Monday, November 24, 2008

Watch Out!

photo credit: Deepak Purchanda

One day I observed several students showing each other their new watches. It seemed odd that several children would all have new watches on the same day and in the same class! But not so odd, since they were Johnny’s [Aguire] classmates.

I asked one of the girls if she received the watch for her birthday. She said, “No, Johnny gave it to me.” About that time another girl said, “See mine. Johnny gave me one, too.”

Well I knew I had better find Johnny right away and find out where he got all of those watches to give away. So I looked around the playground and saw a large group all crowding in together. It was either a fight, or Johnny! Sure enough, everyone was surrounding Johnny, begging for a watch.

I approached Johnny and we headed for the office. When we got there, Johnny still had several watches on his arm under his shirtsleeve.

“Where did you get them?”

“I found them.”

“No you didn’t. Where did you get them?”

“At the KD Drug Store.”

Johnny and I went around to the rooms collecting watches and then we went to KD Drug Store and returned them. The manager at the KD hadn’t missed them. He went over to one of the counters and said, “There was a display here on a cardboard advertisement yesterday.” He didn’t know for sure how many were still on the cardboard, but he was glad to get back the dozen or so that we returned.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Johnny Aguire

Johnny Aguire was a memorable student in Dad's career. As I will post many of Dad's memories of this young "entrepreneur," a little background information may be helpful.

photo credit: Ely Mock

Johnny was in the 4th grade, Miss Mary Bell Offutt’s room when I went to Bessemer as a new principal in 1953. He lived with his mother who was quite old and his sister who was 12 years older than he was. He was very small for his age, a very wiry little guy with big brown eyes and he was very likeable. He got along well with the other children and with the teachers, except that he was often truant.

The biggest problem he had was his stealing. He was smart enough not to steal at school, though. In fact, the kids at school were often the ones who benefited from his shoplifting. He always had plenty of pencils, pens, paper, etc – enough to share with his friends!

His other major problem was that he would wander all over town and would stay out all night on many occasions.

During the summer of 1954 his caseworker had him placed in “Byers Home for Boys” in Byers, Colorado, near Denver. I had a letter from him telling me about being on the swim team there. The next I heard of him was that he was traveling with a carnival. Then I heard that he was in prison.

On September 25, 1996 I was at the opening of Bessemer’s new media center and met Johnny’s sister. She was there with her daughter, as she now had a granddaughter at Bessemer School. We reminisced about the many days we spent looking for Johnny or dealing with the problems he created. Their mother was older and did not speak English

Johnny is in his middle 50’s now [1996] and has lived a very hard life. He can see very little and hear very little and his sister said he looks older than I do. He has three sons.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

War-time Wedding -- Part 2

After reading what Dad had written about their wedding, Mom filled in with a lot more details. Her memories add another perspective and give us "the rest of the story."

The way Lou used to tell this story [of our decision to get married] was that he didn’t have anything else to write about [in his letters] so he said, “If you could get up here – we’d get married!” Hell and high water couldn’t have kept me from getting “up there.” Lou’s parents wanted us to wait until after the war to get married, and his mother said, “You can’t marry my son.” That did it – I went home and started packing. I didn’t even shop; I just took what I had. Even my wedding dress, although special, was not new.

It must have been very hard for my mother to put me on that train. It was a few days before my 18th birthday. She would have been more concerned if she’d known I didn’t even have a seat on the train. It was full of mostly military men, and I sat on my suitcase. After we got out of the station an Army Lieutenant gave me his seat. I don’t know where he went for the rest of the trip, but I was truly grateful for that seat.

In Seattle there were two train stations – one on either side of the street, across from each other. My train went in one station, and Lou was waiting across the street in the other station! He finally came across the street and found me. I was beginning to wonder if he had stood me up!

We thought we would be getting married in the Bishop’s office, but Sylvia Koons found out we were getting married and had the wedding in her home. They invited several couples, made us a cake, and gave us a present. It was a lovely wedding. The tall sailor in the wedding picture is Chet Fields. He was Lou’s best man. He was Lou’s closest friend when they were serving on Bainbridge Island. I guess Sylvia was the matron of honor.

We found a room in the Enyert’s home after about a month in the hotel. Mrs. Enyert was firm and a little bit bossy, but very kind to us. I was just a young kid, barely 18, and I think she felt like she had to teach me a few things. On one occasion I dropped and broke three of her plates, and I had to wander around Seattle to find replacements. Looking for the right plates was a lot easier than telling her I had broken them!

