Ralph (Ralph Alcorn Rowley) wrote and asked if we could come down to El Paso, Texas to see them. I decided to take my vacation and Hubert (Hubert Tidwell) said we might as well go in his almost new van, so we would have a place to sleep. We took along quite a bit of food, which was lucky, as it turned out. All went well at first. We spent my birthday in the Saint George Temple and started in from there. To make a long story short, in trying to make a short cut we got lost and spent 3 days in the desert. We didn’t even know what state we were in for Thanksgiving Day. Later we found out that we didn’t see anything alive except a stray cow or two and a rabbit.
The full account of this scary adventure can be found in Stella’s (Estella Cordelia Tidwell) life story, but let me say this…if the Lord hadn’t answered our prayers and hadn’t helped and protected us several times we would never have gotten out of there alive and we wouldn’t have been found until spring. Hubert burned the engine up in his van and had to wait to get a new one. We took the bus back to Bountiful and were thankful to be home safely.
All the family had Christmas dinner at Grace’s (Grace Harriet Rowley) that year, then Stella and I stayed with her children while Grace (Donna Diane, Ronald Steven and Lillian Lorraine Smith) went to Texas. Cheryl (Cheryl Jeanette Smith) had taken the car and driven there a few days before. Grace decided to let Cheryl stay with Ralph for a while and she came back around the first of the year.
This year of 1966 started off with a bang. On 23 January 1966 Clayton (Clayton Alcorn Rowley) and Jana (Janevie Clegg) added a little girl to their family. Charrielynn was the name she was given and she brightened that home considerably.
Then in March, Marge (Marjorie Ann Judkins) and Dwain (Dwain Eugene Judkins) added another son to their family. This was their sixth child and fifth son. He was born on 13 March 1966 and was named Darrell Wayne Judkins. When Dwain told Dwana (Dwana Kay Judksin) she had another brother she went to her room and cried, she was tired of brother. As it turned out, she realized that this new little brother was pretty special and she would keep him after all!!!
Grace’s troubles were not over – it was discovered that she had cancer. They flew her to Lackland Air Force Hospital in Texas for cobalt treatment. Estella and I stayed at her home and took care of her children, the three still at home, for seven weeks. We went to a school program while we were there and Estella accidentally fell into a hole in the parking lot and hurt her back. She has had to have lots of treatments. She has never gotten over the effects of that fall.
In April, Harold (Harold Norman Johnson) and Myrna Jean and Virginia (Virginia Fern Johnson) and her husband (Chad Layne McKnight) came down for conference. The Mormonaires, a group they sang with was furnishing the music for the Priesthood session. Stella was so happy. This was the first time she had seen little Cory McKnight, Virginia’s baby. Virginia sat at the piano and played so many beautiful pieces and then they sang for us. We recorded some of it.
June was a big month for us. First, Emerson (Emerson Adis Rowley) and Sarah (Sarah Marie Alderson) came to see us and Estella finally had met all of my family. While they were still with us, Ralph and his family stopped in for a few days on their way to Glasgow, Montana where he had been assigned. Then on June 10th, Francis (Hugh Francis Rowley) and Erma (Erma Thornton) came to pick us up to go on a trip we had planned with them. I had been wanting to take my wife to Montana ever since we got married. In order for Estella to stand the ride I would take her on a fast walk around the block whenever we stopped for gas or something. Even at that she rode a lot of the time on her knees because it hurt her so bad to sit.
To be continued…