Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Answered Prayer

This experience happened long before the days of paychecks being handled through direct deposit. School teachers only got paid once each month, and because this was the last pay day in December, the next check would come at the end of January - almost 6 weeks away.

Lou Butler - principal
classic mid 1970's school picture

December 21, 1977 – Today is payday, but at 5 p.m. tonight I realized that I couldn’t find my check!

December 22, 1977 – During the night I woke up and remembered that I had run over to the Arapahoe Grocery to get batteries for my camera about 9:30 a.m., and I remembered that my coat had flapped open as I ran. The inside coat pocket to my newest brown suit is not very deep, and I felt that the check had come out of my suit pocket at that time.

As I lay there in bed about 4 a.m. I could almost see the check laying there on the ground between 9th Street and the alley behind the store where they have their big trash box. So as soon as it was light, about 7 a.m., I got in the car and drove down there.

The wind had been blowing and there were no papers on the street or sidewalk, so I drove slowly down the street and stopped near the alley where the store trash is kept. The wind had swirled into the trash area, and it looked like a few papers were blown together by the fence. I got out of the car, walked over and picked up my check! It was not even wrinkled!

Jim said he had read where people could find things like that if they would just think about them and relax and go to sleep, but he thought it was the Holy Ghost and that “somebody was looking out for me.” He said the book [he read] said we should listen to our subconscious promptings more and we’d be better off.

I was pretty anxious about it and could have gotten by, but it would have been difficult, so I did some praying about it, even though I knew I had lost it through carelessness. I am sure that I did have some help and that it was not just my subconscious mind working.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

World War II Begins

For most of us reading this blog, World War II was a major historical event that we have studied in history classes in school. But for Lou Butler and thousands of other young men of the 1940's, it was a major life event that required them to delay their future hopes and dreams.
This is the first of several posts detailing Dad's service in the Navy .

Louis Edward Butler
High School Senior - 1941

After eating dinner at Carpenters [Leona's family], I was working at the San Isabel Creamery selling ice cream, milk shakes, etc, on Sunday December 7, 1941 when we heard over the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and had sunk many ships and killed many Americans. We were at war.

I was attending a business school at the time and got a job with a pipe company keeping books, time, etc. Then in the spring when they started building the air base east of town, I got a job as a clerk in the receiving department with Broderick & Gordon Construction Company making a lot more money. As that drew near to an end, I got a job at Rainbo bakery in the wrapping department where I worked until I went into the Navy in October of 1942.

Saying goodbye
October 28, 1942

In October of 1942 I joined the Navy as it was getting close to the time that I would be drafted and I didn’t want to go into the Army. Jim Shelhammer, Kenny Hood and I enlisted at the same time and left the old 5th Street neighborhood together on 28 October 1942. We went to Denver for our physical exams, and upon passing those, took the Oath of Allegiance to the [United States] Government, and then were sworn into the Navy.

While I was in Denver, I went over to the Denver Stake Center and on October 30, 1942 President Edward E. Drury, Jr., Denver Stake President, conferred the Melchizidek Priesthood on me and ordained me an Elder there-in.

We were in Denver for about three days as we took the exams and filled out numerous papers and waited in many long lines. We were put up in some cheap hotel and were given meal tickets at one of the cafeterias. We were glad when we finally had a large group on board the train and were sent to Athol, Idaho headed for active duty. We were then taken over to the Naval Camp at the training station, Camp Farragut near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Kenny and I were in Company #64 and Jim was in another company.

Until the end of the year we were in boot camp; at the close of boot camp, I was assigned to the Ship’s Company because I could type and was assigned to the office where they assigned the “boots” as they graduated to either school or an active duty assignment. That was convenient, as Jim had gone to Moscow, Idaho to Radio School at the University of Idaho and his brother Chuck, as a radioman on a submarine. It was a three-month assignment, so when my time was up I was able to put my name on the list for the class starting on April 1st at Moscow Radio School at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

I got home on leave after finishing Ship’s Company duty at Camp Farragut. We had a Butler-Carpenter dinner on a Sunday and took a picture beside our home in the driveway.

back row: Ream-Lorene-Chuck-Pinky-Leona-Lou-Mable-Jess
front row: Don-Della Davis-Eldon-Delbert

To figure out who belongs to the Butler family and who belongs to the Carpenter family, check the family group sheets by clicking on those links.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ream and Lorene Carpenter Family Group Sheet

This family group record will help you keep track of Leona's family. She was the first child of Etta Lorene Boling and Ream Everett Carpenter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

School Days

In September of 1928 I entered Park View School as a Kindergartner, where I continued through the 5th grade.

