Friday, April 30, 2010

Picture this

Some pictures of Mom and Dad's life in Germany:

 Leona - during a walk through the forest

The trees were huge!

Beautiful yard behind the house

"Toom" - a favorite grocery store within walking distance

Leona walking in the rain

Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

He looked so little . . .

 photo here

February 4, 1982, 2:33 p.m. – The police just took Carlos Ortega, a 3rd grader, to Park View Hospital. [He has been] smoking marijuana, popping pills, and Dr. Austin, a psychiatrist and my good friend,  says he is an alcoholic. It is all I can do to keep from crying like a baby. Two big uniformed policemen, a 6’6” social worker, and his mom watched them leave. The two ladies followed them to the hospital where they will admit him.

Carlos was sitting at his desk working at math when I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to come with me. I picked up his jacket and carried it to the office. He wanted to know where we were going, and he was looking around as though he knew something was wrong.

Carlos’ mother told me and Mrs. Helen Brekke that he and a boy from Minnequa had taken $100 from an old man - a “wino,” and a $20 bill from a “queer.” She told us that he came home late at night and that he stayed at the arcade hanging around with high school kids. She couldn’t get him to take a bath or clean up without a big fight.

He looked so little as he walked out with those two big uniformed policemen.

 In August of that year, Dad was subpoenaed to testify in court in Carlos' case.  However, he noted on the back of the summons that the case was canceled on August 18, and he didn't have to appear.

I wonder what happened to little Carlos Ortega.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Communal Living

The Church has purchased a 3 story house [in Friedrichsdorf] that has been a single family home, but will be converted into missionary apartments.  Four couples will live on each floor sharing a bathroom and kitchen.

The new home in Friedrichsdorf, Germany

The transfer to Germany would provide many new experiences - including that of shared living quarters, with only a private bedroom.  Before the move, Dad made several journal entries expressing his reservations about living communally with comments such as "I just don't see how it can work!" or "We were glad to get the information, but a bit concerned about living with possibly 3 other couples in one house, sharing one kitchen.  Hope it has more than one bathroom!"

Kitchen shared by three couples and one single man

Community bathroom

The laundry room was in the basement

The "powder room" was curtained off in the laundry room . . . 
not much privacy!

The basement recreation room

 The view from their windows was picturesque

Although not ideal, the living arrangements worked out fine.  And as it turned out, their room was the best in the house - more about that later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home, Sweet German Home

 Butler's "apartment" - window on the second floor

We are finally in our apartment which consists of a bedroom about 13' x 17' and is on the second floor with a beautiful view of the homes and the forest.  We are in the only apartment that has a sink in it, so we have an advantage over the others.  Tom and Carol have brought us things like a crock pot, electric frying pan, and a small refrigerator so we can be completely independent of the [shared] kitchen except for washing dishes.  It is real nice to be able to cook and eat in our own room.

Multi-purpose kitchen area

We have two small tables and a little deal to set my computer and printer on.  so you can see, our room has all of the conveniences except the bathroom . . . Sharing is not too bad when we can wash, brush teeth, etc in our own room.

Creative storage solution - and yes, they had twin beds!

Living room window
 Leona with a Christmas doll

Journal keeping and letter writing
We really have as nice an apartment as any, and better than most.  We don't have enough room for everything, but we probably have too much.  We are in pretty good condition.  The room is getting to be very comfortable and will soon seem like "home."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friendly Greetings

Frankfurt Temple
Friedrichsdorf, Germany

Shortly after being notified of their move to Frankfurt, Mom and Dad received the following letter of welcome:

24 February 1990

Elder and Sister Louis Edward Butler,

Sister Cannon and I want you to know how delighted we are that you have been transferred to work in the Frankfurt Temple, after the closure of the Swiss Temple.  We congratulate you for being worthy and willing to serve and know it will be a wonderful experience for you.  This letter is to welcome you and impart helpful information to you as you make preparations to come.

The Frankfurt Temple was dedicated September 1, 1987.  Our regular temple area includes all the stakes and districts of West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France, including Paris.  During the closure of the Swiss and London temples, the temple will operate in seven languages:  German, Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.  Stakes will participate regularly in those language areas, including some American servicemen's stakes.      

We have learned to appreciate the lovely location we have in Friedrichsdorf, which is a small suburb connected to Frankfurt by a direct-line fast train.  In three to five minutes you can walk from the temple site to a grocery store, a bank, or a drug store.  The [Church materials] Distribution Center is nearby.         

On the temple property we have a guest facility that normally houses eighty-five temple patrons, however, during the closure of the Swiss and London temples we are increasing the hostel housing capacity to 208 people.  A villa has the apartments of the president and counselors, as well as some apartments for single sisters and couple missionaries.  In addition, we have leased three houses; the farthest away is only a ten minute walk from the temple.  These were former family houses, two of which can accommodate four pairs of missionaries.  The rent varies from 600 to 800 marks per month for couples to approximately 250 marks for singles.  These prices include an approximate heating cost. 

Total living costs per month are about 800 marks per person (1600 marks per couple.)  The exchange rate varies; lately it has been around 1.65 DM per dollar.

May we say again how delighted we are to welcome you to the House of the Lord and look forward to working with you here.

With friendly greetings,
Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr.

14 April 1990 (after arriving in Friedrichsdorf):
We really had a pleasant welcome from President Cannon.  He is so personable.

