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!


Where we walk to school each day
Indian children used to play.

All about our native land
Where the shops and houses stand.

And the trees were very tall
And there were no streets at all.

Not a church, Not a steeple
Only woods and Indian people.

Only wigwams on the ground
And at night bears prowl around.

What a different place today
Where we live and work and play.


Robert Lee Johnson our second child and first born son was a fun little fellow to raise. He was naturally happy and smiling. As he grew in childhood, he was a kind considerate person who was always thinking of the good of others. It was interesting to watch him grow and choose the “better part”. He seemed to be born with a built in sense of right and wrong.

The Lord blessed Robert with a special, kind, loving, sensitive personality. There was no question that Robert was a leader, but a very special blessed one. Leading just came natural to him and he was conscious of others and their needs.

Robert made sure his little siblings were well cared for and watched over. When the children played a game of Wiffle Ball the small ones always got a turn and the game was on the little child’s level. During the small ones time at bat, the ball was pitched slow and right over the batting plate so the little child could hit the ball. Oh yes, and there was no set number of pitches to get the child out. Sometimes the number of pitches could go as high as five or six. And a wondrous thing happened, when the small child hit the big soft spongy ball. The ball never arrived at the base before the child. The little one was always safe on base and there was lots of laughter cheering, and fun.

As he grew in childhood, he was a kind considerate person. One day he came home from first grade at the Grandview Elementary School and related the following story. At recess a fellow student was being teased by the other boys. He was teased because his skin was very brown. The little fellow was crying and feeling so sad. Robert said I told the kids, “You leave him alone. He has a very good sun tan.” The teasing stopped and Robert reported, “Then I went to play with my new found friend.”

At Parent Teacher Conference Mrs. Clark, the First Grade teacher, reported the story to us. And her comments were complimentary and praising of Robert. “Robert surely helped that his student. The little Mexican boy has not had any more problems in our class. Robert is a definite leader in our class room. He is a good leader and a real asset to our first grade.

The Lord sent us a special boy when he sent us Robert and we love him.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


In January 1959 the snow blanketed the ground in a heavy layer of white. Our family decided to avail ourselves of the wonderful snow cover. We loved the outdoors, and as was so often the case, we could have great fun without any strain on the pocket book.
It was early Saturday afternoon and our family drove up Provo Canyon to go sleigh riding. We drove past Vivian Park to a nice sloping hill on the north side of the road. The sleigh riding was in close proximity to the car, and that was important, because, little baby Stacy who was about ten months old, would remain in the car with an older person most of the time and that older person was Mother. In the vehicle it would be safe and warm for both baby and Mother.
As soon as we arrived at the hill, the children hurried up the incline and began to slide back down. We had a sleigh and an inflated inner tube to use in the sliding process. We had five children: Tafta, our only daughter was nine years, Robert, our oldest son, was seven years, Wesley was four, Kerry three and of course little Stacy.
The hill was a favorite winter spot and the outside edge of the sleigh run was tramped and firm from people going up and down the hill. Walking back up the slope did not seem so hard for the children because Robert and Tafta were always willing to help their younger brothers get back to the top of the hill. Robert was a sturdy, strong little boy and a good role model for his younger brothers and they all loved each other. Tafta, ever willing to love and help her brothers, did
all she could to assist.
The hill had been totally ours for over an hour. Then a teenage girl, her boyfriend, and her younger brother, who would have been about twelve, arrived on the scene. However, that was no problem, at all, because the sledding hill was nice and large and we all had plenty of room. It only took about three minutes to slide down the long hill. The slope was about two hundred fifty feet long from top to the bottom. Where the hill leveled off, the sleigh ride gently came to an end.
Wesley continued to say, “Let me go down the hill by myself. I am big enough. I can do it! I know how!” He kept this up for the greater part of the sleigh riding time. Finally, the twilight of the day began to approach. It was our last run down the hill and time to go home. The slope was empty and we decided to let Wesley go down the hill alone. We could not see or anticipate any problem or danger.
Dad placed the sleigh in the middle of the 50 foot wide run. He headed the sleight straight and true and Wes laid down on the sleigh. He was off. Wesley proceeded about thirty feet down the hill when his sleigh began to pull slightly to the right. The further he went, the more the sleigh pulled off the track to the right side.
Just at that time, the twelve-year-old boy appeared on the outer north edge of the sleigh run. The young man was swearing and yelling at the top of his lung capacity. The root of his anger stemmed from the fact he had pulled the sleigh up the hill and then big sister and boyfriend took the sleight away and the two of them went sailing down the hill together.
As the angry boy trounced along, we could see an accident in the making. The sleigh, carrying Wesley, was going to the right on an angle and it was obvious the boy and the sleight would intersect at the same point. Bob began to yell at the angry person to warn him. Bob was putting real effort into the warning and making all the noise he could possible muster. He also started to run down the snowy incline to help prevent a collision.
However, the angry young man did not hear or he did not pay attention to the warning and the dreaded inevitable happened. Young Wesley ran right into the back of the angry, flouncing fellow. Wesley, sleigh, and the big mad boy, all ended up in a pile on the snowy hill. The young man got up and went swearing and running on down the incline. He was well gone when Bob got to the collision site.
By the time we got to the car with sleighs, and the children, the three young people had gotten into their car and disappeared. There was nothing left to do but load all of us in our car and head for home. On the way home I asked, “Wesley, what did you say to the young man when you ran into him?”
I just said, “Why don’t you watch where I am going,” Wesley innocently replied.
“And what did the young man say to you?” I further inquired.
“Oh, he just yelled and said naughty words.”
Dear me I said, “I hope angry young man was all right and sustained no injury.”


