Tag Archives: History

Courage at Twilight: Class of ’58

“I’ll go with you!” I enthused when Mom showed me her invitation to her 64th high school reunion, for the Class of ’58. I have never once attended my high school, college, or law school reunions, but felt excited about going to Mom’s.  But the morning of, she confessed to being very nervous and perhaps not wanting to go.  I suggested we just go for an afternoon drive and perhaps stop in at the reunion to see what it was like.  We drove through the old dilapidated Magna neighborhood, Mom pointing out “Uncle John’s” house here and “Uncle Jim’s” house there.  With Mom hanging on my arm, we entered the high school cafeteria and saw milling around a milieu of gray smiling heads and gnarled mottled hands with an assortment of canes and walkers.  Faces mostly were unrecognizable to Mom after 64 years, but looking at each other’s nametags through the bottoms of their trifolds, recognition dawned and faces lit up.  “Lucille!” one woman cried.  “Valorna!” Mom called back.  They were young girls again.  Louie Notarianni wandered over with a pleasant hello.  “He was so cool then,” Mom whispered to me.  “Now look at him!”  I guess carrying the cool is harder at 85.  “Neil wasn’t very nice,” she remembered, but noted how pleasant he was to everyone now.  And her second cousin Gay (with the same maiden name, Bawden) ambled over with a smile and a hug.  “When I called in and found out you were coming,” Gay rattled to Mom, “I decided the long drive from Portland would be worth it.”  Still sweet friends.  Don Lund welcomed the crowd and explained how Doreen Harmon had catered the lunch from Harmon’s grocery store as a gift to her class.  Don held up like a waving flag a typed list of 147 Gone But Not Forgotten classmates, 147 out of a class of 200.  The list sobered me, knowing Mom was one of a dwindling minority of surviving members of the Class of ’58.  Which one of these good cheerful persons will be next to join this list? I wondered.  I hoped it would not be Mom, turning 83 this year.  The scull & crossbones on the reunion announcement added a macabre touch to the event, even knowing the Pirate was the mascot of Cyprus High.  Mom decided she had had enough of a good thing, and that we could “go home now.”  I hurried over to cousin Gay, a spritely youthful woman, embraced her (for the last time in this life), and crowed, “The Bawdens are great!” twinkling to her husband that the Iversons were okay, too.

Class of 1958 Cyprus HS Centennial banner, reused from 4 years prior.

 

Class of ’58 reunion announcement.

Courage at Twilight: Meager Meals

I emerged from my sick room, double masked, to figure out a mid-day meal, and opted for summer sausage slices, gouda cheese cubes, Wheat Thin crackers, and sliced apples. A pleasant snack.  Mom commented from her corner recliner, “What a perfect snack!  Isn’t it nice to have so many good foods to choose from?  I feel so blessed.  I feel so grateful.  I thank Heavenly Father in my prayers.  I was often hungry as a child.”  I stood stunned at the thought of my mother being hungry as a child, and asked her about it.  She explained that her family had been poor.  They ate healthy foods they grew in their own garden, but their meals were meager.  She told me about thinning the carrot and beet rows, of squashing the tomato hornworms, of gathering the eggs from protective hens, and of dunking dead chickens in scalding water to pluck their pungent feathers.  Her father was a junior high school teacher, and worked odd jobs during the summers, as a milk truck driver, supervisor at a pea vinery, county roads crew member, school bus driver, laborer at a munitions factory, and custodian.  He kept taking classes at the University of Utah, and eventually made a better salary as a junior high school guidance counselor.  But as a younger child, a skinny, slight child, there were no snacks between small simple meals, and Mom’s stomach often growled as she lay in her bed at night.  As I munched my lunch in sick-room isolation, I pondered my mother not having had enough to eat, and likewise thanked my Heavenly Father for our bounty.

Pictured above: Mom with her father, mother, and little sister.  Circa 1944.

 

Mom’s house, built in her birth year of 1939.

 

Mom’s house in 1957.

 

Mom in the family farm fields with her father and little sister.  Circa 1942.

 

Mom in the wagon while dad cuts the grass.  Circa 1940.

Chapter 39: Erda

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–Erda: the good earth.–

The weekend cowboy had neglected to secure the trailer gate as he drove down Church Road.  Arriving at Russell’s arena, he put his truck in park and hopped out, stopping stunned at the horror of what he saw behind.  Continue reading