Friday, August 30, 2013

Erin's Letter

Erin wrote: I am terribley sorry about youre bathroom issue. That would deffinately make me loose my head. haha. Im glad you had a nice vacation at the temple though. Im also sure you and grandpa will think of something fun to do on labor day weekend even if it is only you and grandpa.  I also just wanteed to remind you you are not old. Think of it as maturly mature(speel check). I dont know about anyone els but I condsider 92 years old, old. If you see Rachel anytime soon although I know it is late tell her that I am excited for her and I wish her good luck. For some odd reason though I cannot beleive that she is eight years old already I remember when she was only 1 or 2 as idiotic that may sound haha. I am looking forward to the next that I see you and grandpa. I did a report on a couple of stories that I remember you guys told me for history class. I havent turned it in yet but I am positive it will get and A+++++++ because your history is better than most. I wrote about the story on how you and grandpa met and also on how grandpa devcided to go on a mission. My freind Brinley looked at my essay and thought that your guys storie was the most entertaining one that she had ever herd. Brinley is a character though :) haha. I am also happy for you that you found your wedding photos. That must have been a nice walk down memory lane for and grandpa. Sorry that  I havent been responding to the emails as much as I would like to. I have been getting a lot of homework in honors Language Arts and math but even my regular classes like to pile it on me so that it makes it hard for me to ever be on the computer. Being with my freind Maddie most nights doesnt help much either. I wont promise anything but I will try to find a way to read your emails through my phone and if possible respond to them sooner. I am sure you would like to hear about Donovin and Caydin too though. Donovin has just started football and he loves it. Last Saturday he had a football thing called midnight madness in cedar city he played 5 scrimigages and did very well. In the first one he made an amazing tackle. It was great. He has been sick for a couple of days though so tonight will be his first night back in 4 days and he still has to take it easy. I am mad at him though because I think he passed it on to me but thankfully it only lasted for a day wich was yesterday. Caydin has just started kindergarten. He is so excited about his teacher and all of the new freinds he is making. If your on the phone with him anytime soon be sure to ask him about school if you want your chatted off that is. He loves talking about it even though his stories take forever. He is also very excited about his very first loose tooth. We have just recently dicovered that. He loves the fact of growing up. Caydin is so proud. He also wants me to tell you about his Iron Man. :) I love you both lots and lots I hope your weekend is great. O I forgot to tell you I have to audition for what seat I play in orchestra and I received 2nd seat. I am so happy but my fingers arent those hard fingertips are coming back after the year they had to soften up. LOVE YOU!
 <3 erin="" p="" trauntvein="">
Myrna wrote: It is so good to get a letter from you! Three cheers! It was well-written and both Gramps and I enjoyed reading every word. You do have a talent for writing.

We get our bathroom work done beginning on Tuesday. I don't know how long it will take but it will be really good to have it over with. I am so very tired of it being all torn apart and yucky.

Congratulations on winning the second chair. That took a lot of work. Now let us know when your concerts are so that we can come and be proud. I hope your poor fingers hurry and get tough so that they do not hurt anymore. I think you are brave to hang in there. I am so glad that you are playing in the orchestra.

It also sounds as though you are having a good year at school and are enjoying your classes and your friends. That is so good to know. That makes us happy.

Rachel was so happy to be baptized. She was floating on a cloud all day, both before and after. I am like you. It seems just yesterday that she was a baby. Of course, it seems that way to me about you. I know I was just holding you on my lap a short time ago and here you are, almost grown up. I don't know how that happened.

Tell Caydin and Donovin hello from us. Caydin is proud to be going to school and Donovin is proud to be playing football. I can hardly believe that Caydin is old enough to have a loose tooth. My goodness. Tell him that we think that is great. Donovin is an outstanding player. I bet it is fun to watch him. We wanted to come and see him play and would like to know when the games are.

We love you all. We are proud of you and are glad that you are happy. You will always be my special baby girl.

Love, Grammy and Gramps

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Healthy Basic Crepes

Crepes are an easy and elegant breakfast , brunch or even dessert. These crepes use whole wheat flour.

2 cups whole wheat flour
5 eggs
I cup non-fat or regular plain Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Whisk together flour, leavenings, eggs and yogurt in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add milk and water, stirring to combine. Beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. (If using a crepe pan, tilt pan with a circular motion so batter coats the surface evenly.) If using a griddle, pour the batter in a circular motion so the batter is quite thin on the griddle. 
3. Cook crepe until bottom is light brown, about 2 minutes. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook other side. 
4. Serve hot with yogurt and blueberries. (Use other fruits as desired. Also whipped cream or ice cream may be used if the crepe is served as dessert.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Nephi

We have been feeling the effects of the change in missionary age at the temple. Each of the two days that we serve, there are several young women who are turning 19 and are now entering the mission field and who have come to the temple to receive their endowments prior to entering the mission training center(s) of the church. There are also a great many young Elders who are ready to accept the call for the 18-year old men to become missionaries. We have been delighted at the great numbers of young people we see who are worthy to be missionaries. It is great to know that we have such wonderful young people in our family. 

My service as a temple sift assistant coordinator is now over. My two years are up and we were replaced this past Friday. It was strange knowing that every leadership service was the last time that we would be doing that work. It was also a bit sad since the five of us have worked so closely together and have formed a close friendship as a result. However, we no longer have the responsibility of making certain that things for our shift run smoothly. Now the new group gets to do that. 

We have been teaching the temple preparation class in our ward. We are teaching a young couple and one missionary-to-be in our ward. It is a great experience to share this special time with those who are preparing to attend the temple.

We had another missionary farewell, although we do not call it that anymore, yesterday. This young man is going to Peru and will go to the missionary training center for those Spanish speakers. He has been taking Spanish for some time now and chose to bear his testimony in Spanish. He certainly had a lot of people there to hear him. The chapel and the recreation center was filled. In fact, the recreation center was filled clear back to the stage. Mary Horrocks, Julie's good friend, spoke about her son, Ben, who is serving in Italy. 

We now have eight missionaries who are currently serving from our ward. Three more have recently returned home.

We also had a convert baptism in our ward and he was asked to bear his testimony as part of the meeting. We have a young man in our ward, Clifton Taylor, who is affiliated with the American Red Cross. He has been trying to leave for a mission but has been having a difficult time getting his health to the point where that can happen. He has really low iron and cannot seem to build his levels up. He went back to help at one of the disaster areas and, while there, met this young man. The missionary-to-be (Clifton Taylor), was asked by his parents to leave his home here in Nephi when he decided that he wanted to be active in the church. He moved in with Russ and Colleen Bender, at their invitation, and he called and asked if this young (32-year-old) man could come and stay with them also. They were happy to have him and he requested the missionary discussions while at the Bender's home. He was baptized on Saturday. He said that he had attended church with Clifton while he was working with him in Oklahoma and had felt that he found the spirit that he had been searching for. He wanted to know more and was now certain that he was in the "true church."

We are having weird weather here in Nephi. Last night, a huge wind and hail storm was forecast for our area. We were listening to the radio and heard a storm warning come over the line. It reported high winds and hail would move into our area. We sort of battened down the hatches, so to speak. When it came, the winds were not as high as predicted and there was no hail. There was a lot of lightening and thunder and a deluge of rain but it was only 15-minutes or so in duration. That was a relief. Hail at this time of year can wreak a garden and ours is doing really well at this point. The corn, to quote the song, "is as high as an elephant's eye." Maybe ours is higher than that. A couple of years ago, a high wind blew limbs off of our fruit trees and split one of the big branches. Luckily, that did not happen this time.

Michael's great-grandmother, Maxine Gordon, was at the Manti Temple on Saturday and I had the good fortune to be able to spend a few minutes with her. She is an elect lady. We were able to see each other a couple of times and give hugs and exchange "I love you" words. It was great. I do get to see so many people there. I met a "cousin" of sorts also on Saturday. He was a descendent of Judge Ferdinand Ericksen. One delight for me is working with one of my bridesmaids from way back when. Gerri Page was the former Gerri Shield of Price. She still lives in Price and now is one of the assistant matrons.

Gramps and I are so proud of the work you are doing in the mission field. It makes our hearts happy and strengthens our testimonies each week when we read your letters. We pray for you several times each day and want you to know that we love you. You are great! Thanks for serving our Father in Heaven, His son, Jesus Christ, and your fellow men.

The missionary yesterday told the story of a young man who had a dream that he would go into the world and find his pre-earth life friend who had not been sent to as great a place as he had been sent. He later wrote his bishop that he had found his friend. I know that you are also finding yours.

Love, Grammy and Gramps

I changed the letter for Michael to read: 
We saw your great-grandmother, Maxine Gordon, who was at the Manti Temple on Saturday and I had the good fortune to be able to spend a few minutes with her. She is an elect lady. We were able to see each other a couple of times and give hugs and exchange "I love you" words. It was great. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Myrna's 1981 Journal, Page 2

The honest truth of the matter is that I'm converted to everybody else keeping a journal but maybe I don't really want to keep one myself. The clincher is always the idea that your progeny will know what you are really like but, to be honest, I don't want my progeny to know what I'm really like. In fact, the less they know what I am really like, the happier I'll be.

I'm a person who holds resentments and keeps lists inside my mind. I continually work to not be like that. That holding on to things can't be something you want others to emulate. I have a struggle trying to love others (this does not include my children whom I always love) and I have a struggle trying to forgive. That includes forgiving myself. I sometimes wonder if it's possible to "love everyone." I wonder if it is possible to forgive and "remember it no more."

At this stage in my life, I'm not even sure what I want or who I want to be and I'm 41. My life is nearly half over by regular standards and I don't even know what I want to do with what is left.

Many days, I have to work on being forgiving. People can say the meanest things. Some of them mean to be hurtful and others do not mean to be they just, I suppose like me, make comments without thinking.

