Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting to know you

December 1984
 30 August 1984 - We are beginning to get to know the students who come over to the institute pretty well, at least on a first name basis.  We usually have 15 or 20 of them in during the evening, and they visit, read, listen to the stereo, and play ping-pong and pool.  They are very friendly.  They are dressed in casual clothes, running shorts, and tee shirts.  They are not real fancy clothes, but always clean.  So far, even in some rather exciting games, we have yet to hear a cuss word among them.  As is so typical of us, we seem to have a lot more boys than girls, though there are some girls. 

at Institute Graduation - April, 1995

Some of the girls asked Leona if we would teach them to slow dance and wanted to know what it was like to be married so long!

3 October 1984 - We now have 43 members coming in fairly regularly and about 30 non-members, but a few of our members we have yet to meet.  Mother is going in to pop popcorn for the evening since she and some of the girls are going over to the Lawrence Ward for a Relief Society meeting.  The girls are really taking to Mom now and are coming to see her a lot about everything.

Leona and girls after a pie baking activity - February 1987
30 October 1984 - I'm certainly having trouble getting the words on paper.  There's a stereo blaring behind me and the ball bouncing in front of me.  I'm amazed at our tolerance level where music is concerned.  I even go around singing, "Purple Rain -- Purple Rain."  I can almost tell who is in the lounge by the music on the stereo.  If I hear country-western, I know that Cora or Lana are around.  I really enjoy country western, but some of the lyrics embarrass me if there are a lot of students around!  

14 February 1986 - Dad's barber really cuts his hair short.  The other night we were talking to Darlene and Lorraine.  I said I needed to get a haircut.  Darlene said, "You don't need a haircut."  I assured her I did, because my hair was too long.  Lorraine said, "Well, I guess we'll hae two bald heads around here instead of one.

16 February 1986 - I just went over to the house and got a wire hanger for a boy who locked his keys in his car.  I sure do hope he has a car!

Institute girls - October 1984
Molly Yazzie and Kaye Begay went with us to a fireside.  They always wear dresses to church now.  I never thought dresses would look so good!  Most of my girls still wear blue jeans.

 ". . . wilt thou make thyself known unto me . . ." 
Alma 22:18

Friday, August 27, 2010

School Days

Birdie - When I was ready for school I had to go to the “Lone Star” school which was three miles southwest of our place. Daddy bought a little high-spirited pony, and I rode horseback for three years. Lots of mornings I would be so cold I couldn’t walk when I’d get there. A boy about 15 years old always was there to build the fire and get the school house warm. Many times he would carry me in and set me by the stove, and if it was stormy he would get my pony and put me on her to go home at night. There were 7 kids riding horseback to school, only two going my way, but we did enjoy it when it wasn’t too cold.

Uncle Jim and gotten married by now, and Aunt Fern was sure I’d get hurt riding that pony. No wonder she worried, for we would go by her home on a dead run, dinner pails rattling and girls giggling, talking and yelling like three little Indians.

After I went three years horseback, Norman was ready for school, so Daddy bought a cart and we drove to school two years. Then Augusta (born 5 August 1897) was ready to go. She had to sit down front in a basket at our feet. We had one gate to go through if we went by Uncle Jim’s place. This particular evening we had to give Uncle Jim a note from Daddy, so we went that way. Norman opened the gate, but he couldn’t shut it, so I got out to help him and the pony started off on a trot. We couldn’t run fast enough to catch her, so we told Gusta to jump out. What did she do? She threw out lunch pails, quilts and everything else in the cart before she jumped out! So besides walking on home, we had all those things to carry. Imagine three unhappy tired children lugging all that down the road. When the pony arrived home without her passengers Mother sent Uncle Jack back to pick us up and were we ever glad

Norman - As time went on there were three of us going to school. Birdie, as the eldest, was our driver, and things do happen! [One time we had] a broken buggy shaft by bumping a cow that was too gentle to move out of the way. [Another time] there was a barbed wire gate to pass through. It was tight and hard to close. Augusta was too small to be of much help, so I had to call on Birdie. Augusta was left in the buggy. The horse became impatient to get started and headed for home while we were shutting the gate. Birdie shouted to Augusta to get out. She did, but first she emptied out the robes, dinner pails and books. So we were loaded as we started to trudge home. When the horse and empty buggy got to Uncle Jim’s place, he turned it around and came back and got us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Farming on the Colorado Prairie

Raising, feeding and caring for 13 children living on the Colorado prairie, Della and Harker Davis experienced long days of hard work.  The responsibilities of the home and children fell to Della, and Harker took his commitment to provide a living for his family very seriously. Circumstances required that the children work alongside the adults whenever possible - even planting potatoes!

