The kindergarten teacher asked me to check on one of her students. She was afraid he was going to get hurt after he told her that when he went home at noon, no one was there and he had to light the gas heater to warm up the house. I talked to the student and told him I would like to take him home after school and have him show me how he lit the stove. He was happy and exited to have me take him home, as it was very cold and he didn’t have a very good coat. So I got him a warm coat from our store of clothing that had been collected by the PTA.
When we got to his house, I found the plaster off the walls and paper sacks nailed over some of them, but the wind whistled through, and I could see through the walls in many places. I found that they had a little rectangular metal stove, 12” x 30”, and about 28” high. It was just like the ones we had in our Quonset huts on Adak when I was in the Navy, only ours burned oil and this one was hooked up to a gas line.
When we went into the house, the little boy picked up a big box of wooden matches and went over to the stove and turned on the gas. It really hissed as he turned it on. Then he warned me to stay back and he lit the match, threw it in the stove, and jumped back. There was a big flash of light as the gas lit and soon there was a roaring fire in the stove.
There was no mother in the home. The father had no job, but as he told me, he kept hustling up jobs around town to get money for his family. I suggested that we keep the boy at school for lunch and let him attend both sessions of kindergarten. The father was more than glad to let him stay all day, and managed to send him with a lunch.
Johnny - Floyd - Norman - Richard - Lemuel - Garnons
Charles Harker (front)
Della Davis and daughters - early 1920's
back: Augusta - Marjorie - Edna - Birdie - Mable
front: Rachel - Della - Florence
When I was very young, holidays meant going to the ranch in Haswell. The ranch was located seven miles northeast of Haswell, Kiowa County, Colorado. This was the sheep ranch where my grandparents settled after leaving the Colorado Springs area, and where my mother went to school. When they first got there, Grandpa Davis hired a teacher to come live with them to teach school for his children. I think he had about 10 children at that time.
My uncles and aunts were all married or gone from home when I first remember. The house had seven bedrooms, and families would take a bedroom when they arrived. The smaller families would double up in a bedroom. One uncle lived next door, so some always went to stay next door with them for the nights.
On Thanksgiving, people would start coming in on Wednesday, and Thursday morning the men and older boys would go coyote hunting. One time they got home about noon with several coyotes in the trunk of one car. They usually see several at one time, and as they get one, they quickly throw it in the trunk and go on after another one. This one day, when they got home, they got out of the cars and opened the trunk. You should have seen the men all scatter, as one of the coyotes was not dead and he jumped out as they opened the trunk!
After a big meal, Grandpa Davis would get out the cards and the card tables to play “High Five.” There would be tables all over the house, as many as 12 – 15. My grandpa Davis was the only one that smoked; none of his five sons who were usually there smoked. The sixth son, Lemuel, started smoking when he was in the Navy during World War I. So even though none of them were Mormons, it was a smoke free house, although crowded with card players.
If the weather was nice and the lakes were frozen over, you might see all of us going to one of the lakes (both were about ¼ mile from the ranch house) for a lot of fun ice skating. Even my granddad and Uncle Frank might be on a sled with a pitch fork for a pusher. We had some wicked games of something resembling hockey!
In speaking of their experience on a mission in Europe, Dad wrote the following about their marriage which I think may contain some of their secrets to a long and successful marriage.
This kind of experience, shared with my beloved wife, enhances a marriage experience which had already exceeded my fondest expectations. But now we had much more uninterrupted time together than ever before. We had no telephone in our room, no truck or automobile, and no TV. I really didn't think I could survive with no football games or sports of any kind to watch. We had no news except once an hour over the Armed Forces Radio, and we missed it most of the time, because we couldn't stand to listen to the music that went with it!
So why was it so great? Well, we spent a lot of time talking and reading and visiting with our fellow missionaries. We read the scriptures more than we ever did before, we did some writing in our journals and a lot of letter writing. Not having a car, we did a lot of walking - we had to get groceries every day , and walking was very interesting because of the close forests and interesting towns. We loved to see the beautiful homes and well-kept gardens and yards.
In front of the statue "The Shepherd and His Sheep"
We have some great photos of Mom's in younger years, especially during the time that Dad was in Adak during World War II in 1944 and 1945. She regularly wrote to him and sent lots of snapshots. The comments below this pictures are her words as written on the back of the pictures.
So in honor of her birthday - enjoy!
This is sure good of Eldon
Leona - Eldon - Charlotte
_____ says this suit is the cutest thing I've got.
I'm saving it for you.