The Enyert’s house was a great big old house. The basement was a huge cavernous cellar that was the size of the entire house. I remember it being a very scary place to me, with a lot of stuff sticking out from the walls. Unfortunately, the washing machine was down there, and I hated to have to go down to do the wash. Everybody else would be in the kitchen, just at the top of the basement stairs, but at 18 years old I was so afraid to go down into that cave that I literally shook! I couldn’t stand to stay down there for any amount of time, so I ran up and down those stairs a lot while doing the wash.

Jobs with the telephone company were considered “essential” during World War II, and as a result I was able to transfer from Pueblo to Seattle without difficulty. I was a switchboard operator at home, but when I transferred I was a file clerk in the office. The office I worked in was close to the pier where Lou came in from Bainbridge Island every evening. The window in my office had a great view of the hill he walked up, and I could watch for him. When he got off the ferry he would come by my office, and we’d ride the bus home together.

We had about four months together. They were good months, a little hard at times, but we were together. He was given a leave to take me home, and then he was sent to Adak for the duration of the war.

Leona - Lou
March 1944

And it was a lot harder to put him on the train that time!

Monday, November 17, 2008

War-time Wedding

Eleanor Leona Carpenter - Louis Edward Butler
married 17 November 1943
Seattle, Washington

When I was home on leave, between Radio School at Moscow, Idaho and advanced training at Bainbridge Island in the Puget sound off Seattle, Leona and I talked about getting married in December. But after I got to Bainbridge, we decided that if Leona could get up to Seattle, and that was no easy undertaking, that we would get married. So my mom wrote me a letter of permission to get married (since I was not yet 21!), and Leona brought it out with her on the train. The transportation situation was difficult; gas was rationed and the trains were crowded with both civilians and the military always trying to get someplace a long ways off. She ended up sitting on her suitcase part of the way.

Cutting the wedding cake

The Koons family - wedding hosts
and perhaps one of Lou's navy buddies

We were married on November 17, 1943, at the home of the Koons family that we met at the University Ward. We had dinner and a cake, and it was awfully nice of the Koons to make it so nice for us. Leona worked at the telephone company while we were in Seattle, having transferred from the telephone company in Pueblo where she had been working, so we managed to have enough money to live on.
Housing was almost impossible to find because of all of the military and all of the shipyard workers and all of the aircraft workers, etc. We only had to stay in a hotel for a few days until we were lucky to just find a room in a private home. They also rented out a couple more rooms in the upstairs of their house, and we shared a bath with a couple of other couples. We had no facilities for eating, so we ate out when we first got the room.

We hadn’t been there long, before Mrs. Enyert (the landlady) told Leona we could use their kitchen for our evening meal. Knowing we had nothing and were very young, she felt sorry for us and was a help to us.

Gasoline ration stamps

At this time, gasoline was rationed as well as much of the food such as meat, sugar, etc. We didn’t have [ration] stamps yet and Mrs. Enyert told Leona that they had a grocery store were we could buy our groceries. She would give Leona stamps and she would tell her not to tell her husband that she gave them to us! Then we would go to their store and Mr. Enyert would come around and give us stamps on the sly which he would say that some customer gave him because they didn’t need them! He would always say for us not to tell his wife because she would not like it as it is really against the law. So we had more [ration] stamps than we could use.

Grocery ration stamps

After they had let us use the kitchen for a while, they suggested that we could stay down in the living room after supper if we would like. So we now had the use of the kitchen and the living room, plus she had lots of advice for Leona about how to cook! They were very nice to us and we appreciated it very much.

Most of the time I could get off of the base for the night, but it would mean riding a bus to the Sound, catching a ferry and riding for about 30 minutes, then getting off at the pier in Seattle and catching a bus to ride another 30 minutes or more to our apartment. Then in the early morning I would be back on the bus – ferry - bus and back on the base to study or stand watch for the day, and then start all over again after work. But it was worth it! We were young and had plenty of energy for the demanding schedule.

Lou and Leona
so young - but so in love!

65 years later - still so in love!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eleanor Leona Carpenter Butler

Eleanor Leona Carpenter
born - November 14, 1925

Leona with her mother, Lorene "Toodie" Carpenter
back left of picture

Leona - 1928
3 years old

Leona (about 7 years old)- Lorene

As I read through many years of Dad's journals, I realized that he always made note of Mom's birthday on November 14 and mentioned where they ate for her celebration. Those notes of birthday recognition were usually followed by a narration of what they had done that day, typically involving service for someone else.

In 1989 Mom and Dad were serving a mission in Switzerland and spent almost all of their time together. They had to use a little creativity and intrigue to surprise each other for birthdays and holidays. As the following entry shows, Dad really gave it his best shot!