My life is just a work in progress. I am, eventually, and who knows when, going to have to die and meet my Savior. I think I would rather not be so mortal and so much the "natural man" and would much rather be more Christlike, more like the Master. I really don't want my unrepented sins to be broadcast from the rooftops for all to know.

December 26, 1981

The following is retyped from my poorly kept journal.

I have just finished reading, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals," printed in the December 1980 "Ensign." I also read: "Will I Ever Forget This Day, Excerpts from the Diaries of Carol Lynn Pearson," editied by Elouise M. Bell.

I don't beleive it would be possible to read either the book or the article without deciding to keep a journal. So, once again, I am making a beginning.

Tomorrow I teach the lesson in Relief Society. I don't feel up to my usual pizazz. It is 3 a.m. and I am very tired and humble and worried. I need another four hours to be ready and I don't have them. The newspaper stacks were just left outside and snow is blowing against the windows. It will be cold tomorrow--or today--and I am weary.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Wow! (My letter to my missionaries.)

I am sending the same letter to both of you this week. I am hoping that you were all part of the the church's largest missionary training conference. I imagined both of you sitting there, in a gathering in your particular mission, and learning from the experience. I saw your beloved faces, in mind's eye.

I did not even recognize the Marriott Center at BYU with all of the missionaries in attendance there. I was so impressed with the conference. In our stake, all members ages 18 and older were invited. A few parents brought youth approaching that age with them. There were not as many in attendance at our location as I would have hoped. I think there were something like 220 present. We were counted, as were the members of ward and stake councils present, so the number could be reported to Salt Lake.

“To all the full-time missionaries sharing in this broadcast around the world, we say never again in your entire life are you going to be part of a zone conference this large!” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum the Twelve as he conducted the meeting. “To the many members of the church gathered in innumerable locations, we affirm that ward and stake councils can no longer say of this great army of missionaries, ‘There they go.’ No, the hour is upon us in which we must now say, ‘Here they come.’ All of us must plan for and use this heaven-sent resource in the most productive way possible.”

Of course, in my "Tears At All Times and in All Places" stage of life, I did shed quite a few. I now know why my grandmother always told me that a lady carried a cloth handkerchief. I borrowed LHT's hanky. I need to invest in some of my own--cloth ones--so that I will be prepared for the floods of my own making.

LHT said that when he went into the mission field there were approximately 5,000 missionaries world-wide. Now there are 70,174.

Our ward met for Sacrament meeting only so that we would be out in plenty of time to get to the stake center. We are the late session and we do not end until the 4 p.m. hour. LHT and I had the distinction, at 3:15 p.m., of being the first in attendance. We certainly had our pick of seats.

LHT (Gramps/Dad) and I have been wondering about our neighborhood. Perhaps we can be of service among our neighbors. The older homes around us are being purchased by good young people but none of them are active. Some of them are, likely, not members. It does take courage to invite. The fellowship part is the easy part. It has always been easy for us to be good neighbors. That is particularly true of LHT who, at the drop of a hat, is off to shovel snow, lend himself and his tools, and be of general good service.

I cried when the missionaries sang. How powerful that was and how it made me think of the two missionary grandsons I have serving and of another about to serve. My little mission of working to provide Sacrament services for the assisted living center seemed so small in comparison with what our missionaries are doing in the field. LHT does most of the organizing and I do most of the "just showing up to love." I offer a lot of prayers, closing or opening, as needed. And I cry. As we receive the weekly letters, our testimonies are strengthened. How blessed we are, as a family, by the missionary service of our stalwart two.

I also was touched by the segment dealing with teaching and the one on repentance. I learned from them answers I had been seeking.

The story of Sister Neill F. Marriott, who, at the age of 22, was converted and baptized into the Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, was toucing. One year later she married David C. Marriott in the Salt Lake Temple, one of those who helped introduce her to the church. They are the parents of 11 children.

We love you. We are proud of your work. We are touched by your testimonies. How thankful we are that you are part of our family.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Some Random Memories

We didn't have a freezer when I was young. We had a tiny little box at the top of our fridge that was just big enough for a coupe of ice cube trays and we thought it was great. Sometimes you could even store a bit of ice cream in the little cubicle. If it was left too long, the container filled with ice crystals and became dreadful tasting. It was better, however, than the fridge that I remember from my three-year old life. That was a literal ice box. It had a chamber for keeping things cold and another for the ice. A man would come every few days and sell us some dry ice to put in the top of the box which kept things cold for a bit. That was during Word War II. 

My grandmother would be at school teaching and I would be home at the apartment we shared with my beloved Aunt Renee and Uncle Max. The ice man would come and I would be fascinated by the whole procedure. He would carry the ice into the house with a pair of large ice tongs. Aunt Renee said that if he touched the dry ice it would be so cold that it would burn his hands.

I also remember that we walked a lot. We walked to the small grocery to get needed items. There was a little corner grocery and we would just ask for what we wanted. The grocer would fill the order by giving you the item you wanted. Forget asking for a brand at that small store. You got what he had. Of course, we shopped once a week at the larger grocery store where you went around with a cart and picked out what you wanted. At the corner grocery, a child could be sent with a few dollars and come home with the item in a brown paper bag and some change. When I was tiny, of course, I just went with an adult. When I got older I was allowed to walk there and back. Usually, I was allowed a few pennies for a treat because I had run the errand. You know, had I kept walking everywhere, like I did back then, I would be in a lot better shape than I am. Now I have taken up daily walking for my health. Then I just did it because everyone else did. :)

When we moved to Carbon Avenue, there was Mabbitt's Market just a block away. When my cousins and I would be sent there for a can of tuna, for example, we were given a nickel to buy a treat. I liked to use it all on a Three Musketeers Bar because he actually had three chocolate sections and we could each have one. However, we usually got something else like all-day suckers. Sometimes we would buy popsicles which we all liked but which made a mess of the fronts of our outfits before we got the block back home.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I refuse to correct letters to the editor.

I really hate to disappoint you but I have been thinking over what you asked me to do. I appreciate that all writers like to get feedback from other writers. I do not think that I am the person to help you, however. I am really leery of reading and helping with letters-to-the editor.
I had a person, whom I thought of as a friendly school-mate of a couple of my children, who made all sorts of trouble for me a year ago. He brought a letter to me to have me correct (grammar and punctuation). I had him sign the copy I then printed off for him signifying that it was his work and not mine. I dated the copy and he turned it in to the newspaper. It was printed in our local paper. He was taken to court for what the authorities thought was the threatening nature of the letter. I was called to court, under oath, to bear witness as to what had happened with that letter. He tried to claim that I had changed the letter after it was printed. I had not, could not and would not. Luckily the jury considered my long newsprint reputation. He was found guilty and served jail time. I became a lot more concerned about what I help others with. The disclaimer that is printed on every opinion page was saving for the newspaper but Allan and I determined that we would not be so helpful in the future. At our local newspaper, we are mostly interested in local issues and are not interested in national issues or topics that the state papers cover.

There are many others in the community who would be willing to assist you with your need for a good critic.  Snow College has many classes of many types that are taught in Nephi via interactive computer instruction at the Juab School District office. Of course, for those there is a fee.

In Provo, there are writer's groups that you could join. I belonged to one such group for awhile and a chapter was even started here. We Juab County members all became too busy and closed the local chapter.

I hope that you understand. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More from Myrna's Soapbox

To Barbara: The grandchildren we share are confused about the Latter-day Saint church because they get conflicting information. They hear little about the church that is really true. They do not attend meetings, except once a year with us, where they have an opportunity to hear what we really do believe. At Scouts, they do not talk about the gospel. They talk about scouting. The same happens at the week day meetings of Young Women. Sunday meetings are the only ones where they really talk about beliefs. Erin said that at Sunday School with the youth, she has no idea what they are talking about. Why would she? She hears one idea from you, another from her parents and another from us. She is not mature enough  to study on her own and really learn doctrine. We don't spend hours of time studying while they are here. We go places and visit family so that they will know who their cousins and aunts and uncles who live near are. Besides, we learn precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. It takes a lifetime of devotion to know truth of any kind.

Erin talked about Mountain Meadows Massacre with Julie and I was on the edge of the discussion. The only one of us who knew about it, really, was Leonard because he taught about it in Utah History. I told her to talk to him. Jim gave her good advice. He told her that she, if she REALLY wanted to know, should read about it on her own. He told her to go to the source nearest the actual happening. Historians can be biased but the people who lived the happening can best understand it. Our ancestor opposed the killings. He tried to get help to prevent them. He testified against the perpetrators. Those writings are available.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Grandpa Ray, the storekeeper

Did you know that my (Myrna's) Grandpa Ray Smith was the bookkeeper and the storekeeper at a CCC camp. That happened years after the Mexican/American War. In fact, that was after he had owned his own butcher shop in Huntington. He became ill, they later discovered that he had terminal lung cancer, and decided that he would train as a bookkeeper. He stayed with Fred and Pearle Smith, his brother and sister-in-law, in Springville, for a time and went to school. When he finished, he went to work as the bookkeeper at a CCC camp. He could add, so I was told, a long list of figures by moving his finger down the line arriving at the total, in his mind, when he reached the bottom of the line. He would then move up the line in the same way, checking his accuracy of the first time. He figures always resulted in the same total. 


From: Barbara Anderson
RE: Gramps and His Owie

I am so sorry Myrna.  I hardly ever check my email.  I didn't even know to ask to find out how he was today.  I want you to know the kids love you guys very much.  They are a little confused about church, but David, Bree and I will support them in whatever they decide.  We are not actively discouraging them.  I really want you to know that.  I am honest with Erin about how I feel, but now in what I want her to do. 

