Sunday, March 29, 2009

Martha Amanda Kimball Wisemiller

Hipped Gable with Rustic Star by John Clement Howe.Barn located on Elm Avenue, Newaygo County, Michigan
Martha Amanda Kimball Wisemiller was Lou's great-grandmother. I have no pictures of her, and very little information written about her. When I checked the notes section of Dad's genealogy records, I found the following brief summary which explains why we know so little about her. She died before her 18th birthday. Her daughter Cora Melvina Wisemiller Butler (Lou's grandmother), was only 2 1/2 years old at the time of Martha death, so she would have had no memories or pictures to pass on to future generations.

Martha Amanda Kimball was born on Saturday, 6 June 1857, White Cloud, Brooks Township, Newaygo County, Michigan. (Click here if you want to read about that area today.) She was no doubt named after her grandmother Amanda Westbrook. In the 1870 Census, she was apparently still living at home, but her occupation was listed as "domestic". She was married on her 14th birthday, Tuesday, 6 June 1871, perhaps at White Cloud, to William Henry Harrison Wisemiller. She died on 15 March 1875, White Cloud, Newaygo County, Michigan, from difficulties in childbirth (one of her twins dying with her). She was only 17 years when she died, and although she had already had a child [Cora Melvina], the bearing of twins was apparently too much for one so young.

This brief entry gives me a lot to think about. What did she look like? What did she do for fun? What was her daily routine? Why did she marry so young? Was 14 years old considered a young age for marriage in 1857?

Although these questions remain unanswered for now, at least we know of her, and we have gathered her in to our family.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Hair Raising Experience

While serving a temple mission in Switzerland and Germany (much more about that in future posts), Lou and Leona found themselves lacking in a few ordinary conveniences - like affordable haircuts.

Lou looks a little nervous,
but is keeping the mirror in position so he can direct Leona's work.

It's a good thing when the barber is happy!

February 4, 1990 (Lou writing) - When we got home from the store this afternoon, President Berryessa already had the B&B Barbershop going, so I cut his hair and three others before we closed up shop. I didn’t get my hair cut as Leona is now cutting my hair! Bro. Cardon says that we must go to the same temple to work after April, because I have to be there to cut his hair! It seems that when men get to the age of missionary couples, the money saved is more important than how the hair looks!

July 25, 1990
(Leona writing) - Lou cut my hair this morning. That is always a traumatic experience. First I have to be sick and tired of having too much hair; then I have to remember how much it costs to get my hair cut and that I don’t have a beauty operator here; and then I have to “psych myself up” to let Lou cut my hair. After several days of this, I finally let him get out the clippers. I am a nervous wreck as I sit there waiting for him to get started. I have visions of looking like Harpo Marx or one of the three stooges! I say terrible things about his methods and try to tell him how beauty operators cut hair. He completely ignores me, complains now and then because my hair doesn’t stand up straight, and calmly cuts and cuts and cuts according to his own way. I am certain by now that I will be bald, and it’s all I can do to keep from screaming. And then – it’s over. I wet my hair, and I can tell by the feel that there’s not much hair left. I have this sinking feeling in my heart. Then I blow dry my hair, and would you believe that my hair cut is just perfect! It is exactly the way I want it. I don’t know why he puts up with the “abuse”, but I’m glad he does. All of the women around here think I’m so lucky to have a husband who can cut my hair so well. Actually, I think he’s pretty lucky to have a wife whose hair curls up and hides any mistakes he might make.

Although their solution of cutting their own and others' hair was resourceful, it was not without anxiety - at least for Leona - and makes for some great reading here!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Butler Fab Four

These pictures of Lou's handsome sons have a developing date of October, 1955, but I'm guessing that they may have been taken earlier in the year - perhaps at Easter.

The line up
Louis Edward, Jr. - James Alan - Charles Thomas - Donald Eldon

The big boys
Lou, 8 years - Jim, 7 years

Twins - 5 years old
Tom - Don

A houseful of boys

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

139 years old!

Della Davis - 69 years old
March 18, 1939

Harker and Della Davis
birthday celebration

Harker - Della

Happy Birthday, Grandma Della

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Just send them home when they get tired."

The following is taken from Dad's daily journal on his 58th birthday. Clearly he wasn't focused on himself that day.

16 March 1981 - Orlando Joseph Lucero's funeral. Had Lando in school. His little old mother was a friend. She once said, "Mr. Butler, since you like us Mexicans so much, how come you never learned to speak Mexican?"

