Thursday, March 15, 2007


Karl was born to Milton Lee and La Vern Forsyth Taft on January 25, 1923. He was born on the Taft farm that was settled by his grandfather Seth Taft. His grandmother, Olive Ethel Lyman Taft, was the mid-wife who attended La Vern at Karl’s birth. Karl was the first of six children born to Mitt and La Vern and he proved to be a fine example to his siblings, four sisters: Cula, Arleen, Juanita, and Dixie and one brother, Milton.

Karl was a dark haired, slender child and tried to do his best in all his endeavors. When he was about two and a half, he became very proficient at riding his red tricycle. Because of long, cold winters, he learned to ride his tricycle in the house. His riding track started in the kitchen and proceeded into the front room where he made a large loop around the open floor, circled behind the wood burning stove and he would then swing back into the kitchen where he circled back around the kitchen table and the track started over again.

As Karl became more proficient and his coordination improved, he gained speed. Karl was encouraged by his father who would say, “Lean Karl, lean into the turns.” Karl followed instruction and his agility and skill improved and a fun time was had by all.

As Karl grew up, he did the regular farm work of that time: chopping wood, milking cows, digging post holes, gathering the cows from the pasture, milking cows, irrigating, turning the cistern to get water and carrying the water from the cistern into the house. He was hard working, dependable, and industrious. To assign a task to Karl, meant the job would done in a neat and skillful manner. Never was he slipshod or sloppy in his performance.

He learned to hunt and fish with his father. The Fremont River ran through the south end of the Taft pasture and Karl and his father fished often. The wild geese used those same swamps for a winter feeding ground. Karl also became skilled at hunting. When the geese flew in and clustered on the ground, Karl was careful in the manner he approached the flock. Geese are very smart and alert and leave many hunters empty handed. The geese have some birds on the outer circle of the group and those sentinals keep a wary watch for danger.

Karl put a bridle on a horse and with no saddle, he rode the horse up toward the geese. As he got close, he hooked a heel over the hip bone of the horse and held onto the mane with his hands. He was then able to slide out of sight on the side of the horse away from the wise and wary geese. Quite often he would be able to ride right up to the feeding birds. He often returned home with one or two large fat geese for Mom to roast. This was a tasty treat for our family.

When Karl was ten years old, he had a life altering accident. He rode a horse that had recently been broke to the pasture to get the milk cows. Karl got off the horse and let the bars of the gate down and the cows went through. After putting the bars up again, Karl was getting back on the horse and his foot slipped through the stirrup. The horse was spooked and ran bucking and pitching along the pond bank.

Karl was drug and whipped about as the horse ran. The horse went galloping up the corral past a tall post that us standing in the area. The horse went one side of a post and Karl’s body went on the opposite side. Here the stirrup broke loose from the saddle and Karl fell to the ground. His head and body were banged and beaten. The white bloody end of his leg bone protruded through a rip in the leg of his bib overall.

George C. Brinkerhoff drove Dad, Mom, and Karl to Salina to the hospital where the medical staff felt they could do nothing for the boy. So they traveled on to the L. D. S. Hospital in Salt Lake City. Karl remained in the hospital for about four months, where he hovered between life and death. After about a week, Dad returned to the farm to take care of the family and Mom remained in Salt Lake City with Karl.

One morning, during an exceptionally low time for Karl, Mom walked into the hospital room and Karl said, “Oh Momma, I’m so glad you are here. There has been a man all dressed in black pulling and pulling on my leg. When you came into the room just now, he left.”

Karl’s head doctor was Dr. Tyree and his assistant was Dr. Alfred Okleberry. Dr. Okleberry had just returned to Salt Lake from medical school. He brought knowledge of the most advanced treatment for infection in the body from school. The treatment was to open the wound and put sterile maggots directly into the wound. Karl’s leg was swollen and red with infection. He was in grave danger of losing it.

There was no other effective treatment and so Karl was wheeled into the operating room for the maggot procedure. The wounded leg was opened and sterile maggots were counted into the damaged and infected leg. The maggots were left in the wounded area and the maggots ate the infection. They were left there until the maggots were ready to hatch into flies. Then the reverse procedure was done.