Antique potato planter probably similar to the one used by Grandpa Davis.

Norman - One year Dad put in 80 acres of potatoes. The potatoes for planting were cut in quite large pieces, so they would provide moisture to start the plant along, and each piece must have at least one eye. A potato planter in those days was made either as a sled with a V-shaped plow effect, or with wheels and the same sort of plow. The person doing the planting had a seat, and a large box containing the potatoes to be planted.

Horse drawn potato planter

The year the 80 acres were planted I was still a small boy, but Dad gave me a gentle team with which to work the knife weeder. At the end of the field I turned too short, and somehow the horses became tangled. They took off down the field, turning the knife sled over on me as they went. I managed to escape injury, and the horses were not hurt, though they tangled in the lines and tugs, and one animal was down by the time Dad got there. He was working with another team in the same field, and had seen my difficulty. I remember helping pick up potatoes that fall. There were several pickers, as we hired help.

Seed potatoes with eyes ready to plant
 Birdie - Where the land was plowed for sod, became our field after plowing deeper and working it up. Corn and potatoes were the main crops. Some milo (a grain sorghum) and corn was planted for hay crops. The corn was planted with a hand planter, but potatoes were planted with a riding planter. I rode the horse while Uncle Jim dropped the potatoes one piece at a time down a chute to where a V shaped digger made a ditch in the row. It was a regular nightly chore to have the men bring tubs and a sack of potatoes into the kitchen. We would cut them in pieces, each piece having at least one eye. This done, we went to bed knowing the next day’s planting was ready for us. This was the order of the day for a week or so, for we planted several acres of potatoes which were taken to Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek to exchange for apples or groceries for winter use.

We also raised beef and pork which was butchered and taken to market. Several trips were made each winter. Sometimes we were able to get a load of coal from Canon City which was used in our cook stove and a large heater.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Family Home Evening . . . continued

Reminder - Monday nights are reserved for Family Home Evening
 4 November 1985 - Our FHE was fun tonight.  Lou read the short story "The High Place" by the Yorgasons.  Then he talked about "asking" when they need something and read a few appropriate scriptures.  We sang quite a few fun songs and played a great game.  They love games!  Our refreshments were nachos and Kool-aid.  They love to eat, too!  They put away a gallon of nacho cheese and six pounds of tortilla chips.


Construction zone
 25 December 1985 - Our last family home evening before Christmas vacation was fun.  We made gingerbread houses with graham crackers.  We had icing all over the place.  Even the "macho" boys loved it.  Some of them didn't take the houses home.  I tried to hang them on the tree, but they were so heavy with icing that I could only hang them on the inner heavier branches.

The makings of a village
16 February 1986 - We played a fun game at Family Home Evening last week.  It was called Gangster.  It's dodge ball with a different twist.  You try to hit the gangster.  He has a body guard in the circle with him, and the body guard is supposed to protect him by keeping the ball away from  him.  The gangster can keep away from the ball, but he can't touch it.

". . . how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you."
3 Nephi 10: 4

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Family Home Evening

Institute bulletin board - January 1986
 30 August 1984 - We had our first Family home evening last Monday night.  We had four girls and seven boys to start out with.  We were really apprehensive as to what they would like to do.  We started out with one of the boys giving the opening prayer, and then Leona started to lead them in some songs out of an Institute book  She felt that was too formal and decided to revert to her Cub Scout and first grade days and taught them to sing "Ravioli."  They really loosened up, and the boys seemed to enjoy it even more than the girls did.  Then she taught them "B-I-N-G-O", and they really enjoyed that.  Then we sang "Down in the Valley" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and then I gave the lesson - a very short one.  I told them the old Scoutmaster's Minute story of the farmhand who could sleep on a windy night, and related that to being constantly prepared for their tests here at Haskell.  Then I referred back to the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) and their need for preparation.  Then we played "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."  They really seemed to have a good time, and a friend of one of our members asked when we were going to do it again.  So, I guess we got by okay.  The cinnamon rolls Leona made and the punch and the dip and chips were well accepted also!