Quilting has been an integral part of my heritage and upbringing. As long as I can remember, I have been involved in one dimension or another in quilting. My mother made quilts all the time I was growing up. Quilts were a necessity at that time and stage in life.
She did dark colored camp quilts that were tied in various methods. Even the lining was a darker shade of fabric and usually flannel because it is warm. Warmth was essential in these quilts and also, they should not show dirt or soiling. These were the quilts used by my father to take on the range and stay over night when Dad rode to check on or gather our range cattle. The quilts were packed into pack saddle bags and served for Dad’s bed out on the mountain. In the cold winter nights when no camping or cattle gathering went on, I appreciated the warmth of these heavy quilts in our drafty, unheated bedrooms. These quilts kept us warm and probably preserved our lives a few more years over the long haul of life.
The covering of these camp quilts was made from heavy wool fabric because wool is warm, wears well, and resists soiling. Mom cut large size blocks of four inches by eight inches. She arranged the blocks in different patterns. One of her favorite patterns was to set them in a diagonal arrangement running from corner to corner. The larger quilt blocks worked up more quickly and were still very attractive.
Mom found time during the long winter nights to mark, cut, sew and quilt. She also made colorful artistic quilt patterns using scraps left from her sewing. These quilts enabled her to use her personal talents and create works of art. She took pride in these lovely personal works of artistry. It was pleasurable for me to point out to friends at sleep overs and to myself in quiet hours, the original use of the cloth: a dress, a skirt, an apron or a blouse, etc.
It was also fun to bring a previous-made quilt and sleep under the on going work in progress on the quilting frames. Looking up from the vantage point of the floor bed, we studied the quilted lines and patterns. It was a time of peace and security and safety. All felt right
with the world.
In Mom’s empty nest, or nearly empty nest years, she created a quilt top for each of her grandchildren and in so doing passed to each one of them an heirloom and legacy of love. She even created an original quilt pattern of her own, the “Letter Edged in Black.” Our youngest son, Rett was blessed to receive one of these original pattern quilts. Rett and Darcy, his wife, treasure their heirloom quilt as do all of our children. Rett and Darcy have their quilt displayed on a lovely wooden quilt rack in the hall of their beautiful home. I am pleased to see the quilt valued and well cared for. Mom died December 28, 1991, but she left and inheritance of great value to her posterity and a strong link in the legacy of my quilting heritage.