Karl was wheeled back into the operating room and then the fat, mature maggots were counted out and new maggots put back in. Karl said the maggots made his leg itch and feel funny, but the infection was beginning to decrease.

Karl became an experienced checker player while laying long hours in the hospital. A professional checker player came to the hospital and played checkers with the patients. After much tutoring and losing what seemed to be endless games, Karl was able to beat the man. Karl felt he was really doing well if he could beat his instructor one in ten tries. Karl carried that checker playing skill the rest of his lift. As a mature man living in Salt Lake City, he entered adult checker tournaments and often won.

Karl’s life and leg were both saved. But, he would suffer through many surgeries. When he was out of school in the summer, he and Mother traveled to the L. D. S. Hospital in Salt Lake City and surgery was performed on his leg. The medical treatment helped and he improved over time, but he was left with damaged leg and a limp that would last the rest of his life.

He was never able to participate in active sports and so his athletic prowess and desire to enjoy sports was achieved through playing marbles and pitching horse-shoes. Karl left home for school in the morning with his favorite taw and a couple of marbles to work with. He returned home with an overall pocket full of his friend’s marbles. He even learned to lean on his crutches and pitch ringers in horse-shoes. Arleen was a good gopher and she gathered up the horse-shoes and delivered them back to Karl.

Karl graduated from Wayne High School and because of his skill and interest in agriculture, he attended the agriculture college in Logan. Karl did well in his college courses and was a hard working successful student. He was also well liked and gained many friends. One of his friends owned an old rattle trap car that the friend equipped with a variety of different sounding horns. One horn sounded like a police car siren. What great sport to go down the center street of Logan and have obedient drivers pull to the side at the sound of police siren. Total dismay and shock was felt when a rusty old rattle trap of a car carrying four laughing college boys, rolled down the street.

Further dismay and shock was experienced when Mitt Taft, Karl’s father, was setting in his easy chair back at the farm reading the evening paper. The article stated that “Joe, Jack, Jim and KARL TAFT were picked up and arrested for falsely using a police siren.

It was at Utah State that Karl became friends with Steve Gilmore. On a visit home to Salt Lake with Steve, Karl met Margaret, Steve’s sister. Karl and Margaret were married the day Karl graduated from college with a degree in Educational Industrial Arts.

Life sketch written by Arleen Taft Johnson for Cula Taft Ekker to present at Karl and Margaret’s Golden Wedding.


My maternal grandparents, Diantha Mariah Noyes Forsyth and Fredrick Franklin Forsyth were true gardeners by heritage and by nature. Grandpa Forsyth spread plenty of animal fertilizer over the large garden plot. After even dispersal of the manure over the designated soil, he deep plowed the rich, red, sandy earth. That was all the soil preparation he did. My grandma Forsyth would not allow John to do more. She said, “The horses walking on the garden soil would just tramp the earth down.”

So, Grandma Forsyth and the age appropriate children took garden rakes and hand raked the rough deep troughs of up and down humps left by the plowing. They laboriously hand-leveled the entire large surface of the potential garden. My mother commented, “I can’t understand why my mother didn’t let Dad at least level the land! But, she wouldn’t!”

After the garden was flat and even, and I mean very smooth, she made straight even furrows the length of the garden with her hoe. If a furrow wasn’t straight, she did it over and over until it was totally pleasing to her. Planting then ensued.

She and Grandpa religiously followed the full and waning of the moon in their planting. Crops that produced above ground such as beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, greens, and etc., were planted only in the full of the moon. This was the optimum time for their seed germination and growth. Crops that grow under ground were just the opposites. These were planted in the dark of the moon. The dark of the moon crops were potatoes, radishes, beets, carrots, parsnips, onions and so on.

My Mother reported, “Dad would never think of planting his potatoes except in the smallest arc of the dark of the moon. He adamantly followed this pattern and it proved to work well and pay off for him. His potato crops were abundant and ample. The potato supply fed their large family throughout the year.”

