Sunday, October 23, 2011

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 6

Moving mid-school year
Probably around the first of December, we were forced to move because someone else was to move into our place. Dad tried to find a place but was unable to find one that was appealing for a more permanent home. The house we had lived in in Springdale was vacant. So arrangements were made to move back into it for the winter. One of the problems with that was the fact that it was not in the Burley school district. It was a rural district with its own school. And no school buses.
We lived about three and a half miles form the school. There were four grades in each of two rooms at the school. My teacher was Miss Sarah Burgess. She was a super teacher. It was amazing what she was able to get done with four separate grades to teach. I got to know her even better because of the time I was able to catch a ride most of the way to school and back with her. That only left me about a quarter mile to walk if I got to the intersection before she went by.
There was a farmer/rancher by the name of Jim Bronson that lived about half mile west of the school. He ran sheep in the mountains in the summertime. One of his men had found a deer fawn and had brought it to Bronson's place. It had grown to probably a year or two old and was a pet at the Bronson's. It got started coming up to the school quite regularly. It was quite tame. Several of the older boys got started teasing the deer when it would come around. One day the deer had taken all of that it was going to take. It attacked one of the boys, knocked him down, then proceeded to give him a royal stomping. That was quite a memorable sight for a first grader. Needless to say, Mr. Bronson was required to do something with his pet besides let him come to the school. It was quite an adjustment to change schools. There was new faces, new surroundings and above all, different textbooks. It was challenging to come into a whole new environment that was in the midst of a scholastic year and get up to speed with them. Miss Burgess was very helpful and understanding with me. I feel that I owe her a great deal for not allowing me to get discouraged and lost.
Things were going along quite well until probably along in January. We got some very heavy snows and some very bitter cold weather. At that time there was no attempt made to plow out the country roads. They drifted full of snow. For awhile school continued. We had to ride horseback or go by bobsled to get to and from school. I remember Dad sometimes taking me to school on horseback in the morning and then coming for me after school during this time. Boy, that was a cold ride. Finally, it got so bad that the decision was made to close school down until the weather moderated. It was closed for about two or three weeks.
About March 1, 1937, my parents concluded a purchase of an 80 acre farm that was located just East of the farm we had rented the previous year. We immediately moved to that farm. I was again residing in the Burley school district. However, we were still only about a mile and a half from the Springdale school. It was decided that I should continue attending that school because of the extended time it had been closed because of bad weather. It was tough for a first grader to walk that distance to and from school each day. Especially when the bus usually passed by during the trek.
I pleaded to be allowed to change schools so the bus could be used. For quite awhile this pleading was ignored. Eventually, the message was received and I was allowed to change schools. What a shock! I went back to the same teacher and class that I had started the school year with. But things had changed. I was totally lost in the things they were studying. It was a real challenge to even know how to proceed, even with extra help from the teacher. Previously, in that class, I had been in the top group in all of the subjects. Now I was moved to the very bottom group and still struggled. It was a real ego blow also.
The problem was two-fold. First- they were using different books than those I had gotten used to. Second- we had missed about 3 weeks of school at Springdale. On the last day of school Miss Oberholtzer passed out the report cards. She saved mine till last and asked me to come to her desk. She handed me the card and said, “Keith, grade wise, I should hold you back because of the hard time you have had trying to adjust since you re-entered my class. However, I am passing you to the second grade because I think you can make it if you will work hard next year.” I had never even considered the possibility that I would not pass. That would really have been a blow. She then informed me I was being transferred to the Miller school for the next year. I then attended the Miller school for the next 5 years until I started junior high.
The first morning at the Miller school was full of apprehension. The faces were mostly unfamiliar. Just as the bell rang to signal the start of school, someone grabbed my shoulder. When I turned around, it was Miss Burgess from last year at Springdale. She told me I was to be in her class as she had transferred to the city school district. Boy, that was good news. From then on, school never was too difficult.

Lesson in Democracy
One lesson was learned in that class. A few weeks after school started, Miss Burgess said we should elect a class president. Nominations were opened and two of us were nominated, myself and Bonnie Hill. The names were put on the board and slips of paper were handed out for ballots. I wanted the job but didn't think it was right to vote for myself. I voted for Bonnie and when the ballots were counted she won by one vote. So much for the first lesson in democracy.

Telephone Poles and Targets
When we moved to the Warr place in 1937, it marked the beginning of residence there until November of 1946. Many memories exist of that nearly ten year period. Our place was located about one and one half miles from the Unity Ward LDS church. Each Thursday during the school year Primary was held after school. We would ride the school bus to Primary and then walk home after.
There were only gravel roads to walk on and a great many rock that were just the right size for boys to pick up. After they had been picked up there was only one thing left to do with them. That was to throw them. Anything that was in sight could be a target. There were power poles on one side of the road and telephone poles on the other side of the road.
These were favorite targets. The poles themselves were primary targets but the real challenge was to throw at the insulators on the crossarms. Particularly the telephone lines. Telephone poles on this route had three crossarms on each pole. Each crossarm had about 12 insulators on it with each insulator holding a wire. Also, the telephone poles were not nearly as high as the power poles. Fortunately young arms were not too accurate nor powerful. There were a number of insulators that did get broken or chipped however.
On one occasion when I was probably 12 or 13 years old, the folks had gone somewhere leaving Jesse and I home alone for the afternoon. Dad had purchased a .250/3000 high powered rifle to use for deer hunting. We were forbidden to use it without any supervision. On this afternoon we got it out with the intent to try it out. I was standing on the back step of our house with a clear view to the south toward the road. There about 40 yards away was that beckoning target of the telephone insulators. I took aim and fired. Bulls-eye! The insulator exploded- and the wires parted. The rifle was put away immediately and two boys were really worried but didn't know what to do.
When the folks came home they noticed the wires laying on the ground. They didn't ask what happened but simply called the phone company to report the down wires. The repairman came out the next morning and repaired the line. He then came to the house. I was in the field but Jesse reported to me what happened. He said the lineman reported to Mom that it appeared the line had been shot by a rifle. She called to Jesse and asked if he had shot the line. He replied that, no, he had not done it. In actual fact he had not done it but he was not asked, nor did he volunteer, that he knew who had done it. It was never brought up again and I was too much the coward to confess my actions.

