Our New Life in Cedar City

After Dad and I finally arrived in Utah, we stopped at Kathryn’s home and spent the night. Mom had gone on home to Cedar with Pattie and left David with Kathy and Jim. They had a good time with him and Kathy told me they wanted to keep him. I was very glad to see my darling boy again. I was also very glad to sleep in a bed and have a shower. Kathy washed my clothes for me and we were refreshed and ready to head back on the road to continue our journey to Cedar City; about 250 miles more to drive.

Mom and Dad opened up their home to us. As I look back on it there seemed to be no question as to what I should do. I should go home to Cedar City. There was really no reason to stay in Washington. Back in Cedar I would have my parents to help with the kids. I would be in familiar territory. I thought I could go back to school to finish my degree. It just seemed like the best place to be.

My parent’s home was fairly new. There were two bedrooms upstairs. The basement was unfinished. The kids and I set up our space in the one single room. We had a double bed that David and I shared and a crib for Pattie.

Mother was still working  as a cook in the hospital kitchen and Dad still worked for the Power Company.

There was not much for me to do but take care of the kids and try to figure out my future.

I did not have a car so I had to use Mom’s car if I wanted to go anywhere. I was surprised how quickly the Social Security checks started to come. We got three checks, one for each of the children and one for me. Jim, my brother-in-law, advised me that I should take any insurance in full payment. It took a little while but they finally came through. I was able to take some money and buy a new car. I tried several models and then I settled on a 1973 blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.  I put most of the money in some savings accounts that my Dad advised that would gather interest. We maintained these accounts for many years. I was able to use some of the interest to help build an apartment in Mom and Dad’s basement so we would have some space of our own. Uncle Reid build the kitchen cabinets for us.

As I was growing up we had a piano but Mom had given it to Sandra. I really missed not having a piano so I purchased a small upright and the store offered me piano lessons. I really enjoyed having a piano again.

We were able to get back to regular church attendance. Our ward house was just across the street. It was the same building that as a young girl we spent many hours raising money to build.

I was soon given a job. I was asked to teach the 11 year old boys in Primary. Why did they think I knew anything about teaching 11 year old boys? It also included doing scouting stuff. I hung in there. I never felt comfortable. We were just bidding our time. I don’t think the boys ever thought they were gaining anything from me. They were there because their parents made them come. I was there because I had been given that assignment. I accepted it and I did try but I never felt like I made any progress.

I registered to return to school. I decided that I should take business classes with the idea that I could be a secretary. I took some drama classes also.

The Last Shuttle Launch

As Jim and I watched the Last Shuttle Launch today from the comfort of our home. I reflected back when my Dad would wake us up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the rockets being sent into space.

At first they blew up on the launch pad. Then they would lift off and fall back to Earth. I don’t remember how many we watched before one actually made it into space. Then they were actually able to get the rocket to orbit. Then they started sending up small animals and chimpanzees. The Russians were sending up rockets also. It was like “I can do anything better than you”. We couldn’t let the Russians beat us to the Moon. On a clear night we could see the Russian Sputnik as it crossed the sky. It was a race and we all felt it. It felt like if we didn’t get to the Moon first somehow the Russians would be able to take over the Earth.

We got so we didn’t want to get up just to see another rocket blow up. My Dad kept encouraging us to get up. He wanted us to see history in the making.

As the launches became kind of routine we didn’t pay quite as much attention. When John Glenn made his historic flight to finally orbit the Earth we were all glued to our TVs. The whole country was space crazy. Movies about space were very popular. TV shows about a Martin living on earth as a human or space travelers being Lost In Space, and of course who can forget Star Trek, the Mother of all space shows. Food was named after things in space, home decor reflected our obsession with all things space. Even cars were named after things in space.

President Kennedy challenged the space program to send a man to the Moon before the end of the decade. I was working in Yellowstone Park and Frank and I watched the Launch and landing at his parents house in Gardner, Montana. The history of the space program is very well documented and I do not need to rehearse it here.

I just wanted to try to convey some of my feelings. I was very moved to be witnessing this final launch. It is very interesting to me that I have been able to be a witness to this marvelous time in our history.