I also want you to know I consider you my friend.  Im not much of a friend.  My life keeps me in a dither, but I feel like things have calmed down this last couple of years.  I was not taught how to be a friend.  I isolate very well. 

But, we love you.  I love you.  You are one of the best people I have ever met.  If you need anything, and this is from the bottom of my heart, just let me know.  I have a car now.  Until I go back to work, Im pretty much open.  Im only going to work 25-30 hours per week. 

So, let me know, or just get in touch. 

I really didn't expect any kind of answer to the information about LHT's injury. It is healing well, from what I can tell from the outside. There is no pain. I think that is a good sign. We are to leave it alone for the full 10 days and then the doctor will look at it again.

I think of you as a friend also. We both want the best for the grandchildren we share in common. What wonderful children they are. 

I am not trying to be humble when I say this. It comes across that way but it is not meant that way. I do not think of myself as a good person. I think of myself as someone who is trying to improve each day. As I told them in Relief Society on Sunday, where Erin was with me, that I keep working on me. I keep trying not to be selfish and not to lose my temper. I work on being a better person every day. Sometimes I do well and sometimes I fail. The lesson was on turning our shortcomings (or failures) into successes.

Erin decided to go to Relief Society with me. It was her choice because when I found out that she did not want to be with the Young Women in our ward I tearfully offered to go home with her but she said she likes the older women in our ward because they "are kind" and treat her as one of them. 

Unfortunately, I have turned into a person who can shed tears at the drop of a handkerchief and I don't know what to do about it. My goodness, I am going to cry the rest of my life away. I wear my heart on my sleeve all of the time. I told Melanie that I thought it might be due to diabetes and she just laughed. She said that I had always been tearful. She reminded me that I cry during sad television commercials.

I worry about every grandchild of mine. I like them to be at church because, USUALLY, not always, there are good friends there. I like Girl's Camp because I loved it. I was (feel free to giggle) very shy as a girl but I liked being with people who were honest and upright and could still have a good time. Oh, the crafts I made. I believe in Boy Scouts. I think a young man who attains the rank of Eagle, has really done something to be proud of for his entire life. Leonard is not an Eagle. He is Wood Badge trained--a national training for leaders.

I am also frank about my feelings. If you ask me a question, I will not tell you what I think you want to hear. I will tell you what I really think, what I really believe. 

I have a couple of grandchildren who have decided, using their free-agency, to not follow in line with what I would, given the same choice, have selected. They are all still loved. I am in all of this for the long haul. I want my family to be happy. I want them to live as honest, loving people who enrich the lives of those around them. I like the church (an organization of people), aside from the gospel (the doctrine). Our ward, for example, is filled with loving and compassionate people who do their best to serve others and to make certain that there are no hungry and uncared for among us. The women I work with have watched me cry and are still understanding. You, of course, are that kind of person also. Scratch you and you also bleed. We are not so different after all.

My girls and I all tend to spend more time with family and less time on socializing. That may make us more difficult to know. I sense you feel that way about yourself. I include you as family and I truly do love you. You are always welcome in my life.

Leonard has a more compassionate heart than I do. He always thinks of the nice thing to do. Sometimes you actually have to remind me to be thoughtful. You have no idea how many snowy walks he shovels each winter. He is old enough that someone should be shoveling his. :) 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

From Gordon

Hi Myrna,

I was reading your email about eating Jell-O powder.  We did that as children.  It brings back fond memories.  It tasted good!

One part of your email where you described eating permanent wave powder reminded me of a story I read.  A quote from your story is below, and my story is below that.

“After we consumed the Jell-O, we all found out that what we had really eaten was permanent wave powder. My goodness! We all had excited adults at that point.”

The story tells of a man and his wife on a trip.  They accidently hit a rabbit while driving.  They stopped to see if the rabbit was ok.  The rabbit appeared dead.  Just then a lady stopped to see if they needed help.  When they explained what had happened, the lady went to her car and came back with a package.  She opened it and placed some of the contents on the rabbit.  The rabbit jumped up and hopped toward the woods.  After a few feet it turned around and waved at them.  It  would then hop a few feet and turn to  wave again.  It did this all the way to the woods.  They asked the lady what she had used to heal the rabbit.  She handed them the package.  On the package was written, “New shampoo formula.  This new shampoo will bring life back to any hair, and your hair will have a permanent wave.”

Oh well, you and Leonard needed something to laugh about after his “Humpty Dumpty” experience.

Lots of love,


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gramps' Owie

Dad/Gramps really opened a wound on his right arm yesterday. I tease him that he still thinks that he is age 16. We took the visiting grandchildren--Erin, Donovin, Caydin, Matthew, and Rachel--to the Nebo View Elementary playground (the one on 100 North) and LHT was going to help the grandkids have fun by going on a "spinner" with them. It is a device that has bent upright bars forming a loose cage-like spot for a person to stand or sit and spin around. He was going to demonstrate and was on the device alone. For some reason, LHT's foot slipped off the base and he fell out opening a 6-inch long 2-inch wide cut on his right arm as he hit some part of the equipment as he fell. 

We brought the grandkids to our house, about three blocks away, and LHT thought that I could pull the skin back in place using a pair of tweezers. I thought otherwise. AnnMarie arrived to pick up her two after a day at court (Matthew and Rachel). I had texted her telling her to com to the playground since she was due to arrive at 3 p.m and we went there at 2:30. So I had had Matthew text her to tell her that we were at the house instead. I had stamped my foot and said, "Leonard, we need to go to the doctor's." She, calmly, as befits her profession said, "Dad, there is too much tissue missing." She had to leave to get to Provo for an appointment. Erin, who is now 13, took over with her younger brothers and we headed to the doctor's office. Unknown to us at the time, was that there had been five ambulance runs come into the connected Central Valley Medical Center hospital, also staffed by the doctors at Central Valley Medical Clinic.

When he saw it, Dr. James M. Besendorfer, M.D., called it a "laceration." (I thought it just looked horrible and Dad/Gramps, as usual, thought that I, Myrna, could just fix it. Honestly.) After I watched the doctor take care of it, I likely could have. However, I lacked the prior knowledge and I am happy that we went to the doctor's office. Luckily, they were seeing patents. This happened at about 3 p.m., so the doctor's office was open. It must have been just another "laceration" for the day because the nurse commented that the doctor had "another" one. 

It is a good thing that the doctor and LHT are old friends who have worked on scouting projects together because he just smiled when he heard what had happened. He also knows that LHT is still just age 16 inside. At any rate, he was able to close the wound by carefully pulling the wounded (and purple-hued) skin back over the gapping area where the flesh had been exposed. He did it with a small pair of surgical tweezers, the type with the fine point, and only a small jag along the edge will be left to create a small scar. He sent over to physical therapy and obtained a foam dressing to use which the nurse applied after cleaning the area with saline solution.

The doctor said that the foam dressing is made from polyurethane. The polyurethane contains variably sized small open cells that pull exudate away from the wound bed. The dressing is absorbent and doesn't lint. It will be left in place for 10 days. The doctor will then remove it and see what it looks like. He said that he liked this way of dealing with lacerations. He had removed these types of bandages and found that they were healed. "It is just remarkable," he said. It was a new way of dealing with lacerations and was very successful.

So there you have it, LHT will keep the site dry and will return to the doctor in 10 days. After all that, his blood pressure was still low. I didn't even want them to check mine, though the nurse offered. I was afraid that all the excitement would have had such an effect on me that they would send LHT home and keep me. (Smile.)

We came home, and the kids and I went to order pizza and rent a movie. We had planned to go swimming or go to a movie last night but we stayed home instead. We are so exciting that it scares me. (Of course, you can see that we are not. I am surprised, as boring as we are, that any of the grandkids will even stay with us. As they get to be teens, they usually get to be too busy and those visits slow or stop.) Usually, we take the David Trauntvein kids places like Provo to go shopping or to Lagoon or camping or SOMETHING. This visit, we are just being boring. We have been to Provo and to Brick Oven. Of course, there is a always the appeal of the four-wheeler, the lawn-mower, and the great-outdoors in Nephi. (Hehehe.) 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mrs. Richards' Treasured Cookies

Mrs. Richards’ Butter Cookies
*3/4 pound butter (three sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk (or fruit juice)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups all-purpose flour (or enough to make a stiff dough)
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and
vanilla and beat together. Then add flour and baking powder. Mix well together. THE DOUGH WILL BE SOFT. Let sit for one-half hour. Roll on a lightly floured board to about one-half inch thick. Cut and place on ungreased baking sheet. (I usually cover the baking sheet with parchment paper first.) Bake at 375- to 400-degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks or cloth-covered table-top. Cool slightly. Then frost.
*Three sticks of butter is equal to 1 1/2 cups butter that is not precut. I melt the butter then add the sugar and mix well.
Frosting for Cookies
1 stick butter
1 small package powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Few drops food coloring
Melt the butter and pour over powdered sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add milk, vanilla and food coloring. Beat until smooth. More milk may be needed but be cautious because it doesn’t take much to make it runny. Spread on cookies and decorate as desired. (Candy hearts for Valentine’s Day, etc.)

Story behind the cookies: My Grandmother Vivian Smith, a teacher, and her parents, the owners of a pharmacy and drug store in Huntington, Utah, were kind and generous to the Mrs. Richards who was the possessor of this recipe during a difficult time in her life. The one thing that she treasured was the recipe for these cookies. Everyone loved them when she made them but she did not share the recipe with any. Community legend had it that her family had baked them for the king before they found themselves as converts to the LDS Church and in Utah. One day, Mrs. Richards came to my Grandmother and told her that she had little to treasure but this recipe. She gave a copy to my grandmother who was allowed to share it with her parents. Mrs. Richards told my grandmother that she could share it with family. Since all are dead now, I do not feel a need to keep it as secret and have shared it a bit more. Grandmother did share it with her sisters-in-law and, through Aunt Pearle Smith, Russ Farrer, her grandson, who baked at Brick Oven in Provo, Utah, for awhile, made these cookies for sale while he was employed there. When he left, he kept the recipe.
Myrna Great-Grandmother Mina Ericksen Pritchett, her daughter Vivian Pritchett Smith, my mother, Elaine Smith Pitts and her sister, Renee Smith Childs, and I have all made these cookies and received countless compliments for them. My children have the recipe. It is still treasured.
I began making these cookies as a child with my grandmother who always made them for Christmas and for Valentine’s Day, as well as for most major holidays, and “just because.”