A garden was an absolute necessity in those pioneer days. There was no grocery store close at hand from which to buy their food. My grandmother faithfully and meticulously bottled, dried, pickled or stored the ample produce from the garden. Every pioneer family built a root cellar where shelves, bins and tables were maintained for potatoes, carrots, apples, turnips and other foods that could be kept in this manner over the long winter and spring months. All winter long, frequent visits were made to the cellar, especially by children, sent on parent directed errands to fetch the needed foods.

In warmer months, pans of milk were set out in the root cellar where it was cooler and clean to wait for the cream to rise. The thick cream was skimmed off and used in butter and cooking. Grandma Forsyth also made sour croute every fall and stored the croute in a large five-gallon crock. Mother said, “I pounded a sparse layer of thinly sliced cabbage in the crock. I used a rolling pin that had no handles but, flat blunt ends for the instrument of pounding. The rolling pin was about eighteen inches long and two inches in diameter. The battering of the rolling pin bruised the cabbage and the juice from the vegetable covered the fibers of the cabbage and kept it damp. Salt was also sprinkled sparsely over each added layer of cabbage.”

She further stated, “The pounding was a boring and tiring work, but it was worth it in the end because we loved eating the sour croute. My mother stored the crock by the side of the fireplace where it was warm and the croute would ferment. My brother Claude and I liked to lift the towel and plate covering the crock. We reached our hand into the crock and got a pinch of sour croute to eat. Oh my! It was good. My mother got after us if she saw us get the croute. She said our hands were not clean.”

Most of the larder which supplied our ancestors with life and health began in the garden or orchard. I am grateful to Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth for the legacy and heritage they passed on to my own mother and hence to me. No wonder I feel a strong tie to the past and appreciate and love gardening.


Monday night was always our Family Home Evening event. Because we really wanted to raise a righteous family and one that would be taught the correct principles of life, we held Family Home Evening religiously and without fail. Dad and I truly tried to think about what the family would enjoy, what principle needed to be reinforced or taught, and we were cognizant of their individual likes and interests.

We had various kinds of events and activities on that evening. The first Monday of every month we planned out our month’s schedule. The outline went generally as follows:

First Monday: Formal religious lessons taken from the Family Home Evening Manual or church magazines. We always played a game at the end of the lesson.

Second Monday: Activity night.

Third Monday: Guest Night. Have guests come and they gave a lesson of their choosing.

Fourth Monday: Attend events in the community or make an activity of our own such pitching horse shoes, bowling etc.

We enjoyed many fun times and a variety of different events. Everyone took part and contributed to the Family Home Evening. The children created a round, paper assignment wheel-chart. The turning of the chart, revealed the name of the responsible person for an indicated assignment. Some of the assignments were:

Opening prayer Closing Prayer
Animal Article Lesson
Refreshments Sec. to take minutes

A favorite Activity Night was “Dollar Night.” Each child was given a dollar and then we all piled into the car and Dad drove to Norton’s, a grocery store at the foot of our hill. Once there, we split up and each person bought what they wanted to have for supper. One of the older children took the little ones in tow and he or she gave help to the youngest. It was a beautiful thing to watch the care and love shown to the younger sibling. Tafta and Robert were so cute with their younger brothers.

Dad and I had the privilege of pooling our money and we bought a basic food that would go with any meal. We bought hot dogs & buns, hamburger & buns, Spaghetti-O,s, or tamales and so forth. Our purchase formed the basis for our meal and most anything the children got, would round out the rest of the supper.

Things seemed to work out well. However, no negative comment was ever allowed from anyone about the choices decided upon. The purchases were wide and varied: olives, ice cream, cookies, potato chips, candy bars, and so on. One of the funniest items we ever had was purchased by Jerome Yazzie, our Laminate son. Jerome bought a dollar’s worth of bubble gum. I thought that an unusual choice, but, the other children were very delighted.

It must be noted that in “that day and age”, a dollar would purchase much more than it does today. It was interesting to me that the meals always worked out and it was exciting to see the menu. I never heard anyone ever complain about what we had to eat.