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 5

The Bull
Sometime that fall I experienced something that will go with me to my grave. Dad had accumulated a few more cows by this time. He had enough that it was necessary to have a bull around. The crops had been harvested so the cows and the bull were allowed to run in the fields to clean up whatever crop residue there was. I had been warned to always stay away form bulls because they were very dangerous.
On this particular morning as I prepared to catch the bus, the folks told me that they would not be home after school. They told me to ride the bus up to the Warr's place which was just up the road about a quarter mile. It was a nice sunshiny afternoon and I completely forgot about my morning instructions. After I got of the bus I then remembered what was supposed to have happened. There was no problem. After the books were taken in the house I would walk on up there. I ambled along as only a first grader can and decided to go around the house to the back door.
The back porch door was about midship of the back of the house which was the north wall of the house. As I moseyed around the northwest corner of the house all of a sudden I looked up to see that feared bull coming through the small, east, gate into the back yard. He was almost as close to that back door as I was. With the rationale of a scared first grader I screamed and made a headlong dash for that back door. There was no question in my mind that he, too, was running for that door to get me.
After getting inside I was one frightened boy. We had no telephone and I was sure that if I looked outside through the window that bull would see me and come after me. It is amazing what one's imagination can conjure up. I sat in the middle of the house until it had gotten quite dark. There was no way the the light could be turned on because then that bull could see me. The longer that I sat there, in the dark and quiet, the more frightened than ever I became. Something had to be done. But what?
Walking up to the Warr's was out of the question. The only other choices were to stay there or go across the road to the Niewert's. They lived across and just a little west of our place. The problem was that they were an old German immigrant couple and spoke very little English. I hardly knew them. But they were close. That outweighed all the other negative aspects. I carefully plotted my escape. If I mustered up all my courage and strength, then a mad dash could be made out the south door, across the road, down the road to their place. Maybe my luck would hold and that bull would be on the north side of the house.
With that plan in mind, I dashed out of the house and made it to the Niewert's. I am afraid that I was almost hysterical as I pounded and yelled at their door. They were very kind as they came to the door and realized that something was very wrong. They took me inside and tried to comfort me. That was difficult to do with all the pent-up emotion. Mrs. Niewert then made some tea for me thinking that it would calm me down. That was one of the few words that I could understand, but I knew that I had been taught to not drink tea. She was just as sure that that was what I needed. Fortunately, just about that time Dad and Mom showed up looking for one lost kid. Never did parents look so good or welcome.

Siphoning Gas
Before we moved from Springdale, Dad bought a 1933 Dodge truck. He used it to haul sugar beets and potatoes. It was also our only means of transportation. It was even used as transportation to drive down to Ogden, Utah area to visit relatives. He had gasoline delivered out to the farm by a local fuel dealer for use in the truck. It was the only gasoline powered vehicle on the farm. This was put into a 55 gallon drum.
During the summer after we had moved to Unity, I watched Dad use a piece of garden hose to siphon gas from the drum into a 5-gallon can. He would then pour the fuel into the tank on the truck. This was intriguing to a six year old. I tried it several times but was unable to get the gas to come out. It would start up the hose and I could tell it was coming up. But I couldn't get it to come over the top.
One Sunday afternoon I thought I had it figured out. What needed to be done was to suck harder and longer. I got the equipment in place and placed the hose end in my mouth. Then I exhaled all the air that would go out and then sucked from the very depths of my lungs. Here come the gasoline. Right into my stomach.
That was instant disaster. I was immediately violently ill. After choking and gagging for a few minutes, I could hardly walk or even see and had a terrific headache. Jesse guided me on a staggering trek to the house. Dad and Mom took over and called the doctor. He told them to feed me raw egg whites to make me upchuck. The thoughts of it was almost enough to make it work and the real thing did make it work. Another disaster averted.

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 4

Moving to Burley
In the spring of 1936 we moved about five miles closer to Burley. This was to a rented 80 acre farm in the community and ward called Unity. I remember quite a few memorable things about that time. At this location there was electricity. That is the first experience, in my memory, of having lights that would really light up the room. This brought the new experience of having radio. Dad's parents had moved to a farm where there was no electricity. They had a radio but no way to use it. It was loaned to our family and was a real experience. Radio had regular programming on it much like television has nowadays.
During the day there were programs that were of a serial nature. Some were of the soap opera type. There would be regular newscasts and music shows. In the evening would be prime time shows. These would come on once a week. They would consist of comedy, drama, music and occasionally sports. One of the favorites would be boxing announced live.
I remember Dad and Mom's concern with moving to a larger place. The one in Springdale had 40 acres and this one consisted of 80 acres. We didn't move there until spring. The entire place needed to be plowed. This was quite an undertaking with horse drawn equipment. Also, Dad was concerned because he only had four head of horses. It took three head to pull the plow. This left only one horse to pull the harrow to smooth and work down the clods for a seed bed. There was no money to buy another horse nor to hire anyone to drive the extra team.
After a lot of discussion, Dad decided, with a lot of reluctance on Mom's part, to have me ride our tamest horse pulling one section of harrow behind it. Even though I was only about four months short of my sixth birthday, I still vividly remember the first day out on the job. It was a cold, windy, spring day. We started early in the morning and worked until noon. As dad unhooked the horses to take them in for their noon feed, I remember asking him how much we had done. His answer was, “about an acre”. I really didn't comprehend what was meant by an acre, but could see that we surely had a lot of work ahead.

Starting School
That fall was the beginning of school for me. I don't really remember the very first day of school but remember very vividly some of the first days of school. At that time we did not pre-register at all for school. I started at the Miller School in Burley. After just a day or so, they transferred me to the Overland School. Shortly thereafter the transfer came to the Southwest School. Apparently no one wanted me because there were only three grade school in the city of Burley.
I was in Miss Oberholtzer's class. There probably was never a more timid and shy first grader than I. School was exciting and came fairly easy for me. Reading was particularly enjoyable. It has been a very enjoyable endeavor ever since then and continues today. There was only one subject that ever really gave me any trouble. That was art. For some reason that was tough in the first grade and never did get much better. I have always enjoyed looking at artistic things but when it came to drawing them- well there must be a short circuit between my eyes and my hands. The things the eyes behold do not transfer to the paper or canvas.

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 3

Rocking truck
One summer, while living at Springdale, Dad's sister, Aunt Jane, and her husband, Uncle Marvin Venable, came to visit us. Along about noon Dad had to go out to feed the cows. I walked out to the corral with him. As we were walking back we passed by a truck that was parked in the yard. We noticed that the truck was rocking back and forth, apparently by itself. Dad thought that Uncle Marvin was trying to play a trick on him by rocking the truck. No one was visible so Dad go down on his hands and kneed to look under the truck. He thought that he would be able to see the prankster feet on the other side that way. Still he could see no one. He crawled nearly half way under the truck. Still no results.
Perplexed, we walked on to the house. They were having a good laugh at our expense. They had watched it all through the window. Being inside the house where the dishes rattled and the furniture moved, they were aware of an earthquake in progress.