Monday, June 3, 2013


While I ended up sick on Memorial Day itself, the Sunday afternoon that we decorated graves for the Smith grandparents, my mom, a Childs family ancestor, and the Smith aunts and uncles in the Evergreen Cemetery, was a good day. (Jim also has an ancestor buried nearby.)

Many hands made short work of the weeding and clean-up. Shawn had brought some gas-run garden tools which helped. The plots looked lovely when we were done.

We ended up having a tailgate picnic at roadside where my Smith family is buried. 

Toren warned us that we should not eat at the cemetery. He said it was just not a good idea so he sat in the car after the decorating was done. 

However, the other members of his family did join in. They had not received the memo that there would be a picnic so they mostly had dessert. The Jones and Howards did eat and they all remained well and healthy in spite of Toren's warning. There were others there who also had  picnics near other plots. I don't know how they fared. Shawn ended up being ill. I did fine until the next day when the bladder infection I had got much worse. 

Your dad's father (Henry) always told him to never take anything away from a cemetery because it was not good to do so. LHT and I had quite a discussion about the time I brought some sod pieces I had dug up and put them on the north side of our house. No one ever told me not to eat there. I think, however, that my relatives would not have an objection. They all liked picnics, to the best of my recollection. We certainly had enough of them as I was growing up.

When we used to decorate graves when I was a child, we would always end up at Uncle Fred and Aunt Pearle's house. There we would have a backyard picnic, if the weather was good. They had a wonderful backyard--green lawns and wonderful bushes. We would always have a wonderful time.

I give you all permission to have a picnic near my grave when I have joined the Smiths in that spot.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To the Elders

This morning, at the assisted living center, where we have been assigned to a one-year mission to provide a sacrament service for the residents there, we had another spiritual experience. Some of the residents are lucid and some are not. Some are in and out of reality. I am always impressed that they can sing the hymns with such gusto, remembering the words, when we have to go from person to person helping them to find the page. A few can find the hymn number on their own but most cannot.

Norma Sherwood is 103-years-old. She has outlived her two daughters and two husbands. Her son-in-law is in terrible health. Her grandkids are good to come and visit from time to time but she really has no one left to care for her. We usually have our pianist choose the hymns for the service, simply because, that way, they will be able to play well. This morning, a young mother in our ward, Rachel Olsen, selected, as the closing hymn, "Nearer My God to Thee." Norma leads the music each Sunday. She sits up front in the room and she does a wonderful job. One nurse tried to tell her that she didn't need to do more than a simple form of leading but Norma would have none of it. She was trained to do it right and she was going to do it right. At any rate, she asked the pianist to wait a minute before beginning to play. She said she wanted to talk about the music for a minute. 

She then told us all of the night the Titanic sunk. The people who were left on board, after the life boats had all been used, knew they were going to die. "They knew that in a few minutes they would all drown, that they were going to die." It would do no good to throw themselves into the ocean because the tow of the sinking ship would draw them under. So they stayed on board on the deck. "Some of them hugged one another. Then they all sang, 'Nearer My God to Thee.' They knew that they were going to die but they sang."  She got a bit teary-eyed telling of that. "When I heard about that, I just cried. I still cry every time I think about those people who knew they were going to die and who sang a hymn."

We then sang the hymn. I had a hard time singing because she had painted such a vivid picture for us all. In fact, while she spoke all of the residents listened and paid attention to all she said. 

Colleen Bender and her husband Russ Bender, who was one of the bishops I served under when I was Relief Society President, were there to assist. Russ was in charge of conducting. Colleen gave the poem from conference that Elder Boyd Packer gave. "In 1992, having served nine years as an Assistant to the Twelve and 22 years as a member of the Twelve, I reached the age of 68. I felt impressed to start what I called an 'Unfinished Composition.'" he said. The residents really enjoyed the poem and laughed in all the right spots. I was impressed.

Colleen, like me, found that she had very tender feelings for the people who are there. These are people in our community who have worked with both Colleen and I in many church callings and in community service over the years. One was a nurse at the hospital, another the county treasurer, another was a county commissioner. One cut my hair many, many years ago. Each one of them is living at the home were they can be assisted with medications and meals. They have formed something of a family and like to be together. It doesn't matter that some do not remember the name of their friend. They take hands and they just enjoy being together.

I was so impressed with the graduations we attended for Dane, last week, and Kyle, on Thursday. I talked about Dane's graduation last week. Kyle was in the symphonic band and in the acappella choir. So he played the opening music in the band and then walked to the other side of the stage to sing. Kyle did well and was in the top 10 percent of his class. the speakers at both events were quite good. Last year, the school board member who spoke at Kyle's school had droned on and on. The speaker this year must have decided that he could win the next election more easily if he gave a short address and got on with it.

Dane's class was about 100 and Kyle's was about 500. Just marching that many people across the stage and saying something about them while the are introduced takes enough time so that no one wants to listen to a school board member go on and on about the greatness of the educational system in Utah. Both graduations were held at UVU. Dane's in the grand ballroom and Kyle's in the basketball arena.

 Erin, Donovin and Caydin will be with us for a week. They will be coming tomorrow. David and Bree are going to serve and best man and matron of honor for two of their friends who are getting married. Julie is bringing her kids over on Wednesday for Stephanie to celebrate her birthday. Siovhan's and Michael's are all within a few days of each. 

This morning, at stake general priesthood meeting, they introduced 14 young men who had just graduated from high school and who have received their mission calls. They then had them all sing a hymn. Gramps said it was a wonderful experience.

Well, we love our missionary grandson. (Well we do have two and will soon have three.) You know that we pray for you and that I keep your name on the temple prayer roll. Both Gramps and I are so proud of the great work that you are doing. We are thankful for the many tender mercies that our Father in Heaven is showing to you (and to your cousin). We are so thankful for you.

Special to Michael: We hope that your birthday card arrived on time and in good shape. We hope that the birthday is one of the best ever.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I escaped the Grim Reaper again! (Knock on wood.)‏

I am OK. The radiologist was at the hospital this morning. Therefore, she was there to give a review of the mammogram the technician made of the left breast. I just have dense tissue and she did not even have me take the sonogram, even though one had been ordered.

I called to make an appointment at the hospital Friday, after I received a letter that there was a problem and I needed to have further tests done. I couldn't get in until the 14th. I did find out, from Julie, that there is a woman's clinic at Utah Valley. However, you have to have a doctor's referral if you got a letter telling you that you needed follow up attention. 

I called Dr. Jones and requested one. Dad and I both wanted to know what was happening sooner than the 14th. Shawna, his nurse, said she thought that I was going to be just fine and I would not need to go north. However, she talked to Dr. Jones. He said the baseline and all of my information were in Nephi and he thought I should stay. However, he knew the radiologist was at the hospital that morning. He came on the line and talked to me. He pulled strings so I could be seen at 11:30 a.m. and get the results right away. I saw him rushing down the hallway right after I had finished and I was able to thank him.

Apparently I have "dense" tissue. This was the same area that, in 2007, caused concern. I do need to make certain that I go in every year and not in 18-months the way I have been doing. Although the radiologist said that she recommends "every year or so" for postmenopausal women. In the hallway, Dr. Jones said that I should be on the every year schedule and he would see that I was sent a card annually to remind me. I used to go every December, my birth month, but decided, this year, to change to May for Mother's Day. It is less hectic.

I feel blessed. I may have to suffer from some problem in the future but, for now, I am spared.

Melanie wrote: Just as I thought. Thank you for gifting to me that fibrous, dense tissue.

Myrna wrote to Melanie: Who would have thought you would get that from me? I told Dad that I barely have any tissue so I don't understand why what I do have is fibrous and dense.

David Childs wrote: Good news!  Every hurdle cleared is always good news.
Take care - I love you! :)

Myrna wrote to David: You are right. Thanks for the cheery outlook. I need you in my life. I love you!

Amy Jacobs Trauntvein wrote: Yes, you should be going every year!!!  I'm glad that things worked out. If you do ever decide to come up north I could do yours for you and get the Dr. to look at it right then also.  Let me know.


Myrna wrote: Amy:  It sounds like a good idea to me!

Well. so now I get to worry.

Melanie wrote: Mom, 
I went through the same thing last year. I did go to a women's center, and they always read the scans twice, and called me back. Some women's breast tissue is dense (like mine) and fibrous (which I think you told me yours was), which leads them to want to look more in depth. Some insurance companies haggle over the follow up reading, which is dumb. Yes, it is now your responsibility to call your insurance company and check on the coverage and what claims you have the right to. Good thing with Obama care, this should be covered. 

I actually found your choice of words quite funny, "soonest they can squeeze me in..." 

I will pray for you. I know first hand how un-nerving these tests are. 


Myrna wrote: And, unlike your mom, you just handled it. I could have worried and prayed with you if I had known. You are so brave. This is the second time that this has happened to me.

"Squeeze." Some unintended puns are better than planned ones. Hehe.