One year our son Wesley was on the Provo High School Wrestling Team. I asked his high school wrestling coach, Joe Martinez to come and give the lesson for our Family Home Evening. Mr. Martinez was very gracious and totally willing to assume the responsibility. Coach Martinez was glad we asked him to come. Wesley was surprised that Mom would do that, but very pleased. It was great to have Mr. Martinez come and participate in our Family Home Evening.

I had the house really clean and in order, at least the part that could be seen, was all in order. Coach Martinez, Mrs. Martinez and their teen age daughter and a young son came. Mr. Martinez did a very good job in his presentation. The small children were well behaved and all was above reproach.

I made one of our favorite deserts, home-made Banana Cream Pie. It tasted wonderful, seconds were asked for and the compliments were many and generous. Wesley was pleased and proud of the event and a worthwhile remembrance was made in our family.

Family Nights were, generally, very successful and the children were usually on good behavior. The older children were so loving and caring to the young ones. One of the favorite games was Button, Button, Whose Got the Button? They also liked the “I Spy” game.

It was interesting to see the variety of refreshments the designated person made for the Family: pop corn, apples dipped in Carmel, pudding, ice cream, suckers, and much more. One evening Kerry made home-made oatmeal cookies and that was a big hit. Family Home Evening was a good event in our lives.


One of the values my parents instilled deep in my soul, was to value and treasure an education. My teachers said, “Arleen is Mitt Taft’s daughter and so she will do well in school. She will study and get good grades like Cula and Karl did.” Because it was expected of me and because I wanted to, I always tried to live up to those expectations. And for the most part I earned very good grades.

It was a privilege to attend school and to improve my knowledge. I did my lessons faithfully and consistently, every day. It was a criminal offense, in our family, to leave lessons undone or poorly completed. After the nightly chores were done, and supper was completed, we got out our books and assignments and studied.

If we had a lot of lessons, Dad left his usual nightly ritual of reading the Deseret News Newspaper, and helped Mom clean up the supper dishes. Otherwise, he did not help out after the evening meal, but went straight to his beloved newspaper. It was an unusual occurrence for him to help and really exemplified his value for schooling.

Even though my father only completed formal education through the eighth grade, he was an educated and intelligent man. He served as President of the Wayne County School Board for many years and he was President of the Fremont Irrigation Company for many years. His inherited intelligence, a driving desire to learn, devouring of the daily newspaper and listening to the nightly radio news broadcasts greatly contributed to his education.

I attended Bicknell Elementary School first grade through sixth grade. I then went on to seventh grade in the Wayne High School building, also in Bicknell. To me, school was a great part of my social life and was wonderful and fun. I loved to go to school.

I was always at the top of my classes academically because I studied and applied myself in class. But, it must be recorded, Guy Baker, my cousin who was a son of Aunt Harriet Ogden Taft Baker, Lane Elliott, and Jack Burr gave me a run for my money. Our test scores were always very close and right at the top of the classes. And I must admit their pushing caused me to give first class effort to my schooling.

Our high school was small. Three hundred students grade nine through grade twelve. Because of the size of our school, there was an opportunity to take part in all the activities in which you had an interest or a skill in. Talents and avenues for personal accomplishments were always open to us.

I never ceased to be amazed at what we could do with crepe paper streamers, and paper flowers along with other paraphernalia for the Junior Prom or other programs. The gym was quite often transformed into a fairyland of beauty and magic. At times, the entire ceiling of the room, including the balcony, was covered with colored streamers and it was a thing of loveliness and pride.

Dates were not the social criteria for attendance to dances, parties, and socials in that day and age. This was a super help for the group of young people who didn’t date much, of which I was a member. This social trend allowed more liberal participation and extended the fun and social skills to all who wished to attend.

Music classes were enjoyable for me and I took part in chorus classes. I also sang vocal solos, duets with Nola Myrl Rees, and in a trio consisting of Nola Myrl Rees, Ethel Taft, and myself. I sang the soprano part and we had a glorious time together. We sang all over the county at church meeting and the like. This music was so pleasurable to me and added much to the joy and refinement of my life.

