Today’s post is as much family history as it is 20th century church history; thanks for indulging me.
My mother claimed she was born with ink in her veins. She loved journalism from as early as her grade school days. She worked on school papers, as writer or photographer, all through school; was her school’s representative to the Salt Lake newspapers in junior high (she contributed to the papers’ weekly columns on the local schools); and she was on her high school’s yearbook committee every year she went to that school.
During World War II, she helped produce a short of yearbook for her WAC unit (“G.I. Jane”); after the war, she published a newsletter for the good friends she had made in the service, helping them all keep in touch with letters about their post-war activities and addresses for Christmas cards – that paper is probably how my father was able to call on her 10 years after the war when he arrived in California, newly divorced … and my parents married shortly thereafter). She published a family newspaper (“The Family Skeleton”) off and on in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s (a project I picked up and carried on during the ‘90s). And she wrote ward newsletters in who knows how many wards; I remember enviously watching the “big kids” who came to pick up copies of the paper to distribute on their routes, and dreaming of the day when I would be big enough to help.
Thing is, with all those hundreds of newspapers, all mimeographed, hand-collated, and hand-stapled, I didn’t have a single example for my family archives. I’ve seen many issues microfilmed and filed in the Church History Library as part of a ward’s official record, but as for the family, in which Mom’s journalism was so large a presence, not a thing.
Brett D., of the Juvenile Instructor, and I had long ago discovered that our grandparents were members of the same ward, and have exchanged a few tiny tidbits of each other’s family history. He mentioned recently that he had a copy of a ward paper with a story about someone who was probably my aunt, and offered to bring his paper for me to see. I mentioned then that I wondered if it was a ward paper my mother had published, since I knew she had started doing that so young. Brett brought the paper yesterday, and even while he was trying to draw my attention to the story about my aunt, I was crowing like a rooster at dawn, because I recognized the headline templates as ones my mother had used on papers in the ‘60s – I still have some of them. When I finally calmed down enough for Brett to point out the story about my aunt, I crowed again – it was one I remembered my mother telling me. (I’m not sure it’s a story she would have chosen to publish today, or one she would have published then had she been a few years older, but there it is in the ward newspaper, anyway.) This aunt is, by the way, the one whose mission is featured in the Sister Missionary series.
This is a small image of the first page of the two-page newspaper of 10 May 1947 (unfortunately cut off – the paper is too long to fit onto my scanner). The issue must have been distributed before the printed date of publication, as was her habit later on, else Mom wouldn’t have reported on a May 23rd event as still upcoming. One thing I notice about the paper that might not be obvious to most is that the columns of text are justified. We take that for granted today with our one-click computer codes, but I remember being a very little girl watching how Mom did that: She typed a draft of each story on regular paper with her manual typewriter and its monospace type. Then she went down each line of each story and counted how many spaces were left blank at the end of each line – whether it was 1 or 3 or 5, that was how many extra spaces she had to work into each line, by putting an extra space after a comma or using three spaces after a period, to make the lines come out even when she typed up the final paper on the long, waxy blue or green stencils that would eventually be used on the hand-cranked mimeograph machine.
Okay, there’s my family history. For an example of a typical Salt Lake City ward’s community activities at mid-century, here is the text of the
Vol. 1 No. 8 – 10 May 1947
MOTHER’S DAY PROGRAM IN S.S.
Combined Sunday School Presents Special Program
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and the Sunday School has arranged a program in her honor. We hope you’ll all be there to pay tribute to her.
The program will include the following numbers from the Junior Sunday School:
Three songs, “Helping Mother,” “Mother Dear,” and “Mother’s Day,” by the Primary ad 1st Intermediate Groups.
“Dearest names” by the Nursery and Kindergarten groups.
Poems by Kenley and Kaylene Taylor, Judy Haycock, Kim Anderson, Barbara Argyle, and Barbara Coates.
Senior Sunday School Speakers will be Brother Alfons Finck, Sister Margaret Bretzing, Carol Sleator, and Vern Hemmingway.
Kay Taylor will sing two numbers, one of which will be her mother’s favorite, “Alice Blue Gown.”
Jan Taylor and Duane Morrell will give the 2-1/2 minute talks.
Brother Frank Bretzing will lead the congregation in singing two songs composed by Pioneer Mothers – “Our Mountain Home So Dear” by Emmaline B. Wells, and “Oh, My Father” by Eliza R. Snow.
STAKE YOUTH CONFERENCE SUNDAY EVE IN PIONEER GYM
The Pioneer Stake Youth Conference Sunday evening at 7 P.M. in the Stake Gym will bring Bishop Ralph Hardy as the guest speaker. Bishop Hardy is one of the most popular younger speakers in the Church and we are sure everyone in the Stake will enjoy his talk.
Selected talks will also be given by Dorothy Bullock,Bee-hive Girl; Sperry Rueckert, Senior Scout; Patricia Bernston, Junior Girl; and Calvin Odenwalder, M-Man.
