IRENE C. THOMSEN
This brief Memoir is being written with the thought in mind that it may be of some interest to my family.
My parents were Charles Robert and Alvira Stout Clarkson, and I was born on April 23, 1902, the tenth in a family of twelve children, three of whom died in infancy. ity Father was the only son of Robert and Ann Clegg Clarkson, who had accepted the Gospel in Beverly, Yorkshire, England, and immigrated to the United States in the 1#50's. My Father was born in Salt Lake City on February 2, 1862, and as both of his parents died while he was a very small child, he was raised by his Aunt, Mary Clarkson Lark, in Big Cottonwood, now Holladay, Utah. His two sisters were raised by other families.
VSy Mother was the daughter of Hosea and Alvira Wilson Stout, born June 5, 1866, in St. George, Utah, where Grandfather had been called to go and aid in the settlement of that area. He returned with his family after a few years to live in Salt Lake, and later settled in Big Cottonwood, where they built a home, and where he and Grandmother spent the remaining years of their lives.
Grandfather Stout was born in Danville, Kentucky, the son of Joseph and Anna Smith Stout, who had come there from North Carolina. Grandfather had heard the Gospel preached while teaching school in Illinois, and then had gone to Caldwell County, Missouri, where he was baptized in 1838, at the age of twenty-eight, having been born September 18, 1810. He was well acquainted with the Prophet and other Church leaders, and experienced the adverse conditions and persecutions endured by the Saints in those early days. He left Nauvoo at the time of the exodus, but was requested by President Young to remain in Winter Quarters until 1848 with the main body of Saints, and then he too, with many others, began the trek to Salt Lake Valley.
Grandmother Stout was the daughter of Lewis Dunbar and Nancy Waggoner Wilson. Her father had been born in Vermont, but was living in Ohio with his family
when Grandmother was born on April 21, 183^. It was in Ohio that her parents were baptized members of the Church in 1836, and they later went westard with the Saints. She and Grandfather Stout were married July 19, 1855 in Salt Lake City. They had eleven children, three of whom died in infancy, and my Mother, being the only girl, grew up with seven brothers.
Father had farmed in various locations, first in Leamington, Utah, where he and Mother had gone after they were married on September 18, 1884, moving then to Preston, Idaho, where Father took up some land and they lived for fourteen years» They moved then to Hinckley for two years and afterward to Trout Creek, Juab County, where I was born. The circumstances and conditions were not as anticipated, so in 1905 they returned to Salt Lake to live on a farm in the northwest part of town in what was known as Center Ward. The family remained there for a couple of years, moving then to Holladay to be near my Grandmother Stout. We lived first in a rented house a mile or so from Grandmother's, then in 1910 she urged us to move into her home, as she was in ill health and needed Mother to care for her. So we moved once more, and with the addition of two rooms, we had a comfortable home, and ay parents lived here for the remainder of their lives.
Holladay was a beautiful community, close to the Wasatch Mountains, having easy access to several nearby canyons, Big Cottonwood in particular, where there were several fresh water lakes, and the summer resort of Brighton at the top of the Canyon. Over the mountain ridge from Brighton was the winter ski resort of Alta, and in recent years a few miles further down Little Cottonwood Canyon, the Snowbird Ski Resort has been built.
Although our house lacked nearly all of the modern conveniences, the place itself was pretty, with several large, beautiful trees in the front which Grandfather had planted many years before. There was a large Buckeye tree, which was especially admired by passersby in the spring when it was in bloom. There was a large weeping ash, whose branches touched the grass, and this tree provided sufficient privacy and screening from the street so my sister and I could sleep beneath it on the warm summer nights. At other times we might make our bed on a couch on the front porch, or in the hayloft.
Along the upper boundary of our farm there was a deep gully which we called The Hollow. There were some trees and a small stream running through it, making it a pleasant place to play or spend an hour or two. Sometimes we children would pretend we were camping out, building a bonfire and cooking our lunch or supper. The menu ray girl friend and I preferred was fried potatoes and stewed tomatoes and onions, and bread and butter. We helped Father get the weeds out of the vegetable garden during the summer, and usually picked strawberries and other fruit for the neighbors, earning twenty-five or thirty cents for picking a crate of fifteen cups of berries.
I remember so well the many times we would go out into the fields with Mother to get a view of the gorgeous sunsets as reflected over the Great Salt Lake. Sunrise over Mount Olympus just above our place was also a beautiful sight. There was streetcar service between Holladay and Salt Lake, which enabled us to enjoy the thrill of 'going to town* with Mother and attending the noontime organ recitals in the Tabernacle. We would also visit the Church Museum in the Vermont Building and the gardens and historical sights on Temple Square. We younger children had a good life, and all attended the Irving School, attending Church and taking part in the activities in the Holladay Ward House. We were baptized in the old Granite Stake House, on Thirty-third South and State Streets, my date being August 17, 1910.
Upon graduation from the eighth grade I decided rather than continue in Junior High, which had been recently instituted, to take a course at the Latter-Day Saints Business College in Salt Lake. Ify dear sister Allie loaned me the $54.00 for the nine months' tuition, and another sister, Ifyrtle Sewell, kindly let me live at her home, within walking distance of the school, and I was well on my way to realizing my ambition to become a stenographer. The College was adjacent to the Latter- Day Saints High School, and shared insome of the activities, the most enjoyable
to me being their devotional services, held every school day just prior to the noon recess. Occasionally a short talk would be given to the student body by one of the Church leaders. The school was also near the Lion House, and we would sometimes have lunch at the cafeteria there.