One of the home remedies to take care of many ailments for growing children at that time was the use of laxatives. It was thought that use of them would help to clean out poison and infection from the system. Our family relied on one called E-Lax. It was a chocolate flavored candy type laxative. Seldom did we get any candy so it was a treat to be given Ex-Lax.
One spring day, while living in Springdale, Mom was out working outside. Jesse and I were in the house. We had a small pantry where groceries and other household items were kept. I knew that the Ex-Lax was kept on a high shelf in this pantry. I climbed up to where it could be reached and found a never opened package and about half of another one. Boy, did it look good.
Jesse was on the floor watching all the endeavors. He wanted some so I gave him a few little squares. But being in control and having succeeded in the hard part of the job, I gobbled down the lion's share of a package and a half of Ex-Lax. It really tasted good.
Mom came in about the time the last of the “candy” was consumed. She was really bent out of shape over what we had done. Of course now Jesse was a full fledged partner. I can't remember whether she was upset more over the disobedience or the loss of all the E-Lax. I am sure she was concerned over the quantity of product we had ingested. I think she thought we had taken equal amounts.
Well, it didn't take long to find out who had taken the most. Jesse had a mild case of the “runs”. But Keith, very shortly, showed how the division went. My stomach hurt and I was “loose as a goose”. Over the next couple of days I spent almost all my time sitting on the “pottie”. By the time it was over I think there was just a straight shot through.
Before this incident happened, I really liked chocolate. Afterwards, for many years, I couldn't stand to taste anything made of chocolate. About the time I graduated from high school chocolate again started to taste good. Now it is a favorite.

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 2

First time milking a cow
Dad had two or three cows at this time. On numerous occasions I had requested to help him milk the cows. This seemed to a 5 year old to be an interesting thing to do. The answer was always that I was too young or too small. One day, in the springtime, Jesse and I were out where one of the cows was staked out on a ditch bank. The temptation was too great to resist. That cow had to be milked to prove it could be done. The only thing at hand to use for a container was Jesse's cap. After a few minutes the cap had a pretty good sized pool of milk in it. Triumphantly we trudged to the potato cellar, where Dad and Mom were cutting seed potatoes, to show off this new found skill. The elation was short lived as I was greeted with cold stares and harsh words for wasting milk and ruining a milk-dripping cap.

Living in the Depression
This was depression times and I was somewhat aware that money was very hard to come by. In spite of the trying circumstances I don't ever remember being hungry. I do remember Dad, on occasion, complaining about a steady diet of potatoes. Sometimes a hog would be butchered or a steer would be slaughtered. Then for a while we would have meat on the table There was no freezing of meat then so meat had to be bottled or used up quite rapidly. On special occasions there sometimes would be homemade ice cream. Seldom would there ever be any ready-made desserts or anything else. Most of my clothing at that time was made at home.
Dad had an old car but no money with which to buy gasoline. I remember walking on the road to church and sometimes being picked up by a neighbor, Axel Johnson. He had a truck and we would ride in the back of it. The church was about three miles away.

Harvesting grain
When it came time to harvest the grain, it was cut by a machine called a binder. This machine had a reel over a cutterbar with canvas drapers behind the cutterbar. These drapers would carry the grain, stalks, heads and hall, to the side of the machine. There it would accumulate in a cradle until there was enough to make a bundle. Then it would automatically put a twine around the middle of the bundle and tie it similar to a hay baler. Then the bundle would be kicked off into another cradle. When there were four or five bundles in the cradle, it would be dumped by a foot pedal. On the next round the operator would dump each time next to the accumulated dump from last round. This way the bundles were more or less windrowed into piles.
Then workers would go through the field and “shock” the bundles. This was accomplished by picking up the bundles, one at a time, and standing them on their cut ends. Two would be stood together and the tops would be leaned together. Then another and another would be stood up in a circle around the first two. Each bundle would have the top leaned into the two first ones all the way around the “shock”. Generally twelve to fifteen bundles would be in each “shock”. Each bundle was probably twelve to fifteen inches in diameter at the place where the twine went around it.
The grain was cut when it was still somewhat green so it would not shatter out. After several days had elapsed and the grain had dried out sufficiently, the threshing crew would come. This was really a sight for a young boy to behold.
The thresher was a machine that was towed from place to place by a large tractor. It was then parked in a place where the straw could be blown into a large pile. After the thresher was located, the tractor would be driven to a location about fifty feet in front of the threshing machine. This would be on the opposite end from the blower pipe. The tractor would be lined up in a position so that the belt pulley on the side of the tractor would be directly in line with the drive pulley on the thresher. Then a long endless belt would be connected to the two pulleys. This sometimes took quite a while. If the pulleys were a little bit out of line, the belt would run off.
Then the tractor would be backed up until the belt was tight. The blower spout would be cranked around so that it pointed directly away from the back of the thresher to start the strawstack. Now the machine was ready to start receiving bundles to thresh.
Nearly all the tractors were big iron-tired machines with only one cylinder. They were very slow on the road. Probably four or five miles to the hour maximum. They turned over so slow with the one cylinder that you could easily count the revolutions per minute. I never did see one like that do any field work. However, it was said that some places they were used to pull gang plows.
It varied a little bit just how the thresher crew was made up. However, a typical crew would consist of the operator, who was usually the owner, and about four men that were hired by the machine owner to pitch bundles in the field. They were hired for the season and worked as long as there was threshing to be done. Sometimes the sack sewer would also come along with the machine.
The rest of the crew usually was made up of neighbors. They would help one another on each other's places to finish out the crew. Depending upon how far it was from the field to the thresher location, there were usually four to six wagons drawn by a team of horses. These would be owned by neighbors and they would drive and load their own wagon
My earliest recollections were of wooden wheeled wagons with steel rims on the outer edge of the wheel. Later, after more automobile tires and rims became available, most farmers changed to rubber tires. The rubber-tired wagons were much quieter, faster and smoother riding. Loads were not lost so often due to vibration on the rubber rigs.
With the crew in place they were ready to start threshing. There would be two wagons in the field loading and two at the thresher unloading. The others would be in transition between the field and the machine. One loaded wagon would park on each side of the machine. The one on the side where the belt was had to have a pretty gentle horse next to the belt. Otherwise the horse may get spooked by the fast moving belt.
There was a feeder conveyer that led to the throat of the thresher. With a wagon parked on each side, each man took turns throwing bundles in. They were thrown on the conveyor so that the heads went into the machine first. It was thought to do a better job of threshing if the heads went in first. The inside of the thresher looked much like a modern combine. As the bundles started into the thresher, some vertical knives slashed down to cut the twin on the bundles. Then the material went into the concaves. After that it was separated onto straw walkers and sieves. The chaff and straw went into a blower that fed into a long pipe that ended with an adjustable elbow on it. This deflected the straw down or out depending upon stack size or wind.
The threshed grain dropped through the sieves and was elevated up a leg to a metering bucket. This bucket was adjustable to weight. Depending upon the crop being threshed, it was set to the proper weight. Sixty lbs for wheat, forty-eight for barley and etc. When the bucket reached the proper weight it would dump and the grain would gravity feed down to a sack filler. This would hold two one hundred lb. Burlap sacks. One would fill while the other was being changed and sewed. All this was done by hand. Then the full sacks would be loaded on a flat bed truck for hauling to the elevator or to the granary. The metering bucket counted each dump so that the operator could tell how much was threshed each day. Each day they tried to see if the record could be broken.
For an idea how much was accomplished each day, I remember asking one operator how much could be done in one day. He told me that the best he had ever done was threshing oats. On one particularly good day, they had threshed almost eighteen hundred bushels. This probably involved a crew of twelve or thirteen men. Nowadays there are combines that are advertised to thresh a thousand bushels per hour and are operated by one man.

