Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Rented Light Bulbs

Rented Light Bulbs

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 23, 2010

Once again I apologize for the withering of Keepa. I’m hopeful now that I can stay vertical rather than horizontal most days and will able to think moderately clearly again, so I’ll do my best to resurrect this poor blog.

Keepa posts are often built on trivia, those fascinating bits of history that are overlooked in more serious forums. I ran across one such bit today that brought tears to my eyes. Although I’m not able to flesh it out into a real post at the moment, perhaps it will reward your clicking over here today:

In 1947, German Mission President Walter Stover was finally able to visit Berlin after the end of World War II and hold a conference for whatever church members were able to reach the meetings. It was a successful conference, in part because President Stover was able to rent light bulbs for the day of the conference so that the Saints didn’t have to meet in the dark.

Rented light bulbs.



  1. Sorry to here you’ve had some trouble. I just assumed you were like the rest of us and ad run out of ideas..

    Comment by Matt W. — June 23, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  2. Welcome back! 🙂

    Sorry you’ve been under the weather.

    The story of the rented light bulbs reminds me of the story about the needle given to a war refugee in the book Wings of Faith about President Benson’s experiences in Europe after the war. The other sisters in the congregation wanted some assurance that they would be able to borrow the needle.

    Comment by Researcher — June 23, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

  3. No shortage of ideas, Matt, I assure you — just a temporary shortage of caring about anything other than poor lil’ ol’ me. Now I’m stacking up the stories again.

    I remember that incident, Researcher — one of the sisters said something like “Remember, our need is as great as yours.” I can’t quite wrap my mind around being so destitute that a light bulb or a needle would be irreplaceable.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 23, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  4. Ardis, please don’t feel like you’re obligated to daily posts. One per week is enough to keep a blog fresh in the Google search engine.

    Comment by Bookslinger — June 23, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

  5. Ardis,

    I’ve been pretty buried at work, so I haven’t been able to spend much time even reading, but I suspect that to the German saints, that the rental of light bulbs was anything but “trivial”. Or as Joni Mitchell said, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

    Comment by kevinf — June 23, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  6. Oh, and more importantly, get better and stay better. We miss you.

    Comment by kevinf — June 23, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

  7. I don’t think that most Americans of that generation–other than the few who spent some of those early post-war years in Europe–had a clue just how difficult those years were. (And, of course, the current generation is beyond ignorant.)

    My parents visited us here in New York in the fall of 2001, and they went down to the World Trade Center site and saw the pile of rubble that even then was nearly cleaned up; and they saw the closed streets and the dust that covered everything in that area. But my dad pointed out that whereas New York had lost two large buildings and a handful of smaller ones, and a few thousand people, something like half of the buildings in Vienna (where he spent the first year after the war) had no roofs, that a significant number were completely destroyed, that there was virtually no economic life–nothing was being produced, and there was no money to buy anything anyway, that there were large numbers of people who went to the railway stations day after day in hopes (ever more dim) that the trains coming in from the east might bring back a husband, a father, a son, and there were thousands of others who were mourning the loss of family members who they knew were not coming back home.

    I’m just glad that there were light bulbs for Pres. Stover to rent, and electricity to operate them. (I wonder if the rental also included a generator. I also wonder if the rent was paid in Deutschmarks, or U.S. Dollars, or, perhaps in the universal currency in those ruined European cities–cigarettes.)

    I’ll join with the others, Ardis, in wishing you a speedy and complete recovery!

    Comment by Mark B. — June 23, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  8. Note to self: put some sewing needles in the grab-and-go kit. (And check the batteries in the flashlight.)

    Comment by Bookslinger — June 23, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

  9. I hope you feel better soon.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — June 24, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  10. I’ve been away for quite a while but am back now. Ardis, sorry to hear that you’re having some health distractions. But I concur with Bookslinger that a weekly (vs. daily) Keepa post is certainly still an embarrassment of blog riches!

    Take care of yourself, Ardis!

    Comment by Hunter — June 24, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  11. All’s well now that you’re back, Hunter! (If I posted only once a week, what would I do for conversation on the other days? Hm? I should be embarrassed to admit what a large share of my social life you all are.)

    Thanks for the well wishes, all of you.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 24, 2010 @ 11:38 am

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