Our second child, and first son, was a dark haired beautiful baby. He was born at the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah on August 2, 1951. Dr. Riley G. Clark was our attending physician and the baby was born at six P. M. in the afternoon. The baby was born two weeks before his scheduled arrival, but he was completely developed and considered a full term baby.
The child was beautiful and sweet and great love came with him from heaven. We really treasured this new baby and we named the little fellow Robert Lee Johnson. Robert after his father, Robert B. Johnson, and Lee was taken from the name of my father, Milton Lee Taft. Grandma, Olive Ethel Lyman Taft, took the name Lee from the southern general, Robert E. Lee. Olive Ethel felt that if you named a child after a great person the name sake would live up to and be worthy of the outstanding leader’s name. Robert was also welcomed and loved by his two-year-old sister, Tafta Johnson.
Robert was a handsome child with round cheeks and a solid strong body frame. He grew and thrived and filled out. His legs and hands were chubby and cute. He had a wrinkle across the thigh of his legs. There were dimples across the knuckles of his hands and he had a crease around his wrist. He was such a fun happy young person. My older sister, Aunt Cula Taft Ekker, with much love and caring, nick-named Robert, Pudge. The nick-name stuck for many in my family and Aunt Cula still refers to Robert as Pudge even though he is married and has a family of his own.
As a young child, Robert smiled often and was warm and content. He was not a cross baby and he did not suffer from colic. The baby started to sleep through the night when he was about a month old. I nursed him and I must have had rich milk because he was so content and happy. He was fun to love and care for. I made a curl on the top of his head when I bathed him. His hair had a tendency to curl and so the soft round roll of hair held this shape all day. He truly was a beautiful child.
I have to laugh when I remember feeding baby Robert solid food. He began to cry when he awakened from his mid-day nap because he was hungry. I watched the time rather closely and near the time of his awakening, I had two bowls full of food, one of vegetable and the other
full of ground home canned fruit. The food was already and waiting. I was quick and expeditious in putting spoonfuls of food into his mouth because he cried between spoonfuls. I guess he did not know there would be another mouthful of food coming.
At this stage in our married life we lived in an apartment on 5th West and 359 South, Provo, Utah. Harold Sowards was the owner of the duplex. We lived in the north apartment and Uncle Harold, as we began to call him, lived in the south apartment. He was an older man who was very crippled from the ravaging effects of arthritis. He walked with a cane and was very bent over. He loved our children as much as they loved him. One day he said to me, “I don’t think I could love my own children any more than I love these children.”
Uncle Harold was a wonderful person in our lives and us in his. He spent a lot of time with our family, especially our two children, Tafta and baby Robert. The door between our two apartments was often left open and the children went back and forth between the two homes.
The baby crawled into Uncle Harold’s house. It was not unusual to find Harold sitting in his big arm chair with the baby on his lap and little Tafta cuddled into the front corner of the seat. They would be reading a book. Uncle Harold provided the voice and the children the ears to listen and ask questions. All enjoyed the process very much.
A while before Christmas Harold remarked, “My, I hope we get some new literature to read for Christmas.” And, I can report that the children did receive quite a bit new reading material, in fact several new books.
Robert decided to learn to walk when he was ten months old. It was summer time and warm and lovely outdoors. He practiced walking holding onto Uncle Harold’s cane in one hand and onto
Uncles’ other free hand with his chubby little fist. It must be noted that children had to learn to walk in high top shoes at that season of time. And, so of course we followed the edict of the medical people right down to high top red leather shoes. Learning to walk in bare feet would have been a developmental disaster for the baby.
Robert matured and grew into a fine young man. He attended Brigham Young High School in Provo, Utah where he played on the football team. He moved to Provo High School when the B. Y. High School closed during his Sophomore year in school. He was captain on the Provo High Football Team. He also participated in the wrestling program at Provo High School. He was on the Varsity Wrestling Team with Joe Martinez as the coach. The wrestling team took State his
senior year. In addition, he joined the R. O. T. C. program and he graduated with very good grades.
Robert filled a full time two year L. D. S. Mission to Germany for our church. He was a fine missionary and was District Leader while in Germany. He attended Brigham Young University after graduating from Provo High School and was a member of the R. O. T. C in college. After four years of college, he completed the field of Civil Engineering courses and graduated from college. He was also commissioned an officer in the U. S. Army the same day that he graduated.
Words are not adequate to express the pride and appreciation his father and I feel for this choice fine son. I hope we can live exemplary lives and be worthy parents to such a fine out standing son. We are thankful the Lord sent Robert to our house to live.