Women's role in the harvest
This was very hard, physical work. The women were also involved very deeply. Each farm was expected to “feed the threshers.” this always involved two meals and some crews expected three. When you hear that there is “enough for the threshers”, it is literal. Some of the neighbor ladies would work together to accomplish this task but not as much as the men. It was a huge job because each man worked very hard physically and had ravenous appetites. Also, each wife knew that her cooking would be compared to all the other neighbors. So the competition was keen to be known as at least as good a cook as the neighbor.
Most of these meals consisted of meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, homemade bread, butter, jam or jelly, and pie or cake or both. And the quantities were immense. That was the ultimate error-to run out.
Another thing that made it so hard was the fact that it was hard to judge just when the thresher would be there. If twelve o'clock came and there was only one load left to thresh, you had the threshers. But if things went a little faster than expected and they finished and got to your place at eleven forty-five, you had the threshers. There was a lot of checking progress of the threshers so that the determination could be made where they would be.
I saw my mother stew and fret a great deal over this, but she always had one of the best meals prepared of anyone on the circuit.

Climbing on the straw stack
One of the real no no's for the kids was to climb on a freshly made pile of straw. Partly because of the danger and partly because the straw was considered a valuable commodity. If it was climbed on before it settled, there would be pockets where rain and snow could accumulate. In those spots water would not run off. It would penetrate the stack and cause it to spoil.
When I was about five years old I had been warned not to climb onto the fresh strawstacks. My folks had gone over to a neighbors place for a visit one afternoon. The neighbor had a real fresh strawstack. They also had a boy a couple of years older than I. As we played outside there was a real desire to climb on that strawstack. I remember climbing to the top of it with the neighbor boy. After we had stood there for a few moments he jumped to slide down the stack. He hit a seam, where the straw had slid down after piling up from the blower, and disappeared. I hollered at him several times. When there was no answer, I hurried down from the stack and went to the house. I told them that the neighbor boy had disappeared. Everyone jumped and ran to the strawstack. I showed them where he had disappeared. Luckily they were able to find him before he suffocated. I couldn't understand why they were praising me. I thought I was in big trouble for climbing on the strawstack.

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker

*Brief description:  The following excerpts are from Grandpa Stoker's personal history.  It is several pages long so I have broken it into "chapters" for easy reading and searching.  Please enjoy, and disregard any typos!
-Michelle Clemens
 Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker

I am starting to write this on February 15, 1985. I will try to recollect as much as possible of my earlier life and then attempt to keep it up on a more regular basis.
I was born on July 7, 1930. The mind is a little foggy on the exact details, but have been informed that the birth took place at home. Home was a small house in Roy, Weber County, Utah. As recent as last year this home was still standing.
My parents are Lee Hammon Stoker and Ethel Elizabeth Blanch. Better parents can not be found. Their industry, integrity, compassion, and demonstrated love cannot be surpassed. It is hoped that references may be made that will demonstrate some of these qualities that they possess.
At a short year of age, our family moved to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Early the next year we moved to Burley, Idaho. This was a time (1932), when the country was in a deep depression as far as economics were concerned. The move was made in bitter cold weather in the middle of February. The few head of cattle that Dad and his brother, Herman, had accumulated were driven, over the snow and ice, to their new home.
My first personal recollections begin with the home we first moved into. It was a small frame house located in the rural community known as Springdale. The home was located about 10 or 11 miles Southeast of Burley. We lived there until the spring of 1936 or until I was about 5 ½ years old. It had no electricity. Consequently, coal oil lamps were used for light. The water was pumped by hand from a well located out in the yard. Water was carried by the bucketful into the house for culinary uses. The toilet was located at the end of a path or for little kids a little pottie under the bed.

5th Birthday
Several events happened that I remember while living in Springdale. I remember my 5th birthday. The reason it is remembered is that our family went to visit Dad's parents. They had moved to a place a couple of miles away. When we arrived Dad's younger brother, Ivan, informed me that it was my 5th birthday and that I was supposed to be spanked on birthdays. He administered the “present”.

Another time at this location mom had a meeting to go to. It was in the springtime and Dad was irrigating. It was decided that he would take me with him to the field for the afternoon. The sun was shining but the wind was blowing cold. At my continuing complaint about being cold Dad told me to lie down in the shelter of a high ditch bank out of the wind It was comfortable there with the sun shining brightly on me. Soon I was fast asleep. The next thing I was aware of, was stinging feelings all over my body. At my screaming Dad came to see what was the matter. He laughed as he peeled all my clothes off to get rid of all the ants. I had lain down in an ant-bed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Walmart photo book information

There is an email set up for our family. 
An account is also set up through so we can upload reunion pictures to our family account and order a digital photo book that will be made at the end of the reunion.
We have sent out specific account information to your personal email address.

To get you started, here are some easy steps to get you to the order page:
1. follow this link-  Walmart Digital Photo Center   
2. Click on the "My Projects" tab near the top
3. sign in with the account information we sent you
4. click on the saved photo book and follow promptings as follows:
3. edit
4. order
5. save changes-yes
6. proceed to checkout
7. site to store or home delivery, if you do site to store make sure you change the store to one near you.
8. continue
9. change your pick up person to yourself with your number
10. then pay with credit card, preferably your own ;)

If you didn't receive the account information, forgot it, or need any other help, call 208-659-4711 or email me at

Life History of Genevie Stoker

Life History of Genevie Ballantyne Stoker
As of June 21, 2011
Early Years
What is your full name?: Genevie Ballantyne Stoker
Why did your parents select this name? I asked my parents and they did not know, they just liked the name.
Who was your best friends growing up?: I had several friends, one group from school and another from church. Marge Bishop (Peterson) and Donna Garner (Woolley) were a couple of my close church friends. School friends included Marian Brown, Lola Weeks, Betty Wenchell, Janice Frost.
Where were you born?: Ogden, Utah, August 31, 1931.
Where was your family living when you were born? In Riverdale in a small two room house (kitchen and bedroom), with a separate outhouse and no indoor plumbing, no phone, no electricity. We moved from there when I was 5 years old, by the time I moved we did have a pitcher pump in the kitchen and electricity. Sears catalog was often used in the outhouse and not always for reading!
Why were your parents living there?: My father inherited a 17 acre fruit farm. My dad’s father, John Taylor Ballantyne died when my dad, Leslie, was a young 8 year old boy. Leslie’s older sister and her husband raised him from then on and helped care for the farm until Les was old enough to run it at the age of 17 or 18 years old. Les didn’t get married for several years later, at the age of 26. On the farm also was a batch of raspberries. One of the young ladies (Pearl Burch) he hired to pick the raspberries caught his eye. Eventually they got married. They moved into the small house on the farm. Three of us were born there (David, Marion and myself). Before Melvin was born they had the house moved up the hill on a new foundation. At that point they added it on top of an existing house which was used as the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and utility room. The original house with just the kitchen and bedrooms were now the second story and converted to three bedrooms. Melvin and Kay were then born here. We all lived here until I was 12 years old then moved to Adrian, Oregon. Then a big highway was going to be built right through our land. At the time both mom and dad were working at Hillfield making ammunition and making pretty good money. But with the thought of us having to move, our parents asked us if we wanted to live on a farm or move to the city. We all wanted to live on a farm. We all wanted to live on a farm. We didn’t want to move to the city. Dad and a friend, Phil Huffacker, took off not knowing where they would end up. Dad ended up buying 40 acres in Nyssa and Phil in Ontario. It was the best move for us, it helped us get active in the church. It was hard for dad to quit smoking.