This was my birthday spanking.
Pinky wants you to know she really gave it to me after the picture was taken.
The Swiss Temple served stakes and missions in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Switzerland, and sometimes groups from northern Africa. The stakes and missions are assigned for a one-week period, one to five weeks a year. The members from Portugal had about a 24-hour bus ride to get to the temple. Pres. Ringger said most of them spent about ¼ of their annual salary to spend a week at the temple. Most people who came either had their own temple work to do, or had previously sent in the family group sheets for temple work for their relatives, so there was a lot of paper work to do, and we had to help them see that they got the work done for their kin.
Brother and Sister Portalano Responsible for the hostel
The Church owns a hostel across the street from the temple, next to the forest. It could handle about 200 people, with six bunks in a room for the women, and six bunks in a room for the men. Honeymooners are not too happy with this arrangement! Downstairs in the hostel is a large kitchen with several stoves, refrigerators, sinks and tables where families would cook and eat part or all of their meals. They often brought some of their food with them, and would go to the local stores for milk, etc.
On a clear day we could see the Alps from the steps of the temple.
The patrons would arrive by bus and cars, with a few coming in motor homes and trailers, arriving usually on Monday evening or early Tuesday morning. If a large group arrived, we would open up the temple on Monday evening and encode their recommends, rent their clothing [white clothing worn in the temple] and assign them lockers. This would make things a lot smoother on Tuesday morning. At 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the patrons would be standing at the front entrance to the temple waiting for it to open. They would be visiting and admiring the view of the Alps from the steps of the temple.
Mr & Mrs. Juan Rodriguez - Louis & Leona Butler temple workers from Seville, Spain
Brother Mongiovi - a tailor Temple worker from Italy who came to the Swiss temple very often
Meanwhile, prayer meeting would start at 6:30 a.m. in the temple chapel, with the temple missionaries and temple workers from the stake/mission in attendance. President Louis Ringger would preside and conduct this meeting, and since he spoke German and also English, French and Italian, he would give greetings and instructions in four languages. If there were Spanish or Portuguese, we usually had another interpreter or two. When we sang, we had books in many languages and we would pick up our songbook in our language as we entered the prayer meeting. Every hymn was sung in the 4-6 languages!
After observing this for several weeks, I wrote this:
Communication is sometimes difficult When different languages we speak; But there is always one ready answer After using hands, head, body and feet. NO PROBLAME! They had traveled for 24 hours On a hot, stuffy old bus. The hostel was noisy, and the beds were strange. The youth wanted to stay up all night. But at 6:45 they are waiting at the door to come into the house of the Lord. All year they have waited and yearned to return, And now, with recommends in hand they visit and chat and look at the Alps as the temple workers prepare for the day. As the temple doors open, they proudly present their recommends to the Temple President. All clothed in white and ready to serve, They respond to the workers’ every request, NO PROBLAME! May we all learn to say to the Lord, NO PROBLAME!
Vincia and Camilla Botta temple missionaries from Italy
13 October 1989 – One of the first persons to greet us was Sister Botta, from Italy. She saw us come in, and she rushed into the room and started hugging Leona and kissing her on the cheeks; Leona was so surprised that she didn’t know what to do. She was also speaking in Italian, so we didn’t know what she was saying!
Later in his history, Dad made this reference to the Bottas:
Brother and Sister Botta, temple missionaries from Italy, told of their conversion (which is a great story, but will take too long to tell). However, let me tell you about Bro. Botta’s great sacrifices. He had a well stocked wine cellar when they were baptized. After lunch and dinner he greatly enjoyed a glass of wine as they visited. His wife, as usual, put the glass of wine by his plate after dinner. He looked at it, tears rolled down his cheeks, then he said, “Take it away.” After that he would quickly leave the table after eating and go back to work in his cabinet making shop – no more husband and wife conversations after dinner. Sister Botta got tired of that, so she brought the wine back and got a commitment from him that they could have time to visit after dinner without the wine.
I'd like to know of their conversion - if I can get Mom to tell it to me, I'll add it later.