P. S. Aunt Cula is eighty two years as of this date (March 2007) and she still calls Robert, Pudge.


My work in the Primary of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints began when I was nineteen years old in the year1949. Tafta, our first born child, was just five months old. I was called to be the Primary Chorister. I look back now and laugh at how ill prepared I was in music. I did not even know how to beat music patterns. The lady who was the pianist, taught me the beat of four-four, three-four and other time patterns. This was certainly a growing and learning
experience for me and I am grateful the calling came.
I tried my level best to fill this musical call to the fullest. At that time we could even teach holiday songs, as well as, songs from the Primary Song Book. We had a wonderful time and everyone seemed to enjoy the musical experience, teachers, children, presidency, and myself.
When I was twenty-two years old I became President of the Eleventh Ward Primary. Norma Gale, Arva Rowley and Sylvia Carter were counselors to me at various times. Elva Brailsford was the Secretary and she was very good. Bishop Harrison Scott was the Priesthood leader who extended the call to me.
I was very young to be the President of such a high and holy organization and first class effort, on my behalf, was put forth in the work. We loved one another as a Presidency and worked so hard together. The monthly Stake Primary Meetings were a source of uplift and help to our ward. We challenged to the teachers to have one hundred percent attendance at next Stake Meetings. The teachers did their best to support us and the attendance was always very high, but it seemed someone was always missing at the meetings. Finally, we promised the dear ones that we, the Presidency, would make Cream Puffs as a treat for their valance and effort in all being at the next stake meeting..
Our teachers gave great effort and sincerely tried. In the month of February we lacked two teachers, one was sick and the other had a sick child. Finally, in the month of March we reached our goal and every one of our wonderful instructors was at the West Utah Stake Meeting. We were all very pleased and proud and had such a good time in reaching our goal.
The following week the Presidency all went to Norma Gale’s home and made the treats. The following Primary day, wondrous big Cream Puffs filled with vanilla pudding and topped with luscious hot caramel topping was given to the teachers. We served it to our darling sisters during Prayer meeting. In my book, that is a Devine tasty treat and the sisters were touched and grateful.
I think I served for three years and I was released to get our new baby, Wesley Sowards. We built our new red brick home on the Grandview Hill in Provo, Utah in 1957. And of course, I began to serve in the Primary as soon as we moved into our home. I was called again as a Chorister. But this time I knew how to lead music and I hit the ground running. We had so very much fun and the kids did not have a choice, but to sing and sing we did. Brad Wilcox quoted me in his adult years. “Sister Johnson told use the Lord gave a us a voice to sing with. Now, you open your mouth and you come out with beautiful music. And, we did just that,” he quoted.
Our Primary was preparing the Primary Sacrament Program and we were practicing in the chapel of our ward house. I had done some fun changes to the way we presented the songs and the children were really putting forth effort and having a great time. Some stake personnel heard us practice and asked our ward to present the music at the next stake meeting so the wards could get new ideal for their individual ward presentations. Our ward Primary followed the stakes wishes. The Presidency and teachers helped in the endeavor and we had a great, fun experience.
One calling in the Primary that was especially dear to me was to teach the nine year old Blazer Boys class. I taught them for seven straight years. I even arranged my classed at the Brigham Young University so I could continue teaching the Blazers. One year I had thirteen Blazer boys in my class. Our son Kerry Ray was one of those boys and he was a joy to have in that group. The West Utah Stake leaders told our Seventeenth Ward Presidency that thirteen nine year
old boys was too many boys in one class.
The Presidency came me and wanted to know which boys I wanted to keep in my class. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We had no problems in the class room and the boys were so darn good and learning. We loved one another and there were no problems at all. My reply to the Presidency, “You are not going to divide my boys. I love them all and we are having no problems. So, you stop worrying about us!” That was the last I heard about the situation.
Oh, it did filter back to me the Stake said “Well, Arleen Johnson can teach thirteen boys, but other classes in the stake must not be that large.”
Another wonderful experience I had with my thirteen boys was concerning Hoskie Upshaw. Hoskie was a Navaho Limonite boy Glen and Elaine Ellis had in their home through the Limonite Exchange Program. As the class began in the fall, I realized I was not reaching Hoskie. Now don’t get me wrong, he was no discipline problem nor did he cause any trouble. He just looked around the room and stared into space and I could not seem to touch his soul.
I began to pray over the problem and ask the Lord for help. The answer came to me. The boys needed some hands on activity. We took the Articles of Faith cards and put a plastic cover over the front so the card would stay clean as the boys studied and handled that important piece of paper. Next holes were punched around the edge of the two layers at a distance of one inch apart. Plastic boondoggle strings were then twined between the holes going in each direction.
That activity was the very thing that healed the problem. Hoskies fingers moved rapidly and fluently along the edges. His card looked smooth and beautiful. He then turned to the other members of the class. He helped and gave assistance to the boys who were struggling and the twine kept tangling as they worked. Hoskie was completely engrossed and had a marvelous time assisting others. He was quiet and kind and efficient.
That activity performed a miracle. It brought Hoskie out of his shell and he became an active part of our class. What a miraculous experience. I was so glad Hoskie was such an important part of our class and we all loved and respected him. Thanks be to God for small wonders performed in our behalf.
At one point in my primary life, I came to realize I had spent twenty-five years working in the Primary organization. It must truthfully be admitted, the gain from my Primary experience was much greater on my end of the deal. What a true blessing in my life. Thanks be to God.