Prelude music will be played by Joan Barg, Joyce Rueckert, and Carol Rueckert.
Choral numbers will be sung by a Stake chorus of Junior and Gleaner Girls directed by Norma McDermott.
There will be no evening service in the Ward Chapel.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT MAY 23RD
Your roving reporter picked up a few more details about the big day!!
The dinner will be out of this world, prepared under Brother Garlick’s supervision, and he is a chef at one of Salt Lake’s leading hotels.
The program is being arranged by Norman Taylor and the choir, and the orchestra for the dance has already been engaged.
The decorating committee, Brother Finck, Elsie Warner, Beth Giles and Jean Dorny are planning their decorations along the centennial theme, and everyone is asked to wear pioneer dress in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. Wear aprons or overalls if you like, but DON’T stay home if you don’t have a pioneer outfit.
See you the 23rd!!
WHO’S WHO IN RIVERVIEW
(No. 7 of a series)
MEET ROY COATES
Today we’re presenting the right-hand man in the Bishopric. He’s a hard-working man, and wherever you find him you know there’s a big job to be done.
He was in the Bishopric in the 25th Ward for five years, and was actively engaged in working in the Elders’ Quorum before that, so full-time church work is nothing new to him.
For “relaxation” he works in his garden. In face he really takes to farming, and pitched into 25th Ward’s farm project last year with such vigor the stringbeans just had to grow.
So to keep Brother Coates happy, give him a hard job in the Church and a garden.
RIVERVIEW FIRST IN ATTENDANCE
Riverview ranked first in the Stake last month, in Sacrament meeting attendance. Let’s hold that record. Attend Fast meeting.
TELLING ON MY SISTER EVELYN
Evelyn is working hard and enjoying her mission, but we thot we’d go back a few months and reprint one of our favorites of her experiences, just to show you a missionary can take anything.
“You’ll never believe what I ate. We went to see the Renfro family Tuesday night as we always do. While we were waiting Adelaide was talking about the supper Sis. R. had cooked – the wonderful kidney stew. Said while it was cooking it smelled like the baby’s diapers were being washed. That it smelled like a toilet and tasted worse. That it wasn’t fit for human consumption. And so on, she doesn’t mince words. So I was feeling green around the gills long before I went to sup.
“When we went over, Adelaide started ladeling me out a plate full. Nothing I could say about how I wasn’t very hungry, how that was enough for a couple of farm hands and how I should go on a diet would stop her. She kept on ladling and my spirits kept sinking. Finally she put a platter-full of reeking, stinking, steaming stew in front of me. I got a whiff of it and went dizzy. I took a firm grip of my stomach with one hand and my spoon with the other, thought about the show where Jimmy Stewart’s father was a minister and ate a frog in a dish of mush, and went after it. There were dumplings in it the size of a fist. But I licked the platter clean. Rather I washed it down with nearly a quart of water. They thought it was wonderful and said you should drink a lot of water to keep healthy.
“But they’re really nice people, and we go over every Tuesday night.”
THE BUTTER BALL NEXT SATURDAY
Get your pound of butter or margarine and come to the Pioneer Stake Butter Ball in the Gym next Saturday night, May 17, at 8:00 P.M.
The dance is to help fill the 1947 Pioneer Stake Welfare assessment and admission is one pound per person though myou may bring more if you like.
Tickets for prize drawings will be given at the door for each pound, and there will be pounds of fun for everyone.
There’ll be a six-piece orchestra for dancing – so don’t miss the Butter Ball!
THE BISHOPRIC THANX THE BOYS
The Bishopric would like to thank the following boys for assisting at the tabernacle the other night:
Bill Ames, Ralph Watchorn, Nephi Matheisen, Ronald Knott, and Eddie Nielsen.
The boys did a fine job and their willingness to cooperate is really appreciated.
GIRLS’ CHORUS TO BE ORGANIZED
All girls from 14 years up who are interested in joining a girls chorus, contact Beth Giles Sunday after Sunday School. Or you may call her at 5-2796.
THE WARD CHOIR NEEDS NEW VOICES
We’re making another request for new members in the choir. Especially do we need young voices. With the good leader and the good organist we have, a few more voices is all we need to have the finest choir in the Stake.
PAGEANT TICKETS TO BE DISTRIBUTED
Tickets for the pageant “Message of the Ages” will be given out after Fast Meeting Sunday. Because of the great demand for the tickets and the limited number given to each bishop, it will not be possible for more than two tickets to be given a family.
Pioneer Stake has been assigned seats for next Wednesday and Thursday the 14th and 15th. If you have been planning on attending, see your bishopric Sunday after Fast Meeting.
REPORT MEETING NEXT TUESDAY
There will be a report meeting, on progress of the May 23rd events, next Tuesday at 7 o’clock in the bishop’s office. All heads of organizations and quorums, who are working on tickets, program, or arrangements are requested to be present.
This coming Sunday evening the Aaronic Priesthood, under the direction of Brother Finck, general secretary, will present a program on the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.