He then wrote a little bit about the Lucero family. It was very apparent that he cared a lot for this family. We get more of their story recorded later with all of Lou's school stories.

Lou Butler, principal

Mr. & Mrs. Lucero had about twelve children, and they were very good parents and good school patrons. All of their boys sold papers from the time they were very young, until they could get better jobs. I first met Mrs. Lucero on my first day as principal at Strack School [1953]. The Kindergarten teacher was new, and so was I. I also had Bessemer school.

It seemed that every new Kindergarten child (all 40 of them) had his mother, an aunt or two, and at least one grandmother with him for the first day of school. They all stayed for a long time! I finally asked all who could, to please let us take care of them and step out of the room onto the playground. If their children did not put up a fuss, to please go home and come back at 11:30 when the children would be dismissed.

Most of them went outside, but stayed and visited with family and friends. I soon learned that the school was a real center for the community. They attended all of our programs, had a good active PTA, and were all very friendly and supportive.

Mrs. Lucero had brought two or three younger children with her, and as she left she said, “When the littler ones get tired playing in the kindergarten playhouse, just send them home. They know their way home.” I was surprised, but not too surprised to say, “No, please take them home with you. We have our hands full here with the Kindergarten children.” So she did.

I guess Mrs. Lucero wasn’t offended, as she was back often, and when I returned to Bessemer after 20 years at Park View School, she said to me, “Mr. Butler, you like us Mexican people so much, why didn’t you ever learn to speak Spanish?”

* * * * * * * * * * *
And almost as an afterthought, written at the end of the entry for his birthday in 1981:

Birthday dinner with Toodie, Pinky, Beth, Kari and Kristi.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

" . . . that they would love the scriptures"

8 March 1992 – I had to teach the High Priest Quorum today [in Yuma, Arizona]. The lesson was about likening the scriptures to us. We discussed what that means, and talked about some ways to make the scriptures more meaningful in our lives. I bore testimony to the class that if they would take the scriptures and see exactly what they should do when they read the scriptures, realizing that the messages in the scriptures are for “them” and internalize the messages of them in their lives, that they would love the scriptures, Heavenly Father, Jesus and the prophets more than they ever thought possible. Reading the scriptures would become, not a chore, but a pleasure. The scriptures are for us, not for “them.”

22 August 1995 - Pretty good night - thought a lot about 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20.

As I thought about my body & soul being Christ's because he paid for me wth his atoning sacrifice - I thought of my present condition: arthritic joints, heart bypass, etc. It doesn't seem like much of a bargain!

Thanks to our having the scriptures, we know that these problems will all be corrected.

Therefore - we know that if we have been faithful, there are great things in store for us in the next life. Therefore, the urgent need to endure to the end with continued study, continued service, greater exercise of love for our families and all mankind.

Page from Lou's scripture study journal
April 21, 2002

12 March 2002 - I read in the Old Testament guide where President Kimball recommended keeping your journal along with studying the OT and writing your feelings and other facts in your journal as you study. I hope to do this.

Dad spent many hours studying the scriptures and wrote pages and pages of notes as he did. At times he simply copied the scriptures into his journals. I suppose the process of writing them allowed him the chance to really consider the words.

What he great example he was - and continues to be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Break in Texas - 1984

Clark and Carolyn Harriman

March, 1984 – took a vacation to Port Aransas, Texas with Clark and Carolyn Harriman, (Clark is my cousin). We spent three weeks with them fishing, golfing, and playing card games. We had a great time and hope to make more of those kind of trips with them.

We each had CB radios, and it was fun to be able to talk back and forth on the road to each other [while driving to Texas]. We were able to ask questions about things we saw. It is good to be with people like Clark and Carolyn who treat everyone with kindness and helpfulness.

Clark & Carolyn's motor home with their little truck on the trailer

While in Texas, they fished and golfed. This was Leona's first time on a golf course, but Lou reported that she did very well - kept the ball in the middle of the fairway all of the time.

Leona and Lou
golf course
at Corpus Christi, Texas

In order to fish the travelers had to catch their bait on the beach - fiddler crabs. The bait expeditions took place in the evening, and they used a propane lantern for extra light.

It was really fun and exiting when we found a lot of them [fiddler crabs]. They run for their holes, and they also bite when we grab them. We got so many that it was hard to keep them in the buckets. Clark tied a platter over the top so they couldn't get over the top and get out on the way home. We keep them in a half barrel of sand.