I also, liked the area of drama. I was active in plays, assemblies, and so forth. I remember being in a traveling assembly in high school with De Waldo Potter and others. We took that presentation to the schools in the Sevier School District. It was a good experience to be a part of and the play was well received by the other schools. Duward Blackburn was our drama teacher. I liked him and learned much from his instruction. I feel the drama and speech classes that I took have helped and improved my entire life in the area of public speaking.

The Home Economic classes were also pleasurable and expanded my skills and abilities, especially the sewing and cooking classes. Mrs. Esther Durfey was the Home Economics teacher. I liked to sew and always received an ‘A’ grade in the classes. Those classes laid the foundation for further education to be added upon.

Earnest Jackson was the math teacher and he took personal interest in his students. I felt and still feel, he did a fine job teaching math. I especially liked Algebra. For me, it was so fun and to figure it out was like working a puzzle.

I guess it can be said that I just cared for school and had a pleasant experience during the learning process. But, I must say that, in college, math classes frightened me and I really think I avoided them. I am now sorry for that fact. I do not know why I had such an aversion to math in college, because I earned very good grades in high school.

I was so honored as to be the valedictorian of my 1948 graduating class from Wayne High School. I gave the Valedictorian address at the commencement exercises. I was very frightened and so worried about the talk. However, it was an honor to achieve such a high academic level and one for which I will always be grateful.

Education is something that can never be taken from an individual. My education will leave the world when I go, but the influence of this education will remain on earth with my children and grandchildren and continue to grow through them.

When I look back over the years of schooling and the influence education has had my life, I can understand why I stress learning so strongly to my children and grandchildren. I feel real appreciation for the opportunities that were available to me. I am a most blessed person. I thank the Lord for my life and the blessedness of it. I cannot say enough in appreciation for the opportunities that have been available to me.

Monday, March 12, 2007


December 1958

My parents and family were wonderful to help us in our times of need. We were a loving and supporting extended family

We cared for and helped each other. At the birth of our children, this family was willing and concerned in helping us out with the older siblings. The following incident was an example of the compassion and help that was extended to Bob and me by my wonderful family.

Kerry was three years old and a new baby boy was born to us on the 5th of December. We named new baby Stacy Vern Johnson. Stacy because I liked the name and Vern after my mother, LaVern Forsyth Taft. Tafta, Robert, and Wesley were at home going to school at the Grandview Elementary School. Kerry, who was the youngest child at our home went to spend two weeks with my parents. At that time, a new mother spent about a week in the hospital.

One morning before breakfast, everyone at the Taft home, including Little Kerry, knelt down by their chair around the breakfast table. Every morning Dad said the prayer himself or he asked someone else to pray. This particular morning Dad said the prayer.

Now it must be noted that Dad was a gifted public speaker and this skill spilled over into his praying. The prayers were sincere, heartfelt and thoughtful and they were lengthy. A normal family prayer went something like the following. Dad prayed for his children and grand children and all family members. He prayed for the Lord to bless his family in their well being and prayed over any individual concerns family members may have.

He prayed for the neighbors and their prosperity and safety. He asked the Lord to bless the animals on the farm so the livestock would grow and thrive. He prayed for the hay in piles or in windrows laying out in the alfalfa fields or the grass hay in the pastures. He prayed that the hay would not be rained on and we would be able to store the crop in good condition. Hay that is wet does not dry sufficiently and often molds. Moldy hay is then rendered useless because, the animals should not eat the damaged feed.

He also prayed for the general authorities of our church and their health and security. The L. D. S. missionaries were not left out in his all caring and concerned personality. He supplicated the Lord to protect the missionaries and keep them safe and in good health. Dad asked for the missionaries to be led to the doors of the “Honest-in-Heart.”

My father would plead with the Lord to bless him in his various responsibilities in the community. For several years my father served as President of Wayne County Irrigation Co. At another time, he was President of the Wayne County School Board. He taught the adult class in the Thurber Ward Sunday School Class and at another time in his life he was the teacher of his High Priest Quorum.

Dad was an inspiring and motivating teacher, but he was also most humble and very sincere in his supplication to the Lord. He was very serious in asking for inspiration and enlightenment in his various obligations.

