By Evelyn Fjelsted
Dark skies seem strangely ominous
Old trees bend in the wooded glen,
Rain drenched winds descend. – Then calm,
And soon the sun comes out again.
And so it is with life at times,
The way obscured, we can but wait;
The winter of our fear sweeps on,
Again we see our course laid straight.
The old Improvement Era often published cooking tips, usually tucked into the back pages among the advertisements and the conclusions of featured articles published in more prominent parts of the magazine. Often these cooking columns had a Mormon twist – multiplying recipes to serve a large gathering, like a ward dinner; Word of Wisdom-friendly party drinks; ways to use that wheat storage.
In 1948, the column reminded readers in early spring that “This is the time of year to take an inventory of your bottled and canned fruits and vegetables, which remain upon your pantry shelves. Budget their use so you will have variety from day to day until canning time comes again.” “Canning time” will not come soon for Little White Lab Rat, so he explored the recipes for … for what?
For canned vegetables??
Little White Lab Rat turned up his bewhiskered nose at such an idea – what recipe is needed for canned vegetables? One opens a can, one dumps the contents into a saucepan, one heats and serves. Who needs a recipe for that?
But that, my friends, is the point! Why settle for that, when a little creativity can turn tasteless canned green beans into this:
From the Improvement Era, 1948 –
Mulek of Zarahemla
By J.N. Washburn
Synopsis: Mulek and his servant, Omer, were hunting when Mulek was rushed by a raging boar and his leg severely injured before Omer could kill the wounded animal. As he made his way back into the city of Zarahemla, he thought of the strange perversity of fate that had put him who was entitled to be a ruler of the region in an inferior position. The sudden change from king to judge had effected the change. He loved Zarahemla and felt much pride in this city of his fathers. Indeed it was a city to be loved and honored. As he entered the city, he was amused to note that one of the priests, Shiblon, brother of Helaman, chief high priest over the church, was addressing a crowd. Mulek could not resist mocking him, asking whether he was indeed a prophet. Shiblon answered: “Thou hast asked whether I am a prophet, I will tell thee. If it be God’s will, thou shalt know this thing when thou goest without friends to applaud, without resources for wickedness, sick in body and soul, humbled to the dust.” Mulek shrugged his shoulders and limped away, thinking of Amalickiah, a man of tremendous powers and winning manners who was stirring up widespread interest in a reform of government.
In spite of his seeming eccentricities Mulek was a thoroughgoing Nephite. He was more intelligent, perhaps, than the average, surely better educated. As a general thing the Nephites had leisure and an abundance of riches to enjoy. Their land and climate filled them with pride. In short, they relished life, and this was true of the young prince in an almost exaggerated degree.
This chapel was built in 1905 —
“The largest group of missionaries of the Church of the Latter-day Saints [sic] ever to fly to foreign fields left for New Zealand aboard a specially chartered Pan American Clipper.
“The group of twenty-nine missionaries led by Harvey R. Mecham, of Morgan, Utah, boarded their clipper in San Francisco for their 700-mile flight. They are flying to the South Pacific to relieve other missionaries who have completed their foreign assignments.
“The first leg of the missionaries’ journey, from San Francisco to Honolulu will be completed on one of Pan America’s new double-decked clippers. After overnighting in Hawaii, the group will board their chartered Clipper for the remainder of the journey. Fifteen of the group will connect with another airline in New Zealand and continue their journey to Australia for field work there.”
From the Children’s Friend, November 1960 —
For the sake of search engines:
Song of the Pilgrim Mother
by Solveig Poulson Russell
Hush thee, wee babe, sleep now and rest,
With plenty for harvest the Father has blest.
The maize ears hang heavy, the nut burrs are full,
Red crane-berries wait for our fingers to pull.
The wild turkey struts in the late autumn sun,
A target for shot of thy father’s true gun.
And there by the fire where embers burn red
Thy sister is stirring the yellow corn bread.
Thy brother’s bright axe bites deep in the tree
To feed the hearth flame with brightness for thee.
So hush thee, wee babe in thy warm cradle’s deep,
Hush thee, wee Pilgrim babe, hush thee to sleep.
Nephi’s Vision of Mary and the Lamb (1 Nephi 11), by artist Lewis A. Ramsey (1873-1941) —
Imagine you are a teacher of a Church class, or chairman of some ward or stake committee, in the 1930s or ‘50s or as late as the ‘70s, and you needed a copy of some paper for everybody – maybe you were sending instructions home for your Cub Scout den’s day camp, or you wanted a line drawing of the golden plates for your Primary class to color, or you wanted your committee to make the same recipe for an elders’ quorum dinner.
Of all the possible ways of making multiple copies (expensive and slimy-papered photocopiers – decent, affordable ones didn’t become common until after 1980; inky mimeographing, which was a messy chore for only a dozen copies; spirit duplicators, if you had access to a machine; handwriting/typing as many originals as you needed, or else using carbon paper and onionskin to make three copies in one typing, thus having to type the thing only a third as many times), no method was especially practical or commonly available …
… except the hectograph. Hectographs were cheap, you could make them yourself, and they made astonishingly good copies as long as you had a steady hand and worked carefully.
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I’m not at all sure how this story will go over with Keepa readers. It does represent a significant strain of Mormon fiction, in using a scriptural setting. Sometimes those settings were used for entirely fictional stories, and sometimes for imaginatively fleshing out a story told in the scriptures.
From the Improvement Era, 1948 –
Mulek of Zarahemla
By J.N. Washburn
Editorial Note: J.N. Washburn, the author of the serial Mulek, which commences in this issues of the ERA, has long been interested in the Book of Mormon. With his father, J.A. Washburn, he wrote An Approach to the Study of Book of Mormon Geography in 1939, proving himself to be an astute student of this work. IN the novel Mulek, the author has gone into the flora and fauna of the country where Mulek lived, as well as the characteristics of men and women who made the action of the story assume a vigorous trueness to life. J.N. Washburn has been a teacher and knows what will interest people, and has proceeded from this knowledge to weave a fascinating story of Book of Mormon days.
The day was hot, with the copper sun beating down, and only a slight breeze stirring the air to give an illusion of coolness. Small clouds that floated occasionally between sun and earth gave a few moments of welcome relief.
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