A little bait

Lou's play by play description:

#1 - Bait up

#2 - Talk to 'em

#3 - Hook 'em

#4 - Throw 'em on the rocks

One funny thing happened while fishing one day with [Uncle] Carl. [Carl Freeland was married to Lou's Aunt Rachel before her death.] I sat my bait bucket down and told him I’d bring him good luck. About that time, my bucket went down in the water in a hole between the rocks, the lid came off, the fiddler crabs came out, the bucket filled up with water, I reached for the bucket, my hat fell off, then Clark’s needle-nose pliers fell out of my pocket, I got the bucket out, reached for the pliers, and a wave came in and my head was under water! I did manage to get the pliers and everything else.

I finally was ready to fish and it wasn’t very long before I caught four nice fish. Carl had some bites, lost a good one after he almost had it out of the water, then lost a small one. So much for me bringing him good luck!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Colorado State College of Education - Fall, 1949

I graduated in June of 1948 [from Pueblo Junior College] with an Associate of Education Degree, and we decided to stop [attending] school and teach a year before trying to go to the Colorado State College of Education at Greeley.

When the summer was over [1949], I entered Colorado State College of Education in Greeley as a junior to continue my education for the fall quarter. I had planned to coach, and Pres. Knudsen of the Pueblo Junior College had assured me of a coaching position at the college if I would get my degree. But after a year’s experience in the elementary school and some experience helping Coach Simmons that year, I knew that I wanted to work with the elementary age group of kids.

Lou with boys in Greeley - early 1950
Eddy (Lou, Jr.) and Jim
twins (Don and Tom) in stroller

We moved into Married Student Housing which was a two bedroom Quonset hut down in the old sports complex between the football field and the baseball field. It was called Jackson Field and was ideal for our kids to play on the grass. The Quonset hut had been divided to make two apartments, one at each end. The front half of ours was with the kitchen on one side and the living room on the other side. Then there was a dividing wall down the middle of the back half with two bedrooms. The twins were just two months old when we moved to Greeley. We took one bedroom with them and Eddy and Jimmy had the other bedroom. It was really quite comfortable and was located just three blocks east of the campus.

Of course when school started, so did the football season. We took the boys and went to the first game of the season. It was with Wyoming, who was a powerhouse that year and had some really good players. Wyoming beat CSCE with a score of 103-0!

I went out for basketball, but the coach, Butch Butler, said he already had his team selected. He told me, “It looks like Coach Simmons kept you eligible, and the fact that your name is Butler will get you nowhere on this team.” He really didn’t like to take on transfers who would only be with him for two years instead of four years, so I took the hint and dropped out of the basketball program. I changed my major to Elementary Education and have never regretted it for a minute.

We had an old 1936 Plymouth in which we made many trips to Pueblo on the weekends. We would often go to get food from the folks’ storage and meat from the locker. The car had “knee-action” springs on the front, and if we maintained an even speed on the concrete highway to Pueblo, it would get into a rhythm and bounce higher and higher! I would have to apply the brakes to break the rhythm so it would stop.

I'll bet they wished their Plymouth looked like this:
photo courtesy of flickr

but it probably looked more like this!
photo courtesy of flickr

Tom Stanton enrolled at the same time, but he did not bring his wife and baby with him. He lived in the dormitory which was just across the street and up a block closer to the campus. Tom and I had played ball together at the Junior College, and we were close friends. He didn’t like to eat at the dormitory as they had to wear a coat and tie for the evening meal, so he would stay around at our house until we ate, and he ate with us much of the time.

Since we were trying to live on the GI Bill and it was difficult, we finally told him that if he wanted to eat with us all of the time, he should move in with the two boys and give us the money for the dorm to help with the food. He wanted to do that, and so he spent the winter quarter living with us. He got along fine with the boys and didn’t mind having to get up with them sometimes at night. However, we went back to Pueblo for the spring quarter as I was registered to do my student teaching at Minnequa, so he had to move back into the dorm.

Grandma Toodie - Lorene Carpenter
twins - Don and Tom

Fortunately for us, Grandma “Toodie” Carpenter was still working at Crews Beggs in the children’s department, and spent a good part of her salary buying clothes for our four boys. They were the best-dressed boys around! She also bought the twin stroller for Tom and Don.

These entries make it very clear that Lou and Leona truly valued education and were willing to do whatever they needed to do in order to receive their degrees. What a great example!