I did well in the course of study, but because I was very young, just sixteen, I did not immediately get work. In August, however, I was hired by Kansas City life Insurance Company and worked there for two years. By that time I was tired of working and just wanted to stay home for a while. But ambition shortly reasserted itself, and before long I went to work for the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, whose offices were in the Vermont Building, across from the Temple Block. At the Sugar Company I first worked in the "Harem", a large office where several girls were on call to take dictation from the men in Purchasing, Insurance and Accounting Departments. We were supervised by a nice girl named Ebba Osterberg, who became a dear fid end, and she in turn worked under the direction of a very dignified looking office manager by the name of W. Bert Robinson. Later on I worked for the men in Engineering on the third floor, near the laboratory, and the Chemists would occasionally let ray girl friend and I use the lab to make candy after office hours, cooking it for hours it seemed on the slow gas burners. But we never had a failure, and the next day everyone would enjoy sampling our fudge, My last position while at the Sugar Company was doing the stenographic work for the Company Attorney, Richard W. Young, and I liked this work most of all, as I learned a great deal. I was at the Sugar Company for five years, leaving after I was married in 1925» when the employees presented me with a beautiful mahogany mantel clock.
The year 1923 was a very sad one for our family, ify youngest sister, Delia, had been afflicted with heart disease most of her life, able to attend school only intermittently, and was a source of constant concern for all of us. In the spring, when she was only sixteen years old, she became very ill, and passed away on June 1923. This was an especially difficult time for Mother, as she had
been almost constantly at her side for many weeks. Delia was a sweet, beautiful young girl, patient and understanding in all of her suffering, but her passing was still a painful experience for us all. Mother appeared to be reconciled after a time, and was apparently in good health; but four months after Delia's death, on October 25, Mother suffered a severe stroke which proved to be fatal, and on October 29, 1923, she too passed away. Needless to say, this was another sorrowful experience through which we had to pass, for Father especially, since he had always been so dependent upon Mother. I loved my parents dearly, and never think of them but what I have a feeling of warmth and gratitude for all they did for their family. They were good, honest people, with firm convictions of right and wrong, and that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to earth through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This has always been my feeling as well.
I am grateful for whatever I was able to do for ray parents, and I admit it was very little. But one thing I remember with pleasure was when in the summer of 1922 Mother went with me on a vacation trip to Portland, Oregon, to visit her brother, Charles Stout. We traveled in a pullman car and stayed at the apartment hotel where Uncle Charles lived. As the annual Rose Festival, which featured a parade and a regatta, was in progress in Portland at the time, we were able to enjoy many of the scheduled events, and even went aboard a Battleship, the U.S.S. Connecticut, which the Navy had brought up the Willamette River for the occasion and moored within the Portland City limits. We had a wonderful time in that lovely City, and returned home after about two weeks.
Father remarried about two years after Mother's death. His second wife was Mary North Nielson, a resident of Holladay, who had been a widow for many years. This marriage was good for both of them, and they lived comfortably together in the old home for twenty-nine years, until Father's death on January 16, 195^, just two weeks before his ninety-second birthday. Aunt Mary, as we called her, lived the remaining years of her life in Holladay at the home of her daughter, Erma Livingston,
/ at the age of ninety-one. She was a nice lady and we were fond of her.
In May, 1923, I had purchased a new Ford touring car, a far cry from the Stutz roadster I had dreamed of some day owning. But still I enjoyed the Ford and so did ray parents for a short while. I would drive it to and from work, taking along as passengers two or three girls who worked in town or attended school. The Ford was the means of taking my parents on short trips to Idaho to visit Father's relatives, and to Bryce and Zions Canyons. Unfortunately, ray car was stolen in September while parked on South Temple Street near where I worked. When recovered by the Police in Los Angeles, where it had been driven by the boys who stole it, the poor thing was found to be a total loss. It was November before the insurance company made an adjustment whereby I could get another car. This incident involved my being subpoened by the Government to attend the grand jury hearing in Memphis, Tennessee, where one of the boys had been apprehended. This occurred about the time of Mother's death, and was a very hectic time. When I did get the other car, I was able to take Father on several short trips, visiting his sister Ruth Crockett in Preston, and my sister Verna and her husband, Stanley Johnson, in Richfield, Utah. He also enjoyed Just taking a ride occasionally.
In the spring of 1924 I started going with my husband to be, Clyde Roland Thomsen, of Salt Lake, with whom I had been acquainted for sometime. He had been married and divorced, and was the father of two children, Phyllis Elaine and Clyde Robert. Their mother was Elizabeth Afton Tlmpson, whom I also knew. Clyde was a very pleasant, happy person, hard-working and ambitious as well. We were in love and had many good times together, so on April 20, 1925, we were married in Evaroton, Wyoming. I continued to work until July, as we had bought a new home at 154 East Thirteenth South Street, located in the Whittier Ward, and here we resided for twelve years, during which time all of our dear children were born: Irene Carol on December 18, 1925, Blaine Clarkson on May 13, 1927, Gayle Selma on December 20, 1928, and Jeanne on March 6, 1932. It was a lovely, blue firebrick home, and we were happy
and comfortable there, going to Church and taking part in the activities.
Clyde was the third son of Peter Christian Kilian and Selma Oberg Thomson. They were married November 11, 1892, and resided at 1896 South Eighth East the greater part of their married life. His father, Peter, had accepted the Gospel as a young man of nineteen in Copenhagen, and had come to Utah. He was born December 1862, in Slagelse, Denmark, and as his mother died when he was only seven years old, his father, Thomas Peter Thomsen, apprenticed Peter to a blacksmith, where he learned the trade and worked as a machinist throughout his life, being employed for forty years by the Utah light & Traction Company in Salt Lake. Clyde's mother, •Selma, was born in Malmo, Sweden, and immigrated with her parents, settling in Midvale, Utah, where her father, Oka Oberg, worked at the smelter. Clyde's mother had poor health, after having given birth to nine children, he being the fourth, and following an illness she passed away on June 29, 1914. when the youngest child, Glenn, was just four years of age. Clyde's parents were good and faithful members of the Church, and instilled in their children a love for the work of the Lord.