All of us like to talk over our problems or troubles, our joys and our happiness with other people. When we want to tell our friends something we ride our bike to their house, or we call them on the telephone, or go over to their house. We can also talk to them as we walk home from school. If we want to talk to our mother, we go into the bedroom where she is making
the bed, or into the kitchen where she is making cookies, or some other job and we visit with her. And, should we want to ask for our grandparents advise ,we write a letter or telephone, or go to visit them.
When we want to talk a problem over with our Heavenly Father, we kneel and say our prayers. We talk to him in our individual prayers at night before we get into bed, or we can pray in our hearts wherever we may be. We also pray in our Primary, Sunday School, and Sacrament meetings. We can even pray and tell our needs to our Heavenly Father in His most holy house, the temple.
In the temple there is a very special prayer. It is called a prayer roll. The prayer roll contains the names of people who are “sick or otherwise afflicted.” During the session the faith and prayers of the brothers and sisters in the session are united for those names on the prayer rolls.
What a wonderful blessing to be able to have a prayer said for you in the temple of the Lord. All you have to do to get your name on the prayer rolls, is to call the temple on the telephone and ask them to put a name on the roll. When adults go to the temple, they are also free to write a name on the prayer roll.
I want to share, my testimony with you to the value of prayer in the temple. Glena Ekker, my niece was born into the world very crippled. Her hands were joined backward at the wrist. Instead of her fingers extending straight out from her hand as yours and mine do, they turned back toward her elbows. She could not hold a glass of water or write with a pencil as you and I can.
To make things even worse her legs, her legs were also deformed. The bones of her legs were permanently shaped in a cross like your legs are as you cross your legs and sit Indian-style. Your legs straighten out when you stand up, but her leg bones were deformed and she would never walk the way they were.
So, when Glena was three weeks old she had a heavy cast from the waist down to her toes. Also, both arms were in casts. She went through surgery, after surgery and cast after cast. She spent so many months in the Primary Childrens Hospital that she knew the nurses on her floor by their first name. The little girl suffered great pain and laid in a hospital bed until she wore all the hair off the back of her head.
When she was five years and time to start school, Glena was still in a cast and could not walk, her mother, Cula Ekker, carried Glena to school or her younger brother, Alfred, pushed her to school in a cart. Finally, when Glena was six years old, she walked for the first time. She wore metal braces that came up to the tops of legs. Cula put heavy flower pots filled with dirt and flowers in a doll buggy to weight it down and steady the little a buggy. Holding to the handle of the buggy, Glena was then able to take a few steps. True it was only a few steps, but she walked. Glena was so proud when she demonstrated her new found skill to us, and to be sure we
were all very thrilled. Our beautiful Glena was walking.
When Glena was about sixteen years old, the doctor discovered that Glena’s hip joints were badly damaged and that surgery must be performed on the hip bones. It was to be a very serious operation and if the operation was not successful, Glena would never walk again. This was a very serious time for Glena. With surgery she may be confined to a wheel chair the rest
of her life and yet, without surgery she would not be able to continue walking.
We desperately needed the help of the Lord in a big way. Our family went to the Lord in prayer and it was decided to put Glena’s name on the prayer roll of the temple. We felt we needed extra help.
Glena entered the L. D. S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, the day preceding the surgery. The condition was so critical Dr. Clegg wanted one last look at the hip problem to make sure his plans were the right thing to do. The x-rays proved there was no problem at all with the hips. The bones that had been so out of place before, were perfectly in line now and no surgery was needed on the hips. Dr. Clegg operated on her hands instead and a few days later, Glena walked out of the hospital.
I believe the faith and prayers of those in the temple and of our families brought about this modern miracle of that day.
As the years went by, Glena went through more than forty-five operations to straighten her twisted arms and legs. She was not ever able to walk up steps, or stand up out of a chair alone, or dress herself alone. However, she could walk by herself on level ground and that is tremendous asset and blessing.