As the doctor told me, nothing is certain in this world, but some good things in our lives make our chances of any form of cancer smaller:
Myrna wrote: 
1. We have never smoked.
2. We don't consume alcohol.
3. We eat healthy foods, and have stayed within healthy weight ranges for most of our lives.
4. We had multiple pregnancies and nursed for many years.
5. We take preventive action, which will increase our mortality.
6. We exercise which reduces our chances of breast cancer by nearly 45%. 

All of those factors give us more hope than fear. Even at the risk of having breast cancer, it has a 90% survival rate, if detected early. Howard's sister is a cancer survivor of 22 years. I have friends in Massachusetts who are survivors of breast cancer, and have happy, productive lives...still serving at the temple and helping with grandchildren. 

Glad you found your word choice humorous as well. 


Myrna wrote: Thanks for the information and encouraging words. Dr. Jones called a few minutes ago and told me that he was trying to "squeeze" me into today's lineup so that the procedure could be done more quickly. He did not want me to go north because they have all my baseline information here. I laughed at his word choice, as well. He then giggled and said he would "fit" me in. Then he said, "There are no good word choices here."

Melanie wrote: Humor is a panacea. :)

Now I Get to Worry!

I just got the results of my mammography back printed on pretty pink paper and enclosed in a pretty pink envelope. I was told that I need to get a further mammography and an ultrasound of the left breast. So I called the hospital in Nephi. The soonest they can squeeze me in is on the 14th at 10 a.m. The scare that the letter puts into you to go right away must only mean that you stay scared for two weeks.

"This may require additional authorization from your insurance company." And just what does that mean? "It is your responsibility to inform any new health care provider of the date and location of this examination."

This is exactly what I went through once before. Julie suggested that I bypass my hospital here and go up to the Woman's Center at Utah Valley Hospital where they do on-site evaluations after the ultrasound and mammography are finished and then talk to you right away so that you do not have to wait on pins and needles for one more week, which is what I would have to do here.

I think I will call them in the a.m. and find out what I could do. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I already felt too mortal and that life was too short. So here I get to worry.

Because of Charlotte and my dad's oldest sister, who died with breast cancer, I am considered at "increased risk" over the general populace.

From Melanie to Myrna (A Reply to Help)

So...remember when I was a teenager and we would occasionally find ourselves watching television together? You would cry when certain commercials came on. Every time we watched the Kleenex commercial, you cried...I mean EVERY time. I said something to you one time and you got up, angry with me because I told you that you had seen the commercial about fifty times, and you didn't need to cry over it anymore. I think I said something like, "Oh, my, gosh...get over it all ready." You cried more. Before you stormed off you said something along the lines of, "I can't wait until you have children, and the doctors hook your tear ducts up." I think you prayed for that...because it happened. :)

What you are telling me sounds like the Mom I remember from my youth. Not someone who is weak, just someone who is connected. I would rather you cry, than not feel connected. As for the worry part...I think Grandma Smith told you that you were a ninety year old woman who worried too much, and you were a young mother at the time. Old dogs continue to perform their old tricks? You can dress a monkey in pearls and a skirt and it's still a monkey? Even when you took Zoloft you worried....

As to the Elderly. We are supposed to feel for them. President Monson still tears up when he talks of his visits with his 85 widows. He talks tenderly of them and about them. We don't need to worry for them though. I believe the Lord has them here to teach us lessons, like he does of the mentally handicapped. We know they are precious in the sight of God. They are being reserved here on earth to earn their bodies. Maybe their spirits need more time for refinement...we will know all things soon enough. For now, enjoy them.

One time when I was holding Dorothy H.'s hand, I was talking with her and telling her about my busy morning. She hasn't been able to talk for ten years. While I was explaining to her why I not as happy as usually, she looked in to my eyes, gave my hand the biggest squeeze that she had been able to ever give, and smiled. I looked in to her beautiful blue eyes, and the spirit bore testimony to me that God knew her. I then had the impression that I was supposed to tell her that. I said, "Dorothy, I know God loves you. He is mindful of you and He hasn't forgotten you." She started to cry. I started to cry. Whenever I walked in the room after that, she would find me and hold my hand. I still cry when I think of that moment. Whenever I was with those people, I treasured my time. I would be so sad when I would go in one day, and find out that one of my best friends had died. At first it affected me greatly, then I realized how happy they were to be rid of that infirm body and to once again be reunited with spouses and children who had passed on before.

In the research that I have done, the music that we have loved for years and sung for years: hymns, Primary songs, patriotic songs, etc. are keys to unlocking the mind. There were many patients that I worked with that were content to sit and observe, not being able to speak or communicate in any way, but as soon as I started singing songs from the 40s or 50s, hymns or play songs, there would be a spark in their eyes, and they would start moving their hands and singing along. When I was singing to a woman named Rita, she started singing with me. Her daughter, who visited multiple times a week, walked in, stopped and listened to us (I couldn't see her, she was behind me). Rita looked up to her and sang her a song. The daughter commenced to sob. It was the first time in years that she had heard anything other than babbles coming from her mom. The daughter continues to sing to her mom daily as part of their morning routine, and they share many smiles and hugs afterward.

I have been studying about hope. There is so little of it in our world anymore...and because their is so little, people despair.

Elder Uchtdor spoke in the April 2013 General Conference about Hope.
"There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn. "This is 'the Spirit of Jesus Christ,' which gives 'light to every man that cometh into the world.' Nevertheless, spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ. Spiritual light cannot be discerned by carnal eyes. Jesus Christ Himself taught, 'I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.' For 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.'
"...The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come....Lift up your soul in prayer and explain to your Heavenly Father what you are feeling. Acknowledge your shortcomings. Pour out your heart and express your gratitude. Let Him know of the trials you are facing. Plead with Him in Christ’s name for strength and support. Ask that your ears may be opened, that you may hear His voice. Ask that your eyes may be opened, that you may see His light" ("The Hope of God's Light," Ensign, May 2013, 75).

"Hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the heart." ~ Emily Dickinson
Allow yourself to feel hope. Mom...worry about the things you can change. AnnMarie will tell you that. I know she worries, but she knows that she is one person who can only do so much, and where she falls short, she asks for God's help. Wherever you don't feel like you have hope, it is the adversary working on you. Where faith and hope are, fear and doubt can not reside. Instead of gardening a weed bed of fear and doubt, plant flowers of hope and faith. Hope on.

Love you much!

Myrna wrote: I'm printing this off to read over and over. You have given me the perfect answer and I do appreciate your words, your time and your love. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father sent you to bless my life. I love you! Mom


I stopped taking Zoloft last year. The only problem is that now I feel anxious lots of the time. I don't know if it is because of that or just because I have gotten old. (AnnMarie told me, when I cried when I was telling her about Gay Sperry at the assisted living center, that it is just what women my age do.) However, I don't know many of the old women I work with on a weekly basis at the temple who are like this. I seem to cry at the least provocation. I have joined the tearful at church. I have some concerns about myself. 

Dr. Mark Jones, my local GP, said he did not think that those symptoms were worth taking medication because I am not really depressed. Nevertheless, Dad keeps telling me that I can just "be happy" if I choose to be. However, last night he said, that I needed to stop crying and if I took a pill it might help.

Things worry me. For example, we were supposed to watch Julie's kids just on Wednesday day so that she could go to Scout daycamp. We will also have AnnMarie's two youngest and will have David's three (he is going to a friend's wedding in ElPaso to be bestman. Bree is matron-of-honor. Julie is certain that something horrible will happen because I will not have enough control. Dad, she said, doesn't really tend kids well. So I cried. 

We have our temple devotional on Sunday but have decided that it is more important to be with David's kids who don't really like to go to church here anyway. I concurred with the decision but then I cried.

Providing Sacrament Meeting at the assisted living center is, in some ways, a joy. In other ways, it makes me cry. I see the folks I have worked with for so many years, dying by inches and, many of them, losing their identity. AnnMarie said that the their spirits are still there and they are but they have no memory and I wonder how they even manage to keep breathing. Yet, a few can still sing all the words to the hymns (we help them find the pages because it makes them happy but they do not read the words).

I also know that I will die in the next few years. I just will. So will Dad. I tease that I have 30-years worth of projects ahead but I do not have that long to live. I love being alive. I like being with grandkids and watching, even from afar, as they succeed. If Dad goes first, I wonder how brave I can be. I really don't enjoy being alone. At one time, it didn't bother me to have alone time. Now I usually go find where he is.

I love working at the temple. I work with great people with strong testimonies. I get teary-eyed there, as well. We are doing the Adam and Eve part quite often because everyone knows that we will be moving to Payson Temple, and maybe they won't even need us as workers. If they do, we will not get to do those parts ever again. That makes me cry. 

I wonder, also, what I have done with my life. I seem to have spent it, somehow. I am like Garth, "Have I been good enough?" Sometimes I have not been.

I cry when I am happy. I cry when I am proud of my loved ones. I cry when I am spiritual. I cry when I am sentimental. I cry when I am worried. I cry when I am angry. I cry when I am sick. I cry when I am sad. I cry.

So there you have it, I just cry a lot.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I tell everyone that I like peace.

Once though, when one of my nearly grown-up sons had been talking to me, what was being said made me quite upset. Obviously I have a temper. I have been working to control it for all these many years. I am still working on it.

When I was young, my Grandmother Smith said to me, more than once, words more or less like this: “If the feeling welling up inside you is hot, vial and angry and you feel like hitting someone--that is not the Holy Ghost. He speaks in a still, small voice, is calming and teaches us to love not hate. You know where the hateful feeling comes from and the one promoting it is evil.”

That day when I became quite angry with my son, I walked away from that child and slammed the front door. It took me three tries to get it to bang. How silly. It wasn't the door's fault that I lost it. It wasn’t my son’s fault that I lost it. It was my own. I haven't been that dumb again. Now, I just walk away and leave the poor door alone. I don't even kick rocks. Walking away from a situation that could become volatile is wisest but not the easiest.