Clyde's boyhood home was in Richards Ward, in the Sugar House area. When very young he worked as a caddy at the old Salt Lake Covin try Club, on Seventh East, which later became the municipally owned Forest Dale Golf Club, He learned to play golf well and when he grew up he participated in many local and State-wide tournaments, often coming out the winner, and was the runner-up in one State tournament. He went to school at the Forest Dale Elementary and West High School. His father wanted him to learn a trade, but he preferred office work, and did bookkeeping and accounting throughout his life.
During the greater part of the time we lived in our first home, Clyde was employed as Office Manager at the General Motors Truck factory branch, located at Ninth South and Main Streets. He was doing well and liked his work, but following the advent of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the U.S. following the 1932 general election, the General Motors companies began to retrench and consolidate
their operations, at least in the Salt Lake area. Along with other families, we began to feel the pinch of the great depression, but did not suffer.
We had tried to do our duty in the Church, but had not been to the Temple, although our Fathers and the Ward Teachers would sometimes remind us of our obligation to do so. We finally made the necessary arrangements and on the evening of September 25, 1933t we went with Clyde's Father to the Salt Lake Temple and received our endowments. The following day, September 26, accompanied by both of our Fathers, we took the children with us to the Temple to be sealed, and a wonderful experience it was for us all. The children were so sweet and beautiful. We were also deeply appreciative that our Fathers were present at the sealing session, as they were so pleased that we had taken this important step. This has been a great blessing to our family, and Clyde and I went to the Temples many times in following years.
As the work at the Truck Company further declined, they offered to transfer Clyde to a Branch in the east, but he decided to see what he could do in Salt Lake. He kept fairly busy doing auditing and public accounting, but toward the end of 1936 he wrote to his brother Denton, then living in Tacoma, Washington, to ascertain the prospects of work there. Denton urged us to move to Tacoma, as he was sure work would be available. So we made preparations to move, selling the home, and were ready to leave Salt Lake in January, 1937.
The weather was good as we started north, but before the day was past Carol complained of not feeling well, and we soon discovered she had a case of mumps. She was not sick, so we continued on our journey as far as Hood River, Oregon, having stopped a night at Boise, Idaho. In Hood River we stayed at a motel for two days for Carol's benefit, but when we were about to go on our way we learned that a heavy snowstorm had closed a section of the Columbia River Highway over which we would have to travel on our way to Portland. It was several days before we found we could get to Portland by making a long detour to the south, and this we did. Carol felt much better and the other children had had a lot of fun playing in the snow.
On the way southward we traveled through snowy country for many miles, but the roads were clear long before we reached Portland, and made very good time from there to Tacoma and Denton's home, where we stayed a few days before moving into the funny little furnished house he had rented for us. We lived there for about two months, awaiting the arrival of our furniture, which was coming by train. We then moved into a pretty home across the street, where we were very content. The house was two stories, white frame, with a nice yard, and was within walking distance of the schools and convenient to Clyde's work. He had a job at the Smelter, something to do with the arrival of ore shipments from foreign ports.
We were very happy here, enjoying the beautiful country and even the rain. Our home was located in the Point Defiance area, not far from the Sound, at 3725 North Gove Street. We were able to purchase this home with a very small down payment, and resided there for three years while the children attended Sherman Elementary and Mason Junior High Schools. Tacoma is a pretty place, as are most of the towns we saw in the Northwest, 3111(3 "their greatest pride and joy was being able to get a wonderful view of Mount Ranier on a clear day, a really gorgeous sight. We were told the mountain had been called Tacoma by the Indians, but the name was later changed by the early settlers in that region.
Denton and his wife Nell were very kind to us, and we appreciated all they
did in helping us to get settled. Denton had his own Assay office and was also
Branch President of the Church in Tacoma, the Church being located about three miles
from our home. We were all faithful in attending the meetings and doing our part.
Clyde was in the Sunday School superintendency, and I worked in the M.I.A. and the
Primary, besides doing some stenographic work for Bishop Evans after the Tacoma Ward
was organized and became a part of Seattle Stake. Our quarterly conferences were .Anne
held at the Queen/Ward in Seattle, and going to these meetings was a pleasant outing for all of us. At one of the conferences the emphasis was on Sunday School work, and our children joined those from other wards and branches in a chorus that sang
several hymns during the meetings. President Heber J. Grant was in attendance, and after the meeting we, together with the children, went forward to shake his hand, making this a memorable occasion.
Sometimes on a weekend we would drive with the children out to the sea- coast, to a place called Copalis Beach, and would really enjoy the sea air. There were no concessions, but just a long, level stretch of beach, extending twenty or more miles, and it was possible to drive the car along the edge of the surf. The breakers looked very rough, coming in fast, and didn't invite swimming. Those who did venture into the water often got in trouble, as happened one day when we witnessed the rescue of two boys who had gone out too far, and were brought in by some men who rode their horses out into the surf and tossed ropes to them.
Clyde held his job at the American Smelting & Refining Company for about two years and then was offered a position as office manager with Spear & Jackson (U.S.) Ltd., an English saw manufacturing firm from Vancouver, Canada. A year later the Company opened a branch of their operations in Eugene, Oregon, and transferred Clyde and family there to manage it. We felt badly in a way to be leaving Tacoma, having to sell our good home and move away from Dent and Nell and their children, but the prospects seemed much better for Clyde. The Company paid for the shipment of our household goods and we had an uneventful but pleasant drive to Eugene with the children.