Refreshment time!
30 October 1984 - We weren't too happy about our Family Home Evening last night.  We had a very small group for the opening and lesson.  They then all start coming in for the games, and by refreshment time the whole gang's there.  I'm afraid I know what they have a testimony of.  I wish I knew how to combat it.  Lou and I plot and plan, but we still reach most of them with food only.

Playing "Old Plug"

Game time

 19 November 1984 - I've been planning our Family Home Evening.  It is so hard to choose games.  Some students want "wild" games, and some want quiet games.  It's not unusual to start a game with 5 and end up with 20.  The ranks swell to 40 when the refreshments come out.

Dad does an excellent job on the lesson.  He makes them up 'from scratch' and presents them so well.  I told him he should publish them when we're through.  He has a neat one planned this evening using the analogy of football plays and the gospel.

In these posts about Haskell, Lou's comments are in blue, and Leona's in maroon

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kona Kai update

Balcony view

I just found more pictures of the Kona Kai apartments.  

Check them out on this post - The Kona Kai Oasis.  Click on the pictures to make them bigger.


Friday, August 13, 2010

By way of explanation. . .

New arrivals - September, 1984
 Louis and Leona served as Church Service Personnel at Haskell Indian Junior College from August 1984 - May 1987.  They were at Haskell during the school year and then returned home during the summer for some much needed breaks.  Those three years were very rewarding, but very busy, as they were the spiritual leaders, activity directors, counselors, chauffeurs, cooks, and tailors to the LDS students at the junior college. They stayed up late, got up early, popped more popcorn than we can imagine, and even hosted at least one wedding!

During their time, Dad kept an extensive journal and took countless pictures (think 4 notebooks full!) to document the details - the highs and lows of their service.  Needless to say, I won't be posting all of that here.  Most of the material for these blog posts will be excerpts from letters they wrote home, with enough pictures mixed in to give an overview of their experience at Haskell.  Remember, this was the 80's and the pictures will prove it.  You're going to love them!

In addition to the Haskell experience,  I'll continue telling the Davis family history.  I plan to alternate these two stories on a weekly basis, so if you get tired of one, just wait a week and the other will show up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There's no place like home

 As we've learned from previous posts, Lou and Leona lived in a variety of dwellings while serving missions in Switzerland and Germany.  The opportunity to serve in Lawrence, Kansas provided another new housing experience.  

1900 W. 31st Street #I-8

28 August 1984 - We are now settled into life in the Gaslight Trailer Park in Lawrence, Kansas.  We rented a spot for a month for $105.  We put a skirt around the trailer and also had to anchor it down with big screws and metal strapping which goes over the top of the trailer, being anchored on each side.  We used only two straps, but they are necessary as there was a tornado here just a few years back which did a lot of damage.

The yard with the carport (behind the tree)

26 November 1984 (Leona)- The Thanksgiving dinner took place in the house next door to the Institute Building which the Church owns and is getting ready to renovate.  There was a nice dining table, but Lou couldn't get the heat to go on, so it was cold.  Once it sounded like somebody waling on a wooden floor, and Bryan said, "Oh, that's the ghost.  There's a ghost in this house."  I had heard someone say there were spirits in the house that had bothered the other missionaries, but I don't always believe what he says.  However -- I heard somebody walking on the wooden floor, and I made a mental note to never go in that house alone.  I'm sure glad we're living in our trailer.

 126 E. Indian Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas
28 January 1985 - The house at the Institute now has a new furnace and central air conditioning.  We are getting a contractor to make some repairs and then it will be repainted inside.  We have been told to order new carpet.  When it is done, we have the choice of moving in if we desire.  It has three bedrooms, two complete baths, living/dining room, kitchen, and fairly large basement with washer and dryer.  We can live in it for $150/month plus utilities, and they will not charge us for the summer when we are gone.

