MISSOULA ~ I was born September 12, 1926 in Jerome, Idaho, a small farming community in Southern Idaho. I was the first and only one of my parent’s four children to be born in a hospital. I had two older sisters and eventually a younger brother. My father was a farmer. When I was born he had just lost everything he owned by overbuying land and with the debts he could not pay; so, they sold a very lovely home and thousands of acres of irrigated Southern Idaho farm land. He had enough money left to buy an 80 acre farm. By 1925 and 1926 the beginning of the great depression was already being felt in the agricultural communities in America. With the stock market crash in 1929, the deep depression of the 30s loomed ahead. These would be the years I would have personal memories of.
I started school when I was six and was always a good student. In the seventh and eighth grades we passed classes and had a teacher for each subject. English, Math, Reading, Penmanship and Spelling, History, Social Studies, Art and Music. We really had a very good education. My class was about 100 students and we always had three rooms. I went off to High School in 1944 and graduated four years later, third in my class. High school was fun with football games, going to the movies, your friends, dances and parties. There was never any alcohol or cigarettes, and of course, no drugs. There was usually one car in every family, so you did a lot of double dating.
Cars had become fairly common in the twenties with Ford’s Model T and Buicks, Oldsmobiles and other types. Ford came out with the Model A in 1928 and it became very popular. My father had owned an expensive Franklin before he went broke. After that, we went to town for a while in a wagon, but by 1935, we owned a four door Model A and took a trip in it all the way to Missouri to visit relatives. It was July and hot and of course no car as yet had air conditioning. We only had flat tires to contend with and stayed in the auto courts at nights. I was excited about the trip because Mother had bought me a Little Orphan Annie book, Crayolas and a coloring book.
When I was about five, we bought a radio and we would gather around our set and listen to Amos and Andy. The reception was full of static and a bit hard to understand. By the late 30s, we were listening on better radios to Fibber McGee and Molly, the Hit Parade and many others. We listened in the evening. We had no record player, although crank types were available and some 78 records available. Eventually there would be an electric phonograph that played 33s, and in my lifetime of course, cassettes and the CDs and you could copy and record anything.
We learned to work hard on the farm and never questioned it. You knew it was so important to help and do the chores. It was the 30s and Daddy could not afford to hire help, so we three girls and my mother learned to do everything. By the time I was 8, I milked a cow every night. When I was 12, I could harness a 4-horse team and then go to the fields to plow, disc, harrow, float or cultivate. Wwe also hoed the beans and the potatoes. We learned to cook and could do a real dinner at noon and warm it up for supper. We could bake pies, cakes and cookies. We also made jelly and jam and helped can.
For recreation, we would go to the mountains 70 miles to the North in the area that is now Sun Valley to camp out or fish. We also went to a natural hot water swimming pool about 40 miles away in the Snake River Canyon. In winter, we could sometimes ice skate and if it snowed enough, we could sled. No one was skiing yet in my class, but it became popular in the 50s. girls did not have sports such as basketball or volleyball to participate in. we learned and played some of these sports in P.E. classes but not much.
We traveled long distances on trains or the bus or used a car. Lindberg flew the Atlantic in 1927, so the airlines as we know of them now did not really get going until after WWII. I flew home from college at Moscow, Idaho in 1946 on a small prop plane that had about 8 passengers. Very exciting. I did not fly again until 1989 when we flew to England. Now I fly whenever I need to.
We were all great readers and our home had quite a few books. We took a paper from Twin Falls, Idaho and magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Time Magazine and Life. Any free time we had, we would read. I read 7 of Charles Dickens novels when I was 15. I read all of Jane Austen, the Brontes, etc. I started reading Time Magazine when I was 12 and have continued to read it all my life.
When WWII commenced, we always listened to Lowell Thomas or Edward R. Morrow and the nightly news, and had lively discussions of politics and current events at the evening dinner table every night.