While looking for a house to rent in Eugene, we lived temporarily in a large furnished home belonging to a Doctor who taught at the University of Oregon and spent his summers with his family at Crater Lake. The arrangement was that we take care of Spotty, their little black cocker spaniel, our first experience in looking after a dog, but Jeannie and the others soon became quite fond of him.
Our next residence was located on River Road, in Eugene, the house being situated on a large lot most of which was planted to vegetables and strawberries. Ice cream was very cheap at the time, so we had all of the strawberries and ice
- a -
cream we could wish for. In a short time this River Road house was to be sold, and we were fortunate in finding a house nearer town which had been extensively remodeled, with new hardwood flooring and new plumbing fixtures installed. It was a lovely, comfortable home and we could have been happy living there permanently. The children liked the schools and we were all happy that we could resume our trips to the ocean, about forty miles distant.
The Church in Eugene was then a Mission Branch, but it soon became a Ward and part of Portland Stake. We met many nice and friendly people in the Branch, all so happy to greet one another on Sunday. We especially enjoyed knowing Ralph and Helen Lake, formerly of Salt Lake. They had a little girl, Carolyn, who often had Gayle or Jeanne for her baby-sitter. Because some of the members had to travel long distances, all of the meetings were held on Sunday, which occupied most of the day. It was a long drive of one hundred twenty-five miles to Stake Conference in Portland, but we made the trip regularly every three months.
Being the home of the University of Oregon, Eugene is a very busy city, and pretty as well. We were able to attend some of the concerts and other events sponsored by the University, held in their large auditorium, McArthur Court. We also had access to the University library.
The children were busy throughout the summer, picking beans and cherries and Blaine worked for a friend of ours, Brother Lamoreaux, who had a farm in Junction City, several miles from Eugene. He also had a job at a service station for a few months. Besides picking the beans and fruit, Carol took care of the children of Mrs. Wright , who lived on a farm near Eugene, and everyone managed to keep busy.
Clyde's transfer to Eugene had not brought about any improvement in our financial situation as expected, and as there was much talk of preparations for war here and supplying materiel for the countries at war in Europe, he began to consider making another move, this time to Los Angeles. His brother LeRoy had written that many jobs were opening up in the aircraft industry, and that he was sure Clyde could obtain work. So he left Spear & Jackson and arrived by train in Los Angeles about the first of July, 19^1, leaving us to follow later if all went well. He knew that some of the men with whom he had worked at the Federal Reserve Bank in Salt Lake were then located in L. A., and felt he had a good chance of getting employment upon their recommendations.
It was not many days following his arrival that he learned that Mr. R. A. Lambeth, the General Motors auditor from the east whom he had known while at the Truck Company, was then Comptroller, later Secretary-Treasurer, of North American Aviation. Since Clyde was thoroughly familiar with the General Motors accounting procedures, in use at N.A.A., Mr. Lambeth very readily hired him to work in the Accounting Department at a substantial increase in salary over what he had received in Eugene, and as the Company's operations were expanding rapidly, there was a great deal of overtime pay involved. North American was manufacturing the B-26 Bomber and the P-51 Mustang, being used in Europe.
T/ihen we received the good news from Clyde, the children and I lost no time in packing and getting ready to move to Los Angeles. We left Eugene in the car on August 1, 19^1, after arranging to have the furniture shipped via Bekins van. But before we got on our way that afternoon, Mrs. Brown, the owner of the house we had just vacated, asked us to have dinner with them, and we truly appreciated her kindness. Our plan was to drive to Klamath Falls and spend the night, but the headlights went out and we were unable to go that far and so we slept in the car. After a very early start the next morning we arrived in Klamath Falls about six A.M., had the headlights fixed, ate breakfast, and resumed our journey, which was uneventful except at Weed, California, I made a wrong turn and headed back toward Oregon. Happily, Blaine noticed my error and got us going in the right direction.
We arrived in Vallejo, California, that afternoon, staying the night at the home of my brother, Hosea and his wife, Mary. The next day we were in San Francisco to see my sister Allie White and to do a little sightseeing. I wanted the children to visit the Fleischacker Zoo, and we took along the four children of my neice, Hazel Staples, and this really overloaded the car, but we had a good time. We spent that night at Allie's and then continued on our way as far as King City, where we spent another night. Getting an early start the next morning, we arrived at the ^orth American plant at noon, where we met Clyde, and it was such a happy reunion. He took the afternoon off and went with us to his brother Roy's home, where we were to stay until our furniture came, a week later. Then we moved into a rented house on Hobart Blvd., and because of careful packing and loading of the van, everything was quickly put in place, and our new neighbor, Mrs. Hinrichs, remarked that it looked as though we had been living there for sometime.
The schools were within walking distance and the children enrolled in September in their respective places, Carol going to Manual Arts High, Blaine and Gayle to Foshay Junior High, and Jeanne to Santa Barbara Avenue school. The house had two bedrooms and a den, with living room and dining room combined. There was a floor furnace in the dining area and gas connections in the other rooms; but the heating arrangements were not adequate that first winter, as we had a snow storm on Christmas day and spent most of the time hovering over the furnace in an effort to keep warm. I cannot remember- having had a snowstorm at any other time,since living in this area.
We were now members of the Arlington Ward, and for a while we met at the Ebell Club on 48th Street until our new Chapel on Forty-eighth and Crenshaw was built. One of Bishop Clift's Counselors was Severin Sorensen, whom I had known and worked with at the Sugar Company years before. And because Clyde also knew several of the Ward members, we were soon well settled and at home in the Ward. Clyde and Blaine worked on the construction of the new building, and all of us participated in the Ward activities. Clyde was asked to be a Counselor in the Bishopric in 1943 when Bro. Sorensen was made Bishop following the death of Bishop Clift. Clyde served in this calling for about three years.
