When Grant (Grant Alcorn Rowley) was just 4 months old the doctor told us that he also had asthma and allergies and if we wanted to keep him we had better get him where it was hot and dry. We talked it over and thought of going to Mesa, Arizona, but Lillian’s (Lillian Alcorn) brother, Leonard (Leonard Clark Alcorn), wrote and said it was hot and dry where they lived in California and that he would rent a house for us and have a job waiting for me. We had our auction and sold the things we couldn’t take, rented our farm and prepared to leave for California.
We left Harlem in January of 1945. We visited friends and relatives on the way through Montana, Idaho, and Utah. When we arrived in El Monte, California we couldn’t rent the house for reasons beyond Leonard’s control and it didn’t seem as though there was any place to rent or buy with the small down payment we had.
After about two weeks we found a small house that an old couple had built. The husband was blind, so it wasn’t very well constructed, to say the least, but it was the only thing we could buy. We agreed to let the old couple live in one of the rooms for a month. Well, it turned out that they made all kinds of trouble for us, much as telling me that the children (Grace Harriet, David Alcorn, Douglas Alcorn, Ralph Alcorn, Clayton Alcorn, Marjorie Ann, Hugh Alcorn and Grant Rowley had tampered with their mail and other various things. They were hoping we would turn the house back to them and they wouldn’t have to move. He had come to me and said that I would never be able to make the payments on the place with the big family had to support, so I might as well turn the house back to him. I said to him, “Mister, you’ve got the wrong guy this time. I never promise to buy something I can’t pay for and you can be sure I’ll never let the place go back to you!” Finally, long after the month was up, I got rid of the trouble makers by moving them myself. They had said they couldn’t move into another little place because they had no way to do so.
Grant was still having his troubles. We took him to a doctor and to a lab for allergy tests. They found he was allergic to almost everything we were eating, including wheat, beef, and potatoes. The doctor also told us to give him all the oranges we could get him to eat. He ate a lot of them and they seemed to really help him. We had left Montana in the middle of the winter, January and I guess my blood was thickened up because it seemed so warm in California that I went around in my shirt sleeves all the time, even when it was still winter. The older residents of the area told me I wouldn’t do that next winter and I didn’t. I wore a coat.
Grace had grown into a lovely young lady, although she was still very young. It wasn’t very long before she and the young man next door, Donald Eugene Smith, became very interested in each other. Along in June they came to Lillian and me and told us they wanted to get married. They were both so young we didn’t feel like they were ready for marriage, I told them they should think it over very carefully and to watch each other and ask themselves, “could I stand to see him or her across the breakfast table for the rest of my life?” They waited a little while, but in July they came to us again and we agreed. The wedding date was set for 4 August 1945. The Bishop of the ward, Fred S. Hatch, performed the marriage in his own home and Don’s parents gave them a reception in their home. The kids then moved to San Pedro where Don was stationed with the Navy.
To be continued…