secretarial College and get finished up and get a good job so I could earn more money because the following year a musician friend and I wanted to go to Chicago. Also, it was about this time that, needing more money, I decided to buy a saxophone and learn to play it because a friend had an all-girl orchestra, and she needed a saxophone player. So I bought one and promptly fell in love with my teacher. He was an ‘old’ man of about 26, and ugly as sin. Years later I found that he was a brother to a member on the Drama Committee of the General Board with me who is head of the Drama Department at the U. of U., but at the time he must have had some sort of charm for me. He didn’t have the vaguest notion that I liked him in that way and I never said a word to anyone and to tell the truth, it was infatuation and I knew it all the time. However, he was an excellent teacher and within a month I was playing in the all-girl band and earning money. We had about ten pieces (instruments) in the band and played like sixty….something I’ll never live down if I live to be hundred. Someone in the family says they have seen a picture of me with my saxophone but I can’t ever remember having one….although I wouldn’t be surprised if this were true. I just hope that picture gets buried seven feet under.

So, I quit my job at Deseret News Press and changed from the LDS Business College to another business college in Salt Lake. At the time, even thought I can’t remember, oh yes, Henagar Business College which had the best reputation for getting good jobs for its graduates. I had been there for about a month and hadn’t had time to take even the 65 word per minute shorthand test to get into the faster group. I probably wrote 120 to 130 w.p.m. when they came and asked me if I would take a temporary job. I said I would and did and was offered a full time job. This also happened another time and was offered a full time job. I didn’t take either job because I wanted to finish up at school. Then they came and said that the MacDonald Chocolate Company needed a secretary for a day or so very badly. I told them I didn’t want to take another temporary job, but wanted to finish up, but they said someone was needed and to at least go down and talk to them.