Our family was so fortunate as to have a small farm (two and a half acres). We fenced off about one fourth of an acre for the garden. We bought the farm in 1965 from a Jones family who lived in Texas. I think we were very lucky and very blessed and had more foresight than
we knew, in buying the farm. I was raised on a farm that was situated two miles south of the town of Bicknell, Utah. After I was married, I just had to have some land to work and raise my family on and teach them how to work hard. “You can take the farm away from the girl, but
you can’t take the farm out of the girl.”
We paid $1,300 for that first acre of ground. We had to borrow the money from the Geneva Credit Union and paid the loan back at $50.00 per month. This was a lot of money for us to go in debt.
It is interesting to know that we prayed about buying the original acre. We wanted confirmation from the Lord if that was the right thing to do. We prayed and prayed and asked and asked and nothing came as an answer, not one indication. So, we thought the thing through in our heads and went ahead with the transaction. Years later I realized that the Lord did not need to be bothered in that regard. Buying the farm was one of the best moves we made and I guess the Lord knew we would go ahead and get the land.
We raised a large and productive garden. The whole family worked very hard in the garden and we were rewarded in return. We planted all the kinds of fruit trees that would grow in our area and all of the kinds of berries that we could raise. In addition, we milked a cow that Arleen’s parents gave us. Milk to drink, half & half cream, whipping cream, ice cream, butter, and butter milk were products of the cow.
Bob learned to milk the cow and Arleen’s farming knowledge of the milking skill came in handy when that operation was required of her. Robert Lee, Wesley, Kerry, Stacy , and Todd all learned to milk. I guess with that many brothers and because Tafta was my cute little daughter, she was not enlisted in the milking endeavor. Rett was too young and the cow milking experience had stopped by the time Rett came along and was big enough to be enlisted in the milking chore.
We all helped out, but the brunt of the work fell on Bob. He went to milk before leaving for work in the morning and again in the evening after work. Bob brought the milk home from the farm in a small milk can. I strained the milk and the milk was transferred into gallon bottles
and quickly put in the refrigerator for cooling and safe keeping.
After the cow first freshened or gave birth to a calf, we had more milk than our family could use and we sold a gallon of milk to one or two neighbors. We sold the milk for thirty to fifty cents a gallon.
It was an exciting and wonderful event when the cow gave birth to a new calf. I guess, because our chickens lay eggs, the children said the cow was going to “lay a new baby calf.” It was fun to wait and anticipate the new little animal. Of course we never knew the exact day
that the calf would be born and the event was anticipated with much anxiety. Near the expected time of arrival, we all went to the farm each day. When the cow finally did “lay her baby,” the children all wanted to pet and hug the calf and feel the soft hair of the new born. The mother
cow was protective, but generally patient in allowing us to enjoy and love the little animal.
The cow was really a family pet and she stood quietly and patiently while the children rubbed and patted her head or sides or rump. They pulled tufts of grass or weeds in their hands and fed the cow. They extended love to her and she gave love back in return.
Bob built a stanchion to feed the cow while he milked her. He put hay in the enclosure and poured dairy grain over the top of the hay. He was kind and gentle with her and she returned in like kind. One day while he was milking her, the cow reached around and put her head back toward him. She gave him a big wet lick up the side of his cheek with her long rough tongue. We all laughed at that experience, but Dad did not think it was too funny. “That crazy cow!” he said.
Home made ice cream was a wonderful, tasteful treat that we made often on a Sunday evening, especially during the cold winter months. I followed my mother, La Vern Taft’s, receipt for making ice cream. Her receipt called for a cooked custard as the foundation of that special treat. The custard needed to be cooked for at least an hour. “Then the custard will not taste raw,” Mom said. I rigged up a double-boiler effect by setting a six-quart sauce pot in an electric
frying pan with about an inch of water in the bottom of the frying pan. The water in the bottom of the fry pan prevented any scorching of the milk product.
In the winter we used what ice we had in the ice cube trays from the ice compartment of the refrigerator to make ice cream with. The remaining ice was gathered in the form of icicles from the house eves of the neighbors homes. Some of the icicles would be three feet or more in length. It required three children to gather the needed ice, two to carry a large tin tub and one to knock the ice from the roof into the tub. They used a brook to knock the icicles down. The children had such fun gathering the ice.
In our early family days we used a hand-turned freezer that was given to us. The older children turned the freezer and a younger child sat on a coat or a bath towel put over the cold ice of the freezer. These small bodies helped hold the freezer stable when the ice cream began
to freeze harder in the freezer can.
A fun and delight some spin off from the cow and ice cream was to have ice cream for breakfast the next morning. The six-quart freezer can held more ice cream than we could eat on a Sunday evening. On Monday morning the family loved to remove the towel that covered the
top of the freezer and take off the lid. They dug the still frozen delicacy out and we ate it for breakfast. My, what special treats to start a day with. We sometimes had bananas and walnuts that we ground through a little nut grinder to put with the ice cream.
One Monday morning Mother was at our house. She was shocked to see the children eating ice cream for their early morning meal. “Oh, Sister,” Mom said, “aren’t you going to feed these kids a better breakfast than that?”
“Why Mom,” I replied “This is a wonderful meal: eggs, milk, cream and fruit. What could be a more healthy meal?”
“Yes,” Robert said, “and it tastes so darn good. In addition, Craig and Stew will be jealous when I tell them what we ate this morning.”
“Well, I guess so,” she said and joined in the tasty breakfast.
Rich blessing and rewards in our life because of hard work, a family working together and a families milk cow.

Grandma La Vern Taft’s recipe
3 scant quarts of milk 1 tsp. salt
1 cup flour 1 can condensed milk
3 cups sugar 1 tbsp. lemon flavoring
1 qt. cream 1 tbsp. vanilla flavoring
10 eggs whipped until they are fluffy

Put the milk, and can of milk on to cook in a six-quart sauce pan set in a fry pan with water in the fry pan. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together and add to the milk mixture and stir well. Cook in the double boiler for about an hour. Be sure to stir frequently and keep mixture from sticking on the bottom of the pan.
Remove filling from the heat and add the eggs to the milk mixture. Be sure to add several spoonfuls full of eggs to the hot milk, and stir well. Add all the egg mixture to the filling and stir well. Set to cool. When cool pour through a strainer into the freezer can. Add cream, lemon and vanilla flavoring.

1. To make Maple Nut flavor, leave one cup of sugar out and add one cup of brown sugar when you cook the filling. Add one tablespoon of maple Nut flavoring in the place of the lemon flavoring to the freezer can. This is a very rich good flavor.

2. To make Carmel ice cream, caramelized one half cups of sugar in a frying pan over the heat of a burner. Add to the filling before the filling is cooked. Cut back one half cup of sugar in the filling.