We had been living in the Hobart Blvd. house for three years when we once More had to move because the house was being sold. Rentals were hard to find, but we finally succeeded in getting a house on Potomac Avenue, near Borsey High School, in a housing tract financed by the Government to help take care of the influx of people into Southern California because of the war boom. We were still within the boundaries of Arlington Ward and convenient to the schools.
It was fortunate that this move did not inconvenience the children too much, so far as school was concerned. Carol had graduated from Manual Arts, Gayle was out of Foshay and ready for Dorsey, and Jeanne was ready for Junior High, and would be going to Audubon. Blaine was a senior at Manual Arts, and being very anxious to enlist in the Navy before the war ended, he accelerated so he could graduate in February, and he had this extra distance to ride each day until then, but was happy.
Blaine went to San Diego for boot camp, and a couple of weeks after his arrival the camp was hit by an epidemic of scarlet fever. He became very ill with the disease and consequently was delayed in completing this training. He lost so much weight while he was sick that when we were able to visit him, we hardly recognized him. He was next sent to Mississippi for basic engineering, then given a ten- day furlough before reporting for duty at Treasure Island, in San Francisco Bay, to be shipped out. Although the war came to an end during his furlough, his term of service lasted many more months, during which time he was stationed in Hong Kong Harbor, on board a personnel living boat. He was discharged in September 1946, and immediately began to prepare for a mission. His call to the Argentine Mission came in due time, and he spent nearly three years laboring in and around the Capitol, and doing a good work.
Following her graduation from high school, Carol had worked as a cashier for 3arker Brothers Store, and then decided to attend college at the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Accordingly, she departed for college in September 1945, accompanied by two other girls from the Ward, Dorothy Timms and Kathleen Gibson.
She returned from the Y in 1946 at my urging, and enrolled at the Metropolitan Business School in Los Angeles. But toward the end of December she was not feeling well, and as she did little complaining it was a few days before she saw the Doctor. She was found to have a ruptured appendix, and the operation was performed by Dr. Ernest Ward. We felt badly that we had not insisted she see the Doctor sooner, as she was very ill and had to remain in the hospital for two weeks, and to stay in bed for sometime after she returned home. As I had an office job at the time, Gayle wa3 her little nurse throughout the day, and a very good one, too.
In the fall of 1947 Carol returned to work at Barker Brothers, this time in their accounting department, and held that job until the spring of 1950, when she received a call to the Spanish-American Mission, with headquarters in El Paso, Texas. She served for two years under President Loren Jones, laboring among the Mexican- American people in Texas and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, returning home in 1952. She was a good missionary and grew to be very fond of those people.
Carol had not been home from her mission very long when she was offered a position in the accounting department of Lumbermen's Insurance Company, on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. She worked there until 1954, and then at Rose Marie Reid Company, in Inglewood, which was much closer to home. She saved her money and returned to the B.Y.U. for the winter and spring quarters of 1957. After giving the matter much thought and consideration, she finally decided she would like to become an Occupational Therapist. San Jose College offered a course along this line, and it was arranged that she would go there to school. I went with her to get settled, traveling north in the Dodge coupe she had bought while working, and it was a very good car. In San Jose she made arrangements to live at the boarding home of Mrs. Golda O'Neil, an L.D.S. lady who provided housing for a number of students. She attended Church in the San Jose Third Ward and took part in the activities. In fact, Carol had always responded willingly to calls to serve in the Church, having taught Sunday School and been both Ward and Stake Sunday School Secretary.
During these years Gayle had graduated from Foshay and entered Dorsey High School, where she accelerated and was able to graduate in February, 1W. Jeanne had gone from Santa Barbara Elementary to Audubon Junior High and then she too entered Dorsey, graduating in June, 19^9. While still in Foshay, Gayle and her friend Dolores got jobs packing pretzels at a little shop not too far from home, enjoying the thrill of earning her own money. She was always ambitious and worked at Barker Brothers at the wrapping desk during the Christmas and summer vacations. When she finished school, our neighbor, Mr. Cowing, helped her get a job in the Shell Oil Company offices in Los Angeles, where she was employed until her marriage in 19^9. Gayle was also a very good Church worker, having been Sunday School Secretary for quite sometime. She was popular at school and in the Ward, and with the other girls sang in the chorus that had been organized during the war, and led by Gwen Lund.
Gayle began going with Donald Lewis Blackmer in 19^7 • He was, and still is, a very nice young man, new to the Ward, who had served in the Navy during the war. After two years' courtship they were married October 18, 19^9, in the Mesa Temple. Clyde and I accompanied them to the Temple, and after the lovely ceremonies we had dinner with them at the Westward Ho Hotel in Phoenix, and they were on their way to their honeymoon, which took them to Craig, Colorado, and back home by way of San Francisco. They lived for a while in Los Angeles, but in the spring of 1950 purchased a new home in Rivera, now known as Pico Rivera, several miles east of Los Angeles. On July 5, 1950, their first child, Janet Louise, was born, our adorable first grandchild, and a special joy to us always.