After the sincere and lengthy prayer, the family finally rose from their knees. Kerry turned to look at my father and said in a clear, distinct, and sincere voice, “Grandpa, that was a damned good prayer!”

The comment caught his grandfather completely off guard and it really tickled Dad. Dad laughed and laughed and retold the story over and over again. I have no idea what caused Kerry to make that comment to his Grandfather, but make it he did and over the years, it has proven to be a source of fun and pleasure for all of us.


One of the real pleasures in my life has been cooking for my family and watching a family enjoy and relish the dishes I prepared. I am very grateful for the sustaining effect that healthy meals and fresh nutritious food has brought into our lives.

I was particular in the food I prepared and took great pride in producing an attractive colorful product. The food needed to be cooked just right. I have always felt that we eat and enjoy food with our eyes, as well as, our nose. Asparagus needed to be watched closely so the vegetable would not be over-cooked and loose the bright green natural color.

One evening Bob told the boys they could cut a pie into any shape they wanted. That just delighted them and Robert cut a square shape out of the middle of the pie. I just could not stand that. Pie was made to be cut in a pie shaped piece and no other way. I took the pie tin and finished cutting the pie in the proper shapes. On April Fool Day, Tafta fixed dinner and she colored the gravy a bright blue. I could force more than two bites down. I know that sounds silly, but food is meant to be prepared in the proper way and be a feast for the eyes.

Our family was fortunate to have access to a large and productive garden where we grew a wide variety of vegetables. We also raised all kinds of fruit trees and all the varieties of berries Bob and I could get to grow in this Provo climate. Our whole family worked very hard in the garden and with the blessing of the Lord, hard work, and the super soil we were rewarded richly in return.

We also had a milk cow that we milked twice a day. Bob did most of the milking, but I learned to milk cows as a girl growing up on our family farm. So, I was able to fill the milking task as the need required. All of the boys except Rett learned to milk because he came along last in the family and of course Tafta, who had brothers enough so she was never required to help out with the milking chore.

The milk cow meant plenty of milk, cream, butter-milk and butter for us to use. As I have stated, I was raised on a farm where I grew up using all the dairy products we wanted. Hence, I was accustomed to cooking and using milk and milk products. In addition, we had a chicken coop and the laying hens provided us with an ample amount of eggs and occasionally a fresh chicken to cook.

The children were active energetic young people and it required lots of food to fill them full and meet their nutritional. Mostly they liked all the food I prepared. There very few dishes the children did not care for. Robert was not fond of fried liver. However, if I smothered the liver with onions he would eat and not complain. Wesley did not especially care for raisins. None-the-less, he always ate the cakes and cookies that were made with raisins as one of the ingredients.

One particular evening I made stew for supper. I had filled the large capacity fry-pan to the brim with this tasty dish. All the children liked stew and thought a meal with stew was a special treat. We had home-made biscuits and a tossed green salad to finish out our evening meal.

The container of stew did not last long and was soon empty.

“My, that surely tasted good!,” Robert exclaimed.

“I wish you would make stew more often. I really like it.” Wesley added.

Baby Stacy, setting in his high-chair, had cleaned up all the stew in his dish. He wanted to get down from his high-chair. Stacy was cute when he fed himself. Sometimes he would hold the spoon in his right hand in the proper way and eat the larger portions out of the bowl with his left hand.

“But I am still hungry! I want some more,” Kerry lamented. There was dismay in the tone of his voice because the fry-pan was totally empty and the pan had been spooned out clean.

“Well, Son,” Mom replied get some peanut butter and honey and mix them together. That would be very good on a slice of new bread.” Kerry did just that and filled his little tummy to full contentment.

Another meal everyone loved was chicken and noodles. After cooking a stewing chicken, home-made noodles were made and added to the chicken and broth. This mixture was heated until the dough was totally cooked. The noodle mixture was put over mashed potatoes. Oh, my what a wonderful meal that made.

Tafta stated, “Be sure to make enough noodles so we will have some for left-overs.”

The family liked it when I made a meat loaf and baked potatoes to accompany the meal. Meat load was a favorite of Dads and he enjoyed it when I made the tasty food. Add a salad and I had a balanced diet for the children. The kids were healthy and they missed very few school days because of their healthy meals and life style.