However, we like our trailer very much, and we like the privacy it gives us.  Living next to the Institute, we would be subject to much less privacy, and it would be a little more expensive.  We think that we could be of better service, however, and could make better connections with the ward and stake if we were in the house.  We have a little time yet to make that decision, so time will tell.

The following entry indicates that convenience won out over privacy and fear of ghosts!

Leona at the front door
 15 March 1985 - We are supposed to move in [to the house by the Institute] by the end of the month.  There will be several advantages to living next door, but some disadvantages, too.  I am sure that we can serve better, and maybe we can get a little more rest by being able to cover the Institute with just one of us part of the time.  We can also have more of our meals at home.

And this letter written a year after moving into the house just makes me laugh!

6 March 1986 (Leona)- Lou fixed the lights in our bathroom.  There was only one bulb, and since there was a place for four bulbs, I asked him to put some more bulbs in.  He put the bulbs in, and the lights went out.  Later I flushed the toilet, and the lights went on.  Yesterday I was trying to put on some make-up, and the lights kept flashing on and off, like a neon sign  I don't think I can get Lou a job as an electrician unless it's a place that specializes in novelty lighting.

"And my father dwelt in a tent . . ."
1 Nephi 3:27

Friday, August 6, 2010

"I will go and do . . ."

Institute Building in Lawrence, Kansas - Haskell Indian Junior Collete
 July 19, 1984 - Pueblo, Colorado -- On Monday afternoon I received a call from the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City which will alter the life style we have enjoyed so much during the past year and a half.  Don't get me wrong; it is the kind of call we knew would come sooner or later, and we are grateful for it with all our hearts.

Dad's notes from the telephone call
The voice on the telephone said, "This is Brother John Clifford calling from Salt Lake City, Church Office Building.  Is this Brother Louis Butler?"  When I told him that it was, he said that he was calling to ask my wife and I to consider accepting a call to serve the Lord in the Church Education System in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Haskell Indian Junior College Institute of Religion.

Our call is administrative.  They have an Institute Director, who teaches the religion classes -- he is a Navajo.  Our main responsibility is to assist him with the socials, Family Home Evenings, counseling, and general guidance activities in their Indian Branch.  We are not proselyting missionaries; we are Church Service Personnel.

 He explained that it was at a junior college for Indian students from all over the United States.  There are about 1,000 students in the school, and 92 of them have been identified as LDS.  Last year about another 100 non-LDS participated in the Institute program.

I told Brother Clifford that I would call him back the next day to give him our answer, though I could have told him we would accept.  When I told Leona about the call, she just said, "Of course we will go."

Leona beginning a new assignment

Lou is ready for a new adventure

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, . . . for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
1 Nephi 3:7

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Kona Kai Oasis

At two different times, Lou and Leona lived in the Kona Kai Apartments in Pueblo.  It was everybody's favorite!  Dad's thoughts about the Kona Kai:

Kona Kai indoor tropics
In July 1984 we were living in the Kona Kai Apartments.  We had lived here before, and really liked it.  We had an apartment on the second floor overlooking the swimming pool, and we really needed a place where we could get lots of exercise as it had just been a year since I had my first heart attack.  It also had an area around the inside where we could walk in bad weather.  

We had a balcony which I used for my desk and work area for writing and working on my pictures! 

X marks the spot of the Butler apartment

The inside atrium was very pretty with banana trees and lots of flowers and shrubs with the walking path around and through the area.  It also had several gas grills where we could prepare meals and entertain.

The pool in the middle of a tropical paradise

It also had a 9 hole putting area which was fun, and the grandchildren really liked it.

Mark and Nate "golfing" - June, 1984

We loved to get up early in the morning and go for a swim.  We also loved to swim with our children and grandchildren and friends.  The water was always warm and clean.

Kona Kai pool - arrow indicates Butlers' apartment
Pool view from the balcony
 Since we also had our trailer parked in the parking lot, we could use it for an extra bedroom for a visiting family if we needed it.  The rent was reasonable, and the caretakers took really good care of the place.

The outside of the building doesn't give any indication of what's inside

We love living at the Kona Kai!

What do you grandchildren remember about visiting Grandma and Grandpa at the Kona Kai?