I have been known to close the bathroom door and cry but that doesn't work very well because, sooner or later, you have to come out and then you have a splotchy face so EVERYBODY knows. A better motto is, “Leave 'em guessing--walk away smiling.” 

A smile also improves your own outlook. It is difficult to smile and be furious at the same time. 

Mother Teresa said:  “Peace begins with a smile.” 

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time,”  said Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

“The peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods,” he said. He suggested that it was of an eternal nature and would be in good standing for all time. That means that I need to follow those peacemaking tendencies and put away the door-slamming child. The child needs to learn to bridle the tongue and keep the pace.
I will just need to keep working and smiling. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

From the LHT Grandparents

We have had a wonderful two weeks. We had two seminary graduations the same evening. In fact, we had to split up, Gramps and I, so that one of us could be at each event. We went to church with AnnMarie’s family and heard a great talk by Megan. Then the young people sang. Uncle Brandon had not felt well that day, so Shawn and Kimberly came to their home and helped Gramps give him a blessing. We then went to Shawn’s for dinner (grilled steaks) and Gramps went back to Howard’s for Kyle’s graduation and I stayed with Dane for his.

We compared notes afterward. Kyle spoke and talked about faith. Dane sang with the stake seminary and they did  three songs which the women started, the men then sang and they did a medley of the three combined together. The women started off with “As Sisters in Zion,” added in the Young Women’s song about being a daughter of God, and then the Priesthood joined in with their hymn. 

I asked AnnMarie for a summary of Kyle’s talk and she responded. “Kyle defined faith as the evidence of things hoped for but not seen. Then he said the lesson from seminary that influenced him the most was the one about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They knew that Heavenly Father would answer their prayers, even if it wasn't in the way they thought.  They had faith that Heavenly Father's will would be done.  It revolved around "but if not."  The scripture was Daniel 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.  When the men who cast them in and were covered with hosen and coats etc. still died, the three boys should have died.  But when the king looked in the furnace he saw one like unto the son of man.  Kyle said that when we are exercising faith, we also will never be alone.  Even if our prayers aren't answered the way we wished.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and Jesus Christ sacrificed for every single one of us so that we never are alone.”

Megan spoke about the prophet Joseph Smith and she said: “Most of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants are answers to the questions that he asked the Lord. We can use his example as we seek our own personal revelation.”

Thursday, was graduation day for Dane. He graduated through a Utah Valley University program from a school called the Utah County Academy of Sciences (UCAS). The classes are held on UVU campus. Participants could also qualify to receive their associates degree from UVU. Dane still has a couple of classes to finish in the next short while before he will get that degree. 

Next Wednesday, Kyle will graduate from TimpView High School. He is preparing to go on a mission very soon and has most of his paperwork and interviews completed. Then I will have three grandsons in the mission field. What a blessing to our family.

I was so interested in the last news we had from you. You are receiving so many tender mercies from our Father in Heaven. It makes our hearts happy to hear about your experiences and we can see the many ways you are being blessed. We do love you!

Grammy and Gramps

To Our Two Missionary Elders

We have had a wonderful two weeks. We had two seminary graduations the same evening. In fact, we had to split up, Gramps and I, so that one of us could be at each event. We went to church with AnnMarie’s family and heard a great talk by Megan. Then the young people sang. Uncle Brandon had not felt well that day, so Shawn and Kimberly came to their home and helped Gramps give him a blessing. We then went to Shawn’s for dinner (grilled steaks) and Gramps went back to Howard’s for Kyle’s graduation and I stayed with Dane for his.

We compared notes afterward. Kyle spoke and talked about faith. Dane sang with the stake seminary and they did  three songs which the women started, the men then sang and they did a medley of the three combined together. The women started off with “As Sisters in Zion,” added in the Young Women’s song about being a daughter of God, and then the Priesthood joined in with their hymn.

I asked AnnMarie for a summary of Kyle’s talk and she responded. “Kyle defined faith as the evidence of things hoped for but not seen. Then he said the lesson from seminary that influenced him the most was the one about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They knew that Heavenly Father would answer their prayers, even if it wasn't in the way they thought.  They had faith that Heavenly Father's will would be done.  It revolved around "but if not."  The scripture was Daniel 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.  When the men who cast them in and were covered with hosen and coats etc. still died, the three boys should have died.  But when the king looked in the furnace he saw one like unto the son of man.  Kyle said that when we are exercising faith, we also will never be alone.  Even if our prayers aren't answered the way we wished.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and Jesus Christ sacrificed for every single one of us so that we never are alone.”

Megan spoke about the prophet Joseph Smith and she said: “Most of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants are answers to the questions that he asked the Lord. We can use his example as we seek our own personal revelation.”

Thursday, was graduation day for Dane. He graduated through a Utah Valley University program from a school called the Utah County Academy of Sciences (UCAS). The classes are held on UVU campus. Participants could also qualify to receive their associates degree from UVU. Dane still has a couple of classes to finish in the next short while before he will get that degree.

Next Wednesday, Kyle will graduate from TimpView High School. He is preparing to go on a mission very soon and has most of his paperwork and interviews completed. Then I will have three grandsons in the mission field. What a blessing to our family.

We were so interested in the last news we had from you. You are receiving so many tender mercies from our Father in Heaven. It makes our hearts happy to hear about your experiences and we can see the many ways you are being blessed. We do love you!

Grammy and Gramps

The Autobiography of Dr. Annie Caroline Smith (Feb. 7, 2000 from Donnette Smith)