Family personalities:
Pearl: Mom was a good house keeper, good cook, grade school teacher. Quiet and reserve person in the community and ward, yet an outspoken person at home. Mom was the disciplinarian in the house. My mom joined the church when she was around 19. She taught Sunday school before she joined the church. One day someone asked her why she wasn’t a member, and she replied that no one ever asked her. Both Mom and Dad were not active in the church the whole time we lived in Utah. They had their coffee and dad smoked. They never went to church while we lived in Utah, they sent us kids to Sunday school and primary which was after school. We rarely went to sacrament meeting because it was dark by then.
Leslie: Dad was a quiet teaser, but most of the time he meant what he said. Not much of a jokester. Great father. He had a word of wisdom problem with smoking and coffee. After he moved to Oregon he became more active in the gospel.
David: Very quiet, very kind person. Him and Marion would fight, usually she started it and he would defend himself. Not athletic, not musical, and not much of a student, but very well like by peers.
Marion: Very good student, not musical, she was a studious person, not much for playing games. She had a temper. She tended to stay indoors more than me since she sunburned easily. I didn’t play with her much, unless I bribed or did her chores for her, then she might have played with me, I did often play with David, perhaps marbles, sledding or other games. Marion and I shared a bedroom always, which wasn’t always pleasant as we didn’t always agree.
Genevie: I was very shy and was intimidated easily. I did love to roller skate at the school. In high school Marion and I tried out for Drum Majorette and got it (Marion did not). I tried out for this because I took a class at lunchtime at school for a couple years and got enough confidence to try out for the team. I was very surprised I got it. I feel I may have gotten it over Marion because I was a Junior and she was a senior and they wanted someone in there for more than one year, once you were voted in, you were in there until you moved or graduated. I had plenty of dates in high school, I was invited to the Proms, Homecomings and I was the Golden Greenball queen and a Homecoming attendant.
Melvin: Honest, loved to ski (water and snow), good dancer, good student. Melvin is 6 years younger than I, and Kay is 7 years younger than me. We called them “the babies” all the time until they protested that nickname.
Kay: Live wire, loved to dance, Kay grew up with her mother not a full time teacher, so Grandma and Grandpa had more time for her then the others. Kay even admits that she was “spoiled” by them. Kay says that they doted on her and gave her lots of support for anything she wanted to do.

Pets: I had a favorite white bunny when I was around 12 years old. They bunny eventually ran away. We always had a family dog. For many years it was “Bob” which was a medium sized mutt.
Favorite activities growing up: Ice skating, roller skating, church activities, dances, dating, going to movies. My parents were popular for letting us host youth parties at our house on weekends, we would usually play games. Once a year, for many years, our family went to Lagoon for a day.
School: I went to Riverdale for 1st grade, then to Roy for 2nd to 6th grade. We moved to Oregon for the last two weeks of my 6th grade. I graduated from Nyssa High School in 1949, with 49 classmates!
Fads: Growing up around the age 15 “poodle skirts, saddle shoes and penny loafers” were popular. I did get the saddle shoes, but usually we were fairly poor that indulgences weren’t done. Hairstyles in high school was the bouffant style, and of course I had that style.
Mutual - The first time I went to mutual was when we moved to Oregon. David drove Marion and I to mutual. Once in awhile we would go to a movie after mutual, which was rare. I really enjoyed mutual.
Discipline: Only once before I was twelve I remember Marion, myself and David were at Aunt Dolly’s down the lane and we didn’t come home on time. Mom came down after us and “switched” our legs with a willow switch all the way home. Mostly I remember getting in trouble for sleeping in and not getting up on time.
Favorite color growing up and now is red.
Traditions: Once a year, mom and dad would take us down to Lagoon amusement park in Utah.
Chores: Between Marion and me we had to make breakfast and pack school lunches. Usually we would pack tuna, peanut butter and jelly or lunch meat sandwiches. My favorite lunch was a tuna fish sandwich and tomato juice to drink, but the juice was usually in a glass jar and difficult to take.
Church I was baptized in Riverdale. I turned 8 in August and was baptized in December. Br. Bingham baptized me. Dad was not active at the time to baptize me. He didn’t go to church and he had a word of wisdom problem with smoking, and drinking coffee. Then when we moved to Oregon when I was 12 the church leaders told dad that they needed him to help bless the sacrament and his priesthood and that was all it took. Just for someone to need him. We all got very active after that. In fact for a time being they held church in our house. Then to a grain hall across the street then a new building was built. We did skip church one time. I remember there was Stake conference up in Weiser. Back then there were two sessions. I went with my girls friends. We went to the stake meeting, I don’t know why but we took our swim suits (ahmm). We never did tell our parents.
Church Callings: I have taught in primary for 25 years, taught in Relief Society, taught in Young Womens. I have always been a visiting teacher. I think my favorite calling was teaching in primary.