I must also remember to state that Creamed New Peas, Potatoes, and Carrots was up there among their most favorite meals. No one complained about the work when we picked and then shelled peas prior to creating the dish. This was a dish that I learned how to make from my mother. She was a wonderful cook and her skill was enjoyed by my family.

A fun meal, I especially remember, was in the early summer and the Bing cherries had been harvested. I made a cherry pie using those delicious sweet cherries like my mother used to do. The children loved to have pie or, matter of fact, any dessert. But the children were looking forward to the ending of the meal with cherry pie.

“Gosh, I wish I could have all the cherry pie I wanted to eat,” Wesley lamented.

“Yes,” Kerry said shaking his head in agreement. “I wish the same thing.”

“Well,” Dad said, “Do you two boys think you could eat the rest of this pie?” Dad held out a big ten inch pie tin that was three-fourths full of cherry pie.

“Oh, Yes!” the boys exclaimed and smiled broadly.

“Alright,” Dad replied. “But you have to eat all of the pie!”

The two little boys slid over by each other and each took another piece of pie. They began to dig into the coveted, wonderful treat. The little fellows did very well until the pie was about two-thirds gone. Then their eating slowed down and the bites were a little less frequent. The whole family sat at the table and watched the two brothers in their attempt to consume the treat. I imagine they would have been seven and eight years of age.

It must be truly stated that they did finish off the pie and declared they had enough cherry pie for right now.

4 cups of carrots cut in ½ inch chunks
4 cups of new potatoes cut in chunks
1 or 2 pkgs. of frozen petite peas
Put carrots in a 6 quart pot and to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook for about ten minutes. Add potatoes and cook an additional ten minutes. Then add peas and bring to a boil and cook three to four minutes. (Do not overcook. Peas should have natural green color.)


After graduation from Wayne High School, I came to Provo to attend the Brigham Young University. I had a scholarship in my hand and a big huge shock awaiting me. Probably the biggest shock was that of a shy farm girl leaving home and coming to the big city. I got a real jolt!

I missed my family, my friends, my L. D. S. Ward and the security of a life all laid out. Until now, I knew I would attend the next grade in school as was planned, and life rolled on. True many classes were somewhat laid out in college, but, the security of my home, wisdom of my parents, and their immediate hands-on warmth and securities were missing. Now all of that laid out security and structure was gone. I felt totally untethered!

Life hit me like a bomb and I didn’t like it! I wanted to go back to former days, if that was possible, but life is a continuous line and I was required to continue on that line. I felt lonesome and lost and I often cried. However, the strong determination ethic that I had inherited from my pioneer fore fathers and the value system that had been instilled by my parents, rose up and I went forward again, however faltering. I registered at the Brigham Young University and started to attend classes.

I found College to be a new and much deeper level of knowledge than I had ever known before. I got a grade on the first story I wrote in my Freshman English Class that just about blew me away. To my utter horror, I got a D -! What an educational shock! Can you believe it? I, Arleen Taft, got a D -. I thought I was going to faint. The professor put a comment on the paper that said, “Your grammatical skills are very lacking, but your innate ability to write saved you, and you at least got a grade.” Got a grade! Maybe a D - is a grade, but what a terribly sorry grade it is! I found words lacking to describe my shattered ego. I had never gotten grades that low in my entire life, and how could I do better when I had never had a teacher who taught me grammar!

Well, let me tell you I dug down deeper than I ever had before in my entire life. I studied hard and really gave my best effort. My endeavors began to pay off, but it was not long lasting because in the spring semester of l949 I married Robert Boyack Johnson on the 26th of March 1949. We were married in my home in Bicknell, Utah by Bishop Clifford Mangum, my beloved ward bishop.

Children came along and I thought a college education was a thing of the past, and I directed my energy and total effort to raising my four young children: Tafta, Robert, Wesley, and Kerry.