 A fond memory of my childhood, was my mother making soap in a big fifty gallon, heavy, metal, barrel. I remember the smell of the fire burning, the feel of the fresh soap on my hands, the sting of lye dust on my arms and the concern of my mother as she made the soap.
Making homemade soap on our farm was an annual event and it required the whole day to
complete the first part of the process. We made soap in the late summer when the beef was slaughtered and Mom could get beef fat, but also, the days were still warm and sunny and the soap dried out. For me it was a fun and exciting day and I looked forward to the soap making process.
Mom, however, felt very differently. This was a difficult day for her and she was always glad when the event was over. It was hard work to carry the many buckets of water from the house and the dozen or more trips as she walked to the site in the back of the house, took a toll on her legs. Her varicose veined legs ached and hurt by the time the soap was cooked and was dumped into tubs. As we, children, grew big enough, we carried the water and cut-down on some of her
work and this was a great help to her.
Soap making was not a luxury we did for pleasure or a hobby we pursued for fun and adventure. Soap making was a necessity of life. The stringent soap was used in the electric
wringer washing machine in doing the family wash. The cleaning ability of the soap was well known and dirt and stains vanished leaving clean smelling, white, delightful clothes. That soap could remove the smokey residue left on the walls and ceiling of the house from the wood burning stoves like no other cleaner. We also put a bar of soap in a scrub bucket and scrubbed the linoleum floors and the boards of the wooden porch. The boards were a creamy white in color when we finished their scouring process.
In addition to the hard work, was the stress of having a successful outcome was always there. My Mother never had a failure in the soap making, but the possibility was there just the same. The soap needed to be cooked just enough to set up and hold its shape, but not so much that the soap was burned. Cooking let liquid vaporize into the air and the soap thickened enough to form a solid soft mass in the shape of the tin tubs or other containers it was poured into.
The process began with collecting enough beef tallow for the recipe. Mom cleaned the leaf fat from the intestines of slaughtered beef and washed it. She also extracted the solid tallow fat that clings to the back of the animal along the back bone on the inside of the beef cavity. After the fat was saved and all collected, she weighed the tallow on the big scales in the granary to determine the amount of lye needed, and how large the batch of soap would be. A ten-can batch was a full size barrel of soap, in fact, so large care had to be taken to keep the contents of the barrel from boiling over during the cooking operation.
Soap making was started in the morning because the soap required long hours of cooking. In fact, the barrel and rocks were set up the night before the big day so we got an early start. The barrel was positioned on top of three rocks that were placed in a circular pattern on the ground. The rocks lifted the barrel up from the ground and created a twelve-inch fire space under the barrel. To begin the procedure, the total weighed fat, all of the cans of lie, and one bucket of water were dumped into the bottom of the barrel. This was a strange combination for making soap, but it really worked.
The ingredients had to be measured precisely to insure a quality soap. There was four pounds of tallow to one can of lye and three gallons of water to one recipe. The fire was started under the barrel and we were well on our way.
Soon the fire had the water boiling and the tallow all melted. Then the carrying of buckets of water from the house began. Before many hours, the barrel was full of soap and all this time there had been a small fire under the barrel to keep the soap boiling and cooking. We stirred the soap with a broom stick that Mom had and saved just for soap making. Toward late after noon, the soap takes on a golden, honey-candy, color and as Mom dipped the broom stick into the
contents of the barrel and lifted the stick up in the air, soap dripped in thick clumps and strings from the stick.
At this point, Mom determined the soap was done, and Dad put on his white canvas work gloves and tipped the barrel to one side. We removed one of the rocks and he carefully tilted the barrel so the soap could run into number three tin tubs. This was a dangerous time and care had to be taken so none of the hot soap slopped onto us. He used a gunny sack to hold the hot bottom rim of the barrel and tip out the last bit of soap. We got about three and a half tub of soap.
The next morning, after the soap had set up it was dumped upside down on an improvised table of planks on saw horses. The table was in full sun so the soap could dry out.
At this stage Mom cut the soap into chunks with a large butcher knife. She took into consideration the shrinkage of the chunks as the soap dried when she did the cutting. The soap pieces would lose about half their size in the drying process. We, children, liked to rub our hands over the wet, straight, slick, slabs of soap. It felt smooth and moist and shiny. But, to poke a hole in the soft substance with our fingers brought loud disapproval from our mother. Even soap
making had to look nice and have an attractive finished product. Hmmmmmm, I guess that is where I got that trait “things have to look nice” from.
Care needed to be taken to keep the soap from getting wet during the drying procedure. Should a summer thunder storm arrive, we ran fast to cover the laid out soap pieces with a large tarp.
After the soap had become sufficiently shrunk and was totally dry, we stored it in seamless sacks or gunny sacks for future use. Soap making is a rich heritage in my life and I am grateful to have been a part of it. In fact, I tried making soap a few years before Mother died, so she could give her expert advice. I even tried a batch of soap on my own. I am pleased to report the soap turned out very well. We used it in our home in cleaning. It was a fun pioneer experience and I intend to do it some more. I even found a source of beef tallow I can use. I can get the tallow at the slaughter house where we have our animals taken care of.
Life is so great and good! I am glad to be alive!



l can lye
4 lbs. of beef tallow
3 gallons of clean water
50 gallon heavy metal barrel

Be accurate in measurements.
Put three rocks under the barrel so it is off the ground about 12 inches.
Build a fire under the barrel.
Put all of the tallow and all of the lye and one bucket of water in the barrel.
Cook very throughly so all of the tallow dissolves.
Soap may look curdled or have liquid fat on top.
Cook as least two to three hours. It is very important that all of the tallow be dissolved!
Add a gallon or two of water about every half hour to an hour.
Be sure to stir at least every half hour.
Cook at a high rolling boil for the next four or so hours.
You must have a fairly high boil or the soap will not get done.
As the soap cooks, the grease or foam will disappear.

