Prizes and Awards

When it comes to winning awards or prizes I would try but some how I never really seemed to understand the game.

When I was a kid in Cedar City, Utah in the 1950′s the one and only movie theater would sponsor contests along with the Saturday Matinee. One contest was to gather as many bottle tops and milk cartons from Meadow Gold milk. The prize was a brand new bike. Another time the big prize was a giant Sugar daddy bar. I loved Sugar Daddies. I always got a bag of popcorn and a sugar daddy when I went to the afternoon show.

So I had to get to work. Right away I realized this was not going to be easy. My Mother did not buy Meadow Gold Milk. She got her milk from a local farmer in two quart canning jars that were washed and reused. Most of the families on our little street did the same. I would have to appeal to other neighbors out side our little neighborhood. Also I was not the only kid in town.

On the appointed day we gathered with our collected bottle tops and smashed cartons. I thought I had a good number. Hopes were high. We watched the cartoons and the serial. Captain Video was in his usual cliffhanger. The feature film was about to start. Still no announcement. About half way through the movie the house lights came up and Mr. Yergensen, the theater owner, rolled a shinny new bike to the front of the theater. He thanked everyone for entering and that the winner had turned in hundreds of bottle caps and cartons.

Right then I knew I had never been in the game. I probably had less than a hundred items to offer.

So I learned any contest where you have to gather the most items of anything I would never win. Any contest where you had to perform some skill better than anyone else I was never going to win.

The best prize I ever won was the one I did not even know I was in a contest for.

I was in ninth grade it was close to the end of the school year. The principle Mr. Miles, came into our Home Economics class and announced that one of our class member’s had been awarded “The Crisco Award for Outstanding Student in Home Economics” and would Barbara Cox please come to the front of the class.

Me! I didn’t even know there was such an award. How did I qualify? What was outstanding about me? Later I realized my teacher must have sent my qualifications for the award. I guess the biggest reward was realizing that my teacher who I admired thought enough of me and my abilities that she recommended me for recognition.

And that was the best reward of all.

Motto to Guide My Life

When I was in 9th grade we memorized some poems for English. Mrs. Vergie Frame was my English teacher. Her Husband had been our Bishop, and my Dad was one of his counselors. When our Ward was divided he became Bishop. That all happened three years before 9th grade. I mention that just as a back ground.

Someone on Facebook mentioned Mrs. Frame and the poems we had to memorize. I tried to remember one and and finally it came to me.

Edger A. Guest


I have to live with myself, and so,

I want to be fit for myself to know;

I want to be able as days go by,

Always to look myself straight in the eye;

I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I’ve done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself,

And fool myself as I come and go

Into thinking that nobody else will know

The kind of man I really am;

I don’t want to dress myself up in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,

I want to deserve all men’s respect;

But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,

I want to be able to like myself.

I don’t want to think as I come and go

That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me,

I see what others may never see,

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself – and so,

Whatever happens, I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.

I hadn’t thought about this poem for many years. When I was reminded of it and this assignment was given I realized that this poem has indirectly guided my life.

For nine years I was married to a man who presented a kind, patient, spiritual face in public. But at home he was inconsiderate, angry, controlling and hypocritical.

I wanted to be open and honest about myself. I think we all strive in some ways to present our best selves in public. But that self also needs to also be present at home with our family.