But, a strange quirk of events helped shape a change for the rest of my entire life. A renowned visiting Professor, Dr. McNair, came late in the fall semester to the Brigham Young University. She was to teach several classes in the Family Life discipline. Because her appointment to teach was late in clearing, her classes were not listed in the Fall Semester Schedule. Hence, Dr. McNair’s arrival and intended classes were spread by word of mouth and memos. Her classes were very small, with few students. Boyd Rollins, a professor in the Family Living College asked his wife, Erma, and me, if we wanted to attend one of Dr. Mc Nairs’ classes? His secretary was even sent to his home to tend our three non-school age children.

Wow! What a shocker! How could I refuse? But, I also had very many misgivings. Many misgivings! I wondered in my mind was capable of learning, advancing and stretching? I was eight to ten years older than the students now attending college and my entire focus had been focused on my husband, diapers, menus, sick babies, dispensing love, and teaching children. I wondered if I could still learn academically?

But in spite of all these misgivings, I again went forward and thrust in my sickle. I found, to my surprise, amazement, and great pleasure, that my mind was a fertile field, tilled, leveled, and ready for planting. A whole new and enlightening world opened to up before me, and to my utter shock, I found I was still capable of gaining a college education.

Basic intellectual skills were firmly planted in my brain and I found my soul was hungry and eager to exercise and expand. I ask my sister, Juanita Taft Rodgers who had taught English at B. Y. High School, to help me with English Grammar mechanics. She wrote an outline of English Rules. That was a great deal of assistance to me and I studied and imprinted those rules deep into my brain. I also got an English Grammar book and delved into the information contained with in the covers. I found I remained capable of putting out quality work and being at the head of the class! I earned an A in that course! However, I had no idea how this one course would change the direction of my life.

What a blessing this class brought to me and the lives of my family. The gapping, hungry abyss in my soul was thrown wide open and ready to advance and grow. Bob and I carefully talked over the matter of my returning to school. We then talked with the children during Family Night and the children were pleased their mother would go to college and pledged their support. And I must truly report that neither they or Bob ever let me down in their backing and support, not even one time.

So it was decided that I would go back to college. I applied to the evening school at the Y for a scholarship which I was pleased to receive. I went to evening school the winter semester of 1960. I attended in the evening because my family was still my first priority, and I do mean first priority. Bob watched over the children in the evening when he got home from work. Supper was always ready when he got home and that helped, but it also helped that I did not have to fuss or worry about the well being of my precious children. I never could have done it without Bob and the children’s total support.

The Lord certainly and truly blessed me and I was able to carry on my other duties: teach Primary, sew clothing, do canning, prepare delicious meals, raise a garden, read stories to children, and study. I still wonder where I found all of that energy!

I attended college one night a week and took a couple of classes which amounted to five or six hours per semester. I studied during the nap time of the children and late into the night. One evening I was deep in concentration and effort with a food chemistry class. Oh wow! That was a darn hard class and taxed my brain. I was in the basement studying, where it was quiet and still. I sensed my eyes were tired and I looked at the clock. It was 3:00 A.M. in the morning. Oh, my gosh! I stopped and went to bed.

I must tell you about a cute thing that happened in that darn Food Chemistry class. Dr. Franz wrote out a chemical formula

Days passed into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years and credits slowly, oh so slowly, added up. On a visit home to see my parents, my father asked, “Leanie, how long will it take for you to graduate from college?”

“I have fifty-six semester hours done now,” I said. “I need to have one hundred seventeen hours in all to graduate.”

He shook his head and laughed and said, “Leanie, you will never be able to make that. You can’t hang in there that long.” I knew right then Dad did not really know the real depths and determination of my character and soul. He did not know that I was a Taft through and through.

I had just finished the last sewing project and turned the dress in. The dress was for Deseret Industries to be used in a Bishop’s order for a poor or needful family. I made it extra special and decorated the dress so a little girl would feel pride in wearing her new dress. I had also passed the last exam and I knew graduation was mine.

As I walked across the parking lot toward my car, I began to weep and as the tears freely flowed I said, “Oh, Dad I made. I did make graduation!” With lots of very hard work, the help of the Lord, wonderful instructors, Bob, and the children, I did indeed graduate from College with honors. God be praised!