Do you remember when I first found out that my grandparents first met during a production of "Pride and Prejudice?" (found here)
Well I was rereading a history that my aunt (Thank you Louise!) wrote in college about her mother, my grandmother Beth. As I was reading Rock came in and asked that I please include this in our history because he was sure that not everyone had access to her words and it was important for us to know about her life. What a wise son I have, especially considering he doesn't read currently read the blog.
This is a long post, but I just didnt' know where to stop in their courtship story. Some parts made me laugh and others were so tender. So thankful for this treasure and it once again helped me remember the importance of writing our stories, no matter how big or small. The details will matter to our children and grandchildren and beyond.
My grandmother's words...
"When I was a sophomore [Granite High School] in speech class with Mary Ethel we decided to try out for the school play, Pride and Prejudice. Mary Ethel was Jane and that is when I met Ivan who was Mr. Bennett. I was Lady Lucas; I think I had two lines. One night it was raining, so Ivan took his cloak from the play and gave it to me to wear home and walked me up to the bus on Seventh East. From the time I met Ivan my life revolved around him. I was busy with work at Acme Foods, Buehner's, and University of Utah Health Service; busy with school--Granite and the University of Utah-- busy with church: Richard's Ward and Holladay First; but always Ivan was in the back of my mind.
I went home from my first date and wrote, "This is the frist time I have ever been out with a boy and still liked him."
Our courtship began with a basketball game at Murray High in 1942. It ended March 25, 1945 when we became engaged and were married June 6, 1945. During that time there were periods when we both did not especially care for the other, so there was skill exercised on both sides to win the other. I did a bit of chasing him for quite a while; I used to ride by bicycle past his place and went to Stake Conference just so I could see him because he was in our stake.
Ivan first asked me out because he loved and respected my uncle Claude who was his bishop. I was late getting ready and a poor date in his opinion he later confided. However he got desperate on another occasion and thankfully I made a better impression on date two. During my junior year of high school Ivan attended the University and occasionally invited me to a U of U dance, which I loved. In the summer we went to the Great Salt Lake to swim. The time we took corn on the cob and roasted it in its husks, buried in the sand, with hot coals over it was great.
We skied a bit. At that time Utah had not ski lifts; Ivan had clip-on ski's. One sleigh riding party down 45th South, Ivan and I were on the same sled and came down that steep hill and crashed into something -- a snowbank or a pole-- my nose was damaged. Ivan felt really bad about it, but luckily the damage was temporary.
Because Ivan had to milk the cow there were frequent dates that ended up at Cutler's where we watched him milk the cow and spent the evening playing games and listening to records. Cutler's always had good food. One Saturday night Don and Ren and Ivan decided to cute each others hair. Virginia, Jean, and I were the cheering section. I don't know if Don or Ren cut hair now, but Ivan never stopped. He used to cut his Dad's hair and our boys' hair until they entered high school. Burt Heining traded hair cuts with him in the lab at the U.
We did go to a few shows but most of our dates were more creative. Salt Air resort advertised the "largest dance floor in America." It was hardwood and splendid for dancing. There were lots of school dances and plays. We liked going to the local canyons, something hiking. The year Dr. Virginia Cutler sent her son Robert to stay with his grandparents for the summer, Robert often came on dates with us, which I did not mind.
One memorable date was the hike up Timpanogas. About midnight we picked up Art Higgins and Hal Christensen from work. Shirley, Hal's girl friend, and Frank Meleskee's son from Holland, Michigan that Father asked me to take along and some other single fellows accompanied us. We ascended the mountain with flash lights, stopped at the lake and then went to the top. It was late afternoon when we returned and everyone was grumpy and exhausted, except Ivan who made a fire and cooked us a delicious dinner. I was impressed. I later learned that he told everyone not to help because he wanted to impress me! On the way home he got a surprise. There was a rock in the road, as he straddled it the muffler broke. It took an hour or more to repair all the trouble we were very late getting home. His parents were upset over the late hour and the noisy car that came in. They had just recently purchase the car and this was the first time Ivan had driven it. Ivan didn't mind his folks being upset though because I had let him kiss me good night when he took me home.
I looked forward to Ivan being at the U when I began my freshman year in 1943. I soon knew his class schedule and where to happen to meet him as he changed classes. We both went to the institute for lunch. He studied seriously in the engineering library, but he soon found where I studied in the main library. We were both involved in the Church fraternity/sorority Lamba Delta Sigme, so it was natural to do lots together.
During one of our courtship periods when I saw little of him because we weren't getting along well, the government canceled deferment for engineering students. Fifty or more engineering students, not wanting to be drafted joined a navy program for radio training and were going to book camp at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Great Lakes. At that time he was trying to make me jealous. He had taken out five girls by the name of Helen. He had taken out my friend Helen Lindsay and four other Helens, and of course I knew all about everybody he was taking out. I didn't even know he had joined up until my good friend Virginia Kotter came over to institute and said did I know that Ivan was leaving in half an hour. She drove me to the Denver and Rio Grande Depot to say goodbye. I hadn't seen him for quite a while, but he was delighted to see me there.
We began writing. We spent the year writing which turned into a pretty good romance. With a few leaves in between to encourage us. In 1944 he came to Odgen in converted cattle cars. I met him there as did Doug and his Mom and Dad.
One night he called and asked me if I would marry him if he got a leave. Because it was a poor connection I was shouting, "Yes! Yes!" When I hung up I went and sat on my Daddy's lap and asked him if I could get married. He said, "It seems like you've already made that decision." Then he said, "Well, I don't know if you are ready to get married. Are you ready to do everything Ivan's way?" I assured him I was. He was giving me very old-fashioned advice. He said, "If you are willing to do everything Ivan's way you will be happy." Often in my life when I have found myself feeling sorry for myself, I think about what Father said and just change my attitude; it has helped me to be happy.
Then came test week and Ivan sent me a telegram and his parents and night letter saying that the had his leave and would be home to get married. Well, I don't know if we were at church or what. And just as I was going to take my Chemistry final, Father was already out in the car and I was just going out, the phone rang and it was Mother Cutler and she said, "We just got a night letter from Ivan and he says he's coming home to get married. He can't get married, he's too young." I said, "I didn't ask him, he asked me." Then I said, "Oh yipee!" because I didn't even know. So then I went out to the card and told Dad I was getting married in a week, and I went to take my final Chemistry test. Well needless to say I didn't do so well in Chemistry that quarter.
Everybody cooperated to get the wedding together and on June 6th we were married in the Salt Lake Temple and lived happily ever after "(she really said that). "
Wasn't that the best! I am so thankful my aunt took the time to write all that down. What a treasure!!! I am so blessed to have these words and photos that fill in a part of my grandparent's lives. It made me happy that I have written as much as I have, perhaps too much, but it will become their treasure one day.
As I mentioned yesterday (and every other day), each day this week of family history I am giving away some smaller journaling prizes. Each prize consists of a journal, stamps and washi tape... a little something to help you get started writing your own personal history. To enter each day please leave a comment about the post below. You could enter every day. All winners will be announced Monday January 26, 2015.
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