 The Autobiography of Dr. Annie Caroline Smith (Feb. 7, 2000 from Donnette Smith)
My parents, James Smith and Sarah Jane Stephens, were married at Thaxted, Essex,
England. My mother’s father had been a Baptist minister and had died at Thaxted, and my
grandmother had never left the place. My mother’s father was a Welshman, and my mother’s
mother had been born and brought up in Wales--although she said she was NOT Welsh but ALL
English. My parents went to India in the year 1866, soon after their marriage, where my father
was going to work for the London Missionary Society, (a Roman Catholic Organization). That was
before the Suez Canal was opened, and they went in a sailing ship around the Cape of Good Hope.
The voyage took about three months. There was no refrigeration on the ships in those days and no
laundry facilities as there are today. My mother had to take enough dresses to last the voyage.
She sewed and sewed to get enough dresses to last the whole three months. When we arrived in
India, she had one clean dress left. Mother was so tiny, and young looking, with lovely golden
curls. Once on the boat, Father walked away from her for a few minutes and someone said, “Your
pa went that way.” They arrived at Bombay in India and left the ship there.
There was no railway to their destination then, and I think they must have gone down the
west coast of India in some small ship, for they had to travel to Belgaum, their destination.
Finally up a range of hills called the West-Ghauls, my mother was carried in some kind of a
litter. My father, perhaps rode, or walked. I never heard him say. They rose up from sea level,
up a range of hills to about 2000 feet or so above to a place called Belgaum, which was the civil
head-quarters of a district and also Belgaum was a Military station. So there were other
Europeans there as well as the missionaries stationed there. We lived in a mission house inside
an old fort. There were two entrances to the fort. The one we generally used and another one, the
bigger gate, which had some old ruins beside it. That one we didn’t generally use. We didn’t see
the military people much, They were in a big enclosure. But we used to hear the bugle calls and
we knew all the bugle calls. The whole regiment wasn’t there. There’d be one company. The
Regiment lived about two miles up. There was always the battery of Artillery. Mostly they were
English. And they would be paraded to the Anglican Church (Episcopalian). But once there was a
Scottish regiment and they were mostly Presbyterian, and m father and the other missionary
acted as chaplains, and they had the use of the Anglican Church while the regiment was there.
Another time we had a Wesleyan regiment. But mostly they were Anglican regiments. Our
mission had a small church and any who were not Episcopalian, who were Wesleyans or
Presbyterians or anything else, would come to our church. They wouldn’t be paraded, but they
could come. My father and his colleague always had a service on Sunday morning in English for
anyone who would like to come to it.
The Society generally had two missionaries stationed there. One in charge of the church
there, and of work outside in the smaller towns and villages round about, and the other as Head
Master of a school for Indian boys. My father’s special work was with the school for boys. But
first of all, he had to get to work and study the language, in which he would have to have
examinations. The language he studied was called Canarese. It is one of a group known as
Dravidian languages. Belgaum is on the border line where two languages meet. In the town itself,
Maharathi, a quite different language was also spoken, and also to the west and north. Maharathi
is one of the Indo-European languages. My mother learned Canarese as well as my father--and
some years later she learned maharathi also, as she found she needed it in a school she started
for girls, and when she visited women in the town. Of course, my father had at times to help
with holding church services and other things. Also he used to give out medicines like quinine
for malaria, and other simple drugs for other ailments. He had had some special instruction
such lines before he went to India.
The school was known as the London Mission High School. Bible lessons were given daily
as well as ordinary school subjects and English was taught in each class. Those who passed the
final exams could go on to the University if they wished or they could get into various
government posts.
My mother was always so sweet and so loving and everyone took to her. I don’t think
anyone was afraid of my mother. I remember when we were kids, my father could make us
afraid. He was very kind. But we had a holy respect for him. If he said, “No,” we never dared do
He was very fond of gardening. We had a big garden and he took a lot of trouble with it. He
tried to grow apples. He used to get apple trees, young, small apple trees from England, but it
was much too hot for apples. One year we had a little apple tree about three feet high and it set
one or two little apples. You know how children are. Oh, that little apple looked so pretty, and I
put my finger on it and it fell off. Oh, wasn’t I frightened. I remember going to my father and I
said, “I only just put my finger on it and it fell off.” I was afraid I was going to get a--not a
licking, her never whipped us--but I thought I was going to get a real scolding, or put in the
corner or something bad. But he said, “All right, you couldn’t help it. It was too ripe. It
wouldn’t have fallen if it hadn’t been too ripe.” But he couldn’t grow apples. It was too hot. The
weather wasn’t just right. Another thing he tried to grow was grapes. But unfortunately, the
heavy rains came just as the grapes should be ripening. If we had had another fortnight to three
weeks they could have ripened maybe. But the rains came just as they were to ripen. So he had to
give up on the apples and grapes. He did love gardening, being brought up on a farm and
He used to grow pineapples, and all sorts of vegetables. And we had trees. You wouldn’t
know them. There were guavas, loquats [Ed. Note: Loquat, an Asian evergreen tree of the rose
family often cultivated for its small yellow edible fruit used especially for preserves], and
bananas. Bananas, of course, you’d know. Not a tree. Each steam bears one bunch only, and when
one stem has a bunch and it started to turn color, we cut it down: it wouldn’t bear anymore. Then
you hang up your bananas in a dark place to ripen. Then that root would send up another sprout
the next year. It was really a gigantic grass. The loquats were yellow when they were ripe. If
you can consider a cherry being long instead of round, well, they were like an elongated cherry,
about that size. They had a seed inside it. And we used to grow cauliflower and celery and lettuce
and tomato. We grew tomatoes in the winter time. It wouldn’t be winter there, but it would be
December and January you’d be quite comfortable and cool, you know. We lived about
2000 odd high. If we’d lived at sea level we’d have been hotter. But we lived up from the
seacoast about seventy miles from the sea. So It wasn’t so hot as if we’d lived down on the plains.
In November and December and January it would be quite cool. We never needed a fire. But my
mother used to have a charcoal braiser to air the clothes. A charcoal brazier and a bamboo
basket thing over it. We wouldn’t find the charcoal brazier too much. It used to be quite nice.
Then it would begin to get hot, warm up, about April. The school holiday there was the middle of
April to the beginning of June, because in June the rains came. When the rains begin to come it
begins to get cool. Where we lived, in June the weather would be light and drizzly and small
showers and in July it came pelting down. We had a lot of thunder storms when the rains were
on the way. And after the rains went it would get muggy and hot again. But in September it would
be quite pleasant.
My parents had four daughters all born in India. I was the oldest, born in 1987, then
Emily Mary in 1869, Florence Jessie in 1871 and May Ethel in 1874. Our house had wide steps
in front we jumped on, when we were children, and we played with dolls when we were young,
English dolls. We didn’t have Indian dolls. The last doll I had--it had a wax face and it was
getting broken and decrepit, and my youngest sister was about eighteen months or two (years).
You know what I did with that doll one day? I got a little saucer and melted my doll’s wax face and
made little candles of it. It was wax, you see, pure wax. And that was the end. Little wax candles.
That was the last doll I ever had. We had birthday presents when we were young, but they were
never wrapped in paper or had ribbons. We celebrated Christmas, but we didn’t have a tree or
presents or Father Christmas. A friend in India who had a store gave us a few raisins or candies.
We had a nicer dinner than usual on Christmas and dressed in nice clothes. I was a grown woman
before I saw a Christmas tree.
My mother taught us our lessons until we went home to England. She didn’t do the
housework, you see. We had servants. We had a cook and a man to do the sweeping and cleaning.
They’re accustomed there to do those things. If you have children you have a woman, called an
“ayah,” to look after the children.
But in the north of India, up where I lived later, in the Punjab, the seasons were quite
different. In the wintertime, it was quite cold. People up there, just about Christmas or New
Years, they’d have to protect their tomato plants a little bit in case there would be a frost. I
heard of people who lived there long ago say how they used to get ice in the Punjab in
wintertime. They dug shallow wide beds, filled them with water, and early in the morning
before the sun was up it would be frozen. They’d go and pick up the ice and put it deep down in a
hole and cover it up. In the summer they’d get a little ice. But nowadays, of course, oh, even
before I left, people started to have refrigerators. When I was a girl, I remember in Bombay,
seeing a great big place where they used to keep ice. They used to bring the ice from Norway and
Sweden in ships, and put it in this great hole in the ground with a great big cover on it.
My father’s first furlough was in the spring of 1877. We had to go down from Belgaum
to the sea coast in vehicles drawn by two bullocks. The vehicles were something like a big box on
wheels, with seats. At night, we stopped at regular stages, where there were buildings called
“Travellers Bungalows.” It took us three or four days to reach the coast. Then we got into a
small coastal steamer which took us to Bombay. At Bombay, we went to a hotel for a day or two
and finally got onto a big steamer which brought us through the Suez Canal which was now open.
The ship took us to Liverpool. Next we went by train from Liverpool to London. I remember
being absolutely delighted with the green meadows, full of buttercups and daisies which I saw
from the carriage windows.
The missionaries had a year and a half furlough. It wouldn’t be worth while having a
shorter one, coming all the way from India. The missionaries left Indian at the beginning of the
hot season, and returned a year and a half later at the beginning of the cool season. That way they
missed two hot seasons. The men missionaries had a furlough every ten years while the women
missionaries had one every five years. In the Church of Scotland, where I worked, and most of
the other missionary societies, the women had a furlough every five years and the men six or
seven. But in the old days, in the London Missionary Society, then men were out for ten years at
a time. Well, the comings and goings are so much quicker now, I think people get the holidays a
little oftener. Perhaps they don’t have them quite so long, but they get them a little oftener.
A furlough was not all holiday. My father had to go anyplace that the London Missionary
Society sent him to, to tell about the work of the mission in India. So he was quite a lot away, and
had to live where trains were convenient. So on both his first and his second furloughs we lived
in a town called Saffron Waldon, in North Essex, about seven miles from Thaxted where my
mother’s mother and sister were living.
When my parents went back to India, Emily and Florence and I were put in a boarding
school for the daughters of missionaries. May was too young and was with my mother’s mother
and sister in Thaxted. When the Christmas holidays came and we went to Thaxted, our
grandmother and Aunt were shocked by Emily’s looks. The doctor said she must not go back. She
somehow could not stand the life of the big boarding school. So she stayed at Thaxted and went to a
small school there. May went there until she was seven or eight and then she joined Florence and
me at the boarding school. We didn’t have parties at the school. I was a boarding school, you
know, and we never had anything like that. We just had school. We were all boarders. There
were no day pupils. All our parents were abroad somewhere. Once a year, the school had our
pictures taken and sent them to our parents. And at holiday times we went to our grandparents.
At Christmas and Easter, we went to Thaxted (for three weeks each) and at the summer holiday
(six weeks) we went to Grandpa Smith’s at Wretchwick.
At the boarding school, the girls had to get up when a bell sounded. Then there was a bell
for breakfast and another bell to make their beds. Then lessons. Dinner was not fancy, but good.
Then more lessons. Sometimes they went for a walk, two by two down the street. After supper
the little girls went to bed while the big ones went into the schoolroom and the head teacher read
from a book to them before bedtime. There were no parties or dances of any kind at the school.
When I was 14 we got the news that we had a brother, James Edward. But we never saw
him. When I was 18 and Emily nearly 17, we left England in the care of another missionary and
his wife to join our parents. (The three older girls went to India soon after finishing the
boarding school.) They were to go to Madras and so we were to go to Madras also. Our ship
stopped at Columbo, in Ceylon, and there we got a letter from our father and mother saying we
would never see our little brother because he had died on Nov. 17, which was May’s birthday,
after a very sudden and short illness, said to have been diphtheria. Of course, that made a great
difference to our joy in seeing our parents and their joy in seeing us again. It was a terrible
blow to my parents. Our parents next furlough was due in 1888. That was the year I was 21.
And my father and mother and Emily and I all came back to England in the spring of 1888. We
went again to live in Saffron Walden for a year. In June 1889, my grandmother Stephens died,
and in November of that same year Grandmother Smith died. My father left England in the