 The temple spire seen through the surroundings

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whistling Johnny

Mrs. Austin was a first grade teacher at Strack School. She was a very large woman with a heart to match her large body. She had a hard life as she supported her invalid sister and mother until both passed away. After her responsibilities at home were over, she married, only to find out that teachers in District #20 could not be married. So rather than give up her job, she quickly got a divorce!  For the first time she could afford to spend her small teaching wages on herself. She became known for her large hats and bright colors. She was very generous with her means and often brought things for her students.

One day I was at my desk in the office, and I heard a whistle blowing and blowing and blowing, so I decided to go across the auditorium floor to Mrs. Austin’s room to see what was going on. When I looked into the room, I saw Johnny Wilson standing on top of one of the desks, the kind that are screwed to a runner with the whole row of desks fastened together. Johnny would blow the whistle and skip from one desk to another. Mrs. Austin would try to catch him, only to have him skip over to another row of seats. She couldn’t get between the seats and by the time she would go around to the row he was on, he would skip across a couple of rows!

Johnny was having a great time, until he looked up and saw me coming through the door. He quickly jumped down and ran to his seat. Needless to say, I took him over to the office and took care of him. That was in the days before anyway cared about corporal punishment (but about good behavior) and we had the support of the parents [in matters of discipline.]

photo credit here

Friday, April 9, 2010

On the move

 We got word yesterday that they are going to close the Swiss Temple for major repairs.  It has been in constant use since 1954 when it was the only temple in all of Europe.  It will be closed for about 15 months, so we are just waiting now to see where we will be reassigned.

The official moving notice

Needless to say, this was quite a blow!  Everyone was and is just stunned.  We know we cannot be sent to a place as nice as this is, and yet we will do whatever the Lord wants us to do.  We really love it here and just know that we can't find as good a place to live as we have here, but we will have another experience in another area.  

This is a beautiful country, and we want to get out and see as much of Switzerland as we can in the short time we have left here.  We had hoped to wait till summer to really tour the country.  We have our abonnement [travel card] for half price fares [on the train], which will help if we can have good weather.

February 24, 1990 - We just got word that we have been transferred to the temple in Friedrichsdorf (Frankfurt), Germany.  We will move on April 14, traveling by train with a group of six couples and two single sisters.

We later learned that the plans were changed so that we would travel by bus, which would be much better than hoping that our luggage gets there and having to transfer several times on a train.

14 April, 1990 - Moving Day!

 A little male ingenuity helped move the heavy things.

Raining!  So we loaded the bus in the rain and left our good friends and our very good apartment house for Frankfurt.  It was a pleasant ride, and we arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon. 

Moving . . .
 box by box. . .

on a bus . . .

 in the rain!

Ready for the next adventure!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holidays - Mission Style

Although Lou and Leona were serving a mission in Switzerland with a group of new friends from many countries and backgrounds, their mission holiday dinners had a familiar look!

"The dinner table - before we messed it up eating!"

An international potluck

Donna Neilson told a Christmas story in English, 
and Jurgen Mossner translated it into German.

With the festive little Christmas tree

Friday, April 2, 2010

Principally speaking. . .

 Bessemer School Staff
Lou Butler, principal (center back)

Some memories from the early days of Principal Butler:

I started at Bessemer and Strack Elementary schools. I took over from Ed Blood at Bessemer who went to Corwin Jr. High and Victoria Christiano who went to Edison and Washington.

Bessemer was larger, and it required a lot more time. There were many boys who were 14-16 years old and were a terrible influence in the younger boys in the school. By the end of October, I had transferred them to Keating Jr. High. Mr. Leo Scharton was principal there, and he agreed that they should be in Jr. High, and he preferred to get them now rather than a year from now!

I had a few faculty problems, but most of the faculty accepted me and worked with me. Mrs. Reynolds, the 5th and Music teacher who wanted only to teach music, proceeded to schedule her class to other teachers in the lower grades and teach their music. It meant that her class went to a different teacher every 30 minutes of the day! She had said nothing to me, and I didn’t realize it for a while. When I did, I informed her that I was putting out a new schedule and I expected her to follow my schedule. When it came out, she walked in the office and said that she would not follow the schedule, so I invited her to go see the superintendent about a transfer and in the meantime, that schedule would hold. I offered to go with her to see the superintendent, but she didn’t like that idea either! She stuck it out until the end of the year, and then was transferred out.

Betty Curry, the Kindergarten teacher, wasn’t pleased with my leadership either. She said in Dr. Taibl’s class, “What can you expect when you have a kid for a principal?” All she wanted to do was play the piano, have the children work puzzles, and go outside for long, long recesses. She was the niece of Edna Hawke, 2nd grade teacher at Strack. They compared notes about me every night! Miss Hawke retired at the end of the year.

Miss Virginia Walsh was my greatest worry as she was a drunk and I knew that she was often drinking at school, but I could never prove it. Mr. Dunlap, Assistant Superintendent who later became the Superintendent had been the principal at Bessemer. He had had many dealings with her in the past, so he was very sympathetic and helpful. She used to call me up on the phone at night when she was drunk and would talk on and on about what a poor principal I was and that “I was nothing but an old Mormon and had no business being in a good Catholic community!” She had a sister who taught at Edison, so Emil Paripovich and I compared notes regularly as the two often fought and his teacher always got the worst of it.