I was 15 when Pearl Harbor happened and I can see it all very clearly in my memory. We are in the living room and gathered around the radio and know that now we will be going to war. President Roosevelt’s stirring speech still resonates in my mind. Then everyone was either going off to war or waiting till they were old enough to go. My class only lost one boy. He joined the Navy and his ship was sunk in the Pacific. I had a brother-in-law who was a Marine at Guadalcanal. He became very ill with a couple of tropical diseases and had some shrapnel near his spine, so he was home from the war by about 1943. The war touched us all. We had food rations for sugar, meat, butter and other things that were in short supply. We had cows, so we began to churn butter again instead of buying it. I had to take my coupon book with me to college. Mother was sorry to see it go. The war ended in 1945, first in Europe, then in the Pacific. There were great celebrations. If you went to a movie during this time, there was always Pathe News and you would see some of what was going on. TV had not come along yet. That would happen in the 50s.
I graduated from High School and went off to college in 1945 to the University of Idaho in Moscow. It was a big step and very exciting to get on that train and leave home. We had no telephone in our home, so there was no calling home, only letters and finally at Christmas, the one trip home before summer. I enjoyed my college years. I met my future husband Don Evans there on a blind date. Someone thought we would suit each other and we did. He was back from the Navy Air Corp and ready to finish college. I graduated in 1948 and we were married that summer. He had another year to go, so back we went to Moscow. I taught the 6th grade in a small town, Troy, Idaho that was about 14 miles from Moscow. I commuted with other teachers and liked some things about teaching, but not all.
In 1949, we left Moscow and moved to Spokane, Washington. Don had gotten a job with a brokerage firm there. Gayle, our first child was born there. In 1951, we left for Idaho Falls, Idaho to take a job with the Idaho State Tax Commission. In 1953, I taught English and Typing for a few months at a business college. I had to quit when Kathy was born. I did not teach again until the 1970s when I was a substitute teacher in the High Schools of Missoula for 10 years. In 1954, Don accepted a job with Investors Diversified Services and became a sales representative for them. Financially, we became much better off and he worked for that company for the rest of his life. In the 1950s we had three more children, Bob, Kathy and Mike. All healthy and loveable people.
In 1963, Don was promoted to Divisional Manager of the Investors Co. in Missoula, montana. We moved there and built a new home and I am still living in it 40 years later. My husband Don died of cancer in 1995. He was a wonderful person, easy going, kind and very likeable.
Now some more information about me. I have always been musical and began learning to play the piano when I was about 8. I always loved to play the piano and took lessons on and off for about 10 years. In High School, I accompanied the choir, played in a High School dance band and entertained. At home I enjoyed collecting sheet music of all the current hits and playing and singing them. I also sang in the chorus and sang with friends. I could harmonize with ease and so I sang Alto. I learned to play the guitar when I was 38 and have really enjoyed that instrument from then on. I sing and play with 3 other women and we try to meet once a week and we also perform when asked. I also play the Mandolin, Banjo, Autoharp, Tin Whistle and Harmonica. Such fun!
The other thing I enjoy is playing Bridge. I learned my senior year at college and have been in Bridge clubs continuously since then. I garden and mow the lawn and build things if necessary. I enjoy my children, my 8 grandchildren, my friends and relatives. I still read all the time and like to travel.
Don and I did a lot of traveling to conventions, time-share exchanges to see the national parks, Epcot, Disneyland, Canada and then in 1983 we went to England. We rented a car and drove all around and stayed in Bed and Breakfasts. We had such a good time that we went again to England and Scotland in 1989. In 1993, we drove all around Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France. Since Don died, I have been on a tour to Italy and in the U.S. I have gone on 9 Elderhostels. They are a great way to see and learn about places. I still drive and visit my children who are scattered in the Northwest.
So many things have happened so far in my lifetime. The Great Depression, Wars; WWII, Koren War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and now Afghanistan and Iraq. Then there are extreme changes in transportation. Better cars and the Interstate highway system, jet planes and the airlines, the entertainment industry with TV, VCRs, CDs and DVDs. Then there is the computer which has really changed everything, and no doubt, more to come. There are so many more people in the United States now and the make makeup of the country is changing all the time. It is a great place to live, and how we do enjoy our freedoms.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory in Missoula.