On 1 September 1931 I entered third grade and had Mrs. Dorothy Ritchey for my teacher. I had a good year and liked her very much. When I returned to Park View School as a principal in 1960, she was still teaching there. The first thing she said to me was, “I sure hope I was good to you!”

In 1932 I entered 4th grade and had Miss Williams for my teacher. She retired just the year before I went back to Park View as a principal.

In 5th grade I had Miss Daniels for my teacher. We got along great, and I enjoyed the year. We formed a softball team and went to Fountain and played them. Miss Pingatore was the gym teacher at Fountain. We didn’t have a gym teacher at Park View.

Fountain School - grade 6/5 (highest level
School Year 1934-35
Louis Butler - 2nd row, 3rd from right

In 1934 I went to Fountain School for the 6th grade. It was a good year, and we were given many extra activities. Most of the patrol boys came from our class, and we were given opportunities to work in the office. We put on plays which we wrote, and it was just a fun year for me.

In a costume for one of our plays. I don't remember which one!

Then in 1935 I went to Park Hill Jr. High School for the 7th and 8th grades. My best friend of that time, and for most of my childhood was Charles Shelhammer. He lived in the 1700 block of East 5th Street, just to the west of us. We spent many nights at each other’s houses and were together a lot of the time. He was great fun.

Chuck Shelhammer - Louis Butler
8th grade graduation

In June of 1937 I graduated from Park Hill Jr. High. It was a big day and I got a new suit and a hat. I also had the block “PH” (letter) which was earned by gaining points for almost anything I did well.

8th Grade Report Card
June 4, 1937

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Butler boys - August 20, 1950
Don - Jim - Lou - Tom

"Rush to the Rockies" celebration - April 1959
Tom - Dad - Don - Jim

50th Wedding Anniversary - November 1993
Lou - Jim - Tom - Don
Dad - Mom

Thanks for your love and great example.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer of 1937 - Fristoe, Missouri

Lou's cousins - Charles and Lila Laree Davis
about 1925

Louis Butler, Charles Davis, Lila Davis
about 1925

Shortly after school was out in 1937, my brother Chuck and I went to Fristoe, Missouri down in the Ozarks, 11 miles south of Warsaw, Missouri. I had turned 14 in March and had finished junior high and Charles would turn 12 in September and was ready for junior high. Uncle Floyd, my mother’s next to oldest brother, was living in Fristoe. It was in the Ozarks and very different than living in Colorado. Uncle Floyd was teaching carpentry at the high school as well as farming. Aunt Irene was a rather quiet lady who was not well much of the time. Their son, Charles, was about 9 months older than I, their daughter Lila was 5 months younger than I, and their son Mervin was the same age as my brother Chuck, almost 12.

This took place 60 years ago, so if my memory is not too clear about it, you will know why. Leona says that seems to make my stories more interesting and exciting, so bear with me!

Charles Davis, Chuck Butler on King

This summer was right during the depression, and my dad who worked for the railroad as a fireman, didn’t get to work many months of the year. So for us to spend a summer away was a help to my parents financially. Uncle Floyd said we could do a lot of work on the farm for them to help earn our keep. There was very little that we ate that summer that we did not raise on the farm. Chickens, pigs, cattle, vegetables and several kinds of fruit were all grown on the farm. There was lots of work to do, with the barn yards to be kept clean, animals to feed and water, cows to milk, eggs to gather, milk to separate in order to get the cream to sell, weeds to be cut or hoed everywhere, hay and grain to be harvested, and fruit and vegetables to be picked.

The family was a lot of fun, and we all worked together very well. The day started early with each of us assigned to early morning chores, followed by a big breakfast which would keep us going until noon. Before breakfast we would always have the horses harnessed and ready to go as soon as we finished eating. We had no tractor, so everything was done with horse drawn equipment except the harvesting of grain, which was done by an outfit that went from farm to farm. As part of our way of saving on expenses, we followed the combine from farm to farm to help each other.

Grain Harvesting
Uncle Floyd in big hat, standing behind tractor

Grain Harvesting Crew

The meals were really great on these grain harvesting, sharing times. I think that each farm wife tried to outdo the others with fried chicken and all of the trimmings. We really put away a lot of food after working in the field all morning. There was no money available, but everyone had lots of food from their farms. Egg and cream money seemed to be the main source of cash for everyone. The desserts were great, always several kinds of fruit and home made ice cream for parties. No candy.