When Jeanne graduated from Dorsey in June 19^9» having learned the art of key punching, went to work for the Prudential life Insurance Company at the new Western Headquarters on Wilshire Blvd. Later she worked for Union Oil Company in their downtown offices. Her true love was Dale Hanks, a fine young man who had fulfilled a mission in Switzerland and was then a student at UCLA. Dale was the son of Samuel H. and Edna Folsom Hanks, of Wilshire Ward. He and Jeanne were
married in the St. George Temple on October 18, 1952, and Dale's parents, Clyde, Carol and I accompanied them to St. George for this happy event. On their wedding trip they drove through Southern Utah to Kanab and on to the Grand Canyon. They returned to Los Angeles and lived in their own home on Highland Avenue for several years before moving into a new home in Lawndale. Their dear little boys, Donald and Kenneth, were born while living there, Donald on November 28, 1956, and Kenneth on April 27, I960. Not long afterward they built a new home in Rolling Hills, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where they still reside. Jeanne had also been active and well liked by the young people in Arlington Ward, and through the years she and Dale have always been faithful Church workers. Dale graduated from UCLA the June following their marriage, and went to work in the Engineering Department of North American Aviation. Jeanne also worked there as a key punch operator until Donald was expected,
Blaine did not find the Right Girl for some time after returning from his mission in 19^9. Meanwhile he worked for Sam Pearce, a contractor whom we knew, and then decided to attend the Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He was at home during the 1952-53 holidays, and at a New Year's dance he met his lovely wife to be, Relia Dawne Edling. They were much in love and after a courtship of three months were married in the Mesa Temple on March 27, 1953» Clyde and I made the trip to the Temple with Dawne's parents, Brother and Sister Wilford Edling, of Glendale. The ceremonies were beautiful, as always, and after having luncheon with the Bride and Groom, we departed for home, while Blaine and Dawne set out on their honeymoon, returning to make their home in Glendale. Clyde and I were so happy that our children had found their mates and had been sealed in the Temple, although Carol's marriage was to be yet a while in the future.
Blaine transferred from Utah State University to the University of Southern California, where he graduated as a Civil Engineer. He had worked part time on the construction of the Los Angeles Temple, and following graduation from
U.S.C. he worked for the California Highway Commission, and then went with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he was employed for fifteen years.
In 1947 our family had changed residence once again, leaving the Potomac Avenue house and moving just a block or two away, to 3755 Muirfield Road. We lived there for six years, and it was a pretty, comfortable home, to which Carol and Blaine returned following their missions, and Gayle, Jeanne and Blaine had all left to be married from this home, and it held many pleasant memories.
Our next abode, minus the married ones, was a tract home we had purchased in June, 1953. while it was still under construction, at 11013 Wilkie Avenue, in Inglewood. This was a very nice six room house, to which we added a dining room by enclosing the rear porch. Clyde, Carol and I lived there until my dear Clyde passed away suddenly on September 28, 1959, having suffered a heart attack. He was just sixty years old, but had been afflicted with emphysema from the time we first came out to the Coast, which in time affected his heart. His sudden death was a severe shock, as may be imagined. He was a very dear, sweet person, and his being gone was very difficult to accept, and I was very grateful for the support and comforting association of the children and their families, who were always so kind and thoughtful.
Carol was in college in San Jose, but returned home immediately. The other ahildren were not far away — Blaine was living in Glendale, Gayle in Pico Rivera, and Jeanne in Lawndale. Although Clyde's burial was to be in the Holladay Cemetery, the Lennox Ward held a service for him prior to our departure by train for Salt Lake, the children and their families going by car. Clyde was taken to the Larkin Mortuary, where his brothers and sisters, anxious to do what they could, and without consulting us, arranged for a service there. As Clyde had been well known in Salt Lake, a great many people, friends and relatives, called in the evening and also attended the services. He was buried in Holladay on October 1, 1959.
At the time of his death, Clyde was working as a Staff Assistant in the Financial Department at N.A.A., and his duties took him several times a week to the
Norton Air Force Base, near San Bernardino, and he enjoyed his work in spite of all the traveling. He was liked by his fellow employees, many of whom spoke highly of him. He had worked for N.A.A. for eighteen years.
At that time we were the grandparents of ten darling children — Blaine and Dawne had four: Eddie, Maren, Marianne and Karl; Gayle and Don had Janet, Lisa, Jon, Delia and Benny, while Jeanne and Dale had only little Donald. Clyde adored these little ones and was always happy when they came to visit us. On his sixtieth birthday, July 1959, all of our family were together for dinner and a visit, and thankfully, we took many pictures. It was as though we had been prompted to do this, since it was our last time together.
After the gloomy trip home from his burial, Carol had to return to San Jose, but we kept in close touch by phone and frequent visits. Blaine, Gayle and Jeanne were very considerate about calling and coming to visit, also. I decided to continue living in the home among the familiar things, and carry on as best I could. Our home was over half paid for, and the payments were not difficult to handle. Clyde's life insurance, together with the proceeds from sale of the old home in Holladay made it quite unlikely there would be any financial hardship. However, after a year or two I took a job as stenographer-bookkeeper with Mechanical Metal Finishing Company, in Gardena, and worked there for five years, retiring at age sixty-five with Social Security to augment my income.
I had done office work periodically since we moved to Los Angeles, having worked at North American from 1942 until 194^, at Hartwell Manufacturing Company from 1946 until 1949, during Blaine's time in the mission, and then in 1950 I returned to North American, working in the Welfare, Industrial Engineering and later in the Export Department. I was glad to be able to help out with family expenses, but there were times when we felt I was needed more at home, and this accounts for the breaks between jobs. I retired from North American in 1956 for good.