Vacations: Once a year we took our trip to Lagoon. Other than that, once in awhile we would go for a drive up the canyon.
Relatives: Our cousins lived too far away for frequent visits. Grandma Burch, who lived in Ogden, would come to visit us few times in the Riverdale house, she passed as few years after we moved to Oregon. Grandma Burch once visited us at Riverdale and helped me studied for my spelling test and I got my 1st 100% then on spelling which was my least favorite subject.
War time: I grew up at the end of the War. I remember collecting aluminum foil and rubber bands for some reason for the war efforts. I remember mom using ration coupons to purchase food and clothing. After the war was over, the government brought German POW’s to work on the farms, we had some of them work thinning our sugar beets. That lasted about 2 years. I never felt threatened by them, I actually felt sorry for them. Mom and Dad would give them extra milk at lunch times.
Meals: Usually every meal we sat down as a family to eat. My favorite meal my mother cooked was her pot roast, mother did all the lunch and dinner cooking. My mother taught school, so Marion and I were in charge of cooking breakfast, typically for breakfast Marion and I cooked eggs, pancakes, oatmeal or cold cereal, my father only liked Wheaties for cereal. We also fixed our school lunches.
My favorite song as a teenager was “Now is the Hour”. It was a song about men leaving off to war.
Grandparents: Did I know my grandparents? Only Grandma Burch (my mother’s mother, named Pearl Crandall Burch). I met my Grandfather Burch only a couple of times when I was very young and he was very ill. The other Grandparents: John Taylor Ballantyne and Mahala Elizabeth Wilson, both died before I was born.
Dating Keith: At age 16 I first went out with Keith Stoker. I had seen him in our ward (branch at the time). Keith moved into our ward when he was a Junior in high school. He moved in with his Uncle Dick and Aunt Annie to help get Lee and Ethel’s ground ready for the move the next spring with the cattle from Burley, Idaho to Adrian, Oregon.
Our first date was a glee club concert in Payette, Idaho with Marion in tow. I was singing in the glee club at the time.
Before this first official date, the first time I met Keith was when , our Branch Sunday School had a campout at a lake. A friend of Keith’s named Dan Crane came up from Burley to go on the campout because this was right after Keith moved into the Branch. I had a little crush on Keith’s friend, but it never blossomed into a date with him, instead I went out with Keith.
I got to know Keith mostly by going to church with him, but we attended two different high schools. Sometime the following spring Keith was taking his friend, Eddie Sharp to a school bus for a school function, however it was early in the morning at 4 am and they missed the bus in Adrian, they raced to Nyssa to try and catch up with it. However, just out front of our house they swerved to miss cattle in the road and rolled the car in the ditch. My mother, sent father out with a shot gun to investigate why the dog was barking. Dad didn’t recognize Keith until us kids came out and told him who they were. Eventually Keith and Eddie came into use the phone. Keith and I started dating seriously about my senior year. I asked him to go steady mainly to get ride of another young man who my mom did not approve of. I thought that if I had a steady boyfriend to spread the news around that the “other” boy (Rudy), wouldn’t feel like I was dumping him. I asked Keith if I could tell Rudy that Keith and I were going steady and Keith’s response was, “why don’t we”.
Twice he was late, once was to the Golden Greenball which I was voted queen of the ball. I was very upset that dad was late picking me up. Also he was late taking me to my senior prom. My dad ended up driving me there to get me there on time, Keith met up with me at the prom. He was usually late because of milking the cows took up the time. Most of our dates were group activities with others. Some times we went to movies or skating together. Both of our parents liked us dating. Keith and I dated for about year and a half before we were married. Dating just eventually evolved into discussions about “when we get married”, so there really wasn’t any “formal” proposal, it just was meant to be. We were married April 4th, 1949 in Winnemucca, Nevada and sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple May 11, 1950. We ran off and eloped just weeks before my graduation from high school. Mom and Dad gave us a reception a week later in the church house in Nyssa, lots of guest came to support us. Both our parents weren’t too happy we chose to elope, but they supported us in our decision. . We were sealed a year latter in the Idaho Falls temple. Both our parents and Norman and Delores Garner, went to the sealing. After the sealing our parents went home, and the Garners and us took a little longer excursion trip home.
The ring: How dad gave it to me I can’t remember. But my first ring I remember I was allergic too it. It was made out of yellow gold and it kept getting eczema under it. I wore it for a few years then took the diamond out of it and had a black onyx ring made for Keith, which he eventually lost. Shortly after I got my ring I remember a scare I had when I thought I lost it. I was going to head down to Pasco and get the prongs checked on it. But before I left I noticed the horse trough across the road from the house was frozen over. I decided to break the ice, then I shook my hand and noticed the ring was missing. I felt so sick thinking I had lost my wedding ring. I searched all up and down the dirt road, asked the neighbors but never found it. It was eventually found in the bottom of my jewelry box, to this day I have no idea how it got there. Eventually I took the diamond out of that first ring and had it set in a black onyx setting for Keith, he lost is not too long after that. On our 25th wedding anniversary Keith gave me a white gold wedding ring that I still wear today.
Chivalry “oh no”: What is a chivalry? It is kind of a prank or joke played on a married couple. We had a little house with brand new furniture. They took our books out of the bookshelves, turned our furniture upside down. They took our bed and put it on top of the house. They took us downtown and threw eggs at us. It was something a little out of the ordinary.
Keith: Dad loved to play sports. He played basketball and football in high school even though I never did get to see him play in high school. He loved to play jokes in high school. He loved to be in school or church plays. Dad loved music, he loved to sing and listen to all types of music. After we got married he played church basketball and baseball for many years. He even went to Salt Lake twice in a row for Baseball All-state conference. He was a great athlete, even if he only had one eye.
What did Keith do that I enjoyed the most? I don’t know if there is any one particular thing Keith did that I enjoyed the most. He was a great provider, husband and father. I enjoyed the many trips he planned and took us on. He was just a wonderful guy to have around.
What did Keith do that embarrassed me the most? One of the things Keith did that embarrassed me the most was when he would come in the house and I didn’t notice, especially when I was busy working in the kitchen he would sneak up behind me and kiss me on the neck and it just sent shivers up my back he enjoyed watching me shiver! I could have just clobbered him for that.
Is there anything Keith did that made you really mad? I am sure I got mad at him, but no, there is nothing I can think of that he ever did that I never forgave him for. Some of the things I might have gotten mad at was if he was out working and came in to late for us to go out if we had plans to do so. Lots of time he would just be out working too late.
Keith callings: Elder quorum president in Oregon, in Washington he was ward clerk, at 32 he was made Bishop for 8 years, scout leader for a short time, then as a high councilor until he died.
Keith Community involvement: He was very involved. He helped get released time seminary for the LDS students, and worked on the beet growers committee.
Keith and his in-laws: My parents idolized Keith. What ever he said they believed. If I said anything they would say, “if Keith says it’s fine then it’s OK”. They just loved Keith. Anytime he said, they thought it was gospel, it irritated me sometimes. If he fixed the TV it was great. They loved Keith in every way shape or form.
Career choices: Keith always wanted to be a farmer. His grades were excellent and he could have gone on to college, but he always wanted to be a farmer, so his father helped us get into farming. Funny thing is though, I thought I never wanted to marry a farmer nor a red head, but I did both of those and it all turned out great. I remember in school I had to write a paper on what I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be an airline stewardess. But in doing the research for the paper I learned I was too short to be one.
We started working in Adrian, Oregon for Lee and Ethel. Keith worked for Lee for $175 a month for the first year. Then the second year his dad bought a farm in Sunset valley. Lee supplied all the equipment and Keith all the labor and they split the money. It worked out very well. Then two years after that we rented our own farm that was about 1953. We decided to move to Washington because we heard the land up in the Columbia Basin was a lot cheaper than in Nyssa area. We moved up there in 1959.
Move to Washington: Keith and I had driven up to Washington to look over farms. Then Keith went up a second time and found a farm he called back to Oregon. So Lee (my father-in-law) took the train up to Spokane. We met with the lady make an offer on the farm. Other people had made on offer on the farm, but it was against the law to pay more for the land than what the government thought it was worth. Some people would offer to buy the land, and then give her money on the side which was illegal, but when we gave her a good honest offer, she liked it. I remember she was an older woman who was hard of hearing and a school teacher. She didn’t like the other’s that tried to work dishonestly with her. She liked us because we were honest with her. I was 28 years old when I moved to Washington.
The first year of farming: We didn’t get the land quite ready so we planted beans. That first harvest time was very wet and we couldn’t get them harvested. We had to hire a special harvester to get the wet beans harvested. We eventually grew potatoes and beats mainly. The Woolleys and the Garners and us all moved up to Washington about the same time. We were all helping each other out, and eventually we created a corporation called Bruce Farms. The men got along great working the farms as a corporation. We had some great years and harvests on the farm for many years. Then farming went down towards the end of the 1970’s, by the time dad got sick in 1987 we had official lost the farm to Traveler’s insurance. Our farm was sold on the steps of the courthouse in Ritzville. We knew it was officially going to be sold and we even knew who was buying it. It was Travelers insurance that we had financed it with. They felt bad buying it, but before they bought it we had already made arrangements with them to farm it. Even though we knew this, we still went up to watch it being sold, it was a sad thing to watch.
Paul took care of the farm when dad got sick. Mike was on a mission in Japan at the time. Our Bishop called Mike’s mission president and he let Mike come home 6 weeks early to help on the farm. We were in the Othello clinic when we heard the news. Keith wasn’t emotional at all, I had tears running down my checks first hearing the news. At this time we had no health insurance. Within hours there was plenty of money pledged within the community to help us out. Our Stake President and Bishop called to Salt Lake to ask if the church could help with the cost. Generally the church does not do this, but they did this time. After dad’s first bone marrow transplant, Keith went to Salt Lake to chuch headquarters and got Br. Goodrich, who was a member of the General Authority at the time, out of a meeting to thank him for helping. Br. Goodrich looked Keith straight in the eye and said, “where are the other nine?” That had quite an impact on dad. Dad just had to got thank him in person. Dad asked how he could repay the money back. The only thing they said we could do was to pay additional fast offerings.
Bone Marrow Transplant: Keith’s brother Dennis was a perfect match for Keith. His other siblings were a part match, but Dennis was a perfect match. While we were in Seattle, I spent everyday at the hospital with dad. For some reason dad wouldn’t eat unless I was there to feed him. I was there by 7 am and wouldn’t leave until 8 pm. Then first bone marrow was put in remission for two years. We went back to Spokane for test every week for two years, when we learned that it had come back out of remission. It was one of the saddest moments of my life. The Dr. left us alone to decide what to do. I didn’t say anything, but he decided to do it. I wished we wouldn’t have done it now. We spent 6 weeks getting it back into remission before the second bone marrow transplant. He lived just 14 days into the second transplant. It was the I remember being the

