I got out my High School year books trying to get some inspiration. I tried to get involved in several clubs and activities. In my Senior year I joined the Pep Club. That was fun. We had a Pep Club uniform and we learned synchronized marching that we performed at half time during football and basketball games. I had a big mouth so I usually came home from games horse from screaming so much. But to be honest as much as I tried I still did not run with the “IN Crowd”.
The most important thing that happened during my Senior year was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was on the campus of Southern Utah State College. We were practicing for a Choir Concert. We had just broken for lunch and I was out on the sidewalk and I saw some of the kids that were in Shakespeare Festival the summer before. They were looking very upset. I asked them what was the matter. The said that President Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas, Texas. They were very upset. They had actually met him the year before when they went on a Drama Club Trip to Washington, DC. I was very confused. I started to walk home and my Dad and Aunt Inez stopped and picked me up. They were listening to the radio. The announcement was made that President Kennedy was dead. Everything was so surreal. We had our lunch in front of the TV. I went back to the College for our Choir practice but it was really hard to get back to business. The next few days were kind of a blur. The day of the Funeral, school was closed and we all stayed home and watched the funeral. It was very sad to see those two small children, Caroline and John. Mrs. Kennedy was so strong.
A few days latter we had a memorial program at school and the Choir sang. One of the songs we sang was the poem that is on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. Your retched refuse from your teaming shores. Send these the homeless tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the open door.” I love this poem. It was a beautiful song.
Another thing that happened my last year of High School was we moved into a brand new school. The old high school was turned over to the Jr. High and the High School moved to the south part of town. It was still winter and walking up the long straight road to school with the cold south wind blowing as it does in Cedar City was a challenge.
By this time my sister Sandra was going to College in Logan, Doug was on his mission in Australia, Kathryn was married and had a little girl. Richard was in Jr. High School and I was in High School. Our family was growing up. Dad had been given more responsibility at the Power Company. He was still Bishop and the new ward house that was being built just a block from our house was almost finished. Mother was working at the hospital as a cook making delicious meals for the patients.
I will finish up with High School next time.
As I watched the festivity and ceremony of the Inauguration today I was struck with the idea that the Lord has a hand in all of our lives. He lays the foundation for everything. On Sunday our Gospel Doctrine teacher showed a video of Joseph Smith’s first vision. The film showed the preparation that the Lord gave Joseph Smith before he took the step to seek out the Lord and ask that important question. Which of all the churches was right and which should he join? Joseph spent many months asking questions and reading the Bible trying to decide for himself which of the Religious sects he should join. Then he took the step to ask Heavenly Father. And with that step the rock was struck from the mountain and would begin to roll and could not be stopped.
Yesterday I watched a program outlining the path that Martin Luther King took in trying to help colored people gain their rights as American Citizens. Another stone was cut out of the mountain and could not be stopped. Then the time was right for the Lord’s Priesthood to be made available to all worthy men. Another stone was cut out of the mountain and could not be stopped. The thought came to my mind that because the Lord restored the Priesthood to all worthy men it made it possible for this President at this time to take over the leadership of this nation. I am not saying that I believe that the Lord chose this President, I am saying that with the restored gospel and the restored priesthood in this land that all men are more free. All men have more opportunities.
So much has changed since I was a child. I watched the first man walk on the Moon. I have seen the gospel spread all over the world. I saw the Berlin Wall being torn down. I have seen the common use of computers and the Internet. Cell phones. Human hearts being transplanted into another person and saving lives. The communist countries opening their doors to the missionaries. What a wonderful world we live in. What a wonderful country, this is truly a blessed and promised land.
Another thought that struck me today is the reality that anyone in the United States can aspire and gain the highest office in the land. Barack Obama was born a poor boy of bi-racial parents. He did not grow up a man of privilege and he came into this campaign as the poorest candidate. To me that is amazing. I did not vote for him but I surely wish and hope it is a new and better day.
By the time I got to High School my income became reduced. I stopped getting baby sitting jobs. I think people thought I was too busy with school. I did occasionally get a job sitting overnight. There were a few couples who trusted me with their children if they needed to be away for a day or two. My Mom and Dad had some friends the Truman’s. The had about four kids (I don’t remember for sure) and they asked me to tend sometimes. I remember one time I was with the kids all day. We were out in the front yard and I would let the kids sit on my feet and I would push them into the air. Kind of hard to describe it but one of the little girls had her turn and she landed on part of the sidewalk and started to cry. She said her arm hurt. I tried to comfort her and sent her into her room to rest. When her parents came home I told them that she had fallen and that I was sure she was ok. Well they called later to say that she had a broken arm. Ops!! I felt so bad. Needless to say they never asked me to tend again.
My Dad was the Bishop of our Ward and I would often tend the children of his counselors. Especially on New Years Eve. One night I was tending Brother and Sister Bradshaw’s children and I heard a lot of popping coming from the basement. I went down stairs and there were many bottles of home made Root Beer that were blowing their tops. What a mess. Another family that I used to tend for over night was Brother and Sister Dixie Levitt, their son Mike grew up to be Governor of Utah.
By the time I got to High School I was interested in drama. I wanted to act on the stage. When I was a Junior I tried out for a part in the play “George Washington Slept Here”. I was cast in the part of the Mother. I remembered seeing an old movie by the same name starring Jack Benny. I realized after reading the script for the play that my part had been rewritten for Jack Benny. I had the best lines. It was funny and I had a lot of fun. I guess I was good. Of course every one tells you that you were wonderful.
I found out when they were having tryouts for the next summers productions at the Shakespeare Festival and I tried out. I was cast as a hand maiden to Cleopatra and a towns person in one of the other plays I don’t remember which one. I also helped out during the Green Show as a Madrigal singer and a seller of tarts and hour hound candy. The production of Anthony and Cleopatra was horrible. The lady cast as Cleopatra could not remember her lines and she was replaced just a couple of weeks before production by another actress. In the play Cleopatra kills herself on stage and so do the hand maidens. So I got to die on stage. Yeah! My High School drama teacher came to see the play and said she was kind of disappointed in my performance. Oh well you can’t please them all.
The next year in school we had a new drama teacher and Choir director. He wanted to put on “Oklahoma” as a school production. This time I was cast as Aunt Eller. I wanted to improve my singing and I tried to take lessons from my teacher but we didn’t communicate very well. I don’t think he really wanted to bother or else he didn’t think I had any talent. Anyway lessons did not last long. Doing Oklahoma was fun and when I was supposed to sing solo parts I couldn’t get the pitch so he had me talk the words to the music. That worked out pretty well and got me over my nervousness.
We also did “Brigadoon” and this time I was in the chorus and I helped with the props. That was fun making fake rocks and trees. I learned a lot about the backstage production of a play.
The next summer 1964 after I graduated from High School I tried out again for Shakespeare and this time I was cast in “Midsummer Nights Dream” in the role of Helena. She in one of four young lovers roaming through the forest. It was a great part and I had some great lines and action. Again I participated in the green show on the nights I wasn’t in a play and I helped sew costumes and I think I even helped make tarts. Those were some of the best summers of my life up to that point. Festival only lasted about four weeks at that time. They were starting to bring in more experienced actors and local amateurs did not get as many leading roles.
After Festival was over there was about two months before College started. I didn’t have a job and so I applied to the Utah Parks for a job. They called me up two days later and asked me to go to Grand Canyon North Rim as a cabin maid. And, as they say, that is another story.