In I960 Dale's work with Computer Sciences Corporation had taken him to the Boston area, where Jeanne and the two boys, Donald and Kenneth, joined him. Some months later, in the summer of 1961, Dale and Jeanne had an opportunity to take a vacation trip to Central America, and so Jeanne brought the little boys home for me to take care of during their trip. But before the commencement of their vacation, she asked if I would like to return with her to Boston for a week's visit, providing Gayle would be so kind as to take care of the boys for that length of time. Everything was so arranged and Jeanne and I went to New York via American Airlines, my first flight, where we were met by Dale. We did some sightseeing and then went on to Boston and vicinity where we took in many more sights of historical interest. Jeanne took me on a drive through a part of New Hampshire and some distance along the coast of Maine, and I loved the ride and the scenery was so beautiful. The entire trip was thrilling to me, and I was most appreciative of being asked to go. It was a pleasure to take care of Donald and Kenneth upon my return, as they were very sweet, and I got Donnie started in kindergarten without any problem, in spite of his parents being away.
In June I960 I attended Carol's graduation from San Jose State College, held in the stadium. We felt that this was really the big step toward a career she could enjoy. The exercises were interesting, and as we were about to leave the stadium we were pleasantly surprised to see my sister Allie White and her daughter, Agnes Wood, coming toward us. They had come over from San Francisco for the graduation, and we had a good visit with them at Carol's apartment. Carol and I drove back home the following day.
Carol was now required to have several months of hospital training, and this was completed in February, I96I. She was first assigned to Agnew State Hospital in the Bay area, and subsequently assigned to Rancho Los Amigos, in Downey, much closer to home. After receiving her credentials she taught for several months at the Mingay School for handicapped children in North Hollywood, and enjoyed her work, although it was a long distance for her to drive each day.
It was in the spring of 1961 that Blaine introduced her to a very nice man near her own age by the name of James H. Gardiner, of Glendale. His wife had passed away a year or two before, leaving him with seven lovely children, in ages from fifteen to three years. Carol and Jim started keeping company, and after several months were married in the Los Angeles Temple on October 7, 1961, surrounded by many friends and relatives. Following their lovely ceremony, we all went to the home of Brother and Sister Wilford Edling, in Glendale for a beautiful luncheon before the bride and groom left for a brief honeymoon,
Carol worked for a short while after her marriage, but caring for a ready-made family was a real challenge to her, tho she was willing to try and do her best. The passing years have shown that she and Jim did well with the children, as they are a fine family. Added joy came into Carol's life when her little boy, Jamie, was born on January 28, 1964, and he was named James Thomsen Gardiner.
I retired from work in 1967 and decided on the advice of the girls and Blaine to put the home up for sale, but delayed temporarily as I had an opportunity to rent to a Latter-Day Saint man and his family. They had come to this area to be in charge of the Indian Placement Program for the Church, and they lived in the home for a year, moving away in the summer of 1968. I then listed the home for sale and it was sold in the Fall for a good price.
During most of the time the home was rented I lived with Jeanne and Dale and their family in Rolling Hills. I truly appreciated their having me live there, but it was really an imposition on my part, because they then had six little children: Donald, Kenneth, Ernest, Anita, Heidi and Carmen. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being with them and stayed for ten months; then I moved into an apartment in Glendale, on Sonora Avenue, and remained there for six years.
I had been driving a 1955 Oldsmobile 88 automobile that Clyde had bought for me, and as it was getting along in years and usage, I looked around for a newer car, and found it in a 1966 Chevrolet Caprice coupe with low mileage, which
I bought. Now, although it has been in use for ten years, it is still giving good service.
Blaine, Dawne and their family had moved from Glendale to Huntsville, Utah, in I969, and built a new home there. In 1973» however, they moved again, going to Cameron, Missouri. Here they built themselves another beautiful home, and planned to live there permanently. I went by train to visit them in December, finding them well settled and busy in their new location. Eddie and Maren were in college at the University of Missouri, and Marianne, Karl and John were going to school in Cameron. Blaine was now a contractor, engaged in house construction. The family always worked together on their projects, and did well.
Blaine and Dawne had talked to me about making my home with them, but as I had taken training at the Glendale Community Hospital in 1970 towards becoming a Practical Nurse, and was employed part time, I hesitated to give up the work. I was receiving $20.00 per day's work of about five hours, and I enjoyed what I was doing. However, at the end of April, 1974, I decided to give up the work and live with them. I shipped some of my furniture and they came out to Glendale to accompany me back to Cameron in my car, a very pleasant trip. Their home was lovely and the children very interesting and delightful. Although this was a big change for me, I felt I could be content in the new surroundings. I loved the beautiful countryside, so different from California, and I enjoyed an occasional trip to St. Joseph or Kansas City, as they were interesting cities.
In July while I was in Cameron, Gayle and Donald phoned to say they were driving to Orlando, Florida, to attend Lisa's graduation from preliminary training in the Navy, and would then take her home with them for her furlough. They offered to come by way of Cameron and take me with them to Florida, and naturally I was eager to accept. Gayle and Don had brought Andrea and Nicole with them, and although the car was full, we had a wonderful, scenic ride both if ays, coming back through the beautiful Ozark Mountains. Being able to visit the Navy Base in
Orlando and to see dear Lisa graduate was a special privilege, and I did appreciate their asking me to go with them. The scenery all along the way, the Florida coast, and the sight of the great rivers was a thrill I shall never forget.
During my stay with them, Blaine and Dawne were very kind and hospitable in every way, but along in November when the wintry winds began to blow, and after some snow had fallen, I began to think longingly of California, and decided to come back. I loved the children and hated to leave them, but hoped I could keep in close touch with them. Blaine and Dawne drove back to California with me in my car, and we left Cameron very early on December 5th and arrived in the vicinity of Los Angeles the next afternoon. The weather was cold and clear all the way, but vre had a pleasant trip in spite of some car trouble while driving through Arizona. They returned home by plane after a few days.