Ranch: We also owned a ranch in the Okanogan, Washington area. It was a large ranch and we sold it at the right time. We only owned it for about 5 years. We would bring the cattle down every fall to eat the sugar beat tops, and take them back in the summer.
Work: I only worked once outside the house for a couple weeks at a corn factory in Nyssa. It was a blessing being full time mom, but it was a chore too. When I was a kid I helped Dad. We thinned beats, hauled hay, helping dad with the Derek (hay wagon). Dad never paid us a hourly wage, but he always gave us whatever we needed when it came time for money. Mainly it was David and myself that worked outside, Marion helped mom in the house. When I was married I thinned beats, worked in the hay along side with Keith when I could.
My biggest challenge as a stay at home mom, was the work (laundry, cleaning etc). A couple of times Keith hired a lady to come in and help me with the house work. I also was the one who ran for repair parts a lot.

First Home: Our first home was in Adrian, behind Lee and Ethel’s home as part of their property. Keith was working for his dad on the dairy farm, this was where Paul was born. We lived there one year then moved to Sunset Valley about 25 miles away to work some property Lee had up there. We rented the ground from Lee and he helped with the equipment. Larry was born in 1951 here. In 1952, after a good harvest, Keith, myself, Pearl and Les took the train to Detroit to purchase a Dodge for my parents and then on to Lansing to purchase a Oldsmobile for Keith and I. We separated and toured the Eastern states and then met back in Denver at Aunt Alice’s place. By this time both Paul and Larry were born and we left them with Keith brother Jessie and his wife Audrey. When we came back from the trip, Larry didn’t want anything to do with me. He was a year old and was attached to Audrey while we were gone for the two weeks. We farmed in Sunset valley until 1957. While living in Sunset Valley I remember the water tasting very poor. It was very hard and tasted like rotten eggs because it had sulfur in it. That was the water from our well, many times we would haul water from Lee’s place do drink and cook with, their well wasn’t so bad. From Sunset Valley we moved to Ontario for two years on a rental farm. We lived in a basement rental house, I didn’t like living in this house, the house was small and dark with few windows. By the time we left Ontario for Washington our family grew to 4 kids, Paul, Larry, Luray and Kim. Kim was 7 months old when we moved. We migrated north to Othello, December of 1958. Les and Pearl helped us moved by using a truck of theirs.
In-Laws: For the first several years or so I was very scared to death of my mother-in-law. She was a woman that did everything perfect. She was up by 5 am, had her laundry on the line by 7, had her socks all matched and everything was done just perfect and I just wasn’t type of person. But as time passed, I learned that Ethel wanted a friend just as bad as I did and I got to be a very good friend to her.
Othello: Farmland in Oregon was very expensive to buy, we heard that the Columbia River Basin was just opening up for farming and the land was cheaper, so we were interested. Our friends Norman Garner and Keith Woolley had already moved up there in 1958. We found some property on block 46, unit 198 and 199 at the crossroads of Highway 26 and Billington Road. We rented a small house in town at 1220 E. Spruce for one year, while we built a house on the farm. For one year we lived in town, I hated it. Mainly I wasn’t used to entertaining the whole neighborhood of kids.

Our first house we built. Travelers insurance financed our first house on the farm, if I remember I think it was around $60,000 then loaned us. They gave us just so much money to build the house. Keith subcontracted (meaning he did the work) the plumbing and wiring, and I subcontracted the paint and varnishing the cabinets. By doing so we saved up enough money to buy carpet and drapes. My kids nicknamed them the boomerang drapes. We had no furniture, but we had carpet and drapes! We did have a table , and chairs and mattresses for beds, but no bed sets or couches. We would just sit on the floor. Eventually we slowly bought furniture. I did have something special for me in my kitchen. I had a double oven put in, and a special corner to keep my wheat grinder and bosch mixer to keep right in the kitchen.
Favorite meals: Mostly we ate meat and potatoes, but whenever I had a chance to go out, I chose Chinese food. I hated Oysters, but Keith loved oysters, every once in awhile I would make him oyster soup, but I could only eat the broth, never an oysters. I baked lots of bread.