14 November 1989 - Leona's birthday.
I lost the card I had bought her for her birthday! I had carefully sneaked over to the cash register after picking it out while she was shopping and paid for it, put it in my inside pocket and rejoined her. This morning when I went to get it out of my pocket, it wasn't there.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

James Alan Butler, aka "Pretty Gee-Gee"

James Alan Butler

Jim was born during Dad's football season. Mom recalls the events surrounding his birth:

I do remember a game when Lou was laying on the field after a play. He just had the wind knocked out of him, and he really wasn't injured. I guess it didn't bother me too much because Jim wasn't born until the next day. The game was on November 8, 1947.

Look at those eyes!
Mom remembers that as a toddler, Jim would look in the mirror
and say, "Pretty Gee-Gee."

Lou, Sr. with Jim

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I consider it a privilege. . .

Tesi - Jim - Leona - Lou
November 7, 1975

Since Lou was serving as the Stake President of the Pueblo Stake, he had the authority to perform marriages. It was a special occasion for him to perform the marriage ceremony for Jim and Tesi.

November 7, 1975 – Jim and Theresa Ann Sandoval were married. I performed the ceremony with these words of introduction and then followed with a prayer and the traditional marriage ceremony.

“I consider it a privilege to conduct this ceremony for you.

"We believe marriage to be ordained by God, to help develop His attributes and that absolute loyalty to one another is essential.

"Most Latter-day Saint weddings are performed in temples, homes or chapels, with sealings to be performed in the temple as soon as possible.”

Soon after their wedding, Tesi was baptized, and in due time they were married in the Salt Lake Temple.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An inside View

Dad's handwritten daily journal

I've already recorded my thoughts and feelings about this family history project. But even more interesting to me is what Dad recorded in his journal about his interest in sharing his family history with all of us. Obviously none of us would be enjoying his life through this blog if he hadn't followed the counsel to keep a journal and a history.

January 7, 1989
– I’m spending a lot of time sorting pictures into envelopes by families. Then I will start putting them into albums. It has been interesting – both new things and seeing pictures of things I enjoyed in years past. I want to get this project finished and then get started on my old diaries, appointment books, and photos to make a meaningful and interesting journal. I am finding the old pictures very fascinating and leading to some genealogy work. I wish Mom and Dad would have written on pictures or on the albums so I would know who people were. I have to try to put them into albums so as to save them, but also to make them meaningful to our children and grandchildren.

I found pictures of both of my grandparents and also their golden weddings. Those group pictures brought back some memories, but I have forgotten so much!
I’ve purchased 12 – ½ inch notebooks and 200 page protectors for the photo albums.

Family pictures in the notebooks

20 January 1989 –Since I don’t have any page protectors I am just slitting the paper for the corners of the pictures to stick through to get them to stay in the notebook. Then I print about the pictures in the very smallest print on my computer printer and tape it to the picture or next to it in the notebook.

2 July 1992
– I went out in the garage [in Pleasant View] and started getting some of the things that I want to take back to Greeley with me. I found a lot of pictures and old journals that I need for my autobiography. I also got a lot of books that I want, including some books from our trips to Germany and also of our mission. I could fill the truck with just what I looked at today. I piled them up by the front of the garage. Now I have to go through them and dust them all off good before I re-box them for the trip to Greeley.

28 July 1992
– I got all of the pictures put together in the top of my closet. I am now getting close to being able to start getting my autobiography started in earnest.

Journal entry
10 April 1989

31 July 1992 – I went through all of my notebooks of journals, appointments, agendas, etc. and filed them in folders by the year. Now I will have to go through them and put them in chronological order as the next step. I have them in five boxes. I also found several more notebooks full of pictures, so it is now about 63 notebooks full of pictures, plus the briefcase and a few boxes of pictures. I must get the rest of the pictures in page protectors and label a lot of them before I forget all about them.

19 April 1993
– I started on my autobiography by setting up a file cabinet with sections of topics and began writing. I will be able to write about any section now, such as service time, scouting, church service, etc.

7 August 1993
– Davis Family reunion. Every time we got a chance, I was showing Aunt Florence and Uncle Norman my pictures and trying to get names to go with old pictures. I showed them how I am working my pictures and journal together.

1 September 1993
– Spent most of the day working on my journals. I did some work on 1930 – 1953. I’m just putting information on the disk that I had in the files. I can add a lot more if I take the time to think about what I have listed, and if I look through the pictures of those years.

7 September 1993
– Worked some more on my journals, finding pictures and trying to remember.

19 November 1993
– Aunt Florence is here to visit for a few days. All week long she and I have been talking genealogy. She told me many things about her genealogy trip with Uncle Evan, and I got some information on many of Grandpa Harker’s brothers, etc.

Thanks for all your work, Dad.