As the result of some correspondence I had with Ann Blackmer, Don's mother, then living in Arizona, it was decided that we would share an apartment in the L. A. area. It was my desire to locate in Whittier, to be near to Gayle and Don and the children. We rented a two bedroom apartment at 13^21 Penn Street, in Whittier, and Ann lived there with me for about a year and a half, when she returned to Arizona to be with her sister and neice. I expect to live in this apartment indefinitely, as I am within walking distance of downtown and Church, the Whittier Sixth Ward to which I belong. I see the girls often, or talk to them on the telephone almost daily. I also hBar from Blaine, by letter or phone.
In looking over what I have written, I am impressed with the number of
moves I have made with my family or on my own, but they all seemed advisable and necessary at the time. Although they all have their share of problems and ups 'and downs, the children are well situated with their families. Carol is still living in Glendale, and five of the children, Sandra, Kent, Mark, Janice and Gayle, are married, while Julie and Jamie are still at home. Jeffrey is at present (1976) fulfilling a mission in Florida. Kent served in England, and Mark went to Canada.
Carol 1s Relief Society President, after serving as Secretary of the organization for two or three years. Jim has always been busily occupied with one or more Church jobs.
Blaine and Dawne are still in the contracting business in Cameron, but recently they opened a Sizzler Restaurant under a franchise, which should do well. Their oldest daughter, Maren, was married in March, 1976, to Michael Froerer of Huntsville, and they are now living in Providence, Utah. Marianne is managing the Sizzler and living at home. Karl, or K.C., as he likes to be called, is attending high school in Tustin, California, while living at the home of his Aunt. Ed is about to start a goat raising project of his own in Cameron. John is in school, and is a very talented boy, being interested in music and art, and is now learning to play the trombone.
Gayle and Don are the parents of ten lovely children: Janet Louise, Lisa Ann, Jon Devon, Delia Irene, Benn William, Lance Randall, Andrea Jean, Clay Lewis, Darren Christian and Nicole Carol, Janet was married in November, 19731 "to Robert Orson Christensen, and they are now living in Salt Lake. They have an adorable little boy, Lewis Glenn, my first great grandchild. Lisa, who is still in the Navy, was married in April, 1976, to John G. Murdoch, Lt. JG, and they are living in San Diego. Jon and Delia are working, Benn is in College, Lance in High school, Andrea in Junior High, while Clay, Darren and Nicole are in the elementary grades. Gayle is a Primary Teacher, and Don teaches the Genealogical class in Sunday School.
Jeanne and Dale are living in the same location, now called Rancho Palos Verdes, and are the parents of eight living children: Donald, Kenneth, Ernest, Anita, Heidi,Carmen, Laura and David. Their little baby, Nancy, born in April, 1968, passed away when only a few weeks old, and it was a very sad time for us all. Donald has been attending college. Ken and Ernest are in High school; Anita and Heidi in Junior High, while Carmen and Laura are still in elementary grades. Their baby, little David, was born on July 6, 1976, and is truly a delight and a blessing to the family, and is adored by everyone. I was fortunate in being able to take care of him for a few weeks while Jeanne and Dale were in England, and I loved doing it and being with all of the children. Jeanne is Stake Sunday School Secretary as well as Secretary of the Ward Relief Society, and she enjoys the work. Dale is President of the APMIA in their Ward. Donald is President of the Young Adult Group. Anita is President of her class in MIA.
I should also make mention of Clyde's children by his first marriage. Phyllis was married in 1937 to Robert Oliver Larsen, and they live in Salt Lake City. They are the parents of two daughters who also live there, their first baby girl, Annallee, having died in Infancy. Their daughter Jeannene Elaine was married Dec. 11, 1964 to Edward Callister Colbert in the Salt Lake Temple, and they have a nice family of five boys and one girl, and expecting their seventh child. Their daughter Roberta Catherine was married Dec. 14, 1963 to Michael A. Peterson, and later divorced. They had only one child, a girl;whom they named Catherine.
Clyde's son, Clyde Robert, was married February 9, 1949, to Florence Slack, and they have been living for some years in Twin Falls, Idaho. They are the parents of three boys: Curt Robert, Jeffrey Martin and Kent Christian. Curt is married and has just finished law school. Jeffrey has graduated from college and is preparing to be a golf pro. The youngest boy, Kent, is attending the local schools in Twin Falls. So if Clyde were living, he would now have (1976) eight great grandchildren, and thirty grandchildren, while I have twenty-five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
I am grateful for the privilege that has been mine to have been Clyde's wife and the mother of my fine children, and grandmother of the choice little ones that have come into our family. The Lord has been kind and gracious to us all in every way.
Irene Glarkson Thomsen was born in Trout Greek, Juab County, Utah,
the tenth child or Charles Robert and Alvica Stout Clarkson, dn April 23, 1902.
When a small child her family moved to the Salt Lake City area, and she attended
as a secretary
school in Holladay and the L.D.S. Business College. She was employed/for five years by Utah-Idaho Sugar Co.
In April 1925 she was married toClyde R. Thomsen, and they made
their home in Salt Lake City until 1938, where their four children were born.
The family moved to Tacoma, Washington and then to Eugene, Oregon for a short
time before moving to the Los Angeles area in 1941, where they remained.
She is survived by four children, Carol Gardiner,/§iainenfeomsen,
Gayle Blackmer/aM0Jeinnea'Hanks of Rancho Palos Verdes, 25 grandchildren and 11
Interment will be in the Holladay Cemetery.
(If Phyllis & Bob included, paragraph 3 would be as follows:
She is survived by four children, Carol Gardiner of Glendale, Blaine T homsen of Salt Lake City, Gayle Blackmer of Pico Rivera, and Jeanne Hanks of Rancho Palos Verdes; two step children, Phyllis T. Larsen of Granger, Utah and Robert Thomsen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, 30 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. (Just guessing)