autumn of 1889. When he said goodbye to his mother, she was very ill and he heard of her death
when he reached Bombay. When Florence left school, Emily and she and my mother’s sister went
to India to join my father and mother. I began studying up for my entrance exam before being
able to start the medical school.
In the spring of 1897, my father came home on his last furlough. My sister Emily had
been with my father and mother in Belgaum and she came home with them. They lived in North
London during that furlough as my Grandfather Smith had died by then and Wretchwick had, of
course, been given up, and Edith and Beatrice had gone to Salt Lake City. I was away in the
Punjab by then. My father went back to India for the last time in the autumn of 1898. A few
years later the London Missionary Society gave up their mission in Belgaum to another society,
an American one, I think, as Belgaum was so far away from all their other stations, and my
Father and Mother went to a place called Bangalore, further inland, for their last bit of time
about two or two and a half years.
Now I must go back a little and tell you about myself and my sisters. We had all moved
about a good bit. Emily had been in India with my father and mother and she came back with them
to England. Florence had gone to India, but after a year or so there she had come back to England,
and she had been in the south of France and in Switzerland. She had been in schools mostly I
think Mae did very well in school and was able to skip a grade. When she finished school, there
wasn’t anything for her to do except repeat the last grade again. The, since it would only be a
year until our parents would have another furlough, she wasn’t sent to India. She went, instead,
to the University College of Wales, in Aberystwith and took her arts course there and got her
B.A. London degree. I had been in Edinburgh, Scotland, studying medicine and had gone out to what
is now called West Punjab, Pakistan, to do medical work for the Church of Scotland.
When my father and mother went back to India in the autumn of 1898, they went back
alone. But Emily went back there the year after, and married a man called Tom Keith whom she
had met out there. He was a sergeant in the East Yorkshire Regiment and the regiment had been
just moved from Belgaum to a place not very far away to a place called Bellary. It was just about
the time of the Boor War in South Africa, and some of the prisoners of war were sent to Bellary.
Emily’s husband’s regimental duties brought him in touch with these prisoners quite a lot.
While the regiment was in Bellary, Emily’s only child, a boy, was born, but it lived only two
days. She had been having a good deal of fever (malaria) so common in India. After some time, I
do not know quite how much, the East Yorkshire regiment was moved to Burmah. My sister and
her husband were there for somewhere about three years, I think, and then they came home
back to England in 1905. While they were in Burmah, they were moved about quite a lot to
various places there.
Meanwhile, my sister Florence had come to Canada with a conducted party of young
women. She came to British Columbia to work for an Englishman married to a French Canadian
wife. She was with them a year or so and liked them and they liked her. But she was not
physically strong enough to do what they needed. So she left them and after a while came back to
England to get married. The man she came back to mary was Arthur John Hawker. His father and
my father had been fellow workers in Belgaum for very many years and the Hawker girls and we
had been at the same boarding school in Kent, England for many years. After her marriage,
Florence lived in London. Arthur Hawker was working in one of the London firms in “The City”
as the big central part of London is spoken of and they lived in one of the suburbs known as
“Hounsey” North London. After a while, arthur Hawker began thinking he was tired of big city
life, and some friends of his had come to Winnipeg and were urging him to come out here. So, a
good deal against the wishes of my sister they came to Canada in the summer of 1904. But they
did not stay there long. Someway or other they heard of Nelson, B.C. And came here and in Nelson
their only child, a girl, Kathleen, was born Oct. 28, 1905.
In the spring of 1905, Thom Keith’s Regiment came back to England. I was in England
then, having come home from the Punjab in the spring of 1904 on my first furlough. So I was
there to see Florence go away to Canada in 1904, and see emily come back to England in 1905. In
the fall of 1905, I went back to my work in the Punjab, and in the spring of 1906 my father
and mother finally left India. My father was retired from the London Missionary Society.
Now I must go back and tell you about May. A year or so after leaving college at
Aberystwith, she went to Elberfeld, Germany, in the river Rhine country. She was there for
four years. She worked in a firm that did a big business in cards and calendars, etc. . . .and some
of their business was with the U.S.A., and no doubt with Britain, too. They had very long hours
there, but she lived with nice people, and the Rhine country is beautiful and she sometimes got a
trip in the woods on the Rhine. May had come home from Germany when my father retired and
she was working for a time with the methodist Church in a mission they carried on in a part of
London called “The Bermondsey Settlement.” So she was right on the spot. There was nothing
much to keep them in England, so the five of them, my father and mother, May and Emily and her
husband, Tom Keith, all came to Canada together arriving here in Nelson in September. After a
time, Arthur Hawker was taken on by the “Canadian Express Co.” and was transferred to
Vancouver, B.C. and he lived there the rest of his life, working for the company until he retired.
Now, you say you want to know something about me, and why I studied medicine and went
to India. It came about this way. When I was about 22 or 23--my father and mother had gone
back to India, and I was in England not knowing quite what to do. I had tried teaching and did not
care for it. Just about that time there was a lot of talk about the need for women doctors in India.
My father wrote and asked if I would like to study medicine. I wrote back and said I would if the
money could be found. He said he could allow me L6 a month for living expenses.
One of the girls who had been at school with me had been studying medicine in Edinburgh,
Scotland. Her home had been there and through her I got some information. At that time,
Edinburgh University would not admit women to their classes, etc. But a pioneer woman medical
had established a school for women to study medicine in Edinburgh and I went there. When I left
the boarding school I passed the Oxford and Cambridge certificate. But that didn’t go for the
medical work. I had to go in a do a little bit more extra. I had to take a certain amount of Latin
and physics. So I went to Aunt Annie’s school and studied with a tutor. I was 24 before I started
medical school.
After I had been in Edinburgh a while, edinburgh University consented to letting women
take their examinations--but I was not in a position to start all over again, study for the
Edinburgh University degree, and before I could even start medicine, take their preliminary
examination. The medical course I took was in order to qualify for what is known as the “College
of Physicians and Surgeons of Edinburgh and Glasgow.” My living expenses, board, food, clothes,
travelling expenses, notebooks, in fact everything except examination fees, had to come out of
L6 a month and I spent the summer holidays at Wretchwick and did not pay anything there for
my board, but there was the journey from and back to Scotland each year. So I had to be careful.
You can just think how the value of money has lessened since those days. L5 now is about 11 or
12 dollars!!! I started medicine in September or October 1891 and took the final examination
in 1895.
I had to go two miles down from Edinburgh to the town of Leith. Leith was the port of
Edinburgh. And at Leith hospital the doctors lectured to us and gave us clinical work. So my
beginning medicine I took down at Leith hospital. And before I left Edinburgh, the big Edinburgh
Royal Infirmary let us in. For women, they had one medical ward, and one surgical word. That
didn’t give us enough beds so the third ward was half surgical--half medical. We had a special
doctor to teach us in the medical ward and a special doctor in the surgical ward. Both the doctors
we had were real good men. They wouldn’t have us in with the men students.
First of all, we had a course in making up drugs and that. In those days, there weren’t so
many made up and ready to buy. We had to make up more. Then we had regular lessons in the
classroom from surgeons and physicians. Then we had regular tutorial lessons in the wards
from the doctors and surgeons. When we wee in the surgical side we used to go and see the
operations done. And we had to go to the hospital every morning to the lectures. Then we had to go
around and see the patients and have their conditions described to us. The doctor would, perhaps,
ask us questions. Or we’d see how they did dressings, or see how they’d put up a fracture. When
we were on the medical side, we’d do the same. Go around the wards and have the different
patients shown to us and listen to their hearts and lungs, and examine their skins if they had any
skin trouble. Some of our patients were men. I think our surgical ward was a man’s ward. I
studied there four years. I passed my exams, you know. I’m on the Medical Register. Every year
I get a notice from them to see if I’m alive and kicking. I keep my name on just for the fun of the
thing. I’m on the British Medical Register still although I’ve been away for thirty-two years.
About that time, the Women’s Association of the Church of Scotland was looking out for a
doctor for a medical mission that had been started by them at a place in the north of the Punjab,
and as I was wanting work, I applied and was accepted by them. I went as an agent of the
Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Two of my fellow missionaries were Anglican. So you see the
Church of Scotland was quite broadminded in the people they took. They took me thought I was a
Congregationalist and they took two others though they were Anglican and we were just as happy
as could be together. [Ed. note: Remember that Annie’s father had also been a Congregationalist
but had worked for a Roman Catholic Missionary Society.]
Before going to India, I had a short time job in Liverpool and for a short time I also was
in Dublin, Ireland, taking extra classes and practice in midwifery at a very well known hospital
for women there known as The Rotunda. In the autumn, I sailed from Liverpool for Bombay and
went to see my father and mother who were then in Belgaum. Then after a short visit to them, I
went away up far north. The Church of Scotland had six stations there called by names of the
chief towns, Gujrat (on the main line between Lahore and Peshawar), Wazirabad (a railway
junction), Sailkot which was in those days a British Military Station, Jalalpur Jattan which
then was a small country place nine miles from Gujrat, where now the Church of Scotland has a
really big hospital, Daska where there is a big boarding school for boys about 10 miles or so
from Sailkot--and two other places which since India was partitioned are now in India while the
other places I have mentioned are in Pakistan. The two places now in India are Jamnu which is a
native state and Chamba which is right in the mountains--and is also a small native state.
Because of difficulties due to the separation between India and Pakistan, these two Hill stations
are now under the care of an American Mission, as this mission has stations also in India.
When I first went to Gujrat in the Punjab, medical work had been started for women by a
woman doctor who had worked for some time for the Church of Scotland in a big place in South
India called Poona. Her furlough was due soon after my going there (to Gujrat), this woman
doctor left to go on furlough and did not come back to the mission because she got married to a
Civil Surgeon who worked for the government. At that time in Gujrat, we women had no proper
hospital. We rented a house in the city and did the best we could with it. I went there daily, but I
lived with the other missionaries in the house a mile or so away, out of town, where the
Europeans, if there were any more, and the missionaries lived. The British Government had
some officials there--generally there was a “Deputy Commissioner.” He was the head of the
district, and generally a Civil Surgeon, and perhaps two or three others, more or less in
number from time to time, according to what might be going on. Some while after I went there,
there began to be talk about building a hospital for women, by the mission. There were two
wealthy women living in Montreal, Canada and they wished to build a hospital in Gujrat in
memory of their mother. In those long ago days, there was a Presbyterian Church in Montreal
which was affiliated with the Church of Scotland and the minister of this church always came
from Scotland. These two women’s parents had come out from Scotland, Their father had died
when young and had left four daughters. The father of these girls and a brother who was
younger--but who made a lot of money in those early days. He had never married and left a lot of
money to his brother’s four daughters. Two of them had married--but two had not done so. The
two unmarried ones first gave money to build a church for our Indian Congregation in memory
of their uncle. Next thing was for us to look for a site for the proposed hospital. One of our men
missionaries was put in charge of getting plans drawn and the hospital being built. The two dear
ladies in Canada began to get impatient to hear that their hospital was up and all ready to begin
work. But they did not realize that things take time. First plans--then bricks to build with. In
or near Gujrat there is good clay for bricks. So the bricks for the new hospital were made and
burned locally. We did get some marble from Calcutta to floor the operation room. Finally the
hospital was finished and by then another young woman doctor had come out from Scotland and
she and I left the women’s mission house and went to live in the hospital. It was built on a main
road coming from the railway station to the town, diagonally across from us was the Civil
Hospital and right across the street from us was the Gurat jail!!! We had two big long wards,
some smaller rooms and an operating room, and we two doctors lived above and our Indian
nurses had their own quarters. But that is long ago and I have been told that the whole place has
been very much altered since my day.