Soap thickens as it cooks down. A white film forms over the soap as it thickens and the soap sticks to the side of the barrel. The hot soap turns to the color of honey candy when it is done. Be careful at this stage because the soap will burn if not stirred frequently.
Be sure to stir the bottom of the barrel with the broom stick.
The fire does not need to be as hot now. The soap will fall in strings and droplets from
the stirring stick when the stick is lifted out of the soap.

When the soap is done, pour the soap into # 3 tin tubs or other large containers. There will be about three and a half tubs full of soap in a ten-can batch.
I have my husband get old gloves on to tip the barrel over. Pour the soap into the tubs and leave the soap in the tubs until the soap sets up. This will generally take one day or it may take
two days.

When the soap is set, dump the soap onto a clean flat surface and cut into large bars about six inches by six inches. Leave the pieces of soap out until it dries completely. This may take two to three weeks. Do not let the soap get wet. The soap shrinks and a white dust forms on the dried soap. The soap is deformed and ugly looking. It is now ready to store in a dry place for future use.

I put one bar in a mesh laundry bag and drop the bag in the washer. I leave the soap in the washer as the washer agitates, until I have the amount of suds I want. This soap really cleans. It is good to use as a pre wash on spots. It is also very effective to use to wash dirty walls.
Some women washed their hair in this soap because the soap got the hair so clean and shiny.
Do not use as a hand or face soap.
The soap is too harsh and stringent for cleaning your skin.

Wed Wooster

Arleen Taft Johnson

The grandchildren have been and are a source of joy and happiness to Bob and me. Each and every individual child has a unique personality specific to that person. They hold a special spot of joy in our hearts and lift our spirits. We love to have them come to our home. When the children were younger, we were so pleased when they could come on a vacation to our home and spend some personal one-on-one time with us.
In the summer of l984 just such a special occasion took place. Seth Kenneth Watson, Tafta and Kerry Watson’s fifth child and third son, had the opportunity to spend some vacation time at the home of his Johnson grand parents. His grand parents agreed “grand kids are grand.”
Sethie, as his Grandma Johnson called him, was a cute little talking, happy boy. He smiled often and laughed a lot and sunshine just glowed from his face and countenance. Seth was just three years old and really learning to talk fluently. But, he had one major difficulty in his vocabulary. The ‘r’ sound was difficult for him to pronounce correctly. His ‘r’ sounds came out as a ‘w’ sound. Red was said ‘wed’ and ‘run’ was said ‘wun’.
As Grandpa and Seth sat spending time and love together in the brown leather rocking chair in the kitchen, they took hold of this prime opportunity and practiced Seth’s talking. Grandpa made an rrrrrrrrrrr sound and Seth, tried to make the same sound. He just could not achieve the same effect. Grandpa had Seth look at the way Grandpa placed his tongue in his mouth. Seth followed in like matter with his little tongue placement correct. The cute little boy tried very hard to follow instructions.
Once in a while Grandma would say, “Oh my gosh, we need a break in the phonetic, training lessons. Give us just one hour off.” Her ears got tired, but Seth was always eager to learn.
And so it was, after much practice and laughing and hugging and trial and error and
treats, Seth was able to make the rrrrrrrrr come out just right and he and Grandpa clapped and
cheered. He was capable of saying many ‘r’ sounding words correctly and he was very proud
of his efforts and accomplishments.
We did all of the usual fun things that go on at our house like playing in the sand pile with
the big Tonka trucks, helping Grandma fix the meals, going to the farm with Grandpa and
following Grandpa around and assisting him. He also liked to listen to Grandma Johnson read picture books stories to him.
Seth especially loved the farm and all the animals. But of the all the animals at the farm, the chickens were his favorite and he especially liked the red rooster. The rooster was a Bantam
breed of chicken and hence the rooster was not too terribly big. Seth liked to hold the chicken in his little arms. Grandpa caught the chicken and carefully folded its wings down flat. Seth then wrapped his cute small arms around the fowl and held it up close to him.
The cute chicken seemed to sense the love of a small child and snuggled up against Seth. Seth laid his head down on the rooster and said, “I love the Wed Wooster Grandpa. “
Oh, my gosh, Grandma knew more lessons in phonetics would be coming.
And of course the instruction did come and what a fun experience Seth and Grandpa had. The success Seth and Grandpa achieved in their language improving endeavor was not the matter that really counted. It was the love and closeness between the two and to see their fun in working together.

Rooster picture page 30, Country Magazine, December/January 2007