Garnet and George Standish - counselor in the Swiss Temple Presidency
13 October 1989 - We were set apart as Swiss Temple Workers by President Standage. He promised us health and satisfaction if we were obedient to the laws pertaining to such. He also put great emphasis on the love and appreciation for us by them and Heavenly Father, and the admonitions to be kind and helpful to fellow workers, and especially to the patrons
Hilde and Louis Ringger - temple president
18 October 1989 – When we met the president of the temple as we were invited up to his home for dinner, he told us he wished they would just send us straight over to him, and he would instruct us. Then he said, “Forget about using German and use English until you feel comfortable using German. This is an international temple, and the primary language is English.” This put us at ease right away.
Max - counselor in temple presidency and Jan Berryessa
The Church built an apartment house on the edge of the temple grounds – 16 apartments. We had a lovely apartment with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and plenty of storage cupboards and closets and a storage room downstairs for our suitcases, boxes, etc. The apartment had everything we needed in it; all we brought was our clothes.
One of the great things about the apartments in Switzerland was that they were big enough for us to have other couples or several couples in for dinner. It was a great way to get to know other missionaries better and a time when friendships really developed. For farewells and holidays, we took our tables downstairs to the main hallway where we had covered dish dinners and some great times as a total group.
Temple view from our apartment window
The temple at night
Our bedroom window opened toward the temple and at night we could lie in bed and see the temple all lit up and beautiful with the moon always shining over it – or so it seemed. Out our other window we could see the chapel which was next to our apartment house.
Walking back to the apartment from the temple. This shows about half the distance.
Also located on the temple grounds was the ward meetinghouse where we attended church. The temple and the church were within a two-minute walk from the apartment. It was about a 15 minutes walk to the shopping area of Zollikofen, where we had a savings account at the bank, a post office, and all kinds of stores. However those stores were more expensive than at the big mall which was about 5 miles down the road.
When we arrived in October 1989, the forest behind the temple was beautiful.
The forest was right behind the temple and we often took walks in the forest – sometimes by ourselves and sometimes with other missionaries. Several of us always went for a good long walk on Sunday afternoons. The Swiss families love to take walks together and there are many beautiful places to walk. This was also true in German, but to a lesser degree. We soon learned the great joy of taking longs walks in the woods and around the edge of the little town in which we lived. We could see the beautiful Alps off in the distance, about an hour drive to the base of the Alps.
After church in Pleasant View before leaving for Switzerland Colleen - Leona - Jessica - Jimmy
8 October 1989 – We were in Pleasant View today, for our last Sunday before leaving for Switzerland. Jim and Tesi and their family and Kari and Dave came for the weekend. In our Fast and Testimony meeting Kari sang, “I am His Child.” I never heard her sing so well, and she always sings beautifully! Her voice was so full and every word was so clear and distinct. I was so proud.
11 October 1989 – The big day! We had spent three days in Salt Lake for temple training, and this morning we left for Switzerland. Lou and Colleen and the kids came to the airport. We were glad to have them there to see us off. Jessica really cried hard when we left. We could hear her as we went down the ramp to the plane.
Grandma and Grandpa arrive in Switzerland! Leona - Chuck - Tom
12 October 1989 –We arrived in Zurich to begin our mission. We could see Chuck, Carol, Jeremy and Amy looking through the big window outside of the customs area. It sure was good to see familiar faces in a strange land, and to know that they can take us where we were going. They took us to a shopping mall near Zollikofen and then they took us to the Missionary apartments. They had the key to the apartment for us and had already been to our apartment, bringing food from the PX in Germany and filling our refrigerator and cupboards. I think we were the first missionaries to get that kind of reception!
While at the mall, Mother lost her purse. We thought she had left it in Tom’s car, so we were not concerned until we got a call from the US Embassy saying that they had Mother’s purse! The temple recorder took us over to the Embassy to pick it up. We never would have found the embassy by ourselves. Everything was in the purse! The bills, the change, the credit cards, the passport, the hairbrush were all there along with the name and address of the man who had turned it in.
It's probably unusual for senior missionary couples to serve in an area near their children, but Louis and Leona had that opportunity since Chuck and Carol were not far away in Germany. Dad recorded this about that bonus:
We spent most of our weekends with Chuck and Carol. They would pick us up on Saturday at noon and bring us back on Monday afternoon. Chuck was the Bishop of the Servicemen’s Ward in Mannheim. He was working at the Mannheim Army Depot as a civilian. Each weekend they would take us to see some special sights, famous towns, museums, etc.
And as this picture shows, the commissary privileges were really appreciated!
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." - Malachi 4: 5-6
Please feel free to share your memories relating to any of these posts by leaving a comment. If you have information, pictures, memorabilia, or any kind of family history you would like to have included on this blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.