My Uncle Floyd was a strong, hard-shell, southern Baptist. We had prayers at each meal and scripture reading at breakfast. Sunday morning everyone went to a little white church. The meetings lasted a long time – at least that is my recollection as a child. It was very hot, with no air conditioning. They would open all of the windows and sometimes we would get a cross breeze which would help. Not being used to professional preachers, I was not used to the volume of their voices. This preacher was so loud and spoke so fast, and his voice was so high pitched, that we could have heard the sermons from the parking lot with no difficulty! Uncle Floyd thought he was wonderful and we never missed a Sunday.

It was so hot and humid in the summer that we would stop work in the fields about 11 a.m. and go to the house where we would wash up and go in for lunch. Then everyone would take a nap on the living room or dining room floor as that was the coolest place we could find. You couldn’t sleep on the grass because of the ticks and chiggers.

This family took great enjoyment out of tickling someone. If you were ticklish, your life would be miserable, but everyone else would enjoy it. My mother had warned me about this before we went there to spend the summer. So I had made up my mind that they would not be able to have any fun with me, because I would tell them I was not ticklish. Well, it was murder at first to keep from being annoyed by their tickling. It would happen when you were asleep, or reading, or just not looking at them. They would crawl under the chair and tickle your bare feet. They used feathers, straws, or anything they could find. Sometimes I thought I would explode before they would give up on me. It took a long time before they gave up on me and only tried occasionally. I had to be on my guard continually.

In that little farming community they had a party every time there was the least excuse. They would gather at one of the farms in the evening and the parents would sit around and visit and the young folks would dance. I am sure that they had several dances of the folk type, but the main one I remember was “Skip to my Lou, my Darling.” Usually they had no music, so they all sang the song and danced to it. They had a lot of fun and I don’t remember any drinking or other problems at any of them. They always seemed to have homemade ice cream and cookies or cake.

Louis Butler and Charles Davis with Beauty

One of my favorite things to do was to go horseback riding in the woods and find a plum tree and sit on the horse and pick plums and eat them right there. We didn’t have the money for fruit at home during the depression, so this was a real treat. I would also find wild strawberries and eat them. The persimmons really didn’t get ripe until after we went home, so I don’t know about them. I know they were awfully sour before they got ripe! There were lots of currents and other kinds of berries and lots of cherries too.

One of the most disagreeable things about the farm was the presence of ticks and chiggers. We had to be very careful about being in the grass or trees and sometimes around the animals, or the ticks and chiggers would get on us and that could be very disagreeable. Whenever we worked in the woods or in the grassy areas, we had to strip down in the evening and check each other to make sure there were not ticks on us. We usually knew if we had chiggers, because they itched something awful.

There was a creek running along the edge of the farm just about 200 yards from the house. We could always catch fish there and it was a great place for a swim at least once a day, and often more than once.
When there were rains, the creek would rise up pretty high and would be very swift. We used to like to swim in it and didn’t realize how dangerous it was. There was so much brush and so many small trees growing over the water and all tangled up, that when we would ride the waves downstream during high water, we would go down to the bottom to miss the branches. It is a wonder we didn’t get caught up in them, under the water, and drown. It surely was a lot of fun, though!

I was very sorry to see the summer come to an end. This meant we had to go back to the city and back to school.

front: Aunt Irene and Uncle Floyd
back: Charles, Lila, Mervin
about 1940

Uncle Floyd was an excellent wood worker and did some construction work. Sometime after we were there, the family sold the farm and moved to Orlando, Florida where Uncle Floyd worked in a furniture factory. Charles worked there also.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Summer of the Cars

Butler Family about 1963
back: Tom - Don
front: Jim - Lou - Leona - Lou, Jr.

By the fall of 1965 the family home at 1605 Alexander Circle could have made good use of a revolving door, as the parents and teenage sons were coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Lou, Jr. had returned to Pueblo after a year at Ricks College and he and Jim, who had just graduated from high school, were attending college in Pueblo. Twins Tom and Don were juniors in high school and their days began with early morning seminary and continued well into the nighttime hours with school and church activities. Lou Sr. was the principal at Parkview School as well as the Bishop of the Pueblo Ward. Leona was teaching at Belmont School and because the rest of the family was gone so many evenings, she enjoyed some of her alone time playing "conversational" bridge with a group of fellow teachers. (That's a game of bridge with a lot of talking and a little card playing!)

In an attempt to simplify the transportation issues, in August of 1965 they bought THREE cars - at one time - and all Volkswagens! Louie and Jim took one car to college, Tom and Don had another for high school and Lou had the other. Leona didn't even have a set of keys or a gas card, relying on Lou to get her to and from work every day - but at least she didn't have to drive kids around.

This was the brand new car - a 1965 Volkswagen with a sunroof!

1963 2-door

1964 sedan

Can you imagine how excited Salesman M. Stillman was that day?