Biggest Challenge to overcome: Making decisions since Keith has been gone. I have sold the farm house, bought a house and car on my own. These are things Keith always did and now I had to learn to do them.
Our very first crops we planted that year were beans. We had some of our own machinery and what we needed we traded with our friends. Skip was the first child born on the farm in Othello. I remember it rained a lot that first year during harvest and we needed help getting our crop harvested. We really enjoyed our first years here. We were among good friends and we were ALL broke and enjoyed each others company.
Entertainment: When we first moved to Washington, we were broke and so were all of our friends. For entertainment we would all get together and play cards. Or we would all get together and all bring a certain type of food for dinner, maybe Chinese or Mexican food. One time they brought a motohome out and said “come as you are”. Even if we were in our bathrobes or PJ’s we had to go. Then we drove out in the middle of a gravel pit and played cards for several hours. There were 6 or 7 couples there. Our friends in Washington included: Keith and Donna Wolley, Norman and Delores Garner, George and Marie Walker, Glen and Lula Gilbert, Hugh and Gwen Sloan and more. Wolley’s and Garners also lived in Oregon, we were friends before we were married and they moved to Othello about the same time we did.
Trips: We would take trips with our friends. In the early years it was camping and fishing. After many years of camping at Priest Lake we bought cabins. We also bought airplanes with our friends and traveled all around with our friends. Our most memorable trip was one with just Keith. Keith and I just took off in the card and drove up through Idaho and Montana and it was special.
Priest Lake: We spent many summers and winters at the cabin at Priest Lake. One particular summer I remember our whole ward was camping out at Luby Bay and a huge storm came through, so we went over and invited the whole ward to hunker down at our cabin. It was wall to wall sleeping bags, with no electricity and just a wood stove to heat soup and hot chocolate on.
South America: Once we flew down to Baja California and Central America. Since it was off season, they weren’t expecting visitors and didn’t have anything to eat. So they sent a boy off to get some shrimp. I don’t even like shrimp, but I sure liked this shrimp.
My kids: When Keith and I got married we thought we would have 5 or 6 kids. Well, we got a few more than that. I was 18 when my first was born and 37 when my last was born. Paul was the worst labor I had, I was in labor for 24 hours. Other than that, none of my pregnancies were complicated, just had morning sickness with all of them. It was a blessing to be a full time mom, but it was a chore too.
What gives me the most pride in my life is my kids. They are a wonderful family.
Which one was the most troublesome as a kid? Paul had the “three month colic”, but that was probably my own fault because I was a young mother and didn’t know better. Other than Dana’s premature birth the rest were just normal pregnancies and delieveries. As kids they didn’t give us have too much trouble. They all claimed they worked too hard, that was a bunch of bologna. Actually they did all work very hard on the farm and I was grateful they did that. Mike was actually a very shy child believe it or not.
Dana’s birth: The worst was Dana’s pregnancy at the end, she was born nearly 2 months premature. I went to the Dr. for a normal checkup and he could tell there was some distress with the baby and decided to induce labor immediately. I stayed at the hospital and Paul went to find Keith who had headed up to Wenatchee for something. Paul found dad on the way back, flagged him down and they went to the hospital. By the time Keith arrived Dana was born. For three days the Dr. kept the baby isolated and wouldn’t bring her to me. I got very upset and cried and the Dr.’s asked to meet with Keith and I. They told us we needed to make a decision, to either continue on with the medication she was on or head to Richland hospital for the intensive care there. Dana was born with an infection in her lungs, and the treatment they were giving wasn’t sufficient enough. We decided to immediately load her in our own car and head down to Richland. First we had to find someone to ride along with us, because I wasn’t strong enough to go alone with Keith driving. Our Relief Society President was Ruth Sessions and she rode along. Few miles away from the hospital the oxygen tank was running low, we turned back and replaced it and headed out again. Keith made the trip averaging 80 mph, record time to the hospital. Dana was in the hospital for 6 more days and responded well to treatment and came home. For about the first year she was still quite sick.
Mike’s planting: When Mike was 3 or 4 years old. I went visiting teaching and left Keith watching the kids. He was running the packer/schmizer equipment in the field across from the airport and south of the home place. Keith took them Mike and Craig out to the field in the tractor. Keith dropped the boys off at the ditch opposite the field and instructed them to play with their toy trucks while he worked field. The boys were supposed to stay on the other side of the ditch, but Mike crawled across the empty ditch. Keith had reached the top of the field and was turning around and Mike crawled ontop of the implement. Dad had a feeling to turn and check before he drove off too far, just in time to see Mike face down in the dirt with the schmizer running over him. Dad jumped off and saw Mike bloody. Keith called Norman Garner on the radio for help. They went straight to the hospital in an old big spud hauling truck. Dr.’s kept Mike in the hospital overnight for observation. They were concerned about trauma to the heart and lungs, but to everyone surprise Mike’s only injury was a bloody nose.
Skip’s burn: When Skip was 10, just 4 weeks before the end of the school year he was burning willow branches in the trash/burn barrel in the yard. The branches wouldn’t start so he got a can of gas and poured on them. His plan was to douse the branches then start them on fire, but he didn’t realize there were hot embers in the bottom of the barrel from the previous batch of garbage being burned. The fuel exploded and caught him on fire. His face and back were the worst. I was in town at the grocery store. The rest of the kids were home. Skip ran to the back of the shed and jumped the horse trough. The other kids took him in the house and put him in the tub and put cold towels on his back. Message reached me and I met them at the hospital. Skip spent 26 days in the hospital.
Paul’s accident: During Paul’s senior year in 1968, he was dating Donna. He was returning home (with Larry’s hamster in the backseat). He was on the potholes road, when he claims and gust of wind caught the car and he went over a deep embankment and totaled the car, but the hamster lived! He wasn’t hurt too much, he was checked out at the hospital, but the car was totaled.
Larry’s leg burn: When Larry was in the first grade, he was supposed to go to primary at the church after school, but instead he went home, that was when we lived in the house on Spruce. No one was home, I was at the Primary activity at the church. Larry was playing with lawn mower gas and some spilled on his foot and sock. I am not sure how, but he caught it on fire and it went up his leg and burned his leg. The neighbor took him to the hospital and I was called at the church. We had to keep it wrapped for several weeks. He still has the scars from the burn.
What do I want people to know about me: I hope people know me for being a good mother and wife and a good member of the church. Ever since I can remember, I have held a temple recommend. That is the one thing that Keith held until the day he died. I want people to know I have a testimony of the Gospel and I know it is true and to know how much it has been a big helping raising my children.

This is the life history of Genevie B. Stoker as taken from interviews by her daughter Dana Stoker Erikson and granddaughter Michelle Plaisted Clemens in 2010. Thanks mom. We are eternally grateful for the influence you are to this family.

Reunion is coming

Just checking this blog out to see if it works before the big reunion.  WOOHOO.  Now how to add histories to it???  I might be slow but eventually I might figure it out.  Now lets see if  I can get this lame ol' message to post.  BTW this is Dana